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7/16
2009
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The 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: www.foodpoisonjournal.com/2009/07/articles/food-poisoning-watch/antibiotic-use-in-food-animals-addressed-by-house-committee/#comments ) 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, lips, etc."
(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 strain
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 in feedlots.
"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 indoors hydroponically."
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," Marler added.

Administration 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

FDA Inspection of Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough Plant finds Plant Design and Workmanship does not allow for "appropriate sanitary conditions" and "proper cleaning."
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.
OBSERVATION 1
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.
OBSERVATION 2
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.

Crops, 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 to pesticides.
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.
'Foolhardy' approach
"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 hydroponically."
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.
Going national
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.
Unscientific approach
"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 comment.
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 proprietary information."
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 ingredients.
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 growers.
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 industry.

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.

Safety Zone
By: James Marsden
E. coli vaccines, are they worth the trip?
Source of Article: www.meatingplace.com

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 . http://www.epitopix.com/news_display.aspx?id=45
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 iron acquisition.
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 the solution.
What do you think? Is the vaccine the next intervention worth serious consideration?
7/10/2009 11:37 AM

New Health 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 Zealand.
"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.
Website: http://www.americanchemistry.com

AgriLabs 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)

ABC Brian 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 the nightmare.
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.

 


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