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Questions and Answers on Hepatitis A Outbreaks
Associated with Eating Raw or Undercooked Green Onions (Scallions)
FDA Supported pages

FDA following Hepatitis A outbreaks
IFT Daily News
11/17/2003-FDA is advising consumers that several recent outbreaks of the liver disease hepatitis A have been linked to raw or undercooked green onions (scallions). The agency says consumers can minimize the possibility of getting hepatitis A from green onions by cooking the onions thoroughly and avoiding foods at restaurants that contain raw or lightly cooked green onions. Hepatitis A outbreaks linked to green onions have occurred in Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia. An outbreak in Pennsylvania is still under investigation. Press release: http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/ANSWERS/2003/ANS01262.html
Questions and answers about the outbreaks:

CPC urges food industry to be aware of new US anti-terrorism regulations
November 17, 2003
Farmscape for (Episode 1385)
The Canadian Pork Council is urging anyone who markets food products into the US to be aware of their responsibilities under new US anti-terrorism regulations. The US Bioterrorism Preparedness Act was drafted in response to the events of 9-11, 2001 and it will take effect December 12. CPC
Communications Officer Anita DeCoste says two regulations being addressed now deal with registration of facilities and prior notice of shipment.
Clip-Anita DeCoste-Canadian Pork Council
The US FDA, the Food and Drug Administration, is requiring that owners, operators or agents in charge of domestic or foreign facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold food for human or animal consumption register that facility with the FDA. One of the exceptions they have listed to this rule is farms, so facilities that are devoted to the growing and harvesting of crops or the raising of animals including seafood or both. The second regulation deals with prior notice of shipments and that will require the FDA to receive advance information about import shipments. As the interim final rule is now reading, notice of shipment must be given no more than five days prior to the arrival in the US of shipments and, depending on how the shipments arrive, that will determine the very last minute limit. For shipments by truck you can supply prior notice up to two hours before your shipment arrives, by train or airplane up to four hours before the arrival of the shipment or by boat up to eight hours before your shipment is intended to arrive.
DeCoste says, as the interim rule reads currently, meat, food products, poultry and egg products fall under the jurisdiction of the USDA and are not covered under this regulation but live food animals will be considered food and will be subject to prior notice. For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork Council

Seeing salmonella move through pigs
November 18, 2003
ARS News Service
Imagine being able to photograph a salmonella infection as it moves through a live pig and show the process as patches of colors. That's what's being proposed by Donald C. Lay, research leader at the Agricultural Research Service's Livestock Behavior Research Unit in West Lafayette, Ind., and Scott T. Willard of Mississippi State University. Willard is an expert in biophotonics, a new technology that uses light to mark molecular changes.
About two million salmonella cases are found in livestock in the United States each year, costing an average $1.4 billion. Certain swine seem prone to shedding Salmonella bacteria in manure when stressed by the transport and mixing with different herds that's associated with going to market. Scientists don't know how bacteria migrate through an animal's body, including where they might "hide" and what causes them to be suddenly shed. These gaps are largely due to an inability to follow the progression of infection in live animals.
Lay and Willard have shown they can treat bacteria to give off light, making it possible to track infections in living piglets and through tissues of adult pigs after slaughter. Now they've received a U.S.
Department of Agriculture grant to further pursue the work. Their goal:
to adapt the technique so cameras can see through the denser mass of live, 250-pound, market-ready pigs, which is more difficult than seeing through five-pound piglets.
Lay and Willard will research ways to improve swine management by identifying animals that are more susceptible to infection, and by designing techniques to prevent those swine from spreading infection to their herd mates.
ARS is the USDA's chief scientific research agency.

[FOODSAFE] new USDA Consumer Food Safety and Food Security Guidelines to be released
November 14, 2003
American Public Health Association Press Release
WHAT: News Conference: USDA Releases New Consumer Food Safety Guidelines
USDA releases new consumer food safety and food security guidelines, such as food handling, foodborne illness and reporting suspected food tampering. WHO: Dr. Gary McKee, administrator, USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service; Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director, APHA.
WHEN: Monday, Nov. 17, 12:30 p.m., San Francisco Marriott, Pacific Suite E

AMI rebuts Nebraska cancer study
by Bill McDowell on 11/14/03 for Meatingplace.com

Dear Editor:

A study by Dr. Sidney Mirvish of the University of Nebraska (Nebraska researcher: Hot dogs may cause cancer, the Daily News, Nov. 12) is out of step with the body of evidence on the safety - and indeed the benefits - of sodium nitrite. In fact, it is illogical to suggest that nitrite in hot dogs plays any role in colon cancer when approximately 93 percent of human nitrite intake comes from saliva and from vegetables - the very food said to help prevent cancer. Additionally, nitrite is produced in the body as a normal part of metabolism. In addition, the findings in Dr. Mirvish's limited study are inconsistent with the decade long review completed by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) in May 2000, which concluded nitrite is not a carcinogen. NTP, considered to be the world's most authoritative toxicology agency, evaluates the safety of a variety of chemicals and publishes reports about its findings.
Finally, the study's conclusions stand in sharp contrast to a study by scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), slated to appear in the December issue of Nature. NIH scientists concluded that nitrite can improve blood flow by opening blood vessels, and that the increase in oxygen in the blood resulting from nitrite may be a potential new treatment for diseases such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, sickle cell disease and leg vascular problems. This finding adds to the mounting evidence that nitrite plays an important role in a host of health issues.
In the future, we urge you not report single studies without presenting the full body of evidence. In this case, the evidence is very conclusive that nitrite is both safe and beneficial to human health.
Randall D. Huffman, Ph.D.
Vice President, Scientific Affairs
AMI Foundation

Oxoid Further Extends Prepared Media Range with New Oxoid Tubes

Oxoid Media now comes in Tubes designed for use in Food Microbiology laboratories.
The Tube has a specially designed cap that comes off in one twist for ease of use. It is elongated, making it easy to grasp and reducing the chance of contaminating the mouth of the Tube during testing. Designed to fit standard test-tube racks, Oxoid Tubes bring convenience to the food testing laboratory. Key food testing media are available, including the selective enrichment broths, such as Rappaport Vassiliadis Soya Peptone Broth, Selenite Cysteine Broth and Buffered Listeria Enrichment Broth, along with diluents and selective indicator broths, such as Maximum Recovery Diluent and MacConkey Broth Purple. Manufactured and certified to the highest standards, using high quality Oxoid dehydrated media, Oxoid Tubes provide the quality and reliability that is essential for accurate food testing.To find out more about Oxoid Tube Media and other prepared media products from Oxoid:
Tel: +44 (0) 1256 841144
Fax: +44 (0) 1256 329728
Email: val.kane@oxoid.com
Web: www.oxoid.com

USDA Announces New Food Safety And Security
Guidelines For Consumers

Chi-Chi's, Inc. voluntarily extends closure of Beaver Valley Restaurant for 60 days: No other Chi-Chi's locations involved in outbreak of Hepatitis A
November 12, 2003
From a press release
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Chi-Chi's, Inc., a Mexican restaurant chain headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, today announced that the Company had decided to voluntarily extend the closure of its Chi-Chi's restaurant at the Beaver Valley Mall to a minimum of 60 days.
"From the point that we first became aware of this outbreak, our primary concern has been to protect the health, safety and well being of our employees and the local community," said Bill Zavertnik, Chief Operating Officer of Chi-Chi's, Inc. "This decision reflects the high standard of caution that we have taken in responding to this outbreak and the overriding importance we place on food safety."
According to the Company's medical advisor, the maximum incubation period for Hepatitis A is 50 days. All of Chi-Chi's employees have been tested for the infection.
"We have voluntarily decided to extend the closure of this location until at least 60 days from our initial closure on November 2nd, 2003. We will not reopen until we have total confidence that the location is safe, every employee has been definitively cleared of the infection and we have consulted with all the participating public health authorities," said Zavertnik.
"I would like to stress that none of our other restaurants are involved, where we continue to offer our guests a fun and safe environment to enjoy great Mexican food."

Microsens announces licensing of its unique prion disease diagnostics technologies
November 17, 2003
Microsens Biotechnologies??Press Release
Microsens?unique diagnostics technologies will be a key component in the new prion disease test kits to be developed and commercialised by two leading diagnostics companies.
Microsens Biotechnologies, the London based research and development company, has announced the licensing of its unique Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE) detection technologies to the US company IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. and the Japanese company Sanko Junyaku Co. Ltd.
IDEXX, a world leader in veterinary diagnostics, has been granted the exclusive, worldwide rights (excluding Japan) to Microsens?Seprion technologies in the animal health and food safety market sectors. The agreement with Sanko Junyaku is exclusive for the use of Seprion in the same market sector within Japan. Access to Microsens?technologies is now enabling both companies to develop and commercialise the next generation of diagnostics for the detection of TSEs in animal tissues and blood, particularly Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle, Scrapie in sheep and Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in deer.
Trials already completed by Microsens and its licensing partners have proven Seprion to offer extremely high selectivity for the capture of the abnormal form of the prion protein (PrPres), believed to be the infectious agent in these diseases. There is considerable interest in the prion disease field in the development of highly selective PrPres binding reagents as they allow major improvements to be made to the complex and potentially unreliable post-mortem test kits currently used in the detection and diagnosis of BSE and other TSEs. At present the market, primarily in Europe and Japan, for post mortem BSE test kits for cattle exceeds 100 million USD and, with the development of more effective post-mortem tests, together with the Seprion-based blood test currently in development this could grow significantly within the next 3 to 5 years. In North America there is increasing concern over Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in deer which, together with the recently announced first case of BSE in Canada, may cause the level of testing by the US and Canadian governments to increase significantly.
Under the terms of the two licensing agreements, Microsens will receive both up front and milestone payments and royalties on sales of products incorporating its Seprion technologies.
According to Christopher Stanley, Microsens?Chief Executive, ever the past four years we have been developing technologies that are now at the forefront of TSE diagnostic research. These agreements with two of the world leading diagnostic companies provide a strong endorsement of our R & D programme.He adds, this is only the first phase of our licensing programme. We are now researching the application of our Seprion technologies in new human clinical diagnostic areas - such as screening donated blood for vCJD and developing diagnostic kits for early detection of other CNS disorders, including Alzheimer disease and Parkinson disease.

New Company Targets E.coli O157:H7 Contamination in Cattle with its First Product
GangaGen Life Sciences is a new company involved in developing phage based control of pathogenic bacteria in food animals and their wastes.
With the use of antibiotics in animals increasingly coming under pressure, the development of bacteriophages to target particular pathogenic bacteria would seem an ideal solution. Pathogens such as E.coli, Campylobacter and Salmonella contribute to millions of cases of human illness every year and typically these originate from cattle, poultry or swine. The company has initially chosen E.coli O157:H7 as its first priority.
As phages focus exclusively on specific bacteria there are many advantages over the use of broad spectrum antibiotics commonly used today.
In additional to phage treatment of food animals GangaGen is also looking at the treatment of these bacteria in wastewater and animal waste, including manure used for liquid fertilizer. GangaGen expect their first phage product to be available commercially in late 2005.

Current Food Safety Informaiton
11/18. Bad Food Live! with Richie and Bernard
11/18. Seeing salmonella move through pigs
11/18. Capers class action certified lawsuit covers over 6,400 Brit
11/18. Questions and Answers on Hepatitis A Outbreaks
11/18. USDA Hotline: A Food Safety Resource for Millions
11/18. USDA Hotline: A Food Safety Resource for Millions [Espanol]
11/18. Pittsburgh-area restaurants await impact of Hepatitis A outb
11/18. Berlin/Germany: 5th World Congress Foodborne Infections and
11/18. CPC urges food industry to be aware of new US anti-terrorism
11/18. Kansas lawmakers propose food safety overhaul
11/18. Japan to ban cattle backbone in food products
11/18. Obeying the law
11/18. Milk Allergy Diet
11/18. Nut and Peanut Allergy Diet
11/18. Poland reports new mad cow case
11/18. Hyogo cows test negative for BSE
11/18. State opens first botulism lab
11/18. Produce Items Are Vulnerable to Biological Contamination
11/18. Hepatitis Inquiry Moves Deliberately From Farm to Plate
11/18. Hepatitis news affecting Beaver County residents in differen

11/17. Public workshop: Bacterial Contamination of Animal Feed and
11/17. "Active" and "intelligent" food packaging: Commission propos
11/17. Dirty dining? ¡®Dateline¡¯ hidden cameras investigate cleanlin
11/17. Canada's Mad Cow Costs Industry C$3.3 Billion-Study
11/17. Drug fear prompts call for honey tests
11/17. Super C warns of metal in food
11/17. [FOODSAFE] new USDA Consumer Food Safety and Food Security G
11/17. Hungarian researchers find substitute for antibiotics to spu
11/17. Green Onions Pulled From Menus
11/17. FDA following Hepatitis A outbreaks

11/16. Workshop on animal feed in relation to human foodborne illne
11/16. QAI launches food security program
11/16. E. coli best practices unveiled
11/16. AMI rebuts Nebraska cancer study
11/16. Focus on safety at FiE
11/16. Food from cloned animals, the debate goes on

11/15. Oxoid Further Extends Prepared Media Range with New Oxoid Tu
11/15. Small-molecule inhibitors of botulinum neurotoxin identified
11/15. In fight against outbreaks, green onions present layered res
11/15. Food Safety Tips for Holiday Meals
11/15. Reuse Your Water Bottle? Better Think Twice
11/15. Image Experts Say Mexican Restaurant Chain Needs Help to Rec
11/15. Belgian schools in food safety alert

11/14. Food inspectors probing nutritional supplements
11/14. Rat Poison: Murder Weapon of Choice in Rural China
11/14. The Joy of Giving Food Safely
11/14. Food Safety and Security: What Consumers Need to Know
11/14. FDA Advises Consumers That Recent Hepatitis A Outbreaks Have Been Associated With
11/14. USDA Announces New Food Safety And Security Guidelines For Consumers
11/14. Inocuidad Alimentaria y Seguridad Alimentaria: Lo que Deben Saber los Consumidores

Current Recall Information

Toxicological Principles for the Safety of Food Ingredients: Redbook 2000
Questions and Answers on Hepatitis A Outbreaks
USDA Hotline: A Food Safety Resource for Millions
USDA Hotline: A Food Safety Resource for Millions [Espanol]

Food Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting
FDA Advises Consumers That Recent Hepatitis A Outbreaks Have Been Associated With Onions
USDA Announces New Food Safety And Security Guidelines For Consumers
Food Safety and Security: What Consumers Need to Know

Current Outbreaks
11/18. Gastroenteritis, staphylococcal - China (Guangzhou)
11/17. Hepatitis A, schools - Russia (Ekaterinburg)
11/17. Miserable illness is hitting harder

11/16. Tally of salmonella victims rises to 35
11/16. Kodiak illnesses are salmonella
11/15. Bennington Rallying Around 2-Year-Old E. coli Patient
11/15. Community Is Reeling From Hepatitis Outbreak
11/14. HC seeks report on food poisoning in hostel for blind
11/14. Poison scare spoils wedding festivities
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 ?

Current New Methods
11/18. Microsens announces licensing of its unique prion disease di
11/17. New Company Targets E.coli O157:H7 Contamination in Cattle w
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
11/03. Lab-on-a-CD Developed for Use in Space Station
10/31. FDA approves peanut detection kits