jueves, 26 de diciembre de 2013

UK’s FSA Publishes 2014 Food Safety Priorities

A major portion of the plan addresses Campylobacter, Britain’s most common cause of food poisoning.

In the plan, FSA is proposing to study how to modify processing equipment to limit Campylobacter contamination, how the pathogen attaches to chicken surfaces, why practices required for good hygiene are inconsistently applied and how to improve adherence, what factors affect variations in Campylobacter disease rates, which antimicrobial treatments could remove surface contamination, how frequently cross-contamination occurs in household kitchens and what might be the best practices for safely cooking chicken.
FSA also plans to promote new food safety guidance regarding Listeria monocytogenes in hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare settings.

With the emergence of Hepatitis E in pork and Hepatitis A in berries and processed foods, these viruses are another concern. “Evidence points to these viruses being more heat stable than bacteria and this has raised questions concerning current processing or cooking conditions,” the plan states. So the agency plans to review literature and do further experiments to analyze heat stability.

In early 2013, curry leaves used in a ready-to-eat dish in Northeast England led to an outbreak of nearly 1,000 cases of Salmonella, Shigella and Enteroaggregative E. coli. As a result, FSA plans to address the need for better advice on curry leaf risk reduction.

The agency will also be studying the proportion of foodborne pathogens acquired in the home as opposed to external settings, the diversity of Enteroaggregative E. coli strains, exposure to metals and other elements in the U.K. diet, potential alternatives for food preservatives, the risks associated with buying food online, and bacteriophages – viruses that can kill bacteria and reduce microbiological contamination of foods.

And, in light of the horsemeat scandal earlier this year, FSA wants to develop tools for detecting horsemeat in heavily processed foods and determining the origin of foods.

Some projects FSA has already undertaken include reviewing the available rapid testing methods for detecting marine biotoxin in shellfish and researching toxoplasma in food and livestock.

Other aspects of the plan address food allergies and nutrition.

Source: http://www.food.gov.uk/news-updates/news/2013/aug/campylobacter#.UrwhO7SQNn8

jueves, 19 de diciembre de 2013

FDA Proposes New Rule on ‘Antibacterial’ Soaps

Antibacterial hand soaps and body washes should demonstrate their products are safe and more effective than normal soap.

U.S. regulators on Monday 16 issued a proposed rule that would require makers of antibacterial hand soaps and body washes to demonstrate their products are safe and more effective than soap and water in preventing infection and the spread of bacteria.

"Although consumers generally view these products as effective tools to help prevent the spread of germs, there is currently no evidence that they are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water," the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in a statement.
The FDA said research has suggested long-term exposure to antibacterial chemicals, such as triclosan in liquid soaps and triclocarban in bar soaps, could have hormonal affects and allow bacteria to mutate into harder-to-control strains.

The agency said companies that fail to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of their products would have to reformulate them to back up the product claims, or re-label them to keep them on store shelves.
Such products are widely sold and touted, and include SoftSoap products from Colgate Palmolive, Cetaphil from Galderma Laboratories, and Dial products from Henkel AG.
The FDA said the action is part of a larger ongoing review by the agency to ensure that antibacterial ingredients are safe and effective. But the proposed rule would not affect hand sanitizers, wipes or antimicrobial products used in healthcare settings, the agency said.

The move comes five days after the FDA issued new guidelines to phase out the use of antibiotics as a growth enhancer in livestock, also in an effort to stem a surge in human resistance to antibiotics.
"Due to consumers' extensive exposure to the ingredients in antibacterial soaps, we believe there should be a clearly demonstrated benefit ... to balance any potential risk," said Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Almost all soaps labeled "antibacterial" or "antimicrobial" contain at least one of the antibacterial ingredients addressed in the FDA's proposed rule, most notably triclosan and triclocarban, and some labeled "deodorant" may also contain these ingredients, the agency said.
The proposed rule will be available for public comment for 180 days. Concurrently, companies will be given one year to submit new data and information, followed by a 60-day rebuttal comment period.

Source: FDA

miércoles, 11 de diciembre de 2013

FSIS launches a new Salmonella reduction plan

An estimated 1.3 million illnesses can be attributed to Salmonella every year.

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service released today a plan to reduce Salmonella in meat and poultry products, a priority coming into tighter focus as another outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg has sickened hundreds across the country.
The Salmonella Action Plan prioritizes modernizing the poultry slaughter inspection system. Shifting FSIS inspectors to more offline, food safety duties will prevent at least an estimated 5,000 illnesses each year, the agency said.
An estimated 1.3 million illnesses can be attributed to Salmonella every year.
“Far too many Americans are sickened by Salmonella every year. The aggressive and comprehensive steps detailed in the Salmonella Action Plan will protect consumers by making meat and poultry products safer,” said Under Secretary for Food Safety Elisabeth Hagen, whose resignation from her post at FSIS will take effect mid-December.
The new plan prescribes enhanced sampling and testing programs that take into account “the latest scientific information available” and emerging trends in foodborne illness. Inspectors will “be empowered with the tools necessary to expeditiously pinpoint problems.” Equipped with more information about a plant’s performance history and better methods for assessing in-plant conditions, inspectors will better be able to detect salmonella earlier, ostensibly before it can cause an outbreak.
The plan also outlines several actions FSIS will take to foster new innovations toward lowering contamination rates, including establishing new performance standards; developing new strategies for inspection farm to table; addressing all potential sources of  Salmonella; and focusing the agency’s education and outreach tools on Salmonella.
The strategy announcement comes as FSIS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health agencies continue to wrestle with an outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg linked to three Foster Farms chicken plants in California. The outbreak has sickened nearly 390 people in 23 states.
Earlier impetus was provided also by an outbreak in 2011 of the same strain emanating from ground turkey that sickened 136 people in 34 states and forced Cargill to recall 36 million pounds of product.
FSIS followed with strengthened performance standards for salmonella in poultry, with a goal of significantly reducing illnesses by 20,000 per year. Through the Salmonella Initiative Program, plants currently are using processing technologies designed to directly reduce the pathogen in raw meat and poultry, and prevalence in broilers has dropped by more than 75 percent since 2006, FSIS said.