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New genus of bacteria discovered at Montreal Biodome - is able to dentrify waste seawater
November 12, 2003
From a press release
MONTREAL - A new species named Nitratireductor aquibiodomus has been discovered at the Montreal Biodome in the waste seawater denitrification system of the St. Lawrence Marine Ecosystem. It is a "denitrifying bacterium", meaning that it is capable of reducing nitrate levels in water. This is the second animal species to be discovered at the Biodome: the acarian Copidognathus biodomus was identified in 1996 and was named after the institution. This most recent discovery creates a new bacterial genus (a higher level of classification than a species), a rarer occurrence that makes the find all the more noteworthy. The rod-shaped bacterium measures 1 x 3 microns(x). It was probably introduced into the Biodome along with fish or invertebrates brought in for the St. Lawrence Marine Ecosystem. The discovery was made by Normand Labbe, of the INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, who is currently doing his Ph.D. on optimizing seawater denitrification at the Montreal Biodome. His doctoral work is being co-directed by Richard Villemur, a molecular biologist at the INRS- Institut Armand-Frappier, and Serge Parent, a researcher and scientific adviser at the Montreal Biodome.
(x) 1 micron (equal sign) 1/1000 millimetre. These Quebec researchers are the first in the world to report on this bacterium. After successfully cultivating it in the fall of 2002, they characterized its metabolic and molecular properties. Their findings were officially published on the Internet in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology (http://dx.doi.org/10.1099/ijs.0.02793-0) on September 12, 2003. As with any such discovery, cultures of Nitratireductor aquibiodomus have been deposited in two world bacteria gene banks, one in the United States and the other in Germany.
The uses and applications of this bacterium remain to be determined but already seem promising. For example, it could be used to purify drinking water that contains too much nitrate. Nitratireductor aquibiodomus breathes not only oxygen dissolved in water but also nitrate (NO3-), reducing it to nitrite (NO2-), which other bacteria further reduce to nitrogen gas, the main ingredient in the air we breathe. In Quebec, especially on the Ile d'Orleans and in the Beauce region, the bacterium could be used to clean water tables polluted with nitrate.
Researchers at the INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier recently reported in the international scientific journal Microbial Ecology (2003) that many bacterial species live in the Biodome's denitrification system. Their work could soon lead to the discovery of at least two new species of bacteria. The researchers have also shown that adding trace amounts of bioactive metals such as iron, manganese and copper to the water in the Biodome's denitrification system accelerates the metabolic activity of denitrifying bacteria by two and a half times (250%).
The research on the Biodome's denitrification system is being funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and directed by researchers Richard Villemur and Pierre Juteau of the INRS-Institut Armand- Frappier. They are working in collaboration with professors Yves Comeau and Mario Jolicoeur, of the Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal, to develop a new denitrification system that will help the bacteria eliminate nitrate from the water even more efficiently.
When the Biodome (which means "House of Life") opened in 1992, a research team was set up to develop and share knowledge on the ecosystems of the Americas reproduced within the facility. Since their climatic parameters can be controlled (which is not the case in the wild), the model ecosystems serve as natural laboratories. With the discovery of this new bacterium, the Biodome has once again confirmed its vital role in studying how the Earth's ecosystems function.
The research team at the Montreal Biodome consists of four researchers (scientific advisers) working in collaboration with some 30 experts from universities in Quebec, elsewhere in Canada and Brazil. They also direct or supervise the work of 20 student researchers and 17 university interns who use the infrastructures and equipment of the Biodome's Research and Live Collections Division.

Methanol found in counterfeit Kirov vodka
November 10, 2003
Food Standards Agency
The Food Standards Agency is renewing its health warning about counterfeit vodka contaminated with methanol after more illegal spirits were found on sale. Tests last month on counterfeit bottles of Kirov Vodka, seized by Customs and Excise from an off-licence in Sidcup, Kent, showed they contained unacceptably high levels of methanol.
Vodka should not contain methanol at such levels. If drunk, it could cause serious harm to health. Anyone who has a bottle of this vodka should not drink it and should contact their local authority or the police. The counterfeit products could be available in other parts of the country. The Agency has issued a Food Hazard Warning relating to the counterfeit bottles. Symptoms of methanol poisoning include: severe abdominal pain drowsiness
dizziness blurred vision leading to blindness coma with breathing difficulties
The symptoms of methanol poisoning can be delayed for several hours so anyone who may have drunk any of these spirits may not immediately be aware of the dangers.
See the, press release, food hazard warning and product images linked below for full details of how the bottles of contaminated counterfeit vodka differ from the genuine product.
All documents at: http://www.foodstandards.gov.uk/news/newsarchive/kirovcounterfeit

FDA issues statement on Remedia infant formula

source from: IFT Daily News
11/11/2003-FDA is aware of reports by Israeli health officials that infants may have been injured by the use of Remedia soy-based infant formula -- a product reportedly made in Germany and exported to Israel. The preliminary report issued by the Israeli Ministry of Health states that the Remedia soy-based formula was deficient in the essential vitamin thiamine. Thiamine deficiency results in a condition known as beri-beri which can result in a variety of cardiac and neurological problems, and, if untreated, death. FDA has determined that no commercial entries were distributed in the United States. It is possible that non-commercial quantities of the product have been brought in by travelers or through the mails. FDA is working with other health agencies such as the City of New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to look into this matter. Anyone who may have Remedia soy-based formula should not use the product and contact their pediatrician as well as the local U.S. Food and Drug Administration office or the agency’s Emergency Operations number, 301-443-1240. FDA will collect the product for testing in our laboratories. FDA statement

Current Food Safety Informaiton
11/13. Holiday Food Safety
11/13. Keep Take-Out and Delivered Foods Safe
11/13. New genus of bacteria discovered at Montreal Biodome - is ab
11/13. PA Agriculture Department reminds food industry of new biote
11/13. Wintering in the USA - Canadians told to leave meat products
11/13. Salmonella-free poultry¡± in Sweden or a ¡°False sense of secu
11/13. Health group slams gov't for not issuing food warning
11/13. German company admits defect in infant food
11/13. Keep take-out and delivered foods safe
11/13. Translating the food safety vision
11/13. Carcasses in Alta. freezer were coyotes
11/13. Methanol found in counterfeit Kirov vodka
11/13. EU to raise safety standards for breakfast cereals
11/13. Guidelines for Determining the Acceptability and Use of Recy
11/13. The comment period for the Draft Revised Good Manufacturing

11/12. ERS releases report on food safety and international trade
11/12. Westfair Foods fined 100,000 for re-labeling and altering me
11/12. I-90 Burger King sued: Urine in food
11/12. Abattoir's licence suspension lifted
11/12. Church Group Helps FDA Monitor Food Safety
11/12. FDA issues statement on Remedia infant formula
11/12. Food Safety & Quality Conference & Expo held
11/12. New Pennsylvania irradiator set to go online
11/12. Nebraska researcher: Hotdogs may cause cancer
11/12. EU funding to up acrylamide awareness

11/11. Scottish safety
11/11. Feed Ban Compliance Program Manual Available Through FDA
11/11. NIH Scientists Show Nitrite Improves Blood Flow -
11/11. Key FDA Food Program on ¡°Starvation Diet¡±
11/11. Food safety chief scolds inspectors
11/11. Germany probes Israel baby food
11/11. Food-safety certificate offered in December
11/11. CSPI on Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria on Poultry
11/11. Food Poisoning Prevention

11/10. Guess what's coming to dinner?
11/10. ARS research improves food availability, safety
11/10. Area part of Hepatitis A program
11/10. Senate bars school lunch program from purchasing chickens tr
11/10. How much metal can you stomach? New testing method makes foo
11/10. 5,000 babies to get vitamin B1 injections due to mislabeled
11/10. FDA posts guide on BSE feed ban inspections
11/10. Food Safety and Trade: Regulations, Risks, and Reconciliatio
11/10. Consumers and the Future of Biotech Foods in the United Stat

11/09. Food quality in an enlarged Europe
11/09. Infant formula recalled after link to baby deaths
11/09. Red wine contamination triggers asthma
11/09. New GMO rules made clear
11/09. COOL Battle On, As Senate Says Yea on Support; Ag Approps Fu
11/09. Food microbiology on CD-RoM - Safefood Library
11/09. New Microaerophilic gassing system from Don Whitley Scientif

11/08. Microbiology specialists needed
11/08. Mad cow science under microscope after young Japanese bulls
11/08. Food safety in easy steps
11/08. Inspector: food safety first
11/08. [Australia] Food safety highlighted as weather warms
11/08. 304 food establishments fined for violating health rules

11/07. Ontario to debate provincial meat inspection system
11/07. American National Cattle Women (ANCW) Sponsor Food Irradiati
11/07. More than 1.5 million students receive positive beef message
11/07. US senate says too soon to let in Canadian cows
11/07. [China] New system ensures food safety
11/07. NSF looking for food safety award nominations
11/07. Nut and Peanut Allergy -
11/07. California food warning sets dangerous example
11/07. Worried About Germs? Here's the Five Hot Spots in Your Home!
11/07. USDA disputes Russian poultry import concerns
11/07. Inner-city veggies may be bad for your health
11/07. Food-poisoning problem persists
11/07. Health Officials Warn Of Possibly High Lead Levels In Water
11/07. Victims still suffering years after poisoning

11/06. Advanced HACCP workshop
11/06. Mad cow
11/06. National health agency needed: committee
11/06. Syscan to demonstrate RFID food safety solution at food conf
11/06. Four skinned and gutted canine carcasses found in Edmonton r
11/06. Alaska goes live with new-look website
11/06. Alaska Food Diagnostics invests in Lab
11/06. Alaska Appoints R&D Scientist
11/06. Alaska presents it's Ultra-rapid assays to the 23rd Food Mic
11/06. Burros' burden of proof
11/06. USDA to amend BSE regulations
11/06. EU warns Poland on food safety -
11/06. Senate OKs ban on 'downed' animals -
11/06. FDA: Forget Fear of Feta and Others -- if Made From Pasteuri
11/06. FDA to revisit cloned food safety data amid concerns

11/05. Northern Ireland food safety night
11/05. Shigella dysenteriae Serotype 1, Kolkata, India
11/05. Fluoroquinolone resistance in Campylobacter absent from isol
11/05. Campylobacter (and others) in the kitchen
11/05. Campylobacter in cattle and sheep
11/05. Phasing out ethylene oxide -
11/05. Surveillance of foodborne disease
11/05. NSF calls for nominations for new food safety leadership awa
11/05. Safety of food products: Rapid alert system for food and fee
11/05. Canada urged to lift its own ban
11/05. FDA urged to rethink cloning safety with milk
11/05. Japan wants U.S. to ban export of Canadian beef
11/05. Seminar supports safety
11/05. Italy reports latest case of mad cow disease in country's he
11/05. Deadly bug found in courts water supply
11/05. Seasick
11/05. FDA Wants More Data on Cloned Meat Safety
11/05. FDA Panel Backs Cloning In Agriculture -
11/05. Canada ponders new step for crop, food approvals
11/05. Panel Doubts Finding on Cloned-Food Safety
11/05. Editorial: A lost appetite

11/04. Food Irradiation Education Activities
11/04. Milford (PA) Group is Dedicated to Fighting Irradiator
11/04. Primer On Electron Beam Food Irradiation Available
11/04. American National CattleWomen Irradiated Ground Beef Educati
11/04. Opisthorchiasis, human - Russia (Vladimir)
11/04. USDA issues proposed rule to allow live animal imports from
11/04. Harvard BSE risk reassessment
11/04. Hepatitis A - China (Guangdong)
11/04. Two food businesses served closure orders in October
11/04. Jail-abattoir's meat found to be safe to eat
11/04. New Jersey breaks ground in food safety education
11/04. Producer groups pans USDA's Canada-BSE proposal
11/04. FSAI's initiatives see closure decline
11/04. Food industry unprepared for new FDA rules
11/04. Confusion abounds on allergies from gene-altered food
11/04. Are Biotech Foods Safe to Eat?
11/04. Food Safety Classes and Exams
11/04. Japan confirms 9th mad cow case, 2nd in a month
11/04. Japan reports new Mad Cow case -
11/04. KARACHI: Contaminated water & food exposing people to typhoi -
11/04. Stephen: Food safety training not required
11/04. Campylobacter jejuni and the Human Food Chain: A Possible So
11/04. Accidental discovery led to doubts about safety of plastic
11/04. Two food businesses served Closure Orders in October

Current Recall Information

Studies to Evaluate the Safety of Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Human Food: General
Studies to Evaluate the Safety of Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Human Food: Repeat-Dose
Holiday Food Safety
Keep Take-Out and Delivered Foods Safe
Amber Waves magazine
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy/Ruminant Feed Ban Inspectio

FSIS Constituent Update/Alert: Updated November 10, 2003
Registration of Food Facilities
Relative Risk to Public Health From Foodborne Listeria Monocytogenes
Positive E. coli Test Results: Updated October 29, 2003
U.S. Codex Office "What's New" Page: Updated November 5, 2003
Diseases transmitted through the food supply
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy; minimal risk regions and importation of commodities
Speeches Page: Updated November 4, 2003
OPPD (Policy) What's New Page: Updated November 3, 2003

Current Outbreaks
11/13. Chi-Chi's, Inc. voluntarily extends closure of Beaver Valley
11/13. Pa. hepatitis outbreak affects 340
11/13. Hepatitis A - Russia (Omsk): waterborne ?

11/12. Attorney for Hepatitis victims responds to Chi Chi's press c
11/12. Chi-Chi's, Inc. Provides Additional Information on Hepatitis
11/12. Number of Hepatitis cases rises in Pa.
11/12. Health Department Shifts Focus Of Hepatitis Outbreak
11/11. 3 children die in mass poisonings
11/11. LIBERIA: Bloody diarrhoea on the rise as cholera declines
11/11. Kodiak residents sickened in possible salmonella bout
11/10. Outbreak of Salmonella Bareilly (update): Great Britain
11/10. Flu drug worsened hepatitis
11/10. Hepatitis outbreak claims one life

11/09. 12 more salmonella cases reported
11/09. KYRGYZSTAN: Suspected typhoid cases hospitalised in Jalal-Ab
11/08. Young victim of E. coli improves
11/08. Chi-Chi's Comments on Hepatitis A Outbreak in Beaver County,
11/08. Norwalk virus outbreak hits Eagle Point
11/07. Health unit investigates illnesses at resort
11/07. Pa. sees outbreak of Hepatitis A cases -
11/07. Outbreak of norovirus infection on a cruise liner in the Med -
11/07. Escondido restaurant closed after salmonella outbreak
11/07. Poison sweets put 35 children in hospital

11/06. Contaminated tap water kills five in Philippines capital
11/06. TAJIKISTAN: Rains may increase typhoid risk
11/06. Autopsy on woman, 95, who may have died due to E. coli
11/06. Retirement home's deadly E. coli outbreak under control
11/06. Food poisoning hits 400 children

11/05. CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Shigellosis epidemic confirmed in
11/05. Feces seeped into leaky pipes?Maynilad
11/05. Initial Report: E. coli Outbreak Started In Kitchen
11/05. Assisted living center tracks illness outbreak
11/05. Virus-hit liner left all at sea
11/04. Star Actress, 'Mama Mi Leko' is Dead [Food Poisoning]
11/03. Outbreak of Salmonella Bareilly infection in Great Britain
11/03. Gibraltar Border Closed Over Cruise Virus

Current New Methods
11/13. GangaGen Life Sciences unveils phage technology for treatment
11/10. Mexico Approves Vicam AflaTest Aflatoxin Testing Method
11/07. Cold Storage Facility in Northeast Now Offers Irradiation to
11/07. New Peanut Test Kits Approved for Food Industry

Nebraska researcher: Hotdogs may cause cancer

by Brendan O'Neill on 11/12/03 for Meatingplace.com
A Nebraska researcher may have found a link between hot dogs and a deadly form of cancer. Dr. Sidney Mirvish, a professor at the Eppley Institute at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, researched and tested different types of processed meats -- including hotdogs -- for about 30 years. Mirvish was prompted to do the research because he likes the taste of them and wanted to make sure these family favorites are safe for everyone. Mirvish speculated that hotdogs might cause cancer or other health problems. The professor tested nine different brands of hotdogs for levels of sodium nitrite, a common preservative.First, he fed mice simple red meat and tested the level of nitrosamines or NOCs. This is a compound that has, in the past, been linked with cancer. Then hotdogs were added to the diet of the mice. "And we found a larger increase [compared to] the fresh meat, in the NOCs," Mirvish said. Mirvish said the findings, which were published this summer in the American Institute for Cancer Research newsletter, were disturbing because if the increased NOCs were found in the feces of the mice, then it's also in the colon. This level of NOCs could possibly contribute to colon cancer. Ultimately more research will be needed, said Mirvish, who also suggests moderating the amount of processed meats consumed.

Attorney for Hepatitis victims responds to Chi Chi's press conference announcement

Seattle attorney calls on Chi Chi's to compensate victims of Hepatitis outbreak, repay Department of Health for shot administration and investigation
November 11, 2003
From a press release
PITTSBURGH -- Seattle attorney William Marler today asked Chi Chi's to pay damages to those people exposed to, and those nearly 300 people infected with, hepatitis-A after eating at the restaurant's Beaver Valley Mall location in October and early November. His request was made after Chi Chi's announced in a news release that representatives from company headquarters will be in the Beaver Valley area of Pennsylvania on Wednesday to address the outbreak.
Marler, who represents nearly 40 people sickened and exposed in the outbreak, and whose firm, Marler Clark, has already filed one lawsuit against Chi Chi's, said that the restaurant should be taking a more proactive approach to compensating victims of the outbreak.
"This outbreak has been devastating for the entire Beaver Valley Community," said Marler. "Company representatives shouldn't just be coming to 'address' the outbreak. It is time Chi Chi's stepped up to the plate and took responsibility for what has happened, starting with immediately paying all medical bills and lost wages for those who were sickened."
Marler also recommended that Chi Chi's do the following:
Reimburse individuals for the cost of receiving Immune Globulin (IG) shots
Reimburse individuals for wage loss for seeking IG shots
Require all employees in all of its restaurants to be vaccinated
Review hand-washing and glove policies
Agree to further and fair additional compensation for victims, to be determined later
"The Pennsylvania Department of Health had to increase staffing to accommodate screening and administering shots to over 7,500 people over the last four days," Marler continued. "That adds up to tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars of tax payer money that Chi Chi's should reimburse the Health Department for. It's part of being a good corporate citizen and taking responsibility."
Marler's firm, Marler Clark, re-launched its website www.about-hepatitis.com in a new, more navigable design last week in an effort to provide victims of this outbreak with information on the virus. "Our about-hepatitis website provides some of the most comprehensive information about hepatitis-A on the Web. When thousands of people are looking for information, it makes sense to have it readily available to everyone in a user-friendly format," Marler concluded.

12 more salmonella cases reported

5:22 p.m. November 7, 2003
SAN DIEGO ?An additional 12 cases of salmonella poisoning have been reported in people who ate at family-style restaurant in Escondido, doubling the number of confirmed cases, the county health department said today. Elias' Restaurant voluntarily closed its doors Wednesday in the wake of the outbreak, said Leslie Ridgeway of county Health and Human Services. The eatery plans to reopen after the Department of Environmental Health approves new food handling procedures submitted by the restaurant, and a food handler trainer works with staff.The facility must also be cleaned and sanitized before reopening. Customers became ill after eating at the restaurant between Oct. 14 and Oct. 31. In addition to the 24 confirmed cases, there are another 33 probable cases, Ridgeway said.A case is defined as "probable" when the individual is exhibiting symptoms and ate at the restaurant during the same period as the confirmed cases, but infection has not been laboratory-confirmed.Typically, salmonella is not fatal. Symptoms include fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea beginning 12 to 72 hours after consuming contaminated food.The symptoms usually last four to seven days, and most people can recover without antibiotics, according to Ridgeway.For more information on salmonella, go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site at www.cdc.gov.

GangaGen Life Sciences unveils phage technology for treatment of deadly food-borne bacteria
November 12, 2003
From a press release
OTTAWA, ON - GangaGen Life Sciences Inc. (GLSI), a new company focusing on the control of food-borne bacteria that are pathogenic in humans, today unveiled its bacteriophage (phage) technology. The company's phage-based treatment will initially be used to control such bacterial contamination in food animals and animal wastes. Phages are a family of naturally occurring organisms that target and destroy specific bacteria. In the years before the development of antibiotics, phage preparations were starting to see use in the treatment of human health but were disregarded in the Western world as a result of the advent of broad-spectrum antibiotics such as penicillin. Today, bacterial resistance to antibiotics has become a major health concern and phage technology has re-emerged as a viable alternative to antibiotic treatment. A wide variety of antibiotic resistant bacteria dangerous to humans also currently occur in food animals and concern over the use and abuse of antibiotics generally in the agricultural market is becoming as great as it is in human health. In June 2003, fast food giant McDonalds asked its meat suppliers to reduce their dependence on antibiotics for disease control in animals. McDonalds said it was making the change because of growing evidence that the use of antibiotics in farm animals was creating antibiotic resistance in animals and in the bacteria that cause diseases in humans GLSI has identified the treatment of dangerous bacteria in food animals as a market in which its phage technology can have a significant impact. Pathogens including certain strains of E. coli, Campylobacter and Salmonella contribute to millions of cases of human illness in North America every year, and these bacteria typically originate from cattle, poultry or swine. "GangaGen Life Sciences' phage treatment technology allows us to effectively combat in food animals a variety of bacterial pathogens that can be transmitted to humans and cause severe illness or even death," said Rainer Engelhardt, executive director, GLSI. "We believe this type of treatment to be more effective and safer than antibiotics because phages focus exclusively on targeting and destroying the specific dangerous bacteria and do not affect other bacteria or cells in the animal, resulting in no detrimental side effects. Once the phages eliminate the dangerous bacteria or reduce their levels to a certain low point, the likelihood of infection of people is greatly reduced."
Each year in North America, contamination by the pathogen E. coli O157:H7 is responsible for 60,000 cases of human illness and numerous deaths. The company has targeted the E. coli O157:H7 bacterial infection in cattle as an initial priority for its phage-based treatment. GLSI is also developing further phage products for the treatment of other human pathogens, such as Campylobacter and Salmonella bacteria, transferred to humans from food animals.
In addition to phage treatment of food animals, GLSI is targeting the treatment of the same human pathogenic bacteria in the environment, particularly in wastewater and animal waste, including manure used for liquid fertilizer. Dangerous bacteria often enter the human food chain through manure contamination of agricultural crops and of ground water that forms the source of drinking water. GLSI expects to introduce commercially its first phage product by late 2005.