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Food Irradiation Updates

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Published by the Minnesota Beef CouncilMarch 2012
Notable & Quotable:

"We should be outraged, but not over "pink slime." Fortunately, there's an alternative. It's called irradiation and it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration more than a decade ago. In fact, irradiation is approved for use on food products in more than 40 countries to kill bacteria, including E. coli, and other contaminants such as viruses and insects.

Irradiation is the process of using "ionizing radiation" to destroy contaminants. But, similar to "pink slime," some consumer groups fear the extremely low levels of radiation produced by irradiated meat.

Fears of irradiation, however, are misguided. Foodborne illnesses from E. coli and other contaminants present a much greater danger to our children. Indeed, consumer fears of irradiation are similar to those exhibited a century ago when pasteurized milk first came into use. That seemed to work out pretty well."
Greg Henderson, Editor of Drovers Journal


IN THIS ISSUE
Irradiation as phytosanitary treatment to overcome quarantine barriers
Commentary: We should be outraged, but not over "pink slime"
Sadex proposes regulations to be amended for irradiation of poultry feed
Irradiation helps cut viral diseases on lettuce, spinach
Canadian Beef Recall Expands Exponentially
USDA/ FSIS Evaluating Petition to Declare Four Salmonella Types as Adulterants
US outbreaks linked to imported foods increasing, so are imports
Is that E. coli really gone? What happens to O157 when slow-cooking roast beef or grilling blade tenderization?
QUICK LINKS
Irradiation as phytosanitary treatment to overcome quarantine barriers; Fresh Plaza News.com. (March 19, 2012):

Phytosanitary measures are regulations to prevent the introduction or spread of quarantine pests. Currently, the most used phytosanitary measures involve extreme temperatures and fumigants (methyl bromide fumigation).

Dr. Guy Hallman's review (2011) describes the use of irradiation as a phytosanitary measure to overcome quarantine barriers to trade in mostly food but also non-food items. The history, the present use of irradiation, and its future applications are discussed.  Read more here....

Commentary: We should be outraged, but not over "pink slime"; Drovers Journal; By Greg Henderson;(March 21, 2012): 

We should be outraged, but not over "pink slime." Fortunately, there's an alternative. It's called irradiation and it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration more than a decade ago. In fact, irradiation is approved for use on food products in more than 40 countries to kill bacteria, including E. coli, and other contaminants such as viruses and insects.

Irradiation is the process of using "ionizing radiation" to destroy contaminants. But, similar to "pink slime," some consumer groups fear the extremely low levels of radiation produced by irradiated meat.

Fears of irradiation, however, are misguided. Foodborne illnesses from E. coli and other contaminants present a much greater danger to our children. Indeed, consumer fears of irradiation are similar to those exhibited a century ago when pasteurized milk first came into use. That seemed to work out pretty well. Read more here...

 

Sadex proposes regulations to be amended for irradiation of poultry feed; (February 29, 2012):

The Food & Drug Administration announced in the Feb. 29 Federal Register that Sadex Corp., Sioux City, Iowa, has filed a petition proposing that the food additive regulations be amended to provide for the safe use of electron beam and x-ray sources for irradiation of poultry feed and poultry feed ingredients.

FDA said comments on the petitioner's environmental assessment can be submitted before March 30 electronically through www.regulations.gov or by writing to Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), FDA, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, Md. 20852. Refer to Docket No. FDA-2012-F-178.

 

Irradiation helps cut viral diseases on lettuce, spinach; The Grower; (Feb. 9, 2012):

Although bacterial foodborne illnesses have captured most of the press, viruses also can cause foodborne diseases.

Researchers at Texas A&M University in College Station wanted to determine whether electron-beam irradiation could reduce the health risk of rotavirus and poliovirus on spinach and lettuce, according to a news release.

And if it did, how would different doses affect different contamination levels?

The team, led by Suresh Pillai, director of the National Center for Electron Beam Research, purchased spinach and iceberg lettuce at local grocery stores, then inoculated them with rotavirus and poliovirus. Read more here...
Related articles: 

Canadian Beef Recall Expands Exponentially;
Doug Powell; BarfBlog; 
(March 18, 2012):

That creepy crawly recall of ground beef from a defunct Canadian processor has now expanded to all product in the past seven months.
According to the Toronto Star, the recall started Feb. 18 and has been expanded eight times as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency continued its investigation.
The meat is suspected of being contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. One person fell ill in October (yes, October) after eating the meat.
The packaged ready-made beef burgers were produced by New Food Classics of Burlington - aka Establishment 761 - between between July 1, 2011 and Feb. 15, 2012. The company went into receivership Feb. 22. Read more here...

USDA/ FSIS Evaluating Petition to Declare Four Salmonella Types as Adulterants; By Tom Johnston; MeatingPlace.com:(March 12, 2012):

CHICAGO -- USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service has received a petition from Center for Science in the Public Interest requesting that the agency deem four strains of Salmonella as adulterants in raw meat and poultry.
"We're assessing that and how we'd go forward if we were to adopt it," Dan Engeljohn, assistant administrator FSIS's Office of Policy & Program Development, told attendees here at the North American Meat Processors Association's annual Meat Industry Management Conference.
The petition is one of FSIS's many considerations with regard to Salmonella as it looks to help reduce illnesses associated with that pathogen in the products the agency regulates. Each year more than 500,000 illnesses are reported to have stemmed from those products, primarily from poultry.
"We really can't make progress if we don't focus on Salmonella ... much of our policy efforts will focus on Salmonella in poultry," Engeljohn said. Read more here....

DION brand CURRY POWDER may contain Salmonella bacteria; BarfBlog; (March 8, 2012):

OTTAWA -- The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and G. Dion Foods are warning the public not to consume the Dion brand curry powder described below because the product may be contaminated with Salmonella.
The affected product, Dion brand Organic Curry powder is sold in 36 gram packages bearing lot code 02B01G and UPC 6 20383 02007 7.
 -- The public warning issued on March 8, 2012 has been expanded to include additional lot codes.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and G. Dion Foods are warning the public not to consume the Dion brand curry powder described below because the product may be contaminated with Salmonella.
The following Dion brand product is affected by this expanded alert:
Product Size UPC Lot Code
Organic Curry powder 36 g 6 20383 02007 7 02B12G & 
12A05G
This product has been distributed in Quebec and Ontario.
 Read more here....

25 now sick up from 14 from eating sprouts at Jimmy John's: barfblog; Doug Powell (March 9, 2012):

http://www.barfblog.com/blog/153552/12/03/09/25-now-sick-14-jimmy-john%E2%80%99s-keeps-winning-e-coli-o26-sprouts

A total of 25 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Shiga toxin producing E. coli (STEC) O26 have been reported from 8 states.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says results of the epidemiologic and traceback investigations indicate eating raw clover sprouts at Jimmy John's restaurants is the likely cause of this outbreak.
March 8, 2012
The 11 new ill persons have been reported from Alabama, Michigan, and Ohio. Of the 24 ill persons with available information, 21 (87%) reported consuming sprouts at Jimmy John's restaurants in the 7 days preceding illness.
http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2012/O26-02-12/index.html
Occurrence and characterization of Listeria spp. in ready-to-eat retail foods from Vancouver, British Columbia  08.mar.12
Food Microbiology, Volume 30, Issue 2, June 2012, Pages 372-378
Jovana Kovačević, Lili R. Mesak, Kevin J. Allen
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S074000201100298X
Read more here.... 

 

Food Irradiation Update is being sent as an update on food irradiation by Ronald F. Eustice, Executive Director of the Minnesota Beef Council. 

Executive Director
Minnesota Beef Council
2950 Metro Drive # 102
Bloomington, MN 55425
USA
Website: www.mnbeef.org
 
For more information on food irradiation visit http://www.mnbeef.org
Remember: Food irradiation is a cold pasteurization process that will do for ground meats, produce, and other foods what thermal pasteurization did for milk decades ago.
Sincerely,
 
Ron Eustice
Minnesota Beef Council
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Radura
FOOD IRRADIATION: A GUIDE FOR CONSUMERS, POLICYMAKERS AND THE MEDIA published by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) can be downloaded at Food Irradiation Book
IRRADIATED FOODS; published by the American Council on Science & Health Provides Science- provides science-based Information on food irradiation. The booklet can be downloaded at:IRRADIATED FOODS
Food Irradiation Principles and Applications
is an excellent source of information about food irradiation. For information go to:
Food Irradiation: Principles & Applications
FOOD IRRADIATION: QUESTIONS & ANSWERS is an excellent source of information on food irradiation.FOOD IRRADIATION: QUESTIONS & ANSWERS


 
 

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