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Journal of Food Safety
Bullet for E. coli?
Posted on February 9, 2008 by E. coli Attorney
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
According to Bioniche and press reports, the USDA has agreed to grant
a conditional license to Bioniche for its E. coli O157:H7 Cattle Vaccine.
Is this the ¡°silver bullet¡± to solve the recent uptick in E. coli recalls
and human illnesses? I have had the opportunity to meet with Bioniche
scientists and executives over the years and am pleased to see a potential
weapon against these deadly bacteria. The Bioniche vaccine prevents the
E. coli O157:H7 bacteria from attaching to the intestines of vaccinated
cattle, thereby reducing their reproduction within the animal, and reducing
the amount of bacteria that can be released through cattle manure in the
I am looking forward to the continued study of this promising vaccine.
Clearly we need it. I found this great chart on the Ethicurian about the
increases in recalls:
In the last 15 years here are a few of the defendants we have sued on
behalf of E. coli victims:
AFG, AgVenture Farms, Bauer Meats, BJ's Wholesale Club, Byerly's, Cargill,
Carneco, China Buffet, ConAgra, Crossroads Farm Petting Zoo, Cub Foods,
Dole, Emmpak, Excel, Finley School District, Fresno Meat Market, Gold
Coast Produce, Golden Corral, Habaneros, Interstate Meats, Jack in the
Box, Karl Ehmer, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Kids Korner Day Care, King Garden,
Lane County Fair, Lunds, Odwalla, Natural Selections, Olive Garden, Organic
Pastures, Peninsula Village, Pat & Oscar's, PM Beef Holdings, Robeson
School District, Sam's Club, Sizzler, Spokane Produce, Sodexho, Souplantation,
Supervalu, Taco Bell, Taco John's, Topps, United Food Group (UFG) and
I guess they all could have used a bullet or two?
USDA must act to
ensure safety in school lunch program
Source of Article:
United States Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) sent two letters; one to the
new Secretary of Agriculture and one to the head of the Food Safety Inspection
Service (FSIS), asking for an immediate investigation into the safety
of ground beef being used in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).
Durbin's letters are in response to an investigative video report released
by the Humane Society, depicting dozens of incidents of inhumane treatment
of sick and weak animals at processing facility that is a leading supplier
of ground beef to our nation's schools.
"The treatment of animals in this video is appalling, but more than
that, it raises significant concerns about the safety of the food being
served to our nation's children," Durbin said. "The apparent
slaughter of sick and weak animals not only appears to violate USDA regulations,
but could be a danger to our nation's food supply. These "downed"
animals are more easily contaminated and may carry diseases dangerous
to consumers. USDA should investigate the claims and FSIS should immediately
take steps to review the safety of the food being used in school lunch
The report and accompanying video which were released by the Humane Society
Friday, shows workers at the Hallmark Meat Packing Company, in Chino,
California, repeatedly using electric prods on animals unable to stand
or walk unassisted and the dragging of weak or sick animals. In addition,
some cattle were seen being pushed around the plant with the blades of
a fork lift. The use of these practices on sick animals known as "downers"
raises questions about the health and welfare of the animals and the safety
of meat products processed at this facility.
Hallmark Meat Packing Company is the second largest supplier of ground
beef to the nation's school lunch program, operated by the US Department
of Agriculture. The lunch program serves more than 30 million meals a
day to schoolchildren across the country. Over a million children in Illinois
receive school lunches through this program. "To see the extreme
cruelties shown in the video challenges comprehension," said Wayne
Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States.
"This must serve as a five-alarm call to action for Congress and
the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Our government simply must act quickly
both to guarantee the most basic level of humane treatment for farm animals
and to protect America's food supply."
Durbin has been a leader on the issue of food and school lunch safety
for more than a decade. In addition to working towards the creation of
a single food safety agency, Durbin introduced the "Safe Schools
Food Act," in 2003, which was later included in the school lunch
program's reauthorization. Durbin's legislation increased the frequency
of inspections; helped schools purchase safe food; and gave parents access
to inspection reports.
Food Allergy Families Now Know What¡¯s to Eat
Source of Article: http://www.godairyfree.org/
Lake Forest, California ¡ª When Linda Coss first self-published What¡¯s
to Eat? The Milk-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free Food Allergy Cookbook seven
years ago, she only ordered 150 copies. Not sure if anyone outside her
circle of friends and family would be interested, she didn¡¯t want to be
stuck with a garage full of unwanted books. As it turns out, Ms. Coss
seriously underestimated demand. This week the 15,000th copy of the food
allergy cookbook was sold. As an increasing number of children have been
diagnosed with severe food allergy, What¡¯s to Eat? has become a classic
in the world of food allergy cooking.
For those with very severe food allergies, eating only a tiny amount of
a common food can be deadly. As there currently is no cure, strict avoidance
of the offending foods is an absolute necessity.
¡°One of the biggest challenges faced by those who must eliminate multiple
allergens from their diet is figuring out what to eat,¡± explains Ms. Coss.
¡°What people love about the What¡¯s to Eat? Food Allergy Cookbook is that
the recipes look and taste ¡®normal¡¯ and delicious, are easy to make, and
are all completely free of dairy, egg, and nut ingredients. I am absolutely
thrilled that this book has helped over 15,000 families enjoy wonderful
meals and not feel limited by their limited diet.¡±
What¡¯s to Eat? is a comprehensive cookbook, with over 145 recipes for
everything from soups and salads to main courses, side dishes, breakfast
foods, and baked goods. In addition to What¡¯s to Eat?, Linda Coss has
also self-published How To Manage Your Child¡¯s Life-Threatening Food Allergies:
Practical Tips For Everyday Life. Both books are available at FoodAllergyBooks.com,
Amazon.com, and other retailers nationwide.
on Camplobacter Prevention
Source of Article: http://www.thepoultrysite.com/
DENMARK - Campylobacter is the most common bacterial cause of human gastrointestinal
disease in Denmark. It is estimated that imported chilled broiler meat
contributed to approximately 80% of the human campylobacteriosis cases
related to consumption of chicken meat in Denmark in 2006. Importers must,
therefore, become better at demanding a reduction in the levels of campylobacter
bacteria in imported chicken meat.
This is one of the initiative areas in the Ministry of Food, Agriculture
and Fisheries¡¯ new five-year action plan for fighting campylobacter bacteria.
¡±Danish chicken farmers have
become extremely good at controlling campylobacter in their production.
However, the number of Danes getting ill is still alarmingly high. Therefore,
it is necessary that we sharpen the requirements we place on importers
of chicken meat. Consumers have a right to safe food products ? from Denmark
or from abroad. Therefore, I will now work towards reaching an agreement
with importers and retailers for them to place higher demands on the meat
they sell,¡± says Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Eva Kjer
The Minister has already begun
work on the problem concerning imports through the launch of intensified
monitoring of both Danish and imported meat ? the so-called¡±case-by-case¡±
control. In 2008 the numbers of tests of imported chicken meat are to
be additionally increased.
Since 2003 Denmark has had a voluntary strategy for fighting campylobacter.
The results of this strategy have been positive. There is now less campylobacter
in the Danish chicken we consume today. There has also been an approximately
30 per cent reduction in the number of people falling ill from 2001 to
2006, but there was an increase in this number last year.
¡±With the new efforts aimed at fighting campylobacter, we have established
some specific initiative areas so that we can reduce the number of people
getting sick,¡± says Eva Kjer Hansen.
The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, in cooperation with the
industry and experts at the Technical University of Denmark, have assisted
the Ministry in drafting a new Danish action plan for fighting campylobacter.
The plan is now being discussed among the political parties¡¯ spokesmen.
The plan stretches over five years and establishes a number of areas in
which efforts must be made to reduce the incidence of campylobacter even
more. Apart from increasing initiatives on the import side, the plan includes,
among other things, insect screens in broiler houses, better methods of
allocating meat from Campylobacter positive flocks to the production of
frozen products, as well as the use of steam and ultra-sound in order
to reduce the bacteria incidence.
Food Safety and Quality Related Job Openings
Assurance Sr. Manager - Dollar General ? Goodlettsville, TN
Assurance Manager - Lakeside Foods, Inc.- Poynette/ Reedsburg; Belgium
QUALITY & ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCE ? Kellogg Company ? Omaha, NE
QUALITY ASSURANCE TECHNICIAN ? Kellogg Company ? Allyn, WA
Sales Specialist l - Bio-Rad Laboratories ? New York or Atlanta, GA
QUALITY CONTROL TECHNICIAN - Premio Foods, Inc. - North & Central
QUALITY ASSURANCE MANAGER - Premio Foods, Inc.- Hawthorne, NJ
Instrumentation Chemistry Manager - Northland Laboratories ? Northbrook
and Quality Related Job Openings
still sounding on food safety
HealthDay February 11, 2008
Source of Article: http://www.bucyrustelegraphforum.com/
One Sunday after church, Rich Miller headed to a local Chi-Chi's restaurant
in Beaver, Pa., where he dipped into the house salsa that came with the
That simple act in 2003 changed his life forever. What Miller didn't know
was that imported Mexican green onions in the salsa carried a deadly passenger:
A few days later, as Miller recalled recently, "I couldn't even get
out of bed. It was like the worst case of flu that you could ever imagine."
His health quickly deteriorating, the 57-year-old railroad superintendent
was diagnosed with rare fulminant hepatitis A disease -- in which the
virus destroys the liver -- and was rushed to a Pittsburgh hospital for
a liver transplant.
Placed in a medically induced coma for a month, Miller eventually returned
home, frail and unable to return to work. To this day, he said, he has
mobility problems and neurological difficulties.
Still, Miller considers himself lucky: Four others who ate the salsa and
developed fulminant liver illness died. Overall, more than 600 people
around Pittsburgh were sickened during what became the largest hepatitis
A outbreak in U.S. history.
The story is just one of many over the past few years that have swung
the spotlight on the dangers of imported foods, which now comprise 13
percent of the American diet, ccording
to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Perhaps the most high-profile examples of these potential dangers come
from last year's tainted pet food scandal and the halting of questionable
food products from China.
The pet food disaster, which slowly evolved into the largest recall of
pet food in U.S. history, involved exported wheat gluten from China that
contained the toxic chemical melamine and was used as an additive in food
sold under more than 100 brand names. Hundreds of dogs and cats died;
an official tally was never issued.
In addition, U.S. health officials disclosed that up to 3 million broiler
chickens had been fed the contaminated surplus pet food and then had been
sold to restaurants and supermarkets across the country.
That was followed by a recall of almost a million tubes of toothpaste
from China that were contaminated with a chemical used in antifreeze.
The toothpaste had been distributed to institutions for the mentally ill,
hospitals and prisons in the South.
And, shortly after that, U.S. health officials halted the importation
of farmed fish from China because of chemical contamination in the fish
But China is not alone in triggering American foodborne woes.
Last year also, a salmonella outbreak caused Dole Fresh Fruit Co. to recall
roughly 6,104 cartons of imported cantaloupes from Costa Rica that were
distributed to wholesalers in the eastern United States and Quebec. There
were no reports of illness.
But in 2006, an outbreak of nonfatal scombroid fish poisoning linked to
tuna steaks imported from Vietnam and Indonesia sickened 15 people in
Louisiana and Tennessee. And a 2001 outbreak of salmonella in Mexican
cantaloupes killed two people and sickened 25 others across 15 states.
In November, officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reacted
to the newest outbreaks with a sweeping set of proposals dubbed the Food
Protection Plan. It calls for legislation that would give the agency broader
powers (including mandatory food recall), heftier financing, and improved
cooperation with producers, importers and foreign governments to stop
tainted food at the source. The plan remains just that, however, pending
Still, "I think it's clearly a step forward," said Bill Hubbard,
who spent 14 years as associate commissioner of the FDA before retiring
in 2005. Hubbard, who is now an adviser for the Washington, D.C.-based
consumer advocacy group Coalition for a Stronger FDA, said, "The
plan is clearly an attempt to change the paradigm from 'inspect only at
the border' to putting more of the responsibility elsewhere," especially
at the source of production abroad. "Put in place procedures where
you say to the importer you need to be checking on your supplier, then
the exporter in China is supposed to be looking at his supplier and then
all the way back to the producer," Hubbard explained. "Everybody
is checking on everybody and keeping records. And, in theory, that can
work. But the FDA will need new statutory authority to oversee something
like that, and resources."
The full scope of the problem remains unclear, however.
More contaminants in imported foods
One thing is clear: You're more likely to encounter contaminants in foods
from abroad than those grown in the United States.
According to a FDA report released in 2003, pesticide violations were
cited in 6.1 percent of imported foods sampled versus 2.4 percent of domestic
products. And a report issued by the agency a few years earlier found
traces of salmonella or the dysentery-linked bacteria shigella in 4 percent
of imported fruits and vegetables versus 1.1 percent of domestic produce.
And there's more imported food in the nation's supermarkets than ever
before. According to the CDC, food imports to the United States have almost
doubled in the past decade, from $36 billion in 1997 to more than $70
billion in 2007.
The farm in Ojos Negros, Mexico, that was the source of the 2003 green
onion contamination had never been inspected by U.S. authorities before
the incident. And the FDA inspection that took place soon after the outbreak
makes for chilling reading.
In their report, filed in December 2003, agency inspectors said they observed
dirty runoff from the farm workers' windowless, mud-floored shacks and
crude showers seeping directly onto fields where produce was grown. Photos
of the site "show evidence of soiled diapers, soiled feminine hygiene
products, and domestic waste" lying nearby, according to the report.
The growing fields were irrigated with water from a pond that was also
a dumping ground for human sewage and animal manure. During processing,
green onions typically passed through the hands of at least six workers,
the FDA team said, and there was no evidence that workers were allowed
time off for illness. While the firm purported to wash all onions in chlorinated
water, it could produce no evidence to back that claim.
Meat Ban at Westland Meat
Posted on February 10, 2008 by Food Poisoning Lawyer
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
USDA officials extended a ban on use of meat from a Chino slaughterhouse
shut down last week for mistreating cattle. It also said the Westland
plant had been cited in 2005 for using electric prods on animals. This
was the same year that Westland Meat Company was awarded ¡°The Supplier
of the Year for 2004-2005 for the National School Lunch Program.¡±
According to AP reports, USDA officials insisted Friday that investigations
have found no evidence that meat from disabled animals has entered the
food supply despite video to the contrary. Humane Society President and
Chief Executive Wayne Pacelle disputed that claim by USDA.
"There's no ambiguity in our mind that this plant was accepting downers,
abusing downers and slaughtering downers."
Why is this all important? Federal regulations call for keeping downer
cows out of the food supply because they pose a higher risk of E. coli,
salmonella contamination, or mad cow disease since they typically wallow
in feces and their immune systems are often weak. Yummy!
Seems to be a Weekly Occurence
Posted on February 9, 2008 by Botulism Lawyer
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
Health officials again announced
that last month's recall of canned beans in 6 to 7 pound institutional-sized
cans over botulism concerns has been expanded to include a variety of
other vegetables in similar-sized cans. The expanded recall includes asparagus,
peas and other vegetables canned by the Michigan-based New Era Canning
Company. The vegetables are sold under a variety of brand names, including
Classic Sysco, Code, Frosty Acres Restaurant's Pride Preferred, GFS, Kitchen
Essentials, Monarch Heritage, Necco, New Era, Nugget and Reliance Sysco.
A full list of the recalled products with names and lot codes can be found
at the FDA website.
Botulism is a rare but serious
paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium
Clostridium botulinum. Clostridium botulinum is the name of a group of
bacteria commonly found in soil. It is an anaerobic, gram-positive, spore-forming
rod that produces a potent neurotoxin. These rod-shaped organisms grow
best in low oxygen conditions. The bacteria form spores, which allow them
to survive in a dormant state until exposed to conditions that can support
their growth. The organism and its spores are widely distributed in nature.
They occur in both cultivated and forest soils, bottom sediments of streams,
lakes, and coastal waters, and in the intestinal tracts of fish and mammals,
and in the gills and viscera of crabs and other shellfish.
Safety Manager Will Lead LRQA Assurance Services in the Americas
Source of Article: http://www.businesswire.com/
HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Lloyd's Register Quality Assurance, Inc. (LRQA),
a market leader in the provision of Business Assurance services, announces
the appointment of Vel Pillay, as Americas Food Safety Manager. Over half
of the world's top consumer food companies currently choose LRQA for certification,
and Pillay¡¯s appointment will support LRQA¡¯s dedication to food safety
and help further refine its food-sector expertise and services.
Pillay, who holds extensive food-sector experience in Food Safety Management
Systems, will have full responsibility for managing the food group across
the Americas region. He joins LRQA¡¯s existing global food-product manager,
food-sector-specialist team, and over 400 global food-safety assessors
who help food and beverage clients ensure consumer safety and reduce risk
through rigorous evaluation and certification of their management systems
¡°The food sector and its consumer base are increasingly affected by food-safety
concerns and incidents, and working to ensure that the expertise of our
assessors and specialist teams complement the specific demands of the
industry is our utmost priority,¡± comments Andrew Smith, Senior Vice President,
Lloyd's Register Americas Management Systems. ¡°Under Vel¡¯s leadership,
we are confident the increased skills and capabilities of our team will
strengthen LRQA¡¯s ability to support clients across the entire food-supply
LRQA¡¯s team of experts has worked extensively across the food sector for
over 20 years, assisting with the development, formalization, and improvement
of standards and specifications, including the Hazard Analysis Critical
Control Point (HACCP) and the ISO 22000 international food-safety standard.
LRQA is an active member of the ISO 22000 Technical Committee, the European
Accreditation Board¡¯s Food Committee, and the Global Food Safety Initiative¡¯s
Additional information on LRQA¡¯s work within the food sector and the services
it provides is available at www.lrqausa.com/food-beverage.htm and www.businessassurance.com/food.
1. LRQA, a member of the Lloyd's Register Group, works across global supply
chains providing verification, certification and training services to
a range of business sectors worldwide, including food and beverage manufacturing,
distribution and retail companies. LRQA has issued thousands of global
approvals in areas including environmental, quality, food safety, supply
chain assurance, health and safety, and security.
2. Lloyd¡¯s Register is an independent risk management organization. The
Lloyd¡¯s Register Group works to help improve its clients¡¯ quality, safety,
environmental and business performance throughout the world, because life
Information Society: Is It Safe to Reuse Plastic Food Containers?
Source of Article: http://www.marketwire.com/mw/release.do?id=819696
CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Feb. 11, 2008) - Food Safety Information
Society: Have you ever been tempted to microwave soup in a margarine container
or wondered if the triangular code on the bottom of a plastic food container
has anything to do with the safety of the plastic? Just how safe is it
to reuse all those handy oven trays, containers and plastic bags in which
food is packaged?
"Most food containers are produced to the exact specifications of
the food manufacturer and may be designed to be used only once,"
says Pat Inglis, Food Safety Information Officer for the Food Safety Information
Society (FSIS). "The container may look sturdy enough to reuse but
plastics may break down when used in unintended ways. If the food requires
heating or cooking in the oven or microwave, follow the directions on
the label and then transfer leftovers to a food storage container and
throw out the single use container."
Margarine, ice cream or yogurt containers may be used to store cooled
or dried foods. They should not be used for hot food or for reheating
food in the microwave or oven because they may melt. Avoid visibly damaged,
stained or unpleasant smelling plastic containers.
Styrofoam containers make a good package for take-out food, but they will
melt rapidly when exposed to heat or may give off noxious fumes if used
in the microwave. It may also be unsafe to reuse plastic bags for heating
food. The bags may not only become soft, but they may be made with dyes,
printers ink or glues that may leach chemicals when heated in the oven
Food should never be stored or heated in containers not intended for food
such as garbage bags.
"Some consumers ask if the triangular codes on the bottom of many
plastic containers designate safety for their reuse," Inglis says.
"This is a voluntary code system developed by the Plastic Bottle
Institute to help plastic recyclers sort containers by resin type."
We acknowledge the financial support of Agriculture and AgriFood Canada
and Alberta Agriculture and Food under the Agricultural Policy Framework,
a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.
new deputy under secretary for food safety
By Ann Bagel Storck on 2/12/2008 for Meatingplace.com
Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer
announced the appointment of H. Scott Hurd as deputy under secretary for
food safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The position had been
open since Kurt Mann left last year. Hurd comes to the Food Safety and
Inspection Service from Iowa State University, where he has served as
an epidemiologist in the College of Veterinary Medicine for the past three
years. At Iowa State, Hurd led research of epidemiology and food risks
affecting human health. He specializes in salmonella, campylobacter and
antibiotic resistance risk assessments. Prior to becoming an associate
professor at Iowa State, Hurd served in USDA's Agricultural Research Service
and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service from 1989 to 2004.
develops code of conduct on nanotechnology
By Guy Montague-Jones Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/
12-Feb-2008 - The European Commission has released a voluntary code of
conduct for nanotechnology that places the burden of responsibility for
consumer safety on industry. Nanotechnology is already making a big impact
on the food industry, particularly in flavour delivery and packaging,
but concerns about the impact of the technology on human health are widespread
in the scientific community. Scientists are concerned that inadequate
research has been conducted on the health effects of nanotechnology and
that knowledge gaps need to be filled.
Protecting human health
The new voluntary code was conceived as an attempt to prevent these gaps
from endangering the health of consumers by requiring researchers to proceed
in accordance with the precautionary principle. Under the code, not only
will the burden of proof fall on researchers in relation to safety but
they will also be accountable for the impact of their work. "The
code of conduct is a tool developed by the Commission that will make it
very simple to address the legitimate concerns that can arise regarding
nanotechnologies," said EU science and research commissioner Janez
Potocnik. Those who choose to adopt the code will have to abide by seven
general principles that are summarised below:
Precaution: Researchers should conduct their activities according to the
precautionary principle, anticipating the possible negative results of
their work and taking due precautions.
Meaning: Research should be
comprehensible to the public, respect fundamental rights and be carried
out in the interest of the well-being of individuals and society.
research should be safe, ethical and contribute to sustainable development.
for the social, environmental and health effects of nanotech research
should lie with those conducting it.
by all stakeholders should be allowed in research and the right to access
to information should be provided.
Excellence: Research should
meet the best scientific standards.
Innovation: Governance of research
activities should encourage maximum creativity, flexibility and planning
ability for innovation and growth.
The code of conduct is also designed to ensure the potential of the science
is exploited with emphasis in the principles being placed on innovation
and excellence as well as safety. "Nanotechnologies could very well
be the next revolution in enabling technologies and Europe has a good
track record in their development," added Potocnik. Manufacturers
in the food and cosmetics industries are already using nanotechnology
and the number of products developed using the new science is increasing
fast. The Lux Research group estimate that the market potential of nanotechnology
products could be worth up to ¢æ1.9 trillion by 2014. Nanotechnology is
the science of manipulating the properties of tiny particles, measuring
one billionth of a metre and has a broad range of applications from computer
chips to food and personal care. A human hair is 80,000 nanometres (nm)
wide, a red blood cell 7,000 nm wide, and a water molecule 0.3 nm wide.
discusses food safety
By Linda Rano
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/
13-Feb-2008 - Today's meeting of the UK Food Standards Agency's Board
will include a progress report on food safety, highlighting achievements
but also flagging areas of concern like rising rates of foodbourne illness.
One of the items on the table relates to foodbourne pathogens. The latest
figures on campylobacter, Salmonella, E.coli 0157, Listeria monocytogenes
and Clostridium perfringens) indicate a small increase of 1.7 per cent
compared with 2005 - but this is the first increase since 2000, and there
are fears that it could underlie a new spate of foodbourne illnesses.
Of particular concern is listeriosis, of which incidence is seen to have
doubled since 2000. The cause of this increase has yet to be determined
but it is being investigated through research into the epidemiology of
the disease and surveys for the presence of listeria in foods thought
to be linked with the disease such as retail cold sliced meats and pates.
Similar increases in the incidence of Listeriosis have also occurred in
other EU member states.
Campylobacter and Salmonella
There are concerns that the agency interventions in partnership with industry
may not deliver the strategic plan targets of 50 per cent reductions in
Campylobacter in poultry and Salmonella in pigs. A separate paper will
be presented to the Board meeting concerning Campylobacter in chickens.
It notes that although there has been a reduction in contamination levels
in chicken at retail there is currently a high prevalence in flocks.
The agency is presently gathering evidence for new interventions to try
and accelerate the rate of reduction and will consider with stakeholders
the likelihood of their succeeding.
The rate of Salmonella in pigs appears to be due in part to the current
scheme not targeting a big enough percentage of problem herds. The agency
is therefore refocusing its efforts in partnership with DEFRA and the
Specific measures are planned such as all assured herds being required
to have a Salmonella action plan.
Development of a new tool to measure slaughterhouse hygiene, originally
aimed at providing a tool for slaughterhouse operators to identify what
they could do better to reduce contamination by human pathogens, has taken
longer than expected.
The agency now says it hopes to develop a new way of measuring slaughterhouse
hygiene by the end of 2009 which will help operators identify effective
controls and inform the negotiation of more risk-based EU meat hygiene
BSE has continued to decline and is now at a very low level in those cattle
that are eligible for human consumption. The Agency will continue to contribute
to the review of transmissible spongiform encephalopaties (TSE) controls
taking place in Europe with the aim of maintaining effective public health
protection at a level that is proportionate to the risks. The agency continues
to promote and aid the development of a sensitive and cost effective TSE
test that can be used on live animals.
Compared with 2006 there is a marked decrease in the number of environmental
contamination and veterinary medicine incidents, but an increase in those
incidents involving natural chemical contaminants.
There has also been an increase in the number of incidents classified
as 'high', largely due to issues around traceability of products. The
agency has been working with the food industry and other stakeholders
to develop an incident prevention plan.
Some of the major work being funded or part-funded under the Allergy Action
Plan includes an investigation into the possibility of developing practical
management thresholds for use by industry when making decisions about
voluntary labelling (such as 'May contain' or 'Free From'); and by regulators
when deciding appropriate actions to be taken when dealing with possible
allergen cross contamination incidents.
The agency has an extensive programme of work in place to replace the
use of animal testing in the statutory monitoring programme for the detection
of marine biotoxins in shellfish. In the last year it has funded a programme
to develop and evaluate a high performance liquid chromatography method.
There are a number of future challenges related to the statutory requirement
to monitor marine biotoxins and microbial contaminants in shellfish. Industry
contributions to the cost of the programmes might be considered.
Cause Repeated Outbreaks Of 'Stomach Flu' Source
of Article: http://www.sciencedaily.com/
ScienceDaily (Feb. 13, 2008) ? Norovirus, a common cause of gastroenteritis
("stomach flu"), could potentially be controlled by a vaccine.
But because the virus evolves to avoid the immune system, the vaccine
might have to be modified from year to year, according to new research
published in PLoS Medicine by Ralph Baric of the University of North Carolina,
Chapel Hill, and colleagues.
Noroviruses, which are highly contagious, cause nausea, vomiting, and
diarrhea. While most people recover within a few days, the very young
and old may experience severe disease. Although maintaining hydration
is essential, there is no specific treatment for infection. As with influenza,
epidemics of norovirus infection occur periodically (often in closed communities
such as cruise ships), and most people have several norovirus infections
during their lifetime. This winter the UK has seen almost twice as many
norovirus cases compared to the same period last year.
Noroviruses infect cells after attaching to molecules called histo-blood
group antigens (HBGA) present on the cell surface. HBGAs comprise a family
of complex sugar molecules that exist in great variety among human beings.
The researchers found that this variety provides the key to understanding
how norovirus outbreaks continue to occur, even in populations that have
previously been exposed to noroviruses and therefore harbor antibodies
By analyzing noroviruses isolated from several outbreaks, the researchers
found that the viruses evolved to avoid attack by antibodies the hosts
developed against them. Over time, some viruses selected in this way attain
a shape that enables them to bind to one of the other forms of HBGA, and
thereafter are not only resistant to previously existing antibodies, but
are also able to infect cells carrying that particular form of HBGA. These
viruses can then cause a new outbreak, and the cycle repeats itself.
This continuing evolution of new replacement strains suggests that vaccines
could be designed to protect against norovirus infection, but that, as
with influenza vaccines, ongoing epidemiologic surveillance and reformulations
of norovirus vaccines will be needed.
In a related perspective article, Ben Lopman and colleagues at the UK
Health Protection Agency, who were not involved in the study, discuss
the evolution of noroviruses and the implications of this research for
the control of future outbreaks.
Citation: Lindesmith LC, Donaldson EF, LoBue AD, Cannon JL, Zheng DP,
et al. (2008) Mechanisms of GII.4 norovirus persistence in human populations.
PLoS Med 5(2): e31. http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0050031
Adapted from materials provided by PLoS Medicine, via EurekAlert!, a service
Outbreak Sickens 33 Leading to Recall of Ahi in Hawaii
Posted on February 8, 2008 by Salmonella Lawyer
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
The Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported again on the ongoing story last week
of about 33 illness of Salmonella Paratyphi B tied to the consumption
of yellow fin Tuna Ahi. Now Choyce Products announced that it has voluntarily
recalled 11,000 pounds of previously frozen yellow fin tuna that tested
positive for salmonella. About 5,000 pounds of the contaminated Ahi was
sold to some five businesses, but it is not clear how much was recovered
or if any had already been sold to consumers.
The Health Department believes the illnesses are related to previously
frozen ahi, which was imported to Hawaii and eaten raw.
Salmonella Paratyphi B is host-specialized, for it grows well and causes
disease only in humans, whereas most strains of Salmonella can grow in
the gut of almost all animals, both domesticated and wild. Humans usually
acquire Salmonella Paratyphi B by the ingestion of water or of food that
has been contaminated through fecal contact with humans. Most isolates
of Salmonella belong to the species S. enterica, which is further subdivided
into many serovars based on antigens on their surface; one of these serovars
is Paratyphi B. Paratyphi B is quite diverse and human infection is sometimes
not associated with human to human system infection but rather associated
with foodborne infection (Prager et al, 2003).
Hawaii would be a good trip to take this time of year.
Real-Time PCR Assay Certified by AOAC-RIWEBWIRE ? Thursday, February 07,
2008 Source of Article: http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=58615
A BAX¢ç system assay from DuPont Qualicon that uses real-time PCR to detect
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) has been certified as Performance Testedsm
Method No. 120701 by the AOAC Research Institute in Gaithersburg, Md.
The AOAC Research Institute is a non-profit international, scientific
organization that provides an independent third-party review of test kit
performance claims. Food processors who require an AOAC-approved testing
method now can use the BAX¢ç system assay for quick and reliable detection
of S. aureus, a foodborne species that has been implicated in human illness.
As validated on powdered infant formula, the assay¡¯s sensitivity can detect
one viable cell in a gram of product. For quality testing in ground beef
and soy protein isolates, threshold values also can be determined by modifying
the sample preparation protocol. Results are comparable to traditional
culture methods but available next-day, with less than 90 minutes processing
"Because even small amounts of toxin from S. aureus can cause food
poisoning, processors count on the BAX¢ç system for accurate, reliable
detection" said Kevin Huttman, president, DuPont Qualicon. "This
approval from AOAC adds value to the BAX¢ç system line of certified products,
all designed to help food companies protect their products and their brands"
Food businesses around the world rely on the BAX¢ç system to detect pathogens
or other organisms in raw ingredients, finished products and environmental
samples. With certifications and regulatory approvals in the Americas,
Asia and Europe, the BAX¢ç system is recognized globally as the most advanced
pathogen testing system available to food companies.
staphylococcus species in only four hours
14 February 2008
Source of Article: http://www.laboratorytalk.com/news/oxo/oxo360.html
Oxoid announces the launch of Remel Rapid Staph Plus (product code: 8311009)
for the biochemical identification of Staphylococcus species and related
organisms isolated from human clinical specimens
This rapid and convenient manual identification system offers clinical
laboratories of any size a valuable new diagnostic tool for an important
group of opportunistic pathogens, with results in only four hours. The
Rapid Staph Plus panel incorporates a series of 18 carefully selected
biochemical tests directed towards this group of organisms. This article
was originally published on Laboratorytalk on 14 February 2008 at 8.00am
The novel, one-step, inoculation method allows all of the test wells to
be inoculated simultaneously, saving time and simplifying the procedure.
The panel is then incubated aerobically for just four hours.
The clearly visible colour reactions are easy to read and are used to
identify the test organism. Each of the tests in the panel is interpreted
using the Rapid Staph Plus colour guide which aids in the generation of
a numerical microcode. The microcode is entered into the Windows-based
Eric (Electronic rapid compendium) software for organism identification.
You can bet the kitchen took extra care
When the banquet is in honour of the winners of Oxoid's food safety awards,
you'd be confident that the food would be the freshest, cleanest, and
Infection control awards 2007/2008
open for entry
Entries for this international awards scheme are welcome from infection
control teams in all countries around the world - closing date for entries
is 31 January 2008
QC micro-organisms win ATCC
stamp of approval
Culti-Loops and Quanti-Cult will bear the ATCC licensed derivative emblem,
thus assuring customers that the viability, purity and identification
of the micro-organisms have been tested and confirmed
This user-friendly package contains a comprehensive database of 40 medically
important staphylococcus species and related organisms, and ranks identifications
by probability (greater than 95% probability is required for species level
identification), ensuring excellent accuracy and reliability.
Rapid Staph Plus can be used
to identify Staphylococcus aureus and over 30 species of coagulase negative
staphylococci (CNS) in addition to other related organisms.
CNS are an increasingly important
cause of hospital acquired infections.
They are the most common causal
agents of bacteraemia in patients with indwelling medical devices and
are one of the most prevalent causes of blood stream infections in paediatric
With up to 80% of hospital-acquired
CNS infections being methicillin resistant, and many species being multiple-resistant
to antimicrobials, a rapid and accurate identification is important to
help direct appropriate antibiotic therapy.
Julie Elston, clinical products
application manager at Oxoid, comments: 'The serious nature of bacteraemia
means that there is little time to spare in determining the best course
'Long delays simply aren't
acceptable and, as a result, the empiric use of agents such as vancomycin
'Rapid Staph Plus gives rapid,
same-day results, allowing appropriate therapy to be determined more quickly
and providing an opportunity for the use of vancomycin to be restricted
to only when it is absolutely necessary'.
The Rapid range includes products
for the identification of oxidase negative Enterobacteriaceae, anaerobic
bacteria, Gram-negative glucose non-fermenters, corynebacterium species,
neisseria and haemophilus common in urinary infections, yeasts and related
organisms and streptococci and related organisms.
The Rapid method is favoured
for providing rapid, same-day results (compared to alternative methods
that require 18-72 hours) and for being non-automated, allowing even smaller
routine microbiology laboratories to adopt this method easily. Request
a free brochure from Oxoid
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