Archive for ‘Disease’

Attempts to force the meat industry to test for other strains of E.coli are being held up

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Europe is currently in the grip of what has become one of the deadliest E. coli outbreaks in history. As one might imagine, that has inspired some soul-searching here in the United States. Food-safety experts have spent years trying to persuade the USDA to step up E. coli testing, and now the department is trying to take steps to require the meat industry to expand its testing for other strains of the bacteria. And the meat industry, unsurprisingly, is not happy about that.

As Food Safety News reports, the USDA’s attempts to force the meat industry to test for other strains of E. coli are being held up by the White House Office of Budget and Management. This is in part because of the efforts of the American Meat Institute, which represents 95 percent of red-meat processors. The AMI, like any other industry group, has powerful lobbyists, and those lobbyists have an undue amount of influence in the way governmental decisions are made, or not made.

The AMI has quite an illustrious history of resisting government regulation. When, in the aftermath of the 1994 Jack in the Box E. coli scare that killed four children and sickened hundreds, the USDA declared E. coli 1057:H7 an adulterant (a legal term meaning that a food product does not meet state or federal standards), the AMI insisted there was no emergency and sued the government for its meddlesome behavior.

Five years later, the AMI sued again when the USDA attempted to shut down a beef plant due to salmonella contamination, and the courts ruled in the group’s favor. In March, AMI executives met with OMB officials to try to persuade them that additional E. coli testing would be an “unnecessary burden.”

There is no mention of the current E. coli scare on the AMI’s website, but there is a press release trumpeting new CDC data identifying 442 cases of E. coli in 2010, which achieves the public health goal of one case per 100,000 people. There’s also a press release for the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council’s first-ever hot-dog photo contest. The reward is “the ultimate summer barbecue”; if the AMI gets its way, bloody diarrhea and renal failure may be on the menu.

Source: Basically, the American Meat Institute Wants Us to Eat Shit and Die – The Village Voice Blogs

Date: 08 June 2011

Bison E. coli Recall Grows; Retailers Named

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

That bad buffalo meat, originally recalled July 2, is being distributed nationwide through a blue chip retail network. And, the recall was reissued July 7 to include 776 additional pounds of bison products that were sent off to a Nevada processor for additional cuts.

The 66,776 pounds of ground and tenderized bison steak products were recalled because they may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

Yesterday, FSIS disclosed that ten major retail chains were believed to be selling the E. coli-contaminated buffalo meat at the time the recall. Among the retailers were: Albertson’s, Giant Foods, Hannaford’s, King Sooper’s, Kroger’s, Market Basket, Price Chopper’s, Stop & Shop Supermarkets, Super Valu, and Whole Foods.

Source of the recalled bison meat is Rocky Mountain National Meats, based in Henderson, CO.

A five person cluster of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses, with onset dates between June 4 and 9, 2010, in Colorado and one case in New York State led FSIS to suspect the bison was making people sick.

FSIS said the New York case had “an indistinguishable” PFGE pattern.

“FSIS determined there is an association between ground bison products and the cluster of illnesses in the state of Colorado,” the agency said in a press release.

Here the specific list of recalled bison products from Rocky Mountain Natural Meats:

16-ounce packages of “GREAT RANGE BRAND ALL NATURAL GROUND BISON.” These products have a “sell or freeze by” date of June 21, June 22 or June 24, 2010.

16-ounce packages of “NATURE’S RANCHER GROUND BUFFALO.” These products have a “sell or freeze by” date of June 22, 2010.

16-ounce packages of “THE BUFFALO GUYS ALL NATURAL GROUND BUFFALO 90% LEAN.” These products have a lot number of 0147.

12-ounce packages of “GREAT RANGE BRAND ALL NATURAL BISON STEAK MEDALLIONS.” These products have a “sell or freeze by” date of June 23 and June 24, 2010.

12-ounce packages of “GREAT RANGE BRAND ALL NATURAL BISON SIRLOIN STEAKS.” These products have a “sell or freeze by” date of June 20, June 23 and June 24, 2010.

15-pound boxes of “ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATURAL MEATS, INC. BISON 10 OZ SIRLOIN STEAK.” These products went to restaurants and bear a Julian Code of 0141.

Various weight boxes of “BISON B TRIM.” These products bear a production date of May 21, 2010 and a Julian Code of 14110. The boxes also state “KEEP REFRIGERATED.”

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in the most severe cases, kidney failure. The very young, seniors and persons with weak immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact a physician.

Source: Bison E. coli Recall Grows; Retailers Named – foodsafetynews

Date: 08 July 2010

Colorado Firm Recalls Bison Products Due to Possible E. Coli O157:H7 Contamination

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Colorado Firm Recalls Bison Products Due to Possible E. Coli O157:H7 Contamination

FSIS became aware of the problem during the course of an on-going investigation into a cluster of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses in Colorado with illness onset dates between June 4, 2010 and June 9, 2010.

  • 5 case-patients have been identified in Colorado
  • E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium…..
  • FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks

Source: Colorado Firmu Recalls Bison Products Due to Possible E. Coli O157:H7 Contamination - fsis.usda.gov

Date: 07 July 2010

Global warming raises new E. coli concerns, U of G prof says

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Temporary closures like Toronto’s waterfront Budapest Park and associated Sunnyside Beach last week to protect against potentially dangerous organisms doesn’t surprise local environmental scientist Jack Trevors, the University of Guelph environmental sciences professor and his colleagues said:

  • The organism at the heart of the Walkerton tragedy a decade ago represents a rising threat as the world warms.  Warning further study is critical to meeting any risk.
  • The public may be at increasing risk as E. coli, which contaminates water and soil, finds an inviting environment in a warming planet.
  • While people carry benign E. coli is in their guts, some strains, notably 0157:H7, are dangerous.
  • There are pathotypes that produce toxins.
  • That allowed scientists to extrapolate potential risks from a global warming trend conducive to bacterial growth including threats to beaches, food supply and source drinking water.
  • We know we’re living in a period of climate change.
  • As human populations grow, they use more food and fuel, this activity warming the Earth.
  • That raises the prospect of these populations increasingly encountering E. coli
  • We have to deal with it in an effective way.

Source: Global warming raises new E. coli concerns, U of G prof says – news.guelphmercury

Date: 06 July 2010

Report says swine flu cost Britain 1.2 Billion Pounds

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

An independent review says Britain spent 1.2 billion pounds ($1.8 billion) fighting swine flu, including 1 billion pounds on drugs, according to AP.

The study published Thursday says officials spent 654 million pounds preparing for a possible pandemic of H1N1 influenza and 587 million pounds responding to the outbreak. The total includes 1.01 billion pounds spent on drugs including antivirals, vaccines and antibiotics.

The review by former senior medial official Deirdre Hine calls the government response “proportionate and effective,” but says inflexible contracts for vaccines left Britain with many extra doses.

The World Health Organization says more than 17,000 people have died worldwide since swine flu emerged in April 2009. There have been 457 deaths in Britain.

Source: Report says swine flu cost Britain $1.8 billion – Saudi Press Agency

Date: 01 July 2010

Climate already helping disease spread north: study

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Rising global temperatures might already be helping infectious diseases to creep north, according to a report by European scientists.

The report links warmer temperatures to the spread of dengue fever, yellow fever, malaria and even human plague in Europe.

“Fundamental influences of climate change on infectious disease can already be discerned and it is likely that new vectors and pathogens will emerge and become established in Europe within the next few years,” says the report by the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC).

The independent group is formed of 26 national science academies from across the European Union.

United Nations climate experts recommend cutting carbon emissions to prevent the rise of global temperatures beyond 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Source: Climate already helping disease spread north: study - Reuters

Date: 10 June, 2010

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Reversing Meat-Eating Culture to Combat Climate Change

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Livestock Production and Shorter-Lived Climate Forcers

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Plant-Based Diets - A solution to our public health crisis

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Leaders Preserving Our Future - Insights Paper - WPF - November 2010

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Maintaining a Climate of Life - Summary Report

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Livestock's Climate Impact

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Livestock & Sustainable Food

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Reducing Shorter-Lived Climate Forcers Through Dietary Change

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The global cost of biodiversity loss: 14 trillion Euros? - EU Commission (2008)

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Forests, Fisheries, Agriculture: A Vision for Sustainability (2009)

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