miércoles, 27 de enero de 2010

Woman Who Was Paralyzed Settles Case

The cause: Consumption of raw milk contaminated with Campylobacter jejuni
A settlement has been reached in a case involving Alexandre Family EcoDairy Farms and a local woman who became paralyzed by a rare neurological disorder after drinking Campylobacter jejuni contaminated raw milk.
No lawsuit was filed in the matter, and instead it was resolved through a claim with the Fort Dick dairy’s insurance provider.
As part of the agreement reached late last week, the amount of the settlement is confidential and neither party is allowed to talk about the specifics.
“Clearly everyone wants to get this behind them,” Marler said. “The Tardiffs and Mari have a lot of work to do for the rest of their lives and the last thing they need is litigation.”
Mari Tardiff became ill in June 2008 after drinking raw milk from the dairy that was contaminated with Campylobacter jejuni, a common food-born pathogen found in domesticated and wild animals.
As a result, the 54-year-old public health nurse developed a form of Guillain-Barré syndrome that paralyzed her to a point where she was placed on a ventilator for nearly three months.
State and local public health officials eventually found 14 other people in Del Norte County who had consumed raw milk from the organic dairy and got sick between May and June of 2008. An additional person who was also ill during that time denied drinking raw milk, but worked closely with the cows at the dairy.
Tardiff is still recovering from Guillain-Barré. She cannot walk on her own and relies on two caregivers to assist her. Her attorney said that her medical bills to date have exceeded $1
Source: The Daily Triplicate, FoodsafetyNews

Food Recall, contaminated ready-to-drink products

Foods are possibly contaminated with toxigenic Bacillus cereus
Unilever United States, Inc., in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is conducting a nationwide voluntary recall of all Slim-Fast® ready-to-drink (RTD) products in cans, due to the possibility of contamination with Bacillus cereus, a micro-organism, which may cause diarrhea and possibly nausea and/or vomiting. The probability of serious adverse health consequences is remote.
The products were sold in stores nationwide.
Product Description: The products are packaged in paperboard cartons and contain four, six or 12 steel cans that are 11 FL OZ (325 mL) each. Individual cans are also sold in certain retail outlets. The recall involves all Slim-Fast® RTD products in cans, regardless of flavor, Best-By date, lot code or UPC number. A listing of all RTD recalled products is attached to this press release.
No other Slim-Fast® products are affected by this recall. No Slim-Fast® powdered shakes, meal bars, or snack bars are affected by this recall.
The recall was initiated after the company conducted quality testing on Slim-Fast® RTD products in cans. Out of an abundance of caution, the company is recalling all RTD products in cans that are currently in distribution centers, on-shelf or in back rooms in retail outlets or in consumers’ homes. The company is in the process of identifying and correcting the production issue, and will resume production and shipment of the product when the issue has been addressed and corrected.
Consumers who have purchased Slim-Fast® RTD products in cans are urged to discard them immediately and contact the company at 1-800-896-9479 for a full refund. The Consumer Services Center is open Monday – Friday, 8:30 AM – 6:00 PM ET. A recorded message is available 24/7.

Source: FDA Recalls Information

martes, 26 de enero de 2010

EU steps up border controls to boost food safety

The European Union said measures to step up border controls on a range of imported foods of non-animal origin in a bid to boost food safety came into effect yesterday.
Safety chiefs hope the increased level of checks will detect the possible presence of a number of substances that may pose a risk to humans and animals, such as aflatoxins in nuts and pesticides in fruits and vegetables.
“All EU Member States will step up their border controls on a number of pre-listed products -ranging from peanuts to fruit and vegetables- originating from outside the EU in an effort to limit possible harm to human and animal health,” said a statement from the European Commission.
Common rules
The measures, laid out in Regulation (EC) No. 669/2009, provide for the first time a set of common rules for official controls on certain foods of non-animal origin. The directive also covers animal feed.
The regulation will cover documentary, identity and physical checks. The EC declared that “checks on documents accompanying the consignments will be carried out systematically on these products at EU borders, while physical checks will be performed at a lower frequency”.
Brussels recognised that member states will need more cash to carry out increased inspections and authorised them to “collect fees necessary to cover costs occasioned by those controls”.
The directive lays out seven minimum requirements that all EC points of entry will need to have – including sufficient staffing levels, storage facilities and unloading equipment. It admitted these could pose difficulties for some countries and allowed for a transition period during which these could be implemented incrementally.
Annex 1 of the new rule lists the food products to come under increased scrutiny and the frequency of “physical and identity checks” - ranging from between 10 and 50 per cent, depending on the foodstuff and country of origin.
The Commission said it intends to monitor the implementation of this Regulation closely by Member States. The list of food goods will be reviewed on quarterly, based on reports from national food agencies and “the most recent available science”, it added.

miércoles, 20 de enero de 2010

Encuentran Plomo y Arsénico en Queso

La causa podría ser contaminación por gasolina.
La especialista en productos lácteos, Rebeca Flores Magallón, investigadora del Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN), encontró plomo y arsénico en el queso Cotija, en cantidades que rebasan la norma internacional. Se detectó que la mayor parte de la producción, 80 o 90%, no alcanza los estándares de calidad en la región objeto de estudio. Estas sustancias en cantidades superiores a las permitidas, originan daños irreversibles en el sistema nervioso y otros órganos, y en mujeres pueden incluso causar abortos.
A lo anterior se agrega la falta de higiene en el proceso productivo y a la falta de apoyo e incentivos por parte de los gobiernos estatal y federal, responsables de vigilar los estándares de calidad de los productos lácteo, lo contribuye a demeritar la calidad de este tipo de queso.
El estudio identificó como posible origen del problema, la contaminación por gasolina: Las vacas pastorean en terrenos donde se usan cuatrimotos y probablemente el combustible derramado ocasiona la contaminación.
La investigadora agregó que los productores necesitan más apoyo de las autoridades para reforzar sus procesos de inocuidad pecuaria, ya que muchos aún utilizan métodos tradicionales en la elaboración de susproductos lo que implica que no apliquen medidas de higiene adecuadas.

Aporte Leidy Beltrán
Fuente: Alimentaria Online

lunes, 18 de enero de 2010

Disinfectants may promote growth of antibiotic resistant pathogens

Caution in the proper use of disinfectants to impede multi-resistant pathogens
Using disinfectants could cause bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics as well as the disinfectant itself, according to research published in the January issue of Microbiology. The findings could have important implications for how the spread of infection is managed in hospital settings.
Researchers from the National University of Ireland in Galway found that by adding increasing amounts of disinfectant to laboratory cultures of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the bacteria could adapt to survive not only the disinfectant but also ciprofloxacin - a commonly-prescribed antibiotic - even without being exposed to it. The researchers showed that the bacteria had adapted to more efficiently pump out antimicrobial agents (disinfectant and antibiotic) from the bacterial cell. The adapted bacteria also had a mutation in their DNA that allowed them to resist ciprofloxacin-type antibiotics specifically.
P. aeruginosa is an opportunistic bacterium that can cause a wide range of infections in people with weak immune systems and those with diseases such as cystic fibrosis (CF) and diabetes. P. aeruginosa is an important cause of hospital-acquired infections. Disinfectants are used to kill bacteria on surfaces to prevent their spread. If the bacteria manage to survive and go on to infect patients, antibiotics are used to treat them. Bacteria that can resist both these control points may be a serious threat to hospital patients.
Importantly, the study showed that when very small non-lethal amounts of disinfectant were added to the bacteria in culture, the adapted bacteria were more likely to survive compared to the non-adapted bacteria. Dr. Gerard Fleming, who led the study, said, "In principle this means that residue from incorrectly diluted disinfectants left on hospital surfaces could promote the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. What is more worrying is that bacteria seem to be able to adapt to resist antibiotics without even being exposed to them."
Dr. Fleming also stressed the importance of studying the environmental factors that might promote antibiotic resistance. "We need to investigate the effects of using more than one type of disinfectant on promoting antibiotic-resistant strains. This will increase the effectiveness of both our first and second lines of defense against hospital-acquired infections," he said.
The indiscriminate use of agrochemicals (pesticides) also causes similar non-expected increase in the bacterial resistance to antibiotics.
Source: Society for General Microbiology

Nestle revamps cookie dough amid E. coli concern

Nestle will start using heat-treated dough, production to be suspended for 12 days for overhaul
Nestle USA will begin using heat-treated flour in its Toll House refrigerated cookie dough, months after the company temporarily pulled the product off of store shelves after the Food and Drug Administration found evidence of E. coli contamination.
The unit of Nestle SA (NESN.VX) said it will halt production at its Danville, Virginia, plant from Wednesday until Jan. 25 in order convert the plant to use heat-treated flour.
In June, Nestle recalled the cookie dough after the FDA said it was investigating possible E. coli related illnesses that might have been related to the eating of raw cookie dough.
The company resumed production at the plant using standards that included testing ingredients before they enter the facility, rigorous environmental sampling throughout the facility and testing of finished product before it is shipped to customers.
On Monday, two samples of cookie dough tested positive for E. coli, Nestle said. The contaminated product was discovered before it was shipped and dough on store shelves is not affected, it added.
The FDA reminds consumers they should not eat raw food products that are intended for cooking or baking before consumption. Consumers should use safe food-handling practices when preparing such products, including following package directions for cooking at proper temperatures; washing hands, surfaces, and utensils after contact with these types of products; avoiding cross contamination; and refrigerating products properly.
Source: FDA food releases http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm168346.htm.

USA Poll: Most Not Fully Confident in Food Safety

Americans in the South have the least trust in the food supply
This poll was taken as part of CBS News' "Where America Stands" series, an in-depth look at where the country stands today on key topics and an outlook for the future decade.
Just one in three Americans are very confident that the food they buy is safe, a new CBS News poll finds although the vast majority are at least somewhat confident that their food is safe.
Thirty-two percent say they are "very confident" about the safety of the food they buy, while 52 percent are "somewhat confident." The remaining 16 percent say they are not too confident or not at all confident in the safety of their food.
These results are reflected in the grades Americans give the country on ensuring the safety of the food supply. The most commonly offered grades were C, chosen by 34 percent of those surveyed, and B, chosen by 33 percent.
Just seven percent gave the country an A when it comes to keeping the food supply safe. Eighteen percent offered a D, and six percent served up a failing grade.
A person's faith in the food supply may have something to do with the food they can afford. Those with high incomes are more confident in the safety of the food supply than those who earn comparatively less.
Forty-two percent of Americans who make more than $100,000 are very confident the food they buy is safe. Just 24 percent of those who make less than $30,000 say the same.
Men are more likely than women to be very confident that the food they buy is safe, and college graduates are more likely that those with less education to say so.
The region where Americans have the most trust in the food supply is the Midwest. Americans in the South have the least trust in the food supply.
Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2010/01/08/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry6073204.shtml

jueves, 14 de enero de 2010

Food Safety and Government Agencies

Incompetence or shared holiday time?
In the eight day period from Christmas Eve to New Year's Day we have seen the worst performance out of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) we can remember.
On Christmas Eve, FSIS announced that Oklahoma-based National Steak & Poultry was recalling 248,000 pounds of so-called "non-intact" steaks that were "blade tenderized." The beef was connected to illnesses of E. coli O157:H7 in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, South Dakota and Washington.
There it stood over the long Christmas weekend. No list of restaurants could be obtained from FSIS, CDC, or National Steak. The long list of steak products with its various codes and letters gave clues because it included items like "Carino's Boneless" and "Moe's Beef Steak."
In the movie "Jaws" the town fathers opt not to warn the public about the mammoth shark because they do not want to ruin the tourist season. FSIS reportedly began its investigation on Dec. 11, but managed to time the recall when it would get the least attention.
Such timing is suspicious on its face. Whether FSIS and/or National Steak was motivated by wanting to not impact the holiday business of the various chain restaurants involved, I do not know.
The other possibility--sheer incompetence--is depressing. From his resume, it does not look like Jerold Mande, the acting Under Secretary for Food Safety, ever previously supervised much more than someone to make copies or get his coffee.
My guess is that at both CDC and FSIS way too many people were given the same holiday time off that the President was obviously enjoying. That's a management problem.
The National Steak recall quickly had another hot aspect to it as we learned food safety advocates had warned the Secretary of Agriculture about how "non-intact" steaks can become contaminated through the tenderization process. Secretary Tom Vilsack never responded to the warning. (See "USDA Warned of Risky Steak Last June," Dec. 28, 2009).
Source: Food Safety news

martes, 12 de enero de 2010

Seafood processor targeted over HACCP breaches

A US seafood processing company could be shut down if it continues to flout Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations.

The Congressional Seafood Company Inc, of Jessup, Maryland, and three of its executives were cited by the FDA for repeatedly breaching HACCP rules in the handling of raw product – including raw, ready-to-eat tuna for sushi and sashimi, fresh and vacuum-packed crabmeat, frozen octopus and shrimp, and molluscan shellfish. The agency said producing foods without flowing HACCP principles posed a serious risk to human health.
The firm was found to have carried out repeated violations of federal regulations including failure to document that fish were refrigerated at appropriate temperatures, failure to keep fish species separate to avoid cross-contamination, failure to meet sanitation standards or keep records of compliance, and failure to verify that imported fish met FDA standards.
The state’s District Court imposed a consent decree on the company and three leading officers; company president Stanley S. Pearlman, vice president Jonathan D. Pearlman and HACCP coordinator Stephen G. Bardsley. The ruling also bans former president Thomas Spencer from any involvement with the company.
Under the decree, Congressional Seafood must have its HACCP and sanitation plans submitted by an independent expert and approved by FDA. The judgment allows FDA to shut down the firm, recall its products, or take other corrective action in the event of future violations. The defendants have also been ordered to pay the costs of inspections performed by FDA officials in the build up to the decree’s imposition. The company could face civil or criminal penalties if it flouts the ruling.
“On numerous occasions, FDA has warned the defendants, both orally and in writing, about their conduct and has emphasized the importance of their compliance with the (Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic) Act,” said Michael Chappell, acting associate commissioner for regulatory affairs at FDA.
Source: FDA

lunes, 11 de enero de 2010

44 restaurantes de polos gastronómicos fueron sumariados por deficiencias sanitarias en 2009

A cuatro conocidos locales se les prohibió incluso el funcionamiento o la elaboración de algunos alimentos.

Dentro del total de fiscalizaciones que la autoridad sanitaria realizó a restaurantes, fuentes de soda y casinos durante el año pasado, 44 establecimientos ubicados en emblemáticos barrios gastronómicos de Santiago, que concitan gran afluencia de público, no fueron ajenos a las sanciones que aplicó la seremi de Salud.

La cifra corresponde a los procesos que fueron sentenciados entre el 1 de enero y el 17 de diciembre de 2009, por razones tan disímiles como problemas en la línea de producción de los alimentos, falta de capacitación del personal o presencia de plagas de insectos en los sectores de elaboración de alimentos.
Todas estas deficiencias están normadas dentro del reglamento sanitario de los alimentos, que aparte de las multas correspondientes, entrega plazos de entre 10 y 30 días para que cada local subsane las fallas detectadas, por lo que en la mayoría de ellos éstas debiesen estar superadas.

Así se desprende de una investigación hecha por "El Mercurio", que constató incluso la prohibición de funcionar o fabricar alimentos que afectó en su momento a cuatro locales: "Tavelli", de Av. Providencia 2124; "Doña Tina", de Refugio del Arrayán 15125; "Kit Cheng", de Av. Colón 5930, y "Urban Deluxe", de Bellavista 0875.

También se emitieron órdenes de arresto para los representantes legales de las empresas que no cumplieron con el pago de las multas cursadas en el plazo establecido. Es el caso de los restaurantes "Soho Lounge", "Dublin", "Urban Deluxe", "Apunto Rojo" y "Las Vacas Gordas".
La Asociación Chilena de Gastronomía, que agrupa a 320 restaurantes en la Región Metropolitana, sobre un total no cuantificado, avaló las fiscalizaciones a través de su presidente, Fernando de la Fuente, quien explicó: "Aquí no hay nada que echarle la culpa a que la ley es poco clara o que hay un vacío. Está claro cuáles son los requisitos que deben cumplir para operar".
3.005 fiscalizaciones se realizaron a restoranes, fuentes de soda y casinos entre enero y septiembre de 2009.
557 sumarios fueron iniciados tras estas inspecciones.
$1.300millones se recaudaron por las multas cursadas

Fuente: EMOL

jueves, 7 de enero de 2010

Foodborne disease threat to global health security - WHO

Foodborne diseases are a risk to global health security and any solutions to bolster food safety must be must be international ones.
The paper, due to be delivered at the WHO’s executive meeting later this month, has declared that recent scandals involving chemicals such as melamine and dioxins, as well as microbial contaminations of food products with traditional or new pathogens highlight the world-wide nature of the problem.
It outlines food and water-borne diarrheal illnesses present a “growing public health problem” that claim 2.2m lives annually – with 1.9m of these children. The health body said that many communicable diseases – including emerging zoonosis – are transmitted through food. It also cautions that many other diseases such as cancers are linked with chemicals and toxins in the food supply.
“The spread of pathogens and contaminants across national borders means that foodborne diseases now threaten global public health security,” said the report.
Climate change: Incidences of foodborne diseases are likely to be exacerbated by the effects of climate change due to the “faster growth rates of micro-organisms in food and water at higher temperatures, potentially resulting in higher levels of toxins or pathogens in food”, said the WHO secretariat. The increased hazard posed by newly emerging zoonosis could be particularly acute, it added.
Moves towards improving food production and distribution will only benefit those lacking food security and/or suffering from malnutrition if they are accompanied by progress in the safety and quality of food, said the authors. Not only are foodborne illnesses a danger to human health but they also pose a threat to economic growth in developing countries.
The report underlines that while “many or most human infectious diseases” in recent decades have come from animals, the transmission of these infections has “often been through food and food preparation”. Acute respiratory syndrome, BSE and highly pathogenic avian influenza are three major examples cited.
International solutions: The report emphasizes that as foodborne diseases recognize no national boundaries, efforts to combat them must be co-ordinated across governments and sectors – since risks to food safety may originate in any link in the food production chain – including the environment, animal feed, production and retailing, preparation practices and the consumer’s kitchen.
“A prerequisite for food safety will be efficient multi-sectorial collaboration between all relevant partners at the international and national levels, with systematic mainstreaming of food safety into food systems and nutrition policies and interventions,” said the paper.
International agreements on food safety management that include general scientific principles and collaboration across sectors are vital. Such an approach in surveillance systems could prevent or facilitate early detection of diseases and may also “significantly reduce their incidence in the medium to long-term”, predicted the WHO.
The body outlined a raft of initiatives and groups it has set up to help realize these goals – including the International Food Safety Authorities Network and the Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group.
Sound scientific risk assessment must form the basis of policy formation to manage food safety and protect consumers, the body concluded. It added it was investing in new ways of “ensuring international provision of scientific advice, avoiding the waste of resources caused by repetitive assessments in countries or regions”.

miércoles, 6 de enero de 2010

FDA moves to shut down Listeria-tainted cheese facility

The establishment will be closed until cheese became negative for the presence of Listeria
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said it intends to close down a New Jersey cheese maker in the wake of Listeria monocytogenes contamination and an alleged failure to correct unsanitary conditions at the plant.
Quesos Mi Pueblito manufactures and distributes soft, semi-soft and hard Mexican cheeses to grocery stores and supermarkets in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Florida, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
The FDA filed a complaint in the US District Court in Newark on Monday alleging that Quesos Mi Pueblito has failed to correct unsanitary conditions that were flagged up during inspections and that investigators found listeria contamination at the plant during inspections in August, September, October and November. The FDA’s complaint follows a three-year attempt by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services to help the company rid its facility of listeria monocytogenes bacteria.
Quesos Mi Pueblito issued a recall of 13 of its cheeses in August after health officials found listeria contamination during sample testing but the company has allegedly continued to produce listeria-tainted cheese.
The FDA has requested that the company and two of its officers, Felix Sanchez and Jesus Galvez, are prevented from manufacturing and distributing food until their Passaic, New Jersey facility complies with FDA food safety regulations and they “produce cheese that does not test positive for the presence of Listeria.”
Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, which has been recognized as a serious public health problem in the United States and elsewere, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its figures show that around 2,500 people become seriously ill with listeriosis each year and 500 die.


martes, 5 de enero de 2010

E coli O157:H7 outbreak at Godstone Farm in Surrey

Four children are seriously ill in hospital
A major outbreak of E coli at a popular children's farm in Surrey that led to at least 36 people falling sick with the vomiting bug. Godstone Farm was closed yesterday as the 12 children, eight of them in a serious but stable condition, were dealing with complications arising from an infection which can lead to kidney failure, especially in the young.
They have contracted E coli O157:H7, this enterohaemorragic strain which first appeared in Britain in the 1980s and to which children and older people are especially vulnerable. Like other strains, it can be transmitted through contact with animals. The Health Protection Agency said that measures to reduce the risk of the infection spreading were put in place by the farm last week but, as more cases were reported, it had agreed to close "to enable detailed investigations into the source of the infection".
A notice on the farm's website before the closure said "a small number of cases of E coli" in children had been reported in the Surrey area." It said that animal barns and some sandpits were being closed while tests were carried out to determine whether the infection was contracted at the farm. A sister farm in Epsom, Horton Park Children's Farm, has stayed open.
Professor Hugh Pennington, an expert in bacteriology, said this was "a very large outbreak" and that E coli O157: H7 can be "quite dangerous" for young children, with around 15% suffering complications that can affect the brain, the heart and the kidneys. "The kidney complications can be quite severe, resulting in long-term damage in some instances," he said.

lunes, 4 de enero de 2010

New Tests Confirm Wood Pallets Harbor Deadly Food Poisoning Bacteria

Listeria is a frequent finding in wood pallets
In a random sampling of wood pallets used to ship food in Portland, ME, and Philadelphia, PA, numerous pallets tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes and abnormally high counts of bacteria that could potentially create health hazards for consumers. The new data bolster the findings of previous wood pallet testing conducted in the Washington-Baltimore area, further illustrating the
In Portland, five of 30 pallets tested positive for Listeria. Three of the five pallets tested positive for the most serious strain of Listeria, called Listeria monocytogenes, which is the causative agent for Listeriosis. Responsible for approximately 2,500 illnesses and 500 deaths in the United States annually, Listeriosis is the leading cause of death among food borne bacterial pathogens, with fatality rates exceeding even Salmonella spp. and Clostridium botulinum.
"There is a growing body of evidence that wood pallets pose unacceptable risks to our nation's food supply. We are sharing the data from these tests with the FDA and are once again asking the agency to conduct a comprehensive investigation and adopt appropriate measures to mitigate the risks presented by wood pallets.
New pallets should be more hygienic, easier to handle and eliminate protruding nails and splinters, reduce workplace injuries and damaged equipment. Embedded RFID tags will enable shippers and receivers to track and trace shipments. In the case of iGPS pallets they are 100% recyclable. Launched in March 2006, the company is led by pallet and supply chain veterans with decades of experience. iGPS (www.igps.net) is headquartered in Orlando, FL.