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Detects More Than 700 Antimicrobial-Resistance Genes
May 27, 2010
ARS scientists and cooperators have detected more than 700 genes that
give microbes like Salmonella?shown here?and E. coli the ability to
(PhysOrg.com) -- Using an advanced genetic screening technique, Agricultural
Research Service (ARS) scientists and cooperators have detected, for
the first time, more than 700 genes that give microbes like Salmonella
and E. coli the ability to resist antibiotics and other antimicrobial
The researchers used what is called DNA microarray technology to find
the resistance genes in a wide variety of bacteria such as Salmonella,
E. coli, Campylobacter, Listeria, and Enterococcus, among others. These
organisms can cause food poisoning and are thus a major public health
Researchers are concerned that some of these organisms have acquired
genetic resistance to the antibiotics used to kill them. Finding the
genes that confer resistance is an important step for scientists looking
for new ways to control these organisms.
All genes identified in organisms are logged into GenBank, a gene database
administered by the National Center for Biotechnology Information at
the National Institutes of Health. ARS microbiologists Jonathan G. Frye,
Rebecca L. Lindsey, Charlene R. Jackson, Paula J. Fedorka-Cray, Mark
E. Berrang, Mark D. Englen, and Richard J. Meinersmann at the agency's
Bacterial Epidemiology and Antimicrobial Resistance Research Unit in
Athens, Ga., along with collaborators at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center
in San Diego, Calif., searched through GenBank for genes annotated by
other scientists to likely encode resistance.
Frye and his colleagues selected about 1,000 unique genes from among
5,000 genes found in GenBank that included the words "antimicrobial
resistance" in their description. Then they designed a microarray
of more than 700 DNA probes to detect the resistance genes, according
A DNA microarray is a small glass slide used to test genetic samples
for the presence of specific genes. To make the arrays, pieces of DNA
called probes are designed to detect the genes that are known to confer
antimicrobial resistance. These probes are then fused onto the glass
slides in specific configurations.
To use the array, DNA extracted from the bacterium to be tested is tagged
with fluorescent dyes and then put into contact with the slide containing
the probes. The antimicrobial-resistance genes in the bacteria will
then attach themselves to the probes they match on the slide, making
the specific probe for that gene fluoresce and thus identifying the
antimicrobial resistance gene that was in the bacterium.
This work was published in the scientific journal Microbial Drug Resistance.
Provided by USDA Agricultural Research Service
coli legislation would include more strains
MeatPoultry.com, May 28, 2010
by Bryan Salvage
WASHINGTON ? U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced new legislation
on May 27 that would require the U.S. Department of Agriculture to regulate
six currently unregulated strains of E. coli proven to cause foodborne
illnesses. In addition to the most common form of E. coli that is already
regulated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified
six rarer strains, known as non-0157 STECs, she said.
The C.D.C. estimates non-O157 STECs cause 36,700 illnesses, 1,100 hospitalizations
and 30 deaths in America each year, Sen. Gillibrand said.
¡°How many people have to get sick before we take action?¡± Sen. Gillibran
asked. ¡°In America, in 2010, it is unconscionable that food is still
going straight to our kitchens, school cafeterias and restaurants without
being properly tested to ensure its safety. It¡¯s spreading too many
diseases and costing too many lives. The laws that are meant to keep
us safe from hazardous foods are in critical need of updating. We need
to pass this legislation to keep our families safe.¡±
Although, she pointed out, that E. coli O157:H7 is by far the most common
strain in American beef, non-O157 STECs are increasingly found in beef
imported from other countries. But is never checked for since current
law only requires imported ground beef to be checked for E. coli O157:H7,
Sen. Gillibrand¡¯s new legislation adds the six confirmed strains to
the list of adulterants, requires meat companies to test for and discard
any batches containing any toxic strains of E. coli and gives the U.S.D.A.
the authority to find and regulate more toxic strains in the future.
Sen. Gillibrand¡¯s proposed legislation includes:
¡¤ Amend the Federal Meat Inspection Act to revise the definition of
the term ¡®¡®adulterated¡¯¡¯ to include contamination with E. coli.
¡¤ Define E. coli as ¡°enterohemorrhagic (E.H.E.C.) Shiga toxin-producing
serotypes of Escherichia coli (E. coli).¡±
¡¤ Include the following E. coli strains: 0157: H7, 026, 045, 0103, 011,
E.H.E.C. was chosen because it is, by definition, pathogenic, meaning
disease causing, she said.
¡°This strikes a compromise between being overly-inclusive [not all S.T.E.C.
are pathogenic] and under-inclusive [not closing the door on as yet
unidentified strains of pathogenic E. coli],¡± she added.
¡°By expanding the definition of adulterants to other strains, it will
require U.S.D.A. to begin spot testing procedures, force companies (through
legal pressure) to test and eliminate the pathogen, and require F.S.I.S.
to recommend best testing practices to companies."
After her proposed legislation was announced, the American Meat Institute
addressed her concerns and charges.
¡°We share Sen. Gillibrand¡¯s desire to eradicate pathogenic bacteria,
but we don¡¯t believe that an act of Congress can make these bacteria
disappear,¡± said Mark Dopp, senior vice-president of regulatory affairs
and general counsel, for the American Meat Institute (A.M.I.). ¡°We also
are puzzled by the fact that this bill is being introduced at a time
when the Centers for Disease Control is tracking an outbreak of E. coli
O145 [one of the strains in the bill] associated with romaine lettuce,
yet the bill would only declare the pathogen an adulterant when found
on meat. It is even more interesting to consider that no confirmed outbreak
of any of the six strains in her bill has ever been associated with
a meat product."
Currently there is no test available to detect the six additional strains
included in the bill, Mr. Dopp pointed out. ¡°In addition, experts at
U.S.D.A. have said in public meetings that the food-safety systems we
have in place work equally well for non-157 and O157 STECS,¡± he said.
¡°These systems have reduced E. coli O157:H7 on raw ground beef by 63%
since 2000 and have helped us achieve our Health People 2010 goal for
reducing these infections.
¡°We are concerned that food-safety resources in the private sector and
the public sector are not infinite,¡± he continued. ¡°It¡¯s important to
invest in technologies that will provide meaningful food-safety benefits.
¡°We do not believe that declaring non-O157 STECS to be adulterants will
enhance the food-safety system, and we think that application of such
a policy could consume resources that could be better spent elsewhere
to achieve meaningful food-safety progress,¡± Mr. Dopp concluded.
STECs (O26, O45, 0103, O111, O121, O145) cause 36,700 illnesses, 1,100
hospitalizations and 30 deaths in America each year
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand last week introduced new legislation
to require the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to regulate the
six currently unregulated strains of E. coli proven to cause food-borne
illnesses. In addition to the most common form of E. coli that is already
regulated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has
identified six rarer strains, known as non-O157 STECs. The CDC estimates
that non-O157 STECs cause 36,700 illnesses, 1,100 hospitalizations and
30 deaths in America each year.
E. coli O157:H7 is by far the most common strain in American beef. But
non-O157 STECs are increasingly found in beef imported from other countries,
but is never checked for since current law only requires imported ground
beef to be checked for E. coli O157:H7.
Senator Gillibrand¡¯s new legislation adds the six confirmed strains
to the list of adulterants, requires meat companies to test for and
discard any batches containing any toxic strains of E. coli, and gives
the USDA the authority to find and regulate more toxic strains in the
Specifically, Senator Gillibrand¡¯s legislation:
* Amends the Federal Meat Inspection Act to revise the definition of
the term ¡®¡®adulterated¡¯¡¯ to include contamination with E. coli.
* Defines E. coli as ¡°enterohemorrhagic (EHEC) Shiga toxin-producing
serotypes of Escherichia coli (E. coli).¡±
* Includes the following E. coli strains: O157:H7, O26, O45, 0103, O111,
* EHEC was chosen because it is, by definition, pathogenic, meaning
disease causing. This strikes a compromise between being overly-inclusive
(not all STEC are pathogenic) and under-inclusive (not closing the door
on as yet unidentified strains of pathogenic E. coli)
* By expanding the definition of adulterants to other strains, it will
require USDA to begin spot testing procedures, force companies (through
legal pressure) to test and eliminate the pathogen, and require FSIS
to recommend best testing practices to companies.
Posted on May 30, 2010 by Bill Marler
to the American Meat Institute Statement on New Bill to Declare Additional
Strains of E. coli as Adulterants
AMI: We share Sen. Gillibrand¡¯s desire to eradicate pathogenic bacteria,
but we don¡¯t believe that an act of Congress can make these bacteria
disappear. We also are puzzled by the fact that this bill is being introduced
at a time when the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is tracking an
outbreak of E. coli O145 (one of the strains in the bill) associated
with romaine lettuce, yet the bill would only declare the pathogen an
adulterant when found on meat.
ME: Good for the Senator for doing something the FSIS and the Beef Industry
should have done years ago. If a pathogen that can kill you is in your
food ? regardless of the type ? it should be an adulterant. And, as
AMI well knows, FDA has jurisdiction over lettuce and already does consider
E. coli O145 an adulterant. The beef industry has been dragging its
AMI: It is even more interesting to consider that no confirmed outbreak
of any of the six strains in her bill has ever been associated with
a meat product.
ME: Really? See this report put out by the CDC last week. True, there
has ONLY been one outbreak linked to the consumption of beef, but there
have also been outbreaks linked to animal contact. And, given the fact
that few labs test for these bugs, is there any wonder that outbreaks
are few and far between?
AMI: At this point, there is no test available to detect the six additional
strains included in the bill.
ME: Hmm? Them why have the tests I have done on 5,000 retail samples
and the 4,000 tests by USDA seem to work well? And, yes, why have the
tests performed by FDA and CDC and various State labs worked?
AMI: In addition, experts at USDA have said in public meetings that
the food safety systems we have in place work equally well for non-157
and O157 STECS. These systems have reduced E. coli O157:H7 on raw ground
beef by 63 percent since 2000 and have helped us achieve our Health
People 2010 goal for reducing these infections.
ME: The CDC estimates that non-O157 STECs cause 36,740 illnesses, 1,083
hospitalizations and 30 deaths in America each year. The CDC also estimates
that E. coli O157:H7 still causes 73,480 illnesses, 2,167 hospitalizations
and 61 deaths in America each year. AMI, do you really find this acceptable?
AMI: We are concerned that food safety resources in the private sector
and the public sector are not infinite. It¡¯s important to invest in
technologies that will provide meaningful food safety benefits. We do
not believe that declaring non-O157 STECS to be adulterants will enhance
the food safety system, and we think that application of such a policy
could consume resources that could be better spent elsewhere to achieve
meaningful food safety progress.
ME: I like to keep things simple. If a pathogen that can kill my kid
is in their food, it should be an adulterant. Here is the law:
21 U.S.C. ¡× 601(m)(4) - SUBCHAPTER I - INSPECTION REQUIREMENTS; ADULTERATION
AND MISBRANDING - CHAPTER 12 - MEAT INSPECTION - TITLE 21?FOOD AND DRUGS
(m) The term ¡°adulterated¡± shall apply to any carcass, part thereof,
meat or meat food product under one or more of the following circumstances:
(1) if it bears or contains any poisonous or deleterious substance which
may render it injurious to health; but in case the substance is not
an added substance, such article shall not be considered adulterated
under this clause if the quantity of such substance in or on such article
does not ordinarily render it injurious to health; ...
(3) if it consists in whole or in part of any filthy, putrid, or decomposed
substance or is for any other reason unsound, unhealthful, unwholesome,
or otherwise unfit for human food;
(4) if it has been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions
whereby it may have become contaminated with filth, or whereby it may
have been rendered injurious to health; ¡¦
Hmmm, it is hard to read the above and not think that the words apply
to all E. coli (frankly, all pathogens in food). I know, I am just a
lawyer, but don't ya think that when food with animal feces (and a dash
of E. coli O157:H7) in it is considered an adulterant, that other animal
feces (with dashes of other pathogens) in them, should be considered
adulterated too? But, hey, that is just me.
By the way, here is the Petition that I filed last October asking FSIS
to deem other disease-causing E. coli's adulterants. No action to date.
Posted on June 1, 2010 by Bill Marler
Scrambles Truth on Salmonella and Cages
By Wayne Pacelle
In a detailed story on Sunday, Columbus Dispatch reporter Alan Johnson
previewed one of the flashpoints in the debate over confining laying
hens in battery cages. The story provides plenty of evidence that confining
hens in small cages is worse for birds and for the people who eat their
eggs. But I¡¯ve asked Dr. Michael Greger, our director of public health
and animal agriculture, to provide some additional details.
The egg industry has a history of misrepresenting the facts. For example,
in the April issue of the trade publication Egg Industry, the chief
lobbyist of United Egg Producers declared: "In fact, the Centers
for Disease Control have not linked an outbreak of human illness to
egg products in almost 40 years. Not a bad record."
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the agency tasked with egg safety,
disagrees. The FDA concluded in a 2009 press release: ¡°Egg-associated
illness caused by Salmonella is a serious public health problem.¡± That
wasn¡¯t 40 years ago; that was more like 40 weeks ago.
How quickly the egg industry forgets the worst salmonella outbreak in
U.S. history?caused by eggs?that sickened an estimated 224,000 Americans
in 1994. In 2005, the CDC estimated that infected eggs in a more typical
year cause about 182,000 cases of human salmonella poisoning. That¡¯s
not an outbreak, that¡¯s an epidemic.
Salmonella is the most commonly diagnosed foodborne bacterial illness
in the United States and has been deemed the leading cause of food-related
death. Eggs are the leading culprit. Because salmonella can infect the
ovaries of hens, eggs from infected birds can be laid prepackaged with
the bacteria inside. According to research funded by the American Egg
Board, salmonella can survive sunny-side-up, over-easy, and scrambled
egg cooking methods. Although thousands die from food poisoning every
year in the United States, the vast majority of victims suffer only
acute, self-limited illnesses. Salmonella, however, can have life-long
consequences, resulting in chronic arthritic joint inflammation and
persistent irritable bowel syndrome in children, who are at especially
One reason millions of salmonella-infected eggs reach American supermarkets
every year is the mistreatment of hens by the egg industry. Cramming
100,000 birds or more under a single roof in tiny battery cages creates
an immense volume of contaminated airborne fecal dust that can rapidly
spread salmonella infection between the birds. The best available science?a
study of more than 5,000 egg operations across two dozen countries?found
that for every type of salmonella studied and every type of production
system examined, there was a significantly lower risk of salmonella
infection in cage-free production.
Six studies (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) have since been published in the peer-reviewed
scientific literature comparing salmonella risk between cage and cage-free
facilities?the latest of which was published last month?and without
exception they all showed the same thing: cages mean significantly more
salmonella contamination. This then translates out to more human illness.
A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that
people who ate eggs from caged hens had about twice the odds of coming
down with salmonella food poisoning compared to those who did not eat
eggs from hens confined in cages.
Last month, the article ¡°Salmonella Thrives in Cage Housing¡± from the
trade publication World Poultry was posted, concluding "the majority
of the studies clearly indicate that a cage housing system has an increased
risk of being Salmonella-positive in comparison to non-cage housing
systems." A study published a few months ago in Poultry Science
even found that cage-free hens experimentally infected with salmonella
may clear the infection faster than caged hens.
Like the tobacco industry before it, though, the overwhelming scientific
evidence doesn't keep the egg industry from falsely claiming that caging
hens is better for food safety. California voters didn't buy it, and
voted to ban the practice of caging hens in 2008 by a landslide. In
a moment of rare candor, the editor of the industry trade journal Egg
Industry admitted after the election that industry claims of food safety
risks were "invalid¡¦unsupportable and easily refuted."
In the upcoming battle in Ohio you can be assured that both opposing
campaigns will have scientists on their side, but only one will have
science on its side.
Australia: Safest food systems
Published: June 3, 2010 at
REGINA, Saskatchewan, June 3 (UPI) -- Denmark, Australia and Britain
have the world's safest food systems, while the United States and Canada
rank fourth, an international ranking indicates.
Italy, France and Ireland are at the bottom of the international food-safety
rankings of 17 countries by the Organization for Economic Co-operation
and Development, an international economic organization of 31 countries
based in Paris.
Canada nudged up from the No. 5 spot in 2008, earning a "superior"
grade in all areas of food safety except "traceability," in
which it ranked "poor" alongside the United States, the OECD's
Food Safety Performance World Ranking said.
Traceability refers to the recording of processed foods through all
steps in the food's production.
This is important if food becomes contaminated and is recalled, officials
say. Traceability lets authorities know which foods are safe and which
are not, and help determine where the contamination happened, potentially
saving millions of dollars in the recall process.
"Canada and the U.S. do not have well-established farm-to-fork
traceability systems for any food product," the report states,
noting Canada is the only country to earn a lower grade in this area
in 2010 than in 2008.
Sylvain Charlebois, the associate director of the University of Regina's
public policy graduate school, said Canada's positive bump is partly
due to other countries falling behind.
"Basically, Canada has moved up one because some have actually
moved down," Charlebois, who conducted the comparative study for
the OECD, told the Canwest News Service.
Is Raw Milk Treated
I must admit that I tire of the moans from raw milk advocates that Big
Dairy and Big Government is out to get them. I shake my head at the
unfounded belief that grass fed cows will never produce a pathogen that
can sicken a child. I cringe at the anti-science blather protesting
that all outbreaks linked to raw milk never happened, or were caused
by something else, or were part of some dark conspiracy designed to
discredit what is really a wonder-product. I wish that I had a nickel
for each time a raw milk aficionado claimed that I am a tool of the
FDA, or State and Local Health Departments, who apparently wrongly nailed
a poor raw milk farmer who poisoned a few customers.
Despite the whining to the contrary, raw milk outbreaks do happen and
will happen. As I said late last week, Health department officials in
Minnesota reported three, and possibly four, E. coli O157:H7 infections
linked to drinking raw milk from a dairy in Gibbon, Minnesota. All of
the sick were infected with a strain of bacteria that had the same-pulsed
field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern, or DNA fingerprint. One infected
child developed Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), and is still hospitalized.
Despite the protests from the ¡°raw milkies,¡± there have now been at
least nine outbreaks scientifically linked to raw milk since January
2010. The other states with outbreaks include Nevada, Utah (two outbreaks),
New York, Pennsylvania, Washington (two outbreaks), and a multistate
outbreak in Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois. Dozens of people have been
sickened in these outbreaks; some very seriously so.
But, is raw milk treated unfairly? Have health departments brought the
hammer down on raw milk, while giving a free-pass to other dangerous
products? As someone once said, ¡°just because they are paranoid, does
not mean they are not out to get them.¡±
This may be a bit of a shocker to my raw milk fans, but, on this, I
may agree with them?which clearly must mean that I¡¯ve gone off the reservation,
or stopped being a so-called lap dog (or attack dog) of the FDA and
Big Ag. Let me be clear though: I am not saying that health officials
should not crack down on raw milk producers who poison customers. Nor
am I saying that raw milk producers should escape being held accountable
for the injury and damage caused by contaminated raw milk. I simply
believe that raw milk producers should be treated no more?or less?strictly
than any other producer of unsafe or contaminated food products. And
this is especially true for ready-to-consume products, like raw milk
or fresh produce, where there is no kill-step involved in the production
process. Bottom line: Raw milk outbreaks should be publicized, but so
must outbreaks involving contaminated lettuce.
But the problem here is that I do believe there¡¯s a double standard.
Why is raw milk emphatically criticized when it causes illness while
some lettuce producers are allowed by public health officials to escape
public scrutiny when their contaminated product has caused illness?
And just so you don¡¯t think I¡¯m exaggerating, here are some problematic
lettuce outbreaks that were essentially kept secret?that is, until I
discovered the fact of such outbreaks and went public with the news:
Romaine lettuce, May 2008: In May 2008, Washington State Department
of Health learned of a small cluster of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses amongst
Pierce and Thurston County residents. Over the several days that followed,
a total of 5 E. coli O157:H7 illnesses were reported in those counties.
Testing by WSDOH showed that the bacterial isolates from four of these
positive stool samples were indistinguishable after PFGE testing. By
the end of the week of May 26, 2008, nine laboratory-confirmed cases
and one epidemiologically linked case had been reported. WSDOH testing
determined that all nine lab-confirmed cases had indistinguishable PFGE
Interviews revealed three clusters of illness: three cases at Pacific
Lutheran University; three cases from a banquet at La Quinta Inn in
Tacoma; and three illnesses amongst students in the Olympia School District.
Further, investigators learned from the food histories of all cases
that the only food consumed by all cases was lettuce.
Traceback investigation ultimately showed that the implicated romaine
lettuce had been distributed to these locations by Northwest Fruit and
Produce, a Tacoma-area distributor, and had been manufactured and processed
by a string of companies from Salinas, California. The lettuce was grown
by Andrew Smith Company at Braga Ranch, packed by Paul¡¯s Pak, and shipped
to a processing facility owned by True Leaf Farms. Church Brothers ultimately
marketed the lettuce for sale on behalf of a now-defunct produce company
called Premium Fresh Farms. No recall, no publicity.
Spinach, August 2008: In August 2008, five case patients with E. coli
O157:H7 were reported in Multnomah County, Oregon. Testing of patient
isolates by PFGE and MLVA revealed that all five patients were infected
with a specific subtype. Public health investigators conducted a case-control
study. Results showed that consuming raw spinach had the strongest statistical
association with illness. Product traceback of spinach led Oregon investigators
to spinach grown by an Organic Farm in Monroe, Washington.
A link between E. coli O157:H7 illness and spinach continued when a
second outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 that was identified in Washington
state. Investigators in Washington identified five laboratory confirmed
cases that were a genetic match by PFGE and MLVA to the Oregon cluster.
The first date of illness onset was August 28, 2008. The last case became
ill on October 2, 2008. Washington case patients also reported eating
organic loose spinach at a variety of locations where the spinach was
sold. These included the Port Townsend Coop and deliveries of spinach
sold through community supported agriculture (CSA) programs. No recall,
Romaine lettuce, October 2008: In October 2008, 3 case patients with
E. coli O157:H7 sharing an indistinguishable PFGE pattern combination
were identified in San Diego and Orange County, California. All three
cases had eaten salads containing romaine lettuce served at Cheesecake
Factory restaurants within two days of each other. The subtype was unusual,
prompting a cluster investigation coordinated by the CDC. Through OutbreakNet,
a fourth case-patient in the cluster was identified, an 18 year old
resident of South Dakota. This patient, a recent visitor to San Diego,
had eaten a salad at one of the two Cheesecake Factory restaurants identified
earlier by two patients. Furthermore, the three case-patients had all
eaten at the restaurant on the same day.
County restaurant inspectors conducted an investigation into the source
of the lettuce at the two Cheesecake Factory restaurants. Both restaurants
received Andy Boy brand romaine lettuce from Fresh Point, a company
based in Los Angeles. The outbreak quickly grew beyond Southern California.
Public health laboratories continued to report PFGE matches to the outbreak
strain. Case-patients were identified in Illinois, Florida, New Jersey,
and Ohio. These individuals reported restaurant exposures but none ate
at a Cheesecake Factory.
This led investigators to suspect a contaminated ingredient was in the
marketplace. Canadian investigators in Ontario identified an outbreak
involving 55 persons with at least 13 ill case patients culturing positive
for the outbreak strain. The majority of cases were linked to one of
two restaurants. Illnesses occurred between October 11 and October 28.
Canadian investigators conducted a case-control study and lettuce was
statistically associated with illness. Product traceback showed that
two restaurants tied to the outbreak shared a common produce supplier
and that Andy Boy brand romaine lettuce was the only lettuce in common
to all Canadian restaurants with outbreak cases. No recall, no publicity.
Romaine lettuce, summer 2009: In late-July and early-August 2009, at
least 100 people were infected by a matching strain of Salmonella typhimurium
in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Colorado, Montana, and possibly other
states. The cluster of illnesses was first recognized in mid-August.
Early in the large-scale investigation that followed, involving the
CDC, FDA, and health agencies from all affected states, it was thought
that other PFGE-matched typhimurium cases nationally were part of the
outbreak, but later MLVA analysis distinguished some of these cases
from the July/August 2009 outbreak. Epidemiological investigation by
the Washington State Department of Health, in conjunction with information
from MLVA-matched individuals in other states, ultimately identified
shredded iceberg lettuce from multiple retail locations, some very common,
as the outbreak vehicle. In Oregon and Washington, these retail locations
included, among others, Subway, Cash and Carry, Taco Del Mar, Burger
King, Quiznos, Big Town Hero, Bandito¡¯s Burrito, Taco Lobo, and Jalapeno
Restaurant. Washington State health officials conducted traceback analysis
on multiple common ingredients served at these locations, including
shredded lettuce, cheese, and tomatoes; but only lettuce was found to
have uniformly come from a common supplier. No recall, no publicity.
Lettuce, Spring 2010: Finally, health officials in the Upper-Midwest
investigated and confirmed a link between several Salmonella illnesses
and the consumption of lettuce products from Fresh Express, a subsidiary
of Chiquita Brands International Inc over a month ago. Again, no recall
and no publicity.
Again, I am not saying that public health officials should ease up on
raw milk; they most definitely should not. But, there is still an issue
of fairness here. And despite the public health officials telling me
that they cannot publicize every outbreak, I don¡¯t buy that as either
an explanation or an excuse. I also don¡¯t buy the argument that a perishable
item like lettuce is likely to have already been eaten by the time they
figure out, after the fact, an outbreak has happened. Can¡¯t the same
thing be said about raw milk?
Telling the public that there was an outbreak linked to a given food
product is a duty that public health officials may not shirk. Telling
the public that a lettuce producer poisoned customers is just as important
as reporting about a raw milk farmer¡¯s product. Consumers need that
information so they can vote with their pocketbook. Businesses that
poison their customers need to have a light shone on them so both policy
makers and other business can learn from the mistakes. Our free market
does not function if information about the safety of our food is hidden
Treating businesses equally and fairly is the right thing to do. It¡¯s
good for consumers and good for business?even ones selling raw milk.
Posted on June 2, 2010 by Food Poisoning Lawyer
E. coli Test
Match on Hartmann Dairy Farm - The Nail in the Coffin of Raw Milk?
The State of Minnesota just published this press release on the ongoing
E. coli O157:H7 outbreak:
Laboratory testing conducted by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture
(MDA) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) this week provided
additional evidence that the Hartmann dairy farm, of rural Gibbon, was
the source of a strain of E. coli O157:H7 bacteria that sickened at
least five Minnesotans after they consumed raw, unpasteurized milk or
other dairy products from the farm. MDH reported four cases of illness
last week, and a fifth case has subsequently been confirmed in a young
child who was not hospitalized.
MDH first discovered the outbreak through reports of E. coli O157:H7
illness from health care providers. The department conducted an investigation
into the illnesses, which were scattered across the state, and found
that the only thing the ill people had in common was consumption of
dairy products from the Hartmann farm. This strong epidemiological link
is now reinforced by the laboratory confirmation that the specific strain
of E. coli O157:H7 found in the ill patients has also been found in
multiple animals and at multiple sites on the Hartmann farm. This strain
of E. coli has not previously been found in Minnesota. Furthermore,
laboratory tests confirmed that cheese samples collected last week from
the farm contained another form of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, demonstrating
that an ongoing pathway of contamination existed on the farm.
... In addition to the cases linked to the Hartmann farm, MDH is investigating
several other illnesses with a connection to products from the farm.
MDA has embargoed dairy products on the Hartmann farm, prohibiting movement
or release of the products off the farm.
It is illegal to sell raw milk in Minnesota, although occasional sales
are allowed on the farm where the milk is produced. ...
My emphasis above. Hammer, hammer.
For more information about raw milk, visit www.realrawmilkfacts.com.
Posted on June 3, 2010 by E. coli Lawyer
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