9/29
2003


ISSUE:
84
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New Bioterrorism Regulations

NFPA
http://www.nfpa-food.org/
NFPA and Covington & Burling will hold a conference on November 4 in London, England titled "The Impact of the U.S. Bioterorism Act: New Rules for Food and Feed Exporters to the U.S."
New Bioterrorism Regulations

IFPA ENLISTS NATIONALLY KNOWN EXPERTS FOR CRISIS MANAGEMENT SEMINAR
September 24, 2003
International Fresh-cut Produce Association Media Release
http://www.fresh-cuts.org/events.php
While fresh-cut produce has survived food safety crises in the past, a new challenge could confront fruit and vegetable processors at any time and the entire industry might find itself faced with unexpected regulatory and media scrutiny.
Thats why the International Fresh-cut Produce Association has enlisted two nationally known crisis management experts to provide fresh-cut produce executives with a one-day seminar entitled Surviving. . . and Thriving through a Crisis?on November 12, 2003 in Washington, D.C. The event will help give processors insight into what to expect and how to deal with a crisis typical of those that could befall fresh-cut.Gene Grabowski, a seasoned marketing communications professional with a
reputation for creating and implementing top-quality crisis communications plans, will explain The Crisis Cycle: Defining the Who, What, When and Whys of Crisis Management.?While every crisis is different, each has a life cycle?companies can predict and prepare for in advance, he says. Currently vice president of Washington, D.C.-based Levick Strategic
Communications, Grabowski formerly served with the Grocery Manufacturers of America, the worlds largest food trade group representing brand name food, beverage and consumer products companies. He is an expert on a variety of high profile communications issues including food safety, obesity and biotechnology. Following Grabowski on the program, Eric Dezenhall of Nichols-Dezenhall Communications Management Group, one of the nations leading crisis management firms, will tell fresh-cut managers Who Gets Attacked, Who Survives and Why??He has developed a model for how media-hyped attacks on businesses and public figures are packaged?to include villains, Victims and Vindicators?that fit in a pre-cast entertainment format. Dezenhall is author of Nail Em! Confronting High Profile Attacks on Celebrities and Businesses?(Prometheus Books, 1999), a text widely cited in business, media and academic circles.
In separate presentations, both Brian Zomorodi, technical vice president of Ready Pac Produce, Inc. and a senior FDA official will offer practical advice on Working through a Crisis?and will participate in a panel discussion on the same subject.
The seminar will conclude with a breakout session and mock crisis scenario entitled How Will You Handle the Next Crisis??moderated by Grabowski. Registration fees are $345 for IFPA members who sign up prior to October 24
and $444 for non-members and will be subject to a $50 late charge after that. The seminar will be held at Washington, D.C.s Fairmont Hotel, (202) 429-2400 with rooms discounted at $175 per night. A detailed program and registration is available on IFPAs web site at http://www.fresh-cuts.org/events.php. For further information, contact IFPA at (703) 299-6282.

"THE PENN STATE SANITATION SHORTCOURSE - PREREQUISITES FOR FOOD SAFETY AND SECURITY"
October 14-16, 2003
Penn State University
http://foodsafety.cas.psu.edu
Where it is to be held: The Nittany Lion Inn on the Penn State Campus in State College, Pennsylvania Contact: Dr. Luke F. LaBorde, 119 Boland Laboratory, Department of Food Science, Penn State University Tel: 814-863-2298 Email: lfl5@psu.edu
Sponsoring organization: The Pennsylvania State University Department of Food Science Background text: The Penn State Sanitation Short Course is a comprehensive 3-day program on the essentials of sanitation in food processing plants. This educational opportunity is offered for those who are developing in-house food safety programs and want to upgrade their knowledge of the science and technology of cleaning, sanitizing, and pest control. Lectures and lab sessions focus on control of pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms, plant and equipment design, safe handling of chemical products, dry
cleaning, allergen control, and educational strategies to get your workers involved and committed to your food safety plan.
The brochure is available for viewing at http://foodsafety.cas.psu.edu/2003_SSC.pdf
Luke F. LaBorde
Assistant Professor of Food Science
Tel: 814-863-2298
Fax: 814-863-6132
Visit the Penn State Food Safety Web Site
http://foodsafety.cas.psu.edu

CHECKOFF-FUNDED RESEARCH SHOWS DRAMATIC RESULTS OF PRE-HARVEST E. COLI O157:H7 INTERVENTIONS
September 25, 2003
National Cattlemens Beef Association
http://www.beef.org/dsp/dsp_content.cfm?locationId=45&contentTypeId=2&conten
tId=2278
(DALLAS, Texas) All three E. coli O157:H7 interventions a microbial feed, an antimicrobial feed additive and a vaccine evaluated in a checkoff-funded live animal trial at Colorado State University demonstrated reductions in E. coli O157:H7 prevalence on hides or in fecal materials. The study tested Lactobacillus acidophilus probiotic (Bovamine, Nutrition Physiology Corp.), neomycin sulfate (NEOMIX? Pfizer Animal Health) and an E. coli O157:H7 bacterin (FDAH Vaccine, Fort Dodge Animal Health). Eight variations on the treatments were studied since the three interventions were tested singularly and sequentially,?said Dr. Keith Belk, Colorado State University researcher. The study was conducted in a commercial feedlot located in Eastern Colorado from March 1, 2003 through May 26, 2003. Researchers collected 1,172 fecal
and hide samples from 24 pens of cattle [approximately 200 head of (925 lb) cattle per pen], which were randomly allocated to allow for eight treatment groups, replicated three times. The live animal management challenges of this pathogen are complex and enormously different from post-harvest management, and this research moves us one step closer to overcoming these challenges,said Mike Engler, Ph.D., National Cattlemens Beef Association (NCBA) Beef Safety Research
Subcommittee Chair and Cactus Feeders President. This research will lead to a variety of interventions beef producers can use as part of the industry-wide fight against E. coli O157:H7.Research Results: Fecal Samples In the cattle control group, 45.8 percent of the fecal samples tested positive for E. coli O157. After treatment with neomycin sulfate, no fecal samples tested positive for E. coli O157. The Lactobacillus acidophilus and the bacterin vaccine, when administered singularly, resulted in only 13.3 and 14.7 percent of positive tests, respectively. Only 1.3 percent of fecal samples tested positive for E. coli O157 after a combined treatment of neomycin sulfate and Lactobacillus acidophilus. See attached table. Research Results: Hide Samples In the cattle control group, 40.3 percent of hide samples tested positive for E. coli O157. After treatment with all three interventions (Lactobacillus acidophilus probiotic, neomycin sulfate and E. coli O157:H7 bacterin), only 6.7 percent of the hide samples tested positive for E. coli O157. The same percent (6.7) of samples tested positive following a combined treatment of neomycin sulfate and E. coli O157:H7 bacterin. When treated with neomycin sulfate and Lactobacillus acidophilus in combination, just 7.1 percent of the hide samples tested positive for E. coli O157. See attached
table. Treatment and Status of Interventions Lactobacillus acidophilus probiotic (Bovamine) was fed for 90 days prior to
slaughter. This product can be implemented immediately as an intervention strategy. Neomycin sulfate (NEOMIX?AG 325 Medicated Premix ) was fed, according to label, in Type C medicated solid feed at slightly below the recommended dosage. It was fed for three days, then removed from the ration at least 24 hours before harvest to meet the withdrawl requirements. Neomix is currently approved for treatment and control of colibacillosis (bacterial enteritis). The Food and Drug Administration needs to give direction as to whether control of E. coli O157:H7 would be considered an extralabel drug use?under a valid veterinarian/client/patient relationship. E. coli O157:H7 bacterin was administered two times during the study, 30 days apart. Since the vaccine is still in the experimental stage, USDA-FSIS granted slaughter permits for the cattle vaccinated in this study. The checkoff-funded research builds the case for a possible vaccine solution using E. coli O157:H7 bacterin.
Additionally, four treatments using intervention strategies in combination also were evaluated. This checkoff-funded research shows some of the most dramatic pre-harvest reductions of E. coli O157:H7 to date and it supports building multiple interventions and hurdles against this pathogen, said Dr. Bo Reagan, vice president of research and knowledge management, National Cattlemens Beef Association, which manages safety research on behalf of the Cattlemens Beef Board. At least $65 million in pre- and post-harvest pathogen intervention research and strategies have been conducted by industry and government since the first major E. coli O157:H7 outbreak ten years ago. TABLE: Percent prevalence (and parenthetically, percent less than control) of positive E. coli O157 isolates from hide or fecal samples collected from cattle exposed to one of eight treatments. Available at:
http://www.beef.org/dsp/dsp_content.cfm?locationId=45&contentTypeId=2&conten
tId=2278

Unravelling European food law

Food Production Daily
http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/news/news.asp?id=3505
25/09/03 - The convoluted world of UK and European food law has just got easier with the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) this week unveiling a new website portal to 'help food law enforcers carry out their work more effectively and easily'.
In an effort to simplify the complex world of European food law the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has launched a new website to 'help food law enforcers carry out their work more effectively and easily'.Features of the new site include a guide to food law, with live links to the regulations. According to a statement this week, the food agency is also planning to launch a new section on imported food in the next few weeks, with information for consumers, food businesses, and enforcers.A visit to the site from the FoodNavigator.com team revealed a relatively simple navigation design leading the way to comprehensive information on food hazard alerts, HACCP, audits, food sampling and approval.

UDSA/FDA News
Investigations Operations Manual
Perchlorate: Questions and Answers
FDA Offers Food Safety Information for Expected Power Outages and Flooding From Hurricane Isabel
U.S. Codex Office "What's New" Page: Updated September 22, 2003
Food Safety in a Disaster
FDA Offers Food Safety Information for Expected Power Outages and Flooding
USDA CONSUMER ALERT Keeping Food Safe During An Emergency
FSIS Sampling For Ground Beef Shows E. coli O157:H7 Downward Trend
Positive E. coli Test Results: Updated September 17, 2003
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)

Good Practice Means Good Food Safety

Meat News
http://www.meatnews.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Article&artNum=6204
First range of food safety advice for Irish farmers is published.
The first range of literature specifically aimed at advising farmers on best food safety practices has been published by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI). As part of its ongoing campaign to raise food safety standards in all sectors of food production, the authoritys five new information leaflets give practical advice to farmers on five key areas of concern. These include traceability, safe farm practices, the prudent use of antibiotics and chemicals, pasteurisation and meat contamination.
Alan Reilly, Deputy Chief Executive of the FSAI said that a few simple precautions can reduce the incidence of food pathogens and enhance food safety standards.These leaflets offer practical advice and tips on safe farm practices so that farmers can reduce the chances of them and their families contracting these germs and also so that they can be confident that food leaving their farms has met the highest standards of hygiene and safety before it goes to the next stage of processing or straight to the shop shelves,?says Mr Reilly.“It is hoped that the leaflets will be seen as a valuable resource to the farming community. Farmers have requested this information which shows their commitment to food safety and best practices. We have provided this information in a clear and concise manner to ensure that safe practices become second nature to all involved in the farming industry,?concluded Mr Reilly.
The five leaflets in the suite are:
Contamination ?Meat Contamination Prevention: Farmers are responsible for delivering healthy clean livestock for slaughter to reduce the risk of harmful organisms present in hides and faeces contaminating meat products and entering the food chain. This leaflet outlines how bacteria can be carried on dirty hides into the abattoir and offers advice to ensure animals are as clean as possible prior to slaughter.
Pasteurisation ?Milk Pasteurisation on the Farm: Unpasteurised milk can contain dangerous disease causing bacteria including E. coli O157:H7, Listeria, Salmonella and Campylobacter. This leaflet outlines the dangers that may be associated with consuming unpasteurised milk - a practice, which is particularly widespread among farming families. In 1998, it was estimated that 84 per cent of Irish farm families consume unpasteurised milk ?this leaflet aims to encourage farmers and their families who are drinking unpasteurised milk to prevent anybody becoming ill and to use a home pasteuriser for the milk their family and visitors consume.
Antibiotics and Chemicals ?Prudent use of Antibiotics & Chemicals : The misuse of antibiotics and chemicals in the food chain is a concern for both consumers and the food industry as it can result in the development of bacteria resistant to a range of antibiotics. This leaflet highlights to the agricultural sector the dangers of misuse, the importance of best administration practices, compliance with mandatory withdrawal periods and record keeping.
Traceability ?From Farm to Fork : Traceability is currently a pertinent issue for farmers and an essential tool in a national effort to ensure the production of safe food from farm to fork. The leaflet explains the chain of responsibility and details specific traceability schemes available to farmers, to enable them participate.
Zoonosis ?Safe Farm Practices: This leaflet details the types of diseases that are transmittable from animals to farmers, vets and others who work with animals. It offers practical advice on how to create a safe farm environment and how to minimise and prevent contamination of potential harmful bacteria.

Rutgers University: Food industry unprepared for Bioterrorism Act

by Brendan O'Neill on 9/26/03 for Meatingplace.com
Fifty percent of food industry professionals surveyed are unaware that all domestic and most foreign food manufacturing and distribution facilities must register with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by Dec. 12, 2003.
According to an online survey of 1,292 food industry participants administered by the Food Policy Institute at Rutgers University, another 21 percent know about the requirement but have done nothing to prepare.
The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 -- known as the Bioterrorism Act -- was signed into law by President Bush on June 12, 2002, and requires food industry facilities to register with the FDA by Dec. 12, 2003. The fact that few have and many seem to be ignoring the act is of concern to Calum Turvey, director of the Food Policy Institute."There is a striking disparity between awareness and preparedness," said Turvey, a co-author of the study. "Many food firms are aware of the regulations, however, have not done a great deal to prepare. Our snapshot study reflects the overarching issue of uncertainty that pervades this act."According to FPI, 60 percent of those surveyed generally do not know what to expect from the Bioterrorism Act, and the remainder expect that compliance will pose a "moderate to significant burden" on their businesses. "It is very likely that businesses will face direct and indirect costs as a by-product of the act," added Turvey.While sections of the Bioterrorism Act may seem burdensome, many of the firms interviewed understand the need for such an act. Seventy-seven percent feel the act has or will lead to increased food security.
For more information on the study, visit FoodPolicyInstitute.org.
For information on how to register your facility, visit USAFoodAgents.com, or call 202/588-5278 or 866/402-4368.


Current Foodborne Outbreaks
09/26. Catawba County health department drops shigellosis measures
09/26. Shigella outbreak strikes Bay Area
09/26. 78 suffer food poisoning at Cancer Association meeting
09/24. KNOX TO ASK O'CHARLEY'S FOR OUTBREAK COMPENSATION
09/24. CRYPTOSPORIDIOSIS, SWIMMING POOLS - USA (KANSAS) (04)
09/23. NORTH AND SOUTH SURVEY REVEALS 8, 800 NEW CASES OF GASTROENT
09/23. CRYPTOSPORIDIOSIS: KANSAS
09/22. ANOTHER CASE OF E. COLI INFECTION TURNS UP IN N.B., 15TH INF
09/19. AN OUTBREAK OF CAMPYLOBACTER JEJUNI INFECTION
09/19. FRANCE RECALLS INTERNATIONALLY DISTRIBUTED HALAL MEAT PRODUC
09/19. SALMONELLA MONTEVIDEO IN SESAME SEED-BASED PRODUCTS
09/19. E. COLI O157, DAY CARE - UK (N. IRELAND) (03)
09/19. Outdated Food Found at Hempstead School After Illness Report


Current Recall Information
09/26. Fay Da Has Recalled Chestnut Bread
09/26. CEYCAN DRIED PRAWNS may contain chloramphenicol
09/25. Washington State Firm Recalls Beef Products For Possible Listeria Contamination
09/24. SWEET WILLIAM'S RECALLS PEPPERONI, SAUSAGE OVER BAD WELL WAT
09/24. Land O¡¯ Lakes Has Recalled Salted Butter
09/24. Orangina Carbonted Beverage Has Recalled Yoo-Hoo Chocolate Drink
09/24. Lisy Corporation Has Recalled Ground Cumin Comino Molido
09/23. Table Talk Pies Has Recalled Snack Fruit Pies
09/23. Earthgrains Refrigerated Dough Products Has Recalled Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
09/23. Ariza Cheese Co. Recalls Cotija Cheese Because of Possible Health Risk
09/22. Allergy Alert Issued For Refrigerated Great Value Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
09/21. Table Talk Pies Announces Voluntary Product Recall

Current Food Safety Informaiton
09/26. South Africa issues kava recall
09/26. BEEF BATTLE SHIFTS GROUND: SOUTH KOREAN IMPORTERS SET TO END
09/26. MORE MAD COW QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS
09/26. PREVENTION KEY TO KEEPING FOOD CHAIN FREE OF MAD COW
09/26. INSPECTORS SAY REPORTS IGNORED; THEY SAY PROVINCIAL OFFICIAL
09/26. APPEAL KEEPS LID ON WARRANT; DETAILS SURROUNDING AN AYLMER M
09/26. RESEARCH SHOWS DRAMATIC RESULTS OF PRE-HARVEST E. COLI O157:H7
09/26. "THE PENN STATE SANITATION SHORTCOURSE - PREREQUISITES FOR F
09/26. UVA SCIENTISTS DETAIL SALMONELLA PROTEIN
09/26. WHEN FOOD KILLS - BSE, E.COLI AND DISASTER SCIENCE
09/26. ANTHRAX, FOOD POISONS STILL NO. 1 THREATS ¡©EXPERTS
09/26. Meat Processors Cited For Food Safety Violations
09/26. EU¡¯s food labeling on food allergens
09/26. Good Practice Means Good Food Safety
09/26. China Cooperating on Food Safety
09/26. Feedlots targeted as next step in E. coli intervention
09/26. Rutgers University: Food industry unprepared for Bioterrorism
09/26. GM Nation? No thanks
09/26. A global perspective on food safety
09/26. Deadline for USDA Beef Export Verification Program for Proce
09/26. UD research lifts lid on canola fumes danger
09/26. Take time to cook family meals safer
09/25. MEAT PROCESSORS CITED FOR FOOD SAFETY VIOLATIONS; INSPECTION
09/25. IFPA ENLISTS NATIONALLY KNOWN EXPERTS FOR CRISIS MANAGEMENT
09/25. HEALTH AUTHORITIES ISSUE A BOIL-JUICE WARNING
09/25. CANADIAN INSTITUTES OF HEALTH RESEARCH (CIHR) INTERNATIONAL
09/25. YOUR HANDS TWO RECIPES FOR DISASTER SAFEFOOD LAUNCH HAND-W
09/25. TRACEABILITY: FOOT AND MOUTH LIVESTOCK DISEASE MAD COW
09/25. EMERGENCY FOOD STANDARD FOR TAHINI
09/25. Midwest Food Processing Conference to be held
09/25. UK rejects GM foods in public debate
09/25. IFT holds 3rd International Food Safety & Quality Conference
09/25. A global perspective on food safety
09/25. Unravelling European food law
09/25. New Bioterrorism Regulations
09/25. Better public understanding of GMOs leads to greater sceptic
09/25. Scientist says more isolated BSE outbreaks possible, more re
09/25. A few simple steps can avoid 'lunchbox bug'
09/24. SCIENTISTS MEET IN BID TO SOLVE PUZZLE OF MYSTERIOUS ILLNESS
09/24. DON'T BAN BEEF OVER ONE COW -- CANADA: OTHER NATIONS BACK PR
09/24. FDA TO LIMIT WHAT GOES INTO ANIMAL FEED
09/24. FOOD STORE FACES CHARGES OVER SAFETY
09/24. BSE CASES IN CATTLE OVER THE LAST 12 MONTHS
09/24. SAFETY OF FOOD PRODUCTS
09/24. CALL FOR EXPERTS ON ANTIMICROBIAL ISSUES IN AGRICULTURE AND
09/24. FAO/WHO E-FORUM ON PROVISION OF SCIENTIFIC ADVICE TO CODEX A
09/24. QUORN ©øFUNGUS FOOD©÷ SICKENS 5% OF EATERS: FAKE MEAT MORE ALL
09/24. FDA PRESSURING CALIF. HEALTH AGENCY ON ACRYLAMIDE: CSPI APPL
09/24. EASTERN FOOD SCIENCE CONFERENCE XIII - OCTOBER 26-28, 2003.
09/24. NATIONS USE CDC BRAND TO REFORM HEALTH AGENCIES
09/24. HONG KONG LOOKS TO SCALE BACK FRESH CHICKEN SALES
09/24. SPEECH: FOOD SAFETY AND THIRD COUNTRIES
09/24. JAPAN'S BAN OF BEEF ON THE BONE - OPPORTUNITY FOR U.S. EXPOR
09/24. MEAT PLANT CONDITIONS LED TO SAFETY CONCERNS IN 1997
09/24. ONTARIO LOOKS AT TRAINING WATER-PLANT SUPERVISORS: CONSULTAN
09/24. NEW ONLINE TOOL FOR FOOD LAW ENFORCERS

09/23. DONENESS VERSUS SAFETY
09/23. FOOD SAFETY: THE GAME PLAN FOR TAILGATE PARTIES
09/23. THE JOY OF GIVING FOOD SAFELY
09/23. PORK INDUSTRY SAYS BSE THREATENS ENTIRE MEAT INDUSTRY
09/23. ORGANIC HYPOCRISY
09/23. LISTERIOSIS DURING PREGNANCY
09/23. MAKING MEAT SAFE
09/23. BSE UPDATE 2003 (11)
09/23. FDA, FBI INVESTIGATE GROCERY-TAMPERING THREAT AT SEATTLE-ARE
09/23. USA: Two-thirds of food industry unprepared for bioterrorism
09/23. UK food agency posts food law portal
09/23. UK rejects GM foods in public debate
09/23. Joint FAO/WHO/OIE Expert Consultation on Non-human Antimicro
09/23. IFT holds 3rd International Food Safety & Quality
09/23. Canadian premier says inspection overhaul to be 'a matter of
09/23. Sheep disease fears allayed
09/23. GMO traceability
09/23. AMI: Downward Trend of E. coli O157:H7 Indicates Success
09/23. FSIS Seminar Paints 'Cautiously Optimistic' Picture of Pre-H
09/23. Agriculture Department Inspectors Check Food Safety In Hurri
09/23. Cafes 'should have hygiene MOT'
09/22. HOW DO I PREPARE A SAFE SCHOOL LUNCH?
09/22. IS FRESH FARM PRODUCE SAFE TO EAT?
09/22. SICK CATTLE SENT TO AYLMER PLANT; ILL, HURT ANIMALS WERE SLA
09/22. DR. RICK PLEUS CALLS EWG PRESS RELEASE ¨«IRRESPONSIBLE AND AL
09/22. Food safety during a power loss
09/21. EU-Thai ties
09/21. Gang jailed over meat scam
09/21. BEEF INDUSTRY©öS CONUNDRUM: WHAT IF MORE BSE IS FOUND?
09/21. Genetically modified food ruling hopeful
09/20. Restaurants adding safety tips to doggy bags
09/20. Public Wants Biotech Food Tested -
09/20. Ex-Grocery Worker Sentenced For Poisoning Beef
09/19. COMMISSION PUBLISHES PROPOSAL FOR ESTABLISHING A EUROPEAN CE
09/19. IF YOU DROP IT, SHOULD YOU EAT IT? SCIENTISTS WEIGH IN ON TH
09/19. USA: US poison beef tracking system on market
09/19. Safer milk
09/19. Macrolides get go-ahead
09/19. SureBeam faces action
09/19. Cranberry juice dangerous with heart drug
09/19. The Allergy Epidemic
09/19. Danger in a nutshell
09/19. Study Shows Prions Stick Around In Certain Soils
09/19. Spreading human waste on fields under review
09/19. Lee targets irradiated school foods
09/19. Escherichia coli O157:H7 Frequently Asked Questions
09/19. FSAI targets farmers on procedures
09/19. Conservatives ignore years of food warnings
09/19. Restaurant sued after salmonella outbreak

A few simple steps can avoid 'lunchbox bug'
6:55 PM 9/24/03
Doug Blackburn Albany (N.Y.) Times Union
Wisconsin State Journal
http://www.madison.com/wisconsinstatejournal/special/57459.php
It's no secret that most children care more about what their lunchbox looks like than what's inside it. Enter the parent. While mom or dad may barely notice if it's Barbie or Spider-Man on the outside, it's extremely important they pay attention to what goes inside - as well as how the lunchbox is packed. If not, they could be exposing their child to what is commonly called the "lunchbox bug." It sounds cute, but this malady also goes by the name food poisoning - and there's indeed nothing cute about it. Food safety begins at home, and packing the daily school lunch may be one of the best times to teach children important sanitation lessons. After all, food safety isn't an art. It's a science. There are basic, common-sense steps that parents should take to avoid the lunchbox bug. They begin with washing hands before, during and after preparing children's lunches.Likewise, make sure the counter surface is clean and dry when preparing lunch to prevent germs from spreading to the food. It's also important to make sure the lunchbox is clean. Before children even open their prized lunchboxes, they should learn to wash their hands. It never hurts to pack wipes or moist towelettes in the lunchbox to further emphasize cleanliness.Which brings us to storage. There are right and wrong ways to pack a lunchbox. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service offers the following tips for properly assembling a school lunch: Wash fresh fruits and vegetables before putting them in the lunchbox. Use an insulated lunchbox or bag. Adding a frozen gel pack also helps keep cold foods cold. Juice boxes also can be frozen and used for cooling. Perishable foods such as luncheon meats, chicken, eggs, turkey and tuna shouldn't be left at room temperature for more than two hours. When preparing lunch the night before, store the packed lunch in the refrigerator.Freezing sandwiches can help them stay cold. Pack add-ons such as lettuce, tomato or mayonnaise separately and add just before serving. Choose foods that are safe without refrigeration, including: fresh fruits and vegetables, crackers, peanut butter sandwiches, canned meats, shelf-stable cheese, packaged pudding and canned fruits and juices. After opening, canned meats, puddings, fruits and juices need to be refrigerated. Make sure children learn to not save part of their sandwich for snacking on after school. It can spoil, bringing on a quick case of the lunchbox bug. Instruct your child to throw away all perishable leftovers after lunch. In addition to safe, school lunches should be nutritious and, ideally, fun. Celebrity chef Sara Moulton, host of "Sara's Secrets" on the Food Network, offers the following tips for taking the tedium out of packing lunch and keeping your children interested in what they're eating. Cut their sandwiches into creative shapes using cookie cutters. They'll get a kick out of the elephants and birds they find in their lunch. Put together a gourmet taco kit for their lunch box. Put some shredded cheese and lettuce, salsa and shredded rotisserie chicken in separate baggies and tuck in some taco shells for a Mexican school-time treat. Don't just stick to white sliced bread for your kid's sandwiches. Mix it up with tortillas to make wraps, or whole-wheat pitas to stuff, or toasted whole-wheat English muffins, which make great triple-deckers. There's more to lunch than sandwiches, so forget the bread and make lunch meat "sushi." Roll sliced turkey, roast beef or ham into pinwheels stuffed with your child's favorite sandwich fillings. Try turkey with couscous salad, hummus and sliced cucumbers and carrots. Finally, it's important to be aware of the beverage your child takes to school. Drinks are often the least healthy food in the lunch box, according to dietitians and nutritionists. <
Many of the juices in supermarkets lay claim to being all-natural - until you read the fine print on the label. That's when you learn the percentage of fruit juice is in fact minuscule, compared to the added sugar and corn syrup.
Parents should look for boxes or foil pouches that are 100 percent fruit juice without added sugar. For more information on packing safe lunches for school, call the toll-free Meat and Poultry Hotline at (800) 535-4555. Also, an extensive selection of timely food safety recordings is available 24 hours a day at the same number through the "user-friendly" menu. In addition, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service home page offers useful information on the Internet at www.usda.gov/fsis

CALL FOR EXPERTS ON ANTIMICROBIAL ISSUES IN AGRICULTURE AND VETERINARY USE
September 2003
The Codex Alimentarius recommended that FAO, WHO and OIE should give consideration to convening a multidisciplinary expert consultation to advise the Commission on possible directions to be taken, considering all issuesof antimicrobials in agriculture and veterinary use (including aquaculture). FAO, WHO and OIE will convene in December 2003 an Expert Consultation on Non-Human Antimicrobial Usage and Antimicrobial Resistance and seeking experts in these fields to be selected for this consultation. Further information for submission of applications is available at:
http://www.who.int/foodsafety/micro/meetings/nov2003/en/

NEW ONLINE TOOL FOR FOOD LAW ENFORCERS
September 23, 2003
Food Standards Agency
http://www.foodstandards.gov.uk/news/newsarchive/portalnews
A new website portal to support the UK's food law enforcers has been launched by the Food Standards Agency today. The new portal includes quick links to food hazard warnings and local authority audit reports, enforcement data, as well as all the latest news. David Statham, the Food Standards Agency's Director of Enforcement and Food Standards, said: 'We hope that this portal will make it much easier for enforcers to find whatever it is they need in the click of a mouse.
'We will be bringing more information and services online as they become available, and we're really keen to hear from users about any suggestions they have for improving the service.'
To view the portal, go to: http://www.foodstandards.gov.uk/enforcement/

LISTERIOSIS DURING PREGNANCY
Fall 2003
SAFEFOOD NEWS Vol 8 No. 1
Colorado State University Cooperative Extension
SafeFood Rapid Response Network
http://www.colostate.edu/Orgs/safefood/NEWSLTR/v8n1s01.html
The recent outbreak of listeriosis in south Texas, associated with consumption of queso fresco and involving six pregnant women and seven babies thus far, again highlights the importance of following safe food consumption and handling practices during pregnancy. In the Summer, 2003 issue of SafeFood News we talked about issues with toxoplasmosis during
pregnancy. Listeria monocytogenes is another pathogen that can cause grave consequences during pregnancy, particularly for the unborn child. Listeria monocytogenes is widely distributed in nature and can be found in
soil, ground water, plants and animals. Most infections in humans, however, result from eating contaminated food. Listeria monocytogenes has the ability to survive refrigeration temperatures, food preservatives such as salt, and
conditions with little or no oxygen. Foods commonly associated with listeriosis have an extended shelf life and are usually eaten without further cooking. Reported outbreaks have been traced back to foods such as
coleslaw, Mexican-style soft cheeses like queso fresco, raw milk, pat? pork tongue, hot dogs, processed meats and deli salads. Other foods that are a concern for harboring L. monocytogenes include raw and smoked seafood and
ready-to-eat foods that have not been reheated to proper temperatures. Infection from L. monocytogenes typically occurs in individuals with a weakened immune system, including pregnant women. During pregnancy, hormonal
changes occur that cause the immune system to be suppressed so that the fetus is not aborted. It is estimated that pregnant women have a 17 times higher risk of developing listeriosis from eating contaminated food than other healthy adults, and account of 27% of all reported cases of listeriosis. Once in the bloodstream, Listeria bacteria can travel to any
site, but seem to have a preference for the central nervous system and the placenta. The fetus is also unusually prone to infection from L. monocytogenes, which can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, or infection of the neonate and health problems for the baby following birth. Symptoms may take a few days or even weeks to appear and can be mild to severe. In pregnant women, listeriosis may cause mild, flu-like symptoms with the sudden onset of fever, chills, muscle aches and sometimes diarrhea or an upset stomach. Some women may not have any symptoms. A blood test can
be performed to determine if the onset of symptoms is caused by Listeria infection and if confirmed, the patient can then be treated with antibiotics. To avoid infection from L. monocytogenes, pregnant women are advised to
practice safe food handling procedures, such as storing all perishable foods at or below 40F and using perishable or ready-to-eat foods as soon as possible. If a perishable food cannot be eaten within 4 days, it is best to freeze it. Kitchen surfaces, cutting boards and utensils should be washed before and after food preparation (especially after contacting raw meat).
Pregnant women are recommended to avoid consumption of soft cheeses such as queso fresco, Camembert and Brie, unpasteurized milk and foods make from unpasteurized milk, raw or undercooked meat, refrigerated smoked seafood, deli salads, and hot dogs, luncheon meats and deli meats that have not been properly reheated. Leftover foods should be reheated to 165F before eating.
Sources:
1. FDA/ USFA/ CDC. Draft Assessment of the Relative Risk to Public Health from Foodborne Listeria monoctyogenes Among Selected Categories of Ready-to-Eat Foods. 2001.
2. FSIS and USDA. "Listeriosis and Pregnancy: What is Your Risk?: Safe Food Handling for a Healthy Pregnancy," 2001.
3. Lorber B. Listeriosis. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 24(1): 1-11, 1997
4. Mylonakis E, Paliou M, Hohmann E, et al. Listeriosis During Pregnancy:
A Case Series and Review of 222 Cases. Medicine. 81(4): 260-77,2002
5. Smith JL. Foodborne Infections During Pregnancy. Journal of Food Protection. 62(7): 818-829, 1999
6. Wing EJ and Gregory SH. Listeria monocytogenes: Clinical and Experimental Update. The Journal of Infectious Diseases. 185 (Suppl 1):
S18-24, 2002

SAN ANTONIO COMPANY DEVELOPS NEW WAYS TO CLEAN FRUIT, VEGETABLES
September 25, 2003
Knight-Ridder Tribune
L.A. Lorek, San Antonio Express-News
Biosteam, a small startup in San Antonio, Texas, has, according to this story, created ThermoSafe, a steam-based technology to kill germs and bacteria on fruit and vegetables. The company has sold eight systems to food
processing companies nationwide, including Dole, Chiquita and San Antonio-based Fresh From Texas. The story explains that Biosteam's machine is about the size of a commercial dishwasher and can process 20 cantaloupes a minute. David Pursor, the company president, was cited as saying the technology works best on fresh melons, citrus, peppers, sprout seeds and potatoes.. The outer rinds of cantaloupes contain numerous cervices where microorganisms can hide. If the rind has germs, the interior of the melon can become contaminated when it is cut open. Food Safety Net Services, a lab based in San Antonio, did a study on Biosteam's ThermoSafe technology and found that it effectively reduced the amount of listeria, salmonella, E. coli and other germs on the surface of cantaloupes. The story also notes that Birko Corp., a Denver-based company, have co-developed a bag that uses chlorine dioxide to kill germs and bacteria on food processing equipment such as knives and cutting boards. Dana Johnson, a formulating chemist at Birko, was quoted as saying, "It's being marketed as
a cleaner and deodorizer." Biosteam and Birko also are looking at the chlorine dioxide bags to process
fruits and vegetables to get rid of pathogens, Johnson said. Birko and Biosteam also have developed a liquid wash called "MicroPure," which is based on lactic acid that kills germs and bacteria. MicroPure helps reduce pathogens on the surfaces of fruits and vegetables and extends their shelf lives, Pursor said. The companies are marketing MicroPure to the
commercial food processing industry.