UK Researchers Fight Campylobacter
By Campylobacter Lawyer (June 23, 2012)
Researchers at the Institute of Food Research have discovered why the micronutrient selenium is important to the survival of Campylobacter bacteria, which are responsible for an estimated half a million cases of food poisoning annually in the UK alone. Knowing how and why Campylobacter uses selenium could help develop ways of controlling it, benefitting public health and the food industry.
Converting nutrients into energy is essential to all forms of life, and without this process, known as respiration, life would not exist in harsh and hostile conditions. This holds true for the foodborne bacterial pathogen Campylobacter, which colonises the intestines of poultry. In this environment it uses organic acids produced by other bacteria to respire and thrive. Campylobacter needs selenium to make the formate dehydrogenase enzyme required for this respiration, but it is not known how selenium is acquired or metabolised by Campylobacter or many other bacteria.
New research from the group of Dr Arnoud van Vliet at the Institute of Food Research, strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, has resulted in the identification of two Campylobacter genes which are required for the formation of the formate dehydrogenase enzyme. Inactivation of these two genes blocked the formation of the formate dehydrogenase enzyme, but when the bacteria were supplemented with extra selenium, they were able to synthesize the enzyme again, suggesting that the two Campylobacter genes are involved in selenium metabolism. As it was previously shown that the lack of formate dehydrogenase affects the ability of Campylobacter to colonise the chicken gut, this may open up possibilities to target this pathway for antimicrobial purposes. In addition, as these selenium metabolism genes and the formate dehydrogenase enzyme are also present in other important foodborne pathogens like Salmonella and E. coli, it may be possible to extend such investigations to other areas of food safety.
"Selenium metabolism is still poorly understood in bacteria, and its role in important foodborne pathogens like Campylobacter is not yet appreciated fully", said Dr van Vliet. "With the identification of these two genes essential for formate respiration, we now hope to have a tool to generate knowledge that helps us get a better understanding of what makes Campylobacter so good in colonising the chicken gut and cause disease in humans. Such knowledge is essential if we want to achieve the ultimate goal of reducing the impact of Campylobacter in the food industry."
New cases of E-Coli in Limburg
Source : http://www.deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws.english/news/120623_E_Coli
By Deredactie (June 23, 2012)
Two new cases of E-Coli infection have been confirmed in Limburg Province. An elderly woman and a younger female have become the 22nd and 23rd victims of the bacteria in Limburg. The strain of E-Coli identified there is less dangerous than the strain that killed ten people in Germany last year.
The Flemish Welfare and Health Agency and the Scientific Institute for Public Health is carrying out check on 500 people, including those infected to find out what they have eaten and trace the source of the infection.
E-Coli can result in serious intestinal infections and even kidney failure. Last year, dozens of people were infected, mainly in Germany.
Salmonella diagnosis linked to Clark College lab
By Sally Showman (June 22, 2012)
VANCOUVER, Wash. -- A teenager was sickened by a strain of salmonella that originated inside a Clark College microbiology lab earlier this month.
The teen is a roommate of a student who was in a class studying live salmonella cultures, confirmed Catherine Kroll, an epidemiologist with the Clark County Public Health Department (CCPH).
"We believe the child could have been infected one of two ways," Kroll said. "The first could be that the person working in the lab became ill and brought that home... Or that person brought home items that were used in the lab, such as pens and pencils and those were then used by the child."
It is the first case of salmonella to come out of a teaching lab in Clark County, CCPH said.
Clark College spokeswoman Barbara Kerr released a written statement Friday morning:
"This type of incident has never happened before in our nearly 79-year history, but one time is one too many. We appreciate the opportunity to work closely with Clark County Public Health to ensure that we are implementing best practices in our classrooms. The safety of our students always comes first."
CCPH did a review of Clark College lab procedures after the case of salmonella was reported.
"One of the big recommendations we made involved taking personal items in and out of the lab," Kroll said… "Often, students will bring pens and pencils from home and use them in the laboratory, and what we've recommended, is that Clark College actually purchase pens and pencils and keep them in the lab and not have students take them back and forth."
A Smorgasbord of Outbreaks and Recalls - We should do better
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/lawyer-oped/a-smorgasbord-of-outbreaks-and-recalls---we-should-do-better/
By Bill Marler (June 23, 2012)
Looking at the Salmonella Tuna Scrape (they really need a better name for it) outbreak numbers yesterday, it got me spending some of my day at work today looking at CDC data over the last few years on outbreak surveillance, investigations, announcements and governemnt or business recalls.
Looking at the data, it is fairly clear that most - but not all - outbreaks are not figured out until far into the epi curve or not until the outbreak is winding down. It raises the question how we can arm, local, state and federal investigators with the tools to figure out outbreaks earlier and prevent more illnesses.
In addition, I still have that nagging issue of recall effectiveness. Again, many - but not all - recalls are not effective at stopping the consumption of the "recalled" tainted product - consumers consume it first. What tools do pubic health officials, food manufacturers, retailers and consumers need to know so they know what has been recalled and what has not been?
Peanut Corporation of America Salmonella Outbreak 2009 - As of April 20, 2009, 714 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium have been reported from 46 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (2), Arizona (14), Arkansas (6), California (81), Colorado (18), Connecticut (11), Florida (1), Georgia (6), Hawaii (6), Idaho (17), Illinois (12), Indiana (11), Iowa (3), Kansas (2), Kentucky (3), Louisiana (1), Maine (5), Maryland (11), Massachusetts (49), Michigan (38), Minnesota (44), Missouri (15), Mississippi (7), Montana (2), Nebraska (1), New Hampshire (14), New Jersey (24), New York (34), Nevada (7), North Carolina (6), North Dakota (17), Ohio (102), Oklahoma (4), Oregon (15), Pennsylvania (19), Rhode Island (5), South Dakota (4), Tennessee (14), Texas (10), Utah (8), Vermont (4), Virginia (24), Washington (25), West Virginia (2), Wisconsin (5), and Wyoming (2). Additionally, one ill person was reported from Canada. Infection may have contributed to nine deaths: Idaho (1), Minnesota (3), North Carolina (1), Ohio (2), and Virginia (2). Among the persons with confirmed, reported dates available, illnesses began between September 1, 2008 and March 31, 2009. Recall: January 28, 2009 (red bar).
Jimmy John’s Salmonella Sprout Outbreak 2009- As of May 7, 2009, 235 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Saintpaul have been reported from 14 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Nebraska (111), Iowa (35), South Dakota (38), Michigan (19), Kansas (8), Pennsylvania (7), Minnesota (5), Ohio (3), Illinois (2), Virginia (2), West Virginia (2), Florida (1), North Carolina (1), and Utah (1). Among the 234 persons with known illness onset dates, illnesses began between February 1 and April 15, 2009. Recall: March 3, 2009 (red bar).
Wright County Egg Salmonella Outbreak 2010 - In July 2010, CDC identified a nationwide sustained increase in the number of Salmonella Enteritidis isolates with PFGE pattern JEGX01.0004 uploaded to PulseNet. From May 1 to November 30, 2010, a total of 3,578 illnesses were reported. Based on the previous 5 years of reports to PulseNet, the CDC would expect approximately 1,639 total illnesses to occur during this same period. This means there are approximately 1,939 reported illnesses that are likely to be associated with this outbreak. There was one death. Recall: August 13, 2010 (red bar).
Jimmy Johns Salmonella Sprout Outbreak 2010 - From November 1, 2010, through February 9, 2011, 140 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella serotype I 4,,12:i:-, whose illnesses began (onset dates) since November 1, were reported from 26 states and the District of Columbia. The number of ill persons identified in each state and the District of Columbia with the outbreak strain is as follows: Arkansas (1), California (1), Colorado (1), Connecticut (1), District of Columbia (1), Georgia (1), Hawaii (1), Iowa (1), Illinois (70), Indiana (13), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (1), Massachusetts (2), Maryland (1), Missouri (23), Nebraska (1), Nevada (1), New Jersey (1), New York (2), North Carolina (1), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (4), South Carolina (1), South Dakota (1), Tennessee (2), Virginia (2), and Wisconsin (4). Among 138 persons for whom information is available, reported illness onset dates range from November 1 to January 18, 2011. Recall: December 29, 2010 (red bar).
Cargill Ground Turkey Salmonella Outbreak 2011 - A total of 136 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg were reported from 34 states with illness onset dates between February 27 and September 13, 2011. The number of ill persons identified in each state was as follows: Alabama (1), Arkansas (1), Arizona (3), California (7), Colorado (4), Connecticut (1), Georgia (2), Illinois (16), Indiana (2), Iowa (2), Kansas (3), Kentucky (2), Louisiana (1), Massachusetts (4), Maryland (1), Michigan (12), Minnesota (2), Mississippi (2), Missouri (7), Nebraska (2), Nevada (1), New Jersey (1), New York (3), North Carolina (4), Ohio (12), Oklahoma (2), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (8), South Dakota (3), Tennessee (2), Texas (18), Utah (1), Vermont (1), and Wisconsin (4). One death was reported. Among persons for whom information was available, illnesses began on or after February 27, 2011. Recall: July 29, 2011 (red bar).
Pine Nuts Salmonella Outbreak 2011 - A total of 43 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis were reported from 5 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state with the outbreak strain was as follows: Maryland (1), New Jersey (2), New York (28), Pennsylvania (8), and Virginia (4). Among 43 persons for whom information was available, illnesses began on or after August 20, 2011. Recall: October 26, 2011 (red bar).
Dog Food Salmonella Outbreak 2012
- A total of 22 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of
Salmonella Infantis have been reported. Twenty ill persons have
been reported from 13 states. The five new cases are from: Alabama
(1), California (1), Illinois (1), New York (1), and South Carolina
(1). Additionally, two ill persons have been reported from
Canada. Among persons for whom information is available, illnesses
began between October 2011 and May 11, 2012. Recall:
April 2, 2012 (red bar).
So, readers and subscribers, what are the solutions to getting on top of outbreaks earlier and making recalls actually recalls?
The goal of course it to avoid the outbreak and the recall in the first place.
One other pet peeve, many of the people who are sickened in an outbreak are never told by local, state or federal health authorities that they are part of an outbreak. Why is that?
Multistate Outbreak of Shiga Toxin-producing Escherichia coli O145 Infections
Source : http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2012/O145-06-12/index.html
By CDC (June 22, 2012)
A total of 15 persons infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O145 infection have been identified in 6 states: Alabama (2), California (1), Florida (1), Georgia (5), Louisiana (5), and Tennessee (1). Since the last update one new ill person has been identified in Louisiana with a reported illness onset of April 21, 2012. This is during the same time period as other ill persons in this outbreak.
Among persons for whom information is available, illness onset dates range from April 15, 2012 to May 12, 2012. Ill persons range in age from 1 year to 79 years old, with a median age of 31 years old; 73% are female. Four ill persons have been hospitalized. One death has been reported in Louisiana.
Illnesses that occurred after May 5, 2012 might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported.
It has been approximately 6 weeks since the last illness onset among reported cases. Although this indicates that the outbreak could be over, CDC continues to work with state public health officials to identify additional cases and the source of these STEC O145 infections.
State public health officials have been interviewing ill persons to obtain information regarding foods they might have eaten and other exposures in the week before illness. Based on interviews of 12 ill persons to date, a source for these infections has not been identified.
E.coli: City focusing on two lines on Dakota Street
Source : http://www.aberdeennews.com/news/aan-ecoli-city-wont-know-if-water-is-safe-until-friday-at-the-earliest-20120621,0,6502770.story?track=rss&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitterBy JEFF BAHR (June 21, 2012)
In response to E. coli being found in Aberdeen, city workers are concentrating on two water lines that run on Dakota Street.
The two dead-end lines are two and a half blocks apart. They terminate between Eighth and 12th avenues northeast.
The city hyperchlorinated the water in one of the lines Wednesday evening and did the same to the other line today. Samples were taken after the lines were flushed.
Water treatment plant employee Tim Murray is currently driving six water samples to Pierre. City officials won't know until Friday if the city's water supply is safe.
In water samples taken June 12 and Monday, E. coli levels exceeded drinking water standards at O.M. Tiffany and a nearby apartment complex.
City engineer Robin Bobzien and assistant city engineer Stu Nelson believe the E. coli issue is limited to the area near O.M. Tiffany.
People who worry that contaminated water may be citywide assume the contamination came from one source, such as the water treatment plant and has been distributed throughout the system, Bobzien said.
However, Nelson said, the problem showed up in two isolated areas, "which means that it's not going to go beyond those two very small areas.”
The city sampled water from other areas of the city to make sure “that it did not migrate from where we have had positive test results,” Bobzien said.
Thirty sites in Aberdeen are checked each month. The final 10 samples were taken on Tuesday. The results were received today, and no bacteria was found in them, Lander said.
County Approves Food Code after Testimony from Young E. coli Victim
By Beef Cattle News (June 21, 2012)
Jacob Goswick, 13, helps persuade officials to update food standards
When Arizona’s Yavapai County Board of Supervisors were first asked to consider approving the 2009 FDA Food Code on June 4, two of the three board members spoke strongly against it. They characterized the code, which introduced five new regulations for the food industry, as an example of overreaching government control.
One rule in particular — a provision requiring that children’s menu hamburgers be cooked well-done — received targeted criticism. Board member Carol Springer said that the government shouldn’t decide what a parent orders for a child.
“Do we have a lot of kids getting sick in Yavapai County from eating rare hamburgers?” asked board member Chip Davis.
From Milk to Peas, a Chinese Food-Safety Mess
Source : http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/21/from-milk-to-peas-a-chinese-food-safety-mess/?partner=rss&emc=rss
By Mark Mcdonald (June 21, 2012)
HONG KONG — There’s mercury in the baby formula. Cabbages are sprayed with formaldehyde. Gelatin capsules for pills, tens of millions of them, are laced with chromium. Used cooking oil is scooped out of gutters for recycling, right along with the sewage.
Accounts of dubious or unsafe food in China are as mesmerizing as they are disturbing — “artificial green peas,” grilled kebabs made from cat meat, contaminated chives, chlorine showing up in soft drinks.
There have been stories of imitation soy sauce made from hair clippings, ink and paraffin being used to dress up cheap noodles, and pork buns so loaded with bacteria that they glow in the dark.
A new investigation by the Chinese magazine Caixin has found that “these publicized food safety scandals represent only a fraction of unsafe food production practices. Hundreds of chemical food additives are pumped into products that Chinese people consume every day.”
The official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported Wednesday that Chinese authorities have discovered 15,000 cases of substandard food so far this year while shutting down 5,700 unlicensed food businesses.
Things are so bad that a new iPhone app was recently launched to track food scandals nationwide. The app, which sends out daily updates on the latest outrages, was reportedly downloaded more than 200,000 times in the first week.
In 2008, infant formula and other milk products were found to be contaminated with melamine, an industrial chemical used to make fertilizer and plastic pipe. Six children died and some 300,000 fell sick.
The melamine scandal caused a nationwide panic among parents of young children, and there was a worldwide recall of Chinese products ranging from biscuits to baby formula. Two Chinese milk producers were executed for selling more than 3 million pounds of contaminated milk powder.
There were unsettling echoes of that scandal last week when China’s largest dairy, Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group, found elevated levels of mercury in its infant formula and was forced to recall six months’ worth of production. Yili was one of the dairies involved in the 2008 scandal.
Milk and dairy safety has become such a sensitive topic in China that some Internet searches about the scandal were reportedly blocked by government censors.
Another major milk producer, China Mengniu Dairy, had to destroy large batches of milk in December when government spot checks turned up evidence of aflatoxin, a cancer-causing fungus. Within a day of the news, my colleague Edward Wong reported, people on the Internet “had posted or copied posts on the bad milk nearly four million times.”
The string of food-safety scandals, especially in the dairy sector, has led to falling share prices — and significant buying opportunities for foreign investors, according to a Reuters report published in the International Herald Tribune. The Danish-Swedish dairy group Arla, for example, said last week that it plans to buy a 6 percent stake in Mengniu.
China is already the world’s largest formula market, Reuters reported, noting that the country is “expected to overtake the United States as the largest dairy market by 2020.” That timeline could be hastened by a possible relaxation of China’s so-called one-child policy in 2015.
From the Reuters report:
“To be a minority shareholder in a food company in China, regardless of the quality of your partner, you’re still exposed to the supply chain,” said David Mahon, a dairy consultant and head of Mahon China Investment Management, referring to the Arla-Mengniu deal. “The lesson from melamine would not have been learned, and that would be a pity.”
The private equity firms Hopu, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Carlyle Group all took stakes in Chinese dairy companies in 2008 and 2009.
Hopu is winding down its fund and got out as soon as it could, but K.K.R. and Carlyle have invested in technology and production systems to bring Western-style milk production to Chinese dairies, including imported cows.
“China woke up to its food safety problems with the entrance of multinational companies,” the Caixin report says. “Fast-food giants McDonald’s and KFC were among the first violators caught by media in 2005, when ‘tony red,’ a toxic chemical was found in fried chicken.”
Wal-Mart is another company that has recently had its share of food-quality problems in China.
“A scandal over mislabeled pork led to the closure of stores and the resignation of the country head,” the BBC reported, and the Food Safety Administration in Beijing said in March that a Wal-Mart store in the capital had “sold sesame oil and squid with dangerous amounts of cancer-causing chemicals.”
In April, the police in China arrested nine people, shut down 80 production lines and seized more than 77 million pill capsules contaminated with chromium.
In March, “artificial green peas” were discovered in Hunan Province. Shriveled peas were being reconstituted by soaking them in food coloring and bleach-like chemical additives.
“The peas were an unnatural color and had a penetrating odor,” said a local newspaper report cited by China Daily. “After 20 minutes of cooking, the peas did not turn soft but the water turned green.”
In 2010, the government issued health alerts about recycled cooking oil. It seems used oil was being scooped from gutters outside hot-pot restaurants and then reprocessed — right along with bits of sewage. My colleague David Barboza reported from Shanghai that investigators began hunting down illegal oil-recycling factories and naming found to be using the iffy oil.
China recently issued a new five-year food-safety plan that intends to simplify a welter of overlapping and contradictory regulations. The plan acknowledges that China is “still suffering from the absence of several major food safety regulations.”
Meanwhile, as the Caixin report concludes, “Regulatory standards have not been able to keep up with the ingenuity of food manufacturers.”
E.coli In Aberdeen SD Drinking Water Prompts Boil Water Advisory
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/e-coli-in-aberdeen-sd-drinking-water-prompts-boil-water-advisory/
By Carla Gillespie (June 20, 2012)
E.coli levels in the drinking water supply for the city of Aberdeen, SD have reached dangerous levels, prompting city officials to issue a boil water advisory.
Aberdeen residents should not drink tap water without boiling it first. Before it is safe to drink, the water needs to boil for a full minute. “Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice,” the advisory states.
Boiling kills E.coli and other dangerous bacteria that cause serious, sometimes life-threatening illness. Most at risk are small children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems. Symptoms of an E.coli infection include abdominal cramps, diarrhea that is sometimes bloody, nausea and headaches. Residents who develop these symptoms should seek medical attention.
Contamination of drinking water supplies can occur when heavy rains cause increased run-off to enter the drinking water source, from a broken water pipe or from an improperly functioning water treatment process. Aberdeen city officials flushing the main water lines and increasing chlorine levels as they investigate the source of the problem.
Fresh drinking water is one of first casualties of summer storms that bring heavy rains and knock out the power. The American Red Cross recommends keeping an emergency preparedness kit at home and enough bottled water to supply each family member with a gallon per day for three days.
Pesticide Residue Common In Fruits, Veggies and Baby Food
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/pesticide-residue-common-in-fruits-veggies-and-baby-food/
By Carla Gillespie (June 19, 2012)
Apples, peaches, nectarine and grapes are on “The Dirty Dozen” list of produce with high levels of pesticide residue, while cabbage, corn and sweet potatoes make the “Clean Fifteen” list with low levels, according to the eighth annual Shoppers Guide To Pesticides In Produce, published today by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
“Our shopper’s guide to pesticides in produce gives consumers easy, affordable ways to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables while avoiding most of the bug killers, fungicides and other chemicals in produce and other foods,” EWG president Ken Cook said in a statement.
To compile the guide, EWG researchers looked at ten years of data from annual U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) pesticide residue tests conducted between 2000 and 2010. The produce samples were washed or peeled prior to testing so the rankings would reflect the level of chemicals present food when is it eaten.
In 2010, 68 percent food samples studied had detectable amounts of pesticide residue. Other findings include:
ˇá100 percent of conventional nectarines had measurable pesticide residues. Ninety eight percent of conventional apples had detectable levels of pesticides.
ˇáDomestic blueberries tested positive for 42 different pesticide residues.
ˇáSeventy-eight different pesticides were found on lettuce samples.
ˇáAs a category, grapes have more types of pesticides than any other fruit, with 64 different chemicals.
ˇáThirteen different pesticides were measured on a single sample each of celery and strawberries.
The USDA also found pesticide residue in baby foods made from produce. More than 90 percent of pureed pears as baby food tested positive for pesticides and green beans tested positive for five different kinds of pesticides. Sweet potatoes as baby food had almost no pesticide residue.
Here are the EWG’s list of produce with the most pesticide residue – “The Dirty Dozen” and the least, “The Clean Fifteen.”
The Dirty Dozen
The Clean Fifteen
Poor hand hygiene 'likely cause' of E.coli spread at nursery school
Source : http://local.stv.tv/deeside/news/106955-hand-hygiene-probable-cause-of-ecoli-spread-at-aberdeenshire-nursery/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
By Gary Cruden (June 19, 2012)
Three babies were taken to the hospital in Aberdeen following the outbreak at Aboyne.
An inadequate standard of hand hygiene is the most likely reason for the spread of E.coli at a nursery in Aberdeenshire, say health experts.
Three babies were taken to the hospital in Aberdeen following the outbreak at Rose Lodge Nursery in Aboyne last month.
In total, there were seven confirmed cases of the illness stemming from the Deeside nursery.
The outbreak prompted an investigation by the NHS Grampian Health Protection Team and Aberdeenshire Council Environmental Health Department which found that the infection was most likely introduced into the nursery by a child and spread by “staff having failed to maintain an adequate standard of hand hygiene”.
A spokesman for the NHS said: “The investigation indicates this child did not have any diarrhoeal symptoms while in the nursery, but may have been excreting E.coli O157 bacteria in its faeces for a number of days, before developing symptoms. The child became obviously unwell at home and did not attend the nursery again until fully recovered.
“The investigation has shown that the E.coli O157 bacteria infecting this child was transmitted to three children and two adults attending the baby room within the nursery.
“The investigation team has concluded that the most probable transmission route for the infection was through nursery staff having failed to maintain an adequate standard of hand hygiene in the baby room.”
He said that nursery management had cooperated fully with the investigation and made improvements in response to NHS advice.
“There were no new cases of E.coli O157 infection in those attending the nursery after control measures were put in place by the investigating team,” he added.
The investigation also found that the third adult was most likely infected “through close contact with one of the cases”.
He added that a full report of the investigation will be compiled over the next few weeks.
One child remains in hospital following the outbreak.
Cold plasma could be hot idea for food safety
Source : http://www.thepacker.com/fruit-vegetable-news/marketing-profiles/food-safety/Cold-plasma-could-be-hot-idea-for-food-safety-159607225.html?ref=225
By David Mitchell (June 19, 2012)
May was a rough month for fresh produce. Alfalfa sprouts, bagged salads, and diced onions were recalled because of possible listeria contamination, while baby spinach and papayas were recalled because of possible salmonella contamination.
It’s enough to make one scout for something new in food safety systems.
And Brendan Niemira is working on something.
Niemira, lead scientist at the USDA’s Food Safety and Intervention Technologies Eastern Regional Research Center in Wyndmoor, Pa., has been studying cold plasma for nearly a decade. The process uses electricity and a gas — such as oxygen — to deactivate contaminating microbes on meats, poultry, fruits, and vegetables.
Niemira and his colleague Joe Sites have treated a variety of foods — including almonds, apples, cantaloupe, lettuce and tomatoes — with cold plasma and produced multi-log reductions of E. coli O157:H7, salmonella and listeria.
While cold plasma already is used to clean electronics, bond plastics in manufacturing and bind dye to fibers in textile production, its potential remains untapped in the food industry.
“Anytime a technology is being developed, it’s only going to be used in the industry if it shows some significant advantages,” Niemira said. “Cold plasma is a waterless sanitizing process with no chemical inputs, so it’s got some attractive points. The big key right now is to develop the technology so that it gives a solid level of sanitizing antimicrobial effects without unwanted side effects. That’s the kind of thing that might lead an interested party to petition the FDA.”
Niemira said that in cold plasma trials with apples and almonds there were no changes in the product’s appearance. Another advantage, he said, is the level of efficacy. While most chlorine rinses will give one or two logs of surface sanitization, Niemira said cold plasma systems have been shown to give three or four logs in trials.
However, there are obstacles.
The FDA hasn’t issued any rules on the use of cold plasma on foods or food contact surfaces.
It’s also unclear how much it would cost to implement cold plasma on a full-scale, commercial packing line.
“One of the major determining factors will be the kind of gas you use to generate the plasma,” Niemira said. “It will be cheapest to use if the plasma is generated using air. If the system requires the use of a defined mix of oxygen and nitrogen, that would add costs. Other gases, such as helium or neon, would add still more to the costs.”
Although the research is ongoing, much depends on interest and demand for new solutions from industry.
“There would need to be a push-pull to do the engineering necessary to scale up cold plasma equipment from the lab scale to the pilot scale to the commercial scale,” Niemira said.
“The USDA is always interested in working with commercial partners to license existing technologies and to do collaborative R&D to solve problems in the real world. For this to move from the lab to the supply chain, it needs to achieve significant kill of pathogens in a reliable, consistent manner, and to do it in a way that preserves the color, aroma, texture, etc. of the foods.”
The USDA researchers also are developing cold plasma systems for food contact surfaces, such as conveyor belts.
“Since it’s more straightforward to treat plastics, metals and ceramics than it is to treat tomatoes, cantaloupes or lettuce, it may be that, in the short term at least, treatment of food contact surfaces could be where cold plasma finds its first applications for the food processing industry,” Niemira said.
Hotel rooms are much dirtier than you think
Source : http://www.kfyi.com/cc-common/news/sections/newsarticle.html?feed=104668&article=10211071&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
By News talk (June 19, 2012)
Picking up the remote control in a hotel room may also mean picking up fecal matter, a new study found.
Researchers from the University of Houston swabbed 19 hotel room hideouts, from door handles to headboards, and found the fecal bacterium E. coli hiding on 81 percent of the surfaces, including the remote control, the telephone and the bedside lamp.
“Currently, housekeeping practices vary across brands and properties with little or no standardization industry wide,” Katie Kirsch, an undergraduate student at the University of Houston and author of the study presented at the General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, said in a statement. This study “could aid hotels in adopting a proactive approach for reducing potential hazards … and provide a basis for the development of more effective and efficient housekeeping practices.”
Read more: http://www.kfyi.com/cc-common/news/sections/newsarticle.html?feed=104668&article=10211071&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter#ixzz1yU04j0Gd
Lawsuit Filed in Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Unpasteurized Tempeh
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/06/lawsuit-filed-in-salmonella-outbreak-linked-to-unpasteurized-tempeh/
By News Desk (June 19, 2012)
The first lawsuit has been filed against the North Carolina tempeh producer and the online spore culture retailer responsible for a Salmonella outbreak that sickened at least 89 people in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and New York earlier this year.
The lawsuit was filed jointly by Asheville, NC law firm Roberts & Stevens and food safety law firm Marler Clark, which underwrites Food Safety News. The firms represent a Florida woman who was hospitalized after eating contaminated Smiling Hara tempeh on March 19 during a vacation to Asheville.
Asheville-based Smiling Hara made its unpasteurized tempeh using starter culture contaminated with Salmonella Paratyphi B from Maryland online retailer Tempeh Online. Public health officials in Buncombe County named Smiling Hara tempeh as the source of the outbreak on May 4.
The plaintiff, Mary Ann Hurtado, a registered nurse, began feeling ill approximately two days after eating the tempeh. She returned home on March 24 as her symptoms worsened to the point where she could barely walk. She was admitted to the hospital the next day for three days of treatment, where she eventually tested positive for the Salmonella strain linked to the outbreak.
E. coli in drinking water at Lake CDA campground
Source : http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2012/jun/19/e-coli-drinking-water-lake-cda-campground/
By The Spoken man review (June 19, 2012)
E. coli bacteria has been discovered in the drinking water supply at the Forest Service’s Bell Bay Campground, which is four miles north of Harrison on Lake Coeur d’Alene.
Forest Service officials have notified guests who recently stayed at the campground if contact information was available. No reports of illness have been received at this time.
While the campground remains open, the drinking water system has been shut down while the Forest Service and Idaho Department of Environmental Quality investigate the source of contamination.
Contact the Coeur d’Alene River Ranger District at (208) 769-3000 or DEQ’s Coeur d’Alene Regional Office at (208) 769-1422 with questions.
06/22. R&D Manager –
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06/22. Quality Mgmt Specialist - Food Safety – Madison, WI
06/20. Reg Affairs Specialist - Food Safety – Maplewood, MN
06/20. Sr. Specialist Quality & Food Safety – Salinas,
06/20. Food Safety - Technical Support – Hatfield, PA
06/19. Technical Services Supervisor - Columbus, NE
Case Count Rises in Salmonella Tuna Outbreak
Source : http:// http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/06/case-count-rises-in-salmonella-tuna-outbreak/
By News Desk (June 21, 2012)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the following update Thursday:
The CDC reports a total of 390 persons infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Bareilly (376 persons) or Salmonella Nchanga (14 persons) have been reported from 27 states and the District of Columbia.
376 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bareilly have been reported from 27 states and the District of Columbia. The number of ill persons with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bareilly identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (4), Arkansas (1), California (7), Colorado (1), Connecticut (11), District of Columbia (3), Florida (1), Georgia (18), Illinois (29), Indiana (1), Kansas (1), Louisiana (6), Massachusetts (36), Maryland (39), Missouri (4), Mississippi (2), Nebraska (2), New Jersey (35), New York (58), North Carolina (12), Pennsylvania (34), Rhode Island (6), South Carolina (4), Tennessee (4), Texas (13), Virginia (22), Vermont (1), and Wisconsin (21).
14 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Nchanga have been reported from 7 states. The number of ill persons with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Nchanga identified in each state is as follows: Georgia (2), Maryland (1), New Jersey (2), New York (6), Texas (1), Virginia (1), and Wisconsin (1).
47 ill persons have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.
Collaborative investigation efforts of state, local, and federal public health agencies indicate that a frozen raw yellowfin tuna product, known as Nakaochi Scrape, from Moon Marine USA Corporation is the likely source of this outbreak.
Consumers should not eat the recalled product, and retailers should not serve the recalled raw Nakaochi Scrape tuna product from Moon Marine USA Corporation.
Laboratory testing conducted by state public health laboratories in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Wisconsin has isolated Salmonella from 53 (96%) of 55 samples taken from intact packages of frozen yellow fin tuna scrape from Moon Marine USA Corporation or from sushi prepared with the implicated scrape tuna product.
The numbers of new cases have declined substantially since the peak in April 2012. The outbreak may continue at a low level for the next several months since some food establishments may be unaware that they received recalled product and continue to serve this frozen raw yellowfin tuna product, which has a long shelf-life.
Illness onset dates range from January 1, 2012 to June 3, 2012.
Nearly 400 now sick from tainted tuna in sushi
Source : http://vitals.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/22/12361924-nearly-400-now-sick-from-tainted-tuna-in-sushi#.T-ULOTFmO-0.twitter
By JoNel Aleccia (June 23, 2012)
Nearly 400 people in 27 states and the District of Columbia have now been sickened by an outbreak of two rare strains of salmonella detected in raw tuna products used in sushi and other dishes, health officials said.
Some 390 have become ill and 47 have been hospitalized, up from 316 confirmed infections and 37 hospitalizations in May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed. No deaths have been reported.
The outbreak includes 14 people sickened by salmonella Nchanga and 376 people sickened by salmonella Bareilly, both rare strains of the foodborne pathogen. The culprit has been identified as raw Nakaochi Scrape tuna product produced by Moon Marine USA Corp. of Cupertino, Calif.
In April, 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 numbers of new cases have declined substantially since the peak of the outbreak in April, CDC officials said. Illnesses may continue, however, because some food establishments may be unaware that they received recalled product and continue to serve the raw yellowfin tuna scraped from the backbone of the fish. It has a long shelf life.
Seattle food safety lawyer Bill Marler has called on the federal Food and Drug Administration to release the names of all restaurants and other outlets where the contaminated product was distributed. FDA officials did not immediately respond to questions about the action.
E. coli O145 Outbreak
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/cdc-update-e-coli-o145-outbreak/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MarlerBlog+%28Marler+Blog%29
By Bill Marler (June 22, 2012)
A total of 15 persons infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O145 infection have been identified in 6 states.
The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (2), California (1), Florida (1), Georgia (5), Louisiana (5), and Tennessee (1).
Four ill persons have been hospitalized. One death has been reported in Louisiana.
Based on interviews conducted to date, a source for these infections has not been identified. If a specific source is identified, public health officials will advise the public and take steps to prevent additional illnesses.
Dates for patients' onset of illness range from April 15, 2012 to May 12, 2012. It has been approximately 6 weeks since the last illness onset among reported cases. Although this indicates that this outbreak could be over, CDC continues to work with state public health officials to identify additional cases and the source of these STEC O145 infections.