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FoodHACCP Newsletter
05/04 2015 ISSUE:650

Yelp to the Rescue in Los Angeles Salmonella Outbreak
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/yelp-to-the-rescue-in-los-angeles-salmonella-outbreak/#.VUbUT9iJjs1
By Patti Waller (May 3, 2015)
Over the last week, Marler Clark was been retained by two friends who both ate together at Don Antonio’s in mid-March and developed Salmonella.
According to Yelp, a lot more people did as well.
Hannah:
My co-workers and I have been fans of Don Antonio’s lunch specials for years, until now.
We had lunch there Thursday, March 19. One of my coworkers got so sick that she spent three days in the hospital. My other coworker and I got hit with the illness a few days later and not as badly, but we’re still miserable. I am shocked to read the other reviews of people getting sick and am so upset that this was preventable. I will avoid Don Antonio’s at all costs now. It’s not worth the risk of a trip to the hospital.
Jose:
Don’t go there . On Friday March 20 2015 5 of my co-workers and my self we went to have lunch together and now we all have gone to emergency room! Because of diarrhea vomiting head ache fever and much more! But the worst part is that we went so see the doctor and we are still the same! Now I don’t know what to do because I have tried everything and nothing work.
Scarlett:
Is management aware that several customers, including myself got very ill? I went here on March 20 for lunch.  Shortly after I got very sick.  I went to my doctor and then to the hospital.  It is salmonella.  I am so angry.. I read the other reviews here so I’m wondering if management is aware? !
Dionne:
BEWARE! I see others have already posted but my daughter and I ate here on 3/19 and she got salmonella. As of 4/3 she is still ill. I’m horribly upset to see others wound up sick too; I am posting in hopes no one goes there.
Golden T.:
FOOD POISONING!
As with the other Yelp reviewers that recently went to Don Antonio’s for lunch, my two friends and I also got sick.  We ate there on Friday, March 20th.  I ended up in the ER for several hours, went through two bags of IV for hydration, took pain medication, anti-nausea medication and antibiotics. I just recently started to feel a little better but still not 100%.
My friend took food home for her family.  Her 3 y/o and 14 y/o also got extremely ill.  She and her 14 y/o went to Urgent Care and she took her youngest to a pediatrician.
Our other friend, who has a new baby, was also very ill and is struggling to recover.
This is worthy of a Department of Health investigation.  For my sick compatriots, I hope that all of us can fully recover from this.
Cassandra S.:
My boyfriend recently got food poisoning or so we thought it was just food poisoning after he ate lunch at the restaurant last Friday. He’s been bed ridden since Friday and it’s now Wednesday. We’ve been to the hospital twice and to the doctor’s twice. Finally, we received a call from the Dr. that he got salmonella. Not freaking cool Don Antonois. Really disgusting.
Veronica L:
My Husband and 3 of his co-workers all ended up with Food Poisoning after having lunch at this place.  We spent the weekend at Urgent Care, my husband had diarrhea, vomiting, and temperature of 103.4. Him and his co-workers all have missed work due to the same.  I would not recommend this place at all! We all think they recycle their salsa.
Andrea M.:
Salmonella!  My friend are here on March 20, 2015 and became very sick. The sickness lasted for one week.  Had to go to the hospital multiple times. Test came back as salmonella.  Beware – don’t want this happening to anyone else.
Todd H.:
Salmonella!  To everybody who has been sick from eating at Don Antonio’s, go to the hospital immediately because it is Salmonella.  It was the worst week of my life.  Hopefully, nobody else has to go through what I went through.
Leonel Z.:
Warning do not go to this restaurant…
My friends and I came to this restaurant last week on Friday March 20 2015 and we all ended up at the emergency room with a really bad bacteria and didn’t know what it was… They gave me the results today and they said i have salmonella. Eat at your own risk.
And, one from Trip Advisor:
Ms. L:
“SALMONELLA POISONING. Don’t go here”
We have eaten here over 15 years and I was horrified to find out my friend and I got Salmonella poisoning there on March 20, 2015. It’s unacceptable that a Los Angeles restaurant with an “A” rating can be delivering salmonella to its customers for several days. I’ve just discovered others online reviews (see Yelp) confirming the same thing. It’s a disgusting illness, worse than standard food poisoning and serious. Whatever they did, too many people got sick so they should be investigated to find out what’s going on there. It’s an extremely popular restaurant, very successful and there is no excuse for such an incident. Shame on you Don Antonio’s, what happened to all of us who ate there that week could have been life threatening, words cannot describe my disappointment.

Milk Makers Fest Mixed E. Coli and School Children at Fairgrounds
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/milk-makers-fest-mixed-e-coli-and-school-children-at-fairgrounds/
By News Desk (May 2, 2015)
It was the 22nd annual Milk Makers Festival in Whatcom County, Washington, and 25 Lynden High School students helped set up a hay maze to go with a petting zoo, scavenger hunt and activities for younger kids to learn about raising calves and milking cows. When more than 1,300 first graders and their chaperones arrived for the three-day fest at Northwest Fairgrounds late last month, they also were joined by invisible pathogens from animal feces that caused an outbreak of potentially fatal E. coli infections, including a dreaded complication known as HUS E. coli.
Lawyers for the childrens’ families, scientists from the Whatcom County Health Department, state epidemiologists — even experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — are now trying to determine what went wrong. At least 36 children have been sickened and some hospitalized. While most were first-graders, the event host — Whatcom County Dairy Women — has confirmed that E. coli stomach illness also hit at least one of the high school volunteers.
“An obvious focal point is the petting zoo and any associated animal exhibits,” said E. coli lawyer Fred Pritzker, who represents families and individuals sickened in food poisoning outbreaks and petting zoo outbreaks. “If you’re an event manager or school official, you have to go the extra mile with safeguards to protect the kids.”
According to the Whatcom County Dairy Women Facebook page, the organization has received continuing comments about whether hand-washing stations were adequate. “We want everyone to know that all the children were required to wash their hands with anti-bacterial soap and water in addition to using hand sanitizers. There are continuing comments here about hand sanitizers not killing E.coli. Soap and water AND hand alcohol based hand sanitizers were used at the Milk Makers Fest,” the Facebook entry said.
We are investigating the Milk Makers outbreak. If your child was sickened, we can help.
Officials repeatedly have said that first-graders from all Whatcom County public schools attended the event. The nine districts are Bellingham School District, Blaine School District, Concrete School District, Ferndale School District, Lynden School District, Meridian School District, Nooksack Valley School District, Mount Baker School District and Sedro Woolley School District. Many of the districts have alerted parents to the outbreak and Bellingham officials confirmed that first-graders attended the Milk Makers Fest from the following elementary schools: Parkview, Birchwood, Sunnyland and Cordata. Additionally, the Blaine School District has publicly confirmed that one of the illnesses in the outbreak has been confirmed at Blaine Primary School.
If your child attended the Milk Makers Fest and developed diarrhea before May 1, please take your child to your regular health care provider for evaluation and testing. Doctors and nurses in the greater Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Blaine areas and beyond have been alerted to the outbreak and will be ready to test for the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7.
Raw milk has been associated with many past E. coli outbreaks. But the host of the Milk Makers Fest is on record as saying that only commercially made, pasteurized milk was available to the children.

Study finds guidance improves food safety practices at school, community gardens
Source : http://phys.org/news/2015-05-guidance-food-safety-school-gardens.html
By Matt Shipman (May 1, 2015)
School and community gardens have become increasingly popular in recent years, but the people managing and working in these gardens are often unfamiliar with food safety practices that reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Now researchers have developed guidelines that address how to limit risk in these gardens - and a pilot study shows that the guidelines make a difference.
"People involved with these gardens are passionate about healthy eating, food security and helping people connect to where their food comes from," says Ashley Chaifetz, lead author of a paper describing the work and its effect on school and community gardening practices. "But they often don't have formal training in how to limit exposure to foodborne pathogens. We developed tools to help educate these gardeners, and our research shows that the tools are effective." Chaifetz is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, but worked in the lab of NC State associate professor and food safety specialist Ben Chapman at the time of the study.
The project, led by Chapman, was borne out of discussions with public school and park officials who asked for food safety guidelines for school and community gardens. The research team then developed a document that lists food safety risks, gives specific instructions on how to limit those risks, and explains how the risk mitigation efforts work.
For example, gardening involves working with your hands, creating the possibility of transferring pathogens to fresh produce. To limit that risk, people should wash their hands before working in the garden - not just after digging in the dirt. So, gardeners should have access to handwashing facilities (and should use them), in order to wash off any pathogens.
The guidelines also offer garden managers advice on how to share the recommendations with volunteers who work in the garden.
Once the guidelines were complete, the researchers wanted to know how and whether the guidance would influence behavior. To find out, they launched a project with 10 community gardens and 10 school gardens.
The researchers conducted on-site, observation-based assessments of food safety practices at all 20 gardens. They then gave the guidelines and related supplies - such as hand soap - to the garden managers.
Two months later, the researchers went back to the gardens to conduct a follow-up assessment.
Sixteen of the 20 gardens improved their overall scores in terms of their use of best practices.
In particular, the researchers found significant improvement in three areas: handwashing; addressing the safety of the site's water supply; and assessing pre-existing hazards at the site, such as potential soil contamination.
"There's still room for additional improvement in their food safety practices, but it's important to note that we saw real advances in risk reduction simply by providing the guidelines," Chapman says. "We're exploring additional, follow-up measures, such as webinars and YouTube videos, to see if they lead to additional improvements."
The guidance, "A Handbook for Beginning and Veteran Garden Organizers: How to Reduce Food Safety Risks," is freely available online.
The paper, "Implementation of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) in School and Community Gardens," was published online April 30 in the journal Food Protection Trends.

 

 



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Bird flu awaiting confirmation at five more Iowa farms
Source : http://www.fooddive.com/news/bird-flu-awaiting-confirmation-at-five-more-iowa-farms/393113/
By Carolyn Heneghan (May 1, 2015)
Dive Brief:
•Tests for the H5N2 bird flu strain are on their way to the USDA to confirm whether five more Iowa farms have been contaminated by the virus, including one commercial egg facility that contains up to 5.5 million birds, which would be the country's biggest outbreak.
•If these tests are confirmed, the total number of birds affected could reach more than 20 million, the highest death toll ever for a bird flu outbreak in the U.S.
•One of these farms is a chicken broiler breeding farm. It only houses about 19,000 birds, but what is particularly worrisome is that broiler breeding farms are known for having tight biosecurity measures in place.
Dive Insight:
With no end in sight — and instead a propensity to get worse — the bird flu is a major concern for the poultry industry and the food companies who source their meats from these farms. Post Holdings, Inc. and Hormel Foods Corp. have already been directly affected by bird flu outbreaks on their farms, and one outbreak in Arkansas led to tumbling stock prices for Tyson Foods Inc. and Pilgrim's Pride Corp.
These likely won't be the only companies affected by the virus, it's just a matter of when.
Most cases of the bird flu have been the H5N2 strain, but the H5N8 strain has also been reported in California and Idaho.
Recommended Reading
Reuters: More 'probable' bird flu cases in Iowa, outbreak could be U.S. biggest
 The Des Moines Register: Bird flu strikes another 5.5 million Iowa chickens

Update: 18 Lab-Confirmed E. Coli Cases, 5 Hospitalized in Washington State
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/04/washington-first-graders-sickened-by-e-coli-after-attending-dairy-fest/#.VUbUvtiJjs1
By News Desk (April 30, 2015)
The latest reported case count in the E. coli outbreak in Washington state is 18 lab-confirmed cases, with five of those people hospitalized, and another 18 individuals exhibiting symptoms of the infection but whose lab results were not yet available on Friday.
Most of those sickened are first-grade students from five local school districts who attended a dairy festival in Lynden, WA, last week. However, some adults and older children who attended the festival are also among those who became ill.
Whatcom County Health Department officials in Bellingham said that they are continuing to investigate the cause of the outbreak, which has been identified as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli.
The story posted April 29 follows:
According to the latest information from the Whatcom County Health Department in Bellingham, WA, there are now six area children sickened by E. coli bacteria after attending a dairy festival in Lynden, WA, last week. Two are in the hospital, said Greg Stern, county health officer.
Five of those sickened are first-graders, and the sixth is an older child who was reportedly involved in setting up the Milk Makers Fest but who was not on a field trip with the other students.
Four of the confirmed cases are Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), and the other two individuals are apparently not confirmed cases but have symptoms consistent with E. coli infection.
The original story posted April 28 follows:
The Whatcom County Health Department in Bellingham, WA, is investigating an E. coli outbreak involving at least three area first-graders and potentially a fourth child.
The three cases of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) were confirmed by laboratory testing after the children attended the Milk Makers Fest this past week at the fairgrounds in Lynden, WA. As of Monday evening, none of the children was hospitalized, according to media reports.
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-petting-zoo-image1008725More than 1,000 first-graders and accompanying adults attended the event held April 20-24 where the students could learn about farming and pet farm animals. They also were offered pasteurized chocolate milk.
While the source of the outbreak has not yet been identified, Whatcom County Health Officer Greg Stern said that nothing had been ruled out. He noted that the main sources of E. coli are contaminated food and/or water and contact with livestock.
Whatcom County Dairy Women, which sponsored the event, stated on the group’s Facebook page that hand sanitizers were provided for the children at various locations, including entering and existing the trailer containing the farm animals.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to the children, their families and loved ones. While we have not confirmed that this educational event is the source of the illness, we are deeply concerned for their quick recovery,” stated Jackie Blok, the group’s president.
Any child who attended the Milk Makers Fest and begins to show symptoms of E. coli infection should be taken to a health care provider, the group added. Infection with E. coli bacteria typically causes diarrhea (often bloody), vomiting and stomach cramps.
Both the Blaine School District in Blaine, WA, and the Lynden School District have posted health alerts on their websites. One of the sickened children is a student at Blaine Primary School, according to that district’s notice posted Tuesday. The Lynden School District posted a letter Tuesday to parents and guardians from the county health department.

Food safety solutions you may not know about
Source : http://www.fooddive.com/news/food-safety-solutions-you-may-not-know-about/392959/
By David Oliver (April 30, 2015)
Because food safety is a critical issue for manufacturers, companies are targeting the industry with products and services to help combat food safety dilemmas.
Recent issues, like the Blue Bell and Jeni's listeria scares, along with impending FSMA regulation, are current food safety topics demanding attention. FSMA in particular was the focus of much discussion at the Food Safety Summit, as well as in Food Dive's interview with Roberta Wagner, the FDA's deputy director for regulatory Affairs for the center for food safety and applied nutrition?.
Here’s a roundup of companies offering safety solutions as well as discussing current food safety issues:
PURE Bioscience
PURE Bioscience’s Pure Hard Surface was put to the test last fall when it was called on by Dr. James L. Marsden, a professor of food safety and security at Kansas State University, to remove listeria from a closed processing plant in the Chicago area and succeeded. Though the FDA released the plant for use again, the company went out of business.
"Not too many companies survive a massive listeria call of that nature," said EVP of Marketing and Product Development, Tom Myers.
The product, which does not have to be rinsed, has been approved for use on food contact surfaces in Subway restaurants nationwide. It is also used in 12 to 15 national food processors, for both environmental and equipment disinfection.
According to CEO, Hank Lambert, the company is also working on a formulation of silver dihydrogen citrate (SDC). It's the primary ingredient in Pure Hard Surface, for use in direct food contact, including in the processing of raw poultry, produce and meats. Lambert is hoping for FDA approval for that product soon.
"We're really emphasizing brand protection and risk management for a very low insurance premium in the case of SDC and our Pure Hard Surface disinfectant," added Hank.
DuPont Nutrition & Health
Nathalie Brosse, business development and marketing leader of DuPont Nutrition & Health, says its new Detect + Protect program can help food manufacturers with safety and spoilage issues. The company signed an agreement with Eurofins to give analytical testing as part of the program, along with the two companies working together on customizable solutions for different companies.
She also added the program is well-suited to handle issues regarding listeria and can help pinpoint potential issues. The program's experts can help give a new perspective on a contamination's source and offer solutions.
Alchemy Systems
Alchemy Systems works with companies and associations to help support food safety in addition to worker safety and productivity. It's partnered with the Food Marketing Institute to better equip handlers and managers in the retail space as well as provided training for frontline workers. It has multiple programs encouraging worker safety and productivity as well as food safety.
Alchemy's Laura Nelson, a microbiologist with over 30 years in the food industry, spoke to current food safety issues, including FSMA implementation. She said that there will probably be a lag phase for some companies, especially ones that may not have "embraced technology." She said if FSMA works as it's supposed to, it will put companies in "proactive mode" as opposed to "reactive mode."
Regarding Jeni's recall, Nelson said, "Different elements of FSMA I think would have an impact on companies such as (Jeni's) that are moving into a deeper critical assessment of their programs."

Update: 18 Lab-Confirmed E. Coli Cases, 5 Hospitalized in Washington State
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/04/washington-first-graders-sickened-by-e-coli-after-attending-dairy-fest/#.VUbSF9iJjs1
By News Desk (April 30, 2015)
The latest reported case count in the E. coli outbreak in Washington state is 18 lab-confirmed cases, with five of those people hospitalized, and another 18 individuals exhibiting symptoms of the infection but whose lab results were not yet available on Friday.
Most of those sickened are first-grade students from five local school districts who attended a dairy festival in Lynden, WA, last week. However, some adults and older children who attended the festival are also among those who became ill.
Whatcom County Health Department officials in Bellingham said that they are continuing to investigate the cause of the outbreak, which has been identified as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli.
The story posted April 29 follows:
According to the latest information from the Whatcom County Health Department in Bellingham, WA, there are now six area children sickened by E. coli bacteria after attending a dairy festival in Lynden, WA, last week. Two are in the hospital, said Greg Stern, county health officer.
Five of those sickened are first-graders, and the sixth is an older child who was reportedly involved in setting up the Milk Makers Fest but who was not on a field trip with the other students.
Four of the confirmed cases are Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), and the other two individuals are apparently not confirmed cases but have symptoms consistent with E. coli infection.
The original story posted April 28 follows:
The Whatcom County Health Department in Bellingham, WA, is investigating an E. coli outbreak involving at least three area first-graders and potentially a fourth child.
The three cases of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) were confirmed by laboratory testing after the children attended the Milk Makers Fest this past week at the fairgrounds in Lynden, WA. As of Monday evening, none of the children was hospitalized, according to media reports.
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-petting-zoo-image1008725More than 1,000 first-graders and accompanying adults attended the event held April 20-24 where the students could learn about farming and pet farm animals. They also were offered pasteurized chocolate milk.
While the source of the outbreak has not yet been identified, Whatcom County Health Officer Greg Stern said that nothing had been ruled out. He noted that the main sources of E. coli are contaminated food and/or water and contact with livestock.
Whatcom County Dairy Women, which sponsored the event, stated on the group’s Facebook page that hand sanitizers were provided for the children at various locations, including entering and existing the trailer containing the farm animals.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to the children, their families and loved ones. While we have not confirmed that this educational event is the source of the illness, we are deeply concerned for their quick recovery,” stated Jackie Blok, the group’s president.
Any child who attended the Milk Makers Fest and begins to show symptoms of E. coli infection should be taken to a health care provider, the group added. Infection with E. coli bacteria typically causes diarrhea (often bloody), vomiting and stomach cramps.
Both the Blaine School District in Blaine, WA, and the Lynden School District have posted health alerts on their websites. One of the sickened children is a student at Blaine Primary School, according to that district’s notice posted Tuesday. The Lynden School District posted a letter Tuesday to parents and guardians from the county health department.

More Details on Whatcom County, WA E. coli Outbreak
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/more-details-on-whatcom-county-wa-e-coli-outbreak/
By Linda Larsen (April 29, 2015)
The Whatcom County Health Department is investigating a STEC (Shiga Toxin-producing E. coli) outbreak associated with the Milk Makers Fest at the Northwest Fairgrounds on April 21 through April 23, 2015. Six cases have been identified so far; five are of primary school children who attended the event.
Public health officials are interviewing the children who attended the event and their parents to try to pinpoint the food, water source, or activity that caused the illnesses. The department is also monitoring to make sure the illness doesn’t spread from person to person. If any person goes to a doctor with diarrhea, a stool culture will be taken. Any positive E. coli results will be reported to officials, since this is a reportable illness.
Three of the five children had stool cultures positive for E. coli, presumed O57, pending confirmation at the Washington State Laboratory. The stool cultures were also positive for shiga toxin 2. Two of the children were not tested, but have the same symptoms and the same exposure as those who have been diagnosed. Another older child who attended the event has lab confirmed STEC.
Two of the children have been hospitalized. Another adult, without a connection to the Milk Makers Fest or any of the other cases, has been hospitalized with a lab-confirmed STEC infection.
The department has sent a letter to parents and guardians of these schools: Ferndale School District, Bellingham Public Schools, Lynden School District, Blaine School District, and Nooksack Valley School District about this outbreak. Parents are asked to watch their children for the symptoms of an E. coli infection.
Those symptoms include abdominal pain and cramps, and watery and/or bloody diarrhea. A mild fever may also be present. If your child has had any of these symptoms, see a doctor immediately. Early medical attention is the best way to prevent serious complications, such as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can cause kidney failure and death.

After Botulism Outbreaks, CDC Issues Home Canning Tips
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/after-botulism-outbreaks-cdc-issues-home-canning-tips/
By Carla Gillespie (April 29, 2015)
After two botulism outbreaks were reported in one month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has compiled some tips on home canning, the most common source of foodborne botulism.
In New Mexico, two people sickened with botulism were hospitalized in Texas. In Ohio, at least 21 people who ate at a church potluck were sickened and one of them died.
Botulism is caused by a nerve toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum which is found in soil and dust. Symptoms include: double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, muscle weakness, descending paralysis, difficulty breathing and shortness of breath. Death occurs when the muscles that control breathing are paralyzed.
Between 1996 to 2008, 116 foodborne botulism outbreaks reported to CDC. Of those, 18 were caused by improperly home-canned vegetables. Click the first link of this story for a list of resources on how to safe home-can vegetables.

 

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Gambia: The EU Supports Food Safety Control System in the Gambia
Source : http://allafrica.com/stories/201504291055.html
By allafrica.com (April 29, 2015)
From 16th to 31st March 2015 an EDES support mission of Technical Assistance took place in The Gambia to strengthen the national food safety control system. The EDES Programme is funded by the European Union (EU) to the tune of €30 million, equivalent to more than GMD 1.5 billion. It is designed to contribute to the production of safe food in the ACP (African-Caribbean-Pacific) countries. EDES also aims to secure the flow of food products of animal and plant origin towards the EU or at the regional level. The ultimate objective of this programme is to guarantee food safety for all consumers, in the ACP and the EU. To achieve these goals EDES develops capacity building activities, mainly through training, technical assistance, facilitation or coaching.
The aim of the last EDES mission of Technical Assistance in The Gambia was to provide the Food Safety and Quality Authority (FSQA) with a new management tool to strengthen the performance of sanitary audits/inspections in conformity with the relevant international standards. The new database developed is intended to contribute to a better monitoring of official controls to protect the health of consumers. The food quality inspections are conducted within several producer organisations and therefore require the registration of technical data and a rigorous monitoring to ensure the appropriate follow up of the control activities
. The EDES mission provided the assistance needed in order to launch the testing phase of the prototype of the Inspection database. The EU funded experts had the opportunity to work with the control authorities on the design and the testing of the tailor-made database adapted to the local needs. This included the identification of producer organisations actively engaged in export sectors, their activities, and their production, to ensure that corrective measures demanded by the authorities will be implemented on time by each producer organisation controlled.
The main purpose of the database is to contribute to the safety of the food delivered to consumers in The Gambia. The database is also intended to increase the level of credibility of the Gambian food safety system to other foreign countries which are potential importers of Gambian products, ensuring that controls are well performed and that appropriate follow up is given to all inspections. In the forthcoming weeks the FSQA will continue to work on the development of the new system and the testing of the Inspection database prototype. After this period of testing the final version will then be made available to other ACP countries benefiting from the EDES Programme.

Six Kids in Lynden, Washington Sickened with E. coli
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/six-kids-in-lynden-washington-sickened-with-e-coli/
By Linda Larsen (April 29, 2015)
Six children in Lynden, Washington have been sickened with E. coli infections after attending a festival at the Northwest Fairgrounds on April 21 – 23, 2015, according to the Whatcom County Health Department. The Milk Makers Fest is held at the fairgrounds and is sponsored by the Whatcom County Dairy Women. Lab tests have confirmed three cases of E. coli poisoning. The Blaine School District has released a statement about a confirmed case of E. coli at their primary school.
More than a thousand children from all school districts in the county were introduced to farming at the festival and could pet farm animals such as sheep, small horses, rabbits, chickens, and a calf. Hand sanitizers were provided at several locations during the event, but they are not a substitute for washing with soap and water.
No source for the pathogenic bacteria has been singled out, but petting zoos have been a source for E. coli infections in the past. Last year, an E. coli outbreak in Minnesota sickened 13 people after they visited the traveling Zerebko Petting Zoo at county fairs. An E. coli outbreak in 2004 at the North Carolina State Fair sickened 108 people, including 15 who suffered kidney failure as a result of developing hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that young children should be kept away from entering open-interaction areas of petting zoos. These animals can carry E. coli bacteria without being sick because they do not have receptors on their cells that accept the bacteria. The bacteria can get onto the animal’s coat after it is released in feces, then is easily transferred to people.
Children should be closely supervised while around farm animals. Hand-to-mouth contact is very common in young kids. Thumb-sucking and putting fingers in the mouth should be discouraged. Appropriate hand-washing facilities must be at every petting zoo menu, and trained staff should be on hand where animal contact is permitted.
The symptoms of an E. coli infection include abdominal cramps, diarrhea that is watery and/or bloody, and a mild fever. These symptoms usually appear within two to eight days of exposure. Children five and under are especially vulnerable to HUS development, and can lose kidney function if their infection worsens. If your child attended this event and is experiencing these symptoms, take her to the doctor immediately. If an E. coli infection is treated with antibiotics, the chances of HUS development increase.

Tyson ‘Striving to Eliminate’ Human Antibiotics in Chickens
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/04/tyson-foods-striving-to-eliminate-human-antibiotics-in-chickens-by-2017/#.VUbSltiJjs1
By James Andrews (April 29, 2015)
Tyson Foods, the largest poultry producer in the U.S., announced Tuesday that it would strive to quit using human antibiotics in its chicken flocks by the end of September 2017.
The company, based in Springdale, AR, stated that it has already stopped using all antibiotics in its 35 broiler hatcheries, requires a veterinarian’s prescription for antibiotics used on broiler farms, and, since 2011, has reduced by more than 80 percent the human antibiotics it uses to treat broiler chickens (those raised for meat).http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-chickens-cot-image13995122
“Given the progress we’ve already made reducing antibiotics in our broilers, we believe it’s realistic to shoot for zero by the end of our 2017 fiscal year. But we won’t jeopardize animal well-being just to get there. We’ll use the best available treatments to keep our chickens healthy, under veterinary supervision,” said Donnie Smith, president and CEO of Tyson Foods.
Public health advocates are commending the company for the move, which they say will make a significant impact in efforts to slow the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The move follows an announcement by McDonald’s in March that the company aims to stop serving chicken raised with medically important antibiotics — drugs useful in human medicine — by March 2017. Tyson is a major supplier of chicken to McDonald’s.
Tyson’s leadership, however, said their decision was not directly related to the McDonald’s announcement. Also, Tyson said it does not anticipate increasing the costs of its chicken products as a result of the change.
Soon after the announcement, health experts and consumer organizations began expressing their approval of the decision.
“Everyone in public health and consumer health is pretty excited right now,” said Dr. Gail Hansen, veterinarian and senior officer with the Antibiotic Resistance Project at the Pew Charitable Trusts, speaking to Food Safety News.
Nine billion chickens are slaughtered in the U.S. each year. Each human or animal given antibiotics becomes a vehicle for the creation and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, Hansen said.
“That’s nine billion fewer chances for the bacteria to become resistant and spread,” she added.
Keep Antibiotics Working, an organization dedicated to the elimination of medically important antibiotics from animal agriculture, praised Tyson’s move while urging the company and other meat and poultry producers to extend the policy to beef, pork and turkey.
Tyson said it will also be forming working groups to tackle the challenge of removing antibiotics from those animals.
In February, Perdue Farms, the third-largest chicken producer in the country, announced that it would no longer use antibiotics in its hatcheries and that it does not use medically important antibiotics on 95 percent of its chickens.
With Tyson, the industry leader, taking this new stance against human antibiotics, it puts more pressure on the rest of the industry to follow suit, Hansen said.
“The other companies using antibiotics in chickens will probably follow,” she said. “We’d certainly love to have them follow.”

Beef industry looks at safety from all directions
Source : http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/beef_industry_looks_at_safety_from_all_directions
By Jeannine Schweihofer, Michigan State University Extension (April 28, 2015)
Beef Industry Safety Summit brings industry leaders together to advance food safety.
Food safety is of utmost importance. Consumers count on a safe and wholesome product when they purchase beef and all food. Proper cooking and handling of beef is an important component of food safety. Michigan State University Extension has a variety of resources available to educate consumers about food safety, including that hamburgers need to be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. But consumers expect a safe and wholesome product. Proactive steps at the farm and processing levels are critical to providing consumers with a product they can trust.
The Beef Industry Safety Summit, held annually since 2003, brings experts from all aspects of the industry together to advance food safety. Food safety is not looked at as a competitive advantage in the beef industry. The Safety Summit is the venue where leaders of food safety teams come together with beef producers, academics, and more to hear updates on food safety research and to share ideas for improving product safety.
At the 2015 Beef Industry Safety Summit, there were sessions on regulatory and research updates, including both pre- and post-harvest aspects. Information was even shared across industries as a general session focused on lessons learned about Salmonella by the poultry industry. Salmonella is a challenge for the beef industry because Salmonella has been found in the lymph nodes of cattle. Since the lymph system is internal, interventions that are currently applied to meat surfaces to reduce E. coli are not effective against Salmonella.
Antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance were also major topics on the program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have several initiatives to address each of these topics. Guidelines 209 and 213 are two such steps in the FDA’s initiative to address antimicrobial resistance. These guidelines will update product labels to exclude growth promotion as the labeled use of feed antimicrobials and will limit the use of antibiotics that are important to human health. Research is also being done to better understand antibiotic resistance issues related to animal agriculture.

Report: FSIS Hazards Analysis Regulation Still Lacking in Key Areas
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/04/report-fsis-hazards-analysis-regulation-still-lacking-in-key-areas/#.VUbTEdiJjs1
By News Desk (April 28, 2015)
Almost 20 years ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) introduced a food safety program called Pathogen Reduction/Hazards Analysis and Critical Control Points (PR/HACCP) aimed at verifying the effectiveness of the food safety systems at meat and poultry facilities.
That program, however, has at least two ongoing problems, according to a new report released today by the Consumer Federation of America, with support from the Pew Charitable Trusts.
First, plants have too often failed to develop effective food safety plans, and USDA has failed to adequately identify problems in those plants, the report says.
Second, plants do not face severe enough consequences for reoccurring food safety violations.
The report includes six recommendations for FSIS:
•Develop a better way to evaluate plants’ HACCP plans.
•Require plants to identify pathogens most commonly associated with particular meat and poultry products and address them in their HACCP plans.
•Establish clear procedures and repercussions for reoccurring violations.
•Frequently and routinely update performance standards that are based on improving public health.
•Seek authority from Congress to set and enforce performance standards for pathogen reduction.
•Improve sampling programs to target riskiest facilities and products.

Milk Makers Fest Linked To E coli Illnesses
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/milk-makers-fest-linked-to-e-coli-illnesses/#.VUbTOtiJjs1
By Bill Marler (April 28, 2015)
The Whatcom County Health Department (WCHD) is investigating an outbreak of E. coli among school children. WCHD officials say four school children have lab-confirmed cases of E. coli and two others have E. coli symptoms after attending the Milk Makers Fest at the Northwest Fairgrounds in Lynden on 4/21/15. Two children have been hospitalized.

WCHD is interviewing the ill students and their parents to identify whether there was a common food or water source or activity, such as the petting zoo or other livestock contact. WCHD is also monitoring for spread to other household members. WCHD has contacted medical providers in Whatcom County about the outbreak and have asked them to obtain stool cultures and notify us of any cases of diarrhea in children that attended the event in Lynden.
WCHD is urging that if your child attended the Milk Makers Fest and develops diarrhea before May 1, please take your child to your regular health care provider for evaluation and testing. It is important to wash hands carefully with soap and running water after using the toilet and before eating to prevent the spread of infection. Children with diarrhea should stay home and not return to school until 24 hours after the diarrhea has stopped.
Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) can cause diarrhea and abdominal cramping, sometimes with vomiting, with or without a low-grade fever. After several days, the diarrhea can become bloody. These infections can be mild, without bloody diarrhea, or can be severe, and complicated by kidney failure and hemolysis (breakdown of red blood cells). Antibiotics and antimotility medicines (antidiarrheal medicines) should not be used with STEC infections, since they increase the risk of kidney failure. Keeping the ill person well hydrated can reduce the risk of kidney failure.

Human Protection Considered as H5N2 Avian Flu Spreads
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/human-protection-considered-as-h5n2-avian-flu-spreads/
By Linda Larsen (April 27, 2015)
The highly contagious avian flu H5N2 is spreading rapidly in some parts of the midwestern United States. As a precaution, farm workers are being offered antiviral medication as a preventative measure. The flu has not affected people yet, but it can mutate and make the jump from birds to humans.
The spread of this virus from person to person is very rare, and has not been sustained over time. But if the virus mutates, person to person transmission could occur. The symptoms of this illness in people include fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, and conjunctivitis of the eye. Lower respiratory illness, including pneumonia, have occurred. Sometimes, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting can occur. Lab testing is required to establish a diagnosis.Turkeys
The virus has sickened turkeys and chickens in Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, and Iowa. About 300 people in those states are being told they should take the antiviral meds as a precaution.
So far, more than 7 million birds have been euthanized because they are on farms that have experienced the outbreak. In Minnesota, infections are being found on three or four new farms every day. In Iowa, 3.8 million hens in one egg-laying facility were hit with the virus. Both Wisconsin and Minnesota have declared emergencies and governors of those states have called up the National Guard to help deliver water and contain the control areas.
When the virus is found at a facility, the owners must immediately inform public health officials. A quarantine is announced, and measures are put into place to euthanize the birds and to limit access to the facility. The USDA will reimburse farmers for poultry killed as a preventive measure, but any birds that die from the illness are considered a loss.
States have set up avian influenza hotlines, such as the one in Minnesota. Numbers for reporting sick or dead poultry, sick or dead wild waterfowl, and general question about biosecurity will be answered at those hotlines. Permits are required for movement in or out of the control areas.
Officials hope that warmer weather will help stop the spread of the virus. But for now, it shows no signs of slowing down.

USDA, Salmonella, and the Cowardly Lion: A Profile in the Lack of Courage
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/04/usda-salmonella-and-the-cowardly-lion-a-profile-in-the-lack-of-courage/#.VUbTutiJjs1
By Denis Stearns (April 27, 2015)
Dorothy: “Don’t you know the Wizard’s going to give you some courage?”
Cowardly Lion: “I’d be too scared to ask him for it.”
In an article that will soon be published in the Seattle Law Review, I take a look at food safety through the lens of the “pink slime” controversy and question whether the lack of real transparency that characterizes food safety regulation, especially with regard to meat and poultry, is more intentional strategy of agencies and industry than byproduct of the public not simply wanting to think about just how unsafe food can be.1 In the article, I compare the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the meat industry to the Wizard of Oz, an entity that Dorothy, her traveling companions, and those living in Oz all thought was “great and powerful” — that is, until he was revealed to be a huckster who was fooling everyone through trickery and special effects. But, in reading some recent remarks by Brian Ronholm, Deputy Under Secretary at USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, another comparison for USDA and its regulation of meat and poultry quickly came to mind: the Cowardly Lion.
As reported by Food Safety News, Ronholm was appearing last week at the 2015 National Food Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., when asked about the agency’s policy on declaring Salmonella an “adulterant” under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA). According to the article:

Ronholm explained that the interpretation of why E. coli is an adulterant in ground beef but Salmonella isn’t adulterating poultry stems from past court cases.
“There are several ways to cook a burger: rare, medium, well-done. In the court’s mind, because there are several ways, it’s possible to not cook E. coli out of a burger,” Ronholm said. “Now look at poultry. In the court’s mind, there’s only one way to cook a chicken. You cook it to 165 degrees and it kills the Salmonella.”
“Because ordinary cooking is able to kill Salmonella, in the court’s mind, it cannot be declared an adulterant,” he added.
The court (and court case) he is referring to is one with which I am exceedingly familiar, not only because I have been an attorney handling food-related cases for more than 20 years, but because I also a professor of food law and policy, and this semester my students and I spent several hours of class time both unpacking this particular case and also the historical evolution of USDA policy on adulterants in meat. And although I readily admit that there are grounds for reasonable disagreement when interpreting any court case, I am nonetheless 100-percent confident in asserting that Ronholm is either telling a big fat lie or the attorneys at USDA are telling their bosses what they want to hear to justify continuing and cowardly inaction on the Salmonella front.
Like so much that USDA does, it wants to appear busily in action, convincing the public that, “We are on it!” and, “No need to worry!” At the same time, they repeatedly trot out this line of defense with regard to Salmonella in meat, claiming that, “Our hands are tied!” and blaming it on the courts. But all of this is clearly subterfuge, and I would be shocked if Ronholm and other higher-ups at USDA were unaware of the real duplicity at work here. Because no court has tied USDA’s hands. Instead, USDA is sitting on its hands while millions are infected with Salmonella and injured each year.
So, let’s look at this case that Ronholm cites — American Public Health Association v. Butz, a 1974 decision of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. This decision stemmed from a lawsuit that APHA, one of the leading public health associations in the United States, had filed against USDA. In the lawsuit, APHA accused USDA of “misbranding,” a violation of the FMIA because the agency was placing the mark of inspection (“USDA inspected and passed”) on meat and poultry in a way that was false and misleading and by failing to warn against the dangers of Salmonella. APHA further argued that USDA had abused its discretion in refusing to add a warning and instructions for proper preparation and storage to the mark of inspection.
The warning that APHA sought read as follows: “Caution: Improper handling and inadequate cooking of this product may be hazardous to your health. Despite careful government inspection, some disease-producing organisms may be present. Consult your local health department for information on the safe handling and preparation of this product.” Of course, a similar warning now does appear on all meat and poultry products, an indication of just how much has changed since 1974. And it is that change that matters so much when seeking to understand just how disingenuous USDA is being now when it points to the APHA v. Butz decision as evidence that the court more than 40 years ago tied its hands, and that its hands remain tied today, preventing it from taking more effective action against the illnesses and death caused by Salmonella-contaminated meat and poultry.
At the time of the APHA lawsuit, USDA did not consider pathogens in raw meat to be adulterants — any pathogens, including E. coli O157:H7. USDA was still in the “poke-and-sniff” era of meat inspection that had commenced with the passage of the FMIA in 1906. But plainly the USDA position changed in the wake of the 1993 Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak, and today we have both warning and instruction labels on meat, but we also have USDA declarations that certain pathogens are “adulterants” within the meaning of the FMIA when present on raw meat. And recall, USDA was sued when it made these declarations, and USDA fought in court and won. That is the nature of the beast when it comes to USDA imposing stricter regulations. A lawsuit is like the sun rising in the morning and setting in the evening: inevitable. And, while there was a time when USDA appeared to have the courage of its convictions, that time seems to have passed in a decision way.
But back to the APHA decision and USDA’s present dissembling. Ronholm claims that, in its decision affirming dismissal of the APHA’s lawsuit, the court specifically decided that, “Because ordinary cooking is able to kill Salmonella, … it cannot be declared an adulterant.” That claim is untrue.
First, note that the position of USDA in front of both the trial court and on appeal was that “since ‘there are numerous sources of contamination which might contribute to the overall problem’ it would be ‘unjustified to single out the meat industry and ask that the Department require it to identify its raw products as being hazardous to health. Such an act would have to apply to any and all sources of salmonellae in order to be fairly administered.’” USDA was defending the meat industry’s interests here and the USDA inspection policy overall, which was, as noted above, premised on the notion that there was no such thing as an “adulterant” in raw meat, and that meat was, as a byproduct of how it was slaughtered, inevitably going to be contaminated, thus making such contamination “inherent” to meat. But USDA no longer accepts this premise as true. The agency’s position has changed. If it had not changed, then E. coli O157:H7 could not be declared an adulterant either.
Second, the observation about “ordinary cooking” is not an observation that the court made; it is an observation that USDA made. Here is what the court decision actually states (emphasis added):
As the Department said in its letter of August 18, 1971 ‘the American consumer knows that raw meat and poultry are not sterile and, if handled improperly, perhaps could cause illness.’ In other words, American housewives and cooks normally are not ignorant or stupid and their methods of preparing and cooking of food do not ordinarily result in salmonellosis.
Of course, the somewhat sexist “in other words” rephrasing of USDA’s position is the court speaking, but most first-year law students could easily explain that is not the court’s holding in the case and, as a result, it has no precedential or binding power. Thus, Ronholm was plainly wrong when he asserted ”in the court’s mind, [Salmonella] cannot be declared an adulterant.” No — in 1974, that was in USDA’s mind and, apparently, it still is. But please don’t blame it on the court.
Third, and also apropos of the “customary methods of preparing food for the table,” which is the phrase that ends the majority opinion in this case, the issue before the court with regard to consumer knowledge of the risk of Salmonella related to APHA’s attempt to require a warning label on meat and poultry. Whether Salmonella could be declared an adulterant was an issue not before the court. In ruling on the issue of the warning label, the court did nothing more than defer to the agency’s discretion. As the court explained:
After carefully considering the appellants’ proposals the Secretary concluded that warning labels were not the answer to the problem and that the solution was a consumer education program which the Department proposed to undertake. We cannot say that this conclusion was unreasonable; certainly we may not substitute our judgment for that of the Secretary.
Finally, on the question of whether the court decided anything with regard to Salmonella’s presence being an adulterant, it must be remembered that the issue before the court was whether the USDA mark of inspection was “false and misleading” for stating that the meat was “passed and inspected” even though Salmonella might be present. On that central issue, what the court decided was about the method of USDA inspection, a method that, as the court noted, APHA had conceded was reasonable:
As alleged in the complaint, and established by the record, “The inspection procedures now required by the Wholesome Meat Act and the Wholesome Poultry Products Act do not include any investigation to detect the presence of salmonella in meat or poultry, because no such microscopic examination is considered feasible as a routine matter.” The reason for this situation is apparent: a poultry inspector, for example, may conduct post mortem examinations of more than 10,000 birds in one day. Microscopic examination of each bird would obviously be impractical. Recognizing and accepting this fact the appellants do not seek revision of inspection techniques.
Accordingly, against the backdrop of the APHA concession, which the court accepts, the court then confronted the issue of whether, despite this conception, the mark of inspection constituted “misbranding” for the USDA having placed it on meat that was contaminated with Salmonella. The court said no, and here is why:
In construing both the Wholesome Meat Act and the Wholesome Poultry Products Act we are mindful that the presence of salmonellae can be detected only by microscopic examination. No one contends that Congress meant that inspections should include such examinations. We think it follows therefore that Congress did not intend the prescribed official legends to import a finding that meat and poultry products were free from salmonellae.
In other words, because the FMIA does not require “microscopic examination” of meat as the method of inspection, and because only such examination can reveal the presence of Salmonella, the mark of inspection is not “false and misleading” as a result of there being the possibility that Salmonella might be present on the meat sold. And who can really quibble with such logic? Not me.
But here is the problem. USDA now tests for the presence of Salmonella, and USDA inspection is built upon the foundation of the microscopic examination of meat and poultry. So, let me ask you this: Flash forward the APHA v. Butz case to the present. Do you think the court would now reach the same decision? For a clue, let’s look at what the dissenting judge in the case wrote:
My colleagues try to support their holding by the claim that Congress “did not intend the prescribed official legends to import a finding that meat and poultry products were free from salmonellae.” That observation, I submit, is wide of the mark. Congressional intent is not helpful in determining whether the labels are misleading; the relevant inquiry is the understanding of consumers. Appellants proffer evidence tending to show that consumers in large numbers understand the challenged labels to mean that the Federal Government has inspected the labeled food products for the presence of salmonellae. That indication is false, for no such inspections are ever made, and labeled products are “passed” even if they contain salmonellae.
In the end, what is so untenable and troubling about USDA’s position on all of this, is how much it rests on a view of meat and meat inspection that was supposed to have gone away after the tragedy of the Jack in the Box outbreak. There was a time when it seemed that USDA was going to embrace its public health mission and choose to fight for safer meat, even in the face of threatened lawsuits. But, alas, it seems to now be back to its old ways — a Cowardly Lion, afraid of its own self-made shadows.
1 See Denis Stearns, PAY NO ATTENTION TO THAT MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN: Concealment and Revelation and the Question of Food Safety; OR, How “Pink Slime” Tells You All That You Need to Know about Food in the United States, 38 Seattle L. Rev. ___ (2015) (publication pending).

 

Internet Journal of Food Safety (Operated by FoodHACCP)
[2015] Current Issues

Vol 17.25-31
Combined Effect Of Disinfectant And Phage On The Survivality Of S. Typhimurium And Its Biofilm Phenotype
Mudit Chandra, Sunita Thakur, Satish S Chougule, Deepti Narang, Gurpreet Kaur and N S Sharma

Vol 17.21-24
Quality analysis of milk and milk products collected from Jalandhar, Punjab, India
Shalini Singh, Vinay Chandel, Pranav Soni

Vol 17.10-20
Functional and Nutraceutical Bread prepared by using Aqueous Garlic Extract
H.A.R. Suleria, N. Khalid, S. Sultan, A. Raza, A. Muhammad and M. Abbas


Vol 17.6-9
Microbiological Assessment of Street Foods of Gangtok And Nainital, Popular Hill Resorts of India
Niki Kharel, Uma Palni and Jyoti Prakash Tamang


Vol 17.1-5
Assessment of the Microbial Quality of Locally Produced Meat (Beef and Pork) in Bolgatanga Municipal of Ghana
Innocent Allan Anachinaba, Frederick Adzitey and Gabriel Ayum Teye


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