martes, 28 de diciembre de 2010

Asociación de consumidores denuncia altos niveles de pesticidas en colados infantiles.

Colados para bebés contienen residuos de pesticidas. MINSAL por su parte llama a la tranquilidad de los consumidores.

Según la entidad de defensa al consumidor, el análisis detectó además componentes de la misma naturaleza en una sopa en polvo para adultos mayores del programa “Años Dorados” del ministerio de Salud y en un jugo de naranjas.

El estudio, dirigido por la doctora, pediatra y nutrióloga, Cecilia Castillo, midió residuos de pesticidas en alimentos procesados que contienen como ingredientes: frutas, verduras, hortalizas y/o cereales.

Según el estudio, de cinco muestras de colados estudiadas (adquiridas en supermercados), tres (ciruela-pasa de Gerber-Nestlé, Tutti Fruti y Durazno de Nestlé) contendrían residuos de Iprodione, un fungicida tóxico de uso agrícola el cual es considerado como cancerígeno por la Unión Europea y cuyos valores superarían los límites aceptables para residuos de pesticidas en alimentos infantiles según las normas de la CEE (Comunidad Económica Europea)

En vista de los resultados obtenidos, la liga Ciudadana pidió a las empresas productoras de los alimentos sacarlos voluntariamente del mercado. En caso contrario, propuso que el Ministerio de Salud las conmine a retirarlos y suspenda la distribución de éstos en sus programas.

Sin embargo, la subsecretaria de salud Liliana Jadué indicó que "Chile utiliza las normas europeas o las normas norteamericanas (para el control de uso de pesticidas) eligiendo siempre las más restrictivas, en particular con los productos que son consumidos principalmente por los niños"

Asimismo la subsecretaria añadió "Yo haría un llamado a la tranquilidad a la población. Evidentemente nuestro rol es cuidar de la salud de la población, así que vamos a seguir investigando esta situación, pero aquí hay que hacer un llamado: estos productos son seguros y los límites se miden en las frutas y en las verduras, por lo tanto, de hecho, al consumir las frutas y las verduras van a tener probablemente los mismos residuos detectados en los productos elaborados"


lunes, 27 de diciembre de 2010

CBS Reports Terrorists Might Target Food

CBS News reported that U.S. officials had gotten wind of a terrorist plot to slip poisons into hotel and restaurant salad bars and buffets in multiple locations during a single weekend.

Other news organizations chimed in, repeating the CBS assertion that intelligence reports indicated ricin or cyanide would be used to mimic food poisoning but also to create maximum uncertainty and fear about the safety of the U.S. food supply, further damaging the already weak economy.

CBS cited an anonymous source who called this a credible threat and said Department of Homeland Security officials, as well as officials with the Food and Drug Administration and Department of Agriculture, had briefed some members of the restaurant and hospitality industry.
A spokesman for Homeland Security, however, declined a CBS request to comment on speculation about specific plots, saying only that the U.S. has "engaged in extensive efforts for many years to guard against all types of terrorist attacks, including unconventional attacks using chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear materials."

The spokesman stressed that terror groups have long stated their intention to try to carry out unconventional attacks that might be relatively small but that would aim to be highly disruptive.

CDC Confirms Multistate Salmonella Outbreak

An estimated 89 people from 15 states and the District of Columbia have been infected with Salmonella in an outbreak linked to alfalfa sprouts, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported last week.

This was CDC's first public acknowledgment of its involvement in the outbreak investigation, which is related to 50 Salmonella illnesses already reported in Illinois and associated there with Jimmy John's sandwich outlets.

"Preliminary results of this investigation indicate a link to eating alfalfa sprouts at a national sandwich chain," the CDC said.

Sandwich chain exec Jimmy John Liautaud had written to franchisees in Illinois, asking them to remove alfalfa sprouts from menus as a precautionary measure. The CDC said that in addition to the Illinois cases, there have been single cases confirmed with the outbreak strain (Salmonella serotype 4,[5],12:i:-) in Connecticut, Washington D.C., Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Three cases have been confirmed in Wisconsin, nine in Indiana and 14 in Missouri.

Because the pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern associated with this particular Salmonella serotype commonly occurs in the United States, the CDC cautioned that some of the cases identified may not actually be related to this outbreak.

Among 81 people for whom information is available, the onset of their illnesses ranged from Nov. 1 to Dec. 14, the CDC reported. Illnesses that occurred after Dec. 2 might not yet be reported to the CDC, because it takes an average of two to three weeks from when a person becomes ill to when the illness is reported. The CDC said the case patients range in age from 1 to 75 years, with a median age of 28. Sixty-eight percent of them are female. Among those cases in which information was made available to the CDC, 23 percent reported being hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

CDC said it is collaborating with public health officials in many states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to identify new cases and to try to trace potentially contaminated products.

Sprouts should be cooked thoroughly to kill harmful bacteria and reduce the risk of illness. The CDC suggests that consumers request raw sprouts not be added to their food.


martes, 21 de diciembre de 2010

New Plan for Cutting Campylobacter in UK

Planners expect a 30 percent reduction, meaning 90,000 fewer cases a year

The poultry industry, major retailers, and the Food Standards Agency in the United Kingdom are mounting an attack on Campylobacter in chickens, making it their top food safety priority.

Almost two thirds of the raw chickens sold in the UK are contaminated with Campylobacter, which causes an estimated 300,000 illnesses and 80 deaths a year.

If the industry, retail, and agency plan is successful, it could mean reducing Campylobacter food poisoning by up to 30 percent for 90,000 fewer cases a year.

Dr. Alison Gleadle, the Food Standards Agency director of food hygiene said the target is challenging but achievable, adding "We are working closely with the food industry to make chicken as safe to eat as possible."

The UK has three categories of poultry house contamination, and currently 27 percent of its chickens fall into the highest category. The new target is to cut that number to 10 percent.

Improved levels of hygiene or biosecurity on UK farms have already been successful in beating Salmonella in chickens, but it has proved not enough against Campylobacter, noted the British Poultry Council's Peter Bradnock.

Options being considered to reduce Campylobacter levels in the slaughterhouse include better hygiene measures on farms, hot water treatment or steaming chicken carcasses, the use of electrolyzed water, and anti-microbial washes such as lactic acid. Such washes would require approval from Europe.

Another option might be for pre-packed chicken on retail sale to be packed in 'modified atmosphere packaging', which raises the levels of oxygen inside packs to slow the rate at which bugs multiply. Better leak-proof packaging could also help prevent the spread of the bacteria to other foods or surfaces in the kitchen.

Consumers can play a part in tackling Campylobacter by avoiding cross contamination from utensils that have been in contact with fresh chicken meat, not washing poultry before it is cooked to avoid spreading germs, and by cooking chicken meat thoroughly, the agency noted.

Source: Food

martes, 14 de diciembre de 2010

Food Safety Modernization Act 2010

The Food Safety Modernization Act was recently passed by the US Senate.

Not exactly fresh out of committee, but out of committee nonetheless, senate bill 510 (a/k/a the Food Safety Modernization Act) was approved by the senate floor. The full senate debate and subsequent vote was certainly timely, as just recently Michael Moss was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his story on Stephanie Smiths E. coli O157:H7 illness and Linda Rivera's long-awaited emergence from a Nevada hospital where she has spent almost a year after also being infected by E. coli O157:H7. Stephanie was sickened by a hamburger made by Cargill, and Linda by contaminated cookie dough made by Nestle.

The Food Safety Modernization Act is truly an important piece of legislation, in that it affects every citizen of this country, and even some abroad, on a daily basis. The bill substantially modifies the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetics Act, and generally gives the Food and Drug Administration better authority and ability to monitor the safety of our food supply, and take quicker and more effective action for food companies that don't adequately protect against food poisoning risks.

Among other, more specific, things, the Food Safety Modernization Act:

This legislation amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) to expand the authority of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (the Secretary) to regulate food, including by authorizing the Secretary to suspend the registration of a food facility.

Requires each food facility to evaluate hazards and implement preventive controls.

Directs the Secretary to assess and collect fees related to: (1) food facility re-inspection; (2) food recalls; and (3) the voluntary qualified importer program.The new normative requires the Secretary and the Secretary of Agriculture to prepare the National Agriculture and Food Defense Strategy.

It also requires the Secretary to: (1) identify preventive programs and practices to promote the safety and security of food; (2) promulgate regulations on sanitary food transportation practices; (3) develop a policy to manage the risk of food allergy and anaphylaxis in schools and early childhood education programs; (4) allocate inspection resources based on the risk profile of food facilities or food; (5) recognize bodies that accredit food testing laboratories; and (6) improve the capacity of the Secretary to track and trace raw agricultural commodities.

The new law requires the Secretary, acting through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to enhance foodborne illness surveillance systems. This amendment authorizes the Secretary to order an immediate cessation of distribution, or a recall, of food. Requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assist state, local, and tribal governments in preparing for, assessing, decontaminating, and recovering from an agriculture or food emergency. Finally the law provides for: (1) foreign supplier verification activities; (2) a voluntary qualified importer program; and (3) the inspection of foreign facilities registered to import food.

Source: Food Poison Journal

jueves, 9 de diciembre de 2010

Antimicrobial nisin given nano boost to fight Listeria for longer

A nanoparticle linked to nisin can hold and release an antimicrobial agent onto food or packaging to control Listeria monocytogenes

A US team has pioneered a technique which allows a nanoparticle to attract and hold nisin, which has strong antibacterial properties. Yuan Yao, an assistant professor of food science at Purdue University, altered the surface of phytoglycogen, a carbohydrate found in sweet corn, which led to the creation of several forms of a nanoparticle.

The nanoparticle can then safeguard the food-based peptide nisin for up to three weeks, combating Listeria monocytogenes, a potentially fatal foodborne pathogen found in meats, dairy and vegetables.

Nisin antibacterial properties have been proved but the problem has been that it is depleted quickly in a food system. Nanoparticles solved this problem by delivering the antimicrobial properties of nisin for extended use.


The scientists employed two strategies to draw nisin to the phytoglycogen nanoparticles. The first involved negatively charging the surface of the nanoparticle and using electrostatic activity to attract the positively charged nisin molecules. The other method saw the creation of a partially hydrophobic condition on the surface of the nanoparticle - which triggers a reaction with partially hydrophobic nisin molecules. When the particles are hydrophobic, or repel water, they become attracted to each other.

Both strategies may work together to allow nanoparticles to attract and stabilize nisin, this could substantially reduce the depletion of nisin in various systems to counteract the Listeria proliferation.

The solution containing the required balance of nanoparticles and free nisin could be sprayed onto foods or included in packaging. Based on work carried out in the lab, it is estimated that a sufficient amount of nisin to combat Listeria could be preserved for up to 21 days.

When the the amount of free nisin is reduced, nanoparticles can re-establish the equilibrium the team is also working to develop other food-based antimicrobial peptides and nano-constructs to combat Listeria other foodborne pathogens such as E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella spp.

Source: Food Quality