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Journal of Food Safety
Safety and Quality Conference
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Conference Place: The South San Francisco Conference Center
8:00 - 8:30 Registration and Breakfast (Juice, Tea, Coffee, and Bread)
8:40 - 9:00 Opening Announcement
9:00 - 10:00 Detection of Foodborne Pathogens for Food Safety
Daniel Y.C. Fung -Director of Rapid Methods and Automation
in Microbiology Workshop (KSU)
-Professor, Dept. Animal Science and Industries, Kansas State University
- 11:00 Current Foodborne Outbreak and Iegal Issues
William D. Marler, Esq. -MarlerClark
attorneys at Law
- 11:20 Coffee Break in Exhibitors' Section (Salon G,H,I,J)
11:20 - 12:20 - Industrial Actions for Food Safety and Quality
Stan Bailey, Microbiologist, bioMerieux (2008 IAFP President)
12:20 - 1:30 Lunch will be supported by conference organization
1:30 - 2:30 Food Safety and Quality Challenges of food products
Erdogan Ceylan - Director of Research. Silliker, Inc.
2:30 - 3:30: - Foodborne Outbreaks and Food Industries' Actions
Jenny Scott - IAFP President (2000-2001) - VP-FPA
3:30 - 3:50: Coffee Break in Exibitors' Section (Salon G,H,I,J)
3:50 - 5:00: Wine and Cheese Reception Visting Exhibitors' Sections
Sponsored by Bio-Rad (Wendy Lauer)
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Conference place: The South San Francisco Conference Center (Salon F-J)
8:00 - 9:00 Registration and Breakfast (Juice, Tea, Coffee, and Bread)
9:00 - 10:00: Special Presentation for Ethnic Food Safety
Daniel Y.C. Fung -Director of Rapid Methods and Automation
in Microbiology Workshop (KSU)
-Professor, Dept. Animal Science and Industries, Kansas State University
10:00 - 11:00:Extending food safety throughout the supply chain
Craig Henry - Senior VP. GMA/FPA
11:00 - 11:20 Coffee Break in Exhibitors' Section (Salon G,H,I,J)
11:20 - 12:20 Pathogenesis of E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, and Listeria
Dong-Hyun Kang, - Associate Professor, Washington State University
Director of Detection Center, National Alliance Food Safety and Security
12:20 - 1:20 Lunch will be supported by Conference organization.
1:20 - 2:10 - Rapid detection methods for food safety and quality
Ken Davenport - Global Technical Services Product Specialist -3M
2:10 - 3:00 - The Changing Food Safety Landscape: Protecting Our Products
and Consumers in a Global Society, Paul Hall, - IAFP President (2004-2005)
3:00 - 3:45 Major Spoilage bacteria in Fruit and vegetable juices- Alicyclobacillus,
SuSen Chang - Research Associate, Washington State University
3:45 - 4:00 Coffee Break in Exhibitors' Section (Salon G,H,I,J)
4:00 - 5:00 Panel Discussion: Food Industries' Actions for Food Safety
PANELS: ALL KEYNOTE AND KEY SPEAKERS
Dicussion leader : Stan Bailey
5:00 Certificate and Adjourn
here to see conference program
E coli Outbreak Sickens Nearly 300
Date Published: Tuesday, September 16th, 2008
Source of Article: http://www.newsinferno.com/archives/3836
The number of people involved in a restaurant-related outbreak of an uncommon
strain of E. coli has risen to nearly 300. To date, there have been 291
cases of E. coli reported?227 adults and 36 children?with 67 who were
hospitalized and 18 cases not yet identified. Sixteen of those hospitalized
received kidney dialysis treatment and one man, 26-year-old Chad Engle?has
died. Nine of the patients on dialysis were children.
Escheria coli has
been blamed for the outbreaks. Some strains of E. coli, including those
linked to food poisoning, such as E coli O157:H7, are very serious and
can sometimes cause death. In food poisoning outbreaks involving E. coli,
the deadly strain O157:H7 is generally always the culprit. While some
strains of E. coli are necessary for digestion, some are harmful, even
fatal, such as the very rare and toxin-producing strain E. coli O111 that
is the culprit in this outbreak. Both strains are among those E. coli
that may cause serious disease and death and are in a group called Verocytotoxigenic
E. coli (VTEC) and can cause fatal blood poisoning, cystitis, deadly septicemia,
and death. In the US, E. coli is the leading cause of food-borne illness,
accounting for about 73,000 infections and 61 deaths; last year, over
22 million pounds of beef and vegetables were recalled due to E. coli
outbreaks. Oklahoma officials have said they believe the current outbreak
is the largest involving strain E. coli O111 ever reported in United States
Most of those who
fell ill from the rare E. coli strain ate at the Country Cottage restaurant
in Locust Grove between August 15 and 17, according to the Oklahoma State
Health Department (OSHD); however, a specific food source for the outbreak
has not yet been identified, despite a massive interview undertaking that
has involved over 1,700 people Right now, health officials are investigating
a church event that was catered by the Country Cottage restaurant on August
16. At least 30 of the 250 people who attended the event at the Bethany
Free Will Baptist Church in Broken Arrow reported falling ill with diarrhea
and other symptoms. That portion of the investigation included the Tulsa
Health Department and a team from the Centers for Disease Control and
Cottage, which is a buffet-style restaurant in business for over 22 years,
has had 88 health department violations since 2004. The violations range
from improper food storage to improper food temperatures. Cross contamination
violations occurred in 2005 and 2006, according to health department reports.
This type of contamination can take place when, for instance, a meat product
is placed near a product such as eggs. Cross contamination was originally
suspected in the oubreak; however, an OSDH official said last week that
because investigators had not identified a specific food source, they
believe that a staff member who handled many foods at the restaurant might
have been infected and spread the contamination. The department said it
did not plan to interview any more customers of the restaurant after September
coli Outbreak Emerging at Michigan State University
Tuesday, September 16th, 2008
Source of Article: http://www.newsinferno.com/archives/3835
Ingham County Health Department is investigating an emerging E. coli bacteria
outbreak at the Michigan State University after 10 students were treated
this weekend with severe gastrointestinal illness that appeared to be
E. coli poisoning. Seven remained hospitalized as of yesterday; spokesman
John Lux said all of those who fell ill are responding well to treatment
and their conditions are ¡°favorable for their recovery.¡±
Investigators are trying to determine where and when the students ate
based on swipes of their college ID cards in campus cafeterias and eateries.
The information on these activities is expected back today and is hoped
to help locate if bacteria in the food supply there may still be a threat.
¡°We are trying to get a grasp on how big this (outbreak) is,¡± said Dr.
Dean G. Sienko, Ingham County Health Department officer. This is the first
such food-borne outbreak Sienko remembers that involves a health department
investigation at MSU in the past two decades, he said. The investigation
is in its early stages as investigators continue to work to determine
the scope and cause of the sickness and the specific E. coli strain. Sienko
believes that since the last reported case of onset occurred on Friday,
the outbreak may have fully run is course, but because many who fall ill
with food-borne illnesses do not ever seek care, many others may have
also been contaminated.
E. coli are a group of bacteria found in animal intestines and feces.
Some strains of Escherichia coli are necessary for digestion; some are
harmful, even deadly, such as the very rare and toxin-producing strain
E. coli O111 that is the culprit in the ongoing Oklahoma outbreak. Also,
of particular concern is the virulent, sometimes deadly E. coli O157:H7
stain that is generally found to be the culprit in E. coli-related food-borne
illness outbreaks. Both strains are among those E. coli that may cause
serious disease and death and are in a group called Verocytotoxigenic
E. coli (VTEC) and are linked to food poisoning and are very serious and
can cause fatal blood poisoning, cystitis, deadly septicemia, and death.
In the US, E. coli is the leading cause of food-borne illness, accounting
for about 73,000 infections and 61 deaths; last year, over 22 million
pounds of beef and vegetables were recalled due to E. coli outbreaks.
Scientists are concerned infections from antibiotic resistant E. coli
bacteria are spreading into the greater population and several countries
are now reporting such cases. Researchers compare this to the worldwide
problem of community-acquired MRSA?methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus
aureus?an antibiotic-resistant staph developing resistance to the last
drug of choice. In addition, emerging data confirms that E. coli¡¯s negative
health effects can remain for months and years and that these illnesses
can have long-term, lasting effects that can either linger for months
or years or can show up months or years after the original illness was
seemingly resolved with problems emerging as late as 10 to 20 years later
in the form of kidney problems, high blood pressure, and kidney failure.
Outbreaks still a Risk in Leafy Greens
on September 12, 2008 by Food Poisoning Attorney
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
I spent the day is a well-run, informative, conference sponsored by Fresh
Express (never sued them). The science was interesting and well presented.
The bottom line however is there is far more research needed and the risks
to consumers are still quite real in the consumption of ¡°ready-to-eat¡±
products. Here are some of the highlights from the scientists:
1. Contamination can spread during washing, cutting in the fields and
the tumble drying of greens
2. Chlorinated water alone isn't enough to kill the pathogens.
3. Some varieties of spinach with textured leaves have greater potential
for harboring pathogens than smooth-leaf varieties.
4. E. coli can paralyze pore closures (somata) on spinach leaves and allow
bacteria into the plant.
5. Compost used inorganic operations can retain traces of live E. coli
cells that can reconstitute under the right conditions.
6. Spinach and lettuce harvested on hotter days are more likely to create
an environment for pathogen growth.
7. Lower product temperature, especially during transportation, lowers
risk of bacterial growth.
8. Flies or other insects can excrete bacteria in their fecal droplets.
9. It seems apparent that the E. coli bacteria is not absorbed by the
roots into the plant structure.
OK, not much good news here. The only two areas that seemed hopeful was
that some research on E. coli transmission found ozone gas is faster and
more effective than chlorinated water at sanitizing leafy greens. And,
although not mentioned until the last hour, irradiation of leafy greens
can make food safer.
Bottom line ? more work to do.
Food Safety Measures Needed For Imported Produce
Posted on: Monday, 15 September 2008, 09:05 CDT
Source of Article: http://www.redorbit.com/
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suspects a packing plant in
northern Mexico, along with its warehouse in McAllen, Texas, are the sources
of the largest U.S. outbreak of food borne illness during the last ten
years. The outbreak infected more than 1,440 people with a rare form of
The packing plant sits at the end of a dirt road, where the conveyer belts
that process hundreds of tons of vegetables each year for Mexican and
U.S. markets are openly exposed to the elements, sheltered only by a corrugated
An Associated Press report said the plant¡¯s manager confirmed that workers
handling chili peppers are not required to separate the vegetables according
to the sanitary conditions in which they were grown. This might explain
how such a large outbreak was caused by such a rare strain of salmonella.
The AP probe discovered that while some Mexican producers operate under
stringent sanitary conditions, many others do not, but export their produce
to the United States nonetheless.
Neither the Mexican or U.S. governments impose safety requirements on
farms and processing plants. In fact, Mexican companies need only register
online to be able to sell their produce in the United States. Some Mexican
farms and processing plants have set high sanitation standards, certified
by private companies, so they can sell to U.S. supermarket chains that
wouldn't purchase produce from uncertified ones.
However, there is no public record of those chains that mandate these
sanitary practices, therefore there is no way to know whether the produce
in a particular store is certified.
The entire U.S. government enforcement is comprised of 625 FDA inspectors
who conduct spot checks of U.S. and foreign produce. However, less than
1 percent of total imports are inspected, and anything beyond that is
left entirely to the supermarkets and restaurants.
The top Mexican farmers grow crops in fenced-off fields, using fresh water
irrigation and packing their produce in spotless plants with workers dressed
in protective gear. However, plenty of farms remain where unfenced fields
allow animals to roam freely and which use untreated water, sometimes
laced with sewage.
Salmonella can exist on the skin of produce, or can penetrate the inside
of fruits and vegetables. And while cooking will kill the bacteria, washing
raw produce doesn't always eliminate it. For this reason, safety experts
emphasize the importance of preventing such contamination in the first
Agricola Zaragoza is one of Mexico¡¯s uncertified plants, manager Emilio
Garcia told the AP. It washes produce from both certified and uncertified
producers, opening up the possibility for contamination, he said, while
declining to provide details about his suppliers.
The FDA suspects Serrano chilies and Mexican jalapeno processed at Agricola
Zaragoza are responsible for the latest outbreak, but it also believes
tomatoes may have been involved. It admits the true source may never be
Cesar Fragoso, president of Mexico's Chili Peppers Growers Association,
told the AP most Mexican pepper farms market their produce to distributors
without knowing their final destination. For that reason, he said, few
go through the process of obtaining certification.
In addition, significant amounts of produce pass from distributor to distributor
on its way to a final destination, something that increases the potential
for contamination. These multi-step transit routes also make tracing outbreaks
much more difficult. In fact, just 10 percent of outbreaks are ever completely
resolved, said former FDA official William Hubbard.
"It is very common for distributors to receive products from numerous
sources, numerous farms and in some cases multiple countries," Hubbard
told the AP.
"That's just the way produce moves."
In the latest salmonella case, the U.S. federal government traced the
suspect jalapenos to two farms in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. Both
farms shipped through Agricola Zaragoza in nearby Nuevo Leon state, which
then shipped the peppers to its warehouse in McAllen, Texas, where the
FDA discovered the first contaminated jalapeno pepper.
Though typically not as large-scale, salmonella and other outbreaks are
fairly common, with more than 3,000 occurring between 1990 and 2006 from
foods regulated by the FDA, according to data from the Center for Science
in the Public Interest. These figures include fruits, vegetables and seafood,
and contamination within the U.S. and overseas.
Among the cases is a 2004 hepatitis outbreak, linked to Mexican-grown
green onions, that resulted in the deaths of four people and that sickened
650 in Pennsylvania. A nationwide E. coli outbreak in 2006, traced to
tainted spinach from California, infected roughly 300 people, killing
The Senate is looking at a bill that would require the FDA to set regulations
for guaranteeing safer fresh produce. In Mexico, a federal produce safety
law was passed in 1994, but experts say it is rarely enforced.
U.S. Produce Marketing Associations vice president Kathy Means told the
AP that food safety falls to the food industry, with a majority of major
produce buyers requiring both U.S. and foreign producers to conduct third-party
audits. But not all buyers follow the same rules, she said.
"It's not government-regulated, so it's up to the company to require
Alfonso Alvarez's fenced-off 15-acre farm in Jalisco state contains tomatoes
that are grown in greenhouses and irrigated with deep well water. Workers
wear protective hair nets, aprons and gloves, and signs can be seen throughout
the facility reminding workers to wash their hands after going to the
Alvarez sells its crop to a Canadian company, which then imports to the
U.S. and Canada. Alvarez has required his farm to be certified by a private
"Those of us who want to enter the U.S. market and position our brand
know we must meet all those standards, because we also know it will be
a profitable business in the long run," he told the AP.
"Those who grow in open fields will ruin it for those who produce
in greenhouses," he said, "and that's not fair."
He and other Mexican farmers with sanitary farms want the U.S. to establish
a certification program for both growers and packing plants.
link to mad cow found
BY RICK PLUMLEE
The Wichita Eagle
Posted on Sat, Sep. 13, 2008
Source of Article: http://www.kansas.com/business/agriculture/story/528309.html
Researchers have discovered that genetic mutation may sometimes cause
mad cow disease, raising hopes that breeders will be able to use the information
to eliminate one avenue for the disease.
The findings were announced Friday by Kansas State University, where one
of the researchers, Juergen Richt, joined its veterinary medicine faculty
"We now know (mad cow disease is) also in the genes of cattle,"
Richt said. "Genetic BSE we can combat."
Until several years ago, Richt said it was thought that mad cow disease
-- bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE -- was strictly a foodborne
disease. But the new findings show the disease is also caused by a genetic
mutation within the prion protein gene.
"Our findings that there is a genetic component to BSE are significant,"
Richt said, "because they tell you we can have this disease everywhere
in the world, even in so-called BSE-free countries."
But the real upside of having this knowledge is that it offers ways of
stamping out the disease through selective breeding and culling of genetically
affected animals, Richt added.
George Teagarden, livestock commissioner for the state of Kansas, welcomed
"This could be a real boom," he said in Hutchinson, where he
was attending the State Fair. "We could breed our way out of it.
"I don't know what the genetic tests are, the costs and what all
that entails. But we're making progress in understanding the disease,
and that's good."
Richt worked on the research in 2006 with Mark Hall in Ames, Iowa, where
Hall is with the National Veterinary Services Laboratories. Richt worked
at the time for the USDA's National Animal Disease Center.
An article on the research was published online Friday by PLoS Pathogens,
a peer-reviewed journal published by the Public Library of Science.
The research came from studies done on a 10-year-old cow from Alabama.
BSE is a fatal disease that affects mostly older animals and is rarely
seen in animals younger than 24 months.
plastics chemical linked to human diseases
Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:52am EDT
By Michael Kahn
Source of Article: http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSLF18683220080916?sp=true
LONDON (Reuters) - A study has for the first time linked a common chemical
used in everyday products such as plastic drink containers and baby bottles
to health problems, specifically heart disease and diabetes.
Until now, environmental and consumer activists who have questioned the
safety of bisphenol A, or BPA, have relied on studies showing harm from
exposure in laboratory animals.
But British researchers, who published their findings on Tuesday in the
Journal of the American Medical Association, analyzed urine and blood
samples from 1,455 U.S. adults aged 18 to 74 who were representative of
the general population.
Using government health data, they found that the 25 percent of people
with the highest levels of bisphenol A in their bodies were more than
twice as likely to have heart disease and, or diabetes compared to the
25 percent of with the lowest levels.
"Most of these findings are in keeping with what has been found in
animal models," Iain Lang, a researcher at the University of Exeter
in Britain who worked on the study, told a news conference.
"This is the first ever study (of this kind) that has been in the
general population," Lang said.
Steven Hentges of the American Chemistry Council, a chemical industry
group, said the design of the study did not allow for anyone to conclude
BPA causes heart disease and diabetes.
"At least from this study, we cannot draw any conclusion that bisphenol
A causes any health effect. As noted by the authors, further research
will be needed to understand whether these statistical associations have
any relevance at all for human health," Hentges said in a telephone
A U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel of outside experts on Tuesday
will hear testimony on health effects from BPA as it reviews a draft report
it issued last month calling BPA safe.
"The study, while preliminary with regard to these diseases in humans,
should spur U.S. regulatory agencies to follow recent action taken by
Canadian regulatory agencies, which have declared BPA a 'toxic chemical'
requiring aggressive action to limit human and environmental exposures,"
Frederick vom Saal of the University of Missouri and John Peterson Myers
of the nonprofit U.S.-based Environmental Health Sciences, wrote in a
commentary accompanying the study.
BOTTLES TO UTENSILS
BPA is used to make polycarbonate plastic, a clear shatter-resistant material
in products ranging from baby and water bottles to plastic eating utensils
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
and in dental fillings.People can consume BPA when it leaches out of plastic
into liquid such as baby formula, water or food inside a container.
In the study, the team said the chemical is present in more than 90 percent
of people, suggesting there is not much that can be done to avoid the
chemical of which over 2.2 million tons is produced each year.The researchers,
who will also present their findings at the U.S. FDA session on Tuesday,
added it was too early to identify a mechanism through which the chemical
may be doing harm.Animal studies have suggested the chemical may disrupt
hormones, especially estrogen.The researchers also cautioned that these
findings are just the first step and more work is needed to determine
if the chemical actually is a direct cause of disease."Bisphenol
A is one of the world's most widely produced and used chemicals, and one
of the problems until now is we don't know what has been happening in
the general population," said Tamara Galloway, a University of Exeter
researcher who worked on the study.Canada's government in April decided
BPA was harmful to infants and toddlers and announced plans to ban some
products.The European Union's top food safety body said in July the amount
of BPA found in baby bottles cannot harm human health.
(Reporting by Michael Kahn, Editing by Will Dunham)
lettuce roots probably don't absorb E. coli
The Associated Press
Article Launched: 09/11/2008 09:44:57 AM PDT
Source of Article: http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_10437232
MONTEREY, Calif.?Researchers say lettuce and other leafy greens do not
seem to absorb a deadly E. coli pathogen through water applied to the
Scientists are releasing results of the first major study on E. coli transmission
since the 2006 spinach outbreak that killed three people and sickened
Michael Doyle of the University of Georgia told 300 lettuce industry executives
Thursday that absorption "may not be a big issue." Others scheduled
to speak in Monterey will address potential contamination during processing
of bagged salad mix.
Officials of industry leader Chiquita Fresh Express say they paid $2 million
to nine research teams to protect the $2.8 billion industry from another
infection of three residents could be from bad milk
Gibbons, Special to The Mercury
09/16/2008 Source of Article: http://www.pottsmerc.com/
NORRISTOWN ? Three Montgomery County residents have been stricken with
a bacteria infection that may be linked to raw milk produced and sold
at a Bucks County farm, according to health officials.
Acting on the recommendation of the state Department of Agriculture, the
Hendricks Farm and Dairy of Telford has voluntarily suspended the sale
of raw milk until laboratory results of milk samples gathered last week
are complete, according to state agriculture press secretary Chris Ryder.
The completed test results should be available later today, Ryder said.
The farm issued a statement on its Web site that said, "HF &
D is very concerned by the health issues some families have suffered from
"We are willingly complying with the commonwealth's recommended temporary
discontinuation of fluid raw milk sales. We continue to comply with all
regulations and guidelines and we remain optimistic that we will be exonerated
when the test results become available Tuesday. At this time, there is
no conclusive evidence. Our track record and history consist of stellar
test results and we have never had a positive pathogen test in our 7-year
Tests performed last
week by the company's normal laboratory did not indicate any problems,
according to the Web site.
The farm sells some 600 gallons of raw, unpasteurized milk a week to more
than 300 families, according to the Web site.
Montgomery County health officials Friday reported that two residents
were diagnosed with campylobacteriosis linked to raw milk produced at
Another case was confirmed Monday, according to county health department
spokesman Harriet Morton.
The residents, from the Harleysville, Pennsburg and Huntingdon Valley
areas, are among seven cases reported statewide and one from a neighboring
state in the outbreak, she said. The one common source in all of the cases
is raw milk purchased at the Hendricks Farm and Dairy, Morton added.Campylobacter
bacteria can be found in raw or undercooked fruits, vegetables, poultry
and meat, unprocessed water and unpasteurized dairy products. The bacteria
can also be contracted through direct contact with animals including cattle,
dogs and cats, poultry, rodents and birds.
To date, there have been 66 cases of campylobacteriosis reported this
year in the county. There were 91 cases in 2007. The county averages between
80 and 90 cases a year.
What makes this cluster different from the other cases is that they appear
to stem from one cause while most other cases are unrelated, according
Symptoms of the bacterial infection include diarrhea that is often bloody,
abdominal pain, weakness, fever, nausea and vomiting, said Morton.
Onset of the infection occurs two to five days after exposure and the
symptoms usually continue for up to one week. Prolonged illness and relapses
may occur in adults although most persons infected with the bacteria recover
without any specific treatment, according to Morton.Persons wanting more
information about campylobacter infections can contact the county health
department at 610-278-5117 or go to the federal Centers for Disease Control's
Web site at www.cdc.gov.
Health Information Advisory on Infant Formula
source from FDA
In response to reports of contaminated milk-based infant formula manufactured
in China, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today is issuing
a Health Information Advisory. This is to assure the American public that
there is no known threat of contamination in infant formula manufactured
by companies that have met the requirements to sell infant formula in
the United States. Although no Chinese manufacturers of infant formula
have fulfilled the requirements to sell infant formula in the United States,
FDA officials are investigating whether or not infant formula manufactured
in China is being sold in specialty markets which serve the Asian community.
The FDA is advising caregivers not to feed infant formula manufactured
in China to infants. This should be replaced with an appropriate infant
formula manufactured in the United States as mentioned below. Individuals
should contact their health care professional if they have questions regarding
their infant¡¯s health or if they note changes in their infant¡¯s health
The FDA began investigating the reports of contamination immediately and
received information from the companies who manufacture infant formula
for the American market that they are not importing infant formula or
source materials from China. The following manufacturers have met the
necessary FDA requirements for marketing milk-based infant formulas in
the United States: Abbott Nutritionals, Mead Johnson Nutritionals, Nestle
USA, PBM Nutritionals, and Solus Products LLC. Also, one manufacturer,
SHS/Nutricia, Liverpool, England, markets an amino acid based exempt infant
formula that does not contain any milk-derived ingredients.
We are asking state officials to work with the Agency to assist with the
removal of any Chinese infant formula found on store shelves, and to warn
members of the Asian community to avoid using Chinese manufactured infant
It has been reported that a number of infants in China who have consumed
Chinese manufactured infant formula are suffering from kidney stones,
a condition which is rare in infants. The Chinese manufactured infant
formula may be contaminated with melamine. Melamine artificially increases
the protein profile of milk and can causes kidney diseases such as those
seen in these Chinese infants.
FDA requires that all infant formula manufacturers register with the Agency
and adhere to specific labeling and nutritional requirements. All properly
registered infant formula manufacturers marketing infant formula in the
United States undergo an annual inspection of their production facilities.
Ranks Growing Of People Left Debilitated By What They Ate
By ANNYS SHIN | Washington Post
September 15, 2008
Source of Article: http://www.courant.com/
In the past five years, Sarah Pierce has suffered repeated kidney failure,
spent three years on dialysis, had the plasma in her blood replaced twice
and lost a fiance, friends and a job, all because of something she ate.
Pierce, now 30, was infected with a toxic strain of bacteria, E. coli
O157:H7, that can be spread through undercooked meat or raw produce. Today,
she has a healthy kidney donated by her brother, a full-time job and a
husband. But the medicines she takes to keep her body from rejecting her
replacement kidney carry a high risk of causing birth defects, so she
has ruled out pregnancy.
"I would have liked to have had children," she said.
Pierce belongs to a small subset of people who develop long-term health
problems from food poisoning. Their ranks are growing. Over the past decade,
as medical experts have sought out the source of certain chronic illnesses,
they have increasingly found links to episodes of food poisoning, sometimes
many years beforehand, according to the Centers for Disease Control and
Campylobacter, a bacterium associated with raw chicken, is now recognized
as a leading cause of the sudden acute paralysis known as Guillain-Barre
syndrome. Certain strains of salmonella, the bacterium involved in the
recent outbreak traced to Mexican raw jalapeno and serrano peppers, can
cause arthritis. And E. coli O157:H7, a strain of an otherwise harmless
bacterium that lives in animal intestines, can release toxins that cause
hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, a kidney disorder that in 25 percent
to 50 percent of cases leads to kidney failure, high blood pressure and
other problems as much as 10 years later.
This list is just the beginning of the many health problems some people
now attribute to food-borne infections.
"What the classical medical literature says and what we've seen is
not the same," said Donna Rosenbaum, executive director of Safe Tables
Our Priority, or STOP, a nonprofit that represents people who have suffered
serious food-borne illness.
The CDC estimates there are 76 million cases of food-borne disease in
the United States annually. Most people experience it only as an unpleasant
bout of diarrhea or abdominal pain, though an estimated 5,000 to 9,000
Americans die each year from food poisoning. A handful of pathogens are
responsible for more than 90 percent of those fatalities: salmonella,
listeria, toxoplasma, noroviruses, campylobacter and E. coli. Those most
susceptible to infection are small children, the elderly and people with
compromised immune systems.
Until recently, doctors were focused on the acute phase of food-borne
infections. However, long-term health effects of food-borne infections
are hard to study. It is tough to prove a link between some of these illnesses
and later chronic conditions such as arthritis. To get around the last
of these problems, STOP is setting up a national registry of victims of
food-borne disease who would be willing to participate in longitudinal
studies. The registry could help researchers determine, for instance,
how frequently food-borne infection leads to chronic health problems and
what role factors such as genetics play in who develops them.
Chinese partner moves to ensure food safety(New Zealand Press
Association New Zealand)
Babies in China have been hospitalised with kidney stones after drinking
a formula allegedly made by Sanlu Group, 43 percent owned by Fonterra.
Fonterra said the Shijiazhuang Sanlu Group dairy company is moving to
ensure the Chinese company's products are safe.
In China, the provincial public health bureau is investigating possible
connections between Sanlu milk powder and the kidney stones.
But Sanlu has said the milk powder may have been a counterfeit of its
product, Xinhua newsagency reported today.
The China Daily newspaper noted that in 2004, 13 infants in Anhui province
died of malnutrition and 171 others were hospitalised after consuming
substandard milk powder, falsely labelled as being made by Sanlu.
A Fonterra spokesman said today the co-operative had seen media reports
on potential links between milk powder and kidney stones in China.
"Sanlu is in active dialogue in China with relevant authorities to
get to the bottom of these issues," the company said.
"Sanlu has also advised us that they are taking all appropriate measures
to ensure their products are safe for consumers."
Sanlu had previously used milk of Chinese origin and milk powder from
various parts of the world, but not from New Zealand.
"Very recently it has purchased New Zealand milk powder from Fonterra
but we are 100 percent confident that there are no quality issues with
that Fonterra milk powder," the company said.
Fonterra last year set up a model dairy farm with 3000 cows to supply
Sanlu, but said today it was confident that "all milk coming out
of Fonterra's farm is safe".
Asked what concern it had that its staff or workers for Sanlu might be
prosecuted for any perceived role in the latest food safety scandal, Fonterra
said: "It is not helpful to engage in speculation at this time".
"Anything to do with potential food safety is taken very seriously
by Fonterra and our people," the company said.
"The appropriate authorities need to get to the bottom of this issue
"We are confident the Chinese authorities will act appropriately
based on hard facts, and not speculation."
After the 2004 scandal which did not involve Sanlu or Fonterra products
? China said it would punish nearly 100 people implicated in at least
200 babies in eastern Anhui suffering malnutrition, with 13 dying.
Officials who neglected their regulatory duties were jailed for two years,
and shopkeepers for eight years.
Fonterra said its first priority was ensuring the welfare of consumers.
"Any food safety incident is taken very seriously because Fonterra's
reputation is based on high-quality product," the company said. "It
is far too early to understand how this incident might impact on any company".
Cases of babies developing kidney stones had emerged in at least four
hospitals in Gansu and also in Jiangsu, Shandong, Hunan, Ningxia and Shaanxi
provinces, Xinhua said.
Zhang Wei, chief urologist at the No 1 Hospital of the People's Liberation
Army, in the provincial capital Lanzhou, said it was possible that more
babies may be affected but parents had not sought treatment because of
high medical costs.
"It is extremely rare for babies to get kidney stones, let alone
so many getting them all at the same time," he said.
Fonterra has predicted that eventually China will account for 10 percent
of its global dairy market. It paid NZ$150 million ? 864 million renminbi
? for its stake in the Shijiazhuang Sanlu Group dairy company in December
Food Sparks National Safety Campaign (Canada)
Last update: 11:03 a.m. EDT Sept. 12, 2008
Source of Article: http://www.marketwatch.com/
TORONTO, ONTARIO, Sep 12, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) -- Federal candidates
across the country are being asked to make a Commitment to Food Safety
as part of a national campaign launched in Toronto this morning.
"The outbreaks of listeriosis due to tainted food products have shaken
the country's confidence in our food protection system. The system is
broken and needs fixing," says Patricia Ducharme, Executive Vice-President
of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.
The campaign features a website - www.foodsafetyfirst.ca - which allows
visitors to send a message to ask local candidates to take make a Commitment
to Food Safety, a four-point action plan to fix the system. Radio, print
and online ads will be used during the federal election to spread the
word about the campaign, as will events across the country.
"Our unions are launching this campaign now, because of the urgent
need for action and political commitment on the issue of food safety before
more Canadians lives are put at risk." says Michele Demers, President
of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada.
The government of Stephen Harper has steadily cut funding for food safety
programs and shifted responsibility for safety assurance to the food companies
themselves. According to current Treasury Board of Canada forecasts, funding
for food safety programs will have declined by almost 30% from $359 million
in 2006/07 to $254 million in 2010/11 under Mr. Harper's watch.
Meanwhile, the government plans to expand industry self-policing of safety.
A secret government document brought to light by a CFIA employee who was
subsequently fired reveals plans to:
- "shift from full-time Canadian Food Inspection Agency meat inspection
presence to an oversight role, allowing industry to implement food safety
control programs and to manage key risks," and;
- "eliminate federal delivery of provincial meat inspection programs"
in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.
"There are too few inspectors who spend too much time reviewing company
generated reports in a system that relies too much on the food industry
to police itself when it comes to safety," says Agriculture Union
President Bob Kingston, a food inspection supervisor on leave from the
The campaign aims to drum up support among candidates and the federal
parties for the following policies to improve food safety in Canada:
Hire 1000 additional inspectors and veterinarians to improve compliance
There are almost 800 federally regulated meat processing facilities scattered
across Canada, many processing thousands of animals everyday. There are
also thousands of cheese, produce and other food production facilities,
as well as delis and other retail outlets, all of which are potential
sources for deadly food-borne bacteria. This territory is far too vast
for the 1100 fully qualified process food inspectors and 230 meat hygiene
veterinarians currently on staff. While the problem of food-borne illness
is complex, one dimension of the problem is clear: our food inspectors
are too few and spread too thinly. For example, the inspector responsible
for the Maple Leaf plant which was the source of tainted meat in the latest
food-borne bacterial outbreak also is responsible for six other facilities.
In order to ensure companies follow food safety regulations we simply
need more inspectors.
Place an immediate moratorium on industry self-policing policies
Under changes introduced on March 31st this year, including at Maple Leaf
Foods in Toronto, meat inspectors are now directly supervising from the
plant floor only 25% of the time. The rest of the time, federal meat inspectors
review company generated reports. This reality falls far short of the
target for inspectors to spend half their time inspecting hands-on under
the new "Compliance Verification System".
Beyond meat processing, industry self-policing has been extended to poultry;
monitoring the health of birds was transferred from inspectors to the
private sector in the fall of 2007.
Plans the Conservative government has approved but not entirely implemented
will give industry more self-policing powers when it comes to safety.
The Compliance Verification System, the Poultry Rejection Program and
future self-policing plans should be put on hold. Remove obstacles preventing
CFIA inspectors & vets from taking immediate action
CFIA inspectors are discouraged from taking immediate action when serious
health problems arise. Instead, they are strongly encouraged to give the
offending company a "Corrective Action Request" which states
the nature of the problem and gives the company up to 60 days to address
it. The theory of immediate action of the part of inspectors becomes more
remote because under the "Compliance Verification System" inspectors
spend 75% of their time at the plant reviewing company-generated reports,
instead of inspecting facilities. This approach is part and parcel of
the move toward industry self-policing when it comes to safety.
Restore the system of public audit reports which were cancelled under
pressure from the meat industry
For 20 years, government inspectors reported and ranked the meat processing
facilities they inspected. Under pressure from an industry lobby group
called the Canadian Meat Council which complained about the bad press
these reports created when obtained by reporters, the federal government
cancelled the practice soon after Stephen Harper took office. Canadians
need to know which companies are meeting safety standards and which companies
are not and the public audit system should be restored.
Our Way to Cleaner Meat
Source of Article: http://www.swnewsherald.com/
By SANDY MILLER HAYS, Agricultural Research Service
There's no shortage of bad news these days, is there? Gas prices, a roller-coaster
stock market, soaring food prices... just "pick your poison."
So how about some good news for a change ? a great example of something
that really, really works and resulted from research funded by your tax
dollars? Here goes!
You've no doubt seen the news stories about outbreaks of illness caused
by harmful bacteria in various vegetables, from spinach and tomatoes to
an ever-widening list of suspects. Of course, fruits and veggies aren't
the only types of food that have been implicated in food-poisoning outbreaks
over the years; meat and dairy products have also had their uncomfortable
moments in the spotlight.
But the U.S. meat industry is definitely benefitting these days from food
safety research conducted by the scientists of the Agricultural Research
Service (ARS) at the agency's Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research
Center in Clay Center, Neb.
After a multi-state outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections from hamburgers
in the western United States from November 1992 to late February 1993
? an outbreak that sickened hundreds and killed four children ? the ARS
scientists in Nebraska began a massive investigation into E. coli O157:H7.
One of the most fascinating discoveries to come out of that investigation
has been that the principal source of E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef isn't
somewhere inside the cow; it's the animal's hide.
Previously, most of the activities to try to prevent E. coli O157:H7 contamination
of meat focused on eliminating the pathogen from the cow's feces. But
the research at Clay Center led to a major shift in thinking, resulting
in the ARS scientists' development of hide-targeted intervention techniques
to reduce and eliminate pathogenic E. coli and other dangerous microorganisms
from the ground beef supply.
Although E. coli O157:H7 can wreak devastation on the human body by deactivating
ribosomes and destroying kidney cells, cattle can carry the same pathogens
with no ill effects. The ARS research revealed that the pathogen tends
to gather on the cattle's hides. This can become a serious problem if
the meat becomes contaminated while the hide is being removed from the
First the scientists experimented with chemically removing the hair from
the hide. This process proved very effective, reducing the bacterial prevalence
from 50 percent to 1.3 percent in one study. But the process was prohibitively
expensive, and therefore seemed impractical for widespread industry use.
So the scientists turned their attention to cleaning the hide before removal
? and there they hit the jackpot.
They developed a
system in which the hide-on carcass is cleaned in a washing cabinet with
high-pressure water to remove excess organic matter from the hide. Next,
the hide is sprayed with an antibacterial compound. The scientists came
up with an impressive list of compounds that proved effective, from phosphoric
acid to substances with tongue-tangling names like cetylpyridinium chloride.
Remember that great Ralph Waldo Emerson quote about "Build a better
mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door"? The U.S.
meat industry has embraced the ARS scientists' "better mousetrap,"
and an estimated 40 percent of U.S. feedlot-raised beef cattle now undergo
the washing treatment. By targeting the hides, this technology has reduced
the national incidence of E. coli O157:H7-positive ground beef samples
by 43.3 percent.
And the benefits reach beyond stopping E. coli O157:H7. Since the beef
industry began using the washing cabinets, the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention have also noted significant reductions in illnesses
caused by the pathogens Listeria, Campylobacter, Yersina and Salmonella.
Two partner corporations ? American Fresh Foods and American Foodservice
? that use the hide-wash system have high praise for it. Those two corporations
produce more than 350 million pounds of ground beef every year for supermarkets,
commercial fast-food outlets, and casual dining. They sample their products
every 20 minutes to test for E. coli O157:H7, and conduct more than 15,000
additional tests each year for other pathogens.
How do they describe the hide-washing system? As their chief food safety
officer put it,
It's incredibly effective... It's almost unbelievable."
Don't you just love it when something really works? I do!
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