Contact us/ Search Consulting room/
Internet Journal of Food Safety/ On-Line Courese/ Discussion Room

1/29, 2003




Md.-- IGEN International, Inc. announced today that its
PATHIGEN E. coli O157 test, based on the Company's proprietary ORIGEN(R)
technology, has earned the Performance Tested Method certificate of the AOAC
Research Institute (AOAC RI).

Officials with Bio-ID Diagnostic Inc. were cited as saying that genetic
fingerprinting of microbial organisms can offer the food industry and
consumers better assurance that there are no dangerous pathogens in our food
supply, and that the company is ready to take its patented Multigen
technology to the commercial marketplace.

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


Foodborne illnesses increasing
By Steve Mitchell
UPI Medical Correspondent
From the Science & Technology Desk
Published 1/28/2003 3:01 PM
WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- A rising number of outbreaks of foodborne illnesses contracted from eating fresh fruits and vegetables point to the need for better food handling practices from grower to consumer, scientists and federal health experts said Tuesday.
"Our data suggest that foodborne outbreaks associated with fresh produce consumption have increased over the last three decades," said Dawn Norton, an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's foodborne and diarrheal diseases branch.
Norton noted up to 3 percent of foodborne outbreaks could be attributed to contaminated fruit and vegetables.
"The actual proportion may be slightly higher," she said, because the figures do not include salads.
The Food and Drug Administration also is concerned, writing on the Web site for its Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, "Although low, the proportion of foodborne illness associated with both domestic and imported fresh fruits and vegetables has increased over the last several years."
Foodborne illnesses often are caused by bacteria, such as Salmonella and Escherichia coli. Symptoms of infection can include diarrhea, fever, headache and vomiting. For healthy people, the sickness usually resolves on its own but for the young, elderly and those with weakened immune systems, foodborne illnesses can be fatal.
Three plant and food scientists noted in a recent study that Salmonella, E. coli and other pathogens have been detected on seeds, sprouts, unpasteurized fruit juice, raw fruits and vegetables. Produce-related outbreaks of pathogens normally associated with meat have been on the increase for the past 20 years, J.W. Buck, an author of the study and a plant pathologist at the University of Georgia, told United Press International.
"In the U.S. between 1995 and 1998, there were nine outbreaks of foodborne illness caused by Salmonella or E. coli O157:H7 due to consumption of fresh vegetable sprouts," Buck and colleagues write in the study, which appeared on the Web site of the American Phytopathological Society. The outbreaks affected more than 1,234 people.
In Japan, in 1996, four children died and more than 4,000 were infected after eating raw radish sprouts contaminated with E. coli, the scientists write. In addition, outbreaks of hepatitis A have been traced back to lettuce, raspberries and strawberries.
"This trend is likely attributable to an increased consumption of fresh produce by Americans, and thus increased exposure to pathogens that may be present," Norton said.
A 1999 study by the FDA found about 4 percent of imported produce was contaminated with either Salmonella or another bacteria, Shigella. The three items most commonly infected were cilantro, cantaloupe and culantro.
Twenty-one firms were placed on restrictions that prohibited their products from entering the United States and as of January, 2002, 10 of those companies had not resolved issues with the FDA and their shipments still were barred entry.
A FDA study of domestic produce in 2000 found 12 samples out of 919 tested positive for the presence of Salmonella, Shigella and E. coli. The samples included cantaloupe, celery, green onions, loose-leaf lettuce, and tomatoes.
Edith Garrett, president of the International Fresh-Cut Produce Association, a group representing 500 companies involved with prepared raw produce, conceded there have been outbreaks of E. coli, salmonella and other pathogens in recent years but they have been "very small and isolated cases."
"When you look at the volume of products produced and consumed in the U.S., these instances are very, very low," Garrett said. "The health value far outweighs the risks that are associated with fresh fruits and vegetables."
Garrett noted, however, "We're concerned in our industry about keeping these types of pathogens out of these products" and strive to implement proper sanitation procedures from the farm to the processing of the food.
"There has to be things in place all the way down the line ... from growers and pickers to supermarkets" and even consumers should bear some of the responsibility, Buck said.
"Good hygiene at every point is important," Larry Beuchat, Buck's co-author and a professor of food microbiology at the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia, told UPI.
Keeping produce free from contaminants should include implementing "good manufacturing practices and good agricultural practices," Beuchat said.
Growers, harvesters, packers and distributors, as well as the processors of fresh produce, should be "very alert and conscience of the need to practice good practices. I think that is the key to trying to minimize the risk of illness associated with fresh produce," he said.
In addition, more should be done to make consumers aware of the hazards involved with raw produce, Buck said. "People should know the risks involved and how to minimize them," he said.
Beuchat agreed and said consumers "need to be part of the whole process" and "become more aware of the hazards associated with fresh fruits and vegetables once they purchase them and bring them to their homes."
Consumers should take care in their handling, refrigeration of produce, and takes steps to avoid "cross-contamination with foods of animal origin, some of which may not be cooked and may be more likely to contain a pathogen," he said.
Norton agreed avoiding cross-contamination was important.
"Consumers can help protect themselves from illness by washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water and avoiding cross-contamination of one food with another by washing hands, utensils, and cutting boards after they have been in contact with raw food items and before they touch another food," she said.

The Question of Irradiated Beef in Lunchrooms
IRRADIATED beef may be coming soon to your local school cafeteria.
The farm bill that was passed last May directs the Agriculture Department to buy irradiated beef for the federal school lunch program. It will be up to local school districts to decide if they want it.
Americans have been reluctant to buy food that is irradiated, a process that uses electrons or gamma rays to kill harmful bacteria like salmonella and E. coli 0157:H7, which cause food poisoning. Some people fear, wrongly, that the food is radioactive. Others are concerned that the process hasn't been tested well. They may be correct.
Based on European studies showing the formation of cancer-causing properties in irradiated fat, the European Union, which allows irradiation only for certain spices and dried herbs, has voted not to permit any further food irradiation until more studies have been done.
Carol Tucker Foreman, director of the Food Policy Institute at the Consumer Federation of America, said: "There is nowhere in the world where a large population has eaten large amounts of irradiated food over a long period of time. It makes me queasy that we are going to feed it to schoolchildren."
Advocates of meat irradiation have been struggling for public acceptance; some irradiated meat is being sold. But some within the food industry criticize the tactics being used to gain acceptance for food irradiation. Diane Toops, the news and trend editor of Food Processing, a trade magazine, said in this column in 2001: "The irradiation business is making all of the same mistakes biotechnology has made, trying to force their new technology down the throats of consumers who have a lot of questions."
Because the word irradiation conjures up radioactivity and, more recently, the method by which anthrax spores have been killed, the industry has tried to keep it off food packaging. It is lobbying to use a word with which people are more comfortable: pasteurized.
A farm bill provision, added by Senator Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat, directs the Food and Drug Administration to look for a less fear-inducing word. Senator Harkin, a longtime proponent of food safety, is also responsible for the language in the bill that directs the Agriculture Department to buy irradiated meat.
The same month the farm bill passed, according to the Federal Election Commission in 2002, Senator Harkin received a $5,000 campaign contribution from the Titan Corporation, which until last August owned the SureBeam Corporation of Sioux City, Iowa, the country's largest food irradiator. Tricia Enright, Mr. Harkin's spokeswoman, said: "Tom Harkin's record as a leader of food safety is unparalleled. His commitment to this technology goes back decades."
The Harkin provision has given the Bush administration what it asked for in 2001: irradiated beef in the school lunch program, in place of testing for bacterial contamination. School lunches fall under the jurisdiction of Dr. Peter S. Murano, deputy administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service. He and his wife, Dr. Elsa Murano, the Agriculture Department's under secretary for food safety, are known for their writings on the use of irradiation to improve food safety. Previously, she ran the food irradiation program at Iowa State University.
To convince the public that irradiation is necessary because food poisoning has been increasing in schools, the meat industry cites a General Accounting Office study issued on April 30, 2002, that maintains that such outbreaks are rising at the rate of 10 percent a year.
But Dr. Robert Tauxe, chief of the foodborne and diarrheal diseases branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, "The percent of outbreaks in schools hasn't changed in the last 10 years." The statistical change, he said, is due to better reporting.
Although the Agriculture Department is authorized to offer irradiated meat to schools, the secretary of agriculture, Ann M. Veneman, is moving slowly. So far, it is served only in schools in a pilot program in Minneapolis. According to the Center for Food Safety, a nonprofit Washington advocacy group, which opposes irradiation of food, of more than 1,500 comments the Agriculture Department received from the public on the subject, two-thirds were against it.
"I don't think the right place to start this is in the school lunch program," said Caroline Smith DeWaal, director of food safety at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "There is not enough public acceptance. It's essential parents be allowed to sign off before irradiated meat is allowed. If kids don't have the right to refuse and it's not labeled, it's really taking consumer choice away."
The American School Food Service Association, a trade group, states that irradiation will make beef safer and save money, because salmonella testing will no longer be necessary. That idea angers people like Ms. DeWaal, who said, "Irradiation is not a substitute for testing."
Barry Sackin, a lobbyist for the food service association, said that school districts will have the right to refuse irradiated meat, and when it is used, it will have to be labeled. "The last thing we need is a reporter who puts out a story that kids are served irradiated meat and parents didn't know," he said.

Current Outbreaks
01/29. Temburong Jungle Visit Lands 30 Koreans In Hospital
01/28. Erie couple is suing KFC
01/28. E. coli outbreak hits Polish Alliance diners
01/28. Nursery faces action over baby's milk death
01/28. Oshkosh Inmates Sue for Salmonella Poisoning

01/27. E. COLI O157:H7: ALBERTA (UPDATE)
01/27. Health officials link salmonella infections to school
01/26. Food poisoning hits workers

Current Food Recall
01/29. Presence of undeclared sulphites in SAHHA BRAND JAMS AND MARMELADES
01/29. Presence of undeclared sulphites in GREEN WORLD BEST FOOD BRAND JAM
01/29. Undeclared sulphites in QUALITY BRAND AAM PAPAD/AMPAPD
01/29. Undeclared sulphites in GRAINFIELDS BAKERY GRANOLA DELUXE
01/29. Undeclared sulphites in ASSALAM BRAND EXTRA APRICOT JAM
01/29. Puerto Rico Firm Recalls Pork Products for Possible Listeria Contamination

01/28. Allergy Alert on Undeclared Peanuts in Witor's Golden Poker Milk Chocolate Pralines
01/28. Mayfair Sales Has Recalled Witor's Golden Poker Milk Chocolate Pralines
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

Current USDA/FDA News
Protecting the Food Supply: FDA Actions on New Bioterrorism Legislation
Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002; Meeting
Statement by FSIS Administrator Dr. Garry L. McKee
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

Current Food Safety News
01/29. Major study shows no link between meat eating, higher breast
01/29. Study Doubts Acrylamide in Food Causes Cancer
01/29. No Cancer Risk Found in Food Chemical
01/29. Foodborne illnesses increasing
01/29. The Question of Irradiated Beef in Lunchrooms
01/29. Spreading the word on manure food bug link

01/28. Inspectors Eye Meat Coming Into Detroit
01/28. SWEDEN: New Swedish study defuses acrylamide scare
01/28. Milk feed linked to sixth mad cow
01/28. Chinese public 'cautious over GM food'
01/28. More people are getting sick from eating fresh fruits
01/28. Cancer-fried food link yields clue
01/28. New rules on colouring feed additive
01/28. Stronger Fish Mercury Warnings Sought


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:
Click here to see the slides

Implementing A HACCP System in Your Food Service Operation
Source: (by Hospitality & Tourism Management)
Click here to see the slides
(ONLY with Microsoft Explorer)

Science/Technology of Irradiation
Source: (by Dr. C. Cutter)
Click here to see the slides
(ONLY with Microsoft Explorer)

Sanitation Training
Click here to see the slides
(ONLY with Microsoft Explorer)

Development and implementation of HACCP in processing plants

Source from : MS Brewer
Click here to see the slides

Preharvest water and Food Safety
obtained from UC Davis (UCgaps) - (Trevor V. Suslow, Ph.D.)
Click here to see the slides (PDF file)