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3/10, 2003
ISSUE:56

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METHODS

Breakthrough on food hygiene
news.bbc.co.uk
The pressure chamber also works on products like ham
Northern Ireland scientists are trumpeting a food safety breakthrough which promises to put bacteria under pressure.
They have been working to find a way to keep food fresh without resorting to chemical preservatives.
The answer it seems is to put them under pressure - big pressure. Scientists at Queen's University in Belfast believe the answer is a pressure chamber which kills the bugs, but nothing else. Fresh flavour
Dr Margaret Patterson of the Department of Agriculture said the treatment of orange juice had been a big success.
"Pressure will destroy many of the bacteria and the yeasts that normally spoil orange juice - but will not affect the flavour and the colour," she said. "This means you will have a freshly tasting juice for up to three weeks in the fridge, with that very fresh flavour and no preservatives." However, the pressure chamber also works on products like ham and shellfish. "Oysters, for example, are quite hard to open and are sometimes quite dodgy in terms of food safety," said Dr Patterson. Dr Patterson said orange juice treatment was a success
"The pressure will help the shell to loosen and meat to fall out."
At 45,000 lbs per square inch, a bug's life is no life in the laboratory.

Dr Don Johnston of the Department of Agriculture said the pressure was equivalent to the weight of three elephants on a strawberry.

"It is important to achieve these high pressures in order to make the food safe," he said.

Food Safety Magazine Website Open
http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com

Food Safety for Your Family
Thu Mar 6, 7:00 PM ET
KidsHealth.org
http://story.news.yahoo.com
You probably have lots of concerns about the foods you give to your child. Is it a nutritious meal? Will he eat it? Is there too much fat? But one thing that may not cross your mind as you're slicing and dicing in the kitchen is food safety.Why is food safety important? And how can you be sure your kitchen and the foods you prepare in it are safe? Keep reading to find out. Why Food Safety Is Important
Proper food preparations are necessary to prevent the spread of bacteria, such as E. coli, and foodborne illnesses, such as salmonellosis, campylobacter infections , and listeriosis. These preparations include knowing how to select foods in the grocery store, how to store them in your kitchen, and how to clean your kitchen.

In the Grocery Store
The grocery store is your first stop on the way to food safety. To ensure the freshness of your refrigerated items (meat, dairy, eggs, and fish, for example), put these in your cart last. If your drive home is longer than 1 hour, you might want to consider putting these items in a cooler to keep them fresh.

When purchasing packaged meat, poultry, or fish, be sure to check the expiration date on the label. Even if the expiration date is still acceptable, don't buy fish or meats that have any unusual odors or look strange. Ground beef should be red, not any shade of brown; a whole fish is fresh when its eyes are clear, not milky. In the refrigerator, put meat, poultry, and fish in separate plastic bags so that their juices do not get on your other foods. It's also important to check inside egg cartons. You should make sure the eggs, which should be grade A or AA, are clean and free from cracks.

Don't buy:
fruit with broken skin (bacteria can enter through the opening in the skin and contaminate the fruit)
unpasteurized ciders or juices (they can contain harmful bacteria)
prestuffed turkeys or chickens

In the Kitchen
Before you put the groceries away, check the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer. Your refrigerator should be set for 40 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius), and your freezer should be set to 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius) or lower. These chilly temperatures will help keep any bacteria in your foods from multiplying.

The first items you should put away are those that belong in the refrigerator and freezer. Keep eggs in the original carton on a shelf in your refrigerator (most refrigerator doors do not keep eggs cold enough).

Raw meat, poultry, or fish should be cooked or frozen within 2 days. Raw ground meats can be stored in the freezer for a maximum of 4 months; cooked meats can be frozen for a maximum of 3 months.

It's important to refrigerate any leftovers as soon as possible after cooking. If left to sit at room temperature, bacteria in the food will multiply quickly. To facilitate the cooling process, you might want to divide the leftovers into smaller containers. Also, remove stuffing from poultry after cooking and store separately in the refrigerator. Consume leftovers within 3 to 5 days or throw them out.

Follow these handling and cooking guidelines to prevent foodborne illness in your family:thaw meat, poultry, and fish in the refrigerator or microwave, never at room temperature
cook thawed meat, poultry, and fish immediately
throw away any leftover uncooked meat, poultry, or fish marinades cook meat until the center is no longer pink and the juices run clear cook crumbled ground beef or poultry until it's no longer pink use a meat thermometer to tell whether meats are cooked thoroughly - most thermometers indicate at which temperature the type of meat is safely cooked, or you can refer to the recommendations below (place thermometer in the thickest portion of the meat and away from bones or fat)
scrub all fruits and vegetables with plain water to remove any pesticide residue or dirt remove the outer leaves of leafy greens, such as spinach or lettuce

ANTIMICROBIAL TESTING METHODS & PROCEDURES (ATMP)
March 6, 2003
EPA, Office of Pesticide Programs
http://www.epa.gov/oppbead1/methods/atmpindex.htm
The Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for antimicrobial testing methods describe the methods used by the OPP Microbiology Laboratory to determine the efficacy of hard surface disinfectants against Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella choleraesuis, and Mycobacterium bovis
BCG. Methods are available for liquid, spray, and towelette formulations. The SOPs were derived from official AOAC (AOAC International) methods. The specific AOAC method is cited in each SOP. The SOP for testing towelette products is a modification of AOAC's Germicidal Spray Products Test
(961.02). In addition to the test method SOPs, which may be downloaded from the ATMP Index, several SOPs which support the testing activities are listed (e.g., SOPs for carrier screening, carrier counts, test microbe maintenance). Copies of those SOP's may be requested from the contacts listed below.
For questions regarding the SOPs, contact : Technical Content: Stephen Tomasino at 410-305-2976 or tomasino.stephen@epa.gov Copies: Luisa Samalot Gaud at 410-305-2984 or samalot.luisa@epa.gov

Heavy Metal Fish
BY NANCY SHUTE http://story.news.yahoo.com/
Fish is good for you. So sushi-lovers in California may be surprised by the new signs popping up in supermarkets. "Warning! Pregnant and nursing women, women who may become pregnant, and young children should not eat the following fish: swordfish, shark, king mackerel, tilefish. They should also limit their consumption of other fish, including fresh or frozen tuna."
The supermarket warnings, mandated by the state attorney general, are the latest effort to reduce the risks posed by mercury, a heavy metal that contaminates almost all seafood. New concerns about its possible role in heart disease and immune system disorders are adding to the well-known dangers of mental retardation and developmental problems in children exposed in the womb. Fish may be superb "brain food," high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, but its benefits, we now find, may come with some perilous costs.
The alarm comes just when plans to reduce the main source of this mercury--emissions from coal-fired power plants--are being scaled back by the Bush administration. At the same time, more and more Americans are heeding the public-health message that eating fish helps combat obesity, heart disease, stroke, and other major ills. Federal agencies are further adding to the confusion by squabbling over how much mercury a person can safely eat. "It's complicated," says Lynn Goldman, a pediatrician and professor of environmental health at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. "With food safety you're not just talking about toxicity but about nutritional benefit."Toxic food chain. Fish is very nutritious, and mercury is unquestionably toxic. In the 1950s, women in Minimata, Japan, exposed to high levels in fish gave birth to children with grievous birth defects. Since then, it has become clear that even low levels of mercury exposure in women can cause neurological problems in their children, affecting language, hearing, and movement. Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (news - web sites) estimates that 8 percent of American women of childbearing age have blood mercury levels that could endanger their children. As a result, over 60,000 children are born each year at risk of lifelong problems, according to the National Academy of Sciences (news - web sites). Young children also can be harmed by mercury in the food they eat, because their brains are still actively developing. (The effects of childhood exposure have caused parental concerns about mercury in vaccines, too. Story, Page 44.)Fish pick up methylmercury, a form of the element that binds to the protein in their bodies, from microorganisms in oceans and lakes. As big fish eat little fish, they absorb the methylmercury in their prey. Thus big, old fish such as swordfish, shark, and tuna carry more of the metal than salmon and shrimp. In California, consumer groups tested fish bought from seven stores, including Albertson's, Safeway, and Trader Joe's. Mercury levels in swordfish, tuna, and shark exceeded a statute's draft threshold. A lawsuit filed by the state attorney general in January prompted the new warning notices.It's no small irony that the fish that tend to be most heavily contaminated with methylmercury are also the most expensive. After a patient suffering from hair loss was diagnosed with high methylmercury levels, Jane Hightower, a primary care physician in San Francisco, wondered if the rest of her population of doctors and dotcommers were putting themselves at risk by feasting on sushi and other gourmet fare. In a study to be published in the April Environmental Health Perspectives, she tested 89 patients and found that the majority had blood mercury levels above the Environmental Protection Agency's safety threshold of 5 micrograms per liter; one registered a whopping 89.5 micrograms. "People were ill," she says, with symptoms including fatigue, headache, memory loss, and joint aches. Mercury levels generally dropped after patients abstained from fish for six months.But for most Americans, sushi-grade tuna is not on the menu. Canned tuna, the kind you can get for 39 cents, often is. Each year Americans eat 3.4 pounds of canned tuna per person--far more than any other fish. The Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites) says that canned tuna usually has about half the mercury of fresh tuna. That's largely because chunk light tuna comes from smaller fish than those used for fresh fish. But in 2000, the state of Florida found that 43 percent of the canned tuna it tested would be questionable under EPA guidelines. Ten states now urge women of childbearing age to restrict consumption to one or two cans a week. (For example, see http://www.doh.wa.gov/fish/Lim itsGraph.pdf.) Conflicting advice. Figuring what's safe is complicated, because it depends on a person's body weight, sex, and age, and also on the amount of mercury in a particular fish, which varies widely. And the government isn't helping much. The FDA allows five times as much mercury in fish as does the EPA; a 2000 report by the National Research Council (news - web sites) backed the EPA's more conservative approach. In 2001, the FDA urged women of childbearing age and small children to avoid eating tilefish, swordfish, shark, and king mackerel (box). But the FDA has so far failed to issue guidelines on tuna and children's consumption, even though its own advisory board asked it to do so last year. David Acheson, chief medical officer for the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, says the agency hopes to act by fall. The FDA plans to rely on public education, rather than regulation, to reduce the risk, he says. "Our whole approach to tuna and methylmercury is to make sure that the folks who need to limit their exposure get our message.""The FDA is falling flat," says Jane Houlihan, research director of the Environmental Working Group, which is studying the health aspects of canned tuna. "Canned tuna is very important. It accounts for about half of the mercury in the public's diet." She recommends canned salmon as a cheap and nutritious, low-mercury alternative. Researchers are only now starting to look into how methylmercury exposure may affect people through the life span. Recent studies, including one in last November's New England Journal of Medicine (news - web sites), suggest that men with elevated mercury levels may have more heart attacks. Animal studies indicate that low-level mercury exposure may make people more susceptible to autoimmune diseases and other immune problems. Hightower advises her patients to quit eating grilled tuna every single day for dinner and get more variety in their diet. "We're omnivores," she says. "Eat everything, but not a whole lot of anything." She still eats sushi. "But I don't eat it very often."

Which fish is safe?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers mercury levels below 1 part per million acceptable, though it warns against shark and mackerel, too. The Environmental Protection Agency has a lower threshold, about 0.2 ppm.
FISH MERCURY (PARTS PER MILLION)
Tilefish 1.45
Swordfish 1.00
Shark 0.96
King mackerel 0.73
Largemouth bass 0.52
Tuna (fresh or frozen) 0.32
Tuna (canned) 0.17
Salmon 0
Sources: FDA, EPA

ANTIMICROBIAL DRUG RESISTANCE IN ISOLATES OF SALMONELLA ENTERICA FROM CASES
OF SALMONELLOSIS IN HUMANS IN EUROPE IN 2000: RESULTS OF INTERNATIONAL
MULTI-CENTRE SURVEILLANCE

February 2003
Eurosurveillance Monthly 2003;08: 29-54
http://www.eurosurveillance.org/
EJ Threlfall 1, IST. Fisher 2, C. Berghold 3, P. Gerner-Smidt 4, H.Tsch?e5, M. Cormican 6, I. Luzzi 7, F. Schnieder 8, W. Wannet 9, J. Machado10, G. Edwards 11
1. Public Health Laboratory Service, Laboratory of Enteric Pathogens,London, United-Kingdom
2. Enter-net Hub, Gastrointestinal Diseases Division, PHLS-CDSC, London,United-Kingdom
3. National Salmonella Reference Laboratory, Graz, Austria
4. Dept of Gastrointestinal Infections, Statens Serum Institut,
Copenhagen, Denmark 5. Robert Koch-Institut, Wernigerode, Germany6. National University o Ireland, Galway, Ireland
7. Istituto Superiore di Sanita, Laboratory of Medical Bacteriology &Mycology, Roma, Italy8. Laboratoire National de Sant? Luxembourg9. National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, DiagnosticLaboratory for Infectious Diseases and Perinatal Screening, Bilthoven, the Netherlands
10. Instituto Nacional de Saude, Lisbon, Portugal
11. Scottish Salmonella Reference Laboratory, Stobhill Hospital, Glasgow,United-Kingdom

ABSTRACT:
The Enter-net surveillance system received results of antimicrobial sensitivity tests for isolates from over 27 000 cases of human salmonellosis in 2000 in 10 European countries. Almost 40% of isolates were resistant to at least one antimicrobial, with 18% multiresistant. Resistance to
ampicillin, streptomycin, sulphonamides and tetracyclines was common, with over 20% of isolates resistant to at least one of these antimicrobials.Clinical resistance to ciprofloxacin was rare, with only 0.5% of isolates exhibiting such resistance (MIC >1.0 mg/l). Resistance to nalidixic acidcoupled with a decreased susceptibility to ciprofloxacin (MIC 0.25-1.0 mg/l)
was more common, with 14% of isolates showing these properties. Resistance to third-generation cephalosporins was rare with only 0.6% of isolates resistant to cefotaxime. In all countries multiple resistance was most common in Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium, with 51% of isolates
multiresistant in total. In England and Wales multiple resistance was also prevalent in S. Virchow and S. Hadar, whereas in other countries multiple resistance was common in serotypes such as S. Blockley.

 

Current JOB Openings
3/08 QA Manager
3/08 Quality Assurance Manager
3/08 Quality Control Supervisor
3/08 Director Food Safety
3/08 Quality Control Tech to $23k+ - Nutritional -
3/08 R&D Chef/Food Scientist

3/07 Quality Assurance Manager
3/07 Quality Assurance Technologist -
3/07 Quality Assurance Manager - Poultry
3/07 Director QA & Food Safety (ConAgra)
3/06 Production Superintendent - Food Industry
3/06 Quality Assurance Specialist
3/06 Manager of Quality - Dairy Products

Current Outbreak
03/10. NOROVIRUS, FOODBORNE - USA (CALIFORNIA): SUSPECTED
03/09. FLA. OFFICIALS WARN OF BACTERIA OUTBREAK
03/08. Food poisoning strikes down 172 students in Vietnam
03/07. India: Adi-Dravidar students ill after lunch
03/05. LAW FIRMS JOIN FORCES OVER FOOD POISONING CASE
03/05. TRICHINELLOSIS ¡© POLAND



LAW FIRMS JOIN FORCES OVER FOOD POISONING CASE

March 5, 2003
The Ottawa Citizen B6
The Ottawa law firm Nelligan O'Brien Payne and the Toronto law firm McPhadden Samac Merner Darling will, according to this story, join forces to argue a class-action lawsuit on behalf of 536 people who were sickened after eating store-bought salad in the two cities last year. The story says that the people, many of them from Ottawa, were believed to have been infected by shigella bacteria, which can cause diarrhea, cramps, vomiting and nausea, after they ate a Greek-style pasta salad made by Tiffany Gate Foods Inc. of Toronto. The salad was sold at Ontario grocery stores, including Loblaws, Loeb, A&P and Your Independent Grocer stores. A statement from the two law firms yesterday said they decided to work together because two class-action lawsuits can't proceed from the same claim. Tiffany Gate president Adolph Zarovinsky has said the company will defend itself against the legal action. He has said tests done by the company found no sign of shigella contamination in its pasta.

Current Food Recall
03/10. Minnesota Firm Recalls Beef Trim Products for Possible E. Coli O157:H7
03/07. Texas Firm Expands Recall Of Chili Con Carne For Undeclared Ingredients And Allergen
03/07. Undeclared tree nuts in BERTOZZI EPICURE OLD GENOA FRESH BASIL PESTO
03/07. Pennsylvania Firm Recalls Pork Chops For Possible Listeria Contamination
03/06. Galil Importing Corp. Recalls Sun Dried Tomatoes in Oil Due to Undeclared Sulfites
03/05. ALLERGY ALERT - Undeclared milk protein in THURIES NOIR 90%
03/04. ALLERGY ALERT - CATELLI BROAD NOODLES may contain undeclared egg
03/03. Salmonella fears prompt milk recall
03/02. LE COUREUR DES BOIS brand CANNED. SALMON in MIGUASHA SAUCE
03/01. Ohio Firm Recalls Canned Soup Products Because Of Undeclared Allergen


Current USDA/FDA News
FDA Proposes Labeling and Manufacturing Standards for All Dietary Supplements
FDA Proposes Labeling and Manufacturing Standards for All Dietary Supplements: Fact Sheet
FDA Proposes Labeling and Manufacturing Standards for All Dietary Supplements: Backgrounder
FSIS Withdraws Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on ¡®Cattle¡¯ and ¡®Beef¡¯ Definitions
Positive E. coli Test Results: Updated March 8, 2003
FSIS Constituent Update/Alert: Updated March 8, 2003
OPPD (Policy) What's New Page: Updated March 7, 2003
Food Safety Information Center

Current Food Safety News
03/10. PARENTS UNAWARE OF LETHAL ALLERGIES, STUDY FINDS: NATIONWIDE
03/10. UPDATED LIST OF RESTAURANTS AND RETAILERS MARKETING IRRADIAT
03/10. GOV'T WRANGLING BLOCKS NATIONAL MEAT CODE
03/10. ATLANTA SEAFOOD DISTRIBUTOR FINED $114,000 OVER OYSTERS
03/10. Heavy Metal Fish
03/10. EU: Commission makes acrylamide research available online
03/09. FDA COMMISSIONER DR. MARK MCCLELLAN TO SPEAK AT THE 2003 FOO
03/09. ANTIMICROBIAL TESTING METHODS & PROCEDURES (ATMP)
03/09. HE IS THE EGGMAN, VIDEOTAPE SHOWS
03/09. RESTAURANT INSPECTIONS INCREASE; COUNCIL TO CONSIDER A
03/08. Portugal pledges to crack down on use of banned antibiotic i
03/08. Lab awarded to test for GE ingredients in food
03/08. STORE HANDED RECORD FINE
03/08. Report claims FSA boss 'is pro-GM'
03/08. Beef and pork proteins found in imported chicken
03/07. Food Safety Information Center
03/07. JOB: HEALTH OUTCOMES EPIDEMIOLOGIST
03/07. SALMONELLA ENTERIC INFECTIONS IN GIPUZKOA, SPAIN, 1983-2000
03/07. THE SALM-GENE PROJECT - A EUROPEAN COLLABORATION FOR DNA FIN
03/07. INVESTIGATION OF HUMAN INFECTIONS WITH SALMONELLA ENTERICA S
03/07. ANTIMICROBIAL DRUG RESISTANCE IN ISOLATES OF SALMONELLA ENTE
03/07. Food Safety for Your Family
03/07. EU: Food safety should be EU priority, say citizens of futur
03/07. Misinformation on Biotechnology Threatens Africa's Hungry
03/07. European study links food irradiation to cancer
03/07. Transtasman agency push
03/06. ACTIVE PACKAGING TECHNOLOGIES WITH AN EMPHASIS ON ANTIMICROB
03/06. TRACEABILITY TASK FORCE
03/06. SAN PABLO INSTITUTES SAFE FOOD RULES
03/06. RFPS ASKED FOR IN FOODBORNE PATHOGEN RESEARCH
03/06. CLEARING THE CONFUSION; FOOD-SAFETY EXPERTS CALL FOR STANDAR
03/06. NO SILVER BULLET; EXPERTS DISCUSS NEW WAYS TO ERADICATE E. C
03/06. School, nursing home contractor adds irradiated beef to menu
03/06. FSIS proposes to cut lab fees, raise everything else
03/06. Agricultural and Co-op Ministry will promote exports of GMO-
03/06. U.S. consumer groups to sue USDA over GMO medicine crops
03/06. Imported beef advice
03/06. Water System Cutting Diarrheal Disease
03/06. Food safety experts publish annual report
03/06. Commission to produce guidelines on issue of GMO crop coexis
03/06. THAILAND: Monosodium glutamate banned from school meals
03/06. UK: FSA warns of nitrofurans in Portuguese poultry
03/06. Food Safety Workshop



SALMONELLA TEST DEVELOPER TO WORK AT UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS

INCUBATOR
March 6, 2003
Knight-Ridder Tribune
Don Dodson, The News-Gazette, Champaign-Urbana, Ill. CHAMPAIGN, Ill.-- Myung Kim is, according to this story, developing processes that can quickly identify the presence of salmonella, and his company, Kim Laboratories, is one of six companies so far that have agreed to lease space in EnterpriseWorks, the University of Illinois' new business incubator at 60 Hazelwood Drive in Champaign. The 43,000-square-foot building in the UI Research Park should be ready for occupancy in about a month. The story goes on to say that food processing companies can use the swabs to take surface samples from chicken and other foods. The swabs are then put in flexible test tubes, where they'll come in contact with a reagent liquid.
The swabs are squeezed to extract any salmonella present. A specially designed test strip is then placed in the test tube, and the strip indicates
in five minutes whether salmonella is present. Another product, the Insti-Tech filter, would be used by hospitals to determine whether patients
have contracted salmonella. Stool samples are taken, and when the filter paper comes in contact with them, it indicates the presence of salmonella.
Kim estimates the market for Insti-Tech products at $140 million a year in the United States alone. He believes he can provide the technology for about
$4 a test. Some processing facilities currently pay up to $25 per test, he said. Among the possible users: meat processors such as Tyson Foods and ConAgra and dairy products processors such as Kraft Foods.

Receives Approval for Innovative Food Safety Technology
http://www.stockhouse.ca/news/
Company set to launch first Genevision(TM) test - Warnex Inc. announced that the evaluation of the independent validation of its proprietary food safety test for the detection of Salmonella had been completed and that it had been granted 'Laboratory Procedure'status in Canada. The Company is now set to market its pathogen detection platform.

The test for the detection of Salmonella uses Warnex's proprietary Genevision technology and represents the first in what is expected to be a series of Microbiological Methods Committee (MMC) evaluations for various pathogens including Listeria and E.coli O157:H7.

The current annual worldwide market to test for food-borne pathogens is estimated at $5 billion.

'Having achieved this landmark milestone we can now launch a commercial product into a lucrative market opportunity'said Mark Busgang, President and CEO of Warnex. 'This validation from an internationally respected organization such as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) provides an independent confirmation of the capability of the Genevision technology.'

Warnex now intends to begin a limited rollout of Genevision to select customers to expand its installation and logistical experience, prior to a broader rollout in the second half of 2003.

The 'Laboratory Procedure'status was granted by the MMC, Health Canada, which based its decision on the thorough evaluation of the test and Genevision technology performed by the CFIA. The decision is based on rigorous statistical criteria set by the MMC.

A more detailed description of the test procedure can be found in Volume 3 of the Health Canada Compendium of Analytical Methods, or at http://www.hc- sc.gc.ca/food-aliment/mh-dm/mhe-dme/compendium/volume_3/e_index.html.