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 NFPA Annual Meeting
- NFPA's 2003 Annual Meeting, to be held November 18-20 in Washington, D.C., will feature top speakers from government, industry and media.


A special supplement provided by Food Safety Magazine.
Lyophilized Microorganisms:
Quality Assurance in a Pellet Going With the Lateral Flow:Advances in Accuracy & Speed
Rapid Enumeration Offers Results You Can Count On
The New Blue Plate Special:Advances in Chromogenic Media
Optimizing the Bottom-Line:Advances in PCR Enrichment
PCR Offers Real-Time Realities
New Generation ELFA Technology Pushes Scientific Frontier

THE CLEAN OPERATION: 10 Principles of Equipment Design for
Ready-To-Eat Processing

Current Food Safety Informaiton
10/08. Codex Alimentarius Commission: Meeting of the Codex Committe
10/08. Safety of Food Products
10/08. CVM And Ruminant Feed (BSE) Inspections
10/08. Come on baby: flirting with food irradiation
10/08. Schools seem in no hurry to buy irradiated beef
10/08. Ont. Meat Plant Shut Down Amid ¡®Questionable Practices'
10/08. Calcium May Help Fight Effects Of E. Coli
10/08. Tackling food safety in enlarged EU
10/08. CIAA food safety seminar
10/08. Meat products in the firing line
10/08. Canada establishes birthplace of its lone mad cow
10/08. Japan clamps down after mad cow case
10/08. The five-second rule under the microscope
10/08. Fussy eating blamed on Stone Age

10/07. FSIS Increases Efficiency In Detecting Salmonella In Raw Products
10/07. Tempest in a glass: synthetic hormones in milk don't speed p
10/07. $15.1 Million in federal grants to study biothreats
10/07. L.M Day
10/07. Inspectors have closed 57 suburban food outlets: 25 occurred
10/07. Meat safety now on election table; mayoral candidates add to
10/07. Let's talk turkey
10/07. Japan Reports New Form of Mad Cow Disease
10/07. Cadbury denies infestation
10/07. [UK] Food Hazard Warning
10/07. Meat products in the firing line
10/07. FSA gives chilli warning
10/07. Cadbury India might face prosecution
10/07. Compliance With Listeria Interim Final Rule
10/07. Children as policy pawns
10/07. Japanese experts confirm eighth case of mad cow disease, Hea
10/07. Japan reports new strain of 'mad cow' disease
10/07. Japan Confirms Eighth Case Of Mad Cow
10/07. Walkerton E. coli victims could be subject to kidney problem -
10/07. Japan Mad Cow Case May Affect US-Canada Trade-USDA
10/07. USDA program helps in teaching importance of handling food s
10/07. Food-borne illnesses
10/07. Deaths in Cabool, Mo., were traced to water
10/07. Seattle attorney is representing 5 of 6 victims in E. coli o
10/07. E. coli strikes like lightning

10/06. Chinese man arrested for poisoning water -
10/06. Meat shops often cited; 88 found to break health regulations
10/06. OIG Report confirms GAP's Work on food safety breakdowns ari
10/06. Thais to use mice to test APEC summit food
10/06. [India] Cadbury samples test 'positive'
10/06. Indian State Seizes Cadbury Chocolate Stocks After Worms
10/06. Japan Finds 8th Mad Cow Case, First Since January
10/06. GM crops flunk the test
10/06. Buffalo Grill's CJD case continues

10/05. NFPA Annual Meeting
10/05. New EU Legislation to Combat Food-borne Diseases Such as Sal
10/05. Bottled Water and Salad Vegetables as Risk Factors for Campy

10/04. Cornell Receives $6.6 for NIH Funded Research on Food and Wa
10/04. Oxoid Awards for Beer Quality and Brewery Hygiene
10/04. Ibaraki bull suspected of being Japan's 8th BSE case
10/04. Food safety: Common mistakes you should avoid

10/03. Agency Publishes Reports On Testing Of Uk Shellfish For Toxi
10/03. Recall Post-Mortem
10/03. USDA criticise e-coli recall
10/03. EU tentative on GMO crops
10/03. A peanut butter sandwich can be a life or death matter
10/03. Chronic Wasting Disease found in Black Hills
10/03. 2002 meat recall exposed perilous gaps in safety net
10/03. Board wants Chili's to recoup costs
10/03. Lax enforcement blamed in E. coli case
10/03. Bottled water may cause 10% of food poisoning cases
10/03. Bottled water 'may cause illness'

Current Recall Information

Current Outbreaks
10/08. Shigella Update
10/08. 13 diners infected with bacteria, tests indicate
10/08. Local Restaurant Suffers From E. coli Outbreak
10/07. Bacteria suspected in school sickness
10/07. Schoolchildren confirmed with shigellosis
10/07. Hepatitis A outbreak prompts action

10/06. Ministry suspects Norwalk-like virus, not bacteria, made gala
10/06. Hepatitis A - USA (02): multistate outbreak suspected
10/05. E. coli O157:H7: New Brunswick
10/02. Thirty hospitalized after drinking contaminated water in cen
10/02. At least 22 fall ill after Liuna Gala; Hamilton health offic

Calcium May Help Fight Effects Of E. Coli
(Los Angeles Times)
By Dianne Partie Lange
Taking extra calcium before going abroad might cut short a case of traveler's diarrhea.
A three-week study of healthy men intentionally infected with "E. coli" -- the bacterium that commonly contaminates food and drinking water in less developed countries -- found that high doses of calcium increased resistance to the infection.For 10 days, 32 men ate their usual diet plus regular milk products that supplied 1,100 milligrams of calcium a day or low-calcium milk products that supplied 60 milligrams of calcium. Then they were given a weak strain of "Escherichia coli" to cause mild diarrhea, which if untreated would last about three days. Those who had taken the high-calcium products had less severe cases and recovered completely by the second day. The other group recovered the third day.

The study was published in the August issue of Gastroenterology. 10-8-03

FSIS Increases Efficiency In Detecting Salmonella In Raw Products

$15.1 Million in federal grants to study biothreats
October 6, 2003
source from: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
source from: http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/501261/?sc=wire
Researchers have been awarded $15.1 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health to study anthrax, ricin, plague, tularemia and Lassa fever ?all pathogens that can be used as biological weapons.
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas have been awarded $15.1 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health to study anthrax, ricin, plague, tularemia and Lassa fever ?all pathogens that can be used as biological weapons.
The largest of the grants is a 4?-year, $8.7 million award to study tularemia, a deadly infection caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis that is easier to use as a weapon than anthrax. Dr. Michael Norgard, chairman of microbiology at UT Southwestern, will lead a team of six researchers in five separate projects analyzing the external environment of the bacterium and identifying how it reacts with target host cells.
Other research groups at UT Southwestern will work to develop a vaccine for ricin, engineer antibodies against anthrax, develop new drugs to treat Lassa fever, and identify the method by which the organism that causes plague blocks the body innate immune response, resulting in proliferation of the pathogen.
The grants were awarded by the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“Embarrassingly little information is known about the organism that causes tularemia,?said Dr. Norgard. “Our work will be rooted in basic science, with the goal of moving toward things that could have more practical use in the biodefense effort, such as treatments, vaccines, diagnostics, and novel intervention strategies.?br>Francisella tularensis was one of several biological weapons stockpiled by the U.S. military in the late 1960s, and destroyed by 1973. Fifty to 100 incidences of tularemia occur naturally in the U.S. each year, most often in farmers, veterinarians and hunters. The illness can be transmitted through a bite from an infected animal, such as a mouse, squirrel or rabbit, or by direct contact with the animal tissues or fluids. It can also be transmitted through ingestion of contaminated food, water, or soil; or by inhaling infective aerosols. It is one of the most infectious of the known pathogenic bacteria; examining an open culture plate can cause exposure.
t a very dangerous organism to work with, and that why so little is known about it,?Dr. Norgard said.
Tularemia is classified by the U.S. government as a Category A biothreat, the highest classification. Aerosol dissemination of the F. tularensis bacteria in a populated area would result, within three to five days, in sudden onset of a bacterial infection in a large number of people. Symptoms begin abruptly one to 10 days after exposure and include headache, chills, nausea, vomiting, high fever and severe exhaustion. Extreme weakness, recurring chills and drenching sweats follow. Within 24 to 48 hours, an inflamed blister appears at the infection site and rapidly forms into an ulcer. Without antibiotic treatment, the infection can lead to respiratory failure, shock and death.
Dr. Ellen Vitetta, director of UT Southwestern Cancer Immunobiology Center, received a 3?-year, $2.5 million grant to lead a team of four investigators in developing a vaccine for ricin and for initiating clinical trials. Dr. Vitetta and her team have already developed an experimental vaccine for the deadly toxin as an outgrowth of their cancer-therapy work.
Ricin, a toxin derived from castor beans, can be administered in foods and water or sprayed as an aerosol. A small dose can produce flu-like symptoms and result in death within a few days. It has been used as a biological weapon in several countries.
Dr. Vitetta expects to initiate tests in mice against airborne ricin as early as the first quarter of 2004, when UT Southwestern is slated to complete a planned biosafety level 3 facility.
“We are currently optimizing production, formulation and storage of the vaccine,?Dr. Vitetta said. “We will then gather all the data to file an IND (investigational new drug) application with the Food and Drug Administration. We hope to start field trials of the intramuscular vaccine in the spring of 2004.?br>Ricin is classified as a Category B biothreat.
Dr. Philip Thorpe, professor of pharmacology, was awarded a 4 ?-year, $1.68 million grant to develop broad-spectrum drugs to treat Lassa fever, an acute viral illness found in West Africa. Lassa fever, a Category A biothreat, occurs naturally in rodents and is transmitted to humans by contaminated materials or person-to-person contact. It is mild or has no observable symptoms in about 80 percent of people infected, with the remaining 20 percent having a severe multisystem disease. During an epidemic of Lassa fever, up to 50 percent of hospitalized patients with the illness would die.
We are developing drugs to use against Lassa fever that operate on a new principle in virology,Dr. Thorpe said. They exploit the fact that viruses coat themselves with an outer membrane where some of the lipids are inside-out. The drugs direct our immune responses to the inside-out components of the viral membrane, or envelope.?br>These drugs potentially could be effective against numerous viruses that have similar outer membranes, including smallpox.
Dr. Sally Ward, professor of microbiology and a professor in the Center for Immunology and the Cancer Immunobiology Center, received a 4?-year, $1.5 million grant to engineer antibodies targeting anthrax, an infectious disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis.
Anthrax is No. 1 on the nation's list of potential bioterrorism threats ?a Category A. Aerosol dissemination of anthrax spores can travel several miles and remain potent. The aerosol cloud would be colorless, odorless and invisible, and people indoors would receive the same amount of exposure as those outdoors. Inhalation anthrax is the most deadly of the three types. Initial symptoms resemble a common cold. In most cases, these symptoms progress to severe breathing problems, shock and death. The other two types are cutaneous, or skin, anthrax and gastrointestinal anthrax. Cutaneous anthrax is caused by handling products from infected animals and leads to a skin infection that develops into a painless ulcer with a characteristic black area in the center. About 20 percent of untreated cases of skin anthrax result in death.
Dr. Kim Orth, assistant professor of molecular biology, was awarded a 4?-year, $800,000 grant to study the pathogenic factor Yop J ?a protein produced by Yersenia, which is the bacterium that causes plague.
Then you are infected with plague, the bacteria doesnt want the body to know its there, and one of the tools it uses is this molecule, Yop J, Dr. Orth said. The cells that are essential for recognizing that you're being infected are killed, so your body doesnt know you are infected, and the bacteria can survive and proliferate, resulting in the painful death of an untreated host. The bacterium that causes plague, a Category A biothreat, thrives in the rodent and flea ecosystem. It is transmitted to humans through fleabites and can cause death within less than a week. The illness is marked by fever, extreme exhaustion, and a painful, swollen lymph node that is often hot to the touch. Plague can be treated with antibiotics if it is caught in time. About a dozen Americans are infected with plague each year. The last known outbreak occurred in India in the 1990s.
These grants come on the heels of substantial NIH grants awarded earlier this month for the creation of eight Regional Centers of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases Research. The UT Medical Branch in Galveston was named as one of the eight centers. UT Southwestern will partner with UTMB to oversee two of the six core areas of research assigned to the Texas region: a pathogen expression center overseen by Dr. Stephen Johnston, director of UT Southwestern' Center for Biomedical Inventions and professor of biochemistry and internal medicine; and a biocomputation center led by Dr. Harold kipGarner, professor of biochemistry and internal medicine.
This news release is available on our World Wide Web home page at http://irweb.swmed.edu/newspub/newsdetl.asp?story_id=670
To automatically receive news releases from UT Southwestern via e-mail, subscribe at http://lists.utsouthwestern.edu/mailman/listinfo/utswnews

Seattle attorney is representing 5 of 6 victims in E. coli outbreak
Todd Frankel
Source from: http://www.stltoday.com/

Dining with Bill Marler can be an unusual experience. Marler, a Seattle attorney, is one of the nation's top litigators of lawsuits resulting from food-borne illness. His clients include five of the six victims of the E. coli outbreak in August at Habaneros in Fairview Heights. During a late meal recently at the Ritz-Carlton in Clayton, Marler split a bottle of red wine and crab cake appetizer with Patti Waller, his firm's epidemiologist. She had the sea scallops. He ordered a salad. "I haven't eaten a hamburger since Jack in the Box," Marler said, referring to the massive 1993 E. coli outbreak on the West Coast that served as his first experience with his narrow specialty. Marler talked enthusiastically about his work, about helping people and "teaching companies why it's a bad idea to poison people." He peppered his speech with frequent mention of bloody diarrhea and cow feces. Fortunately, at that late hour, the restaurant was near empty. "The level of trust we have toward our food supply, in my view, is unwarranted," Marler said, taking another bite of his salad. Marler was in St. Louis two weeks after the Habaneros outbreak was first publicized. He'd been contacted by two of the victims' families. He doesn't go trolling for business, he said. He's been involved in several high-profile outbreaks: from salmonella in fruit juices to E. coli at an Atlanta water park. Marler's firm also represents a couple from Jennings suing St. Louis Children's Hospital over a salmonella outbreak in June at the hospital cafeteria, when 100 people were made ill, none seriously. Marler said he hopes to avoid filing suit in the Habaneros case. He has been talking with the restaurant's insurance carrier to work out payment for the victims' medical bills. He estimated that the most seriously injured, Patty Timko, would have bills in excess of $250,000.

Food safety: Common mistakes you should avoid

source from: Skagit Valley Herald

How safe are your food-handling practices? Test your knowledge by determining if the following situations are safe or not.
1. After diapering her baby, your friend washes her hands with water and then prepares a lettuce salad. Is the salad safe?
2. It's a beautiful day for a picnic. You pack the cooler, throwing in apples, potato salad, ground beef, sodas and ice. The grill and picnic basket are in the car. Will the food be safe when you eat it two hours
3. Your mother prepared Thanksgiving dinner. The 25-pound turkey was great! You finish dinner at 1 p.m. The turkey is too big to fit into the refrigerator, so it is covered and left on the counter for the evening meal at 6 p.m. Is the turkey safe to eat?
4. You made an extra-large batch of refried beans and there is a lot left over. You put them in a container and refrigerate them immediately. Then, cover them once they have cooled. Will they be safe to eat tomorrow?
1. NOT: Water alone will not clean hands. Inadequate hand-washing is the major cause of food poisoning and foodborne illness. It is especially important to wash hands after diapering a baby, using the bathroom or touching raw meat. Always wash hands before eating or preparing food. Hands should be scrubbed with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (You can time this by singing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"). Even if an antibacterial soap is used, agitation is needed to destroy viruses. Since your friend's hands are not clean, the salad she is making will be contaminated with any bacteria that are on her hands.

2. DEPENDS: Take care when packing coolers so meat juices don't escape and end up on the apples, soda, potato salad or ice. It's best to pack the meat in a separate cooler or in securely sealed packaging. Make sure there is enough ice to keep the food cold until it is served.

3. NOT: The turkey was left at room temperature for 5 hours. Bacteria love to grow on protein foods, such as turkey. Room temperature is perfect for bacterial growth. The "danger zone" is 40 to 140 degrees. Perishable foods such as meat, cooked rice, cooked vegetables, eggs and dairy products should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours. The turkey should be removed from the bones, the large pieces should be cut into smaller pieces and the meat should be refrigerated.

4. SAFE: Refried beans are very dense and take a long time to cool. They should be put into a container and spread no more than 2 inches deep. Refrigerate immediately. Do not initially cover the beans because this holds in the heat and moisture. Once cooled, cover.

And here's a final fact. Most people who have the "24-hour flu" actually are suffering from food poisoning.Handle food safely so you don't become a victim.

Joanne Austin is on the faculty at Washington State University's Cooperative Extension in Skagit County, 360-428-4270. The local office is at 306 S. First St., Mount Vernon, WA 98273-5432.

Contagious illness affecting local youth - - Eight Edinburg schoolchildren confirmed with shigellosis

source from: By Rachel Williamson
Monitor Staff Writer

The Monitor


EDINBURG ?Some area school teachers are passing out extra handwipes and hand soap since school officials received word that eight Edinburg children have contracted a highly contagious disease that causes fever and severe diarrhea.
In the past two weeks, eight students at Guerra Elementary have been confirmed with shigellosis, a bacterial infection most commonly spread through improper hand-washing habits.
The first three reported cases came from the same family, said Gilbert Tagle, public information officer for the school district.
Symptoms of the bacterial infection include diarrhea, abdominal cramping and high fever, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. A severe infection and high fever may be associated with seizures in children younger than 2, according to CDC.
Shigellosis cases have been abnormally high for this time of year, said Dr. Otto Velasquez, medical director of pediatrics at Edinburg Regional Medical Center.
He said he could not speculate on the reason, but said he has not seen an influx of cases at this time of year in the three years he has been working at the medical center.
Shigellosis cases usually are seen in June and July, Velasquez said.
“Day cares, schools and restaurants need to very quickly get into their prevention plan,?said Dr. Brian Smith, regional director of the Texas Department of Health in Harlingen. “They need to follow their procedures, and that needs to begin today.?br>In order to stop the quick spread of shigellosis, people experiencing stomach problems should stay home, and restaurant managers should retrain employees on proper hand-washing procedures, Smith said.
Shigellosis, most commonly seen in children, is caused by a group of bacteria called shigella. It is transmitted through a fecal-oral route, which means bacterium of shigella-infected stool passes on to another person through the mouth.
That can happen when someone has direct contact with a shigellosis-infected person who did not properly wash his or her hands after using the bathroom.
Shigella can remain in a person feces for several weeks, but symptoms typically last one to seven days, according to the Texas Department of Health.
Shigellosis is also spread through eating contaminated food when infected food handlers do not wash their hands with soap and warm water after using the bathroom and before touching food.
Edinburge elementary schools are taking extra precautions to stop and prevent the spread of shigellosis, Tagle said.
There isnt any reason to believe that (shigellosis) was spreading at campus in mass form,?he said.
Edinburg elementary schools are keeping handsoap available in all bathrooms, while handwipes are being passed out in cafeteria food lines. Custodians are cleaning bathrooms more often throughout the day, Tagle said.
The schools district is keeping in close contact with an Hidalgo County Health Department epidemiologist, he said.
Every year, about 18,000 cases of shigellosis are reported in the United States, according to the CDC.

New OHSU tool could help stem deadly outbreaks

source from: Fox 12 Oregon
Portland (Sunday, October 5) - Doctors say an experimental computer system used in emergency rooms could become a powerful tool for detecting and getting ahead of outbreaks of anthrax, sudden acute respiratory syndrome, small pox and meningitis.The computer system, embedded into the emergency department computers at Oregon Health & Science University, was originally being used to detect cases of the West Nile virus, which had yet to reach Oregon. Using patient information that was inserted into the computer, such as diagnosis and location, researchers were alerted to an unusually high concentration of viral meningitis cases in Washington County. Doctors in July noticed a spike from the normal average of five cases per month to 14 cases, said Dr. Jonathan Jui, professor of emergency medicine at OHSU and one of the study's chief investigators. Even though the cases of viral meningitis were not considered an outbreak, the discovery demonstrates how medical providers can take the day-to-day cases and link them together to detect certain patterns, said Dr. Gary Oxman, Multnomah County health officer. "When there is a big outbreak, it's obvious," he said. "However, when a patient comes in one day with a set of symptoms, and then two days later another patient come in with those same symptoms, it doesn't always register they are linked."Jui said that because OHSU is a major trauma center that serves patients statewide, the program could be used to detect outbreaks across Oregon. Similar systems are being developed across the nation. Pittsburgh, Detroit, Seattle, North Carolina, Boston, Atlanta and New York all use similar programs. Jui said New York's is the most mature. He said the ultimate goal of the emergency room system is to shorten the time between discovering the problem and alerting public health officials. "The whole idea is a partnership," Jui said. "The quicker you nip this in the bud, the greater the chance of preventing a disastrous outbreak." Oxman said for the system to work well for health providers at the state level, it must be linked to other regional hospitals and clinics. "If OHSU has it and no one else does, it may work, but other events may also be missed," he said. In addition to contagious diseases, the system could eventually be programmed to screen patients for pneumonia, paralytic diseases, E. coli and salmonella. It could also help nurses and doctors quickly determine which patients need to be placed in intensive care units.

Novatek Environmental Monitoring Software (Nova-EMS)

Source from: Rapid Microbiology

21 CFR Part 11 Compliant
Supports Viable and Non-Viable Monitoring for Facilities and Utilities
Automated Generation of Work and Test Schedules
Immediate Display of Visual Cues and Email Alerts
Collect, Record, and Trend Test Results
Built-in Comprehensive Statistical Package
Investigations / Corrective Actions
Multiple Microbial Identification per Sample

With Novatek Environmental Monitoring Software Application, ALL data is managed and contained in one system (for all sites). Based on the latest guidelines from FDA, EU, cGMP, ISO 14644-1 and PDA Technical report 13, Nova-EMS is a system capable of capturing all environmental data in a 21 CFR Part 11 compliant, fully validated turnkey system. Based on 21 CFR Part 11, and to ensure data integrity and security, Nova-EMS allows for multiple security levels of users and user groups, and includes a full independent audit trail tracking and storing all actions and modifications in the system. It is envisioned for sterile and non- sterile Pharmaceutical, Biotech, Health Care, and Microbiological Industries. The system encompasses the manufacturing / testing environment and the utility systems. Data is captured from static and dynamic monitoring, viable and non-viable, water analysis, clean steam, and compressed gases.

For optimum efficiency, work schedules are automatically generated by the system, and are printable including detailed information pertaining to the tests, locations and times. A view of the entire workload, which can be fully filtered based on date range, users' preferences, and tasks, is available to all users of the system.

Visual cues by way of color-coding designate sample status (taken, not taken, ?, "OOS" alert and action levels, and investigation status. Combined with automated email notifications Nova-EMS offers immediate alerts expediting problem detection and resolution.

Statistical analysis includes regression analysis, scatter plots, bar charts, and pie charts. These graphs represent data based on specific person(s), microorganism(s) or location(s) over any given time range.

Investigation allows the user to scrutinize "OOS" test results entered in the system, the investigation detail form gives the user the opportunity to enter the required corrective action, follow-up, and final decision within the configurable due date time frame.

Many additional features are available to Nova-EMS customers in order to facilitate data entry and to enhance user friendliness. That is to say, bar-coding for rapid data entry, free form query allowing users to search and set criteria from all existing fields in the database and create their own custom trends and reports, mapping capabilities with export of currently used maps, etc.