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8/22
2007
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Castleberry's recall could cost $35m
By George Reynolds
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily-usa.com/
8/14/2007 - The cost of the product recall following could cost Castleberry's Food Company $35m, according to estimates by parent company, Connors Bros.
The recall of canned products from the company's production plant in Georgia demonstrates how high the financial penalties can escalate when food safety goes awry.
Two instances of botulism, involving four people sparked the nationwide recall of products possible contaminated with botulinum toxin.
Chris Lischewski, president and chief executive officer of the Fund's operating subsidiaries, said that while the products affected represent four per cent of the company's annual revenue, the costs associated with the recall are significant.
"We believe the $35 million estimate is comprehensive in covering the known cost elements at this time including product recall, destruction, effectiveness checks, quality inspections, consumer reimbursement, professional services, factory shutdown and start-up costs," he said. "The estimated cost of these items is $40 million, but we do have $5 million of product recall insurance that we expect to recover, resulting in a net expense of $35 million."
The recall includes more than 90 canned items marketed under the Castleberrys brand as well as some various own-label supermarket brands.
On July 21, 2007, Castleberry's expanded its voluntary recall and is working the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the US department of Agriculture (USDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to bring products back under its control.
The FDA has asked retailers to ensure that the products are removed from use and do not accidentally get reintroduced for sale, service or donation.
However, on the Castleberry's website the company said: "To date, FDA and USDA have asserted that the recall has been ineffective as reports indicate recalled products are still on shelves."
Production at the plant stopped more than two weeks ago, while investigations into the cause of the contamination are investigated.
While only chilli sources have been linked to the illnesses, all products manufactured on the same line are being recalled as a precaution.
In addition, Castleberry is recalling other products containing meat, which are regulated by the USDA.
Botulism sickness can be fatal in extreme cases, with symptoms to exposure including double vision, muscle weakness and paralysis.

Survey: 85% want to know food origin
Source of Article: http://www.ift.org/news_bin/news/news_home.shtml
8/10/2007-As food recalls?from both imported foods from overseas and foods produced here in the U.S.?continue to make headlines, Americans may be paying more attention to where their food comes from. Nearly three in four (74%) say it¡¯s important to them to know the country of origin for the all types of products they buy, but even more?85%?say knowing where their food comes from is important. But for the vast majority of Americans it¡¯s about more than just wanting to know ? 94% believe consumers have a right to know the country of origin of the foods they purchase, a new Zogby Interactive poll shows.
Just knowing what country a food comes from is no guarantee it will be safer than a food produced in the U.S., but nine in ten (90%) believe knowing the country of origin will allow consumers to make safer food choices. One of the components in this year¡¯s Farm Bill deals with expanding country of origin labeling beyond seafood to include meat, produce, and other foods and is currently under consideration by Congress. Most Americans strongly favor mandatory labeling ? 88% say they would like all retail foods to be labeled this way. This requirement is most supported by older adults, but significant majorities in all age groups said they would support this country of origin labeling effort.

But wanting to know and going out of their way to check where a product comes from are two different things. Checking the country of origin seems to be on the minds of consumers at least some of the time ? 37% said they check most of the time and 34% said they check occasionally. While 11% said they always make sure to check to see where a product comes from, 15% rarely do and 4% never check.

Despite overwhelming support for labeling, 5% disagree with mandatory country of origin labeling for foods. Of those, nearly two-thirds (63%) said compliance would be too costly and it would drive up food prices. Another 27% said it doesn¡¯t matter what country food comes from that is sold in the U.S., and 2% believe such labeling could be unfair to foreign competitors.

Many food shoppers (70%) said they are willing to pay more for produce, poultry, meat, seafood and other food products if they were from the U.S. But how much are shoppers willing to pay to know their food doesn¡¯t come from a foreign country? One in three (34%) would pay up to 10% more for U.S. food and nearly half (46%) would be willing to pay from 10% to 25% more. Just 11% would be willing to pay 25% or more for U.S. foods over cheaper imported foods.

Not everyone is so willing to pay more for food just because it doesn¡¯t come from outside the U.S.?15% wouldn¡¯t be willing to pay more for food from America. Of those, 38% said they wouldn¡¯t be willing to pay more because cost is the most important factor in making their food choices, while another 27% said it doesn¡¯t matter what country the food they buy comes from.

These findings are included in the August issue of Zogby¡¯s American Consumer newsletter, which focuses on how Americans feel about imported goods, product safety, food labeling and many other issues and is available now at www.zogby.com.

The Zogby Interactive survey of 4,508 adults nationwide was conducted July 17-19, 2007 and carries a margin of error of +/- 1.5 percentage points. Other findings from the online survey include:

90% of Americans want the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to hire additional inspectors to increase inspection of food imports

96% said they take recall warnings seriously.

Most Americans (67%) are satisfied with how the U.S. government gets the message out to the public about recalled products, but 30% believe the government¡¯s efforts are lacking.

Overall, nearly half (48%) said they don¡¯t know where the majority of the vegetables, fruits and nuts they consume originate.

While nearly two-thirds (65%) of American adults said they go out of their way to buy local produce and other food products, 32% said it isn¡¯t a priority.

USDA AWARDS $5.5 MILLION FOR RISK AND PREVENTION RESEARCH OF E. COLI O157:H7 IN FRESH PRODUCE

WASHINGTON, Aug. 21, 2007 - Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced today that USDA is furthering its research on the safety of fresh produce. Nearly $5.5 million will support collaborative research to identify risk factors and preventive measures for E. coli O157:H7 contamination in fresh produce.

"This research will help producers identify the sources of E. coli O157:H7 and ways to avoid contamination," Johanns said. "Developing new research and prevention tactics for the grower will contribute to assuring produce safety for consumers."

USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSRES) are providing the funding to ARS researcher Rob Mandrell and his collaborators at the University of California to continue their research in the Central Valley of California. Over the next three years ARS will contribute $5 million and CSREES will contribute $470,999. In 2006, CSREES awarded Mandrell and colleague Robert Atwill at University of California-Davis $1.2 million to do research in the Salinas Valley.

Mandrell will address where E. coli O157:H7 originates, how it survives on the plant, and what factors lead to an increase in produce-related outbreaks. Potential risk factors include animals, land practices, packing and processing processes and wildlife.

Additionally, the project will feature workshops and publications to educate the animal operators, natural resource managers and the public about animal diseases that can be transferred to humans, how animal waste can contaminate water sources, and beneficial management practices for maintaining and improving water runoff quality.

Outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7 illness associated with fresh lettuce or spinach have been associated with pre-harvest contamination.

CSREES' portion of the grant was funded through the National Research Initiative (NRI). The NRI is the largest peer reviewed, competitive grants program in CSREES. Its purpose is to support research, extension, and education grants that address key problems of national, regional, and multi-state importance in sustaining all components of agriculture.

CSREES advances knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being, and communities by supporting research, education, and extension programs in the Land-Grant University System and other partner organizations. For more information, visit http://www.csrees.usda.gov. ARS is the USDA's chief in-house scientific research agency.

Acrylamide not linked to breast cancer: study
Updated Tue. Aug. 21 2007 10:09 AM ET
CTV.ca News Staff
Source of Article: http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/
Foods that contain acrylamide are unlikely to cause breast cancer in women, according to preliminary results of a study presented Tuesday at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society.
Acrylamide made headlines a few years ago when Swedish scientists discovered high levels of it in such foods as french fries, potato chips, cookies and crackers. The chemical is a natural byproduct of cooking starchy food at high temperature. Studies have shown it causes cancer in lab mice and rats but its effect on human health is still being explored.
This latest epidemiological study is the largest to date exploring the possible link between the "probable human carcinogen" and cancer in humans, and involved 100,000 U.S. women.
A team led by Lorelei Mucci, an epidemiologist at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, followed a group of 100,000 U.S. nurses over 20 years, from 1980 to 2000, and asked them to complete periodic questionnaires about their dietary habits, including the type of foods eaten and their frequency of consumption.
The researchers used the data to estimate daily acrylamide intake, while collecting information on the incidence of breast cancer among the women.
They identified more than 3,000 cases of breast cancer among the group, but the incidence of cancer among women with high acrylamide intake was about the same as that among women with low intakes. "At levels consumed in the diet, it appears unlikely that acrylamide in foods is related to breast cancer risk," says Mucci.
"Although we do not rule out that very high levels of acrylamide could cause cancer, it appears that at the levels found in the diet, it is unlikely."
In previous studies, Mucci has also found no link between dietary acrylamide and risk of cancer of the colon, rectum, bladder and kidney.

Mucci has several theories as to why acrylamide appears to be a carcinogen in animals but not in humans. The animals in the previous studies were exposed to acrylamide levels 1,000 to 100,000 times higher than found in the human diet.

It's also possible that humans may detoxify acrylamide at levels found in the diet.
Mucci does not rule out the possibility that dietary acrylamide can cause other health problems, but only breast cancer was explored in the current study.
"The story of dietary acrylamide and cancer risk in humans is still emerging, and additional epidemiological studies examining other cancers and in additional populations are warranted," she says.

Pathogens prevalent in unpasteurized milk
August 20, 2007 By Scott Baltic
Source of Article: http://www.sciam.com/
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A survey of unpasteurized milk samples drawn from dairy farms across Wisconsin found a significant presence of Coxiella burnetii and Listeria monocytogenes, two different types of bacteria that can cause serious infection and even death in some people.
These findings have particular relevance for consumers seeking raw milk products.
The study, reported at the annual International Conference on Diseases in Nature Communicable to Man held last week in Madison, Wisconsin, was based on a random sampling of milk from 901 Wisconsin dairy farms. The farms were chosen to encompass small and large herds, producers of Grade A and B milk, and all five of the state's geographic regions.
Approximately 76 percent of the samples had detectable C. burnetii DNA, and 5 percent of the samples harbored L. monocytogenes.

Milk from larger herds and farms producing Grade A milk appeared to have a larger risk of having detectable C. burnetii, but no clear risk factors emerged to predict which farms were more likely to have L. monocytogenes in their milk. Both bacteria were broadly distributed geographically.

Presenter Dr. Suzanne Gibbons-Burgener, from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, noted that on-farm use of raw milk is legal and common, and that the sale of unpasteurized milk is legal in 28 states, though California, for example, requires a warning label.

In some states that ban the sale of raw milk, including Wisconsin, advocates of what they call Real Milk have over the past 10 years organized "Cow-Share" programs. Under these programs, consumers who want unpasteurized dairy products circumvent such bans by buying shares in a cow or herd.

A poster presentation at the meeting by the Public Health Agency of Canada reported an outbreak of Campylobacter infection in Ontario in June that was traced to cheese made at a local farm from unpasteurized milk. About two dozen people became ill and eight sought medical help.

Gibbons-Burgener pointed out that raw milk can also harbor and promote the growth of E. coli, Listeria, Campylobacter and Coxiella, and that Listeria thrives at refrigerator temperatures.

Although Coxiella probably doesn't survive the human digestive process, and more than 50 percent of Coxiella seroconversions in humans are asymptomatic, C. burnetii can, nonetheless, cause Q fever in humans. Dr. Gibbons-Burgener noted that in 2004, an elderly Wisconsin dairy farmer developed acute Q fever after assisting with calving.

"Both bacteria continue to pose a public health threat," she told Reuters Health, and recommended that physicians warn their immunocompromised patients about the risks of consuming raw milk.

The greater risk for raw milk drinkers is L. monocytogenes, she told Reuters, but added that the occupational risk of Coxiella infection, especially through possible aerosolization during milking, should be noted.

Q fever is characterized by the sudden onset of one or more of the following symptoms: high fever, severe headache, general malaise, muscle soreness, confusion, sore throat, chills, sweats, non-productive cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and chest pain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

The fever usually lasts for 1 to 2 weeks, and weight loss may persist for some time. Thirty to fifty percent of patients with symptomatic infection will develop pneumonia, and some will develop hepatitis. Most patients will recover to good health within several months without any treatment.

L. monocytogenes, has recently been recognized as an important public health problem in the United States. It primarily affects pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems.

A person with listeriosis has fever, muscle aches, and sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea. If infection spreads to the nervous system, symptoms such as headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, or convulsions can occur. Infected pregnant women may experience only a mild, flu-like illness; however, infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage or stillbirth, premature delivery, or infection of the newborn.

FSIS Launches 24-Hour Web Feature To Answer Technical and Policy Questions
August 21, 2007
Source of Article: http://www.meatami.com/
The U.S. Department of Agriculture¡¯s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has launched askFSIS, a new Web-based feature aimed at answering technical and policy questions regarding inspection and public health regulations 24 hours a day.
The new interactive feature will provide in-depth answers on technical issues such as exporting, labeling and inspection-related policies, programs and procedures. Users can also register to be notified when answers are updated.
To access askFSIS, go to FSIS¡¯ Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov and select ¡°Help¡± from the global navigation buttons at the top of the main page.

Almonds must be pasteurized as of September, says USDA
By Lorraine Heller
Source of Article: http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/
8/21/2007 - A request for a delay in the implementation of new pasteurization requirements for almonds has been rejected by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which has said that the new requirements will come into effect on September 1, 2007.

The Almond Board of California (ABC) earlier this month recommended a six-month extension to the implementation of the new requirements, citing a lack of adequate capacity in place to meet treatment needs.

However, USDA said in a letter to ABC last week that while it understands the industry's concerns, it is placing priority on ensuring the safety of almonds, which have in the past five years been linked to two salmonella outbreaks in Canada and Oregon.

The agency determined that under the current regulations, almonds may be treated by facilities whose treatment processes have completed validation testing by an ABC-approved process authority, but have not yet completed their final report submissions to the Board's review panel.

According to ABC's chief executive officer Richard Waycott, "this interpretation by USDA will make sufficient capacity available to move forward with implementation of the pasteurization plan".

According to ABC data, 503m pounds of almonds would be subject to mandatory treatment under the regulation. Current validated capacity is at 379m pounds. An additional 267m pounds of capacity is in the review process.

The final rule was published in the Federal Register in March this year. The regulations, which impact all almonds originating from California, mean that no almonds may be handled or used in processed goods unless they meet the pasteurization requirements.

The ruling is a result of a voluntary 'Action Plan' proposed by ABC. The industry group, a federal marketing order, aims to promote California's almonds, but also funds food safety and quality projects.


The group claims that the pasteurization process would result in "no significant" degradation of the sensory and quality characteristics of almonds, such as the flavor, color, texture, or skin integrity.

Other concerns expressed by ABC when it requested an extension to the treatment implementation was the managing of the anticipated bumper crop of 1.33bn pounds, supplying the inshell and raw food markets, managing untreated carry-in inventory, and complying simultaneously with new aflatoxin measures for almonds shipped to the European Union.

"While we understand the Board's concerns, USDA also wants to ensure that the quality and safety of almonds and almond products in the marketplace continue to improve. These goals require measures to help reduce the potential of a third salmonella outbreak linked to almonds," wrote the agency in a letter to ABC.

"We understand many challenges will face the industry as it makes this transition. This is a new regulation, and USDA will continue to work closely with the industry as it moves towards full implementation of the salmonella treatment program."

However, the ruling has resulted in a backlash from handlers and processors, that claim the new production methods are too expensive, and will compromise their business, as well as from consumer groups, that state it is misleading to market pasteurized almonds as 'raw'.

In addition, some groups have expressed concerns that the regulation may cause US almond users to turn to European-grown almonds, attracted by low pricing and the guarantee of non-pasteurized availability.

Under the new food safety program, almonds must be processed to achieve a minimum 4-log reduction in salmonella bacteria. Log reduction describes how much bacterial contamination is reduced by a treatment process. A 4-log reduction decreases bacteria by a factor of 10,000 (4 zeros).

Exemptions include shipments to certain approved manufacturers within the US, Canada or Mexico, or to certain export markets. In this case, all almonds must be labeled 'unpasteurized', to indicate that they require further treatment.

Food Safety and Quality Related Job Openings
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Recalls: Botulism put scare in grocer
Sunday, August 19, 2007
By Teresa F. Lindeman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Source of Article: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07231/810608-28.stm
The idea that thousands of customers had purchased cans of Castleberry's Food Co.'s chili and hot dog sauce that might carry the botulism toxin alarmed Sandy Glatter so much that she wanted to alert them all personally.
Ms. Glatter, Giant Eagle's senior director of quality assurance, figured the grocer would at least have contact information for shoppers who had Advantage Cards. She told her team, "Let's call them. How hard can it be?"
Pretty hard, it turned out. A check of the grocer's computer records found 86,000 people had bought the affected items in the past two years. Daunted, the team went with Plan B -- posting information in stores and electronically blocking sales at checkouts.

For now, officials involved hope those efforts, combined with the manufacturer's own efforts to publicize the mid-July recall, will keep anyone from getting sick.
But during the past year, the grocer has been looking at making its own system, which was designed to push products out, better at reversing the process.
About two months ago, Giant Eagle enabled its computers to block sales of recalled items, said Ms. Glatter. In the first test, managers were able to override the block at the checkout, so the company changed the software. In the case of the Castleberry's recall, that stopped the sale of cans that employees hadn't had time to pull off the shelves.

Technology will also play a part in the next step. After years of relying on an old-fashioned phone tree to get word out to hundreds of store managers, the grocer is eight to 12 weeks away from turning on an automated system that will call stores with a recorded message and require them to punch in a code acknowledging they received it. The plan is to make it easy for managers to quickly pull up the recall information on their computers, replacing the notebooks of faxed recall data used now.

To speed its own awareness of problems, the grocer several months ago began subscribing to Foodtrack, a service that constantly scouts various sources to learn about product recalls. Ms. Glatter said Foodtrack sent the alert on Castleberry's more than nine hours before the Food and Drug Administration's notice came.

Convinced one key to making recalls effective is preventing them, Giant Eagle sent a letter to its vendors in June asking all of its suppliers to detail where the ingredients for their products were coming from. The goal is to ensure that a reliable third party is auditing the production process, something that can be more challenging in countries such as China.

Finally, Ms. Glatter hasn't given up on an idea that came when she was talking with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt as he toured a Giant Eagle store in northeastern Ohio two weeks ago. He's part of a commission appointed by President Bush to study import safety.

When Ms. Glatter told the secretary about her failed proposal to call customers to warn them about the can recall, he asked if the grocer could have sent out e-mails. She didn't think that would be effective, in part because the company doesn't request e-mail addresses and because people might think they were being spammed.

But it did spark the idea of setting up an automated system, like the one that will alert stores, that would call Advantage Card users when something they bought was recalled. Ms. Glatter estimated 90 percent of the company's shoppers have the loyalty cards. "We could actually reach a lot of people," she said.

The staff is investigating the potential for such a system and, so far, it looks workable. She knows there may be some who worry the grocer might abuse its power to call them at home, but she thinks they could be convinced by the fact that the goal is to keep them safe.

Even now, some consumers might still have some of the affected Castleberry's cans in the pantry. "You could still miss a few. It's possible."

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

Veggie Booty Salmonella Recall: Health food that could make your Child Sick
August 18, 2007. By Gordon Gibb
Source of Article: http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/
Sea Cliff, NY: The concern surrounding the recall of Veggie Booty snack food for possible Salmonella contamination really hits home when one considers the impact and potential consequences of salmonella poisoning.
The snack food, popular amongst children and their parents, was recalled by manufacturer Robert's American Gourmet earlier this year after reports of salmonella contamination began to surface. More than fifty incidents were investigated by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) in Atlanta, tipping off the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which in turn notified Robert's American Gourmet on June 28th.
Along with Veggie Booty, another product - Super Veggie Tings Crunchy Corn Sticks - was recalled over concern that the product shared the same seasoning as Veggie Booty, seasoning that is considered the source for the salmonella contamination. According to information listed on the Robert's American Gourmet web site, the FDA confirmed on July 12th that test results of the suspected seasoning delivered a positive result for salmonella contamination.
The seasoning was manufactured from ingredients sourced in China.
A number of lawsuits have been filed against Robert's American Gourmet after children became sick from eating the contaminated snack food. A class-action lawsuit is also being considered.
The concern over salmonella is understandable when one considers the impact of the bacteria on human health. This isn't just an upset tummy we're talking about here.
Salmonella is a serious contamination that has the capacity for making people severely ill for up to 10 days. Many need to be hospitalized as a result. Children, and the elderly are at most risk. Diarrhoea, often bloodied, can result in severe dehydration that can prove fatal for people at highest risk.
What's more, the salmonella bacteria can move beyond the gastro-intestinal area, and move into the bloodstream, resulting in a serious blood infection that could carry dire consequences.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there are over 2500 strains, or serotypes of Salmonella, which is usually contracted through eating contaminated food of animal origin such as meat, poultry, eggs and milk. However, green vegetables that may have come in contact with contaminated animal manure has also been implicated.
In this case, it is not the vegetables in Veggie Booty that are suspect, but rather the seasoning.
For most people, the most prevalent strains of salmonella will bring on gastroenteritis. Symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea and sometimes vomiting. A relatively healthy person will be in a position to battle through the discomfort without the need for medical treatment. However, for people with weakened immune systems, the elderly or the very young, the onset of salmonella poisoning can be traumatic.

Given that Veggie Booty was marketed as a natural, healthy snack food for children, it's hardly surprising that almost all the reported cases of salmonella poisoning were in children, and all under the age of 10. Most were toddlers, and many had to be hospitalized.
Initial reports indicated that Salmonella wandsworth was involved, but further tests have revealed the presence of Salmonella Typhimurium in some of the tainted bags.
Typically, salmonella is treated with the use of antibiotics, and microbial drugs. However, an increasing concern is the continuing emergence of drug-resistant strains of the bacteria, making effective treatment that much more challenging.
On average, 580 deaths are blamed on salmonella poisoning each year, in the United States. The salmonella outbreak, which covers 17 states, is considered to be ongoing.
Veggie Booty was sold in a flexible plastic foil bag in 4-ounce, 1-ounce, and 1/2-ounce packages. All product has been recalled from store shelves in all 50 states, including Canada.

FSIS To Conduct Dioxin Survey
August 16, 2007
Source of Article: http://www.meatami.com/
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), in conjunction with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), will conduct a Dioxin 08 survey beginning September 4.
The survey is scheduled to run 12 to 18 months and will gather data about dioxin levels in U.S. beef, pork and poultry. A total of 500 fat samples will be collected in federally inspected establishments and this data will be used to determine if dioxin levels in meat and poultry remain low and if steps can be taken to reduce dioxin levels.

Further information on the survey is available on the FSIS Web site, at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FSISNotices/51-07.pdf

New guide to advise on harmful pathogens
By Charlotte Eyre Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/
16/08/2007 - A new guide to microbiological food safety aims to help food processors eliminate the pathogens in fruit and vegetables that cause food-borne diseases such as E-coli, salmonella and cholera.
"Microbiology of fresh produce", from the "emerging issues in food safety" series, examines the risks of pathogens along the journey from food to fork, including pre-harvest, harvest, processing, packaging, storage and retail.
The arrival of this publication could not be more timely, as fresh produce is now one of the major sources of food-borne diseases. Pathogens linked to vegetables such as lettuce and spinach have caused wide-spread diseases, and even death, in the US.

According to the book's editor, Karl Matthews, people should be encouraged to eat fresh fruit and vegetables, as they are necessary for a healthy diet and help prevent heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

However, this also means that food processors have to be even more vigilant.

Around 12 per cent of food-borne illnesses are linked to micro-organisms in fresh produce, Matthews said, a number which is set to increase as consumption rises.

However, there are many unknowns in regards to what causes these micro-organisms to damage human health, he said.

One reason for the increase in food pathogens is the "globalisation of the food supply", he claims, which has arisen due to consumer demand for fresh produce all the year round.

Fruit and vegetables are consequently flown around the world over long periods of time, giving harmful pathogens an opportunity to breed during transit. The book also explores the history and causes behind well-known outbreaks of diseases, such as when large outbreaks of Salmonella in the US were linked with contaminated tomatoes in the 1990s. The book examines several remedies to potentially harmful micro-organisms, including UV light treatment, edible coatings, irradiation and harvest disinfecting systems. It is also the only publication to devote a chapter to the safety of seed sprouts, according to the publishers, ASM press. Publication: Microbiology of Fresh Produce. Editor: Karl R. Matthews. Publisher: ASM Press.

New food freshness sensor hailed
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Source of Article: http://www.foodweek.com.au/
A new type of food freshness sensor might have the potential to revolutionise the the rapid detection and measurement of food spoilage.
The sensor used a specially designed polymer material which changed colour in the presence of chemicals called biogenic amines, produced by the bacterial breakdown of food proteins. In laboratory tests, the polymer identified and distinguished between 22 different kinds of key food-spoilage amines with 97% accuracy. Researchers also used the polymer to check the freshness of a tuna by detecting the amount of amines present in the sample.
It was found to be much more sensitive than the typical human sense of smell, and was able to detect the presence of hazardous levels of amines well before the fish would begin to smell rancid or off.
Research was still ongoing, but the technology offered a potential alternative to current rapid detection systems for E.coli, Salmonella, and other disease-causing bacteria.

Scientists developing vaccine for E coli poisoning
Monday August 20 2007 18:07 IST
ANI Source of Article: http://www.newindpress.com/
LONDON: Scottish scientists are developing a new vaccine for E coli poisoning.
The vaccine, which will be available for trials in another two years, is aimed at preventing cattle from shedding E coli 0157 bacteria that contaminates food products and can even lead to death. The three-year research conducted by scientists from Edinburgh University, the Moredun Research Institute, the Scottish Agricultural College and Novartis Animal Vaccines, is expected to end next year. "The aim is to develop and test potential vaccination strategies to reduce colonisation [of E coli 0157] in cattle and therefore the onward risk to human health,¡¯ Scotsman quoted Professor David Smith, who heads the research at the Moredun institute, near Penicuik, Midlothian, as saying.
"Work is progressing and there are some promising indications," he added.
In 2003, the same team made a breakthrough when they found that most of the bacteria inhabit only the last few centimetres of the gastrointestinal tract in cattle.
"Scotland appears to get more than its fair share of E coli 0157 poisoning so if a risk assessment concludes that a vaccine would help to reduce that then I would support it. This seems to be an innovation worth pursuing," Labour MSP Andy Kerr, the former Scottish health minister, said.

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