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CDC: Most dairy-related disease outbreaks linked to raw milk
Source : http://www.agriview.com/feature/farmlife/cdc-most-dairy-related-disease-outbreaks-linked-to-raw-milk/article_ea531c2e-632c-11e1-8684-0019bb2963f4.html
By JANE FYKSEN (Mar 1, 2012)
The rate of outbreaks caused by unpasteurized milk and products made from raw milk was 150 times greater than outbreaks linked to pasteurized milk, according to a study by the U.S. government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 13-year review by CDC also reveals that the states where the sale of raw milk was legal had more than twice the rate of outbreaks as states where it was illegal.
The study was published last week in the CDC journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases. It reviewed dairy-produce-related disease outbreaks from 1993 to 2006 in all 50 states. Authors compared the amount of milk produced in the U.S. over the study period (about 2.7 trillion pounds) to the amount CDC estimates was likely consumed raw (a mere 1 percent, or 27 billion pounds) to come up with the 150 times higher rate of outbreaks caused by raw milk and products made with it, such as cheese and yogurt.
The study covered 121 dairy—related disease outbreaks, which caused 4,413 illnesses, 239 hospitalizations and three deaths. In 60 percent of the outbreaks (i.e. 73 outbreaks) state health officials determined raw milk products were the cause. Nearly all of the hospitalizations (200 of the 239) were from the raw milk outbreaks.
“Reported outbreaks represent the tip of the iceberg. For every outbreak and every illness reported, many others occur, and most illnesses are not part of recognized outbreaks,” the agency points out.
Thirteen percent of patients in raw milk outbreaks were hospitalized compared to just 1 percent in pasteurized milk outbreaks. This may be because raw milk outbreaks were all caused by bacteria, such as E. coli O157, which tend to produce more severe illnesses, study authors say. Pasteurized milk and cheese outbreaks were often caused by relatively mild infections like norovirus and Staphylococcus aureus.
CDC reports these dairy-related outbreaks occurred in 30 states, and 75 percent of the raw milk outbreaks (i.e. 55 outbreaks) occurred in the 21 states where it was legal to sell raw milk products at the time. The study also reported that seven states changed their laws during the study period.
“This study shows an association between state laws and the number of outbreaks and illnesses from raw milk products,” highlights Robert Tauxe, a medical doctor and deputy director of CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases (DFWED). “Restricting the sale of raw milk products is likely to reduce the number of outbreaks and can help keep people healthier.”
This study also found that the raw milk product outbreaks led to much more severe illness—and disproportionately affected people under age 20. In the raw milk outbreaks with known age breakdowns, 60 percent of patients were younger than 20, compared to 23 percent in outbreaks from pasteurized products. Children are more likely than adults to get seriously ill from the bacteria in raw milk, according to the CDC.
CDC health officials warn that consumers can’t tell if raw milk is really safe to drink, and that even under ideal conditions of cleanliness, collecting milk introduces some bacteria, which unless the milk is pasteurized, can multiply and grow.
CDC isn’t alone either in backing pasteurization over raw milk, so does the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Veterinary Medical Association.
“While some people think that raw milk has more health benefits than pasteurized milk, this study shows that raw milk has great risks—especially for children, who experience more severe illnesses if they get sick,” notes study co-author Barbara Mahon, also a medical doctor, and deputy chief of CDC’s DFWED Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch.
“Parents who have lived through the experience of watching their child fight for their life after drinking raw milk now say that it’s just not worth the risk,” she notes. The CDC has several videotapes online of those parents discussing what they’ve been through (www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/rawmilk/raw-milk-videos.html).
“Back to nature”—that’s what many urbanites are trying to do with the food they buy and eat. They are shopping “local” at farmers’ markets and/or direct from producers, opting for organic at the grocery store, participating in food cooperatives or CSAs. Some are even getting into gardening or backyard chickens. Many people are trying to eat foods that are minimally processed. While that’s all well and good—and potentially profitable from the producer’s perspective—CDC warns that milk and dairy products do indeed need minimal processing, i.e. pasteurization. Heating milk to 161 degrees for about 20 seconds is all it takes to kill disease-causing germs like Salmonella, E. coli O157, Campylobacter and others that can be found in raw milk.
Before pasteurization, raw milk was a common source of the bacteria that cause tuberculosis, diphtheria, severe streptococcal infections, typhoid fever, and other food-borne illnesses that killed many people each year, especially young children. CDC reports that numerous studies have shown that pasteurization does not significantly change the nutritional value of milk. While heat slightly affects a few of the vitamins found in milk—thiamine, vitamin B12, and vitamin C—milk is only a minor source of these vitamins in the overall diet anyway.
CDC health experts want people to “understand the risks of drinking raw milk,” especially because they may “be hearing claims about the supposed ‘benefits’ of raw milk.” However, the CDC says that while it’s possible to get food-borne illnesses from all kinds of food, “raw milk is one of the riskiest of all.” And “getting sick” can mean many days of diarrhea, stomach cramping and vomiting, or less commonly, it can mean kidney failure, paralysis, chronic disorders, even death. For example, a person can develop severe or even life-threatening diseases, such as Guillain-Barré syndrome, which can cause paralysis, and hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can result in kidney failure and stroke.
“If you think that certain types of bacteria may be beneficial to your health consider getting them from foods that don’t involve such a high risk. For example, so-called probiotic bacteria are sometimes added to pasteurized fermented foods, such as yogurt and kefir,” say CDC health experts.
Here’s the laundry list of germs sometimes found in raw milk that can make people sick: Bacteria (Brucella, Campylobacter, Listeria, Mycobacterium bovis, Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, Shigella, Yersinia); parasites (Giardia), and viruses (norovirus).
According to the CDC, the risk of getting sick from drinking raw milk is greater for infants and young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, such as those with cancer, an organ transplant, or HIV/AIDS. But it’s important to remember that healthy people of any age—including farmers who’ve hung onto the idea of drinking their own herd’s raw milk—can get very sick or even die if it’s contaminated with harmful germs.
Raw-milk fans argue that it has more enzymes and nutrients than pasteurized milk
While it’s true that pasteurization does inactivate some enzymes in milk, “the enzymes in raw animal milk are not thought to be important in human health,” CDC states. “Some nutrients are somewhat reduced in raw milk, but the United States diet generally has plenty of other sources of these nutrients. For example, vitamin C is reduced by pasteurization, but raw milk is not a major source of vitamin C.”
Many people believe that small, local farms are better sources of healthy food. Indeed, CDC points out that “there are many local, small farms that offer pasteurized organic milk and cheese products.”
Does drinking raw milk prevent or cure any diseases, such as asthma, allergies, heart disease, or cancer? No, says the CDC. There are no health benefits from drinking raw milk that can’t be obtained from drinking pasteurized milk, and pasteurization of milk “has never been found to be the cause of chronic diseases, allergies, or developmental or behavioral problems.”
Here in Wisconsin, Loganville dairy producer Vernon Hershberger is facing charges for supplying a so-called private buying club with raw milk. At Agri-View’s press deadline earlier this week, “food sovereignty” activists were planning on gathering in Baraboo this week to support Hershberger at a court hearing. Hershberger is charged with, among other things, operating a retail food establishment without a license. Hershberger repeatedly denies this, citing he provides milk only to paid members in a private buying club and thus isn’t subject to state food regulations. “There is more at stake here than just a farmer and his few customers,” says Hershberger, “this is about the fundamental right of farmers and consumers to engage in peaceful, private, mutually consenting agreements for food, without additional oversight.”
At a pre-court rally scheduled for 11 a.m. March 2, in front of the Sauk County Courthouse in Baraboo, food rights activists will read and distribute a “Declaration of Food Independence” that asserts inherent rights in food choice. A signing ceremony will be part of the rally that advocates expect the declaration will inspire a growing food sovereignty movement. Event information can be had at RawMilkFreedomRiders.com.

Food Safety Official's Ties to Monsanto Spur Petition for Ouster
Source : http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/Funding-boost-for-technologies-to-rapidly-detect-food-pathogens
By Joe Whitworth ( Feb 28, 2012 )
Two US-based companies aiming to use technology to improve the speed of food pathogen detection have received a funding boost from a food protection organisation.
Seattle Sensor Systems and nanoRETE were selected from more than 40 companies due to their development of differing technology to quickly identify food pathogens.
The Global Food Protection Institute (GFPI) allocated the money via its Emerging Technology Accelerator (ETA).
The aim is to help fast-track the technologies to market, with both companies agreeing improvements could be made to current pathogen detection methods.
NanoRETE’s technology has the ability to test for numerous pathogens and toxins using a handheld device which generates screening results in around one hour.
Seattle Sensor Systems use a portable surface plasmon resonance (SPR) technology for detection of biohazards in food sources by monitoring production and analysing factory environments.
Results within an hour
Tom Skillman, president and CEO at Seattle Sensor Systems told FoodProductionDaily.com that “faster testing is a ubiquitous need in the food industry.”
“Our technology is based on an observation from material physics that characteristics of TM polarised light reflected from a thin gold film change in very predictable ways when microscopic changes are made to the film's surface.
“Because the biosensor in our instrument can detect either an organism’s outer cell wall, internal proteins, DNA sequences, or RNA sequences, we are able to select key markers that are sufficiently abundant to allow quick detection with little or no ‘enrichment’ (pathogen growth time) as compared to competing technologies.
“For example, by coating the gold film with molecular structures (antibodies) that bind tightly to food pathogens or allergens (antibodies) and then flowing a liquid sample across the surface of the biosensor, any pathogens present in the fluid will bind to the antibodies on the gold film surface and cause an instant detectable change that can be measured, recorded, and displayed,” he said.
Making the device portable would remove the time, difficulties, and costs when samples must be collected, labelled, controlled, transported and processed at a remote lab, said Skillman.
Skillman said: “The amount of time required to collect and test samples, impacts the producer by extending food quarantine, increasing spoilage, and reducing shelf life. “
Winning situation
NanoRETE CEO Fred Beyerlein told FoodProductionDaily.com current practices take “precious time, sophisticated equipment and a dedicated laboratory environment.”
“Get closer to the point of contaminant, get an answer fast, keep the contaminated food stuffs from getting into the supply chain and you will have a winning situation for all involved, especially the consumer.”
NanoRETE believes their technology, X-MARK, offers a detection mode that brings the testing to the point of potential contamination, said Beyerlein.
He said: “The technology is based on the use of proprietary magnetic nanoparticles which can be conjugated with select monoclonal antibodies or DNA sequences or probes to detect a broad range of pathogens or toxins.
“The challenge for any early stage company is its ability to rapidly bring together the human capital and financial resources necessary to quickly commercial its technology base but we feel we are well on the road to securing these key ingredients,” he added.

Avoid high-risk foods, food-safety expert recommends
Source : http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-02-high-risk-foods-food-safety-expert.html
By admin(Feb 28, 2012 )
As consumers, we start to ask whether any foods are safe to eat.
While it is unlikely that we can completely eliminate the risk of foodborne illness, we can certainly identify a few food items that pose a higher risk of making us ill and avoid them, advises a food-safety expert with Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
"One just needs to look through U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports to see that there are certain foods that show up time and again," said Martin Bucknavage, extension food-safety specialist. "In my opinion, these are foods we certainly should consider removing from our diet if we are interested in reducing our chances of contracting foodborne disease."
Following are a few foods Bucknavage suggests avoiding:
-- Raw sprouts. In the last 15 years, there have been at least 30 reported cases of foodborne illness linked to raw sprouts.
"Pathogenic bacteria come in on the seeds or beans, and during the sprouting process, the conditions are right for these bacteria to multiply," he explained. "Processors will sanitize seeds to remove bacteria, but that measure has not been foolproof."
-- Raw milk. People have consumed raw milk for ages, but from time to time, pathogenic bacteria make their way into the milk, Bucknavage noted.
"In the recent outbreak of foodborne illness related to raw milk sold in southern Pennsylvania, 77 people became infected by Campylobacter, which will cause severe diarrheal conditions for as long as a week or more."
Bucknavage conceded that there are avid proponents of drinking raw milk, who point to the fresh taste and the perceived health benefits.
"However, these health benefits have not been scientifically proven, and the working part of the cow, the udders, are close to the ground and can become contaminated with pathogenic organisms such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria and E. coli," he said.
"While most of those who sell raw milk keep the dairy environment as clean as they can and regularly test the health of the cows, a long history of outbreaks shows that there is a real risk of dangerous bacteria making their way into milk. This is why pasteurization became a standard practice in the late 1800s."
-- Raw oysters. These are another food that has a loyal following, Bucknavage pointed out. But he explained that oysters are filter feeders and can capture pathogenic bacteria and viruses if they are harvested in contaminated waters.
"A process such as depuration -- allowing oysters to live in cleaned water for a period of time -- can help, but use of this practice is limited," he said.
-- Undercooked ground beef. While some people undercook hamburgers intentionally, the majority do it because they do not use the correct endpoint for cooking, according to Bucknavage. They should measure the recommended internal temperature of 160 F using a meat thermometer.
"It would be fair to say that most people measure whether something is cooked by visual evaluation -- the lack of pink color," he said. "But this is an unreliable method.
"Some people will point out that they eat steak with pink in the middle. But this is different than hamburger. In the process of making hamburger, the meat is ground, and the exterior parts where the bacteria reside are mixed throughout the meat. Because of this, we need to achieve a higher cooking temperature in the center of the meat."
Chicken is another example of a food that often is undercooked, whether on purpose or by accident, Bucknavage lamented. Poultry has been shown to have a high prevalence, or contamination rate, of Campylobacter, he noted.
"To properly cook poultry, an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit or higher is required," he said. "Otherwise, organisms such as Campylobacter can survive."
Along with avoiding high-risk foods, it is also important to practice effective cleaning and sanitizing of food-preparation surfaces and cooking utensils, Bucknavage said, as well as storing food under proper conditions. "Doing this, we can go a long way in protecting ourselves and our families from contracting foodborne illness."

Hundreds of Dallas restaurants not inspected in years; broken system leaves food safety gap
Source : http://blog.usfoodsafety.com/2012/02/28/hundreds-of-dallas-restaurants-not-inspected-in-years-broken-system-leaves-food-safety-gap/
By Doug Powell (Feb 28, 2012)
An NBC 5 investigation finds that more than 200 Dallas restaurants have not been inspected in at least two years.
The city of Dallas has been scrambling to inspect hundreds of restaurants because of an NBC 5 investigation.
NBC 5 discovered that the city’s inspection system has broken down so badly that some restaurants haven’t been checked in years — not even once.
Wherever you eat, you never know what’s happening in the kitchen. That’s why cities have inspectors — to check for things that could make you sick.
Or at least that’s what we thought they were doing, until NBC 5 started asking questions and digging through city records.
Our investigation turned up a list of 241 restaurants the city of Dallas hasn’t checked since at least 2009.
NBC 5 followed health inspectors to one of those restaurants, a diner that hadn’t been checked in so long that the owner wondered if the city was ever coming back.
The people in charge of city inspections didn’t know so many were so overdue until NBC 5 pointed it out.
Peter Snyder, an expert in food safety with more than 40 years of experience in the restaurant industry, said what happens in Dallas is typical of many big cities he sees around the country (like Houston, which called on Pete’s expertise a few months ago). Cities have cut back on inspectors and are not able to keep up with the workload, and restaurant customers can end up paying the price.
“You can have massive foodborne outbreaks — which we’re having these days where somebody forgets to wash their hands, and you get hepatitis A in the salsa, and 60 people get sick,” Snyder said.
Two years ago, Dallas had 23 restaurant inspectors.
But the city cut five positions, and then five more inspectors left in the last year and a half. They’ve never been replaced.
Today Dallas has 13 people to inspect more than 6,000 restaurants.
Tracey Evers, president of the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association said, “There’s nothing that replaces that one-on-one interaction with the health inspector and the restaurant.”
In Fort Worth, NBC 5′s investigation also found restaurants that haven’t been checked in a long time.
NBC 5′s questions sent the city scrambling to inspect a list of about 50 restaurants it hadn’t visited in at least two years.
And when the inspectors finally went into some of those kitchens, records show they found critical health violations such as no paper towels in the restroom, broken refrigerator thermometers and workers who didn’t have proper training to handle food.
“Certainly we’d like to have more frequent contact and be able to go to these establishments on a more regular basis,” said Scott Hanlan, of Fort Worth’s Code Compliance Division.
It now has 13 people inspecting 2,100 restaurants. But the same inspectors are also responsible for checking things such as swimming pools, food trucks and large special events that serve food.

EU conference aims to challenge food crime 'phenomenon' Source : http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/EU-conference-aims-to-challenge-food-crime-phenomenon
By Mark Astley ( Feb 28, 2012 )
Food control authorities, police forces and regulatory bodies have gathered in Brussels in the hope of boosting their efforts against food crime in the European Union (EU).
The European Commission (EC) Conference on Combatting Food Crime, which is part of the Commission’s Better Training for Safer Food Initiative, was organised with the aim of improving communication between member states and driving the region’s fight against food crime.
Food-related offences includes the production, processing, distribution and marketing of products that disregard food laws.
The type of criminality is generally associated with countries such as China, but it is quickly becoming an issue in Europe, where nearly 2.5m counterfeit food and drink items were seized in 2009.
The conference comes just months after a Europol-led operation, which resulted in the seizure of masses of illegal food.
Organised crime “phenomenon”
“The conference aims to facilitate exchange of experience between competent authorities at Member State and European levels on existing legal and judicial instruments, and discuss possible improvement,” said an EC statement.
“This should lead to strengthened coordination between all actors and the identification and development of new strategies for combating food-related crime.”
The EC hope that the conference will lead to regular EU meetings on food-related crime.
“Sub-standard food products on the market could be the result of fraudulent practice simply negligence whereas fraudulent practices are the likely basis where counterfeit food products are concerned,” the statement added.
The presence of organised crime in the area of food, which generally peaks in the run up to Christmas, is a moderately new “phenomenon”.
This increased presence has been partly attributed to a lack of severe sanctions against such practices in Europe.
“As illegal practices in the area of food increase, it is clear that more information is necessary to combat the problem.”
Counterfeit seizures
The week-long Operation Opson, which involved police forces and officials from 10 EU member states, involved mass checks at airports, seaports, shops and markets across the continent.
Over 13,000 bottles of substandard olive oil, 12,000 bottles of substandard wine, 30 tonnes of fake tomato sauce and around 77,000kg of counterfeit cheese were seized during the operations.
Five tonnes of substandard fish and seafood and nearly 30,000 counterfeit candy bars were also detained.

Higher BPA Levels Increase to Heart Disease Risk
Source : http://www.foodproductdesign.com/news/2012/02/higher-bpa-levels-increase-to-heart-disease-risk.aspx
By admin(Feb 27, 2012 )
Healthy people who have higher urine concentrations of bisphenol A (BPA) are have a higher risk of developing heart disease, according to a new study published online in the journal Circulation.
Researchers at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, the University of Exeter and the European Centre for the Environment and Human Health, in association with the University of Cambridge, examined data from the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC), a long-term population study, to establish a link between exposure to BPA and future onset of cardiovascular disease
The study compared urine BPA measures from 758 initially healthy EPIC study respondents who later developed cardiovascular disease, and 861 respondents who remained heart disease free. The findings showed those who developed heart disease tended to have higher urinary BPA concentrations at the start of the 10-year period. The extent of the effect is very difficult to estimate given that just one urine specimen from each participant was available for testing at the beginning of the 10-year follow-up.
“This study strengthens the statistical link between BPA and heart disease, but we can’t be certain that BPA itself is responsible." the researchers said. “If BPA itself is directly responsible for this increase in risk, the size of effect is difficult to estimate. However, it adds to the evidence that BPA may be an additional contributor to heart disease risk alongside the major risk factors, such as smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels."

Three-quarters of carbendazim-tested OJ shipments enter the US - FDA
Source : http://www.foodqualitynews.com/Public-Concerns/Three-quarters-of-carbendazim-tested-OJ-shipments-enter-the-US-FDA
By admin ( Feb 27, 2012)
Almost three-quarters of all orange juice and concentrate shipments attempting to enter the US have tested negative for carbendazim, US food safety officials have confirmed.
Samples have been taken from a total of 106 shipments of orange juice or concentrate, of which 77 have tested negative for the unapproved fungicide, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA),
So far, 58 shipments have been released including 22 from Canada, 18 from Mexico and three from the Dominican Republic, two each from Italy, Argentina, Costa Rica, Honduras and Trinidad and Tobago.
The remaining 5 released shipments were from Brazil, Lebanon, Belize, Thailand and Turkey.
Twenty-four shipments have been detained or refused entry to the US after samples have tested positive for carbendazim, including 12 from Canada and 12 from Brazil.
The FDA implemented the measures after being alerted to levels of the unapproved fungicide by Minute-Maid manufacturer Coca-Cola. It warned the agency after it found levels of the unapproved fungicide in its own marketed product, its’ competitors and not yet marketed samples.
Both Brazilian orange juice product export trade body CitrusBR and import law specialist FDAImports.com have been critical of the measures, as reported by FoodQualityNews.com.

Drinking green tea protective against lead poisoning
Source : http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/Safety/chemical/green_tea_lead_poisoning_0226120927.html
By David Liu PHD (Feb 26, 2012)
A new study in the Feb 11, 2012 issue of Neurotoxicology suggests that drinking green tea along with meal if the meal contains high levels of lead may help protect against lead induced brain damage or lead poisoning.  Lead is known to cause neurotoxicityamong other things.
The animal study led by A.A. Khalaf and colleagues at the Cairo University in Giza, Egypt shows that co-administration of green tea with a chemical called lead acetate did not cause as much adverse effects as administration of lead acetate only.
For the study, five groups of rats received either placebo, lead acetate, lead acetate and green tea, green tea only for one month, or lead acetate for one month and then green tea for 15 days.
Lead acetate was given orally at a dose of 100mg/kg body weight while green tea was given in drinking water at a concentration of 5 grams /L.
The researchers found "Lead acetate administration induced loss of body weight and decreased concentration of reduced glutathione and SOD activity in brain tissues as well as significantly high DNA fragmentation and pathological changes. Co-administration of green tea with lead acetate significantly alleviated these adverse effects."
Lead as a heavy metal element is controlled in processed food in the United States.  All heavy metals together should not exceed 10 parts per million or ppm in a food ingredient.
In 1998, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported cases of lead poisoning related to consumption of imported candy in its weekly journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The US Food Drug Administration recommends a 6-ug per day tolerable limit for dietary intake of lead for children aged less than 6 years to prevent the more subtle adverse neurologic and behavioral effects of lead exposure. according to the CDC report.
Lead poisoning also known plumbism, colica Pictonum or Saturnism is caused by exposure to high levels of the heavy metal lead.  Lead poisoning can be particularly a problem in children. It can cause potentially permanent learning and behavior disorders.
Lead poisoning is toxic to more than the brain.  It can damage other organs and tissues including the heart, bones, intestines, kidneys and reproductive system as well.
Symptoms of lead poisoning include stomach pain, confusion, headache, anemia, irritability and in severe cases seizures, coma and death.
Food, drinking water and air can all become a source for lead poisoning.  One way to reduce intake of lead from drinking water is to use tap water filters.

Six State Outbreak of Shiga Toxin-producing E. coli O26 Infections Linked to Raw Clover Sprouts at Jimmy John's Restaurants
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/legal-cases/six-state-outbreak-of-shiga-toxin-producing-e-coli-o26-infections-linked-to-raw-clover-sprouts-at-ji/
By Bill Marler (Feb 24, 2012 )
A total of 14 persons infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O26 have been reported from 5 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Iowa (5), Missouri (3), Kansas (2), Michigan (2), Arkansas (1), and Wisconsin (1). Among persons for whom information is available, illness onset dates range from December 25, 2011 to January 15, 2012. Ill persons range in age from 9 years to 49 years old, with a median age of 25 years old. One hundred percent of ill persons are female. Among the 12 ill persons, 2 (17%) were hospitalized. None have developed HUS, and no deaths have been reported.
Epidemiologic and traceback investigations conducted by officials in local, state, and federal public health, agriculture, and regulatory agencies have linked this outbreak to eating raw clover sprouts. Among the 11 ill persons with information available, 10 (91%) reported eating at a Jimmy John's sandwich restaurant in the 7 days preceding illness. Ill persons reported eating at 9 different locations of Jimmy John's restaurants in 4 states in the week before becoming ill. One location was identified where more than one ill person reported eating in the week before becoming ill. Among the 10 ill persons who reported eating at a Jimmy John's restaurant location, 8 (80%) reported eating a sandwich containing sprouts, and 9 (90%) reported eating a sandwich containing lettuce. Currently, no other common grocery stores or restaurants are associated with illnesses.

Campylobacter Cases from Raw Milk Outbreak Reach 80
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03/campylobacter-cases-from-pa-raw-milk-outbreak-reach-80/
By James Andrews (Mar 01, 2012)
Since Food Safety News last reported on February 24, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has confirmed an additional two cases of Campylobacter infections in an outbreak tied to contaminated unpasteurized milk from Your Family Cow dairy in Chambersburg, PA. The latest cases bring the outbreak toll to 80 confirmed illnesses.
The two new confirmations -- both from Pennsylvania -- do not have a recent onset, as the emergence of new cases appears to have slowed.
This is the largest foodborne illness linked to raw milk in Pennsylvania history, affecting individuals in four states. The breakdown of cases by state is as follows:
Pennsylvania (70 illnesses), Maryland (5), West Virginia (3), New Jersey (2).
Since 2007, Pennsylvania raw milk dairies have been linked to at least seven outbreaks, now resulting in a total of 287 illnesses. In 2008, the state had a raw milk outbreak of Campylobacter infection that sickened 72 people.
Illness onset dates for the current outbreak range from January 17 to February 1. At least nine people have been hospitalized.
Although the Your Family Cow dairy temporarily halted sales upon discovery of the outbreak, the farm was allowed to resume production on February 6, after passing a health inspection.
Lab tests by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene found the outbreak strain of Campylobacter in two unopened bottles of raw milk collected from customers' homes, and the owners of Your Family Cow dairy acknowledged responsibility for the contaminated milk that caused the outbreak.  "It was us ... food from our farm has made people sick," Edwin Shank wrote in an open letter posted on the dairy's website
Of the 80 confirmed cases, 25 (31 percent) are under the age of 18, while all those ill ranged in age from 2 to 74. Children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are most susceptible to illness from pathogenic bacteria.
A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania state department of health emphasized that the two latest confirmed cases occurred within the established illness onset range of January 17 to February 1, suggesting that the outbreak ended weeks ago. Regardless, more cases may continue to surface as health laboratories match illnesses to the outbreak.
The sale of raw milk in legal in Pennsylvania. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study showing that states that permit raw milk sales have more than twice as many illness outbreaks as states where raw milk is not sold.

CDC investigating outbreak of E. coli linked to sprouts at Jimmy John's
Source : http://www.hollandsentinel.com/newsnow/x132507277/CDC-investigating-outbreak-of-E-coli-linked-to-sprouts-at-Jimmy-John-s
By Staff reports (Feb 29, 2012 )
As of last week, two cases of people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli 026 have been reported in Michigan.
Preliminary results of the epidemiological and traceback investigations by the Centers for Disease Control indicate eating raw clover sprouts at Jimmy John's restaurants is the likely cause.
Other states with outbreaks include Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Wisconsin.
Two people have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported, according to the CDC’s website.
The CDC provides these tips for consumers:
- Children, older adults, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems should avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind.
- Cook sprouts thoroughly to reduce the risk of illness. Cooking thoroughly kills the harmful bacteria.
- Request that raw sprouts not be added to your food. If you purchase a sandwich or salad at a restaurant or delicatessen, check to make sure that raw sprouts have not been added.
- Persons who think they might have become ill from eating potentially contaminated sprouts should consult their health care providers.

Good intentions, bad food safety: 40,000 pounds of potentially contaminated chicken mistakenly given away in Texas
Source : http://blog.usfoodsafety.com/2012/02/28/good-intentions-bad-food-safety-40000-pounds-of-potentially-contaminated-chicken-mistakenly-given-away-in-texas/
By Doug Powell (Feb 28, 2012 )
KTXS News reports that what started out as a good deed could have potentially bad consequences – after 40,000 pounds of contaminated chicken was mistakenly donated to charities in the Brownwood area two weeks ago.
After a rollover accident in Mills County, Texas, on February 10, 2012, Brown County Health Department received a report that 40,000 pounds of partially thawed and potentially contaminated chicken was being given away in Brown County.
Texas Department of Public Safety worked the accident scene until approximately 9:30pm and condemned the trailer load of chicken due to its partial thawing and possible health risks said Brownwood/Brown County Health Inspector Paul Coghlan. He explained that the chicken posed a hazard with consumption of either salmonella or food poisoning, both of which can be life threatening to anyone with a compromised immune system.
After the insurance company released the contents of the trailer to be disposed of on February 15th, someone from the company decided to take the chicken, not knowing of the health risk that it posed, to non-profit agencies such as Good Samaritan Ministries and the Salvation Army in Brownwood, according to Coghlan. Both of these agencies refused the donation because they are required to only buy or accept raw meats from licensed distributors. The man then went to local churches and donated many cases of chicken which were then passed on to individuals in need, Coghlan said.
As soon as Coghlan received the report about the man possibly donating the contaminated chicken, he and Dr. James Hays began trying to find where the chickens were distributed. They also notified the Brownwood Regional Medical Center emergency room so that cases of food poisoning or salmonella could be tracked. The man who donated the chicken was located and he gladly cooperated, giving officials a list of places he left the chicken, Coghlan said. Brownwood Police were also called in to assist in the search and interview of possible recipients of the tainted meat.
“The man was trying to do a good deed, unfortunately some people don’t know how to handle meat safely,” said Coghlan. “I feel like we would have seen something by now if anyone was going to get sick from the meat; however it does still have potential to be dangerous.”
Coghlan stated that some of the people who received the chicken would not give the meat back; however, they were warned of the possibility that they may become ill if they consumed it. They were also given tips on how to tell if chicken is contaminated, to look for air in the packaging which signals decay, a slimy feel to the meat, or a foul odor when the packaging is opened.
Of the 40,000 pounds of chicken on the trailer, less than 3000 pounds have been accounted for and the public is still urged to dispose of this chicken if received.
The risk of cross-contamination seems grossly underestimated.

New influenza virus discovered in Guatemalan fruit bats
Source : http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2012/p0227_Guatemala_Fruitbats.html
By CDC Division of News and Electronic Media (Feb 27, 2012)
A new influenza A virus discovered in fruit bats in Guatemala does not appear to present a current threat to humans, but should be studied as a potential source for human influenza, according to scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who worked with University of the Valley of Guatemala. The study was published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“This is the first time an influenza virus has been identified in bats, but in its current form the virus is not a human health issue,” said Dr. Suxiang Tong, team lead of the Pathogen Discovery Program in CDC’s Division of Viral Diseases and lead author of the study.  “The study is important because the research has identified a new animal species that may act as a source of flu viruses.” 
For the bat influenza virus to infect humans, it would need to obtain some genetic properties of human influenza viruses. This can occur in nature through a process called reassortment. Reassortment occurs when two or more influenza viruses infect a single host cell, which allows the viruses to swap genetic information. Reassortment is a complicated chain of events that can sometimes lead to the emergence of new influenza viruses in humans. Preliminary CDC research on the new virus suggests that its genes are compatible with human influenza viruses.
“Fortunately, initial laboratory testing suggests the new virus would need to undergo significant changes to become capable of infecting and spreading easily among humans,” said Dr. Ruben Donis, chief of the Molecular Virology and Vaccines Branch in CDC’s Influenza Division and a study co–author.  “A different animal – such as a pig, horse or dog –would need to be capable of being infected with both this new bat influenza virus and human influenza viruses for reassortment to occur.”
Bat influenza viruses are known only to infect little yellow–shouldered bats, which are common in Central and South America and are not native to the United States.  CDC works with global disease experts to monitor influenza viruses that circulate in animals, which could affect humans.  Previous pandemics of the 20th century, as well as the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, were caused by influenza viruses in animals that gained the ability to infect and spread easily in humans.
For more information about CDC’s global disease detection and emergency response activities, please see www.cdc.gov/globalhealth/gdder/gdd/. Influenza related information, including influenza in animals, is available at www.cdc.gov/flu.
To view the study, please visit www.cdc.gov/eid. For more information about raw milk, visit http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/rawmilk/raw-milk-index.html.

Allergen Alert: MSG in Sausages
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/02/allergen-alert-msg-in-sausages/
By Olivia Marler (Feb 28, 2012)
London Meat Co. of New York, NY is recalling approximately 200 pounds of sausage because it contains monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is not listed on the label, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced Monday.
There have been no reports of adverse reactions.
FSIS said its personnel discovered the problem during a routine inspection. FSIS said the MSG was added as an ingredient when seasoning blends were changed, but the company did not update its product label.
The recall is of 5-lb boxes of "Milano's Country Breakfast Sausage," containing 80 sausage links per box. Each box bears the establishment number "EST. 8777" inside the USDA mark of inspection.
These recalled sausages were made-to-order for restaurants and caterers in the New York City area through Feb. 21, 2012.
For more information contact the company's co-owner Michael Milano at 212- 255-2135.

Oakland County, Michigan a hot spot for Jimmy Johns E. coli illnesses
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/oakland-county-michigan-a-hot-spot-for-jimmy-johns-e-coli-illnesses/
By Drew Falkenstein (Feb 26, 2012)
On Friday, Michigan was thrown into the multi-state mix (Wisconsin, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri) of states with illnesses in the most recent Jimmy Johns sprouts outbreak.  The announcement was the there were 2 Michigan residents whose illnesses were confirmed E. coli O26, matching the Jimmy Johns outbreak strain, with another 5 "suspect" cases. 
Three of the five "suspect" E. coli cases in Michigan were reported in Oakland County, according to the Oakland County Health Department.  Epidemiologist Shane Bies said all three people tested positive for E. coli, and all three recently ate raw sprouts.  “Raw sprouts have been known to be sources of E. coli, and salmonella as well,” said Bies, pointing out that the sprouts are not cooked, and washing them does not always get rid of bacteria. He said all three people ate at Jimmy John’s sandwich shops.  Bies said the Oakland County cases have not yet been confirmed to be the O26 strain.
Two of the seven likely cases in Michigan were hospitalized.  The counties where illnesses were reported are Kent, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne.  These are not necessarily where all the sick people live, just where they were treated and tested positive for E. coli, triggering an obligation by the doctors or labs that generated the positive results to report that to the local health department.  

Raw Milk Producer Slapped With Permanent Injunction
Source : http://www.foodproductdesign.com/news/2012/02/raw-milk-producer-slapped-with-permanent-injuncti.aspx
By admin(Feb 24, 2012 )
The U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) a permanent injunction preventing Rainbow Acres Farm and its owner Daniel L. Allgyer from distributing raw milk and raw milk products in final package form for human consumption across state lines.
The federal court also ruled Allgyer’s participation in a so-called “private buying club" does not shield him from federal oversight, and Allgyer’s “cow share" agreements are a subterfuge for sales of raw milk. Members of the private buying club had allegedly purchased “shares" of individual cows and then claimed that their reputed ownership entitled them to raw milk from those cows. Allgyer provided the association members who lived outside of Pennsylvania with containers of raw milk, even though federal law prohibits sales of raw milk for human consumption across state lines. Raw milk sales are legal within the state of Pennsylvania. Allgyer also violated federal law by not providing any labeling on the raw milk containers sold to consumers.
The permanent injunction requires Allgyer to place a statement on his products, invoices, and website that he will no longer distribute unpasteurized milk or milk products in interstate commerce. He also must keep complete records of each sale, including the name and address of each buyer, the date of sale or distribution, and the amount and type of products sold, and must provide a copy of the Court’s order to all employees and persons who work with him to distribute unpasteurized milk and milk products.
FDA sought the injunction against Allgyer after documenting multiple and repeated violations of federal law. FDA issued a warning letter to Allgyer in April 2010 informing him of these violations and requesting that he take corrective measures to avoid regulatory action. Allgyer continued to operate in violation of federal law.

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