12/19
2006
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Norovirus cited in Olive Garden outbreak
POSTED: 1:48 p.m. EST, December 18, 2006
From Jennifer Pifer
CNN
Source of Article: http://us.cnn.com/
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (CNN) -- Health officials blamed a highly contagious, hard-to-get-rid-of virus for an outbreak of illness among nearly 400 patrons of an Olive Garden restaurant outside Indianapolis. Marion County Health Department spokesman John Althardt told CNN in a telephone interview that tests on three employees and one customer were positive for norovirus, which typically occurs in places such as cruise ships and restaurants where people are eating food prepared by others. Seventy-three cases were reported over the weekend, bringing the total to approximately 373, Althardt said. (Watch a victim describe his experience. )
The Olive Garden, which closed on Friday and scrubbed, has been given clearance to reopen.
Marion County will monitor the restaurant to check on its compliance with health department recommendations. The sickened patrons reported symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and, in some cases, fever. Three people remained hospitalized Monday.

Inspectors seek cause of Olive Garden illness: Patrons describe getting sick after eating salads; restaurant is temporarily closed

16.dec.06
IndyStar.com
Cordell Eddings
http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061216/LOCAL/612160459/-1/ZONES04
An Olive Garden restaurant in Castleton has been closed until at least Monday as county health officials try to determine what sickened more than 300 people who say they ate there.
Health Department spokesman John Althardt was cited as saying on Friday thatcalls continued to pour into the Marion County Health Department from people who say they ate at the restaurant from Dec. 9 to Thursday and then suffered bouts of nausea, diarrhea, fever and vomiting.
Althardt was further cited as saying six restaurant workers also said Monday that they felt ill, adding, "We believe it's a food-borne illness, but we still don't know. We are hoping that by taking this action, it will give us more of an opportunity to do more investigating and to break the cycle of infection."
Health officials have been collecting leftover food at the restaurant and stool samples from those stricken in an effort to pinpoint the source of the illness. Some diners think the cause might have been in the salads they were served.
County inspectors met with restaurant managers Tuesday and found no health code violations, but continued complaints of illness from recent diners led to the temporary closing of the restaurant after Friday's lunch hour.
A news release from the Olive Garden chain's corporate headquarters in Orlando, Fla., said the company is cooperating with health officials to find the cause, which it thinks might be tied to employees who recently had flulike symptoms.
A decision will be made Monday, after the restaurant is thoroughly cleaned, on whether it will reopen or continue to be closed, health officials said.
A woman who dined at the restaurant with her two children was among those who questioned why management kept the restaurant open after sickness was reported as early as Tuesday.
Deanne Jones was quoted as saying, "It's frustrating . . . that they didn't shut the place down earlier when they knew people were getting sick."

More than 160 report illness after eating at Indianapolis restaurant
15.dec.06
WISH - TV Indianapolis/ Wave 3 TV (Louisville, Kentucky)/Associated Press
Indianapolis -- The Olive Garden restaurant chain was cited as saying it's working with health officials to find the cause of an outbreak of illnesses among diners at an Indianapolis restaurant.
The Marion County Health Department says more than 160 people have claimed they became ill after eating at an Olive Garden on the city's north side last weekend.
Ed Culver with the Marion County Health Department was quoted as saying, "So far our count is about 150 people who think that they became ill as a result of eating at the Olive Garden."
A health department spokesman says they're trying to isolate the cause and have found no health code violations at the restaurant. In a statement, the company said it's pleased that the health department has determined that people should feel comfortable continuing to dine at Olive Garden.
Health officials are collecting leftover food and stool samples from those who were stricken in an effort to pinpoint the source of the illness.
Customer Frank Williams was quoted as saying, "Most of us starting getting sick about 3:00 Tuesday morning which would have been 31 hours after we started eating."
Williams and his family are recovering. And as for going back to Olive Garden, "I think this probably is an isolated incident. We've certainly eaten there before and not had a problem. So I think there's a good chance we'll go back."

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Long list of unhealthful groceries
17.dec.06
courant.com
http://www.courant.com/news/politics/hc-outbreaks1217.artdec17,0,3993364.story?page=2&coll=hc-headlines-home
Following are some of the outbreaks of food-related illnesses and recalls due to the potential for food- borne diseases from Aug. 11 to Dec. 15, compiled by the office of U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro. For further recall updates, visit the FDA website at www.fda.gov/opacom/7alerts.html or the USDA website: www.fsis.USDA.gov/FSIS_Recalls/index.asp.
Dec. 15 - More than 300 say they became ill after eating at an Indianapolis restaurant; no cause yet determined.
Dec. 4 - New Jersey officials announce E. coli outbreak linked to Taco Bell restaurants.
Dec. 1 - Vandervoet & Associates recalls cantaloupes, under the HDC label, because of potential health concerns.
Nov. 27 - Krisp-Pak Co. recalls fresh cut fruit because of possible Listeria contamination.
Nov. 24 - HoneyBaked Foods recalls cooked ham and turkey products for possible Listeria contamination.
Nov. 20 - Golden Glen Creamery recalls eggnog that might contain pathogens resulting from improper pasteurization.
Nov. 17 - Rio Vista Ltd. recalls cantaloupes nationwide because of possible Salmonella contamination.
Nov. 14 - Timco Worldwide recalls cantaloupes because of possible Salmonella contamination.
Nov. 14 - Hershey recalls seven bottles of Reese's shell topping because of possible Salmonella contamination.
Nov. 3 - Archway Cookies recalls small number of oatmeal cookie packages because they may have contained undeclared walnuts.
Nov. 1 - Boston Salads & Provisions Co. recalls cole slaw because of possible Listeria contamination.
Nov. 1 - Krisp-Pak Co. recalls fresh cut fruit because of possible Listeria contamination.
Oct. 30 - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food And Drug Administration announce Salmonella outbreak involving fresh produce.
Oct. 30 - Precautionary recall alert issued for Sara Lee hamburger buns in North Carolina and South Carolina because they may have contained undeclared milk.
Oct. 23 - Omaha Beef Co. in Danbury recalls ground beef products for possible E. coli contamination.
Oct. 19 - Unilever expands recall and allergy alert on undeclared milk in certain Knorr-Lipton Sides.
Oct. 18 - Ballard's Farm Sausage recalls egg salad because of Listeria contamination.
Oct. 12 - Ohio firm recalls pork products for possible Listeria contamination.
Oct. 8 - FDA becomes aware of recall of lettuce distributed under the Foxy brand.
Oct. 6 - Iowa firm recalls ground beef products for possible E. coli contamination.
Oct. 4 - Jumbo Foods recalls Tuscan Sun turkey sandwiches because of possible Listeria contamination.
Sept. 29 - FDA issues warning about Bolthouse Farms carrot juice due to botulism fears.
Sept. 14 - FDA warns of serious food-borne E. coli outbreak in bagged spinach.
Sept. 14 - Raw Indulgence announces nationwide recall of Raw Revolution Organic Live Food Bars because they may contain metal fragments.
Sept. 7 - Monterey Mushrooms recalls fresh sliced white and baby bella mushrooms in seven eastern states because of possible Listeria contamination.
Aug. 31 - Ohio firm recalls chicken salad because of undeclared soy flour.
Aug. 30 - Kinney Drugs recalls Kinney brand water because of high bromate levels.
Aug. 25 - Weis Markets issues recall for 1-gallon containers of Weis Quality Spring Water because of high bromate levels.
Aug. 21 - Meadow Gold Dairies recalls ice cream.
Aug. 18 - Virginia firm recalls beef products for possible E. coli contamination.
Aug. 12 - Albertsons and Chef Solutions recall Essensia brand baked potato salad.
Aug. 11 - Future Food Ltd. recalls Krab Supreme Dip and Supreme Krab Dip.

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Update: E. coli O157:H7 outbreak at Taco Bell restaurants likely over FDA traceback investigation continues

14.dec.06
FDA press release
Today, the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to Taco Bell restaurants in Northeastern states appears to be over. However, additional cases from the outbreak period could still be identified. Based on a number of factors, iceberg lettuce is considered overall to be the single most likely source of the outbreak at this time. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to narrow its investigation by focusing its efforts on finding the sources of shredded iceberg lettuce served at the restaurants.
The peak of the outbreak occurred from the last week of November until the beginning of December. No new cases have been reported as of December 14, 2006. A total of 71 cases in five states have been reported to the CDC: Delaware (2 cases), New Jersey (33 cases), New York (22 cases), Pennsylvania (13 cases) and South Carolina (1 case - this person ate at a Taco Bell in Pennsylvania). 53 hospitalizations and 8 cases of Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) have been reported. For the latest details about these cases, see the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/current.htm.
FDA investigators continue to expedite review of Taco Bell's records in order to trace the distribution channels of the iceberg lettuce and identify the farm or farms where the lettuce was grown, as well as all firms and facilities that handled the product.
The agency is aware of the outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7 at Taco John's restaurants in Iowa and Minnesota, and is monitoring these closely in cooperation with state health authorities. Based on genetic fingerprinting of the E.coli, these outbreaks do not appear at this time to be related to the Taco Bell outbreak. FDA continues to collaborate with CDC, and with state and local health officials, to determine how these outbreaks occurred and find the source of suspect food items.
Infection with E. coli O157:H7 can cause diarrhea, often bloody. Although most healthy adults can recover completely within a week, some people can develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can lead to a form of kidney failure. This condition is most likely to occur in young children and the elderly. The condition can lead to serious kidney damage and even death. Consumers who are concerned that they may have contracted E. coli O157:H7 infection should notify their local health department, and contact their health care provider to seek medical attention.
More information about E. coli O157:H7 and the outbreak linked to Taco Bell restaurants on the East Coast is available at: http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/EcoliOutbreaks/restaurants.html.
FDA will provide additional media updates on this investigation as more information becomes available.

Raw milk sickens five
14.dec.06
Peterborough Examiner (ON)
Jeanne Pengelly
Dr. Garry Humphreys, the medical officer of health, was cited as telling health board members that five county residents became ill last month with campylobacter after consuming unpasteurized raw milk, following two family gatherings.
Humphreys was further cited as saying a sixth person from Belleville was also affected, adding, "Please don't distribute unpasteurized milk. Don't even drink unpasteurized milk on your own farm."
The five local people with the disease in November had either diarrhea or bloody diarrhea severe enough to send them to a doctor or hospital, Humphreys said.
Smith-Ennismore-Lakefield Reeve Ron Millen, an Ennismore dairy farmer, responded to Humphrey's warning, stating some people consider unpasteurized milk more natural. It also tastes better, he said.

Raw milk sales would be a step backward
13.dec.06
Owen Sound Sun Times (ON)
John R. Woodhouse of Kemble, Ont., writes that as we continue to see debate on raw milk, it is disturbing that a number of people have done little solid research on the history and evolution of why our food system, with respect to milk, has invoked many standards and protocols in the best interest of society.
As one engaged in primary food production in Grey and Bruce counties, I feel compelled to bring people up to speed.
Today's Canadian dairy farmers have evolved one of the most admired inspection systems in the world. Milk quality is monitored with every pick-up. The farmers get ongoing weekly reports via the marketing systems on all factors that relate to milk quality and components of their milk.
A zero inhibitor tolerance is the rule. Time temperature recorders with alarm systems monitor any variation in the temperature as milk is being cooled and stored until pick up. It is a check to make sure that what is supposed to happen does, in fact, happen every day ie: If the water temperature that cleans the equipment is not hot enough, an alarm goes off and the producer takes corrective measures.
So is our present modern dairy producer and production system sensitive to the issue of milk quality? You're darn right. The consequence is that milk can get a bad rap because, as many of our health professionals have stated, raw milk being consumed is like a time bomb to the general public. When a time bomb goes off, it can affect all related sectors.
I do not want to see all the producers of milk in this province get a bad rap and milk sales fall because something bad happened.
Our dairy producers are proud people who work 365 days a year to provide our food system with the highest quality milk. The remarkable thing about this process is that cost of your typical dairy basket is lower than its equal in Europe or the U.S.A.
The Canadian dairy production system is geared to supply exactly what the population consumes at a price that gives the producer a fair price for milk. This system evolved in the early 60's when the late agriculture minister William Stewart mandated orderly milk marketing be done so farmers would not continue to lose their farms.
I understand our health system is attempting to be pro-active in preventative medicine and dealing with disease. This includes problems associated with food-borne disease.
Listeria monocytogenes, a bacteria found in raw milk, is the second major bacterial cause of food poisoning after Salmonella. Listeria causes hospitalization in 90 per cent of cases. It is reported two per cent of raw milk contains Listeria. Listeria organisms can multiply in raw milk at a wide range of temperatures, including milk that is refrigerated.
Healthy people rarely develop serious illness from Listeria, but the susceptible (pregnant women, children and people with impaired immune systems) can develop serious illness. I could comment further on Salmonella. However, it just further supports the system and protocol we have in legislation under the Milk Act RRO 1990 Regulation 753.
In closing, for more than 50 years the process of pasteurization has proven highly effective in protecting public health. The threat to human health by allowing the ingestion of unpasteurized milk should not be underestimated.
Allowing the selling of unpasteurized milk outside our current system would be a disrespectful decision that slanders dairy farmers, health officials and those with common sense.
I know which system is the choice for my family's milk supply.

FDA Investigating Norovirus Outbreak Linked to Oysters
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently working with five states and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate an outbreak of norovirus which has been associated with raw, frozen oysters on the half shell from South Korea. Eight individuals have been confirmed as becoming ill as a result of consuming the raw oysters at a private event in Woodburn, Oregon. On December 8, FDA testing of oysters from the same production lot showed positive results for norovirus.
Symptoms of illness associated with norovirus include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramping. Individuals often experience low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness. Most people show symptoms within 48 hours of exposure to the virus. The illness typically lasts one to two days.
The implicated oysters have been identified as part of lot No. 6098 from the Central Fisheries Company in South Korea and imported by Fortuna Sea Products, Inc. of California. From Fortuna Sea Products, Inc., the frozen oysters were distributed to proprietors in Texas, Colorado, Nevada, California, and Oregon.
On November 27, 2006, Fortuna Sea Products, Inc. initiated a recall of the 1,100 cases that comprised the affected lot. Consumers in Texas, Colorado, Nevada, California, and Oregon who ate oyster products between mid-October and early December and who experienced symptoms of norovirus are encouraged to contact their local health department. Consumers in possession of frozen oysters on the half shell purchased during this period should contact their retailer to determine if the oysters are from the affected lot of South Korean oysters and need to be returned.

Kraft drinks escape benzene lawsuit
By Chris Mercer

Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/
18/12/2006 - Lawsuits alleging soft drinks made by Kraft Foods may contain the cancer-causing chemical, benzene, have been dismissed after the group said it had reformulated products.
Kraft said it had changed formulas in Crystal Light Sunrise Orange and Kool-Aid Jammers before the four lawsuits against it were filed. The group now joins a growing list of soft drinks firms that have managed to avoid potentially costly lawsuits over benzene by reformulating their drinks. High-profile producers, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Cadbury Schweppes, still have actions pending, however.
Concerns over benzene in soft drinks went public this year when a scientist with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed to BeverageDaily.com the agency had found some drinks containing benzene above the legal limit for drinking water.
Benzene is a known carcinogen, although the FDA said levels found in soft drinks posed no health risk in the short-term.
Still, both the FDA and the soft drinks industry have known about the suspected source of the benzene for 16 years, an investigation by this website found.
Tests in late 1990 and 1991 found benzene could form in drinks via a reaction between two common ingredients, benzoates and citric or ascorbic acid (vitamin C). More than 1,500 drinks containing one of these combinations were launched across Europe, North America and Latin America between 2002 and 2006, records show.

Recently released documents show Cadbury secretly pulled and reformulated one of its drinks, Diet Orange Crush, in the US in 1990 because of concern about benzene.
Another drinks firm, Perrier, had publicly recalled its water brand earlier the same year after finding lower levels of benzene in drinks than Cadbury.
Perrier's problem appeared to be a one-off production fault. Cadbury's was sourced to the ingredients, but no public announcement was ever made and the FDA agreed to let the industry ¡°get the word out and reformulate¡±.
FDA and industry handling of the issue has now been brought into question, after the re-emergence of the problem. ¡°Big companies are very powerful. If you're a regulator with a tight budget, it could have been one of those closets with skeletons in that you don't want to open,¡± said a senior ex-FDA enforcement official, on condition of anonymity.

A plateful of changes for food service in '07
16.dec.06
Rocky Mountain News (Denver)
http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/other_business/article/0,2777,DRMN_23916_5217741,00.html
Kevin Moll and Ken Hollowell, who operate Denver-based National Food Service Advisors, a group of consultants that helps business owners open and run restaurant operations, were cited as saying they've been pretty accurate in their analysis of the food service trends for the upcoming year.
This year, it's more government regulation and consumer caution.
The consultants predict:
Huge growth in organics. As the price of organically grown produce and vegetables drops, and availability increases, restaurateurs are commonly using these products instead of the old standbys. Consumers are demanding organic items for many reasons, including higher perceived value, better nutrition and a feeling that they are "safer" than the alternatives. As Wal-Mart, major food service distributors and even local produce companies make organic items more available and cost-effective, this is a long-legged trend that will be with us for many years to come.
Consumer caution due to bacterial outbreaks. We used to be able to trust our food. No longer, as independent and national companies alike struggle with the ability to source bacteria-free food products. Meats, poultry and produce are particularly susceptible and recent announcements have further shaken our trust in the food chain. We expect that in 2007, more announcements of outbreaks will be made, and it's reasonable to expect consumer backlash.

Rapid Identification of Salmonella and Other Food-Borne Micro-Organisms
source from: rapidmicrobiology.com

The Remel range of ready-to-use Agglutinating Sera for the presumptive identification of cultured bacteria is now available from Oxoid Limited. These simple tests rapidly detect specific bacterial antigens for the identification, grouping and/or typing of Salmonella and other food-borne micro-organisms.
The range includes a comprehensive selection of Salmonella anti-sera, based on the highly regarded Kauffmann White scheme. This incorporates agglutinating sera for the identification of flagellar H antigens and somatic O antigens of Salmonella (groups A-S), allowing the fast, accurate and reliable identification of Salmonella strains.
The use of agglutinating sera in the confirmation of Salmonella in foods is described in a number of recommended laboratory methods (References 1-3). The range also includes a basic E. coli serotyping set and agglutinating sera for the identification of Vibrio cholerae (polyvalent, Inaba and Ogawa), Brucella and Shigella species.
The tests can be performed within 2 minutes on glass slides or, if preferred, in tubes. Their ease of use and speed make them ideal for screening purposes, to augment standard culture and biochemical procedures, or to provide valuable information that can be used in the investigation of outbreaks.
A datasheet on these products is now available, to obtain a copy please contact Oxoid using the contact details at the top of this page.
References:
1 - HPA National Standard Methods, F13
2 - USDA FSIS Laboratory Guidebook, QD-F-Micro-0004.01
3 - Health Canada, Official methods for the microbiological analysis of foods ? compendium of analytical methods.

Extensive Range for Enteric Pathogens Available from Oxoid
source from: rapidmicrobiology.com
The extensive ProSpecT¢ç range of ELISA assays for the direct detection of enteric pathogens from faecal specimens is now available from Oxoid Limited. This comprehensive range, which includes bacteriology, parasitology and virology tests, is the method of choice in many laboratories, offering speed and accuracy in situations where patients can deteriorate rapidly.
Diarrhoeal disease can be caused by a wide range of pathogens, including bacteria, parasites and viruses.
The ProSpecT¢ç range is able to detect antigens produced by some of the most significant of these pathogens, such as:
Campylobacter
Clostridium difficile (Toxin A and B)
Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC)
Rotavirus
Adenovirus
Astrovirus
Cryptosporidium
Giardia
Entamoeba histolytica
By allowing faecal specimens to be tested directly, without the need for culture or enrichment, the ProSpecT¢ç range saves valuable time in identifying the cause of enteric disease. The simple and convenient procedure can be completed within 2 hours and with almost 100% accuracy when compared to routine stool culture methods. Furthermore, since the tests detect antigen or toxin produced by the organisms, they are not dependent on the shedding of live organisms or on their growth.
The assays use the same procedure and share many common reagents (supplied in ready-to-use dropper bottles), allowing several strips for different pathogens to be set up and run simultaneously. All incubations are at room temperature and results can be read easily - visually or spectrophotometrically.
For further information about the ProSpecT¢ç range please speak to your local Oxoid representative or contact Val Kane, using the contact details at the top of this page.

FDA: Questions & Answers Taco Bell E. Coli O157:H7 Lettuce Outbreak

FDA: Dr. X and the Quest for Food Safety Interactive Video (46:00 min.)

FDA: ALERT materials now available in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, & Vietnamese


RISE IN CAMPYLOBACTER CASES (EUROPE)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
EUROPE: Campylobacteriosis overtakes salmonellosis as the most reported animal infection transmitted to humans in the EU.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source of Article: http://www.meatnews.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Article&artNum=13337
A report from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) shows that campylobacter has become more prevalent than salmonella.
The second annual Community report looks into infectious diseases transmissible from animals to humans, which affect over 380,000 European Union citizens every year. In 2005, campylobacteriosis overtook salmonellosis as the most reported zoonotic disease in humans in the EU.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) provided the data on human zoonoses cases and contributed in the analysis of human related data in the report.
In 2005, reported Campylobacter infections in humans increased by 7.8 percent compared to the previous year rising to an incidence rate of 51.6 cases per 100,000 people and to a total of 197,363 recorded cases.
As in 2004, the primary source of most human Campylobacter infections is related to fresh poultry meat with up to 66 percent of some samples being positive.
On the other hand, Salmonella infections, while also still remaining a serious public health challenge, fell by 9.5 percent in 2005 to an incidence rate of 38.2 cases per 100,000 (176,395 reported cases).
Salmonellosis in humans is most likely linked to the presence of Salmonella in eggs and poultry and pig meat. A decrease in Salmonella contamination in eggs was observed during the last years.
The report also provides data on important resistance rates to antibiotics in Campylobacter originating from farm animals and food of animal origin.
Some results indicated that over 80 percent of the tested bacteria were resistant to antibiotics commonly used to treat human diseases.
This is a growing area of concern for public health specialists as this important reservoir of antimicrobial resistance might compromise effective treatment of these diseases in humans.
The report includes data on other zoonotic diseases, which, although more rare in people in comparison to Campylobacter and Salmonella, are still a major concern in terms of public health owing to their severe impact on human health.
Listeriosis which, although affecting relatively few people (1,439 reported cases in 2005), has a high case-fatality rate and can also seriously affect the unborn child often resulting in miscarriage. VTEC[1] infections, a type of E. coli, which affected 3,314 people in 2005 is also another disease which can seriously damage human health and is most severe in children.
In 2005, the reporting of investigated outbreaks caused by consumption of contaminated food was mandatory for the first time in the EU. Together 5,311 foodborne outbreaks were reported in the EU involving 47,251 people and resulting in 5,330 hospitalizations and 24 deaths.
Member States receiving Community co-financing for eradication programs of bovine tuberculosis in cattle and brucellosis in cattle, sheep and goats, reported less positive herds in 2005 compared to 2004, indicating that the programs seem to be having an impact.
Web posted: December 18, 2006

The Biggest Bug: Leading Cause Of US Food-Borne Illness Makes Its Own Pathway Through Cells
Main Category: GastroIntestinal / Gastroentorology News

Article Date: 16 Dec 2006 - 21:00 PST

Source of Article: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=58898&nfid=rssfeeds

In spite of our long and painful relationship with Campylobacter jejuni, we are just starting to answer basic questions about the bug that is the leading cause of bacterial food-borne illness in the United States, and one of the most common causes of diarrhea worldwide. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that "campylobacterioisis" strikes 2.4 million Americans a year.

While most sufferers recover after a few unpleasant days, it can be life threatening to those with compromised immune systems. A rare but serious complication of C. jejuni infection is the triggering of the autoimmune disorder, Guillain-Barre paralysis.

Yale researchers now have some answers to one of the most basic puzzles surrounding C. jejuni infections. How could such a large bacteria gain access to human intestinal epithelial cells that do not normally take up particles of such size" And once inside, how does C. jejuni disappear off the conventional endocytic road map"

Robert Watson and Jorge Galan of Yale University School of Medicine report that C. jejuni apparently rolls in on the cell's regular endocytic pathway but quickly exits, heading off-road for its own network of intracellular hideouts. These C. jejuni-filled vacuoles make their own way toward the nucleus, taking up strategic positions near the cell's transportation hub, the Golgi apparatus.

Previous studies showing C. jejuni gaining intracellular access to intestinal epithelial cells despite its large size suggested to Watson and Galan that the bug had evolved a special mechanism to induce its uptake into these nonphagocytic cells and establish its own intracellular niche. Watson and Galan set out to follow C. jejuni down the host cell's endocytic pathway. Much of the cell's incoming traffic is usually routed to compartments called lysosomes, where an acidic brew of hydrolase enzymes chews it up. By monitoring endosomal marker proteins, the researchers could watch as C. jejuni infected a host cell, and was briefly cloaked in the early endosomal marker EEA-1, and then the late endosomal marker Lamp-1. Was C. jejuni trafficking to conventional lysosomes after all" To check, the researchers fed traceable dyes to infected cells. Taken up into the endocytic pathway, the fluorescent dyes co-localized with control bacteria known to traffic to lysosomes, yet surprisingly the dyes were unable to enter vacuoles containing C. jejuni. The bug had left the conventional endocytic pathway.

Watson and Galan also investigated the roles of two Rab GTPases, proteins involved in the maturation of endosomal compartments. These and other experiments provided additional evidence that C. jejuni leaves the normal endocytic pathway early and that the segregated C. jejuni vacuoles move to a perinuclear location where they become closely associated with the Golgi apparatus. The resulting full-scale invasion of millions of cells lining the gut can't be ignored.

Experts: Taco Bell E.coli Outbreak Will Sicken Brand
December 05, 2006
By Kenneth Hein
Source of Article: http://www.brandweek.com/
NEW YORK -- The Taco Bell E.coli outbreak in the Northeast will sicken sales, but how deep the damage will run depends on the Yum! Brands-owned restaurant chain¡¯s response to the crisis, per experts. More than two-dozen people in New York and New Jersey who ate at Taco Bell during Thanksgiving week became sick, according to the New York Daily News which affixed the headline ¡°Taco Hell¡± to the cover of its Dec. 5 edition.
¡°Obviously this is not a good news situation,¡± said Ron Paul, president, Technomic, a food-service consultancy, Chicago. ¡°It will definitely impact the stores [where the bacteria contamination was linked] as well as those in the area.¡±
Food safety concerns seriously impact business, said Paul, citing the significant sales losses Wendy¡¯s suffered on the West Coast after a finger was found in its chili last year. It was later revealed that the digit was planted by Anna Ayala, who was sentenced to nine years in prison because of the hoax. Regardless, ¡°it took them months to get the sales back,¡± said Paul.
Bob Sandelman, CEO of the San Clemente, Calif.-based Sandelman & Associates, a restaurant marketing research firm, said the depth of the harm to the brand will depend ¡°on how they handle it from a damage control and public relations standpoint. They need to take ownership of it, take responsibility for it and let everyone know what their plan is for taking care of this and preventing it from happening in the future.¡±
Taco Bell president Greg Creed said in a statement today that ¡°we are very concerned for those who became ill and our thoughts are with them as we continue to work closely with health officials as they try to determine the root cause of this. While the authorities do not know the source of this contamination, they have said there haven't been any new cases since Nov 29, so they are confident that it is most likely no longer a threat.¡±
In the minds of consumers, the severity of such an outbreak has likely been blunted by the numerous prior contamination scares, said Sandelman.
Sizzler, Jack in the Box and other chains have dealt with E.coli contamination before. And in September, consumers were instructed to avoid fresh spinach because E.coli was found in spinach in as many as 26 states. There are about 76 million cases per year where consumers are subjected to disease from infected food, per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
Taco Bell announced it reopened eight stores in New York ¡°based on the criteria developed and agreed to by local health departments¡± after voluntarily closing the locations. Taco Bell is also working with the Middlesex County Health Department to reopen a restaurant located in New Jersey and expects to reopen it today. ¡°While these restaurants have not been confirmed as the source of an E. coli outbreak, Taco Bell decided as a precautionary measure to throw out all existing food and bring in new food. In addition, the company completely cleaned and re-sanitized the restaurant, utensils and all cooking equipment,¡± said the statement.

Still for many this could be a permanent turn-off, said Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, a brand customer loyalty-planning consultancy in New York.

In terms of loyalty, Taco Bell was already ranked next to last out of the 16 restaurant chains measured within the Brand Keys 2006 Customer Loyalty Index. Taco Bell scored poorly in terms of ¡°healthy choice, quality and value" which is "the most influential driver in terms of choice, engagement in loyalty,¡± said Passikoff. ¡°What was bad to begin with is being made even worse by the E.coli outbreak.¡±

It's about sales not safety
18.dec.06
Orange County Register (CA)
http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/opinion/homepage/article_1384688.php
John Keys of La Mirada, Calif., writes to ask, how many people aren't amused by the "spin doctors" at Taco Bell regarding the E. coli outbreak ["Taco Bell lettuce now tied to outbreak," Marketplace, Dec. 14]. It was first thought that green onions were the source of the E. coli outbreak, so Taco Bell pulled the green onions from all the restaurants, not just the East Coast where the outbreak occurred.
Now the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control says the most likely source of the E. coli is lettuce. Does Taco Bell then remove all lettuce from their restaurants? Of course not. It's obvious that if management eliminates lettuce, which was reported to be in 70 percent of all products sold at Taco Bell, then apparently only 30 percent of their products would be offered. So it's OK to pull the green onions, which won't affect business a great deal, but don't even think about eliminating lettuce from their offerings.
Quoting Taco Bell President Greg Creed, "It's not necessary for us to remove lettuce." Here's a quote from me. "It's not necessary for me to be a Taco Bell customer because I'll never be comfortable knowing sales and money are apparently more important than safety."