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