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2/27, 2003





Speeding up E. coli testing
25/02/03 - BioControl has introduced a new system designed to help companies test for E. coli O157:H7 in just a fraction of the time offered by other testing methods.The EHEC8 system is said to cut the total testing time for raw beef from 24 hours to less than nine, and was developed to help US beef processors meet new standards set by the USDA regarding the contamination of beef with E. coli.
BioControl claims that the new medium is a significant advancement because it shortens the enrichment time from the 16-24 hours required by other methods to just eight hours. This allows the product to be released up to two days earlier.

The system includes a single eight hour enrichment, using BioControl¡¯s proprietary EHEC8 medium, and either of its E. coli tests: VIP for EHEC or Assurance EHEC EIA. In addition to getting product to market faster, the EHEC8 System has also be approved by the US authorities as an official method for the detection of E. coli in raw and cooked beef, allowing beef processors to feel comfortable, knowing that it has been extensively tested and validated by independent laboratories, BioControl claimed.

This approval came after a collaborative study conducted among 30 laboratories representing government as well as private industry in the US and Canada. The results, claims BioControl, demonstrated that the EHEC8 medium used with either VIP for EHEC or Assurance EHEC EIA was equivalent to the USDA official procedure.

¡°Flexibility is the key to this system,¡± said Philip Feldsine, president and CEO of BioControl. ¡°We feel that providing a fast medium that can be used with either of our popular tests for E. coli O157:H7 is a step into the future.¡± The EHEC8 System for raw or cooked beef is a fast, flexible system that increases productivity with its one-step enrichment and short turnaround time. The EHEC8 medium is complete - no expensive antibiotics or additives are necessary - making it very cost-effective, the company claims.

BioControl¡¯s food safety test kits are used byprocessors, independent and government laboratories worldwide for hygiene monitoring, quality assurance and pathogen testing.

New Sponsor

FDA: Nutritious Foods May Have Carcinogen
source from (Associated Press)
BELTSVILLE, Md.- French fries and potato chips have been dubbed villains when it comes to a possibly cancer-causing substance, but Americans get a lot of the chemical from everyday nutritious staples, government scientists said Monday.
Fries and chips do contain more of the substance, called acrylamide, than other fried or baked foods. But foods with low acrylamide levels that are eaten more frequently than junk food - from vitamin-packed breakfast cereal to toast and coffee - have a big impact on the U.S. population's overall exposure to the possible carcinogens, the Food and Drug Administration concluded. So someone who dislikes fries but guzzles coffee or eats cereal every morning might absorb as much acrylamide as a fry-lover, suggests the FDA's new estimate of acrylamide exposure. Don't change your diet, FDA scientists stressed. Cereals, for instance, are fortified with vitamins and minerals that make them a far better choice than many breakfast options, especially since no one knows if acrylamide really poses a cancer risk to people.As manufacturers hunt for ways to remove the chemical from popular foods, however, "the point of this is ... no one food is contributing to the majority of the acrylamide" in the U.S. diet, said FDA scientist Donna Robie. Removing it from a single-food type - just fries or just breakfast cereal - would nudge overall exposure down by less than a quarter, the FDA's computer model estimated."There are going to be no quick fixes," said Robert Brown, of Frito-Lay Inc., which is experimenting with techniques to lower acrylamide levels. "We have a very complex problem involving the entire food supply."Frito-Lay and Procter & Gamble outlined for FDA's food safety advisers Monday some clues that suggest simple steps, such as adding the amino acid cysteine or minerals such as calcium, might remove acrylamide from at least some foods."The research, through preliminary, looks very encouraging," said FDA food chief Joseph Levitt.Acrylamide made headlines last spring when Swedish scientists discovered that it forms in french fries, potato chips and other high-carbohydrate foods cooked at high temperatures.Acrylamide forms during traditional cooking methods, whether from ready-made foods or from raw ingredients fried or baked in a home kitchen. It forms when a naturally occurring amino acid called asparagine is heated to very high temperatures with certain sugars such as glucose.Potatoes are especially rich in both asparagine and glucose and thus produce lots of acrylamide when fried or baked.But many other foods contain acrylamide, and the longer they're cooked, the more of the chemical is formed. Soft bread contains very little, but toasting that bread more than quadruples acrylamide.Other foods, such as milk, frozen vegetables and meat contain little or no acrylamide.The FDA, using national diet studies, estimated Monday that seven foods probably account for most of the population's exposure. Fries and chips had the highest levels, from 16 to 48 micrograms per serving. But other foods made the list with far lower levels because so many people eat so much of them:
-Toast, at 9.8 micrograms per serving, and soft bread, at 2.2. -Breakfast cereal, 7.3 micrograms.
-Cookies, 6.6 micrograms.
-Coffee, 2 micrograms.

Other foods may prove equally important as more are measured for acrylamide, the FDA advisers cautioned. For example, pizza has yet to be tested. Procter & Gamble proved in a laboratory test that reducing asparagine levels in potatoes can block acrylamide formation, and reducing sugar should work too. Now scientists are hunting practical methods that won't hurt food safety or taste. Options include using potato varieties with less asparagine or sugar, lowering cooking temperatures or adding natural ingredients like cysteine that may block the acrylamide reaction. 2/24/03

February 24, 2003
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
MHD 2003-04 Chapter 11 - Section 11.7.3 - U.S.A.:
1. Clarification of export requirements as a result of the importation of fresh beef from Uruguay. Some establishments have been included in the list of establishments to which animal health restrictions apply. Please note that Annex A-1 is not required for fully cooked products (HACCP category
2. Update to the list of establishments eligible to export meat products to the USA. Please note that Annex W now includes only amendments made within the last 6 months.
The PDF version of directives should be used for maintaining print copies of the meat hygiene manual of procedures.

Do you have food allergy?
Morgan County Extension Service
source from:
Do you sometimes experience an unpleasant reaction, such as hives or nausea, when you eat certain foods?
If so, you may have a food allergy. Then again, you may not.
Despite the fact that millions of Americans believe they are llergic to one or more foods, fewer than two percent of adults actually suffer from true food allergies, according to Dr. Pat Kendall, CSU Extension Specialist in Nutrition and Food Science.With a true food allergy, the body's immune system is sensitive to a protein contained in particular foods. When a food containing the protein is eaten, the immune system produces antibodies to attack the foreign substance. The release of these antibodies triggers a chain reaction of chemical changes in the body, which in turn can cause uncomfortable and sometimes life-threatening symptoms.People experience different symptoms with food allergies. Most allergic responses occur within an hour of eating the offending food. Among the most common symptoms are hives, sneezing, nausea, or swelling of the lips, mouth, tongue or face. Other symptoms may be a rash, itchy skin, coughing or wheezing, abdominal pain or cramping, vomiting and diarrhea.For most people, allergic reactions to food are uncomfortable but not dangerous. However, in rare instances an anaphylactic reaction occurs that can be life-threatening. An anaphylactic reaction develops quickly and may include extreme itching, difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure and shock. Immediate medical attention is required.Certain foods seem to cause allergic reactions more frequently than others. Eggs, milk, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish and legumes are among the most common allergen-containing foods. A medical evaluation is necessary to accurately diagnose a food allergy. If your symptoms are not severe, you may try an elimination diet in which the food thought to be the culprit is avoided. If the symptoms disappear and then reappear when the food is eaten again, you have likely identified the food. Medical tests also are available and may be used to diagnose the allergy.Currently, there are no cures for food allergies. A doctor may prescribe an antihistamine for annoying, but not severe, symptoms. For severe reactions, an injection of epinephrine may be necessary. People prone to severe reactions to food are advised to wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace.Once a food allergy is diagnosed, consult with your health care professional to learn how to manage the allergy. Always know what you are eating and drinking. Read food labels carefully and learn the common ingredient terms for the allergen. For example, if you are allergic to eggs, avoid foods that list albumin and globulin in the ingredient list. When eating out, ask about ingredients and preparation methods of menu items before ordering.Information on food allergies is available from Colorado State University Cooperative Extension. Contact the Morgan County Extension Center at 970-542-3540.

Research Findings into Food Poisoning Deaths
soure from:
Food poisoning deaths could be higher than anticipated. Research by Danish scientists has shown that deaths from food poisoning could kill more people than previously thought. Kare Molbak and scientists at the Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen believe deaths from food poisoning could be twice as high as current estimates and can occur up to a year after infection.Salmonella in poultry products and eggs and Campylobacter, which is found in chicken, are leading causes of food poisoning. In most people the infections are not serious but in the very young, the elderly and in people with chronic illnesses they can be deadly. Dr Molbak said that the problem has never been studied before because people have always thought of Salmonella and Campylobacter as acute infections.The Centres for Disease Control (CRC) in the United States estimates that about 5,200 people there die each year from food poisoning but the Danish researchers say the true figure could be nearly twice as high. The said that the figures for deaths from food poisoning are underestimated because death usually occurs within 30 days, and there are no true statistics for deaths that may occur after that time. In research reported in The British Medical Journal, the Danish scientists studied the medical history of 1,071 people, who had died within a year of being infected with Salmonella, Campylobacter, Yersinia enterocolitica and Shigella. Yersinia enterocolitica is bacteria found in pork and Shigella is found mainly on imported fruits and vegetables. Deaths within the first year after infection were 2.2 per cent in the people who had had food poisoning, compared to 0.7 per cent in a control group.

US Consumer Survey
source from:
Food study shows that US consumers do not trust foreign grown food.US residents trust American small-farm owners, but do not like corporate, non-family farms or trust genetically modified or foreign-grown food, according to a new study.The 11 September attacks made many nervous about food supply's safety.Dr. Ronald Wimberley, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Sociology in N.C. State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, coordinated the survey.He collaborated with researchers from 12 US universities, including Dr. Godfrey Ejimakor, an agricultural economist at N.C. A&T State University.An extensive report on the survey "The Globalisation of Food: How Americans Feel About Food Sources, Who They Trust, Food Security, Genetic Modification, Food Labelling and the Environment" is due to be released shortly. A 2002 book, The Social Risks of Agriculture, of which Dr Wimberley is principal editor, summarises the results of similar, related studies in 1986 and 1992."Overall the survey looks at such food, farming and environmental questions as how globalisation affects the food Americans eat, the communities where we live and our quality of life. We're also doing a broader view of what we see in some of the local consumer concerns," Dr Wimberley says.Although researchers have released some conclusions, he says, the team's sociologists and economists are still analysing the results.To date, Dr Wimberley says, results indicate people in the United States are concerned about the global sources of their food, want their food produced under safe environmental conditions, whether domestically or globally, and would pay more for food labelled with assurances that it was produced under such conditions."In addition nearly 92 per cent want labels on genetically modified foods. Only one per cent does not, and only seven per cent are undecided on genetically modified labelling," he says.Seventy-seven per cent of those polled agreed that government policies should favour family, owner-operated farms as opposed to those run by corporations, and 53 per cent prefer to buy food they know has been grown on small rather than large farms.A solid majority (74 per cent) would not give up food production to other countries even if that resulted in cheaper food.Seventy-four per cent and 76 per cent, respectively, say it is of some or great importance for the food they buy to be grown and processed in the USA.Two-thirds (68 per cent) would pay more for food grown in the US rather than abroad. More than 70 per cent would spend more for locally produced food.Eighty per cent think US-grown food is fresher than imported food, and 79 per cent think it safer than imported food. About half say U.S.-produced food is more nutritious and tastes better than imported food. And 51 per cent perceive that US-grown food costs less.Ninety-two per cent would eat US-produced meat, 21 per cent would eat South American meat; 14 per cent would eat British-produced meat; 10 per cent would eat meat from other European countries. But nearly half say "no" to South American-produced meat; the majority reject meat from England or other European countries.Eighty-eight per cent believe listing contents on food labels is important; 87 per cent say their food's nutritional value is important.Respondents were not sure about eating foods grown using biotechnological techniques, with nearly half undecided about the safety of foods from genetically modified plants and animals. Those who take a stand on biotech and genetic modification are about evenly divided, with a sizeable majority seeing genetically modified animal products as unsafe.


Current JOB Openings
2/26 WI-Green Bay/Appleton-Food Scientist
2/26 IL-Rockford-Quality Manager
2/26 South Philadelphia-R&D Technicians
2/26 Microbiology
2/26 Microbiologist
2/26 Lab Technician (Microbiology)

2/25 Quality/Manufacturing Engineer
2/25. Senior Quality Systems Supervisor (KRAFT)
2/25 Quality Control Technician
2/25 Food Safety Manager
2/25 2nd shift Production Supervisor (Lead 2nd shift prod. team)
2/25 Northland Laboratories (Ph.D. Technical Director)

Current Outbreak
Salmonella outbreak examined
Wednesday, February 26, 2003
SHERIDAN (AP) -- It might do a body good, but investigators believe milk is the likely culprit of a salmonella outbreak that sickened dozens of people at Normative Services Inc. last fall. "We have concluded that consumption of contaminated milk may have played a role in the initial outbreak," said Dr. Joslyn Cassady, an epidemic intelligence service officer with the Centers for Disease Control in Cheyenne. Cassady said there were 55 confirmed cases of salmonella in students and staff members of the residential school west of Sheridan. An additional 58 suspected cases were also reported. Salmonella is a bacterium that can cause diarrhea, nausea, headache and fever. Three students were hospitalized but have fully recovered. Early salmonella cases at NSI stemmed from the milk, but subsequent cases likely resulted from improper cleaning practices, unsanitary personal hygiene or sharing food, Cassady said. "Interpersonal transmission from the close living quarters may have contributed to the duration of the outbreak," she said.
The outbreak started in late August, peaked in mid-September and continued through late October. It forced NSI to cancel numerous school activities, including sporting events and homecoming. "It was a frustrating experience, but we did get a lot of assistance from health officials on all different levels," NSI executive director Cal Furnish said. "We got feedback from them from the very beginning that our cleaning practices were actually very good, and that's part of the mystery." Local, state and federal health officials were still puzzled by how the milk became contaminated. "We don't know if it could have taken place at the dairy, if there was a break in the dairy's sanitary processes, or if the milk was somehow contaminated at NSI," Cassady said. The school has a contract with Gillette Dairy in South Dakota for its milk. No other institutions receiving milk from the dairy reported salmonella cases. Furnish said NSI has worked hard to keep a sanitary facility and has programs teaching students about personal hygiene. An infection control specialist was hired to improve cleanliness on all levels following the outbreak.
"This was a tough way to learn," Furnish said. "I'm just really glad we're through it all."

Current Food Recall
02/26. Undeclared shrimp, cuttlefish, sesame seeds, soy protein and wheat in KASUGAI
02/25. B & B International Connections, Inc. Recalls Imported Russian Milk
02/24. Quaker Oats says recalls cereal
02/24. Undeclared pecan and walnut in ice cream and ice milk

Current USDA/FDA News
Listeria Risk Assessment Technical Meeting-Notice of Availability and Meeting; Correction
Detection and Quantitation of Acrylamide in Foods
Irradiation of Meat and Poultry Products
FSIS Constituent Update: February 21, 2003

Current Food Safety News
02/26. FDA: Nutritious Foods May Have Carcinogen
02/26. Do you have food allergy?
02/26. Large Human Mad Cow Epidemic Unlikely - Scientists
02/26. Can Cold Cuts Kill?
02/26. Research Findings into Food Poisoning Deaths

02/25. PFG-Broadline Introduces New ``Smart Shield'' Irradiated Gro
02/25. Irradiated Burgers Hit Foodservice Market
02/25. E. Coli: Promises Made, Promises Kept
02/25. India: Govt to enforce amended BIS norms
02/25. Buffalo Grill: mad cow show
02/25. Retail to Farm Traceability
02/25. US Consumer Survey
02/25. Snow Brand manager accused of negligence -
02/25. When food poisoning strikes
02/25. Oman: Food safety meet
02/25. Is your food poisoned?

February 18, 2003
source from : AgAnswers
Pasteurization, a process that lends to the safe consumption of fruit juices and milk, has been shown to be effective in maintaining safety and quality
of fresh grape juice. Ohio State University researchers Joe Scheerens, Diane Miller and Aida Sanchez-Vela treated grape juice using this method, along with three other common food safety processes -- ozonation, UV treatment and sulfiting agents -- as part of an ongoing investigation into ways to improve the safety and >
quality of Ohio fresh juice."As of January 1, 2004, those in the grape, cider and other fresh juice industries won't be able to wholesale their products without some indication that the juice underwent pasteurization or
an equivalent food safety process," said Scheerens, an Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center small fruit researcher. Although the incidence of microbial contamination of fresh juice, especially
grape juice, is very rare, U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations are being established to protect consumers against the possibility of exposure
to harmful bacteria -- especially E. coli O157:H7, which can result in serious food-borne illness. "Our research was conducted to determine the most effective way for those who wholesale fresh grape juices to comply with these pending state and federal regulations," Scheerens said. "The regulations will specifically affect the wholesale of fresh juice. Those producers who sell fresh juice directly to the public via farm markets or on-farm sales will still be able to do so without pasteurization or a similar process, as long as a warning label is clearly present on each sale unit." Scheerens and his colleagues studied the effectiveness of food safety
procedures at reducing bacterial contamination in "Concord," "Catawba" and "Niagara" grape juices, three of the more commonly purchased fresh grape
juices in Ohio. "We took bacteria-free juice and inoculated it with a surrogate E. coli bacterium (ATCC 25922) that behaves similarly to the more harmful E. coli
O157:H7," Scheerens said. "We inoculated at very high levels of bacteria --higher than would ever be present in a consumable product -- in order to be able to demonstrate that treatment would result in a 5-log kill of bacteria cells, a requirement of the new regulations."
A 5-log kill is achieved when the survival rate of bacterial cells is one in 100,000. Although determining bacterial survival rates was an important part of the study, Scheerens indicated that this portion of the work would benefit greatly from verification of the results by independent researchers, especially those who have capabilities to work with the pathogenic organism
rather than its surrogate. "What made our study somewhat unique was that the greatest portion of our
efforts were focused upon determining the effect of the four processes on the resulting product quality," Scheerens said. "And quality is of utmost importance to Ohio fresh juice producers as their products are identified with the bounty of the autumn harvest season, good health and enjoyable experiences with family and friends." In addition to the safety test, sensory evaluator Sanchez-Vela, Scheerens and Miller conducted extensive sensory evaluations, using both trained and
untrained consumer panelists. Scheerens indicated that both types of sensory evaluations are crucial to
the understanding of how quality may change with processing. "Our trained panel has practiced extensively to be able to quantify 25-30 different quality attributes affecting appearance, mouth feel, aroma, flavor and
aftertaste," Scheerens said. "They base their responses to each attribute in accordance to how the sensation generated by the product compares to a standard they hold in their memory. Their function is to tell us how, and
how much a product has changed with processing. By comparison, the function of consumer panels is not to quantify changes in quality, but rather to indicate how much they like a particular product, or which product among two or more is preferred." Based on the bacterial and sensory evaluation test results available, pasteurization was the recommended process.
"It was effective as a means of achieving a 5-log kill of bacterial cells and did not dramatically impact product quality," Scheerens said. "But there are some downsides to this method, though. It's expensive to buy, it's not portable and it takes up a lot of space for something that is only used once a year. But it's a very well-known and widely accepted system to ensure
safety of liquids and juice products." Another method researchers studied was treating the juice with specific
wavelengths of UV light. The process was accomplished using a CiderSure machine, an apparatus studied extensively at Cornell University for treatment of apple cider with little or no flavor degradation. "The UV
treatment killed bacteria we inoculated in grape juice very easily, but there were some problems with the change in taste, especially with Concord," Scheerens said. "We suspect this change is stemming from the slow movement of the juice going through the machine. Also, the slow flow rate may not make the process economically feasible for processors. We treated 5-9
gallons an hour, which was slow, so when you have to treat thousands of gallons, it's just not going to work very well." Ozonation, a method approved for use in treating apple cider, failed the grape juice test,
Scheerens said. "We just could not get consistent results," he said. The process changes oxygen molecules into the more highly reactive ozone
gas, which then attacks bacteria cell walls and eventually kills the organisms. "Ozonation so drastically alters the flavor components of grape juice that
it makes it undrinkable. Panelists described the taste as being woody, resinous and turpentine," Scheerens said. "Such alterations are not true with apple cider. We think it's just that ozone may be excessively damaging
to the high level of specific pigments and flavor constituents commonly present in grape juice that results in such drastic changes in flavor and
appearance." One system that performed well, specifically when combined with pasteurization, was the addition of sulfiting agents. Sulfites are used in
the food industry as clarifying agents in juices, as well as stabilizers to prevent browning of items, like lettuce and shrimp, when exposed to oxygen. Sulfites are not an approved method of microbiological food safety, however. "Sulfites not only killed the bacteria, but did not alter the taste of the grape juice and, in some cases, they actually improved upon the flavor," Scheerens said. "Panelists perceived the flavor of the grape juice treated
with sulfites as cleaner or fruitier." The next step in the Ohio State research is to measure the nutritional
values of fresh grape juice treated with various food safety methods. "If any of these methods are killing the antioxidants in the juice that make it healthful to drink, then we need to know that," Scheerens said. Fresh grape juice contains vitamin C and a variety of antioxidants, specifically resveratrol. The antioxidant, identified in grape juice and red wines, is thought to protect the heart and cardiovascular system from arterial plaque buildup.