Picture of 6th International Conference (2011)

More than 600 companies sent attendees for this conference since 2006 (1st Conference).

Awesome!!! Enjoyed every Minute - Rory - Grimmway Farms

Join 7th International Conference for Food Safety and Quality
(November 13-14, 2012), Chicago, IL
Additional Courses
November 12, 2012, Food Safety Microbiology, 1 day Short Course
November 15-16, 2012, HACCP Class,
November 15-16, 2012, Control Methods to kill pathogens and spoilage microorganisms 2days short course

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

FDA Puts $17 Million Into Produce Safety
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/fda-puts-17-million-into-produce-safety/
By Carla Gillespie (Sep 22, 2012)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has awarded Illumina Inc. of San Diego a $17 million, five-year grant for genome analysis of produce-related pathogens including Salmonella and E.coli, the company has announced. The agency wants to enhance its capability to track the sources of foodborne illness outbreaks.
Using enhanced genome sequencing technology, the FDA can upload data to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) database in real time. The technology can also provide subtyping information and cluster analysis needed for foodborne illness outbreak investigations.
Foodborne illness affects one sixth of all Americans each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Over the last five years, there have been an average of seven multi-state outbreaks. So far this year, there have been nine multi-state foodborne illness outbreaks. Of the three that are ongoing, two are produce-related-Salmonella in cantaloupes from Chamberlain Farms in Indiana and Salmonella in Daniella mangoes imported from Mexico. The third is for ricotta salata cheese imported form Italy that has been contaminated with Listeria.
Salmonella, the most common foodborne pathogen in the U.S, can be found on meat, produce and processed food items such as peanut butter. It can cause severe, sometimes life-threatening, illness.
“Illumina applauds the FDA’s commitment to improving the public’s safety from foodborne illness outbreaks, as demonstrated by its decision to further integrate whole genome sequencing into its efforts,” Christian Henry, Illumina’s Senior Vice President, said in a statement.

A Bit(e) of Salmonella Peanut Butter History ; Lessons Unlearned Pre Trader Joe's
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/legal-cases/a-bite-of-salmonella-peanut-butter-history-lessons-unlearned-pre-trader-joes/
By Bill Marler (Sep 23, 2012)
With the Salmonella outbreak linked to Trader Joe’s Valencia Creamy Salted Peanut Butter sickening 29 (so far) an overview of where we are now and what happened in peanut butter Salmonella outbreaks in the past might be helpful.
So far Public health officials in Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, North Carolina, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania issued public health alerts on September 21 and 22, 2012 about a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Bredeney linked to consumption of Trader Joe’s Creamy Salted Peanut Butter. State and federal investigators have identified 29 cases of illnesses linked to the product. The earliest onset occurred on June 11, 2012. Two patients live in Pennsylvania, one patient each lives in Rhode Island, New York, Minnesota, North Carolina and Maryland, and three patients are residents of Massachusetts. Trader Joe’s has removed the product from stores. The removed product comes in 16-ounce containers with “use by” dates of May 23, 2013 and June 28, 2013.
We have seen this before.
ConAgra Peter Pan and Great Value Peanut Butter 2006/2007 – 715 Sickened
In November 2006, public health officials detected a substantial increase in reports of Salmonella Tennessee isolates. In February, 2007, a multistate, case-control study linked the consumption of either Peter Pan or Great Value Peanut Butter brands with infection. Subsequently the same strain of Salmonella Tennessee was isolated from unopened jars of peanut butter and from environmental samples collected from the processing plant. The product was recalled, and new illness reports declined. Unsanitary conditions at the Sylvester, Georgia, processing plant were known about since 2004. On April 5, 2007, ConAgra announced inadvertent moisture from a leaking roof and sprinkler system could have promoted bacteria growth in the plant. Great Value brand was sold at WalMart stores.
Peanut Corporation of America, Peanut Butter and Peanut Butter – Containing Products 2008/2009– 716 Sickened with 9 Deaths
Beginning in November 2008, CDC (Centers for Disease Control) PulseNet staff noted a small and highly dispersed, multistate cluster of Salmonella Typhimurium isolates. The outbreak consisted of two pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) defined clusters of illness. The first cluster displayed a unique primary enzyme (XbaI) restriction pattern and an uncommon secondary enzyme (BlnI) pattern. The second cluster had two closely related XbaI patterns that were very similar to the first cluster and a BlnI pattern that was indistinguishable from the first cluster. Illnesses continued to be revealed through April 2009, when the last CDC report on the outbreak was published. Peanut butter and peanut butter containing products produced by the Peanut Corporation of America plant in Blakely, Georgia, were implicated. King Nut brand peanut butter was sold to institutional settings. Peanut paste was sold to many food companies for use as an ingredient. Implicated peanut products were sold widely throughout the USA, 23 countries and non-U.S. territories. Despite numerous product recalls, beginning in January, 2009, the wide dispersion of the peanut products, the long shelf life of these products, and the multiple labeling made it impossible to assure that all sources of these contaminated products had been totally eliminated. Peanut prices and demand for peanut-based products were little affected by this outbreak.
Hopefully, the Trader Joe’s Salmonella outbreak will be much more limited.

Salmonella Bredeney Outbreak Associated with Trader Joe's Peanut Butter
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/salmonella-bredeney-outbreak-associated-with-trader-joes-peanut-butter/
By Linda Larsen (Sep 22, 2012)
The CDC has issued a report on Trader Joe’s Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter because it may be contaminated with Salmonella. The product has been removed from store shelves. It was distributed nationwide. The product is in 16 ounce plastic jars; all code dates are included in the recall. If you have purchased this product, do not eat it; return it to the store for a refund or throw it out. For more questions, call Trader Joe’s Customer Relations at 626-599-3817.
So far, 29 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bredeney have been reported to PulseNet from 18 states. Four people have been hospitalized; there have been no deaths.
The CDC does not mention the states where the outbreak has occurred. They have only posted an epidemiological curve of the outbreak. States that are reporting cases include Massachusetts (3), Pennsylvania (2), New York (1), Rhode Island (1), Maryland (1) and Minnesota (1).
Illness onset dates range from June 11, 2012 to September 2, 2012. The patient age range is from less than 1 year to 77 years, with a median age of 7 years. Seventy-six percent of the ill persons are under the age of 18, and 64% of ill persons are male. Illnesses that occurred after August 29, 2012 may not yet be reported because of the lag time between an illness onset and reporting.
Public health officials are investigating to see if any other foods sold primarily at Trader Joe’s grocery stores may be a source in this outbreak. The FDA has issued a recall, but states in that announcement that no illnesses are linked to the peanut butter. The recall notice says that production and distribution of the peanut butter has been suspended while the FDA and the Valencia Peanut Butter supplier investigate.
The CDC stated that the PFGE pattern of this particular bacteria is quite rare and has only caused five to eight cases per year. Salmonella illnesses usually begin six to 72 hours after exposure. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever chills, headache, muscle pains, and blood in the stool. If you have eaten peanut butter or any other food purchased at Trader Joe’s and have experienced these symptoms, see your healthcare provider immediately.
We don’t know where the peanut butter was made, if it was a store brand, or made by another party. All of the interviewed ill persons have indicated that they shopped at Trader Joe’s locations across the country. And twelve of the 14 ill persons (86%) reported eating Trader Joe’s Valencia Creamy Salted Peanut Butter made with Sea Salt the week before becoming ill. The product is also sold on the internet.

U.S. agency alerted Canada to E. coli danger
Source : http://blog.usfoodsafety.com/2012/09/23/u-s-agency-alerted-canada-to-e-coli-danger/
By Doug Powell(Sep 23, 2012)
As the Canadian Food Inspection Agency expands the XL Foods E. coli O157:H7 recall for the sixth time tonight, it was revealed CFIA first became aware of problems with the beef when tests conducted in the U.S. came back positive.
According to the Canadian Press, agency spokesman Garfield Balsom confirmed that word of the positive findings came from the Food Safety Inspection Service of the U.S. on Sept. 3, nearly two weeks before CFIA began issuing advisories about ground beef products produced at Edmonton-based XL Foods.
(For sticklers, the story identified FSIS as an agency of the U.S. Drug Authority; it’s part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.)
Balsom said XL initiated the recall on its own, insisting it was not ordered as a result of the U.S. test results.
“There were some positives identified by the FSIS, but the positives were not the trigger for the recall,” Balsom said in a telephone interview. “The recall was a voluntary recall by the company.”
So, what does trigger public notification in Canada?
If the product is imported, Canada goes public quickly; if it’s homegrown, they take their time.

Salmonella ; A rare bug, but has caused outbreaks before
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/salmonella-bredeney-a-rare-bug-but-has-caused-outbreaks-before/
By Bill Marler (Sep 23, 2012)
According to the FDA, Trader Joe’s Valencia Creamy Salted Peanut Butter made with Sea Salt is likely link to the 29 Salmonella bredeney illnesses that have been reported from 18 states thus far.  According to eFoodAlert, CDC has not released a list of affected states; however, some of the states have issued their own Alerts. These include:
l;Maryland (1 case)
l;Massachusetts (3 cases)
ll;Minnesota (1)
ll;New York (1 case)
ll;North Carolina (1 case)
l;Pennsylvania (2 cases)
ll;Rhode Island (1 case)
According to the CDC, Salmonella bredeney illness onset dates range from June 11, 2012 to September 2, 2012. Ill persons range in age from less than 1 year to 77 years, with a median age of 7 years. Seventy-six percent of ill persons are children under 18 years old. Sixty-four percent of ill persons are male. Among 11 ill persons with available information, 4 (36%) reported being hospitalized.
Red line denotes recall announcement.  Salmonella bredeney is a rare serotype and represented just 0.06?% of Salmonella serotypes in the USA’s Center for Disease Control surveillance system in 2009 (Newell et al., 2010).  There have been a few reported outbreaks of Salmonella bredeney:
•Clinical presentation and treatment of a Salmonella bredeney epidemic in Shelby County, Alabama.  South Med J. 1999 Aug; 92(8):799-801. Jahraus CD, Philips HL.
Background:  Numerous residents of Shelby County, Alabama, were infected with Salmonella when a restaurant unknowingly served food tainted with the bacterium. Because of the similarity in symptoms caused by other gastrointestinal pathogens and the variability in time of presentation, an outbreak such as this could be confused with one of another pathogenic origin. The pathogen identified, Salmonella bredeney, is a particularly rare cause of food poisoning. It makes up only 0.1% of the Salmonella isolates identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year.
Methods:  We analyzed patient presentations through chart review and combined this information with that obtained from the state laboratories in Montgomery and the Shelby County Health Department.
Results:  Symptoms were mostly gastrointestinal and ranged greatly in severity. The total number of patients affected in this incident exceeded 170, making it the largest epidemic of its kind in the recent history of Alabama.
Conclusion:  The outbreak in Shelby County was caused by an exceedingly rare species of Salmonella. At this time, it is the only outbreak of Salmonella bredeney reported in MEDLINE-accessible literature since 1983.
•Comparison of phenotypic and genotypic characteristics of Salmonella bredeney associated with a poultry-related outbreak of gastroenteritis in Northern Ireland.  J Infect. 2003 Jul; 47(1):33-9.   Moore JE, Murray L, Fanning S, Cormican M, Daly M, Delappe N, Morgan B, Murphy PG.
Objectives:  To employ a combination of phenotypic and genotypic subspecies typing methods to aid in an epidemiological investigation of an outbreak of Salmonella bredeney involving ten persons.
Methods:  Isolates were characterized by employing antibiogram typing, in addition to two genotyping techniques, including pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), random amplification of polymorphic DNA (RAPD) with two oligonucleotide primers.
Results:  An outbreak of gastroenteritis associated with Salmonella bredeney (serovar O:4 H:Lv 1,7) occurred in Belfast, Northern Ireland in November 1997. In total, ten cases were confirmed, of which eight had consumed chicken cooked at local butchers and retailed through one of two local bakeries. One of the remaining cases was secondarily infected within her home and the final case had eaten a product other than cooked chicken from one of the bakeries. Food preparation practices were inadequate in one of the bakeries in question and record keeping and possibly cooking procedures were inadequate in the butchers. Salmonella bredeney was isolated from an uncooked chicken supplied to the butchers confirming that improperly cooked chicken was most likely the source of the outbreak. All outbreak clinical isolates were indistinguishable from each other and were similar to the isolate obtained from the uncooked poultry demonstrating that these DNA-based methods were valuable in the molecular characterization of Salmonella bredeney
Conclusions:  This report emphasizes the importance and maintenance of an effective hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) approach to the processing and retailing of foodstuffs containing chicken in order to help eliminate hazards to public health.

Consumer Groups Urge USDA to Withdraw Poultry Slaughter Proposal
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/consumer-groups-urge-usda-to-withdraw-poultry-slaughter-proposal/
By Kathy Will (Sep 20, 2012)
A coalition of 23 consumer, labor, public health, and civil rights groups have sent a letter to Secretary Tom Vilsack. They are urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to withdraw its proposal that increases poultry processing line speeds and removes hundreds of federal inspectors from poultry processing plants. That proposal, called HACCP-based Inspection Models Project (HIMP) has been criticized by many consumer groups.
The letter states that USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) developed the proposal with limited input and did not consult with its inspection advisory committee. The agency did also not hold public meetings on this issue, unlike previous agency proposals. The coalition has several concerns with this proposal.
Line speed increases are a concern, since they will “likely exacerbate food safety and worker safety issues,” according to the letter. Current line speeds are 35 birds per minute per inspector. The proposed new number is 175 chicken carcasses per minute, with only a single inspector on the slaughter line. That would give that lone inspector 1/3 of a second to examine each carcass for food safety issues. In addition, that line speed will most likely increase the “unacceptably high levels of injuries in the poultry processing industry.” OSHA was not consulted in the development of this proposal.
The groups also claim that the proposed rule will not yield the benefits claimed. According to data from the CDC, there has been no significant progress reducing illnesses from Salmonella and Campylobacter on poultry since 1999. The USDA itself admits to an “ambiguous” impact on reducing Campylobacter infections. HIMP will also not require plants to test for those two pathogens, but will let each plant design its own testing plan.
The proposal will also increase the rates of “defects” on birds, including blisters, bruises, scabs, feathers, bile, ingesta, and poultry-specific diseases. The facility would make subjective decisions on the appropriate level of these defects in the birds it processes.
Finally, the proposal will not require plant employees to be trained on the new rules. Training requirements are essential to assure that sorting procedures are properly performed. USDA whistleblowers have commented that plant workers with insufficient training often overlook things, and employers have a vested interest in processing as many birds as possible, according to Chris Waldrop, director of the Consumer Federation of America.
The letter is signed by the AFL-CIO, American Federation of Government Employees, Center for Food SAfety, Consumer Federation of America, Center for Foodborne ILlness Research and Prevention, Food & Water Watch, Center for Science in the Public Interest, STOP Foodborne Illness, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Individuals who signed the letter include Barbara Frey, Director of the Human Rights Program at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Celeste Monforton of George Washington University, and Sidney Shapiro, University Chair in Law at Wake Forest University.

No, Canada. US Consumer Groups Don't Want Canadian Meat Inspections On Fast Track
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/no-canada-us-consumer-groups-dont-want-canadian-meat-inspections-on-fast-track/
By  editor , Food Poisoning Bulletin(Sep 15, 2012)
Just as the US is rolling out a pilot program to fast-track inspections on meat from Canadian producers, XL Foods of Edmonton, Alberta announces a massive recall and then expands it three times over the course of three days. Fluke or foreshadowing? US consumer groups say the latter and they want the program ended immediately.
“Canada’s food safety track record is at an all-time low with more than a third of all Canadians getting sick from food-related causes every year,” said Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch’s executive director. “Yesterday, the Canadian government announced an expansion of a recall involving ground beef products sold across Canada at Loblaws, Costco, Walmart, Safeway and Calahoo Meats stores, produced by XL Foods, one of Canada’s biggest exporters. But USDA thinks less inspection is a good idea?”
Food & Water Watch is a member of the Safe Food Coalition, a group of consumer advocacy organizations, that is urging U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to immediately stop a pilot program. The group delivered the request in a letter to Vilsack at a “stakeholder” briefing on the program earlier this week.
The pilot program is part of the Beyond the Border Action Plan. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) are testing new rules for Canadian suppliers that “export fresh meat (beef and pork) products directly to FSIS-inspected establishments for further processing.” To be eligible for the program producers must: conduct regular business in the US, be able to demonstrate a consistent food safety compliance system and have no public health violations.
On September 16, XL Foods announced a recall of ground beef products distributed to stores throughout Canada for possible contamination with E.coli 0157:H7. The recall was then expanded three times in three days. It is unclear if XL Foods was a participant in the program.
“When it comes to food safety, every precaution should be taken to reduce risk, but by going along with this rash proposal, the USDA seems to be inviting risk,” said Hauter. “The current border inspection system works. It’s unconscionable to consider removing the current level of protection for U.S. consumers from tainted imported Canadian meat at any time, but especially now.”

Beef testing for E coli, poultry inspection worries, vaccine-derived polio, chikungunya in Cambodia
Source : http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/fs/food-disease/news/sep2012scan.html
By CIDRAP (Sep 20, 2012)
USDA moves to make E coli testing of beef trim more risk-based
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) yesterday announced changes in its testing program for Escherichia coli O157:H7 in beef trimmings (trim), including increasing sampling at facilities that have more problems controlling the pathogen. The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) devised the plans in response to recommendations made in 2010 by the USDA Office of the Inspector General. A recent FSIS analysis showed that small facilities have a higher rate of E coli O157 contamination in beef trim than large and medium-size facilities, according to the agency's announcement yesterday in the Federal Register. In addition, the FSIS has determined that beef trim is more likely to test positive in the "high-prevalence season" of May through October than in other months, the notice says. The agency said it has already adjusted its testing program to increase sampling at facilities with higher risk factors and from May through October, but because of resource constraints, sampling during other months will have to be reduced. The FSIS also announced plans to make ongoing statistical prevalence estimates for E coli O157 in beef trim. In addition, next year the agency will conduct a baseline survey of the prevalence of E coli O157, other pathogenic E coli strains, and Salmonella on beef carcasses before evisceration and antimicrobial interventions. The FSIS is inviting public comments on its plans.
Sep 19 FSIS Federal Register notice
Coalition urges USDA to drop plan for changes in poultry inspections
A coalition of 23 consumer, labor, health, and civil rights groups called on the USDA today to withdraw its proposal to transfer much of the work of inspecting poultry carcasses to processing companies. The group asserts that the plan was developed without adequate public input and would allow processors to increase their production line speeds to unsafe levels, said the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), a coalition member. The USDA has said the plan will allow its inspectors to focus more attention on sanitary conditions and interventions, thereby improving food safety and saving money for taxpayers and poultry companies. But the coalition, including the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Government Accountability Project, Public Citizen, and others, said the plan's proposed increase in production line speeds to 175 birds per minute would allow too little time for proper inspection and lead to repetitive motion injuries. The group also argues that the plan changes the standard for accepting or rejecting birds and does not require training of private employees who would inspect carcasses. Further, the coalition complained that the plan does not set a standard for testing of poultry and instead leaves each plant to develop its own testing protocol. In addition to the 23 organizations, the coalition statement was signed by 16 academicians in various health and legal specialties.
Sep 20 CFA press release
Vaccine-derived polio cases continue in some countries
Vaccine-derived polio cases are rare but continue to happen in a handful of countries, scientists from the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported today. Writing in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) about the period from April 2011 to June 2012, investigators said that outbreaks of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) infections appear to have stopped in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and India, and a large outbreak in Nigeria appears to have been declined sharply. However, outbreaks continue in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia, new outbreaks were detected in Mozambique and Yemen, and genetic evidence indicated renewed VDPV circulation in Madagascar. The researchers also report that 12 new prolonged immunodeficiency-related VDPV infections were detected, with increasing numbers found in developing and middle-income countries. About 85% of VDPVs detected were poliovirus type 2.
Sep 21 MMWR report
Report: Recent Cambodian chikungunya outbreak had 73% attack rate
An outbreak of chikungunya in a Cambodian village in February and March started sickening patients about 3 weeks after unusually heavy rains, with 44.7% of the population showing evidence of infection, an international group of researchers reported today in MMWR. The epidemiologic and seroprevalence study is one of the few to detail reemergence of chikungunya in Asia, which involves the East/South/South African strain that has been causing outbreaks in the region since 2006. To profile the outbreak in the Kampong Speu province, the research group surveyed village residents and took blood samples, including venous samples from febrile patients. The study, which occurred as the outbreak was winding down, revealed that the clinical attack rate was 73.4% and that 5.3% of the population was asymptomatic. The epidemic lasted about 3 weeks. In a few instances, the investigators found evidence of other infections, such as dengue and Japanese encephalitis. No Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, which have been linked to other outbreaks, were found in the area. Researchers wrote that the seroprevalence finding was similar to some other chikungunya studies.
Sep 21 MMWR report

Consumer Reports to FDA: Set Arsenic Limits
Source : http://supermarketnews.com/food-safety/consumer-reports-fda-set-arsenic-limits
By Supermarket News (Sep 15, 2012)
Consumer Reports is asking the Food and Drug Administration to set limits for arsenic beginning with rice products and fruit juices.
The request comes after a recent analysis of rice and rice-based products revealed measurable amounts of arsenic in both organic and inorganic forms. Earlier this year a Consumer Reports test of juice revealed total arsenic levels that exceed federal drinking-water standards in roughly 10% of samples from five brands.
Inorganic arsenic is a carcinogen. Organic arsenic is less toxic but still of concern. No federal limits exist for arsenic in most foods, but the standard for arsenic in drinking water is 10 parts per billion.
Read more: FDA Responds to Report of Arsenic in Juice
Meanwhile, the FDA is testing rice and rice product samples for arsenic. Once its analysis is complete it will determine whether or not to issue additional recommendations. But based on preliminary data consistent with Consumer Reports’ findings, the FDA said it does not have an adequate scientific basis to recommend changes by consumers regarding their consumption of rice and rice products.
“Our advice right now is that consumers should continue to eat a balanced diet that includes a wide variety of grains — not only for good nutrition but also to minimize any potential consequences from consuming any one particular food,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg (left), in a statement.
USA Rice, which represents America’s rice farmers and rice companies, issued a statement explaining that “arsenic is a naturally occurring element that has been unavoidably present everywhere in the environment for thousands of years — it’s in the air, water, rocks and soil, which is how all plant foods, including rice, take it up, regardless of whether the farming method is convention or organic.”
USA Rice has been working with federal regulators to submit samples for testing and supply information regarding rice production to assist in the effort. “We believe that U.S. grown rice is already safe, but we are always looking at ways to make it safer. For that reason, we will continue to stay engaged with FDA, EPA and others as they do further study.”
Read More: http://supermarketnews.com/food-safety/consumer-reports-fda-set-arsenic-limits#ixzz273oRb2sC

Salmonella Outbreak from Mangoes Sickens 121 across U.S.
Source : http://www.benzinga.com/pressreleases/12/09/w2924493/salmonella-outbreak-from-mangoes-sickens-121-across-u-s
By Benzinga (Sep 14, 2012)
According to Food Safety News, a Salmonella outbreak has infected 121 people across 15 U.S. states. The outbreak has been linked to mangoes imported from Mexico.
Of the 121 reported illnesses, 93 have been in California. Other states where illnesses have been reported include, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.
To date, no deaths have been reported linked to this outbreak, but 25 victims have been hospitalized.
In response to the outbreak, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has administered an import alert on the company responsible for the contaminated mangoes. The company will no longer be able to import the fruit into the U.S. unless they can prove it is not contaminated with Salmonella through pathogen testing.
Individuals infected with Salmonella typically develop a fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after consumption, and the illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Healthy individuals are normally able to recover without treatment; however, young children, the elderly, and those with weak immune systems are more susceptible to developing a more severe illness where hospitalization is required.
'Most people become infected by Salmonella following the consumption of unwashed fruits or vegetables, uncooked or undercooked meats or eggs, and contaminated water,' states Dr. Jason Dobranic, EMSL Analytical Inc.'s Vice President of Microbiology and Life Sciences. 'EMSL Analytical provides advanced microbiology testing for food samples and environmental samples to detect Salmonella and other foodborne pathogens in our microbiology laboratories nationwide.'
For more information on EMSL's testing services, please contact EMSL at (800) 220-3675, visit , or email  info@EMSL.com .
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a full service testing company providing quality lab services under the same private ownership since 1981. Including the corporate lab facility in Cinnaminson, NJ, EMSL Analytical operates over thirty laboratories nationwide in the US and Canada. We provide analytical services for environmental, indoor air quality (IAQ), industrial hygiene, forensics and materials science, consumer products, food safety, PCR, pharmaceutical, asbestos, lead, and radiological samples. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations, as well as state and federal regulating bodies.
Read more: http://www.benzinga.com/pressreleases/12/09/w2924493/salmonella-outbreak-from-mangoes-sickens-121-across-u-s#ixzz273p9brvu

Whole Foods Linked to Imported Listeria Cheese – Again
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/legal-cases/whole-foods-linked-to-imported-listeria-cheese-again/
By Bill Marler (Sep 18, 2012)
Earlier this summer, the Allegheny County Health Department and Whole Foods Market announced that Jean Perrin Edel de Cleron cheese sold in the East Liberty Whole Foods Market store in Pennsylvania was being recalled because some samples tested positive for listeria. The recalled cheese was cut and packaged in clear plastic wrap with a Whole Foods Market scale label, and a code beginning with 293351. The recalled cheese was sold between May 20 and July 3, 2012. The recall was prompted after a 69-year-old Westmoreland County man grew seriously ill from listeriosis. The man fell ill June 7 and was hospitalized after eating Jean Perrin Edel de Cleron cheese — a soft, pasteurized cow’s milk French cheese that sells for about $25 a pound.
Then this last week Whole Foods Market announced that it is recalling ricotta salata sold in 21 states and Washington, D.C. that came from its supplier Forever Cheese Inc. of Long Island City, NY. Forever Cheese recalled this cheese product because it may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The recalled Ricotta Salata Frescolina brand cheese was cut into wedges, packaged in clear plastic wrap and sold with a Whole Foods Market scale label using PLU 293427. All “sell by” dates through Oct. 2 are affected. Fourteen illnesses have been reported which may be associated with the Frescolina recall.
According to the CDC, as of September 11, 2012, a total of 14 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from 11 states and the District of Columbia. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: California (1), Colorado (1), District of Columbia (1), Maryland (3), Minnesota (1), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (1), New Mexico (1), New York (1), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (1), and Virginia (1). All 14 ill persons have been hospitalized. Three deaths have been reported. Listeriosis contributed to at least one of these deaths. These illnesses have been linked to Ricotta Salata Frescolina, however, it is unclear how many of the ill purchased the cheese at Whole Foods.

Maker of Cheese Linked to Deadly Listeria Outbreak Put on Import Alert By FDA
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/maker-of-cheese-linked-to-deadly-listeria-outbreak-put-on-import-alert-by-fda/
By Carla Gillespie (Sep 18, 2012)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has placed the maker of recalled cheese linked to a deadly Listeria outbreak that has sickened 14 people and killed two on import alert. Cheese made by Fattorie Chiarappa S.R.L.of Conversano, Italy, will be denied admission into the United States unless the company can show, through independent lab testing, that it is not contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
Federal officials have identified imported ricotta salata as the source of a Listeria outbreak that has sickened 14 people in 11 states and the District of Columbia. Ricotta salata is not the same kind of ricotta cheese that is sold in tubs and often used to make lasagna. The cheese was distributed by Forever Cheese of Long Island City, NY, to various wholesale and retail stores including Whole Foods.
The cheese may be identified with a lot number (T9425) and/ or a production code (441202), however, the cheese was cut and repackaged  at some stores. During this process, cross-contamination of other cheeses may have occurred. The investigation into this outbreak continues, in order to determine whether there are other possible sources of the outbreak.
The recalled cheese was distributed to California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington between June 20 and August 9, 2012.  Consumers who have purchased this cheese should not eat it. Listeria  can cause severe illness or death. A lawsuit was filed this week on behalf of one of the victims who became gravely ill after eating cheese.
Symptoms  of a Listeria infection include fever, muscle aches, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. These symptoms can develop quickly or take as long as 70 days to set in. Anyone who believes their illness is associated with the consumption of imported cheese should see a health care provider.

Sharjah Municipality issues food safety warning after poisonings
Source : http://www.7daysindubai.com/Sharjah-Municipality-issues-food-safety-warning/story-16922611-detail/story.html
By 7DAY (Sep 13, 2012)
Health experts have called on authorities to take action against food outlets that do not meet standards after a spate of food poisoning cases in Sharjah.
Since the start of the year, seven people, including three children, have died in Sharjah from food poisoning, an official from Kuwaiti Hospital said. The hospital has handled more than 80 cases of food poisoning this year.
“There are now more cases of food poisoning being handled by the emergency room,” said a senior official at the hospital. “This trend is worrying.
“It is a clear indication of gross negligence on the part of food outlets that do not follow the food safety standards set by municipal authorities.”
Shatha Ali Al Mualla, director of public health at Sharjah Municipality, said that municipal health inspectors conduct routine and random inspections of all food outlets in the emirate to ensure standards are met. He said that since the beginning of the year, almost 15 food outlets had been found to be in violation of guidelines and have faced closure after repeated warnings.
Hefty fines have been imposed on several other food outlets.
Last week, a 40-year-old Pakistani man died in Sharjah and 15 people, including 10 children, were admitted to Kuwaiti and Al Qassimi hospitals with food poisoning after eating at two food outlets.
The two restaurants have been closed while municipal officials investigate.
“We don’t want people’s lives to be taken for granted and we will not hesitate to close down any outlet
that does not respect our guidelines,” said Al Mualla.

Pesticide puts crab food safety at issue
Source : http://english.eastday.com/e/120918/u1a6868657.html
By English.Eastday (Sep 13, 2012)
AN expert suggesting people wash hairy crabs with a sodium bicarbonate solution to avoid pesticide residues has sparked a heated discussion online concerning food safety, with the best season for crabs just around the corner.
Modern Express, a Jiangsu-based newspaper, yesterday reported hairy crabs are likely to contain sodium pentachlorophenol, a pesticide "often" used in aquaculture to kill leeches and oncomelania snails.
Liu Hualing, deputy director of the physical and chemical inspection department of the Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Prevention and Control, told the newspaper that hairy crabs may have sodium pentachlorophenol in their flesh.
An easy and effective way to get rid of such pesticide is to soak the crabs in a sodium bicarbonate solution, Liu told the newspaper.
Local crab experts say that's "groundless" because sodium pentachlorophenol has been banned from agricultural use for many years.
Fan Shoulin, secretary to the Shanghai Fisheries Trade Association, said the Ministry of Agriculture issued a fishery pesticide use standard in July 2007 that banned fishery pesticides that are highly poisonous or residual, or that cause cancer, birth defects or other mutations.
"Sodium pentachlorophenol is on the banned list. It shall not be used in fishery production," Fan told Shanghai Daily yesterday.
Once ingested or touched, it can be a strong irritant for people's skin, eyes and respiratory tract.
Crab farmers on Shanghai's Chongming Island said they never used any pesticide to kill trash fish.
Wang Wu, a crab professional with Shanghai Ocean University, said people should not panic about rumors.
"If sodium bicarbonate solutions can be so effective, why did the country bother to require farmers not to use the pesticide?" Wang said.
He said the rumor could hurt farmers and hairy crab sales.

Ground beef products from Alberta plant recalled in E. coli scare
Source : http://www.thestarphoenix.com/health/all/Ground+beef+products+from+Alberta+plant+recalled+coli+scare/7252665/story.html
By Carla Gillespie(Sep 17, 2012)
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is warning against the consumption of several brands of ground beef from XL Foods of Alberta because of possible E.coli contamination.
The beef was sold under the Kirkland Signature brand, which is carried by Costco stores across Canada.
It was also sold under the Safeway and Calahoo Meats brands in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C.
The agency said Monday there have been no reported illnesses linked to the product, which is being recalled voluntarily by Edmonton-based XL Foods.
The company said it is committed to food safety and recalled the meat even though it believes the risk of contamination is "very low."
The CFIA said it doesn't know exactly which stores — or how many — have been carrying the affected product.
Garfield Balsom, a CFIA food safety and recall specialist, said it's "hard to pinpoint" the quantity of beef being recalled, but noted it is "fairly substantive" given the product was distributed across the country.
Consumers wishing to know the exact products being recalled should visit the CFIA's website at www.inspection.gc.ca.
Consumption of food contaminated with E. coli bacteria can cause serious, and even life-threatening illnesses.
Symptoms typically include severe abdominal pain and diarrhea
Read more: http://www.thestarphoenix.com/health/all/Ground+beef+products+from+Alberta+plant+recalled+coli+scare/7252665/story.html#ixzz273r8KE2u

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Listeria Outbreak Linked to Frescolina Ricotta Salata Grows to Include Washington
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/listeria-outbreak-linked-to-frescolina-ricotta-salata-grows-to-include-washington/
By Linda Larsen (Sep 22, 2012)
The Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to imported Marte brand Frescolina ricotta salata cheese has grown. Now 15 people have been sickened with the outbreak strain of the bacteria in 12 states and the District of Columbia.
The case numbers by state are as follows: California (1), Colorado (1), District of Columbia (1), Maryland (3), Minnesota (1), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (1), New Mexico (1), New York (1), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (1), Virginia (1), and Washington (1). The one new case is from Washington state. All 15 people have been hospitalized. Three deaths have been reported.
Illness onset dates range from March 28, 2012 to August 30, 2012. Four of the ilnesses were related to a pregnancy. Listeriosis contributed to at least one of the deaths in Nebraska and New York, but did not contribute to the death in Minnesota. Two of the illnesses were diagnosed in newborns. The other 11 patients range in age from 30 years to 87 years. Sixty-four percent of the patients are female.
The symptoms of Listeria monocytogenes food poisoning include fever, muscle aches, and diarrhea. Almost everyone who contracts this infection has an invasive infection, meaning that the bacteria spread to the bloodstream. The hospitalization rate for listeriosis infections is very high. Pregnant women may have only a mild illness, but the infection can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or infection of the newborn.
The recalled cheese may have been referred to as Ricotta Frescolina Marte Tipo Toscanella and/or Ricotta Salata Soft Lot (T9425) as it was distributed. If you have purchased this cheese, do not eat it. Discard any remaining product or return it to the place of purchase.
Pritzker Olsen has filed the first lawsuit in this outbreak against Whole Foods on behalf of a patient from Pennsylvania. He ate several soft cheeses that were purchased at a Whole Foods market in Pittsburgh before becoming ill and was hospitalized with serious complications. This outbreak may be complicated by a series of cross-contaminations that may have occurred at several facilities that repackaged the cheeses.

Food poisoning in Tripura: 126 in hospital
Source : http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/Kolkata/Food-poisoning-in-Tripura-126-in-hospital/Article1-932878.aspx
By Indo-asian News Service, Hindustan Times (Sep 20, 2012)
At least 126 people fell sick because of food poisoning in Tripura on Tuesday and were admitted to two government hospitals, officials said.   “The patients included women and children and were admitted to government hospitals in Kanchanpur and Dharmanagar in northern Tripura on Tuesday night. They fell ill after eating prasad after a puja at Dasda village,” chief medical officer Dilip Das said. The village is about 215 km north of Agartala.
“The condition of all 126 is now stable,” Das said.
Two medical teams and additional nursing staff have been rushed to Kanchanpur to succour the ailing people. Local Communist Party of India Marxist legislator, Rajendra Reang, has been supervising the services extended to the sick villagers.

It's a Match: PFGE Patterns Associated with Ricotta Salata Listeria Outbreak
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/its-a-match-pfge-patterns-associated-with-ricotta-salata-listeria-outbreak/
By Linda Larsen (Sep 20, 2012)
The current outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes linked to imported Frescolina brand ricotta salata cheese has several distinct PFGE patterns. Pritzker Olsen’s client, John McKissick, is one of 14 confirmed cases of listeriosis linked to the cheese or to products cross-contaminated by the cheese. The bacteria that caused Mr. McKissick’s illness is part of the outbreak strain.
Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, or PFGE, is the gold standard of bacterial DNA analysis. The technique separates DNA molecules by placing the bacteria in an agarose gel solution. Voltage is switched among three directions through the gel. This separates the DNA in a forward migration. The different lengths of DNA move through the gel at different rates. Larger pieces move more slowly than small pieces. Over time, the bands separate more and establish a distinct banding pattern. You can see the movement occurring in this demonstration from Davidson College.
The three main PFGE patterns associated with this particular outbreak are: GX6A16.0408/GX6A12.0096, GX6A16.0268/GX6A12.2297, and GX6A16.0068/GX6A12.0096. The patterns are all closely related.
After scientists have made the bacterial fingerprint, they share pictures of it with PulseNet, which keeps an electronic database of the fingerprints. PulseNet was created in 1993, after the Jack-in-the-Box E. coli 0157:H7 outbreak occurred. When PulseNet finds a match, they make a family tree called a dendogram. That helps researchers and epidemiologists find the source of a foodborne illness outbreak.
In fact, lab scientists perform regular searches on the databases, looking for matching clusters. This surveillance can help scientists and epidemiologists determine that an outbreak is occurring, identifying the outbreak in hours, instead of days. It can also help link sporadic cases and identifies related cases.

Cholera in Sierra Leone - update
Source : http://www.who.int/csr/don/2012_09_18b/en/index.html
By CIDRAP(Sep 11, 2012)
As of 16 September 2012, a cumulative total of 18,508 cases including 271 deaths (with a case fatality ratio of 1.5%) has been reported in the ongoing cholera outbreak in Sierra Leone since the beginning of the year.
The highest numbers of cases are reported from the Western area of the country where the capital city of Freetown is located.
The Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS) is closely working with partners at national and international levels to step up response to the cholera outbreak. The ongoing activities at the field level include case management; communication and social mobilization; water, sanitation and hygiene promotion; surveillance and data management.
Emphasis is being placed on early detection of cases and timely provision of treatment at the district levels in order to reduce deaths. Cholera cases are managed in cholera treatment units (CTUs) and where there are no established CTUs, emphasis is placed on designating specific areas within the health facilities for isolation purposes.
At the national level, the Cholera command and Control Centre (C4) continues to provide technical advice, coordinate and monitor the outbreak. The C4 was established to implement activities related to the Cholera Preparedness and Response Operation Plan (CPROP) in order to bring the epidemic under control as soon as possible. The C4 will also provide information to guide the decision-making of the national task force.
WHO and partners are supporting the government in the response to the outbreak. Through the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN), experienced case management and laboratory experts from the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR, B) are deployed to build capacity among health-care workers and laboratory technicians in case management and laboratory diagnosis.
With respect to this event, WHO does not recommend that any travel or trade restrictions be applied to Sierra Leone.

Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo – update
Source : http://www.who.int/csr/don/2012_09_18/en/index.html
By Linda Larsen (Sep 11, 2012)
As of 15 September 2012, 46 cases (14 laboratory confirmed, 32 probable) with Ebola haemorrhagic fever (EHF) have been reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Of these 19 have been fatal (6 confirmed, 13 probable).
The cases reported are from two health zones of Isiro and Viadana in Haut-Uélé district in Province Orientale. Additionally, 26 suspected cases have been reported and are being investigated.
The MoH continues to work with partners to control the outbreak. Active epidemiological investigation is being done to identify all possible chains of transmission of the illness, and ensure that appropriate measures are immediately taken to interrupt the transmission, and stop the outbreak.
A National Task Force convened by the MoH is working with partners including Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), US Agency for International Development (USAID), US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and WHO, to control the outbreak.
WHO and the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) are providing support by deploying experts to the field to work with partners in the areas of coordination, infection prevention and control (IPC), surveillance, epidemiology, public information and social mobilization, anthropological analysis and logistics for outbreak response.
With respect to this event, WHO does not recommend that any travel or trade restrictions be applied to the DRC.
General information on Ebola subtypes
There are five identified subtypes of Ebola virus. The subtypes have been named after the location they have been first detected in Ebola outbreaks. Three subtypes of the five have been associated with large Ebola haemorrhagic fever (EHF) outbreaks in Africa. Ebola-Zaire, Ebola-Sudan and Ebola-Bundibugyo. EHF is a febrile haemorrhagic illness which causes death in 25-90% of all cases. The Ebola Reston species, found in the Philippines, can infect humans, but no illness or death in humans has been reported to date.


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Join 7th International Conference for Food Safety and Quality
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November 12, 2012, Food Safety Microbiology, 1 day Short Course
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November 15-16, 2012, Control Methods to kill pathogens and spoilage microorganisms 2days short course