Comprehensive News List
General Food Safety News/ Outbreak News/ Recall News/ New Methods News/
USDA/FDA
News/ On-Line Slides/ Job Information/ Training Network/
Internet Journal of Food Safety

2/06
2007
ISSUE:244

Sponsors
















Sponsorship Q/A

Click here
to go
Main Page

 

Click here
to go
List of Newsletters


To subscribe this Food Safety Newsletter,
Click here

 

On-Line Slides

Internet Journal of Food Saety

 

Job Openings

 

 

President¡¯s FY 2008 Budget Advances FDA¡¯s Public Health Goals, Including Improving Safety of Nation¡¯s Food Supply

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is requesting nearly $2.1 billion to protect and promote public health as part of the President's fiscal year (FY) 2008 budget?more than a 5 percent increase over the budget submitted to Congress last year.
The FY 2008 request, which covers the period of Oct. 1, 2007 through Sept. 30, 2008, includes $1.64 billion in budget authority and nearly $444 million in industry user fees. The budget proposal includes significant increases to strengthen food safety, modernize drug safety, speed approval of generic drugs, and improve the safety and review of medical devices. The request also includes significant increases to cover higher infrastructure expenses and cost of living adjustments for FDA employees to support the agency's highly trained and specialized public health workforce. These investments will accelerate the availability of new and innovative medical products and help ensure the safety of the food supply.
"As the FDA enters its second century of service, our focus will continue on critical public health initiatives, including ensuring the safety of the food we eat and the safety and effectiveness of the medicines we take," said Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D., Commissioner of Food and Drugs. "The President's budget provides FDA with a sound approach for meeting its public health mandate and priorities for the American people."
The following are FDA's key proposed budget increases:

Strengthening food safety ($10.6 million)
More than 250 different foodborne illnesses are food safety threats. Recent illnesses linked to fresh produce highlight the need for increased resources to strengthen food safety and enhance FDA's ability to reduce and respond to foodborne outbreaks. Additional funding will allow the agency to develop better methods to rapidly detect foodborne illness, track contamination to its source and help states, local jurisdictions and industry mitigate the risks of new outbreaks.

Modernizing drug safety ($11.2 million)
FDA needs additional resources to build on the strong record of safe and reliable drugs that has made the agency a long-time international gold standard of drug regulation. FDA is proposing to further strengthen the science that supports its medical product safety system at every stage of the product life cycle, from pre-market testing and development through post-market surveillance and risk management. With added funds, FDA will increase staff devoted to review of annual safety reports, conduct a pilot program to review the safety profiles of new molecular entities and develop an electronic drug safety tracking system.

Improving medical device safety and review ($7.2 million)
As medical devices become increasingly complex and integral to the delivery of health care, there is a growing need to bolster the system that ensures the safety of these products over their entire life-cycle. The resources will improve device safety by improving FDA's ability to identify, analyze and act on post-market safety information, hire additional staff to handle product recalls and deploy analytical tools to detect adverse events in medical devices on the market. FDA will also use these resources to meet its performance goals for medical device review.

Conducting more?and more timely?generic drug reviews ($5.6 million and $15.7 million in user fees)
Generic drugs generally cost 20 percent to 70 percent less than their brand-name counterparts and thus offer an attractive way of reducing healthcare costs associated with prescription drugs. FDA has made progress in the expedited review of applications for generic drugs, which have risen dramatically over the past six years. FDA is proposing additional funds for generic drug review as well as a new industry-funded generic drug user fee, which FDA estimates will generate $15.7 million in FY 2008.

Other New User Fees ($27 million)
FDA is proposing two additional new user fees. The Reinspection User Fee ensures that laboratories and facilities that fail to comply with health and safety standards bear the cost of re-inspection. When FDA identifies violations during an inspection or issues a Warning Letter to an establishment, it conducts follow-up inspections to verify that the manufacturer or laboratory has taken corrective action. FDA estimates the re-inspection fee will generate $23.2 million in FY 2008. The Export Certification user fee, estimated at $3.7 million, will cover the cost of issuing export certificates required by several foreign governments when companies export food products. Currently FDA charges exporters for certificates in all FDA product areas except foods. Private sector exporters would bear the cost of the program, but would reap its benefits through the agency's enhanced ability to facilitate reports of their products.

Cost of Living Pay Increase ($21.8 million)
At FDA, we rely on a world-class workforce to perform our public health priorities. The funds allow FDA to retain its highly-trained and specialized workforce and to recruit staff of the same caliber.

White Oak Consolidation ($13.3 million)
During the past four years, FDA has been moving to a new campus in White Oak, Md., where FDA will eventually consolidate 7,700 employees located presently at 20 different sites across the Washington, D.C. region. Funding White Oak ensures that FDA programs can focus on high-impact health priorities without diverting funds to pay infrastructure costs. FDA's FY 2008 budget request will pay to move the 1,300 employees in the Center for Devices and Radiological Health to this facility.

FDA and States Closer to Identifying Source of E. coli Contamination
Associated with Illnesses at Taco John's Restaurants
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced that it has moved closer to identifying the source of illness for the Taco John E. coli outbreak. FDA and the state of California, working in conjunction with state health officials in Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin, have DNA-matched the strain of E. coli O157:H7 bacteria associated with the outbreak with two environmental samples gathered from dairy farms near a lettuce growing area in California's Central Valley.
The investigation is ongoing, including obtaining additional samples, to determine if and how material from the dairy farms may have contaminated the lettuce growing area.
FDA has no indication that any lettuce currently on the market, including iceberg lettuce, is connected with any consumer illnesses. This outbreak is not connected to any previous outbreak.
The outbreak sickened approximately 81 individuals in November and December of 2006. Illnesses were reported in Minnesota (33), Iowa (47), and Wisconsin (1). Twenty-six people were hospitalized, and two suffered hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious complication of E. coli O157:H7 infection that can cause permanent kidney damage and death. No deaths have been associated with the outbreak. No new cases of illness are being reported and the outbreak is now considered over.
Taco John's is headquartered in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and has franchises in more than 25 states; however, the outbreak was associated only with Taco John's restaurants located in Iowa and Minnesota.
Epidemiological studies by Minnesota and Iowa health officials had previously identified shredded iceberg lettuce served in the restaurants as the likely vehicle of transmission in the outbreak. FDA was able to focus on specific lettuce growing regions based on the traceback from records obtained from the lettuce processor. The recent DNA match provides a clue as to one possible source of the contamination for the lettuce, although others may exist. It has yet to be determined how the E. coli contaminated the lettuce. The traceback investigation is ongoing and will hopefully yield further insight into how this contamination occurred.
In the wake of recent outbreaks of consumer illness connected with fresh produce, FDA will accelerate its efforts to address produce safety, including consideration of new regulations, if appropriate, to reduce risk of contamination by pathogens.
In the near future, FDA plans to announce public meetings specifically to involve all stakeholders in identifying and initiating measures that will improve the safety of fresh produce marketed in U.S. commerce.

Consumers still worried about produce after E. coli outbreak
04.feb.07
Associated Press
Janet Frankston Lorin
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- A new national survey to be released Monday by Rutgers University was cited as suggesting that September's national spinach recall has shaken consumer confidence in the safety of leafy green vegetables and could have lasting effects on spinach and other similar vegetables.
William K. Hallman, director of the Food Policy Institute at Rutgers, was cited as calling the September spinach recall -- and the E. coli contamination at Taco Bells on the East Coast three months later -- a "signal event" in the public's perception of food safety, adding, "Consumers' expectations were violated by the fact that a product they thought was clean and wholesome turned out to be something they did not expect. It raises questions about other produce that are grown in the same way."
The story says that the survey showed nearly 9 out of 10 consumers said they heard about the recall, but nearly 1 in 3 said they didn't know the recall was over when the survey was taken. About 1 in 5 who were aware of the recall also stopped eating other bagged produce, and 7 percent threw out fresh produce other than spinach during the recall. More than 75 percent of respondents with spinach in their home threw it out.
More than half of the people who ate spinach prior to the recall hadn't returned to eating it when the survey was taken.
The story explains that the national telephone survey of 1,200 people was conducted over three weeks in November, more than six weeks after the spinach recall but before the Taco Bell outbreak. The sampling margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Sales figures through Dec. 23 from 16,000 conventional supermarkets, not including big-box stores such as Wal-Mart or Costco, showed an overall 14 percent drop in spinach sales from a year ago, according to the Perishables Group. Bulk spinach dropped by nearly half and even packaged salad without spinach dropped about 10 percent.

E. coli's long gone, but spinach sales are still hurting
29.jan.07
USA Today
Julie Schmit
http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2007-01-29-spinach-usat_x.htm
Four months after an E. coli outbreak in fresh spinach, sales of that product and packaged salads continue, according to this story, to suffer.
For the week ended Dec. 23, packaged spinach sales were down 37% from the same period a year earlier to $976,699, while bulk spinach sales, a smaller market, were off 22%, says the latest data from market researcher The Perishables Group.
Sales of packaged salads that contain spinach are hurting, too, off 28% year-over-year to $1.4 million. Sales of packaged salads without spinach were down 7.9% to $31.2 million for the week ended Dec. 23. The Perishables Group tracks retail sales at 16,000 supermarkets but not Wal-Mart, Costco or natural food stores.
Jerry Rava of King City, Calif., one of the nation's biggest spinach growers, was quoted as saying, "It's still devastating."
Tanios Viviani, president of Fresh Express, the leading packaged salad maker, was cited as saying Fresh Express' unit sales of spinach, even this month, are 10% to 15% below last year's levels.
Many retailers started reintroducing spinach in early October. Costco waited until this month. It now requires suppliers to random test spinach at the processing plant, including for E. coli O157:H7 and salmonella, another bacteria that can cause serious infections in some people. Within weeks, Costco expects similar testing for other bagged and ready-to-eat products, such as lettuce salads and baby carrots. Craig Wilson, Costco vice president of food safety and quality, was quoted as saying, "It's another part of the food-safety process."

Would one food safety agency mean better oversight?
02.feb.07
Washington Post (blog)
The Government Accountability Office issued a report the other day flagging federal oversight of food safety as a high-risk area.
The main reason? No, not the spate of food-borne illness outbreaks we've had in the past six months. Instead, the GAO focuses on the fact that 15 federal agencies collectively administer at least 30 laws related to food safety.
Exhibit A for the GAO is a ham-and-cheese sandwich:
How a packaged ham-and-cheese sandwich is regulated depends on how the sandwich is presented. USDA [U.S. Department of Agriculture] inspects manufacturers of packaged open-face meat or poultry sandwiches (e.g., those with one slice of bread), but FDA [Food and Drug Administration] inspects manufacturers of packaged closed-face meat or poultry sandwiches (e.g., those with two slices of bread). Although there are no differences in the risks posed by these products, USDA inspects wholesale manufacturers of open-face sandwiches sold in interstate commerce daily, while FDA inspects closed-face sandwiches an average of once every 5 years.
Other examples of inconsistent oversight created by fragmentation:
Food products under the FDA's jurisdiction may be marketed without the agency's prior approval. On the other hand, food products under the USDA's jurisdiction must generally be inspected and approved as meeting federal standards before being sold to the public.
Some USDA inspection facilities at ports handle and store FDA-regulated products. USDA has no jurisdiction over these FDA-regulated products. Although USDA maintains a daily presence at these facilities, the FDA-regulated products may remain at the facilities for some time awaiting FDA inspection.
The GAO recommends Congress enact comprehensive, uniform and risk-based food safety legislation and commission the National Academy of Sciences or a blue ribbon panel to conduct "a detailed analysis of alternative organizational food safety structures."
The GAO report will likely be cited if Congress ever gets around to discussing an overhaul of the nation's food safety system. Already, some lawmakers are starting to talk again about the idea of creating one food safety agency -- a notion that was being tossed around during the Clinton era.
Interestingly, though, fragmented oversight didn't emerge as the biggest concern during last fall's outbreaks. A dearth of resources at the FDA certainly did. The absence of mandatory standards for produce growers did, too. And since President Clinton left office, we've seen what can happen when the federal government decides to create a brand new agency. (I'm thinking of a little department called Homeland Security. Being part of DHS didn't seem to help the Federal Emergency Management Agency's response to Hurricane Katrina.) Some food safety advocates also wonder if one agency would simply create one-stop shopping for lobbyists looking to find ways of preempting tougher state food safety standards.
To be fair, the GAO isn't advocating one agency. Just a "fundamental reexamination."
And who can argue with that?
What do you think? Would our food be safer if we had a single department of food safety?

Why restaurant inspections?
03.feb.07
Tulare Advance Register (CA)
For several months, the Visalia Times-Delta and Tulare Advance-Register have published the results of food inspections of local restaurants by the Tulare County Health Department.
The inspection reports are public information and available for inspection by any member of the public.
The newspapers have published these reports as a consumer service in their Friday editions each week.
While the great majority of restaurants and food outlets receive commendable ratings, on occasion a restaurant doesn't pass. The health department offers these restaurants an opportunity to correct what is wrong, and the newspapers publish the results of those followup visits.
Nevertheless, some of those poor ratings have provoked criticism of the newspaper from the restaurant industry and individual restaurants.
We sought some perspective from the restaurant association and from the health department in assembly this report on food inspections. Included is an example of a report, comments from readers and and opportunity for readers to render their opinion regarding the question: What good do restaurant inspections do you?

Food Safety Related JOB OPENINGS
Food Safety Related JOB OPENINGS

Raw milk can be poison
01.feb.07
Central Kentucky News Journal - Campbellsville,KY
http://www.cknj.com/articles/2007/02/01/opinion/letters%20to%20the%20editor/01letter.txt
William R Henning, Professor Emeritus of Animal and Food Science, Penn State University, writes that as a University of Kentucky graduate in animal and food science, he feels compelled to answer some of the illogical and unscientific arguments for drinking raw milk.
No, raw milk will not cause widespread disease and death and will not ruin agriculture. However, as a scientist who has had a career working on food safety and with food science, this whole argument is an argument against everything I was ever taught. Especially if it is fueled and fomented by a group that consists of anti-government, anti-technology, anti-business radicals who use feelings and testimonials to make their decisions.
We know that raw milk can contain many different pathogens, including Listeria, Salmonella, E coli O157:H7, Campylobacter, Mycobacterium paratuberculosis, Brucella and others. Most of these will not kill people, but we know that in other states raw milk has killed children. Does it happen often? No, but who is going to tell the parents who lost their child that it is not that dangerous because it doesn't happen often? Who is willing to take that risk?
Even though I grew up on raw milk, I certainly would not feed it to my grandchildren. For one thing, the pathogenic, toxin forming E coli did not exist as such when I grew up. It is a killer to children because it forms a toxin and shuts down the kidneys. This is a terrible way to see children die. It is found widely in the environment. I have found it in whitetail deer, starlings, cow water tanks, raccoons, opossums and it is certainly found widely in cattle.
It is easily killed by cooking, including pastuerization. If we won't believe the science, why don't we just shut down the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture? If we won't believe what the scientists say, we might as well save the money and just let the public figure it out for themselves. This is not what I want for my family and for the future of our citizens. Follow the law, there is a scientific reason for it.

Questions and Answers on the Gluten-Free Labeling Proposed Rule
Questions and Answers on the Gluten-Free Labeling Proposed Rule

Package of major food safety bills introduced by California State Senator Dean Florez
01.feb.07
California Progress Report
Frank D. Russo
http://www.californiaprogressreport.com/2007/02/package_of_majo.html
Senator Dean Florez announced the introduction of "The California Produce Safety Action Plan" this morning in the Capitol. In a serious mood, Florez stood in front of photographs of those who had died of E, coli outbreaks.
Last year, Florez held a hearing of the Senate Governmental Organization Committee in the wake of September¡¯s E. coli outbreak linked to California spinach, identifying a number of vulnerabilities to the food supply.
The three bills he has introduced, SB 200, 201, and 202 are designed to address those shortcomings, from water used to irrigate crops to the process for tracing the source of an outbreak. They are not yet in print.
Florez was quoted as saying, "While these outbreaks may have dealt a temporary blow to consumer confidence, we have an opportunity here to take what we¡¯ve learned from the experience and create a food safety system that is second to none, just like California produce."
The first measure gives the Department of Health Services (DHS) the authority it needs to effectively manage future outbreaks and best protect the public from threats like E. coli, such as allowing DHS to recall, quarantine or destroy tainted produce. Under the measure, growers of leafy greens would be required to get a license through DHS, just like processors already do. During the licensing process, growers would have to identify for DHS any risk factors at their growing locations, such as proximity to wildlife which could track E. coli into crop fields. The bill also creates an inspection program, funded by the licensing fees, which will send inspectors to farms who will conduct testing of water, soil and produce as they deem necessary.
The second bill calls on DHS to establish ¡°good agricultural practices,¡± or GAP, which growers of leafy greens must follow, governing everything from water and fertilizer use to issues of sanitation and flooding. The bill prohibits the use of creek water for irrigation or raw manure for fertilizer and requires that water used for growing leafy greens be tested every two weeks during the growing season and immediately prior to harvest. Growers must maintain records of these practices, which must be reviewed prior to transporting the leafy greens.
The third measure in the series requires DHS to establish the minimum requirements of a traceback system which will allow the speedy tracking of leafy greens from farm to processor, to distributor, to retailer. An expedited traceback system would allow DHS to quickly trace contaminated greens to their precise source, preventing a repeat of September when all spinach was suspect and all growers took the hit because consumers did not immediately know which produce they could trust.

Bills would target unsafe farming of leafy greens
01.feb.07
LA Times
Marla Cone
http://www.latimes.com/
A state senator from the San Joaquin Valley, Sen. Dean Florez (D-Shafter) , was cited as saying he would introduce legislation today that would ban some risky farm practices and allow state officials to inspect fields where leafy greens are grown.
The proposed law follows several recent deaths and numerous illnesses that have been linked to bacteria on California spinach and lettuce.
One of three bills to be introduced by would order the state to establish mandatory "good agricultural practices" for growers of leafy greens. Currently, such practices, including testing of irrigation water and bans on use of raw manure and creek water on fields, are voluntary. Growers would be subject to criminal misdemeanor charges for breaking the rules, and violators could face jail time and fines.
Florez was quoted as saying, "This leafy green industry, I believe, is absolutely not able to police itself. There has been enough warning to California and to growers to get their act together. We feel very strongly a regulatory approach is the right approach to food safety."
Florez called the spinach and lettuce growers "a very rogue industry" that had not voluntarily followed safe procedures as other agricultural groups had.

Taco John's dismissed from E. coli lawsuits, franchise owners added

31.jan.07
Associated Press
Todd Dvorak
Court papers filed this week were cited in this story as indicating that Taco John's has been dismissed from a series of lawsuits filed by customers who contracted E. coli after eating at restaurants in Iowa in December.
The story says that on Tuesday, lawyers for Angela Saul, of Cedar Falls, and Karen Hibben-Levi, of Waterloo, filed motions asking a judge to dismiss the Taco John's corporation from their cases.
Saul and Hibben-Levi were two of at least 26 people who were hospitalized and treated for various symptoms after a strain of E. coli was found in lettuce at Taco John's restaurants in Iowa and Minnesota.
Lawyers in the case were cited as saying they will shift their focus from Taco John's to the owners, or franchisees, of both stores, Scott and Debbie Dominiack, of Brookings, S.D. The Dominiacks were added as defendants in the Iowa cases in motions filed last week.
William Marler, the plaintiff's Seattle-based attorney, was quoted as saying, "The bottom line is the law ... is pretty onerous to tag the corporation in these kinds of lawsuits. Ultimately, it's the franchisee that is responsible in these cases."
The story explains that health officials determined that the products sold at Taco John's restaurants in Austin and Albert Lea, Minn., and Cedar Falls and Waterloo, Iowa were tainted. Federal investigators have traced the E. coli to produce growers in California's Central Valley.

Mad cow study points to virus, not proteins
30.jan.07
Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/
Researchers have found more evidence that a virus may cause mad cow disease and a related brain disorder in humans, threatening to overturn 25 years of research focusing on malformed proteins called prions.
Laura Manuelidis, a neuropathologist at Yale Medical School, was cited as saying that serve cells infected with the human form of mad cow disease contained a virus-size particle that doesn't appear in uninfected cells. Cells infected with scrapie, a related sheep disorder, contained the same germ.
The findings challenge the idea that the diseases are spread by prions, abnormal proteins that have also been detected in the brains of infected humans and animals. Stanley Prusiner won the Nobel Prize in 1997 for research identifying prions as the infectious agent.
But questions have arisen because people and animals are thought to catch the disease by eating infected meat, and some researchers argue that the stomach and intestines would quickly break down any protein before it reached the blood or brain.

Virus May Be The Cause Of Mad Cow
A study disputes the theory that deformed proteins are to blame for the brain disease.
(Los Angeles Times, CA)

By Jia-Rui Chong
Mad cow disease and other related brain disorders may be caused by a virus and not the weird, misshapen proteins, known as prions, that scientists think are responsible, according to a study released Monday.
Researchers reported that they found virus-like particles in mouse nerve cells infected with two brain-wasting diseases similar to mad cow disease, but found no traces of the particles in uninfected cells.
Lead author Dr. Laura Manuelidis, a neuropathologist at Yale University, said the finding suggested that prions in infected brains were the result of a viral infection and not the cause of the disease.
"We found something that people have been ignoring," Manuelidis said of the virus particles. "What we hypothesize is the simplest, most parsimonious point of view."
Several brain researchers were skeptical about Manuelidis' findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"It's very remarkable that we only see these particles after infection of these cells," said Bob Rohwer, director of the Molecular Neurovirology Laboratory at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Baltimore, who was not involved in the study. "But the evidence that they are in fact the infectious agent responsible is still highly circumstantial."
Mad cow disease, known formally as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, is a cattle disease that destroys brain tissue by causing abnormal tangles of protein fibers and creating microscopic holes in the brain.
It is part of a family of slow-developing brain diseases, including scrapie in sheep and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. Human infection in recent years has been connected to eating infected meat. There have been dozens of fatalities over the years.
The prion theory of mad cow disease proposes that a normal protein spontaneously misfolds, starting a cascade of abnormal changes in other proteins.
In Manuelidis' previous experiments, prions did not appear until late in the progression of spongy brain diseases.
To find what appears at an earlier phase, Manuelidis' team homogenized mouse brains infected with scrapie and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and injected them into nerve cell cultures.
The only new objects were dense spheres that looked like small viruses, she said.
She later added a compound to spur the growth of prions about fivefold to see if that would increase the level of infection. The level did not show a significant increase, suggesting that prions were not the active agent of infection, she said.
To prove that the virus-like particles are solely responsible for the infection, Manuelidis plans to isolate the particles and see if they can start an infection when injected into healthy cells. 1-31-07

Outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7: Alberta
26.jan.07
Infectious Diseases News Brief - Index (Health Canada)
Twelve cases of laboratory-confirmed E. coli O157:H7 were identified through notifiable disease surveillance in the Capital Health Region (metro Edmonton) in May 2006. Enhanced surveillance methods were employed, which resulted in the identification of an outbreak associated with consumption of beef donairs from one local restaurant chain. At the time of the outbreak, a local professional hockey team was involved in a playoff tournament. Several cases reported taking part in the hockey celebrations, and when prompted about food history during the festivities these cases also reported consumption of beef donairs from one Edmonton restaurant specializing in this food product. Other outbreak cases also recalled that during the incubation period they had consumed donairs from a different Edmonton location of the same restaurant chain. The case definition was restricted to residents of or visitors to the Capital Health Region who were positive for E. coli O157:H7 national PFGE pattern ECXAI 0.1455 in stool collected between 1 May and 30 June, 2006. A total of nine cases met this definition, eight cases were infected with an isolate of provincial PFGE pattern ECXAI 0.1455, and the ninth case was infected with an isolate of pattern ECXAI 0.1468. Both PFGE patterns had not been previously observed in Alberta. There were nine additional laboratory-confirmed E. coli O157:H7 cases reported in the Capital Health Region during this same period that did not meet the case definition. Of the nine cases that met the case definition, seven (78%) reported consumption of a beef donair during the incubation period. This food item was purchased at one of two locations of an Edmonton restaurant chain specializing in the food product. There were six locations (designated A-F) of the implicated restaurant chain in the Capital Health Region at the time of the outbreak. Of those cases that reported donair consumption, five (71%) purchased the donair at restaurant location A, and two (29%) at restaurant location B. Location A is located in the area of Edmonton where the hockey post-. celebrations took place.
Source: Canada Communicable Disease Report, Volume 33, No. 2, 15 January 2007

51 European visitors treated for suspected food poisoning
Friday, February 2nd 2007
Source of Article: http://www.thetobagonews.com/index.pl/article?id=10258434
Fifty-one European visitors staying at the Rex Turtle Resort, Courland were treated for suspected food poisoning on Sunday night and were now threatening to cut short their stay at the resort.
County Medical Officer of Health Dr Mentor Melville in confirming this to the Tobago News said he along with a medical team visited the resort on Monday after being swamped with calls that its guests came down with symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea. Dr. Melville and his team treated them on Monday.
Some have since left the resort and sought other accommodation on the island.
The health team seized samples of water, food and faeces, which were sent to the Public Health Laboratory in Trinidad for testing. He was expecting a preliminarily report soon.
When contacted for a comment resort Manager Leslie Amadee said he would prefer to wait until the results of the tests were received from the Public Health Laboratory.


2nd International Conference for Food Safety and Quality
Nov. 6-7, 2007
South San Francisco Convention Center

Click here for more information

1st International Conference for Food Safety and Quality (Nov. 7-8, 2006)
Major Topic: Current Detection Methods for Microbiological/Chemical Hazards for Food Safety/Quality

Merck's Dehydrated Culture Medium for Detection of Pseudomonas in Food and Water
source from: RapidMicrobiology.com
Pseudomonas, an underestimated danger.
The genus Pseudomonas is very important because many members of this family are resistant to antibiotics. Immunocompromised persons in particular are at risk of developing pneumonia or of suffering infected wounds and sepsis.
Use of the appropriate selective supplement and the correct incubation temperature makes the medium selective for Pseudomonas spp. including Burkholderia cepacia, formerly known as Pseudomonas cepacia (CFC Agar), and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (CN Agar). While Pseudomonas CFC Agar is used to enumerate Pseudomonas spp. in foods - especially chilled food such as meat, fish, milk,etc. - Pseudomonas CN Agar is used for the specific detection of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in water, including process water, and water used in the manufacture of sterile pharmaceutical products. And, because we encounter Pseudomonas daily in water, milk and animal feedstuffs, it is very important that we exercise care and take precautions.
With this in mind, Merck sells this granular culture medium - Pseudomonas Agar (Base) - along with CN and CFC Selective Supplements for detection of Pseudomonas, so your future risks will be minimised.
The two Pseudomonas selective media conform to ISO Standards 13720 and 12780, respectively.

Three Major Food Processors Choose RapidChek¢ç for Salmonella and Listeria Testing
source from: RapidMicrobiology.com

Strategic Diagnostics Inc.,(SDI) has sold its RapidChek¢ç Listeria and RapidChek¢ç SELECT¢â for Salmonella test platforms to three major food processors with an estimated, combined annual value in excess of $800,000 per year. Product has started to ship in the current calendar quarter. With the introduction of RapidChek¢ç SELECT¢â for Salmonella in late August of 2006, SDI was, for the first time,able to offer state-of-the-art tests for the detection of all three regulated food pathogens in the U.S. In addition to the superior performance of each of the three methods, the Company also sees its ability to offer all three tests, on the same platform, as contributing to broader industry adoption going forward.
The Company believes it is well positioned to increase its market share within the Salmonella testing market, an industry currently estimated at $75 million annually.

New BAX Assay Allows Fast and Accurate Identification of Campylobacter Species
source from: RapidMicrobiology.com
Oxoid Limited, marketing partner for the DuPont Qualicon BAX¢ç System in Europe, Australia and Canada, has launched the new BAX¢ç Real Time PCR assay for Campylobacter.
Most current screening procedures for Campylobacter are culture-based, take at least 3 days for a result and do not differentiate between species without additional investigational work. The new BAX Real Time Campylobacter assay allows:
Differentiation between the pathogenic species C. jejuni, C. coli and C. lari
Quantification of three Campylobacter species
Same day results for highly contaminated samples (direct protocol)
Next day/two day results for samples requiring enrichment.
Campylobacter infection is a worldwide public health concern and is the leading cause of enteric illness in many countries. Campylobacter species differ from other food pathogens in that they do not multiply within the food. However, as few as 500 cells are sufficient to cause infection. The organism is endemic in many poultry populations and whilst normally responsible for self-limiting enteritis, infection can lead to severe complications such as arthritis and Guillain-Barre syndrome an acute paralytic disease of the nervous system. Although C. jejuni is responsible for approximately 90% of these infections, C. coli and C. lari have also been implicated. The commercial cost of the disease associated with poultry alone has been estimated at between Euros 270M and Euros 550M annually.
Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) is a method used for amplifying and detecting specific DNA in a sample.The BAX Real Time Campylobacter assay, the first in a series of new real-time assays from DuPont Qualicon, uses PCR and probe-based chemistry to detect, quantify and differentiate between these three species of Campylobacter in the same sample.
Target specific probes (linked with different fluorescent markers) are displaced and cleaved from their target DNA during the amplification process, resulting in an increase in fluorescence. This fluorescence is measured at the end of each amplification cycle in real time. By determining which fluorescent marker became detectable and when, the BAX System Real Time PCR assay allows for the quantification and differentiation of three Campylobacter species.
The BAX System is simple and easy to use. Lysis is straight-forward and requires no additional equipment. All reagents required for PCR are supplied in a single tablet conveniently packaged inside the PCR tubes provided in each kit. Tableted reagents minimise the amount of hands-on time required for processing whilst simultaneously simplifying and standardising the procedure. Results are interpreted automatically and are ready for reporting. If necessary, icons and graphs make further result interrogation simple and easy to visualise.
The BAX Real Time Campylobacter assay has been validated internally for use on poultry rinses and ready-to-eat poultry products. These studies have shown that the BAX System performs equal to or better than traditional cultural methods, but with a quicker time to result. Two protocols exist: highly contaminated samples can be processed directly and will give a quantified result in only 2 hours. Other samples (such as ready-to-eat chicken) require enrichment, with results available as soon as next day.
The BAX System Real Time PCR Assay for Campylobacter jejuni/coli/lari will be submitted to AOAC-RI for Performance Tested method approval.
For further information about the BAX Real Time Campylobacter assay, please contact Oxoid using the contact details at the top of this page.