10/15
2003


ISSUE:
87
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NFPA Annual Meeting
http://www.nfpa-food.org
- NFPA's 2003 Annual Meeting, to be held November 18-20 in Washington, D.C., will feature top speakers from government, industry and media.

U.S. food supply vulnerable to attack - FDA

source from: Reuters, 10.10.03, 6:26 PM ET
By Randy Fabi
Forbes
http://forbes.com/business/commerce/newswire/2003/10/10/rtr1106401.html
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - There is a "high likelihood" within the coming year of a deliberate attack or accidental outbreak in the U.S. food supply that sickens a large number of people, the Food and Drug Administration said Friday.Although no specific threats were identified, the FDA said it came to the conclusion because of recent foodborne outbreaks and recent reports that al Qaeda was plotting to poison the food supply. "FDA has concluded that there is a high likelihood, over the course of a year, that a significant number of people will be affected by an act of food terrorism or by an incident of unintentional food contamination that results in serious foodborne illness," the agency said in a declassified report.
The food supply was especially vulnerable to an attack due to the broad range of biological and chemical agents that can be used, the FDA said.The agency said salmonella, E. coli 0157:H7 and ricin pose a significant threat because of there easy dissemination to food. Anthrax and botulism were considered the most deadly.

"The relative centralization of food production in the U.S. and the global distribution of food products give food a unique susceptibility," the FDA said.Last month, the FBI warned that "terrorists might use two naturally occurring toxins, nicotine and solanine, to poison U.S. food or water supplies." The FBI said "terrorist manuals and documents" recovered in Afghanistan referred to the use of these substances as poisons.

Contaminated food sickens one out of four Americans annually, or about 76 million illnesses, and 5,000 deaths, according to government data. Almost all of these cases are unintentional.The FDA said there were "many points of vulnerability to sabotage" in food production and distribution that could sicken many people.

Due in part to this, the agency said officials in some cases may not be able to determine if a foodborne outbreak was intentional or not.There have been several incidents of food sabotage in the United States.

In 1984, a religious cult contaminated salad bars with salmonella in order to disrupt a local election. That caused 751 illnesses, including 45 hospitalizations.Most recently, a supermarket employee plead guilty in May to intentionally poisoning 200 pounds of ground beef with an insecticide containing nicotine. Although the meat was sold in only one store, 111 people fell ill.

Other than causing mass illnesses, the agency said the food supply was also a target because of the potential for great economic loss."Food terrorists may have economic disruption as their primary motive," the FDA said.The Agriculture Department estimates that foodborne illnesses from five pathogens costs the economy $6.9 billion annually.

Transport System for Environmental Monitoring
provided by remel Click here for more information

Input on HACCP Rule Revisions Displayed on FSIS Web Site
October 14, 2003

Source from: Meat AMI
http://www.meatami.com/
Comments submitted regarding an industry petition to amend sections of the HACCP regulations are now available online. Industry proponents argued in 2000 that changes in the HACCP regulations would increase the effectiveness of plants' HACCP systems and would make regulations more consistent with the HACCP principles published in 1997 by the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF).FSIS extended the deadline and then reopened the comment period for Docket No. 00-014R2, Announcement of and Request for Comment Regarding Industry Petition on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Inspection.
Submitted comments can be viewed at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/search/SearchRight.asp?ct=Docket_Comments&q1=00-014R2 .

Risk Assessment for Food Terrorism and Other Food Safety Concerns (Click here)


Current Food Safety Informaiton
10/14. Court to decide if University of North Texas can be named in
10/14. [UK] Cancer dye found in couscous
10/14. [UK] Watchdogs sound kebab concerns


10/14. Fungus on chocolates due to humidity: Cadbury
10/14. Input on HACCP Rule Revisions Displayed on FSIS Web Site
10/14. Editorial: Mad cow threat merits strong measures

10/14. [New Zealand] Fresh from the tap is OK
10/14. Water near landfills will be checked
10/14. Chip shop owner fined over wire in sausage

10/13. Medical health officers will now give water alerts: Salmon A
10/13. Abattoir search warrants ordered unsealed by panel
10/13. Ag-Security Alert - FDA asst. counter- terrorism commissione
10/13. Get on with testing

10/13. Mad cow
10/13. E.coli drug trials halted in Alberta
10/13. Center Celebrates Five Years Over Three Days
10/13. FDA New Rules On Food Importers Take Effect December 12
10/13. Irradiation Indecision

10/13. Young BSE cow raises concerns about U.S. system
10/13. FSA identifies research needs
10/13. New Publication on ¡°Managing Allergens in Food Processing Es

10/12. Bottled Water and Salad Vegetables as Risk Factors for Campy
10/12. CattleWomen Educate Consumers About Irradiated Beef
10/12 Italy reports BSE cases similar to Japan's latest

10/12. State officials finish chronic wasting disease investigation
10/12. Government considers testing cattle for mad cow infection
10/11. Dutch court orders evaluation of food-company extortionist
10/11. Simon Terry: GM safety net has too many holes
10/11. FDA: College Broke Safety Laws With Pigs

10/11. Public meeting on food safety
10/11. Numbers affected by contaminated water grow in Grand Island
10/11. U.S. food supply vulnerable to attack - FDA

10/10. Abattoir suspended over suspect pork
10/10. The disgraceful secret down on the farm
10/10. Public meetings to address codex committee on food imports a
10/10. West coast bioterrorism seminar slated by Food Institute

10/10. Agency issues food hazard warning on tahini contaminated wit
10/10. Cons fink on jail¡¯s meat plant; inmates went to warden with
10/10. Inspectors say hours inflated; meat inspectors say they were
10/10. Mad, bad and dangerous to eat
10/10. US FDA To Monitor Food Imports With Industry Help

10/10. Owner of closed jailhouse meat plant has regrets
10/10. Latest BSE Case No Cause For Panic
10/10. Japan Mad Cow Case Shows U.S. System Gaps
10/10. Perspective by Meat Processing assistant editor, Dom Castald

10/10. Memo to working Americans: 'desktop dining' trend demands ne
10/10. Japan isolates 2,500 cows on seven farms after 'new' mad cow
10/10. FDA posts food terrorism risk guide
10/10. Results of USDA ruminant feed/BSE Inspections

10/10. Ontario government warned prior to 'deadstock' incident
10/10. Japan BSE case another blow to Canadian industry
10/10. Saskatchewan farm confirmed as birth site of BSE cow

10/09. BIE to combat BSE
10/09. Belgium ends BSE herd slaughter
10/09. Safety first
10/09. Sudan 1: Red alert

10/09. UK food agency commissions research
10/09. Third IKE Scenario in Three-Part Series on Post-Mortem Inspe
10/09. FDA Publishes New Bioterrorism Regulations
10/09. FSANZ sticks to guns on kava

10/09. Banned products from cow monitored
10/09. B.C. government subject of damning report regarding drinking
10/09. How the Sari Guards Against Cholera
10/09. 'Questionable' meat sold in eastern Ontario cities

10/09. [India] Can Of Worms
10/09. New Safety Rules Fail to Stop Tainted Meat
10/09. New rules issued to ensure safety of imported food
10/09. Mexico food exporters balk at U.S. bioterrorism rules

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


Current Recall Information

Current USDA/FDA NEWS
OPPD (Policy) What's New Page: Updated October 14, 2003
HHS Issues New Rules to Enhance Security of the U.S. Food Supply
Bioterrorism Act Regulations Require Facilities Registration, Prior Notice of Food Shipments

Positive E. coli Test Results: Updated October 10, 2003
Codex Alimentarius Commission: Meeting of the Codex Committee on Food Import and Export
Codex Committee Agenda
Prior Notice of Imported Food Under the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness
Registration of Food Facilities Under the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness
Risk Assessment for Food Terrorism and Other Food Safety Concerns
Public Meetings To Address Codex Committee On Food Imports and Exports
FSIS Increases Efficiency In Detecting Salmonella In Raw Products

Current Outbreaks
10/14. Nearly 70 people struck down with food poisoning in Vietnam
10/14. Up to 70 afflicted with virus at Regina's RCMP training acad
10/14. [Shigellosis] County commissioners meet today
10/14. More E. coli cases reported -
10/14. Additional E.coli case in Kent County
10/14. More Probable Cases Of E. Coli Reported

10/13. Health officials stalk clues to E.coli contamination
10/13. E. coli cases puzzle authorities
10/12. Pat & Oscar's to pay bills in E. coli cases
10/11. Six new cases in E. coli outbreak
10/10. Health officials are continuing to monitor patients at a Vic
10/10. Virus hits Mounties
10/10. Bagged salad suspected in E. coli outbreak
10/10. E. coli O157, salad - USA (California)

10/09. Yersinia enterocolitica gastroenteritis among infants expose
10/09. Bad meat may be behind E. coli
10/09. Health Officials: Local E-Coli Outbreak Appears Contained
10/09. Health officials report seven cases of E. coli -
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


More E. coli cases reported

By:ERIN WALSH - Staff Writer
NC Times
http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2003/10/14/news/top_stories/10_13_0322_28_27.txt

Five more cases of E. coli poisoning were reported in San Diego County over the weekend, bringing the number of people in the area infected with the bacteria to 33, according to the county's Health and Human Services Agency.Reports of the poisoning have been streaming into the agency since more than a week ago, when the sometimes-deadly bacteria was traced to lettuce served at several Pat & Oscar's restaurants.

Schools in San Marcos and Alpine served salad mix from the same company that supplied the popular restaurant chain with lettuce, but officials from both districts said Monday that no E. coli cases had been linked to salad served at schools.San Marcos officials said Monday that neither the child nutrition department nor the superintendent had received reports that any San Marcos students had taken ill.

Two 5-year-old Alpine students were stricken with probable E. coli poisoning last week, but one of the Alpine students ate at Pat & Oscar's before becoming ill, said child nutrition director Jeff Landers.Officials are investigating whether that child may have spread the bacteria to the other student. County health department officials visited the Alpine district last week and said that while schools used the same salad supplier as Pat & Oscar's, the lettuce did not come from the same farm, Landers said.

Pat & Oscar's pulled the lettuce from its menu and fired its supplier last Tuesday. Officials of both school districts said they took the lettuce out of their cafeterias Wednesday morning.None of the lettuce was sold on supermarket shelves, according to state and local officials.E. coli is a bacteria that can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea and in some cases, kidney failure. The bacteria is generally found in undercooked ground beef, but can also be found in produce that's come in contact with manure or raw meat.

Most patients affected by the recent outbreak were hospitalized, and some remain in local hospitals. Because antibiotics may cause major kidney damage in E. coli patients, most hospitals treat the illness by hydrating and monitoring patients.Children are especially vulnerable to the bacteria's poison. Victims of the outbreak range in age from 17 months to 84 years, according to the agency. Most are children, agency officials said last week.

Several victims of the outbreak said they have hired lawyers, and a La Jolla-based attorney said Monday that he will file a class-action lawsuit against Pat & Oscar's today in San Diego Superior Court.Pat & Oscar's has offered to pay the medical bills of all affected customers and has maintained that the E. coli outbreak is the fault of its lettuce supplier, which is being investigated by the state for its food handling and packaging practices.

Ag-Security Alert - FDA asst. counter- terrorism commissioner named
October 11, 2003
The Food and Drug Administration
http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2003/NEW00954.html
Margaret O'K. Glavin Appointed FDA's Assistant Commissioner For
Counter-terrorism Commissioner of Food and Drugs Mark B. McClellan, M.D., Ph.D., today announced the appointment of Margaret O'K. Glavin as FDA's new Assistant Commissioner for Counter-terrorism. Ms. Glavin is a nationally recognized food safety policy expert, who was most recently a Visiting Scholar at Resources for the Future, a prominent think tank on environmental and natural resources.As the new Assistant Commissioner, Ms. Glavin will be the senior counter-terrorism advisor to Dr. McClellan, and will supervise FDA's Office of Counter-terrorism Policy.
In this role she will provide executive level policy and program direction for FDA's counter-terrorism-related strategic, legislative and inter-agency activities. "Margaret Glavin possesses extensive experience in program and policy development, food safety strategic planning, and crisis management," said, Dr. McClellan. "These are critical times for our nation, and we welcome talented individuals like Margaret joining FDA to help protect America from terrorist threats."
From 1968 to 2002, Ms. Glavin held a number of positions in the U.S.
Department of Agriculture culminating in her being named Acting Administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service, a 10,000-person regulatory public health agency responsible for the safety of the U.S. meat and poultry supply.
A graduate of Trinity College and Georgetown University, Ms. Glavin has published articles in various publications, including Food and Agriculture 2003, SAIS Review, and Food and Drug Law Journal.

Irradiation Indecision
Source from: Meat News
http://www.meatnews.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Article&artNum=6292
Despite being allowed to purchase irradiated ground beef, many schools are adopting a wait-and-see approach to the new technology.Earlier this year, USDA rules that schools can ?if they wanted ?could purchase irradiated ground beef for the federally funded school lunch program. The schools could begin purchases in January 2004 ?when most school children return from their Christmas recess. Advocated of irradiated food cheered the governments decision as a way to kill pathogenic bacteria, including E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella, in food and prevent food-related illness. However, schools may not be taking advantage of the new freedom of choice.

According to one report, telephone interviews with officials in 56 school districts across the United States found were planning to purchase irradiate ground beef. Thirty-four of the officials (60.7 percent) said they had no plans to serve irradiated beef in their school lunch programs and four officials said they would definitely not use it. Only 13 said they had not yet decided and five would not comment. None said they were going to buy it.

Most school officials interviewed, the report said, stated either that contamination was not enough of a problem for them to consider irradiation or that they needed to know a lot more about irradiated beef before using it. The extra cost ?an estimated $0.13-0.20 per pound more than regular beef ?was another issue cited.

Like many districts, New York City uses precooked hamburgers, the report pointed out. Margie Feinberg, a spokeswoman for the city's school food service, said that that avoids the need for irradiation. Many districts around the country are also giving more training to their cafeteria workers in food preparation, storage and sanitation to prevent contamination. Of 17 states surveyed, Alabama, Iowa, Missouri, and Nevada said they would not offer irradiated ground beef to school districts, according to the report. California, Maine, Minnesota, and Virginia plan to offer it. The remainder, including New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey, said it would be made available if schools asked for it.

Kathy Kuser, director of the division of food and nutrition for the New Jersey agriculture department, was cited as saying that very few of the state's school officials have responded to a survey in August about whether they would order irradiated beef. She knew of none who said they would. “Probably it's such a new concept people want to feel more comfortable and want to know more about it,?Kuser said. “We need input from the parents at the local level."

In Connecticut, most officials who were interviewed said they would decide after a food service directors' meeting later this month, at which the topic would be discussed. Cindy Brooks, director of school food services in Seymour, a small town outside New Haven, said that the increased cost would be a factor and that she thought an education campaign was needed.

Unlike most school officials, those in Marshall, Michigan, have had experience with food contamination. In 1997, more than 300 people in the Marshall area were treated for hepatitis A contracted from strawberries served in the schools. However, the experience has not persuaded Marshall's food service director, Kay Davis, to order irradiated beef.