04/16,2012
ISSUE:491

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48% of Chicken in Small Sample Has E. Coli
Source : http://blog.usfoodsafety.com/2012/04/12/48-of-chicken-in-small-sample-has-e-coli/
By foodsafeguru (Apr 12, 2012)
“Most consumers do not realize that feces are in the chicken products they purchase,” said Dr. Neal D. Barnard, president of the group. “Food labels discuss contamination as if it is simply the presence of bacteria, but people need to know that it means much more than that.”
Food safety specialists said the findings were a tempest in a chicken coop, particularly because the test was so small and the E. coli found was not a kind that threatened public health.
“What’s surprising to me is that they didn’t find more,” said Dr. Michael Doyle, director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia. “Poop gets into your food, and not just into meat — produce is grown in soil fertilized with manure, and there’s E. coli in that, too.”
Dr. Doyle emphasized that the findings by the nonprofit group were different from the recent uproar over “pink slime,” the inexpensive filler containing ammonia gas or citric acid that is often added to ground beef products to kill E. coli and other bacteria. “That’s an additive,” he said.
Eight billion to nine billion chickens annually are processed for food in the United States, and the Department of Agriculture requires processors to do an E. coli test on one of every 22,000 birds slaughtered, or, for small producers, at least one a week.
The National Chicken Council, a trade group representing chicken producers, said the Physicians Committee’s test was “disingenuous,” given that it identified only 57 questionable samples out of about 42 million pounds of ready-to-cook chicken products in grocery stores every day.
“These findings, not a ‘peer-reviewed’ study, are another misleading attempt by a pseudo-medical group to scare consumers in hopes of advancing their goal of a vegan society,” said Dr. Ashley Peterson, vice president of science and technology at the National Chicken Council.
Dr. Peterson said chicken processing plants “strictly” abide by the Department of Agriculture’s zero tolerance for visible fecal matter and use many measures to reduce bacteria levels throughout processing. “When a product moves through the plant, bacteria levels are reduced many hundreds of times to a fraction of what was naturally on the bird when it arrived,” she said.
Dirk Fillpot, of the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the Department of Agriculture, said the study’s findings were not supported by any science or facts. “It assumes that the presence of generic E. coli could only come from contact with feces, when that is simply not the case,” he said. “Additionally, the E. coli identified in the study is not a type that would make consumers ill.”
Dr. Barnard, who is vegan, insisted that it does. Asked what public health issues, if any, the testing had exposed, he said: “It’s hard to know. Some problems caused by fecal contamination can be unexpected.”
He cited recent Canadian research that found that E. coli bacteria from chickens had caused urinary tract infections that had previously been attributed to individuals’ own E. coli.
In the physicians study, the samples came from a wide variety of processors, including Perdue and Pilgrim’s. They were bought in stores including Kroger, Safeway and Albertsons.
“We have stringent food safety policies in place to maintain the quality of fresh raw poultry, and these policies are designed to insure we adhere to proper temperature control, sanitation, hygiene and date marking practices,” said Mike Siemienas, of Supervalu, which owns an Albertsons in San Diego where some of the chicken was bought.
Some samples showed higher levels of E. coli than the Department of Agriculture considers acceptable for carcasses when tested at processing plants.
But Dr. Catherine N. Cutter, an associate professor and food safety extension specialist at Pennsylvania State University, said that it was impossible to know if the higher level of contamination came from the processing plants or developed as the chicken made its way into the grocery store or during testing.
“There are a lot of things that could come into play that could have caused the higher microbial loads they found,” Dr. Cutter said. “Without more information like slaughter dates and shelf life, it’s hard to make a determination about how or where the higher counts came from.”
If a package sat in a refrigerated case for two or three days, or spent more time on a loading dock than a processor had anticipated, low levels of E. coli bacteria could multiply, she said.
“The main thing,” Dr. Cutter said, “is that consumers properly handle a raw chicken and avoid cross contamination as much as possible and cook it thoroughly.”

Food inspection cuts prompt safety fears in Canada
Source : http://blog.usfoodsafety.com/2012/04/12/food-inspection-cuts-prompt-safety-fears-in-canada/
By  foodsafeguru (Apr 12, 2012)
Canadian Food Inspection Agency to cut 100 jobs.
Budget cuts to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have a local warehouser concerned about food safety.
The agency is reportedly preparing to cut 100 inspectors.
Phil Marchuk owns Windsor Freezer, an import meat inspection facility for the Canadian government.
He said there are three meat inspectors in the Windsor region.
“They’re hands are already tied,” Marchuk said. “If they don’t have the money to put in the shifts then the product is not being looked at in a timely manner to keep the food chain running down the road safely.”
Marchuk said only one in 10 trucks containing meat shipped from the U.S. and Mexico are inspected before being sold in Canada.
And the local inspectors only work 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. but can be called in on overtime until 6:30 p.m.
12-hour waits and 90 per cent not inspected
Otherwise, trucks sit and wait for up to 12 hours at a time. And then there are the 90 per cent of the trucks that aren’t inspected at all.
“That’s my biggest fear,” he said of cuts. “You’ve got to think this trucking industry goes 24 hours a day. There is fresh product coming through the border, you think you’d want to keep it moving, not sitting here for 12 hours, waiting for an inspector to come in.”
Canadian inspectors are looking at the quality of product and proper labelling. They make sure the product matches what it’s said to be.
Marchuk said some trucks can be inspected at their eventual destination, usually a location where the meat is further processed.
But Marchuk those inspectors, working inside a processing plant for a giant national or international company may not be of “independent mind.”
U.S. has strict rules
Marchuk also said there are trucks that simply skip inspection. That likely wouldn’t happen in the U.S. and if it does, it’s heavily punished.
“The American government is pretty strict,” Marchuk said. “Every [Canadian] truck that enters is inspected.”
If it’s not, and it ends up at its eventual destination it can be sent back or fined to the tune of three times the value of the product it’s carrying, according to Marchuk.
“The problem is, we have trucks that don’t stop here in Canada,” he said.
CBC contacted the CFIA, but it refused to comment.

Label rather than completely eliminate pink slime in beef
Source : http://www.mcphersonsentinel.com/news/x876164247/Label-rather-than-completely-eliminate-pink-slime-in-beef
By The McPherson Sentinel (Apr 12, 2012)
Thirty years ago, when you went into your neighborhood grocery store, you could look your butcher in the face, call him by name and watch him cut or grind your meat right there on the spot.
Today we are so separated from the source of our food that there are kids who don’t realize their hamburgers come from a cow on a farm and not a fast-food drive-thru.
The recent outcry over lean finely textured beef, popularly dubbed “pink slime,” is not about the nutritional value or safety of the meat, but about the public’s conception of the food industry.
Learning about the pink slime process was like going back into the kitchen of your favorite restaurant.
It doesn’t make the food unsafe or inedible, but the reality of the commercial cooking process can shatter the ambiance of the dining experience.
Pink slime is made from cheaper trimmings that come from fatty bits of meat left over from other cuts that would otherwise be thrown away. It’s heated and separated from the fat, resulting in beef that is 95 percent lean. It is then sprayed with ammonium hydroxide gas to reduce fat content and kill bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella.
The USDA has deemed this process safe, and no major food borne illness outbreak has been linked with the product.
The product is beef, and contains protein, but it is not what many consumers thought they were buying.
It is the idea of pink slime that has the American hamburger munching public turned off. They feel as if they have been duped.
If Americans knew what was in their chicken nuggets or lunch meat or a host of other products, they probably wouldn’t eat them either.
Consumers have a right to know and a right to choose.
If a meat processor is going to add chemicals or non-choice cuts into their product, they should label it.
Just as consumers have the ability to choose organic or range-fed beef or poultry, they should be able to choose meat without the pink slime.
Instead of driving all lean finely textured beef producers out of business, labeling would create a value-added effect for products that do not use the pink slime while maintaining a safe, inexpensive option for those who are neutral on the additive.
Many Americans are perfectly happy to pick up a plastic tube of hamburger in the store and think no more of what’s in it or where it came from, but for those who are not, better labeling may be the best way to bridge the gap between the barn and the kitchen.

Another Washington Cheesemaker Ordered To Suspend Operations on Listeria Fears
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/another-washington-cheesemaker-ordered-to-suspend-operations-on-listeria-fears/
By Carla Gillespie (Apr 12, 2012)
Within the last 18 months, two cheese companies in Washington state were ordered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to keep all of their products off the market until they could show they had developed a means to keep their products and facilities free of Listeria monocytogenes.
Listeria is a foodborne pathogen that can cause serious, sometimes fatal infections. In 2011, a cantaloupe Listeria outbreak sickened 146 people, killed 30 and caused one miscarriage. “If contamination is present in a processing facility,  the chances are good that the contamination will find its way into the product as well,” FDA Public Affairs Officer, Pat El-Hinnawy, told Food Poisoning Bulletin this week.
Last week, the owners of Del Bueno, of Grandview, Wash. agreed to the terms of an April 3 consent decree entered by  U.S. District Judge Lonny R. Suko of the Eastern District of Washington.
The terms of the decree stipulate that Del Bueno cannot resume operations until it can show that it has developed a program to eliminate current and prevent future problems with Listeria contamination. This program must include the following measures: hiring an independent laboratory to test collected samples, retaining an independent sanitation expert, developing a control program for employees in both English and Spanish, and destroying all food items currently in the facility.
Since 2009, the FDA and Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) have recorded a number of problems unsanitary conditions at the company. In 2010, samples from finished products tested positive for Listeria and a case of listeriosis was linked to the company’s cheese.
That same year, another Washington cheese make, Estrella Family Creamery, also had problems with Listeria contamination. In August, environmental samples and one product sample taken form the Montesano, Washington, company tested positive for Listeria, marking the fourth time that year that Estrella products were recalled from the market. Two months later, the United States Marshals Service seized all cheese from the company in accordance with a warrant after the United States Attorney’s Office filed a complaint about unsanitary conditions at the company.

FDA wants limits on antibiotics given to animals
Source : http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47017555/ns/health-food_safety/
By MATTHEW PERRONE (Apr 11, 2012)
The Food and Drug Administration called on drug companies Wednesday to help limit the use of antibiotics in farm animals, a decades-old practice that scientists say has contributed to a surge in dangerous, drug-resistant bacteria.
Antibiotic drugs like penicillin are routinely mixed with animal feed and water to help livestock, pigs and chickens put on weight and stay healthy in crowded barns. Scientists have warned that such use leads to the growth of antibiotic-resistant germs that can be passed on to humans.
The FDA has struggled for decades with how to tackle the problem because the powerful agriculture industry argues the drugs are a key part of modern meat production.
Under the new FDA guidelines, the agency recommends antibiotics be used "judiciously," or only when necessary to keep animals healthy. The agency also wants to require a veterinarian to prescribe the drugs. They can currently be purchased over-the-counter by farmers.
"Now you have a veterinarian who will be consulting and providing advice to these producers, and we feel that is an important element to assure that they are in fact using these drugs appropriately," said William Flynn, a deputy director in FDA's veterinary medicine center.
The draft recommendations by the FDA are not binding, and the agency is asking drug manufacturers' to voluntarily put the proposed limits in place. Drug companies would need to adjust the labeling of their antibiotics to remove so-called production uses of the drugs. Production uses include increased weight gain and accelerated growth, which helps farmers save money by reducing feed costs.
The FDA hopes drugmakers will phase out language promoting non-medical uses within three years.
"This is the most sweeping action the agency has undertaken in this area, as this covers all antibiotics used in meat and poultry production that are important to human health," said Laura Rogers, director of the Pew Charitable Trusts' campaign on industrial farming.
But some public health advocates said they do not trust the drug industry to voluntarily restrict its own products.
FDA officials said that a formal ban would have required individual hearings for each drug, which could take decades.
"The process we would have to go through is a formal hearing process, product-by-product that is extremely cumbersome," said Mike Taylor, FDA Commissioner for foods. "There's no point in going through those legalistic proceedings when companies are willing to make this shift voluntarily."
Taylor said the FDA has consulted closely with drugmakers, and expects them to support the measures.
An estimated 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. wind up on animal farms. Neither industry nor the government tracks what percentage of those drugs are used to boost animal weight, but many experts believe the vast majority go toward non-medical uses.
The debate over antibiotics has long pitted the benefits for producing safe, low-cost meat against the risk of contributing to dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can infect humans.
The National Pork Producers Council said Wednesday that the FDA "did not provide compelling evidence" that antibiotic use in livestock is unsafe.
But FDA officials said the scientific literature supports the role that animal use of antibiotics plays in reducing the effectiveness of antibiotics in humans.
"We think the science is very solid to support this effort to address these issues," Taylor said.
The rollout from FDA comes at an unusual time in the agency's attempts to curb antibiotic use in animals. Last month a federal court judge ordered the agency to take action on its own 35-year-old rule that would have banned non-medical use of two popular antibiotics, penicillin and tetracycline, in farm animals.
The FDA issued the rule in 1977 but never enforced it, following vigorous pushback from members of Congress and lobbyists for farmers and drugmakers. Four public safety groups sued the agency to act on the regulation, winning the case handed down in the U.S. District Court of Southern New York on March 22. The agency was given 60 days to appeal the decision.
The waning effectiveness of antibiotics has been a global health concern for several decades, attracting the attention of the World Health Organization, the Institute of Medicine and other health groups. As bacteria have grown more resistant, new and more deadly forms of malaria, staph and other infections that were once easily treatable have emerged across the globe.
Experts say overuse of antibiotics in both animals and humans has contributed to the problem. Both medical societies and government agencies have launched educational programs designed to educate physicians on appropriate prescribing of antibiotics.

EC plays down reports of EU objections to France BPA ban
Source : http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/EC-plays-down-reports-of-EU-objections-to-France-BPA-ban
By Mark Astley (Apr 11, 2012)
The European Commission (EC) has down-played reports of discontent among European Union (EU) member states over the approaching French ban on bisphenol-A (BPA) in food packaging.
According to media reports, several EU member states have lodged objections with the European Commission (EC) in relation to the French ban on BPA in food packaging which is set to come into power in 2014.
Forbes and the UK-based Independent newspaper have run stories suggesting that authorities in the UK, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Slovenia have protested over French plans to ban BPA in food packaging - citing a lack of “sound science” and concerns over the trade barrier it could create.
Other major global food safety authorities including the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have concluded that BPA, which is used in the manufacture of epoxy linings in food and beverage containers, poses no health hazard in food packaging.
The European Commission (EC) told FoodProductionDaily.com that at this stage, it is not aware of where the information outlined in the media reports could have come from.
“No idea”
“At this stage, I don’t know where this information could have come from,” said EC spokesman Frederic Vincent. “We have no idea where this claim has come from. The line from us has not changed.”
“In the end what will be important is the EFSA opinion, not whether member states currently have objections to the ban in France.”
Vincent added that EFSA is currently working with France’s Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) to study its findings, but that it is too early to say what the outcome may be.
“If the French study puts forward new evidence on BPA then the European Commission may have to put forward a new proposal to ban BPA in food packaging.”
“We will just have to see if the ANSES findings bring anything new to the table on BPA,” he added.
No health risks
The current European Union (EU) stance on BPA stems from an EFSA opinion on the ANSES hazard assessment, which concluded that consumers are not at risk from exposure to BPA from food, despite concerns highlighted in the ANSES report.
“The approach of the ANSES report is that of hazard identification, comprising also elements which could be relevant for the safety assessment of non-dietary exposure to BPA, whereas the EFSA opinion of 2010 addresses the assessment of risk from dietary exposure to BPA. This is the main reason for divergences between the ANSES and EFSA conclusions on BPA,” said the EFSA opinion.
Earlier this year, the FDA dismissed calls to ban BPA, citing the lack of scientific evidence surrounding the supposed health risk associated with it.
It has, however, promised to continue research on the exposure to the substance through packaging.
Industry figures have taken steps to end their use of BPA, with Campbell Soup Company one of several promising to phase out its use of the chemical in food packaging.

Odwalla reveals new consumer reports of allergic reactions to dairy-based beverage
Source : http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/Odwalla-reveals-new-consumer-reports-of-allergic-reactions-to-dairy-based-beverage
By Ben Bouckley (Apr 11, 2012)
Odwalla is still working with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to ascertain the cause of allergic reactions among consumers of its dairy-based chocolate beverage, while one food safety expert said he would explore potential protein 'cross reactivity' as one lead.
Last Thursday the beverage firm (which is owned by the Coca-Cola Company) issued a ‘nationwide allergy alert’ in the US and recalled certain batches of Chocolate Protein Monster, its dairy-based chocolate drink, warning that the drink could cause ‘serious or life-threatening’ reactions in nut allergic consumers ; a similar recall was also issued in Canada.
Coca-Cola Company spokeswoman Susan Stribling told DairyReporter.com that the drinks in question – Chocolate Protein Monster in 12oz (355ml) and 32oz bottles with ‘enjoy before’ dates prior to and including May 23 2012 – were produced at Odwalla’s main production facility at Dinuba in California, US.
Asked yesterday whether any other consumers had indicated allergic reactions, she said: "We have heard from a few additional people, but until we share that information with the FDA, we don't have anything specific we can share."
Stribling declined to say how many bottles were affected by the recalls, and asked how the incident had happened given that the facility didn’t use nuts, Stribling said: “We don’t know yet, we’re investigating the situation along with the FDA and CFIA. That investigation is ongoing, and as soon as we determine the cause of the issue we will share that information.”
She added:“The product does not include peanuts or tree nuts, and we have found no evidence that of these in the products.”
So what was Odwalla doing to reassure consumers? “There are no nuts in the product, but given that there have been four allergic reactions, we’re using an overabundance of caution in recalling all the beverages until we are sure of what the cause might be,” Stribling said.
“Consumers can be assured that we’re doing everything we can to determine what the issue is.”
Last week Odwalla revealed that four consumers had been in contact reporting allergic reactions after drinking the product. Although they were not known sufferers from soy or milk allergies, they did report being allergic to peanuts and/or tree nuts.
“Odwalla's Chocolate Protein Monster beverage may cause a serious or life-threatening reaction in persons with an allergy or severe sensitivity to peanuts or peanuts and tree nuts,” the firm warned in a statement.
Although the beverage contained dairy and soy ingredients, the presence of these was clearly disclosed on the product label by the statement that the product ‘contains soy and milk protein’, the firm added.
Food safety and quality consultant Dr. Slim Dinsdale told DairyReporter.com: "There's not a lot of information to go on here, but the interesting thing is that the people affected were seen to be allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. It seems unlikely that the process was at fault if they've got a completely nut-free environment where they're producing it."
He added: "I suppose there is the potential that people might bring nut products in, and I don't know whether there's any hint of malicious contamination or not. But the other possibility is that there maybe, and this is a big maybe, potential for cross reactivity.
"In other words if you're allergic to one class of proteins then you may be develop a reaction to another class of proteins where there may be some similarities in the structure. There's plenty of 'ifs and buts' in what I'm saying, but the fact that they are allergic to nut components, if I was looking into it that would be one of things that I'd want to follow up."

7 Food Ingredients Most Prone for Food Fraud
Source : http://www.foodproductdesign.com/s.aspx?exp=1&u=http%3A//www.foodproductdesign.com/news/2012/04/7-food-ingredients-most-prone-for-food-fraud.aspx
By admin(Apr 06, 2012)
Olive oil, milk, honey, saffron, orange juice, coffee and apple juice are the seven most likely food ingredients to be targets for intentional or economically motivated adulteration of food, or food fraud, according to analysis of the first U.S. public database created to compile information on risk factors for food fraud published in the Journal of Food Science.
The database was created by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) and provides baseline information to assist interested parties in assessing the risks of specific products. It includes a total of 1,305 records for food fraud based on a total of 667 scholarly, media and other publicly available reports.
Food fraud is a collective term that encompasses the deliberate substitution, addition, tampering or misrepresentation of food, food ingredients or food packaging, or false or misleading statements made about a product for economic gain. A more specific type of fraud is the fraudulent addition of nonauthentic substances or removal or replacement of authentic substances without the purchaser’s knowledge for economic gain of the seller.
According to the authors of the paper, food fraud may be more risky than traditional threats to the food supply because the adulterants used in these activities often are unconventional and designed to avoid detection through routine analyses.
“The vast majority of food fraud is primarily technical and economical," said John Spink, associate director with the anti-counterfeiting and product protection program at Michigan State University. “However, there are some cases where there can be serious health consequences as illustrated when melamine was added to infant formula and pet food in order to falsify the level of protein content in these products."
The database provides information that can be useful in evaluating current and emerging risks for food fraud. In addition to providing a baseline understanding of the vulnerability of individual ingredients, the database offers information about potential adulterants that could reappear in the supply chain for particular ingredients. For example, records in the database regarding melamine as an adulterant for high-protein-content ingredients date back to 1979.
“Perhaps if this information had been readily available to risk assessors before the 2007 and 2008 incidents of melamine adulteration and wheat gluten and milk powders, it could have helped risk assessors anticipate these adulteration possibilities," the authors wrote. This information also could have stimulated research aimed at developing new methods to measure protein content, which could signal adulteration with melamine and other unexpected constituents—an effort that has only recently gained substantial interest.
“Food ingredients and additives present a unique risk because they are used in so many food products and often do not have visual or functional properties that enable easy discrimination from other similar ingredients or adulterants throughout the supply chain," the authors wrote. Glycerin, for example, is a sweet, clear, colorless liquid that is difficult to differentiate by sight or smell from other sweet, clear, colorless liquid syrups—including toxic diethylene glycol, which in the past has been substituted for glycerin with deadly consequences. Diethylene glycol has been fraudulently added to wines, and also used as an adulterant of glycerin used in pharmaceuticals.
In addition to identifying specific food ingredients and food categories vulnerable to adulteration, the researchers also analyzed the types of analytical detection methods used to discover the fraud, as well as the type of fraud using three categories: replacement, addition or removal. They found 95% of records involved replacement—an authentic material replaced partially or completely by another, less expensive substitute. Examples include partial substitution of olive oil with hazelnut oil, substitution of toxic Japanese star anise for Chinese star anise, and the partial replacement of low-quality spices with lead tetraoxide or lead chromate to imitate the color of higher-quality spices.
Learn more about food safety by downloading Food Product Design’s “Focus on Food Safety" free digital issue.

What are you doing on a Saturday Night? I am reading the FDA's Bad Bug Book
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/lawyer-oped/what-are-you-doing-on-a-saturday-night-i-am-reading-the-fdas-bad-bug-book---foodborne-pathogenic-mic/
By Bill Marler (Apr 07, 2012)
The second edition of the Bad Bug Book, published by the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides current information about the major known agents that cause foodborne illness.
Under the laws administered by FDA, a food is adulterated if it contains (1) a poisonous or otherwise harmful substance that is not an inherent natural constituent of the food itself, in an amount that poses a reasonable possibility of injury to health, or (2) a substance that is an inherent natural constituent of the food itself; is not the result of environmental, agricultural, industrial, or other contamination; and is present in an amount that ordinarily renders the food injurious to health.
The first includes, for example, a toxin produced by a fungus that has contaminated a food, or a pathogenic bacterium or virus, if the amount present in the food may be injurious to health. An example of the second is the tetrodotoxin that occurs naturally in some organs of some types of pufferfish and that ordinarily will make the fish injurious to health. In either case, foods adulterated with these agents are prohibited from being introduced, or offered for introduction, into interstate commerce.
The agents described in this book range from live pathogenic organisms, such as bacteria, protozoa, worms, and fungi, to non-living entities, such as viruses, prions, and natural toxins. Included in the chapters are descriptions of the agents’ characteristics, habitats and food sources, infective doses, and general disease symptoms and complications.
Also included are examples of outbreaks, if applicable; the frequency with which the agent causes illness in the U.S.; and susceptible populations. In addition, the chapters contain brief overviews of the analytical methods used to detect, isolate, and/or identify the pathogens or toxins.
So, what are you doing Saturday night?

Has Salmonella Sushi Sickened 3,000?
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/has-salmonella-sushi-sickened-3000/
By Bill Marler (Apr 06, 2012)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that for every reported case of Salmonella, an additional 29.3 infections go undiagnosed and unreported. Undiagnosed Salmonella victims are never counted in official Salmonella outbreak case-counts. There may well be nearly 3,000 sickened.
In the wake of an April, 2012 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announcement that at least 100 people have become ill in a Salmonella outbreak linked to Sushi, the attorneys at Marler Clark are distributing a FAQ list for consumers who may have been exposed in the outbreak.  The CDC has identified cases in the following states: Alabama (2), Arkansas (1), Connecticut (5), District of Columbia (2), Georgia (4), Illinois (9), Louisiana (2), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (4), Mississippi (1), Missouri (1), New Jersey (7), New York (23), North Carolina (2), Pennsylvania (3), Rhode Island (4), South Carolina (3), Texas (3), Virginia (5), and Wisconsin (9).
What do consumers need to know in a Sushi Salmonella Outbreak?

Q: I ate sushi and think I may have Salmonella. What are the symptoms of Salmonella infection?
A: Salmonella infections can have a broad range of illness, from no symptoms to severe illness. The most common clinical presentation is acute gastroenteritis. Salmonella symptoms include diarrhea, and abdominal cramps, often accompanied by fever of 100°F to 102°F (38°C to 39°C). Other symptoms of Salmonella infection may include bloody diarrhea, vomiting, headache and body aches. The incubation period, or the time from ingestion of the bacteria until the symptoms start, is generally 6 to 72 hours; however, there is evidence that in some situations the incubation can be longer than 10 days.

Q: What should I do if I think I’m part of the sushi Salmonella outbreak?
A: The Marler Clark Salmonella attorneys advise that you contact your local health department to report your illness. Again, if you believe you need medical assistance for your Salmonella infection, contact your healthcare provider.

Q: How will I know if I’m part of the sushi Salmonella outbreak?
A: Salmonella bacteria can be detected in stool. A fecal sample provided to a healthcare provider or health department is placed in nutrient broth or on agar and incubated for 2-3 days. After that time, a trained microbiologist can identify Salmonella bacteria, if present, and confirm its identity by looking at biochemical reactions. Treatment with antibiotics before collecting a specimen for testing can affect bacterial growth in culture, and lead to a negative test result even when Salmonella causes the infection. If Salmonella is isolated from an ill person’s stool, a bacterial isolate can be compared to isolates from other ill individuals – and possibly from food samples. Bacterial isolates that have matching “DNA Fingerprints” indicate a potential common source of Salmonella infection. Epidemiologists work to determine whether two people with positive bacterial isolates with indistinguishable DNA fingerprints are part of a common outbreak – in this case, one tied to Salmonella-contaminated sushi.

Q: I ate sushi and got Salmonella. I’m thinking about hiring a law firm to represent me, but am concerned about the cost of legal representation for my Salmonella case. What are the costs of hiring a lawyer for a Salmonella case? How do I find the most experienced Salmonella attorney?
A: The lawyers at Marler Clark have been representing Salmonella victims since 1998 and have recovered over $600,000,000 for clients. The Marler Clark attorneys provide free case evaluations for all potential sushi Salmonella outbreak victims, and victims of other foodborne illness outbreaks. Our Salmonella lawyers do not charge an hourly fee. Our firm works on behalf of clients and only collects fee on a contingent basis. That means we collect our fees for Salmonella cases as a percentage of the recovery obtained on our clients’ behalf after the case has been resolved. You can contact Marler Clark for a free case evaluation and further explanation of fees through our free case evaluation form or by calling us toll-free at (866) 770-2032.

Virus shuts down Valley View schools
Source : http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/dayton-news/virus-shuts-down-valley-view-schools-1359249.html
By Teesha McClam (Apr 10, 2012)
Valley View Local Schools will be closed today because of an outbreak of a highly contagious virus, officials with the school district said Thursday.
All buildings that are part of Valley View Schools will be closed until Monday, said Superintendent Sherry Parr.
“Cleaning every surface and every bus is our main concern at the primary school,’’ said Parr.
A norovirus outbreak was confirmed Thursday by Public Health Dayton and Montgomery County. Parr met with the health department, school nurses, custodians and food service workers after the principal at Valley View Primary School reported a large number of students and staff were absent.
About 160 students and nine staff members were out Thursday morning at the primary school. That number had climbed to 172 by the end of the day, said Parr. There are 550 students enrolled at the primary school.
Closing the schools will also allow the students to be away from each other and stem the spread of the virus, Parr said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, norovirus is highly contagious. “The virus causes the stomach or intestines or both to get inflamed (acute gastroenteritis). This leads to stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea and to throwing up,” according to the CDC.
Juanita Ringler of Farmersville received a phone call from Parr about Valley View schools being closed because of an outbreak of the norovirus.
Ringler’s 11-year-old grandson attends Valley View Primary School and he is feeling fine, she said. Recently, Ringler’s daughter, 30, came down with the norovirus.
“It was a rough couple of days, with throwing up and the diarrhea,” said Ringler.
Keeping hydrated is the best treatment because of the vomiting and diarrhea that cause dehydration, according to the CDC.
The CDC recommends cleaning contaminated surfaces with a bleach solution of 5 to 25 tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water.

48% of Chicken in Small Sample Has E. Coli
Source : http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/12/health/in-small-sample-e-coli-found-in-48-of-chicken-in-stores.html?_r=1
By STEPHANIE STROM (Apr 11, 2012)
A recent test of packaged raw chicken products bought at grocery stores across the country found that roughly half of them were contaminated with the bacteria E. coli.
E. coli, which the study said was an indicator of fecal contamination, was found in 48 percent of 120 chicken products bought in 10 major cities by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a nonprofit group that advocates a vegetarian diet among other things. The study results were released Wednesday.
“Most consumers do not realize that feces are in the chicken products they purchase,” said Dr. Neal D. Barnard, president of the group. “Food labels discuss contamination as if it is simply the presence of bacteria, but people need to know that it means much more than that.”
Food safety specialists said the findings were a tempest in a chicken coop, particularly because the test was so small and the E. coli found was not a kind that threatened public health.
“What’s surprising to me is that they didn’t find more,” said Dr. Michael Doyle, director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia. “Poop gets into your food, and not just into meat — produce is grown in soil fertilized with manure, and there’s E. coli in that, too.”
Dr. Doyle emphasized that the findings by the nonprofit group were different from the recent uproar over “pink slime,” the inexpensive filler containing ammonia gas or citric acid that is often added to ground beef products to kill E. coli and other bacteria. “That’s an additive,” he said.
Eight billion to nine billion chickens annually are processed for food in the United States, and the Department of Agriculture requires processors to do an E. coli test on one of every 22,000 birds slaughtered, or, for small producers, at least one a week.
The National Chicken Council, a trade group representing chicken producers, said the Physicians Committee’s test was “disingenuous,” given that it identified only 57 questionable samples out of about 42 million pounds of ready-to-cook chicken products in grocery stores every day.
“These findings, not a ‘peer-reviewed’ study, are another misleading attempt by a pseudo-medical group to scare consumers in hopes of advancing their goal of a vegan society,” said Dr. Ashley Peterson, vice president of science and technology at the National Chicken Council.
Dr. Peterson said chicken processing plants “strictly” abide by the Department of Agriculture’s zero tolerance for visible fecal matter and use many measures to reduce bacteria levels throughout processing. “When a product moves through the plant, bacteria levels are reduced many hundreds of times to a fraction of what was naturally on the bird when it arrived,” she said.
Dirk Fillpot, of the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the Department of Agriculture, said the study’s findings were not supported by any science or facts. “It assumes that the presence of generic E. coli could only come from contact with feces, when that is simply not the case,” he said. “Additionally, the E. coli identified in the study is not a type that would make consumers ill.”
Dr. Barnard, who is vegan, insisted that it does. Asked what public health issues, if any, the testing had exposed, he said: “It’s hard to know. Some problems caused by fecal contamination can be unexpected.”
He cited recent Canadian research that found that E. coli bacteria from chickens had caused urinary tract infections that had previously been attributed to individuals’ own E. coli.
In the physicians study, the samples came from a wide variety of processors, including Perdue and Pilgrim’s. They were bought in stores including Kroger, Safeway and Albertsons.
“We have stringent food safety policies in place to maintain the quality of fresh raw poultry, and these policies are designed to insure we adhere to proper temperature control, sanitation, hygiene and date marking practices,” said Mike Siemienas, of Supervalu, which owns an Albertsons in San Diego where some of the chicken was bought.
Some samples showed higher levels of E. coli than the Department of Agriculture considers acceptable for carcasses when tested at processing plants.
But Dr. Catherine N. Cutter, an associate professor and food safety extension specialist at Pennsylvania State University, said that it was impossible to know if the higher level of contamination came from the processing plants or developed as the chicken made its way into the grocery store or during testing.
“There are a lot of things that could come into play that could have caused the higher microbial loads they found,” Dr. Cutter said. “Without more information like slaughter dates and shelf life, it’s hard to make a determination about how or where the higher counts came from.”
If a package sat in a refrigerated case for two or three days, or spent more time on a loading dock than a processor had anticipated, low levels of E. coli bacteria could multiply, she said.
“The main thing,” Dr. Cutter said, “is that consumers properly handle a raw chicken and avoid cross contamination as much as possible and cook it thoroughly.”

Missouri STEC Outbreak Now Up to Seven Cases
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/missouri-stec-outbreak-now-up-to-seven-cases/
By Kathy Will (Apr 11, 2012)
The outbreak of Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC) in Missouri is now up to seven confirmed cases, according to Gena Terlizzi of the Office of Public Information for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS).
The cases are in Boone, Cooper, Howard, and Camden counties. The number of cases in Boone county remain at three.
Consumption of raw dairy products has been identified as a possible risk factor in some of these cases, according to Ms. Terlizzi.
Additional information on E. coli, including how to avoid contracting it, is available from the MDHSS.
The incubation period for STEC is from one to ten days, averaging three to four days. Frequent hand washing, careful washing of fruits and vegetables, and thorough cooking of beef to a final internal temperature of 160 degrees F. are important ways to control exposure to this bacteria.

Missouri Raw Milk E. coli Outbreak: FAQs
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/missouri-raw-milk-e-coli-outbreak-faqs/
By Drew Falkenstein (Apr 09, 2012)
Q: I drank raw milk and believe I may have an E. coli infection. How do I know whether it’s E. coli or not? What are the symptoms of E. coli?
A: If you believe you may have an E. coli infection, the E. coli attorneys at Marler Clark recommend that you seek medical attention. E. coli infections are characterized by acute gastroenteritis. E. coli infection symptoms include abdominal pain and severe stomach cramps, followed within 24 hours by diarrhea. The diarrhea caused by E. coli is often bloody. The incubation period, or the time from ingestion of E. coli bacteria until the symptoms start, is generally 2-4 days.
Hemolytic uremic syndrome is a severe complication of E. coli infection that can result in acute kidney failure. A small percentage of E. coli outbreak victims – mostly young children and elderly people – suffer this complication. At least two young children have been hospitalized with HUS since this Missouri raw milk E. coli outbreak began.

Q: What should I do if I think I’m part of the raw milk E. coli outbreak?
A: The Marler Clark E. coli attorneys recommend contacting your local health department to report your illness. Again, if you believe you need medical assistance for your E. coli infection, contact your healthcare provide and submit a stool sample for testing. An E. coli diagnosis involves culturing E. coli bacteria from an ill individual’s stool.

Q: How will I know if I’m part of the Missouri raw milk E. coli outbreak?
A: E. coli bacteria can be detected in stool. A fecal sample provided to a healthcare provider or health department is placed in nutrient broth or on agar and incubated for 2-3 days. After that time, a trained microbiologist can identify E. coli bacteria, if present, and confirm its identity by looking at biochemical reactions. Treatment with antibiotics before collecting a specimen for testing can affect bacterial growth in culture, and lead to a negative test result even when E. coli causes the infection. If E. coli is isolated from an ill person’s stool, a bacterial isolate can be compared to isolates from other ill individuals – and possibly from raw milk samples. Bacterial isolates that have matching “DNA Fingerprints” indicate a potential common source of E. coli infection. Epidemiologists work to determine whether two people with positive bacterial isolates with indistinguishable DNA fingerprints are part of a common outbreak – in this case, one tied to E. coli-contaminated raw milk.

Q: I drank raw milk and got E. coli. I’m thinking about hiring a law firm to represent me, but am concerned about the cost of legal representation for my E. coli case. What are the costs of hiring a lawyer for an E. coli case? How do I find the most experienced E. coli attorney?
A: The lawyers at Marler Clark have been representing E. coli victims since 1993 and have recovered over $600,000,000 for clients. The Marler Clark E. coli attorneys provide free case evaluations for all potential raw milk E. coli outbreak victims, and victims of other foodborne illness outbreaks. Our E. coli lawyers do not charge an hourly fee. Our firm works on behalf of clients and only collects fee on a contingent basis. That means we collect our fees for E. coli cases as a percentage of the recovery obtained on our clients’ behalf after the case has been resolved. You can contact Marler Clark for a free E. coli case evaluation and further explanation of fees through our free case evaluation form or by calling us toll-free at (866) 770-2032. Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 5pm Pacific.

Allergen Alert: MSG in Steamed Pork Buns
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/04/allergen-alert-msg-in-steamed-pork-buns/
By News Desk (Apr 09, 2012)
Quality Food Distributor of Las Vegas, NV, is recalling approximately 50,820 pounds of Steamed BBQ Flavored Pork Buns because they contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is not declared on the label, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said in a news release.
During a label review and routine food safety assessment, FSIS personnel determined that the MSG was used in the marinade used during the cooking process and was left off the label of the final product.
There have been no reports of adverse reactions.
The recall is for 12-lb. cases of "STEAMED BBQ FLAVORED PORK BUNS," containing 96 pork buns per case with the establishment number "EST. 34064" inside the USDA mark of inspection. This product was produced on April 4 and 5, 2011 and was sold to a distributor in Las Vegas, Nev. This product may have been further distributed to restaurants.
For more information contact the company's owner, Joyce Kwan, at 702-889-0505.

100 may now be sick from salmonella in sushi
Source : http://vitals.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/06/11058024-100-may-now-be-sick-from-salmonella-in-sushi?lite
By JoNel Aleccia (Apr 06, 2012)
At least 100 people have now been sickened by an outbreak of salmonella possibly linked to sushi, government health officials said Friday. Nearly a quarter of them are from New York, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Ten people have been hospitalized in the outbreak of a rare strain of salmonella Bareilly that has affected victims in 19 states and the District of Columbia. No deaths have been reported.
Victims have ranged in age from 4 to 78, and include people who reported illness between Jan. 28 and March 23. Illnesses that occurred after March 8 might not be known because of the lag time between when people get sick and when they report it.
No food source has been positively identified, a CDC report said. However, initial interviews with 51 sick people show that 69 percent ate sushi, sashimi or similar foods in the week before they became ill. That compares with only about 5 percent of people in a control group who ate sushi, sashimi or ceviche made with raw fish or shellfish in the week before being interviewed.
The investigation into specific types of sushi that may be implicated is ongoing. An internal memo from the Food and Drug Administration inadvertently released earlier this week suggested that spicy tuna roll sushi was “highly suspect.”
The largest number of illnesses has been reported in New York, where 23 people were sickened.
Others include 10 in Maryland; nine in Illinois and Wisconsin; seven in New Jersey; five in Virginia and Connecticut; four each inGeorgia, Massachusetts and Rhode Island; three in South Carolina, Texas and Pennsylvania; two each in Alabama, Louisiana and North Carolina and the District of Columbia; and one each in Arkansas, Missouri and Mississippi.
Salmonella Bareilly is a rare strain sometimes associated with bean sprouts. Salmonella infections can cause nausea, vomiting, cramping, fever, chills and headache. Symptoms usually last four to seven days and typically resolve on their own. In some cases, however, patients have to be hospitalized.

Norovirus Outbreak at Indiana's Cebolla's Mexican Grill Sickens 107
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/norovirus-outbreak-at-indiana-cebollas-mexican-grill-sickens-107/
By Linda Larsen (Apr 08, 2012)
According to John Silcox of the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health in Indiana, 107 people who ate at Cebolla’s Mexican Grill in Fort Wayne have been sickened by norovirus. The original report in March recorded 20 illnesses.
The restaurant, which is located at 5930 West Jefferson Boulevard in Fort Wayne, Indiana, has been cooperating with the investigation. The restaurant closed back in March for cleaning and disinfecting.
The Department believes that the outbreak is contained and that the case count will not grow. There was no information available about hospitalizations.
Norovirus is extremely contagious and spreads quickly. An ill person who prepares food for or serves others can infect dozens. The virus also spreads via surface contact. Someone who is ill touches a doorknob or light switch transfers the bacteria to that surface. The next person who touches it can then become sick.
The symptoms of norovirus infection include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. Symptoms usually develop 24 to 48 hours after exposure and last for a few days. Most people recover completely, but some suffer serious complications and must be hospitalized.

Grocery Stores and Restaurants Involved in Salmonella Bareilly Outbreak Not Named by CDC
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/grocery-stores-and-restaurants-involved-in-salmonella-bareilly-outbreak-not-named-by-cdc/
By Kathy Will (Apr 08, 2012)
Both grocery stores and restaurants sold sushi, sashimi and similar products to some of the people sickened in the Salmonella Bareilly outbreak that has sickened over 100 people in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Jim Beasley, Public Information Director for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, told Food Poisoning Journal that at least one of the three confirmed Salmonella Bareilly cases in that state ate sushi, sashimi or another product containing raw tuna that had been purchased from a grocery store.
According to the initial Salmonella Bareilly outbreak announcement from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),  35 of the 51 case patients with available information at the time reported consuming sushi, sashimi, or similar foods in the week before the onset of Salmonella Bareilly symptoms. The subsequent CDC announcement on April 6 did not update this information. The initial announcement also stated that the products had been “sold at various locations,” and the April 6 CDC update removed this information.
Although several restaurants and grocery stores are most likely involved in this outbreak, not one is named in any CDC announcement.
“Consumers should not be kept in the dark about the identity of the restaurants and grocery stores that sold contaminated products,” said Fred Pritzker, national food safety lawyer. “Even more important is that the CDC release any information they may have as to the identity of suppliers and manufacturers who may be involved.”

E. coli Cases in Central Missouri Announced
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/e-coli-cases-in-central-missouri-announced/
By Bill Marler (Apr 06, 2012)
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is investigating an increase in cases of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) in Central Missouri during late March and early April 2012. Five cases of E. coli O157:H7 have been identified during this time period. Two of the cases, a two-year old child and a seventeen-month old child, reportedly have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a severe, life-threatening condition that may result in permanent kidney damage in some of those who survive.
The investigation is ongoing and the source of the infections has not been identified.
DHSS recommends that any person who has signs or symptoms of STEC infection should seek medical care. Health care providers should determine if testing for STEC infection is warranted.
Symptoms of STEC infection include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (which is often bloody), and vomiting. If there is fever, it usually is not very high. Most patients' symptoms improve within 5–7 days, but some patients go on to develop HUS, usually about a week after the diarrhea starts. The classic triad of findings in HUS is acute renal damage, microangiopathic hemolytic anemia, and thrombocytopenia.
Use of antibiotics in patients with suspected STEC infections is not recommended until complete diagnostic testing can be performed and STEC infection is ruled out. Some studies have shown that administering antibiotics in patients with STEC infections might increase their risk of developing HUS. However, clinical decision-making must be tailored to each individual patient. There may be indications for antibiotics in patients with severe intestinal inflammation if perforation is of concern.


 



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