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FDA/USDA say low
risk to humans from meat with melamine
Source of Article:
to the U.S. FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there is very
low risk to human health from consuming meat from hogs and chickens known
to have been fed animal feed supplemented with pet food scraps that contained
melamine and melamine-related compounds, according to an assessment conducted
by scientists from five federal agencies.
In the most extreme risk assessment scenario, when scientists assumed
that all the solid food a person consumes in an entire day was contaminated
with melamine at the levels observed in animals fed contaminated feed,
the potential exposure was about 2,500 times lower than the dose considered
safe. In other words, it was well below any level of public health concern.
The risk assessment is an important new science-based component of the
continuing federal joint investigation into imported wheat gluten and
rice protein concentrate from China that contained melamine and melamine-related
The risk assessment was conducted by scientists from the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of the
Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Food Safety and Inspection
Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This team
is now compiling a scientific assessment of the risk to animal health
associated with ingestion of animal feed containing melamine and its compounds.
FDA and USDA are in the process of identifying a group of experts to convene
a scientific advisory board that would be charged with reviewing the risk
assessment. This group would also be asked to contribute to future scientific
analysis related to the risk of melamine and its compounds to humans and
In the course of the investigation, it was discovered that pet food was
contaminated by wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate that contained
melamine and its compounds. Subsequently, scraps of contaminated pet food
that contained only low levels of melamine were distributed to farms in
a limited number of states and added to the feed consumed by swine and
poultry. These scraps constituted only a small percentage of the farm
animal rations. In addition, melamine is known to be excreted in animal
urine. When exposure levels are much higher, as was the case with cats
and dogs, the melamine and its compounds appear to cause the formation
of crystals in the kidney systems, resulting in kidney damage. There was
no indication of kidney damage in hogs. Both hogs and chickens known to
have been fed contaminated feed appear to be healthy.
This dilution factor was an important piece of data considered in the
multi-agency science-based human risk analysis and helps to support the
conclusion that there is very low risk to human health from eating meat
from animals that were fed the contaminated product. This conclusion supports
the decision announced on April 28 not to recall meat from animals that
were fed the contaminated product.
Currently, swine and poultry on farms suspected of receiving contaminated
feed are being held under state quarantine or voluntarily by the owners.
In several cases, feed samples have tested negative for melamine and related
compounds. These tests were conducted by federal laboratories or state
laboratories using approved methods. It is assumed that because only small
amounts of the contaminated feed were mixed with other rations, the melamine
and related compounds were no longer detectable. USDA has concluded that,
based on the human risk assessment and the inability to detect melamine
in the feed samples, these animals no longer need to be quarantined or
withheld from processing.
In other cases, feed samples have tested positive for melamine and related
compounds; feed samples were not available; or feed samples have not yet
been submitted for testing. These animals continue to be withheld from
processing, but are not yet being culled, pending the results of the animal
risk assessment. This assessment is expected to be completed within one
week. At that time, USDA will determine whether these animals can be released
for inspection and further processing.
USDA and FDA continue to conduct a full and comprehensive investigation.
As additional information is confirmed, updates will be provided and decisions
will be made using the best available science to protect the public's
To ensure no further contaminated products enter the U.S., the federal
government will continue to monitor imported wheat and corn gluten as
well as rice protein concentrate and isolates arriving from all countries
destined for human and animal consumption. The FDA import alert for these
products sourced from China remains in effect and U.S. Customs and Border
Protection will continue laboratory testing of the products as they enter
the U.S. The inspections are a precautionary measure to ensure the safety
of products entering at U.S. ports of entry. There is no evidence to suggest
products bound for the human food supply are contaminated.
For additional information about the pet food and contaminated feed investigation,
go to www.fda.gov or www.usda.gov. The human safety/risk assessment will
be available online upon completion of an executive summary.
20 million chickens for market in melamine investigation
By Alicia Karapetian on 5/7/2007 for Meatingplace.com
The Department of Agriculture on Monday announced that some 20 million
chickens that may have eaten feed contaminated with melamine held on farms
in several states will be released to market. "In several cases,
feed samples have tested negative for melamine and related compounds,"
USDA said in a news release. "It is assumed that because only small
amounts of the contaminated feed were mixed with other rations, the melamine
and related compounds were no longer detectable." Last week, USDA
pointed to 38 farms in Indiana where some 3.1 million chickens may have
eaten tainted feed in February, but were slaughtered and sent to market.
Also, about 6,000 hogs in six states may have also eaten contaminated
feed. A hold was placed on the 20 million birds late Friday as the melamine
investigation continued. (See For the birds: Contaminated feed now found
on chicken farms in Indiana, on Meatingplace.com, May 1, 2007.)
Other animals, including poultry and hogs, will be held where melamine
was detected, or where testing has not yet been completed.
Ray Atkinson, spokesman for Pilgrim's Pride Corp., the nation's largest
chicken processor, told Meatingplace.com that none of the remaining flocks
being held are part of Pilgrim's Pride's operations. "At this time
we have no reason to believe that any of the chickens raised under contract
for Pilgrim's Pride have been fed any unapproved ingredients as part of
their normal feed formulas," he said.
USDA has declined to release the names of specific companies and farms
concerned in the investigation, but some processors were quick to point
out that they are not involved.
Livingston, Calif.-based Foster Farms, the largest chicken processor on
the West Coast, released a statement saying, "Foster Farms does not
import any protein ingredients from China for its poultry feed."
The company also said that there is no USDA hold on any of its chickens.
South Fallsburg, N.Y.-based Murray's Chickens also announced that it does
"not use imported feed or grains to feeds our chickens."
Scientists from USDA also said on Monday that there was low risk to humans
who consumed meat from animals that had their diets supplemented with
pet food containing melamine.
"USDA has concluded that, based on the human risk assessment and
the inability to detect melamine from these samples, these animals no
longer need to be quarantined or withheld from processing," the agency
Meantime, industry officials are working with the agencies to resolve
the situation. "Our industry's highest concern is for the food safety
of its products," Richard Lobb, spokesman for the National Chicken
Council told Meatingplace.com. "We will work with [the] government
to ensure that all products sent to market are safe."
The Next E. coli?
Source of Article: http://www.qsrmagazine.com/
May 8, 2007
You might know the word ¡°melamine,¡± but do you know what it means or how
it affects the food supply you rely on? By Fred Minnick
The North American food supply has been contaminated?again. This time,
it¡¯s not E. coli, Mad Cow, avian flu, or salmonella.
The most-recent headline grabber is the chemical melamine, an organic
compound, which entered animal feeds and is part of the pet-food contamination
that resulted in 150 brand and 5,300 product recalls.
On May 1, federal officials said at least 2.5 million broiler chickens
from an Indiana producer were fed pet-food scraps contaminated with melamine
and entered the food supply. They estimate between 2.5 million and 3 million
ate the contaminated poultry. As of press time, no illnesses have been
reported nor have there been reports of restaurant connections. But officials
said hundreds of other producers might have sold an unknown number of
contaminated poultry in recent months, which means there was a broader
consumption of contaminated feed and food than had previously been acknowledged
in the pet-food situation. Two weeks prior to the poultry announcement,
the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture
(USDA) announced swine had been contaminated with melamine, too, but said
pork fed adulterated feeds will not be approved to enter the food supply.
The FDA determined that rice protein concentrate imported from China was
contaminated with melamine and melamine-related compounds and was imported
by Wilbur-Ellis, an importer and distributor of agricultural products.
Although the company began importing product from China in August 2006,
Wilbur-Ellis did not become aware of the contamination until April 2007.
The FDA believes the rice protein was used in the production of pet food
and a portion of the pet food was used to produce animal feed. An ongoing
investigation is tracing products distributed since August 2006 by Wilbur-Ellis
throughout the distribution chain. Last week, as part of its investigation,
the FDA ordered all vegetable protein imports from China used in human
and animal food detained.
But the agency is adamant that the chemical poses little threat to humans.
John Groves, professor of chemistry at Princeton University, told the
Associated Press that when tested in rats and mice, melamine has shown
very low toxicity, meaning it is only harmful in extremely high doses.
Groves said it has produced stones that resulted in bladder tumors in
rats when they were fed a diet that was 10,000 parts per million, or 1
¡°We do not believe there is any significant threat of human illness from
this,¡± said David Acheson, the FDA chief medical officer, in a conference
call with reporters on May 1.
The FDA and other governmental agencies are continuing to determine the
threat level melamine poses.
But the agency is adamant that the chemical poses little threat to humans.¡±
¡°What the [restaurant] industry has to worry about is what statements
are put out by health departments and secondarily, how many animals are
going to be affected and held back from market, which could affect the
price,¡± says Gary Karp, executive vice president for Technomic.
Operators are already experiencing an accelerated cost market because
of the price of corn and feed grains. Karp says the melamine contamination
might further limit the available supply of poultry and pork, too. ¡°At
the same time, the health departments are trying to determine how the
trace amounts [of melamine] will impact health,¡± Karp says. ¡°If this gets
to be a much larger issue and much larger suppliers get affected, this
could have a substantial effect on goods and availability.¡±
Smithfield Inc. said in a statement that it has not purchased or processed
hogs from any farms quarantined by the FDA or USDA. The company also said
that its suppliers have discovered no feed ingredients that have been
identified by the FDA to contain the chemical melamine in their swine
feeding systems. Representatives of Perdue and Tyson Foods said in letters
to supermarkets that they do not use protein ingredients from China in
Says Dr. Donna Garren, vice president of health and safety regulatory
affairs, National Restaurant Association: ¡°Food safety is the number one
priority for our nation¡¯s restaurants. We are in contact with the FDA
and will continue to keep our members informed as updates become available.¡±
AND ANALOGUES SAFETY/RISK ASSESSMENT: FACT SHEET
AND ANALOGUES SAFETY/RISK ASSESSMENT: FACT SHEET
may reduce asthma and allergy
By Stephen Daniells
Source of Article: http://www.foodqualitynews.com/
11/05/2007 - Regular consumption of unpasteurised farm milk may offer
protection from range of allergies, but the researchers cautioned against
drinking raw milk until more research is carried out. The researchers,
led by Marco Waser from the University of Basel, stress that they do not
know what components of the raw milk may be responsible for such effects,
but they could be linked to the pathogenic and non-pathogenic microbe
levels in the milk. From this point of view, the research appears to be
in line with previous studies that have reported that probiotic bacteria
may reduce the risk of certain allergies like eczema and asthma in infants.
Many studies, both epidemiological and animal, have reported that disorder
of the intestinal microflora is closely related to food allergy development,
said the researchers, suggesting that the non-pathogenic content of farm
milk could offer an interesting avenue of future study. "The results
of this study indicate that all children drinking farm milk have a lower
chance of developing asthma and hay fever," said Dr Waser. "However
raw milk may contain pathogens such as salmonella or enterohaemorrhagic
E coli and its consumption may have serious health risks.
"We need to develop a deeper understanding of why farm milk offers
children this higher level or protection and investigate ways of making
the product safer, while retaining these protective qualities," he
added. "At the moment we can only speculate about why farm milk protects
children against asthma and allergies. Perhaps it is because farm milk
has different levels or compositions of pathogenic and non-pathogenic
microbes to milk sold in shops."
The PARSIFAL study - Prevention of Allergy Risk factors for Sensitisation
in Children related to Farming and Anthroposophic Lifestyle - looked at
14,893 farm children aged between five and 13 from rural and suburban
communities in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland.
Parents were asked to complete detailed questionnaires about their child's
consumption of milk, butter, yoghurt, eggs and fruit and vegetables and
whether they were farm-produced or shop-bought. Questions were also asked
about breastfeeding habits and any allergies or asthma problems affecting
the child or their family. Blood tests to measure levels of the allergy
specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) - the predominant antibody associated
with an allergic response - were also carried out on about 4,000 children
from across the five countries. Writing in the journal Clinical and Experimental
Allergy, Waser and co-workers report that consumption of farm milk, whether
boiled or not, was associated with a reduction in the occurrence of asthma
by 26 per cent, hay fever by 33 per cent, and food allergy by 58 per cent.
No effect was observed for eczema. "It is interesting that there
was no difference in the farm milk results regardless of whether it was
boiled before consumption. As boiling is likely to have been over-reported,
this could indicate that pasteurisation is not as important as previously
thought, as compounds other than microbes may offer a protective role,"
said Dr. Waser.
With previous research also showing a benefit from omega-3 fatty acids,
future studies should include fatty acid profiles in addition to the microbial
content, said the researchers.
"But despite our findings, we cannot recommend consumption of raw
farm milk," he added. "A deepened understanding of the relevant
'protective' components of farm milk and a better insight into the biological
mechanisms underlying the reported epidemiological observation are warranted
as a basis for the development of a safe product for prevention,"
concluded the researchers. In an accompanying editorial, Michael Perkin
from the University of London said the paper added to the body of evidence
reporting the benefits of unpasteurised milk consumption. "The potential
of identifying the underlying mechanism that yields a two-thirds reduction
in sensitization must be worth pursuing. The key issue now is to determine
what underlies this protective effect and whether it is possible to separate
the protective from the potentially hazardous elements," he said.
According to the European Federation of Allergy and Airway Diseases Patients
Association (EFA), over 30m europeans suffer from asthma, costing Europe
¢æ17.7bn ($23.8bn) every year. The cost due to lost productivity is estimated
to be around ¢æ9.8bn ($13.2bn).
The American Lung Association stated that almost 20m Americans suffer
from the condition - reported to be responsible for over 14m lost school
days in children, while the annual economic cost of asthma is said to
be over $16.1bn (¢æ11.9bn).
The work was supported by the European Union, the Swiss National Research
Foundation, the Swiss-based Kuehne-Foundation and the Swedish Foundation
for Health Care Science and Allergy Research.
Source: Clinical and Experimental Allergy
May 2007, Volume 37, Pages 661-670
"Inverse association of farm milk consumption with asthma and allergy
in rural and suburban populations across Europe"
Authors: M. Waser, K.B. Michels, C. Bieli, H. Floistrup, G. Pershagen,
E. von Mutius, M. Ege, J. Riedler, D. Schram-Bijkerk, B. Brunekreef, M.
van Hage, R. Lauener, C. Braun-Fahrlander, the PARSIFAL Study team
Editorial: Clinical and Experimental Allergy
May 2007, Volume 37, Pages 627-630
"Unpasteurised milk: health or hazard ?"
Author: M.R. Perkin
Poisoning Mystery May Be Solved
Finding Comes As Menu Foods Expands Its Recall And Senate OKs Regulation
Of Pet Food Labels
WASHINGTON, May 3, 2007
Source of Article: http://www.cbsnews.com/
(CBS/AP) The mystery of how two chemicals that are considered non-toxic
poisoned so many pets may have been solved, CBS News correspondent Nancy
The breakthrough was made at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.
A week ago, scientist Perry Martos mixed together a few drops of melamine
and cyanuric acid, the two unauthorized chemicals found in tainted pet
In less than a second, they formed a mass of crystals nearly identical
to crystals found in the kidneys of sickened animals.
"If you can imagine an instantaneous kidney stone ? that's essentially
the way I would perceive it," says Martos.
Dr. Kimberly May of the American Veterinary Medical Association says the
discovery could end up saving the lives of animals that eat the tainted
food, Cordes reports.
"It's very possible that the crystals that are formed may be dissolved
by ... altering the medical treatment somehow, and that is being investigated,"
Meanwhile, the Chinese government reportedly has made one arrest in the
contamination case. It's believed the chemicals were added deliberately
as cheap substitute for real protein. In Washington, the Senate voted
unanimously Thursday to standardize the nutrition labels on pet food and
to fine pet food makers who don't report problems right away. These discoveries
come as Menu Foods recalled yet another batch of its products. Menu Foods
said the recall was due to possible cross-contamination between melamine-tainted
products and other foods made in the same period.
The expansion includes cuts and gravy pet food, as well as other products
that were not made with the contaminated wheat gluten supplied by ChemNutra
Inc., but were manufactured during the period the chemical-laced gluten
The company based its decision on study results that revealed cross-contamination,
as well as one report from a customer.
The recall now includes additional pet food products in the United States,
Canada and Europe. It also expands the date ranges of previously recalled
products to match the period that melamine-tainted wheat gluten was used
in manufacturing plants.
Menu estimates that the additional itemed added to the recall represent
less than 5 percent of all products already recalled or withdrawn.
More than 100 brands of pet food have been recalled since March 16 because
they were contaminated with melamine. An unknown number of dogs and cats
have been sickened or died after eating chemical-laced pet food.
For a complete list of Menu's recalled products visit their Web site at
Menu Foods: http://www.menufoods.com/recall/PressReleaseUS05022007.htm
support FDA's OK of food from clones
By Tom Johnston on 5/3/2007 for Meatingplace.com
More than 200 scientists have pledged support of the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration's preliminary approval of food from cloned animals. "We
support and agree with the FDA's conclusion as stated in the science-based
draft risk assessment that edible products from healthy cloned animals
and progeny of cloned animals pose no additional food consumption risks
relative to corresponding products from other animals," the scientists
proclaimed in a sign-on document distributed by the Federation of Animal
Science Societies. "This is one of the most rigorous food safety
reviews ever conducted," FASS CEO Dr. Jerome Baker said in a press
release. "The American people should be absolutely confident in the
FDA's good work."
Among the scientists who signed the document were leading researcher Dr.
Terry Etherton, a member of the National Academy of Sciences panel that
evaluated the safety of food from cloned animals, and Dr. Ian Wilmut,
one of the "fathers" of Dolly the Sheep.
FASS also ran an ad in Wednesday's Washington Post, in which Etherton
says, "The scientific evidence is absolutely, robustly clear. There
is no food safety risk from the meat or milk from clones, or from their
conventionally bred offspring."
FDA rendered its initial OK of food from cloned animals in December. (See
FDA: Cloned animal products are edible on Meatingplace.com, Dec. 29, 2006.)
Look to Vaccines in the War on E. Coli
(New York Times)
By ANDREW POLLACK
Shousun C. Szu, a scientist at the National Institutes of Health, says
the best way to prevent people from being poisoned by deadly E. coli would
be to vaccinate all infants against the bacteria. Graeme McRae, a Canadian
biotechnology executive, says it would be more practical to inoculate
cows instead. Vaccines for people and for cattle are just two approaches
under development to prevent or treat food poisoning by the strain E.
coli O157:H7. Right now, scientists can do little medically to fight the
pathogen, which was responsible for two severe outbreaks last fall, one
from contaminated bagged spinach and a second from tainted lettuce served
in chain taco restaurants. The main approach has been to try to prevent
contamination through careful handling, rigorous inspections and government
regulation. Slaughterhouses have already sharply reduced contamination
through practices like washing carcasses with hot water, steam or acids.
Now the focus is on new procedures and regulations for the fresh-produce
industry. Some researchers say medical approaches could eventually supplement
food-processing measures. To pave the way, an advisory committee of the
Food and Drug Administration met on April 12 to discuss how to run clinical
trials of drugs to treat E. coli infections. On the animal side, a vaccine
for cattle developed by Mr. McRae¡¯s company, Bioniche Life Sciences, was
approved in December for distribution to veterinarians in Canada. Studies
have shown that the vaccine can reduce but not eliminate the E. coli shed
into manure. Not only does that make the cows cleaner as they go into
the slaughterhouse, but it could also conceivably reduce the risk that
the germ will spread from a feedlot to a nearby produce field though water
or wild animals. Cows and their manure are considered the major sources
of the pathogen.
¡°If we can reduce the likelihood that animals are going to carry the bacteria,
then we might reduce over time what they put out into the environment,¡±
said Guy Loneragan, a veterinary epidemiologist at West Texas A&M
University, who has received financing from the beef industry. Other methods
being tested include cattle antibiotics, an industrial chemical, bacterial-killing
viruses and friendly bacteria to displace the evil ones.
One big potential barrier is that ranchers and feedlots may have little
incentive to pay for such treatments, because they do not make the cows
grow faster. Nor do they keep the cows healthy, because O157 does not
sicken the cows that harbor it.
¡°The cattle industry is within pennies of making a profit or not,¡± said
Carolyn Hovde Bohach, a professor of microbiology at the University of
Idaho who is working on a different E. coli vaccine for cattle. ¡°Would
it be their responsibility to protect vegetables?¡±
Efforts to develop drugs and vaccines for people also face barriers. Because
outbreaks are rare and sporadic, for instance, it would be difficult to
test such treatments in clinical trials.
It might be hard to diagnose the infection in time to intervene medically.
And any treatment would have to be very safe, because it would be given
to children and because most people improve without any intervention.
E. coli O157:H7 causes 75,000 cases of infection and 61 deaths in the
United States each year, according to a 1999 estimate by the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention posted on its Web site. The actual number
of confirmed cases has dropped since then, particularly in 2003 and 2004,
but increased in 2005 and 2006, in part because of the outbreaks tied
to spinach and lettuce. As few as 10 bacteria can make someone ill. The
bacteria release one or two potent toxins that cause bloody diarrhea.
In 15 percent of children younger than 10, and more rarely for adults,
the infection causes hemolytic uremic syndrome, in which red blood cells
are destroyed and the kidneys fail. In a small percentage of such cases,
the syndrome proves fatal.
Dr. Phillip I. Tarr, an expert at Washington University in St. Louis,
says treatment is difficult because the bloody diarrhea that signals infection
may not occur until three to four days after ingestion of the bacteria.
By then, a patient could be well on the way to kidney failure.
Antibiotics, the usual treatment for bacterial infection, only make things
worse by killing the bacteria and releasing more of their toxin, Dr. Tarr
said. He added that the sole treatment shown to reduce the severity of
kidney problems was intravenous fluids.
Other scientists are trying. Thallion Pharmaceuticals of Montreal and
Teijin Pharma of Japan have separately developed monoclonal antibodies
that can latch on to the toxin molecules and neutralize them. Monoclonal
antibodies, a synthetic version of the body¡¯s own infection fighters,
are commonly used to treat cancer and other diseases. 5-1-07
Byerly's E. coli Cases in Minnesota
Posted on May 8, 2007 by E. coli Attorney
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
From a Press Release from the Minnesota State Department of Health:
E. coli O157:H7 cases linked to ground beef purchased at Lunds or Byerly¡¯s
stores since mid-April - Product removed from store shelves; customers
asked to return or destroy it
State health and agriculture officials are investigating seven cases of
E. coli O157:H7 infection in Minnesota residents associated with eating
ground beef purchased from Lunds or Byerly¡¯s stores since mid-April. Routine
monitoring by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) found that the
cases of illness were all caused by E. coli O157:H7 with the same DNA
fingerprint. All of the cases had purchased the ground beef from one of
four Lunds or Byerly¡¯s stores in the west metro area since April 12. The
people became ill between April 21 and 28 after consuming the meat. The
cases include two children and five adults. Three of the cases were hospitalized,
but all have been discharged.
¡°The stores currently involved include Byerly¡¯s St. Louis Park, Byerly¡¯s
Minnetonka, Byerly¡¯s Chanhassen and Lunds Edina. However, we can¡¯t be
certain that meat from other stores is not involved, since all of the
beef used for ground beef for Lunds and Byerly¡¯s stores comes from a single
processing facility,¡± said Heidi Kassenborg, Acting Director of the Dairy
and Food Inspection Division of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Ground beef that was purchased after April 7 from a Lunds or Byerly¡¯s
store, whether still in the refrigerator or freezer, should not be used,
but should be discarded or returned to the store, officials said. As a
precautionary measure, Lunds and Byerly¡¯s have voluntarily removed many
varieties of ground beef from all of their stores and are cooperating
fully with the investigation.
Lunds and Byerly¡¯s customers are urged to return or destroy fresh ground
beef purchased at any of their stores since April 7, 2007. This includes
ground beef purchased fresh then frozen at home. It includes fresh beef
patties, fresh or frozen meatloaf and ground chili meat.
from young cows infected with BSE, Japanese experts say
By Tom Johnston on 5/10/2007 for Meatingplace.com
Japanese experts have concluded that their tests failed to demonstrate
that young cows infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy posed any
danger to humans, according to what Kyodo News called "informed sources."
Representing Japan's Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, the team injected
11 mice with brain fluid extracted from two young BSE-infected cows in
Japan and discovered that the rodents had not developed the disease up
to 927 days after the injection, the sources said.
The 21- and 23-month-old cows were found to have been infected with BSE
in 2003, prompting Tokyo to limit imports of U.S. beef to meat from cattle
younger than 21 months old. With these results, Japanese officials apparently
are bracing for pressure from the United States to raise the age limit
to 30 months of age, a threshold already deemed safe by the World Organization
for Animal Health and adopted by many nations.
Phil Seng, president and CEO of the U.S. Meat Export Federation, said
in a press release that the finding could help in persuading Japan to
ease its restrictions.
Meanwhile, some experts are skeptical about the testing method used by
the ministry, saying there may not have been sufficient brain fluid used
to cause infection.
"The test results fail to specify whether the prion that causes BSE
was safe for the mice or whether the amount of brain fluid for injection
was too limited," said Yasuhiro Yoshikawa, chairman of the Prion
Expert Committee of Tokyo's Food Safety Commission.
Safety and Quality Job Information
Food Safety and Quality Job Information
set on oyster harvests
THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
May. 10, 2007
Source of Article: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/256/story/74963.html
UPDATED AT 8:47 A.M. Commercial oyster harvests will have stricter state
controls this summer in hope of preventing outbreaks like the 113 cases
of oyster-related bacterial illness reported in Washington last year.
The Washington State Board of Health unanimously passed an emergency rule
Wednesday setting maximum times that may elapse before oysters must be
chilled after harvest, and imposing stringent monitoring of commercial
oyster beds. The rule does not apply to oysters designated for cooking
State Department of Health officials proposed the rule after the bacterium
Vibrio parahaemolyticus sickened a record number of people last summer
with nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, headache, fever and chills. The
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said about 300 cases of "vibriosis"
linked to Pacific Northwest oysters were reported across the U.S. last
year. Many more cases were likely not reported, health officials said.
The new rule applies to 12 major growing areas and Hood Canal and will
be in effect from June through September, when the bacteria thrive and
invade oysters. After the summer, the board will study the rule¡¯s effects
and consider making it permanent. It also will apply to any other area
linked to an illness. Previously, state controls were based on guidelines
set by the shellfish industry and approved by the federal Food and Drug
Administration. The new state rule requires oyster producers to sample
growing areas at least every two weeks for the bacteria and keep detailed
records. Health authorities will immediately sample any area linked to
an illness and, based on bacteria levels, could apply more stringent temperature
controls or close the area. Two or more cases of illness also would automatically
close the area.
Women More Susceptible to Foodbourne Diseases
Compiled By Staff
May 10, 2007
Source of Article: http://ohiofarmer.com/index.aspx?ascxid=fpStory&fpsid=28251&fpstid=2
Pregnant women are about 20 times more likely than other healthy adults
to get food-borne diseases such as listeriosis and salmonellosis. And
the results could be tragic: Both mother and unborn baby are at risk of
serious illness, and the baby could die.
That's why researchers at Ohio State University and Colorado State University
are developing a specialized food safety intervention program targeting
pregnant women. And, thanks to a three-year, $1.5 million grant from the
U.S. Department of Agriculture, they will be able to refine it and test
"We've done all the groundwork, we have the basics for the educational
materials," says Lydia Medeiros, a nationally recognized food safety
expert and specialist with Ohio State University Extension. "But
we need to find out if an intensive educational program is something that
will help women stay healthy. In the end, we want to see a lower incidence
of both listeriosis and salmonellosis among pregnant women as a result
of participating in our curriculum."
Of the two illnesses, listeriosis is less common but poses more risk.
Although only about 2,500 Americans are estimated to suffer from the illness
each year, about 500 cases - one-fifth of those affected - are fatal.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one-third
of listeriosis cases occur in pregnant women, probably because hormonal
changes during pregnancy affect the mother's immune system, leading to
an increased susceptibility if exposed to the microorganism Listeria monocytogenes.
Even if an exposed pregnant woman suffers no symptoms, the illness can
be transmitted to the fetus, causing premature delivery, miscarriage,
stillbirth, or other serious health problems for the newborn.
The CDC says that every year, about 40,000 cases of salmonellosis are
reported in the United States, but the actual number of infections may
be much greater because many mild forms of the illness go unreported.
The center estimates that approximately 600 persons die each year with
acute salmonellosis, with children, the elderly and the immunocompromised
most at risk.
investigate China imports for melamine
By Ahmed ElAmin
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/
09/05/2007 - EU regulators are investigating whether the banned chemical
melamine has made its way into Europe's food and feed supply chain from
The investigation should put EU processors on guard against potential
contamination from ingredients sourced from China, which now finds itself
in the spotlight over its food safety practices.
The regulators are responding to a request by the European Commission,
made after the US Department of Agriculture reported last week that the
contaminant had been found in pet food fed to hogs and chickens meant
for human consumption. Hundreds of dogs and cats either died or suffered
health problems as a result. The scare widened in the US after it was
found to have entered the human food chain after pet food scrap was used
as a feed supplement at a number of hog and chicken farms. The discovery
led to the quarantine of hundreds of hogs and about 3m chickens in the
US while inspectors checked them for health problems. US regulators have
since said that the risk to human health was low and have said the animals
can now be slaughtered for consumption.
Now regulators on this side of the Atlantic are keeping an eye out for
the chemical to prevent similar food safety problems from happening here.
Melamine is an industrial chemical found in plastics. The US found that
the chemical had been fraudulently added to wheat gluten and rice protein
from China. The country has now banned its exporters from using the chemical
as an additive to boost protein levels in feeds.
No evidence has turned up so far to indicate that it was ever used in
ingredients meant for human consumption. In the UK the Food Standards
Agency (FSA) said it is responding the the Commission request by co-ordinating
a monitoring programme of imports to help ensure that products comply
with the EU's feed and food law.
The FSA said it is also advising the feed and food industry to make the
appropriate checks of their imported ingredients. The regulator noted
that UK trade statistics indicate that only a small number of products
entering the country is "low".
In the US, the FDA last week issued an import alert guidance, which singled
out a number of wheat, rice, corn, soy and mung bean imports from China
for regulatory attention.
The alert gave border control authorities the power to detain imports
without first having to inspect them. Any increase in detention could
mean some processors will find their ingredient imports are not available
when they need them.
a growing concern for shoppers, FMI survey shows
By Ann Bagel Storck on 5/9/2007 for Meatingplace.com
Foodborne illness outbreaks are significantly changing consumer shopping
behavior and attitudes, according to the Food Marketing Institute's "U.S.
Grocery Shopper Trends, 2007" report. The number of consumers "completely"
or "somewhat confident" in the safety of supermarket food declined
from 82 percent in 2006 to 66 percent in 2007 ? the lowest point since
1989. Spinach (71 percent) topped the list of items consumers said they
stopped buying, although beef (8 percent) also made the list. The survey
was conducted in January 2007, when the outbreak linked to spinach headlined
in the news.
The report also demonstrated that high fuel and home-heating costs are
driving other changes in shopping. For example, 69 percent of those surveyed
said they cook more and eat out less; 56 percent said they purchase more
grocery store-brand items as opposed to national brand items; and 30 percent
said they buy more canned, frozen or boxed foods as opposed to fresh food.
Data for "U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends, 2007" was collected through
surveys conducted by Harris Poll Online among a nationally representative
sample of 2,307 U.S. shoppers. To participate in the survey, respondents
were required to be a minimum of 15 years of age, hold primary or equal
responsibility for food shopping and have shopped for groceries in the
preceding two weeks.
Real-Time PCR Assay for Campylobacter Certified by AOAC-RI
source from: rapidmicrobiology.com
A new BAX¢ç system assay from DuPont Qualicon that uses real-time PCR to
detect Campylobacter has been certified as Performance Testedsm Method
No. 040702 by the AOAC Research Institute in Gaithersburg, MD. Validation
studies on enriched samples of ready-to-eat turkey and chicken carcass
rinses compared BAX¢ç system performance to the ISO 10272-1:2006 culture
method. AOAC-RI found that qualitative results with the BAX¢ç system demonstrated
sensitivity that was equivalent to the reference method, with 99 percent
specificity. The BAX¢ç system real-time PCR assay for Campylobacter, developed
in alliance with Applied Biosystems, detects and differentiates three
foodborne species of Campylobacter (C. jejuni, C. coli and C. lari) in
the same sample. With less than 90 minutes processing time, the BAX¢ç system
delivers next-day results on enriched samples.
"This new assay offers
poultry customers a fast, sensitive and highly accurate method for detecting
pathogenic Campylobacter" said Kevin Huttman, president of DuPont
Qualicon. "Adding this AOAC certification to our portfolio of certified
products provides even greater value to food businesses that choose the
BAXA¢ç system as their preferred diagnostic method." Food processing
companies around the world rely on the BAX¢ç system to detect pathogens
or other organisms in raw ingredients, finished products and environmental
samples. The automated system uses leading-edge technology, including
polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays, tableted reagents and optimized
media, to also detect Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli O157:H7, Enterobacter
sakazakii and Staphylococcus aureus. With certifications and regulatory
approvals in the Americas, Asia and Europe, the BAX¢ç system is recognized
globally as the most advanced pathogen testing system available to food
for bacteria in fruit juice
Source of Article: http://www.ift.org/news_bin/news/news_home.shtml
5/10/2007-At the University of Missouri-Columbia, a food science professor
has developed a rapid, reliable, and efficient technique to detect Alicyclobacillus,
a bacterium that is not harmful to human health but does affect flavor
and cause spoilage.
Collaborating with scientists in the United States and from around the
world, Mengshi Lin, assistant professor of food science in the university's
College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, has successfully used
a new approach combining a DNA sequencing technique with mid-infrared
spectroscopy to rapidly and accurately identify the bacterium. Alicyclobacillus
is commonly found in apple, carrot, tomato, orange and pear juices, tropical
fruit juices, and juice blends. A number of different tests are currently
employed to find the bacterium, but some yield false negatives. This in
turn can affect trade. Japan, for example, has a zero tolerance for this
bacterium in imported juices, Lin said.
Identification is a challenge because spoilage can be difficult to distinguish
visibly until test results are confirmed or after juice products have
been opened and tasted by consumers. In addition to agitating taste buds,
spoiled juice can affect consumer confidence.
Lin's technique identifies the organism quickly - in a matter of hours,
unlike traditional culturing methods, which are time-consuming and require
five to seven days to process. Lin said that testing time is critical
for juice processing companies, which monitor for the bacteria during
the processing and final product stage. He said the DNA technique in combination
with infrared spectroscopy technique won't cause long delays in production.
Lin and his research team have tested the technique and published the
results in a study, "Phylogenetic and spectroscopic analysis of Alicyclobacillus
isolates by 16S rDNA sequencing and mid-infrared spectroscopy," which
has been published in Sensing and Instrumentation for Food Quality and
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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