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Butter Recalls Involve Over 180 Products Linked to One Plant
Source of Article: http://www.aboutlawsuits.com/
January 23rd, 2009
The nationwide peanut butter recalls issued as a result of the recent
salmonella outbreak now involves over 180 products which contained peanut
ingredients processed at a single plant in Georgia.
Over 30 million pounds of peanut butter and peanut paste produced at a
plant operated by Peanut Corporation of America in Blakely, Georgia have
been recalled due to possible contamination with Salmonella typhimurium,
which could produce food poisoning symptoms within 12 to 72 hours.
According to the latest numbers provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC), 486 cases of salmonella food poisoning have
been reported throughout the United States. This includes at least 6 salmonella
deaths and over 100 hospitalizations involving more severe forms of food
The reported number of food poisoning cases is likely to skyrocket over
the next few weeks, as it usually takes up to three weeks for the CDC
to receive reports of illness. In addition, only 1% to 10% of all cases
are usually ever reported, meaning that tens of thousands of people have
likely been sickened by the contaminated peanut butter.
The Salmonella typhimurium strain of bacteria found in the reported cases
of food poisoning was also found in an open five gallon container of peanut
butter at a nursing home in Minnesota which was manufactured by Peanut
Corporation of America.
Kellogg Co. has also confirmed that the FDA has identified the strain
of salmonella in Austin Peanut Butter Crackers which were made from peanut
paste produced at that plant.
On January 19, 2009, the Connecticut Department of health tested a previously
unopened container of King Nut peanut butter which was produced by Peanut
Corporation of America. That container also contained the same strain
of bacteria, confirming that the source of the contamination is the processing
plant where the container was sealed after production.
The peanut processing plant has been closed, but the potentially contaminated
products produced have been distributed throughout the United States.
Peanut butter sold in bulk containers between 5 pounds and 1,700 pounds
were shipped to food service institutions, such as nursing homes, hospitals
and schools, raising substantial health concerns, since young children,
elderly and those with a compromised immune system are more susceptible
to food poisoning.
Peanut paste manufactured at the plant was also sold to more than 70 different
manufacturers who used the ingredient in hundreds of different types of
peanut butter cookies, peanut butter crackers, cereal, candy and ice cream
with peanut butter, making it difficult for consumers to identify which
products have been recalled.
The FDA has established a searchable database at FDA.gov with the current
list of peanut butter recalls. However, since new products seem to be
added to the list daily, many consumers are avoiding anything with peanut
butter in it.
Peanut Corporation of America, which is a family owned business with less
than 50 employees, will likely face hundreds or even thousands of peanut
butter food poisoning lawsuits which will ultimately be filed on behalf
of individuals who are diagnosed with salmonella typhimurium food poisoning.
Update: Outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium by CDC
says Georgia plant is sole salmonella source
Wed Jan 21, 2009 5:00pm EST
Source of Article: http://www.reuters.com/ By Will Dunham
WASHINGTON, Jan 21 (Reuters)
- The sole source of the U.S. salmonella outbreak involving contaminated
peanut butter appears to be the Peanut Corp of America's Blakely, Georgia
processing facility, federal officials said on Wednesday.
More than 125 products including cookies, crackers, ice cream and even
some pet food have been recalled in connection with the outbreak, the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.
Six deaths may be associated with the outbreak, the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention said. The CDC said at least 486 people from 43
states and one person in Canada have been reported ill from the outbreak
of the Salmonella typhimurium strain, with 107 of them being hospitalized.
Stephen Sundlof, director of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied
Nutrition, said Connecticut health authorities tested an unopened container
of peanut butter from the PCA's Blakely plant and discovered the strain
linked to the outbreak of illness.
The fact that the unopened container had the strain indicates contamination
did not occur after it was shipped from the facility, Sundlof said. Coupled
with previous evidence, Sundlof said authorities believe the Blakely plant
is the only source of the outbreak.
"That is our assumption at this point. We will continue to follow
up on any leads that point us in a different direction," Sundlof
told reporters during a conference call.
The plant is not currently operating, he said.
Sundlof said he expects the number of recalled products to continue to
Among the latest was by NutriSystem Inc (NTRI.O), which announced on Wednesday
a voluntary recall of its peanut butter granola bar. On Tuesday, PetSmart
Inc (PETM.O), the largest U.S. pet-products and services retailer, recalled
seven of its Grreat Choice Dog Biscuit products.
General Mills Inc (GIS.N), Kellogg Co (K.N) and other companies also have
recalled products. Authorities say peanut butter sold on grocery store
shelves does not appear to be involved. PCA has recalled peanut butter
and peanut paste products manufactured since July at the Blakely plant
because of potential Salmonella contamination. Peanut paste is a concentrated
product consisting of ground, roasted peanuts. PCA manufactures peanut
butter and peanut paste distributed to food manufacturers to be used as
ingredients in commercially produced products. PCA peanut butter also
is served in long-term care facilities and cafeterias. Salmonella can
cause abdominal cramping, diarrhea and fever and it can kill the very
young and very old. "More cases are being reported every day. The
outbreak appears to be ongoing," Dr. Robert Tauxe of the CDC said.
Minnesota authorities previously tested an opened container from the plant,
and found the Typhimurium strain. Sundlof said a federal inspection of
the Blakely plant turned up evidence of salmonella on the floor, but not
the Typhimurium strain. "It does indicate that there are problems
within the plant because salmonella should not be found there," he
said. (Editing by Julie Steenhuysen and Cynthia Osterman)
Series: An Update by GAO
source from: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-271
GAO-09-271 January 22, 2009
Highlights Page (PDF) Full Report (PDF, 99 pages) Accessible Text
The federal government is the world's largest and most complex entity,
with about $3 trillion in outlays in fiscal year 2008 funding a broad
array of programs and operations. GAO's biennial reports on high-risk
areas, done since 1990, are meant to bring focus to specific areas needing
added attention. Areas are identified, in some cases, as high risk due
to their greater vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement.
GAO also identifies high-risk areas needing broad-based transformation
to address major economy, efficiency, or effectiveness challenges. In
this 2009 update for the 111th Congress, GAO presents the status of high-risk
areas listed in 2007 and identifies new high-risk areas warranting attention
by Congress and the executive branch. Solutions to high-risk problems
offer the potential to save billions of dollars, dramatically improve
service to the public, strengthen confidence and trust in the performance
and accountability of the U.S. government, and ensure the ability of government
to deliver on its promises.
In January 2007, GAO detailed
27 high-risk areas and, in March 2008, added a 28th--planning for the
2010 Census. In the last 2 years, progress has been made in most of the
27 areas, although the extent varies. Overall, federal departments and
agencies, as well as Congress, have shown a continuing commitment to addressing
high-risk challenges, including taking steps to help correct several of
the problems' root causes. In particular, the Office of Management and
Budget has led an initiative to work with agencies to develop corrective
action plans for high-risk areas. GAO has determined that sufficient progress
has been made to remove the high-risk designation from one area: the Federal
Aviation Administration's (FAA) air traffic control modernization. Since
2007, FAA has continued to make progress in addressing the root causes
of its past problems and has committed to sustaining this progress in
the future. Continued attention from the executive branch and Congress
is needed to make additional progress in other areas. This year, GAO is
designating three new high-risk areas. The first new area is modernizing
the outdated U.S. Financial Regulatory System. As a result of significant
market developments that, in recent decades, have outpaced a fragmented
and outdated regulatory structure, significant reforms to the U.S. regulatory
system are critically and urgently needed. The current regulatory approach
has significant weaknesses that if not addressed will continue to expose
the U.S. financial system to serious risks. Determining how to create
and implement a regulatory system that reflects new market realities is
a key step to reducing the likelihood that our nation will experience
another financial crisis similar to the current one. The second new area
is protecting public health through enhanced oversight of medical products.
Concerns have been expressed about FDA's ongoing ability to fulfill its
mission of ensuring the safety and efficacy of drugs, biologics, and medical
devices. GAO's work examining a variety of issues at FDA echoes the conclusions
reached by others that the agency is facing significant challenges that
compromise its ability to protect Americans from unsafe and ineffective
products. FDA needs to, among other things, improve the data it uses to
manage the foreign drug inspection program, conduct more inspections of
foreign establishments, systematically prioritize and track promotional
materials for review, and adopt management tools to ensure that drug sponsors
comply with regulations on the presentation of clinical trial results.
The third new area is transforming EPA's processes for assessing and controlling
toxic chemicals. EPA does not have sufficient chemical assessment information
to determine whether it should establish controls to limit public exposure
to many chemicals that may pose substantial health risks. Actions are
needed to streamline and increase the transparency of the Integrated Risk
Information System and to enhance EPA's ability under the Toxic Substances
Control Act to obtain health and safety information from the chemical
Common In U.S. Poultry
Source of Article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
By Steven Reinberg HealthDay Reporter Thursday, January 22, 2009; 12:00
THURSDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- While peanut butter contaminated
with salmonella has dominated the headlines recently, U.S. health officials
cautioned Thursday that salmonella bacteria is also prevalent in live
The Jan. 23 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report details two different outbreaks
of salmonella Montevideo in 2007 that were traced to live poultry.
The first outbreak was identified in September 2007 by the North Dakota
Department of Health. Those stricken with the bacterial infection included
three siblings, aged 1, 3 and 7. All three developed diarrhea, vomiting
and abdominal cramps, and were hospitalized for eight to 10 days.
All told, an estimated 65 people -- 60 percent of them adults -- were
sickened in North Dakota and 19 other states. Investigators linked the
salmonella infections to the handling of live, older poultry bought for
meat or egg production. The outbreak occurred in the fall and winter,
and the trail eventually led to hatcheries in Iowa and four other states,
the CDC said.
The second outbreak began in the spring of 2007, and 70 percent of the
infections were among children -- average age 5 -- who handled baby chicks
and ducklings bought as Easter pets. A total of 64 people in 23 states
fell ill. The infection was traced to a New Mexico hatchery.
"Live poultry is a source of human salmonella infections," said
Dr. Umid Sharapov, a CDC medical epidemiologist and co-author of the report.
"Persons should wash their hands with soap and water after handling
live poultry. Children younger than 5 should not be allowed to handle
The CDC estimates that there are 1.5 million cases of salmonella poisoning
each year in the United States from a variety of causes, with undercooked
meat and eggs being the prime culprits. Dr. Pascal James Imperato, dean
and Distinguished Service Professor of the Graduate Program in Public
Health at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York City, said there is
insufficient regulation of the poultry industry, making salmonella widespread
among chickens and other poultry.
"Human salmonella infections due to contact with poultry are not
uncommon," Imperato said. "Poultry can be healthy carriers of
salmonella and not exhibit any apparent illness."
The risks are especially high for young children who come into contact
with baby chicks and ducklings purchased as pets by parents at Easter
time, he said.
Infectious disease expert Dr. Marc Siegel, an associate professor of medicine
at New York University School of Medicine, said he thinks the way poultry
is raised contributes to the high prevalence of salmonella in these birds.
"I am aghast at how we allow our poultry to be raised in squalor,"
he said. "The conditions they are in -- they are living in their
own poop -- cause salmonella to thrive."
"This article points out the ease with which salmonella spreads from
live poultry to humans," Siegel added. "This is a reminder that
our poultry population is infested with salmonella."
Salmonella, as well as other health threats, can be transmitted by many
other pets, including exotic ones.
The number of exotic animals in the United States has almost doubled since
2002, with 4.4 million homes now harboring reptiles, and 40,000 households
home to hedgehogs, according to a report in the October 2008 issue of
In 2003, a human monkey pox outbreak was traced back to imported African
Gambian rats that had infected prairie dogs sold as pets. And small pet
turtles were responsible for 103 cases of salmonella infection in the
second half of last year, mostly among young children, the report found.
Salmonella Deaths and Injuries Lead to Lawsuits
Source of Article: http://www.aboutlawsuits.com
January 21st, 2009
At least six salmonella deaths and hundreds of cases of food poisoning
throughout the United States have been linked to contaminated peanut butter,
and the first lawsuits are starting to be filed.
As of Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates
that at least 485 people in 43 states and Canada have reported suffering
food poisoning caused by the Salmonella typhimurium strain of bacteria
which was found in large containers of peanut butter and peanut paste
used to make peanut butter crackers, cookies, ice cream and other foods.
The peanut butter salmonella contamination has been linked to a peanut
processing plant in Georgia, which is operated by Peanut Corporation of
One of the peanut butter salmonella deaths that has been linked to the
peanut butter involves Shirley Mae Almer, who died December 21, 2008 at
a nursing home in Minnesota. Her family was notified earlier this month
that she had salmonella in her blood and state health officials have confirmed
that peanut butter served at the nursing home where she lived was contaminated
by the same strain bacteria involved in the nationwide salmonella outbreak.
According to the Perham Enterprise Bulletin, Almer¡¯s family is making
preparations to file a peanut butter food poisoning lawsuit against the
manufacturer. She was in a weakened state when she was given the peanut
butter, as a result of a urinary tract infection and pre-existing cancer,
which made her more susceptible to the infection.
Salmonella food poisoning can result in symptoms within 12 to 72 hours
after consuming contaminated food, typically involving diarrhea, vomiting,
abdominal cramps and fever.
While most healthy adults tend to recover within a few weeks, elderly,
young children and those with weakened immune systems can be more susceptible
to severe cases of food poisoning, which can be fatal if the infection
enters the bloodstream.
At least one other food poisoning lawsuit has been filed by a Vermont
family on behalf of their 7 year old son who became sick after eating
Keebler Cheese & Peanut Butter Crackers which were recalled by Kellogg
Co. earlier this week after it was discovered that peanut paste used during
manufacturing was received from Peanut Corporation of America.
According to the Boston Globe, the child developed symptoms of salmonella
food poisoning on November 25, one day after eating the peanut butter
crackers. He was hospitalized for six days and stool samples confirmed
the salmonella diagnosis.
In the coming months, potentially hundreds or even thousands of peanut
butter salmonella lawsuits could be filed. While the number of reported
Salmonella typhimurium food poisoning is only about 500, it is generally
accepted that only about 1% to 10% of all adverse events are ever reported
to health officials.
Listeriosis suits settled for $25-27 million
Source of Article: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Listeriosis+suits+settled+million/1114074/story.html
Crawford, Canwest News
ServiceDecember 25, 2008
Class-action lawsuits against Maple Leaf Foods, related to a listeriosis
outbreak have been settled out of court for a cost estimated at between
$25 million and $27 million.
The top executive at Maple Leaf Foods on Thursday called the settlement
"fair and reasonable."
"This was a tragic experience and I want to acknowledge the co-operation
of all the parties involved to ensure that people affected receive timely
restitution," said Michael McCain, president of Maple Leaf Foods.
"Our goal throughout this legal process has been to negotiate a fair
and early settlement so that we can obtain court approvals and promptly
compensate families who were affected," said McCain, who previously
apologized to the public and said the company would take full responsibility.
One of the deaths that occurred in connection with the tainted meat happened
at Cowichan District Hospital.
In the wake of the tainted-meat affair, the suits were launched in August
in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. However,
subject to court approval, all cases will be handled in just three provinces
-- Saskatchewan, Quebec and Ontario, said Ted Charney, of Falconer Charney
LLP, another of the lawyers involved in the suit.
There are currently about 5,000 plaintiffs, but lawyers said that number
could grow if others who fit into the class definition come forward. The
amount of compensation each would receive varies.
The class definition covers Canadians who suffered physical injuries such
as illness or the death of a family member, but also includes those who
experienced emotional distress.
The amount of money that each class member would receive depends on the
severity of their illness.
"For example in the case of someone who died, for the estate itself
there will be $120,000, plus $30,000 for the spouse of the deceased and
$30,000 for the children of the deceased and $20,000 for the parents,"
Colin Stevenson of Stevensons LLP explained.
At the other end of the scale would be someone who consumed the meat and
became ill for a day or two, he said. A full grid outlining the particulars
of the settlement will be posted online at www.mapleleaffoodsclassaction.com.
Lawyers expect to get court approval by February, which means the plaintiffs
could see a cheque by sometime next summer, said Stevenson.
The national class action suit originally claimed $100 million for all
consumers who purchased or consumed products on the Maple Leaf Foods recall
The Maple Leaf Foods' Toronto meat-processing plant was shut for a month
when it was determined that its deli meats had been contaminated with
Why Restaurant Workers Don't Wash Hands and Follow Other Food Safety Practices
Source of Article: http://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/
Why do restaurant workers -- who handle an estimated 70 billion meals
and snacks in the U.S. every year -- sometimes not follow common food
safety practices such as washing their hands properly or keeping work
According to a recent Kansas State University study, restaurant workers
blame time constraints, inconvenience, inadequate training and inadequate
resources for failure to follow food safety practices.
K-State researchers conducted focus groups with restaurant employees to
identify perceived barriers to handwashing, cleaning work surfaces and
using food thermometers. Foodborne illnesses are most commonly caused
by poor personal hygiene, cross contamination and improper time/temperature
Barriers, they found, were not only a lack of food safety knowledge but
also often a lack of understanding why employees should comply with food
safety guidelines. Previous research indicated that training increases
knowledge regarding food safety issues, but that knowledge does not always
translate into improved behaviors.
"We have used the results of this study to develop and implement
an intervention program to address the barriers that training appears,"
said Amber D. Howells, an instructor of dietetics, registered dietitian
and the study's first author.
The restaurant industry employs 13.1 million people, and 59 percent of
reported foodborne illness outbreaks were associated with restaurants
in 2005. Howells said outbreaks usually are directly related to food-handler
Because of the study, K-State researchers recommend that restaurant managers:
* Provide regular food safety training to their foodservice employees;
* Educate employees about the consequences of improper food handling to
improve attitudes toward food safety;
* Place signs about consequences of improper food handling in food production
* Encourage food safety compliance with verbal reminders and praise;
* Be good role models;
* Incorporate food safety practices into employees' daily routines to
eliminate the perceptions that they do not have time to perform them.
Other researchers with the K-State's department of hospitality management
and dietetics involved with the study included Betsy B. Barrett, associate
professor and a registered dietitian; Kevin R. Roberts, assistant professor;
and Carol W. Shanklin, professor, interim dean of the Graduate School
and a registered dietitian. Also involved were Valerie K. York, an evaluator
in K-State's office of educational innovation and evaluation, and Laura
A. Brannon, associate professor of psychology.
For the study, two series of focus groups were conducted. Focus groups
were to identify obvious barriers to following safe food preparation practices.
The 34 participants in Group A, all restaurant employees involved in food
preparation, received no special food safety training. The 125 participants
in the second series of focus groups, Group B, were divided into 20 focus
groups and received four hours of formal training from certified ServSafe
The research found that employees did not comply with food safety guidelines
because of a variety of perceived barriers.
In Group A, additional barriers identified lack of space and other tasks
competing with cleaning work surfaces; inconvenient location of sinks
and having dry skin limiting hand-washing; and lack of working thermometers
and thermometers in inconvenient locations.
Group B agreed with Group A, but added other barriers: lack of incentive
to clean work surfaces and manager not monitoring the work and manager
not monitoring the use of thermometers.
Research results were published in the August 2008 issue of the Journal
of the American Dietetic Association. The study was funded by a grant
from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to Shanklin. The $482,763 grant
also is funding other food safety research.
Something fishy? Counterfeit foods enter the U.S. market
Source of Article: http://www.usatoday.com
By Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY
Some of your favorite foods may be fakes.
Foods masquerading as something else a more nutritious something else
? have been big news in the past two years. Chinese food companies in
particular have been blamed for making deadly alterations to dairy, baby
and pet foods by adding melamine. The chemical makes it appear that the
food or beverage has the required level of protein.
But what about food producers in this country? What fraudulent foods do
U.S. consumers have to fear from American companies?
Experts say dangerous U.S.-produced foods are comparatively few, but producers
have been known to practice "economic adulteration" ? adding
a little to their bottom line by padding, thinning or substituting something
cheap for something expensive.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration
regulate the food industry, but with safety issues to deal with, economic
adulteration has "really been back-burnered," says Bruce Silverglade
of the non-profit Center for Science in the Public Interest. So in a caveat
emptor world, what should consumers look out for?
Fish is the most frequently faked food Americans buy. In the business,
it's called "species adulteration" ? selling a cheaper fish
such as pen-raised Atlantic salmon as wild Alaska salmon.
When Consumer Reports tested 23 supposedly wild-caught salmon fillets
bought nationwide in 2005-2006, only 10 were wild salmon. The rest were
farmed. In 2004, University of North Carolina scientists found 77% of
fish labeled red snapper was actually something else. Last year, the Chicago
Sun-Times tested fish at 17 sushi restaurants and found that fish being
sold as red snapper actually was mostly tilapia.
"It's really just fraud, plain and simple," says Gavin Gibbons
of the National Fisheries Institute, an industry group.
One thing consumers don't need to worry about is scallops. Tales of skate
wings cut into circles and sold as scallops are common. But Randolph says
the FDA has never found an actual case of it.
Salmon is tricky. Randolph does have one tip, though. Farmed salmon gets
its coloring from dyes added to food pellets the fish are fed, while wild
salmon gets it from the plankton they eat.
"When you cook it, the wild salmon retains its color, and in the
aquaculture salmon, the color tends to leak out," she says. Suspicious
consumers can call the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Nutrition hotline
This luxury oil, touted for its heart-health properties and taste, has
become a gourmet must-have. Americans consumed about 575 million pounds
of the silky stuff last year, according to the North American Olive Oil
Association. Sixty-three percent was the higher-grade extra virgin, which
comes from the first pressing of the olives.
It's also one of the most frequently counterfeited food products, says
Martin Stutsman, the FDA's consumer safety officer for edible oils.
There are no national figures on olive-oil fakery. But after complaints,
Connecticut began testing two years ago. "We were coming across a
lot of products labeled as extra-virgin olive oil that contained up to
90% soybean oil," says Jerry Farrell Jr., Connecticut's commissioner
of consumer protection.
Most name brands were fine, Farrell says. It was often off-brands sold
in discount stores that were the problem.
Connecticut was so concerned that in November, it became the first state
in the nation to set standards for olive oil, enabling officials there
to levy fines and pull adulterated products off store shelves. California
is set to create its own standards this year. Reports from panels of testers
have found as much as 60% to 70% of the olive oil sold as extra virgin
in the state is a lower-quality olive oil, says Dan Flynn of the Olive
Center at the University of California-Davis.
The easiest thing is for fakers to add 10% vegetable oil in extra virgin,
says Stutsman. "It will still smell as it should, but you've saved
10% of the cost."
Bob Bauer, president of the North American Olive Oil Association, says
it's more of a problem in restaurants than in supermarkets.
An expensive natural product that's mostly sugar, honey is easily faked.
"If you can substitute a less expensive source of sugar for the expensive
one, you can save some money and gain market share," says the FDA's
It used to be that cane sugar or high-fructose corn syrup was mostly used
to thin out honey. But chemically, that was easy to spot. FDA used an
isotope test that would easily identify the adulteration.
So counterfeiters got wily and started using beet sugar. Its profile is
similar to honey, so the FDA had to switch to a much more complicated,
multistep test comparing the sugar profiles to see if the proportions
and trace materials match.
"But once we started catching people, they create a moving target.
They'll switch to something more difficult (to detect)," says Stutsman.
Maple syrup is another high-value item that can be adulterated. In these
tough economic times, Vermont, the USA's largest supplier to flapjacks
everywhere, may up its testing programs.
The boiled-down sap of the sugar maple tree can be diluted with water
or sugar by sellers "trying to get more bang for the buck,"
says Kristin Haas, food safety director in the state's Agency for Agriculture,
Food and Markets.
Vermont's testing program has found fraud only three times in the past
17 years, says Haas, but it's not taken lightly. "A couple of years
back, there was a gentleman who actually went to prison because of this
When times get tight, the incentive to cheat can rise like sap in the
spring, so the state may have to work harder to keep its premier product
A product of the tropics, vanilla pods can be soaked in milk or stored
in sugar to impart a delicate vanilla scent to foods. More commonly, they're
soaked in alcohol that is then used as a flavoring.
But vanillin (pronounced VAN-ah-lynn), a chemical copy of the richly organic
vanilla flavor, was created in the laboratory in the 19th century. When
used in foods, it's supposed to be labeled as an artificial flavor and
One "too good to be true" product to watch out for is really
inexpensive vanilla extract sometimes sold in Mexico and Latin America,
says the FDA. It's often made with coumarin, a toxic substance that has
been banned in U.S. foods since 1954.
Coumarin is chemically related to warfarin, a blood thinner, and can be
dangerous. It's "no bargain," the FDA says.
talking food safety -join the discussion
Source of Article: http://www.ift.org/news_bin/news/news_home.shtml
1/22/2009-The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) held a media teleconference on
Jan. 21 to update consumers on the Salmonella typhimurium outbreak in
peanut butter products. Stephen Sundlof, Director, Center for Food Safety
and Applied Nutrition, FDA, and Robert Tauxe, Deputy Director, Division
of Foodborne Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases, CDC, assured the press and
public that they are continuing their investigation on the outbreak, in
addition to working with food manufacturers to ensure the affected food
products are efficiently recalled. At the current time, there have been
more than 125 recalled products, and the FDA expects this number to continue
to increase as it continues to get new product specific information. So
far there are 486 persons from 43 states and Canada that have been infected
with the outbreak strain of Salmonella typhimurium; of these, 107 or 22%
were hospitalized because of the illness and six deaths have been reported
that may be associated with the outbreak.
The outbreak has raised many questions about food safety, manufacturer
practices, and traceability. What can be done to shore up food safety?
What should the media¡¯s role be when outbreaks occur? How can food manufacturers
enhance traceability? All of these questions are currently being discussed
on Food Technology¡¯s new ePerspective?a place to offer your insights on
food science hot topics. Check out others¡¯ opinions on the outbreak and
share your own.
In addition, if you are interested in learning more about the issues of
traceability, register to attend IFT¡¯s ¡°The Challenges of Traceability¡±
webcast, taking place Jan. 28, from noon till 1:30 p.m. CST. In addition
to learning from the experts, you will hear what your peers think and
are doing about traceability, and gain a deeper understanding of the key
outbreaks and issues that have placed this topic in the regulatory spotlight.
You will also learn how IFT is involved in the issue of traceability with
the FDA, and how you and your organization can become involved.
O111] Outbreak's origin a mystery
The source of a rare pathogen that killed one man and sickened dozens
Source of Article: http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/
By KIM ARCHER World Staff Writer
Published: 1/22/2009 2:33 AM
Last Modified: 1/22/2009 10:14 AM
The mystery of how the largest E. coli O111 outbreak in U.S. history came
about will never be known, lead investigator Dr. Kristy Bradley said.
"Unfortunately, it's not uncommon to be unable to pinpoint exactly
a bacteria's entry to a restaurant," said Bradley, the state epidemiologist
for the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
The final report on the five-month investigation into the northeastern
Oklahoma outbreak will be released in mid-February. The findings were
first reported on tulsaworld.com.
In late August, more than 300 people fell ill after eating at the Country
Cottage restaurant in Locust Grove. About 70 people were hospitalized,
and a Pryor man, Chad Ingle, died after contracting the bacteria.
"We feel we did a very complete epidemiological investigation,"
Bradley said. "We looked at numerous specimens from employees who
had fallen ill, to water, to the food and environmental surfaces."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was called in early
in the investigation to help determine what bacterium was sickening so
It was the CDC that finally narrowed the source to the rare and virulent
form of E. coli that Bradley called "a very bad actor."
Ten children and a few adults required dialysis because their kidneys
shut down. Some were in the hospital for weeks.
E. coli O111 is a shiga toxin-producing form of E. coli, a type of enterohemorrhagic
bacteria that can cause illness ranging from mild intestinal disease to
severe kidney complications, Bradley said.
Although the investigation will never reveal the origin of the bacteria,
Bradley said officials are certain that people were exposed at the restaurant
in Locust Grove.
"We knew Country Cottage was where the people were exposed,"
she said. "But we can't say specifically how it spread."
Investigators might have been able to determine its origin had investigators
actually found the organism among the many environmental specimens tested,
But searches for an actual organism after exposure and outbreaks are rarely
successful, she said.
Bradley said the bacteria could have come in on somebody's boots and have
been spread by restaurant patrons and food handlers alike.
Cindi Moore, a member of the family that owns the restaurant, said the
outbreak and its fallout have been "emotional for everyone involved."
The restaurant's owners, Dale and Linda Moore, expressed deep sadness
about the outbreak in numerous written statements.
The restaurant closed Aug. 25 after it was determined to be the source
of the outbreak. It reopened in late November.
Under an agreement with the state Health Department, the restaurant had
to meet 11 requirements, including disconnecting a private well on the
premises, thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting every surface in the restaurant,
and implementing a new hand-washing monitoring system. Each employee also
was required to complete a food safety class.
When the restaurant opened again, Bradley said, the problem had been remedied.
"There is no more risk of acquiring E. coli at that restaurant than
at any other restaurant," she said.
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