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FDA Warns Consumers Not to Eat Veggie Booty Snack Food
Risk of Salmonella Contamination
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to eat Veggie Booty flavor of snack food, marketed by Robert's American Gourmet, due to possible contamination with Salmonella Wandsworth, bacteria that cause gastrointestinal illness.

FDA advises consumers to throw away any Robert's American Gourmet brand Veggie Booty they have in their home. Veggie Booty is sold in a flexible plastic foil bag in four ounce, one ounce, and one-half ounce packages. No other flavors or varieties of snack food marketed by Robert's American Gourmet have been associated with Salmonella Wandsworth contamination.

Veggie Booty is often consumed by children, so parents are encouraged to watch their children, and seek medical care if they observe signs of illness.

Individuals who have recently eaten Veggie Booty and who have experienced any of the symptoms described below should contact a doctor or other health care provider immediately. Any such illnesses in persons with a recent history of eating Veggie Booty should be reported to state or local health authorities.

This warning is based on 52 reports of illness across 17 states, beginning in March 2007. Almost all the illnesses have occurred in children under 10 years old, with the most cases in toddlers. Most persons had reported bloody diarrhea; four were hospitalized. FDA learned of the illnesses on June 27 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which conducted an investigation of the illnesses with state and local health officials. The outbreak is considered likely to be ongoing.

Salmonella typically causes diarrhea (may be bloody); the diarrhea is often accompanied by abdominal cramps and fever. Symptoms typically begin within one to four days after exposure to the bacteria. In infants, persons with poor underlying health and those with weakened immune systems, Salmonella can invade the bloodstream and cause life-threatening infections.

States reporting illnesses include: California (seven cases), Colorado (five cases), Connecticut (one case), Georgia (one case), Indiana (one case), Massachusetts (three cases), Minnesota (two cases), New Hampshire (two cases), New Jersey (two cases), New York (13 cases), Oregon (one case), Pennsylvania (three cases), Tennessee (one), Texas (one), Vermont (three cases), Washington (four cases), and Wisconsin (two cases).

Robert's American Gourmet, of Sea Cliff, N.Y., which markets Veggie Booty, and its contract manufacturer, are fully cooperating with FDA's investigation into the cause of the contamination. Manufacturing and distribution of this product has ceased, and Robert's American Gourmet is recalling all potentially contaminated product, including all expiration dates and lot codes. The product is sold in all 50 states and Canada at retail locations and over the Internet.

FDA¡¯s comprehensive investigation has begun at the manufacturing facility, focused on identifying the source of the contamination. Product samples have been collected and will be analyzed in FDA laboratories. Typical microbiological analysis takes approximately seven days. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are also continuing their investigation in close collaboration with state health departments and FDA. FDA will provide additional updates as the investigation progresses and more information becomes available.

52 cases of salmonella wandsworth poisonings linked to "Veggie Booty" Snack Food - all products being recalled by FDA and Robert's American Gourmet Food, Inc.
Posted on June 28, 2007 by Salmonella Attorney
Source of Article:
All lots and sizes of ¡°Veggie Booty¡± Snack Food are being recalled following a report of 51 cases of Salmonella poisoning associated with consuming the product. It is Salmonella Wandsworth ? very rare serotype - March 1 - June 11 onsets. ¡°Veggie Booty¡± Snack Food is sold in supermarkets, health food stores, and vending machines and online in the United States and Canada. It is sold in flexible plastic foil bags in 4 ounce, 1 ounce and half-ounce portions. We bought some today at about 1:00 PM Seattle time. See Recall Notices - Company's and FDA's. Veggie Booty contains a blend of Spinach, Kale, Cabbage, Carrots and Broccoli. I called my kids at home today and found out that we had some of it in the pantry. So, it looks like we have some evidence to test. Salmonella is one of the most common enteric (intestinal) infections in the United States. Salmonellosis (the disease caused by Salmonella) is the second most common form of bacterial foodborne illness. It is estimated that 1.4 million cases of salmonellosis occur each year in the U.S.; 95% of those cases are foodborne-related. Approximately 220 of each 1000 cases result in hospitalization and eight of every 1000 cases result in death. About 500 to 1,000 or 31% of all food-related deaths are caused by Salmonella infections each year.
The acute symptoms of Salmonella gastroenteritis include the sudden onset of nausea, abdominal cramping, and bloody diarrhea with mucous. Fever is almost always present. Vomiting is less common than diarrhea. Headaches, myalgias (muscle pain), and arthralgias (joint pain) are often reported as well. The onset of symptoms usually occurs within 6 to 72 hours after the ingestion of the bacteria. The infectious dose is small, probably from 15 to 20 cells. Generally, illnesses last five to seven days, although severe complications may occur.
As the managing partner of Seattle-based, Marler Clark, I have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella poisonings in the last fifteen years. Outbreaks have included cases against Chili's, ConAgra, Golden Corral, KFC, Malt-O-Meal, Sheetz, Sun Orchard, Wal-Mart and Western Sizzlin.'
I found this on the "Veggie Booty" website interesting:
Veggie Booty is a delicious snack that you and your family will love
Veggie Booty is made from the finest ingredients
Veggie Booty will change the way you eat, while enjoying the finest
snack on the planet
Veggie Booty puts you in the mindset to eat healthier and change your
life. Take it on a train or in your car, one a walk or in a boat
Veggie Booty will be your good friend
This is a life-changing snack that will help you eat healthier

Mary Elizabeth Williams wrote for two years ago an article entitled - "Bootylicious"
My kids' favorite snack smells funkier than poop, has questionable nutritional value and leaves a trail of bright green powder in its wake. Still, I can't imagine life without it. Veggie Booty is basically crack for babies. Which is exactly why parents buy it.

According to the Associated Press in Seattle:
Four Washington kids sickened in salmonella outbreak
The state Health Department says four children have been sickened by a rare type of salmonella blamed for outbreaks in 17 states. State health officials believe the four Washington cases of salmonella poisoning are linked to contaminated snacks called "Veggie Booty," which are under a national recall. The four sick children in Washington are younger than 5. Two cases are in Whatcom County, while King County and Spokane County each report one case. All four kids have recovered. Officials say more than 50 people nationwide, mostly young children, have been sickened in the salmonella outbreak. Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause diarrhea, fever and vomiting.

A Santa Barbara County toddler is recovering Thursday night from salmonella caused by a popular snack
The Santa Barbara County of Public Health confirmed his illness is linked to "Veggie Booty" made of puffed rice and corn. The company that produces it has recalled the snack. Health officials said luckily, the toddler was not hospitalized and has fully

Two Minnesota kids infected with salmonella
Veggie Booty has been linked to the infection of a six-month-old boy and an 11-month-old girl in Minnesota. Two young children in Minnesota are among 52 people nationally infected by a rare type of salmonella poisoning linked to the snack food Veggie Booty, made by Robert's American Gourmet, a New York-based company. Both unidentified children, a six-month-old boy and an 11-month-old girl, are from the Twin Cities area. The boy has recovered, and the girl is recovering, said officials from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

How FDA Regulates Seafood
FDA Detains Imports of Farm-Raised Chinese Seafood - June 29, 2007

Source of Article:
On June 28, 2007, FDA announced a broader import control of farm-raised catfish, basa, shrimp, dace (related to carp), and eel from China. FDA will start to detain these products at the border until the shipments are proven to be free of residues from drugs that are not approved in the United States for use in farm-raised aquatic animals. The agency took this action to protect American consumers from unsafe residues detected in these products. There have been no reports of illnesses to date.

FDA is taking this strong step now because of continuing evidence that certain Chinese aquaculture products imported into the United States contain illegal substances. Aquaculture, also known as fish farming, involves raising fish in enclosed areas to be sold for food. Almost half of all imported seafood is from aquaculture, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

During targeted sampling, from October 2006 through May 2007, FDA repeatedly found that farm-raised seafood from China was contaminated with antimicrobial agents that are not approved for use in the United States. More specifically, the antimicrobials nitrofuran, malachite green, gentian violet, and flouroquinolones, were detected. Nitrofurans, malachite green, and gentian violet have been shown to cause cancer with long-term exposure in lab animals. The use of fluoroquinolones in food animals may increase antibiotic resistance, making it harder for this class of drugs to fight certain infections in people.

"Consumers should know that this is not an immediate public health hazard," says Robert Brackett, PhD, director of FDA¡¯s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. "The levels of contaminants that have been found are very low, and FDA is not advising consumers to destroy or return farm-raised seafood that they may have already purchased and have in their homes. The agency also is not seeking a recall of products already in the marketplace."

FDA is taking this action as a precautionary measure to prevent problems that may occur from long-term exposure to harmful residues. The agency is also concerned about the possible development of antibiotic resistance. "This action serves to keep contaminated products from entering the country so that they don't reach American consumers," Brackett says.

Here's a look at how FDA works to protect consumers from unsafe seafood.

How do drug residues end up in fish?
Some fish are given drugs to treat bacterial and parasitic diseases that cause major mortalities in fish. FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) regulates drugs given to animals. CVM conducts research to improve the drug approval process and expand the number of safe drugs available for fish production. CVM also develops methods to detect unapproved chemicals in fish tissues so that harmful drug residues don't wind up in the fish on your plate.

Is imported seafood required to meet the same standards as domestic seafood?
Yes. Imported foods must be pure, wholesome, safe to eat, and produced under sanitary conditions. FDA requires imported seafood to be free of harmful residues. Importers must comply with regulations under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act. In addition, seafood must be processed in accordance with FDA's Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations. A 1997 regulation, "Procedures for the Safe and Sanitary Processing and Importing of Fish and Fishery Products," requires seafood processors to identify food safety hazards and apply preventive measures to control hazards that could cause foodborne illness.

What other specific FDA regulatory programs focus on seafood?
¡Ü National Shellfish Sanitation Program: Administered by FDA, this program provides for the sanitary harvest and production of fresh and frozen molluscan shellfish (oysters, clams, and mussels). FDA conducts reviews of foreign and domestic molluscan shellfish safety programs.
¡Ü Salmon Control Plan: This is a voluntary, cooperative program among industry, FDA, and the Grocery Manufacturers Association/Food Products Association. It's designed to provide control over processing and plant sanitation, and to address concerns in the salmon canning industry.
¡Ü Low-Acid Canned Food (LACF) Program: To ensure safety from harmful bacteria or their toxins, especially the deadly Clostridium botulinum (C botulinum), in canned foods, regulations were established to ensure that commercial canning establishments apply proper processing, controls, such as heating the canned food at the proper temperature for a sufficient time to destroy the toxin-forming bacteria. Products such as canned tuna and salmon are examples of LACF seafood products.

How does FDA know when there is a safety concern associated with seafood?
FDA, in collaboration with state regulatory counterparts, conducts in-plant inspections that focus on product safety, plant/food hygiene, economic fraud, and other compliance concerns. FDA also receives notice of every seafood entry coming from a foreign country and selects entries from which to collect and analyze samples. FDA laboratories analyze samples for the presence of various safety hazards and contaminants, such as pathogens, chemical contaminants, unapproved food additives and drugs, pesticides, and toxins. Through close collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and state and foreign regulatory partners, FDA also learns of seafood safety concerns that arise through reports of illness potentially associated with seafood products.

What steps does FDA take when problems with seafood are detected?
For imported seafood, FDA has the authority to detain the food at the border to keep it from entering the country. This happens when FDA's analysis of such products indicate that they are not in compliance with the laws and regulations enforced by FDA. FDA can subsequently refuse entries of detained products if evidence of compliance is not provided by the importer or the importer does not correct the problem.

FDA has developed a number of import alerts that address problems found in seafood products in the past. An import alert identifies products that are suspected of violating the law so that FDA field personnel and U.S. Customs and Border Protection staff can stop these entries at the border prior to distribution in the United States. Usually, these import alerts will describe the products or firms that are subject to detention without physical examination. When products are detained without physical examination, the burden for demonstrating compliance of the product falls on the importer. Such compliance must be demonstrated before the product can enter U.S. commerce.

FDA can recommend criminal prosecution or injunction of responsible domestic firms and individuals, as well as seizure of contaminated products in commercial distribution within the U.S. FDA also works with domestic seafood processors to initiate voluntary recalls of contaminated products that may pose a safety concern to consumers.

What kind of research on seafood safety does FDA do?
FDA conducts research to better understand the nature and severity posed by various safety hazards, and other defects which may affect quality and economic integrity and to develop methods to minimize these risks. There are FDA laboratories specializing in seafood research on the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts to address regional problems related to toxins and contaminants. FDA also has a facility in Laurel, Md., for conducting state-of-the-art research on drugs used in aquaculture.

What is the consumer's role in seafood safety?
As with any food, consumers should take precautions to reduce the risk of foodborne illness associated with seafood. This includes properly selecting, preparing, and storing seafood. For example, consumers should only buy food from reputable sources and buy fresh seafood that is refrigerated or properly iced. Also, most seafood should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145¡ÆF. Some people are at greater risk for foodborne illness and should not eat raw or partially cooked fish or shellfish. This includes pregnant women, young children, older adults, and people with compromised immune systems.

Food-safety guidelines take aim at norovirus outbreaks
June 27, 2007 Source of Article:
Anyone who has been struck by a food-borne illness such as norovirus knows how enjoying a good meal can turn into a day or two of misery. According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, more than 5,000 people were sickened by 145 norovirus outbreaks in the state during 2006. That is four times more outbreaks than the previous year. One of the primary ways that the virus is transmitted is through food prepared by someone who is ill.
In order to prevent the unnecessary spread of norovirus and similar illnesses, we agree with legislation introduced in both the Michigan House and Senate last week to tighten food safety rules. The proposals would put into state law federal food safety guidelines that have been proven to help avoid the outbreak of food-borne illness.

The bills would:
Require that restaurants have at least one manager who has passed an accredited food safety exam, thus making them well-versed in the need to adhere to proper preventive measures.

Clarify when food-service employees who are ill can return to work. Under the legislation, someone with vomiting, diarrhea or a sore throat with fever could not return to work until 24 hours after the symptoms are gone. A worker who has been diagnosed with norovirus could not come back until permitted to do so by regulators and after waiting at least 48 hours after symptoms disappear.

Put into place stricter controls regarding bare-hand contact with food.
The proposed legislation offers nothing radical. Rather, it simply institutes common-sense practices. Food-service employees who return to work too soon after being ill - or work while they are ill - place many people at risk.

While food-borne illness is seldom fatal, symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, cramping and low-grade fever can be incapacitating for a day or more. Large outbreaks of norovirus over the past year at well-known restaurants in Lansing, Ann Arbor and elsewhere should motivate lawmakers to protect their constituents by requiring that the proper safety measures be taken to prevent such outbreaks.

Scientists Make Significant Advance In Understanding Gastroenteritis-causing Noroviruses
Source of Article:
Science Daily A breakthrough announced this week by scientists at the University of Southampton's School of Medicine will lead to greater understanding of noroviruses, the most common cause of non-bacterial gastroenteritis around the world.
Human noroviruses, which are closely related to the murine norovirus, are responsible for extensive outbreaks of diarrhoea and vomiting in cruise ships, hotels, schools and hospitals. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Southampton)Ads by Google Advertise on this site
Traditionally very little has been known about the biology of noroviruses because of the difficulty in culturing and manipulating these pathogens in the laboratory. Now the Southampton team, assisted by colleagues at the University of Otago and Washington University Medical School, has devised a system for manipulating the genome of the murine norovirus (MNV) which affects rodents. This breakthrough will lead to a greater understanding of how these pathogens work and, it is hoped, lead to ways of controlling them.
Human noroviruses, which are closely related to the murine norovirus, are responsible for extensive outbreaks of diarrhoea and vomiting in cruise ships, hotels, schools and hospitals. Up to a million cases of norovirus infection are estimated to occur annually in the UK.
'The human noroviruses have been exceedingly difficult to work with as there is no cell culture system to propagate these viruses, and as a result very little is known about their biology,' comments Professor Ian Clarke, who heads the Virus Group at Southampton.
'In the absence of a cell culture system, MNV is a surrogate for study of the human noroviruses. This study represents the culmination of a ten-year research quest in Southampton to obtain recovery of a live norovirus from its nucleic acid.'
The team in Southampton included Drs Vernon Ward, Christopher McCormick, Omar Salim and Paul Lambden and Professor Clarke. Together with Drs Larissa Thackray, Christiane Wobus and Skip Virgin at Washington University School of Medicine they devised a novel way of introducing a complete DNA copy of the MNV RNA genome into human cells grown in the laboratory. This allowed recovery for the first time of intact, functional viral particles from human tissue culture. They also used their system to mutate the virus so that they could identify a sequence that is essential for viral replication.
Their reverse infectious genetics system will be an essential tool for understanding the replication and molecular biology of this and human noroviruses and will help in the development of antivirals aimed at controlling infections.
The work, which was funded through a Wellcome Trust project grant, is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) this week.
Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by University of Southampton.

Five percent of U.S. adults report food allergy
Fri Jun 29, 2007 8:21AM EDT Source of Article:

Power. Price. Service. No Compromises.NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - More than 5 percent of U.S. adults may have food allergies, and many of them say food labels make it hard to protect themselves, according to a government study. Using data from a national survey from 2001, researchers at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that 5.3 percent of U.S. adults said a doctor had diagnosed them with a food allergy. Roughly half of these individuals were allergic to one or more of the eight most common food allergens: milk and other dairy foods; fish; eggs; crustaceans like lobster and shrimp; tree nuts such as walnuts; peanuts; soy; and wheat. Others said they were allergic to some type of fruit or vegetable, chocolate, a food additive, or shellfish (which the law defines as separate from crustaceans). When asked about any problems they had with reading food labels, 40 percent of those who regularly read labels reported some "serious" or "very serious" difficulty. Problems included manufacturers' use of vague terms, like "spice," and technical terms, such as casein instead of milk, or albumin instead of eggs. Another issue was that food makers do not always make it clear when a new ingredient has been added to a product, though it is included on the ingredient list. Katherine A. Vierk and her colleagues at the FDA report the findings in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Since the 2001 survey was taken, Congress passed a law requiring food makers to list, in plain English, any of the eight most common food allergens. That law, which went into effect in 2006, should address many of the concerns voiced in this survey, according to Vierk's team. They say similar surveys can now be conducted to see whether the new label law has made managing food allergies any easier. SOURCE: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, June 2007.

Bacterial pathogen may be key to understanding cancer development
Source of Article:

Cancer :: Bacterial pathogen may be key to understanding cancer development
A research team including University of Central Florida Microbiology Professor Keith Ireton is using the bacterial pathogen Listeria Monocytogenes to understand the mechanisms of cell growth and cancer development.
In research published this month in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the team found that a Listeria protein called InlB induces internalization and degradation of a human receptor known as Met. Met has been implicated in the development of some cancers.
Lisa A. Elferink at the University of Texas Medical Branch led the team. She and Ireton found that the ability of InlB to induce Met internalization and degradation requires a human protein called Cbl. If scientists could figure out how to control Cbl, such knowledge might lead to the development of drugs that induce the destruction of Met and are useful in treating Met-related cancers.
Ireton is an expert on Listeria monocytogenes, a cause of food poisoning. He has long studied how it enters into cells of the human body, and explains the mechanism in this month¡¯s issue of the journal Cellular Microbiology.
¡°We found that Listeria actually ¡®provokes¡¯ human epithelial cells (cells lining the small intestine) into ingesting bacteria,¡± Ireton said. ¡°When Listeria contacts an epithelial cell, the bacterium causes changes in the cell¡¯s ¡®cytoskeleton¡¯ that allow the cell to swallow up the bacterium. We discovered that a human protein called CrkII plays a critical role in stimulating internalization of Listeria by somehow controlling the cytoskeleton.¡±
Listeria is a potentially deadly pathogen, causing abortions in pregnant women and meningitis in those with compromised immune systems, resulting in about a 25 percent mortality rate.
The findings are important in helping to understand and control the spread of bacteria that are a cause of potentially fatal food poisoning. Ireton said the bacteria can live outside animal hosts. Sources include dead plant matter, fruits and vegetables, unpasteurized diary products and meats that have not been properly cooked. Pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems are particularly susceptible.
To avoid contamination, Ireton suggests cooking all meats thoroughly, avoiding dairy products that are not pasteurized and washing all fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consumption.

3 products added to Hershey's salmonella advisory
Last Updated: Thursday, June 28, 2007
CBC News Source of Article:
Canada's food watchdog has expanded an earlier advisory concerning Hershey's chocolate products possibly contaminated with salmonella to include three more items.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Wednesday the updated advisory now applies to the following items:
Reese Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Cups, 51 grams.
Oh Henry! Rocky Road bar, 60 grams.
Pot of Gold All Nut Collection, 245 grams.
The three products were not included in the original Nov. 12, 2006 recall because they hadn't been distributed to stores.

The products, marked with codes ranging from 6417 to 6455 inclusive, may be for sale in Ontario at flea markets. Liquidators and independent and private retailers in the province may also be selling the withdrawn products. Authorities have recovered some recalled Hershey's chocolate products in the Lindsay and Hamilton regions.
Earlier this month, Toronto police arrested two men in possession of eight pallets of Hershey's chocolate products that had been recalled in November. Authorities allege the chocolate was stolen from a recycling depot.
The products had been sent to the facility for disposal after Hershey's Canada recalled its chocolate for possible salmonella contamination.
Food tainted with salmonella may not look or smell spoiled, but the bacteria can cause symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. No associated illnesses have been reported.

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

Codex to consider international food safety standards
By Ahmed ElAmin
Source of Article:
28/06/2007 - International food safety standards on fish, eggs and infant formulas are likely to be adopted next week at the annual meeting of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. The adoption of international food safety standards on fish, eggs and infant formulas are likely next week at the annual meeting of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. Agreements forged at the six-day meeting beginning on 2 July in Rome could eventually affect the way processors operate worldwide as they become incorporated into national laws. The standards are recognised as international benchmarks by one of the multilateral agreements of the UN World Trade Organization (WTO) and aim to help international food trade by eliminating many of what the UN calls "unjustified technical barriers" set up by some countries. The Codex Alimentarius is a global body set up by the Food and Agricultural Organisation and the World Health Organisation as a means of getting countries to adopt international safety standards and other guidelines.
At this year's annual meeting, the Commission is considering several draft food standards for adoption.
These include a draft code of practice for fish and fishery products, for hygienic practice for eggs and egg products and a draft revised standard for infant formula and formulas for "special medical purposes".
The Commission will also consider proposals setting maximum levels for tin in canned foods and beverages and a code of practice for reducing Ochratoxin A contamination in wine. They will also consider draft rules on a number of standards for food additives, including specifications on identification, numbering and purity. A proposed draft code of practice for fish and such products such as quick frozen coated fish and salted fish is also on the body's agenda. Various panels have also submitted a proposed amendment to the standard for canned sardines and related products.
Commission members will also consider a new draft guideline on the control of Listeria monocytogenes in foods and on microbiological risk management.
Since 1963, the Codex has adopted about 200 commodity standards. A total of 174 countries and the European Community belong to Codex.

Campylobacter Campaign Looks Good
NEW ZEALAND - Poultry industry campaign against Campylobacter shows encouraging signs. Source of Article:
The New Zealand Poultry industry says small drops in the number of reported cases of human Campylobacter, is an encouraging sign and indicates the industry¡¯s extensive science and research programme undertaken with New Zealand Food Safety Authority and ESR is on the right track.
Poultry Industry Association of New Zealand Executive Director Michael Brooks says however, that is still very early days and the industry is committed to the long term campaign. Poultry producers have spent months reviewing and refining their procedures following last year¡¯s rise in the number of human Campylobacter cases in New Zealand.
Uncooked chicken meat is one of a number of sources of human Campylobacter. The food poisoning bacteria also spreads through contact with domestic pets, cattle, birds and untreated water. Mr Brooks says in mid 2006 the industry responded to consumer concerns by launching a comprehensive 6-month plan of action focused mainly on meat processing.
The aim was to minimise the levels of campylobacter on poultry and to determine whether factors beyond the industry¡¯s control are also contributing to the high rates of illness among New Zealanders.
To combat Campylobacter the industry has adopted a science-based risk management approach. The new initiatives now operating within the industry include:
Trialling new processing interventions in a bid to reduce Campylobacter levels on carcasses.
Employing an independent consultant to review and recommend changes to current processing plant practices, a number of which are already in place.)
A major research programme to review Campylobacter levels on farms as well as in processing facilities.
Extensive reviews of on-farm biosecurity practices.
A review of food safety information for consumers
Mr Brooks says the industry¡¯s crackdown on Campylobacter has been exhaustive. But the efforts are starting to make an impact.

¡°From August 2006 to April 2007, the ESR surveillance reports of human cases of Campylobacter have shown month on month reductions (except January) compared to the previous 8 months. However, it is too early to say we have turned the corner. There is still considerable work to be done and we will be working with others both in New Zealand and internationally to resolve this problem which is causing much concern for us, for regulators and consumers.¡¯

The industry believes improved public awareness of the 4Cs ? Clean Cook Cover Chill - is necessary to help reduce human infection rates. In particular, thoroughly cooking all poultry meat until the juices run clear is one of the best ways to reduce the risk associated with Campylobacter. Preventing cross contamination of kitchen surfaces and utensils is also important.

Mr Brooks says the industry is encouraged to find its efforts have not been in vain. But whether improvements in the poultry industry alone can bring down New Zealand¡¯s soaring rates of human infection remains to be seen.

¡°While the industry has deployed processing interventions which have reduced levels of Campylobacter on poultry meat, some research findings indicate that the reasons for human Campylobacter infections are complex and may well not be related solely to poultry processing but other environmental and societal issues.

However we are not shying away from the fact that poultry is one of the main causes of human Campylobacter infection and that¡¯s why solving this problem remains our top priority,¡± Mr Brookes says. ThePoultrySite News Desk

Survey Reveals Americans are Unaware of Germ Threat to Children in the Home
Posted on: 06/25/2007
Source of Article:
PARSIPPANY, N.J. -- A new survey sponsored by Lysol(R) brand products reveals Americans are ignorant to the potential germ hazards threatening their children.(1) Only 5 percent identified the home as the place where children are most likely to catch an infection when, in fact, studies show that there is a greater risk of transmission within the home than outside.(2)
Soliciting data from more than 10,000 people in 10 countries, the survey is part of a global effort by the Hygiene Council to educate the public about the importance of hygiene for family wellness. Comprised of leading scientists from around the globe, the Council works to dispel myths about germs and educate consumers about basic hygiene practices, such as proper handwashing, food handling and regular surface disinfection.
"The survey shows that there is a great misunderstanding about where families and children come into contact with germs," said professor Philip M. Tierno, U.S. representative to the Hygiene Council and director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University Medical Center. "Germs often lurk in what appear to be the cleanest places in the home."
A mere 3 percent of Americans believe the bathtub poses the greatest risk of transmitting germs to themselves or their children.(3) However, the bathtub is one of the germiest surfaces in the home.(4) A recent study found Staph aureus, the most common cause of serious staph infections, in 26 percent of bathtubs tested, vs. only 6 percent of garbage cans.(5)
The Hygiene Council survey also found that 4 out of 10 Americans admitted that they most regularly clean their kitchen surfaces with a dishtowel or sponge(6), both of which can harbor and spread dangerous bacteria. When asked how long they believe that germs can survive on surfaces, only 13 percent were aware that some viruses can live on common surfaces, such as countertops and door handles, for up to a full month.(7) The majority, 33 percent, believed the lifespan to be only days.

Current Concepts in Foodborne Pathogens and Rapid and Automated Methods in Food Microbiology

October 21-24, 2007
University Center
University of Wisconsin-River Falls
River Falls, WI

October 21-24, 2007
University of Wisconsin-River Falls
The program features presentations and discussion on foodborne pathogens, toxins,
allergens and other food safety and quality issues by speakers from academia, industry and
regulatory agencies including:
Reginald Bennett, Chief of Microbiological Methods Research, at CFSAN, FDA is
presently the section leader in microbial toxins, with primary interest in Staphylococcus
and Bacillus species toxins, and serodiagnosis of Listeria monocytogenes.
James Dickson of the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State University recent
research focuses on Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat meats.
William Krueger, Director of Laboratory Services Division at the Minnesota Department
of Agriculture will be the featured speaker at the banquet. He will speak on FoodSHIELD,
a web-based platform to facilitate communication and coordination across the diverse
food and agriculture sectors.
David Lineback, Director Emeritus of the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Nutrition
at the University of Maryland will be the keynote speaker at our opening session. He will
share his thoughts on the developing and potential issues in food safety in the years ahead.
Rebeca Lopez-Garcia of Logre International Food Science Consulting in Mexico
City will bring an international perspective with her work in implementing food safety
programs and international standards in a multicultural environment and regulatory
compliance for exporting companies.
John Luchansky, a Researcher Leader at the Eastern Regional Research Center of ARSUSDA
will report on his research to elucidate the ecology of pathogens and validate
intervention strategies for their control.
Melissa Newman of the Department of Animal and Food Sciences at the University of
Kentucky will speak on homeland security issues. She co-authored the EDEN web-based
class on Animal Disasters and Biosecurity that will be available this fall.
Scott Russell with the Poultry Science Department at the University of Georgia will share
the latest in rapid microbiological testing methods for the poultry industry.
Les Smoot, Director of Food Safety for Nestle will provide the perspective of a large
international food company.

Join us in the new University Center
on the UW-River Falls campus
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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

Overwhelming Scientific Evidence Confirms Aspartame's Safety
Mon 25-Jun-2007
Source of Article:
The findings of a new rat study conducted by Italy¡¯s Ramazzini Institute are contradictory to the extensive scientific research and regulatory reviews conducted on aspartame. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has stated they are not recommending any changes in the use of aspartame.

Newswise The findings of a new rat study conducted by Italy¡¯s Ramazzini Institute are contradictory to the extensive scientific research and regulatory reviews conducted on aspartame. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has stated they are not recommending any changes in the use of aspartame.
On April 20, 2007, FDA issued a statement that it has completed a review of the Ramazzini study, concluding that the study data made available to them by the European Ramazzini Foundation (ERF) ¡°do not appear to support the aspartame-related findings reported by ERF.¡± FDA added, ¡°These data do not provide evidence to alter FDA's conclusion that the use of aspartame is safe.¡± Also, the European Food Safety Authority and other experts recently dismissed an earlier aspartame rat study by the Ramazzini Institute. In its statement, available at, FDA noted: ¡°Based on our review, pathological changes were incidental and appeared spontaneously in the study animals, and none of the histopathological changes reported appear to be related to treatment with aspartame.¡± The statement further noted, ¡°Based on the available data, however, we have identified significant shortcomings in the design, conduct, reporting, and interpretation of this study. FDA finds that the reliability and interpretation of the study outcome is compromised by these shortcomings and uncontrolled variables, such as the presence of infection in the test animals.¡±
The Calorie Control Council agrees that FDA should review the findings from Ramazzini. Unfortunately, the FDA said that repeated requests for additional information on the study from Ramazzini, including pathology slides, were never honored.
Lyn Nabors, president of the Council questioned, ¡°If Ramazzini researchers are so confident in their findings, why will they not share their slides with regulatory agencies and subject their findings to the internationally recognized standardized review process to validate pathology findings?¡± The National Toxicology Program (NTP) and other organizations have established guidelines for pathology peer review in order to provide scientific consensus that study conclusions are valid. Unlike the Ramazzini findings, the aspartame studies required for regulatory approval underwent extensive audit and data validation.

The U.S. NTP has recently completed three animal studies designed to evaluate whether aspartame is capable of causing cancer. The results of these cancer studies unequivocally indicated that ¡°there was no evidence of carcinogenic activity [cancer] of aspartame.¡± These studies were conducted using mice bred to be more sensitive to developing cancer.

¡°It is unfortunate that some scientists associated with NTP are lending credibility to the Ramazzini Institute and questioning the safety of aspartame when government institutions such as the NTP, the National Cancer Institute, the FDA and others have found no relationship between aspartame and cancer,¡± noted Nabors. Further, according to Nabors, it is difficult to understand why Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), a publication of the National Institute of Institutes of Environmental and Health Sciences (NIEHS) published the Ramazzini study when the design and execution did not follow guidelines set up by the NTP (the U.S. government toxicology initiative administered by NIEHS).

Ramazzini researchers have repeatedly provided their findings to the media prior to publication ? a highly unscientific and unacceptable way of disseminating research. For most reputable journals, this would jeopardize publication. However, Nabors said, EHP continues to publish findings from researchers more interested in attention-grabbing headlines than allowing their research to be reviewed and audited by independent scientists.

The allegations made by Ramazzini are at complete odds with the wealth of scientific literature demonstrating that aspartame is safe and not a carcinogen. A recent study conducted by Italian and French researchers in humans and published in the Annals of Oncology in 2006 demonstrates no association between aspartame and cancer. The researchers noted, ¡°In conclusion, therefore, this study provides no evidence that saccharin or other sweeteners (mainly aspartame) increase the risk of cancer at several common sites in humans.¡± The Italian Association for Cancer Research contributed to the study.

Similarly, a 2006 epidemiology study from the US National Cancer Institute, found no adverse effects linked to aspartame consumption. The study evaluated more than 500,000 men and women and found that there was no evidence of an increased risk of leukemias, lymphomas and brain tumors among those who use aspartame (compared with those who did not consume aspartame).

After thoroughly reviewing Ramazzini data from a previous study, the European Food Safety Authority¡¯s (EFSA) Scientific Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids and Materials in Contact with Food (AFC) stated in May, 2006, ¡°In its opinion published today, the Panel concluded, on the basis of all the evidence currently available, that there is no need to further review the safety of aspartame nor to revise the previously established Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for aspartame (40 mg/kg body weight).¡±

Aspartame has been safely consumed for nearly a quarter of a century and is one of the most thoroughly studied food ingredients, with more than 200 scientific studies confirming its safety. In addition to the FDA, the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) of the World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization, the Scientific Committee on Food of the European Union and regulatory agencies in more than 100 countries have reviewed aspartame and found it to be safe for use.

Aspartame is composed of two amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine, as the methyl ester. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Aspartic acid and phenylalanine are found naturally in protein containing foods, including meats, grains and dairy products. Methyl esters are also found naturally in many foods such as fruits and vegetable and their juices. The body handles the components from aspartame in the same way it handles them when derived from other foods.

¡°An examination of the animal and human research findings by regulatory bodies in countries around the world has led repeatedly to the conclusion that aspartame is safe. In consideration of these facts, it is difficult to accept a new claim of carcinogenesis in rats ingesting large amounts of the sweetener, particularly given the extensive database that already exists showing the absence of carcinogenic effects,¡± notes Dr. John Fernstrom Professor of Psychiatry, Pharmacology and Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. For more information please visit

Charm Sciences is pleased to announce 4 new commodities approved for official testing of Zearalenone
Lawrence, MA, June 22nd, 2007 - Charm Sciences is pleased to announce
four new commodities approved for official testing of Zearalenone in
the U.S national grain inspection system.
Charm Sciences ROSA (r) 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

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 same equipment.

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 breeding problems.

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. Contact:
Charm Sciences, Inc
Telephone: +1.978.687.9200

Bio-Rad¡¯s RAPID¡¯Salmonella Agar Granted Performance Tested Method Status by AOAC Research Institute

RAPID¡¯Salmonella agar, manufactured by Bio-Rad Laboratories, was granted Performance Tested Method status by the AOAC Research Institute (certificate # 050701). RAPID¡¯Salmonella is a medium for isolation and identification of Salmonella spp. in selected foods. It is a rapid method producing accurate and easy-to-read results. A shortened enrichment time (30hr) was validated against standard reference methods (48hr).

RAPID¡¯Salmonella is a selective and differential medium for both the isolation and the presumptive identification of Salmonella species, including lactose-positive Salmonella , S. typhi and S. paratyphi serotypes, from other members of the family Enterobacteriaceae. The cultural properties of the medium are a balance of carefully selected growth-promoting nutrients and classical selective ingredients (citrate, surfactants). The presumptive chromogenic identification system relies on a proprietary chromogenic substrate that allows the detection of the Salmonella C8-esterase activity. The color of the uninoculated agar is clear to whitish. All the presumptive Salmonella positive colonies are magenta on a clear-white agar background. A second chromogenic substrate, targeting activity of many interfering bacteria, yield blue colored colonies. Background flora, if not inhibited by the mixture of selective agents, can produce violet to green or colorless colonies.

RAPID¡¯Salmonella is available in two formats, dehydrated media (Item # 356-4705) or prepared plates (Item # 356-3961). For more information, please visit or call (800) 4BIORAD.

Test kit makes melamine detection easier
Source of Article:
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.
Pet food
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.


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