martes, 31 de mayo de 2016

Feds delay poultry testing; expect many operations to fail.

Salmonella and Campylobacter testing was moved from May to July 1. 
Certain poultry producers have a few extra weeks to beef up their pathogen reduction programs, which were scheduled to face new Salmonella and Campylobacter testing beginning in May.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) won’t begin assessing whether poultry operations are meeting new pathogen reduction standards until July 1, according to a recent USDA update. The delay is necessary to allow inspectors additional time to become familiar with new instructions on sampling procedures, the agency reported.
When they do hit the road, the inspectors will be collecting more samples than they did in the past as the FSIS pursues the goal of reducing human illnesses from Salmonella and Campylobacter in “chicken parts and comminuted chicken and turkey products,” according to Federal Register notice published earlier this year.
Federal officials expect more than half of chicken operations will fail, at least initially.
“FSIS estimates that approximately 63% of raw chicken parts producing establishments, 62% of NRTE (not-ready-to-eat) comminuted chicken producing establishments, and 58% of NRTE comminuted turkey producing establishments will not meet the new Salmonella standards,” the agency stated in the Federal Register.
The expectations for reducing Campylobacter are better. However, FSIS still estimates that 46% of raw chicken parts producing establishments, 24% of NRTE comminuted chicken producing establishments, and 9% of NRTE comminuted turkey producing establishments will not meet the new Campylobacter standards.
Chicken parts and the other poultry products are in the crosshairs because they have historically shown much higher pathogen levels than ground beef or pork chops, FSIS reported.
“Recent research supports that poultry represents the largest fraction of Salmonella and Campylobacter illnesses attributed to FSIS-regulated products,” the Federal Register notice states.

“Furthermore, data from the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) show that the incidence of Salmonella in poultry products is five to 10 times higher than that in ground beef or pork chops.”
Federal officials cited outbreaks in recent years involving the targeted chicken parts and other poultry products, including two Salmonella outbreaks this past year. Public health officials traced the two 2015 outbreaks to raw, frozen, stuffed chicken entrées from two separate establishments.

Health Canada may allow the sale of irradiated raw ground beef.

Current FDA regulations also permit some irradiated foods properly labeled with the international symbol and “Treated with radiation”
Health Canada plans to suggest amendments to the country’s Food and Drug Regulations in June, which would add ground beef to the list of foods permitted to undergo radiation treatment before being sold in Canada.
The rationale behind changing the regulations is that irradiation of raw ground beef will prevent the spread of E. coli and other foodborne pathogens. However, Canadian health officials are well aware that public reaction to the idea has been negative so far.
The plan was revived in 2013 after the 2012 beef recall by XL Foods Inc. in Brooks, Alberta. The largest beef recall in Canadian history, it involved 8 million pounds of beef, and the related E. coli O157:H7 outbreak sickened at least 18 Canadians.
Industry groups north of the border have long advocated irradiation of beef and say that the time is right to initiate the practice. Some would also like to see chicken and salad vegetables irradiated prior to sale.
“I think public perception has changed,” said Mark Klassen, director of technical services with the Albert-based Canadian Cattlemen’s Association. “When we ask Canadians if they think they should be able to purchase irradiated beef, they’re accepting of it.”

However, critics of food irradiation say that it produces toxins such as benzene, reduces a food’s nutritional value, and changes the taste of the meat. Some claim that factory farms and feedlots want to irradiate meat so they can continue putting large numbers of animals into small, confined spaces where the animals, along with their water and food, are exposed to large amounts of feces.

Health Canada spokeswoman Maryse Durette said the proposed regulations will be announced next month in the Canada Gazette and that a 75-day public consultation period will follow. She also said that if irradiated frozen or fresh ground beef were approved for sale in the Canadian marketplace, it would need to be labeled as such.
If the government allows raw ground beef to be irradiated before retail sale in Canada, it would join the following food items on that country’s approved list: onions, potatoes, wheat, flour, whole wheat flour, whole or ground spices, and dehydrated seasonings.
In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration allows irradiation of food by X-rays or electron beam. Current FDA regulations permit the following foods to be irradiated before sale in the U.S.: beef, pork, crustaceans (lobster, shrimp and crab), fresh fruits and vegetables, lettuce and spinach, molluscan shellfish (oysters, clams, mussels and scallops), poultry, seeds for sprouting (such as alfalfa sprouts), shell eggs, and spices and seasonings.

jueves, 19 de mayo de 2016

La inocuidad alimentaria coloca los trabajadores agrícolas al frente y centro.

Los trabajadores agrícolas son a menudo los primeros en ver los problemas que podrían contaminar los cultivos
Cuando el tema es la inocuidad alimentaria, las primeras cosas que se vienen a la mente es la gran cantidad de agricultores que cultivan alimentos, tiendas de venta de alimentos, e incluso los científicos de salud pública están analizando los alimentos para asegurarse de que no contienen microorganismos patógenos que podrían enfermarnos - o incluso matarnos.
Pero ¿qué pasa con los trabajadores de cosecha y empaque de alimentos en el campo? ¿Qué tienen que ver con la inocuidad de los alimentos?, excepto, por supuesto, que deben lavarse las manos antes de recoger los alimentos, ya sea a primera hora de la mañana antes de entrar en el campo o después de usar el cuarto de baño.

Pero, hay algo más que eso. Considere esto: Los trabajadores agrícolas son a menudo los primeros en ver los problemas que podrían contaminar los cultivos. Problemas tales como excrementos de ciervos, animales de granja o perros que recorren los campos, cajas de embalajes sucias o equipos, la falta de las instalaciones de lavado de manos, o incluso aplicaciones de abono en los campos cercanos podrían dar la posibilidad de que microorganismos patógenos del estiércol lleguen a los cultivos.

En pocas palabras, son los ojos y los oídos para la inocuidad alimentaria en los campos -son un primer eslabón esencial en la cadena de inocuidad de los alimentos que se extiende desde los campos a toda la cadena agroalimentaria, a las tiendas o mercados en los que compramos nuestros alimentos.
Importante, sí. Pero, ¿cómo puede el sistema agrícola ir más allá de los trabajadores del campo sobre la inocuidad alimentaria?, para alertar a los administradores o los agricultores acerca de los problemas que podrían surgir en el campo.

Eso es simple, dicen algunos. Hay que considerar la situación desde la perspectiva de los trabajadores agrícolas que se les paga por la cantidad que cosechan. Es todo acerca de la velocidad. Cuanto más rápido se cosecha más se les paga.

"Si veo algo malo y lo digo, lo primero que harían es despedirme", es los que dijo el trabajador Ramón Torres a Food Safety News en una entrevista anterior. Si bien esto no refleja lo que sucede en todas las granjas, es cierto en muchos casos.

¿Estará pasando esto en nuestro medio?

Aporte: Francisca Castro

jueves, 12 de mayo de 2016

Frozen vegetable and fruits involved in big Listeria recall

Listeria from ill people were confirmed by using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis
On April 23, 2016, CRF Frozen Foods recalled 11 frozen vegetable products because they may be contaminated with Listeria. On May 2, 2016, CRF Frozen Foods expanded the initial recall to include all organic and traditional frozen vegetable and fruit products processed in its Pasco, Washington facility since May 1, 2014. Recalled items were sold in plastic bags under various brand names, nationwide and in Canada. A full list of recalled products is available on the FDA website.
Listeria specimens were collected from September 13, 2013 to March 28, 2016. Two illnesses were reported in 2016. The remaining six illnesses reported during 2013-2015 were identified through a retrospective review of the PulseNet database. Ill people range in age from 56 years to 86, with a median age of 76. Seventy-five percent of ill people are female. All eight (100%) ill people were hospitalized, including one from Maryland and one from Washington who died, although listeriosis was not considered to be a cause of death for either person.
Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. PulseNet, coordinated by CDC, is the national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories. PulseNet performs DNA "fingerprinting" on Listeria bacteria isolated from ill people by using techniques called pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS).
A total of eight people infected with the outbreak strains of Listeria have been reported from three states since September 13, 2013. A list of states and the number of cases in each can be found on the Case Count Map page.
The outbreak can be illustrated with a chart showing the number of people who were diagnosed each month. This chart is called an epidemic curve or epi curve.
Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence available at this time indicates that frozen vegetables produced by CRF Frozen Foods of Pasco, Washington and sold under various brand names are one likely source of illnesses in this outbreak. This is a complex, ongoing investigation, and updates will be provided when more information is available.

martes, 10 de mayo de 2016

Presencia de Listeria monocytogenes en una planta de producción de ensaladas

Dole Fresh Vegetales Inc. será sometido a una investigación criminal
El Departamento de Justicia de EE.UU inició investigación, para evaluar la responsabilidad criminal de la empresa Dole (Springfield, Ohio) en relación al brote de Listeriosis. 
Funcionarios de Dole estaban en conocimiento de que las instalaciones se encontraban contaminadas con Listeria un año y medio antes del brote, pero sólo actuaron luego de que los Gobiernos de EE.UU. y Canadá ligaran los brotes a su planta.
El 21 de enero de este año, las autoridades realizaron una prueba al azar en las ensaladas empaquetadas producidas por la compañía, una de ellas dio positiva a L. monocytogenes. Sólo entonces Dole suspendió su producción, para luego retomar sus funciones en abril.
Al menos 33 personas en EE.UU. y Canadá han enfermado, necesitando hospitalización y cuatro de ellos murieron. La cepa aislada de los enfermos concuerda con la encontrada en la ensalada Dole.

La FDA por su parte, inspeccionó en tres ocasiones en los meses de enero y tres veces en febrero, luego de que se corroborara la relación de la huella genética de las bacterias aisladas entre las personas enfermas y las ensaladas producidas por Dole. Se recolectaron muestras de frotis y productos terminados, junto con la revisión de ensayos y documentos. La FDA no hizo público los resultados de la inspección.

Es hoy claro que Listeria estaba presente en la planta y en los reportes del año 2014 de la FDA y en los informes internos de la planta de los años 2014 y 2015, no obstante la empresa continuó elaborando y despachando ensaladas.

Durante la inspección realizada en marzo del 2014 la FDA detectó diversos problemas relacionados con los pisos y paredes, los cuales no cumplían con la mantención higiénica de estos; fallas en la protección de las superficies de contacto de los alimentos, que evitaran la contaminación de los alimentos y fallas en el control de plagas.

L. monocytogenes puede ingresar a la planta en las materias primas y persistir en las instalaciones al no existir un adecuado programa de limpieza y sanitización de los equipos, ya que la bacteria puede generar biofilms en sitios húmedos (desagües, pisos y paredes) La industria debe contar con un Programa de Pre-requisitos para el Control de Listeria conforme a la FSIS.

Sources: Rosa Cabrera