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San Francisco, November 6-7, 2007
Next Meeting November 11-12, 2008, San Francisco.
oppose setting up single agency
By Josh Funk | Associated Press
November 13, 2007 Source of Article: http://www.chicagotribune.com/
OMAHA - Peanut butter is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.
But chicken pot pies are the Department of Agriculture's responsibility.
Frozen cheese pizzas -- FDA. But if there's pepperoni on them, USDA has
Critics of the nation's food-safety system say 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
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 creation of a single food-safety agency, an idea
both the FDA and USDA oppose. A top FDA official said the agencies cooperate
"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
last 101 years. The results could be seen in the way two recalls were
handled over the last 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 because the USDA has long had authority over meat and
Ready-to-eat foods such as peanut butter receive closer scrutiny because
there is greater danger if harmful bacteria are present in those foods.
Products such as pot pies must be cooked first, and proper cooking kills
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 uses 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 CDC tracks food-borne illnesses in 10 states as a barometer for the
nation, and found that the rate of confirmed food-borne illness cases
fell about 28 percent from 1996 to 2006, when there were 38.4 cases per
100,000 people. About 5,000 people die from food-borne illnesses annually.
Listeria standards for ready-to-eat foods
By Ahmed ElAmin
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/
12/11/2007 - EU and US positions at a Codex meeting to set international
standards on food safety foreshadow future legislation that would affect
control measures in plants, and the manufacture of powdered formulae,
ready-to-eat foods, and pasteurised liquid eggs.
At a six-day meeting ended 4 November in New Delhi, India, national representatives
to Codex's food hygiene committee also decided to start work on drafting
safety guidelines setting standards to control Campylobacter and Salmonella
spp. in broiler chicken meat.
At the New Delhi meeting they discussed various positions, including those
relating to proposed standards for pasteurized liquid whole eggs, hygienic
practice for processing powdered formulae for infants and children, pathogen
controls for Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods, and guidelines
for evaluating manufacturing control measures.
Codex is a multilateral body set up to develop food safety and other standards
that would apply to all member countries.
It operates under the aegis of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation
and the World Health Organisation.
The standards are recognised as international benchmarks by one of the
multilateral agreements of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and aim
to eliminate many of what the UN calls "unjustified technical barriers"
to food imports set up by some countries.
The standards also serve to harmonise food safety laws globally, aiding
multinational processors in following the law no matter where they trade.
The standards on each particular topic and food type can undergo a huge
revision process at various levels of Codex decision making bodies, over
a number of years. Member countries must then transcribe the standards
into their national laws.
The proposed standard setting what pathogen controls for Listeria monocytogenes
ready-to-eat food processors must put in place is based in the main on
US risk assessments, according to Codex documents.
Based on the risk assessments, a working group led by Germany concluded
that a zero tolerance standard for L. monocytogenes have a proportional
reduction in the rates of illness from foods contaminated with the pathogen.
A study commissioned by the food hygiene committee showed that the application
of microbiological criteria at a given point of the production chain is
only one of the measures that need to be applied, to bring down contamination
The committee proposes to exclude from the criteria foods that are processing
in such a way to ensure the killing of L. monocytogenes and for which
recontamination is not possible.
The foods must also be processed and handled under systems adhering to
good hygienic practice (GHP), a separate international standard.
Such foods include those given a listericidal treatment in the package
and those that are produced through aseptic processing and packaging.
The group includes dehydrated products such as powdered milk, dehydrated
soup mixes, herbs and spices, fresh, uncut and unprocessed vegetables
and fruits, soft drinks, beer and spirits.
At the meeting the EU delegation also proposed that the standard should
specifically include ready-to-eat foods for infants and those with medical
The EU supports a 100 colony forming units per gram (cfu/g) limit on the
pathogen for ready-to-eat foods, if the food manufacturer is able to demonstrate
the maximum would not be exceeded throughout self-life.
The EU delegation also noted that setting a zero tolerance standard, where
a negative reading is set at 25g = 0.04 colony forming units per gram
(cfu/g) "might cause misunderstandings".
The EU also wants clarification on foods not covered by the testing standard,
pointing out that previous discussions had also discussed products for
which Listeria monocytogenes is "very unlikely" to be detected.
Clarification is also needed about the proposed exclusion of foods for
which there is less than '1 log' growth during 1.3 times the expected
shelf life, the EU stated in its submission. Various definitions of 'shelf-life'
might confuse the issue.
At the meeting the Codex committee also set its priorities for proposed
standards, with those for egg products topping the list.
Other priorities in order are standards for infant and children foods;
combining two codes of practice for various nuts into one; setting a single
hygienic code for fruits, vegetable and products made from them; quick
frozen foods, spices and aromatic plants; low-acid and acidified low-acid
canned foods and aseptically processed and packaged low-acid canned foods,
natural mineral waters, frog legs, catering, and street-vended foods.
The WTO's Codex Alimentarius Commission is the body set up to harmonise
food safety and other export requirements around the world.
Member countries' representatives meet regularly to debate a common position
on every aspect of such requirements, from the holding temperatures frozen
meat should be kept at, to processing requirements for specific cheeses.
Agreements forged at Codex meetings could eventually affect the way processors
operate worldwide as they become incorporated into national laws.
Hormel CEOs Affirm Safety of Low-Oxygen Modified Atmosphere Packaging
During House Subcommittee Hearing
November 14, 2007 Source of Article: http://www.meatami.com/
In a hearing yesterday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, the CEOs of Cargill, Inc.,
and Hormel Foods Corporation detailed the facts in support of the safety
of meat packaged in low oxygen modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) systems,
noting that branded companies like theirs benefit by marketing product
that is not only safe, but widely accepted by consumers, as these products
The packaging technology, now in use for nearly four years and enjoying
extraordinarily high levels of consumer acceptance, was thrust into the
spotlight in 2006 as a result of campaign waged by the maker of a competing
and patented technology that uses rosemary extract to maintain meat¡¯s
red color in much the same way that low-oxygen packaging systems, which
use minute amounts of carbon monoxide, also maintain color. During the
hearing, witnesses explained that meat in its natural state is purple.
Oxygen causes meat to turn red but shortly thereafter to turn brown and
ultimately develop off flavors. The combination of gases in the low-oxygen
packaging systems maintains a longer shelf life, fresh flavor and the
red color that consumers like and expect.
In the face of tough questioning from subcommittee members, Gregory Page,
chief executive officer of Cargill Incorporated, and Jeffrey Ettinger,
president and CEO of Hormel Foods Corporation, detailed the many benefits
the packaging offers.
¡°Through a MAP system, meat is packaged at a central processing plant
and is then delivered to the retail grocery store in a tray covered with
a protective film. This helps eliminate the potential for cross contamination
that can come from human handling both at the retail store and in the
home. The package is both leak-proof and tamper proof, adding additional
consumer protections,¡± Page said. ¡°As the committee is no doubt aware,
many of the leading food scientists have submitted papers and testimony
that show the superior freshness and food safety performance of this packaging.¡±
Rep. Michael Burgess, M.D., (R-TX) expressed concern about the amount
of time being devoted to examining a technology that had already been
reviewed on numerous occasions by federal officials at both the U.S. Department
of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He asked
Page and Ettinger how many illnesses had been associated with meat packaged
in this system and the answer was zero.
Likewise, in a strongly worded statement, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
asked, ¡°How many experts have to say that the use of carbon monoxide in
meat packaging is not a food safety issue before we believe them? This
hearing has nothing to do with foodborne illnesses. Not one case of human
illness has been reported due to consumption of spoiled food, so the case
for public health risk cannot be made.¡± She added, ¡°I hope that we are
not participating in a kangaroo court due to certain economic interests,
under the guise of food and consumer safety.¡±
USDA and FDA officials also provided testimony and defended the process
they used to review the use of the packaging technology under the General
Recognized as Safe (GRAS) or GRAS process.
In response to questions from Subcommittee Chairman Bart Stupak (D-MI),
who suggested that the FDA should consider suspending its acceptance of
the technology until it can review the technology again, David W.K. Acheson,
M.D., director of FDA¡¯s Food Safety and Security staff, said ¡°FDA has
no concerns about CO in meat packaging.¡±
Laura Tarantino, Ph.D., director of the FDA Center for Food Safety and
Applied Nutrition Office of Food Additive Safety stressed that this packaging
system stabilizes but not does not impart color and is therefore not regulated
as a food additive. She detailed her staff¡¯s ongoing review of the science
surrounding the technology and defended their acceptance under the GRAS
process. ¡°We haven¡¯t seen any real evidence of a public health issue or
a safety issue,¡± she said. In light of questions from some subcommittee
members, FDA agreed to do an additional review of the data surrounding
the technology, however.
Extensive questioning also focused on how consumers evaluate meat freshness.
USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Deputy Assistant Administrator
Dan Engeljohn, Ph.D., told the committee that in its review of the suitability
of the packaging technology, USDA determined that in terms of how consumers
evaluate meat freshness, ¡°the overwhelming majority rely on use-by dates.¡±
He said other factors like color are used, but not to the extent of use-by
dates, which are required on all meat packaged using low-oxygen MAP technology.
to make potato chips cancer risk-free
November 14th, 2007 by admin
Source of Article: http://www.thaindian.com/
Studies show that when chipped potatoes are cooked in fat at high temperature,
acrylamide, a chemical known to cause cancer in animals, is produced.
Now, the boffins have given guidelines that they say will make the food
The new guidelines state that potatoes should not be stored in the fridge,
and that uncooked chips should be soaked for half an hour in water before
Also, consumers should not overcook chips, and should remove them while
still yellow rather than brown. The guidelines also say that oven chips
contain raised acrylamide levels and therefore, should be cooked to the
minimum time and at the exact temperatures as suggested by the producer.
A spokesman for Food Standards Agency, Scotland said that guidance already
exists for the food industry to reduce the chemical through cooking processes.
¡°This updates people on what they can do at home. We are not saying don¡¯t
eat chips. We are not changing our advice to consumers to eat a varied
and balanced diet,¡± the Scotsman quoted him, as saying. ¡°But if you do
want to reduce acryl amide levels during cooking at home then this is
what you can do as a small but important step,¡± he said. (ANI)
says pot pie recall will cost $30 million
Associated Press - November 14, 2007 6:35 PM ET
Source of Article: http://www.action3news.com/
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - ConAgra Foods says it expects its nationwide pot pie
recall to cost about $30 million. But the company expects stronger-than-expected
profits from its commodities trading group in 2008 that should offset
the recall costs.
ConAgra spokeswoman Stephanie Childs says more details will be released
when the company reports second-quarter earnings December 20.
Earlier this year, ConAgra recalled all of its peanut butter products
when the CDC linked Peter Pan peanut butter to a salmonella outbreak that
eventually sickened at least 625 eople in 47 states.
Salmonella poisoning can cause diarrhea, fever, dehydration, abdominal
pain and vomiting. Most cases are caused by undercooked eggs and chicken.
About 40,000 cases of salmonella are reported each year in the U.S. Most
of the 600 deaths salmonella causes each year are among people with weaker
immune systems such as the elderly or very young.
On the Net:
Centers for Disease Control Salmonella updates: http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella
ConAgra Foods Inc.: http://www.conagrafoods.com
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 E. coli
strikes, who pays?
Posted on November 11, 2007 by E. coli Attorney
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
Matt McKinney of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and I spoke last week when
I was in New York working on the Taco Bell E. coli cases that occurred
last year in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Mr. McKinney, also
has another article featured this morning, ¡°Meat recalls have highlighted
an uptick in illnesses. Experts offer several theories why.¡±: http://www.startribune.com/535/story/1540372.html
We had a long talk about why I think companies whose products sicken and
kill, should step up and help the families who are devastated by products
that these same companies profit from. This is not a unique request, nor
is it something that does not happen. As I said, ¡°past outbreaks linked
to the Odwalla Juice Co. and to the Jack-in-the-Box hamburger chain saw
both companies make early payments for victims' medical bills.¡± Other
companies, ConAgra, Chi-Chi¡¯s, and recently Taco Bell, have done the same.
Being moral does not mean that you are not a good business. As I told
Mr. McKinney, I have repeatedly (¡°Step up and pay¡± and ¡°Are you going
to pay?¡±) asked Cargill pay bills and wage loss and leave future damages
till these children stabilize ? silence. A few other points I made in
the article "When E. coli strikes, who pays?:
William Marler, a lawyer who has made a career representing E. coli victims,
says businesses should be proactive. His latest client is a 4-year-old
boy who was sickened last month after eating a hamburger made with meat
that came from a Cargill processing plant. The boy, John McDonald, lost
part of his intestine, suffered kidney failure and was hospitalized for
nearly a month. His year-old sister was also hospitalized for a week with
the same strain of E. coli. Marler says Cargill has refused to pay the
McDonalds' medical bills and filed a lawsuit this week seeking unspecified
Meanwhile, Stephanie Smith, 20, from Cold Spring, Minn., who was sickened
in the same outbreak, remains in a drug-induced coma at the Mayo Clinic,
where doctors are trying to save her life. Her family believes that she
was sickened after eating ground beef the weekend of Sept. 22.
It was the second ground beef recall this year for Cargill Meat Solutions
Corp., a subsidiary of the Minnetonka-based agribusiness giant, which
posted net income of $917 million in its most recent quarter.
A spokeswoman for Cargill said the company does not comment concerning
My comment is that if companies do not step up and help, we will step
up and help them change their mind.
resumes production of pot pies after recall; sees 2Q charge
November 14, 2007: 05:41 PM EST Source of Article: http://money.cnn.com/
SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 14, 2007 (Thomson Financial delivered by Newstex)
-- ConAgra Foods (NYSE:CAG) Inc. after Wednesday's closing bell said it
has resumed production of its Banquet and private-label pot pies, after
recalling them on Oct. 11 due to concerns regarding salmonella.
Shipment of the pot pies, which are produced at the company's Marshall,
Mo., plant is expected to begin in December.
The Omaha Neb.-based packaged-food company said it expects incremental
costs related to the recall of $30 million, or about 4 cents a share,
most of which will be recorded in its fiscal second-quarter results.
ConAgra also said it worked closely with the Department of Agriculture
to pursue the likely source of the investigation.
Environmental testing of the Marshall pot-pie production area showed no
traces of salmonella, according to initial findings, the company said.
The specific salmonella strain appeared to be isolated to Banquet turkey
pot pies produced on July 13 and July 31, based on the state findings.
The company said it has developed enhanced protocols for its ready-to-cook
manufacturing plants to further ensure food safety going forward. The
new guidelines include more stringent testing protocols for ingredients
coming into plants, and further testing of finished products, the company
said. 'We apologize to any consumer who became ill from eating any of
our pot pies,' said ConAgra Chief Executive Gary Rodkin in a statement.
'Any lapse in the safety of our food is unacceptable, and I know the steps
we've taken will make a positive difference and help us provide consumers
and customers with safe, wholesome products.'
ConAgra shares closed the regular session up a penny at $23.44.
Copyright Thomson Financial News Limited 2007. All rights reserved.
The copying, republication or redistribution of Thomson Financial News
Content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited
without the prior written consent of Thomson Financial News.
hold food safety hearing
Submitted by WWAY on 13 November 2007 - 6:17pm.
Source of Article: http://www.wwaytv3.com/
WASHINGTON -- Coming on the heels of troubling recalls that have hammered
the food industry, Congress called on top officials from the department
of agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration for an explanation
Rashes of recalls, outbreaks of e. coli and bouts of botulism are all
food for thought on Capitol Hill. Tuesday's hearing was the fourth in
a series about food safety. Of primary concern was the use of carbon monoxide
to conceal the true color of the meat or fish to make it look fresh. The
congressional investigation comes on the heels of a nationwide recall
of 20 million pounds of beef and concerns about unsafe fish, deceptive
labeling and product packaging. The FDA frequently finds bacteria and
banned chemicals during fish inspections, yet it tests less than one percent
of all seafood imports. Food safety advocated say the FDA needs to do
more to protect consumers.
Lawmakers grilled government officials responsible for regulating food
and monitoring safety. Specifically, Tuesday's focus was on questionable
scientific findings relating to the correlation between the use of carbon
monoxide and spoilage.
Federal legislators are considering several proposals, including the creation
of a single food safety agency, a measure the FDA and the Department of
Agriculture both oppose.
Compiled By Staff
November 12, 2007
Source of Article: http://dakotafarmer.com/index.aspx?ascxid=fpStory&fpsid=30793&fpstid=2
The South Dakota Corn Growers Association is warning farmers ? especially
in southeast South Dakota ? to test their corn for aflatoxin before combining
Aflatoxin has been found include Clay, Lincoln, Turner, Union and Yankton
including the towns of Beresford, Canton and Viborg.
Aflatoxin is an insurable cause of loss as long as the grain is tested
before being moved into commercial or on-farm storage, says Robert Berg,
manager of the SDSU Southeast Experiment Farm at Beresford.
Crop insurance coverage ends at harvest and since there is the possibility
of post-harvest contamination, producers must have insurance agents obtain
samples prior to storage.
Can't see it
Aflatoxin cannot be detected by a visual evaluation. Moldy grain doesn't
always test positive for aflatoxin whereas grain that looks clean sometimes
does test positive. Blacklight testing is an indicator used for detection,
but is not a definitive test for aflatoxin. A USDA approved determinative
test and/or lab is required to quantify if the load's aflatoxin levels
exceed FDA Advisory Levels.
The FDA Advisory levels are as follows:
Zero to 20 parts per billion (ppb): No advisory levels. Grain accepted.
21-300 ppb: Corn can be fed to finishing feeder pigs at 200 ppb or less;
beef in feedlots can tolerate up to 300 ppb. There is zero tolerance for
aflatoxin in dairy products.
Over 300 ppb: FDA prohibits use. Grain would be recommended destroyed.
Price discounts at grain handling facilities have exceeded $1 per bushel
for aflatoxin-contaminated corn.
To test corn for aflatoxin, submit a 2-pound sample less than 18% moisture
in a paper bag (no plastic bags) to the following address:
Sioux City Inspection and Weighing Service Company
840 Clark Street
Sioux City, Iowa 51101-2037
Include a check for $33.90 per sample and results will be called to the
producer within one to two days. Call (712) 255-8033 or email email@example.com
for more information.
Dry to 12-13%
Aflatoxin can also develop or continue to develop on corn in storage.
Factors affecting that growth include moisture content and temperature
of stored grain, condition of grain going into storage and length of storage.
One strategy for reducing risk of contaminating a bin of corn with aflatoxin
is to dry corn out of the field down to 12 or 13 percent as quickly as
Aflatoxin grows rapidly at 14% moisture; moisture content below 13% prevents
invasion by the fungus, according to university studies. The fungus also
grows rapidly in grain storage temperatures 34 degrees F and above.
For more information, contact the SDCGA at 605-334-0100.
In Cranberries May Be Antibacterial Agents
ScienceDaily (Nov. 13, 2007) ? Cranberry sauce is not the star
of the traditional Thanksgiving Day meal, but when it comes to health
benefits, the lowly condiment takes center stage. In fact, researchers
at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) have found that compounds in
cranberries are able to alter E. coli bacteria, which are responsible
for a host of human illnesses (from kidney infections to gastroenteritis
to tooth decay), in ways that render them unable to initiate an infection.
The findings are the result of research by Terri Camesano, associate professor
of chemical engineering at WPI, and a team that includes graduate students
Yatao Liu and Paola Pinzon-Arango.
For the first time, the research has begun to reveal the biochemical and
biophysical mechanisms that appear to underlie a number of beneficial
health effects that have long been ascribed to cranberries and cranberry
juice--in particular, the ability of cranberry juice to prevent urinary
tract infections (UTIs). The mechanism by which cranberry juice prevents
such infections has not been clear, though scientists have suspected that
compounds in the juice somehow prevent bacteria from adhering to the lining
of the urinary tract.
Camesano and her students have used the atomic force microscope and other
sophisticated tools to study how a group of tannins (called proanthocyanidins
or PACs) found primarily in cranberries interact with bacteria at the
molecular level. They have found that the compounds prevent E. coli from
adhering to cells in the body (a necessary first step in infections) in
The chemical changes caused by cranberry juice create an energy barrier
that keeps the bacteria from getting close to the urinary tract lining.
Direct measurements show that the adhesive forces between E. coli and
cells of the urinary tract are greatly reduced when at least a 5 percent
solution of cranberry juice cocktail is present.
Cranberry juice causes tiny tendrils (known as fimbriae) on the surface
of the type of E. coli bacteria responsible for the most serious types
of UTIs to become compressed, reducing the bacteria's ability to latch
onto the lining of the urinary tract.
E. coli grown in cranberry juice or the isolated PACs are unable to form
biofilms. Biofilms, clusters containing high concentrations of bacteria,
are required for infections to develop. Biofilms are the source of infections
associated with indwelling catheters and other biomedical devices.
When E. coli are cultured over extended periods in solutions containing
various concentrations of either cranberry juice or PACs, their cell membranes
undergo changes that hinder the bacteria's ability to attach to cells
of the urinary tract.
Camesano and her team have also noticed that cranberry juice inhibits
the ability of E. coli to produce IAA, a molecule involved in a phenomenon
known as quorum sensing. Bacteria produce IAA to let other bacteria know
they are there. Quorum sensing enables bacteria to sense that their population
is large enough to initiate an infection, or to form a biofilm. Keeping
bacteria from producing IAA may be another way that cranberry compounds
can hinder their ability to cause serious infections.
Some of Camesano's current
work is aimed at assessing the minimum effective dose of cranberry juice
(or tannins) and the optimum frequency to ward off infections. In addition,
she is working to test whether the urine of patients who have consumed
cranberry juice still contains anti-adhesive properties. The clinical
portion of the work is being done in collaboration with Amy Howell, associate
research scientist at the Philip E. Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry
Research at Rutgers University.
Camesano says her work to date
indicates that the benefits increase the more juice or cranberry products
one consumes. So when it comes to this year's Thanksgiving feast, don't
spare the cranberry sauce.
Funded, in part, by the National
Science Foundation and the Cranberry Institute and Wisconsin Cranberry
Board, the work has been reported in a number of publications and presentations,
including FAV Health 2007 (The 2nd Annual Symposium on Human Health Effects
of Fruits and Vegetables), the annual meeting of the American Chemical
Society in September 2006, and the January/February 2007 issue of the
Italian publication AgroFOOD industry hi-tech. Adapted from materials
provided by Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
speaks about E. coli outbreak in spinach
Publication date: 11/13/2007
Source of Article: http://www.freshplaza.com/news_detail.asp?id=11032
The one thing a food company dreads the most is getting a call from its
state's health department about a possible foodborne illness outbreak
caused by one of its products.
In many cases, companies are not willing to speak about outbreaks; however,
some companies focus on communications to manage through a crisis.
That is exactly what Natural Selection Foods, located in San Juan Bautista,
Calif., did when an Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak was linked to its
fresh spinach sold under the Dole brand.
"One of the first things we did was notify our key stakeholders,
which included customers, media, employees, growers, vendors and government,"
said Will Daniels, quality, food safety and organic integrity vice president
for Natural Selection Foods/Earthbound Farm.
Daniels recently spoke during the Food Industry Trends Conference in Oklahoma
City, sponsored by the Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products
Center, Oklahoma Department of Public Health, the Oklahoma Department
of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce
and the Charles B. Browning Endowed Professorship. The conference focused
on regulatory changes, food safety issues and solutions, and food traceability
"Food processing establishments face dozens of possible crises or
unexpected events that can cause the public to lose its trust in the company
and the products produced," said Jason Young, FAPC quality management
specialist. "By preparing for a crisis in advance, companies can
contain and minimize losses."
Daniels said on Sept. 14, 2006, the company received a call from the California
Department of Health Services about a possible E. coli O157:H7 outbreak.
The first thing the company did was activate its incident management team
to decide the next step.
"With information still coming in from the Centers for Disease Control
and the FDA, we opted to go to a voluntary recall because it was the right
thing to do for our customers and public safety," Daniels said.
After notifying the company's key stakeholders, the company followed its
incident management plan. This plan consisted of guiding principles for
appropriate communications responses to the customers, media and employees;
an effective mechanism for assessing the seriousness of the incident;
and a basic checklist and tools to ensure the company's response was coordinated
and conducted properly.
Daniels explained the company used the 5 R's to manage through the crisis:
regret, responsibility, restitution, resolution and reform.
It was important for the company to express empathy to the victims of
the E. coli outbreak, Daniels said. The company immediately sent letters
to its customers with information on the product recall.
"We worked with the media to get a message out about contaminated
products and instructions of how to handle them and set up a 1-800 number
for customers to call about questions and claims," Daniels said.
Since public safety is the top priority of the National Selection Foods/Earthbound
Farm, the company worked with investigators to find the source of the
Daniels encouraged other food companies that if they are involved in a
foodborne illness outbreak, it is the best interest of the public and
the food company to give the investigators the information they need to
find the source. "Food safety has always been an integral part of
our business," Daniels said. "Our systems have consistently
been at the top of the industry, but we believe that even the best food
safety standards require continuous improvement."
Following the outbreak, the company was committed to taking care of the
needs of its customers. "We made an offer early on to reimburse any
out-of-pocket medical expenses from anyone who had been affected by the
outbreak," Daniels said. "We gave our retail customers specific
assurance that we would give full credit for recalled products and offered
to cover cost of returning product and disposal."
National Selection Foods/Earthbound Farm has invested in a Quality Assurance
and Organic Integrity Program, which Daniels was named vice president.
The company has directed resources toward this program to establish and
develop the company's testing program, state-of-the-art laboratories and
trained staff. "We've enhanced our food safety program to unprecedented
levels in the produce industry," Daniels said. "We're committed
to continually improving it as food safety science advances."
The company has formed a food safety advisory panel that includes some
of the country's leading food safety scientists to help develop its entire
food safety program, Daniels said.
Other programs that have been added or reviewed include a seed-to-harvest
plan for enhanced good agricultural practices, raw product test and hold
program, enhancements in the packing facilities and finished good test
and hold program. The company is using the data from its test and hold
program to better understand how to prevent outbreaks.
Daniels said that Natural Selection Foods/Earthbound Farm must define
a pathway forward. This includes recognizing that E. coli O157:H7 exists
in the company's environment and pathogens in raw materials are a hazard
likely to occur. "We must test as a processor to detect, so we can
prevent," Daniels said. Source: hpj.com
outbreak on Norwegian Cruise Line ship Pride of Hawaii Source
of Article: http://www.huliq.com/
An outbreak of Norovirus, which is also known as Norwalk-Like Virus (NLV),
took place on the Norwegian Cruise Line ship Pride of Hawaii, which was
making a seven day voyage around Hawaii islands and which had to finish
the tour yesterday in Honolulu port.
All the passengers on board the ship Pride of Hawaii were enjoying their
cruise and the beautiful sights of Hawaii Islands, when all of a sudden
nearly 10 per cent of them (about 225 people out of 2,500) fell extremely
ill with symptoms of terrible stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting. They felt
weak and inert as well.
After the ship docked back in port in Honolulu, immediate laboratory tests
were carried out in the Hawaii Department of Health, the spokesman of
which, Janice Okubo, announced to the Associated Press that there are
no doubts as to the origination of the disease.
Okubo reported that in cases like this which involve more than 2 percent
of passengers becoming ill, a ship is required to report to the FDA (Food
and Drug Administration). "We don't have any jurisdiction over cruise
ships," she said.
Norovirus or Norwalk-Like Virus (NLV), which sometimes is called ¡ìstomach
flu¡í or gastroenteritis, can be classified as a group of viruses among
which there can be singled out at least five genogroups: GI, GII, GIII,
GIV and GV, and each group has at least 30 subgroups.
It is called Norwalk-Like Virus (NLV) after an outbreak at an elementary
school in Norwalk, Ohio, in 1968 and is considered to be a highly contagious
germ, by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
According to Star-Bulletin reporter Laurie Au, the virus is highly contagious:
about 10 viral particles can be enough to infect a person. Norovirus is
not only a respiratory disease. It can be transmitted via touching the
infected object and then putting the hand near the nose or mouth. The
germs may stay within the human organism from three days to two weeks.
The disease itself lasts for about 24 or 48 hours. Then it finishes without
any serious complications, excluding those cases, when people become dehydrated
after the long lasting diarrhea and vomiting and need further medical
aid to restore their liquid level.
As to Marisa Yamane's report on the whole matter, Norwegian Cruise Line
ship Pride of Hawaii is considered to be the best of its kind and such
an outbreak of this disease can't be considered as something habitual.
The crew of the ship works in accordance with all the sanitation standards,
but unfortunately it is impossible to exclude the possibility of infectious
diseases, especially when the ship docks somewhere, takes on board new
passengers who can be already infected. Steve Williams, director of medical
operations for Carnival Cruises, said in an interview with World Cruise
Network recently that: "Every month we have to deny boarding to one
or two people because of illness, but we give them a 100 per cent refund
on their cruise." Robbie Dingeman from honoluluadvertiser.com reported
that all the passengers who weren't quarantined, were asked to stay in
their cabins for 24 hours, during which time they were served at no charge
whatever food they liked wrapped in buffet lines with plastic wrap. If
the passengers still wished to leave their cabins, they had to follow
elementary sanitation demands, such as hand-washing and avoiding direct
contact with any of their mates. The company undertook all the forfeits
in regard to the passengers who felt ill and their cabinmates who had
been asked to remain in their cabins for 24 hours. They were given free
medical treatment and a $200 on-ship credit.
Among the passengers aboard that voyage there were Jeff and Heather Bowman
and latter got sick two days into their trip.
It takes a lot of out of you. I was tired for the rest of the trip but
it's Hawaii, I'm from Ohio so this is great still," said Heather
Norovirus is a kind of infectious disease, outbreaks of which can be viewed
in many public places such as nursing homes, schools, cruise ships and
hospitals. Norwegian Cruise Line ship Pride of Hawaii is undertaking all
the necessary sanitation measures to exclude further spreading of the
disease. But to decide the real cause of infection is up to the US Food
and Drug Administration which is still investigating the outbreak.
from North Carolina Restaurant Sickens 176
Date Published: Monday, November 12th, 2007
Source of Article: http://www.newsinferno.com/archives/2020
Salmonella linked to a Newton,
North Carolina restaurant could be to blame for as many as 176 illnesses.
Since health officials in that area first began receiving reports of Salmonella-like
symptoms from the patrons of the Carniceria Y Taqueria Hermanos Chavez
restaurant, they have been able to confirm at least 25 cases of Salmonella
poisoning. However, the number of people sickened in the Newton, North
Carolina Salmonella outbreak is most likely much higher than that, as
health officials have limited testing to victims who are at ¡°high risk¡±
of spreading the bacteria, such as those who work in food service or health
Health officials in Catawba
County, North Carolina are asking anyone who ate at the Carniceria Y Taqueria
Hermanos Chavez restaurant off of US 321 Business to contact the health
department at (828) 695-5800 if they experience Salmonella symptoms. Salmonella
bacteria cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 72 hours of
exposure. Children, the elderly or people with weakened immune systems
are especially vulnerable to complications from Salmonella poisoning.
In rare cases, extreme instances of Salmonella poisoning can lead to a
disease called Reiter¡¯s Syndrome, which is associated with chronic arthritis.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Salmonella bacteria sicken
40,000 people every year. Although the true number could be much higher,
because it is estimated that for every case of Salmonella poisoning reported,
two others are unreported.
The Carniceria & Taqueria Hermanos Chavez restaurant was ordered to
close by Catawba County health officials on November 2 after several cases
of Salmonella poisoning were linked to the restaurant. The owner of the
restaurant has reportedly said that it is doubtful he will reopen the
restaurant. Health officials have been unable to determine the source
of the Newton, North Carolina Salmonella outbreak, and it is uncertain
if they ever will. Health investigators have said, however, that they
are especially concerned that this particular Salmonella outbreak could
spread further. Many of those sickened in the Newton Salmonella outbreak
work at other restaurants in the area. The Catawba County Health Department
has sent letters to those victims instructing them to stay home from work
until they are free of Salmonella symptoms.
Restaurant outbreaks of Salmonella
poisoning are not rare. Last year, raw tomatoes served at restaurants
around the country sickened dozens. And this summer over 700 people in
the Chicago area became ill from Salmonella after they ate at the Pars
Cove Restaurant food booth at the Taste of Chicago Food Festival. Last
month, a Quiznos restaurant in Minnesota was implicated in a Salmonella
outbreak that sickened at least10 people. Other Salmonella outbreaks this
year have also been linked to Peter Pan and Great Value Peanut Butter,
and to Banquet Pot Pies, all of which were made by ConAgra Foods.
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