Comprehensive News List
General Food Safety News/ Outbreak News/ Recall News/ New Methods News/
News/ On-Line Slides/ Job Information/Internet Journal of Food Safety



Sponsorship Q/A

Click here
to go
Main Page


Click here
to go
List of Newsletters

To subscribe this Food Safety Newsletter,
Click here


Internet Journal of Food Safety

Job Opennings



Food 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

Keynote Speakers

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
10:00 - 11:00 Current Foodborne Outbreak and Iegal Issues
William D. Marler, Esq. -
MarlerClark attorneys at Law

11:00 - 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)
5:00: Adjourn

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 monocytogenes
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 and Quality.
Dicussion leader : Stan Bailey
5:00 Certificate and Adjourn
Click here to see conference program

FAO calls for tighter scrutiny of infant formula markets
By Stephen Daniells 26-Sep-2008
Source of Article:
Infant formula manufacturers need to invest further in safety controls in order to regain public confidence after the Chinese melamine scandal, FAO has said.
The melamine scandal has rocked consumer confidence in infant formula, and ¡°restoring consumer confidence is critical,¡± said Ezzeddine Boutrif, director of the FAO nutrition and consumer protection division.
"Melamine-contaminated products should be removed from the food chain in order to prevent further exposure. The safe supply of dairy products needs to be restored immediately,¡± said Boutrif.
Food makers have speared opportunities in the market for milk formulas that meet the dietary needs of infants and counter-balance deficiency needs. The European infant formula market alone is estimated to be worth about ¢æ600m.
But infant formula and baby milk have been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons this week after it emerged that milk powder for infants was found to have been contaminated with melamine in China.
The compound alone is of low toxicity, but studies with animals have suggested that combination of melamine with cyanuric acid, a potential impurity of melamine, may lead to the kidney problems observed in China.
The level of melamine found in the contaminated infant formula has been as high as 2,560 milligrams per kilogram ready to eat product, while the level of cyanuric acid is unknown, according to figures provided by World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Although investigations are still underway, it is thought that melamine was added at milk collection depots to mask the fact that it had been watered down by giving the appearance of a good protein content. (Both melamine and protein have a high nitrogen content, and nitrogen is usually measured to establish protein levels).
WHO and the FAO called on all countries to be alert to the possible spread of melamine contaminated dairy products.
And the responsibility extends to the food and nutrition industries, said the organizations.
¡°It is critical that the industry strongly invests in food safety and adopts a food safety culture covering the food chain from raw materials through to the final product,¡± said Boutrif.
Jorgen Schlundt, director of the WHO food safety department, added: "While breastfeeding is the ideal way of providing infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development - it is also critical to ensure that there is an adequate supply of safe powdered infant formula to meet the needs of infants who are not breastfed.¡±

UK¡¯s pledge
The UK¡¯s Food Standards Agency (FSA) confirmed that no baby milk manufactured in China can be sold legally in the UK. The agency also took steps to assure parents and caregivers that no milk or milk products imported from China can be used by manufacturers of baby milks sold in the UK.

Similar moves across the pond
Earlier this week the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public warning that infant formula manufactured in China may not be safe because of concerns over melamine contamination.
The administration advised that caregivers should refrain from using Chinese-made formula and replace it with ¡°an appropriate infant formula manufactured in the United States¡±.

Two gorillas have become the latest victims of China¡¯s toxic melamine milk powder health scandal
Source of Article:
Posted on September 25, 2008 by Food Poisoning Lawyer
Sanlu, now you have done it. Two gorillas, both from Hangzhou Wildlife World in eastern Zhejiang province and aged one and three, had been diagnosed with crystallization in their urine, according Chinese media. The news came with the revelation that Chinese officials, suppressing "bad news" during the Olympic games, had ordered a cover-up of the scandal.
Sanlu Group, the company at the heart of the scandal, met with the government three times to explain the crisis, according to reports - but despite the warnings no recall notice was issued. The two ill gorillas have joined more than 54,000 babies poisoned throughout the scandal so far. Four have died. Both gorillas had been fed with milk powder made by Sanlu. The company has said the infants became sick after drinking milk contaminated by melamine, a compound used in making plastics and added to cheat nutrition tests.

More Countries Ban Chinese Products Amid Milk Scandal
(Wall Street Journal)
China's recent troubles with contaminated milk are prompting more skepticism in other countries about its quality control, despite authorities' efforts to contain the crisis.
A Chinese dairy factory worker monitors the production at a plant in Wuhan, central China.
Countries stepped up testing of foods imported from China after Chinese authorities disclosed that the industrial chemical melamine had tainted products -- including liquid milk, yogurt and candy -- made by 22 companies. Baby formula contaminated by melamine has killed at least three babies and sickened more than 50,000. Taiwan and Indonesia have now joined the list of at least 12 regions that have banned Chinese-made dairy products.
New Zealand's Food Safety Authority warned the public on Wednesday that "unacceptable" amounts of melamine were found in a popular Chinese candy called "White Rabbit Creamy Candies." British supermarket chain Tesco PLC said it recalled the candy as a precautionary measure from its stores in the U.K., China and Malaysia.
U.S. and European consumer-safety officials said the crisis highlights the need for better enforcement of public-safety standards at all stages of manufacturing. "You have to know what's coming into your factory and what's going out of your factory," said Nancy Nord, acting head of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Ms. Nord and other U.S. and European officials were in China promoting compliance with product-safety regulations that were tightened following a spate of scandals last year over unsafe or shoddy products, including toys, tires, drugs and pet food.
The milk scandal also has proved damaging to New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra Co-operative Group, which in 2005 bought 43% of Shijiazhuang Sanlu Group Co., the first Chinese dairy company to be implicated. Sanlu's products were laced with the highest concentrations of melamine found to date, and authorities say the company was responsible for a coverup lasting for at least months that caused even more children to get sick.
Fonterra said Wednesday the scandal had affected its financials. It booked a 139 million New Zealand dollar (US$95 million) impairment charge against the carrying value of its investment in Sanlu. That left a residual value of NZ$62 million in Sanlu, mainly its physical plant. Still, Fonterra said it remained committed to China.
A Philippine official inspects milk at a store in Manila. Chinese food products in several countries are being removed from shelves over contamination fears.
In an effort to assure the world its products are safe, Chinese regulators said this week that the tainted-milk scandal has been brought under control and milk samples tested since Sept. 15 showed no traces of melamine. 9-25-08

Looking for Melamine, Enterobacter sakazakii Bacteria Discovered in Sanlu Powdered Milk Formula
Source of Article:
Posted on September 24, 2008 by Food Poisoning Lawyer
As if Sanlu does not have enough to worry about - A pathogenic bacterium has been found in milk powder that was also contaminated with melamine, according to a report in the Lanzhou Daily. The report said that the Administration of Quality and Technology Supervision in Gansu Province issued an emergency notice on September 21, saying that Sanlu¡¯s older and younger infant formulas contained enterobacter sakazakii as well as the toxic melamine. Enterobacter sakazakii (E. sakazakii) is a gram-negative, non-spore-forming bacterium belonging to the Enterobacteriaceae family. It has previously been found in powdered infant formula around the world. A 2007 World Health Organisation report, Microbiological Risk Assessment Series, No. 6, concluded "Intrinsic contamination of powdered formula with E. sakazakii can cause infection and illness in infants, including severe disease ... and death."
Enterobacter sakazakii is an uncommon, but often fatal, invasive pathogen that causes bloodstream and central nervous system infections. The gram-negative, non-spore-forming, rod-shaped bacterium is from the family Enterobacteriaceae ? the same family that E. coli O157:H7 belongs to.
While E. sakazakii has caused disease in all age groups, it is likely that immunocompromised or medically debilitated infants are more susceptible to infections with E. sakazakii. One contributing factor in infant cases could be that the stomach of newborns, especially of premature babies, is less acidic than that of adults. Several outbreaks traced to contaminated infant formula have occurred in neonatal intensive care units worldwide.

FDA Failing At Food Safety GAO Report Says
Posted by Jane Akre
Friday, September 26, 2008 11:24 AM EST
Source of Article:
The inner workings and failings of the Food and Drug Administration are being revealed in a draft report, obtained by the AP, by the Government Accountability Office.
The report reveals a regulatory agency with a hands-off approach to its job.
Only one percent of fresh produce imported to the U.S. is inspected. Combined produce from several sources, makes tracing any food contamination nearly impossible. Inspections are rare and when problems are uncovered, the FDA relies on the industry to do its own cleanup without oversight or any follow-up.
Sens. Barbara Boxer and Ted Kennedy called for the investigation after the 2006 E. coli contaminated spinach killed three and sickened 200 others. The industry took an $86 million hit.
¡°This report paints a frightening picture of the FDA's fresh produce safety efforts," Boxer said to the AP. It "should serve as a wakeup call to do more to protect the nation's food supply."
Over the last five years the agency found that 40 percent of the nation¡¯s more than 2,000 food plants had safety problems. Half of those were inspected only once. The agency seized no fresh produce and failed to prosecute food companies.
Part of the problem is funding, the GAO concludes. As the U.S. imports more fresh produce, the number of inspections has not. The FDA regulates $417 billion worth of domestic food and $49 billion worth of imported food each year.
Meat, poultry, and some egg products are regulated by the US Department of Agriculture.
Between 2003 and 2006, FDA food safety inspections dropped nearly in half, according to a database analysis by the Associated Press. After Sept. 11, a fear of the vulnerability of our food system, saw a slight spike in inspections which have since fallen off.
Inflation-only budget adjustments mean workers didn¡¯t receive cost-of-living increases, and the gaps left by retiring personnel, scientists, inspectors and staff, have gone unfilled. As a result, food safety guidelines have not been updated.
The GAO believes $3.5 billion would be needed to do adequate inspections ofthe 250,000 domestic and foreign food facilities. #

Compensation sought for tomato growers devastated by salmonella scare
Source of Article:
By Halimah Abdullah | McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON -- In 25 years of growing tomatoes, Greg Murray's Bainbridge farm weathered floods, hailstorms, freezes, droughts, poor yields, poor markets, diseases and insect infestations.
However, Murray's toughest challenge came this summer not from nature but from a federal agency-driven and media-hyped public hysteria over salmonella-infected produce.
Murray termed summer's recall the "false food safety awareness fiasco" during last week's congressional hearing on the impact of the salmonella outbreak on tomato farmers.
"The one thing we have never had to face was a public hysteria attack caused by the media and agencies of the federal government," Murray testified. "No amount of planning could have prepared us for what we faced this June as we started harvesting our spring crop of tomatoes."
On June 7, the Food and Drug Administration alerted consumers that red plum, red Roma and round red tomatoes may have caused a salmonella Saintpaul strain outbreak that sickened 1,300 U.S. residents and led to 252 hospitalizations and two deaths.
The agency lifted its warning July 17, and investigators subsequently have traced the salmonella to jalapeno and serrano peppers grown on two Mexican ranches.
According to a study by the University of Georgia, the scare led to a $25.7 million loss to the state's economy. Lawmakers, including Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., have joined farmers in criticizing how the FDA handled the outbreak.
Last week, Bishop asked House leadership to consider providing $100 million to cover crop losses resulting from what many believe was the FDA's mishandling of the salmonella outbreak. This summer, eight Florida lawmakers introduced a different bill asking Congress to authorize $100 million in compensation for growers and others who lost business as a result of the FDA's consumer warnings.
"We cannot have another summer like the past one," Bishop said. "As long as this country produces a domestic supply of food and fiber, we will have incidences of contamination every now and then. But we cannot and must not allow those relatively rare situations to affect entire unrelated industries ever again."

A boost from the vets
Vets for Freedom, a veterans group that supports the Iraq war, took to the Hill on Wednesday to express its support for a soon-to-be-announced House resolution stating that the surge in Iraq was successful and attributing that success to military strategy and the troops. The measure is backed by Rep. Jim Marshall, D-Macon, who netted the group's endorsement earlier this summer and who is in a tight race against retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Rick Goddard.
"We are ... honored to stand with Rep. Jim Marshall, who has set an example for every veteran seeking higher office," Vets for Freedom chairman Pete Hegseth said Wednesday. "He has put victory before his party affiliation, demonstrating what true statesmanship looks like."
Gas gang or bust?
The English poet William Butler Yeats once wrote: "Things fall apart, the center cannot hold." The line aptly applies to the beleaguered congressional "Gas Gang's" bipartisan efforts to craft energy legislation.
Republican members of the group, which is headed, in part, by Sen. Saxby Chambliss and includes Sen. Johnny Isakson, has faced criticism from some fellow party members, conservative groups and talk show hosts for ceding a potential political sledgehammer to the Democrats. Within its ranks, the gang has hotly debated increasing drilling provisions and the proposal's cost --currently $84 billion, which is offset by doing away with tax breaks for the oil and gas industry.
The Oct. 1 expiration of a moratorium on new offshore drilling adds to the tension. Some in Congress want to let the ban lapse, others want it extended.
Debate on drilling and the myriad energy proposals floating around the Hill will likely dominate Congress' final week before adjourning for recess.

Researchers Trace Food Poisoning Bug Back to Chickens and Livestock
[September 26, 2008]
By Andrea Anderson a GenomeWeb staff reporter
Source of Article:
NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) ? Almost all campylobacteriosis food poisoning cases in a UK community were caused by Campylobacter jejuni bacteria originating in farm animals ? particularly chickens and cattle, new research suggests.
In a paper appearing online today in PLoS Genetics, UK researchers analyzed bacterial samples from roughly 1,200 human campylobacteriosis cases, comparing them to the C. jejuni found in livestock, wild animals, and the environment. Their analysis suggests that nearly 97 percent of the C. jejuni populations in infected humans originated in chickens and livestock. In contrast, populations in wild animals and other environmental sources seem to have a minor role in human campylobacteriosis.
¡°The idea was that we wanted to know where this thing comes from,¡± lead author Daniel Wilson, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Chicago who completed the work as a research associate in genetics at Lancaster University, told GenomeWeb Daily News.
Although most people may think of Escherichia coli and other bugs as food poisoning culprits, Wilson said, C. jejuni is actually the leading cause of bacterial gastroenteritis in developed countries. In the US, for example, C. jejuni afflicts two to three million people a year. In severe cases, such infections can lead to a neurological disease called Guillain-Barre syndrome or reactive arthritis.
There have been a number of different hypotheses about where disease-causing C. jejuni come from. Because the bug causes gastroenteritis, it¡¯s easy to blame food sources. But that¡¯s not necessarily the case, Wilson said, noting that some aspects of Campylobacter¡¯s epidemiology are consistent with waterborne infections.
In an effort to determine where human-infecting C. jejuni were coming from, Wilson and his colleagues compared the genetic sequences found in human campylobacteriosis cases with those from potential source sites.
They obtained 1,231 C. jejuni isolates from human samples taken in Lancashire, UK, over two years and sequenced seven housekeeping genes in the C. jejuni found in these samples. They then compared these with C. jejuni isolated from livestock (chicken, cattle, sheep, and pigs), wild animals (birds and rabbits), and environmental sources (water and sand).
Because Campylobacter is very diverse and there¡¯s overlap between some C. jejuni populations, Wilson said, they couldn¡¯t use the presence or absence of specific alleles to distinguish bacterial populations. Instead, the researchers compared the frequency of these alleles in different populations.
Using this ¡°evolutionary approach,¡± they traced the 256 different C. jejuni genotypes back to their likely sources. Their results suggest that 96.6 percent of human campylobacteriosis cases are caused by C. jejuni populations carried by chickens, cattle, sheep, and pigs.
Bacterial populations associated with chickens caused more than half of all cases tested. Although it was more difficult to distinguish C. jejuni found in cattle from those found in sheep, the results suggest that cattle populations caused just over a third of cases, while sheep populations caused around four percent. Meanwhile, the researchers detected Campylobacter from pigs in less than one percent of campylobacteriosis cases.
In contrast, populations carried by wild animals appear to be responsible for just 2.3 percent of cases, while other environmental isolates were linked to 1.1 percent of cases.
These results differ from research published in 2005 suggesting livestock played a minor role in campylobacteriosis ? a discrepancy that may be explained by differences in samples sizes or in analytical approaches, Wilson said. ¡°Of course, there could be regional differences,¡± he added.
To address this possibility, his colleagues are currently collecting samples in Scotland and New Zealand. They are also in discussions with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Wilson said, though it¡¯s unclear whether the agency will ultimately participate in the studies.
The work also provides clues about the bug¡¯s transmission route, though that is usually more difficult to discern than source information. While it is unlikely that the environment is the main transmission route in the community tested, it is unclear whether C. jejuni is transmitted to humans through infected food or via another route.
For instance, because Lancashire contains a mixture of rural and urban areas, it¡¯s possible that humans were exposed to C. jejuni from livestock without eating or handling tainted meat. Wilson noted that the team is currently looking at the disease epidemiology in more detail to understand the effect that of urban-rural factors, if any.
If it turns out, as the researchers suspect, that food is the transmission route from livestock to humans, there are three stages at which you could prevent Campylobacter infections, Wilson explained ? first at the source, by reducing the incidence of C. jejuni in farm animals. It may also be possible to reduce C. jejuni in meat during food processing stages as well as during food preparation. By educating the public about good food hygiene, Wilson said, it may be possible to curb Campylobacter infections.

Non-ambulatory Cattle Language Defeated
Friday, September 26, 2008
Source of Article:
(American Meat Institute)
The Senate today rejected a motion to proceed to the Economic Stimulus package (S. 3604), which includes language that would ban non-ambulatory disabled cattle from entering the food supply. The measure was rejected by a vote of 52 to 42. The language also included additional civil money penalties that go beyond those already established through the Federal Meat Inspection Act. Sixty votes were required for the Senate to proceed to debate and consideration of the bill.
On August 27, USDA issued a proposed rule banning non-ambulatory cattle from the food supply. Since early 2004, non-ambulatory cattle that arrive at packing plants have been prohibited from the meat supply. However, USDA has permitted animals that arrive ambulatory, pass veterinary inspection and become non-ambulatory because of acute injury to undergo a second inspection. On a case by case basis, some healthy, but non-ambulatory cattle have entered the meat supply with federal veterinary approval.
On April 22, AMI, together with the National Meat Association and the National Milk Producers Federation, petitioned USDA and asked the department to end the option to have a second inspection. To see a copy of the industry petition, go to:

2nd case of E-coli found at daycare
posted by: Matt Clough 2 hrs ago
Source of Article:
Tri-County Health says they found the disease in a 1-year-old girl. She was not taken to the hospital and is expected to recover at home.
A 3-year-old boy who also attended the daycare died last week from E-coli. The source of the E-coli has not been determined.
Health officials say other children have complained of mile gastrointestinal illness, but have gotten better. Investigators are using stool swabs to test the children for any signs of the disease. Those children will be able to attend another daycare once they¡¯ve had two negative tests. They are also testing the daycare operators.
Arapahoe County has ordered the daycare to close, saying it had more children than the law allowed.

Fundraiser participants' E. coli count reaches 21 illnesses
By Staff Reports
Article Launched: 09/23/2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Source of Article:
FOREST RANCH The Butte County Public Health Department announced Monday it has identified three more cases of E. coli illness, bringing the total to 21 in a recent outbreak.
Four people were hospitalized because of the sickness, including a young child.
The illnesses have been linked to a fundraiser held in Forest Ranch on Sept. 6 to benefit the volunteer fire department there. Several hundred people attended the event.
Health officials say they believe tri-tip served at the event was contaminated with E. coli bacteria. They are now trying to determine how the meat became tainted, they said.
Besides examining the meat, officials will test foods that were served with it, in case those foods may have contaminated the meat, said Dr. Mark Lundberg, Butte County's health officer.
Most cases of the illness were mild, but some people became very sick with severe diarrhea. The illnesses were caused by a dangerous strain of bacteria known as E. coli 0157. It can cause kidney failure and in some cases, death.

More Salmonella Cases!
Reported by: Tammy Mutasa
Wednesday, Sep 24, 2008 @07:34pm CST
Source of Article:
AMARILLO---The number has gone up again, now it's 26 cases of salmonella that the City Health Department is investigating in Amarillo.
20 of those are linked to meals at the IHOP on Western.
The restaurant voluntarily shut down last week.
IHOP will be closed until the Health Department does it's inspection.
The city says the investigation is already underway.
Right now they are testing the restaurant, interviewing IHOP employees and sick people.
The health department is also taking lab samples of the restaurant, but those results won't be back until next week.
"It is a mystery and we're not sure what the cause of it is; we're determined to find out why this is happening again, and the restaurant will stay closed until we're comfortable with that answer, the important thing is that the restaurant is safe to the public," said Vicky Covey from the City of Amarillo.
This is the third time in about three months that this restaurant has closed it's doors because of salmonella.

BAX¢ç System Certification for Detecting Listeria is Extended
WEBWIRE Friday, September 26, 2008
Source of Article:
The Association of Analytical Communities Research Institute (AOAC-RI) has extended certification of the BAX¢ç system from DuPont Qualicon as a Performance TestedSM Method for detecting Listeria -- a bacterial genus -- in food products.
Now food companies and service labs can use non-proprietary media with the BAX¢ç system for reliable Listeria detection in both food and environmental samples.
¡°Being able to use this assay to test food samples is an important advancement for our customers,¡± said Kevin Huttman, president -- DuPont Qualicon. ¡°Furthermore, having flexible enrichment options will allow food companies to adopt a testing procedure that most conveniently fits their schedule.¡±

E. coli growth may be inhibited by tomato-based edible film
By Jane Byrne18-Sep-2008
Source of Article:
Edible tomato-based, antimicrobial films could prevent bacterial contamination of food, while promoting health as a result of the nutritional and health benefits linked to the consumption of tomatoes, says US study.
The results of new research, published in the Journal of Food Science, show that carvacrol-containing tomato-based edible films inactivated the virulent pathogen E. coli O157:H7 and the inactivation was related to the carvacrol levels in films.
Researchers from the Agriculture Research Service (ARS) of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Western Regional Research Centre, Processed Foods said that antimicrobial assays of tomato films indicated that optimum antimicrobial effects occurred with carvacrol levels of approximately 0.75 per cent added to tomato purees before film preparation.
They said that the aim of the study was to evaluate the antimicrobial activities, storage stabilities and the physical?chemical?mechanical properties of edible films made from tomatoes containing carvacrol, the main constituent of oregano oil.

Edible polymers
The authors claim that edible films containing plant antimicrobials are gaining in importance as potential treatments for extending product shelf life and reducing the risk of pathogen growth on contaminated food surfaces.
They said that edible tomato films containing antimicrobials may have multiple benefits: ¡°Consumption of tomatoes, tomato products and isolated bioactive tomato ingredients is reported to be associated with lowered risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.¡±

Film formation
The antimicrobial activities against E. coli O157:H7 and the stability of carvacrol were evaluated during the preparation and storage of tomato-based films made by two different casting methods, continuous casting and batch casting, according to the authors.
Hot break tomato puree was the primary ingredient in all tomato based film forming solutions, said the authors.
They said that high methoxyl pectin 1400 was added to increase film strength and carvacrol was incorporated into tomato puree solutions before the film casting stage at concentrations of 0, 0.5, 0.75, 1.0 and 1.5 per cent.

¡®E. coli O157:H7 grew normally on agar plates with films lacking carvacrol incubated at 35¡ÆC for 24 or 48 hours. By contrast, no growth was observed on the plates around the film discs containing 0.75 per cent or 1 per cent carvacrol.
¡°The extent of bacterial growth inhibition increased as the per cent of carvacrol in the films was increased,¡± claims the team.
The results also showed that films prepared by continuous casting are preferable for large scale use than those prepared by batch casting.
The researchers said that further studies are currently underway to test the effectiveness of other fruit and vegetable films against contaminated meat.

Processors could gain from meat freshness indicator
By Jane Byrne 25-Sep-2008
Source of Article:
A sensor that changes colour to indicate meat spoilage could prevent serious illness and food waste, say the US scientists involved in the project.
Battelle scientists John R. Shaw and Donald Zehnder have been involved in a project for the past two years aimed at developing a ¡®trap and detect¡¯ tool for embedding in meat packaging to warn retailers and consumers of the presence of bacteria that cause food spoilage. ¡°We really wanted to come up with an idea whereby the consumer could look at the package and instantly know that the meat product was fresh or spoiled,¡± said John Shaw. Zehnder told that, following preliminary lab work, the team is at the stage of designing a prototype sensor and they have recently filed for a patent in relation to their chemical detector.
According to the two chemists, the project was prompted by what they felt was a lack of safeguards in the food supply chain following the spinach linked E. coli outbreak that killed three people and sickened more than 200 in September 2006.
They said their sensor could help reduce the risk of human illness or costly recalls.

Changing colour
Shaw said that their sensor, using technology based on colour metrics, changes from yellow to dark red when bacteria such as achromobacter and micrococcus have contaminated the meat.
He explained that the sensor is a synthetic molecule that binds with the material that the spoilage bacteria emit when they feed on the meat, and when the molecule and material bind the light they produce changes the colour of the sensor.
¡°The project is initially concentrating on the detection of spoilage bacteria as we have a good understanding of how they operate. However, we plan to fine tune the sensor so that it can also indicate the presence of pathogens such as listeria and E. coli 0157:H7,¡± said Shaw.
He said that the team is also evaluating how the sensor might be used in the detection of allergens in food products.

Best before
The chemists said that tests have demonstrated that the detector is 200 to 400 times more sensitive that the human nose and can help in reducing food wastage:
¡°As a result of its reliability for detecting spoilage bacteria, the sensor could eliminate the need for best before dates. Currently best before dates are set by manufacturers and are based on worst case assumptions. Most food is perfectly fine to eat days after its displayed best before date,¡± claims Shaw. The two chemists would not be drawn on the composition of the detector, citing confidentiality, but did reveal that it was a non-toxic, non-caustic organic compound.

Commercial prospects
They said the sensor would not be undergoing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process for some time, but that they were hopeful the detector would be commercially available within a two-year timeframe. ¡°We have had a lot of interest already from meat producers and packaging suppliers in terms of setting up a partnership to get the sensor market ready,¡± said Zehnder.

New Technology to Detect Foodborne Illnesses Report
Source of Article:
Purdue Research Park-based Intelliphage has developed a method to capture and detect foodborne illness-causing bacteria such as E. coli. The company's technology promises to be quicker and less expensive than current options. Intelliphage's method can identify the bacterium's presence in food by turning it red or making it luminescent, allowing companies to detect potentially contaminated food before it reaches the consumer. The company is working on detecting and trapping salmonella, listeria, staph and Mycobacterium tuberculosis into its technology.

Press Release
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A Purdue Research Park-based company has developed a method to capture and detect foodborne illness-causing bacteria such as E. coli that promises to be quicker and less expensive than current conventional technology on the market.The company's technology is based on discoveries by a research group led by Associate Professor Bruce M. Applegate in Purdue University's Department of Food Sciences.Intelliphage, founded in 2008 by Applegate and Lynda Perry, a research associate in his group, has modified a virus that can infect a specific E. coli bacterium. This strain causes illness in people and is associated with eating contaminated beef or vegetables and drinking unpasteurized milk or contaminated water.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, there may be 70,000 infections related to this E. coli in the United States each year. The number is an estimate, however, because many infected people do not seek medical care.
Applegate's virus will identify the bacterium's presence in food by turning it red or making it luminescent, allowing food companies to detect potentially contaminated food before it reaches the consumer.
Applegate's virus, which is grown in a non-pathogenic lab strain of E. coli, attaches itself to bacteria it detects.
"Other companies say they can identify a bacterium within an hour, but it takes more than 24 hours to grow the bacterium before they can identify it," Applegate said. "That is because they need to grow 100 million cells of a bacterium before they are able to detect them.
"With Intelliphage Inc., we can locate one bacterium cell in just 25 grams of food, and that means we can detect the bacterium earlier."
Most food companies have luminometers for performing other tests, so they already have the equipment available to detect the luminescent bacteria, according to Applegate.
"The companies will not have to invest in new equipment to use our technology," he said. "Another advantage is that our technology allows the recovery of the bacteria. This is essential for food companies when they do food recalls to track the contaminant to its source."
Applegate is working to include salmonella, listeria, staph and Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the suite of bacteria that his technology can detect and trap.
*About Purdue Research Park*
The 725-acre Purdue Research Park ( ) has the largest university-affiliated business incubation complex in the country. The park is home to more than 140 companies. About 90 of these firms are technology-related, and another 39 are incubator businesses.
The park was ranked No. 1 in 2004 for university-affiliated research parks and received the 2005 Outstanding Commercialization Award, both from the Association of University Research Parks. The park's companies also have received numerous recognitions, including a 2006 MIRA Award:
Innovation of the Year for Purdue Research Park/Quadraspec Inc. and a
2005 CoreNet Global Innovators Award finalist.

The Purdue Research Park is part of the Purdue Research Foundation, a private, nonprofit foundation created to assist Purdue University in the area of economic development. In addition to the Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette, the foundation has established or is currently constructing technology parks in other locations around Indiana including Merrillville, New Albany and Indianapolis. Source: Purdue Research Park

Main Page
Sponsorship Qustions

List of Newsletters

To subscribe this Food Safety Newsletter

Copyright (C). All rights reserved