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Topps - Lessons
America Forgot from Upton Sinclair's "Jungle"
Posted on November 24, 2007 by Bill Marler
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
In October Topps Meat Company, founded in 1940, went out of business.
That was after Topps had recalled nearly 22 million pounds of frozen hamburger
contaminated with E. coli and 40 people across the U.S. had become ill.
Tort deformers decried the ¡°tragedy¡± that is this Topps¡¯ collapse - that
a business went under and employees had lost their jobs. Yes, a company
bankrupt and unemployment are tragic. What makes it more so is that the
catastrophic breakdown in the food-safety chain at Topps could have and
should have been prevented by Topps management.
It¡¯s been a century since Utpon Sinclair published the ¡°Jungle,"
which exposed the contaminated underbelly of the American meat industry.
Reform quickly followed. America got the Pure Food and Drug and Meat Inspection
Acts. In the early 1990s, when these safeguards failed ? e.g. Jack in
the Box E. coli outbreak ? again there was a public push for improving
The U.S.D.A. Food and Inspection Service responded with creating and aggressively
enforcing the mandatory Risk Management System. Derived from research
and operations in the American space program, this approach [HACCP] prevented
new outbreaks by establishing check-points at every phase of meat processing.
In addition, the agency classified the presence of E. coli O157:H7 as
an adulterant under the Meat Inspection Act. Until recently, the meat
contamination problem seemed fixed.
Had Topps complied with the letter and spirit of HACCP, it would not have
processed contaminated meat in 2005 and again in 2007. So, why hadn¡¯t
Topps done what was the right thing to do for it and its now unemployed?
We will be researching that question for years.
My theory is that Topps¡¯ leadership might have chosen to take short-cuts
on systemic food-safety procedures. Therefore, contamination which should
have been detected early in meat processing wasn¡¯t. The result wasn¡¯t
pretty: Food-poisoned consumers went through the agony that E. coli inflicts.
They had incorrectly trusted that label ¡°Inspected by the U.S.D.A.¡± as
Over a century, two waves of reform in ensuring the safety of the American
food supply chain have given business a total systems approach. That approach
works if management follows the rules. Unfortunately, employees at Topps
who lost their means of making a living were among those punished - severely.
Will other businesses be able to learn that century-old lesson: Inattention
to proper food processing will be the kiss of death for their brandname,
profitability and, yes, very existence.
for bankruptcy after massive beef recall
Posted on November 23, 2007 by E. coli Lawyer
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
Jeffrey Gold, AP's "E. coli guy," in New Jersey filed the story
that had been rumored about for weeks about Topps Meat Company's Chapter
7 Bankruptcy. Topps has up to 10,000 creditors (including several of my
clients) and liabilities of up to $100 million, according to its Chapter
7 filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Newark. Interestingly, Topps put
its assets in the same range.
As you recall, Topps closed its doors on October 5, six days after it
issued the recall of 21.7 million pounds of frozen hamburger. In September,
the USDA said three people were confirmed as getting E. coli from Topps
products, with 22 other cases under investigation. According to the CDC,
cases were found in Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Maine, New Jersey,
New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. That number has grown to at least 40.
We have filed two lawsuits on behave of victims (two develpoded HUS) in
New York and are investigating the claims of 24 others. We filed a similar
lawsuit against Topps in 2005 - bet they wished they would have listened
then. In early December we will be visiting the now empty plant.
Interestingly, also listed as creditors are Tyson Foods Inc., of Chicago,
and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Another creditor appears to be Topps executive vice president Anthony
L. D'Urso, a member of the family that ran Topps for about 60 years until
a controlling interest was purchased in 2003 by Strategic Investments
& Holdings, a private-equity firm based in Buffalo, N.Y. That means
that these and other creditors will compete with people injured by E.
coli food poisoning - that is going to be an interesting fight over the
Although, Topps has listed
$12,000,000 in insurance to cover the claims of the victims of the E.
coli outbreak, with at least 40 ill, and punitive damage claims, retail
outlets (stores that sold the product) and the suppliers of the meat,
are clearly going to be brought into the case once the bankruptcy stay
has been lifted. I also really want to subpoena USDA/FSIS officials. The
bottom line for us is that we intend to make sure our clients are fairly
compensated AND we find out when both Topps and the USDA knew about the
extent of the E. coli contamination and why the recall took weeks to occur.
I have also had a few email
chats over the last 24 hours with Law Firm Blogger (who has a significant
background following bankruptcy cases). I appreciate her insight and her
post today, and her article today.
foods is a health risk
Email Printer friendly version
Normal font Large font Jeffrey Smith
November 28, 2007
Source of Article: http://www.theage.com.au
The Premier's decision to allow genetically modified crops is also bad
for the economy.
JOHN Brumby's announcement to allow genetically modified (GM) foods to
grow in Victoria threatens more than just the income of Australia's farmers
and food companies. There is irrefutable evidence that GM foods are unsafe
Working with more than 30 scientists worldwide, I documented 65 health
risks of GM foods. There are thousands of toxic or allergic-type reactions
in humans, thousands of sick, sterile and dead livestock, and damage to
virtually every organ and system studied in laboratory animals.
Government safety assessments, including those of Food Standards Australia
New Zealand, do not identify many of the dangers, and a careful analysis
reveals that industry's superficial studies submitted to FSANZ are designed
to avoid finding them. The process of inserting a foreign gene into a
plant cell and cloning that cell into a genetically engineered crop produces
hundreds of thousands of mutations throughout the DNA. Natural plant genes
may be deleted or permanently turned on or off, and hundreds can change
their function. This massive collateral damage is why GM soy has less
protein, an unexpected new allergen, and up to seven times higher levels
of a known soy allergen. It also may explain why British soy allergies
skyrocketed by 50% soon after GM soy was introduced.
But there is another possible cause. Genes inserted into GM soy produce
a protein with allergenic properties. Moreover, the only human feeding
study ever conducted on GM foods found that those genes had transferred
into the DNA of our gut bacteria and remained functional. This means that
long after we stop eating a GM food, its potentially dangerous protein
may be produced continuously inside our intestines.
GM corn and cotton have genes inserted that produce a pesticide called
Bt. If the gene transferred from corn snacks, for example, it could turn
our intestinal flora into living pesticide factories. Farmers on three
continents link Bt corn varieties with sterility in pigs and cows, or
deaths among cows, horses, water buffaloes and chickens. Hundreds of farm
workers who pick Bt cotton get allergic reactions.
When sheep grazed on the cotton plants after harvest, one out of four
died within a week ? about 10,000 sheep died last year. Lab animals fed
GM crops had altered sperm cells and embryos, a five-fold increase in
infant mortality, smaller brains, and a host of other disturbing problems.
Documents made public by a lawsuit revealed that scientists at the US
Food and Drug Administration warned that gene-spliced foods might lead
to allergies, toxins, new diseases and nutritional problems.
Although they urged superiors to demand long-term studies, official FDA
policy claims they never heard such concerns and that no safety tests
are required. The person in charge of that FDA policy was the former attorney
for the biotech giant Monsanto ? and later the company's vice-president.
In the US, the White House had instructed the FDA to promote GM crops,
hoping it would increase US exports. They were wrong. When 25% of US corn
farmers planted GM varieties, corn sales to the EU dropped by 99.4%. All
corn farmers suffered as prices fell by 13 to 20%. Soy and canola markets
also closed, and the US now spends an additional $3 to $5 billion per
year in subsidising the GM crops no one wants. The US Department of Agriculture
admits that GM crops do not increase farmer profit and can actually hurt
incomes; they do not increase yield and often produce less.
Canadian canola yields were down 7.5% and profits plummeted as exports
were diverted from the premium-paying EU market to the low-priced Chinese.
What was bad for Canada was good for Australia, as Australia captured
non-GM markets and soon enjoyed a $63 price advantage. Food marketers
in North America deeply resent GM crops, which don't offer a single consumer
benefit. In fact 29% of Americans are strongly opposed to GM foods and
believe they are unsafe. A growing number of doctors are prescribing a
non-GM diet. Next year, the US natural food industry will remove all remaining
GM ingredients and non-GM shopping guides will appear in stores nationwide.
Consumer buying pressure will likely force the entire food chain in North
America to swear off GM within the next two years. Such a tipping point
was achieved in Europe in April 1999, when virtually all major manufacturers
vowed to go non-GM in a single week.
So with all this evidence, why is Australia turning a blind eye to the
dangers of genetically engineered foods?
Australia should be sitting down and taking notice of the response to
GM foods throughout the world. With GM markets closing, the negative impact
of GM in North America, and the overwhelming evidence of harm from GM
food, it is certainly not the time to let the state ban expire
With the state ban lifting in Victoria and now NSW, before we know it
there won't be any food on our tables that is not genetically engineered.
Jeffrey Smith, the author of Genetic Roulette and Seeds of Deception,
is executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology in Iowa,
International Irradiation Association (iiA) Newsletter (October 2007)
Source of Article: Food Irradiation Update (December 2007)
Out of the 8-billion pounds of ground beef produced annually in the US,
there are approximately 18-million pounds irradiated for your health and
safety. Irradiated ground beef patties are available in the US at many
supermarkets, through Schwan¡¯s home delivery system and by mail order
from Omaha Steaks.
The Schwan's Food Company features a juicy, one-third pound Black Angus
Steak burger and their classic quarter pound burger, 90% lean and full
of big, beefy flavour. Both irradiated for your safety. Their website
¡°Omaha Steaks Ground Beef: Always Superior, Always the Safest. At Omaha
Steaks we are proud to provide you with the finest quality, safe and wholesome
food. Throughout our 90-year history, we have always taken food safety
very seriously. Our top priority is ensuring the integrity of our products
and the trust of our customers. That's why we use an innovative food safety
technology called irradiation on all our ground beef.¡± www.omahasteaks.com
¡°From ground beef and patties to chicken breasts and whole turkeys, New
Generation (by Colorado Boxed Beef) offers America¡¯s broadest selection
of irradiated foods?fresh and frozen. Using the same proven technology
that NASA has relied on for years, our goal is to uphold the highest standards
of food safety while providing an ever-growing selection of wholesome
meat and poultry products. www.newgenerationproducts.com
¡°Get all the Facts on Irradiated Beef: We're proud to offer Wegmans Irradiated
Fresh Ground Beef as a choice to our customers. This is 100% ground beef
with the added food safety benefit of the FDA and USDA-approved irradiation
process. By choosing this product, you can start enjoying great-tasting
burgers cooked the way you like them moist, juicy and flavorful.¡± visit
Leaders and visionaries these companies have been offering customers irradiated
products since the early part of this decade. These C.E.O.¡¯s, employees
and suppliers can sleep safe and sound at night knowing their products
do not have E. coli that is making anyone sick.
We applaud all companies that are answering Bill Marler¡¯s plea ¡°Put me
out of business, please. For this trial lawyer, E. coli has been a far
too successful practice - and a heart-breaking one. Marler says, "I
am tired of visiting with horribly sick kids who did not have to be sick
in the first place. I am outraged with a food industry that allows E.
coli and other poisons to reach consumers, and a President, Congress and
federal regulatory system that does nothing about it.¡±
L. monocytogenes risk assessment in cheese November 28, 2007.
Source of Article: http://members.ift.org/IFT/Pubs/Newsletters/weekly/nl_112807.htm
The FDA is seeking scientific data and information that would assist the
agency in its plans to conduct a risk assessment for Listeria monocytogenes
in soft-ripened cheese. The purpose of the risk assessment is to ascertain
the impact on public health from the reduction and/or prevention of L.
monocytogenes growth and recontamination during the manufacturing and/or
processing of soft-ripened cheese.
Safety and Quality Related Job Openings
NIR/Analytical Services Manager ? Land O¡¯Lakes, Inc. -
Sanitation Manager ? Malt-O-Meal - Northfield,
Food Safety Consultant - Agricultural Consulting Services, Inc. ? Rochester,
Quality Control Supervisor - Channel Fish Co. ? Boston, MA
Food Safety Programs Director ? Food Marketing Institute - Crystal City,
Food Chemist/ Nutritional Chemist ? EMSL Analytical, Inc. - Indianapolis,
QA/QC Manager - Carl Buddig and Company ? South Holland, IL
Safety and Quality Related Job Openings
on pathogens in unpasteurised cheese By Neil Merrett Source
of Article: http://www.dairyreporter.com/
23/11/2007 - A three-year project designed to test the safety of producing
cheese from unpasteurised milk has been announced by the Campden Chorleywood
Food Research Association (CCFRA).
The study, funded by the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), will focus on
the effects of strains of Mycobacterium bovis and E. coli pathogens in
unpasteurised milk when used to make cheeses.
The findings from the project, which kicked off on 1 September this year,
have major implications for cheese processing, CCFRA scientist Phil Voysey
"It is currently unknown how E-coli in cattle is affected when passed
into milk," he said. "The study will provide more information
to the FSA and the dairy industry on possible dangers."
According to the CCFRA, the Mycobacterium bovis pathogen has been known
to survive in cheeses made from unpasteurised milk, though there is as
yet no research into the risk this can pose.
In regards to the vero-cytotoxin producing E. coli (VTEC), which is also
associated with raw milk, even less appears to be known.
The CCFRA says that there is no knowledge on how well the pathogen is
able to survive in fermented products, particularly when coming into contact
with starter cultures and microbial flora present within them.
The project therefore aims to develop and test new ways to detect and
isolate the organisms in milk and cheeses. Additionally, the study will
also asses how micro-organisms survive in a range of both hard and soft
varieties focusing on the particular effects of PH and salt levels.
Voysey said the project will recreate the processes used by cheese manufacturers,
under lab conditions, to enable predicative work on inhibiting the growth
of Mycobacterium bovis.
The project will consult with experts involved in cheese processing, including
manufacturers, industry associations like Dairy UK and the Northern Ireland
Dairy Council, and scientists from Queens University Belfast, the CCFRA
The association added that it welcomed further comment from the dairy
industry about the studies.
may increase female cancer risks
By Stephen Daniells
Source of Article: http://www.foodnavigator.com/
26/11/2007 - Increased dietary intakes of acrylamide could raise the risk
of endometrial and ovarian cancer by 29 and 78 per cent, respectively,
says a new study.
Over 62,000 women in the Netherlands, aged between 55 and 69, took part
in the research that is one of only a handful of studies showing significant
increases in cancer risk, and highlighting the need for reformulation
or process changes in the food industry to reduce the presence in food.
Acrylamide is a carcinogen that is created when starchy foods are baked,
roasted, fried or toasted. It first hit the headlines in 2002, when scientists
at the Swedish Food Administration first reported unexpectedly high levels
of acrylamide, found to cause cancer in laboratory rats, in carbohydrate-rich
Despite being a carcinogen in the laboratory, many epidemiological studies
have reported that everyday exposure to acrylamide in food is too low
to be of concern.
The new study, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers
& Prevention, both challenges and supports previous studies - while
increased risks for endometrial and ovarian cancers were reported, acrylamide
intake was not related to breast cancer risk, as reported by others.
Janneke Hogervorst and co-workers from the University of Maastricht examined
data from 62,573 women taking part in the Netherlands Cohort Study on
diet and cancer.
Average dietary acrylamide intake for the population was assessed in a
random sample of 2,589 women. The women answered a food frequency questionnaire.
Smoking habits were factored into the analysis since smoking is an important
source of acrylamide.
After 11.3 years of follow-up, the researchers reported 327, 300, and
1,835 cases of endometrial, ovarian, and breast cancer, respectively.
The average acrylamide intake for the sample population was 8.9 micrograms
per day. The highest average acrylamide intake (40.2 micrograms per day)
was associated with a significant increase in the risk of endometrial
and ovarian cancer. No effect on breast cancer was observed.
Hogervorst and co-workers also note that the risks were even more pronounced
in people with no history of smoking: the highest average acrylamide intake
was associated with a 99 per cent and 122 per cent increase in the risk
of endometrial and ovarian cancers, respectively. Again, no significant
effect on breast cancer was observed.
"We observed increased risks of postmenopausal endometrial and ovarian
cancer with increasing dietary acrylamide intake, particularly among never-smokers,"
wrote the researchers.
The contradiction between other observational studies and those of animal
studies, where high acrylamide doses led to increased rates of cancer
of the thyroid, testicles, breasts, and uterus, has been suggested to
be due to excessive exposure of the animals to the chemical - the animal
studies used does 1,000 to 100,000 times higher than what humans are exposed
to, and the animal studies provided the acrylamide from water, unlike
humans who obtain acrylamide from food sources.
Scientists have also suggests that humans may effectively detoxify acrylamide
when consumed at dietary levels.
Despite the inconsistency in the literature, industry and universities
are actively exploring effective ways of reducing the formation of acrylamide.
Moreover, acrylamide-reducing ingredients are already commercially available.
Source: Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention
Volume 16, Pages 2304-2313 "A Prospective Study of Dietary Acrylamide
Intake and the Risk of Endometrial, Ovarian, and Breast Cancer" Authors:
Janneke G. Hogervorst, L.J. Schouten, E.J. Konings, R.A. Goldbohm, and
P.A. van den Brandt
anti food terrorism efforts
By Lorraine Heller
Source of Article: http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/
11/20/2007 - The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday announced
it is pumping more funds into securing the safety of the nation's food
The move, which comes as part of the agency's recently announced Food
Protection Plan, will see three grants being awarded to spot radioactive
material in food.
FDA said the lab grants will expand the testing program of its Office
of Regulatory Affairs (ORA) to address the threat to food safety through
radiological terrorism events. In addition, they will help identify accidental
The three-year grants provide $250,000 a year to the Texas Department
of State Health Services Laboratory, the New York Health Research/New
York Department of Health, and the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene.
The grants will be used for supplies, personnel, and facility upgrades.
The labs will also receive training in current food testing methodologies,
participate in method development and validation, proficiency testing,
and food defense surveillance assignments.
This year has seen a number of changes in efforts to ensure food safety,
following numerous high profile contamination cases and safety slips.
Earlier this month, the US government announced wide sweeping plans to
improve the safety of the nation's food supply, with measures including
more stringent inspections, stronger penalties and mandatory recalls.
The two plans unveiled aim to prevent contamination in the domestic food
chain (Food Protection Pan), and to ensure the safety of imported food
(Import Safety Action Plan).
The FDA's Food Protection Plan is built around three core elements: prevention,
intervention and response.
It will promote increased corporate responsibility, increased collaboration
and communication with stakeholders, and a broad risk-based approach to
Under the plan, FDA will also be able to issue additional preventive controls
for high-risk foods, accredit third parties for voluntary food inspections,
increase access to food records during emergencies, and issue a mandatory
recall if voluntary recalls are not effective.
Following in the 'prevention', 'intervention' and 'response' vein, FDA
said the new funded labs will be involved in food defense surveillance
testing as well as bolstering the FDA's emergency response efforts by
increasing the capacity for testing of foods for radioactive contamination,
intentional or accidental.
These labs are part of the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN).
According to FDA, FERN aims to integrate the nation's food-testing laboratories
at the local, state, and federal levels into a network able to respond
to emergencies involving biological, chemical, or radiological food contamination.
The network is designed to respond to emergencies related to agents in
food and restore the public's confidence in the food supply.
to U.S. mad cow discovery: industry
Thu Nov 15, 2007
By Christopher Doering
Source of Article: http://uk.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUKN1531461020071115
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Major U.S. beef customers, including Japan and
South Korea, overreacted to the United States' discovery of mad cow disease
four years ago, the meat industry told an independent trade panel on Thursday.
Major U.S. trading partners banned American beef soon after the United
States found its first case of mad cow disease in December 2003. Since
then, the U.S. has struggled to open major trading markets. This year
the U.S. will export about 5 percent of its beef, compared with 10 percent
in the past.
"BSE is a case study in overreaction," John Reddington, vice
president for trade at the American Meat Institute, told an International
Trade Commission panel. The bans by Japan and South Korea "have no
basis" in science and conflict with international animal health guidelines.
The ITC was asked in August by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus
to report on barriers to U.S. beef sales in major trading partners. The
ITC will give its report to the committee by June 6, 2008.
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association told ITC that U.S. beef producers,
feedlots and processors have lost nearly $12.5 billion in revenue alone
to South Korea and Japan since the bans were first put in place. Before
mad cow disease, the United States annually exported $1.4 billion in beef
to Japan and $519 million to South Korea, making them the first and third
largest customers for U.S. beef.
Closing markets to U.S. beef largely "was a protectionist opportunity
that was exercised around the world," said Jay Truitt, NCBA vice
president of government affairs. "They saw an opportunity for us
to be locked out."
He added that rather than using science to tackle the issue, their decision
was made with politics in mind.
Currently, Japan permits entry of beef from U.S. cattle 20 months or younger.
South Korea allows only imports of boneless U.S. beef from cattle younger
than 30 months.
Last month, Seoul temporarily halted imports after finding banned spinal
material in a shipment. U.S. officials had hoped a recent decision by
the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), which gave the United
States a "controlled risk" status for beef safety, would significantly
increase beef exports, but so far there has been little change.
(Reporting by Christopher Doering; Editing by Marguerita Choy)
A microbial combination plate
Posted on November 19, 2007 by Food Poisoning Attorney
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
When Taco Bell offered free tacos for every American during baseball¡¯s
World Series last month, all I could do was hold my head and mutter something
like: "Hasta luego, Amigos!"
The very idea of doling out
fast-food tacos to millions of baseball fans should ring like a . jackpot
jingle in the corridors of a personal injury law firm like mine - or all
the "wannabees" that are beginning to light up the Internet
with "google ads" and plagiarized blogs. Recently tacos seem
have a food-poisoning track record right up there with Chinese-manufactured
pet food. In the past few years alone, we¡¯ve seen outbreaks of deadly
E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, Hepatitis A, Listeria, Shigella and Norovirus
in at least 13 states, from Washington and California to New York and
Texas ? all traced to restaurant tacos.
Just this year there have been taco-related outbreaks in Alabama, Illinois
and Oregon. And those are just the outbreaks scientifically traced by
public health officials. We¡¯ll never know how many more people have been
sickened without identifying a source. Tracing the source of disease outbreaks
isn¡¯t easy. Health officials need to detect an outbreak early, thoroughly
interview sick people and find the common denominator before memories
fade and evidence disappears.
And even when tacos are suspect, the specific source of the poison varies
from one outbreak to the next. In the Alabama outbreak last summer, the
culprit may have been lettuce laced with E. coli. In Illinois, it was
Salmonella in the cheese. An outbreak at Taco Bell last year in East Coast
states was blamed on tainted lettuce, or as my post below says - maybe
not. Others have been tracked back to green onions, cilantro or undercooked
meat. It seems that when restaurants layer tortillas, meat, cheese, tomatoes,
onions, avocado and lettuce, there are multiple opportunities to contaminate,
cross-contaminate and make people sick.
Take, for example, a major outbreak of Hepatitis A in Florida in December,
2000. Officials at the Lake County Health Department learned that seven
people were sick, and five were hospitalized with Hepatitis A, all in
a two-week span. State and local officials identified the toxin and questioned
each of the patients, including family members and friends who were not
so sick. Eventually, officials identified 78 people sickened in five eastern
states. In the Florida case, most of the sick people had eaten at a Taco
Bell restaurant in Fruitland Park. Further inquiry narrowed the possibilities
down to six menu items and eight ingredients, and only two of those items
had been eaten by a majority of the sick people. Eventually, they zeroed
in on the green onions as the most likely cause. But, given the fact that
nearly every menu item in a Taco Bell has nearly the same ingredients,
how do you really know what ingredient was contaminated?
My point: Tacos can be dangerous. The ingredients ? meat and lettuce and
green onions ? come from an array of sources, are handled by so many people
and are all tossed into the same products, creating a very muddy trail
of evidence. A list of outbreaks below:
Date Location Vendor Microorganism Food type
Oct 98 WA Finley School E. coli O157:H7 Taco Meal
Aug 00 TN San Antonio Salmonella Unknown
Oct 00 CA Viva Mexico Shigella Salsa
Feb 02 IL Laredo Salmonella Employee
Aug 03 TX Cheese LIsteria Cheese
Aug 03 MO Habaneros E. coli O157:H7 Salsa
Nov 03 PA Chi-Chi's Hepatitis A Onions
Sep 05 CA La Golondrina Hepatitis A Lettuce?
Jun 06 OH La Fiesta Norovirus Employee
Nov 06 Several Taco Bell E. coli O157:H7 Lettuce?
Nov 06 Several Taco Johns E. coli O157:H7 Lettuce
Jan 07 AU Mex Express Botulism Cheese
Jan 07 OR Sergio's Dos Norovirus Unknown
Mar 07 IL El Paso Salmonella Cheese
Jul 07 AL Little Rosie's E. coli O157:H7 Lettuce
And there have been more - In October 2007, Tortilla Flat was the scene
of a Norovirus outbreak and just a few days ago, Carniceria Y Taqueria
served Salmonella-Tainted Tacos in North Carolina. Buenos Noches. Thanks
to my friends at K-State (who bring you BARFBLOG) for providing a "bite"
of the history of the "terrible tacos."
salmonella cases hit high of 85
Tue, November 27, 2007
By JOHN MINER, SUN MEDIA
Source of Article: http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/
The number of people hit by salmonella food poisoning at the University
of Western Ontario has jumped by another eight confirmed cases, the Middlesex-London
Health Unit reported yesterday.
With the latest laboratory tests, the total sickened now officially stands
The jump in cases yesterday followed a quiet weekend in which no new cases
At least five students have been hospitalized from the illness.
Dozens more students have reported symptoms consistent with salmonella
food poisoning, but haven't been tested.
The health unit is no longer releasing statistics on those cases, said
associate medical officer of health Dr. Bryna Warshawsky.
The outbreak has been linked to the Pita Pit fast-food outlet at the university's
community centre, which was shut down and sanitized before reopening.
It'll be later this week before the health unit can determine if the cleanup
eliminated the salmonella bacteria.
Warshawsky said she anticipates there will be more lab-confirmed cases
as the health unit encourages students who have been ill to submit stool
samples for testing.
An online survey of students who ate at the Pita Pit is being conducted
on the university's website by the health unit in an effort to pinpoint
the cause of the salmonella contamination. The survey closes at 11:55
"We are getting a really good response," said Warshawsky, with
about equal numbers of people who were sick and those who weren't.
sorry for salmonella poisoning
Wed, November 28, 2007
By JOHN MINER, SUN MEDIA
Source of Article: http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/News/Local/2007/11/28/4691068-sun.html
The University of Western Ontario has taken the unusual step of apologizing
for the salmonella food poisoning outbreak that has been linked to its
on-campus food service.
"It is a terrible thing. We feel very badly for our community,"
Susan Grindrod, associate vice-president of housing and ancillary services,
In a statement released late yesterday afternoon, the university said
its apology was to the Western community and specifically to those who
Advertisements with the apology are being placed in both the student newspaper
and the university's own papers.
Although the precise cause of the salmonella outbreak hasn't been pinpointed,
Grindrod said people in Western's food services felt strongly about what
"The hospitality services folk are there to serve our faculty, staff
and students. . . . This is what our whole life is at Western," she
The outbreak is the first known incident of food-borne illness at Western
in at least 25 years, despite the university serving six million customers
a year, Grindrod said.
First detected 2 1/2 weeks ago, the salmonella contamination has been
traced to the university's Centre Spot food court and the Pita Pit outlet.
A total of 85 cases of salmonella poisoning have been confirmed by lab
tests. No additional lab-confirmed cases were reported yesterday.
Dozens of individuals at Western also have reported symptoms consistent
with salmonella infection but haven't been tested. At least five students
have been hospitalized.
The university announced yesterday it has hired an independent health
and safety inspector to provide suggestions to enhance food safety processes
and measures to avoid cross-contamination between foods. Hand-free sanitization
stations have been installed at entrances to the Centre Spot.
The steps are in addition to everyday practices that include taking regular,
documented temperature checks for refrigerated and hot holding units,
collection of food samples, product rotation, quality checks and diligent
hand-washing procedures for staff, the university said.
The Public Health Agency of Canada says there are 6,000 to 12,000 cases
of salmonella reported in Canada each year.
Most individuals infected develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps
12 to 72 hours after being infected.
Grants to Further Food Safety
Part of efforts outlined in agency¡¯s new Food Protection Plan
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA)
today announced the award of three lab grants, designed to boost the food
screening capabilities and spot radioactive material in food, resulting
from deliberate or accidental contamination. These labs are part of the
Food Emergency Response Network (FERN).
The three-year grants provide $250,000 a year for supplies, personnel,
minor facility upgrades and training. Recipients of the grants are the
Texas Department of State Health Services Laboratory, the New York Health
Research/New York Department of Health, and the Wisconsin State Laboratory
FDA's ORA will expand its testing program to address the threat to food
safety through radiological terrorism events. ORA has developed radiological
screening and analysis methodologies used to evaluate foods and food products.
The grants are targeted toward enhanced detection of radiological contamination
and thus enhance the nation's overall capability to rapidly detect and
respond to deliberate attacks on the food supply.
The grant awards further expand the FDA's ability to promote the integrated
strategy for protecting the nation's food supply through the three core
elements of prevention, intervention, and response, as outlined in the
agency's Food Protection Plan. These funded labs will be involved in food
defense surveillance testing as well as bolstering the FDA's emergency
response efforts by increasing the capacity for testing of foods for radioactive
contamination, intentional or accidental.
The selected laboratories will receive funds to assist in acquiring supplies,
personnel, and facility upgrades. The labs will receive training in current
food testing methodologies, participate in method development and validation,
proficiency testing, and food defense surveillance assignments.
Two key project areas have been identified for the grant recipients. These
areas involve the detection of radioactive contamination, utilizing the
most advanced detection systems available.
FERN's mission is to integrate the nation's food-testing laboratories
at the local, state, and federal levels into a network able to respond
to emergencies involving biological, chemical, or radiological food contamination.
The network can respond to emergencies related to agents in food and restore
the public's confidence in the food supply.
Releases 8-Hour Listeria Field Test
November 26, 2007
Source of Article: http://www.ohsonline.com/articles/56214/
DuPont Qualicon released a new, genetic-based test Nov. 26 that allows
food companies to detect Listeria on environmental surfaces in only eight
hours, according to the company, which says the new assay "is the
first commercial application of Reverse-Transcriptase PCR for bacterial
testing in food." It is part of a suite of BAX(R) system products.
"This flexible test can give food companies clear, precise results
at the end of a shift," said Kevin Huttman, president of DuPont Qualicon.
"With fast, accurate detection of Listeria, even at low concentrations,
food processors get the information they need to take action sooner and
release product faster."
Listeria is found in many kinds of foods and us usually killed with proper
cooking. Ready-to-eat products, such as hot dogs and deli meat, can become
contaminated between cooking and packaging, however. The infection Listeriosis
is caused by eating food contaminated with pathogenic Listeria monocytogenes.
This illness is especially risky for pregnant women and immuno-compromised
individuals. DuPont Qualicon said.
Based Technology Provides Fast, Low Cost Microbial Identification
source from: rapidmicrobiology.com
Micro Imaging Technology (MIT) is located in San Clemente, California
and for several years has been developing a laser based breakthrough technology
for rapid microbial identification. The company¡¯s first product, the MIT
1000, has now gone into production.
The MIT 1000 is currently capable of identifying 23 different bacterial
species (e.g. E.coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella). Unlike other
test methods (i.e. standard lab testing or PCR) the user is not limited
to testing for a specific organism. As long as the organism is in the
MIT 1000 library, it will be identified. We can also add other species
to the library to suit your specific needs. I have attached a copy of
our data sheet that provides more detail about the system.
Most of the popular rapid identification systems cost over $5 per test
($2.85/test is the industry average according to Strategic Consultants
Inc) and the MIT 1000 is conservatively estimated at only $0.10/test as
the system uses no reagents or chemicals to ID the organism.
Results are obtained in minutes after the culturing stage is completed,
due to the small number of organisms needed for the system to properly
identify the contaminant, culturing is usually completed in less than
12 hours. MIT's laboratory testing for bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella
was actually completed in just over 10 hours from the time the 'sample
Nanoparticles Detect And Remove Harmful Bacteria
Source of Article: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071119110910.htm
ScienceDaily (Nov. 20, 2007) ? Researchers in Ohio report the development
of magnetic nanoparticles that show promise for quickly detecting and
eliminating E. coli, anthrax, and other harmful bacteria. In laboratory
studies, the nanoparticles helped detect a strain of E. coli within five
minutes and removed 88 percent of the target bacteria, the scientists
Xuefei Huang and colleagues point out that ongoing incidents of produce
contamination and the threat of bioterrorist attacks have created an urgent
need for quicker, more effective ways to detect bacterial decontamination.
To meet that need, they developed a "magnetic glyco-nanoparticle
(MGNP)," a unique compound that combines magnetic nanoparticles with
Sugars (or carbohydrates) on cell surfaces are used by many bacteria to
attach to their host cells in order to facilitate infection. The scientists
exposed a group of E. coli bacteria to the sugar-coated nano-magnets to
mark the microbes so they could be easily identified and removed by a
magnetic device. The researchers also used the particles to distinguish
between three different E. coli strains.
The study represents "the first time that magnetic nanoparticles
have been used to detect, quantify, and differentiate E. coli cells,"
the researchers state.
The journal article,"Magnetic Glyco-nanoparticles: A Unique Tool
for Rapid Pathogen Detection, Decontamination, and Strain Differentiation"
was published in theNov. 7 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical
Adapted from materials provided by American Chemical Society.
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