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FoodHACCP Newsletter
03/18,2013 ISSUE:539

Food safety top concern in new poll
Source : http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/768724.shtml
By Liu Chang and Yang Jinghao (Mar 18, 2013)
An overwhelming majority of respondents in a recent poll expressed their confidence in the country's future in the wake of the just-ended "two sessions" but food safety topped popular concerns following the institutional restructuring.
Among the 1,103 respondents in the telephone poll, 36.6 percent summarized the "two sessions" of this year as chiefly concerned with "living conditions," 28.7 percent believed "leadership reshuffle" was the priority, and 25.2 percent emphasized "reform," according to the survey conducted by the Global Poll Center under the Global Times covering the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Xi'an, Changsha and Shengyang.
The State Council's institutional restructuring and transformation of government functions attracted massive public attention and prompted heated discussions after the plan was unveiled. The reform brought down the number of ministries from 27 to 25.
When asked, 52.7 percent of the interviewees believed it was a "moderate" reform that calls for greater efforts on subsequent implementation, while 22.2 percent thought the change was "inadequate" as reforms on the National Development and Reform Commission and financial institutions did not take place as expected. Meanwhile, only 20.5 percent described the reform as "powerful."
The pressing issue of food safety tops the public agenda, the poll showed. More than 57 percent of the respondents expressed their concerns on whether the newly established State Food and Drug Administration could effectively address the long-standing problem in the scandal-ridden area.
Followed the issue was the nation's sovereignty issues, with 18.8 percent concerned about whether the newly restructured State Oceanic Administration would be able to better safeguard the national interests in disputed areas including the Diaoyu Islands and Huangyan Island backed by a new maritime law enforcement force.
After the national population and family planning policy commission was merged with the health ministry, the public has been speculating whether the three-decade long limits on the number of children will be loosened. For 8.2 percent of respondents, this was their top issue, while 7.4 percent fixed their attention on the possible rise in price of future railway tickets after the railway ministry was dismantled.
Given a choice of positive opinions about the recently concluded two sessions, the simple and frugal style was highlighted by 46.7 of interviews, while 44.5 percent were more impressed with the relative lack of empty talk and political jargon.
While being asked about their confidence in China's future development, 32.3 percent said they became "more confident" after the sessions and 55.2 said they were "fairly confident." Only 9.6 percent expressed pessimism and 2.9 percent believed it was hard to say.
Yan Jirong, a professor of government management at the Peking University, told the Global Times Sunday that the topics most associated with public interest always grabbed the widest attention.
"About 60 percent said they care about the food safety issue, that's because it not only matters to their interests, but also matters to their lives," said Yan, noting that the government should pay more attention to the minority that are not confident in the country's future.
Dai Yanjun, a professor at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, said regarding the effects of the ministry reform, the subsequent implementation and increasing transparency are very important in addressing public concerns.

Eight sub-panels to formulate regulations on food safety
Source : http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/eight-subpanels-to-formulate-regulations-on-food-safety/article4518959.ece
By TheHindu.com (Mar 17, 2013)
The central government is set to formulate the regulations for the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) Act soon.
“Currently eight sub-panels under FSSAI are working together to formulate regulations. The notifications are to be put on a website to invite further suggestions from the industry,” FSSAI Chairperson K. Chandramouli said on the sidelines of a conference here recently.
He said because of a diverse food culture in the country, there has been some difficulty in putting together a proper standard on food items.
FSSAI, the nodal agency was set up for laying down science-based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import, to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food.
Maharashtra government has also urged FSSAI to ensure that the FSSAI Act is soon converted into law so that structured guidelines are laid down for easy operations, decisiveness and quality of the industry, Minister of State for Home, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration Satej Patil said on the sidelines of 8th Nutra India Summit here.
The state government has invited industries interested in setting up manufacturing and R&D plants in the area of nutraceuticals and functional foods.
“Considering the relevance of nutraceuticals, we invite all industries interested in setting up manufacturing and R&D plants in the area of nutraceuticals and functional foods. We are allotting land with incentives at Lotte Parshuram near Chiplun to parties interested in setting up nutra manufacturing or research plants in Maharashtra,” Mr. Patil said.
Mr. Patil requested the organisers to submit a white paper on deliberations of 8th Nutra India Submit, perceiving this event as the strongest gathering of voices of the industry.
Maharashtra is the largest consumer for nutraceuticals in the country and the state has received 3,44,000 fresh registrations in the recent past and generated a revenue of more than Rs 63 crore from the food and related industry, he said.
With its research strengths, India will witness great innovation in the areas of nutrition, nutraceuticals and nutrigenomics, said Samir K Brahmachari, Secretary, Department of Scientific & Industrial Research (DSIR).
By 2030, people’s consumption of chemicals will become negligible and will be taken over by consumption of natural, organic foods, nutraceuticals and functional foods, he said adding that the success of the pharma will be replicated by the nutra industry.

E. coli ST 131 Poses Threat Elderly in Hospitals And Nursing Homes
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2013/e-coli-st-131-poses-threat-elderly-in-hospitals-and-nursing-homes/
By Carla Gillespie (Mar 17, 2013)
An antibiotic resistant strain of E.coli poses a particular threat to elderly patients at hospitals and nursing homes, according to a study published in the April edition of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. The peer-reviewed journal is the official publication of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA).
E.coli is a bacteria that lives in the intestines of animals and can cause severe illness when transmitted via the fecal-oral route to humans. Symptoms include sever abdominal cramps and diarrhea which can sometimes be bloody. Antibiotics are often used to treat E.coli infections, but increasingly E.coli strains  are developing resistance.
In this study, researchers analyzed 299 E. coli isolates submitted to Olmsted County, MN laboratories between February and March 2011. The E. coli strain ST131 accounted for 27 percent of all isolates and for a significant proportion of the strains that showed resistance to antibiotics commonly used to treat E.coli infections.  E.coli ST 131 accounted for 81 percent of the isolates resistant to strains fluoroquinolones, 50 percent of of those resistant to ceftriaxone  and 42 percent of those resistant to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole.
Researchers found that the strain accounted for a greater proportion of healthcare-associated isolates, 49 percent, than other isolates. And that the prevalence of the strain increased with age accounting for just 5 percent of isolates found in 11–20 year-olds, in 26 percent of those between the ages of 51–60 and in 50 percent of those between 91–100 years of age.

New US food safety regs will impact Canadian food haulers
Source : http://www.trucknews.com/news/new-us-food-safety-regs-will-impact-canadian-food-haulers/1002142959/
By James Menzies (Mar 14, 2013)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The impending US Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will have major implications for Canadian refrigerated trucking companies that haul in or out of the US, as well as Canadian food companies that export product there.
During a presentation to the Technology & Maintenance Council here this morning, Bud Rodowick, manager, fleet performance with Thermo King, said carriers should be communicating with their customers to find out how they’ll be affected by the sweeping legislation.
The FSMA, described by Rodowick as “the most expansive changes in food safety legislation since 1938,” was enacted Jan. 4, 2011, but sat idle until after the US election. Now, lawmakers are acting on the legislation and putting it into effect.
“This is a huge act, that’s very complex and enormous in size,” Rodowick warned, adding it gives the Food and Drug Administration “sweeping new powers,” including the ability to send people to prison for felonies related to the careless or negligent handling of food.
Under the new rules, food companies will be required to demonstrate care of their products through the entire supply chain, or from “field to fork.” This, of course, extends to the transportation of their products.
“You’re a big part of that, but you just haven’t been made aware of it,” Rodowick said to trucking company executives and maintenance managers in attendance.
There are 450 sections in the act, and four key ones impact transportation providers, Rodowick said. These sections include: preventative controls and hazard analysis, traceability, sanitary transportation of food and the intentional adulteration of food.
To comply with the regulations, food companies will have to produce a written food safety plan, specific to each facility, outlining hazard analysis, preventative controls, monitoring procedures, corrective action procedures, verification procedures and a recall plan. They’ll be required to retain all records related to such a plan for two years, and to provide them to FDA upon request.
“This is going to be burdensome,” Rodowick said. “This is a great opportunity for you to be talking to the food facilities you haul for and saying ‘What does your preventative control plan look like and am I going to be a part of that?”
The new regulations also will require a product tracing system that can be used to track and trace all food products that are produced in, or imported into, the US. Rodowick said the requirements are likely to include a temperature traceability aspect, meaning the FDA will want to see proof that food was transported at the proper temperature throughout its journey.
While it will be up to food manufacturers and shippers to comply with the new FSMA requirements, there’s no doubt trucking companies will be a vital part of any compliance plan, Rodowick warned.
“FSMA is evolving, and it’s important to understand how compliance requirements will affect your customers and you,” he said. He urged carriers to “Visit with your food facility customers and understand how they intend to be in compliance with those requirements and what those requirements mean to you.”
A final rule is expected to be published in 2014, with full enforcement in place by 2015.
It’s likely shippers will begin insisting on more transparency and control over the transportation of their products, which could bring new costs on trucking companies if they have to upgrade their fleets to provide more visibility and remote control over reefer temperatures.
“If I was a fleet, I would want to grasp and clearly understand what the intentions of my shippers are and based on those intentions, I would be sitting down to figure out what technologies can we retrofit and what can we buy new? Let’s get prepared for this so we can transition to this in the next year,” Rodowick said. “I’m trying to champion you guys to start talking about it now so there’s no sticker shock.”
Lori Coleman of Gordon Food Services moderated the discussion, and added that her fleet will be leaning heavily on trailer manufacturers to come to the table with solutions. For instance, she predicted the rules will eventually require trailer doors to remain locked at all times while parked and in transit, and a simple padlock isn’t an adequate solution. She also suggested trailers will need to come with better options for compartmentalizing product from various shippers.


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Irish firm QK Meats kept horse find secret
Source : http://www.irishtimes.com/news/irish-firm-qk-meats-kept-horse-find-secret-1.1325718
By COLM KEENA, Public Affairs Correspondent  (Mar 14, 2013)
An Irish meat processing company found horse protein in beef consignments from Poland last June but did not inform the authorities, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has told the Dáil.
He said the QK Meats had sourced supplies from 19 different Polish suppliers over a sustained period and stored the meat in QK Cold Stores, Nass. Based on its own risk assessment, it tested 15 consignments from 9 of the suppliers and found seven tested positive for equine DNA.
The first positive result was on June 27th, 2012. The horse meat scandal erupted after the Food Safety Authority first detected equine DNA in meat samples in January of this year.
Mr Coveney said that in June QK Meats contacted its Polish supplier and it arranged to take back the consignment. Further positive results were found in October, November, December 2012 and January 2013. Some of these consignments were sent back to the Polish supplier.
The company told the department that none of the material entered the food chain but it continued to use Polish material. The company was buying the meat at €400 per tonne less than the corresponding price for Irish meat.
Other ingredients that were not tested were allowed enter the food chain. A range of customers in six countries were given frozen minced meat products that contained between ten per cent and 40 per cent Polish product.
The company did not explain why it tested for equine DNA in the first place, he said. The minister described the findings as “extremely distrubing”.
Since the January announcement by the Department of Agriculture, Birds Eye has named QK Meats as a source of horse meat contamination in three of its products.
The department has also discovered that material containing horse DNA was supplied by QK Meats in January 2012, to Dawn Fresh Foods in Fethard, Co Tipperary. This material ended up in Oak Farm Cottage Pie, a product supplied to 47 schools in the UK. The material supplied by QK Meats came from its Polish suppliers.

China Sets Up a Food Safety Super-Regulator
Source : http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-03-14/china-sets-up-a-food-safety-super-regulator
By  Dexter Roberts (Mar 14, 2013)
It was a simple demonstration of a serious problem. At China’s National People’s Congress on March 6, a delegate from Zhejiang took out some dark peanuts, prized for their rich flavor, and dropped them in a glass of clear water. The water immediately turned black from the chemical dye coating the nuts. “This is not a show. I want people to see how these toxic additives are proliferating and harmful,” said Zhu Zhangjin, who brought more than 300 different samples of doctored food products to Beijing, according to the Qianjiang Evening News, a daily, on March 7.
Following earlier scares over melamine-laced milk powder, exploding watermelons, and pesticide-soaked vegetables, food safety is again on the minds of the Chinese. After the state broadcaster revealed late last year that some KFC chicken contained excessive levels of antibiotics, consumers deserted the once-popular fast-food chain. Sales fell 20 percent at the Louisville-based company’s 5,200 restaurants in China in 2013, parent Yum! Brands (YUM) said on March 11. The company, which gets about half its revenue from China, has launched a campaign to reassure consumers about the safety of its menu.
So-called gutter, or reused, cooking oil has surfaced once more as a major problem in China’s restaurants. A Shanghai hot pot restaurant owner was sentenced to 3½ years in jail earlier this month for using potentially toxic recycled oil. In January, China said it would offer whistle-blowers rewards of as much as 300,000 yuan ($48,221), for tips on food and drug safety problems. Chinese media are reporting that thousands of dead pigs have been found floating in a river supplying water to the city of Shanghai, raising fears of contamination. (Shanghai authorities say city water quality has not been affected, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.)
On March 10, the Chinese government announced it will create a new superministry to ensure the quality of China’s food and drugs. The General Food and Drug Administration will assume responsibility for setting standards and monitoring production, distribution, and consumption—tasks previously handled by as many as nine different government organizations. “The restructuring will better facilitate the enforcement of the food safety laws and regulations, and improve the safety of the nation’s food and drugs,” said Chen Xiaohong, a vice minister of health, the official English-language China Daily reported.
China is home to an estimated 200 million families that farm, each cultivating an average plot of 1.5 acres, as well as a half-million food processing companies, most with fewer than 10 employees. The small scale of most agriculture and food processing means the owners have limited resources to invest in the advanced techniques that could ensure better quality. “One of the challenges here in China is just the sheer volume of what’s here,” says Christopher Hickey. He runs a 13-person branch in China of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA has inspected products bound for the U.S. since the office opened in late 2008.
China is trying to encourage bigger operations, particularly in agriculture. The country “will grant more subsidies to large-scale landholders, family farms, and rural cooperatives,” reported CCTV.com, the website of the state broadcaster, on Feb. 1. “The government thinks this is a way to solve the problem of food safety—have big companies producing—which gives it more control over the food system,” says Zhou Li, a professor at the School of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development at Renmin University of China in Beijing.
Nestlé China deploys 65 employees full time to audit its Chinese suppliers. The Swiss food giant is also investing 150 million yuan ($24 million) in a dairy farming institute to bring advisers on cow breeding, feeding, and health to work with Nestlé’s best suppliers, says Martial Genthon, senior vice president in charge of quality inspection, regulatory issues, and manufacturing. The aim: to consolidate its milk purchases within five years from 20,000 Chinese suppliers with an average 15 cows apiece, to several thousand suppliers with at least 200 cows each.
Despite the efforts, concerns are growing among ordinary Chinese. A survey by the Pew Research Center released last year showed that 41 percent of Chinese believe food safety is a very big problem, up from 12 percent four years earlier, a larger increase than for any other major worry, including corruption and air pollution. Bloggers write regularly about the latest food scandal, and a popular free iPhone app called China Survival Guide has detailed daily food and drug safety problems since last year.
“Of course, it’s a very important issue. Every person in China may have been a victim,” says 27-year-old Wu Heng, who’s launched a website and database, updated daily by a team of 33 volunteers, that details food safety problems. The site gets about 10,000 hits a day. Wu says he’s skeptical that the new ministry will make a difference, citing the limited progress following earlier government efforts. “Chinese people all have breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. But they still don’t have any faith in the safety of the food they eat.”

Older adults and food safety
Source : http://www.waxahachietx.com/news/health/older-adults-and-food-safety/article_b328e992-8cf0-11e2-9d7c-001a4bcf887a.html
By waxahachietx.com (Mar 14, 2013)
An adage states, “With age, comes wisdom.”  Hopefully this includes lots of food safety information! 

Why? 
As we mature, our bodies change. Older adults become more at-risk for illness and, once ill, it can take them longer to recover.
Knowledge of safe food handling helps older adults stay healthy. Some older adults are homebound and must rely on delivered food. Others have minimal cooking experience. 
It’s important to understand the effect of pathogens and other microorganisms on elderly bodies.  Practicing the safeguards necessary to avoid foodborne illness is the best way to stay healthy.
As people age, their bodies are less able to combat bacteria. 
For example, there is a decrease in stomach acid secretion, which is a natural defense against ingested bacteria. And over time, the immune system may become less adept in ridding the body of bacteria.
Too, the sense of taste or smell — sometimes affected by medication or illness — may not always sound an alert when meat is spoiled or milk may be sour.
What is foodborne illness?  It is often called food poisoning, and is any illness that is caused by the food you eat. Safe food handling can help reduce your risk of getting sick from food.
What are the signs of foodborne illness? 
The signs and symptoms can range from upset stomach, diarrhea, fever, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and dehydration, to more severe illness or even death. 
Consumers can take simple measures to reduce their risk of foodborne illness, especially in the home. 
If you experience the symptoms of foodborne illness, call your doctor or health care provider.
Guidelines for safe food handling. Experienced or inexperienced, it is just good sense for older cooks to follow up-to-date food safety guidelines.
1. Keep it safe! Refrigerate or freeze all perishable food. Check your refrigerator and freezer temperatures with an appliance thermometer.  Your refrigerator temperature should be set at 40 degrees F or below; freezer temperature should be 0 degrees F or below. Use a refrigerator/freezer thermometer to check the temperatures.
2. NEVER thaw food at room temperature!  ALWAYS that food in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in a microwave. After thawing in cold water or the microwave, you MUST cook the food immediately.
3. Wash hands with warm soapy water before preparing food. Wash hands, utensils, cutting boards, and other work surfaces after contact with raw meat and poultry. This helps prevent cross contamination.
4. NEVER leave perishable food out of refrigeration for more than two hours. If room temperature is above 90 degrees F, food should not be left out more than 1 hour.  This includes items such as take-out food, leftovers from a restaurant meal, and meals-on-wheels deliveries.
5. Thoroughly cook raw meat, poultry and fish. To determine the doneness, a food thermometer must be used. Do not partially cook food. Have a constant heat source, and ALWAYS set the oven at 325 degrees F or higher when cooking. There is no need to bring food to room temperature before cooking.
Foods purchased or delivered hot
If you are consuming the food HOT, enjoy eating within two hours.
If you are not consuming the food immediately, keeping the food warm is not enough. Harmful bacteria can multiply between 40-140 degrees F.  Set the oven temperature high enough to keep the hot food at 140 degrees F. or above. Check the internal temperature of food with a food thermometer.  Covering with foil will help keep the food moist.
If you are not consuming the food for a period of time longer than two hours, the food should be safely stored. You can place the food in shallow containers. Divide large quantities into smaller portions. Cover loosely and refrigerate immediately.  Reheat thoroughly when ready to eat.
Reheating? 
Reheat food thoroughly to a temperature of 165 degrees F or until completely hot and steaming.  In the microwave, cover food and rotate so it heats evenly. Allow at least 2 minutes of standing time for thorough heating.  Inadequate heating can lead to illness.
Foods purchased or delivered cold. Cold food must be kept cold.  Eat or refrigerate immediately.  Cold food should be held at 40 degrees F or colder.
Perishable food should not be left out at room temperature longer than two hours. Discard food which has been left at room temperature longer than two hours. For temperatures above 90 degrees F, discard food after one hour. 
While these tips apply to older adults, they should be followed by all ages. 
So, with a little effort, you can keep you and your family safe from foodborne illness.
Rita Hodges is the Ellis County Extension Agent-Family & Consumer Sciences. Contact Rita at  972-825-5175 or rmhodges@ag.tamu.edu. Extension programs serve people of all ages regardless of socioeconomic level, race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin.  The Texas A & M University System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the County Commissioners Courts of Texas Cooperating.

Report Addresses Antimicrobial Resistance in Food
Source : http://www.foodproductdesign.com/news/2013/03/report-addresses-antimicrobial-resistance-in-food.aspx
By foodproductdesign.com (Mar 14, 2013)
ATHENS, Ga.—To effectively mitigate harmful effects from antimicrobial resistance in the food system, U.S. scientists must work with global partners to promote prudent use in those countries where regulatory oversight of critically important antimicrobial drugs is underdeveloped. That was the consensus of a new IFT scientific status summary published in the journal Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety that outlines the challenges and complexities regarding antimicrobial resistance.
The summary was compiled by authors from University of Georgia, Texas Tech University, Kansas State University, and University of Minnesota who reviewed the latest research on the public-health impact of antimicrobial use in the food system and the growth and control of antimicrobial resistant pathogens.
“Concerns about the public-health implications of microbial resistance to antibiotics used in both human medicine and food-animal agriculture have led to the publication of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) List of Critically Important Antimicrobials for Human Medicine and the World Organization for Animal Health’s (OIE) List of Antimicrobials of Veterinary Importance," the authors wrote. “Although more needs to be done to improve the utility of these designations, such categorization of antimicrobials is helpful in prioritizing and addressing public health concerns and antimicrobial use."
The report notes a range of other key findings on antimicrobial resistance, including:
•Data available thus far fail to implicate methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) as a foodborne pathogen.
•Various lists of critically important antibiotics, such as those published by WHO and OIE, are a good first step for focusing on what is most important for protecting public health. Subsequent steps will be needed and might include international collaboration to better understand appropriate science-based regulatory oversight and enforcement to meaningfully protect these critically important drugs.
•Caution should be used in relying on the broad characterization of foodborne pathogens as multi-drug-resistant, as this classification alone may not represent a major threat to public health if the component resistance traits are not considered to be of “critical importance" according to WHO or FDA.
•Emergence of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria associated with co-resident populations of animals and people is a complex issue and does not represent a simple unidirectional pathway from animals to human individuals. While simple interventions have been sufficient to control the prevalence of resistant bacteria in some unique antimicrobial-use and bacteria combinations, many situations call for more complex interventions.
“It is highly likely that actions will be taken during the next five years to further restrict the availability of critically important antimicrobials and their allowed uses in aquaculture and agriculture, particularly in the developed world. However, such practices may in the near future have trade implications which will apply pressures to those jurisdictions with less control on their antimicrobial practices to develop and implement appropriate risk management policies. To effectively mitigate harmful effects from antimicrobial resistance in the U.S., we must work with global partners to promote prudent use in those countries where regulatory oversight of critically important antimicrobial drugs is underdeveloped," the authors concluded.

Didn’t I tell you to Pasteurize that Orange Juice?
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/didnt-i-tell-you-to-pasteurize-that-orange-juice/
By  Bill Marler (Mar 14, 2013)
Between early May and early June 2005 the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) identified 11 state residents as being infected with an indistinguishable genetic strain of Salmonella Typhimurium as determined by pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) analysis.  Eight of the cases were reported in children and five of the cases had required hospitalization.  Interviews with case patients indicated that all had consumed store brand orange juice from 1 of 2 grocery chains in Michigan in the week before becoming ill.  Health investigators at the MDCH and the Michigan Department of Agriculture conducted a product trace back and learned that both store brands were made by the same processor in Florida.  The company was identified as the Orchid Island Juice Company.
Two restriction enzyme PFGE subtyping results were uploaded to PulseNet, a database of PFGE patterns maintained at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and assigned pattern numbers JPXX01.0178 and JPXA26.0186.  Once the patterns were posted on PulseNet, Ohio and Massachusetts reported case patients with indistinguishable PFGE patterns and a history of consuming orange juice from the same Florida processor, Orchid Island.
On July 8, 2005 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a nationwide warning to consumers against drinking unpasteurized orange juice products distributed under a variety of brand names by Orchid Island Juice Company of Fort Pierce, Florida.  The alert went on to say that the juice had the potential for being “contaminated with Salmonella Typhimurium and had been associated with an outbreak of human disease caused by this organism.”  Fifteen ill cases had been directly linked to the product and at least 16 other states had reported cases of Salmonella Typhimurium infection that matched the outbreak strain.  Furthermore, the FDA cautioned, the juice was unpasteurized but there was no label on the product warning consumers that it was unpasteurized.  The FDA alert stated, “consumers should not assume these products are safe to consume simply because they do not bear the ‘unpasteurized’ warning label.”[1]
As the number of reports of illness among Orchid Island Orange Juice consumers continued to rise, the company agreed to issue a recall adding frozen juice to the products of concern.  On July 15, 2005 the FDA announced that the Orchid Island Juice Company was voluntarily recalling all unpasteurized orange juice with a code date of 7/25/05 or earlier and all unpasteurized frozen orange juice with expiration codes of 04-25-2007 through 07-08-2007 because of potential contamination with Salmonella.  Orchid Island Juice Company acknowledged the product had been distributed to at least 30 states including Tennessee and West Virginia, and 3 countries internationally.[2]
The FDA collected several samples of the orange juice from the suspect time period.  Salmonella Saintpaul was found in sample 341151 of product with a date code of 7/25/2005.[3]  Salmonella Typhimurium remained, however, the serotype du jour, with a count of 72 outbreak associated cases reported by mid-July.  Illness onset dates or culture date (if illness onset date was not known) for cases ranged from May 25 to June 17, 2005.  The cases ranged in age from 17 months to 77 years old.
For a while Orchid Island Juice Company discontinued manufacturing unpasteurized orange juice.  After restarting production, the firm’s private laboratory detected Salmonella in a sample of the juice, and on September 6, 2005 the firm once again recalled all fresh unpasteurized orange juice date coded 9/15/2005 through 9/22/2005. [4] Fortunately, no illnesses were linked to consumption of the juice this time.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[1]           See FDA Statement, FDA Issues Nationwide Health Alert on Orchid Island Unpasteurized Orange Juice Products, dated July 8, 2005.
[2]           See FDA Announcement, “Orchid Island Juice Co. Recalls Unpasteurized Orange Juice” dated July 15, 2005.
[3]           See FDA Report of Sample Analysis dated 7/25/2005.
[4]           See FDA Recall Firm Press Release, “Orchid Island Juice Company Voluntarily Recalls Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice Due to Potential Salmonella Contamination” dated September 6, 2005.

World Kidney Day News: Food Poisoning Can Cause Kidney Damage
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2013/world-kidney-day-news-food-poisoning-can-cause-kidney-damage/
By Carla Gillespie (Mar 14, 2013)
Today is World Kidney Day and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is raising awareness of kidney health with new research that shows survivors of acute kidney injury are at increased risk of developing permanent kidney damage which can result in decreased kidney function.
“We now know acute kidney injury is not the isolated or temporary condition we once believed it to be. However, in many cases, it is preventable and treatable,” said Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., director of NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. “We must continue to support research to help us better understand the connection between acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease, to prevent acute kidney injury in those at risk, and to identify and treat the condition when it does occur.”
Food poisoning can cause kidney damage. Hemoyltic uremic syndrome (HUS) is a serious, sometimes life-threatening condition that develops after some E.coli infections. HUS causes premature destruction of red blood cells. The dead cells accumulate and clog the kidney’s filtering system which can lead to kidney failure.
Roughly 90 percent of all HUS cases stem for E.coli 0157:H7 infections. Young children are most at risk. About 15 percent of children with E.coli infections will develop HUS. Treatment options include fluid replacement, blood transfusion, plasma exchange and kidney dialysis.
A study published last year in Clinical Infectious Diseases found that 30 percent of children who developed HUS had high blood pressure impaired renal function, or neurologic symptoms at their 5-year follow-up examinations.

Diluted Pesticides Could Put Norovirus in Food Chain
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2013/diluted-pesticides-could-put-norovirus-in-food-chain/
By Linda Larsen (Mar 14, 2013)
A new study published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology has found that pesticides reconstituted with contaminated water could be a source of norovirus in the food chain. Farmers use well water, lake water, and river water to produce fruits and vegetables. That water is used to dilute pesticides, which are applied to fields just before produce is harvested. This extends shelf life.
Researchers looked at the levels of culturable norovirus in eight different pesticides, right after dilution and after two hours. MNV-1, the murine norovirus, was found to remain infectious in seven of the eight pesticides. The scientists conclude that water containing norovirus could be an important source of the virus in fresh produce chains. The pesticides did not kill norovirus.
The researchers stated, “the application of pesticides may therefore not only be a chemical hazard, but also a microbiological hazard for public health.” They say that adding antiviral substances to reconstituted pesticides may be appropriate to reduce viral loads.
In another report, the European Food Safety Authority said that residues of pesticides are found on 97% of samples, although those residues fall within permitted limits. The FDA has found that 57.8% of domestically produced fruits and 25.4% of domestically produced vegetables had pesticide residues, again within limits set by the law. This is just one more reason to thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before serving and eating them, although that is no guarantee that norovirus and pathogenic bacteria will be completely removed.

 

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Sequester Will Lead to Meat Inspector Furloughs
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2013/sequester-will-lead-to-meat-inspector-furloughs/
By  Kathy Will (Mar 14, 2013)
The Agriculture’s Undersecretary for Food Safety, Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, said that there will be 11 days of unpaid leave required of food inspectors to meet the budget cuts that were imposed as part of the sequester on March 1, 2013. She spoke at the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee on March 13, 2013. The furloughs will start in July and will continue through September 30, 2013. On those days, meatpacking plants will have to shut down.
The cut that the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) will have to absorb is 5% of its $1 billion budget. But the effect is larger because all of the cuts have to be taken out of the last half or even the last quarter of the fiscal year, which ends September 30. And 87% of the FSIS budget is personnel costs.
Some have proposed rolling furloughs, but that was rejected because government officials think that would give some markets an advantage over others, which would be unfair. Dr. Hagen said, “to the extent that we are able, we intend to spread these furlough days out over non-consecutive days. At this point, we are looking at furloughing everybody on the same day.”
In addition to these furloughs, more than 150 jobs at FSIS have been eliminated over the past several years due to budget cuts, and that hiring for administrative jobs has been reduced. These support positions are important to the inspection process because of the detailed record-keeping essential to inspections. In addition, lab technicians will be furloughed.
Despite questions from Republican Kevin Yoder, asking why inspectors cannot be designated “essential employees”, not subject to the sequester, Hagen said that the federal government can’t make people work without pay. Congress has no plan to make up the budget cuts. She added that the agency “can’t spend money that we don’t have and we still have to operate within fiscal law.”  And she said that USDA’s lawyers did not find an alternative for this plan after examining the statutes for meat inspection.

Romania's food-safety chief resigns amid food scandal
Source : http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2013-03/14/c_124455474.htm
By English.news.cn (Mar 14, 2013)
Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta accepted on Wednesday the resignation of Mihai Turcanu, President of the National Sanitary Veterinary and Food Safety Authority (ANSVSA).
The food-safety chief, accused of ineffective crisis management in the toxic milk scandal, made the decision to resign, after face-to-face discussions with the prime minister.
Turcan's deputy Vladimir Manastireanu was named as the institution's acting chief.
The departure of Turcanu was inevitable, following the announcement made by the prime minister earlier on the day that the ANSVSA will have a new management.
"I had a discussion with the Agriculture Minister and with the President of ANSVSA. We will take the necessary measured today to restructure ANSVSA at the top, so that to improve communication, to make it more efficient," Ponta said earlier at the beginning of the government meeting.
Actually, the prime minister was very dissatisfied with Turcanu's ineffective management in the recent food scandals, especially the toxic milk scandal in the country.
"It is extremely important for me, as prime minister, that this domain may function very well and to show that, both to Romania and to Europe, to all those who benefit from exports from Romania, we have a system that works perfectly," said Ponta, while adding the need of authorities to be strict and to prove credibility and seriousness in taking actions, avoiding at the same time to cause panic.
The head of government stressed that it is important not to affect the economic interests of producers, and to avoid the risk of falling into a "both national and European panic," making people believe that "nothing is good anymore for them to consume."
The dismissal of the ANSVSA manager was also requested in the past days by several federations in the food industry which has been dealt a heavy blow on the background of the problems that have appeared related to some Romanian food products.
Recently, Romania has been plagued by several cases of food safety issues: the horse meat scandal, the frozen mackerel infested with parasites, vegetables and fruits containing too much pesticide, aflatoxin-contaminated milk.
Early on Wednesday, information coming from European rapid alert system shows that Romania is possibly involved in a new food scandal, as Germany withdrew from the market turkey breast with residues of antibiotics.

Horse Meat Applicant’s Food Safety Is Questioned
Source : http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/14/business/horse-meat-processing-applicants-food-safety-is-questioned.html?_r=1&
By STEPHANIE STROM (Mar 13, 2013)
The New Mexico company seeking to become the first slaughter house for horses in the United States since 2007 drew complaints over a two-year period from federal food safety inspectors and state regulatory authorities over its disposal of animal remains when it processed cattle for beef.
The complaints raise questions about whether the Agriculture Department, which oversees meat processing, will approve the company’s application. Under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the grounds around a meat processing plant “must be maintained to prevent conditions that could lead to insanitary conditions, adulteration of product, or interfere with inspection.”
Catherine Cochran, a spokeswoman for the U.S.D.A., said the department cannot comment on pending applications.
The complaints included a 2010 letter to state health officials from an Agriculture Department inspector reporting that piles of animal remains were as high as 15 feet high along the back property line of the plant. “I am told that during fly season the pile literally moves due to maggots,” wrote Ron C. Nelson, the district manager for the department’s Food Safety Inspection Service in Denver, who took pictures of what he saw.
A. Blair Dunn, a lawyer for the company, Valley Meat, said many of the complaints, documented in e-mails and letters obtained by Front Range Equine Rescue, an advocacy group that opposes horse slaughter, were false.
“These groups have been saying all of these horrible things about my clients, and none of it was ever true,” Mr. Dunn said. “If you’re trying to make a point and keep something from opening, you have to be a little sensational.”
He said the owners of the company in Roswell, N.M., Sarah and Ricardo de los Santos, had been struggling financially because of the sharp drop in beef cattle prices over the last three years and could not afford to have the compost and other waste hauled from the facility. In an e-mail, Mr. Dunn said there were never any environmental concerns or health hazards at the site.
However, Auralie Ashley-Marx, chief of the solid waste bureau of the New Mexico Environment Department, called Mr. Dunn’s assessment “factually inaccurate,” saying that after three inspections of the site in 2010, the department had issued a “notice of violation” listing Valley Meat’s failure to register as a composting facility and to properly dispose of waste, as well as the improper composting of offal.
Valley Meat’s application to begin slaughtering horses for human consumption, has created a furor. Horse slaughtering was effectively banned in the United States until 2011, when language prohibiting the financing of inspections of horse meat facilities fell out of an appropriations bill.
Since then, the U.S.D.A. has received applications from six companies seeking permission to start slaughtering horses, according to documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by Bruce A. Wagman, a lawyer for Front Range. In addition to Valley Meat, facilities in Iowa, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Rockville and Gallatin, Mo., have sought U.S.D.A. approval, Mr. Wagman said.
On Wednesday, Senator Mary Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana; Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina; Representative Patrick Meehan, Republican of Pennsylvania; and Representative Jan Schakowsky Democrat of Illinois, introduced a bill to prohibit horse slaughter for human consumption and forbid the transport of horses across the border for slaughter in other countries.
The recent uproar over horse meat began in Europe earlier this year when trace amounts were found in products labeled 100 percent beef. Major food companies and restaurant chains, like Nestlé and Taco Bell, pulled products off shelves and tables in 14 countries.
In describing the series of events involving Valley Meat, Ms. Ashley-Marx said her department’s inspections were prompted by the letter Dr. Nelson of the inspection service sent to the New Mexico health department on Jan. 22, 2010, after a visit he had made to the plant earlier that month.
“Approximately 200 yards behind the facility, Mr. de los Santos drags dead cattle (mostly old dairy cows) and piles them on a concrete pad where he leaves them to rot,” Dr. Nelson wrote. “He calls it composting, but by all appearances rotting would be more accurate.”
Dr. Nelson, who is a veterinarian, said his concern was that materials that could cause bovine spongiform encephalopathy, known commonly as mad cow disease, could find their way into the soil and feed.
Mr. Dunn disputed Dr. Nelson’s findings, saying, “Let’s get the facts straight — there never was this mountain of dead, rotting animals.” He added that his clients had been working with state officials to remove the remains.
Ms. Ashley-Marx said she had not seen any carcasses, either, when she and a colleague visited the site about four months after Dr. Nelson wrote his letter. But she said the agency had identified other problems. The company did not have state permission to compost its waste materials and did not know how to properly compost animal tissue, a method called mortality composting.
Wrangling between the company and state and federal officials over permits and proper waste disposal of animal carcasses continued until last August, when New Mexico officials fined Valley Meat $86,400, the maximum penalty it can impose. The fine was later reduced to $5,000, after the company attracted new investors who helped it pay to clear the animal compost piles off its site.
Mr. Dunn blamed New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez’s opposition to horse slaughter for some of his client’s problems. “Everything was moving along just fine until she got involved, and now it’s all become political,” he said.
Jim Winchester, a spokesman for the Environment Department, denied political influence had any bearing on the state’s actions against Valley Meat.

With 6,000 Dead Pigs in River, Troubling Questions on Food Safety
Source : http://www.masslive.com/business-news/index.ssf/2013/03/farmers_from_accross_the_country_meet_in.html
By DIDI KIRSTEN TATLOW (Mar 13, 2013)
BEIJING — Pork buns and tap water may be off the menu in Shanghai, China’s biggest city with more than 23 million people, after thousands of dead pigs were found floating in the Huangpu River, which flows through the city, and in upstream tributaries. About 6,000 animals have been fished out so far in an operation that began last Friday, according to the Shanghai authorities, with more still surfacing, though at a slower pace. (By early Sunday, four days after this was written, about 12,600 pigs had been fished out of rivers in Shanghai and upstream in Jiaxing, the South China Morning Post reported.)
The questions around the pig die-off — what caused it, why the animals were thrown into the river and by whom — are deeply disturbing Shanghai residents as well as others in China, and the Ministry of Agriculture has announced an investigation. City water authorities say the drinking water sourced in the Huangpu is safe, though one water sample showed traces of porcine circovirus, Xinhua, the state news agency reported, adding it can spread among pigs but not humans.
China is regularly plagued by food safety and environmental scandals, but even so, the appearance of thousands of large, decomposing pigs in the river that feeds the country’s most sophisticated metropolis stands out.
There’s the question of why the pigs have ended up in the river. A report by the Oriental Morning Post, from Jiaxing city upstream in Zhejiang province, suggested there are apparently high death rates in the pig industry there; between 60 and 100 pigs die daily in Zhulin village alone, the dfdaily.com reported, in an article carried by the People’s Daily Web site. It wasn’t clear why.
The village, in Xinfeng county, has pens for dead pigs but they’re full, the report said, quoting pig farmers and disposers in the village. Suspicions are growing that a recent crackdown by the police on the sale of pigs that have died from disease but are being illegally sold into the human food chain may be contributing to the problem, as people dump the animals in the river instead.
“In the second half of last year, the Jiaxing police investigated 12 cases across provinces of illegal buying, selling and slaughtering of ‘disease dead pigs,’ worth over a million renminbi,” the report said.
Pork, known here as “big meat,” is a favorite food in China, but pig farmers say they struggle to make enough money from the business. Farmers have in the past sold dead, diseased pigs “to make a little money,” the report quoted a farmer identified as Hong Wei as saying.
A 100-kilogram, or about 220-pound, pig sells for only about 600 renminbi, according to the article, while feed costs alone total at least 150 renminbi, farmers said. Local pig dealers have proposed that local authorities pay a small fee to farmers to recover dead pigs and help curb the illegal trade, suggesting 10 renminbi, the report said.

Pastry shop shut after food scare
Source : http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDetails.aspx?storyid=349222
By Aniqa Haider(Mar 13, 2013)
A POPULAR pastry shop in Sakhoora has been forced to close for selling expired food.
Police seized two truckloads of expired products and have taken the drivers into custody, said sources.
The Health Ministry has also launched an investigation into the shop, which has not been named as investigations are underway.
It follows several complaints from customers, who suffered from food poisoning after buying pastries from the shop, according to police sources.
"The restaurant had several complaints and a necessary action was taken to close it, before more people get sick after eating from there," they said.
"Two trucks, which brought the food and ingredients, were seized at the spot when CID and police raided the restaurant.
"Two truck drivers have also been taken into custody and investigation is ongoing.
"We have officially written to the Public Health Directorate to investigate."
The raid was conducted Monday night following a tip-off, added the sources.
"We took immediate action after receiving a call with specific information," they said.
"The owners of the shop will be summoned and questioned."

MDA Issues Salmonella Consumer Advisory for Raw Pet Food
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-recall/mda-issues-salmonella-consumer-advisory-for-raw-pet-food/
By Bill Marler (Mar 12, 2013)
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is alerting consumers to avoid feeding or handling two separate brands of poultry-based raw pet food after the MDA laboratory found Salmonella bacteria in routine sample tests. The brand varieties include:
Bravo! Raw Food Diet 2 lb. Chicken Blend for Dogs and Cats manufactured by Bravo!, LLC, of Manchester, Connecticut. This is a frozen pet food product with the production code of 06/14/12, which is located on the white tag on the end of the package. This advisory is for the 2 lb. size of Bravo! Chicken Blend with the “best used by date” of 6/12/14 only. No other products, sizes, or production dates are involved.
Turducken Canine Diet 8oz. Patties, manufactured by Steve’s Real Food, Inc., of Murray, Utah. This is a frozen pet food product with the “Use By” date code of 10/27/13 B209, which is located on the lower front panel of package.
There are no reports of human or animal illnesses associated with consumption of these products. Consumers are asked to discard any of these products they may have.
Salmonella can affect animals eating the product, and there is a risk to humans from handling contaminated products. People handling contaminated raw pet food can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to this product.
Pets with Salmonella infections may exhibit decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed this product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.
Human symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramps and fever. Symptoms usually begin within 12 to 72 hours after exposure, but can begin up to a week after exposure. Salmonella infections usually resolve in 5-7 days, but approximately 20 percent of cases require hospitalization. In rare cases, Salmonella infection can lead to death, particularly in the elderly or those with weakened immune systems. Anyone who has become ill after handling this product should see their health care provider.

Nomavirus Is Everyone’s Virus and Everyone’s Cost
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/03/nomavirus-is-everyones-virus-and-everyones-cost/
By Evelyn J. Kim(Mar 12, 2013)
Last Friday morning, Extra Bladet, a Danish Tabloid, broke the story: “Noma: 63 hit by Roskildesyge (Norovirus in Danish).” Norovirus, a highly virulent and contagious virus, causing nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, or gastroenteritis, sickened 63 out of 435 guests over a two-day period in February according to reports by The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration.
For the world’s top restaurant, this was not just a case of Noma catching the flu. The story went viral. Food websites such as Eater and Grub Street lapped up the story as soon as it was reported in Danish papers, and soon, all other established media sources, including National Public Radio, AP, UPI, The Huffington Post, ABC News and the LA Times followed suit.
While the Twittersphere was burning through its schadenfreude quota, the actual scientific details about the illness were buried under a pile of snark. Norovirus has been at epidemic levels, causing almost 21 million illnesses each year in the U.S. alone. According to the CDC, there is really no specific treatment and prevention, that is, proper hand and food hygiene, is often the best cure.
The problem is that norovirus is one tough bug. According to a paper in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, “Noroviruses are perhaps the perfect human pathogens… highly contagious, rapidly and prolifically shed, constantly evolving, evoking limited immunity, and only moderately virulent, allowing most of those infected to fully recover, thereby maintaining a large susceptible pool of hosts.” In other words, it’s a public health nightmare. Carriers often don’t know they have it or continue to carry it after they recover, thus passing it on to unsuspecting victims. It can survive at a wide range of temperatures, from below freezing up to 140F, and can survive for nearly two weeks on many surfaces. And it doesn’t need a high viral load to do its job: less than 20 viral particles are enough to cause illness. And it just needs one carrier to infect an entire community or institution.
Considering the prevalence, incidence and virulence of norovirus, it seems almost unbelievable that Noma didn’t have a previous outbreak of norovirus or have more patrons puking their guts out. What happened at Noma could have happened anywhere and everywhere, as it did in London in 2009 when 240 diners contracted the virus at the three-Michelin-starred restaurant, The Fat Duck and a Chipotle outlet near Kent State University in Ohio in 2008.
But then the question is why didn’t Noma have an outbreak earlier or have more guests holding their stomachs? Hygiene is one factor. While the Danish authorities cited hygiene problems, specifically a “lukewarm” hand washing faucet, chefs and waitstaff are given strict instructions to wash hands thoroughly with hot water and soap on a regular basis. Although norovirus has been known to withstand even a dishwasher, frequent hand washing often cuts transmission rates. But one policy that Noma has is critically important: paid sick days. The CDC has found that 89 percent of norovirus outbreaks occur in places were food is prepared and handled on a regular basis: schools, nursing homes, cruise ships and restaurants. As it takes only one infected person to cause an outbreak, keeping quarantine on ill or possibly infected workers is paramount. Noma has a strict illness policy in which any ill worker, from the office to the cleaning staff, is sent immediately home at the slightest sign of illness and is told to stay home for 48 hours after symptoms subside. And they are paid for those days.
Compare this to the United States. According to the CDC, in 2011, 12 percent of restaurant workers reported signs of norovirus. The CDC also reports that 50 percent of norovirus infections can be traced back to food service workers. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 78 percent of hotel and food service workers do not have paid sick leave. Another food service workers advocacy group, ROC (Restaurant Opportunities Center) United estimates 90 percent of food service workers lack paid sick leave. Due to the low wages and the job instability of food service work, many of America’s cooks, busboys, and servers can neither afford to stay home due to lost wages nor firing, only encouraging ill workers to come to work and infect their co-workers and patrons. Add the lack of health insurance to the absence of sick days, and you have a recipe for an ongoing epidemic.
But where is the will to change public health and labor policies to prevent such epidemics from happening? Small business owners complain that health insurance and paid sick days are too costly for them. Yet the cost of not giving workers sick days is much greater. According to the Integrated Benefits Institute, $227 billion is wasted due to lost productivity from illness. In an economy that is barely recovering from a recession, these are dollars we cannot afford to squander. According to Cornell University economist Sean Nicholson, for every dollar spent on employee health care, employers can save three dollars in costs.
While Noma tries to repair its unfairly damaged reputation, millions of other food service workers at no-name restaurants are just trying to work through another sick day. Too bad that they don’t have Eater or Grub Street gleefully sneering at their misfortune. It might be the only way that their plight and that of millions of others working without sick days will finally be able to serve you and the public better.

Carcasses: food safety concerns afloat in China
Source : http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/world/carcasses-food-safety-concerns-afloat-in-china/article4497299.ece
By Ananth Krishnan (Mar 11, 2013)
The discovery of at least 2,800 dead pigs in a major Shanghai river that is one of the city’s main water sources has alarmed residents and triggered fresh public health concerns in China amid an on-going debate about food and water safety.
Authorities said on Monday they had found a pig virus (porcine circovirus) in water samples in the Huangpu river, adding that the thousands of carcasses had likely been dumped from villages upstream where farmers were thought to be grappling with an epidemic in recent weeks.
Photographs of carcasses of the more than 2,800 dead pigs were shared widely on social media sites over the weekend, triggering alarm among residents of China’s financial centre.
"This is the water we drink! Animals' dead bodies could easily be seen in the water conservation area and it stinks!," one blogger who posted one of the first photographs of eight dead pigs floating in the river was quoted as saying by the Shanghai Daily.
Authorities sought to calm the safety fears on Monday, saying that all tests for pig-borne diseases such as foot and mouth, cholera and epidemic diarrhoea had returned negative results. The Shanghai Animal Diseases Control and Prevention Centre said the pig virus that it had found in some of the samples would not have any affect on humans.
The Shanghai government in a statement said the city's tap water was still safe to drink. While the government stressed that water quality around the water plant had not been affected as the polluted stream did not directly run through it, many residents did not appear to share the government's belief in the quality of the water. "It seems incredible to suggest water quality is normal when 3,000 dead pigs are floating in a river!," said one journalist with a local newspaper.
But as details emerged on Monday of a possible pig epidemic that had been unreported for weeks – some reports online suggested tens of thousands of pigs had died in January and February in nearby Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces – some online voices hit out at the government for not sharing information quickly enough. Bloggers pointed out that the government had responded and released information only after photographs had appeared online.
Officials fear further public outcry as the number of dead pigs is set to increase in coming days as authorities continue removing carcasses. “The number is expected to rise as there are still six barges that have not returned from collecting carcasses,” Xu Rong, director of Shanghai Songjiang District Environmental Protection Bureau, told the Global Times. “We have to act quickly to remove them all for fear of causing water pollution”.
China’s pollution problem has been at the centre of attention in recent months, with the new government that will take over this week promising to firmly deal with food, water and air pollution issues.
Only on Sunday, a major government restructuring plan announced at the on-going session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) or Parliament, which will formalise the leadership transition, proposed raising the status of the State Food and Drug Administration to a ministry-level general administration that will have more teeth to supervise food safety across the supply chain, from production to consumption.
“Overlapping of supervision from different departments and some supervision blind spots are weak links of the current food safety supervision system,” the State Council, or Cabinet, acknowledged in the plan.
The plan also specifically mentioned safety fears from pig slaughtering, underscoring the scale of the problem in China. Responsibility to ensure authorised slaughtering has been transferred from the control of the Commerce Ministry to the Agriculture Ministry, according to the plan. Supervising slaughtering has emerged as a difficult challenge for authorities. While farmers are allowed to slaugther pigs only in regulated and designated areas, supervision remains lax, as evident in the recent mass dumping of carcasses into local water bodies.

Salmonella Frogs: African Dwarf Frog Tied To Outbreak Could Still Be In Homes
Source : http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/03/11/salmonella-frogs-african-dwarf_n_2850824.html?utm_hp_ref=chicago&ir=Chicago
By Lindsey Tanner, The Associated Press
CHICAGO - They live underwater, eat bloodworms, and are promoted on pet websites. But African dwarf frogs can carry salmonella.
An outbreak tied to the frogs sickened nearly 400 people, mostly children, from 2008 to 2011.
Since these miniature amphibians can live up to 18 years, some linked to the outbreak may remain in U.S. home aquariums. That's according to government researchers in a Monday report from the journal Pediatrics.
Five outbreak-linked cases also occurred last year. No one died.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises washing hands after touching the frogs' aquarium water and says young children should not clean aquariums.
The California breeder linked to the outbreak briefly suspended distribution and co-operated with authorities.


             

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