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.

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).


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.
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.

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.


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.
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.