martes, 25 de diciembre de 2007
Sixty-one percent of Americans are worried or very worried about food and product safety, and 55 percent say they are more worried today than a year ago, according to a survey by legal information services provider Thomson West.The survey, which examined consumer feelings about a range of products including food, toys and home appliances, found that 61 percent of respondents are worried about the safety of food. The only product category that prompted more safety concern was medicine, which 64 percent of consumers said they are worried about.Twenty-seven percent of survey respondents said they have owned a recalled food product. Thomson West's survey results echo the findings of an exclusive survey conducted by Meatingplace and POULTRY, which discovered that 34 percent of consumers are less confident about the overall safety of the U.S. meat supply than they were five years ago. (See Exclusive: Survey suggests fraying consumer confidence in meat safety on Meatingplace.com, Dec. 17, 2007.)
Source: Meatingplace.comAporte: Guillermo Figueroa
Although most consumers indicate a proficient working knowledge of safe food handling practices, they don't always put that knowledge into action, according to an exclusive survey conducted by POULTRY and its sister publication Meatingplace. The majority of respondents, for example, recognize that USDA recommends cooking fresh poultry to at a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F. At the same time, 63 percent of consumers said they rarely or never use a meat thermometer to ensure the product is properly cooked. One third of respondents said they could tell if a meat or poultry product was cooked just by looking at it.Sixty-one percent follow recommended guidelines to defrost frozen product in the refrigerator, and 59 percent said they regularly read a package's preparation directions. But 40 percent rarely or never read safe-handling instructions.The publications conducted a survey in November of about 600 primary food purchasers nationwide via Zoomerang.com to gauge consumer actions and attitudes. "With the risk of food-borne illness so dependent on food-handling practices, we wanted to gauge what consumers know, or think they know, about handling fresh meat and poultry," said Bill McDowell, vice president of editorial for the magazines. "We were surprised by the results. Consumers actually know more one might guess. The problem is, they don't always do what they should. This gap reveals both a need and opportunity for the industry to accelerate its education and outreach efforts."
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa
viernes, 21 de diciembre de 2007
Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson Foods Inc. on Thursday said the company and USDA have agreed to change the wording in its "raised without antibiotics" chicken program.The wording will now read: "Chicken Raised Without Antibiotics that impact antibiotic resistance in humans." It is a compromise reached after six weeks of consumer research and discussion, Tyson officials said. "We once again turned to consumers for their guidance and they told us this label more clearly conveys our chickens are not raised with any feed ingredients that could contribute to antibiotic resistance in humans," Dave Hogberg, senior vice president of Consumer Products Marketing for Tyson Foods, said in a news release. "The new labeling allows us to continue producing Raised Without Antibiotics chicken, which nine out of 10 consumers say is important to them."Tyson began the process of modifying the label in November after USDA notified the company that the agency considers ionophores, which Tyson uses in its chicken feed, as an antibiotic. Tyson said it plans to continue using ionophores, a federally approved feed ingredient used to help prevent an intestinal illness in chicken. They are not used in human medicine and don't contribute to developing antibiotic resistance to important human drugs.
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa
jueves, 20 de diciembre de 2007
martes, 18 de diciembre de 2007
A pesar de los avances hechos en el campo de la comida espacial, mucho más amplia y con mejor sabor que los primeros alimentos orbitales, uno de los retos actuales es facilitar, especialmente en misiones largas, alimentos frescos. Y es que hasta ahora lo que ha primado en la alimentación de los astronautas ha sido la seguridad, higiene y calidad de los alimentos, dejando de lado los aspectos más organolépticos. Los países que hasta el momento desarrollan alimentos para este fin son EE.UU. y Rusia.
lunes, 17 de diciembre de 2007
A 7-year-old girl is Myanmar's (Birmania) first human case of the potentially deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu, the World Health Organization confirmed.
The girl, who is from Shan state in the eastern part of the country, became ill in November and has since recovered.
WHO is investigating how she was infected. An outbreak of H5N1 in poultry was reported in Shan state around the time she became sick. So far, all of the people who came in contact with the girl are healthy.
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa
sábado, 15 de diciembre de 2007
Crohn's is a condition that affects one in 800 people in the UK and causes chronic intestinal inflammation, leading to pain, bleeding and diarrhoea.The team found that a bacterium called Mycobacterium paratuberculosis releases a molecule that prevents a type of white blood cell from killing E.coli bacteria found in the body. E.coli is known to be present within Crohn’s disease tissue in increased numbers.
It is thought that the Mycobacteria make their way into the body’s system via cows’ milk and other dairy products. In cattle it can cause an illness called Johne's disease - a wasting, diarrhoeal condition. Until now, however, it has been unclear how this bacterium could trigger intestinal inflammation in humans.
Professor Jon Rhodes, from the University’s School of Clinical Sciences, explains: “Mycobacterium paratuberculosis has been found within Crohn’s disease tissue but there has been much controversy concerning its role in the disease. We have now shown that these Mycobacteria release a complex molecule containing a sugar, called mannose. This molecule prevents a type of white blood cells, called macrophages, from killing internalised E.coli.”
Scientists have previously shown that people with Crohn’s disease have increased numbers of a ‘sticky’ type of E.coli and weakened ability to fight off intestinal bacteria. The suppressive effect of the Mycobacterial molecule on this type of white blood cell suggests it is a likely mechanism for weakening the body’s defence against the bacteria.
Professor Rhodes added: "We also found that this bacterium is a likely trigger for a circulating antibody protein (ASCA) that is found in about two thirds of patients with Crohn's disease, suggesting that these people may have been infected by the Mycobacterium."The team is beginning clinical trials to assess whether an antibiotic combination can be used to target the bacteria contained in white blood cells as a possible treatment for Crohn’s disease.
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa
Wild pink salmon around the Broughton Archipelago are declining rapidly and will die out within 10 years if no action is taken, say researchers. They say the data, published in Science, raises serious concerns about the global expansion of aquaculture. Sea lice from farms [aquaculture farms - Mod.TG] are known to infect wild salmon, but until now the impact on wild populations has been uncertain.
"The impact is so severe that the viability of the wild salmon populations is threatened," said lead researcher Martin Krkosek from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.
Using a mathematical model of population growth rates, they show that sea lice from industrial fish farms are reducing the numbers of wild pink salmon -- a Pacific salmon species -- to the extent that the fish could be locally extinct in 8 years or less.
Natural parasites: Scientists say commercial open-net salmon farms are a "haven" for sea lice -- naturally occurring parasites that attach to the skin and muscle of salmon. Mature fish can survive being infested by a few lice but tiny juvenile salmon are particularly vulnerable to attack. They come into contact with sea lice when they swim past fish farms on their migratory routes from rivers to the sea.
The report in Science has implications for other parts of the world where salmon is farmed, such as Norway and Scotland. Other species of salmon are known to become infected with sea lice, but they vary in their ability to withstand this.
lunes, 10 de diciembre de 2007
Una de las principales conclusiones de este seminario es que el 2008 sea reconocido como el año de la innovación y el desarrollo tecnológico para el sector agro-alimentario y forestal de nuestro país, según señaló el Ministro Rojas en su intervención.
En este sentido, el ministro destacó la labor que está desarrollando en conjunto con Fundación Chile, el INTA de la Universidad de Chile y la Facultad de Ingeniería de la Universidad Católica respecto del Diagnóstico de las Capacidades Chilenas para la Innovación en el Sector Alimentario con miras al 2015. En uno de los aspectos principales de su discurso Rojas insistió en la necesidad de mejorar la oferta del país, siempre respetando los mayores estándares de calidad e inocuidad. Para esto es fundamental que tanto el estado como las empresas del sector realicen una fuerte inversión que permita aumentar la competitividad y el procesamiento de los alimentos, con lo que se podrá optar a mayores ingresos.
Los antimicrobianos son sustancias naturales o sintéticas, orgánicas o inorgánicas, que inhiben el crecimiento de los microorganismos (bacterias y hongos y levaduras, virus, protozoos). Su eficacia depende de parámetros como su concentración, tipo de microorganismo y de sustrato además de temperatura, pH, humedad y niveles de oxígeno. Para ser eficaces, los iones de plata deben interaccionar con el microorganismo y penetrar en él. La plata se introduce en el interior de la célula a través de unos transportadores de metales presentes en su membrana compitiendo con ellos por los lugares de captación.
Los iones de plata actúan interfiriendo en la permeabilidad gaseosa de la membrana (respiración celular) y una vez en el interior de la célula, alteran su sistema enzimático, inhibiendo su metabolismo y producción de energía y modificando su material genético. El resultado es que el microorganismo pierde rápidamente toda capacidad de crecer y reproducirse. De esta manera se evita el desarrollo de microorganismos patógenos como 'Salmonella', 'Legionella', 'Escherichia coli' y 'Staphylococcus aureus', entre otros.
Una de las virtudes de la plata es que constituye un antimicrobiano de amplio espectro. La plata iónica destruye las bacterias, hongos, virus y protozoos, aunque es menos activa frente a microorganismos más resistentes, como las esporas. Además, los estudios revelan que es muy poco probable que los microorganismos desarrollen algún tipo de resistencia al tratamiento. Son ecológicos, permanentes y no contaminantes. Los iones de plata quedan atrapados en un sustrato matriz o film protector desde donde actúan. A diferencia de otros productos desinfectantes químicos, su actividad es continua y duradera, no eliminándose a través de la limpieza del producto tratado. Además, su efecto es limpio e inocuo para otros seres vivos. No tienen efectos tóxicos en las células humanas 'in vivo'.
En el ámbito alimentario, el tratamiento por iones de plata se está aplicando actualmente a neveras domésticas, máquinas de hielo, papeles y envases alimentarios, tablas y cuchillos, superficies, cintas transportadoras y maquinaria de la industria agroalimentaria, jabones líquidos para el lavado de manos a base de óxido de plata, productos de limpieza profesional junto con el agua oxigenada. Todas estas aplicaciones están relacionadas con los alimentos, e impiden que los microorganismos crezcan y se desarrollen, por lo que son un factor más para tener en cuenta en el cada día más exigente campo de la seguridad alimentaria.
Aporte: Cristián López H.
miércoles, 5 de diciembre de 2007
They are often overlooked, and were once thought to be too small to contribute much to major cellular processes, but in recent years the study of small ribonucleic acids (sRNA) has gained momentum. Now a team from the University of Illinois has identified the unique metabolic activities of one of these bit players, a 200-nucleotide-long RNA molecule in bacteria called SgrS.
This molecule is one of about 80 known small RNAs common to many bacteria. It got its name for its role in sugar metabolism (SgrS is an acronym for sugar-related stress). When a bacterium such as Escherichia coli has taken up enough – or too much – glucose from its surroundings, SgrS helps stop the transport of glucose molecules across the cell membrane.
In trying to tease out how SgrS performs this task, researchers discovered that the molecule performs dual roles, both of which inhibit the transport of glucose into the cell. One region of the RNA molecule binds to a messenger RNA to inhibit the production of new glucose transporters, while another region codes for a protein that seems to retard the activity of existing transporters.
The findings appear online this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “The most novel thing about this discovery is that this molecule seems to be truly bi-functional in that the two functions it performs participate in the same stress response.
One other small RNA, a 500-nucleotide molecule that regulates virulence genes in Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, was previously found to encode a protein, but the activity of that protein did not participate in the regulation.
The two regions of the molecule were apparently engaged in unrelated tasks.
Some glucose is obviously good, since the bacteria use it to make essential cell molecules and to provide energy. However, excess glucose in bacterial cells interferes with vital functions, so the SgrS response is essential to bacterial survival. A deeper understanding of how bacteria defend themselves from metabolic stresses such as excess glucose could lead to important therapeutic innovations The author said, “Don’t overlook them just because they’re short”.
Source: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa
Cooks run their vegetables under water to clean them before they are served, but even that preventative measure may not be enough. While researching her doctoral dissertation, Meredith Agle, a 2003 University alumna who works as a scientist at Rich Products, found some types of food-borne pathogens on vegetables cannot be killed by rinsing them under water. These pathogens can make a person sick if not removed. The study revolved around the Shigella sp. bacteria, Agle said, which can cause illness if biofilms form and stick to the vegetable. An outbreak of Shigella sp. in bean salad in a Chicago restaurant in 1999 was the basis for the research.
A good way to get these pathogens, which also include E. coli and salmonella, off of raw vegetables has yet to be discovered, said Scott Martin, professor in ACES.
"Once these pathogens get on the vegetables, you cannot remove them," Martin said. "There is nothing the consumer can do to remove the pathogens once they get onto the salad, unless you cook them."
These pathogens often enter the vegetables while they are still growing plants. They infect them through the stomata, structures on the outer skin of a plant that allow the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Martin said there needs to be a better process in the field to kill these pathogens so people can eat bacteria-free vegetables. He compared vegetables contaminated by the pathogens to unpasteurized milk.
"There is no step available like the pasteurization step to treat fresh produce," he said.
The Food and Drug Administration has a procedure on its Web site for consumers to eliminate the chances of their vegetables being contaminated by food-borne pathogens. The FDA advises cutting off all bruised areas, rinsing the vegetable under water and then drying with a clean towel.
Sebastian Cianci, spokesman for the FDA, said these steps will help prevent people from getting sick.
"Food safety begins on the farm and ends with the consumer," Cianci said.
"By following a few simple rules for purchasing, storing and preparing produce, consumers can reduce the likelihood that they will experience food-borne illness," he said.
Agle said food-borne pathogen outbreaks are fairly common. Spinach was taken off the shelves in many supermarkets last year after an E. coli breakout, but Agle said the high level of publicity contributed to the widespread concern.
"There are a lot of outbreaks, but there are even more that go unreported," Agle said.
Aoporte: Guillermo Figueroa