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7/29
2011
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'30 days of hell' for US victim of German E. coli
Source : http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5irpE8YEZQLrnnhmdwxTN-VWlZuqg?docId=41ebabe49fe243e1a4331b5ccd2ac0b0
By MIKE STOBBE (July 24, 2011)
In early May, John Meyer stayed at a lakeside hotel in Hamburg, Germany. He attended a business conference. He went sailing. And he became one of the few U.S. victims in one of the worst food poisoning outbreaks in recent world history.
Meyer went to the hospital a week later with what turned out to be a rare and deadly strain of E. coli bacteria that caused thousands of illnesses, mostly in Germany. He would spend the next month in a Massachusetts hospital, much of the time a delirium, while doctors worked around the clock to save his life.
Meyer is one of six U.S. cases linked to the German outbreak and he's the first to talk about his terrible experience, speaking to The Associated Press by phone from his home in Franklin, Mass.
"It was 30 days of hell," said his wife, Loreen.
Meyer was in Hamburg as that city was emerging as the epicenter of a food poisoning disaster that would be among the deadliest in memory. More than 4,000 people in Germany and other countries became ill since the outbreak was detected in May, including several hundred who developed a serious complication that can lead to kidney failure. At least 53 died.
The outbreak ultimately was traced to a batch of fenugreek seeds from Egypt. The seeds, which taste a bit like burnt sugar, are sometimes used as a spice in cooking. Fenugreek sprouts are used in salads.
Meyer believes he must have eaten fenugreek while attending a business meeting at the Hamburg hotel. He thinks the tainted seeds, or sprouts, could have been in the fresh fruits and vegetables at a breakfast bar. There would be some irony if that was the case: It's hard to find good produce during hurried business trips, and Meyer had welcomed the opportunity to eat healthy.
"In this case, it backfired," he said.
Meyer's lawyer provided the AP with lab results and government investigation reports into his illness. Massachusetts state health officials also confirmed he was infected with the rare German E. coli strain. Meyer declined to allow his doctor to speak to the AP and he would not agree to be photographed.
Some common forms of food poisoning can cause symptoms within a day of eating tainted food, but Meyer said he felt no ill effects during a six-day European business trip that included two days in Hamburg and a brief stop in France afterward. He returned home on May 13 feeling fine.
However, this unique and dangerous E. coli bug takes a week to announce its presence. Meyer first became aware something was wrong on May 18. He was at his desk at Senior Aerospace that morning when his abdomen began hurting.
At 52, he is a cyclist who eats two Greek yogurts each day. He says he's never had food poisoning, but on that day he went home in pain.
By midafternoon, he was hit with bloody diarrhea and a dawning sense of alarm. "Whatever it was, it wasn't a minor thing," Meyer said. His wife Loreen, a high school biology teacher, was home by then and worried. She took him to nearby Milford Regional Medical Center.
Doctors there saw him quickly but weren't able to diagnose him. They recommended follow-up with a gastroenterologist the next day and sent him home for the night. But when he got home the diarrhea accelerated. "Every hour, and then it started getting even closer," he recalled.
Loreen took him back to the hospital that night and he was admitted.
Though it all happened less than two months ago, Meyer's memory is fuzzy on what happened the next several weeks. He had intense stomach pain and his kidneys stopped working. Doctors put him on fluids to rehydrate him. They treated him with different antibiotics, and cleansed his blood using dialysis and other measures.
The infection affected his mind. He recalled staring at a clock in his hospital room and not being able to tell time. "I was thinking, 'Why do they have this strange clock in here, and why is it set up differently?'"
Meyer said he grew paranoid, believing that his doctors had written him off for dead. Doctors had not given up on him, but were perplexed. A test for the most dangerous form of E. coli familiar to Americans came back negative. They sent specimens for additional analysis to lab with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab in Atlanta.
In early June, CDC confirmed it was the German strain.
Around that time, he had begun to recover. His kidneys were improving. His awareness returned. He was moved out of intensive care more than three weeks later, and on June 17 he was sent home.
But he was far from normal. He and his wife said his muscles had atrophied, his red blood cell count was still down, and the lining of his colon had become a layer of dead tissue, unable to absorb nutrients. A man who had been an athletic 6-foot 2 and 185 pounds was down to 162 pounds and able to walk only short distances using a cane. He was hungry, though. Voracious, even, eating two breakfasts, two lunches and two dinners each day.
"He had such a huge appetite because he was still not able to absorb as many nutrients," his wife said.
Now he's up to 170 pounds and working part days from home. He's been in physical therapy and regaining his strength, though he's months away from the kind of vigorous exercise he used to do.
Meyer and his wife contacted a local attorney, saying they were worried about possible problems with getting health insurance to pay his hospital bills. That turned out not to be an issue. But the attorney referred the couple to Bill Marler, a Seattle lawyer considered the nation's pre-eminent plaintiff's attorney in food poisoning cases.
Marler is looking into the possibility of a lawsuit, with potential targets including the company that owns the Hamburg hotel where Meyer stayed.
He called Meyer's suffering "horrific," and echoed Meyer's wife in worrying that he may suffer long-term problems.
For his part, Meyer feels lucky to have survived, crediting his doctors for saving his life and his good health and fitness before the illness for helping him get through it.
"Many unfortunate people didn't survive," he said. "It really is a frightening thing."

Is Europe's Outbreak Over?
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/07/is-europes-outbreak-over/
by News Desk (Jul 27, 2011)
News sources were reporting Tuesday that the E. coli O104:H4 outbreak that killed as many as 50 people and sickened thousands has ended. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the German public health body, informed the public that the last reported case occurred three weeks ago.
According to an article by the Associated Foreign Press, RKI issued a statement saying, "As the RKI has not had any new infections linked to this outbreak reported since then, the RKI considers the outbreak to be over."
Although health officials in Germany believe that they are finally in the clear, they will continue to monitor for any additional reports of illness caused by the bacteria.
In its latest update on the E. coli outbreak in Europe, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control reported Tuesday that its case count stands at 3,900 illnesses, including 781 with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and 46 deaths. An Arizona man who had traveled in Germany also died from an O104:H4 infection.
The ECDC totals include confirmed and probable cases. The agency does not include another 120 cases of HUS and four deaths that are suspected as being part of the outbreak, which has been linked to consumption of raw, organic sprouts grown from contaminated fenugreek seeds.
The last known date of illness onset in a patient with a confirmed E. coli O104:H4 infection was July 7, the ECDC said.

Only one deadly strain of E. coli is illegal
Source : http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2011-07-25-ecoli-testing_n.htm
By Elizabeth Weise(July, 27, 2011)
The food-safety world knows there are a half-dozen or more lethal forms of E. coli ending up in our meat or on our leafy greens that are so virulent they can send people to the hospital and even kill them.
But in the United States only one, E. coli O157:H7, is officially termed an adulterant, meaning any raw ground beef that tests positive for it cannot be sold for human consumption. There's no requirement that companies test for the other lethal strains, and it's not illegal for them to be in the food.
And that, says a growing chorus of lawmakers, food-safety and consumer advocates, needs to change. But attempts by these legislators and interest groups to broaden the types of E. coli strains that are specifically subject to federal regulation so far haven't succeeded.
"We cannot afford to wait for a tragic outbreak before taking action," Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., said earlier this month in a letter to the secretary of Agriculture.
In the absence of specific federal oversight, however, some companies have begun their own testing for these pathogens to protect consumers and their own bottom lines.
First out of the chute was Costco, which began testing its ground beef two months ago. Beef Products Inc., the nation's largest supplier of lean beef, began testing on July 18.
There's also movement in the produce and leafy greens world, where multiple producers and retailers have been testing for E. coli O157:H7 since the spinach outbreak that almost wiped out the leafy green vegetable market in 2006.
In the past few months, newly available tests have made it possible to check for a broader number of the microbes and they now include the harmful group of E. coli strains beyond O157:H7 known as the Big Six.
The reasons these bugs aren't currently regulated are a mix of politics, money and plain biology - the bacteria are constantly evolving and turning up in new and nastier forms, making writing rules about them a bit of a nightmare.
For example, the German E. coli variant that sickened more than 4,075 in Europe and killed 50, including one Arizona resident who traveled to Germany, wasn't known before this spring. It's only the latest in a list of E. coli types that can get into food and kill people.
If you've been hit by one of the unregulated forms of E. coli, you know they can be as nasty as the one that is illegal. Just ask Richard Cardinale. The 19-year-old Ohio State University student was studying for a math exam last year when he got stomach pains "so unbearable" he couldn't do anything but lie in bed.
By morning he knew something was seriously wrong, and he went to the emergency room. He was having bloody diarrhea and was in such pain he couldn't stand up. "It was scary, it was so severe," he says. Cardinale spent the night in the hospital. It took him more than a week and a half to recover.
The infection that laid him low was a lesser-known E. coli, O145. That particular outbreak sickened as many as 33 people in Ohio, Michigan and New York. It was later linked to romaine lettuce. Cardinale was one of several students at Ohio State who were sickened after eating at a newly opened salad bar on campus.
Why only O157:H7?
There are literally thousands of forms of E. coli that live harmlessly in the guts of mammals. But in 1993, the E. coli O157:H7 variant, which had been seen only a few times before, caused an outbreak linked to undercooked hamburgers at Jack in the Box restaurants on the West Coast that killed four children and sickened more than 700. USDA decided to single out E. coli O157:H7 because it was especially virulent and seemed to cause illness when present even in very small amounts in hamburger. It can cause abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, kidney failure and death.
So, in 1994, the Department of Agriculture, which oversees meat safety, declared that E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef was an adulterant. Beef producers have to have systems in place to eliminate it, and cook, treat or destroy any product that contained it. That's a different stance than the one taken by the Food and Drug Administration, which oversees pretty much all foods but meat. On July 3, FDA, in the middle of the German E. coli outbreak, made a low-key statement that any strain of E. coli that makes humans acutely ill in food was illegal. It didn't go so far as to call them an adulterant, but made clear they weren't allowed in any foods the agency oversaw, which is most ready-to-eat products. The catch is that the FDA doesn't test products, so there's no way to know when a product is contaminated. The Food Safety Modernization Act, which begins to go into effect later this year, will require companies to show they're putting safeguards into place, but doesn't specifically mention these pathogens.
If all this seems a little confusing, it is. Food-safety advocates want both the USDA and the FDA to agree that these most common forms of E. coli known to harm humans should be labeled as adulterants.
As it stands now, any meat that tests positive for the O157:H7 form of E. coli has to be removed from the market. But for other types of E. coli that are known to harm humans, it takes an illness to trigger a recall, says Nancy Donley, of STOP Foodborne Illness, a food-safety advocacy group started by parents who've lost children to these pathogens. "This is clearly not as it should be," she says.
The push to get these debilitating but non-O157:H7 forms of E. coli regulated has been coming for a long time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has long required they be reported.
Petitions to label these other forms of E. coli as adulterants came from petitions filed in 2009 by Seattle food-safety lawyer Bill Marler and in February of 2010 by the STOP Foodborne Illness group.
Then in January the USDA submitted a request to the White House Office of Management and Budget so that it could create new rules on these E. coli subtypes.
OMB is "actively working to move this through the standard process," says spokeswoman Margaret Reilly.
Now, members of Congress are losing patience. Rep. DeLauro has asked Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to declare the Big Six as adulterants in ground beef. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., last month introduced legislation that would require the USDA to target all high-risk pathogens and all currently unregulated strains of E. coli found in the meat supply that have been proved to cause food-borne illnesses. She has also asked OMB to allow the USDA to require testing for the strains.
Industry moves ahead
But as tests become available, some companies aren't waiting for the feds to act. In the last six months, test kits for leafy greens have become available for the Big Six E. coli variants from IEH Laboratories in Lake Forest Park, Wash.; DuPont Qualicon in Wilmington Del.; and BioControl Systems in Bellevue, Wash.; and others are in the works. For ground beef, they're in late testing phase or became available in the past two months. In just the past two weeks, tests for the German E. coli O104:H4 variant hit the market.
IEH Laboratories has been testing for a broad range of these pathogenic E. colis for years now. "We had been finding a lot of these things in products right and left," says President Mansour Samadpour.
Most forms of E. coli are harmless, but they're known for their ability to grab genes and thus borrow attributes from other organisms. The O157:H7 strain grabbed a gene that produces the Shiga toxin. The German E. coli variant not only has Shiga toxin but another that helps it latch onto cells in the walls of the gut, so the toxins build up and destroy the tissue.
Industry comment
The meat industry says it's too early to declare the various dangerous E. coli subtypes as adulterants.
"We don't have a true baseline determining the prevalence of these organisms in the beef supply," says Betsy Booren of the American Meat Institute (AMI) Foundation, the research arm of AMI. Without knowing how common they are, it's impossible to say whether they should be considered adulterants, she says.
AMI believes that testing for E. coli O157:H7 in many ways takes the place of testing for a broader range of E. coli variants, because if you get a positive for E. coli O157:H7, you know there's been fecal contamination and so other variants might be there as well.
National Cattlemen's Beef Association research Vice President J.O. "Bo" Reagan says the group supports "collaborative food-safety research to ensure we have the latest science and knowledge to guide our industry forward." Whether a company wants to test or not should be its own decision, he says.
Why is there push-back against testing? One reason is cost, says STOP's Donley. Mandatory testing costs money; so does correcting a problem if one is found.
In meat, contaminated product can be cooked and sold, but it's worth a lot less than fresh meat, Donley says. That's why FDA and USDA need to step in, she says: "We're counting on these agencies to put the public's health and safety first, and it can't be concerned on the industry's bottom line."

Early IV Fluids Crucial in Battling E. Coli
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/07/iv-fluids-could-head-off-hus-in-children/
by Gretchen Goetz( Jul 27, 2011)

Of the approximately 1,000 children who suffer from E. coli O157:H7 infections each year, 15 to 20 percent develop the life-threatening kidney disease HUS -- hemolytic uremic syndrome. But an important new study indicates that patients who receive fluids intravenously early in the course of the illness are less likely to develop this serious complication.
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis (WUSL) medical center analyzed the cases of 50 patients under the age of 18 who were treated for HUS at 12 pediatric hospitals in the U.S. and Scotland. They found that 68 percent became unable to urinate, a catastrophic step in the disease's progression.
However, of the 25 patients who received no IV fluids within 4 days of getting sick, 84 percent stopped urinating. Of the other 25 patients who did get IV fluids right away, only 52 percent stopped urinating. Other factors did not seem to make a difference.
"If kids were given any IV fluids in the first 4 days of illness, they were more likely to continue peeing and have decreased complications. They were less likely to need to go on dialysis. Their hospitalization courses were shorter. They just did better," said Christina Hickey, a third year resident at WUSL Children's Hospital and lead author of the study.
HUS develops when the harmful Shiga toxins produced by E. coli O157:H7 bacteria destroy the tissue of small blood vessels, which clog and damage red blood cells that cannot squeeze through the obstructed passages. The kidney, which needs adequate bloodflow to filter out waste, becomes compromised and the patient can no longer secrete urine.
HUS is the most common cause of acute kidney failure in infants and young children, and more than half the children with HUS require dialysis. But as the recent E. coli outbreak in Europe has demonstrated, adults infected by pathogenic E. coli are also susceptible to HUS.
Hickey says the increased blood flow provided by sodium-containing, intravenous fluid, which expands blood vessels, could decrease the odds for oliguria, or low urine output. Oral fluids aren't effective, because E. coli patients are experiencing such profuse bouts of diarrhea, and may also be vomiting, that they can't remain hydrated on their own.
In a story by the Washington University in St. Louis Newsroom, Hickey explained: "HUS is like a heart attack to the kidneys. What we're trying to do is make sure the kidneys get enough blood flow. By giving intravenous fluids, we try to keep those kidneys working and to keep these children urinating. We think this will have a substantial impact on reducing the severity of kidney failure in these kids."
The study showed that the ability of the young patients' kidneys to fend off the negative effects of the disease directly correlated to the amount of IV fluids the children had received.
Preventing the development of HUS is crucial in the course of an E. coli infection, because there is no way to treat the kidney disease once it occurs, and no way to lessen the severity of kidney injury it causes. According to the study, administering IV fluids immediately after the onset of bloody diarrhea, a common symptom of an E. coli O157:H7 infection, could reduce a child's chances of developing an illness that becomes a wait-and-see game once it has taken hold.
Hickey says children with bloody diarrhea should be examined immediately by a health-care provider. There is a narrow window of opportunity in which IV fluids must be administered before it's too late.
"If a child is identified early as having an E. coli O157:H7 infection, we think that intravenous fluids can help protect the kidney and possibly help that child avoid dialysis," says Hickey. "The important thing is for providers to identify the kids at risk for E. coli O157:H7 infection early," says Hickey.
The study authors point out that early diagnosis is sometimes difficult because doctors must wait for the results of microbiological tests of stool specimens to confirm whether a patient has E. coli. More rapid testing is needed, the authors note, in order to avoid this delay.
They also urge doctors to recognize the signs of an E. coli infection and take swift measures to diagnose a patient.
"We considered the possibility that providers hesitated to give fluids to children who were on the verge of developing HUS," the study says. "However, half or fewer of the children in this cohort underwent any testing, received any intravenous fluids, or were admitted to any hospital in the first 4 days of illness, well before HUS is diagnosed. Such inaction does not reflect major provider concerns about impending renal failure at the initial encounter."
This research builds on the findings of a previous study, which also showed that administering IV fluids can curb the downward spiral leading to kidney failure in E. coli O157:H7 infected patients. However, that study was confined to 29 patients under the age of 10 in Seattle, while this one examined children of all ages in hospitals in St. Louis; Seattle; Sacramento; Albuquerque; Little Rock; Milwaukee; Cincinnati; Indianapolis; Memphis; Columbus, Ohio; and Glasgow, Scotland.
Given the findings of this research, the authors note with dismay that giving IV fluids to E. coli patients is not already standard procedure.
"It is concerning that 14 of the 39 subjects who were evaluated during the first 4 days of illness received no intravenous fluids, and of those who did, few received the volume or sodium content we have recommended," the study says. "Opportunities to provide volume expansion in that critical interval appear, therefore, to have been lost."
The team's findings were released last week, as doctors in Europe continued to treat patients of the recent outbreak of E. coli O104:H4 there, where as many as 900 of the almost 4,000 outbreak victims developed HUS.
This study was released ahead of its scheduled publication time in hopes that it might provide guidance to the European community. That epidemic was caused by a different strain of E. coli than the one examined in this paper, but has similar effects.
"Because of the important public health implications of this study, we have decided to publish this article quickly online ahead of print," says a note from the editor.
Hickey's St. Louis collaborators were Dr. Robert J. Rothbaum, the Centennial Professor of Pediatrics, and Dr. Anne M. Beck, associate professor of pediatrics, both at Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Phillip I. Tarr, the Melvin E. Carnahan Professor of Pediatrics and director of the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, supervised Hickey on the study and is senior author of the paper.
The study, "Early Volume Expansion during Diarrhea and Relative Nephroprotection During Subsequent Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome," was published July 22, 2011, in Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.

Stick to Lion mark eggs given salmonella outbreak, BEIC roars
Source : http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/Stick-to-Lion-mark-eggs-given-salmonella-outbreak-BEIC-roars
By Graham Holter(Jul,25, 2011)
The British Egg Industry Council (BEIC) is advising food manufacturers and caterers to stick to British eggs bearing the Lion mark, after a new salmonella scare linked to Spanish eggs.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has linked outbreaks of salmonella in northwest England and the West Midlands to contaminated Spanish eggs. Almost 140 people have been affected.
The bug, S. Enteritidis PT 14b, involves eggs from a single supplier in Spain, the HPA believes, which were mainly supplied to catering establishments.
The agency has been in touch with the Spanish authorities, which are now said to be heat-treating eggs to kill any salmonella that could be present. Investigations in the UK are continuing but all supplies linked to the Spanish producer have been taken out of circulation.
Cross-contamination
The BEIC told FoodManufacture.co.uk that the risk to food manufacturers is smaller, due to pasteurisation of eggs during the processing of products such as mayonnaise. However, the council warned that eggs carrying salmonella could cause cross-contamination problems in food factories.
Highlighting previous issues with Spanish eggs, the council said in a statement: "The outbreak follows a fatal outbreak of salmonella food poisoning in 2002, which was also linked to Spanish eggs.
"In 2004, Spanish eggs were linked to a food poisoning outbreak at a caf? in central London, with one third of the Spanish eggs used by the caf? testing positive for salmonella.
"An outbreak in a restaurant in Kent in 2005 was also linked to Spanish eggs after owners purchased a batch of Spanish eggs from an unapproved supplier."
'Infected, imported eggs'
The BEIC also cited the 2009 salmonella outbreak in England, which involved a strain of salmonella, S. Enteritidis PT 14b, which has not been found in egg-laying flocks in the UK.
The British Lion code of practice includes vaccination of hens against salmonella. BEIC chairman Andrew Parker said: "It is unbelievable that British consumers are still being put at risk by imported eggs.
"There are plenty of high quality British eggs available, yet UK caterers think that it's OK to risk their customers' health by buying cheap, infected, imported eggs."

Two Raw Milks - Is the other better?
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/legal-cases/two-raw-milks---is-the-other-better/
by Bill Marler ( July 25, 2011)
Last week I posted "Two Raw Milks - one for the Pasteurizer and one in the Raw." The idea behind the post was to recognize that several of the outbreaks linked to raw milk in the past few years were from milk that had been intended to be pasteurized - presumably from a CAFO, and therefore suspect. However, for several of the outbreaks that I have been involved in over the last years, the milk consumed by my clients came from the other milk - that is raw milk intended to be consumed that way. It did not work out too well for that milk, or my clients, either.

Simsbury Town Farm Dairy - 2008
On July 16, 2008, the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CDPH) was investigating two cases of HUS as part of its routine surveillance. Interviews conducted in these investigations revealed that both children had consumed raw milk in the week before the onset of their illnesses. Both children had consumed raw milk produced by the Simsbury Town Farm Dairy. CDPH notified the Connecticut Department of Agriculture (CDA), and opened an investigation. In the following two weeks five additional confirmed and seven additional probable cases of E. coli O157:NM infection, each associated with consumption of raw milk from the Simsbury Town Farm Dairy.
As part of the investigation of the outbreak, CDA conducted an environmental inspection of the Simsbury Town Farm Dairy. CDA found a number of troubling practices at the dairy. These included: manual bottling of raw milk directly from the bulk tank; failure to cap valves; an improper seal around the shaft of the transport tank; and a biofilm protein residue found inside the transport tank. In addition, investigators found a number of "poor hygienic practices" at the dairy. Among these was the storage of a stainless steel milk tank in an exposed unsanitary bucket. In addition, investigators found a lack of hand soap, a lack of hot water and the hand-washing sink, and soiled floors. Flies were observed in the bulk milk storage tank room. The dairy workers were unable to identify the dairy's sanitization process for glass milk bottles that were re-used. It was also noted that the glass bottles from the dairy did not feature the statutorily required consumer advisory language.
A laboratory study was also conducted. Of the six patients that cultured positive for E. coli O157:NM, 5 had a "genetic fingerprint" that was indistinguishable. The sixth varied very slightly on one test. Samples of feces from the cows at the dairy were also tested. One of the tests was positive for E. coli O157:NM of a strain matching that of the group of five patients. The CDPH concluded that "several findings from this investigation indicated that consumption of raw milk from Farm X [Simsbury] was the cause of the outbreak." Three of the consumers developed HUS.

Alexandre Eco Farms - 2008
On October 2, 2008, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a report linking an outbreak of Campylobacter illnesses to unpasteurized milk from Alexandre Eco Farms Dairy. The report was the result of an investigation commenced on July 14, 2008, when Dr. Thomas Martinelli, the County Health Officer for Del Norte County, California reported four cases of laboratory confirmed Campylobacter infections and five additional cases of diarrhea in Del Norte County residents. Eight of the original nine sick individuals were members of the Alexandre Eco Farms "cow-leasing" program. Eight of these individuals had consumed milk produced on the farm. The ninth sick individual worked with cattle on the Alexandre Eco Farms Dairy. One of the eight individuals who were sick, Mari Tardiff, had already been hospitalized with GBS, following the onset of acute gastroenteritis after consumption of the milk.
As part of the investigation, health department officials retrieved a refrigerated carton of partially consumed Alexandre Eco Farms milk from Mari Tardiff's home. Mari had consumed a portion of the milk before her illness. The specimen tested positive for Campylobacter jejuni DNA using a test called polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Testing indicated that multiple strains of Campylobacter jejuni were present in the milk. Del Norte County officials eventually identified 16 cases of Campylobacter jejuni associated with the outbreak. Fifteen of those were persons who consumed milk from Alexandre Eco Farms Dairy. The 16th case was the farm employee. CDPH and Del Norte county officials concluded that "the available epidemiologic and laboratory data support the conclusion that this cluster of acute diarrheal illness in Del Norte County was an outbreak of C. jejuni infections caused by consumption of unpasteurized milk from [Alexandre Eco Farms Dairy.]"

Autumn Olive Farms 2008
On May 12, 2008 the Lawrence County Health Department (LCHD) was notified of a case of HUS in a child with a history of bloody diarrhea. The health care provider reported that the child had consumed unpasteurized goat's milk obtained from a local store, the Herb Depot, in Barry County, Missouri. The milk had been purchased on April 29, 2008. It was quickly learned that an additional Barry County child that had cultured positive for E. coli O157:H7 had also consumed unpasteurized goat's milk from the same store. As a result, the LCHD contacted the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) who began a full epidemiological and environmental investigation of the illnesses. The investigation revealed that the milk consumed by both ill children had been produced at Autumn Olive Farms.
At the conclusion of its investigation, the DHSS ultimately announced that there were four cases of E. coli O157:H7 associated with the outbreak. Of these, three were laboratory confirmed, and one was identified as a probable case. Each of these individuals resided in different counties in Southwest Missouri, and were not known to have any relation to each other. Nonetheless, each shared a common exposure to milk from Autumn Olive Farms. In addition, the three culture-confirmed cases shared a common, indistinguishable genetic strain of E. coli O157:H7. The strain was identified as a unique subtype of E. coli O157:H7, never before reported in Missouri. Each of the four cases had consumed milk from Autumn Olive Farms within 3-4 days of onset of illness. The DHSS reported: "no other plausible sources of exposure common to all four cases were identified [other than the milk.]" The final outbreak report ultimately concluded: "the epidemiological findings strongly suggest the unpasteurized goat's milk from Farm A [Autumn Olive] was the likely source of infection for each of the cases associated with this outbreak."

Organic Pastures Dairy - 2006
On September 18, 2006, the California Department of Health Services (CDHS) opened an investigation of a possible outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections after receiving reports of two patients who had been hospitalized with HUS. One was culture confirmed as infected with E. coli O157:H7. Interviews revealed that both patients had consumed unpasteurized cow milk sold by Organic Pastures in the week prior to the onset of illness.
In the following days, four additional cases of E. coli O157:H7 were identified. All of the additional cases had consumed raw milk or raw cow product sold by Organic Pastures. Isolates of the E. coli O157:H7 cultured from the five culture-positive patients had indistinguishable "genetic fingerprints" as determined by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) testing. These PFGE patterns were new to the national PulseNet database. In other words, the pattern associated with all of these children was unique, and had not been seen before in conjunction with any other outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7. In addition, the PFGE pattern differed markedly from the patterns associated with the outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 associated with Dole fresh-bagged baby spinach that had peaked a few weeks prior to these illnesses.
CDHS conducted an epidemiological and environmental investigation of the cluster of illnesses. A review of 50 consecutive E. coli O157:H7 cases reported to CDHS from October 2004 to June 2006 revealed that 46 of 47 cases asked about raw milk consumption reported consuming no raw milk. In contrast, five of the six patients in the cluster being investigated reported definite consumption of Organic Pastures raw dairy products. The sixth denied consuming the raw milk, but his family routinely consumed Organic Pastures raw milk during the suspected time frame. Two of the children developed Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome.

Grace Harbor Farms - September 2006
Two children became ill due to an E. coli outbreak associated with unpasteurized milk. The milk came from Grace Harbor Farms, a dairy operation in Whatcom County. Testing conducted by the Washington Department of Health confirmed the two cases were caused by the same strain of the bacteria, E. coli O157:H7. Both children drank milk from the dairy. Grace Harbor sells its products in several counties through health food stores, PCC Natural Markets and Whole Foods Market. The children are identified as a King County boy and a Snohomish County girl. The boy remains hospitalized at a Seattle hospital recovering from the E. coli infection (HUS). "We're very concerned, very sorry it happened," Tim Lukens, president and general manager of Grace Harbor Farms in Lynden, said in a telephone interview. He stressed that the problem involved raw milk, not the dairy's pasteurized milk. While he said he has not yet seen "an absolute test on our milk that shows it is the same E. coli," he said he totally agreed with the recall.

Dee Creek Dairy - December 2005
During the week of December 5, 2005, public health officials in Clark County, Washington, were notified of four county residents with laboratory-confirmed Escherichia coli O157:H7 infection. All four residents reported having consumed raw (i.e., unpasteurized) milk obtained from a farm (Dee Creek) in neighboring Cowlitz County, Washington. The farm participated in a cow- share program, in which persons purchase interests in, or shares of, dairy cows in return for a portion of the milk produced. The farm had five dairy cows and regularly provided raw milk to shareholders. Although the sale of raw milk and cow-share agreements are illegal in certain states, they are legal in Washington; however, Washington farms that provide raw milk to consumers must be licensed, meet state milk-production and processing standards, and pass health and sanitation inspections by the state department of agriculture (1). The Cowlitz County farm was not licensed.
Eighteen cases were identified among the 43 families who were interviewed, and eight (44%) of these were laboratory confirmed. Dates of illness onset ranged from November 29 to December 13, 2005 (Figure). Patients were residents of two southwest Washington counties and one northwest Oregon county. The median age was 9 years (range: 1--47 years); nine (50%) were female. Among the 18 patients, 17 (94%) reported diarrhea, 13 (72%) bloody diarrhea, and 13 (72%) abdominal cramps. Five patients (28%), aged 1--13 years, were hospitalized; four of these had hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Seventeen patients were farm shareholders or children of shareholders; one patient, a child aged 10 years, was a friend of a shareholder.

Although some in public health and many in the raw milk mooovement disagree with some of my ideas, I posted this several months ago - "What I'd Recommend: Raw vs Pasteurized Milk." Here are the highlights:
In lieu of banning raw milk products, some states have adopted regulations that attempt to protect public health and allow for consumer choice. This is an approach I would suggest the following:
oRaw milk should be sold only on farms that are certified by the state and inspected and tested regularly. Make ambiguous black market milk/cheese sales and "pet food sales" meant for human consumption clearly illegal
oRaw milk should not be sold in grocery stores or across state lines--the risks of mass production and transportation are too great; the risk of a casual purchase by someone misunderstanding the risks is too great, as well
oFarms should be required to have insurance coverage sufficient to cover reasonable damages to their customers
oPractices such as outsourcing (buying raw milk from farms not licensed for raw milk production) should be illegal
oColostrum should be regulated as a dairy product, not a nutritional supplement
oWarning signs on the bottles and at point-of-purchase should be mandatory. An example:
"WARNING: This product has not been pasteurized and may contain harmful bacteria (not limited to E. coli O157:H7, Campylobacter, Listeria and Salmonella). Pregnant women, infants, children, the elderly and persons with lowered resistance to disease (immune compromised) have the highest risk of harm, which includes Diarrhea, Vomiting, Fever, Dehydration, Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Reactive Arthritis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Miscarriage, or Death, from use of this product."
One or two raw milks? I am not sure. I do know that people get sick, and my concern, and the concern of people in public health, is to prevent that. For more information on raw milk, visit www.realrawmilkfacts.com.

Irradiation could have stopped E.coli crisis: CPA ceo
Source : http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/Irradiation-could-have-stopped-E.coli-crisis-CPA-ceo
By Ben Bouckley, (25. Jul. 2011)
The deadly Escherichia coli crisis that killed 47 people in Germany alone and left thousands seriously ill could almost certainly have been averted by irradiating the fenugreek seeds blamed for the outbreak.
That's according to Dominic Dyer, ceo of the Crop Protection Association, who told FoodManufacture.co.uk that wider irradiation of (particularly organic) foodstuffs within the UK and EU would seriously reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
Food irradiation involves exposing it to electron beams, X-rays or gamma rays. Once absorbed the energy forms molecules called 'free radicals' that kill micro-organisms such as campylobacter, salmonella and E.coli.
Dyer said the fact that it was unfortunate that a German farm at the centre of the outbreak was organic, when it could just as easily have been run on conventional lines, and that a wider debate was needed on the safety of irradiation within the wider food chain.
Polarised views
However, Dyer noted entrenched opposition within the European organic industry to technologies like irradiation, due to standards that exclude it developed by trade bodies such as the Soil Association (SA).
Despite being endorsed as safe by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and bodies such as the World Health Organisation and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, irradiation is permitted only for seven EU food categories.
Detailed under the Food Irradiation (England) Regulations 2009, these include fruit; vegetables; cereals; bulbs and tubers; dried herbs, spices and vegetable seasonings; fish and shellfish; poultry.
Dyer said that the US government considered allowing irradiation under the US National Organic Standards in the late 1990s, but that 300,000 petitions from public and organisations including European trade associations deterred it from doing so.
If the US regulatory authorities had allowed irradiation, Dyer said he believed there might have been more pressure to follow suit here in Europe, and that irradiation would not have been viewed by consumers with distrust (along the same lines as GM) and might have been used more widely.
"But views became very polairsed, and the organic industry here wanted to be seen as pure as pure can be," he said.
Irrational fears
"Irrational fears" had held back a technology that, when used properly, posed a minimal risk to public health and presented less of a risk than heavy mobile phone use or staring at plasma screen, Dyer said.
While safety guidelines - followed by most UK organic producers - reduced risk, he added that irradiation was the only way to eradicate risk when producing "inherently risky" products such as beansprouts.
Irradiating the Egyptian fenugreek seeds in question would have prevented the German E.coli outbreak with 99.999% certainty, Dyer said.
An SA spokeswoman said that there was no treatment, "whether in an organic or non-organic system" that could guarantee the removal of dormant pathogens from sprouting seeds or sprouts.
Instead, she argued, it was vital to control risks throughout the food chain, where organic growers and processors undergo independent inspections to qualify for SA certification, and follow stricy safety guidelines.
Moreover, irradiation was not allowed under EU organic regulations ensuring the "integrity and vital qualities" of the product, she added, while there was also a lack of long-term studies examining the health impacts of irradiated food.
The spokeswoman added that irradiation was not permitted in non-organic foods such as dairy (due to flavour changes) and some fruits, as it causes tissue softening.
Irradiation could also kill plant workers if safeguards were not followed, she said, while irradiation of cat food imported into Australia was banned in May 2009 after it was linked to feline deaths.
"It is also impossible to tell if food has been irradiated beyond the maximum dose permitted," she said.

Salmonella Attorney and Lawyer Calls on Papaya Distributor to Pay Victims Medical Bills and Wages
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-recall/salmonella-attorney-and-lawyer-calls-on-papaya-distributor-to-pay-victims-medical-bills-and-wages/
by Bill Marler (July 25, 2011)
Public health officials have identified papayas from Agromod Produce, Inc., a distributor in McAllen,Texas as the likely cause of the a recent Salmonella Agona outbreak that has sickened at least 97 people in 23 states and forced the recall of papaya in the United States and Canada. The CDC and FDA is warning consumers not to eat papayas with the following labels:
"The food industry has a responsibility to produce and sell only food free of contaminants or pathogens; no exceptions," said Bill Marler, Managing Partner of Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm. "Today I am calling on Agromod to pay the medical bills and wages of all individuals who became ill with Salmonella infections as part of the outbreak.
Symptoms of Salmonella infection can begin 6-72 hours after ingestion and include abdominal pain and cramping, diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration. If you believe you may have a Salmonella infection consult a healthcare professional immediately. To learn more about Salmonella, visit www.about-salmonella.com.
A total of 97 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Agona have been reported from 23 states between January 1 and July 18, 2011. The number of ill persons identified in each state with the outbreak strain is as follows: Arkansas (1), Arizona (3), California (7), Colorado (1), Georgia (8), Illinois (17), Louisiana (2), Massachusetts (1), Minnesota (3), Missouri (3), Nebraska (2), Nevada (1), New Jersey (1), New Mexico (3), New York (6), Ohio (1), Oklahoma (1), Pennsylvania (1), Tennessee (1), Texas (25), Virginia (2), Washington (5), and Wisconsin (2).
Consumers, retailers and others who have papayas from Agromod Produce, Inc. should discard them in a sealed container so people and animals, including wild animals, cannot eat them.

El Dorado County farmers challenge food regulations
Source : http://www.sacbee.com/2011/07/25/3791617/el-dorado-county-farmers-challenge.html
By Carlos Alcal?(, Jul. 25, 2011)
Pattie Chelseth thinks she has the right to sell you a fraction of a cow.
Chelseth, operator of My Sisters' Farm in Shingle Springs, keeps two cows owned by 15 people. A cow's owner can legally drink its milk filtered but unpasteurized, so she believes each of those 15 owners is entitled to a share of the raw milk.
California's Department of Food and Agriculture sees it otherwise.
"We consider that a commercial transaction and subject to the dairy food safety laws," said Steve Lyle, the agency's public affairs director.
A battle in a milk bottle is brewing, as small farmers challenge state and federal regulations. Chelseth is trying to land the latest blow, floating an ordinance for El Dorado County that she thinks would give small producers the right to sell unregulated goods - milk, cheese, home-baked pies and more - directly to the person who consumes them. She will hold a local meeting at her farm on Friday.
She said there are at least eight other dairy shares in El Dorado County, and others are interested. "If it's a private customer, from person-to-person," Chelseth said, "that shouldn't be regulated."
For her to be regulated and inspected for milk would be a $100,000 proposition, Chelseth said. She's not even trying to be in business. She bought a cow in order to get raw milk for a grandchild, she said. She started the herd share when others came to her for raw milk. The Department of Food and Agriculture has served her with a cease-and-desist order, Chelseth said. "We see it as a food safety issue," said Lyle.
Chelseth is promoting a "Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance," modeled on ones passed in Maine beginning this year.
The El Dorado ordinance, like those in Maine, reads more like the Declaration of Independence than a county law:
"We the People of the County of El Dorado, California, have the right to produce, process, sell, purchase and consume local foods, thus promoting self-reliance, the preservation of family farms and local food traditions."
"This is all about freedom," Chelseth said.
Maine's state agriculture agency has told towns that passed similar rules that they do not supplant state law. "They don't change a thing, actually," said Hal Prince, director of the Maine Department of Agriculture. Maine already has relaxed rules for home food production of so-called "low-risk" items like jams, jellies and many baked goods, he said. El Dorado Supervisor Ray Nutting likes Chelseth's idea, but says it needs more work. "I'd be willing to sponsor it, but I want to take something to the Board (of Supervisors) that would help them, rather than just support them," Nutting said. He said he asked backers to "give me something that actually changes the law."
Other area food activists support the idea.
"I think it makes total sense," said Joanne Neft, former agriculture marketing director in Placer County. "It is because of the overrestrictions by our government that do not give us permission to eat healthy food."
Similar sentiments are expressed throughout the state, said Shermain Hardesty, director of UC Davis' Small Farms Program.

Local food isn't necessarily healthy food, said Bill Marler, a Seattle food safety attorney.
"What these kind of ordinances are trying to do is 'let me do whatever I want to do because I believe (that) because my product is local it's safe,' " Marler said. "And that's baloney."
Marler is a sponsor of www.realrawmilkfacts.com, a website Lyle cited in support of state rules.
People are unaware of the dangers of uninspected foods because they don't see the consequences, Marler said.
"I've been in a lot of ICUs, I've been at funerals, I've seen children die because of what's in the food," he said.
"Regulation is not a bad thing," Marler added.
Hardesty agreed that there are options besides relaxing all the regulations.
She favors establishing smaller meat-processing plants to aid small producers and is studying possible rule changes that would establish different, but safe, standards for produce that isn't widely distributed. Raw milk is a different question, she said.
"I think that would require a tremendous amount of research to justify that," she said.
Chelseth is unconvinced. She believes the rules only benefit big farms, where many food pathogens originate.
"If it's about public safety, my milk is clean," she said.
"I refuse to be underground," she said. "I'll go to jail, and I won't drink anything but raw milk."
Editor's note: This story was updated to correct the URL for the website "Real Raw Milk Facts."

More Radioactive Beef Found in Japan
Source : http://www.foodproductdesign.com/news/2011/07/more-radioactive-beef-found-in-japan.aspx
By admin (July 26, 2011)
Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) announced plans to help meat producer groups recall and destroy beef tainted with radioactive cesium from the marketplace. As reported by the Japan Times, the government also instructed the producers to seek compensation from Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO).
The government will financially support the purchase, storage and incineration of meat from cattle fed hay contaminated with radioactive cesium grown in the area near the nuclear-damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant, which may cost as much as 2 billion yen ($25 million), said Hideo Harada, MAFF director for livestock policy planning.
On July 19, Japanese officials imposed a ban on all beef shipments from the Fukushima Prefecture amid concerns the cattle may have been fed contaminated hay. The government estimated 2,906 cattle ate tainted feed before shipment. Japan's Food Safety Minister Goshi Hosono said beef from cattle fed with tainted hay was shipped to 46 out of Japan's total 47 prefectures. Test results showed 23 out of 274 beef samples contained radioactive cesium that exceeded the government's standard. The recalled beef will be stored and tested and could be shipped to the market again if cesium levels don't exceed standards.

Papaya Outbreak Strain Also Seen in 2010
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/07/papaya-outbreak-strain-was-also-seen-in-2010/
by Mary Rothschild (Jul 27, 2011)
The Salmonella Agona bacteria causing illnesses linked to imported papayas also cropped up in 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday, but the source of that outbreak was never found.
According to the CDC's latest update, the outbreak strain is made up of four closely related pulse-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns that have rarely been seen in PulseNet, the nationwide surveillance system that identifies clusters of foodborne disease by their DNA fingerprints. Three of the patterns were first seen a year ago.
Between May 28 and Sept. 10 last year, 119 cases of Salmonella Agona were reported to the CDC by 14 states. The profile of that outbreak -- the "distribution of age, sex, ethnicity and state of residence among ill persons" -- was similar to the current outbreak, the CDC wrote.
However, the source of that outbreak was not determined, despite an "intensive investigation during the summer of 2010 by local, state and federal public health agencies that focused on fresh fruit, including papaya," the CDC said.
In its report Tuesday on the current outbreak, the federal public health authority said 99 people are now confirmed to be infected with Salmonella Agona traced to Mexican papayas. The two additional cases were reported from New York and Pennsylvania. Eleven of the case patients told health investigators they'd traveled to Mexico in the week before they became ill.
The epidemiological, traceback and lab investigations concluded the outbreak source to be whole papayas imported by Agromod Produce of McAllen, Texas. The outbreak strain was detected in produce samples taken at the processing plant in McAllen and on papayas at the U.S. border that were headed to Agromod.
In addition to the two samples that tested positive for the outbreak strain, the Food and Drug Administration found 10 other papaya samples from Mexico to be positive with different strains of Salmonella; none of those sampled lots entered the United States, the FDA said.
Agromod, which distributes papayas under four brand names -- Blondie, Yaya, Ma?anita, and Tastylicious -- has withdrawn its papayas from the market in the U.S. and Canada, although the CDC warns that contaminated papayas may still be in stores and consumers homes. The FDA also advises that while Agromod sold whole papayas, the fruit could have been further processed as it moved along the supply chain.
There's still no word on how the papayas became contaminated.

More Victims of Guillain-Barr? Syndrome Along the U.S. - Mexico Border
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-watch/more-victims-of-guillain-barre-syndrome-along-the-us---mexico-border/
by Claire Mitchell ( July 25, 2011)
A few days ago, a blog entry was posted on Food Poison Journal alerting readers to an unusually high number of individuals diagnosed with Guillian-Barr? Syndrome, a disorder in which the body's immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system, along a small stretch of the United States-Mexico border. Today, the number of people diagnosed with Guillian-Barr? Syndrome has risen to 24.
Health officials in both the United States and Mexico have been investigating the cluster of illnesses and believe that this rare disorder may have been triggered by Campylobacter infection, a common diarrheal foodborne illness characterized by diarrhea (often bloody), abdominal pain, malaise, fever, nausea, and vomiting. Guillian-Barr? Syndrome often occurs a few days or weeks after a person has had symptoms of a respiratory or gastrointestinal viral or bacterial infection; in fact, two-thirds of affected individuals have had a preceding infection. Campylobacter jejuni is the most common pathogen that elicits Guillian-Barr? Syndrome.
According to a recent article by JoNel Aleccia, "At least four of the GBS patients have been confirmed to be infected with Campylobacter bacteria, meaning there's a good chance the others were, too, officials said." Officials are hoping to quickly determine the source of the Campylobacter infections.
Of the victims, 17 are reportedly from Mexico and 7 from the United States. Although Guillian-Barr? Syndrome can affect a person at any age, it appears that most of those sickened are adults ranging in age from 40 to 70. Some have been left extremely impaired as a result of acquiring the disorder.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
GBS is a serious neurological disorder involving inflammatory demyelination of peripheral nerves. It can occur spontaneously or after certain events such as infections. Illness is typically characterized by the subacute onset of progressive, symmetrical weakness in the legs and arms, with loss of reflexes. Sensory abnormalities, involvement of cranial nerves, and paralysis of respiratory muscles also can occur. A small portion of patients die, and 20% of hospitalized patients can have prolonged disability.
Campylobacter is found commonly in a wide variety of healthy domestic and wild animals including cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, ducks, geese, wild birds, dogs, cats, rodents, and marine mammals. The bacteria usually live in the intestines as part of the animal's normal flora, and is shed in the feces. Accordingly, it is typically caused by eating raw or undercooked poultry or meat, unpasteurized milk or contaminated water.

Arizona Department of Health Services Reports Campylobacter Caused Guillain-Barre? Syndrome (GBS)
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-watch/arizona-department-of-health-services-reports-campylobacter-caused-guillain-barre-syndrome-gbs/
by Bill Marler 9(July 22, 2011)
Guillain-Barre? Syndrome (GBS) normally affects only about 1 in 100,000 people. So when sixteen cases recently appeared in a small geographical area along the U.S.-Mexico border, it caught the attention of health officials on both sides.
Local, state and federal health departments from San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, Mexico and Yuma County, Arizona, U.S. started working to confirm the diagnosis and search for the underlying cause of the disease. While both states routinely work together on a multitude of Bi- national Public Health issues, such as obesity and tuberculosis, this particular response to an emerging situation breaks new ground. This is the first time that public health officials from the U.S. and Mexico have traveled across their respective borders to conduct a joint investigation.
The first signs of GBS are muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis. It usually appears after someone has been sick with an infection, often with diarrhea. The key is to find the root cause of the infection.
"We recognize that this apparent cluster of Guillain-Barre? Syndrome cases is of great concern to the community," said Shoana Anderson, Office Chief of Infectious Disease at ADHS. "One potential cause we've identified is Campylobacter bacteria, a commonly-identified organism that can precede Guillain-Barre?. While there have been more cases of Campylobacter this year, we have not yet positively confirmed that it is responsible for these Guillain-Barre? infections."
Health officials from Sonora have conducted outreach and education to residents in the San Luis Rio Colorado area. Arizona health officials have asked doctors and hospitals to watch for the signs of GBS and quickly contact their local health office with any possible cases.
Since GBS is not passed person to person, the best thing for people to do is to prevent infections in the first place. Good hand-washing habits and safe food preparation go a long way to prevent common illnesses. Everyone should wash their hands thoroughly after using the bathroom, before and while they are cooking, and before eating.

Mexican Papayas Blamed for Salmonella Outbreak
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/07/mexican-papayas-blamed-for-salmonella-outbreak/
by Dan Flynn (Jul 25, 2011)
The world's leading Maradol papaya grower acknowledged over the weekend that it is facing its most serious food-safety challenge since a pesticide chemical prevented its product from getting into the United States five years ago.
Agromod Products Inc., the U.S. marketer for the Tapachula, Mexico-based papaya grower, recalled all of its Blondie, Yaya, Ma?anita and Tastylicious brand papayas sold prior to July 23, 2011 because they've been associated with a current outbreak of Salmonella.
The McAllen, TX-based U.S. marketer said its papayas may be linked to 97 reported cases of Salmonella Agona, including 10 hospitalizations, in 23 U.S. states.
Recent sampling by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found the outbreak strain in two papaya samples collected at the Agromod Produce Inc. plant in McAllen, TX and from produce destined for Agromod Produce Inc. at the U.S. border.
Distribution of the Mexican papayas has been suspended while FDA and the company continue their investigation into the source of the problem.
It is not the first time that the U.S. border has been closed to Agromod papayas. In March 2006, multiple shipments of fresh papayas being imported to the U.S. by Agromod were refused entry because they contained an unsafe pesticide chemical.
That problem occurred within a year after the Texas-based Agromod Produce Inc. was set up to serve Agromod's customers in the U.S. and Canada. The company has a 12,500 square foot warehouse and cold storage capacity for up to 8 truckloads in McAllen for ripening and repacking areas.
Each Blondie Brand papaya can be identified by a blue and orange sticker label with green and white lettering on the fruit that states Blondie 4395 Mexico.
The Yaya Brand Papayas can be identified by a yellow, red, orange, and green label with white, green and red lettering that reads Yaya Premium Papayas Yaya PLU-4395 Mexico.
Each Ma?anita Brand Papaya can be identified by a green, yellow and red sticker label that states Mexico Ma?anita 4395.
The Tastylicious Brand Papayas can be identified by a white and blue sticker with red and white lettering that states 4395 Tastylicious MEXICO.
Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections, especially in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.
Salmonella symptoms include fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.
The fresh, whole papayas were distributed throughout the U.S. and Canada through retail stores and wholesalers.?? Consumers who have purchased the Blondie, Yaya, Ma?anita, and Tastylicious brand papayas are urged to return thm to the place of purchase. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 800-385-7658, Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. CST.?

Salmonella and Campylobacter Found on Raw Chicken Sold at Farmers' Markets
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-information/salmonella-and-campylobacter-found-on-raw-chicken-sold-at-farmers-markets/
by Claire Mitchell (July 22, 2011)
Esther French, Mattea Kramer and Maggie Clark, fellows with News21, a national university reporting project at the University of Maryland, recently conducted an investigation into the safety of poultry sold at certain farmers' markets in Washington D.C. Their report appeared in today's issue of the Washington Post. The investigation revealed some unsettling results and appears to indicate that food grown locally by smaller producers does not necessarily mean it is safer.
News21 sent samples of raw poultry to a microbiological laboratory for testing and analysis. The commercial tests detected the presence of Salmonella bacteria on raw chickens sold by a Virginia farmer at the market located outside the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) headquarters on Independence Avenue. In addition, tests showed that poultry sold by a Pennsylvania farmer at another nearby market was contaminated with campylobacter. A USDA spokesperson said the department has suspended poultry sales by the vendor at its market as it conducts an investigation.
Importantly, News21 pointed out that both farmers, whose raw poultry tested positive for pathogens, are exempt from USDA inspections because they process fewer than 20,000 chickens a year. Accordingly, the USDA agency generally reviews exempt operations only if it receives a complaint.
According to the News21 article:
The findings from both markets highlight seams in the federal government's efforts to keep the country's food supply safe through a maze of federal, state and local laws that can be confusing even for the people charged with enforcing them. They also illustrate the danger for consumers who think they can find refuge in markets selling food grown locally.
Despite the interest in food from local growers, scientists say small does not mean safe. "From a food safety point of view, there's no inherent reason why large production is, on balance, more dangerous than a small family farm," said Bill Keene, senior epidemiologist at the Oregon Public Health Division.
Benjamin Chapman, a food safety specialist at North Carolina State University, said in some cases small farms may be less safe. "We're finding that there's less pressure on a vendor at a [farmers'] market to implement risk reduction because the perception is that the product is safe already," he said. "At a grocery store, growers have all these specifications they have to hit, but that's absent in the farmers' market."
These findings come at a time when public health agencies report that they have failed to reduce the number of Salmonella infections in 15 years, even as other foodborne illnesses have dropped.
Although it is not necessarily against the law to sell raw chicken harboring salmonella or campylobacter, those pathogens can cause serious illness and even death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1.8 million people are sickened, 27,000 are hospitalized and 400 die each year from Salmonella and campylobacter combined.

Company Recalls Fish Product That May Be Contaminated with Clostridium Botulinum Spores
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-recall/company-recalls-fish-product-that-may-be-contaminated-with-clostridium-botulinum-spores/
by Claire Mitchell ( July 22, 2011 )
On July 20, 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that Euphoria Fancy Food Inc. of Brooklyn, New York is recalling Herring Special Salting due to a possible contamination with Clostridium botulinum spores. During a routine inspection and subsequent analysis of the product, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Food Inspectors confirmed that the fish had not been properly eviscerated prior to processing.
The affected product comes in an uncoded, 48.58oz (1300gr) plastic container and is a product of Russia. Herring Special Salting was sold in New York State.
Although no illnesses have been reported as a result of consuming Herring Special Salting, health officials warn that food contaminated with Clostridium botulinum spores, which can cause Botulism, a serious and potentially fatal foodborne illness. Symptoms of botulism include blurred or double vision, general weakness, poor reflexes, difficulty in swallowing and respiratory paralysis.
Consumers who have Herring Special Salting are advised not to eat it, but should return it to the place of purchase. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 718-768-3400.




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

Major Topic: Detection Methods for
Microbiological/Chemical Hazards for Food Safety and Quality

20% registration fee off by 8/31/2011
Registration

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


Program
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
Costco



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





5:30
- 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

bioMerieux

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 - Application of several detection methods for Food industries

remel

2:30 - 2:40 - Coffee Break in Exhibitors' Section

2:40 - 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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