08/13,2012
ISSUE:508

                                 

Comprehensive News List
General Food Safety News/ Outbreak News/ Recall News/ New Methods News/
USDA/FDA News
/ On-Line Slides/ Job Information/Internet Journal of Food Safety


UK Approves E. coli 0157 Vaccine for Cattle
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/uk-approves-e-coli-0157-vaccine-for-cattle/By Linda Larsen (AUG 10, 2012)
The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMC) of the Department for the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs in the United Kingdom has approved the importation of Bioniche Life Sciences’s E. coli 0157 vaccine for use in cattle.  The vaccine will be used under conditions of a Special Treatment Certificate (STC).
The vaccine reduces E. coli 0157:H7 shedding in cattle. The bacteria live in cattle intestines and is shed in their feces. Dr. Chris Low, Director of One Health at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Veterinary Studies, said in a press release, “I am very pleased to see an STC issued for this application. On-farm vaccination is a logical preventative measure to reduce the risk of human exposure to E. coli 0157.”
“Farming and livestock agriculture are vital to feeding a growing global population,” Dr. Low added. “One Health focusses on the disease risks and challenges brought about by the interactions between animals, humans and the environment.” STCs are issued to veterinarians when a veterinary treatment isn’t available in the UK but is available in another country. Bioniche Life Sciences will pursue formal regulatory approvals in Europe, a process that can take a year. The drug, called Econiche, must meet the European Union’s Good Manufacturing Practices. The vaccine was approved in Canada in 2008, but has not yet been approved by the USDA.
The vaccine was studied at the Canada Agriculture Museum in Ottawa, Ontario over a four year period from 2007 to 2010. Cows received either two or three doses of the vaccine. (Another similar study was conducted this summer at Kansas State University on a Pfizer vaccine which does have USDA approval.) All of the animals, including young calves, responded to the vaccination against E. coli 0157 Type III secreted proteins.
E. coli 0157 causes severe illness in human beings and can be fatal. The infection can lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication that can destroy the kidneys. Other complications of an E. coli 0157 infection include diabetes, reactive arthritis, and hypertension. About 100,000 people are infected with the E. coli 0157 bacteria every year in North America; two to seven percent of those patients develop HUS.

 

Health Canada Warns of Raw Milk Risk
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/health-canada-warns-of-raw-milk-risk/
By Linda Larsen (AUG 09, 2012)
Health Canada has issued a health advisory warning consumers of the dangers associated with drinking raw (unpasteurized) milk. The advisory states that it is precisely because of those dangers that milk sold in Canada must be pasteurized.
Raw milk, which can contain bacteria such as E.coli, Salmonella and Listeria,  has been linked to foodborne illness outbreaks. Victims of these outbreaks suffer a range of symptoms including fever, vomiting, bloddy diarrhea, kidney failure, miscarriage and death. Children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems are at an elevated risk.
Pasteurization kills dangerous bacteria that cause illness while preserving the nutritional properties of milk, the advisory states. Canada made pasteurization of milk mandatory in 1991. Since that time, the number of foodborne illness outbreaks associated with milk has dramatically decreased, according to the agency.
Selling raw milk that is not intended for further manufacturing is illegal under the Food and Drugs Act. However, some people who have sampled raw milk while visiting farms have become ill. The agency notes that while some Canadians believe raw milk is healthier than pasteurized, “any possible benefits are far outweighed by the serious risk of illness from drinking raw milk.”
Cheese made from raw milk is not illegal and is allowed for sale because the manufacturing process helps to eliminate dangerous bacteria, the advisory notes. However, those in the high risk group-children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems, should avoid eating cheeses made from raw milk, especially of they are soft, semi-soft or blue-veined.

 

CDC Says Don’t Panic over Swine Flu Cases; Now 152 Cases
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/cdc-says-dont-panic-over-swine-flu-cases-now-152-cases/
By Linda Larsen (AUG 09, 2012)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had a news conference today to try to calm fears over the increase in swine flu from contact with live pigs at state fairs around the country. There are currently 152 cases: Indiana (120), Ohio (30), Illinois (1), and Hawaii (1). Two people have been hospitalized, but they have recovered and have been released. Most of the ill were children who had direct contact with live swine.
We told you about this outbreak last week, when there were 29 cases. The startling increase in the case count prompted the news conference.
Dr. Joseph Bresee from the CDC’s Influenza Division said this is not a pandemic. August is the month of state fairs, which explains the increase. He also stated that changes in the way “positives” are identified have played a role in the increase. States now confirm their own positive cases, instead of having them confirmed in CDC labs. Dr. Bresee did say that the number of cases is expected to increase.
The government suggests that anyone in a high risk group should avoid contact with live pigs. That group includes children under the age of 5, people 65 and over, those with chronic health conditions, those with reduced or compromised immune systems, and pregnant women. Those are the people who are at high risk for developing serious complications if they contract the flu.
To prevent the spread of the flu, wash your hands frequently with warm water and lots of soap for at least 20 seconds, avoid contact with animals who look or act ill, and do not eat or drink in areas where animals live or are kept. Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, and body aches.

 

Denver Rescue Mission Outbreak Caused by Improper Food Handling
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/denver-rescue-mission-outbreak-caused-by-improper-food-handling/
By Kathy Will  (AUG 09, 2012)
The Denver Department of Environmental Health has found that the outbreak at the Denver Rescue Mission last month was caused by improper food temperatures and hygienic practices. The outbreak, which began on July 22, 2012, sickened at least 60 people.
Denver Environmental Health (DEH) food safety investigators and Denver Public Health (DPH) Epidemiological staff investigated the outbreak. They observed and inspected the Denver Rescue Mission’s facilities, interviewed patients and those who did not become ill, and conducted lab tests. The source of the outbreak was Staphylococcus aureus bacteria on smoked turkey. The turkey was insufficiently cooled and re-heated, and proper hygiene practices were not followed.
Abby Davidson, Environmental Public Health Food Supervisor, said, “we have no reason to believe it was anything other than an isolated incident where organizational practices in handling of the food were not followed. These practices were documented and immediately corrected by the Denver Rescue Mission’s leadership and staff.”
The final report on the outbreak will not be issued for several weeks. Meanwhile, Denver Rescue Mission is conducting public health training quarters for the staff beginning August 8. Food handling, cooling, and heating practices will be stressed in the training sessions. They are also hiring more staff to ensure food safety measures are followed.

 

Turtle-related salmonellosis update, dairy cow Salmonella
Source : http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/fs/food-disease/news/aug0812foodscan.html
By CIDRAP (AUG 08, 2012)
Turtle-linked Salmonella outbreaks grow, affect Hispanic populations
The total number of patients sickened in several Salmonella outbreaks linked to small pet turtles has grown to 168 patients in 30 states, according to an update today from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The increase reflects 19 new cases and two more affected states—Louisiana and Mississippi. The two patients from Louisiana and Mississippi involved a strain of Salmonella Poona, which had also sickened patients in other states. The number of involved strains (Salmonella Sandiego, Pomona, and Poona) stands at three, and the number of outbreaks is still six. So far 34 people sickened in the outbreaks have been hospitalized. Almost two thirds of the sick patients (64%) have been children age 10 and younger, and 27% are age 1 or younger. Just over half (56%) of the patients are Hispanic, the CDC said, adding that information on the link between reptiles and Salmonella is now available in Spanish. In one of the outbreaks involving a Salmonella Sandiego strain, several of the patients were exposed to turtles bought from a street vendor. The most recent illness onset reported from the outbreaks, which were first announced in March, was Jul 16. Health officials have repeatedly warned about the risk of Salmonella infection from handling small turtles, but illnesses continue to occur despite a 30-year ban on their sale.
Aug 8 CDC outbreak update
Certain practices may raise prevalence of Salmonella in dairy herds
A US study of dairy cattle found that the use of sprinklers or misters for cooling and the feeding of anionic salts or ionophores to cows were associated with increased levels of Salmonella, and that spreading manure as a solid fertilizer lowered the odds. The study, published in Foodborne Pathogens and Disease yesterday, also found that herds with at least one resistant Salmonella isolate were more likely to have had composted or dried manure for bedding. Michigan and Colorado scientists analyzed cow fecal or composite fecal samples from 265 dairy herds in 17 states. Of the herds, 124 (47%) tested positive for Salmonella and 25 (9%) for drug-resistant Salmonella strains. Farm-management variables significantly associated with Salmonella-positive herds were using sprinklers or misters for cooling (odds ratio [OR], 2.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.6-4.9), feeding anionic salts to cows (OR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.1-3.5), and feeding ionophores to cows (OR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.2-3.7). The odds were lowered on farms using  a broadcast/solid rather than a liquid slurry manure fertilizer system (OR, 0.26; 95% CI, 0.11-0.63). Herds with at least one resistant isolate were more likely to have had composted or dried manure for bedding (OR, 3.6; 95% CI, 1.2-11.0).
Aug 7 Foodborne Pathog Dis abstract

 

Cattle Vaccine Reduces E. coli by 50%
Source : http://www.foodproductdesign.com/news/2012/08/cattle-vaccine-reduces-e-coli-by-50.aspx
By FOOD PRODUCT DESIGN(AUG 08, 2012)
A commercial vaccine for cattle can effectively reduce levels of E. coli O157:H7 by more than 50%, using two doses instead of three, which can help reduce costs for the beef industry, according to a new study published in the journal Vaccine. The findings may help improve current preventative methods for addressing food-safety concerns.
Researchers at Kansas State University researched the effectiveness of products used to prevent the shedding of E. coli O157:H7 in cattle. While E. coli O157:H7 does not affect cattle, it causes foodborne disease in humans. Vaccines and other products may be given to cattle to help prevent the spread of the bacteria.
"We wanted to test how well these products work to control E. coli O157:H7 in a commercial feedlot with a large population of cattle that were fed in the summer and may be expected to have a high level of E. coli O157:H7," the researchers said.
Using a commercial feedlot setting, the researchers studied more than 17,000 cattle during an 85-day period. They studied two products: a vaccine and a low-dose direct-fed microbial. They found the vaccine reduced the number of cattle that were shedding E. coli O157:H7 in feces by more than 50%. E. coli shedding was reduced by more than 75% among cattle that were high shedders of E. coli. While the vaccine label suggests that it is given in three doses, the researchers found that two doses of the vaccine significantly reduced E. coli.
"Showing that level of efficacy with two doses is really important because a shift to two doses from three could significantly cut costs for the beef industry," they said. "In terms of logistics, it can be difficult for commercial feedlot production systems to vaccinate animals three times. Both of these benefits help when considering how the vaccine can be adopted and implemented in the industry."
The researchers also discovered the low-dose direct-fed microbial product did not work as well as the vaccine. While the study used a lower dose of the direct-fed microbial and could find no evidence that it reduced E. coli shredding, it is possible that the direct-fed microbial product is more effective at a higher dose.
"This vaccine is an option for reducing E. coli," they said. "We have shown that this vaccine works and that it is a tool that could be adopted in the industry."

Foodborne Illness Possible Cause of Arkansas Prison Illnesses
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/08/health-department-officials-tuesday-were/
By Dan Flynn (AUG 08, 2012)
Health department officials Tuesday were all over the maximum security Arkansas prison now known simply as the "Tucker Unit" as almost half its inmates are down with mystery gastrointestinal illnesses.
What's causing the illnesses at the Tucker Unit, with a capacity of 796 prisoners, still was not known with suspect list including both foodborne illnesses and viruses. State health officials have stepped up their work to find the source.
"The number of inmates who have displayed symptoms is at 357, which is about what it was yesterday afternoon," Shea Wilson, spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Corrections said. "We hope to hear a determination of what the cause is from the Health Department soon."
About 15 officials from the Arkansas Department of Health were at the prison on Tuesday, interviewing staff and inmates and taking stool samples. Samples of all food served in the prison during the last five days are also being tested.
"We don't yet have a determination about the cause of the outbreak at Tucker," said Ed Barham, spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Health.
Barham said health department officials Tuesday conducted inspections of the prison kitchen and all food preparation areas in addition to conducting the interviews and taking samples for lab work.
"It's just going to take some time," Barham told Food Safety News. It will probably take about a week for the Health Department to provide definitive answers.
Earlier, Wilson figured a virulent virus might be the more likely cause as some inmates who did not eat the food are among the sick. Ill inmates are suffering from symptoms that include alternating between vomiting and diarrhea.
Among the food samples taken from the prison over the weekend were eggs, sausage and grits; corned beef hash and chicken salad.
The Tucker Unit, located in Jefferson County about 25 miles northeast of Pine Bluff, has a storied history. Originally called the Arkansas State Prison Farm, it opened 96 year ago.
From 1926 to 1948, it was famous for housing the "Old Sparky" electric chair on the Arkansas death row.  Another electrical device, called the "Tucker Telephone" also became associated with prison. It was a torturous device that delivered non-lethal electric shock.
The 4,000-acre Tucker Unit is still a prison farm that produces field and edible crops. It also has trade and vocational programs and prison industries.

 

Handling increasing incidence of food-borne diseases
Source : http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=58732
By Upali Samarajeewa(AUG 08, 2012)
There has been a gradual increase in foodborne illnesses in the country over the last six months, with the media reporting numbers of persons affected running up to hundreds. There were three such incidences in the month of July, one at a wedding, one in an army camp and the third affecting children during a school trip. The incidences get reported only if they occur with groups having common links to consumption of meals. There may be many more cases of diarrheal problems originating from foods, where affected persons ends up at the clinics of trusted medical practitioners, which never reaches the national epidemiological record system, or reach public eyes. The current trend of increased food borne illnesses cannot be accounted as due to change in food culture, or food habits following increased mobility of people. The end result one could see in all these situations is a news item identifying the causative agent as a bacteria, Salmonella or Escherichia coli. It is made to believe that the causative factor was present originally in the raw meat or vegetables, and the persons responsible for the contamination of food leading to the incidences are automatically exonerated from their social responsibilities.What the society expects following such incidences is the increased vigilance from those responsible for public health, with proactive solutions to avoid repetition of large scale food borne illnesses. Reducing to risks associated with foods is a responsibility of everybody connected with the food chain- from farm folk.
Increasing incidences of foodborne illnesses have been occurring in many countries in the world. One of the first countries to address such issues was Canada, which set up a separate authority to handle food safety aspects. After establishing the European Union a keen interest was taken to avoid cross border movement of foods containing pathogenic micro organisms, and other toxic substances of chemical origin by implementing control measures. Globally, the World Trade Organization brought in two agreements among its member countries titled "Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary Measures (SPS)" and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT)" aimed in protecting the humans from disease causing organisms, among several other objectives. These agreements were meant to address the problems at national levels using common standards and practices acceptable internationally. Sri Lanka is a signatory to the World Trade Organization. The United States of America experienced a series of incidences of food borne illnesses in 2010 and 2011 associated with Salmonella in peanut butter, Escherichia coli in pepper and onions and several others, in spite of a control systems handled by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This made President Obama to act on national interest, which ended up in the new act "Food Safety Modernisation Act of Nov 2011". This act did not limit itself to a bill in the legislature, but carried a plan of activities including discussions with farmers, linking the academics, industry and food safety authorities, new educational programs at all levels and a funded research thrust at the national health research system. Implementation of the new act with identified deadlines also carries openings to obtain feedback from not only USA, but also from the countries supplying raw and processed foods to USA. The responsibility of food safety is given partly to the food importers, to be addressed at the countries of origin of foods through obtaining of certificates food safety from accredited laboratories. Pakistan has already produced a food safety authority and a new act to address food safety issues. Cambodia has worked on an inter-ministerial "Prakas" to handle food safety issues as a combined effort of the ministries of health, agriculture, industry, tourism and commerce.
In Sri Lanka, the Food and Drugs Act of 1954 was split to not two new Acts in 1981 establishing the currently operational Food Act and a Drugs Act. Since then no recognisable improvements to the food safety system were brought in other than adding a couple of appendages to cover the missing links as amendments and publishing regulations under the act from time to time. A draft act produced by a group of committed scientists in 1998 did not see the light of the day.The 1998 draft itself is now outdated. The national food control system is operated at the field level by about 25 food inspectors (for a population of 22 million) who cannot be accountable adequately considering the responsibilities and the extent of geographic areas they have to serve in. The food inspectors are expected to be supported by the Public Health Inspectors, whose duties include malaria control, dengue control and sanitary related variety of responsibilities, leaving little time for them to address food control measures. The training package given to the Public Health Inspectors address food control as a minor component, leaving out food safety as a subject totally. In the globally changing food safety scenario, a higher level of competency and many inputs are needed to address the emerging new issues. This requires combined effort of several ministries associated with food and a much stronger knowledge base.
Unless the Sri Lankans resort to apply the knowledge that has been generated through science we would continue to be in the opposite side of America, not only geographically but also functionally on matters of national relevance, such as food safety.
Investigations into causative factors of illnesses
Examining the background of the three incidences reported in July, one arose in an army camp, where protocols and discipline are expected to be maintained strictly. The other two incidences may bear a time factor between preparation and consumption of foods, especially considering the large customer base in the wedding which would have compelled the caterers to prepare foods well ahead of serving time. The time factor may be an important clue in the incidence in Hakgala too. Declaration of the causative organisms after a post-mortem cannot help the nation in avoid risks associated with foods. It is time for pro-active approaches. Incidences of foodborne diseases such as the more recent events need to be examined following the chain of activities that has occurred. In the already reported case of salmonella in the food at the wedding there are many unanswered questions which need to be addressed with a scientific mind. They include: – How long did the meat remained at ambient temperature between slaughter and cooking? - Were the washing of meat not done, or done inadequately before cooking? – Were there adequate utensils to handle preparation of this much of food? – Were the people handling the meat were maintaining basic hygienic practices associated with handling foods and they were not silent carriers of pathogenic microorganisms? – And even more importantly how long the kitchen did take to cook and deliver food for 400 persons? – What was the duration between cooking and consumption? Thoughthere could be many more questions to be looked in to by a person with basic knowledge in food safety, at least answers to above would throw light into actions to be taken in the future to minimise risks from food borne illnesses.
Examination of a more recent report on health status of staff in star hotels in Colombo, throws more light into the incidence of food borne diseases around us. It is reported that 35-75% of the hotel workers are carriers of infections. It is a norm that preparation of foods should not be assigned to persons who are silent careers of pathogenic microorganisms who may not show clinical symptoms of diseases, but serves as agents to distribute the organisms into the food chain. The report giving findings of the Health Department of the Colombo Municipal Council brings in a new dimension of whether the employees in the star hotels were medically screened and cleared before employing in the hotels. The information from CMC surfaced because there is transparent system struggling to operate. Could we expect any such information regarding those engaged in food preparations and handling from the rest of the country, operating under the national Food Control System beyond a post-mortem finding, which every one of us tend to forget in no time?
In fairness to those who are committed to ensure the food safety through addressing the critical points in the food chain applying the food safety management systems, the efforts of SLSI needs to be recognised although there is much for improvement. On the same lines, the combined effort of Chambers of Commerce and Chamber of Industries, working with the Ministry of Industries assisted by UNIDO to address food safety issues at the restaurant level needs to be intensified and extended beyond city of Colombo. However, the national food control system is yet to show interest on the activities of the chamber based ‘Indexpo’. In this background the ongoing efforts of the recently established Institute of Food Science and Technology Sri Lanka towards development of educational packages to train workers employed in the food sector shows a step in the right direction. The state needs to strengthen these approaches if Sri Lanka needs to avoid spread of wrong messages to tourists, on whom the country is planning to depend for the future national income, as one could see from the current directions of emphasis on infrastructure development by the government.
Food safety issues are no longer centred at home kitchens, but global. The current thrust on tourism by the Government essentially requires a risk free food system based on a trustworthy food safety system locally as in Thailand and Singapore to attract tourists.It must be mentioned that the tourists are less immune to local pathogenic microorganisms when they get exposed for the first time. The incidence of a cricket match in Galle where few players from a visiting cricket team ended up with diarrhoea in a star grade hotel few years back tells the story by itself.
Basis to strengthen food safety
Handling food safety issues need a strong food science knowledge base and a combined effort of the policy makers operated at the level of lined ministries. In 2004, the Faculty of Agriculture in the University of Peradeniya recognized the need to broad base the food science education beyond the specialization modules of 1 to 2 years provided in the degree courses in the university system in Sri Lanka to address growing national needs and challenges in food safety. With strained human resources, inadequate buildings and many limitations, the Faculty introduced a 4–year degree program in Food Science and Technology, which is the only program in the university system where students are introduced to food science knowledge from day 1 of their education with immediate exposure to industry, starting at factory floor level. The initial intake was only 25 students annually with the UGC promising to fund for lecture rooms and laboratory facilities aiming at increased intake. However, there was funding only to complete half the building. The efforts of the writer last year to convince the UGC on the need to get more students in, and the buildings completed ended in deaf ears. With much effort by the government today to find more placements for qualified Advance level students, I wonder whether the committed persons would recognize and act on the need for the country to produce larger numbers of fully baked food science graduates with sound knowledge on food safety. It must be mentioned here that the Food science degree program secured top most positions among the degree programs in the university system in relation to quality and in relation to need for assistance at two evaluations by the Quality Assurance Council of UGC supported by World Bank project. While the much criticised universities have made every effort to make their contribution there is much to be done by the State to get the benefits of the efforts to the country.
Processed foods is the second major export commodity among industrial goods, second to the garment industry. The country is expected to be a major tourist destination. If the country is to achieve its objectives successfully, it is essential that the authorities strengthen the food safety system combining the roles of different ministries addressing issues in the food chain, and support to expand the food science education at the university level. It is the responsibility of policy makers to work towards a hazard free food system to the local population and the visitors to the country, through a well-planned food safety assurance system with long term objectives built on a sound food science basis, beyond patch work and ineffective control systems.The examples discussed from other countries indicate the directions that should be taken at national level.

 

Microbiological Data Program to the rescue again? Grape Tomatoes Recalled Due to Salmonella Positive Test
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/microbiological-data-program-to-the-rescue-again-grape-tomatoes-recalled-due-to-salmonella-positive/
By Bill Marler (AUG 08, 2012)
Menno Beachy of Cresco, Iowa, is recalling one pint containers of Certified Organic Grape Tomatoes because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail, or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e. infected aneurysms), endocarditis, and arthritis.
A food distributor in Minnesota distributed 15 cases containing 12 one-pint containers of the affected grape tomatoes to retail stores located in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan between 7/26/12-8/6/12.
The grape tomatoes are packaged in square-shaped clear plastic clamshell containers labeled as Menno Beachy Certified Organic Grape Tomato, UPC number 044419310176, with a net weight of one pint. There are no lot numbers or expiration dates on the clamshell label. The clamshell packages are distributed in cases that are printed with a lot number. The case lot numbers affected by the recall are MB725GT3, MB725GT8, and MB725GT0.
No illnesses have been associated with the product.
Menno Beachy became aware of the contamination after the Minnesota Department of Agriculture collected a sample of the grape tomatoes located at the Minnesota distributor. The sample of lot number MB725GT0 found the grape tomatoes to be contaminated with Salmonella. Menno Beachy is investigating the source of the contamination.

 

3-year-old dies of food poisoning
Source : http://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/inside.asp?xfile=/data/nationhealth/2012/August/nationhealth_August15.xml&section=nationhealth
By Afkar Abdullah (AUG 07, 2012)
The recent death of a three-year-old Indian boy because of food poisoning in Sharjah has raised concerns among residents who have urged the authorities to tighten food safety controls during the ongoing holy month.
Maryan Anthony died on July 28, a day after he was admitted in Al Qasimi Hospital with signs of food poisoning.
The boy started vomiting a few minutes after taking a chicken shawarma the family had bought from a nearby cafeteria around 4.30pm on July 26, his father Anthony Aloysius said.
Speaking to Khaleej Times from India, where the family has gone for Maryan’s funeral, Aloysius said his wife and two sons started feeling pain and vomiting soon after eating the food. They rushed to a private hospital in the night but were told on July 27 to go to Al Qasimi Hospital where the Maryan’s condition worsened every passing hour as he continued vomiting.
The sudden death of their little one has devastated the whole family. “My wife and the nine-year-old son are all struggling to come to terms with the tragedy,” he said. “They had also eaten the shawarma but survived.”
A spokesman of Al Qasimi Hospital said the boy had died of dehydration and respiratory problems caused by food poisoning. His mother and elder brother were discharged after their condition improved.
The authorities concerned are supposed to exercise strict control over restaurants and cafeterias which do not offer fresh food but left-over ones causing serious harm to people’s health, he said.
Santhosh, a family friend, said the parents did not lodge a complaint with the police or the municipality at the time because they were only concerned about repatriating the body to India. When they come back after a week, they intend to pursue the case. “But we were informed that the case will be referred to these authorities automatically from Al Qasimi Hospital, Santhosh said.
In Fact, the case has been referred to the Sharjah Police who said they are currently investigating the case and samples of the food they had consumed are being analysed at the forensic laboratory.
A top official at the Sharjah Municipality said that they had received a report from Al Qasimi Hospital about the food poisoning incident that affected the family and caused the death of the three-year-old child.
The municipality inspectors were immediately sent to the cafeteria and took samples of foods which are being analysed at the Food Control Laboratory.

The officials also inspected the cafeteria to ensure that it was abiding by the health and hygiene conditions.
A report will be issued next week and the restaurant will face tough penalties if found guilty of food poisoning, an official told Khaleej Times.
The municipality has been carrying out inspections of food outlets in the emirate in view of Ramadan to make sure that they are abiding by the regulations.

 

CDC: 40 Sick in Multistate Salmonella Ground Beef Outbreak
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/08/cdc-40-sick-in-multistate-salmonella-ground-beef-outbreak/
By Helena Bottemiller (AUG 06, 2012)
Forty people in eight states have now been linked to an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis from ground beef, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.
The number of victims in the outbreak is up from 33 people in 7 states as of July 23. According to CDC, the states with reported illnesses are Maine (1), Massachusetts (3), New Hampshire (2), New York (18), Rhode Island (2), Vermont (11), Virginia (2), and West Virginia (1). Of the known victims, 11 have been hospitalized and none have died.
CDC said that a multi-agency investigation has implicated ground beef produced by Cargill Meat Solutions at a single production facility is the likely source of this outbreak. On July 22, Cargill Meat Solutions recalled 29,339 pounds of fresh ground beef.
Though it's likely most of the recalled meat has been consumed, health officials are urging consumers to check their refrigerators and freezers for any meat that might remain.
Since some of the ground beef was repackaged into consumer-sized packages sold at retail, consumers should visit the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service website to view the list of stores that carried the beef, which may not bear the EST. 9400 mark.
After the company's recall, Cargill Beef's president John Keating said he was "sorry or anyone who became sick from eating ground beef we may have produced."
"Ensuring our beef products are safe is our highest priority and an investigation is underway to determine the source of Salmonella in the animals we purchased for harvest and any actions necessary to prevent this from recurring," said Keating.
Cargill has said it does not test for Salmonella Enteritidis in beef: "This particular strain of Salmonella Enteritidis in beef has not been linked to a public health problem before, and no validated test for it in fresh beef is commercially available."
Salmonella is not considered an adulterant in meat or poultry products, and Salmonella-contaminated product is generally not recalled unless products are tied to illnesses.

 

A decade of food safety in China
Source : http://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/5083
By Xu Nan (AUG 06, 2012)
From 2009 to 2010, following a decade of scares, China made a concerted attempt to tackle the problem posed to human health by unsafe food. It tried to improve the country's legislative framework, research capabilities and coordination efforts, passing the Food Safety Law and establishing three new bodies: the State Council Food Safety Commission, the Food Safety Risk Evaluation Expert Committee and the Food Safety Standard Examination Committee. The hope was that these structures would help to stop products carrying toxins or other harmful substances from entering the food chain.
But the problems are still here, and the public is still complaining. New standards for milk and dairy products put together by the Food Safety Standard Examination Committee – a process that took more than a year and reportedly involved intense debate and fraught cross-departmental coordination before it produced a set of 60 rules – were a particular disappointment. Considered even weaker than regulations from the 1980s, they were described in the media as a “historic step backwards”.
This reflects how deep-rooted and difficult to resolve China’s food safety problems are.
Researchers tend to divide China’s food-safety history since 1949 into four stages. During the first, from 1949 to 1979, the country’s biggest challenge was a shortage of staple foods. Over the second stage, the five years from 1979 to 1984, food availability improved but a price of more abundant harvests was widespread use – and overuse – of fertiliser, causing food safety problems “at source”. At the same time, market mechanisms replaced the system of centrally planned food purchasing and sales, while crude and unmonitored food-production workshops accounted for a large proportion of Chinese food processing.
During the third period, from 1984 to 2000, food safety emerged as a formal concept. The state passed the Food Hygiene Law and set standards for the production and regulation of harm-free, green and organic foodstuffs.
The fourth stage covers the years since 2001 to the present, during which a litany of food-safety scares has hit China, and the country has worked to develop a food-safety management system, first with special regulations on food safety from the State Council, and then in 2009 with the passing of the Food Safety Law. The conversation has moved from an emphasis on hygiene to a broader concept of safety. Within just 10 years, the seemingly endless scares have made food safety a deep-set concern for the Chinese public.
From around 2003, food safety scares became more frequent, and were often regional in nature: a particular brand from a particular area would be pinpointed as dangerous. By 2005, China had seen scandals over foods including hotpot broth, rice, pickles, chives and noodles. Illegal additives and the risks in the processing industry became the focus of concerns. Consumers became fixated with certain types of food.
The public and government blamed China’s crude set of food standards. But soon, broader questions were being asked. The panic over cancer-causing food dye Sudan Red was characteristic. The crisis of confidence was no longer regional, partial and confined to certain foods. It became widespread, common and covered many different products.
The 2008 melamine milk scandal, in which at least six babies died and a further 860 were hospitalised after drinking powdered milk laced with the chemical, was another turning point. In the crisis that followed, risks were identified at all the major firms in the powdered milk business. The reputation of a whole food category was destroyed overnight.
When the story came out in 2010 that Chinese people were consuming three million tonnes of illegally recycled cooking oil every year, fatigue set in. In fact, people have long known about this underground industry, but the complex web of interests behind it has made the “gutter oil” problem impossible to eradicate.
Over the past 10 years, the challenge posed to the food sector by China’s industrialisation has become clear, and society has paid a high price.
The food supply chain is long and complex, stretching from primary crops in the field to processed products, from agriculture to industry. Many people consume basic foodstuffs produced by small businesses in a barely regulated sector. Various authorities fire out orders, while conflicting standards paralyse enforcement efforts and businesses seem like they’re competing to reach new ethical lows. It’s an industry that operates more on tacit understandings than rigorous controls. “Scientific research” serves to increase output and appearances. Unregulated markets are chaotic, waste is widespread and anything goes as long as it cuts costs.
Safety is always an issue when food industries modernise, and not just in China. Historically, western nations had similar experiences – and they still see problems today. Foodborne illnesses have been documented on every continent over the last decade, according to the World Health Organisation.
Food safety problems the world over share common roots: the profit motive, an imbalance of information between producer and consumer, inadequate laws and rules and weak regulation. But different nations approach these problems in different ways, through legislation, judicial practice, governance and social response. China’s most notable characteristic here is that it lacks a mature and modern consumer movement, and consumers as a group are relatively unsavvy about making choices and getting their voices heard. Lu Fang of Jilin University’s philosophy institute believes this is a key reason for China’s worsening food safety problem.
Over the years, China has seen the same sequence repeat itself time and again: exposure, outrage, falling sales, fear and government intervention. By 2008, whenever doubts were raised about any particular product, the farmers growing that food would suffer severe losses. And production would be further concentrated in the hands of large-scale industrial farmers.
As food-safety problems have worsened over the decade, many experts have argued that elements of the public’s attitude to food safety are misguided – such as zero-tolerance for risk, exaggerated fears about chemical pollution and a tendency to conflate fake brands and unsafe foods. Behind this expert view is the assumption that food production should be regarded not as part of the agricultural chain but as a modern industry.
Chief expert of the Food Safety Risk Evaluation Committee Chen Junshi has repeatedly stated that “good food is made by production, not regulation”.
“Two-hundred million scattered farmers are raising all of China’s chicken, ducks and fish,” he said. “If that doesn’t change, pollution at the source cannot be dealt with. Also, most of China’s half a million food producers are small and medium sized firms – and if you want to ensure that levels of microbes meet standards, or that additives are not overused, you need to improve the standards of those workers.”
Behind his words is the assumption that only further industrialisation of the food supply chain will solve China’s food-safety crisis.
But people are already showing themselves nostalgic for the sustainable wisdom of traditional agriculture, with movements pushing for a return to an earlier food culture. Meanwhile, environmentalists are turning their attention to the ethics of livestock farming in light of health dangers posed by meat production.
In late 2009, the US documentary Food, Inc. became popular online in China. Facing their own food safety challenges, Chinese people joined the voices in the west questioning a food industry dominated by market logic.
As well as questions of market regulation, administration and legislation, we need to consider the industrialisation of food production. Chen Junshi has said that everybody would like chemical-free, clean food produced locally on a small scale, but asks if that will be possible given the size of our population. This is the burning question. 
Almost all nations where the food industry has completely modernised have community-supported agriculture (CSA) movements, where consumers and producers are in direct contact and rebuild supply chains on a basis of trust. CSA is a civil-society attempt to create new channels to take food from farms to people. Needless to say, working in the shadow of the enormous food industry, these small-scale efforts have only a limited impact. But the Chinese people, embattled by frequent food safety scares, particularly the 2008 melamine milk scandal, are more desperate than ever to shake up the system. This is what the media calls the “battle for the dinner table”.

                                                                                                    

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Drakes Bay Oysters Recalled for Vibrio; Three Sickened
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/drakes-bay-oysters-recalled-for-vibrio-three-sickened/
By Linda Larsen (AUG 11, 2012)
Drakes Bay Oyster Co. in Marin County California is recalling shucked and in-shell oysters. They may be contaminated with Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a bacteria that can cause serious illness. In fact, the oysters are linked to an outbreak that has sickened three people so far.
The affected oysters include shucked oysters in 9 ounce, 1 pint, 1 quart containers and half gallon jars and tubs. The lot numbers are 363 through 421. The in-shell oysters are sold individually or in bags ranging from 1 dozen to 7 dozen. Harvest tags range from July 17, 2012 to August 8, 2012. If anyone has any of these oysters, do not eat them; throw them away.
Symptoms of Vibrio infection include abdominal cramps, diarrhea, headache, vomiting, fever, and chills. Those in high risk groups, including the very young, pregnant women, the elderly, those with chronic illnesses, and those with weakened immune systems, can suffer severe complications and even death. If you see the oysters for sale, please call the company’s complaint line at 800-495-3232.

 

Shigella Cases Increase in Douglas County, Nebraska
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/shigella-cases-increase-in-douglas-county-nebraska/
By Linda Larsen (AUG 09, 2012)
The Douglas County Health Department has released a statement saying that 50 cases of Shigella sonnei have occurred since May. Four of those patients have been hospitalized. Douglas County includes the city of Omaha.
In eight out of the last nine years, that county had 31 or fewer cases. Forty-one percent of the cases occurred in children under the age of five, and 29% were children between the ages of five and nine. Sixty-two percent of the cases have been associated with child care settings.
Health Director Dr. Adi Pour said, “hand washing is absolutely critical two controlling any disease that involves diarrhea. It is especially important to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after changing diapers or using the bathroom, since it takes only a small exposure (about 100 bacteria) to pass along the disease.”
Symptoms of shigellosis, the disease caused by the Shigella bacteria, including loose, watery stools with no other symptoms to bloody diarrhea with fever and cramps. Symptoms begin 1 to 3 days after exposure.
To prevent the spread of the disease, people with diarrhea should stay home until at least 24 hours has passed after the symptoms end. Anyone with diarrhea should not prepare or serve food or drink for others. People who have been sick should not swim in pools or bodies of water until they have completely recovered.

 

CDC Updates Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Small Turtles: 168 Ill
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/cdc-updates-salmonella-outbreak-linked-to-small-turtles-168-ill/
By Linda Larsen (AUG 09, 2012)
The CDC has updated their investigation into six multistate Salmonella outbreaks linked to small turtles. Now, 168 people are ill. We’ve told you about this investigation before; the last update was July 1, 2012. The ill persons live in 30 states.
The number of ill persons in each state are: Alabama (2), Alaska (2), Arizona (5), California (28), Colorado (5), Delaware (3), Georgia (3), Illinois (3), Indiana (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (1), Maryland (6), Massachusetts (5), Michigan (2), Minnesota (1), Mississippi (1), New Jersey (7), North Carolina (1), New Mexico (6), Nevada (8), New York (25), Ohio (2), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (16), South Carolina (4), Tennessee (4), Texas (19), Vermont (1), Virginia (4), and West Virginia (1). Thirty-four ill persons have been hospitalized; there have been no deaths.
The FDA has banned the sale of small turtles since 1975 specifically because of this Salmonella infection risk. Turtles under 4″ should not be purchased or given as gifts. Sixty-four percent of the patients are children 10 years old or younger, and 27% are 1 year old or younger.
Seventy-two percent of ill persons reported exposure to turtles before they got sick. And 94% of patients with turtle exposure reported handling small turtles before their illness began. Thirty-nine percent of ill persons with small turtles purchased them from street vendors, and 15% purchased them from pet stores.
Outbreak 1: A total of 70 people are infected with Salmonella Sandiego, Strain A, and Salmonella Newport, Strain A, in 15 states. The eight new cases in this outbreak are from California (2), Illinois (1), Massachusetts (2), Nevada (1), Pennsylvania (1), and Texas (1). Illness onset dates range from August 3, 2011 to July 9, 2012. The age range is from less than 1 year to 86 years.
Outbreak 2: A total of 15 people are infected with Salmonella Pomona, Strain A in 10 states. The four new cases in this outbreak are from California (1), Nevada (1), Pennsylvania (1), and Virginia (1). Illness onset dates range from December 9, 2011 to July 16, 2012. The age range is from less than 1 year to 90 years.
Outbreak 3: A total of 21 individuals are infected with Salmonella Poona in 11 states. The four new cases are from Louisiana (1), Mississippi (1), and Tennessee (2). Illness onset dates range from October 20, 2011 to July 2, 2012. The age range is from less than 1 year to 70 years.
There are no new cases in Outbreak 4, which is caused by Salmonella Sandiego, Strain B. May 10, 2012 was the last update for this particular outbreak.
Outbreak 5: A total of 50 people are infected with Salmonella Pomona, Strain B, in 20 states. The three new cases are from Illinois (1), New Mexico (1), and Texas (1). Illness onset dates range from June 21, 2011 to July 11, 2912. Ill persons range in age from less than 1 year to 86 years.
There are no new cases reported in Outbreak 6, caused by Salmonella Poona, Strain B. There is only one person in this outbreak.

 

Shigella Cases Increase in Okaloosa County, Florida
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/shigella-cases-increase-in-okaloosa-county-florida/
By Linda Larsen (AUG 08, 2012)
The Okaloosa County Health Department is reporting an increase in cases of Shigella. So far this year, 49 lab confirmed and probable cases have been reported. The county usually averages 3 cases of Shigella a year.
The health department has been working with child care centers, community health care providers, living facilities, and the Department of Children and Families to implement prevention and control measures. The Shigella bacteria is very contagious and spreads easily person-to-person. People contract Shigella bacteria by eating or drinking something that has the feces of an infected person. This bacteria usually appears in a cyclical pattern. Peaks of the illness in Florida occurred in 2002/2003 and in 2006/2007. There was an increase in 2011, and the increase this year may indicate another transmission cycle.
The disease is usually mild and most people get better on their own within four to seven days. It takes 1 to 3 days after infection for symptoms to begin. Symptoms of Shigella infection include diarrhea, which may be watery and bloody, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and fever. Some people do not have any symptoms, and can spread the infection without realizing it.
To prevent further spread of this infection, everyone with diarrhea should stay home from work or school for at least one 24 hour period after the symptoms end. Anyone with diarrhea should not prepare food or beverages for others, or serve food or beverages to others. Thorough hand washing is the best way to stop the spread of the illness. Wash hands after visiting the bathroom, changing a diaper, handing pets, and before and during food preparation and eating.
To wash hands thoroughly, use soap and warm water. Lather hands for at least 20 seconds, and pay attention to the area between fingers, under the fingernails, around the wrists, and on the palms. Bathrooms and diaper changing areas should be routinely disinfected.

 

Salmonella Outbreak Among Irish Festival Attendees in Tennessee
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/salmonella-outbreak-among-irish-festival-attendees-in-tennessee/
By Kathy Will (AUG 08, 2012)
Woody McMillin of the Tennessee Department of Health told Food Poisoning Bulletin that they are investigating an outbreak of illness among people who have attended the Irish Festival in Erin. At least 50 people have become ill.
Lab reports have indicated that some of the patients have tested positive for Salmonella enterica. Mr. McMillin added that “we have also heard from many people who attended the festival who did not become sick, and as part of our investigation we are working to complete interviews with them.”
The Festival, which is held every year at the end of July, is usually attended by about 20,000 people. The event benefits St. Patrick’s School in McEwen, Tennessee. The attendees start getting sick a few days after the event picnic. The Health Department is testing food items from the event, but have not identified the source of the illness. Many types of foods were served at the picnic, including hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, and other typical picnic fare.
If you have attended this picnic and have been ill with the symptoms of Salmonella, see your doctor and tell her that you were at this event. Some people who did get sick most likely didn’t see a doctor, since most foodborne illness cases are unreported. But a single patient might have clues that will solve the mytery.
Salmonella enterica is found in beef, chicken, and eggs. Symptoms of Salmonella foodborne illness include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. Symptoms usually start about 12 hours to 3 days after infection. The illness can last up to a week. Most people get better without treatment, but anyone in a high risk group may suffer dehydration. Complications of salmonellosis can include Reiter’s syndrome, which can cause reactive chronic arthritis.

 

Homegrown E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak Headed to Trial - Ixtapa Mexican Restaurant
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/legal-cases/homegrown-e-coli-o157h7-outbreak-headed-to-trial---ixtapa-mexican-restaurant/By Bill Marler (AUG 06, 2012)
Twenty-three “confirmed” and “probable cases,” and forty-one “suspect cases.”
Most of the time I am traveling the country – I have done E. coli cases in most states – So, it is good to have one within driving distance.
Snohomish County Health District (SCHD) Communicable Disease (CD) program received the first report of a confirmed E. coli O157:H7 illness, in what would soon become a cluster of such illnesses, on October 14, 2008. The next report of illness came the following day, October 15. It was subsequently determined that both ill individuals had dined at Ixtapa in Lake Stevens in the days before onset of their illnesses.
The third and fourth reports of illness came in on October 16, and when these people reported that they, too, had eaten at Ixtapa, SCHD knew that an outbreak was underway. Many more reports of illness followed. Accordingly, SCHD issued a press release on October 21, 2008, stating that the health authorities investigating the cluster of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses had “narrowed down the likely source of E. coli illness . . . [to] Ixtapa restaurant, 303-91st Ave. NE. #B201.” Ixtapa voluntarily closed for business the same day so that it could be sanitized.
After identifying Ixtapa as the source, investigators were able to focus their inquiry to try to determine whether a particular food item, or a contaminated food-handler, was the ultimate outbreak vehicle. The Communicable Disease program accomplished this by statistical analysis of food items generated during a case-control study, and an environmental investigation at the restaurant itself. After performing these in-depth analyses, “guacamole remained the only significant food exposure identified.” But other vehicles by which bacteria may have infected Ixtapa customers could not be ruled out, including the salsa, cross-contamination from a contaminated ingredient, or contamination by an infected foodworker (possibly asymptomatic).
Ultimately, investigating health officials counted twenty-three “confirmed” and “probable cases,” and forty-one “suspect cases.” The average incubation period for the twenty-three confirmed and probable cases was about four and one-half days, with a range of one to eight days. Four confirmed cases were hospitalized, and one developed hemolytic uremic syndrome. Finally, testing at the WSDOH Public Health Lab showed that the PFGE pattern associated with the outbreak was EXHX01.2134 (Xbal) and EXHA26.0888 (Bln). WSDOH designated this outbreak 2008-0444.