FSIS: Food Safety Data Sharing to Help Consumers Make Informed Choices
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/news/fsis-food-safety-data-sharing-to-help-consumers-make-informed-choices/
By Staff (July 11, 2016)
FSIS: Food Safety Data Sharing to Help Consumers Make Informed Choices
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has plans to begin sharing new levels of food safety data specific to slaughter and processing facilities in the United States, on Data.gov. This move will allow consumers to make more informed choices, motivate individual establishments to improve performance, and lead to industry-wide improvements in food safety by providing better insights into strengths and weaknesses of different practices.
“FSIS’ food safety inspectors collect vast amounts of data at food producing facilities every day, which we analyze on an ongoing basis to detect emerging public health risks and create better policies to prevent foodborne illness,” says USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Al Almanza. “Consumers want more information about the foods they are purchasing, and sharing these details can give them better insight into food production and inspection, and help them make informed purchasing decisions.”
The new datasets will begin to publish on Data.gov on a quarterly basis starting 90 days after publication in the Federal Register. Initially, FSIS will share information on the processes used at each facility, giving more detail than is currently listed in the searchable establishment directory, as well as a code for each facility that will make it easier to sort and combine future datasets by facility. Additionally, FSIS will release results for Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella in ready-to-eat products and processed egg products.
On a quarterly basis, FSIS will then begin to share other datasets, including results for Shiga Toxin-producing Escherichia coli and Salmonella in raw, nonintact beef products; results for Salmonella and Campylobacter in young chickens and young turkeys, comminuted poultry, and chicken parts; routine chemical residue testing data in meat and poultry products; and advanced meat recovery testing data.
Criteria such as data availability and possible impact on public health will be considered by FSIS to determine which datasets are best suited for future public release. User guides that provide context to the data will be included with each dataset.
Carbon E. coli Outbreak: 50 Sick, 14 Hospitalized
By Carla Gillespie (July 8, 2016)
The E. coli outbreak linked to Carbon Live Fire Mexican grill has expanded to include 50 people hospitalizing 14 of them, according to a spokesman for the Chicago Department of Public Health. The restaurant, located at 300 W. 26th Street in the South Side Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago, has been closed until the investigation is complete. The food source of the outbreak has not yer been identified.
Health officials urge anyone who ate restaurant and develops symptoms of an E. coli infection which include abdominal cramping and diarrhea that can be bloody, to seek medical attention and mention exposure to shiga toxin producing E. coli (STEC). E. coli infections should not be treated with antibiotics or anti-diarrheal medications as they can worsen symptoms or cause life-threatening complications such as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which leads to kidney failure. HUS develops in about 5 to 10 percent of E.coli cwhich most commonly affects young people with E. coli infections, can also cause seizure, stroke, coma and death.
“The size and scope of this E. coli outbreak is very large for a restaurant-based outbreak. The problem was clearly widespread and repeated over many, many meals,” said Brendan Flaherty, an attorney with the national food safety law firm PritzkerOlsen, who is representing a customer who became ill. The Chipotle E coli outbreak, which included multiple locations in 11 states sickened 55 people.
In 2013 , an E.coli outbreak linked to Federico’s Mexican Restaurant in Litchfield Park, AZ sickened 94 people. It was one of the largest E.coli outbreaks of the decade, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
That outbreak occurred during July and August, at least 23 people were hospitalized. Two people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome HUS. Health officials strongly suspect lettuce was the food source.
Officials from the Maricopa County Public Health Department concluded that because other restaurants that received lettuce from the same supplier did not have illnesses, Federico’s could have received a small batch of contaminated lettuce and spread the bacteria through improper washing techniques. Cross contamination from another food, such as beef, was also a possibility, they said in a final report about the outbreak issued in November.
Health officials gave Federico’s recommendations on the handling and storage of lettuce and handwashing protocols to minimize E.coli contamination. The restaurant, which closed for a time to do an extensive cleaning, complied with all recommendations made by health officials before reopening.
FDA Compliance For Food Contact: Is Your Company Ready?
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/signature-series/fda-compliance-for-food-contact-is-your-company-ready/
By Plastics Color Corporation (July 7, 2016)
Foodborne illnesses claim the lives of nearly 3,000 people each year. Another one in six, or 48 million people, get sick and 128,000 of them are hospitalized. The numbers are high and the dangers are real. This is why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is empowered, by way of strict regulations and a watchful eye, to help protect consumer safety. Companies failing to adhere to FDA’s rules and regulations are subject to serious penalties. Make sure your company is prepared and ready to comply, which all begins with understanding and following the proper submission protocol.
What Is FDA Compliance For Food Contact?
Product developers seeking approval for a new food contact substance (FCS) are required to submit a food contact notification (FCN) to the Office of Food Additive Safety (OFAS) at least 120 days prior to the marketing of the FCS. The submission of the FCN must contain sufficient information to demonstrate that the item is safe for the intended use stated in the notification. Safe for the intended use is the key phrase, as some companies take liberties with FDA’s wording.
FDA Compliance Controversy
FDA keeps a close watch over food contact substances for consumers, who may not be aware of the potential dangers that come with food contact substance, including the migration of materials into food. FDA experts—toxicologists, endocrinologists, chemists and epidemiologists—have determined a fine line for safety, which is mapped out by the Code of Federal Regulations Title 21. Companies large and small often fudge the line, citing rule 21 CFR 170.39, better known as the “housewares exemption.”
The housewares exemption means the product does not have to go through review because the company’s submission relies on the product’s intended use to guarantee its safety. Controversy arises when plastic materials are supposed to be used one way, yet are regularly used another. For example, colored plastic utensils, plates and cups are a great way to get ready for a party. You can serve a large group, then throw the plastics away and never worry about dishes. That’s the way the products are supposed to be used. But plenty of people wash the items and reuse them. This form of recycling may not be the use reported to FDA. In fact, many manufacturing companies never mention washing and reusing their products on their website at all, despite knowing that the practice commonly occurs. The result is that potential safety questions about long-term use are not addressed. This also opens up the issue of whether the manufacturer used the housewares exemption as a legal loophole.
Facing the Penalties
Packaging is designed to protect. Utensils, plates and cups are created as a sanitary solution for eating and drinking. But when public safety is called into question, FDA will invoke its power, as given by Congress, to protect consumers from unsafe food. FDA usually starts with a written warning. Failure to comply means you could be penalized with a recall, product seizure, suspension of registration, administrative detention or even prosecution. So be sure what you list in your initial notification and the required proof of safe use match up to the product’s actual use. This goes for self-submitting for FDA approval and the housewares exemption.
If you need assistance verifying that your product is safe and you are providing all the proper notification for FDA compliance, contact a food regulatory service attorney. Reaching out for a full evaluation is a great way to double check before submission—and you avoid becoming part of an FDA compliance controversy.
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5-second rule? No such thing, says food safety expert
Source : http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/5-second-rule-no-such/2938602.html
By Imelda Saad and Nooraza Ismail (July 7, 2016)
With the rise in the number of Salmonella poisoning cases, programme Talking Point finds out what people are doing wrong – from cooking an egg, to washing their cutting boards.
Most people have heard this one: It’s okay to eat food dropped on the floor, so long as you pick it up within five seconds. But with salmonella cases on the rise, better play it safe, said a food safety expert.
“I would say ditch it,” said Ms Bibi Chia, principal dietician with the Raffles Diabetes and Endocrine Centre.
So far this year, more than 1,000 people have been infected by salmonella - a bacteria that causes typhoid fever, food poisoning, gastroenteritis and other illnesses. The number exceeds the 779 cases reported between January and June 20 last year.
The top three causes of salmonella poisoning are raw eggs, poultry and milk; cross contamination of food and improper hand and toilet hygiene.
What can people do to avoid being infected in their own kitchen? Ms Chia helped current affairs programme Talking Point separate the myths from the facts.
MYTH: “So long as you cook eggs, they’re safe to eat.”
FACT: “Uncooked egg parts can contain salmonella. Cook yolks and whites until firm.”
Cook eggs thoroughly, “especially if your immunity is affected or if you are pregnant or elderly,” said Ms Chia. And it’s not just omelettes or fried eggs.
”A lot of times the raw egg that we eat is usually found in chocolate mousses or certain desserts, cream and stuff like that. So in order to rule out food infections from eggs, you have to also check that the eggs in the desserts are thoroughly cooked,” she said.
MYTH: “Washing fish with lemon gets rid of bacteria.”
FACT: “Lemons do not kill all bacteria. Cook all meat thoroughly.”
Relying on lemon – which is used to cure raw fish in certain dishes such as ceviche - to kill bacteria “is not a safe bet,” said Ms Chia.
“In order to make sure that all the bacteria are killed, I would still recommend cooking.”
“At the same time, if you are planning to eat raw fish, do choose a reliable outlet. If you are pregnant, I would suggest you stay away from raw fish,” she added.
MYTH: “It’s good to juice whole, unpeeled fruits and vegetables.”
FACT: “Bacteria can hide out in rough-surfaced fruits and vegetables even after rinsing.”
“I would suggest you wash and peel the fruit, just in case there is cross contamination,” said Ms Chia.
“Make sure your surfaces are clean, the knife is clean, your cutting board is clean.”
MYTH: “Reheating food in the microwave will kill all the bacteria.”
FACT: “Food in the microwave may heat unevenly, leaving cold spots where bacteria can survive.”
“The thing with microwaving is that sometimes, there is uneven heating. So ensure that halfway through, you toss the food about before you pop it back into the microwave,” said Ms Chia. “Ensure that the whole portion comes out piping hot.”
Some people may reduce the reheating time because they think microwaving destroys more nutrients than do traditional cooking methods such as boiling or steaming. “That is not true because they heat up to similar temperatures,” said Ms Chia.
MYTH: “Pouring hot water over cutting boards will kill all the bacteria.”
FACT: “Bacteria can hide and thrive in the scratches of cutting boards.”
Grooves in the cutting boards can harbor bacteria, said Ms Chia. “I would suggest from time to time, do a bit of sanitisation such as soaking the boards and knives in hot water for at least a minute. Rinsing is not enough.”
To make your own disinfectant, mix one portion of bleach to nine parts of water.
Also, colour-coded cutting boards are popular these days. “In fact they have pictures of fish, fruit, meat and vegetables. That helps us to identify which cutting board to use for non-cooked items,” she said.
Ultimately, salmonella outbreaks happen when care is not taken to prevent transmission. Said Dr Amitabh Monga, a specialist in gastroenterology and consultant at Raffles Internal Medicine Centre: “People who have salmonellosis should not prepare food or pour water for others until their diarrhoea has resolved.”
Most people infected develop fever, diarrhoea and abdominal pain within three days. Most patients will recover with fluid hydration without further treatment. But if the salmonella spreads into the blood stream, then antibiotics are needed and "such treatment should be carried out without delay", said Dr Monga.
Catch Talking Point on Thursdays, 9.30pm on Mediacorp Channel 5. Watch previous episodes here.
Microbiology of cattle poop
Source : http://barfblog.com/2016/07/microbiology-of-cattle-poop/
By Doug Powell (July 7, 2016)
Cattle are a natural reservoir of Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC) and have recently been recognized as a major source of Campylobacter jejuni contamination. While several factors are known to be associated with bacterial colonization, the underlying microbial factors have not been clarified.
In this study, we characterized the fecal microbiota of dairy cattle (n = 24) using next-generation sequencing to elucidate the intestinal bacterial communities and the microbial diversity in relation to the presence of the foodborne pathogens STEC and C. jejuni (STEC-positive samples, n = 9; STEC-negative samples, n = 15; C. jejuni-positive samples, n = 9; and C. jejuni-negative samples, n = 15). While no significant differences were observed in alpha diversity between STEC-positive and STEC-negative samples, a high diversity index was observed in C. jejuni-positive samples compared to C. jejuni-negative samples. Nine phyla, 13 classes, 18 orders, 47 families, 148 genera, and 261 species were found to be the core microbiota in dairy cattle, covering 80.0–100.0% of the fecal microbial community. Diverse microbial communities were observed between cattle shedding foodborne pathogens and nonshedding cattle. C. jejuni-positive cattle had a higher relative abundance of Bacteroidetes (p = 0.035) and a lower relative abundance of Firmicutes (p = 0.035) compared to C. jejuni-negative cattle. In addition, while the relative abundance of 2 and 6 genera was significantly higher in cattle-shedding STEC and C. jejuni, respectively, the relative abundance of 3 genera was lower in both STEC- and C. jejuni-negative cattle.
Our findings provide fundamental information on the bacterial ecology in cattle feces and might be useful in developing strategies to reduce STEC or C. jejuni shedding in dairy cattle, thereby reducing the incidence of STEC infection and campylobacteriosis in humans.
The fecal microbial communities of dairy cattle shedding Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli or Campylobacter jejuni
Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. July 2016, ahead of print. doi:10.1089/fpd.2016.2121.
Dong Hee-Jin, Kim Woohyun, An Jae-Uk, Kim Junhyung, and Cho Seongbeom
Food Safety for Pets
Source : http://www.fox21online.com/features/Food-Safety-for-Pets/40382264
By fox21online.com (July 06, 2016)
Keeping Pets Healthy in Summer Months
DULUTH, Minn. -
Summer is a great time of year to spend time with your pets, but the season does present special challenged for the animals.
So, for this week's Animal Answers we look at some foods you should make sure your pets stay away from.
For many, pets are part of the family, but you'll want to keep an eye on them when barbecuing in the summer.
There's a lot of meat folks grill, so veterinarians say "be careful" and exercise caution if you're going to feed your pet some of this meat.
"Be very careful about food that is too fatty, certain meats are and I don't think it's necessarily a great idea to get them used to it because let's face it, they're going to like it and you don't want them to start wanting to exchange their food for what you have on the table," said Dr. Jeff Werber.
Veterinarians recommend whenever you're going to feed any kind of pet table food, never feed it to them from the table.
They say if you have leftovers you want to share, make it lean, cut off the fat and feed it to them in their own bowls.
Doctors say that voids teaching them how to bed from the table.
"Now there are some things, like corn on the cob that can be extremely dangerous. They do love it, they'll even get into your garbage cans, the problem is that cob itself is about the perfect size to lodge into an intestine and get stuck and I can't tell you over the years how many dogs had to go in surgically and find a corn cob stuck in the intestine," continued Dr. Jeff Werber.
To avoid anything like that, doctors say it's important to make sure there is no way any of your pets can get into your trash.
Senate easily invokes cloture on GMO label bill; final vote next
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/07/senate-easily-invokes-cloture-on-gmo-label-bill-final-vote-next/#.V4XyVU4eaUl
By News Desk (July 6, 2016)
After being showered with handful of paper money thrown over the gallery rail by a single protestor, the U.S. Senate invoked cloture on a GMO-labeling bill by a 65-32 vote Wednesday, meaning that the compromise proposal for a federal law on how grocery products will be labeled when they do and don’t contain genetically modified organisms is set for a final vote.
Cloture is the Senate procedure for breaking attempts to delay or filibuster action on a bill. It provides for up to 30 more hours of debate before the matter is brought to an up-or-down vote.
In this case, it means that the Senate will vote, as early as this week, on S. 764, a compromise rolled out June 23 by U.S. Sens. Pat Roberts, R-KS, and Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, who are the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, respectively.
The bill would require food companies to use either a USDA-created symbol or an electronic code to indicate whether genetically modified ingredients are included in a product.
If it passes the Senate, S. 764 will then go to the House, which last year adopted a voluntary GMO labeling bill by a large bipartisan margin.
The Senate compromise bill would also pre-empt state action, including Vermont’s GMO labeling law, which became effective July 1. The state does not plan to enforce the new law until 2017, but it would be banned from any enforcement if S. 764 becomes federal law.
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, who voted against cloture, began the GMO labeling proceedings by chastising the Republican Senate leadership for moving ahead with S. 764 without amendments. Reid said when Republicans took over from him, they promised more open rules.
After the Senate cloture vote, U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-OR, took to an emptying Senate floor to express his opposition to the bill, mostly arguing that it has too many loopholes.
Congressional action now could end a decade-long battle over GMO labeling.
Defeated by voters in four Western states and by state legislators in a couple dozen other states, it was passage of a GMO labeling law in tiny Vermont that finally forced Washington, D.C., to act. Vermont’s law was allowed to stand by a federal court. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is currently reviewing the decision.
USDA FoodKeeper App to Feature New Food Safety Tools, Spanish and Portuguese Functionality
Source : http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2016/07/0159.xml&contentidonly=true
By usda (July 6, 2016)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced new updates to its popular FoodKeeper application, which will increase the app's food safety features while empowering more consumers help reduce food waste in the U.S. The app has been updated to include information in Spanish and Portuguese, making it easier for Spanish and Portuguese speakers to use its storage recommendations for 400+ items covered by the tool, including various types of baby food, dairy products and eggs, meat, poultry, produce, seafood, and more. The next planned update, coming in September, will allow the app to alert users of food recalls and include instructional videos on proper handling and storage of food.
In the update posted to the Google PlayThis is an external link or third-party site outside of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website. and iTunesThis is an external link or third-party site outside of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website. stores, users will find a new setting menu offering language options and the ability to display temperatures, weights and measures in Imperial or Metric units. In addition, the app now better syncs with smartphone and tablet calendars to improve its push notification function, which notifies users when food may be approaching spoilage.
"The FoodKeeper app is a very handy and easy tool to use, and it reflects USDA's commitment to provide consumers with information and knowledge so they can make informed decisions," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "This app empowers people to help meet our nation's food waste reduction goals, and it also links to our virtual food safety resources that answer common questions about how to safely handle, prepare and store foods. Adding food recall alerts to the app's capabilities makes the FoodKeeper a top-notch tool for consumer engagement and protection."
The FoodKeeper app was developed by USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) in partnership with Cornell University and the Food Marketing Institute, as a tool to help reduce food waste by sharing storage methods that extend the shelf life of the foods and beverages in American homes. Since it was launched in April 2015, it has been downloaded more than 100,000 times.
"These updates to the FoodKeeper are just one more example of FSIS' commitment to serving diverse communities," said Deputy Under Secretary of Food Safety Al Almanza. "We want to make sure the valuable information the application offers is available to as many Americans as possible, which is why we are now offering it in additional languages. With information on more than 400 types of food, this app is helpful to any type of consumer, and I encourage anyone who hasn't already to download and begin using the FoodKeeper tool."
With the FoodKeeper application, each user can:
Find specific storage timelines for the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry, depending on the nature of the product;
Get cooking tips for cooking methods of meat, poultry and seafood products;
Note in their device's calendar when products were purchased and receive notifications when they are nearing the end of their recommended storage date;
Submit a question to USDA using the 'Ask Karen' feature of the application. 'Ask Karen' is USDA's 24/7 virtual representative. The system provides information about preventing foodborne illness, safe food handling and storage, and safe preparation of meat, poultry, and egg products; and
Submit items not included in the database for consideration in future updates.
For those that do not have access to a smartphone, the FoodKeeper app can also be accessed at FoodSafety.gov/FoodKeeper.
Throughout the month of July, at the height of summer grilling season, USDA is recognizing improvements made to the U.S. food safety system during the Obama Administration, which are some of the most significant updates made since the 1950s. USDA's modernization efforts are bringing down the number of foodborne illnesses in USDA-regulated products. Advanced testing methods, greater focus on mislabeling, and more rigorous scientific processes are building a stronger overall safety net to detect pathogens and mislabeled product before they reach consumers, leading to a 12 percent drop in foodborne illness associated with meat, poultry and processed egg products from 2009 to 2015. New consumer-facing tools, like the FoodKeeper app, allow Americans to further guard themselves and their family against foodborne illnesses. More information about these efforts can be found on USDA's Medium page at http://bit.ly/results-ch7This is an external link or third-party site outside of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website..
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).
First Carbón Live Fire Mexican Grill E. coli Lawsuit Filed – What is E. coli?
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-information/18793/#.V4Xye04eaUl
By Anthony Marangon (July 5, 2016)
At least 5 Hospitalized with 25 Sick. On Friday July 1, 2016, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) identified an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 impacting at least 25 Chicago residents. As part of the CDPH investigation, Carbón Live Fire Mexican Grill located at 300 W. 26th Street has been linked to the outbreak. Following a request from CDPH, Carbón closed voluntarily and is fully cooperating with the investigation. At least 5 individuals have been hospitalized as part of this outbreak. One of the leading symptoms caused by E. coli O157:H7 is diarrhea, including bloody diarrhea. Infection can also lead to more serious complications.
The numbers of ill are expected to grow.
Along with local counsel we filed the first Carbón Live Fire Mexican Grill E. coli Lawsuit.
What is E. coli?
E. coli O157:H7 was identified for the first time at the CDC in 1975, but it was not until seven years later, in 1982, that E. coli O157:H7 was conclusively determined to be a cause of enteric disease. Following outbreaks of foodborne illness that involved several cases of bloody diarrhea, E. coli O157:H7 was firmly associated with hemorrhagic colitis.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated in 1999 that 73,000 cases of E. coli O157:H7 occur each year in the United States. Approximately 2,000 people are hospitalized, and 60 people die as a direct result of E. coli O157:H7 infections and complications. The majority of infections are thought to be foodborne-related, although E.coli O157:H7 accounts for less than 1% of all foodborne illness.
E. coli O157:H7 bacteria are believed to mostly live in the intestines of cattle but have also been found in the intestines of chickens, deer, sheep, goats, and pigs. E. coli O157:H7 does not make the animals that carry it ill; the animals are merely the reservoir for the bacteria.
While the majority of foodborne illness outbreaks associated with E. coli O157:H7 have involved ground beef, such outbreaks have also involved unpasteurized apple and orange juice, unpasteurized milk, alfalfa sprouts, and water. An outbreak can also be caused by person-to-person transmission of the bacteria in homes and in settings like daycare centers, hospitals, and nursing homes.
Symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 Infection
E. coli O157:H7 infection is characterized by the sudden onset of abdominal pain and severe cramps, followed within 24 hours by diarrhea. As the disease progresses, the diarrhea becomes watery and then may become grossly bloody – bloody to naked eye. Vomiting can also occur, but there is usually no fever. The incubation period for the disease (the period from ingestion of the bacteria to the start of symptoms) is typically 3 to 9 days, although shorter and longer periods are not that unusual. An incubation period of less than 24 hours would be unusual, however. In most infected individuals, the intestinal illness lasts about a week and resolves without any long-term problems.
Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) is a severe, life-threatening complication of an E. coli O157:H7 bacterial infection. Although most people recover from an E. coli O157:H7 infection, about 5-10% of infected individuals goes on to develop HUS. E. coli O157:H7 is responsible for over 90% of the cases of HUS that develop in North America. Some organs appear more susceptible than others to the damage caused by these toxins, possibly due to the presence of increased numbers of toxin-receptors. These organs include the kidney, pancreas, and brain. Visit the Marler Clark sponsored Web site about Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome for more information.
Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP) is a clinical syndrome defined by the presence of thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet counts) and microangiopathic hemolytic anemia. This has generally been recognized as “adult HUS.” There are many possible causes, including E. coli O157:H7, all of which act through the common mechanism of inducing endothelial cell damage. The damage triggers a cascade of biochemical events that ultimately leads to the characteristic feature of TTP – widespread dissemination of hyaline thrombi, composed predominantly of platelets and fibrin, which block the terminal arterioles and capillaries (microcirculation) of most of the major body organs, commonly, the heart, brain, kidneys, pancreas and adrenals. Other organs are involved to a lesser degree. The pathophysiology of this disease results in multisystem abnormalities and the clinical manifestations of the syndrome.
Detection and treatment of E. coli O157:H7
Infection with E. coli O157:H7 is usually confirmed by detecting the bacteria in the stool of the infected individual. Antibiotics do not improve the illness, and some medical researchers believe that medications can increase the risk of complications. Therefore, apart from good supportive care, such as close attention to hydration and nutrition, there is no specific therapy for E. coli O157:H7 infection. The recent finding that a toxin produced by E. coli O157:H7 initially greatly speeds up blood coagulation may lead to medical therapies in the future that could forestall the most serious consequences. Most individuals recover within two weeks.
Preventing E. coli O157:H7 Infection
Eating undercooked ground beef is the most important risk factor for acquiring E. coli O157:H7. Cook all ground beef and hamburger thoroughly. Because ground beef can turn brown before disease causing bacteria are killed, use a digital instant read meat thermometer to ensure thorough cooking. Hamburgers should be cooked until a thermometer inserted into several parts of the patty, including the thickest part, reads at least 160? F. Persons who cook ground beef without using a thermometer can decrease their risk of illness by not eating ground beef patties that are still pink in the middle. If you are served an undercooked hamburger or other ground beef product in a restaurant, send it back for further cooking.
Avoid spreading harmful bacteria in your kitchen. Keep raw meat separate from ready-to-eat foods. Wash hands, counters, and utensils with hot soapy water after they touch raw meat. Never place cooked hamburgers or ground beef on the unwashed plate that held raw patties. Wash meat thermometers in between tests of patties that require further cooking.
Drink only pasteurized milk, juice, or cider. Commercial juice with an extended shelf life that is sold at room temperature (such as juice in cardboard boxes or vacuum-sealed juice in glass containers) has been pasteurized, although this is generally not indicated on the label. Most juice concentrates are also heated sufficiently to kill pathogens.
Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly, especially those that will not be cooked. Children younger than 5 years of age, immunocompromised persons, and the elderly should avoid eating alfalfa sprouts until their safety can be assured. Methods to decontaminate alfalfa seeds and sprouts are being investigated.
Drink municipal water that has been treated with chlorine or other effective disinfectants, or bottled water that has be sterilized with ozone or reverse osmosis (almost all major brands use one or the other method).
Avoid swallowing lake or pool water while swimming, especially pool water in public swimming facilities.
Avoid petting zoos and other animal exhibits unless there are good hand washing facilities available and other sanitation measures have been taken. Wash your hands and your children’s hands after handling animals.
Make sure that persons with diarrhea, especially children, wash their hands carefully with soap after bowel movements to reduce the risk of spreading infection, and that persons wash hands after changing soiled diapers. Anyone with a diarrheal illness should avoid swimming in public pools or lakes, sharing baths with others, and preparing food for others.
What is Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome?
Hemolytic uremic syndrome is a severe, life-threatening complication of an E. coli bacterial infection that was first described in 1955, and is now recognized as the most common cause of acute kidney failure in childhood. E. coli O157:H7 is responsible for over 90% of the cases of HUS that develop in North America. In fact, some researchers now believe that E. coli O157:H7 is the only cause of HUS in children. HUS develops when the toxin from E. coli bacteria, known as Shiga-like toxin (SLT) [1,2], enters cells lining the large intestine. The Shiga-toxin triggers a complex cascade of changes in the blood. Cellular debris accumulates within the body’s tiny blood vessels and there is a disruption of the inherent clot-breaking mechanisms. The formation of micro-clots in the blood vessel-rich kidneys leads to impaired kidney function and can cause damage to other major organs.
What are the Symptoms associated with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome?
About ten percent of individuals with E. coli O157:H7 infections (mostly young children) goes on to develop Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, a severe, potentially life-threatening complication. HUS is an extremely complex process that researchers are still trying to fully explain.
Its three central features describe the essence of Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome: destruction of red blood cells (hemolytic anemia), destruction of platelets (those blood cells responsible for clotting, resulting in low platelet counts, or thrombocytopenia), and acute renal failure. In HUS, renal failure is caused when the nephrons, or filtering units, become occluded (blocked) by micro-thrombi, which are tiny blood clots. In almost all cases, the filtering ability of the kidneys recovers as the body of the patient slowly dissolves the micro-thrombi within the microvessels.
A typical person is born with about one million filtering units, called nephrons, in each kidney. The core of the nephron is a bundle of tiny blood vessels, called a glomerulus, where osmotic exchange allows for the filtration of wastes that eventually collect in the urine and are excreted. During Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, the lack of blood flow to the nephrons can cause them to die or be damaged, just as heart muscle can die as the result of coronary vessel occlusion during a heart attack. Dead nephrons do not regenerate.
In general, the longer a patient suffers kidney failure, the greater the loss of filtering units as a result. At some point, the damage to the kidneys’ filtering units can be so severe that the patient will, over a period of years, lose kidney function and suffer end-stage renal disease (ESRD), which requires chronic dialysis or transplantation.
HUS can also cause transient or permanent damage to other organs, which include the pancreas, liver, brain, and heart. The essential pathogenic process is the same regardless of the organ affected: microthrombi inhibit necessary blood flow and cause tissue death or damage. During the acute stage of Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, patients must be carefully monitored for these extra-renal complications. It is very difficult to predict the severity and course of HUS once it initiates.
The active stage of Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome may be defined as that period of time during which there is evidence of hemolysis and the platelet count is less than 100,000. In HUS, the active stage usually lasts an average of six days (range, 2-16 days). It is during the active stage that the complications of HUS per se usually occur.
Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products. The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s. We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.
Oda Offers Food Safety Tips For Summer
Source : http://www.polkio.com/news/2016/jul/06/oda-offers-food-safety-tips-summer/
By polkio.com (July 5, 2016)
It’s the season for pinics, barbecues, camping — and sage food handling practices
Now that summer has arrived, Oregonians are likely to do a lot more outdoor cooking and eating. The potential for food-borne illness increases in July and August. Proper food handling and preparation is never more important as families flock to picnics, barbecues, and campouts. The Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Program is offering seasonal advice on how to enjoy a problem-free summer of eating.
#“The number of food-borne illness outbreaks typically goes up in the summer because people are cooking outside, eating outside, and changing their habits a bit,” says ODA Food Safety Specialist Susan Kendrick.
#Most of the same rules for food handling, preparation, and storage apply for both outdoors and indoors.
#Outbreaks of E. coli and salmonella in raw produce in recent years should not deter people from enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables this summer.
#“We’d like to emphasize that you wash the produce when you get it home,” says Kendrick. “Even if it’s a cantaloupe — you aren’t going to eat the exterior rind but you are going to slice into it. So it’s still a great idea to wash the whole cantaloupe before eating it.”
#Melons are grown on the ground where the rind can come into contact with animal waste used as fertilizer. When melons are cut, the knife may transfer bacteria to the inside of the fruit.
#The cook needs to be certain that raw meat is thoroughly cooked.
#“It’s a good idea to thaw a product like hamburger in the refrigerator prior to cooking,” says Kendrick. “You want to make sure you don’t have a pocket inside the hamburger that is still frozen and may take longer to cook. The entire burger needs to be cooked evenly and thoroughly.”
#Ideally, a thermometer should be used to make sure the proper cooking temperature of the meat on the grill is reached. But that isn’t always practical. At the very least, cutting into the meat, or close to the bone in the case of chicken, will ensure there isn’t any pink inside. Cooking temperatures should reach at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
#Any time raw meat and fresh produce are both part of a meal preparation, cross-contamination is always a possibility. When handling any raw meat product — either taking it to a barbecue or another preparation area — make sure any tongs, spatulas, scoops, and the platter carrying the meat are all exchanged with a fresh, clean utensil or platter to carry the cooked product back to the table. Cutting boards used in food preparation are also a potential source of problems. Using the same board to cut up chicken and then to chop salad ingredients should be avoided. The raw products have organisms that could produce illness if spread to ready-to-eat products. Of course, a good cleaning and sanitizing of the cutting board after chopping up raw meat products will minimize the risk.
#Handwashing is not as practical in the summer, but it is just as critical as other times of the year.
#Food needs to be kept out of the temperature danger zone — which is 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit — for as long as possible. Bacteria begins to grow rapidly as the temperature warms up. Foods that need to be cooked should stay refrigerated or be prepared as soon as possible.
#Most summer food safety recommendations are just common sense. As long as people are careful about how food is handled, prepared, and stored, campouts, picnics, and barbecues can be fun, safe, and delicious.
Records and Information Management: A Key Ingredient for Efficient Food Business Operations and Audit Preparedness
Source : http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/enewsletter/records-and-information-management-a-key-ingredient-for-efficient-food-business-operations-and-audit-preparedness/
By John T. Shapiro, Esq.(July 5, 2016)
For food industry companies, the need to proactively manage records and information has taken on new urgency. Studies show that today more than 99 percent of all business documents, records and communications are created in electronic form, and that few of those electronic records are converted into hardcopy. As a result, the amount of information that a typical company generates and stores, and the cost to do so, is staggering—and mounting. Alone, the proliferation of electronic records warrants that your company take stock now of the manner in which it generates, retains, deletes, accounts for and uses its information.
But should your food company have any lingering doubt as to the import of implementing appropriate record and information management protocols, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) should end any hesitancy. FSMA shifts the food safety paradigm from reacting to food safety problems after they occur to using science-based standards to prevent problems from occurring in the first place and to requiring company-implemented protocols that allow both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and companies to better respond to and contain problems when they do occur. Document and information management is critical to the success of this new model.
For starters, FSMA requires that food companies document each aspect of their operations that might impact food safety. Among other things, a company must prepare and implement a written food safety plan comprising the following components:
• Analysis of known or reasonably foreseeable hazards
• Design and implementation of controls that prevent or minimize the likelihood the identified hazards will occur
• Protocols for monitoring and managing implementation of preventative controls
• Protocols for verifying that preventative controls are up-to-date and effective
• Procedures to correct both production problems and preventative control flaws
• Procedures for recalling adulterated products
• Programs for ensuring that suppliers implement similar food safety controls
Each food safety plan component has its own recordkeeping obligations, including creation and maintenance of records that document training of the people responsible for the food safety plan and related programs. Further, FSMA imposes requirements on the form and content of those records, including that records:
• be the originals, true copies, or electronically stored
• contain the actual values and observations obtained during monitoring and during verification activities
• be accurate, indelible and legible
• be created concurrently with performance of the activity documented
• be as detailed as necessary to provide history of work performed
And, FSMA-required records must be maintained for at least two years.
FSMA also imposes stepped-up government oversight and allows for vigorous government investigations of your food-related business. This includes the authority to demand that your company produce a mountain of information within 24 hours. For the unready or unwary food company, a government investigation—just like a more garden-variety business dispute—can lead to time-consuming and expensive searches for and review of responsive information and, worse, devastating business disruptions and penalties.
Prior to FSMA, FDA had the authority to access records relating to a food product that FDA reasonably believed was adulterated and posed a threat of serious health consequences. FSMA expands FDA’s authority to access records to include information relating to any other article of food at the food facility that FDA reasonably believes is likely to be affected in a similar manner.
FSMA also provides the FDA with a bigger bite should a company fail to comply with a request for documents. Depending on the particular circumstances, the FDA may, among other actions:
• suspend a food facility’s registration and prevent the facility from importing or exporting food or introducing food into commerce
• detain or seize food products
• issue a mandatory recall order
• initiate legal proceedings
In short, the manner in which your company generates and retains information, and the speed with which it can organize, review and produce documents in response to a government request or a food safety situation, can be a recipe for success or disaster.
Document and information protocols often are one of the more difficult challenges food companies face when designing and implementing a food safety program. But given the high-stakes document generation, retention and production issues present, companies should undertake this challenge now. Reactive and ad hoc approaches to records and information management are out. In their stead, proactive document and information management policies, practices and systems that 1) comply with the FSMA and other regulatory obligations, 2) meet other business needs, 3) satisfy the needs of supply partners, 4) allow for efficient and effective compliance with requests for information and 5) allow a company to make important business decision and understand obligations based on carefully organized and maintained information are one of the key ingredients in the recipe for success under FSMA.
Don’t let foodborne pathogens poison summer celebrations
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/07/dont-let-foodborne-pathogens-poison-summer-celebrations/#.V4Xz604eaUl
By News Desk (July 4, 2016)
While you’re enjoying the Fourth of July holiday with picnics, barbecues, traveling to see family and friends, or just relaxing at home, remember to include safe food handling practices to help keep foodborne pathogens out of the celebrations.
The dangers posed by foodborne pathogens increase during hot weather and around water, as indicated by a recent illness outbreak reported in Michigan. A graduation party near Sturgis, MI, resulted in six people being sickened, with the suspected culprit being something in the catered food that was served.
Especially outside in the summer heat, perishable food needs to be kept hot or cold enough to keep it out of the danger zone, which is between 40 and 140 degrees F. That’s the range in which dangerous bacteria can double in number in just 20 minutes and why you should never leave food out for more than two hours (or one hour if the temperature is 90 degrees F or above).
Here are some holiday food safety tips from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other sources:
Food served cold should be kept at or below 40 degrees F either in the refrigerator, in a cooler (preferably kept in the shade and quickly opened and closed), or in a container on ice or frozen gel packs.
Food served hot should be kept at 140 degrees F or above in insulated containers, heated chafing dishes, warming trays, slow cookers or on a barbecue grill. If food needs to be reheated, make sure it reaches 165 degrees F.
Always wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before cooking and after handling raw meat or poultry. Remember to also wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils and work surfaces with soap and warm water before and after preparing food.
If you’re going to be preparing food outside without access to a kitchen, bring clean cloths and pre-packaged moist towelettes to help keep your hands and other items as free from bacteria as possible.
Food taken from a cooler should be returned to it within an hour. If you aren’t sure how long food has been sitting out, throw it away.
Pack an appliance thermometer in your cooler to make sure food stays at or below 40 degrees F. Divide large amounts of food into shallow containers for fast chilling and easier use.
Packing drinks in a separate cooler is strongly recommended so the food cooler isn’t opened as frequently. Keep the cooler in the shade and try to cover it with a blanket or tarp to keep it cool. Replenish the ice if it melts.
Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat, poultry and seafood. Here’s a guide showing where to place the thermometer in certain food items. You can’t tell whether the meat is safely cooked by just looking at it.
If you plan to marinate meat and/or poultry for several hours or overnight, make sure to marinate it in the refrigerator, not on the counter. If you plan to reuse the marinade from raw meat or poultry, make sure to boil it first to destroy any harmful bacteria.
For safety, leftovers must be put in shallow containers for quick cooling and refrigerated to 40 degrees F or below within two hours.
If you have food storage questions, download USDA’s FoodKeeper application. This app offers guidance on the safe storage of more than 400 food and beverage items.
If you have questions about the danger zone, or any other food safety topics, call the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888MPHotline, or chat live with a food safety specialist at AskKaren.gov. These services are available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, in English and Spanish.
Frozen food safety confusion causing waste, watchdog warns
Source : http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-36698697
By bbc.com (July 4, 2016)
Misconceptions about frozen food are contributing to the seven million tonnes of waste thrown out by UK households every year, the Food Standards Agency says.
Of the 1,500 people it surveyed, 43% wrongly thought food could only be frozen on the day it was bought, suggesting confusion over food safety.
Some 38% incorrectly said food could become unsafe to eat in the freezer.
In fact, "the freezer is like a pause button", the FSA's Steve Wearne said.
Guidance published by the agency, which is responsible for food safety and food hygiene across the UK, says food can be safely frozen at any time up to its "use by" date.
Although the taste or texture of the food can deteriorate over time due to ice crystal damage, frozen food will keep indefinitely, it says.
Once defrosted, food will spoil in the same way as if it were fresh, it advises.
When is it safe to freeze food?
?Most types of bacteria survive freezing, but become inactive while frozen due to the low temperature and lack of available water. Frozen food will, therefore, keep indefinitely, although the taste or texture of the food can deteriorate over time due to ice crystal damage.
?As a rule of thumb, the warmer the temperature, the more active bacteria are. It is recommended to defrost food slowly and safely, preferably overnight in the refrigerator, to reduce the risk of harmful bacteria growing in the food.
?Once defrosted, food will spoil in the same way as if it were fresh, so handle defrosted foods in the same way as you would raw. Defrosted food can be stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours before it needs to be cooked or thrown away.
?Refrozen food has a higher risk of causing food poisoning because when food is re-thawed, bacteria can multiply rapidly. However, if you cook defrosted food - for example turning defrosted chicken into a chicken curry - harmful bugs will be killed off, making it safe to refreeze.
Source: Food Standards Agency advice
According to the FSA's research, 38% of people mistakenly thought it was dangerous to refreeze meat after it had been cooked.
Almost a quarter, 23%, said they would never freeze meat that was cooked after defrosting, with 73% of those citing worries about food poisoning.
More than two thirds, 68%, had thrown food away in the past month, mainly bread (36%), fruit (31%), vegetables (31%) and leftover meals (22%).
Households in the UK waste the equivalent of about six meals a week on average, the FSA said.
Are people snobbish about frozen food?
How can you stop wasting food?
Guidance provided to the food industry on date marking of food is being reviewed by officials from the FSA, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap).
They will also look at expanding guidelines to cover food storage and freezing advice for consumers.
"The freezer is like a pause button, so you can freeze foods right up to the 'use by' date," FSA policy director Mr Wearne said.
"While food is kept safe in the freezer, it's the quality that deteriorates over time, so we recommend eating it within three to six months and checking for any freezing instructions on the packaging."
"Once defrosted, the pause button is off, so defrost food as and when you need it and eat it within 24 hours of it being fully defrosted."
Animals as sources of human pathogens in Ecuador
Source : http://barfblog.com/2016/07/animals-as-sources-of-human-pathogens-in-ecuador/
By Doug Powell (July 4, 2016)
Animals are important reservoirs of zoonotic enteropathogens, and transmission to humans occurs more frequently in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where small-scale livestock production is common.
In this study, we investigated the presence of zoonotic enteropathogens in stool samples from 64 asymptomatic children and 203 domestic animals of 62 households in a semirural community in Ecuador between June and August 2014.
Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) was used to assess zoonotic transmission of Campylobacter jejuni and atypical enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (aEPEC), which were the most prevalent bacterial pathogens in children and domestic animals (30.7% and 10.5%, respectively). Four sequence types (STs) of C. jejuni and four STs of aEPEC were identical between children and domestic animals. The apparent sources of human infection were chickens, dogs, guinea pigs, and rabbits for C. jejuni and pigs, dogs, and chickens for aEPEC.
Other pathogens detected in children and domestic animals were Giardia lamblia (13.1%), Cryptosporidium parvum (1.1%), and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) (2.6%). Salmonella enterica was detected in 5 dogs and Yersinia enterocolitica was identified in 1 pig. Even though we identified 7 enteric pathogens in children, we encountered evidence of active transmission between domestic animals and humans only for C. jejuni and aEPEC. We also found evidence that C. jejuni strains from chickens were more likely to be transmitted to humans than those coming from other domestic animals. Our findings demonstrate the complex nature of enteropathogen transmission between domestic animals and humans and stress the need for further studies.
We found evidence that Campylobacter jejuni, Giardia, and aEPEC organisms were the most common zoonotic enteropathogens in children and domestic animals in a region close to Quito, the capital of Ecuador. Genetic analysis of the isolates suggests transmission of some genotypes of C. jejuni and aEPEC from domestic animals to humans in this region. We also found that the genotypes associated with C. jejuni from chickens were present more often in children than were those from other domestic animals. The potential environmental factors associated with transmission of these pathogens to humans then are discussed.
Detection of zoonotic enteropathogens in children and domestic animals in a semirural community in Ecuador
Karla Vasco a, Jay P. Graham b and Gabriel Trueba a
A Microbiology Institute, Colegio de Ciencias Biologicas y Ambientales, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Quito, Ecuador
B Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA
Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Volume 82, Number 14, Pages 4218–4224, doi:10.1128/AEM.00795-16
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