List of Newsletters
To subscribe this Food Safety Newsletter,
Basic and Advanced HACCP, Basic Food Safety Microbiology, and International
Conference for Food Safety and Quality. To check more information, click
To check more information, click on
the middle of a Listeria Cantaloupe Outbreak what do you need to know?
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-information/in-the-middle-of-a-listeria-cantaloupe-outbreak-what-do-you-need-to-know/
By_ Bill Marler on (Sep 17, 2011)
(Listeria) is a foodborne disease-causing bacteria; the disease is called
listeriosis. Listeria can invade the body through a normal and intact
gastrointestinal tract. Once in the body, Listeria can travel through
the blood stream but the bacteria are often found inside cells. Listeria
also produces toxins that damage cells. Listeria invades and grows best
in the central nervous system among immune compromised persons, causing
meningitis and/or encephalitis (brain infection). In pregnant women,
the fetus can become infected, leading to spontaneous abortion, stillbirths,
or sepsis (blood infection) in infancy.??Approximately 2,500 cases of
listeriosis are estimated to occur in the U.S. each year. About 200
in every 1000 cases result in death. Certain groups of individuals are
at greater risk for listeriosis, including pregnant women (and their
unborn children) and immunocompromised persons. Among infants, listeriosis
occurs when the infection is transmitted from the mother, either through
the placenta or during the birthing process. These host factors, along
with the amount of bacteria ingested and the virulence of the strain,
determine the risk of disease. Human cases of listeriosis are, for the
most part, sporadic and treatable. Nonetheless, Listeria remains an
important threat to public health, especially among those most susceptible
to this disease. Listeria is often isolated in cattle, sheep, and fowl,
and is also found in dairy products, fruits, and vegetables.
Symptoms of Listeria Infection:
It is thought that ingestion of as few as 1,000 cells of Listeria bacteria
can result in illness. After ingestion of food contaminated with Listeria,
incubation periods (from time of exposure to onset of illness) are in
the range of one to eight weeks, averaging about 31 days. Five days
to three weeks after ingestion, Listeria has access to all body areas
and may involve the central nervous system, heart, eyes, or other locations.??A
person with listeriosis usually has fever, muscle aches, and gastrointestinal
symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea. If infection spreads to the nervous
system, symptoms such as headache, stiff neck, loss of balance, confusion,
obtundation (decreased consciousness) or convulsions can occur. With
brain involvement, listeriosis may mimic a stroke. Infected pregnant
women will ordinarily experience only a mild, flu-like illness; however,
infection during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, infection of the
newborn or even stillbirth. Pregnant women are about 20 times more likely
than other healthy adults to get listeriosis; about one-third of listeriosis
cases happen during pregnancy. The incidence of listeriosis in the newborn
is 8.6 cases per 100,000 live births. The perinatal and neonatal mortality
rate (stillbirths and early infant deaths) from listeriosis is 80%.
Diagnosis and treatment of Listeria Infection:
If you have symptoms of listeriosis, a health care provider can have
a blood or spinal fluid test done to detect the infection. During pregnancy,
a blood test is the most reliable way to find out if your symptoms are
due to listeriosis. If you are in a high-risk group, have eaten the
contaminated product, and within 2 months become ill with fever or signs
of serious illness, you should contact your health care provider and
inform him or her about this exposure.??There are several antibiotics
with which Listeria may be treated. When infection occurs during pregnancy,
antibiotics given promptly to the pregnant woman can often prevent infection
of the fetus. Babies with listeriosis receive the same antibiotics as
adults, although a combination of antibiotics is often used until physicians
are certain of the diagnosis.
Preventing Listeria Infection:
General recommendations include: thoroughly cook raw food from animal
sources; keep uncooked meats separate from vegetables and from cooked
and ready-to-eat foods; avoid unpasteurized (raw) milk or foods made
from unpasteurized milk; wash hands, knives, and cutting boards after
handling uncooked foods; wash raw vegetables thoroughly before eating;
and consume perishable and ready-to-eat foods as soon as possible.??Recommendations
for persons at high risk, such as pregnant women and persons with weakened
immune systems, in addition to the recommendations listed above, include:
do not eat hot dogs, luncheon or deli meats, unless they are reheated
until steaming hot, and wash hands after handling those products; do
not eat soft cheeses (such as feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined, or
Mexican-style cheese), unless they have labels that clearly state they
are made from pasteurized milk; and do not eat meat spreads or smoked
seafood from the refrigerated or deli section of the store (canned or
shelf-stable products may be eaten).
in cantaloupe outbreak rises to 8
Source : http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/2016278098_apuslisteriacantaloupe.html
By_ MARY CLARE JALONICK (Sep 21, 2011)
The death toll has risen to eight in an outbreak of listeria traced
to Colorado-grown cantaloupes, officials said Wednesday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that a person in
Maryland died from eating the tainted produce. Four deaths have been
reported in New Mexico and two in Colorado, and one person has died
The CDC said 55 people in 14 states have now been confirmed as sickened
from eating the cantaloupes. On Monday, the CDC reported four deaths
and 35 illnesses in 10 states. The death count - the highest in a known
food outbreak since tainted peanuts were linked to nine deaths almost
three years ago - could go even higher. The CDC said illnesses in several
other states potentially connected to the outbreak were under investigation.
The illnesses have been reported in California, Colorado, Illinois,
Indiana, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia,
West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Colorado has the most illnesses
with 14 sickened, followed by New Mexico with 10, Texas with nine and
Oklahoma with eight.
The outbreak has been traced to cantaloupes from Jensen Farms in Holly,
Colo., which recalled the tainted produce last week. The Food and Drug
Administration said Monday that it had found listeria in samples of
Jensen Farms' cantaloupes taken from a Denver-area store and on samples
taken from equipment and cantaloupes at the farm's packing facility.
Tests confirmed that the samples matched strains of the disease found
in those sickened.
Jensen Farms said the recalled Rocky Ford-brand cantaloupes were shipped
from July 29 through Sept. 10 to Illinois, Wyoming, Tennessee, Utah,
Texas, Colorado, Minnesota, Kansas, New Mexico, North Carolina, Missouri,
Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
The FDA said it is possible the company distributed to other states
The recalled cantaloupe may be labeled "Colorado Grown," "Distributed
by Frontera Produce," "Jensenfarms.com" or "Sweet
Rocky Fords." Not all of the recalled cantaloupes are labeled with
a sticker, the FDA said.
In a statement, Jensen Farms said: "We are deeply saddened to learn
that cantaloupes grown on our farm have been linked to the current listeria
outbreak. Our hearts go out to those individuals and their families
who have been affected by this terrible situation." The company
said it has hired an independent food safety expert to help determine
the cause of the problem and how to address it.
Health officials have said they think the number of illnesses and deaths
could continue to grow because the incubation period for listeria can
be up to a month. Unlike many pathogens, listeria bacteria can grow
at room and refrigerator temperatures. The FDA and CDC recommend anyone
who may have one of the contaminated cantaloupes throw it out immediately.
About 800 cases of listeria are found in the United States each year,
according to CDC, and there usually are three or four outbreaks. Most
of these are traced to deli meat and soft cheeses, where listeria is
Produce has rarely been the culprit, but federal investigators say they
have seen more produce-related listeria illnesses in the past two years.
It was found in sprouts in 2009 and celery in 2010.
While most healthy adults can consume listeria with no ill effects,
it can kill the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. It
is also dangerous to pregnant women because it easily passes through
to the fetus. In the current outbreak, the median age of those sickened
is 78, according to the CDC.
Symptoms of listeria include fever and muscle aches, often with other
Outbreak - 35 ill, 4 dead in California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana,
Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia -
I think it is 50 ill, 7 dead with Missouri, Wyoming and Kansas too
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/legal-cases/cdc-listeria-outbreak---35-ill-4-dead-in-california-colorado-illinois-indiana-montana-nebraska-new-m/
By_ Bill Marler (Sep 19, 2011)
The CDC just reported that a total of 35 persons infected with the outbreak-associated
strains of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from 10 states.
All illnesses started on or after August 4, 2011. The number of infected
persons identified in each state is as follows: California (1), Colorado
(12), Illinois (1), Indiana (1), Montana (1), Nebraska (4), New Mexico
(5), Oklahoma (6), Texas (3), and West Virginia (1). Four deaths have
been reported, one in Colorado, one in Oklahoma, and two in New Mexico.
Collaborative investigative efforts of state, local, and federal public
health and regulatory agencies have linked this outbreak to eating whole
cantaloupe from Jensen Farms, of Holly, Colorado.
On September 14, 2011, FDA issued a press release to announce that Jensen
Farms issued a voluntary recall of Rocky Ford Cantaloupe because the
cantaloupes have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria and
may be linked to a multi-state outbreak of listeriosis. Today, the Food
and Drug Administration announced that it found Listeria monocytogenes
in samples of Jensen Farms¡¯ Rocky Ford-brand cantaloupe taken from a
Denver-area store and on samples taken from equipment and cantaloupe
at the Jensen Farms¡¯ packing facility. Tests confirmed that the Listeria
monocytogenes found in the samples matches one of the three different
strains of Listeria monocytogenes associated with the multi-state outbreak
CDC recommends that persons at high risk for listeriosis, including
older adults, persons with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women,
do not eat Rocky Ford cantaloupes from Jensen Farms. Other consumers
who want to reduce their risk of Listeria infection should not eat Rocky
Ford cantaloupes from Jensen Farms.
I have slightly different numbers - "7 Deaths, 49 Illnesses Likely
Linked to Listeria Cantaloupe." I am sure that over the next weeks
the CDC's and my numbers will get closer.
Monte Fresh Produce Resists Safety Regulations
Source : http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/22/business/del-monte-fresh-produce-resists-in-a-food-safety-case.html?_r=1
By_ WILLIAM NEUMAN ( Sep 21, 2011)
When health investigators identified imported cantaloupes as the source
of a salmonella outbreak early this year, the importer agreed to a recall.
But now that company, Del Monte Fresh Produce, is trying to block additional
restrictions on melon imports, setting off an unusually public battle
between the produce industry and food safety regulators.
The company, which is one of the country¡¯s largest produce marketers,
says the restrictions could damage its reputation, and it has sued the
Food and Drug Administration to lift them. The effort is being cheered
by many in the produce industry, who often complain about what they
call overreaching by regulators and welcome a company with resources
But advocates of safe food said that it was extremely rare for a major
food company to take such a publicly aggressive stance, and that they
suspected Del Monte Fresh Produce was trying to bully regulators into
thinking twice before pursuing recalls in the future. Aside from suing
the F.D.A., the company has threatened legal action against a leading
state food-borne disease investigator in Oregon, where the Del Monte
cantaloupes were identified as the cause of the salmonella outbreak.
And it has challenged some of the basic techniques of food safety investigations,
like relying on ill people¡¯s memories of what they ate when microbiological
testing does not find pathogens on food.
¡°This clearly looks like an attempt to intimidate state level investigators,¡±
said Caroline Smith DeWaal, food safety director of the Center for Science
in the Public Interest, an advocacy group. ¡°The chilling effect is real,
and it could have serious implications for consumers who may be exposed
to more tainted products because of delays in announcing the results
of these epidemiologic investigations.¡± An executive of Del Monte Fresh
Produce said that its melons did not make anyone sick and that the purpose
of the lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Maryland last month,
was to improve food safety by pointing out flaws in the way some investigations
were handled. ¡°It¡¯s got to be a comprehensive and reliable investigation,
and in our opinion this was neither,¡± said Dennis Christou, vice president
of marketing for Del Monte Fresh Produce, which is based in Coral Gables,
Fla. ¡°There¡¯s absolutely no basis in the claim that this was done intentionally
to intimidate or bully anyone.¡±
The company said Wednesday that it was in talks with the F.D.A. to resolve
the dispute and expected an agreement soon.
Many in the produce industry, which has been buffeted by recalls for
items as diverse as spinach, peppers and papayas, are quietly rooting
for the company. ¡°In this particular case, the F.D.A. took on an adversary
that has some ability to stand up and say, ¡®We¡¯re not going to be treated
this way,¡¯ ¡± said Jim Prevor, editor in chief of Produce Business, a
trade magazine. The dispute is not related to the current recall of
Rocky Ford cantaloupes grown in Colorado, which have caused a deadly
listeria outbreak. The Del Monte Fresh Produce tussle began in February
when people in several states began to fall ill with a rare bacterium
known as salmonella Panama, which can cause severe diarrhea. Eventually,
at least 20 people were sickened in 10 states. State public health investigators
soon discovered that many of the victims had eaten cantaloupe bought
at Costco, the large warehouse retailer.
Using data from Costco membership cards, they found that the melons
came from one farm in Guatemala, called Asuncion Mita, owned by Del
Monte Fresh Produce. The early investigation involved 13 cases of illness,
and officials found that at least 12 of them had a clear link to cantaloupes
from Asuncion Mita, a very high correlation.
The investigators, working with the federal Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention and the F.D.A., asked Del Monte Fresh Produce for a recall,
following the usual procedure. The company at first resisted but, according
to its lawsuit, eventually agreed to a limited recall to prevent the
F.D.A. from issuing a broad warning about contaminated melons that could
have affected the entire cantaloupe market. The recall was announced
on March 22.
But in mid-July the F.D.A. issued an import alert, saying that the conditions
that caused the contamination might still exist on the Asuncion Mita
farm. The alert allowed inspectors to stop cantaloupes grown on the
farm from entering this country.
Del Monte Fresh Produce fired back, filing its lawsuit and accusing
federal and state inspectors of conducting a slipshod investigation.
And it questioned the validity of the results because investigators
had not found a cantaloupe contaminated with the bacteria that had made
It also wrote to the State of Oregon, saying it was considering a lawsuit
against the state public health division and its senior epidemiologist,
Dr. William E. Keene, who had helped lead the cantaloupe investigation.
In addition it filed a complaint against Dr. Keene with the Oregon Government
Ethics Commission. The state filings charged that Dr. Keene had defamed
the company by identifying its melons as the cause of the outbreak.
Oregon state officials said that neither they nor Dr. Keene would discuss
the legal action. The ethics commission, however, wrote to Del Monte
Fresh Produce last week saying it did not have jurisdiction over the
issues the company had raised. An F.D.A. spokeswoman said the agency
did not comment on pending litigation.
Public health specialists said that the evidence implicating Del Monte
Fresh Produce cantaloupes was very strong. ¡°There¡¯s no doubt the data
are very tight,¡± said Dr. Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center
for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
¡°Del Monte caused that outbreak.¡± And he said that many investigations
involving sickness from produce did not find contaminated food because
by the time officials became aware of the outbreak, the tainted produce
had been eaten or discarded. The company¡¯s filings include an audit
report of the Guatemala farm, submitted to the F.D.A. last month, which
raises questions about the company¡¯s practices.
The audit, done by a company hired by Del Monte Fresh Produce, found
that a pipe containing raw sewage and wastewater emptied into an open
ditch about 110 yards from the farm¡¯s packing house. The ditch led into
a lagoon containing additional sewage, more than 220 yards from the
packing house. The audit recommended that the ditch be eliminated.
Mr. Christou said the ditch was protected by barbed wire to keep large
animals from tracking the waste into fields. He said the lagoon contained
chemicals to speed decomposition of the waste and was away from fields
and wells. After the audit, he said, the company extended the pipe all
the way to the lagoon and discontinued use of the open ditch.
Asked if having raw sewage in an open ditch near its packing house was
consistent with high food safety standards, Mr. Christou said that tests
on melons had found no pathogens.
of BPA Found in Campbell's and Other Canned Kids Foods
Source : http://www.inhabitots.com/high-levels-of-bpa-found-in-campbells-and-other-canned-kids-foods/
By_ Lori Zimmer, 09/21/11
An alarming recent study has revealed the presence of BPA in popular
canned food for kids, including Campbell¡¯s Disney Princess and Toy Story
Soups, which tested highest. BPA, which is present in the can¡¯s linings
and can be leeched into food, can cause serious health effects. In reaction
to the findings, the Breast Cancer Fund is launching a campaign called
¡°Cans Not Cancer,¡± to urge companies to eliminate BPA from their canning
process. Read on to see which canned kids foods are the biggest BPA
Although we¡¯d hope that children across America are eating fresh, whole
foods, the reality is most busy parents and babysitters turn to canned
foods, as time and money permits. What¡¯s alarming is the amount of canned
soups, pastas or vegetables that a child eats in a week. If each one
contains BPA, that can be very dangerous to their little bodies.
BPA, or bisphenol A, is an estrogenic chemical linked to breast cancer
in adults. Studies suggest that repeated exposure may also cause prostate
cancer, early puberty in girls, type-2 diabetes, obesity and attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). What¡¯s more, early exposure is
especially dangerous to children¡¯s developing endocrine systems.
The canned foods that are of particular concern, with high levels of
BPA measured in parts per billion (ppb) are:
Campbell¡¯s Disney Princess Cool Shapes, Shaped Pasta with Chicken in
Chicken Broth 114 ppb
Campbell¡¯s Toy Story Fun Shapes, Shaped Pasta with Chicken in Chicken
Broth 81 ppb
Earth¡¯s Best Organic Elmo Noodlemania Soup, USDA Organic 38 ppb
Annie¡¯s Homegrown Cheesy Ravioli, USDA Organic 31 ppb
Chef Boyardee Whole Grain Pasta, Mini ABC¡¯s & 123¡Çs with Meatballs
Campbell¡¯s Spaghettios with Meatballs 13 ppb
The Breast Cancer Fund¡¯s campaign is urging companies to opt for BPA-free
can liners, which many companies have already done. For families on
a budget and dealing with time constraints, the campaign suggests switching
to dry or frozen pastas, soups and macaroni and cheese rather than canned
violations at grocery store
Source : http://blog.usfoodsafety.com/2011/09/21/food-safety-violations-at-grocery-store/
By_ Misti Crane (Sep 21, 2011) According to the Columbus Dispatch, the
Columbus Board of Health yesterday stopped short of closing the Frebis
Food Center for repeated serious violations, many involving meat kept
at improper, dangerously high temperatures. Instead, the board said
that owner Nick Saleh may not sell meat unless he makes significant
changes at the 1505 Frebis Ave. store. The food-safety staff said it
had recommended closure because of long-standing problems that posed
a threat to public health. "It shouldn't take the Health Department
to come in there to point out that they needed to throw this meat out,"
said environmental health administrator Keith Krinn. "We're exasperated
at this establishment." But board members said they wanted to give
Saleh a shot at keeping his grocery open. "Our first obligation
is to the public," said Dr. Augustus Parker?III, a board member.
"But we don't want to be in the business of shutting down businesses.
¡¦ We're giving you an opportunity." Saleh, the store owner for
25?years, said that ending meat sales will decimate his business, which
offers low-cost meat in a low-income part of Columbus. "I don't
have any choice but to keep working with the health board," Saleh
said after the meeting. The store will continue to have frequent inspections
in addition to being prohibited from selling meat.
Respiratory Failure from Tapenade
Source : http://blog.usfoodsafety.com/2011/09/12/8-suffered-respiratory-failure-from-tapenade/
By foodsafeguru (Sep 12, 2011)
In an article in today's foodproductiondaily.com, there is a French
botulism alert in the United States. The international alert over botulism-contaminated
food from France spread to the U.S. over the weekend as federal authorities
warned consumers not to eat tapenade made by the company La Ruche. Food
safety officials Saturday issued an alert over the spreadable tomato
paste made by La Ruche after similar warnings had been posted in both
France and the UK. The firm's brands 'Les delices de Marie-Claire','Terre
de Mistral' and 'Les Secrets d'Anais', have all tested positive for
botulism. Eight adults are currently suffering from respiratory failure
as a result of eating foods containing the neurotoxin produced by Clostridium
botulinum, said the FDA. The body said the products were a "severe
threat to human health" and should be disposed of immediately.
Anyone who consumed the products should seek immediate medical help.
But officials said there was no indication that any of these products
had entered the U.S. Botulism can be fatal due to respiratory failure.
Classic symptoms include impaired vision, drooping eyelids, slurred
speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, and muscle weakness.
Survey Confirms Low BPA Levels in Packaged Food
Source : http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110920007319/en/Supermarket-Survey-Confirms-BPA-Levels-Packaged-Food
By_ Michelle Lancaster (Sep 21, 2011)
Today's supermarket survey of a handful of canned food products by the
Breast Cancer Fund offers further confirmation that only a very small
amount of bisphenol A (BPA) is found in food packaging, and those levels
are well within the safety recommendations of government agencies This
latest small sample survey provides no new scientific evidence regarding
the safety of BPA once it enters the human body. Of much greater relevance
to those concerned about BPA exposure are the findings of a recent government
study conducted by a team of scientists from the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. This comprehensive,
first-of-its-kind clinical exposure study, funded entirely by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), offers definitive evidence that
even the highest exposure levels of BPA from canned foods and beverages
did not lead to detectable amounts in the human blood stream. "The
EPA-funded study emphatically showed there is not a health risk from
BPA exposure in canned foods because of how the body processes and eliminates
the compound from the body, in children as well as adults," said
Dr. John M. Rost, Chairman of the North American Metal Packaging Alliance,
"Unlike the supermarket survey, the EPA study examined what happens
to BPA once in the body, and found that the human body is remarkably
efficient in metabolizing and eliminating the chemical through urine.
In sum, it is very unlikely that BPA could cause health effects."
"The BPA exposure levels cited in this latest supermarket survey
are very consistent with similar, but much broader surveys of packaged
food conducted within the past year by government agencies, including
the FDA and Health Canada," continued Dr. Rost. "The only
difference is in the conclusions reached. Based on their survey results,
both FDA and Health Canada concluded that current exposure through canned
foods does not pose a health risk to consumers, including newborns and
infants." For more information on the Health Canada assessment,
please visit: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/securit/packag-emball/bpa/bpa_survey-summ-enquete-can-con-eng.php
For a review of the EPA-funded serum study, please visit: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21705716
warns EU vulnerable to food safety threats
Source : http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/EFSA-chief-warns-EU-vulnerable-to-food-safety-threats
By_ Ben Bouckley (Sep 21, 2011)
The European Union (EU) is particularly susceptible to food safety threats,
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) executive director Catherine Geslain-Laneelle
has warned. Speaking in Berlin recently on 'Food Safety in Europe: Status
Quo and Future Prospects', at the Asia-Pacific Weeks business and science
programme, Geslain-Laneelle said: "Europe is the biggest global
trader in food products and the openness of the European market leaves
us particularly vulnerable to food safety threats." A single food
product could contain ingredients from across the world, Geslain-Laneelle
said, many of which were produced to non-European standards. She added:"We
must therefore remain constantly vigilant to threats, and if possible
predict and intervene before they impact on our food supply." Early
risk identification to protect the food chain was key, she said, pointing
to the "recent and tragic E.coli outbreaks in Europe that showed
there was "never any room for complacency in relation to food safety",
in light of the global supply chain.
German E.coli response praised Despite some industry criticism of the
German authorities' response to the spring E.coli crisis, Geslain-Laneelle
praised staff at the nation's Federal Office of Consumer Protection
and Food Safety (BVL) and Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BFR).
She said their "commitment and co-operation" during the German
outbreak showed the importance of close relations between EFSA and national
bodies to ensure a co-ordinated response to food safety emergencies.
Geslain-Laneelle reminded her listeners of EFSA's "raison d'etre"
on its foundation in 2002, following scandals relating to dioxin-tainted
feed and BSE in the 1990's. "Namely, a science-based approach to
policy and the formal separation of risk assessment from risk management,"
she said. Emerging technologies EFSA had a duty to provide scientific
evidence enabling consumer and environmental protection and to communicate
on risk to a wide range of stakeholders, Geslain-Laneelle said. "EFSA
is increasingly called upon to assess risks to the environment ? for
example of GMOs ? and to assess efficacy or benefit for either public
health or the environment, such as our work on pesticides," she
added. "This work is important from the perspective of the sustainability
of the food chain and ensuring that innovation brings real benefits
Emerging technologies such as GMOs and nanoscience also meant there
was a growing need for EFSA to consult with stakeholders, Geslain-Laneelle
said. EFSA's recently established Stakeholder Consultive Group on Emerging
Risks (which includes food firms, processors, retailers, consumer groups
and NGOs), was a valuable source of data to identify emerging risks,
food researchers to keep consumers up-to-date on safety
Source : http://www.examiner.ie/business/kfgbidcwgbkf/
By _Joe Dermody (Sep21, 2011)
RESEARCHERS must view keeping consumers up to speed on food safety advances
as a key part of their work, warned MEP Mairead McGuinness. Addressing
the European Commission's What's For Lunch conference in Brussels, the
Ireland East MEP urged all researchers not to neglect the pressing need
to keep consumers informed rather than treat them as "food zombies"
in matters relating to food safety and traceability.
Ms McGuinness highlighted the need for public funding of research to
continue in order to provide consumers with confidence. "The EU
is funding important research but that must be matched by a focus on
implementing research findings," she said. "The knowledge
of the lab and research facilities needs to be carried through into
practical application, which can benefit industry and consumers. "While
research plays a key role in eliminating risks from the food supply
chain, we must give consumers knowledge about food, and issues relating
to food safety. Knowledge is power and better informed consumers can
be part of the drive for safer food by eliminating risks around food
storage and handling in the home." Ms McGuinness praised the involvement
of Irish researchers in EU-funded projects on food trace-ability and
quality. She stressed that findings must be implemented, noting that
the research carried out under Framework Programme 6 could enhance the
EU's response to food safety scares. "Teagasc researchers have
been involved in major research projects which will benefit the consumer
and the food industry, not least in relation to beef through the prosafebeef
project, which involved collab-oration between EU member states and
researchers in Australia, Brazil and Canada. "In the aftermath
of the BSE crisis the EU now has the most robust food chain traceability
systems globally," Ms McGuinness said. "This is based on research
carried out under the Commission's Framework Programme and the existence
of the independent European Food Safety Authority. The EU has given
the lead to other global players on food safety and much of our legislation
is used as a model for others to follow."
and Salmonella ? Canadian Version
Source : http://blog.usfoodsafety.com/2011/09/20/cantaloupes-and-salmonella-canadian-version/
By_ Doug Powell (Sep 20, 2011)
The always helpful Canadian Food Inspection Agency warned the public
this morning not to eat cantaloupes sold from Food Basics, located at
2452 Sheppard Ave. E., North York (that's near Toronto), Ontario on
September 12, 2011 because they may be contaminated with Salmonella.
No word on where the cantaloupes originated, why the warning was issued,
if there was a positive Salmonella test, or who did the testing. Even
more helpful, the affected cantaloupes were sold unwrapped. There is
no lot code sticker, UPC or product name on the individual cantaloupes.
The retailer, Metro Ontario Inc, Etobicoke, Ontario, is voluntarily
recalling the affected product from the marketplace.
research forces bacteria to jump hurdles
Source : http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/Listeria-research-forces-bacteria-to-jump-hurdles
By_ Ben Bouckley (Sep 20, 2011)
A new research project is underway at Campden BRI aimed at using ¡®hurdle
technology¡¯ to help food firms manufacture products with less susceptibility
The microbiologist managing the project at the UK-based food research
organisation, Greg Jones, said in a company podcast that the bacteria
was a growing problem in Europe.
¡°The issue here is that listeria is on the rise. Particularly in Europe,
we¡¯re seeing more and more cases of listeria,¡± Jones said.
¡°And manufacturers are under pressure to remove inhibitory compounds
from their products such as salt and preservatives in a bid for healthier
and clean-label type products,¡± he added.
Jones defined hurdle technology as ¡°the application of a series of sub-lethal
stresses to a food product¡±, to discover exactly what combinations of
sub-lethal stress were inhibitory to listeria microflora.
According to the Campden BRI: ¡°Previous work has shown that if different
stress factors are applied to bacteria, the order in which they are
applied will determine the potential for bacterial survival or death
during subsequent storage.¡± Campden BRI¡¯s 3-year research programme
? now underway for six months with first results expected at the year¡¯s
end ? will examine a range of stresses used in hurdle technology, such
as storage temperature, pH, salt, heat, process and preservatives.
Said Jones: ¡°So you may add a little bit of salt, you might then chill
the product. The combination of those two stresses might be enough to
prevent the growth of listeria, whereas any one of those is not enough.¡±
Scientists at Campden BRI were using a broth-based system, Jones said,
and analysing thousands of broths with different combinations of stresses
in them to gather ¡°growth or no-growth data¡± on listeria from each.
He said:¡°Then we can narrow that down and look at the order of the application
of the stress, and also at exactly what levels of salt, for example,
are going to be sub-lethal in combination with another stress.¡±
Jones explained that the research would also examine "cross-protection",
whereby one inhibitory hurdle might potentially protect listeria cells
against other stresses.
¡°If a sub-lethal stress is applied then sometimes you get cross-protection
to a second stress, sometimes you don¡¯t,¡± he said.
"The way to figure that out is to look at a molecule called SigmaB
in listeria. If cross-protection is going to happen SigmaB is produced,
if it is not then it is not produced."
Jones added: ¡°If we can find out which stresses make this molecule appear,
we can predict that cross protection is either likely or unlikely to
happen in response to a given sub-lethal stress.¡±
lab trains global scientists in food safety
Source : http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/new-us-lab-trains-global-scientists-in-food-safety-2357667.html
By_AFP(Sep 20, 2011)
Global food trade is a big and risky business.
About one trillion dollars worth of food is traded every year around
the world, but only a tiny portion gets tested for contaminants - ranging
from about one percent of imports in the United States to about 10 percent
in Japan.And yet, at least 1.8 million people die from diarrheal disease
caused by contaminated food or water annually, and "developing
countries bear the brunt of the problem," according to the World
Considering the high costs of an outbreak - both in human lives and
in money lost - world governments are searching for ways to improve
food safety without actually boosting their surveillance of what enters
A new approach to the dilemma was unveiled last week at a university
campus on the outskirts of the US capital, at a facility called the
International Food Safety Training Laboratory.
The IFSTL is based in a handful of rooms on the campus of the University
of Maryland where US government regulators and teachers equipped with
advanced testing technologies train international scientists in the
US food safety.Lab manager Janie DuBois said it is the first lab of
its kind in the world to tackle a variety of techniques year round,
ranging from pesticide residue to microtoxins and bacterial pathogens
like salmonella and E.coli."Everybody wants to know what the regulation
is and understand how they are supposed to implement their scientific
program to meet that regulation," DuBois said.
"The United States is not imposing its methods on other countries,"
she added. "There is really a grander goal of harmonization of
Such practices are needed because food imports into the United States
have nearly doubled in the past decade, up from $41 billion annually
in 1998 to $78 billion in 2007, according to US Department of Agriculture
While deadly outbreaks - such as the recent spread of E.coli in Germany
and France that was traced to contaminated Egyptian fenugreek - grab
headlines and rattle consumers, the IFSTL was not created in response
to any particular scare.
Instead, it was a change to US law, known as the Food Safety and Modernization
Act, signed by President Barack Obama. The law requires the US government
to "expand the technical, scientific and regulatory food safety
of foreign governments, and their respective food industries, from which
foods are exported to the United States." So now, for a cost of
about $2,500 per week per student, governments and private businesses
can send their food safety scientists to the US lab for hands-on training.
"We learned many things here we didn't know before," said
Jackie Han, a Chinese food additives testing supervisor at Qingdao Hr-Qau
Inspection Limited, who donned a white lab coat and spoke to AFP during
a break in between sessions this week.
"There is not much information in China so we come out here to
get the real thing," said Han, who was among about a dozen visiting
students from China and Indonesia making up the lab's first-ever class.
"Our goal is to be the bridge between China and the foreign countries,
between the food exporters and importers." It may be good business
for China, which is rapidly increasing its US exports, to show its interest
in keeping food safe, but it is also economical for the United States,
which in turn can limit the burden on US inspectors. To act otherwise
when up to 60 percent of produce and 80 percent of seafood consumed
in the United States comes from other countries, would be too expensive,
said Paul Young, director of chemical analysis operations at Waters
Corporation. "Testing at import, while it is important for sure,
is not the solution. The solution needs to be built into the production
systems in the country of origin." Waters provided equipment to
the new lab, including a state of the art mass spectrometer. The sophisticated
machine enables scientists to test for "very large numbers of potential
contaminants in a very short period of time and also to be able to detect
them at exquisitely low concentrations," said Young.
Lab planning for the rest of this year is still under way, but organizers
are aiming for 15-20 courses annually, with an eye to eventually replicating
the model in other countries. "The next step is building a global
network of interconnected laboratories so they can share curricula and
best practices," said Young.
Calls for Arsenic Standards for Juice Concentrates
Source : http://blog.usfoodsafety.com/2011/09/18/schumer-calls-for-arsenic-standards-for-juice-concentrates/
By _foodsafeguru (Sep 18, 2011)
Sen. Charles Schumer (Dem, NY) called Sunday for standards aimed at
limiting the amount of toxic substances in fruit juice concentrates,
many of which are imported, according to DNAInfo.cocm.
There is concern, the senator said, because many of those concentrates
come from China, which has a notorious safety record and uses inorganic
arsenic, a known carcinogen, in its pesticides. According to Schumer,
70 percent of America¡¯s apple juice concentrate and 60 percent of its
pear juice or pear juice concentrate come from China. China is also
a top five exporter to the United States of other juices. In 2008, the
FDA found elevated levels of the toxin in pear juice concentrate from
China and issued an import alert.
While inorganic arsenic standards for bottled water have existed for
some time ? 10 parts per billion is considered dangerous ? there are
currently no such standards for fruit juice.
In a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, Schumer urged the
imposition of standards for food and beverages as well as increased
inspections. ¡°Given continuing horror stories of toxic food additives
and chemicals in the Chinese food supply, I am concerned that the juice
and juice concentrate China exports to the United States may put children
at risk of exposure to cancer-causing contaminants such as arsenic,¡±
Still, the senator said that there was no need for alarm. ¡°While there
is no cause for alarm and no need to stop drinking juice, a good option
for juice makers and families who have concerns is to buy juice made
from New York produced apples, which, like apples throughout the United
States, do not use pesticides with inorganic arsenic in them,¡± he said.
Reached in Listeria Death
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/settlement-reached-in-listeria-death/
By_ Bill Marler (Sep 18, 2011)
A confidential settlement was reached between the family of 87-year
old John Powers and Whittier Farms stemming from an outbreak of Listeria
linked to contaminated milk. The outbreak was responsible for the death
of at least four.
A. News of the Outbreak
On November 27, 2007, a health department officer in central Massachusetts
contacted the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) to report
a Listeria infection in an 87-year-old man, later identified as John
Powers. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) performed on Mr. Powers's
Listeria monocytogenes stool isolate produced a pattern indistinguishable
from that of isolates from three other cases identified in residents
of central Massachusetts in June, October, and early November 2007.
MDPH, in collaboration with local public health officials, conducted
an investigation, which implicated pasteurized, flavored and non-flavored,
fluid milk produced by a local dairy as the source of the outbreak.
The milk was later revealed to have been produced by Whittier Farms,
Inc., a family owned dairy located in Sutton, Massachusetts. In fact,
it was coffee-flavored milk, produced by Whittier Farms and purchased
at Shady Oaks Farm, that tested positive for Listeria and that was a
PFGE-match to the strain of Listeria associated with Mr. Powers, the
other victims, and the environmental samples collected from the dairy
Whittier Farms operated a milk product pasteurizing, bottling, and processing
facility; the dairy had operated for nearly 50 years. Raw milk was transported
by tanker truck to the Whittier Farms processing facility from the company¡¯s
own farm (with nearly 300 cows) and from another, independent farm located
25 miles away. Whittier Farms produced various milk and non-milk beverage
products in glass and plastic bottles, including several varieties of
flavored milk. Retail outlets were located at the dairy and the farm;
however, the bulk of the dairy's milk products were sold through home
delivery, and at various retail establishments in Massachusetts, including
Shady Oaks Farm in Medway. The milk products were sold under the Whittier
Farms name and other brand names. Bulk cream was distributed to a bakery
in Rhode Island, where it was used in cooked products.
B. The Outbreak Investigation
The MDPH defined a case of outbreak-associated listeriosis as illness
in a Massachusetts resident with illness onset in 2007 who: (1) was
culture-positive for Listeria monocytogenes with PFGE patterns that
matched the outbreak patterns as established by the first case; or (2)
had culture-confirmed Listeria monocytogenes and a history of consuming
milk products produced by Whittier Farms during the six weeks preceding
illness and for whom a bacterial isolate was not available for PFGE
Five patients had illness consistent with the case definition. All but
one of the patients met the first case definition criterion. The median
age of the patients was 75 years old (range: 31 to 87 years); three
were male. All five patients were hospitalized. All three of the males
(75 to 87 years old), including Mr. Powers, died from sepsis attributed
to Listeria, and died close to the time of their acute illness onset.
The first case in a female was in a 31 year old woman who had chorioamnionitis
at 36 weeks gestation. She delivered a healthy but premature infant.
A subsequent placental culture tested positive for Listeria. The second
case in a female was in a 34 year old woman who had a fever and abdominal
pain. She experienced a stillbirth at 37 weeks gestation, and cultures
of her blood, fetal blood, and placental tissue all were positive for
Interviews were subsequently conducted with the patients or their families.
One patient, however, could not be interviewed. Of the remaining four
patients, all but one had consumed products from Whittier Farms during
the six weeks preceding their illness. On December 17, evidence of Listeria
growth was reported from a coffee-flavored milk sample, retrieved from
the home of Mr. Powers. In response to the December 17 findings, the
Massachusetts Food Protection Program (MFPP) inspected Whittier Farms
and collected eleven samples of unopened, flavored and unflavored milk
products for testing on December 18. On December 21, the organism from
the December 17 sample was confirmed to be Listeria monocytogenes and
was a match to the four clinical isolates from the other patients. Thus,
the source of this particular genetic strain of Listeria was identified.
The same unique PFGE pattern was identified within Whittier Farms milk
products and the four PFGE confirmed cases associated with the outbreak,
including Mr. Powers. From this point forward, there was no doubt that
the Whittier Farms product resulted in the patients¡¯ Listeria infections.
C. Product Recall and Dairy Closure
MFPP returned to Whittier Farms on December 26 and collected environmental
swab samples from inside the processing facility. On December 27, the
State Laboratory Institute (SLI) of MDPH reported a presumptive positive
Listeria specimen in a sample of unopened, coffee-flavored milk that
had been collected from Whittier Farms on December 19. In response to
this finding, MFPP asked the dairy to voluntarily cease all operations
and recall its dairy products; Whittier Farms complied with this request
on December 27. On December 30, SLI confirmed that Listeria monocytogenes
with PFGE patterns identical to the outbreak strain was isolated from
a sample of unopened, coffee-flavored milk ingested by Mr. Powers.
From December 28, 2007, to January 3, 2008, MFPP conducted a full environmental
investigation in conjunction with the Food and Drug Administration and
the local board of health. The facility did not have an environmental
monitoring program for Listeria monocytogenes. Although this is not
required by law, is typically implemented as a best practice by other
food processors of ready-to-eat foods. Contamination, as demonstrated
by the positive environmental samples, was documented in close proximity
to areas where hoses were used to clean equipment. On February 1, 2008,
Whittier Farms decided to permanently close the milk processing facility,
citing an inability to invest the money necessary to make the facility
On January 2, 2008, after the closure of Whittier Farms and the recall
of its dairy products, approximately 100 additional environmental and
product samples were collected by MFPP from the dairy's processing facility
and adjacent retail store. One environmental swab from a floor drain
in the finished product area, one skim milk sample, and seven flavored
milk samples tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes and matched
the outbreak strain by PFGE analysis. Two additional environmental swabs
and four additional samples of milk, both flavored and non-flavored,
tested positive for seven distinct strains of Listeria, including three
different Listeria species and three strains of Listeria monocytogenes
with PFGE patterns that differed from those of the outbreak strain.
veg import restrictions to be lifted but sprout ban stays, says EU
Source : http://www.foodqualitynews.com/Food-Alerts/Egyptian-veg-import-restrictions-to-be-lifted-but-sprout-ban-stays-says-EU
By_Rory Harrington (Sep 16, 2011)
The European Commission (EC) said it will lift the import ban on some
Egyptian vegetables imposed after E.coli outbreaks in Germany and France
earlier this year - but that restrictions on fenugreek sprouts would
In July, Brussels outlawed vegetable shipments from Egypt into the bloc
as part of a move that contaminated fenugreek seeds from the country
were responsible for the outbreak of E.coli 0104:H4 that killed 50 and
sickened 4,000 in northern Germany and southwestern France during the
summer. The temporary ban was introduced in the wake of a report from
the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that linked fenugreek seeds
to the incidents- and included leguminous vegetables such as green beans
and podded peas. It is due to run until the end of next month to give
EU officials enough time to scrutinize production standards in Egypt.
The EC said member states had yesterday backed its recommendation to
reverse the decision for vegetables but leave the ban in place for Egyptian
fenugreek seeds. No details over the precise timing for the move were
This decision came after EU experts from the Food and Veterinary Office
(FVO) carried out a safety audit in Egypt ¡°which revealed no shortcomings
in the production sites of leguminous vegetables¡±, said the EC
The FVO is expected to finalise its mission report at the end of October.
The measures on the fenugreek sprouts will remain in force until 31
October and will be reviewed then, it added. In 2010, the EU imported
around 49,000 tons of the banned fenugreek seeds from Egypt, worth more
The UK¡¯s Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC) welcomed the announcement but
criticised Brussels for including the vegetables in the first place.
¡°It was vital that the European Commission identified the source of
these serious E.coli outbreaks very quickly. However, this was no excuse
for a knee-jerk reaction based on unfounded assumptions which jeopardised
the viability of fresh produce businesses trading in Egypt and the UK,¡±
said the body¡¯s CEO Nigel Jenney.
He added: ¡°Fresh produce should never have been included in this ridiculous
ban and we want to see it lifted without delay. This removal of fresh
produce from the ban reinforces the competence of Egyptian producers,
although the same cannot be said about the Commission¡¯s handling of
the matter.¡± It estimated that lost sales revenues for cucumbers, tomatoes
and lettuce ran to ¡Ì54m, while sales of bean sprouts dropped by 30%.
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
ist of Newsletters
To subscribe this Food Safety Newsletter
(C). All rights reserved FoodHACCP.com.