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Journal of Food Saety
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
Courtesy Of China
June 4, 2007
Source of Article: http://www.thedailygreen.com/
With 90 percent of the U.S. vitamin supply now coming from China, and
food and drug import scandals seemingly cropping up by the hour, vitamin
makers are making a push to tell consumers their products are OK. We might
expect the same soon from the makers of pain relievers, antibiotics, and
a host of other common pharmaceuticals and supplements. They are now all
made, primarily, in China too.
Consumers are on edge, after the Food and Drug Administration warned on
Friday not to buy toxic Chinese toothpaste. That followed closely on the
broadening scandal into pet and animal feeds tainted with an industrial
chemical supplied by China.
And with inspectors employed by governments that are part-owners of manufacturing
plants, there¡¯s good reason to be skeptical about the quality of a range
carrot juice cold to avoid toxin
By Emily Brown
Posted June 5 2007
Source of Article: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/
U.S. regulators said makers of carrot juice and other low-acid drinks
should ensure the products are kept cold during distribution to prevent
The bacteria that cause botulism can grow unless juices low in acid are
properly processed and refrigerated, the Food and Drug Administration
said in guidance to the industry today. Six cases of illness linked to
carrot juice occurred last year.
Botulism is a rare sickness caused by botulinum toxin, one of the most
poisonous substances occurring in nature. Victims can become paralyzed
or even die, according to the FDA.
Four people in the United States and two in Canada were sickened in September
and October by botulism poisoning traced to carrot juice. Food-borne botulism
is rare in the United States, the FDA said.
"Those cases were really unprecedented," Michael Kashtock at
the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition said Monday. Celery
juice is also considered a low acidic drink, he said.
About 110 cases of botulism poisoning occur each year in the United States.
Twenty-five percent of those are caused by food, according to the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention. The tainted juice came from a single
firm, said regulators, who didn't identify the manufacturer. Companies
that make carrot juice and other low-acid drinks should label the products
"Keep Refrigerated," the FDA said. WM Bolthouse Farms recalled
some bottles of its carrot juice last year, according to a statement.
The Bakersfield, Calif.-based company said proper refrigeration is generally
at or below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
FDA to Establish
Panel on Risk Communication
Source of Article: http://www.ombwatch.org/article/blogs/entry/3404/24
FDA has announced the creation of an advisory panel which will aid agency
officials in communicating food and drug safety risks to the public. Last
year, the Institute of Medicine recommended Congress pass legislation
creating such a panel.
FDA should be applauded being proactive on the recommendation. During
recent food and drug safety crises, FDA has seemed unwilling or unable
to allay public fears with immediate communications and relevant information.
Establishing this panel has the benefit of being both good politics and
But policy and politics don't always get along so well. Members of this
panel will need to be unbiased and apolitical in their assessments of
food and drug safety and the need for public outreach. Even so, because
political officials will likely be doing most of the actual communicating,
the potential for politically-motivated cover-ups remains.
The Institute of Medicine report states:
The expertise needed on the advisory committee may include consumer and
patient perspectives¡¦risk communication, health literacy, social marketing
expertise, public relations expertise, social sciences expertise with
an emphasis on qualitative research and survey science, journalism, and
Conspicuously absent from that list is industry. If FDA truly intends
to create this panel in the spirit of the report, it will keep industry
allies off. (FDA will be accepting public nominations for the panel.)
Even if FDA improves its regulatory actions and post-market surveillance,
drug and food safety problems are inevitable. America needs a trusted
voice in these situations. One of the roles of government should be to
provide that voice.
in-licences Phase I Enterotoxigenic E Coli (Etec) Vaccine from Cambridge
Source of Article: http://www.pharmalive.com/
Deal Involves Initial Payment, Milestone and Royalties
Odense, Denmark and Cambridge, UK, 31 May 2007 -- ACE BioSciences A/S,
the infectious diseases company and Cambridge BioStability Ltd (CBL),
the British biotechnology company have entered a strategic deal whereby
ACE BioSciences in-licenses CBL¡¯s ¡®HolaVax¡¯, (to be called ACE537) an
oral Phase I Enterotoxigenic E Coli (ETEC) vaccine which has the potential
to be the first to market in the US and EU and which combats the single
biggest cause of travelers diarrhoea. Under the terms of the agreement,
CBL receives an initial up-front payment and rights to milestone and royalty
payments dependent on the successful completion of clinical trials and
undisclosed sales targets respectively. The vaccine, which comprises three
different strains of attenuated Enterotoxigenic E coli bacteria, is scheduled
to complete proof of concept studies in 2009, with potentially the first
market launch anticipated in 2013. It is differentiated from other, competitive
ETEC vaccines in development because it has a dual preventative action:
it combats bacterial adherence to and colonisation of the small intestine
and neutralizes the activity of the LT toxin, a key cause of diarrhoea.
Its oral delivery formulation is another differentiating factor.
ETEC is the single largest bacterial cause of travellers¡¯ diarrhoea (TD)
around the world, followed by Campylobacter, Salmonella and Shigella.
ACE BioSciences is already developing a vaccine to address Campylobacter
infection, ACE393, and this is in Phase II clinical trials. Market launch
is scheduled for 2010 when ACE393 would be the first commercially available
vaccine for TD. Ms Ingelise Saunders, ACE BioSciences¡¯ CEO commented ¡°ACE537
is a perfect strategic fit for ACE BioSciences, since it complements our
Campylobacter vaccine and would follow it closely to market. Its dual
action sets it apart from competitive programmes and should enable it
to provide greater disease protection. In the first instance we intend
to develop it as a stand-alone vaccine, but in the longer term there is
potential to develop an oral combination vaccine to address ETEC and Campylobacter.
We believe this would be of tremendous appeal to travellers, since it
would protect recipients from the two greatest causes of travellers¡¯ diarrhoea.¡±
Paul Rewrie, Chief Operating Officer of CBL said ¡°HolaVax is a very promising
vaccine. However, CBL is focused on heat stable vaccine formulations rather
than product development and in this context we believe it will reach
the market faster in the hands of a company dedicated to vaccine development.
ACE BioSciences is the ideal company to make this happen, given its focus
on travellers¡¯ diarrhoea and the impressive speed with which it has developed
its Campylobacter vaccine to date. The synergy with ACE¡¯s Campylobacter
vaccine programme makes them an excellent partner to develop the ETEC
vaccine in its own right and also as a combination product.¡± ACE BioSciences
estimates that by 2010, around 58 million travellers will visit areas
where ETEC is endemic, with 3.9 ? 9.8 million of these travellers likely
to experience TD caused by ETEC. The global market for an ETEC vaccine
is estimated to be worth ? million per year. At present there is no vaccine
that is widely approved for specific use against ETEC.
is enough to make you sick
Sunday May 27, 2007
By Deborah Coddington Source of Article: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/
The way the chattering classes carried on last week you'd think alcohol-fuelled
boy racers were a major threat to human life. Actually, you're more at
risk from people who don't wash their hands than from wheel-spinning teenagers.
It's true - filth is killing us and wreaking havoc with the economy. But
as a nation, we'd rather wring our hands than wash them. And the result?
Food poisoning, in particular, campylobacter, defined by the New Zealand
Food Safety Authority as bacteria that causes food-borne illnesses in
people, with severe and sometimes lasting consequences.
I should know. I contracted this vile bug a few days before March 21,
and I'm still suffering the lasting consequences.
How can it be that in a time when the regulations governing the growing,
storing, preparation, selling, manufacturing, and displaying of food are
tougher than ever; when we have our very own Minister of Food Safety in
the person of Annette King; when you can't eat a commercially prepared
sandwich without fighting your way through a casket of moulded plastic
stapled firmly shut, New Zealand has the highest reported rate of campylobacter
in the developed world? No one knows why, but it may just be our reporting
rate is more efficient than other countries.
In 2005, exactly 13,839 poor bastards in this country were reported as
having campylobacter. I sympathise with all of you. That's like every
man, woman and child in Tokoroa simultaneously writhing in agony, rushing
to the bathroom, vomiting, having diarrhoea, suffering headaches and fever,
sometimes for weeks. In 2005, 871 of these poor sods were hospitalised
and, in the past nine years, 11 people have died from campylobacter.
In 2005, 115 road deaths were reported as having alcohol as a factor.
And while even one boy racer fatality is tragic, I know they haven't made
nearly 14,000 people physically ill in any one year.
According to Nigel French, a scientist at New Zealand's Hopkirk EpiCentre,
2006 was the worst year on record for cases of campylobacter with some
16,000 human cases, and he reckons that's an under-reporting of a staggering
800 per cent.
Think of the strain on the nation's sewerage systems. Consider the economic
costs of people off work. NZFSA estimates some $60 million annually is
lost due to campylobacteriosis: 73 per cent of the total economic costs
of food-borne infectious diseases in New Zealand. And that's not counting
the kids kept home from school, many of whom these days wouldn't be able
to spell diarrhoea when they send a note to the teacher.
And why are we so sick? The main reason is personal hygiene. Campylobacter
bacteria are found in poultry, raw milk, offal and other foods. It doesn't
make animals sick, and needn't affect us in such unacceptably high numbers.
We can be exposed by patting our pets, drinking untreated water (only
4 per cent), eating undercooked chicken or chicken pate (one of the main
culprits), eating undercooked barbecued sausages and cross-contamination
from tuna in a salad. Freezing won't completely kill the bacteria on infected
food, but cooking to 55C will. A two-year survey by Environmental Science
and Research (ESR), beginning 2003, of diced meat at retail outlets found
89 per cent of chicken crawling with the stuff, 9 per cent of pork, 7
per cent of lamb/mutton and just 3 per cent of beef. Don't think you're
protected by eating free-range organic chicken because they're no more
raised in sterile environments than are battery broilers.
Why? Because people from all walks of life don't bother to wash their
hands. I've been in the Koru Club bathroom when women have flushed the
toilet and left without washing their hands. Just because men don't sit
down to pee doesn't mean they shouldn't wash their hands, but many don't
bother. I've bought meat from butchers who wear gloves, then leave them
on when they give you change or handle the Eftpos machine.
In restaurants, chefs take a cigarette break, then resume preparing food
without washing their hands. In kitchens, cooks use the same chopping
boards for dicing meat as for slicing lettuce. Simple, basic common sense
cleanliness habits have disappeared because we're lulled by legislation
to believe food that's double-wrapped in clingfilm, smothered in polystyrene,
or delivered to the table on Villeroy & Boch, is safe.
Most of us will never be threatened by boy racers, but no one is safe
from people too lazy to wash their hands. It's enough to make you puke.
Comments on Sanitary and Phytosanitary International Standard-Setting
June 04, 2007 Source of Article: http://www.meatami.com/
A notice from the Office of the Under Secretary for Food Safety of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the request for comments on sanitary
and phytosanitary standard-setting activities of the Codex Alimentarius
Commission (Codex). The notice also provides
a list of other standard setting activities of Codex, including commodity
standards, guidelines, codes of practice and revised texts. The notice,
which covers the time periods June 1, 2006 to May 31, 2007 and June 1,
2007 to May 31, 2008, seeks comments on standards currently under consideration
and recommendations for new standards.
Persons wishing to submit comments should go to http://www.regulations.gov
and, in the ¡°Search for Open Regulations¡± box, select ¡°Food Safety and
Inspection Service¡± from the agency drop-down menu, then click ¡°submit.¡±
In the Docket ID column, select FDMS Docket Number FSIS-2007-006 to submit
or view public comments and to view supporting and related materials available
Safety and Quality Job Information
Food Safety and Quality Job Information
By William Hubbard | June 3, 2007
Source of Article: http://www.boston.com/
THOUSANDS OF pet deaths from spiked wheat gluten, raising fears that humans
could be next. Millions of shipments of imported foods from China, Vietnam,
and other developing countries flooding into the country each year with
no inspection by US authorities. Repeated foodborne outbreaks often resulting
in deaths and severe illnesses -- from US-produced spinach, sprouts, peanut
butter, and other common foods. A plummeting drop in public confidence
in the government's ability to protect our food supply.
The bad news about our food seems to keep on coming, and it all points
to the inevitable conclusion that the Food and Drug Administration cannot
provide the protections for which it was created. What has happened to
this century-old consumer protection agency that has led the way in establishing
a safety net for consumer products on which Americans have so long relied?
The most common thread in FDA's declining ability to carry out its responsibilities
is a steady, debilitating drop in funding. The agency is simply overwhelmed
by an ever-increasing workload, constant congressional demands to do more
with less, and righteous indignation when the agency fails to meet unreasonable
With the exception of FDA's drug review program, which is funded increasingly
by industry "user fees," FDA's budget has been declining for
a decade. Just as our schools cannot educate our children without teachers
and fires cannot be extinguished without a fire department, our food supply
cannot be inspected and monitored without the highly skilled scientists
at the FDA.
What's the evidence that FDA is experiencing a budget crisis? The FDA
is located in Montgomery County, Md. , a suburb of the nation's capital;
the suburb's school board has a bigger budget than the FDA; the county's
budget is twice that size. Ten years ago, Congress appropriated funds
to support 9,100 scientists, but today there are 1,000 fewer, at a time
in which the demands on the agency have grown and grown. The number of
scientists at FDA's food headquarters office has dropped from 1,000 to
800 in just the past three years. The story of the inspection force is
even more troubling. After the 9/11 attacks, Tommy Thompson, then Health
and Human Services secretary, demanded that the food inspection force
at the nation's ports be improved, and 600 more inspectors were rapidly
put in place to examine the burgeoning imports of food. Today, they are
all gone, the victims of year-by-year budget cuts that cripple the agency's
ability to do even rudimentary screening of our food.
So where are we today? There are 13 million food imports this year, with
FDA able to inspect only about 1 percent. The system is so weak that many
FDA professionals fear the word is out in the international community
you can send virtually anything, of any quality, regardless of risk, to
the United States, because no one's looking.Continued...
But exporting countries take some responsibility for what companies in
their countries send to us, right? If you believe that, I have a nice
bridge to sell to you. And the picture's not much better domestically.
The FDA is responsible for inspecting over 200,000 food processing facilities
in the United States, but because their staffing is so inadequate, they
can get to most only once every 10 to 15 years. OK, so there's no "there
there" anymore at the FDA. Is there really a threat? Well, let's
see. Incidences of foodborne disease, from new and lethal pathogens like
E coli 0157:H7 and salmonella enteriditis , have been climbing, and the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention count 5,000 deaths annually
(and millions of illnesses).
Conditions in many countries exporting food to the United States are often
described as "primitive," illegal drug residues are commonly
found in imported seafood, and "filth" is a routine finding
when imported foods do get inspected by the FDA. China has aggressively
captured much of the world's market for many of our most common food ingredients
-- ascorbic and citric acid, soy lecithin, wheat gluten, propionate --
that are found every day in our cereals, candy bars, frozen dinners, bread,
and baby food.
Yet China leads all other countries in the incidence of contaminated food
found by FDA inspectors. One of the most common food ingredients, used
in thousands of different foods, gum Arabic, comes from such unstable
countries in sub-Saharan Africa as Somalia and Sudan.
Congress is scheduling hearings on food safety over the summer, and many
ideas will be proposed for "fixing" the FDA. But if reversing
the hollowing out of that agency does not lead the list of solutions,
the safety of our food supply will not improve.
If the past is an indication, members will muster up their finest moral
outrage and accuse the FDA of failing us. Wouldn't it be refreshing if,
just once, the White House and Congress fessed up to the real truth --
that by letting the FDA wither away, the real failure has been theirs?
William Hubbard is a former associate commissioner of the Food and Drug
packaging to contain antimicrobial agent
By Ahmed ElAmin
Source of Article: http://www.bakeryandsnacks.com/
01/06/2007 - BASF will produce plastic packaging with an antimicrobial
agent, the company said this week. Processors and producers are continuously
looking for ways to help maintain the quality and extend the shelf life
of food products that they prepare and hold. Microbial growth can affect
food quality and safety and can damage firms' reputation and profits due
to costly recalls.
Germany-based BASF said it would develop a line of styrene copolymers
using silver-based antimicrobial ingredients from Agion Technologies.
The packaging material is being provided under a multi-year agreement
between the two companies.
The two companies will focus first on the European market, but they plan
a global rollout soon.
BASF said its the antimicrobial ingredient would first be incorporated
in its Luran S product line.
"Our partnership with Agion gives us the ability to address the increasing
demand from our customers for antimicrobial solutions," said Peter
Wolf, head of BASF's global innovation management team. "The unique
product attributes of Agion's natural, silver-based technology coupled
with its expertise in partnering with leading organisations to introduce
new products from development to commercialisation make them the ideal
Agion's antimicrobial reduces microbial growth on the surface of packaging
when it is incorporated in plastics, the companies claimed.
"The technology provides continuous protection from microbes by releasing
silver ions to the surface of the product at a slow and steady rate,"
the two companies said in a statement. "This allows for the long-lasting
protection of the product against the damaging effects of microbial growth."
Agion's antimicrobial ingredient has been approved for food and water
contact by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European
Food Safety Agency.
Agion's product is also a notified existing substance under the EU's directive
European Biocidal Products Directive (BPD). It is listed for use as an
indirect food contact substance with the US Food and Drug Administration
Against Raw Milk From Lebanon Dairy Farm
(The Morning Call) The state Health Department has issued a warning to
consumers not to drink raw milk from a Lebanon County dairy farm after
tests showed samples contained the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. The
Department of Agriculture said in a statement Friday that routine tests
conducted Tuesday at Green Acres Jersey Farm in Lebanon showed some raw
milk samples contained Listeria, which can cause illness when ingested.
The state is advising consumers to discard raw milk bought at the dairy
farm any time after May 8. The agriculture department has suspended sales
at the dairy until samples are free of the bacterium.
Listeria can cause sometimes-fatal infections in young children, the elderly
and others with weak immune systems, and miscarriages and stillbirths
among pregnant women. Healthy people may develop fevers, headaches, nausea,
diarrhea and other symptoms.
Pennsylvania law requires raw milk to be sold on the premises of the dairies
that produce it. It is not sold in grocery stores. No illnesses have been
reported but anyone who may have consumed the milk should consult a physician
if they feel sick, the Agriculture Department said. 6/3/07
E. coli cases In Fresno up to 15 now
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
Posted on June 3, 2007 by E. coli Attorney
Barbara Anderson of the Fresno Bee wrote over the weekend that Fresno
County health investigators said 15 E. coli cases from a recent outbreak
had been confirmed as of Friday afternoon. One man has been hospitalized
with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, a kidney complication from the bacterial
infection, said David Luchini, communicable disease division manager for
the Fresno County Department of Community Health. Most of the cases appear
to be related to three private gatherings -- two graduation parties and
a wedding, Casagrande said. But health workers are "still investigating
illnesses that might be related to other events," he said.
Dozens of E. coli cases in last few month tied to red
Posted on June 1, 2007 by E. coli Lawyer
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
A few weeks ago I posted "Seems to be backsliding on E. coli in meat"
after seeing at least three recent E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks tied to the
consumption of red meat. As I said before, from 1993 to 2002, most of
the E. coli cases we did were from tainted hamburger. Since 2002, most
of the E. coli case have bee linked to spinach and lettuce. Hopefully,
the below reports are not a trend back in the wrong direction.
E. coli Outbreak in Fresno County eleven sickened
The Fresno County Health Department said there are now eleven confirmed
cases of E. coli in Fresno County. On Thursday, May 31st, investigators
are still looking for the source of the bacteria. The Health Department
has inspected the ¡°Meat Market¡± in Northwest Fresno. Meat from the company
may have been served at several private parties where some guests later
became sick. On Tuesday May 29th, five people were confirmed to have the
potentially deadly bacteria. Three more cases were confirmed on Wednesday
and another three on Thursday. All of the victims had attended one of
three private parties that were all serviced by the same caterer.
Kalamazoo company recalls 129,000
pounds of beef two sickened
Davis Creek Meats and Seafood in Kalamazoo is voluntarily recalling approximately
129,000 pounds of beef products due to the possible contamination of E.
coli. The problem was discovered after two people in the Kalamazoo area
became sickened with symptoms related to the bacteria. The beef products
were produced between March 1 and April 30, and were shipped to food service
distribution centers and marketplace stores in Arkansas, Florida, Illinois,
Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania,
Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
E. coli O157:H7 cases linked to ground beef purchased at Lunds or Byerly¡¯s
stores since mid-April 117,500 pounds of beef shipped to eight states
- seven sickened
Minnesota Department of 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.
E. coli scare changes menu at St. Helena Little League shack ? 100,000
pounds of frozen ground beef patties - three sickened
Following reports early last month of E. coli infection in three Napa
Valley children ? who got sick from hamburger patties sold at a St. Helena
Little League snack shack ? Little League baseball spectators in St. Helena
will no longer be able to buy a burger during . time. Gamble said the
three confirmed reports of E. coli were in children between the ages of
8 and 12. The meat that sickened the children came from a Napa business,
the Salami Lady¡¯s Cash & Carry. Jan Dalluge, who has owned the business
for five years, said she acquired the product from Richwood Meat Company
6/4/2007 Source of Article: http://www.freshplaza.com/news_detail.asp?id=2290
A Drexel University engineering professor has developed a millimeter-size
cantilever biosensor that can detect cells and proteins in trace samples
and in only minutes. The sensor could have wide applications in medical
diagnostic testing (prostate cancer), detecting contamination in food
products (E. coli bacteria) and monitoring for biothreat agents (anthrax).
In medical testing, the sensor can be used to analyze the four most widely
tested fluids: blood, urine, sputum and spinal fluid.
Existing conventional tests require 24 hours and a trip to a laboratory
to boost the concentration of microbes in a sample to produce findings.
The accurate, handheld sensor that Dr. Raj Mutharasan, a Drexel chemical
engineering professor, has worked to develop over the past six years can
yield findings in about 10 minutes.
No direct test for minute amounts of proteins exists on the market. A
study, published in a recent issue of Analytical Chemistry, in which Dr.
Mutharasan¡¯s sensor was used, detected E. coli in ground beef at some
of the lowest concentrations ever reported.
Results of a preliminary study in which the new sensor was able to detect
noninvasively a prostate cancer biomarker in 15 minutes were recently
presented by David Maraldo, a Drexel doctoral student in chemical engineering
who worked with Dr. Mutharasan on the new sensor, at the 96th annual meeting
of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology.
The sensor features a vibrating cantilever, supported at one end and coated
with antibodies. The antibodies are specific to the desired target such
as E. coli, anthrax or proteins that are biomarkers for diseases such
as prostate cancer. When the target is present in a sample flowing past
the sensor, it binds to the cantilever and changes the frequency of vibration
so it can be read electronically.
The sensor affixed with antibodies against E. coli can detect as low as
four cells per milliliter of solution. A voltage is applied to the ceramic
layer, causing it to expand and contract, vibrating the glass sliver.
The sensor detects changes in the glass sliver¡¯s resonance frequency (the
point where vibration is the greatest) and determines the presence and
concentration of E. coli bacteria.
Dr. Mutharasan recently expanded the sensor¡¯s applications to food toxins
and biomarkers. A commercial prototype of the sensor is anticipated to
be completed in July. Dr. Mutharasan is working with a company that has
licensed Drexel¡¯s technology to commercialize the device and expects it
to be in the hands of food-safety experts soon.
confidence in the safety of GM foods
source from: http://www.checkbiotech.org
ST. LOUIS, MO - More thoroughly studied, regulated and understood than
any crop or food in history, genetically modified foods and crops are
recognized by experts and regulatory authorities worldwide as being as
safe as crops and foods produced through traditional methods.
In fact, experts estimate more than 1 trillion meals containing ingredients
from biotech crops have been consumed over the last decade with no reliable
documentation of any food safety issues for people or animals.
"As a scientist working with biotechnology, I know the scientific
side - all the advantages and possibilities," says Dr. Luciana Di
Ciero, a plant pathologist at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil who
has carefully evaluated the pros and cons of genetic engineering. "As
a mother, I can say that I feel very safe with biotechnology. ... I have
great faith in this technology."
Dr. Di Ciero is one of eight renowned experts and three farmers worldwide
who discuss the safety of genetically modified foods and crops in a new
video and podcast available on the Conversations about Plant Biotechnology
Web site at http://www.monsanto.com/biotech-gmo. The video captures their
confidence in the process used to ensure the safe development of genetically
modified crops and the safety of genetically engineered food.
"The EPA, and the USDA, and the Food and Drug Administration have
a very precise protocol through which a scientist or a private company
needs to go to assure safety," describes Dr. Roger Beachy, a plant
pathologist and president of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
in the United States. "The degree of scrutiny that each variety will
receive is enormous."
The experts featured in the video are a representation of the more than
25 Nobel Prize winners and 3,400 prominent scientists that have expressed
their support for the advantages of genetically modified foods and crops
as a "powerful and safe" way to improve agriculture and the
environment. Numerous international organizations also have endorsed the
health and environmental safety of genetically modified crops, including
the Royal Society (UK), National Academy of Sciences (USA), the World
Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations, the European Commission, the French Academy of Medicine, and
the American Medical Association.
"Every minute that we sit here, 10 preschool children will die from
hunger and malnutrition. ¡¦ If you add that up on an annual basis, it's
about six million preschool kids who die unnecessarily. ¡¦ That's not reversible,"
comments Dr. Per Pinstrup-Andersen, an agricultural economist and H.E.
Babcock Professor of Food, Nutrition and Public Policy at Cornell University.
"So, we have to compare the benefits with the risks. And even if
there were some risks - and we haven't found any yet - ¡¦ they would have
to be compared to the benefit of taking that risk."
In addition to this video on the safety of genetically modified foods,
visitors to the Conversations about Plant Biotechnology Web site can view
videos about the documented benefits of agricultural biotechnology and
view individual conversations with approximately 10 experts and more than
30 farmers who discuss their experiences with the technology.
Conversations about Plant Biotechnology is designed to give a voice and
a face to the farmers and families who grow GM crops and the experts who
research and study the benefits of biotechnology in agriculture. The Web
site contains nearly 60 two- to three-minute, extremely candid, straightforward
and compelling video segments with the people who know the technology
best. The Web site is hosted by Monsanto Company -- a leading global provider
of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm
productivity and food quality.
E. coli fear
spurs ground beef recall at Albertsons
The Associated Press
Article Last Updated: 06/05/2007 09:03:16 AM MDT
Source of Article: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_6065281
BOISE, Idaho- The parent company of Albertsons grocery stores in Colorado
and several other states said on Monday it was recalling some ground beef
products sold in its stores because of possible contamination with E.
Most of the products were sold under the Moran's label at Albertsons stores
in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming. Albertson's L-L-C said it
was issuing the recall in conjunction with one from United Food Group
L-L-C, a major meatpacking company with headquarters in Vernon, Calif.
The recalled products had sell-by dates from April 20 through May 7. It
included Moran's brand meat sold in 1- to 5-pound varieties under UPC
numbers 34779 60501, 34779 60000, 34779 96000, 34779 91000, 34779 60010,
34779 96194, 34779 21117. Also recalled was Albertsons 90/10 Sirloin fresh
Customers can return recalled products to the store for a full refund
or exchange. Customers with questions about the recall can call United
Food Group's hotline at 1-800-325-4164.
Symptoms of E. coli poisoning include stomach cramps that may be severe
and diarrhea that may turn bloody within one to three days. E. coli sometimes
can lead to complications including kidney failure.
A separate recall announced by Supervalu affects meat sold at Albertsons
and Save-A-Lot stores in other states.
to drinking water
Source of Article: http://www.sciencedaily.com/
OSLO, Norway, May 30 (UPI) -- Health officials in Norway say drinking
water may be to blame for a stomach virus that sickened scores of Coastal
Three of the Coastal Voyage ships that cruise the west coast of Norway
have been hit by the virus, the Aftenposten newspaper said Wednesday
About 200 passengers and crew have fallen ill on board the vessels Midnattsol,
Finnmarken and Nordlys in the past two weeks.
"Tests we have taken on board Midnattsol and Finnmarken indicate
that systems meant to cleanse the water of virus and parasites function
poorly," Tom Arne Hanssen of the government's food safety authority
Cruise line officials say they have worked closely with food and health
authorities and done major disinfection work on board the ships.
Still Getting Sick From Tainted Peanut Butter
Reports of Illness Continue, Months after the Recall
By Mark Huffman
June 1, 2007
Source of Article: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/
The story had faded from the headlines by the beginning of spring, but
government health officials say consumers are still getting sick from
eating contaminated Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter. Both brands
are made by food giant ConAgra.
The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention says 628 people in 47 states
have been affected by salmonella poisoning from the tainted peanut butter,
produced at a Georgia plant. While most of the product has been pulled
from store shelves, health officials say some of the recalled jars may
still be in consumers¡¯ pantries. The recalled peanut butter can be identified
by the product code beginning with 2111 on the lid.
The outbreak was first reported in late January 2007, and by the middle
of February the CDC had counted 288 official cases of salmonella poisoning.
While the CDC does not officially attribute any deaths to the outbreak,
families of at least four elderly consumers say their loved ones died
after eating tainted peanut butter. Their deaths are not counted, officials
say, because no autopsies were performed.
Eight-one year old Rosie Haskins died February 26. Her family reported
to ConsumerAffairs.com that a partially eaten jar of peanut butter was
found in her room. The jar had the telltale 2111 stamped on the lid.
The other death reported to ConsumerAffairs.Com was that of 85-year-old
Mary Halstead of West Virginia. She died after her son made her a peanut
butter sandwich -- her favorite food.
"Dumb old me, I made her a peanut butter sandwich at home and brought
it to her at the hospital, because it was just about the only thing she
wanted to eat," Larry Halstead, her son, said. "In no time,
she got just 100 percent worse." Halstead said his mother then became
semi-comatose and died.
Two other deaths have been unofficially attributed to the tainted peanut
An elderly Chicago-area man, George Baldwin, was said to be in relatively
good health just before his death from complications of food poisoning,
shortly after he ate a peanut butter sandwich.
"He puts the peanut butter on toast, eats the toast, in six hours
he develops fever, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting -- all of which are signs
of salmonella poisoning," Baldwin family attorney Don McGarrah said.
A 76-year old Pennsylvania woman, Roberta Barkay of Philadelphia, died
in January from complications of food poisoning, and family members contend
she too ate peanut butter shortly before her death. The family has hired
an attorney who has filed suit against the manufacturer, ConAgra.
While new cases of peanut butter-related salmonella have tapered off,
the CDC is warning consumers to be careful. The agency says consumers
should carefully examine peanut butter jars on kitchen shelves to make
sure the product is not included in the recall.
¡°This outbreak demonstrates the potential for widespread illness from
a broadly distributed contaminated product, one that had not previously
been implicated in a food-borne illness outbreak in the United States,¡±
the CDC said in a statement.
Technology Makes PCR Easy, Even for Untrained Operators
source from: rapidmicrobiology.com
Q Chip, a leading developer of microencapsulation solutions, has launched
ReaX¢â Lab-in-a-Bead - an innovative gel-based bead for effortless PCR.
The new ReaX Mastermix Lab-in-a-Bead range encapsulates all the reagents
required to perform PCR in a single dose within the bead. This allows
even untrained operators to set up PCR reactions in any thermal cycler
system, whilst giving highly reproducible results. PCR reactions can now
be easily taken out of the laboratory, opening up field based applications
ranging from bacterial detection to DNA-based security tagging ? effectively
ushering in the era of 'Lab-in-a-Bead' technology.
Available in a variety of ready-to-use
formats, ReaX Mastermix beads completely standardise and streamline set-up,
and the subsequent PCR reactions are very robust and highly reproducible.
They can be used for end-point, qPCR and RT-PCR and with multiple fluorescent
chemistries (e.g. SYBR Green, TaqMan). ReaX Mastermix beads can be stored
and shipped at either 40C or ambient temperature due to their highly stable
nature. In addition, ReaX Mastermix beads can reduce the overall test
costs due lower repeat rates and less reagent wastage.
"The launch of ReaX comes
on the back of 2 years research and development¡± said Q Chip's Product
Manager Dr Nanette Bartram. "ReaX will enable Q Chip to enter the
PCR reagent market with a competitive product which offers customers complete
flexibility over existing liquid or lyophilized reagents as well as maximum
convenience, reproducibility and reliability."
As well as the off-the-shelf
ReaX range, Q Chip is also launching the ReaX Custom Bead Service whereby
customers can specify exactly which primers, Taq polymerase (including
Hot Start enzymes) and fluorescent chemistry they require in a ReaX bead
and Q Chip manufactures these to the precise specifications. The ReaX
Custom Bead Service provides customers with a high quality end-product
and service tailored specifically to their individual needs.
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