Comprehensive News List
General Food Safety News/ Outbreak News/ Recall News/ New Methods News/
/ On-Line Slides/ Job Information/Internet Journal of Food Safety



Sponsorship Q/A

Click here
to go
Main Page


Click here
to go
List of Newsletters

To subscribe this Food Safety Newsletter,
Click here


Job Opennings



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

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

House vote expected this week on food-safety bill
(Miami Herald, FL)
The nation's food suppliers will face new fees, inspections and penalties under a multibillion-dollar food-safety bill set for a vote as early as Wednesday by the House of Representatives.
From importers and growers to processors and distributors, the painstakingly negotiated 133-page bill touches every facet of the U.S. food supply chain. While taxpayers and businesses will pay more, consumers are supposed to be safer.
"There is no partisan gap when it comes to keeping the food supply safe," declared Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Enacting the tougher food-safety measures, such as increased inspections, will cost the federal government $3.5 billion during the next five years. New industry inspection and registration fees will pay for nearly half the tab.
The bill's full impact, however, can't yet be known. In part, that's because lawmakers were still negotiating provisions as late as Monday. Major farm organizations remained skeptical or even opposed outright pending further changes in the bill.
"Let's proceed cautiously," Jack King, the manager of national affairs for the California Farm Bureau Federation, said Monday. "All of a sudden, we have a new layer of government authority in how crops are produced. We think that's a real leap."
For instance, the bill approved by Waxman's committee requires "risk-based standards for the safe growing, harvesting, processing, packing, sorting, transporting and holding" of raw fruits and vegetables. The Department of Health and Human Services has three years to write the precise standards.

The Food Safety Enhancement Act marks the latest congressional bid to boost consumer protections following high-profile incidents such as the 2006 distribution of E. coli-contaminated spinach. More recently, salmonella has been traced to pistachios.
Often, though, people fall ill without making headlines. An estimated 325,000 U.S. residents are hospitalized and some 5,000 die each year because of food-borne disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates.
The legislation is credited to Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich. Dingell has adopted some provisions offered by his colleagues as well as lobbying groups such as the Grocery Manufacturers Association.
"(This will) go a long way to comforting our consumers and boosting their confidence in the safety of our nation's food supply, particularly the stuff coming in from abroad," said Dingell, who last year was unseated by Waxman as the panel's chairman.
House leaders set the technically complex food-safety bill for approval by voice vote, a procedure usually reserved for noncontroversial measures. The procedure doesn't allow for any floor amendments and requires a two-thirds vote to pass.
The Senate still must approve its own legislation, and House and Senate negotiators will have to resolve their differences.

House provisions include:
-Food producing and processing facilities already must register with the FDA. The bill stiffens this requirement to mandate annual registration renewal, as well as payment of a new $500 registration fee.
-Food facilities must prepare a "hazard analysis" and develop food safety plans. An estimated 360,000 facilities nationwide face FDA inspections under the bill.
-The FDA could impose a quarantine of a geographic area in order to stop shipment of potentially contaminated food. This causes concern among agricultural groups and their Capitol Hill allies, who are hoping to revise the provision.
"Quarantine language that would shut down an entire region should be unnecessary," Rep. George Radanovich, R-Calif., said during House Energy and Commerce consideration, warning of risks to "innocent producers, packers and distributors in the region (faced) with the stigma of a quarantine." 7-27-09

Resistant Salmonella Linked to King Soopers Beef Recall

Source of Article:

Date Published: Tuesday, July 28th, 2009The Salmonella strain at the root of the recent King Soopers, Inc. beef recall is not only resistant to a wide variety of antibiotics, but the Salmonella involved is not always killed off by cooking, according to The Denver Channel, citing the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).Because this particular strain of Salmonella, Salmonella Typhimurium DT104, is resistant to many commonly prescribed drugs, contamination with the strain can increase the risk of hospitalization or possible treatment failure in infected individuals.Late last week we wrote that the U.S. Department of Agriculture¡¯s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) released information on King Soopers, Inc. announcement of its recall. The recall was for approximately 466,236 pounds of ground beef products that were likely linked to an outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium DT104. The recall is a Class I, which means it presents a health hazard situation in which there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.The beef distributed by King Soopers was sent to stores in Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, said the Denver Channel, which noted that 14 people in Colorado fell ill after eating the recalled meat.Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. Salmonella infections can be life threatening, especially to those with weak immune systems, such as infants, the elderly, and persons with HIV infection or who are undergoing chemotherapy. The most common manifestations of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within eight to 72 hours. Additional symptoms may include chills, headache, nausea, and vomiting that can last up to seven days.In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections, e.g., infected aneurysms, endocarditis, and arthritis.
Epidemiological investigations and a case control study conducted by CDPHE and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined that there is an association between the fresh ground beef products and the14 illnesses reported in Colorado. The illnesses were linked through the epidemiological investigation by their less common pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern found in PulseNet, a national network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by the CDC.
While the FSIS said it has no reason to believe that the recalled beef products are still available for sale in commerce, consumers may have purchased these recalled, fresh ground beef products between May 23 and June 23, 2009 and stored them in the freezer. Consumers are advised to look for and discard or destroy the recalled products.
According to PubMed (a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health), Salmonella Typhimurium DT104 strains are commonly resistant to ampicillin, chloramphenicol, streptomycin, sulfonamides, and tetracycline.

Food Illness Accountability Undermines Food Safety Overhaul: Food Safety Legislation Propped up by Antiquated Estimates Rather Than CDC Data
Source of Article:
Foodborne illness is underreported, but 12 years of CDC FoodNet data collection confirms a difference of tens of millions between estimated and reported cases of food illness. The CDC, legislators and other public officials continue to use 10-year-old, non-substantiated estimates as the basis for recommending and funding national foodborne illness policy. When HR 2749 - Food Safety Overhaul - comes to the House floor this week, the Association for Food Illness Accountability asks legislators, "Why is the United States using ten-year-old estimates rather than documented cases to develop food safety strategies and legislation? If we are to solve the problem of foodborne illness we must accurately define the problem, be it the farm, the factory, or the home fridge."
Memphis, TN (PRWEB) July 28, 2009 -- Legislators are ignoring more than a decade's worth of CDC collected data as Rep. John Dingell's Food Safety bill HR 2749 moves to the House floor. The newly formed Association for Food Illness Accountability is asking why policy makers are relying on an unsubstantiated 1999 report when CDC's Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) confirms a discrepancy of tens of millions of cases of foodborne illness.
Despite the strides of FoodNet and the requirements of most states to report foodborne illness, the CDC and many legislators continue to quote a 1999 report, "Food-Related Illness and Death in the United States" based on approximations of passive data. The authors estimate 76 million cases of foodborne illness including 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths each year.
According to the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), CDC reports 17,883 laboratory-confirmed cases of food illness infection in FoodNet surveillance areas for 2006. A total of 18,499 laboratory confirmed cases of foodborne illness were reported in 2008. Based on numerous CDC reports, this data remains relatively stable. The CDC also reports substantial declines in leading causes of illness (Campylobacter, Listeria, Shigella, E.coli, and Yersinia). Cases of Salmonella and Cryptosporidium are nearly unchanged, although not nearly approaching the nation's healthy target initiative. Only cases caused by Vibrio have increased substantially.
"Clearly no one knows how many cases of foodborne illness occur annually. If 5,000 deaths and 325,000 hospitalizations remain unaccounted for each year, Americans should be outraged," says Cindy Hazen, founder. "We've had a decade to begin correlating this report with laboratory confirmed cases and we've made no advances. If we are to solve the problem of foodborne illness we must accurately define the problem, be it the farm, the factory, or the home fridge."
The Association for Food Illness Accountability calls for emphasis on foodborne illness reporting to strategize targeted solutions. "Legislators need to know whether we're seeking cures for the common cold or pandemic flu," says Hazen. "Forty years ago, NASA pledged to send men into space. In 1958 NASA launched its first satellite and by 1969 Apollo 11's men were walking on the moon. Could NASA have been successful if they were using 10-year-old mathematical speculations? In the 21st century FDA can't eliminate food illness if CDC doesn't know the time, place or occurrence of infection. It's not enough to say we know it's a problem but we have to guess at the magnitude because most people don't report it."

Vilsack names food safety advisor
Source of Article:
By Rita Jane Gabbett on 7/27/2009

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced seven new staff position appointments, with titles such as senior advisors, confidential assistant or special assistant in the areas of rural development, natural resources and environment, marketing and regulatory programs and food safety.
Dr. Adela Ramos was named senior advisor for food safety. Ramos most recently worked for Senator Tom Harkin on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, where her portfolio included food safety, agricultural research, animal and plant health, and biotechnology issues.
From 2004 to 2005, she served on Senator Harkin's agriculture committee staff as a congressional science fellow sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
A native of Florida, Ramos has a doctorate in microbiology from Cornell University, where she studied plant-microbe interactions, and a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Duke University.
Other appointments included:

Joe Barbiero as confidential assistant for natural resources and environment
Jason Weller as confidential assistant for natural resources and environment
Sara Eckhouse as confidential assistant for marketing and regulatory programs
Yeshimebet Abebe as special assistant, rural utilities
John Padalino as special assistant, rural utilities and
Lisa Zaina as chief of staff, rural utilities.

Farms and Antibiotics
(New York Times Opinion)
The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that 70 percent of the antibiotics used in this country are fed to farm animals. These animals do not receive these drugs the way humans do ? as discrete short-term doses. Agricultural antibiotics are a regular feed supplement intended to increase growth and lessen the chance of infection in crowded, industrial farms.

These practices are putting both humans and animals increasingly at risk. In an environment where antibiotics are omnipresent, as they are in industrial agriculture, antibiotic-resistant strains of diseases quickly develop, reducing the effectiveness of common drugs like penicillin and tetracycline.

Despite that danger, the Food and Drug Administration had been reluctant to restrict routine agricultural use of antibiotics. The F.D.A.¡¯s principal deputy commissioner, Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, signaled a welcome change in direction recently, testifying on behalf of a new bill, the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act. It would allow veterinarians to prescribe antibiotics to treat individual animals or prevent disease, but it would sharply restrict the routine feeding of antibiotics to farm animals ? the practice most closely associated with the development of drug-resistant pathogens.

The legislation is drawing strong opposition from the farm lobby since the restrictions would make it much harder for industrial farms to crowd thousands of animals together in confined, inhumane and unhealthy quarters. But the current practice is dangerously self-defeating: treating more and more animals with less and less effective drugs and in turn creating resistant strains of disease that persist in the soil and water. Congress should stop this now before an entire class of drugs becomes useless. 7-24-09

Evaluating the Dangers of Bisphenol A in Plastic Baby Bottles
Source of Article:

By Nina Shen Rastogi

Thursday, July 23, 2009 How dangerous to babies is bisphenol A? Lately, I've been seeing a lot of hubbub in the news over the chemical. They say it's in a lot of baby products, like bottles and sippy cups, and in hard plastic water bottles, too. But I can't tell if this is really a big deal or just an overblown chemical panic.
You can be forgiven for being confused: There's a huge mountain of data out there about bisphenol A, and every day it seems as if a study comes along linking the chemical to a new, scary condition.
It's certainly true that we're all regularly exposed to BPA, a synthetic chemical used primarily as an ingredient in the hard plastic called polycarbonate and in the epoxy resins that line most food and soft-drink cans. Small amounts of the chemical can leach from containers into our food, which may explain why a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that nearly 93 percent of Americans older than 6 had detectable amounts of BPA in their urine.
Does that make BPA a danger to our health? At very high doses -- thousands of times above what researchers estimate we're exposed to daily -- BPA causes problems in lab animals such as delayed puberty and lower body weight. Based on a high-dose study from the early 1980s, the current federal exposure limit is set at 50 micrograms of BPA per day per kilogram of body weight. To put that in perspective, one recent study worked backward from the CDC's urine data to conclude that normal adults are exposed to between 0.0235 and 0.2472 micrograms per kilogram per day.
The controversy over BPA comes from the hundreds of "low dose" studies that have emerged in the past decade, which suggest that the chemical is more of a problem than we thought. Yet there's quite a bit of dissension in the scientific community over how to interpret all this research. In the past few years, there have been a few attempts to wade through the flood of new data. In 2007, 38 researchers who have studied the chemical extensively signed a consensus statement asserting, among other things, that they were "confident" that commonly reported levels of BPA in humans were higher than those shown to have adverse effects in animals. Last year, the National Toxicology Program, a research division of the National Institutes of Health, expressed "some concern" -- the middle ranking on a five-point scale -- about BPA's effects, at current exposure levels, on the brains and prostate glands of fetuses, infants and children. (The program expressed "minimal" to "negligible" concern, however, on other developmental and reproductive issues.)
Meanwhile, most national regulatory bodies, aware of the low-dose studies, have determined that the research isn't conclusive enough to declare BPA a hazardous substance that should be avoided. In 2008, Canada decided to ban the sale of polycarbonate baby bottles but emphasized that it was doing so as a precautionary measure and that "the current research tells us the general public need not be concerned." The European Food Safety Authority recently reiterated its position that BPA is safe for regular use.
Here in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration released a preliminary risk assessment in August, concluding that "an adequate margin of safety" exists between the levels of BPA Americans get through their food (which it estimated to be 0.185 micrograms per kilogram of body weight a day for adults and 2.42 micrograms for infants) and the level at which harmful effects could be observed in two high-dose studies of rodents (5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight). Yet last month the FDA announced that it would reexamine its position, following a request from concerned congressmen and a highly critical peer review from the agency's science advisory board.
Given all this conflicting information, the Lantern isn't quite ready to panic but thinks it's appropriate to apply the precautionary principle in this case. If the Lantern were pregnant or had her own little Green Penlight, she would at least try to reduce the amount of canned food in her and her baby's diet and choose nonpolycarbonate baby bottles. (Finding one isn't difficult: In March, the country's six leading manufacturers announced they're phasing out BPA bottles from the U.S. market.) There are some trade-offs: For example, glass baby bottles (a popular replacement for polycarbonate) can shatter, and reducing your intake of canned foods can lead to more rotten vegetables and food waste.
Many green-minded folks have also made the move of swapping their Nalgene-style bottles for the stainless-steel variety. A recent Harvard study found that undergrads who spent a week drinking most of their cold beverages out of polycarbonate bottles had 69 percent higher BPA concentrations in their urine than before the study. Those elevated concentrations were still a bit below mean levels found in the general population, though, so it's not as if using a plastic bottle will send your BPA levels skyrocketing. Remember, stainless steel can have greater manufacturing impacts than plastic. If you make the switch, try to find an alternate use for your old bottle, because polycarbonate isn't usually recyclable -- a receptacle for loose change, perhaps?

McDonald¡¯s Patron infected with Hepatitis A Files Lawsuit ? Teen Sickened after Eating at Milan, Illinois McDonald¡¯s
Source of Article:
The first lawsuit on behalf of a customer sickened in the Milan McDonald¡¯s outbreak was filed today in the Circuit Court of the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit of Rock Island County. The lawsuit was filed against McDonald¡¯s Inc., and Kevin Murphy, the owner of the McDonald¡¯s restaurant at 400 West First Street in Milan, IL, by Marler Clark, the Seattle-based foodborne illness law firm, and the Illinois firm of Foote, Meyers, Mielke & Flowers LLC.
The lawsuit is being brought by the family of a Rock Island County teenager who fell ill after eating at the Milan McDonald¡¯s and was diagnosed with hepatitis A virus (HAV). On July 12 the 16-year-old came down with a very high fever, aches, and fatigue. His fever continued for several days, and he became visibly jaundiced. When his symptoms continued to worsen, he was hospitalized for four days. He has returned home, but continues to recover from his illness.

¡°I¡¯ve been concerned by some information surrounding this outbreak indicating that Hepatitis A is not a serious illness,¡± said William Marler, the family¡¯s attorney. ¡°Hepatitis A can make you very sick, and in rare cases, endanger the liver. This is not a disease to be taken lightly, and the medical costs associated with cannot be taken lightly either. These families need help, and our job is to get it for them.¡±

A food worker at the Milan McDonald¡¯s had Hepatitis A, and in a cascade of mistakes and miscommunications, as many as 10,000 were exposed to the virus before the restaurant was closed and cleaned (it has since re-opened). At least 23 people in four counties are confirmed ill with Hepatitis A; eleven required hospitalization due to the severity of their illnesses.
Posted on July 23, 2009 by Hepatitis A Attorney

Ground beef contaminated with antibiotic-resistant Salmonella recalled
Source of Article:

Posted on July 23, 2009 by Suzanne Schreck
The United States Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced that King Soopers, Inc. of Denver, Colorado, was recalling 466,236 pounds of ground beef products due to potential Salmonella Typhimurim DT104 contamination yesterday. The recall was initiated after public health officials from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention traced a Salmonella Typhimurim DT104 outbreak among Colorado residents to the ground beef products.
Salmonella Typhimurium DT104 is an antibiotic-resistant strain of Salmonella, which can prove to be problematic for physicians treating patients who have eaten the contaminated ground beef and have become ill with Salmonella infections.
In her 1997 paper, "Emergence of a Highly Virulent Strain of Salmonella typhimurium," M. Ellin Doyle, Ph.D. at the Food Research Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison wrote:
Some evidence indicts the increased use of veterinary drugs as a factor in the dramatic increase in drug resistance. Resistance to ciprofloxacin in DT104 isolates has increased from 1% in 1994 to 6% in 1995, coincident with the licensing of this drug for veterinary use in the UK in 1994 (2). Resistance to trimethoprim (present in 27% of DT104 isolates) may have been acquired in response to the use of this drug to combat bovine infections with DT104 resistant to other drugs. Surveys of S. typhimurium isolates from cattle and humans in Australia (16), France (17), Hong Kong (18), and Spain (19) all reveal an increased incidence of resistance to multiple antibiotics in this organism.
As yet, there have been no reports of S. typhimurium DT104 in the USA, but the rapid rise of this organism in the UK warns us in the USA to be vigilant. Increasing resistance to so many different antibiotics makes it very difficult to treat severe cases of human salmonellosis.
By 2000, if not before, Salmonella Typhimurium DT104 had spread to the United States. Researchers from the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, Washington State University-Pullman published an article titled, "Multiresistant Salmonella Typhimurium DT104 infections of humans and domestic animals in the Pacific Northwest of the United States" after investigating a Salmonella Typhimurium DT104 outbreak among residents of the Pacific Northwest.
In his testimony on food safety before the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce last March, William K. Hubbard stated:
Those peanut butter, pepper and spinach examples are just a few of the breakdowns that have caused our citizens to question their leaders¡¯ ability to carry out this most quintessential governmental function ? the safety of commodities that are so necessary for a healthy society. Indeed, some argue that our food supply is becoming less safe despite the progress that has been made in science and medicine in recent decades. It is certainly clear that there are trends that cry out for intervention by the Congress, namely:

New pathogens have emerged in foodstuffs, some unknown to science in years past, that are especially lethal when they contaminate our food. They have exotic names, such as Enterobacter sakazakii, E Coli 0157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, Vibrio cholerae 0139, and Salmonella Typhimurium DT104, (emphasis added) but they all pose a significant threat of severe illness and death when our citizens contract them. And there is an expectation among scientists that yet more of these threats will be discovered in the future.
That Salmonella Typhimurium DT104 had not been identified as the source of an outbreak in the United States prior to 1997, and this "especially lethal" pathogen has been identified as the source of several outbreaks, including the current outbreak among Colorado residents, is alarming.
The Colorado Salmonella Typhimurium DT104 outbreak should spark more conversation about HR 1549 - Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2009, which aims to preserve the use of antibiotics in food animals strictly for therapeutic use.

CIFOR issues guidelines for foodborne disease outbreak response
Source of Article:

7/22/2009-The Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFOR) has released its ¡°Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response.¡± The guidelines in this document are targeted to local, state, and federal agencies and provide model practices used in foodborne disease outbreaks, including planning, detection, investigation, control, and prevention. Local and state agencies vary in their approach to, experience with, and capacity to respond to foodborne disease outbreaks. The guidelines are intended to give all agencies a common foundation from which to work and to provide examples of the key activities that should occur during the response to outbreaks of foodborne disease. The guidelines were developed by a broad range of contributors from local, state, and federal agencies with expertise in epidemiology, environmental health, laboratory science, and communications. The document has gone through a public review and comment process. ¡°It is our hope that this document will be useful to investigators at all levels in improving outbreak investigations and serve as a platform for developing local and agency specific policies and additional tools to support these critical public health activities,¡± said Tim Jones, Tennessee State Epidemiologist and Co-chair of CIFOR. The document is not intended to replace current procedure manuals for responding to outbreaks. Instead, it is designed to be used as a reference document for comparison with existing procedures? to fill in gaps and update site-specific procedures? to provide models for new procedures where they do not exist? and to provide training to program staff.

Slow response, poor communication blamed for Maple Leaf listeriosis outbreak
Source of Article:

By Ann Bagel Storck on 7/22/2009

A slow response from Canadian government officials and poor communication with the public were among many factors identified by Sheila Weatherill, who was appointed by the federal government to lead an independent investigation, as causes behind Maple Leaf Foods' listeriosis outbreak last summer that killed 22 people.
Weatherill, who formerly led the public health system in Edmonton, Alberta, offered 57 recommendations to improve food safety in her report. Among those suggestions were that higher-risk plants be tested more frequently than others; that Canada's chief public health officer have a larger role during foodborne illness outbreaks; and that meat processing equipment be designed with an eye toward limiting the spread of pathogens.
The report was the result of six months of work and more than 100 interviews. To read the full report, click here.
Weatherill's conclusions follow another report released earlier this summer by a House of Commons agriculture committee. (See Food safety overhaul recommended by Canadian ag committee, Meatingplace, June 19, 2009.)
"This report is tough and it ought to be, with strong recommendations for further improving the Canadian food safety system," said Michael McCain, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods, in a news release. "We thought we had a good food safety program last August, but our efforts failed with tragic consequences. Since then we have transformed every aspect of our food safety program. We cannot and will not forget the lessons of last August, and that means imposing the highest standard of food safety in every product we make."

When Food Gets Inspected And Recalled, Consumers May Not Get A Clear Picture Of The Process
Source of Article:

ScienceDaily (July 22, 2009) ? Consumers usually find out pretty quickly if the meat they're planning to throw on the grill has been recalled.
What consumers may not be finding out about recalls and the inspection process, however, could make them doubt the effectiveness of what is actually a pretty good system to keep food safe, according to Kansas State University researchers.
Charles Dodd, K-State doctoral student in food science, Wamego, and Doug Powell, K-State associate professor of food safety, published a paper in the journal Foodborne Pathogens and Disease about how one government agency communicates risk about deadly bacteria like E. coli O157 in ground beef. Publications, Web pages and recalls are all used in this risk communication.
Dodd said that although the Food Safety and Inspection Service generally does a good job of keeping meat safe, it's easy for consumers to think the opposite, particularly when a recall tells them that the food in the fridge or pantry may be dangerous. In their study, Dodd and Powell looked at what information consumers can take away from the Food Safety and Inspection Service's Web site, and suggest government agencies can more clearly communicate their role in keeping the food supply safe.
"We as Americans tend to expect more from regulatory agencies than we should, so we set ourselves up for disappointment," Dodd said. "Occasionally, regulatory agencies may create unrealistic expectations by the way they communicate with the public. The message of our paper is to say that the Food Safety and Inspection Service is doing a good job, considering the amount of resources it has. We are trying to open up dialogue about how its role could be communicated more effectively."
The researchers said that it might be helpful for consumers to know a few things about the inspection process that can lead to recalls:
Not all foods are recalled because someone has gotten sick. "As a consumer, when a recall occurs, I look to see how it was initiated -- from an outbreak or routine testing," Dodd said. "There's always testing involved, and if the recall is from routine testing, I think, 'This is great. The testing works.' If it's from a foodborne illness outbreak, I think, 'At least we caught it.'"
When a meat recall occurs, the Food Safety and Inspection Service and industry probably are erring on the side of caution. "The amount of meat recalled is most likely more than the amount that may be contaminated," Dodd said.
When food like ground beef, for instance, is tested by the beef processor or the Food Safety and Inspection Service, not every bite of meat is under scrutiny. Rather, a group of scientific experts have agreed on a sampling method that appropriately represents the product. Dodd said that it's kind of like automobile safety standards: There is a system in place to test the safety of your car, but that doesn't mean you're sitting behind the wheel of a car that was tested.
Testing is just one tool that the Food Safety and Inspection Service uses. Its role is to monitor what other stakeholders are doing to keep food safe. "As a regulatory agency, the Food Safety and Inspection Service is monitoring food safety, not necessarily testing it themselves," Dodd said. "I think that's what a lot of us consumers misinterpret. We need to remember that regulatory agencies allocate, not assume, responsibility."

Hepatitis A linked to Milan McDonalds tops 25 and that number may likely grow ? over 5,000 people received IG or Hepatitis A vaccines
Source of Article:

Posted on July 25, 2009 by Bill Marler
Hepatitis A is a communicable (or contagious) disease. The virus is transmitted by the ¡°fecal ? oral route,¡± (human feces gets into your mouth) generally from person-to-person, or via contaminated food or water.
Outbreaks, like the one at the Milan, Illinois McDonalds, associated with food have been increasingly implicated as a significant source of Hepatitis A infection. Such outbreaks are usually associated with contamination of food during preparation by a Hepatitis A-infected food handler.
Food contaminated with the virus is a common vehicle transmitting hepatitis A. The food preparer or cook is the individual most often contaminating the food. He or she is generally not ill: the peak time of infectivity (i.e., when the most virus is present in the stool of an infectious individual) is during the 2 weeks before illness begins to be noticeable.
The incubation period (time from exposure to onset of symptoms) is 15-50 days, with an average of 30 days. Thus far at least 25 people have contracted Hepatitis A and over 10,000 or more were exposed. 5,000 have received IG or Hepatitis A vaccines to hopefully prevent illness onset. William Marler, food safety attorney from Seattle, has filed suit on behalf of those who received vaccines and one family whose 16 year old contracted Hepatitis A.
As Marler said, "it appears the second Ill McDonald¡¯s employee last worked on July 13 or 14. That means that the number of ill may well rise over the next month during the height of the incubation period."
The Rock Island County Health Department will conduct walk-in clinics at its office at 2112 25th Ave., Rock Island, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. These additional dates are being made available for those who went to the Milan, Ill., McDonald's on July 13 or 14. If they went there previous to these dates, receiving either of these shots may be beyond the time period to provide protection from potential exposure.
A second dose of hepatitis A vaccine, administered six months after the first one, will provide additional effectiveness against the disease. Second doses will be available at the health department, but they will not be free as the first-dose clinics have been. The cost of the second dose will be $45 for adults and $15-$25 for pediatric patients, depending upon income guidelines.

Hepatitis A report ¡°fell through cracks¡±
Source of Article:
Posted on July 24, 2009 by Suzanne Schreck
WQAD reported today on a Rock Island County Sheriffs Department investigation into the hepatitis A outbreak in the Quad-Cities area. The outbreak has thus far resulted in at least 25 confirmed hepatitis A cases since June, most allegedly linked to the consumption of food and beverages served at the Milan McDonald¡¯s restaurant, where ¡°patient zero¡± worked while infectious.
By law, all hepatitis A cases diagnosed in Illinois are to be reported to proper health authoritieswithin 24 hours of diagnosis. "Patient zero's" case, which was diagnosed on June 16th, should have been reported to the Rock Island County Health Department (RICHD) by June 17th, and would likely have resulted in the RICHD working with McDonald¡¯s to prevent the spread of hepatitis A among McDonald¡¯s customers and the exclusion of ¡°patient zero¡± ? Cheryl Scram -- from the McDonald¡¯s workforce until she was no longer infectious.
That did not happen, however, due to a breakdown in Trinity Medical Center¡¯s reporting process that prevented a timely response by RICHD. According to a WQAD story:
Trinity Medical Center blames an internal oversight on their part when it comes to not reporting a June Hepatitis A case. This outbreak had caused the Milan McDonalds to close it's doors for a few days last week. Vice President of Hospital Operations Kathy Cunningham said the Rock Island County Health Department called them on Monday, [July] 13th, about a June case. Trinity wasn't' aware of any cases and did their own investigation. That's when the hospital realized this case, and three other July cases, fell through the cracks.
Although the hepatitis A case was not reported to RICHD until nearly a month after Cheryl Scram¡¯s case was diagnosed, she reportedly told her manager that she had been treated for hepatitis A when she returned to work on June 25th, yet she was not excluded from the McDonald¡¯s workforce and continued to handle food items while infectious.
Lt. Bill Kauzlarich with the Rock Island County Sheriffs Department is looking into several aspects of the outbreak. He wants to know, ¡°If the ball was dropped, who dropped it, if things weren¡¯t reported we want to know why they weren¡¯t reported in a timely manner.¡± More answers regarding the outbreak are sure to come, and if by no other means then through litigation. The Marler Clark law firm has already filed a class action lawsuit and an individual lawsuit against the Milan McDonald¡¯s and McDonald¡¯s Corporation.

Jul 24, 2009 8:19 am US/Mountain
6 Hospitalized In Colorado For Salmonella
Source of Article:

¡¤ Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Ground Beef Recall Info

The Colorado health department says six people are recovering after being hospitalized for salmonella that might be linked to a ground beef recall.
Officials said Thursday 14 cases have been reported in the state overall. Eight did not require hospitalization.
The Denver-based King Soopers grocery chain on Wednesday recalled 466,236 pounds of ground beef products that were distributed to stores in Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
The state Department of Public Health and Environment urged the recall because of the number of people hospitalized and because the strain of salmonella found is resistant to many antibiotics usually used to treat the illness, spokeswoman Lori Maldonado said.
Brian Mabry of the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service said Friday this was the first time the agency had recalled raw ground beef for salmonella.
Mabry said salmonella has been found in raw ground beef before but no recall was issued because the source hadn't been determined. He said other salmonella recalls have involved cooked ground beef.
The King Soopers ground beef products were produced May 23-June 13 and bear "EST. 6250" within the USDA Mark of Inspection, printed on the front of the packages.
Salmonella can result in abdominal cramps, diarrhea and fever. Most people recover without treatment, but some require hospitalization. In rare cases, the organism can get into the blood and produce more severe illnesses.

Was The Communicable Disease Reporting System Broke or Just Ignored in Rock Island County Hepatits A Outbreak?
Source of Article:

Posted on July 22, 2009 by Dan Flynn
In the final analysis, the Milan McDonald¡¯s Hepatitis A outbreak is not simply about who is lying or who is inept in this single instance. It is about whether the public health system for reporting and managing communicable diseases really works.
Like other states, Illinois requires all health care providers to notify local health authorities whenever they come across certain ¡°reportable diseases¡±
In Illinois, the overall reporting requirements are found in Section 690.200 of the Public Health Code. Specific provisions for Hepatitis A are found in Section 690.450.
Interestingly, Hepatitis A cases must be reported ¡°as soon as possible, within 24 hours.¡± Anyone with Hepatitis A ¡°shall not work as food handlers or in sensitive occupations during the period when infection control precautions apply.¡±
In addition to a long list of health care providers who must report, under the Illinois code ¡°any other person having knowledge of a known or suspected case or carrier of a reportable communicable disease or communicable disease death¡± is also legally obliged to report it.
How might these legal requirements apply to the facts on some key dates that are now critical to the Milan McDonald¡¯s Hepatitis A outbreak?
June 16, 2009 ? McDonald¡¯s Employee Cheryl Schram learns from Trinity Medical Center in Rock Island, IL that she has tested positive for Hepatitis A.
June 25, 2009 ? Cheryl Schram visits Milan McDonald¡¯s and informs a manager known only as ¡°Michelle¡± of her Hepatitis A status. This is confirmed by at least one witness.
July 10, 2009 ? Multiple cases of Hepatitis A reported to both county and state health officials.
July 13, 2009 ? McDonald¡¯s franchise owner Kevin Murphy says he first learns of the Hepatitis A outbreak from the Rock Island County Health Department. The Illinois Department of Public Health first learns about the Cheryl Schram case, but does not know she was a food handler for McDonald¡¯s until the next day.
July 15, 2009 ? A second McDonald¡¯s employee tests positive for Hepatitis A.
July 16, 2009 ? There are 19 confirmed and two suspected cases of Hepatitis A, all involving people who ate at the Milan McDonald¡¯s.
July 18,2009 ? The Rock Island Health Department announces free Hepatitis A vaccination and immune globulin clinics for the following Monday and Tuesday for all those who dined at the Milan McDonalds from July 6-10 and July 13-14, 2009.
July 20-21,2009 ? Of the estimated 10,000 who might have been exposed, about 4,000 take advantage of the vaccinations. The Milan McDonald¡¯s is located just a couple blocks off the Interstate 280 beltway that goes around the Iowa-Illinois Quad Cities. Thousands who were exposed to Hepatitis A are far down the road by now.
There are obvious questions from all this that do not have answers at this point. Did Trinity Medical Center report within 24 hours on June 16th or 17th that Cheryl Schram had testing positive for Hepatitis A?
If Trinity did so, it probably used the Illinois National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (I-NEDSS), a web-based system.
When, if so, did the Rock Island County Health Department read the report? It would have included information on the Hep A patient and the attending physician. Finding out more would have required some investigation by the county health department.
Illinois law gives local health departments a lot of power to get investigations done. It requires businesses to cooperate and gives health officials emergency access to records. Finding out fast if someone with Hepatitis A is a food handler is clearly a major goal in the code.
How about the Milan McDonald¡¯s manager who learned on June 25 that one of her employees, who she knew was recently released from the hospital, and now learns of the Hepatitis A diagnosis?
Illinois law obligates ¡°any other person having knowledge of a known or suspected case¡¦ to contact local health officials that license restaurants to operate. The number is usually on the license on the wall by the phone.

12-hour Detection of Salmonella in Raw Meats
A new protocol for Bio-Rad's real-time PCR iQ-CheckTM Salmonella II kit has been certified by AFNOR validation for the fast detection of Salmonella in raw meats. The protocol uses a shortened enrichment of only 8 hours in buffered peptone water. Different raw meats were tested including poultry pig and beef.

Salmonellosis continues to be one of the major zoonoses, second only to campylobacteriosis. The intestinal track of wild and domestic animals is the common reservoir for Salmonella, resulting in a variety of meat products as sources of infections. Major recognized sources of human Salmonella infections are eggs and egg-products, followed by different meats such as poultry, turkey and pig meat. According to the latest EFSA report on zoonoses in the European Union in 2007, prevalence of this pathogen in pig carcasses was around 8.3% and 2-11% in retail broilers.
Testing fresh meat products rapidly and with reliable and specific tests is critical in an industry that needs to make quick and accurate decisions on product release. Bio-Rad's iQ-CheckTM Salmonella II test offers an ultra-fast solution for ensuring fresh meat products are free of Salmonella.
iQ-CheckTM kits are based on automated real-time polymerase chain reaction (RTi-PCR) and detection, using specific probes for high accuracy and specificity of results. Other kits available are for detection of Listeria monocytogenes, Listeria spp., E. coli O157:H7 and Campylobacter spp. All kits have the same thermal protocol, so assays can be run at the same time on either a low throughput 48-well MiniOpticon¢â or high throughput 96-well Chromo4¢â systems.

Single non-specific enrichment
Results in no more than 12 hours
Same thermal protocol as other iQ-CheckTM kits
Simple to use, with automated detection and result reporting
AFNOR - ISO 16140 certification

QA / Sanitation Manager - Food Manufacturing Mason City, IA

Sanitation Manager - Food Manufacturing Location Mason City Iowa
Company Overview Kraft Foods Inc. is one of the world¡¯s largest food and beverage companies with revenues of $37 billion. For more than 100 years we have been dedicated to helping people around the world eat and live better. Hundreds of millions of times a day in over 150 countries consumers reach for their favorite Kraft Brands. Kraft has approximately 103,000 employees in 68 countries. Diversity generates new ideas that yield the innovation we need for company growth, competitive advantage, and industry leadership. KRAFT strives to create a rich and stimulating work climate to help you develop your skills and advance your career- team environments designed to promote and reward individuality, innovation, leadership, and strong business results based on a solid understanding of the global organization.
Position Overview The Sanitation Manager position is responsible for maintaining Kraft Quality and Sanitation Systems including Pathogen Environmental Monitoring, Clean Equipment swabbing, Good Manufacturing Practices, and serve as site HACCP Coordinator. Provides leadership, training, and development opportunities to lab personnel and oversees all lab activities and micro testing. Manages the sanitation coach and provides leadership and technical expertise to the Mason City Quality Department and plant operations in the area of quality and microbiological troubleshooting.
Requirements/Qualifications BA/BS in Microbiology, Food Science, Dairy Science or a closely related BS degree with successful coursework in Microbiology Minimum 2-3 yrs of working experience in microbiology Minimum of 1-3 yrs of experience directing, leading and managing teams 1 to 3 years of experience in Quality Systems 1+ years of lab experience Kraft,Iowa makes a variety of products under the JELL-O trademark to include, Fat Free Pudding, Sugar Based Gelatins, Sugar Free Gelatins, Cheesecake, and Extreme Pudding Sticks.
Salary range: $66k - $80k w/6% annua bonus
Benefits: 401K, Medical, Dental, Vacation, etc. To learn move about Kraft, visit our website. NYSE: KFT

Kraft Foods
Three Lakes Drive
North Field, IL 60093

Job Title : Food Safety & Quality Tech (QA) Salina, KS
Company : Schwan's Research and Development, Inc.
Position Type : Full Time - Regular

This position is responsible for performing a variety of quality assurance audits on incoming products, in-process production as well as finished products to ensure that they meet government regulations and company standards of quality. This position also assists in planning and establishing additional FSQ activities and procedures.


Monitors daily adherence to Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and reports issues to management

Monitors overall product quality by verifying compliance to product specification

Recognizes potential and existing contamination issues and takes corrective actions to isolate compromised product or ingredient by communicating and initiating a Product Hold.

Performs routine process and system inspections and audits to insure ingredient/product compliance with established regulatory and company standards.

Monitors others in compliance to facility GMP's and effectively communicates violations to appropriate plant personnel

Performs all duties in accordance with Regulatory, company policy and established procedures

Works with production management to rework product for some routine product quality issues

Conducts daily formulation audits in production areas for specification compliance

Collects aseptic samples for analysis and perform testing (e.g. micro, ATP allergen, sensory, chemical, etc¡¦) as requested

Collects samples of products and raw ingredients from outside suppliers and prepares samples for analysis by outside lab

Performs pre-operational and operational sanitation audits as they apply to Regulatory and company procedures

Performs associated formulation audits and quality checks based on product specifications


Education: High school diploma or equivalent

Years of Related Experience: 0-2 years related experience

Knowledge/Skills/Abilities: Able to be proficient in SAP and the Microsoft Windows Suite to include Word, Excel and PowerPoint preferred; satisfactory job performance in current position; ability to work in a variety of temperatures; demonstrated written and verbal English communication skills; ability to accurately create and document company reports; satisfactory safety record; ability to read and interpret basic technical documents and product specifications; ability to learn and operate standard laboratory equipment; basic communication skills and interpersonal skills; basic math skills; solid interpersonal and communication skills; demonstrated knowledge of HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) as it applies to specific plant operations; demonstrated ability to keep accurate documentation of daily information; general working knowledge of production equipment to monitor overall cleanliness of plant and equipment; HACCP certification preferred

Main Page
Sponsorship Qustions

ist of Newsletters

To subscribe this Food Safety Newsletter

Copyright (C). All rights reserved