Food Safety NewsLetter - FoodHACCP.com
12/03/2002
Issue 30

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Commissioner David Byrne welcomes Council endorsement of proposals to combat food-borne diseases like salmonella

http://www.foodlaw.rdg.ac.uk/
Commissioner David Byrne welcomed the Agriculture Council's support today for two legislative proposals designed to cut the incidence of food-borne diseases in the European Union. The proposals, adopted by the Commission in August of last year (see IP/01/1167) and backed by Parliament in May 2002 (IP/02/724), provide for a thorough revision of current EU legislation and are designed to improve protective measures against "zoonoses", diseases transmissible between animals and humans. Zoonoses include diseases that lead to numerous sick days, needless deaths and large public health costs in the EU every year like salmonella, campylobacter, listeria and toxin producing E.coli. "These proposals demonstrate how the Commission's 'farm to fork' approach is being implemented in practice to ensure safe food for consumers" said David Byrne, EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection. "Currently, the number of food-borne infections affecting consumers across the EU is far too high. Salmonella alone infects over 160 000 individuals in the EU annually of which it is estimated that around 200 die. The annual costs of food-borne salmonella are estimated at up to 2.8 billion per year. I am therefore delighted that the Agriculture Council is moving this very important legislation forward through its support today. It will significantly decrease the presence of salmonella on farms thereby reducing human infections" .
What are the laws about?
The first draft law is a Directive on monitoring zoonotic agents, aiming to improve knowledge of the sources and trends of these pathogens, to support microbiological risk assessments and to serve as a basis to adopt measures to manage risks. The European Food Safety Authority will play a key role in assessing this information. The second draft law is a Regulation to reduce the occurrence of zoonotic agents, prioritising salmonella. The Regulation will apply to a major source of contamination primary production. A procedure is also provided to set targets for zoonotic agents other than salmonella. The pathogen-reducing targets will be set after an investigation on the prevalence of the pathogen in all the Member States has been conducted. The Commission has agreed to make the mandatory control measures eligible for EU co-financing. The level of this financing will be determined in the light of a report on the financial arrangements that the Commission will produce within three years of entry into force of the Regulation. A number of key measures put in place in follow-up to the White Paper also help in the battle against zoonoses. The food hygiene package will improve the implementation of hygiene measures at farm level. This package will also be the primary tool for actions at stages of the food chain after primary production. For instance, the Commission is currently in the process of revising the microbiological criteria applicable to food and strengthening risk-based controls along the food chain.
Legislative progress
At this stage in the process, the proposals broadly reflect the principles underpinning the Commission's ambitious original aims. Certain aspects have been reinforced during discussions in the Council and in the European Parliament, like the possibility to monitor anti-microbial resistance not only for zoonotic agents, but also for other relevant bacteria. Additionally, salmonella controls will progressively not only cover different kinds of poultry and breeding pigs, but slaughter pigs as well. On the other hand, some compromises have been made. For example, transitional periods for Member States to implement programmes will be prolonged and controls in the initial phase will be restricted to a few serotypes of salmonella (these serotypes do however represent more than 70% of reported cases of salmonellosis in humans). Even if the compromise package agreed today is not as ambitious as the Commission would have originally liked, it represents a very substantial improvement compared with the current legislation.
Current legislation
Under the current EU legislation, found in Directive 92/117, there are rules for the compulsory monitoring of four zoonotic agents (salmonellosis, brucellosis, trichinosis and tuberculosis due to Mycobacterium bovis) as well as voluntary monitoring for others. However, food-borne outbreaks and monitoring of anti-microbial resistance are not covered, making it very difficult to harmonise schemes this will be provided for in the new Directive. There are currently compulsory measures to control certain types of salmonella (Salmonella Enteritidis and Salmonella Typhimurium) in breeding flocks of poultry, while the new Regulation will introduce control measures in more types of animal populations and potentially for more types of salmonella and other zoonotic agents. Certain EU states already go beyond this legislation on a voluntary basis, but currently without EU financing.
Background
Zoonoses are diseases or infections that can be transmitted from animals to humans. Infection usually happens as a result of eating products of animal origin or direct contact with an infected animal. Salmonella, which is the priority target, can be found in a whole series of food products such as raw eggs, poultry, pork, beef, other products of animal origin and vegetables. Campylobacter is mainly found in chicken meat and its main symptom in humans is diarrhoea, although it can sometimes lead to a nerve disorder and paralysis in rare cases. Listeria and toxin producing E.coli are two other common infections.
Zoonoses are notoriously difficult to control given that a number of the micro-organisms involved are ubiquitous (they are found everywhere in nature) and not easily eliminated from the food chain. Pathogen reduction in animals is the most effective way to prevent the spread of infection via food, which is why the proposed Regulation sets up a framework for a pathogen reduction policy. At the same time, the proposed Directive sets up a system for monitoring certain zoonotic agents throughout the human food and animal feed chain.
Salmonella is identified as the priority target, especially in poultry products and eggs. Targets will be set in several steps, starting with breeding flocks of chickens, then laying hens, broilers, turkeys and slaughter pigs and finally breeding pigs. The first targets will be set 12 months after entry into force of the Regulation and each following step at 12-month intervals after that. National control programmes will be applied 18 months later for each target. After a transitional period, marketing restrictions will apply to table eggs from flocks suspected or confirmed of harbouring specific types of salmonella (starting 72 months after entry into force of the Regulation). Poultry meat will also have to comply with set microbiological criteria (starting after 84 months). A procedure is laid down to set targets for other animal populations and zoonotic agents other than salmonella. To achieve the reduction targets, Member States will need to adopt national control programmes and encourage the private sector to collaborate. For trade between Member States and with third countries, certification of salmonella status will be made obligatory according to the specified time schedule above.
Next steps
Following the political agreement in Council, the proposals will now go back to the European Parliament for a second reading.

12/02. EU Farm Ministers Set GMO Content Labeling Threshold
12/02. Council seeks food safety improvements
12/02. Mecklenburg tracks outbreak of infection to day-care
12/02. Irradiation and you
12/02. Council endorsement of proposals to combat food-
12/02. Concerns Increase about Safety of Food Supply
12/02. TransMedia Group Will Take Public Relations To the 12/01. Reports showcase research projects
12/01. Budget may curtail eatery inspectors
11/30. Battling Foodborne Illness
11/30. EU attacks salmonella -
11/30. Restaurants subject to new and stricter rules
11/29. Spanish confident about food safety
11/29. Agency welcomes GM report
11/28. Stratford earns 2nd grant for food safety program
11/27. When Good Food Goes Bad
11/27. Calif. Investigates Bovine Tuberculosis
11/27. STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT EATING FISH DURING -
11/27. UK: Time to relax anti-BSE controls?
11/27. CHINA/EU: Chinese fish given EU health all clear
11/27. Tesco denies using deadly spiders after three found in--11/27. Forbidden fruits, nuts, wine. . .
11/27. At Risk: Peanut Allergies Show Increase
11/27. Cleanliness of Area Turkey Plants Ranked by Consumer
11/27. Controlling Salmonella
11/27. New law would allow irradiated meat in schools
11/27. Ordinance bans irradiated meat in Cleveland
11/26. Research shows vitamin E protects turkeys
11/26. MILLIONS IN VIETNAM AT RISK OF WORMS FROM
11/26. SureBeam Awarded New Patent, Expanding Its Technological Lea
11/26. THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE MILKOPHOBIA STAYS THE SAME
11/26. OUT OF HARM'S WAY?
11/26. FSIS FINAL NOTICE
11/26. HOGS FOUND TO CARRY DEADLIEST E. COLI
11/26. LISTERIA SUMMIT MEETINGS
11/26. IRE OVER IRRADIATION!
11/26. INPUT ON IRRADIATION INVITED
11/26. SWIFT AGREES TO SLOW LINESPEEDS TO SETTLE FECAL MATTER ISSUE
11/26. SEMINAR TO DISCUSS ACRYLAMIDE IN FOOD
11/26. Before You Gobble Up That Turkey Leg . . .
11/26. Canada to give go-ahead to irradiation of meat, fruit?
11/26. USDA Needs More Authority for Food Recalls-Experts
11/26. Country-of-Origin Food Labels to Cost $2B
11/26. Bayer Reiterates Position on Baytril for Poultry
11/26. AG Edwards Keeps 'Buy' on Surebeam
11/26. Study: State¡¯s turkeys cleaner
11/26. New law would allow irradiated meat in schools
11/26. Recall not yet tied to illness
11/26. Health departments offer to test rice wine to ease nerves
11/25. JOB ANNOUNCEMENT: TECHNICAL EXECUTIVE INFORMATION
11/25. CANADIAN BIOSYS LTD. FINED $8,500 FOR FALSELY LABELLING FOOD
11/25. AIN-SUNS ENTERPRISES LTD. FINED $2,500 FOR UNLAWFULLY MOVING
11/25. HEALTH CANADA PREPARES TO DEAL WITH CANADIANS' FEARS ABOUT I
11/25. SAFETY WATCHDOGS WASTE TIME
11/25. REGULATIONS AMENDING THE FOOD AND DRUG REGULATIONS (1094 --
11/25. FOOD IRRADIATION UPDATE
11/25. FSIS posts guidance on voluntary allergen testing
11/25. Bioengineering in your refrigerator
11/25. Special: Old Fish Bought, Sold At Restaurants
11/25. Five new BSE cases uncovered this week
11/25. Denmark confirms 10th case of mad cow disease
11/25. Antibiotic Ban -
11/24. Alcide's Sanova food treatment gets approval in Canada
11/24. What is the Norwalk virus?
11/24. US Plans to Tackle E.coli
11/23. Engineered-Food Claims Are Hard to Swallow
11/23. Health Canada seeks to extend food irradiation
11/23. Holiday Food Safety In Spotlight

Concerns Increase about Safety of Food Supply
from htt
p://www.foodingredientsonline.com/
Nov 25, 2002 (The News & Observer - Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News via COMTEX) -- THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Is the quality of America's food supply as bad as this wave of recalls makes it seem? MELISSA TAYLOR SCHERPEREEL: No, it's not. A recall is simply used to recover products that are already in the market or in warehouses for distribution because that product violates some food law or regulation. And recalls are voluntary. A company makes the decision usually because they have found out that a particular product has something wrong with it. The FDA and USDA want recalls to be the company's decision, because ultimately the company is liable. THE N&O: So recalls may occur without anyone becoming ill? SCHERPEREEL: Recalls can be for things like an undeclared allergen, such as peanuts, because labels did not declare that the product had even very minute quantities. If you're not allergic to peanuts, the product isn't unsafe for you. Or, you might have a recall because scientists found a product that may have caused someone to become ill. THE N&O: What is the most worrisome threat? SCHERPEREEL: Listeria monocytogenes is really scary. Other pathogens at low levels will be killed off when you safely prepare the product, so it's OK to eat. Listeria is one we can't allow at any level. It is ubiquitous in the environment; it could have been in the air, could have been in the facility. It could have been on the equipment. It could have been on the raw product. When it is found, it really does call for a temporary plant shutdown to figure out the source of contamination. Fortunately, what used to take microbiologists days to detect, we can now do in hours with rapid detection methods. I would add that listeria is a big issue for pregnant women, when it is in any ready-to-eat food that we don't have to toast, microwave or cook, such as luncheon meat. Pregnant women need to follow certain safety procedures because of the [danger] to themselves and the potential for miscarriage: Don't eat soft cheeses and heat luncheon meats until after you have given birth. THE N&O: After a recall or an outbreak of food-borne illness at a restaurant or store, how can consumers be sure everything is safe again? SCHERPEREEL: They need to realize that food is processed in lots and a recall only affects a specific lot. The company will usually recall products made before and after the lots, which gives them a margin of safety. One reason we test more and more and more is that it's easier to control and identify when a problem develops. Product samples are always pulled; surfaces are swabbed. If any of the routine tests implicates a high number of bacteria, that company won't have to recall as much.I would have no problem visiting [a store or restaurant] after a disease outbreak, because it has cleaned up the problem, identified the source and is now under a high level of scrutiny by us, the consumer, and those that regulate. In addition, there is a regulation called HACCP, the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, which is mandatory for the meat, poultry and seafood industry. To remain open, plants must have a plan in effect specific to the environment and to the product that examines where problems could possibly occur. Where could we lose control? They look at production from the time ingredients are delivered in raw form to distribution and storage, where contaminants could enter the system, be they bacteria, or heaven forbid, be they physical, such as a small metal object or piece of gum. Where could the temperature go above an appropriate level? They identify those hazards, and which ones are critical and which are minor. It allows you to see where you may have lost control, and when you do lose control, there are instructions in your plan [detailing how to respond]. It's a wonderful system. If you produce food other than seafood, meat or poultry, you can pretty much know you'll be the next [required to develop these plans]. I guarantee you that 99 percent of companies already have HACCP plans because they don't want to scramble when it becomes mandated. THE N&O: What can consumers do to protect themselves? SCHERPEREEL: A group called the Partnership for Food Safety Education was developed in the 1990s to offer a unified message about food safety: cook, separate, clean and chill. We have to cook our products to recommended safe internal temperatures, which are specific to each food product. You can find those temperatures at www.fightbac.org. Serve cooked food immediately. Cool leftovers rapidly and in small batches. Make an ice bath in the sink and chill large pots down or divide food into shallow containers so they cool faster in the refrigerator. Then you need to separate, don't cross-contaminate. Keep cooked products separate from raw; store hamburger and other meats on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator so they don't drip onto something else. Keep cutting boards for meats and other foods separate. If you don't have separate cutting boards, you have to clean safely. That leads right into cleaning. Wash your hands and use a clean cutting board, clean counters, clean utensils. THE N&O: Where else can consumers find more information? SCHERPEREEL: We have a Web site that I developed, www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/foodsci/agentinfo/org/. One portion of the site is about organisms that may cause illness. There are numerous links to other government agencies such as the CDC, Food Safety Inspection Service and FDA. A lot of land grant universities such as N.C. State have publications produced through cooperative extension. THE N&O: From where you sit, is the U.S. food supply as safe as it could be, given existing technology? SCHERPEREEL: Absolutely. And I'm a nonbiased source. I'm with cooperative extension, so I work closely with government agencies as well as the food plants. I can say honestly that everybody is trying to put food safety first. Scherpereel coordinates an online certification program for the food industry and others interested in knowing more about food safety. To learn more about the program, visit www.foodsafetytraining.info. Melissa Taylor Scherpereel is a food-safety educator with the Cooperative Extension Service at N.C. State University. To see more of The News & Observer, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.newsobserver.com.

OUTBREAK NEWS
12/02. Shigellosis outbreak among area's worst
12/02. Child hit by E-coli bug
12/02. Eleven infected in E.coli outbreak
12/01. Nursery school children hit by food poison bug
11/30. Flunking Lunch
11/30. Kids die from eating ice cream
11/29. 80 suffer food poisoning from boxed lunches
11/28. U.S. Troops in Afghanistan Fall Ill
11/27. 85 MORE SICKENED ON DISNEY CRUISE SHIP
11/27. Calmer day at Laraway school
11/27. Sickness strikes students
11/26. More Contract Virus Aboard Disney Ship
11/26. Adams food poisoning incident remains under investigation
11/26. Rat poison suspected as children fall ill in China
11/25. TOURISTS TAKE LEGAL ACTION OVER `HOLIDAY FROM HELL'
11/25. TRICHINELLOSIS ¡© RUSSIA (SIBERIA)
11/25. Schools Taking Measures To Prevent Future Shigellosis Outbre
11/24. Man's death prompts inquiry
11/24. E. coli case found outside hospital
11/23. Virus, Not Food Poisoning, Going Around Tri-State

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Recall News
12/02. Mr. Pizza Inc. Recalls Luncheon Meat
12/02. Schratter Foods Has Recalled Imported Pinna Ricotta Salata Cheese Dec 2
12/01. Virginia Firm Has Recalled Pork Products Nov 29
11/30. Schratter Foods Inc. Recalls Imported Pinna Ricotta Salata Cheese
11/28. Virginia Firm Recalls Pork Products For Possible Listeria Contamination
11/27. MASSACHUSETTS-BASED STOP & SHOP RECALLS GROUND BEEF IN NEW J
11/27. Inter-American Products Has Recalled Country Club Cookies N' Cream Ice Cream
11/27. New York Firm Has Recalled Ground Beef Products Nov 25
11/27. Indiana Firm Recalls Luncheon Meat For Possible Listeria Contamination
11/26. New York firm recalls 320,000 pounds of ground beef for E. c
11/26. November 26 - HEALTH HAZARD ALERT - Marlin fish may contain histamine
11/26. Country Club Cookies N' Cream Ice Cream Recalled Due to Undeclared Peanuts
11/25. Jack Lambersky Poultry Company, Inc. Listeria Recall Product List
11/25. American Importing Has Recalled 16 oz. Packages of Orchard Reserve Dried Apricots
11/25. Swiss-American Has Recalled Danish Havarti Nov 22
11/25. American Importing Company, Inc. Recalls Orchard Reserve Dried Apricots
11/24. November 22 - ALLERGY ALERT - Undeclared sulphites in HAI PEACH JAM
11/23. Swiss-American, Inc. Recalls Danish Havarti Due to Possible Health Risk
11/23. New York Firm Recalls Ground Beef Products For Possible E. coli O157:H7

USDA/FDA News
Compliance Policy Guide: Filth from Insects, Rodents, and Other Pests in Food
OPPD (Policy) What's New Page: Updated November 29, 2002
FSIS Constituent Update/Alert: Updated November 29, 2002
FSIS To Hold Public Meeting To Discuss The Recall Process
Positive E. coli Test Results: November 26, 2002
U.S. Codex Office "What's New" Page: Updated November 25, 2002
Studies to Evaluate the Utility of Anti-Salmonella Chemical Food Additives in Feeds
Easy, Inexpensive Test Detects Tuberculosis in Livestock and Wildlife

NEW METHODS
Avure's big crush: Food
Food safety testing gets smart

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On Line Slides and Video

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Title: Mushroom Sanitation Workshop Reviewobtained from PSU Food Safety website
Presentations:
Cold Storage Sanitation - Trevor Suslow, UCDavis
Hand Sanitation - Trevor Suslow, UCDavis
ORP Basics Mushroom Workshop - Trevor Suslow, UCDavis
Basic Microbiology - Linda Harris, UCDavis
Pathogen Testing - Linda Harris, UCDavis
Food Safety Systems - Luke LaBorde, Penn State
Key Sanitation Areas - Luke LaBorde, Penn State
1. Safety of Water
2. Cleaning and Sanitizing Food Contact Surfaces
3. Cross-Contamination
4. Maintenance of Handwashing, Hand Sanitizing, and Toilet Facilities
5. Protection from Adulterants
6. Proper Labeling, Storage, and Use of Toxic Compounds
7. Employee Health Conditions
8. Pest Control

-Title: Biosecurity Challenges: An Industry Perspective
obtained from Meatscience.org

-Title: Prevalence of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Cattle and During Processing
obtained from Meatscience.org

-Title: HACCP for Food Service Employees

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Title: HACCP Video

-Title: Sanitation Control Procedure Course

 

JOB Openings

DIRECTOR R&D AND QC MANAGER: Frozen foods processor seeking two individuals with Food Science backgrounds. Midwest locations. Also need individual with ingredients experience- must be very analytical in Carolinas. Salaries to $90,000.

CORN PRODUCTS MANAGEMENT: Company in Midwest seeks individuals with agricultural degree for corn merchandising and management positions including logistics, purchasing and producer relations. Salary to $65,000

MAINTENANCE DIRECTOR: Responsible for pm and maintenance for meat plant in northeast. $8 0,000

PLANT ENGINEER and MAINTENANCE-PROJECT
ENGINEER: Illinois (Spirits), Arkansas (Frozen), Wisconsin (food equipment). Responsible for all project engineering and maintenance for this specialty baked goods manufacturer. Salary to $70,000

QUALITY CONTROL MANAGERS: Wisconsin, Illinois, Maine, Arkansas, and Texas positions with confectionery, meat, snack food and frozen foods processors for classical QA/QC and lab supervision. Salaries to $80,000

WAREHOUSE & TRANSPORTATION MANAGERS:
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PRODUCTION SUPERVISORS/SUPERINTENDENT:
Positions in Georgia, Massachusetts, Florida, Indiana, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Texas, and Tennessee for experienced food production supervisors. Salaries to $55,000

MAINTENANCE MANAGER - PROJECT ENGINEER:
North Carolina, California, Indiana, Tennessee, Georgia and Wisconsin positions for hands on style maintenance managers. Should have strong record of management of PM programs. Salary to $60,000

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