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FoodHACCP Newsletter
12/21 2015 ISSUE:683

State of an Industry: Salmonella and Bovine Lymph Nodes
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/december-2015january-2016/state-of-an-industry-salmonella-and-bovine-lymph-nodes/
By Ashley Arnold, Ph.D., and Kerri B. Gehring, Ph.D.
Salmonella testing in pork, modernized poultry inspection regulations, changed the sampling and performance standards for poultry and released the FSIS Salmonella Action Plan: A Year One Update. Many of the agency changes are designed to satisfy goals within the 10 action items of the plan. With USDA-FSIS taking steps to successfully execute the plan, it seems like an appropriate time to assess where the beef industry stands on item number 8 of the plan: Explore the Contribution of Lymph Nodes to Salmonella Contamination.
But first, let’s review why there is such an increased focus on Salmonella. A 2011 document from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that an estimated 1 million cases of salmonellosis occur annually in the U.S., of which approximately 42,000 are laboratory confirmed. In other words, CDC estimates that for every reported case of Salmonella-related illness, there are 24 cases that are not diagnosed. Based on 2013 CDC data, Salmonella (34%) is second to norovirus (35%) in attributed foodborne outbreaks. Notwithstanding, Salmonella remains the leading cause of foodborne illness in the U.S. Of the 1.2 million estimated annual illnesses, approximately 360,000 are reported to be associated with products regulated by FSIS.
Salmonella in Beef: A Look at the Data
The most recent CDC annual surveillance report (2013 data) quantified 818 total outbreaks, 157 of which were caused by Salmonella and 5 due specifically to Salmonella in beef products. Illnesses associated with these outbreaks totaled 13,360 in all: 3,593 were salmonellosis and 210 were salmonellosis caused by beef. Overall, 14 product recalls were issued as a result of outbreaks in 2013, 3 of which were tied to Salmonella-related illnesses, with 1 of those involving beef products. Of 818 total outbreaks, 377 (46%) could be linked to a specific food item. Foods could be placed into 1 of 24 attribution categories for 210 (56%) of those outbreaks. By attribution category, the most commonly implicated food types were fish (24%), mollusks (11%), chicken (10%) and dairy (10%).
Attribution data also were made available in a recent interagency food safety report. This multi-agency endeavor summarized numerous years of surveillance data in an effort to categorize illness estimates by food source. Of the model-estimated illnesses, 77% were attributed to seeded vegetables (18%), eggs (12%), fruits (12%), chicken (10%), beef (9%), sprouts (8%) and pork (8%). Specifically, 47 outbreaks and 1,473 illnesses caused by Salmonella were attributed to beef products from 1998 to 2012. For comparison, single-year data from the CDC for 2013 show 5 percent of all reported foodborne disease outbreaks and 8 percent of all reported outbreak-associated illnesses were linked to beef. Overall, beef is the fourth-most-common cause of reported outbreak-associated salmonellosis in the U.S. (210 illnesses in 2013).
While national baseline data have continued to show a decrease in the incidence of foodborne illnesses related to Escherichia coli O157:H7, occurrence of Salmonella infections has remained virtually unchanged. This could lead one to question why the beef industry has not employed the same strategies to control Salmonella that were used for E. coli O157:H7. While that logic seems plausible, unfortunately, it is not that easy.
Salmonella in Lymph Nodes Too Diffuse to Eliminate
What makes controlling Salmonella in beef more of a challenge than controlling E. coli O157:H7? The answer is actually quite simple—location of the pathogen. To explain further, it is widely accepted that E. coli O157:H7 is inherent to the gastrointestinal tract of healthy cattle, and as such, the carcass surface is the most common area of contamination. Therefore, control has focused on utilizing effective sanitary dressing procedures and applying validated antimicrobial interventions to carcass surfaces. The beef industry has developed and implemented a number of antimicrobial intervention strategies to reduce E. coli O157:H7 on beef surfaces with great success—as evidenced by the consistent decline in beef-related E. coli illnesses over the years. Research has shown that these interventions are also effective at reducing Salmonella when present on the carcass surface; however, Salmonella is not found just on the surface. It has also been found inside bovine lymph nodes. Unfortunately, the Salmonella inside a lymph node would not be reduced by typical antimicrobial interventions applied to the carcass surface. While many lymph nodes are removed during normal harvest and fabrication procedures, others are embedded in the fat tissue surrounding muscles. These lymph nodes are generally referred to as peripheral lymph nodes (PLNs). Due to the number of PLNs and nature of the lymphatic system, complete removal of PLNs and associated lymphatic tissue is not an obtainable goal. Several of the larger PLNs are removed during normal fabrication practices, and researchers have determined that some of these larger PLNs tend to have a higher Salmonella prevalence than many of the smaller nodes. We have a lot to learn about the relationship between Salmonella and the lymphatic system in cattle, and due to possible influences at each point in the beef production chain, shedding light on this issue has become an industrywide effort.
What the Science Tells Us
Based on studies published by Sara Gragg and others from Texas Tech University and USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS),[1,2] the beef industry is currently operating under three basic principles with regard to Salmonella prevalence in lymph nodes: (1) prevalence is higher in the lymph nodes of fed cattle compared with cull, (2) prevalence tends to be higher in the warmer months and (3) lymph nodes from cattle harvested in the southern region of the U.S. have a higher prevalence than northern or western regions (the eastern region was not evaluated in this study). These findings prompted another set of research questions: (1) When and how are cattle exposed to the microorganism? (2) Are there prevalence differences within a region? (3) Why the vast differences between cattle type?
Several researchers have focused their efforts on the possible routes of entry and types of exposure in which cattle may be challenged with Salmonella. Data from a study conducted by Ashley (Haneklaus) Arnold and colleagues at Texas A&M University have shown varying levels of Salmonella prevalence in lymph nodes obtained from carcasses sourced back to feedlots within a single geographic region,[3] which leads one to question what influences may be present in the feedlot environment that could positively or negatively impact Salmonella prevalence in cattle. Additionally, Matthew Taylor and other Texas A&M University researchers recently presented data from a study investigating the role bacteriophages might play in feedlots with lower rates of Salmonella prevalence;[4] based on their study findings, low levels of Salmonella prevalence could not be definitively attributed to bacteriophage activity.
Following the same line of questioning regarding the “when” and “how” of exposure, Tom Edrington and Pia Olafson with ARS have each published separate works describing the possibility of transdermal Salmonella infection through breaches of the skin by biting/sucking insects.[5–7] Edrington was able to develop a transdermal challenge model to mimic the biting of an insect.[5] This model allowed for the successful and predictable recovery of Salmonella from region-specific PLNs up to 8 days postchallenge. Oral Salmonella challenges have also been investigated, but results were less consistent than those from transdermal challenges. Additionally, data collected by Edrington[6] have shown that an unreasonably high level of Salmonella is required to produce positive PLNs via oral challenge, making feed contamination an unlikely route of exposure. Vertical (transplacental) transmission is one other possible method of exposure that has been recently investigated. Devin Hanson, working with others at Texas Tech University and ARS, recently presented data indicating that calves may be exposed to Salmonella in utero, sequestering the microorganism in their lymph nodes prior to birth.[8] This would mean that calves arrive at the feedlot already carrying the microorganism, which certainly poses a challenge.
As a follow-up to prevalence differences seen between cull and fed cattle, Tyson Brown and researchers at ARS looked into the impact of breed type on Salmonella prevalence.[9] Paired comparisons were made between Holstein versus native and Brahman versus native cattle originating from the same feedyards in the southwestern United States. Based on results from this study, breed type did not drive differences in Salmonella prevalence.
Several research studies have been conducted to determine the types of Salmonella typically found in the lymph nodes of cattle, and how many of which have a foodborne, human health consequence. In their 2011 annual report,[10] CDC outlined a list of the most common Salmonella serotypes associated with human illnesses in the U.S.—the top 10 appear in the following order: Enteritidis (16.5% of reported Salmonella infections), Typhimurium (13.4%), Newport (11.4%), Javiana (6.4%), I 4,[5],12:i:- (2.9%), Montevideo (2.6%), Heidelberg (2.4%), Muenchen (2.1%), Infantis (2.0%) and Braenderup (1.6%). Additionally, USDA-FSIS maintains a list of the 10 most commonly identified Salmonella serotypes found in meat and poultry verification samples.[11] The top three serotypes for FSIS are Kentucky, Enteritidis and Typhimurium. If focusing on ground beef verification sample results alone, Montevideo, Dublin and Typhimurium are the three serotypes most often found by FSIS. When evaluating results from recent studies, of 24 identifiable serotypes, Montevideo and Anatum were the Salmonella serotypes recovered most often from PLNs, by a wide margin. Typhimurium, Newport, Muenchen, Infantis and Braenderup also have been recovered from PLNs, but far less often. Overall, serotypes characterized from bovine lymph nodes do not have as much overlap with those responsible for foodborne illnesses as one might have initially thought. Nonetheless, Montevideo poses an obvious concern, and low rates of occurrence noted for other illness-causing Salmonella serotypes in PLNs by no means justify a reduced sense of urgency on this issue.
Mitigating Risks
Determining methods to mitigate risk of salmonellosis via contaminated lymph tissue in beef products is as important, if not more so, as understanding how cattle acquire and sequester the pathogen in the first place. In other efforts to determine possible preventive measures, preharvest interventions have been evaluated. Using direct-fed microbials has had somewhat mixed results. However, some pharmaceutical companies have developed vaccines and are exploring strategies for implementation to reduce Salmonella in cattle prior to harvest.
Future Directions
Although we are steadily increasing our knowledge in this area, many questions and unknowns remain. Researchers still have a number of strides to make before effective preharvest controls can be offered and successfully used to reduce Salmonella. Despite the unknowns, this is a key issue on the beef industry’s radar, and methods for better control are actively being pursued. Numerous researchers and beef industry members have agreed that we have three critical needs that still must be satisfied to gain some ground on this issue: (1) develop effective pre- and postharvest intervention practices; (2) attempt to identify a predictor to determine need of preharvest controls in specific feedyard environments; and (3) develop a best practices document for reducing preharvest Salmonella contamination.
It should be highlighted that to successfully and significantly reduce the number of salmonellosis cases credited to beef annually in the U.S., a comprehensive, industry-spanning approach will be required. This means all sectors of the cattle production chain—producers, harvest operators, further processors, retailers, foodservice managers and consumers—will have a responsibility and a role in managing Salmonella contamination. As an industry, we learned with E. coli O157:H7 that consumer education on the proper handling and preparation of beef plays a vital role in reducing beef-related illnesses, and that consumer outreach will need to be relied upon to gain control over our present situation.
Currently, members of the beef industry, academia and regulatory agencies are well attuned to the persistent and elusive nature of Salmonella in the lymph nodes of cattle. While great success has been noted with regards to E. coli-related illnesses over recent years, USDA-FSIS and CDC data show that the prevalence of Salmonella found in raw beef remains essentially unchanged, as is true for the occurrence of salmonellosis cases. Collectively, we face ongoing challenges in obtaining the appropriate knowledge to fully understand the acquisition of Salmonella by lymph nodes. Once we arrive at a full understanding of the relationship between Salmonella and beef, all sectors of our industry may be left asking one final question—“Now what?”—a question that is just as perplexing as our current state of knowledge on this issue. Ultimately, we may be left trying to manage environmental influences and biology; nonetheless, the beef industry has overcome great challenges in the past, and this should be no different.
Ashley Arnold, Ph.D., is a research assistant professor in the meat science section of the department of animal science at Texas A&M University. She conducts research, manages projects, finalizes reports and assists other faculty members in securing external funding for meat science research by writing grants. She also serves as safety officer for the department of animal science.
Kerri B. Gehring, Ph.D., is currently an associate professor in the meat science section of the department of animal science at Texas A&M University and the president/CEO of the International Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) Alliance. She conducts HACCP/food safety training and has disseminated food safety information across the U.S. by serving on multiple panels and programs. Her dedication to food safety is recognized nationally and internationally. 
References
1. Gragg, SE et al. 2012. Cross-sectional study examining Salmonella enterica carriage in subiliac lymph nodes of cull and feedlot cattle at harvest. Foodborne Pathog Dis 10:368–374.
2. Gragg, SE et al. 2013. Substantial within-animal diversity of Salmonella recovered from lymph nodes, feces and hides of cattle at slaughter. Appl Environ Microbiol 79(15):4744–4750.
3. Haneklaus, AN et al. 2012. Salmonella prevalence in bovine lymph nodes differs among feedyards. J Food Prot 75(6):1131–1133.
4. Yicheng, X et al. 2015. “Prevalence and identification of Salmonella bacteriophages in the beef feedlot environment” (Proceedings of the Beef Industry Safety Summit, Dallas, TX).
5. Edrington, TS et al. 2013. Development of challenge models to evaluate the efficacy of a vaccine to reduce carriage of Salmonella in peripheral lymph nodes of cattle. J Food Prot 76(7):1259–1263.
6. Edrington, TS et al. 2013. Development of a transdermal Salmonella challenge model in calves. J Food Prot 76(7):1255–1258.
7. Olafson, P et al. 2014. Survival and fate of Salmonella enterica serovar Montevideo in adult horn flies. J Med Entomol 51.
8. Hanson, DL et al. 2015. “Vertical transmission of Salmonella in dairy cattle” (Proceedings of the Beef Industry Safety Summit, Dallas, TX).
9. Brown, TR et al. 2015. “Investigation into possible breed differences in Salmonella prevalence in the peripheral lymph nodes of cattle” (Proceedings of the Beef Industry Safety Summit, Dallas, TX).
10. www.cdc.gov/ncezid/dfwed/PDFs/salmonella-annual-report-2011-508c.pdf.
11. www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/180fc804-0311-4b4d-ae42-d735e8232e1c/Salmonella-Serotype-
Annual-2012.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

Holiday Food Safety Tips
Source : http://www.keloland.com/newsdetail.cfm/holiday-food-safety-tips/?id=188669
By keloland.com (Dec 19, 2015)
Keep food-borne illnesses out of the equation this holiday season with food safety tips from the CDC.
South Dakota has reported 605 cases of food-borne illnesses like Salmonella and E. coli through November 2015, up from 2014's total reports of 519. Some tips include keeping cutting boards, utensils, and countertops sanitized, keeping raw meat separated from ready-to-eat foods, and thoroughly cooking foods to kill germs. Proper cooking temperatures are 145°F for whole meats, 160°F for ground meats, and 165°F for poultry and stuffing.
Other tips include refrigerating leftovers as soon as possible and avoid eating raw eggs or drinking unpasteurized milk.

New Institute for Food Safety to fight foodborne illness
Source : http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2015/12/new-institute-food-safety-fight-foodborne-illness
By Matt Hayes (Dec 18, 2015)
Cornell University will be home to a comprehensive center combining food safety research and training for New York growers and producers, offering a farm-to-fork bulwark against foodborne illness in compliance with new, stricter federal regulations.
The Institute for Food Safety at Cornell, announced Dec. 15 with a $2 million state grant, establishes a center unique in its comprehensive approach connecting training and applied research to check the rise of foodborne illness. The institute will harness Cornell’s existing strengths across food production systems in fruits, vegetables and dairy foods to help growers and processors comply with the demands of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act.
Located at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES) in Geneva, New York, the institute will bring together Cornell scientists and extension experts to address outbreaks and proactively attend to a variety of food safety related issues through applied research, outreach and training, according to Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
“The long-term vision is for the Institute for Food Safety at Cornell to become the pre-eminent source of scientific research, training and outreach in dairy and produce safety in the U.S. and beyond,” Boor said. “Accomplishing this goal will not only support economic growth of the produce and dairy industry in New York, but it will also help increase exports for dairy and produce products.”
Betsy Bihn, whose research focus has helped reduce microbial risks to fresh fruits and vegetables, will be involved in leadership of the new institute. She has an extensive background promoting public health through on-farm practices to reduce the risk of foodborne illness from contamination in the field, during harvest and during transport.
“The Institute for Food Safety at Cornell is a great opportunity to focus on our strengths to better serve New Yorkers who need food safety training and expertise to support their farms and processing businesses,” Bihn said. “There are very few places that can truly provide food safety expertise farm to fork like the Experiment Station. This institute will provide the framework to assemble all the key pieces that are already here to build a unique, valuable and much-needed resource in light of new regulations associated with the Food Safety Modernization Act.”
The 2011 bill contains five key elements to combat foodborne illness by shifting focus from contamination response to prevention. Those mandates span increased preventive controls, inspection and compliance authority, tools to ensure the safety of imported food, response through actions like recall authority for all food products, and enhanced partnerships.
NYSAES director Susan K. Brown said that the institute comes at a critical time for the agricultural industry.
“The issue of food safety has never been more important. While we have the technology to trace back to sources of contamination in our food supply, the Institute for Food Safety at Cornell will proactively help prevent such contamination from the start by providing training and the knowledge base to conduct state-of-the-art safe agricultural practices,” Brown said.
Boor applauded the work of state Sen. Michael Nozzolio ’73, M.S. ’77, R-54th Dist., for his work securing the grant: “It is thanks to Senator Nozzolio’s unflagging support that the college will be able to do truly transformative work in advancing food safety technology and innovation,” she said.
“This funding builds on the momentum created earlier this fall with the announcement of $600,000 to secure a state-of-the-art Hiperbaric High Pressure Processing machine for the Experiment Station. This combined funding is a game changer for Geneva and the central Finger Lakes region and it helps to position the Experiment Station at the forefront of food safety. The institute will become a magnet for job growth in our region,” Nozzolio said.
Matt Hayes is managing editor and social media officer for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

 


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Canada Salmonella Outbreak: Poultry Products “Items of Interest”
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/12/canada-salmonella-outbreak-poultry-products-items-of-interest/#.Vnd1Sk5umUl
By News Desk (Dec 18, 2015)
Canada_120718_1425x283The Canadian federal government reported today that it is working with provincial health agencies to identify the source of a Salmonella outbreak that has infected 91 people between March and November.
Eight provinces reported infections during this period, including Quebec (13), Ontario (53), Alberta (11), British Columbia (6), Saskatchewan (2), Nova Scotia (2), Manitoba (2), New Brunswick (1) and Prince Edward Island (1). No deaths have been reported.
The Public Health Agency of Canada says risk of contracting the illness is low and while the source of the current outbreak is unknown, the agency identified poultry products as “items of interest” in its continuing investigation.
Salmonella comes from a bacteria found naturally in the intestines of birds and reptiles and is most often transmitted to people when they eat contaminated foods (mostly poultry, milk, eggs or beef).
Infants, children and seniors are most at risk of contracting the bacterial illness and once a person is infected, they can contaminate others. Symptoms include diarrhea, chills, fever, abdominal cramps, headaches and nausea.
To avoid contracting Salmonella the PHAC advises people to use the following safety tips when preparing food:
•Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after handling all types of food products.
•Cook food to a safe internal temperature that has been checked using a digital thermometer. Raw poultry pieces should be cooked to an internal temperature of 74 C (165 F). Whole poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of 82 C (180 F).
•Eggs and egg-based foods should be fully cooked to ensure they are safe to eat.
•Keep raw food away from other food while shopping, storing, preparing and serving foods.
•Never rinse poultry before using it because the bacteria can spread everywhere the water splashes, creating more of a safety hazard.
•Always read and follow package cooking instructions of any frozen raw poultry products, including products labeled Uncooked, Cook and Serve, Ready to Cook, and Oven Ready.
•Use warm soapy water to clean knives, cutting boards, utensils, your hands and any surfaces that have come in contact with food, especially meat, poultry and fish.
•If you have been diagnosed with a Salmonella infection or any other gastrointestinal illness, do not prepare food for other people.

Food Safety Talk 85: I’m the jerky police
Source : http://barfblog.com/2015/12/food-safety-talk-85-im-the-jerky-police/
By Ben Chapman (Dec 18, 2015)
Food Safety Talk, a bi-weekly podcast for food safety nerds, by food safety nerds. The podcast is hosted by Ben Chapman and barfblog contributor Don Schaffner, Extension Specialist in Food Science and Professor at Rutgers University. Every two weeks or so, Ben and Don get together virtually and talk for about an hour.  They talk about what’s on their minds or in the news regarding food safety, and popular culture. They strive to be relevant, funny and informative — sometimes they succeed. You can download the audio recordings right from the website, or subscribe using iTunes.o-BEEF-JERKY-facebook
Ben and Don host a special guest, Dan Benjamin, podcasting pioneer and founder of 5by5, the inspiration for Food Safety Talk. After sharing what they were eating (because that makes for a good podcast) and Ben and Don tell the Food Safety Talk origin story about Episode Zero as part of the IAFP 100 year anniversary StoryCorps project. The guys talk with Dan about the podcast content niche, who the community of listeners are (both inside and outside the food safety world).
The conversation moves into how Don is food safety expert to the podcasting stars and the guys talk about some of the risk assessment questions Dan and Haddie text Don that usually start with ‘Can she eat this?’
The discussion goes into kids getting sick, spurred by Dan’s children coming home with gastro illnesses. Don and Ben each have stories about taking care of vomiting children. The guys talk about Immunity, resistance and probabilities of feces being positive, transfer and introduction into the body. Don describes how risk modeling calculations work taking all the factors into account. Dan tells an analogous story about immunity and his grandfather’s metallurgy job. The guys use a hypothetical situation of a child projectile vomiting into someones mouth to help explain acquired immunity and vaccinations. Dan’s child illness discussion pushes the guys into CDC’s Infection control guidelines and restaurant food handlers and glove use. Dan tells a detailed story of his son’s vomiting event which includes norovirus, rotavirus, oatmeal, sink disposal, aerosolization, infection control, clean-up and incubation. A norovirus outbreak at Chipotle becomes a topic and the guys talk about brand impacts of an outbreak.
The hygiene hypothesis makes an appearance as does brain eating amoebas.
Dan describes Ben as the jerky police which goes back to an interview Ben did on 5by5 where they talked about risks associated with drying beef without heat treating. Dan gives hints on his super special recipe. The guys talk dehydrating manufacturers instructions(which may or may not be validated), water activity, Shigatoxin-producing E. coil and marinades. Don and Ben come up with a plan for a jerky how-to podcast and website fusing some of the validation studies (including one from our friends Harrison and Harrison).

State of an Industry: Salmonella and Bovine Lymph Nodes
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/december-2015january-2016/state-of-an-industry-salmonella-and-bovine-lymph-nodes/
By Ashley Arnold, Ph.D., and Kerri B. Gehring, Ph.D.
Salmonella has been a hot topic for the past few years. In December 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) released the Salmonella action plan, which included 10 action items for the agency. Since then, USDA-FSIS has changed its Salmonella verification testing program for beef, initiated exploratory Salmonella testing in pork, modernized poultry inspection regulations, changed the sampling and performance standards for poultry and released the FSIS Salmonella Action Plan: A Year One Update. Many of the agency changes are designed to satisfy goals within the 10 action items of the plan. With USDA-FSIS taking steps to successfully execute the plan, it seems like an appropriate time to assess where the beef industry stands on item number 8 of the plan: Explore the Contribution of Lymph Nodes to Salmonella Contamination.
But first, let’s review why there is such an increased focus on Salmonella. A 2011 document from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that an estimated 1 million cases of salmonellosis occur annually in the U.S., of which approximately 42,000 are laboratory confirmed. In other words, CDC estimates that for every reported case of Salmonella-related illness, there are 24 cases that are not diagnosed. Based on 2013 CDC data, Salmonella (34%) is second to norovirus (35%) in attributed foodborne outbreaks. Notwithstanding, Salmonella remains the leading cause of foodborne illness in the U.S. Of the 1.2 million estimated annual illnesses, approximately 360,000 are reported to be associated with products regulated by FSIS.
Salmonella in Beef: A Look at the Data
The most recent CDC annual surveillance report (2013 data) quantified 818 total outbreaks, 157 of which were caused by Salmonella and 5 due specifically to Salmonella in beef products. Illnesses associated with these outbreaks totaled 13,360 in all: 3,593 were salmonellosis and 210 were salmonellosis caused by beef. Overall, 14 product recalls were issued as a result of outbreaks in 2013, 3 of which were tied to Salmonella-related illnesses, with 1 of those involving beef products. Of 818 total outbreaks, 377 (46%) could be linked to a specific food item. Foods could be placed into 1 of 24 attribution categories for 210 (56%) of those outbreaks. By attribution category, the most commonly implicated food types were fish (24%), mollusks (11%), chicken (10%) and dairy (10%).
Attribution data also were made available in a recent interagency food safety report. This multi-agency endeavor summarized numerous years of surveillance data in an effort to categorize illness estimates by food source. Of the model-estimated illnesses, 77% were attributed to seeded vegetables (18%), eggs (12%), fruits (12%), chicken (10%), beef (9%), sprouts (8%) and pork (8%). Specifically, 47 outbreaks and 1,473 illnesses caused by Salmonella were attributed to beef products from 1998 to 2012. For comparison, single-year data from the CDC for 2013 show 5 percent of all reported foodborne disease outbreaks and 8 percent of all reported outbreak-associated illnesses were linked to beef. Overall, beef is the fourth-most-common cause of reported outbreak-associated salmonellosis in the U.S. (210 illnesses in 2013).
While national baseline data have continued to show a decrease in the incidence of foodborne illnesses related to Escherichia coli O157:H7, occurrence of Salmonella infections has remained virtually unchanged. This could lead one to question why the beef industry has not employed the same strategies to control Salmonella that were used for E. coli O157:H7. While that logic seems plausible, unfortunately, it is not that easy.
Salmonella in Lymph Nodes Too Diffuse to Eliminate
What makes controlling Salmonella in beef more of a challenge than controlling E. coli O157:H7? The answer is actually quite simple—location of the pathogen. To explain further, it is widely accepted that E. coli O157:H7 is inherent to the gastrointestinal tract of healthy cattle, and as such, the carcass surface is the most common area of contamination. Therefore, control has focused on utilizing effective sanitary dressing procedures and applying validated antimicrobial interventions to carcass surfaces. The beef industry has developed and implemented a number of antimicrobial intervention strategies to reduce E. coli O157:H7 on beef surfaces with great success—as evidenced by the consistent decline in beef-related E. coli illnesses over the years. Research has shown that these interventions are also effective at reducing Salmonella when present on the carcass surface; however, Salmonella is not found just on the surface. It has also been found inside bovine lymph nodes. Unfortunately, the Salmonella inside a lymph node would not be reduced by typical antimicrobial interventions applied to the carcass surface. While many lymph nodes are removed during normal harvest and fabrication procedures, others are embedded in the fat tissue surrounding muscles. These lymph nodes are generally referred to as peripheral lymph nodes (PLNs). Due to the number of PLNs and nature of the lymphatic system, complete removal of PLNs and associated lymphatic tissue is not an obtainable goal. Several of the larger PLNs are removed during normal fabrication practices, and researchers have determined that some of these larger PLNs tend to have a higher Salmonella prevalence than many of the smaller nodes. We have a lot to learn about the relationship between Salmonella and the lymphatic system in cattle, and due to possible influences at each point in the beef production chain, shedding light on this issue has become an industrywide effort.
What the Science Tells Us
Based on studies published by Sara Gragg and others from Texas Tech University and USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS),[1,2] the beef industry is currently operating under three basic principles with regard to Salmonella prevalence in lymph nodes: (1) prevalence is higher in the lymph nodes of fed cattle compared with cull, (2) prevalence tends to be higher in the warmer months and (3) lymph nodes from cattle harvested in the southern region of the U.S. have a higher prevalence than northern or western regions (the eastern region was not evaluated in this study). These findings prompted another set of research questions: (1) When and how are cattle exposed to the microorganism? (2) Are there prevalence differences within a region? (3) Why the vast differences between cattle type?
Several researchers have focused their efforts on the possible routes of entry and types of exposure in which cattle may be challenged with Salmonella. Data from a study conducted by Ashley (Haneklaus) Arnold and colleagues at Texas A&M University have shown varying levels of Salmonella prevalence in lymph nodes obtained from carcasses sourced back to feedlots within a single geographic region,[3] which leads one to question what influences may be present in the feedlot environment that could positively or negatively impact Salmonella prevalence in cattle. Additionally, Matthew Taylor and other Texas A&M University researchers recently presented data from a study investigating the role bacteriophages might play in feedlots with lower rates of Salmonella prevalence;[4] based on their study findings, low levels of Salmonella prevalence could not be definitively attributed to bacteriophage activity.
Following the same line of questioning regarding the “when” and “how” of exposure, Tom Edrington and Pia Olafson with ARS have each published separate works describing the possibility of transdermal Salmonella infection through breaches of the skin by biting/sucking insects.[5–7] Edrington was able to develop a transdermal challenge model to mimic the biting of an insect.[5] This model allowed for the successful and predictable recovery of Salmonella from region-specific PLNs up to 8 days postchallenge. Oral Salmonella challenges have also been investigated, but results were less consistent than those from transdermal challenges. Additionally, data collected by Edrington[6] have shown that an unreasonably high level of Salmonella is required to produce positive PLNs via oral challenge, making feed contamination an unlikely route of exposure. Vertical (transplacental) transmission is one other possible method of exposure that has been recently investigated. Devin Hanson, working with others at Texas Tech University and ARS, recently presented data indicating that calves may be exposed to Salmonella in utero, sequestering the microorganism in their lymph nodes prior to birth.[8] This would mean that calves arrive at the feedlot already carrying the microorganism, which certainly poses a challenge.
As a follow-up to prevalence differences seen between cull and fed cattle, Tyson Brown and researchers at ARS looked into the impact of breed type on Salmonella prevalence.[9] Paired comparisons were made between Holstein versus native and Brahman versus native cattle originating from the same feedyards in the southwestern United States. Based on results from this study, breed type did not drive differences in Salmonella prevalence.
Several research studies have been conducted to determine the types of Salmonella typically found in the lymph nodes of cattle, and how many of which have a foodborne, human health consequence. In their 2011 annual report,[10] CDC outlined a list of the most common Salmonella serotypes associated with human illnesses in the U.S.—the top 10 appear in the following order: Enteritidis (16.5% of reported Salmonella infections), Typhimurium (13.4%), Newport (11.4%), Javiana (6.4%), I 4,[5],12:i:- (2.9%), Montevideo (2.6%), Heidelberg (2.4%), Muenchen (2.1%), Infantis (2.0%) and Braenderup (1.6%). Additionally, USDA-FSIS maintains a list of the 10 most commonly identified Salmonella serotypes found in meat and poultry verification samples.[11] The top three serotypes for FSIS are Kentucky, Enteritidis and Typhimurium. If focusing on ground beef verification sample results alone, Montevideo, Dublin and Typhimurium are the three serotypes most often found by FSIS. When evaluating results from recent studies, of 24 identifiable serotypes, Montevideo and Anatum were the Salmonella serotypes recovered most often from PLNs, by a wide margin. Typhimurium, Newport, Muenchen, Infantis and Braenderup also have been recovered from PLNs, but far less often. Overall, serotypes characterized from bovine lymph nodes do not have as much overlap with those responsible for foodborne illnesses as one might have initially thought. Nonetheless, Montevideo poses an obvious concern, and low rates of occurrence noted for other illness-causing Salmonella serotypes in PLNs by no means justify a reduced sense of urgency on this issue.
Mitigating Risks
Determining methods to mitigate risk of salmonellosis via contaminated lymph tissue in beef products is as important, if not more so, as understanding how cattle acquire and sequester the pathogen in the first place. In other efforts to determine possible preventive measures, preharvest interventions have been evaluated. Using direct-fed microbials has had somewhat mixed results. However, some pharmaceutical companies have developed vaccines and are exploring strategies for implementation to reduce Salmonella in cattle prior to harvest.
Future Directions
Although we are steadily increasing our knowledge in this area, many questions and unknowns remain. Researchers still have a number of strides to make before effective preharvest controls can be offered and successfully used to reduce Salmonella. Despite the unknowns, this is a key issue on the beef industry’s radar, and methods for better control are actively being pursued. Numerous researchers and beef industry members have agreed that we have three critical needs that still must be satisfied to gain some ground on this issue: (1) develop effective pre- and postharvest intervention practices; (2) attempt to identify a predictor to determine need of preharvest controls in specific feedyard environments; and (3) develop a best practices document for reducing preharvest Salmonella contamination.
It should be highlighted that to successfully and significantly reduce the number of salmonellosis cases credited to beef annually in the U.S., a comprehensive, industry-spanning approach will be required. This means all sectors of the cattle production chain—producers, harvest operators, further processors, retailers, foodservice managers and consumers—will have a responsibility and a role in managing Salmonella contamination. As an industry, we learned with E. coli O157:H7 that consumer education on the proper handling and preparation of beef plays a vital role in reducing beef-related illnesses, and that consumer outreach will need to be relied upon to gain control over our present situation.
Currently, members of the beef industry, academia and regulatory agencies are well attuned to the persistent and elusive nature of Salmonella in the lymph nodes of cattle. While great success has been noted with regards to E. coli-related illnesses over recent years, USDA-FSIS and CDC data show that the prevalence of Salmonella found in raw beef remains essentially unchanged, as is true for the occurrence of salmonellosis cases. Collectively, we face ongoing challenges in obtaining the appropriate knowledge to fully understand the acquisition of Salmonella by lymph nodes. Once we arrive at a full understanding of the relationship between Salmonella and beef, all sectors of our industry may be left asking one final question—“Now what?”—a question that is just as perplexing as our current state of knowledge on this issue. Ultimately, we may be left trying to manage environmental influences and biology; nonetheless, the beef industry has overcome great challenges in the past, and this should be no different.
Ashley Arnold, Ph.D., is a research assistant professor in the meat science section of the department of animal science at Texas A&M University. She conducts research, manages projects, finalizes reports and assists other faculty members in securing external funding for meat science research by writing grants. She also serves as safety officer for the department of animal science.
Kerri B. Gehring, Ph.D., is currently an associate professor in the meat science section of the department of animal science at Texas A&M University and the president/CEO of the International Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) Alliance. She conducts HACCP/food safety training and has disseminated food safety information across the U.S. by serving on multiple panels and programs. Her dedication to food safety is recognized nationally and internationally. 
References
1. Gragg, SE et al. 2012. Cross-sectional study examining Salmonella enterica carriage in subiliac lymph nodes of cull and feedlot cattle at harvest. Foodborne Pathog Dis 10:368–374.
2. Gragg, SE et al. 2013. Substantial within-animal diversity of Salmonella recovered from lymph nodes, feces and hides of cattle at slaughter. Appl Environ Microbiol 79(15):4744–4750.
3. Haneklaus, AN et al. 2012. Salmonella prevalence in bovine lymph nodes differs among feedyards. J Food Prot 75(6):1131–1133.
4. Yicheng, X et al. 2015. “Prevalence and identification of Salmonella bacteriophages in the beef feedlot environment” (Proceedings of the Beef Industry Safety Summit, Dallas, TX).
5. Edrington, TS et al. 2013. Development of challenge models to evaluate the efficacy of a vaccine to reduce carriage of Salmonella in peripheral lymph nodes of cattle. J Food Prot 76(7):1259–1263.
6. Edrington, TS et al. 2013. Development of a transdermal Salmonella challenge model in calves. J Food Prot 76(7):1255–1258.
7. Olafson, P et al. 2014. Survival and fate of Salmonella enterica serovar Montevideo in adult horn flies. J Med Entomol 51.
8. Hanson, DL et al. 2015. “Vertical transmission of Salmonella in dairy cattle” (Proceedings of the Beef Industry Safety Summit, Dallas, TX).
9. Brown, TR et al. 2015. “Investigation into possible breed differences in Salmonella prevalence in the peripheral lymph nodes of cattle” (Proceedings of the Beef Industry Safety Summit, Dallas, TX).
10. www.cdc.gov/ncezid/dfwed/PDFs/salmonella-annual-report-2011-508c.pdf.
11. www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/180fc804-0311-4b4d-ae42-d735e8232e1c/Salmonella-Serotype-
Annual-2012.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

Antibiotic Use in Agriculture Continues to Increase
Source : https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/antibiotic-use-in-agriculture-continues-to-increase/
By Linda Larsen (Dec 17, 2015)
A new report from the FDA finds that antibiotic use in agriculture is continuing to increase, despite new guidelines from the government. Sales of medically important antibiotics in food-producing animals increased by 3% between 2013 and 2014. Sales one of drug that is critically important to human health, cephalosporins, increased by 12% from 2013 to 2014 despite the government restricting their use in 2012.
The report states that domestic sales and distribution of antimicrobials approved for use in food-producing animals increased by 22% from 2009 through 2014. In 2014, medically important antimicrobials accounted for 62% of all domestic sales of all antimicrobials. Tetracycline sales are the largest volume of antibiotics used in food animals.
Food & Water Watch says that people should be worried about this increase. We don’t know exactly how antibiotics are actually used on factory farms. They could be used to promote growth, prevent disease at sub therapeutic levels in health animals, or to treat disease in animals that are sick. The FDA is not providing this information to the public, and states in the report “because the majority of antimicrobial drugs used in animal feed are approved for multiple indications, simply knowing the route of administration for a drug is, for example, by oral means through animal feed cannot, by itself, be used to determine the indication for which the drug was used.”
Medically important antibiotics will not be allowed to promote growth by 2017, but these drugs can still be given to health animals to prevent disease. This practice promotes antibiotic resistance, since the drugs are given at low doses. This allows the bacteria to develop resistance to the drugs as they evolve.
Food Poisoning Bulletin has been following this story for the last four years. In June 2015, the CDC reported that antibiotic resistance is increasing for some pathogens. Last year, U.S. senators asked the FDA to collect more data on antibiotic use on factory farms.
Pew Charitable Trusts is critical of the FDA’s guidance on this topic. They state, “these policy documents have gaps that need to be addressed to slow the growing public health crisis of antibiotic resistance. It is important to note that the guidance is voluntary, meaning companies are not required to follow it.” Guidance #213 asks drug companies to notify FDA of their voluntary decisions to remove growth promotion from product labels, they are not required to do so. There is no restriction on disease prevention, and no stated plan for evaluating the program success. That organization says that FDA should establish targets and timetables for reducing antibiotic resistance in food animals and should be clear about how this progress will be reported.

EFSA: Campylobacter and Listeria Cases Rise Again in the European Union
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/12/efsa-report-campylobacter-and-listeria-cases-rise-again-in-the-eu/#.Vndw6k5umUl
By News Desk (Dec 17, 2015)
Human cases of listeriosis and campylobacteriosis rose again in 2014 in Europe, continuing an upward trend that began in 2008, reports the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). It stated that salmonellosis cases increased slightly for the first time since 2008.
These are the main findings of the latest annual report by EFSA and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on zoonoses and foodborne outbreaks in the European Union.
Listeriosis infections reported in humans increased by 16 percent compared with 2013 (there were 2,161 confirmed cases in 2014). Although this number is relatively low, the rise of reported listeriosis cases is of concern as the surveillance of these infections is focused on severe forms of the disease, with higher death rates than for other foodborne diseases, particularly among the elderly and patients with a weak immune system.
However, Listeria monocytogenes, the bacterium that causes listeriosis in humans and animals, seldom exceeded the legal safety limits in ready-to-eat foods — the most common foodborne source of human infections.
Campylobacteriosis remains the most commonly reported foodborne disease in the EU and has been so since 2005, EFSA reported. The number of confirmed cases in the EU in 2014 was 236,851, an increase of 22,067 cases (10 percent), compared with 2013. The majority of EU Member States reported an increase in the number of campylobacteriosis cases in 2014, which could be partly explained by improvements in the surveillance system and/or improved diagnostics for campylobacteriosis in several Member States in recent years.
In food, Campylobacter was mostly found in chicken meat, EFSA noted.
Mike Catchpole, ECDC chief scientist, said: “It is worrying that Campylobacter and Listeria infections are still rising in the European Union,” adding, “… this situation highlights the importance of enhancing listeriosis surveillance through molecular typing, work currently developed by ECDC and EFSA, and strengthening the Campylobacter control measures at EU level.”
“All main actors in the food chain need to act together to improve monitoring at EU level. Such cooperation is crucial to reduce the burden of these two diseases in Europe,” said Marta Hugas, head of EFSA’s Biological Hazards and Contaminants Unit.
In 2014, salmonellosis cases increased slightly for the first time over the period 2008-2014, partly due to changes in the number of Member States reporting. However, there has been a statistically significant downward trend of salmonellosis in the seven-year period of 2008–2014. This is mainly due to the successful Salmonella control programs put in place for poultry by EU Member States and the European Commission. The number of reported Salmonella outbreaks within the EU has decreased by 44 percent since 2008.
The EFSA-ECDC report covers 14 zoonoses and foodborne outbreaks. It is based on data collected by 32 European countries (28 Member States and four non-Member States) and helps the European Commission and EU Member States to monitor, control and prevent zoonotic diseases.

Food safety checklist for holiday parties
Source : http://www.theindependent.com/life/food/food-safety-checklist-for-holiday-parties/article_7b70076c-a4fb-11e5-b4a4-fba442b26330.html
By Cami Wells (Dec 17, 2015)
Parties, family dinners and other gatherings where food is served are all part of the holiday cheer.
But the merriment can change to misery if food makes you or others ill. Typical symptoms of foodborne illness are vomiting, diarrhea and flu-like symptoms, which can start anywhere from hours to days after contaminated food or drinks are consumed.
The symptoms usually are not long-lasting in healthy people — a few hours or a few days — and usually go away without medical treatment. But foodborne illness can be severe and even life-threatening to anyone, especially those most at risk including older adults, infants and young children and pregnant women.
No one wants to make their family or friends sick from the food they prepared, especially during the holidays. Always follow the basic food safety rules of clean, separate, cook and chill. Here is a simple checklist of good food safety practices to follow during the holiday and throughout the year. How many can you check off?
Clean
-- I always wash my hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling any food.
-- I wash food-contact surfaces such as cutting boards, dishes and countertops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before going on to the next item.
-- I rinse fruits and vegetables thoroughly under cool running water and use a produce brush to remove dirt.
-- I never rinse raw meat and poultry before cooking because washing these foods makes it more likely for bacteria to spread to areas around the sink and countertops.
Separate
-- I always keep raw eggs, meat, poultry, seafood and their juices away from foods that won’t be cooked.
-- I use one cutting board only for foods that will be cooked (such as raw meat, poultry and seafood) and another one for those that will not (such as raw fruits and vegetables).
-- I do not put cooked meat or other food that is ready to eat on an unwashed plate that has held any raw eggs, meat, poultry, seafood or their juices.
Cook
-- I always use a food thermometer to make sure meat, poultry and fish are cooked to a safe internal temperature.
-- I cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm. When making my own eggnog or other recipe calling for raw eggs, I use pasteurized shell eggs, liquid or frozen pasteurized egg products, or powdered egg whites.
-- I never eat uncooked cookie dough, which may contain raw eggs.
Chill
-- I always refrigerate any type of food that should be refrigerated (including pumpkin pie) — within two hours.
-- My refrigerator is set at or below 40 degrees F and the freezer at 0 degrees F and I check both regularly with an appliance thermometer.
-- I never defrost food at room temperature.
-- I never taste food that looks or smells questionable.
-- I use leftovers within three to four days.
Apple Cranberry Salad Toss
•1 head of lettuce, about 10 cups
•2 medium apples, chopped
•1/2 cup chopped walnuts
•1 cup dried cranberries
•1/2 cup sliced green onion
•3/4 cup vinaigrette dressing
Toss lettuce, apples, walnuts, cranberries and onions in large bowl.
Add dressing; toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Makes 8 servings.
Nutritional information per serving: 140 calories, 5 g fat, 24 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 10 mg sodium.
Cami Wells is an Extension Educator for UNL Extension in Hall County. Contact her at (308) 385-5088 or at cwells2@unl.edu. Visit the Hall County website at www.hall.unl.edu

Chipotle Installing New Food Safety Protocols From the Ground Up
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/12/chipotle-installing-new-food-safety-protocols-from-the-ground-up/#.VndxFU5umUl
By Dan Flynn (Dec 16, 2015)
After being responsible within a six-month window for five outbreaks sickening at least 355 people with various pathogens and viruses — and also closing at least 62 of its restaurants — there’s plenty of interest in Chipotle Mexican Grill’s next move.
The company has a lot on its plate right now as it works to win back the confidence of the market, regulators, and a once-loyal cadre of customers. For the food safety community, however, Chipotle management has already gone public with its plans.
Among the most significant are:
•The commissary approach is back. Just as it did prior to 2014, Chipotle will process produce before it gets to the individual restaurant by dicing, sanitizing, and hermetically sealing tomatoes, cilantro and lettuce.
•IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group is in. Led by Seattle’s Dr. Mansour Samadpour, IEH brings its own significant credibility to Chipotle’s table. Known to many within the food safety community simply as “Mansour,” the microbiologist says he’s going to deliver “a more robust food safety program to ensure the highest level of safety and the best quality of all meals served at Chipotle.”
•Everything in the food is again on the table. A farm-to-fork assessment of every ingredient the company uses is underway. High-resolution DNA-based testing will be used to make sure all ingredients are safe before they are shipped out to restaurants, and end-of-shelf-life testing will be used to pull items reaching expiration.
•People are not being left out. Chipotle is going to step up working with vendors and suppliers to tighten down its supply chain and increase food safety and food handling training for all employees.
Based on the epidemiological work, there is little doubt about Chipotle being responsible for any of the outbreaks with which it has recently been associated. The E. coli o26 outbreak is likely some variety of produce, but, as is often the case, finding any leftover evidence of contaminated produce after most, or all, of it has been consumed is a nearly impossible task.
Chipotle make the same point on its website, stating, “We serve more than 1 million customers a day in our restaurants, and use thousands of pounds of fresh produce and meat in our restaurants every day. Because of the volume of business our restaurants do, it is likely that the source of the E. coli was already out of our supply chain by the time anyone showed signs of illness.”
Chipotle is trying to calm customer’s fears by making these points:
•The company has performed more than 2,500 tests of food, restaurant surfaces, and equipment, and all showed no sign of E. coli.
•It was confirmed that none of the company’s employees in the affected restaurants had E. coli. (Also, no Chipotle employees have had E. coli stemming from this incident.)
•It is testing fresh produce, raw meat, and dairy items (cheese and sour cream) prior to restocking restaurants and implementing additional safety procedures, and audits, in all of its 2,000 restaurants to ensure that robust food safety standards are in place.
•The company is working closely with federal, state, and local government agencies to ensure that robust food safety standards are in place.
•It has replaced all ingredients in restaurants that were closed.
•The company is conducting additional deep cleaning and sanitization in all Chipotle restaurants nationwide.
•It is going above and beyond the required testing and enhancing nationwide testing of produce and fresh meat.
Chipotle founder and co-chief executive Steve Ells was on The TODAY Show Dec. 10 to apologize to the outbreak victims.
“I have to say I’m sorry for the people that got sick,” he said. “They’re having a tough time. I feel terrible about that, and we’re doing a lot to rectify this and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Since then, Chipotle stock has dropped another $20 per share. Then again, it has avoided a free-fall level where analysts say it cannot go without risking the company’s future.

The next big food safety technology could be from this ancient root
Source : http://grist.org/article/the-next-big-food-safety-technology-could-be-from-this-ancient-root/
By Nathanael Johnson (Dec 15, 2015)
What if our next-generation, futuristic antimicrobial turns out to be the same thing people have been using for the last 4,000 years? A new invention could improve food safety by borrowing a trick from ancient civilizations: using spice to fend off germs.
If you want to keep food from spoiling you can load it with sugar (see preserves), or salt (see pickles), or fat (see confit, or SPAM) — but then you end up with a lot of sugar, salt, and fat. You can use synthetic preservatives, or natural chemicals (like the ones you get from smoking food). You can freeze food, but then you have to keep it cold until you are ready to eat it.
Another alternative is to add spices, which can inhibit the growth of harmful microbes. Garlic, onion, cinnamon, allspice, oregano, thyme, cumin, turmeric, and the chemical that makes peppers spicy are all bacteria killers. It’s likely that equatorial cultures have spicier foods because the warm climate leads to faster food spoilage. The flavors that those spices lend to food is a side effect — a delicious side effect.
But we don’t always want everything to taste spicy. Ruplal Choudhary, a food and bioprocess engineer at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, is part of a research team that has found a way that the antimicrobial properties of the spice turmeric might be employed without making foods taste like turmeric. They discovered how to coat glass and metal with curcumin — the main antibacterial chemical in turmeric. The curcumin is embedded in nano-capsules, so it doesn’t rub off and flavor foods. You could imagine using this technology to coat the insides of cans (a substitute for BPA perhaps) or knives and countertops — to provide a new line of defense against food-borne illness.
Choudhary also thinks this technology could be used to make fresh produce safer. As he told the university’s news service:
 “Where I grew up, our house was surrounded by gardens,” Choudhary said. “My father never liked to eat produce that came from the store, especially if it was harvested early and ripened in transit or at the store – he said it had no taste. We know now fresher foods are also higher in antioxidants and nutritive value. My goal is to find practical ways to use this technology to preserve food freshness as well as to create antimicrobial surfaces.”
A new application for an ancient technology that could keep food fresher and safer? If I was an executive at Chipotle, I’d be perking up my ears right now.

Food safety scoring to change in 2017
Source : http://www.galesburg.com/article/20151216/NEWS/151219873
By Tom Loewy (Dec 16, 2015)
Local restaurant owners and managers will see some changes in the health inspection scoring system — but those changes will come in 2017
GALESBURG — Local restaurant owners and managers will see some changes in the health inspection scoring system — but those changes will come in 2017.
"It takes about five years to change the Illinois State Food Service Sanitation Code," said Sarah Willett, the Knox County Health Department's supervisor of environmental health. "The state code is based off the Food and Drug Administration guidelines — and Illinois works off the 2005 FDA code.
"When Illinois makes the changes, it will be working off the 2013 FDA code — which is the most-recent code from the FDA."
Willett said there are three driving factors behind the Illinois food safety code update: to make the code uniform throughout the state; to place an emphasis on critical violations; and to change the way the health inspection is scored.
Currently, health departments in counties throughout the state can conduct inspections that may have varied points of emphasis — so a score in Knox County might not mean the same thing as the same score in Warren County.
"Some counties have pass/fail scoring systems. We work off a 10-point scale," Willett explained. "The new code will score vendors the same way in every county."
Critical violations deal with food time and temperature, as well as the handling of food. Willett said she expects the new code's scoring to be based all on critical violations cited — and there will be a sliding scale of critical violations.
"So you might have zero to three criticals and you pass, but over three and you fail," Willett explained. "And I expect the new inspection to have some form of pass/fail grading."
Under the current inspection score, a 100 is perfect. Sixty-nine or below is a critical violation that requires the health inspector to return to the facility in 10 days. At that time the facility has to score 80 or better. If that mark is not passed, the facility must attend a compliance meeting with the environmental department at KCHD.
In 2015 the health inspectors evaluated 355 licensed facilities. Six scored below 69 and three had to attend compliance meetings.
In 2014, there were 355 licensed facilities inspected at least once. Four posted scores below 69 and two had to attend compliance meetings.

Is the finger test accurate for steak safety? Better to just stick it in
Source : http://barfblog.com/2015/12/is-the-finger-test-accurate-for-steak-safety-better-to-just-stick-it-in/
By Doug Powell (Dec 16, 2015)
Objectives: To evaluate the reliability of using the thenar eminence to determine steak doneness.
Stick It InDesign: Double-blinded, cross-sectional study.
Setting: Various home kitchens in Melbourne, Australia.
Participants: Amateur/home cooks.
Main outcome measures: The accuracy of the finger test (the tenseness of the thenar eminence in different hand positions) for determining how well a random beef steak has been cooked (rare v medium-rare v medium v well-done). We also examined whether participants improved with practice and whether the accuracy of the finger test was correlated with age, sex, cooking experience or self-rated steak-cooking ability.
Results: Twenty-six participants completed the study, and showed that they could accurately determine the doneness of a steak with the finger test better than chance (χ2[1, n = 156] = 9.88; P < 0.01). Their overall accuracy, however, was low (36%). There was no correlation between accuracy in application of the finger test with the other collected participant and steak variables.
Conclusions: The finger test can be used by amateur cooks to determine beef steak doneness. However, the low overall accuracy of the test suggests that more invasive tests are to be recommended for determining steak doneness for its health benefits.
Studying the Thenar Eminence of Amateur cooKs (STEAK) study: a double-blinded, cross-sectional study
Toby I Vinycomb, Amanda M-Y Tan, Manu Bhatnagar and Joon Ming Wong
Med J Aust 2015; 203 (11): 467-469
https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2015/203/11/studying-thenar-eminence-amateur-cooks-steak-study-double-blinded-cross

CA Dairyman Fights FDA Over Ban on ‘Raw Butter’ Shipments
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/12/mcafee-fights-fda-over-ban-on-raw-butter-shipments/#.Vnd0I05umUl
By Dan Flynn (Dec 14, 2015)
Mark McAfee, founder and president of Organic Pastures Dairy, has “lawyered up” before once again taking on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), this time over the interstate ban on transporting raw butter. He has enlisted Gary Cox, general counsel to the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, to represent him.
On March 2, 2015, McAfee filed a new petition with FDA asking the agency to allow tested “salted or cultured raw butter” which is state-inspected, state-regulated, carries a “government approved” warning statement, and “labeled for retail sale in one state” to be transported to another state that permits the sale of unpasteurized dairy products.
FDA has six months to respond to such citizen petitions, but the agency has not yet gotten back to McAfee. And, unlike last time, McAfee is not waiting five years for an answer.
The agency did eventually deny the earlier McAfee petition, filed in 2008, but it went unanswered until he took FDA to court. That petition sought the same kind of loophole to the transport ban as the new petition, only for raw milk.
The Legal Defense Fund also represented McAfee in the 2008 raw milk petition, which FDA finally denied on Feb. 26, 2013, but only after being challenged in federal court. The raw milk petition went no further, however, as a federal judge in Sioux City dismissed any further action in the case for lack of standing.
In going after the transportation ban on raw butter now, McAfee may get another “bite at the apple.”
In the raw butter petition, he claims that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “has no outbreaks, no cases of illness or death recorded in its databases related to commercially produced raw butter illness or pathogen defects.”
McAfee wants to force FDA to justify the raw butter ban in open court.
According to the Legal Defense Fund, lifting the transportation ban on raw butter would open as many as 30 states that currently allow the sale of some raw dairy products.
Raw butter is among the raw milk dairy products offered by the Fresno-based Organic Pastures.
 Raw milk is legally sold in retail stores in California, and McAfee’s company is the major producer of raw milk and raw milk products.

The Harmonization of Food Safety Regulations
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/december-2015january-2016/the-harmonization-of-food-safety-regulations/
By Huub Lelieveld and Veslemøy Andersen
We cannot do without regulations in the way our food is produced and sold.
There are always people who have no scruples and just want to make money: those who make and sell food that has been manipulated to make it look or taste better so that a higher price can be asked. In other cases, companies may use processing aids that are very cheap so that the production costs are reduced; sometimes, they simply add materials to food that are not really ingredients but just chemicals, without caring about the consequences for the consumer.
However, there should not be unjustifiable differences in regulations between countries, because such differences may be used as tools to restrict the import of food: legalized protectionism. Justifiable differences are based on differences in eating habits between regions and sometimes on genetic differences between people. All food contains substances that can become toxic if the quantity consumed is large enough. While in certain parts of the world, food consumption is low and a toxic dose will never be consumed, in other parts, consumption of a staple food may be in large quantities and therefore may lead to health problems. Cassava, for instance, is a staple food in many parts of the world, such as Asia, but used very little in other parts, such as (Western) Europe. From a genetic point of view, in countries where (cow’s) milk consumption is unusual, people may lack the gene to produce galactosidase and therefore be unable to digest milk sugars, resulting in serious consequences when they unknowingly consume too many products that contain milk or lactose-containing derivatives. In most of Northern Europe, milk consumption is moderate to high, and lactose intolerance is low. In many Asian countries and in Latin America, a large part of the population is lactose intolerant, up to 100 percent. Therefore, food regulations must be harmonized but, at the same time, should take differences in eating habits and genetic variation into account. One of the best ways to achieve fair and intelligent harmonization of food regulations is to base them on science.
What Is the Scientific Basis of Food Regulations?
To the dismay of most scientists, regulations are not traditionally based on science. Those who have the most influence on the politicians who decide on laws may be ignorant of the science, but often they argue that the science is irrelevant or even castigate scientists as dishonest and acting solely in the interest of their industry. The politicians tend to do what is best for them; they want to keep their political positions. The general public does not read scientific publications, as they are mostly written in a scientific language they do not understand, and obtains its information from the mass media: television, newspapers and magazines. The mass media, however, do not earn income from good news; good news does not sell. It is the bad news that increases sales and television ratings. Scientists or pseudoscientists who claim that food is unsafe therefore get the most attention. The vast majority of conscientious scientists are often not heard; if they are and provide scientifically correct data, even in an understandable way, they tend to be accused of bias in favor of those who pay them—usually either the state or an industry. The consequence is absurdity in regulations because science is neglected. In many cases, the starting point is that “there is a chemical in the food” and the public demands that there should be no chemicals in food. That everything is a chemical does not matter. Professional “anti-organizations” publish statements such as “Did you know that 95% of shoppers fill their grocery carts with ingredients known to cause cancer? You’re probably one of these shoppers—which means you may be buying poison without even knowing it. And the results are devastating: cancer, diabetes, heart disease, depression, obesity, migraines and even worse.”[1] Just search for “chemicals in food are dangerous” on the Internet, and you will find an overwhelming number of such statements, without scientific substantiation. This is regrettable, because there are products that do contain chemicals that should not be there at the concentrations used and for which there is good scientific evidence to make such claims. The general public should be informed of these facts and perhaps should learn to discriminate between sense and nonsense, or at least to find which sources of information are science-based and reliable.
Understanding Toxicity
One of the greatest difficulties in advancing public support for science-based regulation is the public’s lack of understanding of toxicity. Paracelsus observed about 500 years ago that every substance can be toxic in large enough amounts, but that the same substances can be beneficial or curative if the concentration is right. In recent decades, an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence has been produced that substantiates Paracelsus’s observations.[2] Toxicity is not a matter of a substance on its own, but a matter of the dose, which determines whether it is harmless, beneficial or toxic. Regrettably, outside of scientific circles, “the dose makes the poison” is little understood and poorly communicated. Stating that food is contaminated by a toxic substance, without any evidence, is easy and makes most people sufficiently concerned to demand that the toxic substance be forbidden. Seriously concerned people with families will avoid the products because they do not want to expose their children to such substances. There are also people and organizations that make a living out of scaring people. The general population has no idea (yet) of what toxicity is and believes that if there is a chemical in the food, the food is dangerous. Individual pseudoscientists sometimes make a living by publicly stating that a food contains some chemical that is toxic and should thus be forbidden. We suspect that those who have had a scientific education do this against their better knowledge. Sometimes, they set up anti-organizations to make money from donations of concerned people. This concept is shown in Figure 1 (red line). In the past decade, an increasing number of politicians have learned that you would no longer be able to eat anything if that concept were maintained. Therefore, they switched to believing that the concentration plays a role, and they generally believe that if fewer than one in a million people suffers from a product containing a toxin, this is acceptable. Their philosophy is that harm increases with the concentration, as shown in Figure 1 (blue line). Toxicologists globally—with the exception perhaps of a few pseudoscientists—agree that there is a threshold below which there is no harm (Figure 1, black line). Actually, however, there can be harm if the dose is too low. Examples are vitamins and many minerals: Too much is bad for human health and can even be deadly, but an insufficient amount will make people ill (Figure 2). People know that the lack of oxygen for a few minutes is deadly, but oxygen is so toxic that we need antioxidants to prevent irreparable damage to our bodies. Many chemicals are essential in low amounts, but all, without exception, are harmful in excessive quantities, even water. This message should be understood by the general public to prevent misinformation and the demand for absurd regulations.
The minerals found in our food are by definition natural. Most chemicals in our food are also of natural origin or at least are also present in nature. Interestingly, many consumers are of the opinion that “natural” substances are safe and that they need to look for natural products only (organic or bioproducts). One needs to be aware that the world is full of naturally dangerous substances, such as the potentially poisonous substances in natural, unprocessed food. All food contains such substances and too much of such substances will harm human health. Potatoes, tomatoes and eggplants contain solanine. It is a deadly substance if consumed in too high amounts; nevertheless, these foods are considered healthy. They are, however, healthy only if not eaten is absurd quantities. The message here is that requiring the complete absence of certain substances (chemicals) in food is unrealistic; demanding a maximum concentration, however, makes much more sense, provided that the concentration is based on science and not on misinformation.
Deciphering Risks from Microorganisms
Legal requirements regarding the presence of microorganisms in food differ between countries. Nevertheless, such differences may lead to the needless destruction of food. As with chemicals, to require total absence (zero tolerance) on fresh products is unrealistic. The allowed concentration in fresh food should be science-based and, for some microbes, will be much lower than for others. Note that for in-pack sterilized products (e.g., those in jars and cans), the requirements may be very stringent and easy to control. For others that occur in nature, control can be a challenge.
For example, the potentially deadly botulinum toxin is natural and will be produced under circumstances favorable for the growth of Clostridium botulinum. In modern societies, it is also used as a medicine for very special applications and as a cosmetic—in harmlessly low amounts. In the past, C. botulinum was just a killer, because the anaerobic microbe found favorable conditions in cans that had been sterilized but were leaking just enough to suck in spores (and one is enough) of the microbe from the water used to cool the can after sterilization. One or a few spores of C. botulinum are harmless unless they have an opportunity to grow and multiply. Examples of other microbes that scare people and lead to the public demanding regulations for unrealistically low numbers of these microbes on fresh products are Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes. Pathogenic microbes are harmful only if the number ingested is too high, which may be the case if a product is kept at a temperature that allows the microbes to multiply for too long a time. Products that allow growth of such microbes have an ultimate consumption date at a specified temperature. Like C. botulinum, S. aureus is harmful mainly because of the production of toxin (enterotoxin) in the food. L. monocytogenes is harmful because it multiplies in the body, just like various Salmonella species. When ingested, they need to survive the acidic environment of the stomach, and therefore, just a few usually are not enough to cause illness. The resistance of microbes to the conditions in the stomach varies significantly, and their survival also depends on the food eaten, as it has an influence on the acidity of the stomach. As with chemicals, we need microbes, as certain types are essential for the digestion of the food we eat. The harmful dose of pathogenic microbes varies between the species and strains (Figure 3[3]) because of the mechanisms of pathogenesis. If bacteria act locally, the number of bacteria needed to cause an infection is much lower than with bacteria acting at a distance, which must grow to a certain number to sufficiently increase the diffusible molecules known as immune modulators. The ability of bacteria to be “smarter” than the host cell defenses is one of the most important factors in causing illness. The bacteria must modulate the host cell immune system to be able to grow before the host’s immune system takes over and destroys them. There are many pathogenic bacteria that cause severe diseases that react locally and can modulate the immune response in a short time. It is known, however, that most virulent bacteria, such as Bacillis anthracis and S. aureus, excrete immune modulators that work at a distance. In S. aureus, both local and diffusible immune modulators are responsible for its extreme virulence. In healthy people, there is a threshold number of pathogenic bacteria that the host immune system can cope with and destroy.
Requirements for Product Testing
As discussed, harmonization of food safety regulations is highly desirable. Harmonization, however, won’t be very effective if the methods of analysis used to verify compliance with such regulations are not harmonized as well. To establish the number of aerobic microbes in a product, many methods have been developed, such as spiral plating,[4] for which sophisticated equipment has been designed. It must be ascertained whether the results of the new methods are similar to those obtained with “standard plate count;” if not, it must be established which method is most accurate. This is very important because most of the regulations on microbiological safety are based on results obtained with traditional methods. The same applies to methods to detect the concentration of chemicals (direct and indirect food additives, pesticides, etc.) in food. The use of different methods may lead to the conclusion that a food meets the regulatory requirements in its country of origin but not in the country to which the product has been exported, even if these requirements have been harmonized. Another aspect of this issue is that for substances that are not allowed, one method may confirm absence, but a more sensitive method may confirm presence (this is also why absence should never be a requirement, harmonized or not, because the detection limit continuously decreases, and eventually no food will meet the requirement of absence of any substance).
A special case is establishing the genotoxicity of chemicals. Traditional methods have many disadvantages, of which the rate of false-positive and -negative results is high. Moreover, such methods require the use of test animals and take a long time. More recently, methods have been developed using human liver cells (HepG2) that are much more accurate (no false positives or negatives) and deliver results in less than a day.[5] Consequently, global harmonization based on this method will improve safety studies, avoid conflicts and save animals, time and costs.
Food Safety and Ethics
Consumers should be able to have confidence that the food products they buy are safe, particularly when the product is packed in a tamper-evident way. In case a product may be unsuitable for certain consumers, for example, because of an allergenic ingredient used, this should be labeled as such, which now is compulsory in many countries.
Regrettably, there are companies that would rather maximize profits than care about the health of their customers. Very well-known examples are the adulteration of milk with melamine and of wine with glycol. It is sad that in many cases of employees responsible for food quality and safety, when they discover conditions that may harm consumers but follow company procedures, they do not report the conditions to management because of the consequences of acting against policy. Although this is understandable if the employee has a family to support, such inaction can never be justified, because it leads to harm; the employee shares responsibility by not speaking up. When an employee has informed his superior that a product is not safe for consumption and this is ignored, he should try to get a hearing higher up in the hierarchy of the organization. If that fails, it is his duty to inform outside authorities. Understandably because of the consequences of such an action, it is very likely that such “whistleblowing” is not commonly done. Employers tend to have (many) more resources to defend themselves than does the employee against an angry employer. An employer may also accuse the employee of lying, with the sole intention to harm the company because of grudges, etc. The employee who does his duty eventually is likely to lose the case. If we want safe food, it is important to know when it is not safe; therefore, any employee who knows that food is unsafe should be able to speak up without reprisal. It is just as important that there be globally harmonized regulations to protect employees who conscientiously do what they should do, a global “whistleblowers act.” Readers are referred to an article on the subject, published in the June/July 2014 issue of Food Safety Magazine and still very relevant.[6]
What More Can Be Done Now?
One immediate action you can take is to become involved in a Global Harmonization Initiative (GHI) working group (WG). The goal of GHI is to promote sufficient safe and healthy food for all consumers. GHI focuses on globally harmonized regulations to achieve this goal. Such regulations would eliminate the selling of unsafe food as safe under false pretenses, limit the food that is destroyed because of differences in regulations and counter the notion that food safety is used as a means to prevent the import of foods, as hidden protectionism. The way GHI attempts to reach its goal is by setting up WGs, consisting of members from all over the globe, which work on specific issues. An example is the mycotoxin WG, which is developing proposals to draft certain globally compulsory measures to significantly reduce the mycotoxin problem. The education WG focuses on the globally compulsory training of food handlers. Encouragingly, there is also an ethics WG to address the above issue on whistleblowers and other ethical aspects of food production and processing. A survey of existing WGs can be found on the GHI website, and everybody who supports the goal of GHI and would like to contribute may write to wg@globalharmonization.net.
Readers interested in the subject of (lack of) harmonization of food regulations are referred to books on the subject published on behalf of GHI. The first one, published a few years ago,[7] discusses existing food regulations in the world and what may be done to harmonize them from chemical (toxicological) and microbiological points of view. The second book, to be published shortly,[8] is about the safety of traditional and ethnic foods. A series on the nutritional and health aspects of traditional and ethnic foods is under development; it is expected that the first volume will be published by the end of 2016. Another book under development and planned to be published in 2018 is entitled Harmonization of Food Standards Based on Risk Analysis.
If you are not a member of GHI but would like to help it achieve its goal, you are invited to join. The more members, the stronger the organization and the more GHI can do. Your membership will make a difference. Membership is free to qualified food scientists—microbiologists, food engineers, toxicologists, etc.—involved with the production, safety and quality of food. To join, go to www.globalharmonization.net/user/register.
Food safety regulations are necessary to protect consumers and the food industry from unscrupulous as well as unskilled practices in food production. But differences in regulations between countries should be justifiable, based on differences in national diets and even tolerances for different food components. Unjustifiable differences can be used to impose de facto food protectionism in violation of international agreements. To prevent this, food safety regulations in different countries must be harmonized. The best basis for harmonizing regulations is science—utilizing up-to-date, validated knowledge of foodborne pathogens and especially toxicology. Harmonizing regulations on a scientific basis will provide a true understanding of risk while improving requirements for product testing and reducing food waste. Consumer confidence in the food system will grow as the global food supply network is seen to follow a uniform, science-based standard for ensuring safety. Industry can do much to advance consumer confidence by backing regulations that protect “whistleblowers” who report unsafe production practices in their companies. Food scientists can help harmonize food regulations by becoming active in a GHI WG. These WGs are currently tackling several food safety problems, from reducing mycotoxins in food to compulsory training of food handlers. The need for science in harmonizing regulations is as compelling as the need for regulations in ensuring safe food for consumers worldwide.
Huub Lelieveld is president of the GHI.
Veslemøy Andersen is GHI’s ambassador for Norway.
References
1. programs.naturalnews.com/Grocery_Warning_System__TV.htm.
2. Ames, BN and LS Gold. 1997. “The Causes and Prevention of Cancer: Gaining Perspective.” Environ Health Perspect 105(4):865–873.
3. Schmid-Hempel, P and SA Frank. 2007. “Pathogenesis, Virulence, and Infective Dose.” PLoS Pathog 3(10):e147.
4. Fung, DYC, “Rapid Microbiological Methods in Food Diagnostics,” in Advances in Food Diagnostics, eds. LML Nollet and F Toldrá (Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing, 2007), 131–154.
5. Darroudi, F, V Ehrlich, A Wuillot, T Dubois, S Knasmüller and V Mersch-Sunderman, “Testing for Food Safety using Competent Human Liver Cells,” in Ensuring Global Food Safety – Exploring Global Harmonization, eds. C Boisrobert, A Stjepanovic, S Oh and H Lelieveld (London: Academic Press/Elsevier London, 2010), 125–138.
6. Motarjemi, Y. 2014. “Whistleblowing: Food Safety and Fraud.” Food Safety Magazine 20(3):58–66.
7. Boisrobert, C, A Stjepanovic, S Oh and H Lelieveld, eds., Ensuring Global Food Safety – Exploring Global Harmonization (London: Academic Press/Elsevier, 2010).
8. Prakash, V, O Martín Belloso, L Keener, S Astley, S Braun, H McMahon and H Lelieveld, Regulating Safety of Traditional and Ethnic Foods (London: Academic Press/Elsevier, 2015).

What’s Wrong With the Food System?
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/12/whats-wrong-with-the-food-system/#.Vnd0vU5umUl
By Steven A. Burton (Dec 14, 2015)
According to the government of Canada, one in eight Canadians will come down with a case of foodborne illness this year. How is it possible that so many Canadians fall victim to a preventable condition? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the situation is worse in the United States, with one in six Americans suffering the same fate every year. Obviously something is badly broken in our food supply chain.
Consumers may often sicken themselves, but these instances rarely result in fatalities. The same can’t be said for producers and processors — 22 people died in 2008 after eating tainted cold cuts in Canada, 50 people in 16 countries died in 2011 after eating organic sprouts from a German farm, and 33 from contaminated cantaloupes in the U.S. that same year  — to point out just a few. So what’s wrong with the system?
Archaic Processes
Many operators have no food safety training and don’t even know what hazards they face, much less how to control them. I’ve seen a chocolate factory with numerous violations. They had problems with their machinery and rerouted the processor flow using cardboard and duct tape, both of which should not be allowed in a production facility. They were stirring the vat of chocolate with an old hockey stick that was also wrapped with duct tape. Wooden utensils or duct tape are not supposed to have direct contact with food. And there was a guy sitting there eating his sandwich over the open production line of chocolate running by, which is a huge risk for cross-contamination from things like sesame seeds that could fall off the sandwich and into the product.
Deprioritizing Food Safety
If you talk to food processors, you find out that the time they are most concerned about food safety is just before the audit. Inspectors typically want to see the production process for high-risk products, and audits are called in advance so that they are able to schedule a day when there is production for these products. The problem is that it gives companies a month or six weeks in advance to clean up and make sure everything is spic and span for the inspector. Everything goes back to normal for the year after that.
We have three major retailers in the lower mainland of British Columbia that control the various supermarkets. One has a comprehensive program with inspection teams. Another is starting to make an effort, and they have confidence that about 8,000 of their 10,000 suppliers have a good program in place. This leaves 2,000 suppliers that have no idea if the products they’re selling are safe. The third has no oversight at all.
Corporate Apathy
Corporate apathy impedes food safety professionals from doing their jobs effectively. Their actions appear to interfere with production since they are constantly insisting that things be done differently. Their requests for resources are routinely denied. For example, almost every food manufacturer should have a metal detector since fragments of metal often break off machines and fall into the food.
A particular chocolate company produced chocolate from beans. It was even more important to have a metal detector because there was associated machinery involved in grinding up the beans. The food safety coordinator had been asking for a metal detector but couldn’t get budget from management, so instead they bought magnets because they figured magnets would be cheaper. The problem is that the processing equipment was made of bronze, a non-ferric metal which isn’t affected by a magnet, so it was doing absolutely nothing. All these bronze fragments were ending up in the food, and they received customer complaints about it.
Lack of Enforcement
Recent changes to federal and provincial legislation are supposed to improve food safety in Canada (with similar changes coming into effect in the U.S. through FSMA, including random inspections), but regulatory agencies lack the resources to implement and enforce these changes. Provincial authorities are swamped. Regional health authorities often operate with inspectors who lack in-depth training. The municipal government of Vancouver recently banned the sale of edibles in the city; however, it continues the sale of capsules. I talk to dispensary growers, and they don’t know food safety is an issue that applies to them.
The news isn’t all bad. A life rope is being thrown to us by the mega-corporations we generally demonize, such as Walmart, whose executives are heavily promoting the establishment of a food safety culture throughout food organizations and the whole supply chain. Governments are beginning to take note of this trend, with the U.K. Food Standards Agency targeting big retailers in their current push to reduce incidence of Campylobacter, which is the most common cause of foodborne illness in the U.K. These changes are the start in getting professionals in food safety to educate themselves in order to keep the public safe.

New US food safety meat measures
Source : http://barfblog.com/2015/12/new-us-food-safety-meat-measures/
By Doug Powell (Dec 14, 2015)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service on Monday announced a new measure that will greatly improve the ability to trace cases of foodborne illness to their source.
lThe measure, which will require retailers to keep detailed records of the materials they use to make ground beef, was prompted in large part by events in Portland, Maine.
In 2011, a Salmonella outbreak resulted in several illnesses in Maine and parts of the Northeastern region of the U.S. The Food Safety and Inspection Service was able to trace the illnesses to Hannaford, a supermarket that, like many retailers, had used cuts of meat from various sources to make ground beef.
While the Food Safety and Inspection Service was able to trace the illnesses back to the supermarket that sold it, a lack of information about the source of the materials used to make the ground beef prevented us from going back further to the establishment that produced them. Doing so would have enabled us to ensure that the same unsafe meat was not being used by other retailers in the area.
This outbreak got the attention of Maine lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and then-U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, all of whom pushed for changes to the recordkeeping requirements.
The USDA FSIS version is below:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) today is publishing revised guidelines to assist poultry processors in controlling Salmonella and Campylobacter in raw food products and prevent cases of foodborne illness. This updated document is the fourth edition of the “FSIS Compliance Guideline for Controlling Salmonella and Campylobacter in Raw Poultry” and is intended to offer poultry companies best practices for minimizing pathogen levels and meeting FSIS’ food safety requirements.
“These guidelines take into account the latest science and practical considerations, including lessons learned from foodborne illness outbreaks in the last several years, to assist establishments in producing safer food,” said USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Al Almanza. “This new guide is one piece of FSIS’ Salmonella Action Plan and our effort to reduce Salmonella illnesses attributed to meat and poultry products by 25 percent in order to meet the nation’s Healthy People 2020 goals. By following the newer guidelines, poultry facilities can help us reach this important public health target.”
The new guide makes science-based suggestions for interventions that poultry companies can take on the farm (known as pre-harvest), sanitary dressing procedures, further processing practices, antimicrobial interventions, and other management practices. These prevention and control measures represent the best practice recommendations of FSIS based on scientific and practical considerations. This guidance is particularly important in light of Salmonella outbreaks involving poultry products.
FSIS is seeking comment on the guidelines, which were last updated in 2010. A downloadable version of the compliance guidance is available at: www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulatory-compliance/compliance-guides-index. The guidelines are also posted at the Federal eRulemaking Portal at: www.regulations.gov where comments can be submitted.
While rates of foodborne illness overall have fallen over the course of this century, Salmonella rates have remained relatively stagnant, prompting FSIS to take an all-hands on deck approach to addressing the pathogen in meat and poultry products. The guidance, along with development of new performance standards for raw chicken breasts, legs and wings as well as for ground and other comminuted chicken and turkey products unveiled in January, are a major step in FSIS’ Salmonella Action Plan. FSIS’ science-based risk assessment estimates that implementation of the new performance standards will lead to an average of 50,000 prevented illnesses annually.
Over the past six years, USDA has collaborated extensively with other federal partners to safeguard America’s food supply, prevent foodborne illnesses and improve consumers’ knowledge about the food they eat. USDA’s FSIS is working to strengthen federal food safety efforts and develop strategies that emphasize a three-dimensional approach to prevent foodborne illness: prioritizing prevention; strengthening surveillance and enforcement; and improving response and recovery.

 

 

 

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[2015] Current Issues

Vol 17.64-74
Sanitation and Hygiene Meat Handling Practices in Small and Medium Enterprise butcheries in Kenya - Case Study of Nairobi and Isiolo Counties
Sharon Chepkemoi, Peter Obimbo Lamuka, George Ooko Abong’ and Joseph Matofari

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

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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


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


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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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