viernes, 28 de diciembre de 2012

US hit by two fish recalls

The US has been hit by two separate fish recalls linked to Clostridium botulinum and Listeria monocytogenes in the space of a week 

True Taste is recalling hot smoked vacuum packaged Rainbow Trout, Whitefish, Herring, Mackerel, Salmon Steak and Cold Smoked varieties Mackerel and Whitefish because they could be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum.
Ocean’s Beauty Seafoods is recalling Nathan’s Brand Cold Smoked Atlantic Salmon 3 oz and LASCCO Cold Smoked Atlantic Salmon 4 oz.

Botulism in True Taste fish

True Taste of Kenosha, Wisconsin, issued a market withdrawal on 18 December and it affects products with production dates beginning on 1 January 2012 to the current date.
Potential for contamination was identified after routine samples collected by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection found that the product did not meet the 3.5% minimum requirement for water phase salt.
Sample analysis reported water phase salt concentrations of 2.2% (hot smoked white fish); 3% (hot smoked herring); and 3.4% (hot smoked rainbow trout).
The recalled product is vacuum packaged and can be identified with either the True Taste Label in California and Illinois or the Lowell Foods Label in Illinois.
It has a white sticker applied to the package with the first set of numbers representing the date of processing and the second set of numbers representing the best if used by date.
No illnesses have been reported as yet but Botulism is a potentially fatal form of food poisoning.

Nathan’s brand linked to listeria

Ocean Beauty Seafoods is recalling 371 cases of ready-to-eat cold smoked salmon products because of possible contamination by Listeria monocytogenes.
The recalled products, made in Chile, were distributed to retailers from 20 November to 12 December.
The potential for contamination was noted after internal testing by the company revealed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in samples.
No other Ocean Beauty products are included and there have been no complaints or illnesses reported.
Lascco 4 oz Nova Salmon with the UPC 072840017517 involves 96 cases of fish and Nathan’s 3oz Nova Salmon 073030803682 involves 275 cases.


jueves, 27 de diciembre de 2012

Amish Wisconsin Raw Milk Trial due to Campylobacter jejuni contamination

The public needs to be educated about the dangers of raw milk

16 people, including at least 9 children, were sickened by raw milk contaminated with Campylobacter jejuni served at a 4th grade school event in Wisconsin. The same strain of Campylobacter was found by health officials in unpasteurized milk (raw milk) produced at a local farm, according to officials from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Western Racine County Health Department.
A parent served raw milk from the farm at the school event. This highlights one of the problems with raw milk: most people do not know that raw milk is a dangerous product that can cause serious injury and death. A man, who drank raw milk contaminated with Campylobacter, developed a serious neurological case of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and is now paralyzed. He can’t even breathe on his own. 

The public needs to be educated about the dangers of raw milk.  Unfortunately some raw milk advocates comment that raw milk is safe while health officials point to raw milk as the source of the outbreak. The evidence proves the former are wrong.
In the meantime stool samples submitted to the WRCHD by ill students and adults were sent to the State Laboratory of Hygiene where they tested positive for the pathogen Campylobacter jejuni.  Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) food inspectors collected milk samples from the bulk tank at the farm, all tested positive for Campylobacter jejuni.

Further testing by the State Hygiene lab showed the pathogenic strain isolated from the stool samples and the milk samples matched. Additionally, interviews with event attendees revealed that consuming the unpasteurized milk was statistically associated with illness. Health officials said that this combination of laboratory and epidemiologic evidence indicates that the illnesses were caused by the unpasteurized milk consumed at the school event.
The defendant in a long-awaited trial for raw milk violations in Wisconsin has won a further delay of the proceedings. Vernon Hershberger, the raw milk producer charged with four misdemeanors related to the sale of unpasteurized milk, was set to face trial Jan. 7.

The Sauk County court has to sort out religious-based objections that were raised in briefs filed in his defense because of his religious beliefs, the raw milk dairy farmer says he was raised Amish and still maintains many of those beliefs. The raw milk producer faces charges of distributing milk from a dairy farm with a milk producer’s license, operating a retail food establishment without a license, operating a dairy plant without a license and selling raw milk.
Source: FoodSafetyNews

martes, 27 de noviembre de 2012

Rapid tests are less effective in identifying foodborne illness sources

Fingerprinting by PulseNet system is the big difference
New tests that detect common foodborne pathogens more rapidly are less likely to trace contamination to the source, since they provide less specific information than older, slower tests, say public health officials.

As a consequence, sources of foodborne illnesses outbreaks will not be identified as quickly, state epidemiologists told the Scientific American in a report published Monday.

New diagnostic tests for foodborne illnesses caused by Salmonella, Campylobacter and E. coli have allowed public health officials to drop traditional laboratory testing of blood and stool samples.
The old, slower lab tests, however, were based on a cultured specimen that revealed a pathogen’s DNA “fingerprint,” which could be shared on the national PulseNet system and matched with other cases, often resulting in the source of the contamination being identified.

Timothy F. Jones, Tennessee’s state epidemiologist, told Scientific American that while rapid tests can detect whole classes of Shiga-toxin producing bacteria, and additional bacteria that in the past would have been missed, it won’t produce the DNA fingerprinting needed to by PulseNet in order to identify it as a match with a contaminated food.

Jones says that part is setting public health back to the day before it had the ability to do DNA fingerprinting. It means outbreaks will be underway longer before they are connected to a specific source, meaning more people will experience foodborne illness.

Infectious disease experts say the adoption of the new fast tests by doctors and hospitals mean public health officials will have to find new ways to monitor and track outbreaks.

Source: Scientific American

jueves, 22 de noviembre de 2012

FSA warns Sunland US Salmonella Bredeney outbreak could reach UK

CDC said 41 people had been infected from 20 states with 63% percent of ill people being children.
The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has warned consumers not to eat certain peanut butter based products imported from the US due to the ongoing salmonella outbreak traced to manufacturer Sunland.
An outbreak of the Salmonella Bredeney strain in the US has been linked to peanut butter produced by peanut butter producer, Sunland Inc. Because the product recall has widened, US authorities have now alerted the European Commission to possible distribution of affected products in member states, including the UK.
The Health Protection Agency was not aware of any cases of illness in the UK that may be associated with the outbreak as of yesterday. It is not thought that these products are on sale in the major supermarkets in the UK, but they may have been bought on the internet or from specialist shops that import American food products, said the FSA.
A total of 38 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bredeney have been reported from 20 states. Three new cases have been reported from two states since the last update on October 5, 2012: California (2) and New Mexico (1).
Among persons for whom information is available, illness onset dates range from June 14, 2012 to September 21, 2012. Ill persons range in age from less than 1 year to 79 years, with a median age of 7 years. Sixty-six percent of ill persons are children under the age of 10 years. Sixty-two percent of ill persons are male. Among 35 persons with available information, 10 (29%) patients reported being hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
Illnesses that occurred after September 13, 2012 might not be reported yet due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said 41 people had been infected with the Salmonella strain from 20 states with 63% percent of ill people being children under the age of 10 years, in its latest update.
Liz McNulty, from the FSA’s incidents team, said: “Investigations are ongoing, but as we get more information from the US and local authorities in the UK we will be able to narrow down the list products to just those we know have been sold in the UK.
“If consumers have a product made by Sunland Inc. they should check the batch code against the list on US FDA site provided at the link top right. If the product is on the list it should not be eaten and returned to where it was bought.”

viernes, 16 de noviembre de 2012

Ohio City reports 770 cases of bacterial illness caused by Shigella spp.

The source of infection remains unknown 

Health officials in Columbus, Ohio’s say they’re investigating more than 770 cases of a bacterial illness that primarily affects young children, and they’re urging parents to take precautions to help stop the outbreak.

Columbus officials say they haven’t seen such a large number of Shigella ssp. cases in the past decade. The health commissioner says many of the cases are linked to childcare centers and locations where young children are in close contact.

Shigella ssp. is a virulent human enterobacterial pathogen that causes an intestinal infection characterized by intestinal pain, bloody diarrhea and dehydration. It is transmitted through human waste and can be spread if care isn’t taken when changing diapers and cleaning up after bathroom breaks.

Officials are urging increased hand-washing among children and caregivers and telling parents to keep sick kids home from day care. Up to this moment the source of infection is unknown.


jueves, 1 de noviembre de 2012

Investigation: USDA Quietly Eliminated 60 Percent of Foreign Meat Inspections

Agency also lacks foreign audit transparency

Sending U.S. Department of Agriculture officials overseas to inspect meat and poultry plants whose products are destined for American consumers has long been a bedrock of our modern import safety system, but an investigation by Food Safety News found, the number of countries audited by U.S. officials each year has declined by more than 60 percent since 2008.

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has also become less transparent. The agency has failed to make audit reports public in a timely fashion and only revealed which countries have been audited in the past two years this week following multiple inquiries by Food Safety News and a blog post by former Under
Secretary for Food Safety Richard Raymond questioning the lack of online records.
With an increasingly global food system – around 17 percent of the U.S. food supply is now imported – U.S. consumers are directly impacted by food safety practices and regulatory systems abroad.
Just last month, a massive E. coli O157:H7 beef recall from XL Foods in Alberta, Canada, affected 2.5 million pounds of beef that had been shipped to U.S. meat processors and grocery chains. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are no known illnesses linked to XL Foods in the United States, but at least 16 Canadians have fallen ill.

The XL Foods recall, the largest in Canadian history, might never have happened if FSIS border inspectors in Sweetgrass, Montana hadn’t found E. coli O157:H7 in multiple samples of the imported beef and raised the issue with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Food safety advocates say the incident highlights the importance of a strong border inspection system, but also raises critical questions about whether FSIS has taken a more hands-off approach in regulating foreign countries sending meat and poultry products to the U.S.

Canadian media reported this month that FSIS was preparing to audit the Canadian meat safety system. The audit had been planned and was not prompted by the XL Foods recall, according to both CFIA and FSIS officials, but the reports noted that FSIS had not audited Canada, a major meat trading partner, since 2009.
Food safety experts and consumer advocates have started wondering: Why aren’t these food safety check-ups happening annually like they used to? Some worry that budgetary pressures are forcing a reduction in the number of audits, or worse, that the reductions are part of an effort to liberalize trade at the expense of public health.
Source: FoodSafetyNews

miércoles, 31 de octubre de 2012

Programa europeo promueve énfasis renovado en investigación y desarrollo

El Programa apunta a ahondar en métodos que permitan combatir los riesgos generados por patógenos.

La Plataforma Tecnológica Europea “Food for Life” (“Alimentos para la Vida”) lanzó su nueva Agenda Estratégica de Investigación y Desarrollo, que pone el foco en mejorar los estándares de inocuidad alimentaria.

El programa de la ETP “Alimentos para la Vida” fue lanzado en 2005 bajo la administración de FoodDrinkEurope, una alianza público-privada liderada por la industria con el fin de impulsar la innovación en la industria.

La primera agenda de investigación fue puesta en marcha en 2007, pero sus prioridades fueron actualizadas en línea con las Iniciativas Centrales hacia 2020 de la Unión Europea (UE) y la nueva Unión para la Innovación.

El reporte establece cuatro áreas focales para la Investigación y Desarrollo (I+D): riesgos y desafíos microbiológicos; riesgos químicos, incluyendo toxinas de origen biológico; análisis de riesgos robustos y efectivos desde el punto de vista de los costos, y herramientas de detección de seguridad alimentaria que sean rápidas y que actúen en tiempo real.

El Programa apunta a ahondar en métodos que permitan combatir los riesgos generados por microorganismos que mutan, de manera de cumplir adecuadamente con las regulaciones globales de seguridad alimentaria.

Los microorganismos son blancos móviles. Nuevas variantes emergen por mutación y adaptación, y algunos de ellos largamente olvidados muchas veces re-emergen”, afirma el reporte. La interacción en los ecosistemas es compleja, gran número de lagunas en el conocimiento de estos problemas deberán merecer atención dentro de la próxima década”, advierte el análisis.

Fuente: Indualimentos

jueves, 25 de octubre de 2012

Neogen pathogen DNA confirmation method receives letter of no objection

Neogen Corporation has announced it has received a letter of no objection for its pathogen DNA confirmation method which produces results in 24 hours 

The NeoSEEK method received a letter of no objection from the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to detect Shiga toxin-producing strains of E.coli (STECs). 

Confirmation method 
The letter of no objection allows the use of the NeoSEEK STEC system as a confirmatory method for six STEC serogroups (O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145). 

The confirmation method is different than the USDA approval given to detection methods from firms such as DuPont Qualicon and BioControl Systems. 

The system is comparable to the USDA reference method, FSIS MLG 5B.02, which can take three or more days to achieve a confirmatory result, while Neogen claim their method provides results within 24 hours.I 

t assays a number of independent genetic markers to detect and identify pathogens, which provides actionable results quicker than conventional cultural methods. 

NeoSEEK provides confirmatory results from the enrichment broth, eliminating the need for single colony isolation and allowing for accuracy while delivering quicker confirmatory results. 

The letter allows companies to use the system to comply with the USDA’s regulation that requires the testing of raw beef trim for six new STEC serogroups as well as 0157:H7. 

Customer assurance 
"The letter from the USDA provides further assurance to our customers that our NeoSEEK system performs as designed,” said James Herbert, Neogen’s chairman and CEO. 

“As worldwide food regulation has evolved to address newly identified threats to our global food supply, such as STECs, Neogen’s test systems have evolved to rapidly and accurately detect those threats. 

“NeoSEEK provides the DNA-definitive test the food industry needs that has been proven to be comparable to the older reference method, yet provides much quicker results.” 

Neogen received the USDA’s letter of no objection as a result of studies validating the effectiveness of the system.
The technology uses mass spectrometry-based multiplexing to determine the genetic composition of bacteria in a food sample, and then compares those results with the known genetic makeup of the target E.coli strains to identify and differentiate the target strains. 

The FSIS announced in June that it would start testing for the six non-0157 strains of Shiga toxin-producing E.coli (STEC) in raw beef manufacturing trimmings.

Fuente: FoodQualityNews 

martes, 23 de octubre de 2012

Vegetables products have been voted as the most likely driver of an increase in foodborne illness outbreaks, according to a Nordic survey

Imports were identified as the most likely critical points of pathogen proliferation
A group of food safety experts were identified from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden and asked about their perceptions for foodborne outbreaks over the next decade. The likely cause of a foodborne outbreak was vegetables and vegetable products, followed by herbs, spices and condiments, fish and other seafood, meat and meat products and fruit and fruit products.
Alcoholic beverages and sugar and confectionery were voted as unlikely sources for foodborne outbreaks. Swedish respondents more often selected herbs and spices as likely vehicles of foodborne transmission, perhaps due to recent experience of the severe EHEC outbreak in Germany and France, said the study.
Finnish respondents selected fish as a likely vehicle, perhaps due a larger share of imported fish products, added the authors.
Critical point in the chain. Imports were identified as the most likely critical points of agent proliferation generating an increase in outbreaks, closely followed by food service with food transport the most unlikely point. Increased import of foreign food and consumption of raw food scored highly as the likely drivers of foodborne outbreaks.
The survey looked at addressing the issue of potential changes in future outbreaks of human foodborne and waterborne diseases relating to 2011-2020, compared with the previous decade. 61 respondents voted that it was unlikely that the number of outbreaks will decrease by at least 10%. Almost 50% thought that it was likely that there would be increasing exposure to known foodborne disease agents, while the emergence of new foodborne disease agents or new variants of known agents was cited as a concern.
Survey participation. The survey involved Livsmedelsverket (National Food Agency), Sweden, Mattilsynet (Norwegian Food Safety Authority), Evira (Finnish Food Safety Authority) and DTU Fødevareinstituttet (National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark. It was conducted online from December 2011 to May 2012 with 110 respondents.
The 19 questions covered beliefs about outbreak trends, characteristics of a potential positive trend, the drivers of such a potentially increasing number of outbreaks, and background questions on nationality, education and professional experience of risk management, assessment and communication.
Source: Food Quality News

sábado, 20 de octubre de 2012

Salmonella in Smoked Salmon Sickens Nearly 1,000 in Netherlands

No U.S. illnesses tied to the fish, say health officials

At least 950 people in the Netherlands are now known to have fallen ill in a Salmonella Thompson outbreak linked to salmon. Three elderly victims have died.

The outbreak was first reported October 1 after more than 200 Salmonella illnesses were linked to smoked salmon sold by Netherlands-based Foppen. Subsequent environmental testing revealed the presence of the outbreak strain of the bacteria in one of the company’s manufacturing plants in Greece.

Now the outbreak has grown to include almost 1,000 Dutch victims, three of whom have died, reported the Netherlands’ National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) Thursday, according to MedicalXPress.

Meanwhile, health officials have identified a cluster of Salmonella Thompson infections in the U.S. The genetic fingerprint of this bacteria is indistinguishable from that of the strain causing the Dutch outbreak; however, patient interviews have revealed that Foppen smoked salmon was not a likely source of infection for these cases, according to Lola Russell, spokesperson for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We have the same PFGE (pulsed-field gel electrophoresis) pattern that they have (in the Netherlands), but ours is not showing a connection to smoked salmon. We’ve been speaking to those people, but they do not report eating smoked salmon,” Russell told Food Safety News.

While the recalled Dutch smoked salmon was sold in the U.S. by Costco Wholesale, no illnesses have been linked to the product, says the Kirkland, WA-based company.

According to Craig Wilson, Director of Food Safety at Costco, consumers called the company to report illnesses after being notified of the recall. However, when asked Thursday via email whether any of these illnesses had been officially linked to consumption of Foppen smoked salmon, Wilson replied, “No. None at all.”

Costco recalled two smoked salmon products manufactured by Foppen in its October 1 recall: one sold under the Kirkland Signature brand and one sold under the Foppen brand. The Kirkland Signature-branded salmon has since been cleared, as it was manufactured at a different plant from the Greek one where the contamination was found. The recalled Foppen-branded product, which was manufactured at the implicated Greek plant, has been destroyed.

jueves, 18 de octubre de 2012

What began as ordinary night out has become food safety nightmare

One of the first cases of E. coli 0157:H7 appears in August

It was an ordinary night out — which has now become unforgettable. At least 20 people have been caught up in the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak — the worst ever seen in Northern Ireland — with another 150 probable cases waiting in the wings. The link? Flicks, a popular north Belfast eaterie situated in landmark retail centre, Cityside Mall.

A spokeswoman from the Public Health Agency, which is investigating an outbreak it has described as a “major public health crisis”, said: “In the context of the probable and confirmed cases, they will all have eaten at Flicks.”
The agency said the numbers are unprecedented — and expected to rise. The outbreak first came to light last Thursday (October 11).  Three family members who had come down with suspected   E. coli 0157:H7 on October 4 were linked to the second case highlighted on October 11.

All the individuals had eaten at Flicks. The restaurant, which was established six years ago, closed its doors on the evening of October 11 voluntarily, after it was contacted by Belfast City Council's environmental health department. It was not the first time that the outlet had appeared on the radar of public health authorities. Extensive tests were carried out at the restaurant in August after it was linked to four E. coli cases the same month.

“That day in August that they (environmental health inspectors) came in, they spent at least four to five hours taking food samples, taking swabs throughout the whole kitchen area,” the restaurant’s proprietor, Michael McAdam, said. “They checked all the health and safety procedures. And after those tests were completed, nothing was found.”

Asked if the restaurant has received any complaints about its hygiene standards, he added: “Not that I’m aware. “In June, we had a request from environmental health to do some repairs. “We closed over the weekend of July 12 and put in new kitchen floors and new plastic walls (in line with hygiene recommendations). Mr McAdam said the outbreak has hit the restaurant's staff hard.

However, a victim of the one of the first cases of E. coli 0157:H7 in August has questioned whether procedures used to inspect the restaurant at that time are sufficient. Paul Devine told the BBC’s Nolan show: “The fact that it (tests in August) comes back negative — and then it can come back positive not that long after — it makes me wonder what their procedures are and is that process working?”
Source: BBC news

viernes, 5 de octubre de 2012

FDA warns Dr. Pepper Snapple bottler over ‘serious’ HACCP failings

The HACCP plan did not provide adequate controls in relation to Listeria monocytogenes.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) bottler the American Bottling Company after an inspection revealed serious HACCP failings at a Texas plant. In a letter to the company dated July 10, but published yesterday, the FDA said an inspection of the firm’s facility in Irving, Texas revealed serious violations of Regulation 21, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 120, relating to juice hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP).
“Your ReaLemon and lime juices are adulterated in that they have been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have been rendered injurious to health,” FDA Dallas District director Reynaldo R. Rodriguez wrote to American Bottling Company president and CEO Larry Young (who is also DPS CEO and president).
Recounting “serious deviations” at the site, the FDA told the managers that the company must include control measures in its hazard analysis and HACCP plan to “consistently produce at a minimum, a five-log* reduction of the pertinent microorganism for at least as long as the shelf life of the product when stored under normal and moderate abuse conditions”.
(*Log reduction relates to the relative number of live microbes eliminated: a 5-log reduction involves lowering the number of pathogenic microbes 100,000 fold). These were required under 21 CFR 120, the FDA wrote, but the company’s plan for its ReaLemon 100% Lemon Juice and ReaLime 100% Lime Juice brands did not provide such controls in relation to Listeria monocytogenes.
Only microbial verification studies relating to Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7 were evaluated, the FDA added, but “the pertinent microorganism in the juice from these concentrates is Listeria monocytogenes”.
Source: FDA

miércoles, 3 de octubre de 2012

Novel Pathogen Epidemic Identified in Sub-Saharan Africa:

The spread of human an invasive chloramphenicol resistant Salmonella Typhimurium is the causative agent.
Researchers have found that the spread of a dangerous pathogen that can be fatal in up to 45% of people infected in sub-Sahara Africa may have been instigated by the emergence and spread of HIV in Africa. The study also found that one of the major contributing factors for the successful spread of the disease -- non-Typhoidal Salmonella (iNTS) -- was the acquisition of genes that afford resistance to several front line drugs used to treat blood-borne infection such as iNTS.
A new study out September 30 reveals that the emergence and spread of a rapidly evolving invasive intestinal disease, that has a significant mortality rate (up to 45%) in infected people in sub-Saharan Africa, seems to have been potentiated by the HIV epidemic in Africa.
The team found that invasive non-Typhoidal Salmonella (iNTS) disease is caused by a new form of the bacteria Salmonella Typhimurium that has spread from two different focal hubs in Southern and Central Africa beginning 52 and 35 years ago, respectively. They also found that one of the major contributing factors for the successful spread of iNTS was the acquisition of genes that afford resistance to several front line drugs used to treat blood-borne infection such as iNTS.
iNTS is a blood-borne infection that kills approximately one of four people in sub-Saharan Africa who catch it. Yet, in the rest of the world, NTS is a leading cause of acute inflammatory diarrhea that is self-limiting and tends to be fatal in less than 1 per cent of people infected. The disease is more severe in sub-Saharan Africa than the rest of the world because of factors such as malnutrition, co-infection with malaria or HIV and potentially the novel genotype of the Salmonella bacteria.
"The immune system susceptibility provided by HIV, malaria and malnutrition at a young age, may provide a population in sub-Saharan Africa that is large enough for this detrimental pathogen to enter, adapt, circulate and thrive," says Chinyere Okoro, joint first author from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. "We used whole genome sequencing to define a novel lineage of Salmonella Typhimurium that is causing a previously unrecognised epidemic across the region. Its genetic makeup is evolving into a more typhoid like bacteria, able to efficiently spread around the human body"
"Because it acquired resistance to chloramphenicol, this pathogen has much greater opportunity to survive and spread across the region," says Professor Gordon Dougan, lead author from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. "This is the first time that the power of whole-genome sequencing has been used to track the spread of iNTS. Our research highlights the power this approach has to monitor the emergence and spread of dangerous pathogens both locally and globally over time."

martes, 2 de octubre de 2012

Intoxicaciones por alimentos alcanzan cifra más alta en tres años

Hasta julio se registraron en Chile 576 brotes y, de ellos, el 49% fueron en hogares.
Solo cuatro horas necesitan las bacterias para colonizar un alimento descongelado. Ese es un dato que deben tener presente quienes estén a cargo de la cocina, tanto a nivel industrial como domiciliario. 

Las acciones preventivas, además, están cobrando especial relevancia: las intoxicaciones por alimentos alcanzan la cifra más alta de los últimos tres años en el país, con un total de 576 brotes registrados hasta julio pasado. 

Según el reporte del Ministerio de Salud, del total de intoxicaciones a nivel nacional, el 49% ocurrió en hogares, superando así las infecciones originadas en restaurantes y locales de comida rápida. 

Las notificaciones de estas enfermedades se concentran en las regiones Metropolitana, Valparaíso y Biobío, coincidiendo con las zonas de mayor población. Sin embargo, al calcular la tasa por habitantes, son las regiones de Atacama y de Arica y Parinacota. “Eso tiene que ver con las condiciones ambientales que presentan, pues en estas zonas se producen las temperaturas más altas y cuesta más mantener la cadena de frío. Un descuido en las personas que preparan alimentos acarrea mayores riesgos”, explicó Díaz. 

El aumento de las intoxicaciones coincide cada año con las estaciones más cálidas, que facilitan la propagación de bacterias y toxinas en los alimentos. Así, es en el mes de septiembre cuando repuntan los brotes, propiciado por el largo feriado dieciochero. El año pasado se registraron 33 brotes en el país en los días cercanos a las Fiestas Patrias. 

Según Díaz, son tres los alimentos a los que se debe prestar mayor atención, pues destacan entre los productos que suscitan más intoxicaciones: las carnes, los embutidos y la mayonesa. “La mayonesa debe ser envasada o preparada con huevos pasteurizados, pero en ningún caso hecha a mano, para evitar enfermedades. Con la carne se debe tener cuidado que esté bien congelada para que no cultive bacilos y en cuanto a las cecinas, es importante saber dónde se compra, tiene que tener la certificación necesaria”, añadió Díaz. 

Aporte: Fernanda Espinoza
Fuente: La Tercera

lunes, 1 de octubre de 2012

Publix Supermarkets Recalls Romaine Hearts Sold in South

FDA recall due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.
Ten-ounce plastic bags of chopped hearts of romaine supplied to Publix Supermarkets by Ready Pac and sold under the Publix Hearts of Romaine brand are being recalled for possible Listeria contamination.

A sample of the product tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was positive for Listeria, a sometimes-deadly pathogen that also can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.
The recalled romaine was distributed from Sept. 8 to Sept. 20, 2012 with the Uniform Produce Code (UPC) 41415 03886 in the right hand corner on the back of the package.

It was sold in Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee and several Florida counties including: Alachua, Baldwin, Bay, Beaufort, Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Clay, Coffee, Columbia, Dougherty, Duval, Escambia, Flagler, Glynn, Houston, Jasper, Lee, Leon, Lowndes, Marion, Nassau, Okaloosa, Putnam, Santa Rosa, St. Johns, Suwannee, Thomas, Tift, Volusia and Walton.
"While the product is no longer available on store shelves we have issued a voluntary recall because of our commitment to food safety and to advise our customers who may still have this product at home," said Maria Borus, Publix media and community relations director.

No illnesses have been reported up to date in connection with the hearts of romaine recall.  Publix shoppers who purchased the recalled romaine are eligible for a full refund.

jueves, 27 de septiembre de 2012

Testing of product samples for Listeria monocytogenes: Changes in procedures

The sampling program will increase the sample size of the analyzed test portion from 25 g to 125g.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing changes in procedures for Listeria monocytogenes product sampling programs in ready-to-eat (RTE) meat and poultry products. Starting 60 days after issuance of this notice, FSIS will increase the number of product samples it collects under its Routine Risk-based L. monocytogenes (RLm) Sampling Program and its Intensified Verification Testing (IVT) protocol from three to five samples per sampling unit.
 In addition, FSIS laboratories will composite the five 25-g product samples from the RLm sampling program, which will increase the sample size of the analyzed test portion from 25 g to 125 g. The Agency is effecting these changes to make its sampling procedures more consistent with international practices, to conserve its laboratory resources, and to improve public health. FSIS invites comments on these changes to its sampling programs.
Aporte: Clarisa Echeverry

martes, 25 de septiembre de 2012

Officials Tracking Outbreak of Rare Salmonella Strain in Seven EU States

Turkey suspected as source of bacteria

European Union health officials are investigating an ongoing outbreak of Salmonella Stanley that has sickened over 400 people in seven member countries. While S. Stanley infections are rare outside of Southeast Asia and usually appear only among those who have traveled there, this outbreak is thought to have originated in poultry - probably turkey - produced in Europe. 

The first cases associated with this outbreak occurred in Hungary in August of 2011, but the outbreak was not detected until June 2012, when health officials were alerted to the fact that an unusually high number of S. Stanley infections had been reported in Belgium. Since that time, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Slovak Republic and the United Kingdom have all reported cases of S. Stanley with a DNA fingerprint indistinguishable from the strain being tracked in Belgium. 

In most affected countries, the outbreak is thought to have begun in January of 2012, when a spike in S. Stanley infections was noted. The most recent case was reported on September 18. 

To date, 167 cases have been confirmed as part of the outbreak and a further 254 cases are considered probable. The highest rate of illnesses has been in children under the age of five. 

According to the outbreak report - issued by the EFSA and CDC - cases of the same strain of S. Stanley are still being reported and the outbreak is considered ongoing. 

While officials do not know the exact source of the bacteria, they suspect that it came from somewhere in the European turkey production chain. The outbreak strain has been found among turkey flocks and in turkey meat in eight EU member countries, including six where outbreak-related illnesses have occurred. However, some isolates of S. Stanley with a DNA fingerprint indistinguishable from the outbreak strain have also been found in samples from beef, chicken flocks, minced pork and beef, and even dogs, cats, peppermint and seagull, leading investigators to conclude that "contribution of other food and animal sources, such as beef, pork and broiler meat to the outbreak cannot be ruled out." 

Travel to Southeast Asia, however, has been ruled out as a source of the bacteria, since no victims have reported visiting that region prior to illness. 

All isolates of the bacteria found in the EU the turkey production chain have been shown to be resistant to nalidixic acid, an antibiotic used to treat severe Salmonella infections 

Source: Food Safety News
Aporte: Eduardo Castillo Franzoy

lunes, 24 de septiembre de 2012

Estudio francés alerta sobre la toxicidad de los transgénicos y relanza el debate

La investigación se extendió por dos años y fue realizada en 200 ratas.
CAEN, Francia.- Un estudio francés que asegura que las ratas alimentadas con maíz transgénico sufren cáncer y mueren antes, apoyado con fotografías de tumores grandes como pelotas de ping-pong, relanzó hoy la polémica sobre estos organismos genéticamente modificados.

"Por primera vez en el mundo, un transgénico y un pesticida han sido estudiados por su impacto en la salud a más largo plazo de lo que habían hecho hasta ahora las agencias sanitarias, los gobiernos y la industria. Los resultados son alarmantes", aseguró Gilles-Eric Seralini, profesor de la Universidad de Caen y director del estudio.

Un grupo de universitarios de esta ciudad del noroeste de Francia alimentaron durante dos años a 200 ratas de tres maneras distintas: únicamente con maíz transgénico NK603, con maíz transgénico NK603 tratado con Roundup (el herbicida más utilizado del mundo) y con maíz no modificado genéticamente tratado con Roundup.

Ambos productos (el maíz NK603 y el herbicida) son propiedad del grupo estadounidense Monsanto.

Durante el estudio el maíz formaba parte de una dieta equilibrada, en proporciones equivalentes al régimen alimenticio en Estados Unidos.

"Los resultados revelan una mortalidad mucho más rápida e importante durante el consumo de los dos productos", indicó Seralini, un investigador que forma o formó parte de comisiones oficiales sobre los transgénicos en 30 países distintos.

"La primera rata macho alimentada con transgénicos muere un año antes que la rata indicador (es decir, que no se alimenta con transgénicos). La primera rata hembra ocho meses antes. En el 17º mes se observan cinco veces más machos muertos alimentados con 11% de maíz (transgénico)", dijo Serlini, que firmó otro estudios sobre el tema pero a partir de datos de sólo 90 días, proporcionados por la industria.

Los tumores aparecen en los machos hasta 600 días antes que en las ratas indicador (en la piel y los riñones). En el caso de las hembras (tumores en las glándulas mamarias) aparecen una media de 94 días antes en las hembras alimentadas con transgénicos, indica el informe.

Los investigadores descubrieron también que el 93% de los tumores de las hembras son mamarios mientras que la mayoría de machos murieron por problemas hepáticos o renales.

El artículo de "Food and Chemical Toxicology", muestra además imágenes de ratas hembra con tumores más grandes que pelotas de ping-pong.

"Con una pequeña dosis de Roundup, que corresponde a la cantidad que se puede encontrar en Bretaña (norte de Francia) durante la época en que se esparce este producto, se observan 2,5 veces más tumores mamarios", explica Seralini.

El director del estudio explicó que los transgénicos agrícolas son organismos modificados para resistir a los pesticidas o para producirlos y recordó que el 100% de transgénicos cultivados a gran escala en 2011 fueron plantas con pesticidas.

También es la primera vez, según Seralini, que el pesticida Roundup ha sido analizado a largo plazo. Hasta ahora sólo su principio activo (sin sus coadyuvantes) había sido analizado durante más de seis meses.

"Son los mejores tests que se pueden llevar a cabo antes las pruebas en humanos", explica el científico.

El estudio ya provocó las primeras reacciones y Stephane Le Foll, el ministro de Agricultura francés, uno de los países que lucha dentro de Europa para evitar el cultivo de transgénicos, pidió medidas de homologación de estos productos "muchas más estrictas" en la Unión Europea.

En Bruselas, el eurodiputado francés Jose Bové, de Los Verdes, una de las figuras emblemáticas de la lucha contra los transgénicos, pidió la suspensión "inmediata" de las autorizaciones de cultivo de estos productos.

Por su parte la Comisión Europea anunció haber pedido a su agencia responsable de la seguridad de los alimentos que examine los resultados del estudio para "sacar conclusiones".

El estudio, que costó tres millones de euros, fue financiado por la fundación CERES, que tiene fondos de unas 50 empresas que no producen OMG, y por la fundación Charles Leopold Meyer para el Progreso de la Humanidad. 

Fuente: EMOL 
Aporte: María José Peralta S.

ISP validará el cumplimiento de GMP certificado por agencias regulatorias internacionales, para productos que deben demostrar bioequivalencia

Criterio técnico se aplicará a los trámites pendientes y en forma retroactiva para todas aquellas solicitudes que hayan sido denegadas por falta de información, y que avale la validación del proceso productivo realizado en el extranjero

Fue publicada  en el Diario Oficial la Resolución  Exenta N°2.274 del 4 de septiembre de 2012 del Instituto de  Salud Pública de Chile, a través de la cual se aceptará como medios suficientes los documentos que certifiquen el cumplimiento de Buenas Prácticas de Manufactura emitidos por agencias regulatorias internacionales, y que acrediten la validación de los procesos productivos de los productos farmacéuticos importados que deben demostrar Equivalencia Terapéutica en nuestro país.
La medida se apoya en que las agencias regulatorias de países desarrollados requieren para el registro sanitario la presentación de validaciones en escala piloto, sustentadas en un apropiado respaldo y consistente desarrollo posterior a la solicitud del registro de productos innovadores, con un estudio adecuado durante la fase de desarrollo de la formulación y en la etapa de fabricación se realiza siempre la validación del proceso.
Es así como el Instituto de Salud Pública de Chile aceptará los certificados emitidos por la Agencia Europea de Medicamentos (EMEA), la Agencia de Alimentos y Medicamentos de los Estados Unidos (FDA), la Dirección General de Medicamentos del Ministerio de Salud de Canadá, la Agencia Española de Medicamentos del Ministerio de Sanidad y Consumo, el Instituto Nacional Japonés de Ciencias de la Salud, la Agencia para el Control de Medicamentos del Reino Unido, la Agencia de Productos Medicamentosos de Suecia, la Agencia de Productos Medicamentosos de Suecia, la Agencia de Productos Medicamentosos de Suiza y la Agencia de Vigilancia Sanitaria (ANVISA), de Brasil.
La medida adoptada por el Instituto de Salud Pública de Chile explicita que para los productos farmacéuticos importados “la certificación de cumplimiento de las Buenas Prácticas de Manufactura de las plantas es competencia de la autoridad regulatoria correspondiente, y que esta certificación sustenta la validación del proceso productivo y verifica el cumplimiento cabal de las Buenas Prácticas de Manufactura bajo estas jurisdicciones, siempre y cuando los productos farmacéuticos sean comercializados en los países regulados por las agencias mencionadas”.
El Instituto de Salud Pública de Chile ha certificado a la fecha 79 medicamentos como equivalentes terapéuticos.

Aporte: Fernanda Espinoza

ACHIPIA organizó Curso-Taller: La Confiabilidad de los resultados analíticos para la calidad e inocuidad de los alimentos

Entre el 22 y el 24 de agosto, en la Oficina Regional de la FAO para América Latina y el Caribe, se desarrolló el curso. El taller fue coordinado por ACHIPIA, dentro del marco de las actividades del SILA, Sistema Integrado de Laboratorios de Alimentos, y tuvo como relator al Sr. Leonardo Merino, MSc. Chemist, Swedish National Food Agency (NFA).

La convocatoria -casi 40 personas- estuvo conformada por profesionales de distintas entidades del sector público tales como el Servicio Agrícola y Ganadero, Instituto de Salud Publica, Seremis de Salud (representadas por los Laboratorios Ambientales de Viña del Mar, Rancagua y Talca), y el Servicio Nacional de Pesca junto con representantes de sus Laboratorios Universitarios de Verificación (Laboratorio Unidad de Calidad de la Universidad de Chile, el Instituto de Medicina Preventiva, Laboratorio ASISTEC, el INN (Instituto Nacional de Normalización) y el Laboratorio de Farmacología Veterinaria de la Universidad de Chile. También el curso contó con profesionales de ACHIPIA relacionados con el ámbito de control oficial de alimentos.
El curso fue pensado como un incentivo para el desarrollo de las técnicas analíticas que utilizan los laboratorios que pertenecen al Sistema Integrado de Inocuidad Alimentaria., SILA, coordinado por ACHIPIA.
En el taller se trataron en profundidad temas referentes a la validación de los métodos analíticos, cálculo de la incertidumbre asociadas a estos, importancia en la trazabilidad de las mediciones y manejo de las pruebas interlaboratorio. Además, el curso contempló actividades de corte teórico y práctico.

A través del SILA, ACHIPIA busca potenciar el sistema de inocuidad nacional en lo que se refiere a laboratorios de análisis y ensayo y sus capacidades analíticas. En este contexto, la participación de laboratorios de análisis de alimentos es de fundamental importancia en toda la cadena alimentaria, garantizando que peligros químicos o microbiológicos que puedan causar daño a la salud se encuentren dentro de los límites permitidos por las regulaciones nacionales e internacionales como el Codex Alimentarius, asegurando así la entrega de productos inocuos al consumidor.
"Para la FAO, la importancia de este taller radica en que los profesionales responsables de los servicios de laboratorios de alimentos identifiquen los instrumentos disponibles para garantizar la calidad de una medición analítica", puntualizó Rivers.

Aporte: Fernanda Espinoza

sábado, 22 de septiembre de 2012

El velcro llega a los empaques alimentarios

El cierre velcro es útil para el sellado térmico en películas flexibles
El cierre Velcro, célebre invento heredado de la carrera espacial del siglo pasado, llega ahora al terreno del packaging flexible para alimentos. Con su solución Press-Lok presentada durante la feria Interpack 2011 en Düsseldorf espera ganar cuota de mercado en el dinámico mercado del embalaje flexible en polietileno y polipropileno.
El Press-Lok de Velcro ha sido diseñado como cierre para el mercado alimentario, donde los momentos de consumo del producto exigen varias aperturas.
En cierta medida este nuevo tipo de cierre se enfrenta a otros tipos de cierre como el Zip Lock, aunque los responsables de Velcro no crean que compiten en el mismo rango de aplicaciones.
Velcro ve una oportunidad para llegar al fabricante de productos como golosinas, pastas, harinas, galletas, comida congelada, tabaco o incluso comida para mascotas.
Ventajas para el envasador
Velcro ha diseñado el Press-Lok para que se integre fácilmente con los equipos existentes de envasado a través de un sellado térmico en las películas flexibles.
Se ha tenido cuidado de que se integre sin mayores inconvenientes en el packaging gracias a su bajo perfil, mínimo peso y transparencia.
El Press-Lok de Velcro ha sido diseñado a partir de resinas que cumplen con las regulaciones FDA 21 CFR 177.1521 para las aplicaciones de packaging de grado  alimentario.
Una mejor funcionalidad para el consumidor
Este nuevo cierre facilita la manipulación del envase, gracias a un clic sonoro tanto en la apertura como en el cierre. Además no es necesario alinear con precisión las dos partes de la bolsa.
La durabilidad de su estanqueidad se asegura por varios cientos de operaciones de apertura y cierre, además Velcro garantiza un cierre aún cuando existan pequeñas boronas o restos del producto sobre su superficie.
Aporte: Pamela Blanco

lunes, 10 de septiembre de 2012

Enfermedades entéricas aumentaron en un 6% respecto al año pasado

El Ministerio de Salud de Chile entregó recomendaciones para evitar el Cólera, Hepatitis A y diarreas. Las intoxicaciones se dan en mayor medida en los hogares y por el consumo de platos preparados. 

A vísperas de Fiestas Patrias, el Ministerio de Salud entregó una serie de recomendaciones para evitar las llamadas enfermedades entéricas, tales como el Cólera, Hepatitis A y diarreas. El objetivo es disminuir la cantidad de brotes infecciosos que en lo que va del año han superado a los de 2011 en un 6%. 

Es decir, hasta el 25 de agosto se han notificado 654 brotes de enfermedades transmitidas por alimentos, considerando que el año pasado se registraron 616 brotes. 

"Creemos que una de las principales causas es que las personas, especialmente quienes preparan los alimentos, van perdiendo la rigurosidad con el lavado de manos y el cuidado de cuidado de la cadena alimentaria. Hemos observado que este tipo de enfermedades se produce con mayor frecuencia en el norte de nuestro país donde las temperaturas obviamente son mayores", sostuvo el subsecretario de Salud, Jorge Díaz. 

Si bien las notificaciones se concentran en las regiones Metropolitana, Valparaíso y del Biobío, la mayor tasa intoxicados por cada cien mil habitantes se registra en la Región de Arica y Parinacota. 

Según Díaz, "la principal causa de diarreas se da por el consumo de alimentos que son preparados, lo que alcanza a casi el 44% de los brotes". Luego viene el consumo de pescados y productos del mar (21%), carnes y embutidos (10%) y en menor medida huevos y derivados, así como los lácteos. 

En la misma línea, el subsecretario de Salud precisó que el peligro principal está en las cocinas de las casas. "Casi la mitad de los brotes (45%) de diarreas se producen en los domicilios", sentenció. La intoxicación en restoranes está más abajo con un 23%, y casinos, clubes y cocinerías con un 16%. 

Científicos de la FDA evaluaron metodología de detección del Vibrio parahaemolyticus y de norovirus.

Representantes de la Administración de Alimentos y Medicamentos (FDA) de Estados Unidos, dieron a conocer las últimas investigaciones realizadas en ese país sobre dichas infecciones que afectan a los moluscos.

Expertos de la Administración de Alimentos y Medicamentos de Estados Unidos (FDA) participaron en una intensa agenda de actividades, en el marco del desarrollo del Proyecto Corfo 09CN14-5951 denominado “Modelo de vigilancia efectiva de Vibrios y Norovirus en Moluscos Bivalvos”, que se encuentran desarrollando la Sección de Microbiología de Alimentos del Departamento de Salud Ambiental del Instituto de Salud Pública de Chile y el Centro I-Mar de la Universidad de Los Lagos en Puerto Montt. 

Los expertos PhD Angelo de Paola y el PhD William Burkhardt, pertenecen al Gulf Coast Seafood Laboratory de la FDA, quienes evaluaron las metodologías de análisis desarrolladas en Chile. Durante su visita en el país también ofrecieron conferencias en Puerto Montt, ocasión en las que se refirieron a las últimas investigaciones realizadas en Estados Unidos, referente al Vibrio Parahemolítico y el Norovirus. 

Las actividades, realizadas tanto en Santiago como en Puerto Montt, se desarrollaron en el contexto de un proyecto de investigación financiado por Innova Corfo, que dirige el investigador el Dr. Carlos Aranda del Centro I-Mar de la Universidad de Los Lagos en Puerto Montt, en asociación con la Bioquímica Viviana Cachicas del Departamento de Salud Ambiental del Instituto de Salud Pública; y el Dr. Gonzalo Osorio académico del Programa de Microbiología de Alimentos de la Facultad de Medicina de la Universidad de Chile. 

Los expertos evaluaron la metodología de detección y cuantificación de Vibrio parahaemolyticus y Norovirus desde muestras de moluscos transferida a los Laboratorios ETECMA S.A., Centro I-Mar de la Universidad de Los Lagos y el Instituto de Salud Pública de Chile. 

Fue así que estudiaron las condiciones sanitarias de centro de cultivo de ostras y choritos en la Península de Lacuí en Ancud, y participaron en actividades de difusión en el marco de la “Evaluación de Riesgo Microbiológico”, tanto en el Centro I-Mar como en el Instituto de Salud Pública de Chile. 

Los científicos norteamericanos también participaron en el VII Simposio y Exposición de la Sección Latinoamérica y El Caribe de AOAC Internacional “Inocuidad Alimentaria: Requisitos Internacionales y Metodologías Analíticas Innovadoras”, ocasión en la que expusieron los estudios realizados a partir del año 2009, en evaluación de riesgos microbiológicos en matrices alimentarias de origen marino con la Sección Microbiología de Alimentos del Departamento de Salud Ambiental del Instituto de Salud Pública de Chile.

viernes, 7 de septiembre de 2012

Salmonella in cantaloupe causing deaths

Two deaths, 204 sickened, 79 hospitalized form Salmonella in cantaloupes.
A total of 204 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella typhimurium have been reported from 22 states from cantaloupe, according to the CDC. Among 149 persons for whom information is available, illness onset dates range from July 7, 2012 to August 18, 2012.
Salmonella Ill persons range in age from less than 1 year to 100 years. Fifty-nine percent of ill persons are female. Among 149 persons with available information, 78 (52%) reported being hospitalized. Two deaths have been reported in Kentucky. Illnesses that occurred after August 7, 2012 might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported.
Agricultural experts say the frequent problems with cantaloupes come from the nature of the melons and sloppy agricultural practices. A cantaloupe's rough, porous skin is an easy target for bacteria, which cling to the bumps on its surface. Cantaloupes growing on the ground can also pick up dirt and germs from manure that runs off from livestock fields, or from farm workers. To reduce the risk of illness, people should refrigerate uneaten portions of cantaloupe immediately.

Aporte: Ninoska Cordero

jueves, 30 de agosto de 2012

USA, Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Braenderup Infections

Mexican mangoes are a likely source of this outbreak

Public health investigators are using DNA “fingerprints” of Salmonella  Braenderup obtained through diagnostic testing with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, or PFGE, to identify cases of illness that may be part of this outbreak. They are using data from PulseNet, the national subtyping network made up of state and local public health laboratories and federal food regulatory laboratories that performs molecular surveillance of foodborne infections.
Collaborative investigation efforts of state, local, and federal public health and regulatory agencies indicate that mangoes are a likely source of this outbreak.
A total of 103 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Braenderup have been reported from 16 states. The majority of ill persons (78) have been reported from California. This number may change as more cases are confirmed. Most persons became ill during July. Among persons for whom information is available, illness onset dates range from July 3, 2012 to August 11, 2012. Ill persons range in age from 1 to 86 years, with a median age of 32 years old. Fifty-five percent of ill persons are female. Among 69 persons with available information, 25 (36%) patients reported being hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
This PFGE pattern has been seen before in PulseNet, and in the past typically caused 2 to 3 cases per month. Therefore, some reported cases may not be part of this outbreak. Illnesses that occurred after August 5, 2012, might not be reported yet due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported.
Investigation of the Outbreak:  State public health officials are interviewing ill persons to obtain information regarding foods they might have eaten and other exposures in the week before illness. Preliminary information indicates that mangoes are a likely source for the Salmonella Braenderup infections. Approximately 70% of ill persons interviewed report consuming mangoes in the week before becoming ill. Among ill persons in California, approximately 80% are of Hispanic ethnicity. Many of the ill persons in California report purchasing mangoes from Hispanic markets or grocery stores. Investigations are ongoing to determine the specific type and source of mangoes that might be linked with illness.
CDC and state and local public health partners are continuing laboratory surveillance through PulseNet to identify additional ill persons and to interview ill persons about foods eaten before becoming ill. FDA is continuing to work closely with CDC and state partners during this investigation. CDC will update the public on the progress of this investigation as information becomes available.

lunes, 27 de agosto de 2012

Strategies for fighting Aspergillus flavus

Scientists Probe Yeast's Ability to Protect Tree Nuts

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have moved a step closer to understanding the underlying mechanisms that enable a helpful yeast to disable a mold that attacks tree nuts such as almonds, pistachios, and walnuts. Their on going laboratory studies may help improve the effectiveness of the yeast, Pichia anomala, in thwarting the mold, A. flavus. The mold is of concern because it can produce aflatoxin, a natural carcinogen.Federal food safety standards, and quality control procedures at U.S. packinghouses, help ensure that tree nuts remain safe to eat. Nonetheless, growers and processors have a continuing interest in new, environmentally friendly ways to combat the A. flavus mold.In an experiment, the mold was exposed to the yeast, and, later, to several different compounds that fluoresce a distinctive red, or green, when evidence of specific changes in the mold's cells is detected. Results of these fluorescence assays, suggest that the yeast interfered with the mold's energy generating ATP system, vital for the mold's survival. The findings also suggest that the yeast damaged mold cell walls and cell membranes. Walls and membranes perform the essential role of protecting cell contents.In other work that has helped pave the way to current studies, the team used a different analytical procedure quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR (polymerase chain reaction) assays to analyze the activity of certain P. anomala genes in the presence of the mold. Preliminary findings, reported at the annual national meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in 2010, suggest that exposing the yeast to the mold may have triggered the yeast to turn on genes that code for production of two enzymes PaEXG1 and PaEXG2. These enzymes are capable of degrading the mold's cell walls and causing damage to membranes.Though further studies are needed, these early, PCR-based findings point to gene-controlled mechanisms that may be involved in the cell wall and cell membrane damage observed in the fluorescence assays.

Aporte: María Rene Rey

Región de Los Lagos constituyó comisión para trabajar en inocuidad alimentaria

El 21 de agosto se firmó en la Intendencia Regional, el acuerdo para avanzar en materias que aseguren la producción y disponibilidad alimentaria.

Un mejoramiento en la coordinación, mayor comunicación y trabajo interministerial, en materias relacionadas a la inocuidad de los alimentos, se esperan en la Región de los Lagos para este año. Para realizar esta tarea, la Comisión Asesora Regional en Calidad e Inocuidad actuará como una réplica de la Agencia Chilena para la Calidad e Inocuidad Alimentaria, ACHIPIA en la Región de Los Lagos, buscando coordinar a las oficinas regionales de los servicios implicados en estas materias, permitiendo avanzar en la producción y disponibilidad de alimentos inocuos.
Nuri Gras, Secretaria Ejecutiva de ACHIPIA, asistió a la constitución de la comisión y señaló: "Buscamos hacer un levantamiento de las problemáticas que existen a nivel regional en estas materias y presentar soluciones con mayor rapidez. A través de ACHIPIA, las regiones pueden contar con un canal de comunicación directo con la comisión presidencial"
El Intendente Regional, Juan Sebastián Montes destacó el real compromiso que existe en el Gobierno del Presidente Sebastián Piñera en trabajar en inocuidad alimentaria "Se trata de proteger los derechos de las personas y avanzar en materia de competitividad del sector alimentario regional, al mismo tiempo de garantizar el prestigio que el país tiene en la inocuidad y en la calidad de los productos de exportación", señaló el Intendente.
El Seremi de Agricultura, Rodrigo Mardones, será el coordinador y secretario Ejecutivo de esta instancia, correspondiéndole dar seguimiento a las reuniones mensuales que se concreten y coordinando el plan de trabajo. La autoridad del agro señaló: "Con estas comisiones esperamos un aporte directo a la regionalización, logrando una mayor descentralización en la toma de decisiones en materia de inocuidad y calidad de los alimentos".
En la oportunidad, se dio a conocer que la misión de estas comisiones era asesorar al Intendente en todas las materias relativas a la calidad e inocuidad de los alimentos, atendiendo las particularidades propias de cada zona y coordinando a los organismos públicos regionales competentes en materia de inocuidad de los alimentos. Esto sin perjuicio de las atribuciones y funciones propias de cada servicio.

Aporte: Fernanda Espinoza