jueves, 24 de marzo de 2011

In the USA food safety fragmentation still a problem, says GAO

Work is needed to address fragmented oversight of US food safety, says the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The GAO said it has commented on the fragmented nature of the United States’ food safety system for more than a decade. It welcomed President Obama’s decision to establish a Food Safety Working Group (FSWG) to try and foster interagency collaboration more than two years ago, but in a new report, the GAO said that the group’s work does not go far enough.

Under current law, food safety monitoring, inspection and labeling functions are spread across 15 agencies in the federal government, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is responsible for about 80 percent of the food supply, and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which oversees meat, poultry and egg products.

“Through the FSWG, federal agencies have taken steps designed to increase collaboration in some areas that cross regulatory jurisdictions –– in particular, improving produce safety, reducing Salmonella contamination, and developing food safety performance measures,” the GAO said.

“However, the FSWG has not developed a government-wide performance plan for food safety that provides a comprehensive picture of the federal government’s food safety efforts.”

The GAO said that the Working Group’s goals for a government-wide food safety plan need to be results oriented and include performance measures. It said that the Office of Management and Budget should work together with federal food safety agencies to develop a plan with clear goals and performance measurements, as well as a discussion of strategies and resources.

“GAO and other organizations have identified options to reduce fragmentation and overlap in food safety oversight in the form of alternative organizational structures, but a detailed analysis of their advantages, disadvantages, and potential implementation challenges has yet to be conducted,” the organization said. “…New food safety legislation that was signed into law in January 2011 strengthens a major part of the food safety system; however, it does not apply to the federal food safety system as a whole or create a new risk-based food safety structure.”

Confusion deriving from the division of responsibilities between agencies was highlighted again last summer during the recall of more than half a billion eggs from two Iowa egg producers, thought to have sickened at least 1,900 people. The FDA is responsible for egg safety when eggs are still in the shell, but the USDA takes over once they are broken. In addition, the FDA is in charge of chicken feed safety, while the USDA is responsible for the chickens.

A full copy of the GAO report is available in: http://www.foodsafetyworkinggroup.gov/ContentKeyFindings/HomeKeyFindings.htm

New EU figures reveal big increase in listeriosis cases in 2009

Listeria infections in the EU were up 19 per cent in 2009, resulting in 270 deaths from listeriosis, according to a new report.

The annual figures on food borne pathogens from European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) gave a mixed picture of food safety progress in Europe.

Listeria infections increased the most in 2009, rising to 1645 confirmed cases. EFSA said 270 people died as a result from listeriosis, representing a 17 per cent fatality rate.

ECDC told FoodProductionDaily.com that work is planned to review existing Listeria controls and assess risk factors.

“At present, the risk of exposure to Listeria is controlled by EU-wide microbiological criteria for restricted levels of Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat food products.

"However, these criteria are to be reviewed while more studies are needed to assess other factors (like consumption habits of elderly) that may influence on the risk of infection.”

Campylobacteriosis cases in humans were also up in 2009, increasing 4 per cent to 190,566. The pathogen Campylobacter jejuni, which is most commonly found in raw poultry meat, can cause diarrhea and fever. It is the most reported disease that is transmitted from animals to humans.

Salmonella success story

More encouragingly, the number of Salmonella infections in humans fell for the fifth year in a row. Salmonellosis cases, which usually involve fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps, fell 17 per cent in 2009 to 108,614.

John Dalli, Commissioner in charge of Health and Consumer Policy said: “The EU has made great strides in its battle against Salmonella and the consistent fall in the number of cases is testament to the strong, comprehensive measures put in place by the Member States to tackle this disease.”

The joint EFSA and ECDC report said the European Commission reduction targets for Salmonella are most likely to be the main reason for the reduced number of cases.

The figures in the report relate to 2009. EFSA said they are released now because they are first collected by member states are then compiled and sent to EFSA before being analysed and published into a single report.

Source: Food Quality News

jueves, 17 de marzo de 2011

Australian Listeria source identified

The listeria outbreak that hit five Virgin Blue airline passengers has been traced to a poultry supplier in New South Wales.

GMI Food Wholesalers Pty Ltd, trading as Australian Poultry and Food Wholesalers, was named last week in connection with a spate of illnesses earlier this year from the potentially deadly bug. Media reports in the country said two pregnant women affected with listeria poisoning subsequently gave birth prematurely.

Prohibition order: The NSW government has slapped a prohibition order on the company’s plant in Wollongong banning it from manufacturing chicken products or any other ready-to-eat (RTE) meat. The order came into force on August 4 and will stay in place until further notice. The government said it delayed making an announcement for more than two weeks pending laboratory confirmation that the facility was the source of

Chicken wraps: Although it was originally believed GMI had supplied other companies with contaminated chicken, no other firms were cited as being affected by NSW safety officials. The investigation was launched after tainted airline food was linked a dramatic jump in listeria cases in the Australian state of Queensland. The probe centered on chicken wrap sandwiches served on Virgin Blue flights in May and June this year. The products were withdrawn from sale in June.

Suspicion: A Virgin Blue statement released in early August immediately raised suspicion that the source of the problem was a contaminated ingredient. “It appears the likely source of the contamination was an ingredient supplied to the manufacturers of the wraps and not Virgin Blue or other companies who received the affected products,” said the company. Dr. Erin Groves, acting deputy director of the Queensland Health confirmed that the focus of the investigation would fall on meat processors whose processing and supply procedures would come under intense scrutiny.

"What we're needing to do is go out to all manufacturers that could possibly be implicated and do very extensive testing of how they process their meat, how they supply it to people who then on give it to people to consume - to actually find out whether there's things we can do to prevent further infection," Groves said.

Listeriosis is a serious infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, said the US Centers for Disease Control. The disease mainly affects older people, newborns and adults with weakened immune systems and pregnant women, who are 20 times more at risk of contracting the disease than other healthy adults.

Source:Food Safety News

martes, 8 de marzo de 2011

E. coli found on 50 percent of shopping carts

The best way to keep kids safe is to swipe the shopping cart handle with a disinfecting wipe
Every day, parents blithely drop their toddlers into the baskets of shopping carts, never giving a moment's thought to who might have had their hands on the handle last. Preliminary results from a new study show that may be a big mistake.
Researchers from the University of Arizona swabbed shopping cart handles in four states looking for bacterial contamination. Of the 85 carts examined, 72 percent turned out to have a marker for fecal bacteria.
The researchers took a closer look at the samples from 36 carts and discovered Escherichia coli, more commonly known as E. coli, on 50 percent of them - along with a host of other types of bacteria.
"That's more than you find in a supermarket's restroom," said Charles Gerba, the lead researcher on the study and a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona. "That's because they use disinfecting cleaners in the restrooms. Nobody routinely cleans and disinfects shopping carts."
The study's results may explain earlier research that found that kids who rode in shopping carts were more likely than others to develop infections caused by bacteria such as Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter jejuni.
Shopping cart handles aren't the only thing you need to worry about when you go to the local supermarket. In other research, it was found that reusable shopping bags that aren't regularly washed turn into bacterial swamps. "It's like wearing the same underwear every day.
Presently the best way to keep kids safe is to swipe the shopping cart handle with a disinfecting wipe before you pop your kid into the basket.
That's exactly the only option some supermarkets were offering even before the study was done, new technologies such as nanoparticles could help to solve this contamination problem.
Risk to kids
One thing Gerba couldn't say was how likely it was that a child would get sick from touching - or even sucking on - a contaminated handle.
As far as Dr. Neil Fishman is concerned, that risk isn't very big. "I'd be worried if there was any evidence of any disease outbreaks related to shopping cart use," said Fishman, an infectious disease expert and director of health care epidemiology and infection prevention at the University of Pennsylvania Health System. "There isn't - and we've been using them for a long time."
While there may, indeed, be bacteria on shopping cart handles, they can also be found on doorknobs, countertops and a host of other items we touch every day, Fishman said. "My guess is that there are more bacteria on a car seat than on a shopping cart," he added.
Ultimately, your only defense against germs is to keep your hands - and your kids' hands - squeaky clean, Fishman said.
Source : http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41838546/ns/health-kids_and_parenting/

viernes, 4 de marzo de 2011

Clausuran local de comida rápida por masiva intoxicación

Al parecer la mayonesa casera con que se servían los productos habría provocado en 27 clientes una infección gastrointestinal. Tres de ellos permanecen hospitalizados.

SANTIAGO.- La seremi de Salud metropolitana, Rosa Oyarce, decretó este jueves la suspensión del funcionamiento del local de comida rápida "Dónde María" ubicado en pleno Barrio Franklin de la comuna de Santiago Centro.

Esta resolución se adoptó luego que ayer diversos recintos asistenciales de la capital recibieran a 27 personas que se intoxicados con comida y que dicen haber consumido lomitos con mayonesa en dicho local. Tres de ellas permanecen hospitalizadas y en uno de ellos, los exámenes arrojaron la presencia de la bacteria salmonella.

Hasta el recinto llegó la autoridad sanitaria para prohibir que se siguieran vendiendo los productos argumentándose para ello el masivo brote de infecciones gastrointestinales.

"Procedimos a prohibir su funcionamiento debido a que el local no cuenta con la mayonesa a una temperatura sobre 18 grados y además está elaborada aparentemente en forma casera", señaló Oyarce a Radio Cooperativa.

Los dueños del negocio "Dónde María", anunciaron que apelarán a la resolución de la seremi de Salud puesto que el cuestionado producto habría sido adquirido en otro local.

Hay que recordar que, en lo que va de este año, se han detectado al menos 80 brotes de intoxicación alimentaria en la Región Metropolitana. Éstos han involucrado en total a 300 personas.

Salmonella es una bacteria sensible al calor y es generalmente destruida a 70°C o más. Es también susceptible a la pasteurización de la leche a 72 °C por 15 segundos. Como resultado, la bacteria es eliminada si el alimento es cocinado lo suficiente para alcanzar esta temperatura. Salmonella es resistente a la desecación y puede sobrevivir por años en el polvo y en la tierra.




jueves, 3 de marzo de 2011

Estudio Canadiense encuentra superbacterias en pollos del retail.

Investigación nuevamente pone en primera línea la preocupación por la utilización de antimicrobianos en alimentos destinados para animales.

Una reciente investigación realizada por una compañía de televisión canadiense (CBC TV) encontró que dos tercios de las muestras de pollos recolectadas en tiendas de comestibles en Vancouver, Toronto y Montreal poseían bacterias resistentes al menos a un antibiótico.

La cadena de televisión compró y tomó cerca de 100 muestras de pollos en supermercados y los envió al laboratorio para que se les realizaran análisis. En éste encontraron la presencia de E. coli, Salmonella, y Campylobacter, lo cual no sorprendió a los investigadores. Lo que si fue sorprendente, es que algunas de las bacterias fueron resistentes hasta a 8 tipos diferentes de antibióticos.

Desde ya hace varios años, los científicos han establecido un vínculo directo entre la aparición y expansión de la resistencia a antimicrobianos con el abuso de la utilización de estos (tanto en medicina humana y animal, como en la agricultura), pero solo en el último tiempo han aparecido microorganismos súper-resistentes

De acuerdo a Maryn McKenna, autora de “Superbug” es bueno que medios masivos como la televisión entreguen esta información “Nada hace entender a la gente la amenaza que significa la sobre utilización de antibióticos en la agricultura como mostrarles que las bacterias resistentes se encuentran en la carne y productos que pueden haber comprado en un supermercado el día anterior”

McKenna agrega que el problema de la multiresistencia es mundial y cita como ejemplo el caso de un grupo de investigadores griegos que realizaron un estudio de 3 años en donde encontraron E. coli de pollos con altas tasas de resistencia a ciprofloxacino y tetraciclinas, ambos antibióticos importantes para tratamientos de enfermedades en humanos.

La comunidad científica está, en su mayoría, de acuerdo en que el problema de bacterias multiresistentes que contaminen los alimentos no se solucionara hasta que se reduzcan al mínimo posible la utilización de drogas en la crianza de animales (por ejemplo eliminar su uso como promotores del crecimiento)

Si bien no existe una cifra oficial, la “Union of Concerned Scientist” estima que en Estados Unidos cerca del 70% de los antibióticos utilizados en ganadería se da en el alimento de los animales. Sin embargo el Animal Health Institute /grupo de compañías farmacéuticas veterinarias) ha dicho que estos números son “presunciones falsas y no científicas” pero no mostró datos o su propia estimación.

Fuente: http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/02/canadian-study-finds-superbugs-widespread-in-retail-poultry/

Material de cama de engorda incide en la frecuencia de Salmonella en pollos

Camas de virutas de maderas presentan mayor riesgo

Un estudio realizado por investigadores de Georg-August-University en Gottingen, Alemania, demostró que el uso de diferentes materiales en la cama de engorda de pollos puede afectar la frecuencia de Salmonella en ellos.
El estudio de campo realizado por la División de Microbiología e Higiene Animal de esta universidad, evaluó la presencia de Salmonella durante la engorda de una parvada de pollos en camas de turba, paja tajada, virutas de madera y ensilaje del maíz. Tres muestras fueron tomadas a tres intervalos diferentes durante de 30 días.
Se observó que las virutas de madera mostraron los niveles más altos de Salmonella, después de la turba y el ensilaje de maíz. No se encontró Salmonella en la paja tajada después de las pruebas, pero la paja también mostró un riesgo más alto de lo que el equipo de investigadores nombró “efectos secundarios negativos” con respecto a la salud animal y el clima del galpón.
Estos resultados sugirieron que la selección del material para la cama de las aves puede impactar la frecuencia de Salmonella entre las parvadas de pollos. El estudio también analizó algunos parámetros químicos y físicos relacionados a la calidad de la cama y el clima del galpón en conjunto con las pruebas realizadas a los materiales de la cama.

Fuente: http://www.carnetec.com/