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Journal of Food Safety
Illnesses From Leafy Greens on Rise in U.S.
Increase not explained by higher consumption; more control urged from
harvest to preparation Posted 3/17/08 Source of Article: http://health.usnews.com
MONDAY, March 17 (HealthDay News) -- There was a significant increase
in the proportion of food-borne illness outbreaks in the United States
linked to leafy green vegetables from 1973 to 2006, but the rise can't
be completely explained by increased consumption of leafy greens, researchers
"During the 1986-1995 period, U.S. leafy green consumption increased
17 percent from the previous decade. During the same period, the proportion
of food-borne disease outbreaks due to leafy greens increased 60 percent.
Likewise, during 1996 to 2005, leafy green consumption increased 9 percent,
and leafy green-associated outbreaks increased 39 percent," researcher
Michael Lynch, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
said in a prepared statement.
Lynch and his colleagues decided to conduct the study after high-profile
spinach and lettuce-related E. coli outbreaks in 2006.
Their analysis of more than 10,000 food-borne illnesses from 1973 to 2006
revealed that leafy greens were involved in a total of 5 percent of all
food-borne outbreaks. Most of the leafy green outbreaks were caused by
norovirus (60 percent), while others were caused by salmonella (10 percent)
and E. coli (9 percent).
"Given recent experiences, that was not a total surprise. What was
interesting was when we compared the numbers to consumption data,"
He said further investigation is needed to determine why the rate of leafy
green-related food-borne illness has increased more than consumption.
Many food-borne disease outbreaks can be traced to a problem in food preparation,
he said. However, some outbreaks were fairly widespread, which suggests
that contamination occurred either on the farm or in the processing plant.
"The proportion of outbreaks due to leafy greens has increased beyond
what can be explained by increased consumption. Contamination can occur
anywhere along the chain from the farm to the table. Efforts by local,
state and federal agencies to control leafy green outbreaks should span
from the point of harvest to the point of preparation," Lynch said.
The study findings were presented Monday at the International Conference
on Emerging Infectious Diseases, in Atlanta.
In a three-part series published in January, HealthDay detailed the problems
with tainted foods plaguing the U.S. food system. In little less than
a year and a half, nationwide recalls of tainted products formed their
own peculiar food pyramid: meats, vegetables, salads, snacks, fast food,
even dessert items. The various pathogens in those products killed at
least three people, sickened more than 1,300 others and touched almost
every state in the country as well as Canada.
Food safety system
near "breaking point": FDA
Tue Mar 18, 2008 7:20pm EDT
Reporter's Notebook By Christopher Doering
Source of Article: http://www.reuters.com/article/Food08/idUSN1823028720080318
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The system U.S. consumers depend on to ensure the
safety of their food supply is not broken, but multiple food borne outbreaks
at the same time could push it to its "breaking point," an official
with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday.
The food safety system is "not broken. It still is protecting public
health," Stephen Sundlof, director of the FDA's Center for Food Safety
and Applied nutrition, said during the Reuters Food Summit.
"It could be just one incident away from some catastrophic event.
It's stretched very thin at this point. If there was an additional crisis,
it might be at the breaking point."
The FDA -- in charge of protecting 80 percent of the U.S. food supply,
mostly fruits, vegetables and processed foods -- has faced intense criticism
following safety scares during the last few years involving spinach and
peanut butter, along with imported Chinese seafood and toothpaste.
Sundlof said the FDA is "lacking the work force" to be able
to respond to more than one major food borne outbreak at a time, leaving
it struggling to deal with other crisis involving food, drugs and medical
Sundlof pointed to one example last year when melamine, a chemical used
in plastics and fertilizers, surfaced in U.S. pet food, killing animals
and prompting wide recalls. The pet food was later mixed in feed given
to pigs, chickens and fish. FDA quickly mobilized all its district offices
to respond to the incident.
Lawmakers and consumer groups have argued that Americans are skeptical
of imported food and other products after the safety scares, pushing the
food safety system into a crisis situation. Several bills have been introduced
in Congress proposing ways to overhaul the food safety system.
Last November, the Bush administration made proposals to better protect
the country's food supply that included working closer with foreign governments
to prevent dangerous foods from entering the United States and giving
FDA the power to order a recall of food when safety concerns
Sundlof said the FDA would welcome having mandatory recall authority,
but that it also would depend on how the law is written in Congress.
The FDA, which deals with several hundred thousand of individual industries
that either supply food or food ingredients, has had some instances where
a company waited until the last minute before they agreed to do the recall,
according to Sundlof.
"If the law is written in such a way that we would have the authority
to mandate recalls, but only if met a certain very high threshold of evidence
... to indicate that there really was a public health risk, that could
take a lot more time and, in that case, that would not necessarily benefit
us," he said.
Richard Raymond, agriculture undersecretary who oversees the Agriculture
Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service, said on Monday that,
under some mandatory recall proposals, it could actually take longer to
do the recall -- perhaps several days.
He added that, in the 100 years since the federal meat inspection act
was passed, no company has ever refused requests for a government recall.
(Editing by Andre Grenon)
spinach passes a taste test
By PHILIP BRASHER REGISTER WASHINGTON BUREAU March 13, 2008
Source of Article: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/
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Washington, D.C. ? Irradiated food was put to the congressional taste
test and passed.
Two U.S. House members holding a hearing on food safety Wednesday took
bites of fresh spinach that had been zapped at the Sadex Corp. irradiation
plant in Sioux City.
"No difference," said Bart Stupak, chairman of the House Energy
and Commerce Committee's oversight subcommittee.
"No difference," agreed Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill. "I think
Popeye would approve."
The leaves they munched on were brought to the committee by Iowa State
University professor Dennis Olson, who argues that the widespread use
of irradiation could make food safer.
Consumers will have to take the congressmen's word for it that the spinach
was OK to eat. The Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve the
commercial use of irradiation on fruits, vegetables and many other foods.
Irradiating food kills harmful E. coli, salmonella and other harmful bacteria.
Sadex uses an electron-beam device to treat food. Proper cooking also
can kill the bacteria. However, spinach and other types of produce are
commonly eaten raw and have been linked to widespread food-poisoning outbreaks
in recent years. "When we have widespread use of irradiation of our
food supply, it will also be listed as a pillar of public health,"
said Olson, an expert on irradiation. He compared the technology to pasteurizing
milk with heat. Irradiation of ground beef, which has been approved for
commercial use for eight years, has not caught on with consumers, however.
One East Coast supermarket chain, Wegman's, sells beef irradiated by Sadex,
but the product makes up only about 1 percent of the company's ground
beef sales. The beef costs Wegman's about 70 cents a pound more than conventional
beef, and the company passes a portion of that, about 40 cents, on to
Dennis Wegman, the company's chief executive, said that it is difficult
for farms to prevent contamination of fresh fruits and vegetables and
that the FDA should allow produce to be irradiated.
An executive with Dole Foods told the House panel earlier that irradiating
fresh produce could ruin the quality.
Olson brought the lawmakers samples of a variety of produce that had been
irradiated, including lettuce, tomatoes and asparagus, along with conventional
versions of the same foods. The products were laid out on a witness table
in front the committee and in a cooler on the floor. There was no obvious
difference in appearance between the irradiated and conventional products.
The FDA has been considering since 1999 whether to approve the wider use
of irradiation. It released a statement Wednesday by Laura Tarantino,
the agency's director of food additive safety, saying that the produce
irradiation issue was a "high priority."
One issue that has come up in the FDA review, said Olson, is whether irradiating
food can increase the formation of a toxic chemical compound known as
furan. He said, however, that many foods now on the market already contain
various levels of furan.
Listed As Dangerous Place To Eat Out
Mar 14, 2008 Source of Article: http://cbs13.com/
(CBS13) Eating out in California is more likely to make you sick than
in most other states, according to federal records on food poisoning.
For the third year in a row, the website, healthinspections.com listed
the Golden State in the top five for food poisoning traced to restaurant
food and California came in at number 2. Healthinspections.com uses numbers
from the Centers for Disease Control to tabulate the results. The current
list uses numbers for 2006 which is the most recent year for which data
is available. There were 69 outbreaks of illness from California restaurants
in 2006, making nearly 700 people sick. That's an increase over 2005,
when California reported 62 outbreaks of restaurant food poisoning to
the CDC. Most cases of food poisoning in California were not tied to a
specific food. But, when investigators did pinpoint a cause they found
that seafood, chicken, and ethnic foods led the way for causing food poisoning
in restaurants. Here's the list how the states stack up for outbreaks
of food poisoning traced to restaurants.
1. Florida 74 outbreaks
2. California 69 outbreaks
3. Minnesota 55 outbreaks
4. Ohio 54 outbreaks
5. New York 50 outbreaks
When contacted by Healthinspections.com, a spokesperson for the California
Department of Health was not surprised at the findings. "
"California is the most populous state, we have more people eating
out than most states," said information officer Ken August said.
Healthinspections.com allows people to search online health inspections
across the country.
who sell seasonal crops need food safety training
Source of Article: http://www.freshplaza.com/news_detail.asp?id=17927
Although members of Saipan Sabalu Farmers Market Inc. who sell locally
grown fruits and vegetables are not required to get a sanitation permit
and food handler certificate, those who sell produce on seasonal basis
should attend food safety workshop, according to the group¡¯s former president,
Edward Guerrero. He said the Bureau of Environmental Health does not require
them to get a food handler certificate as long as they sell locally grown
crops at the Sabalu Market in Susupe.
The bureau, he said, has always been supportive of the local farmers.
But if a vendor sells a seasonal produce, he has to attend a food safety
workshop, as "advised" by the bureau, Guerrero said. They are
now setting a schedule for the workshop, he added.
According to Guerrero, only those who sell their crops at the Sabalu Market
are exempted from food handler certificate and sanitation permit.
"If you sell outside the Sabalu Market, even if you are selling fresh
vegetables, you will be required to get permits", Guerrero said.
This is why those who sell fresh vegetables at the Garapan Street Market
every Thursday are required to get a sanitation permit and a food handler
certificate. Through the efforts of the Sabalu group, farmers can now
sell livestock and fish at the Sabalu Market. The group¡¯s new set are
officers are William Ada, president; Calistro Reyes, vice president; Bernie
Aldan, treasurer; and Connie Dela Cruz Torres, secretary. Source: mvariety.com
Food Safety and Quality Related Job Openings
Assurance Sr. Manager - Dollar General . Goodlettsville, TN
Quality Assurance Manager - Lakeside Foods, Inc.- Poynette/ Reedsburg;
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
use GPS to monitor transport, store of Olympic food www.chinaview.cn
Source of Article: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-03/13/content_7783037.htm
BEIJING, March 13 (Xinhua) -- China has taken a series of measures to
ensure food safety for the Olympic ., including using GPS to position
and monitor the transport and store of food for the event, a senior quarantine
official said here on Thursday.
Li Changjiang, head of the State Administration of Quality Supervision,
Inspection and Quarantine, said on the sidelines of the First Session
of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC) that "food safety is
one of important factors for the success of the Beijing Olympics, to which
the Chinese government always pays great attention."
He said that the Olympic food production will strictly follow "the
highest international standards".
Strict market permission is imposed for all food suppliers for the Beijing
Olympic .. Food processing companies can be recognized as the candidates
of food suppliers for the . only after undergoing very strict examinations,
Candidates of food suppliers will be examined by officials and experts
on spot, he added.
Food will be transported from food processing companies to "consumption
sites" directly and GPS will be used to position and monitor transport
and store to "ensure safety of every procedure", Li said.
"We also communicated with counterparts of previous Olympic . hosts
and drew experiences on ensuring food safety from them," Li said.
"The above measures will guarantee food safety for the Beijing Olympic
. without the least risk," Li assured.
Li wished athletes, coaches, journalists from all over the world not only
enjoy a high-level sports spree in Beijing, but also enjoy China's catering
confirm virulence differences in E coli O157:H7 strains
Lisa Schnirring Staff Writer Source of Article: http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/
Mar 12, 2008 (CIDRAP News) ? Researchers from Michigan State University
have shown that genetic differences in Escherichia coli O157:H7 strains
relate to virulence, confirming suspicions public health experts have
had and shedding light on why patients in recent outbreaks seem to have
had more severe symptoms.
Scientists have noticed a wide variation in the severity of E coli O157:H7
infections, the authors wrote. Patients struck by outbreaks in the early
to mid 1990s had relatively low rates of hospitalization and hemolytic
uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious complication that can lead to kidney
failure or death. However, they pointed out that patients sickened in
the 2006 spinach outbreak had high rates of hospitalization and HUS.
The patterns have prompted researchers to questions if outbreak strain
virulence varies based on the presence and expression of various Shiga
toxin gene combinations.
Researchers plot virulence map
To test the hypothesis, the authors used a real-time polymerase chain
reaction system to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in
96 loci in 528 E coli O157:H7 strains, of which 444 were collected from
Michigan patients between 2001 and 2006. Their findings appear in an early
online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
(PNAS). They included the other strains to represent different geographic
sites and collection dates.
Upon phylogenetic analysis they found 39 SNP genotypes that differed at
20% of SNP loci and were separated into nine different clades. Each clade
varied by distribution of Shiga toxin gene and by type of clinical disease.
Researchers found that patients who had HUS were more likely to be infected
with clade 8 strains, which they report have become more frequent over
the past 5 years.
"Despite the small number [n = 11] of HUS cases identified, HUS patients
were seven times more likely to be infected with clade 8 strains than
patients from clades 1-7 combined," the authors wrote. They estimated
that the frequency of clade 8 increased significantly among the Michigan
patients whose E coli O157:H7 strains were included in the study, which
they said was surprising, given the overall national decrease in such
They also noticed other virulence patterns with different E coli O157:H7
clades. For example, patients infected with clades 2 and 8 were more likely
to report bloody diarrhea than were patients with clade 7 strains. Female
patients were more likely to be infected with clade 7 and 8 strains, and
infections in those younger than 18 were more likely to be clade 8.
The researchers found no evidence that clade 8 recently emerged; they
reported that they identified that type in clinical cases from 1984 on
multiple continents. However, they wrote, "These results support
the hypothesis that the clade 8 lineage has recently acquired novel factors
that contribute to enhanced virulence."
Further study is needed into why the prevalence of clade 8 is increasing
and what factors enhance its virulence and promote transmission in food
and water, the authors wrote. They also said a rapid, inexpensive test
to identify more virulent E coli O157:H7 subtypes would help laboratories
identify patients who have a greater risk of HUS.
Finds expand knowledge, add new tools
Craig Hedberg, PhD, a food safety expert at the University of Minnesota
in Minneapolis, told CIDRAP News that the study findings are important.
"There have been several lines of research over the past decade that
have pointed in this direction, although this will stand as the definitive
paper to carry the argument," he said.
The study represents a continuing evolution in the understanding of E
coli O157:H7, said Hedberg, who is an associate professor of environmental
and occupational health. "Things start to make sense in new ways,
and we can apply this new knowledge to our old data," he said. For
example, E coli O157:H7 now appears to be highly clonal, though at one
time researchers thought it represented a single clone. "People didn't
think you could gain a lot from subtyping, but that proved to be shortsighted,"
"We're increasingly learning that what appears to be minor differences
can have huge impacts on populations," he said of the different patterns
that emerge with the clade 8 lineage.
SNP analysis may provide a useful surveillance tool for gauging the impact
and progression of E coli O157:H7 illness outbreaks, Hedberg said.
The identification of a "hyperpathogenic" strain of E Coli O157:H7
probably won't have much regulatory impact, he said. "All O157 strains
will still be considered adulterants in ground beef or ready-to-eat foods,"
Hedberg said. However, he added that public health officials may respond
more aggressively if they know an outbreak involves a more virulent strain.
Manning DS, Motiwala A, Springman AC, et al. Variation in virulence among
clades of Escherichia coli O157:H7 associated with disease outbreaks.
Proc Natl Acad Sci 2008 (posted online Mar 10) [Full text]: http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/0710834105v1
pose animal handling legislation
By Janie Gabbett on 3/17/2008 for Meatingplace.com
Three U.S. Senators proposed legislation that would pose stiff fines and
shut down slaughter facilities that repeatedly process downed animals
The bill, co-sponsored by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Ted Stevens
(R-Alaska) and Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), would give the USDA additional
authority to fine first-time offenders, hand down a one-year suspension
for a second violation, and permanently shut down a facility with a third
The bill also would require the USDA to release the names of establishments
that have received recalled products, which has been a bone of contention
since the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co. 143 million-pound recall.
USDA posed the rule change two years ago, but it has yet to be approved.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to head off a Humane Society of the United States
(HSUS) ballot petition in November, Colorado State Senator Jim Isgar has
posed legislation in the Colorado General Assembly that would limit sow
and veal calf confinement.
And in California, HSUS has collected enough signatures for a November
ballot initiative that would ban sow and veal calf crates, as well as
chicken crates in layer operation. If passed, the law would take effect
likely to accept nano than GM, say researchers
By Jess Halliday Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/
14-Mar-2008 - Foods produced using emerging nanotechnology are less likely
to come up against consumer hurdles than genetically modified foods since
they do not involve tinkering with genes, and therefore have a greater
perception of naturalness, says a new paper.
The paper, to be published in the journal Trends in Food Science and Technology,
sets out to assess the factors that affect public acceptance of innovative
technologies and food products by reviewing existing literature on the
Alongside the balance between perceived risks and perceived benefits,
Michael Siegrist of the Institute for Environmental Decisions' Consumer
Behaviour unit in Zurich, Switzerland, said that the perception of naturalness
is all-important to the modern consumer, and drew upon a body of research
suggesting that almost all the associations evoked by the work 'natural'
However the actual processes involved in making the food are seen as all-important
for whether or not a food is deemed natural. For example, chemical transformations
such as the addition of fat were seen to reduce the naturalness of a product,
whereas physical transformations like grinding were not.
The biggest reduction in naturalness came form inserting a gene from one
species into another - whereas domestication of plants or animals on the
basis of selection did not appear to pose an acceptance issue.
"This reasoning suggests that consumers may be more willing to accept
nanotechnology food than GM food," wrote Siegrist. "Since the
former most likely will not be perceived as tampering with nature, few
people will have a moral impetus to oppose this technology now."
In broad terms, nanotechnology is said to refer to an atomic or molecular
scale of between one and 100 nanometres (nm).
At present the main uses for foods are said to be in food packaging and
barrier materials, with some applications in nutraceutical delivery. Other
uses under investigation include processing - such as programming of foods
to release flavour at a particular time, or nutrients in a certain part
of the body where they can have an effect.
At a recent debate hosted by the European Food Safety Authority, which
has been charged with conducting a risk assessment of nanotechnology in
foods, Dr Frans Kampers, programme manager bio-nanotechnology at Wageningen
University, The Netherlands, pointed out, most nanoparticles in food are
actually of natural origin.
This beggars the question as to whether there is a food that isn't nano
- and indeed, whether nanotechnology should be deemed existing or new.
The author of the new paper also drew on the example of organic food as
being a way in which food technologies can be framed in ways that enhance
Organic food is promoted as being more natural than conventional foods,
and these positive attributed lead to the people buying them in the belief
that they are tastier and better for their health.
Such a marketing approach also allows for a premium being charged for
organic foods, which could also be extended to other production technologies
if marketed in the right way.
In conclusion, however, the researchers note that it is not just the nature
of the innovation that determines whether or not it will be accepted,
but the social, environmental and political context.
"Social amplification processes may generate public concern about
hazards that are judged as low risks by experts," wrote Siegrist,
giving the perception of GM foods in various European countries as a particular
"There are presently no indications that such an amplification process
must be expected in the domain of nanotechnology food."
However the author also highlighted the importance of trust in the food
industry for foods to be accepted.
He said that the underlying technology is less important when the end
product is highly beneficial and meets consumers' needs, but they become
sceptical when it is not seen to bring any additional value to them or
to society, but just to line the pockets of producers and the food industry.
"The public may not be convinced that the values of the food industry
are the same as theirs. Therefore, a lack of trust may hamper efforts
to inform the public about the benefits of new technologies." Dr
Kampers applied the same logic to nanotechnology at the EFSA event. He
said he is convinced nanotechnology will bring big benefits to individuals
and mankind as a whole - but much depends on the perceived risks.
Trends in Food Science and Technology
Title: "Factors influencing public acceptance of innovative food
technologies and products"
Author: Michael Siegrist
56 Salmonella Illnesses Reported in Alamosa Colorado
Posted on March 19, 2008 by Salmonella Attorney
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
Hew Hallock reports this morning that ? ¡°Search goes on for source of
Salmonella.¡± So far the source of the outbreak - most likely a common
source given the number of ill people - has not been announced.
¡°As of Tuesday, March 18, 2008 we still have 18 confirmed cases and now
have 56 cases that meet the clinical definition for salmonella infection,¡±
said Julie Geiser, director of the Alamosa County Nursing Service. ¡°Four
persons have been hospitalized in conjunction with the outbreak. We have
not yet determined a source for the bacteria.¡± Geiser said the Colorado
Department of Public Health and Environment is assisting local health
workers interview those families who have been infected. The interview
uses an extensive seven-page questionnaire that is used to find a commonality
among those who have been infected.
Rumors have been circulating about where the salmonella came from, said
Geiser, but she warned, despite those rumors, that no location has been
identified or confirmed as the place where the contamination began. ¡°Clearly
these are rumors and we haven¡¯t made a determination,¡± she said.
Salmonella is one of the most common enteric (intestinal) infections in
the United States. Salmonellosis (the disease caused by Salmonella) is
the second most common form of bacterial foodborne illness after Campylobacter
infection. It is estimated that 1.4 million cases of salmonellosis occur
each year in the U.S.; 95% of those cases are foodborne-related. Approximately
220 of each 1000 cases result in hospitalization and eight of every 1000
cases result in death. About 500 to 1,000 or 31% of all food-related deaths
are caused by Salmonella infections each year. Salmonellosis is more common
in the warmer months of the year.
Salmonella infection occurs when the bacteria are ingested, typically
from food derived from infected food-animals, but it can also occur by
ingesting the feces of an infected animal or person. Food sources include
raw or undercooked eggs/egg products, raw milk or raw milk products, contaminated
water, meat and meat products, and poultry. Raw fruits and vegetables
contaminated during slicing have been implicated in several foodborne
Reiter¡¯s syndrome is a form of reactive arthritis. It is uncommon but
can be a debilitating syndrome that follows a gastrointestinal or genitourinary
infection. The most common gastrointestinal bacteria involved are Salmonella,
Campylobacter, Yersinia, and Shigella. Reiter¡¯s syndrome is characterized
by a triad of arthritis, conjunctivitis, and urethritis, although not
all three symptoms occur in all affected individuals (Hill Gaston &
Lillicrap, 2003). The reactive arthritis associated with Reiter¡¯s syndrome
may develop after a person eats food that has been tainted with bacteria.
Although the initial infection may not be recognized, reactive arthritis
can still occur. Reactive arthritis typically involves inflammation of
one joint (monoarthritis) or four or fewer joints (oligoarthritis), preferentially
affecting those of the lower extremities. The pattern of joint involvement
is usually asymmetric. Inflammation is common at an enthesis (a places
where . and tendons attach to bone), especially the knee and the ankle.
Coli Outbreak, Death Reported in Texas
Date Published: Wednesday, March 12th, 2008
Source of Article: http://www.newsinferno.com/archives/2712
An outbreak of Shiga E. Coli has officials in Texas working frantically
to determine its source. The Texas Department of State Health Services
(DSHS) issued a health alert after six cases of the serious diarrhea illness
broke out in Bastrop County. Health experts say it is unusual to have
this many cases of what appeared to be a food borne illness related to
the Shiga E. coli toxin in just a few days. In addition to the six illnesses,
one child died. Texas¡¯s Lee and Fayette counties have joined Bastrop County
in reporting outbreaks of the toxin.
On Friday, a news release issued by the Texas DSHS stated that the, ¡°Results
of laboratory tests to identify a specific bacteria are pending. Shiga
toxin illnesses are typically food borne. A common source for the illnesses
has not been identified.¡± The incubation period ranges from one to eight
days, though typically it is three to five days and symptoms are gastrointestinal
in nature. The Shiga toxin is rare; the U.S. Health Department says it
only sees 100 to 200 cases a year, so the Central Texas outbreak is cause
Shiga is short for Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, which is a
type of enterohemorrhagic?or E. coli?(EHEC) bacteria that can cause illness
ranging from mild intestinal disease to severe kidney complications. Other
types of enterohemorrhagic E. coli include the common and often deadly
E. coli O157:H7 which is quite virulent and produces a powerful toxin
that can cause severe illness and even death and is the leading cause
of food and waterborne illness in the U.S.
Typical symptoms of Shiga E. coli include severe abdominal cramping; sudden
onset of watery diarrhea, frequently bloody; and sometimes vomiting and
a low-grade fever. Generally, Shiga E. coli is mild and self-limited,
lasting one to three days; however, serious complications such as hemorrhagic
colitis, Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), or post-diarrheal thrombotic
thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) can occur in up to 10% of cases. The toxin
can also result in death in severe cases.
Cases and outbreaks of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli have been associated
with the consumption of undercooked beef (especially ground beef), raw
milk, unpasteurized apple juice, contaminated water, red leaf lettuce,
alfalfa sprouts, and venison jerky. The Shiga E. coli toxin has also been
found in poultry, pork, and lamb. Person-to-person spread, via fecal-oral
transmission, may occur in high-risk settings like day care centers and
nursing homes. Further studies are being done to better understand the
modes of transmission. And, although anyone can become infected with the
Shiga toxin, the highest infection rates are in children under age five.
The elderly also account for a large number of cases.
In mild cases, antibiotics have not been shown to shorten the duration
of symptoms and may actually make the illness more severe in some people.
Some severe complications, such as HUS, require hospitalization.
Health officials are warning, if you have severe or bloody diarrhea, go
immediately to the hospital. Patients may also experience abdominal cramps.
biosensor for Salmonella detection Source of Article: http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=4963.php
(Nanowerk Spotlight) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has published
a handbook called the Bad Bug Book which provides basic facts regarding
foodborne pathogenic microorganisms and natural toxins. It contains all
you always wanted to know about Salmonella, E. coli, parasitic protozoa,
worms, viruses and natural toxins and other stuff that, when it gets in
your hamburger, as it does from time to time, can make you pretty sick.
It can even kill you. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
keep some pretty scary statistics and estimate that foodborne pathogens
cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and
5,000 deaths in the United States each year.
Three pathogens, Salmonella, Listeria, and Toxoplasma, are responsible
for 1,500 deaths each year. Salmonella is the most common cause of foodborne
deaths and responsible for millions of cases of foodborne illness a year.
Sources are raw and undercooked eggs, undercooked poultry and meat, dairy
products, seafood, fruits and vegetables - so basically more or less everything
you eat. Early detection of foodborne pathogenic bacteria, especially
Salmonella, is therefore an important task in microbiological analysis
to control food safety. Several methods have been developed in order to
detect this pathogen; however, the biggest challenges remain detection
speed and sensitivity. A novel nanotechnology-based biosensor is showing
great potential for foodborne pathogenic bacteria detection with high
"Early detection of foodborne pathogenic bacteria is critical to
prevent disease outbreaks and preserve public health" Bosoon Park
tells Nanowerk. "Current detection techniques such as ISO method
6579, fluorescent-antibody (FA), enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA),
or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) are time-consuming, cumbersome, and
have limited sensitivity."
Park, an Agricultural Engineer at the U.S. Department of Agriculture,
was part of a team that included scientists from the University of Georgia
and the Korea Food Research Institute and that developed a novel and effective
food-borne bacteria detection method.
"Our nanotechnology based biosensor has shown great potentials for
protein, virus, and bacteria detection with high sensitivity and high
resolution" says Dr. Yiping Zhao, an Associate Professor of physics
at the University of Georgia. "This bio-functional hetero-nanorod
detection method has great potential in the food safety industry as well
as in biomedical diagnostics."
The research team, which also included Dr. Ralph A. Tripp from the Department
of Infectious Diseases at the University of Georgia, fabricated a hetero-structured
silicon/gold nanorod array by the glancing angle deposition (or GLAD)
thin film method and functionalized it with anti-Salmonella antibodies
and organic dye molecules. Due to the high aspect ratio nature of the
silicon nanorods, dye molecules attached to the silicon nanorods produce
an enhanced fluorescence upon capture and detection of Salmonella.
Left: the fluorescence image of Salmonella sample treated by heterostructured
nanorods with antibodies. The intense green spots indicating positive
identification were observed. Right: At the same location, under white
light, there are also particles and aggregates that can be observed. The
particles have two different appearances, i.e gray, thick elongated particles
and blue, thin longer particles. From the location and orientation of
the particles (left image), it may be concluded that these blue longer
particles correspond to the florescence particles, i.e., they are nanorods,
while the gray, thicker particles are Salmonella bacteria. (Image: Junxue
Fu, University of Georgia)
The group reported their findings in the March 11, 2008 online edition
of Nanotechnology (An Au/Si hetero-nanorod-based biosensor for Salmonella
Park explains that traditional microbiological techniques ? such as ISO
method 6579 ? for detecting foodborne pathogens take up to five days to
obtain a positive result, including pre-enrichment, selective enrichment
and confirmation of colonies, which are time-consuming and labor-intensive.
Another downside of culture methods is that they show poor sensitivity
when there is only a low level of contamination in the samples.
A number of investigators have used the fluorescent-antibody (FA) technique
for Salmonella detection. Although FA procedures offer considerable time
savings, a large number of the pathogen needs to be present in samples
in order to observe detectable fluorescent signals. This usually meant
that enrichment culture techniques were required prior to immunofluorescence
microscopy. Consequently, the FA procedure for Salmonella detection has
not been in routine use.
We have written before about nanotechnology's increasing role in building
sensors that can reliably detect foodborne pathogens.
Zhao lists some of these nanotechnology enabled techniques: detections
by luminescence using quantum dots; localized surface plasmon resonance
of metallic nanoparticles; enhanced fluorescence; dye immobilized nanoparticles;
or Raman reporter molecule immobilized metallic nanoparticles.
"All the nanostructures used for the biosensing applications have
two characteristics" he says. "First, they contain certain recognition
mechanisms specified to the analyte, for example, antibodies or enzymes.
Second, they are able to generate a distinguishing signal from the analyte
and this signal could be generated by the nanostructures themselves or
produced by signaling molecules immobilized or contained in the nanostructures."
Junxue Fu, a graduate student in Zhao's group and the paper's first auhor,
points out that for single component nanostructures, it can be difficult
to immobilize the recognition molecules and signaling molecules simultaneously.
Hetero-nanostructures provide a promising platform to solve this problem.
Thus, different functional molecules can be immobilized to the different
components of the hetero-nanostructure to enhance selectivity and specificity
In their experiment, Zhao, Park, Tripp and collaborators managed to capture
a single Salmonella bacterium with the antibodies conjugated on the gold
and detected by thousands of dye molecules immobilized on the silicon
In principle, the protocol developed in this study could be used for detecting
other foodborne pathogenic bacteria such as E.coli, Staphylococcus, Campylobacter
and food toxins such as Ricin, Abrin, or Clostridium Botulinum if the
proper antibody is selected for the conjugation with nanorod substrates.
Additionally, the fluorescent detection dye can also be replaced by other
types of dyes or potentially quantum dots that may allow for multiplex
This novel nanobiosensor could have broad appeal to the food industry,
food safety inspection agencies, government agencies overseeing food safety,
and researchers focused on safety and biosecurity research.
By Michael Berger. Copyright 2008 Nanowerk
March 14, 2008, Charm Sciences is pleased to announce the first Lateral
Flow Quantitative test to be approved for official testing of Ochratoxin
in the U.S national grain inspection system.
The ROSA¢ç Ochratoxin Quantitative kit is the eight Charm mycotoxin test
to have received approval from USDA GIPSA (Grain Inspection, Packers and
Stockyards Administration). The ROSA Ochratoxin kit (Rapid One Step Assay)
delivers fast, economical, accurate detection for Ochratoxin A in a convenient
single strip. It has the flexibility to meet domestic and export requirements
with quantitative readings and a detection range from 0 to 12 ppb (10
-150 ppb with dilution).
Following a methanol extraction on wheat, the diluted sample is added
to the ROSA OCHRA strip and read after 10 minutes. The ROSA-M reader stores
Ochratoxin results electronically for record keeping and reporting. Optional
mycoSOFT¢â software delivers flexible and intuitive functionality with
customized data trending reports.
The ROSA Ochratoxin lateral flow tests require minimal equipment and user
involvement. Multiple samples can be prepared, and tested at the same
time. The ROSA Ochratoxin kit uses the same extraction as the GIPSA approved
quantitative ROSA methods for aflatoxin and zearalenone. The ROSA Ochratoxin
kit shares the same equipment and comparable assay formats as the ROSA
methods for aflatoxin, DON, fumonisin and zearalenone.
Ochratoxin is produced by some species of Aspergillus, such as A. ochraceus,
mainly in tropical regions and by Penicillium verrucosum in cooler climates.
Ochratoxin A is associated with porcine nephropathy and various symptoms
in poultry. Ochratoxin is found in wheat, barley, corn, oats, sorghum,
soybeans, coffee beans, grapes, and raisins.
Charm Sciences is a world leader in the provision of food safety diagnostics
and food safety solutions with a proven track record of innovation and
development over the last 30 years. Introduced in 1999, Charm¡¯s ROSA lateral
flow tests are now the leading residue diagnostic tests employed by food
industry worldwide. The ROSA test portfolio covers the ¡°A to Z¡± in mycotoxins,
ranging from Aflatoxin to Zearalenone. Charm Sciences provides award-winning
product support and technical assistance.
Charm Sciences, Inc
Fax: +1 (978) 687-9216
Contamination Rate Rising
CDC: Leafy Greens Consumption Up 9 Percent, But Related Illness Up 39
NEW YORK, March 19, 2008 (CBS/AP)
Source of Article: http://www.cbsnews.com/
(CBS) If you've gotten the feeling that there are more contaminated leafy
green vegetables out there than there used to be, new numbers from federal
researchers suggest you're right. The researchers, at the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, sought to see whether increased outbreaks
of food contamination simply reflect the fact that health-conscious Americans
are eating more fresh, leafy veggies such as cabbage, spinach and salad
greens than they used to, Early Show medical contributor Dr. Emily Senay
said Wednesday. But, she says, they found it's apparently more than that.
During the decade that ended in 2005, consumption of leafy greens rose
by nine percent, according to the researchers, but outbreaks of food-borne
illnesses attributed to those foods increased by what Senay dubs "a
dramatic" 39 percent -- more than four times as fast. The CDC investigators
aren't sure what's at work here, Senay pointed out to Russ Mitchell, noting,
"You can't say it's just that Americans are eating more of this stuff.
Something else is going on." It's clear, she continued, that there
are plenty of opportunities for food to be contaminated on what can be
a long journey from the farm to your kitchen, and even in your kitchen.
The new numbers, Senay observed, show that this problem in the food supply
system is growing, and needs solutions.
More than half the outbreaks reported involved a family of viruses called
noro-virus, which is often carried by human or animal waste. The next
two most common forms of infection came from a pair of well-known forms
of food-borne bacteria, salmonella and e-coli.
Over the past 30 years, contaminants in leafy vegetables are blamed for
more than 18,000 illnesses, and 15 deaths.
Overall, she says, this is a reminder of how vigilant consumers need to
be when purchasing and preparing fresh vegetables.
One problem, says Senay, is that we pretty much can't identify tainted
veggies just by looking at them. Of course, if you see any portions of
the food that are clearly damaged, the Food and Drug Administration says
to cut them off and throw them out.
But veggies can look fine and still be contaminated.
Experts say your best protection is to take everything to a sink, put
it under a stream of warm running water, and rinse it out thoroughly --
not just casually -- thoroughly. And don't use soap or detergent to wash
it, because the ingredients in soap aren't anything you want to eat, either.
Do a really good job rinsing these vegetables, and you improve your chances
of getting the important nutrition they veggies offer -- rather than the
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