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Joint Update: FDA/USDA Update on Tainted Animal Feed

JOINT NEWS RELEASE: FDA and USDA Determine Swine Fed Adulterated Product

What do Spinach, Lettuce and Peanut Butter have in common?
Posted on April 24, 2007 by Food Poisoning Attorney
Answer - Congressional Hearings
Source of Article:
Andrew Bridge of the Associated Press wrote today of Congressman Stupak's led panel shines spotlight on food safety. Part of the story is below, the rest of the story (whether Congress actually does something) has still not been written.
Families victimized by tainted spinach and peanut butter put a human face Tuesday on a recent string of high-profile outbreaks of foodborne illness, urging lawmakers to strengthen federal oversight of the nation's food supply. "I can't protect them from spinach only you guys can. I can't," said Michael Armstrong, as he and wife, Elizabeth, cradled daughters Ashley, 2, and Isabella, 5. The two girls fell ill Ashley gravely in September after eating a salad made with a triple-washed bag of the leafy greens contaminated by E. coli.
Also testifying was Gary Pruden, whose 11-year-old son Sean was seriously sickened in November by E. coli after eating at a Taco Bell restaurant. Pruden said a key element of trade and commerce is trust ? whether placed in accountants, airline pilots or auto mechanics. "That is also extended to the trust in the food we order or buy from the grocery store that it's edible and safe. Without that trust, commerce cannot work. And where failure occurs, oversight is required," Pruden told the subcommittee.
The popular Peter Pan brand of peanut butter was the subject of a nationwide recall in February after a salmonella outbreak. Terri Marshall said her mother-in-law, Mora Lou Marshall, has been hospitalized or in a nursing home since early January, after she became seriously ill from eating Peter Pan. The elder Marshall, 85, had kept a jar of the peanut butter on her nightstand to supplement her diet ? and had unwittingly continued to eat it, even after she fell ill. "The very food she thought would improve her health had begun to ravage her body," Terri Marshall said.

New oyster rules imposed in wake of bacteria threat
By SCOTT HARPER, The Virginian-Pilot
April 27, 2007
Source of Article:
A nasty and potentially deadly bacteria in coastal waters, called Vibrio, has spurred Virginia to enact new rules for harvesting oysters during summer months. Other oyster-producing states, from Texas to Florida, likely will follow suit as part of a national crackdown on Vibrio contamination in humans, who inadvertently eat the bacteria while slurping oysters.
Two forms of Vibrio - pronounced "VIB-ree-oh" - occur naturally in the Chesapeake Bay and along the Eastern Shore seaside. Usually not a health risk, their concentrations can increase above health-safety levels in warm conditions, almost always in summer.
When people ingest these microscopic organisms in unsafe levels, they can become sick, nauseated and perhaps die. People with weak immune systems or who have been drinking alcohol heavily are especially susceptible to infection, according to public health experts.
While only one case of Vibrio sickness has been traced to Virginia oysters, in 2006, state officials want to avoid a second case. That's because another one would trigger even tougher government scrutiny and restrictions, including a possible ban on all harvesting from May to September - peak time for the state's burgeoning oyster-farming industry.
So beginning May 15 and lasting through September, commercial fishermen and oyster farmers may leave their docks just one hour before sunrise and must return to shore and refrigerate their catches by 10 a.m. While on the water, fishermen must shade their captured oysters as another way of keeping the bacteria from multiplying to high levels.
If watermen want to gather oysters past 10 a.m., they must have an approved refrigeration unit or ice storage area aboard their vessel, according to regulations passed this week by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.
The new rules "might sound harsh, and they are," said Jim Wesson, state director of oyster restoration, "but the alternatives are a lot worse." In recognition of the strong tides that play a key role with oystering on the Eastern Shore, seaside fishermen can work past 10 a.m. but must refrigerate their catches within two hours of pulling them from the water, according to the regulations. Violations can result in the destruction of all oysters gathered illegally, and the offender may lose harvesting licenses and permits until a formal hearing can be scheduled. Robert Wittman, director of field operations for the Virginia Health Department's Shellfish Sanitation Division, said Virginia had little choice but to act. Under a program endorsed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, oyster-producing states with two or more Vibrio cases must reduce their incidents by 40 percent in 2006 and 60 percent in 2008. If they fail, the federal agency can impose its own restrictions in such states, including a harvest shutdown in summer months, Wittman said. Virginia's primary oyster seasons are during fall and winter, when Vibrio is dormant. But few oysters of any kind have been found on public grounds in recent years, the result of decades of disease, pollution and lost habitat. In trying to reverse the trend, state officials have urged entrepreneurs to try growing oysters in controlled environments, in protected bags and cages, and away from parasites and predators. These farms are starting to bear fruit, especially in summer, when most harvests occur to take advantage of higher marker prices, state officials said. Containing Vibrio has been a priority with the Interstate Shellfish Conference, a compact of oyster-producing states. Its executive director, Ken Moore, said Virginia is the first state without two Vibrio cases to take pre-emptive action. "Did they go too far? I wouldn't say that," said Moore from his office in South Carolina. "I would say they're ahead of the .. Retaining a clean record is important in this business."

Food Safety and Quality Job Information
Food Safety and Quality Job Information

Salmonella search launched
Source of Article:
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is planning to launch an in-depth inquiry into how much of Europe¡¯s pigmeat production is contaminated with salmonella. The European Commission has asked the European Union (EU) agency to act, because it wants a clear picture of the ¡°public health risks¡±, caused by the disease. Brussels plans to use the data in setting future targets for reducing salmonella in pigs, following a later cost-benefit study. For the first time in such a study, EFSA will outsource part of the work to a consortium of European research institutes. This said, an EFSA note, would ¡°take advantage of the substantial pool of European expertise in this field and ensure a balanced European perspective on the issue¡±. These experts would be tasked with drawing up a ¡°quantitative estimate of the existing risk factors and likely effects of proposed measures to reduce them¡±
Analyses will assess infection on farms; the potential contamination via slaughtering; and the expected effect of reducing salmonella within pig livestock in reducing the disease¡¯s presence in pigmeat and associated food poisoning cases amongst consumers.
The agency has launched a formal call for applications to undertake this work, with an 11 June deadline.

Restaurant Chain Changes Suppliers After Suspected E. Coli Cases
Submitted by Editor on Fri, 04/27/2007 - 10:48am.
Source of Article:
A Pennsylvania-based restaurant chain has temporarily cut ties with its Midwest beef suppliers after five cases of E. coli were traced back to steaks eaten at Hoss¡¯s Steak and Sea House. A representative from the restaurant chain based in the Altoona area said on the phone Tuesday the company will not process beef at its HFX processing plant until further notice and that it has switched its beef suppliers until it can pinpoint where suspected cuts of E. coli tainted beef came from. Last Friday, April 20, the company voluntarily recalled 259,230 pounds of beef products from its Hoss¡¯s restaurants as well as stores it contracts to process beef after an investigation by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) linked five E. coli cases back to the restaurant chain. Hoss¡¯s operates 49 restaurants in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. According to the department of health, five people ate E. coli tainted steaks at four Hoss¡¯s locations in Centre, Dauphin, Venango, and York counties between March 24 and 29. Each person was infected with a potentially deadly strain of E. coli 0157, the same type strain that killed three people and hospitalized hundreds last summer as a result of consuming E. coli-tainted spinach. The department states each person ate a different cut of steak, but the fact they got it at Hoss¡¯s is the only common link. Four of the five people were hospitalized with symptoms of E. coli, which include severe bloody diarrhea.
Symptoms usually appear five days later and if not treated, can cause severe kidney damage and even death. Hoss¡¯s stated it would be eliminating three practices it has used to tenderize and flavor its steaks before they arrive at a restaurant: blade tenderization, vacuum marination and marinade injection. FSIS said the flavor enhancing procedures the company was using may have resulted in E. coli being injected into the meat from the surface of the steaks. In Hoss¡¯s statement, John Brown, president of HFX, said the injection process is widely used in the meat industry. E. coli is usually killed at cooking temperatures of 160 degrees Fahrenheit and above. But the steaks were only cooked at rare and medium rare temperatures and the E. coli would have lived through the cooking process, FSIS said.
Bridget Bingham, director of sales growth for Hoss¡¯s, said the company will not get processed beef from its HFX plant in South Claysburg, Pa., and instead is getting beef from U.S. Foodservice and Reinhart Food Service. Bingham said the company is reviewing safety procedures at the plant in terms of processing beef and is still receiving chicken and salad bar products from the plant. She said the company is looking into other technologies to replace its injection procedures. As far as where the tainted steaks came from, Bingham said the company is currently working with the USDA to figure that out. She said the company gets its beef products from four to five suppliers, all based in the Midwest.
Bingham said the company, which is known for its wide variety of steaks, is trying to provide a product comparable to what it normally serves, but she admitted frequent customers may notice some differences.
She said the company has not overhauled its safety procedures at restaurants, but is increasing its vigilance. ¡°We¡¯re just tightening everyone¡¯s awareness,¡± Bingham said.
Beef tainted with harmful E. coli is rare, according to William Henning, professor emeritus of dairy and animal sciences at Penn State. Henning said everyone has harmless E. coli in them that grows in the intestines. Out of 250 known strains of E. coli that scientists believe exist, Henning said only five can actually cause a person harm.
It is even more rare to get E. coli from a steak since it resides on the surface of meat and cooking normally kills it. Undercooked ground beef has been more of a concern because the bacteria can be mixed into the meat in the grinding process.
Henning said the bacteria usually grows in a cow¡¯s hide and through the slaughtering process can transfer onto a cut of beef.
But he said increased scrutiny and better safety procedures have made a person¡¯s chances of getting a potentially harmful bacteria such as E. coli are very small.
Some of the procedures Henning said slaughterhouses use include steaming a carcass to almost 200 degrees Fahrenheit to kill the bacteria and also using organic acids.
There is also a steam vacuum procedure some companies use.
But even the enhanced safety procedures are not foolproof and there is still a chance a person could get sick from a bacteria.
One possible way to eliminate E. coli would be through irradiation, which involves placing cuts of beef under ionizing radiation to kill the bacteria.
He said Wegmans Food Markets, a supermarket chain in the Mid-Atlantic region, sells irradiated beef. Major health institutions around the world have endorsed the practice.
But the process is controversial with some experts disagreeing on how ¡°safe¡± irradiated food is.
Dr. Samuel Epstein, professor emeritus of environmental medicine at the University of Illinois School of Public Health in Chicago, said in a recent article published by American Grass Fed Beef that the required radiation doses are too high and that tests done on irradiated food in the 1970s by the U.S. Army showed chemicals that increase the chance of getting cancer.

FDA Says Food for Human Consumption May Now Be Affected
Posted on April 26, 2007 by Food Poisoning Lawyer
Source of Article:
The ongoing pet food recall by the Food and Drug Administration has now expanded to pork and poultry. According to an FDA report, five states including California have quarantined hog farms and one poultry farm in Missouri due to concerns that feed was contaminated with melamine, the ingredient linked to kidney failure in dogs and cats. Salvage pet food from manufacturers that are part of the pet recall have been traced to these farms. Test results have shown traces of the contaminant in the hogs' urine. Thus far all the contaminated wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate have been traced to two distributors in China. However the FDA is expanding its testing of imported products to include corn meal, rice bran and soy protein. These imported ingredients may be used for human consumption in products such as bread, pasta, baby formula and pizza dough. The FDA will be taking samples from as many food manufacturers as possible and testing them for melamine contamination.

ConAgra Responding To Peanut Butter Recall And Lawsuits
April 23, 2007. By Heidi Turner digg
Source of Article:
Rome, GA: More and more lawsuits are being filed against ConAgra Foods, Inc., makers of Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter, which was involved in a massive recall earlier this year. Thirty-two consumers from a number of states are already involved in a lawsuit filed in Rome. The plaintiffs include the parents of nine children who became sick after eating peanut butter contaminated with Salmonella Tennessee. The suit is seeking class action status on behalf of all people across the United States who became ill from eating the peanut butter.
ConAgra responded to the lawsuit by denying that the suit should move forward as a class action and denying allegations of negligence. The company also claimed that injuries attributed to the peanut butter could have been caused by pre-existing conditions. In response to the recall, ConAgra has announced that the Georgia plant will have greater separation between raw peanuts and peanut butter and will have a new roof and modern equipment. It has also hired a microbiologist to ensure food safety.
The salmonella outbreak has been traced back to a roof leak and a malfunctioning sprinkler that went off twice. Moisture from those events then mixed with salmonella bacteria that were dormant in the factory, most likely from raw peanuts and dust. The salmonella then came into contact with the peanut butter before being packaged.
Great Value peanut butter is back on store shelves after Wal-Mart decided to use a different manufacturer, although they have not yet said which company that is. Peter Pan brand will not be on the market until early summer.
Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration has announced that it will carry out more investigations at plants that make peanut butter and other similar products. Officials admitted that the salmonella outbreak proved to them that peanut butter is riskier than previously thought. Patients who still have bottles of the contaminated peanut butter should keep them as evidence, but be sure to clearly label them so that everyone in the home knows not to eat the peanut butter.

Best Ways to Clean Kitchen Sponges Best Ways to Clean Kitchen Sponges- from USDA

Why Are The Pet Food Recalls Important To The Bigger Food Safety Picture?
2007-04-27 10:50:26
Source of Article:
The incidents of pet food contaminated with melamine contained in wheat gluten imported from China have now spread into pig feed. Dr. Gary Weaver, DVM, Director of the Program on Agriculture and Animal Health Policy for the University of Maryland's Center for Food, Nutrition, and Agriculture Policy (CFNAP), explains why contaminations are likely to continue and what should be done to improve U.S. oversight of imported animal and human food ingredients.

Uncontrolled distribution of low-quality, imported food ingredients is a great threat to US public health. The US has very little direct, hands-on control over our pet food industry. Incidents like the recent events probably will continue to happen until the US effectively overhauls our food safety programs.
FDA appears to be some 30 years behind as they use pre-global economy border food inspection strategies in our new global economy world of massive international food trade from many countries with food safety standards much lower than ours.
Unscrupulous people know that adding the industrial chemical, melamine to food products and ingredients can make that food product and ingredient test as having a higher protein content.
Billions of dollars worth of foreign ingredients that Americans eat in everything from salad dressing to ice cream get a pass from overwhelmed FDA inspectors, despite a rising tide of these imports from countries with spotty food safety records. more information

Calif. officials declare E. Coli outbreak in Meat over
By Tom Johnston on 4/25/2007 for
An E. coli O157:H7 outbreak blamed for sickening at least three children in California has ended, state health officials said Tuesday.
The source of the bacteria discovered in hamburger patties distributed by Merced, Calif.-based Richwood Meat Co. is still unknown, but no new cases have been reported, leading officials to conclude that the outbreak is now over, Patti Roberts, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Health Services told the Associated Press.
Three children, Little League baseball players, fell ill after consuming concession-stand hamburgers in Calistoga, Calif., officials said.
Richwood voluntarily recalled more than 100,000 pounds of frozen and bulk ground beef on Friday, blaming the contamination on the slaughterhouse that processed the product in April 2006.
Tests on the children and meat from the snack shacks will be concluded Wednesday, Mike Bowman, spokesman for CDHS, told AP.

New kit promotes food safety
Tb News Source
Web Posted: 4/23/2007 7:49:58 PM
Source of Article:
The provincial government is trying to ensure farmers are selling safe food to the public at local farmers' markets and country markets. As a part of their Food Safety Education campaign, the province is providing farmers who are registered with Farmers' Market Ontario, with a food safety kit. Local vendors received their kits at the Westfort Prosvita Monday night and the package includes everything from food poisoning information to tips on how to transport food safely to the local market. The new safety kit shows that all food can cause food poisoning if its handled improperly. So, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has taken to the road to spread the message and hand out kits. Public Health inspector Kimberly Ozeroff says the information package gives farmers valuable tips and suggestions.
''It's very basic: cook, chill, separate and clean. So, you want to keep things cooked to the right temperature, that things are kept cold, that you separate the raw from the ready to eat, and that you clean up afterwards.''
Its important to know that you can't see, smell or taste the bacteria that could cause food poisoning and most foodborne illnesses are caused by bacteria. Viruses, parasites, toxins and chemicals can also be culprits. The kit explains how to prevent trouble with tips on refrigeration, cooking and cleaning.
Farmers' Market Ontario Northern director Lynne Brown says it's helpful for farmers to have this accurate and up-to-date information, on how to handle their food safely.
''Well, I think it's important that information gets shared in a way that is easy to understand, can be put into practice, and is the same and consistent right across the province.''
Farmers' Market Ontario will continue its way across the region to deliver the food safety kits to all of the market vendors. The next session is scheduled in Dryden on Wednesday followed by one in Fort Frances.

FDA Statement on European Aspartame Study

FDA Was Aware of Dangers To Food
Outbreaks Were Not Preventable, Officials Say
(Washington Post)
By Elizabeth Williamson

The Food and Drug Administration has known for years about contamination problems at a Georgia peanut butter plant and on California spinach farms that led to disease outbreaks that killed three people, sickened hundreds, and forced one of the biggest product recalls in U.S. history, documents and interviews show.
Overwhelmed by huge growth in the number of food processors and imports, however, the agency took only limited steps to address the problems and relied on producers to police themselves, according to agency documents.
Congressional critics and consumer advocates said both episodes show that the agency is incapable of adequately protecting the safety of the food supply.
FDA officials conceded that the agency's system needs to be overhauled to meet today's demands, but contended that the agency could not have done anything to prevent either contamination episode.
Last week, the FDA notified California state health officials that hogs on a farm in the state had likely eaten feed laced with melamine, an industrial chemical blamed for the deaths of dozens of pets in recent weeks. Officials are trying to determine whether the chemical's presence in the hogs represents a threat to humans.
Pork from animals raised on the farm has been recalled. The FDA has said its inspectors probably would not have found the contaminated food before problems arose. The tainted additive caused a recall of more than 100 different brands of pet food.
The outbreaks point to a need to change the way the agency does business, said Robert E. Brackett, director of the FDA's food-safety arm, which is responsible for safeguarding 80 percent of the nation's food supply.
"We have 60,000 to 80,000 facilities that we're responsible for in any given year," Brackett said. Explosive growth in the number of processors and the amount of imported foods means that manufacturers "have to build safety into their products rather than us chasing after them," Brackett said. "We have to get out of the 1950s paradigm."
Tomorrow, a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee will hold a hearing on the unprecedented spate of recalls.
"This administration does not like regulation, this administration does not like spending money, and it has a hostility toward government. The poisonous result is that a program like the FDA is going to suffer at every turn of the road," said Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), chairman of the full House committee. Dingell is considering introducing legislation to boost the agency's accountability, regulatory authority and budget.
In the peanut butter case, an agency report shows that FDA inspectors checked into complaints about salmonella contamination in a ConAgra Foods factory in Georgia in 2005. But when company managers refused to provide documents the inspectors requested, the inspectors left and did not follow up.
A salmonella outbreak that began last August and was traced to the plant's Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter brands sickened more than 400 people in 44 states. The likely cause, ConAgra said, was moisture from a roof leak and a malfunctioning sprinkler system that activated dormant salmonella. The plant has since been closed.
The 2005 report shows that FDA inspectors were looking into "an alleged episode of positive findings of salmonella in peanut butter in October of 2004 that was related to new equipment and that the firm didn't react to, . . . insects in some equipment, water leaking onto product, and inability to track some product."
During the inspection, the report says, ConAgra admitted it had destroyed some product in October 2004 but would not say why.
"They asked for some of our documentation and we made the request to them that they put it in writing due to concerns about proprietary information," ConAgra spokeswoman Stephanie Childs said last week. "We did not receive a written request, . . . they filed the report and that was that."
Until February of this year. That's when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notified the FDA of a spike in salmonella cases in states near the ConAgra plant. The agencies contacted the company, which initiated a recall and shut the plant for upgrades.
Brackett said that if the FDA inspector had seen anything truly dangerous the agency would have taken further action. But, he said, the agency cannot force a disclosure, a recall or a plant closure except in extreme circumstances, such as finding a hazardous batch of product.
The problem in 2005, he added, "doesn't necessarily connect to the salmonella outbreak right now. It's not unusual to have it in raw agricultural commodities."
The FDA has known even longer about illnesses among people who ate spinach and other greens from California's Salinas Valley, the source of outbreaks over the past six months that have killed three people and sickened more than 200 in 26 states. The subsequent recall was the largest ever for leafy vegetables.
In a letter sent to California growers in late 2005, Brackett wrote, "FDA is aware of 18 outbreaks of foodborne illness since 1995 caused by [E. coli bacteria] for which fresh or fresh-cut lettuce was implicated. . . . In one additional case, fresh-cut spinach was implicated. These 19 outbreaks account for approximately 409 reported cases of illness and two deaths."
"We know that there are still problems out in those fields," Brackett said in an interview last week. "We knew there had been a problem, but we never and probably still could not pinpoint where the problem was. We could have that capability, but not at this point."
According to Caroline Smith DeWaal, who heads the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer-advocacy group, "When budgets are tight . . . the food program at FDA gets hit the hardest."
In next year's budget, passed amid discovery of contamination problems in spinach, tomatoes and lettuce, Congress has voted the FDA a $10 million increase to improve food safety, DeWaal said. The Agriculture Department, which monitors meat, poultry and eggs and keeps inspectors in every processing plant, got an increase 10 times that amount to help pay for its inspection programs. The FDA visits problem food plants about once a year and the rest far less frequently, Brackett said.
William Hubbard, who retired as associate commissioner of the FDA in 2005 and founded the advocacy group Coalition for a Stronger FDA, said that when he joined the agency in the 1970s, its food safety arm claimed half its budget and personnel.
"Now it's about a quarter . . . at a time in which the problems have grown, the size of the industry has grown and imports of food have skyrocketed," Hubbard said. 4-23-07

Field Validation of HSVS-1000 UltraRapid¢â Food Safety Solution for Fresh-Cut Produce
souce from:
Hanson Technologies, Inc., an innovator in UltraRapid¢â biosensing solutions, will work with Verdelli Farms, Inc., the largest regional produce processor on the East Coast, as its first partner site in its pilot program for validation testing of its Hanson Technologies Safe Vegetable Screening System (HSVS- 1000).

The HSVS-1000 provides an UltraRapid¢â, non-culture solution for pathogen detection in fresh-cut produce using large sample sizes. The elimination of culturing - associated with many hours of delay in waiting for results - and the ability to screen large, more representative sample sizes, optimizes quality and ensures accuracy of results.

The HSVS-1000 can simultaneously screen for multiple pathogens including E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella. This integrated solution comprises proprietary technology, protocols, service and support to optimize food safety and quality throughout operations.

The pilot program will include four weeks of HSVS-1000 operation on-site at Verdelli farms, as well as Hanson Technologies' on-site support, training, and data collection. Hanson Technologies will work with Verdelli Farms to create a screening solution for the fresh-cut produce processed at its large centralized operation in central Pennsylvania.

The two companies are prepared to share with the fresh-cut produce industry the valuable information which will be collected during this pilot program.

Verdelli Farms, Inc. is the first of three pilot participants with which Hanson Technologies will partner during completion of its field validation testing and Hanson is actively seeking additional pilot sites for validation testing of its HSVS-1000.

The pilot program includes validation of the technology and on-site support as well as shared data. Interested companies or institutions can contact William Hanson at 717-245-9890 for more information on this opportunity.

Diagnostic HYBRIDS Releases D3 IFA Enterovirus Identification Kit
souce from:
Diagnostic HYBRIDS now have available the D3 IFA Enterovirus Identification Kit for the qualitative identification of enteroviruses in cell culture by immunofluorescence.

The kit, for in vitro diagnostic use, utilizes a blend of monoclonal antibodies developed in-house. These antibodies target enterovirus-specific antigens produced after a relatively short incubation period in the proprietary enterovirus cell system called Super E-Mix¢â, or conventional cells such as primary monkey kidney cells.

The D3 kit represents a product design improvement on current identification protocols that employ a non-specific, cellular induced protein that is not induced specifically by enteroviruses. When combined with the patented Diagnostic HYBRIDS Super E-Mix¢â cell culture system, positive results can be obtained and confirmed in as little as 16 hours from all specimen types.

"The most recent Enterovirus Surveillance Report[1] estimates approximately 11 to 15 million symptomatic enteroviral infections each year, "said Ronald Lollar, Senior Director of Product Management at Diagnostic HYBRIDS. "Over half of these infections are not identified in cerebral spinal fluid. Cell culture is the only FDA-cleared methodology for these types of specimens. The new D3 IFA Enterovirus Identification Kit was developed to meet the need for sensitive and specific identification of Enterovirus in these cell cultures."

The D3 IFA Enterovirus Identification Kit adds a key component to the Diagnostic HYBRIDS Rapid Enterovirus culture system. The complete system includes Flocked Swab/UTM for specimen collection and transport, Super E-Mix cells that promote the rapid isolation of the Enterovirus family of viruses in a single culture system, and the D3 IFA Enterovirus Identification Kit.

[1]Enterovirus Surveillance --- United States, 1970?2005, Nino Khetsuriani, MD, Ashley LaMonte-Fowlkes, MPH, M. Steven Oberste, PhD, Mark A. Pallansch, PhD. Division of Viral Diseases, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases

Spray to quell E. coli
Baltimore company seeking FDA approval for viral substance to kill the bacteria on produce, raw meat
April 23, 2007 Source of Article:
A small Baltimore biotech company next month will seek U.S. regulatory approval of a spray composed of bacteria-killing viruses that will destroy E. coli on raw hamburger and fresh produce. The bacterial strain - referred to as O157:H7 - caused two major waves of foodborne illnesses last year. Contaminated spinach sickened 199 people nationwide and killed three in an outbreak that began in September and ran for more than a month. In December, an outbreak linked to contaminated lettuce served at Taco Bell restaurants caused 99 infections, most of them on Long Island and elsewhere along the Eastern Seaboard. Spraying meat and produce during processing could lead to a dramatic decline in illnesses caused by E. coli O157:H7, said John Vazzana, president and chief executive of Intralytix, the company developing the spray.
E. coli O157:H7 is a bovine strain discovered in the early 1980s after its genes merged with the Shigella bacterium. The emergent E. coli had a new toxin-producing feature that sometimes proves deadly.
Vazzana said the viruses, which are called bacteriophages, or phages, are E. coli's natural predator. Phages pose no harm to humans, he said, and in tests have been very effective in eliminating E. coli on a wide range of foods.
"We have tested the product on red meat and on fruits and vegetables, mostly broccoli and spinach," Vazzana said in an interview Friday. "We have very good efficacy data in controlled studies." Vazzana's company was the first in the nation last year to receive Food and Drug Administration approval for another viral spray. Also made of phages, that spray was designed to kill listeria and is aimed at producers of cold cuts. Listeria is potentially lethal for pregnant women and anyone with suppressed immunity.
David Spector, director of research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, said phages are viruses that infect only bacteria. "You can think of it as a parasite that multiplies inside of bacteria," Spector said. Once inside a bacterial cell, a phage commandeers the organism's genes and proceeds to make hundreds of new phages, destroying the bacterium in the process.
Spector added that Cold Spring Harbor was once abuzz with activity in phage research but has not been involved in it for 40 years. Alfred Hershey won the 1969 Nobel Prize for his work at the lab on phage genetics.
"The truth is that phages are the most ubiquitous organisms on the planet," Vazzana said. "In a milliliter of unpolluted water there are about 200 million phages."
He added that his company's anti-E. coli spray would not affect so-called good strains of E. coli in the human digestive tract because the phages in his product are highly specific to O157:H7.
As unsavory as viral sprays for food might seem, there could be reason to welcome their presence. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced earlier this month that little progress has been made against the prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 in recent years. The agency estimates that there are 76 million cases of foodborne illnesses in the United States annually caused by a range of pathogens. About 325,000 people are hospitalized and 5,000 die.
"Using them for food products is a very good idea," William Jacobs, a microbiology professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, said of phages. "The reality is we're surrounded by phages whether we like it or not."
Isolated for the first time in 1917 by French biologists, phages have a storied past. As early as 1920, French researchers reported limited success in treating infections by exploiting phages' ability to infect and destroy bacteria.

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

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