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House takes food safety online
Source of Article: http://www.oregonlive.com/
by Lynne Terry, The Oregonian
Thursday May 21, 2009, 12:18 PM
The White House has just taken its concern about food safety to the Internet,
setting up a Web site to keep consumers informed and let them weigh in
as officials debate what changes are needed.
The sleek, new site, www.foodsafetyworkinggroup.gov, provides information
on the latest activities of food safety group set up by the administration.
The group, led by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Human Services
Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, will come up with recommendations for President
Obama on ways to improve food safety.
At a working group session last week, Vilsack said the country needs to
have a consistent approach to food safety, which now relies on a fractured
system made up of myriad federal, state and local agencies.
He also stressed the importance of having a robust system for detecting
outbreaks and reacting to them.
Critics say that more emphasis should be placed on preventing outbreaks
in the first place, for example by requiring food producers and processors
to enact uniform sanitation and prevention practices.
Congress is considering several proposals to bolster food safety, including
one bill which would split the Food and Drug Administration and create
a separate agency responsible for food.
While the debate is under way, the public can weigh in through links on
the Web site. It provides an online form and welcomes comments through
the White House's Facebook page and via Twitter. Consumers can also sign
up for email updates.
America's food safety system may still date to the turn of the 20th century,
but the debate is taking place on a state-of-the-art platform.
Food Poisoning Victim Files Salmonella Lawsuit
Source of Article: http://www.earthtimes.org/
Posted : Wed, 20 May 2009 19:11:30 GMT
RENO, Nev. - (Business Wire) National food safety law firm Pritzker Olsen
filed suit on May 19, 2009 in United States District Court for the District
of Nevada, on behalf of their client, Shirley Shultz, arising out of the
multistate outbreak of Salmonella poisoning from spices manufactured by
Union International Food Company of Union City, California (Case No. 3:09-cv-259).
The spices contained Salmonella Rissen ? a very rare but potent strain
of Salmonella. As a result of the Salmonella poisoning, Ms. Shultz, a
77-year-old from Dayton, Nevada, was severely sickened and spent over
a week in the hospital.
Union International Food Company has since ceased production of, and recalled,
its contaminated spices. To date, the company¡¯s products have been linked
to 60 cases of salmonella in California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
Ms. Shultz¡¯s attorney, Eric
Hageman of Pritzker Olsen, said, ¡°Food safety has to be a much, much higher
priority than it seems to be for too many companies. There is simply no
way this product ever should have left the manufacturer. Our lawsuit aims
to get to the bottom of this, so that outbreaks like this don¡¯t keep happening.¡±
Pritzker Olsen has considerable
experience and a reputation for success in representing Salmonella outbreak
victims and their families. The firm has been involved in virtually every
national foodborne illness outbreak and has collected large sums on behalf
of people injured or killed by adulterated food. In addition, the firm
is devoted to educating the public about food safety issues and advocating
for badly needed food safety legislation and increased funding for the
federal, state and local agencies charged with protecting our food and
enforcing food safety laws.
For more information, visit
http://www.pritzkerlaw.com or contact Pritzker Olsen law firm at (612)
338-0202. Pritzker Olsen offices are located at Plaza VII, Suite 2950,
45 South Seventh Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402.
lawsuit still possible
Source of Article: http://www.alamosanews.com/
Posted: Thursday, May 21st, 2009
Claimants have two years to file
By RUTH HEIDE
ALAMOSA ? Legal actions resulting from salmonella illnesses, death and
business losses last year still threaten the City of Alamosa whose water
system was linked to the 2008 outbreak.
Contaminants in the water supply led to more than 400 reported salmonella
cases, about two dozen hospitalizations and one death, Romeo resident
Larry Lee Velasquez, Sr., 55.
City Attorney Erich Schwiesow told the Alamosa City Council during its
meeting on Wednesday that he received communication recently from the
law firm representing most of the people who indicated last year they
might take legal action against the city.
The Marler Clark law firm out of Seattle, Wash., is handling most of the
40-plus claims for damages ranging from $100 to $1 million that the city
received last year. None of the claims have yet turned into a lawsuit
but claimants have up to two years from the March 2008 incident to file
The claims being handled by Marler Clark, in addition to a $1 million
claim from Velasquez¡¯s widow, involve claims for 14 minor children and
seek upwards of $50,000 in damages per claimant.
Five other claims were submitted from folks not represented by Marler
Clark - two family claims and three business losses attributed to the
Schwiesow said in talking with the lead attorney on the phone recently,
the attorney told Schwiesow he hoped the city would look at the information
the firm had sent the city and think about paying off some of these people.
¡°I told him I did not believe there¡¯s negligence on the part of the city,¡±
Schwiesow said. He said the attorney suggested otherwise.
City Manager Nathan Cherpeski told the city council that the city¡¯s insurance
carrier Travelers Insurance would have to agree to any settlement the
council would make.
Schwiesow said procedurally, ¡°The ball is in the claimants¡¯ court to get
something rolling. There¡¯s been no lawsuit filed, and Travelers would
need to be consulted on anything.¡±
Cherpeski said Travelers could choose to settle without the city¡¯s permission
but ¡°we can¡¯t settle without theirs.¡±
In a drinking water report from the City of Alamosa this week the city
told citizens that the new water treatment plant put into service last
year to meet new arsenic standards and an ongoing enhanced testing program
of Alamosa¡¯s municipal supply would ensure that an outbreak like salmonella
will not occur again.
¡°The source of the contamination has not been determined and the investigation
continues [to] identify possible ways in which it could have occurred,¡±
the city report stated.
budget proposal focuses on food safety
Source of Article: http://members.ift.org/IFT/Pubs/Newsletters/weekly/nl_051309.htm
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) is requesting a budget of $3.2 billion to protect and promote the
public health as part of the President¡¯s fiscal year (FY) 2010 budget?a
19% increase over the current FDA fiscal year budget. One of the major
initiatives of the budget falls under ¡°Protecting America¡¯s Food Supply,¡±
which has a proposed budget of $259.3 million. The goal of this effort
is to protect American consumers by preventing intentional and unintentional
contamination. It would focus on foreign and domestic sources of ingredients,
components, and finished products at all points in the supply chain, including
their eventual use by the American public. Within this initiative, the
FDA proposes to collect a total of $94.4 million in new user fees to register
food facilities and increase food inspections, issue food and feed export
certificates, and re-inspect food facilities that fail to meet the FDA¡¯s
plant knew some nuts were tainted
Source of Article: http://www.mercurynews.com/breakingnews/ci_12430624
The Associated Press
Posted: 05/22/2009 02:00:10 PM PDT
Updated: 05/22/2009 02:17:51 PM PDT
FRESNO, Calif.?Food safety inspectors say a California plant at the center
of a salmonella scare knew some of its pistachios were tainted but continued
shipping nuts for another six months.
The Food and Drug Administration issued a sweeping national warning in
March for consumers to avoid eating pistachios after concerns surfaced
about nuts from Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc.
In an inspection report released this week, FDA officials said Setton
first got results in October showing some of its roasted nuts tested positive
for salmonella. But, officials say, it didn't make proper adjustments
to its processing procedures and kept shipping out nuts.
Officials haven't said whether Setton will face sanctions.
A Setton spokeswoman didn't immediately return calls seeking comment Friday.
No illnesses have been confirmed as a result of contaminated pistachios.
Working Group holds first Listening Session
The U.S. White House Food Safety Working Group held its first
Listening Session on May 13 led by Health and Human Services Secretary
Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
In consultation with its partners on Capitol Hill, the Working Group is
working on a set of principles and guidelines for improving food safety.
The White House Listening Session was an opportunity to engage stakeholders
in a conversation to help shape these principles.
The Listening Session included remarks from Secretary of Health and Human
Services Kathleen Sebelius and Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) Tom Vilsack,
the co-chairs of the Working Group, followed by smaller group breakout
sessions with Administration and Congressional staff and stakeholders
to discuss how to address major challenges and opportunities in this area.
At the Session, Sebelius stated, ¡°We know that change begins with one
word: prevention. Today¡¯s food safety system responds to crises. We need
a system that prevents contamination in the first place. Building this
system is a responsibility we all share.¡±
Concerning the state of the nation¡¯s food safety system, Vilsack said,
¡°This issue will be one of USDA¡¯s highest priorities. We are in the midst
of reviewing all of our statutory authorities, as well as administrative
and regulatory steps we can take, to ensure that our actions support public
health and consumer safety to the fullest extent.¡±
confirmed in Canada
Source of Article: www.meatingplace.com
By Rita Jane Gabbett on 5/18/2009
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced it has confirmed
bovine spongiform encephalopathy in an 80-month-old dairy cow from Alberta.
In a statement, CFIA said no part of the animal's carcass entered the
human food or animal feed systems.
This case was detected through the national BSE surveillance program.
The animal's birth farm has been identified and an investigation is underway.
Canada remains a Controlled Risk country for BSE, as recognized by the
World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). "Accordingly, this case
should not affect exports of Canadian cattle or beef," the agency
Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund (R-CALF), which has long opposed
U.S imports of Canadian cattle for fear of BSE exposure, noted that this
cow would have been born in 2002, making it the tenth BSE-positive cow
in Canada young enough to be exported to the United States.
Since 2007, USDA has allowed imports of Canadian cattle over 30 months
of age as long as they were born after March 1, 1999.
Chasing E. coli
Source of Article: www.meatingplace.com
(The views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the
Two recent ground beef recalls as a result of FSIS routine testing www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/RC_RO1_2009_SP.pdf
reminded me that the perception of food safety is every bit as important
as reality when it comes to consumers' buying practices.
The latest recall was for a very small amount of product, and, as usual,
no illnesses have been reported from the product. But as long as producers
roll the dice and ship ground beef that has been tested by FSIS before
getting the results, the consumers will continue to get regular reminders
that eating ground beef carries risk with it.
Thus far this year, I can only find evidence of two ground beef recalls,
and both as a result of FSIS testing. In 2008, it appears to me that there
were 8 recalls of ground beef as a result of industry or FSIS testing
with no illnesses related to the product. In 2007 there were 21 recalls,
10 because of testing, and in 2006 there were only 8 recalls, all as a
result of testing with no illnesses related. So it could be said that
so far in 2009 and in all of 2006, there would have been no ground beef
recalls if test and hold had been practiced by all in the industry; and
therefore no resultant bad publicity.
In a presentation at a conference organized by FSIS in April 2008, Dr
Robert Tauxe of the CDC gave a very interesting presentation on the demographics
of who gets infected with E Coli, and what caused the illness www.fsis.usda.gov/PPT/Tauxe_040908.ppt
Tauxe reported that up until
2000, ground beef was the culprit in 100% of E. coli 0157:H7 outbreaks
from which the source was discovered. In 2006 that number was down to
25% of outbreaks that had ground beef as the source. He also said that
only 33% of E coli illnesses are related to ground beef, and that 34%
are related to produce.
I do realize that holding is a significant problem for the small grinder,
but FSIS is doing less testing in the small and very small plants now,
reducing the burden somewhat. So perhaps it is time for industry to share
thoughts and ideas on how to economically test and hold and therefore
reduce the amount of bad press that comes with recalls without related
illnesses? We can start that sharing process right here, right now.
Food safety improvements in beef slaughter and carcass
Source of Article: www.meatingplace.com
(The views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the
On May 4, 2009 USDA¡¯s Food Safety and Inspection Service issued a Directive
on verifying sanitary dressing and process control procedures in slaughter
operations of cattle (http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FSISDirectives/6410.1.pdf).
This Directive which goes into effect on June 1, 2009 is intended to assure
that the beef slaughter process includes effective microbial interventions
that reduce the risk of microbiological contamination on beef carcasses.
It will certainly force beef packers to rethink their pathogen control
Since before the 1993 E. coli
O157:H7 outbreak, much of the emphasis on beef safety has focused on slaughter
interventions. This approach makes sense because at this point in the
process, all of the microbiological contamination is limited to the surface
of the carcass. The meat inside the carcass is completely free of bacteria
until it is contaminated during fabrication. The major vectors of contamination
during beef slaughter are hide removal, evisceration and the slaughter
environment. Much can be done to control contamination from each of these
vectors during the slaughter process. Hide removal and evisceration can
be done in a sanitary manner and any visible contaminants can be removed
using steam vacuuming. Most beef slaughter plants utilize a combination
of thermal pasteurization and organic acid treatments to further reduce
microbiological contamination. Environmental contamination can be controlled
by treating the air using low levels of vaporized Hydrogen Peroxide.
Ideally, this system should
completely address microbiological contamination. It has resulted in improvements
over the past several years, but unfortunately, problems with microbiological
contamination on beef carcasses still exist. I see two potential problems
with slaughter based interventions. (1) The time available to apply interventions
is limited. Thermal and chemical interventions may not have the required
residence time to achieve optimum effectiveness. And (2) the carcass chilling
process may contribute to microbiological growth if carcasses are not
properly spaced and adequately chilled.
Perhaps the most effective
point in the process for an additional intervention is during the chilling
process. There is ample time for an intervention since carcass chilling
usually requires 24-48 hours. An effective intervention applied for a
sufficient length of time may allow for the validated pasteurization of
carcass surfaces. Hopefully, USDA¡¯s focus on slaughter interventions and
process control will accelerate the development of post-slaughter pasteurization
technologies. If this can be achieved, the beef industry could finally
claim victory over the problem of E. coli O157:H7.
Testing for Norovirus
and Enterovirus is becoming increasingly important and commonplace
Source of Article:
WEBWIRE ? Friday, May 22, 2009
High profile outbreaks associated with the viruses have kept EMSL Analytical
Pollution of rivers and recreational waters by sewage and animal fecal
waste has led to a number of high profile human gastrointestinal infections
in recent years. Many of these same contaminants can be passed from human
to human by direct contact with secretions from an infected person or
by contacting contaminated surfaces.
Monitoring environmental microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses is
an important method for the prevention of human diseases. Frequent outbreaks
of the two viruses, enterovirus and norovirus; have caused particularly
serious environmental health concerns in numerous high profile cases.
According to the CDC, ¡°Noroviruses are highly contagious and as few as
10 viral particles may be sufficient to infect an individual.¡± Enteroviruses
are believed to cause between 30 and 50 million infections in the United
States alone each year.
EMSL Analytical, a leading environmental testing laboratory, has been
busy utilizing advanced PCR technologies to test environmental samples
for the viruses. Advances in testing methods have produced several PCR-based
methods that now do not require animal cultures for analysis, improving
the analytical process.
¡°In the PCR-based rapid detection
methods, virus particles in water samples are captured on aluminum chloride
coated negative charged HA membranes,¡± reported Charlie Li, Ph.D., PCR
Laboratory Director at EMSL Analytical. ¡°The viruses are then eluted out
and concentrated using ultra-filtration. Viral RNA is then isolated from
the eluted virus. Using a one-step reverse transcription real-time PCR,
virus RNA are converted to DNA, then detected with a sensitive and specific
Clearly, the tests provide
an approach for rapid monitoring of the viruses and other additional human
viral pathogens. To learn more about norovirus or enterovirus contact
EMSL Analytical at 800-220-3675 or visit www.EMSL.com.
Is food safety
a consumer¡¯s responsibility?
Source of Article: http://members.ift.org/IFT/Pubs/Newsletters/weekly/nl_052009.htm
The International Food Information Council (IFIC) has just released its
2009 Food & Health Survey: Consumer Attitudes toward Food, Nutrition,
& Health?a nationally representative, quantitative study designed
to gain insights from consumers on various food safety, nutrition, and
health-related topics. Due to the number and relevance of food safety
issues that have occurred in the past year, a key finding of the report
deals with consumers¡¯ perception of food safety and the precautions they
take. Anthony Flood, IFIC¡¯s Director of Food Safety Communications, explores
how consumers are taking a more active role in food safety in the latest
ePerspective post. Who do you believe is responsible for food safety in
the U.S.? Should consumers take extra precautions in light of recent outbreaks?
Join the discussion by visiting Food Technology¡¯s ePerspective today!
Plant Free of Salmonella
Source of Article: http://www.newsinferno.com/archives/6306
Date Published: Friday, May 22nd, 2009
Earlier this week we reported
that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that L&M
Companies, Inc. of Raleigh, North Carolina, issued a three-state recall
of its whole cantaloupes because of a possible health risk due to concerns
of Salmonella contamination. Now, the Packer reports that investigators
have been unable to locate additional Salmonella at L&M.
The FDA discovered Salmonella
from a test on one farm bin scheduled for distribution to the packinghouse,
said The Packer. ABC Research Corporation of Gainesville, Florida?L&M¡¯s
third-party auditor?conducted 18 more tests for Salmonella, which all
came back negative for the pathogen, according to The Packer.
The L&M Companies recall
involved one lot of whole cantaloupes; no illnesses have been reported,
to date. The whole cantaloupes were sold between May 10-15, 2009 in Wal-Mart
Supercenter Stores in North Carolina and South Carolina as well as in
the Wal-Mart Supercenter Store located at 315 Furr Street in South Hill,
Virginia. Consumers who purchased whole cantaloupes from these Wal-Mart
stores during this period were previously alerted to not consume them,
and to destroy the product.
The recall comes after a cantaloupe
at a farm from which L&M Companies sources its products tested positive
for Salmonella. The Packer reported that L&M?which grows its own melons
and sources from other contract growers in the Southeast?stopped shipments
from this farm; the grower continues to investigate the cause of the problem.
The grower, Pass Line Farms of Immokalee, Florida, shipped 73 bins, which
The Packer explained, is a bit more than one load. Pass Line shipped the
melons to Wal-Mart distribution centers in North and South Carolina, added
The Salmonella pathogen can
cause serious, sometimes fatal Salmonellosis infections in young children;
weak or elderly people; and those with weakened immune systems, such as
patients undergoing chemotherapy or who have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS
and other immune system compromising diseases.
Healthy persons infected with
Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea,
vomiting, and abdominal pain within 12 to 72 hours of contamination. Generally,
the illness lasts a week, but, in some, hospitalization is required because
the infection may have spread to the blood stream and other body sites,
producing more severe illnesses. Without treatment, severe cases of Salmonella
poisoning can result in arterial infections?such as infected aneurysms?endocarditis,
arthritis, and death. Some Salmonella bacteria are resistant to antibiotics,
largely due to the use of antibiotics to promote the growth of feed animals.
Salmonella is usually found
in food contaminated with animal feces and is a group of bacteria that
passes from the feces of people or animals to other people or animals,
causing contamination when food is improperly stored or handled and when
preparers do not wash their hands or sanitize implements involved in food
Salmonella is the most frequently
reported cause of food-related outbreaks of stomach illness worldwide
and Salmonella poisoning can lead to Reiter¡¯s Syndrome, a difficult-to-treat
reactive arthritis characterized by severe joint pain, irritation of the
eyes, and painful urination.
From E. coli O157:H7 in Cleveland ? Likely Linked to Other E.coli O157:H7
illnesses in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Illinois Linked to Hamburger Produced
by Valley Meats
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
The Cleveland Ohio Health Department said moments ago that a 6 or 7-year-old
girl died from E. coli O157:H7 last weekend and that the death (likely
due to Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome) appears linked to E. coli O157:H7 illnesses
in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Illinois that have led FSIS and CDC health
investigators to ground beef produced by Valley Meats, LLC of Coal Valley,
According to Misti Crane of
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH:
The Ohio Department of Health contacted the U.S. Department of Agriculture
with a report of three genetically linked cases of E. coli O157:H7 in
the Cleveland area earlier this month. All three were sickened in mid-April,
but do not have any connection to one another, said ODH spokesman Kristopher
Weiss. They were classified as a cluster when the genetic fingerprints
of the bacteria that had infected each person matched, he said. The illnesses
were then linked to products containing meat from Valley Meats. The people
who were sickened were a 3-year-old girl, a 24-year-old man and a 71-year-old
man. Two of the three were hospitalized and all have since recovered,
Leila Atassi and Harlan Spector
of the CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER are also covering the story:
Health officials did not identify the girl or provide details of the circumstances
that led to her death. But Cleveland Health Director Matthew Carroll said
the case might be the latest in a cluster of E. coli infections traced
to Valley Meats LLC, of Coal Valley, Ill.
The company pulled nearly 100,000
pounds of hamburger patties after a U.S. Department of Agriculture investigation
confirmed that three Cleveland-area residents were infected by eating
the same tainted ground beef. Carroll said two local restaurants, one
of them in Cuyahoga County, might also be involved and will be investigated.
The three who grew ill - a
3-year-old girl, a 24-year-old man and a 71-year-old man - have recovered,
said Kristopher Weiss, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Health. Health
officials determined the cases originated from a common source when they
found matches among the genetic fingerprints of the bacteria that infected
each person, Weiss said. The state reported its findings to the USDA on
May 13. The brands included in the recall are 3-S, Grillmaster, J and
B, Klub, Thick 'n Savory, Ultimate, and more than a dozen generic brands.
A few weeks ago I wrote "E.
coli O157:H7 Season is Nearly Upon Us - Will it be 2005 and 2006 or 2007
From 1993 - 2003 we represented over 1,000 people sickened and families
who suffered losses due to E. coli O157:H7-tainted hamburger. From 2003
- spring of 2007, the number of ill and the number of recalls dropped
significantly. In fact, in 2006, less that 200,000 pounds of E. coli-tainted
hamburger was recalled. However, since the Spring of 2007 nearly 42,000,000
pounds of hamburger has been recalled. Clearly, there is a problem. Earlier
this year I wrote "Open Letter to a New Under Secretary for Food
Safety - FSIS - The End of E. coli Conservatism," in part to start
a discussion about why we are again seeing E. coli illnesses and deaths
and in part to encourage the new administration to act. The new administration
is taking new steps, but much more needs to be done.
of E. coli O157:H7 Linked to Valley Meats in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois
Spurs Ground Beef Recall
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
E. coli O157:H7 illnesses in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Illinois have led
health investigators to ground beef produced by Valley Meats, LLC of Coal
Valley, IL. The company has initiated a recall of 95,898 pounds of ground
beef product that is possibly contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.
¡°E. coli in ground beef has been so prevalent in the last two years that
it¡¯s estimated that the consumer has a one in 400 chance of buying a product
that might make them very sick,¡± said food safety advocate and attorney
William Marler. ¡°In 2006, it seemed that the meat industry had gotten
a handle on recalls, but with 41 million pounds recalled since then, that
is clearly not the case.¡±
Many benign strains of E. coli (Escherichia coli) live in the intestinal
tracts of humans and other mammals. Infection with one of the toxic strains,
most notably E. coli O157:H7, can cause serious illness, organ failure,
and even death. E. coli is often contracted by consuming food or beverage
that has been contaminated by animal (especially cattle) manure. The majority
of foodborne E. coli outbreaks has been traced to ground beef; however
leafy vegetables, sprouts, unpasteurized dairy or juice products or even
water can become tainted with the pathogen.
The first symptom of E. coli
infection is the onset of abdominal pain and severe cramps, followed within
24 hours by diarrhea, often bloody. This is hemorrhagic colitis, and it
typically occurs within 2 to 5 days of ingestion of E. coli; however the
incubation period?the time between the ingestion of E. coli bacteria and
the onset of illness?may be as broad as 1 to 10 days.
¡°If you¡¯re experiencing these symptoms, it is critical to visit your healthcare
provider, because an E. coli infection can make you very, very sick,¡±
Marler continued. ¡°In some instances E. coli infection can lead to hemolytic
uremic syndrome (HUS), a cause of acute kidney failure, so make sure you
know what you¡¯re dealing with.¡±
Marler Clark has represented victims of every major food borne illness
outbreak since 1993. The firm¡¯s attorneys have litigated high-profile
food poisoning cases against such companies as ConAgra, Wendy¡¯s, Chili¡¯s,
Chi-Chi¡¯s, and Jack in the Box, securing over $500,000,000 for their clients.
Marler Clark currently represents thousands of victims of outbreaks traced
to ground beef, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, peanut butter, and spinach,
as well as other foods.
May Be Linked to Queso Fresco
Source of Article: http://www.kutv.com/
Last Update: 5/21 4:21 pm
(Salt Lake City) - Public health
agencies in Utah, in coordination with the Utah Department of Agriculture
and Food, have been investigating a cluster of Salmonella Newport cases
in which it appears that the common link is queso fresco, a Mexican-style
soft cheese. Officials don't believe the contaminated cheese is being
produced or sold commercially. Epidemiologic investigations point to queso
fresco that is being made in private homes and then either sold to neighbors
or given away. A sample of queso fresco produced and distributed by a
non-commercial, private source was obtained by Utah Department of Agriculture
and Food and tested at the Utah Public Health Laboratory. Salmonella Newport
was recovered from the sample.
Public health officials are
still uncertain how the cheese is getting contaminated with Salmonella
bacteria, but believe the cheese is either being contaminated from ingredients
used to make the queso fresco (such as unpasteurized/raw milk), or from
cross-contamination of the cheese (e.g. through using a bowl to prepare
or hold raw chicken, and then using that same bowl without cleaning it
to make the cheese).
Health officials understand
that many people enjoy making food from scratch and sharing it with others,
especially in these tough economic times. "I am sure that those who
make queso fresco in the home and share it with those in the neighborhood
don't intend to make other people sick. It is important that we teach
people about proper food handling practices, and that it is against the
law to sell privately produced products door-to-door, if they are potentially
hazardous," stated Marilee Poulson, a Foodborne Disease Epidemiologist
with the Utah Department of Health.
While this current investigation
is focused on individuals infected with Salmonella bacteria, public health
officials warn that other dangerous bacteria can also be spread through
contaminated queso fresco, such as Listeria, Campylobacter, E. coli, and
Brucella. Public health agencies in Utah are currently investigating another
cluster of illnesses due to the bacteria Campylobacter which may be associated
with contaminated cheese made with raw or unpasteurized milk.
There is no way to detect Salmonella
or other bacteria in food without laboratory testing; it cannot be detected
by sight, taste, or smell. Salmonella bacteria are commonly transmitted
by eating or drinking contaminated food or water. Salmonellosis can also
be spread by direct contact with an infected person or animal. Symptoms
include: headache, stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and almost
always fever; symptoms last between three and seven days.
Making homemade queso fresco
can be done safely by following a few simple steps that will help prevent
Use only pasteurized milk to
make queso fresco. Queso fresco made from milk that has not been pasteurized
can cause severe illness. This is especially dangerous for children, the
elderly, and pregnant women. Eating queso fresco made with pasteurized
milk will help pregnant women protect themselves and their unborn babies
from getting a serious infection.
We do not recommend that you
use unpasteurized milk to make queso fresco. However, if you choose to
do so, it may be less dangerous to use milk from a licensed seller. To
obtain a list of licensed sellers of unpasteurized milk, call Utah Department
of Agriculture and Food at 801-538-7156.
Keep milk refrigerated. Use
proper food handling practices to avoid cross-contamination when making
queso fresco, such as:
Separate raw meats from other
Use separate countertop space, cutting boards, utensils, etc. for raw
cooked meat or other raw or prepared foods;
Don't place food in a dish (e.g. a plate or bowl) that previously held
raw meats or raw eggs without first cleaning that dish with soap and water.
Don't buy queso fresco from street vendors or door-to-door sellers.
If you buy queso fresco, make sure it comes from the refrigerated area
of the grocery store or market, and that it is sealed and labeled for
If you have questions or would
like more information, contact the Utah Department of Health at 801-538-6191
or the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food at 801-538-7156, or visit
to boost food hygiene standards
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/
By Mike Stones, 22-May-2009
A new water-based surface and utensil sanitiser promises to provide UK
food and drink processors with a highly effective, safe, low cost and
environmentally-friendly means of maintaining secure hygiene standards,
claims its manufacturer Radical.
The Radical Water System uses naturally occurring biocides, generated
by oxidation, to combat the harmful micro-organisms that can cause salmonella,
listeria, e-coli and other common food hygiene related illnesses, says
the company. It is effective against bacteria, viruses, yeasts and moulds
and works by running a powerful electric current through water to create
unstable molecules of oxygen. These are said to collide with micro-organisms
killing them on contact.
Since the system kills by collision, the micro-organisms cannot develop
a resistance which can be a risk with chemical-based sanitisers such as
Mark Fielding, Radical¡¯s managing
director said: ¡°In response to the ever-increasing demands placed upon
the food industry, we have developed our revolutionary technology to create
an unrivalled sanitising system. The Radical Water System is not only
extremely effective in providing a long-term guard against unwanted micro-organisms,
it does so in a way which keeps costs down for the manufacturer whilst
at the same time being safe and environmentally-friendly.¡±
Field trials and tests with
Campden and Chorleywood Food Research Association have proved the effectiveness
of the system in delivering immediate sanitisation and that regular use
over time reduces harmful background micro-organisms, ensuring a consistently
safe and hygienic environment, he added.
In using only naturally occurring
substances which do not impact on the environment, the Radical Water System
dispenses with the need for chemicals. The ozonated water created by the
process is safe to handle, leaves no taints or residues, and breaks down
after use into water and oxygen, claimed the company.
It is also said to involve
less downtime than chemical-based sanitisers resulting in improved production
efficiencies. Unlike chemical sanitisers, there are no hazardous substances
involved and therefore no COSHH requirements.
The system can be incorporated
into the manufacturer¡¯s existing infrastructure and requires only water
and electricity to operate. Low running costs helps the Radical Water
System generate cost savings after just six to 12 months, claimed the
X-rays may offer
benefits to help reduce risk of foodborne illness from oysters
Source of Article:
PHILADELPHIA ? X-ray irradiation may be beneficial in reducing the rate
of foodborne illness associated with the consumption of oysters, according
to results of a study presented at the 109th General Meeting of the American
Society for Microbiology, held here this week.
Barakat Mahmoud, MD, from Mississippi State University in Pascagoula,
and his colleagues, studied the effects of the RS 2400 X-ray irradiator
(Rad Source Technologies) on reducing Vibrio vulnificus in half shell
and whole shell oysters.
V. vulnificus is associated
with the highest fatality rate among foodborne pathogens in the United
States, about 40% to 50%, according to CDC data. Mahmoud and his colleagues
said this high rate indicates that the current methods to prevent V. vulnificus
? including high temperature, freezing, pasteurization, vacuum packaging,
UV light, electrolyzed water and hydrostatic high pressure processing
? are not adequate to prevent infection.
To test the efficacy of X-rays,
the researchers first inoculated both half shell oysters and whole shell
live oysters with a mixed culture of three V. vulnificus strains. The
pure culture and the inoculated oysters were then treated with 0.1, 0.5,
0.75, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0 and 3.0 kGy X-ray at 22¡ÆC and 55% relative humidity.
Following this, the researchers measured surviving bacterial populations
in the pure culture and the inoculated oysters.
The results demonstrated a
reduction of V. vulnificus of more than one million cells per gram with
1.0 kGy X-ray doses in half shell oysters. In whole shell live oysters,
this same reduction was achieved with 3.0 kGy X-ray doses. The results
also showed that the inherent microflora in the oysters were significantly
reduced to less than 10 cells per gram.
The researchers added that
X-ray irradiation may offer further benefit because, unlike some other
methods to reduce the spread of foodborne illness in oysters, the X-ray
treatment did not kill the oysters. ? by Jay Lewis
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