lunes, 28 de abril de 2008

Mom learns the hard way: Raw milk can be dangerous

Ingestion of unpasteurized milk should be avoided.

To those who swear that drinking unpasteurized milk is the ultimate health elixir, this story should give you some pause. What began as a two-night getaway at a farm in Lancaster County, Pa., turned into a calamity of nightmarish proportions for me and my two kids when we drank raw milk. My friend and I took our children to a working farm during spring break. They milked cows, fed bottles of milk to calves and ran free on acres of land - a rarity for these city kids. They also drank the milk that was on the breakfast table, a milk I might add, that was the most silky and delicious any of us had ever tasted. We were told it was unpasteurized, but made to believe it was safe. (I assumed it was at least boiled). A day after returning home, we knew we had made a terrible mistake. The first to fall ill was my five-year-old daughter, who had a high fever, then stomach flu symptoms, then my four-year-old son, then me. My friend and her family had become violently ill as well. We spent seven days worried that our kids could dehydrate and forced them to drink gallons of Gatorade. My friend did get dehydrated and needed intravenous fluids in order to return to her job as a nurse. After a week of this torture, medical tests showed we had contracted campylobacter, a bacterial food poisoning that can be found in unpasteurized milk. The six of us were prescribed antibiotics.
Thankfully, we're all going to be OK.
To be fair, Campylobacter can also be spread by contact with raw or undercooked poultry, as the farm owners later told us, but the likely culprit according to my doctor was the raw milk. The kids missed an entire week of school, made endless round-the-clock trips to the bathroom and suffered through sleepless night. I had to adjust my work schedule and get help from family. Then there was the fear we had contracted a more severe and chronic illness, as we later learned could have happened (arthritis, tubercolosis and Salmonella, to name a few). Raw milk enthusiasts claim it can cure everything from asthma to allergies They even regularly cross state lines to buy unpasteurized milk in Pennsylvania, since the sale of such products are illegal in New Jersey.
Maybe it does have health benefits. But after my experience, it's not worth the risk.
Drinking raw milk is like playing Russian roulette with your health.
When it comes to my children's health, it's not a risk
I'm willing to play.


Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

EFSA calls for caution on bacterial resistance

Resistance to antibacterials in animals is rising

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says that the growing use of antimicrobial agents in food could be damaging human resistance to bacteria and other microbes.
In a report published on Thursday by EFSA's panel on biological hazards (Biohaz), the agency suggests that more needs to be done to ensure that the food we eat
does not become a "carrier" for antimicrobial-resistant agents which could leave the body open to health risks.
"Antimicrobial resistance cannot be predicted - it comes from the mutation of existing bacteria - so what we are saying is that we need to keep a close eye on this issue and make sure that all the potential entry points into the food chain for such resistant bacteria are controlled. "This is a job not only for EFSA but for all stakeholders - including the European Commission and national food safety authorities who are the risk managers in this case."
Resistance to antibacterials in animals is rising, meaning that the risk of animal-based food becoming contaminated is higher. At the same time, antimicrobials are also becoming less effective in fighting human infections.
The presence of resistant bacteria in animals does not mean that they will react the same way in humans - but there is the potential there that that will happen."
This is true specially for Salmonella and Campylobacter, since these are mostly spread through food and are becoming increasingly resistant to the current antibiotic treatments. However, other bacteria such as MRSA, which have not traditionally been viewed as a food-based risk, may also be an "emerging problem".
MRSA - the so-called superbug - is highly resistant to most forms of antimicrobials, and has been responsible for several deaths in hospitals. EFSA has only identified one case of food-borne MRSA leading to human contamination but warns that it could be a problem in the future as the bug has been found in food products in the past.
HACCP : "Our report is not saying that there is a major risk or threat to public health from antimicrobial-resistant bacteria at the moment," said Jones. "But it does urge food safety authorities and the food industry to look closely at the various ways in which such bacteria could enter the food chain and to do their utmost to control them."
Poor hygiene, he suggested, was probably the most likely means of transfer. "Keeping food clean and safe through the application of good HACCP principles is likely to be the best way of stopping food products being contaminated accidentally by resistant bacteria," he said.
Deliberate bacteria: Another potential carrier highlighted in the report is bacteria that is deliberately added to food, such as fermentation cultures or probiotics. These "have on occasion exhibited antimicrobial resistance and should also be considered as a possible route for the transfer of antimicrobial resistance through food", EFSA said.
EFSA's scientists have called for consultation with the wider food science community to assess the current state of play on tackling this issue.


Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

Efficacy of common additives against acrylamide gains more support

Addition of the common food additives L-cysteine, glycine and L-lysine may inhibit the formation of acrylamide in potato products, suggests new research from Belgium.

"L-cysteine appeared to reduce the acrylamide content in the most effective way, with a reduction of about 92 per cent, followed by L-lysine (39 per cent) and glycine (24 per cent)," wrote lead author Frederic Mestdagh from Ghent University in the Journal Food Chemistry.
The study taps into the trend of new ways to reduce acrylamide in foods, as the industry aims to improve the public perception about food safety, which has suffered in recent years.
Acrylamide is a carcinogen that is created when starchy foods are baked, roasted, fried or toasted. It first hit the headlines in 2002, when scientists at the Swedish Food Administration first reported unexpectedly high levels of acrylamide, found to cause cancer in laboratory rats, in carbohydrate-rich foods.
Since the Swedish discovery a global effort has been underway to amass data about this chemical. More than 200 research projects have been initiated around the world, and their findings co-ordinated by national governments, the EU and the United Nations.
The Belgian researchers used a model potato powder system, and tested the efficacy of a range of food additives on acrylamide formation, including organic acids, free amino acids and salts.
"Since most of these additives are already commonly used in the food industry, these components can be more easily applied on industrial scale to mitigate the formation of acrylamide in fried potato products," they added.
Promising results: Mestdagh and co-workers report that the organic acids led to a significant reduction in acrylamide content, but this was due predominantly to a lowering of the pH. Specifically, acrylamide levels were reduced by 78, 46 and 62 per cent for citric, acetic, and L-lactic acid, respectively.
For the amino acids glycine, L-lysine and L-cysteine reductions were also recorded, with the greatest observed for the last amino acid. Moreover, reductions were achieved without changes to the pH level.
Salts containing calcium and magnesium ions also induced a reduction in acrylamide levels in the food matrix, but this was also associated with pH changes. This area of study is ongoing for the Ghent researchers, with an evaluation of the approaches planned in a real food system, namely potato crisps. "In addition, the final product quality of these treated foodstuffs will be assessed by means of sensory analysis of potato crisps," they concluded.

Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

Debate over safety of chemical in plastic bottle

Ingestion of Bisphenol A, used to make polycarbonate plastic, is linked to child diseases

Canada is moving to get rid of products with a chemical common in plastic baby bottles, and the United States is expressing concern over its safety, however the risks are still disputed.
Canada's Health Minister Tony Clement said he would bring in rules to outlaw plastic polycarbonate baby bottles, perhaps within the next year.
These bottles are made with bisphenol A, which is also used in food and water containers.
Mr Clement said bisphenol A could hinder child development and cited a study which he said showed that overexposure at an early age could cause behavioral and neurological symptoms later in life.
Canada would be the first country to ban the sale and import of the items.
The National Toxicology Program, part of the US government's National Institutes of Health, issued a draft report expressing concern that bisphenol A could cause neural and behavioral problems in foetuses, infants and children.
Relying on the results of animal studies, it expressed concern about possible links between exposure to the chemical and early puberty and prostate and breast cancer. And Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, announced on Thursday it plans to offer more products free of bisphenol A, and intends to stop selling baby bottles made with the chemical early next year.
Risk disputed: Whether bisphenol A poses genuine health risks in people remains a matter of debate, with industry groups defending its safety and environmental activists saying studies involving animals show otherwise.
Bisphenol A is used to make polycarbonate plastic, a clear shatter-resistant material in products ranging from plastic baby bottles and water bottles to sports safety equipment and medical devices.
It also is used to make durable epoxy resins used as the coating in most food and beverage cans.
People can eat or drink the chemical when it leaches out of the plastic into liquid such as baby formula, water or food inside the container.
Michael Schade of the US environmental group Center for Health, Environment and Justice said governments and major retailers are recognising that the chemical is extremely toxic at low levels of exposure. However Carl Winter, director of the Food Safety Program at the University of California-Davis, says there is still no strong evidence supporting significant impacts on human health for bisphenol A.


Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

Bio-Rad Laboratories iQ-CheckTM Real-Time PCR Test Kits Approved by AOAC Research Institute

Food pathogens identified in 8-24 hour
The AOAC Research Institute has granted Performance Tested Method status to Bio-Rad Laboratories' iQ-CheckTM test kits. The iQ-Check family of kits is based on automated real-time polymerase chain reaction (RTi-PCR) amplification and detection. Currently, kits are available for Listeria spp., Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, and E. coli O157:H7, all of which are approved. All tests can be run at the same time in the same reaction plate. Since the reaction occurs in closed PCR tubes, the chance for cross-contamination is limited. An internal amplification control is performed in each well to verify the validity of the PCR and confirm a negative result.
Two instrument platforms are available, to meet every users needs. The 96-well instrument is suitable for high throughput analysis, with the ability to run 4 instruments from a single computer at the same time. For lower volume users, we offer a 48-well instrument, also with the ability to run 4 instruments from a single computer at the same time. Since Bio-Rad manufacturers both of these instruments, we provide complete instrument and kit technical support.
iQ-Check E. coli O157:H7 is validated with a non-specific 8-24 hour enrichment in Buffered Peptone Water. Modified EC broth (as per USDA MLG) and EHEC Enrichment broth (as per FDA BAM) were also validated for use with shortened enrichment times. iQ-Check Salmonella II requires a single 21 ± 1 hour enrichment in nonselective Buffered Peptone Water, with no selective enrichment step. iQ-Check Listeria spp. and iQ-Check Listeria monocytogenes II are validated with a 25 ± 1 hour enrichment in Listeria Special Broth (LSB), a 24 hour time saving over the reference method. LSB is an enrichment media specially formulated to meet the growth requirements of Listeria while inhibiting competitor organisms.


Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

martes, 22 de abril de 2008

New technology driving US food safety sales

New products designed to help food processors verify the safety of their products at every stage of the food production process.
Increased sales in a buoyant US market, a new report states.US demand for food safety products will increase by 6.5 per cent per year to US$3.2bn (€2bn) in 2012, according to a new study from the Freedonia Group, with the fastest growth coming from smart labels and tags that allow greater traceability of food products along the entire production chain.

Food safety: The demand for products that can help processors ensure that their products are safe has grown in the wake of a number of high profile food recalls and scares in the US.Concerns that some of the affected products could have been consumed by school children on the National School Meal Program prompted calls for tighter controls on food production - a job that could be made easier using new technology.

Labels and tags: Although traditional food safety products such as disinfectants and chemicals will continue to be the main weapons in the battle against food-borne diseases, Freedonia's report suggests that smart labels and tags will experience double-digit annual growth "due to rising demand for the added security and efficiency they can provide".

RFID, traceability: Smart labels include bar codes and radio frequency identification (RFID) chips that are by distributors to provide traceability information, and accounted for around seven per cent of the food safety products market in 2007. But bar code tag and label growth will be restrained due to a mature market, and eventual loss of market share to RFID tags in the longer term.Smart labels: However, it is smart label technology that is likely to drive the market the most, according to the report.

The Westland case - where meat from diseased animals passed into the human food chain - has highlighted the need for greater traceability, and Freedonia's report notes that better tracking of animals would allow government health inspectors to track down the source of an infectious agent far more rapidly.

Cost cutting: But using new technology will also help companies cut the cost of complying with ever more stringent traceability requirements: new US regulations require food and beverage companies to keep records that identify both what raw materials went into a specific food product and where the raw material was from, and to whom the food product was shipped, for a period of two years.

Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

lunes, 21 de abril de 2008

Legal/Regulatory News FSIS releasing risk-based inspection reports

USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service is publishing two reports that evaluate the scientific support for the proposed risk-based inspection system.
One of the reports details the system as it relates to all processing and slaughter establishments, and the other discusses the system for young chicken slaughter plants. FSIS has revised the reports based on comments from the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection (NACMPI), stakeholders and peer reviewers.

The revised technical report on processing and slaughter establishments is now available. The revised version of the poultry slaughter report will be available on April 25. FSIS said it will continue to tweak the RBI system by working with stakeholders to carry out a methods evaluation.

The agency also has released the Audit Report on Issues Impacting the Development of Risk Based Inspection at Meat and Poultry Establishments. This report presents the results of the audit conducted by USDA's Office of the Inspector General.

Source: Meatingplace.comTo view these reports, click here.
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

Malt-O-Meal Salmonella agona Cereal Linked to Maine Illnesses

Contaminated rice likely cause food poisoninig
Maine has identified three cases of infection with a strain of Salmonella similar to that found in the contaminated cereal, based on preliminary information. The onset of illness dates range from January 22 to March 19. Two of the individuals were hospitalized. . All three reported consumption of unsweetened puffed rice or wheat cereals, but at present it is unknown if the products consumed were part of the current recall. Additional cases of illness in other states are being investigated by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
On April 5, 2008 the Malt-O-Meal Company of Minnesota announced a recall of unsweetened puffed rice and unsweetened puffed wheat cereal. In addition to Malt-O-Meal’s own brand, these cereals are sold under multiple labels, including the store brands for Hannaford and Shaw’s Supermarkets. The other brands being recalled are Acme, America’s Choice, Food Club, Giant, Jewel, Laura Lynn, Pathmark, ShopRite, Tops, and Weis Quality. The products recalled include “Best if used by” codes between April 8, 2008 (APR0808) and March 18, 2009 (MAR1809). 1998 Malt-O-Meal Salmonella agona Litigation - Multistate In 1998, Malt-O-Meal on recalled as much as 3 million pounds of its plain toasted oat cereal after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that it was the likely source of Salmonella food poisoning. At least 17 Washington state children became ill with Salmonella agona infections, and litigation resulted. We learned this morning at the Seattle University School of Law Food Safety Seminar that not only is this 2008 outbreak caused by Salmonella agona - the same serotype in the 1998 outbreak, but also the same PFGE pattern.
Source of Article:
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

New food safety recall bill was proposed

Require USDA to list all retail stores and school districts that received meat products subjected to voluntary recall
Legal/Regulatory News Legislators introduce food safety recall bill Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.) and 10 co-sponsors last week introduced the Food Safety Recall Information Act (H.R. 5762), which would require USDA to list all of the retail stores and school districts that have received food products subjected to a recall. Since Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co. recalled 143 million pounds of beef earlier this year, DeLauro and other legislators have repeatedly called for this transparency. In a news release, DeLauro also objected to a proposed USDA rule that would make this information available only for Class I recalls, which pose the highest risk of human illness, noting that would have excluded the Hallmark/Westland recall, which was a Class II recall, as it carried a much lower risk.Specifically, the Food Safety Recall Information Act would:

  • Require USDA to list all retail stores and school districts that received meat products subjected to voluntary recall, regardless of class of recall.

  • Require companies that recall any USDA-regulated food product to provide a list of retail stores and school districts that received the product.

  • Require USDA to update this list continuously as the information is received, whether by the company doing the recall, or notification from the entity receiving the product.

  • Eliminate what it called a "loophole" that allows some downed cattle to be slaughtered under certain circumstances if they pass an additional inspection.

Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

jueves, 10 de abril de 2008

FDA: Three More Salmonella Cantaloupe Recalls

Fourth cantaloupe recall was notified
The Salmonella cantaloupe scare is still not over. Three more cantaloupe recalls have been added to the growing list of recent cantaloupe recalls. Taylor Fresh Foods of Salinas, California is voluntarily recalling selected fresh cut cantaloupe fruit products which may contain cantaloupe from Agropecuaria Montelibano and began recovering this product on March 22.
The Taylor Fresh product recall includes cut cantaloupe and mixed cut fruit in bowls and trays of all sizes distributed by Taylor. Retail and convenience store products were removed from sale in late March; foodservice distributors, who sell their own brand, have been notified. Labels include: Taylor Farms Gourmet Fruit Tray featuring Creamy Yogurt Dip, Taylor Fresh Melon Mix, Taylor Fresh Fruit Mix, Fresh Fruit Tray with Creamy Strawberry Dip. All Best if Used By Dates before March 30, 2008 are affected; subsequent dates are not. Fresh Express Foods Corporation, Inc. of Medford Oregon is voluntarily recalling cut cubed processed cantaloupe received from C.H. Robinson and supplied by Agropecuaria Montelibano.
The recalled cantaloupe was distributed to two local restaurants, one hospital, and one retirement center in Medford; one restaurant in Klamath Falls; and one grocery store?Price Less “Deli Department”?in Cave Junction. All have been contacted. ? Fresh Express Foods has received product from a new source and will continue to supply its customers.
Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections, causing diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps within 12 to 72 hours of infection. The illness lasts a week and most recovers without treatment; however, in some, hospitalization is required. Severe cases can result in arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis, and arthritis and even death.
Source of Article: Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

Food Safety FSIS outlines why it might broaden definition of E. coli as adulterant

Whole muscle cuts will be also included in sampling plans
USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service plans to look closely at how primal cuts are handled and tested before deciding whether it should define E. coli O157:H7 as an adulterant in beef regardless of the type of product or intended use of the product."We have not made decisions about how to go forward, but what we have in place now is not working," FSIS Deputy Assistant Administrator Daniel Engeljohn said Wednesday at a public meeting about E. coli in Washington.Currently, intact product distributed for consumption as intact product — designated primal and sub-primal cuts such as roasts and steaks — is not considered adulterated if it is contaminated with E. coli.However, Englejohn outlined considerations that might warrant changing that policy, such as evidence that a substantial amount of primal cuts are used as source material for non-intact ground beef, and evidence that non-designated primal cuts are not receiving the same E. coli interventions and testing as boneless manufacturing trimmings.In the short term, Englejohn said the agency will intensify its focus on slaughter/dressing compliance, reviewing industry data on the effectiveness of sanitary practices.

FSIS also will look more closely at sampling protocols, including what constitutes a production lot, how samples are collected and how decisions are made about when other production lots may be affected by positive E. coli test results.Urgency: Although Englejohn characterized assessment of E. coli's status as an adulterant in a broader range of products as "long term,"
FSIS Under Secretary Richard Raymond spoke with greater urgency at the meeting. "I don't want to leave this problem for the next under secretary, and I don't want to have a prolonged, fruitless deliberation on this subject," Raymond said. "We have a problem. Let's work quickly and thoughtfully to find the right prescription to solve it."Raymond indicated there will be a 30-day comment period following the two-day meeting, which discussed a variety of ways to improve E. coli detection and reduce related human illness. He said FSIS will then review responses and plan its next steps based on that input.
The American Meat Institute, for one, already has spoken out against FSIS's proposed change. "No outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7 have been linked to whole muscle cuts like steaks and roasts," said AMI Foundation President James Hodges. "Contemplating an expansion of that policy to muscle cuts that are internally sterile will not solve the problem.
No policy change by government can alter the current scientific reality that bacteria exist on all fresh agricultural products. The data tell us, however, that Americans enjoy beef products safely better than 99.99 percent of the time."
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

miércoles, 9 de abril de 2008

Piden retiro de aditivos alimentarios provocan hiperactividad en los niños.

Entre ellos colorantes muy usados en dulces y jugos.
La autoridad europea de inocuidad de los alimentos (EFSA), pedirá la próxima semana a los fabricantes de alimentos que retiren varios aditivos que, según los últimos estudios, provocan hiperactividad y otros trastornos en el comportamiento infantil.
A petición de la EFSA, la Universidad de Southampton realizó un estudio que demuestra que siete de los aditivos más comunes en los productos alimenticios entre ellos la Tartrazina y el amarillo crepúsculo, perjudican la inteligencia y el comportamiento de los niños.
A la luz de este informe, el regulador pedirá a los fabricantes que retiren de sus productos seis de estos aditivos para finales del próximo año, y los sustituyan por alternativas más naturales siempre que sea posible.
Algunas empresas que producen golosinas ya han accedido a retirar los colorantes, que pueden causar hiperactividad y mal comportamiento en los pequeños, pero organizaciones han criticado la medida sea de cumplimiento voluntario, en lugar de prohibirse los componentes.

Aporte: Julio Parra Flores

Salmonella study to build prebiotics knowledge

The use of galacto-oligosaccharides to protect animals from salmonella infection
Galacto-oligosaccharides are prebiotics that occur naturally in breast milk and are known to play a role in building the health of infants at a time when their immune systems are less developed. They have also been used in foods aimed at adults, to help foster growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut and alleviate the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome - as well as stomach upsets and diarrhoea. Now, however, researchers are looking at using prebiotics further up the food chain, in place of antibiotics to block pathogens and stop animals getting sick.Laura Searle from the Veterinary Laboratories Agency in the UK is today reporting positive findings on the use of a mixture of galacto-oligosaccharide mixture intended for human use, in a murine model. So far her work has centered around reducing the invasion capabilities of Salmonella typhimurium and reducing the seriousness of the symptoms in the mice. After treatment with the mixture, fewer Salmonella bacteria were found in systemic and intestinal tissues, she reports. Full details of the study and findings, which are being presented at the meeting of the Society for General Microbiology in Edinburgh, have not been seen by prior to publication. However Searle said she is submitting her work to a scientific journal. Searle is now working to uncover the exact mechanism by which the galacto-oligosaccharises works, potentially also contributing to knowledge as to how they could help humans, too. This research will shed light on the mechanisms by which prebiotics could work to stimulate normal flora in the gut so that they "out compete" with the enteric pathogens. Although it is still early days, she said she hopes her work towards establishing a mechanism in animals could, ultimately, feed in to research on benefits for humans. Salmonella typhimurium is of particular concern, "since we can trace people being infected through direct contact with animals or through the food chain". The use of prebiotics for farm animals is an interesting new area, driven by the EU ban on the use of antibiotics as growth promoters and therapeutic agents for animals in 2006, since such use can lead to antibiotic resistance. This has meant there has been an urgent search to replace antibiotics in animal food farming. In addition to the bacteria-fighting benefits of the prebiotics and the implications for both human and animal health, such research could also yield economic benefits for farmers.
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

martes, 8 de abril de 2008

Staph aureus food poisoning in a restaurant

Staphylococcus toxin sickened more than 137 people.
A staph bacteria may have sickened more than 137 people who ate an Easter buffet at Claudia Sanders Dinner House in Shelbyville, Ky., state health officials said today.Preliminary results from the Kentucky State Lab suggested that staphylococcus aureus might be the culprit in the food poisoning, although it’s not definitive since it was found in some stool samples and not others.“We anticipate more confirmed results next week,” said Tony Millet, a spokesman for the state’s North Central District Health Department.Health department officials said today they would allow the famed restaurant, once owned by Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Col. Harland Sanders and his wife, to reopen tomorrow. It has been closed since Tuesday.The restaurant employs about 90 full-time workers ages 16-78. Riley said she instructed staff this week to clean everything, including the ceiling and the walls.“We’ve sanitized and Cloroxed every surface in the building,” she said. “And anything that was opened, even if it wasn’t used that day, has been thrown away.”Before receiving word of the preliminary test results yesterday, Riley said the staff simply “tried to prepare for the worst,” taking on the task of sanitizing “as if it was our fault.”Staphylococci can exist in air, dust, sewage, water, milk and food, or on food equipment, environmental surfaces, humans and animals.It exists on the skin, nasal passages and body hair of many healthy people. The state lab is still testing samples from food and patrons.According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, staph bacteria’s incubation period is about 30 minutes to six hours, with roughly two days of symptoms. That is consistent with the illnesses reported, officials said. Riley said today she believes the outbreak occurred shortly after a “mass of people” came into the restaurant on Easter Sunday following an accident that closed part of Interstate 64. The restaurant is at 3202 U.S. 60. About 2,500 people are thought to have eaten at the restaurant on Easter. Because the restaurant doesn’t offer a buffet every day, Riley said the buffet table there is not like those found at restaurants that do, lacking the typical “sneeze guard” over the table itself. Instead, each pan of food has a shield that can be raised or lowered.The restaurant has made no plans to cancel its buffet, which is offered one day per week and on holidays like Easter and Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day is the restaurant’s busiest day of the year.When talking to health officials about what the restaurant could do to prevent a future outbreak, Riley said she found a couple of changes that could be made, such as changing food pans out more often and dropping the shields to cover three-quarters of the pan. However, she said that would significantly slow patrons from getting through the buffet line, especially at peak times.“We’re looking at that as part of the investigation,” said state epidemiologist Kraig Humbaugh.According to the CDC, death from staphylococcal food poisoning is rare, although instances have occurred among the elderly, infants and severely debilitated persons.Health officials are still asking patrons who ate at the restaurant that day to contact them, even if they didn’t get sick.Source: Courier
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa

Estados unidos enfrenta a Chile por salmones.

Infección de peces no afecta a humanos.
Desde hace más de una década, los salmoneros del Norte y el Sur de América viven una particular pugna, pareja al vertiginoso aumento de la producción en las piscifactorías de Chile -han multiplicado su superficie por cuatro desde 1990- que recorta la cuota de mercado del salmón salvaje o de pesca que se captura en EEUU.
La mecha la ha encendido esta vez un artículo de The New York Times en el que se aseguraba que los salmoneros instalados en Chile están usando antibióticos de forma indiscriminada para combatir el virus de la Anemia Infecciosa del Salmón (ISA en sus siglas en inglés).
Se trata de una enfermedad muy contagiosa entre los animales, que carece de efectos para los humanos, y que provoca una anemia severa y hemorragias internas que acaban matando al pez.
La polémica ha generado gran preocupación después de que la cadena de supermercados nortemericana Safeway haya anunciado la suspensión temporal de sus compras de salmón a la multinacional noruega Marine Harvest, propietaria de las piscifactorias de la isla de Chiloé (Chile) donde se han detectado los primeros focos.
Las empresas salmoneras instaladas en Chile (noruegas, japonesas, españolas y chilenas) y el Gobierno que preside Michelle Bachelet aseguran que se trata de falsas acusaciones ya que no existe ningún antídoto, la única medida que se puede adoptar es aislar las instalaciones afectadas y aplicar máxima higiene para evitar los contagios.
El gerente general de Pesquera de El Golfo, Alberto Romero, cree que "Alaska junto con las ONG ambientalistas comienzan a generar campañas en contra del salmón de cultivo para abrir sus mercados justo en estos meses, cuando es primavera en el hemisferio norte donde se incrementa la producción de salmón salvaje", en declaraciones recogidas por Diario Financiero.
En la misma línea se han manifestado varios representantes del sector, según la prensa local. El gerente comercial de Pescachile (Pescanova), Alejandro Reinstein, en declaraciones a EL MUNDO, se mostró sorprendido por las acusaciones ya que "en Noruega llevan conviviendo con el virus desde hace 20 años y la única medida eficaz ha sido aislar los cultivos".
El representante de la empresa española, cuyos cultivos están ubicados en regiones no afectadas por la enfermedad, advierte que no hay una solución inmediata y que tendrán que aprender a sortear los efectos de la plaga.
Chile se ha convertido en pocos años en el segundo productor con el 30% de cuota de mercado tras Noruega (35%).
Pero la polémica ha cobrado casi tintes de conflicto diplomático después de que el embajador chileno en EEUU, Mariano Fernández, enviase un carta a The New York Times desmintiendo su información.
Antes de ser publicada, el periódico norteamericano arremetió contra el Gobierno chileno por otro conflicto, el que se había suscitado una semana antes por la construcción de cinco centrales hidroeléctricas en la zona del Aysén, que promueve la empresa española Endesa.
En un editorial pedía buscar alternativas a esos proyectos. La tensión llegó a la máxima crispación cuando el ministro de energía chileno, Marcelo Tokman, respondió: "Cuando vi el diario me tuve que meter en la página web para cerciorarme que se trataba de un editorial, porque leyendo pensé que se trataba de una publicidad pagada".
Fuente: Diario El Mundo, España
Aporte: Guillermo Figueroa