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FoodHACCP Newsletter
02/11,2013 ISSUE:534

So, Who Started this Horse and Pig DNA in my Hamburger Firestorm in Europe?
Source :
By Bill Marler (Feb 11, 2013)
And, in the US do we test for DNA in our meat?
A month ago the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) published the findings of a targeted study examining the authenticity of a number of beef burger, beef meal and salami products available from retail outlets in Ireland.
Those Damn Irish checking for “food fraud”!
The FSAI analyzed a total of 27 beef burger products and found 10 of the 27 products (37%) testing positive for horse DNA and 23 (85%) testing positive for pig DNA.  In addition, 31 beef meal products (cottage pie, beef curry pie, lasagna, etc.) were analyzed of which 21 were positive for pig DNA and all were negative for horse DNA.
Since then recalls are proceeding and lawsuits (love those) are flying all over Europe – even criminal investigations are happening (those would never occur here for goodness sake – think PCA).
Safety issues aside, it does make you wonder when you look on the label of a product if it has in it what you expect.
So, readers, anyone know if FSIS tests?  Businesses?

Listeria outbreak serious, AMA warn
Source :
By Lucy Kippist (Feb 11, 2013)
THE deadly listeria disease, which has claimed three lives, is far more serious than people realise, the Australian Medical Association has warned.
The most recent listeria outbreak is linked to the Jindi cheese factory in Gippsland, Victoria. There are a total of 26 cases, including the three fatal cases and one miscarriage.
A 68-year-old NSW man died from the infection last month, a Victorian health department spokesman confirmed on Sunday, and a Tasmanian man, 44, and a Victorian man, 88, have also died of the illness.
Dr Steve Hambleton, president of the Australian Medical Association, said the situation was serious.
"Listeria is actually already present in everyone's back yard. It can grow in the fridge, in leftovers and comes as a result of cross contamination in food and utensils," Dr Hambleton said.
"It's different from standard food poisoning like salmonella where it would affect everyone at a table of 20. Listeria is present in most people but only likely to flare up in certain people with lower immune systems. With pregnant women, elderly people, diabetics and HIV-positive people are most highly at risk."
Listeria is a type of bacteria that infects humans and other warm-blooded animals through contaminated food. According to Dr Hambleton the disease has a long gestation period and can take anywhere between three and six weeks to make a person sick.
Symptoms can vary, with some people experiencing headaches, vomiting, diarrhoea and other, more serious cases of septicaemia, and meningitis.
High risk foods include unpasteurised dairy products, camembert, brie, ricotta, processed meats, raw seafood and some prepared salads. Dr Hambleton said it was especially important that pregnant women avoid all these foods - especially eating leftovers.
The Jindi cheese factory may be at the centre of this recent Listeria outbreak but Dr Hambleton said the company was not to blame.
"Our emphasis now should be about decent food preparation. Do the things your grandmother taught you," Dr Hambleton said.
"Defrost meat at the bottom of the fridge so meat juices don't drip everywhere. Cut cooked and un cooked meat separately, ditto fruit and dairy products on separate boards and using different utensils."
If you concerned about possible listeria symptoms seek medical advice.

Foodborne illness on physicians’ radar as cases rise
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By Christine S. Moyer (Feb 11, 2013)
This winter, Chicago chronic disease pediatrician Ruby Roy, MD, has seen up to five children a week who are sick with norovirus.
She usually recommends that such patients stay hydrated and rest, the typical instructions physicians give to those with the illness. But Dr. Roy said she doesn’t usually give much thought to the possible source of the gastrointestinal illness.
“I don’t necessarily go back and think, ‘I wonder where this [norovirus infection] came from. Did this come from food?’ ” she said.
She now plans to consider such details after a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report showed that norovirus caused a majority of the nation’s foodborne disease outbreaks between 1998 and 2008. During the study period, norovirus triggered 1,419 outbreaks and 41,257 outbreak-associated illnesses. In those cases, food is not contaminated where it is grown, but rather is tainted by someone cooking or storing the products, the CDC said. The data were published online Jan. 29 in the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.
1 in 6 Americans gets a foodborne illness each year. “It’s not necessarily our responsibility as individual doctors to investigate” potential foodborne illness outbreaks, said Dr. Roy, who co-directs the Cerebral Palsy Medical Home Pilot Project at La Rabida Children’s Hospital in Chicago. “But from my standpoint, I need to think of this more.”
Because primary care doctors often see patients who are sick with foodborne diseases, health experts encourage those physicians to be aware of clusters of illnesses, such as norovirus, and to contact local health departments when they think the incidents could be related.
For the CDC report, researchers for the first time organized the large number of foods implicated in the nation’s outbreaks between 1998 and 2008 into 17 commodities. Those commodities fall into three broad categories: aquatic animals, which include fish and mollusks; land animals, including beef, dairy, eggs and poultry; and plants, which include fruits-nuts, grains-beans and leafy vegetables.
The CDC took on the task of estimating the food sources of all foodborne illness that occurred during the study period after publishing a 2011 report showing that about one in six Americans contracts foodborne illness in a year and that an estimated 3,000 die.
“As soon as we published [those estimates,] the next question was: Which foods make us ill?” said Robert V. Tauxe, MD, MPH, co-author of the latest CDC report. He also is deputy director of the agency’s division of foodborne, waterborne and environmental diseases.
The new findings are a reminder about the prevalence of foodborne illness, said William Schaffner, MD, chair of the Dept. of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn.
“Whenever we get these reports from the CDC, we’re reminded that although we do have the safest food supply in the world, it’s not completely safe,” he added.
Top culprit behind foodborne illness
During the study period, 13,352 foodborne disease outbreaks causing 271,974 illnesses were reported in the U.S., the CDC reported. But not all of the incidents had implicated food sources.
For the latest CDC study, researchers examined data from 4,589 outbreaks, each of which had an implicated food source and a single infectious agent. Topping the list of foods that made people sick were leafy vegetables. They were associated with 2.1 million, or 23%, of outbreak-related illnesses during the study period, more than any of the other commodities that were examined, the CDC said.
Leafy vegetables top the list of food products that made people sick during a 10-year period. Contributing to the potential health risks of this food type is that it’s grown above the soil, where it could be exposed to bacteria through contaminated water or animals that defecate nearby, said microbiologist Angela Shaw, PhD. “This is not an easily controlled environment,” said Shaw, assistant professor of food safety in the Dept. of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University.
The Food and Drug Administration has recommended two new food safety rules pertaining to produce that are aimed at preventing foodborne illness. The proposals, which include requiring farms that grow or harvest produce to follow enforceable standards aimed at preventing contamination of the products, stem from the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which President Obama signed into law on Jan. 4, 2011.
Land animal commodities were linked to a plurality of annual outbreak-associated hospitalizations (46%) and deaths (43%), the report said. Within that food category, poultry was associated with the most deaths (19%), the CDC said. Many of those fatalities were caused by Listeria or Salmonella, the agency said.
Bacterial illnesses were attributed most often to dairy and poultry (18%), the CDC said. Much of the dairy-related illness was due to the increasingly common practice of consuming unpasteurized milk, Dr. Tauxe said. Drinking raw milk is a consumer trend the CDC is concerned about, he said. “The practice of pasteurizing milk is one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century.”
Dr. Tauxe acknowledged that most foods implicated in foodborne illness outbreaks are healthy products that doctors recommend patients eat more frequently. However, he said, “The findings don’t mean people should stop eating one or another category of food.” He encouraged doctors to continue urging people to consume fresh produce and poultry.
Alert physicians are key
When Dr. Roy discusses nutrition with her patients’ families, she plans to add a few sentences about food safety, including the need to rinse produce before eating it. She also intends to encourage patients to cook vegetables rather than always putting them into a salad, because the heat will kill much of the bacteria on the produce.
Shaw recommends that doctors sign up on the Food and Drug Administration’s website to receive daily emails on food recalls.
“It gives you the latest information on what to be concerned with,” Shaw said. She encourages physicians to pass on this information to patients when relevant.
Doctors also play an important role in identifying foodborne disease outbreaks, because ill patients often come to them for care, Dr. Schaffner said. He recommends that physicians be alert to outbreaks and contact local health departments if they think such incidents are occurring in their communities.
Federal officials don’t intend to burden physicians with investigating and identifying outbreaks, Dr. Schaffner said. “But so much of what we are able to do in public health depends on alert primary care physicians who look up and say, ‘Wait a minute. This may be a problem beyond this single problem in front of me.’ ”

White House Warns of Food Safety Cuts
Source :
Impending across-the-board budget cuts could mean fewer government food safety inspections and higher prices for meat at the grocery store.
A White House memo released late last week said that one consequence of the federal budget cuts set to take place on March 1 would be 2,100 fewer food facility inspections by the Food and Drug Administration, "putting families at risk and costing billions in lost food production."
Department of Agriculture inspectors could be furloughed for up to 15 days, meaning meatpacking plants would have to intermittently shut down and there could be less meat in grocery stores.
Meatpacking industry officials immediately responded to the USDA furlough threat, saying it would devastate their industry.

Findus beef lasagne contained up to 100% horsemeat, FSA says
Source :
By (Feb 07, 2013)
The meat of some beef lasagne products recalled by Findus earlier this week was 100% horsemeat, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has said.
On Monday Findus withdrew from retailers its beef lasagne in 320g, 360g and 500g sizes as a precaution.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said the findings were "completely unacceptable", but Findus said it did not believe it was a food safety issue.
The FSA said companies would now be required to test their beef products.
"In order to get to the bottom of this, we're going to be requiring every company to test every product line," Catherine Brown, the FSA's chief executive, told the BBC.
"If we find any other cases, we will pursue our investigations vigorously until we find out what's happened and put a stop to it."
Ms Brown said it was "highly likely" that criminal activity was to blame for horsemeat being found in some meals.
'Cannot be tolerated'
The FSA said Findus had tested 18 of its beef lasagne products and found 11 meals containing between 60% and 100% horsemeat.
People have been warned not to eat the products, which were made for Findus by French food supplier Comigel.
The FSA said: "We have no evidence to suggest that this is a food safety risk. However, the FSA has ordered Findus to test the lasagne for the veterinary drug phenylbutazone, or 'bute'.
"Animals treated with phenylbutazone are not allowed to enter the food chain as [the drug] may pose a risk to human health.
Continue reading the main story
We will take whatever action we consider necessary if we discover evidence of criminality or negligence”
Environment Secretary
"The Findus beef lasagne was distributed to the main UK supermarkets and smaller convenience stores. Findus has already begun a full recall of these products.
"People who have bought any Findus beef lasagne products are advised not to eat them and return them to the shop they bought them from."
Mr Paterson said the presence of unauthorised ingredients "cannot be tolerated".
"The responsibility for the safety and authenticity of food lies with those who produce it, and who sell or provide it to the final consumer. I know that food producers, retailers and caterers are as concerned as we are at the course of recent events," he said.
He said the government was working closely with businesses to "root out any illegal activity" and enforce regulations
"Consumers can be confident that we will take whatever action we consider necessary if we discover evidence of criminality or negligence," he added.
Shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh said the latest revelations raised questions about the extent of the scandal.
"This is no longer just a food safety issue but possibly a criminal trade," she said.
Findus said the product was manufactured by a third party supplier and not by Findus. The frozen food company said all its other products had been tested and were not affected.
Findus said in a statement: "We understand this is a very sensitive subject for consumers and we would like to reassure you we have reacted immediately. We do not believe this to be a food safety issue.
"We are confident that we have fully resolved this supply chain issue.
"We would like to take this opportunity to apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused."
National survey
This week supermarket chains Aldi and Tesco, as well as Findus UK, withdrew some beef products from sale after concerns were raised at their French supplier.
Comigel alerted Findus and Aldi that their products "do not conform to specification".
They advised them to remove Findus Beef Lasagne and Aldi's Today's Special Frozen Beef Lasagne and Today's Special Frozen Spaghetti Bolognese.
Tesco also decided to withdraw Everyday Value Spaghetti Bolognese.
The Tesco product was produced at the same Comigel site but there was no evidence of contamination, the supermarket said.
The wider food contamination controversy arose in mid-January when Irish food inspectors announced they had found horsemeat in some burgers stocked by a number of UK supermarket chains including Tesco, Iceland and Lidl.
Asda has withdrawn products supplied by Newry-based Freeza Meats which was storing meat found to contain a high proportion of horse DNA. Two samples were found to contain 80% horsemeat.
The horsemeat controversy has hit the Irish meat-processing industry, with a number of suppliers on both sides of the border affected.
The FSA has said it will co-ordinate a UK-wide survey of beef products to test for the possible presence of horse or pig DNA.
There will be "additional emphasis on brands at the lower end of the market, particularly for burger-type products", it said.
Twenty-eight local authorities across the UK will take a total of 224 samples, and results are due to be published in April.
The survey "aims to identify and understand factors that may lead to the presence of meat species that are not labelled as an ingredient, so that this can be explained, eliminated or correctly labelled".

Horse lasagne’ sparks new food scare in U.K .
Source :
By Jessica Chasmar (Feb 07, 2013)
U.K. food safety authorities warned the public Thursday not to eat beef lasagne by the frozen-food company, Findus, that’s imported from France, stating that tests revealed the beef contains 60 to 100 percent horsemeat.
“Findus withdrew the beef lasagne products after its French supplier, Comigel, raised concerns about the type of meat used in the lasagne,” Britain’s Food Standards Agency said in a statement.
Millions of beef burgers have already been taken off the shelves this month — including U.K.-based Burger King restaurants — as it emerged that beef products from three companies in Ireland and Britain contained horse DNA, the Associated Press reports.
The agency said there is no evidence yet of a food safety risk, but urged consumers to return the products to wherever they bought them.
Eating horsemeat is not generally a health risk, but the recent incidents have triggered disgust in Britain and Ireland, where horsemeat is not traditionally eaten, according to the AP. The consumption of horse meat is more common in other parts of Europe, including France. It’s also common in central Asia, China and Latin America, AFP reports.

Its Official: Golden Corral Link in Wyoming Norovirus Outbreak
Source :
By Bill Marler (Fev 07, 2013)
The Wyoming Department of Health reported today on the cause of the Golden Corral – Associated Outbreak of Norovirus Gastroenteritis Natrona County, November – December 2012 (Download Report).  These are the findings and conclusion of the report:
•Investigators sought to determine if the outbreak was restaurant-associated or community-acquired. Investigation findings are suggestive of a restaurant-associated outbreak.
•From December 10, 2012 through December 21, 2012, CNCHD received 187 separate foodborne illness complaints against Golden Corral. During the same time period, CNCHD received 11 complaints against various restaurants (no other restaurant was named twice). The frequency in which Golden Corral was named among both ill persons who self-identified to CNCHD and among emergency department patients was not consistent with what is normally seen during community-wide outbreaks.
•Case patient interviews did not reveal a high frequency of exposures to other risk factors. The epidemic curve (Figure 1) and the graph of visitation to Golden Corral (Figure 2) are suggestive of a common source outbreak.
•Over 95% of cases report patronizing the restaurant on or after December 7, 2012, which indicates some event occurred that allowed a large number of people to be exposed over that weekend.
•Furthermore, attack rates among parties of multiple Golden Corral patrons are high (61-73%), which is not commonly seen in community-wide outbreaks and is more common during restaurant-associated outbreaks. The environmental health findings and illness among employees (31) are also consistent with an association with the restaurant.
•Investigators were not able to determine exactly how the virus was introduced to the restaurant environment. Both patrons and employees may have played a role in the introduction and propagation of the virus in the environment.
•The presence of ill and/or previously ill employees in food-handling areas of the restaurant was possibly an important contributing factor in the propagation of this outbreak. No single food item was found to be the pathogen vehicle in this outbreak.

Salmonella From Pocket Pets, When Did Tiny Pet Hedgehogs Become A Thing?
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (Feb 06, 2013)
Little hedgehogs grabbed big headlines last week when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an update of a Salmonella outbreak that began last fall linked to the tiny animals some people keep as pets. So when did keeping African pygmy hedgehogs as pets become a thing?
People have been keeping the tiny hedgehogs as pets for more than 20 years. In 1991, the importation of wild caught pygmy hedgehogs from Africa was banned because of the risk that they carried foot and mouth disease, a threat to livestock.  Since that time, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires that ll US breeders be licensed.
In Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington D.C. and New York City owning a hedgehog as a pet is illegal, but they are somewhat popular exotic pets in other parts of the country. By 2005, the CDC estimated that more than 40,000 US households had an African pygmy hedgehog as a pet.
Salmonellosis, the infection caused by Salmonella, is the main disease threat pet hedgehogs pose to humans. In 1994, a 10-month-old girl in the state of Washington was infected with Salmonella from pygmy hedgehogs. Although she had no contact with the animals, her family raised them. Later that year, a child from Texas whose family also owned a hedgehog developed an infection from the Salmonella strain that was a genetic match to the Washington case.
Good hand washing is the best way to reduce the risk of contacting disease from pets. Careful handling of their food, enclosures and bedding is also important.

Salmonella Typhoid Case at Purdue University
Source :
By  Linda Larsen (Feb 06, 2013)
The Indiana Department of Health announced that a food handler at Purdue University has tested positive for Salmonella Typhi, the bacteria that causes typhoid fever. Public health officials and University staff are working to investigate the case.
Anyone who ate at the Boiler Bistro, John Purdue Room, or Lavazza at Marriott Hall on the Purdue campus from January 23 to January 25, 2013, may be at risk for the infection. If you ate at those places on those dates and become sick, see a doctor immediately. Symptoms of the illness include high fever up to 104 degrees F, weakness, headache, stomach pains, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Some individuals develop a rash of flat, rose-colored spots. Symptoms usually begin 8 to 14 days after exposure, but some people don’t become sick until a month has elapsed.
State Health Commissioner Dr. William VanNess II said, “unfortunately, symptoms of typhoid fever can resemble other illnesses, so for those individuals who may have been exposed, it’s critical to see a healthcare provider right away if you begin to experience symptoms. Be sure to tell your physician that you may have been exposed to typhoid fever.”
A blood test is necessary to diagnose the disease. Salmonella Typhi is spread through person to person contact and through contaminated food and water. The illness can be life-threatening, and remains contagious even after the person gets better. Typhoid fever can be successfully treated with antibiotics. If left untreated, typhoid fever can be fatal.

Street food hygiene targeted
Source :
By VietNamNet Bridge (Feb 07, 2013)
Members of the public have expressed their concerns over the feasibility of the ministry's newly released circular aiming to control street food. How will street food vendors be able to follow the circular if they are not fully aware of the new regulations?
Food services are booming so we need regulations to manage it. However, restricted dissemination has prevented street vendors from accessing the new information.
We need to ensure that vendors are properly informed of the latest requirements. We will also look at ways to deal with unspecified criteria.
What measures do you think we should take to stop unhygienic food practices?
We have an inspection system, but honestly, it doesn't work effectively. Many inspectors are graduates but have little experience in the field.
It's vital to reform the quality of inspectors and inspection stages.
We will strengthen inspections of both small-scale businesses in temporary markets and supermarkets, especially organic vegetables.
Food hygiene and safety must follow a strict process from raw materials, production, processing and preservation, but inspectors only focus on the last step. What do you think about that?
I think that management is overlapping.
According to Decree 163, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development would take responsibility of producing food, the Ministry of Industry and Trade would be in charge of processing food and the Ministry of Health would take care of final products.
However, since the Law on Food Hygiene and Safety was introduced, everything has become more complicated. For example, Clause 62 stipulated that the Ministry of Health would be in charge of functional foodstuff, beverages and food additives, while the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development would take care of essential goods such as dairy products, fruit and vegetables, aquaculture and honey.
Let's take a vendor as an example. She sells noodles, several bottles of water, vegetables and a box of cooking oil. So, to inspect the food quality, we need inspectors from the Ministry of Industry and Trade to check her noodles, inspectors from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to check her vegetables and inspectors from the Ministry of Health to check her cooking oil. It's too complicated!
Three ministries are in charge of food safety but it's still not guaranteed. The Ministry of Health must take charge and issue criteria for food hygiene and safety and the other ministries must follow them strictly.
But it is not that easy. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has difficulty monitoring food produced by small-scale household businesses while the Ministry of Industry and Trade has to deal with street vendors.
What is your evaluation of people's awareness of food safety and hygiene, especially with Tet approaching?
I think that people's awareness has increased remarkably over the past ten years, but at least half of food enterprises and consumers lack knowledge of the issue.
Many violations have been uncovered by the Market Watch recently such as rotten meat, smuggled chickens and counterfeit alcohol. I think that inspectors must be more pro-active in their roles to stop unhygienic food from reaching our tables.

You can get Salmonella Food Poisoning even at a Fancy Country Club
Source :
By  Bill Marler (Feb 06, 2013)
In the summer of 2002 I received a phone call one morning from a fellow who had been up all night with diarrhea and vomiting.  He had learned too that several others who had attended a wedding the prior weekend were sick as well.  Thus started our investigation into the Brook-Lea Country Club Salmonella outbreak.  The fellow called me because between trips to the bathroom he caught this show on TV in the middle of the night:
In late June of 2002, residents of Monroe County began to fall ill with Salmonella infections. As their illnesses were confirmed by laboratory testing, hospitals and doctors began reporting the illnesses to the Monroe County Health Department. By June 22, the total number of confirmed cases had reached 17. According to the health department, the Salmonella cases were linked to multiple events at the Brook-Lea Country Club (“Brook-Lea”) between June 1 and June 17.
In response to the outbreak, the Monroe County Health Department inspected the Brook-Lea kitchen and reviewed its food-handling procedures. In addition, the kitchen was closed and disinfected by a commercial company. While the kitchen remained closed, the Health Department stated that it would review the possibility of allowing the club to have limited outside catering.
By June 24, the number of cases of salmonellosis linked to the Brook-Lea country club had risen from 17 to 53. These were just the confirmed cases. There were dozens of other cases still waiting culture confirmation. The Health Department had by this point in its investigation obtained stool and blood samples from about 50 kitchen-related staff. The club kitchen also remained closed.
Two days later, on June 26, the results of tests done on kitchen-staff stool samples showed that eight of the about 50 kitchen staff had Salmonella infections. According to the health department, it was unknown whether the staff represented the likely source of the outbreak, or whether they “might just be victims”. An additional food worker at Brook-Lea was later found to also be infected, bringing the total number of sick employees to nine.
Over the next three weeks the number of Salmonella cases linked to Brook-Lea soared from 57 to well over 100. At least 95 of the cases were both culture-confirmed and linked epidemiologically to the consumption of food at Brook-Lea between June 1 and June 18. It was also determined that the Salmonella associated with the outbreak was Salmonella enteriditis, a virulent strain often associated with contaminated eggs.
In early July, Brook-Lea management admitted that none of its employee had attended a six-hour voluntary course on safe food handling. The Health Department first offered the food safety course in 1997 and it was available to all foodservice operators and their employees. It was only after the Salmonella outbreak that about 30 Brook-Lea employees received training in safe food-handling practices.
Proving that lightening can strike in the same place twice, on July 30, there was a second, smaller outbreak of Salmonella illnesses at Brook-Lea, yielding six more cases. Four of the cases were Brook-Lea employees. Overall, there were now 106 confirmed cases of Salmonella food poisoning in people residing in Monroe County and the surrounding area. All of these cases were linked to the Brook-Lea Country Club.
One of the more amusing parts of the case was the belief that the Salmonella outbreak was a criminal plot of some sort on behalf of the victims.  Why else would the defense lawyer ask why the health department records said “Suspected FBI?” (Hint – ( Suspected Food Borne Illness)
This is another it what will be a long – too long – series of outbreak investigations where we have represented consumers in what I hope will be a cautionary tale, and a learning experience, for manufacturers of food.

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Food Safety Act gets a cold shoulder
Source :
By V Devanathan, (Feb 06, 2013)
MADURAI: The warning by food safety officials to business units in Madurai district, to get registered under the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 (FSSA) before the deadline which ended on February 4, has evoked poor response.
According to the officials, an estimated 18,000 business units dealing with food products are being operated in the district. Despite repeated warnings, only 8,000 such business units, including those of the government have registered themselves.
Small and mid-level traders are reluctant to get registered citing several drawbacks in the Food Safety Act. Flaying the existing standardisation of agricultural produce, C Deivanayagam, a flour merchant who owns a flour mill said that the existing standardisation, which was established in 1954, is still adopted in the FSA, which was drafted in 2006. The method of agriculture and its tenure was entirely different from what is being done at present.
"Paddy was a six-month crop then, which is now harvested in three months. The same nutrition content cannot be expected from the present agricultural produce. While the nutrition content of agricultural produces from two districts would be different, how will the agricultural produces from two different states will be the same?" questioned P J Manoharan, another flour merchant in Madurai.
"The cottage industries and small food product manufacturing units run with little investment. The units, which are being run by thousands of self-help groups, would face closure if the Act is enforced. The Act forces us do follow several things which could be followed only by the multi-national companies," said N Pandi, owner of a candy manufacturing unit. "While we are ready follow all the rules including printing of date of manufacturing, expiry date and ingredients even on the sweet peanut cake packets, it is difficult to sell it with nutrition as it needs laboratory facilities," Pandi said.
S P Jeyapragasam, president of Tamil Nadu Food Grains Merchants Association (TNFGMA) Limited said that they have made several representations to the Union government to make changes in the FSSA. Due to this, the government is likely to postpone the implementation of the Act by one year. "However, we expect the government to make necessary changes in the Act before implementing it. The Act would deprive the livelihood of thousands of small business units," he warned.
"Government should improve the laboratory facilities in the state. At present, there are only six laboratories to test the quality of the food products. It takes more than 30 days to get the results from the government lab centre. In this situation, it makes no sense to pressurise the cottage industry products to carry their products with nutrition value," he said.
The stringent Act is against small traders as it empowers food safety officials to levy fine upto Rs 5 lakh and imprisonment of 10 years. Even the presence of insects including ants in the shop would lead to punishment. "There are several such drawbacks in the Act, which should be addressed before it is being implemented. Once the drawbacks are addressed, we would not only accept it but also would give hearty welcome to the Act," said S Velshankar, secretary, TNFGMA.
When contacted, J Suguna, designated officer, Tamil Nadu Food Safety and Drug Administration said, "10,000 more business units in the district are yet to be registered under FSA. However, we have not started to take action against the business units even after the deadline to get registered is complete. It is expected that extension time for the implementation of the Act would be provided," she said.

Why Paying Attention to Who Your Suppliers are is So Important
Source :
By Bill Marler (Feb 05, 2013)
This is another it what will be a long – too long – series of outbreak investigations where we have represented consumers in what I hope will be a cautionary tale, and a learning experience, for manufacturers of food.
I have told restaurant and grocery store associations many, many times that they are only as safe as are their inputs.
2000 Taco Bell Green Onion Outbreak - In early December 2000, Lake County Health Department (LCHD) learned of seven hepatitis A cases, including five hospitalizations, in Lake and neighboring Sumter Counties in a two-week span. During the previous two years, the total number of known hepatitis A cases in Lake County was twenty-two. Recognizing the possibility of an outbreak, LCHD notified the Florida Department of Health.
LCHD began its investigation immediately. Assisting in the investigation were individuals from the Florida Bureau of Epidemiology and the Florida Bureau of Environmental Epidemiology, Food and Waterborne Disease. The investigation commenced with a case definition:
A primary case of hepatitis A was defined as a positive hepatitis A IgM antibody test in a Lake or Sumter county resident who had elevated liver enzyme tests or an acute onset of jaundice or abdominal pain, onset of illness between November 10 and December 16, 2000, and no other explanation for the elevated liver tests or abdominal pain.
Known “cases” were interviewed using the CDC viral hepatitis case record form. Demographic and epidemiologic information, including onset dates and sources for virus acquisition or spreading, were collected. Also, hypotheses-generating interviews were conducted with several “cases,” and the information revealed in these interviews spawned a questionnaire that was eventually answered by all case-patients.
In an effort to locate unknown “cases,” the investigation team contacted area health care facilities and labs, known visitors to Lake County during the outbreak period, and known “case” family members and acquaintances who had experienced similar symptoms. Investigators also contacted the business acquaintances and contacts of those known cases that worked in the food and childcare industries.
After the first twenty-one cases were identified, two case-control studies were done. The first aimed to determine the source of the outbreak. For this study, “controls were defined as adults who did not report a history of hepatitis A in the past, or symptoms of hepatitis [in] November or December 2000, [and] who resided on the same street as a case.” Individuals who fit the definition were interviewed over the phone.
This first study revealed a strong association between cases and the Taco Bell Mexican restaurant in Fruitland Park. Consequently, serologic testing was done on all Taco Bell employees who had worked during the exposure period. Other than the individual who was a known case, the employees tested negative.
The second case-control study was conducted to identify the Taco Bell food item(s) that were, or had been, contaminated. Six meal items and eight ingredients were significantly associated with illness. Of the meal items, only two were eaten by a majority of cases. And of the eight ingredients, green onions bore the strongest statistical association. Further analysis revealed that the green onions were the most likely vehicle for transmission.
While the Lake County investigation was ongoing, the LCHD learned from the CDC that hepatitis A outbreak investigations were also underway in Russell County, Kentucky and Clark County, Nevada. Taco Bell green onions would soon be implicated in these outbreaks as well.
LCHD and other investigators ultimately identified twenty-three people who met the case definition. Illness onset for these cases was between November 21 and December 11, 2000. In total, fifteen cases (65%) required hospitalization due to the severity of their symptoms.
The CDC extracted viral RNA from the sera of twelve cases for molecular sequencing. Sequencing in eleven of the samples matched exactly, and sequencing of the twelfth varied by one base pair over a 250 base pair gene segment. The CDC then compared the matching Lake County samples to four serum samples from the Kentucky outbreak and one from the Nevada outbreak. Sequencing studies revealed a 100% sequence homology among all the samples, and, again, the twelfth Florida sample varied from all other samples by one base pair.
These studies, together with the epidemiological, environmental, and laboratory investigations, convinced the LCHD that the 2000 Florida hepatitis A outbreak occurred at the Fruitland Park Taco Bell. See Outbreak Report at 10. The LCHD further concluded that “[a]lthough most foodborne outbreaks of hepatitis A are due to food contaminated by an infected food preparer, we believe the ingredients were contaminated prior to arrival at the outlet in this outbreak. . . . The most likely contaminated ingredient is green onion.”
2003 Chi-Chi’s Green Onion Outbreak - In late October of 2003, Pennsylvania health officials learned of a potential hepatitis A outbreak from emergency room doctors treating patients in Beaver County. The Beaver County Health Department (BCHD) and Pennsylvania Department of Health (PDOH) began investigating the apparent outbreak, and learned through interviews that all case patients had eaten at the Chi Chi’s restaurant at the Beaver Valley Mall in the weeks before becoming ill.
On November 3, PDOH issued a hepatitis A advisory, encouraging anyone who had eaten at the Beaver Valley Mall Chi-Chi’s restaurant within the past 14 days to receive an Immune globulin (Ig) shot to prevent becoming ill with the hepatitis A virus. Ig is only effective in preventing infection with hepatitis A if it is administered within 14 days of exposure to the virus. PDOH scheduled Ig immunization clinics at several locations over the following days.
By November 7, PDOH had identified 130 people who had contracted hepatitis A as part of the outbreak. The number had grown to 240 cases by November 11, and kept climbing. By November 14, three people had died due to liver failure caused by hepatitis A, and the number of ill people had risen to 500.
PDOH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), conducted an epidemiological study of the outbreak, and determined that green onions imported from Mexico were the source of the outbreak. The FDA issued a statement dated December 9, 2003, affirming that this outbreak was associated with eating raw or undercooked green onions.
Ultimately, over 650 confirmed cases of hepatitis A, both primary and secondary, were linked to consumption of green onions at the Beaver Valley Mall Chi-Chi’s. The victims included at least 13 employees of the restaurant, and numerous residents of six other states. Four people died as a consequence of their hepatitis A illness. In addition, more than 9,000 people who had eaten at the restaurant during the period of potential exposure, or who had been exposed to ill Chi-Chi’s customers, obtained immune globulin shots to prevent hepatitis A infection.
2005 Soleil Lettuce Outbreak - In October 2005, epidemiologists at the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services – Public Health (“Public Health”) became aware of an increase in the number of reported cases of people infected with the hepatitis A virus (“HAV”). Notably, the number of reported cases in October 2005 was four times the number of cases reported in October 2004. At first, cases appeared to be occurring largely among the County’s homeless population, and efforts to identify potential sources of HAV infection centered on food served at charitable food kitchens. Investigators had difficulty locating the largely transient group of persons for interview and, thus, made little progress in identifying a potential source of exposure to the virus.
In early November, Public Health officials learned that several cast and crewmembers from the movie set, “The Good German,” were confirmed with HAV. Preliminary interviews revealed that the only day that all six ill individuals had eaten food on the set was October 3. Interviews revealed that, on October 3, all six cases had eaten food provided by each of the two food purveyors, Silver Grill Location Catering Inc. (“Silver Grill”) and Jeff Winn, craft service for the movie. Twelve more cast and crewmembers from the movie were ultimately identified to be infected with HAV, and all had eaten on location on October 3. Public Health launched a case-control study of movie workers to identify risk factors for HAV infection and determine if all had become ill from the same source.
A case-patient was defined as a person, who had eaten food provided on the set of The Good German on October 3, had then experienced symptoms of acute hepatitis, and had a positive HAV IgM test. Control subjects had eaten on the set on the same day and had not had clinical symptoms, a past diagnosis or vaccination for hepatitis A, or a recent history of receiving immune globulin. Using a standardized questionnaire, cases and controls were asked about potential exposures to known risk factors for an HAV infection, including contact with young children, travel, shellfish consumption, and number of sexual contacts. A list of 65 food items available to the cast and crew on October 3 was obtained from Silver Grill Catering and Jeff Winn.
A total of 116 Good German cast and crew who were on set on October 3 was interviewed; forty were excluded from the analysis because of previous HAV infection or vaccination. Eighteen individuals met the case definition. The median age of case-patients was forty-one years and 78% were male. The median incubation period was twenty-five days (range nineteen to thirty-seven days). One person was hospitalized and none died. No common exposures other than eating on the set of the Good German were identified.
Data analysis showed that none of the food items from craft services was associated with illness. Investigators consequently turned their attention to food items prepared and served by Silver Grill Catering. Data analysis showed that case-patients were more likely to have eaten baby mixed green lettuce (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 4.81; exact 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.3-19.8) or jerk chicken (aOR: 4.43; CI=1.2-18.3) than their non-ill counterparts. The jerk chicken had no raw ingredients and was only handled with tongs making it an unlikely vehicle for the virus unless cross contamination occurred after cooking. But, because all Silver Grill Catering food-handlers tested negative for acute hepatitis A, contamination by an ill food handler did not occur. Investigators concluded that lettuce was the likely source of the outbreak.
Public Health Environmental Health staff and the California Department of Health Services’ Food and Drug Branch conducted a traceback and identified the distributor of produce to Silver Grill Catering as Soleil Produce, a Los Angeles distributor. There was no environmental investigation at any farm that might have supplied the lettuce.
On January 6, 2006, Public Health issued an outbreak investigation report of the Hepatitis A outbreak that occurred among members of the set of The Good German. Citing statistical evidence and known likelihood of produce contamination with HAV, investigators concluded that the salad provided by Silver Grill Catering most likely caused at least eighteen confirmed cases of hepatitis A virus infection among Good German cast and crew.
Fresh produce contaminated during cultivation, harvesting, processing, and distribution has also been a source of hepatitis A.  In 1997, frozen strawberries were the source of a hepatitis A outbreak in five states. Other produce, such as blueberries, has been associated with hepatitis A outbreaks in the U.S. as well as other developed countries.  See,

Norovirus Temporarily Closes California Deli
Source :
By FoodSafetyNews (Feb 04, 2013)
A family-owned deli in Northern California was closed for two days last week after its food was linked to at least 45 potential norovirus infections.
North Park Deli of Concord, CA shut its doors Tuesday after people who had attended an event catered by the business that weekend began to report gastrointestinal symptoms, reported the Contra Costa Times.
Tests eventually revealed that two employees who had catered the event had been infected with norovirus. Health officials concluded that the employees were the likely source of the outbreak.
An estimated 100 people attended the event, and nearly 50 reported gastrointestinal symptoms that indicated a norovirus infection, according to the Times.
The deli shut its doors Tuesday at the request of the Contra Costa County Environmental Health Department, which was in charge of the investigation, but reopened on Thursday.

Yum Brands profit dips amid food safety scare in China
Source :
By BBC(Feb 05, 2013)
Yum Brands, owner of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurants, has reported a dip in fourth quarter profits as a food safety scare hurt its sales in China.
Net profit dipped 6% to $337m (£214m) in the three months to 29 December.
Yum said sales in China fell 6% during the period after a report that two of its suppliers were providing chickens with excessive levels of antibiotics.
China is one of Yum's biggest markets and the firm warned that its profits may decline further in 2013.
"As a result of adverse publicity from the poultry supply situation in mid-December, China KFC sales experienced a sharp decline," David Novak, chief executive of Yum said in a statement.
"Due to continued negative same-store sales and our assumption that it will take time to recover consumer confidence, we no longer expect to achieve earning per share (EPS) growth in 2013."
However, the firm said that it was committed to the Chinese market and planned to open 700 new stores in the country in 2013.
Yum added that it was in the process of reviewing its supply chain management and would also launch a "brand reputation" campaign to re-assure customers of "our high quality food".
"We are steadfast in our belief that the power and popularity of the KFC brand in China will ultimately drive a full sales recovery," said Mr Novak.
Meanwhile, Yum reported a 22% jump in profit for 2012.
It made a net profit of $1.6bn in the year to 29 December 2012, up from $1.3bn a year earlier.

350 arrested in food safety check
Source :
By China Daily (Feb 05, 2013)
Police have seized 350 suspects involved in 120 food-related criminal cases since a crackdown on food-related crimes began last month.
The police destroyed more than 220 underground food workshops during the crackdown, the Ministry of Public Security revealed on Sunday.
The crackdown will last through 2013, according to the ministry.
It is focusing on quality problems concerning cooking oil, meat and other products that are in great demand during the Lunar New Year holidays.
The ministry said it has organized inspections in supermarkets, food exhibitions, tourist sites and food companies.

Internet Journal of Food Safety

Vol 14. 113-120
Quality Assessment of Fresh Lake Malawi Tilapia (Chambo) Collected
from Selected Local and Super Markets in Malawi
Fanuel Kapute, Jeremy Likongwe, Jeremiah Kang'ombe, Ciira Kiiyukia, Placid Mpeketula

Vol 14. 104-112
Detection of Salmonella spp. in Hamburgers:
a Comparison Between Modified Standard and Salmosyst Methods
Jorge Luiz Fortuna, Elmiro Rosendo do Nascimento, Robson Maia Franco

Vol 14. 93-103
A Preliminary Detection of Physical and Chemical Properties,
Inhibitory Substances and Preservatives in Raw Milk
Ali Ibrahim Ali Mansour, Mohamed Mansour El-Loly and Ramadan Omar Ahmed

Vol 14. 89-92
Species Specific PCR Based Rapid Detection of Staphylococcus aureus from Cottage Cheese,
and its Sensitivity against Antibiotics and natural products
Priyanka Singh and Alka Prakash

Vol 14. 83-88
Aflatoxigenic moulds and aflatoxins in street-vended snacks in Lagos, Nigeria
Chibundu N. Ezekiel, Funmi O. Kayode, Stephen O. Fapohunda, Momodu F. Olorunfemi
and Barinaada T. Kponi

Vol 14. 75-82
Microbial and Physico-chemical contamination in the wheat flour of the twin cities of Pakistan
Syeda Afifa Batool Naseem Rauf, S.S.Tahir and Razia Kalsoom

Vol 14.70-74
Advances in Proteomics-based Detection Techniques of Listeria monocytogenes
: a Potential Risk in New Zealand
Ge Huang and Malik Altaf Hussain

Vol 14.54-69
Food Safety Review (FSR) in the State of Kuwait as a part of Arab Gulf Area
Hani M. Al-Mazeedi, Alaa B. Abbasa, Wafaa Y. Al-Jouhar , Siham A. Al-Mufty
and Yousef A. Al-Mendicar

Vol 14.48-53
A Decision Tree Based Approach for the Identification of Halal Critical Control Point
for Slaughtering According to Islamic Dietary Law
Kohilavani, Tajul A. Yang, Noor A. Febrianto, Wan Nadiah Wan Abdullah and Aadam Tajul Aris

Vol 14.44-47
Antibacterial Activity of Red Bell Pepper against Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Ground Beef
Sulaiman O. Aljaloud , Rabin Gyawali, Muchha R. Reddy, and Salam A. Ibrahim

Vol 14.35-43
Evaluating Food Hygiene Awareness and Practices of Food Handlers in the Kumasi Metropolis
Patricia Foriwaa Ababio and Doreen Dedo Adi

Vol 14.30-34
Growth Control of Standard L.monocytogenes and L.monocytogenes Spiked in Goat Milk
by Natural products, Antibiotics and Lactic Acid Bacteria
Rupali Yadav and Alka Prakash

Vol 14.23-29
Assessment of Health Risk Associated With Reuse of Treated Wastewater.
Nadia Oubrim, Nozha Cohen, Abouddihaj Barguigua, Kaoutar Hajjami, Brahim Bouchrif and My Mustapha Ennaji

Vol 14.17-22
Microbial and Physico-Chemical Quality Assessment of the Raw and Pasteurized Milk
Supplied In the Locality of Twin City of Pakistan
Syeda Afifa Batool, Razia Kalsoom ,Naseem Rauf , S.S.Tahir and Fouzia Hussain

Vol 14.11-16
Microbiological Safety and Proximate Composition of Suya Stored at Ambient Temperature
for Six Hours from Maiduguri, Northern Nigeria.
Ogbonna, Innocent Okonkwo Danladi, Matthias Sunday Akinmusire, Oyekemi and Odu, Collins Emeka

Vol 14.5-10
Bacteriological Quality Assessment of Selected Street Foods and
Antibacterial Action of Essential Oils Against Food Borne Pathogens
Chandi C. Rath and Sonali Patra

Vol 14.1-4
Improved Recovery of Viable Listeria monocytogenes From Stainless Steel Surfaces for Subsequent Detection
John Xue and Burton Blais


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