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of Americans losing trust in food supply
Source of Article:
11/25/2008-According to a recent national food safety and labeling poll
conducted by Consumer Reports National Research Center, American consumers
are concerned about food safety, and they want the government to inspect
the food supply more frequently.
While 73% polled currently regard the overall food supply as safe, 48%
said their confidence in the safety of the nation¡¯s food supply is slipping.
Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspects domestic food
production facilities once every five to 10 years, and foreign facilities
less frequently. Two-thirds of respondents said the FDA should inspect
domestic and foreign food-processing facilities at least once a month.
Additionally, eight in 10 consumers strongly agree that when food safety
problems arise, the FDA should disclose to the public the location of
retailers who sold the potentially harmful food, including fish, produce,
and processed foods, as the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) is currently
required to do for meat.
On Nov. 19, the USDA¡¯s National Organic Standards Board approved standards
that would allow organic fish farmers to use wild fish as part of their
feed mix provided it did not exceed 25% of the total. Yet, 93% of Americans
agree that fish labeled as organic should be produced by 100% organic
Finally, while the FDA recently proposed allowing meat or milk products
from cloned or genetically engineered animals to be sold without labels,
94% of those polled believe that meat and dairy products from cloned animals
should be labeled as such.
As Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., Senior Scientist and Policy Analyst at Consumers
Union explained, ¡°The American public wants to know more about their food,
where it comes from, how safe it is, and will vote with their dollars
to support highly meaningful labels.¡±
pill-popping turkeys a danger?
Antibiotics are approved to treat sick turkeys and to keep disease from
Treating poultry (and other food animals) with antibiotics could lead
to some serious health consequences for human beings.
By Karen Ravn
November 24, 2008
Source of Article: http://www.latimes.com
Turkeys, like any other animal, get sick. And while few would dispute
that they should be treated when that happens, many scientists, medical
professionals and animal experts are concerned that too much medicine
is being given to too many turkeys -- and to too many food animals in
"The use and misuse are rampant," says Bill Niman, founder of
Niman Ranch in Northern California and a member of the Pew Commission
on Industrial Farm Animal Production.
Those concerned fear that the practice will have serious consequences
for human health care -- and that some of those consequences are already
starting to show up.
Antibiotics are approved in turkeys both for therapeutic use (meaning,
to treat sick turkeys) and for disease prevention -- which usually means
the rest of the flock will also be treated to keep the disease from spreading.
Antibiotics are used in this same way in other food animals, and in some
cases they're also used for growth promotion, although that's not supposed
to be done with turkeys.
The potential for danger from antibiotic use in farm animals comes in
two forms, experts say: The antibiotics could remain in meat when people
eat it. They could also contribute to the development of resistant bacteria.
If people are getting a dose of antibiotics every time they have a hamburger
or a piece of chicken -- or a turkey drumstick -- this exposure could
possibly be harmful. We all have benevolent bacteria in our bodies, and
the antibiotics we eat could kill those good bacteria. Also, some people
are sensitive to antibiotics, with reactions ranging from diarrhea to
itching to seizures, and they could have these reactions to the food they
Even critics of antibiotic use see this danger as minimal, at least in
turkeys. A withdrawal time has been established for every antibiotic,
based on testing how long it remains in the bird after usage has stopped.
So if the withdrawal time is, say, two weeks, the antibiotic cannot be
given for at least two weeks before the turkey goes to market.
Besides, the Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture
routinely examine the turkeys for residue of the drugs, says Sherrie Rosenblatt,
spokeswoman for the National Turkey Federation, and on average, the birds
are found to be 99.9% residue free.
The second concern -- that of antibiotic resistance -- has many more scientists
worried. Resistance develops when antibiotics kill off some of the bacteria
they're supposed to, but not all -- so only the super-strong survive.
If this happens enough, the susceptible bacteria are wiped out, but a
strain of resistant bacteria takes over in their place, and the antibiotics
that used to work don't work any longer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls antibiotic resistance
one of its top concerns.
"There are bacteria that were once treatable with antibiotics that
are now resistant to everything," says microbiologist Lance Price,
director of metagenomics and human health at the Translational Genomics
Research Institute in Phoenix.
No one doubts that much of the problem stems from improper or unnecessary
antibiotic use by humans -- say, to treat viral infections like colds
and flu. But Price says that part of the problem is certainly due to agricultural
One example is the use of fluoroquinolones to treat Campylobacter in chickens,
says Dr. Sherwood Gorbach, distinguished professor of public health and
medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.
Campylobacter is the leading cause of bacterial diarrhea in the United
States, and is typically treated by the fluoroquinolone Cipro. But since
the mid 1990s, resistance to Cipro has gone up from 2% to 20% or even
higher, Gorbach says. And he believes it's due to the use of Baytril,
the form of the drug used in chickens.
The government found the drug troubling too. In 1996, the National Antimicrobial
Resistance Monitoring System was created to monitor human and animal resistance
to 17 antimicrobials (antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals and antiparasitics).
And in 2005, using data from the monitoring system, the FDA banned the
use of fluoroquinolones in poultry in order to reduce the prevalence of
Price led a team at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins
University in Baltimore that studied the effectiveness of this ban by
comparing Campylobacter resistance rates in 2004 and 2006. In a study
published last year in Environmental Health Perspectives, the team tested
chicken products from two conventional producers and three antibiotic-free
producers -- 198 packages in 2004 and 210 in 2006 -- and found no significant
change in the resistance rates.
But they did find that the Campylobacter from the two conventional producers
were significantly more likely to be resistant than those from the antibiotic-free
The team concluded that resistant strains of bacteria may continue to
contaminate poultry products even after the drug is no longer being used.
How many antibiotics are used in agriculture? That is hard to estimate,
scientists say, because there is no requirement to report this use.
"We . . . have no knowledge about how they are being used in the
field, i.e., whether it is common practice to use them on a regular basis,"
says Siobhan DeLancey in the FDA Office of Public Affairs in Washington,
In 2001, the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit
that advocates for a healthy environment, estimated that every year in
this country 3 million pounds of antimicrobials are used in human medicine.
By contrast, the organization estimated that 24.6 million pounds are used
in food animals for nontherapeutic purposes: about 10.5 million pounds
in poultry, 10.3 million pounds in hogs and 3.7 million pounds in cattle.
In poultry, the organization found, use had shot up since the 1980s, from
2 million to 10.5 million pounds, and only 40% of that increase could
be attributed to growth in the poultry industry.
An earlier study by the Animal Health Institute came up with a much lower
figure for agricultural use: 17.8 million pounds for therapeutic and nontherapeutic
uses in all animals, not just poultry, hogs and cattle.
"But no one would challenge that we're using far more in agriculture
than in human medicine," says Margaret Mellon, director of the food
and environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Some view antibiotics as key to growing healthy turkeys in large numbers,
which is not to say they believe in using the drugs willy-nilly.
In fact, growers have strong incentives to use as few as possible, says
Francine Bradley, extension poultry specialist in the Animal Science Department
at UC Davis. "They cost a lot of money, so no one gives them indiscriminately.
Besides if they've overused them previously, they won't get a good response
when they really need them."
But growers do need them sometimes, and not only to treat sick birds,
but to keep the disease from spreading to the whole flock, says Daniel
Fletcher, head of the Animal Science Department at the University of Connecticut.
Without them, costs would go up and price many people out of the meat
market. "If we didn't use antibiotics," he says, "we'd
have a tough time meeting the nutritional needs of people in this country."
Gorbach says there's a bill before Congress right now intended to allow
more use of fluoroquinolones in chickens again and adds, "We feel
very strongly that's the wrong thing to do."
Other studies also point toward dangers from antibiotic use in food animals.
* One, published in 2007 in the journal Foodborne Pathogens and Disease,
found a possible link between the meat women eat and their chances of
getting a urinary tract infection caused by drug-resistant Escherichia
In it, a team from UC Berkeley studied 99 women, comparing those with
urinary tract infections caused by drug resistant E. coli to those with
urinary tract infections caused by nonresistant E. coli. They found that
women infected with E. coli resistant to multiple antibiotics ate chicken
more often than the others. They also found that women infected with either
ampicillin-resistant or cephalosporin-resistant E. coli ate pork more
The researchers concluded that the antimicrobial-resistant E. coli that
cause urinary tract infections may come from poultry, pork or both.
* And in June, a study presented
at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Boston
found potentially deadly methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus --
or MRSA -- in nearly half of the 299 pigs tested on 10 farms in Iowa and
Illinois, as well as in nine of the 20 farm workers they tested. (The
study has not yet been published.)
Study lead author Tara Smith, an assistant professor of epidemiology at
the University of Iowa, has speculated that the tetracycline used in hog
farming may be responsible.
Yet in spite of such studies there remains no conclusive evidence that
antibiotic use in food animals is to blame. And some believe it's all
just a tempest in a turkey barn.
"Some people have an agenda against farm animals," says Murray
Bakst, research physiologist at the Agricultural Research Service in Maryland.
"There's more of a danger from people flushing antibiotics down the
toilet than from the antibiotics in animal feed."
Ravn is a freelance writer.
livestock can carry harmful bacteria
Tom Blackwell, National Post
Published: Monday, November 24, 2008
Source of Article: http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/health/story.html?id=987983
Surprising numbers of seemingly healthy livestock carry bacteria that
can be harmful to humans, representing a "hidden reservoir"
of disease that poses a serious risk to public health, a new Canadian
study has concluded.
Montreal-based researchers sampled thousands of "asymptomatic"
pigs -- those that showed no signs of illness and would likely end up
slaughtered and sold as meat products -- in what they called the first
such research of its kind.
They found that many carried strains of salmonella that can make humans
sick, and most of the bacteria were resistant to at least some antibiotics.
"The abundance of infected but asymptomatic hosts in all provinces
represents a serious threat to food safety," said their paper, just
published in the journal PLoS ONE.
"Asymptomatic carriers can [also] have a significant role in the
contamination of the environment and other animals, since large volumes
of the bacterium can be excreted during fattening, transport and slaughter."
To try to keep tainted meat off the market, farmers and veterinarians
tend to single out animals that appear ill, then either treat or cull
But as authorities fight to curb Canada's continuing food-safety problem,
the new findings suggest they should put more focus on healthy animals,
said Gabriel Perron, one of the study's authors. That involves developing
vaccines for animals against common food-borne microbes, changing what
livestock are fed and how they are raised.
Mr. Perron, now a doctoral student in zoology at the University of Oxford,
said asymptomatic animals have in the past been generally ignored by scientists,
partly because it was easier to focus on animals that were clearly sick
His team, made up of researchers from McGill University and the University
of Montreal, tested more than 7,400 pigs in five province.
For the sake of the study, they focused on salmonella, cause of many human
disease outbreaks, which trigger symptoms ranging from vomiting to fever
and bloody diarrhea. They found that about 6% of the pigs carried the
bacteria, though the range was from as little as about 1% in Saskatchewan
to more than 9% in Ontario, much higher than earlier estimates, their
The symptom-free hogs also carried several different strains of salmonella,
including a number that were resistant to one or more antibiotics. Treating
people who contracted one of the strains from an asymptomatic pig with
ampicillin, a "broad-spectrum" antibiotic, would result in treatment
failure in 50% of patients, the study says.
The study's findings would likely hold true for other bacteria and animals,
Mr. Perron said. He noted that E. coli 0157-H7, the bug that caused the
Walkerton outbreak and so-called hamburger disease, does not cause illness
in the cattle that carry it.
While the study suggests that healthy farm animals should be a greater
concern for food-safety experts, tackling the issue will not be easy,
Mr. Perron admitted.
"It is really difficult to identify asymptomatic hosts and it would
be logistically impossible to test every single animal to see if they
are asymptomatic carriers," he said.
Andrew Potter, head of the University of Saskatchewan's Vaccine and Infectious
Disease Organization (VIDO), said such livestock are, in fact, getting
more attention now.
The options to clear them of infection include vaccines, changing what
livestock are fed and keeping their living conditions more hygienic, he
said. "We need to look at the whole food chain a bit differently,"
he said. "Disease [in animals] isn't necessarily the end point here."
Researcher Tells Audience at K-State That Work in Animal Models Suggests
a Variant of Mad Cow Disease May Be Transmissible to Humans
Source of Article: http://www.marketwatch.com/
Last update: 4:59 p.m. EST Nov. 24, 2008
MANHATTAN, KS, Nov 24, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) -- The classical
form of mad cow disease and a variant manifest themselves differently,
but research suggests that the variant may also be transmissible to humans,
according a researcher speaking at Kansas State University.
Cristina Casalone presented "BSE and BASE: An Update" at the
Emerging Infections: A Tribute to the One Medicine, One Health Concept
symposium on Nov. 14 at K-State. The conference drew nearly 150 researchers
from Europe, Asia, North America and the Middle East to the K-State campus.
K-State is among the finalists for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility,
a federal center for animal health. The symposium's major sponsors included
the Heartland BioAgro Consortium, which is leading an effort to bring
the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility to Kansas, as well as the Kansas
Casalone's presentation addressed studies to assess whether bovine amyloidotic
spongiform encephalopathy, often called BASE, is caused by a transmissible
prion strain different from the one that causes classical bovine spongiform
encephalopathy or BSE. She said that BASE and BSE differed in several
ways, including incubation time. Data suggest that BASE has at least the
same animal and human health risks as classical BSE, she said.
The symposium was led by Juergen Richt, the Regents Distinguished Professor
of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology at K-State and Kansas Bioscience Authority
Eminent Scholar. In September, Richt and colleague Mark Hall of the National
Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, published research findings
that showed a genetic mutation can cause bovine spongiform encephalopathy
-- also called BSE or mad cow disease.
Click here for more information
Meals Rife With (Safe) Carcinogens!
November 24, 2008 by Barbara Kram, Editor
Source of Article: http://www.dotmed.com/news/story/7495
New York, NY - The widespread belief that organic and so-called "natural
foods" are safer than conventional ones is simply not true. Scientists
with the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) point out that
the foods that make up a traditional holiday dinner are loaded with "carcinogens":
chemicals that in large doses cause cancer in laboratory animals. None
of these chemicals are man-made or added to the foods. These "carcinogens"
occur naturally in foods.
But ACSH scientists have good news: these natural carcinogens, like their
synthetic counterparts, pose no hazard to human health -- because we are
exposed to such low levels, and because we are not the same as lab animals.
ACSH President, Dr. Elizabeth Whelan notes, "Americans are still
constantly bombarded with dire warnings that synthetic chemicals have
dangerous, if not downright deadly effects on our health." She continues,
"We're also told that so-called natural or organic foods are better
for us than those containing any synthetic ingredients or produced by
ACSH's Holiday Dinner Menu highlights the chemicals -- and the carcinogens
-- that Mother Nature herself has put in our food. These natural carcinogens,
like synthetic chemicals, have been shown to cause cancer only in very
high doses, given over a lifetime to lab animals. They are present in
such small amounts in our foods that they do not endanger consumers.
This fact hasn't dampened the ardor of self-styled consumer activists,
who "warn" consumers about the supposed dangers of acrylamide,
for example, which is produced when foods high in carbohydrates are cooked
at high temperatures. "Acrylamide, like the majority of the other
rodent carcinogens listed in the menu, has never been shown to be a human
carcinogen," observes ACSH nutrition director Dr. Ruth Kava.
No component of the traditional holiday meal is devoid of animal carcinogens
(defined here as substances that at high doses cause cancer in laboratory
- hydrazines (mushroom soup)
- aniline, caffeic acid, benzaldehyde, hydrogen peroxide, quercetin glycosides,
and psoralens (vegetable salad)
- heterocyclic amines, acrylamide, benzo(a)pyrene, ethyl carbamate, dihydrazines,
d-limonene, safrole, and quercetin glycosides (roast turkey with stuffing)
- benzene and heterocyclic amines (prime rib of beef with parsley sauce)
- furfural, ethyl alcohol, allyl isothiocyanate (broccoli, potatoes, sweet
- coumarin, methyl eugenol, acetaldehyde, estragole, and safrole (apple
and pumpkin pies)
- ethyl alcohol with ethyl carbamate (red and white wines)
Then sit back and relax with some benzofuran, caffeic acid, catechol,
1,2,5,6,-dibenz(a)anthracene with 4-methylcatechol (coffee).
And those -- all produced courtesy of Mother Nature -- are only the carcinogens.
Your 100% natural holiday meal is also replete with toxins. These include
the solanine, arsenic, and chaconine in potatoes, the hydrogen cyanide
in lima beans, and the hallucinogenic compound myristicin found in nutmeg,
black pepper, and carrots.
Rest easy, though, because virtually none of the compounds on ACSH's list
are established human carcinogens, and, as the Holiday Dinner Menu demonstrates,
we would have to eat enormous amounts of these foods over long periods
of time before we could ever expect them to cause cancer.
The same is true of the majority of the food additives that are now considered
to be "carcinogenic" based exclusively on animal experiments,
The American Council on Science and Health, a non-profit organization
dedicated to putting health risks in perspective, with over 300 science
and medical advisors, urges consumers to pay attention to realistic concerns
about our foods. The greatest health threats from our foods are (1) eating
too much of them -- enough to cause obesity with its accompanying illnesses
-- and (2) microbiological contamination. So enjoy your holiday foods
in moderation, with appropriate sanitary precautions -- without worrying
about the supposedly deadly chemicals they contain.
Shellfish Top CSPI Outbreak List
November 25, 2008
Source of Article: http://cspinet.org/new/200811251.html
As Thanksgiving Approaches, Group Urges Obama Administration to Make Food
Safety Top Priority
WASHINGTON?Outbreaks involving produce, including E. coli on spinach,
and Salmonella on jalapeno peppers and fresh tomatoes grabbed headlines
this year and last. But when you look at relative rates of outbreak-related
illnesses caused by various foods, fish and shellfish turn out to cause
more sicknesses per bite than any other category. Turkey is linked to
three times as many illnesses as chicken?no doubt in part because many
harried holiday cooks might not as be as familiar with how to safely thaw
and cook a whole big bird, or to store the leftovers
"While many food safety disasters in the home can be avoided with
careful handling, those coming to the table from farms and factories here
and abroad have become far too frequent over the last few years,"
said Caroline Smith DeWaal, director of food safety for the nonprofit
Center for Science in the Public Interest. "Instead of relying on
recalls and warnings, the Food and Drug Administration should focus on
preventing these problems from ever reaching consumers."
According to the foodborne-illness data crunched by CSPI in its annual
Outbreak Alert! report, a pound of fish and shellfish is 29 times more
likely to cause illness than the safest food category, a pound of dairy
foods. After dairy, produce is the second safest category of food, followed
by pork (click to see accompanying chart).
Even when not adjusted for consumption, CSPI's Outbreak Alert! database
has more seafood outbreaks, 1,140, than for any other category of food.
Fin fish, such as tuna, grouper, mahi mahi, and salmon, were linked to
694 of those outbreaks; mollusks, including oysters, clams, and mussels
were linked to 175 outbreaks; and the rest linked to shrimp, lobster,
or foods such as crab cakes and tuna burgers. While Vibrio bacteria and
noroviruses contributed to those, naturally occurring toxins such as scombrotoxin
and ciguatoxin account for a plurality of seafood outbreaks.
"Our food safety system is based on antiquated laws, including ones
that are more than a hundred years old," DeWaal said. "A hundred
years ago we weren¡¯t importing millions of pounds of seafood from Asia,
nor were we repacking Mexican tomatoes and shipping them to 50 states.
Modernizing this system should be an urgent priority of the Obama administration,
to reduce outbreaks and illnesses from food and restore consumer confidence."
Outbreak Alert! includes nearly 5,800 outbreaks that occurred between
1990 and 2006 for which both the food and the pathogen are identified.
The data set has been published by CSPI for the last 10 years, and can
be reviewed on CSPI's website. Because foodborne illness is dramatically
underreported, because much foodborne illness does not occur in outbreaks,
and because it is so difficult to prove which food caused an outbreak,
CSPI's data represents just the tip of a very large iceberg: Each year,
according to the CDC, foodborne illness sickens 76 million and kills 5,000
CSPI reminds home cooks to allow plenty of time to thaw whole turkeys
in the refrigerator?about 24 hours for every four to five pounds?and to
not let germs on the turkey grow by thawing on the counter. Cook whole
turkeys to 180 degrees F as measured by a meat thermometer inserted into
the thickest part of the thigh and be sure to refrigerate leftovers within
2 hours after cooking to keep them safe.
Lawsuit Filed in
Nevada Botulism Case
Source of Article:
A federal lawsuit against Campbell's soup company, Albertson's markets
and Save Mart claiming they were sickened and hospitalized for botulism
poisoning after eating a can of chicken broth in 2006.
While Randy and Marjorie Main were being treated, the can of Swanson's
seasoned chicken broth with roasted garlic was tested and C. Botulinum
was found, according to the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Reno.
According to the complaint, the Mains bought the chicken broth from an
Albertson's grocery store on Pyramid Lake Highway in Sparks on Dec. 23,
2006, and added it to their mashed potatoes "in the manner described
on the can of broth," the suit said.
They ate the potatoes on Dec. 26, and "developed symptoms consistent
with botulism poisoning," including having trouble breathing and
muscle weakness, the suit said. Both were hospitalized, diagnosed and
tested positive for botulism and were given an anti-toxin, the suit said.
But they were unable to breathe on their own, and both were given tracheotomies
and placed on ventilators, the suit said. During this period, Randy Main
"suffered a respiratory arrest that led to a hypoxic brain injury,"
the suit said. The couple had to stay in the hospital from December 2006
until March 2007, the suit said.
gross out of the grocery cart
Source of Article: http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=252831&src=120
The Wall Street Journal
Published: 11/24/2008 12:15 AM
When Brad Blaine grabbed a cart on a recent run to the Chevy Chase Supermarket
in suburban Maryland, he noticed it was a little moist.
He was puzzled, he says, until he figured out that the cart had been pushed
through a sort of car wash for shopping carts - a hut set up at the store
that mists a disinfecting peroxide solution onto carts as they're pushed
"As soon as I realized what it was, I felt, 'Here's a store that's
going through the trouble to make sure customers feel safe,'" says
the 48-year-old dad.
The cart wash represents the latest effort from both entrepreneurs and
grocers to take the gross out of grocery carts. Though hardly Public Enemy
No. 1, shopping carts are gaining a reputation as one of the dirtiest
public places, with some found to harbor such microbial villains as the
diarrhea-causing campylobacter and the potentially deadly salmonella.
Cleansing-wipe dispensers have been appearing next to shopping carts at
grocery stores for some years now. But a host of other products have emerged
to appease germophobes who shop. These new offerings include protective
covers that minimize infants' contact with the seat, full-cart liners
and portable, snap-on handles carried by consumers.
No one disputes that carts harbor microbes. In a study released last year,
University of Arizona researchers who sampled bacterial content on 60
grocery-store shopping carts in the Los Angeles area found that cart surfaces
had exponentially more bacteria than what they had measured in about 100
public restrooms, from toilet seats to flush handles.
And a 2006 study of 442 infected infants in eight states by the Centers
for Disease Control showed that riding in shopping carts next to meat
was one of the biggest identified risk factors for salmonella infection
in infants, right below reptile exposure and consumption of partially
Still, some public-health experts scoff at the emergence of cart-sanitizing
products, saying the best flu prevention comes from remembering to wash
your hands. "It is a futile endeavor to strive for an antiseptic
environment," says Rolf Halden, professor at Arizona State University
who is an expert in public-health issues. "The consumerism of producing
more and more products to try to achieve something unsustainable makes
Elaine Larson, a professor at Columbia University School of Nursing, adds:
"Common sense says that shopping carts should be cleaned every now
and then." But, she says, "in the relative risk of things, it's
way down on the priority list."
So far, it has been hard to gauge the appetite for this arsenal of new
cleaning products. With sales of $25 million a year, wipes provided at
the grocery store are still a small part of the entire $1.8 billion wipes
industry, but are growing about twice as fast as other types of wipes,
estimates Mike Richardson, industry analyst for the Freedonia Group in
Cleveland, which has studied this market.
Still, relatively few grocery shoppers are reaching for the wipes they
see in stores. Purell wipes, made by GoJo Industries Inc., are used by
only 5 percent of customers in the first year the dispensers are installed
in a store, though more shoppers tend to use them in subsequent years
as the behavior "normalizes," says John DePace, GoJo's director
of market development for grocery. Another brand of wipes, called SaniCart,
is used by between 15 percent to 20 percent of customers in stores where
the wipes are provided, a spokesman for manufacturer Nice-Pak says.
Meanwhile, the manufacturer of the cart wash Blaine used argues that grocers
- not customers - should ensure the cleanliness of carts. "We like
the idea of wipes, but what's the message?" says Jim Kratowicz, president
of PureCart, Green Bay, Wis. "Our carts are dirty, here's a rag,
go clean it?"
PureCart's cleaning devices, launched two years ago, are now in 21 grocery
stores in the U.S. Each machine costs about $7,500 a year for a store
to rent; the company tells grocers that stores that provide the machines
will draw more customers.
Other products are targeted directly to consumers. A number of Whole Foods
Market Inc. stores sell protective liners for mothers who put babies in
carts. Made by Pelham, N.H.-based Babe Ease LLC, the Clean Shopper is
a coverlet that allows the baby to sit in the cart without coming into
direct contact with it. The product retails for about $30.
Marge Dandy and her husband came up with the idea for another variation
on the theme, the Healthy Handle, after Ms. Dandy, who had just completed
cancer treatments, cut her hand on a plastic shopping cart handle. The
product is made from plastic and snaps over the handle. The Dandys, who
live in Shawnee, Okla., have sold about 5,000 Healthy Handles since launching
their Web site, thehealthyhandle.com, two years ago. The handles retail
for about $10 each.
lawsuit against organic dairy in California
Suit alleges dairy shipped raw milk across state lines
(Capital Press, CA)
By Mateusz Perkowski
A California organic dairy producer vows to fight a federal government
lawsuit that seeks to bar his company from shipping raw milk products
across state lines.
"The (Food and Drug Administration) is reaching way beyond its authority
to intimidate us and what we do, but we will not be intimidated,"
said Mark McAfee, owner of the Organic Pastures Dairy Company in Fresno,
The U.S. Justice Department filed suit against McAfee in a U.S. district
court Thursday, Nov. 20, claiming that he endangered public health by
violating a federal law against interstate commerce in unpasteurized milk.
The U.S. Health and Human Services Department, which oversees FDA, is
also participating in the lawsuit.
"Raw milk and raw milk products contain a wide variety of harmful
bacteria including, but not limited to, listeria monocytogenes, E. coli,
salmonella, campylobacter and brucella, all of which may cause illness
and possibly death," according to the federal government's complaint.
According to the federal government's lawsuit, McAfee circumvented restrictions
on the interstate shipment of raw milk by labeling outgoing boxes as "pet
food." Unpasteurized milk is allowed to cross state lines as long
as it's used for that purpose.
However, the retail products within the boxes did not mention pet food
and the labeling language was clearly directed at human consumers, according
to the government's complaint.
The lawsuit contends that an employee at Organic Pastures Dairy unwittingly
acknowledged the pet food label was a "legal loophole for the firm
to be able to ship the product out of state" to an undercover FDA
McAfee admitted as much in a 2005 Portland Tribune article in which he
was quoted as saying, "And there is no regulation that you can't
eat pet food, either," according to the complaint.
Organic Pastures Dairy no longer labels its products as pet food unless
the customer signs an affidavit saying the milk will only be fed to animals,
McAfee said. The company established that policy after the FDA threatened
it with a criminal indictment earlier this year, he said.
The only product McAfee now ships out of state is colostrum, which, as
dietary supplement, can legally cross state lines, he said. Colostrum,
or milk that is secreted shortly after birth, is used for immune system
support and other health benefits.
"They fail to understand that what we do is completely legal,"
McAfee expects the presiding judge, Oliver Wanger, to rule against the
federal government before the case goes to trial.
The federal government wants the judge to issue an injunction prohibiting
McAfee from shipping his products out of California, no matter how they
The government's lawsuit says that seven people died and more than 460
fell ill from diseases associated with raw milk consumption between 2000
and 2005. Epidemiological studies have established a direct link between
raw milk and gastrointestinal disease, according to the complaint.
Proponents of raw milk, such as the Weston A. Price Foundation, say such
studies are biased and based on sloppy science.
"Most of them represent a rush to judgment in which the investigators
blamed raw milk without sufficient evidence or even in the face of contrary
evidence," according to a report from the foundation.
Raw milk contains beneficial proteins, enzymes, vitamins and minerals,
according to proponents.Christine Chessen, director of the California
Raw Milk Association, said that raw milk can alleviate symptoms of asthma,
eczema, allergies and immune disease.
"I don't see why they're making such a big deal out of it, especially
since people have gotten such amazing health benefits from it," she
The federal government alleges that the Organic Pastures Dairy website
unlawfully claimed "that their raw milk and raw milk products can
cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent various diseases including, but not
limited to, cataracts, ear infections, sinus infections, arthritis pain,
allergy, and asthma."
McAfee said that his website did not make such claims, but contained links
to other sites that include health benefit information and substantiated
those claims with scientific studies.
"That's legal to do," he said.
At one time, the Organic Pastures Dairy website contained testimonials
from customers, but those were removed in 2005 after the company was fined
by the California Department of Health Services, McAfee said. 11-21-08
tool minimises food loss, says US developer
By Jane Byrne , 25-Nov-2008
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/
A new metal detector targeted at the food processing sector offers minimal
loss of good material due to a fast reacting, powerful pneumatic drive
for the reject gate, says the manufacturer. Charles Whitt, marketing manager
at Bunting Magnetics Company, said that the new Quicktron 05 RH detector
provides reliable detection of metals such as ferrous, bronze alloys and
stainless steel in any type of food in the raw form without process interruption.
Metal detection in food is required due to the fact that different processing
equipment throughout a facility gives off tiny stainless steel filings
that must be removed prior to further processing or packaging. Locating
their presence can prove to be difficult task for manufacturers, so detectors
can help ensure product safety and quality.
Whitt told FoodProductionDaily.com that this Quicktron model differs from
conventional detectors in that it has a removable flap and diverter that
can be quickly disconnected without tools; in addition, he said, it has
a built-in sensing tube to block out outside interference. He explained
that the detection process involves two sender coils and one transmitter
coil working in tandem so that as metal passes through the system the
electromagnetic field is disrupted, enabling a signal to be sent to the
controls for automatic separation of the metal from the product.
According to Whitt, the detector¡¯s open framework and its round reject
mechanism without critical edges prevents dust and dirt settlement, while
the product contacting parts are made from food grade materials such as
stainless steel, polypropylene, silicone, and Teflon. The Quicktron 05
RH is suitable for all applications and throughputs, with round apertures
available from 50 to 300mm diameter (2 to 12 inches), he continued.
Whitt said that the metal detector features a touch pad control panel
that has easy to follow menus, and it is also easy to integrate into an
existing plant as it has low headroom and compact dimensions. He added
that the detector should be placed within the processing line where raw
food product is being gravity fed into the production process. The Kansas
based company said the Quicktron 05 RH is available to European food manufacturers
as well as its US client base.
awards funding for antimicrobial agent
By Jane Byrne, 24-Nov-2008
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com
A new phage-based technology aimed at eliminating or reducing contamination
of red meat and fresh produce by E. coli 0157:H7 has received a development
grant from the US Army, according to its developer, Intralytix.
The company said the funding for its food additive, ECP 100, is part of
the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants process awarded by
the Army to support the transition of products into the marketplace.
John Vazzana, chief executive officer of Intralytix, said that the bacteriophage
cocktail has been tested effective against over 100 strains of E. coli
0157:H7, and could be sprayed onto red meats, fruit and vegetables to
inhibit contamination by the pathogen.
ECP 100 is the second phage-based food safety product developed by the
The biotechnology firm recently announced that its product, LMP-102 received
approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a food additive
effective against Listeria monocytogenes on ready-to-eat foods.
Vazzana told FoodProductionDaily.com at the time that the EPA registration
enables food manufacturers to use LMP-102 on food processing equipment
as well as on ready-to-eat food products.
He said that the antimicrobial agent can be sprayed onto equipment and
food produce such as coleslaw, unpasteurized cheese, pasteurized milk,
delicatessen and other types of meat products.
"As LMP-102 is an all natural product it will not corrode or damage
equipment nor alter a food product's general composition, taste, odour
or colour," said Vazzana.
Vazzana said that that LMP-102 is more costly than some chemicals but
that it is competitively priced in comparison to other types of antimicrobial
He said that commercial sales of the phage-based product have recently
commenced in the US but that Intralytix intends to expand into other markets
and is seeking regulatory approval in the EU. According to the US Centre
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 76 million people get sick,
300,000 are hospitalized, and 5,000 die in the US from foodborne illness
Listeria monocytogenes and E. coli 0157:H7 are two of the seven foodborne
organisms causing these problems, claims Intralytix.
E. coli meat test
Meanwhile a newly developed E.coli tool from Canadian company Vacci-Test,
FoodChek E.coli, uses magnetic nanotechnology and a proprietary, inexpensive
and easy-to-use magnetic reader that provides a very sensitive, specific
and quantitative test result, claims the manufacturer. The company said
that the E.coli tool has successfully completed field trials in two meat
processing plants: ¡°The field trials have shown that it can accurately
test for E.coli O157:H7 in less than 6 hours.¡± Sandy MacPherson, chairman
of the executive operating committee of Vacci-Test, said that the E.coli
testing tool will have ¡°a major impact for both regulatory agencies and
meat-processors. Potential food contaminants such as E.coli O157:H7 can
now be tested on site and identified prior to the end of a production
And Econiche, a new vaccine for cattle that aims to reduce the risk of
food and waterborne contamination from E. coli O157:H7 bacteria, recently
received approval from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Econiche
can now be used by Canadian cattle producers and veterinarians, according
to Bioniche. The development will be of huge interest to meat processors
as recalls linked to bacterial contamination can cause illness, as well
as being costly and brand damaging. The company said its vaccine works
by preventing the E. coli O157:H7 organism from attaching to the intestines
of vaccinated cattle, thereby reducing their reproduction within the animal,
and reducing the amount of bacteria that can be released through cattle
manure in the environment.
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