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Veggie Booty, you must be kidding?
Posted on September 4, 2007 by Salmonella Lawyer
Source of Article:
Several weeks ago we filed a Complaint on behalf of little Sydney and Cole Scheels who became ill with culture-positive Salmonella and were tied specifically to the Veggie Booty Salmonella outbreak. A few days ago we received the defendant Robert's American Gourmet Food Inc.'s response (it's Answer) to poisoning my clients (and presumably all the other customers sickened). It's Answer was in fact a blanket denial of everything (much different than the public apologies). Most interesting were the "Affirmative Defenses." Some of the more amusing are here:

If, in fact, plaintiffs sustained injuries or damages as alleged in the Verified Complaint, which damages and injuries are hereby expressly denied, said injuries and damages occurred as a result of the plaintiffs¡¯ own culpable conduct.

If, in fact, plaintiffs sustained damages as alleged in the Verified Complaint, such damages were caused, in whole or in part, by the comparative negligence of the plaintiffs and such damages, which are hereby denied, should be diminished and reduced in the proportion to which the comparative negligence attributable to the plaintiffs bear up on the culpability, if any, of all parties.

That in the event that any judgment or verdict is rendered in favor of the plaintiffs, this answering defendant is entitled to have such judgment or verdict reduced by the amount of any collateral payments made to the plaintiffs for expenses and by the amount of all such payments plaintiffs will receive in the future.

Plaintiffs¡¯ recovery should be barred or reduced by virtue of the adult plaintiffs¡¯ having knowingly, voluntarily and unreasonably assumed the risk of physical injury to the infant-plaintiff by not seeking immediate and/or proper medical attention.

At all times relevant herein, this defendant exercised reasonable care, acted in accordance with or exceeded all applicable Municipal, City, State and Federal statutory, regulatory and common law requirements, regulations, codes and standards.

The incident, the injuries, and the damages complained of were caused by the unauthorized, unintended, improper and/or negligent use or abuse of the product and plaintiffs¡¯ failure to exercise reasonable and ordinary care, caution or vigilance.

Defendants made no warranties to plaintiffs.

To the extent warranties apply, defendant breached no warranties.

To the extent the warranties apply, the incident and all injuries and damages complained of occurred after all applicable warranties expired.

The product complained of was designed and manufactured in compliance with all applicable design and manufacturing specifications.

Plaintiffs¡¯ damages were the result of a preexisting condition and are unrelated to any conduct of defendants.

Plaintiffs¡¯ alleged damages are the result of idiosyncratic conditions and are unrelated to any conduct of this answering defendant.

Plaintiffs¡¯ knowingly and voluntarily assumed all risks associated with the activities in which they were engaged.

Plaintiffs¡¯ failed to mitigate their damages.

Plaintiffs¡¯ claims are barred by the applicable doctrines of Laches, unclean hands, waiver and estoppel.

Plaintiffs¡¯ injuries, symptoms or problems, if any, are the result of genetic, environmental and/or sociological factors over which defendant had no control and had no duty to control.

The product was substantially altered, modified and/or changed, after it left the control of the defendants. Sometimes a Corporation and its lawyers have no shame at all.

Butter flavor possible cause of lung disease
Source of Article:
9/04/2007-According to an AP report, a doctor at Denver's National Jewish Medical and Research Center has written to federal regulators that they may have the first case of a consumer who developed lung disease from the fumes of microwaving popcorn several times a day for years. It was just one case and the doctor cautioned that they cannot be sure that the patient's exposure to butter-flavored microwave popcorn from daily heavy preparation has caused his lung disease. However, there is currently no other plausible explanation, according to the doctor. The lung disease was first noticed in workers who make flavorings or use them to produce microwave popcorn. Production workers employed by flavoring manufacturers (or those who use flavorings in the production process) often handle a large number of chemicals, many of which can be highly irritating to breathe in high concentrations. Diacetyl has been used as a butter flavor ingredient for several years and is approved for this use by the Food and Drug Administration. It has been the subject of lawsuits by workers at food factories exposed to the flavoring.
Butter flavors used in microwave popcorn generally contain significantly more diacetyl than other types of flavors because of consumer preference, and microwave popcorn manufacturing and preparation processes.
The Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association issued a statement Tuesday recommending that its members reduce "to the extent possible" the amount of diacetyl in butter flavorings they make.
See also CDC Information on the topic.:

Records show bacteria at plant
Listeria found at Gills before onion recall; state inspection finds 22 sanitation violations

By Stephanie Hoops (Contact)
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Source of Article:
A month ago the official word coming from an onion processing plant in Oxnard was that the company did not know how dangerous bacteria that prompted a recall got into one bag of onions.
The California Department of Public Health also reported it did not know.
But the agency's records, obtained by The Star through a freedom of information request, show the bacteria appeared at least five times at the plant in the months leading up to the June 20 recall of 41,306 pounds of diced yellow onions sold under the Gills Onions Brand and Sysco Natural Brand.
After the recall, the state health department conducted a two-day inspection at the company's Oxnard plant that turned up 22 sanitation violations, including: worn and dirty conveyor belts that exposed the onions to foreign debris; used tissues strewn about the processing floor; dirty and damaged holding bins; employees wearing their head covers incorrectly; and two live birds and their feces on the walls in the "men's lunch area."
No one got sick from the bacteria Listeria found in the one bag of onions. It was included in retail packages labeled with "Lot #2017-R" and carried a "best if used by" date of June 16.
Given all the contamination scares that have arisen lately, compounded by yet another spinach recall last week, consumers want answers, said Judy Dugan, research director for the Foundation of Taxpayer and Consumer Rights in Santa Monica.
"We want to know where this is coming from, why foods normally regarded as simply safe and healthy are making people sick," she said. "And what can be done to make the system far more safe?"
In July, Gills Onions' spokeswoman Nelia Alamo said the company was in the dark about the origin of the bacteria Listeria.
"We don't have a smoking gun to say where it came from," she said at the time.
Last week, she said the company has taken corrective measures and is waiting for new quipment to complete their plan, which she said the state has reviewed and is satisfied with. Alamo said the company follows "established sanitation procedures and re-testing is done" when listeria is detected in the environment.
"We have not had positive test on the finished product," she wrote in a facsimile responding to several questions submitted to the company by The Star.
Listeria is a bacteria that can cause listeriosis, which sickens about 2,500 people a year in the U.S., killing about 500. Contaminated food can cause serious infections and is particularly dangerous for pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems.
Listeria appeared in private lab tests of the Gills' processing plant in March and April in the inspection and peeling areas.
The state did not know about those positive findings, according to Lea Brooks, spokeswoman for the California Department of Public Health.
"Gills had not notified the CDPH and were not required under the law to do so," she said in an e-mail message.
The state "generally inspects fresh produce processors annually depending on compliance history and complaints received," she wrote. The inspections are not announced in advance.
She was unavailable to further describe the reporting process as of press time.
On July 27, The Star asked the state for its reports from the inspections conducted on June 19 and 20. The documents were provided 11 days after the state re-inspected the plant on Aug. 13.
When the recall was announced in June, Gills' statement to the media was that it involved about 30,000 pounds of onions.
State records, however, show the lot of onions had more than 45,000 pounds in it.
Alamo said Friday that "41,306 was the total amount recalled.
"That amount was stated on all official paperwork with FDA and the State of California Health and Human Services," she said in her fax.
Alamo said Gills is "committed to producing safe, fresh-cut onion products and to constantly strive for a better food safety program based on the best available information and science."
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is the federal agency charged with making sure foods are safe, but has been criticized for being an underfunded agency that is not doing enough to inspect domestic foods. Three phone calls to the agency over three days seeking comment were not returned.
Penalties the state can levy against food processing facilities include suspension or revocation of a firm's health permit, which would stop operations.
Brooks also said that "if the Food and Drug Branch determines that an existing product is adulterated, staff can embargo the product to prevent distribution into commerce."

CDC Salmonella Schwarzengrund Outbreak Investigation, August 2007 tied to dry pet food
Posted on September 5, 2007 by Salmonella Lawyer
Source of Article:

CDC is collaborating with public health officials in Pennsylvania and other state health departments and the US Food and Drug Administration to investigate a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella serotype Schwarzengrund infections in humans. These human illnesses have been linked with dry pet food produced by Mars Petcare US at a single manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania. People who think they might have become ill after contact with dry pet food or with an animal that has eaten dry pet food should consult their health-care providers.

As of September 4, 2007, 62 persons infected with the same strain of Salmonella Schwarzengrund have been reported to CDC from 18 states: Pennsylvania (26 cases), New York (8 cases), Ohio (6 cases), Massachusetts (5 cases), Maine (2 cases), North Dakota (2 cases), Virginia (2 cases), Alabama (1 case), California (1 case), Delaware (1 case), Illinois (1 case), Kentucky (1 case), Maryland (1 case), Michigan (1 case), Minnesota (1 case), New Jersey (1 case), North Carolina (1 case), and Wisconsin (1 case). Of the ill persons for whom an age is available, 39% were one year of age or younger. Of ill persons for whom clinical information is available, 32% developed bloody diarrhea and 10 (25%) were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Florida Restaurants #1 in Making People Sick
Editor: Edmund A. Normand
Firm: Wooten, Honeywell, Kimbrough, Gibson, Doherty and Normand, P.A.
September 04, 2007
By Ed Normand
Source of Article:
Florida leads the nation in something besides College Football and Basketball, the state also has more people get sick eating out than any other state. Food poisoning is a major cause of illness in this country. The main culprits, you guessed it: seafood, ethnic food and the ubiquitous "all you can eat buffet." This is not just a little throw up and diarrhea problem. People die and get terminal disease from this bad food. In fact the Center for Disease Control estimates that 5,000 people die from food borne illnesses each year. Yep, that is in the thousands. Hepatitis, E. Coli and salmonella can all be contracted from eating out and they can kill or cause life long problems. Our firm has prosecuted death and injury cases related to hepatitis, E. Coli and other serious injuries caused by eating out. And some of these places were famous, national chains and we are not just talking fast food. Take E. Coli for example. over 300 Floridians got sick from bacteria like E.Coli. Outbreaks often occur from one night of service at a restaurant. In Orlando we had an outbreak of food contamination that left a score of innocent diners with hepatitis A.
An outbreak (defined as 2 or more patrons that get sick from the same items or same place) can result from the failure to do simple tasks like hand washing, proper food storage and failure to cook food correctly. Restaurants, especially the big chains, corporate restaurants and theme parks will fight these claims vociferously. It is never their fault even when a dozen diners get sick on the same day from the same food.
If you get sick from eating out get to a hospital ASAP. It may be a few day illness or it may be deadly. Call the CDC at 1-800-311-3435. In Florida, contact the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation at 850-4871395 to report an outbreak. It may not be just you and others could be lot sicker or die from the same food borne illness and contamination. Your report will help to link the illness to the correct source and keep the dirty restaurant from shifting the blame. Also call us. We have pending cases now of diseases contracted from eating out in Florida. Many times we can use both negligence and product liability theories to successfully pursue the case.
Before you eat out, look at the inspection reports of the restaurant before you eat out to protect your family from Food poisoning cases. A good website to check out is
For more information on this subject matter, please refer to the section on Defective and Dangerous Products.

Pathogens prevalent in unpasteurized milk
By Scott Baltic
Source of Article:
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.

Tom Harkin: Second Large-Scale Spinach Recall Proves National Framework Needed
Mon, 09/03/2007 -
Senate Legislation in Works to Reduce Foodborne Illness Caused by Produce
Source of Article:
Aug. 30, 2007 -- Washington, D.C. ? Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today issued the following statement on the recall of 8,118 cases of bagged spinach after they tested positive for Salmonella. The produce, distributed by Metz Fresh LLC of King City, California, has not been linked to any human cases of foodborne illness, yet comes almost one year after an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 in fresh, bagged spinach.
¡°With the memory of last summer¡¯s massive E. coli outbreak in spinach still fresh in our minds, Americans are once again being hit by a large-scale recall of bagged spinach,¡± said Harkin. ¡°This is a food safety concern for consumers who wonder if it is okay to serve this produce to their families and it is an agricultural concern for growers who face another blow to sales of their product.
¡°For American consumers and producers, it is long-overdue for the FDA to exercise more oversight of food safety practices both in the field and in the processing of produce. Legislation I am working on in the Senate aims to do just that.¡±
Harkin is preparing to reintroduce legislation he has previously proposed to set up a national program that would require food safety practices for growing and processing fresh produce at most risk of causing foodborne illness.
Source: Senator Tom Harkin

Lettuce, Leafy Greens And E. Coli
Source of Article:
Science Daily The rise in year-round consumption of fresh leafy greens such as lettuce and baby spinach is increasing the difficulty of keeping produce free from contamination by food poisoning bacteria, according to scientists.
"The only land suitable for supplying this abundance of year-round, high quality, fresh leafy vegetables, which are eaten raw by large populations in Europe and the United States, is in special geographic regions, with ideal soil and climate conditions", says Robert Mandrell from the US Department of Agriculture's Research Service in Albany, California.
This move to the year-round supply of leafy vegetables has required new methods to clean, package and deliver rapidly these fragile food items across large distances to consumers in many parts of the world. These include harvesting mowers for some leafy greens, processing in water flumes and triple washing, and modified atmosphere packaging for extended shelf-life. Recent food scares and food poisoning outbreaks have led to intensive investigations of farms and ranches. These have shown that at least some food poisoning bacteria outbreaks have been due to field contamination before the greens are even harvested. "This situation complicates strategies for eliminating illnesses and outbreaks due to the complex ecosystem of multiple potential sources, such as water, wildlife, and nearby livestock, all of which could be sources of bacteria causing food poisoning", says Robert Mandrell.
Following wide media coverage of outbreaks caused by E. coli in leafy vegetables and Salmonella in tomatoes, the US fresh produce industry and federal and state agencies are trying to address the microbial food safety of leafy greens and other vegetables. Major US produce industry associations have worked together to establish a marketing agreement, a set of food safety guidelines (metrics) for growers to produce and harvest leafy greens, and have increased funding for research.

Probably, a convergence of unusual events is required for very large outbreaks to occur, a factor everyone is hoping will not affect 2007 harvests. Logical theories about pre-harvest contamination provide points for study, but no definitive conclusions about the most recent outbreaks can be provided. Fresh, minimally processed leafy greens are here to stay, if the industry continues to work hard to re-establish consumer confidence.

Dr Mandrell is presenting the paper 'Fresh leafy greens and Escherichia coli O157:H7: outbreaks, incidence in the environment, source-tracking' at 0945 on Monday 03 September 2007 in the Microbial Infection Group session of the 161st Meeting of the Society for General Microbiology at the University of Edinburgh, 03 - 06 September 2007.
Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by Society for General Microbiology.

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


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

Quick Microchip Test For Dangerous Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria
Source of Article:
Science Daily ? Researchers at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency in Surrey have developed microchips capable of quickly and cheaply identifying dangerous and drug resistant bacteria in clinical samples, scientists recently announced.*
For the first time doctors and veterinarians will be able to test clinical samples from their patients for the presence of the genes for antibiotic resistance in bacteria, getting the results within 24 hours instead of having to wait for as much as a week.
"We have developed a test chip which can accurately identify 56 virulence genes in the diarrhoea-causing Escherichia coli bacteria and 54 antimicrobial resistance genes covering all the known families of gram-negative bacteria", says Dr Muna Anjum from the UK¢®|s Veterinary Laboratories Agency in Addlestone, Surrey.
The chip will speed up the process of diagnosis and treatment by giving quicker results from clinical testing laboratories. The chip will also make it possible to carry out routine surveillance studies to monitor the way genes for virulence and antimicrobial resistance are spread in the environment, food samples, or even in farm and wild animals.
"Our chips have already been used very successfully in a survey of microbial resistance in human clinical isolates, foods, farm animals and also in wild animals, where we were looking at them as possible reservoirs of infection which can transmit disease back into farm animals", says Dr Anjum.
The miniaturised microarray chips were developed by studying and identifying the dangerous genes from samples of gut bacteria including the diarrhoea-causing E. coli bacteria and the food poisoning bug Salmonella.
In a test of the new chip screening technique, the most common antibiotic resistance gene was identified in 90% of E. coli and 56% of Salmonella bacteria from a random group of animal and human clinical samples. The tests even identified some unique and previously unknown combinations of virulence genes, whose significance still needs to be determined.
"In the near future, we are planning to automate the method to enable each sample to be tested for up to 600 genes and for 96 samples to be processed in half a day", says Dr Muna Anjum. "This will allow large scale monitoring of bacterial pathogens to see how they gain and lose genes related to disease and its control".
This technology will also allow scientists to search for and identify important genes from other pathogens and bacteria, for instance genes which may be commercially important in industrial processes such as waste handling, plastics production, manufacturing, food processing or pharmaceutical development.
*Dr Anjum is presenting the poster 'The diagnostic potential of miniaturised DNA microarrays' on Wednesday 05 September 2007 in the Microbial Infection Group session of the 161st Meeting of the Society for General Microbiology at the University of Edinburgh.
Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by Society for General Microbiology.

Novozymes Launches Enzyme to Reduce Acrylamide in Food
Source of Article:
Sep 3,2007-Novozymes launches Acrylaway to reduce acrylamide which is formed when starchy foods are baked, fried or toasted at high temperatures. Acrylamide is under suspicion of causing cancer.
03/09/07 Researchers from Novozymes, the world leader in bio-innovations and bio-solutions have found a solution to reduce the level of acrylamide in food products such as cookies, crackers and snacks.
Novozymes launches Acrylaway to reduce acrylamide which is formed when starchy foods are baked, fried or toasted at high temperatures. Acrylamide is under suspicion of causing cancer.
Health concerns
In 2002, a study by the Swedish National Food Authorities discovered considerable levels of acrylamide in food products such as French fries, biscuits, snacks and crackers. The study raised awareness of acrylamide worldwide. A new enzyme called Acrylaway addresses this problem.
Acrylaway can be applied to a wide range of products opening up for an overall reduction of average daily intake of acrylamide for consumers worldwide.
"It is a fundamental need for consumers and society that our food is safe and healthy. With the enzyme solution from Novozymes, food manufacturers can now offer end-consumers food products with reduced worries regarding acrylamide" says Peder Holk Nielsen, Executive Vice President, Sales & Marketing at Novozymes.

Acrylamide is reduced up to 90%
Independent tests show that Acrylaway effectively reduces acrylamide levels by 50% to 90% in a broad range of foods such as biscuits, crackers, crisp bread and snacks.
"Many food manufacturers globally have already tested Acrylaway and have shown interest in the product and its ability to substantially reduce acrylamide without changing the taste and appearance of their food product," Peder Holk Nielsen says.

Nanotechnology Fights E. Coli
August 31, 2007
Source of Article:
Science Daily ? Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) can kill bacteria like the common pathogen E. coli by severely damaging their cell walls, according to a recent report from Yale researchers in the American Chemical Society (ACS) journal Langmuir.
E.coli incubated for one hour on support matrix in the absence of nanotubes (top image) or in the presence of nanotubes (bottom image). E. coli are visible in the left image, but gone from the right image. (Credit: Yale University)
"We began the study out of concerns for the possible toxicity of nanotubes in aquatic environments and their presence in the food chain," said Menachem Elimelech, professor and chair of chemical and environmental engineering at Yale and senior author on the paper. "While nanotubes have great promise for medical and commercial applications there is little understanding of how they interact with humans and the environment."
"The nanotubes are microscopic carbon cylinders, thousands of times smaller than a human hair that can be easily taken up by human cells," said Elimelech. "We wanted to find out more about where and how they are toxic."
This "nanoscience version of a David-and-Goliath story" was hailed in an ACS preview of the work as the first direct evidence that "carbon nanotubes have powerful antimicrobial activity, a discovery that could help fight the growing problem of antibiotic resistant infections."
Using the simple E. coli as test cells, the researchers incubated cultures of the bacteria in the presence of the nanotubes for up to an hour. The microbes were killed outright -- but only when there was direct contact with aggregates of the SWCNTs that touched the bacteria. Elimelech speculates that the long, thin nanotubes puncture the cells and cause cellular damage.
The study ruled out metal toxicity as a source of the cell damage. To avoid metal contaminants in commercial sources, the SWCNTs were rigorously synthesized and purified in the laboratory of co-author Professor Lisa Pfefferle.
"We're now studying the toxicity of multi-walled carbon nanotubes and our preliminary results show that they are less toxic than SWCNTs," Elimelech said. "We are also looking at the effects of SWCNTs on a wide range of bacterial strains to better understand the mechanism of cellular damage."
Elimelech projects that SWCNTs could be used to create antimicrobial materials and surface coatings to improve hygiene, while their toxicity could be managed by embedding them to prevent their leaching into the environment.
Other authors on the paper are Seoktae Kang and Mathieu Pinault. The project was funded by a research grant from the National Science Foundation.
Citation: Langmuir 23(17): 8670-8673 (August 28, 2007).
Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by Yale University.

LAB LUNCH Ginger-carrot film is used to roll sushi at a research center in California.
Published: August 29, 2007
New Brunswick, N.J.
Source of Article:
ANTIMICROBIAL Tara McHugh, above, works with films made from pureed vegetables at the Western Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif.
LEAVE heirloom tomatoes to the organic farmers and pork belly to the chefs. In the chemistry department at Rutgers University and other laboratories like it, the real action is in less trendy ingredients like oregano, crab shells and milk.

In a handful of food science labs around the country, people who talk about food in terms of microbes and polymers have been turning the natural pathogen fighters found in everyday food into edible films and powders.
If their work pans out, thin films woven with a thyme derivative that can kill E. coli could line bags of fresh spinach. The same material in powder form might be sprinkled on packages of chicken to stop salmonella.
Strawberries could be dipped in a soup made from egg proteins and shrimp shells. The resulting film invisible, edible and, ideally, flavorless ? would fight mold, kill pathogens and keep the fruit ripe longer.
For average eaters who are still scratching their heads over trans fat, food coated with invisible films that lure bad microorganisms to their death might as well be nuclear fusion. But food scientists believe the potential for using these everyday ingredients to make a safer food supply is huge.
¡°These natural films are really a very hot topic these days,¡± said Michael Chikindas, a food scientist working with the team at Rutgers. ¡°The range of applications is endless, from very delicate foods to Army rations and space missions.¡±
On the most basic level, the films are something like a plastic wrap made of edible components that dissolves in water. The films can be infused with molecules from cloves, thyme or other foods that can keep unhealthy bacteria from growing. They can even be manipulated to carry flavor.
Of course, what works in the lab doesn¡¯t always translate to the production line. As far as most of the scientists know, these new edible antimicrobial films and powders have yet to coat any food on the market. But their time is near, researchers say. Patents are pending and several large companies, commodity groups and the federal government have invested money in the research.
In any food processing innovation, the timing has to be right for both consumers and manufacturers, and this might be the moment. Reports of food-borne sickness outbreaks have become part of the daily news. Just last week, baby carrots infected with shigella, a bacteria, were recalled in 12 states. In July, 86 brands of canned chili sauce and other meat products were recalled in a botulism scare. In June consumers were advised to throw away bags of the snack called Veggie Booty after salmonella in it made people in 17 states sick.
As shoppers demand safer food, they¡¯re also demanding healthier food made with ingredients they can pronounce.
¡°We¡¯re working on consumer-friendly antimicrobials, so people will read the package label and not freak out,¡± said Mark Daeschel, a professor of food science at Oregon State University.
Professor Daeschel teamed up with the food scientist Yanyun Zhao to engineer an edible film made from a fiber found in crab and shrimp shells. They mixed in lysozyme, a protein found in both eggs and human tears that has proven effective against listeria and staphylococcus. ¡°It¡¯s why we don¡¯t get eye infections,¡± he said.
The result is a film that could coat fruit or meat or even become an edible yogurt lid.
Beyond concerns for safer food and more natural products, the researchers are enjoying another bit of good timing: Consumers are becoming accustomed to thinking about edible film as a product that can deliver mouthwash and cough syrup. Why not food?
¡°One of the big breakthroughs were those Listerine strips,¡± said Tara McHugh, a food researcher with the Department of Agriculture who makes films from carrots and tomatoes. ¡°Consumers have just become more comfortable eating films.¡±
Many people already eat more films and coatings than they realize. The wax on apples and the coating on aspirin are examples of edible protective layers used to battle oxygen, moisture and mishandling.
Most coatings are made from gluten, cellulose, starch and various proteins approved by the Food and Drug Administration as safe for consumption. They line ice cream cones and coat battered frozen food. A layer of film in some frozen pizzas keeps moisture from the sauce from seeping into the crust. Fresh sliced apples and other produce get coatings of ascorbic acid to keep them from turning brown.
Indeed, many shiny confections like chocolate-covered almonds and raisins are coated with confectioner¡¯s glaze, a substance that might make some snackers cringe. It is often made with the secretions of a mite-sized beetle that lives in India and Thailand.
Making confectioner¡¯s glaze also requires ethanol, which is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, said Dr. John Krochta, a food scientist at the University of California at Davis. The new kinds of edible coatings might eliminate the need for ethanol, he said.
In the mid-1990s, when work on edible films was beginning to take off, Professor Krochta figured out how to turn whey into a film that would be biodegradable. He was interested in the film, but also in finding a way for cheesemakers to use the excess whey they produced. The California government and that state¡¯s dairy industry helped pay for the research.
(more information)

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