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Internet Journal of Food Saety

8/09
2006
ISSUE:221

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Infectious Agent: E.coli O121:H19
08.aug.06
Weber-Morgan Health Department (Utah)
The Weber-Morgan Health Department confirms that four people have contracted an E.coli O121:H19 infection with three of these people developing the more severe case of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Based upon the findings of our investigation, we have concluded that the probable source of the contamination was iceberg lettuce prepared at the Wendy's Restaurant at 2500 N. 400 E. in North Ogden.
We believe that people may have been exposed to the contaminated lettuce between the period of June 27th and June 30th, 2006. One of the confirmed HUS cases (Case A) ate cheeseburgers with lettuce at the Wendy's Restaurant for three consecutive days, June 27th through the 29th. On June 30th, Wendy's catered a salad luncheon at the CORE Academy Conference held at Orion Junior High School in Harrisville where more than 300 attendees were potentially exposed. A second confirmed HUS case (Case B) attended this conference, only on Friday, June 29th 2006, and ate the Wendy's salad. A second attendee (Case C) of the conference was also confirmed to have an E.coli infection.
Case A and Case C were both confirmed with identical genetic strains of E.coli O121:H19.
The only common exposure shared by these three cases was the iceberg lettuce. The third HUS case (Case D) was determined to be a secondary transmission from a self reported infected person who attended the conference.
The Weber-Morgan Health Department determined that the conference attendees represented a known exposure group. We wanted to establish the extent of illness among these attendees, and to determine if secondary cases had occurred. Through the means of a phone bank, we contacted 75% of those who attended the conference. Even though self-reported illness occurred, we were unable to establish any clinically confirmed E.coli cases among the respondents.
Part of our investigation included a thorough inspection of three food establishments that catered to the conference. No significant food code violations were observed. The only common food item shared by cases A, B, and C was iceberg lettuce from Wendy's. We believe that the source of this food borne contamination was limited to this one Wendy's restaurant.
From the time the Weber-Morgan Health Department was first notified of the initial HUS case, we quickly determined that there was no immediate or ongoing threat or risk to the public's health. Otherwise, we would have immediately closed the restaurant in question, and alerted the public.
We believe that this disease outbreak is over. The transmission of this illness is a
rare event, and knowing the incubation period of 2-8 days and the time that has elapsed from the initial occurrence, we believe that the possibility of any additional cases is very remote.

Surge of shigellosis in North Dakota triggers investigation
03.aug.06
http://foodpoisoning.pritzkerlaw.com
An unusually high number of Shigella infections in Rolette County, North Dakota, has triggered a government investigation. According to Julie Goplin, foodborne surveillance epidemiologist with the North Dakota Department of Health, there have been 28 confirmed cases of shigellosis in Rolette County. Ten people have been hospitalized.
As with most cases of shigellosis, finding the source is proving difficult. The State Department of Health is following all possible leads but has not been able to confirm or eliminate any of them. Interviews of victims and their families have not pointed to any single potential cause. Because Shigella can be transmitted from person to person, it is possible a food product sickened one or a few people and the others contracted Shigella poisoning (shigellosis) from person-to-person contact. Experts are conducting DNA fingerprint testing to determine if one strain of Shigella is responsible for the illnesses in Rolette County.
Most people who are infected with Shigella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps starting a day or two after they are exposed to the bacterium. The diarrhea is often bloody. Shigellosis usually resolves in 5 to 7 days. Some persons who are infected may have no symptoms at all but may still pass the Shigella to others.
In some persons, especially young children and the elderly, the diarrhea associated with shigellosis can be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. In children under 2, severe shigellosis with high fever may cause seizures. One type of Shigella can cause Reiter's syndrome, which can last for months or years and can lead to chronic arthritis.
¡°The effects of a Shigella infection can be devastating,¡± commented foodborne illness attorney Fred Pritzker, who represented Shigella victims in a 2002 jury trial against Ciatti¡¯s restaurant. ¡°The individuals affected by the 2002 outbreak were completely incapacitated and violently ill for weeks on end. The thorough investigation in those cases, however, ultimately proved who was responsible.¡±
Pritzker | Ruohonen & Associates, P.A. is one of the few law firms in the United States that practices extensively in the area of foodborne illness litigation. The firm has collected millions of dollars on behalf of victims of shigellosis and other foodborne illnesses.

74 become ill after eating raw oysters
01.aug.06
New York Times/AP
City and federal officials were cited as saying that 74 people are believed to have gotten sick from eating raw oysters from the Pacific Northwest that were sold in New York City restaurants and stores last month.
Outbreaks have also been reported in British Columbia, Oregon and Washington State, which alone has recorded at least 100 cases, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
Both the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Food and Drug Administration have warned people not to eat the oysters, which are infected with naturally occurring bacteria that are most prevalent in the summer, when water temperature rises.
A FDA spokesman was cited as saying the outbreak, caused by the bacteria virbrio parahaemolyticus, was probably the result of the higher than usual air temperatures on the West Coast.
In healthy people, the symptoms ?
The stories note that only 2 of the 74 cases in New York City have been definitely tied to infected oysters from the Northwest, which are presumed to have caused the other illnesses. There have been 6 additional cases elsewhere in New York State.
More than 70 cases of vibriosis have been reported this year in people who ate oysters in Washington, the highest number since 1997, when 58 cases were reported.

Bio-Rad¡¯s RAPID¡¯E.coli 2¢â Agar Granted Performance Tested Method Status by AOAC RI RAPID¡¯E.coli 2 agar
Souce from : rapidmicrobiology.com
manufactured by Bio-Rad Laboratories, was granted Performance Tested Method status by the AOAC Research Institute (certificate # 050601).
RAPID¡¯E.coli 2 is a chromogenic medium for detection and enumeration of E. coli and other coliform bacteria in food in 24 hours. It is a rapid method producing accurate and easy-to-read results. Current methods for enumeration of E. coli and coliform bacteria can be costly and laborious.The use of chromogenic substrates in media has lead to development of faster and easier methods for detection, differentiation and enumeration of target bacteria.
RAPID¡¯E.coli 2 is validated for enumeration of E. coli and other coliform bacteria in raw ground beef, raw boneless pork, fermented sausage, processed ham, processed turkey, frozen turkey breast, raw ground chicken, cottage cheese, processed ricotta cheese, unpasteurized raw milk, and dry infant formula. It is validated at two incubation temperatures, 37¡ÆC and 44¡ÆC (cottage cheese and processed ricotta cheese are only validated at 37¡ÆC only).
The principle of RAPID¡¯E.coli 2 medium relies on simultaneous detection of two enzymatic activities, Beta-D-Glucuronidase (GLUC) and Beta-DGalactosidase (GAL). The medium contains two chromogenic substrates. One substrate is specific to GAL and results in blue green coloration of colonies positive for this enzyme and one substrate is specific to GLUC and results in violet coloration of colonies positive for this enzyme.
Coliforms, other than E. coli, (GAL+/GLUC-) form blue to green colonies while, specifically, E. coli (GAL+/GLUC+) form violet colonies. A count of total coliforms can be obtained by adding the number of blue colonies and the number of violet colonies. Differentiation of coliforms and specifically E. coli is carried out by observing a simple color change reaction. Observation of gas bubbles for differentiation is not necessary.
RAPID¡¯E.coli 2 is available in two formats, dehydrated media (Item # 356- 4024) or ready-to-use bottled media (Item # 355-5299).

E coli outbreak: 21 people fall ill (UK)
Monday July 31, 06:25 PM
Source of Article: http://uk.news.yahoo.com/
Health chiefs have announced that the number of people struck down by an E coli outbreak has risen to 21. A five-year-old girl and an 82-year-old woman are among those affected by the outbreak of the potentially-fatal E coli 0157 strain centred on a butcher's shop in Leeds. Health Protection Agency (HPA) officials said a further seven cases had been confirmed to add to 14 already identified over the weekend. Laboratory tests traced the source to Todd's Pork and Beef Butchers in Armley, which supplies 18 local butchers, cafes and delis, and the West Yorkshire Health Protection Unit urged people to be vigilant. The shop has agreed to close while investigations into the outbreak continue. The first case was discovered on June 23 and of the 14 people confirmed as having the disease at the weekend, 13 were from the Leeds area, with one from Castleford. Around a dozen of those affected were taken to hospital and health bosses said the majority were still receiving treatment. Dr Martin Schweiger, local director of the West Yorkshire Health Protection Unit, said: "I am very concerned that we have not got to the end of the outbreak yet and I am very concerned that we may still get some very seriously ill people.
"The first case was on June 23 and the oldest lady only came to our attention on Saturday morning. Usually you get one or two, then two or three, but this is ongoing and could get very nasty. "In numerical terms it's small-scale but we are dealing with an organism that in other outbreaks has had quite a high death rate. "E coli 0157 has been associated with very severe disease and obviously some of the people who have been ill have been very ill in Leeds."

After water scare, restaurants stew: Weekend shut-down cost eateries thousands
08.aug.06
San Diego Union-Tribune
Frank Green
http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20060808/news_1b8impact.html
Diners arriving late Saturday at Bernard'O Restaurant hoping for pan-roasted Kurobuta pork tenderloin and duck confit and mushroom ravioli instead left with hunger pangs intact.
Like other restaurants in San Diego's northern neighborhoods, the Rancho Bernardo eatery was forced to close from Saturday night until Sunday evening because of a possible contamination of the city's water supply. Bernard'O owner Bernard Mougel was quoted as saying, "I lost up to $1,500,¡± and that he had to keep his staff on standby Sunday in hopes the emergency alert called by the city would be promptly lifted. The story explains that at least 209 restaurants were ordered shut down at an estimated revenue loss in the hundreds of thousands of dollars ? when environmental health officials detected two potentially dangerous substances after a water main broke in Rancho Penasquitos. Restaurants weren't the only businesses affected. Many supermarkets closed their deli counters and removed meat and produce that might have been tainted by contaminated water.

The International HACCP Alliance approves ¡°www.haccptraining.org applying HACCP principles¢â¡± the first online retail HACCP training program
19.jul.06
Environ Health Associates, Inc.
Roy E. Costa, R.S. M.S
Orlando? The International HACCP Alliance's primary mission is to provide standardized educational programs which facilitate the implementation of farm-to-table HACCP systems to ensure safer meat, poultry and food products. To achieve its mission, the Alliance established HACCP training program criteria and standards for program accreditation. On July 6th, 2006, the Alliance approved www.haccptraining.org ¡°Applying HACCP Principles¢â ¡° for basic training in HACCP. ¡°Applying HACCP Principles¢â¡± is the first retail and food service level HACCP training program approved by the Alliance and one of only 3 approved HACCP courses available on-line.
¡°We are very excited about receiving the International HACCP Alliance seal of approval¡±, commented Mr. Roy E. Costa, R.S, M.S., president of Environ Health Associates, Inc., author of the program. Mr. Costa added, ¡°Momentum/ETOL, Inc., our training partner at www.haccptraining.org has done an outstanding job of automating the HACCP training process, and now, accreditation from the HACCP Alliance validates the completeness and relevance of the course structure¡±.
For the first time, chefs, food and beverage managers, quality assurance professionals, regulatory personnel and any food professional needing to understand how classic HACCP principles are applied can train on line quickly and easily. Participants complete a HACCP plan as part of the training. HACCP or Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point is an industry process control program.
Accreditation by the Alliance will ensure participants that the www.haccptraining.org ¡°Applying HACCP Principles¢â¡± training program has been reviewed and meets the requirements of the Alliance. Candidates who successfully complete this accredited HACCP training program will receive a Certificate of Completion from Momentum/ ETOL, Inc. displaying the Alliance Seal, which indicates Alliance accreditation. The Alliance will keep records of all people who complete the www.haccptraining.org ¡°Applying HACCP Principles¢â¡± course on line.

61 Percent of Americans Mistakenly Believe Fish Causes 'Mercury Poisoning' in Children
Source of Article: http://www.redorbit.com/
WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly two-thirds of Americans questioned in a new national opinion poll mistakenly believe that more than 1,000 childhood cases of mercury poisoning, from eating fish, are identified by scientists every year in the United States. The actual number of scientifically documented fish-related mercury poisoning cases among U.S. children each year is zero. Fully 61 percent of respondents believed -- in error -- that at least 1,000 "childhood cases of mercury poisoning from eating fish" are reported by U.S. scientists each year. The poll, which sampled the opinions of 1,011 Americans, was commissioned by the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) and conducted by Opinion Research Corporation.
"Americans are running scared from the fish counter, and there's no good reason for it," said David Martosko, CCF's Director of Research. "The health benefits from eating fish include a lower risk of heart disease and strokes, and they are very real. But any health risks from mercury in fish are outrageously exaggerated. That message clearly isn't getting through to most Americans. And government officials should remind Americans that fish is still the same brain food our mothers encouraged us to eat." Activist groups including Oceana, the Environmental Working Group, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and the Center for Science in the Public Interest have bombarded consumers with fish-related scare campaigns. However, the only scientifically documented cases of fish-related human mercury poisoning occurred in Japan during the 1950s and 1960s, following massive industrial dumping of mercury into fishing waters. The survey of 1,011 adults nationwide was conducted by telephone between July 13 and July 16, 2006 by Opinion Research Corporation. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percent.

Question:
How many childhood cases of mercury poisoning from eating fish do you think scientists identify in the United States every year? Would you say ...

About 100,000 10% About 50,000 12% About 10,000 18% About 1,000 21% Net 1,000+ 61% About 100 16% None 7% Don't Know / Refused 15% Net 1,000+ 61% About the Center for Consumer Freedom

The Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit coalition supported by restaurants, food companies, and consumers, working together to promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices. Additional information is available at http://www.consumerfreedom.com/.
Center for Consumer Freedom

Wendy's wins lawsuit that claimed burger made woman sick
04.aug.06
Associated Press
PORTLAND, Maine A federal jury deliberated about 30 minutes before, according to this story, ruling against a woman who sued Ohio-based Wendy's International Inc., claiming a hamburger made her violently ill. The story explains that Diane Roney, 57, of Standish, was seeking $83,000 in medical expenses and lost wages, as well as additional damages from Wendy's, based in the Columbus suburb of Dublin. Her husband sought money for loss of companionship and support from his wife. Roney, an elementary school teacher, was hospitalized for 12 days in 2001 after eating two bites of a bacon cheeseburger at a Wendy's in Saco. Her lawyer said she was sickened by E. coli bacteria and could have died. Wendy's claimed Roney's illness had nothing to do with the food, and that her symptoms were not consistent with E. coli. Wendy's attorney Joshua Vincent told U.S. District Court jurors that Roney's medical records showed evidence her illness was caused by a possible enzyme deficiency, which also may have hospitalized her nine months earlier. Bob Bertini, Wendy's spokesman, was cited as saying the quick verdict speaks for itself, adding, "We feel our food safety procedures have been validated."

DIOXIN LEVELS FALL IN MEAT
Source of Article: http://www.meatnews.com/
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UNITED STATES: USDA says levels of the carcinogen have dropped in pork and poultry but remained constant in beef.
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Although dioxin levels in U.S. poultry and hogs have steadily decreased over the past decade, levels of the toxin in cattle have remained quite flat, according to a survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Ken Hammond, a USDA spokesman, said USDA researchers standardized a series of small data surveys conducted from 1994 to 1996, for comparison with a comprehensive survey conducted from 2002 to 2003. The more recent survey included dioxin-like compounds such as polychlorinated biphenols. The inclusion of the other compounds makes the data more positive. In poultry and pigs, dioxin levels declined 20 to 80 percent during the period between the surveys, in large part because of efforts to eliminate dioxin in feeds. However, cattle dioxin levels either stayed the same or barely decreased over that same time period. The USDA researchers also traced two pigs with high dioxin levels (more than two pg per g lipid weight) back to farms that were only approximately 100 miles apart that used the same dioxin-contaminated mineral feed supplement. The failure of dioxin levels to fall in cattle was more difficult to explain. The researchers said more investigation is necessary to isolate the reasons for the variation in the animals, which could include background deposition from power-plant emissions or even the age of the cattle at slaughter. Older cattle tend to accumulate more dioxin. Dioxin is a family of halogenated organic compounds, which accumulate in body fat of living organisms. Dioxin is a common contaminant of a number of products, including flame retardants, and is very stable in the environment. Researchers have linked it to birth defects, damage to the immune system, diabetes, and other human health problems.

Pesticides still found in Coke, Pepsi in India
Thu Aug 3
Source of Article: http://news.yahoo.com/
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - An environmental group said on Wednesday bottles of Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. soft drinks in India still contained traces of pesticide, highlighting weak food safety laws in the country. "If soft drinks are the choice of millions, the least that can be done is that these drinks are regulated," said Sunita Narain, director of the Delhi-based Center for Science and Environment (CSE), at a news conference. A 2003 study by CSE briefly dented the companies' sales when it said it found levels of pesticide in the companies' soft drinks in excess of international standards. That study was endorsed by India's parliament though the soft drink majors said at the time the drinks were safe to consume and they repeated their stand on Wednesday. But despite government vows of introducing legal limits for toxins in soft drinks, not enough had been done since 2003, CSE said. The group called upon consumers to avoid drinking Coke and Pepsi and other soft drink brands produced by the two U.S. firms until they cleaned up the product. The Indian Soft Drink Manufacturers Association, of which PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are members, said the soft drinks were safe to consume. "The soft drinks manufactured in India comply with stringent international norms and all applicable national regulations," the industry body said in a statement. The CSE said that pesticides are also present in other foods and drinks routinely consumed by Indians. The new study found three to five different pesticides in 57 samples of Coca-Cola and PepsiCo drinks produced in 12 Indian states, CSE said. The average amount of pesticide residues found in the samples was 11.85 parts per billion (ppb), 24 times higher than the permitted limit of 0.5 ppb recently drafted - but not yet implemented-- by the Bureau of Indian Standards, a government agency that sets safety and hygiene standards for commercial products.
In some cases, the levels were up to 200 times the limit.
The study in 2003 found pesticide residues on average 34 times higher than the 0.5ppb limit.
Officials at the Ministry of Health were unavailable for comment on the CSE report

Untreated milk cuts children's allergies
07.aug.06
Daily Mail (UK)
Pat Hagan
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/health/healthmain.html?in_article_id=399520&in_page_id=1774
Drinking ¡®raw¡¯ milk could reduce children¡¯s risk of suffering allergy-related conditions such as eczema and hayfever, new research suggests.
British academics investigating why farmers¡¯ families suffer fewer allergies than others found that even occasional consumption of raw ? unpasteurised ? milk had a powerful effect.
The story says that just a couple of glasses a week reduced a child¡¯s chances of developing eczema by almost 40 per cent and hayfever by 10 per cent.
Blood tests revealed that drinking raw milk more than halves levels of histamine, a chemical pumped out by cells in response to an allergen.
It is thought the milk contains bacteria that help to prime the immune system.
But the findings, published in the Journal Of Allergy, Asthma And Immunology, are controversial because unpasteurised milk is also a source of potentially fatal food-poisoning bugs.
Raw milk was banned from sale in Scotland 20 years ago, and can be sold by farmers in England and Wales only with labels clearly warning of the risks.
The story says that when researchers at the University of London analysed the diet and health of 4,700 primary school children in Shropshire, they found that those who lived on farms had significantly fewer symptoms of asthma, hayfever and eczema.
The study looked at whether children were breast-fed and how often they were in contact with animals or played in barns. The greatest benefits were found to come from drinking raw milk.
Blood samples showed raw milk drinkers had 60 per cent lower levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE).
But some experts are warning parents that any benefits are still far outweighed by the chances of their child becoming infected with organisms such as E. coli and campylobacter, two of the main food-poisoning bugs.
Professor Hugh Pennington, a retired microbiologist who has investigated some of Britain¡¯s worst food poisoning outbreaks, was quoted as saying, "Even if there are benefits in terms of allergies, the risks from drinking unpasteurised milk are just too great. Pasteurisation is there as a safety net to kill off any bugs."
Unpasteurised cow¡¯s or goat¡¯s milk is sold as ¡®green top¡¯ bottled milk, it accounts for about one per cent of milk sales in England and Wales and is available only direct from farms, or through farmers¡¯ markets.
It is estimated that about 130 dairy farms sell raw milk.
The Chartered Institute Of Environmental Health is pushing for a ban on sales of unpasteurised milk in England.
John Barron, from Beaconhill Farm in Herefordshire, was cited as saying demand is growing for raw milk produced by his 40-strong herd of Jersey cows.
He sells about 50 litres a week, at ¡Ì1 a litre, from his farm and through markets.