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Grocery Manufacturers Association Releases Science Policy Paper on Bisphenol A (BPA)

Contact: Scott Openshaw, Director, Communications, 202-295-3957
Brian Kennedy, Manager, Communications, 202-639-5994
Source of Article:
April 22, 2008
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) today released Bisphenol A: A Guide for Consumers, Policymakers and the Media, the first in a series of science policy papers designed to provide current and scientifically accurate information and resources for journalists, health professionals and policymakers.
¡°In light of recent reports questioning the safety of bisphenol A (BPA), today we are releasing a science policy paper that will provide current and scientifically accurate information and resources that we hope will serve to better educate all stakeholders on the safety of BPA, and the important role it plays in food preservation,¡± said Dr. Robert Brackett, chief science and regulatory affairs officer for GMA.
In the coming weeks, GMA will also be releasing science policy papers on perchlorate, acrylamide, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame and sodium.
Please visit to access GMA¡¯s science policy paper on BPA.

Debate over safety of chemical in plastic bottle
21 Apr 2008
Source of Article:
Canada is moving to get rid of products with a chemical common in plastic baby bottles, and the United States is expressing concern over its safety, however the risks are still disputed.
Canada's Health Minister Tony Clement said he would bring in rules to outlaw plastic polycarbonate baby bottles, perhaps within the next year.
These bottles are made with bisphenol A, which is also used in food and water containers.
Mr Clement said bisphenol A could hinder child development and cited a study which he said showed that overexposure at an early age could cause behavioral and neurological symptoms later in life.
Canada would be the first country to ban the sale and import of the items.
The National Toxicology Program, part of the US government's National Institutes of Health, issued a draft report expressing concern that bisphenol A could cause neural and behavioral problems in foetuses, infants and children.
Relying on the results of animal studies, it expressed concern about possible links between exposure to the chemical and early puberty and prostate and breast cancer. And Wal-Mart, the
world's largest retailer, announced on Thursday it plans to offer more products free of bisphenol A, and intends to stop selling baby bottles made with the chemical early next year.
Risk disputed
Whether bisphenol A poses genuine health risks in people remains a matter of debate, with industry groups defending its safety and environmental activists saying studies involving animals show otherwise.
Bisphenol A is used to make polycarbonate plastic, a clear shatter-resistant material in products ranging from plastic baby bottles and water bottles to sports safety equipment and medical devices.
It also is used to make durable epoxy resins used as the coating in most food and beverage cans.
People can eat or drink the chemical when it leaches out of the plastic into liquid such as baby formula, water or food inside the container.
Michael Schade of the US environmental group Center for Health, Environment and Justice said governments and major retailers are recognising that the chemical is extremely toxic at low levels of exposure. However Carl Winter, director of the Food Safety Program at the University of California-Davis, says there is still no strong evidence supporting significant impacts on human health for bisphenol A.

Food Safety Testing Market to Reach $1.67 Billion by 2010, According to New Report By Global Industry Analysts, Inc.
April 16, 2008 Source of Article:
Rising concerns about terrorism, E.coli and mad cow diseases have significantly increased the demand for food testing over the years. By the year 2010, global market for Food Safety Testing is projected to reach $1.67 billion.
San Jose, CA (PRWEB) April 16, 2008 -- Food Safety Testing refers to examination of food products for disease causing organisms, chemical residues and other hazardous material. Food processing companies are increasingly turning towards food safety tests to ensure that supplies to consumers are free of any harmful pathogens. As globalization of food supply, heralds the globalization of food safety, problems and solutions concerning food safety are no longer confined within the borders of a single country. Increasing public attention to microbiological hazards is also driving change in food safety industry. Rapid microbial testing is being extensively preferred all over the world, due to the advantages of accurate testing within less time.
United States and Europe represent the major markets accounting for over 55% of the global food safety testing market as stated in a recent report published by Global Industry Analysts, Inc. Federal regulations are compelling food processors in the regions to test food products for hazardous material or microorganisms. In addition, the fact that consumers usually avoid buying products from food companies accused of selling tainted products is prompting food processors to offer products that are free from any harmful organisms.
Food Safety Testing: A Global Strategic Business Report
Asia-Pacific represents one of the fastest growing markets for food safety testing in the world. However, food safety hasn't been given its due (except in Australia and New Zealand), particularly in largely populated countries such as China and India. Hardly a few regulations are in place to monitor hygienic practices by food companies in the region. The highly fragmented food industry in these regions makes it particularly difficult for authorities to strictly implement regulations. Market for food safety testing in Asia-Pacific is projected to register a CAGR of 11.6% over the period 2000-2010.
Pathogen testing represents the largest segment in the global food safety testing market. Worldwide pathogen testing products market is estimated at $992 million in 2008. In terms of end-use, the processed foods industry represents the largest end use market for food safety testing products in the world. GMO testing products represent the fastest growing segment. GMO Testing market in Europe is projected to register a CAGR of 10.7% over the period 2000-2010. The United Kingdom represents the leading market for food safety testing in Europe.
Major players profiled in the report include 3M Microbiology, AES Chemunex SA, Biolog Inc., Celsis International Plc., Charm Sciences, Inc, Dupont Qualicon, FOSS, GeneScan Europe AG, Genetic ID, Neogen Corporation, R-Biopharm AG, and Strategic Diagnostics Inc
"Food Safety Testing: A Global Strategic Business Report", published by Global Industry Analysts, Inc., covers major market dynamics, growth drivers, restraints, trends, issues, and competition pertaining to the market. The report enumerates recent developments, mergers, acquisitions and other strategic industry activities. Analysis is presented for major geographic markets including US, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, the UK, Spain, Russia, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Latin America. Analytics for the period 2000 through 2015 are provided in terms of product segments including pathogen testing, pesticide testing and GMO testing. End use segments discussed include processed food, dairy and meat.
For more details about this research report, please visit

Bio-Rad Laboratories iQ-CheckTM Real-Time PCR Test Kits Approved by AOAC Research Institute
The AOAC Research Institute has granted Performance Tested Method status to Bio-Rad Laboratories' iQ-CheckTM test kits. The iQ-Check family of kits is based on automated real-time polymerase chain reaction (RTi-PCR) amplification and detection. Currently, kits are available for Listeria spp., Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, and E. coli O157:H7, all of which are approved. All tests can be run at the same time in the same reaction plate. Since the reaction occurs in closed PCR tubes, the chance for cross-contamination is limited. An internal amplification control is performed in each well to verify the validity of the PCR and confirm a negative result.
Two instrument platforms are available, to meet every users needs. The 96-well instrument is suitable for high throughput analysis, with the ability to run 4 instruments from a single computer at the same time. For lower volume users, we offer a 48-well instrument, also with the ability to run 4 instruments from a single computer at the same time. Since Bio-Rad manufacturers both of these instruments, we provide complete instrument and kit technical support.
iQ-Check E. coli O157:H7 is validated with a non-specific 8-24 hour enrichment in Buffered Peptone Water. Modified EC broth (as per USDA MLG) and EHEC Enrichment broth (as per FDA BAM) were also validated for use with shortened enrichment times. iQ-Check Salmonella II requires a single 21 ¡¾ 1 hour enrichment in nonselective Buffered Peptone Water, with no selective enrichment step. iQ-Check Listeria spp. and iQ-Check Listeria monocytogenes II are validated with a 25 ¡¾ 1 hour enrichment in Listeria Special Broth (LSB), a 24 hour time saving over the reference method. LSB is an enrichment media specially formulated to meet the growth requirements of Listeria while inhibiting competitor organisms. For more information, contact us at

Codex Alimentarius Commission; Codex Committee on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Mom learns the hard way: Raw milk can be dangerous
Posted by Carmen Juri April 16, 2008 5:03AM
Categories: Health
Source of Article:
To those who swear that drinking unpasteurized milk is the ultimate health elixir, this story should give you some pause. What began as a two-night getaway at a farm in Lancaster County, Pa., turned into a calamity of nightmarish proportions for me and my two kids when we drank raw milk. My friend and I took our children to a working farm during spring break. They milked cows, fed bottles of milk to calves and ran free on acres of land - a rarity for these city kids. They also drank the milk that was on the breakfast table, a milk I might add, that was the most silky and delicious any of us had ever tasted. We were told it was unpasteurized, but made to believe it was safe. (I assumed it was at least boiled). A day after returning home, we knew we had made a terrible mistake. The first to fall ill was my five-year-old daughter, who had a high fever, then stomach flu symptoms, then my four-year-old son, then me. My friend and her family had become violently ill as well. We spent seven days worried that our kids could dehydrate and forced them to drink gallons of Gatorade. My friend did get dehydrated and needed intravenous fluids in order to return to her job as a nurse. After a week of this torture, medical tests showed we had contracted campylobacter, a bacterial food poisoning that can be found in unpasteurized milk. The six of us were prescribed antibiotics.
Thankfully, we're all going to be OK.
To be fair, campylobacter can also be spread by contact with raw or undercooked poultry, as the farm owners later told us, but the likely culprit according to my doctor was the raw milk. The kids missed an entire week of school, made endless round-the-clock trips to the bathroom and suffered through sleepless night. I had to adjust my work schedule and get help from family. Then there was the fear we had contracted a more severe and chronic illness, as we later learned could have happened (arthritis, tubercolosis and salmonella, to name a few). Raw milk enthusiasts claim it can cure everything from asthma to allergies They even regularly cross state lines to buy unpasteurized milk in Pennsylvania, since the sale of such products are illegal in New Jersey.
Maybe it does have health benefits. But after my experience, it's not worth the risk.
Drinking raw milk is like playing Russian roulette with your health.
When it comes to my children's health, it's not a . I'm willing to play.

Raw Milk to be a Marler Clark Growth Sector?
Posted on April 21, 2008 by Food Poisoning Lawyer
Source of Article:
From 1993 to 2002 nearly all the revenue to my firm came to E. coli-contaminated hamburger. Then it was E. coli-contaminated spinach and lettuce. Although spinach and lettuce were down in 2007, hamburger is back up. With the increase in sales of raw milk in states, I am expecting a brisk growth in this sector of the Marler Clark firm.
A new study from the National Associations of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) finds raw milk is now available to consumers in 29 of the 50 states. The Federal Government prohibits the interstate commerce of raw milk to consumers across state lines. Other than that, it is up to the states. A questionnaire was sent to state regulatory milk program directors and/or managers in all fifty states in January 2008 and responses came in from all 50.
The survey found 29 states authorize the legal sale of raw milk, in some specified manner, for direct human consumption while the remaining 21 states prohibit the sale of raw milk to consumers. Of the 29 that allow the sale, 17 regulate that it can only be sold on the farm where the milk is produced. Two of the states, Minnesota and Wisconsin restrict sales to only incidental occurrences, not as a regular course of business and no advertising is allowed. Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi and Rhode Island allow only for the sale of raw goats milk and Kentucky and Rhode Island require a physician¡¯s prescription. South Dakota allows farmers to deliver the milk to customers but not to stores. Oregon sales are limited to farms with no more than three cows and only two milking at any one time. Three states, Texas, Massachusetts and South Carolina have coliform standards. The remaining 13 states allow the retail sale of raw milk away from the farm, although in Utah the store must be owned by the producer even if it is off the farm. 11 of these states have coliform standards; Oregon and New Hampshire do not. However, Oregon only allows raw goats milk to be sold at a store.
Not mentioned in the survey is also the growing issue of the sales of raw milk products that are sold as pet food with the knowledge that it is actually being consumed by humans. The Chicago Tribune ran a story on Raw Milk this morning - "Milk issue not black and white."

USDA Considers More Changes to E. Coli Policy
Date Published: Wednesday, April 16th, 2008
Source of Article:
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) hosted a conference last week to discuss E. coli O157:H7 in beef and announced that the USDA¡¯s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) was considering treating E. coli O157:H7 found on intact meat or primal cuts, which are used for roasts and steaks, as an adulterant. Today, this strain of E. coli is only considered an adulterant in ground beef. The hidden issue here is that when something is made an adulterant, there are legal implications; increased responsibilities are imposed on meat processors and slaughterhouses. Adulterated ground beef, for instance, cannot be sold in a raw state to consumers; however, a loophole?the ¡°E. coli Loophole¡±?does enables such meat to be sold cooked following contamination with E. coli O157:H7. The E. coli Loophole is a little-known practice by the USDA that allows meat companies to cook and sell once-contaminated meat.
Currently, the USDA allows companies to label E. coli-positive meat as ¡°Cook Only¡± since cooking the meat properly kills bacteria. Meat deemed ¡°Cook Only¡± is processed and sold in less lucrative forms such as pre-cooked hamburgers, meat loaf, and crumbled taco meat. The USDA does not track how much meat is labeled ¡°Cook Only,¡± but amounts are believed to be significant with some estimates in one meatpacking plant averaging 50,000 pounds per week and others as high as 500,000 pounds weekly. And while the USDA regularly conducts tests for E. coli in slaughtering plants, they only test those meats that packing companies have deemed free of E. coli. Since meat labeled ¡°Cook Only¡± is not reported to the USDA as E. coli-contaminated, higher-than-appropriate levels of E. coli are tolerated in packing plants. This results in under-reporting E. coli contamination and placing clean meat in danger of infection. Some inspectors blame this practice for last year¡¯s sudden rise in incidents of E. coli contamination.
E. coli 0157:H7?Escherichia coli 0157:H7?is one of hundreds of E. coli strains, the vast majority of which are harmless. Strain 0157:H7 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 US. According to Center of Disease Control (CDC) estimates, there are over 70,000 cases of infection and 61 deaths occurring in the US annually with most illness linked to undercooked or contaminated meat. E. coli is routinely found on cattle farms and in the intestines of healthy livestock. Outbreaks occur when meat becomes tainted during slaughter, organisms contaminate the grounding process, and tainted meat is released and consumed by the public.
The FSIS is considering implementing a policy change in light of the massive increases in E. coli O157:H7-related beef recalls and outbreaks last year and is looking to reduce the possibility of contamination at retail stores or smaller processors that may use meat bits to make ground beef. Contaminated steaks can also pose a risk of cross-contaminating home kitchens. The American Meat Institute (AMI) disagreed saying, ¡°No policy change by government can alter the current scientific reality that bacteria exist on all fresh agricultural products.¡±

440 People Sickened After Eating at Mexican Restaurant
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Source of Article:,2933,352115,00.html
KENT, Ohio About 440 people now say they became ill after eating at Chipotle Mexican Grill in Kent. Kent Health Commissioner John Ferlito suspects the cause of the illness is a norovirus. Officials have sent stool and food samples to the Ohio Department of Health to determine the cause. Test results might be available this week. The symptoms of norovirus typically include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Three people were hospitalized for one night because of severe symptoms. The restaurant reopened Saturday, following a voluntary shutdown Friday. Workers replaced food and sanitized equipment with a bleach solution. A Chipotle spokesman says there's no proof food was to blame and that the restaurant is working with the health department.

EFSA calls for caution on bacterial resistance
By Chris Jones Source of Article:
18-Apr-2008 - The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says that the growing use of antimicrobial agents in food could be damaging human resistance to bacteria and other microbes.
In a report published on Thursday by EFSA's panel on biological hazards (Biohaz), the agency suggests that more needs to be done to ensure that the food we eat does not become a "carrier" for antimicrobial-resistant agents which could leave the body open to health risks.
"Antimicrobial resistance cannot be predicted - it comes from the mutation of existing bacteria - so what we are saying is that we need to keep a close eye on this issue and make sure that all the potential entry points into the food chain for such resistant bacteria are controlled," Alun Jones, senior spokesman for EFSA, told
"This is a job not only for EFSA but for all stakeholders - including the European Commission and national food safety authorities who are the risk managers in this case."
Resistance to antibacterials in animals is rising, meaning that the risk of animal-based food becoming contaminated is higher. At the same time, antimicrobials are also becoming less effective in fighting human infections.
But Jones stressed that there was not necessarily a direct risk from increasing antimicrobial resistance in animals.
"This is not a case of one and one making two, necessarily. Just because bacteria in animals are becoming more resistant to antimicrobials does not mean that they will react the same way in humans - but there is the potential there that that will happen."
He said that EFSA's report had highlighted the cases of Salmonella and Campylobacter in particular, since these are mostly spread through food and are becoming increasingly resistant to the current antibiotic treatments. However, other bacteria such as MRSA, which have not traditionally been viewed as a food-based risk, may also be an "emerging problem".
MRSA - the so-called superbug - is highly resistant to most forms of antimicrobials, and has been responsible for several deaths in hospitals. EFSA has only identified one case of food-borne MRSA leading to human contamination but warns that it could be a problem in the future as the bug has been found in food products in the past.
"Our report is not saying that there is a major risk or threat to public health from antimicrobial-resistant bacteria at the moment," said Jones. "But it does urge food safety authorities and the food industry to look closely at the various ways in which such bacteria could enter the food chain and to do their utmost to control them."
Poor hygiene, he suggested, was probably the most likely means of transfer. "Keeping food clean and safe through the application of good HACCP principles is likely to be the best way of stopping food products being contaminated accidentally by resistant bacteria," he said.
But he noted that the EU had already taken action to reduce the risk of contamination by stopping the addition of antimicrobials to animal feed, which it was thought was accelerating the rate of resistance in animals destined for the food chains. "The problem is that antimicrobials are necessary for vets to treat animals, so we cannot eliminate them entirely," said Jones. "That is why being vigilant is so important."

Deliberate bacteria
Another potential carrier highlighted in the report is bacteria that is deliberately added to food, such as fermentation cultures or probiotics.
These "have on occasion exhibited antimicrobial resistance and should also be considered as a possible route for the transfer of antimicrobial resistance through food", EFSA said.
EFSA's scientists have called for consultation with the wider food science community to assess the current state of play on tackling this issue, but Jones said there was "no black or white solution" to the potential problem.
"We need to continue to work on risk assessment with other stakeholders and take a step-by-step approach to this. When you drive a car, you take precautions to ensure that the journey is safe - and we need to take the necessary precautions here to ensure that the food we eat is safe."

Inmate never disclosed fatal peanut-butter allergy
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
By Nate Reens and Theresa D. Mcclellan The Grand Rapids Press
Source of Article:
GREENVILLE -- When booked into the Montcalm County Jail last weekend, Paul Thurston alerted authorities to his allergies to several medications. But the 30-year-old, Sheriff Bill Barnwell said, did not mention his sensitivity to peanut butter, an allergy that killed Thurston after he ate part of a sandwich. This same allergy left Thurston in a coma once before, relatives said. That apparent lack of information has Thurston's family wondering if he was asked the appropriate questions about his allergies, or if his intoxication and medication combined to have him overlook the problem after his arrest. "He would basically never even come close to peanut butter if he knew it was there," said Gale Thurston, Paul's brother. "I wonder if he wasn't thinking straight or if he was only asked about an allergy to medication. We have a lot of questions that we don't have answers to right now." Paul Thurston died about 12:30 p.m. Sunday, 10 hours after he was jailed on an assault allegation from a tussle outside a Greenville bar. Barnwell said Thurston was not injured in the alleged fight and was cooperative when corrections workers asked health questions.
The first time authorities were aware of Thurston's allergy was when deputies saw Thurston struggling to breathe on surveillance camera images after taking several bites of a peanut butter sandwich.
Thurston muttered to a cellmate, "I'm allergic to peanut butter," Barnwell said.
Authorities attempted CPR and used a defibrillator, but Thurston died within 20 minutes.
Barnwell said he is calling outside investigators to probe the death, and he is committed to examining a potential problem.
"I can tell you right now, this early on, we'll be making changes if changes are warranted," the sheriff said.
Barnwell noted jails and institutions around the state and country often serve peanut butter.
Complications from the food allergy, however, have become prominent enough to result in its ban from some school cafeterias and other common eating areas. There are varying degrees of allergy, and some people can have a reaction just from inhaling the food.
Terrence Jungel, head of the Michigan Sheriff's Association, said authorities are at the mercy of inmates for information when they are brought into jail. The average stay being less than 48 hours, it is impractical to get a full medical history, Jungel said. Jungel said corrections employees are bound to note allergies or medical problems if they are told about them. The Sunday episode nearly mirrors one about two years ago when Thurston was at the Kent County Jail. In that instance, Thurston spent four days in a coma, his brother said. "The problem is that the peanut butter, you can't even tell it's peanut butter," Gale Thurston said. "It's a loaf or a slab, like cheese. This doesn't make sense. He wouldn't have eaten it if he knew."
It is unclear if Paul Thurston told Kent jailers about the allergy.
Paul Thurston was living with his brother in Greenville and working at a local factory at the time of his death. He was working to kick an addiction to prescription painkillers that he formed while battling Crohn's disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease for which there is no known cure.
Thurston, who enjoyed fishing and deer hunting, aspired to be a forensic pathologist, once attending Montcalm Community College and working with Dr. James Banner, who serves as the medical examiner for Montcalm and Ionia counties.

Multistate Outbreak of Human Salmonella Infections Associated With Exposure to Turtles?United States, 2007-2008 Vol. 299 No. 16, April 23/30, 2008 JAMA. 2008;299(16):1892-1894.
MMWR. 2008;57:69-72 3 figures omitted
Source of Article:
Turtles and other reptiles have long been recognized as a source of human Salmonella infections.1 To prevent turtle-associated Salmonella infections in humans, the sale and distribution of small turtles (i.e., those with a carapace length of less than 4 inches) has been prohibited in the United States since 1975.* Despite this prohibition, small turtles remain available to the public from various sources, including pet shops, flea markets, street vendors, and Internet websites.2-3 In October 2007, the North Carolina Division of Public Health (NCDPH) notified CDC of human infections caused by Salmonella serotype Paratyphi B L (+) tartrate (+) (Salmonella Paratyphi B var. Java) in several states. Salmonella Paratyphi B var. Java is a nontyphoidal strain of Salmonella that causes gastroenteritis. This report describes the results of the epidemiologic and laboratory investigation conducted by CDC and state and local health departments during October 2007?January 2008. The findings document an ongoing, multistate outbreak of Salmonella Paratyphi B var. Java infections, with the first reported illness onset occurring on May 4, 2007. Many of these infections have occurred in young children and have been associated with exposure to small turtles. Prohibiting the sale and distribution of small turtles likely remains the most effective public health action to prevent turtle-associated salmonellosis.

Detection of the Outbreak
On August 31, 2007, a girl aged 13 years visited a South Carolina hospital emergency department, where she reported a 5-day history of bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, and vomiting. She was treated with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and intravenous fluids but was not hospitalized. Her illness resolved in 7 days. A stool specimen yielded Salmonella Paratyphi B var. Java. Also on August 31, a girl aged 15 years was admitted to a North Carolina hospital with acute renal failure and a 4-day history of bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, and vomiting. She was hospitalized for 8 days and recovered fully. A joint investigation by NCDPH and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control revealed that, on August 24, the two girls had swum in an unchlorinated, in-ground swimming pool belonging to the family of the older girl. Two pet turtles belonging to the family also were permitted to swim in the pool. The turtles, both of which had carapace lengths of less than 4 inches, had been purchased recently from a pet shop in South Carolina. A water sample collected from the turtle habitat yielded Salmonella Paratyphi B var. Java with an XbaI pattern indistinguishable by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) from the isolates of the younger girl. Stool specimens were not collected from the older girl.

On October 5, NCDPH informed PulseNet that tests of isolates from three other persons revealed Salmonella Paratyphi B var. Java with an XbaI pattern indistinguishable from the isolates of the younger girl and the turtle habitat (defined as the outbreak strain). On October 5, in response to a request issued by NCDPH through PulseNet, several other state health departments reported human Salmonella Paratyphi B var. Java isolates with an XbaI pattern indistinguishable from the outbreak strain. The Ohio Department of Health provided further evidence of a turtle-associated outbreak by reporting that isolates indistinguishable from the outbreak strain had been obtained from a patient with exposure to a small turtle during the week before illness onset, from that patient's pet turtle, and from water collected from the turtle's habitat.

Multistate Investigation
After NCDPH contacted CDC on October 23 about the possible cluster of turtle-associated Salmonella Paratyphi B var. Java infections, CDC and state and local health departments initiated a multistate investigation to determine the extent of the outbreak and the sources of infection. A case was defined as a diarrheal illness with onset after May 1, 2007, in a person from whom a clinical specimen yielded Salmonella Paratyphi B var. Java with a PFGE XbaI pattern indistinguishable from the outbreak strain; cases were identified by a review of all PFGE-typed isolates in the PulseNet database.
As of January 18, 2008, a total of 103 cases with isolates indistinguishable from the outbreak strain had been reported to CDC from 33 states. Information initially was collected from general enteric disease questionnaires administered by state and local health departments. Of the 100 patients for whom age information was available (median age: 7.5 years; range: <1-87 years), 56 (56%) were aged 10 years. Fifty-two (51%) of the 101 patients for whom the sex was known were female. Illness onset dates ranged from May 4, 2007, to December 15, 2007. Among the 78 patients for whom clinical information was available, 51 (65%) reported bloody diarrhea, with a median duration of illness of 7 days; 24 (30%) of the 80 patients for whom hospitalization status was known were hospitalized for their illnesses, with a median duration of 4 days. Among the 80 patients questioned about turtle exposure, 47 (59%) reported turtle exposure during the 7 days before illness onset. No deaths were reported.
A case-control study was conducted during November 15?December 5 using age- and neighborhood-matched controls (age groups: <1 year, 1-9 years, 10-19 years, 20-49 years, 50 years; reverse-digit dialing was used to match cases to controls by neighborhood). A telephone questionnaire was used to determine whether the case-patient or control had exposure to turtles, other reptiles, or aquariums containing tropical fish during a 7-day exposure period (7 days before illness onset in the case-patient, for both cases and matched controls). Participants who reported exposure to turtles were asked about the nature of the exposure, including whether the patient had touched or held the turtle, kissed the turtle or put the turtle in his or her mouth, or come into contact with the turtle's habitat, such as by changing the water or cleaning the cage. Participants who reported exposure to turtles also were asked about turtle size, type, and source. All participants were asked about their awareness of the association between contact with reptiles and Salmonella infection. Seventy case-patients and 45 matched controls were enrolled in the study.

Among the 70 case-patients interviewed, 44 (63%) reported exposure to a turtle during the 7 days before illness onset, compared with two (4%) of 45 controls (matched odds ratio [mOR] = 40.9; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 7.0?unbounded). Two (3%) case-patients and four (9%) controls reported exposure to a reptile other than a turtle during the 7 days before illness onset. No other single characteristic for which data were collected has been implicated in this outbreak. Twelve (20%) of the 60 case-patients for whom such information was available and 13 (29%) of the 45 controls reported awareness of the association between contact with reptiles and Salmonella infection (mOR = 0.66; CI = 0.27-1.6). Among the 44 case-patients exposed to a turtle, 34 (77%) were exposed at home, and nine (20%) were exposed at the home of a friend or relative; one (2%) was exposed outdoors. Of the 43 case-patients exposed at home or at the home of a friend or relative, three were siblings exposed to turtles at the home of their babysitter, and two were a husband and wife exposed to a turtle in their own home; the remaining exposures occurred in households independent of one another. Of 34 case-patients exposed to turtles at home, 12 (35%) still owned the turtle at the time of interview. Of the 42 case-patients for whom the details of the turtle exposure were known, 28 (67%) reported holding or touching the turtle, 24 (57%) reported feeding the turtle, and 29 (69%) reported contact with the turtle's habitat. Four (10%) case-patients reported kissing the turtle or having put the turtle in his or her mouth. Thirty-seven (86%) of the 43 case-patients who were exposed to a turtle and for whom turtle size information was available reported that the turtle had a carapace length of less than 4 inches; the remaining turtles involved in these exposures were reported to have carapace lengths of 4 inches or more.
Forty-two case-patients with turtle exposure reported details about the turtle source. Fifteen (36%) reported that the turtle was purchased at a pet shop, 10 (24%) reported that the turtle had been a gift, eight (19%) reported that the turtle was purchased at a flea market, five (12%) reported that the turtle was purchased from a street vendor, and one each (2%, respectively) reported that the turtle was purchased on an Internet website, acquired from the wild, hatched from an egg given by a relative, or purchased at a conference center event. Salmonella Paratyphi B var. Java matching the outbreak strain was isolated from six turtles or the water from their habitats in the homes of case-patients in California, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Investigations are ongoing to determine whether the turtles have a common distributor or farm of origin.
Reported by:
D Bergmire-Sweat, MPH, North Carolina Div of Public Health. J Schlegel, MSP, C Marin, South Carolina Dept of Health and Environmental Control. K Winpisinger, MS, Ohio Dept of Health. C Perry, M Sotir, PhD, Div of Foodborne, Bacterial, and Mycotic Diseases, National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne, and Enteric Diseases; J Harris, PhD, EIS Officer, CDC.
CDC Editorial Note:
This ongoing, multistate outbreak of salmonellosis is associated with small turtles purchased at pet stores, flea markets, and other outlets, despite a federal prohibition on the sale of turtles with carapace lengths of less than 4 inches. These turtles are a risk to the public and especially to young children. Other outbreaks of turtle-associated Salmonella infections have been reported.2-3
The prohibition on the sale and distribution of small turtles was enacted in 1975, after public health investigations demonstrated that small turtles were a major source of human Salmonella infections, particularly in children. In 1972, a study in New Jersey indicated that small pet turtles accounted for approximately 23% of Salmonella infections in children.4 In 1980, the 1975 prohibition was estimated to have prevented 100,000 Salmonella infections in U.S. children each year since going into effect.5 However, this prohibition has an exception: small turtles may be sold legally for scientific, educational or exhibition purposes. During 2001-2006, the number of turtles kept as pets in the United States increased 86% to nearly 2 million turtles,6 suggesting that this exception might provide a mechanism by which small turtles become household pets.
Turtles, like other reptiles, commonly carry Salmonella, and fecal carriage rates can be as high as 90%.1 Small turtles sold as pets frequently come from breeding farms, where turtles are housed in crowded ponds and nesting areas in a way that promotes Salmonella transmission.7 Attempts to treat turtles, turtle eggs, and turtle breeding ponds with antibiotics to eliminate Salmonella have not been successful and have resulted in a high prevalence of antibiotic resistance.7-8 Other treatments reduce but do not eliminate Salmonella shedding from turtles,8 and the turtles that continue to shed Salmonella might recontaminate other turtles during rearing or shipment. Because Salmonella shedding might be intermittent and stress related, determining whether turtles are free of the bacteria is difficult.1
Direct or indirect contact with a reptile is associated with an estimated 6% of human Salmonella infections in the United States.9 Persons coming into contact with reptiles, reptile habitats, or surfaces contaminated with reptile fecal matter risk infection from salmonellae shed by the reptile.10 Although most reptiles carry Salmonella, small turtles are likely to be handled differently than other reptiles and thus carry a greater risk of transmitting Salmonella to children. In contrast to the obvious risk for a bite or scratch, for example, from a snake or an iguana, a small turtle is likely to be perceived as safe, and thus might be given directly to small children to play with. In addition, a young child placed in charge of caring for a turtle has direct contact with water in the turtle habitat, where Salmonella are likely to multiply to high numbers. Although approximately half of the infections associated with this outbreak occurred in young children, who are at greater risk for severe illness from Salmonella infection,2, 10 several illnesses occurred in adults with turtle exposure, demonstrating that turtle-associated Salmonella infection is not unique to children. Additionally, only 20% of case-patients interviewed reported awareness of the link between Salmonella and contact with reptiles, indicating that measures to educate the public about this link have not been successful. CDC has provided recommendations to prevent reptile-associated salmonellosis in humans.2 However, because of the particular hazard associated with small turtles, prohibiting the sale and distribution of small turtles likely remains the most effective public health action to prevent turtle-associated salmonellosis.
The findings in this report are based, in part, on contributions from R Reporter, MD, R Bagby, Los Angeles County Dept of Public Health, A Kao, PhD, San Diego Health and Human Svcs Agency, E Cox, MPH, Long Beach Dept of Health and Human Svcs, P Cast, San Bernardino County Dept of Public Health, A Norman, Sacramento Dept of Health and Human Svcs, A Kimura, MD, California Dept of Health; D Raccasi, T L¡¯Estrange, Weber-Morgan Health Dept, Utah Dept of Health; Missouri Dept of Health and Senior Svcs; C Prunty, Summit County Health Dept, P Pflum, Henry Country Health Dept, Ohio; J Tait, J Baney, CR Cook, CH Sandt, PhD, Pennsylvania Bur of Laboratories, K Warren, MPH, Pennsylvania Dept of Health; Y Khachadourian, T Quinlan, Wadsworth Center Laboratory, New York, T Fitzgerald, New York City Bur of Health, E Villamil, MPH, Perry Smith, MD, New York State Dept of Health; M Cumming, MS, B Bolstorff, MPH, Massachussetts Dept of Public Health; S Bidol, MPH, Michigan Dept of Community Health; and L Schaefer, South Dakota Dept of Health.
*Food and Drug Administration. Human health hazards associated with turtles: information for regulators and public health educators. Available at
A national molecular subtyping network for foodborne disease surveillance.

1. Chiodini RJ, Sundberg JP. Salmonellosis in reptiles: a review. Am J Epidemiol. 1981;113(5):494-499. FREE FULL TEXT
2. CDC. Turtle-associated salmonellosis in humans?United States, 2006-2007. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2007;56(26):649-652. PUBMED
3. CDC. Salmonellosis associated with pet turtles?Wisconsin and Wyoming, 2004. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2005;54(9):223-226. PUBMED
4. Lamm SH, Taylor A, Gangarosa E; et al. Turtle-associated Salmonellosis. I. An estimation of the magnitude of the problem in the United States, 1970-1971. Am J Epidemiol. 1972;95(6):511-517. FREE FULL TEXT
5. Cohen ML, Potter M, Pollard R, Feldman RA. Turtle-associated salmonellosis in the United States: effect of public health action, 1970 to 1976. JAMA. 1980;243(12):1247-1249. ABSTRACT
6. American Veterinary Medical Association. U.S. pet ownership and demographics sourcebook. Schaumburg, IL: American Veterinary Medical Association; 2007:2.
7. D¡¯Aoust JY, Daley E, Crozier M, Sewell AM. Pet turtles: a continuing international threat to public health. Am J Epidemiol. 1990;132(2):233-238. FREE FULL TEXT
8. Mitchell MA, Adamson T, Singleton C; et al. Evaluation of a combination of sodium hypochlorite and polyhexamethylene biguanide as an egg wash for red-eared slider turtles (Trachemys scripta elegans) to suppress or eliminate Salmonella organisms on egg surfaces and in hatchlings. Am J Vet Res. 2007;68(2):158-164. FULL TEXT | ISI | PUBMED
9. Mermin J, Hutwagner L, Vugia D; et al. Reptiles, amphibians, and human Salmonella infection: a population-based, case-control study. Clin Infect Dis. 2004;38(Suppl 3):S253-S261. FULL TEXT | ISI | PUBMED
10. Mermin J, Hoar B, Angulo FJ. Iguanas and Salmonella Marina infection in children: a reflection of the increasing incidence of reptile-associated salmonellosis in the United States. Pediatrics. 1997;99(3):399-402. FREE FULL TEXT

Efficacy of common additives against acrylamide gains more support
By Stephen Daniells Source of Article:
21-Apr-2008 - Addition of the common food additives L-cysteine, glycine and L-lysine may inhibit the formation of acrylamide in potato products, suggests new research from Belgium.
"L-cysteine appeared to reduce the acrylamide content in the most effective way, with a reduction of about 92 per cent, followed by L-lysine (39 per cent) and glycine (24 per cent)," wrote lead author Frederic Mestdagh from Ghent University in the journal Food Chemistry.
The study taps into the trend of new ways to reduce acrylamide in foods, as the industry aims to improve the public perception about food safety, which has suffered in recent years.
Acrylamide is a carcinogen that is created when starchy foods are baked, roasted, fried or toasted. It first hit the headlines in 2002, when scientists at the Swedish Food Administration first reported unexpectedly high levels of acrylamide, found to cause cancer in laboratory rats, in carbohydrate-rich foods.
Since the Swedish discovery a global effort has been underway to amass data about this chemical. More than 200 research projects have been initiated around the world, and their findings co-ordinated by national governments, the EU and the United Nations.
The Belgian researchers used a model potato powder system, and tested the efficacy of a range of food additives on acrylamide formation, including organic acids, free amino acids and salts.
"Since most of these additives are already commonly used in the food industry, these components can be more easily applied on industrial scale to mitigate the formation of acrylamide in fried potato products," they added.

Promising results
Mestdagh and co-workers report that the organic acids led to a significant reduction in acrylamide content, but this was due predominantly to a lowering of the pH. Specifically, acrylamide levels were reduced by 78, 46 and 62 per cent for citric, acetic, and L-lactic acid, respectively.
For the amino acids glycine, L-lysine and L-cysteine reductions were also recorded, with the greatest observed for the last amino acid. Moreover, reductions were achieved without changes to the pH level.
Salts containing calcium and magnesium ions also induced a reduction in acrylamide levels in the food matrix, but this was also associated with pH changes. This area of study is ongoing for the Ghent researchers, with an evaluation of the approaches planned in a real food system, namely potato crisps. "In addition, the final product quality of these treated foodstuffs will be assessed by means of sensory analysis of potato crisps," they concluded.
Others have reported similar results concerning the potential of common additives to reduce or prevent acrylamide formation. Indeed, Turkish researchers published a study in the journal Food Chemistry (doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2006.08.011) reporting that the additive could reduce acrylamide formation in potato chips and French fries by about 95 per cent.
Moreover, Chinese researchers from Jinan University tested the food additives ferulic acid, catechin, calcium chloride, sodium bisulfite, and l-cysteine on inhibition of acrylamide formation (Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies, doi:10.1016/j.ifset.2007.06.008).
Source: Food Chemistry
1 March 2008, Volume 107, Issue 1, Pages 26-31
"Impact of additives to lower the formation of acrylamide in a potato model system through pH reduction and other mechanisms"
Authors: F. Mestdagh, J. Maertens, T. Cucu, K. Delporte, C. Van Peteghem, B. De Meulenaer

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