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Faults FDA Over Risks From Imported Seafood
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
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
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the safety of imported seafood, given the "outdated 70-year old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
of China's Food Safety Crisis
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/05/the-recipe-of-chinas-food-safety-crisis/
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
Behind the crisis, I believe, hides a lack of rule of law and a crisis
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
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
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
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
Read more: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2011/05/17/2018672/outbreak-of-horse-virus-began.html#ixzz1MreJRphl
"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
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
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: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2011/05/17/2018672/outbreak-of-horse-virus-began.html#ixzz1MreNkXik
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
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
Not so! All of the nutritional benefits of drinking milk are available
from pasteurized milk without the risk for disease that comes with drinking
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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,"
EMSL recently sponsored a public outreach video to inform people about
Listeria monocytogenes. It can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXQOwCfZQek
To learn more about food pathogen testing services please visit www.FoodTestingLab.com
or www.EMSL.com, call (800) 220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com.
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
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.
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,
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
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."
International Conference for
Food Safety and Quality
Holiday Inn Chicago O'Hare Hotel
5615 North Cumberland Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60631
November 8, 2011
Conference Place: Holiday Inn (Conference Room)
7:00 - 8:30 Registration and Breakfast (Juice, Tea, Coffee) and Poster
(***Exhibitors displaying time : 7:00-9:00 AM***)
- 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
University of Georgia
9:50 - 10:40 - Advanced Detection methods for food safety and quality
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
B. Detection methods for Food Allergen Residues
1:50 - Detection of Food Allergen Residues in Processed Foods and Food
University of Nebraska
Director - Food Allergy Research and Resource Program
1:50 - 2:20 - Rapid Testing for Allergen Control Programs
Presentation by Ryan Waters
- 2:30 - Break / Visit Companies' Booth
C. Molecular/Immunoassay methods for Detection of Microbiological and
3:10 - Costco
Way for Food Safety and Quality
Food Safety Quality Manager
3:10 - 3:50 - Novel
biosensor technologies for high throughput screening of pathogens and
Professor, Purdue University
3:50 - 4:10- Innovative detection methods with immunoassay based method
4:10 -4:30 - Novel nucleic acid testing methods for industrial applications
by Roka Bioscience
4:30 - 5:30 - Panel Discussion (All key speakers will be joined)
2008 IAFP President, bioMerieux
5:30 - Adjourn
November 9, 2011
Conference Place: Holiday Inn (Conference Room)
7:00 - 8:30 Registration and Breakfast (Juice, Tea, Coffee) and Poster
8:40 - 9:00 Poster Competition Award
D. Importance of conventional/biochemical detection methods for Food safety
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
Director of Rapid Methods and Automation in Microbiology Workshop (UW)
Professor, University of Wisconsin
10:20 - 10:40 - Coffee
Break in Exhibitors' Section
- 10:50 - Presentation Title from Company presentation
- 11:30 - New demands for Rapid and Automative Detection Methods
for Food Safety
2008 IAFP President, bioMerieux
- 12:00 - Rapid methods for monitoring microbial numbers for
Senior Principal Scientist
-12:20 - Innovative methods for detection of microbiological/chemical
hazards for food safety
12:20 - 1:30 -
Lunch buffet will be supported (Holiday Inn, Dinning Room)
Impacts of Advanced/Conventional Detection methods on Food Industries
2:10 - Impact
of detection methods for food industries
2006 AOAC President
- 2:30 -
Coffee Break in Exhibitors' Section
2:30 - 3:10 - The
importance of detection procedures for food safety by 3rd party
4:00 Application of Rapid Methods for Food Industries
IAFP President (2004)
President, AIV Consulting LLC.
4:00 - 4:30 -
Attendees' Certificate / Adjourn
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