ACADEMY OF SCIENCES RELEASES E. COLI O157:H7 ASSESSMENT
October 11, 2002
Filling in data gaps and making the inner workings of risk assessments
more accessible to others would vastly improve the quality of USDA risk assessments,
particulary the FSIS' "Draft Risk Assessment of Escherichia coli O157:H7
in Ground Beef." The commissioned review of the E. coli risk assessment was
released today by the Institute of Medicine of the
Academy of Sciences (NAS). This review, requested by FSIS, was conducted by an
expert committee of the NAS to analyze the draft risk assessment and to offer
recommendations and suggestions for consideration as FSIS finalizes the document.
The report commends the authors of the risk assessment for conducting a thorough
review of available data and integrating that information in such a way that "far
exceeds the scope and breadth of prior assessments of E. coli O157:H7." The
report provides many specific suggestions for mprovement of the risk assessment,
including two unifying concepts that the committee says should be addressed before
finalizing the document. A copy of the full report is available at http://books.nap.edu/books/0309086272/html/.
filed comments earlier this year on FSIS?draft risk assessment which can be viewed
For more information visit http://www.meatami.com/
food irradiation hurt or help me?
With that E. coli scare not too long ago, food irradiation is beginning
to sound better and better to me. But I read somewhere once about the food being
radioactive. Can you find the facts for me? Cautious in Arcadia
Cautious in Arcadia:
The Food and Drug Administration says you can eat without
fear. It has approved irradiation of meat and poultry and allows its use for a
variety of other foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, and spices. Food
irradiation is a process in which food products are exposed to a controlled amount
of radiant energy to kill harmful bacteria such as E. coli O157:H7, Campylo-bacter,
and Salmonella. The agency determined that the process is safe and effective.
irradiation also reduces spoilage bacteria, insects and parasites, and in certain
fruits and vegetables it inhibits sprouting and delays ripening. For example,
irradiated strawberries stay unspoiled up to three weeks, versus three to five
days for untreated berries! Food irradiation is allowed in nearly 40 countries
and is endorsed by the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association
and many other organizations. Irradiation does not make foods radioactive, just
as an airport luggage scanner does not make luggage radioactive. Nor does it cause
harmful chemical changes. The process may cause a small loss of nutrients but
no more so than with other processing methods such as cooking, canning, or heat
pasteurization. Federal rules require irradiated foods to be labeled as such.
Irradiated products usually cost slightly more than their conventional counterparts.
Some industry experts estimate the increase at two to three cents per pound for
fruits and vegetables and three to five cents a pound for meat and poultry products.
But these costs may be offset by the advantage of keeping the food fresh longer.
Food trade groups say that as irradiated foods become more widespread, their cost
is likely to drop. Enjoy! Simon Clinic of Chiropractic is a wellness center devoted
to non invasive, non surgical healing. Founded by Theodore Simon, the clinic offers
chiropractic care, massage therapy, physical therapy, rehabilitation therapy,
and nutritional counseling to people interested in achieving or maintaining maximum
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and maintained throughout all stages of life, Ted Simon and his staff treat all
ages - from newborns to senior citizens. Ted Simon has been a practicing chiropractor
more than 23 years and has offices in both Arcadia and Sarasota. His Arcadia office
is open daily and some weekends. Phone 993-0100. Questions for Ted Simon may be
sent to: Simon Clinic of Chiropractic, 1003 E. Oak St., Arcadia, Fla. 34266. By
Ted Simon columnist
coli case numbers climb to 7 (Outbreak News)
County reports far higher than normal; 5 cases said to cause serious illness
October 12, 2002
BY JO COLLINS MATHIS
News Staff Reporter
one thing that'll never appear on the plate of Dr. Stan Reedy, medical director
for the Washtenaw and Livingston County Public Health departments, it's ground
beef with a tinge of pink. Not with visions of E. coli stuck in his head. And
now that seven cases of E. coli infections have been reported in Washtenaw County
in the past month, five confirmed as a type that can cause serious illness, Reedy
is eager to talk about prevention. "The concern is that up to 5 percent of
the people who experience this particular form of intestinal illness will, in
addition to having bloody diarrhea, will also experience kidney complications,"
he said, referring to the E.coli 0157:H7 confirmed so far in five of the county's
seven cases. "There is a specific toxin that is produced by this bacteria
and it will affect both kidneys as well as some of the blood," Reedy said.
"The concern is that people take to heart simple methods of prevention when
dealing with any kind of raw meat." No cases of E. coli have been reported
in Livingston County in the past month, Reedy said. But after a meat recall was
issued by a Milwaukee-based beef supplier, Farmer Jack stores in both counties
have been notifying customers and offering refunds on returned, recalled items.
EMMPAK Meat Pack of Milwaukee last month recalled 416,000 pounds of fresh and
frozen ground beef with sell-by dates from Aug. 23-Sept. 11, 2002, after it discovered
traces of E. coli in its ground beef. Although several dozen cases of E.coli have
been traced to the meat bought in grocery stores in several midwest states, there
is no conclusive evidence that any of the recent Washtenaw County cases are related
to meat bought at Farmer Jack, county officials said. Typically, Washtenaw County
typically reports just about eight cases of E. coli a year. E. coli cases also
are up statewide this year over last, said Geralyn Lasher, director of communication
for the Michigan Department of Community Health. Normally, the state has 80-90
cases reported year to date, but there have been 111 reported so far this year,
she said. Lasher said the reasons for the increase are difficult to determine.
"I don't know if there's one simple answer to that, but I think there's a
lot to do with food handling," Lasher said. For example, a cutting board
used to cut meat should be cleaned before it's used for other foods, but people
in a hurry sometimes forget to do that, she said. Reedy said he hasn't heard of
any other Michigan county with a recent increase in E. coli."But state health
departments are continuously working with local health departments when they receive
these reports, because these are reportable by law to the state," he said.
"Our real concern is that people may have purchased these ground beef products
during that particular time period, but still have them in their freezers. If
they don't cook that meat extremely well they could still get sick when they thaw
it out and use it. That's why the company has offered to accept it back."
Three of the Washtenaw County residents diagnosed with E. coli were hospitalized
and are recovering. Reedy said people with frequent and severe diarrhea that is
accompanied by fever, specially if the stool is bloody or has mucous, should check
with their doctor. He also said doctors are encouraged to order stool cultures
to detect E. coli and other intestinal illnesses. "They occur to people in
a sporadic way, but in many cases we don't know about them because many of them
do spontaneously clear up," he said. Consumers with questions about the recall
can call the EMPAKK consumer hot line at (877) 817-7622.
poses bigger risk than burgers
it safe and hold the 'healthy' greens if you fancy a burger from one of the big
fast-food chains, says expert
By Mike Merritt
SALAD served in burgers from
high-street fast-food chains can cause potentially fatal cases of E coli and salmonella,
according to Scotland's leading food safety expert. Professor Hugh Pennington,
who headed the government inquiry into the Lanarkshire E coli 0157 outbreak which
claimed at least 20 lives, says fast-food beefburgers are likely to be safer than
the mix of lettuce
leaves, tomatoes and onions that accompanies them. Pennington, a public health
expert and professor of medical microbiology at Aberdeen University, also warned
that the problem was increasing and causing widespread food poisoning. In June
last year former nurse Aileen Bruce, from Dundee, died from E coli 0157 after
eating lettuce. Pennington says the problem arises because much of the salad is
sourced from foreign countries where primitive methods of harvesting vegetables
are used. The risk of contamination increases dramatically when salad vegetables
are washed at source with germ-infected water. These ready-to-eat salads are commonly
sold in supermarkets and could also pose a risk of food poisoning. Some of the
world's biggest high street burger chains have now asked Pennington to help them
investigate the best way of dealing with the problem. Pennington's outlook, however,
is pessimistic -- he says the threat to public health from contaminated salad
will remain a serious problem for some considerable time to come. 'We need to
do more work to kill off all the bugs that are on the salad. Treatments at the
moment are only partially successful,' he warned. 'Salad can be a bigger health
risk, a lot of the time, than the actual burger. We need to make salad safer.
This is a problem we have not cracked. 'The burger chains are more worried about
the salad than the meat. The meat is heat-treated to kill off things like E coli
and campylobacter. 'But you can't heat-treat salad. The burger chains have been
looking at washing salad in a way that kills off bugs, but it is only partially
successful.' Pennington added: 'The burger chains learned the lesson of E coli
in meat years ago and now they are trying to tackle the problem of salad. 'It
seems ridiculous, because salad is supposed to be healthy and full of vitamins
-- but salad is causing food poisoning. We do not know the scale, but it is an
issue. 'We will have more cases in the future because of the increased sourcing
of salad from countries with primitive systems. The trouble is that so much salad
these days comes from countries with primitive farming methods where there may
be contamination in the picking. 'It is then washed at source with water that
has bugs and transported thousands of miles to Britain. Sometimes the salad is
in plastic bags, in which bugs incubate under artificial supermarket display lights.
It is not healthy.' Professor Pennington said one of the main bug worries from
eating contaminated salad was the illness shigellosis -- a bacterial illness which
usually causes diarrhoea and can be extremely risky for the very young and old.
E coli 0157 and salmonella, both of which can kill humans, are the two other main
causes for concern. Professor Pennington said there was 'no quick fix' for the
problem. He also refused to name the companies which had sought his advice, but
confirmed they were 'high street chains'. 'This is a real problem. The bugs stick
to the salad so hard that you cannot wash them off,' said Professor Pennington.
'You can't zap them with a flame-thrower, for obvious reasons. 'Irradiation would
work, but for legal reasons it is not possible. There would be customer resistance,
and I am not in favour of irradiation for this. However, I do think radiation
needs to be kept on the agenda as a long-term issue. 'Putting chloride in water
is only partially successful, and at the end of the day a lot of the problem comes
down to quality control. Company inspectors cannot be at the farms all the time,
so you have to trust the supplier -- and that is not possible 100% of the time.
'There are people who will bend the hygiene regulations for commercial gain. We
have seen that in this country. Sourcing the salad closer to home would be easier
to check, but we live in a global market and people buy on price. That often means
importing food. 'The litigation consequences are worrying the food companies.
Rightly so. People should not go into a place and come out with food poisoning.'
A spokesperson for McDonald's said there were no concerns about its salad. 'It's
washed, it's vacuum-packed and we have no worries,' the spokesperson added.
Safety Daily News
A SAUSAGE SCARE WE COULD DO WITHOUT
10/14. IT TAKES WORK TO EAT A SAFE, CRUELTY-FREE
10/14. MERCURY MENACE
10/14. NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES RELEASES
E. COLI O157:H7 ASSESS -
10/14. CODDINGTON FARM NOT FINED FOR FOOD VIOLATIONS
FRENCH GOVT ADVISED TO CHANGE MAD COW CULL POLICY
10/14. IS OUR FOOD SUPPLY
SAFE?: CANADA LAUDED FOR INSPECTION SYSTE
10/14. USDA KICKS OFF NATIONAL SCHOOL
LUNCH WEEK BY PROMOTING
10/14. AS WE PREPARE FOR THIS THANKSGIVING FOODBORNE
ILLNESS IS A C
10/14. WHEN IS THE TRUTH DECEPTIVE LABELING?
a blow for food safety
10/14. Can food irradiation hurt or help me?
Solutions to acrylamide?
10/13. China executes rat poison killer
Steakhouse reopens after salmonella outbreak
10/12. Salad poses bigger risk
10/12. Danger in fast food salads
10/12. Poisoned cockles spell
disaster for Dee fishermen
Wampler Foods expands R-T-E poultry recall to record 27.4 mi
10/14. Wampler expands recall, closes plant after listeria found
CHRISTIE HONEY TEDDY GRAHAMS COOKIES may contain undeclared milk
Firm Has Recalled Pork Dumplings Oct 12
10/12. Hawaii Firm Recalls Pork Dumplings
For Possible Listeria Contamination
PROBE ORDERED INTO BOY'S DEATH; 'HAMBURGER DISEASE' SUSPECTE
10/14. PROBE LAUNCHED
INTO SALMONELLA BUG
10/13. E. coli case numbers climb to 7
Advisory Committee Concludes Performance Standards Are Important Verification
USDA Kicks Off National School Lunch Week By Promoting Nutrition Education
and Food Safety Awareness
Codex Office "What's New" Page: Updated October 11, 2002
Thompson Urges Strong Warning Labels For Ephedra