List of Newsletters
To subscribe this Food Safety Newsletter,
Click here for more information
Calls Off Ban on Animal Antibiotics
(Wall Street Journal) By ALICIA MUNDY and JARED FAVOLE
The Food and Drug Administration said it would continue allowing the widespread
use of a class of powerful antibiotics in food-producing animals, making
a last-minute reversal after calling the practice a public-health risk
The agency's bid this summer to ban many uses of cephalosporin drugs in
cows, swine, chickens and other animals came under fire from the industry.
Agriculture groups and animal-drug makers, including Pfizer Inc., said
the antibiotics are needed to prevent many infectious diseases in animals.
Public-health officials and the American Medical Association are worried
that excessive use of antibiotics -- including in animals -- can promote
resistance and produce strains of bacteria that threaten human life. Cephalosporins
treat respiratory diseases in cattle and swine but are also often given
"off-label" for uses not approved by the FDA to poultry or more
generally in livestock for non-approved infectious diseases.
On July 3, the FDA announced a planned crackdown on off-label uses in
animals, citing "the importance of cephalosporin drugs for treating
disease in humans."
That position was reiterated in September by the FDA's director of veterinary
drugs, Steven Vaughn. "We have [bacterial organisms] moving around
the world that we have never seen before," he told a conference,
according to Dairy Herd Management magazine. Dr. Vaughn, who couldn't
be reached for comment, told the group that antibiotic-resistant bacteria
are becoming more common in cattle.
Groups such as the Animal Population Health Institute, the Kansas Health
Department and the National Turkey Federation, objected to the proposed
ban. The American Veterinary Medical Association complained to the FDA
that the data on the human impact it used to support the ban were flawed.
On Nov. 25, five days before the ban was to take effect, the FDA quietly
revoked it with a notice in the Federal Register. The FDA's statement
said the agency received many comments and needed more time to review
them. A spokeswoman said the agency still could impose restrictions later.
"You have to give the FDA credit for its good-faith response to our
concerns," said Tom Burkgren, director of the Association of American
Swine Veterinarians. Dr. Burkgren said some of the new diseases striking
swine today aren't mentioned on cephalosporin labels, and there are few
Keep Antibiotics Working, a group that promotes agriculture-production
changes, denounced the FDA's reversal. "They were under a lot of
pressure from companies and agriculture, the producers, to end the ban,"
said the organization's chief, Steven Roach.
Pfizer, whose cephalosporin drug Excede is approved for certain uses in
animals, said more time is needed to analyze the risk posed to treatment
of animal diseases from cephalosporin restrictions.
The FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine has been involved in other recent
controversies. In June, it abruptly announced it was allowing Wyeth's
heartworm drug ProHeart 6 back on the market. It was withdrawn in 2004
amid some 500 reports of dog deaths. 12-09-08
helps test for pesticide residue in beef
sets tolerable daily intake for melamine in food
Source of Article:
12/09/2008-The World Health Organization (WHO) has established a tolerable
daily intake (TDI) of 0.2 mg/kg body weight of melamine. While WHO believes
that there is no good reason to have any melamine in food products, the
TDI is meant to help national authorities set safe limits in food for
withdrawal purposes should melamine be detected as a result of intentional
This threshold is lower than the European Union¡¯s limitation of 0.5 mg.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration originally set its limit at 0.63
mg but because infants may be more sensitive than adults to exposures
the FDA applied an additional 10-fold safety factor. This results in a
TDI/10 of 0.063 mg melamine/kg body weight. The TDI is the outcome of
a meeting organized by WHO held Dec. 5 in Ottawa, Canada.
seeks summary judgment in salmonella suit
Source of Article: http://www.examiner.com/
CORTEZ, Colo. (Map, News) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has asked a judge for
a summary judgment in its favor in a lawsuit filed by a Colorado man who
claims he got salmonella from jalapeno peppers purchased at a Cortez Supercenter.
Brian Grubbs of Dolores filed the suit in Montezuma County District Court
in September, blaming peppers his family purchased from Wal-Mart in June.
Attorneys for Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart filed a motion last month
saying Grubbs' attorneys have produced no evidence that the store is liable.
The judge hasn't ruled on Wal-Mart's request for a summary judgment.
Grubbs' suit seeks unspecified damages from Wal-Mart and an unknown company
that supplied the jalapenos to the store.
Raw milk man fined $55,000
Posted: December 08, 2008, 5:52 PM by Rob Roberts
Source of Article: http://network.nationalpost.com/
By Melissa Leong, National Post
A southern Ontario milkman has been fined $55,000 for selling milk straight
from a cow¡¯s udder. In October, Michael Schmidt, a 54-year-old organic
farmer, was convicted of defying a court order by continuing to sell raw,
unpasteurized milk from his 30 cows. He was informed of the fine ? $5,000
on the charges and $50,000 for court costs ? last week.
He said he intends to appeal the conviction and will continue to provide
milk to his customers. ¡°It takes more than that to stop me,¡± the raw-milk
activist said today.
He will be holding a press conference Wednesday at Queens Park.
He faces 22 charges at another trial in January, following a raid on his
farm by armed Ministry of Natural Resources officers in 2006.
The farmer, whose supporters say they have raised $120,000 for his defence,
said he is eager to confront authorities about the public safety of milk.
For 14 years, Mr. Schmidt, who grew up in Germany, has struggled for the
right to sell unpasteurized milk, forbidden under laws governing the production
and sale of milk.
He said 150 families each own a share in cattle, who graze on pasture
in Grey County about 200 kilometres northwest of Toronto. The shares allow
each family to a share of a cow¡¯s milk production.
Canada is the only country in the G8 that requires pasteurization of all
milk, he said.
¡°People need to decide for themselves what is good for their body and
what is not good,¡± he said. ¡°Unpasteurized milk, compared to any other
food, has a much higher safety standard than most foods.¡±
In May, 2007, applying the Health Protection and Promotion Act, a court
ordered Mr. Schmidt to stop ¡°offering for sale, selling or distributing,
unpasteurized milk and unpasteurized milk products in the jurisdiction
of York Region.¡±
Mr. Justice Cary Boswell of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice said
York region did a ¡°flawed¡± job of trying to prove Mr. Schmidt defied the
order; they did not seize any milk products to be tested.
But Mr. Schmidt convicted himself, the judge said, with comments he made
to the Toronto Sun proving that his farm still sells raw milk.
Conservative MPP Randy Hillier posted a note of support on his Web site
for Mr. Schmidt, calling him a ¡°man of conscience and conviction.¡±
He said the Ontario government has an obligation to review its legislation
surrounding raw milk, which is has not been re-visited since 1939.
food crisis spreads to beef
Source of Article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/feedarticle/8135665
Reuters, Tuesday December 9 2008
By Carmel Crimmins
DUBLIN, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Three cattle herds in Ireland were contaminated
with dioxins, authorities said on Tuesday, dragging the country's crucial
beef industry into a scandal that has already sparked an international
recall of Irish pork products.
One of the world's top five beef exporters said there was no need to recall
any Irish beef products because the level and extent of contamination
in the affected animals was much lower than the levels discovered at 10
"This is not a public health issue," Farm Minister Brendan Smith
told a news conference. "I'm pleased and relieved with these results."
But the discovery will further undermine Ireland's reputation as a supplier
of wholesome foods, particularly in Europe, where Ireland is the biggest
supplier of imported beef.
The European Commission said EU food safety regulators were satisfied
with Ireland's reaction to the cattle issue so far.
Government officials said tests were being carried out on 34 more cattle
herds. They identified a total of 45 herds that had been exposed to dioxins.
If the tests come back within acceptable limits those animals will be
released into the food chain.
Feed contaminated with dioxins was also fed to some cattle in the British
province of Northern Ireland, Britain's food safety watchdog, the Food
Standards Agency, said on Tuesday.
The FSA said it was awaiting the results of tests to determine the levels
of contamination, if any, which may be present in the Northern Irish herds.
Tainted feed was also sent to nine pig farms in Northern Ireland and an
EU official said that Britain must tell EU food safety regulators by the
end of Tuesday what it will do about pork coming from those farms.
Earlier this week, more than 20 countries cleared their shelves of Irish
pork after 80-200 times the legal level of dioxin was found in some pig
In some forms and with long exposure, dioxin can cause cancer and fertility
"In the case of the beef, the levels were two to three times the
legal limit," Alan Reilly, chief executive of the Food Safety Authority
of Ireland, told reporters.
"For these things to be a risk, it has to be long-term exposure and
the exposure here is very short term."
The number of cattle from the three herds account for 0.08 percent of
total annual production and will be removed from the food chain, Reilly
"The industry's priority now is to communicate this positive message
to customers of Irish beef at home and internationally," said Cormac
Healy, director of Meat Industry Ireland.
Cattle and beef account for more than one-quarter of Ireland's total agricultural
output, according to trade body Food and Drink Industry Ireland.
PRAYING FOR PROGRESS
But while Ireland's beef farmers breathed a sigh of relief, pig producers
and processors were struggling with a major financial crisis.
"This should be our busiest week of the year for getting hams into
the factories for the Christmas market and that's a real concern. If we
lose that ham market it's a major loss," said Michael Maguire, a
pig farmer from County Cavan.
A backlog of 26,000 pigs had built up at farms, putting a strain on farmers,
Maguire said. Pork producers are seeking emergency aid to help foot a
bill of at least 100 million euros ($128.7 million).
"We are keeping our fingers crossed and praying to all the gods that
we know that we will have some progress on this by this evening,"
said Maguire, who normally sell 400 pigs a week.
"We are hoping that the processors will indicate that they will be
open for business, hopefully tomorrow and Thursday at the latest."
Pig processors have refused to reopen their slaughterhouses until they
get compensation for the loss of trade. Talks with the government resumed
on Tuesday and farmers are hoping production will resume this week.
Nearly 1,400 employees had been laid off from processing plants and up
to 6,000 jobs were at risk, the SIPTU trade union said.
"As long as the industry is shut down the losses are escalating every
day," Padraig Walsh, president of the Irish Farmers' Association,
The European Commission said contaminated Irish pork had been shipped
to 21 countries and territories, including Britain, France and Germany
within the EU, and Japan, Russia, China and the United States outside
the trading bloc. (Reporting by Carmel Crimmins; editing by Karen Foster)
FDA and WebMD
Source of Article: http://www.ift.org/news_bin/news/news_home.shtml
12/04/2008-The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that
it has formed a partnership with WebMD, the popular health news and information
Web site, to expand consumers¡¯ access to the FDA¡¯s timely health information.
As a part of the partnership, a new online consumer health information
resource will be created on WebMD?www.webmd.com/fda. Here, consumers can
access information on the safety of FDA-regulated products, including
food, medicine, and cosmetics, as well as learn how to report problems
involving safety of these products directly to the FDA. In addition, WebMD
will bring the FDA public health alerts to all WebMD registered users
and site visitors that request them.
Mad Cow Disease Appears to Be Much More Virulent Than Classical Form
Source of Article: http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/547058/
Newswise An atypical prion strain of mad cow disease, also called bovine
spongiform encephalopathy or BS, is more virulent than the classical strain,
according to a researcher who spoke Nov. 14 at Kansas State University.Qingzhong
Kong from Case Western Reserve University presented "Chronic Wasting
Disease and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy: Public Health Risk Assessment"
at the Emerging Infections Symposium: A Tribute to the One Medicine, One
The symposium drew nearly 150 researchers from Europe, Asia, North America
and the Middle East. Its major sponsors included the Kansas Bioscience
Authority and the Heartland BioAgro Consortium, which is leading an effort
to bring the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility to Kansas. K-State
is among five finalists for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility,
a federal center for animal health.
The symposium commemorated the opening of Juergen Richt's laboratory at
K-State. Richt is the Regents Distinguished Professor of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology
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 in cattle can cause BSE, which is the first
report of genetic prion disease in livestock.
In Kong's presentation, he also addressed chronic wasting disease. He
said research with humanized transgenic mouse models has shown no transmission
of the prevailing chronic wasting disease prion strain, but further research
is needed to fully evaluate the diversity of chronic wasting diseases
and their public health risks.
Manufacturers Association Conference Focused on Improving Food Safety
Through Harmonization of Global Third Party Food Safety Audit Criteria
Source of Article: http://www.marketwatch.com/
Last update: 5:48 p.m. EST Dec. 2, 2008
WASHINGTON, Dec 02, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- The Grocery
Manufacturers Association today kicked off a two-day meeting of industry
experts to identify essential criteria for third party food safety audits.
Third party food safety audits are already playing an integral role in
ensuring the safety and security of the food supply, and that role is
expected to grow as public and private sector agents continue to work
towards strengthening our food safety net.
"The full potential of third party audits has yet to be realized,
which is why this meeting is critical," said Dr. Robert Brackett,
GMA senior vice president and chief scientific and regulatory affairs
officer. "The sooner we can harmonize global audit criteria, the
sooner we can fully leverage third party audits to the maximum benefit
of the consumer."
The conference, titled Bolstering Consumer Confidence: Identifying Essential
Third Party Food Safety Audit Criteria, featured public sector speakers
Rich McKeown, chief of staff, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
and David Acheson, M.D., associate commissioner for foods, U.S. Food and
Drug Administration. The program also includes representatives of the
Consumer Federation of America, the World Bank and Bumble Bee Foods, LLC
President and CEO Christopher Lischewski. In addition to general sessions
and panel discussions, attendees will also participate in breakout sessions
designed to cull from their experiences new and innovative approaches
to harmonizing the global food safety system.
The American National Standards Institute, the National Fisheries Institute
and the Seafood Products Association co-sponsored the conference with
GMA. For more information on this event, please visit www.gmaonline.org.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) represents the world's leading
food, beverage and consumer products companies. The Association promotes
sound public policy, champions initiatives that increase productivity
and growth and helps to protect the safety and security of the food supply
through scientific excellence. The GMA board of directors is comprised
of chief executive officers from the Association's member companies. The
$2.1 trillion food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry employs
14 million workers, and contributes over $1 trillion in added value to
the nation's economy. For more information, visit the GMA Web site at
SOURCE Grocery Manufacturers Association http://www.gmaonline.org
Canadian E. coli
Outbreak Declared Over
Date Published: Monday,
December 8th, 2008
Source of Article: http://www.newsinferno.com/archives/4327
The Canadian E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that sickened dozens of diners who
patronized separate eating establishments is now being declared over by
Ontario¡¯s Ministry of Health, The Saint Catherines Standard is now reporting.
According to The Standard, bit has been over 20 days since the last ¡°probable
outbreak-related case¡± was discovered.
The Standard said that 56 people were sickened after eating at Little
Red Rooster in Niagara-on-the-Lake and M. T. Bellies Tap and Grillhouse
in Welland this autumn. However, health officials confirm that neither
restaurant is the source of the contamination, citing California-imported
romaine lettuce as the likely culprit.
E. coli are a group of bacteria found in animal intestines and feces and
have been known to cause contaminations in meat, produce, and water supplies.
While some E. coli strains are necessary for digestion; some are harmful,
deadly, and toxin-producing and part of a group of E. coli called Verocytotoxigenic
E. coli, or VTECs, also known as Shiga-producing E. coli. Of particular
concern is the virulent, sometimes deadly E. coli O157:H7 strain that
is part of this group, is generally found to be the culprit in E. coli-related
food-borne illness outbreak, and was to blame in the Canadian outbreaks.
E. coli may cause fatal blood poisoning, cystitis, deadly septicemia,
Symptoms of E. coli infection include stomach cramps and watery diarrhea
that may turn bloody within one to three days. More and more, E. coli
is turning up in produce and water and seems to be sweeping North America
in recent months with outbreaks popping up in a variety of states in the
U.S. and Canada. E. coli taints meat through improper butchering and processing
practices and, once released in the body, produces the Shiga-producing
toxins that has been linked to kidney damage in young children, and can
also lead to kidney failure and death.
Food borne contaminations are exacerbated with a food path that is difficult
to police because the food-surveillance system is outdated, under-funded,
and overwhelmed by the emergence of mega-farms, -distribution centers,
and -transporters. Couple this with the overarching problem with infectious
diseases, which are now becoming more resistant to bacteria because of
antibiotic overuse and abuse. And now, drug resistant E. coli are being
reported world-wide and there is also compelling data that the negative
health effects of E. coli can remain for months and years later confirming
these illnesses can have long-term, lasting effects that can either linger
for months or years or can show up months or years?as late as 10-to-20
years?after the original illness.
In the U.S. alone, E. coli is the leading cause of food-borne illness,
sickening about 73,000 and killing 61 each year and, last year, over 22
million pounds of beef and vegetables were recalled due to E. coli outbreaks.
for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) Food Outbreak Report 2008
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) identified a total
of 5,778 outbreaks of illness linked to specific foods, involving 168,898
individual illnesses that occurred between 1990 and 2006. An outbreak
involves two or more ill people. The food categories most commonly linked
to outbreaks were:
- Seafood: 1,140 outbreaks involving 11,809 cases of illness
- Produce: 768 outbreaks involving 35,060 cases of illness
- Poultry: 620 outbreaks involving 18,906 cases of illness
- Beef: 518 outbreaks involving 14,191 cases of illness
- Eggs: 351 outbreaks involving 11,143 cases of illness
This chart shows the relative
rates of illnesses linked to outbreaks among the food categories when
adjusted for consumption during the period of 1999 to 2006. Since Dairy
is the lowest risk food category per serving consumed, we set its rate
of illness as ¡°1¡± in order to facilitate a comparison between categories.
Remember, CSPI is counting
only those illnesses that are "officially" reported. The Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 76 million foodborne
illness cases occur in the United States every year. This amounts to one
in four Americans becoming ill after eating foods contaminated with such
pathogens as E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, Hepatitis A, Campylobacter,
Shigella, Norovirus, and Listeria. On an annual basis, approximately 325,000
people are hospitalized with a diagnosis of food poisoning, and 5,000
The Center for Science in the
Public Interest recommends:
1. The Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) should continue to improve outbreak reporting
and surveillance. The CDC has improved its reporting and surveillance
system, but gaps still remain. For example, nearly half of all states
do not follow national standards for tracking disease outbreaks. Those
gaps are particularly troubling given the numerous recent large outbreaks.
Improvements in state oversight and coordination and increased funding
at state level would allow CDC to act more quickly and could reduce the
sizes of foodborne illness outbreaks.
2. Congress should pass legislation
to modernize food safety laws and increase funding, starting with FDA¡¯s
food safety program. While creating a unified, independent food- safety
agency would be the best solution in the long run, the crisis in confidence
in FDA¡¯s ability to manage food safety problems creates an urgency for
making improvements at that agency. Outbreaks occur, in part, because
of inadequate regulatory authority, inadequate monitoring, and inadequate
funding. Congress should separate food safety from drug approvals, by
creating a new Food Safety Administration at the Department of Health
and Human Services. A new Administrator would oversee the modernization
of the food safety program, with an enhanced mission in the areas of prevention,
inspection and enforcement and would help restore consumer confidence.
Posted on November 29, 2008 by Food Poisoning Lawyer
can inhibit E. coli growth in ground beef, says US study
By Jane Byrne, 05-Dec-2008
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/
The addition of cranberry concentrate to ground beef may serve as an supplementary
hurdle to control potential E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks associated with
ground beef, claims a new US study.
Researchers at the University of Maine examined the potential for cranberry
concentrate (CC) to be used as a natural food preservative by examining
its antimicrobial effect on the growth of Escherichia coli O157:H7 inoculated
in ground beef as well as its organoleptical effect on beef burgers.
The findings of the research, which was published in the journal Food
Microbiology, indicated that cranberry concentrate at the tested concentrations
did not cause significant negative impact on the flavour, taste or colour
of burgers and also possessed antimicrobial effects.
The application of cranberry concentrate at low concentrations in ground
beef as an additional hurdle to prevent possible E. coli O157:H7 contamination
has not been previously reported, claim the authors.
Ground beef is a potentially hazardous food which can harbour pathogenic
microorganisms and permit their growth or the production of toxins if
temperature and time are not controlled, claim the authors of the study.
E. coli O157:H7 can survive in healthy cow guts and may contaminate beef
when cows are slaughtered.
In the US this year, millions of pounds of raw ground beef were recalled
because of E. coli O157:H7 contamination, and the researchers stress that
effective methods to prevent and eliminate such contaminations in ground
beef are as such essential for the food industry and consumers.
Consumers today tend to choose food products that are natural, safe, and
with multi-health benefits; burgers with cranberry concentrate, according
to the researchers, may be a product that can meet their requirements.
The article reports that American cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon)
contain many bioactive compounds that have antioxidant, anti-mutagenic,
antihypercholesterolemic and other beneficial health properties. However,
the authors said that they included sensory evaluation as part of their
research to determine if consumers would accept the organoleptical properties
of ground beef inoculated with cranberry concentrate.
Inoculated ground beef was added with CC and stored at 4¡ÆC for five days,
said the authors. Cranberry concentrate (2.5 per cent, 5 per cent, and
7.5 per cent w/w) reduced E. coli O157:H7 population by 0.4 log, 0.7 log,
and 2.4 log, respectively, when compared to the control on day five, claims
the team. They added that the inhibition effect of cranberry concentrate
increased with time and concentration. In addition, 50 panelists evaluated
the burgers supplemented with CC, and no differences in appearance, flavour,
and taste were found among burgers with 0 per cent, 2.5 per cent, and
5 per cent CC.
Source: Food Microbiology
Published online ahead of print
Title: Application of cranberry concentrate (Vaccinium macrocarpon) to
control Escherichia coli O157:H7 in ground beef and its antimicrobial
mechanism related to the downregulated slp, hdeA and cfa
Authors: V. C.H. Wu, X Qiu, B. G. de los Reyes, C.S. Lin, Y. Pan
antimicrobial effective against listeria in soft cheese
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/By Jane Byrne, 03-Dec-2008
Enterococcus faecium WHE 81, a multi-bacteriocin producer, is effective
as an antimicrobial against Listeria monocytogenes in Munster cheese,
a red smear soft cheese, according to a French study.
The authors of the study, which was published in the journal Food Microbiology,
said that it is well established that soft cheese is amongst the products
that pose the highest risk with regard to human listeriosis.
The researchers said that this present study, along with their previous
research provides strong evidence that, in case of smear soft cheese,
bacteriocin-producing lactic acid bacteria can perform efficiently to
control L. monocytogenes when used as surface cultures.
The purpose of the current research, according to the scientists involved,
was to investigate the antilisterial effectiveness of E. faecium WHE 81
used as culture for surface smear in Munster cheese. E faecium WHE 81,
isolated from Munster cheese has been reported to be a reputed multi-bacteriocin
producer with up to four independent antimicrobial peptides produced,
two of which are enterocins A and B, which are known to be effective antilisterial
agents, claims the report.
The researchers said that, during the ripening period, L. monocytogenes
rapidly initiated growth in control samples, with counts of approximately
104 CFU g?1 on day 17 and of approximately 105 CFU g?1 on day 21. Conversely,
in the test samples limited increases or no increase at all in L. monocytogenes
counts was recorded during the cheese ripening. At the term of the ripening
period, L. monocytogenes often remained below enumeration levels and most
of the samples analyzed were free from the pathogen, claims the study.
And, according to the published findings, the inoculation of the cheese
with E. faecium WHE 81 did not result in any perceivable change in pH,
fungal flora or pigmented bacteria in the cheese rind during ripening.
¡°In our experiments, L. monocytogenes could not initiate growth and was
even eradicated in most cheeses analyzed. ¡°Therefore, the supplementary
use of bacteriocin-producing E. faecium appears to be a promising measure
to combat L. monocytogenes in an infected production line,¡± claim the
However, the scientists note that the continuous use of a bacteriocin
is questionable as a primary means of food preservation as resistant Listeria
mutants often occur as a result. ¡°In this regard, the fact that E. faecium
WHE 81 could produce several bacteriocins with different structures is
an interesting feature, especially since synergistic activity has been
shown between enterocin A and enterocin B, two of the bacteriocins produced
by this strain," claim the research team. They argue, therefore,
that the use of E. faecium WHE 81 as an antimicrobial could be considered
as a mutli-bacteriocin hurdle approach, likely to be more efficient in
preventing the growth of undesired bacteria than the use of a single bacteriocin
Source: Food Microbiology Volume 26 Issue 1 February 2009, Pages 16-20
Published online ahead of print
Title: Smearing of soft cheese with Enterococcus faecium WHE 81, a multi-bacteriocin
producer, against Listeria monocytogenes
Authors: E. Izquierdo, E. Marchioni, D. Aoude-Werner, C. Hasselmann, S.
fears becoming hysterical: BMJ
By Stephen Daniells, 10-Dec-2008
Source of Article: http://www.foodnavigator.com/
Fears over the dangers of peanut allergy, a potentially deadly allergy
for certain people, are becoming sensationalist and hysterical, according
to a Harvard professor.
A level-headed approach is needed before the situation spirals out of
control, wrote Professor Nicolas Christakis from Harvard Medical School
in the British Medical Journal.
The food industry is already bound by certain regulations, depending on
the country, to highlight possible allergens in a food product, such as
the EU¡¯s Labelling Directive 2000/13/EC.
But Prof Christakis said that such an approach, however well intentioned,
may actually ¡°fan the flames, since they signal to parents that nuts are
a clear and present danger.
¡°This encourages more parents to worry, which fuels the epidemic. It also
encourages more parents to have their children tested, thus detecting
mild and meaningless ¡®allergies¡¯ to nuts. And this encourages still more
avoidance of nuts, leading to still more sensitisation.
¡°The cycle of increasing anxiety, draconian measures, and an increasing
prevalence of nut allergies must be broken,¡± he said.
Peanut allergies are rising in humans, with an estimated 2.5 million people
in Europe and the US now vulnerable to the food allergy.
There is no current cure for food allergy and vigilance by an allergic
individual is the only way to prevent a reaction but a peanut allergy
can be so severe that only very tiny amounts can be enough to trigger
Current recommendations in many countries, such as the UK and the US,
for would-be mothers are to avoid peanuts during pregnancy, breastfeeding,
However, a recent study comparing incidence of peanut allergy in Jewish
children in the UK and Israel (where no such recommendations exist) showed
that children in the UK were 10 times more likely to suffer from peanut
allergy than their Israeli counterparts.
Findings in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology showed that
69 per cent of Israeli children were consuming peanut, while only ten
per cent of the children in the UK were eating peanuts.
¡°Measures to control nuts are instead making things worse in a cycle of
over-reaction and increasing sensitisation,¡± said Prof Christakis.
One example cited in the BMJ article involved the evacuation and decontamination
pf a school bus in the US following discovery of one peanut on the floor.
The school bus was full of ten year olds, who could arguably have been
told simply to not eat food off the floor.
The "gross over-reaction to the magnitude of the threat" is
very similar to mass psychogenic illness (MPI), said Prof Christakis,
previously known as epidemic hysteria.
Outbreaks of MPI involve healthy people in a flow of anxiety, most often
triggered by a fear of contamination, he said. Being around individuals
who are anxious heightens others' anxiety.
Lightning bolts are equally
In attempt to add perspective, the Harvard professor notes that 150 people
die each year from food allergies in the US. On the other hand, 100 people
die from lightening strikes, 45,000 die in automobile accidents, and 10,000
are hospitalised for traumatic brain injury from playing sport. ¡°We do
not see calls to end athletics,¡± he said. ¡°There are no doubt thousands
of parents who rid their cupboards of peanut butter but not of guns,¡±
he added. ¡°And more children assuredly die walking or being driven to
school each year than die from nut allergies.¡±
Source: British Medical Journal
2008; 337: a2880
¡°This allergies hysteria is just nuts¡±
Author: N.A. Christakis
for enhanced monitoring of GE crops
Source of Article: http://www.ift.org/news_bin/news/news_home.shtml
12/09/2008-The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released
a report in which it examines the current state of regulation over genetically
modified crops and makes suggestions on how to improve oversight of the
crops. Due to the unauthorized mixing of some GE crops with non-GE crops,
GAO felt it necessary to examine: 1. unauthorized releases of GE-crops;
2. coordination among the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA), Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA); and 3.
additional actions they have proposed to improve oversight.
While the USDA, EPA, and FDA have proposed regulatory changes intended
to improve their oversight of GE crops, GAO concluded that they could
improve their efforts. GAO recommends that:
1. FDA make public the results of its early food safety assessments of
2. USDA and FDA develop an agreement to share information on GE crops
with traits that, if released into the food or feed supply, could cause
3. USDA, EPA, and FDA develop a risk-based strategy for monitoring the
widespread use of marketed GE crops.
The FDA agreed with the first recommendation, and, with the USDA, agreed
in part with the second. In addition, the agencies agreed in part with
the third recommendation.
List of Newsletters
To subscribe this Food Safety Newsletter
(C). All rights reserved FoodHACCP.com.