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200 now sick in salmonella sushi outbreak
Source : http://vitals.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/26/11413590-200-now-sick-in-salmonella-sushi-outbreak?lite
By JoNel Aleccia (Apr 27, 2012)
At least 200 people in 21 states and Washington, D.C., now have been sickened by raw scraped tuna contaminated with not one but two rare strains of salmonella, government health officials reported Thursday.
Tainted tuna scraped from the backbone of the fish has been linked not only to the salmonella Bareilly strain, but also to salmonella Nchanga infections, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. The two genetic fingerprint patterns of the strains have been grouped into a single outbreak strain, CDC officials said.
At least 190 people have been confirmed with salmonella Bareilly infections, and another 10 have been infected with salmonella Nchanga. Twenty-eight victims have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.
A frozen yellowfin tun product, known as Nakaochi Scrape, produced by Moon Marine USA Corp. is the likely source of the outbreak.
Earlier this month, Moon Marine recalled 58,828 pounds of the frozen tuna product. It wasn't for sale to individual customers, but may have been used to make sushi, sashimi, ceviche and similar dishes in restaurants and grocery stores.
The outbreak could continue to grow. Illnesses that occured after March 27 might not be reported yet because of the time frame between when a person becomes ill and when it's reported to authorities.
At least two people have filed lawsuits against Moon Marine, a Cupertino, Calif., firm. The women, both from Wisconsin, said they became ill after eating tainted seafood.
The CDC's most recent estimates suggest that for every salmonella infection detected, perhaps 29.3 go unreported. Using that multiplier, 5,860 people could have been affected so far by the tainted tuna outbreak.

Mad cow disease - a very British response to an international crisis
Source : http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/apr/25/mad-cow-disease-british-crisis
By James Meikle (Apr 25, 2012)
It may have started with the death of a cow on a farm in Pitsham, West Sussex, England, in 1984 – two years before "mad cow disease" was officially identified. It ended by changing the way the UK approaches farming, prepares food, conducts surgery and gives blood.
As the US department of agriculture confirms it has identified a single case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in California, American officials and farmers would do well to examine the British experience of what proved to be a devastating disease and led to a national crisis. It resulted in millions of animals being destroyed in an effort to control the disease and the deaths so far of 226 people from the linked human disease.
BSE's unheralded arrival in the UK – it might have in fact existed since the 1970s at such a low level that farmers and vets did not notice it – was to wreak havoc in agriculture, undermine trust in government and sour international relations. The linked human disease, called variant CJD, or "the British disease" in some quarters, has caused the lingering deaths of 176 Britons and nearly 50 others around the world, including three in the US. The whole episode has cost the British taxpayers billions.
After 14 years, the UK government in 2000 finally accepted, after a long, detailed and costly independent inquiry, that the failures of successive administrations had contributed to the BSE catastrophe.
There has been a decade of arguments – often behind closed doors – about just how big the risk to human health the disease in cattle poses. One agriculture secretary, John Gummer, famously fed his daughter a beefburger in front of the cameras to demonstrate it was safe.
The health department played down the issue at an early stage. But it was one of Gummer's predecessors, John MacGregor, who took what in retrospect was the key protective measure on limiting the spread to humans by banning risky parts of cattle (including brain and spinal cord) from entering the food chain when the crisis erupted. He overrode the advice of his civil servants in private, but then he also downplayed the importance in public.
By the time the first UK death from the horrific, long-incubating vCJD – that of 19-year-old Stephen Churchill – occurred in 1995, with the bombshell of a possible link to BSE announced in March the following year, the peak of BSE infection in cattle had passed. The disease was in retreat, thanks to a ban on feeding the meat and bone meal that had passed on the infection from dead cattle to live ones.
The worst years for cattle deaths from BSE in England, Scotland and Wales, was 1992 (36,680) and 1993 (34,370). But millions of other cows have been destroyed because they were too old to go into human or animal food.
In the years that followed, widely varying forecasts of the human death toll from vCJD in the UK were made. Those that predicted fewer than 100 deaths proved far too optimistic. Those that predicted a six-figure toll may look to some over-pessimistic. Three British cases have been linked to blood transfusion involving infected donors.
Some believe the crisis in the UK is almost over and restrictions on cattle allowed to enter the food chain have been eased substantially in recent years. All are tested. Fears of BSE-like diseases in other species – most notably sheep and goats – have led to better controls and monitoring of them too. Others are more cautious, particularly over whether vCJD has indeed been consigned to history.
The crisis changed for ever official estimate of risk. Years of lax controls, poor oversight of slaughterhouse practices and political complacency, then secrecy, changed attitudes among civil servants and politicians. They are now more ready to consider worst-case scenarios – critics would say too ready.
The BSE inquiry, set up by Tony Blair early in office, though long, detailed and complicated, was held in public. Now Britons are hardly surprised by the grilling of ministers and key players, for example in the current Leveson dissection of the media, its practices and links with politicians.
Governments are less tempted to ignore scientific advice. Civil servants were urged by the BSE inquiry to be less ready to sit on bad news. Ministers, bruised by the experience of BSE and other public health disasters such as salmonella in eggs in the 1990s, are more open on public health risks. The public now expects government to be straight with them about the risks.

Mad Cow just one food safety risk
Source : http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Latest-News-Wires/2012/0425/Mad-Cow-just-one-food-safety-risk
By (Lauran Neergaard (Apr 25, 2012)
If the mad cow found in California has you wondering about food safety, well, there are plenty of problems that pose serious risks to the food supply. But mad cow disease shouldn't be high on the worry list.
Just in the past few months, Americans have been sickened by contaminated sprouts, raw milk and sushi. Thirty people died last year from bacteria-tainted cantaloupe. And when it comes to hamburger, a dangerous strain of E. coli that can lurk in ground beef sickens thousands of people every year.
"What we know is that 3,000 Americans die every year from preventable food-borne illnesses that are not linked" to mad cow disease, said Sarah Klein of the consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest. "Things like E. coli, salmonella — that's where we should be focusing our attention, outrage and policy."
The comparable numbers for mad cow disease? Four sick cows ever discovered in the U.S., the one announced Tuesday being the first since 2006, and no human version of the illness linked to eating U.S. beef.
"From simply a public health issue, I put it very, very low," Cornell University food safety expert Martin Wiedmann said of the level of concern about mad cow disease.
Maintaining confidence in exports fuels the nation's monitoring of the beef supply as much as continuing safety concerns, he said.
Tuesday's news came from that monitoring: Routine testing of a dead dairy cow from central California showed the animal had bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, a disease that gradually eats holes in the animal's brain. U.S. health officials were adamant that there was no risk to the food supply — the cow never was destined for the meat market, and the World Health Organization says humans can't be infected by drinking milk from animals with BSE.
The U.S. has been guarding against BSE for years, since a massive outbreak in Britain that not only decimated that country's cattle but showed that eating BSE-contaminated meat could trigger a human version of the disease. A key part of the safety net: The animal tissues that can carry the BSE — including the brain and spinal cord — are removed from cattle before they're processed for food.
In addition, the U.S. surveillance program tests brain tissue taken from about 40,000 dead cows a year for BSE. That testing is designed to target the animals most at risk, said Dr. Richard Breitmeyer, who heads the University of California, Davis, laboratory that initially discovered the latest case.
High-risk animals include those with symptoms of neurological disease, "downer" animals at slaughterhouses, animals that die at dairies or cattle ranches for unknown reasons, and cows older than 30 months like this Holstein, because BSE occurs in older cows.
The USDA hasn't released details about the California cow, but a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes of California said the sick 5-year-old came from Tulare County, the No. 1 dairy-producing county in the nation.
In other countries, BSE's spread through herds was blamed on making cattle feed using recycled meat and bone meal from infected cows, so the U.S. has long banned feed containing such material. That was key to Tuesday's announcement, too: USDA testing found the cow had a different form of the disease, so-called atypical BSE that means it didn't come from feed — good news.
Instead, it was a sporadic disease — the cow developed it from a random mutation, something that scientists know happens occasionally. Somehow, a protein the body normally harbors folds into an abnormal shape called a prion, setting off a chain reaction of misfolds that eventually kills brain cells.
The last two cases found in the U.S. were atypical as well. Only 10 cases around the world have been found with atypical characteristics, according to Lyndsay Cole of USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
"It's very, very rare," said Wiedmann, adding that some research suggests that this sporadic type would be even less easily transmitted to people through meat than traditional BSE.
On Wednesday, a major South Korean retailer suspended sales of U.S. beef. But live cattle futures, which had dropped Tuesday, recovered as it became clearer that exports would not take a significant hit.
U.S. officials have shipped samples to laboratories in Canada and Britain to confirm that the cow had atypical BSE, and investigators will test other cows from the same herd as a precaution. Similar "spongiform" diseases affect other species: It's called scrapie in sheep and chronic wasting disease in deer. There's a human form completely unconnected to contaminated meat called classic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
CSPI, the consumer group, points to other issues that advocates call more relevant for public health — such as stemming the food poisoning that the government estimates sickens 50 million people a year. For example, the government hasn't finalized pending rules to improve the safety of produce, after a series of high-profile disease outbreaks.
On the animal side, CSPI's Caroline Smith DeWaal said 12,000 to 13,000 samples of ground beef and beef trimmings are tested for E. coli every year. Last fall, the government did say it would expand some of that testing, to look not just for the most worrisome strain of E. coli but some additional strains that have begun causing outbreaks.

Food safety experts play down mad cow risk
Source : http://dawn.com/2012/04/26/food-safety-experts-play-down-mad-cow-risk/
By AP(Apr 26, 2012)
HANFORD: Food safety experts played down the risk of mad cow disease entering the US food supply Wednesday, a day after a government agency detected the first new case of the disease in the US since 2006.   
It was the fourth case discovered in the country, and no human version of the illness has ever been linked to eating US beef.
”What we know is that 3,000 Americans die every year from preventable food-borne illnesses that are not linked” to mad cow disease, said Sarah Klein of the consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest.
”Things like E. coli, salmonella that’s where we should be focusing our attention, outrage and policy.”
Two major South Korean retailers suspended sales of US beef in response. Reaction elsewhere in Asia was muted, with Japan saying there’s no reason to restrict imports.
”From simply a public health issue, I put it very, very low,” Cornell University food safety expert Martin Wiedmann said of the level of concern about mad cow disease.
Maintaining confidence in exports fuels the nation’s monitoring of the beef supply as much as continuing safety concerns, he said.
Tuesday’s news came from that monitoring: Routine testing of a dead dairy cow from central California showed the animal had bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, a disease that gradually eats holes in the animal’s brain.
US health officials were adamant that there was no risk to the food supply, the cow never was destined for the meat market, and the World Health Organisation says humans can’t be infected by drinking milk from animals with BSE.
The US has been guarding against BSE for years, since a massive outbreak in Britain that not only decimated that country’s cattle but showed that eating BSE-contaminated meat could trigger a human version of the disease.
A key part of the safety net: The animal tissues that can carry the BSE including the brain and spinal cord _ are removed from cattle before they’re processed for food.
Tests are performed on only a small portion of dead animals brought to the transfer facility in central California.
The cow had died at one of the region’s hundreds of dairies, but hadn’t exhibited outward symptoms of the disease: unsteadiness, incoordination, a drastic change in behavior or low milk production, officials said. But when the animal arrived at the facility with a truckload of other dead cows on April 18, its 30-month-plus age and fresh corpse made her eligible for USDA testing. Experts say it takes at least that long for the disease to develop.
”We randomly pick a number of samples throughout the year, and this just happened to be one that we randomly sampled,” Baker Commodities executive vice president Dennis Luckey said.
The samples went to the food safety lab at the University of California, Davis on April 18. By April 19, markers indicated the cow could have bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), a disease that is fatal to cows and can cause a deadly human brain disease in people who eat tainted meat.
It was sent to the USDA lab in Iowa for further testing.
On Tuesday, federal agriculture officials announced the findings: the animal had atypical BSE. That means it didn’t get the disease from eating infected cattle feed, said John Clifford, the Agriculture Department’s chief veterinary officer.
It was ”just a random mutation that can happen every once in a great while in an animal,” said Bruce Akey, director of the New York State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Cornell University.
”Random mutations go on in nature all the time.”
In humans, experts say the disease can occur in one in 1 million people, causing sponge-like holes in the brain. But they say not enough is known about how and how often the disease strikes cattle.
The disease cannot be transmitted by contact among cows, and experts say it’s unclear whether this rare type of BSE ever has been transmitted from a cow to a human by eating meat.
The California Department of Public Health and the state Department of Food and Agriculture quickly worked to assure consumers that the food supply is safe and that the cow hadn’t been destined for human consumption.
The building where the cow was selected to be tested sends animals to a rendering plants, which process animal parts for products not going into the human food chain, such as animal food, soap, chemicals or other household products.
Among the unknowns about the current case is whether the animal died of the disease and whether other cattle in its herd are similarly infected. The name of the dairy where the cow died hasn’t been released, and officials haven’t said where the cow was born.
”It’s appropriate to be cautious, it’s appropriate to pay attention and it’s appropriate to ask questions, but now let’s watch and see what the researchers find out in the next couple of days,” said James Culler, director of the UC Davis dairy food safety laboratory and an authority on BSE.

Mad cow: US 'confident' beef is safe, food-safety experts aren't sure
Source : http://axcessnews.com/index.php/articles/show/id/22633
By Brad Knickerbocker (Apr 26, 2012)
Instances of “mad cow” disease are few and far between. Although medical authorities attributed about 175 deaths in Europe in the 1980s and ’90s to the human form of the disease, no human cases have been reported in the United States.
It’s important to know that, say government authorities and beef industry officials, in assessing the instance of the disease discovered this week in central California.
"USDA remains confident in the health of the national herd and the safety of beef and dairy products,” John Clifford, the US Department of Agriculture’s chief veterinary officer, said in a statement. The dairy cow in question, Dr. Clifford pointed out, was not intended for human consumption (it was to be rendered for other products), and he also noted that the disease is not transmitted through milk.
Mad cow, known scientifically as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), is believed to be carried by animal feed made from cattle brains or spinal cord. Such feed is now banned in the US and other countries, but cases of BSE have continued to appear around the world.
Prior to this week, there were three confirmed cases of BSE in cows in the US - in a Canadian-born cow in 2003 in Washington State, in 2005 in Texas, and in 2006 in Alabama.
According to the USDA, the infected animal discovered this week had “atypical BSE,” which means it most likely did not get the disease from eating infected cattle feed.
It was "just a random mutation that can happen every once in a great while in an animal," Bruce Akey, director of the New York State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Cornell University, told the Associated Press. "Random mutations go on in nature all the time."
"The United States has had longstanding interlocking safeguards to protect human and animal health against BSE,” USDA veterinary officer Clifford said in a statement. This includes a ban on “specified risk materials” in the food fed to cattle as well as a ban on all nonambulatory "downer" cattle (whose behavior might indicate presence of the disease) entering the human food chain.
“The bottom line remains the same - all US beef is safe,” said Tom Talbot of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in a statement.
But not all food-safety experts are reassured by the statements of government and industry officials.
Consumers Union, a nonprofit independent testing and information organization, says it is “seriously concerned” by the most recent case of mad cow disease and the questions it raises about beef industry practices and current government regulation.
“First, the USDA testing program for mad cow disease is way too small,” said Naomi Starkman of Consumers Union in a statement. “USDA only tests some 40,000 cows a year of the millions slaughtered annually. So we really don't know if this is an isolated unusual event or whether there are more cases in US beef.”
“Second, detection of BSE is needlessly hindered by the fact that USDA prohibits private companies from testing their own beef,” said Ms. Starkman. “Private testing could augment USDA testing and provide an extra measure of monitoring and assurance of safety to consumers. USDA only tests cattle that are sent to the renderer and doesn’t test at slaughterhouses.”
(In 2006, Creekstone Farms, a beef processing company in Arkansas City, Kan., sought to privately test all its cattle - not just the small sampling conducted by USDA testers - so it could market its beef in countries that refused to accept untested US beef. Creekstone sued the USDA, which has the sole authority to issue the test kits for mad cow disease, but lost that suit in federal court.)
Food-safety attorney Sarah Klein of the Center for Science in the Public Interest said the case of a single cow with BSE “is not a reason for significant concern on the part of consumers, and there is no reason to believe the beef or milk supply is unsafe.”
But, she added, while the US has first-world resources and technology, it has “a third-world animal identification system.”
“In fact, some third-world countries do a better job of tracking livestock than America does,” Ms. Klein said. “Botswana, for one, uses [radio frequency identification] microchips to track its animals up and down the supply chain.”
Another criticism of current regulation and practice involves the ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban in the US to prevent spread of mad cow disease, which critics say is inadequate.
“Cows can't be fed to other cows, which is a good thing,” said Starkman of Consumers Union. “But remains of cows can be fed to pigs and chickens, and pig and chicken remains can be fed back to cows. We believe this could allow for the spread of mad cow disease.”
On Wednesday, two major South Korean retailers pulled US beef from their stores.
South Korea's agriculture ministry decided to step up inspections of US beef and request detailed information on the case from the US - initial measures to appease public concern while avoiding possible trade conflicts, the AP reported.
South Korea is the world's fourth-largest importer of US beef, buying 107,000 tons of the meat worth $563 million in 2011.

USDA Announces Detection of BSE in California Dairy Cow
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/usda-announces-detection-of-bse-in-california-dairy-cow/
By Linda Larsen (Apr 25, 2012)
The USDA announced on Tuesday that a new case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), popularly known as “mad cow disease” was discovered in a dairy cow in California.
USDA Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford said in a statement, “the carcass of the animal is being held under State authority at a rendering facility in California and will be destroyed. It was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, so at no time presented a risk to the food supply or human health. Additionally, milk does not transmit BSE.”
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack also issued a statement saying, “the beef and dairy in the American food supply is safe and USDA remians confident in the health of us cattle.”
There have been four confirmed cases of BSE in cows in the United States. The USDA tests 40,000 cows a year for the disease. Cows usually contract the disease when they eat feed that contains the BSE prion from cattle brain, spinal cord, or digestive tracts. Humans can acquire a form of BSE called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease by eating infected beef.
In 1993, there was a massive BSE outbreak in the UK that killed 150 people. Ranchers there added recycled bone meal and meat from infected cows directly to cattle feed. In 1992 there were 37,311 cases of BSE worldwide. Last year there were only 29 cases worldwide. That decline is attributed to feed bans.
This was a very rare, “atypical” case of BSE caused by a random mutation, not related to the type cows can develop when they eat infected feed. In 2008, the FDA made changes to animal feed regulations, prohibiting the use of “high-risk cattle material in feed” for all animal species.
Dr. Alfredo DiCostanzo, Professor at the Department of Animal Science at the University of Minnesota told Food Poisoning Bulletin, “Based on the surveillance effort, and decreasing likelihood of finding cattle with BSE derived from consuming mammalian proteins, concentrating BSE surveillance on ‘downer’ cows and, removing specified risk material from cattle aged 30 months or older, the risk BSE transmission is effectively low.”
These are the animal products that cannot be used in animal feed:
¡áThe entire carcass of BSE-positive cattle
¡áBrains and spinal cords of cattle 30 months of age and older
¡áCarcasses of cattle 30 months of age or older from which brains and spinal cords were not effectively removed or excluded from animal feed.
¡áAnimal liver
¡áCooked bone marrow
¡áSalvage pet food
¡áUnborn calf carcasses
But these animal materials can be used in animal feed:
¡áBlood and blood products
¡áMilk products
¡áPure pork protein
¡áPure horse protein
¡áPure poultry protein
¡áPure fish protein
Dr. Ron Chapman, the director of the California Department of Public Health, said, “there is no public health threat due to the discovery of BSE in a dairy cow. The food supply in California has not been affected by this discovery, and residents do not need to take any specific precautions.”
The Center for Science in the Public Interest agrees with the government assessment, but they did say that the United States animal identification system is poorly run. CSPI food safety attorney Sarah Klein said in a statement, “If the cow were exposed to a typical strain of BSE via animal feed – and the government says that’s not the case here – that would have represented a significant failure. The government’s ability to track down other cattle that may have been exposed via feed would have been hampered without an effective animal I.D. Program.”
In January, Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) and Peter King (R-NY) introduced a bill to permanently ban downer animals from entering the food chain.

Food Safety Authority urges E coli vigilance
Source : http://www.rte.ie/news/2012/0424/food-safety-authority-urges-e-coli-vigilance.html
By admin(Apr 24, 2012)
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has urged childcare workers and crèche owners to ensure they have robust hygiene practices in place to reduce the incidence of E coli.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has urged childcare workers and crèche owners to ensure they have robust hygiene practices in place to reduce the incidence of E coli.
The authority has said it is concerned at the high levels of E coli infection here, with 285 cases of human infection provisionally recorded last year.
There were nine outbreaks in children attending crèches, or who were cared for in the home by childminders.
This involved some 75 children and adults becoming ill, with seven being hospitalised last year.
Most E coli bacteria are harmless, but some types are extremely harmful and can cause severe stomach pains and bloody diarrhoea, and can also progress to cause kidney failure and death in some cases.
The FSAI says young children and infants are particularly at risk from E coli infection, and children and workers in childcare settings can unwittingly spread infection.
The chief executive of the Food Safety Authority, Professor Alan Reilly, said babies and young children are vulnerable because their immune systems are still developing.
Washing hands is the single most important way to stop the spread of these E coli. Young children should be helped to wash and dry their hands. Babies need to have their hands washed as often as older children.
As well as handwashing, infection can be prevented by using a safe water supply and preparing food hygenically.
Staff are asked to stay away from childcare facilities for 48 hours if they have had diarrhoea or vomiting, and they should contact the Department of Public Health for advice to prevent more cases.
The FSAI has just published a leaflet - How to Protect the Children in Your Care - which is freely available on www.fsai.ie, or by contacting the Food Safety Authority on 1890-336677.

Consumer Food Washing Practices
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/consumer-food-washing-practices/
By Linda Larsen (Apr 24, 2012)
“Consumers are the last line of defense in preventing foodborne illness for food prepared at home.” That line, from the study Consumer Vegetable and Fruit Washing Practices in the United States, 2006 and 2010, points out that it’s up to the consumer to avoid food poisoning by washing produce, cooking meats, fish, and eggs to the proper temperature, and avoiding cross-contamination.
The FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFAN) conducted a telephone survey to ask consumers about their food washing habits. CFAN conducts this type of study every three to five years. The foods included in the survey were strawberries, tomatoes, cantaloupes, and bagged, pre-cut lettuce. Food safety experts recommend that all produce that is not pre-washed should be rinsed under running water. Produce with hard rinds should be scrubbed, and produce that is soft should be rubbed.
While rinsing will not remove all pathogens, it does reduce their numbers. Soaking, using produce cleaners, and using soap are not recommended, according to the study. Soaking is not as effective as running water, produce cleaners are “no more effective than water”, and soap and other chemicals can add contaminants to the food.
The study found that overall, “women, those with less-than-college-level education, and middle aged adults have the safest food-handling behaviors.”
Cantaloupes. There was a decline in the number of people who wash cantaloupes from 2006 to 2010. This study was conducted before the cantaloupe Listeria outbreak in the summer of 2011 that sickened more than 100 people and killed 35. But there was an outbreak of Salmonella Litchfield in cantaloupes in 2008.
The study found that there were significant differences in washing habits in race/ethnicity categories and some age and education subcategories. Fewer non-Hispanic black mean, hispanic men, and non-hispanic white men reported washing cantaloupes in 2010 than in 2006.
A 2006 study by the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service found that hot water immersion for cantaloupes can kill bacteria. That product is difficult to wash since its thick, webbed rind can hold bacteria. The cantaloupe is immersed in 168 degrees F. water for 3 minutes. This kills bacteria but doesn’t soften the flesh since it’s protected by the hard rind.
Lettuces. There was a significant increase in the number of consumers who wash bagged, pre-cut lettuce. Women in the 18 to 45 age group were more likely to wash this product in 2010 than in 2006. But food safety experts recommend that this product not be washed again. It is washed before bagging, and washing the product at home can introduce bacteria via cross-contamination.
The study found that Non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic Men and Hispanic women were more likely to wash bagged, pre-cut lettuce.
The study authors think that because of the 2006 recall and outbreak of E. coli 0157:H7 in raw spinach, consumers feel that product needs to be washed.
Strawberries and Tomatoes. Most consumers surveyed wash strawberries and tomatoes before serving. In fact, they were far more likely to wash these products than produce with a hard rind.
Education about safe food handling practices was the goal of this study. It’s clear that more education is needed regarding produce washing habits.
But what about washing poultry and other raw meats? Many consumers wash these products, even though food safety experts advise against it.
While brining meats and poultry is a recent practice, the salt used in brine does not kill bacteria. If the consumers chooses to brine raw meats and poultry, they must be careful to prevent cross-contamination when removing the meat from the brine and discarding the brine. And it’s important to refrigerate the meat and poultry when it’s in the brine solution.
Food Poisoning Bulletin asked Dr. Francisco Diez-Gonzalez of the University of Minnesota about the safe handling of poultry. He said, “washing chicken is a really bad idea. Not only would it spread bacteria, but washing is a very ineffective way to reduce contamination.”
Dr. Diez-Gonzales recommends these steps for handling raw poultry products:
¡áUse a cutting board for meats only to avoid cross-contamination.
¡áClean and disinfect utensils that come in contact with raw meat.
¡áWash hands frequently when handling raw chicken pieces.
¡áCook it well, using a thermometer every single time, to a temperature of at leas 165 degrees F. This will kill pathogenic bacteria.
¡áDispose of leftovers and packaging material carefully, avoiding any contact with other surfaces.

Mad Cow No. 4 Found In U.S. Cattle Herd
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/04/mad-cow-no-4-found-in-us-cattle-herd/
By Dan Flynn (Apr 24, 2012)
After six years, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has again been discovered in the U.S. cattle herd.
A dairy cow in central California dairy was recently diagnosed with BSE, commonly called mad-cow disease, according to USDA Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford.
The carcass of the animal is being held by the state of California at a rendering facility, where it will be destroyed.  In a statement issued Tuesday, Clifford said the animal was never presented for slaughter as food for human consumption and that BSE cannot be transmitted via milk.
For those reasons, Clifford said "at no time" did the animal present a risk to the food supply or human health.
California joins Washington state, Texas and Alabama in experiencing the discovery of a mad cow within its borders. BSE is called mad-cow disease because it is a brain-wasting condition that can be transmitted to humans from eating beef that contains bits of the brain, spinal cord or digestive tract from infected cattle.
The first BSE-infected cow in the U.S. was found near Mabton, WA on Dec. 23, 2003.  Two others were discovered later, one in Texas in 2005 and another in Alabama in 2006.  
USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed the California dairy cow was positive for atypical BSE, a very rare form of the disease that the department said is not generally associated with an animal consuming infected feed.
USDA does not expect the discovery of a fourth mad cow to change its BSE status under the World Animal Health system; Clifford said this detection should not affect U.S. trade.
Worldwide, there were 29 BSE cases in 2011, a 99 percent reduction since the peak of 37,311 cases in 1992. Clifford attributed the dramatic decline to feed bans as the primary control measure.

North American food safety authorities target substandard imports
Source : http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/North-American-food-safety-authorities-target-substandard-imports
By Mark Astley (Apr 24, 2012)
US and Canadian food safety authorities have laid out plans to ensure the quality and safety of imported foods – publishing mirror-image campaigns within days of each other.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) have outlined their latest strategies to strengthen the safety and standards of food products attempting to gain entry to the countries.
The Global Engagement Report, which was launched by FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg, details the agency’s updated plan to guarantee that imported food meets the same strict safety benchmarks as domestically manufactured products.
The FDA report comes within days of a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) proposal, the Imported Food Sector Regulatory Proposal,to develop new food import safety regulations.
The proposed rules would require the implementation of specific measures and the introduction of a import license user fee.
International development
“As the volume of imported food increases, so too does the risk that some products will fail to meet FDA standards,” said the Global Engagement Report.
“In the face of these realities, inspection at the US borders or ports-of-entry is no longer sufficient to ensure the safety of the ever-increasing tide of imports to the United States.”
According to the report, the FDA can realistically inspect less than 3% of the food arriving at US ports - making it vital that the agency ensures these products meet US standards before they reach the US.
“In response to these challenges, FDA has embraced a wide variety of strategies that increase its engagement in the global public health community, integrating the Agency’s knowledge of how products are developed manufactured, and delivered worldwide, and its ability to ensure that the imported products available to US consumers are safe and effective,” said the report.
This includes the further development of international offices and posts. The FDA already has offices in China, India, Latin America, South Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
The agency will also focus on the strengthening of regulatory capacity in foreign countries, the harmonisation of science-based standards, risk-based monitoring and inspection and global surveillance.
CFIA user fee
Under the proposed CFIA measures, food importers would be required to implement specific measures to identify, report, and recall potentially hazardous products from the marketplace.
The issue of a license, for which importers would be charged a user fee, would be dependent on the implementation of these measures.
The CFIA is anticipating the issue of 25,000 imports licenses in each two year period with an initial user fee of $259.48 for FY 2013/14. Each import license will be valid for two year under the proposal
It has taken the steps to meet the increasing value of imports entering the country, which has jumped by 45% in the last nine years.
“In 2010, Canada imported $30.7bn worth of food and agricultural products. While our existing food safety system remains effective, recent food safety issues have underscored the reality and risks of today’s increasingly complex global marketplace,” said the CFIA proposal.
“The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is proposing to develop new regulations that would tighten controls over the safety of imported foods sold in Canada,” it added.

FDA: Gulf seafood safe despite oil spill concerns
Source : http://blog.usfoodsafety.com/2012/04/23/fda-gulf-seafood-safe-despite-oil-spill-concerns/
By foodsafeguru (Apr 23, 2012)
Photos of fish with sores may raise concern about long-term environmental effects of the massive BP oil spill, but federal health officials say the Gulf seafood that is on the market is safe to eat, the Associated Press reported April 20.
After all, diseased fish are not allowed to be sold, said a doctor who heads the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Gulf Coast Seafood Laboratory. “It’s important to emphasize that we’re talking about a low percentage of fish,” he said. “It doesn’t represent a seafood safety hazard.” Two years after the oil spill, scientists cite lesions and other deformities in some Gulf fish as a sign of lingering environmental damage. They can not say for sure what is causing the fish ailments or if there really are more sick fish now than in the past.
Source: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2012/04/20/fda-gulf-seafood-safe-despite-oil-spill-concerns

FDA launches new strategy for foods and animal medicine
Source : http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/fs/food-disease/news/apr2312strategic.html
By Lisa Schnirring (Apr 23, 2012)
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today released a final strategic plan for its foods and veterinary medicine program designed to help officials set priorities over the next 4 years.
The 29-page plan covers the responsibilities of two FDA agencies, the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) and the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM).
The FDA released a draft version of the document in late September 2011 and urged stakeholders to carefully review and comment on it. The FDA said it considered the submitted comments before issuing the final version.
In an introductory letter, Michael Taylor, the FDA's deputy commissioner for foods, wrote that expectations for the FDA are high, given last year's passage of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act and the public's growing interest in nutrition information.
"Success in this environment requires a strategic plan to guide our hard work and keep us focused on the most important things we need to accomplish in order to fulfill our public health and consumer protection mandates," he wrote.
The new report outlines CFSAN and CVM vision and mission directives and sets out objectives for improving effectiveness and efficiency at all levels. For example, the plan requires an updated model for tracking performance measures and program outputs. It said the program "must be able to answer questions about where it is investing its resources and how these investments are improving animal health and public health and protecting consumers."
The strategic plan also outlines seven key program goals, which direct the centers to:
Establish science-based preventive control standards from farm to table
Achieve high compliance rates for preventive control standards at domestic and international levels
Strengthen science leadership, capacity, and partnerships to support decision making
Give consumers accurate and useful information for making healthier dietary choices
Encourage food produce reformulation and safe dietary supplement production
Improve foodborne illness outbreak and contamination detection and response
Advance animal drug safety and effectiveness
The FDA said that over the next 4 years the CFSAN and CVM will introduce new safety standards and practices targeted to preventing food and animal feed contamination, with input from industry to ensure effective implementation.
Goals also require updated nutrition labeling along with better information available for consumers at point-of-purchase settings, such as restaurants and vending machines. They also urge federal agencies to find new ways to promote a healthier food supply, such as reducing the sodium content of foods.
Some of the measures to improve response to foodborne illness outbreaks are to operationalize the Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation (CORE) Network, a multidisciplinary expert team working full time on outbreak prevention and response.
Strategies revolving around animal drugs include reducing the availability of poor quality or illegally marketed drugs and fostering the judicious use of antibiotics in food animals.
Reportable food registry
In related developments, the FDA on Apr 19 released the second annual report for its reportable food registry, a new system that helps it track food and feed adulteration patterns, better focus inspection resources, and prevent foodborne illness outbreaks. The new system was launched in September 2009, and the FDA released the registry's first review in January 2011.
The second food registry report covers its second year of operation, from Sep 8, 2010, through Sep 7, 2011. It includes 225 primary reports in 22 commodity categories, along with 483 subsequent and 174 amended reports. The top three hazards were the same as for the registry's first year: Salmonella (accounting for 38.2% of reports), undeclared allergens (33.3%), and Listeria monocytogenes (17.8%).
The FDA said the overall number of total submissions was higher the first year, mainly because of a flurry of subsequent reports related to undeclared sulfites in prepared side dishes, L monocytogenes in cheese spreads, and Salmonella in hydrolyzed vegetable protein. The agency said it's not possible to tell whether the first year results were high or the second year results were low.
The number of amended reports in the second year increased by 25%, which the FDA said suggests more facilities are informing the FDA about their investigations of problems and efforts to correct them. It said the number of produce-related reports nearly doubled the second year, due to a US Department of Agriculture sampling program to detect baseline contamination levels.
The FDA said the findings in the 28-page report are helping it spur efforts to improve prevention measures in the affected commodity areas and better target inspection and sampling activities.

FDA wants more safety studies on nanoparticles in food and cosmetics     
Source : http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/Safety/chemical/nanoparticles_in_food_and_cosmetics_0420120931.html
By David Liu, PHD (Apr 20, 2012)
The Food and drug Administration released today April 20, 2012 two documents to address its concern about the safety of nanoparticles used in food and cosmetics.
Without approval by the FDA, food manufacturers and cosmetics manufacturers have been using nanoparticles in their products for a number of years.
The FDA now encourages, but it does not seem to be a mandate yet, food and cosmetics makers to conduct more safety tests to demonstrate to the agency that use of nanoparticles is actually safe.  Usually, premarketing tests are not required, but for whatever reason, the FDA now requires safety for nanoparticles used in food and cosmetics.
Nanoparticles such as zinc oxide and titanium oxide are commonly used in soaps and sunscreens.  Nanoparticles are used in foods like confectionary products, cheeses, and sauces to make foods look brighter, or whiter.  Titanium oxide and silica dioxide are two most commonly used in food.  Nanoparticles may also be used in dietary supplements such as silica dioxide.
Nanoparticles have not thoroughly been tested for their safety before they are used in food and cosmetics.
The FDA did not explain why nanoparticles should be a concern.   It just said nanotechnology is new and more knowledge is needed to determine whether using nanoparticles is safe.
Recently, studies have shown that nanoparticles of certain sizes, which can be smaller enough to get into individual cells, but large enough to disrupt DNA, causing genomic instability or mutagenesis or carcinogenesis.
It has been known that nanoparticles in soap and sunscreens may enter skin cells and transport to other remote issue and cells causing unrepairable DNA and other damage.  Ingested nanoparticles can accumulate in major organs like the liver.
Nanoparticles are often oxides such as iron oxide, titanium oxide, aluminum oxide, cerium oxide, sillica dioxide and zinc dioxide.  Silica dioxide, when used in dietary, toothpaste and other products, may be simply named as silica.
Nanoparticles can also pollute the environment.  Nanoparticles released into the environment can be picked by plants and animals and then humans eat plant and animal foods, nanoparticles can eventually build up in human bodies causing health problems.

Viral outbreak at Nova Scotia salmon farm spreads, prompting kill order
Source : http://www.globaltvedmonton.com/canada/salmon+virus+outbreak+at+nova+scotia+fish+farm+has+spread+minister+says/6442629329/story.html
By Keith Doucette and Michael Tutton (Apr 26, 2012)
A Nova Scotia fish farm at the centre of a viral outbreak has been ordered to kill all of its salmon, but the province's fisheries minister said Thursday he didn't believe the disease has spread beyond the site.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency ordered Cooke Aquaculture to kill and dispose all of its salmon at a fish farm in Shelburne Harbour, the same site where infectious salmon anemia was detected in February during routine testing.
At that time, the federal agency directed the company to kill fish in two pens and quarantine its site, but it said Thursday that more cases of the disease have since been confirmed.
Nova Scotia Fisheries Minister Sterling Belliveau said he is confident the virus hasn't spread beyond Shelburne Harbour.
"This is one area that has been quarantined and has been heavily monitored," Belliveau said, adding that he didn't believe the disease would deal a blow to the province's salmon farming industry.
"I see this as part of reality," he said. "This is a serious issue but the process is in place to manage this."
But Susanna Fuller, a marine co-ordinator at the Ecology Action Centre, said the spread of the disease illustrates the dangers of the farmed fish sector.
"The outbreak brings home very close to home the risks of this industry," she said in an interview.
"This is the kind of thing that happens when we have a high density of fish being farmed in a small area."
Fuller said her group believes the open-pen systems used by Cooke Aquaculture should be discouraged in favour of closed pens.
"We need to be able to do aquaculture sustainably," she said. "Closed-pen systems don't have disease transfer and don't use pesticides and they treat their waste."
A spokeswoman at Cooke Aquaculture did not return a call for comment.
Infectious salmon anemia poses no threat to human health or food safety, but it can kill up to 90 per cent of the salmon it infects, depending on the strain.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said the Shelburne Harbour fish farm will remain under quarantine until all fish have been removed and all pens, cages and equipment have been cleaned and disinfected. The process could take months to complete.
The virus first appeared at fish farms in Norway almost two decades ago, then in New Brunswick and later Scotland.
In the late 1990s, New Brunswick salmon farmers slaughtered more than a million fish amid an outbreak. The federal government paid out tens of millions of dollars to settle compensation claims.
The virus was discovered in farmed Nova Scotia salmon as early as 1999, but in much smaller numbers.

Raw Milk Now The Focus Of Missouri E. coli Outbreak
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/raw-milk-now-the-focus-of-missouri-e-coli-outbreak/
By Carla Gillespie (Apr 26, 2012)
Raw milk produced by Stroupe Farm in Howard County Missouri is now the focus on an investigation into an E.coli outbreak that has sickened 12 people, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
Missouri health officials had previously reported that 15 people were part of the outbreak, but now believe that, based on lab results, geographic location and case histories, three of those individuals are not part of the same outbreak as the other 12.
Of the 12 outbreak victims with confirmed cases of E. coli 0157:H7 infections, eight reported drinking raw milk or products made with raw milk from Stroupe Farm before they became ill.  Milk and environmental samples taken from the farm have all tested negative for E.coli and the farm has ended sales of raw dairy products.
An investigation into the outbreak is ongoing and Missouri health officials continue to remind consumers that drinking raw milk is an unnecessary health risk.

Second Salmonella strain cited in growing tuna-linked outbreak
Source : http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/fs/food-disease/news/apr2612salmo.html
By Robert Roos (Apr 26, 2012)
A second strain of Salmonella has been identified in a 21-state outbreak with a contaminated tuna product as the likely cause, and the total number of cases has jumped to 200, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today.
The CDC's previous update on the Salmonella Bareilly outbreak listed 160 cases; today's announcement put the number at 190. In addition, 10 cases of Salmonella serotype Nchanga in five states are now classified as part of the same outbreak, and the CDC has merged what were previously separate investigations, the statement said.
The states with Salmonella Nchanga cases are Georgia (2), New Jersey (1), New York (5), Virginia (1), and Wisconsin (1), the CDC said. All those states also have had Salmonella Bareilly cases in the outbreak.
Overall, of 153 patients with available information, 28 have been hospitalized, but none have died, the CDC said. The latest illness onset date is Apr 12.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found Salmonella Bareilly in two samples of Nakaochi Scrape yellowfin tuna with a pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern matching the outbreak strain. In addition, "One of the samples also yielded another type of Salmonella with a PFGE pattern indistinguishable from the cluster of Salmonella Nchanga infections," the CDC said.
The tuna product was distributed by Moon Marine Corp. of Cupertino, Calif., which has recalled it. Nakaochi Scrape is used in sushi, sashimi, and similar products sold in restaurants and stores.
The CDC said Salmonella Nchanga is extremely rare in the United States. Illness onset dates for the 10 cases ranged from Feb 19 to Apr 5. Just one person was reported as being hospitalized, out of six whose information was available.
Wisconsin officials announced yesterday that they had isolated Salmonella Bareilly from one sample of recalled tuna and from a spicy tuna roll made with recalled tuna.

Mad Cow found in California - 4th Cow since 2003
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-watch/mad-cow-found-in-california---4th-cow-since-2003/
By Bill Marler (Apr 25, 2012)
According to Bloomberg, The first U.S. case of mad cow disease in six years has been found in a dairy cow in central California, John Clifford, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief veterinarian, told reporters today in a briefing in Washington. The cow was found at a rendering facility as part of routine testing for the disease, known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), Clifford said. Its meat didn't enter the food chain and the carcass will be destroyed, he said.
This is the fourth confirmed case of BSE found in the United States.
Washington State: On December 23, 2003, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a presumptive positive case of BSE in a Holstein cow slaughtered in the State of Washington. The infected cow entered the United States on September 4, 2001, as part of a shipment of 81 animals from the source herd in Canada. Of these 81 animals, 25 were considered to be higher risk as defined by the Office International des Epizooties (OIE): animals born on a known source premises within 12 months of an affected animal, either before or after.
Texas: In June 2005, an inconclusive bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) sample from November 2004, that had originally been classified as negative on the immunohistochemistry test, was confirmed positive on SAF immunoblot (Western blot). The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) identified the herd of origin for the index cow in Texas; that identification was confirmed by DNA analysis.
Alabama: On February 27, 2006, an Alabama cattle producer contacted his herd veterinarian and reported that he owned a cow that was down and unable to rise. He had last seen the cow approximately three days prior and had not noted any abnormalities at that time. Upon examination the veterinarian found the cow in right lateral recumbency with her feet pointing uphill. The cow was unable to rise after being rolled onto her sternum. The differential diagnoses at the time of the visit included hypocalcemia (milk fever) and hypomagnesemia (grass tetany). Grass tetany is a common cause of downer cows in Alabama during this time of the year. Intravenous and oral mineral supplements were administered with minimal clinical improvement. After treatment, the cow displayed tremors of the head and neck and was still unable to rise. On the following day, February 28, the cow remained in lateral recumbency and she was euthanized and the obex removed to test for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). On March 15, NVSL completed immunohistochemical testing on the tissues, confirming the second native case of BSE in the United States.
In 2008, concerns over mad cow disease prompted the USDA to force Hallmark and Westland Meat Packing Company of Chino, California to recall 143,383,823 pounds of raw and frozen beef products - the largest meat recall in United States history.  This recall lead to the Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in 2009 to announce a complete ban on the slaughter of cattle that become non-ambulatory disabled (The Downer Cow Rule) after passing initial inspection by Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) inspection program personnel.

3 hospitalized after E. coli outbreak at Tennessee daycare
Source : http://blog.usfoodsafety.com/2012/04/24/3-hospitalized-after-e-coli-outbreak-at-tennessee-daycare/
By Doug Powell (Apr 24, 2012)
WBIR reports three children are in hospital following an E. coli O157 outbreak at a Cocke County daycare facility.
According to the Tennessee Department of Health, three juveniles, all of whom attend the same daycare facility in Newport, were diagnosed with E. coli O157 symptoms.
The source of the bacteria is currently unknown, but managers of the facility are working with investigators, and the families of all children who attend the daycare have been contacted.
State health department officials have not closed the facility, but are continuing to investigate the situation.

Colorado Changes Its Cantaloupe Growing Practices
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/04/colorado-changes-its-cantaloupe-growing-practices/
By Dan Flynn (Apr 23, 2012)
The few Colorado farmers who grow the same brand of cantaloupe implicated in last year's Listeria outbreak -- the most deadly outbreak of foodborne illness in the U.S. in decades -- are falling into line with growing and packing reforms that originated in California.
The California-centered U.S. cantaloupe industry is bending other growing areas to its will without anything more than the powers of persuasion.
John Salazar, Colorado's commission of agriculture, has enlisted Colorado's growers who want to carry on the "Rocky Ford" brand of cantaloupes into a new $150,000 state program.  The money will go for enforcement and marketing.
The growers have formed the Rocky Ford Growers Association and, for the first time since melon growing began along the Arkansas River in the 1880s, they've trademarked the name "Rocky Ford Cantaloupe."
More importantly, Colorado cantaloupe growers will accept twice-a-year safety audits to be conducted by state agricultural inspectors.  
The first state inspection will be announced, and designed to help growers connect their procedures with the new standards. Some time in the middle of the harvest season, the second audit will be unannounced and aimed at ensuring compliance.
Colorado State University is working with "Rocky Ford" growers to make sure cleaning and cooling practices do not bring about the sort of Listeria growth that went on at Jensen Farms last season.
Jensen Farms is 100 miles east of Colorado's cantaloupe center -- the small town of Rocky Ford.  The Food and Drug Administration said both equipment and cantaloupes in Jensen Farms' packing shed were contaminated with Listeria. The firm was blamed for a Listeria outbreak that sickened at least 146 in 28 states. There were 36 known deaths.
With almost one-third of those deaths in Colorado, only the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School was a larger mass casualty event for the state in the last half-century. Thirteen were killed in that high school massacre.
By going out to the banks of the Arkansas River to watch the first cantaloupe seeds be punched into the mulching plastic designed to keep the melons high and dry, Commissioner Salazar attracted good press coverage for an effort that really amounts to hitting the reset button for the state's $10 million industry.
Other safety steps include:
- Forced air cooling to reduce the field temperature of a harvested cantaloupe that might be 90 degrees or higher down to 40 degrees inside of three hours.
- Switching from a sanitizing pool to a rapid pass-through system that keeps chlorination rinse moving.
- Going with a "seed-to-store" tracking system to isolate any problems down to the box.
- "Rocky Ford" cantaloupes will be traceable by the consumer to the farm where they are grown with a Smartphone code.
- Growers are attending mandatory training and agricultural practices meetings.
The Rocky Ford Growers Association is starting out small -- on a total of about 500 acres.  In past years, more than 2,000 acres were dedicated to cantaloupes.  Only when consumers come back will more acreage be dedicated to more melons.
Knapp Farms, Hanagan Farms and Hirakata Farms -- all members of the new association ---have also promised Salazar they will participate in "Know Your Farmer" days at local grocery stores.
Now, the only cantaloupes that will be allowed under the Rocky Ford trademark will be those grown by association members in Otero and Crowley counties.  Jensen Farms is in Prowers County on the Kansas border and is not expected to grow any cantaloupes this season. 
Numerous outbreak victims or  their survivors and families are suing the family-owned Jensen Farms.
The good agricultural practices (GAP) adopted by Colorado were developed in January at the behest of California cantaloupe growers in meetings led by the Center for Produce Safety at the University of California, Davis.
While 25 to 30 Colorado cantaloupe growers were hurt by the outbreak traced back to Jensen Farms, so too were the volume growers centered in California and Arizona. At the time of deadly outbreak, they had more than 40,000 acres dedicated to cantaloupes worth more than $200 million.
The resulting scare from the outbreak cut into consumer demand across the board.  California cantaloupe growers, who have never been responsible for an outbreak of foodborne illness, had no choice but to lead the way toward safer melons. 
In California, cantaloupe growers used amendments to the state marketing order to impose the new regulations.  Inland, they're mostly the result of the same sort of persuasion that has worked in Colorado.

Contaminated Cheese: 4 Accused Of Distributing Dangerous, Bacteria-Filled Dairy
Source : http://blog.usfoodsafety.com/2012/04/22/contaminated-cheese-4-accused-of-distributing-dangerous-bacteria-filled-dairy/
By foodsafeguru (Apr 22, 2012)
Four people are accused of ignoring U.S. Food and Drug Administration orders and distributing more than 110,000 pounds of contaminated cheese. Some of it contained salmonella, E. coli and other potentially harmful bacteria.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago says the suspects even scraped mold and fungus off 35- and 40-pound wheels of the Mexican cheese that unhappy customers had returned so they could be resold. Prosecutors announced the indictments Thursday.
They say there’s no evidence anyone became ill eating the cheese.
A Wisconsin company distributing the cheese under the brand Queso Cincho De Guerrero to Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Georgia and Texas issued a recall in 2007.
To cover up the distribution, the defendants allegedly sent false documentation to the FDA. They’re charged with violating food safety laws.
source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/20/contaminated-cheese-4-acc_n_1440133.html?ref=food&ir=Food

Oregon Raw Milk E.coli Outbreak Targets Children
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/oregon-raw-milk-e-coli-outbreak-targets-children/
By Carla Gillespie (Apr 22, 2012)
Of the 19 people who have been sickened by the raw milk E.coli outbreak linked to Foundation Farm in Oregon, 15 are children, four of whom have been hospitalized with kidney failure, according to the Oregon Health Authority.
The four children have hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a condition that develops in some children after an E. coli infection.  With HUS ”damaged red blood cells start to clog the filtering system in the kidneys, which may eventually cause the life-threatening kidney failure associated with hemolytic uremic syndrome,” according to the Mayo Clinic. Treatment of HUS can include fluid replacement, red blood cell transfusions, platelet transfusions, plasma exchange and kidney dialysis.
So far, 11 of the 19 people who are ill, have culture-confirmed E. coli O157 infections.  The 15 patients who are children range in age from 18 months to 19 years old.  All 19 patients drank raw milk from Foundation Farm in Clackamas County. Raw milk from the farm is only food item that all 19 patients consumed prior to becoming ill, according to Oregon health officials. Laboratory tests show that E. coli O157 isolates from eight of the patients match isolates from samples taken from the farm and from some raw milk.
It doesn’t take a lot E.coli to make someone very sick. The infectious dose can be as small as 10 organisms, according to Heidi Kassenborg, DVM, and director of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Dairy and Food Inspection Division.
Children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems are most at-risk for developing HUS, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And children are among those most affected by outbreaks associated with raw milk.  ”It is important to note that a substantial proportion of the raw milk-associated disease burden falls on children; among the 93 raw dairy product outbreaks from 1998 to 2009, 79% involved at least one person less than 20 years old,” a CDC raw milk fact sheet states.
Health officials in Oregon continue to remind consumers that pasteurization is the only way to make sure that milk is free of pathogens.

Cryptosporidium Outbreak at Minnesota Water Parks
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/cryptosporidium-outbreak-at-minnesota-water-parks/
By Carla Gillespie (Apr 21, 2012)
There has been an outbreak of Cryptosporidium at two Minnesota water parks. This parasite causes a gastrointestinal disease with diarrhea. While most people recover in a couple of weeks, some people can develop life-threatening complications.
Children, the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, and anyone with a chronic illness are most susceptible to complications. The parasite’s oocysts can resist many different disinfectants. Transmission is from fecal contamination in the water; swimmers swallow water that contains the parasite.
Trisha Robinson, Epidemiologist in Acute Disease Investigation and Control at the Minnesota Department of Health told Food Poisoning Bulletin that there was an outbreak at the Edgewater Resort and Waterpark in Duluth, and a second outbreak at a waterpark in Brainerd. One person has been hospitalized in each of those outbreaks.
She stated, “there is no evidence that the two outbreaks are related. Although the original course of contamination was not confirmed, an infectious pool user most likely introduced the parasite into the water.”

Missouri E. coli Outbreak Sickens 15, Farm Ends Raw Milk Sales
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/missouri-e-coli-outbreak-sickens-15-farm-ends-raw-milk-sales/
By Carla Gillespie (Apr 20, 2012)
Raw milk that may be the source of an E.coli outbreak in Missouri that has sickened at least 15 people, came from a Howard County farm that has permanently ended raw milk sales, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
Laws governing the sale of raw milk vary from state to state. In Missouri, the sale of raw milk is banned with two exceptions, according to the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA). At farmers’ markets, producers who have a permit can sell raw milk. Currently, Missouri has on permitted facility, located in Galena, according MDA. The other exception, is buying raw milk on-farm for individual use, which was the case with the Howard County farm associated with this outbreak.
Seven of the 15 people with confirmed cases of E. coli 0157:H7 infections drank milk from the Howard County farm before becoming ill. So far, this is the only commonality officials have identified with the cases. Eight people with confirmed cases did not drink milk from the farm and eight samples taken from the farm all tested negative for the outbreak strain.
It takes only a small amount of E. coli to make someone very sick.  Recently, Food Poisoning Bulletin interviewed Heidi Kassenborg DVM, and director of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Dairy and Food Inspection Division, and Joni Scheftel DVM, from the Minnesota Department Health who explained that pathogens aren’t evenly mixed within a tank of milk.  “Bacteria do not get evenly distributed throughout a product. They tend to group in clusters.  So milk taken from one part of the bulk tank may be contaminated while the rest is not.
Four of confirmed case patients are from Boone County, the others are from Camden, Clark, Cooper, Howard and Jackson counties.
Missouri public health officials advise consumers not to drink raw milk because of the dangerous pathogens it can contain and advise anyone with symptoms of an infection including abdominal cramping and diarrhea which is often bloody, to seek medical attention.




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