miércoles, 31 de diciembre de 2008

Marea roja ataca de nuevo en el norte de Chile

Controles detectan el ácido domoico, no hay afectados hasta hoy
Las autoridades sanitarias de Atacama decretaron la prohibición de extraer moluscos bivalvos tras detectarse la presencia de la llamada "toxina amnésica" en un sector del litoral de la zona, informaron hoy fuentes oficiales. Hasta el momento no hay personas afectadas, dijo la Secretaria Regional de Salud, Pilar Merino, quien precisó que la zona en riesgo se sitúa en el sector de Pan de Azúcar, a unos 1.000 kilómetros al norte de Santiago. "No tenemos ninguna persona afectada, nuestra misión es adelantarnos a cualquier tipo de eventos que tengan que ver con la salud de las personas", subrayó Merino. Se trata, según expertos, de un elemento conocido también como ácido domoico, que se genera en algunas variedades de plancton que es consumido por los moluscos, en los que se asienta de forma similar a otros venenos presentes en la llamada marea roja. Cuando la toxina es consumida por el ser humano produce un cuadro de intoxicación que puede causar problemas gastrointestinales y neurológicos como pérdida de memoria de corto tiempo, ya que daña las células del hipocampo y en aquellos casos de intoxicaciones más graves, puede ocasionar la muerte. Pilar Merino indicó, según pruebas de laboratorio, que una concentración de 20 microgramos de toxina por gramo de marisco provoca la muerte de ratones y las muestras tomadas en Pan de Azúcar se encontraron concentraciones de hasta 198,5 microgramos por gramo. En caso de que las personas lo consuman, la autoridad indicó que al comienzo pueden presentar vómitos y diarrea y posteriormente, síntomas neurológicos; después "se les borra el disco duro", es decir, se les borra la memoria inmediata y puede haber hasta muerte cuando la ingesta es abundante", precisó. Merino advirtió que la toxina no se elimina con la cocción de los mariscos, por lo que la única medida útil es la abstención del consumo de moluscos bivalvos provenientes de zonas en las que se haya detectado la sustancia.
Fuente: Radio Cooperativa
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

martes, 16 de diciembre de 2008

Mouth bacteria boost some flavours: Study

Bacteria present in the mouth may delay the flavour response for some fruit, vegetables, and wine, according to a new study.
Scientists from the Swiss company’s Corporate R&D Division studied the effects of oral microflora on a series of sulphur-containing compounds found commonly in foods such as wine and fruit.
It is known that cysteine-S-conjugates are transformed by
bacteria in the mouth, and that this transformation “explains long-lasting sulfury odours in the mouth that give a second dimension to the flavour perception of food products”.
How consumers sense food is crucial knowledge for a food industry constantly organising the building blocks of new food formulations.
The study showed that the mouth act like a reactor and therefore we can modulate the odour perception. A free thiol has a high impact but short, the corresponding cysteine conjugate will produced a delayed impact and stay longer in the mouth. The study also shows how critical saliva and the enzymes, proteins, and bacteria it contains, is critical
Study details
Thirty trained panelists sampled the compounds and reported that they could immediately detect the scent of the thiols, but it took another 20 to 30 seconds for them to smell the cysteine-S-conjugate precursors.
The delayed detection of the precursors lasted for as much as three minutes, said the researchers, while the thiols lasted only a few seconds.
In order to get a better understanding of what was happening in the mouth, Starkenmann and his co-workers incubated the cysteine-S-conjugates with sterile saliva or saliva containing Fusobacterium nucleatum, a Gram-negative anaerobe present in the mouth.
After 24 hours, the F. nucleatum-containing saliva was associated with an 80 per cent breakdown of the precursor compounds, whereas the sterile saliva was associated with a 15 per cent breakdown after four days.
“The cysteine−S-conjugates are transformed in free thiol by anaerobes,” wrote the authors. “The mouth acts as a reactor, adding another dimension to odour perception, and saliva modulates flavours by trapping free thiols.”
Potential for bad breath
The research also has implications for halitosis, said Dr Starkenmann, a condition mainly due to the degradation of cysteine and methionine coming from food proteins which sticks between your teeth.
Interestingly these "bad" bacteria are also producing nice
aroma from these cysteine conjugates. This was not known before.
Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry Vol 56, Issue 20, 9575-9580
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

Canadian company developed a new preservative to fight Listeria

The preservative, when used in combination with sodium lactate, can inhibit the growth of Listeria monocytogenes
Health Canada gave the backing for the use by Canadian food processors of sodium diacetate as a preservative in meat, poultry and fish products. According to the food scientists, the preservative, when used in combination with sodium lactate, can inhibit the growth of Listeria monocytogenes.
The rules allow interim use of such preservatives in preparations of meat, meat byproducts, poultry meat, poultry meat byproducts and prepared and preserved fish products at a maximum level of 0.25 per cent of final product weight.
Listeria Last week CEO of Maple Leaf, Michael McCain said that Listeria exists in 100 per cent of all meat processing plants and it is impossible to eliminate it.
L monocytogenes is a pathogenic bacterium causing listeriosis, which is a rare but potentially lethal infection that can kill vulnerable people, such as the elderly and pregnant women, as well as those suffering from immuno-compromising diseases like cancer or HIV.
The pathogen can contaminate ready-to-eat meat and poultry during post-processing steps such as slicing, peeling and packaging.
Maple Leaf said that it identified listeria lurking deep inside two meat-slicing machines as the most likely source of the contamination, which caused it to shut down its Toronto processing plant in August.
Testing The meat processor subsequently sanitized the facility, which led the government to permit the company to resume food production on 17 September. However, products are not allowed to leave the site until the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) finishes its testing programme.
Maple Leaf said that since the plant re-opened 841 environmental samples have been taken, with one positive test result for listeria: “This is considerably lower than what normal practice would yield in listeria management programs.”
Officials are taking 60 samples from each production line every day, said McCain.
Safety plan Maple Leaf said that it has developed a five-point plan for food safety, including a proposal to strengthen Canada's food-inspection system that would involve:
· Instituting tighter specifications for managing microbiological hazards such as Listeria in the plant;
· Enhancing auditing practices to make sure the industry delivers on those high standards; and
· Developing a common approach to sharing data with the public on food safety as a means to increase transparency.
Source: Food Quality News Alerts http://www.foodqualitynews.com/Food-Alerts/Maple-Leaf-to-tackle-Listeria-with-newly-approved-preservative
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

lunes, 15 de diciembre de 2008

Consumo de mariscos crudos generó masiva intoxicación en el Maule

77 personas han acudido hasta el hospital de Chanco, Cauquenes y de Talca, afectados por intoxicación por Vibrio parahemolticus
Una masiva intoxicación se registró este fin de semana (17-18 diciembre 2008) en la Región del Maule, presuntamente por el consumo de mariscos crudos principalmente en los balnearios de Chanco y Pelluhue.
La gobernadora provincial de Cauquenes, Angélica Sáez, confirmó la situación y señaló que las personas estarían afectadas por el Vibrio parahemoliticus .Hasta el momento, 19 intoxicados han llegado hasta el hospital de Chanco, mientras que al recinto de Cauquenes han llegado 33 casos, a los que se suman otros 25 enfermos en el hospital de Talca provenientes del balneario de Constitución.
Aparentemente, todos los pacientes consumieron mariscos crudos durante el fin de semana y llegaron hasta los recintos asistenciales con síntomas de diarrea, temperatura alta y náuseas.
Global Warming and Vibrio parahaemolyticus in Alaska
Oyster men in Alaska have never had to deal with the bacterium Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a dangerous microbe infected in warmer waters like the gulf of Mexico. However, water in Alaska has been getting warm enough for the dangerous microbe to survive in the 59 degree water. Due to this, cruise ship passengers in Alaska that had eaten local oysters came down with diarrhea, cramping, and vomiting...the first cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus food poisoning in Alaska. Scientists later determined that it wasn't just the bacterium but the warming water that allowed them to migrate.
The spread of human disease is one of the main fears scientists have with global climate change. Incremental changes in temperature is allowing for a re-distribution of bacterium, insects, and plants (invasive species)...introducing people to new diseases that they have never seen before.
Fuente: El Mercurio Online
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

jueves, 11 de diciembre de 2008

FDA Calls Off Ban on Animal Antibiotics

Cephalosporins treat respiratory diseases in cattle and swine but are also often given "off-label"
The Food and Drug Administration said it would continue allowing the widespread use of a class of powerful antibiotics in food-producing animals, making a last-minute reversal after calling the practice a public-health risk in July.The agency's bid this summer to ban many uses of cephalosporin drugs in cows, swine, chickens and other animals came under fire from the industry. Agriculture groups and animal-drug makers, including Pfizer Inc., said the antibiotics are needed to prevent many infectious diseases in animals.Public-health officials and the American Medical Association are worried that excessive use of antibiotics -- including in animals -- can promote resistance and produce strains of bacteria that threaten human life. Cephalosporins treat respiratory diseases in cattle and swine but are also often given "off-label" for uses not approved by the FDA to poultry or more generally in livestock for non-approved infectious diseases.On July 3, the FDA announced a planned crackdown on off-label uses in animals, citing "the importance of cephalosporin drugs for treating disease in humans."That position was reiterated in September by the FDA's director of veterinary drugs, Steven Vaughn. "We have [bacterial organisms] moving around the world that we have never seen before," he told a conference, according to Dairy Herd Management magazine. Dr. Vaughn, who couldn't be reached for comment, told the group that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are becoming more common in cattle.Groups such as the Animal Population Health Institute, the Kansas Health Department and the National Turkey Federation, objected to the proposed ban. The American Veterinary Medical Association complained to the FDA that the data on the human impact it used to support the ban were flawed.On Nov. 25, five days before the ban was to take effect, the FDA quietly revoked it with a notice in the Federal Register. The FDA's statement said the agency received many comments and needed more time to review them. A spokeswoman said the agency still could impose restrictions later."You have to give the FDA credit for its good-faith response to our concerns," said Tom Burkgren, director of the Association of American Swine Veterinarians. Dr. Burkgren said some of the new diseases striking swine today aren't mentioned on cephalosporin labels, and there are few alternatives.Keep Antibiotics Working, a group that promotes agriculture-production changes, denounced the FDA's reversal. "They were under a lot of pressure from companies and agriculture, the producers, to end the ban," said the organization's chief, Steven Roach.Pfizer, whose cephalosporin drug Excede is approved for certain uses in animals, said more time is needed to analyze the risk posed to treatment of animal diseases from cephalosporin restrictions.The FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine has been involved in other recent controversies. In June, it abruptly announced it was allowing Wyeth's heartworm drug ProHeart 6 back on the market. It was withdrawn in 2004 amid some 500 reports of dog deaths.
Source: Wall Street Journal
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

jueves, 4 de diciembre de 2008

Safe food comes from animals that are healthy

Subclinical infections lower resistance to colonization
We have always thought safe food comes from healthy animals, but "healthy" can mean different things.To many people, animals that do not show obvious signs of illness are "healthy." However, many studies have shown animals with no obvious signs of illness are affected with subclinical disease and develop lesions inside the body. I have examined my cattle after harvest and seen lesions of respiratory disease in nearly 40 percent, yet I had only treated 9 percent for pneumonia (and I thought I was doing pretty well!). Obviously, my "healthy" cattle were really not so healthy.

Recent work from Iowa State has shown pigs examined after harvest that had lesions indicative of pneumonia had a greater level of contamination with Campylobacter - an important food-borne pathogen in people.Pneumonia in pigs is not caused by Campylobacter coli, but, apparently, the meat from animals affected with respiratory disease had an increased chance of Campylobacter contamination. Perhaps the disease lowered resistance to colonization by these organisms, or maybe the lesions make it easier for meat to become contaminated at harvest. It is not clear how or why this is, but it does seem contamination and food safety are linked to animal health.

Some recent mathematical modeling has built on this idea and suggested the possibility that antibiotic use in animals may actually improve food safety by improving animal health. This is all very new and is not understood but is interesting to think about.

While we hear much worry in the news about antibiotic use in livestock and many feel antibiotic use in animals should be curtailed (some want them eliminated), they may, in fact, result in a net benefit to public health by decreased food contamination.

The bottom line is safe food comes from healthy animals. While prevention of all disease is the ultimate goal, the fact is, some animals will get sick and need treatment. It may be that effective antibiotic treatment, in addition to improving the welfare of the animal and decreasing stress, may decrease contamination of the meat and thereby improve food safety.This is something we are learning about through our research. People lots smarter than me are working hard right now to figure this out, so we will stay tuned.

Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

FDA Touts Efforts to Enhance Food Safety

Globalization of FDA and better coordination between state and local authorities to protect the food supply
Responding to criticism that it has done a poor job safeguarding the nation's food supply, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a report detailing its efforts to protect consumers.Among the most important changes in 2008 was the agency's initiative to build better relationships with state and local health departments to protect the food supply. "Another big success is the strategic change we are making with regard to imports. What you could call the 'globalization of FDA,' which is shifting our emphasis on inspection on the port of entry only to more of a product-lifecycle approach, the work will be focused on building the systems to better understand what's going on in foreign manufacturing.U.S. consumers have been bombarded during the past two years with a series of worrisome headlines, ranging from milk products, blood-thinning medication and pet foods contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine imported from China; to jalapeno peppers from Mexico bearing the salmonella bacteria; to U.S.-produced spinach poisoned with the E. coli bacteria.The new report updates progress made since the FDA unveiled its Food Protection Plan in 2007. Titled Food Protection Plan: One-Year Progress Summary, the document cites improvements in three areas: prevention of outbreaks of food-borne disease; intervention; and response to outbreaks. Some of the accomplishments include:Prevention: The agency said it's in the process of opening five offices around the world, to be staffed with its own inspectors, in China, India, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. The FDA participated in meetings in China to discuss food-safety issues in both countries and to share suggestions on ways to address global food safety. It is hiring an "international notification coordinator" to serve as a liaison between the FDA and its foreign counterparts. It has approved the irradiation of iceberg lettuce and spinach to control toxins such as E. coli. It has developed tests to detect contaminants such as melamine and cyanuric acid.
On the intervention front, the FDA said it has inspected 5,930 high-risk food establishments in the past year; has developed a rapid detection test for E. coli and salmonella in food that's now being used in poultry-processing plants; and has expanded its database of "adverse drug events" to include "adverse feed events," to respond faster to outbreaks of feed-borne disease in animals, among other efforts.
As for its "response" efforts, the FDA said it's working with industry and the public to find better ways of tracing fresh produce in the food-supply chain; has hired two "emergency/complaint-response coordinators" to improve the agency's response to emergencies involving animal feed, including pet food; and has reached agreements with six states to create a "rapid response team" for food and food-borne illnesses.
Source: Washington Post, DC
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

jueves, 27 de noviembre de 2008



Listeria monocytogenes constituye un patógeno emergente con niveles excepcionalmente altos de mortalidad, particularmente en aquellas personas más susceptibles como lo son los recién nacidos, ancianos e inmunodeprimidos.

Su temperatura óptima de crecimiento es de 35-37ºC, aunque crece también a temperaturas de refrigeración (4ºC). El rango de pH y actividad de agua (aw) óptimo para su multiplicación esta entre 5-9 y >0.92, respectivamente. Toleran concentraciones elevadas de cloruro de sodio (10%) y son móviles a 25 pero no a 35 oC.

Existen casos de Listeriosis reportados en todas partes del mundo. La tasa de incidencia de la infección es de 2-15 casos por millón de personas, incluyendo casos esporádicos como brotes.

Listeria monocytogenes puede ser transmitida por tres vías principalmente:
  1. contacto con animales,
  2. contaminación cruzada
  3. Por los alimentos

Sin embargo, son las 2 últimas fuentes las responsables de la mayoría de los casos de listeriosis.

Es frecuente que L. monocytogenes se encuentre en una variedad de productos alimenticios tanto crudos como procesados de origen animal o vegetal, tales como hortalizas, leche no pasteurizada, quesos (quesos de pasta blanda madurados), helados, carne de cerdo, ave, vacuno, embutidos ahumados y fermentados, mariscos crudos y salmón ahumado. En el caso de los alimentos cocidos, éstos se contaminan luego del proceso térmico en la planta de procesamiento o durante el trayecto de los mismos desde la planta hasta su plato.

A pesar de que son muchos y diversos los alimentos que pueden contaminarse con L. monocytogenes, las epidemias y los casos esporádicos de listeriosis están predominantemente asociados a alimentos listos para consumo (Ready to eat food), una categoría grande y heterogénea de productos alimenticios que puede dividirse en muchos subgrupos diferentes y que varía de unos países a otros en función de las costumbres alimentarias locales, de la disponibilidad e integridad de la cadena de frío, y de reglamentos que determinan, por ejemplo, la temperatura máxima del alimento en el punto de venta al por menor.

La Reglamentación Sanitaria Chilena no incluye este patógeno entre las especificaciones, situación diametralmente opuesta a lo que ocurre en países desarrollados como Estados Unidos y miembros de la Unión Europea.


L. monocytogenes representa una amenaza para la industria de alimentos, ya que esta puede colonizar, multiplicar y persistir en los equipos e instalaciones de las plantas procesadoras de alimentos y los hogares.

Ente los principales factores asociados se puede mencionar su capacidad de crecer a bajas temperaturas, adherirse a las superficies (mesones, tablas para picar, etc) y equipos, donde forma estructuras de resistencia denominadas biofilms. Estas estructuras le entregan resistencia a desinfectantes y sanitizantes, tales como derivados de amonio cuaternario, soluciones alcalinas, ionóforos y soluciones cloradas, que son comúnmente empleados en la industria alimentaria. Cuando Listeria se adhiere y forma los biofilms en las superficies, éstas se convierten en focos potenciales de diseminación y contaminación de los productos, dificultando así su eliminación.


  • Lávese bien las manos antes y después de manipular alimentos
  • Lave bien superficies y utensilios de cocina antes y después de usarlos
  • Evite la contaminación cruzada, evitando el contacto de alimentos crudos con aquellos que se encuentran listos para el consumo
  • Consuma solo productos lácteos pasteurizados
  • Lave todas las frutas y verduras, incluso aquellas listas para el consumo
  • Consuma carnes (vacuno, ave, cerdo) y pescados bien cocidos
  • No cocine directamente en el microondas
  • Establezca un programa de limpieza de su refrigerador

Fuente: Laboratorio de Microbiología y Probióticos (INTA); Ministeio de Salud; CDC

Aporte: Álvaro Figueroa

Listeria in smoked salmon UK Foods Standard Agency

Listeria is not a problem in RTE smoked salmon the problem starts when the product get it home
A survey from the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) showed low levels of Listeria in smoked fish in retail outlets. The food safety regulator said that more than 3,000 samples of ready-to-eat hot and cold smoked fish were analysed to check for Listeria monocytogenes, the main type of Listeria that causes illness in humans, between July and November 2006 from over 1,000 retail outlets in the UK.
While traces of Listeria monocytogenes were found in 302 samples, 99 per cent were within the legal limit for ready-to-eat foods, according to FSA. In addition, the Agency stated that no salmonella was detected in any of the samples tested but that it found variations in storage temperatures at retail ranging from -14°C to 13.3°C.
Salmon safety controls The UK Salmon Processors and Smokers Group (SPSG) said that FSA’s findings come as no surprise to its members. “Food safety is our sector’s number one priority and members of SPSG have been working hard over many years to ensure the right production controls are in place,” claims the association.
The SPSG told FoodProductionDaily.com that its members implement rigorous hygiene, safe handling and storage methods to help prevent the growth of any low levels of Listeria which might naturally be present:
“They monitor the raw material, process and product for Listeria and take appropriate preventative actions to minimise the risk of it occurring in smoked fish. Companies regularly review their production operations and follow industry best practice, which is fully communicated across the sector.”
Food puzzle Dr Andrew Wadge, chief scientist at the FSA said: 'Although only a snapshot of one type of food, this survey adds another piece to the Listeria puzzle. We know cases are on the increase in the over-60s, but we don't know why.
“These findings suggest that, Listeria isn't generally a problem in ready-to-eat smoked fish at point of sale – but it doesn't tell us what happens when people get it home.
"Are they preparing and storing food correctly and eating it within its 'use by' date? These and other questions are at the heart of further work we’re doing with our expert scientific committees to get to the bottom of this increase in Listeria monocytogenes.'
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

Fish and shellfish are more likely to cause foodborne-illness according CSPI.

Foodborne illness is dramatically underreported
The agency said that outbreaks involving fresh produce grabbed the headlines this year and last, but an analysis of the rates of outbreak-related illnesses caused by various foods shows that fish and shellfish account for more sicknesses per bite than any other category.
Outbreaks: The CSPI claims that its alert database, even when not adjusted for consumption, has more seafood outbreaks - 1,140 - than for any other category of food.
“Fin fish, such as tuna, grouper, mahi mahi, and salmon, were linked to 694 of those outbreaks; molluscs, including oysters, clams, and mussels were linked to 175 outbreaks; and the rest linked to shrimp, lobster, or foods such as crab cakes and tuna burgers.
“While Vibrio bacteria and noroviruses contributed to those, naturally occurring toxins such as scombrotoxin and ciguatoxin account for a plurality of seafood outbreaks,” stated the agency.
It said that, according to its data, a pound of fish and shellfish is 29 times more likely to cause illness than the safest food category, a pound of dairy foods.
Prevention urged: The CSPI said that as foodborne illness is dramatically underreported, and due to the fact that it is so difficult to prove which food caused an outbreak, its data represents just the tip of a very large iceberg: “Each year, according to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), foodborne illness sickens 76 million and kills 5,000 Americans.”
The not for profit consumer group is urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reduce its reliance on recalls and warnings and instead focus on preventing these problems ever reaching consumers.

miércoles, 26 de noviembre de 2008

Bicarbonate turns bacteria virulent

Findings in Bacillus anthracis may provide basis for new drug development
Scientists from the Scripps Research Institute have discovered that bicarbonate is the key chemical that signals Bacillus anthracis, the aerobic sporulate bacterium that causes anthrax, to become lethal. This finding opens up new avenues of exploration for the development of treatments for bacterial infections.
The scientists identified bicarbonate, a chemical found in all body fluids and organs that plays a major role in maintaining pH balance in cells, as providing the signal for Bacillus anthracis to unleash virulence factors. Without the presence of the bicarbonate transporter in the bloodstream, the scientists found, the bacteria do not become virulent.
Scientists have known for some time that bicarbonate is implicated in many diseases, but controversy has existed about whether bicarbonate, carbon dioxide, or some combination of these two molecules are responsible for triggering bacterial pathogenesis. This study confirms, for the first time, that it is indeed bicarbonate, rather than carbon dioxide, that signals the gram-positive B. anthracis to become virulent. This finding also is significant because other pathogenic bacteria such as Streptococcus pyogenes, Escherichia coli, Borrelia burgdorferi, and Vibrio cholerae have bicarbonate transport pathways similar to B. anthracis and thus are likely to have similar virulence triggering mechanisms.
Gram-positive bacteria are the major culprits driving the increase of community and hospital acquired bacterial infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as many as 10 percent of all patients, or about 2 million people, contract hospital acquired infections each year. These bacteria are often resistant to multiple antibiotics, making the problem a growing public health concern and the need for new antibacterial treatment more urgent. Now, the bicarbonate transporter pathway may be investigated as a potential new target for drug intervention.
The best medium for toxin production was one that people believed mimicked conditions found in the blood of a human or animal host, where anthrax bacteria would find both carbon dioxide and bicarbonate. But it is not known which of these two molecules was the more important for bacterial pathogenesis, according to these results bicarbonate is the molecule that triggers the growth by mimicking the host growth conditions.
Source: PLoS Pathogens Nov 2008
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

Half of Americans losing trust in food supply

Consumers ask fors better and earlier information from FDA
According to a recent national food safety and labeling poll conducted by Consumer Reports National Research Center, American consumers are concerned about food safety, and they want the government to inspect the food supply more frequently. While 73% polled currently regard the overall food supply as safe, 48% said their confidence in the safety of the nation’s food supply is slipping. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspects domestic food production facilities once every five to 10 years, and foreign facilities less frequently.
Two-thirds of respondents said the FDA should inspect domestic and foreign food-processing facilities at least once a month. Additionally, eight in 10 consumers strongly agree that when food safety problems arise, the FDA should disclose to the public the location of retailers who sold the potentially harmful food, including fish, produce, and processed foods, as the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) is currently required to do for meat. On Nov. 19, the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board approved standards that would allow organic fish farmers to use wild fish as part of their feed mix provided it did not exceed 25% of the total. Yet, 93% of Americans agree that fish labeled as organic should be produced by 100% organic feed.

Finally, while the FDA recently proposed allowing meat or milk products from cloned or genetically engineered animals to be sold without labels, 94% of those polled believe that meat and dairy products from cloned animals should be labeled as such. As Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., Senior Scientist and Policy Analyst at Consumers Union explained, “The American public wants to know more about their food, where it comes from, how safe it is, and will vote with their dollars to support highly meaningful labels.”
Source: http://www.ift.org/news_bin/news/news_home.shtml
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

martes, 25 de noviembre de 2008

Prensa confunde quesos de vaca en brote de listeriosis

La autoridad ordena el retiro de quesos Brie Lescure de la marca Chevrita

El retiro se determinó luego de que la autoridad descubriera la presencia de la bacteria que provoca esta enfermedad -Listeria monocytogenes- en uno de estos quesos de vaca, que era almacenado en el refrigerador de una persona de 60 años que padece la enfermedad.

Según aseguró la directora del Instituto de Salud Pública (ISP), Ingrid Heitmann, al practicarle el análisis genético, la bacteria que el sujeto de 60 años tenía en su sangre coincidió con la que estaba en el queso.

A la fecha se han registrado cuatro casos de personas fallecidas por esta enfermedad, dos corresponden a recién nacidos y dos a adultos mayores.

En tanto, casi el 60% de los 91 casos del brote epidémico se ha presentado en Las Condes y Vitacura, lo que coincide con el sector donde principalmente se consume el mencionado queso de cóctel Brie Lescure, preparado en base a leche de vaca, .

Por su parte, el Seremi Metropolitano de Salud, Roberto Belmar, sostuvo que no se ha decretado una alerta sanitaria, ya que para esto se debe tener completa seguridad del origen de la enfermedad, el que hasta ahora no está claro.
Fuente: Emol.com
Aporte: Álvaro Figueroa

jueves, 20 de noviembre de 2008

Antibiotic resistant E. coli could spread, warns Soil Association

Excessive use of modern antibiotics in veterinary and human medicine are blamed
Antibiotic resistance is a major concern, as it is well understood that excess use can reduce effectiveness. Around 30,000 people in the UK alone are estimated to have bacteria with an enhanced type of antibiotic resistance known as extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL); increasing resistance means there is less likelihood of infections in humans being successfully treated with antibiotics in the future.
The pathogen, discovered in cows at an unidentified farm, is a vero-toxin producing bacteria known as E. coli O26 which produces E. coli (VTEC). Nineteen out of 20 calves and three out of 40 cows were found by government vets to be positive. This is the first time that VTEC E. coli has been found with ESBL in the UK, and only the third time in the world.
According to the Soil Association, which is calling for limit to be imposed on the veterinary-use of modern penicillin-type antibiotics, the farmer has been given hygiene advice to protect his family, but no restrictions have been placed on animals from the affected herd.
This means that they can be sold locally to unsuspecting farmers and for export “so the Soil Association fears that the hyper-resistant strain will spread more widely”.
Soil Association policy advisor Richard Young called the incident “one of the most worrying developments in the continuing rise of ESBL E. coli”.
He added that there is a lack of awareness that continued high use of antibiotics in farming is contributing to increasing antibiotic resistance in humans.
“The government often calls on doctors to prescribe antibiotics less often. But similar advice needs to be given to veterinary surgeons and farmers”.
The organic association is also campaigning for restrictions of modern cephalosporins – a class of antibiotics – on all farms, both conventional and organic.
As of January 2009, it is restricting cephalosporin use on the organic farms it certifies in a bid to prevent the spread of ESBLs, in addition to other kinds of antibiotics that are already limited.
Source: http://www.foodqualitynews.com/layout/set/print/content/view/print/227146
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

martes, 18 de noviembre de 2008

Time to count the burden of foodborne disease

Many people suffer or die from foodborne disease each year
Foodborne disease outbreaks make the news daily. We can assume that billions of people fall ill every year, and that many die, because they ate food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemicals. But no-one has ever quantified the problem comprehensively. Indeed, we have only a sketchy idea of how many people suffer from foodborne diseases every year, or the economic damage they cause.
The recent reports of melamine-contaminated milk powder in China remind us that foodborne illnesses can hit at anytime and anywhere. Over 50,000 children in China suffered kidney problems and four died from drinking the contaminated milk powder, which was also exported to dozens of countries. There is no telling how many more victims we will see over the coming months.
Wide spectrum We usually associate foodborne diseases with diarrhea or vomiting, but they cause hundreds of illnesses. Their wide spectrum encompasses well-publicized ones, such as salmonellosis, avian flu and variant Creutzfeld-Jacob-Disease, but also less well-known ones, such as contamination by aflatoxin in peanuts, pistachios and other nuts as well as milk or methylmercury in fish, which can cause neuro-developmental disorders.
The real tragedy of these diseases is played out in developing countries, especially those with tropical climate where people are more exposed to hazardous environments, poor food production processes and handling, inadequate food storage and hygiene during food preparation, and poor regulatory standards.
Every year, over 2 million children die from diarrheal diseases, a considerable proportion of which probably came from food. But the real death toll from across the spectrum of foodborne disease is likely to be much higher.
Economic impacts Beyond these health impacts, foodborne diseases also affect economic development, and particularly challenge agricultural, food and tourist industries.
Developing countries' access to food export markets depends on their ability to meet the World Trade Organization's regulatory requirements. Unsafe exports can cause severe economic losses. For example, in early 2008, Saudi Arabia refused Indian poultry products valued at nearly US$500,000 following a bird flu outbreak in West Bengal.
In 2007, the WHO launched an international initiative to fill in the gaps. The WHO Initiative to Estimate the Global Burden of Foodborne Diseases aims to quantify how many people die from or are affected by all major foodborne causes each year. It hopes to report by 2011.
Source: kuchenmullert@who.int.
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

Deadly intestinal bugs more common than thought

C. difficile cause severe diseases and nosocomial infections
A nasty, sometimes deadly intestinal bug is at least six times more common than was thought, researchers said, based on a survey of hundreds of U.S. hospitals. The bacteria, Clostridium difficile, is resistant to some antibiotics and has become a regular menace in hospitals and nursing homes.
Doctors say it plays a role in hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations each year, and that number has been growing.
The latest study estimates that more than 7,100 hospital patients are infected with it on any given day. That number is between 6.5 and 20 times greater than previous estimates, according to the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. Researchers from that group presented their findings at a medical conference in Orlando.
"This study shows that C. difficile infection is an escalating issue in our nation's health care facilities," said Dr. William Jarvis, the study's lead investigator, in a prepared statement. Jarvis, formerly a scientist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is a consulting epidemiologist hired by the association.
The new numbers are based on surveys of about 650 U.S. hospitals. Each hospital was asked to pick one day between May and August of this year to review every patient's medical records for documentation of the infection. A total of 1,443 infected patients were identified, and about 70 percent were older than 60.
Past studies have tried to measure the anaerobic bacteria incidence in different ways, making comparisons with previous estimates difficult. However, the researchers believe their latest estimate indicates the bug is far more common than previously believed.
The infection control group recommends that hospitals and nursing homes beef up cleaning efforts, such as using bleach, and that medical staff quickly isolate patients who have C. difficile infection.
Last year, the same researchers released a report that found dangerous, drug-resistant staph bacteria — methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) — may be infecting as many as 5 percent of hospital and nursing home patients. According to that estimate, MRSA is a more common problem than Clostridium difficile, which infects about 1.3 percent.

Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

lunes, 17 de noviembre de 2008

New bacteria discovered in raw milk

Chryseobacterium oranimense can grow under refrigeration temperatures
Raw milk is illegal in many countries as it can be contaminated with potentially harmful microbes. Contamination can also spoil the milk, making it taste bitter and turn thick and sticky. Now scientists have discovered new species of bacteria that can grow at low temperatures, spoiling raw milk even when it is refrigerated. According to research published in the November issue of the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, the microbial population of raw milk is much more complex than previously thought.
"When we looked at the bacteria living in raw milk, we found that many of them had not been identified before," said Dr Malka Halpern from the University of Haifa, Israel. "We have now identified and described one of these bacteria, Chryseobacterium oranimense, a Gram negative bacillus which can grow at cold temperatures and secretes enzymes that have the potential to spoil milk."
New technologies are being developed to reduce the initial bacterial counts of pasteurized milk to very low levels. Most enzymes will be denatured at the high temperatures used during pasteurisation, which means they will stop working. However, the heat-stable enzymes made by cold-tolerant bacteria will still affect the flavour quality of fluid milk and its products. Because of this, research into cold-tolerant bacteria and the spoilage enzymes they produce is vital.
"Milk can be contaminated with many different bacteria from the teat of the cow, the udder, milking equipment and the milking environment," said Dr Halpern. "Milk is refrigerated after collection to limit the growth of microbes. During refrigeration, cold-tolerant, or psychrotolerant, bacteria that can grow at 7°C dominate the milk flora and play a leading role in milk spoilage. Although we have not yet determined the impact on milk quality of C. oranimense and two other novel species (C. haifense and C. bovis) that were also identified from raw milk samples, the discovery will contribute to our understanding the physiology of these organisms and of the complex environmental processes in which they are involved. There is still a lot to learn about the psychrotolerant bacterial flora of raw milk."
There is an ongoing debate about the benefits and risks of drinking unpasteurised milk. Some people believe the health benefits resulting from the extra nutrient content of raw milk outweigh the risk of ingesting potentially dangerous microbes, such as Mycobacterium bovis, which can cause tuberculosis, and Salmonella species. Because of these risks, many countries have made the sale of unpasteurised milk illegal. Pasteurisation involves heating milk to around 72°C for 15-20 seconds in order to reduce the number of microbes in the liquid so they are unlikely to cause disease. Some bacteria produce extracellular enzymes that are remarkably heat tolerant and can resist pasteurisation. Lipase enzymes cause flavour defects and proteases can lead to bitterness and reduced yields of soft cheese.
"In Israel, dairy companies estimate that cold-tolerant bacteria can cause a 10% loss of milk fats and proteins. When researchers looked at these bacterial communities, they found that 20% of the bacteria isolated were found to be novel species and 5% of these were members of the genus Chryseobacterium," said Dr Halpern. "Because of their effect on milk quality, it is important that we develop sensitive and efficient tools to monitor the presence of these cold-tolerant bacteria."
Source: International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

Salmonella Outbreak Tied to Dry Dog Food Continues

Contaminated dry dog food is the cause, cases started in 2006
Eight more people -- mostly young children -- infected, bringing total to 79, CDC says-- Eight more cases of people becoming infected with Salmonella traced to dry dog food have been identified. The outbreak, which started in 2006, marks the first time that dry dog food has been identified as a source of the bacterial infection in people.As of Oct. 31, 79 cases of Salmonella Schwarzengrund had been reported in 21 states. Most of the cases involved children 2 years old and younger, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The dog food has been traced to a Mars Petcare U.S. plant in Everson, Pa. On Sept. 12, the company announced a recall of approximately 23,109 tons of dry dog and cat food sold under 105 brand names. The plant is now closed, the CDC said in the Nov. 7 issue of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.In late 2007, the plant was shut down for several months for remodeling, cleaning and disinfection, Barton Behravesh said. Young children are particularly vulnerable, because they're more likely to get sick from small doses of salmonella, Barton Behravesh said.

The primary cause of infection was feeding a pet in the kitchen, she said.People can take a few simple steps to protect themselves from Salmonella infection from pet food, Imperato said. "These include regular washing of pet feeding bowls to prevent bacterial growth; the thorough washing of hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds after handling dry pet foods, including pet treats; and scrupulously avoiding contact between dry pet foods and foods consumed by humans and food preparation surfaces and utensils," he said.Infection with the Salmonella pathogen produces an illness called salmonellosis.

According to the CDC, most infected people develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps within 12 to 72 hours. The illness typically lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment. But, for some, the diarrhea may be so severe that they need to be hospitalized. In these patients, the infection can spread from the intestines to the bloodstream, and then to other parts of the body, leading to death unless antibiotics are administered promptly. The elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.

Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

Obama and Congress need to put food safety on their agenda

The fragmented nature of the federal food oversight system should be changed soon.
There's a full plate of urgent issues awaiting President-elect Barack Obama and the next Congress. The Government Accountability Office, Congress' nonpartisan watchdog, listed 13 of them last week. Along with some obvious choices, such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and oversight of the financial industry, the GAO included food safety.The government's ability to safeguard the nation's food supply and respond quickly to outbreaks of food-borne illness are undermined by "the fragmented nature of the federal food oversight system," the GAO said. There are 15 federal agencies administering at least 30 laws; that leads to poor coordination, inconsistent policy and wasted resources.Anyone not convinced that improving food safety is important should talk to a Florida tomato grower. During a national outbreak of Salmonella earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration initially fingered tainted tomatoes as the prime suspect. Growers in Florida and other states lost at least $100 million in sales.The FDA later switched to blaming contaminated peppers from Mexico. Angry tomato growers' representatives told Congress afterward that no one in the government seemed to be in charge.The Salmonella outbreak, which sickened at least 1,400 Americans, was the latest in a series of food scares in recent years tied to contaminated fresh produce, including spinach, lettuce and cantaloupes. So while the government is rightly urging Americans to eat more fruits and vegetables for good health, it's falling short in protecting produce.The FDA, charged with ensuring the safety of 80 percent of the nation's food supply, has been underfunded and understaffed for years. That has left too few resources for inspections, enforcement and scientific research. Congress and the president belatedly began moving in the wake of the salmonella outbreak to increase the agency's budget.

But stronger laws and better coordination among regulators also are needed to adapt to today's globalized food supply and better prevent or trace illness outbreaks. Members of both parties in Congress, including Republican Rep. Adam Putnam of Bartow, have been working together on these kinds of improvements.
In particular, the FDA needs to establish mandatory national safety standards that would apply to fresh produce from farm to fork, based on the best science available. Those national standards would replace a patchwork of state and industry standards around the country, and fill in gaps where no standards exist. They would also be applied to imported produce.The Produce Safety Project at Georgetown University, which advocates national standards, says they could be put in place for about $70 million. That's at least $30 million less than the value of a tax break Congress extended last month for auto-racing track owners.Groups representing the nation's fruit and vegetable growers have said they'd welcome the standards. They know how wide the damage from even an isolated case of tainted produce can spread.As the Obama administration dives into the economic crisis and national security, it needs to save some room for protecting public health by making overdue improvements to food safety.
Source: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

viernes, 14 de noviembre de 2008

For tastier food, just add bacteria

Anaerobes from saliva can produce thiols and transform odorless foods in aromas
Gargling, sucking and spitting are the unsavory actions that serious wine lovers say a proper tasting demand. But the full complexity of taste may come from something even more distasteful: mouth bugs. These bacteria help give us the rich flavors of wine, onions and peppers.
It has long been known that smell plays a big part in the perception of flavour, and Christian Starkenmann and his team at Firmenich, a flavor company in Geneva, Switzerland, had previously found that saliva can turn odorless sulphur-containing compounds from fruit and vegetables into aromatic chemicals called thiols. Now they have shown that bacteria in saliva are responsible.
The team's sniffing panel could detect odors from the compounds only when extracts were dissolved in saliva. The aromas wafted up after 30 seconds and faded after 3 minutes (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, DOI: 10.1021/jf801873h).
At least one species of mouth bacteria, Fusobacterium nucleatum, is responsible for the conversion. The team showed this by adding the bacterium to otherwise sterile saliva containing the odorless starting substances. Only when the bacterium was added were the thiols created. Starkenmann says the compounds could be used to flavor food.
Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

jueves, 13 de noviembre de 2008

FDA starts up to date current federal food processing safety rules

Additional protection against foodborne illness is the goal.
The regulator claims a survey involving 2,700 US food processing facilities of a range of different sizes will be the first stage in a process aimed at revising the existing good manufacturing practices (GMPs) that govern the safe processing, packaging and storage of food in the US. The current GMPs were drawn up in 1986 and no longer reflect developments in science and technology claims the FDA.
Key issues The agency said its survey of processing plants will seek information about five key issues relevant to the GMP modernization effort including employee training, sanitation and personal hygiene, allergen controls, process controls, and recordkeeping. According to the FDA, responses will be kept confidential and will only be used for statistical purposes.
More inspections sought Meanwhile, a poll conducted by the US Consumer Reports National Research Center claims consumers are concerned about food safety and they want the government to inspect the food supply more frequently. The participants, according to the report, stated that the FDA should conduct visits of foreign and domestic food processing plants at least every month. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) must inspect meat plants daily; however, the FDA has no such requirement for food processing plants.
The survey comes in the wake of a number of high profile food recalls and scares in the US related to fresh produce as well as beef, and it also follows the recent melamine scare linked to Chinese milk products.
Import worries Eighty-three percent of the respondents are concerned with harmful bacteria or chemicals in food and 81 per cent are concerned with the safety of imported food, according to the survey's findings.The Center said that 95 per cent of those surveyed said that processed or packaged food should be labelled by their country of origin and that country of origin labelling for products should always be available at point of purchase.
Cloned food Nearly three quarters of the consumers polled believe that cloning of food animals should be prohibited while 60 per cent are concerned about meat or milk products from cloned or genetically engineered (GE) animals, with the majority calling for GE food, meat and dairy products to be labeled as such, stated the survey. In addition, more than two-thirds of the respondents are concerned about the safety of meat treated with carbon monoxide to preserve red color, with 93 per cent agreeing that the packaging should clearly state if meat has been treated using this method, according to the poll. The report stated that 90 per cent of those polled agreed that meat that contains any irradiated components should be labeled as such; the USDA is currently considering the exemption of irradiated whole carcasses from labeling.
Source: FDA http://www.fda.gov/oc/initiatives/advance/food/plan_spanish.html
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

viernes, 7 de noviembre de 2008

Hobs may reduce Clostridium perfringens in chickens, claims US study

Lupulus used in beer contains bitters acids which are powerful antimicrobials
The scientists focused on one compound of the hob plant in particular, lupulone, and assessed its ability to control levels of C. perfringens in chickens.
ARS group said the study, which was published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, was triggered by the need to find alternatives to antibiotic use in poultry feed as several types of bacteria are building resistance to antibiotics.
The research will be of interest to meat processors as bacteria such as C. perfringens in the intestines of chickens can cause contamination of meat during processing and can also result in significant production losses by causing disease in the broiler chicken, explained the researchers.
Food poisoning linked to C. perfringens is the third most commonly reported foodborne illness in the US. Infection with the bacteria normally causes diarrhoea and severe abdominal pain. While it may occasionally cause nausea, it rarely causes vomiting or fever. Although the bacteria are killed at cooking temperatures, the heat-resistant spores they produce are able to survive and may actually be stimulated by the heat to germinate.
The research team delivered different concentrations of lupulone via water to chickens inoculated with C. perfringens and they found that after 22 days the pathogen counts were significantly reduced in the lupulone-treated group compared to another group of chickens that did not receive the treatment. The reductions ranged from 30 to 50 per cent, according to the authors.

The researchers concluded that Lupulone administered through they called for further research into the agent as an antibiotic alternative for intestinal infections.
Fuente: Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Aporte: Claudia Henríquez P.

jueves, 6 de noviembre de 2008

FSIS provides new guidance to inspectors for E. coli testing in raw beef

Samples can be sent before the establishment completes pre-shipment review.

USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service is providing new guidance to inspection program personnel on collecting samples of beef manufacturing trimmings and other raw ground beef and patty components for E. coli O157:H7 testing.
Currently, FSIS personnel are not to send samples to a laboratory until the establishment has completed pre-shipment review for the sampled lot.
Under this notice, however, inspection program personnel are instructed not to wait, and instead submit the raw beef sample to the laboratory after the establishment has completed all interventions, except for any intervention that is based on microbiological test results. Consequently, FSIS, in many cases, will be collecting and submitting samples to the laboratory before the establishment completes pre-shipment review.
Source: http://www.meatingplace.com/
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

Serious Salmonella Outbreak Hits Holland

Ham is the suspected source
An antibiotic-resistant strain of the Salmonella bacteria has made between 2,000 and 3,000 people ill since mid-August and resulted in around 30 people being hospitalized, the Volkskrant reports on Wednesday.
The public health institute RIVM says it is a 'very serious outbreak'. The source of the infection has not yet been traced but could be ham, the RIVM told the Volkskrant.
Source of Article: http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2008/11/serious_salmonella_outbreak_hi.php
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

martes, 4 de noviembre de 2008

Sanitation kit could combat Norovirus in food plants

A kit for sanitizing food handling environments when bodily fluid spillages occur can restrict the spread of potential contaminants such as Norovirus
Food safety and sanitation product supplier, Chemstar Corporation, said the new container enables employees in a food processing plant to clean and disinfect bodily fluids spillages quickly and safely at a time when ‘intense media focus on the recent outbreaks of Norovirus, Salmonella and E. coli has resulted in the further scrutiny of cleaning and disinfection protocols in the food industry.”
Bodily fluids such as vomit, blood, faeces, and urine may contain bacteria,
pathogens or viruses such as Norovirus, which is one of the most common causes of gastroenteritis, is highly contagious and can be spread through human contact
All-in-one kit
Envirox Tb has a claim against Norovirus and meets Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA ) blood borne pathogen standards for Hepatitis B virus and HIV.
US research
The findings of the University of Ottawa and North Carolina State University research teams were published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology and show that transmission of multiple enteric viruses can be reduced by a newly synergistically formulated ethanol-based hand sanitizer.
The research team said that they undertook suspension and fingerpad protocol assessments using the new sanitizer and the control.
In the suspension test, the new ethanol-based sanitizer showed reduced infectivity of human rotavirus (HRV), poliovirus type 1 (PV-1), and human N
orovirus (HNV) surrogates FCV and MNV-1 by greater than 3 log whereas the control alcohol-based sanitizer reduced only HRV by greater than 3 log and none of the additional viruses by greater than 1.2 log after the same exposure.
In the fingerpad experiments, the newly developed sanitizer produced a 2.48 log reduction of MNV-1 while the control product only produced a 0.91 log reduction.
“Based on these results, we conclude that this new ethanol-based hand sanitizer is a promising option for reducing the transmission of enteric viruses, including Norovirus, by food handlers and care providers,” said the team.
Aporte: Claudia Henríquez P.

lunes, 3 de noviembre de 2008

La exposición a la luz artificial reduce la calidad de las verduras

La iluminación reduce la calidad de algunos vegetales, ya que acelera su transpiración y respiración
Investigadores del Área de Tecnología de los Alimentos de la Universidad de La Rioja han demostrado que la exposición a la luz artificial produce un efecto negativo sobre la calidad sensorial de los vegetales mínimamente procesados, aquellos alimentos listos para su consumo inmediato tras un tratamiento mínimo de lavado, pelado, cortado y envasado en films poliméricos. El color se ve especialmente afectado en los vegetales no pigmentados (coliflor, espárrago, puerro y parte blanca de la acelga), mientras que en los vegetales verdes (brócoli, puerro y parte verde de la acelga) es la textura el atributo sensorial que sufre el mayor deterioro. Ello se debe a que la luz activa la apertura de los estomas (poros por donde se produce el intercambio gaseoso en las plantas), provocando un aumento de las tasas fotosintética y respiratoria.
Tras iluminar diversos envases de vegetales no pigmentados, los científicos comprobaron que presentaban atmósferas con mayores niveles de CO2 y menor contenido en oxígeno que los mantenidos en la oscuridad con el mismo tipo de film. Por su parte, los vegetales verdes almacenados en condiciones de iluminación mostraban un aumento de la tasa respiratoria, aunque ésta se veía compensada por la actividad fotosintética de la propia planta. En este caso, la composición de la atmósfera interior del envase y la duración del producto dependían de la permeabilidad del film utilizado.
Finalmente dicho equipo de investigadores comprobó que los vegetales frescos o casi frescos "no suelen sobrepasar las dos semanas de vida útil en las estanterías" de los establecimientos.

Aporte: Jacqueline Cabezas
Fuente: http://www.consumer.es/web/es/alimentacion/2008/10/21/180901.php

Proteínas de la leche de vaca pueden ocasionar alergias en lactantes

La lactancia permite a los niños obtener todos los elementos esenciales que necesitan para su desarrollo, como vitaminas, proteínas, aminoácidos, lípidos, entre otros.

Resulta extraño escuchar que un bebé pueda ser alérgico a la leche materna; en realidad, el término no es apropiado según especialistas, se trata más bien de una alergia a los componentes lácteos provenientes de la vaca. Este trastorno es ocasionado por la dieta de la madre, que puede ser rica en ese tipo de productos y, obviamente, el factor alimentación está vinculado con la composición de la leche materna.

En esos casos se indica a la madre una dieta libre de lácteos derivados de este animal. Las fórmulas lácteas indicadas para alimentar a los niños que presenten este tipo de trastornos son elaboradas a base de soya. Sin embargo, aproximadamente 20% de los niños alérgicos a la proteína de la leche de vaca, también pueden ser alérgicos a los derivados de la mencionada leguminosa. También son recomendadas las fórmulas a base de hidrolizados de proteínas, conocidas también como hipoalergénicas.

Neonatologos, explican que los síntomas que pueden presentar los bebés con este tipo de alergia son múltiples, tales como: lesiones rojizas en la piel (eczema), rinitis, bronco espasmos, cólicos, reflujo gastroesofágico y trastornos en la evacuación, como la diarrea o el estreñimiento.

Al no ser tratados oportunamente, se podrán evidenciar patologías respiratorias crónicas, lesiones cicatrízales en la piel y eczemas; además de desnutrición, esofagitis y asma bronquial.

La lactancia es la fuente alimenticia por excelencia del ser humano en sus primeros años de vida, y sus beneficios son múltiples e insuperables. El adecuado crecimiento del bebé, su correcta nutrición y desarrollo psicomotor, son sólo algunas de las ventajas que provee este vital alimento.
Fuente: http://www.portalveterinaria.cl/
Aporte: Araceli Terán

Melamina en huevos

El escándalo de la melanina en productos Chinos adquiere nuevas aristas.

En este sentido, autoridades de Hong Kong acaban de pedir a Pekín que investigue la presencia de esta sustancia en huevos importados de las granjas de Dalian, en el noreste de China.

Los exámenes realizados durante este fin de semana revelaron unos niveles de melamina en los huevos casi el doble de lo permitido, 4,7 miligramos por kilo. "Hemos contactado con la agencia de seguridad alimentaria de la región y esperamos que puedan hacer más para reducir el riesgo en el origen", declaró el secretario de Sanidad de Hong Kong, York Chow.

Se ha hecho público que la ciromazina, un derivado de la melamina, se usa frecuentemente en pesticidas y piensos para animales en China. Además, los expertos creen que esta sustancia es absorbida por las plantas.

Es así como inspectores chinos descubrieron que más de 500 establecimientos elaboradores de piensos aplicaban prácticas ilegales o dudosas, donde se incorporó melamina a los piensos compuestos, acción calificada como "delictiva y que debe ser combatida con firmeza". En los dos meses transcurridos desde que China reconoció que había leche contaminada con melamina, esta sustancia ha sido detectada en huevos, golosinas y otros productos. Su presencia en piensos compuestos ya ha creado temores sobre la seguridad de la carne, el pescado y ahora el huevo.

Fuente: consumaseguridad.com
Aporte: Valerie Weinborn

jueves, 30 de octubre de 2008

Euro wines carrying potentially dangerous levels of heavy metals

UK researchers have discovered most European wine nations are exporting red and white wines with potentially dangerous levels of at least seven heavy metals.
One glass of wine per day could end up more costly than you imagined according to Kingston University in London scientists Declan Naughton and Andrea Petroczi.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has designed a measure of ‘target hazard quotients’ (THQs) to determine the safe levels of frequent, long-term exposure to various chemicals, which Naughton calculated for 15 wines from Europe, the Middle East, and South America.
Typical wines have a THQ ranging from 50 to 200 per glass with some up 300, while in comparison seafood THQs that typically range between 1 and 5 have raised concerns about heavy-metal contamination.
A THQ over 1 indicates a health risk. "I was surprised at this finding, and would be very interested if regulatory authorities and food-safety people will look at this. The wine industry should look at ways to remove these metals from wine, or to find out where the metals come from and prevent this from happening", Mr Naughton said.
Vanadium, copper and manganese accounted for the majority of contamination, but zinc, chromium, lead and nickel were also found with THQs over 1. University of Rochester, N.Y behavioral neurotoxicologist Bernard Weiss, PhD is most worried about the effects of one metal in particular – manganese, which accumulates in the brain and has been linked to Parkinson’s disease.
Wines from Italy, Brazil and Argentina however, were found to have safe levels of heavy metals. The worst level of THQs were found in wines from: Hungary, Slovakia, France, Austria, Spain, Germany, Portugal, Greece, Czech Republic, Jordan, Macedonia and Serbia. In the cases of France, Austria, Spain, Germany, and Portugal’s maximum potential THQ values were over 100, while Hungary and Slovakia had maximum potential THQ values over 350. Argentinean and Italian wines had no significant maximum THQ values.
Possible sources for the heavy metal contamination include the soil of the vineyards, fungicides used, and contaminants in the fermenting yeasts. Naughton and Petroczi calculated THQs from data published in scientific journals rather than directly measuring the wines. They also point out that drinking red wine has been linked to health benefits because of its antioxidants. "However, the finding of hazardous levels of metal ions which can be pro-oxidants leads to a major question mark over the protective benefits of red wine," they suggest.
Source: Chemistry Central Journal. Oct 29 2008
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

Consumo de alimentos en la calle “Potencial riesgo alimentario”

Alerta para no consumir alimentos en la calle durante el verano

Se ha observado que cada vez aumenta la tendencia de la comida rápida ofrecida en las calles, siendo atractiva para la gente debido a la amplia gama ofrecida que va desde diferentes sándwich a comida que requiere de una mayor manipulación como pastel de choclo y sushi.

Debido a la falta de infraestructura para mantener estas comidas rápidas e incumplimiento de las BPM-BPH, es un riesgo evidente el consumirlas, ya que se desconoce la manera de elaboración, transporte y la mantención a las temperaturas adecuadas según el tipo de alimento. Recordemos que entre los 5 y 65ºC es una zona de reproducción exponencial de los patógenos y otros microorganismos.
Considerando que se acerca la temporada de Verano, las altas Tº dificultan la mantención de los alimentos en frío y se acentúa aun mas el riesgo de adquirir una enfermedad transmitida por los alimentos (ETA).

Como consejo, se recomienda a los consumidores optar por alimentos elaborados y distribuidos por locales que cuenten con resolución sanitaria, permisos municipales e infraestructura acorde al alimento (refrigeración). Estas condiciones, se reflejan en un precio mas elevado en comparación de lo ofrecido en la calle misma, pero nos ofrecen mayor inocuidad alimentaria.
Finalmente “lo barato puede salir caro”.


Aporte: Catalina Miranda

La Comisión Europea presentó Libro Verde de productos agrícolas

Incluye nuevos requisitos, sistemas de calidad y certificaciones.
La Dirección General de Agricultura y Desarrollo Rural de la Comisión Europea hizo el ''Libro verde sobre la calidad de los productos agrícolas'', con el objetivo de abrir un proceso de consulta con las partes interesadas sobre todos los aspectos relacionados con la calidad, principalmente los sistemas de certificación, las normas de comercialización, los problemas de etiquetado y las indicaciones geográficas.

El Libro Verde se divide en tres partes y en cada una de ellas la Comisión plantea una serie de preguntas destinadas a las partes interesadas - organismos y particulares - invitadas a participar en el proceso de consulta y debate.
La primera parte se refiere a los requisitos de producción y normas de comercialización de la Unión Europea.

Con relación a la simplificación del proceso normativo la Comisión expone que hay dos formas y preguntas sobre ellas: la autorregulación y la regulación de la UE simplificada.

La segunda parte se refiere a los sistemas de calidad específicos de la UE.

La tercera parte es la relativa a los sistemas de certificación de calidad, principalmente desarrollados en el sector privado. La CE no quiere crear una legislación específica aunque considera la creación de unas líneas directrices.

Aporte: Rosa María Tapia G.

SAG determina origen de la dioxina en carne de cerdo.

Una fundición vendió óxido de zinc contaminado que se usó en el alimento para los animales.
La fundición Cembrass, en Quilicura (RM), vendió óxido de zinc contaminado con dioxina a una empresa de productos químicos en Lampa. Finalmente, el producto fue comprado por empresas de alimentos para animales. "Estas empresas lo usan como pre-mezcla para alimentos que se distribuyen en el mercado nacional, siendo 3 las empresas afectadas, al menos, las que distribuyen en el mercado nacional", según el senador PPD, Guido Girardi.
La cadena de producción estaba contaminada con dioxina desde la base, una peligrosa sustancia que puede causar cáncer y que provocó que Corea prohibiera en julio el ingreso a ese mercado de una partida de carne de cerdo. La jefa de Políticas Públicas del Ministerio de Salud, Elia Molina, señaló: "Lo que se vendió se ha rastreado. Están retenidos todos los productos y están todos sometidos a sumario sanitario",
Actualmente hay 6 criaderos en cuarentena, 256 mil kilos de carne de cerdo fueron destruidos y 295 mil kilos están retenidos. La investigación continúa, porque todavía falta determinar el número definitivo de empresas que vendieron el alimento con dioxina y los animales contaminados.
Fuente: http://teletrece.canal13.cl/t13/html/
Aporte: Rosa María Tapia

miércoles, 29 de octubre de 2008

Nueva vacuna reduce la propagación de E. coli 0157:H7.

Vacuna para el ganado reduce el riesgo de contaminación de alimentos por E. coli 0157:H7

La nueva vacuna “Econiche” desarrollada por la empresa Bioniche Life Sciences, recibió la aprobación de la Agencia Canadiense de Inspección de Alimentos (CFIA), ya que cumple con los requerimientos de seguridad para obtener la concesión de una licencia. Según la empresa el uso de esta vacuna en el ganado previene la colonización de E. coli O157: H7 en el intestino de los animales y por consiguiente la cantidad de bacterias que pueden ser liberadas al medio ambiente a través de las fecas. De esta forma se reduciría el riesgo de contaminación por este agente en los alimentos y en el agua. Más de 30.000 reses han participado en los ensayos clínicos de la vacuna en los últimos cinco años.
E. coli O157: H7 es una bacteria potencialmente mortal que puede causar diarrea sanguinolenta, deshidratación y, en los casos más graves, insuficiencia renal. Los niños, ancianos y personas inmunodeprimidas son los más susceptibles. En Norteamérica se estima que cada año se comunican 100.000 casos de infecciones humanas por E. coli O157: H7.
La contaminación con E. coli O157: H7 es actualmente una especial preocupación para la industria de la carne en Estados Unidos, por la cantidad de recalls de carne molida producidos por esta causa a principios de este año.
Licencia en EE.UU. El Departamento de Agricultura de Estados Unidos (USDA) informó a la empresa que los datos más recientes de su vacuna cumplen con el estándar de eficiencia y con los requisitos para una licencia condicional y que es necesario que desarrolle un plan para recopilar información suficiente para que el producto obtenga una licencia definitiva.

Aporte: Mónica Juárez
Fuente: www.foodproductiondaily.com/

lunes, 27 de octubre de 2008

Incremento de resistencia a antibióticos y desinfectantes en Staphylococcus aureus

Empleo inapropiado de desinfectantes sería la causa
Un reciente estudio asegura que el uso de desinfectantes químicos en concentraciones subletales podría fortalecer y hacer más resistentes con el tiempo a las bacterias que se tratan de eliminar. Las concentraciones reducidas de estos productos, denominados biocidas, pueden hacer que el patógeno Staphylococcus aureus elimine las sustancias químicas tóxicas de la célula de una forma todavía más eficaz, con lo que la puede hacer resistente también a la muerte causada por algunos antibióticos.
El Staphylococcus aureus aumenta la producción de proteínas que bombean al exterior de la célula muchas sustancias químicas tóxicas (Bombas de eflujo) para interferir con sus efectos antibacterianos. Los investigadores expusieron a S. aureus, tomados de la sangre de pacientes, a concentraciones bajas de varios biocidas y colorantes. Se fijaron en el efecto de la exposición sobre las bacterias y hallaron que se producían mutantes que creaban más bombas de eflujo de lo normal. La exposición a bajas concentraciones de una diversidad de biocidas y tinturas dio lugar a la aparición de mutantes resistentes junto al aumento del número de bombas de eflujo en las bacterias.
El cumplimiento estricto de los protocolos indicados en cuanto a concentración y tiempos de contacto de biocidas y condiciones de aplicación es esencial, ya que no respetar esto acarrea bacterias resistentes que no mueren al usar concentraciones normales de los productos y por tanto superficies contaminadas que afectaran la inocuidad de los alimentos.

Glenn Kaatz. "Multidrug efflux pump overexpression in Staphylococcus aureus after single and multiple in vitro exposures to biocides and dyes". Microbiology Oct 2008
Aporte: Iván Molina

sábado, 25 de octubre de 2008

Ontario E. coli outbreak continue expanding

Harvey's restaurant sold E coli O157:H7 contaminated foods

As many as 93 people in Ontario could be afflicted with a potentially deadly strain of E. coli linked to a popular fast-food restaurant, health authorities reported Thursday. Laboratory tests have confirmed 15 cases of poisoning due to E coli O157:H7, with 78 others under investigation, stemming from a Harvey's restaurant in North Bay, Ont.

Dr. Catherine Whiting, the area's medical officer of health, said in an interview the outbreak had spread beyond North Bay, with one confirmed case in Sudbury, Ont. Four other cases -- including one in eastern Ontario -- may also be linked to the outbreak, she said. Victims range in age from five to 84 years old, with nine reported to be in hospital and the rest recovering at home. However, no cases of kidney failure or other serious complications had been reported.

The North Bay Parry Sound District health unit said the outbreak originated at a Harvey's restaurant in the city, although the actual source of contamination was not yet known. The bacterial strain is the same one that afflicted the town of Walkerton, Ont., in May 2000, when seven people died and about 2,500 others fell ill. In that case, the outbreak was traced to contaminated municipal tap water, but that's been ruled out in the North Bay case. The very young and frail elderly are especially susceptible to kidney failure or even strokes resulting from infection. Other symptoms of infection include stomach cramps, nausea and possibly a fever. Treatment is essentially supportive -- giving patients fluids to prevent dehydration.

Because E. coli bacteria are easily spread, health officials urge especially careful handwashing and other sound hygiene practices when dealing with suspected cases of infection. One suspected case in the North Bay outbreak may be the result of an infected person passing on the contamination.

Source: The Canadian Press

Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa