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3/06
2007
ISSUE:248

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Yum! Hires pest expert to help fight New York rats (Update3)
03.mar.07
Bloomberg
Josh Fineman and Courtney Dentch
Yum! Brands Inc. was cited as saying it hired a pest-control expert to monitor the company's standards in New York City after some Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants were closed because of rat and mice infestation.
Robert Corrigan will make recommendations on how the locations can combat the rodents, the Louisville, Kentucky- based company said today in a statement. He is president of a pest-management consulting firm and the author of "Rodent Control: A Practical Guide for Pest Management Professionals."

More NYC Restaurants Shut in Rat Scandal

Thursday, March 01, 2007
By DAVID B. CARUSO, Associated Press Writer
Source of Article: http://www.foxnews.com/
NEW YORK The parent company of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut said it had temporarily closed several New York City restaurants owned by the franchisee that operated a Manhattan eatery overrun last week by rats.
In a statement issued late Wednesday, Yum Brands Inc. said the restaurants would remain closed until they underwent new inspections by the city's health department.
"We will not compromise on our food and restaurant quality," said Emil Brolick, a Yum Brands executive.
The company's actions were aimed at the ADF Companies, a Fairfield, N.J.-based group that owns more than 350 fast food restaurants in several states. It is among the nation's largest operators of Pizza Huts.
An ADF-owned KFC/Taco Bell was closed by New York health inspectors last week after TV news crews peering through the windows recorded about a dozen rats skittering across the floors and climbing on tables and countertops. The restaurant wasn't open at the time, and officials later said construction in the basement might have stirred up the rodents.
The video, still circulating on the Internet, also brought shame on the city for giving a passing grade to the restaurant during a health inspection one day earlier.
ADF President Don Harty issued a statement Thursday apologizing to customers.
"We are embarrassed by the situation and stress that certain restaurants did not meet the very high standards that we set for ourselves," he said.
ADF spokeswoman Marissa Smith said she didn't know exactly how many of the company's 20 restaurants in New York City had closed but described it as "a handful." The closures did not extend to other states, she said.
It was unclear how quickly the restaurants might reopen. Smith said each was getting a rigorous new inspection.
Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said the city's failure to immediately shut the Greenwich Village KFC/Taco Bell after learning of the rat problem was unacceptable. The inspector who conducted the initial review has been temporarily removed from field duty.
Frieden also said that other restaurant inspectors could expect a thorough analysis of their work in the coming weeks.

Senators Clinton and Lautenberg call for evaluation of food safety system
02.mar.07
Senator Hilary Rodham Clinton
http://clinton.senate.gov/news/statements/details.cfm?id=269972&&
Washington, DC -- With reports of declining food safety inspections, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Frank R. Lautenberg today emphasized the urgent need to investigate and address problems in our food safety system. In a letter to the heads of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Senators Clinton and Lautenberg reiterated their call for creation of a multi-agency food safety task force to report to Congress what changes in law and regulations are needed to ensure the safety of our food supply and prevent future outbreaks.
"It is deeply troubling that food safety inspections are on the decline despite repeated and widespread outbreaks of food borne illness affecting New Yorkers and people all over the country. It is critical that we take a hard look at our food safety system and make the changes needed to ensure the safety and security of our food supply," said Senator Clinton.
"We have to take every precaution to make sure our food is protected," said Senator Frank R. Lautenberg. "Recent outbreaks of E. Coli and other food borne illnesses are proof that the federal government needs to do a better job of making America's food supply safer. We can't wait for the next outbreak before we take action."
Following the outbreak of E.coli poisoning that sickened hundreds of people on Long Island and throughout New York and New Jersey, Senators Clinton and Lautenberg joined with colleagues from other affected states in calling on the agencies to create a joint task force to examine the cause of the outbreaks and needed changes in our food safety system. To date, these agencies have not responded to this request.

CDC: Salmonella cases hit 370
28.feb.07
Associated Press
ATLANTA -- Federal health officials were cited as saying Tuesday that the number of illnesses resulting from salmonella contamination in jars of peanut butter has climbed to 370, up from 329 confirmed cases last week. Forty-two states have confirmed cases, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
ConAgra Foods Inc. on Feb. 14 recalled all Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter made at its Sylvester, Ga., plant after federal health officials linked the product to an outbreak of an unusual type of salmonella that has sickened people since August.

FDA and CDC Remind Consumers of the Dangers of Drinking Raw Milk
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are reminding consumers of the dangers of drinking milk that has not been pasteurized, known as raw milk. Raw milk potentially contains a wide variety of harmful bacteria ? including Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, Listeria, Campylobacter and Brucella ? that may cause illness and possibly death.
Consuming raw milk may be harmful to health. From 1998 to May 2005 CDC identified 45 outbreaks of foodborne illness that implicated unpasteurized milk, or cheese made from unpasteurized milk. These outbreaks accounted for 1,007 illnesses, 104 hospitalizations, and two deaths. This is based on information in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for the week of March 2, 2007. The actual number of illnesses was almost certainly higher because not all cases of illness are recognized and reported.
Consumers who become ill after consuming raw milk, and pregnant women who believe they consumed contaminated raw milk or cheese made from raw milk, should see a doctor or other health care provider immediately.
Symptoms of illness caused by raw milk vary depending on which harmful bacteria are present. Symptoms may include but are not limited to: vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, headache and body ache.
Most healthy people will recover from illness caused by harmful bacteria in raw milk or in foods made with raw milk within a short period of time. But some individuals can develop symptoms that are chronic, severe, or even life-threatening. Illnesses caused by pathogens found in raw milk can be especially severe for pregnant women, the elderly, infants, young children and people with weakened immune systems.
Since 1987, in order to better protect consumers from such risks, FDA has required all milk packaged for human consumption be pasteurized before being delivered for introduction into interstate commerce. Pasteurization, a process that heats milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time, kills bacteria responsible for diseases such as listeriosis, salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, diphtheria and brucellosis. FDA's pasteurization requirement also applies to other milk products, with the exception of a few aged cheeses.
Proponents of drinking raw milk often claim that raw milk is more nutritious than pasteurized milk and that raw milk is inherently antimicrobial, thus making pasteurization unnecessary. Research has shown that these claims are myths. There is no meaningful nutritional difference between pasteurized and raw milk, and raw milk does not contain compounds that will kill harmful bacteria.
In fact, raw milk, no matter how carefully produced, may be unsafe. The CDC, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, the Association of Food and Drug Officials and other organizations have endorsed the pasteurization of milk and restriction of the sale of products containing raw milk. Because even pasteurized milk contains low levels of nonpathogenic bacteria that can cause food to spoil, it is important to keep pasteurized milk refrigerated.

Escherichia coli O157:H7 infection associated with drinking raw milk --Washington and Oregon,
November--December 2005
02.mar.07
Morbiditiy & Mortality Weekly
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5608a3.htm
During the week of December 5, 2005, public health officials in Clark County, Washington, were notified of four county residents with laboratory-confirmed Escherichia coli O157:H7 infection. All four residents reported having consumed raw (i.e., unpasteurized) milk obtained from a farm in neighboring Cowlitz County, Washington. The farm participated in a cow-share program, in which persons purchase interests in, or shares of, dairy cows in return for a portion of the milk produced.* The farm had five dairy cows and regularly provided raw milk to shareholders. Although the sale of raw milk and cow-share agreements are illegal in certain states, they are legal in Washington; however, Washington farms that provide raw milk to consumers must be licensed, meet state milk-production and processing standards, and pass health and sanitation inspections by the state department of agriculture (1). The Cowlitz County farm was not licensed. This report summarizes the investigation of E. coli O157:H7 cases associated with the farm and reinforces previous warnings about the health hazards of consuming raw milk. more information

Food Safety/Quality JOB Information
Food Safety/Quality JOB Information

FDA Must Move to Safeguard Food Supply: Approve Irradiation of Produce!:
American Council on Science & Health (February 12, 2007):
Source of Article: Food Irradiation Update (March 2007)
Does anyone at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ever watch the PBS program ¡°The News Hour?¡± They certainly should on February 8 the program¡¯s segment on food irradiation gave ample reason for the agency to approve irradiation of produce to kill illness-causing (pathogenic) bacteria.
A decade ago, the usual culprits for bacteria-related food-borne illness were foods such as meat and poultry. There were numerous outbreaks of illness and indeed some deaths?from foods contaminated by E. coli, salmonella and campylobacter, to name just a few. Of late, however, we have seen E. coli contamination of plant-derived foods such as alfalfa sprouts, green onions, and most recently spinach and lettuce. Since these foods are consumed raw, there is no opportunity to kill bacteria with heat, and washing doesn¡¯t remove bacteria that the plants may have taken up from contaminated soils. But irradiation can kill such bacteria?without significantly altering the foods.
Anti-technology activists have fomented unwarranted fears about irradiation, ranging from concerns that the process will make foods radioactive (it
doesn¡¯t) to charges that food producers will not keep their facilities clean if they know their foods will be irradiated for safety. This latter concern is really old?it was a charge made against the introduction of heat pasteurization to kill bacteria in milk back in the 1920s. It wasn¡¯t true of dairies, and it won¡¯t be true of other food producers either.
Irradiation technology has been used in the U.S. for decades to sterilize products ranging from baby bottle nipples to surgeons¡¯ gloves the process is well understood and well-controlled. There is no danger to workers or to the community in which irradiators are located.
In order for produce purveyors to use irradiation to safeguard their products, a petition to allow such a use must be submitted to and approved by the FDA. Such a petition has been languishing at the FDA for six years, according to information presented in the PBS report.
ACSH applauds PBS for presenting accurate information about the utility and safety of food irradiation. At a time when most public health experts are encouraging Americans to consume more plant-based foods, it is increasingly important to make sure that such food is as safe as possible. The ball is in the FDA¡¯s court irradiation to protect the safety of produce should be approved without further delay.
However, other critics contend that the use of this technology will mask the underlying problems in food manufacturing, which produce bacteria in the first place. That is, if food is irradiated, food producers will not pay attention to maximizing food safety in the manufacturing process.

More Headaches for Con Agra
Posted on March 4, 2007 by Salmonella Lawyer
Vietnam recalls US peanut butter suspected of causing typhoid
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
Vietnam authorities are set to recall peanut butter brands imported from the US Monday after cases of infection with bacterium salmonella ? linked as a causative agent for typhoid were reported in the US. Authorities are to withdraw from circulation 24 jars of peanut butter bearing the brand names ¡°Peter Pan¡± and ¡°Great Value¡± distributed to the Vietnamese market by Hanoi-based Bao Quang Company. The firm has imported a total of 720 jars, and the remaining products are still in stock. Salmonella can also cause food poisoning and intestinal inflammation. The decision to recall the products were prompted by a recent announcement by the US Embassy in Hanoi that the butter has caused 290 people in the US to be infected with salmonella, with 46 hospitalized. So far, no cases of typhoid infection from the sandwich and toast spread have been reported in Vietnam.

Don't close FDA lab
05.mar.07
Philadelphia Inquirer (PA)
Paul C. DeLeo, Franklin Twp., Chester County writes that he was perplexed by "Food worries rise as inspections fall," Feb. 27.
The Inquirer article, which said the Food and Drug Administration has reduced the number of food safety inspections by nearly 50 percent over the last three years, coincided with an announcement by the agency that it planned to close seven of its 13 field labs, including one in Philadelphia. Apparently, the American public is not getting its Recommended Daily Allowance of E. coli and salmonella.
More troubling to those of us who live in the Delaware Valley, the FDA lab in Philadelphia will be closed. This lab has pharmaceutical testing expertise integral to the international competitiveness of one our biggest industries. If the leaders at FDA are permitted to continue with their shortsighted ways, the American public will see reduced safety of its food, drugs and medical devices, and the drug industry will lose a resource that helps support the profits and jobs that fuel our region's economy.

FSA aims to cut mycotoxins from cereal ingredients
By Anthony Fletcher
Source of Article: http://www.bakeryandsnacks.com/
28/02/2007 - Codes of practice to help UK farmers reduce the levels of mycotoxins in cereals could improve the safety of the ingredient supply chain.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) codes, which are targeted at establishing better production through changes to cultivation and storage practices, come in response to a new EU recommendation.
As the regulatory body for food safety in the UK, the FSA is responsible for the implementation and application of EU legislation.
Mycotoxins are toxic substances produced by some fungi, and can be hazardous to human and animal health, even at low concentrations.
Mycotoxins can be present our diet as a result of the growth of specific fungi on food crops, either in the field or in storage.
The first code of practice deals with the reduction of fusarium mycotoxins in the field, while the second details practices to minimise the formation of ochratoxin A in stored grain.
The two documents were produced under the FSA research project 'Code of Practice to reduce fusarium and ochratoxin A in cereals'.
In December, the FSA proposed a more harmonised approach to the enforcement of contaminants levels across the EU, which would help to promote consistent and effective
regulation by reducing uncertainty or dispute in interpreting results against limits.
The draft Contaminants in Food (England) Regulations 2007 would provide enforcement authorities and industry with the necessary legal framework to ensure compliance with EU measures setting maximum levels for specific contaminants.
The EU-wide directive on contaminants is part of the legislative push to increase the safety of the food chain, by cutting down the levels of chemical residues found in products, including those used as pesticides or as part of the processing cycle.
The European Commission revised the directive last year to widen the scope of limits on heavy metals and mycotoxins in foods, among other changes. The new regulation consolidated and replaced European Commission regulation 466/2001 and its previous amendments.
The Commission is also in the process of replacing the sampling and analysis directives with new regulations. The proposals set maximum levels for nitrates in spinach, lettuce, baby foods and processed cereal based food for infants and young children.

Lactococcus strain may offer end to food allergies
By Stephen Daniells
Source of Article: http://www.foodnavigator.com/
02/03/2007 - Non-pathogenic gut bacteria, bioengineered to produce a compound that regulates immune response in the gut, may offer significant potential for beating food allergies, if results from an animal study can be translated to humans.
Authors Christophe Frossard and Philippe Eigenmann from the University Hospital of Geneva in collaboration with Lothar Steidler from University College Cork bioengineered a strain of Lactococcus lactis to produce anti-inflammatory interleukin-10 (IL-10), a potential regulator for food tolerance.
Writing in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Frossard reports that oral administration of this non-pathogenic strain effectively reduced food-induced anaphylaxis (severe allergic response) in mice and suppressed the production of an antibody capable of initiating the most powerful immune reactions.
"These findings open interesting potential options in human beings for the prevention of allergies elicited through sensitization in the gut," wrote the authors in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
Indeed, corresponding author, Dr. Philippe Eigenmann told FoodNavigator.com: "The potential for the industry is to use in "health" foods probiotics that are engineered to be better tolerance inductor. The big question is how will be accepted by the consumer."
An estimated four per cent of adults and eight per cent of children in the 380m EU population suffer from food allergies, according to the European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients' Associations.
The researchers used a mouse model of food allergy to test their hypothesis that oral administration of Lactococcus lactis bioengineered to secrete murine IL-10 could inhibit and/or stop sensitisation.
The mice were sensitised to beta-lactoglobulin in the presence of cholera toxin and then given the L. lactis IL-10-secreting strain. The researchers report that anaphylaxis was reduced significantly, while blood levels of antigen-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) ? an antibody subclass capable of initiating the most powerful immune reactions- were also significantly reduced.
Moreover, production of antigen-specific immunoglobulin A (IgA) in the gut
"These results suggest that a microorganism bioengineered to deliver IL-10 in the gut can decrease food-induced anaphylaxis and provide an option to prevent IgE-type sensitization to common food allergens," state the researchers.
Further research is ongoing and Dr. Eigenmann told this website: "The research has been extended to patients with inflammatory colitis in whom the microorganism is well tolerated (phase I trial), and there is some indication that it is also effective for treatment.
"The challenge is going to phase two human trials for prevention, but also for treatment of food allergy," he said.
Allergen labelling regulations that came into force on 25 November require companies to label all pre-packed foods if they contain any of the 12 listed allergenic foods as an ingredient.
The mandatory inclusion on food labels of the most common food allergen ingredients and their derivatives covers cereals containing gluten, fish, crustaceans, egg, peanut, soybeans, milk and dairy products including lactose, nuts, celery, mustard, sesame seed, and sulphites.
Source: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (Elsevier)
Published on-line ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2006.12.615
"Oral administration of an IL-10-secreting Lactococcus lactis strain prevents food-induced IgE sensitization"
Authors: C.P. Frossard, L. Steidler, P.A. Eigenmann

Better Ways to Diagnose -- and Prevent -- Foodborne Illness; American Council on Science & Health (February 23, 2007)
Source of Article: Food Irradiation Update (March 2007)
On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the new <http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D8NDHA204.htm> E. Coli diagnostic test called ImmunoCard Stat. The approval of this test is timely given the recent E. coli outbreaks in the American food supply. In the fall of 2006, an E. coli outbreak linked to contaminated packages of California spinach caused three deaths and over 200 infections in twenty-six states.
In December of 2006, at least thirty-nine <http://www.acsh.org/factsfears/newsID.887/news_detail.asp> people in New York and New Jersey became ill after consuming E. coli-contaminated food from Taco Bell restaurants.
E. coli can be a serious threat to human health. It is transmitted to humans primarily through consumption of contaminated foods, such as raw or undercooked ground meat products, contaminated produce, and raw milk.
Symptoms caused by E. coli include abdominal cramps and diarrhea, which may in some cases progress to bloody diarrhea. Fever and vomiting may also occur.
E. coli isn't the only pathogen to invade our food supply. In the past week, four food products have been recalled due to contamination. On February 19, Oscar Meyer chicken breast strips were recalled after samples tested positive for listeria, a bacteria that can cause serious illness. On February 16, Dole Fresh Fruit Co. recalled cantaloupes imported from Costa Rica after some were found to be contaminated with salmonella. On that same day, certain jars of Earth's Best Organic 2 Apple Peach Barley Wholesome Breakfast baby food were also recalled because they may be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, the causative agent of potentially lethal botulism.
On February 14, ConAgra Foods Inc. recalled its Peter Pan peanut butter and batches of Wal-Mart's Great Value peanut butter after they were linked to the salmonella outbreak that caused illness in approximately 300 people in thirty-nine states.
Numerous safety measures are in use at every level of the American food supply chain. Yet, despite this, roughly 5,000 Americans die every year due to foodborne illness, according to the CDC. Please see our publication Eating <http://www.acsh.org/publications/pubID.317/pub_detail.asp> Safely:
Avoiding Foodborne Illness.
It appears more could be done to ensure food safety in America. Food irradiation is a measure that could greatly reduce illness from foodborne pathogens and make our already safe food supply even safer. Irradiation has been approved by the FDA as a method to increase the safety of fresh and frozen meat, poultry, shell eggs, crustaceans, and dried food. It is used widely to kill pathogens in spices, vegetable seasonings, and, to a certain extent, ground beef and poultry. Food irradiation can also be used with fresh produce. In the past decade, produce has been responsible for more foodborne illness than meat or poultry. Unfortunately, food <http://www.acsh.org/factsfears/newsID.865/news_detail.asp> irradiation for fresh produce has only been approved for killing insects and to delay spoilage and sprouting, not for pathogen control. Food irradiation is a safe and effective tool that should be more widely used to protect Americans
from foodborne illnesses.
Molly Lee is the Earhart Foundation Research Associate at the American Council on Science and Health

CDC confirms 56 salmonella cases in Sierra Vista since September
03.mar.07
KOLD TV
http://www.kold.com/Global/story.asp?S=6172374
SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. -- Health officials were cited as saying they still don't know the cause of a salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 56 Sierra Vista residents since September.
Officials with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been in the area since January trying to figure out where the victims came down with the infection. They've interviewed people who came down with the food-borne illness and their friends and family.

Norovirus Sickens More Than 100 at N.J. University
Monday, March 05, 2007
Source of Article: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,256647,00.html
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. ? Fairleigh Dickinson University's Florham Park campus was recovering Monday from a norovirus outbreak that sickened more than 100 students last week, school officials said. The 24-hour virus hit campus Wednesday, with students falling sick Thursday and Friday, university spokesman Art Petro said.
A dozen students were treated at area hospitals for dehydration, then released. Six faculty and staff members also were sickened, Petro said. The virus is spread person-to-person and virus causes flu-like systems including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Cleaning crews were sent into dormitory bath rooms and dining halls, and the recreation center and pool were shut down for 24 hours for cleaning.
The campus has about 2,200 undergraduate and 1,500 graduate students.

Norovirus closes Washington-area hotel
02.mar.07
Statesman
http://www.statesman.com
ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Hyatt Regency Crystal City hotel, near Ronald Reagan National Airport was, according to this story, closed for cleaning Thursday night after as many as 150 guests were sickened by the highly contagious norovirus.
Diana Sun, an Arlington County spokeswoman, was cited as saying that illnesses were first reported Monday by people who attended two conferences at the Hyatt.
Jean-Marc Dizard, the hotel's general manager, was quoted as saying, "The hotel, top to bottom, will be disinfected and cleaned ? wall to wall. All the guest rooms, the kitchens and the banquet facilities."

FDA Update on Peanut Butter Recall
Salmonella found in the ConAgra Plant

As a follow-up to the recent Salmonella outbreak linked to peanut butter, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is conducting an extensive inspection of ConAgra's Sylvester, Georgia processing plant. Samples collected by the FDA revealed the presence of Salmonella. The fact that FDA found Salmonella in the plant environment further suggests that the contamination likely took place prior to the product reaching consumers. Last week, tests by several states identified Salmonella in many open jars of Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter recovered from consumers. In these instances, the Salmonella found in the plant and in the open jars matched the outbreak strain recovered from consumers who became ill.

Peanut Butter Toppings Part of Recall

FDA has learned that the ConAgra plant in Sylvester, GA, sent bulk Peter Pan peanut butter to its plant in Humboldt, TN. The three brands described below are part of the original Peter Pan recall. These brands have been recalled and are no longer being sold. However, some consumers may still have these products in their home.

Consumers who have any of the products listed below should discard them. Individuals who are not sure if the purchased product contains the recalled peanut butter topping should contact the store where the product was purchased.

The bulk peanut butter was used to make the following toppings:

Sonic Brand Ready-To-Use Peanut Butter Topping in 6 lb. 10.5 oz cans. Sonic outlets used the topping until 2/16/07, when the product was recalled.
The topping was used in the following Sonic products:
- Peanut Butter Shake
- Peanut Butter Fudge Shake
- Peanut Butter Sundae
- Peanut Butter Fudge Sundae
Carvel Peanut Butter Topping in 6 lb. 10 oz. cans. Carvel used the topping until 2/16/07, when the product was recalled.
The topping was used in the following Carvel ice cream products:
- Chocolate Peanut Butter
- Peanut Butter Treasure
- Peanut Butter & Jelly
- Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Sundae Dasher
- Any other customized products containing the Peanut Butter Topping, including peanut butter flavored ice cream in ice cream cakes
J. Hungerford Smith Peanut Butter Dessert Topping in 6 lb. 10 oz. cans: This topping may be used by retail and restaurant outlets throughout the United States but is not available for direct purchase by the public.
Recall Status and More Information

ConAgra informed the public that it is recalling all Peter Pan peanut butter and all Great Value peanut butter beginning with product code 2111. The company's recall extends to products made since December 2005. FDA's advice to consumers continues to be not to eat any Peter Pan peanut butter or any Great Value peanut butter beginning with the 2111 product code.

FDA will provide updates on recalled products, including any other products that may have been made with potentially contaminated peanut butter and distributed to consumers.

Symptoms of foodborne illness caused by Salmonella include fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. In persons with poor underlying health or weakened immune systems, Salmonella can invade the bloodstream and cause life-threatening infections or death. Individuals who have recently eaten peanut butter-containing products from these companies and who have experienced any of these symptoms should contact their doctor or health care provider immediately and report the illnesses to their state or local health authorities. Similarly, institutional food establishments and other food service providers who have received reports of illness from consumers after they consumed a product containing this peanut butter are encouraged to share that information with their local health department.

FDA is continuing to work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and with states and local officials to identify how the contamination occurred in order to prevent similar foodborne illness outbreaks.

New Chromogenic RAPID'Listeria spp. Validated for Full Results in Just 48 hrs
RAPID' Listeria spp. has received AFNOR approval according to ISO 16140 requirements, and is the first chromogenic medium to be validated for the detection of Listeria spp. in environmental and food samples.

The new RAPID'Listeria spp. method provides laboratories with a rapid and economical solution for Listeria spp. detection, with full results in just 48 hrs.
source from: rapidmicrobiology.com
Principle :
RAPID'Listeria spp. has been specifically developed for the detection of all Listeria species in just 24 hrs, after 24 hrs of enrichment, from environmental samples and food. During an inclusivity study, Listeria innocua, L. monocytogenes, L. welshimeri, L. seeligeri, L. ivanovii and L. grayi presented typical blue-green colonies after 24 hrs of incubation.
The chromogenic reaction is based on the specific beta-glucosidase activity of Listeria. The selectivity of the medium inhibits most of the interfering flora and the nutritiousness of the medium provides rapid growth and identification of Listeria spp. in 24 hrs.
Reading and differentiation are very easy thanks to the good contrast between blue-green Listeria colonies and the whitish agar.
Method :
The RAPID'Listeria spp. detection method requires a single enrichment step in ¨ö Fraser for 24 hrs. Then 0.1 ml of ¨ö Fraser is removed, spread and isolated on RAPID' Listeria spp. agar, before being incubated for 24 hrs.

Kraft Foods gives global approval to the
PATHATRIX¢ç system from Matrix MicroScience
for rapid Pathogen testing

Kraft Foods has announced the global approval of the PATHATRIX¢ç rapid pathogen
testing system from Matrix MicroScience.
The Kraft Foods Microbiology and Food Safety team have performed an extensive
evaluation of the performance of PATHATRIX¢ç technology from Matrix MicroScience
at various Kraft locations in both the US and Europe. As a result, the AOAC-RI
approved Listeria and Salmonella PATHATRIX¢ç Pooling kits have now been approved
as official Kraft Foods methods and will be included in their Global Microbiological
Methods Manual. This means that Kraft approved testing laboratories, suppliers and
co-manufacturers can use the method.
The PATHATRIX¢ç Pooling products are AOAC-RI approved for a variety of food
pathogens and food types, including difficult sample matrices, and are currently being
used by a number of large multi-national companies and government laboratories in
North America & Europe.
Dr Adrian Parton C.E.O., Matrix MicroScience said, ¡°Matrix is delighted that such a
high quality global company as Kraft Foods has chosen to integrate the PATHATRIX¢ç
system into their HACCP and quality assurance programs.¡±
Dr. Paul A. Hall, VP ? Global Business Development, Matrix MicroScience states that
¡°Matrix is proud to be associated with a company of the calibre of Kraft Foods. Kraft
has a long heritage of technology innovation in quality and food safety and this is
another example of their dedication in that area.¡±
Kraft Foods (NYSE:KFT)
Kraft Foods is the world¡¯s second-largest food and beverage company with 2005 net
revenues of more than $34 billion. With approximately 94,000 employees and
operations in 70 countries worldwide, the Kraft brand portfolio is one of the strongest of
any packaged goods company. More than 50 brands have annual revenues of over
$100 million and there are 7 brands with over $1 billion in annual revenues each. Kraft
has been a company built on innovation and continues to be dedicated to Quality and
Food Safety.

Matrix MicroScience
Matrix is a highly innovative company focused on the development of diagnostics for
the rapid detection of food-borne pathogens such as Salmonella spp., Listeria spp.,
Campylobacter spp. E.sakazakii, MAP and E.coli O157. Matrix has achieved multiple
AOAC RI approvals for a range of its products. Matrix MicroScience is an international
organization with offices, research and production facilities in Newmarket, UK, Chicago
and Denver in the USA.

Research provides insight of natural preservatives for fresh-cut apple market
26.feb.07
Nova Scotia Agricultural College
Erin MacPherson
There has been a steady increase in consumer demand for convenient and nutritious minimally processed produce like fresh-cut apples. However, the fresh-cut produce industry is challenged with potential outbreaks of illness that could be associated with microbial growth during the extended shelf life of these products. These current trends in the fresh-cut apple industry have led to a growing interest in investigating natural antimicrobial agents that are compatible with the chemical properties of post-cut dipping solutions of fresh-cut apples.
Dr. Vasantha Rupasinghe, Tree Fruit Bio-Product Research Chair and Assistant Professor at Nova Scotia Agricultural College (NSAC) investigated the antimicrobial effects of vanillin against pathogenic and spoilage organisms in refrigerated fresh-cut apples. Vanillin is the predominant phytochemical that occurs in vanilla beans and is a flavoring compound used widely in ice cream, beverages, biscuits, chocolate and desserts. Research shows that vanillin has antimyotic and bacteriostatic properties, which means it potentially has the ability to destroy or kill fungi and prevent bacteria from multiplying. According to Dr. Rupasinghe, ¡°the possibility of extending the shelf life of certain products could potentially satisfy consumer demand for convenient and nutritious minimally processed foods.¡±
Dr. Rupasinghe and his team studied the antimicrobial effect of vanillin against four pathogenic organisms: E.coli, P. aeruginosa, E. aerogenes, and S. Newport and four spoilage organisms: Candida albicans, Lactobacillus casei, Penicillum expasum, and Sacchromyces cerevisie. These organisms could be generally associated with contaminated fresh-cut produce. The two apple cultivars used in this experiment were ¡°Empire¡±, and ¡°Crispin¡± and were harvested at the commercial maturity from a commercial orchard.
The vanillin treatment was also combined with an existing fresh-cut processing technology called NatureSeal¢â (a post-cut dip solution that contain calcium ascorbate) that prevents enzymatic browning and softening of sliced apples. An investigation of antimicrobial properties of vanillin when incorporated with NatureSeal¢â could offer new opportunities for extending the shelf life of fresh-cut fruits.
The research demonstrated that incorporation of vanillin in the post-cut dipping solution of apple slices could inhibit the microbial growth during the 19-day post-cut storage by 37 and 66% in the ¡°Empire¡± and ¡°Crispin¡± apple slices, respectively, during storage at 4¡ÆC. When incorporated with the commercial anti-browning dipping solution NatureSeal¢â, vanillin did not influence the control of enzymatic browning and softening of the anti-browning dipping solution.
¡°These results provide new insight into the possible use of vanillin as a natural antimicrobial agent in processing of sliced apples and others,¡± says Dr. Rupasinghe. While this research has promising results, further research is required in order to obtain information about the organoleptic (sensory) quality and consumer acceptance of fresh-cut apples treated with vanillin before making a recommendation for its use as a preservative in post-cut dipping solution.
The results of this research are presented as a paper in:
Rupasinghe, H.P.V., J. Boulter-Bitzer, T. Ahn, and J.A. Odumeru. 2006. Vanillin inhibits pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms in vitro and aerobic microbial growth on fresh-cut apples. Food Research International. 39:575-580.

New technology removes viruses from drinking water
26.feb.07
University of Delaware
University of Delaware researchers have developed an inexpensive, nonchlorine-based technology that can remove harmful microorganisms, including viruses, from drinking water.
UD's patented technology, developed jointly by researchers in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the College of Engineering, incorporates highly reactive iron in the filtering process to deliver a chemical ¡°knock-out punch¡± to a host of notorious pathogens, from E. coli to rotavirus.
The new technology could dramatically improve the safety of drinking water around the globe, particularly in developing countries. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over a billion people--one-sixth of the world's population--lack access to safe water supplies.
Four billion cases of diarrheal disease occur worldwide every year, resulting in 1.8 million deaths, primarily infants and children in developing countries. Eighty-eight percent of this disease is attributed to unsafe water supplies, inadequate sanitation and hygiene.
In the United States, viruses are the target pathogenic microorganisms in the new Ground Water Rule under the Environmental Protection Agency's Safe Drinking Water Act, which took effect on Jan. 8.
¡°What is unique about our technology is its ability to remove viruses--the smallest of the pathogens--from water supplies,¡± Pei Chiu, an associate professor in UD's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, said.
Chiu collaborated with Yan Jin, a professor of environmental soil physics in UD's plant and soil sciences department, to develop the technology. They then sought the expertise of virologist Kali Kniel, an assistant professor in the animal and food sciences department, who has provided critical assistance with the testing phase.
¡°A serious challenge facing the water treatment industry is how to simultaneously control microbial pathogens, disinfectants such as chlorine, and toxic disinfection byproducts in our drinking water, and at an acceptable cost,¡± Chiu noted.
Viruses are difficult to eliminate in drinking water using current methods because they are far smaller than bacteria, highly mobile, and resistant to chlorination, which is the dominant disinfection method used in the United States, according to the researchers.
Of all the inhabitants of the microbial world, viruses are the smallest--as tiny as 10 nanometers. According to the American Society for Microbiology, if a virus could be enlarged to the size of a baseball, the average bacterium would be the size of the pitcher's mound, and a single cell in your body would be the size of a ballpark.
¡°By using elemental iron in the filtration process, we were able to remove viral agents from drinking water at very high efficiencies. Of a quarter of a million particles going in, only a few were going out,¡± Chiu noted.
The elemental or ¡°zero-valent¡± iron (Fe) used in the technology is widely available as a byproduct of iron and steel production, and it is inexpensive, currently costing less than 40 cents a pound (~$750/ton). Viruses are either chemically inactivated by or irreversibly adsorbed to the iron, according to the scientists.
Technology removes 99.999 percent of viruses
The idea for the UD research sprang up when Jin and Chiu were discussing their respective projects over lunch one day.
Since joining UD in 1995, Jin's primary research area has been investigating the survival, attachment and transport behavior of viruses in soil and groundwater aquifers. One of the projects, which was sponsored by the American Water Works Association Research Foundation, involved testing virus transport potential in soils collected from different regions across the United States. Jin's group found that the soils high in iron and aluminum oxides removed viruses much more efficiently than those that didn't contain metal oxides.
¡°We knew that iron had been used to treat a variety of pollutants in groundwater, but no one had tested iron against biological agents,¡± Chiu said. So the two researchers decided to pursue some experiments.
With partial support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Delaware Water Resources Center, through its graduate fellowship program, the scientists and their students began evaluating the effectiveness of iron granules in removing viruses from water under continuous flow conditions and over extended periods. Two bacteriophages--viruses that infect bacteria--were used in the initial lab studies.
Since then, Kniel has been documenting the technology's effectiveness against human pathogens including E. coli 0157:H7, hepatitis A, norovirus and rotavirus. Rotavirus is the number-one cause of diarrhea in children, according to Kniel.
¡°In 20 minutes, we found 99.99 percent removal of the viruses,¡± Chiu said. ¡°And we found that removal of the viruses got even better than that with time, to more than 99.999 percent.¡±
The elemental iron also removed organic material, such as humic acid, that naturally occurs in groundwater and other sources of drinking water. During the disinfection process, this natural organic material can react with chlorine to produce a variety of toxic chemicals called disinfection byproducts.
¡°Our iron-based technology can help ensure drinking-water safety by reducing microbial pathogens and disinfection byproducts simultaneously,¡± Chiu noted.
Applications in agriculture and food safety
Besides helping to safeguard drinking water, the UD technology may have applications in agriculture.
Integrated into the wash-water system at a produce-packing house, it could help clean and safeguard fresh and ¡°ready to eat¡± vegetables, particularly leafy greens like lettuce and spinach, as well as fruit, according to Kniel.
¡°Sometimes on farms, wash-water is recirculated, so this technology could help prevent plant pathogens from spreading to other plants,¡± she said.
This UD research underscores the importance of interdisciplinary study in solving problems.
¡°There are lots of exciting things you can discover working together,¡± Jin said, smiling. ¡°In this project, we all need each other. Pei is the engineer and knows where we should put this step and how to scale it up. I study how viruses and other types of colloidal particles are transported in water, and Kali knows all about waterborne pathogens.
¡°Our hope is that the technology we've developed will help people in our country and around the world, especially in developing countries,¡± Jin noted.
Currently, the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology in Calgary, Canada, is exploring use of the UD technology in a portable water treatment unit. Since 2001, the registered Canadian charity has provided technical training in water and sanitation to more than 300 organizations in 43 countries of the developing world, impacting nearly a million people.
The University of Delaware is pursuing commercialization opportunities for the research. Patents have been filed in the United States, Canada, France, Germany and Switzerland

 

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

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