List of Newsletters
To subscribe this Food Safety Newsletter,
Journal of Food Saety
EPA TIGHTENS WATER-QUALITY
Source of Article:
UNITED STATES: A new law will give red meat and poultry processors greater
confidence in the safety of their water supplies.
The new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule targets utilities
that provide water from underground sources and requires greater vigilance
for potential contamination by disease-causing microorganisms including
"The Bush Administration's Ground Water Rule boosts drinking water
purity and public health security," Benjamin Grumbles, assistant
EPA administrator for water, explained. ¡°These first-ever standards will
help communities prevent, detect and correct tainted ground water problems
so citizens continue to have clean and affordable drinking water.¡±
EPA said in a news release that the law¡¯s risk-targeting strategy provides
* Regular sanitary surveys of public water systems to look for significant
deficiencies in key operational areas triggered source-water monitoring
when a system that does not sufficiently disinfect drinking water identifies
a positive sample during its regular monitoring to comply with existing
* Implementation of corrective actions by ground water systems with a
significant deficiency or evidence of source water fecal contamination
compliance monitoring for systems that are sufficiently treating drinking
water to ensure effective removal of pathogens.
Under the new regulation, a ground-water system is subject to triggered
source-water monitoring if its treatment methods don't already remove
99.99 percent of viruses. Systems must begin to comply with the new requirements
by December 1, 2009.
Contaminants in question are pathogenic viruses such as rotavirus, echoviruses,
noroviruses ? and pathogenic bacteria, including E. coli, Salmonella,
and Shigella. Utilities will be required to look for and correct deficiencies
in their operations to prevent contamination from these pathogens.
EPA said fecal contamination can reach ground water sources, including
drinking water wells, from failed septic systems, leaking sewer lines,
and bypassing through the soil and large cracks in the ground. Fecal contamination
from the surface may also get into a drinking-water well along its casing
or through cracks if the well is not properly constructed, protected,
or maintained. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported
that, between 1991 and 2000, ground water systems were associated with
68 disease outbreaks that caused 10,926 illnesses. Contaminated source
water was the cause of 79 percent of the outbreaks in ground-water systems.
Salad plant will
close after spinach scare; 200 out of job
A nationwide spinach recall caused by an E. coli outbreak is prompting
Ready Pac Produce Inc. to close a salad processing plant that employs
about 200 workers.
Company officials were cited as saying that Ready Pac, which produces
fresh-cut salads, fruits and vegetables, plans to stop production next
month at its plant in Plymouth about 20 miles south of South Bend.
Steve Dickstein, Ready Pac's vice president of marketing, was quoted as
saying, "The entire industry has dropped quite a bit," as a
result of the E. coli outbreak traced to spinach farms in California.
expert says concerns should be over
By Emma Ritch
The Sun News
Source of Article: http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/
Perusing produce these days could leave shoppers with a sense of confusion.
Two popular leafy vegetables have been recalled in recent weeks after
E. coli scares, leaving some to question the safety of fresh vegetables
- considered a necessary addition to any healthy diet. E. coli, or Escherichia
coli O157:H7, is a leading cause of foodborne illness that averages 73,000
infections and 61 deaths in the United States each year, according to
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The E. coli contamination
of bagged spinach first reported Aug. 30 caused at least three deaths
and 200 illnesses in 26 states. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration
lifted its advisory against eating fresh spinach on Sept. 25. But last
week, a California grower recalled 8,500 cartons of green-leaf lettuce
because of concerns it had been irrigated with E. coli-infected water.
Vegetables aren't the only food susceptible to E. coli contamination.
An Iowa company recalled 5,200 pounds of prepackaged ground beef patties
last week because of possible E. coli contamination.
Government agencies are responding, said Jim Rushing, a Clemson University
professor who works in food safety.
He attended a meeting Oct. 6 of the International Association for Food
Protection, which brought together the FDA, the CDC and 110 scientists
to discuss the outbreak and government response. The group also examined
what could be done to prevent another E. coli outbreak, he said.
Question | With the recent
E. coli outbreaks in fresh vegetables, what kind of questions have consumers
and food sellers been asking?
Answer | I think the biggest question for everyone is how to prevent such
an outbreak from happening in the future and what we can do differently
in the future to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.
Q. | The recent E. coli contaminations
of spinach and lettuce have consumers worried. What extra steps can consumers
take to disinfect their vegetables?
A. | Not very much really. Once contamination has occurred on a leafy
product, it's very, very difficult to wash it off, so we really have to
rely on the industry to do its part. There's almost nothing you can do
at home that will make a significant difference.
Q. | Should consumers stop
eating fresh vegetables in favor of canned produce?
A. | No, there's no reason to do that. The outbreak is over. ... There's
no reason to stop eating fresh vegetables. The health benefits far outweigh
any risks. There are close to 2 million packages of leafy greens packaged
every day. Of course 200 people got sick, and that's too many, but if
you calculate the risk, it's really low. Also, you have to consider the
FDA responded faster to this outbreak than any other in history.
Q. | How can shoppers make
sure the produce they're eating is safe?
A. | They can't. You can't look at produce, or you can't look at red meat,
or fish, or chicken, or anything and know if there's microbiological contamination,
so all you can really do in those situations is depend on the food industry
to do the right thing.
Q. | What effect will the E.
coli scares have on the produce market in the long term?
A. | Very little. When people again feel safe, they will return to eating
traceability law comes into force
By staff reporter
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/
19/10/2006 - Processors will be required to have a traceability system
in place for packaging materials on 27 October 2006.
It is part of the EU food safety policy to require traceability of foods
and food contact materials.
The new requirement is a provision of EC Regulation 1935/2004, which deals
with materials and articles that may come into contact with foods. The
law was adopted by the bloc last year to update a previous EU directive
on food contact materials. The regulation entered into force on 3 December
2004, except for Article 17 on traceability, which enters into force on
27 October. The later implementation date was given to provide time for
businesses to put traceability systems in place. The new regulation is
directly applicable throughout the EU and was made to aid regulators and
processors in controlling and recalling defective products.
Traceability requires that processors must be able to provide records
to regulators to allow them to follow a material or article through all
stages of manufacture, processing and distribution. The records should
allow the identification of businesses from which and to which packaging
and other food contact materials originate from.
The regulation covers materials such as rubbers, ceramics, plastics, paper,
glass, metals, inks, textiles, waxes, cork and wood.
Last year the bloc's General Food Law entered into force. The specific
requirements covered in the guidance document include the traceability
of food products, withdrawal of dangerous food products from the market,
operator responsibilities and requirements applicable to imports and exports.
The new mandatory traceability requirement applies to all food, animal
feed, food-producing animals and all types of food chain operators from
the farming sector to processing, transport, storage, distribution and
retail to the consumer. The guidance document lays down detailed implementing
rules for operators.
Information on the name, address of producer, nature of products and date
of transaction must be systematically registered within each operator's
traceability system. This information must be kept for a period of five
years and on request, it must immediately be made available to the competent
Milk, meat from cloned animals
Government moves toward regulations. E-town firm one of leading cloned
(Lancaster New Era, PA)
By Ryan Robinson
The government is moving closer to approving meat and milk from cloned
Bad news for some opposition groups, who question the ethics of the technology
and say the public won¡¯t buy food from cloned animals. Good news for the
biotechnology industry, and potentially, for agriculture in general. And
for one of the world¡¯s premier livestock cloning companies, Cyagra Inc.,
located along Bossler Road in Elizabethtown. ¡°We are excited about it,¡±
Cyagra¡¯s director of marketing, Steve Mower, said today. ¡°All the scientific
research shows there is no difference between the actual clone and the
original animal.¡± The Bush administration is currently reviewing Food
and Drug Administration plans to regulate cloned animals and food derived
from them, the agency said in a statement Tuesday. A draft of the plans
should be released by the end of the year, the FDA said. The agency has
¡°studies that show that the meat and milk from cattle clones and their
offspring are as safe as that from conventionally bred animals,¡± the FDA
statement said. The biotech industry says cloning lets breeders do what
they¡¯ve always done: select the best animals from the herd for reproduction.
But the Consumer Federation of America said years of independent polling,
including a surve by the Gallup organization and the Pew Initiative on
Food and Biotechnology, indicate that consumers oppose animal cloning
and wouldn¡¯t buy cloned meat and milk even if the government declared
A fight is brewing over whether food from cloned animals must carry special
The Washington-based Center for Food Safety said food labels should disclose
that it came from cloned animals. Concerns over hormones and antibiotics
have helped drive ever-growing
Top Of Document
demand for organic food, said Joseph Mendelson, legal director of the
Center for Food Safety.
¡°Because consumers are not getting the specific product information, it
will impugn the whole conventional market,¡± Mendelson said.
¡°If you label it, you have to be able to tell there is a difference,¡±
Cyagra conducted a large research report, one of several that Mower said
have shown cloned animals and their meat and milk are no different from
their conventional counterparts.
In Cyagra¡¯s study, 80 blood and urine measures, including various hormone
levels, were taken in 10 newborn, 46 weanling and 18 adult clones.
Seventy-nine biochemical measurements from three cuts of meat taken from
five male and six female adult clones were compared with those from matched
cuts from conventional animals.
Mower said no differences were found.
The research was submitted to the FDA and is being reviewed by a scientific
journal, he said.
In its petition filed Thursday, Oct. 12, the Center for Food Safety asked
the FDA to regulate clones as New Animal Drugs, and also called for environmental
impact statements to evaluate the environmental and health effects of
each new proposed line of clones, according to a Washington Post article.
The petition states that available science shows that cloning presents
serious food safety risks, animal welfare concerns and unresolved ethical
issues that require strict oversight.
The local firm, Cyagra, inserts the DNA material from an animal being
cloned into unfertilized embryos. They are transferred into one or more
host animals, which give birth nine months later to clones. The clones¡¯
semen or cells, in turn, can be used to produce hundreds of progeny.
The company has produced hundreds of cloned dairy and beef calves to date,
about 50 to 60 every year, Mower said. One of its Holstein clones was
named an intermediate champion at the World Dairy Expo last year in Wisconsin.
On a smaller scale, Cyagra is also cloning some of the world¡¯s top pigs,
sheep and horses.
Mower said no clones have been produced for Lancaster County clients.
Chet Hughes, the county¡¯s extension livestock educator, said local beef
farmers will likely take advantage of the technology when it becomes more
¡°For the long-term, it could be a very positive thing,¡± Hughes said. ¡°If
you can deliver consistently high-marbled, quality beef ? feedlots want
Cost for a guaranteed healthy cloned calf is $17,000, Mower said.
Hughes said there are about 10 large beef feedlots in the county, each
with 800 to 1,000 cattle.
There are many smaller feedlots with 100 to 250 cattle, he said. At any
one time, there is about 75,000 beef cattle on feed here.
Hughes said farmers in general have shown they are proactive when it comes
to technology. Some already use artificial insemination and embryo transfer
to improve their bottom lines.
But the public may be slower to accept cloning, he said.
¡°I think there are potentially questions, ethical or religious-based,¡±
he said. ¡°People may say, ¡®How far can we go with this?¡¯ ¡±
To the agriculture industry, image to consumers is important, Hughes said.
¡°If cloning takes away from the thought of a safe, fresh, wholesome product,
people might back off their consumption¡± and the decreased demand would
hurt farmers. Dairy producers are worried about what might happen if ¡°clone-free¡±
products start showing up in supermarkets.
¡°We have concerns where people are going to try to draw distinctions and
differences where none exist,¡± said Chris Galen, spokesman for the National
Milk Producers Federation.
The federation opposes putting cloned milk on the market, at least until
it¡¯s proven safe. Galen said producers worry it could interfere with widely
held beliefs among consumers about the wholesomeness of milk. Troy Ott
is an associate professor of reproductive biology in Penn State University¡¯s
dairy animal science department. ¡°The scientific community has carefully
looked at and evaluated whether there are any health or safety issues,¡±
he said. ¡°Numerous studies have demonstrated there are not.¡± As for the
acceptance of cloning, he said today that the public¡¯s perception is what
¡°will carry the day.¡± ¡°The microwave oven and pasteurization of milk took
time,¡± Ott said. ¡°It takes about a generation. I expect it will be pretty
much the same with cloning technology.¡± 10-19-06
Safety Job Information
Canada eyeing Canada's $1-billion-plus organic foods market
TORONTO -- Discount powerhouse Wal-Mart Canada, which is opening its first
Canadian supercentres this fall, is preparing to shake up this country's
billion-dollar organic grocery trade with the promise of sharper competition
and lower prices.
But its move into that burgeoning market comes at a time when a rash of
food scares has sparked skepticism among some consumers about the purported
advantages of organic foods.
The story says that Wal-Mart has issued an open call to Canadian product
suppliers -- especially vendors of fresh food and eco-friendly wares --
to help stock its existing 272 Canadian discount stores and seven planned
Ontario supercentres, which will carry a full range of fresh produce,
meats and bakery items in addition to general merchandise.
Jim Thompson, senior vice-president of the retailer's merchandise division,
was cited as saying there is a growing appetite for organic foods in Canada
and Wal-Mart Canada plans to court hundreds of potential suppliers in
Toronto next month, adding, "We see this as a huge opportunity. We're
trying to get ahead of the curve here in Canada and address the relevant
customers and what they are asking for."
The story goes on to say that despite their growing popularity, critics
cite growing safety concerns about organic foods which are currently certified
by a mishmash of authorities across Canada.
Bruce Cran, president of the Consumers' Association of Canada, was quoted
as saying, "There is no national standard for that type of food.
And with what we've just been through with spinach, lettuce and carrot
juice, it draws attention to the potential for a huge problem where we
don't have any regulatory standards."
Canada imports between 80 to 90 per cent of the organic foods consumed
domestically and the federal government is under increasing pressure to
introduce national standards to regulate and certify products.
Laura Telford, executive director of Canadian Organic Growers, was cited
as saying the deadly E. coli outbreak that affected California spinach
was linked to a nearby cattle ranch, making it a case of water contamination
from conventional agriculture rather than an organic issue, adding, "Many
people who eat organic foods are sophisticated consumers, they can see
throughout that," although she conceded that organic foods are generally
just as susceptible to infection from bacteria and toxins like botulism
as regular foods.
When asked if Wal-Mart is concerned about any long-term fallout from the
recalls, Thompson said: ``Wal-Mart has some of the highest product testing
in retail. And all our products, whether it's organic or any type of product,
is put through all kinds of testing before we'll take receipt of it.''
Sickens 20 Children At Day Care
October 20, 2006
Source of Article: http://www.nbc6.net/
DORAL, Fla. -- Health officials confirmed Thursday that salmonella caused
dozens of children to get sick last week at a day care in Doral. Authorities
said at least 20 and as many as 60 children at Born 2 Learn, a pre-kindergarten
school in Doral, came down with the infection, NBC 6's Carlos Vergara
reported. Representatives of the Miami-Dade County Health Department said
they are not sure where the salmonella originated. They said that parents
of students at the school have been notified and that classes are still
The manager of the school said that classes have not been affected at
"The health department, only they know what happened. When they close
the investigation, they come and talk with the principal and explain what
happened," said Jeannette Arreaca of Born 2 Learn.
Health department officials are investigating the origin of the salmonella.
"We are doing an investigation to try to determine the cause of this
outbreak, and the facility, the day care, is cooperating with us fully,"
Juan Suarez of the health department.
Parents said they were immediately informed about the outbreak by letter.
"(They told) us that there was a virus and that any child that might
be sick, please not to take the child here to school," said parent
Born 2 Learn defended its cleanliness, and tests of water have turned
up negative, Vergara reported.
The health department asked the school to send letters to parents urging
a health checkup for students.
Tests on the food served at Born 2 Learn will not be back until next week.
Salmonella is often contracted by eating contaminated foods, such as chicken
or eggs. Often, the food is contaminated by animal feces.
The symptoms of diarrhea, fever and cramps can last four to seven days.
The infections usually do not require treatment, but some patients are
hospitalized because of dehydration or if the infection spreads to the
intestines, experts told NBC 6.
Elderly people, young children and those with impaired immune systems
are most vulnerable to salmonella.
as Scots E coli cases jump by 44% over past year
The number of cases of the potentially deadly E coli O157 bug reported
this year in Scotland has now, according to this story, exceeded the total
for the whole of 2005, it emerged yesterday.
Figures from the Executive agency Health Protection Scotland (HPS) show
that the infection is up almost 50 per cent compared with the same time
Experts warned that the public and the medical profession needed to remain
vigilant to the risks of E coli, which has been linked to a number of
outbreaks of infection in Scottish nurseries this year.
HPS said there were 189 reports of E coli O157 in the first 40 weeks of
2006, compared with 131 in 2005 - a rise of 44 per cent.
The 189 cases reported so far exceed the total of 172 infections recorded
last year, suggesting that the 2006 final figure will come in at more
John Cowden, a health protection consultant at HPS, was quoted as saying,
"The rate has been up and down for the past five or six years, so
even if it exceeds 200 this year it does not constitute a trend. We would
need to see a rise over several years before that emerged. But the total
cases of E coli in the year so far has now exceeded the total for the
whole of last year."
Registration till 10/25
Key Speakers for this Conference
Click here for more information