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10/15/2002
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NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES RELEASES E. COLI O157:H7 ASSESSMENT

October 11, 2002
Inside AMI
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
National 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/.
AMI filed comments earlier this year on FSIS?draft risk assessment which can be viewed at.
For more information visit http://www.meatami.com/

Can food irradiation hurt or help me?
Dear Ted Simon:
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

Dear 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 wellness. In accordance with his belief that a healthy lifestyle should be practiced 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

E. coli case numbers climb to 7 (Outbreak News)
Washtenaw County reports far higher than normal; 5 cases said to cause serious illness
Saturday, October 12, 2002
BY JO COLLINS MATHIS
News Staff Reporter
If there's 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.

Salad poses bigger risk than burgers
http://www.sundayherald.com/28394
Play 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.

Food Safety Daily News
10/14. A SAUSAGE SCARE WE COULD DO WITHOUT
10/14. IT TAKES WORK TO EAT A SAFE, CRUELTY-FREE MEAL
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
10/14. 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?
10/14. Strike a blow for food safety
10/14. Can food irradiation hurt or help me?
10/13. Solutions to acrylamide?
10/13. China executes rat poison killer
10/13. Steakhouse reopens after salmonella outbreak
10/12. Salad poses bigger risk than burgers
10/12. Danger in fast food salads
10/12. Poisoned cockles spell disaster for Dee fishermen

Recall Summary
10/14. Wampler Foods expands R-T-E poultry recall to record 27.4 mi
10/14. Recalls over Listeria
10/14. Wampler expands recall, closes plant after listeria found
10/13. CHRISTIE HONEY TEDDY GRAHAMS COOKIES may contain undeclared milk
10/12. Hawaii Firm Has Recalled Pork Dumplings Oct 12
10/12. Hawaii Firm Recalls Pork Dumplings For Possible Listeria Contamination

OUTBREAKS
10/14. 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

USDA/FDA News

National Advisory Committee Concludes Performance Standards Are Important Verification Tools
USDA Kicks Off National School Lunch Week By Promoting Nutrition Education and Food Safety Awareness

U.S. Codex Office "What's New" Page: Updated October 11, 2002
Secretary Thompson Urges Strong Warning Labels For Ephedra

 

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