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Allergen labelling in UK under the spotlight
Source :
By Jane Byrne ,(Sep 5, 2011)
Allergen labelling comes under the spotlight in the UK, with a new Food Standards Agency (FSA) survey aiming to get insight into the relevance of current approaches.
The research, said the UK agency, is also aimed at gathering information on the
levels of allergens present as a result of cross-contamination.
The survey will look at the different types of advisory labelling used on foods and will consider how different statements, such as ‘may contain nuts’ or ‘not suitable for someone with a nut allergy’, are used by consumers to assess the levels of risk. In addition, the agency is also hoping to gauge how widely FSA suggested best practice advisory labelling is being used within the food industry.
Ultimately, the results from this survey will feed into a much larger area of work including discussions on allergen management thresholds, a spokesperson for the FSA told She said that the ultimate objective of the research would be “greater transparency and consistency in the use of allergen advisory labelling on pre-packed foods in the future.”

Label requirements
Since November 2005, when EU directive 2003/89/EC came into effect, food manufacturers in Europe have been required to list certain allergens on product labels, regardless of the amount of each in the finished product. However, while the directive is clear about the requirement to label allergens used as ingredients, it is not clear about precautionary labelling, when tiny traces of an allergen may end up in a final product due to cross- contamination during the production process.
Food manufacturers, alert to potential legal action if cross-contamination with an allergen should lead a consumer to suffer anaphylaxis, often use phrases such as 'may contain allergen X', ‘not suitable for someone with X allergy’, ‘made on a line which also handles allergen X’, and ‘made in a factory that also handles allergen X'.
The FSA hopes that as a result of its investigation, in the future, such statements would only be used where the level of risk warrants it, “thereby protecting the safety of food allergic consumers and maximising food choice.”

Adverse reactions

The agency said it will investigate, through the survey, the presence and level of four major food allergens: - milk, cereals containing gluten, peanut and hazelnut.
“These allergens have been chosen due to the large number of incidents the FSA has received over the past four years, and because of their public health importance,” commented the FSA. There is evidence, continued the agency, that the number of people who have adverse reactions to foods such as milk, tree nuts, and peanuts is increasing in the UK
“Research suggests that peanut and tree-nuts (such as hazelnut) are the most common cause of severe anaphylactic reactions and that only a minority of people who suffer allergic reactions to peanut and tree-nuts during childhood will outgrow their food allergy,” the FSA reports. In addition, said the food safety body, around 1 per cent of people in the UK show intolerance to gluten and need to avoid foods containing gluten to prevent potentially serious health effects.
“It is not anticipated that this survey will have an impact on EU as a whole, as foods will only be sampled from the UK market,” the spokesperson for the FSA added.


"American Meat" Latest Film to Join Food Debate
Source :
By_ Dan Flynn (Sep 07, 2011)
"American Meat" is the latest documentary film seeking to be part of the nation's food debate.   Unlike some that have gone before -- "Food Inc." and "Fast Food Nation" come to mind --"American Meat" appears to be less polemic.
So far it's only had a few screenings in Iowa, but its own website says "American Meat is a solutions-oriented macroscopic documentary surveying the current state of the U.S. meat industry."
The producers say they "take an even-handed look at animal husbandry."
From the trailer, also on the website, "American Meat" appears to offer some dialog among those in animal agriculture who operate large scale facilities and those like Joel Salatin, who advocates for the grass-based farms both in practice and on the lecture circuit.
"We explain how America arrived at our current industrial system, and show you the feedlots and confinement houses, not through hidden cameras but through the eyes of the farmers who live and work there," say the producers.
The film promises "many voices" but clearly sets out to explain what's going on in rural America, from the confinement house that raises 21,000 chickens in seven weeks to "egg mobiles" that follow grazing cattle with free range chickens.
"American Meat" is getting its first screening outside of Iowa this Friday before the American Devon Cattle Association's Great Event at Double Brook Farm near Hopewell, NJ.
Temple Grandin, the Colorado State University animal welfare expert, will speak prior to the screening.  Jon McConaughy and Double Brook Farm are featured in the film.
The new full-length documentary is only the latest to feature the food industry.   Best known of these is "Food Inc.," that fired one shot after another at the meat industry in 2009, and "Fast Food Nation," which like the  book of the same title took on McDonald's and its competitors when released in 2004.
So called "outreach partners" for "American Meat," according to its website, include: Food Democracy Now!,  Real Time Farms, Chef's Collaborative, Oklahoma Food Cooperative, Spin Farming, Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Local Harvest and Acres USA.
"American Meat" will be screened about 100 times locally before its scheduled general DVD release in February 2012.

9 cases of Listeria prompt health department warning
Source :
by foodsafeguru (Sep  5, 2011)
Officials at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced the state health department has identified a sharp increase in the number of Listeria monocytogenes infections reported to public health agencies.
Nine cases were reported during August, with seven of the nine cases reported since August 29. In comparison, during 2000-2010, an average of two cases were reported during August. On average, Colorado has only about 10 cases of listeriosis a year.
Individuals in all nine cases were hospitalized and two died. The affected individuals reside in the counties of Adams, Arapahoe (2), Boulder, Denver, Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson, and Weld. They range in age from the 30s to the 90s. The majority are older female adults.
This investigation is in its early stages, and the source of the outbreak is not known. Alicia Cronquist, an epidemiologist at the state health department said, “Until we have more information about the sources of this outbreak, it is important for people to follow the standard CDC guidance about Listeria.”
Cronquist said, “People who are at high risk for Listeria infection can decrease their risk by avoiding hot dogs and deli meats unless reheated to an internal temperature of 165°F; refrigerated pâté or meat spreads; refrigerated smoked seafood; and soft cheeses such as queso fresco and brie unless they are made with pasteurized milk.”
People who are at high risk for Listeria include people with weakened immune systems from transplants or certain chronic diseases, immunosuppressive therapies or medications; pregnant women; and people age 60 and older.
Consumption of food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, an uncommon but potentially fatal infection. Healthy people rarely contract listeriosis. Symptoms of listeriosis can include fever and muscle aches, and can also include diarrhea, headache, stiff neck, confusion and convulsions. Listeriosis also can cause miscarriages and stillbirths.
Antibiotics given promptly can cure the illness and prevent infection of a fetus. Even with prompt treatment, some Listeria infections result in death. This is particularly likely in older adults and in people with other serious medical problems.

Ireland outlines Campylobacter reduction measures
Source :
By_ Rory Harrington, (Sep 02, 2011)
A report from Irish food safety officials aimed at poultry processors, producers and retailers has set out a series of measures to cut campylobacter contamination along the supply chain.
Slaughterhouse practices, an incentive scheme to reward reductions in incidences of the bacteria and recommendations on packaging types are all included in the guidance from Food Safety Authority Ireland (FSAI).
Campylobacter is the most common cause of gastrointestinal bacterial illness in across the EU – with poultry seen as a major reservoirs for the bacteria and a ”very significant vehicle for the transmission to humans”, said the report Recommendations for a Practical Control Programme for Campylobacter in the Poultry Production and Slaughter Chain.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) estimates that handling and preparation of chicken and consumption of undercooked chicken meat accounts for approximately 30 per cent of human cases, while 50- 80 per cent can be attributed to the chicken reservoir as a whole. The body found that 71 per cent of flocks presented for slaughter and 75 per cent of whole birds at the end of the slaughter process were contaminated.

The report suggest introducing a voluntary monitoring programme in slaughterhouses and on farms to alert operators when additional controls are needed and to enable them to assess the effectiveness of their control measures.
Microbiological targets in broilers (i.e. pre-harvest) and on carcasses (i.e. post-harvest) should be set, validated and reviewed regularly.

High standards of biosecurity and compliance with microbiological targets should be recognised through an incentive scheme. This could be a bonus or penalty scheme based on performance based criteria or the threat of being removed from the Bord Bia Quality assurance scheme for repeated breaches, said the FSAI.
Slaughterhouses that persistently fail to meet targets could be subject to a “comprehensive review”, it added.

The study recommends a series on “interventions” to reduce Campylobacter on the final product. These include freezing, adjustment and monitoring of slaughtering equipment, hot-water treatment of carcasses, or even a combined steam and ultrasound process. Use of
modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) should also be considered as tests have shown the right combination of gases can cut campylobacter levels. It also recommends adoption of any packaging – such as oven-ready trays or cooking bags- that reduces handling of raw poultry.
Labels advising consumers that meat is ready-to-cook and that washing be avoided, should also be considered.

Pollen allergy may cause food allergy
Source :
By_ Michael Radcliffe
A new kind of allergy is causing immediate symptoms in the lips, mouth and throat when sufferers eat fresh fruits and raw vegetables. It is called oral allergy syndrome and amongst adults in the UK it has become more common than food allergy due to peanuts or shellfish. In almost every case, oral allergy syndrome is secondary to another type of allergy. In many cases the primary cause is allergy to pollen - Pollen Food Syndrome and in other cases the primary cause is allergy to natural rubber latex - Latex Food Syndrome.

Many hay fever sufferers who are sensitive to the proteins in pollens also react to similar proteins in fresh fruits, raw vegetables, and certain nuts.
The commonest pollen to cause the condition is birch pollen. For this reason, people with this condition usually suffer from hay fever during April and May. The birch pollen allergen (allergy-inducing protein) is similar to proteins that are present in the culprit foods, and this is why circulating birch pollen antibodies (immune attack proteins) mistakenly react the moment these foods are eaten causing allergy symptoms in the mouth, lips and throat. The scientific term for this condition is Pollen Food Syndrome.
Common symptoms include:
• Immediate redness, swelling or itching of lips, tongue, inside of mouth, soft palate and ears.
• Immediate itching in the throat; swelling in the throat is possible although it is not usually severe
• Occasionally symptoms in the oesophagus (gullet) or stomach can occur, including pain and discomfort, nausea and even vomiting
Most people are unlikely to ever have a severe reaction and mild reactions are unlikely to get worse over time. However, medical advice should be sought in all cases. This is particularly important if swelling has caused difficulty in swallowing or breathing, or if the symptoms include asthma.
The condition is more likely to develop in people who have had pollen allergy for some time. It is more frequently seen in adults than children, although it is becoming increasingly more common in children as hay fever develops at a younger age.
Up to three quarters of those sensitised to birch pollen have the condition although many may not realise it. In its mildest form there may only be a sensation in the lips or tongue after eating fresh fruit. Occasionally people without hay fever suffer the symptoms, and when tested, the birch antibody is found to be present even though birch pollen doesn't cause them any symptoms.
The other pollen that less commonly causes symptoms is grass pollen and people who are sensitive to both birch and grass pollens often suffer symptoms to a wide range of the implicated foods. Weed pollens such as mugwort can also act as a trigger.
The commonest foods to cause symptoms are fresh fruits (apples, apricots, pears, cherries, kiwi, mango, plums, peaches, nectarines and tomatoes), raw vegetables (carrots, celery and peppers), hazelnut, almond and walnut. A number of other plant foods may occasionally cause the condition including raw legumes (such as mange tout and raw peas) and certain spices. People have reported nose and eye symptoms and itchy hands when handling uncooked potatoes, carrots or parsnips.

Another type of oral allergy syndrome affects some people who suffer from natural rubber latex allergy. Latex allergy is particularly common amongst people who come into regular contact with latex such as healthcare workers.
Because some latex allergens are similar to the allergens in certain foods, people who are allergic to latex might also find they react to foods such as apple, avocado, banana, carrot, celery and chestnut. The scientific term for this condition is Latex Food Syndrome. The symptoms are similar as those described for Pollen Food Syndrome.

Allergic reactions to fruit and vegetables are not always related to pollen or latex. In some cases, there is a primary allergy to the food itself. These reactions may be more severe. Symptoms in the mouth can also be caused by primary food allergy (i.e. it is not secondary to pollen or latex allergy). Examples are peanuts, tree nuts, egg white, prawns and fish. Primary food allergy has the potential to be much more serious. Any reaction to a food should be investigated by your GP. Mild symptoms should not be ignored. The GP should be able to decide what type of food allergy you have and whether you need to be referred to an Allergy Consultant.

The correct identification and avoidance of the culprit food or foods must be the main aim. Previous experience of what has happened when eating certain foods is the most important evidence. Skin and blood tests can help to confirm the diagnosis, and may help a doctor to identify the occasional patient for whom there is a risk of a severe reaction and who will therefore be advised to carry adrenaline injection as a precaution.
It does not necessarily follow that all the foods of a particular group will cause trouble for someone who reacts to one or two of them. Unless you are advised otherwise, only the foods that have caused symptoms need to be avoided. But you should stay alert to the possibility that sensitivities to other foods in the same group might develop in the future. When trying a fruit or vegetable for the first time, it is best to be cautious. Rub the lip with a small amount and chew a small portion and spit it out. Wait for 15 minutes to see if any symptoms develop.
Once you are sure that a particular food is causing symptoms (and especially if tests confirm the allergy) it is important to exclude it in future. However, eating the same food when cooked may not cause any problem. Desensitisation treatment for oral allergy syndrome is not available at the present time, although it may become available in the future.

Coriander Contains Bacteria-Busting Properties
Source :
By_ admin (Sep 7, 2011)
Oil from the popular spice coriander effectively kills pathogenic bacteria related to foodborne diseases and hospital infections, according to a new study published in the journal of Medical Microbiology.
Researchers at the University of Beira Interior tested coriander oil against 12 bacterial strains, including E. coli, Salmonella enterica, Bacillus cereus and meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Most strains were killed by solutions containing 1.6% coriander oil or less; the sterilized coriander oil did not work against two types of bacteria, Bacillus cereus and Enterococcus faecalis.
Propidium iodide incorporation and concomitant loss of all other cellular functions such as efflux activity, respiratory activity and membrane potential seem to suggest that the primary mechanism of action of coriander oil is membrane damage, which leads to cell death. The researchers said the findings further support the use of coriander oil in antibacterial formulations because coriander oil effectively kills pathogenic bacteria related to foodborne diseases and hospital infections.

EFSA’s latest furan safety report urges more research
Source :
By_ Mike Stones( Sep 5,2011)
More research is needed to reveal the risks of the carcinogen furan – particularly with regard to the health of infants and coffee drinkers, warns a new report from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Furan is an organic compound formed during the heat treatment of food, which has been shown to be carcinogenic in animal studies. Following health concerns about furan expressed by the United States Food and Drug Administration, EFSA set up a panel of experts in 2006 to gather information on the compound. So far, 20 countries have submitted data on the furan content of foods to EFSA’s scientific panel. Their information is based on 5,050 samples across 21 food and beverage categories. A major contributor to exposure for adults was brewed coffee with an average of 85% of total furan exposure. \
Major contributors to furan exposure in toddlers and other children were fruit juice, milk-based products and cereal-based products. For toddlers, jarred baby foods were major contributors. The panel’s latest report, based on an analysis of results collected between 2004 and 2010, concluded: “…furan exposure estimates presented in this study confirm those published in the literature. Estimates are highest in toddlers and in adults with jarred baby foods and coffee being the major contributors, respectively. “Without those two major contributors the other children and adolescents seemed to have lower furan exposure.” The highest furan levels were found in coffee with mean values varying between 45 μg/kg for brewed coffee and 3,660 μg/kg for roasted coffee beans. The highest furan content was reported for roasted coffee beans at 6,407 μg/kg. Aside from coffee, mean values ranged between 3.2 μg/kg for infant formula and 49 μg/kg for jarred baby food ‘vegetables only’. Mean furan exposure across surveys was estimated to range between 0.03 and 0.59 μg/kg per day for adults and between 0.02 to 0.13 μg/kg per day for adolescents. Exposure for other children ranged between 0.04 and 0.22 μg/kg per day, for toddlers 0.05 to 0.31 μg/kg and for infants between 0.09 and 0.22 μg/kg per day.
EFSA recommends that future testing for furan should target different pre-heated products for which there are currently limited information. Its report was entitled Update on furan levels in food from monitoring years 2004 – 2010 and exposure assessment. The report recommended further testing of target food products where limited results are available. Meanwhile, in its latest risk assessment on furan, from February 2010, the joint Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the World Health Organisation Expert Committee on Food Additives concluded that “the margin of exposure for furan indicates a human health concern” and agreed to explore possible measures that could reduce consumer exposure.

10 Reasons to Avoid GMOs

Source :
by_ Jeffrey Smith(Sep 6, 2011)
1. GMOs are unhealthy.
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) urges doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for all patients. They cite animal studies showing organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system disorders, accelerated aging, and infertility. Human studies show how genetically modified (GM) food can leave material behind inside us, possibly causing long-term problems. Genes inserted into GM soy, for example, can transfer into the DNA of bacteria living inside us, and that the toxic insecticide produced by GM corn was found in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn fetuses.
Numerous health problems increased after GMOs were introduced in 1996. The percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses jumped from 7% to 13% in just 9 years; food allergies skyrocketed, and disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, diges
tive problems, and others are on the rise. Although there is not sufficient research to confirm that GMOs are a contributing factor, doctors groups such as the AAEM tell us not to wait before we start protecting ourselves, and especially our children who are most at risk.
The American Public Health Association and American Nurses Association are among many medical groups that condemn the use of GM bovine growth hormone, because the milk from treated cows has more of the hormone IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1)?which is linked to cancer.
2. GMOs contaminate forever.
GMOs cross pollinate and their seeds can travel. It is impossible to fully clean up our contaminated gene pool. Self-propagating GMO pollution will outlast the effects of global warming and nuclear waste. The potential impact is huge, threatening the health of future generations. GMO contamination has also caused economic losses for organic and non-GMO farmers who often struggle to keep their crops pure.
3. GMOs increase herbicide use.
Most GM crops are engineered to be “herbicide tolerant”?they deadly weed killer. Monsanto, for example, sells Roundup Ready crops, designed to survive applications of their Roundup herbicide.
Between 1996 and 2008, US farmers sprayed an extra 383 million pounds of herbicide on GMOs. Overuse of Roundup results in “superweeds,” resistant to the herbicide. This is causing farmers to use even more toxic herbicides every year. Not only does this create environmental harm, GM foods contain higher residues of toxic herbicides. Roundup, for example, is linked with sterility, hormone disruption, birth defects, and cancer.
4. Genetic engineering creates dangerous side effects.
By mixing genes from totally unrelated species, genetic engineering unleashes a host of unpredictable side effects. Moreover, irrespective of the type of genes that are inserted, the very process of creating a GM plant can result in massive collateral damage that produces new toxins, allergens, carcinogens, and nutritional deficiencies.
5. Government oversight is dangerously lax.
Most of the health and environmental risks of GMOs are ignored by governments’ superficial regulations and safety assessments. The reason for this tragedy is largely political. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for example, doesn’t require a single safety study, does not mandate labeling of GMOs, and allows companies to put their GM foods onto the market without even notifying the agency. Their justification was the claim that they had no information showing that GM foods were substantially different. But this was a lie. Secret agency memos made public by a lawsuit show that the overwhelming consensus even among the FDA’s own scientists was that GMOs can create unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects. They urged long-term safety studies. But the White House had instructed the FDA to promote biotechnology, and the agency official in charge of policy was Michael Taylor, Monsanto’s former attorney, later their vice president. He’s now the US Food Safety Czar.
6. The biotech industry uses “tobacco science” to claim product safety.
Biotech companies like Monsanto told us that Agent Orange, PCBs, and DDT were safe. They are now using the same type of superficial, rigged research to try and convince us that GMOs are safe. Independent scientists, however, have caught the spin-masters red-handed, demonstrating without doubt how industry-funded research is designed to avoid finding problems, and how adverse findings are distorted or denied.
7. Independent research and reporting is attacked and suppressed.
Scientists who discover problems with GMOs have been attacked, gagged, fired, threatened, and denied funding. The journal Nature acknowledged that a “large block of scientists . . . denigrate research by other legitimate scientists in a knee-jerk, partisan, emotional way that is not helpful in advancing knowledge.” Attempts by media to expose problems are also often censored.
8. GMOs harm the environment.
GM crops and their associated herbicides can harm birds, insects, amphibians, marine ecosystems, and soil organisms. They reduce bio-diversity, pollute water resources, and are unsustainable. For example, GM crops are eliminating habitat for monarch butterflies, whose populations are down 50% in the US. Roundup herbicide has been shown to cause birth defects in amphibians, embryonic deaths and endocrine disruptions, and organ damage in animals even at very low doses. GM canola has been found growing wild in North Dakota and California, threatening to pass on its herbicide tolerant genes on to weeds.
9. GMOs do not increase yields, and work against feeding a hungry world.
Whereas sustainable non-GMO agricultural methods used in developing countries have conclusively resulted in yield increases of 79% and higher, GMOs do not, on average, increase yields at all. This was evident in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ 2009 report Failure to Yield?the definitive study to date on GM crops and yield.The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) report, authored by more than 400 scientists and backed by 58 governments, stated that GM crop yields were “highly variable” and in some cases, “yields declined.” The report noted, “Assessment of the technology lags behind its development, information is anecdotal and contradictory, and uncertainty about possible benefits and damage is unavoidable.” They determined that the current GMOs have nothing to offer the goals of reducing hunger and poverty, improving nutrition, health and rural livelihoods, and facilitating social and environmental sustainability.
On the contrary, GMOs divert money and resources that would otherwise be spent on more safe, reliable, and appropriate technologies.
10. By avoiding GMOs, you contribute to the coming tipping point of consumer rejection, forcing them out of our food supply.
Because GMOs give no consumer benefits, if even a small percentage of us start rejecting brands that contain them, GM ingredients will become a marketing liability. Food companies will kick them out. In Europe, for example, the tipping point was achieved in 1999, just after a high profile GMO safety scandal hit the papers and alerted citizens to the potential dangers. In the US, a consumer rebellion against GM bovine growth hormone has also reached a tipping point, kicked the cow drug out of dairy products by Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Dannon, Yoplait, and most of America’s dairies.
The Campaign for Healthier Eating in America is designed to achieve a tipping point against GMOs in the US. The number of non-GMO shoppers needed is probably just 5% of the population. The key is to educate consumers about the documented health dangers and provide a Non-GMO Shopping Guide to make avoiding GMOs much easier.
Please choose healthier non-GMO brands, tell others about GMOs so they can do the same, and join the Non-GMO Tipping Point Network. Together we can quickly reclaim a non-GMO food supply

New Poll: Many U.S. Adults Unaware of Key Food Safety Practices
Source :
By_ PRNewswire-USNewswire (Sep 01, 2011)
Eight in 10 adults who cook hamburgers or poultry burgers do not use thermometer to determine doneness
Summer may be waning, but with Labor Day cookouts, NCAA college football tailgates and the NFL season right around the corner, September's 17th annual National Food Safety Education Month is the perfect time to remind food preparers about proper procedures when cooking meat and poultry products. 
A new poll commissioned by the American Meat Institute (AMI) and conducted by Harris Interactive found that while almost nine out of 10 U.S. adults (88 percent) cook hamburgers or poultry (chicken or turkey) burgers, only 19 percent of those who do use an instant read thermometer to determine that the burgers are safely cooked and ready to eat (i.e., "doneness").   Approximately 73 percent of adults who cook hamburgers or poultry burgers incorrectly rely on sight to determine doneness and 57 percent incorrectly rely on cooking time.
Of concern: only 13 percent of adults aged 18-34 who cook hamburgers or poultry burgers, many of whom may prepare food for small children at home, use an instant read thermometer to determine doneness when cooking hamburgers or poultry burgers.  Seventy-eight percent of this age group rely on sight, which is not an accurate indicator of doneness, to determine if the burger is cooked properly. 
In terms of proper cooking temperatures, only one in five U.S. adults (20 percent) knows  a hamburger should be cooked to 160 degree F to ensure it is safe to consume, while 41 percent mistakenly believe that hamburgers should be cooked to a temperature less than 160 degrees F, according to the poll.
Nearly half of U.S. adults (47 percent) believe that poultry burgers should be cooked to a temperature less than 165 degrees F.  Only 13 percent know that a poultry burger should be cooked to 165 degree F to ensure it is safe to consume.
"Meat and poultry companies use many food safety strategies to make our products as safe as we can, and it is our responsibility to empower our customers with the information that they need to ensure that the products are safe when served," said AMI Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Janet Riley.  "Our poll reveals that a significant knowledge gap still exists about proper cooking temperatures and thermometer use.  U.S. meat and poultry products are among the safest in the world, but like all raw agricultural products, they can contain bacteria, and that is why it is important to take time to remind consumers about safe handling and cooking practices." Riley urged consumers to follow the four basic food safety steps that are included on safe handling labels on meat and poultry products:  clean, separate, cook and chill.  Consumers should make sure that surfaces and hands are clean when preparing food, separate raw products from cooked products, cook the product to the proper temperature and keep the product properly chilled.
"While we recognize September as National Food Safety Education Month, food safety is a priority year-round," Riley concluded.  "By making a habit of cooking hamburgers to 160 degrees F and chicken or turkey burgers to 165 degrees F and using an instant read thermometer, consumers can feel confident that they will enjoy a safe and delicious eating experience every time."
For more information and additional resources to safely prepare meat and poultry visit 

Salmonella outbreak from Spanish eggs over, says UK
By Rory Harrington  (Sep 07, 2011
The latest salmonella outbreak caused by tainted Spanish eggs has been declared over by UK safety authorities. Salmonella in Spanish eggs, outbreak over
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said that the outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis Phage Type (PT) 14b, had struck down more than 250 people throughout the UK since April 2011. The source of infection was traced to eggs from a specific shed on one farm in Spain. In the UK, the eggs were mainly supplied to catering establishments. The majority of the 262 total cases were in North West England (111), the West Midlands (38), Yorkshire and Humberside (36) and the East Midlands (31). However, there were also cases in Wales and Northern Ireland. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said the problem had been solved after co-operation between UK and Spain.
“The FSA alerted environmental health officers and the implicated eggs were withdrawn,” said Liz Redmond, the body’s head of hygiene and microbiology. “The issue was reported to the Spanish authorities who then took prompt action to tackle the problem at source. The eggs were destroyed or heat treated, the affected flock of hens have been culled and the shed has been cleaned and disinfected.”
The HPA said that a drop in the number of new cases of Salmonella Enteritidis PT 14b “to the usual background level” suggested the outbreak was now under control.

The incident is the latest in a number of Salmonella outbreaks in the UK linked to Spanish eggs. In December 2009, the HPA said tainted eggs from Spain were responsible for 443 cases of the foodborne bug. Research from the FSA in 2006 found that one in eight boxes of eggs from Spain contained Salmonella. The agency carried out the study after the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the HPA had both flagged up concerns in 2004 about the prevalence of Salmonella in Spanish eggs.

Two Deaths in Colorado Listeria Outbreak
Source :
by News Desk (Sep 08, 2011)
The Colorado Listeria outbreak has produced one confirmed case every 24 hours for the 10 days through the Labor Day weekend, bringing  the total to 13, including two deaths, since Aug. 1
The source of the outbreak remains unknown, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The current outbreak started slowly with two cases earlier in the month, but since Aug. 29 the pace has quickened with eight counties up and down Colorado's Front Range reporting  cases in the growing outbreak, which is now at a case-per-day pace. Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Denver, Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson, and Weld counties have all reported one or more cases of listeriosis. Colorado did experience a small but deadly Listeria outbreak in June that  killed two of the three who were then infected.  On June 2, Colorado health officials said a man in his 30s and a woman in her 60s died after being infected with Listeria. The reports mark a sharp increase in the number of Listeria monocytogenes infections for the Centennial State, which ordinarily sees just 10 such cases a year.
Public health officials in Colorado are continuing to investigate both the June outbreak and current one.  Thus far, the two are not seen as connected.   The June outbreak was limited to Denver.
"Until we have more information about the sources of this outbreak, it is important for people to follow the standard CDC guidance about Listeria," says Alicia Cronquist, a state epidemiologist.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests people who are at high risk for Listeria avoid hot dogs and deli meats unless they are cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees, and stay away from pates, meat spreads, refrigerated smoked seafood, and soft cheeses unless they are made with pasteurized milk. People age 60 and older, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems are viewed as high risk for Listeria.
The incubation period for Listeria, meaning the time from exposure to showing symptoms, can be as long as 70 days, making investigations requiring people to remember what they've eaten more difficult.

Vibrio Closes Some Oyster Beds in Washington
Source ;
by News Desk (Sep 08, 2011)
Several people who ate raw oysters from Washington state's Samish Bay and Hood Canal areas have become ill from Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria.
As a result, oyster harvest has been closed in Samish Bay and in Hood Canal 5, which runs from Clark Creek (about a mile north of Hoodsport) north to Cummings Pointe. State health officials close shellfish beds when there are four or more sporadic illnesses in a specific area.
Other vibriosis cases have been reported this summer in Washington state, which typically sees about 50 cases a year.
Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria are found naturally in the environment. When water temperature rises, so does the chance of the dangerous bacterial growth. Cooking shellfish thoroughly prevents vibriosis illness and is recommended during the summer months when warm temperatures and low tides allow the bacteria to thrive.
Symptoms of vibriosis include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache, fever, and chills. The symptoms usually appear about 12 hours after eating infected shellfish, but they can begin within two hours or as late as 48 hours after consumption. The illness is usually moderate and lasts for two to seven days; however, it can be more serious, even life threatening to people with weak immune systems or chronic liver disease. Taking certain medications may make vibriosis more likely to occur after eating shellfish.
To help keep shellfish safe to eat, keep them cool from the time they are harvested until the time they are cooked.  Thorough cooking will kill the bacteria, making the shellfish safe to eat. Food safety specialists recommend oysters be cooked to an internal temperature of 145° F to kill the bacteria.
More information, including maps of the affected areas, is available on the Washington state Department of Health's website. A separate biotoxin web page includes information on shellfish areas that are free from marine biotoxins.

Tapenade Linked to Eight Botulism Cases in France
Source :
by News Desk (Sep 07, 2011)
A French company, La Ruche, has recalled all Les Délices de Marie Claire preserves and has suspended operations after a production batch of its Tapenade verte aux amandes was linked to eight cases of botulism. L'Institute Pasteur reported finding botulinum toxin type A in a sample of the implicated batch of  olive-almond tapenade. Consumers in France, Belgium and Denmark are being advised to not eat Les Délices de Marie Claire brand Tapenade aux amandes, Lot no. 112005, with a best-before date of 16-12-2012.

Nine cases of Listeriosis confirmed in Colorado, resulting in two deaths.
Source :
by Meredith Canales (Sep 04, 2011)
Three reported cases of Listeriosis, a deadly diseased which is caused by eating food contaminated by the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, were reported by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Thursday.
Since Thursday, six more people have become infected, resulting in two deaths. Because of the outbreak, state officials have issued warnings against consuming undercooked meat, which is the biggest known cause of Listeriosis.
"Until we have more information about the sources of this outbreak, it is important for people to follow the standard (federal) guidelines" on listeria, Alicia Cronquist, a state epidemiologist, said in a statement. "People who are at high risk for Listeria infection can decrease their risk by avoiding soft cheeses such as queso fresco and brie unless they are made with pasteurized milk, hot dogs and deli meats unless reheated to an internal temperature of 165 F, refrigerated pâté or meat spreads, or refrigerated smoked seafood."
In the U.S., an estimated 1,850 people become infected with Listeriosis each year. It is one of the more uncommon diseases but can be fatal. People with weakened immune systems are at highest risk for catching Listeria, including pregnant women, the elderly and young children. Pregnant women are roughly 20 times more likely to catch Listeria than other members of the population, and about one third of all cases reported are in pregnant women. A pregnant woman getting Listeriosis can result in spontaneous abortion during the second and third trimesters or stillbirth.
Symptoms of Listeriosis include fever, muscle aches and, sometimes, gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea. Sometimes the infection can spread to the nervous system, and if it does, the infected person will likely experience headaches, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance or convulsions.
Officials in Colorado have not been able to find the source of the outbreak. Seven out of the nine cases have been reported since Aug. 29, and two more people caught the disease in June and died from it, bringing the total death count for the summer to four people.
Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics and does not necessarily have to be fatal if it is caught in time. Epidemiologists are currently working diligently to find the cause of the outbreak, which has caused a 500 percent increase in confirmed cases of the disease in the last month alone.

Colorado Warns Public of Listeria Outbreak
Source :
by News Desk (Sep 03, 2011)
A spike in Listeria infection in Colorado is concerning public health officials who ordinarily see only about 10 cases a year.
During August, nine people in eight Colorado counties were hospitalized with listeriosis. Confirmed cases involving people in their 30s through 90s were reported from Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Denver, Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson and Weld counties. Two have died and seven of the nine were reported since Aug. 29.
The state issued a warning about the Listeria outbreak Friday, warning the public about soft cheeses, meat spreads, raw and undercooked hotdogs and other foods susceptible to Listeria contamination.
A 48-year old Colorado woman,  Shelly Occhipinti-Krout, has --for the past week-- been fighting for her life at Parker Adventist Hospital south of Denver.
Her daughter, Tiffany Weider, told Denver's 7News, the local ABC affiliate, that Occhipinti-Krout experienced cardiac arrest before going into a coma.  Earlier in the week, the family was told her chance of recovery was just 50-50, but now they've been given more hope with new 70-30 odds.
Colorado officials are looking at the recent Listeria recalls, including last week's recall of 8,000 containers of 4 oz. Vita Classic Premium Sliced Smoked Atlantic Nova Salmon. Two Colorado deaths in June were also attributed to Listeria.
Listeriosis is a foodborne illness that carries a special threat for pregnant women because it can cause stillborn births. For others the symptoms including fever, aches, nausea, and confusion and convulsions in serious cases. It can result in death.
Pregnant women, the elderly and other with compromised immune systems should avoid refrigerated smoked seafood, and non-pasteurized soft cheeses like queso fresco or brie. Warnings being issued by Colorado state officials also call for hotdogs and deli meats to be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Listeria can have an incubation period - -the time between ingestion and onset of symptoms --of up to 70 days, which often makes finding the source of the illnesses it causes difficult. Colorado officials have not found the source in the current outbreak.

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

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

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

8:40 - 9:00 Opening Announcement

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

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

Michael Doyle
University of Georgia

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

Mansel Griffiths
University of Geulph
Editor of AEM

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

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

William D. Marler, Esq.
MarlerClark attorneys at Law

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

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

Section B. Detection methods for Food Allergen Residues

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

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

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

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

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

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

Robin Forgey
Food Safety Quality Manager

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

A. Bhurnia
Professor, Purdue University


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

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

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

Stan Bailey
2008 IAFP President, bioMerieux

- Adjourn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Stan Bailey
2008 IAFP President, bioMerieux


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

Gregory Siragusa
Senior Principal Scientist
Danisco USA


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

Dupont Qualicon

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

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

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

Robert Koeritzer
2006 AOAC President

2:10 - 2:30 - Application of several detection methods for Food industries


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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