domingo, 2 de marzo de 2014
Safer World: Prevention, Detection, & Response
Even today’s severe snowstorm in Washington was not enough to deter diplomats, health ministers and secretaries from dozens of countries from joining us at HHS headquarters to discuss a new agenda for global health security. We were joined via satellite by the Directors General of the World Health Organization, the World Organization for Animal Health, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
We came together in the belief that everyone – regardless of which country they happen to live – deserves the basic human dignity of being protected from infectious disease.
Our world is connected in ways previously unimagined or foreseen. This greater connectedness brings with it both new vulnerabilities and new opportunities.
On the one hand, microbes and diseases are moving faster and farther than ever. And one thing we know for certain: They do not recognize or stop at national borders. A threat anywhere is indeed a threat everywhere.
And yet, for all the challenges we face, we’re seeing an unprecedented willingness to work together. Meanwhile, scientists and researchers at places like the National Institutes of Health are discovering new cures, developing new vaccines, and unleashing new innovations.
The Global Health Security Agenda is framed around three primary strategies:
1. Enhanced prevention of infectious disease threats both naturally-occurring and manmade.
2. More robust detection which includes real-time bio surveillance and more effective modern diagnostics.
3. More effective response, including a public health Emergency Operation Center in each country that functions according to common standards.
Global health security is one of President Obama’s top priorities, and the Administration is working to advance these strategies.
Working together across 30 countries, we can protect at least 4 billion global citizens within the next five years. And our vision is for all people in all countries to be effectively protected against the threats posed by infectious disease.
Ridding the world of infectious diseases is not a small goal. There are few simple solutions and no magic cures, but we can’t afford the cost of defeat—economically, socially, or in the devastating loss of lives. With prevention, detection, and effective response, we can build a safer world.Source: http://www.hhs.gov/secretary/about/blogs/global-health-security.html
viernes, 31 de enero de 2014
Location and indoor microbiome contamination are strongly linked, ¿are these factors taken into account by the food industry?
Buildings are complex ecosystems that house trillions of microorganisms interacting with each other, with humans and with their environment. Understanding the ecological and evolutionary processes that determine the diversity and composition of the built environment microbiome—the community of microorganisms that live indoors—is important for understanding the relationship between building design, biodiversity and human health.
In this study, we used high-throughput sequencing of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene to quantify relationships between building attributes and airborne bacterial communities at a health-care facility. Airborne bacterial community structure were quantified and environmental conditions in patient rooms exposed to mechanical or window ventilation and in outdoor air.
The phylogenetic diversity of airborne bacterial communities was lower indoors than outdoors, and mechanically ventilated rooms contained less diverse microbial communities than did window-ventilated rooms. Bacterial communities in indoor environments contained many taxa that are absent or rare outdoors, including taxa closely related to potential human pathogens.
Building attributes, specifically the source of ventilation air, airflow rates, relative humidity and temperature, were correlated with the diversity and composition of indoor bacterial communities. The relative abundance of bacteria closely related to human pathogens was higher indoors than outdoors, and higher in rooms with lower airflow rates and lower relative humidity.
The observed relationship between building design and airborne bacterial diversity suggests that we can manage indoor environments, altering through building design and operation the community of microbial species that potentially colonize the human microbiome during our time indoors.
The information generated by this study is very important for food producers and processors, especially for those engaged with massive products such as meats and highly processed fooods.
Source: The ISME Journal (2012) 6, 1469–1479; doi:10.1038/ismej.2011.211; published online 26 January 2012
miércoles, 29 de enero de 2014
Salmonella Biofilms Extremely Resistant to Disinfectants
Disinfectants are not able to kill after 7 days growth of Salmonella
Researchers at the National University of Ireland, Galway, have discovered that common disinfectants face an uphill battle killing Salmonella once it has had the time to form a biofilm – a community of cells that attach to each other and a surface, increasing the density of bacterial growth and providing support from harsh environments. Allowed Salmonella enterica cells to grow for seven days before applying three types of disinfectant: sodium hypochlorite, sodium hydroxide and benzalkonium chloride.
They found that none of the disinfectants was able to kill the cells after that amount of time. Even soaking the biofilms in disinfectant for an hour and a half failed to kill them.
Once Salmonella cells are allowed to become established on a surface, the number of cells will increase over time, resulting in difficulty if not impossible to completely eliminate or kill all cells once part of a mature biofilm.
The strains she tested were able to form a biofilm on glass, steel, polycarbonate plastic, glazed tile and concrete.
In terms of ‘real world’ environments, it is estimated that most organisms are capable of this, and that a high percentage of micro-organisms will form a biofilm to optimize growth and survival.
To head off an issue of resistance, recommended appropriate and frequent cleaning to prevent the buildup of bacteria on surfaces and improving handling practices such as ensuring raw food is prepared in a separate area from cooked food to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
C. perfringens is commonly found on raw meat and poultry
Epsilon toxin produced by some strains of Clostridium perfringens can cause MS-like damage in the brain. MS is is generated by genetic and environmental factors but the exact environmental trigger is not known yet.
Pathogen effect The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that non-epsilon toxin producing C. perfringens strains cause nearly a million cases of foodborne illness each year. C. perfringens is commonly found on raw meat and poultry and some strains produce a toxin in the intestine that causes intestinal illnesses.
Multiple sclerosis is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system characterized by blood brain barrier (BBB) permeability and demyelination, a process in which the insulating myelin sheaths of neurons are damaged.
This study provide evidence that supports epsilon toxin's ability to cause BBB permeability and show that epsilon toxin destroy the brain's myelin producing cells, oligodendrocytes; the same cells affected in MS lesions.
Type B strain found. Linden and her colleagues discovered C. perfringens type B (a strain that was not known to infect humans) in a 21-year-old woman experiencing a flare-up of her MS, in a study published in October last year (see below). Researchers tested samples of local foods for the presence of C. perfringens and the toxin gene. Of the 37 food samples, 13.5% were positive for bacteria and 2.7% were positive for the epsilon toxin gene.
Epsilon toxin. C. perfringens types B and D carry a gene (epsilon toxin) that emits a pro-toxin (a non-active precursor form of the toxin) which is turned into the epsilon toxin within intestines of grazing animals. The epsilon toxin travels through the blood to the brain, where it damages brain blood vessels and myelin, the insulation protecting neurons, resulting in MS-like symptoms in the animals. While the D subtype has only been found in two people, based on prior studies by other investigators, the B subtype had never been found in humans.
“This bacterium produces a toxin that we normally think humans never encounter. That we identified this bacterium in a human is important enough, but the fact that it is present in MS patients is truly significant because the toxin targets the exact tissues damaged during the acute MS disease process.
A high intake of dietary salt has been linked to amplifying and triggering autoimmune responses that can lead to MS, while high levels of Vitamin D may be associated with a lower risk of MS progression.
jueves, 23 de enero de 2014
APHIS has ordered enhanced inspections at the ports of entry
USDA’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service has erected new barriers to the entry of Chilean blueberries to the United States.
Neither fears about last year’s Cyclosporiasis parasite in fresh produce nor Hepatitis A in berry blends had anything to do with the APHIS action. Instead, it’s the European grapevine moth and its cousins that the agency is trying to keep out of the country.
And, since the insects might ride in on blueberries from Chile, APHIS has ordered enhanced inspections at the ports of entry for berries currently in transit and fumigation for shipments that are still in the fields. Fumigations to eliminate the insects are expected to occur in Chile prior to export as the service is not currently available at U.S. entry ports.
European grape moths, vine moths and grape berry moths are invasive species found in Chile. They are also found in Europe, Asia and northern Africa.
The insects were listed as exotic organisms of high invasive risk by APHIS in 2008 and are subject to quarantine in the U.S. They’ve been intercepted at U.S. ports of entry 20 times since 1984. The pest is a threat to 27 different types of plants, including grapes, berries, cherries, currants, lilacs, nectarines and plums.
The moths are not a direct threat to human health or food safety.
Five foods that can become contaminated and how to use them safely
When the FDA conducted a safety test of many types of food for Listeria, the type that tested highest might come as a surprise to most people given the lack of press: smoked seafood. Of the 7,855 samples tested, 12.9 percent contained listeria. Preserved fish also tested high, as did raw seafood. Knowing this, I can tell you I’ll only be buying my smoked salmon and canned smoked oysters from reputable companies, and I’ll be throwing salmon into pasta and other dishes rather than eating it cold on bagels.
2. Fruits of all kinds
Cantaloupes can pick up the Listeria bacteria, as can other melons, but so can any fruit that’s sprayed or washed with water containing listeria picked up from the soil. According to an FDA risk assessment for Listeria, more than 11 percent of all fruits sampled tested positive for listeria. But here’s the thing to remember, the Listeria is on the outside of the fruit – it doesn’t spread throughout the flesh. So it’s not going to help to avoid certain types of fruits — the damage to your diet and health would far outweigh the potential safety benefits, statistically speaking. What to do? Wash fruit as soon as you buy it with an antibacterial fruit and vegetable wash or, in a pinch, with antibacterial dish soap. Wash it again before you eat it, or better yet, peel it. But wash it even if you do peel it.
3. Foods that are refrigerated for long periods of time.
Listeria — unlike most types of bacteria, it can continue to grow under refrigeration. Refrigerating food does not prevent the growth of Listeria once it’s introduced. Cooking at high heat does kill Listeria, so ready-to-eat foods that are eaten without cooking are a potential source. Cheese is one of these, but interestingly soft ripened cheese and semi-soft cheese tested higher than hard cheeses. One solution is to put cheese into cooked dishes, but if you like your cheese sandwiches, there’s not a lot to be done.
4. Preserved and smoked meats.
Hot dogs, sausages, salami and all manner of preserved meats eaten cold are potential Listeria culprits, according to the FDA. The sampling procedure found Listeria in 6.4 percent of sausage samples, 4.8 percent of hot dogs sampled, and 6.5 percent of pâtes and meat spreads.
5. Root vegetables and ground-grown vegetables like squash
Vegetables that grow in the soil, like beets, carrots, and potatoes can come in contact with Listeria in the soil, as can those that grow on low-lying vines like zucchini and other types of squash. But please don’t let fear lead you to avoid veggies, which are healthiest foods in your diet. Instead, wash all veggies thoroughly and peel wherever appropriate. But wash before and after you peel, too — just peeling doesn’t cut it because the bacteria could be transferred on your hands.
miércoles, 22 de enero de 2014
The industry program is intended to set pathogen reduction goals
U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors should not interfere with poultry industry efforts to collect chicken samples from processing facilities for a program intended to set pathogen reduction goals, according to an internal email from an administrator within the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
The program, organized by the National Chicken Council, aims to collect samples of chicken parts from “most all poultry establishments” in order to develop voluntary pathogen reduction performance goals
There is the potential that some in-plant inspectors and field supervisors may begin questioning this effort and take steps to force the establishments to turn over the results of the sampling. Because inspectors may mistakenly assume that the sampling could influence decision-making at individual poultry establishments In fact, any interruption of the industry’s data collection would have a negative impact on public health.
The poultry industry has the most responsibility to reduce pathogen loads on chicken parts, but USDA needs to answer questions about how those pathogen loads might be enforced. According to a 2012 UDSA report, the estimated national prevalence of Salmonella on chicken parts was 24 percent, while Campylobacter was 21 percent.
The data being collected by the poultry industry will be used to take a hard look at the process of cutting chicken into parts. It’s a way for the industry to prepare to meet or exceed whatever performance standards FSIS plans to set.
Source: FSIS, USDA
lunes, 20 de enero de 2014
Pasteurization: How Heat Keeps Pathogens at Bay
Debate about Pasteurizing raw milk
Pasteurizing milk became routine in the U.S. starting in the 1920s. Today, a number of other products on grocery store shelves, including eggs and juices, are also pasteurized.
While pasteurization doesn’t kill all the microorganisms in our food, it does greatly reduce the number of pathogens so that they are unlikely to cause disease. And, like with Pasteur’s beer, it reduces spoilage organisms, extending our food’s “shelf life.”The method of pasteurization simply involves heating food to a specific temperature for a certain length of time and then immediately cooling it. Manufacturers use various time-temperature combinations when treating their products.
The specific temperatures allotted for pasteurization are based on the ability to kill the most heat-resistant of pathogens. Campylobacter will die pretty quickly at 72 C°, but processors need higher temperatures to kill.
Of course, pasteurization is in the news these days because of the debate about raw milk.
The market is growing of consumers seeking unprocessed foods or those wanting to support small farms. And advocates of raw milk defend it for a number of reasons, particularly arguing that pasteurization reduces the nutritional and health benefits of milk.
But, without pasteurization, E. coli, Campylobcater and Salmonella can be much more prevalent in the milk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 148 outbreaks due to consumption of raw milk or raw milk products reported between 1998 and 2011. Among the victims, there were 2,384 illnesses, 284 hospitalizations and two deaths.
The health benefits that proponents are removed by pasteurization. Have not been clearly demonstrated in evidence-based studies and, therefore, do not outweigh the risks of raw milk consumption. The American Academy of Pediatrics, AAP said. “Substantial data suggest that pasteurized milk confers equivalent health benefits compared with raw milk, without the additional risk of bacterial infections.”
viernes, 17 de enero de 2014
FSIS is prepared to take additional actions or expand the investigation
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday afternoon that, as of Jan. 15, a total of 430 persons infected with seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg have been reported from 23 states and Puerto Rico.
The situation prompted a public health alert on Oct. 7, 2013, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service due to concerns that the illness was associated with chicken products produced at three Foster Farms processing facilities in California.
Most of the ill persons (74 percent) have been reported from California. The number of those ill identified in each state is as follows: Alaska (1), Arkansas (1), Arizona (19), California (321), Colorado (9), Connecticut (1), Delaware (1), Florida (4), Idaho (5), Illinois (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (1), Michigan (3), Missouri (5), North Carolina (1), Nevada (10), New Mexico (2), Oregon (10), Puerto Rico (1), Texas (10), Utah (2), Virginia (4), Washington (16), and Wisconsin (1).
Among 418 persons for whom information is available, illness onset dates range from March 1, 2013, to Dec. 26, 2013. Ill persons range in age from less than one year to 93 years, with a median age of 18 years. Fifty-two percent of ill persons are male. Thirteen percent of ill persons have developed blood infections as a result of their illness. Typically, approximately 5 percent of persons ill with Salmonella infections develop blood infections. No deaths have been reported.
Thirty-eight percent of ill persons have been hospitalized.The number of reported infections from the outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg has returned to baseline levels, indicating that this particular outbreak appears to be over. However, activities related to this investigation are ongoing.
Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback investigations conducted by local, state, and federal officials indicate that consumption of Foster Farms brand chicken is the likely source of this outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg infections.
This investigation is ongoing. FSIS is prepared to take additional actions or expand the investigation based on any new evidence.
lunes, 13 de enero de 2014
Healthy People 2020 Reviews Progress on Food Safety Objectives
Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to production of food safety
The Healthy People 2020 initiative recently held a public webinar to update stakeholders on progress toward .
Addressing the goals to reduce infections from pathogens commonly transmitted through food,the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), cited new tools provided under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The mandatory recall authority was used twice in 2013 to remove Salmonella-tainted pet treats.
For Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, the FSIS tests a broader range of source products for ground beef, has instituted sampling for 0:157 STECs, has incorporated new methodologies into outbreak investigations, and proposed regulations to label products containing mechanically tenderized beef. Also developing guidance for retail markets to help reduce Listeria contamination and a possible retail enforcement strategy.
To address preventing an increase in the proportion of non typhoidal Salmonella and Campylobacter jejuni isolates in humans that are resistant to antimicrobial drugs, the FDA’s plan to phase out the use of certain antibiotics in food animals.
A focus on reducing severe allergic reactions to food among adults has led FDA to modernize Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) to protect against allergen cross-contact, develop improved methods for the accurate measurement of allergens in complex foods, and tackle problematic food combinations such as undeclared milk in dark chocolate. FSIS took steps to refocus inspectors’ attention to potentially allergenic ingredients and now believes it has made an impact in reducing the number of recalls related to undeclared allergens.
And, to help increase the number of consumers following key food safety practices, FDA launched mobile-compatible versions of its site and FoodSafety.gov.