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There Ought to Be a Milk Law
To protect kids from their parents
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/08/there-should-be-a-milk-law-to-protect-kids-from-parents/
by Dr. Richard Raymond (Aug 18, 2011)
America is seeing more and more outbreaks and illnesses from people drinking raw, unpasteurized milk. This phenomena has been on the rise over the last 15 years or so. This documented increase is most likely because of PulseNet, the relatively new Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tool, introduced in 1996, that now allows us to link what used to be seemingly isolated illnesses into outbreaks, and with outbreaks and numbers, the epidemiologists are more likely to find a common source.
Before pasteurization of milk (heating to a certain temperature designed to kill any organisms present) became more or less the norm in the 1930s in the U.S., milk in this country was linked to over 25 percent of food and water borne illness outbreaks and many infant deaths. Now milk is responsible for less than 1 percent of foodborne outbreaks. But it could and should be less than 0.1 percent because nearly all milk-related outbreaks are from raw milk and cheese made from raw milk.
The leading milk related human illnesses before pasteurization were brucellosis, diphtheria and bovine tuberculosis, three diseases now well-controlled or virtually eliminated in modern dairy herds in the U.S., but still present in some other countries. Because of the control of these organisms, some feel that pasteurization is no longer necessary to get good, wholesome, safe milk. But they are wrong. And their children are paying a price.
As I stated, the number of outbreaks linked to raw milk has been climbing recently. Between 1998 and 2008, the CDC identified 85 outbreaks from drinking raw milk. In 2010 alone, the number was over a dozen outbreaks. The great majority of raw milk victims are children under the age of 18.
Of course the illnesses today are not tuberculosis or diphtheria, but are caused by Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7 and Campylobacter, bacteria found in the intestines of many feed animals. No matter how hard the dairy farmer may try, cows and goats live in an environment loaded with manure and sterilization of the milking environment is one tough, impossible task.
There may be more than two reasons for this increase in outbreaks, but here are two that immediately come to my mind.
First, we have better attribution due to better epidemiology and the creation of PulseNet that can help link seemingly unrelated illnesses.
Secondly, we are seeing a push for buying locally and "knowing your local farmer" as a result of media stories about the dangers inherent in certain mass-produced foods, whether true or not. But whether buying locally is safer and healthier or not is a debate for another day.
My guess is that the 30 or more people poisoned in the 11th raw milk related outbreak in 2010, who "bought" goats' milk from the Billy Goat Dairy in nearby Longmont, CO, and then became ill with Campylobacter and/or E. coli 0157:H7, including the two with hemolytic uremic syndrome, are probably questioning if "knowing your farmer" and buying "locally" is really safer or not. The kids who were sickened might be questioning their parents' intelligence.
In Colorado, it is illegal to sell raw, unpasteurized goats' or cows' milk, but the people who fell ill and the farmer got around this by what is called the Goat Share Program. You buy a share of a goat (or cow) for a set price and get a set amount of milk in return. And you pay a "boarding fee" on top of that to cover the farmers' costs and labor. So it is technically your goat, I guess, and therefore you are not violating the law by "buying milk."
Laws are written for a reason, usually to help keep us safe. Parents who find ways to circumvent the laws should be held responsible when their children suffer because of their actions.
That said, I do believe people should have the right to purchase what they want, as long as it is legal. But I also know that the CDC, the Food and Drug Administration and nearly every other public health organization do not endorse consuming raw milk.
But to buy this product and feed it to your children? Might as well lock them in your car on a 100 degree day while you stop by the casino to try and win the jackpot.
So why did I write this story about a person's right to eat or drink what s/he wants? Two reasons.
First, the kids who fall ill -- and they seem to be the ones always hit the hardest and hospitalized -- did not really make an informed choice. Their parents made that choice for them.
Because parents and other adults do not always make the right choice for their kids, we have laws that protect children by requiring childhood immunizations, requiring child restraints in cars, requiring smoke-free public buildings and restaurants, and banning the purchase of liquor for consumption by children.
It should also be against the law to purchase unpasteurized milk for consumption by children. Period.
Second, I want the same choice when I buy beef. I want to choose between pasteurized and unpasteurized. But I don't have that choice because of the opposition by consumer groups to whole carcass, low dose, irradiation of beef.
For those who rely on the Internet, accurate nor not, for their informed sources, I suggest a milk related web site that is based on science and facts: www.realrawmilkfacts.com
There are those who say they might be just as likely to be stricken with a foodborne illness by eating spinach or ground beef. That may be true, but those products do not have a proven kill step yet, and milk does. To not use this technology to our advantage to protect our children from unnecessary suffering or death should be considered criminal.
Pasteurization of milk has saved thousands of infant lives, and despite the historical difficulty in getting pasteurization to be routine it is now accepted and demanded by over 97 percent of Americans. The increasing number of outbreaks linked to raw milk is a painful reminder of how successful pasteurization has been in preventing unnecessary foodborne illnesses.
Pasteurization of beef carcasses would also save thousands of lives and we should be demanding we have that choice. Some day our grandchildren will look back and wonder how we could have been so ignorant to drink unpasteurized milk and eat unpasteurized beef.
Norway to open 'unique' pathogen testing unit for Europe
Source : http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/Norway-to-open-unique-pathogen-testing-unit-for-Europe
By Helen Glaberson(17-Aug-2011)
A new Norwegian pathogen testing unit for manufacturers, R&D institutions and universities will be the first of its kind in Europe, catering for a broad range of food products and raw materials, according to one of the project's collaborators.
A NOK27m (¢æ3.4m) grant from the Research Council of Norway will be put towards the building of a separate pilot plant at Campus As, a food science and product development centre based in Norway.
"We hope the facility will be of use, not just for Norway, but other countries that are keen to carry out important research to reduce the risk and presence of pathogenic bacteria in food products, " Helga N©¡s, director of food safety and quality at Nofima told FoodProductionDaily.com.
At the unit, both conventional and new food products can be produced deliberately contaminated with pathogens in order to investigate the fate of such microorganisms under different production conditions, said Nofima, a research institution involved in developing the new unit.
This would allow for more accurate studies and validation of pathogen behaviour in food, identifying critical control points and avoiding future food poison outbreaks, according to Nofima.
The pathogen pilot plant will also be used for testing of novel and conventional cleaning and disinfection methods of equipment and whole room disinfection testing.
The grant will be available over the next two years, with the unit scheduled for completion by late next year, or summer 2013 at the latest, said N©¡s.
First of its kind
The research institution said a survey was carried out to investigate whether facilities similar to the pathogen pilot plant exist in Europe and whether there is an interest for such facilities.
Leading European food research institutes were contacted, and none of the institutes said they were aware of a facility like the proposed pathogen pilot plant, said Nofima.
N©¡s said as far as she is aware, there is only one other unit in Denmark running similar pathogen tests but is only focused on meat. However, the new unit will have a broad focus which will cover all food products and raw materials.
An example of tests to be run at the new facility is a trial that was previously run by Nofima to investigate the risk for pathogenic E. coli (EHEC) presence in dry fermented sausage, said N©¡s.
To accomplish this, Nofima designed a mini pilot plant for making dry fermented sausage inside a standard Biosafety level III laboratory.
Here the research institute performed experiments adding EHEC to the sausage batter and followed survival and growth during fermentation, maturation and storage.
Nofima said there is a need to perform similar experiments for other food products which is why a larger, separate facility is required.
The centre forms part of the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB) and collaborated on by research institutions such as Nofima AS and Bioforsk.
Nofima said the pilot plant will contribute to strengthening and developing Campus As to a core centre at high scientific level both nationally and internationally.
The Research Council of Norway grant will also be used to establish Campus As as a national centre for Food science and product development and upgrade of pilot plant facilities for food production, packaging and storage.
Nofima said the improved pilot plant facilities will be suitable for full scale food science for dairy, meat, fish, vegetables and cereals, as well the public health risk aspects, which will be addressed at the new pathogen module.
Cargill sued over salmonella-tainted turkeyv
Oregon family claims their 10-month-old was sickened by the contaminated meat
Source : http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44167434/ns/health-food_safety/
By Jonathan Stempel(Aug 16, 2011)
A Cargill Inc unit is being sued by an Oregon family who said their young daughter was hospitalized after eating Salmonella-contaminated turkey, the subject of one of the largest U.S. meat recalls ever.
The lawsuit is one of the first against Cargill since the meat processor recalled 36 million pounds of fresh and frozen ground turkey products on Aug. 3 because of possible contamination from an antibiotic-resistant Salmonella strain.
That strain is linked to one death in California and more than 100 illnesses in more than 30 U.S. states.
According to the complaint, Ruby Jane Lee was 10 months old in early June when she ate Salmonella Heidelberg-contaminated ground turkey produced by Cargill Meat Solutions Corp, as part of a spaghetti and meatballs dinner prepared by her father.
Lee suffered from diarrhea and a high fever and was hospitalized for one week after the bacteria entered her bloodstream, the complaint said. She was later discharged.
The lawsuit filed in an Oregon federal court seeks unspecified damages for pain and suffering, medical costs, emotional distress and the parents' lost wages.
"Cargill has had a decade of outbreaks and recalls involving Salmonella and E.coli" bacteria," Bill Marler, a Seattle lawyer specializing in food poisoning cases who represents the Lee family, said in an interview. "Cargill's track record is not very positive."
Marler said he has filed other lawsuits against Cargill. He represents about one dozen people sickened by the latest strain and plans to file additional lawsuits.
Cargill spokesman Mike Martin said the Wichita, Kansas-based company has improved its procedures to ensure food safety, a top priority, and to thwart bacteria development.
"For anyone who may have become ill from eating ground turkey produced by Cargill, we are sorry," he said.
The recalled products were made at a Springdale, Arkansas plant and included such brands as Honeysuckle White, Shady Brook Farms, Kroger and Safeway.
Salmonella infection is the most common U.S. food-borne illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said one in six Americans gets sick from contaminated food each year.
Is There a Pattern to FSIS Recalls?
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/08/is-there-a-pattern-to-fsis-recalls/
by Marijke Schwarz Smith (Aug 17, 2011)
Last year, after a particularly large recall of tainted meat was announced late one Friday night, marlerblog.com analyzed the recall patterns for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
The question then was whether there were a preponderance of late Friday or weekend announcements and, if so, whether that timing might decrease public awareness of illnesses connected to contaminated food.
But public data from the USDA-FSIS website recall archive showed that Sunday was actually the only day in which there were significantly different -- that is, lower -- numbers of FSIS recalls, compared with other days of the week.
The question came up again recently, after FSIS announced on Friday, July 29, that ground turkey was being recalled nationwide because it was implicated in a multistate outbreak of Salmonella infection. Then on Aug. 12, FSIS announced more Friday recalls -- of beef possibly contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 and imported diced bacon potentially tainted with Listeria.
For those who regularly track recall announcements, it sometimes seems as if meat recalls are announced by federal regulators late in the day Friday. There may even be some truth to this notion, but only if one takes into account all FSIS recalls, including those due to mislabeling, undeclared allergens, foreign materials, etc.
Looking at the number of recall announcements issued each day of the week from 2005 to the present (below) shows that the pattern of fewer Sunday recalls remains steady, but the addition of the past year's data has led to some new, interesting patterns at FSIS: The agency has tended to recall items for non-pathogen related reasons on Wednesdays and Fridays, while the busiest day for announcing meat recalls due to pathogen contamination is Tuesday.
While Friday has had the largest number of recalls of any day of the week during this time period, the small difference between Friday and other week days is not statistically significant. There were 85 recalls on Fridays, while Tuesday through Thursday averaged 73 recalls during the same time period.
But the increase in Friday recalls is apparently due to the new focus on allergens in meat as reported in FSN. These allergen-related recalls have been announced with the greatest frequency on Wednesdays and Fridays, according to the archive record.
Taking only pathogen-related recalls into consideration, a different pattern emerges, with Tuesdays seeing larger numbers of recall announcements total and on average. Tuesdays are just shy of having statistically significantly more pathogen-related recall announcements than other days of the week. This particular pattern may be related to how meat samples are sent, received and tested at FSIS, because bacterial samples require time to grow and be analyzed.
According to this analysis, the largest number of pathogen-related meat recalls occur on Tuesdays, when people may be more likely to learn about the call back via a variety of media.
JBS Reports Video As Useful Tool to Guard Against E. coli
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/08/jbs-reports-video-as-useful-tool-against-e-coli/
by News Desk( Aug 16, 2011)
Greeley, CO-based JBS USA Beef says it saw a two-thirds reduction in microbial counts for E. coli O157:H7 in its eight domestic processing plants during the first half of 2011 when compared with the year earlier.
Cattle Buyers Weekly in Petaluma, CA reports that JBS, the American subsidiary of Brazil's JBS S.A., credits a new remote video auditing system for the improvement. JBS management uses the video system to watch kill-floor employees and identify those who need further training in food safety procedures.
John Ruby, who heads JBS technical services, says the video system is the best slaughterhouse tool for reducing potential contamination from hide to carcass because of its use in positively affecting employee behavior.
To put its performance into perspective, Ruby said it took 10 years for the entire industry to achieve that last two-thirds reduction in microbial counts for E. coli.
Called SAFE, the JBS food safety program originally included evaluation of dressing procedures, monitoring food safety interventions and microbiological counts, and auditing carcass spacing in coolers. SAFE includes video at JBS beef plants in the U.S. to both audit and enhance the food safety program.
JBS S.A., the world largest meat producer, is responsible for 22 percent of the U.S. beef supply. It is led by Don Jackson, who came over from Pilgrim's Pride when it was purchased out of bankruptcy by JBS.
Deer Confirmed as Source of Strawberry Outbreak
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/08/deer-feces-confirmed-as-source-of-strawberry-outbreak/
by Mary Rothschild (Aug 18, 2011)
Lab tests confirmed that deer feces found in strawberry fields in Oregon were the source of E. coli 0157:H7 infections that killed one person and sickened at least 14 others, Oregon Public Health Division officials confirmed Wednesday.
"There were six samples that positively matched the E. coli that was found in the people who were infected," said Dr. Katrina Hedberg, Oregon Public Health state epidemiologist.
Wild animals and livestock (pastured livestock, as well as those in concentrated animal feeding operations) can carry harmful E. coli and shed it in their excrement. And deer have been identified as the source of previous illness clusters. In 1995, the outbreak strain of E. coli associated with venison jerky was found in deer feces. Deer droppings were also the likely source of the E. coli O157:H7 found in unpasteurized Odwalla apple juice in 1996.
Berries from the affected fields in Newberg, Oregon were grown by Jaquith Strawberry Farm. Jaquith sold some of its strawberries to other vendors, who then resold them at roadside stands, farms stands and farmers' markets. Reselling another farm's produce is not permitted in Oregon, "but more common than we thought," investigators said.
Jaquith recalled its berries and is cooperating fully with the outbreak investigation, Oregon public health officials said. Recalls of 4,800 flats of Jaquith berries were also announced by Ron Spada Farms of Portland. Growers Outlet also recalled Jaquith berries.
Oregon's local strawberry season ended in late July, so fresh berries are no longer on the market, but health officials remain concerned about berries that were frozen or made into uncooked jam. Those berries should be thrown out, Hedberg said.
E. coli infection numbers climb to 13 from Cowans Gap
Source : http://www.publicopiniononline.com/ci_18692556?source=most_viewed
By_HARRISBURG ( Aug. 16, 2011)
The Pennsylvania Department of Health is now aware of at least 13 people infected with E. coli O157:H7 who swam in the lake at Cowans Gap State Park.
In a brief e-mail statement this afternoon, press aide Thomas Hostetter said the current numbers include six people from Franklin County, four from Lancaster County, and one from Huntingdon County. There are also two Maryland residents who got sick after visiting the park.
Hostetter said the E. coli outbreak at Cowans Gap remains under investigation, and that more updates will be released as they become available.
Peanut Corporation of America Salmonella Outbreak (9 dead, 700 ill) Revisited
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/peanut-corporation-of-america-salmonella-outbreak-9-dead-700-ill-revisited/
by Drew Falkenstein (August 17, 2011)
The New England Journal of Medicine today published an article profiling the investigation into the 2009 Peanut Corp. of America Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak. The outbreak killed 9 and sickened more than 700 people (confirmed cases), requiring 166 people to be hospitalized. Our clients included the families of Cliff Tousignant and Shirley Almer, both of whom died and were among the 9 dead, among many others. Some of these folks have since had a chance to participate in the passage of historic food safety legislation.
The outbreak occurred as a result of some of the more abhorrent food safety violations that we've encountered in 20 years litigating Salmonella and E. coli cases. But back the 2009 PCA Salmonella outbreak, as profiled in the New England Journal of Medicine:
Contaminated food ingredients can affect multiple products, each distributed through various channels and consumed in multiple settings. Beginning in November 2008, we investigated a nationwide outbreak of salmonella infections.
A case was defined as laboratory-confirmed infection with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium occurring between September 1, 2008, and April 20, 2009. We conducted two case?control studies, product "trace-back," and environmental investigations.
Among 714 case patients identified in 46 states, 166 (23%) were hospitalized and 9 (1%) died. In study 1, illness was associated with eating any peanut butter (matched odds ratio, 2.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.3 to 5.3), peanut butter?containing products (matched odds ratio, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.1 to 4.7), and frozen chicken products (matched odds ratio, 4.6; 95% CI, 1.7 to 14.7). Investigations of focal clusters and single cases associated with nine institutions identified a single institutional brand of peanut butter (here called brand X) distributed to all facilities. In study 2, illness was associated with eating peanut butter outside the home (matched odds ratio, 3.9; 95% CI, 1.6 to 10.0) and two brands of peanut butter crackers (brand A: matched odds ratio, 17.2; 95% CI, 6.9 to 51.5; brand B: matched odds ratio, 3.6; 95% CI, 1.3 to 9.8). Both cracker brands were made from brand X peanut paste. The outbreak strain was isolated from brand X peanut butter, brand A crackers, and 15 other products. A total of 3918 peanut butter?containing products were recalled between January 10 and April 29, 2009.
Contaminated peanut butter and peanut products caused a nationwide salmonellosis outbreak. Ingredient-driven outbreaks are challenging to detect and may lead to widespread contamination of numerous food products.
Salmonella Lawsuit Descends Upon Cargill
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/legal-cases/salmonella-lawsuit-descends-upon-cargill/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MarlerBlog+(Marler+Blog)
by Bill Marler (August 16, 2011)
This month, the Cargill was forced to recall 36 million pounds of fresh and frozen ground turkey products potentially contaminated with a strain of Salmonella that caused one death in Sacramento County. The recall is one of the largest meat recalls in U.S. history. As of August 11, 107 have been infected by the strain and fallen ill in 31 states.
Today we filed a lawsuit on behalf of the youngest victim.
LA Times ? "Lawsuits begin in connection to salmonella-tainted turkey"
"Since 1993, Cargill has been the source of contaminated meat implicated in at least 10 major outbreaks, 10 deaths, three stillbirths and 366 illnesses," said William Marler, the Lee's attorney, who specializes in food-safety litigation. "If a car manufacturer had the same numbers on an ongoing defect, what would we say? What if was an airline?"
Reuters ? "Cargill sued over Salmonella-contaminated turkey"
The lawsuit filed in an Oregon federal court seeks unspecified damages for pain and suffering, medical costs, emotional distress and the parents' lost wages.
"Cargill has had a decade of outbreaks and recalls involving Salmonella and E. coli" bacteria," Bill Marler, a Seattle lawyer specializing in food poisoning cases who represents the Lee family, said in an interview. "Cargill's track record is not very positive."
KGW.com - "Troutdale couple sues over toddler's Salmonella scare"
The family's attorney, Bill Marler, said Tuesday that Cargill owes it to the family to take responsibility for its actions."Most of us cannot fathom the helplessness a parent feels watching as their 10-month-old fights it out with a life-threatening illness," said Marler.
Gresham Outlook - "Troutdale family sues over food poisoning"
"Cargill needs to step up and start testing for these bugs more frequently," Marler said. "When they find it, they need to divert that to further processing, such as more cooking or other forms of rendering."
E. coli in Water Sickens 11 at Ogden Valley Campground
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-watch/e-coli-in-water-sickens-11-at-ogden-valley-campground/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+FoodPoisonBlog+(Food+Poison+Blog)
by Claire Mitchell ( August 16, 2011)
Weber-Morgan Health officials alerted campers to E. coli contamination discovered in the water at two Ogden-area campgrounds that has sickened several young girls at Camp Shawnee. The health department has asked that users of the campgrounds bring their own supply of bottled water with them to use for drinking, cooking, cleaning and personal hygiene purposes.
According to the health department's announcement:
Water samples taken from the Shawnee and Ben Lomond campgrounds in Weber County's North Fork Canyon, showed the presence chloroform and E. coli bacteria. Officials believe the bacteria sickened at least 11 members of a group of young girls who camped at the Shawnee Campground, Aug. 2-5.
The girls reported experiencing severe abdominal pain, diarrhea and nausea. Charles F. Trentelman of the Standard-Examiner reported that many of the young girls were taken to local area hospitals. Specifically, Emily Buck, the daughter of Jenny Pratt, had to be hospitalized for two days. Fortunately, reports indicate that all of the patients are currently recovering from their E. coli infections.
Michelle Cooke, an environmental health scientist with the Weber-Morgan Health Department, explained that "[w]ith these test results, we are expanding our search for the source of the bacteria. We are working with camp officials to disinfect the water system. In the meantime, people will need to bring their own water," she added. The health department will continue to test the water until results indicate that the E. coli contamination is gone.
Cooke urged other individuals to monitor themselves for abdominal pain, nausea, cramping, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, as the bacteria can easily be transmitted from person to person. Importantly she noted that anyone who thinks they may have gotten sick from the water at the campground should tell their personal doctor about the possibility of E. coli infection. "[I]t should not be treated with antibiotics. Those could make it worse. There are other things to treat it with," she explained. In fact, some medical researchers believe that these medications can increase the risk of developing post-diarrheal hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a potentially life-threatening complication of E. coli infection.
For more information about E. coli and HUS, visit http://www.about-ecoli.com/.
13 Confirmed E. coli Infections from Water at Cowans Gap; 8 With Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/13-confirmed-e-coli-infections-from-water-at-cowans-gap-8-with-hemolytic-uremic-syndrome/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+FoodPoisonBlog+(Food+Poison+Blog)
by Claire Mitchell (August 16, 2011)
According to the most recent updates from Pennsylvania news sources, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has received reports of at least 13 people infected with E. coli O157:H7 who swam in the lake at Cowans Gap State Park.
Out of those 13 individuals, Penn State Hershey Medical Center has reported that a total of 8 have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a potentially life-threatening complication of E. coli infection. Today, an article from Denise Bonura of the Waynesboro Record Herald indicated that 5 of the HUS cases are children that had been swimming at the lake at the end of July. Those children remain in the hospital for treatment of their HUS. More information about HUS can be found at http://www.about-hus.com/.
The current numbers include 6 people from Franklin County, 4 from Lancaster County, and 1 from Huntingdon County in Pennsylvania. In addition, there are 2 Maryland residents who got sick after visiting the park.
At the present time, the Pennsylvania Department of Health reports that no new cases of E. coli-related illnesses linked to the park or the lake have been reported since last week. However, the lake at Cowans Gap remains closed to swimming and recreational activities until further notice from the health department.
Water Quality May Be Factor in GBS Outbreak
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/08/poor-water-quality-suspected-in-gbs-outbreak/
by Dan Flynn( Aug 16, 2011)
In any other year, just about the scariest public health warning for the people of the Sonoran Desert is the annual talk about how to avoid those really painful scorpion stings.
This year, however, folks who share the border between Yuma County, AZ and San Luis Rio Colorado in Sonara, Mexico have something even more terrifying to worry about. Two dozen of their neighbors are suffering from muscle weakness to full blown paralysis. Two dozen residents of this sun-drenched land are victims of a rare disease called Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), which involves the body's immune system attacking the peripheral nervous system
With less than 200,000 in the Yuma area on the U.S. side of the border, and about 140,000 in all on Sonara on the Mexican side, public health officials might expect three or four GBS cases a year.
Quick growth of a cluster that has reached 24 confirmed cases -- the latest onset occurring during the first week of July -- caused alarms to go off with public health officials on both sides of the border. One Mexican man, who had a pre-existing condition, died after GBS struck.
Federal, state and local health departments in the U.S. and Mexico have been mobilized for most of the summer, trying to identify the cause of the GBS uptick. Seven victims reside in Yuma and 17 in Sonora, according to Omar Contreras at the Arizona Department of Health Services.
State officials say hospitals in Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff have been pressed into providing the sophisticated treatment sometimes required for GBS-induced paralysis.
Contreras says the local-state-federal teams have interviewed more than 100 people involved with the cluster of GBS cases and the data are still being analyzed. Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, says there may have been more diarrheal illnesses due to reduced water quality.
The more common waterborne and foodborne pathogen called Campylobacter was identified as a precursor for some, but apparently not all, the GBS cases, according to Contreras. Only one in 1,000 cases of Campylobacter infection usually goes on to develop GBS.
While waiting for the all the data they created to be analyzed, the public health officials have persuaded those who run the water systems to increase chlorine levels.
While those who come down with GBS generally recover, it is a very scary experience. Contreras says the symptoms usually begin with finger and toes getting prickling sensations like pens and needles. It can move quickly to a point where the person cannot walk or make typical moves like speaking, chewing or swallowing.
Victims are advised to seek medical attention as soon as the tingling in feet, toes, or hands is felt because it can so quickly reach a point in which loss of bladder control, rapid heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing problems develop.
GBS outbreaks like the one being experienced on the Yuma/Sonora border are rare and not very well understood. While GBS typically develops after an infection, it is not contagious.
Contreras says Arizona officials are hopeful that they seen their last case for this cluster. He says physicians in the area are definitely on the lookout for GBS symptoms.
While GBS is not passed from person to person, state officials have still been urging residents to avoid infections that might be precursors to GBS by good hand-washing habits and safe food preparation. They are reminding people to wash their hands thoroughly after using bathrooms, before and during cooking, and before eating.
About 85,000 "snowbirds" make the Yuma area their winter home.
As for those scorpions, more than 10,000 Arizonians annually get stings with about 200 children ending up in hospital intensive care.
Thousands Immunized After Hepatitis A Scare
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/08/thousands-immunized-after-hepatitis-a-exposure/
by News Desk (Aug 15, 2011)
Since an Olive Garden food server in Fayetteville, NC tested positive for hepatitis A and alerted restaurant management one week ago, the Cumberland County Health Department has immunized an estimated 3,000 people who may have been exposed to the virus during eight days in late July and early August.
The health department set up a walk-in clinic to administer the shots and will continue to give the free shots today. Fort Bragg officials also set up an on-post clinic for soldiers and their families who may have been exposed to the virus.
The only reported case of illness is the restaurant employee.
In a news release, the health department said it was important that the public understand that both immune globulin (also called gamma globulin) and hepatitis A vaccine can prevent infection only if given within 14 days of exposure.
It said only individuals who visited the Olive Garden at 234 North McPherson Church Road anytime on July 28, 29, 31 and Aug. 1, 2 and 8 should receive a free injection of hepatitis A immune globulin or vaccine.
The hepatitis A virus is usually spread through food contaminated with fecal matter. Restaurant patrons can be exposed if a cook or server doesn't wash his or her hands properly after using the restroom, for instance.
Infection leads to liver swelling and sometimes produces symptoms such as fever, nausea, and joint pain, although infections are often mild and cause no symptoms. Though complications can occur, hepatitis A is much less serious than hepatitis B or C and generally clears up on its own within about eight weeks.
Two More Illnesses May Be Tied to Oregon Strawberries
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/08/two-more-illnesses-tied-to-oregon-strawberries/
by Mary Rothschild ( Aug 12, 2011)
Two more cases of E. coli infection could be linked to strawberries sold at roadside stands and at farmers markets in Oregon, according to the Clatsop County Public Health Department.
The additional suspected cases were reported to the department on Wednesday. At least one of the case patients was said to have eaten strawberries traced to Jaquith Strawberry Farms in Newberg, which has been implicated as the source of the outbreak.
So far, 15 cases, including one death are tied to the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak, the first in the U.S. attributed to strawberries.
On Thursday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration published the Oregon Public Health safety alert about the strawberries, which advises that strawberries from Jaquith Farms that were frozen or used to make uncooked jam are unsafe and should be thrown out.
Nearly all the case patients told investigators they had eaten local strawberries before they became ill. Pinpointing the farm was complicated, however, because some vendors had purchased the fruit from Jaquith Farms and then passed it off as their own, according to The Oregonian's Lynne Terry.
The state agriculture department's head of food safety told Terry that reselling another farmer's produce is illegal "but more common than we thought."
William Keene, senior epidemiologist at Oregon Public Health, suspects deer droppings may have contaminated strawberries in the fields. E. coli O157:H7 is carried by ruminants, and shed in their excrement.
In 1995, Keene traced an E. coli outbreak associated with venison jerky and found deer droppings that tested positive for E. coli O157:H7. Deer were also the likely source of the 1996 outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 in unpasteurized Odwalla apple juice that sickened 76 and killed a child.
On Friday, the Oregonian's Lynne Terry reported that 10 percent of the samples collected by Keene from the Jaquith Strawberry Farm, including deer feces, tested positive for E. coli O157:H7; further testing will determine if the positive samples match the outbreak strain.
"We're increasingly confident that we will be able to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that deer were the source of contamination of the strawberries," Keene told Terry.
Shigella, Crypto Illnesses Reported in Kentucky
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/08/shigella-crypto-illnesses-reported-in-northern-kentucky/
by News Desk (Aug 15, 2011)
Outbreaks of two organisms that cause diarrhea prompted the Northern Kentucky Health Department to issue a health alert last week, asking people to wash hands thoroughly, and to stay home and avoid swimming pools if they are ill.
More than 125 cases of Shigella have been reported in Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton Counties since April, the health department said. Typically, about 25 cases are reported for the entire year. Meanwhile, seven cases of Cryptosporidiosis, also known as Crypto, have been reported since June 1, including five in the last week. Typically, four cases of Crypto are reported in Northern Kentucky for the entire year.
Both organisms have similar symptoms and are transmitted in similar ways; they can spread easily from person-to-person. It's not unusual to see outbreaks of Shigella and Crypto at the same time. A small amount in a swimming pool or on a shopping cart can cause illness.
Shigella is a bacteria that infects the bowels; symptoms of Shigellosis include diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps, nausea or vomiting. Young children, who may not be attentive to good hygiene, are especially susceptible because it is spread through contact with the stool of an infected person.
Crypto is caused by microscopic parasites. Symptoms include watery diarrhea, stomach cramps or pain, fever, nausea and vomiting. The illness often comes in waves, with individuals feeling better and then experiencing another bout.
The Health Department recommended the following measures to help control spread of the organisms:
- Wash hands frequently, including before preparing food, after using the restroom, after changing a diaper and before and after caring for someone who is sick. Rub hands together for at least 20 seconds, and use soap and water.
- Anyone who has had diarrhea should wait for at least two weeks after feeling better before going swimming.
- Don't change diapers at poolside.
- Take frequent bathroom breaks while at the pool.
- When shopping and at other public places, use hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes for carts when available or bring your own to use. If you notice that a public restroom is dirty, alert management.
Two Kids from Daycare in Lynnwood Test Positive for E. coli
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/two-kids-from-daycare-in-lynnwood-test-positive-for-e-coli/
by Colin Caywood ( Aug 13, 2011)
Two children from the same daycare from Lynwood, Washington have tested positive for E. coli, according to the Everett Herald's Noah Haglund. Test results for two other children from the same daycare center, Precious Child Care and Preschool, are still pending.
The day care reported the first case to the health district Aug. 1. The center at 16707 13th Ave. W. in Lynnwood has been working closely with health officials to prevent any further outbreaks.
"It didn't originate at the day care center," health district spokeswoman Suzanne Pate said. "This facility has cooperated at every step of the way to ensure a safe and healthy environment for the children they look after."
E. coli symptoms include diarrhea and stomach cramping. Some people develop a more serious condition that could cause kidney failure or death. Young children and the elderly are more at risk.
Steps to prevent the illness include thorough hand washing, especially after changing diapers, handling raw meat or being around pets. It's important to wash children's hands as well. Other important countermeasures are adequately cooking meat and washing fruits and vegetables.
Staff at Precious Child Care notified the health district as soon as they learned that a child they look after was confirmed to have E. coli, board member Leaha Carson said. It would have helped the center to know earlier, at the first signs of illness, Carson said.
"We were not notified it was even a possibility that he was exposed until it was confirmed," she said.
The infant who first contracted the illness outside the center later passed it on to a classmate, Carson said. This week, the center sent home three other toddlers who showed possible symptoms, though tests for one child have already come back negative.
Lab tests for the other two children are expected by early next week, Pate said.
The number of E. coli cases in Snohomish County varies greatly from year to year. The health district has reported nine cases so far in 2011. There have been as many as 47 cases in 2008 and as few as 17 in 2010.
Hundreds may have been exposed to hep A at N.C. Olive Garden
More than 250 immunized after possible exposure to the disease from eating at the restaurant
Source : http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44091876/ns/health-infectious_diseases/
By_ msnbc.com staff and news service reports (Aug 10, 2011)
Hundreds may have been exposed to hepatitis A after eating at an Olive Garden in Fayetteville, N.C., where an infected food server was working.
On Tuesday, the Cumberland County Public Health Department immunized more than 250 people who may have been exposed to the disease after eating in the restaurant, according to the Food Poison Journal.
On Monday, a food server at the restaurant tested positive for hepatitis A and alerted Olive Garden management, reports FayObserver.com. County health officials say Olive Garden diners or employees who ate at the restaurant in the last two weeks may have been exposed to the disease. The county health department is offering a walk-in clinic where those who may have been exposed can get the hepatitis A vaccine.
The virus is spread when a person ingests even the tiniest amount of fecal matter from an infected person. Infection can be prevented, however, with thorough handwashing of the hands, wrists, between fingers and under fingernails, with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds.
Early symptoms of hepatitis A include mild fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tiredness, pain in the upper right side of the abdomen, dark urine, light-colored stools and jaundice, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Mild cases last two weeks or less, whereas severe cases can last four to six weeks ? or longer.
International Conference for
Food Safety and Quality
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
registration fee off by 8/31/2011
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
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
2:10 - 2:30 - Application of several detection methods for
- 2:40 -
Coffee Break in Exhibitors' Section
2:40 - 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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