viernes, 5 de diciembre de 2014

Bacteria Spell Out Dutch Food Safety Education Campaign

The Netherlands Nutrition Centre launched a new food safety campaign in November with a little typographic help from bacteria.

For their five educational posters posted across the country, the Centre grew bacteria into the shape of words. Microbial samples from the dishcloths, vegetables and cutting boards of ordinary Dutch kitchens were cultured and photographed for the project.

Foodborne illnesses affect about 700,000 Dutch each year, and the goal of the campaign, entitled “Ziekmakers zie je niet” (“You can’t see what makes you ill”), was to help make invisible bacteria visible to consumers.

Translated into English, the five steps for safely preparing food at home featured on the posters were:
§  Buy refrigerated products that last.
§  Wash your dishcloth every day.
§  Cut meat on a separate cutting board.
§  Stir food you heat in the microwave.
§  Set your refrigerator at 4 degrees C (about 39 degrees F).

More than 2,000 posters appeared across the country in outdoor spaces such as bus shelters for the first week of the campaign, followed by 500 in the second week.

The campaign also ran online banners showing time-lapses of the bacterial growth, overtook the homepage of Dutch news website, and created a video about the making of the posters.

Source: Food Safety News

miércoles, 3 de diciembre de 2014

USA Study: Most Would Accept Nanotechnology, Genetic Modification in Food for Nutrition, Safety

“New technology rejecters” wouldn’t buy GM or nanotech foods under any circumstances and encompassed 18 percent of survey participants.

The study was conducted in four consumer groups: ‘Price Oriented/Technology Adopters’, ‘Technology Averse’, ‘Benefit Oriented’, and ‘New Technology Rejecters’.

Each consumer group has a distinctive demographic background, which generates deeper insights into the diversified public acceptance of nano-food and GM food.
The results obtained suggests that most consumers will accept nanotechnology or genetic modification technology in their food if it will enhance nutrition or improve safety.

The researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of Minnesota conducted a nationally representative survey of 1,117 U.S. consumers. They asked about their willingness to purchase genetically modified (GM) food and foods containing nanotech and qualifiers such as price, enhanced nutrition, improved taste and improved safety, and whether the food’s production had environmental benefits.

The results were published in the Journal of Agricultural Economics and showed that consumers are generally willing to pay more to avoid these technologies in their food, but that they are more accepting of it if there are health and safety benefits.

The researchers divided participants into four groups. The first were the “price-oriented,” who tend to base their decisions in grocery store aisles on the food’s cost regardless of the presence of the technologies. This group made up 23 percent of those surveyed.

The “technology averse” would buy GM or nanotech foods only if those products conveyed food safety benefits. They made up 19 percent of the participants.
Forty percent of participants fit into the “benefit-oriented” group, which would buy GM or nanotech foods if they had enhanced nutrition or were safer.

The study showed that GM or nanotech food products have greater potential to be viable in the marketplace if companies focus on developing products that have safety and nutrition benefits, said Dr. Jennifer Kuzma, senior author of the paper on the research and co-director of the Genetic Engineering in Society Center at NC State. “From a policy standpoint, it also argues that GM and nanotech foods should be labeled, so that the technology rejecters can avoid them.”

Source: Journal of Agricultural Economics, doi: 10.1111/1477-9552.12090

martes, 2 de diciembre de 2014

China food and drug administration announces list of accredited testing agencies for health foods

The additional 22 testing agencies will be responsible for evaluation and testing of both indigenous and imported health foods.
The CFDA has announced the updated list of accredited testing agencies for Health Food efficacy testing. On the 5th of August the CFDA announced a further 22 governmentally sanctioned testing Institutes that have been selected for testing and scientific substantiation of the 27 health claims permissible under Chinese regulations bringing the total number of accredited testing institutes to 32.  
In addition to approving the testing institutes listed below the selection of The National Centre for Food Safety Risk assessment was also made.

The testing institutes have been selected based on their testing capabilities. China requires pre-market approval of health food by CFDA and only testing reports from CFDA-accredited agencies will be accepted for registration.

The additional 22 testing agencies will be responsible for evaluation and testing of both indigenous and imported health foods. Each registered testing agency will be accredited to carry out testing for a period of 5 years beginning on October 5th 2013. The battery of tests available at each agency corresponds to its testing capabilities, so dependent on the specific claim being tested only certain 

Institutes will suffice. It is therefore extremely important to verify the range of tests available at each Institute.


EU authorities propose moratorium on the use of nanomaterials in foods

The Committee also amended the existing definition of nanomaterials.

On November 24, 2014, the European Parliament (EP) Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) considered draft legislation concerning novel foods.  The Committee amended the draft legislation, proposing a moratorium on the use of nanomaterials in food based on the precautionary principle. 

The Committee approved the amended draft legislation by a vote of 57-4, with two abstentions.  EP Member James Nicholson (ECR, UK), who is steering the legislation through the EP, stated that he was not completely satisfied with the vote.  According to Nicholson, it is “essential that cloning and nanomaterials be dealt with separately.” 

The Committee’s press release states that foods for which production processes require risk assessments, including nanomaterials, should not be authorized until they are approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).  The press release notes that “[s]pecial attention should also be paid to food packaging containing nanomaterials, to prevent them migrating into food.”  In addition, in line with the precautionary principle, all novel food should also be subject to post-market monitoring. 

The Committee amended the existing definition of nanomaterials to bring it in line with EFSA recommendations, and dropped the threshold for a food ingredient to qualify as “nano” from the European Commission’s proposed 50 percent to ten percent. 

The Committee unanimously approved a mandate for Nicholson to begin negotiations with the Council of Ministers, with one abstention.  The Council has yet to adopt its negotiating position.


lunes, 1 de diciembre de 2014

FDA Warning Letters: Excessive Drug Levels Top List of Latest Food Problems

Presences of chemical and inadequate control for growth of harmful bacteria are major problems.
Illegal levels of drug residues in food animals topped the list of problems with food producers in the latest round of warning letters from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for alleged violations of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

FDA stated that Floyd Raber of Millersburg, OH, sold a veal calf for slaughter that contained a drug, sulfamethoxazole, which has no acceptable level in calves sold for veal. Because of this, investigators determined that the meat was adulterated, according to the law, and that the firm held animals under conditions that would lead to unwanted drugs entering the food supply.

Health investigators stated that they found another veal calf sold with unacceptable levels of another drug, sulfamethazine, at Martin Star Dairy of Stevens, PA. That drug also has no acceptable levels in veal calves, thus rending the meat adulterated and classifying the firm as holding animals under conditions that allow for unacceptable drugs to enter the food supply, FDA stated.
Pleasant View Dairy of Dyersville, IA, was found to have sold a steer for slaughter with excessive levels of florfenicol, another regulated drug. FDA also stated that the firm had used another drug, Nuflor, in a way that was not directed by its approved labeling.

Walnut Creek Kitchens of Walnut Creek, OH, received warnings from the agency for allegedly selling adulterated food and misbranded food. First, the firm’s smoked cheeses produced on June 10 and 11, 2014, were found to be held overnight for 12-16 hours at 68-69 degrees F, outside the range of refrigeration, thus rendering them vulnerable to bacterial growth, FDA stated.

Health investigators also detected falsely and misleadingly branded products. The firm’s smoked cheese products claimed to be “smoked,” but really did not go through a smoking process and instead received a liquid smoke applied to the surface of the cheese, the agency stated. Instead of “smoked,” appropriate labels would include “with added smoke flavor,” “smoke flavored ”or“ natural smoke flavor,” FDA stated.

Pagano’s, a seafood processor in Norwalk, CT, was found to have “serious violations” of seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations. A number of the firm’s products, including cold-smoked salmon and caviar, were held in transit for excessive amounts of time and therefore considered inadequate to control for growth of harmful bacteria, FDA stated.
Companies who receive FDA warning letters are asked to respond within 15 working days outlining steps they will take to correct the stated violations.

Source:© Food Safety News

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