Next Foodborne Threat? MRSA infections from contaminated meat
Source of Article: http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/2009/07/articles/food-poisoning-watch/the-next-foodborne-threat-mrsa-infections-from-contaminated-meat/
Posted on July 15, 2009 by Denis Stearns
In an interesting article published online today, the author discusses
the growing threat to the public health posed by the presence of methicillin-resistant
Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in our food supply. See Stephanie Woodard,
Concerns Over Superbugs in our Food Supply, available at www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31766160/ns/health-food_safety/
Although this threat is not new, nor are the warnings be raised about
it, I thought it was worth raising the issue here in light of the article
posted yesterday about Legislative efforts to restrict the widespread
use of antibiotics in food animals. (To read that article, see here:
) I think that one passage in particular is worth paying attention to,
because it shows just how far we need to go to both understand this
growing risk, but to stop it.
Until recently, the CDC has acknowledged the presence of MRSA in meat
but downplayed the danger. In 2008, then CDC director Julie Louise Gerberding,
MD, MPH, wrote that foodborne transmission of MRSA is "possible"
but, if it happens, "likely accounts for a very small proportion
of human infections in the US." Liz Wagstrom, DVM, assistant vice
president of science and technology for the National Pork Board, agrees,
saying that this kind of transmission would be extremely rare. Neither
group could provide an estimate when queried by Prevention, but considering
the high numbers of MRSA infections, even a tiny percentage could be
a lot of people.
One reason the CDC and the National Pork Board must guess about transmission
rates - and why we don't know exactly how many MRSA-related infections
occur - is that the federal government doesn't collect data on MRSA
outbreaks, says Karen Steuer, director of government operations for
the Pew Environment Group. According to the US Government Accountability
Office, there's no testing for MRSA on farms. And the National Antimicrobial
Resistance Monitoring System tests just 400 retail cuts of meat each
month for four drug-resistant bacteria - which don't include MRSA.
Research done in the European Union is increasingly confirming the presence
of MRSA in meat products. For example, in a study published in the CDC-journal,
Emerging Infectious Diseases, researchers found 36 different strains
of S. Aureus in 79 samples of meat, including two that were methicillin-resistant.
See van Loo, et al. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in meat
products, the Netherlands. Emerg Infect Dis [serial on the Internet].
2007 Nov [Available from www.cdc.gov/EID/content/13/11/1753.htm Recently-published
research has confirmed the same thing among pigs and pig farmers in
the United States, finding MRSA present in nearly half of the pigs and
pig farmers tested. See Smith TC, Male MJ, Harper AL, Kroeger JS, Tinkler
GP, et al. (2009) Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
Strain ST398 Is Present in Midwestern U.S. Swine and Swine Workers.
PLoS ONE 4(1): e4258. Available from www.plosone.org/article/info:doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0004258
Dr. Tara Smith, the scientist that did the study that found MRSA so
widely present in Iowa is on record as saying the federal government
has a huge role to play in addressing this problem. "The studies
should be expanded nationwide to examine hundreds of farms in Iowa and
other swine-farming states and see how common MRSA is on a national
level." Dr. Smith also states that here study is a real reminder
of need for safe food handing and cooking procedures. As quoted, she
states: "It's likely that cooking will kill any MRSA present on
the surface of meats, but anyone handling raw meats should be careful
about cross-contamination of cooking areas or other food products, and
should make sure hands are washed before touching one's face, nose,
(Note: These quotations from Dr. Smith are from the an excellent blog-post
on this same topic, which can be found here: blog.seattlepi.com/secretingredients/archives/160278.asp
Basic Food Safety - Part 3: Poor Personal Hygiene
FDA finds E. coli in dough doesn't match outbreak
Source of Article: http://www.ift.org/news_bin/news/news_home.shtml
7/14/2009-On July 9, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said the
strain of E. coli found in a sample of raw cookie dough collected at
a Nestl? USA manufacturing plant does not match the strain that has
been linked to a 30-state outbreak, and they aren't sure how the dough
was contaminated, according to the Associated Press. The FDA and the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have been investigating
whether the cookie dough was the source of the E. coli outbreak, which
has sickened at least 69 people in about 30 states.
In June, Nestl? voluntarily recalled all Toll House refrigerated cookie
dough products made at its Danville, Va., factory after the FDA told
Nestl? it suspected consumers may have been exposed to E. coli bacteria
after eating the dough raw. On June 29, the FDA confirmed evidence of
E. coli O157:H7 in a retained production sample of 16.5 oz Nestle Toll
House refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough bar. But on July 9, FDA
spokesman Mike Herndon said tests on the dough, which came from an unopened
package, show the strains of E. coli don't match the E. coli strain
linked to the outbreak. That could mean the dough may have been contaminated
with multiple strains. But neither the FDA nor Nestl? has discovered
a probable source.
The FDA is working with Nestl? on the investigation, which Herndon said
was ongoing. According to the FDA report (Form 483), federal investigators
did not find any E. coli in the Danville plant. As part of the inspection,
and through additional independent testing, more than 1,000 tests were
performed at the Danville facility, including extensive environmental
sampling and analyses. Nestl? also dismantled its production lines for
thorough inspection, conducted extensive testing on equipment and ingredients,
and has carefully reviewed its quality and food safety procedures. To
validate these procedures, a controlled production is being phased-in
on a few production lines. Scientists from the FDA, CDC, and the United
States Department of Agriculture have been working along with nine Nestl?
microbiologists on this comprehensive investigation.
Is the Convenience of Bagged Spinach and Lettuce Worth
the E. coli Bacteria Risk and Damage to the Environment?
Source of Article: http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/
Posted on July 13, 2009 by Bill Marler
A battle for the soul of agriculture is being waged in California in
a new sort of green revolution -- and counter-revolution. Jackson West
"If we want to have bagged spinach and lettuce available 24/7,
12 months of the year, it comes with costs," lawyer Bill Marler
told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Marler would know -- he represented the plaintiffs that came forward
after an E. coli outbreak from fresh spinach grown in California made
customers sick in 2006.
But he's not talking about legal fees and court settlements. Instead,
it comes in the form of environmental degradation as industrial farming
attempts to fix the problems it has created.
Distributors are forcing farmers to implement guidelines that are fueled
by consumer fears, not farm science.
For instance, sterile zones demanded around crops mean more rodents,
which means more rodent poison, which kills the predatory birds which
naturally control the rodent population.
Of course, the deadly and drug-resistant strain of E. coli that these
measures are trying to prevent was created by the heavy use of antibiotics
"You have to think about what's the logical end point of looking
at food this way," noted author Michael Pollan, who has criticized
industrial agriculture in his last two books. "It's food grown
There is some good news for greener farming. "In 16 years of handling
nearly every major food-borne illness outbreak in America, I can tell
you I've never had a case where it's been linked to a farmers' market,"
Seeks to Restrict Antibiotics in Livestock
Source of Article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/14/health/policy/14fda.html?scp=1&sq=antibiotic&st=cse
(New York Times, DC)
By GARDINER HARRIS
The Obama administration announced Monday that it would seek to ban
many routine uses of antibiotics in farm animals in hopes of reducing
the spread of dangerous bacteria in humans.
In written testimony to the House Rules Committee, Dr. Joshua Sharfstein,
principal deputy commissioner of food and drugs, said feeding antibiotics
to healthy chickens, pigs and cattle - done to encourage rapid growth
- should cease. And Dr. Sharfstein said farmers should no longer be
able to use antibiotics in animals without the supervision of a veterinarian.
Both practices lead to the development of bacteria that are immune to
many treatments, he said.
The hearing was held to discuss a measure proposed by Representative
Louise M. Slaughter, Democrat of New York and chairwoman of the Rules
Committee. It would ban seven classes of antibiotics important to human
health from being used in animals, and would restrict other antibiotics
to therapeutic and some preventive uses.
The legislation is supported by the American Medical Association, among
other groups, but opposed by farm organizations like the National Pork
Producers Council. The farm lobby's opposition makes its passage unlikely,
but advocates are hoping to include the measure in the legislation to
revamp the health care system.
The Union of Concerned Scientists has estimated that as much as 70 percent
of antibiotics used in the United States is given to healthy chickens,
pigs and cattle to encourage their growth or to prevent illnesses.
The use of antibiotics for "purposes other than for the advancement
of animal or human health should not be considered judicious use,"
Dr. Sharfstein said in his written testimony. "Eliminating these
uses will not compromise the safety of food."
Much of Dr. Sharfstein's testimony summarized information that has been
widely accepted for years by medical groups. But many farm organizations
dispute such claims.
"There are no good studies that show that some of these antibiotic-resistant
diseases - and it seems like we're seeing more of them - have any link
to antibiotic use in food-animal production," said Dave Warner,
a spokesman for the pork producers' group.
Robert Martin, a senior officer at the Pew Environment Group, which
has paid for an advertising campaign to support the measure, said the
prospects for the measure's passage were improving.
"Just the fact that Congresswoman Slaughter is having a hearing
today is a huge step forward," Mr. Martin said. 7-14-09
of Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough Plant finds Plant Design and Workmanship
does not allow for "appropriate sanitary conditions" and "proper
Source of Article: http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/
Posted on July 11, 2009 by Bill Marler
After inspecting the Danville Plant on 06/18/2009, 06/19/2009, 06/22/2009,
06/23/2009, 06/24/2009, 06/25/2009, 06/26/2009, 07/07/2009, 07/08/2009,
and 07/09/2009, the FDA posted the following observations. The full
report can be found by clicking here.
The workmanship of equipment does not allow proper cleaning. Specifically,
inside the "Toll House" brand cookie dough preparation room,
dry ingredients are placed inside hoppers. The dry ingredients are gravity
fed to blending mixers through gate valves that are installed on the
hoppers. As a result of this investigation, the firm disassembled all
gate valves from all hoppers on production lines 8, 10, 11, and 12.
The gate valves appear to have food contact surfaces that are not easily
cleanable as evidenced by rough, pitted and discolored cast metal alloy.
Lack of appropriate design to enable manufacturing systems to be maintained
in an appropriate sanitary condition. Specifically, as "Toll House"
brand cookie dough was mixed on 6-18-09, ice build-up surrounded pipes
that transport a processing aid to mixers on production lines 8, 10,
11, and 12. On line 8, condensate from the ice dripped onto a metal
rake that personnel then used to scrape cookie dough from the mixer
into a dough trough for transport to the filling line.
"I understand that hundreds if not a thousand samples were taken
- and presume that they were negative. Certainly, the above observations
are some cause for concern, but I have seen far worse "483's"
from other plants in 16 years of foodborne illness litigation,"
said William Marler.
ponds destroyed in quest for food safety
Source of Article: http://www.sfgate.com/
Carolyn Lochhead, Chronicle Washington Bureau
Monday, July 13, 2009
(07-13) 04:00 PDT Washington -- Dick Peixoto planted hedges of fennel
and flowering cilantro around his organic vegetable fields in the Pajaro
Valley near Watsonville to harbor beneficial insects, an alternative
He has since ripped out such plants in the name of food safety, because
his big customers demand sterile buffers around his crops. No vegetation.
No water. No wildlife of any kind.
"I was driving by a field where a squirrel fed off the end of the
field, and so 30 feet in we had to destroy the crop," he said.
"On one field where a deer walked through, didn't eat anything,
just walked through and you could see the tracks, we had to take out
30 feet on each side of the tracks and annihilate the crop."
In the verdant farmland surrounding Monterey Bay, a national marine
sanctuary and one of the world's biological jewels, scorched-earth strategies
are being imposed on hundreds of thousands of acres in the quest for
an antiseptic field of greens. And the scheme is about to go national.
Invisible to a public that sees only the headlines of the latest food-safety
scare - spinach, peppers and now cookie dough - ponds are being poisoned
and bulldozed. Vegetation harboring pollinators and filtering storm
runoff is being cleared. Fences and poison baits line wildlife corridors.
Birds, frogs, mice and deer - and anything that shelters them - are
caught in a raging battle in the Salinas Valley against E. coli O157:H7,
a lethal, food-borne bacteria.
In pending legislation and in proposed federal regulations, the push
for food safety butts up against the movement toward biologically diverse
farming methods, while evidence suggests that industrial agriculture
may be the bigger culprit.
"Sanitizing American agriculture, aside from being impossible,
is foolhardy," said UC Berkeley food guru Michael Pollan, who most
recently made his case for smaller-scale farming in the documentary
film "Food, Inc." "You have to think about what's the
logical end point of looking at food this way. It's food grown indoors
Scientists do not know how the killer E. coli pathogen, which dwells
mainly in the guts of cattle, made its way to a spinach field near San
Juan Bautista (San Benito County) in 2006, leaving four people dead,
35 with acute kidney failure and 103 hospitalized.
The deadly bug first appeared in hamburger meat in the early 1980s and
migrated to certain kinds of produce, mainly lettuce and other leafy
greens that are cut, mixed and bagged for the convenience of supermarket
shoppers. Hundreds of thousands of the bug can fit on the head of a
pin; as few as 10 can lodge in a salad and end in lifelong disability,
including organ failure.
For many giant food retailers, the choice between a dead pond and a
dead child is no choice at all. Industry has paid more than $100 million
in court settlements and verdicts in spinach and lettuce lawsuits, a
fraction of the lost sales involved.
Galvanized by the spinach disaster, large growers instituted a quasi-governmental
program of new protocols for growing greens safely, called the "leafy
greens marketing agreement." A proposal was submitted last month
in Washington to take these rules nationwide.
A food safety bill sponsored by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, passed
this month in the House Energy and Commerce Committee. It would give
new powers to the Food and Drug Administration to regulate all farms
and produce in an attempt to fix the problem. The bill would require
consideration of farm diversity and environmental rules, but would leave
much to the FDA.
An Amish farmer in Ohio who uses horses to plow his fields could find
himself caught in a net aimed 2,000 miles away at a feral pig in San
Benito County. While he may pick, pack and sell his greens in one day
because he does not refrigerate, the bagged lettuce trucked from Salinas
with a 17-day shelf life may be considered safer.
The leafy-green agreement is based on available science, but it is just
a jumping-off point.
Large produce buyers have compiled secret "super metrics"
that go much further. Farmers must follow them if they expect to sell
their crops. These can include vast bare-dirt buffers, elimination of
wildlife, and strict rules on water sources. To enforce these rules,
retail buyers have sent forth armies of food-safety auditors, many of
them trained in indoor processing plants, to inspect fields.
Keeping children out
"They're used to working inside the factory walls," said Ken
Kimes, owner of New Natives farms in Aptos (Santa Cruz County) and a
board member of the Community Alliance With Family Farmers, a California
group. "If they're not prepared for the farm landscape, it can
come as quite a shock to them. Some of this stuff that they want, you
just can't actually do."
Auditors have told Kimes that no children younger than 5 can be allowed
on his farm for fear of diapers. He has been asked to issue identification
badges to all visitors.
Not only do the rules conflict with organic and environmental standards;
many are simply unscientific. Surprisingly little is known about how
E. coli is transmitted from cow to table.
Reducing E. coli
Scientists have created a vaccine to reduce E. coli in livestock, and
a White House working group announced plans Tuesday to boost safety
standards for eggs and meat. This month, the group is expected to issue
draft guidelines for reducing E. coli contamination in leafy greens,
tomatoes and melons.
Some science suggests that removing vegetation near field crops could
make food less safe. Vegetation and wetlands are a landscape's lungs
and kidneys, filtering out not just fertilizers, sediments and pesticides,
but also pathogens. UC Davis scientists found that vegetation buffers
can remove as much as 98 percent of E. coli from surface water. UC Davis
advisers warn that some rodents prefer cleared areas.
Produce buyers compete to demand the most draconian standards, said
Jo Ann Baumgartner, head of the Wild Farm Alliance in Watsonville, so
that they can sell their products as the "safest."
State agencies responsible for California's water, air and wildlife
have been unable to find out from buyers what they are demanding.
They do know that trees have been bulldozed along the riparian corridors
of the Salinas Valley, while poison-filled tubes targeting rodents dot
lettuce fields. Dying rodents have led to deaths of owls and hawks that
naturally control rodents.
"It's all based on panic and fear, and the science is not there,"
said Dr. Andy Gordus, an environmental scientist with the California
Department of Fish and Game.
Preliminary results released in April from a two-year study by the state
wildlife agency, UC Davis and the U.S. Department of Agriculture found
that less than one-half of 1 percent of 866 wild animals tested positive
for E. coli O157:H7 in Central California.
Frogs are unrelated to E. coli, but their remains in bags of mechanically
harvested greens are unsightly, Gordus said, so "the industry has
been using food safety as a premise to eliminate frogs."
Farmers are told that ponds used to recycle irrigation water are unsafe.
So they bulldoze the ponds and pump more groundwater, opening more of
the aquifer to saltwater intrusion, said Jill Wilson, an environmental
scientist at the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board
in San Luis Obispo.
Wilson said demands for 450-foot dirt buffers remove the agency's chief
means of preventing pollution from entering streams and rivers. Jovita
Pajarillo, associate director of the water division in the San Francisco
office of the Environmental Protection Agency, said removal of vegetative
buffers threatens Arroyo Seco, one of the last remaining stretches of
habitat for steelhead trout.
Turning down clients
"It's been a problem for us trying to balance the organic growing
methods with the food safety requirements," Peixoto said. "At
some point, we can't really meet their criteria. We just tell them that's
all we can do, and we have to turn down that customer."
Large retailers did not respond to requests for comment. Food trade
groups in Washington suggested calling other trade groups, which didn't
Chiquita/Fresh Express, a large Salinas produce handler, told the advocacy
group Food and Water Watch that the company has "developed extensive
additional guidelines for the procurement of leafy greens and other
produce, but we consider such guidelines to be our confidential and
Seattle trial lawyer Bill Marler, who represented many of the plaintiffs
in the 2006 E. coli outbreak in spinach, said, "If we want to have
bagged spinach and lettuce available 24/7, 12 months of the year, it
comes with costs."
Still, he said, the industry rules won't stop lawsuits or eliminate
the risk of processed greens cut in fields, mingled in large baths,
put in bags that must be chilled from packing plant to kitchen, and
shipped thousands of miles away.
"In 16 years of handling nearly every major food-borne illness
outbreak in America, I can tell you I've never had a case where it's
been linked to a farmers' market," Marler said.
"Could it happen? Absolutely. But the big problem has been the
mass-produced product. What you're seeing is this rub between trying
to make it as clean as possible so they don't poison anybody, but still
not wanting to come to the reality that it may be the industrialized
process that's making it all so risky."
Some major recent outbreaks of food-borne illness
The Food and Drug Administration lists 40 food-borne pathogens. Among
the more common: E-coli O157:H7, salmonella, listeria, campylobacter,
botulism and hepatitis A.
June 2009: E. coli O157:H7 found in Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie
dough manufactured in Danville, Va., resulted in the recall of 3.6 million
packages. Seventy-two people in 30 states were sickened. No traces found
on equipment or workers; investigators are looking at flour and other
October 2008: Salmonella found in peanut butter from a Peanut Corp.
of America plant in Georgia. Nine people died, and an estimated 22,500
were sickened. Criminal negligence was alleged after the product tested
positive and was shipped.
June 2008: Salmonella Saintpaul traced to serrano peppers grown in Mexico.
More than 1,000 people were sickened in 41 states, with 203 reported
hospitalizations and at least one death. Tomatoes were suspected, devastating
April 2007: E. coli O157:H7 found in beef, sickening 14 people. United
Food Group recalled 5.7 million pounds of meat.
December 2006: E. coli O157:H7 traced to Taco Bell restaurants in New
Jersey and Long Island, N.Y. Green onions suspected, then lettuce. Thirty-nine
people were sickened, some with acute kidney failure.
September 2006: E. coli O157:H7 found in Dole bagged spinach processed
at Earthbound Farms in San Juan Bautista (San Benito County). The outbreak
killed four people, sent 103 to hospitals, and devastated the spinach
Cookie Dough E. coli Mystery May Never Be Solved: FDA
Source of Article: http://www.aboutlawsuits.com/cookie-dough-e-coli-mystery-4802/
July 10th, 2009
After identifying three different strains of E. coli in association
with Nestle Toll House cookie dough recalled last month, FDA investigators
say they still may never discover how shipments of cookie dough got
contaminated or what the exact cause may be for the cases of food poisoning
reported in people from 30 states.
The FDA is wrapping up investigations into the E. coli food poisoning
contamination that led to a massive recall of all Nestle Toll House
refrigerated and prepackaged cookie dough products on June 19, as they
have nearly exhausted all leads and have come up empty.
Inspectors only found "minor problems" at the factory where
the cookie dough was manufactured, and none of those problems seem to
account for the contamination. To make matters more complex, the strain
of E. coli associated with the nationwide outbreak is different than
the strains found in samples of unopened cookie dough from Nestle's
manufacturing facility in Danville, Virginia.
At least 69 people reportedly suffered from E. coli food poisoning after
eating Nestle Toll House cookie dough raw. Nine of those cases involved
hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a severe form of food poisoning associated
with kidney failure. Symptoms of E. coli food poisoning could include
bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Most people recover in about a
week, but some are more susceptible to severe infections.
While E. coli was found in an unopened package at the factory at the
end of June, FDA officials announced on Thursday that the strain found
in the factory did not match the strain that had been making consumers
ill across the country. There was also a third strain of E. coli found
inside a package of cookie dough taken from someone's home.
FDA officials said it is "unlikely" that they will ever discover
the source, or sources, of the contamination.
Nestle has begun slowly restarting production at the factory. Officials
say they have cleaned all of the factory's equipment, discarded all
of the ingredients, and are starting anew with very strict testing.
Several cookie dough food poisoning lawsuits have been filed against
Nestle as a result of E. coli outbreak, most of which affected teen
and pre-teen girls. Packaging on all raw cookie dough products contains
warnings that it should not be consumed raw, but the practice is still
very common. The CDC has warned against anyone attempting to cook recalled
cookie dough, as they may spread E. coli contamination during preparation.
By: James Marsden
E. coli vaccines, are they worth the trip? Source of
In February, 2009, The United
States Department of Agriculture (USDA) granted a conditional license
to Epitopix, LLC for America's first E. coli O157 vaccine for cattle
A feedlot efficacy study demonstrated the effectiveness of the vaccine
in reducing E. coli O157:H7 prevalence in cattle by 85percent. The company
is conducting additional efficacy and potency studies in cooperation
in an effort to obtain a full license.
The Epitopix technology is not a traditional vaccine and it does not
completely eliminate E. coli O157:H7 in cattle. It works by reducing
the availability of iron (a nutrient required by bacteria for survival)
by stimulating immunity against the cell-surface proteins that facilitate
A reduction in the incidence and levels of E. coli O157:H7 in live cattle
could dramatically impact the effectiveness of interventions applied
before and during the slaughter process. The problem of E. coli O157:H7
worsens during the summer months. One reason for this seasonal effect
is that some cattle may enter the food chain with higher levels of microbiological
contamination during the warmer months. These cattle may have excessively
high levels of E. coli O157:H7 that overwhelm current slaughter based
interventions, resulting in contamination that makes it through the
process. If the vaccine reduces or eliminates individual animals with
excessive levels of contamination, interventions will be more effective
in controlling E. coli O157:H7.
The vaccine could act as an important adjunct to current interventions
and also pave the way for additional technologies (i.e. post-chill carcass
pasteurization) that when combined, could result in an integrated process
that virtually eliminates the risk of E. coli O157:H7 on beef carcasses
and in beef products.
Another food safety advantage associated with the vaccine is that it
would reduce environmental sources of E. coli O157:H7 associated with
cattle production. There have been a number of E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks
involving food products that may have been indirectly contaminated from
live cattle. If the vaccine is effective at reducing prevalence and
levels of the pathogen in cattle, environmental sources of E. coli O157:H7
would also be reduced.
Currently, I know of at least one major cattle producer that is planning
to implement the Epitopix vaccine. Other vaccines and alternative technologies
for reducing E. coli O157:H7 in live cattle are also under development.
The problem of E. coli contaminated beef has been around for too long.
Hopefully, vaccines and other pre-harvest interventions will help provide
What do you think? Is the vaccine the next intervention worth serious
7/10/2009 11:37 AM
Canada Data On Bisphenol A Strongly Supports the Safety of Bottled Water,
Baby Food and Infant Formula Products
Source of Article: http://sev.prnewswire.com/household-consumer-cosmetics/20090709/DC4453209072009-1.html
The following statement can be attributed to Steven G. Hentges, Ph.D.
of the American Chemistry Council's (ACC) Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group.
Dr. Hentges' comments are in regard to the recently released reports
from Health Canada on its survey of bisphenol A (BPA) in bottled water,
baby food, and infant formula products.
ARLINGTON, Va., July 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "Reports released
today by Health Canada on research conducted by its scientists confirm
that the levels of bisphenol A (BPA) in bottled water, baby food and
infant formula are extremely low. These new government data confirm
Health Canada's previous conclusion that exposure to BPA through food
packaging uses is not expected to pose a health risk to the general
population, including newborns and young children.
"As noted by Health Canada, an adult would have to drink approximately
1,000 liters (or 264 gallons) of water from polycarbonate water cooler
bottles every day to approach the science-based safe intake limit for
BPA recently established in Canada.
"No BPA was detected in any of the canned powdered infant formula
samples tested. The level of BPA found in baby food packaged in jars
clearly indicates that exposure to BPA through consumption of these
products is extremely low. Health Canada noted that the nutritional
benefits of baby food products far outweigh any possible risk.
"Health Canada's new data provides further support for recent assessments
from eleven regulatory bodies around the world that determined BPA is
safe for use in food contact products. These regulatory bodies include:
the European Food Safety Authority, German Federal Institute for Risk
Assessment, Danish Environmental Protection Agency, French Food Safety
Authority, Swiss Office for Public Health, and Food Standards Australia-New
"Polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins, both made from BPA, are
widely used in food packaging to protect the safety and integrity of
foods and beverages. Clear, shatter-resistant polycarbonate water cooler
bottles are also lightweight and reusable over many cycles. Epoxy resin
coatings prevent corrosion of metal cans and lids and contamination
of foods and beverages.
"ACC and its member companies have long-supported research to advance
scientific understanding about chemicals, and we are committed to providing
the compounds and plastics integral to products that help protect public
health and safety."
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies
engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science
of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people's
lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental,
health and safety performance through Responsible Care(R), common sense
advocacy designed to address major public policy issues, and health
and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry
is a $689 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation's economy.
It is one of the nation's largest exporters, accounting for ten cents
out of every dollar in U.S. exports. Chemistry companies are among the
largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have
always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified
their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security
and to defend against any threat to the nation's critical infrastructure.
Emphasizes Human Food Safety Benefits Of E.coli SRP 0157 Vaccine
Source of Article: http://www.cattlenetwork.com/Content.asp?ContentID=329912
St. Joseph, MO, July 13, 2009 - AgriLabs, a longtime advocate of producer,
industry and governmental efforts to strengthen U.S. food safety, is
proud to announce the availability of America's first conditionally
licensed E. coli O157 vaccine for cattle.
E. coli O157 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause intestinal
upset, dehydration, and kidney failure. People with weakened immune
systems, children and the elderly are the most susceptible to food-borne
illness caused by E. coli.
These bacteria live in the intestinal tract of normal, healthy cattle,
but don't cause disease in these cattle. During processing, the bacteria
can find their way into ground beef, and if improperly cooked, a serious
outbreak of the disease can occur when the food is eaten.
Recent media attention has focused on governmental and industry efforts
to develop science-based strategies to reduce the prevalence of the
E. coli O157 in beef and dairy cattle.
"The new E. coli O157 Bacterial Extract from Epitopix is the first
O157 vaccine conditionally licensed for sale in the US, and represents
a significant breakthrough," reports Charlie Higdon, AgriLabs business
unit manager. "The SRP O157 vaccine is the first and only immunological
weapon available to the dairy industry to battle against this significant
food safety concern."
"We are confident that the E. coli O157 SRP vaccine will play an
important role for dairy producers and veterinarians as they work together
to implement E. coli O157 food safety controls." Higdon added.
AgriLabs is the sole marketer of Epitopix' first major vaccine Salmonella
Newport Bacterial Extract, utilizing the exclusive SRP¢ē technology.
Since its launch in 2004, this groundbreaking vaccine has been used
in millions of U.S. dairy cattle to battle Salmonella, a significant
health concern for dairy cattle, as well as a human food safety concern.
Amy Klobuchar (Food Safety)
Hartman Exlusive - Again: Nestle Cookie Dough Loaded With Three Kinds
of E. coli - Minnesota Family Link
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
Mr. E. coli (aka Brian Hartman) once again scoops all in the ongoing
Cookie Dough caper. Here is part of his story:
Federal investigators have linked at least three different kinds of
E. coli to Nestle's cookie dough but remain stumped about how the bacteria
got into the product, ABC News has learned.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has completed DNA testing of E.
coli recently found in an unopened package of cookie dough at Nestle's
plant in Danville, Va.
Those tests, according to sources familiar with the investigation and
confirmed by the FDA, determined the genetic fingerprint of the E. coli
found at the plant is different than E. coli that has been linked to
a 30-state outbreak that has sickened at least six dozen people.
Sources also say an altogether different strain of E. coli was found
in dough recovered from the home of a victim, meaning at least three
different types of E. coli have been found in cookie dough made by Nestle.
It is my understanding that E. coli O157:H7 found in the stools of the
72 people in 30 states share the same PFGE pattern (outbreak strain)
and that 51 of those have been linked by advanced testing methods (MLVA).
Interestingly, but not surprisingly (1), a separate E. coli O157:H7
PFGE pattern was found in a retained sample of Nestle Cookie Dough for
in the Danville Plant.
In addition, one of our client's (a Minnesota Family) leftover Cookie
Dough tested positive for a separate Shiga-toxin E. coli - E. coli O124.
However, both sick children tested positive for the outbreak strain.
(1) Proctor ME, Kurzynski T, Koschmann C, et. al. Four strains of Escherichia
coli O157:H7 isolated from patients during an outbreak of disease associated
with ground beef: importance of evaluating multiple colonies from an
outbreak-associated product. J Clin Microbiol. 2002 Apr;40(4):1530-3.
Posted on July 9, 2009 by Bill Marler
Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough E. coli O157:H7 By the Numbers - 76 Sickened
in 31 States, 11 with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
According to the FDA, as of July 10, the CDC reports that 76 persons
from 31 states have been infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli
0157:H7. Thirty-five persons have been hospitalized, 11 with a severe
complication called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome.
Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) is a severe, life-threatening complication
that occurs in about 10% of those infected with E. coli O157:H7 or other
Shiga toxin (Stx) producing E. coli (E. coli). HUS was first described
in 1955, but was not known to be secondary to E. coli infections until
1982. It is now recognized as the most common cause of acute kidney
failure in infants and young children. Adolescents and adults are also
susceptible, as are the elderly who often succumb to the disease.
I spent the last 24 hours traveling from Seattle to Atlanta, Atlanta
to Columbus, and Columbus to Charlotte - home Wednesday.
I spoke to one family whose 55-year-old mother, who will be released
from the hospital later this week, after being confined since early
May. She has had a portion of her large intestine removed and was only
recently removed from dialysis. She now faces a lifetime of complications
and the loss of health insurance if she is unable to return to work
as a special education teacher by Labor Day.
I spent time today with a wonderful family whose 4-year-old suffered
severe HUS - three weeks of dialysis, CNS involvement (seizures) and
months of hospitalization and Rehab. For any parent, you can imagine
When you meet the people, the numbers have meaning. Perhaps, the heads
of FSIS and FDA should travel with me?
JBS Swift E. coli Meat Sickens at least 23 in CA, ME, MI, MN, NH, NJ,
NM, NY and WI - When will other states be reporting - like WA?
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
Nearly two weeks ago, the CDC and FSIS reported that 23 persons infected
with a strain of E. coli O157:H7 with a particular "DNA fingerprint"
have been reported from 9 states. Of these, 17 have been confirmed by
an advanced DNA test as having the outbreak strain; confirmatory tests
are pending on others. The number of ill persons identified in each
state is as follows: California (4), Maine (1), Michigan (6), Minnesota
(1), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (2), New Mexico (1), New York (1)
and Wisconsin (6).
In light of the illnesses, FSIS issued a notice about a recall of 41,280
pounds of beef products from JBS Swift Beef Company that may be contaminated
with E. coli O157:H7. On June 28, the recall was expanded to include
380,000 pounds of assorted pieces of beef (beef primal products) from
the same company.
Samples from unopened packages of ground beef recovered from a patient's
home were tested by the Michigan Public Health Laboratory yielded an
E. coli O157:H7 isolate that matched the "DNA fingerprint"
of the outbreak strain.
It appears, however, that the outbreak may well be larger - more ill
people - perhaps an expanded recall?
We have been retained by several families in this outbreak and have
already filed suit on behalf of a New Mexico boy who suffered HUS. Yesterday
we were contacted by a Washington State family whose child suffered
severe HUS (weeks hospitalized on dialysis) that may well be linked
to this outbreak after the purchased JBS Swift meat at [an unnamed store].
What we know thus far is:
[The] PulseNet database team has checked the profile against our database
and it does seem to be indistinguishable from EXHX01.0074/EXHA26.0569
which is the pattern combination associated with 0906WIEXH-1 and the
JBS Swift Company recall. Since this pattern combination is common,
all isolates with this pattern combination are subtyped by MLVA and
only isolates indistinguishable by both PFGE and MLVA are considered
as possibly being outbreak related.
More to come today I imagine.