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increase in DeFusco's Salmonella outbreak
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/illnesses-hospitalizations-increase-in-defuscos-salmonella-outbreak/
By Drew Falkenstein (28, March, 2011)
Felice Freyer at the Providence
Journal, who is no stranger to investigative journalism in food poisoning
outbreaks, reports that the number of Salmonella illnesses in the DeFusco's
Salmonella outbreak has increased to 33 (11 confirmed by stool sample).
Unfortunately, 17 of those 33 have had to be hospitalized. According
to Annemarie Beardsworth, health department spokesperson, "this
unusually high rate of hospitalization results from the fact that many
people who ate the pastry were elderly and less able to fight off the
Representing the elderly is something we frequently do in E. coli and
Salmonella outbreaks because, as Ms Beardsworth indicates, they are
more susceptible to infection, and also more prone to suffering severe
illnesses once they become infected. They have a 15 times greater mortality
rate than otherwise healthy, younger adults, after being infected by
foodborne pathgoens like Salmonella.
For more on the significance of age in infectious disease, see "Risks
to the elderly in the middle of bologna e. coli, salmonella cantaloupe,
and salmonella bakery outbreaks."
E. coli Lawyer
Bill Marler Explains Bologna E. coli Outbreak and Recall
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/attorney-videos/video---e-coli-lawyer-bill-marler-explains-bologna-e-coli-outbreak-and-recall/
By Bill Marler (March, 29, 2011)
Palmyra Bologna Company,
of Palmyra, PA, is recalling approximately 23,000 pounds of Lebanon
bologna products that may be contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7. 14 persons
infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli serotype O157:H7 have been
reported from Maryland (3 cases), New Jersey (2 cases), North Carolina
(1 case), Ohio (2 cases) and Pennsylvania (6 cases). Reported dates
of illness onset range from January 10, 2011 to February 15, 2011. Ill
persons range in age from 1 to 70 years, with a median age of 13.5 years.
Seventy-nine percent are male. Among 13 ill persons for whom information
is known, 3 or 23%, reported being hospitalized, and none have reported
hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure that is associated
with E. coli O157:H7 infections. No deaths have been reported.
This is the second time Palmyra Bologna has been linked to a bacterial
outbreak - Salmonella in 1995.
Outbreak in Rhode Island Linked to Pastries
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/03/outbreak-in-rhode-island-linked-to-pastries/
By News Desk (27, Mar, 2011)
A foodborne illness investigation
in Rhode Island has prompted a recall of cream-filled baked goods suspected
as the cause of a Salmonella outbreak that may involve at least 19 people,
the state's Department of Health reported Saturday.
In a news release, the Rhode Island Department of Health said nine of
the 19 people have tested positive for Salmonella and 13 people have
been hospitalized. Many of those who are ill told public health investigators
they had eaten zeppole from DeFusco's Bakeries.
Zeppole, sugared pastry popular in Italian-American communities, is
traditionally eaten on March 19, St. Joseph's Day.
On Friday, the health department announced a recall of all baked goods
sold by DeFusco's. During an inspection of the company's production
facility in Johnston, RI, investigators said they found pastry cream
used in zeppole and ?clairs stored at unsafe temperatures, as well as
unsanitary conditions. Defusco's owner agreed to close the bakery until
The health department said zeppole from DeFusco's Johnston store are
sold at all DeFusco's locations. Crugnale Bakery locations in Providence,
East Providence, North Providence, Cranston, and Cumberland also sold
DeFusco's zeppole from March 16 through March 20. State food inspectors
also believe that zeppole from DeFusco's are sold at Calvitto's in Narragansett
and Sal's Bakery in Providence, based on information from DeFusco's
Consumers who purchased pastries from any DeFusco's Bakery or zeppole
from any of the above locations should immediately discard any uneaten
product. Anyone who has eaten baked goods purchased from DeFusco's Bakery
or zeppoles purchased from any of the above locations and has gotten
sick (especially with nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea) should contact
their healthcare provider immediately for evaluation and treatment.
The average incubation period for Salmonella is one to three days after
eating contaminated food. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, cramps,
and fever and usually last for four to seven days. People who are at
higher risk for developing more serious symptoms are young children,
the elderly and anyone who is immunocompromised.
Hundreds sick in food poisoning outbreak in labour
Source : http://www.arabianbusiness.com/hundreds-sick-in-food-poisoning-outbreak-in-labour-camp-390687.html
By Gavin Davids (29, March, 2011)
An Abu Dhabi labour camp
run by the UAE's Al Jaber Group has been charged with food safety violations
after more than 200 labourers fell ill with suspected food poisoning.
More than 40 labourers were hospitalised after consuming rice from an
on-site catering unit described by the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority
as "functioning in utterly squalid conditions, violating all norms
of hygiene and disregarding the health consequences for the labourers."
Inspectors found cockroach-infested
drinking water, the mixing of raw meat, fish and vegetables and cooked
food housed next to open dustbins, ADFCA said in a statement.
The catering unit, which was unlicensed, was supplying food to around
EU boosts food import controls after Japanese nuclear
Source : http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/EU-boosts-food-import-controls-after-Japanese-nuclear-disaster
By Rory Harrington (25, Mar, 2011)
The European Union is to
step up controls on food imports from Japan in the wake of the nuclear
accident at Fukushima - but stressed there was no evidence that consumers
in the region were at risk from radiation-contaminated food.
Under the move, expected to be adopted today, Japanese food and feed
shipments will have to come with safety certificates and be subject
to random testing at EU borders. An early warning system will also require
importers to give competent authorities in the bloc two days notice
of a consignment's arrival.
The European Commission told FoodProductionDaily.com the measure was
"a precautionary one" and that "currently, there is no
evidence of risk for the EU consumer by increased radiation levels in
food and feed products imported from Japan".
The food safety threat was likely to be small as Japan is allowed to
export just four products of animal origin into the region, added the
Commission. These are fishery products; bivalve molluscs; casings and
petfood. Europe also imports 9,000 tonnes of fruit and vegetables from
Japan. The total value of food and feed imports from Japan in 2010 amounted
In the regulation, due to be published tomorrow, the EU said it had
noted the contamination of foods like milk and spinach following the
nuclear accident at the Daiichi plant on March 11.
"Such contamination may constitute a threat to public and animal
health within the Union and it is therefore appropriate as a precautionary
measure to urgently take measures at Union level to ensure the safety
of the feed and food, including fish and fishery products, originating
in or consigned from Japan," said the ruling.
Member states yesterday backed the emergency proposal from the European
Commission to reinforce checks on all food and animal feed originating
in, or sent from, 12 prefectures of the stricken South East Asian country
- including the four hardest hit by the catastrophic earthquake and
subsequent tsunami earlier this month.
The regions covered by the regulation are Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki,
Tochigi, Miyagi, Yamagata, Niigata, Nagano, Yamanashi, Saitama, Tokyo
The EU ruling insists that all products from these prefectures are tested
before leaving Japan and said they will be subject to random testing
in the bloc. Japanese authorities will have to provide a declaration
confirming products do not contain radioactive elements - called radionuclides
- that exceed EU maximum levels. The Commission highlighted radionuclides
iodine-131, caesium-134 and caesium-137.
Food and feed products from the other 35 Japanese regions will also
have to be accompanied by a declaration stating the prefecture of origin
and will be randomly tested at EU borders.
Importers will be required to alert national competent authorities two
days before the arrival of each consignment.
While food and feed products harvested or processed before March 11
are not affected by the ruling, they will still need to have a declaration
stating they were harvested/ processed before the devastating natural
disasters two weeks ago.
The measures will be reviewed every month, confirmed Brussels.
What will happen at EU border control?
When Japanese food products arrive at European inspection posts or designated
points of entry, national officials will carry out document checks.
Physical checks, including laboratory analysis, will be carried out
on at least 10 per cent shipments from the 12 target prefectures. Physical
checks will be done on at least 20 per cent of those from the remaining
The EU said products would be quarantined for up to five working days
and only be released when customs received the favourable results of
tests from the importer. Products found to exceed the maximum permitted
levels will b e refused market entry and either destroyed or returned
The Confederation of the Food and Drink Industries in the EU (CIAA)
said it welcomed the move as "a measure to reassure EU citizens".
It added: "The Commission makes clear that measures are related
to Japan only and not to neighbouring countries at this stage. Japan
accounts for a small percentage of EU food and drink imports, mainly
of fruit and vegetables and fisheries products. There is confidence
that appropriate testing is being carried out on Japanese food exports
from the affected region and the legislation in place to deal with this."
Fukushima's Radiation Round-Up: How Bad Is It?
Source : http://ecocentric.blogs.time.com/2011/03/29/fukushimas-radiation-round-up-how-bad-is-it/
The world is finely attuned to nuclear disaster. In the past two weeks,
global monitoring stations designed to detect the detonation of atomic
bombs began alerting the world to what it already knew: a disaster was
unfolding at Fukushima nuclear power plant, and radioactive particles
had escaped. Radioactivity is a devilish thing to track: it's easier
to determine trace levels of radiation thousands of miles away in Massachusetts
or Scotland than it is to determine the precise danger posed by contamination
in the area surrounding Fukushima's six stricken reactors. The threat
must be assessed piecemeal, often by mobile measuring units navigating
through a disaster zone. Even without any further leaks, it may take
weeks before the full extent of radioactive release from Fukushima--and
the implications for human health--are known. Health officials will
be focusing on several different types of radiation.
* Environmental Radiation In the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima
crisis, radiation escaped into the atmosphere through hydrogen explosions
and steam deliberately vented from the reactor buildings. This is the
only known source of radiation since the incident-reports of contaminated
crops, sea and tap water are likely to have been caused when radioactive
airborne particles from these early leaks fell to earth or water.
Environmental or background radiation remains high outside the 20 km
(12.5 mile) "exclusion zone" surrounding the Fukushima plant.
However, these "high" levels are not considered highly dangerous
to human health. On March 28, the highest reading occurred approximately
20 km from the Fukushima plant at 78 microsieverts per hour. At that
level, an individual would have to stand outdoors, unshielded, for 27
consecutive days in order to reach the maximum annual limit allowed
for workers at a U.S. nuclear power plant.©ö It would require double
that amount of time before that individual would face a (very slightly)
elevated risk of cancer. Even so, high levels may be unacceptable to
full-time inhabitants of the area, so eventually clean up crews will
need to scrub streets and buildings to remove longer-lived radioactive
particles. A decision will also need to be made about whether the area
inside the exclusion zone can ever be inhabited again.
If no further radiation is released, public health will almost certainly
not be threatened by radiation beyond the immediate vicinity of Fukushima,
and certainly not as far away as the United States-that includes potential
risks from contaminated water, milk and crops in the U.S. and elsewhere.
On Tuesday, Massachusetts became the latest U.S. state to detect trace
levels of radiation in collected rain water. But experts say that even
in a worst-case scenario at Fukushima, radioactivity would be so diluted
by the time it arrived on U.S. soil as to be rendered harmless.
However, a local health disaster could still occur in Japan. Greenpeace
says that simulations of radioactive dispersion effects for a reactor
similar to those found at Fukushima- the Biblis pressurized water reactor
in Germany- found that following a total, "worst-case" release
form a reactor core, even people staying indoors at a distance of 25
km (15.5 miles) could die of acute radiation sickness. Emergency workers
continue to try to prevent such a scenario, but the Japanese Prime Minister
said on March 28 that the the country remains on "maximum alert."
*Contamination of the Ocean: In the latest challenge at Fukushima, emergency
workers scrambled on March 28 to stop highly contaminated water from
reaching the ocean. A series of underground tunnels containing radioactive
water open only a few hundred yards from the sea, and workers brought
in sand bags to try to prevent a leakage. Already, however, marine monitoring
stations have picked up contamination as far off as 30 km (19 miles)
from shore, probably after particles deposited in the sea following
the explosions and venting in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake
and tsunami. Radioactive elements in the ocean can enter the human food
chain via fish and shellfish, but the IAEA website states "It is
still too early to draw conclusions for expected concentrations in marine
food." Further testing is ongoing.
* Ground Contamination: So far, high levels of iodine-131 and cesium-137
have been detected in the ground around Fukushima. Iodine-131 decays
quickly, so is of less concern than cesium, which can stay in the soil
for hundreds of years. The IAEA reports that the highest level of "daily
deposition" for cesium-137 was recorded at the Yamagata prefecture
on March 26 at 1,200 becquerels per square meter. At that rate, it would
take more than a year before Cesium-137 levels rose to the threshold
of 555,000 bacquerels per square meter that triggered strict land-use
controls after the Chernobyl incident. Even so, it's difficult to ascertain
the danger posed by ground contamination due to the way the IAEA records
deposition levels. The Union of Concerned Scientists has complained
that the IAEA has "failed to establish a consistent reporting framework
so the public can assess whether radionuclide release rates are changing"--i.e.
it's difficult to know if the problem of ground contamination is getting
worse, and why.
* Tap Water Contamination: Tokyo suffered a public health scare last
week when officials reported that tap water contained more iodine-131
than was safe for infants. Most of the iodine-131 quickly decayed or
was diluted, however, and the tap water in Tokyo and elsewhere in Japan
is now safe. The highest levels of iodine-131 was recorded at 90 becquerel
per litre, according to the IAEA. The Japanese limits for the ingestion
of drinking water by infants-who are most sensitive to radiation exposure-is
100 becquerel per litre.
* Food Contamination: According to the IAEA, samples of fruits and vegetables
in six prefectures around Fukushima reported abnormal levels of radioactive
contamination. One sample of wasabi flower from Fukushima prefecture
measured above the regulated values for iodine and cesium set by Japanese
safety authorities. However in the remaining five prefectures, cesium-137
was not detected or the results were below regulation values. A delegation
from the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization met with local government
authorities on March 27 to discuss a mitigation strategy to deal with
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration., all milk and milk
products and vegetables and fruits produced or manufactured from four
Japanese prefectures around Fukushima--and locally-sourced seafood,
too-will be detained upon entry into the United State and tested for
radionuclide contamination. However, the heavy damage caused by the
earthquake and tsunami to the region means few products are currently
being exported from that region of Japan anyway. Food and dairy production
in the U.S. will not be effected, according to the FDA.
©ö 50 millisievert is annual limit for U.S. nuclear workers. That equals
50000 microsieverts. 50000/78=641 hours=27 days.
USDA Expands Access to Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
for Schools Across the Nation
Source : http://gardennews.biz/?id=4837
By GardenNews.biz (28, Mar, 2011,USDA)
USDA Expands Access to Fresh
Fruits and Vegetables for Schools Across the Nation
Investment Aims to Improve Nutrition and Provide Economic Opportunities
WASHINGTON, March 23, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today
announced that, as authorized by the Food, Conservation and Energy Act
of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill), USDA will expand assistance to state agencies
for schools operating USDA's Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP)
in the 2011/2012 school year. The investment is part of the Obama administration's
efforts to improve the health of our children by providing access to
nutritious meals in schools and also serves as a valuable resource to
schools that continue working to improve the health and nutrition of
the foods they serve. The assistance will provide free fresh fruit and
vegetables to children throughout the school day.
"Improving the health and nutrition of our kids is a national imperative
and by providing schools with fresh fruits and vegetables that expand
their healthy options, we are helping our kids to have a brighter, healthier
future," said Vilsack. "Every time our kids eat a piece of
fruit or a vegetable, they are learning healthy eating habits that can
last a lifetime."
The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, authorized and funded under Section
19 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act and expanded
in recent years as a result of the 2008 Farm Bill, operates in selected
low-income elementary schools in the 50 States, the District of Columbia,
Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. This year, USDA plans to
provide $158 million in assistance to state agencies. States then select
schools to participate based on criteria in the law, including the requirement
that each student receives between $50 and $75 worth of fresh produce
over the school year.
"The program is highly successful in introducing schoolchildren
to a variety of produce they otherwise might not have the opportunity
to try," said Kevin Concannon, USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition
and Consumer Services. "I am pleasantly surprised when children
tell me it was their first time trying a particular fruit or vegetable.
Fortunately children are learning fruits and vegetables are healthy
choices and tasty alternatives to snacks high in fat, sugar, or salt."
In January, USDA published a proposed rule to update the nutrition standards
for meals served through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast
programs as part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, signed
into law by President Barack Obama. The proposed rule, based on the
latest science, will make the first major improvement to the nutritional
quality of school meals in 15 years, and is an important component of
First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative to solve the challenge
of childhood obesity within a generation. The standards will significantly
increase fruit and vegetables provided at lunch and for the first time,
both fruits and vegetables will be served daily.
Depending on enrollment and the allotment spent on each child, USDA
estimates the expanded assistance could help schools serve additional
600,000 to 950,000 students in school year 2011-2012.
Based on funding levels provided by the 2008 Farm Bill, subject to Congressional
action, the school year 2011/2012 FFVP planned allocations by State
Alabama - $2,763,159
Alaska - $1,755,808
Arizona - $3,162,258
Arkansas - $2,301,796
California - $10,801,714
Colorado - $2,824,910
Connecticut - $2,464,720
Delaware - $1,802,271
District of Columbia - $1,728,948
Florida - $6,234,011
Georgia - $3,978,048
Hawaii - $1,916,724
Idaho - $1,968,034
Illinois - $4,756,050
Indiana - $3,184,978
Iowa - $2,334,084
Kansas - $2,286,251
Kentucky - $2,654,152
Louisiana - $2,702,175
Maine - $1,908,818
Maryland - $3,009,165
Massachusetts - $3,200,777
Michigan - $4,026,562
Minnesota - $2,892,915
Mississippi - $2,314,514
Missouri - $3,062,478
Montana - $1,824,916
Nebraska - $2,032,086
Nevada - $2,248,485
New Hampshire - $1,905,874
New Jersey - $3,756,315
New Mexico - $2,089,722
New York - $6,376,788
North Carolina - $3,940,380
North Dakota - $1,746,491
Ohio - $4,435,706
Oklahoma - $2,508,596
Oregon - 2,528,331
Pennsylvania - $4,724,303
Rhode Island - $1,840,549
South Carolina - $2,724,946
South Dakota - $1,781,539
Tennessee - $3,150,893
Texas - $7,804,444
Utah - $2,264,162
Vermont - $1,734,894
Virginia - $3,560,546
Washington - $3,244,569
West Virginia - $2,038,684
Wisconsin - $2,987,737
Wyoming - $1,719,518
Puerto Rico - $922,269
Guam - $44,771
Virgin Islands - $27,167
Improving child nutrition is the focal point of the Healthy, Hunger-Free
Kids Act signed by President Obama in December 2010. The legislation
authorizes USDA's child nutrition programs, including the National School
Lunch, School Breakfast, Summer Food Service Program, and the Special
Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. The
Act allows USDA, for the first time in over 30 years, the chance to
make real reforms to the school lunch and breakfast programs by improving
the critical nutrition and hunger safety net for millions of children,
and help a new generation win the future by having healthier lives.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is the legislative centerpiece of
First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! Initiative to end childhood
obesity in a generation.
USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) oversees the administration
of 15 nutrition assistance programs, including the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable
Program, that touch the lives of one in four Americans over the course
of a year. These programs work in concert to form a national safety
net against hunger. Visit www.fns.usda.gov for information about FNS
and nutrition assistance programs.
Question mark hangs over quality of BRC safety audits
Source : http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/Question-mark-hangs-over-quality-of-BRC-safety-audits
By Guy Montague-Jones (25, Mar, 2011)
The number of food factories
certified to the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety is up more than
20 per cent on last year to 13,923 but doubts remain over the quality
of the audits.
Richard Dodd of the BRC (British Retail Consortium) said the higher
numbers represent a "strong vote of confidence" in the standard.
But they have not stopped UK supermarkets from maintaining or reintroducing
their own food safety standards and audits.
Sainsbury's, for example, said the BRC is "very important as an
entry level standard" but that the supermarket has additional requirements
in a variety of areas including quality and safety. It claims these
allow Sainsbury's to differentiate itself from competitors.
However, the original purpose of the BRC standard had been to free supermarkets
from the need to check up on their suppliers' safety systems and allow
them to focus on brand and development issues.
One quality assurance manager told FoodProductionDaily.com that supermarket
audits are on the rise because of concern that BRC audits are not robust
"The supermarkets are concerned that too many suppliers are passing
the audit with flying colours. They had a feeling that this was not
a true reflection of the reality in the food industry."
Jo Head, a quality management consultant, said the source of concern
is not with the BRC Standard itself but rather with the auditing.
She told FoodProductionDaily.com: "The toughness of BRC auditors
is variable”¦ There needs to be some mechanism in place to ensure consistency.
Having a BRC certificate should mean the same thing across the industry."
Head, who has advised the FSA (Food Standards Agency) on food safety
issues related to meat, said the supermarkets have much more robust
audits. She made two key recommendations to restore confidence in the
1. More involved and detailed guidance for auditors and auditees on
the audit process
2. The creation of an independent body that checks up on the quality
Head added that a culture shift is needed in auditing so that the question
asked is not "Have you got a system?" but rather "Is
the system working".
The BRC defended the quality of its audits, saying: "All of our
certification bodies are UK Accreditation Service approved - elsewhere
by other national accreditation bodies. We have a rigorous certification
body compliance monitoring process with six-monthly performance reporting
to assess how auditing is being carried out.
"The assessment focuses on audit consistency and the training and
competence of auditors. We will and do suspend certification bodies
who are not auditing correctly.
"The BRC Directory now also allows audit/auditor trends to be analysed
and ensures that all audit reports are visible to the BRC for assessment."
The BRC Global Standard for Food Safety is currently being reviewed
ahead of the publication of version six this summer.
Jerry Houseago at Cert ID Europe, a third party certification company,
said the review, which occurs every three years, gives the BRC the opportunity
to make changes related to both manufacturer requirements and the audit
"The effectiveness of any standard is not just about its content
but also the method of delivery of the audit process and Cert ID welcomes
efforts to improve the audit process as well as requirements for manufacturers."
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