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New E. coli illness
in Wisconsin identical to strain in Cargill recall
By Janie Gabbett
on 10/9/2007 for Meatingplace.com
Five cases of E. coli-related illness are being investigated in Wisconsin
and one has been confirmed as identical to the strain that sickened consumers
in Minnesota, launching Cargill Meat Solutions' ground beef recall over
Three of the cases were reported in Milwaukee County and two in southeastern
Wisconsin, Milwaukee Health Commission Communications Manager Raquel Filmanowicz
told Meatingplace.com. The confirmed case was in Milwaukee County.
"We were made aware of these cases through our communicable diseases
area and started making the connections, " Filmanowicz said, adding
that test results are expected in the next day or so on the four unconfirmed
Cargill Meat Solutions has recalled about 845,000 pounds of ground beef
produced at its Butler, Wis., location and distributed nationwide. (See
Cargill recalls ground beef for possible E. coli contamination on Meatingplace.com,
Oct. 8, 2007.)
Five in Wisconsin
infected with E. coli - Three ate beef in Milwaukee area; link to Minnesota
Posted on October 9, 2007 by E. coli Attorney
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
Mark Johnson of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel posted last night on the
online edition that now ¡°five people in Wisconsin have been infected with
E. coli O157:H7, three of whom consumed beef at the same event in the
Milwaukee area in mid- or late September, according to the Milwaukee Health
Department. The Cargill patties were produced between Aug. 9 and Aug.
17 and were sent to retail establishments, restaurants and institutions
nationwide¡¦. Cargill is voluntarily recalling 845,000 pounds of frozen
ground beef patties produced at its Butler, Wisconsin plant.¡±
As I posted earlier, Cargill has had problems with E. coli in the past
and they have been tragically tied to Milwaukee.
E. coli Surfaces
in WI; Tainted Beef Blamed
By Chris Lato
Source of Article: http://www.620wtmj.com/news/local/10333657.html
Frozen ground beef patties
produced at a plant in the Waukesha County community of Butler are making
people sick from e-coli-related illness. The plant is owned by beef producer
Cargill. The patties have been pulled off Sam's Club store shelves nationwide
after four kids in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area became ill from e-coli.
Now, there are three confirmed or suspected cases in Milwaukee County,
and at least two more in southern and eastern Wisconsin. Bevan Baker with
the Milwaukee Health Department says their lab has been working the case
since last week, before the recall was issued Saturday.
The frozen patties were sold at Sam's Club under the name American Chef's
Selection Angus Beef Patties. The frozen patties have various expiration
dates in February, 2008.
Consumers are being told to either return any patties purchased after
August 26 to the store, or throw them away. The recall includes some 845-thousand
pounds of beef.
Source from : PBS.org
E. coli outbreak
kills meat company
Huge costs seen in fixing problems
By Mike Hughlett, Tribune staff reporter. Tribune staff reporter Stephen
J. Hedges and The Associated Press contributed to this story
October 6, 2007
Source of Article: http://www.chicagotribune.com/
When it comes to producing food that's safe to eat, companies either pay
a lot up front to improve their factory safeguards or pay a lot later
when things go wrong.
Topps Meat Co. of New Jersey paid the ultimate price for a massive safety
slip-up, announcing Friday it was closing its business six days after
it was forced to issue the second-largest beef recall in U.S. history
and 67 years after it first opened its doors.
On Sept. 25, Topps began recalling frozen hamburger patties that may have
been contaminated with the potentially fatal E. coli bacteria strain O157:H7.
The recall eventually ballooned to 21.7 million pounds of ground beef,
and 30 people are believed to have been sickened by tainted Topps meat,
though none has died. Topps
and the U.S. Department of Agriculture came under fire this week after
the Tribune reported the USDA's nearly three-week delay in deciding to
mount the recall. The agency said it would review the nation's 1,500 packing
plants to see if they have adequate standards for preventing E. coli contamination.
After an infamous 1993 E. coli
outbreak, the beef industry learned that investments in quality control
pay off. Nowadays, meat companies spend millions of dollars annually on
safety measures to fend off the deadly bacteria. Topps
appears not to have had some of those measures in place, analysts and
industry officials say. So it was faced with an even more expensive proposition:
fixing its safety problems and dealing with the expense of a recall.
By shutting its doors, "this
company is saying it doesn't want to go through that process," said
Caroline Smith DeWaal, director of food safety at the Center for Science
in the Public Interest. "It's an economic decision." And
the economics of a recall can be ugly, as ConAgra Foods Inc. recently
discovered. A big salmonella
outbreak this year with its Peter Pan peanut butter has cost ConAgra more
than $140 million so far, including $55 million in lost sales. The agribusiness
giant has forked over $20 million to renovate the Georgia plant that made
the tainted peanut butter. Major
food recalls of any kind will usually cost a company "tens of millions
of dollars," said Michael Doyle, head of the University of Georgia's
Center for Food Safety. There's the cost of transporting and disposing
of tainted product, overtime pay for employees, a running tab for lawyers
and so on. Then, of course,
there's the harm done to a firm's reputation. "One of the biggest
costs is the loss of consumer confidence in your product," Doyle
said. Topps, though it
had only 87 employees, was known as one of the nation's largest suppliers
of frozen hamburger patties. Its beef could be found in supermarkets,
restaurants, hotels and schools throughout the country. After a safety
assessment, the USDA forced Topps a week ago to suspend its hamburger
grinding. Topps conceded
that much of the recalled meat had already been eaten, and on Friday expressed
regret that its product had been linked to illness. Recalls
don't often force companies to shut down. But one of the more well-known
shutdowns also happened in the meat industry. Hudson Foods Co. closed
a plant in Columbus, Neb., after it agreed in 1997 to destroy 25 million
pounds of hamburger in the largest U.S. meat recall, also caused by an
E. coli scare. The beef industry began to wake up to the problems of E.
coli after a 1993 outbreak linked to undercooked hamburgers at Jack In
The Box restaurants. Four children died, hundreds more got sick and the
company almost went out of business. Since then, "the industry has
invested a huge amount of money and developed really good systems"
to fight E. coli, said Smith DeWaal of the Center for Science in the Public
Interest. "Most of the big companies today utilize a number of steps
for the cleaner processing of carcasses." In addition, Smith DeWaal
said, beef processors have stepped up their testing for E. coli contamination,
both of finished ground beef and of "trim," as beef is called
before the grinding process. James Reagan, chairman of the Beef Industry
Food Safety Council, said that between food safety research, enhanced
E. coli testing and production line measures such as steam pasteurization,
the industry spends about $350 million annually. The
investment seems to have paid off, until recently. Over the past few years,
E. coli problems in meat tested by the USDA have dropped dramatically,
said Doyle of the University of Georgia's Food Safety Center. "We
had three really good years where the number of E. coli infections related
to ground beef were declining or very low," said Richard Raymond,
undersecretary of the USDA's food safety inspection arm. But Raymond added
in a teleconference with reporters, "Something happened this summer.
... We saw the recalls go up, we saw human illnesses attributed to ground
beef go up." It's not clear why, he said. Food recalls have filled
the headlines over the past year, and one of the bigger ones was ConAgra's
recall of Peter Pan. A leaky roof and a faulty sprinkler system at its
Georgia plant caused salmonella to bloom. Salmonella is a bacterium that
can cause fever and diarrhea, and death for people with weakened immune
systems. In February, ConAgra shut down the factory and recalled all product
made there going back to May 2006. Despite the recall, more than 600 people
in 47 states got sick over the ensuing months, though no one died. In
April, ConAgra vowed to completely retool the plant, a decision that kept
it shut until August. The firm created a high-ranking food-safety post
and formed a food-safety advisory committee of independent experts, mostly
academics. Last year, contaminated spinach made by Earthbound Farm's Natural
Selection Foods killed three people and sickened 200 more. The culprit:
E. coli. In the aftermath, Earthbound created one of the most aggressive
testing programs in its industry. Every bin of greens is tested
for pathogens. It takes 12 hours to get the test results, said the University
of Georgia's Doyle, but the greens sit until the results are in.
suffering with painful E. coli symptoms
By Shayla Reaves
Source of Article: http://www.wave3.com/
FLOYDS KNOBS, Ind. (WAVE) -- The E. coli outbreak at Galena Elementary
School in Indiana continues to cause major problems for some of the kids
who were infected. A 6-year-old girl is now on dialysis, and has been
in the hospital for weeks. As WAVE 3's Shayla Reaves investigates, the
youngster has endured a lot of suffering, but the worst part is not knowing
when it will end. Sidney Jacobi is one of eight Galena students who tested
positive for E. coli. She has been on dialysis for about a week now, and
just wants to go home according to her mother, Marcia. Still, Sidney has
continued to test positive for the infection, and her mother says the
hardest part is not knowing when she'll be OK again.
Marcia says it's been hard for both her and Sidney who is "just afraid
that she's never going to get out (of the hospital), that the bug is going
to stay with her forever."
After three weeks in the hospital with an E. coli infection, Sidney talks
about that fear and others with her mother.
Sidney's mom says she feels it's her job now "to try to convince
her that she's getting better; she is getting better, it's just such a
slow, slow, slow process." Because her kidneys
weren't functioning properly, Sidney had to start dialysis treatments
on Oct. 2nd. Not a pleasant experience for a 6-year-old girl. "She
had to have a port placed and a catheter placed in her abdomen,"
Marcia said. Now Marcia says Sidney's days are much different than before
she got sick. "She's attached to her dialysis, it's on an IV pole,
and so we have to take that with us, wherever we go." Sidney can't
keep food down either. "She's getting nutrition through her veins,"
Marcia said. "We have a few extra poles to drag along with us."
Doctors aren't sure how long Sidney will need to remain on dialysis. "There's
no answer, we have to wait for her kidneys to start functioning, whenever
that is. She's still in isolation, so she can't come out of her room until
the E. coli is negative."
Sidney has been in a lot of pain, something that has been hard for both
Sidney and her mother. "That's probably the worst of everything --
hearing her cry out," Marcia said.
Marcia knows E. coli infections can have long-term effects. "There's
a chance sometime down the road she could have more renal problems."
Right now Sidney just wants to go home. "She's very social and very
friendly, and just keeping her in that room is really hard," Marcia
Sidney keeps up with her days in a journal, and though her mother is confident
she's going to get better.
You can keep up with Sidney's online journal by visiting: www.caringbridge.org/visit/sidneyjacobi.
Calls on Topps to Pay E. coli Victims' Medical Bills and Wages
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
Bill Marler, food safety
advocate and E. coli attorney, whose Seattle law firm, Marler Clark, has
been contacted by five victims of the E. coli outbreak traced to the Topps
21,700,000 pound hamburger recall, called today on Topps to pay the medical
bills and lost wages of all individuals who became ill with E. coli infections
as part of the outbreak. ¡°We know that at least twenty-five people became
ill with E. coli infections after eating Topps hamburger.¡± Marler said.
¡°The cost of treating victims of E. coli infections can run in the tens
of thousands of dollars, or in a severe case, even in the hundreds of
thousands of dollars,¡± Marler continued. ¡°These families need Topps to
do more than promise to cooperate in the investigation into this outbreak.
They need to know that Topps intends to fulfill its corporate responsibility
by looking out for its customers.¡±
Marler noted that in other
outbreak-situations companies such as Chi-Chi¡¯s, Dole, Jack in the Box,
Con Agra, Odwalla and Sheetz advanced medical costs for outbreak victims
whose illnesses were traced to their food products.
Since the Jack in the Box E.
coli outbreak in 1993, Bill Marler has represented thousands of E. coli
victims against corporations such as AFG, Bauer Meats, BJ's Wholesale
Club, Byerly's, ConAgra, Cub Foods, Dole, Emmpak, Excel, Finley School
District, Fresno Meat market, Gold Coast Produce, Habaneros, Interstate
Meats, Jack in the Box, Karl Ehmer, Kentucky Fried Chicken, King Garden,
Lunds, McDonalds, Odwalla, Natural Selections, Olive Garden, Peninsula
Village, Pat & Oscar's, PM Beef Holdings, Sam's Club, Sizzler, Spokane
Produce, Sodexho, Souplantation, Supervalu, Taco Bell, Taco John's, Topps,
United Food Group (UFG), Walmart and Wendy's. Total recoveries on behalf
of victims are in excess of $300,000,000.
Several times a month Bill,
through the non-profit outbreakinc, speaks to industry and government
throughout the United States, Canada, China and Australia on why it is
important to prevent foodborne illnesses. He is also a frequent commentator
on food litigation and safety on marlerblog. Bill also sponsors several
websites related to E. coli, including about-ecoli, about-hus and ecoliblog.
produce safety Action Plan
Source of Article: http://www.ift.org/news_bin/news/news_home.shtml
10/08/2007-In 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration launched the
2004 FDA Produce Safety Action Plan, which is intended to minimize the
incidence of foodborne illness associated with consumption of fresh produce.
In 2006, FDA, in collaboration with the State of California's Departments
of Public Health and Food and Agriculture, began a multi-year Initiative
as part of a risk-based strategy intended to reduce public health risks
by heightening the focus on preventive food safety efforts on specific
products, practices, agents, and growing areas of greatest concern. The
first year of the Initiative focused on lettuce (Lettuce Safety Initiative)
as a response to recurring outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7 associated with
fresh and fresh-cut lettuce.
FDA and the California Department of Public Health are continuing these
efforts in 2007 with a focus on a broader range of leafy greens, including
spinach, building upon lessons learned in the first year, subsequent outbreak
investigations, and our 2007 Tomato Safety Initiative which is underway
in Virginia and Florida.
Beginning in October 2007, FDA investigators, in coordination with their
respective state counterparts, and with the cooperation of the industry,
will visit farms in California to assess the prevalence of factors in
and near the field environment which may contribute to potential contamination
of leafy greens with E. coli O157:H7 and the extent to which Good Agricultural
Practices (GAPs) and other preventive controls are being implemented.
To further focus this risk-based approach, collaborators have been reviewing
data to identify areas where co-existing environmental risk factors are
present. Data analyses and GIS mapping will be followed by preliminary
assessments to confirm the data analyses and to finalize site selection
for the field assessment.
For more, see http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/lettsaf2.html .
Code updated with Supplement
Source of Article: http://www.ift.org/news_bin/news/news_home.shtml
10/08/2007-The U.S. FDA has posted the Supplement to the 2005 FDA Food
The Food Code is an important part of the strategy for achieving uniform
national food safety standards and for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness
of our nation's food safety system. The Supplement, which updates the
2005 Food Code, reflects the current science, emerging food safety issues,
and imminent health hazards related to food safety. A Summary of Changes
is included in Part 1 of the Supplement to assist in quick identification
of the changes.
The next complete revision of the Food Code will be published in 2009.
The Supplement provides the most current food safety provisions to agencies
planning to initiate rule-making activities before 2009. In addition,
this Supplement gives other users of the Food Code -- educators, trainers,
and the food service, retail food, and vending industries -- up-to-date
information on mitigating risk factors that can contribute to foodborne
For more, see http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/fc05-su2.html .
to fund E. coli research at Tech
Issue date: 10/9/07 Section: News
Source of Article: http://media.www.dailytoreador.com/
As fears of E. coli tainted beef trigger nation-wide recalls, Texas Tech
researchers are studying methods of contamination prevention with the
help of a nearly $600,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant.
A team of researchers at Tech's International Center for Food Industry
Excellence will use the approximately $598,000 grant to fund its Pre-harvest
Food and Safety Demonstration, where it is conducting research in reducing
E. coli O157 and Salmonella in feed yards as well as educating members
of the cattle industry in safety and anti-contamination practices, said
Mindy Brashears, director of the center.
"It's really good for Texas Tech because it shows that what we're
doing in the lab can actually be taken out and used by the people we're
trying to help," she said.
Kevin Pond, chairman of the Department of Animal and Food Sciences, said
E. coli and Salmonella are pathogens that can cause human health problems
by inhabiting an animal's intestinal tract and contaminating the meat.
He said Tech researchers have developed a yogurt-like bacteria, which
when added to an animal's diet has been found to reduce the levels of
E. coli in the animal.
"It competes with the pathogenic E. coli and Salmonella so that bacteria,
which is a positive bacteria, ends up out-competing the pathogenic bacteria
so that the levels you have are eliminated or very low," he said.
"Once it leaves the feed yard and goes to be harvested and made into
steaks and hamburgers, the level of E. coli will be very low for potential
Researching ways to prevent E. coli contamination can be beneficial to
the beef industry by preventing contamination recalls, said Todd Brashears,
an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural Education and
Communication who conducts educational research with the center.
Topps Meat Co. of New Jersey recalled 21.7 million pounds of frozen ground
beef Sept. 29 after it detected the potential for E. coli in its products,
according to an article on CNN's Web site, www.cnn.com
Propose Resolution of Disapproval To Minimal Risk Rule For Cattle and
October 05, 2007
| Source of Article: http://www.meatami.com/
Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) introduced a Resolution of Disapproval in
the United States Senate that, if passed, would express the U.S. Senate¡¯s
dissatisfaction with the USDA¡¯s decision to expand the list of allowable
beef and cattle imports from countries recognized as presenting a minimal
risk of introducing bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) into the United
Senator Dorgan is joined by Senators Michael Enzi (R-WY), Tim Johnson
(D-SD), Kent Conrad (D-ND), John Thune (R-SD), Jon Tester, (D-MT), Sherrod
Brown (D-OH), and John Barrasso (R-WY).
The rule, which is set to take effect Nov. 19, will allow the importation
- live cattle and other bovines for any use born on or after March 1,
- all beef and beef products;
- blood and blood products derived from bovines, collected under certain
- casings and part of the small intestine derived from bovines
A Resolution of Disapproval does not impact agency policy unless both
the U.S. House and Senate pass it and the President supports it with his
Say Birds On Farms May Spread E. coli October 8, 2007
Source of Article: http://www.newsnet5.com/news/14293585/detail.html
WOOSTER, Ohio -- Ohio researchers are examining whether flocks of wild
birds are responsible for spreading deadly strains of E. coli between
farms and into our food.
Scientists from Ohio State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture
are tracking European starlings with radio transmitters to find out what
role the birds have in spreading the bacteria.
Scientists said droppings from infected birds may be landing in the feed
bins of farm animals. They aren't yet sure how the birds contract E. coli.
Ohio is home one of the highest concentrations of starlings in the country.
Last week, nearly a dozen people were hospitalized in an E. coli outbreak
in Indiana. This year the USDA has ordered a recall of beef, spinach and
Safety and Quality Related Job Openings
Laboratory Coordinator/QA Supervisor - Bar-S Foods Co Elk
Quality Assurance / Food Safety - Bar-S Foods Co
Quality Assurance Manager/Auditor Mirab USA Taylor, MI
Quality Assurance Manager - Maglio & Company Glendale, WI
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,
Food Safety Specialist - America's Second Harvest - Chicago, IL
Safety and Quality Related Job Openings
send team to RP over food scandal
Agence France-Presse 10/08/2007
Source of Article: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/
BEIJING -- China may send a team of food-safety experts abroad for the
first time after Filipino children fell ill from eating Chinese-made milk
candies, state media said Monday.
The special team will be sent to the Philippines if necessary to assist
a government investigation there into the candies, the China Daily reported,
citing a commerce ministry spokesman.
The 23 schoolchildren, aged nine and 10, were rushed to hospital on Thursday
suffering from stomach aches, vomiting and dizziness after eating candy
given out at a birthday party on Bantayan Island near Cebu.
A local school official there said the candies were Ube Milk Candy and
were made in Guangdong, China, according to the wrapper.
Sales of the candies have been temporarily banned at local stores pending
results of the investigation.
The Chinese government has asked its consulate in Cebu to look into the
matter and submit a report, the China Daily said.
Last month, the Philippines education department banned four Chinese food
products from school canteens following reports they contained cancer-causing
Dangerous exports from China ranging from toothpaste to toys to seafood
have sparked a wave of global bans and recalls in recent months and severely
tarnished the Chinese-made label. Beijing has been taking drastic steps
to contain the problem and in July executed the former head of its food
and drug safety watchdog for corruption.
Safety Agencies, Industry Seek More Import Regulation Improvements would
strengthen one of world's safest food systems
source from USDA
Washington -- U.S. food import
safety officials and the food industry are proposing to ramp up federal
regulation of imported food and ingredients to address the risk that unsafe
products could enter the United States.
U.S. agencies charged with overseeing food import safety are expected
to forward to President Bush in November recommended actions that food
producers, distributors, importers and regulators should take to strengthen
The recommendations will focus on developing more scientific and analytic
tools to allow better identification of potential risks, to monitor the
effectiveness of prevention measures and to increase use of information
technology for inspection and surveillance.
The recommendations also will aim to reduce the time between detecting
and containing a food-borne illness, David Acheson, assistant commissioner
for food protection at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), told a
House Appropriations subcommittee in September.
The food industry's largest trade group, the Grocery Manufacturers Association
(GMA), has unveiled its proposal for more regulation. It reflects awareness
among industry leaders that U.S. companies, as imports rise, face increasing
challenges to ensure the quality and safety of food sold to U.S. consumers.
The GMA proposal would require all U.S. food importers to adopt a foreign
supplier quality assurance program and verify that imported products meet
FDA food safety requirements.
GMA President Cal Dooley said industry wants to work with government to
strengthen and modernize the U.S. system of regulating the safety of food
imports. Working in partnership with government, "industry can apply
its vast knowledge and practical experience along the entire supply chain
to prevent problems before they arise," he said.
Some companies, such as retail giant Costco, long ago added their own
specifications to the current government regulations, based on consumer
expectations for quality and safety, said Craig Wilson, Costco's vice
president of food safety and quality.
He said Costco's food suppliers are located all around the world so that
the company can get supplies of fresh fruits, vegetables and meats in
Since 2006, U.S. food safety agencies have increased information sharing
?- and thus prevention and intervention efforts -? through an international
trade data system maintained by the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service
(FSIS) is responsible for ensuring that U.S. imports of meat, poultry
and eggs are safe and properly labeled.
It is a "regimented process" of sending inspectors to countries
and establishments in those countries to determine if their safety standards
are equivalent to those of the United States, FSIS Administrator Alfred
Almanza told USINFO.
Thirty-three countries are certified to export meat to the United States,
and only certified establishments in those countries can export specific
foods to the United States, Almanza said. "It¡¯s an exciting time
for those countries that are eligible to ship to the United States. ...
As long as they meet our regulatory requirements, they can expand the
number of customers,¡± he said.
All food coming into the United States is inspected at a port of entry
to ensure the contents of the shipment match information contained on
the accompanying document. Certain products are inspected a second time
for such pathogens as listeria, E. coli and salmonella, and for residues
in the food. These include ready-to-eat products, such as packaged salads,
and products from a country or establishment with some history of noncompliance
with U.S. standards or from countries experiencing an outbreak of a disease.
If a shipment is found to be suspect, a sample of its contents is sent
to one of four FSIS laboratories around the country for analysis.
FSIS and FDA, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, also
host delegations from trade-partner countries interested in seeing the
stages of the food safety system, from farms, to processing and packing
plants to food transportation companies, Almanza said.
In addition, U.S. agencies are working closely with state governments
to adopt more uniform regulations. FDA also has signed an agreement with
the European Food Safety Authority to cooperate on food safety assessments.
A transcript of a public meeting about food import safety held October
1 at the U.S. Department of Agriculture is available on the department's
(USINFO is produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs,
U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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
pounds of frozen ground beef contaminated with E.coli
Published: Tuesday, 2-Oct-2007
Source of Article: http://www.news-medical.net/?id=30674
The latest recall of food products in the United States has left consumers
alarmed and also at a loss when it comes to the safety and reliability
of many foods offered for sale in stores.
The recall of hamburgers contaminated with E. coli bacteria began with
the Topps Meat Company in New Jersey voluntarily recalling some of it's
hamburgers on September 25th.
This recall has now been expanded to include approximately 21.7 million
pounds of frozen ground beef products because they may also be contaminated
with Escherichia coli O157:H7 and follows a cluster of illnesses in the
Northeast caused by the bacteria.
To date 25 people in eight states have become sick from eating the contaminated
meat and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection
Service says the recalled products should be returned to the point of
The USDA warns consumers preparing other ground beef products to only
eat ground beef patties that have been cooked to a safe temperature of
160 ?F - a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria such as E.
coli - and to check this with an accurate food thermometer.
E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody
diarrhea and dehydration and can lead to serious illness or even death.
The very young, seniors and persons with compromised immune systems are
the most susceptible to foodborne illness.
The recall was expanded after another positive sample was reported by
the New York Health Department.
The 25 cases currently under investigation are in Connecticut, Florida,
Indiana, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The meat products concerned were made in late June and July and the first
incidents of sickness began in August but it was almost six weeks before
the first recall was issued and consumers were alerted.
Despite criticism from the Consumers Union regarding the delay the USDA
denies there was a delay. This latest scare is just one of a series of
E. coli-related food recalls to hit North America this year; others have
included tainted spinach and salad mixes and experts are at a loss to
explain why there have been so many outbreaks.
Critics say all processed meat should be tested, which is not currently
Consumers are advised to look for the recalled products in their freezers
and return them if found.
Nine brands have been recalled with a sell-by date between September 25th,
2007, and September 25th, 2008, along with a package number of 9748.
The recalled products include Butcher's Best Beef Patties, Kohler Foods
Hamburgers, Mike's Beef Patties, Pathmark Beef Burgers, Rastelli's Hamburgers,
Roma- Topps Premium Hamburgers, Sam's Choice Gourmet Burgers, Sand Castle
Burgers, Shop Rite Hamburgers, West Side Hamburgers and a wide range of
Consumers, retails and distributors with questions about the recall should
contact the company's recall line at 888-734-0451 or the USDA Meat and
Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHOTLINE or visit www.fsis.usda.gov for full information
on the recalled products.
Seen as Key To Upgrading Food Safety
By Renae Merle
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 2, 2007; Page D01
Source of Article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
A consensus is building among government and food industry officials that
the fix for the country's import safety system is likely to require better-targeted
inspections, though not necessarily more of them. Yesterday, Mike Leavitt,
secretary of health and human services and chairman of a panel established
by President Bush to study the safety of imported food, reflected that
point of view when he said: "We simply cannot inspect our way to
Leavitt was speaking in a packed auditorium at the Department of Agriculture,
where the Interagency Working Group on Import Safety heard from more than
40 speakers. The panel is compiling a list of recommendations that is
expected to be issued by next month and is likely to include an emphasis
on using technology to target risky importers and coordinating oversight
The idea that inspections need not be increased has been challenged by
consumer advocates and those in Congress who have proposed a series of
reforms to the food safety system, including importer fees and consolidated
oversight under a single agency. They consider increased inspection necessary
but acknowledge that the Food and Drug Administration's budget makes that
difficult under current circumstances.
The question of how to keep the nation's imported food supply safe emerged
early in the summer after a series of recalls and warnings, mostly about
Chinese products. The problems included an unknown number of pets that
died from pet food tainted with a toxic chemical, followed by contaminated
toothpaste, toys with excessive lead and seafood with banned antibiotics.
The spurt of news came as U.S. consumers remain concerned about an E.
coli outbreak last year that cleared shelves of spinach and led to at
least three deaths. Only 66 percent of shoppers are confident that the
food they buy at the grocery store is safe, down from 82 percent last
year, according to the Food Marketing Institute.
At first, attention turned to the government's reliance on random inspections
to catch problems, and demands that those inspections be increased. The
FDA inspects less than 1 percent of the food under its oversight, including
seafood and produce. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has fewer
than 100 investigators for the 15,000 types of consumer items, from toys
to electrical outlets, that come into the country every year.
In the weeks since then, however, as President Bush's panel set to work,
at least a half-dozen pieces of legislation were introduced in Congress
and a series of hearings on the proposed laws were held, the prevailing
sentiment has come down to this: The U.S. import safety system is indeed
broken, but the short-term fix probably lies in requiring manufacturers
to ensure the safety of their suppliers and giving U.S. regulators more
power to oversee the safety system they put in place. Importers could
be expected, for example, to certify that their suppliers are meeting
tough safety standards.
Government and industry officials note that the sheer volume of imports
-- $2.2 trillion this year, twice the level in 2000 -- makes increasing
inspections impractical. It would require hundreds, if not thousands,
of new inspectors, and would slow business at the borders, they say. "People
can say, 'let's increase inspections' and that is all well and good, but
you are looking for a needle in the haystack," said Tom Stenzel,
president and chief executive of the United Fresh Produce Association.
Instead, the import safety panel is expected to push for expanded use
of technology to more quickly identify risky imports. Leavitt has supported
the use of technology at the border that could read the contents of a
sports drink bottle, for example, looking for potentially toxic chemicals
without opening it. The FDA is developing a food-safety strategy to be
unveiled this fall that would rely on risk-based inspection but has not
asked for more resources to pay for more inspections.
"There is an emerging consensus that we should continue to improve
our ability to detect threats but not rely on detection as the front line,"
said Scott Faber, vice president of government affairs for the Grocery
Manufacturers Association. "Our inspectors should be the remedy of
But increasing inspections remains the cornerstone of many of the congressional
proposals under consideration, along with empowering the FDA to mandate
recalls. Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) and Rep. John
D. Dingell (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce,
have both proposed charging importers a fee that would raise hundreds
of millions of dollars and help fund more inspections. Supporters of the
legislation say that although increasing inspections may not be enough
to tackle the entire food safety problem, it is critical to the process.
"We need more inspections at foreign factories or processing plants
as well as inspections at our ports of entry," Donald L. Mays, senior
director of product safety at Consumers Union, told the panel yesterday.
Which viewpoints prevail may depend on how much lawmakers are able to
accomplish before the end of the year. In the short term, consumers may
see more resources for the FDA and other regulatory agencies, said Rep.
Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), vice chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
More systematic restructuring of the food safety system, including consolidating
oversight under a single agency, will take time, she said. "We need
to beef up every area of food safety," she said.
FSIS to Co-Host
Public Meeting on the Public Health Significance of Non-E. coli O157:H7
Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli
Congressional and Public Affairs Bridgette Keefe (202) 720-9113
WASHINGTON, Oct. 5, 2007 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety
and Inspection Service (FSIS), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services'
Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied
Nutrition (CFSAN) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
today announced a public meeting to solicit input on the public health
significance of various strains of Escherichia coli (E. coli). Currently
only one strain, E. coli O157:H7 is considered an adulterant in meat.
The CDC has reported an increase in the number of non-O157:H7 Shiga toxin-producing
E. coli (STEC) infections from 2000 to 2005. Outbreaks from these organisms
have been reported in the U.S. since 1990, and foodborne exposures have
been suspected in many of these outbreaks. The purpose of the meeting
is to solicit input from academia, consumers, other public health and
regulatory agencies and industry on the issue of whether non-O157:H7 STECs
should be considered to be adulterants as E. coli O157:H7.
The public meeting will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2007, from 8:30
a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the George Mason University Arlington campus, 3401
N. Fairfax Drive, Room 244, Arlington, Va., 22201.
To pre-register to attend in person or via teleconference, visit FSIS'
Web site at www.fsis.usda.gov or contact Sheila Johnson at (202) 690-6498
or by e-mail at Sheila.Johnson@fsis.usda.gov.
The agenda and other related will be available prior to the meeting on
the FSIS Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/.
All interested parties are welcome to submit comments by Oct. 15 to Dr.
Denise Eblen by phone (202) 690-6238, fax (202) 690-6364, e-mail Denise.Eblen@fsis.usda.gov,
or by mail to U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection
Service, Office of Public Health Science, 1400 Independence Ave, SW, 357
Aerospace Center, Washington, DC 20250. Persons requiring a sign language
interpreter or other special accommodations should notify Dr. Eblen by
ROSA ¢ç Approved
for Wide Range of Commodities
Source from : Rapidmicrobiology.com
Charm Sciences, Inc. has received approval from the United States Department
of Agriculture¡¯s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration
(GIPSA) on the detection of aflatoxin and DON in more grain commodities
than any other test.
Charm Sciences is pleased to
announce a record number of grain commodities approved for the ROSA ¢ç
mycotoxin test kits. ROSA (Rapid One Step Assay) technology represents
breakthrough advancement in mycotoxin detection by delivering fast, economical,
accurate diagnostics for mycotoxins in convenient, one-step strip assays.
The ROSA Quantitative test
for aflatoxin has successfully attained the USDA's GIPSA Certificate of
Performance (COP) for the detection of total aflatoxin in rye, oats, and
distillers dried grains with solubles, which brings the total number of
commodities approved to nineteen. The other commodities previously approved
for aflatoxin detection include: corn, corn flour, corn germ meal, corn
gluten meal, corn meal, corn screenings, corn soy blend, cracked corn,
distillers dried grains, flaking corn grits, milled rice, popcorn, rough
rice, sorghum, soybeans and wheat.
The ROSA Quantitative test
for DON, previously approved for wheat, has successfully attained the
USDA's Certificate of Performance (COP) for the detection of DON in nine
more commodities: barley, corn, malted barley, milled rice, oats, rough
rice, sorghum, wheat flour and wheat midds.
These additional commodities
expands the capability for official testing of aflatoxin and DON in the
national grain inspection system. In addition to the approved commodities
for aflatoxin and DON, five commodities have also been GIPSA approved
for zearalenone, including distillers dried grains with solubles. All
ROSA mycotoxin tests are optimized for use with the ROSA-M reader, which
stores electronic test results for documentation and trend analysis.
Aflatoxins a re a group of
chemicals produced by certain mold fungi. If not properly monitored or
controlled, the mold can produce dangerous mycotoxins that compromise
the quality of grains, food and feedstuffs. Aflatoxins are harmful or
fatal to livestock and are considered carcinogenic. Fusarium Head Blight
is a fungal disease that, under certain conditions, may produce DON (Deoxynivalenol),
also known as ¡°vomitoxin,¡± usually in wheat, but can also affect barley,
and oats. Livestock are particularly susceptible to the presence of DON
in feedstuffs by exhibiting signs of feed refusal.
BFSM to Use
BAX¢ç Detection System
Source from : Rapidmicrobiology.com
The food safety monitoring authority in Beijing - Beijing Municipal Center
for Food Safety Monitoring (BFSM) - will use the BAX¢ç detection system
from DuPont to conduct its food safety supervision tasks in 2008.
BFSM was set up by the Beijing
Food Safety Administration in 2004 to provide technical support for food
safety management of the Beijing municipal government and the 2008 sports
competition. In addition to selecting and organizing food safety testing
institutes for the athletic events, the center also gathers food safety
information, deals with emerging incidences and conducts risk evaluations.
¡°We are pleased to be working
with BFSM to help ensure orderly food safety inspections in Beijing,¡±
said Kevin Huttman, president - DuPont Qualicon. ¡°As a leader in food
diagnostics, we welcome this opportunity to share our expertise and provide
technical support to help build a food safety supervision system for Beijing
that will better serve the public with safer and healthier food.¡±
¡°Cooperating with DuPont on
the analytic technique of microbe inspection is very exciting,¡± said Lu
Yong, director of BFSM. ¡°I am looking forward to a huge step forward in
our testing ability as well as further cooperation in food safety through
bilateral communication. The DNA-based BAX¢ç system can deliver highly
accurate testing results, which will significantly help us to conduct
accurate analysis and evaluation on food.¡±
The BAX¢ç system was the first
commercial product to apply Nobel-prize winning technology - the polymerase
chain reaction (PCR) - to food testing in 1995. PCR is a fast and simple
way to replicate DNA fragments from very minute amounts of source material.
With this application, DuPont Qualicon delivered a dramatic increase in
speed over previous technologies - and led the industry into a new era
of fast, easy-to-use testing with more accurate results.
The BAX¢ç system offers advanced
DNA-based detection of microbes in food, from raw ingredients to finished
products. It has been adopted by the United States Department of Agriculture
Food Safety and Inspection Service for meat and poultry testing, validated
by many international government labs and certified by independent authorities,
such as AOAC International and the French Association of Normalization
(AFNOR). In addition to safety testing for Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7,
Listeria and other pathogens, quality testing on the same platform can
be performed with the BAX¢ç system 48-hour assay for yeast and mold. DuPont
Qualicon also markets the patented RiboPrinter¢ç System, the world's only
automated DNA fingerprinting instrument that rapidly pinpoints sources
of bacteria in food and pharmaceuticals.
method to counter Salmonella faster
By staff reporter
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com
05/10/2007 - Microbiology firm Oxoid is launching a new culture method
that it says can improve the isolation, differentiation and identification
of Salmonella species from foods some 24 to 48 hours earlier than other
Dubbed the Oxoid Salmonella Rapid Culture Method, the company says it
has been developed to provide excellent recovery of salmonella and provide
presumptive positive colonies in just 42 hours. That, it says, is considerably
less time than is required by traditional culture methods.
"The identification of Salmonella contamination is a critical function
in food microbiology laboratories and delays can have an enormous impact
on the efficiency and economy of businesses," said Cheryl Mooney,
industrial applications manager at Oxoid.
"Not only will the Oxoid Salmonella Rapid Culture Method save time
by providing presumptive positive colonies in just 42 hours, but it also
saves on resources by reducing the number of colonies requiring confirmation."
Oxoid, which is part of Thermo
Fisher Scientific Inc, says the method combines features from two of its
Its ONE Broth-Salmonella is
described as "a highly nutritious enrichment broth containing a specific
growth promoter to ensure excellent recovery of stressed and damaged Salmonella
cells, whilst inhibiting the growth of competing micro-organisms."
This means enrichment can be
performed in one 18-hour incubation, whereas usually secondary enrichment
would be required. After this, the sample is plated onto OSCM II, a chromogenic
culture media designed to utilise the trademarked Inhibigen technology.
This technology selectively
reduces background flora, allowing clearer visualisation of target colonies
in mixed culture and thus improves the recovery and differentiation of
Salmonella. Salmonella colonies show up in bright purple, whereas any
other organisms, like Klebsiella and Enterobacter do not. This, the company
says, reduces the number of false-positives requiring confirmation.
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