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Food Safety Begins As Vegetables Grow
Article Date: 14 Jun 2007 -
Source of Article:
Monitoring vegetables while they are growing is crucial in the prevention of contamination of fresh produce with harmful bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella, say plant pathologists who are members of The American Phytopathological Society (APS).
There have been outbreaks of E. coli and Salmonella for at least the past decade, and the incidences of vegetable contamination are increasing in frequency. "We've studied plant pathogens on plants for a long time, but haven't studied human pathogens on plants until recently," said Jeri D. Barak, research microbiologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Albany, Calif.
"What we've found up to this point is that most contamination is occurring while the plants are still growing in the field," said Barak. "The most successful way to prevent contamination of fresh produce is to intervene before the harvest, not after," she said.
Her research has shown that pathogens like Salmonella use specific genes to colonize plants, creating an active interaction with the plant surface. "When this happens, the bacteria become almost inseparable from the vegetable," she said.
Barak and other APS members will present their latest food safety research and describe future research needs at a symposium titled "Cross Domain: Emerging Threats to Plants, Humans, and Our Food Supply" on Monday, July 30 from 1 to 5 p.m. These experts from across the United States will discuss the environmental biology of bacteria in fresh produce and the link between plants and bacteria associated with human infections, such as the recent E. coli outbreaks from California spinach.
The symposium will be held during the joint meeting of The American Phytopathological Society (APS) and the Society of Nematologists (SON). The meeting will take place July 28 - August 1, 2007, at the Town and Country Resort and Convention Center in San Diego, Calif.
A news conference on plant diseases and issues that are of importance to the California economy and agriculture, including the latest food safety information, will be held during the meeting on Monday, July 30 at 11 a.m.
More information on the meeting is available at
The American Phytopathological Society (APS) is a non-profit, professional scientific organization. The research of the organization's 5,000 worldwide members advances the understanding of the science of plant pathology and its application to plant health. The Society of Nematologists (SON) is an international organization formed to advance the science of nematology in both its fundamental and economic aspects.
Contact: Amy Steigman
American Phytopathological Society

Many Americans confused about avian flu and food safety
Source of Article:
Jun 12, 2007 (CIDRAP News) ? A nationwide survey indicates that many Americans have misconceptions about food safety issues related to avian influenza, researchers from Rutgers University said yesterday.
Researchers from the Food Policy Institute at Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experimental Station, based in New Brunswick, N.J., conducted the survey to gauge the public's knowledge about H5N1 avian influenza and determine how Americans would respond if the virus were found in US poultry. The results were announced yesterday in a press release from Rutgers University.
The research team interviewed 1,200 adults by telephone between May 3 and Jun 5, 2006, according to the 32-page survey report. Investigators used random-digit dialing to select survey participants from all 50 states. They first asked a series of questions to gauge respondents' overall awareness of avian flu and how the disease spreads and is prevented. Then they asked what respondents would do if the threat of avian influenza increased, particularly regarding poultry buying and consumption.
Nearly all (93%) of the respondents had heard of avian influenza, yet more than half said they knew little about it. A 22-question objective test within the survey confirmed the respondents' view of their own avian flu knowledge: half scored less than 60%. Women, those with less education, and those with less objective knowledge about H5N1 were more likely to have misconceptions about the risks of eating poultry, the group found.
Most of the respondents said their risk of contracting H5N1 was low, but many believed the risk to others was higher, the survey revealed. Only about two thirds of respondents were aware that most chicken sold in the United States is produced domestically, under tightly controlled conditions, and that poultry products from countries with H5N1 outbreaks are banned.
Though Americans seem to be aware of avian influenza, they are uncertain of food-related transmission risks, the researchers found. While more than two-thirds of the survey respondents believed that the avian flu virus is present in the uncooked meat of infected poultry, less than half understood that proper cooking kills the virus.
Further, when asked what they would do if the H5N1 virus turned up in US chickens, 40% of respondents said they would stop eating chicken products, rather than limiting their risk by using proper cooking and food handling procedures. The researchers said this result is consistent with findings among European consumers.
Among other misconceptions, many Americans believe it's easy to identify H5N1-contaminated raw meat, the researchers said.
Respondents said they would turn away from chicken products if a wild bird with the H5N1 virus was found in the United States or if poultry outbreaks were reported in Canada or Mexico.
William K. Hallman, director of the Food Policy Institute, said in the press release that the results point to specific communication needs. "The results of the study suggest that much of the American public does not yet have the information they need to make informed choices abut purchasing, preparing, and consuming poultry products, should avian influenza emerge in the United States," he said.
Though consumers' actual behavior often differs from what they predict it will be, the research group concluded that domestic poultry consumption would drop dramatically if avian flu emerged in the United States. "The resulting economic and social impacts would likely be substantial," they wrote.
Targeted messages to consumers should include information on the safety of the US poultry supply, food handling techniques to avoid cross-contamination, and properly cooking chicken to at least 165━F, the researchers said.

2nd International Conference for Food Safety and Quality (Nov. 6-7, 2007), South San Francisco Convention Center

1st International Conference for Food Safety and Quality (Nov. 7-8, 2006)
Major Topic: Current Detection Methods for Microbiological/Chemical Hazards for Food Safety/Quality

FDA program aims to improve tomato safety
By Lorraine Heller
Source of Article:
6/13/2007 - The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is set to start a tomato safety initiative as part of efforts to reduce the incidence of produce-related foodborne illness in the country.
The initiative, due to begin in the summer of 2007, comes in response to recurring salmonella outbreaks associated with fresh and fresh-cut tomatoes.
"This initiative is part of a strategy to reduce foodborne illness by focusing food safety assessments on specific products, practices, and growing areas that have been found to be problematic in the past," said Robert Brackett, director of FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN).
"Produce is an important part of a healthy diet and FDA wants to improve its safety by better understanding the causes of foodborne illness and by promoting more effective methods of safe food production, delivery, and preparation."
During the past decade, the consumption of fresh and fresh-cut tomatoes has been linked to 12 different outbreaks of foodborne illness in the United States. Those outbreaks include 1,840 confirmed cases of illness.
According to FDA, the majority of these have been traced to product originating from the Eastern shore of Virginia and from Florida, although outbreaks have also been traced to Georgia, South Carolina, Ohio, and California.
In its new initiative, the agency will collaborate with the state health and agriculture departments in Virginia and Florida, and will also work with several universities and members of the produce industry. The program will begin in July with FDA visits to Virginia-based tomato farms and packing facilities to assess their food safety practices and to what degree they implement Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs).
Assessment of a variety of environmental factors including irrigation water, wells, procedures for mixing chemicals, drought and flooding events, and animal proximity to growing fields will also be conducted during the farm and packing facility visits.
FDA said it would also continue outreach with the industry at all points in the supply chain, as well as facilitate and promote research on tomato safety. The identification of practices or conditions that potentially lead to product contamination is designed to allow FDA to improve its guidance and policy on tomato safety.
The new initiative is modeled after the Leafy Greens Initiative that was initiated in August last year, in collaboration with the State of California's Department of Health Services and Department of Food and Agriculture.
It is also consistent with the 2004 FDA Produce Safety Action Plan goal of minimizing the incidence of foodborne illness associated with the consumption of fresh produce. The findings of the Tomato Safety Initiative will be publicly shared once the effort is completed.

3 allergen claims against McDonald's dismissed
Bloomberg News
Published May 31, 2007
Source of Article:
McDonald's Corp. has won dismissal of three out of five claims in a lawsuit over allergens contained in french fries and hash browns.
U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo in Chicago said the plaintiffs' complaint failed to give enough detail about an alleged scheme by the Oak Brook-based company to conceal the existence of gluten and dairy in its food products.
The ruling was a setback for plaintiffs, who claim they or their children were sickened by McDonald's products because the company gave false dietary information in ads and online. The group has 28 days to amend its complaint, Bucklo said in an order posted Wednesday.
The claims "allege that the potato products were advertised and marketed as milk-, wheat- and gluten-free, but no specific instances or locations of the advertisements are identified," Bucklo said. She allowed two claims on breach of warranty and unjust enrichment to proceed. Lawyers for McDonald's asked the court to throw out the lawsuit in November, referring to the plaintiffs as a few "hypersensitive consumers with allergies."

Lawsuit accuses Canadian government of mishandling BSE
By Ann Bagel Storck on 6/19/2007 for
A class-action lawsuit by beef farmers accusing the Canadian government of mishandling bovine spongiform encephalopathy has received the green light from a Quebec court.
The suit was filed in 2005 on behalf of 20,000 Quebec farmers who allege government officials lost track of 80 British cattle with a high BSE risk. It also accuses the Canadian subsidiary of multinational feed company Ridley Inc. of selling feed in Canada that contained bovine protein.
Separate class-action suits have been filed in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta. The suits seek compensation for losses farmers claim have reached more than $9 billion across Canada since 2003.

'Natural' ingredients can be deadly
Rosie Schwartz, National Post
Published: Tuesday, June 19, 2007 Article tools
Source of Article:
Imagine not being allergic to apples but then having a serving of applesauce and experiencing a severe allergic reaction. That's what happened to Natalie Gordon, a Winnipeg researcher in human genetics, last December. The allergic reaction required a variety of treatments: high-dose steroids for 10 days and inhaled steroids, bronchodilators and antihistamines for six weeks. She missed four days of work and was ill right through the holiday season.
The rub is that Gordon isn't even allergic to apples. She has a life-threatening allergy to cherries. Just a small trace of cherry can prompt an anaphylactic reaction. The ingredients label listed "natural flavour," but unbeknown to Gordon, that included cherry.
She contacted the company and was informed that the government did not require it to list the ingredients in its "natural flavour" because it was a proprietary combination of food elements. Their only suggestion was to avoid any food containing "natural flavour" in the future. She was also informed that when terms such as "natural flavour" are used in a proprietary fashion, the ingredients can be changed on any corporate whim, so what she can safely eat in one batch might kill her in another -- but it's all in the same product.
She then contacted Health Canada about the issue and received no reassuring information about how to safely choose commercial food products. She now cooks most of her food from scratch -- which isn't a big surprise when you consider that she's avoiding any products that contain "natural flavours."
Gordon is not alone in her frustration. The rate of allergic ailments such as hay fever, asthma, eczema and food allergies is thought to be climbing faster than that of almost any other disease in Canada. And for those with food allergies, seeking out products free of allergens can be a daunting task. In addition, celiac disease sufferers, who must follow a gluten-free diet, are experiencing a similar fate. They can't easily sort through packaged products to find those free of the offending substance.
Numerous groups have long been lobbying the government for better identification of the hidden allergens in packaged foods. At present, six groups (the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology; the Canadian Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Foundation; the Allergy/ Asthma Information Association; Anaphylaxis Canada; the Association quebecoise des allergies alimentaires; and the Canadian Celiac Association) are working on a plan for improved allergen and gluten labelling. They've also initiated an extensive letter-writing campaign urging interested parties to write to the Minister of Health and their MPs.
There are a number of changes to food labelling that could make grocery shopping safer for many Canadians. Among those being asked for by these groups are:
- Listing priority allergens by their common names. As one example, milk sometimes appears on the label as "casein" or "whey"; under new legislation, it would need to appear as "whey (milk)." With these changes, consumers wouldn't need a degree in food science in order to find allergen-free products.
- Removing some existing exemptions. As one example, foods that are used as an ingredient in another food (such as margarine in a cake mix) don't currently need to list their component ingredients. The ingredient label on the cake mix may simply say "margarine," and not indicate that milk or soy or other ingredients are part of the margarine. Under new legislation, all priority allergens present in these exempted foods would need to be declared on the label.
- Identifying the plant or animal source in the common name of all hydrolyzed proteins, starches or lecithins. As one example, hydrolyzed protein is often made from soy or wheat, but the plant source is not required to be on the label. Many people currently avoid products with these ingredients because they don't know the source. Under proposed legislation, the plant source would need to be declared.
- Removing existing labelling exemptions for allergens. At present, when a seasoning is added to a food, even if it contains wheat, the regulations do not require the wheat to be declared in the ingredient list. Under the proposed legislation, all gluten sources and priority allergens present in these exempted foods would have to be declared on the label.
Under existing legislation, food manufacturers and importers only follow a set of guidelines for allergen labelling, which is subject to interpretation. Making these guidelines into law would clarify the labelling requirements and would help the Canadian Food Inspection Agency with enforcement for domestic and imported foods. In 1993, Health Canada recognized the growing problem of ingredient labelling and looked at major revisions to the regulations. A scientific review was conducted -- which took six years -- and comprehensive recommendations followed. Canada was applauded as a leader among many Western countries in proposing very strong action toward providing clear labels on food containing allergens.
But it's now been seven years since the review, and Canada's food and drug regulations have yet to be amended. Other governments, such as those in the United States and the European Union, have leapt ahead with legislation that allows their citizens to easily avoid foods that can present a deadly threat.
Back in 2004, Health Canada came forward with its "Proposed Regulatory Amendments to Enhance the Labelling of the Priority Allergens in Foods."
The process appears to have stalled. According to Health Canada spokesperson Paul Duchesne, "Some delays have been experienced in the development of the expected regulations, due to the complexity of the file. However, it is anticipated that the proposed amendments will be published by the end of 2007 in the Canada Gazette, Part I." He also stated, "Publication of the proposal in the Canada Gazette, Part I, allows interested parties to comment. All comments received must be considered before final changes to the regulations can be made."
It sounds as if things are moving ahead. But a letter posted on Health Canada's Web site in February, 2004, by Paul Mayers of the Food Directorate, states: "Health Canada intends to recommend that the proposed regulatory amendments be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, by mid-2004." Sounds familiar. It's the same story that was told in 2005, 2006 and now in 2007. No wonder the groups advocating for change are skeptical about seeing action. Just how many more years will this take? And what is the reason for the delay? The government recognized the issues surrounding labelling food allergens over a decade ago, and it proposed changes to make the marketplace safer for many Canadians. Now it's time for action. - Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian in private practice and author of The Enlightened Eater's Whole Foods Guide: Harvest the Power of Phyto Foods (Viking Canada).

FDA fumbles again
Contra Costa Times
Article Launched: 06/19/2007
Source of Article:
IN THE AFTERMATH OF the E. coli contamination of bagged spinach last fall, California farmers must be commended for instituting voluntary changes in growing and processing practices to better protect their products from such contamination. If only the federal government, that is to say, the Food and Drug Administration, would demonstrate similar leadership. Last fall, grocers and shoppers were in a panic during an outbreak of E. coli-related illness linked to contaminated bagged spinach. Nationwide, there were 204 illnesses, 104 serious enough to require hospitalization, and even three deaths.
Spinach farmers saw the bottom drop out of their business. An investigation zeroed in on cow manure and the feces of wild pigs just a mile from soil that tested positive for E. coli and was near spinach fields. However, the FDA concluded it could not definitively determine how the E. coli contaminated the soil.
Learning from the experience, farmers of leafy greens started developing new growing and processing standards. It was a rare unified response in an industry known to be fragmented. They agreed to increase buffer zones between crops and cattle ranges and enhance the process of testing irrigation water, among other things. The cost is being picked up by growers.
Processors participating in the program will buy only from farmers complying with the new standards. With nearly all processors signing on, the voluntary program has the effect of regulations.
But speaking of regulations, where has the FDA been in this crisis? Advocates for growers say the FDA has been AWOL. We wish we could say we're surprised. It is consistent with a pattern of lackadaisical protection of consumers that we've seen in the Vioxx scandal, the controversy surrounding the Avandia diabetes pill and the contamination of imported pet food. Perhaps FDA officials need a refresher course in why the agency was founded. Maybe they need to reread the mission statement. Based on its continued failures, a thorough review of the agency is in order.
We are relieved to know the growers and processors of leafy green vegetables are taking the lead in ensuring the safety of their products and protecting the health of consumers. It would be nice if our government demonstrated similar concern.

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

Patented Prebiotic Helps Good Bacteria Take on Bad Ones
By Jan Suszkiw
June 18, 2007
source from:
Beneficial bacteria that promote intestinal health in humans and livestock could get a boost of their own, thanks to a new method for turning certain sugars from corn and other crops into complex carbohydrates called oligosaccharides.
According to Agricultural Research Service (ARS) chemist Greg Cote, the oligosaccharides have commercial potential as "prebiotics." These are food or feed additives that nourish populations of Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and other "probiotic" bacteria that live inside their hosts' colons.
Besides unlocking minerals, vitamins and other nutrients from the oligosaccharides, probiotic bacteria can also make the colon less hospitable to pathogens, such as Salmonella and Escherichia coli, that can cause illness in humans.
When fed to chicks or piglets, for example, the prebiotics could bolster the growth and activity of probiotic bacteria so they would outcompete Salmonella for space and nutrients?a potential boon later on, when the animals mature and are slaughtered for their meat.
Cote, who's in the ARS Bioproducts and Biocatalysis Research Unit at Peoria, Ill., codeveloped the oligosaccharides with Scott Holt, an associate professor with Western Illinois University's Department of Biological Sciences. They envision formulating the oligosaccharides as a prebiotic product that could be administered orally.
Their production method uses a microbial enzyme called alternansucrase to catalyze a series of biochemical reactions that convert sugars like sucrose, glucose or maltitol into different kinds of oligosaccharides.
Depending on which were used, the resulting oligosaccharides bolstered the laboratory growth of Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, Bacteroides and some enterococci bacteria, but not pathogens such as Salmonella, E. coli or Clostridium perfringens.

Alarming rise in food allergies
June 18, 2007
Source of Article:
THE number of preschoolers with potentially life-threatening food allergies has soared fivefold in a decade, but specialists cannot explain why.
There has been a sevenfold increase in the most serious type of reaction, anaphylaxis, an immediate, often violent, whole-body response which requires urgent medical treatment. This has risen particularly among children under five.
An allergy specialist, Raymond Mullins, reported on the alarming rise in the Medical Journal of Australia. A big increase in the number of hospital admissions was reflected in private allergy practices nationwide and was probably the tip of the iceberg, he said.
He described food allergies as the "new kid on the block", a relatively recent phenomenon unfamiliar to our grandparents, and poorly understood. "We know it's specific to the Western world and that it's more and more common but we don't know why," Professor Mullins said.
The most popular explanation for the increase in allergies - that humans have become too clean for their own good - may help to explain environmental allergens such as dust, but not food. Other possibilities are links to breast milk, an increase in older mothers and greater exposure to potentially allergenic foods.
Peanut allergies are the most common, followed by egg, cows' milk and cashews. Between 1994 and 2005, the number of admissions for allergy attacks rose from 39 in every million children to 194. "People like myself are seeing this kind of extraordinary increase on a smaller scale all over the place so there's a very clear trend, but we just don't understand it," Professor Mullins said.
The number of children seen for allergic problems at his Canberra clinic rose fourfold over 12 years. While there was little change for eczema and hay fever, and a drop in asthma complaints, visits for proven food allergies went up 1200 per cent.
The report calls for urgent, large studies to confirm the increase, evaluate the impact on the health budget and plan for better prevention and treatment. "One day we hope to be able to say that we have a way of desensitising to food, like we already can with hay fever and venom allergies," Professor Mullins said.

China says food safety under control
Associated Press Writer
Source of Article:
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
BEIJING (AP) - China played down international concerns about tainted food exports on Tuesday, saying the problems were not as bad as reported and displaying seized counterfeit products to show authorities were enforcing safety protections.
To make its case, the government organized a rare visit by more than 100 foreign and domestic reporters to a food safety lab and storehouse where bogus goods from chewing gum to soy sauce were stacked on shelves and arrayed in rows.
"Yes, there are now some problems of food safety of Chinese products. However, they are not serious. We should not exaggerate those problems," Li Dongsheng, vice minister for the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, told reporters at the lab. China has developed "very good, very complete methods" to regulate product safety, Li said. China's poor safety record has increasingly come under scrutiny as its goods make their way to global markets. Major buyers such as the United States, Japan, and the European Union have pushed for Beijing to improve inspections.
The pressure has increased in recent months as U.S. inspectors have banned or turned away Chinese exports including wheat gluten tainted with the chemical melamine, blamed for dog and cat deaths in North America. Monkfish containing life-threatening levels of pufferfish toxins, drug-laced frozen eel and juice made with unsafe color additives have also been on the growing list of unacceptable products.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has also stopped all imports of Chinese toothpaste to test for a deadly chemical reportedly found in tubes sold in Australia, the Dominican Republic and Panama.
In response, China has gone on the offensive. In the past week, the country has highlighted at least four American products as unsafe or not up to Chinese safety standards. But at the same time, safety officials have urged better surveillance at all levels and promised to set up a food recall system, the country's first, by year end. "We are very concerned about food safety in China and very concerned about protecting the rights of consumers," Li said. "But we do not want to cause panic among the people."
Li, whose agency oversees domestic product quality, insisted China was taking the issue seriously.
"There is now largely no problem with food safety. It is an issue the people care about greatly," Li said. "So if there is a small problem, it becomes a big problem for us. So basically for now we can guarantee food safety."
At the Beijing food lab, technicians wearing white coats tested packages of spring rolls, dumplings and other frozen foods for toxic chemicals. Others sat at computers analyzing results.
In another room, a variety of fake products were displayed including Wrigley's chewing gum, Shiseido skin care products and Levi's jeans.
China has long been the world's leading source of fake medicines and drugs, illegally copied music, movies, designer clothes and other goods.
U.S. officials say its exports cost legitimate producers worldwide up to $50 billion a year in lost potential sales.
Li said government food safety procedures include a hot line set up in 1999 that has grown into a surveillance network of local groups and government bodies.
Local industry and commerce authorities have conducted widespread inspections of department stores, supermarkets, outdoor markets and wholesale markets, the State Council, China's Cabinet, said in a statement.
It said 4.6 million inquires, complaints and reports were received last year from consumers and 16,000 tons of unsafe food products were ordered withdrawn from the market in 2006. It did not give details of the products or why they were withdrawn.
The statement said the surveillance network has also expanded to focus on consumer protection, trademark protection, food safety supervision and advertising regulations.

E.Coli Forces Beef Recall in 11 States
At Least 14 Cases Linked to Tainted Meat
June 11, 2007
Source of Article:
The last thing Manuela Lyon expected after eating her husband's spaghetti and meatballs was a trip to the emergency room.
"My fear was that I was gonna die," she said.
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Lyon is one of at least 14 cases of poisoning from E. coli, a potentially deadly bacteria linked to tainted beef from California-based United Food Group.
United Food Group originally recalled about half a million pounds of meat but then expanded the recall over the weekend to 5.7 million pounds. That meat was shipped to 11 states. Friday, Tyson Foods announced it was recalling 40,000 pounds of beef products shipped to Wal-Mart stores.
"It is small compared with the 24.7 billion pounds of beef that are produced each year in the U.S.," said David Goldman, Acting Administrator of Food Safety and Inspection Service for the USDA.
While that may be true, there have been six recalls involving beef products in just the last two months. And critics fear recent problems involving other products like spinach, peanut butter and, most recently, pet food, have diverted attention away from beef.
"The heat has been off the USDA [U.S. Department of Agriculture] for the last nine months while [the] FDA was dealing with these high profile episodes," said Caroline Smith DeWaal, food safety director of Centers for Science in the Public Interest.
The beef industry dismisses the spike in recalls as a fluke, and points out E. coli cases have dropped 80 percent in the last seven years.
"We need to look a the big picture," said Beau Reagan of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. "This is just really a snapshot."
But Lyon said the situation frustrated her.
"I hope nobody else has to go through this," she said.
Customers with questions about the recall can call United Food Group's hotline at 1-800-325-4164. Those with recalled products should throw the products away or return them to the point of purchase for a refund.
The meat was sold under five brand names: Moran's All Natural, Miller Meat Co., Stater Bros. Markets, Inter-American Products and Basha's. It has "sell by" dates of April 29, April 30 or May 6; "freeze by" dates of April 28, April 30 or May 7; or manufacture dates of April 13 or April 20. All will have a marking that says "EST. 1241" on the package.
The products were sold by California retailers including Albertsons, Sam's Club, Smart & Final, Stater Bros. and Superior Warehouse. The affected products were also sold in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming and Montana, according to state and federal health officials.
You can protect your family from E. coli by cooking all ground beef to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees. That will kill harmful bacteria and make the meat safe to eat. The California Department of Health Services is recommending consumers not cook these lots of recalled meat in an attempt to make the beef safe. The best way to be sure other ground beef is properly cooked is to use an accurate food thermometer.

Health Officials Looking Into E. coli Outbreak In Rowan, Cabarrus Counties
E. coli O157:H7
Source of Article:
Rowan and Cabarrus counties are investigating an outbreak of the intestinal infection E. coli O157:H7.
Communicable disease experts from the North Carolina Division of Public Health and from local hospitals are assisting the local health departments with the investigation.
As of Thursday morning (June 7), four cases of the illness had been confirmed by laboratory tests, and nine more were considered probable cases and are awaiting lab testing. Several other possible cases are under active investigation.
Many of the sick people identified so far ate at the Captain's Galley Restaurant in China Grove between May 26 and May 29, 2007. Any person who has eaten at the Captain's Galley Restaurant on or after May 26 and has developed diarrhea should see a doctor immediately, as E. coli O157:H7 can cause serious disease with long-lasting effects. Severe cases can progress to fatal kidney failure, especially in young children.
No illness has been reported so far in people who ate at the restaurant after May 29, and no obvious source of infection has been found so far at the restaurant. However, public health officials are continuing to investigate, and are still looking for cases and working to find the cause of these infections to be sure that no one else gets infected.
E. coli O157:H7 is a bacterial infection that affects the stomach and intestines. People are usually infected by eating or drinking food or water that has been contaminated with the bacteria, or sometimes by contact with another infected person.
People who are infected often have diarrhea, stomach pain, or vomiting. Diarrhea may be bloody. Infections can be severe, especially in young children and the elderly. Early medical care, including treatment with IV fluids, is important.
Secondary infections?getting the illness from someone else who is or has been ill?are also a concern. "The best way to reduce the risk of getting E. coli from another person is thorough hand-washing," said Dr. William F. Pilkington, Health Director for Cabarrus County. "In most cases, a person with E. coli may have diarrhea or vomiting for a few days, and then begin to get better. However, the risk of transmitting the infection may continue for up to three weeks because the bacterium is still found in bowel movements. Coming in contact with even small amounts of harmful types of E. coli can cause illness. So, it is very important that anyone who is recovering from stomach illness continue to carefully wash their hands even after their symptoms have passed."
Any Mecklenburg County resident who ate at this restaurant during the days and times listed and is having ANY symptoms similar to e-coli symptoms listed above should contact their physician immediately.
Any physician who sees a what they believe is a case to please contact their local health department.

Temperature recorders provide instant results
By Charlotte Eyre
Source of Article:
19/06/2007 - Deltatrak today announced a new line of temperature recorders that offer accurate readings throughout the supply chain, the company claims.
The reusable Digital Display Environmental Temperature Recorders incorporate a wide range of features, the company said, and provide food manufacturers with a simple but effective way of meeting safety standards.
Processors are increasingly on the lookout for improved temperature measuring equipment as more and more governments impose hygiene analysis and critical control point (HACCP) procedures worldwide.
HACCP is a systematic preventative approach to food safety aiming to spot physical, chemical and biological hazards at the during the manufacturing process, rather than at final product inspection.
Deltatrak claims that its new temperature recorders give even more precise measurements.
Different models with fahrenheit (━F) or centigrade (━C) scales can make recordings during time intervals of 3, 10, 31 and 62 days. Two temperature ranges are available; low (-20 ━F to 100 ━F or -28 ━C to 38 ━C) and high (30━F to 150 ━F or 0 ━C to 65 ━C).
The recorders can be wall mounted or hung from a loop, and feature an attached stylus that records temperature on a chemically coated strip chart.
This stylus charts accurate temperature recordings that are not impacted by vehicle vibrations or other environmental conditions such as heat or humidity, the company claims.
Operational since 1989, Deltatrak manufactures portable test instruments and software that monitor and record temperature, humidity and pH parameters.

It has offices in California and Shenzhen, China, and sells products in over 40 countries, the company claims.

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