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FoodHACCP Newsletter
07/06 2015 ISSUE:659

Salmonella Sunday – Update on Outbreaks: Tarheel Q, Boise Co-op and Supermercado Los Corrales
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/salmonella-sunday-update-on-outbreaks-tarheel-q-boise-co-op-and-supermercado-los-corrales/#.VZoLxtiJiHt
By Andy Weisbecker (July 5, 2015)
Tarheel Q: The majority of the cases have occurred among residents of Davidson County. We are asking anyone who became ill with diarrhea within four days after they ate food or drank beverages from Tarheel Q on or after Saturday, June 6th to call the Davidson County Health Department’s hotline at 336-242-2300. Collecting this information is important to help officials determine the size and scope of the outbreak.
Davidson County Health Department Press Release
248 cases of diarrheal illness associated with eating food from Tarheel Q Restaurant have been identified.
•Of these 248, case distribution includes 19 North Carolina counties and 5 states •Of the North Carolina cases 72% of cases are residents of Davidson County and Davie County
•Laboratory testing indicates that the BBQ sample and a sample from a patient who became ill during the beginning of the outbreak are both positive for Salmonella species. The serogroup was found to be Typhimurium. Both samples have the same PFGE pattern (i.e. DNA fingerprint).
•Over 50 additional clinical specimens are pending results at the state lab
•Of these 248 cases, •56% are male
•41% are between the ages of 20 and 49
•20% have visited their provider
•13% have visited the ED
•6% have been hospitalized
•1 death has been identified (Further details regarding the deceased are not available to protect patient confidentiality.)
79% of cases had illness onset dates between Tuesday, June 16, 2015, and Sunday, June 21, 2015.
Boise Co-op:  The Central District Health Department (CDHD) is investigating a salmonella outbreak associated with the Boise Co-op deli – specifically food purchased from the deli after June 1, 2015.
As of July 1, 2015, approximately 290 cases of Salmonella are associated with this outbreak. Preliminary test results showed Salmonella growth in raw turkey, tomatoes and onion. However, additional laboratory tests are pending and the specific cause of the outbreak remains undetermined.
Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause diarrheal illness in humans. They are microscopic living creatures that pass from the feces of people or animals to other people or other animals. There are many different kinds of Salmonella bacteria.
Salmonella serotype Typhimurium and Salmonella serotype Enteritidis are the most common in the United States.
•Report Foodborne Illness Here
•Or call the salmonella information line at 321-2222 with questions or to file a report
Supermercado Los Corrales:  The Kenosha County Division of Health reports that as of Wednesday, June 3rd, Salmonella with a matching DNA fingerprint has been found in 35 patients. Divisions of Health official’s say 70 sick people have been identified during an investigation into Supermercado Los Corrales. Salmonella has been confirmed in a total of 35 patients.
Based on interviews that have been conducted and laboratory testing, the source of the Salmonella outbreak has been determined to be pork carnitas sold at Supermercado Los Corrales during Mother’s Day weekend (May 8th through 10th).
Laboratory testing conducted at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection isolated Salmonella from leftover carnitas sold at Supermercado Los Corrales on Sunday, May 10th. Further testing performed at the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene confirmed the Salmonella had the same DNA fingerprint as the patient isolates.
As of Wednesday, June 3rd, health officials have given Supermercado Los Corrales officials the green light to reopen the facility’s food preparation area, which had been closed during this investigation.
Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants. The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.

Chicken Kiev Linked to Salmonella Outbreak Sold at Sam’s Club
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/chicken-kiev-linked-to-salmonella-outbreak-sold-at-sams-club/
By Carla Gillespie (July 5, 2015)
Frozen chicken Kiev products linked to a Minnesota Salmonella outbreak were sold at Sam’s Club stores in Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota.  At least four people who ate the product contracted Salmonella poisoning, two of them were hospitalized.
The recalled product, Barber brand Premium Entrees Chicken Kiev were produced by Barber Foods of Portland, Maine which has recalled 58,320 pounds of the product. Consumers who have purchased this product should not eat it as Salmonella can cause serious, sometimes life-threatening illness.
Eating foods contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis. Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after exposure to the organism lasting four to seven days. Onset of illness for the Minnesota case patients, who range in age from 19 to 82, ranged from April 5 to June 8.
The recalled products, sold through June 26 at Sam’s Club stores in Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota, have “use by/sell by” dates of April 28, 2016, May 20, 2016 and July 21, 2016 and Lot Code numbers 0950292102, 0950512101, or 0951132202. The establishment number “P-276” appears inside the USDA mark of inspection.
Health officials caution that recalled product may appear to be cooked, but is raw and must be handled carefully to avoid cross-contamination. All raw poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165° F at the thickest part.

Kenosha Supermercado Los Corrales Salmonella Outbreak Information
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/supermercado-los-corrales-salmonella-outbreak-information/#.VZnXctiJiHt
By Drew Falkenstein (July 4, 2015)
The Kenosha County Division of Health reports that as of Wednesday, June 3rd, Salmonella with a matching DNA fingerprint has been found in 35 patients. Divisions of Health official’s say 70 sick people have been identified during an investigation into Supermercado Los Corrales. Salmonella has been confirmed in a total of 35 patients.
Based on interviews that have been conducted and laboratory testing, the source of the Salmonella outbreak has been determined to be pork carnitas sold at Supermercado Los Corrales during Mother’s Day weekend (May 8th through 10th).
Laboratory testing conducted at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection isolated Salmonella from leftover carnitas sold at Supermercado Los Corrales on Sunday, May 10th. Further testing performed at the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene confirmed the Salmonella had the same DNA fingerprint as the patient isolates.
As of Wednesday, June 3rd, health officials have given Supermercado Los Corrales officials the green light to reopen the facility’s food preparation area, which had been closed during this investigation.
Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants. The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.

 

 

 



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Food safety tips for the Fourth of July
Source : http://www.kmaland.com/news/food-safety-tips-for-the-fourth-of-july/article_f54e823e-1e9b-11e5-af9a-cfc9861296b1.html
By Ryan Matheny (July 04, 2015)
While the outdoor grilling and food can be fun, safety is of utmost concern. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 in 6 Americans gets sick each year from a foodborne illness.
Barb Fuller is a Nutrition and Wellness Program Specialist with the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She says food safety starts in the store.
"Separating that raw meat and poultry in your shopping cart, so you don't have meat or poultry juices dripping onto uncooked food like salads and vegetables that you may not cook again," said Fuller. "Of course, then taking directly home. When it starts getting warm -- it has been and it will be, it's summertime in Iowa -- you have a couple hours to get it back under refrigeration, but really only an hour if the temperature is 90 degrees."
Once home from the stores, Fuller says thawing frozen meat is critical to insure even cooking. She says the best way to thaw meat is in your fridge or by running it under cold water or even in the microwave.
After thawing the meat, Fuller says it's critical to be careful when transferring raw product to the grill.
"If you're taking things out to the grill -- raw meat especially or raw poultry -- on a plate, platter or cooking sheet, make sure that after it's on the grill, get all clean things to put it on," said Fuller. "So, clean plates, clean platters or clean utensils. That raw meat juice can be cross-contaminated once the meat is cooked, and then can make you sick. Even though its thoroughly cooked, it's what it's touching that's still got some bacteria that could make you ill."
Finally, Fuller says you need to make sure to cook everything to the proper temperature.
"Any kind of poultry -- and that includes if you are using turkey sausage, chicken sausage or even chicken pieces -- needs to be 165 degrees," said Fuller. "All of the ground meats -- ground pork and ground beef -- should be 160 degrees, so the only way to know it is to use a thermometer."
For more information or if you have questions about food safety, you can call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at (888) 674-6854 or the ISU Extension Answer Line at (800) 262-3804.

Kenosha Supermercado Los Corrales Salmonella Outbreak Information
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/supermercado-los-corrales-salmonella-outbreak-information/#.VZoMQ9iJiHt
By Drew Falkenstein (July 4, 2015)
The Kenosha County Division of Health reports that as of Wednesday, June 3rd, Salmonella with a matching DNA fingerprint has been found in 35 patients. Divisions of Health official’s say 70 sick people have been identified during an investigation into Supermercado Los Corrales. Salmonella has been confirmed in a total of 35 patients.
Based on interviews that have been conducted and laboratory testing, the source of the Salmonella outbreak has been determined to be pork carnitas sold at Supermercado Los Corrales during Mother’s Day weekend (May 8th through 10th).
Laboratory testing conducted at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection isolated Salmonella from leftover carnitas sold at Supermercado Los Corrales on Sunday, May 10th. Further testing performed at the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene confirmed the Salmonella had the same DNA fingerprint as the patient isolates.
As of Wednesday, June 3rd, health officials have given Supermercado Los Corrales officials the green light to reopen the facility’s food preparation area, which had been closed during this investigation.

Study: Salmonella Infections Rise With Extreme Weather Events
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/07/study-salmonella-infections-rise-with-extreme-weather-events/#.VZnXKdiJiHt
By James Andrews (July 3, 2015)
New research has shown that climate change may be causing more than just an increase in extreme weather events such as heat waves and storms. Those events also seem to be bringing a heightened risk of Salmonella outbreaks with them.
The rates of people sickened by Salmonella rises each time their area experiences an extreme weather event, according to a new study published in Environment International and conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland.
To be precise, the researchers observed the risk of Salmonella infection increase 4.1 percent each time Maryland experienced an extreme heat or precipitation event. Those extreme weather events were defined as any time the state experienced temperatures or precipitation greater than the top 10 percent of hottest and wettest days from a 30-year baseline of 1960-1989.
Given that numerous climate studies anticipate extreme weather events increasing in frequency and intensity in the coming decades, health officials and communities will need to account for the additional foodborne illness burden resulting from these events, said Amir Sapkota, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Maryland’s Institute for Applied Environmental Health and senior author of the study.
The increased risk of infection was also more pronounced in coastal areas compared to areas further inland. While extreme precipitation events resulted in a 3.6-percent increase of Salmonella infection risk to inland areas, they caused a 7.1-percent increase of risk in coastal regions.
The explanation for this is fairly simple: Extreme weather events give bacteria more of what they like.
“A lot of evidence shows that rising temperate and precipitation is conducive to bacterial growth and transmission,” Sapkota said. “Bacteria tend to multiply and grow better in warmer and wetter environments.”
But that’s just part of the story. Extreme weather events also cause flooding and water runoff that spreads and amplifies bacterial loads.
Take chicken farming as an example. Maryland produces more than 300 million broilers chickens each year on its Eastern Shore.
First, rising temperatures perpetuate the colonization and growth of Salmonella among flocks, likely leading to higher rates of contamination on poultry products.
Second, chicken manure is commonly used as fertilizer in Maryland. Once an extreme precipitation event rains down on a field fertilized with contaminated chicken manure, the manure runs off into streams, bodies of water, and even drinking wells, Sapkota said.
There have been numerous cases of children and others falling ill with bacterial infections after swimming or recreating in public bodies of water, and the runoff from food-producing fields is a likely explanation in many of those cases, he added.
One study cited by the team showed that Salmonella could persist in soil for as long as 405 days, providing ample opportunity for a precipitation event to spread it somewhere else.
Weather events likely affect coastal areas to a greater degree because not only do they have a higher concentration of people, but residents spend more time around water, where they increase their chances of exposure to harmful bacteria during water runoff events.
There could be exceptions to how well these observations translate for other foodborne pathogens such as E. coli and Listeria, but Sapkota said that the situation was most likely similar for any other bacteria.
Next, the team plans to continue studying the relationship between extreme weather and bacterial illness by expanding their study region to include states outside Maryland.
In the meantime, Sapkota said he hopes the study helps raise awareness about the connection.
“People should become aware of the issue to help themselves,” he said. “If you’re living in a coastal area and you have reason to believe the water may be contaminated during extreme precipitation events, then you should certainly reduce your family’s recreational activities.”
“Of course, the other big thing,” he added, “is to properly cook your food.”

State-By-State Estimates of Foodborne Illness Can Inform Interventions
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/07/state-by-state-estimates-of-foodborne-illness-can-inform-interventions/#.VZnYBtiJiHt
By Lydia Zuraw (July 2, 2015)
A new study out of Ohio State University estimates the costs of foodborne illness on a state-by-state basis.
Economist and associate professor of human sciences, Robert Scharff, found that, by conservative estimates, the average cost of illness per case ranges from $888 in West Virginia to $1,766 in Washington, D.C.
The analysis, published in the Journal of Food Protection, is the first peer-reviewed study to break down costs by state and is meant to help states pinpoint their biggest food safety problems and target interventions accordingly.
“Take an illness from a pathogen like Vibrio,” Scharff said. “It’s associated with seafood, particularly raw seafood eaten in summer months when water gets warmer. States with higher shellfish consumption — those in coastal areas — have a higher incidence of this type of foodborne illness, and so it makes sense for them to devote more resources to battling it than other states.”
Scharff’s study includes both basic (more conservative) and enhanced estimates, the latter of which includes quality of life losses due to foodborne illness.
By the enhanced estimates, the average cost per case in West Virginia is $1,533 and $2,530 in D.C. In this model, Kentucky has the lowest average cost at $1,505 per case, and Maryland has the highest at $2,591 per case.
According to an update of Scharff’s previous estimates in 2010 and 2012, foodborne illness costs $93.2 billion per year nationwide in the enhanced model — an increase from $77.7 billion in 2012.
Scharff also breaks these numbers down into cost per resident to look at the overall burden. In Maryland, for example, the cost per resident ranges from $223 in the basic model to $391 in the enhanced one.
Non-typhoidal Salmonella illnesses are most costly per resident, followed by Listeria, STEC O157:H7 and Vibrio vulnificus.
Looking at total cost per state, California, unsurprisingly, has the highest, while Wyoming has the lowest.
Scharff thinks some of the reasons for differences between states include differences in the population of elderly or higher-risk groups, rates of consumption of risky foods, medical costs, productivity loss, and welfare loss.

Two Salmonella Outbreaks in Minnesota Linked to Frozen Raw Breaded Poultry Products
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/07/two-salmonella-outbreaks-in-minnesota-linked-to-frozen-raw-breaded-poultry-products/#.VZoNbdiJiHt
By News Desk (July 2, 2015)
The Minnesota Department of Public Health is urging consumers to handle raw chicken products carefully and cook them thoroughly after seven recent cases of salmonellosis in Minnesota have been linked to raw, frozen, breaded and pre-browned, stuffed chicken entrees.
The illnesses prompted health officials to remind consumers that the products may look cooked, but are in fact raw and should be handled carefully to avoid cross-contamination in the kitchen and then always cooked thoroughly.
Investigators from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) determined that the illnesses occurred in two separate outbreaks, involving two different strains of Salmonella bacteria in products from two distinct, unrelated producers.
In the first outbreak, four illnesses occurring from April 5 through June 8 were linked to Barber Foods Chicken Kiev. This product has a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) stamped code of P-276. This product is sold at many different retailers, including grocery store chains. The four people sickened in this outbreak ranged in age from 19 to 82 years, all from the metro area, and two were hospitalized.
In the second outbreak, three people got sick from May 9 to June 8 after eating Antioch Farms brand Cordon Bleu raw stuffed chicken breast with a U.S. Department of Agriculture stamped code of P-1358. This product is sold at many different grocery store chains. The three people sickened were all adults in their 30s and 40s from the metro area, and two were hospitalized.
In 2014, Minnesota identified six cases of Salmonella enteriditis linked to consumption of Antioch Farms brand A La Kiev raw stuffed chicken breast.
No deaths have been linked to either outbreak. MDH and MDA are working with USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on the investigation. The investigation is ongoing.
With these two outbreaks, there have now been nine outbreaks of salmonellosis in Minnesota linked to these types of products since 1998.
“These chicken products are raw, breaded and pre-browned and  often found near pre-cooked products at the grocery store, so even though the current labels state that the product is raw, consumers could mistakenly think the product is pre-cooked,” said Carlota Medus, epidemiologist for the Foodborne Illness Unit at MDH.
The Food Safety and Inspection Service issued a similar warning, as did the Canadian government after more than 40 people were sickened with Salmonella.
Consumers with these products in their freezers, if they choose to use them, should cook them thoroughly. Other important food handling practices include washing hands thoroughly after handling raw meat, keeping raw and cooked foods separate to avoid cross-contamination, and placing cooked meat on a clean plate or platter before serving.
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 five to seven days, but approximately 28 percent of laboratory-confirmed cases require hospitalization. Invasive infections (e.g., blood stream infections, meningitis) occasionally occur. In rare cases, Salmonella infection can lead to death, particularly in the elderly or those with weakened immune systems.

Human Milk-Sharing Networks Reflect a Growing Movement
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/07/human-milk-sharing-networks-reflect-a-growing-movement/#.VZnYSNiJiHt
By Cookson Beecher (July 2, 2015)
There’s nothing new about the sharing of human breast milk. In earlier days, moms in tribal groups nursed babies other than their own when the baby’s mother died or wasn’t close by.
Later, wet nurses — mothers who had enough milk to share — came onto the scene. Sometimes they lived with the family; other times, they took the baby home with them. In many cases, they were paid for their services. Some even had licenses to be wet nurses. (Although nowhere as prevalent as in years past, wet nursing still exists as a “job option” today.)
Royalty liked wet nursing because it allowed the “royal mother” to have more babies when she was freed from nursing. (In most cases, a woman who exclusively breastfeeds benefits from a natural form of birth control, at least for the first six months.) As a baby, Louis XIV was painted suckling at the breast of a woman who was not his mother.
Business owners whose wives helped them with the business also liked it because it was cheaper to hire a wet nurse than to hire someone to replace the wife at work while she was home nursing.
Slave owners also adopted this practice, with some of them taking a new slave mother off to the big house so she could breastfeed the plantation owner’s baby. In those cases, the slave mothers were often separated from their babies, as was depicted in the book, “Yellow Crocus.”
The Bible also notes several examples of wet nurses, for example, the woman hired by Pharaoh’s daughter to nurse baby Moses.
“Since time immemorial, families and institutions have hired wet nurses to breastfeed infants who have lost their mothers or whose mothers were not breastfeeding them for whatever reason,” lactation consultant Virginia Thorley wrote in 2008 in Breastfeeding Review, the journal of the Australian Breastfeeding Association.
What about formula?
In 1865, when Justus von Liebig developed, patented, and marketed an infant food — first in a liquid form and then in a powdered form for better preservation — women were finally “freed” from breastfeeding, which many in the developed world saw as “uncivilized and something that peasants in poor countries did.”
Liebig’s “formula,” consisting of cow’s milk, wheat and malt flour, and potassium bicarbonate, was considered the perfect infant food, according to an article about the history of infant feeding in The Journal of Perinatal Education. Since then, families have a range of formulas to choose from, including some made with soy instead of milk.
But researchers quickly discovered that formula, as convenient as it was, came with some attendant problems. According to the World Health Organization, infant formula does not contain the antibodies found in breast milk. In addition, when infant formula is not properly prepared, there are food-safety risks arising from the use of unsafe water and unsterilized equipment, or the potential presence of bacteria in powdered formula. And malnutrition can result from over-diluting formula to “stretch” supplies.
Researchers have also found that breastfed babies have fewer infections and hospitalizations than formula-fed infants. That’s because during breastfeeding, antibodies and other germ-fighting factors pass from a mother to her baby and strengthen the immune system. This, in turn, helps lower a baby’s chances of getting many infections, among them meningitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, and ear and respiratory infections.
Cost is another factor. According to “The Simple Dollar,” formula-feeding a baby an average 9,125 ounces for the first year of its life would cost approximately $1,733.75.
In developing countries, large companies such as Nestlé promoted formula over breast milk, which caused serious health problems in babies, especially when access to clean water and sanitary conditions weren’t available. The situation because so dire that, in 1981, an international code was adopted to regulate the marketing of breast-milk substitutes. It calls for all formula labels and information to state the benefits of breastfeeding and the health risks of substitutes. It also calls for the end of the promotion of breast milk substitutes, prohibits giving free samples of breast-milk substitutes to pregnant women, mothers or their families, and also prohibits the distribution of free or subsidized substitutes to health workers or facilities.
Not all infant nutrition experts are flat-out against formula, with some pointing out that it can sometimes have advantages over nursing. The bottom line, according to an article in “Kids’ Health,” is, “While you’re weighing the pros and cons, talk to your doctor or lactation consultant. These health care providers can give you more information about the options available and help you make the best decision for your family.”
The dilemma
As more and more doctors, scientists, and moms and dads learned about the benefits of breast milk over formula, many families decided in favor of breastfeeding. But that leaves women who can’t breastfeed for one reason or another in a dilemma. Oftentimes it’s because their bodies can’t make any, or enough, milk for their babies. Sometimes it’s because they’ve gone through medical procedures such as chemotherapy or breast reduction, and other times it’s because they’ve adopted an infant.
While milk banks, which follow strict requirements regarding the health of the donor mother and the safety of the donated milk, are excellent sources of donated milk for fragile babies such as preemies, they generally don’t have enough milk for healthy babies.
The cost is also prohibitive. In some cases, purchasing milk from a nonprofit milk bank can run as high as $5 an ounce — about $45,625 a year. In the case of premature babies for whom breast milk can be a matter of life and death, insurance often foots the bill, but that’s not the case for healthy babies whose moms can’t nurse.
With another option, buying milk online, there are too many chances that the milk may have been diluted with cow’s milk or other ingredients. Then, too, testing hasn’t usually been done for diseases, such as HIV and Hepatitis B, or foodborne pathogens, such as a potentially fatal strain of E. coli, which can be passed on to the baby.
And what if the donor is on drugs, or smokes, or drinks too much alcohol? And what about sanitation? How safe will the milk be? And was the donor mother, in pursuit of earning as much money as possible, providing enough of her milk to her own baby?
That was the dilemma Nese Devenot of West Philadelphia found herself confronted with when, at age 26, she discovered that her problem producing enough milk for her newborn baby was based on a little-known biological condition called IGT (insufficient glandular tissue), which limits the amount of milk a person can produce.
Try as she might, she just couldn’t produce the milk her son needed. Little Ellis, who was born weighing a healthy 8 pounds, 11 ounces, was losing weight instead of thriving, as she had imagined would happen before she had him.
Distraught, she turned to her lactation specialist for advice. What could she do? The specialist told her about “milk-sharing,” which Devenot had never even heard of. The lactation consultant explained that it would be possible to connect with mothers in the community who produced more milk than they needed for their own babies and who might be willing to donate their excess to a baby in need.
She mentioned a network of pages on Facebook that facilitated such connections, but suggested that Devenot start by posting a message on the Facebook group for the local breastfeeding support group that she had visited while pregnant.
Devenot discovered that, thanks to Facebook, she could key into the state where she lived and send out a request for donated milk. From there, she could search for donors who lived close by.
“The movement has really picked up with Facebook,” she said. “Now it’s easier to make connections.”
That’s what she did, but not before discussing the idea and all of the possible health risks with her husband, who was extremely skeptical. They decided to try posting a plea for breast milk and go from there. They could always say no, they told each other.
Much to their surprise, they were immediately greeted with no fewer than seven offers of breast milk, according to an article she wrote about her experiences with milk sharing. One came from a surrogate mother who had just given birth the day before to a baby who would be living far away and would not need her milk.
“Many of the mothers who responded to my post offered to deliver bags of frozen breast milk directly to my house without asking for anything in return,” Devenot said.
Meeting the donors and discussing the donor mother’s health, her dietary habits, and other topics, such as the use of pharmaceutical drugs, smoking and drug and alcohol use, is essential, she said.
Donors, meanwhile, also want to know about the families to which they’re donating the milk. In most cases, emotional bonds are formed between the families. Donors also want to make sure someone isn’t getting the milk and then selling it on Craig’s List, for example.
“Every milk-sharing relationship is different,” Devenot said, pointing out that it’s up to the person receiving the milk and the donor to make decisions about this.
Little Ellis, now two years old, was fed exclusively breast milk from 40 different mothers.
“He is so healthy,” Devenot said, admitting that she originally had mixed feelings when she first heard about milk-sharing.
“It gave me a ray of hope,” she said, “but at the same time, I was skeptical about it.”
No profit motive
The fact that the shared milk is offered free to moms who need it is an important part of the equation, said Devenot. Charging money for the milk is strictly prohibited.
“Without the profit motive, there’s no reason to lie,” she said. “Without money being part of the arrangement, there’s no need to dilute it with cow’s milk, or for moms to shortchange their own babies. It’s the same milk the donors are feeding their own babies. What mother doesn’t want the best for her baby?”
Devenot noted that, a few centuries ago, she would have had to resort to a wet nurse.
“Sharing milk is as old as human history,” she said. “Peer-to-peer, grassroots community milk-sharing is replicating a tribal, ‘it-takes-a-village’ approach to child-raising for the Internet age. It’s a modern form of wet nursing.”
Too much milk
Kristen Ribe’s dilemma was the opposite of Devenot’s: She had an oversupply of milk. She realized that one day when she saw all of the surplus breast milk she had pumped and put into the freezer “just in case” her baby, Benjamin, now 18 months and still nursing, would need it one day.
She realized she was never going to be able to use all of it, yet the thought of thawing it out and dumping it down the sink dismayed her.
“It’s called ‘liquid gold,’ Ribe told Food Safety News. “That’s how precious it is.”
She asked a lactation consultant about what she could do with the milk and was referred to the websites for Human Milk 4 Human Babies and Eats on Feets, both of them global networks.
By going to those sites and keying into the state where she lived, she could then find possible recipients who lived close by in northern New Jersey.
While both of these organizations provide links to milk donors and those needing milk in every state and many countries around the world, they do not make any of the actual connections between the donors and those needing the milk, nor do they provide any recommendations. Instead, they provide the donors and recipients with information they can follow up on to make their own connections and, from there, their own decisions.
“The goal is to put more moms together,” she said. “I know breast milk is good for babies, so why not share it?”
Referring to breast milk as “truly a gift,” Ribe said it’s up to the moms to make sure they’re OK with everything.
“I wanted to meet them and their babies,” she said. “I wanted to know that my milk was going to a good home.”
And because the milk is donated, Ribe said that milk-sharing is on a different level from selling milk.
“People who donate milk do it because they want to help babies,” she said. “We know it’s a precious resource.”
Over the span of nine months, she donated 1,000 ounces of milk that went to three babies.
Ribe said she always followed strict sanitation practices and that cleanliness was paramount.
Two of Eats on Feets’ four pillars for sharing of breast milk are “safe handling” and “pasteurization” (the other two are “informed choice” and “donor screening”). Go here for detailed information about all four pillars, including the different ways of pasteurizing donated breast milk.
To get the milk to the donor, Ribe and her husband would put the frozen milk packets into a cooler with ice packs and meet the recipient in a pre-arranged location. From there, the recipient would take it home and put it in her freezer. Almost always, the donors and recipients live fairly close to each other.
“It’s local because of the ease of transportation,” Ribe said.
As for how many people are involved in this sort of endeavor, she said the informal support group for donor mothers she is part of has 500 members.
“And we’re just a small percentage of the total number of donors overall,” Ribe said.
When she asked the donors in the group if they would want to share information about how much breast milk they had donated, eight of the mothers who responded had donated a total of 73,000 ounces, which went to 50 babies. And one mother had donated 12,000 ounces.
“More moms are choosing to share their milk, and more are wanting it,” Ribe said. “It’s more top-of-the-mind now. When it’s done appropriately and safety, it’s so beneficial.”
World Milksharing Day is an annual event that takes place every year the last week of September.
Advice to families
According to a World Health Organization/UNICEF publication, “Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding,” for those few health situations in which infants cannot, or should not, be breastfed, these are the best choices in order of health benefits to the baby:
•Expressed breast milk from an infant’s own mother;
•Breast milk from a healthy wet nurse or a human-milk bank;
•A breast-milk substitute (formula).
This report also points out the following to anyone who thinks breastfeeding is purely a “woman’s issue”: “Governments will be unsuccessful in their efforts to accelerate economic development in any significant long-term sense until optimal child growth and development, especially through appropriate feeding practices, are ensured. “
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that parents looking for a source of breast milk other than the baby’s mother consult a healthcare provider before making any decisions.
The agency also warns that those feeding human milk other than from the baby’s mother to consider the possible safety risks for the baby, which can include exposure to infectious diseases, chemical contaminants and some illegal drugs, as well as to a limited number of prescription drugs that might be in the human milk. Foodborne pathogens such as E. coli can also contaminate the milk.
The agency recommends against feeding a baby breast milk acquired directly from individuals or through the Internet because the donor is unlikely to have been screened for infectious disease or contamination risk. In addition, states the agency, it is not likely that the human milk has been collected, processed, tested or stored in a way that reduces possible safety risks to the baby.
But, if after consultation with a healthcare provider, a parent or caretaker of a baby decides to feed a baby human milk from a source other than its mother, the agency advises that the person only use milk from a source which has screened its milk donors and taken other precautions to ensure the safety of its milk.
The agency also recommends contacting state departments of health to get information on human milk banks in a specific area. FDA also points people to the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, a voluntary professional association for human milk banks.
The milk-banking organization issues voluntary safety guidelines for member banks on screening donors and on collecting, processing, handling, testing and storing milk.
While a few states have required safety standards for such milk banks, FDA has not been involved in establishing these voluntary guidelines or state standards.
Diana West, IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) and director of media relations for La Leche League International, said the League’s original policy was that its volunteer counselors could not recommend informal milk-sharing. But as the practice has grown, the policy was updated to allow counselors to share information about all avenues for obtaining and donating milk, including informal sharing.
“It’s always important that mothers have the latest and best information about milk donation and sharing,” she said.
On a personal level, West said she was grateful to get some donated milk because her own baby had a severe reaction to formula, which she had to use because a previous surgery had limited the amount of milk she could produce.
Even so, she advises women who are having problems nursing to first go to sources such as the eighth edition of “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding,” which, in 2012, was the Readers’ Choice Award Winner as a favorite baby shower gift, to learn if there’s anything they can do to increase how much milk they are producing. Another resource specifically for low milk production issues is “The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk.”
West also advises mothers receiving donated milk to pasteurize it.
“They should do it,” she said. “It will kill bacteria, fungi and viruses but won’t kill the immune factors, and all the nutrition of the breast milk will be there.”

 

 


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Salmonella from Live Poultry Linked to Four Outbreaks
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/salmonella-from-live-poultry-linked-to-four-outbreaks/
By Carla Gillespie (July 2, 2015)
Salmonella from live poultry has been linked to four multistate outbreaks. Forty states are affected by the outbreaks which have sickened 181 and hospitalized 33.
Most of those sickened reported tending to backyard flocks before becoming ill. The outbreaks have been linked to live poultry from multiple hatcheries sold at 17 different feed supply stores.
chicks-2-ars“Many ill people in these outbreaks reported bringing the live poultry into their homes, and others reported kissing or cuddling with the live poultry.These behaviors increase a person’s risk of a Salmonella infection,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
By state the cases reported are as follows: Alabama (17), Arizona (3), Arkansas (4), California (3), Colorado (2), Delaware (2), Georgia (4), Indiana (3), Iowa (1), Kentucky (4), Louisiana (2), Maine (2), Maryland (4), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (3), Minnesota (6), Mississippi (13), Missouri (1), Montana (3), Nevada (2), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (3), New Mexico (2), New York (6), North Carolina (3), Ohio (15), Oklahoma (1), Oregon (5), Pennsylvania (12), South Carolina (10), South Dakota (2), Tennessee (6), Texas (5), Utah (4), Vermont (2), Virginia (11), Washington (6), West Virginia (2), Wisconsin (1), and Wyoming (4).

Salmonella cases linked to raw, frozen, stuffed chicken products
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/salmonella-cases-linked-to-raw-frozen-stuffed-chicken-products/#.VZnaP9iJiHt
Denis Stearns (July 2, 2015)
State health and agriculture officials said today that seven recent cases of salmonellosis in Minnesota have been linked to raw, frozen, breaded and pre-browned, stuffed chicken entrees.
The illnesses prompted health officials to remind consumers that the products may look cooked, but are in fact raw and should be handled carefully to avoid cross-contamination in the kitchen and then always cooked thoroughly.
Investigators from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) determined that the illnesses occurred in two separate outbreaks, involving two different strains of Salmonella bacteria inproducts from two distinct, unrelated producers.
In the first outbreak, four illnesses occurring from April 5 through June 8 were linked to Barber Foods Chicken Kiev. This product has a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) stamped code of P-276. This product is sold at many different retailers, including grocery store chains. The four cases in this outbreak ranged in age from 19 to 82 years, all from the metro area, and two were hospitalized.
In the second outbreak, three people got sick from May 9 to June 8 after eating Antioch Farms brand Cordon Bleu raw stuffed chicken breast with a U.S. Department of Agriculture stamped code of P-1358. This product is sold at many different grocery store chains. The three cases were all adults in their 30s and 40s from the metro area, and two were hospitalized.
No deaths have been linked to either outbreak. MDH and MDA are working with USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on the investigation. The investigation is on-going.
With these two outbreaks, there have now been nine outbreaks of salmonellosis in Minnesota linked to these types of products since 1998. “These chicken products are raw, breaded and pre-browned and  often found near pre-cooked products at the grocery store, so even though the current labels state that the product is raw, consumers could mistakenly think the product is pre-cooked,” said Carlota Medus, epidemiologist for the Foodborne Illness Unit at MDH. Improvements were made to the labeling of such products in 2008, but three outbreaks have occurred from eating the raw, stuffed chicken products since 2014.
“Another problem is that consumers could accidentally contaminate their hands and kitchen surfaces prior to cooking,” Medus said. “Since these products are pre-browned and often cooked from the frozen state, they may appear safer when handling than other raw meats that may be noticeably dripping juices.”
Salmonella is sometimes present in raw chicken, which is why it is important for consumers to always follow safe food-handling practices. This includes cooking all raw poultry products to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit, which kills the Salmonella bacteria. “The problem arises when consumers don’t realize that they are handling and preparing a raw product,” said Alida Sorenson, an investigator for the MDA Dairy and Food Inspection Division. Consumers should handle them as carefully as they would any other raw meats, she said.
Consumers with these products in their freezers, if they choose to use them, should cook them thoroughly. Other important food handling practices include washing hands thoroughly after handling raw meat, keeping raw and cooked foods separate to avoid cross-contamination, and placing cooked meat on a clean plate or platter before serving.
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 to 7 days, but approximately 28 percent of laboratory-confirmed cases require hospitalization. Invasive infections (e.g., blood stream infections, meningitis) occasionally occur. In rare cases, Salmonella infection can lead to death, particularly in the elderly or those with weakened immune systems.
 Approximately 700 cases of salmonellosis are reported each year in Minnesota.
Salmonella: Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants. The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.

Alabama Links Staph Outbreak at Sunnyside Daycare to Food
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/alabama-links-staph-outbreak-at-sunnyside-daycare-to-food/
By Carla Gillespie (July 2, 2015)
Staph bacteria found in food served at Sunnyside Child Care Center is a genetic match to the strain that sickened 86 children, hospitalizing 30 of them, Alabama health officials have announced. Staphylococcus Aureus infections cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, cramps and lethargy.
Chicken, pasta, green beans and apples were positive for the toxin,  State Health Officer Don Williamson told the Montgomery Advertiser.
Health officials are working with kitchen staff on food safety procedures. The kitchen at the Sunnyside Child Care Center on S. Court Street prepares food for that location and the Sunnyside location on Norman Bridge Road. The facility was closed for  several days while the investigation was being conducted but reopened on Monday.

Humane Society Files Complaints Against Costco’s Egg Supplier
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/humane-society-files-complaints-against-costcos-egg-supplier/
By Linda Larsen (July 1, 2015)
The Humane Society of the United States has filed complaints with the FDA and FTA over Costco’s egg supplier Hillandale Nearby Eggs. The complaints call for asking the feds to investigate potential “violations of federal false advertising and health and safety laws.”
The complaints allege that Hillandale farms “deceived consumers concerned about animal welfare and that the filthy and unsanitary conditions at Hillandale present serious food safety concerns.” An undercover investigation found that hens were locked in cages so tightly they couldn’t spread their wings. Live birds were forced to be in the same cages as dead birds, and fly infestations were common throughout the facility.
The depiction of the farm on Hillandale’s Nearby Eggs cartons show hens roaming in a pasture. The video shows birds with their legs stuck in the wire cage, with piles of broken,rotting, fly-covered eggs on the facility’s floors. Each hen is given less space than an iPad. Costco made the decision eight years ago to eliminate cages from its egg supply.
Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president and chief counsel for animal protection litigation at HSUS said in a statement, “it’s unconscionable to mislead Costco consumers with false depictions of how those eggs were produced. The horrific conditions documented at this egg facility warrant federal investigation to ensure consumer safety.”
HSUS vice president of farm animal protection said in a statement, “we’re disappointed that Costco still allows its egg suppliers to keep birds in filthy, cramped cages for their whole lives. Nearly a decades passed since Costco indicated it wanted to end such abuse in its supply chain, and these birds continue languishing, every minute of every day, in conditions so filthy it would make most people’s stomachs churn.”
In 2010, Hillandale’s operations were linked to the largest egg recall in history. One hundred million eggs were recalled.

Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli (STEC): Microorganisms of Public Health Significance in Meat and Poultry
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/junejuly-2015/shiga-toxin-producing-escherichia-coli-stec-microorganisms-of-public-health-significance-in-meat-and-poultry/
By Margaret D. Hardin, Ph.D.
Over 20 years ago in a pathogenic microbiology class, I first heard a professor describe pathogenic Escherichia coli and the manner in which the organism and associated serotypes and serogroups were named. He was filled with enthusiasm as he told us that for E. coli O157:H7, the “H,” used to designate the flagellar antigen, was derived from the German word “Hauch” meaning “breath” or “breeze,” and the “O,” used to designate the somatic antigen (found on the surface of the lipopolysaccharide layer of Gram-negative bacteria), was from “ohne Hauch,” or “without movement.” He went on to describe motility testing and how motile bacteria produce a film or cloudiness as they grow and move (swim) through motility media in a tube or spread across plated media. He informed us that while we may never hear of these organisms again, or use these terms in our career, we may find this information useful at some point later in life such as a point of discussion at a cocktail party. Little did he realize the significance and role this information would play in the lives and careers of food microbiologists around the world.
Escherichia coli
E. coli are a large and diverse group of bacteria. While most are harmless and found naturally in the gut microflora of animals and humans, and actually form an important part of a healthy human intestinal tract, some E. coli are pathogenic, meaning they can cause illness.
Enteropathogenic groups of E. coli are categorized into six major pathotypes based on the presence of certain virulence factors and clinical symptoms of infected individuals: Shiga-toxin producing E. coli – STEC; enterotoxigenic E. coli – ETEC; enteropathogenic E. coli – EPEC; enteroaggregative E. coli – EAEC; enteroinvasive E. coli – EIEC; and diffusely adherent E. coli – DAEC. Of these six, STEC is the one most commonly associated with foodborne illness and with regulatory activities including sampling, testing and food-related recalls. Although several serotypes of STEC have been linked to foodborne illness, not all STEC are capable of causing disease in humans. Pathogenic strains of E. coli that produce Shiga toxin (stx) may also be referred to as enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC), verotoxigenic E. coli (VTEC) or STEC.
STEC and E. coli O157:H7
The most commonly identified STEC, at least in North America, is E. coli O157:H7 due to its association with several large outbreaks of foodborne illness and the severity of the illness. STEC has been recognized as a human pathogen since 1982, following outbreaks of an unusual gastrointestinal illness that affected at least 47 people in Oregon and Michigan in February through March, and May through June 1982. The illness was characterized by severe abdominal pain and cramping, initially watery diarrhea followed by grossly bloody diarrhea and little or no fever. The outbreaks were associated with eating at restaurants belonging to the same fast food restaurant chain and with eating sandwiches containing three common ingredients (beef patty, rehydrated onions and pickles). A rare serotype of E. coli (O157:H7), which was not identified as invasive or toxigenic, was isolated from 9 of 12 stool samples collected, and from a beef patty from a suspected lot of meat. The investigators concluded that the organism was likely transmitted by undercooked meat. The only known previous isolation of this serotype was from a sporadic case of hemorrhagic colitis in 1975.
A small percentage of cattle may carry EHEC O157:H7 in their intestinal tracts and on their hides. VTEC O157 have also been recovered from lymphatic tissue and from mesenteric lymph nodes of cattle. Although most cattle are asymptomatic carriers of the organism, E. coli O157:H7 can prove fatal to newborn calves. E. coli O157:H7 has also been isolated from sheep, goats, deer, cats, dogs, poultry, birds and insects. Human illnesses associated with E. coli O157:H7 can be particularly severe, even life threatening, particularly for immunocompromised individuals such as children and the elderly. Symptoms of human infection associated with the organism include bloody diarrhea (hemorrhagic colitis), hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura and death. The virulence of the organism is mediated through Shiga or Shiga-like toxins, which are also known as verotoxins or verocytotoxins. Historically, outbreaks of foodborne illness have linked most cases of infection with E. coli O157:H7 to the consumption of undercooked ground beef. However, outbreaks of infection associated with this organism have also been linked to drinking water, raw milk, apple cider, dry salami, water and produce, including lettuce, spinach, sprouts and cantaloupe. Additional outbreaks have been linked to petting zoos, and person-to-person transmission of the infection has occurred in nursing homes and day care centers. Outbreaks of illness associated with non-beef items have often been linked to cross-contamination during the preparation of raw meat or cross-contamination from animal sources in the environment.
Non-O157 STEC
Over 400 serotypes of non-O157 have been involved in human disease. While STEC have several virulence factors, two major stx types (stx1 and stx2) have been associated with strains causing human disease. Several other virulence factors have also been associated with highly pathogenic strains of STEC, such as the ability to adhere to intestinal cells and the ability to produce a hemolysin; however, not all STEC that cause severe disease possess these factors. This toxin causes blood vessel damage and plays a key role in other events that result in hemorrhagic colitis (bloody diarrhea) and a type of kidney failure called HUS, first described in children in the 1950s, that is characterized by the triad of acute renal failure, hemolytic anemia and thrombocytopenia. STEC, including E. coli O157:H7, is the number one cause of acute kidney failure in children. Worldwide, it is estimated that 20–50% of STEC-related infections can be attributed to non-O157 strains. The estimates are lower in North America, with fewer than 10 percent of HUS cases caused by non-O157 STEC strains. Active surveillance of non-O157 infections in the U.S. began in 2001; since then, the number of non-O157 infections reported between 2000 and 2007 has increased from 171 to 501 cases. The increase in testing is likely the reason for the increased incidence in cases and outbreaks attributed to non-O157 STEC. A wide variety of foods have been implicated in outbreaks as suspected sources, including raw (unpasteurized) milk and cheese, undercooked beef, a variety of fresh produce (e.g., sprouts, spinach, lettuce), unpasteurized apple cider, etc. Two outbreaks have been linked to beef in the U.S. New sources continue to be identified, as evidenced by outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7 infections in Canada and the U.S. linked to walnuts and hazelnuts.
In the U.S., between 1983 and 2002, the six most commonly occurring serotypes of non-O157 were O26, O111, O103, O121, O45 and O145. These six serotypes are reported to make up 82 percent of the FoodNet human isolates of non-O157 STEC between 2000 and 2007. Although numerous non-O157 STEC have been associated with foodborne illness outbreaks, they are historically and less commonly acknowledged due to limitations in diagnostic testing and a lack of surveillance. Due to the lack of well-established phenotypic characteristics of many non-O157 STEC, it has been a challenge to detect these bacteria using more traditional methods; therefore, underreporting of non-O157 STEC is very likely and their importance in clinical disease is not yet sufficiently understood. As with E. coli O157:H7, important reservoirs of non-O157 STEC include the gastrointestinal tract of ruminants, especially cattle, and will not likely cause any illness to their hosts. STEC have also been recovered from animals such as deer, goats, elk, pigs, sheep, horses, dogs, birds and flies. Humans may also serve as a reservoir for the organism. Human infections with STEC can occur with ingestion of contaminated food or water or by direct contact with animals or their farm environment (or petting zoos). Transmission may also occur through direct person-to-person contact with infected people (i.e., secondary infections). Disease symptoms include hemorrhagic colitis and HUS. Foods of animal origin or food and water contaminated with animal feces have been associated with STEC infections. Many nonpathogenic strains of STEC are commonly found in animals, the environment and food. Although the prevalence of pathogenic non-O157 STEC in human and animal populations, in food and in the environment has yet to be established, they continue to be an area of increasing attention in both public health and regulatory arenas. During 2012, due to the potential cause of severe human illness by these organisms, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) extended its current definition of “adulterant” and zero-tolerance policy for E. coli O157:H7 to include the top six non-O157 STEC serogroups in raw ground and nonintact beef products. Additional testing is planned for other raw beef components, such as manufacturing trim, intended to be used for raw ground beef or non-intact beef products.
Detection Methodologies
The clinical diagnosis and tracking of possible sources of non-O157 STEC infections has historically been hindered by the lack of sensitive and specific tests capable of isolating, identifying and quantifying pathogenic non-O157 STEC. As previously mentioned, a lack of well-established phenotypic characteristics of many non-O157 STEC has made it a challenge to detect these bacteria using more traditional culture methods, particularly in distinguishing pathogenic from nonpathogenic strains. The development of sensitive and specific test methods is also confounded by the considerable scientific uncertainty surrounding the exact combination(s) of virulence factors required to confer pathogenicity to certain strains of STEC. The diversity in range and types of virulence factors associated with STEC infections in humans and food makes it difficult to define a single virulence trait, making it likely that virulence may result from a combination of factors. Since 1982, when E. coli O157:H7 was first reported, selective diagnostic methods, such as chromogenic agars, have used particular features of E. coli O157 to increase the isolation of this particular strain. Because of the use of these selective methods, the prevalence of non-O157 STEC has likely been underestimated. Both O157 and non-O157 STEC have also been detected using multiple test methods, and in some cases, a combination of several screening and confirmation tests, such as immunomagnetic separation, flow cytometry, plating and molecular methods that do not exert selection pressure toward any particular serotype, such as detecting stx and/or eae in samples by PCR screening assays followed by a PCR assay targeting O-antigen genes. Since the implementation of the USDA FSIS regulation on six non-O157 STEC serogroups in raw beef products, the demand for rapid, sensitive and cost-effective tests for non-O157 STEC in food has expanded considerably. The already-competitive market for test kit manufacturing has companies intensifying their efforts to develop and validate such kits. As new strains continue to emerge and be identified, test kit manufacturers and researchers should remain vigilant and continue to develop more rapid and sensitive diagnostic tests based on a consensus about the specific targets, that is, virulence genes, that need to be identified and the required detection limit threshold.
Control Measures
Due to the low infectious dose and severity of disease manifestation for most STEC, their presence in raw and processed foods poses an important health risk. Several factors affect the growth and survival of STEC in foods. These include temperature, pH, salt content, atmosphere and water activity. For example, E. coli O157:H7 can grow in the presence or absence of oxygen, with an optimum temperature for growth of 37 °C (minimum 7–8 °C) and over a pH range of 4.4 to 9.0, and can survive in some products at a pH as low as 3.6.
In developing and implementing control measures, different approaches are necessary based on identified hazards and associated risks. For example, foods such as fresh produce can become contaminated with STEC from the presence of wild and domestic animals in fields and orchards, from the use of contaminated water sources, runoff from animal production units or lagoons, birds or dust and insects from animal production facilities. Although the benefits of manure-based soil amendments are well documented, inadequately treated compost can contribute to fresh produce contamination on the farm. With epidemiological results showing an increase in non-O157 STEC cases in produce surpassing those of E. coli O157, it is critical to evaluate the behavior of non-O157 STEC strains in animal manure-based compost. Research results to date show that STEC may survive in animal compost for extended periods, although some data suggest that survival of STEC may be strain and soil specific. Therefore, proper handling, testing and validation of composting Standard Operating Procedures for animal manure, to be used as a soil amendment, are critical for ensuring the microbiological safety of fresh produce and the farm environment.
Proper cooking of animal foods, such as ground beef and nonintact meat products, and commercial pasteurization of milk have been shown to be effective in eliminating STEC such as E. coli O157:H7 from foods. Available heat-resistance data substantiate that non-O157 STEC of concern have heat resistance similar to or less than that of O157.
Several studies have reported that antimicrobial intervention strategies currently used (and designed) to reduce E. coli O157:H7 on beef surfaces are also likely to be as effective against non-O157 STEC when applied to pre-rigor meat surfaces. However, some studies have shown that specific serogroups may be more or less sensitive to these treatments when applied to chilled meat surfaces. The effectiveness of antimicrobials to reduce pathogenic bacteria on meat surfaces will vary depending on several factors, such as the target microorganism, inoculum level (low versus high), type of antimicrobial used, concentration of antimicrobial, combination of interventions (such as hot water and/or organic acid), number of applications (such as pre- and postchill applications), surface type and so on.
When all is said and done, there is a lot we still do not know about Shiga toxin-producing E. coli and about non-O157 STEC in particular. However, armed with the desire to reduce the incidence of foodborne illness outbreaks and to protect public health, combined with improvements in testing methodology and an ongoing regulatory focus, our body of knowledge about this group of organisms continues to grow, as does the safety of the foods we produce.

Humane Society Files Complaint with FDA Against Costco Egg Supplier
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/07/humane-society-files-complaint-with-fda-against-costco-egg-supplier/#.VZnbD9iJiHt
By News Desk (July 1, 2015)
The Humane Society of the United States has filed legal complaints with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleging that Hillandale Farms, a Costco egg supplier, has deceived consumers with its poor animal welfare standards and “filthy and unsanitary conditions,” resulting in food safety concerns.
The complaints come weeks after the Humane Society released an undercover video apparently showing egg-laying hens living in filthy conditions, often cramped in cages and standing on top of other hens that had died. The footage also shows what appear to be piles of broken, rotting eggs lying on the floors of the egg-laying facility.
The imagery draws a sharp contrast to the depictions of hens roaming freely in a pasture on the Hillandale label, the Humane Society said.
“It’s unconscionable to mislead Costco consumers with false depictions of how those eggs were produced,” said Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president and chief counsel for animal protection litigation at the Humane Society, in a written statement.
Days after the video became public, Hillandale Farms and Costco released statements disputing the allegations, saying that the undercover employee who shot the footage compromised their animal welfare standards.
According to Hillandale, the employee who shot the video was the primary caretaker assigned to the barn and neglected their duties in order to misrepresent the farm’s conditions.
Costco backed up the farm, saying that it had inspected Hillandale’s facilities and confirmed that the egg producer was “behaving appropriately.”
Hillandale Farms was formerly owned by DeCoster Egg Farms, which was linked to nearly 2,000 Salmonella illnesses in 2010 in a massive outbreak. In April of this year, two company executives, Austin “Jack” DeCoster and his son Peter DeCoster, were sentenced to three months in jail for shipping adulterated food.
In 2007, Costco pledged to transition to selling only cage-free eggs, but the company has still not set a timetable for when that change would occur. The company says it sells more than 50 million cage-free eggs each year.

Study of Rare Toxin Carried by Sport Fish Underscores Consumer Warnings
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/06/florida-study-of-rare-toxin-carried-by-sport-fish-underscores-consumer-warnings/#.VZoKzdiJiHt
By News Desk (June 30, 2015)
A rare toxin carried by barracuda, grouper and other locally caught sport fish sickens Floridians in greater numbers than previously believed, a new analysis suggests. Consuming the foodborne toxin, called ciguatera, can result in severe nausea and vomiting and sometimes long-term tingling in the limbs or joint pain.
“The rate of illness was found to be higher than previously estimated. Areas around Miami and in the Florida Keys are particularly affected,” according to study author Elizabeth Radke, Ph.D.
She said that the findings confirm current warnings to avoid eating barracuda, while also indicating that, at least in Florida, grouper, amberjack, hogfish, snapper, mackerel and mahi mahi were also associated with illness. Most of the fish causing infections in Florida are caught in the Bahamas and the Florida Keys, the researchers concluded.
However, experts say the absolute risk for contracting ciguatera poisoning remains rare. And it doesn’t appear to be increasing statewide, even if earlier estimates now need to be revised upward.
The findings are published in the June 29 issue of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
“I don’t think that people necessarily need to stop eating these other fish, but they need to be aware there is a risk, and if they start feeling sick after eating, they should see a physician,” Radke added in a journal news release.
Hispanics had the highest rate of ciguatera poisonings in Florida, possibly because of cultural tendencies to eat barracuda, she said.
For the study, researchers from the University of Florida’s Emerging Pathogens Institute and the Florida Department of Health surveyed thousands of recreational salt-water fishermen in the state and compared the results with public health records.
The investigators estimated that 5.6 cases occur per every 100,000 people in Florida — far more than the previously recorded 0.2 cases per 100,000 state residents.
The reasons for the discrepancy is that many anglers who said they developed the illness didn’t visit a doctor, while others saw doctors who didn’t make a proper diagnosis.
Ciguatera poisoning is the world’s most common form of fish-related food poisoning, the researchers noted. The toxin is found in algae growing on coral reefs in warm tropical and subtropical ocean waters, with the risk highest in fish from the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific and Indian oceans.
More information on ciguatera poisoning is available here from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additional information from the Florida Department of Health is here.

Cattle Producer Associations Run From Hot to Cold on COOL
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/06/cattle-producer-associations-run-from-hot-to-cold-on-cool/#.VZoKYtiJiHt
By Dan Flynn (June 29, 2015)
The move in Congress to repeal mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law for beef, pork and chicken is again turning up the fault lines among the three major organizations that represent American cattle producers.
While there are numerous state and local affiliates, the three big groups are:
•National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), based in Denver and formed in 1898.
•U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA), based in San Lucas, CA, and formed in 2007.
•Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF), based in Billings, MT, and formed in 1998.
Only the USCA’s Leo McDonnell was invited to testify last week before the Senate Agriculture Committee on the possible imposition of $3.6 billion in retaliatory tariffs by Canada and Mexico unless COOL is repealed.
The U.S. House of Representatives already voted 300-131 to take the measure off the books because the World Trade Organization ruled that COOL is a non-tariff barrier to free trade and treats Canada’s and Mexico’s meat producers unfairly.
The Agriculture Committee’s hearing last week was labeled as “pathetically biased” by R-CALF on Twitter.
“Only one witness, Leo McDonnell representing the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, appeared to favor COOL, but he continually called for changing ‘mandatory’ COOL to ‘voluntary’ COOL so, he said, everyone call walk away a winner,” states an R-CALF press release.
Like R-CALF, USCA has long supported mandatory COOL, and its acceptance of a voluntary system comes only because of the potential cost to the industry of retaliatory tariffs. However, the larger NCBA has opposed COOL as being “without benefit to the U.S. cattle industry.”
R-CALF claims the Senate hearing was stacked with witnesses who now favor immediate repeal of COOL, leaving no one to defend the 13-year-old law. R-CALF, which claims to speak for the “independent” producer, is turning up the rhetoric.
Bill Bullard, R-CALF’s CEO, charged that retaliation threats by Canadian and Mexican officials are causing Congress and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to “literally quiver in their boots.” He called the lack of nationalism by U.S. officials is “pathetic.”
Bullard also says the U.S. government has “unwittingly accorded more autonomy and more authority to the World Trade Organization (WTO) than the United States accords to its own judicial system.” He says it’s “alarming” that foreigners are being allowed to decide the fate of U.S. laws passed under the U.S. Constitution.
Since the U.S. purchases 75 percent of Canada’s exports, Bullard also said it “makes no sense” for this nation to “act so pitifully” in the face of the “rantings” of Canada and Mexico.
COOL is only the latest issue on which R-CALF separates itself from the rest of the U.S. cattle industry. The group got its start over controversy involving the Canadian Wheat Board allegedly holding down prices to help its cattle producers gain advantage over U.S. ranchers. And, in 2003, R-CALF wanted the U.S. border closed to Canadian cattle when an Alberta cow turned up with BSE.
NCBA, which has both producers and processors under its big tent, sees forestalling retaliation as the main issue.
“COOL retaliation will have a major impact on our economy and trading relationships, now and in the future,” says the group’s president, Wyoming cattleman Philip Ellis. “Cattlemen and women support consumers in the information they seek, we are open and transparent, and we can do that without costly and trade distorting rules.”
Beef and pork are already eligible for a USA label under USDA’s voluntary process verification program, according to Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), chairman of the Agriculture Committee.
The mandatory labeling law requires livestock producers to keep track of where animals were born and the locations where they were raised and slaughtered. The practical effect is that animals are segregated prior to slaughter, which foreign producers claim was being done at their expense.
BEEF INDUSTRY STATISTICS (Source: NCBA)
•Cattle inventory (as of Jan 1, 2015): 89.9 million, up 1 percent from Jan. 2014
•Economic impact: $44 billion in farm gate receipts (USDA NASS)
•Number of farms and ranches specializing in beef cattle: 619,172 (2012)
•Number of cattle and calf operations: 915,000 (2012): •29.7 million beef cows
•9.3 million milk cows
•5.8 million beef replacement heifers, up 4 percent from Jan. 2014
•33.9 million head calf crop (2013)
•Average cow herd size: 40 head
•Value of U.S. beef exports: $5.711 billion (2013), up from $3.839 billion in 2010 •Top export markets: Japan, Canada, Mexico and South Korea
•Top five states for all cattle and calves (2015):
•Texas, 11.8 million
•Nebraska, 6.30 million
•Kansas, 6 million
•California, 5.2 million
•Oklahoma, 4.6 million
•Top five states for cattle in feedlots with capacity of more than 1,000 head (March 2015): •Nebraska, 2.49 million
•Texas, 2.45 million
•Kansas, 2.1 million
•Colorado, .870 million
•Iowa, .660 million
•Average producer age: 58.3 (USDA 2012 Ag Census)
•U.S. beef production (commercial carcass weight) was 25.8 billion pounds.
•The total U.S. beef consumed was 25.5 billion pounds.
•Average annual U.S. retail Choice beef price in 2013 was $5.29/lb.
•U.S. commercial slaughter total was 31.9 million head.

What You Need to Know About Food Safety and Traceability
Source : http://www.automationworld.com/mes-mom/what-you-need-know-about-food-safety-and-traceability
By Jim Toman (June 25, 2015)
During the recent MESA North American Conference in Charlotte, N.C., I had the pleasure of leading an unConference session on the topic of food safety and traceability. During the discussion, it became clear that there is quite a challenge in front of food producers and manufacturers to meet upcoming regulations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Those of us in the automation and manufacturing IT industries can help clear up some of the confusion and show leadership as companies large and small seek to comply with the new regulatory environment.
Food manufacturers will be required to comply with new traceability requirements. The FDA has a legal mandate, called the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), to ensure that food products are traced from their origins through the supply chain to the consumer. As part of this process, the FDA is defining critical tracking events and key data elements for small, medium and large producers. Food producers at each point on the supply chain will be required to track and keep records for each unit of food.
Automated traceability is not required, but it can make things easier. The FDA has not mandated any particular technology to automate traceability. However, experience in the manufacturing industry has shown that automated track and trace systems do a superb job of capturing the required information at a granular level and providing detailed, fast-access records of product genealogy. One of the FDA’s goals is to provide fast forensic traceability in the case of an incident, but manufacturers can also benefit from automation with reduced-scope targeted recalls and improved quality control within the plant.
Automated traceability is available in many forms today. Effective automated traceability built on networked control systems and manufacturing IT platforms, such as modern manufacturing execution systems (MES), are already available in the marketplace and have been proven out over the past two decades. The challenge for manufacturers lies in selecting the right system and ensuring it is a good fit for their particular manufacturing environment.
MESA has many resources to help food manufacturers understand how it fits. For those same two decades, MESA has been working to help manufacturers and producers understand how to employ information technology effectively. As an industry-wide, noncommercial association, MESA has helped develop best practices, including the widely recognized MESA model showing how technology and business functions interact in manufacturing. Traceability is an important component of the model. Additionally, MESA has published several whitepapers around topics including the application of standards such as ISA-95, MES cost justification, and data interaction that are relevant to the new regulatory challenges faced by the food industry. Most recently, MESA’s Food Safety and Traceability working group has been working on a guidebook to help food manufacturers and producers understand the challenge and to provide some direction in responding to the challenge.
Food manufacturers and producers have only a short time to formulate a strategy for addressing the FDA’s new regulations. Take advantage of the MESA resource library and the accumulated knowledge of MESA member companies to help formulate your strategy today.
>>Jim Toman is lead consultant—manufacturing IT for Grantek, a consulting and integration firm that provides operational excellence solutions to the manufacturing industry. He is also a MESA Americas board member. Toman has a bachelor of science in information technology and a MESA GEP Certificate of Competency in MOM/MES methodologies.

Productivity, food safety go hand in hand
Source : http://beefmagazine.com/productivity-food-safety-go-hand-hand
By beefmagazine.com (June 25, 2015)
In the day-in, day-out work of a producer, keeping cattle healthy, thriving and productive is job one. Yet, as beef producers go about those tasks, keeping the end zone in view is paramount. And for beef producers, the end zone is the product that consumers, both at home and in a restaurant, enjoy.
That means food safety is also high on the list. While food safety may seem like a distant relative to cattle producers’ foremost concerns — keeping cattle healthy and gaining well—the two goals have much in common, notes Kerry Barling, DVM, Ph.D., global manager of beef technology, Lallemand Animal Nutrition.
“Food safety is an issue across the entire food chain,” Barling says. “The good news is that we can focus on gain and safety at the same time. There are simple, effective measures that set the stage for all other food safety measures to work better. These are practices many producers are already doing, but implementing them consistently can help ensure a safe, wholesome food supply.”
According to the Beef Industry Food Safety Council (BIFSCo), these animal husbandry practices are “prerequisites,” that must be in place to build a foundation for other control measures that more directly affect food safety. These prerequisites include steps like those outlined in Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) programs, such as:
•         Providing clean feed and water,
•         Draining and maintaining cattle pens and grazing areas,
•         Keeping cattle free from pests and insects.
“Without a good foundation, all other measures are going to be less effective,” Barling says. “For instance, coliform bacteria like E. coli can be a food safety concern and act as silage spoilage microbe. Using an inoculant to limit the ability of these microbes to grow in the silage can positively affect production and food safety.”
Once appropriate prerequisite programs like this are in place, cattle producers can incorporate second-tier management practices or technologies to further support foodborne pathogen control. Some of these second-tier interventions can have positive effects on productivity as well, Barling notes.
For instance, in-feed probiotics, or direct-fed microbials (DFMs), are documented to reduce the prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 in feedlot cattle.1 Recently, probiotic strain Lactobacillus acidophilus BT-1386 was added to the 2015 pre-harvest production best practice (PBP) document released by the BIFSCo, based on peer-reviewed literature available to support its effectiveness against E. coli O157:H7.1
Two Micro-Cell® products from Lallemand Animal Nutrition contain this proprietary strain Ží Micro-Cell LA and Micro-Cell GOLD. L. acidophilus BT-1386 works by excluding pathogenic bacteria, which naturally helps reduce E. coli and Salmonella shedding.1 Pathogenic bacteria also can influence performance and feed efficiency, Barling explains.
In a study, cattle supplemented with L. acidophilus BT-1386 had a 4.2% improvement in feed conversion and a 3.2% improvement in average daily gain (ADG) compared to controls.2 In the same study, L. acidophilus BT-1386 supplemented-cattle had a net weight gain advantage of 13 lbs/head.2
“We can reduce the burden of E. coli 0157:H7 in groups of cattle, but there is no silver bullet to completely eliminating these ubiquitous and naturally occurring bacteria,” Barling says. “Probiotics can work together with other pre-harvest and post-harvest interventions to secure the trust and confidence of consumers for the safety and wholesomeness of beef products. At the same time, cattle producers can experience the benefits in efficiency. That’s a win-win for the entire food chain.”

 

 

 

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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