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Fact Sheet - Food safety tips for Halloween
October 21, 2003
Source from: From a press release
OTTAWA - Halloween is a time of fun for children. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is providing a few simple tips to parents to ensure that their childrens holiday is a safe one.
Children shouldnt snack while theyre out trick-or-treating before parents have a chance to inspect the goodies. To help prevent children from munching, give them a snack or light meal before they godont send them out on an empty stomach.
Tell children not to acceptand, especially, not to eatanything that isnt commercially wrapped.
When children bring their treats home, discard any homemade candy or baked goods. Parents of young children should also remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys.
Wash all fresh fruit thoroughly, inspect it for holes, including small punctures, and cut it open before allowing children to eat it.
Remember, when in doubt, throw it out.
Inspect commercially wrapped treats for signs of tampering, such as an unusual appearance or discolouration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers. Throw away anything that looks suspicious.
Some Halloween treats may trigger allergic reactions in susceptible individuals. For more information, please visit CFIAs Web site at the following address:
In the past, mini-cup jelly products have been known to pose a choking hazard as they may become lodged in the throat and may be difficult to remove due to their consistency. Individual jellies are about the size of a coffee creamer, with rounded edges and usually contain a flavoured centre enclosed in a shell of konjac jelly (also conjac, konuyaku or glucomannan). These products are traditionally manufactured in South-east Asia and sold under various brand names. The products which are now available on the Canadian market have been reformulated into a softer product which does not appear to pose a choking risk. While the original mini-cup jellies with konjac should have been removed from the market, it is possible that some may have been brought into the country by travellers from countries where the original product may still be for sale.
If juice or cider is served to children at Halloween parties, make sure it is pasteurized or otherwise treated to destroy harmful bacteria. For more information, please visit CFIAs Web site at: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/corpaffr/foodfacts/juicee.shtml.
For more information about street-proofing for trick-or-treaters, visit the following Web site:
Health Canada - Have a Safe and Spooky Halloween -
For information on receiving recalls by electronic mail, or for other food safety facts, visit the CFIA Web site at www.inspection.gc.ca.

Studies examine efficacy of E. coli vaccine

Source from: IFT Weekly Newsletter
Feedlot cattle vaccinated with an E. coli O157 vaccine in research studies during the summers of 2002 and 2003 showed a significant reduction, according to University of Nebraska scientists who conducted the studies. The 2003 study results were released by the University of Nebraska and Bioniche Life Sciences, commercialization partner in a strategic alliance that is developing the vaccine used in the Nebraska studies. Other alliance partners include the University of British Columbia, the Alberta Research Council and the University of Saskatchewan's Vaccine & Infectious Disease Organization.
Vaccination of cattle in the University of Nebraska research feedlot reduced E. coli prevalence an average of 59% compared with unvaccinated cattle, reported university veterinary scientists Rod Moxley and David Smith. E. coli prevalence averaged less than 11% for vaccinated cattle compared with 29% among unvaccinated cattle. For more information, see www.bioniche.com.

Current Food Safety Informaiton
10/22. Perspective by Editor Chris Harris: Does 'hormones plus gene
10/22. BSE code reassessed: OIE addresses demands on clarification
10/22. OPP to conduct investigation into meat packaging plant at fa
10/22. Richard Ennis named vice president, food safety division, at
10/22. CCIA to go electronic -
10/22. Fact Sheet - Food safety tips for Halloween
10/22. Statement of the American Meat Institute on FDA listeria ris
10/22. Meat Industry Research Conference to focus on pre-harvest re
10/22. OIE to review BSE guidelines
10/22. Studies examine efficacy of E. coli vaccine
10/22. FDA introduces technology to improve food security
10/22. FDA releases risk assessment of foodborne listeriosis
10/22. Cost of BSE
10/22. BSE Code Reassessed
10/22. Italy reports two more cows test positive for BSE
10/22. Poisoned venison sold to Scottish consumers
10/22. BSE refuses to go away

10/21. Context Is Necessary for Listeria Risk Assessment To Help En
10/21. Homeopathy could cure third world arsenic poisioning
10/21. The Pharmaceutical Encounter
10/21. Warnex Expands Genevision's Reach into the Canadian Market
10/21. Listeria In FSIS Ready-To-Eat Products Shows Significant Dec
10/21. Alaska Food Diagnostics Invests in Lab
10/21. Dangerous Herbal Readily Available Through Web Despite FDA I
10/21. Listeria warning: Keep food cool, don't let it sit
10/21. Food Safety Authority seeks court order
10/21. Sessions focus on food safety
10/21. FDA: Soft Pasteurized Cheeses OK
10/21. Bitter truth about Diwali sweets
10/21. Listeria monocytogenes Risk Assessment
10/21. Keeping Ready-To-Eat Foods Cold May be the Key to Reducing Listeriosis

10/20. USDA Finds Less Listeria In Meat, Poultry
10/20. BSE In Japan Won't Affect Reopening Of U.S. Border To Canadi
10/20. Risk Of Mad Cow Questioned
10/20. Countdown to MIRC: Meat Industry Research Conference (MIRC)
10/20. Appeal court unseals meat plant warrant
10/20. New USDA microbiological data underscores success of industr
10/20. Meat that's safe to eat
10/20. Irradiated Hamburgers For American's School Kids--At Last
10/20. Irradiation Can Protect Schoolchildren

10/19. Food Irradiation Quotable Quote
10/19. Cooperative agreement to support the national Center for Foo
10/19. Economic effects of a ban on antimicrobial drugs used in beef
10/19. Paper on the Allergen Control Activities within the Canadian
10/19. Hormones in meat ? update
10/19. Contamination of food and feed materials inspections
10/19. Safety of food products
10/19. Food safety a `terror strike` priority

10/18. Toxic shock -
10/18. Use facts in arguing against privatization
10/18. Licence sought to open abattoir
10/18. Health Canada statement on semicarbazide -
10/18. New developments in sanitation help keep food plants clean
10/18. Program teaches farm-level food safety practices

10/17. BSE Expert Says Japanese Case Implies Larger Outbreak
10/17. NCBA statement regarding announcement of European Union to m
10/17. Mad Cows and Dementia in People: A New World of Biology Nobe
10/17. RNA molecules stimulate prion protein conversion
10/17. United States unprepared against disease outbreaks, experts
10/17. On-farm food safety update
10/17. Food safety 'number one priority' amid terror fears
10/17. Murano to address IFT's Food Safety Conference
10/17. USDA claims drop in Listeria rate
10/17. FDA introduces technology to improve food security
10/17. France destroys Corsica cattle herd after island's first BSE
10/17. Canadian cattle concern senator
10/17. Logan lab hunting for deer disease
10/17. Safe meat handling for hunters

10/16. To the best in the food industry
10/16. Update on semicarbazide in glass jars
10/16. Contaminated meat
10/16. Winnipeg lab to track food-poisoning outbreaks
10/16. What are your kids eating for lunch? Contrasting food safety
10/16. EU complies with WTO ruling on hormone beef and calls on USA
10/16. Irradiation can protect schoolchildren
10/16. Italy posts latest case of BSE -
10/16. Testing snafus could delay lift of UK cattle ban
10/16. British BSE breach reported
10/16. Chemical generation
10/16. FDA Bioterrorism Requirements
10/16. Food Security
10/16. AMI Foundation Sponsoring Implementing Listeria Intervention
10/16. Scientists closer to understanding prion disease
10/16. EU sets food safety rules for smoky bacon crisps
10/16. Can You Eat Food Dropped On The Floor? -

10/15. Food Safety Authority advises on Semicarbazide: No reason to
10/15. Public Citizen ramps-up anti-irradiation crusade
10/15. Pasteurization and irradiation
10/15. Questions on irradiated food
10/15. Info on irradiated foods for school lunch misleads
10/15. Meat hygiene directives
10/15. The smell of food fills the streets; But health inspectors a
10/15. Trojan Technologies pre-selected by West Basin Municipal Wat
10/15. Millstream Flour Mills (1991) Corporation pleads guilty to v
10/15. European food safety agency recommends change in baby food p
10/15. FDA posts food terrorism risk guide
10/15. EU permanently bans U.S. hormone-treated beef
10/15. Microbe-Managing Contamination
10/15. No kowtowing to state milk rules
10/15. Dangerous food sauce warning
10/15. US, Canada urged to end hormone sanctions
10/15. Concerns over meat safety in SA
10/15. Hand washing still best method in preventing illnesses

Listeria In FSIS Ready-To-Eat Products Shows Significant Decline

source from: http://www.rapidmicrobiology.com/news/0310201.php
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service today released data showing a one year, 25 percent drop in the percentage of positive Listeria monocytogenes samples and a 70 percent decline compared with years prior to the implementation of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) system.

Of the random FSIS samples collected and analyzed between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 2003, 0.75 percent tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes, compared with 1.03 percent in 2002; 1.32 percent in 2001; 1.45 in 2000; 1.91 percent in 1999; 2.54 percent in 1998; 2.25 percent in 1997; 2.91 percent in 1996; and 3.02 in 1995. FSIS collects about 7,500 samples a year in ready-to-eat meat and poultry products.

"Our number one goal is protecting public health," said FSIS Administrator Dr. Garry L. McKee. "FSIS has taken aggressive action to prevent contamination of ready-to-eat meat and poultry products by Listeria monocytogenes and our testing is verifying that our programs are effective."

In November 2002, FSIS announced it would begin intensified testing at plants that produced high- and medium-risk ready-to- eat products that did not conduct environmental testing as a way of preventing Listeria monocytogenes or did not voluntarily share their environmental testing data. Also, the Agency announced that plants that did not voluntarily choose to share their environmental testing data with FSIS would be subject to the intensified testing program.

Listeria monocytogenes can be dangerous for pregnant women, very young children and the elderly. In addition to an aggressive sampling program, FSIS examines the testing data generated by plants producing these products and raises awareness through education about the dangers of Listeria monocytogenes, especially among at-risk groups.

Following the development and publication of a risk assessment for Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat meat and poultry products and a risk ranking developed in cooperation with the Food and Drug Administration, FSIS issued a rule to further drive down the rate of Listeria monocytogenes. The rule established levels of FSIS scrutiny at plants depending upon what they produced and the type of Listeria monocytogenes control measures used. The rule also encouraged plants to install new technologies to eliminate or reduce the growth of Listeria monocytogenes.

FSIS testing data for Listeria monocytogenes can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/ophs/rtetest/

In addition to these efforts targeting Listeria monocytogenes, USDA announced a series of new, science-based initiatives on July 10 to better understand, predict and prevent microbiological contamination of meat and poultry products, thereby improving health outcomes for American families. Those initiatives, which are included in a document entitled "Enhancing Public Health: Strategies for the Future," can be found at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/oa/programs/vision071003.htm.

Current Recall Information

U.S. Codex Office "What's New" Page: Updated October 22, 2003
Listeria monocytogenes Risk Assessment
Keeping Ready-To-Eat Foods Cold May be the Key to Reducing Listeriosis
Public Meeting To Address Codex Committee On General Principles
Quantitative Assessment of the Relative Risk to Public Health from Foodborne Listeria

National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection; Nomination for Membership
USDA Seeks Membership Nominations for National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry
FSIS Constituent Update/Alert: Updated October 20, 2003
Cooperative Agreement to Support the National Center for Food Safety and Technology
FDA Introduces New Technology to Improve Food Security
Listeria In FSIS Ready-To-Eat Products Shows Significant Decline
Microbiological Testing Programs for Ready-to-Eat (RTE) Meat and Poultry Products
Dr. McKee's remarks before the National Chicken Council

Current Outbreaks
10/22. Rat poison kills 10 in China after funeral
10/22. 2 foreign trainees get sick from bottled water
10/22. Shigellosis outbreak close to home

10/21. San Mateo County E. Coli Cases Rise
10/21. Community Coping With E. coli Outbreak
10/21. E. coli sickness slows, three still in hospital
10/21. 'It was horrible, horrible pain' - Outbreak may include more
10/20. Viral gastroenteritis update 2003 (22)
10/20. Retirement community stricken by E. coli
10/19. Gastrointestinal Illness Hits 120 on Cruise Ship
10/19. Cryptosporidiosis: United Kingdom
10/18. Cryptosporidiosis (Update): Kansas
10/18. E. coli O157, retirement home - USA (California)

10/17. E. coli O157 - USA (North Dakota)
10/17. Cholera epidemic kills 35 in Assam
10/17. E. coli sickens at least 17 Portola Valley residents
10/17. Stomach bug robs Scott of elite road race finish
10/17. Grammy winning singer hospitalized after food poisoning
10/16. Burgers Are Innocent
10/16. E.coli source remains a mystery
10/16. Health officials investigating E. coli outbreak in Grand For
10/16. Deadly E. Coli Sickens Marin Child
10/16. Cricket: Stomach ailments upset hopes of a series win

10/15. Hepatitis A - USA (04): multistate outbreak suspected
10/15. Hepatitis outbreak
10/15. Cryptosporidiosis - UK (Scotland) -
10/15. Lawsuit filed in E. coli outbreak as case count grows
10/14. Nearly 70 people struck down with food poisoning in Vietnam

Irradiated Hamburgers For American's School Kids--At Last; (September 22, 2003) By Dennis Avery

Source from: Food Irradiation Update
The four American children, who lost their lives in 1993, after eating restaurant hamburgers contaminated with deadly E. coli O157 bacteria, did not die in vain. In a fitting sort of memorial, U.S. school kids will start getting irradiated hamburgers in their school lunches next year - hamburgers lightly zapped with electron beams that kill E. coli and other dangerous bacteria more effectively than any other system ever devised.

More than two dozen U.S. supermarket chains have started offering irradiated hamburgers as a premium product. Giant Food supermarkets tell their Washington, D.C. customers, "This revolutionary technology virtually eliminates all illness-causing bacteria, giving you peace of mind when serving ground beef to your friends and family."

The Dairy Queen and Embers America restaurant chains are shifting to the irradiated ground beef - and bragging about it to customers. Their restaurant managers say, "Now we can sleep at night."

Across the country, several more companies are building plants to irradiate more and more of the country's ground beef - for an extra 10 or 20 cents per pound. It's arguably the biggest step forward in U.S. food safety since pasteurized milk.

All it took was 60 years and a few hundred agonizing deaths. (The patent for irradiating food to kill dangerous bacteria was issued in 1921.) That's about par for the course in our contentious society. It took 50 years to get approval for pasteurized milk (and a tuberculosis epidemic spread by milk from TB-infected cows).

The tragic 1993 deaths of those kids in Washington State finally brought home the reality that a more-virulent and deadly form of the ubiquitous E. coli bacterium was actually threatening us and our kids with death, not just stomach-aches. The "Jack-in-the-Box cases" were first blamed on carelessness by the restaurant. Only reluctantly did we delve into the danger, discovering that virulent O157 strain was present in virtually every cattle herd in America, and a risk in any hamburger not cooked into shoe leather.

The organic food industry was quick to assert that the deadly bacteria was only present on "factory farms," but USDA researchers say they've found it in every cattle herd where they've looked for it.

Ralph Nader's Public Citizen still hasn't given up its anti-irradiation campaign. Public Citizen has flooded the U.S. Department of Agriculture with hundreds of identical complaints against the USDA delivering irradiated hamburgers to the school kids. The Nader group complains that "the risks of irradiation are unknown." But that's because 40 years of research have failed to find any risks.

Public Citizen also charges that irradiation will simply let meat packing plants be careless about their sanitation. That's a pretty feeble complaint when you realize that 1) people are dying for lack of irradiation; 2) the packing plants are still overseen by federal meat inspectors; and 3) the E. coli can't be seen with the naked eye, or washed off with anything less than live steam.

Dr. Michael Osterholm, then Minnesota State Epidemiologist, told the U.S. Senate nearly five years ago "The residual risk for infection that remains [in ground beef] after state-of-the-art sanitation during production, harvest, processing, distribution and preparation still yields an unacceptable level of illness and death. . . . The lives of our loved ones are at risk."

Teia Clement, 15, was sickened by O157 in June, at her school prom in Missassauga, Ontario, along with more than 40 other students. She described it as "a living hell," and said she had "never experienced anything remotely as painful," as the attendant severe stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea, vomiting and headaches.

Hospitals have used irradiation for years to sterilize food for immune-compromised patients, and NASA has used it for the astronauts' food on space flights. It's been approved and applauded by the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, the Institute of Food Technology, and the governments of 37 countries around the world. But the public wouldn't buy it in the face of the scary rumors from self-appointed activists that it was "dangerous."

Dr. Osterholm makes the very good point that eating irradiated hamburger is a lot safer than eating E. coli O157. How would Public Citizen protect our kids from E. coli O157? Based on their record, they would attack with lawsuits and press releases. But let's face it, Public Citizen gets its memberships and donations by scare tactics and in the safest society in all history there aren't that many valid targets. Dennis Avery Dennis Avery is Director, Center for Global Food Issues and Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute

FDA Bioterrorism Requirements
NFPA will hold a seminar on October 28-29 in Arlington, Virgina, titled "New Rules for a New World: Complying with FDA Requirements for Registration and Prior Notice.

Dangerous food sauce warning

Source from: Clarissa Satchell
Manchester News

FOOD safety officers are warning about a dangerous sauce containing salmonella bacteria. Environmental health experts in Wigan, along with the Food Standards Agency, have issued the alert about a brand of Middle Eastern sesame seed-based tahini.The sauce is made in the Lebanon by Samih Hassan Al Yaman and Sons and comes in 454g (1lb) and 907g (2lb) plastic tubs, which are beige and have green, screw-top lids.The "best before" dates affected are from January 2005 and up to and including July 2005.The product is described on the label as Super Tahineh 100 per cent Cr?e de Sesame.Health chiefs say the importers have withdrawn the sauce, but there is still a chance it could be on sale in the Wigan area.Council officers are now working with food shops, wholesalers and delicatessens that specialise in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Turkish and Greek-style foods in a bid to ensure the sauce is not sold. Wigan council commercial services manager Tony Dickinson said: "We all know salmonella food poisoning can be very nasty. "If shop owners or food sellers come across this product, they should remove it from sale and it should be destroyed."Anyone wanting further information should contact their trading standards office.


Source from: Eureka Alert

Viruses may be an effective strategy to reduce the number of chicken products contaminated with Campylobacter jejuni say researchers from the United Kingdom. Their findings appear in the October 2003 issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Since the 1970's, campylobacters have been recognized as one of the leading sources of gastrointestinal disease in humans. One current method of reducing contamination in chicken products involves washing the carcasses in scald water containing hyperchlorite followed by emersion in chilled water tanks, however studies have shown this treatment is not very effective in reducing the presence of human pathogens.

In the study, samples of chicken skin were contaminated with both C. jejuni and bacteriophage, viruses that specifically infect and kill bacteria but are harmless to humans, while a control group received only the bacterium. The samples were stored at fresh and freezing temperatures for ten days. Daily testing results showed significantly less contamination in the bacteriophage samples, especially those kept at temperatures below freezing.

"The fact that phage are able to survive on the surface of chicken skin for a period of at least 10 days when stored under either fresh or frozen conditions is important when considering the potential efficacy and environmental impact of phage therapy on animals that carry campylobacter," say the researchers. "Phage of campylobacter along with their hosts can potentially survive on the retail product until well after its shelf life."

(R.J. Atterbury, P.L. Connerton, C.E.R. Dodd, C.E.D. Rees, I.F. Connerton. 2003. Application of host-specific bacteriophages to the surface of chicken skin leads to a reduction in recovery of Campylobacter jejuni. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 69. 10: 6302-6306.)