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FDA Issues Nationwide Warning to Consumers About Risk of Botulism Poisoning From Hot Dog Chili Sauce Marketed Under a Variety of Brand Names
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to eat 10 ounce cans of Castleberry¡¯s Hot Dog Chili Sauce (UPC 3030000101), Austex Hot Dog Chili Sauce (UPC 3030099533), and Kroger Hot Dog Chili Sauce (UPC 1111083942) with ¡°best by¡± dates from April 30, 2009 through May 22, 2009 due to possible botulism contamination. Botulism can be fatal. The ¡°best by dates¡± can be found on the can lids.

Consumers who have any of these products or any foods made with these products should throw them away immediately. If the ¡°best by¡± date is missing or unreadable consumers should throw the product out.

Two children in Texas and an Indiana couple who ate these products became seriously ill and have been hospitalized.

Symptoms of botulism poisoning can begin from 6 hours to 2 weeks after eating food that contains the toxin. Symptoms may include double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, and muscle weakness that moves progressively down the body, affecting the shoulders first then descending to the upper arms, lower arms, thighs, calves, etc. Botulism poisoning can also cause paralysis of the breathing muscles which can result in death unless assistance with breathing (mechanical ventilation) is provided.

Individuals who show these symptoms and who may have recently eaten Castleberry¡¯s Hot Dog Chili Sauce, Austex Hot Dog Chili Sauce, or Kroger Hot Dog Chili Sauce should seek immediate medical attention.

All of the above products are manufactured by the Castleberry Food Company in Augusta, Georgia.

Castleberry has informed FDA that it is voluntarily recalling all of the potentially contaminated products and is cooperating with FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the states¡¯ active investigations into the cause of this contamination and scope of the products¡¯ distribution.

Castleberry is also voluntarily recalling a numbr of products that are not under FDA¡¯s regulatory authority. For a list of these products, visit:

FDA will provide updates as more information becomes available. Consumers can call the FDA at 1-888-723-3366.

Castleberry recommends consumers with any questions or concerns about this recall should go to Castleberry¡¯s website ( or call Castleberry¡¯s consumer hotline at 1-888-203-8446.

Castleberry chili sauce plant in botulism scandal had prior problem
Posted on July 19, 2007 by Food Poisoning Attorney
Source of Article:

Georgia AP reported that, Castleberry, that makes the canned chili sauce suspected in a botulism outbreak had a production problem two months ago, a company official said Thursday.
The Augusta plant made the sauce that is suspected of seriously sickening an Indiana couple and two children in Texas. Cans of chili sauce found in the victims' homes were produced around the time of the Castleberry's Food Co. production problems.
About two months ago, cans were coming out of a heating and sterilizing process too hot before going into a cooling canal, he said. Company officials stopped production because they wanted to make sure cans had not expanded and possibly allowed contamination, he said.

Connors Bros. expands food recall on botulism fear
TORONTO, July 23 (Reuters) - Connors Bros. Income Fund (CBF_u.TO: Quote, Profile , Research) on Monday expanded the recall of hot dog chili sauce made by its Castleberry Foods unit last week to include canned meat products on concerns they are also contaminated by a bacteria which causes botulism.
The company said there were no reported illnesses linked to the products in Canada, and that the contamination was believed to be isolated to a U.S. plant which has been shut down.
The products affected make up about 4 percent of the company's annual revenue and it has not determined the financial impact of the recall.
Connors Bros. said the recall has been extended to chili, beef stew and other canned meat products, as well as four pet food products. The list includes two Great Value chili products which are sold only in Canada.

The fund is working with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which has issued a health hazard alert described by Connors Bros. as a "precautionary move."
The recall began last week after two children in Texas and an Indiana couple became ill after eating the hot dog chili products.

Executive Order: Establishing An Interagency Working Group on Import Safety -White House

Filling Holes in the Food Supply
Wednesday, Jul. 18, 2007

Wednesday, Jul. 18, 2007 By GILBERT CRUZ/WASHINGTON

Source of Article:,8599,1644705,00.html

In the wake of a series of scares involving E.coli-laden spinach, poisoned pet food and salmonella-tainted peanut butter and snack puffs, it seemed safe to assume that the nation's food supply wasn't particularly well-safeguarded. On Tuesday, Congress made it clear just how vulnerable it is, in a House investigative hearing that identified the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as underfunded, understaffed, and unprepared to ensure the safety of foreign food imports into the United States.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike piled the bad news on FDA Commissioner Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach?asserting that a plan to close 7 of the FDA's 13 labs would further weaken an already impotent agency that has very little power to preemptively halt contaminated food from entering the country.

"Preliminary findings confirm...that the FDA has failed to adequately respond to increased imports of foreign food products," said Energy and Commerce Committee Senior Investigator David Nelson in his testimony before a House subcommittee. "Recent accounts of tainted imports from China provide additional evidence, simply stated, that FDA lacks sufficient resources and authority to ensure food safety and that legislation will be needed to correct these deficiencies."

The shortcomings listed were legion. Despite a marked uptick in imported food, the amount actually inspected by the FDA has fallen precipitously, said Rep. Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat and chair of the oversight and investigations subcommittee. "While FDA inspects less than one percent of all imported foods, only a small fraction of that is actually tested for contaminants," said Stupak. Furthermore, food that is suspected of contamination is typically tested by private labs that the FDA has no jurisdiction over and which importers have learned to manipulate. There are also not enough staff members to give shipments more than a cursory look. In the San Francisco office, for example, four reviewers are overwhelmed to the point that they can typically devote only 30 seconds or less to each individual shipment. With the FDA allowing imports to come in at over 300 ports of entry, it would be impossible to have staff at each facility, said the panel, leaving great potential for shady importers to take advantage. "They know what ports to go into, they know where the FDA does not have an inspector or a lab, and they know what private labs they can go to for testing," said Kevin Barstow, investigative counsel for the committee.

Some attempted to draw a link between the FDA's deficiencies and the potential for domestic terrorism. "Who needs al-Qaeda when you have E.coli," quipped Democratic Rep. Jay Inslee, of Washington. Others were more specific. "The wheat gluten incident (in which imported pet food was discovered with poisoned wheat flour) drew a road map for anyone who wanted to attack us maliciously," said Nelson. He feared that the large holes in inspection coverage that would leave the country open to sabotage, saying, "They just have to find the [products] that are not being reviewed at all." William Hubbard, former associate FDA commissioner, called the agency's woes, "a perfect storm?a scenario in which the United States is flooded with an enormous volume of food from abroad, where the risks to food are greater than ever before at a time in which the FDA's ability to protect our food supply is growing ever weaker."

After several hours of hearing lobs thrown at his agency, Commissioner von Eschanbach got the chance to respond, though he was short on specifics and long on general pronouncements about the need for the FDA to start using "21st century science." It was a phrase that he used often as an explanation for the lab closures, referring to them as necessary consolidations and saying that they were "intended to bring FDA's laboratory infrastructure into the 21st century." To demonstrate the future, von Eschanbach pulled out a large, gun-like device that could be used to immediately identify whether bottled water contained arsenic or other heavy metals.

Von Eschanbach followed up his committee appearance with a visit to the White House Wednesday where President Bush announced the creation of an import safety panel, headed up by Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt.The group will report back in 60 days with an updated food safety plan focused on both the countries and companies that import food into the U.S.

Rep. John Dingell, a Michigan Democrat, said he planned to introduce legislation within the next week that would provide more authority to the FDA. It would likely include a user-fee similar to the one Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois?who has long lobbied for food safety reform?introduced in a bill last week. In that legislation, companies wanting to import food into the United States would have to pay a fee, the revenue of which would pay for greater inspection capabilities and research into food safety technology. If passed, it would increase the number of food shipments inspected from about one percent to a whopping...three to four percent of total imports.

FDA to relax labeling
Proposal to ease requirements on irradiated foods draws criticism
By ROBERT COHEN - Newhouse News Service
Source of Article:
The Food and Drug Administration has proposed easing labeling requirements for irradiated foods, allowing some zapped products to be exempt from disclosure and others to use the term ¡°pasteurized.¡±
The controversial plan ? part of an effort to alleviate consumer fears about the use of radiation in reducing food-borne hazards ? is one of several labeling changes pending before either the FDA or the U.S. Department of Agriculture that involve information on how food is processed, where it comes from and what it contains.
At issue, besides irradiation, is a long-stalled requirement for country-of-origin labeling; the use of non-organic ingredients in ¡°organic foods;¡± the definition of gluten-free foods; and whether meat and milk from cloned animals, if eventually approved for sale, should be labeled as such.
While details of the cases differ, they raise important questions about science, health, marketing and the consumer¡¯s right to know, with the food industry and consumer groups generally at odds over what should or should not be included in the labeling.
¡°There is always a struggle between consumers who want more and more useful labeling and various industries who don¡¯t think it is in their interest to let the information out,¡± said Michael Hansen, senior scientist at Consumers Union.
Regina Hildwine, senior director for food labeling and standards for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, said the right to know doesn¡¯t mean everything consumers are interested in must be placed on a food label.
Hildwine said limited space on food labels should be reserved for information about ingredients and nutrition to help consumers make informed health-related decisions. ¡°That is far more important than how a product might have been cultivated or processed using a particular practice, or, in most cases, where it comes from,¡± she said.
The 2002 law requiring country-of-origin labeling on beef, pork, lamb, fresh fruit and vegetables, seafood and nuts has only been applied to seafood. Lobbying from the meat and grocery industries prompted the former Republican-controlled Congress to twice delay implementation until September 2008.
The issue has taken on increased resonance with the huge increase of imported foods in the past decade, and most recently because of questions about the safety of food from China.
A USA Today/Gallup Poll taken earlier this month showed 57 percent of the shoppers surveyed found it difficult to determine which countries produced the items in their grocery store, with 74 percent concerned about the safety of food from China and 61 percent worried about food from Mexico. A separate survey by Consumers Union in June found that 92 percent of consumers wanted to know which country produced the food they were buying. Current irradiation labeling requirements are viewed by consumers as a kind of warning. Hildwine said the labels tend to ¡°mislead consumers and promote fears¡± that the products are dangerous, when that is not the case. Designed to kill harmful bacteria and increase product shelf life, irradiation was approved as safe and effective by the FDA two decades ago. It involves exposing meat, poultry, fresh fruits, vegetables and spices to gamma rays or electron beams within a shielded facility. Labels for irradiated products currently must carry a special logo ? known as radura ? and a disclosure statement saying the product was ¡°treated with radiation¡± or ¡°treated by irradiation.¡± Irradiation has not been widely used by the food industry, in part because of consumer fears. Prompted by provisions in a 2002 farm bill and the lobbying of food processors, marketers and the irradiation industry, the FDA earlier this year proposed that companies only be required to label food as irradiated if the process causes a material change that affects the taste, texture or smell of a product.
In addition, the proposed regulation would let companies use the term ¡°pasteurized¡± if it can be shown that irradiation kills germs as effectively as pasteurization, which involves heating a food to a high temperature and then cooling it rapidly.
While the food industry sees the change as long overdue, consumer groups are uniformly opposed to eliminating the current disclosure requirements. Despite the FDA¡¯s assurances, some critics maintain irradiation causes a loss of vitamins and creates new chemical compounds that could pose health risks.

Other food labeling issues on the table include:
A proposal by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow 38 nonorganic ingredients, including food colorings, starches, hops, fish oil, gelatin and whey proteins, to be used in foods that carry the USDA organic seal.

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration plan to allow foods made without a protein found in wheat, rye and barley to be labeled gluten-free to help the estimated 1.5 million to 3 million Americans with Celiac disease, which can cause inflammation of the small intestine.

A pending FDA proposal stating that food derived from cloned animals is as safe to eat as conventionally produced food, with the possibility that the agency will not require cloned meat and milk to carry any special label if approval is granted.

Congressional Panel Faults FDA on Food Safety
07.17.07, 12:00 AM ET
Source of Article:
TUESDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's ability of ensure the safety of food in America is "minimal," investigators warned a Congressional committee on Tuesday.
Food importers have found ways to avoid federal oversight of the products they ship into the United States, putting consumers at risk, the investigators told the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's subcommittee on the FDA and food safety.

For example, when it comes to fish, importers sometimes route product through an inland point of entry, such as Las Vegas, instead of a big Pacific port city, the Associated Press reported. Importers can also get around FDA mercury inspections by offering younger, smaller fish to inspectors, then use the resulting agency approval to import larger fish with higher levels of the toxin, the investigators said.

A committee investigation also found that the FDA has little ability to police food imports. In San Francisco, for example, the agency's staff can manage only a cursory review of imports, generally dedicating just 30 seconds to each shipment as it flashes by on a computer screen, according to the investigators, the AP reported.

"We know that we are vulnerable to harm from abroad, where rules and regulations governing food production often are more lax than they are at home," said committee member Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., raising the prospect of terrorists tampering with imports entering the U.S. food supply, the news service reported.

The FDA's ability to guarantee the nation's food supply has been criticized by Congress and others following months of headline-grabbing food-borne illnesses, including E. coli contamination in spinach, salmonella-tainted peanut butter and snack foods, and contaminated pet foods and toothpaste imported from China. In addition, potentially cancer-causing agents were found in fish and shrimp imported from China, resulting in an import embargo on those products.

Committee members were also critical of the FDA proposal to close more than half of its laboratories.

"FDA's ill-conceived decision to close seven of its 13 laboratories likely would expose American consumers to even more danger from unsafe foods, particularly imports," committee member Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., said Tuesday.

Committee investigators also questioned the FDA's mostly voluntary approach to domestic and imported food safety. Lack of authority has left FDA inspectors unable to access records and test results by some companies, the AP said.

Except for certain food categories, the FDA has no authority to mandate inspections. "FDA has no rules governing testing protocols, record retention... manufacturing, quality assurance and control, or the right to examine any records that a food-processing firm chooses to keep voluntarily," the congressional report said.

However, one food-safety expert believes the FDA may be just a convenient scapegoat for a broken federal food-safety system.

"The food-safety system is based on a paradigm that is outdated," said Dr. Pascal James Imperato, chairman of the department of preventive medicine and community health at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center.

The current system is based on a model when foods were much less complex, said Imperato, a former New York City health commissioner. "When one looks back at when most of the FDA regulations were encoded, we go back to a time when foods were very simple with very few ingredients, and now there are multiple ingredients for multiple sources," he said. "FDA regulations are not structured to deal with a world of complex food production and the mixing of multiple ingredients.

"What is new is the importation of larger and larger volumes of food," he added. "But not just foods, but rather ingredients incorporated in foods. There, it becomes more difficult to put those under close surveillance, because they work their way into the food chain at various points in the system. And that requires significant resources to monitor."

Another big problem, Imperato said, is that there's no central agency responsible for coordination of food safety.

"The other problem is that the existing regulations are frequently quite weak. Food processors, distributors and growers adhere to industry standards to which compliance is voluntary and the FDA does not have enforcement authority," Imperato said. "In addition, the FDA's enforcement staff has been greatly reduced in recent years."

Imperato contends that new regulations are needed to standardize food safety. "In addition, the FDA needs to be given the authority to enforce the regulations," he said. "This is going to be a perpetual problem. And eventually the federal government must address it but I'm not optimistic that is going to happen in the short term."

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

Food safety a big problem worldwide: WHO officials

Stephanie Nebehay, Reuters
Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Source of Article:
GENEVA (Reuters) - China should not be singled out for particular concern over food safety, a big problem that rich and poor countries alike must tackle through better regulation, top World Health Organization (WHO) officials said on Tuesday.

Margaret Chan, WHO director-general, said the United Nations agency receives about 200 reports of tainted food products each month in its 193 member states.

But many food-borne diseases go unreported and outbreaks of salmonella or E. coli bacteria can take on massive proportions according to the WHO, which backs "farm to fork" food safety.

"I have to say that food safety is a big problem for both developed and developing countries," Chan told a news briefing, adding that the WHO was working with countries to strengthen their regulatory frameworks."

China, where poorly regulated food and drug safety standards have been a problem for years, is reeling from health scandals. On Friday Chinese authorities told food and drug companies to put safety first and urged the media to paint a rosier picture.

Patients in Panama have died from mislabeled chemicals in medicines from China and pets died in the United States from substandard feed, while tainted Chinese toothpaste was found in Central America and elsewhere.

But Jorgen Schlundt, director of the WHO's department of food safety, said China had been seriously addressing shortcomings since 2001 and was starting to implement some of the WHO's suggestions.


"They are working on it. There is a high-level political commitment to do something about it," Schlundt told Reuters, stressing that food safety was an issue in all countries. "We are not expressing any concern especially about China."

"China has realized some time ago the need for updating its food safety system. It takes a long time to update a system, not only for China. After the BSE crisis, it took the UK a long time," he added.

BSE, bovine spongiform encephalopathy or mad cow disease, is a fatal brain disease of cattle that emerged in Britain in 1986 and can cause variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.

Since 1963, the Codex Alimentarius Commission set up by the WHO and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has developed food standards and codes of practice to protect health worldwide.

The WHO also issues about 10 to 20 "emergency notifications" each year, signaling a potential international public health problem linked to food, according to Schlundt.

Most relate to problems in industrial countries, which have better systems for reporting disease outbreaks, and the figures do not indicate the true extent of problems elsewhere, he said.

"A number of developing countries have very weak food safety because it hasn't been a priority," he said, citing gaps in sub-Saharan Africa as well as parts of Latin America.

The WHO last September alerted its membership to an outbreak of the diarrheal disease E. coli 0157 in spinach in the United States, which had caused 205 cases including three deaths.

It acted on information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that the spinach, sold to Canada and Mexico, had later been distributed to other countries including China.

Congress: FDA Lab Closure Plan Too Risky

The Associated Press
Tuesday, July 17, 2007; 11:40 AM

Source of Article:

WASHINGTON -- A Food and Drug Administration plan to close half its laboratories is an assault on food safety that probably would expose more Americans to harm from unsafe food, lawmakers charged Tuesday.

The FDA's ability to police the nation's food supply has come under withering criticism from Congress amid a string of high-profile cases of foodborne illness, including E. coli-tainted spinach and salmonella-contaminated snack foods. The FDA, meanwhile, says it's streamlining its operations, including through a plan to consolidate the labs where it tests foods.

Members of Congress called that plan misguided and questioned whether it would save money, as FDA has claimed. Worse, they said, is the risk it would harm food safety.

"FDA's ill-conceived decision to close seven of its 13 laboratories likely would expose American consumers to even more danger from unsafe foods, particularly imports," said Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., at the onset of a hearing of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce subcommittee on the FDA and food safety.

Imports from China, in particular, recently have come under scrutiny. Chinese-made ingredients have been linked to deadly pet food ingredients mixed with industrial chemicals and snack food seasonings contaminated by salmonella.

"We know that we are vulnerable to harm from abroad where rules and regulations governing food production often are more lax than they are at home," said Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., in raising the prospect of terrorists tampering with imports entering the U.S. food supply.

FDA officials, including commissioner Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, were expected to testify later Tuesday.

An ongoing Energy and Commerce Committee investigation found the FDA has little ability to police imports. In San Francisco, for example, the FDA's staff can only conduct a cursory review of imports, generally dedicating just 30 seconds to each shipment as it flashes by on a computer screen, according to investigators.

Even when products are flagged by the FDA, importers have learned to . the system, investigators said. For example, the FDA relies on results obtained from private labs before clearing and releasing suspect imports, including Chinese farmed seafood. But those labs produce results driven by financial rather than scientific concerns, investigators told the subcommittee.

Investigative counsel Kevin Barstow said he was told by an unnamed FDA deputy lab director that "none of the test results he's seen are completely accurate."

"The words he used were 'not good' and 'spooky,'" Barstow told the subcommittee.

Importers also can reduce the level of scrutiny by having their products test negative five consecutive times, according to a summary of the investigators' findings. Since some large fish, including tuna, can be flagged for high mercury levels, importers will arrange to have five lots of smaller fish _ generally younger and with comparatively less mercury _ tested to obtain an all-clear from the FDA, according to the findings. Once the monitoring decreases, the importers can then resume bringing in larger fish that otherwise might not pass muster.

Some potentially problematic seafood imports are being steered to enter the country in Las Vegas to avoid the scrutiny they might receive in San Francisco and other West Coast seaports, according to House investigators.

The problems go beyond food. In Puerto Rico, investigators learned importers were getting around the FDA's blocking of imports of Chinese-made toothpaste made with an antifreeze ingredient by co-packaging them with toothbrushes. Once labeled in import records simply as "toothbrushes," the packages were able to slip past the FDA until the agency caught on, senior investigator David Nelson said. Examples of the tainted toothpaste included a Crest knockoff called "Crust," Nelson 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

Guidance For Management Of Norovirus Infection In Cruise Ships
Norovirus Infection In Cruise Ships
Jul 14 2007
Source of Article:
Newly published Guidance offers tips for the Management of Norovirus Infection in Cruise Ships.

Norovirus infects between 600,000 and one million people in the community in the United Kingdom every year. This guidance has been produced to help prevent and control outbreaks on the comparatively rare occasions when they occur on board cruise ships.

Norovirus is highly infectious and causes a very unpleasant but generally short-lived infection lasting 1-2 days from which people will usually recover without treatment. The symptoms are vomiting, which is often sudden and "projectile", diarrhoea and sometimes both. Some people may have a raised temperature, headaches and aching limbs.

There is no specific treatment for norovirus apart from letting the illness run its course. It is important for those affected to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

Outbreaks most commonly occur in semi-closed environments such as hospitals, nursing homes and schools and can be difficult to control and long-lasting because norovirus is easily transmitted from one person to another. The virus can survive in the environment on surfaces or objects.

The newly produced Guidance for the Management of Norovirus Infection in Cruise Ships provides guidance for health professionals, port health and other agency staff and ships' crews on how to prevent, identify and manage norovirus outbreaks on the rare occasions that they do occur on board cruise ships.

Professor Pat Troop , the Health Protection Agency's Chief Executive, said: "The aim was to produce straightforward and practical advice to discourage the introduction of infection to cruise ships in the first instance and to help the industry and public health authorities manage outbreaks in a consistent manner when they do occur."

Dr. John Curnow who chaired the multi-agency group that developed the guidance said: "Passengers on a cruise ship expect to enjoy a relaxing holiday. Our aim as a group was to identify and recommend procedures that will be robust enough to manage any possible outbreak and at the same time ensure that infected passengers are able to get back to normal holiday activities as quickly as possible".

Mr. William Gibbons, Director of the Passenger Shipping Association, said: "We worked closely with the Health Protection Agency and with a range of other partners in the development of the guidance and we are delighted that the published document is now available on the HPA website. It means that all parties who are required to deal with an outbreak of infection will have immediate access to sound and practical advice that will minimise the impact for passengers and crew alike."

The guidance covers risk assessment and management, pre cruise actions, the on board incident team, outbreak control group, cleaning procedures, hand hygiene and management of the vessel whilst in port.

Pathogen resistance to drugs rising, according to UK study

By Ahmed ElAmin

Source of Article:

12/07/2007 - Up to 29 per cent of the Campylobacter pathogen are now resistant to a commonly used antimicrobial, according to a UK survey.

The Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) study points to the growing resistance of specific food pathogens to antimicrobials, drugs used to kill them off in animals at the production stage.

The report serves as a warning to processors about the problems of resistant pathogens being passed along the food chain to consumers. The three-year project could eventually lead to more testing and controls, and restrictions on the type of animicrobials that can be used to control pathogens.

The survey found that cephalosporin resistance in E coli from bacteraemia
is increasing. Over half of the E. coli bacteraemia isolates were resistant to ampicillin or amoxicillin, and up to 9 to 19 per cent were resistant to ciprofloxacin.

In humans E. coli is one of the two most important bacterial pathogens causing sickness in the UK.

The majority of E. coli O157, one of the most dangerous forms of the pathogen, were susceptible to all the antimicrobials tested, the survey found.

Some of the E. coli 0157 foundin humans showed resistance to tetracyclines, sulphonamides and streptomycin, with some variation by region.

Salmonella, the most common causes in cases of human infection in the UK, also had low resistance to common antimicrobials. However resistance to more than one drug in S. Typhimurium, the second most common form of the pathogen, is common.

S. Typhimurium commonly has resistance to nalidixic acid, the report stated.

There was no resistance detected to amikacin, cefotaxime, ceftazidime or ciprofloxacin in Salmonella isolates of animal origin from England and Wales.

Similarly, no resistance was detected to cefotaxime or ciprofloxacin in animal Salmonella isolates from Northern Ireland or Scotland.

All human and animal isolates of L. monocytogenes were found to be susceptible to
penicillin or ampicillin. Antimicrobial resistance continues to be extremely
rare in L. monocytogenes, the survey found.

The survey found that between 22 to 24 per cent of C. jejuni and 28 to 29 per cent of C. coli were resistant to ciprofloxacin. C. jejuni accounted for 90 per cent of infections in humans in the UK.

The survey also showed that resistance rates of the virus in cattle, sheep and pigs at slaughter were lower than in humans.

For C. jejuni, the prevalence of resistance seen in humans is about the same as that detected in retail chicken.

The report showed that about half of the total tonnage of antimicrobials was used in animals in 1994. Approximately 80 per cent of antimicrobial prescribing in humans was for patients in the community while 87 per cent of antimicrobial use in animals was in food-producing animals.

Tetracyclines accounted for 54 per cent of total antimicrobial use in animals, while ¥â-lactams accounted for 14 per cent.

Nearly 700 Now Sick From Salmonella Booth At Taste Of Chicago - Salmonella Attorney Investigates
Posted on July 20, 2007 by Food Poisoning Attorney

Source of Article:

Pars Cove Booth Blamed For Making 696 Sick

Nearly 700 people have reported becoming ill after eating food from the Pars Cove Persian Cuisine booth at the Taste of Chicago. A total of 28 people have been hospitalized because of illness suffered after eating the tainted food, according to the city Department of Public Health. 97 of the 678 are laboratory-confirmed cases of salmonellosis, with more results pending, the release said. Of the 97, 60 have been identified as Salmonella Heidelberg, one of the more common Salmonella serotypes in the United States.

We have been contacted by a dozen of the ill and continue to investigate the cause of the outbreak. Tomatoes were a part of the Hummus dish. Salmonella Heidelberg has been found in earlier outbreaks tied to tomatoes.

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 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 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


Charm Sciences, Inc
Telephone: +1.978.687.9200

Bio-Rad¡¯s RAPID¡¯E. coli O157:H7 Agar Granted Performance Tested Method Status by AOAC Research Institute

RAPID¡¯E. coli O157:H7 agar, manufactured by Bio-Rad Laboratories, was granted Performance Tested Method status by the AOAC Research Institute (certificate # 060701). RAPID¡¯E. coli O157:H7 is a chromogenic medium for isolation and identification of E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef and fresh spinach. It is a rapid method producing accurate and easy-to-read results.

RAPID¡¯E. coli O157:H7 is a selective chromogenic plating medium for the rapid isolation and presumptive identification of E. coli O157:H7. Characteristic E. coli O157:H7 colonies appear as dark blue with a black precipitate around the edge after 24 hours incubation at 37¡ÆC. This chromogenic medium differentiates E. coli O157:H7, including atypical ¥â-glucuronidase positive or sorbitol positive E. coli O157:H7 isolates, from other E. coli strains. The cultural properties of the medium are based on a balance of careful selected growth-promoting nutrients and classical selective ingredients. Potassium tellurite and novobiocin are used in addition to enhance the selectivity of the medium by inhibiting interfering flora. The presumptive identification system relies on differential characteristics driven by proprietary chromogenic substrates coupled with both carbohydrate fermentation and pH modification. Background flora, if not inhibited, give rise to red, green or colorless colonies

RAPID¡¯E. coli O157:H7 is available in two sizes, dehydrated media 100g (Item # 356-4748) or dehydrated media 500g (Item # 356-4747). For more information, please visit or call (800) 4BIORAD.

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.

AOAC Approval for Assurance GDS¢â for Listeria spp.
AOAC International¢ç has recently approved a new DNA-based assay for the detection Listeria spp. that may interest you. Assurance GDS¢â for Listeria spp. from BioControl Systems was approved as an AOAC Performance Tested Method (No. 070701) for the detection of Listeria spp. in food and environmental samples.

The Assurance GDS (Genetic Detection System) combines the latest innovations in microbiology and molecular science to provide food processors with significant advantages in speed, accuracy and ease of use.

Fast & Accurate
Results in 24 hours ? A novel IMS based sample prep, and a highly efficient rotary cycler combine to provide unprecedented speed without compromising accuracy
3 levels of specificity ? the use of IMS, primers and probes ensures accurate detection of all 7 species of Listeria from both environmental surface and food samples
Independently validated - AOAC comparative studies found Assurance GDS for Listeria spp. equivalent to or better than reference culture methods
Simple & Reliable
Easy enrichment - Single step enrichment protocols using non-proprietary media improve the lab operating efficiency, saving time and money
Definitive positive / negative results - Assurance GDS proprietary probe-based detection technology eliminates the need for melt-curve interpretation to determine results

Assurance GDS is currently available for E. coli O157:H7, Shiga Toxin Genes, Salmonella, Listeria spp. and Listeria monocytogenes

For more information on how Assurance GDS can improve your pathogen testing program, visit us online at, or contact us via email or phone at or 1-800-245-0113.

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