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Report Faults FDA Over Risks From Imported Seafood
Source :
By BILL TOMSON (16, May, 2011)

The Food and Drug Administration is doing a poor job ensuring that imported seafood doesn't pose health risks to Americans, failing to properly assess foreign producers and inspect the products they ship to the U.S., according to a congressional research report released Monday.
Mike Taylor, FDA deputy commissioner for foods, said in a statement Monday that a new food-safety law passed this year by Congress will improve the agency's ability monitor the safety of imported seafood.
About half of the seafood the U.S. imports comes from foreign fish farms, and the fish grown there are prone to bacterial infections that are often treated with antibiotics and other drugs not approved in the U.S., the Government Accountability Office, or GAO, said in the report.
"The residues of some drugs can cause cancer and antibiotic resistance," the GAO said.
The U.S. imported about $14.7 billion of seafood last year, up from $13.1 billion in 2009, according to data maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The FDA's efforts to evaluate seafood imports generally consist of the agency reviewing records of importers and processors in the U.S.
"The [FDA] inspectors generally do not visit the farms to evaluate drug use or the capabilities, competence, and quality control of laboratories that analyze the seafood," according to the report.
The FDA has "conducted foreign country assessments in five countries to gather information about those countries' aquaculture programs," the GAO said, but the U.S. agency is limited by its lack of "procedures, criteria, and standards" to make those assessments.
The FDA and the Commerce Department's National Marine Fisheries Service reached an agreement in 2009 to improve how imported seafood is monitored, but the agencies have only made "limited progress," the GAO concluded.
The FDA, in 2009, tested only about 0.1% of all the seafood imported in the U.S. for drug residues, and the agency relies on just seven of its 13 laboratories to do the testing, the GAO said.
The FDA's Mr. Taylor said the agency has done a good job overseeing the safety of imported seafood, given the "outdated 70-year old food safety laws" it has been working with up until Congress approved the Food Safety Modernization Act this year.
With the "new tools for strengthening the assurance that every shipment of seafood meets high U.S. food safety standards" that the FDA was given in the new law, he said, the agency will build "a new system for oversight of all imported food that better protects American consumers."

The Recipe of China's Food Safety Crisis
Source :
By Huang Shuo (16, May, 2011)

Tainted melamine milk powder, salted duck eggs containing cancer-causing dyes, artificial honey, fake wine, donkey-hide gelatin, waste oil, sulfur steamed ginseng, plaster tofu, dyed bread...the list goes on.
Sadly, many people estimate that the list will get longer. Every day we worry about the next food time bomb exploding, we just do not know where the site of the blast will be.
In the past, my impression of Chinese enterprises was in copyright fraud, counterfeit brands, later spreading to other areas like toxic toys. The food industry now faces its own serious problem.
Food fraud, like other fraud, plays a harmful role, because it directly threatens the health and safety of consumers. Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Qishan attended the two sessions (the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference) in 2011, stating that he felt shameful there have been food safety issues.
So the tragedy continues to unfold. The public is so angry with denunciation and condemnation, but can do little to stop the recklessness of the fraudsters.
Behind the crisis, I believe, hides a lack of rule of law and a crisis of faith.
From an economic point of view, food counterfeiters have individual rationalization, if the illegal gains exceed the costs, it will be worth it. Law depends on cost and the probability of investigation and punishment (including fines and criminal penalties). It should be said that there are enough laws, rules and regulations on food safety, and the key is the implementation.
In law enforcement, two points are worth noting:
First, because of low salaries of law enforcement officers, offering bribes is relatively easy. As a result, law enforcement officers in the chain have become corrupt. With the protection of law enforcement officials, counterfeiters will be more reckless. When the industry becomes open to "hidden rules," the role of law enforcement officers becomes numb or powerless.
Secondly the issue of symbolic punishment needs addressing Food Safety Law stipulates that compensation should be offered up to a maximum of ten times the value of the food. This will have little effect on profit-driven businesses.
Only when citizens can get huge compensation through legal action will the food safety system really affect the behavior of enterprises.
Every day there seems to be another scandal. The department responsible for quality inspection is either in serious dereliction of their duty and should be severely punished, or has colluded with the counterfeiters allowing this fraud to exist for a long time.
Improving law enforcement effectiveness on food safety must be a multi-pronged approach: First, regulators must dare to expose the ugly. Second, the offender must not be tolerated, not just by punishing the individual offender, to avoid selective enforcement. The media should be given more freedom to act in timely and effective manner monitoring fraud. Finally, law enforcement must crack down on collusion.
As food safety affects the interests of each person, and may even threaten social stability, it should arouse the attention of the government. The problem that exists for ordinary people is simply: what can we safely eat today?

Outbreak of horse virus began at Utah event
By CAROL REITER (17, May, 2011)

MERCED, Calif. An outbreak of a highly contagious and possibly fatal virus in horses that started at the National Cutting Horse Association's Western National Championships in Odgen, Utah, has claimed the life of at least one horse in California, one in Utah and sickened at least four in Stanislaus County, Calif.
The equine herpes-1 infection showed up first at the Utah event, held between April 30 and May 8. One of the big money-winners at the show, a 7-year-old horse was diagnosed May 9 with the virus in Colorado. There were 500 horses at the event, with at least two positive cases and one death. There were 54 competitors from California.
Steve Lyle, spokesman for the California Department of Food and Agriculture, said one horse in California has been euthanized, at a cutting horse event on May 13 in Bakersfield held at the Kern County Fairgrounds. The horse had been to the Utah event also and had severe neurological signs.
Read more:
"This is still all unfolding. There wasn't a confirmed case of this virus in California until Monday, and now we have 10," Lyle said Tuesday afternoon.
Carol Van Hoogmoed, a veterinarian at Monte Vista Equine Care in Turlock, Calif., said veterinarians at Taylor Veterinary Hospital in Turlock had treated at least one horse that tested positive for the virus. Other California counties with positive testing horses include Kern, Placerville, Amador and Napa.
Van Hoogmoed hasn't seen a case yet, but believes there may be more horses that have been exposed to the virus that may come down with it.
And it can be deadly.
"There's a neurological form of the virus that can end up killing the horse," Van Hoogmoed said.
The virus is highly contagious and can spread quickly, either between horses or from contaminated feed, buckets or even people's hands, Van Hoogmoed said.
The incubation period can range from two days up to two weeks. One of the first signs is that a horse will start running a fever. The horse can also display a nasal discharge, uncoordination, hind-end weakness, inability to rise, lethargy and dribbling urine.
"There's no treatment for the virus, and there's no vaccine," Lyle said. Of the horses that come down with the neurological type of the virus, 30 percent will die.
In past years, cases of the deadly virus showed up on the East Coast, on racehorse tracks. The horses were quickly quarantined at the tracks, and the outbreaks were stopped.
But the Utah show had horses from 10 states competing, and when the show was over, the horses went home, possibly taking the virus with them.
The National Cutting Horse Association, which hosted the Utah event, said there are reports of cases not only in Colorado and California, but also in Washington, Oregon, Arizona and western Canada. The Washington Department of Agriculture is also reporting cases in Idaho and Utah.
The NCHA said its affiliates and other show producers in Montana, Oregon, Oklahoma, Texas, California, Wyoming, New Mexico, Washington and Nevada all have canceled shows scheduled for May 20-21.
Lyle said California's borders haven't yet been closed because of the outbreak, but the CDFA is evaluating a series of options that could be considered if the outbreak becomes more serious. All California horses that have been in contact with an infected horse and show signs of the disease or test positive for it will be placed under a CDFA quarantine in order to limit spread, Lyle said.
And more severe restrictions could be on the horizon.
"We could consider a ban on all horse shows in the state," Lyle said. "Some events have already been canceled, but we haven't done that yet. But we do have the right to do it."
California is working with other states, and is asking horse owners to be aware of the signs and symptoms of the virus.
"We're telling horse owners who were at the Utah event to be very vigilant, and catch this right away," Lyle said. "And isolate any horses that were at the Utah cutting."
Read more:

CDC Expert Commentary - Got Milk? Don't Get Raw Milk! A Cautionary Tale
By Bill Marler (16, May, 2011)

Not so long ago, milk was this country's number 1 food safety concern. Before milk was routinely pasteurized beginning in the 1920s, it regularly caused large outbreaks of deadly diseases. Now in 2011, raw, unpasteurized milk has made its way back into some Americans' diets and is once again causing outbreaks of disease.
Hello, I'm Dr. Robert Tauxe, internal medicine physician and infectious disease epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). I'm pleased to speak with you today as part of the CDC Expert Video Commentary Series on Medscape about the dangers -- as well as some persistent myths and misperceptions -- surrounding raw milk or products made from raw milk.
Milk is an important and nutritious natural food, but the recurrent outbreaks related to unpasteurized milk and milk products requires that we work together to put out accurate and consistent messages about the serious illnesses that can be caused by consuming raw milk.
First, let's dispel some common myths about raw milk.
Myth #1. Raw milk is healthier and more nutritious than pasteurized milk.
Not so! All of the nutritional benefits of drinking milk are available from pasteurized milk without the risk for disease that comes with drinking raw milk.
Myth #2. Drinking raw milk can prevent or cure diseases such as asthma, allergies, heart disease, or cancer.
No. There are no health benefits from drinking raw milk that cannot be obtained from drinking pasteurized milk that is free of disease-causing bacteria.
Myth #3. Milk is safe as long as it is labeled "organic."
Again, this is not true. Even raw organic milk is not safe. Only organic milk that has been pasteurized is safe to drink.
Myth #4. Milk and raw milk products like soft cheeses and yogurts are safe if they come from healthy animals.
No, even the healthiest of animals can carry pathogens, such as Escherichia coli O157, Campylobacter, and Salmonella that can contaminate milk.
Myth #5. If animals are raised in sanitary conditions on humane farms, this ensures that their milk is safe.
It may surprise many to know that the dairy farm environment, even when every precaution is taken, is a reservoir for illness-causing germs. Even if the farm's raw milk tests come back negative, it is no guarantee that the milk, or the products made from the milk, are always free of those pathogens.
Myth #6. Drinking raw milk may not be safe, but no harm will come from eating products (cheeses, yogurts) made from raw milk.
Unfortunately, this too is quite false. In fact, both people who died in outbreaks related to unpasteurized milk between 1999 and 2008 died of infections caused by fresh Mexican-style cheese made from raw milk. These unfortunate cases show how raw milk made into fresh cheese can cause dangerous infections.
Now that we've put to rest the myths about raw milk, let's discuss the recent facts about the illnesses caused by consuming raw milk and raw milk products. In the 10 years from 1999 to 2008, 86 outbreaks related to unpasteurized milk were reported to CDC, leading to 1676 illnesses, 191 hospitalizations, and 2 deaths.
That is about 8 outbreaks per year. Most of them were due to either E coli O157, Campylobacter, or Salmonella. Especially concerning was that, of the 86 outbreaks reported to CDC, 79% involved at least 1 person under the age of 20.Some of the most severe illnesses can occur in young children, like kidney failure due to E coli O157. And remember, E coli O157 can spread from one young child to another in a day care or nursery school.
Some states permit sale of raw milk and, not surprisingly, about 80% of these outbreaks occurred in states that permit the sale of raw milk. Finally, because not all foodborne outbreaks are investigated or reported to CDC, the actual number of outbreaks that occur is likely to be greater than the number reported.
Our recommendations are simple and straightforward.
* Pasteurization of milk is a fundamentally important food safety measure;
* CDC strongly supports measures to promote pasteurization and restrict the sale of raw milk; and
* Specifically for clinicians, we urge you to educate your patients about the dangers of consuming raw milk or raw milk products.
Thank you!
Robert V. Tauxe, MD, MPH , is Deputy Director, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Tauxe is Deputy Director of the division that is charged with prevention and control of foodborne, waterborne, and fungal infections at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Division monitors the frequency of these infections in the United States, investigates outbreaks, and develops strategies to reduce the disease, disability, and deaths that they cause.
Dr. Tauxe graduated cum laude from Yale University, in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1975, and received his medical degree from Vanderbilt Medical School in Nashville, Tennessee. In addition, he holds a Masters in Public Health degree from Yale University. Dr. Tauxe's interests include bacterial enteric diseases, epidemiology and pathogenesis of infectious diseases, epidemiologic and clinical consequences of bacterial genetic exchange, antimicrobial use and resistance to antimicrobial agents, and teaching epidemiologic methods. Dr. Tauxe has supervised many domestic and overseas epidemiologic investigations. Dr. Tauxe has authored/co-authored 254 scientific journal articles, letters, and book chapters.

Listeria Testing can Prevent Deadly Outbreaks of the Food Pathogen?
By editor (17, May, 2011)

EMSL Analytical provides food testing services for Listeria monocytogenes and other pathogens to protect consumers and industry.
Cinnaminson, NJ
Last week the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced the recall of 16,000 pounds of ready-to-eat deli meat products. The products came from a California company and were shipped to food service establishments in Arizona, California, Washington, Oregon and Nevada.
Listeria monocytogenes is a Gram-positive bacterium that some studies have suggested that 1-10% of humans may be intestinal carriers of the bacteria. It has been found in at least 37 mammalian species, both domestic and feral, as well as at least 17 species of birds and possibly some species of fish and shellfish.
L. monocytogenes has been associated with such foods as raw milk, supposedly pasteurized fluid milk, cheeses (particularly soft-ripened varieties), ice cream, raw vegetables, fermented raw-meat sausages, raw and cooked poultry, raw meats, and raw and smoked fish. Its ability to grow at temperatures as low as 3”ĘC permits multiplication in refrigerated foods.
Listeriosis is the name of the general group of disorders caused by L. monocytogenes. The manifestations of listeriosis include septicemia, meningitis, encephalitis, and intrauterine or cervical infections in pregnant women, which may result in spontaneous abortion (2nd/3rd trimester) or stillbirth. The onset of the aforementioned disorders is usually preceded by influenza-like symptoms including persistent fever. It has been reported that gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may precede more serious forms of listeriosis or may be the only symptoms expressed.
EMSL Analytical, one of the nation's largest food pathogen testing laboratories, has extensive expertise in testing for L. monocytogenes and other dangerous food pathogens. "Most L. monocytogenes are pathogenic to some degree," reported Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President, Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. "In addition to their discovery on food products, the bacteria have been isolated from soil, silage, and other environmental sources. L. monocytogenes is quite hardy and resists the effects of freezing, drying, and heat remarkably well for bacteria that does not form spores," he continued.
EMSL recently sponsored a public outreach video to inform people about Listeria monocytogenes. It can be viewed at:
To learn more about food pathogen testing services please visit or, call (800) 220-3675 or email
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of food, environmental and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.

The water you drink - A cautionary E. coli tale worth $72,000,000
By Bill Marler (19, May 19, 2011)

Today the Ontario government announced that it has paid out more than $72,000,000 ($74,457,478.90 US) in compensation to victims of Walkerton's tainted water tragedy and their families.
In May 2000, thousands became ill after E. coli from a nearby farm contaminated the water supply in the small community in southwestern Ontario. Stan Koebel, the former manager of Walkerton's utilities commission, was jailed for one year for his role in the tragedy, while his foreman brother, Frank, was sentenced to nine months of house arrest.
According to the Walkerton Report, the overall estimated number of cases associated with the outbreak was over 2300 people. Of the 1346 reported cases, 1304 were considered to be primary (exposed to Walkerton municipal water), 39 were secondary (exposed to a primary case and not to Walkerton municipal water) and 3 were unclassified. Sixty-five patients were admitted to hospital and of these 27 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Six people died as a result of the outbreak. Of the 2,300 people who were sickened, 36 per cent developed post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). A total of 10,189 claims were made, with 9,275 qualifying for compensation (approximately $7,762.80 CA per person).
In the United States, I would guarantee you that the settlements or verdicts would far exceed the sum paid out by the Ontario government (although they do have universial health coverage). HUS cases resolve generally between $750,000 for milder cases to over $20,000,000 for the most severe. IBS cases can also garner results in the high six to low seven figures depending on the severity of the long-term complications. Less severe E. coli case can range from a low of $25,000 to a high of $500,000, again, depending on the severity of the acute symptoms. I know this because in the 18 years since the Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak we have secured over $500,000,000 in verdicts and settlements on behalf of victims of bacterial contamination.

FDA to revisit hazelnut safety in wake of outbreak?
By Drew Falkenstein (13, May, 2011)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the Oregon hazelnut industry's food safety practice. This action is occuring in the wake of the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in late 2010, linked to Oregon hazelnuts.
According to a report by Capitol Press, "The agency held a teleconference May 10 with several hazelnut packers and farmer representatives to discuss steps the industry is taking to prevent outbreaks of foodborne illness." "It is an opportunity to show we're being proactive, serious and committed to food safety," said Compton Chase-Lansdale, president and CEO of the Hazelnut Growers of Oregon cooperative.
An agency official told participants that FDA is preparing food safety guidance documents for hazelnuts and several other agricultural commodities, said Polly Owen, manager of the Oregon Hazelnut Marketing Board.
About the Outbreak
Numerous state and federal health agencies reported that unshelled hazelnuts sold by California-based wholesaler D. DeFranco and Sons were the cause of a multi-state E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that sickened at least 7 people.
On March 4th 2011, D. DeFranco and Sons issued a recall for hazelnuts distributed from November 2, 2010 to December 22, 2010 in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, South Dakota, and Montana. The nuts were sold in bulk bins at grocery stores as well as under the brand names Sunripe, George Packing, Firestone Farms, and Northwest Hazelnut in two-pound and four-pound packages, all with a sell-by date of June 30, 2011.

Jamie Oliver restaurant 'poisoned diners'
By Stacey King (17, May, 2011)

Food hygeine inspectors have recommended that a clams dish be taken off the menu at one of Jamie Oliver's restaurants after diners became ill.
Inspectors from Reading Borough Council are reported to have advised the staff at Jamie's restaurant in the town's Oracle complex to withdraw the dish - because two reported cases of food poisoning had been linked to it.
A council spokesman said the premises were visited last year and: "As a result of that inspection, it was established the business itself had received two customer complaints around food poisoning.
"The council's food hygiene team recommended the clam dish the complaints referred to be taken off the menu and that, if it was not, staff should make customers aware of the risk.
"As we understand it, the business changes its menu every six months and it was changed soon after the food hygiene visit."
The restaurant was actually given a four-star "very good" hygeine rating - and Jamie's company defended it's reputation and pointed out that no cases of poisoning had been proven.
A spokesperson said: "All of the Jamie's Italian restaurants have received top health safety ratings since opening and any problems identified by inspectors have been addressed and corrected immediately."


6th International Conference for
Food Safety and Quality

November 8-9, 2011
Holiday Inn Chicago O'Hare Hotel
5615 North Cumberland Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60631


Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Conference Place: Holiday Inn (Conference Room)

7:00 - 8:30 Registration and Breakfast (Juice, Tea, Coffee) and Poster Display
(***Exhibitors displaying time : 7:00-9:00 AM***)

8:40 - 9:00 Opening Announcement

Section A. Importance of Detection Methods for Food Safety and Quality

9:00 - 9:50 - The Importance of detection methods for food safety and quality

Michael Doyle
University of Georgia

9:50 - 10:40 - Advanced Detection methods for food safety and quality

Mansel Griffiths
University of Geulph
Editor of AEM

10:40 - 11:00 -
Coffee Break in Exhibitors' Section

11:00 - 11:50 - Current Foodborne Outbreak and legal issues

William D. Marler, Esq.
MarlerClark attorneys at Law

11:50 - 12:00: Exhibitos Presentation and GROUP PICTURE

12:00 - 1:00: Lunch buffet will be supported (Holiday Inn, Dinning Room)

Section B. Detection methods for Food Allergen Residues

1:00 - 1:50 - Detection of Food Allergen Residues in Processed Foods and Food Processing Facilities

Stephen Taylor
University of Nebraska
Director - Food Allergy Research and Resource Program

1:50 - 2:20 - Rapid Testing for Allergen Control Programs
Presentation by Ryan Waters
Charm Science

2:20 - 2:30 - Break / Visit Companies' Booth

Section C. Molecular/Immunoassay methods for Detection of Microbiological and Chemical hazards

2:30 - 3:10 - Costco Way for Food Safety and Quality

Robin Forgey
Food Safety Quality Manager

3:10 - 3:50 -
Novel biosensor technologies for high throughput screening of pathogens and toxins

A. Bhurnia
Professor, Purdue University


3:50 - 4:10- Innovative detection methods with immunoassay based method
Presented by SDI

4:10 -4:30 - Novel nucleic acid testing methods for industrial applications
Presented by Roka Bioscience

4:30 - 5:30 - Panel Discussion (All key speakers will be joined)

Stan Bailey
2008 IAFP President, bioMerieux

- Adjourn

Wed. November 9, 2011
Conference Place: Holiday Inn (Conference Room)

7:00 - 8:30 Registration and Breakfast (Juice, Tea, Coffee) and Poster Display
8:40 - 9:00 Poster Competition Award

Section D. Importance of conventional/biochemical detection methods for Food safety and Quality

9:00 - 9:40 - Rapid Methods/Automation and a Look into the Future

Daniel Y.C. Fung
Director of Rapid Methods and Automation in Microbiology Workshop (KSU)
Professor, Kansas State University

9:40 - 10:20 -
Rapid Methods and Automation Workshop for 30 years

P.C. Vasavada
Director of Rapid Methods and Automation in Microbiology Workshop (UW)
Professor, University of Wisconsin

10:20 - 10:40 - Coffee Break in Exhibitors' Section

10:40 - 10:50 - Presentation Title from Company presentation


11:00 - 11:30 - New demands for Rapid and Automative Detection Methods for Food Safety

Stan Bailey
2008 IAFP President, bioMerieux


11:30 - 12:00 - Rapid methods for monitoring microbial numbers for food industries

Gregory Siragusa
Senior Principal Scientist
Danisco USA


12:00 -12:20 - Innovative methods for detection of microbiological/chemical hazards for food safety

Dupont Qualicon

12:20 - 1:30
- Lunch buffet will be supported (Holiday Inn, Dinning Room)

Section E. Impacts of Advanced/Conventional Detection methods on Food Industries

1:30 - 2:10 - Impact of detection methods for food industries

Robert Koeritzer
2006 AOAC President

2:10 - 2:30 - Coffee Break in Exhibitors' Section

2:30 - 3:10 - The importance of detection procedures for food safety by 3rd party

Erdogan Ceylan
Director, Silliker

3:10 - 4:00 Application of Rapid Methods for Food Industries

Paul Hall
IAFP President (2004)
President, AIV Consulting LLC.

4:00 - 4:30 - Attendees' Certificate / Adjourn

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