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4th International Conference for Food Safety and Quality
(November 3-4)
Key speakers

ISO22000:2005 Training Course
(November 5-6, 2009)

click here for more information

Food-Safety Bill Spurs Backlash
(Wall Street Journal, DC)

Legislation to overhaul the nation's food-safety system has spurred a backlash from livestock and grain farmers who don't want the Food and Drug Administration inspecting farms.
The legislation, approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee last month, aims to give the FDA more money and authority to police food safety, and technically doesn't apply to foods the agency doesn't regulate: meat, poultry and some egg products, which are regulated by the Department of Agriculture.
But livestock and grain farmers say the legislation isn't written clearly enough, and they gave lawmakers and regulators an earful Thursday at a House Agriculture Committee hearing.
"Live animals are not 'food' until the point of processing, which is why this bill needs to clarify that the FDA does not have regulatory authority on our farms, ranches and feedlots," said Sam Ives, a veterinarian who spoke for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.
The bill appears to have touched off a dispute, as well, between two powerful lawmakers: Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D., Minn.) and Rep. John Dingell (D., Mich.), a main sponsor of the FDA food-safety bill. While Mr. Peterson said that he has been assured by Mr. Dingell that the bill doesn't seek to include livestock and other farms, Mr. Peterson said he will meet again with Mr. Dingell and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D., Calif.) to press for further clarification. If he's not satisfied, Mr. Peterson said, he threatened to stop the legislation.

"We are a little skeptical of FDA," Mr. Peterson said outside the hearing room Thursday. "We are very concerned about them getting involved in grain farms, livestock farms."
Dingell spokesman Adam Benson said that "Mr. Dingell has had numerous conversations with Chairmen Waxman and Peterson in an effort to identify and address any concerns Chairman Peterson and the members of the Agriculture Committee may have with the legislation" and that staff members have also met "on a number of occasions." Mr. Benson said Mr. Dingell wants to see passage of the food-safety legislation in coming weeks.
The dispute over legislation to address gaps in the nation's food-safety system shows farmers' apprehension about new regulatory requirements and the FDA. The agency has been under fire for a string of foodborne-illnesses involving products such as spinach, peanut butter and hot peppers.

The USDA, however, hasn't come under as much criticism, even though it has been involved in several recent beef recalls. The agency, which inspects meat and poultry, operates under a different law and is better funded than FDA. Its inspection rules are generally considered more stringent than the FDA's.
At Thursday's hearing, both FDA and USDA officials tried to ease farmers' concerns, saying the legislation won't change their jurisdictions. Mike Taylor, the FDA's new senior adviser on food safety, said the agency already goes to farms as part of its responsibility to oversee the safety of animal feed, vegetables, eggs and other products. The two agencies also cooperated on the investigations of mad-cow disease and others emergencies, he said. If lawmakers exclude grain and livestock farmers from the legislation, they should be careful not to take away current FDA authority.

Mr. Jerold Mande, deputy undersecretary for food safety at the USDA, said both agencies have seen "unprecedented cooperation" through the White House's cabinet-level panel on food safety.

Some farmers mostly those producing fresh fruits and vegetables, which have been hit with several large-scale outbreaks -- support the legislation. 7-16-09
Safety Zone
By: James Marsden
Send James a Tip
On the road in Vista, CA: The fight against E. coli
Source of Article:
(The views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the author.)

About ten years ago, I attended a NAMP meeting in Chicago and heard the President of Jensen Meat Company, Bob Jensen make a statement that made a lasting impression on me. He said that he was ¡°one undercooked patty away from being driven out of business¡±.
His company produces raw ground beef and he was speaking on USDA¡¯s policy which at the time declared E. coli O157:H7 an adulterant in raw ground beef, but did not address contamination on beef carcasses or trimmings. Bob said in his presentation that he was not going to wait for USDA or the beef industry to solve the problem, but that he would take the initiative himself.

Recently, I visited Jensen Meat Co. in Vista, CA and saw firsthand what Bob has done over the past ten years to establish food safety systems for controlling E. coli O157:H7 and to protect his customers and his business from regulatory actions and recalls. Of course, he has also made his products safer for consumers.

In the late 1990¡¯s, Bob chaired a NAMP task force on E. coli that encouraged USDA to approve anti-microbial interventions that could be applied to beef trimmings. As soon as such an intervention became available, Jensen was the first company in the US to implement it. The intervention was Acidified Sodium Chlorite (ASC) which reduces E. coli O157:H7 contamination on beef trimmings by over 99%. Bob¡¯s plant acted as the first test site for ASC and it required a great deal of time and effort to perfect the application process. Eventually, the process was implemented, approved by USDA and it became an integral part of the food safety system at Jensen (and many other ground beef manufacturers across the United States).

Today at Jensen Meat Co., trimmings that pose a risk for E. coli O157:H7 are all treated using ASC and microbiological testing is used to document the effectiveness of the treatment. Jensen also requires suppliers of trimmings to test for E. coli O157:H7 using n-60 testing protocols and they conduct their own microbiological testing to verify supplier process control.

It was inspiring to see how a small family-owned company addressed what seemed at the time to be an insolvable problem. There is still some risk of E. coli O157:H7 contamination because Jensen does not control the entire process. However, their risk is certainly much lower because of Bob Jensen's food safety vision.
Have you heard about anyone doing something interesting in the fight against E. coli? I would like to know more about it.
7/17/2009 11:11 AM

More questions than answers in salmonella scare
Source of Article:
July 20, 2009 - 8:33 PM
Sean Gaffney
The Monitor
McALLEN A local produce company continued recalling fresh cilantro Monday as investigators tried to figure out who bought the potentially salmonella-tainted salsa staple.
Just where the 104 15-pound crates of cilantro ended up remains unclear. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Monday that it could not provide a list of what restaurants or retailers might have bought the leafy green because most of the purchases at Sweet Superior Fruit LTD. were made with cash. It also did not say how much of the produce had been sold.
¡°A list of customers is not available,¡± Stephanie Kwisnek, a spokeswoman for the agency, wrote in an e-mail.
On Sunday, the agency disclosed that a routine test of imported produce uncovered that cilantro sold from July 13 to 16 in the 15-pound black plastic crates at the Sweet Superior Fruits¡¯ facility at the McAllen Produce Terminal Market could be contaminated with salmonella, a food-borne bacteria that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections.
Company officials did not return calls seeking comment Monday. And a phone number for the company that the FDA urged consumers with questions to call went unanswered most of the day.
The facility at 2501 W. Military Highway was closed Monday afternoon. A woman, who answered the phone at the company late Monday, said no one would be available for comment until today.
While the source of the cilantro has not been disclosed, the produce was most likely grown in Mexico. A sign above the company¡®s facility advertises Mexican-grown products.
No one has been sickened because of the cilantro, according to the FDA.
The local produce industry is watching the case closely, but so far does not fear a repeat of last summer when a salmonella outbreak and scare hurt sales, said John McClung, president of the Texas Produce Association in Mission.
In 2008, jalapenos grown in Mexico and packed in McAllen sickened more than a thousand people. During a nearly two-month investigation, health officials at times recalled a host of other vegetables as it tried to determine what produce actually caused the outbreak.
Farmers and the produce industry were critical of the FDA at the time for not quickly determining the source and for issuing recalls and warnings for products that weren¡¯t tainted.
¡°When there are problems, you have to have a very quick and effective trace back system so you can ferret out (what is contaminated and where it was grown),¡± McClung said. ¡°This individual incident does not appear at this point to be one that is going to get a great deal of attention.¡±Tuesday, July 21, 2009, 11:05

TCD researchers find salmonella gene
Source of Article:
Scientists at Trinity College Dublin have made a discovery which could help to develop new ways to kill the salmonella bacteria.
Salmonella causes food poisoning and kills around one million people around the world every year.
This discovery of the salmonella control gene could eventually reduce disease levels which are caused by salmonella.
The bug can survive very harsh conditions in the body which kill most germs. It does this by switching genes on and off quickly and adding outer membrane proteins to cope with the new environment. The outer membrane proteins allows salmonella to survive in salty environments and to kill people.
The research has uncovered a new mechanism used by salmonella to control outer membrane protein.
¡°We hope that in the future scientists will be able to use the findings to develop new ways to kill salmonella. It is an exciting step on the path of reducing the levels of salmonella and reducing human disease worldwide,¡± said Professor Jay Hinton, Stokes Professor of Microbial Pathogenesis, Trinity College Dublin.
The research by scientists from Trinity College Dublin, the Institute of Food Research in the UK and the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology has just been published in the journal Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.

Marler Clark Files Class Action Hepatitis Lawsuit Against McDonald¡¯s
Source of Article:
Ten Thousand People May Have Been Exposed to Hepatitis A at Milan Restaurant
A class action lawsuit was filed today in the Circuit Court of the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit of Rock Island County against McDonald¡¯s Inc., and Kevin Murphy, the owner of the McDonald¡¯s restaurant at 400 West First Street in Milan, Illinois. Marler Clark, the Seattle-based foodborne illness law firm, and the Illinois firm of Foote, Meyers, Mielke & Flowers LLC, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the named plaintiff, Cody Patterson, and all others who were forced to receive Immune globulin (IG) shots after being exposed to the hepatitis A virus (HAV) at the Milan McDonald¡¯s.
An estimated 10,000 people were exposed to Hepatitis A at the Milan McDonald¡¯s. If a person exposed to HAV can get a shot of IG within 14 days of exposure, they can avoid getting sick.
¡°This lawsuit is on behalf of the thousands of people who have to get IG shots because of exposure to Hepatitis A at McDonald's,¡± said William Marler, attorney on behalf of the plaintiffs. ¡°These consumers chose McDonald¡¯s in part because of the convenience, and now they have to wait hours in line or pay for a shot, and very likely miss work in order to do either one. Filing a class action suit on their behalf is a way to compensate them for the time, wage loss, and expense.¡±
¡°Our experience in handling large Hepatitis A exposures has allowed us to develop a system for helping as many people as possible recover for injuries sustained without the process being too taxing on individuals or the legal system,¡± continued Marler. ¡°We filed a class action on behalf of the exposed who are able to avoid infection, and then help individuals who fall ill on a case by case basis.¡±
In 2007, Marler Clark represented members of a class action arising out of a hepatitis A outbreak at a Houlihan¡¯s in Southern Illinois, where 3000 people received IG shots. Marler Clark represented 9000 people who received shots after a 2003 outbreak at a Pennsylvania Chi-Chi¡¯s along with nearly 100 who became ill with HAV. The case of one individual resolved for $6,250,000. The firm also represented the state of Pennsylvania in recovering the cost of the investigation of the outbreak.
Marler Clark represented customers of Boston-area Quizno¡¯s and Friendly¡¯s Restaurant, both of which had HAV outbreaks in 2004. Additional HAV class action suits handled by Marler Clark include over 1,500 people who received shots after an HAV outbreak at D¡¯Angeleo¡¯s Deli in Massachusetts (2001) and 1,400 people after exposure at a Carl¡¯s Jr. in Spokane, Washington (2000). Marler Clark has represented many victims who were unable to avoid infection and fell ill with HAV including suits against McDonald's, Subway and Taco Bell. The most recent group of cases involved those sickened at a San Diego-area Chipotle Grill in 2008.
Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver. The hepatitis A virus is commonly spread through the fecal-oral route, and symptoms include nausea, abdominal cramping, fatigue, and fever. In young children these symptoms can appear flu-like, but in some cases do not appear at all. Symptoms most often begin two to six weeks after exposure and can last several weeks. Preventative treatment (the IG shot) is only effective when administered within 14 days of exposure to the virus, after 14 days there is no treatment.
ABOUT MARLER CLARK: William Marler has been a major force in food safety policy in the United States and abroad. His food safety blog, Marler Blog, is read by over 1,000,000 people around the world every year. He and his partners at Marler Clark have represented thousands of individuals in claims against food companies whose contaminated products have caused serious injury and death. His advocacy for better food regulation has led to invitations to address local, national, and international gatherings on food safety, including recent testimony to US Congress Committee on Energy and Commerce. In 1998, Mr. Marler formed the not for profit, Outbreak Inc. He spends much of the year speaking on how to prevent foodborne illnesses.
Posted on July 21, 2009 by Hepatitis A Attorney

Basic Food Safety - Part 4: Inadequate Cooking and Contamination

US scientific panel refuses to list bisphenol A as hazardous
Source of Article:
By Rory Harrington, 16-Jul-2009
The ongoing battle over bisphenol A (BPA) took another twist yesterday when a scientific regulatory board in California rejected calls to put the packing chemical on a list of harmful substances.
The panel of seven physicians on the Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee voted unanimously against placing BPA on Proposition 65 - a list of chemicals believed to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. The list, first published in 1987, currently numbers 775 substances.
No clear evidence
While the board members voiced concerns over the growing body of scientific research linking BPA to fetal health abnormalities in animals, they declared none of the evaluated studies offered clear evidence the chemical would damage human health.
BPA is widely used to harden plastic food containers such as baby bottles or used in the lining of metal cans.
Board member Dr Carl Keen said the panel¡¯s finding was not the final ruling on BPA for the state and suggested that it could be reviewed if more rigorous evidence was available in future. He explained that the group had previously rejected calls to list secondhand smoke because at the time it thought the science was unclear. However, a study released weeks later provided the committee with the solid evidence it felt was required to list secondhand smoke under Proposition 65.
Regulatory consensus
The move has been welcomed by Steven G. Hentges of the American Chemistry Council who said he was ¡°pleased that a panel of independent scientific experts convened by the State of California concluded today that bisphenol A is not a reproductive or developmental toxicant¡±.
¡°The Proposition 65 conclusion today that bisphenol A is not a reproductive or developmental toxicant is consistent with the consensus view of regulatory bodies around the world on the safety of bisphenol A,¡± added Dr Hentges. ¡°From the US and Canada, to Europe, Japan and Australia-New Zealand, at least eleven national regulatory bodies have recently reviewed the science and concluded that bisphenol A is safe for use in consumer products.¡±
However, last month¡¯s decision by the California Senate to ban BPA in baby bottles, toddler sippy cups and food containers means the issue is still very much a live one in the state - although the measure is expected to face fierce opposition when it goes before the Assembly later in the year. If approved, California would become the third state after Minnesota and Connecticut, to ban the chemical. The city authorities in Chicago have already banned BPA in baby bottles, with Wisconsin also considering the same. Last year, Canada became the first country to outlaw its use in infant food and drink containers.

19 Hepatitis A cases linked to a Milan, IL McDonalds - 13 are in Rock Island County, and 6 more are being reported in Henry, Mercer, Warren and Woodford Counties
Source of Article:
As of Thursday afternoon, there are 19 confirmed Hepatitis A cases. 13 are in Rock Island County, and six more are being reported in Henry, Mercer, Warren and Woodford Counties.
John David at WQAD has reported: that ¡°Lunch customers coming to the Milan McDonalds on Thursday found the doors locked. Drive-up customers were being turned away. According to investigators, an outbreak of Hepatitis-A may be linked to employees or someone who ate there.¡±
I guess lightening does strike at least twice. In March of 1998, the Skagit County Health Department (SCHD ) in Washington State received a number of reports that residents had been diagnosed with hepatitis A and began an investigation into what appeared to be a hepatitis A outbreak. During its investigation into the outbreak¡¯s source, SCHD determined that the outbreak had occurred among patrons of the McDonald¡¯s restaurant located on Riverside Drive in Mt. Vernon, Washington, who had eaten at the restaurant in mid-February, 1998. Through its investigation, SCHD learned that an assistant manager at the McDonald¡¯s had worked while infected with hepatitis A and had contaminated food.
Hepatitis A is one of five human hepatitis viruses (hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E) that primarily infect the liver and cause illness. An estimated 80,000 cases occur each year in the U.S., although much higher estimates have been proposed based on mathematical modeling of the past incidence of infection. Each year, an estimated 100 persons die as a result of acute liver failure in the U.S. due to hepatitis A, but the rate of infection has dramatically decreased since the hepatitis A vaccine was licensed and became available in the U.S. in 1995.
Hepatitis A is a communicable (or contagious) disease that spreads from person-to-person. It is spread almost exclusively through fecal-oral contact, generally from person-to-person, or via contaminated food or water. Food contaminated with the virus is the most common vehicle transmitting hepatitis A. The food preparer or cook is the individual most often contaminating the food, although he or she is generally not ill at the time of food preparation. The peak time of infectivity, when the most viruses are present in the stool of an infectious individual, is during the two weeks before illness begins. Although only a small percentage of hepatitis A infections are associated with foodborne transmission, foodborne outbreaks have been increasingly implicated as a significant source of hepatitis A infection.
In the last ten years we have been involved in a dozen Hepatitis A cases around the country. Most, if not all could have been prevented if restaurant or field workers had received a Hepatitis A shot BEFORE serving the customer.
Carl¡¯s Jr. Hepatitis A Outbreak - Washington
Chi-Chi¡¯s Hepatitis A Outbreak - Pennsylvania
Chipotle Grill Hepatitis A - San Diego, California
D¡¯Angelo¡¯s Deli Hepatitis A Outbreak - Massachusetts
Friendly¡¯s Hepatitis A Exposure - Massachusetts
Houlihan¡¯s Hepatitis A Exposure - Illinois
Maple Lawn Dairy Hepatitis A Outbreak - New York
McDonald¡¯s Hepatitis A Outbreak - Washington
Quizno¡¯s Hepatitis A Exposure - Massachusetts
Soleil Produce Hepatitis A Outbreak - California
Subway Hepatitis A Outbreak - Washington
Taco Bell Hepatitis A Outbreak ? Florida
Hepatitis A can be severe. In one case, in late October 2003, Beaver County ER doctors reported an alarming number of Hepatitis A cases. Investigators from the Pennsylvania Department of Health initiated an investigation immediately and discovered that many, if not all, cases had eaten at Chi Chi¡¯s restaurant in Monaca, Pennsylvania¡¯s Beaver Valley Mall. Along with the health department, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted further studies of the outbreak. Preliminary analysis of a case-control study suggested that green onions were the probable source of the outbreak. The onions had been shipped to the restaurant in boxes and were stored and refrigerated in buckets of ice. They were eventually chopped up and served in various dishes at the restaurant, often uncooked, as in the preparation of mild salsa. ¡°Preliminary trace-back information indicated that the green onions supplied to Chi Chi¡¯s had been grown in Mexico.¡± Ultimately, over 650 people were sickened in the outbreak. The victims included at least thirteen Chi Chi¡¯s employees and numerous residents of six other states. Four people died from their injuries, and more than 9,000 people obtained immune globulin shots as protection against the virus. This is the story of one of those cases.
Posted on July 16, 2009 by Hepatitis A Attorney

At least 10,000 should receive IG shots to prevent Hepatitis A from Milan McDonalds ? At least 20 confirmed ill thus far
Source of Article:
Thousands of people are lining up in southern Illinois to receive Immunoglobulin (IG or Immune Globulin or Gamma Globulin) shots. IG is pooled/plasma-containing antibodies against a number of diseases like measles, rubella, varicella, and Hepatitis A. For protection against Hepatitis A after exposure, it must be given within two weeks of exposure and should be given concurrently with Hepatitis A to develop active immunity. A second dose of Hepatitis A is required six months later.
Side effects after receiving IG may include: muscle stiffness, redness, warmth, pain and tenderness at injection site. Fever, chills, headache, weakness and nausea may occur. If these symptoms continue beyond 48 hours or become bothersome, contact your physician. If skin rash, swelling of hands/feet or face, or trouble breathing develop, contact your doctor immediately. IG may interfere with the immune response to live vaccines, so discuss this with your physician before taking it. If you take IG, you will not be able to donate blood for several months.
In the last several years, the need to get IG shots because of infected restaurant employees or food has happened at a far too frequent rate. Here are some examples of cases we have been involved in where we filed Class Actions on behalf of those that were required to get IG shots:
Carl¡¯s Jr. Hepatitis A Outbreak ? Washington ? 1,300 IG shots given
Chi-Chi¡¯s Hepatitis A Outbreak ? Pennsylvania ? 9,000 IG shots given (we also represented the state of Pennsylvania in securing reimbursement for the cost of giving free shots)
D¡¯Angelo¡¯s Deli Hepatitis A Outbreak ? Massachusetts ? 1,600 IG shots given
Friendly¡¯s Hepatitis A Exposure ? Massachusetts ? 3,800 IG shots given
Houlihan¡¯s Hepatitis A Exposure ? Illinois ? 3,000 IG shots given
Quizno¡¯s Hepatitis A Exposure ? Massachusetts ? 850 IG shots given
Posted on July 20, 2009 by Hepatitis A Lawyer

If it was not for Thomas Geyer of Quad-City Times and an unnamed reporter at KWQC, the customers of a Milan, Illinois McDonalds might never know where they got Hepatitis A
Source of Article:
Thank goodness for what is left of a free press. If not for the Quad-City Times and KWQC, the folks of Rock Island County would not know the following:
From KWQC - Hepatitis A Outbreak Latest
Rock Island County now has 14 with Hepatitis A. That brings the total number to 20 cases, with 11 people being hospitalized.
Two workers at the Milan McDonald's tested positive for Hepatitis A but those tests came back a month ago.

Even though the first case was confirmed back in mid-June, the Rock Island County Health Department didn't close the McDonald's until this past Wednesday.
The health department now says it didn't respond back then because it didn't know back then. The health department says it didn't find out about the case on June 9th until July 10th, a month later because the provider who diagnosed a Milan McDonald's employee with Hepatitis A back on June 9th did not report that case as required. As a result, another month went by before steps could be taken.
The Health Department says in addition to the two confirmed cases at the Milan McDonalds, there are also confirmed Hepatitis A cases involving other local businesses.
From the Quad-City Times - Rock Island County to set up hepatitis A vaccination clinic Monday, Tuesday

The Rock Island County Health Department will offer vaccination clinics Monday and Tuesday at Rock Island High School for those people who dined at a Milan, Ill., McDonald's restaurant connected to a recent hepatitis A outbreak. The clinics will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Hepatitis A vaccine will be given to people ages 1-40, while immune globulin will be administered to people under 1 year of age or over 40 years of age. Eligible recipients of the vaccines are those who consumed food or beverages at the Milan McDonald's from July 6-10 and July 13-14.
If a person receives the vaccine or immune globulin more than 14 days after they have eaten at the Milan McDonald's, it might not provide protection.
The county has procured enough Hepatitis A vaccine and immune globulin to vaccinate between 5,000 and 10,000 people who may have dined at the restaurant during the specified time periods.
So, there has been Hepatitis A at McDonalds since at least late May (ill worker diagnosed July 9 would have been infectious weeks earlier). And, that worker likely infected the other worker and customers over weeks.
One wonders why the physician who diagnosed the worker in June did not alert authorities?
One wonders if management at the Milan McDonalds knew the worker to be sick?
One wonders why it took Rock Island County Health Department so long to get IG shot prepared?
Posted on July 18, 2009 by Hepatitis A Attorney

Customer claims she heard McDonalds worker reveal Hepatitis A diagnosis
Source of Article:,0,7244865.story
Chris Minor Staff Writer

July 21, 2009
MILAN, Illinois - A Milan woman says she was a customer inside the McDonalds when she heard a worker trying to tell a manager she had tested positive for Hepatitis A.
The woman says she was waiting in line to order at the McDonalds in Milan on June 25th, when she heard employee Cheryl Schram approach a manager behind the counter.
''She came out and she said Michelle, I was diagnosed with Hepatitis A'', said the woman who doesn't want her name used. ''I was in there and I heard her say that''.
The woman said she didn't think alot about it until after she saw an interview with Cheryl Schram on News 8 Monday night.
''I didn't put 2 and 2 together until I saw Miss Schram on T.V. last night. I told my dad that was the lady in McDonalds talking to the manager about Hepaitits A''.
Schram tested positive at the McDonalds back on June 16th, and spent four days in Trinity West Hospital.
She insists she told McDonalds she was infected on June 25th. The company says it didn't know anything until July 13th, when it was notified by the Rock Island County Health Department.
The customer says she knows what she heard that day. ''I swear on my mothers grave''.
The lapse in reporting and who dropped the ball is under investigation.

Charm Sciences Receives 5-Year USDA Contract for Antibiotic Test
Lawrence, MA, July 16, 2009
Charm Sciences, Inc. is pleased to announce a 5-year renewable contract award by the US Department of Agriculture¡¯s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to provide Charm KIS¢â (Kidney Inhibition Swab) tests to USDA inspectors at slaughter facilities to screen for sulfonamides and antibiotic drugs under the National Residue Program.

FSIS will begin implementing the Charm KIS Test in phases starting with cattle (FSIS notice 50-09), and eventually implement it for all livestock.

Fusing simplicity, speed, and sensitivity, the Charm KIS test rapidly screens broad spectrum antimicrobial drugs in both fresh and thawed tissue. The KIS test detects close to kidney tolerances for sulfonamides, beta-lactams, tetracyclines, aminoglycosides, macrolides, and lincosamides. The KIS test has been successfully applied to beef and pork kidney, poultry serum, water, feed extracts, and live animal urine samples.

¡°The USDA contract provides an important diagnostic and prevention program for the quality of US beef and pork, and affirms Charm Sciences¡¯ resolute commitment to a safe food supply,¡± said Dr. Stanley Charm, President of Charm Sciences.

KIS reagents are self-contained, solvent-free, and pre-measured in a single-use, disposable swab. Testing can be performed in a farm, slaughter house or laboratory setting. The KIS test requires no sample preparation or extraction and is performed in four easy steps:

(1) Cut tissue with KIS housing
(2) Absorb sample on the KIS swab
(3) Re-insert swab into housing and twist to activate test
(4) Incubate for 3 hours and observe color change.
KIS incubators are available for low, medium, and high sample throughput.

New Biosensor Detects Extremely Low Bacteria Concentrations Quickly, Easily And Reliably
Source of Article:
ScienceDaily (July 21, 2009) ? Bacterial diseases are usually detected by first enriching samples, then separating, identifying, and counting the bacteria. This type of procedure usually takes at least two days after arrival of the sample in the laboratory. Tests that work faster, in the field, and without complex sample preparation, whilst being precise and error-free, are thus high on the wish list. A Spanish research team headed by Jordi Riu and F. Xavier Rius at the University Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona has now developed a new technique to make this wish come true.
With a novel biosensor, they have been able to detect extremely low concentrations of the typhus-inducing Salmonella typhi. As reported in the journal Angewandte Chemie, their new method is based on electrochemical measurements by means of carbon nanotubes equipped with aptamers as bacteria-specific binding sites. If bacteria bind to the aptamers, the researchers detect a change in electrical voltage.
Aptamers are synthetic, short DNA or RNA strands that can be designed and made to bind a specific target molecule. An aptamer that specifically binds to salmonella has recently been developed. The Spanish researchers chose to use this aptamer for their biosensor. By means of additional functional groups, they securely anchored the aptamers to carbon nanotubes, which were deposited onto an electrode in an ultrathin layer.
In the absence of salmonella, the aptamers fit closely against the walls of the carbon nanotubes. If the biosensor is put into a salmonella-containing sample, the microbes stick to the aptamers like flies to flypaper. This influences the interaction between the aptamers and the nanotubes, which makes a change in the electrode voltage noticeable within seconds.
Using this biosensor, the researchers were able to detect a bacterial concentration equivalent to one salmonella bacterium in 5 mL of medium. Quantitative measurements were possible down to a concentration of about 1000 salmonella per milliliter. This biosensor is specific: it does not react to bacteria other than Salmonella typhi. "Our new technique makes the detection of micro-organisms as fast and simple as the measurement of pH value," say Riu and Rius.
This graphic shows an aptamer attached to an electrode coated with single-walled carbon nanotubes interacts selectively with bacteria. The resulting electrochemical response is highly accurate and reproducible and starts at ultra-low bacteria concentrations, providing a simple, selective method for pathogen detection. (Credit: Copyright Wiley-VCH 2009)
Journal reference:
Zelada-Guillen et al. Immediate Detection of Living Bacteria at Ultralow Concentrations Using a Carbon Nanotube Based Potentiometric Aptasensor. Angewandte Chemie, 2009; NA DOI: 10.1002/ange.200902090
Adapted from materials provided by Wiley-Blackwell, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

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