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Journal of Food Saety
FDA warns consumers
not to drink carrot juice
of Article: http://www.ift.org/news_bin/news/news_home.shtml
10/02/2006-In response to a fourth case of botulism being linked to Bolthouse
Farms, Bakersfield, California brand carrot juice, the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to drink Bolthouse Farms
Carrot Juice, 450 ml and 1 liter plastic bottles, with "BEST IF USED
BY" dates of NOV 11 2006 or earlier. Consumers should discard this
product. FDA is also reiterating its advice to consumers to keep carrot
juice including pasteurized carrot juice refrigerated.
The fourth case of botulism poisoning involves an adult female in Florida
who is currently suffering from paralysis. To date, one link between the
illness and the consumers appears to be that the juice they drank was
not properly refrigerated once it was in the home, which allowed the Clostridium
botulinum spores to grow and produce toxin.
Clostridium botulinum is a bacterium commonly found in soil. Under certain
conditions these bacteria can produce a toxin that if ingested can result
in botulism, a disease that may cause paralysis or death. Cases of botulism
from processed food are extremely rare in the U.S.
Symptoms of botulism can include: double-vision, droopy eyelids, altered
voice, trouble with speaking or swallowing, and paralysis on both sides
of the body that progresses from the neck down, possibly followed by difficulty
in breathing. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek immediate
Adequate refrigeration is one of the keys to food safety and is essential
to preventing bacterial growth. Refrigerator temperatures should be no
higher than 40¡ÆF and freezer temperatures no higher then 0¡ÆF. Consumers
should check the temperatures occasionally with an appliance thermometer.
Consumers should look for the words "Keep Refrigerated" on juice
labels so they know which products must be kept refrigerated. FDA is looking
into whether industry's current juice labels provide clear refrigeration
with botulism latest food scare from California
Published: Wednesday, 4-Oct-2006
Source of Article: http://www.news-medical.net/?id=20387
A Floridian woman, the fourth victim of botulism poisoning contracted
from drinking spoiled carrot juice, is suffering from paralysis.
Her case has prompted the recall of the California carrot juice produced
by Bolthouse Farms, Bakersfield.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. is warning consumers
not to drink Bolthouse Farms Carrot Juice, 450 ml and 1 liter plastic
bottles, with "BEST IF USED BY" dates of NOV 11 2006 or earlier
and repeating it's advice that such juices must be stored in a refrigerator.
At present it appears that the link between the four cases is that the
carrot juice was not properly refrigerated once it was in the home which
allowed the Clostridium botulinum spores to grow and produce toxin. Clostridium
botulinum is a bacterium normally found in soil and under certain conditions
the bacteria can produce a toxin that if ingested can result in botulism,
a disease that may cause paralysis or death. However cases of botulism
from processed food are extremely rare in the U.S. and the FDA is investigating
other possible links.
Symptoms of botulism can include double-vision, droopy eyelids, altered
voice, trouble with speaking or swallowing, and paralysis on both sides
of the body that progresses from the neck down, possibly followed by difficulty
Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.
To maintain adequate food safety levels refrigeration is essential in
order to prevent bacteria growing.
It is recommended that refrigerator temperatures should be no higher than
40?F and freezer temperatures no higher then 0F. and consumers should
check the temperatures occasionally with an appliance thermometer.
Consumers should look for the words "Keep Refrigerated" on juice
labels and follow those instructions; one of the things the FDA is investigating
is whether drink labels provide clear refrigeration instructions. The
Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning consumers not to drink
certain brands of carrot juice described as they are also affected by
Bolthouse Farms 100% Carrot Juice", sold in both 1 L and 450 ml sizes,
Earthbound Farm Organic Carrot Juice", sold in both 1 L and 450 ml
sizes and President's Choice Organics 100% Pure Carrot Juice" sold
in both 1 L and 450 ml sizes.
The manufacturer, Wm. Bolthouse Farms Inc., Bakersfield, California has
voluntarily recalled the affected brands of carrot juice which may have
been distributed across Canada.
To date there have been no reported illnesses in Canada.
Apparently food contaminated with Clostridium botulinum bacteria may not
look or smell spoiled but can nevertheless make people ill and even cause
More on the
FBI Spinach Probe
Posted on October
4, 2006 by Bill Marler
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
The US Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California announced
that agents of the FBI and FDA Office of Criminal Investigations executed
two search warrants today on Growers Express in Salinas, CA, and Natural
Selection Foods in San Juan Batista, CA, in connection with the September
2006 outbreak of E. coli 0157:H7 that the FDA has traced to spinach grown
in the Salinas area.
"FDA continues to work with the U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI
to determine the facts behind this outbreak," said Dr. Robert Brackett,
Director of the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. United
States Attorney Kevin V. Ryan stated that "I want to reassure the
public that there is no indication in this investigation that leaf spinach
was deliberately or intentionally contaminated. We are investigating allegations
that certain spinach growers and distributors may not have taken all necessary
or appropriate steps to ensure that their spinach was safe before it was
placed into interstate commerce. Moreover, the investigation has not revealed
any evidence of a new or continuing threat to public health in connection
with the matters under investigation."
Statement on Foodborne E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak in Spinach - This statement
is current as of October 5, 2006
firm puts safety on the menu: Burger King outlets to display restaurant
Some metro restaurants aren¡¯t waiting for the province to make food-safety
inspection reports easier to access.
Several Burger King franchises in Halifax have voluntarily posted their
latest inspection reports inside their establishments so patrons can see
them without going to the provincial government.
Chris Doyle, assistant store manager of the Chain Lake Drive restaurant
in Bayers Lake Business Park, was quoted as saying Monday, "We figured
we¡¯d give the customers some concrete evidence that we¡¯re a clean restaurant."
Mr. Doyle was further cited as saying managers there saw the recent series
of stories in The Chronicle Herald about the province¡¯s food-safety inspection
system and decided to take matters into their own hands and provide the
inspection report from April 3 for their customers to read, even though
they¡¯re not required to do so.
This practice is standard procedure in other North American cities, where
the food-safety inspection results for restaurants are shared freely with
Billy Fougere, the assistant manager of the Burger King on Young Street,
said all four metro-area franchises are supposed to be posting their report.
have familiar taste to Dole
The National Law Journal
Fighting lawsuits filed by sickened spinach-eaters may seem like familiar
territory for Dole Food Co. Inc. of Westlake Village, Calif.
The story notes that Dole settled more than four cases earlier this year
brought by people who also became ill with E. coli infections in an outbreak
last year tied to the company's bagged lettuce.
Dole settled four lettuce cases, three in Minnesota and one in Oregon,
in May and June, without disclosing the terms of the resolutions and binding
the parties to confidentiality agreements.
For the moment, the companies are working behind the scenes with their
insurers and attorneys to decide how the new spinach cases will be handled.
Dole has not yet filed replies to the five lawsuits.
Sarah Brew, an attorney at Greene Espel in Minneapolis who is representing
Dole, declined to say whether the company will approach the spinach lawsuits
in the same way as it did the lettuce cases.
Dole spokeswoman Marianne Duong was quoted as saying, "We don't comment
on pending lawsuits," referring calls to Natural Selection and saying
"their approach is very different from us."
Martin Schenker, an attorney with Palo Alto, Calif.-based Cooley Godward
Kronish, who is advising Natural Selection as corporate counsel, was ctied
as saying it's not clear yet which firms may represent the company in
the spinach lawsuits.
Bill Marler, who represented plaintiffs in the lettuce cases and who has
filed all five of the lawsuits so far resulting from the spinach outbreak,
was cited as saying there were additional settlements beyond the four
lawsuits in the aftermath of the earlier lettuce E. coli outbreak.
Marler of Seattle-based Marler Clark is representing 85 people so far
who allege they were victims of the spinach E. coli outbreak. He said
he expects the cases to be strictly about products liability and proving
that his clients became ill because of a pathogen in the spinach.
As in the past lettuce cases, Marler will assert negligence, though he
doesn't need to prove that to prevail on the liability issue, stating,
"We'll have a full-court press on the defendants, keep the pressure
on until they do the right thing for these people."
U.S. FOOD SAFETY
Source of Article: http://www.meatnews.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Article&artNum=12525
UNITED STATES: The recent outbreak of bacteria-contaminated spinach rekindles
the push for the creation of a national food-safety agency.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CD) traced last month¡¯s
outbreak of E. coli O157:H7-contaminated bagged fresh spinach to farms
in three California counties. The contaminated spinach sickened 175 people
in 25 states. One person died.
The incident has re-ignited debate over moving food safety responsibility
? now shared by U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration ? to a single national food safety agency. Last year, the
Safe Food Act was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.),
and in the House of Representatives by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.). The
bill proposed the creation of a Food Safety Administration to assume all
responsibility for food safety and oversight.
Proponents say such an agency would streamline the process of preventing,
tracking and containing outbreaks, which is currently handled by 12 federal
agencies and sub-agencies. However, the bill has remained in congressional
committees since its introduction.
¡°In my view, if we already had a consolidated food safety agency ... we
might already have gotten to the bottom of this latest outbreak,¡± DeLauro
said. ¡°Perhaps it never would have occurred in the first place.¡±
DeLauro has requested a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee
before the current session of Congress adjourns on October 6. Durbin has
also requested a hearing in the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
Diagnostics Inc. announces NPIP technical approval and first commercial
orders for Rapidchek¢ç SELECT¢â Salmonella
Strategic Diagnostics Inc.
NEWARK, Del.-- Strategic Diagnostics Inc. (Nasdaq:SDIX), today announced
that their new RapidChek¢ç SELECT¢â Salmonella testing product has been
approved by the Technical Committee of the National Poultry Improvement
Plan (NPIP) as an analytical method for the detection of Salmonella species
in NPIP samples. The method was approved at the NPIP 38th Biennial Meeting
held in Portland, Oregon. The Company also announced full commercial adoption
of the method by four food processing companies within the first four
weeks of commercialization, each with an average annual account value
Adoption of the method by NPIP is a strong endorsement of performance
attributes of the RapidChek¢ç SELECT¢â Salmonella product. The NPIP is a
cooperative Federal-State-Industry program developed for controlling certain
poultry diseases. NPIP consists of a variety of programs intended to prevent
and control egg-transmitted, hatchery-disseminated poultry diseases. One
such program is monitoring environmental samples for the detection of
Salmonella species in poultry hatcheries.
NPIP samples tend to be high in non-Salmonella, background bacteria, which
interferes in the performance of many rapid detection methods that compete
with SDI¡¯s RapidChek¢ç SELECT¢â Salmonella. These interferences produce
costly, high ¡°false positive¡± results not seen with the SDI method. In
addition to the NPIP approval, the SELECT¢â technology will be added to
Title 9 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 147.12(b)(3).
¡°Strategic Diagnostics invented the SELECT¢â technology as a result of
direct input from NPIP and other customers experiencing test specificity
and sensitivity issues in their Salmonella testing programs. Its ability
to generate exceptionally accurate results in the most challenging samples,
and to do so in a highly cost effective manner, continues to earn us new
business opportunities and industry recognition,¡± commented Matthew Knight,
President and CEO of SDI. The NPIP market segment for SDI has an estimated
value of $6MM dollars, and the overall domestic Salmonella market has
been estimated at $74MM annually.
Commenting on the first commercial wins for the new product, Mr. Knight
added, ¡°We are excited that within the first month of commercialization
we have begun to see uptake in the commercial food manufacturing markets
we have targeted. Converting four new accounts, all taken from competition,
is a clear indication that RapidChek¢ç SELECT¢â Salmonella is succeeding
in delivering more value than the competitive offering. Today¡¯s announcement
is another example of how SDI¡¯s focus on the customer is guiding our innovation
and enabling us to deliver high value products to important markets like
NPIP approval for Salmonella test: Test approved by USDA's National Poultry
from a press release
Laval, QC - Warnex Inc. (TSX: WNX) today announced that its Salmonella
test used with the Warnex(TM) Rapid Pathogen Detection System has been
approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Poultry
Improvement Plan (NPIP).
The objective of the National Poultry Improvement Plan is to provide a
cooperative industry-state-federal program through which new technology
can be effectively applied to the improvement of poultry and poultry products.
The plan consists of a variety of programs intended to prevent and control
The Warnex Salmonella test for environmental samples was independently
validated by NPIP-approved laboratories, which concluded that the Warnex
performed as well as or better than the two NPIP-approved microbiological
reference methods. In addition, the test performed just as well with pooled
samples, which can increase a plant's testing efficiency and significantly
reduce testing costs.
"Our new sample pooling feature clearly illustrates our commitment
to innovation aimed at improving our clients' efficiency," said Mark
Busgang, President and CEO of Warnex. "This, in addition to NPIP
approval which provides further regulatory and scientific validation of
our tests, will help reduce the barrier to entry for major poultry clients
and encourage adoption." The Warnex Rapid Pathogen Detection System
offers a versatile detection and quantification platform, using real-time
PCR technology combined with proprietary genetic markers and software,
to rapidly and accurately determine the presence of pathogens in a sample.
The system allows for the simultaneous detection of multiple pathogens
and processing of samples within 3 to 48 hours, a significant improvement
over traditional microbiology tests that require 5 to 7 days.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
an estimated 1.4 million cases and 500 deaths occur in the United States
annually due to Salmonella infections. Salmonellosis, an infection caused
by eating food contaminated with Salmonella, causes symptoms such as diarrhea,
fever, vomiting and abdominal cramps, lasting usually 4 to 7 days. In
some cases, it may cause blood infection and even death, if untreated.
sicken family; Boy, 5, required liver transplant after family dined on
The Record (Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo)
A five-year-old boy needed a liver transplant after he and his family
were severely poisoned by wild mushrooms they picked in Waterloo and ate
for dinner last week.
As the boy recovered in hospital yesterday, health officials were, according
to this story,urging people across Waterloo Region not to forage for wild
People might think they know mushrooms well, but poisonous mushrooms can
look almost identical to edible ones.
And, if the wrong mushroom is accidentally consumed, it could take hours
or even a day for a person to feel the effects of the poison. By then,
it could be difficult to treat.
Heather Ferries, a nurse educator with Ontario's poison information centre
was quoted as saying yesterday that, "Picking mushrooms is a . of
Russian roulette. The difference between these mushrooms can be microscopic.
Unless you're a formal mushroom expert, a mycologist, they are not safe
Ferries, reached in Toronto, said new mushroom species are popping up
in Ontario. What looks like the mushroom you've picked and eaten for years
could actually be a new, poisonous species.
doesn't mean safer or more nutritious
Indianapolis Star (IN)
Dennis Avery, Director of Hudson's Center for Global Food Issues, Churchville,
VA, and Alex Avery, director of research and education, write that it's
a bad moment for believers in the mystical wonders of organic and natural
foods. Deadly E. coli bacteria, lurking in spinach from one of the biggest
organic farms in America, just killed one woman and hospitalized at least
29 other people with kidney failure. In all, the contaminated spinach
sickened nearly 200, in at least 23 states and Canada.
Meanwhile, several California kids are on kidney dialysis with permanent
organ damage from the same virulent strain of E. coli O157: H7 after consuming
raw, unpasteurized milk or colostrum from the Organic Pastures Dairy of
Tragically, the victims were all seeking greater food safety and the promised
health benefits of vegetables and milk produced the "old-fashioned
Earthbound Farms, which grew the contaminated spinach, is being sued by
a shocked family of organic believers in Ohio. Three family members were
sickened, and one daughter has permanent kidney damage.
Earthbound Farms advertises that it sells "Food for Life," and
says "It's just plain healthy to include lots of organic vegetables
in your diet." That certainly rings hollow today.
Now the farm's parent company has recalled huge batches of spinach sold
all over the country under a variety of labels. "We will do whatever
is necessary to help protect the health and safety of the consumers,"
said an Earthbound spokesperson.
Does that mean Earthbound will stop fertilizing its leafy vegetables with
cow manure? Most conventional farmers fertilize their food crops with
"chemical" fertilizer, and put their livestock manure on feed
crops like corn. Organic farmers reject chemical fertilizer. Instead,
they compost raw cattle manure for some weeks, hoping that will kill any
dangerous organisms that could contaminate the food. Sometimes it doesn't.
In the old days, when organic produce came from a few little farms, an
occasional sick customer was no big deal. Often, the victim refused to
believe organic food could cause the illness. But so many people now believe
the organic hype that organic farms have gotten big and corporate and
the manure-related consumer epidemics make national news.
Organic Pastures ironically boasts that raw dairy foods are an outstanding
source of nutrients and "beneficial bacteria." Unfortunately,
they're also a source of dangerous bacteria.
The organic dairy claims, "Raw milk strengthens the immune system."
And that organic raw milk has "many enzyme-based pathogen-killing
systems." Apparently not enough of them.
"It has been theorized," says the organic company, "that
the combination of grass feeding, no antibiotics used, no hormones, and
low levels of grain used in the diet cause a change in the cow's immune
system and rumen. This change in physiology inhibits pathogen development
in the (organic) milk."
That is a marketing lie designed to wring a higher price from the consumer
for a product that's condemned by health authorities because of its inherent
dangers. The Food and Drug Administration says drinking raw milk is playing
Russian roulette with your health. Such milk-borne diseases as tuberculosis
and undulant fever were epidemic in the days before pasteurized milk.
Now the E. coli pathogens revealed the lie again.
The Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council are trying to
blame "factory livestock farms" for the O157 in the cattle manure.
But a recent Swiss study found organic cows have as much O157 as other
cows. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it's found the deadly O157
in every cattle herd it's tested.
Our objective should be to get the manure away from our food crops. Organic
and natural aren't safer or more nutritious: Just more expensive, and
far more dangerous.
Improves Beef Safety
souce from: USDA-FSIS
By Laura McGinnis
October 4, 2006
A practical, effective cattle-washing system that reduces levels of pathogens
on cattle hides?lessening the likelihood that the pathogens will get onto
the meat and be consumed by humans?has been developed by Agricultural
Research Service (ARS) scientists in Clay Center, Neb. The system could
help reduce pathogens such as Escherichia coli O157:H7, which causes nearly
73,000 illnesses and 60 deaths every year, according to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although E. coli O157:H7 can harm
humans, cattle can carry it without adverse effects, according to researchers
at the ARS Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) in
Clay Center. ARS research showed that the pathogens tend to gather on
the animals' hides, which becomes a problem if those bacteria then come
into contact with meat during hide removal. In the hide-washing process,
the hide-on carcass is cleaned in a high-pressure water washing cabinet
to remove excess organic matter, then sprayed with an antibacterial compound.
In field trials, the process significantly reduced the number of samples
that tested positive for E. coli O157:H7. USMARC Director Mohammad Koohmaraie
estimates that about 40 percent of the feedlot- raised beef cattle processed
in the United States now undergo hide-on carcass-washing treatment, a
development that benefits both beef companies and consumers. The U.S.
Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service reported
that the incidence of E. coli O157:H7-positive ground beef samples collected
fell by 43.3 percent after the beef industry began using the washing cabinets.
The CDC also noted significant reductions in illnesses caused by E. coli
and the pathogens Listeria, Campylobacter, Yersinia and Salmonella. Read
more about this research in the October 2006 issue of Agricultural Research
magazine, which highlights ARS food safety research.
ARS is the USDA's chief scientific research agency.
named as defendant in E. coli lawsuit
Deseret Morning News
Source of Article: http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,650196134,00.html
A Lehi man has filed a federal
suit, claiming his son was sickened with E. Coli during an overseas flight
from Germany last month.
In a suit filed in U.S. District Court on his own without aid of an attorney,
Jeffrey Vernon Merkey claims his 23-month-old son was initially infected
by a bag of baby spinach he and his wife purchased at an area grocery
store and then two weeks later, the boy was sickened by an airline meal
containing partially-coooked spinach on a flight from Germany.
Merkey is suing Delta Airlines and Natural Selection Foods over the two
Speaking to the Deseret Morning News, Merkey says his son has suffered
serious kidney damage and remains hospitalized at Primary Children's Medical
The father is seeking unspecified damages and payment for his son's medical
bills, which he estimated has accumulated to about half a million dollars.
amending the food and drug regulations (1447 Good manufacturing practices)
Canada Gazette (Vol. 140, No. 39)
Food and Drugs Act, Department of Health
The Good Manufacturing Practices regulations, Division 2 of Part C of
the Food and Drug Regulations (the Regulations), are regularly reviewed
by Health Canada. As a result, several provisions have been identified
for amendment because they are not consistent with international standards
and/or current industry practice, are not uniformly applied to all sectors
of the industry, or do not provide the requisite regulatory support to
current Health Canada interpretations. Other provisions also require amendment
to correct minor errors. A description of the issues and the reasoning
behind the resulting proposed amendment appear below.
focus on removing pathogens from produce Source of Article:
10/02/2006-All raw agricultural products carry a minimal risk of contamination,
said a University of Illinois scientist whose research focuses on keeping
foodborne pathogens, including the strain of E. coli found recently on
spinach, out of the food supply.
Scott Martin, a University of Illinois food science and human nutrition
professor, and professor Hao Feng, both IFT members, are working on discovering
ways to keep microorganisms out of the food supply.
Martin's research is focused on finding ways to eliminate the biofilms
that attach to produce and cause illness. "Once the pathogenic organism
gets on the product, no amount of washing will remove it. The microbes
attach to the surface of produce in a sticky biofilm, and washing just
isn't very effective," he said.
"Another problem with this pathogen is that it has a very low infective
dose. It only takes between 10 and 100 cells to cause an infection, so
it's impossible to achieve a safe level of the pathogen once it gets on
the product. At this point, we need to concentrate on avoiding a crop's
exposure to the pathogen as the produce is being grown," he said.
Martin said the California spinach outbreak appears to have been caused
by contaminated cow manure used by organic producers. "A very low
percentage of cattle are always infected by this strain of E. coli. If
fresh manure from those cattle is used as fertilizer, there's an outbreak
in the making."
Growers should also be careful about the water they use on the plants.
"If farmers irrigate with water from a lake close to a dairy farm,
that can also be a potential source of infection," Martin said.
Another technique that has excellent potential in the fight against E.
coli 0157:H7 is under development in the lab of Martin's colleague Hao
Feng. Feng is developing a process that uses ultrasound and low temperatures
to kill pathogenic organisms in liquid products, such as cider and apple
Martin said normal, wild-type strains of E. coli live in the human intestinal
tract as a beneficial organism, aiding in digestion and absorption of
nutrients. "Only a few strains of E. coli are pathogenic, and E.
coli 0157:H7 is a really virulent strain," he said. "But, if
you consider the amount of produce that's grown in this country and the
number of reported cases we see, your risk of contracting the illness
is actually very small."
decline, CDC reports
SAN FRANCISCO -- New federal statistics were cited as showing that despite
the recent E. coli spinach outbreak, food may be safer now than at any
other time in the last decade, with illness occurring at record-low rates.
Dr. Robert Tauxe, top food scientist at the federal Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, was quoted as saying, "The food is actually
cleaner to begin with," adding that certain germs have dramatically
declined, and "that to me is really solid progress."
However, the trend could reverse in coming years if fruit and vegetable
growers do not address problems like those that led to the spinach scare,
Tauxe and others said.
Michael Doyle, a microbiologist who heads the University of Georgia's
Center for Food Safety, was quoted as saying, "The meat and poultry
industry has made great strides. The produce industry has a long way to
go to catch up."
The American Society for Microbiology meeting was told Friday that in
2005, compared with the 1996-98 period when the CDC's FoodNet tracking
system began, illnesses were down for virtually every major germ.
CDC estimates the declines as follows: yersinia, 49 percent; Shigella,
43 percent; Listeria, 32 percent; Campylobacter, 30 percent; the dangerous
O157 strain of E. coli, 29 percent; and Salmonella, 9 percent.
Only vibrio, a germ spread through raw oysters, rose significantly --
Campylobacter and Salmonella sicken the most people, usually through raw
or undercooked poultry or eggs. Yersinia can taint raw meats, seafood
and dairy products. Listeria causes problems in lunchmeats and soft cheeses.
E. coli outbreaks typically have involved undercooked ground meat. But
in recent years, the germ has increasingly been linked to produce, as
has a certain strain of Salmonella.
Caroline Smith DeWaal, food safety director for the consumer group Center
for Science in the Public Interest, was quoted as saying, "The problems
have changed. A decade ago, beef was at the top of our list of concern.
Now we're more concerned about produce."
Carol Tucker-Foreman, food policy director for Consumer Federation of
America, was quoted as saying, "Fresh fruits and vegetables are generally
not subject to any regulatory standards," and the FDA has only voluntary
"guidance" for growers to follow.
Tauxe was further quoted as saying, "There are some very antibiotic-resistant
strains in ground beef" that are becoming more prevalent, and that
with food safety, "the job's not done with the animals, and we're
just starting that with produce."
Plant pathologists who traditionally have worried about things like rust
and blights that reduce crop yields "now need to start thinking about
the spread of things like E. coli and Salmonella," Tauxe said.
Environmental microbiologists also have to look at ways these germs are
spreading in streams and soil, he said.
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