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Norovirus Breaks Out All Across Iowa
Nov 21, 2006
Source of Article: http://www.kcrg.com/
CEDAR RAPIDS -- The Health Department says Norovirus is breaking out all across the state.
In the past month, more than 1,000 people have become infected in at least seven different locations.
A ., a school and a cruise ship are just a few of the places Norovirus has popped up in the past month.
"Just a small amount of this virus can make people sick. That's why it spreads so quickly," nurse Julie Sturbaum said.
The virus gives people a stomach ache and makes them feel nauseous. The illness lasts for a few days, and then people usually fully recover, but it's still possible to spread the virus.
"If you are throwing up and you do have diarrhea, you need to know that you can still spread the virus for up to 48 hours after the diarrhea stops," Sturbaum said.
Health officials say the best way to protect yourself from the Norovirus is just a little soap and water.
At St. Luke's Hospital, kitchen staff take extra steps to prevent germs.
"We always look at how people are washing their hands, and are they wearing the right uniform? Is their hair covering on?," Linda Fitz said.
Health officials say knowing how to cook is just as important as understanding food temperature.
If you take the right steps, you can stop the Norovirus from spreading.
The Health Department says it's especially important to be careful cooking food for groups around the holidays.
If you've been sick at all this week, doctors recommend letting someone else make the Thanksgiving meal, because even if you do wash your hands and try to keep things clean, you still might pass a virus on to your guests.

147 hospitalised due to food poisoning in TN
Wednesday, 22 November , 2006, 21:41
Source of Article: http://sify.com/news/fullstory.php?id=14336219
Villupuram:As many as 147 people, many of them school students below 15, were admitted to a government hospital with suspected symptoms of food poisoning at Siruvathaaru village in Villupuram district in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.
Police said the victims - 71 male and 76 female - consumed halwa sold by one Maya Krishnan and immediately complained of vomiting and giddiness.
As some of them swooned, the victims, residing in five nearby villages of Siruvathaaru, were rushed to the hospital.
Twenty-five of them were referred to Villupuram Government Hospital for advanced treatment.

Common HACCP Questions Answered by FSIS

FDA modifies lead levels in candy
Source of Article: http://www.ift.org/news_bin/news/news_home.shtml
11/27/2006-FDA has posted the following Guidance for Industry on ¡°Lead in Candy Likely To Be Consumed Frequently by Small Children: Recommended Maximum Level and Enforcement Policy.¡±: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/pbguid3.html
It provides a recommended maximum lead level of 0.1 ppm in candy likely to be consumed frequently by small children. FDA considers the recommended maximum lead level to be achievable with the use of good manufacturing practices in the production of candy and candy ingredients and to be protective of human health.
In addition to announcing the recommended maximum lead level, FDA as explained below, is rescinding the previous 0.5 ppm guideline for considering enforcement action against candy products likely to be consumed frequently by small children. FDA is prepared to take enforcement action against any candy product containing lead at levels that may pose a health risk.

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Nanotechnology risks need more study, German survey finds
By Ahmed ElAmin
Source of Article: http://www.nutraingredients.com/
27/11/2006 - Clear definitions, terms and standards as well as far more research into the potential problems of nanotechnology is needed before the science is used to a greater degree in products, according to a consumer survey by Germany's Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR).
Consumers were especially critical of the use of nanomaterials in foods, the BfR stated.
The German survey confirms calls by scientists and others across the world for more regulatory oversight of nanotechnology to calm public fears about the possible risks posed by the emerging science. The technology, which deals with controlling matter at near-atomic scales to produce unique or enhanced materials, products and devices, has been touted as the next revolution in many industries, including food manufacturing and packaging.
Yet the public's concerns have been raised that nanostructured materials could potentially lead to unforeseen health or environmental hazards.In the food area fears arise over the unknown consequences of digesting nano-scale particles designed to behave in specific way in the body.
The in-depth survey in Germany was conducted on 16 selected consumers of the 6,000 in attendance at the BfR's Consumer Conference on Nanotechnology, held from 18-20 November. The 16 took a comprehensive look at the subject over two preparatory weekends before the conference. They then prepared questions on various consumer aspects of this technology and selected experts from science, associations, public agencies and industry to answer them.
The group then presented its views on 20 November 2006 to representatives of Germany's parliament, the Bundestag, the federal government, associations and BfR's governing body.
"With the consumer conference on nanotechnology we are the first public agency in Germany to try out this risk communication tool," said BfR president professor Andreas Hensel. "Our experience shows that an event of this kind is well suited to involving consumers in the scientific debate about the assessment of new technologies. When making their judgement, consumers took a very differentiated look at the potential risks and benefits of nanotechnology based on knowledge of the latest research and the existing uncertainty."
The BfR's three-day conference debated the use of nanotechnology in foods, cosmetics and textiles. The participants called for clear labelling in order to be able to decide for themselves whether they wanted to purchase products manufactured using nanotechnology or not, the BfR reported.
"Other important discussion items were the development of suitable measurement methods to detect nanoparticles, disposal of nanoproducts and the provision of funds to research possible risks," stated the BfR.
The group named foods as the most sensitive area for the use of nanomaterials.
"Consumers felt that the promised advantages to be derived from using nanotechnology like changes to the flow properties of ketchup or the trickling properties of products were non-essential given the potential risks," the BfR stated. "Regarding the use of nanotechnology in cosmetics and textiles the consumers felt that the already foreseeable benefits clearly outweighed potential risks. For instance, nanoparticles in sunscreen could provide better UV protection and help to counter the increase in skin cancer. The consumers were also of the opinion that nanotechnology could be expected to offer more quality of life in work, sports and daily clothing."
The BfR said the conference and the survey provides recording of a fact-based opinion aims to identify the requirements consumers expect nanotechnology to meet. The consumer vote is, therefore, an important source of information for both producers and decision-makers from politics and consumer health protection authorities when dealing with nanotechnology and its products.

1st International Conference for Food Safety and Quality. Organized by FoodHACCP.com.
November 7-8, 2006, San Francisco CA. Group Picture


New rules could close restaurants: 600 in Macomb Co. not yet certified
McClatchy-Tribune Business News
Shabina S. Khatri, Detroit Free Press
Hundreds of Macomb County restaurants could be shut down Jan. 1 if they do not meet new Health Department regulations.
Tom Kalkofen, the county's Health Department director, was cited as saying last week that a list of food service businesses not in compliance by next week will be posted on the county's Web site, www.macombcountymi.gov/publichealth, adding, "The county passed a regulation that became effective Jan. 1, 2004, that gave food service operators three years -- yes, you heard that right, three years -- to have a certified manager on staff. We want to work with the industry to get this re solved and get all the folks certified and move on."
About 600 of the county's 2,200 restaurants have yet to certify a manager in proper food safety and preparation during emergencies.
Many appear to be scrambling to do so. Spots are filling up fast for classes at the Michigan Restaurant Association, a Lansing-based trade group that includes 500 Macomb County food service establishments among its 4,500 members.
The story says that the impetus for the new regulations was the massive August 2003 blackout. Concerns were raised that restaurants might not have been trained in how to handle food and keep it safe during such emergency situations.

Unpasteurized milk can carry diseases - letter of the day
Owen Sound Sun Times (ON)
Hazel R. Lynn, M.D., FCFP, MHSc, Medical Officer of Health, Bruce Grey Owen Sound, writes that her concern with the health and well-being of the residents of Grey Bruce, Ontario, prompts her to provide information relevant to the on-going issue regarding unpasteurized milk.
First introduced in the late 1800s, pasteurization resulted in a documented decrease in infant death rates. At that time, raw (unpasteurized milk) consumption was linked with typhoid fever, streptococcal disease, diphtheria, tuberculosis, and brucellosis. Pasteurization was made mandatory in Ontario in 1938 to reduce the incidence of these life-threatening illnesses.
In more recent times, direct epidemiological links have been made between raw milk consumption and infections of salmonella, campylobacter, verotoxigenic Escherichia coli and Listeria. These bacteria can cause meningitis, encephalitis, septicemia, endocarditis, spontaneous abortion and tissue abscesses.
Great Britain is often cited as an example of where raw milk is legally available to the consumer. In England and Wales only 0.01 per cent of the country's 60 million residents drink unpasteurized milk. In 2005, 149 farm gate locations regulated by government inspection, testing and licensing were eligible to offer unpasteurized milk for sale. The milk is sampled and tested quarterly. The cows must be certified as free from tuberculosis and brucellosis. Unpasteurized milk is sold as "Green Top" milk, which is marketed with a green cap on the bottle to clearly identify it as unpasteurized. However, it must be marked with a warning label that states: "This milk has not been heat treated and may therefore contain organisms harmful to health."
Despite these safety measures, outbreaks of illness have been associated with raw milk consumption in Great Britain. For example, in 1980, 2,500 school children contracted gastrointestinal illness from Campylobacter bacteria linked to drinking raw milk. Additional food poisoning reports for England and Wales (Northern Ireland doesn't have a registered producer now) indicated that approximately 50 per cent of all milk-related outbreaks from 1992 to 1999 were associated with raw milk even though only a tiny fraction of the population consume it.
It is worthy to note that Scotland imposed a ban on the sale and distribution of raw milk in 1983.
Before this ban, the British Food Standards Agency attributed 12 deaths in Scotland to the consumption of raw milk.
In the two years immediately prior to compulsory pasteurization, there were 1,321 raw milk-related outbreaks and four deaths. In contrast, when compulsory pasteurization was introduced, the outbreak numbers fell dramatically. Only two cases and no deaths were reported for the year 2000.
Closer to home, in Ontario during the past year, several cases of Escherichia coli O157:H7 were linked to unpasteurized milk consumption. This infection can cause significant immediate adverse health consequences and some of these patients were hospitalized. In addition, we are still documenting long-term adverse health effects in people infected with this organism during the Walkerton outbreak in 2000. At the Grey Bruce Health Unit we investigate several cases of E. coli O157 each year where the most likely exposure is unpasteurized milk.
Farm families have been drinking raw milk for many years. However, the volume of milk is small and it is consumed promptly. It does not enter a large-scale transport and distribution network across a wider population.
Milk provides an ideal medium for pathogens to grow. Under ideal conditions E. coli can double in number in just 20 minutes.
Further, the Canadian Medical Association maintains that there is no evidence that raw milk is more nutritious than pasteurized milk. Scientific comparison of the two shows no meaningful difference.
Despite the myths, the important ingredients in milk - protein, fat, carbohydrate, calcium, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, niacin and vitamins A, D, B6, E, and K - are not affected by pasteurization. Although pasteurization reduces the content of vitamins B, B12, and C, it is by no more than 10 per cent and other dietary sources can provide these vitamins. Also, blind taste tests confirm that pasteurization does not alter the taste of milk.
There are legitimate means in our society to advocate for changing the regulation regarding the sale and availability of raw milk. If a person or a group wants to see a system set up to prudently implement a change, they should work toward that goal. Failing that, they would have the option to move to a jurisdiction that permits the lifestyle they seek. In a civil society putting oneself above the law should not be an option for any of us.
As Medical Officer of Health, Lynn cannot legally or in good conscience disregard the activity of someone who chooses to break the law when their actions jeopardize the health of others.
Together we build healthy communities.

Raw Milk Debate: Health Hazard Or Better Beverage?
Mich. has strictest laws on nonpasteurized products
(The Detroit News)
Paul Egan
After closely watching Richard Hebron for weeks, Michigan State Police officers and other state officials stopped him recently on his way to Ann Arbor to make a delivery.
They also used a search warrant to raid Hebron's Cass County home near the Michigan-Indiana border and made surprise visits to two of his suspected customers.
The goods seized were not drugs or guns but more than 400 gallons of milk.
The raids -- which included "cease and desist" orders served on stores in Southgate and Ann Arbor -- were an aggressive strike against what officials say is a small but growing movement by certain consumers toward nonpasteurized dairy products.
Though advocates say raw milk is healthier than pasteurized milk and tastes better, government officials and many doctors say it is a potentially deadly source of pathogens. The seizures have ignited a debate over whether people should be allowed to consume the type of food they want.
"This whole sting operation just seemed way out of proportion to anything that was appropriate to the circumstances," said David Gumpert, a columnist for BusinessWeek.com, who has written about Michigan's raw milk case.
State officials say Michigan law is clear: It is illegal to sell raw milk or distribute it in a retail setting. Following the Oct. 13 raids, Cass County prosecutors are working on possible misdemeanor criminal charges against Hebron, 41, of Vandalia, Mich.
Though the law may be clear, raw milk advocates have found a way around it. Farmers are allowed to drink milk from their own cows, so consumers buy shares in cows and herds of cows through setups such as Hebron's Family Farms' Cooperative.
Katherine Fedder, director of the food and dairy division of the Michigan Department of Agriculture, said Michigan law is silent on "cow share" programs. "Because it is rather unclear in the law we have not taken any action when an individual buys cow shares and goes out to a farm and picks it up," she said.
Fedder said her office got concerned when it appeared Hebron's milk distribution was moving into retail settings.

John Sheehan, dairy and egg safety director for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, told the Ohio Legislature in May raw milk is inherently dangerous and "should not be consumed by anyone, at any time, for any reason."
A "vast array of pathogens" could be present in raw milk, with potentially deadly bacteria such as E.coli being the major current concern, Sheehan said.
And the risk is greater for children, whose immune systems may not be as well-developed, he said.
Yet those who drink raw milk and give it to their children, such as Nan Reed Twiss of Ann Arbor, cite health benefits they say they can't get from pasteurized milk.
"It seems ludicrous that raw milk is treated as if it's a drug," said Reed Twiss, who enjoys raw milk along with her husband, Ian, and children, Adrian, 9, Miranda, 7, and Devon, 4. "We just want to be able to drink milk from a cow."
Proponents of raw milk, such as the Washington, D.C.-based Weston A. Price Foundation, say pasteurization inactivates enzymes and diminishes milk's protein and vitamin benefits while killing beneficial bacteria and actually promoting pathogen production. Those claims are disputed by the FDA.
Proponents also say most grocery store milk comes from hormone-injected Holsteins specially bred and confined for maximum production, whereas real milk comes from pasture-fed cows of traditional milk-producing breeds such as Jerseys and Guernseys.
The FDA points to outbreaks of illnesses in Wisconsin, Oregon and Washington state in recent years it links to raw milk consumption, and the Michigan Department of Agriculture points to local incidents in Michigan in 2003 and 2004, each involving a half-dozen people who got ill after drinking raw milk.
But Sally Fallon, founding president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, said authorities are too quick to point to raw milk when there is evidence of other possible or likely causes of illness.
"Whenever there's an opportunity to bash raw milk, they'll take it, but it's not necessarily based on good science," said Fallon, who believes about 1 million people in the U.S. drink raw milk. Most estimates of raw milk drinkers in Michigan are in the hundreds; Hebron claims 300 Michigan cow shareholders.
Reed Twiss said a friend introduced her to raw milk after she became ill following the birth of her third child. She said she was skeptical and only tried nonpasteurized milk after about six months of research.
"It was kind of scary to do the first time, but it was fascinating what happened," Reed Twiss said.
The family's milk consumption quickly increased from about four gallons a month to four gallons a week, she said.
"The kids started asking for milk much more often," Reed Twiss said. "And we didn't get sick. I've just been delighted with the health of the family."
Reed Twiss said it's necessary to know a farmer who has a clean operation, does not confine cows in places germs are more likely to breed and who feeds his cows the grass they are supposed to eat, not the slop and grains she said most dairy operations feed cows.
Though federal law bans interstate commerce in raw milk, a patchwork of state laws apply, with sales of raw milk legal in about 28 states. Michigan was the first to pass mandatory pasteurization laws, in 1948, and has some of the strictest laws in the nation.
Gumpert suspects state officials may be getting complaints from conventional dairy farmers who are not paid as well for their milk as raw milk farmers are. Raw milk farmers can get about $6 a gallon, compared to about $1 a gallon for farmers selling to the big dairies, he said.
Mark Meyerson, manager of Better Health store in Southgate, received an order from the Michigan Department of Agriculture not to sell or distribute raw milk or certain other raw dairy products, despite the fact he had no such product in the store. Meyerson said he had never distributed raw milk and the state agrees it has no evidence he did.
"I can't believe I'm living in the United States in the year 2006," said Meyerson. "If you live in California, you can buy it in any health food store. I would love to be able to sell it." 11-27-06

Salmonella contamination in non-UK produced shell eggs on retail sale in some regions of England
Eurosurveillance (Volume 11, Issue 11)
CL Little1 (christine.little@hpa.org.uk), S Walsh1, L Hucklesby1, S Surman-Lee2, K Pathak2, Y Hall3, E de Pinna1, EJ Threlfall1, A Maund4, C-H Chan4
1Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections, London, United Kingdom
2Health Protection Agency London Food, Water & Environmental Microbiology Services Laboratory, London, United Kingdom
3Food and Environmental Microbiology Services North West, Chester Microbiological Services, Chester, United Kingdom
4Food Standards Agency, London, United Kingdom
The Food Standards Agency for the United Kingdom has published its findings of a survey of salmonella contamination in eggs produced outside the UK and on retail sale in England [1,2]. The consumption level of eggs in the UK exceeds the national supply, which means that eggs need to be imported. A survey of UK-produced eggs on retail sale in 2003 found that 0.3% were contaminated with Salmonella [3]. Reported here is the first survey to provide information on Salmonella contamination of non-UK eggs on retail sale. This recent survey was carried out against a backdrop of a change in the epidemiology of Salmonella Enteritidis infections in England and Wales [4,5] and elsewhere in Europe [6]. Since 2002, the emergence of egg-associated S. Enteritidis phage types other than PT4 causing human infection has taken place in the United Kingdom, with the greatest increases occurring in S. Enteritidis PT1 and PT14b [4,5]. Surveillance of salmonellosis from 1998 to 2003 has also identified upsurges in S. Enteritidis non-PT4 in other European countries [6]. These major resurgences are thought to be associated with major changes in market supply with the import of eggs from some egg producers in European Union member states where there was no vaccination of layer flocks against Salmonella or controlled assurance schemes in place. more information

New Device Protects Consumers From E. coli
Serene Branson
Source of Article: http://cbs13.com/health/local_story_321232653.html
(CBS13) SACRAMENTO ¡°It was very traumatic not only for me but for my family,¡± said Debbie James.
James used to love spinach, she just barely survived the latest E.coli outbreak. ¡°I was extremely scared. They had a morphine drip for pain,¡± said James.
Debbie is still shaken after being hospitalized in September with a serious case of E.coli poisoning. ¡°My blood pressure kept dropping rapidly¡¦my kidneys basically stopped functioning,¡± said James.
Now Dr. Raj Mutharasan of Drexel University has developed a test that detects several types of E.coli in just 10 minutes. ¡°The quickness and the accuracy is important,¡± said Dr. Mutharasan.
Right now it takes about 24 hours to test for E.coli, making it difficult to quickly contain an outbreak. Dr. Mutharasan's technology makes it possible to detect the bacteria. When food samples are contaminated with E.coli a sensor is activated and show's up with a downward spike on a computer.
The technology will probably first be used by food packagers to test food before it reaches store shelves. But researchers are also working on a small and affordable portable device that people could use in their own kitchens to test food. ¡°I believe it will make our food far safer, yes,¡± said Dr. Mutharasan.
As for Debbie who's gone back to eating salads, without spinach, she thinks it's long overdue. ¡°I think consumers deserve to have their food safe when they buy it,¡± said James.
The tool is expected to be available to producers in a year. And get this the Department of Homeland Security is sponsoring some of the Drexel research because there is some fear terrorist could use E.coli to contaminate food.
For now the best way to protect yourself and your family is to carefully wash produce and thoroughly cook meat.

Happy ending to family's E. coli nightmare
North Country Times (CA)
Jennifer Kabbany
MURRIETA ---- Mary and Tony Martin were cited as saying they feel like they have been to hell and back during the last two months, practically living in hospitals as they watched their only child, Chris, 7, fight to survive an E. coli infection.
The story explains that Chris, a second-grader at Tovashal Elementary School, was one of the many victims of a national E. coli outbreak that occurred in September, when more than 200 people were sickened and three people died after separate outbreaks traced to tainted spinach and raw milk.
The Murrieta couple said that were it not for the overwhelming support and prayers of family and friends, they are not sure things would have turned out the way they did, with their son finally coming home recently after recovering from being on the verge of death for more than a month.
Mary was cited as saying Chris ate spinach and drank raw milk in the days leading up to his hospital stay, which began Sept. 7, and that she said she isn't sure which product contained the bacteria.


Dozen passengers on cruise ship fall ill during first voyage after outbreak
The Miami Herald
MIAMI ? At least a dozen passengers aboard the Carnival Liberty's latest cruise reported a gastrointestinal illness after a four-day Caribbean voyage, according to one of the passengers cited in this story.
Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen was cited as saying he didn't know how many passengers got sick, but that it was fewer than 2 percent of the 3,100 people aboard the 13-deck, 110-ton cruise liner, one of the world's largest, and that the number of illnesses was within the "normal range," for a vessel of that size, adding, "We don't know whether it's sea sickness or people are overindulging with food."
The story says that on the Liberty's previous voyage, close to 700 people fell ill from the highly contagious norovirus, a stomach bug. The outbreak, during the 16-day transatlantic trip that left Rome on Nov. 3, was one of the largest in recent memory, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is investigating the cause.

Babies poisoned by bottled water (Spain)
News Canarias (Spain) http://www.newscanarias.net/
Gran Canarian water bottling company Brenalta was closed down yesterday temporarily, following 70 cases of infant gastroenteritis due to a salmonella outbreak in the factory.
The main children's hospital of the island, Hospital Materno Infantil de Gran Canaria, has attended 70 babies in the last month and a half, whose only link has been that their feed bottle was made up using Brenalta bottled water. None required admitting and all were allowed home after treatment and observation. Some adults have also required medical attention. The factory has been closed and all unsold merchandise removed from the stores' shelves, but consumers are advised to check their store cupboards. Investigations are proceeding to find out the source of the infection. The Canarian Government's Health Department is under fire for not making the problem public earlier.

Virus sickens nearly 700 aboard cruise ship
November 20, 2006
Source of Article: http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/11/19/ship.sick.ap/index.html
FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida (AP) -- A thorough scrubbing of the Carnival Liberty began Sunday as the ship docked after a virus sickened nearly 700 passengers on a trans-Atlantic cruise.
Fourteen guests and five crew remained ill and in isolation when the ship arrived at Port Everglades, according to a statement released by Carnival Cruise Lines, a brand of Carnival Corp. Some passengers were escorted off the ship in wheelchairs by crew wearing blue gloves.
Preliminary tests identified the source of the outbreak as the highly contagious norovirus, which had struck several guests just before they boarded the cruise November 3 in Rome, Carnival officials said. More than 530 guests and 140 crew reported to the ship's infirmary with similar symptoms during the 16-day voyage.
Passengers who fell ill during the cruise said they received over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medication and pills or an injection to ward off nausea in the ship's infirmary, and had been quarantined in their cabins. (Watch those sickened on the cruise -- 1:20 )
"They brought us 7Up, bottled water, ice and a diet of rice, though you didn't feel like eating," said Jim Lankes, 48, of Phoenix. Lankes and his 45-year-old brother both got sick when the ship was docked in Barcelona, Spain.
Crews scrubbed the ship's handrails and utensils, offered disinfecting hand gel and halted the self-serve buffets after the outbreak started. Even plastic menus were wiped clean, said Pedro Carreras, 51, of McDonough, Georgia.
Most cruise activities and excursions continued as scheduled, passengers said, though the crew's illness disrupted some personal services.
"Our cabin steward was struck, and we didn't have anybody to clean our cabin for five days," said Pamela Stupnik of Pueblo, Colorado. She said she and her husband spent two days vomiting in their cabin. A team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention boarded the cruise when it docked in St. Maarten to oversee the cleaning operation and try to determine what caused the outbreak, Carnival said. Norovirus is a group of viruses that cause stomach flu symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps, according to the CDC. The illness usually lasts one to two days without any long-term health effects. It spreads through contaminated food or liquids, by touching contaminated surfaces or objects and then placing that hand in one's mouth, or through direct contact with someone who is infected and showing symptoms.
The Liberty, which has room for 2,974 travelers, had been scheduled to set sail again Sunday afternoon on a six-day Caribbean voyage, but Miami-based Carnival delayed its next departure until Tuesday so crews could have extra time to disinfect the ship.

Source of Article: http://www.meatnews.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Article&artNum=13021
UNITED STATES: A California company has announced it has completed manufacturing the initial prototype of its planned product to detect E.coli.
NanoSensors, Inc. has announced that it has completed manufacturing the initial prototype of its planned product to detect E.coli.
The product is based on the Santa Clara, Calif.-based Company's recently licensed nanoporous silicon-based biosensor technology to detect E.coli.
As previously announced, the proposed sensor has been designed to consist of two core functional parts: a disposable housing unit in which the actual sensor device is mounted and a separate, external data acquisition unit. Based on this design, the sensor device transmits signals across electrical leads to the data acquisition unit, which accepts the output signal from the housing unit and converts the signal to the appropriate format to display the results.
NanoSensors¡¯ Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Ted Wong, said in a news release from the company, "We are extremely pleased with the progress in the development of our first biosensor product." Wong went on to say, "Our plans are to build a sufficient quantity of the disposable housing and data acquisition units before calendar year-end so that we can begin third-party testing of the product in the first quarter of 2007." NanoSensors is a nanotechnology development company that develops instruments and sensors to detect explosives, chemical and biological agents.

Edible Food Wrap Kills Deadly E. coli Bacteria
Source of Article: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061116122210.htm

Researchers have improved upon an edible coating for fresh fruits and vegetables by enabling it to kill deadly E. coli bacteria while also providing a flavor-boost to food. Composed of apple puree and oregano oil, which acts as a natural antibacterial agent, the coating shows promise in laboratory studies of becoming a long-lasting, potent alternative to conventional produce washes, according to a team of scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the University of Lleida in Spain.
USDA chemist Tara McHugh displays edible food wraps designed to slow the spoilage of fresh fruits and vegetables. Similar wraps developed by McHugh also kill E. coli. (Credit: Courtesy of USDA)
The study comes on the heels of the recent deadly E. coli outbreak in spinach and amid growing concern by experts that some produce-cleaning techniques may not be effective in destroying E. coli. The study is scheduled for the Nov. 29 issue of the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
"All produce-cleaning methods help to some degree, but our new coatings and films may provide a more concentrated, longer-lasting method for killing bacteria," says Research Leader Tara H. McHugh, Ph.D., a food chemist with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service in Albany, Calif. As the films are made of fruit or vegetable puree, they also provide added health benefits such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, she says.
Researchers have known about the antimicrobial activity of plant-derived essential oils for some time, but McHugh says that her group is the first to incorporate them into a fruit- or vegetable-based edible food wrap for the purpose of improving food safety. Three years ago, she and her associates developed a similar edible food wrap, but without the antimicrobial properties.
The new antimicrobial coatings have not been tested on fresh produce yet, McHugh notes. The current study only tested the coatings against E. coli O157:H7, a potentially deadly strain of the common bacterium Escherichia coli, but tests on other foodborne pathogens, including Salmonella, are ongoing or planned in the future, she says. If they continue to show promise, the coatings could hit the consumer market in a year or two, estimates McHugh, whose study is funded by the USDA.
In developing the coatings, McHugh and her associates tested oregano, cinnamon and lemongrass oils in solutions of apple puree and dried films for their effectiveness against E. coli. Each compound was tested in a controlled series of dilutions, the scientists say.
While all of the oils tested inhibited the growth of E. coli, oregano oil was the most effective, killing over 50 percent of sample bacteria in 3 minutes at concentrations as small as 0.034 percent, says McHugh, who's now working on improving the kill rate.
The second most effective oil was lemongrass, followed by cinnamon oil. By contrast, the apple-puree film alone did not kill the E. coli bacteria, the scientist says.
However, an advantage of the apple antibacterial film is that it is composed of sticky sugars and lipids, which allow the coating to adhere to fruits and vegetables for longer periods than conventional, water-based produce washes. That same stickiness also gives the suspended antimicrobial agents a more concentrated exposure to bacterial surfaces, increasing the film's germ-killing potential, the researchers say.
The antibacterial coating could be used by produce manufacturers as a spray or dip for fresh fruits and vegetables, they say. The resulting product will taste a bit like oregano, McHugh says, adding that this can be a desirable trait in salads.
Besides apple puree, the antimicrobial films can also be made from broccoli, tomato, carrot, mango, peach, pear and a variety of other produce items. Non-antimicrobial versions of these food wraps are now being made commercially by California-based Origami Foods¢ç in cooperation with the USDA for use in a small but growing number of food applications, including sushi wraps.

Lactoferrin Deals Another Blow to Pathogen
Mon 20-Nov-2006
Source of Article: http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/525381/?sc=rssn
Researchers at the University of Arkansas have found that by activating lactoferrin, an antimicrobial compound, they were able to reduce Listeria monocytogenes to nondetectable levels.
Newswise ? Researchers at the University of Arkansas have found another tool for fighting foodborne pathogens. By activating lactoferrin, an antimicrobial compound, they were able to reduce Listeria monocytogenes to nondetectable levels.
Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium that can cause the disease listeriosis, which is marked by flu-like symptoms and can spread to the nervous system.
¡°Listeria monocytogenes was the most sensitive to lactoferrin activated by citric, malic and lactic acids in combination with the chelator EDTA,¡± said Navam Hettiarachcy, a food science professor who led the research project for the Food Safety Consortium. Chelators are compounds of metal ion that form rings.
Although lactoferrin¡¯s level of effectiveness against E. coli O157:H7 wasn¡¯t as great as its ability to reduce Listeria monocytogenes to nondetectable levels, it still was significantly effective against E. coli by eliminating at least 99 percent of the pathogen. Infections from E. coli O157:H7 can lead to severe diarrhea and abdominal cramps and can be fatal in some cases, especially among children under 5 years of age.
Federal regulators several years ago authorized spraying lactoferrin on beef to control E. coli. Microbial growth on meat and meat products occurs primarily at their surfaces, so other researchers had previously studied the effects of spraying lactoferrin on the surfaces. But the direct application had limited benefits because the active substances would neutralize or would rapidly diffuse into the tissue.
¡°Interaction of lactoferrin with food components will reduce its antimicrobial effectiveness,¡± Hettiarachchy explained.
Other research, however, had also shown that antimicrobial substances could be successfully incorporated into an edible film covering meat surfaces and would be effective. That prompted Hettiarachchy¡¯s team to examine whether using lactoferrin in this manner would be effective.
¡°Incorporation of lactoferrin into film will prevent diffusion of the lactoferrin into the meat and still maintain its antimicrobial activity on the surface,¡± Hettiarachchy said. ¡°This will provide a continuous barrier to contamination by pathogens on foods up to the time of consumption.¡±
Hettiarachchy added that research is still in progress seeking a film matrix suitable to maintain the effectiveness level in the coating.
Lactoferrin is also consumer friendly since it is derived from milk, she added, and consumers are aware of its benefits as a protein.

Decontamination method reduces chemical use
Ahmed ElAmin in Paris
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/
22/11/2006 - A decontamination process for packaging chilled products reduces the amount of chemicals needed for sterilization and increases shelf-life, claims its manufacturer.
Sidel is demonstrating a prototype of its new Predis system here at Emballage, offering processors a method of meeting growing consumer concerns about the amount of chemicals industry uses in manufacturing food products.
Sidel claims the new process -- a dry contamination method using hydrogen peroxide vapour -- uses 40 times less chemicals than the traditional sterilisation systems currently used by industry.
In June this year Sidel installed the first Predis system at Croatian dairy company Lura. The system has been packaging 100ml bottles of flavoured probiotic milk at a rate of 14,400 bottles an hour, said Gerard Ferrat, a Sidel product manager.
¡°This is a groundbreaking technology,¡± he told FoodProductionDaily.com.
The system achieves a 3-log reduction in contamination levels on preformed packaging. This means that only three out of every 3,000 germs will survive the process, he said by way of example.
Predis is a dry contamination system that uses from 5mg to 15mg of hydrogen peroxide per perform, 40 times less than ones involving bottle rinsing. No water is needed for the process.
By eliminating the rinser, the number of mechanical parts is reduced resulting in lower maintenance and labour costs, Sidel claims.
The company developed the system on its existing Combi product, the company's integrated blowing, filling and capping machine. The method works by first transferring perform bottles or packaging by the neck on a wheel from the infeed to the oven entrance.
Nozzles, calibrated to between 120C and 140C, apply the hydrogen peroxide vapour to the performs. The vapour condenses evenly on the smooth internal walls of the performs, Ferrat said.
The performs are then heated in the oven to 100C. The thermal conditioning activates the hydrogen peroxide. Bottles are blown using filtered air. Transfer by the neck in a controlled atmosphere in the Combi ensures that no recontamination occurs throught he filling and capping phase of the process.
Bringing the Combi and Predis machines together allows processors to reduce bottle weight due to the continuous by-the-neck transfer system, Sidel claims.
Ferrat said the increased hygiene achieved for packaging dairy products can help extend their best-by-date.
The company can provide Predis machines with a capacity of between 10,800 to 36,000 bottles per hour.
Ferrat also said Sidel has developed a software tool that allows companies to calculate the total cost of ownership for the machines, compared to their existing processes.

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The effect of lemon, orange and bergamot essential oils and their components on the survival of Campylobacter jejuni, Escherichia coli O157, Listeria monocytogenes, Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus in vitro and in food systems.
J Appl Microbiol. 2006 Dec;101(6):1232-40. Links
Fisher K, Phillips CA.
School of Health, The University of Northampton, Northampton, UK.

Aims: To investigate the effectiveness of oils and vapours of lemon (Citrus limon), sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) and bergamot (Citrus bergamia) and their components against a number of common foodborne pathogens. Methods and Results: The disc diffusion method was used to screen the oils and vapours against Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, Escherichia coli O157 and Campylobacter jejuni. The survival of each species, demonstrated to be susceptible in the in vitro studies, was tested on cabbage leaf for 60 s by direct contact and on chicken skin for 10 min by direct contact and 24 h by vapour. The results indicate that bergamot was the most inhibitory essential oil (EO) and citral and linalool mimicked its effect (P > 0.001). Citral and linalool vapours produced 6 log reductions in L. monocytogenes, Staph. aureus and B. cereus populations on cabbage leaf after 8-10 h exposure but bergamot vapour exposure, while producing a similar reduction in L. monocytogenes and B. cereus populations, had no effect on Staph. aureus. Conclusions: Bergamot was the most effective of the oils tested and linalool the most effective anti-bacterial component. Gram-positive bacteria were more susceptible than Gram-negative bacteria in vitro, although Camp. jejuni and E. coli O157 were inhibited by bergamot and linalool oils and by linalool vapour. All bacteria tested were less susceptible in food systems than in vitro. Of the Gram-positive bacteria tested Staph. aureus was the least susceptible to both the oils and the components tested. Significance and Impact of the Study: Results suggest the possibility that citrus EOs, particularly bergamot, could be used as a way of combating the growth of common causes of food poisoning.