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Journal of Food Saety
Conference for Food Safety and Quality Group Picture
San Francisco, November 6-7, 2007
Next Meeting November 11-12, 2008, San Francisco.
hit snack world
By Charlotte Eyre Source of
05/11/2007 - Pieces of metal may have fallen into sweet treats in the
UK and E. coli is suspected in pizza and beef patties in the US, reminding
snack manufacturers that both physical and pathogen contaminants can lead
to costly recalls.
The news emphasises why processors must always be vigilant, as a range
of safety breaches lead to food products being pulled from shelves, as
well as negative publicity and a dip in consumer trust.
Unwanted metal detected
Marks & Spencer this week announced the withdrawal of cheesecakes,
while United Biscuit pulled a range of biscuit products, after processing
managers raised the alarm that pieces of thin metal wire had fallen into
the finished products.
Marks & Spencer has now withdrawn Belgian chocolate, frozen chocolate
and Courvoisier cream cheesecakes from its own stores, after a supplier
warned the company about the possible presence of the wire in the biscuit
The company said it has also put up point-of-sale notices in all stores
where the product was sold, in order to advise consumers to get rid of
the cakes if they've already been purchased.
The contaminated United Biscuits chocolate bourbons have an even wider
range, as they have already been sold for private label use in supermarkets
across the UK, such as Co-op, Aldi, Morrisons, Sainsbury, Somerfield and
In a statement, the company blamed the possible contamination on a "machine
failure", and apologised to all retailers who may have bought the
"We have launched a full investigation to ensure this problem does
not occur in the future," a United Biscuit spokesperson said. "We
would also like to apologise to consumers for any inconvenience."
Pieces of metal can cause distress and physical injury to consumers if
swallowed, especially if the pieces are sharp of jagged.
However, detection in the food industry is sometimes difficult, as traditional
metal detectors can often not distinguish between 'legitimate' metal,
such as clips on the ends of sausages or aluminium tins, and rogue contaminants.
E. coli strikes US factories
Cargill and General Mills last week ordered a recall over fears that the
pathogen E. coli had found its way into meat products.
Cargill, the largest meat processor in the US, announced Saturday it was
recalling about 1m lbs (454,000 kgs) of ground beef because of possible
infection with the E. coli 0157:H7, a potentially fatal pathogen that
causes diarrhoea and dehydration.
The beef had already been used in a number of products sent to retailers,
including ground beef patties, lean beef meat and meat loaf.
"However, no illnesses have been associated with this product,"
said John Keating, president of the Cargill Regional Beef division. "We
are working closely with the USDA to remove the product from the marketplace."
It was also feared that the same E. coli strain could have found it's
way into pepperoni meat used on pizza made by the companies Totino's and
Jeno's, both subsidiaries of General Mills.
"The recall affects approximately 414,000 cases of pizza products
currently in stores and all similar pizza products in consumers' freezers,"
General Mills said. "The frozen pizza products were produced in the
company's Wellston, Ohio, plant and distributed to retail establishments
However, unlike any Cargill meat products, pizzas were consumed by several
individuals later struck down by food poisoning, according to Reuters.
The possible E. coli contamination was uncovered by federal authorities
who discovered that nine out of a group 21 people suffering from food
poisoning had consumed Totino's or Jeno's pizza with pepperoni topping
at some point before becoming ill, the news agency said.
In the US an estimated 76 million cases of foodborne illnesses occur each
year, causing about 325,000 hospitalisations and 5,000 deaths, according
to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics for 2005.
with water may not be enough
Alumna discovers shigella bacteria cannot be removed from vegetables
By Eric Heisig
Posted: 11/8/07 Source of Article: http://media.www.dailyillini.com/
Cooks run their vegetables under water to clean them before they are served,
but even that preventative measure may not be enough, according to a University
study published earlier this year. While researching her doctoral dissertation,
Meredith Agle, a 2003 University alumna who works as a scientist at Rich
Products, found some types of food-borne pathogens on vegetables cannot
be killed by rinsing them under water. These pathogens can make a person
sick if not removed. The study revolved around the shigella bacteria,
Agle said, which can cause illness if biofilms form and stick to the vegetable.
An outbreak of shigella in bean salad in a Chicago restaurant in 1999
was the basis for the research.
A good way to get these pathogens, which also include E. coli and salmonella,
off of raw vegetables has yet to be discovered, said Scott Martin, professor
"Once these pathogens get on the vegetables, you cannot remove them,"
Martin said. "There is nothing the consumer can do to remove the
pathogens once they get onto the salad, unless you cook them."
These pathogens often enter the vegetables while they are still growing
plants. They infect them through the stomata, structures on the outer
skin of a plant that allow the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Martin said there needs to be a better process in the field to kill these
pathogens so people can eat bacteria-free vegetables. He compared vegetables
contaminated by the pathogens to unpasteurized milk.
"There is no step available
like the pasteurization step to treat fresh produce," he said.
The Food and Drug Administration
has a procedure on its Web site for consumers to eliminate the chances
of their vegetables being contaminated by food-borne pathogens. The FDA
advises cutting off all bruised areas, rinsing the vegetable under water
and then drying with a clean towel.
Sebastian Cianci, spokesman
for the FDA, said these steps will help prevent people from getting sick.
"Food safety begins on
the farm and ends with the consumer," Cianci said.
"By following a few simple
rules for purchasing, storing and preparing produce, consumers can reduce
the likelihood that they will experience food-borne illness," he
Agle said food-borne pathogen
outbreaks are fairly common. Spinach was taken off the shelves in many
supermarkets last year after an E. coli breakout, but Agle said the high
level of publicity contributed to the widespread concern.
"There are a lot of outbreaks,
but there are even more that go unreported," Agle said.
Food Protection Plan
USDA food official: Agency has all authority it needs
By David Hess
Source of Article: http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/1107/110807cdam3.htm
November 8, 2007 A top Agriculture Department official told the House
Agriculture Livestock Subcommittee Wednesday that the agency has enough
tools to ensure food safety compliance and will not need legislation to
mandate recalls of tainted beef.
USDA Undersecretary for Food Safety Richard Raymond repeatedly rejected
the notion that he lacks the authority to crack down on slaughterhouses
and meat-packing houses in outbreaks of E. coli and other contaminants
that endanger consumers.
The subcommittee grilled Raymond, a physician by training, on a steep
increase this year in the incidence of E. coli, chiefly in beef products,
that has sickened people around the country.
"This is an issue that affects every state and every [congressional]
district," said Livestock Subcommittee Chairman Leonard Boswell,
Livestock Subcommittee ranking member Robin Hayes, R-N.C., asked whether
food safety officials wanted a legislative mandate to order recalls more
"We think our present system works well," Raymond replied, later
noting that meat processors have unfailingly cooperated with USDA in recalling
contaminated products. He acknowledged he was deeply concerned about the
rise in illnesses from food-borne contaminants but insisted that he had
stepped up his agency's inspection and testing regime to combat the problem.
Recent recalls by the packers and retail grocers, he said, demonstrated
that the enforcement system is working well and, where it might fail,
he will recommend tougher regulations.
He has ordered an increase in the frequency of USDA testing for contaminants,
Raymond said, but maintained that "we need to take additional time
to strengthen our system and our data collection capabilities before moving
forward with [a new] risk-based inspection [approach in the meat-processing
The hearing mostly focused on one of this year's more notorious cases:
the contamination from a rare strain of E. coli that spread clusters of
illness from Florida to New York. It took the food safety agency about
four weeks from the first reported incident of illness to trace the origin
of the contaminated beef to the Topps Meat Co., which issued its recall
of 331,582 pounds of frozen ground beef products.
Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., lamented the "high
number of recalls and illnesses related to food-borne pathogens this year.
... We have seen close to 20 recalls related to E. coli in beef in 2007,
with seven recalls in the last 30 days alone. To put that in perspective,
there were eight recalls for all of 2006."
Raymond acknowledged the upward swing in illnesses and recalls and pledged
"to do more to strengthen our policies and programs. Public health
is a lot like riding a bicycle. If we're not moving forward, then we're
falling down, and in public health there is no such thing as training
Much as I hate to support this guy, I have to say that he is correct in
saying that he has most of the authority he needs. The slaughterhouses
have meat inspectors right in the middle of the lines, who have the authority
to condemn anything that they don't feel is clean. The packers have instituted
further hygiene measures over the last 10 years, and they are now taking
samples of ground meat for bacteriological testing. Most of them hold
their shipments until the tests show they are clear, because they don't
want to have to recall their product. I am not sure why this company was
allowed to distribute contaminated meat without such testing, but I am
sure that the USDA will be leaning on them to do it in the future. Tom
Posted November 9, 2007 11:07 AM
To Consider Food Safety Reforms
By JOSH FUNK | Associated Press November 7, 2007
Source of Article: http://www.courant.com/
OMAHA, Neb. - Peanut butter is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.
But chicken pot pies are the U.S. Department of Agriculture's responsibility.
Frozen cheese pizzas FDA. But if there's pepperoni on them, USDA has jurisdiction,
Critics of the nation's food safety system say that it is too fragmented
and marked by overlapping authority, and they say that may help explain
why dangerous foods keep slipping through and why contamination scares
are handled in sometimes inconsistent ways.
"One of the underlying problems is the bifurcation of the regulatory
system," said Caroline Smith DeWaal, director of the Center for Science
in the Public Interest's food safety division.
Critics also complain that the food safety system suffers from a shortage
of money and inspectors and inadequate enforcement powers.
In the months ahead, Congress will consider several proposals to reform
the system, including the creation of a single food safety agency, an
idea opposed by both the FDA and USDA. A top FDA official said the agencies
cooperate well now.
"We do not believe a single food safety agency would give us the
efficiencies you can have from having two agencies responsible for 99
percent of the food that we eat in this country, both domestic and imported,"
said Richard Raymond, USDA undersecretary for food safety.
The government structure that protects the food supply took shape piecemeal
over the past 101 years. The results could be seen in the way two recalls
were handled over the past year.
When Peter Pan peanut butter was linked to a salmonella outbreak in February,
ConAgra Foods Inc. recalled it as soon as federal health officials raised
questions. But when ConAgra's Banquet-brand chicken and turkey pot pies
were tied to a similar salmonella outbreak in October, the Omaha company
waited two days to recall them, first issuing only a consumer health warning.
Peanut butter is regulated by the FDA, while pot pies are regulated by
the USDA, because USDA has long had authority over meat and poultry.
Ready-to-eat foods like peanut butter, which is eaten right out of the
jar, receive closer scrutiny because there is greater danger if harmful
bacteria are present in those foods. Products like pot pies must be cooked
first, and proper cooking kills most bacteria.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the pot pies
sickened more than 270 people, the peanut butter at least 625.
Neither the FDA nor the USDA had the authority to order ConAgra to recall
the products. In fact, all food recalls, except for those involving infant
formula, are voluntary. Often, the government gets a product recalled
by warning the company it could face bad publicity if it does not withdraw
At least a dozen federal agencies share responsibility for keeping America's
food safe, with the FDA and the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service
playing the biggest roles. But none of the agencies use the same rule
The USDA and FDA sometimes must inspect the same food plant. For instance,
the USDA inspects plants where frozen pepperoni pizza is made, because
of the meat topping. But the FDA is responsible for inspecting plants
that make frozen cheese pizzas.
In the two ConAgra contamination cases, it turns out that an FDA inspector
hadn't been to the company's peanut butter plant in Georgia for two years
before the recall, while a USDA inspector visits the Missouri pot pie
The Center for Science in the Public Interest's DeWaal said the FDA cannot
ensure a safe food supply. "The FDA's current domestic inspection
program is a joke," she said.
Federal regulators and the food industry say the food safety system needs
to be adjusted, not overhauled.
America's food is "really remarkably safe," said David Acheson,
the FDA's top food safety official.
A recent report by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative
arm of Congress, noted that about 61 percent of the $1.7 billion the federal
government spends on food safety went to the Agriculture Department in
2003, which is responsible for regulating about 20 percent of the food
The FDA, which is responsible for most of the remaining 80 percent, gets
only about 29 percent of the total.
"FDA's food program is very small compared to its task," said
William Hubbard, a top FDA official for 14 years who now pushes for stiffer
food safety regulations and more resources for his former employer.
Published: November 9, 2007
Source of Article: http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/11/09/opinion/edimport.php
Give the Bush administration credit for some sound thinking on how to
enhance the safety of imported foods and goods. But whether the thinking
will be translated into a vigorous program of safety regulation is still
an open question.
The administration unveiled its "Action Plan for Import Safety"
and a related food safety plan this week to allay consumer anxiety over
a spate of recalls of tainted foods, contaminated toys and defective products
over the past year. For an administration that is reflexively opposed
to strong regulation, the new plans proposed some surprisingly aggressive
steps to strengthen the Food and Drug Administration and the Consumer
Product Safety Administration.
The FDA, for example, would for the first time get power to order recalls
of tainted foods; it would no longer be reliant on persuasion to coax
voluntary withdrawals. It would also gain the power to require foreign
producers of high-risk foods to certify that they comply with FDA standards.
The Product Safety Commission would get enhanced recall powers and be
able to level higher fines, up to $10 million. For the most part, however,
the plans rely on industries to police themselves.
The plans are notable for their emphasis on preventing problems at their
source, by stationing American inspectors in exporting countries and setting
up certification programs to identify responsible producers and expedite
entry of their goods. There is little doubt that it would be better to
prevent dangerous imports before they can be shipped from the home country
instead of trying to intercept them in this country.
The plans are disappointing for their lack of specificity, and their failure
to propose substantial increases in funding for agencies. The food plan,
which applies to both foreign and domestic producers, fails to consolidate
separate food safety programs into a single strong agency. Congress will
need to flesh out these vague plans with sufficient resources to protect
the public from unsafe foods and products.
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
frozen pizza, beef products labeled high health risk, says U.S. Department
of Food Safety and Inspection
Posted on November 7, 2007 by Food Poisoning Attorney
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
I had a long chat with Jeff Alexander of The Gardner News on Tuesday.
We talked about ffood safety generally and the Pot Pie case in particular
Here is his article (or, at least where I am quoted):
The pot pie suit is being handled by Bill Marler; his experience with
recalls includes a substantial settlement against Jack In The Box for
previous E. coli outbreaks. Mr. Marler offered his views and experience
with food recalls. ¡°A lot of recall decisions that get made are based
on finances and not wanting to hurt businesses; most people get sick from
a food-borne illness and never know what made them sick or even killed
them,¡± said Mr. Marler. ¡°Civil litigation is a way of making companies
responsible.¡± Asked what he feels is contributing to the recent increase
in food recalls, Mr. Marler said, ¡°It¡¯s really crazy these recalls, the
wheels of the food safety bus has kind of all come off and in 14 years
of doing this, I¡¯ve never seen this kind of activity.¡± Mr. Marler said
he thought recalls were based on the moral judgment of companies. ¡°Unfortunately
we don¡¯t live in a world where businesses make decisions on pure moral
decisions; the economics is they might not get caught and hedge on the
side of the product, even if it may be contaminated,¡± he said. Mr. Marler
referenced a beef recall of Topp¡¯s frozen hamburgers and the sickness
a child in Florida experienced. ¡°For every one person counted by Center
for Disease Control, there¡¯s between 20 and 40 times that number that
actually got sick and it¡¯s difficult to prove a case on their behalf ;
most companies are betting that if doesn¡¯t get in the news or don¡¯t recall
they maybe won¡¯t get caught.¡±Full article below:
The U.S. Department of Food Safety and Inspection recently announced a
recall of 1,084,384 million pounds of ground beef products from Cargill
Meat Solutions that may contain E. coli. This is the second meat-related
recall in one week and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced
the Class I recall as a high health risk to all consumers. In a Cargill
press release, John Keating, president of Cargill Regional Beef said,
¡°No illnesses have been associated with this product and we are working
closely with the USDA to remove the product from the marketplace.¡± According
to Cargill¡¯s Web site, Massachusetts is among the 10 states included in
the recall, and Stop & Shop was listed as one of the retailers that
stocks Cargill products. According to a Stop & Shop press release,
ground beef and ground beef patties with use-by freeze-by dates of Oct.
19, Oct. 31, and Nov. 3 are subjected to the recall. The Stop & Shop
recall is part of a larger nationwide recall by Cargill Meat Solutions,
which is a supplier of Stop & Shop fresh ground beef and ground beef
patties. General Mills is another food company involved in a recall and
it announced Friday that it would be voluntarily recalling Totino¡¯s and
Jeno¡¯s brand frozen pizzas because of possible E coli contamination in
the pepperoni toppings. According to a General Mills press release, the
recall affects approximately 414,000 cases of pizza products. Tom Forsythe,
a spokesperson with General Mills said, ¡°The main message for consumers
is worrying about a source, and at this point there is not even a link
to date because we haven¡¯t found E coli in our plants.¡± He added, ¡°This
is a precaution and consumers have appreciated this, and in light of the
situation, we responded to the potential that our products have E. coli.¡±
According to General Mills, retailers have responded well to removing
the recalled products from their shelves. General Mills said state and
federal authorities uncovered the potential problem investigating 21 E.
coli-related illnesses in 10 states; the earliest case reported to authorities
occurred July 20, and the latest case was reported Oct. 10. Totino¡¯s and
Jeno¡¯s is based in Minnesota, where a current lawsuit against ConAgra
Foods involving a massive frozen pot pie recall is continuing. The pot
pie suit is being handled by Bill Marler; his experience with recalls
includes a substantial settlement against Jack In The Box for previous
E. coli outbreaks. Mr. Marler offered his views and experience with food
recalls. ¡°A lot of recall decisions that get made are based on finances
and not wanting to hurt businesses; most people get sick from a food-borne
illness and never know what made them sick or even killed them,¡± said
Mr. Marler. ¡°Civil litigation is a way of making companies responsible.¡±
Asked what he feels is contributing to the recent increase in food recalls,
Mr. Marler said, ¡°It¡¯s really crazy these recalls, the wheels of the food
safety bus has kind of all come off and in 14 years of doing this, I¡¯ve
never seen this kind of activity.¡± Mr. Marler said he thought recalls
were based on the moral judgment of companies. ¡°Unfortunately we don¡¯t
live in a world where businesses make decisions on pure moral decisions;
the economics is they might not get caught and hedge on the side of the
product, even if it may be contaminated,¡± he said. Mr. Marler referenced
a beef recall of Topp¡¯s frozen hamburgers and the sickness a child in
Florida experienced. ¡°For every one person counted by Center for Disease
Control, there¡¯s between 20 and 40 times that number that actually got
sick and it¡¯s difficult to prove a case on their behalf ; most companies
are betting that if doesn¡¯t get in the news or don¡¯t recall they maybe
won¡¯t get caught.¡±
E. coli Test
Used in Preparation for Beijing Olympics Will Improve Food Safety
Source of Article: http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/535172/
K-State expert in real-time testing says E. coli test used in preparation
for Beijing Olympics will improve food safety, public health for the event.
Newswise While the world's athletes train for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing,
Chinese officials are working to get the host country's food safety practices
According to a Kansas State University microbiologist and expert in real-time
testing, the key to China's food safety fitness will be keeping E. coli
in check. Daniel Y.C. Fung, a professor of food science at K-State, said
E. coli is an important indicator pathogen.
"If you find E. coli, something is wrong," Fung said. "E.
coli is an indicator of pollution. Usually you will have some fecal material
At a large event like the Olympics in a city as large as Beijing, food
contamination has the potential to affect a large number of people in
a small area. China is working to improve its food safety standards, and
Fung said it's not uncommon to test for air quality or food contaminants
at events like the Olympics.
"You're talking about millions of people running around and eating
and drinking," Fung said. "That's why testing is important for
a large event like this."
Although not easily spread, E. coli can indicate the presence of other
pathogens like salmonella, clostridium and listeria. Fung said that testing
for E. coli is important because testing for multiple pathogens simultaneously
"There's not really a system to detect all of these pathogens at
once," he said. "E. coli is the largest volume pathogen. It
indicates the quality of the environment, food and animals. It's a good
idea to monitor it."
What makes the E. coli testing method used for the Beijing Olympics interesting,
Fung said, is its speed. He said he is amazed the tests used next summer
in China will provide results in about 20 minutes. Other E. coli testing
methods can take hours, he said.
In spite of the testing technology available, Fung said one of the best
methods for keeping Olympic spectators and participants safe from contaminated
food is a bottle of hand sanitizer. It kills about 99 percent of germs
and has become common, if not mandatory, in another venue with a high
concentration of people and potential for food contamination -- cruise
Fung said that although cruise ships caught flack for outbreaks of novovirus
several years ago, passengers most likely picked it up on their ports
of call by eating at local establishments with lax food safety standards.
Whether tourists eat during a stop on a cruise or at a Beijing food stand
at the Olympic . this summer, Fung said diners should be reasonably cautious
about food contamination.
"In spite of everything we hear about outbreaks, compared to the
amount of food eaten every day it's actually a very small number of people
who are affected," he said.
likely to become more common
Foodstuffs' increasingly global origins, multiple agencies bar thorough
By Dan Thanh Dang and Larry Carson | Sun reporters
November 6, 2007
Source of Article: http://www.baltimoresun.com/
Consumers suffering from recall fatigue should get used to news of contaminated
food as underfunded regulatory agencies struggle to police a burgeoning
food system that's supplied by all corners of the world market, food safety
experts said yesterday.
Just this weekend, more than 1 million pounds of E. coli-contaminated
ground beef was recalled by Pennsylvania-based Cargill Meat Solutions
Corp. from stores including Giant Food and Wegmans in Maryland.
In the past month, more than a half-dozen recalls have been issued for
tainted meat products ranging from ground beef to frozen meat pizzas and
"It's one thing after another," said Michelle McFadden, 38,
who was shopping yesterday at the Giant in Ellicott City.
She, like other shoppers, said there's little they can do to protect themselves,
other than cooking food well and watching for news alerts. She decided
to play it safe by not buying beef for awhile.
Kathleen Joesting said she found out too late about the recent recall.
The Ellicott City resident had already eaten a burger for dinner on Saturday
before her husband heard the news and rummaged through their trash. He
discovered that the ground beef they purchased from the Giant was part
of a contaminated batch.
Joesting said she feels fine so far, but added, "We'll find out in
a few days."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently implemented a more aggressive
program of inspecting meat and recalling infected meat more rapidly. Still,
the pace of recalls and contact with infected food will likely continue,
"You can't inspect your way to a safe food supply," said Douglas
Powell, scientific director at Kansas State University's International
Food Safety Network. "You can't have an inspector on every site 24/7
to inspect every piece of food that goes to market. You have to create
a culture where everyone from the farm to the processing facility, people
at restaurants, consumers at home are more in tune with the culture of
"People need to get really religious about this," Powell said.
"Food safety is everyone's responsibility."
And while government regulators are trying to safeguard the food supply,
the task is made more difficult by the number of agencies involved, according
to the watchdog group Consumers Union.
"There's an inherent problem with the oversight of the industry and
that's why we're seeing a stream of problems," said Urvashi Rangan,
senior scientist and policy analyst at Consumers Union. "There is
no regulatory agency that can mandate a recall. Recalls are voluntary.
"Oversight of our food supply is very fragmented," Rangan said.
"You've got up to 15 agencies that oversee our food supply. As a
result, it makes it very difficult to implement a comprehensive and holistic
system that enables an agency to take quick and consistent action to protect
For example, while the USDA regulates the chicken, the Food and Drug Administration
regulates the egg and the Environmental Protection Agency regulates the
water that the chicken drinks, Rangan said.
Add in that food products that come from all corners of the world and
you have a system ripe for potential failure, said Jerry Gillespie.
"While we remain an exporter of food, there has been an huge, huge
increase in the amount of food we're importing," said Gillespie,
associate director of the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security
at the University of California, Davis.
"The complexity of our new globalized food system and the rapid expansion
of the food supply makes it a lot more difficult for underfunded agencies
to control sanitary conditions and the condition in which food is transported.
We're probably going to have pretty regular food-borne outbreaks."
Detecting E. coli in products can be very difficult, experts said. With
millions of pounds of meat produced daily, regulators can test only batches
at a time.
"You can test for the overall presence of salmonella, for instance,
but the ability to detect E. coli is very, very remote," Gillespie
With such potential dangers lurking in the marketplace, consumers need
to protect themselves by cooking food thoroughly and preventing cross-contamination
while preparing foods.
"I don't think the consumer needs to be afraid of food," said
Mindy Brashears, director of the International Center for Food Industry
Excellence at Texas Tech University. "We have the safest food supply
in the world.
"The fact that there's no lack of recalls shows that the system is
working pretty well," Brashears said. "We've had years where
we've had very few recalls and years where we've had several. I think
it's a cycle and, in the next few months, it might go away."
Bill Emery is taking no chances. Yesterday, the 70-year-old and his wife,
Gerry, opted for a pot roast while shopping at Giant rather than the ground
Gerry Emery, 68, said they tried to remember whether the beef they ate
recently might have been from the bad batch, but even if it was, it's
too late now, the Columbia couple said. "We already ate it and we're
not dead," they said, smiling.
Why the "Uptick"
in E. coli cases in 2007?
Posted on November 8, 2007 by Food Poisoning Lawyer
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
I have been pressing everyone I know in food safety and the meat industry
about the ¡°uptick" in E. coli cases in 2007. Here are some ideas
from recent press reports:
USDA says has enough legal authority to do recalls
¡°Raymond said there are several factors USDA is investigating that could
be responsible for the uptick in E. coli discoveries. Among them include
the pathogen becoming resistant to drugs and changes in weather or diet
that can lead to stress in the animal. He assured lawmakers it was not
because companies are being careless or inspectors sloppy in their work.
"I think it's starting with the animal's environment," said
Raymond. "There is a change in what we feed cattle and I don't know
if that has created a problem."
Is this an explanation? What is the change? I understand that perhaps
with the increase in the price of oil there has been an increase in ethanol
production and waste products ? eaten by cows? Anyone have any other ideas?
How about this:
Crackdown Upends Slaughterhouse¡¯s Work Force
¡°Last November, immigration officials began a crackdown at Smithfield
Foods¡¯s giant slaughterhouse here, eventually arresting 21 illegal immigrants
at the plant and rousting others from their trailers in the middle of
the night. Since then, more than 1,100 Hispanic workers have left the
5,200-employee hog-butchering plant, the world¡¯s largest, leaving it struggling
to find, train and keep replacements. Across the country, the federal
effort to flush out illegal immigrants is having major effects on workers
and employers alike. Some companies have reluctantly raised wages to attract
new workers following raids at their plants. After several hundred immigrant
employees at its plant in Stillmore, Ga., were arrested, Crider Poultry
began recruiting Hmong workers from Minnesota, hiring men from a nearby
homeless mission and providing free van transportation to many workers.¡±
Hmmm, a influx of unskilled
US workers with high turnover ? sound interesting. What other ideas?
At Sam's Club Being Recalled
Source of Article: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21306375/
Cargill Inc. is voluntarily recalling more than 840,000 pounds of ground
beef patties distributed at Sam's Club stores nationwide after four Minnesota
children who ate the food developed E. coli illness, a Cargill official
The Sam's Club warehouse chain, which sold the burgers that sickened the
children, had previously pulled the same brand of ground beef patties
from its shelves nationwide.
The children became ill between Sept. 10 and Sept. 20 after eating ground
beef bought frozen under the name American Chef's Selection Angus Beef
Patties from three Sam's Club stores in the Twin Cities area.
Two of the children were hospitalized; one remains in the hospital and
the other has been discharged, the state Health Department said.
Cargill is voluntarily recalling nearly 845,000 pounds of frozen ground
beef patties that were produced on Aug. 9, 10, 15, 16 and 17, Cargill
spokesman Mark Klein said. Each package bears the establishment number
"Est.924A" inside the USDA mark of inspection.
Most of the recalled products were the American Chef's Selection Angus
Beef Patties packaged in 6-pound boxes containing 18 patties of one-third
pound each, Cargill said. Each package bears a case code of 7703100 and
"Best If Used By" dates of Feb. 5, 6, 12 and 13, 2008.
Although the extent of contamination is not known, Cargill is recalling
the products as a precaution, said Bill Rupp, president of Cargill Meat
Cargill has been cooperating with the state Department of Health and the
U.S. Department of Agriculture to determine the scope of the issue, Klein
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is working with the federal Agriculture
Department to determine the source of the contamination.
Cargill learned of the issue Friday, when a compliance officer from the
federal Agriculture Department visited the company's ground beef facility
in Butler, Wis., Klein said. Officials had traced the patties to that
Symptoms of E. coli illness include stomach cramps and diarrhea.
People typically are ill for two to five days but can develop complications
including kidney failure. People who have developed such symptoms should
contact their doctor, the Health Department said.
Cargill, based in Wayzata, Minn., is one of the nation's largest privately
held companies and makes food ingredients, moves commodities around the
world and runs financial commodities trading businesses.
The Cargill recall comes on the heels of Elizabeth, N.J.-based Topps Meat
Co.'s recall of 21.7 million pounds of ground beef amid E. coli concerns.
The recall - the second-largest beef recall in U.S. history - caused Topps
on Friday to announce that it's going out of business.
The source of the E. coli contamination at Topps is still being investigated,
but USDA spokeswoman Sharon Randle said Saturday that the Cargill and
Topps cases are not related.
For more information check Cargill: http://www.cargill.com/
cases up to 30 in Redwood Falls
Associated Press - November 8, 2007 12:54 PM ET
Source of Article: http://wkbt.com/Global/story.asp?S=7331258
REDWOOD FALLS, Minn. (AP) - The number of people sickened by the latest
norovirus utbreak in Redwood Falls continues to grow.
Director Jill Bruns of Renville-Redwood County Public Health says the
number of people who got sick at a local McDonald's is now up to 30 --
including 18 customers and 12 workers.
Bruns says most of the people who got sick ate there last Saturday --
and most of them live in the Redwood Falls area.
The most recent case was reported Tuesday, which Bruns says would be at
the end of the incubation period of the virus if the person contracted
it Saturday or Sunday.
Earlier, dozens of people got sick after eating last month at a Burger
King in Redwood Falls.
Health officials are now requiring all restaurant workers in both Redwood
and Renville counties to wear gloves, to prevent the spread of the food-borne
Information from: J.P. Cola, KWLM/KQIC Willmar, http://www.kwlm.com
Micro-organisms Receive Stamp of Approval from ATCC
source from: rapidmicrobiology.com
Oxoid have announced that the Remel Quality Control Micro-organisms (Culti-Loops¢ç
and Quanti-Cult¢ç) available from Oxoid have recently been added to the
ATCC (American Type Culture Collection) Licensed Derivative¢ç Program*,
which has been introduced for commercial organizations that use ATCC derived
organisms within their products.
Inclusion in the program means
that Culti-Loops and Quanti-Cult products containing ATCC-derived micro-organisms
will bear the ATCC Licensed Derivative Emblema, thus assuring customers
that the viability, purity and identification of the micro-organisms have
been tested and confirmed by the ATCC and maintaining the quality of the
Oxoid and Remel Quality Control organism range. Such assurance is of enormous
benefit to the global diagnostic and analytical testing market, supporting
standards and increasingly stringent criteria for Quality Control (QC)
testing within the industry.
Culti-Loops are stabilised micro-organisms, supplied ready to use in disposable
bacteriological loops. Each loop is individually foil wrapped and, once
removed, can be used to streak up to five agar plates.
Quanti-Cult and Quanti-Cult
Plus¢ç are preserved micro-organisms designed to deliver a specific range
of colony forming units (CFU). Supplied in plastic vials, once rehydrated,
they are ready to use immediately, eliminating the need for a growth period
or serial dilutions. Quanti-Cult vials contain a single inoculum of less
than 100 CFU in 0.3ml, whereas Quanti-Cult Plus vials deliver less than
100 CFU in 0.1ml, with each vial containing 10 inocula.
Culti-Loops and Quanti-Cult
products are ideal for use in clinical, food, pharmaceutical, research
and industrial applications for QC procedures, including: performance
testing and method validation; microbial limit testing; bioburden testing;
bacteriostasis and fungistasis testing; and growth promotion testing.
They can also be used in the maintenance of stock cultures.
Julie Elston, QC organisms product manager at Oxoid, comments, "Standards
and quality are important considerations for QC and the addition of the
Culti-Loops and Quanti-Cult products to the ATCC Licensed Derivative Program
further strengthens the benefits that these market leading brands offer
to microbiologists around the world."
Over 500 QC strains are available in Culti-Loops and Quanti-Cult formats.
For further information, please contact Oxoid using the contact details
at the top of this page.
*The ATCC Licensed Derivative Emblem¢ç and the ATCC Licensed Derivative
word mark¢ç are trademarks of ATCC. Oxoid, as a sub-licensee of Remel,
is licensed to use these trademarks and sell products derived from ATCC¢ç
Neogen to offer Campylobacter medium
Source of Article: http://www.worldpoultry.net
Neogen Corporation was selected by the USDA to be licensed to manufacture
a new culture medium called Campy-Cefex to differentiate different Campylobacter
According to the company, Campy-Cefex provides a quicker and simpler way
to detect and differentiate the pathogens Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter
coli from other, relatively harmless, members of the Campylobacter species.
Campy-Cefex is patented by the USDA¡¯s Agricultural Research Service microbiologist
Norman Stern, with the ARS Poultry Microbiological Safety Research Unit
in Athens, Ga. Stern¡¯s patented formulation uses the antibiotics cycloheximide
and cefoperazone, and has been shown by the USDA to both grow Campylobacter
in a culture and repress the growth of most other microorganisms. Consequently,
it was determined that the additional antibiotics previously used with
other Campylobacter media were not needed.
¡°We¡¯re very pleased to have been chosen to manufacture and market Campy-Cefex,
a culture medium that the USDA has shown to provide superior performance
in detecting the most dangerous strains of Campylobacter,¡± said Ed Bradley,
Neogen¡¯s vice president of Food Safety. ¡°As a partner to numerous poultry
production operations, there is an added bit of confidence in offering
a medium from the USDA as we work with the regulators to help ensure our
customers¡¯ poultry products are safe as they can be.¡±
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