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tied to cattle ranch
Marla Cone and Rong-Gong Lin II
Paicines, CA -- Contaminated spinach that sickened hundreds of people
and prompted an unprecedented nationwide recall last fall came from a
cattle ranch east of Salinas, according to a report by state and federal
investigators released Friday.
New and notable: Brad Sullivan, an attorney for Mission Organics, was
cited as saying the report did not conclusively link the company with
the E. coli, emphasizing that it was not found in the spinach field but
on ranchland a mile away.
Sullivan stopped short of saying Mission Organics feels responsible for
the outbreak, but said the company does feel "very concerned."
Sullivan said Mission Organics will not use its leased land in Paicines
to grow more crops until the company and officials address the most likely
sources of bacteria ? wildlife and water.
Bob Perkins, executive director of the Monterey County Farm Bureau, was
quoted as saying, "it appears none of the regulatory agencies nor
the farmers can say, 'Aha, this is the cause, and if we fix this, this
won't happen again.' "
Natural Selection Foods was quoted as saying in a statement that the investigation
was "careful and thorough" even though most people hoped for
"a more decisive conclusion" about the cause. The company said
it would like to see national standards for produce, adding, "What
is certain is that E. coli O157:H7 and other pathogens are present in
the environment, and research and regulation are urgently needed."
Natural Selection said it has begun a more extensive testing program at
its plants and in fields. "We believe our salads are safer than ever
before," the company said.
Dr. Kevin Reilly, deputy director of prevention services at the state
health department, was quoted as saying, "What relative roles each
of these played, we don't know for sure."
The spinach in the outbreak, sold under a Dole label, was grown in an
organic way but was not labeled or certified organic.
Federal and state officials said their six-month investigation was the
first time a pathogen was tracked from fork to field.
Dr. David Acheson, chief medical officer of the FDA's Center for Food
Safety and Applied Nutrition, was cited as saying it's critical for every
farm and processor to follow national guidelines to minimize bacteria
on produce, adding, "A relatively small plot can potentially be the
source of a nationwide outbreak," and that more research is needed
to "find out how these bugs get onto produce in the first place."
The FDA has asked produce growers and processors since 1998 to follow
a long list of steps to minimize the danger of pathogens on fresh fruits
and vegetables, including recommendations for water testing, worker hygiene,
handling of manure and control of wild animals. Then, in 2004 and 2005,
the FDA sent letters to growers of leafy greens expressing concern about
outbreaks and again advising them to follow the guidelines. The guidelines,
known as Good Agricultural Practices, are voluntary and no field inspections
coli traced to San Benito County ranch, officials say
spinach that sickened hundreds of people and led to an unprecedented nationwide
recall last fall was, according to these stories, traced to a 50-acre
field at a cattle ranch east of Salinas, according to a report by state
and federal investigators released today.
The long-awaited findings of a joint federal and state investigation point
to one bacteria-laden crop processed at one plant. Mission Organics is
the only farm implicated by the investigators, and a Natural Selection
Foods packaging plant in San Juan Bautista was the only processor implicated.
Three people, including a toddler, died in the outbreak, in which about
200 illnesses were reported in 26 states. The Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention has estimated that about 4,000 people were sickened by
the spinach, because probably only 5% of the illnesses were reported.
The spinach involved in the outbreak was grown on land owned by Paicines
Ranch, a ranch of about 2,000 head of cattle in the town of Paicines,
south of Hollister. It is primarily a beef cattle ranch with a small amount
of cropland leased to Mission Organics.
The contamination probably occurred in the San Benito County field during
or just before harvest, but it was likely spread by bagging and processing
at the Natural Selection plant.
The most likely sources are water or wild pigs, according to the report
by the California Department of Health Services and the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration's San Francisco District. Streams, which run through
the ranch and carry manure from cattle, could have tainted the well water
used for irrigation. The ranch also has a large population of feral pigs
that could have spread feces, according to the report.
Genetic matches were found between E. coli in bagged spinach eaten by
people who fell ill last August and September and E. coli detected in
21 samples of soil and feces on or near the ranch.
Michael Lynch, a medical officer who tracks food-borne illnesses at the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was cted as saying that every
year, one in every four Americans gets sick from food, and federal officials
have "increasingly recognized a problem in fresh produce."
The story says that in the past decade, 72 outbreaks have been associated
with fresh fruits and vegetables. Leafy greens have been held responsible
for 22 outbreaks, followed by tomatoes and melons.
E. coli attorney
favors federal oversight of produce industry
Land Line Magazine
How long can the produce industry continue to dance around mandatory regulation?
That¡¯s the question famed E. coli attorney Bill Marler posed to Land Line
Magazine when he responded to an article, ¡°Produce industry still missing
the point with self-regulation,¡± posted on Land Line¡¯s daily Web news
¡°To be honest with you, I never realized how wide of a swath has been
impacted by the E. coli outbreak,¡± Marler told Land Line on March 16.
¡°I didn¡¯t even think of the impact on truckers.¡±
The story says that the E. coli outbreak in September 2006 piqued the
interest of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, since
many produce haulers were stuck with the financial and logistical responsibilities
of disposing of potentially contaminated spinach. Some were not paid for
their loads that weren¡¯t even part of the recall because no regulations
are in place to protect truckers in situations where produce has been
Marler agrees with OOIDA leaders who say the FDA isn¡¯t doing enough to
ensure consumer confidence in eating leafy greens, and that federal oversight
is needed to protect public health, stating, "Without some uniform
standards that are applicable to everybody and more rigorous oversight,
this is going to happen again. It still kind of perplexes me when I go
to these hearings and I listen to shippers and growers and hear them say
they want a voluntary marketing agreement ? basically dancing around regulation.
But, they never really articulate a clear reason why they don¡¯t want it.
They are basically telling everybody publicly that they want it strictly
enforced, but they want to enforce it themselves, and I think it¡¯s kind
of gone past that. ¡¦ Until the produce industry realizes they must change
their practices and stop dancing around regulation, I am going to continue
to take money from them. All I have to do is prove their products make
approves bills to deter E. coli outbreaks
Associated Press (California)
SACRAMENTO -- The Senate Agriculture Committee was cited as approving
three bills that would impose tougher standards on growers of spinach,
lettuce, sprouts and similar crops. The story adds that the state would
have more power to respond to outbreaks of food-borne disease and would
establish a process to more quickly trace outbreaks to their source.
The California Farm Bureau Federation and Western Growers Association
said the bills are unnecessary because the industry is adopting new safety
standards on its own this year.
Western Growers Association Vice President Dave Puglia was cited as asying
there can be no safety guarantees until consumers accept some sort of
"kill step" such as irradiation, and that's necessary to sterilize
a product that is grown outdoors and eaten raw, adding, "It's not
a risk-free world. It's not a risk-free product."
Elisa Odabashian, director of the West Coast office of Consumers Union,
was cited as telling senators that repeated outbreaks have shown that
growers and processors cannot police themselves, adding, "Voluntary
self-regulation by the leafy greens industry has been disastrous for consumer."
still struggling as a result of E. coli scare
The spinach industry has yet, according to this story, to recover from
last September's government warning not to eat bagged and fresh spinach
because of suspected contamination by E. coli., even though that advisory
lasted less then two weeks.
Dale Huss, vice president of production for Ocean Mist Farms, which grows
spinach and other produce on 20,000 acres in California, Arizona and Mexico,
was quoted as saying, "We are struggling to get back on our feet.
We are at about 50% of our former demand."
Marty Ordman, a vice president at Dole Foods Co., the Westlake Village-based
produce company, was cited as saying that sales of packaged spinach, once
$240-million business industrywide, are off about 40%.
Perishables Group, a Chicago-based produce consulting firm, was cited
as saying that the typical grocery store now sells about $183 of spinach
weekly, a 54% decline from before the national recall that resulted from
the Food and Drug Administration advisory.
That's because of shoppers like Don Warren, a retired real estate broker
in Carpinteria. When he buys bagged spinach from his local Costco Wholesale
Corp. store now, Warren cooks it.
"I was never a big fan of raw spinach and am even less so now,"
Warren said. "I like to make a big wilted spinach salad. I cook it
up in an electric skillet and then add blue cheese. The high temperature
would kill any E. coli."
William Hallman, director of the Food Policy Institute at Rutgers University,
was cited as saying that last year's deadly outbreak has had a lasting
impact on consumer attitudes toward spinach, and even other produce, stating,
"This was a signal event. Even people who did not eat spinach before
the recall changed their behavior. Some stopped buying bagged lettuce
and others wash their produce more thoroughly."
get aid provision as food-safety-standards bill stalls
WASHINGTON -- Darryl Howard's mom, Betty, was among those who died after
eating contaminated spinach last fall at her home in Washington state,
He was stunned to learn last week that the emergency bill to fund the
Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina relief included $25 million to compensate
spinach growers hurt when consumers stopped buying their products.
Backers of the spinach provision say it is designed to help innocent growers
whose businesses took a hit even though their greens weren't contaminated.
The insertion into an emergency war funding bill of $3.7 billion to benefit
spinach growers, peanut farmers and others in agribusiness underscores
a Washington truism: Some interests are more special than others.
The story says that agribusiness spent $84 million lobbying Congress and
contributed $44.1 million to federal campaigns in 2005 and 2006, according
to public records tallied by the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan
organization that tracks spending by those seeking to influence federal
While the spinach aid provision was placed in a must-pass spending bill
that has been scheduled for a vote Friday in the House, legislation to
toughen food safety standards is stalled. A bill to create an independent
food safety agency, introduced in February by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.,
is pending in the Energy and Commerce, and Agriculture Committees, where
similar DeLauro proposals have died for years.
The story says tha proponents say some level of subsidies are crucial
to preserving domestic food production. Michael Doyle who directs the
University of Georgia's Center for Food Safety, was quoted as saying,
"If we want farmers to grow crops in the U.S., we're going to have
to subsidize them."
03/28. QA Scientist
- Irvine, CA
03/28. Quality Assurance - Control Manager - Sacramento, CA
03/28. CA-Central Coast-QUALITY ASSURANCE DIRECTOR
03/28. Quality Assurance Manager - McPherson, KS
03/28. Quality Control Supervisor - McDonough, GA
03/28. Specialist - Food Safety Division - Salt Lake City, UT
03/28. Quality Assurance Manager - BLOOMFIELD, CT
03/28. HACCP Coordinator - Conyers, GA
03/28. Quality Assurance Supervisor - Moore, OK
03/27. Technical Specialist - Produce Food Safety - Aptos, CA
03/27. Quality Assurance Technician - Relief - Tipton, CA
03/27. Quality Assurance Manager - Orrville, OH
03/27. QA Supervisor - Halifax, NC
03/26. QA Assistant Intern - West Chicago, IL
03/26. Quality Control/Product Development - Roy, WA
03/26. QC, QA, HACCP Supervisor - IA-Western/Sioux City
03/26. Regional QA/Sanitation Specialist - Metro NY/S. New England
03/26. Quality Control Assistant - St Louis, MO
03/26. QUALITY CONTROL (FOOD INDUSTRY) - Elgin, IL
03/26. Quality Assurance Auditor - NAPOLEON, OH
found in roaster, cleaning supplies at ConAgra
March 22, 2007
of Article: http://www.walb.com/Global/story.asp?S=6267216
Sylvester- FDA investigators finally have some details on the location
of that Salmonella outbreak that shut down the Sylvester ConAgra Foods
plant five weeks ago. Thursday, ConAgra Foods blamed a $48 million loss
this quarter on its recall of Peter Pan and Great Value Peanut Butter
and there's still no timetable of when production will start back.
It's been five weeks since the lines at ConAgra Foods looked like this
and it could be the end of May before production resumes. The clean up
can begin now that the FDA has pin-pointed the cause.
"The two environmental positives that we did find were, one of them
was in relation to the roaster and the other was on some cleaning equipment,"
said Dr. David Acheson.
Because it was found twice in the environment, the FDA investigators assume
it's other places and recommend a complete cleanup. ConAgra is working
with microbiologist on a plan to resume operations, but doesn't have an
"It's taking a look at how do we start up production? How do we get
back up to inventory necessary to meet customer demand and bring it back
to the shelves in a timely fashion?" questioned Stephanie Childs,
While the company won't release specific answers to those questions they
say employees continue the clean up effort.
"They are working on non-production related projects such as cleaning
up, maintenance, training to ensure we are working in the best way possible,"
"The precise way to clean up is up to them to decide what the recommendation
we make is pretty general and that is that the company needs to do a through
clean up to ensure the absence of Salmonella in any future product that's
produced in the facility, said Acheson.
FDA inspectors are gone from the plant now, but will return once the cleanup
is complete to make sure there are no future problems.
The Centers for Disease Control stopped updating the number of reported
Salmonella cases last week. The CDC reported 425 people in 44 states were
sickened by the peanut butter. Twenty percent of those illnesses were
serious enough to require hospitalization.
Again About Arsenic in Mineral Water
Five Brands Recalled Within Last Month
and Drug Administration (FDA) is re-issuing its warning to consumers not
to drink "Jermuk" brand mineral water due to the risk of exposure
to arsenic, a toxic substance and a known cause of cancer in humans. The
agency is providing this information again to consumers due to an expansion
of the recall initiated by the products' importers and distributors. "Jermuk"
water is imported from Armenia and distributed under different labels
in California. Five brands of these products have been recalled since
The latest recall, which was initiated on March 16 by the product's distributor,
Andreas Andreasyan DBA Arnaz & Nelli Co., North Hollywood, CA., is
for "Jermuk Natural Mineral Water Fortified with Gas from the Spring".
This product is additionally labeled as "Produced by Sam-Har Co.
Republic of Armenia" and "Exclusive Distributor in USA: Arnaz
& Nelli Inc., CA 91605".
Although arsenic is a well known human poison, there is little chance
that someone would become seriously ill after consuming the recalled products
over a brief period of time (days to weeks). However, it is likely that
the person would experience nausea, abdominal pain and possibly vomiting,
which are indicators of arsenic toxicity.
FDA has sampled the contents of 500 milliliter (mL) green glass and/or
plastic bottles of all of these brands and found they contained 454-674
micrograms of arsenic per liter of water. FDA's standard of quality for
bottled water allows no more than 10 micrograms per liter.
The agency is investigating whether other bottle sizes or types of packaging
contain similarly tainted products, and will continue working to remove
all such bottled water from the market.
There have been no illnesses reported at this time. Consumers who drank
this water and have concerns are encouraged to contact their health care
FDA may provide additional updates as more information becomes available.
The following products were recalled on March 7:
"Jermuk Original Sparkling Natural Mineral Water Fortified With Natural
Gas From The Spring". The product is in glass bottles and is additionally
labeled as "2006 Jermuk Mayr Gortsaran CJSC" and "Imported
by: Zetlian Bakery Inc." The importer and distributor is Zetlian
Bakery, Inc., Pico Rivera, CA.
"JERMUK,1951, NATURAL MINERAL WATER, JERMUK MAYR GORTSARAN CJSC."
The product is in plastic bottles which are additionally labeled as "Imported
by: Zetlian Bakery Inc." The importer and distributor is Zetlian
Bakery, Inc., Pico Rivera, CA.
"Jermuk Sodium Calcium Bicarbonate and Sulphate Mineral Water".
The product is additionally labeled as "Bottled by ARPI Plant, Republic
of Armenia" and "Exclusive US importer and distributor: Importers
Direct Wholesale Co., Los Angeles, CA". The product is being recalled
by Importers Direct Wholesale Company, Los Angeles, CA.
"Jermuk, Natural Mineral Water Sparkling". The product, recalled
on March 7 is additionally labeled as "Bottled by Jermuk Group CJSC"
and "Sale Agent Kradjian Importing Co. Inc." in Glendale, CA.
The product is being recalled by Kradjian Importing Company, Glendale,
Hepatitis A scare
for sushi diners
The Age (Australia)
NSW Health has, according to this story, issued a warning to patrons of
a Sydney sushi outlet after an employee was diagnosed with Hepatitis A.
People who had eaten food from the Sushi From Xanadu outlet at Birkenhead
Point shopping centre on March 11, 12, 17 and 18 could be affected and
would require an injection to help prevent the disease, the health department
NSW Health's director of communicable diseases Dr Jeremy McAnulty was
cited as saying the warning was only for people who had eaten food from
It did not apply to people who had only consumed drinks from the shop.
out to Congress about China's ban on U.S. beef
By Ann Bagel Storck on 3/28/2007 for Meatingplace.com
U.S. beef should no longer be banned from the Chinese market, and the
Strategic Economic Dialogue meeting slated for mid-May should be used
to negotiate and end to the embargo, said J. Patrick Boyle, president
and CEO of the American Meat Institute.
Speaking before the Senate Finance Committee, Boyle noted that the United
States is in accordance with internationally accepted scientific principles
regarding food safety and animal health. A World Organization for Animal
Health expert panel has recommended a "controlled risk" designation
for the United States in terms of bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
China was the ninth largest market for U.S. beef in 2003, with sales in
excess of $27 million, before the ban was put into place. "But the
real value of this market is their rapidly growing middle class,"
Boyle noted. "The average Chinese consumer's largest expenditure
is food." he said.
In 2006, China imported more than $575 million in pork and poultry products,
a 55 percent increase over 2005 values. For 2007, China is already importing
121 percent more pork and poultry products by value than by this time
on the rise
Experts were cited as estimating that up to 50,000 people worldwide suffer
ciguatera poisoning each year, with more than 90 percent of cases unreported.
Scientists say the risks are getting worse, because of damage that pollution
and global warming are inflicting on the coral reefs where many fish species
Dozens of popular fish types, including grouper and barracuda, live near
reefs. They accumulate the toxic chemical in their bodies from eating
smaller fish that graze on the poisonous algae. When oceans are warmed
by the greenhouse effect and fouled by toxic runoff, coral reefs are damaged
and poison algae thrives, scientists say.
Donald M. Anderson, director of the Coastal Ocean Institute at the Woods
Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, was quoted as saying,
"Worldwide, we have a much bigger problem with toxins from algae
in seafood than we had 20 or 30 years ago. We have more toxins, more species
of algae producing the toxins and more areas affected around the world."
The story says that although risk of ciguatera has soared recently, the
phenomenon is ancient. University of Hawaii professor Yoshitsugi Hokama
was cited as saying that fish poisoning shows up in Homer¡¯s Odyssey and
that Alexander the Great forbade his armies to eat fish for fear of being
Food Added To Recall List
Rhonda Erskine, Online Content Producer
Source of Article: http://www.wlbz2.com/news/article.aspx?storyid=56088
The FDA is expanding the recall to include all 95 dog and cat foods in
the "cuts and gravy" style of brands by Menu foods. Animals
are getting sick, some even dying after eating the food possibly contaminated
with rat poisoning. But some pets may not show any symptoms.
Panic is setting in among pet owners, and veterinarians across the Bay
area are flooded with calls with concerns about recalled pet food.
"Some people are almost frantic, almost panicky, wondering if their
dog is going to be okay now that they've eaten this food," said vet
assistant Larissa Blair.
A dog named Shadow had been eating pouches of the Iams product for years,
but when owners Paul and Connie Mundy heard it could be contaminated,
they pulled it immediately.
The tainted food is believed to cause kidney failure. Vet Care Village
has already seen a cat and dog with kidney damage. The dog had to be euthanized.
"When it comes to food products, it's very scary," Veterinarian
Dr. Gary Flicker said.
Symptoms include loss of appetite, lethargy, increased thirst and vomiting.
While pets like Shadow aren't showing any signs of sickness, Dr. Flicker
still recommends a series of tests.
"That's where the concern is, not to know and at this point in the
recall even the health care professionals don't really know. We are not
being given any more information than the general public is," he
The clinic is doing its best to squeeze in dozens of cats and dogs for
blood and urine testing.
Damage is treatable if caught early, but the long-term effects are unknown.
The Mundys can only hope shadow is among the lucky ones.
According to the manufacturer's website, Menu foods will reimburse pet
owners for their vet bills, if their product is the cause of sickness
Pet owners are advised to keep copies of all their vet records and receipts
for pet food purchases and vet bills.
For more information from Menu Foods, click here: http://www.menufoods.com/recall/index.html
The claim: You can disinfect a kitchen sponge in the
New York Times
For years, it has been said that people looking for an easy way to disinfect
their soiled sponges, which can become remarkable germ magnets, can pop
them in the microwave. The practice has become common. This story asks,
is it effective?
In recent years, at least two studies have put the claim to the test,
and both have confirmed it. The most recent, published in the December
2006 issue of The Journal of Environmental Health, found that microwaving
kitchen sponges and other scrubbing pads for one to two minutes at full
power could reduce levels of bacteria, including E. coli and other common
causes of food-borne illness, by more than 99 percent.
The story says that to avoid fires or overheating, the authors of the
2006 study recommended that only damp sponges and those without metal
be zapped. But some experts say the practice poses a safety hazard and
should be discouraged. Some news accounts have described cases in which
kitchen sponges caught fire while being cooked by microwave.
Other studies have found a safer alternative: soaking soiled sponges in
diluted solutions of bleach, which is just as effective as heating. Then
again, there is an even simpler option: tossing the sponge out and getting
a new one.
Taco Bell over being linked to E. coli outbreak
Friday March 23, 11:13 am ET
Source of Article: http://biz.yahoo.com/bizj/070323/1437073.html?.v=1
The California farm that grew the green onions first linked to an E. coli
outbreak at Taco Bell restaurants last year has sued the company for libel.
Boskovich Farms Inc., located in Oxnard, Calif., filed the lawsuit March
14 in Orange County Superior Court, alleging that Taco Bell, a unit of
Louisville-based Yum Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM - News) continued to associate
the farm's product with the outbreak even after Yum determined the green
onions were not the source of the E. coli, according to a report by Canadian
newspaper The Globe and Mail.
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, alleges that officials with
Taco Bell knew by Dec. 11, and perhaps by Dec. 9, that tests by the Federal
Food and Drug Administration confirmed the green onions were negative
for E. coli.
In a news release Dec. 13, Taco Bell said that contaminated lettuce was
most likely the source of the outbreak.
Yum Brands and Taco Bell officials were not immediately available for
This is the latest in a string of lawsuits filed over the outbreak, which
sickened more than 70 people in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and
Delaware. Most of the plaintiffs are people who fell ill from eating at
Taco Bell stores.
The company has said that the E. coli outbreak cost it about $20 million
because of lost sales and franchise and license fees, and increased marketing
Irvine, Calif.-based Taco Bell operates about 5,700 stores in 14 countries
Published March 23, 2007 by Business First
food poisoning cases grow to 47
07:50 AM PDT on Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Associated Press and KGW.com
Source of Article: http://www.king5.com/
PORTLAND - Veterinarians on Monday reminded people to check their pet¡¯s
food after the number of suspected poisoning cases grew to 47 in Oregon.
Emilio DeBess, state public health veterinarian said there were 13 deaths
statewide possibly linked to the Menu Foods "cuts and gravy"
recall. The cat Zoe, was the first confirmed death suffered from kidney
The substance in the food was identified as aminopterin, a cancer drug
that once was used to induce abortions in the United States and is still
used to kill rats in some other countries.
Veterinarians have been cautious about attributing deaths to the food.
Kidney failure is common among older cats. But DoveLewis veterinarians
said Zoe's symptoms were so severe they were convinced the cause was a
toxin such as that involved in the recall.
The food was off the shelves Monday and vets continued to go back and
check casework on pets with kidney illnesses.
¡°It is important for pet owners
to be vigilant about this,¡± Dr. Jacqui Neilson, president of Oregon Veterinary
Medical Association. "The OVMA office has received a lot of calls
from veterinarians concerned about the recall and the possibility that
their patients might have eaten some of the tainted food. Acute renal
failure can be fatal. Early diagnosis and treatment is essential."
The company designated two phone numbers that pet owners could call for
information: (866) 463-6738 and (866) 895-2708.
tests tie cheese, salmonella
Chicago Tribune (Illinois)
KANE COUNTY -- Lab results received Monday by Kane County Health Department
officials have, according to this story, strengthened their suspicions
that contaminated Mexican-style cheese is the source of a yearlong salmonella
outbreak that has hit especially hard in the county's Hispanic areas.
The story says that sophisticated tests on an unlabeled cheese seized
last week from a grocery in Aurora indicate that the salmonella strain
that it contained matches the pattern of the outbreak.
Claire Dobbins, the Health Department's director of preparedness and communicable
diseases, was cited as saying the results make tainted cheese "a
strong contender" as the source of contamination that has sickened
at least 34 Kane residents with salmonella Newport since January 2006.
amend peanut butter case filing in Rome
Rome News-Tribune (GA)
Some 32 consumers, including the parents of nine children who became seriously
ill after eating peanut butter, have filed an amended class action complaint
in Rome against the international food conglomerate ConAgra Foods, Inc.,
an attorney said.
The proposed class consists of all persons nationwide that contracted
Salmonella Tennessee from eating ConAgra¡¯s contaminated peanut butter,
which was manufactured and packaged in ConAgra¡¯s plant in Sylvester. "This
case shows that the number of 425 persons made ill from eating Salmonella
tainted peanut butter as reported by the Center for Diseases Control constitutes
a gross underestimate," said Kathryn Barnett of the national plaintiffs¡¯
law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP. "We believe
thousands of consumers have been made sick over the past two years."
develop new nut allergen test
By George Reynolds
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/
28/03/2007 - A research laboratory has developed new tests that enable
food processors identify pine nuts and chestnuts in food, which could
help protect consumers with allergies.
Food processors are becoming more concerned about nut contaminants in
their products due to increasing regulations and the serious health risks
exposure can induce in allergy sufferers.
With new regulations designed to protect sensitive consumers, a labelling
error can result in costly product recalls and loss of consumer trust.
UK-based Reading Scientific Services (RSSL) claims its protein and DNA
methods have been developed to detect trace amounts to a sensitivity of
100 parts per million.
Although pine nuts and chestnuts are not currently on the EU's list of
allergens that must be labelled on products, they are known to likely
affect people who suffer from other allergies.
People who are allergic to nuts are more likely to suffer allergic reactions
to pine nuts, which are in fact seeds. Chestnuts contain allergens that
can also be found in coconut, kiwi and mango and latex, which affect many
In the UK, the introduction of a voluntary allergen certification program
is imminent. Funded by the nation's regulatory body - the Food Standards
Agency (FSA) - and coordinated by an allergy support charity - The Anaphylaxis
Campaign - the new guidelines are due to be launched later this year.
They involve comprehensive guidance for processes in manufacturing plants
in order to minimise the risk of contamination or mislabelling.
Testing products will enable food processors to comply, which could lead
to greater understanding of product ingredients by consumers, and therefore,
increased brand trust.
Consultancy and training services for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control
Point (HACCP) principles are available from RSSL to help companies prevent
RSSL stressed that testing alone does not guarantee products are allergen
free, but plays an important role in HACCP practice and investigating
complaints of suspected contamination.
These products and others will be under discussion at a meeting organised
by RSSL in London on 5 June, 2007. "Managing the Challenge of Allergen
Control" aims to assemble a team of industry experts to share perspectives
for dealing with allergen risk, with contributions from retailers, manufacturers,
consumer groups and medical professionals.
RSSL's allergen testing laboratory is on call 24/7 as part of RSSL Emergency
test kits for foodborne bacteria
Source of Article: http://www.ift.org/news_bin/news/news_home.shtml
3/26/2007-Chemists at the University of South Carolina are developing
a consumer test kit that people can use to quickly and accurately determine
if food products are spoiled.
Outlined at the 233rd national meeting of the American Chemical Society,
the new diagnostic test, which researchers describe as a disposable ¡°dipstick,¡±
is capable of rapidly detecting the presence of chemicals formed by disease-causing
bacteria. The researchers said that in preliminary studies, the test had
a 90 percent accuracy rate.
The dipstick test is still in development but could be on store shelves
in two to three years, said study leader John J. Lavigne, Ph.D., an assistant
professor in the school¡¯s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Lavigne envisions that consumers will be able to carry the dipsticks with
them and use them anywhere, including homes and restaurants.
The new test relies on the detection of a class of chemicals called nonvolatile
biogenic amines. These compounds are generated during the bacterial decay
of food proteins and are an indirect measurement of the extent of food
spoilage. Lavigne and his associates developed special polymers that change
color in the presence of these biogenic amines. In lab studies, these
polymer biosensors were tested against a variety of fish samples, including
fresh salmon, fresh tuna, and canned tuna.
The polymers change color in
the presence of increasing levels of these biogenic amines to indicate
degrees of food spoilage. Specifically, the polymers changed from dark
purple to yellow in the presence of badly spoiled fish, while the change
was from dark purple to a reddish hue in the presence of mildly spoiled
fish, he says. Depending on the degree of freshness identified, the consumer
could then decide whether to eat the food or avoid it. To the consumer,
the yellow color would clearly be an indication to avoid the fish, Lavigne
says. The test is currently designed to be qualitative only and will not
identify the specific pathogen present, he notes.
Although fish were used in this study, a similar approach can be applied
to other foods, including other meats as well as fruits and vegetables.
Although many fruits and vegetables contain lower protein levels than
meats, preliminary studies indicated the dipsticks are capable of detecting
even small amounts of protein decay caused by bacterial activity, Lavigne
said. More detailed tests on these other food types are planned.
The researchers are working to improve the speed, sensitivity and accuracy
of the new test. But Lavigne notes that no ¡®freshness¡¯ test will substitute
for the importance of proper food safety, including optimal storage, cleaning
and cooking. Funding for the study was provided by the University of South
Carolina and Research Corporation, a private foundation that advances
Salmonella Crisis Prompts Solution
Monday March 19, 12:57 pm ET
Source of Article: http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/070319/sfm087.html?.v=85
ANTIOCH, Calif., March 19 /PRNewswire/ -- E-coli and Salmonella crisis
prompts Zonda Incorporated to introduce QuikAlert(TM), a valuable addition
to its food safety product line. QuikAlert(TM) was designed as a first
line of defense in detecting food borne pathogens directly from a food
product before it is packaged or shipped. Typically, perishable food products
are packaged and shipped before pathogen test results are available from
the lab. QuikAlert(TM) can detect these potentially dangerous microorganisms
in minutes versus hours or days.
QuikAlert(TM) is a fast and easy test to perform. A provided swab is used
to sample a food product. After 20 minutes a fluid is added to the tip
of the swab. After 2 minutes, a positive test will result in a purple
color on the tip of the swab, indicating a presence of potentially dangerous
microorganisms. This test will allow growers to check their crops and
get results directly in the field before harvest.
QuikAlert(TM) detection of food borne pathogens protects the health of
consumers and can save millions of dollars to food growers and food processing
companies. QuikAlert(TM) is a screening tool that can deliver these desired
Zonda will be featuring QuikAlert(TM) in the exhibition hall at the United
Fresh Tech show in Palm Springs, April 27 -28.
About Zonda, Incorporated
Zonda Incorporated (www.zondaincusa.com) specializes in diagnostic tests
that serve the medical, food safety, cosmetic, beverage, pharmaceutical,
veterinary, and environmental sanitation testing markets. Zonda's product
lines include innovative, rapid, self-contained in-vitro diagnostic tests
for the detection of Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Yeast (Candida albicans) and
Group A Strep. Each of Zonda's infectious disease tests are marketed as
superior to their competition due to their comparable accuracy, ease of
use, compact design, long shelf life at room temperature, rapid results,
and cost effectiveness. Zonda also produces rapid diagnostic tests that
detect bacterial contamination and other potential harmful micro-organisms
on surfaces and directly from food products, thus eliminating expensive
and lengthy lab time and costs. Zonda also produces confirmation tests
for a wide variety of bacteria directly from a first growth plate.
softly, with ozone
New York Times
Novazone, a Livermore, Calif.-based company has developed systems that
kill fungi and other microorganisms on vegetables, fruit and in bottled
drinks without altering appearance or taste using ozone, the three-atom
molecule of pure oxygen.
The story says that ozone-disinfecting systems for keeping hot tubs or
individual rooms clean have been around for several years. But by harnessing
ozone for industrial applications, Novazone says it can help reduce the
amount of chemicals food producers spray on their harvests, as well as
take a big chunk of the $36 billion market for industrial pest killers.
Dave Cope, Novazone's CEO, was cited as saying the spinach recall of 2006,
which happened because growers didn't adequately clean their products,
underscores the potential market, adding, "If you use enough chlorine,
you won't have E. coli in your spinach, but people want fresh, safe food.
When you get really smart, you use natural processes. This is not some
Chances are, you've indirectly experienced the company's products. The
makers of Dasani, Arrowhead and Aquafina have adopted Novazone's systems
to kill the microbes in their bottled waters. One of the manufacturers
even uses ozone to disinfect the bottle as well as the water.
A significant percentage of the California citrus crop as well as the
produce coming from Chile and Mexico get "Novazoned" while in
storage. Colgate-Palmolive and others also use it to purify contact lens
solution, toothpaste and toilets.
light source promises improvements in food inspection
Optical Society of America (OSA)
A new light source based on fiber-optic technology promises to improve
the inspection of food, produce, paper, currency, recyclables and other
products. New research revealing this technology will be presented at
the Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition/National Fiber
Optic Engineers Conference (OFC/NFOEC), being held March 25-29 in Anaheim,
Currently, industrial processes for inspecting foodstuffs and other items
often use "line-scan" cameras, which record images of objects
one line at a time, just as fax machines scan documents on a line-by-line
basis. Rapid electronic processors then detect whether there are any problems
with the items and instruct mechanical actuators (such as air jets) to
separate out unsatisfactory items. The problem is current line-scan cameras
lack ideal light sources to image objects properly.
Now, Princeton Lightwave of Cranbury, N.J. and OFS Labs (a Somerset, N.J.-based
division of Furukawa Electric) have introduced a fiber-optics-based solution,
which they will describe in their OFC/NFOEC paper. In their design, a
bright light source such as a laser sends light through an optical fiber.
Along the length of the fiber is an ultraviolet-light-treated region called
a "fiber grating." The grating deflects the light so that it
exits perpendicularly to the length of the fiber as a long, expanding
rectangle of light. This optical rectangle is then collimated by a cylindrical
lens, such that the rectangle illuminates objects of interest at various
distances from the source. The bright rectangle allows line scan cameras
to sort products at higher speeds with improved accuracy.
The new fiber-based light source combines all the ideal features necessary
for accurate and efficient scanning: uniform, intense illumination over
a rectangular region; a directional beam that avoids wasting unused light
by only illuminating the rectangle; and a "cool" source that
does not heat up the objects to be imaged. Currently employed light sources
such as tungsten halogen lamps or arrays of light-emitting diodes lack
at least one of these features.
According to the researchers, this fiber-based device can be customized
for a specific inspection application within 4 to 6 weeks, then manufactured
for that application in 16 to 20 weeks.
Meeting Paper: G.E. Carver, K.S. Feder, P.S. Westbrook, "FBG Based
Distributed Lighting for Sensing Applications," Presentation OThP1,
Thursday, March 29, 3 p.m. PDT; longer paper available upon request from
Colleen Morrison, firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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