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E. coli Outbreak
Caused $77M In Spinach Losses
June 20, 2007
Source of Article: http://www.theksbwchannel.com/money/13540010/detail.html
SALINAS, Calif. -- The newly released Monterey County agricultural report
said spinach profits are way down. According to the report, the leafy
greens took the worst hit with a $77 million loss, KSBW Action News reported.
The more than 40 percent drop doesn't take into account the spinach thrown
out or not planted after September's deadly E. coli outbreak. Overall,
the Monterey County agricultural industry was worth $3.5 billion last
year -- that is a 4 percent gain from the year before. Industry leaders
said their focus is on food safety after three people died and more than
200 were sickened from last fall's outbreak. Spinach is currently in harvest,
and some growers said they are planting fewer crops this year.
May Serve as Hosts for E. coli O157:H7
Source of Article: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070620085627.htm
Science Daily For the first time researchers have identified American
bullfrogs as potentially suitable hosts for E. coli O157:H7, a common
source of food-borne illness. Escherichia coli O157:H7 is a major food
safety concern worldwide. Cattle are known reservoirs of the bacterium
and researchers are now suggesting transmission to aquatic vertebrates,
such as amphibians, occurs when infected cattle defecate in water sources.
Infected tadpoles could then shed the pathogen and infect cattle drinking
the contaminated water as well as vegetables if the water is used for
irrigation. In the study researchers orally inoculated American bullfrog
tadpoles and metamorphs with E. coli O157:H7 and tested for infection
after 14 days. Tadpoles, which were housed in flowthrough aquaria, did
not become infected, however 54% of metamorphs tested positive after being
housed in stagnant aquaria. "Our results suggest that American bullfrog
metamorphs could function as a 'spill-over' reservoir for E. coli O157:H7
and thus contribute to its persistence in aquatic environments,"
say the researchers. "Further, given that metamorphs are capable
of dispersal, they may have a role in the epidemiology of this pathogen."
They report their findings in the June 2007 issue of the journal Applied
and Environmental Microbiology. (M.J. Gray, S. Rajeev, D.L. Miller, A.C.
Schmutzer, E.C. Burton, E.D. Rogers, G.J. Hickling. 2007. Preliminary
evidence that American bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) are suitable hosts
for Escherichia coli O157:H7. Applied and Environmental Microbiology,
73. 12: 4066-4068). Note: This story has been adapted from a news release
issued by American Society for Microbiology.
on rise - but doctors fear fear itself
Julie Robotham Medical Editor
June 23, 2007
Source of Article: http://www.smh.com.au/
ABOUT 30,000 Australians now carry an EpiPen, an adrenalin shot for use
in the event of a severe food allergy attack, according to new figures
that some doctors believe point to an epidemic of unwarranted anxiety.
Statistics from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme show 35,657 of the
devices were ordered last year, up from 21,482 in 2004. More than 4600
scripts were issued this March alone, the highest monthly number yet,
amid rising concern about the potential for anaphylaxis - a sudden and
potentially fatal allergic reaction that is most commonly associated with
peanuts. Andrew Kemp, professor of pediatric allergy and clinical immunology
at the Children's Hospital at Westmead, said food allergies themselves
were on the rise, but EpiPen use appeared to be growing faster.
Publicity about fatal cases of anaphylactic shock, such as that of the
Sydney schoolboy Hamidur Rahman, who died after being dared to eat peanut
butter at a school camp, had raised awareness, Professor Kemp said.
But despite professional guidelines, it was not always clear who should
carry an EpiPen, and parents' anxiety levels needed to be taken into account.
Ray Mullins, a Canberra allergy specialist, said research had shown severe
food allergies were comparable to being dependent on insulin for diabetes,
in terms of impact on the ability to live a normal life.
Associate Professor Mullins
said allergy was "almost easier to manage if they've had a severe
reaction". In these circumstances any doctor would prescribe EpiPen,
but for more marginal cases it was less clear whether the device was valuable.
"It depends on how nervous the doctor is, how nervous the parents
Skin reaction tests, in which
doctors measure the reaction to an allergen placed on a scratch, predicted
the likelihood that a person would react to that substance, though not
how severely. If more people were being tested for allergies it was likely
a greater number of less severe cases would be diagnosed. "The person
may become wedded to the diagnosis of being allergic."
Guidelines from the Australasian
Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy say EpiPen should only be prescribed
if a person has had an anaphylactic reaction, or has had a less severe
allergic reaction and also has asthma or heart disease. Specific allergies
- to nuts or bee stings, either of which are more often fatal - could
also be a reason for prescribing EpiPen.
But Rob Loblay, the director
of the allergy unit at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, said having an EpiPen
could be "a liberating experience for many families, to be able to
take their kids out socially, anywhere".
Dr Loblay said a minority -
perhaps one in 20 - carried an EpiPen for an allergy they had outgrown.
But anaphylaxis, in which the face and throat can swell dramatically,
was so frightening that it was understandable some people remained fearful
and traumatised. "I'm more concerned about under-prescribing than
over-prescribing," he said.
Take Aim at Pathogen¡¯s Antibiotic Resistance
Source of Article: http://www.thepoultrysite.com/
IOWA - Some samples of the pathogen Campylobacter coli showed resistance
to antibiotics that were intended to protect swine from diseases, tests
performed at Iowa State University revealed. There¡¯s more to be learned
about the situation, which is keeping Qijing Zhang¡¯s research team busy
this year. The project is a collaborative effort between Zhang, an ISU
associate professor of veterinary microbiology, and Irene
Wesley, a research microbiologist at the National Animal Disease Center
in Ames, Iowa. Zhang and Wesley are pursuing the research for the Food
Safety Consortium. The matter of antibiotic resistance is a major one
in scientific research these days. Zhang said although Campylobacter coli
itself isn¡¯t the main food safety concern, it could serve as reservoir
of resistance for C. jejuni, a major foodborne pathogen in the U.S. and
¡°In terms of foodborne diseases in humans, Campylobacter jejuni is the
predominant species,¡± Zhang said. ¡°Campylobacter coli causes some problems,
but not as significant as Campylobacter jejuni. Also, pork meat is not
a main source of human Campylobacter infection.¡±
So, the reason for concern is that Campylobacter in swine can be transmitted
to other farm animals, where greater potential for infection of humans
can begin. ¡°Antibiotic resistance in swine is relevant to food safety,
but in a different way,¡± Zhang explained. ¡°It¡¯s not like Campylobacter
in poultry that can contaminate a bird or carcass.¡±
Zhang¡¯s early results showed that Campylobacter coli was not resistant
to the antibiotic ciprofloxacin (a fluoroquinolone), but he noted that
was likely because ciprofloxacin is not used in U.S. swine production.
Tests also showed that 56 percent of the Campylobacter coli isolates were
resistant to the antibiotic doxycycline and 39 percent were resistant
to erythromycin, another antibiotic. Fluoroquinolones and erythromycin
are used in treating human Campylobacter infections.
* "Campylobacter in swine can be transmitted to other farm animals,
where greater potential for infection of humans can begin."
¡°That¡¯s why we need to put a lot of attention on ciprofloxacin and erythromycin,¡±
Zhang said, ¡°because these two classes of antibiotics are key weapons
for treatment of people with Campylobacter infections.¡± As the swine grow
up and work their way through the production process, it might be expected
that rates of resistance to antibiotics would increase along the way.
But Zhang¡¯s research didn¡¯t show that on the one farm that had been researched.
More farms are to be examined at which different stages of the production
process will continue to be monitored. He wonders if the antibiotic resistance
shows up randomly or if it increases over time. ¡°We¡¯d assume that when
you put the pigs in the nursery and eventually the finishing stages, they
will probably get more exposed with antibiotics and that selection procedure
would promote more resistance,¡± he said. ¡°But so far we have not seen
a progressive increase. That¡¯s something we¡¯re trying to figure out to
see if it happens all the time or if it happened just on this farm.¡±
Zhang also seeks to determine if there is a correlation between antibiotic
usage rates and resistance to antibiotics. The research hasn¡¯t verified
that yet among the swine.
Zhang¡¯s long-term goal, through studying the ecology of antibiotic resistance,
is to develop practical management measures that might help farmers reduce
pathogens¡¯ resistance to antibiotics.
¡°We¡¯re going to get some science-based data and hopefully that can be
used for design of intervention strategies or modifying practices in the
future,¡± he said. ¡°At this point we still have lots of questions to be
answered. We¡¯re also trying to develop a rapid testing technique to detect
antibiotic-resistant pathogens not only in life animals but in processed
meat.¡± ThePoultrySite News Desk
NSF Now Offers
Expanded Melamine Testing Services in China
Testing Ensures Confidence that Products are Melamine-free
June 21, 2007 Source of Article:
ANN ARBOR, Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--NSF International today announced a
new testing service for suppliers in the food industry to detect the presence
of melamine, an industrial chemical used in plastics that was recently
found in pet food products.
Melamine is frequently used
in product materials and synthetic fibers, clothing, inks and plastic
food containers. The chemical was added to wheat gluten and rice protein
exported from China to increase protein levels in animal feeds. China
has since banned its exporters from using the chemical as an additive
NSF, an independent testing
laboratory, is expanding its melamine testing capabilities following the
widespread pet food contamination and the ensuing product recall. The
resulting melamine contamination has generated an increased demand by
pet food manufacturers who are seeking accredited laboratories that test
for melamine presence.
To meet international commerce
needs in China, NSF has an accredited testing laboratory in Shanghai that
will conduct the testing and local auditors that will inspect the facilities
to screen for melamine and other toxins. This process will ensure that
products and raw materials exported overseas can be evaluated prior to
¡°It is the processors legal
responsibility to ensure that all ingredients used in their products are
safe, and our goal is to help these companies fulfill this commitment
while also protecting the public,¡± said Tom Chestnut, vice president,
NSF Supply Chain Food Safety and Quality Programs. ¡°With a network of
fully- accredited laboratories, NSF can evaluate a wide range of products
and raw materials to protect against melamine adulteration, and by conducting
the tests before products are exported from China, we can help to ensure
that the supply chain is not interrupted.¡±
NSF¡¯s melamine testing capabilities
include laboratory analysis of processed foods, animal feeds, wheat gluten,
rice protein concentrate and corn gluten. NSF uses FDA analytical methods
for melamine testing, screening and quantitative analysis using chromatographic
techniques, including analysis using Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry
(GC-MS) or High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC).
In addition to melamine, NSF
can also test for heavy metals, pesticides, antibiotics, microbiologicals
and diethylene glycol (DEG). For more information on these testing services,
please visit http://www.nsf.org/business/laboratory_services/chemistry_lab
or contact Kurt Kneen, Ph.D., director, NSF¡¯s Chemistry Laboratory, at
email@example.com or 734-827-6874.
About NSF International: NSF
International, an independent, not-for-profit organization, helps protect
you by certifying products and writing standards for food, water and consumer
goods (www.nsf.org). Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting public
health and safety worldwide. NSF is a World Health Organization Collaborating
Centre for Food and Water Safety and Indoor Environment. Additional services
include safety audits for the food and water industries, management systems
registrations delivered through NSF International Strategic Registrations,
organic certification provided by Quality Assurance International and
education through the NSF Center for Public Health Education.
Greta Houlahan, 800-NSF-MARK Ext: 5723
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
Controlling Outbreak of Shigella
Posted By: Tom Mckee
Source of Article: http://www.wcpo.com/news/
Tri-State health officials say they've experienced an outbreak of shigella
in the past few months, but that they've got the illness under control.
Shigella is a bacteria that causes an infectious disease whose symptoms
include diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever ? especially in young children.
Dr. Larry Holditch, medical director of the Cincinnati Health Department,
said the normal number of cases is about 10 per month in the City of Cincinnati,
and another 10 in the region. "Over the past two months we've had
about 60 cases in the city and 100 to 120 in the region," Dr. Holditch
The number of shigella cases normally increases as summer begins, but
Dr. Holditch says a lot of the outbreak is tied to day care centers where
there are lots of children in diapers and many people in closed space.
"It's a very communicable disease," said Dr. Holditch. "It's
easily spread from person-to-person, especially where there are small
children. Dr. Holditch said cases aren't concentrated in any one area.
Instead, they're distributed over the entire region.
The Cincinnati Health Department has contacted pediatricians about the
outbreak and sent letters to day care operators reminding them to be diligent
about cleaning and disinfecting their environment. The Hamilton County
General Health District mailed educational letters on June 18 to day care
operators reminding them of good health practices to follow.
Shigella is normally treated with antibiotics and gradually subsides in
about five days.
There's one key way to prevent the spread of the disease, according to
"Very good hand washing," he said, "especially after changing
diapers of small children, going to the bathroom yourself or before preparing
any food or drink."
The Hamilton County health department letter reminds day care operators
that Ohio law prohibits children and employees with diarrhea from attending
The letter also contains the
A child with diarrhea should be referred to a doctor
Ask parents about any recent history of diarrhea prior to accepting all
Use good diaper changing practices including changing them in a designated
area and washing the area after all diaper changes
Clean surfaces and toys with disinfectant and/or sanitizer
Wipe countertops, tables and chairs before with soap and water before
preparing or eating food. Follow with a bleach and water rinse
Dr. Holditch says the situation is under control, despite the increased
number of cases.
"This is really small potatoes next to the outbreak we had several
years ago when we had 1,900 cases," he said. "However, we are
taking this seriously."
Safety and Quality Job Information
Food Safety and Quality Job Information
June 21, 2007
Source of Article: http://www.scientistlive.com/17987/resistant-bacteria-inevitable.thtml
E. coli bacteria that have
developed resistance to antibiotics will probably still be around even
if we stop using antibiotics, as these strains have the same good chance
as other bacteria of continuing to colonise the gut, according to a thesis
at the Sahlgrenska Academy. E. coli bacteria are found naturally in large
quantities in our intestines. These bacteria do not normally cause disease,
but there are several strains that can result in diarrhoea. In serious
cases, they can also cause peritonitis and septicaemia. The faeces of
128 Swedish infants were analysed in the studies underlying the thesis.
The results show that 21% of E. coli strains in these infants¡¯ gut flora
were resistant to at least one type of antibiotic. Even children who had
never been given antibiotics had resistant bacterial strains in their
intestines. ¡°This is a growing problem, and it¡¯s serious even when ordinary
harmless bacteria develop resistance, as these genes can be transferred
to more harmful bacteria,¡± says microbiologist Nahid Karami. Many had
thought that resistant bacteria would disappear if the use of antibiotics
were to be reduced, but the thesis shows that E. coli strains carrying
resistance genes are just as good at colonising the gut for long periods
as sensitive strains. ¡±Our research suggests that there¡¯s little cost
to the bacteria from carrying a resistance gene, and this presumably means
that this resistance will be retained for a long time by the bacteria
in our gut flora even if we stop using antibiotics,¡± says Karami.
Bacteria have a natural ability
to absorb and transfer resistance genes to other bacteria. The study discovered
two cases of such transfers between E. coli strains found simultaneously
in a child¡¯s intestines. The first was in an infant who was treated with
penicillin, and the second in an infant who was not treated with antibiotics.
¡°Our results suggest that the transfer of resistance genes in the gut
flora may be very common, which makes the resistance issue much more serious,
as genes can easily be transferred from bacteria in the normal flora to
more harmful bacteria,¡± says Karami.
E. coli won't
result in charges
Outbreak prompts new rules, more strict inspections
By LISA LEFF
The Associated Press June 22, 2007
Source of Article: http://thecalifornian.com/
Salinas Valley companies won't face criminal charges in last year's nationwide
E. coli outbreak linked to local-grown fresh spinach, the U.S. Attorney
in San Francisco said Thursday. Federal prosecutors have decided such
charges aren't warranted, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced. FBI agents
raided two Central Coast produce processing plants and several farms for
evidence of environmental and food-safety violations in September, following
the outbreak that led to the deaths of three people and sickened about
200 others. "We're pleased with the outcome of this investigation,"
said Samantha Cabaluna, director of communications for Earthbound Farm
and Natural Selection Foods, which processed the E. coli-contaminated
spinach grown in San Benito County.
"We want to thank the government for their professionalism throughout
the past several months," Cabaluna said. "We believe that the
decision of the U.S. Attorney to close this investigation was the right
move." The investigation did not find that growers or processors
had deliberately broke the law or were negligent in preventing tainted
foods from entering the marketplace, said U.S. Attorney Scott Schools.
Authorities had searched plants in October run by Growers Express LLC
in Salinas and Natural Selection Foods LLC in San Juan Bautista, as well
as farms in Santa Clara, Monterey and San Benito counties.
FBI and Federal Department
of Agriculture agents spent 11 hours searching both companies' facilities,
sifting through records for evidence of a paper trail indicating spinach
handlers skirted proper food-handling procedures. Federal officials warned
consumers not to eat bagged or bunched spinach for two weeks last September
after dozens of people in 26 states fell ill. Investigators eventually
determined that all the illnesses came from bags of Dole baby spinach
packaged in August by Natural Selection Foods. Consumer confidence in
spinach and prewashed, bagged produce fell dramatically after the outbreak.
Fallout included a $77 million loss in the value of Monterey County spinach,
according to the 2006 Monterey County Crop Report, and a $10.5 million
drop in the value of bagged salads.
Health inspectors eventually
traced the bacterial outbreak to an E. coli strain found in cattle or
wild pig feces near the San Benito County fields of Mission Organics,
which grew spinach for Natural Selection. The incident prompted stricter
monitoring procedures by growers and processors and stepped-up inspections
by state health officials. The companies blamed for the outbreak, meanwhile,
still face civil lawsuits filed by people who claim they got sick after
eating contaminated spinach. Salinas Californian staff writer Dawn Withers
contributed to this report.
is pleased to announce four new commodities approved for official testing
of Zearalenone in the U.S national grain inspection system.
Charm Sciences ROSA ¢ç Zearalenone
(Quantitative) test has received approval for screening 4 commodities
from the United States Department of Agriculture¡¯s (USDA) Grain Inspection,
Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA). In addition to corn, the
ROSA Zearalenone test is now approved for sorghum, milled rice, wheat,
and distillers dried grains with solubles.
The ROSA Zearalanone test is
the only test to be approved for official testing of Zearalenone in the
U.S national grain inspection system. An official Certificate of Conformance
from USDA/GIPSA (Certificate No. FGIS 2007-102.1 Addendum) declares that
the test ¡°kit met the accuracy specifications for the listed commodities
spiked at 250 and 1000 ppb.¡± In addition, the ¡°30 ppb limit of detection
was also met for all listed commodities.¡±
Charm¡¯s ROSA (Rapid One Step
Assay) Zearalenone test procedure includes a sample extraction and 10
minute incubation. A test strip is then inserted into a digital ROSA-M
strip reader. Quantitative results are displayed and recorded on the reader
(with automatic printing and download options).
Other ROSA tests include the
3 minute Aflatoxin P/N, the 3 minute DON P/N, the 10 minute ROSA Aflatoxin
Quantitative, which have already received approval from USDA GIPSA. A
10 minute quantitative test for DON and fumonisin were recently added
to the ROSA mycotoxin family. All ROSA mycotoxin tests can be run on the
Zearalenone can appear in pre-harvest
corn, wheat, rice or maize by several species of Fusarium, e.g., F. graminearum.
Swine are particularly susceptible to the presence of Zearalenone in feedstuffs
as it is an estrogenic mycotoxin, which can cause infertility, or other
About Charm Sciences, Inc
Charm Sciences, Inc., a world-renowned manufacturer of food safety monitoring
tests and equipment was founded in 1978. The Company continually develops
innovative, reliable testing methods. Charm Sciences corporate offices
are in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Along with a full line of food safety
products and solutions, Charm Sciences provides award-winning product
support and technical assistance.
Charm Sciences, Inc
makes melamine detection easier
// 18 jun 2007
Source of Article: http://www.allaboutfeed.net
A new food contaminant testing method for melamine and cyanuric acid decreases
the time it takes to get accurate results for meats, its developer claims.
Applied Biosystems and MDS Sciex have jointly released a testing kit,
which they claim will help laboratories and food manufacturers improve
safety. Reducing time to test for contaminants could reduce delays in
shipments waiting on results and improve recall effectiveness if products
have already left the plant.
Reduced to 6 minutes
The method is based on liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC/MS).
It reduces testing time to less than six minutes from the 30 minutes required
by current systems, the companies claim. "The new method is the first
commercially available method to test for both contaminants simultaneously
with this advanced technology," they stated.
Melamine was found to have contaminated pet food in North America this
year and by extension animal feed. The scare led to concerns over ingredients
sourced from China and increased testing of those products both for human
and animal consumption.
Develops Sensor to Test for E. coli in 10 Minutes
Source of Article: http://www.physorg.com/news101570872.html
The latest outbreak of E. coli cases ? now in 12 Western states and involving
6 million pounds of fresh and frozen meat ? shows a need for better detection
in food processing exists.
Dr. Raj Mutharasan, a professor of chemical engineering at Drexel University,
has developed over the past five years sensor technology that can test
for E. coli bacteria in just 10 minutes. He 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.
The sensor could also have wide applications in medical diagnostic testing
(prostate cancer) 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.
The standard detection process of E. coli bacteria in food processing
requires about 24 hours and involves a trip to a laboratory. Mutharasan¡¯s
sensor can be contained in a handheld device that is accurate and easy
No direct test for minute amounts of proteins exists on the market. A
study published in the April 1, 2007, issue of Analytical Chemistry using
Mutharasan¡¯s sensor detected E. coli in ground beef at some of the lowest
concentrations ever reported.
Unlike salmonella, for example, no Food and Drug Admistration requirement
to test food for E. coli exists. Requirements are in place, however, to
ensure proper food-manufacturing practices are met to help avoid contamination,
says Dr. Stanley Segall, Drexel professor emeritus of food science and
E. coli outbreaks have increased in recent years because reporting systems
have been more efficient and effective and food production has become
more centralized, with distribution spanning the country in rapid time
frames, Segall says.
The near-prototype sensor Mutharasan has developed contains a sensitivity
of four cells per milliliter of solution. The sensor uses E. coli antibodies
to detect the bacteria in a way similar to how our bodies work. Those
antibodies are affixed to a narrow sliver of glass. A ceramic layer, attached
to the other end of the glass, generates voltage in response to applied
The sensor affixed with antibodies against E. coli can detect as low as
four cells per milliliter of solution. A voltage is applied to a ceramic
layer, causing it to expand and contract, vibrating the glass sliver.
The sensor detects changes in the glass sliver¡¯s resonate frequency (the
point where vibration is the greatest) and determines the presence and
concentration of E. coli bacteria.
Because the same principles of resonate frequency apply, the sensor can
test liquid and solid samples. The sensor can be equipped with a range
of antibodies to detect many pathogens or it can be homozygous with a
single antibody, enabling the sensor to detect even the smallest amounts
of the harmful bacteria.
Source: Drexel University
dates dryer to minimize post harvest losses
ISLAMABAD, Jun 20 (APP):
Source of Article: http://www.app.com.pk/
The Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) has designed and developed
a solar-cum-gas fired date's dryer to minimize post harvest losses of
the fruit. According to a statement of the PARC, the Dates are the third
most important fruit of Pakistan and these are grown on an area of about
78,000 hactres with an annual production of 625,000 tons. The Sun drying
of dates is the common practice prevalent in Pakistan.
The sun-dried dates have short shelf life and may not be free from
contamination and aflatoxin. Hence, these dates are unhygienic from health
point of view and pose difficulty in their marketing internationally.
About 22% of the total dates produced in the country are wasted every
year due to unavailability of proper drying/processing and storage facilities.
The to dry/process dates on scientific grounds, the scientists/engineers
of Farm Machinery Institute, National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC),
and Islamabad have designed and developed a solar-cum-gas fired date's
The dryer consists of eight flat-plate solar collectors, a drying chamber,
an axial flow fan and a gas burner for supplement source of heat.
The scientists at NARC evaluated this dryer at Mitra Abad, Dhaki, D.I.
Experimental results indicated that the dryer is capable to dry/process
about 540 kg of fresh dates within five days.
Seasonal drying capacity of the dryer is about 4 tons.
The financial analysis revealed that one may earn about Rs.72,000 per
season by adopting this technology. It is a small scale on-farm dates
drying technology and is well suited to produce quality dates in order
to present them into international market. To commercialize this technology,
PARC has signed an agreement with a local farm machinery manufacturer
for speedy transfer of this technology among the date growers. The date
growers/processors are encouraged to use this technology for proper drying/processing
of their produce. The information about the availability and use of solar-cum-gas
fired dates drying can be obtained from Farm Machinery Institute, NARC,
Park Road, Islamabad.
New Software Tool to Help Keep Food Facilities Safe from Attack
Latest Effort in Strengthening U.S. Food Defense
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today released a new tool
to help growers, packers, processors, manufacturers, warehousers, transporters,
and retailers in the food industry determine the vulnerability of individual
food facilities to biological, chemical, or radiological attack. The software
program, called the CARVER + Shock Software Tool, is a science-based prevention
strategy to safeguard the food supply. This tool is an example of the
type of approach currently being developed as part of a broader food protection
strategy currently under development by FDA. "FDA's goal in developing
the CARVER + Shock software is to maximize protection of the American
food supply," said FDA Assistant Commissioner for Food Protection
David Acheson, M.D. "The relative risk-ranking methodology used by
the CARVER + Shock software tool has been designed to assist facility
operators in identifying potential vulnerabilities and assist in providing
preventive measures to increase the defense of products and operations."CARVER
+ Shock was developed by FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition,
in collaboration with Sandia National Laboratories, the Institute of Food
Technologists, U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection
Service, National Center for Food Protection and Defense, State representatives,
and private industry representatives.
The name of the risk assessment
software is derived from the acronym CARVER, which refers to six attributes
used to evaluate targets for attack.
Criticality: What impact would
an attack have on public health and the economy?
Accessibility: How easily can a terrorist access a target?
Recuperability: How well could a system recover from an attack?
Vulnerability: How easily could an attack be accomplished?
Effect: What would be the direct loss from an attack, as measured by loss
Recognizability: How easily could a terrorist identify a target?
The CARVER tool also evaluates a seventh attribute?the psychological impacts
of an attack or "shock" attributes of a target. For example,
the psychological impact tends to be greater when a large number of deaths
is involved or if the target has historical or cultural significance.
CARVER + Shock is the latest
in a series of food defense efforts by FDA following the terrorist attacks
of September 2001. Since then, FDA has worked closely with its partners
in federal, state and local government, and with the food industry to
assess existing food defense measures and augment them for improved protection.
One such effort, the Strategic
Partnership Program Agroterrorism Initiative, helps identify sector-specific
vulnerabilities, determine research gaps and needs, and increase coordination
between the federal government and industry stakeholders.
In 2006, FDA launched the ALERT
Initiative, designed to raise industry awareness of food defense and preparedness
issues. CARVER + Shock builds on ALERT, and allows a more formal and detailed
food defense assessment.
To see a consumer article called
CARVER + Shock: Enhancing Food Defense, visit www.fda.gov/consumer/updates/carvershock061107.html
FY 2007 Report to Stakeholders
CFSAN FY 2007 Report to Stakeholders
Tomato Safety Initiative
The Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) will begin a Tomato Safety Initiative in the Summer of 2007. The
Initiative is a collaborative effort between FDA and the state health
and agriculture departments in Virginia and Florida, in cooperation with
several universities and members of the produce industry.
FDA developed the Tomato Safety
Initiative in response to recurring Salmonella outbreaks associated with
fresh and fresh-cut tomatoes. The Initiative is part of a risk-based strategy
to reduce foodborne illness by focusing food safety efforts on specific
products, practices, and growing areas that have been found to be problematic
in the past. The Tomato Safety Initiative is modeled after the Leafy Greens
Safety Initiative that was initiated in August 2006, in collaboration
with the State of California's Department of Health Services and Department
of Food and Agriculture. This new initiative is fully consistent with
the 2004 FDA Produce Safety Action Plan goal of minimizing the incidence
of foodborne illness associated with the consumption of fresh produce.
Most tomato-associated outbreaks
over the past ten years have been traced to product originating from the
Eastern shore of Virginia and from Florida; however outbreaks have also
been traced to Georgia, South Carolina, Ohio, and California. Accordingly,
FDA, in cooperation with Virginia's Department of Agriculture and Consumer
Services, will begin the Initiative in July of this year, by visiting
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. Later in the year, a similar effort will be conducted in Florida
coinciding with the production and harvesting season there. Other components
of the Initiative include continuing outreach with the industry at all
points in the supply chain, facilitating and promoting research on tomato
safety, and working with federal, state and local public health officials
in disease detection and outbreak response.
By identifying practices or
conditions that potentially lead to product contamination, FDA can further
improve guidance and policy intended to minimize future outbreaks as well
as ascertain future produce safety research, education, and outreach needs.
The findings of the Initiative will be publicly shared upon completion
of the effort, allowing the states and industry members to maximize their
food safety efforts as well.
Initiative to Reduce Tomato-Related Foodborne
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will begin a multi-year Tomato
Safety Initiative to reduce the incidence of tomato-related foodborne
illness in the United States.
"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," said Robert
Brackett, Ph.D., director of FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied
Nutrition. "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."
The initiative, part of FDA's
Produce Safety Action Plan, is a collaborative effort between FDA and
state health and agriculture departments in Florida and Virginia. Several
universities and members of the produce industry also are part of the
effort. It will begin during this year's growing season for Virginia in
the summer and for Florida in the fall.
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. The majority of these outbreaks have
been traced to products from Florida and the eastern shore of Virginia;
however, tomato-associated outbreaks also have been traced to tomatoes
from California, Georgia, Ohio, and South Carolina. The effort will include
identifying practices or conditions that potentially lead to product contamination,
which will allow FDA to continue to improve its guidance and policy on
tomato safety. The initiative will evaluate the need for additional produce
safety research, education, and outreach.
Other components of the initiative
continuing outreach with the
industry at all points in the supply chain,
facilitating and promoting research on tomato safety,
communicating early and often in the event of an outbreak, and
continuing to build and strengthen collaborative relationships with federal,
state and local public health officials in disease prevention, detection,
and outbreak response.
FDA investigators in coordination with their respective state counterparts
will visit tomato farms and packing facilities in Florida and Virginia
to assess food safety practices and use of Good Agricultural Practices
(GAPs) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs). During their visits, officials
will also evaluate a variety of environmental factors including irrigation
water, wells, procedures for mixing chemicals, drought and flooding events,
and animal proximity to growing fields.
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