jueves, 27 de noviembre de 2014

Bean sprouts tainted with banned additive are again found in China

The additive enhanced the appearance and shortened the growing cycle of the bean sprouts, driving up profits.
The additive enhanced the appearance and shortened the growing cycle of the bean sprouts, driving up profits. Bean sprouts are back in the news for all the wrong reasons. Not for the first time, Chinese inspectors have found bean sprouts tainted with a banned food additive, in this instance in a production center on the southern outskirts of Beijing.
The sprouts being produced at the site in Daxing district were treated with high levels of 6-benzyladenine, a plant hormone, to speed up the growth cycle and make them more attractive to buyers, The Beijing News reported this week. But the chemical can also harm consumers’ health, it said, causing premature puberty, disrupting menstrual cycles and contributing to osteoporosis.
Up to 20 tons of sprouts a day were sold to wholesale dealers in Beijing and in Hebei and Shandong Provinces, the newspaper said. Since the Beijing food and drug authorities conducted their spot check on Nov. 2, the Daxing site has been shut down and three associated vendors have been ordered to halt operations. The case remains under investigation, but no arrests have been reported.
Bean sprouts are a popular staple in China, commonly seen in food stalls, supermarkets and restaurants. But they have also been caught up in food safety scares. In 2011, the discovery of sprouts drenched in hormones, bleaching powder and preservatives in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, resulted in the arrests of 12 people. Last year, the Beijing municipal government issued a health advisory with tips to the public on how to detect unsafe bean sprouts.
The Beijing bean sprout industry, which produces about 300 tons a day, is dominated by small workshops and family businesses, many of which operate in an unsanitary environment, The Beijing News said. Government oversight has also suffered at times from confusion over whether bean sprouts are “agricultural produce,” since they are not grown in the ground. In August, the Beijing government circulated draft regulations to tighten supervision over the production of bean sprouts. The regulations will take effect on Jan. 1, and they will require all sprout-producing sites to have a government license.

Autoridades de salud de Chile suspenden Laboratorio Difem Pharma por contaminación con Serratia marcescens.

Las atoridades enfatizaron que hoy no se puede asegurar la calidad de los productos del laboratorio.

El Subsecretario de Salud Pública, Jaime Burrows y la Directora (s) del Instituto de Salud Pública, Pamela Milla, informaron de la suspensión de faenas y distribución de los productos farmacéuticos  del Laboratorio Difem Pharma, debido a la identificación de la contaminación producido con Serratia marcescens.

La medida se tomó tras la confirmación de esto y tras una visita a las instalaciones que hizo un completo muestreo de las materias primas de líneas de producción y del agua usada para la fabricación de productos farmacéuticos en la planta de La Reina.

La decisión se tomó luego de instruirse, por parte de las autoridades una cuarentena al laboratorio, tras las denuncias al ISP y la investigación llevada a cabo.

El Subsecretario Burrows concluyó que existe contaminación por Serratia marcescens en el agua utilizada en la producción de los productos que se elaboran en el establecimiento, lo que representa un grave riesgo para la salud de la población, debido a que cualquier producto proveniente de esa planta puede estar contaminado. Asimismo, se informó que se retirarán  todos los productos del laboratorio, tanto los de uso hospitalario como los de expendio en farmacias.

La Directora (s) del  ISP, Pamela Milla recomendó a los prestadores de atención en salud la suspensión de uso de los siguientes productos, hasta que se realice el alzamiento de la medida:
Entre los 9 productos retirados o en cuarentena se encuentran: Dichlorexan, Diperox, Povisept, Triclosán y  Povidona yodada, Polividona yodada, Vaselina líquida y varios tipos de Agua oxigenada.

Asimismo, agregó que se procederá a retirar y destruir todos los productos del laboratorio como una medida preventiva dado el riesgo que representa esta contaminación.

En la mayoría de los pacientes que originaron la notificación se produjo infección, dado que es un antiséptico que se ocupa antes de operar y hacer cirugía a pacientes. Por lo tanto, el primer lugar de riesgo, y donde se produjeron las infecciones, es en el área operatoria, pero también hubo algunos pacientes que presentaron infecciones más generalizadas.

Aporte: Francisca Castro

EFSA publish the Campylobacter contamination rates from retailers in the UK

One fifth (18%) chickens showed Campylobacter counts above 1,000 CFU/g.
In total, 1,995 samples of fresh whole chilled chickens have been tested, data shows variations between retailers but none are meeting the end­ of­ production reduction target, said the FSA.
The agency said the food industry, especially retailers; need to do more to reduce the amount of Campylobacter on fresh chicken.
Retail performance:  FSA showed that Supermarket Asda was the worst performing with 78% of skin samples positive for the pathogen out of 312 samples.
Tesco has the lowest rate of samples testing positive with 64% of the 607 samples, 11% above the highest level of contamination and 3% of pack samples contaminated.

The British Poultry Council (BPC) said it viewed the release of retail survey data as another step to reduce the number of cases of food poisoning by raising awareness amongst consumers. The data released from six months of sampling shows that all producers and retailers have levels in the same range. The difference between upper and lower in overall level of Campylobacter in flocks is not statistically significant when examined against confidence intervals. This reinforces how universal and challenging the i

BRC reaction, the executive director, Richard Lloyd, said supermarket bosses should hang their heads in shame. These results are a damning indictment of supermarkets and consumers will be rightly shocked at the failure of trusted household brands to stem the tide of increasingly high levels of Campylobacter. It’s now vital that the industry cleans up its act and works hard to restore consumer confidence. Supermarkets should not only publish effective plans that tackle these scandalously high levels, but also demonstrate they’re taking real action to make chicken safe.

A survey from the consumer group reveals people are concerned about levels of Campylobacter in chicken sold at supermarkets, with the majority saying it is too high. It found six in ten consumers (61%) expressed concern about the high levels; with three­quarters (77%) saying they thought they were too high. More than half (55%) thought that there wasn’t enough information regarding levels of Campylobacter in chicken.

martes, 25 de noviembre de 2014

UK Survey Finds Campylobacter on 59 Percent of Chicken

Campylobacter is the most common form of food poisoning in the U.K
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the U.K. has published its first-quarter results from a survey of Campylobacter on fresh whole store-bought chickens and the associated packaging.
The agency found that 59 percent of the birds and 4 percent of the outside of the packaging tested positive.

Campylobacter is the most common form of food poisoning in the U.K., affecting an estimated 280,000 people each year. FSA estimates that four of five cases come from contaminated poultry.
British officials hope that interventions such as improved biosecurity on farms, rapid surface chilling and antimicrobial washes will help reduce the pathogen’s prevalence.
The survey is running from February 2014 to February 2015 and will test 4,000 samples. The first quarter included 853 samples.

Catherine Brown, FSA chief executive, said that the survey “will give us a clearer picture of the prevalence of Campylobacter on raw poultry sold at retail and help us measure the impact of interventions introduced by producers, processors, and retailers to reduce contamination.”

When first announcing the survey, FSA stated that the agency would published findings at a store-specific level — to “name and shame” supermarkets and processors. In late July, the agency walked back from that pledge, deciding instead to wait until the entire survey is completed and publish all the names next summer.

A consumer organization is calling for FSA to stick to its initial plan and publish the names of retailers “so that consumers are aware of the best and worst performing shops.”

To avoid Campylobacter infection, FSA reminds consumers to cook chicken thoroughly, avoid washing it, store it at the bottom of the fridge so juices don’t drip onto other foods, and wash hands frequently, along with all utensils, chopping boards and surfaces used to prepare raw chicken.

Source: © Food Safety News

Finland poultry system is strong but could be improved

Excessive splashing of water on the slaughter line close to exposed meat should be avoided.
Related topics: Regulation and safety, Meat, fish and poultry, HACCP, Cleaning and hygiene Finland’s control system for poultry meat and products is organized and has extensive guidelines but still could improve, according to the Food and Veterinary Office

The audit team was told that 103,544 tons of chicken meat and edible offal of chicken and 7,400 tons of turkey meat and edible offal of turkey were produced in Finland in 2013. There have been no RASFF notifications for Finish poultry meat and products since the beginning of 2008.

Fails in Hygiene operations:
1    Work layout could not ensure against cross contamination (incoming unpackaged meat was transported through the place of storage of final product, a cutting room used as a passage for incoming packaged meat).
2    Excessive splashing of water on the slaughter line close to exposed meat, chemicals, wrapping materials, spices and food additives stored together and in close proximity and liquid mixes of spices stored despite best before dates having expired were also found.
3    In terms of maintenance, the audit found an example in the slicing room of final RTE product of damaged and rusty equipment in close proximity to exposed product and in contact with wrapping material of this product.

HACCP controls: In meat processing plants visited critical control points (CCPs) such as heat treatment points, use of nitrites in meat products, smoking process and contamination with Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and storage temperatures of final products were adequately monitored.
In one cutting plant the temperature of chilled meat monitored by the FBO as a CCP in its HACCP plan was repeatedly and frequently above the limit of 4ºC. The corrective action, the addition of ice was always used. In other case the temperature of meat was not monitored during production with cutting and meat preparations production. This element was not included in establishment’s HACCP system.

All sites had a comprehensive sampling plan and analyses were carried out mostly in compliance. But non­conformities were also observed.
In one site, according to own check sampling records, one sample was taken instead of the five required when final products (fresh cut meat and MSM) were sampled for.

Source: FoodQuality News.com

jueves, 20 de noviembre de 2014

Revolutionizing traceability DNA barcodes track the food, not the package.

Food producers will be able to spray unique DNA barcodes directly onto food to improve traceability.
DNA Trax (DNA Tagged Reagents for Aerosol Experiments (DNA TRAX), was originally developed alongside a US government agency for biosecurity purposes, but its creators saw a need for better traceability in the food industry. This new technology would replace the way weeks we use to identify the origin of tainted foods, DNA Trax can provide information within minutes.
‘Barcodes’ on food, not packaging, DNATrax can be sprayed directly onto food. Each set of microparticles has a unique DNA ‘barcode.’ By taking a swab of the surface, traceability information can be obtained from the food itself.

The technology was developed by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (a US national security facility with research areas including counterterrorism and defense). It has been licensed to DNATrax, which is working with producers and partners to identify its first commercial customers in the food industry.

DNATrax is a versatile material containing food-based microparticles that can be used for the safe and effective detection and tracking of aerosol releases in both interior and exterior environments. By combining FDA-approved sugars, and a unique non-biological DNA bar code, a microparticle that simulates the aerosols compromising the air around us was produced. 

Traceability in a matter of minutes: DNATrax solves this problem by putting the traceability information directly on the produce. If there is a piece of produce left somewhere, even in the trash, traceability information can be recovered. A simple swab of the surface and an off-the-shelf instrument will decode the traceability information in a matter of minutes.”
The DNA barcodes comprise of around 100 DNA bases of synthetically produced nucleic acid, copied from genes unique to a deep-sea organism (and consequently one unlikely to be found in day-to-day conditions). A nearly unlimited variety of different ‘barcodes’ can be developed.

DNATrax can be sprayed directly onto food or mixed in with liquid or dry goods, the technology could, theoretically be applied to any foodstuff, although there may be practical limitations due to conditions in the supply chain.

Source: http://globalbiodefense.com/2013/10/10/dna-tagged-reagents-for-aerosol-experiments/#sthash.K7EAKUqq.dpuf

lunes, 17 de noviembre de 2014

Nuevo brote de gastroenteritis de la compañía Carnival en un año

El crucero turístico atracó en California con 170 pasajeros con gastroenteritis por Norovirus
Un crucero de Carnival Corporation atracado en California con unos 170 pasajeros y miembros de la tripulación  resultaron afectados por gastroenteritis causada por un Norovirus. Este sería el segundo brote de este virus altamente contagioso que se registra en menos de un año en un crucero de esta compañía, propietaria del trasatlántico Crown Princess. En este caso la nave transportaba a más de 4.100 personas en un crucero que partió hace casi un mes desde Los Ángeles e incluyó escalas en Hawái y Tahití. El pasado abril, 140 personas a bordo de otro crucero de la misma compañía enfermaron por el Norovirus.
El creciente número de casos de enfermedad gastrointestinal ha llevado a la empresa naviera a poner en marcha nuevos protocolos de desinfección conforme a lo dispuesto por el Centro de Control de Enfermedades y Prevención (CDC) de EEUU. Recién desembarcado el crucero fue sometido a una profunda limpieza antes de embarcar para su siguiente viaje. Llama la atención queeEn los últimos años se han registrado varios brotes por Norovirus en una docena de líneas de cruceros turísticos de EEUU. Los brotes son desagradables pero habituales cuando un número alto de personas se ve confinado en un área pequeña, con una higiene deficiente de las manos y comida estilo buffet, afirman los expertos.
El Norovirus es la causa más común de contagio de enfermedad gastrointestinal, con síntomas como náuseas, vómitos y diarrea.
El CDC que cada año se registran unos 20 millones de casos de norovirus en EEUU, de los que entre 570 y 800 son mortales. El virus normalmente desaparece al tercer día.
Aporte: Francisca Castro

miércoles, 12 de noviembre de 2014

Connecticut Public Health Agencies Won’t Name Restaurant in Salmonella Outbreak

Multiple cases of Salmonella poisoning were confirmed but not reported to the community.

When John Snow traced the London Vibrio cholerae epidemic of 1854 to a local well, he removed the pump handle so all would know the source of the fatal disease when it ceased to plague the city. Removing that pump handle is still remembered today because it represented public health’s first major victory.

But it seems this act would be illegal today in Connecticut. Here’s the story:
Both the Orange, CT Health Department and the Connecticut Department of Public Health have declined to tell  if a closed restaurant was responsible for sickening a local resident with Salmonella enterica serovar Schwarzengrund. This serovar is the predominant cause of salmonellosis in Southeast Asia, a major source of imported food products to the United States.

 Affected consumer’s eat slices of chicken pizza at Oregano Joe’s on Boston Post Road in Orange for his illness, symptoms included a 104-degree fever, extreme diarrhea and vomiting. Some patients spent almost a week in the Intensive Care Unit at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and were told by one of his doctors they were suffering from a severe case caused by Salmonella intoxication.  Another patient at the hospital with the same Salmonella symptoms reportedly also ate at Oregano Joe’s restaurant.

Available reports showed that the restaurant was closed twice by the Orange Health Department, once on May 30 for one day and then again on June 20 for five weeks. However, the local health department won’t say why it closed the establishment and won’t say if there is a link between the illnesses and the restaurant closures.

Both the local and state health departments say state law prevents them from sharing the information they have with the public. On the contrary the local police report quoted the owner as saying his eatery was shut down ‘due to multiple confirmed cases of S Salmonella enterica serovar Schwarzengrund  poisoning.This serovar is remarkably disposed to nosocomial spread, and presents a unique opportunity to identify factors that facilitate this important type of transmission. 

This is relevant since spread of multidrug-resistant S. Schwarzengrund from chickens to persons has been reported in Thailand, and from imported Thai food products to persons in Denmark and the United States. 

martes, 11 de noviembre de 2014

In Wake of Outbreak, Foster Farms Outlines New Salmonella Plan

They are going to expend $75 million towards reducing Salmonella in its raw products.
Foster Farms, the California-based poultry company whose chicken was the source of a recent 17-month Salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 600 people, has announced a new plan to control contamination of its product.
The processor’s new program, unveiled Friday at the Delmarva Poultry Industry’s National Meeting on Poultry Health, will put $75 million towards reducing Salmonella in its raw products. The plan was developed in anticipation of new government microbiological standards for raw poultry parts, due to be announced soon, said Dr. Robert O’Connor, senior vice president for technical services Foster Farms.
The new strategy will center on an intensive data collection and analysis regimen.
The five-part plan will include the following elements:
- Collaboration and information sharing with all stakeholders, including regulatory agencies. The company has formed an advisory board to validate its methods.
- Extensive data collection: Sampling for Salmonella will be done on the ranch and throughout processing. The company has an internal lab, in which it plans to double testing from 80,000 tests to 160,000 tests per year.
- Analysis of internal data to identify trends at individual ranches and factors at different locations that could influence contamination.
- Acting on data: The Company has established new procedures for environmental control in and around ranch houses to prevent spreading of Salmonella between flocks.
- Measuring results: According to O’Connell, Foster Farms is continuously measuring Salmonella levels at all stages of production and has recorded a continuous decline of Salmonella levels in packaged parts over the last seven months.
Between March 1, 2013 and July 11, 2014, 634 infections of multidrug-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg were linked to raw chicken products from Foster Farms in 29 states.
Foster Farms’ chicken was also the source of a 13-state outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg that sickened 134 people, mostly in Washington and Oregon, between June 2012 and April 2013.

Source: © Food Safety News

lunes, 10 de noviembre de 2014

China Lifts Suspension on Washington State Apples

United States and China continue to work to normalize trade in apples.
US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that China is lifting its suspension of red and golden delicious apple imports from Washington State. The Chinese market for Washington apples was valued at $6.5 million in calendar year 2011.
"USDA employees worked closely with the apple industry and China over a long period of time to achieve this market access," said Secretary Tom Vilsack. "We continue cultivating a strong relationship with China and paving the way for future bilateral trading opportunities."
In 2012, China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) suspended access for Washington red and golden delicious apples due to the repeated interception of three apple pests AQSIQ considers significant: speck rot, bull's-eye rot, and Sphaeropsis rot. To lift this suspension, USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) worked with the U.S. apple industry to develop additional safeguarding measures that address China's concerns about these pests. Some of these new measures include cold storage of apples and visual inspection of apples prior to shipping to ensure there is no evidence of disease. USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service also worked closely with industry stakeholders to ensure the successful outcome.
This market access success comes as the United States and China continue to work to normalize trade in apples. Ongoing efforts include negotiating access for all U.S. apples to the Chinese market, as well as the safe U.S. importation of apples grown in China.
USDA remains a strong partner and advocate in the international marketplace, working with foreign governments and international regulatory or standard-setting organizations to ensure the smooth flow of international trade. Strong agricultural exports contribute to a positive U.S. trade balance, create jobs, boost economic growth and support President Obama's National Export Initiative goal of doubling all U.S. exports by the end of 2014. APHIS also ensures that all imported agricultural products meet the Agency's entry requirements to exclude pests and diseases of agriculture.
Source: USDA http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2014/10/0245.xml&navid=NEWS_RELEASE&navtype=RT&parentnav=LATEST_RELEASES&edeployment_action=retrievecontent