lunes, 22 de diciembre de 2014

The ongoing risk of Listeria caused by caramelized apples.

Twenty-six ill people have been hospitalized and nine illnesses were pregnancy-related, five patients died.
Listeria monocytogenes is an organism, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Listeria infection can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.
Illnesses as of Friday Evening: As of Friday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 28 people (although the Washington State Department of Health reports 29) have been infected with the outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes from 10 states linked to commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples.  The states reporting illnesses are:
•Arizona (4), California (1), Minnesota (4), Missouri (5), New Mexico (5), North Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1), Washington (1) and Wisconsin (2). Twenty-six ill people have been hospitalized. Among the 26 people hospitalized, five deaths have been reported.  The States reporting deaths are: •Minnesota (2), California (1), Texas (1) and Missouri (1).
Listeria was a contributing factor, but not cause of the Missouri death. One 81-year-old woman who died of Listeria in California on December 2 after purchasing and consuming a caramel apple shortly before Halloween.  The family has been informed that she is a link to the outbreak by California health officials.  Nine illnesses were pregnancy-related (occurred in a pregnant woman or her newborn infant). Three invasive illnesses (meningitis) were among otherwise healthy children aged 5–15 years. Outbreak Investigation as of Saturday Morning: The information CDC has at this time indicates that commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples are the source of the outbreak
The most detailed information comes from the Minnesota Department of Health.  Minnesota cases purchased prepackaged caramel apples from Cub Foods, Kwik Trip, and Mike’s Discount Foods, which carried Carnival brand and Kitchen Cravings brand caramel apples.  Both brands are made by H. Brooks, a 110-year old company in New Brighton. The company only sells the caramel apples in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
At this time, no illnesses related to this outbreak have been linked to apples that are not caramel-coated and not prepackaged or to caramel candy.
Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify cases that may be part of this outbreak.  DNA “fingerprinting” is being performed on the Listeria bacteria isolated from ill persons using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS).  Two outbreak clusters were identified by the PFGE technique, and Listeria isolates within each cluster were found to be highly related by the WGS technique but distinct between the two clusters. CDC is investigating the two clusters together because one person was infected with both Listeria strains simultaneously and also because illnesses in the two clusters have occurred during a similar time period and in similar regions of the country.

Source: FoodHACCP Newsletter

viernes, 19 de diciembre de 2014

Walmart leads the charge toward improved poultry safety.

The end result, must be a reduction in Salmonella of at least 1­log10 (i.e., a 10­fold reduction) on all chicken parts supplied to Walmart.
Walmart’s existing food safety program already requires poultry suppliers to achieve prevention-based certification against one of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) internationally recognized standards.
Under the new program, US poultry suppliers for Walmart and Sam’s Club will need to implement holistic controls “from farm to fork” to significantly reduce potential Salmonella and other pathogens. All poultry suppliers must comply with by June 30, 2016.
Devil’s in the details: The enhanced poultry measures involve a 4­point prevention and reduction plan along the entire poultry production chain, the four critical control points are: 1) primary breeder stock, 2) Biocontrol measures, 3) whole chicken process control, and 4) chicken parts intervention.
Regarding point 1: Wall Mart want to reduce the vertical transmission of Salmonella to broiler flocks, all poultry suppliers are expected to source from primary breeders who participate in USDA’s National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) for Breeding Poultry (9 CFR145.83).
Salmonella data, obtained via the current NPIP programs, must be reviewed by suppliers on a regular basis. This will enable them to measure the effectiveness of preventive and corrective actions that occur when Salmonella is detected, and to reduce recurrences.
Presently, primary breeders have done a good job of driving down rates of contamination, this goal and the Company will ask suppliers to report on their progress regularly.
Biocontrol on the farm: As for point 2, when Salmonella serotypes associated with human illness are detected in a poultry housing complex, suppliers must use autogenous (endogenous) or commercial Salmonella bacterins (vaccines derived from killed or attenuated bacteria) to vaccinate broiler­breeder flocks against those serotypes. Moreover, to further control horizontal transmission at broiler farms, we are asking suppliers to re­double their efforts to adhere to disease prevention best practices associated with bio­security and vector control.“
Point 3 focuses on process control measures for whole­bird processors. Poultry suppliers are expected to implement a regulatory approved intervention or combination of two interventions, one between pre­scald and the other post chill.
“Those interventions must consistently produce at least a cumulative 4­log10 (99.99%) reduction of Salmonella. Both intervention(s) and their corresponding reductions must be scientifically validated.

Parts and labor: Point 4 involves interventions to reduce Salmonella rates in chicken parts. In recent years, the industry has done a good job driving down rates of Salmonella on whole birds, but today, Americans are buying more chicken parts, USDA has reported that 24% of all chicken parts produced in the US are contaminated with Salmonella. Source: Food production daily

viernes, 5 de diciembre de 2014

Bacteria Spell Out Dutch Food Safety Education Campaign

The Netherlands Nutrition Centre launched a new food safety campaign in November with a little typographic help from bacteria.

For their five educational posters posted across the country, the Centre grew bacteria into the shape of words. Microbial samples from the dishcloths, vegetables and cutting boards of ordinary Dutch kitchens were cultured and photographed for the project.

Foodborne illnesses affect about 700,000 Dutch each year, and the goal of the campaign, entitled “Ziekmakers zie je niet” (“You can’t see what makes you ill”), was to help make invisible bacteria visible to consumers.

Translated into English, the five steps for safely preparing food at home featured on the posters were:
§  Buy refrigerated products that last.
§  Wash your dishcloth every day.
§  Cut meat on a separate cutting board.
§  Stir food you heat in the microwave.
§  Set your refrigerator at 4 degrees C (about 39 degrees F).

More than 2,000 posters appeared across the country in outdoor spaces such as bus shelters for the first week of the campaign, followed by 500 in the second week.

The campaign also ran online banners showing time-lapses of the bacterial growth, overtook the homepage of Dutch news website, and created a video about the making of the posters.

Source: Food Safety News

miércoles, 3 de diciembre de 2014

USA Study: Most Would Accept Nanotechnology, Genetic Modification in Food for Nutrition, Safety

“New technology rejecters” wouldn’t buy GM or nanotech foods under any circumstances and encompassed 18 percent of survey participants.

The study was conducted in four consumer groups: ‘Price Oriented/Technology Adopters’, ‘Technology Averse’, ‘Benefit Oriented’, and ‘New Technology Rejecters’.

Each consumer group has a distinctive demographic background, which generates deeper insights into the diversified public acceptance of nano-food and GM food.
The results obtained suggests that most consumers will accept nanotechnology or genetic modification technology in their food if it will enhance nutrition or improve safety.

The researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of Minnesota conducted a nationally representative survey of 1,117 U.S. consumers. They asked about their willingness to purchase genetically modified (GM) food and foods containing nanotech and qualifiers such as price, enhanced nutrition, improved taste and improved safety, and whether the food’s production had environmental benefits.

The results were published in the Journal of Agricultural Economics and showed that consumers are generally willing to pay more to avoid these technologies in their food, but that they are more accepting of it if there are health and safety benefits.

The researchers divided participants into four groups. The first were the “price-oriented,” who tend to base their decisions in grocery store aisles on the food’s cost regardless of the presence of the technologies. This group made up 23 percent of those surveyed.

The “technology averse” would buy GM or nanotech foods only if those products conveyed food safety benefits. They made up 19 percent of the participants.
Forty percent of participants fit into the “benefit-oriented” group, which would buy GM or nanotech foods if they had enhanced nutrition or were safer.

The study showed that GM or nanotech food products have greater potential to be viable in the marketplace if companies focus on developing products that have safety and nutrition benefits, said Dr. Jennifer Kuzma, senior author of the paper on the research and co-director of the Genetic Engineering in Society Center at NC State. “From a policy standpoint, it also argues that GM and nanotech foods should be labeled, so that the technology rejecters can avoid them.”

Source: Journal of Agricultural Economics, doi: 10.1111/1477-9552.12090

martes, 2 de diciembre de 2014

China food and drug administration announces list of accredited testing agencies for health foods

The additional 22 testing agencies will be responsible for evaluation and testing of both indigenous and imported health foods.
The CFDA has announced the updated list of accredited testing agencies for Health Food efficacy testing. On the 5th of August the CFDA announced a further 22 governmentally sanctioned testing Institutes that have been selected for testing and scientific substantiation of the 27 health claims permissible under Chinese regulations bringing the total number of accredited testing institutes to 32.  
In addition to approving the testing institutes listed below the selection of The National Centre for Food Safety Risk assessment was also made.

The testing institutes have been selected based on their testing capabilities. China requires pre-market approval of health food by CFDA and only testing reports from CFDA-accredited agencies will be accepted for registration.

The additional 22 testing agencies will be responsible for evaluation and testing of both indigenous and imported health foods. Each registered testing agency will be accredited to carry out testing for a period of 5 years beginning on October 5th 2013. The battery of tests available at each agency corresponds to its testing capabilities, so dependent on the specific claim being tested only certain 

Institutes will suffice. It is therefore extremely important to verify the range of tests available at each Institute.


EU authorities propose moratorium on the use of nanomaterials in foods

The Committee also amended the existing definition of nanomaterials.

On November 24, 2014, the European Parliament (EP) Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) considered draft legislation concerning novel foods.  The Committee amended the draft legislation, proposing a moratorium on the use of nanomaterials in food based on the precautionary principle. 

The Committee approved the amended draft legislation by a vote of 57-4, with two abstentions.  EP Member James Nicholson (ECR, UK), who is steering the legislation through the EP, stated that he was not completely satisfied with the vote.  According to Nicholson, it is “essential that cloning and nanomaterials be dealt with separately.” 

The Committee’s press release states that foods for which production processes require risk assessments, including nanomaterials, should not be authorized until they are approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).  The press release notes that “[s]pecial attention should also be paid to food packaging containing nanomaterials, to prevent them migrating into food.”  In addition, in line with the precautionary principle, all novel food should also be subject to post-market monitoring. 

The Committee amended the existing definition of nanomaterials to bring it in line with EFSA recommendations, and dropped the threshold for a food ingredient to qualify as “nano” from the European Commission’s proposed 50 percent to ten percent. 

The Committee unanimously approved a mandate for Nicholson to begin negotiations with the Council of Ministers, with one abstention.  The Council has yet to adopt its negotiating position.


lunes, 1 de diciembre de 2014

FDA Warning Letters: Excessive Drug Levels Top List of Latest Food Problems

Presences of chemical and inadequate control for growth of harmful bacteria are major problems.
Illegal levels of drug residues in food animals topped the list of problems with food producers in the latest round of warning letters from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for alleged violations of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

FDA stated that Floyd Raber of Millersburg, OH, sold a veal calf for slaughter that contained a drug, sulfamethoxazole, which has no acceptable level in calves sold for veal. Because of this, investigators determined that the meat was adulterated, according to the law, and that the firm held animals under conditions that would lead to unwanted drugs entering the food supply.

Health investigators stated that they found another veal calf sold with unacceptable levels of another drug, sulfamethazine, at Martin Star Dairy of Stevens, PA. That drug also has no acceptable levels in veal calves, thus rending the meat adulterated and classifying the firm as holding animals under conditions that allow for unacceptable drugs to enter the food supply, FDA stated.
Pleasant View Dairy of Dyersville, IA, was found to have sold a steer for slaughter with excessive levels of florfenicol, another regulated drug. FDA also stated that the firm had used another drug, Nuflor, in a way that was not directed by its approved labeling.

Walnut Creek Kitchens of Walnut Creek, OH, received warnings from the agency for allegedly selling adulterated food and misbranded food. First, the firm’s smoked cheeses produced on June 10 and 11, 2014, were found to be held overnight for 12-16 hours at 68-69 degrees F, outside the range of refrigeration, thus rendering them vulnerable to bacterial growth, FDA stated.

Health investigators also detected falsely and misleadingly branded products. The firm’s smoked cheese products claimed to be “smoked,” but really did not go through a smoking process and instead received a liquid smoke applied to the surface of the cheese, the agency stated. Instead of “smoked,” appropriate labels would include “with added smoke flavor,” “smoke flavored ”or“ natural smoke flavor,” FDA stated.

Pagano’s, a seafood processor in Norwalk, CT, was found to have “serious violations” of seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations. A number of the firm’s products, including cold-smoked salmon and caviar, were held in transit for excessive amounts of time and therefore considered inadequate to control for growth of harmful bacteria, FDA stated.
Companies who receive FDA warning letters are asked to respond within 15 working days outlining steps they will take to correct the stated violations.

Source:© Food Safety News

jueves, 27 de noviembre de 2014

Bean sprouts tainted with banned additive are again found in China

The additive enhanced the appearance and shortened the growing cycle of the bean sprouts, driving up profits.
The additive enhanced the appearance and shortened the growing cycle of the bean sprouts, driving up profits. Bean sprouts are back in the news for all the wrong reasons. Not for the first time, Chinese inspectors have found bean sprouts tainted with a banned food additive, in this instance in a production center on the southern outskirts of Beijing.
The sprouts being produced at the site in Daxing district were treated with high levels of 6-benzyladenine, a plant hormone, to speed up the growth cycle and make them more attractive to buyers, The Beijing News reported this week. But the chemical can also harm consumers’ health, it said, causing premature puberty, disrupting menstrual cycles and contributing to osteoporosis.
Up to 20 tons of sprouts a day were sold to wholesale dealers in Beijing and in Hebei and Shandong Provinces, the newspaper said. Since the Beijing food and drug authorities conducted their spot check on Nov. 2, the Daxing site has been shut down and three associated vendors have been ordered to halt operations. The case remains under investigation, but no arrests have been reported.
Bean sprouts are a popular staple in China, commonly seen in food stalls, supermarkets and restaurants. But they have also been caught up in food safety scares. In 2011, the discovery of sprouts drenched in hormones, bleaching powder and preservatives in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, resulted in the arrests of 12 people. Last year, the Beijing municipal government issued a health advisory with tips to the public on how to detect unsafe bean sprouts.
The Beijing bean sprout industry, which produces about 300 tons a day, is dominated by small workshops and family businesses, many of which operate in an unsanitary environment, The Beijing News said. Government oversight has also suffered at times from confusion over whether bean sprouts are “agricultural produce,” since they are not grown in the ground. In August, the Beijing government circulated draft regulations to tighten supervision over the production of bean sprouts. The regulations will take effect on Jan. 1, and they will require all sprout-producing sites to have a government license.

Autoridades de salud de Chile suspenden Laboratorio Difem Pharma por contaminación con Serratia marcescens.

Las atoridades enfatizaron que hoy no se puede asegurar la calidad de los productos del laboratorio.

El Subsecretario de Salud Pública, Jaime Burrows y la Directora (s) del Instituto de Salud Pública, Pamela Milla, informaron de la suspensión de faenas y distribución de los productos farmacéuticos  del Laboratorio Difem Pharma, debido a la identificación de la contaminación producido con Serratia marcescens.

La medida se tomó tras la confirmación de esto y tras una visita a las instalaciones que hizo un completo muestreo de las materias primas de líneas de producción y del agua usada para la fabricación de productos farmacéuticos en la planta de La Reina.

La decisión se tomó luego de instruirse, por parte de las autoridades una cuarentena al laboratorio, tras las denuncias al ISP y la investigación llevada a cabo.

El Subsecretario Burrows concluyó que existe contaminación por Serratia marcescens en el agua utilizada en la producción de los productos que se elaboran en el establecimiento, lo que representa un grave riesgo para la salud de la población, debido a que cualquier producto proveniente de esa planta puede estar contaminado. Asimismo, se informó que se retirarán  todos los productos del laboratorio, tanto los de uso hospitalario como los de expendio en farmacias.

La Directora (s) del  ISP, Pamela Milla recomendó a los prestadores de atención en salud la suspensión de uso de los siguientes productos, hasta que se realice el alzamiento de la medida:
Entre los 9 productos retirados o en cuarentena se encuentran: Dichlorexan, Diperox, Povisept, Triclosán y  Povidona yodada, Polividona yodada, Vaselina líquida y varios tipos de Agua oxigenada.

Asimismo, agregó que se procederá a retirar y destruir todos los productos del laboratorio como una medida preventiva dado el riesgo que representa esta contaminación.

En la mayoría de los pacientes que originaron la notificación se produjo infección, dado que es un antiséptico que se ocupa antes de operar y hacer cirugía a pacientes. Por lo tanto, el primer lugar de riesgo, y donde se produjeron las infecciones, es en el área operatoria, pero también hubo algunos pacientes que presentaron infecciones más generalizadas.

Aporte: Francisca Castro

EFSA publish the Campylobacter contamination rates from retailers in the UK

One fifth (18%) chickens showed Campylobacter counts above 1,000 CFU/g.
In total, 1,995 samples of fresh whole chilled chickens have been tested, data shows variations between retailers but none are meeting the end­ of­ production reduction target, said the FSA.
The agency said the food industry, especially retailers; need to do more to reduce the amount of Campylobacter on fresh chicken.
Retail performance:  FSA showed that Supermarket Asda was the worst performing with 78% of skin samples positive for the pathogen out of 312 samples.
Tesco has the lowest rate of samples testing positive with 64% of the 607 samples, 11% above the highest level of contamination and 3% of pack samples contaminated.

The British Poultry Council (BPC) said it viewed the release of retail survey data as another step to reduce the number of cases of food poisoning by raising awareness amongst consumers. The data released from six months of sampling shows that all producers and retailers have levels in the same range. The difference between upper and lower in overall level of Campylobacter in flocks is not statistically significant when examined against confidence intervals. This reinforces how universal and challenging the i

BRC reaction, the executive director, Richard Lloyd, said supermarket bosses should hang their heads in shame. These results are a damning indictment of supermarkets and consumers will be rightly shocked at the failure of trusted household brands to stem the tide of increasingly high levels of Campylobacter. It’s now vital that the industry cleans up its act and works hard to restore consumer confidence. Supermarkets should not only publish effective plans that tackle these scandalously high levels, but also demonstrate they’re taking real action to make chicken safe.

A survey from the consumer group reveals people are concerned about levels of Campylobacter in chicken sold at supermarkets, with the majority saying it is too high. It found six in ten consumers (61%) expressed concern about the high levels; with three­quarters (77%) saying they thought they were too high. More than half (55%) thought that there wasn’t enough information regarding levels of Campylobacter in chicken.

martes, 25 de noviembre de 2014

UK Survey Finds Campylobacter on 59 Percent of Chicken

Campylobacter is the most common form of food poisoning in the U.K
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the U.K. has published its first-quarter results from a survey of Campylobacter on fresh whole store-bought chickens and the associated packaging.
The agency found that 59 percent of the birds and 4 percent of the outside of the packaging tested positive.

Campylobacter is the most common form of food poisoning in the U.K., affecting an estimated 280,000 people each year. FSA estimates that four of five cases come from contaminated poultry.
British officials hope that interventions such as improved biosecurity on farms, rapid surface chilling and antimicrobial washes will help reduce the pathogen’s prevalence.
The survey is running from February 2014 to February 2015 and will test 4,000 samples. The first quarter included 853 samples.

Catherine Brown, FSA chief executive, said that the survey “will give us a clearer picture of the prevalence of Campylobacter on raw poultry sold at retail and help us measure the impact of interventions introduced by producers, processors, and retailers to reduce contamination.”

When first announcing the survey, FSA stated that the agency would published findings at a store-specific level — to “name and shame” supermarkets and processors. In late July, the agency walked back from that pledge, deciding instead to wait until the entire survey is completed and publish all the names next summer.

A consumer organization is calling for FSA to stick to its initial plan and publish the names of retailers “so that consumers are aware of the best and worst performing shops.”

To avoid Campylobacter infection, FSA reminds consumers to cook chicken thoroughly, avoid washing it, store it at the bottom of the fridge so juices don’t drip onto other foods, and wash hands frequently, along with all utensils, chopping boards and surfaces used to prepare raw chicken.

Source: © Food Safety News

Finland poultry system is strong but could be improved

Excessive splashing of water on the slaughter line close to exposed meat should be avoided.
Related topics: Regulation and safety, Meat, fish and poultry, HACCP, Cleaning and hygiene Finland’s control system for poultry meat and products is organized and has extensive guidelines but still could improve, according to the Food and Veterinary Office

The audit team was told that 103,544 tons of chicken meat and edible offal of chicken and 7,400 tons of turkey meat and edible offal of turkey were produced in Finland in 2013. There have been no RASFF notifications for Finish poultry meat and products since the beginning of 2008.

Fails in Hygiene operations:
1    Work layout could not ensure against cross contamination (incoming unpackaged meat was transported through the place of storage of final product, a cutting room used as a passage for incoming packaged meat).
2    Excessive splashing of water on the slaughter line close to exposed meat, chemicals, wrapping materials, spices and food additives stored together and in close proximity and liquid mixes of spices stored despite best before dates having expired were also found.
3    In terms of maintenance, the audit found an example in the slicing room of final RTE product of damaged and rusty equipment in close proximity to exposed product and in contact with wrapping material of this product.

HACCP controls: In meat processing plants visited critical control points (CCPs) such as heat treatment points, use of nitrites in meat products, smoking process and contamination with Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and storage temperatures of final products were adequately monitored.
In one cutting plant the temperature of chilled meat monitored by the FBO as a CCP in its HACCP plan was repeatedly and frequently above the limit of 4ºC. The corrective action, the addition of ice was always used. In other case the temperature of meat was not monitored during production with cutting and meat preparations production. This element was not included in establishment’s HACCP system.

All sites had a comprehensive sampling plan and analyses were carried out mostly in compliance. But non­conformities were also observed.
In one site, according to own check sampling records, one sample was taken instead of the five required when final products (fresh cut meat and MSM) were sampled for.

Source: FoodQuality

jueves, 20 de noviembre de 2014

Revolutionizing traceability DNA barcodes track the food, not the package.

Food producers will be able to spray unique DNA barcodes directly onto food to improve traceability.
DNA Trax (DNA Tagged Reagents for Aerosol Experiments (DNA TRAX), was originally developed alongside a US government agency for biosecurity purposes, but its creators saw a need for better traceability in the food industry. This new technology would replace the way weeks we use to identify the origin of tainted foods, DNA Trax can provide information within minutes.
‘Barcodes’ on food, not packaging, DNATrax can be sprayed directly onto food. Each set of microparticles has a unique DNA ‘barcode.’ By taking a swab of the surface, traceability information can be obtained from the food itself.

The technology was developed by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (a US national security facility with research areas including counterterrorism and defense). It has been licensed to DNATrax, which is working with producers and partners to identify its first commercial customers in the food industry.

DNATrax is a versatile material containing food-based microparticles that can be used for the safe and effective detection and tracking of aerosol releases in both interior and exterior environments. By combining FDA-approved sugars, and a unique non-biological DNA bar code, a microparticle that simulates the aerosols compromising the air around us was produced. 

Traceability in a matter of minutes: DNATrax solves this problem by putting the traceability information directly on the produce. If there is a piece of produce left somewhere, even in the trash, traceability information can be recovered. A simple swab of the surface and an off-the-shelf instrument will decode the traceability information in a matter of minutes.”
The DNA barcodes comprise of around 100 DNA bases of synthetically produced nucleic acid, copied from genes unique to a deep-sea organism (and consequently one unlikely to be found in day-to-day conditions). A nearly unlimited variety of different ‘barcodes’ can be developed.

DNATrax can be sprayed directly onto food or mixed in with liquid or dry goods, the technology could, theoretically be applied to any foodstuff, although there may be practical limitations due to conditions in the supply chain.


lunes, 17 de noviembre de 2014

Nuevo brote de gastroenteritis de la compañía Carnival en un año

El crucero turístico atracó en California con 170 pasajeros con gastroenteritis por Norovirus
Un crucero de Carnival Corporation atracado en California con unos 170 pasajeros y miembros de la tripulación  resultaron afectados por gastroenteritis causada por un Norovirus. Este sería el segundo brote de este virus altamente contagioso que se registra en menos de un año en un crucero de esta compañía, propietaria del trasatlántico Crown Princess. En este caso la nave transportaba a más de 4.100 personas en un crucero que partió hace casi un mes desde Los Ángeles e incluyó escalas en Hawái y Tahití. El pasado abril, 140 personas a bordo de otro crucero de la misma compañía enfermaron por el Norovirus.
El creciente número de casos de enfermedad gastrointestinal ha llevado a la empresa naviera a poner en marcha nuevos protocolos de desinfección conforme a lo dispuesto por el Centro de Control de Enfermedades y Prevención (CDC) de EEUU. Recién desembarcado el crucero fue sometido a una profunda limpieza antes de embarcar para su siguiente viaje. Llama la atención queeEn los últimos años se han registrado varios brotes por Norovirus en una docena de líneas de cruceros turísticos de EEUU. Los brotes son desagradables pero habituales cuando un número alto de personas se ve confinado en un área pequeña, con una higiene deficiente de las manos y comida estilo buffet, afirman los expertos.
El Norovirus es la causa más común de contagio de enfermedad gastrointestinal, con síntomas como náuseas, vómitos y diarrea.
El CDC que cada año se registran unos 20 millones de casos de norovirus en EEUU, de los que entre 570 y 800 son mortales. El virus normalmente desaparece al tercer día.
Aporte: Francisca Castro

miércoles, 12 de noviembre de 2014

Connecticut Public Health Agencies Won’t Name Restaurant in Salmonella Outbreak

Multiple cases of Salmonella poisoning were confirmed but not reported to the community.

When John Snow traced the London Vibrio cholerae epidemic of 1854 to a local well, he removed the pump handle so all would know the source of the fatal disease when it ceased to plague the city. Removing that pump handle is still remembered today because it represented public health’s first major victory.

But it seems this act would be illegal today in Connecticut. Here’s the story:
Both the Orange, CT Health Department and the Connecticut Department of Public Health have declined to tell  if a closed restaurant was responsible for sickening a local resident with Salmonella enterica serovar Schwarzengrund. This serovar is the predominant cause of salmonellosis in Southeast Asia, a major source of imported food products to the United States.

 Affected consumer’s eat slices of chicken pizza at Oregano Joe’s on Boston Post Road in Orange for his illness, symptoms included a 104-degree fever, extreme diarrhea and vomiting. Some patients spent almost a week in the Intensive Care Unit at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and were told by one of his doctors they were suffering from a severe case caused by Salmonella intoxication.  Another patient at the hospital with the same Salmonella symptoms reportedly also ate at Oregano Joe’s restaurant.

Available reports showed that the restaurant was closed twice by the Orange Health Department, once on May 30 for one day and then again on June 20 for five weeks. However, the local health department won’t say why it closed the establishment and won’t say if there is a link between the illnesses and the restaurant closures.

Both the local and state health departments say state law prevents them from sharing the information they have with the public. On the contrary the local police report quoted the owner as saying his eatery was shut down ‘due to multiple confirmed cases of S Salmonella enterica serovar Schwarzengrund  poisoning.This serovar is remarkably disposed to nosocomial spread, and presents a unique opportunity to identify factors that facilitate this important type of transmission. 

This is relevant since spread of multidrug-resistant S. Schwarzengrund from chickens to persons has been reported in Thailand, and from imported Thai food products to persons in Denmark and the United States. 

martes, 11 de noviembre de 2014

In Wake of Outbreak, Foster Farms Outlines New Salmonella Plan

They are going to expend $75 million towards reducing Salmonella in its raw products.
Foster Farms, the California-based poultry company whose chicken was the source of a recent 17-month Salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 600 people, has announced a new plan to control contamination of its product.
The processor’s new program, unveiled Friday at the Delmarva Poultry Industry’s National Meeting on Poultry Health, will put $75 million towards reducing Salmonella in its raw products. The plan was developed in anticipation of new government microbiological standards for raw poultry parts, due to be announced soon, said Dr. Robert O’Connor, senior vice president for technical services Foster Farms.
The new strategy will center on an intensive data collection and analysis regimen.
The five-part plan will include the following elements:
- Collaboration and information sharing with all stakeholders, including regulatory agencies. The company has formed an advisory board to validate its methods.
- Extensive data collection: Sampling for Salmonella will be done on the ranch and throughout processing. The company has an internal lab, in which it plans to double testing from 80,000 tests to 160,000 tests per year.
- Analysis of internal data to identify trends at individual ranches and factors at different locations that could influence contamination.
- Acting on data: The Company has established new procedures for environmental control in and around ranch houses to prevent spreading of Salmonella between flocks.
- Measuring results: According to O’Connell, Foster Farms is continuously measuring Salmonella levels at all stages of production and has recorded a continuous decline of Salmonella levels in packaged parts over the last seven months.
Between March 1, 2013 and July 11, 2014, 634 infections of multidrug-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg were linked to raw chicken products from Foster Farms in 29 states.
Foster Farms’ chicken was also the source of a 13-state outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg that sickened 134 people, mostly in Washington and Oregon, between June 2012 and April 2013.

Source: © Food Safety News

lunes, 10 de noviembre de 2014

China Lifts Suspension on Washington State Apples

United States and China continue to work to normalize trade in apples.
US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that China is lifting its suspension of red and golden delicious apple imports from Washington State. The Chinese market for Washington apples was valued at $6.5 million in calendar year 2011.
"USDA employees worked closely with the apple industry and China over a long period of time to achieve this market access," said Secretary Tom Vilsack. "We continue cultivating a strong relationship with China and paving the way for future bilateral trading opportunities."
In 2012, China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) suspended access for Washington red and golden delicious apples due to the repeated interception of three apple pests AQSIQ considers significant: speck rot, bull's-eye rot, and Sphaeropsis rot. To lift this suspension, USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) worked with the U.S. apple industry to develop additional safeguarding measures that address China's concerns about these pests. Some of these new measures include cold storage of apples and visual inspection of apples prior to shipping to ensure there is no evidence of disease. USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service also worked closely with industry stakeholders to ensure the successful outcome.
This market access success comes as the United States and China continue to work to normalize trade in apples. Ongoing efforts include negotiating access for all U.S. apples to the Chinese market, as well as the safe U.S. importation of apples grown in China.
USDA remains a strong partner and advocate in the international marketplace, working with foreign governments and international regulatory or standard-setting organizations to ensure the smooth flow of international trade. Strong agricultural exports contribute to a positive U.S. trade balance, create jobs, boost economic growth and support President Obama's National Export Initiative goal of doubling all U.S. exports by the end of 2014. APHIS also ensures that all imported agricultural products meet the Agency's entry requirements to exclude pests and diseases of agriculture.
Source: USDA

miércoles, 5 de noviembre de 2014

Nuevo método para detectar Salmonella en alimentos

Nuevo método permitiría el diagnóstico más rápido de la bacteria en distintas matrices alimentarias.

Los productos y subproductos cárnicos, leche cruda, huevos, productos que contienen huevo y vegetales, otros alimentos perecederos y aquellos que requieren manipulación, se asocian con mayor frecuencia a brotes de ETA por Salmonella spp. Por lo tanto, es muy importante realizar la vigilancia integral de toda la cadena de producción de alimentos, desde la producción primaria hasta el consumidor. Los diferentes aspectos del control microbiológico de la producción de alimentos combinado con un sistema de HACCP es un modo de asegurar la calidad durante el proceso de elaboración de los alimentos. La detección, aislamiento y caracterización de Salmonella spp. en materia prima, ambiente, producto terminado, como así también en las distintas etapas de elaboración es una forma de verificar la inocuidad de los alimentos que se producen.

Por esta razón laboratorios MICROKIT,  ha creado un nuevo método que ha sido diseñado, basándose en la Norma ISO 6579 pero optimizándola; el método varía, ahorrando un medio y acortando el tiempo de obtención de resultados a la mitad: sólo 36 horas.

El método ISO 6579 tiene como desventajas la lentitud de obtención de resultados y la no neutralización de los conservantes de la muestra, que conlleva a resultados falsamente negativos para solucionar este problema, pero el nuevo método que ha sido diseñado por Laboratorios MICROKIT, basándose en la Norma ISO 6579 pero optimizándola; el método, ahorra un medio y acorta el tiempo de obtención de resultados a la mitad: sólo 36 horas.

En este caso se realiza el pre-enriquecimiento revitalizador (e inactivador de conservantes y de metabolitos generados por el resto de la flora acompañante, que podrían interferir en el crecimiento de Salmonella en un sinfín de matrices alimentarias) de 25 g de la muestra en 225 ml de Agua de Peptona Tamponada Neutralizante (BPNW), 2-20 minutos a temperatura ambiente. Se añaden al mismo 18 ml de SS Broth a [x5], se mezcla y se incuba el conjunto 18 h a 35-37ºC, constituyéndose así en un solo paso la revitalización de las Salmonella dañadas, la inactivación de los graves problemas que no contempla la ISO 6579 y el aumento de la selectividad para la multiplicación de las Salmonella presentes.

En este medio mixto, las muestras con Salmonella ennegrecen el caldo, por lo que de entrada en las primeras 18h ya tenemos una alerta de posible presencia de Salmonella si el caldo está negro. Pero algunas otras Enterobacterias también pueden ennegrecer, por lo que hay que continuar con el segundo paso: Al día siguiente se estría por duplicado, en Agares XLD y en Cromosalm, incubando otras 18h. De modo que las muestras sin crecimientos típicos de Salmonella (colonias negras en XLD y colonias verdes en Cromosalm) son liberadas en sólo 36h.

Aporte: Paz Quiroga Jara-Quemada

Nivalenol en alimentos, qué es y cómo evitarla

El nivalenol, la micotoxina producida por hongos del género Fusarium que contamina los cereales.
Las micotoxinas son compuestos tóxicos que producen distintos tipos de hongos que pertenecen sobre todo a los géneros AspergillusPenicillium y Fusarium. Desde el punto de vista de la inocuidad las micotoxinas constituyen un peligro químico de contaminación de los alimentos, entran en la cadena alimentaria a través de cultivos de alimentos y piensos contaminados, sobre todo cereales, y pueden afectar tanto a la salud humana, especialmente a adultos mayores, embarazadas, infantes y personas inmunodeprimidas. Así como también afecta a la salud de los animales alimentados con piensos y cereales.
Las micotoxinas en alimentos se generan por malas condiciones  de almacenamiento, poca ventilación, temperatura y humedad elevadas. El nivalenol  es frecuente en cultivos de cereales como trigo, maíz, cebada, avena y centeno, así como en productos a base de grano como pan, malta o cerveza, que en condiciones de humedad y frío producen esta micotoxina.
Según estudios de la EFSA (2013) los alimentos de mayor riesgo de contaminación por  nivalenol son: cereales y sus derivados como pan, pastas o cereales de desayuno hechos a base de avena, maíz, cebada o trigo. Debido al riesgo de toxicidad se ha establecido una IDT o ingesta diaria tolerable de 1,2 microgramos/kilo de peso corporal al día. Los expertos indican que la exposición alimentaria humana a nivalenol está por debajo de esta ingesta diaria tolerable. Por otro lado, no se encontraron datos contundentes sobre la carcinogenicidad, aunque las evidencias señalan que no es genotóxico.

Una de las formas de reducir la presencia de nivalenol es una adecuada limpieza en la etapa de procesamiento. Se ha demostrado que las condiciones de cocción influyen poco en la reducción de las concentraciones en materias primas contaminadas. El nivalenol es inestable a temperaturas superiores a 150ºC y en condiciones alcalinas. La tasa de degradación aumenta con el incremento de tiempo y de temperaturas, por lo que el control de estos parámetros es crítico para evitar el desarrollo de hongos y la producción de la micotoxina.

Aporte: Virginia Estévez