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