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8/20, 2003
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Foodborne Illness: What Consumers Need To Know : Fact Sheet from USDA/FDA

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Food Safety: Frequently asked questions about canning answered
source from:http://www.columbian.com/08192003/food/64820.html
Tuesday, August 19, 2003
It is definitely canning season! My phone is ringing regularly with many kinds of questions. I thought I would share with you some of the more often asked questions the past few weeks.
Steam canners are on sale but are they safe to use?
Steam canners are not safe to use and we do not recommend using them. They consist of three of three pieces: a shallow pan filled with about two quarts of water, a perforated rack on which the jars stand and a large dome cover. The promoters of steam canners say the benefits include less time to pre-heat the water, less water used, cannot boil over, and save energy.
The major concerns with the steam canners include:
* Cold spots where temperatures are below the 212 F that is needed for heat penetration. This leads to underprocessing and poses a potential risk of food spoilage.
* Steam will be released as it builds up under the dome and then cools the canner down.
* Increased jar breakage may occur since jars are not separated by a rack in the canner.
* Steam burns may occur when removing the lid. The dome lid must be lifted straight up and steam will pour out around your hands and arms.
After processing my fruits or vegetables I notice that some of the liquid is lost. Is that safe? What caused it?
There are many reasons for the loss of liquid during processing. Loss of liquid may cause food to darken, but does not interfere with the keeping qualities unless the liquid loss has caused food, grease or seeds to lodge under the lid and prevent a seal.
Some reasons for loss of liquid during processing could be:
* Jar packed too full or too tightly.
* Starchy foods absorb some liquid.
* Air bubbles were not removed at the time of packing.
* Jars in a boiling water bath canner were not covered with 1-2 inches of water.
* Pressure canner was allowed to fluctuate during processing.
* Letting a canner stand too long after pressure returns to zero.
* Removing the jars too quickly from the pressure canner after removing the cover.
Can a pressure canner or water bath canner be used on a ceramic cook top?
For water bath canners or pressure canners to work successfully on a ceramic cook top, the canner bottom must be flat, in contact with the cook top and extend no more than 2 inches beyond the design on the cook top surface.
Most heavy-cast aluminum pressure canners work on smooth top stoves. The lighter-weight stamped aluminum canners usually have a concave bottom. If the concavity is greater than one-eighth inch, the canner will not perform well.

Can my pressure canner or water bath canner be used on a solid element cooktop?
Solid element cooktops require heavy gauge, flat, smooth bottom utensils that have no more than 1-2 inch overhang beyond the element. Most pressure canners are too large to be used on solid element cooktops.
Most water bath canners are either too light in weight (aluminum) or have ridged bottoms (enamel) and thus are not suitable for the use on solid elements.
What can be done to make soft jellies firmer?
For jellied products using powdered pectin: Mix in a saucepan 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice and 4 teaspoons powdered pectin. Bring to a boil while stirring. Add 1 quart jam or jelly and bring to a rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Boil hard for a half minute. Remove from heat, remove foam and fill sterile jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Adjust new lids and process in boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
Can I preserve peach, pears, apricots or other fruits without sugar?
Yes, but sugar does add flavor and helps fruit maintain its firmness and color. Sugar moves into the fruit tissues and keeps it firmer.
Extra-thin or thin syrups do help add the sweetness and helps prevent the fruit from floating.
If you still don't want to use sugar or cannot use sugar in canning fruits, then consider using water or fruit juice (diluted or straight) for the liquid. Canning with artificial sweeteners can be tricky. Some of them lose their sweetening abilities or turn bitter.
Pressure gauge testing
Every year the Clark County Cooperative Extension service sets up pressure cooker gauge-testing clinics. You only need to bring the lid with the gauge attached or simply bring the gauge.
Here's the remainder of the summer schedule.
* Joe's Place, 701 N.E. 112th Ave.: Aug. 23, Sept. 13, Oct 4. Clinics are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and are free of charge.
* Cenex, 209 E. Main St., Battle Ground: Sept. 13 and 27, Oct. 11. These are from 11 a.m. to 1p.m., also free.
For more information, call the WSU Cooperative Extension office at 360-397-6060.
Sandra Brown is the food safety and nutrition expert for the Washington State University Cooperative Extension in Clark, Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties. Reach her at 360-397-6060, Ext. 7712, or by e-mail at browns@wsu.edu. The WSU Cooperative Extension in Clark County is at 11104 N.E. 149th St., Building C-100, Brush Prairie, WA 98606.

Course in food hygiene
http://www.timesofmalta.com/core/article.php?id=133464
The Institute of Health and Safety is offering an approved Food Hygiene Licence A course in collaboration with The Royal Society for the Promotion of Health in UK.The aim of the course is to ensure that everyone involved in the food business has the necessary skills and knowledge to prevent any risk of food poisoning.The course is specifically aimed at all food handlers employed in production, manufacturing, wholesale, distribution and retail outlets such as barmen, waiters, greengrocers, fishmongers, grocers, food retailers, food delivery men, kitchen porters and storekeepers.
Further information is available from the Institute of Health and Safety on tel. 2131 1965/6 or e-mail: info@ihs.com.mt.

Water's OK: Eat, drink, don't worry

http://www.detnews.com/2003/metro/0308/19/a01-248470.htm
Detroit lifts boil alert, which in end wasn't needed
By Ron French,Tiffany Woods and Natalie Moore / The Detroit NewsDETROIT -- You can drink the water today.
And it would have been safe Monday, Sunday or any time since the lights went out Thursday.Detroit lifted the boil-water alert at 3 p.m. Monday, meaning 4.3 million customers in 125 communities could safely use water from their taps to bathe, cook, drink, make ice and brush their teeth. The announcement was a relief to residents as well as businesses hampered or closed because of the alert, and came amid criticism that the ban could have been lifted earlier. The Detroit water department instituted the boil-water alert when the biggest blackout in history cut power to the pumps that control water pressure. Officials worried the lowered pressure could have introduced bacteria to the system. But tests of water drawn throughout the crisis showed the water was safe, said Victor Mercado, director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. Test results of Sunday's sample, returned at 1:30 p.m. Monday, convinced city and state officials the ban could be lifted. "Drinking water samples have passed all public health standards mandated by the MDEQ (Michigan Department of Environmental Quality), and drinking water is now safe for human consumption," Mercado said. Water in water heaters is safe. There is no need to run the tap before using water, he said. Boiling water had been a source of confusion and fear. The water department was flooded with calls Monday from residents asking if water could be used for ice, or used as rinse in dentists' offices. "I am afraid to rinse a glass. If I wash a dish and it has a drop of water, you get scared. I would just die if I got E. coli," said Lisa Mustafa of Dearborn. "I started drinking a lot of pop." "It just takes more time to do everything," said Hala Hazima, whose Dearborn Heights home is stocked with bottled water.
Early tests discounted
The water department had tests as early as Saturday, from samples taken from Metro Detroit communities Friday, showing the water was not contaminated, Mercado said. But the state's guidelines for lifting boil-water alerts weren't met until Monday.Friday's test results were discounted because the system was not up to full pressure, said DEQ spokeswoman Patricia Spitzley. "It wouldn't have made sense to test the water for contamination due to low water pressure while you still had low water pressure," she said. Saturday's samples were incubated for 24 hours as part of a total coliform bacteria test, and came up clean Sunday. Sunday's samples were pronounced clean at 1:30 p.m. Monday, 90 minutes before the ban officially was lifted. Mercado defended the four days it took for the water department to declare water safe. "We followed DEQ regulations, and we are comfortable with those regulations," Mercado said. But Rolf Deininger, an internationally known researcher and consultant on municipal water systems at the University of Michigan, says the method used to test water quality is antiquated. He says there are tests to determine the quality of water that can be completed in five minutes. "You can go to a pool shop and get a kit to test your pool water, and you could tell if your tap water is safe in a few minutes," he said. George Ellenwood, public affairs manager for the water department, said the city and state "were being absolutely responsible," when asked if officials were overly cautious. "You would not be asking me that question if people were dying of water contamination today."
Illness claims abound
People didn't die, but many believed they became ill. About 100 prisoners at Ryan Correctional Facility in Detroit complained they got sick from drinking the water. Botsford General Hospital, located in Farmington Hills, saw an increase of people suggesting they had a case of food or water poisoning, but none was confirmed, according to Nancy Dumas, hospital spokeswoman. None of the more than 10 people evaluated at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak for water or food poisoning had either. "They were in perfectly good condition, and we have not identified any illnesses we could relate to the water episode," said Dr. Frank McGeorge, director of emergency medicine at Beaumont Hospital."Bacterial counts have to be really high in order to get sick," said Dr. Usamah Mossallam, senior staff attending physician in Henry Ford Hospital's emergency medicine. The stomach is acidic, and "very hostile to bacteria -- it will kill almost anything." Joyce Fitch, 61, of Sterling Heights agreed with the decision by Macomb County Health officials to keep restaurants and other food establishments closed. "I think they have an obligation to make sure the water is pure," Fitch said. "I can understand that some are angry that they had to stay closed while others were open. But it's better to be safe." Thursday's blackout and the water advisory was a grand-opening money maker for Freshwater Express, 28983 Woodward, in Berkley. Lines began forming at the location, which has only been open three weeks, on Thursday night and didn't slow until Sunday, according to Kevin Moser, owner. "We've gotten 50 times more traffic than usual," he said. Homeowners with private wells, who experienced a loss in power, are urged to have their water tested, said Kathy Forzley, Oakland County environmental health services administrator.Detroit News Staff Writers Gene Schabath and Shawn D. Lewis contributed to this report.

Current Foodborne Outbreaks

08/20. Meal with Elton gave Kelly Osbourne food poisoning
08/19. Salmonella cases on the rise in UAE, warns expert
08/19. Blackout Leaves Many With Tummy Trouble
08/18. CRYPTOSPORIDIOSIS OUTBREAK IN BRITISH TOURISTS WHO STAYED AT
08/18. OUTBREAK OF SALMONELLA TYPHIMURIUM DT 108 (OR DT 170) DUE TO
08/15. Cook decamps with jewels
08/15. 24 hospitalised for food poisoning in central Chinese city
08/14. Source of e-coli remains a mystery
08/14. Bloom judges laid low by food bug
08/14. 13 fall ill after taking food
08/14. Food Poisoning in University Brings 24 to Hospital in Tianji
08/13. Group sickened by fish said to be 'well and fine'
08/13. Parasite source tracked
08/13. E. coli strikes trio in N.B. town
08/13. Food Poisoning Hospitalizes 4
08/12. Baby dies from arsenic poisoning after police rush medicine
08/09. SALMONELLOSIS, RESTAURANT RELATED - USA (ILLINOIS) (02)
08/09. E. COLI O157, SECONDARY WATER - USA (UTAH)
08/09. VIRAL GASTROENTERITIS UPDATE 2003 (18)
08/09. GREECE DEMANDS SALMONELLA OUTBREAK PROBE
08/08. SALMONELLA OUTBREAK AT MILWAUKEE COUNTRY CLUB
08/08. SALMONELLA SPARKS HEALTH ALERT IN SWEDEN
08/07. SALMONELLA SICKENS 600 INMATES IN TEXAS
08/06. SIX PEOPLE POISONED AFTER EATING BAD MUSSELS

Hot Tools for Safe Food
source from: http://www.meatnews.com/
British researchers explore new thermal processing technologies in the continuing struggle for safer food.
The name of the project ?Bugdeath ?says that the researchers take a harsh and fatalistic view of food-borne pathogens. Judith Evans of Bristol Universitys Food Refrigeration and Process Engineering Research Center and project leader says the main objective of her research efforts is to improve food safety by better control of thermal processing. In particular, a technique known as high-temperature, short-time processing, as well as cyclic heating and cooling, and slow thermal processing are being investigated, according to FoodNavigator, a food processing-focused electronic newsletter.

Most pathogens are located on the surface of foods and therefore surface pasteurization reduces the concentration of pathogens in food and thus lowers the risk of contracting a food-borne illness.

According to the Evans and her fellow researchers on the project, the objective will be achieved by establishing more accurate models of microbial death in response to the processing.

After only one year of study the scientists involved in the project report that they have constructed accurate and very flexible apparatus which may heat or cool the food between 5 and 120C in both wet and dry environments. The temperature cycles are repeatable within more or less 2C and the accuracy of measuring food surface temperatures is better than 1C.

In addition, they have introduced a lux-gene?into the test pathogens allowing these to glow, or bioluminescence, only when alive. This enables the scientists to quickly measure the effect of thermal cycles as the bioluminescence fades when the treatment is effective.

The researchers have also created heat transfer and microbial death models. They report that these models will be verified against data obtained from the apparatus developed within the project and combined to create a model to predict the effect of temperature changes on the food surfaces to microbial death.

Extending shelf life through sorbic acid alternative

http://www.foodnavigator.com/news/news.asp?id=8177
19/08/03 - UK company TasteTech claims to have come up with a cost-saving method to keep bread fresh and mould-free for a couple of weeks. TasteTech has developed a controlled release microencapsulated sorbic acid, which, it claims, is proving to be an ideal replacement for calcium propionate, the commonly used mould inhibitor? Prices for calcium propionate have risen sharply in recent months, due to increased demand causing global shortages. Additionally, a degree of controversy has arisen around the use of calcium propionate following recent findings published in the Journal of Paediatrics & Child Health,writes the company this week in a statement.Sorbic acid can not generally be used as a suitable alternative as it destroys yeast, but TasteTech claims to have developed a way to overcome this problem through its CR technology. The process works by coating the sorbic acid within an invisible microfilm of vegetable fat to create a free flowing powder that can easily be blended with dry ingredients prior to baking.

A controlled release mechanism ensures the sorbic acid is not released from its encapsulate until the bread is baked past 60, after the yeast has finished working.

 


FOOD ADDITIVES

August 18, 2003
Food Standards Agency
http://www.foodstandards.gov.uk/safereating/additivesbranch/
Additives aren't a recent invention. Saltpetre was used in the Middle Ages to preserve meat. Nowadays, nitrite, the active ingredient in saltpetre, is used. It avoids meat becoming contaminated with the organism that causes
botulism. There has been a survey to check that the maximum limits for nitrate in cured meats are not exceeded.
Why are additives given E numbers? EU legislation requires most additives used in foods to be labelled clearly in the list of ingredients, either by name or by an E number. This provides you with information about the use of additives in foods and allows you to avoid foods containing specific additives if you wish. Giving an additive an E number means that it has passed safety tests and has been approved for use here and in the rest of the European Union. What does the Agency do about additives and food safety? We carry out work on additives to ensure that their presence in food does
not compromise food safety. We also ensure that both the science and law on additives are strictly reviewed, and action is taken where problems are found. And we investigate any information which casts reasonable doubt on an
additive's safety. In Brussels, we negotiate controls on additives to protect consumers. Additives have to be tested for safety before they can be used in food.Otherwise, they would not be allowed here or in any other part of the
European Union. It is illegal in the UK to put anything into food that will injure health. We carry out scientific work to make sure that controls on additives are enforced. We publish information about our work on additives so you can give us feedback. What are the different types of additives?
Food additives are grouped by what they do. The additives that you are most likely to come across on food labels are:
Antioxidants
Colours
Emulsifiers, stabilisers, gelling agents and thickeners
Flavourings
Preservatives
Sweeteners
More information can be found at:
http://www.foodstandards.gov.uk/

FSIS Constituent Update: August 15, 2003 Reminder: Listeria Workshops Begin September 13
As mentioned in last weeks Constituent Update, FSIS is holding five workshops around the country to explain its new rule, Control of Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-to-eat Meat and Poultry Products, to owners and operators of small and very small inspected establishments.

Workshops will be held September 13 in Raleigh, NC, and Bridgeport, CT; September 20 in Kansas City, KS; and October 4 in Oakland, CA and Albuquerque, NM. The meeting sites in each city will be announced soon.

The new rule becomes effective on October 6, 2003. Producers of RTE products exposed to the environment after lethality treatments are required to have controls for L. monocytogenes, and to verify the effectiveness of those controls through testing. FSIS also will test varying its verification activities according to the nature and effectiveness of the strategies being used by the plant. The workshops will provide attendees detailed information on the rule, including alternative control strategies that may be used, sampling and recordkeeping requirements, and the use of labeling claims.

To ensure access to the desired workshop, those interested in attending should register in advance by contacting Sheila Johnson at 202-690-6498 or sheila.johnson@fsis.usda.gov. Due to limited space, preference will be given to representatives of federal and state small and very small meat and poultry establishments.

FSIS National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods Public Meeting
The National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) will hold public meetings on August 20 and 22, 2003, to discuss protocols for FSIS ongoing microbiological baseline studies of raw meat and poultry products, performance standards for broilers, the scientific basis for establishing safety-based bydate labeling for refrigerated ready-to-eat foods, and scientific criteria for redefining pasteurization.

The full committee will meet Aug. 20 from 8:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. and Aug. 22 and from 8:30 a.m. until noon. Subcommittee meetings will be held on August 19, 20, and 21. The committee and subcommittee meetings are open to the public and will be held at the Hotel Monaco, Athens Room, 700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004. For additional information contact Karen Thomas at karen.thomas@fsis.usda.gov, or by telephone (202) 690-6620, or fax (202) 690-6334.

Access additional information and a full schedule of subcommittee meetings at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FRPubs/03-028N.htm. Access the agenda at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/ophs/nacmcf/meetings.htm

WHY PEOPLE GET FOOD ALLERGY
August 15, 2003
Food Standards Agency
http://www.foodstandards.gov.uk/
We dont know exactly why some people have a food allergy and others dont.But someone is more likely to develop a food allergy if they have a parent, brother or sister with an allergy of any type. The tendency to develop an
allergy is called atopy. Children under three years old are more likely to develop allergies than adults. Lots of food allergies begin in childhood but disappear as the child
gets older. However, some people never outgrow their allergy, and others develop a food allergy as adults.
Eating habits, for example how often a person has eaten a particular food, are also thought to be important. This might be why allergies to particular foods are more common in some countries where they are eaten a lot, for example, fish allergy in Scandinavian countries, rice allergy in Japan and
peanut allergy in the US. But eating habits dont seem to be the whole story. For example, peanut allergy is either very rare or unheard of in Indonesia and parts of Africa, even though peanuts are commonly eaten in these countries. Some experts believe that allergy is now more common in some countries than others because of lifestyle. People in more affluent westernised countries seem to be more likely to develop all types of allergy than people in developing
countries. We dont know exactly how many people in the UK have a food allergy. About 20 to 30% believe they are intolerant to one or more foods. However, tests show that only about 5 to 8% of children and 1 to 2% of adults actually have a food intolerance. We think about 10 deaths a year in the UK are caused by food allergy. The number of people who suffer from food allergy in developed countries
seems to have increased in recent years, but we dont have definite information about this. If food allergy has been increasing, this would match recent increases in allergic diseases such as asthma, eczema and hay fever.

UDSA/FDA News
Foodborne Illness: What Consumers Need To Know
Food Additives Permitted for Direct Addition to Food for Human Consumption
Reminder: Listeria Workshops Begin September 13
FSIS Constituent Update/Alert: Updated August 19, 2003
USDA and Olivia Newton-John Team Up for Back-to-School Food Safety
September is National Food Safety Education Month
Food Safety Regulatory Essentials Training
Murano Announces Office of New Technology At Food Inspection Agency
Combined Database of Predictive Microbiology Information
Food Security and Emergency Preparedness

Food Safety General News
08/20. Foodborne Illness: What Consumers Need To Know
08/20. Canada Seeks Changes To Slaughter Requirements
08/20. Macomb Restaurants May Face Fines For Staying Open
08/20. New Irish meat labelling
08/20. Lim issues advise on typhoid fever
08/20. Tomatoes: Red, ripe and ready for canning -
08/20. [New Zealand] No relief for Masterton residents
08/20. Designer's high-tech quiz helps food workers - and diners
08/20. Inspectors blitz Peel food shops
08/20. Food Safety: Frequently asked questions about canning answer
08/20. Course in food hygiene
08/20. Water's OK: Eat, drink, don't worry

08/19. Reminder: Listeria Workshops Begin September 13
08/19. Antibiotic Use Reduction Urged
08/19. Microbiology Meeting Slated
08/19. USDA presents guidelines for back-to-school food safety
08/19. Fighting food pathogens
08/19. U.S. Requests WTO Probe of EU's Moratorium on Biotech Crops
08/19. Eat At Your Own Risk: Safe Food Handling
08/19. Food safety program announced for P.E.I.
08/19. [Malaysia] Sirim certification scheme for food sector
08/18. Burger, well done
08/18. Food Safety: When in Doubt, Throw it Out
08/18. Electronic Technology May Track Future Cattle Disease Outbre
08/18. U.S., Mexico and Canada To Offer Mad-Cow Guides
08/18. ZOONOTIC TUBERCULOSIS AND FOOD SAFETY
08/18. NATIONAL STUDIES ON ACUTE GASTROINTESTINAL ILLNESS (NSAGI):
08/18. THE PROOF IS THERE
08/17. FOOD ADDITIVES
08/17. BAD FOOD OFF SHELF; CITY DESTROYS STOCK AT 8 STORES
08/17. WHY PEOPLE GET FOOD ALLERGY
08/17. GROCERS TOSS OUT ROTTING FOOD; INSPECTORS TO BEGIN SPOT AUDI
08/17. NEW YORKERS VIEW PERISHABLES IN A NEW LIGHT: POWER IS BACK O
08/17. FOOD VENDORS FACE A GRILLING; PEDDLERS OF BAD FOOD 'TAKEN TO
08/16. USDA and Olivia Newton-John Team Up for Back-to-School Food Safety
08/16. [Canada] Food safety measures for RAW SHUCKED PACIFIC OYSTERS
08/15. Canada Set to Sharply Increase Mad Cow Testing
08/15. Indian Consumer Group Warns Cola Giants of Legal Action
08/15. Food Irradiation Center Established
08/15. New RTE Rule Workshops
08/15. United Nations says antimicrobials in livestock cause resist
08/15. Taking The Fear Out Of Peanut Eating
08/15. New Zealand man cleared of CJD
08/15. After outage, check the food
08/15. Advice to consumers on food safety during a power outage
08/15. Food inspections to increase

Current Recall Information
08/20. [New Zealand] Supermarket chain issues another recall because of soy error
08/20. [Norway] Bottled water recalled
08/20. California Sun Dry Foods Has Recalled Sun-Dried Tomato Spread and Pasta Sauce
08/20. Frito Lay Has Recalled Cheetos
08/20. Summit Import Has Recalled Masagana brand Coconut Sport Strings
08/20. Michigan Firm Recalls Beef Products For Possible Contamination
08/18. Georgia Ag Department Finds Contaminated Mushrooms
08/15. Kerber Dairy Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Egg and Wheat

OUTBREAK OF SALMONELLA TYPHIMURIUM DT 108 (OR DT 170) DUE TO IMPORTED
CONTAMINATED KEBAB MEAT IN SWEDEN

August 14, 2003
Eurosurveillance Weekly
2003;07(33)
http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ew/2003/030814.asp
Marika Hjertqvist (marika.hjertqvist@smi.ki.se )1, Rickard Eitrem2, Ralfh Wollin3, Lars Plym-Forshell4, Johan Giesecke1 1Epidemiology and 3Bacteriology Branches of the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control (SMI), the 2Office of the County Medical Officer, Blekinge County, and the 4Swedish National Food Administration, Sweden
On 17 July 2003 local health authorities in the county of Blekinge in southern Sweden informed the Epidemiology Branch of the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control (Smittskyddsinstitutet, SMI) that four people
had been infected by Salmonella after eating kebabs at a local pizzeria the previous week. The following day, environmental health officers from the municipality visited the restaurant to take food and environmental samples
from the premises. The restaurant was closed pending further investigation. The meat used for kebab production was delivered from a wholesaler in J?k?ing who had imported frozen pork collar originating from a slaughterhouse in Denmark and distributed it to a number of restaurants in a
total of 27 Swedish municipalities. The Danish slaughterhouse plant claimed that the suspected consignment was Salmonella free when transported to
Sweden. Food and environmental samples were taken at the premises of the wholesaler. The finding that pork was used for kebabs was unexpected The Swedish National Food Administration (Livsmedelsverket, http://www.slv.se) recommended that environmental health officers in the 27
recipient municipalities inspect restaurants that had received meat from the implicated consignment. Sampling and testing of pork collar and kebab were performed.
The county medical officer in Blekinge issued a press release asking people who had eaten at the implicated restaurant in Blekinge during the preceding
weeks, especially food handlers and healthcare workers, to make contact. During the weekend of 19-20 July, a large number of people sought medical care and six persons were admitted to hospital with gastroenteritis. The total number of cases was estimated to be between 60 and 120. Faecal samples from a proportion of the cases were investigated for Salmonella in the local laboratories and forwarded to the bacteriology branch of SMI for confirmation and phage typing. On 22 July bacteriological analysis showed
the strain of the first two cases to be S. Typhimurium DT 108. This is a very uncommon phage type, with only one human case previously diagnosed in Sweden: a girl returning from the Canary Islands in 1998. However, routine
tests had identified this strain in pork meat from Denmark in December 2002. In total 112 cases have been identified in Blekinge (60 confirmed by laboratory testing, and 52 by epidemiological linkage) with dates of symptom
onset between 4 and 23 July. Most of the cases occurred in people living in the county, but some cases were in people from other parts of Sweden who had visited the affected restaurant. Eight people were admitted to hospital.
Samples from marinated and spiced meat from the implicated consignment, as well as samples from four different municipalities were positive for S.
Typhimurium DT 108. The Swedish National Food Administration informed the Danish authorities and notified the European Commission through the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/fs/sfp/ras_week31_en.pdf).
In early August, four additional cases of S. Typhimurium DT108 were confirmed in another small town in southern Sweden. The patients had fallen ill between 14 and 22 July after eating kebab meat at two different restaurants. Another four cases were also notified from southwest Sweden.
These four cases were in patients who had a history of eating kebabs, but not all of them at restaurants with recorded deliveries from the implicated consignment. Following this, the National Food Administration recommended that all 290 municipalities in Sweden should test samples from kebab meat and/or Danish pork collar to prevent further spread of the disease. Since DT108 has rarely been isolated in Denmark, the assumption that the
infection came via Danish meat was questionable initally. However, when S. Typhimurium DT108 was isolated from fresh pork collar, it was concluded that the infection had originated in the Danish meat product. On 4 August, three human strains and two meat strains were sent from SMI to
the Danish Veterinary Institute (Danmarks Veterinaerinstitut,
http://www.vetinst.dk/) for comparison of subtyping results. The Danish laboratory, which has great experience of Danish pork endemic strains, found all five strains to be S. Typhimurium DT170; however, the differences in
phage typing patterns between DT108 and 170 are minimal, and both laboratories stress that assignment of the phage type is mostly a matter of judgement. This finding changes the situation, since S. Typhimurium DT170 is a
frequently reported strain in Denmark, both in pork and poultry and in samples from patients. Remarkably, however, it is a Salmonella type rarely seen in Sweden, where the last human case was reported in 1999. The proposed testing of kebab meat across Sweden could have the additional
benefit of revealing the point prevalence of any type of salmonella in such products during an unusually hot summer.