Food Safety NewsLetter - FoodHACCP.com
Issue 40
1/8/2003

Sponsors






IGEN







Sponsors
Q/A

 

To receive
Free Newsletter,
apply Free
Membership

Contact Us

 

For Main Site
Click here

 

 

FOOD IRRADIATION WON'T HURT YOU
January 6, 2003
Source from Guelph Mercury A7
Ronald F. Eustice, executive director of the Minnesota Beef Council and who
attended the recent public workshop in Guelph, writes in this op-ed that
during the next few weeks, Canadians will be hearing and reading much about irradiation as Health Canada seeks public comment regarding the expansion of the list of foods approved for irradiation.
Let's hope that Canadians can base their opinions about irradiation on fact,
and not on hearsay, innuendo and political rhetoric. Recent editorial page
comments in the Guelph Mercury suggest an urgent need for clarification
about what food irradiation is -- and what it isn't.
The American public has embraced irradiation as a food safety tool because
they have been provided with clear and accurate information about what it
is, how it works, and what it does.
There is strong public for support irradiation once consumers understand
that it doesn't and can't -- make the food radioactive. The chemical changes
that take place in irradiated food are not significantly different than the
changes caused by other food processing technologies; and that, when done properly, irradiation has very little effect, if any, on the taste,
appearance or nutritional content of food. Irradiation exposes foods to a
radiant energy source, primarily electron beams or gamma rays. Other forms
of radiant energy include alternating current, heat, light, ultra-violet
light, x-rays, and the microwave. The process reduces or kills bacteria and
other pathogenic organisms and increases the shelf life, quality and safety
of foods. Irradiation is not a magic bullet. Advocates have never contended that it can or should replace t e other elements that make up an effective food safety strategy. It's not a replacement for appropriate food production and food-handling practices, both in the food industry and in the home, as
characterized in your Dec. 27 editorial. But it provides a vitally important
extra measure of protection.
Technologies such as immunization against disease, pasteurization of milk
and chlorination of water have become universally accepted. In public health
terms, the potential benefits of irradiation are comparable to those
achieved when pasteurization technology was first introduced more than 70
years ago. Special interest groups were opposed to immunization as well as
chlorination, and voiced nearly identical concerns about pasteurization that
are raised about irradiation today. None of those concerns proved valid. We
all benefit from pasteurization, immunization and chlorination and these
procedures are now considered the "pillars of public health." The scientific
consensus in favor of food irradiation is overwhelming. It is the most
thoroughly studied food processing technology in human history -- by a wide
margin. The risks of irradiation are "unknown" because after several
decades of intensive research scientists have failed to find any. But we
certainly know that irradiation can effectively kill potentially dangerous
disease-causing microbes like Salmonella and E.coli O157:H7.
Medical and scientific experts agree that irradiation can have a significant
impact, on the thousands of food-related illnesses that occur every year --
illnesses that can sometimes be lethal, especially for young children.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, GA, an
estimated 76 million Americans suffer from food borne illness -- and more
than 5,000 die -- every year. That's why irradiation technology has been
endorsed by a long list of professional groups and health-related government
agencies, including the World Health Organization, the American Medical
Association, the U.S. Public Health Service, the U.S. Food and Drug
Association, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the
American Dietetic Association. In May 2000, a small Minnesota meat company became the first processor in the U.S. to use irradiation to make ground beef safer.
From an initial distribution in 84 Minnesota stores, the availability of
Huisken's irradiated frozen hamburger patties quickly grew to include
thousands of supermarkets in 30 states. More than a dozen major retail
chains have added fresh irradiated ground beef to their shelves -- most of
these since May 2002. In less than three years, the availability of
irradiated fresh and frozen ground beef has expanded from a handful of
Minnesota stores to approximately 4,000 supermarkets and hundreds of
restaurants nationwide.
Food service establishments are rapidly embracing food irradiation. A year
ago, two Dairy Queen franchises in central Minnesota became the first
restaurants in the U.S. to use irradiation on hamburger patties.
Currently, over 100 Dairy Queen franchises in Minnesota and South Dakota
offer irradiated ground beef and the number is expanding weekly. In October
2002, St. Paul-based, Embers America became the first family-style,
full-service restaurant to introduce irradiated ground beef. All 65 Embers
restaurants in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North and South Dakota now offer
irradiated patties.As Canadian citizens learn more about irradiation as a food safety tool, let's hope that Health Canada will listen carefully to legitimate public opinion, as well asthe prevailing scientific consensus on this technology. Hopefully, the discussion will not be dominated by narrowly focused advocacy groups that represent neither the public nor the prevailing scientific and public health consensus on irradiation.
Too often in the past, these groups have tended to dominate the discussion
about irradiation, leaving the public with a distorted impression of its
risks and benefits. Let's hope that the voices of the experts will not be
drowned out by the claims of self-interested advocacy groups with political
agendas. This issue is far too important to do otherwise.

Alcohol handrub removes methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus
source from :http://bmj.com/cgi/content/full/326/7379/50/a
EDITORGirou et al showed that handrubbing with an alcohol based solution is significantly more efficient than handwashing with antiseptic soap in reducing hand contamination during routine patient care.1 We conducted a similar study of the efficacy of an alcohol handrub (70% ethanol, carbomer, isopropyl myristate, glycerine, monopropylene glycol, vitamin E, and demineralised water; Guest Medical, Kent, UK) in eliminating methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus from the fingertips of hospital staff at work.

The study was conducted in a large district general hospital in north London in December 2001. Altogether, 110 healthcare staff including doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, healthcare support workers, administrators, and porters were approached at random in their area of work on a single day and invited to take part anonymously. There was no prior knowledge of the study. Each member of staff was asked to place prints of their dominant thumb, index finger, and middle finger onto a plate of Baird Parker agar (selective for S aureus). Two squirts (around 0.5 ml in total) from a 50 ml pocket size dispenser of the alcohol handrub were then sprayed onto their hands, and they were asked to apply this as they would normallywith no extra instruction. After the alcohol was allowed to dry fully, fingerprints were taken again in the same way onto a fresh agar plate. Plates were incubated at 37°C for 48 hours.

Typical colonies were confirmed as S aureus and checked for methicillin sensitivity in the normal way. We found that before using the handrub 25 of the 110 staff formed one or more colony forming units of methicillin resistant S aureus from their fingerprints. Most grades of staff had some positive results, although most of the positive results were from those working in two or three specific areas in the hospital. After using handrub only three members of staff grew colonies from their fingerprints.

This illustrates the efficacy of an alcohol handrub in reducing hand contamination with methicillin resistant S aureus at work. We plan to repeat the exercise every quarter both as surveillance and as a useful practical educational tool for staff.

Arti Thakerar, fourth year medical student.
Barts and the Royal London Hospitals and School of Medicine, London E1 2AD arti_thakerar@doctorsworld.com

Collin Goodbourn, consultant microbiologist.
Whipps Cross University Hospital NHS Trust, London E11 1NR

FDA missed 'errors' in reviewing possibly harmful GM compounds - consumer body
Source from: http://www.afxpress.com/afxpress2/afx/story_265843.xml.html
WASHINGTON (AFX) - Excessive levels of harmful compounds could show up in genetically engineered foods because the government has failed to put sufficiently strong safeguards in place to catch them, the Washington Post reported, quoting findings by a consumer protection group. In a report scheduled for release today, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), contends that the Food and Drug Administration missed "obvious errors" in reviewing some genetically modified crops, the newspaper reported.
Although crops now on the market appear to be safe to eat, the group said the FDA's procedures are so full of holes that continued safety cannot be ensured as companies press to bring many more genetically engineered plants to market. "The companies don't provide enough data to prove these foods are safe," the Post quoted Gregory A. Jaffe, director of biotechnology issues at the center, as saying.Much of the concern centers on "anti-nutrients," or harmful compounds common in many foods. Typically such compounds are present only at minuscule levels. But when crops are genetically altered there is at least a theoretical risk that the level of anti-nutrients could increase. The FDA has failed to establish firm procedures requiring companies to test for such harmful changes, the report said.
CSPI reviewers studied about a quarter of all the cases where gene-altered plants have come before the FDA for review. In many instances, the report said, the FDA requested information on the nutritional composition of a plant that industry failed to provide. In three of 14 cases, CSPI reviewers found "obvious errors" in FDA analyses of certain food crops. Certain scientific papers - cited to prove that human exposure to a particular foreign protein in gene-altered tomatoes and cantaloupes is safe - do not prove anything of the sort, the center said. Laura Tarantino, deputy director of food-additive safety at the FDA, rejected the CSPI's contentions, saying companies have provided all the data on their crops that the agency deemed important. The food-processing industry also rejected the report's conclusions.

JOB Opening

*New Listing*
Laboratory Supervisor N272
Jonesboro, AR
BS Food Science or related + 2years. Supervise Laboratory personnel in microbiology and chemical testing of raw materials, finished products and plant sanitation samples. Plant produces frozen foods. Audit experience with HACCP,SSOP,TQC,MIR,QMS and SPC to make sure plant is conforming to standards. Interact with operations on non-compliant materials to resolve issues. Involved with packaging weight control and recipe procedures in operations. Involved with regulatory, safety and quality issues including interface with USDA inspectors.
Salary to $60,000
QA Food Technologist N273
Jonesboro, AR
BS Food Science or related + internship. Plant quality position doing microbiology and chemical testing of raw materials, finished products and plant sanitation samples. Plant produces frozen foods. Audit experience with HACCP,SSOP,TQC,MIR,QMS and SPC to make sure plant is conforming to standards. Interact with operations on non-compliant materials to resolve issues. Involved with packaging weight control and recipe procedures in operations. Involved with regualtory safety and quality issues including interface with USDA inspectors. Strong analytical, computer and interpersonal skills necessary.
Salary to $40,000

Sanitation Supervisor N 269
Provo, UT
BS + 4-5 years experience in food production setting is required. Must have previous experience with CIP systems. also should be knowledgeable in GMPs, SSOPs, and HACCP. Position is in large frozen food facility. Individual will be responsible for 40 hourlies on third shift sanitation. Reports to 3rd shift manager.
Salary to $55K + bonus.

*New Listing*
Food Technologist R270
Napoleon, Ohio
BS Food Science, Microbiology or related + 1 year experience. Entry level position. Will perform laboratory analysis on incoming ingredients and finished products. Includes Microbiological, physical and chemical testing, in-plant surveys and overseeing sanitation operations. Responsible for overseeing the activities of Laboratory Technicians and working with operations personnel providing technical advice/support regarding product safety and quality. Ability to troubleshoot, interpret results and make recommendations. Room for advancement. Background with soup, sauces, beverages, gravies ideal. Will pay relocation, typical benefit package. Mostly first shift, might have to help on other shifts if problem arises.

*New Listing*
Manager Maintenance & Engineering R268
Napoleon, Ohio
BS Engineering, MBA (preferred) + 10-15 years experience. Direct all Maintenance & Engineering and supervise the overall processes of Engineering, Maintenance and Power Departments. Oversee the Maintenance, repair and installation of capital improvements including manufacturing equipment, power house/utility equipment and other company equipment. Determines the needs and processes for authorizing requisitioning of parts, supplies and materials required for the successful continued operation of Plant equipment. Reports to the Plant Manager. (If no MBA, will need to pursue degree.) Oversee 165 hourly, 12 salaried Maintenance & 11 Engineering personnel.
Salary to $90,000 + Bonus

Process Development Engineer N267
Cincinnati, OH
PhD Chemical Engineering plus 3-7 years experience in laboratory and pilot scale process development of chemical or biochemical processes, including transfer to manufacturing. Knowledge of one or more of the following process is preferred: distillation, liquid/liquid extraction, liquid/solid extraction, spray drying, fluid bed drying, filtration, centrifugation, adsorption, instrumentation and process control, capital/operating cost estimation, mathematical modeling, CHEMCAD or equivalent process simulation software. MUST have background in flavors or food ingredients. Individual will be responsible for scaling up new processed flavors. Major responsibilities include working with flavorists in developing and scaling up new flavors, maintaining the pilot plant, and carrying new flavor production from bench through the pilot plant and into manufacturing.
Salary to $80,000

Food Technologist N266
Cincinnati, OH
Individual must have a BS degree in a scientific field plus 3 years experience in savory flavor applications or savory food product development. Individual will create savory products such as sauces, gravies, and snacks to test or showcase savory flavors. Will work closely with flavor chemists and marketing to determine best flavor/product combination. Individual will work closely with customers.
Salary to $45,000

External Auditor N265
Pacific NW
Individual must have a BS in Food Science, Biology or related plus 4-6 years experience in food plant quality control. MUST have previous experience with external auditing. Strong knowledge of GMP's, HACCP, and sanitation. Position is with a large contract laboratory offering auditing services to the food industry. Individual will be auditing food plants throughout the Pacific NW. Extensive travel (50%+). Company provides home office. Individual can live in WA,OR,ID or MT.
Salary to $55,000

Sr. Project Engineer - Process N264
Boston, MA
BS Chemical Engineering or other engineering discipline with 7-10 years experience in food plant process engineering, experience creating project teams and the ability to delegate and accomplish tasks through others. This is a corporate position with multi-plant responsibility. Individual will develop process/batching/CIP design and installation plans and processing and equipment and piping specifications; evaluate existing processing installations to upgrade/improve performance; develop major projects from conception to finished construction and installation; develop processing/receiving capital budget for various plants and provide consulting services to plant engineering department. Travel approximately 40%.
Salary $80,000 to $90,000

Quality Control Manager J01
Northwest, IL
Individual MUST have at least 3 years experience in quality control in a bakery plant environment. Strong supervisory skills desired. Large plant experience a plus. Cookie/cracker experience a plus. HACCP, GMP, sanitation, audit skills desirable. Individual will be responsible for total product quality over three shifts in a large baking plant.
Salary to $65,000

Maintenance Manager J02
Northwest, IL
Individual MUST have at least 5 years experience in maintenance in a bakery environment. Strong supervisory skills desired. Large plant experience a plus. Cookie/cracker experience a plus. Individual will be responsible for total maintenance over three shifts in a large plant.
Salary to $65,000

Quality Systems Manager R238
Napoleon, OH
Candidate will follow broadly based guidelines and make decisions with minimal direction in managing Floor Auditors, Quality Supervisors, Formula and Procedures Clerk and the HACCP/SSOP Manager. Required to make timely written and/or oral reports on significant issues as they arise. Interact with a wide variety of departments, locally and throughout corporation, personnel at many levels, USDA and vendors. Responsible for the reviews and dispositions of on hold batches or raw materials and provides solutions as needed. Schedules weekly schedules, employee evaluations and provides training and development programs. Pluses would be completion of Better Process Control School, Thermal Processing, HACCP Certification, lab & manager experience, and knowledge of plant operations. Proficient in computers including MS Office, Lotus Notes, AS/400 and statistical programs.
Salary to mid $70's

*
Scientist 1 - NMR Spectroscopist N259
Cincinnati, OH
Requirements: MS in Chemistry plus experience in operating and maintaining NMR systems, knowledge of FTIR and GC/MS instrumentation. Must be able to demonstrate capability of NMR, IR and MS spectra interpretation.
Responsibilities: Individual will be responsible for conducting authentication analysis on natural flavor ingredients using isotope NMR techniques, planning and executing NMR and FTIR experiments and developing, maintaining, and managing NMR and IR databases.
Salary to $55K

*New Listing*
Scientist 1 - Volatile Analysis Chemist N 260
Cincinnati, OH
Requirements: MS in Chemistry or Food Science plus 2 years experience in operating and maintaining GC and GC/MS. Must have strong skills in GC/MS data processing and mass spectrum interpretation.
Responsibilities: Individual will assist in conducting flavor research. Specific responsibilities are planning and executing experiments, performing sample preparations, conducting data processing/interpretation, operating and maintaining analytical instrumentation, performing instrumental analysis: GC and GC/MS, troubleshoot and repair lab instruments, maintaining log notebooks for instrumentation, updating and maintaining instrument software.
Salary to $55K

*New Listing*
Developmental Chef N258
Cincinnati, OH
Requirements: AA Culinary Arts required, BS Science preferred plus 3-5 years experience in recipe formulation and flavor testing. combination of foodservice and industrial experience is ideal.
Duties: Individual will: 1) perform various culinary projects in support of flavor applications, 2) develop concepts to highlight company's flavors, 3) participate in ideation sessions, and 4) attend, assist and conduct customer presentations.
Salary to $50K

Food Technologist N256
Pittsburgh, PA
Requirements: BS Food Science or related plus 3 or more years experience in product development. Individual should have worked in developing canned soups. Retort experience is a strong plus.
Duties: Individual will be responsible for development of new products and modification of existing products in the soup division of a major food company.
Salary to $69K

Food Technologist N257
Pittsburgh, PA
Requirements: BS Food Science or related plus 3 or more years experience in product development. Individual should have worked in developing baby food. Retort experience is a strong plus.
Duties: Individual will be responsible for development of new products and modification of existing products in the baby food division of a major food company.
Salary to $69K

Food Technologist N246
Cleveland, OH
Requirements: BS or MS in Food Science or related field plus 2-5 years product development experience involving use of starches and hydrocolloids. Frozen food experience a big plus. MUST be a strong team player.
Duties: Individual will work in an international frozen food development team as the "hydrocolloid specialist" providing food science knowledge and experience in support of the team's objectives from concept through commercialization. Will design trials to evaluate equipment and product performance. will conduct pilot plant and production scale tests.
Salary to $65K

(Sr.) Food Technologist N242
Pittsburgh, PA
Requirements: BS Food Science or related plus 5 or more years experience in product development. Individual should have worked in developing one of more of the following products: pasta sauce, pizza sauce, barbeque sauce, salad dressing. Individual with 10 or more years of experience may qualify for a more Senior position.
Duties: Individual will be responsible for development of new products and modification of existing products in the sauce and dressing division of a major food producer.
Salary $54K - $78K

Production Supervisor RA187
Toledo, OH
BS Food Science or related + 3 years exp
Need supervisors for their manufacturing plant, for second or third shift. These candidates will be on a fast track to move up in the operations department of the Fortune 100 company. Successful candidate will have experience in a food manufacturing plant for 3 years. Some supervision will be helpful. Familiarization with thermal processing, canning, jar packing and high speed packaging a real plus. Need to hire now!! This is a union plant.
Salary to$50K
if you are interesting this job opening, visit the following website.
http://www.hastingsgr.com/job_listings.htm

Food Safety General News
01/07. CHANGE TRANSMITTAL FOR DIRECTIVE 10,210.1
01/07. FOOD IRRADIATION WON'T HURT YOU -- IGNORANCE ABOUT IT MIGHT
01/07. EU: First call for EU food safety research proposals

01/07. EU proposals for additions to list of specified risk materia
01/07. Alcohol handrub removes methicillin resistant Staphylococcus
01/07. Pueblo won't put local restaurant reports online
01/07. FDA missed 'errors' in reviewing possibly harmful GM compoun
01/07. It's rosemary to the rescue for chip lovers
01/07. Battle to save herbal remedies
01/07. Chlorine and Food Safety White Paper
01/06. Mexico slaps listeria testing on U.S. poultry exports
01/06. USDA denies misleading lawmakers investigating E. coli O157:
01/06. Fixing Food
01/06. COLUMN: Genetically modified foods could present unforeseen
01/06. Kosher Cleared
01/06. Mexico: Listeria Checks Begin
01/06. Melrose hosts public meeting of food experts
01/06. Correction -- The American Egg Board/Egg Nutrition Center
01/06. Cook eggs thoroughly to prevent salmonella: CDC
01/06. Battling Bacteria Safely
01/06. Experts answer questions about listeria, its effects
01/05. Important Clarifications for Consumers Concerning Salmonella
01/05. Preferences, microbes and terrorism drive food research
01/05. Easy steps can help prevent food contamination
01/05. US Agency Warns Against Eating Raw Sprouts
01/04. Drought slows results of E. coli study
01/04. China: Safe food efforts for Nianyefan (Hu Yan)
01/04. More food ailments reported online
01/04. China: Man Executed for Kindergarten Poisoning
01/04. China: Centre offers information about food poisoning

Internet Journal of Food Safety
RapidMethod.com

OUTBREAK NEWS

DEADLY GERM IN LOCAL CHEESE STRIKES GIRL, 2
January 7, 2003
The Edmonton Journal/Sun
A two-year-old Edmonton girl is, according to these stories, in hospital with a serious condition that can cause kidney failure, after eating unpasteurized Gouda cheese infected with potentially deadly E. coli
bacteria. Dr. Gerry Predy, Capital Health's medical officer of health, was cited as
saying six other people who ate portions from the same batch of cheese made
by Eyot Creek Farm of Leduc have fallen ill since late November, adding, "This is the first outbreak we've had that's been linked to unpasteurized cheese." The cheese was sold or given away as samples from both the Strathcona and St. Albert farmers' markets in November and December.
Predy was further cited as saying that anyone who has recently eaten Eyot
Creek cheese should check with their doctor. If they have any left in their
refrigerators, it should be tossed out.
The young Edmonton girl is now in stable condition at the Stollery Children's Health Centre at the University of Alberta.
Ted Koopmans, one of seven dairy farmers who operate Eyot Creek, was cited
as saying he feels awful about the young girl and the others who became ill,
and that the company will follow orders by Capital Health and Alberta
Agriculture not to sell more of the cheese until a review is complete.
Eyot Creek, a 60-cow operation 15 kilometres south of Leduc, produces a
dozen different types of soft Gouda cheese using traditional, Dutch methods. It's
all made from unpasteurized milk to give it more flavour. Koopmans was quoted as saying, "All of our cheese, every batch, is sampled by an Agriculture food lab." If tests show the cheese does not fall within
Health Canada guidelines, it is left to age longer and tested again, he said.
Operating since 1984, the company sells more than 10,000 kilograms of cheese
each year at the Strathcona, St. Albert and downtown farmers' markets as
well as retail stores and restaurants.

OUTBREAK NEWS LIST
01/07. DEADLY GERM IN LOCAL CHEESE STRIKES GIRL, 2
01/07. Disease outbreaks big concern in Lee
01/07. 14 hit by food poisoning
01/06. 2 diners treated for typhoid after visiting Dalesio's
01/06. Patrons of Little Italy restaurant exposed to typhoid fever
01/05. Salmonella outbreak didn't begin at Young's
01/05. Salmonella Egg Bacteria on the Rise in US Southeast
01/04. Young¡¯s problem likely tied to human contamination
01/04. How are you feeling?
01/03. Doctors fear vomiting bug outbreak
01/02. ILLNESSES LINKED TO CLARK COUNTY, OHIO, DAIRY HIT 38
01/02. E COLI GIRL'S FAMILY RAISE FUNDS Jan 2 2003


Sponsors Section
bioMerieux (API)
The API identification
products comprise strips,
generally containing 20
iniature biochemical tests, and databases. The API range currently offers 16 identification products covering almost all bacterial groups and over 550 different species. This range is updated regularly to allow identification of certain bacteria which are becoming increasingly important Corynebacterium, Campylobacter, Listeria,
Neisseria, etc.

BioControl
The LIGHTNING MVP instrument is multi-functional. Use with a range of MVP sampling devices and detachable probes. Measures multiple quality indicators such as ATP, pH and temperature.


METHOD NEWS
Ready-to-eat surface treatment
http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/
06/01/03 - A new product called acidified calcium sulphate is showing promise as a way to kill Listeria monocytogenes in products such as lunchmeats and certain cheeses."Our goal was to look at different treatments that might be used to decontaminate the surface of cooked products to ensure that Listeria was killed and it had very little opportunity to grow after that," said Dr. Jimmy Keeton, professor with the department of animal science at Texas A&M University. "Listeria grows at refrigerator temperatures."
Foodborne listeriosis is most commonly associated with ready-to-eat products such as frankfurters and hot dogs, lunchmeat, smoked fish and certain types of soft cheeses, Keeton said.
L. monocytogenes is considered a serious threat because - even though it does not affect that much of the population - when it does strike, it can be deadly. In humans, listeriosis can cause flu-like symptoms, meningitis, spontaneous abortions and prenatal septicemia, said Keeton. About 20 per cent of listeriosis cases are fatal."There's a real concern about from the time ready-to-eat products are cooked until the time they are packaged that they not become contaminated with pathogens, specifically L. monocytogenes," he said.When these products are cooked, they are pasteurised and the Listeria is killed. "Assuming the product is cooked adequately, the risk of contamination comes from the surface," he said.If the product is contaminated after cooking, there is a risk in eating that product without proper reheating. Some luncheon meats, such as bologna, are routinely not cooked before eating.Research had already shown that adding substances such as lactic acid and sodium lactate created microbiological "hurdles" to organisms such as Listeria, Keeton said. But still, these were not considered entirely effective against the regrowth of the organism.However, acidified calcium sulphate ?an organic acid, calcium sulfate combination ?is showing potential as a product that not only kills the Listeria on the surface of products, but also keeps it from coming back. Even though it is acidic, Keeton said, it is safe enough to hold in the hand and has Generally Recognised As Safe status from the Food and Drug Administration in the US.The Texas A&M researchers inoculated frankfurters manufactured under commercial processing with a four-strain L. monocytogenes 'cocktail' which contained 10 million micro-organisms per gram."You wouldn't expect to find levels that high. It's a worst-case scenario, so if you're going to get protection, you should get it at this point," Keeton said. Each group was then treated with either a saline solution (the control group), with acidified calcium sulphate, potassium lactate or lactic acid.The frankfurters were then vacuum-packaged much like they would have been processed commercially, stored under refrigeration 40 F for 12 weeks, and evaluated at two-week intervals. What researchers found was the acidified calcium sulphate killed the Listeria on the surface and also had a residual effect on the surface. "The organism didn't come back," Keeton said.The lactic acid initially reduced the number of organisms, but it did not kill all of them. Also, the Listeria started growing on the frankfurter again during refrigerated storage.The potassium lactate was not effective at all, he added.Researchers also tested the sensory and physical properties and found the acidified calcium sulfate changed the product very little. It had the same taste, even though the pH was reduced. It also slightly increased the calcium content of the frankfurters, Keeton said. Researchers also noticed a slight amount of moisture released in the packaging."We attributed this to the fact the material was acidic, and it remained acidic throughout the storage period," he said.Listeria can be introduced from the environment or from personnel in a meat-processing plant. Some of the outbreaks often have involved factors such as remodelling in a plant that made the organism air-borne. Keeton noted meat-processing plants are constantly keeping sanitation programmes in place to prevent cross-contamination.The acidified calcium sulphate could give meat processors another method of intervention to increase the safety of their products, Keeton said, and several already want to test acidified calcium sulphate on their own products to see how effective it is."Companies don't want to produce an unsafe product, because their reputation is on the line," he said, "so if they can find intervention procedures through research and new technologies, it's very important."A summary of the research also has been sent to the US Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service as a validation study to gain support for the use of this material. The USDA is presently considering policies on how to control L. monocytogenes in processing plants.In November, the USDA released an administrative directive outlining additional steps to be taken by its inspectors to ensure that establishments producing ready-to-eat meat and poultry products are taking the necessary steps to prevent contamination with Listeria.Under the directive, plants producing high and medium risk ready-to-eat products such as deli meats and hot dogs that do not have an evaluated environmental testing regime designed to find and take necessary actions to eliminate Listeria, will be placed under an intensified testing programme by USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service. The programme will consist of increased testing of the final product, and testing of food contact surfaces and plant environment.The Texas A&M study was funded by the American Meat Institute Foundation, whose members are from the meat industry.

Recall News
New York Firm Recalls Chicken Frankfurters For Possible Listeria Contamination
Source from (USDA)
WASHINGTON, Jan. 3, 2003?PRG Packing Corp., a Bronx, N.Y., establishment, is voluntarily recalling approximately 26,400 pounds of chicken frankfurters that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agricultures Food Safety and Inspection Service announced today.
The products subject to recall are 16-ounce packages of "Sweet Meadow Farms Brand, CHICKEN FRANKFURTERS." Each label bears the establishment code "P-5281" inside the USDA seal of inspection. Each package also bears the sell by date, "JAN 29."The products were produced on November 27, 2002 and distributed to wholesalers and retail stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. "We want consumers to be aware of the recall so they can check their freezers and refrigerators for these products," said Dr. Garry L. McKee, FSIS administrator. "If consumers find the recalled products then they should return them to the point of purchase."The product is being recalled based on a positive test for Listeria monocytogenes collected by the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets.Consumption of food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, an uncommon but potentially fatal disease. Healthy people rarely contract listeriosis. Listeriosis can cause high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness and nausea. Listeriosis can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths, as well as serious and sometimes fatal infections in children, seniors and those with compromised immune systems.FSIS has received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption of this product. Anyone concerned about an illness should contact a physician.Consumers and media with questions about the recall may contact Guillermo Gonzalez, company president, at (718) 328-0059. Consumers with other food safety questions can phone the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-800-535-4555. The hotline is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time), Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.

USDA/FDA News
U.S. Codex Office "What's New" Page: Updated January 7, 2003
OPPD (Policy) What's New Page: Updated January 6, 2003
FSIS Constituent Update: January 3, 2003
U.S. Codex Office "What's New" Page: Updated January 2, 2003
Residue Testing Procedures; Response to Comments
Residue Information Center

 

Contact us Click here
Sponsorship Click here
New Membership Application (FREE) Click here

Copyright 2000-2002. (C)FoodHACCP.com
All rights reserved.