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expands to 272 cases
Source of Article:
Oct 30, 2007 (CIDRAP News) A Salmonella outbreak associated with pot pies
from ConAgra Foods has increased to 272 cases in 35 states, the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported yesterday.
At least 65 people have been hospitalized in the outbreak, but none have
died, the CDC said in what it labeled its last update on the episode.
The latest case count is close to double the 139 cases reported by the
CDC in its first notice about the outbreak on Oct 9.
Yesterday the CDC said at least 272 isolates collected from patients were
identified as Salmonella serotype I4,,12:i:- and had matching genetic
fingerprints. A CDC case-control study has linked salmonellosis cases
with eating Banquet brand pot pies, and the outbreak strain has also been
found in three pot pies bought by patients, the agency said.
ConAgra first issued a consumer advisory about the outbreak on Oct 9 and
followed up with a recall of all varieties of its pot pies on Oct 11,
though cases had been linked only to chicken and turkey pies.
The recall includes Banquet pot pies and those sold under the following
labels: Albertson's, Food Lion, Great Value, Hill Country Fare, Kirkwood,
Kroger, Meijer, and Western Family. The 7-ounce pies bear the establishment
number "P-9" or "Est. 1059" on the side of the package.
The CDC said consumers should check their freezers and return or discard
Of the states affected by the outbreak, Washington has had the most cases
with 27, according to the CDC. Wisconsin has had 24 cases, while California,
Missouri, and Pennsylvania have had 18 each.
Oct 29 CDC update
E. coli Recall and ConAgra Salmonella Too
Posted on October 31, 2007 by E. coli Lawyer
Beef recalls raise concerns about food safety
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
Jeffrey Gold, AP Business Writer (a.k.a. ¡°E. coli Guy¡±) interviewed the
husband and father of two of my clients in the Topps E. coli case:
¡®Food is being pushed out at such a rapid pace to keep up with demand,
the product is not as safe as it could be. And we¡¯re risking human life.¡¯
Topps eventually issued a recall Sept. 25, and then expanded it Sept.
29 to include all frozen patties it had made in the past year?21.7 million
pounds?the second-largest beef recall in U.S. history. Much of the meat
had already been eaten, however, and illness in at least 40 people in
eight states has been linked to the Topps hamburgers. Keith Goodwin said
the victims include his wife and a son, and wondered if the timing of
the recall was at fault. He said they ate Topps hamburgers at a family
picnic Sept. 15 in upstate New York, more than a week after authorities
had evidence that Topps patties were contaminated.
¡°If the public had been made aware of that, a lot of these illnesses would
have been avoided,¡± said Mr. Goodwin, of Groton, N.Y., who teaches at
the town¡¯s elementary school. He said his wife, Kristin, 34, was hospitalized
for two days, while his son Lucas, 8, suffered kidney failure and was
hospitalized for eight days. ¡°The whole ordeal has been very scary,¡± Goodwin
coli Update and Background
Posted on November 1, 2007 by E. coli Attorney
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
According to the General Mills website, it is the ¡°sixth largest food
company in the world." It is also a Fortune 500 company with headquarters
in Minnesota, with revenues for 2007 estimated to be nearly $12,500,000,000.
On today's news of poisoned pizzas, General Mills shares were down $1.08,
or 1.87 percent, at $56.65 on the New York Stock Exchange.
According to today's new's reports, since July 1 of this year, General
Mills said Totino's and Jeno's have distributed more than 120 million
pizzas nationwide. The frozen pizza products were produced in the company's
Wellston, Ohio, plant and distributed nationwide. Surprisingly, General
Mills has only recalled 5 million of the 120 million pizzas produced.
One wonders if more will be recalled over the coming days.
source from www.marlerblog.com/
According the the CDC, the earliest case was reported on July 20, and
the latest was reported on October 10. The ten states reporting illness
are, Illinois (1), Kentucky (3), Missouri (2), New York (2), Ohio (1),
Pennsylvania (1), South Dakota (1), Tennessee (8), Virginia (1), and Wisconsin
(1). Still no announcement by General Mills that it will take care of
the victims by paying medical bills and wage loss.
E. coli O157:H7
Illnesses linked to General Mills Totino's Pizza in Illinois, Kentucky,
Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia,
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
Posted on November 1, 2007 by Food Poisoning Attorney
General Mills Operations, a Wellston, Ohio, establishment, is voluntarily
recalling an undetermined amount of frozen meat pizza products because
they may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 and may be linked to an
outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses, the U.S. Department of Agriculture¡¯s
Food Safety and Inspection Service announced today.
The following products are
subject to recall:
10.2-ounce packages of ¡°Totino¡¯s The Original Crisp Crust Party Pizza
10.2-ounce packages of ¡°Totino¡¯s The Original Crisp Crust Party Pizza,
Classic Pepperoni.¡± 10.2-ounce packages of ¡°Totino¡¯s The Original Crisp
Crust Party Pizza, Pepperoni Trio.¡±
10.7-ounce packages of ¡°Totino¡¯s The Original Crisp Crust Party Pizza,
Combination Sausage & Pepperoni Pizza.¡±
10.5-ounce packages of ¡°Totino¡¯s The Original Crisp Crust Party Pizza,
Three Meat Sausage, Canadian Style Bacon & Pepperoni Pizza.¡±
10.9-ounce packages of ¡°Totino¡¯s The Original Crisp Crust Party Pizza,
Supreme Sausage & Pepperoni Pizza with Green Peppers & Onions.¡±
6.8-ounce packages of ¡°JENO¡¯S CRISP `N TASTY PIZZA, PEPPERONI.¡±
7.0-ounce packages of ¡°JENO¡¯S CRISP `N TASTY PIZZA, COMBINATION SAUSAGE
AND PEPPERONI PIZZA.¡±
7.2-ounce packages of ¡°JENO¡¯S CRISP `N TASTY PIZZA, SUPREME SAUSAGE AND
PEPPERONI WITH GREEN PEPPERS AND ONION PIZZA.¡±
Each package also bears the establishment number ¡°EST. 7750¡± inside the
USDA mark of inspection as well as a ¡°best if used by¡± date on or before
¡°02 APR 08 WS.¡± The company applies the ¡°best if used by date¡± on the
package based on a 155-day shelf life, however consumers are urged to
look in their freezers for similar frozen pizza products and discard them
if found. The frozen meat pizza products subject to recall were produced
on or before Oct. 30 and were distributed to retail establishments nationwide.
The recall affects approximately 414,000 cases of pizza products currently
in stores and all similar pizza products in consumers¡¯ freezers. It includes
eight SKUs (stock keeping units or UPC codes) of Totino¡¯s brand frozen
pizza and three SKUs of Jeno¡¯s brand frozen pizza with pepperoni topping,
or incorporating pepperoni in combination with other toppings.
The potential problem was uncovered
by state and federal authorities investigating 21 occurrences of E. coli-related
illnesses in 10 states. Approximately half of the individuals who became
ill were hospitalized as a result. The earliest case reported to state
authorities occurred on July 20, and the latest case reported occurred
on Oct. 10. Nine of the 21 people reported having eaten Totino¡¯s or Jeno¡¯s
pizza with pepperoni topping at some point prior to becoming ill. Since
July 1 of this year, Totino¡¯s and Jeno¡¯s have distributed more than 120
million pizzas nationwide.
The problem was discovered
following an investigation carried out by the Tennessee Department of
Health in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
into a multi-state cluster of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses that may be linked
to this product. Illnesses occurred in Illinois (1), Kentucky (3), Missouri
(2), New York (2), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (1), South Dakota (1), Tennessee
(, Virginia (1), and Wisconsin (1). Illness onset dates ranged between
July 20 and Oct. 10.
E. coli More
Dangerous Than Ever, As Recalls of Tainted Meat Surge
Date Published: Monday, October 29th, 2007
Source of Article: http://www.newsinferno.com/archives/1967
E. coli tainted meat has become a major health problem, as the number
of outbreaks and meat recalls blamed on this deadly bacteria have reached
record levels in recent months. So far this year, there have been 16 separate
recalls of E. coli contaminated meat, double what they where in 2006.
Often, the slow action by the US Department of Agriculture and other agencies
charged with protecting the US food supply allows E. coli contaminated
foods to sicken thousands of people across the country. While Americans
simply can¡¯t assume that their food is safe from E. coli, there are some
steps that can consumers can take to lessen the threat posed by E. coli
E. coli is a bacterium that occurs naturally in the intestines of most
animals, including humans. Most types of the bacteria are harmless, but
the E. coli 0157:H7 strain can be particularly dangerous to people. The
symptoms of E. coli poisoning usually occur within 3 to 9 days after a
victim eats contaminated foods. E. coli 0157:H7 causes a disease called
hemorrhagic colitis, which is the sudden onset of stomach pain and severe
cramps. This is followed by diarrhea that is watery and bloody. Sometimes
there is vomiting, but there is no fever. The illness lasts about a week.
While most people will recover completely, E. coli poisoning can be very
dangerous for children, the elderly and anyone with a weak immune system.
In some cases, E. coli 0157:H7 will cause a disorder called hemolytic
uremic syndrome, which can be life-threatening. According to the Centers
for Disease Control (CDC), E. coli 0157:H7 is responsible for sickening
73,000 people every year, and of those, 60 will die from the disease.
Fresh vegetable like spinach have been known to cause E. coli outbreaks.
But because the E. coli 0157:H7 strain occurs naturally in the intestines
of cows, most outbreaks this year have been traced to tainted beef. Meat
products are likely to become contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7 during
slaughtering. Ground beef is especially troublesome because the grinding
process can spread the E. coli bacteria throughout the meat. Fortunately,
E. coli bacteria can be killed by cooking meats to an internal temperature
of 160-degrees. For safety¡¯s sake, consumers should use a meat thermometer
to insure that this temperature has been reached, as color is not an accurate
indicator of doneness. Consumers should also wash their hands frequently
when handling raw meat, and utensils previously used on raw meat should
never be used to prepare other food items unless they are washed first
in hot, soapy water.
People who are suffering from an intestinal illness that could be E. coli
should see a doctor immediately. E. coli poisoning can only be confirmed
through the testing of stool samples. E. coli victims should be given
plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, but under no circumstances should
a person suffering from E. coli poisoning be given anti-diarrheal medications,
as this can prevent the E. coli toxin from being eliminated from the body.
These medications can actually increase the risk that an E. coli victim
will develop hemolytic uremic syndrome.
E. coli poisoning is an entirely preventable infection, but unfortunately
neither food processors nor government regulators are doing enough to
keep E. coli tainted meat out of the food supply. Consumers are the last
line of defense in preventing E. coli poisoning. Being safe during food
preparation can go a long way towards eliminating the risk of developing
a deadly E. coli infection.
and Suitable Ingredients Used in the Production of Meat and Poultry Products
shuts Fox's chocolate plant (UK)
Tue Oct 30, 2007
Source of Article: http://uk.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUKL3081803220071030
LONDON (Reuters) - Fox's Confectionery, makers of Fox's Glacier Mints
and other sweets, said on Tuesday it had halted production at a plant
after discovering salmonella but said no contaminated products had left
Spokesman Tim Roberts said salmonella had been discovered at a factory
on October 15. The company said in a statement it believed a batch of
Brazil nuts at its Leicester factory in central England was to blame.
It had shut production on four lines and began a testing and cleansing
programme under supervision of the Food Standards Agency and the regional
office of the Environmental Food Team and hoped full production could
resume later this week.
"We want to reassure all of our customers once again that no affected
product whatsoever was released and that stocks on retailers' shelves
are completely safe," chief executive Mario Giannotta said.
warn against folic acid fortification
By Charlotte Eyre
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/
31/10/2007 - Researchers at the UK Institute of Food Research have warned
that fortifying flour with folic acid may lead to a range of health problems,
a finding that calls into question the Food Standard Agency's approval
of the move earlier this year.
The findings could have a major effect on future EU member government
legislation concerning the addition of synthetic folates, a B vitamin,
to flour. The move was previously praised because the folic acid has been
linked to the prevention of neural tube defects, such as Spina Bifida,
in unborn babies.
While the IFR agrees that neural tube defects are reduced by adding folic
acid to flour, the research body claims the move may also lead to a range
of health problems.
Unlike natural folates, such as those found in leafy green vegetables,
which are digested in the gut, synthetic supplements are metabolised in
the liver, IFR scientist Sian Astley explained. "The liver becomes
saturated and un-metabolised folic acid floats around the blood stream,"
she said. Once in the blood stream, the folates could provoke a number
of health complaints such as leukaemia, arthritis, bowel cancer and ectopic
"For women undergoing in-vitro fertilisation, it can also increase
the likelihood of conceiving multiple embryos, with all the associated
risks for the mother and babies," she added. "It could take
20 years for any potential harmful effects of un-metabolised folic acid
to become apparent."
Researchers called for further investigation into folic acid to gain a
true picture of both the benefits and the risks of adding the supplement
to flour across the UK.
New research is needed because scientists have assumed that folic acid
is metabolised in the small intestine since the 1980s, the IFR said.
"We challenge the underlying scientific premise behind this consensus",
Astley said. "This has important implications for the use of folic
acid in fortification, because even at low doses it could lead to over
consumption of folic acid with its inherent risks".
In a statement, the FSA said that it had carefully considered any health
risks associated with the move, including potential cancer risks.
The FSA originally agreed to recommend mandatory folic acid addition to
either bread or flour at an open board meeting in May, saying that the
decision has been made after "an extensive and scientifically robust
assessment". Deidre Hutton, the board's chair, said: "The FSA
is committed to policy-making that benefits people's health¡¦ The board
recognises that this move, as part of a package of measures, will help
prevent birth defects in pregnancy and have wider health benefits for
the rest of the population. The board was also reassured by the significant
science that the benefits outweigh potential risks." Countries that
have made the fortification of flour with folic acid mandatory include
the US, Canada and Chile, while the move is currently being debated by
regulators in Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. Source: British Journal
"Folic acid metabolism in human subjects revisited: potential implications
for proposed mandatory folic acid fortification in the UK."
Authors: J Wright, J Dainty, P Finglas
November 1, 2007
Source of Article: http://www.ausfoodnews.com.au/db/node/48992
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) today reissued its advice
on Listeria in food after a University of Wollongong study* found that
57% of the pregnant women surveyed weren¡¯t aware of all the foods that
are potentially high risk and approximately 25% continued to eat these
high risk foods while pregnant.
FSANZ¡¯s Chief Medical Advisor, Dr Bob Boyd, said that according to OzFoodNet
during 2006 in Australia there were eight Listeria infections in pregnant
women with two deaths out of the eight babies and that there were 51 Listeria
infections in the elderly or immuno-compromised with 7 deaths.
¡®The food industry, state and territory regulatory authorities and FSANZ
have extensive management processes in place to prevent Listeria contamination
during food production. However, listeriosis is usually caused by people
at risk eating food that has not been stored or handled properly once
the food has been produced or cooked.
¡®Listeria bacteria are found widely in nature and may be present in pre-prepared
uncooked foods or pre-cooked foods which have been kept for some time
after they have cooled down.
¡®If you or anyone in your household is pregnant, immuno-compromised or
elderly, it is important you reduce your risk by taking a few simple precautions.
For example: by eating only freshly prepared and well-washed food, following
good food hygiene practice such as washing and drying hands, by cooking
foods thoroughly, and by refrigerating leftovers immediately and keeping
them no more than a day.
¡®FSANZ has a free brochure that contains advice on safer eating alternatives
for people at risk in the meat, chicken, salads, seafood and dairy products
food categories. It also lists some higher risk foods that people at risk
should be wary of consuming especially if they are unsure about how the
foods have been stored and handled. However, the higher risk foods become
safe if you cook the food or reheat it to steaming hot throughout, and
serve it hot.
¡®Remember that good nutrition is essential during pregnancy, for those
with poor immune systems and the elderly. So it is important to replace
any food from the ¡®avoid¡¯ group with a similar one from the ¡®safe¡¯ group.
For example you can replace soft cheese with packaged cottage cheese or
cheddar and make your own salads just before the meal instead of buying
¡®The University of Wollongong research also found that 59% of pregnant
women had received some sort of information on food safety. Those that
had information received it from a number of sources including 48% from
their social network, 42% from health care providers and 27% from a Listeria
¡®I would like to remind health professionals of the dangers of Listeria
and to make sure they have supplies of the FSANZ brochure on Listeria.
I also suggest that family and friends may also want to remind pregnant
women about the risks of Listeria, especially first time mothers,¡¯ Dr
The Listeria brochure is available on the FSANZ website at http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/_srcfiles/Listeria.pdf
and copies can be ordered by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org . There
is a full list of higher risk foods and advice for health professionals
on the FSANZ website
http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/n . Pregnant women and health professionals
can also find information at the NSW Food Authority's website at www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/pregnancy.asp
, or via its NSW telephone Helpline on 1300 552 406 where brochures in
12 languages can be requested.
Mediacontact: Lydia Buchtmann FSANZ 0411 268 525 or +61 2 6271 2620 or
Source: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health (2007 vol.
31 no. 5), ¡°Listeria education in pregnancy: lost opportunity for health
professionals¡±, D. Bondarianzadeh, H. Yeatman & D. Condon-Paoloni
dairy make way to the table
SAN FRANCISCO - Families and friends who share eggnog, lamb curry or beef
stew this winter may not know whether the main ingredients came from cloned
animals, after the governor vetoed a San Francisco lawmaker¡¯s labeling
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is poised to end a voluntary moratorium
on the sale of dairy and meat from cloned cattle, goats, pigs and sheep,
after it ruled last year that the food is safe for humans. The agency
published a health risk assessment in December that noted high death rates
among cloned animals and host mothers, partly because of incidents of
¡®large animal syndrome¡¯ in cloned cattle and sheep.
A federal bill to require labels on food from cloned animals and their
descendents has been stalled in Democratic-controlled congressional committees
since February. A similar bill by state Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco,
passed the Legislature last month, but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently
refused to sign it.
To clone an animal, scientists move its genetic material into excavated
donor embryos, which are planted in host mothers to grow as genetic doppelgangers
of the prized beast. A Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology survey
last year found that two-thirds of Americans are ¡°uncomfortable¡± with
Migden said labels on cloned food would let consumers know and choose
what they put on the dinner table, but Schwarzenegger told lawmakers in
a veto statement that Migden¡¯s proposed rules ¡°could be unworkable, costly
and unenforceable,¡± and might violate federal law.
About a dozen agricultural and retail groups opposed Migden¡¯s bill. California
Farm Bureau lobbyist Noelle Cremers said cloning lets livestock producers
¡°more quickly respond to consumer demand¡± by replicating valued animals,
and that it would be ¡°next to impossible¡± to segregate food, for labeling
purposes, from cloned animals and their descendents.
Labels for cloned food would mislead consumers, which would violate federal
law, said Cremers, because there¡¯s ¡°absolutely no difference¡± between
food from cloned and non-cloned animals.
But food-safety and animal-welfare groups criticized Schwarzenegger¡¯s
decision. ¡°The animals are injected with large amounts of hormones ? and
that¡¯s a food safety issue,¡± said Rebecca Spector, the San Francisco-based
West Coast director of The Center for Food Safety.
The nonprofit noted in a report that the federal government¡¯s risk assessment
relied heavily on studies that weren¡¯t reviewed by other scientists. ¡°We
feel very strongly,¡± Spector said, ¡°that there hasn¡¯t been adequate testing.¡±
UC Davis biotechnologist Alison Van Eenennaam said overgrown young are
a side effect of in vitro fertilization, and that they¡¯re usually delivered
safely by Caesarean section. ¡°Most of these companies have got a few vets
on staff,¡± she said. ¡°It¡¯s not like it¡¯s Joe Blow out in the field hoping
for the best.¡± 10-29-07
Safety and Quality Related Job Openings
Food Safety Programs Director Food Marketing Institute
- Crystal City, VA
Food Chemist/ Nutritional Chemist EMSL Analytical,
Inc. - Indianapolis, IN
QA/QC Manager - Carl Buddig and Company South Holland, IL
Regional QA/Sanitation Specialist - BJ's Wholesale Club Baltimore/Wash
DC; VA; NC; SC
Quality Systems Manager - McCormick & Co., Inc. - Hunt Valley, MD
Sales/Marketing Position Sterilex Corp - Owings Mills, MD
Laboratory Coordinator/QA Supervisor - Bar-S Foods Co Elk City, OK
Safety and Quality Related Job Openings
When is a
Recall not a Recall? When you still can buy contaminated meat on your
Posted on October 31, 2007 by E. coli Attorney
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
Jeff Gold, AP Business Writer in New Jersey, has continued to dig into
the complete failure of the ¡°voluntary recall¡± system to get this E. coli
- contaminated Topps hamburger off store shelves. I posted nearly a week
ago when reports first surfaced that the product was still being sold
a month after Topps issued a recall (and went out of business). So, who
is responsible for removing E. coli ? contaminated meat off store shelves?
Mr. Gold¡¯s story:
State inspectors find more recalled meat at New Jersey stores
Meat recalled a month ago that could be contaminated with a potentially
fatal bacteria was found in seven northern New Jersey stores, state consumer
safety officials said Tuesday. Inspectors in the past week have seized
138 boxes of frozen hamburgers made by Topps Meat Co., which issued a
nationwide recall on Sept. 29 for 21.7 million pounds of frozen patties.
Greater New York Frozen Food Distribution Co. Inc., of New York, was subpoenaed
last week. A spokesman for the company said Tuesday that no meat was delivered
after the recall. "The meat was delivered before the recall, on Sept.
10," spokesman Frank Conner said. "We are one of many companies
that delivered the meat before the recall. We stopped delivering the meat
as soon as we heard about the recall. We have no control over what a grocery
store owner does with his stock."
"Recall," that it has been reported that there are at least
three "genetic fingerprints" of E. coli O157:H7 (potentially
meaning that the contamination at Topps came from multiple sources - at
least three) that has been found in ill people and in left over product.
One of those fingerprints was found in a Canadian Meat Plant (now also
in bankruptcy) that was the source of both meat to Topps and to the death
of one Canadian and the sickening of 44 others this past summer. It will
be interesting if the paperwork and grinding records at Topps allows for
the "traceback" of all genetic fingerprints to the source.
keeps meat red longer; is that good?
Source of Article: http://www.usatoday.com/
By Julie Schmit, USA TODAY
A small company in Kalamazoo, Mich., has the meat industry on the run
over how the meat you buy is packaged.
Kalsec has waged a two-year fight and spent $800,000 to battle food regulators
and meat producers over a fledgling practice of packaging fresh meat with
a harmless dose of carbon monoxide.
The gas keeps meat an appealing red for more than 20 days ? about twice
as long as other popular packaging and far longer than the few days unwrapped
meat stays red in a butcher's case.
The red color is the problem, say Kalsec, consumer groups and several
lawmakers. The gas not only keeps meat red while on the shelf but after
They say consumers ? who consider color when picking meat ? will be fooled
into buying spoiled or old meat and not smell trouble until they open
the package at home.
The packaging presents "serious consumer deception and food-safety
risks," Kalsec says in a filing to the Food and Drug Administration.
It wants the practice banned.
The meat industry disputes Kalsec's claims and says it is running a "baseless"
scare campaign because carbon monoxide packaging would obliterate a rival
A family-run firm with 300 employees, Kalsec sells natural colorings,
spices and herbs. One of its products is a rosemary extract that meat
processors use in packaging that keeps meat a nice red for about half
as long as the carbon monoxide-infused packaging.
When Kalsec saw major meat companies switch to carbon monoxide, "It
started an attack campaign," says Janet Riley of the American Meat
Institute, who says Kalsec's "arguments are hollow."
The meat industry says shoppers are tipped off to bad meat by bulging
packages in stores and expired use-or-freeze-by dates. By keeping meat
fresh-looking longer, the industry hopes to save millions of dollars a
year by selling meat that consumers would have shunned before because
of poor color.
Carbon monoxide packaging is "not a public health issue," says
Michael Osterholm, a public health official at the University of Minnesota
who often criticizes foodmakers for poor food-safety controls.
Osterholm, who also consults for food companies Fresh Express and Hormel
Foods, says he's never heard of a food-borne illness outbreak tied to
spoiled meat, in part because bacteria such as E. coli don't thrive in
spoiled meat because spoilage bacteria out-compete them for nutrients.
"There are huge issues in food safety right now, and this isn't one
Yet the issue is playing big on Capitol Hill. Two Democrats from Kalsec's
home state, Reps. John Dingell and Bart Stupak, have taken up the matter
as part of a wide-ranging assault on the government's food-safety record.
Their committee, the Energy and Commerce Committee, has not only held
two food-safety hearings this year in which the issue was discussed, but
they've also sent letters to meat companies and grocers challenging the
use of carbon monoxide packaging. Almost one by one, the letter-getters
Pages of questions
In June, the legislators wrote Safeway (SWY), noting that the company,
"unlike most other supermarket chains," sold fresh meat packaged
in a way to "alter the color of the meat to make it appear fresh
and wholesome indefinitely."
The letter then posed pages of questions for Safeway, including how it
"assures that consumers, particularly those of declining eyesight,
can read the use-or-freeze-by dates on packages."
In its response a month later, Safeway said it would drop the packaging,
explaining the committee's concerns may have "raised concerns with
customers who do not have the benefit of the background on this process."
Tyson Foods (TSN) in August curtailed use of the packaging after it, too,
got a letter. Tyson cited "lack of customer demand."
Giant Food, a Maryland-based chain, dropped it this month. It said, "Some
customers found the retention of the red color ¡¦ to be confusing."
Kroger and Publix have also shunned the packaging.
But Hormel (HRL), one of the technology's biggest backers along with foodmaker
Cargill, says it's put out 120 million packages of product using carbon
monoxide and has a consumer complaint ratio that rivals "the Maytag
repairman," Hormel Vice President Phil Minerich said Tuesday in a
hearing before the House Committee on Agriculture.
Opponents say consumers don't know they're buying carbon-monoxide-infused
packages. Labels don't disclose it, and the packaging looks like other
meats packed in what foodmakers call "modified atmosphere packaging,"
In MAP packages, foodmakers use a combination of gases ? nitrogen, oxygen,
carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide ? to battle the aging effects that
regular air has on foods. Leafy-green companies and potato-chipmakers
use MAP, but they don't use carbon monoxide. Kalsec's rosemary extract
is used by meat producers in a non-carbon-monoxide MAP format.
Stupak, who chairs the House's Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee,
has co-authored a bill that would require a safety notice on meat, seafood
and poultry using carbon monoxide packaging.
He says committee investigators recently found healthy-looking imported
fish packaged with carbon monoxide to be decomposed. The proposed notice
would warn consumers to "discard any product with an unpleasant odor,
slime, or a bulging package."
No 'alarmist' label needed?
Riley of the meat institute says there's no evidence an "alarmist"
label is needed. "Packaging gases have never been labeled,"
Minerich told lawmakers Tuesday.
The hearing ? whose witnesses included Cargill and Tyson representatives
? provided a more supportive atmosphere for the meat industry than hearings
held by Dingell and Stupak. Kalsec refused an invitation to testify, and
several consumer groups complained that they weren't invited.
The FDA has so far allowed carbon monoxide packaging for beef, pork and
raw tuna when used as an ingredient in tasteless smoke, used as a preservative.
Other regulators have been tougher. The European Union doesn't allow it
for meat and tuna. Canada bans it in fish; Singapore does for fresh tuna.
Kalsec says a big concern is that meat not stored at a proper temperature
might spoil but still look good. The European Union had the same worry
in 2001 when a committee said carbon monoxide in packaged meats posed
"no health concerns" as long as meats were kept at proper temperatures.
If not, "The presence of carbon monoxide may mask visual evidence
of spoilage," it said.
Kalsec also says that the FDA should have treated the carbon monoxide
as a "color additive," which requires a rigorous FDA safety
review. Instead, the FDA allows it under regulations for substances that
are "generally recognized as safe," based on evidence submitted
by proponents. The U.S. Department of Agriculture shares the FDA's stance
on the issue.
Kalsec Vice President Don Berdahl acknowledges that Kalsec has a financial
interest in the battle. He says the company wants "a level playing
field" and that "it's ridiculous the FDA has dropped the ball."
Kalsec says it didn't testify Tuesday before the Agriculture Committee
because its beef is with the FDA.
The FDA had no comment. It is reviewing Kalsec's petition.
The meat industry says Kalsec's additive argument is off-base, given a
25-year-old decision by the FDA to draw a distinction between products
that "impart" color and those that "fix" color, which
it says is what carbon monoxide does.
Kalsec's petition, the industry argues in filings to the FDA, should be
"denied" as it is a "transparent, misguided and misleading
attempt to challenge a competing product."
Bidirectional Connection with LIMS for Both Pathogen and Quality Indicator
source from: rapidmicrobiology.com
bioMerieux launches BCI-Net to connect its TEMPO¢ç and VIDAS¢ç platforms
to customer LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System). BCI-Net is
a bioMerieux communication interface, designed to simplify, secure and
speed up data management.
¡°bioMerieux is always looking for innovations that will bring increased
productivity and traceability to our customers,¡± said Alexandre Merieux,
bioMerieux Corporate Vice President, Industrial Microbiology. ¡°We are
proud to be the first company to provide a bidirectional communication
interface with the LIMS for both pathogen and quality indicator analysis.¡±
Today many laboratories are investing in LIMS to help them be compliant
with the traceability legislation (ISO 17025) and to improve their productivity.
BCI-Net ensures complete traceability. Data quality and integrity are
improved since analysis demands and results are automatically transferred
between LIMS and the TEMPO¢ç and VIDAS¢ç platforms, thereby reducing possible
Connecting the bioMerieux analyses systems to the LIMS simplifies the
laboratory workflow by reducing manual data transfers. The TEMPO¢ç-VIDAS¢ç
LIMS connection also allows customers to facilitate and accelerate their
supply chain management by checking pathogen and Quality Indicator results
as they come in.
With its open architecture platform, BCI-Net is able to connect VIDAS¢ç
and TEMPO¢ç to most LIMS.
read the labels as food safety fears increase
5:00AM Friday November 02, 2007
By Errol Kiong
Source of Article: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/topic/story.cfm?c_id=206&objectid=10473622
Sue Kedgley has campaigned for country of origin labelling on food. Photo
/ Wanganui Chronicle
Nearly three in five people are now reading ingredients labels as New
Zealanders grow increasingly concerned over food safety.
A report commissioned by the Food Safety Authority which was released
yesterday has shown a 10 per cent increase in the number of people likely
to study ingredients labels than was indicated in a similar survey in
The telephone poll of 750 people conducted by UMR Research also found
that more people thought food safety standards had declined.
Food safety campaigner and Green MP Sue Kedgley said the survey results
were not a surprise.
"They certainly validate what I pick up around New Zealand.
"There's a growing disquiet about some of the ingredients in highly
processed food and concern about the amounts of sugar, fat and salt."
Food safety scandals in China had also undermined people's confidence,
"People, perhaps, don't just have that blind trust they probably
once had that anything that's on sale in the supermarket must be safe."
She said it bolstered calls for more comprehensive food labelling. Her
petition seeking country of origin labelling already has more than 30,000
"They're just rolling in. It's really touched a chord - people do
want it and I would hope that the Government listens to consumers and
responds to the petition."
But Food Safety Authority deputy chief executive Sandra Daly said the
results could not be interpreted as supportive of country-of-origin labelling.
She attributed increased awareness and interest in nutrition as the main
factor in the rise in people reading labels. The results were generally
in line with surveys conducted in 2003 and 2005.
While 85 per cent of respondents cited chicken as a primary food safety
concern, 95 per cent said they were aware of the need for special care
when cooking and handling poultry, and always checked to ensure it had
been cooked properly before eating.
Nearly one in five also agreed with the statement, "a little bit
of food-related illness every now and then is good as it builds your immunity"
- more than double the figure from 2003. The number who disagreed with
the statement also dropped by 20 per cent.
Ms Daly said the finding was "surprising" but the survey did
not probe the reason for people's opinions on that matter.
Overall, three-quarters of respondents cited salmonella as a food safety
issue that most concerned them, followed by antibiotics in meat (67 per
cent) and campylobacter (63 per cent).
Those concerned about the use of pesticides to grow food and genetically
modified foods remained consistent at 62 per cent and 56 per cent respectively.
While 42 per cent believed government regulations on food handling at
fundraising barbecues or food stalls would be over the top, 81 per cent
expected the same level of food safety at a fundraiser as they would at
any other commercial outlet.
makes Microbiological Monitoring Rapid, Safe and Convenient.
source from: rapidmicrobiology.com
Anachem has launched its new monitor unit MiGroFilterM together with MiGroMedia,
ready-to-use, pre-aliquoted, species specific media. This single use pre-sterilised
monitoring system is ideal for use in quality control procedures for beer,
wine, soft drink and bottled water production. This convenient, all in
one system ensures ease of use, and consistency of testing conditions
to ensure maximum reliability of results.
The MiGroFilterM unit comes
complete with a graduated sample vessel, fixed gridded cellulose acetate
membrane and culturing Petri dish device with re-sealable vacuum port.
The 100ml capacity makes it perfect for testing for contamination in liquid
samples, from raw material to finished products. The system is supplied
pre-sterilised and ready-to-use; saving you up to 70% in set up time and
eliminating the risk of cross-contamination.
For even greater convenience
and to suit specific applications, a choice of ready to use MiGroMedia
is available: M Green Yeast & Mould, M-TGE Total Count Media, M-Endo
Coliform Broth, KF Streptococcus Broth, Cetrimide Broth or MLSB. The media
is pre-aliquoted in easy-to-use, 2ml sterile ampoules that save you time
and money. It has an industry leading shelf-life of up to 18 months for
added convenience, MiGroMedia ensures that every test is carried out using
the same preparation, quality controlled media, removing the possibility
of user-to-user inconsistencies.
After the filtration step is
complete, the funnel is removed from the device and the pre-aliquoted
MiGroMedia is added. The lid is then replaced on the unit converting it
into a petri dish for culturing any microbes recovered from the test sample..
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