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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
¡°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’
05/13. EFSA assesses turkey meat
05/13. Expansion of FDA Oversight
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
05/12. 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
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
HSUS shoots video of downed cattle at auction houses
UBC mad cow research
projects awarded $1.3 million
What is the last
recall you recall?
Helps Companies Achieve New and Emerging Foo
UAE: 30 food safety
violations in April
containers with BPA are safe to use
Safety Rules May Do More Harm Than Good
Women sue Wendy's
for E. coli poisoning in 2006
China, Japan to continue probe into dumpl
cafeterias get flunking grade
sued over illness
UK E-coli butcher
allowed to sell food for years before clos
videos downer cows at auctions to point out f
releases new video of mistreated livestock
on Humane Society Undercover Video of Livesto
05/07. FSA News supplement on
the Meat Hygiene Service
FDA looks to improve
safety with 1,300 new staff
South Korea issuing
mixed messages about U.S. beef
South Korea to
begin U.S. slaughterhouse inspections
Hope for peanut
New Weapon in Cancer
Fight: Blue, Red Peanut Butter?
Sick Days Benefit
Workshop to Focus
on Food Safety Standards
Time to fix our
food labelling fiasco
U.S. Stresses to
Korea Safety of American Beef05/07. Brussels delays
decision on GMO crops
Poisoning: Stern action against school manage
oils could be anti-fungal additives for foo
found in breast milk, says study
Two E. coli Lawsuits
Filed Against Wendy's in Utah
Hepatitis A Lawsuit
Filed Against La Mesa Chipotle Mexican G
Hampers an E. coli Weapon
Where the Wild
Microbes Are: A New Theory on How Pathogens S
find first known E. coli in fish
Bid to calm food
EU food safety
body takes new look at baby bottle chemical
IFST updated Information
Statement on Verocytotoxin-producin
Outbreak Currnet News
05/13. Int'l House of Pancakes
Linked to Possible Hepatitis A Illne
05/13. Australia: Alert as stomach
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
outbreak linked to Moscone Center
05/09. 22 salmonella cases reported at Princeton
05/08. Kent Chipotle illnesses said to be the result
05/08. Norovirus Symptoms Appear In School
05/08. 17 cases of salmonella now reported at Princeton
05/08. Salmonella Confirmed in 16 at Princeton University,
05/08. Mongolia: Poisoned Wedding Reception Kills
One, Hundreds Hos
05/07. Salmonella Plague at Princeton
05/07. Chipotle Hepatitis A Outbreak Hits 21 in La
05/07. 17 cases of salmonella now reported at Princeton
05/06. Two Hospitalized After NZ Cafe Serves Dishwashing
05/06. 10 cases of salmonella now reported at Princeton
05/06. Vietnam: Food poisoning hits workers in Son
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
420 Delaware Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455 Source of Article: http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/87/5/1542
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.
Safety Rules May Do More Harm Than Good
By Jason Mark, Earth Island Journal. Posted May 7, 2008.
Source of Article: http://www.alternet.org/environment/81786/?page=entire
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
to improve safety with 1,300 new staff
By Clarisse Douaud Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/
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
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
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
"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
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
a dirty, dirty business," Marler said.
Posted on May 10, 2008 by Food Poisoning Attorney
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
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: http://www.sanduskyregister.com/
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
"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: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=87153
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
¡°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
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
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.
Oils¡¯ Antimicrobial Efficacy Studied
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductdesign.com/
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.¡±
asks court to block wider testing for mad cow By SAM HANANEL
1 hour ago
Source of Article: http://ap.google.com/
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.
no need for nano regulations
By Laura Crowley Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/
13-May-2008 - Forthcoming advice will be against establishing regulations
specific to nanotechnology, suggest rumours circulating in the political
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
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.
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
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
EFSA began its risk assessment of nanotechnology in food applications
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.
linked to higher kidney cancer risk
By Stephen Daniells Source of Article: http://www.nutraingredients.com/
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.
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
Authors: J.G. Hogervorst, L.J. Schouten, E.J. Konings, R.A. Goldbohm,
P.A. van den Brandt
New Mexico International House of Pancakes - IHop - Linked to Possible
Hepatitis A Illnesses
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
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
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
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
Salmonella Now Confirmed in 22
Date Published: Monday, May 12th, 2008
Source of Article: http://www.newsinferno.com/archives/3073
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
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.
TO AMEND ANIMAL TRANSPORT REGULATIONS TO INCLUDE MINIMUM AGE REQUIREMENTS
FOR ALL COVERED ANIMALS
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
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 http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2006-2004;
then click on ¡°Add Comments.¡± This will also allow you to view public
comments and related materials available electronically.
Comments are posted on the Regulations.gov 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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