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1/27, 2003
ISSUE: 44
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METHODS

Pathogen Test to Detect E. coli in Meat

Strategic Diagnostics Inc. (Nasdaq: SDIX), a leading provider of antibody products and analytical test kits for the food safety and water quality markets, today announced the completion of evaluations performed by major independent laboratories on SDI's RapidChek(R) test for E. coli O157.

Biotrace updates hygiene software
The new multilingual version allows users to work in English, Spanish, Italian, French or German ?and the language can be selected at the touch of a button. The original software in English was launched 18 months ago

Old clothes filter out cholera
Using old saris to filter drinking water collected from rivers and ponds has halved the number of cholera cases in remote Bangladeshi villages.

Clothes clean drinking water
Filtering drinking water from rivers and ponds through a folded piece of cotton cloth could cut disease by half in cholera-plagued countries, a new field study suggests.

Positive E. coli Test Results: Updated January 27, 2003

 

President Bush To Propose Record-level Funding For USDA Food Safety Programs

US scientists win victory against listeria threat
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/
27.01.2003
By PHILIPPA STEVENSON
American scientists believe they have made a major advance in the battle against a bug of major concern to food processors.
Scientists from Texas A&M University say a new product called acidified calcium sulphate is showing promise as a way of killing listeria monocytogenes in products such as luncheonmeats and certain cheeses. "Our goal was ... to ensure that listeria was killed and had very little opportunity to grow after that," said Dr Jimmy Keeton, professor with the department of animal science at Texas A&M. Foodborne listeriosis is most commonly associated with ready-to-eat products such as frankfurters, hotdogs, luncheonmeat, smoked fish and some soft cheeses.
Listeria can be introduced from the environment or from staff in a processing plant. The risk is greatest to pregnant women and those who are debilitated, and one New Zealand woman lost her unborn twins from contracting listeria through eating mussels.
It can cause flu-like symptoms, meningitis, spontaneous abortions and prenatal septicaemia. Last October America's second-largest poultry company, Pilgrim's Pride, recalled 12.4 million kg of ready-to-eat chicken and turkey products in what officials said was the largest meat recall in US history.
"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 listeria monocytogenes," Keeton 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. Research had already shown that adding substances such as lactic acid and sodium lactate created microbiological "hurdles" to organisms such as listeria. But these were not considered entirely effective against the regrowth of the organism. However, the acidified calcium sulphate, an organic acid-calcium sulphate combination, showed potential to not only kill the listeria on the surface of products, but also to keep it from coming back. Guill Leroux, food safety team leader at AgResearch Mirinz, the meat industry research institute in Hamilton, said the American findings looked promising. "It looks potentially a good one to use. What we would love to do is some research ourselves with some of the processes." The acidified calcium sulphate could be used for hygiene control on equipment during processing, for reducing the possibility of products being recontaminated after processing, and in packaging. The Texas researchers inoculated commercially made frankfurters with a four-strain listeria monocytogenes "cocktail" containing 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 normally, stored in a fridge at 4C for 12 weeks, and evaluated at two-week intervals. Researchers found the acidified calcium sulphate killed the listeria on the surface and also stopped
the organism from returning.

Public still at risk from illegal meat
By John Mason, Food and Rural Affairs Correspondent
Published: January 24 2003 4:00 | Last Updated: January 24 2003 4:00
http://news.ft.com/servlet/
The public is still at risk from animal waste products entering the food chain illegally, a report for the Food Standards Agency warned yesterday.
Gaps in legislation and poor controls meant criminals could still sell waste products and unfit meat, said the agency's waste food taskforce."It is difficult to quantify the risk to public health from this criminal activity, but it is clear that the public has been exposed to a serious risk of food-borne disease and food poisoning as well as the prospect that they have eaten food deemed as unfit," the taskforce said.Recent cases include the fraud conviction of one group for selling more than 100 tonnes of poultry by-products destined for pet food.Poor controls on transporting by-products from licensed premises is a clear weakness, the report says. Although British law requires that high-risk waste be sterilised or stained, this is not the case under European Union law. The report says that high-risk products could thus be diverted into the food chain and bought by reputable traders.The report also says that penalties under the Food Safety Act are too small to deter food fraud. "It is the availability of economically valuable and usable material and products that provides the opportunity for fraud," it says.Ministers have relaxed the "20 day" movement restrictions on cattle and sheep, which was one of the toughest measures of the 2001 foot-and-mouth crisis. The restriction on moving animals after purchase was eased to six days following industry lobbying on the grounds that it had prevented farmers from recovering from the crisis.

WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT WASHING FRUITS AND VEGETABLES?
January 2003
Food Safety Network Factsheet
http://www.eatwelleatsafe.ca/factsheets/washingfruitandveg.PDF
Fresh fruits and vegetables, including lettuce, present unique food safety challenges. Although a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables is actively promoted as the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle, there are risks, they need to be acknowledged, and they need to be managed.
Fruits and vegetables consumed raw are a particular concern for food safety. Washing can decrease but not eliminate contamination. Preventing contamination of fresh fruits and vegetables with microbial pathogens, dangerous levels of chemical residues, or physical contaminants is the most effective strategy to assure that these foods are wholesome and safe for human consumption.
Recently, a number of outbreaks have been traced to fresh fruits and
vegetables that were processed under less than sanitary conditions. These outbreaks show that the quality of the water used for washing and chilling the produce after it is harvested is critical. Using water that is not clean can contaminate many boxes of produce. Fresh manure used to fertilize vegetables can also contaminate them. Alfalfa sprouts and other raw sprouts pose a particular challenge, as the conditions under which they are sproutd are ideal for growing microbes as well as sprouts, and because they are eaten without further cooking; this means that a few bacteria present on the seeds can grow to high numbers of pathogens on the sprouts. Unpasteurized fruit juice can also be contaminated if there are pathogens in or on the fruit that is used to make it. Washing produce thoroughly with potable running water is considered the best way to remove dirt and residue however fruits and vegetables that have firm surfaces, such as melons, potatoes and carrots can also be scrubbed. Rinsing with vinegar, baking soda, or chlorine bleach can alter the taste of the produce and chlorine bleach may be toxic if too concentrated Information Sources:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2001). Foodborne infections. Retrieved August 30, 2002, from
http://www.cdc.gov/
Guo, X., van Iersel, M. W., Chen, J., Brackett, R. E., & Beuchat, L. R.
(2002). Evidence of association of Salmonellae with tomato plants grown hydroponically in inoculated nutrient solution. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 68(7), 3639-3643.
Ohio State University. (2002). Safe handling of fruits and vegetables. Retrieved August 30, 2002, from
http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/5353.html
Solomon E. B., Yaron S., & and Matthews K. R. (2002). Transmission of Escherichia coli O157:H7 from contaminated manure and irrigation water to lettuce plant tissue and its subsequent internalization. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 68(1), 397-400. For more information on washing fruit and vegetables or other food safety topics, please call the Food Safety Network toll-free at 1-866-50-FSNET or
visit our website at www.foodsafetynetwork.ca
Although we strive to make the information on this fact sheet helpful and accurate, we make no representation or warranty, express or implied, regarding such information, and disclaim all liability of any kind whatsoever arising out of use of, or failure to use, such information or errors or omissions on this fact sheet.

Agriculture is a significant factor in antibiotic overuse and resistance

http://www.ama-assn.org/sci-pubs/amnews/amn_03/edlt0203.htm
Regarding "Combating antibiotic resistance" (Editorial, Dec. 23/30, 2002 [see link at bottom, ed.]): Your editorial did an admirable job of describing recent successes in helping to cut overuse of antibiotics in human medicine. The AMA also deserves recognition for its efforts to reduce antibiotic overuse in other contexts, namely agriculture.
The AMA House of Delegates has adopted a policy, original drafted by us, to reduce agricultural use, and phase out nontherapeutic use, of medically important antibiotics to livestock and poultry.
At most large-scale swine, poultry, and beef-cattle operations, animals routinely receive nontherapeutic antibiotics in feed without a veterinarian's prescription not to treat disease, but rather to promote faster growth and to prevent the diseases that otherwise would result from the stressful, unsanitary conditions under which the animals are grown. Legislation that would address this issue has been previously put forth by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D, Mass.) and Rep. Sherrod Brown (D, Ohio) and was supported by the AMA. Those lawmakers have announced that they will reintroduce it in the current session of Congress.
Although overuse of antibiotics in humans is widely regarded as the principal cause of antibiotic resistance in human pathogens, agricultural overuse also plays a role.
The most obvious connection is via food from zoonotic pathogens such as Salmonella and Campylobacter. But because bacteria can readily transfer resistance genes via plasmid exchange, agricultural use of antibiotics may contribute to the problem in other ways as well -- particularly given the massive usage of antibiotics and other antimicrobials in animal agriculture (totaling 70 of all antimicrobials used in the United States by some estimates).
In addition to contaminating foodstuffs, resistant bacteria also can colonize workers and contaminate the environment when agricultural waste is used as fertilizer. Experience in Europe and at some U.S. facilities shows that routine use of antibiotics is unnecessary at well-operated agricultural operations.
We applaud the AMA for its leadership in working to end this unwise practice.
--George Susens, MD, Past president
--Steve Heilig, MPH, Director of Public Health and Education, San Francisco Medical Society, San Francisco

Milk Still Safe to Drink - Health Adviser
(stuff.co.nz)
A senior food safety official says New Zealand milk is still safe to drink, despite publication today of medical research linking A1 proteins in milk with a high incidence of juvenile diabetes and high death rates from some types of heart disease.
"We can see no reason for changing labeling or advice about milk, as part of a balanced diet," New Zealand's Food Safety Authority principal public health medical adviser Dr Bob Boyd said.
Health and nutrition workers, as well as farmers and marketers in the dairy industry are concerned that publicity about the research might cause some families to reduce their consumption of dairy products.
They are particularly worried about people with young children switching away from drinking milk and missing out on the health benefits milk brings.
At the moment all New Zealand cows' milk contains the proteins, but a biotechnology company, A2 Corp, which helped fund research published in the latest Medical Journal, plans to soon launch an A2 product in supermarkets.
The research analyzed risk factors in 22 countries and concluded there were strong links between A1 milk and some forms of heart disease and diabetes.
Dr Boyd said people concerned about heart disease would be better to reduce their risk by getting more exercise, quitting smoking and lowering the levels of saturated fats in their diet.
"That's the emphasis we're still going to put on this subject at the moment," he said.
Dr Boyd said two of the nation's top epidemiologists, a Geneva-based bureaucrat at the World Health Organization, Professor Robert Beaglehole and a professor of epidemiology at Auckland University, Professor Rod Jackson, had commented today that it was not yet clear what type of research was needed to efficiently investigate the role that milk proteins played in causing disease.
"Should you be testing animals, should you be doing studies in animals, should you look at people who have got heart disease and what their diet was when they were younger?" he said.
It was these issues which the Health Research Council would have to sort out if public funds were put into such research.
Prof Beaglehole and Prof Jackson said in an editorial in the New Zealand Medical Journal that basic research carried out in Auckland ?suggesting links between the A1 protein found in most New Zealand milk and coronary heart disease and juvenile diabetes ?should be followed up.
The attraction of suggestions that health risks could be lowered by switching from one type of milk to another was the simplicity of improving public health, they said.
"It would be reasonably straightforward to change New Zealand dairy herds to produce only A2 milk," they said. "The intervention would require no change in behavior by New Zealanders, and could be implemented with little personal difficulty for substantial health gain.
But they emphasized the greatest gains would come from New Zealanders reducing their blood pressure, stopping smoking, and taking up exercise and diets high in whole grains, fruits and vegetables with a low proportion of saturated fats.
The Dairy Board said in August 2000 that it could put milk free of A1 protein on shop shelves within a year if the health benefits were proven.
The protein is found in 80 percent of New Zealand milk and much of the rest of the developed world's dairy products. 1/24/03

 

Current Outbreaks
01/27. E. COLI O157:H7: ALBERTA (UPDATE)
01/27. Health officials link salmonella infections to school
01/26. Food poisoning hits workers
01/24. Brook-Lea faces salmonella suit
01/24. NOROVIRUS ACTIVITY --- UNITED STATES, 2002
01/24. LAWSUITS FILED AGAINST DELPHOS, OHIO, SUBWAY RESTAURANT
01/24. OUTBREAK OF ILLNESS UNDER INVESTIGATION
01/24. Virus hits nursing homes

01/23. Milk allergy baby died after meal
01/23. 11 salmonella cases prompt egg warning
01/23. Contaminated eggs suspected in recent salmonella cases
01/22. 39 Japanese get food poisoning at Tokyo American Club
01/22. Food poisoning at garment factory

Current Food Recall
01/27. Presence of undeclared sesame seeds in various SILANG BRAND BISCUITS
01/27. Presence of undeclared sulphites in SAHHA BRAND JAMS and MARMELADES
01/26. Undeclared sulphites in QUALITY BRAND AAM PAPAD

01/24. Presence of undeclared sesame seeds in various SILANG BRAND BISCUITS
01/23. State Health Department Announces Voluntary Recall of Canned Diced Red Bell Peppers
01/23. South Dakota Firm Recalls Beef Products For Possible Listeria Contamination
01/22. CANNED DICED RED BELL PEPPERS


Current USDA/FDA News
Positive E. coli Test Results: Updated January 27, 2003
Juice HACCP Small Entity Compliance Guide
FSIS Constituent Update/Alert: Updated January 24, 2003
Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting

President Bush To Propose Record-level Funding For USDA Food Safety Programs
Turning Up the Heat on Acrylamide
Risk reduction strategies for potential BSE pathways involving downer cattle and dead stock
Positive E. coli O157:H7 Test Results: Updated January 17, 2003

Current Food Safety News
01/27. Juice HACCP Small Entity Compliance Guide
01/27. WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT WASHING FRUITS AND VEGETABLES?
01/27. FOOD SAFETY A PRIORITY IN CANADA
01/27. DATES SET FOR 2003 FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (FDA)/NATION
01/27. NATIONAL INTEGRATED FOOD SAFETY GRANTS
01/27. FOOD SAFETY ACTIVISTS SPEAK OUT ABOUT USDA WHISTLEBLOWER REP
01/27. TROOP FOOD MAY HAVE BEEN UK POISON TARGET-US PAPER
01/27. Japanese beef industry shrugs off latest mad cow case
01/27. USDA extends comment period for processors on COOL proposal

01/26. Germany to Slow Cook Chips Due to Cancer Fears
01/26. Agriculture is a significant factor in antibiotic overuse an
01/26. NO EVIDENCE OF 'RECYCLED' PIES

01/25. Nebraska Beef Stays Open
01/25. Nichirei to up antibiotic-free chicken production
01/25. Germ warfare
01/25. Eye concerns prompt additive action

01/24. FOOD SAFETY - WHAT CAN BE EXPECTED FROM POLICY MAKERS
01/24. FORUM TO EXAMINE IRRADIATED FOOD RISKS: HEALTH CANADA -
01/24. CHEESE MAKER URGED TO CHANGE METHOD: EYOT CREEK CONSIDERS US
01/24. Milk Still Safe to Drink - Health Adviser
01/24. TURNING UP THE HEAT ON ACRYLAMIDE
01/24. NFPA REGIONAL OFFICE OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED IN BANGKOK, THAILAN
01/24. US GROUP HELPS FIGHT BARRIERS TO FOOD TRADE WITH ASIAN NATIO
01/24. GIANT EAGLE INTRODUCES IRRADIATED BEEF
01/24. RESTAURANT INSPECTIONS DRAW RAVE REVIEWS; PUBLIC HEALTH
01/24. STATEMENT OF THE AMERICAN MEAT INSTITUTE ON PRESIDENT'S BUSH
01/24. USA: Meat doesn't cause breast cancer - US study
01/24. LIVE AT IPE: USDA to seek record food-safety funding
01/24. US Tightens BSE Rules -
01/24. Five new BSE cases this week
01/24. Irradiation sizzles -
01/24. EU inspectors to visit China in Feb over food dispute
01/24. Meat safety funding raised
01/24. EU relaxes imported Thai prawns test
01/24. Guinn: Focus on food freshness for maximum safety
01/24. Loopholes expose UK to waste food Jan 24 2003 -
01/24. Public still at risk from illegal meat
01/24. Veneman: Bush to seek 11 percent increase in 2004 food safet
01/24. Recycled sandwiches put back on the shelf

01/23. WHAT IS MAD COW DISEASE (BSE)?
01/23. WHAT IS NORWALK VIRUS?
01/23. WHAT IS FOODBORNE HEPATITIS A?
01/23. PERSPECTIVE BY MEAT PROCESSING NORTH AMERICAN EDITION EDITOR
01/23. FOOD IRRADIATION: IS IT SAFE?
01/23. RISK ASSESSMENT OF FOOD BORNE BACTERIAL PATHOGENS
01/23. APHIS asks rulemaking on handling of dead stock, downers
01/23. Consumer Confidence Rising in UK
01/23. Controversial ¡®Raw milk¡¯ production could be stopped
01/23. Doors to Stay Open
01/23. Bush Seeks $797 Mln for USDA Food Safety Programs
01/23. 2 firms shed ephedra from product lines
01/23. Government in Showdown in Bid to Shut Beef Processor
01/23. County adopts food code
01/23. Japan discovers 7th mad cow case
01/23. U.S. to test ocean fish for mercury

01/22. New Moms Should Avoid Fries, Chips
01/22. Turning Up the Heat on Acrylamide
01/22. U.S. Food Supply Seen Vulnerable to Attack
01/22. EVES GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES NEW COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC HEALTH
01/22. WHAT IS ACRYLAMIDE?
01/22. EFSA CALLS FOR SCIENTISTS
01/22. ARE UNPASTEURIZED JUICES AND CIDERS SAFE?
01/22. RAW MILK'S DAYS NUMBERED?
01/22. USDA triples BSE testing; says move is part of preventive 's
01/22. Filter backwash recycling: A safe water resolution
01/22. Pilot project to survey knowledge of irradiation
01/22. ADDITIVES - Environment Committee warns of health risks to c
01/22. Labs faking tests, public at risk
01/22. Sizer tells AFBF technology has made food safer
01/22. METALLIC POISON A Serious Threat To Public Health
01/22. Diners 'should have stomach for complaints'


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Practical Application of Risk Analysis
George Davey CEO & Chris Chan, Director Science & Risk Management, SafeFood NSW
Click here to see the slides (Wait for 30-40 sec. after click) (ONLY with Microsoft Explorer)

Preharvest food safety - Milk and Dairy Beef Quality Assurance Program R Wallace
Source from: http://www.cvm.uiuc.edu
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Implementing A HACCP System in Your Food Service Operation
Source: http://www.cfs.purdue.edu (by Hospitality & Tourism Management)
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Science/Technology of Irradiation
Source: http://foodsafety.cas.psu.edu (by Dr. C. Cutter)
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Sanitation Training
Source: http://www.cfs.purdue.edu/
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Development and implementation of HACCP in processing plants

Source from : MS Brewer http://www.cvm.uiuc.edu
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Preharvest water and Food Safety
obtained from UC Davis (UCgaps) - http://ucgaps.ucdavis.edu (Trevor V. Suslow, Ph.D.)
Click here to see the slides (PDF file)