lunes, 16 de marzo de 2015

WHO links food safety and nutrition

Seven keys to safer foods
Linking food safety and nutrition, the World Health Organization said food and water-borne diseases kill an estimated two million people across the world annually.

Globally, every year, millions of people die of food contamination. Foodborne illness is a serious cause of concern. Access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food is key to sustaining life and promoting good health. Food safety, nutrition and food security are inextricably linked, according to Asheena Khalakdia, the team leader for communicable diseases at WHO country office for India.

She said that from the production to consumption, there were several potential areas of food contamination and safe and healthy food should be the prime focus.
Food safety is a big issue so this year we have come up with a theme on food safety on the occasion of World Health Day on April 7, 2015, she said, during a technical session on the theme for the World Health Day.

The WHO experts enumerated seven key points for safer food, these include:
  1.  Use certified raw materials.
  2.  Clean foods carefully,
  3.   Keeping the raw and cooked food separated
  4.  Cooking thoroughly especially meat, poultry, eggs and seafood at 70 degrees Celsius,
  5.  Keep foods refrigerated,
  6.  Use safe water  
  7.  Throw away garbage
Food safety is a shared responsibility. It is important to work all along the food production chain - from farmers and manufacturers to vendors and consumers.
Accomplish these five keys factors for safer food must be made accessible to every consumer. All the stakeholders should come forward on a joint platform to share this responsibility.

Source: Five keys to safer food

FDA Investigates Listeria monocytogenes in Ice Cream Products from Blue Bell Creameries

Ice-cream samples yielded Listeria monocytogenes from the same products tested by South Carolina

According to the CDC and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, five patients who were treated in a single hospital in Kansas were infected with one of four rare strains of Listeria monocytogenes. Three of these strains, which are highly similar, have also been found in products manufactured at the Blue Bell Creameries production facility in Brenham, Texas. Illness onset dates range from January 2014 to January 2015.

FDA was notified that these three strains and four other rare strains of Listeria monocytogenes were found in samples of Blue Bell Creameries single serving Chocolate Chip Country Cookie Sandwich and the Great Divide Bar ice cream products collected by the South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control during routine product sampling at a South Carolina distribution center, on February 12, 2015. These products are manufactured at Blue Bell Creameries’ Brenham facility.

The Texas Department of State Health Services, subsequently, collected product samples from the Blue Bell Creameries Brenham facility. These samples yielded Listeria monocytogenes from the same products tested by South Carolina and a third single-serving ice cream product, Scoops, which is also made on the same production line.

According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, hospital records available for four patients show that all were served ice cream from Blue Bell Creameries’ prepackaged, single-serving products and milkshakes made from these products. The hospital receives ice cream manufactured by Blue Bell Creameries, although it is not confirmed that the hospital receives ice cream only from the Brenham facility. All five case-patients are adults. Three deaths have been reported.

Microorganism fingerprinting to pinpoint food contamination in supply chain

Using a spectrometer, the researchers are able to detect undesirable microorganisms in finished products and trace them back.
Track and trace a new method that detects unwanted microorganisms in finished products and traces them back to where they occurred in the food chain is more effective, quicker and economical than current systems, said a group of Norwegian researchers.
The team from Nofima Mat and Elopak said it is the first to develop a process using a 

Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy that tests and “fingerprints” product samples as they travel through the various stages of the production process from raw material to the packaging line and beyond.

The second step in fingerprinting technique – which involves building up a unique spectral image of microorganisms – examines the finished products. If it finds a microorganism it compares the profile with ones stored in a database to identify exactly where in the supply chain the bacteria, moulds or yeasts first appeared in the product.
In order to find the source of contamination a high number of samples are taken along the production chain ­ such as raw material, after processing, after packing, after distributing. 

Using the group’s technique, the FTIR instrument is able to gather 100 fingerprints per hour­ meaning the number of samples taken in the field can the field can be quite high. After collecting all fingerprints, we need to fingerprint the spoilt sample(s) found to look for a fingerprint match. Then the software will look for the fingerprint match. By doing that we are able to find the source of the food spoilage ­ be it in the raw material or during processing.

The database fundamental to the system’s efficacy is available from Nofima Mat that compiled spectral readings of various microbes collected from a wide variety of foods, including juice and milk. In this project was developed a database of information about the samples, approximately 20 000 spectral profiles of different microbes are already available. 
The laboratory routines to ensure the readings are tested easily reproducible. Expansion of the database is an on­going task and companies that are interested in the process will be able to develop their own.

Another advantage of the process is its low cost, with the main expense being the FTIR instrument. Consumable are very limited and are very cheap and their cost may reduce by 50 per cent compared with DNA technique such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
While acknowledging that several other methods exist to pinpoint contamination sources researchers are convinced theirs is the most cost­ effective solution. It is a very precise and high capacity method, with the additional advantage that technicians don’t need to be specialists in mycology in order to identify such microorganisms.

Source: Spectroscopic characterization of microorganisms by Fourier transform infrared 
microspectroscopyDOI: 10.1002/bip.20247

jueves, 12 de marzo de 2015

FSAI finds Listeria and Campylobacter in raw milk

Raw milk should be avoided by consumers
Listeria monocytogenes and Campylobacter were detected in 20% and 22% respectively of milk filter samples tested by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI). The agency said it continues to recommend the sale of raw milk for direct human consumption be prohibited in the country. It advised the public to ensure milk is effectively heat treated (e.g. pasteurized or boiled), especially when served to infants, children, pregnant women and older people.
 A milk filter particulate debris that may inadvertently enter the product from the milking process. It is usually placed in the pipeline, which transports milk from the animal to the bulk tank but it is not fine enough to remove bacteria from the raw milk.
Pathogen detection rates: A total of 211 farms were randomly selected for the microbiological survey looking at pathogens in raw milk and in­line filters used in the milking equipment. The work took 600 samples, made up of 410 raw milk and 190 in­line raw milk filters over a 12 month period from June 2012.
The agency said it does not currently have plans to repeat the survey. For raw milk samples, rates of Listeria monocytogenes and Campylobacter were 7% and 3%.
Salmonella was detected in 1% of raw milk filters and 0.5% of raw milk samples, while E. coli O26 (VTEC) was detected in 6% of raw milk filter samples showing its contamination potential.
A scientific opinion by the EFSA Panel on Biological Hazards (BIOHAZ) earlier this year highlighted the "clear link" between consumption of unpasteurized milk and a long list of illnesses. A total of 27 outbreaks involving raw drinking milk were reported in the EU between 2007 and 2012, with cow's milk accounting for 23 and goat's milk the remaining four, said the panel.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) blamed the legal sale of raw milk in an increasing number of states for a rise in outbreaks associated with unpasteurized milk last year.
The FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) tested almost 2,000 raw milk samples and found veterinary drug residues in just 0.78% of them, according to a report this month. ‘Avoid raw milk’ FSAI said that while on­ farm hygiene and animal health have improved over recent years, farms remain a significant reservoir for pathogens. Dr Wayne Anderson, director of food science and standards at FSAI, said almost all milk on sale in Ireland is pasteurized, which is the simplest and most reliable method to ensure it is safe to drink.
Raw milk should be avoided by consumers, but for those who still wish to drink it, they should, at a minimum, boil the milk before drinking it to kill any potentially harmful bacteria. FSAI said there was no correlation between herd size, species, or season and the detection of pathogens in raw milk or on raw milk filters.

Study: Reusable Plastic Produce Containers Harbor Bacteria Even After Being Cleaned, Sanitized

Bacterial biofilms could survive on the surface of RPC material.
Reusable plastic containers used to transport large amounts of fruits and vegetables to grocery stores can continue to harbor potentially harmful bacteria directly on their surfaces, even after undergoing industry-standard cleaning and sanitizing, according to a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Arkansas and WBA Analytical Laboratories. study took a microscopically close look at the materials used to make the reusable plastic containers (RPCs) that have gained a foothold in the grocery industry in recent years as a preferred method of transporting produce.

The findings suggest that a return to single-use containers for fresh produce might reduce the risk of foodborne illness outbreaks associated with those products. The researchers allowed Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes and E. coli O157:H7 bacteria to grow on the RPC surface and then subjected sample surfaces to cleaning and sanitizing practices typical in the industry. In all cases, the materials still harbored biofilms that protected the bacteria and would theoretically allow bacteria to colonize the next shipment of fruits and vegetables to be put in the containers.

Anytime you start using these things over and over again, you increase the opportunities for pathogens to propagate, it is really increasing the chance of bacteria getting fixed to the surface.”
The study was to see whether or not bacterial biofilms could survive on the surface of RPC material. After cleaning, they examined RPC samples with a scanning electron microscope (SEM) and found the bacteria on every sample cleaned. It is interesting this results when the containers appear clean to the naked eye. Data suggest the rough surfaces might be easier for bacteria to colonize. Obviously the presence of bacteria after cleaning meant that the possibility of disease transmission could not be ruled out

The industry needs to look into doing a risk assessment and cost assessment of using RPCs for transporting produce, adding that he knew the suggestion makes him sound.
The plastic containers have been under scrutiny from certain food safety academics in recent years. Researchers from both the University of California-Davis and the University of Guelph have conducted studies finding that RPCs are often still contaminated when delivered to produce packers.

Source: Food Safety News

martes, 3 de marzo de 2015

New technology used in FSA Campylobacter survey

UK Food Standard Agency’s (FSA)’s survey which found 73% of chickens tested positive for Campylobacter
Seward has revealed how its Stomacher technology was used to prepare samples for the UK Food Standard Agency’s (FSA)’s survey which found 73% of chickens tested positive for Campylobacter. Data consolidated nine months of figures with the next set expected in May. More than 3,000 samples of fresh whole chilled chickens and packaging have been tested. 19% of chickens tested positive within the highest band of contamination – 1,000 colony forming units per gram (>1,000 CFU/g). 7% of packaging tested positive but only three out of more than 3,000 samples tested positive at the highest band of contamination. Samples processed were chicken skin and sponge swabs taken from chicken carcasses.
The Stomacher paddle blender was used to process chicken skin and sponge swabs to maximize bacterial recovery at the pre­-enrichment phase. Stuart Ray, technical director at Seward, said the traditional techniques of horizontal isolation of Campylobacter are reliable but slow.
New Real ­Time PCR techniques require shorter pre­-enrichment following Stomaching which could reduce the time to result to just 24 hours, to potentially enable processors to clear products before shipping. “The quality of the sample produced by the Stomacher is essential for the reliability of this new approach.”
Retailer findings Results showed Tesco (925 samples, 68.2% skin samples positive) is the only one of the main retailers which has a lower incidence of contaminated chicken contaminated at the highest level, compared to industry average. However, none of the retailers are achieving the joint industry target for reducing Campylobacter. Tesco said the levels found on chicken tested from its stores were below the UK average of 72.9%. “We were one of the first retailers to introduce more robust leak proof packaging in 2011, and continue to work with suppliers to try and keep flocks free of Campylobacter and implement best practices with processors. We will be conducting the very first full-scale commercial trial of rapid surface chilling in partnership with one of our suppliers. “We funded the work that led to the development of the carcass washing guidelines, now available to the industry. All of our sites have been independently audited for control of Campylobacter, including compliance for this guidance and other best practices.”
Out of 103 samples from Marks & Spencer’s (M&S) 72.2% returned positive skin samples. M&S said it had joined with 2 Sisters Food Group for market research and to test ways to reduce the pathogen and has produced a five-step plan including zero thinning, blast surface chilling and clear labeling. Asda was the worst again with 78.9% skin samples positive from 491 samples, Morrison’s 76.2% positive from 271 samples and Co­op 75.6% positive from 274 samples. The joint FSA industry target is to reduce the prevalence of the most contaminated chickens (greater than 1000 CFU/g) to below 10% at the end of the slaughter process, by the end of 2015. Measures include education in the kitchen, novel packaging, temperature treatment, improved washing and re­scaling at slaughterhouse and create and module washing during transport.

lunes, 2 de marzo de 2015

Outbreak of cryptosporidiosis due to raw goats’ milk

Cryptosporidiosis is an infrequently reported risk
Raw goat milk produced on or after August 24 last year by Treasured Sunrise Acres in Parma was identified as the source of infections in two residents, said the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare's Division of Public Health (DPH).
Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite causing a diarrheal illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) blamed the increasing legal sales of raw milk for an increase in associated outbreaks in a previous study.
Milk produced before August 18, the date of illness onset, was unavailable for testing from retail stores, the household, or the dairy, said the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly (MMWR) report.
Negative test validation: Four samples from containers of raw goat milk produced on August 18, 21, 25, and 28 all tested positive for Cryptosporidium by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) at a commercial laboratory. Five samples were collected along the production line on September 2 and tested positive by PCR at the commercial laboratory.
Testing of all nine milk samples at CDC by PCR and direct fluorescent antibody test was negative.
CDC and the commercial laboratory validated the negative result by using sequencing to determine false positive results were likely caused by goat DNA amplification during PCR.
An inspection of the dairy did not reveal any obvious contamination sources. Water from the producer's well tested negative at Idaho Bureau of Laboratories by direct fluorescent antibody test after ultrafiltration and goat stool was unavailable for testing.
Outbreak investigation: Idaho's Southwest District Health (SWDH) and the Central District Health Department identified nine ill persons in four households. Four had regularly consumed raw goat milk produced before August 18 and fell ill and five household members who had not experienced symptoms of gastroenteritis 3–8 days after the first household member became ill. In total, the 11 ill persons were aged two months to 76 years, six were female and one patient was hospitalized. Stool specimens in three primary cases (i.e., illnesses in those who drank the raw goat milk) and three secondary cases (i.e., illness in contacts of those who drank the milk) led to CDC isolating Cryptosporidium parvum subtype IIaA16G3R1 from all six.
The last reported Cryptosporidium outbreak associated illness was a secondary case dated September 3.
Milk consumed before illness onset was unavailable for testing and could have been subjected to a single, undetected contamination event, said the report.
This outbreak highlights an infrequently reported cryptosporidiosis risk from unpasteurized milk, the value of sequencing to validate PCR protocols, the utility of genotyping Cryptosporidium isolates for strengthening epidemiologic evidence, and the risk for secondary transmission.