miércoles, 23 de diciembre de 2009

Results reveal the overall European Union prevalence of Salmonella-positive holdings with breeding pigs was 31.8%.
Salmonella is a major cause of food-borne illness in humans. Farm animals and foods of animal origin are important sources of human Salmonella infections. Therefore, in order to reduce the incidence of human salmonellosis in the European Union, Community legislation foresees the setting of Salmonella reduction targets for food/animal populations, including breeding pigs. To underpin such targets, a series of baseline surveys have been conducted to ascertain the occurrence prior to the implementation of such Community legislation. This fifth European Union-wide baseline survey was carried out at farm level between January 2008 and December 2008 to determine the prevalence of Salmonella in pig breeding holdings. The herds were randomly selected from holdings constituting at least 80% of the breeding pig population in a Member State.
The overall European Union prevalence of Salmonella-positive holdings with breeding pigs was 31.8% and all but one participating Member State detected Salmonella in at least one holding. Twenty of the 24 Member States isolated Salmonella in breeding holdings and at European Union level 28.7% of the holdings was estimated to be positive for Salmonella. This prevalence varied from 0% to 64.0% among the Member States. The estimated European Union prevalence of breeding holdings positive to Salmonella Typhimurium and to Salmonella Derby was 7.8% and 8.9%, respectively.
Salmonella infection in breeding pigs may be transmitted to slaughter pigs through trade and movement of live animals and contamination of holding, transport, lairage and slaughter facilities. This may lead to Salmonella-contamination of pig meat and consequently to human disease. Further studies in surveillance and control methods for Salmonella in breeding pigs as well as in the public health importance of consumption of meat from culled breeding pigs are recommended. Also investigations on the epidemiology of monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium would be welcome. The results of this survey provide valuable information for the assessment of the impact of Salmonella transmission originating from holdings with breeding pigs as a source of Salmonella in the food chain. These baseline prevalence figures may be used for the setting of targets for the reduction of Salmonella in breeding pigs, to follow trends and to evaluate the impact of control programmes.
Source: EFSA

viernes, 18 de diciembre de 2009

Breakthrough test to detect toxigenic Staphylococcus aureus in foods

The immunologic test is sensitive and allows detecting SEA in shorter time with low cost
A new test to detect a S. aureus, a pathogen that is a leading cause of food-poisoning is cheaper, faster and significantly more sensitive than existing assays, said the US body behind the breakthrough.
The USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) announced the development of an advanced test to identify staphylococcal enterotoxin A, or SEA, a major cause of food-borne illness across the globe.
The assay will give food manufacturers another way of ensuring the safety of their products and help public officials trace the source of food poisoning outbreaks.
One billion: The new test can detect the toxin at levels one billion times lower than the current gold standard assay for SEA. Experiments on chicken, beef and milk demonstrated the assay reliably distinguishes active from inactive toxin and yields reproducible results.
The test works by “taking advantage” of the fact SEA toxin has a double life. Besides causing a range of gastroenteritis symptoms, SEA also acts as a superantigen - a molecule that activates large numbers of immune-system cells.
“The assay neatly exploits this trait by measuring proliferation of splenocytes, which are immune system cells produced in the spleen,” said the ARS statement. “For the assay, the cells are kept alive in laboratory petri dishes.”
Practical and affordable: The ARS said the turnaround time of 48 hours for the SEA test is “comparatively fast”. Currently, regulatory agencies generally need to culture a bacterial contaminant before issuing a recall – which can take 3-5 days, said the spokeswoman. The new process is practical, said the body. Experienced technicians can quickly learn how to perform the test using standard laboratory equipment.
It is also cheaper than current tests. Using immunomagnetic beads that capture and concentrate the toxin, the cost of the assay is $ 3.88 per assay, which makes it affordable. The new assay is quantitative, reproducible and does not require lab animals,” added the ARS spokeswoman.
Source: FoodProductionDaily.com

jueves, 17 de diciembre de 2009

Heinz recalls baby cereal on mycotoxin contamination fears

Heinz has issued a recall of some of its baby food in Canada on fears it may be contaminated with elevated levels of a mycotoxin.
The food giant raised the alarm late last week as it issued a statement through the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) warning the public not to eat Heinz Mixed Cereals that could be tainted with Ochratoxin A (OTA). The company said no other products or cereal varieties were affected.
Heinz, based in North York, Ontario, said the affected products were Mixed Baby Cereal, Stage 2, 227g packs for infants aged over six months, with best before dates of 26 and 29 December 2010. The products have a UPC 0 57000 02516 8 and product code of BB/MA 10 DE 26 and BB/MA 10 DE 29.
The firm said there had been no reported illness associated with consumption of the baby cereal as it issued the voluntary recall.
Ochratoxin A is a mycotoxin produced by some fungi that can grow in certain food crops such as grains, grapes and coffee beans. Ochratoxin A has been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a possible human carcinogen. It is one of the most common food-contaminating mycotoxins.
No short-term health risk
The CFIA said the named Heinz products should not be consumed but that if children had eaten the cereal no further action was necessary as “even the highest levels of ochratoxin A found in these products are not high enough to pose a health risk when consumed as part of a normal diet over the short term”.
A Heinz spokeswoman told FoodProductionDaily.com that the contamination had not occurred at its Leamington plant as OTA occurs at field level and not during production or processing.
“All Heinz products undergo a rigorous ingredient and finished product testing program and only a small number of packages of one specific variety produced on two days was affected”, she added.

Aporte :Leidy Beltrán
Fuente: Food Quality News http://www.foodqualitynews.com/Food-Alerts/Heinz-recalls-baby-cereal-on-mycotoxin-contamination-fears?utm_source=RSS_text_news

lunes, 14 de diciembre de 2009

Listeriosis: una enfermedad que ha resurgido en Europa

Los alimentos listos para el consumo son los de mayor riesgo
En la Comunidad Europea (CE) las tasas de listeriosis se mantuvieron estables entre 1996 y 2002, pero a partir del 2003 hubo un incremento de los casos reportados, en especial de listeriosis bacterémica en mayores de 65 años. En el 2007 en 26 países de la CE se reportó 1554 casos de listeriosis, es decir 0,3 casos por 100.000 personas. Los alimentos involucrados en los brotes fueron principalmente el queso blando y las carnes listas para el consumo.
Las causas de este fenómeno son desconocidas, no parece originarse por cambios demográficos o de comportamiento del consumidor. Algunas teorías sugieren que se debería a prácticas comerciales que producen efectos en el procesamiento, distribución y preparación de los alimentos. Una hipótesis es que la reducción del contenido de sal de las carnes listas para el consumo, pudiera ser relevante. La reducción del 20% de la sal de las carnes listas para el consumo se implementó por recomendación de las Agencias de Inocuidad Alimentaria el 2002, para prevenir la hipertensión arterial.
Un estudio austriaco demostró un 4,8% de Listeria monocytogenes en carnes listas para el consumo en supermercados, especialmente en los pescados y mariscos. Además se encontró un 1,7% a nivel de hogares. Los grupos etarios mas afectados fueron los hogares de mayores de 65 años. La tipificación por PFGE reveló una alta variabilidad dentro las cepas recolectadas. Esto refuerza la necesidad de control de los alimentos que permiten la multiplicación de Listeria monocytogenes hasta alcanzar la dosis mínima infecciosa arbitraria, de 10⁵ UFC por gramo de alimento.
Aunque la exposición a Listeria monocytogenes no puede ser abolida completamente, la preparación y almacenamiento adecuando del alimento puede disminuir los riesgos. Las mujeres embarazadas y personas inmunocomprometidas deben ser informadas para evitar el consumo de quesos sin pasteurizar, salmón ahumado, cecinas, delicatessen y otros alimentos listos para el consumo, que aumentan su riego por su alta manipulación en la elaboración y venta, ya que el patógeno no se elimina si no hay cocción. Evitar la contaminación cruzada y la implementación de Programas de Vigilancia de Enfermedades son alternativas de alto impacto en la reducción de la listeriosis. Asimismo es importante poner en marcha la caracterización rutinaria de las cepas humanas, de alimentos y del medio ambiente mediante el uso de métodos moleculares (PFGE) y bases de datos globales accesibles vía Internet.
Fuente: European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, 2009
Aporte: Claudia Foester

UK flags new rules to strengthen meat traceability

New responsibilities for livestock keepers in the meat production chain.
New supply chain regulations designed to beef up the ‘farm to fork’ traceability of cattle, sheep and goats sent to slaughter will come into force in the UK early next year.
Slaughterhouse operators and livestock keepers will be obliged to provide Food Chain Information (FCI) for all cattle sheep and goats from 1 January 2010 under new EU legislation. The regulation will apply to all those animals sent either directly to slaughter or sold through livestock markets.
The FSA cautioned that once the new rules come into force, meat from cattle, sheep or goats without FCI information will not be passed for human consumption, as it urged slaughterhouse operators to prepare for the changes now.
Food Chain Information: FCI is information about the health of the animals being sent for slaughter, and other information relevant to the safety of meat derived from them. It includes data about medicines the animals have been given.
The rules already been progressively applied across other species; poultry in 2006, pigs 2008 and calves and horses this year.
“The new rules are an important part of 'farm-to-fork' food safety controls and highlight the food safety responsibilities of livestock keepers in the meat production chain,” said a FSA statement. “The information about slaughter animals that is passed from the farm to the slaughterhouse can be used by operators and Official Veterinarians (OV) to make decisions about processing and inspection procedures.”
Documentation: The agency said it did not believe the change in law would cause difficulties as livestock farmers should already have the information required. It added the system will contribute to slaughterhouse operators’ HACCP-based food safety management systems by giving information about animals to be slaughtered.
FCI is also used by the Meat Hygiene Service to help it make decisions about meat and can be used to determine inspection procedures for animals and groups of animals.
The legislation does not lay down how slaughterhouses should receive FCI and operators can choose a format that best suits their business. Animal movement documents in Scotland will remain unchanged.
The minimum amount of FCI data that must be provided has been agreed between the FSA and industry players. Documents outlining these can be downloaded via web link.
Source: FoodQuality news.com

El Cobre en la prevención de enfermedades

Numerosas publicaciones y estudios demuestran las propiedades antimicrobianas del cobre frente a bacterias, virus y hongos.

Desde los antiguos Griegos y Egipcios que se tienen registros del uso de este metal para tratar infecciones o para el tratamiento del agua de consumo. La EPA confirmó recientemente que el cobre como una alternativa al aluminio y otros metales en la construcción de superficies y otros sistemas. Es el caso de la utilización de cobre usado en las superficies de contacto de los hospitales podría contribuir al descenso de las infecciones intrahospitalarias causadas por agentes bacterianos.
Un estudio publicado en el mes de Septiembre en la revista Letters in Applied Microbiology incorpora a lo ya descrito la efectividad del cobre como agente antifúngico, información que podría ser usada en la construcción de nuevos sistemas de aire acondicionado capaces de eliminar los la contaminación con hongos y prevenir con ello la diseminación de sus esporas en los ambientes hospitalarios. Los autores demostraron que el cobre inhibía esporas de hongos patógenos, Aspergillus sp, Fusarium sp y Candida albicans, en las superficies de contacto en varios tiempos de exposición, desde 3 horas hasta 24 días. Por el contrario la germinación de las esporas continuó cuando éstas se pusieron en contacto con superficies de aluminio.
Los resultados mostraron que el contacto delas esporas con la superficie de cobre afectó a todas las especies de hongos analizadas, con la excepción del hongo Aspergillus, aún luego de 24 días de exposición.

Muchos estudios han demostrado que los sistemas de aire acondicionado en los hospitales, cuando no se mantienen en buenas condiciones de limpieza e higiene, pueden contribuir al aumento de las enfermedades intrahospitalarias. En estos casos podría reemplazarse aquellas partes de aluminio por cobre y hacer más efectivos los métodos de limpieza y sanitización de estos aparatos para prevenir lla multiplicación de hongos y sus esporas con potencial patogénico para pacientes usualmente con sistema de inmunidad deprimida.

FUENTE: Letters in Applied Microbiology 50 (2010), 18-23.

viernes, 11 de diciembre de 2009

Clostridium difficile in food—innocent bystander or serious threat?

Clostridium difficile is a critically important cause of disease in humans, particularly in hospitalized individuals.

Three major factors have raised concern about the potential for this pathogen to be a cause of foodborne disease: the increasing recognition of community-associated C. difficile infection, recent studies identifying C. difficile in food animals and food, and similarities in C. difficile isolates from animals,food and humans. It is clear that C. difficile can be commonly found in food animals and food in many regions, and that strains important in human infections, such as ribotype 027/NAP1/toxinotype III and ribotype 078/toxinotype V, are often present.
However, it is currentlyunclear whether ingestion of contaminated food can result in colonization or infection. Many questions remain unanswered regarding the role of C. difficile in community-associated diarrhoea: its source when it is a food contaminant, the infective dose, and the association between ingestion of contaminated food and disease. The significant role of this pathogen in human disease and its potential emergence as an important community-associated pathogen indicate that careful evaluation of different sources of exposure, including food, is required, but determination of the potential role of food in C. difficile infection may be difficult.
Fuente: Clinical Microbiology and Infection

miércoles, 2 de diciembre de 2009

UK increase in Salmonella cases– with eggs imported from Spain investigated as one possible source.

Since 2009 EU states are obliged to test Salmonella in laying flocks
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the Health Protection Agency (HPA) confirmed a total of 443 cases of Salmonella Enteritidis phage type (PT) 14b have been reported since the start of the year, compared to 137 occurrences in the whole of 2008. Investigations are also underway into a possible link with two deaths.
The agencies have launched a probe into 14 infection clusters since August – involving 144 cases - to find out if there is a common source for the illnesses. All the clusters have been associated with a number of catering establishments and one care home. During the care home outbreak, two elderly people died. Inquests have been ordered to find the cause of death after post-mortem results were “inconclusive”.
Imported eggs?: The agencies are examining a theory the clusters may be linked to eggs imported into the UK but stressed there was no conclusive evidence yet to support this. This was confirmed by the distinguishing egg stamp mark on shell eggs, said the body. Two subsequent samplings of eggs supplied by this producer from a UK distributor found infected eggs in two out of 80 and 1 out of 20 tests respectively.
EU regulations: Since January 2009, all EU states have been obliged to introduce a Salmonella National Control Programme and carry out testing for Salmonella in laying flocks. The aim of the initiative is to reduce the incidence of salmonella in laying flocks and the egg market but regulators recognise it cannot stamp out infections completely.
Under the regulations, eggs from flocks testing positive for Salmonella - specifically S. Enteritidis or S. Typhimurium - cannot be sold directly to consumers and are instead sent for pasteurisation.
The FSA cautioned that it was impossible to guarantee that any egg will be free of Salmonella and stressed the importance of safe storage, preparation and cooking of the products.
Source: FoodQualityNews.com

martes, 1 de diciembre de 2009

Chicken survey finds two-thirds harbour Salmonella and/or Campylobacter

A consumer survey has found bacterial pathogens in chickens tested in the US.
Consumer Reports assessed 382 chickens from 100 stores in its regular survey of chicken safety and found Campylobacter in 62 per cent, Salmonella in 14 per cent, and both bacteria in 14 per cent.
A total of 34 per cent of birds were clean of both pathogens, which is double the figure found in 2007, but Consumer Reports did not find this cause for celebration.
Modest improvement: The consumer watchdog called it a “modest improvement” and said the number of clean birds was still far smaller than the 51 per cent identified in 2003. “The numbers are still far too high, especially for Campylobacter,” said Consumer Reports.
To support the case it quoted figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, indicating that salmonella and campylobacter from food sources infect 3.4m Americans a year, resulting in 25,500 hospital cases, and 500 deaths.
Among the 382 chickens tested in the latest report, air chilled birds were the cleanest, with 40 per cent carrying pathogens. Air chilling is a poultry processing technique, whereby birds are hung by shackles and moved through coolers with rapidly moving air, rather than being dunked in cold chlorinated water.
For the first time, Consumer Reports found one major brand, Perdue’s, which fared significantly better than others. It said 56 per cent of the chickens were free of Salmonella and Campylobacter. This compared with 20 per cent in the two poorest performing brands, Tyson and Foster Farms.
Industry response: Responding to the survey, the National Chicken Council, which represents chicken producers and processors, insisted that chicken is safe. It said raw chicken may have some microorganisms present, but that these are destroyed by the heat of normal cooking.

Source: FoodQualityNews.com

lunes, 30 de noviembre de 2009

Protocolo SAG- INDAP sobre inocuidad alimentaria

Acuerdo busca nivelar la producción de los pequeños productores para mejorar sus estándares de inocuidad y de esta forma llegar a diferentes mercados en el exterior.
Un protocolo de acuerdo sobre inocuidad alimentaria suscribieron esta semana el Servicio Agrícola y Ganadero (SAG), el Instituto de Desarrollo Agropecuario (INDAP), dependientes del Ministerio de Agricultura y la Agencia Chilena para la Inocuidad Alimentaria (ACHIPIA).
El documento, firmado en la Feria EXPO MUNDO RURAL, contó con la rúbrica de Hernán Rojas, director de INDAP; Oscar Concha, Secretario General del SAG; y Nidia Contardo en representación de ACHIPIA.
Las instituciones firmantes se comprometen a trabajar para que los pequeños productores agrícolas nivelen su producción de manera tal que alcancen los estándares exigidos para poder exportar.
Óscar Concha señalo que para el SAG este protocolo se inscribe en la continuación del trabajo que el Servicio Agrícola y Ganadero viene realizando con todos los sectores del agro. Ejemplo de ello son los PABCO (planteles bovinos bajo control oficial) y que están en la línea de convertir a Chile en Potencia Agrícola y Forestal. Chile tiene una larga tradición y experiencia exportadora y garantizamos que nuestros productos son sanos e inocuos para quienes los ingieren. La firma de este protocolo revela la importancia que le damos a este tema.
Por su parte, el Director de INDAP, Hernán Rojas señaló que para los pequeños productores es fundamental alcanzar los estándares de inocuidad necesarios. Y debemos encontrar la fórmula para adecuar la norma sin disminuir los estándares exigidos por los Ministerios de Salud y de Agricultura, cómo darles apoyo para alcanzar dichos estándares.
Aporte: Pamela Ubilla

viernes, 27 de noviembre de 2009

Microbiological Risk: Do you really need to test raw materials for pathogens?

Many companies are in a survival mode and need to reduce costs and improve efficiencies wherever possible. One area that seems straightforward is testing raw materials for microbial integrity. Why bother? Won’t the manufacturing process kill any microbes that might be residing in the materials? Possibly, yes. But what about an organism that survives, contaminates a product and causes a patient to die?
Is your company prepared to accept the consequences of the FDA, lawyers and families demanding restitution? Is your company ready to thwart the assault from the media? How long can your company survive if it has to recall its products and shut down for months before it can start producing again? Are risky cost reductions too risky? Find out the real implications of saving a few cents and if it’s truly worth the risk.
Obama administration sent recently a bill reinforcing sampling schedule and controls to improve food safety and reduce consumer concerns. Raw materials are receiving tremendous scrutiny from the FDA and other regulatory agencies around the world and have been earmarked as a potential source of uncertainty in the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, biopharmaceuticals, nutritional supplements and cosmetics.
However a prevailing thought is that the processing steps of manufacturing are severe enough to eradicate most microorganisms that may be present in the raw materials. So why worry about the raw materials? Why test them if the manufacturing process will eliminate them?
Many evidences and reasons why it's in the best interest of a company to test their raw materials: not only from a regulatory perspective but also from a safety and sound business perspective.
Source: Compliance on line

martes, 24 de noviembre de 2009

Salmonella Detection in Peanut Butter: Validation of a Real-Time PCR Method

Salmonella Detection Kit was validated for samples containing peanut butter in response to a Salmonella outbreak in the USA caused by contaminated peanut butter with more than 700 infected persons, 9 deaths and a recall of more than 3,900 food products.

BIOTECON Diagnostics and Merck KGaA participated in an AOAC Emergency Response Validation with their real-time PCR kit for the rapid detection of Salmonella in food samples containing peanut butter.

Two validation studies were carried out with peanut butter spiked with different levels of Salmonella serovar Typhimurium. This technical paper shows that the performance of the foodproof® Salmonella Detection Kit in combination with the foodproof® ShortPrep I Kit for DNA extraction is equivalent to the FDA BAM reference method.
Source: FoodQuality.com

US food safety bill enters final lap

Bill highlights: the FDA would be required to check high-risk plants annually
The legislation would introduce a raft of measures designed to significantly improve the US food safety system. It requires all facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold food to have risk-based preventive control plans in place to tackle to hazards and prevent adulteration. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must be given access to these documents. Restaurants and most farms are exempt from this rule.
Importers must verify the safety of foreign suppliers and imported food. The FDA can demand certification for high-risk foods, and to deny entry to a food that lacks certification or that is from a foreign facility that has refused US inspectors.
The bill would impose a new inspection regime. The FDA would be required to check high-risk plants annually and others every four years.

Under the proposals, the FDA would have the authority to order a mandatory recall of a food product if there is serious health risk or death, and if the company had failed to carry out a FDA request for a voluntarily recall. The agency can detain adulterated or misbranded food.

The FDA would receive greater funding both from the government and controversially by levying inspection fees from food processors and manufacturers. The industry contribution proposal is now in doubt following yesterday's meeting.

The approval by the HELP bipartisan Committee was welcomed by a host of consumer and industry groups including the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

Source: FoodqualityNews.com

jueves, 19 de noviembre de 2009

Bill to ban bisphenol A tabled in US

New legislation that would impose a nationwide ban on bisphenol A (BPA) in all food packaging products used by children.
The New York politician this week unveiled the BPA-Free Kids Act that would outlaw the chemical in packing for children aged three and under. It would also strengthen enforcement measures "across the nation" and include stiffer penalties for manufacturers, importers and stores that flout the regulations laid down in the bill. The law would require testing of materials used to manufacture plastic containers to ensure finished containers are BPA-free
BPA levels in canned food
Schumer said he was introducing the proposal in the wake of a report by the Consumer Union which said it had found higher than previously thought levels of BPA in a range of canned food.
“This Consumer Reports’ study adds to the mounting evidence that BPA is not only harmful for our children but for an overwhelming majority of Americans,” said Schumer. “We need to keep this dangerous chemical out of the food chain.”
BPA is used in polycarbonate baby bottles, children’s sippy cups and in the epoxy resin lining of food cans. Since 1997, over 100 published studies have documented adverse effects in animals caused by exposure to low levels of BPA, said the Senator. Mounting concern from both consumers and politicians in the US has seen the substance banned in some states and major baby bottle manufacturers and retailers pledge to use BPA-free products only.
The chemical industry has stated it believes the product is safe for use in food packaging and points to the approval for this by the world’s major food safety agencies, including the FDA and the EFSA.
The Schumer bill would impose a ban 180 days after being passed into law. It would also set out proposals for mandatory testing and certification by both plastics and container manufacturers to confirm products aimed at children were BPA-free. Test data from plastic suppliers and container manufacturers would be audited by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which would also sample relevant food containers on the sale to the public.
The regulation would also impose the need for clear labelling that the product was BPA-free.
Under the proposals, children’s food and beverage containers containing BPA would be considered a banned hazardous substance under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA), with possible criminal or civil penalties a consequence of any breach in terms of testing, certification, and labeling requirements.

Aporte: Miriam Troncoso

miércoles, 18 de noviembre de 2009

La EFSA (European Food Safety Autorithy) re-evaluó IDA para seis colorantes de los alimentos

Los resultados sugieren, sin embargo, que ellos no causan hiperactividad en niños.
Después de revisar toda la evidencia disponible, el panel de científicos sobre aditivos del EFSA, ha reducido la ingesta diaria admisible (IDA) para los colorantes artificiales de alimentos: Amarillo de quinoleína (E104), Amarillo ocaso (E110) y Ponceau 4R (E124), ya que concluyeron que la exposición a estos colores puede exceder del nuevo IDA, tanto para adultos como niños.
En la evaluación de otros tres colorantes: Tartrazina (E102), Azorrubina/carmoisina (E122) y Allura red AC (E129), el grupo consideró que no requieren un cambio en el IDA existente, sólo algunos niños que consumen grandes cantidades de alimentos y bebidas que contienen estos colorantes podrían superar el IDA para estos colorantes.
Los seis colores re-evaluados por el Grupo pueden ser utilizado en una amplia gama de productos alimenticios como las bebidas gaseosas, productos de pastelería y postres. El Grupo llegó a la conclusión que el colorante tartrazina, puede provocar reacciones de intolerancia, tales como irritaciones de la piel, en una pequeña parte de la población.
La EFSA está evaluando la seguridad de todos los distintos aditivos alimentarios que han sido aprobados para su uso en la UE, partiendo por los colorantes alimentarios. La Comisión Europea pidió a la EFSA considerar estos seis colores como una prioridad después de un estudio publicado por la Universidad de Southampton (McCann et al) en 2007 - el llamado "estudio de Southampton", por la vinculación de determinadas mezclas de estos colorantes y el conservante benzoato de sodio con la hiperactividad en los niños, sin embargo John Larsen señaló que con la información disponible, incluido el estudio Southampton, no demostró una relación causal entre los colorantes individuales y los posibles efectos sobre el comportamiento.
Fuente: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/
Aporte: Rosa Tapia

martes, 17 de noviembre de 2009

Risk of infant, fetal mortality from Listeria higher than believed

Listeria monocytogenes could present a high risk to unborn babies and infants at significantly lower bacterial counts.
The study from the University of Georgia, in the United States, found the risk of foetal or infant mortality among pregnant woman who eat food containing one million cells of the food-borne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes in soft cheeses and other foods is estimated at about 50 per cent. This suggests that five stillbirths could occur when ten pregnant women are exposed to that amount of the bacteria.
Risks at lower bacterial levels
Previous assessments of the hazard estimated that such a miscarriage rate would likely only be reached by exposure to more than 10 trillion Listeria cells. This means that such rates of infants and foetus’ deaths could occur at levels 10 million times less than previously thought, according to the results.
“We’re not saying there’s a new epidemic here, we’re suggesting we’ve come up with a more accurate method of measuring the risk and how this deadly bacteria impacts humans, especially the most medically vulnerable among us,” said study co-author Mary Alice Smith, Ph.D.
The researchers declared their estimates by extrapolating from test results on laboratory animals, such as guinea pigs, to conclude “Listeriosis is likely occurring from exposure to lower doses than previously estimated”.
The analysis also “shows studies using animal test subjects with physiologies more comparable to humans are more promising for future pathogen research endeavours”, they added.
Listeria monocytogenes is a pathogen sometimes found in soft cheeses made from unpasteurised milk and in processed, ready-to-eat foods such as deli meats, smoked seafood, and raw foods. The pathogen also has been found in pasteurized and refrigerated foods, such as pasteurized fluid milk and soft-ripened cheeses. Listeriosis rarely results in sickness among healthy groups buts can have serious consequences for the medically vulnerable such as the elderly, fetus, infants and those with a weakened immune system.
Source: FoodQualityNews.com

viernes, 13 de noviembre de 2009

Antimicrobials: Silver and Copper bullets to kill Bacteria

Zeolite ceramic structures covered with thin films of copper and silver reduce the amount of microbes present on the hospital surfaces.

Dana Filoti of the University of New Hampshire will present thin films of silver and copper she has developed that can kill bacteria and may one day help to cut down on hospital infections. The antimicrobial properties of silver and copper have been known for centuries -- last year, the U.S.

Environmental Protection Agency officially registered copper alloys, allowing them to be marketed with the label "kills 99.9% of bacteria within two hours." Copper ions are known to penetrate bacteria and disrupt molecular pathways important for their survival.
Using zeolite ceramic structures, Filoti is testing the hypothesis that the combination of silver and copper might work synergistically to better kill bacteria, work that she will present on November 12 at a meeting of the scientific society AVS in San Jose. "The hard ceramic structure looks like Swiss cheese and inside the holes there are ions of silver and copper," says Filoti.
By experimenting with the ratio of the two metals and the texture of the thin films, she has been able to reduce the amount of microbes present on the surface by 99 percent. One application of these antimicrobials, which Filoti is developing in partnership with a company in New Hampshire, is an antimicrobial face mask designed to protect against pathogens that cause many hospital-acquired infections.

miércoles, 11 de noviembre de 2009

FDA calls meeting to improve food traceability systems (06-Nov-2009)

Federal agencies in the United States need to increase the speed and accuracy of traceability systems to combat outbreaks of food-borne illnesses, said the FDA as it called a public meeting on the matter.

Changes in industry practices and customer preferences as well as the increase in food shipped into the US from overseas have also heightened the need to upgrade both traceback investigations and traceforward operations.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said the meeting will also look at gaps in current product tracing methods, the core elements of an effective structure and mechanisms to boost traceability systems both in the short and long term. Establishing effective documentation in the supply chain to ensure traceability has been highlighted as a major goal.
Public meeting
The meeting could also help the FDA and Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) improve their ability to use information in new systems to identify the source of contaminations during outbreaks of food-borne illness, said a notice from the agencies.
Developing the ability of all those in the supply chain to more quickly spot food that is- or may be - contaminated and to remove it from the market is another goal of the meeting, added the FDA.

lunes, 2 de noviembre de 2009

Se firmó el proyecto de ley que crea el Sistema y la Agencia Chilena para la inocuidad Alimentaria

Iniciativa convertiría a Chile en una potencia Agroalimentaría
Hoy 2 de Noviembre se firmó el proyecto de ley que crea el Sistema y la Agencia Chilena para la inocuidad Alimentaria, en una ceremonia realizada en el Palacio de La Moneda.
La Presidenta de la República, Michelle Bachelet en su discurso previo a la firma destacó que "contar con un sistema nacional de control de alimentos es una condición esencial para proteger la salud de la población" y agregó que "ha sido un claro objetivo de su Gobierno, y así lo entiende el sector agrícola y el proyecto que acabamos de firmar va en esa dirección".
Explicó además que "estamos cumpliendo un compromiso de actualizar un aspecto fundamental de nuestra institucionalidad alimentaria, estrechamente ligada a un propósito que definiéramos hace algún tiempo, cual es que podamos consolidar a Chile como una potencia agroalimentaria, como un país productor de alimentos y que se proyecte como una potencia mundial en este rubro".
La Mandataria destacó que es fundamental "que las personas tengan la seguridad de que los alimentos que consumen han sido sometidos a estrictos mecanismos de control y seguimiento a lo largo de todo el proceso de elaboración, tanto de los alimentos producidos en nuestro país, como de aquellos que puedan prevenir de terceros países".
La Presidenta explicó que en la perspectiva de convertir a Chile en una potencia alimentaria, se deben garantizar alimentos seguros y saludables para Chile, pero también para el mundo y con la creación de este Sistema y de la Agencia para la Inocuidad Alimentaria, "estamos siguiendo la línea que han adoptado los países desarrollados respondiendo a recomendaciones de organismos internacionales como la FAO y como la OMS, de promover sistemas nacionales de control de alimentos que estén basados, en principios de carácter científico por un lado y que incorpore, por el otro, a todos los sectores de la cadena alimentaria".
En este sentido agregó que los principios que van a sustentar el Sistema son "el resguardo del derecho a la protección de la salud y a una alimentación inocua y saludable, la búsqueda de un desarrollo competitivo y a la vez responsable, la garantía de transparencia y participación, la toma de decisiones basada en información y evidencia científica y el cumplimiento de las obligaciones en el ámbito internacional".
El proyecto establece además la responsabilidad de los productores, elaboradores y comercializadores en materia de inocuidad alimentaria y para ello define el control del proceso y la trazabilidad.
En esta línea la Mandataria afirmó que "lo mismo ocurrirá con las responsabilidades de los organismos públicos, quienes asegurarán el cumplimiento de las políticas, principios y normas aplicables en esta materia. Entonces podemos afirmar que esta iniciativa constituye un gran avance en la perspectiva de convertir a Chile en una potencia mundial en el campo de los alimentos".
Cabe destacar que la Agencia funcionará bajo la supervigilancia del Presidente de la República a través de la Secretaría General de la Presidencia. Contará con una Dirección Nacional, un Consejo Consultivo y un Comité Científico Asesor. Sin perjuicio de lo anterior, habrá un Consejo Directivo para la Inocuidad Alimentaria, encargada de proponer al Presidente de la República las políticas sobre inocuidad y de ejercer las demás atribuciones que se indican en el proyecto.

Fuente: http://www.achipia.cl/

Listeria biofilm under attack from new disinfectant

This disinfectant can remove biofilms containing Listeria monocytognes from meat processing facilities

Listeria monocytogenes can thrive on the work surfaces of meat processing plants because it can withstand low temperatures and can even grow in or on refrigerated foods. The hardy pathogen is also a serious public health problem.
According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), L. monocytogenes causes serious illness in 2,500 people a year, resulting in 500 deaths.
“Results showed that the formulation was 100 percent effective, providing total kill and more than 90 percent biofilm removal,” said Arnold. “Test evaluations also resulted in instructions for use that will meet USDA ‘zero tolerance’ regulations for L. monocytogenes.”
Summing up the results, Arnold said: “This disinfectant is more effective than currently used disinfectants in reducing L. monocytogenes biofilm growth, thus minimizing the risk of pathogenic contamination.”
Biofilms have more opportunity than ever before to develop in meat and poultry, according to ARS. Despite increased concern over safety, modern production techniques and preservatives have resulted in additional contamination risks.
“Today’s longer production runs provide more opportunity for biofilms to establish themselves, and today’s longer shelf life adds to the risk of biological contamination,” Arnold.
Fuente: http://www.foodqualitynews.com/
Aporte: Claudia Villarroel

Arsénico en alimentos y agua.

En Chile la norma NCh. 409/1 indica que el nivel máximo de arsénico en agua potable debe ser de 0,05 mg/L mientras que la OMS, a través del codex alimentarius es más estricta, permitiendo un máximo de 0,01 mg/L.
El arsénico parece ser un problema serio en todo el mundo. La ciudad de Antofagasta en nuestro país es el mayor ejemplo de contaminación del agua potable con graves problemas en la salud de su población. En el año 1958 los niveles de arsénico en el agua de Antofagasta alcanzaron niveles de 0.8 mg/L de agua, 16 veces mayor que lo permitido actualmente por la Norma Chilena. En la actualidad, la empresa Aguas Antofagasta dice haber reducido los niveles de arsénico a 0.01 mg/L, cumpliendo así con lo recomendado por la Organización Mundial de la Salud aún cuando la normativa chilena es más permisiva, aceptando 0.05 mg de arsénico por litro de agua.
En países europeos, la mayor fuente de exposición al arsénico son los alimentos. Recientemente, el panel científico CONTAM, de la European Food Safety Authority publicó un reporte científico que indica que los alimentos como cereales y productos derivados, agua embotellada, café y cerveza, arroz, pescado y vegetales son los que presentarían los mayores niveles de arsénico inorgánico, la forma en que se presenta el arsénico en la naturaleza más tóxica para el ser humano. Ellos estiman que los consumidores de grandes cantidades de arroz están expuestos a alrededor de 1 ug/Kg al día y los consumidores de algas marinas y derivados están expuestos a 4 ug/Kg al día. Dependiendo del tipo de procesamiento que tiene el alimento, la temperatura y el tiempo podría variar las concentraciones de arsénico en las comidas pero sin duda que el agua con la que cocinan estos alimentos determinaría si la concentración es más alta o más baja que los alimentos crudos o sin procesar.
En nuestro cuerpo, el arsénico inorgánico soluble es rápidamente absorbido después de la ingestión y es distribuido por la sangre a casi todos los órganos, incluso puede traspasar la barrera placentaria en la embarazadas. A largo plazo, la acumulación en nuestro organismo puede causar lesiones en la piel, cáncer, neurotoxicidad, enfermedades cardiovasculares, diabetes, etc.

FUENTE: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/EFSA/ScientificPanels/efsa_locale-1178620753812_CONTAM.htm

sábado, 31 de octubre de 2009

Halloween Food Safety Tips for Parents

Chile es un país que adoptó esta tradición hace bastante tiempo, por lo que no está demás tomar estas recomendaciones y consejos de la Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

1. Children shouldn’t snack while they’re out trick-or-treating. Urge your children to wait until they get home and you have had a chance to inspect the contents of their “goody bags.”
2. To help prevent children from snacking, give them a light meal or snack before they head out – don’t send them out on an empty stomach.
3. Tell children not to accept – and especially not to eat – anything that isn’t commercially wrapped.
4. Parents of very young children should remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys.
5. Inspect commercially wrapped treats for signs of tampering, such as an unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers. Throw away anything that looks suspicious.
And follow these tips for Halloween parties at home
1. If juice or cider is served to children at Halloween parties, make sure it is pasteurized or otherwise treated to destroy harmful bacteria. Juice or cider that has not been treated will say so on the label.
2. No matter how tempting, don't taste raw cookie dough or cake batter.
3. Before going "bobbing for apples," an all-time favorite Halloween game, reduce the number of bacteria that might be present on apples and other raw fruits and vegetables by thoroughly rinsing them under cool running water. As an added precaution, use a produce brush to remove surface dirt.
4. "Scare" bacteria away by keeping all perishable foods chilled until serving time. These include, for example, finger sandwiches, cheese platters, fruit or tossed salads, cold pasta dishes with meat, poultry, or seafood, and cream pies or cakes with whipped-cream and cream-cheese frostings. Cold temperatures help keep most harmful bacteria from multiplying. And don't leave the food at room temperature for more than two-hours.

martes, 27 de octubre de 2009

FDA launches a $17.5m boost to food and feed safety

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a $17.5m investment in food and feed safety standards encompassing federal, state, and local partners.
Michael Chappell, the FDA's acting associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, said: "These cooperative agreements support and enhance local food safety efforts. The grants are another step in the FDA's continuing efforts to build an integrated food safety system between federal, state, and local partners." Comprising 83 grants, the money will be invested in four major areas: Response, intervention, innovation and prevention.

In the area of response, the grants will be used to set up the Food Protection Rapid Response Team (RRT). It will also include Program Infrastructure Improvement Prototype Project cooperative agreements designed to develop, implement, exercise, and integrate the response to all food hazards and foodborne illness.
Intervention grants will cover Food Safety and Security Monitoring (FERN). The grants will be specifically directed towards microbiological, chemical, or radiological analysis.

The innovation part of the new investment will be dedicated to Innovative Food Defense. These grants will be awarded to generate products that complement, develop, or improve State and local food defence programs.
The prevention part of the grants covers the Food Protection Task Force Conference program. This focuses on meetings that foster communication, cooperation, and collaboration among state, local, and tribal food protection, public health, agriculture, and regulatory agencies.

The meetings will provide a forum for all the stakeholders of the food protection system; including regulatory agencies, academia, industry, consumers, state legislators, boards of health and agriculture, and other interested parties. Meanwhile, the International Food Protection Training Institute (IFPTI) welcomed the investment in training food safety inspectors.
Aporte: Alejandra Lavín
Fuente: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/

Beef tongues recalled on BSE risk

A US company has recalled around 33,000 pounds of beef tongues that may still contain specified risk material (SRM) that could cause mad cow disease.
JF O'Neill Packing Company, of Nebraska, said tonsils may not have been removed from the tongues. Under US regulations, tonsils are considered a SRM and must be removed from cattle of all ages in accordance with FSIS regulations. The body prohibits SRMs from use as human food to minimize potential human exposure to the BSE agent.
SRMs are tissues that are known to contain the infective agent in cattle infected with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), as well as materials that are closely associated with these potentially infective tissues.
The company is recalling all products packed between July 1, 2009, and October 8, 2009. These products were shipped primarily to distribution centers in Nebraska and California for further sale to restaurants, hotels and institutions.
Aporte: Alejandra Lavín
Fuente: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/

lunes, 26 de octubre de 2009

SAG capacita a medio millar de personas en aplicación de agroquímicos

Un importante avance en el manejo de agroquímicos dio a conocer el Ministerio de Agricultura a través del SAG Valparaíso.
Más de una treintena de cursos de capacitación a aplicadores/as de plaguicidas se han impartido durante este año 2009 por parte de organismos técnicos OTEC, mediante un convenio SAG_SENCE, según explicó el Encargado Regional de Protección Agrícola y Forestal del Servicio Agrícola y Ganadero, Mauricio Malareé. "Éstos tienen como objetivo entregar conocimientos a los aplicadores/as para potenciar la prevención de riesgos y el cumplimiento de la normativa existente en relación a la aplicación correcta de plaguicidas reconocidos por el SAG. Es importante señalar que durante el año 2009, se ha capacitado a un total de 524 aplicadores/as.
Malareé añadió que la finalidad de los cursos es, además de cautelar la salud de los trabajadores/as que aplican estos agroquímicos y de la población en general, favorecer la producción limpia y la calidad de los productos agrícolas que se colocan en los mercados nacionales e internacionales. Otro objetivo de estos cursos es cumplir con los requerimientos de las Buenas Prácticas Agrícolas (BPA), que se orientan al cuidado del medio ambiente, la obtención de productos inocuos, y la seguridad y bienestar de los trabajadores/as que laboran en las diferentes actividades que se efectúan en los predios.
Aporte: Alejandra Lavín
Fuente: www.sag.cl

Healthy foods top CSPI’s risk list

Leafy greens top in the list of the ten riskiest FDA-regulated foods.
The list was compiled by comparing the number of foodborne illness outbreaks associated with foods from 1990 to 2006, as well as the number of illnesses, and is dominated by foods that Americans are encouraged to consume as part of a healthy diet. Although many consumers may be more likely to connect meat products with foodborne illness, these were not considered for inclusion as they are regulated by the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS).
Topping the list were leafy greens, which caused 363 illness outbreaks during the period, leading to more than 13,500 cases of illness, the report said. Also on the list were eggs, tuna, oysters, potatoes, cheese, ice cream, tomatoes, sprouts, and berries. Together, these foods were responsible for nearly 50,000 reported illnesses, CSPI said, although because many illnesses are not reported, the total is likely to be much higher.
However, the organization said that the list was not intended to warn against healthy foods, but as a call for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to revamp food safety measures. The US food industry has been scarred by a spate of recent foodborne illness outbreaks, paving the way for a clutch of new proposals to overhaul the nation’s food safety system, including the Food Safety Enhancement Act, currently awaiting consideration by the Senate.
Aporte: Alejandra Lavín
Fuente: http://www.dairyreporter.com/

USDA unites with FDA on new food safety rules

The US Department of Agriculture’s fresh produce chief has joined the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop new food safety rules.
In the midst of a slew of food safety outbreaks over the past few years, the US food safety system has come under increasing criticism, including for the disjointed nature of its inspection procedures. When President Obama promised to streamline food safety operations earlier this year, many consumer and industry organizations said they hoped it would put an end to the situation where the FDA is responsible for about 85 percent of foodborne illness outbreaks but receives less than half the federal funding for food safety.
However, chief of the fresh produce branch of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Leanne Skelton has been tasked with helping the FDA develop food safety rules for produce and assessing the impact of those rules on industry, including small and organic farmers, as well as local food safety authorities. She will spend six months working on the project.
AMS administrator Rayne Pegg said: "We are delighted that the FDA sought USDA’s counsel and cooperation as they tackle the challenges of ensuring the safety and availability of fresh produce and healthy foods.
Under current law, food safety monitoring, inspection and labeling functions are spread across 15 agencies in the federal government, including the USDA, which oversees meat, poultry and egg products; the FDA, which oversees most other food products; and the US Commerce Department's National Marine Fisheries Service, which inspects fish.
Aporte: Alejandra Lavín
Fuente: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/

Extractos de alfalfa y romero reemplazarían las sales nitrificantes utilizadas en embutidos

Las sales nitrificantes, nitratos y nitritos, que se emplean como aditivos alimentarios por su efecto antimicrobiano y también para el curado, serian reemplazadas por extractos vegetales.

Los nitratos y nitritos se utilizan desde hace tiempo en el curado de carnes y pescados, y las principales funciones que ejercen en los alimentos son:
Efecto antimicrobiano: Característica más importante para su uso. Por sí mismo el nitrato carece de ella; es necesario que se reduzca a nitrito para ejercer esta función tan importante. Actuando principalmente en C. botulinum, evitando la germinación de sus esporas y así impide la formación de la neurotoxina. También ejerce su acción sobre S. aureus y C. perfringens. También influyen en el desarrollo y estabilización del color en los productos curados, dando el color rosado-rojizo, en el sabor y en el aroma, y en el efecto antioxidante asociados a la oxidación de las grasas en las carnes curadas.

El uso de las sales nitrificantes es cuestionado ya que en determinadas condiciones, forman nitrosaminas, potencialmente cancerígenas. Esto ha llevado a una estricta regulación y al desarrollo de sustitutos más naturales con las mismas propiedades antimicrobianas y de conservación.
La investigación, se enmarca en el proyecto europeo ''Nochemfood'', que se dedica a la búsqueda de nuevos aditivos para alimentos sin productos químicos. El estudio duró 3 años y se basó en la investigación de extractos de plantas mediterráneas y se consiguió sustituir los nitrificantes en un 80%, por una fórmula con extractos de romero, alfalfa y algunos cítricos como el limón. Se ha probado la efectividad de las distintas formulaciones de extractos vegetales naturales como alternativa a los conservadores químicos en productos cárnicos como el chorizo fresco, el jamón cocido y el paté. La formulación con propiedades antimicrobianas y antioxidantes consigue los mismos resultados que los conservantes químicos.
Los investigadores han ensayado estos nuevos productos en pruebas piloto y han estudiado cómo estos extractos influyen en el sabor y aroma de los productos, entre otras características.

Aporte: Verónica Rojas
Fuente: http://www.infocarne.com/noticias/2009/10/2044_nuevos_conservantes_origen_vegetal_embutidos.asp

viernes, 23 de octubre de 2009

US meat industry failing on E.coli testing - Senator

The lack of corporate responsibility shown by the US meat industry in failing to follow its own guidelines over E.coli testing of ground beef has forced Congress to act, according to one senator.

E.coli bill
The New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand last week tabled a bill to overhaul the US food safety system – calling the clause to oblige mandatory testing for E.coli in ground beef the cornerstone of the legislation. There is currently no federal requirement for grinders to test their ingredients for E. coli, she added.
The new legislation that would require all plants that process ground beef to test their products regularly before it is ground and again before it is combined with other beef or ingredients, such as spices, and packaged. If ground beef is found to be contaminated, the bill requires the company to properly dispose of the contaminated batch, or cook the meat to a temperature that destroys the E.coli.
An industry-wide sampling of all ground beef produced, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service in 2009 found that nearly one in every 300 samples of ground beef was contaminated with E.coli, said Gillibrand.
Ground beef is especially vulnerable to E.coli because its source material is not from a single cut of meat but from a compilation of trimmings from many parts, including fat that lies near the surface of possibly contaminated hide.

Fuente: Food Quality News.
Aporte: Leidy Beltrán

Film comestible de manzana podrían aumentar la inocuidad de la carne

La película comestible tendría antimicrobianos naturales que protegerían contra microorganismos como E. coli y L. monocytogenes, presentes en aves de corral y carnes rojas.

La contaminación de superficies de productos alimenticios elaborados es un tema de inocuidad importante para los procesadores de muchos alimentos. Los antimicrobianos que pueden actuar sobre la superficie de un producto alimenticio evitarían la contaminación de esta.
E. coli O157: H7 ha sido implicado en una variedad de productos alimenticios, incluyendo la sidra de manzana, producir hamburguesas y productos de aves de corral. L. monocytogenes ha causado brotes tras el consumo de productos lácteos contaminados y listos para comer carnes. La contaminación de superficies de productos listos para consumir carne de aves de corral y productos con L. monocytogenes es un importante tema de inocuidad alimentaria.
Según el estudio publicado la revista Journal of Food Cience, la adición de agentes antimicrobianos en las películas comestibles podría servir como una barrera adicional para la superficie de microorganismos contaminantes. Las pruebas que se realizaron mostraron que los dos antimicrobianos de origen vegetal empleados, el carvacrol y cinnamaldeido, inactivarían las bacterias patógenas como la Salmonella enterica y E. coli O157: H7 de la superficie de pechuga de pollo crudo y L. monocytogenes en la superficies de jamones.

Este estudio revela el potencial de las películas comestibles de manzana y de plantas que contengan antibióticos naturales. Los científicos que desarrollaron este estudio también opinan que si utilizáramos estos films como el film plástico podríamos combatir la contaminación de superficie por bacterias patógenas.

Aporte: Verónica Rojas
Fuente: http://www.eurocarne.com/boletin/402009.htm

No más ostras sin procesar

Los productores de ostras de Estados Unidos podrían enfrentar algunas dificultades una vez que la FDA implemente este nuevo plan.

Michael Taylor, de la FDA, dijo que este organismo federal pretende reducir el número de casos de intoxicaciones fatales causadas por el bacilo Vibrio vulnificus mediante una ordenanza que obligará a todos los productores de ostras del golfo de México a procesar los moluscos para poder comercializarlos.

A partir del 2011, no podrán venderse más ostras frescas, vivas, de Texas, Louisiana y Florida, entre los meses de mayo a octubre. La FDA espera que esta reglamentación contribuya a evitar muchas muertes por intoxicación alimentaria.

El estado de California prohibió la venta de ostras del Golfo sin procesar en el año 2003.
De acuerdo con el Centro para la Prevención y Control de Enfermedades (CDC), se informan menos casos de infección con Vibrio vulnificus de los que ocurren realmente. Entre 1988 y 2006, los centros trataron 900 casos de infección en los estados de la costa del Golfo.

La infección bacteriana provoca la muerte de aproximadamente el 50% de los huéspedes humanos.

La FDA requerirá que las ostras de la costa del Golfo sean sometidas a alguno de los cuatro procesos siguientes para eliminar la posible presencia de la bacteria:
· Congelamiento rápido;
· Tratamiento con un sistema de alta presión;
· Tratamiento térmico suave;
· Dosis baja de radiación gamma.

Las ostras se podrán vender crudas, pero no vivas. La textura y el sabor sufrirán una alteración mínima.

La FDA estuvo realizando campañas para instruir a los consumidores sobre los riesgos asociados con el consumo de ostras crudas, pero no logró los resultados que esperaba.

La intoxicación causada por el Vibrio vulnificus, es más peligrosa para las personas que padecen enfermedades crónicas, pero muchas personas desconocen su diagnóstico y consumen las ostras sin ningún tratamiento previo.

Para evitar más muertes, las nuevas regulaciones de la FDA entrarán en vigor en la primavera de 2011.

Fuente: Natalia Real, http://www.fis.com/
Aporte: Francisca Castro

Nuevo método para pesquisar contaminación en pollos

La nueva técnica, que ha dado resultados positivos, combina imágenes digitales con la espectrometría

Científicos del Servicio de Investigación Agraria de Estados Unidos (ARS) y un fabricante de equipos de procesado de pollo han desarrollado un nuevo sistema que utiliza imágenes híper espectrales para detectar bacterias contaminantes en las canales de pollo. Esta nueva técnica, que ya ha dado buenos resultados, combina las imágenes digitales con la espectrometría, lo que crea longitudes de onda individuales de luz que localizan los contaminantes.

Los investigadores tomaron imágenes de las canales tras la desvisceración, pero antes de la limpieza, a una tasa de 150 aves por minuto durante varios días, lo que demostró la viabilidad del sistema. Con la misma tecnología de imágenes híper espectrales, pero con diferentes longitudes de onda, los científicos del ARS desarrollaron un sistema en línea de imágenes para diferenciar de manera sistemática entre los pollos sacrificados que tuvieron enfermedades y los que no.

El equipo científico trabaja ahora en un sistema único, el que combina la detección de contaminación fecal con la detección de canales procedentes de aves. Para ello incluyen una cámara de imágenes híper espectrales, iluminación y software de operación y detección. La combinación de los dos sistemas facilitará la comercialización, ya que creará una sola herramienta intercambiable de imágenes, que se puede instalar en sitios diferentes de la línea de procesado, para resolver problemas aislados. Se espera poder contar con un prototipo para finales de 2009.

Fuente: http://www.consumer.es/
Aporte: María Jesús Sanhueza C.


La CE destaca las medidas adoptadas por las autoridades españolas ante la sospecha de que pudiera tratarse de la enfermedad.

La Comisión Europea (CE) ha recibido de las autoridades españolas la confirmación de la presencia de gripe aviar del tipo H7 en una granja de gallinas en la provincia de Guadalajara, informa el propio Ejecutivo comunitario. Bruselas ha revisado la situación en el Comité permanente de la Cadena Alimentaria y la Salud Animal y ha supervisado las medidas de control que ha tomado España.

El Ejecutivo comunitario indica que las autoridades españolas han aplicado las medidas contempladas en la directiva sobre gripe aviar "incluso antes de que se confirmara" que se trataba en realidad de esta patología y han aislado la granja. Los análisis practicados en el laboratorio confirmaron el pasado 11 de octubre la presencia de la cepa H7, subtipo muy patógeno del virus de la gripe aviar, detalla la CE.

Las sospechas sobre la posibilidad de que se tratase de gripe aviar surgieron tras comprobar la alta mortalidad en uno de los cinco cobertizos donde estaban las aves. Las gallinas se sacrificaron y se estableció un área de protección de tres kilómetros en torno a la granja, además de otra de vigilancia de 10 kilómetros alrededor de la misma. Mientras, las pruebas clínicas realizadas a otras granjas próximas han dado resultados negativos, continúan las investigaciones epidemiológicas para averiguar el origen del brote.

Fuente: http://www.consumer.es/
Aporte: María Jesús Sanhueza C.

jueves, 22 de octubre de 2009

El ARS y una empresa se unen para combatir la contaminación alimentaria

La microbióloga Judy Arnold del Servicio de Investigación Agrícola (ARS) específicamente de la Unidad de Investigación de la Seguridad Microbiana de Pollo mantenida por el ARS en Athens, Georgia (USA) junto con la empresa Sterilex Corp. de Owings Mills, Maryland trabajaron juntos para desarrollar una nueva formulación química que podría ayudar a las plantas de procesamiento de carne a prevenir contaminación en las superficies de trabajo.

La fórmula fue probada para determinar su capacidad de controlar los biofilms que contienen el patógeno alimentario Listeria monocytogenes.

Los biofilms son capas protectoras de proteínas y polisacáridos que rodean las bacterias y que se adhieren a las superficies de los equipo. Estas barreras protectoras atrapan las bacterias de corrupción y otros patógenos que contaminan alimentos durante el procesamiento, y resisten la limpieza y el saneamiento.

En estudios, Arnold descubrió que la formulación; que hoy produce Sterilex, parece ser un desinfectante económico para utilización en sitios de producción y procesamiento de carne y pollo. La formulación utiliza múltiples acciones físicas y químicas para penetrar el biofilm, matando a los microorganismos, y sacando biofilm de las superficies.

Los resultados de la microbióloga mostraron que la formulación fue completamente eficaz en matar todas las bacterias y en quitar más del 90% de los biofilms, lo cual, según Arnold, hace a este desinfectante más eficaz que los actualmente utilizados para reducir el crecimiento de los biofilms de L. monocytogenes. Las evaluaciones también llevaron al desarrollo de instrucciones de uso que satisfacen las reglas del Departamento de Agricultura de EE.UU (USDA por sus siglas en inglés) de tolerancia cero de L. monocytogenes.

La investigación cooperativa entre ARS y Sterilex fue patrocinada por una subvención del Instituto Nacional de Alimento y Agricultura de USDA. Esta investigación apoya la prioridad de USDA de asegurar la seguridad alimentaria.

Aporte: Carolina Rojas.

Fuente: http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/espanol/pr/2009/091022.es.htm

Last two E.coli children discharged from hospital

The final two children who remained in hospital following the E.coli outbreak at a Surrey farm have finally been allowed home, more than a month after the site was shut down by health officials.

(England, UK) The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said on Tuesday that the total number of E.coli cases linked to Godstone Farm still stood at 93, adding that "all children have been discharged from hospital".

The Health Protection Agency has disclosed that the first case with a possible link to the farm was reported to it on Aug 27. The probable earliest infection has been traced to August 8 and up to 60,000 people visited the farm between then and it finally being fully closed on Sept 12. At least 30,000 of those would have been children.

Richard Oatway, the farm’s manager, said he had complied with everything officials had asked him to do and would not reopen until given the all-clear. Experts who have inspected the farm still had “no idea” what the source of the outbreak was, he said. The infected animals are the most probable source of infection, because the children are in constant contact with them and all kind of surfaces that also has been touched by some animal.

The youngsters affected included three-year-old Alfie Weaver from Redhill, who was treated at East Surrey Hospital after suffering kidney failure as a result of contracting the bug.

The site closed on September 12, two weeks after the first case of E.coli was reported there.

A third out of 102 samples taken from animals were found to contain E.coli 0157, and the chief executive of the HPA, Justin McCracken, admitted the agency should have acted quicker in shutting the farm.

Families affected will be asked if they want to have their say during the probe, which will look at how Godstone Farm was being operated, according to the standards and guidance set for open farms, and the response to the outbreak from all relevant parties.

Legal action is also being planned by some parents of children who were left seriously ill. A spokesman for Godstone Farm said a decision on when the site will re-open could be made later this week.

Aporte: Gabriel I. Zeballos Romero

New Zealand leads world on controlling campylobacter

New Zealand’s efforts to drastically reduce the effects of the dangerous bacteria found in chicken have seen it lead global efforts to improve the safety of poultry for human consumption.

The New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) is taking the lead for the International Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH) in developing standards to combat campylobacter in broiler chickens.

The highly-regarded Codex guidelines are also often used by international bodies, like the World Trade Organization, to settle trade disputes over food safety issues.

New Zealand had the world’s highest rate of campylobacter infection, which can be caused by eating raw or undercooked poultry.

NZFSA’s science director, Steve Hathaway says New Zealand’s cutting-edge research and innovative controls have made huge inroads into decreasing the country’s campylobacter infection rate.

“New Zealand has got a reputation for getting stuck in and really reducing what is a serious health problem world-wide. We have worked closely with the poultry industry over the past three years to research and develop campylobacter controls and other countries see there is a lot to learn from us as their focus on food-borne campylobacter infection increases.”

In 2006, the effects of major food-borne illnesses cost New Zealand $86 million in lost productivity. It was estimated 90 per cent of that cost was due to campylobacter infection. Just two-and-a-half years later, the NZFSA’s campylobacter risk management strategy has made a 50 per cent reduction in cases of campylobacter infection caused by food. The annual saving to society is estimated to be around $36 million.

While New Zealand heads up the Codex work on campylobacter, Sweden will lead parallel guidelines for salmonella. When the combined international standard is completed, countries belonging to Codex will be able to use the guidelines and examples to control the effects of both bacteria in their own poultry industries.

The guidelines are expected to be finalised next year after the CCFH meets in November.

Aporte: Gabriel I. Zeballos Romero
Fuente: http://www.campylobacterblog.com/

Free Meals at The Fat Duck - You need Norovirus First

One of the most acclaimed and famous restaurants of the world (number two, I joust under the Catalan restaurant "el bulli" of chef Ferràn Adrìa), with three Michelin Stars, has been affected recently with a case of norovirus

Apparently, even the big ones can't be saved from the virus. Next, the history of a scientist who was visiting the town of this well-known restaurant:

“When I was in England in May I tried to get reservations at Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck. Whether is was my profession or that it was actually busy, I do not know. However, now more than 500 diners who suffered food poisoning after eating at the Fat Duck restaurant have been offered a free meal.

A norovirus outbreak hit the Michelin-starred establishment in Berkshire for six weeks in January and February. Although the restaurant denied lapses in its food preparation, health investigators criticised its response in a recent report. During the norovirus outbreak, diners reported bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea.

In its report released earlier this month, the Health Protection Agency said the norovirus was probably introduced via shellfish. But it said the outbreak of food poisoning was worsened by the Bray restaurant's "delayed response". Investigators noted several weaknesses in the restaurant's procedures at the establishment in Bray which may have lead to the spread of the virus. These included a delayed response to the illness, staff working when they should have been off sick and the use of the wrong environmental cleaning products.

Seems to be that some chefs are more worrying about superficial things and not of the essential ones, like the hygiene.

Aporte: Gabriel I. Zeballos Romero
Fuente: http://www.noroblog.com/

Cantaloupe Recalled for Salmonella

California's Department of Public Health is warning consumers in the Golden State not to eat Del Monte brand whole cantaloupe sold between Oct. 5th and 16th at Northern California and Nevada Raley's, Bel Air, Nob Hill Foods, and Food Sources stores.

Dr. Mark Horton, public health director, said the retail stores are voluntarily recalling 1,120 cartons of cantaloupe. Through a routine testing, they found some products contaminated with Salmonella.

No illnesses have yet been associated with the recall.

Horton said anyone with cantaloupes purchased during that period of time from those retailers should return them for a full refund, or discard them immediately.

Salmonella is a bacterium that causes one of the most common enteric (intestinal) infections in the United States – Salmonellosis. It’s can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Anyone who ate one of these cantaloupes and is experiencing such symptoms should see their doctor. In some states (e.g. Georgia, Maryland), salmonellosis is the most commonly reported cause of enteric disease, and overall it is the second most common bacterial foodborne illness reported (usually slightly less frequent than Campylobacter infection).

There have been several Salmonella-related outbreaks involving cantaloupe in recent years. Some have involved serious injuries and even death.

Previous outbreaks were traced to cantaloupes grown in Mexico (2001, 2002); and Honduras (2008).

Guidelines for preventing illness from cantaloupes suggest scrubbing whole cantaloupes by using a clean produce brush and cool tap water immediately before eating. Do not use soap or detergent.

The reported incidence of Salmonella illnesses is about 14 cases per each 100,000 persons (MMWR Weekly, 2006), amounting to approximately 30,000 confirmed cases of salmonellosis yearly in the U.S. (CDC, 2005, October 13). In 2005, just over 36,000 cases were reported from public health laboratories across the nation, representing a 12 percent decrease compared with the previous decade, but a 1.5 percent increase over 2004 (CDC, 2007).

Aporte: Gabriel I. Zeballos Romero
Fuente: http://foodsafetynews.com/; http://www.salmonellablog.com/

EE.UU. detecta el primer caso de la gripe A en un cerdo del país

El Departamento de Agricultura de Estados Unidos ha confirmado que detectó el primer caso de la gripe A en un cerdo del país, aunque enfatizó en que el contagio en humanos no está relacionado con el consumo de productos cárnicos

El Depto. De Agricultura de Estados Unidos, confirmó la detección del primer caso de gripe A en un cerdo que estaba expuesto en la Feria Estatal de Minesota.

La autoridad enfatizó que el contagio en humanos no se relaciona con el consumo de productos cárneos, e hizo un llamado a la población a consumir con confianza los productos derivados de estos animales.

En un comunicado el Secretario de Agricultura de ese país descartó que los cerdos criados para matanza y posterior consumo se encuentren infectados, debido a que los cerdos que se usan para exhibición no se mezclan con los cerdos destinados al consumo.

Las autoridades del Ministerio, señalaron que continúan con el análisis de muestras de 3 cerdos de la feria e indicaron que probablemente los animales contrajeron el virus al entrar en contacto con uno de los 1,8 millones de personas que visitaron la feria.

De todas formas, el departamento de Agricultura contactó a los principales distribuidores del país y varias organizaciones comerciales, entre ellas la Organización Mundial para la Salud Animal, asegurando que “no hay base científica que justifique restricción del comercio del cerdo”. Esto debido a que no habría riesgos para la inocuidad del producto y por lo tanto para la salud del consumidor.

Por otra parte, China ha suspendido las importaciones de productos porcinos de Estados Unidos, situación que pretende ser revertida con el viaje del secretario de Agricultura norteamericano a tierras asiáticas a fin de mes, y así lograr el fin de las restricciones.

Aporte: Ignacio Vásquez


miércoles, 21 de octubre de 2009

Etiquetado de frutas: Paso de la calcomanía al tatuaje láser

El uso de calcomanías para proporcionar información sobre un determinado alimento, constituye un sistema generalizado en el ámbito del etiquetado alimentario. Sin embargo, deben tenerse en cuenta ciertos aspectos para evitar que su uso perjudique el producto. Por un lado, resultan poco higiénicas porque favorecen la adhesión de otras sustancias durante el almacenamiento. Por otro lado, el riesgo de que se desprendan durante la manipulación es elevado, un hecho que implica que desaparezca la identificación sobre su origen u otras características. Además, las etiquetas son fáciles de quitar y, por lo tanto, susceptibles de ser falseadas. Como alternativa, especialistas del Servicio de Investigación Agrícola de Estados Unidos (ARS, en sus siglas inglesas) y de la Universidad de Florida proponen un tatuaje permanente realizado con un rayo láser que graba información en las células exteriores de la piel de la fruta e identifica cada pieza sin alterarla.
Sello distintivo: En el estudio experimental, se ha utilizado un rayo láser de dióxido de carbono para etiquetar piezas de pomelo ("Citrus paradisi"), una herramienta usada desde hace décadas por diferentes industrias para aplicaciones como cortes, grabados y soldaduras. También es eficaz por su precisión y asepsia en campos como la cirugía y la dermatología. El tatuaje en piel de frutas u hortalizas constituye un sistema inalterable de etiquetado de alimentos. No se puede borrar, cambiar o distorsionar mediante la manipulación o el lavado con agua. Sólo se elimina cuando se pela la fruta o se corta el trozo tatuado, por lo que se garantiza su identificación en todo momento, desde la producción hasta el consumo, resultando mucho más fiable en exportaciones o importaciones de frutas.
Efectos del tatuaje por láser: Las frutas etiquetadas con láser fueron almacenadas durante cinco semanas a 10°C y dos humedades relativas diferentes (95% y 65%). En este periodo, las piezas no se deterioraron más que las frutas sin tatuaje, un factor que sugiere que las etiquetas por láser no facilitan la corrupción. Este hallazgo se confirmó con experimentos posteriores en las superficies, que fueron inoculadas con esporas de "Penicillium digitatum", el agente causal de la llamada podredumbre verde de los frutos cítricos y uno de los patógenos más importantes durante la postcosecha. Causa hasta el 80% de las corrupciones.
Tras la inoculación, se marcaron con láser. No se encontró ningún patógeno ni en la piel marcada ni en el interior de la fruta. En las placas de agar con esporas de "P. digitatum", el láser de grabado reduce la germinación de las mismas en las zonas de contacto. Cauteriza las señales de la piel, consigue que sea impenetrable y evita la proliferación de organismos alterantes o patógenos. Respecto a la pérdida de agua durante el almacenamiento, se comprobó que el deterioro de los pomelos tatuados era, tras cuatro semanas, proporcional a los niveles de energía del láser y a la humedad relativa del ambiente.
Los resultados del estudio demuestran que el etiquetado permanente por láser en la superficie de la piel de la fruta no aumenta la entrada de patógenos alimentarios o postcosecha. Los investigadores concluyen que el tatuaje por láser proporciona a la industria del pomelo una alternativa segura a la etiqueta adhesiva, sin aumentar la susceptibilidad de degradación. En la actualidad, también se realizan pruebas con tomates, aguacates y otros cítricos. Este proceso tecnológico de tatuaje de frutas por rayos láser requerirá la aprobación de la Administración de Drogas y Alimentos (FDA) estadounidense antes de que se pueda usar.

Fuente: http://www.inocuidad-alimentaria.com/news/frutas_hortalizas/74k.html
Aporte: Jocelyn Retamal