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Botulism's victims continue recovery

Walter C. Jones | Monday, August 27, 2007 at 01:00 am
Source of Article:
ATLANTA - The count is up to eight for the number of people made sick eating improperly canned chili from an Augusta processor, but the number of people affected is much higher.
On Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta raised to eight the number suffering botulism poisoning from hot-dog chili produced by Castleberry's Foods Co. That tally now includes the mother of the two Lubbock, Texas-area children whose illnesses first alerted investigators when they were hospitalized after their lunch June 28. Two months later, the girl is still undergoing rehabilitation, though the boy has been released, according to Michelle Stephens, spokeswoman for Covenant Children's Hospital in Lubbock. An Indiana couple also was sickened a day after their chili meal, as were three unrelated Ohio patients, including one who told the CDC the meal was after the recall had been issued.

A costly recall
Connor Bros. President Chris Lischewski told investors Aug. 14 that the recall is costing the company $35 million.
"The voluntary recall of products and the shutdown of our Augusta, Ga., processing facility highlighted continuing challenges in our meat and poultry business," Lischewski said, adding that the loss would be offset by profits in the company's seafood lines through the brands Clover Leaf, Bumble Bee, Brunswick, Snow's and Beach Cliff.
On Monday, company spokeswoman Kim Coots said things are quiet at the Augusta plant.
"There is nothing much new at the moment. The investigation is still ongoing at the plant," she said, but she did not have information about whether the work force would be reduced by the elimination of the private-label business. In the meantime, a skeleton staff is helping ship out reclaimed cans for destruction.

Disposing of tainted foods
So far, Georgia Department of Agriculture armed agents have escorted 11 tractor-trailer loads of cans to Huntsville, Ala., where they were incinerated in a facility adjacent to Redstone Arsenal. Covanta Energy runs the incinerator owned by the Huntsville Solid Waste Authority, turning the tainted meat into ashes and electricity where the fumes could be contained to prevent contamination of the public.
The armed escorts were necessary to keep the public away from the trucks filled with cans moving across two states in triple-digit heat and the fear they could explode.
"If there'd been an accident, the (Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin) was concerned that Joe Blow first-responder would have just opened up the back of the truck," said Oscar S. Garrison, assistant commissioner.
While most recalled foods tainted with salmonella or listeria are merely taken to landfills and buried, the danger of botulism is greater because earth-moving equipment would probably cause the cans to burst, spreading the deadly spores in the atmosphere or groundwater. Meanwhile, the state's Agriculture Department has been strapped, inspecting more than 5,000 independent stores and finding recalled cans in 708 of them. Irvin pulled inspectors from other foods, like seafood, to help in the recall.

"It was a very unique recall," he said.
At the same time, one law firm in Seattle, Wash., has already begun advertising to represent anyone with a claim against Castleberry's.
"The botulism lawyers continue to monitor this outbreak, and have begun investigating claims on behalf of individuals who have contacted the firm," notes the Web site for the Marler Clark firm. Irvin said Castleberry's has been very cooperative.
"They're to be commended for the huge financial commitment they have made," he said.

Salmonella Outbreak at Arby's in Moses Lake Washington
Posted on August 27, 2007 by Salmonella Attorney
Source of Article: has found that an Arby's in Washington State responsible for an outbreak of salmonella poisoning has a history of temperature violations ? as do many other Arby's locations across the country. Full story at:
Customers Sick From Eating At Arby's - Chain Has Many Repeat Violations
It's the second time in less than a year that Arby's customers are sick with salmonella poisoning. In both outbreaks, health officials have found that roast beef was sliced on a contaminated slicing machine. Health department investigators say the Arby's meat slicer tested positive for salmonella. They also found that four Arby's employees were infected with salmonella. The same problem made Arby's customers sick last year in Valdosta, Georgia. A bacteria-filled slicer contaminated sandwiches with salmonella, sending 19 to the hospital.

FDA: Don¡¯t Eat Raw Oysters from Hood Canal in Washington State
By David Liu
Aug 25, 2007 - 1:44:37 PM Source of Article:
Saturday Augugst 25 2007 ( -- The Food and Drug Administration Friday August 24 issued an advisory to warn consumers not to eat raw oysters harvested from growing area 5 of the southern tip of Hood Canal in Washington State due to a foodborne illness outbreak caused by Vibrio Parahaemolyticus bacteria.
This is an extension of an FDA early warning, issued after the State of Washington announced August 22 that a second growing area was closed due to the risk of vibriosis and the state is urging the shellfish industry to recall affected oysters. Early on August 10, the FDA already warned consumers not to eat raw oysters from growing area 6 of Hood Canal.
The Washington State said it has closed commercial harvesting on additional Hood Canal beaches from the Hamma Hamma River south to Sisters Point near Tahuya.
Consumers are advised that they should check with the stores where their oysters were purchased to see if the oysters were harvested from the affected growing areas.
According to the FDA, raw oysters from growing area 5 in Hood Canal from July 31 through August 20, 2007 have resulted in at least six cases of Vibriosis in Washington State.
The affected oysters were distributed to California, Colorado, Idaho, New York, Oregon, Utah, Washington state, and British Columbia ( Canada), the FDA said in its advisory.
Vibriosis is caused by Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria, which can be found occasionally in oysters in the summer. The bacteria wouldn't do too much harm to most people, but in rare cases can it be life-threatening to those with weakened immune systems. Symptoms including watery diarrhea, often with abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills can show up 24 hours of ingesting the bacteria and last a few days, according to the FDA.

The Washington State Department of Health (WSDH) August 3 announced the closure of shellfish beaches in Mason County from Miller Creek (north of Hoodsport) south and east to Sunset Beach and across to Stimson Creek. Closed were also Potlatch and Twanoh state parks.

"Those with weakened immune systems such as people affected by AIDS, chronic alcohol abuse, liver, stomach, or blood disorder, cancer, diabetes, or kidney disease should always avoid raw oysters, regardless of where they are harvested," the FDA said in its early advisory.

The WSDH says in its August 3 press release "The best way to prevent this illness is to cook your oysters during the warm summer months." The Vibrio bacteria can be killed when oysters are cooked at 145 F. The FDA offers restaurants and other foodservice establishments detailed advice, cited as follows, on how to purchase and cook oysters to prevent Vibriosis.

In the Shell:
Purchase oysters with the shells closed
Throw away any oysters with shells already opened.
Never allow raw seafood to come into contact with cooked food.
Boil or steam the oysters:
Boil oysters until the shells open. Once shells open, boil for an additional three to five
To steam add oysters to water that is already steaming and cook live oysters until the shells open, once open steam for another four to nine minutes.
Use smaller pots to boil or steam oysters. Using larger pots, or cooking too many oysters at one time,
Discard any oysters that do not open during cooking.

Shucked Oysters:
Never allow raw seafood to come into contact with cooked food.
Cook the oysters in one of the following ways:
Boil or simmer shucked oysters for at least three minutes or until the edges curl.
Fry at 375¡Æ F for at least three minutes.
Broil three inches from heat for three minutes.
Bake at 450¡Æ F for 10 minutes.
Some consumers eat uncooked oysters, believing the nutrients may be maximally preserved that way. Some believe oysters boost sexuality in males because of high levels of zinc, which is important to the male reproduction system.

Calif. farm sues Taco Bell for libel over E. coli outbreak
Source of Article:
California farm that grew the green onions that were first linked to and then cleared in last year's E. coli outbreak has filed a libel lawsuit against Taco Bell Corp.
Boskovich Farms, Inc. filed the lawsuit last week in Orange County Superior Court, alleging Taco Bell continued to link its green onions to the December outbreak that sickened more than 70 people in the Northeast despite knowing the produce was not contaminated.
"Taco Bell engaged in an irresponsible and intentional crusade to save its own brand at the expense of an innocent supplier," Thomas Girardi, an attorney for Oxnard-based Boskovich Farms, told the Los Angeles Times.
The false connection between the farm and the fast food chain's E. coli problem has cost Boskovich "millions of dollars of business," Girardi said.
He declined to specify the loss. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.
Taco Bell, which is based in Irvine, said in a statement Wednesday that it acted responsibly and was only trying to keep the public informed of developments.
"We believed green onions may have been the source based on the presumptive positive testing, so we immediately removed them from our products to put public safety first," the statement said. "We later learned they were not the source of the E. coli outbreak."
The incident cost Taco Bell $20 million in operating profit. The company sells more than $6 billion annually at its 5,800 U.S. restaurants.
The lawsuit alleges Taco Bell officials probably knew by Dec. 9 and certainly by Dec. 11 that tests for E. coli in the green onions were negative. The company and FDA officials said Dec. 11 that the green onions were not the source of the disease, and Taco Bell posted a press release Dec. 13 on its Web site that said lettuce appeared to be the most probable source of the outbreak, according to the suit.
On Dec. 13, however, Taco Bell President Greg Creed published an open letter in national newspapers stating that "all Taco Bell ingredients have come back negative for E. coli ¡¦ with the possible exception of green onions, which we removed from all 5,800 restaurants on December 6," the lawsuit said.
Creed also said Taco Bell would no longer include green onions as a food ingredient. The lawsuit noted that lettuce remains in about 70 percent of Taco Bell's food selections.
Boskovich Farms had about 55 acres of green onions when the outbreak occurred. Now, it has no plans to replant the green onions in those fields as a result of the product's declining sales since the outbreak.

Nanotechnology neckties help reduce the spread of infectious diseases
Source of Article:
(Nanowerk News) Today's Nanowerk Spotlight is heavy stuff, so to help your brain cells recover, here's a news item on a lighter note:
April Strider, co-founder of SafeSmart, Inc., created the SafetyTies antimicrobial neckties with the goal of reducing the spread of infectious disease and foodborne illnesses in healthcare, hospitality and foodservice settings. Now independent testing performed at BCS Laboratories, Inc. in Gainesville, Fla. proves that Strider's ties live up to those expectations.
Although neckties promote an image of competence and professionalism in both the healthcare and hospitality industries, it is extremely easy for the ties to come into contact with food, patients or hospital bedding, thereby picking up infectious bacteria. In fact, a study presented by Dr. Steven Nurkin at the American Society for Microbiology's May 2004 conference found that doctors' neckties were eight times more likely to carry bacteria and spread infections than ties worn by hospital workers who did not have contact with patients.
When BCS submitted SafetyTies to microbiological challenge experiments, the ties' nanotechnology-treated material repelled bacterial contamination. In the tests, SafetyTies inoculated with E. coli and Salmonella showed a greater than 99.99 percent reduction in bacterial growth, as compared to regular 100% silk neckties.
SafetyTies also underwent a bacterial challenge with gram-positive bacilli. The ties' nano-treated silk fibers repelled 98 percent of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and 99.5 percent of vancomycin-resistant enterococci, both hospital-associated infections.
The Nurkin study found that one in four neckties worn by hospital doctors carried Staphylococcus aureus. One in eight harbored hospital-acquired bacteria, such as Klebsiella pneumonia, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii, and 47.6 percent harbored potential pathogens.
According to, infections contracted in hospitals are the fourth largest killer in America. Every year, two million patients contract infections in hospitals and an estimated 103,000 die. "This is not a minor issue," said Strider.
"The spread of contamination is also prevalent in the foodservice and hospitality industries," said Strider. "The CDC estimates that foodborne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year. Neckties tend to be an overlooked vector in the effort to protect patients, guests or employees. The anti-microbial properties of SafetyTies address that oversight."
While SafetyTies are of great benefit to individuals in the healthcare and hospitality industry, the neckties also have a broad appeal to the general public, in particular for their stain-resistance and water repellency. "We have found SafetyTies appeal to a wide range of professions, from educators to business professionals; most people really appreciate having an all-around more durable, longer-lasting necktie," said Strider.
SafetyTies neckties are 100 percent silk, are stain- and wrinkle-resistant, can be dry cleaned and repel liquids like coffee, water and wine. Testing also showed that SafetyTies are completely safe for wearers, because the nanotechnology coating stays on the necktie instead of transferring to any other surfaces.

Testing produce won't stop the deadly E. coli
By Dennis T. Avery
web posted August 27, 2007 Source of Article:
Mr. Will Daniels oversees food safety at Earthbound Farm in Salinas, CA?the company that last year grew and packaged the bagged spinach that killed three people, including a 2-year-old boy, due to contamination with E. coli 0157 bacteria. The spinach also sickened at least 200 other people, many with serious kidney failure.
"We thought we were the best, but clearly that wasn't enough," says Daniels.
After the tragedy, Earthbound Farms hired a food safety microbiologist, who immediately told his new bosses that they were kidding themselves if they thought it wouldn't happen again.
"Another bullet is coming your way," he warned. "Will the processing eliminate the [bacterial] hazard? The answer for this industry is no. You can reduce; you cannot eliminate."
Earthbound has nevertheless put in place the most aggressive testing and safety program in the industry. All its greens are now tested for pathogens twice?on arrival from the field and again when the packaged products come off the processing lines. The testing has confirmed the fears: some of the produce is still contaminated.

"We're not going to rest until we explore every possible safety improvement," says Daniels.

The problem is that neither farmers nor the federal government are doing all they could to stop the deadly E. coli from poisoning customers. Electronic irradiation could destroy 99.999 percent of the dangerous bacteria, effectively eliminating the E. coli danger. Irradiation simultaneously kills the spoilage bacteria, keeping the produce fresher longer.
Irradiation is now being used widely to protect hamburger from the E. coli dangers, with a major irradiation plant in Sioux City, Iowa. Irradiation is even more important for lettuce and spinach, because we most often eat them raw. But the Food and Drug Administration has been sitting on a petition to permit irradiation of leafy greens for eight years. They're afraid if they give approval, the food-scare activists will howl with rage. Never mind the kid who died and a hundred people with kidney failure. We want our food to be politically correct even more than we want it safe.
Nor are organic farmers protecting their customers. The Earthbound field on which the contaminated spinach was grown was managed organically, in transition to organic certification, under lease to a company co-owned by Earthbound. Composted manure may have been used to provide the Earthbound crops with nitrogen. Composting can kill bacteria, but its safety can't be guaranteed.
On the other hand, E. coli bacteria with the same signature were found in a nearby free range cattle herd, and wild pigs were moving through the area. We can't defend open fields from bacteria that are everywhere?but, with irradiation, we could kill the bacteria that actually get into our food.
The mega-bucks food scare industry, of course, is against irradiation. They demand "more natural" food production and less processing. Crumbling under pressure, the major grocery store Safeway has just announced it will no longer market meat packaged with carbon monoxide gas even though it keeps meat fresher, longer, in the consumer's refrigerator, thereby providing an extra safety margin. In other words, the food industry is being forced by food-fear rhetoric to abandon technologies that benefit consumers.
How many people will have to die? When will we realize?again?that Mother Nature is a harsh mistress, unleashing deadly viruses and proliferating bacteria along with her sunlight and rain. Survival of the fittest is her motto.
Humans used to consider that our ability to think was part of our survival equipment. Now it seems we rely on dumb luck. Poor little child. Poor grieving parents. Poor FDA?
Dennis T. Avery is a senior fellow for Hudson Institute in Washington, DC and the Director for Center for Global Food Issues. He was formerly a senior analyst for the Department of State. Readers may write him at Post Office Box 202, Churchville, VA 24421.

The Raw Milk Controversy: Natural Isn't Always Better
By Michael D. Shaw

Just when you think a topic has disappeared from the news cycle, it pops right back in. Mark Nolt, a Cumberland County, Pennsylvania dairy farmer, was recently accused by state officials of selling raw milk illegally. The state departments of Agriculture and Health confiscated more than $25,000 worth of equipment and products from Nolt, who refuses to obtain the required permit, and is in violation of a court order. Pennsylvania currently has more than 70 businesses with permits to sell raw milk, according to the state Department of Agriculture. (Michael D. Shaw, Contributing Columnist -

In June of this year, state officials ordered Nolt to stop selling raw milk after testing determined that three samples of milk from his farm showed unacceptable levels of bacteria.

Speaking like someone who stepped out of a time warp, Nolt said he won't sign the permit and resents giving the state the ability to shut his farm down?something he claims the permit could allow if inspectors don't like what they find.

So-called raw milk is simply milk as it comes directly out of the cow, in its natural and unpasteurized state. Pasteurization?named in honor of Louis Pasteur?as now practiced requires heating the milk for 15 seconds at 161 ¡ÆF (71.7 ¡ÆC). The process kills pathogens, as well as most of the bacteria that could cause spoilage. The process conditions are based on the parameters necessary to kill Mycobacterium tuberculosis. more info

Food Safety and Quality Related Job Openings
Quality Assurance Technician - Frozen Specialties, Inc. ? West Haven, CT
Manager, Food Safety Sara Lee Downer¡¯s Grove, IL
Quality Assurance Supervisor (night shift) - The Honickman Group - Baltimore, MD
Food Safety Specialist - America's Second Harvest - Chicago, IL
Manager Public Health & Safety - Holland America Line Seattle, WA
Instrumentation Chemistry, Supervisor Northland Laboratories Northbrook, IL
QUALITY ASSURANCE Manager - Avendra, LLC - Dallas/Ft Worth or Houston, TX

Food Safety and Quality Related Job Openings

On Contaminant Scares and Canned Pineapples
Source of Article:
24/08/07 Almost weekly, there are new health or contaminant scares in the food industry. Toxicologist Prof Mike Stewart, who currently works for SA's Department of Health, recently addressed a meeting of the SA Assoc for Food Science and Technology (SAAFoST) on "Food contaminants, what we should be measuring, how and why".
A major part of his address pointed out that there are valid and credible contaminant scares - for instance aflatoxin is a very serious contaminant.

However, they are many less credible ones, for instance:
* "Aluminium pots cause Alkzheimers disease" - which has been completely disproved.
* "Acrylamide causes cancer in humans" - which has nowhere been shown, although the incidence of tumour among rats in laboratory trials has been higher.
* Likewise for Sudan Red, no human cancer case has been attributable to it.
* Cadmium (at the centre of the recent SA canned pineapple debacle) - "in order to get the same amount of cadmium from pineapples as from one cigarette, one would need to eat 4kg of pineapples ... Yet the pineapple industry was decimated in SA because someone measured cadmium."

The problem, he said, traces back to imported zinc sulphate being used as a fertilizer, which always occurs with cadmium.

On the question of why then the permitted limits for these so-called contaminants are set so low in government regulations, he said that this was apparently because:

* They can be detected as that these low levels with modern equipment
* Different regulatory agencies agencies copy each other.
* Of vested interests - for instance, laboratories do many more tests with stricter permitted limits.

He said that SA National Accreditation System (SANAS) accredits laboratories, but the government's forensic laboratories in SA are not yet accredited.

Understaffing was a problem - the laboratories of the Department of Health, for instance, had a total of five analysts, compared to scores of analysts for one laboratory company in Britain.

All that SANAS accreditation means, he said, is that "the paperwork is in order and current and that there is traceability in the system". But if an analyst is in a hurry on a Friday, the result may still not be correct (as was apparently the case for the company which tested for Sudan Red for the Sunday Times recently).

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

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

FDA Tomato Safety Initiative Seeks to Prevent Food Poisoning
Date Published: Thursday, August 23rd, 2007
Source of Article:
The Tomato Safety Initiative launched this summer by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is looking for ways to prevent food borne illnesses associated with fresh tomatoes. The FDA started the program in Virginia this summer and will move it to Florida in the fall. The Tomato Safety Initiative will serve two purposes, said an FDA press release. First, investigators will look for farming and packing practices that could encourage bacterial contamination. Then, the program will try to find ways to improve those practices.
The FDA says that since 1998, fresh and fresh-cut tomatoes have been linked to 1,840 cases of food poisoning. Most of the outbreaks were traced to tomatoes grown in Virginia and Florida. Just last year, contaminated fresh tomatoes served in restaurants were the cause of a Salmonella outbreak that sickened dozens of people in 21 states. The outbreak made at least 183 people ill. There were no reports of deaths, although 22 people were hospitalized. Another outbreak of Salmonella in 2004 that sickened more than 400 people was linked to tomatoes sold in Sheetz convenience stores.

The Tomato Safety Initiative is part of the FDA¡¯s Produce Safety Action Plan. It is a collaborative effort between the agency, and state health and agriculture departments. Several universities and members of the produce industry will take part in the program. As part of the initiative, experts will visit farms and packing facilities and evaluate irrigation water, wells, procedures for mixing chemicals, drought and flooding events, and animal proximity to growing fields. Research will take an especially hard look at both water and animals near fields. Farm animals like cattle, and even wild animals like birds or reptiles, can deposit waste on or near tomato fields. Animal waste can runoff into water supplies and the contaminated water can carry bacteria into fields.

The FDA said that the Tomato Safety Initiative investigators just completed field visits of more than 50 Virginia farms and packing facilities. Now, they will begin analyzing the data from those visits to see what practices might be encouraging contamination of tomatoes by bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella. Once such patterns have been identified, the FDA says it will be able to improve policies governing tomato growers and provide better guidance on preventing contamination.

In addition to surveying farms and packing facilities, the FDA says other components of the initiative will include outreach and education to the industry; promoting research on tomato safety; improving communication with the public in the event of an outbreak of illness related to tomatoes; and building collaborative relationships with other state and local health officials to improve disease prevention, detection and outbreak response.

USDA spends $5.5 million on fresh produce research
Source of Article:
8/21/2007-USDA announced that it 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.
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.

Keep it dry when killing Listeria
Source of Article:
8/28/2007-Killing the dangerous Listeria monocytogenes bacteria that cause foodborne illness can leave behind some waste product that enables the surviving bacteria to come back even stronger. Michael Johnson¡¯s Food Safety Consortium research team at the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture has examined what keeps these bacteria going and what it takes to bring them down.

"The question is how do these cells survive when there¡¯s nothing for them to live on," said Johnson, a food science professor. "One of the presumptions is that they¡¯re living on some of the breakdown products of the cells in the population that die. That¡¯s supported by the results that the cells sitting in the original waste material survive better than do those which have their buffer changed every four days."

Bwalya Lungu, one of Johnson¡¯s doctoral students, explored the issue in a paper she presented in May at the American Society for Microbiology conference in Toronto. She examined the survival of L. monocytogenes bacteria after 28 days and found that even after significant numbers of the pathogen cells are eliminated, those that survived appeared to do so because they make efficient use of the dead cells¡¯ waste. Also, Johnson noted, the cells go into a suspended state of animation and are not actively metabolizing.

The cells that die first leave behind the waste products that somehow enable survivors to hang on longer. If more waste nutrients can be eliminated up front, the remaining cells have less opportunity to find something on which to live.

For food processors, the situation points to the need for diligent efforts at sanitation. If, for example in a worst-case scenario, a space has about 10 million L. monocytogenes cells, then eliminating 90 percent of them would seem to be quite an accomplishment. However, that still leaves behind 1 million cells, enough to seek out some nutrients to ensure their own survival before they go on to do some damage.

The FDA has declared a zero-tolerance policy on the presence of L. monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods such as ice cream or deli meat and poultry items.

The researchers¡¯ findings about the durability of L. monocytogenes are based on results of work in the laboratory, but they are applicable to the situation that food processing plants face daily, Johnson noted.

"We can¡¯t say explicitly, but if the bacteria can survive like this in liquid then it¡¯s less of a mystery how they also can survive when they get airborne," he said.

"In food processing plants, when people thoroughly clean down the equipment the floor drains are places without a lot of nutrients left. But there¡¯s still potential for a little residue there. Bottom line: It¡¯s very hard to reduce Listeria in plants when you have sanitation programs that leave surfaces wet. Keep it dry after you clean."

Aseptic tap extends beverage shelf life
By George Reynolds
Source of Article:
8/28/2007 - An aseptic dispensing tap now allows a flexible packaging material to be used to store beverages and liquid foods without refrigeration, the manufacturer claims.
Manufactures are looking for new ways to improve the safety and quality of their products, while extending shelf life. Moreover, increased shelf life extends the reach of manufacturers as the packaged products can be shipped over greater distances.
International Dispensing Corporation (IDC) claims the aseptic tap, called the Answer, has been added to its packaging platform, Multiserve SafePak, to allow liquids to be dispensed repeatedly and safety.
Multiserve SafePaks enable shelf-stable liquids in large-format packages, while the Answer's dispensing technology prevents microorganisms and oxygen from compromising product safety, nutritional value, and taste - even during unrefrigerated, repeated use, the company claims.
Greg Abbott said the Answer keeps products shelf-stable from the first serving to the last.
"Consumers can now trust that brands served in Multiserve SafePaks will taste great and stay fresh for weeks without refrigeration or preservatives," he said. "We are currently in confidential, advanced discussions with a number of domestic and multinational companies, who recognize the enormous potential of the Answer and the Multiserve SafePak."

Another advantage of the packaging platform is the convenience, as liquids can potentially be dispensed from heavy containers at a touch of a button, claims the company.

Manufactures could use the technology to attract customers with limited dexterity and those people on the go.

The Answer is manufactured from an advanced polymer-blend that prevents microorganisms, oxygen, or odors to enter the system, the manufacturer claims.

In tests, the nozzle was swabbed with cocktail of microorganisms, including Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, and E. coli at a level of danger unlikely to occur in real life, but the Multiserve SafePaks with the Answer survived for a minimum of 23 days of repeated use, IDC claims.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has tested and certified the Answer. Recently, IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group, specialists in sterility testing, concluded that The Answer could maintain sterility indefinitely, after repeated dispensing, in ambient temperatures, IDC claims.

AliMed Offers SaniGuard Antimicrobial Fogger, an Effective Weapon Against Contamination
Source of Article:
DEDHAM, Mass. - AliMed¢ç inc., a leading innovator, manufacturer, and distributor of an extensive range of patient care, rehabilitation, ergonomic, and OR products, announces the release of an area-fogging antimicrobial product that simply and actively decontaminates rooms, common areas, vehicles, and any space contaminated with a variety of bacteria and viruses. Ideal for healthcare facility use, this fogger boasts an effective kill rate of 99.9% on contact against Hepatitis B, MRSA, Influenza (A/Brazil and A/PR), Herpes Simplex, Rubella, Vaccinia, Salmonella, E. coli, and a range of other viruses, bacteria, and fungi that are common in such facilities. Moreover, it is EPA registered and meets the requirements for use in food preparation areas (FDA CFR 178.101).

Unlike other sanitizers, this fogger's delayed release function allows you to set it in an unattended room where it will fill the air with an active, dry-on-contact antimicrobial agent. The sanitized area can be used again in fifteen minutes without any lingering wetness or odor. The fogger does not require special storage, handling equipment, or protective clothing, and no potable water rinse is necessary. The cans have a 24-month shelf life and can be deployed on demand.

This is the ideal product for keeping facilities, offices, vehicles, and animal containment areas germ-free simply, cost effectively, and in a manner safe for humans. Available in 3-oz. and 8-oz. can sizes in case lots of 12.

AOAC Approval for Single Step Enrichment Listeria Test
source from:
BioControl Systems, Inc., has received AOAC Performance Tested Method approval for its new Assurance GDS¢â for Listeria spp. assay (No. 070701). BioControl has become one of the first manufacturers to complete AOAC Research Institute¡¯s new Performance Tested Method program which was recently redesigned and harmonized with the AOAC Official Method of Analysis validation process.

Assurance GDS for Listeria spp. was found to be equivalent to or better than the reference culture methods for both food and environmental samples. Assurance GDS for Listeria spp. provides 24 hour results for all species of Listeria (including L. grayi and L. murayi).

"The utilization of IMS-based sample preparation procedures combined with our advanced probe-based molecular detection technology enables GDS to provide an unprecedented level of speed, ease-of-use and accuracy in pathogen detection", explains Phil Feldsine, CEO. "In fact, Assurance GDS is the first DNA-based system capable of providing results for all major pathogens, Salmonella; E. coli O157:H7; Listeria monocytogenes; and Listeria spp. in 24 hours or less", says Feldsine.

In addition to faster results, Assurance GDS for Listeria spp. employs a simple a single step enrichment procedure that does not require proprietary media. "The combination of 24 hour Listeria results and a simple cost effective enrichment protocol provides customers with dramatic benefits", states Anita Kressner, Director of Sales and Marketing. "Many labs have already reported that the reduction in hands-on time and labor associated with a single-step enrichment protocol has produced significant cost savings", relates Kressner.

In addition to Listeria spp., the Assurance GDS system includes assays for E coli O157:H7 (AOAC Official Method 2005.04), Shiga Toxin Genes (AOAC Official Method 2005.05), Salmonella (AOAC Performance Tested Method 050602) and Listeria monocytogenes (AOAC approval pending). BioControl has been a recognized leader in the development of innovative rapid microbiological tests for the food industry since 1985. They offer an extensive line of proprietary, rapid tests for pathogen detection, quality control, and hygiene monitoring. For more information contact BioControl at 425.603.1123.

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