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On-Line Slides

GMA Applauds Senator Kohl's Action on FDA Funding
Source of Article:
Scott Openshaw, Director, Communications, 202-295-3957
Brian Kennedy, Manager, Communications, 202-639-5994
May 7, 2008
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) President and CEO Cal Dooley today issued the following statement in support of Senator Herb Kohl¡¯s (D-WI) proposal to boost the Food and Drug Administration¡¯s FY 2009 budget by $275 million:
¡°We applaud Senator Kohl for doing the right thing by acting to provide FDA with the funding it needs to do its job. Although it has the responsibility to oversee eighty percent of our nation¡¯s food supply, FDA¡¯s current budget is actually less than the budget for the school system in Montgomery County, MD, where the agency resides.
¡°GMA has called for a doubling of the FDA budget. Senator Kohl is to be commended for his leadership, as his proposal to supplement the FDA¡¯s ¡¯09 budget by $275 million ? including $100 million for food safety - provides for a significant down payment to that end and is a move in the right direction.
¡°GMA and its member companies are committed to partnering with government to improve, modernize and strengthen our nation¡¯s food safety system and to working with Congress to ensure FDA has the resources it needs to perform its critical mission.¡±

Food Safety Current News
05/13. Rumours suggest no need for nano regulations
05/13. GMA Applauds Senator Kohl's Action on FDA Funding
05/13. "It's a dirty, dirty business," Marler said
05/13. Book Review: Epidemiologic Principles and Food Safety
05/13. Viruses: latest weapon against salmonella and campylobacter
05/13. Essential Oils’ Antimicrobial Efficacy Studied
05/13. EFSA assesses turkey meat salmonella threat

05/13. Expansion of FDA Oversight Power Sought
05/13. US poultry ban to be lifted?
05/13. Food safety violations rising in county
05/13. Salmonella rife among EU turkey flocks, agency says
05/13. NZ: Fresh-food testers discover chemicals 200% over limit
05/13. S Korea: US Agrees To Beef-Import Ban If Mad-Cow Disease Fou

05/12. Creekstone Farms defends right to test for BSE
05/12. Ninety percent of consumers trust supermarket meat and poult
05/12. Acrylamide linked to higher kidney cancer risk
One tick red meat can do without
05/12. Seoul Hounds Meat Vendors For Cleaner Chow
05/12. Casa Fiesta Salmonella Outbreak Yields First Lawsuit
05/12. UK: Mother says her toddler caught E coli at safari park
05/12. Secretary Leavitt Travels to China

05/09. EU seeks further safety advice on GMOs
05/09. Government asks court to block wider testing for mad cow
05/09. NRA urging members to use food safety schemes

05/09. China adopts strict food safety law

05/08. MHS transformation exceeds expectations
05/08. HSUS shoots video of downed cattle at auction houses
05/08. UBC mad cow research projects awarded $1.3 million
05/08. What is the last recall you recall?
05/08. Alchemy Systems Helps Companies Achieve New and Emerging Foo
05/08. UAE: 30 food safety violations in April
05/08. Letter: Plastic containers with BPA are safe to use
05/08. New Food Safety Rules May Do More Harm Than Good
05/08. Women sue Wendy's for E. coli poisoning in 2006

05/08. Chinese president: China, Japan to continue probe into dumpl
05/08. Eastchester school cafeterias get flunking grade
05/08. Norwalk restaurant sued over illness
05/08. UK E-coli butcher allowed to sell food for years before clos
05/08. Humane Society videos downer cows at auctions to point out f
05/08. Humane Society releases new video of mistreated livestock

05/08. NMPF Statement on Humane Society Undercover Video of Livesto
05/07. FSA News supplement on the Meat Hygiene Service
05/07. FDA looks to improve safety with 1,300 new staff
05/07. South Korea issuing mixed messages about U.S. beef
05/07. South Korea to begin U.S. slaughterhouse inspections
05/07. Hope for peanut allergy cure
05/07. New Weapon in Cancer Fight: Blue, Red Peanut Butter?
05/07. Sick Days Benefit Everyone

05/07. Workshop to Focus on Food Safety Standards
05/07. Time to fix our food labelling fiasco
05/07. U.S. Stresses to Korea Safety of American Beef05/07. Brussels delays decision on GMO crops
05/07. Malaysia: Food Poisoning: Stern action against school manage
05/06. Citrus essential oils could be anti-fungal additives for foo

05/06. Packaging chemicals found in breast milk, says study
05/06. Two E. coli Lawsuits Filed Against Wendy's in Utah
05/06. Hepatitis A Lawsuit Filed Against La Mesa Chipotle Mexican G

05/06. France: Bureaucracy Hampers an E. coli Weapon
05/06. Where the Wild Microbes Are: A New Theory on How Pathogens S
05/06. UMD researchers find first known E. coli in fish
05/06. Bid to calm food packaging fears
05/06. EU food safety body takes new look at baby bottle chemical
05/06. IFST updated Information Statement on Verocytotoxin-producin

Foodborne Outbreak Currnet News
05/13. Int'l House of Pancakes Linked to Possible Hepatitis A Illne
05/13. Australia: Alert as stomach bug hits
05/13. S. enteritidis meningitis in a first time diagnosed AIDS pat

05/12. 22nd Hepatitis Case Linked To Chipotle In La Mesa
05/12. Ashlyn Johnson Sickened by Salmonella at Shelby County Relay
05/12. Moscone Center workers sickened by norovirus
05/12. Kashmir: Vaishnodevi pilgrim dies of food poisoning
05/12. Princeton Salmonella Now Confirmed in 22
05/12. India: Food poisoning: 46 hospitalised in Dausa village

05/09. Norovirus outbreak linked to Moscone Center
22 salmonella cases reported at Princeton
Kent Chipotle illnesses said to be the result of norovirus
Norovirus Symptoms Appear In School
17 cases of salmonella now reported at Princeton University
Salmonella Confirmed in 16 at Princeton University, Food Ser
Mongolia: Poisoned Wedding Reception Kills One, Hundreds Hos

Salmonella Plague at Princeton
Chipotle Hepatitis A Outbreak Hits 21 in La Mesa
17 cases of salmonella now reported at Princeton University
Two Hospitalized After NZ Cafe Serves Dishwashing Liquid
10 cases of salmonella now reported at Princeton University
Vietnam: Food poisoning hits workers in Son La

Epidemiologic Principles and Food Safety,
edited by Tamar Lasky, 2007, 272 pages, hardcover, Oxford University Press, New York, NY.
Craig W Hedberg
University of Minnesota School of Public Health
MMC 807
420 Delaware Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455 Source of Article:
I have not used a textbook in my course on surveillance of food-borne diseases and food safety hazards because 1) there is no adequate textbook available, 2) the general concepts and methods of epidemiology are readily available in general epidemiology textbooks, and 3) the special application of general concepts and methods applicable to food safety problems can best be highlighted by using current literature and outbreak situations. Using the internet as an open textbook helps students learn where they can find information and forces them to read critically to evaluate the quality of the information they find. Intellectual curiosity and critical thinking are the most important attributes for an epidemiologist in any field. Lasky's book covers a broad range of food safety problems and illustrates the application of epidemiology to solving these problems. Individual chapters provide an overview of infectious agents, food processing and food handling methods, food safety regulations, and the various epidemiologic methods applied to surveillance, exposure assessment, outbreak investigation, and risk assessment. In putting this book together, Lasky attempted to provide an overview of the food system for epidemiologists and of epidemiology for food scientists. There is a need for such a comprehensive approach in a textbook. However, the execution of that approach in this book falls short in many respects. To begin with, there are many small technical errors throughout the book. For example, the introductory chapter (Figures 1?4, page 11) shows a scanning electron microscope image of Campylobacter jejuni. The legend states that Campylobacter species were first identified in 1977. However, the chapter on infectious agents states that Campylobacter species were first isolated in 1972 (page 19). In fact, C. fetus (then called Vibrio fetus) was first isolated from the placentas and aborted fetuses of cattle in 1909. The taxonomic designation Campylobacter was introduced in 1973, and cultural methods capable of identifying C. jejuni as an important cause of diarrheal illness were introduced in 1977. Although these errors and others, such as the listing of Listeria as a genus within the family Enterobacteriaceae (Table 2, page 19) and the failure to identify polymerase chain reaction detection of norovirus in stool as a primary diagnostic method (page 32), are correctable in future editions, their presence undermines the value of the discussions they highlight.
Of greater concern is the philosophical approach to food safety articulated in the introduction (page 15): "Acute outbreaks demand immediate attention, while in contrast, reduction of the overall levels of food-borne illness requires a comprehensive understanding of the contribution of many different factors to the aggregate group of food-borne cases." Acute outbreaks do demand immediate attention. However, we will never have a comprehensive understanding of all the factors that contribute to all of the food-borne diseases. There are too many different diseases, and the factors that contribute to these diseases are constantly changing. Epidemiology is a powerful tool for targeting the most important factors associated with the most important diseases and for evaluating the effectiveness of our efforts. This should have been the focus of this book.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS No conflict of interest was declared.

New Food Safety Rules May Do More Harm Than Good
By Jason Mark, Earth Island Journal. Posted May 7, 2008.
Source of Article:
The food safety regulations established in response to the spinach E. coli outbreak are threatening environmentally friendly farming practices.
Dale Coke has been farming in California's San Benito County for nearly 30 years, and the thousands of days of wind and sun are etched in the deep lines of his long, lean face. His hands are tough, with fingers that are as adept at fixing a broken water pump as they are at handling a freshly cut head of lettuce. Coke, 54 with salt-and-pepper hair, was one of the pioneers of the organic farming industry. In 1980, he started growing salad mix in the valleys of California's Central Coast, and by the end of the 1990s he had nearly 500 acres under cultivation. But then the salad mix market "got too complicated," he says, and so he downsized to 250 acres, and today focuses on specialty crops such as fennel, dinosaur kale, and beets, which he sells to Whole Foods and restaurants.
When talking about the economics of organic farming, a joker's grin flirts with the edges of Coke's mouth, as if he knows the punch line to some inside joke about a business he has seen transform from a mom-and-pop enterprise to a multibillion dollar industry that is the fastest growing segment of the food market. But for Coke, recent changes in the fresh produce industry are nothing to laugh about. A year and a half after an E. coli outbreak traced to bagged spinach killed three people, hospitalized 100, and sickened dozens more, farmers and processors are still struggling with how best to ensure food safety. According to Coke and other farmers, some of the new practices intended to improve food safety are misguided and misinformed, and risk undermining environmentally sound farming practices in the area surrounding California's Salinas Valley. The region produces more than half of the country's lettuce, and is affectionately referred to by locals as "The Nation's Salad Bowl."
"This is all a knee-jerk reaction by the salad marketers to get their market back, because no one would touch spinach," Coke says. "It's a sham foisted on the consumers by the salad processors. ... The farmers are caught between these two things [food safety rules and environmental protection], and now they don't know what to do. Are they going to tear out all the trees?" more information

FDA looks to improve safety with 1,300 new staff
By Clarisse Douaud Source of Article:
07-May-2008 - The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is beginning a multi-year hiring scheme that could ease strain on its ability to react in times of crisis, though the initiative does not likely go far enough for detractors both within and outside the agency who say it is dangerously under funded. FDA recently announced that in the 2008 fiscal year it is looking to fill more than 600 new positions as well as backfill over 700 others as part of the 2007 FDA Amendments Act, the Food Protection Plan and the Import Safety Action Plan.
Though this represents nearly triple the amount hired between 2005 and 2007, the fact the agency's mandate is vast and that it is not guaranteed to actually find such specialized staff mean the initiative may not quickly translate into more effective surveillance for consumer goods. FDA announced it is looking to hire hundreds of staff with science and medical backgrounds to monitor the safety and effectiveness of a number of categories of products of which food is only one small part. These categories include human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, food, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.
In November 2007, the government announced wide sweeping plans to improve the safety of the US food supply, with measures including more stringent inspections, stronger penalties and mandatory recalls. The Food Protection Plan and the Import Safety Action Plan emerged as part of this.
These two plans aim to prevent contamination in the domestic food chain and to ensure the safety of imported food.
Under the Food Protection Plan, FDA will also be able to issue additional preventive controls for high-risk foods, accredit third parties for voluntary food inspections, increase access to food records during emergencies, and issue a mandatory recall if voluntary recalls are not effective.
The Import Safety Action Plan comprises short- and long-term recommendations to enhance the safety of the increasing volume of imports entering the US.
Among the measures outlined by the plan is the creation of a stronger certification process in exporting countries, a greater US presence overseas, and stronger penalties for those responsible for selling unsafe products.
However, at the heart of the country's food safety issue lies the problem of funding.
FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach addressed this problem earlier this year during a speech given to the National Press Club.
"It is no secret in Washington that as the FDA's responsibilities have grown, the resources devoted to them have not kept pace," said Eschenbach.
"Strengthening the FDA for this new century will require an investment, providing our agency with a budget and authorities that are commensurate with the scale and scope of our mission."
To ensure a quick turn around in the current hiring process, the US government has made sure there is little red tape procedure to go through. FDA even said that qualified candidates could be on the job in as little as three weeks.
This is because the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has granted direct-hire authority to FDA. OPM has jurisdiction to give federal agencies direct-hire authority in cases where a severe shortage of candidates exists.
FDA said the jobs it is looking to fill are for medical officers, consumer safety officers, chemists, nurse consultants, biologists, microbiologists, health/regulatory/general health scientists, mathematical statisticians, epidemiologists, pharmacologists, pharmacists and veterinary medical officers.
Many of these positions will be located in the Washington D.C. area, some throughout the rest of the US, and there are also a few newly created positions abroad.

"It's a dirty, dirty business," Marler said.
Posted on May 10, 2008 by Food Poisoning Attorney
Source of Article:
Mick Trevey of WTMJ reported on documents discovered at the Cargill Meat Solutions plant in Milwaukee, also called Emmpak Foods, which processes more than 100 million pounds of beef every year. Bill Marler is a lawyer who specializes in food borne illnesses. "It's a dirty, dirty business," Marler said. The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service in various "non-compliance reports" found problems in one part of Cargill's big operation in Milwaukee. In April of 2006, inspectors found a "scale well is filled with previous weeks of trash and debris." Inspectors also noted: "swinging doors are damaged (cracks), and covered with brown thick grease and other grime."
The documents also show in December of 2006, inspectors saw "pooled amounts of standing water, blood, and debris" on the covers over combos of meat. One of those covers "was ripped" "exposing the product inside."
In August of 2007, inspectors noticed a "heavy odor." They checked out the main scale and found drains under the main scale were filled with "standing water, debris, and meat trash."

Norwalk restaurant sued over illness
By CORY FROLIK | Thursday May 08 2008, 11:32am NORWALK
Source of Article:
A Willard man who claims he fell violently ill after eating at Casa Fiesta in late April is suingthe Norwalk restaurant. In a lawsuit filed in Huron County Common Pleas Court this week, Kody Dewitt, of the 600 block of South Myrtle Ave., is seeking more than $25,000 in damages for the hospital bills and hardships he claims resulted from eating at the Mexican restaurant, court documents show. The lawsuit comes on the heels of an Ohio Department of Health investigation into 26 confirmed cases of salmonella food poisoning. The investigation found that all of the patients ate at Casa Fiesta, 196 Milan Avenue, said Tim Hollinger, Huron County health commissioner. The restaurant voluntarily closed its doors last Thursday to have all of its food samples tested for the bacteria. The restaurant also underwent an extensive cleaning and threw away all of its supply, health officials said.
"We went back when they were done and re-inspected and they've done everything we asked," Hollinger said. Laboratory tests on the food samples came back negative Wednesday, health department officials said. None of the food samples tested were the source of the bacteria. Even though all 26 cases involved people who ate at the restaurant, health officials cannot say for sure where the bacteria originated. "If you ask the 26 what they ate, they all ate something different," Hollinger said. "It can be on ice, it can be in vegetables, it can be in meat. It can be anywhere." The lab tests on employees won't return until Friday at the earliest, health officials said. The civil suit contends that shortly after Dewitt ate at the Norwalk eatery on April 25, he grew terribly sick and required hospitalization. The premise of the legal action is that Dewitt had a loss of wages because of the poisoning. The suit also claims that Dewitt sustained bodily injury and permanent damage that will forever limit his earning capability. Managers at Casa Fiesta could not be reached for comment Wednesday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said about 40,000 cases of salmonellosis are reported each year. Symptoms of salmonella food poisoning include fever, dehydration, stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea. In a fraction of the cases, the infection spreads and can cause death. Usually, however, the infection's complications disappear within a week. Long-term effects do occur in a small number of the cases. A few of the afflicted develop lasting pain in their joints, irritated eyes and painful urination, the CDC reports. Called Reiter's syndrome, the condition can lead to life-long arthritis. The 26 cases under review by the health department all show the "classic symptoms," Hollinger said. None showed signs of developing into Reiter's. Even so, local news agencies report that other people who claim they were sickened by food at Casa Fiesta plan to sue. Dewitt's attorney, James Martin, could not be reached for comment.

What is the last recall you recall?
by Lisa Watson
May 07, 2008
Source of Article:
Quick: When was the last time federal officials issued a food recall?
Was it the record-breaking beef recall in February?
The cantaloupe recall in March?
What about the 24 recalls last month?
With 275 recalls by the FDA and USDA last year ? an average of five a week ? the tally increased for the first time since 2002, according to data provided by the agencies.
One reason all those recalls tend to fall off the public¡¯s radar is they aren¡¯t necessarily life threatening. The beef involved in that February recall that got so much attention ? and it was the largest beef recall in history ? probably wasn¡¯t even very harmful.
Recalls are divided into three categories, based on their severity. Since 2002, more than half the recalls made by the FDA have been Class I, which means the product could cause serious health problems or death.
But February¡¯s Hallmark/Westland recall, which involved 143 million pounds of beef, was actually a Class II recall. This means the company violated food safety rules, but there was only a remote possibility of associated illness.
¡°But the bottom line isn¡¯t product testing ? it¡¯s human illness, and the numbers rose in 2005, from a low in 2004, and higher yet in 2006,¡± said Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Richard Raymond at a public meeting last month. No significant improvement was made in 2007, according to a later report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
¡°We only have to look at the trends in illness and product testing to know it¡¯s time for bold steps to be taken,¡± Raymond said.
Of 21 recalls made by the USDA due to E. coli last year, 10 health threats were discovered through reports of illness, Raymond said. That¡¯s up from two in 2002.
For instance, a Wisconsin firm recalled nearly 100,000 pounds of ground beef last November when the Illinois Department of Public Health discovered the meat had caused two illnesses. In June, 14 illnesses in six states resulted in the recall of 5.7 million pounds of ground beef.
Salmonella is the most prevalent food borne illness, with nearly 15 of every 100,000 people affected last year, according to the CDC report. While that might not sound like a lot, it¡¯s more than twice the national goal for 2010.
An illness usually contracted through raw poultry, milk, eggs and beef, salmonella is killed by thorough cooking. The food becomes contaminated when it comes into contact with animal feces, but usually looks and smells normal, according to the CDC. Within 12 to 72 hours after eating infected food, a person may experience symptoms of severe stomach cramps, fever and diarrhea.
Other problem bacteria included the less well-known Campylobacter, Listeria, Shigella and Vibrio. The illnesses associated with these bacteria usually cause diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps and/or fever and sometimes lead to more serious illness. Infants, the elderly, pregnant women and those with immune system deficiencies are most susceptible to food borne illlnesses.
Campylobacter can cause illness in both animals and humans, and most often is transferred to humans from undercooked poultry. Listeria is carried by vegetables and animals, but is killed by cooking or pasteurization of milk. It is often associated with cold cuts and processed meats such as hot dogs, which are sold fully cooked but need to be boiled thoroughly to destroy listeria.
Vibrio is in the same family of germs that causes cholera, and is usually passed through raw seafood, particularly oysters.
Vegetables can become contaminated with Shigella if they are harvested from a field with sewage in it. Flies are common carriers of the disease, as are toddlers who are not fully toilet-trained, according to the CDC.
Since the February recall, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform¡¯s domestic policy panel has been meeting to determine if more openness is needed in the recall process. Prior to the recall, the USDA ? which monitors meat and poultry products ? undertook a survey of all ground beef production plants starting in November. The agency also created a more sensitive test for E. coli and has been holding public meetings to further discussion on food safety. The FDA, which oversees most food and drugs, started a new food protection plan last November to prevent contamination. Under the plan, the FDA will work to tighten corporate responsibilities, increase food screening and improve the response to safety problems. So how does a recall happen? Let¡¯s take the recent cantaloupe incident as an example. On March 22, the FDA issued an alert on cantaloupes from Agropecuaria Montelibano, a Honduran grower and packer, because they appeared to be behind a Salmonella outbreak that caused at least 50 illnesses. Within two weeks, all the companies who import from that grower had issued a voluntary recall. Meanwhile, grocery stores were also pulling the melons off the shelves. At Whole Foods, the corporate office checked inventory to see where their Honduran cantaloupes were grown, spokeswoman Kate Klotz said. They found the cantaloupes came from a different grower. Customers knew about the recall, however, and worried about the cantaloupes. ¡°We triple checked to make sure the product was safe,¡± Klotz said. Then the corporate office asked the stores to post signs explaining Whole Foods¡¯ cantaloupes hadn¡¯t been recalled. ¡°There¡¯s a lot of confusion when a product is recalled,¡± Klotz said. ¡°It¡¯s really a matter of how you communicate with your audience so they know it¡¯s not a product to worry about.¡± After the recall, the FDA conducted effectiveness checks to make sure everything possible was done to get contaminated food out of circulation. Although the problem remains unsolved, people are still out there buying food. Meanwhile, if your ground beef/ cantaloupe/ milk/ (insert everyday food item here) is recalled there are plenty of ways for you to hear about it.
The government alerts distributors and grocery stores of recalls, and for major recalls they notify the media as well. And if you¡¯re a real recall junkie, you can sign up for recall alerts from the FDA and USDA. I signed up a few months ago, and my inbox is never empty.

Essential Oils¡¯ Antimicrobial Efficacy Studied
Source of Article:
Researchers from the Dublin Institute of Technology recently studied the antimicrobial impact of several essential oils, in various combinations, to determine their potential effects on common foodborne pathogens. The results of this research were published in the May 10 edition of the International Journal of Food Microbiology. The essential oils studied were basil, lemon balm, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme. These were combined in various permutations to determine their impact on pathogens like Bacillus cereus, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The researchers also studied the effects of various concentrations of essential oils on E. coli.
Tests showed promising results for oregano in combination with basil, thyme or marjoram. The researchers note that ¡°all oregano combinations showed additive efficacy against B. cereus, and oregano combined with marjoram, thyme or basil also had an additive effect against E. coli and P. aeruginosa. Mixtures of marjoram or thyme, when combined with basil, rosemary or sage, also displayed additive effects against L. monocytogenes.
However, the researchers found that the actual degree of efficacy was dependant on the concentrations of various ingredients in the food system. For instance, they note that starch and oil concentrations of 5% and 10% had a negative impact on efficacy. On the other hand, the essential oils were more effective in the presence of high protein concentrations and at pH 5 (versus a higher, more alkaline pH of 6 or 7).
Overall, the Irish researchers concluded that combinations of essential oils ¡°could minimize application concentrations and consequently reduce any adverse sensory impact in food. However, their application for microbial control might be affected by food composition...¡± Therefore, they suggest that careful selection of essential oils ¡°appropriate to the sensory and compositional status of the food system is required.¡± They suggest that essential oils might prove most effective against foodborne pathogens ¡°when applied to ready-to-use foods containing a high protein level at acidic pH, as well as lower levels of fats or carbohydrates.¡±

Government asks court to block wider testing for mad cow By SAM HANANEL 1 hour ago
Source of Article:
WASHINGTON (AP) ? The Bush administration on Friday urged a federal appeals court to stop meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease, but a skeptical judge questioned whether the government has that authority. The government seeks to reverse a lower court ruling that allowed Arkansas City, Kan.-based Creekstone Farms Premium Beef to conduct more comprehensive testing to satisfy demand from overseas customers in Japan and elsewhere. Less than 1 percent of slaughtered cows are currently tested for the disease under Agriculture Department guidelines. The agency argues that more widespread testing does not guarantee food safety and could result in a false positive that scares consumers. "They want to create false assurances," Justice Department attorney Eric Flesig-Greene told a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
But Creekstone attorney Russell Frye contended the Agriculture Department's regulations covering the treatment of domestic animals contain no prohibition against an individual company testing for mad cow disease, since the test is conducted only after a cow is slaughtered. He said the agency has no authority to prevent companies from using the test to reassure customers.
"This is the government telling the consumers, `You're not entitled to this information,'" Frye said. Chief Judge David B. Sentelle seemed to agree with Creekstone's contention that the additional testing would not interfere with agency regulations governing the treatment of animals. "All they want to do is create information," Sentelle said, noting that it's up to consumers to decide how to interpret the information. Larger meatpackers have opposed Creekstone's push to allow wider testing out of fear that consumer pressure would force them to begin testing all animals too. Increased testing would raise the price of meat by a few cents per pound. Mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, can be fatal to humans who eat tainted beef. Three cases of mad cow disease have been discovered in the U.S. since 2003. The district court's ruling last year in favor of Creekstone was supposed to take effect June 1, 2007, but the Agriculture Department's appeal has delayed the testing so far.

Rumours suggest no need for nano regulations
By Laura Crowley Source of Article:
13-May-2008 - Forthcoming advice will be against establishing regulations specific to nanotechnology, suggest rumours circulating in the political press.
According to EurActiv, a commission official has said that a document due for publication this spring will argue that no new specific regulation is needed for nanotechnology as the related health and environmental risks are already covered by current EU legislation.
However, no one from the Commission could be reached to verify this statement.
Any such decision will depend on the European Food Safety Authority's (EFSA) risk assessment on nanotechnology, due for completion this summer. EFSA said it could not comment on what the probable outcome would be and whether this would lead to the decision that no specific regulation is necessary.
Another board specific to nanotechnology, the EU-funded observatoryNano project, was launched at the start of April to address a lack of objective information on nanotechnology available to decision-makers in governments, industry and investors.
It will present science-based and economic analysis to help aid developments in nanotechnology. A representative from the observatory also said the industry is awaiting an assessment report to see which direction nanotechnology regulation might take.
Nanotechnology uses tiny particles, measuring one billionth of a metre, for applications in areas such as food supplements and functional food ingredients as well as in food packaging. A human hair is 80,000 nanometres (nm) wide, a red blood cell 7,000 nm wide, and a water molecule 0.3 nm wide. Nanotechnology techniques include micro-encapsulation of antioxidants, minerals or fatty acids to increase body absorption of specific nutrients.
EU observatory
The project will examine data regarding scientific and technological trends and economic expectation, as well as assessing ethical and regulatory issues to provide an overview of all concerns surrounding nanotechnology.
It will liaise with a variety of international organisations, such as the European Patent Office and The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, as well as European Technology Platforms, and other relevant EU-funded projects.
The project said this will "ensure that effort is not duplicated and that resource sharing and output are maximised". One goal for the project is to establish a permanent European Observatory. Project co-ordinator, Mark Morrison, said: "At the same time, it will also review the objectives and governance of other similar projects and initiatives to advise its long-term strategy." The project is funded by the EU's Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7).The total budget amounts to ¢æ4m for four years, and brings together 16 project partners from 10 countries.
EFSA's assessment
EFSA began its risk assessment of nanotechnology in food applications last November.
The European Commission issued a mandate for a complete evaluation by 31 March but, because of the vast range of existing nanomaterials with differing properties and safety profiles, EFSA proposed to issue an initial scientific opinion by this summer.
It set up a working group of member state scientific experts to build on existing opinions of scientific advisory bodies and third countries.
Nanotechnology is not always popular with consumers, going against the increasing trend for natural clean-label products and the fear of artificial additives and modification. Also, very little is known about the health risks of nanotechnology.
Although the technology is still in its infancy, a recent survey carried out by 15 countries on the existing products made using nanotechnology determined there are 70 food related practical applications on the market.

Acrylamide linked to higher kidney cancer risk
By Stephen Daniells Source of Article:
12-May-2008 - Increased dietary intakes of acrylamide could raise the risk of kidney cancer by 59 per cent, says a new study from the Netherlands.
Five thousand women, aged between 55 and 69, took part in the research that is one of only a handful of studies showing significant increases in cancer risk, and highlighting the need for reformulation or process changes in the food industry to reduce the presence in food. However, no link between dietary acrylamide intakes and the risk of bladder or prostate cancer was reported by researchers from Maastricht University, the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, and TNO Quality of Life, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 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. Despite being a carcinogen in the laboratory, many epidemiological studies have reported that everyday exposure to acrylamide in food is too low to be of concern. The new study, led by Janneke Hogervorst, looked at a random sub-cohort of 5000 participants from the larger Netherlands Cohort Study. A food-frequency questionnaire completed at the start of the study was used to assess acrylamide intakes. Over the course of 13.3 years of follow-up Hogervorst and co-workers documented 339, 1210, and 2246 cases of renal cell, bladder, and prostate cancer, respectively. People with the highest average daily intakes of acrylamide (40.8 micrograms) were associated with a 59 per cent increased risk of developing renal cancer, compared to people with the lowest average daily intake (9.5 micrograms). No significant effects were observed for bladder or prostate cancer risk, respectively, although the data did indicate a potential increase in risk for advanced prostate cancer in people who had never smoked.
"We found some indications for a positive association between dietary acrylamide and renal cell cancer risk," concluded the researchers in the journal. More than 80 per cent of all kidney cancers are accounted for by renal cell carcinoma (RCC). According to the charity Cancer Research UK, kidney cancer is the tenth most common form of the disease, with a male:female incidence ratio of 5:3. In the UK alone, around 6,600 new cases of kidney cancer are diagnosed each year, and the disease results in around 3,600 deaths.
Age, sex, obesity, smoking and several genetic and medical conditions are believed to be risk factors, but epidemiological data to support the role of diet in kidney cancer aetiology have yielded mixed results.
Literature contradictions
Contradiction have been reported between observational studies and those of animal studies, where high acrylamide doses led to increased rates of cancer of the thyroid, testicles, breasts, and uterus, has been suggested to be due to excessive exposure of the animals to the chemical - the animal studies used does 1,000 to 100,000 times higher than what humans are exposed to, and the animal studies provided the acrylamide from water, unlike humans who obtain acrylamide from food sources. Scientists have also suggests that humans may effectively detoxify acrylamide when consumed at dietary levels. Despite the inconsistency in the literature, industry and universities are actively exploring effective ways of reducing the formation of acrylamide. Moreover, acrylamide-reducing ingredients are already commercially available.
Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
May 2008, Volume 87, Number 5, Pages 1428-1438
"Dietary acrylamide intake and the risk of renal cell, bladder, and prostate cancer"
Authors: J.G. Hogervorst, L.J. Schouten, E.J. Konings, R.A. Goldbohm, P.A. van den Brandt

Albuquerque New Mexico International House of Pancakes - IHop - Linked to Possible Hepatitis A Illnesses
Source of Article:
Posted on May 12, 2008 by Hepatitis A Lawyer
Since April of this year, the New Mexico Department of Health has been investigating two Albuquerque IHop restaurants after two food servers were diagnosed with hepatitis A. The servers at two separate International House of Pancakes ? IHop - restaurants in northeast Albuquerque have been diagnosed with hepatitis A, the department said Tuesday. One of the servers became sick on March 24, the other on April 19. Two other cases of hepatitis A have been linked to at least one of the servers, state health officials said.
The department is trying to identify people who might have been exposed to the disease so that they can be vaccinated or receive medication to prevent new cases. Health officials are urging anyone who ate at the restaurants between March 22 and April 21 and are now sick to contact their health care providers.
Symptoms of hepatitis A include fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, dark-colored urine and jaundice, which can turn skin yellow. The average time between exposure and symptoms is 28 to 30 days, with a range of 15 to 50 days.
I have had the honor to represent thousands of people in the following hepatitis A outbreaks:
* Carl¡¯s Jr. Hepatitis A Outbreak - Washington
* Chi-Chi¡¯s Hepatitis A Outbreak - Pennsylvania
* Chipotle Grill Hepatitis A - San Diego
* D¡¯Angelo¡¯s Deli Hepatitis A Outbreak - Massachusetts
* Friendly¡¯s Hepatitis A Exposure - Massachusetts
* Houlihan¡¯s Hepatitis A Exposure - Illinois
* Maple Lawn Dairy Hepatitis A Outbreak - New York
* McDonald¡¯s Hepatitis A Outbreak - Washington
* Quizno¡¯s Hepatitis A Exposure - Massachusetts
* Soleil Produce Hepatitis A Outbreak - California
* Subway Hepatitis A Outbreak - Washington
* Taco Bell Hepatitis A Outbreak - Florida

Princeton Salmonella Now Confirmed in 22
Date Published: Monday, May 12th, 2008
Source of Article:
The number of confirmed Salmonella poisoning cases at Princeton University has quadrupled in only a week. At least 22 people - including 20 students and two staff - have tested positive for the food borne illness. Health officials at the Ivy League school are trying to confirm if as many as 70 other cases of stomach ailments are related to the Princeton Salmonella outbreak.
The first case of Salmonella at Princeton was confirmed on April 29 through lab tests. The cases all appear to be the same strain of Salmonella, and officials are trying to pin down the origin of the outbreak. Investigators have taken and will continue to take stool samples from individuals reporting stomach problems. They are also interviewing victims to obtain their complete food histories. Results of lab tests are expected to start coming in soon.
The origin of the Princeton Salmonella outbreak has yet to be determined. Last week, a spokesperson for the University said that its food services department has sent 20 categories of food served on campus to labs for testing. At the same time, the University also closed some of its food stations at the Frist Campus Center, suspended services of a range of food that might be linked to Salmonella and changed some food vendors. This week, a salad bar and a Mexican food station at the center remain closed as a precaution.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Salmonella bacteria sicken 40,000 people every year. Although the true number could be much higher, because it is estimated that for every case of Salmonella poisoning reported, two others are unreported. Salmonella causes fever, abdominal pain, nausea, gas and bloody diarrhea. Symptoms appear within 36 hours of exposure, and usually last four to seven days. In very severe cases, Salmonella can lead to kidney failure and other complications. Salmonella can be particularly dangerous for children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems. In rare cases, Salmonella can cause a disease called Reiter¡¯s Syndrome, a difficult- to- treat condition that causes severe joint pain, irritation of the eyes, and painful urination.
Over the last year and half, hundreds of people were sickened by Salmonella-tainted Peter Pan Peanut Butter and Banquet Pot Pies sold by ConAgra foods. In the past couple of months, Malt-O-Meal Cereal has been blamed for 23 cases of Salmonella, while Honduran cantaloupe was recalled after in was linked to more than 50 cases of the disease. Smaller outbreaks of Salmonella are reported on a regular basis throughout the country.

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2008--The U.S. Department of Agriculture¡¯s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced a proposal to amend the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) regulations by adding minimum age requirements for the transport of all covered animals in commerce. The regulations currently contain such requirements only for dogs and cats, and not for other regulated animals such as nonhuman primates and marine mammals, among others.
Establishing minimum age requirements for the transport of all animals covered by the AWA helps to ensure their humane treatment. Under the proposed rule, animals would have to travel with their mother or be weaned and at least 8 weeks of age in order to be transported in commerce.
Unweaned animals and animals under the age of 8 weeks are generally not yet able to eat and drink independently of their mothers and have a need for frequent nourishment and water. For this reason, shipping young animals increases their risk of illness and death. This risk may be further increased if the animals are delayed during transport to their final destination.
The proposal provides an exception for transport to a licensed veterinarian for medical care when animals are less than 8 weeks of age and/or unweaned. The proposal also provides an exception for animals to be transported to registered research facilities for use in specific approved research protocols, provided a transportation plan is submitted and approved by the appropriate APHIS animal care regional office.
The AWA authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to set standards and regulations governing the humane handling, care, treatment and transportation of certain animals by dealers, research facilities, exhibitors, carriers and intermediate handlers.
Notice of the proposed rule is published in the May 9 Federal Register.
Consideration will be given to comments received on or before July 8. Send two copies of postal mail or commercial delivery comments to Docket No. APHIS-2006-0024, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, Md. 20737-1238. If you wish to submit a comment using the Internet, go to the Federal eRulemaking portal at; then click on ¡°Add Comments.¡± This will also allow you to view public comments and related materials available electronically.
Comments are posted on the Web site and may also be viewed at USDA, Room 1141, South Building, 14th St. and Independence Ave., SW., Washington, D.C., between 8 a.m. and 4:40 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. To facilitate entry into the comment reading room, please call (202) 690-2817.

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