Tag Archive: Antibiotic Resistance

Health and Wellness Report Banner photo FSPLogoBannerHealthandWellness831x338Blogger_zps68b43460.jpg



Bacteria containing mcr-1 gene resistant to all known antibiotics found in Denmark

Lethal tummy bug … A strain of the common e. coli bacteria resistant to all known treatments has been found in Denmark.

Network WritersNews Corp Australia Network

JUST weeks after the discovery in China of bacteria resistant to all known forms of treatment, the same strain has been found in Denmark. Worse: It’s been there since 2012.

Late last week researchers at the Technical University of Denmark announced they had found the feared ‘invulnerability’ gene among E. coli bacteria samples taken from humans and food.

The scientists had been conducting a review of a genetic database of some 3000 different E. coli samples taken since 2009.

Specifically they were seeking the mcr-1 gene, a mutation which gives bacteria a frightening resistance to the last effective family of antibiotics — colistin.

ANTIBIOTIC APOCALYPSE: A new dark age of medicine looms

Read More Here



NewsMax Health

New Superbug Resistant to Last-line Antibiotics: Study

Sunday, 06 Dec 2015 11:19 AM


Agricultural Use Of Antibiotics Could Create Health Crisis, Experts Warn China’s use of thousands of tons of antibiotics in agriculture is a major cause for concern.

Asian Scientist Newsroom | November 24, 2015 | In the Lab
AsianScientist (Nov. 24, 2015) – Two medical experts from The University of Queensland are urging China to curb its use of antibiotics in animals to avoid what could be a ‘major health catastrophe’ for humans, following their research published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
Polymyxin antibiotic class is a “last-defence” antibiotic for patients, including in intensive care units, but its extensive use in agriculture in China was leading to resistance in humans, warned Professor David Paterson, Head of the Infection and Immunity group at UQ Center for Clinical Research.
“It will be very dangerous if people stop responding to this treatment. A key part of many intensive treatments relies on antibiotic success to fight life-threatening infection and keep further infections at bay. However, resistance to this antibiotic is now becoming widespread in chickens, pigs and other animals across Asia, and has now been detected in humans,” cautioned Paterson.
In the report, Paterson said the resistance was directly linked to agricultural use of the antibiotic in the food-chain. “When humans eat the food derived from these animals fed with antibiotics, this leads to antibiotic resistance. By the end of 2015, China is projected to use thousands of tonnes of polymyxins. Chinese leaders needed to take urgent and decisive action to curb this use.” Paterson said.
MNT home

New antibiotic resistance gene that breaches ‘last line of defense’ found in China

Published: Thursday 19 November 2015 at 3am PST

A new gene that makes bacteria resistant to polymyxins – the last-resort antibiotics for treating infections – is widespread in a large family of bacteria sampled from pigs and people in South China, says a new study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
The researchers first found evidence of transferable resistance to the polymyxin drug colistin in bacteria isolated from a pig on an intensive farm in China.

The researchers say some of the bacterial strains that have acquired the new resistance gene – called MCR-1 – also have epidemic potential.

The discovery is particularly alarming because the researchers found the new gene on plasmids – a mobile form of DNA that is easily shared and spread among different bacteria via horizontal gene transfer.

It echoes an earlier discovery in India a few years ago of the resistance gene NDM-1 that makes bacteria resistant to nearly all antibiotics, including the last-resort antibiotics carbapenems.

In their study, the researchers, led by members from South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, conclude:

“The emergence of MCR-1 heralds the breach of the last group of antibiotics, polymyxins, by plasmid-mediated resistance. Although currently confined to China, MCR-1 is likely to emulate other global resistance mechanisms such as NDM-1.”

Co-author Jian-Hua Liu, a professor specializing in antimicrobial resistance in animals, says the results are “extremely worrying” because the polymyxins were “the last class of antibiotics in which resistance was incapable of spreading from cell to cell.”

Polymyxin resistance transferring readily among common bacteria


Read More Here


Earth Watch Report  –  Biological Hazards

File:Neutrophil and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococccus aureus (MRSA) Bacteria.jpg


Scanning electron micrograph of neutrophil ingesting methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Credit: NIAID   National Institutes of Health.





May 13 2014 03:04 AM Biological Hazard Denmark [The area was not defined.] Damage level Details




Biological Hazard in Denmark on Tuesday, 13 May, 2014 at 03:04 (03:04 AM) UTC.

A troubling and also kind of odd story came out of Denmark this weekend. In a court proceeding, a microbiologist has disclosed that three residents of the country who had no known connection to farming died of MRSA infections caused by ST398, the livestock-associated strain of drug-resistant staph that first appeared among pig farmers in the Netherlands in 2004 and has since moved through Europe, Canada and the United States. If the report is correct – and sources have told me it is, but I’ve seen no data to confirm it – it reinforces the concern that bacteria which become resistant because of antibiotic use on farms can move off farms and affect the health of people who have no connection to farming. Livestock MRSA has always one of the best cases for establishing that, because the drug to which it showed the greatest resistance, tetracycline, wasn’t used against human MRSA in the Netherlands, but was used routinely on farms – so the only place the strain could have picked up its unique resistance pattern was in pigs. (Here’s my long archive of posts on pig MRSA, dating back to my book Superbug where the story was told for the first time.) Just to get them high up, here are some Danish news sources; this sees to have been a widely covered story. Danish isn’t one of my languages, so I’ve relied on Google Translate – not the best practice, but there’s enough agreement among the stories that I am comfortable with it in this case.
Biohazard name: MRSA (pig, human)
Biohazard level: 3/4 Hight
Biohazard desc.: Bacteria and viruses that can cause severe to fatal disease in humans, but for which vaccines or other treatments exist, such as anthrax, West Nile virus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, SARS virus, variola virus (smallpox), tuberculosis, typhus, Rift Valley fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, yellow fever, and malaria. Among parasites Plasmodium falciparum, which causes Malaria, and Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes trypanosomiasis, also come under this level.
Status: confirmed



Denmark: Three Deaths from Drug-Resistant “Pig MRSA”

ICStefanescu (CC), Flickr

A troubling and also kind of odd story came out of Denmark this weekend. In a court proceeding, a microbiologist has disclosed that three residents of the country who had no known connection to farming died of MRSA infections caused by ST398, the livestock-associated strain of drug-resistant staph that first appeared among pig farmers in the Netherlands in 2004 and has since moved through Europe, Canada and the United States.

If the report is correct — and sources have told me it is, but I’ve seen no data to confirm it — it reinforces the concern that bacteria which become resistant because of antibiotic use on farms can move off farms and affect the health of people who have no connection to farming.

Livestock MRSA has always one of the best cases for establishing that, because the drug to which it showed the greatest resistance, tetracycline, wasn’t used against human MRSA in the Netherlands, but was used routinely on farms — so the only place the strain could have picked up its unique resistance pattern was in pigs. (Here’s my long archive of posts on pig MRSA, dating back to my book Superbug where the story was told for the first time.)

Just to get them high up, here are some Danish news sources; this sees to have been a widely covered story. Danish isn’t one of my languages, so I’ve relied on Google Translate — not the best practice, but there’s enough agreement among the stories that I am comfortable with it in this case.

  • The Information: “Filthy use of antibiotics”
  • Kvalls Posten: “Resistant swine bacterium has killed three Danes”
  • DR DK: “Politicians are worried about swine bacteria”
  • Avisen: “Three Danes die of swine bacteria”
  • Ekstra Bladet: “Three died from killer bacteria from pigs”
  • Fyens: “University hospital physician: Three died of swine bacteria”


Read More Here




Enhanced by Zemanta

Antibiotic resistance now ‘global threat’, WHO warns

Lab research into new antibiotics WHO called for more preventative measures against infection

It analysed data from 114 countries and said resistance was happening now “in every region of the world”.

It described a “post-antibiotic era”, where people die from simple infections that have been treatable for decades.

There were likely to be “devastating” implications unless “significant” action was taken urgently, it added.

The report focused on seven different bacteria responsible for common serious diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and blood infections.

It suggested two key antibiotics no longer work in more than half of people being treated in some countries.

What we urgently need is a solid global plan of action which provides for the rational use of antibiotics”

Dr Jennifer Cohn Medecins sans Frontiers

One of them – carbapenem – is a so-called “last-resort” drug used to treat people with life-threatening infections such as pneumonia, bloodstream infections, and infections in newborns, caused by the bacteria K.pneumoniae.

Bacteria naturally mutate to eventually become immune to antibiotics, but the misuse of these drugs – such as doctors over-prescribing them and patients failing to finish courses – means it is happening much faster than expected.

The WHO says more new antibiotics need to be developed, while governments and individuals should take steps to slow the process of growing resistance.

In its report, it said resistance to antibiotics for E.coli urinary tract infections had increased from “virtually zero” in the 1980s to being ineffective in more than half of cases today.

In some countries, it said, resistance to antibiotics used to treat the bacteria “would not work in more than half of people treated”.


Read More Here



Antibiotic resistance: 6 diseases that may come back to haunt us

Still think of TB, typhoid and gonorrhoea as infections from the past? WHO’s terrifying report will make you think again
Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacteria that causes the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhoea

Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacteria that causes the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhoea. Photograph: Dr. David M. Phillips/Getty Images/Visuals Unlimited

Diseases we thought were long gone, nothing to worry about, or easy to treat could come back with a vengeance, according to the recent World Health Organisation report on global antibiotic resistance. Concern at this serious threat to public health has been growing; complacency could result in a crisis with the potential to affect everyone, not just those in poor countries or without access to advanced healthcare. Already diseases that were treatable in the past, such as tuberculosis, are often fatal now, and others are moving in the same direction. And the really terrifying thing is that the problem is already with us: this is not science fiction, but contemporary reality. So what are some of the infections that could come back to haunt us?


TB ought to be treatable within six months once people are prescribed a course of drugs including the once potent antibiotics isoniazid and rifampicin. But today, resistance has emerged not only to these medicines, but to the wider range of pharmaceuticals used to treat the disease. This has led to the emergence of multi-drug-resistant TB, the still less treatable extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB), and even to total drug-resistant TB, which has only officially been confirmed in India. Countries such as South Africa have run out of treatment options for many of their patients and are having to discharge them from hospital. Resistance to TB has reached a global scale with XDR-TB now reported in 92 countries.


The sexually transmitted nature of this infection makes it something many are reluctant to talk about or admit to having. However, it’s long been thought of as easily treatable and nothing much to fear. Once fixable with penicillin and tetracycline, the bacteria behind the disease have developed such high levels of resistance that there is only one drug left that can treat it. Even this antibiotic, ceftriaxone, is becoming less effective. With last-resort drugs losing their impact, this sexually transmitted infection (STI) could spread throughout the population.


It’s likely that you’ve never heard of this common bacterium, which can cause a wide range of conditions including pneumonia, urinary tract infections, septicaemia, meningitis and diarrhoea. It fits into a wider group of bacteria with the apt acronym of Eskape owing to their ability to avoid the effects of the antibiotics used against them. The acronym stands for the names of the bacterial group members: Enterococcus faecium; Staphylococcus aureus; Klebsiella pneumoniae; Acinetobacter baumannii; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; and Enterobacter. Klebsiella and the rest of this group are increasingly being acquired in hospitals. While we fear MRSA, it is in fact a declining threat in hospitals; at the same time Eskape pathogens are causing more and more problems. As the WHO report highlighted, routine hospital visits or treatments could result in these previously treatable bacteria having fatal consequences.


Read More Here



Enhanced by Zemanta

Kitchen Cutting Boards Harbor Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

A new study published in the Journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology found that kitchen cutting boards can become contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria from raw meat. Researchers at the University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland looked at 154 cutting boards before they were washed from the hospital and 44 from private homes after they were used to prepare pork, beef, veal, lamb, game, or fish. In addition, kitchen gloves worn during meat preparation were tested.

Cutting BoardThe scientists discovered that 6.5% of the hospital cutting boards and 3.5% of the household cutting boards used to prepare poultry tested positive for “multidrug-resistant E. coli bacteria.” None of the boards used for meat other than poultry dated positive. Fifty percent of the gloves were contaminated with multidrug-resistant E. coli.


Read More Here

Enhanced by Zemanta

The coming plague will not be stopped by drugs: CDC now admits era of antibiotics at an end as bacteria out-wit drug companies

Tuesday, September 17, 2013
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com

(NaturalNews) In a breakthrough moment of truth for the CDC, the agency now openly admits that prescription antibiotics have led to a catastrophic rise in superbugs, causing the death of at least 23,000 Americans each year (an estimate even the CDC calls “conservative”).

This is the conclusion of the CDC’s new Threat Report 2013, a document that for the first time quantifies the number of fatalities happening in America due to antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

What’s truly astonishing about this report is that it admits, in effect, that modern medicine is a failure when it comes to infectious disease. The whole approach of fighting bugs with isolated chemicals was doomed to fail from the start, of course, since Mother Nature adapts to chemical threats far more quickly than drug companies can roll out new chemicals.

Sadly, the very approach of using an isolated chemical to combat disease is rooted in a 1950’s mentality that has nearly reached its endpoint in the history of medicine. The CDC all but admits this now, saying the era of antibiotics is nearing its end. “If we are not careful, we will soon be in a post-antibiotic era” – Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC.

The admission should send alarm bells ringing across the medical establishment. Because what it really means is the day isn’t too far off when doctors and hospitals can no longer offer treatments for common infections.

The rise of alternative medicine… again!

Western doctors, of course, are wildly ignorant of far more effective ways to treat infections. Because of the profit interests in patented antibiotic chemicals, doctors have never been taught how to use herbal antibiotics to which there is virtually no resistance whatsoever.

Doctors have also never been informed of the powerful antibiotic properties of silver, copper, aloe vera gel, garlic (and sulfur compounds), Chinese medicine herbs and many other bacteria-fighting substances from the natural world.

As a result, the day is soon coming when doctors will send patients home to die, not knowing that real cures for their infections already exist and are readily available from the world of natural medicine. That’s the real cost of the failure of western medicine: countless numbers of victims will suffer and die due to the incredible ignorance of doctors and their foolish reliance on a system of chemicals that has failed humankind.

Our epitaph [as a species] may well read: “They died of a peculiar strain of reductionism, complicated by a sudden attack of elitism, even though there were ready natural cures close at hand.” – Gary Paul Nabhan, author, Cultures of Habitat

Here at Natural News, I estimate that due to the disastrous failure of antibiotics combined with the widespread suppression of human immune function (due to drugs, heavy metals, environmental chemicals and more), superbug deaths will quickly accelerate, reaching 100,000 deaths per year by 2020, nearly rivaling the number of Americans already killed each year by FDA-approved prescription medications.

The top three superbug threats

According to the CDC, the top three superbug threats right now are:

• Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae or CRE (9,000 annual infections, 600 annual deaths)

• Antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea (246,000 infections per year, now only one drug left to treat it)

• Clostridium difficile (250,000 infections per year, 14,000 deaths)

In all, these three superbugs combined with others cause 23,000 total deaths per year in the United States alone, says the CDC.

The CDC, predictably, also says part of the solution is to get more people vaccinated. This makes no sense whatsoever as vaccines only make immune systems weaker while doing nothing to prevent infections of superbugs.

On the positive side, the CDC did say that antibiotic use should be curbed in agriculture (meaning fed to animals for meat production). In truth, more antibiotics are used each year in agriculture than in humans.

CDC still clings to futile hope of failed drug model

Despite having the ability to now see the problem at hand, the CDC still desperately clings to the futile hope that “yet another chemical” will be developed that solves the superbug problem.

This is an exercise in insanity, as you might have guessed, because whatever new chemical the drug companies come up with — and they’ve mostly stopped even bothering with new research into antibiotics — will quickly be rendered useless by microbiological adaptations.

The inconvenient truth about all this is that the CDC will never solve this problem with the same kind of thinking that caused the problem. The never-ending chase for more chemicals is futile. Patented drugs will never conquer drug-resistant bacteria, period. It doesn’t matter how many federal subsidies are dumped into drug research.

So what will work, then? For starters, probiotics offer a solid defense against drug-resistant gut bacteria. So the first thing everyone should be doing to shield themselves from deadly infections is to consume probiotics on a regular basis.

Secondly, antibiotics themselves create an “intestinal wasteland” that’s ripe for infection with deadly drug-resistant strains. So the very use of antibiotics in a patient is something that needs to be far more comprehensively taught to doctors and explained to patients so that the real risks of antibiotics are more widely understood (and avoided).

Ultimately, the use of antibiotics needs to be sharply limited. There are still cases in which limited, targeted use of antibiotics is a real lifesaver, but the widespread abuse of antibiotics is what has led our medical system to the brink of collapse when it comes to deadly superbugs.

Superbugs and superweeds

Thanks to the widespread use of glyphosate with GMOs in agriculture, farms are now suffering from runaway “superweeds” that pose many of the same problems as superbug infections in humans.

Both problems are caused by the widespread abuse of isolated chemicals, sold by profiteering corporations with complete disregard for the long-term consequences of their products.

Both problems are almost universally swept under the rug by the corporations that gave rise to the problems in the first place.

And both problems are promised to be solved with “yet more chemicals” that overcome the resistance to the previous round of chemicals.

There’s a fatal problem with this: each round of chemicals needs to be substantially more toxic than the last round, causing a “spiral of chemical toxicity” that will only lead human civilization to its own destruction.

Even right now, we are very close to the rise of a highly infectious superbug that is resistant to all known antibiotics. Once unleashed, such a superbug could sweet through the population and cause the death of over a billion people across the planet. In such a scenario, the entire system of western medicine has zero tools to deal with it. There is no vaccine, no drug and no FDA-approved treatment that will even touch it.

Familiarize yourself with these systemic herbal antibiotics

Survivors of the inevitable superbug pandemic will be those who turn to Mother Nature and natural remedies. That why I recommend every person reading this pick up at least one book on herbal antibiotics and keep it on your shelf in case of an emergency outbreak.

The most comprehensive book on this subject that I’ve yet found is called Herbal Antibiotics, 2nd Edition: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-resistant Bacteria. I highly recommend this book. It is meticulously researched and comprehensive in its coverage of the subject. It is also quite technical, so be prepared for that if you’re not used to reading technical papers or books.

In the coming superbug plague, the drug companies will be useless. Your doctor will be useless. Hospitals will be disease-infested death traps. The CDC will be paralyzed with bureaucracy and hopelessly stuck in the era of chemical medicine. Only people who possess the nearly-lost knowledge of natural plant-based antibiotics will have any real chance of surviving such an outbreak if they become infected.

If you have net yet heard the plant name Cryptolepis, you need to familiarize yourself with it. This is a systemic antibiotic with a multitude of uses and physiological actions. Others include Sida, Alchornea and Artemisia (wordwood). Learn these herbs and learn how they work in the human body. Your life may depend on it, and once the superbug plague spreads, these plants may be worth more, ounce for ounce, than gold.

In fact, I was thinking it would be a phenomenal product to offer to the world: a collection of antibiotic plant seeds along with instructions for their cultivation and use. If anyone reading this has such a product to offer, feel free to contact us. Perhaps we can distribute or retail your product to get it into the hands of a large number of people who can keep these plants thriving while the era of synthetic chemical medicine collapses into history.

Sources for this article include:

Enhanced by Zemanta

File:Antibiotics in the environment.JPG

Tonnage and percentage of veterinary use of antibiotics in the Netherlands in 2002 per compound class. Antibiotic names are in Dutch.

Author Tnvaessen

via Wikimedia Commons

File:Antibiotics Mechanisms of action.png

This depicts the site of action of some of the major categories of antibiotics.

Author Kendrick Johnson

via Wikimedia Commons


Antibiotic resistance growing out of control, routine medical procedures now deadly

Monday, July 22, 2013 by: Summer Tierney

(NaturalNews) As the so-called “season” of colds and flus makes this year’s debut, yet another reason emerges to avoid antibiotics – or at least be more cautious and discriminating about when and how to use them. The United Kingdom now acknowledges that the excessive prescription and subsequent overuse of antibiotics can have deadly consequences if doctors and patients don’t change their ways, and fast. As a direct result of such abuse, antibiotics are becoming increasingly less effective against potentially fatal bacteria. If this pattern persists, said Health Chief Dame Sally Davies, more people could die from routine medical procedures like heart surgery.

“Antibiotics are losing their effectiveness at a rate that is alarming and irreversible – similar to global warming,” Davies said. In the absence of a major reduction in the use of antibiotics, she warns that certain untreatable conditions may spread, while other difficult-to-treat infections like multi-resistant E-coli will take more lives. She suggests that doctors and patients must work together to combat this growing antibiotic resistance.

Patients must stop expecting or requesting antibiotics prescriptions from their doctors for mild infections and minor illnesses like coughs, sore throats and earaches, said Dr. Cliodna McNulty, a microbiologist at the Health Protection Agency. And doctors, too, should take extra care to help educate their patients about the consequences of using antibiotics.

Antibiotics 101 – What doctors aren’t telling you

The fact is that antibiotics do nothing at all for viral infections. They are completely ineffective against most of the conditions for which they are prescribed, like coughs, fevers and the like, which have simply to run their course and eventually heal on their own. In fact, fevers are the body’s own natural attempt to burn up toxic invaders. Still, doctors sometimes prescribe antibiotics anyway, either to prevent a secondary bacterial infection, or at the blind and sometimes angry insistence of patients and parents who don’t know any better.


Read More Here



Enhanced by Zemanta

Image Source


Rumor: New ‘sex superbug’ found in Hawaii

The Associated Press, which first reported the story about the “sex superbug,” has since withdrawn its story.


AP first reported on apparent ‘sex superbug,’ but has since withdrawn story

The rumor began on May 1, when The Associated Press printed a tiny note from Honolulu. State health officials had reportedly confirmed two cases of H041, a drug-resistant gonorrhea. As the AP reported, the “superbug” had first been discovered in Japan in 2011. Others quickly pounced on the story. AP’s competitor UPI trotted out a naturopathic physician to give them the “this might be a lot worse than AIDS” scare quote. And British tabloid The Sun called the bug a “global killer” even though, as it later pointed out, it hadn’t actually killed anyone yet.

But AP then published this story, withdrawing the previous story about the “sex superbug,” saying “The Hawaii State Department of Health says the two cases are a different strain of the disease, and no cases of the new strain have been confirmed.” Had H041 actually been found on the island, it would have been as big a deal as the AP and others said it was. As NBC News points out, that particular strain of gonorrhea is resistant to ceftriaxone, “the last-resort treatment for the sexually transmitted infection.”

But it wasn’t H041. The two cases in Hawaii, as the AP later corrected and as NBC discovered, were actually a different strain, H11S8, that’s resistant to a different antibiotic. As of now, H041 hasn’t been seen since 2009, when it was revealed that a Japanese sex worker was infected.


Read Full Article Here


Sex Superbug, Antibiotic-Resistant

Gonorrhea, Is Not ‘Worse Than AIDS,’ Experts Say

Posted: 05/07/2013 10:41 am EDT

Gonorrhea Superbug

By: Rachael Rettner, MyHealthNewsDaily Senior Writer
Published: 05/06/2013 05:51 PM EDT on MyHealthNewsDaily

Antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea is a serious public health issue, but comparing the illness to AIDS, as a recent article did, is misleading, experts say.

A recent CNBC article with the headline “Sex Superbug Could Be ‘Worse Than AIDS'” quoted Alan Christianson, a naturopathic doctor, as saying that an antibiotic-resistant strain of the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea “might be a lot worse than AIDS in the short run because the bacteria is more aggressive and will affect more people quickly.”

However, some experts called the comparison hyperbolic.

“I disagree with the general comparison,” said Dr. Bruce Hirsch, an attending physician in infectious diseases at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y.

“The rate of complications from gonorrhea in terms of systemic problems is so much lower than the rate of complications from untreated AIDS infection,” Hirsch said.

The CNBC article says that this particular strain of gonorrhea “might put someone into septic shock and death in a matter of days.” But Hirsch said that the rate of life-threatening complications, such as sepsis, from gonorrhea, is about 1 percent, while the rate of death from untreated AIDS is 98 percent.


Read Full Article Here





  • .
  • CRE germs kill up to half of patients who get bloodstream infections from themCRE germs kill up to half of patients who get bloodstream infections from them
  • Vutal Signsweb graphic4% & 18% – About 4% of the 4,000 US hospitals studied had at least one patient with a serious CRE infection during the first half of 2012. About 18% of the country’s 200 long-term acute care hospitals had one. This totals nearly 200 facilities with at least one CRE patient in six months.

    42 – One type of CRE infection has been reported in medical facilities in 42 states during the last 10 years.

    1 in 2 CRE germs kill up to half of patients who get bloodstream infections from them.

  • CDC staff show two plates growing bacteriaCDC staff show two plates growing bacteria in the presence of discs containing various antibiotics. The isolate on the left plate is susceptible to the antibiotics on the discs and is therefore unable to grow around the discs. The one on the right has a CRE that is resistant to all of the antibiotics tested and is able to grow near the disks.
  • CDC microbiologist, Kitty AndersonCDC microbiologist, Kitty Anderson, looks at a 96-well plate used for testing the ability of bacteria to growth in the presence of antibiotics.
  • CDC microbiologist, Kitty AndersonCDC microbiologist, Johannetsy Avillan, holds up a plate that demonstrates the modified Hodge test, which is used to identify resistance in bacteria known as Enterobacteriaceae. Bacteria that are resistant to carbapenems, considered “last resort” antibiotics, produce a distinctive clover-leaf shape.


New CDC Vital Signs: Lethal, Drug-resistant Bacteria Spreading in U.S. Healthcare Facilities

CDC News Room

Drug-resistant germs called carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, are on the rise and have become more resistant to last-resort antibiotics during the past decade, according to a new CDC Vital Signs report.  These bacteria are causing more hospitalized patients to get infections that, in some cases, are impossible to treat.

CRE are lethal bacteria that pose a triple threat:

  • Resistance: CRE are resistant to all, or nearly all, the antibiotics we have – even our most powerful drugs of last-resort.
  • Death: CRE have high mortality rates – CRE germs kill 1 in 2 patients who get bloodstream infections from them.
  • Spread of disease:  CRE easily transfer their antibiotic resistance to other bacteria.  For example, carbapenem-resistant klebsiella can spread its drug-destroying weapons to a normal E. coli bacteria, which makes the E.coli resistant to antibiotics also. That could create a nightmare scenario since E. coli is the most common cause of urinary tract infections in healthy people.

Read Full Report  Here


‘Nightmare’ Bacteria Spreading in U.S. Hospitals, Nursing Homes: CDC

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, March 5 (HealthDay News)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 4 percent of U.S. hospitals and 18 percent of nursing homes had treated at least one patient with the bacteria, called Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), within the first six months of 2012.

“CRE are nightmare bacteria. Our strongest antibiotics don’t work and patients are left with potentially untreatable infections,” CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said in a news release. “Doctors, hospital leaders and public health [officials] must work together now to implement the CDC’s ‘detect and protect’ strategy and stop these infections from spreading.”

“The good news,” Frieden added at an afternoon teleconference, “is we now have an opportunity to prevent its further spread.” But, he continued, “We only have a limited window of opportunity to stop this infection from spreading to the community and spreading to more organisms.”

CRE are in a family of more than 70 bacteria called enterobacteriaceae, including Klebsiella pneumoniae and E. coli, that normally live in the digestive system.

In recent years, some of these bacteria have become resistant to last-resort antibiotics known as carbapenems.

Although CRE bacteria are not yet found nationwide, they have increased fourfold within the United States in the past decade, with most cases reported in the Northeast.

Health officials said they’re concerned about the rapid spread of the bacteria, which can endanger the lives of patients and healthy people. For example, in the last 10 years, the CDC tracked one CRE from one health-care facility to similar facilities in 42 states.

One type of CRE, a resistant form of Klebsiella pneumoniae, has increased sevenfold in the past decade, according to the CDC’s March 5 Vital Signs report.

“To see bacteria that are resistant is worrisome, because this group of bacteria are very common,” said Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.

Most CRE infections to date have been in patients who had prolonged stays in hospitals, long-term facilities and nursing homes, the report said.

The bacteria kill up to half the patients whose bloodstream gets infected and are easily spread from patient to patient on the hands of health-care workers, the CDC said.

Moreover, CRE bacteria can transfer their antibiotic resistance to other bacteria of the same type.

This problem is the result of the overuse of antibiotics, Siegel said. “The more you use an antibiotic, the more resistance is going to emerge,” he said. “This is an indictment of the overuse of this class of antibiotic.”


Read Full Article Here

Food Safety

Poisons  In Our Food :  Recalls- Allergen Alert- Food Borne Illness

“Check With Phyllis” for Complete Mango Recall List

Food Safety News
Phyllis Entis is the author of “Food Safety: Old Habits, New Perspectives” and “Food Microbiology–The Laboratory”.
She has been a food safety microbiologist for 35 years, and has worked both in government and industry. She believes that everyone–government regulators, farmers and ranchers, food processors, food service workers, educators and consumers–has a responsibility to ensure that the food we eat is as safe as we can make it.


She is also kind of a Santa Claus for mango consumers.   She publishes eFoodAlert, where among other things she tracks the mango recall in a form that is most useful to consumers.
Mango consumers have every reason for concern because at least 105 people in 16 states and another 21 in Canada have been infected with Salmonella Braenderup in an outbreak that is associated with the fruit.
The government of Mexico claims nothing has been proven yet, but  Mexican-grown Daniella brand mangoes being imported to the U.S. by Burlingame, CA-based Splendid Products have been under a recall order for the past six days.
This has led to a confusing number of downstream recalls by distributors and fruit peddlers, with a long list of products containing mangoes that have also been recalled during the past few days.  One million mangoes have been recalled.
Most of these recalls have been reported by Food Safety News, but consumers wanting their mangoes all organized and in one place might well want to check with Phyllis on this list.

Organic Foods Not Safer  or More Nutritious than Conventionally Grown Foods

Food Poisoning  Bulletin

Bags of Produce Marked 100% OrganicA new study conducted at Stanford Center for Health Policy and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine questions whether organically-grown foods are safer or more nutritious than conventionally produced foods. This systemic review, which extracts data from English-language studies, says no. Seventeen studies in human beings and 223 studies of nutrient and contaminant levels in foods were examined. There were no long-term studies of health outcomes among people eating organic versus conventionally raised foods.

Three of the human studies researched clinical outcomes; those found no difference between populations who ate organic foods and those who ate conventional foods for allergic reactions or Campylobacter infections. Two of the human studies found significantly lower pesticide levels in the urine in children, but found no “clinically meaningful” differences among adults.

Estimates of any differences in nutrient and contaminant levels were “highly heterogeneous” except conventionally grown foods had significantly higher phosphorus levels. The risk of pesticide residue contamination was lower among organic produce, as is to be expected, but there was little difference in the risk of exceeding maximum limits. In other words, even produce that had pesticide residue had levels that were below safety limits set by the EPA.

The risk of E. coli contamination was unrelated to the farming method. But the risk for ingesting antibiotic-resistant bacteria was higher in conventionally raised chicken and pork than in organically raised meats.

The requirements for organic certification can vary, but there are some common standards. For instance, foods with the organic certified label must be grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, processed without irradiation, not grown from genetically modified organisms. Farm animals used for food must be raised without antibiotics or growth hormones and given pesticide-free animal feed.

What does this mean for the consumer? If you want to buy organically raised produce and meat, you will consume fewer pesticides and lower your risk of ingesting antibiotic-resistant bacteria. But the nutritional profiles of both groups are the same. And organically grown and produced foods are not safer in terms of bacterial contamination. No matter where you buy your food or if you have conventionally raised or organically produced food, it must be handled correctly and cooked to a safe final internal temperature.


The  Original Report  on the  study  can be  found   here


A Washington State report criticized the techniques used in this study, and it’s findings.

Mother Jones briefly touches on them


And the Washington State University critique



defensive chemicals produced naturally by plants…




E. coli Outbreak In New York Expands

Food Poisoning Bulletin

The source of an unusual E. coli outbreak that has sickened 10 people in the Finger Lakes region of New York since early August has yet to be identified, Joan Ellison, Livingston County’s director of public health told Food Poisoning Bulletin today.

Nine Livingston County residents and one person from Onondaga County have developed E. coli infections over the last month. Three of them had cases so severe that they were hospitalized, but have since been released. Lab tests that use a genetic “fingerprinting” method called pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE)  have confirmed that eight of the cases patients were sickened by the same strain of  E.coli 0157:H7. Test results for two case patients from Livingston County are pending.

While public health authorities have been able to identify the outbreak strain, they have not yet been able to identify a specific source of the outbreak. “There is a thread that connects them, but not a rope that ties them all together,” Ellison said. “It’s really hard to say where it’s coming from.”

The outbreak began in early August with a cluster of seven cases in Livingston County. Then, last week, new cases popped up, including one in a second county. “It’s kind of odd that we’re adding them sporadically,” Ellison said.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection include vomiting, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps which  usually develop three to four days after exposure and last up to a week.  Those most at risk are young children, seniors, people who take antacids on a regular basis and anyone whose immune system is compromised. The victims of this outbreak range in age from 10 to 75.

Cured Meat Is In. But Is it Safe?

Food Safety News


Prosciutto, lardo, bresaola, capicola, guanciale and soppressata. The opposite of fast food, and literally slow to make, these meats are examples of charcuterie, or what are most commonly known as cured meats.
As the local, do-it-yourself food culture grows across the country, more chefs are getting into the meat curing business to cater to patrons who demand more sustainable and old-world preparation methods. The practice is still at the trendy stage for most Americans, but it is steeped in tradition around the world. People have been preserving meats with salt for thousands of years in order to make it safe in an unstable, non-refrigerated and uninspected environment.
Meanwhile, modern American food regulations – both federal guidelines and state and county health codes – can have very little application to these traditional methods.  Many states have regulations that strictly require meat to be cooked and stored at specific temperatures, while some states allow for restaurants to apply for a variance to serve products – like cured meats – that fall outside the  jurisdiction of standard rules.
Christopher Lee has been in the restaurant business for 30 years and making salumi for more than 20 years in Berkeley, Calif., first as a chef at Chez Panisse, then at his own restaurant Eccolo. Recently, Lee served as a restaurant consultant, most notably creating the safety plan for Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria in Manhattan.
Lee says his work as a consultant made him consider the food safety aspect of curing meat more than he had in the past.
“Now that I have seen people making it in their back room in their restaurant, I have become a lot more wary,” Lee said in an interview with Food Safety News. “[Chefs] need to find out local regulations. And that’s new to a lot of people. I think people are often scared to ask official agencies what they need to do because they think it will be elaborate and cost them a lot of money and a lot of headache. Where, in fact, it makes a lot more sense to do it from the beginning.”
A big hurdle for many restaurants is finding the proper space for their curing operations, an area where the proper temperature can be maintained and meats can be kept somewhat separate from other foods in the kitchen.
No matter a restaurant’s size, however, a chef has the same responsibility as a large-scale meat curing facility, says Dana Hanson, a meat extension specialist in the Food Science Department at North Carolina State University.
“The challenge is the same regardless of size,” Hanson told Food Safety News in an interview. “You still have to understand what issues there are and know what you have to do. Like any meat product that is intended to be consumed ready to eat, you are looking to control all pathogens.”
The main food safety considerations to take into account when curing meat are pH levels, water activity level and cross contamination, says Lee.
In its 2005 Meat and Poultry Hazards Control Guide, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) suggests that “meat pH should decline to 5.3 within an acceptable time temperature combination (temperature in degrees, time in hours).”
Water activity should remain low at all times during curing, and meat should be kept separate from other foods while curing so that it doesn’t come into contact with other raw product that may carry pathogens.
Without the proper training and equipment, a chef may not realize he or she is putting out an unsafe product.
“If you’re not going to spend $2,000 to buy the water activity meter, pay $100 to send [the meat] to a lab, find out what it is,” Lee said. “Do that a few times so you at least know what it looks and feels like at the right water activity level, and then go from there.”
The Risk
The process of salt curing works against bacteria due to the lack of water left in the meat after the salt is absorbed into it.
This process isn’t failsafe, though, as many pathogens are salt tolerant, and cured meats may not reach salt levels high enough to prevent bacteria growth.
According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, dried hams are particularly at risk for Trichinella, Staphylococcus and mold. Staphylococcus is salt tolerant, so proper food handling is vital to prevent these bacteria from growing.
Between 2002 and 2007, 66 cases of trichinellosis were reported to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All cases were linked to consumption of meat, and uncooked meat was the source of 5 of the 30 cases for which information was available.
Listeria monocytogenes, a foodborne bacterium that can cause severe illness in pregnant women and those with weak immune systems, has been found in fermented raw meat sausages. Listeria can grow in refrigerated foods, can be resistant to drying and is salt tolerant.
A 2006 study found Listeria in 22.7 percent of 1,020 salami samples tested for the bacterium.
In June of last year, 5,700 pounds of imported dry-cured ham were recalled because Listeria was found in a sample of the product.
Cured meats are also susceptible to Clostridium botulinum contamination. Botulism, the disease caused by infection with C. botulinum toxins, was originally named “sausage poisoning,” or “Wurstvergiftung,” when discovered in Germany, because the bacteria grow in oxygen-deprived environments such as sausage casings. Now the use of nitrates in the curing process is used to combat bacteria such as C. botulinum.
E. coli poses another potential threat to dry meat safety. Last year, Lebanon bologna, a cured, smoked, fermented semi-dry sausage, was linked to 14 cases of E. coli O157:H7 across the eastern part of the United States.
In 1999, an E. coli outbreak in British Columbia, Canada that sickened at least 143 people was linked to dry, fermented salami.
Avoiding Potentially Contaminated Charcuterie
Lee says there are some signs diners can look for to tell whether cured meats were prepared in a safe manner.
“There are certain things that I am not going to eat,” he says. “If something looks good and smells good and is made in a reasonable environment, I’m going to eat it. But if I have someone bring me something that is soft and moist and sticky on the outside and they’ve been drying it for seven months, and it’s the temperature of liverwurst, I’m not going to eat that, because I know what can go on in it.”
Large-scale meat facilities that produce cured meat are inspected and regulated by the USDA, and have a full-time inspector on-site, while restaurants are regulated by county health departments and inspected once a year.
Some may argue that the regulations don’t make sense for meat curers, but Hanson said this is the only way for the system to operate with restaurants given current inspection capacity.
“With thousands of restaurants across the country, the regulation has to be all-encompassing to a point, and it has to be easy to enforce,” Hanson said.
Without more frequent inspection of restaurants, the rules likely have to stay the way they are.
“Is there a risk involved with [cured meats]?  Yes,” Hanson said.  “Whether you can document what is going on with these products, by having careful oversight more than just one time a year, I don’t think it is a risk worth taking. There is too much variation in a lot of these operations to be able to give restaurants carte blanche to say ‘start making salami.”
In other words, the long process of making charcuterie is something that requires more regular surveillance, which is impossible under the current regulatory system.  If a restaurant owner applies for a variance in his or her county to be able to cure meats in-house, health departments cannot make an adequately informed decision without overseeing each particular chef’s techniques and facilities.
Lee, the expert in the kitchen, agrees, but adds that inspectors have more to learn as well.
“We’re in a problem area in some respects,” Lee said.  “We have reasonable comprehensible regulations that are pretty clear, but the people who are enforcing them don’t always know what they are looking at when they come in my facility and say, ‘What is prosciutto?'”

E. coli Outbreak at Saginaw Correctional Facility in Michigan

Food Poisoning Bulletin

John C. Cordell, Public Information Specialist with the Michigan Department of Corrections told Food Poisoning Bulletin that there is an outbreak of STEC, or Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, at the Saginaw Correctional Facility. The facility is quarantined with no prisoner transfers, no group programming or prisoner visitation.

So far, 89 prisoners and seven staff have been confirmed ill with the E. coli bacteria. Four prisoners have been hospitalized, but there are no cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome. The hospitalizations have been for dehydration.

Most cases occurred from August 27 to August 30, 2012. The outbreak may be over, since no cases were identified on September 3 or 4, 2012. The facility may be able to return to normal operations at the end of this week, since the incubation period for this type of bacteria is 3 to 10 days. The facility is also monitoring prisoners who transferred out of the prison to other correctional facilities in the days before the outbreak.

Public health officials are looking at all avenues of transmission, focusing on food and food preparation. The Saginaw County Health Department, the Michigan Department of Community Health, and the Michigan Department of Agriculture are assisting with the investigation.

Get Shiga toxin E. coli help here.

STEC bacteria produce Shiga toxins, which go into the bloodstream and destroy red blood cells, causing anemia. The toxins can target the kidneys, which causes hemolytic uremic syndrome that can destroy that organ. The central nervous system can also be affected by Shiga toxins.

Pet Hedgehogs Implicated in Salmonella Outbreak

Food Safety News

HedgehoginPalm.jpgAt least 14 people have been sickened in a multistate Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak linked to contact with hedgehogs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The first illnesses connected to this outbreak occurred in December of last year, but cases continued to crop up as recently as last month, according to CDC’s initial report, released Thursday. The latest recorded illness began on August 13, 2012. Any illnesses that began after that date may not yet have been counted due to the time delay between when a person falls ill and when that illness is reported (usually 2-3 weeks).
Illnesses occurred in 6 states, including Alabama (1), Indiana (1), Michigan (3), Minnesota (2), Ohio (2) and Washington (5).
A total of 3 victims have been hospitalized. None have died from their infections.
Ill persons have ranged in age from less than 1 year old to 62 years old, reports CDC. Half of the victims were 10 years old or younger.
Interviews with 10 infected individuals revealed that all had had contact with hedgehogs or hedgehog environments in the week preceding illness.
Patients reported purchasing hedgehogs from different breeders in different states.
Two environmental samples taken from places in people’s homes where hedgehogs lived or had been bathed tested positive for the outbreak strain of the bacteria.
Some of those interviewed reported contact with African Pygmy hedgehogs, but CDC has not definitively linked this breed to the outbreak.
“Investigations are ongoing to determine the type and source of hedgehogs that might be linked with illness.”
The strain of Salmonella Typhimurium linked to this outbreak is uncommon, says CDC.
“The outbreak strain has been rarely seen in the past,” notes the agency in its report.
Avoiding Infection
Salmonella are shed in animal feces, so droppings from infected hedgehogs can transfer the bacteria to their environment or to people handling them.
CDC urges those who have had contact with hedgehogs to wash hands immediately after touching these animals or anything in the environment where they live and roam.


Marlin and Swordfish Caught in Texas Waters May Pose Health Threat

Food Safety News
Blue marlin caught along the coast of Texas should no longer be consumed because mercury levels detected in these fish pose a danger to human health, warns the Texas Department of State Health Services.
TDSHS also cautioned future mothers and children not to eat swordfish from these waters.
Women past childbearing age and adult men are being advised to limit their intake to no more than two meals a month.  Women of childbearing age and children under 12 should not consume any swordfish caught in Texas coastal waters.
The advisory was issued after testing revealed that blue marlin and swordfish from the northwestern Gulf of Mexico contained mercury at concentrations that exceed DSHS health guidelines, which allow no more than 0.7 mg/kg.
The average levels found in blue marlin were 12.9 mg/kg, more than 18 times the DSHS guidelines. Levels detected in swordfish — 1.18 mg/k — were more than 1.6 times the recommended levels.
Regular or long-term consumption of blue marlin and swordfish from these waters may result in adverse health effects.

Mercury is a naturally occurring element that can also be a byproduct of human activity. If consumed regularly, it can cause harmful effects to the central nervous system, particularly in children including infants exposed before birth.
Symptoms of prolonged exposure include tingling of the skin, loss of coordination, visual and hearing impairment and slurred speech. 

While most recreational fishermen catch and release blue marlin and swordfish in the Gulf of Mexico, some fish is kept for personal consumption. Because of the large minimum catch size, any legally caught blue marlin will have high levels of mercury.
With increased recreational swordfish catches, anglers are eating more and larger swordfish that can have elevated mercury levels.
Previously, the state put out an advisory about eating king mackerel.
In that earlier advisory, Texas said king mackerel longer than 43 inches should not be consumed, and women of childbearing age and children under 12 should avoid eating any king mackerel longer than 37 inches.
King mackerel less than 37 inches in length are safe to eat on an unrestricted basis.
For figuring safety levels, 8 ounces of fish constitutes a meal.



Shake’Ems Seasoning Cups Recalled for Undeclared Milk

Food Poisoning Bulletin

Cutting Edge Concessions is recalling 0.5 ounce Shake’Ems seasoning cups distributed in movie theaters because they contain undeclared milk and the food dye red 40. Anyone with an allergy to those ingredients could have a serious or life-threatening reaction if they consume the product.

The cups were distributed in Arkansas, California, Colorado, and Tennessee. The product is in a 0.5 ounce plastic cup in flavors White Cheddar, Nacho Cheddar, Ranch, Cinnamon Sugar, and Parmesan Garlic. No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with the consumption of these products.

The problem was caused by a temporary breakdown in the company’s labeling process. Production is suspended until the FDA and the company are sure the problem has been corrected. You can return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund. For questions, call 952-237-1551 Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm ET.

Organic Pastures Raw Milk Recalled Ater Campylobacter Turns Up In Tests

Food Poisoning Bulletin

A raw milk recall for products produced by Organic Pastures Dairy of Fresno County and a quarantine order has been announced after Campylobacter was detected  during routine testing,  California State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones. has announced. No illnesses have been reported in conjunction with this recall.

The recalled products include Grade A raw cream, Grade A raw milk and Grade A raw skim milk, all with a labeled code date of SEP 13. Retailers must immediately pull these products from store shelves and consumers are strongly urged to dispose of any product they might have purchased.

Inspectors from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) found the bacteria in a sample of raw cream during routine testing conducted as part of routine inspection and sample collection at the facility.  In May, raw milk from Organic Pastures was recalled after it was linked to a Campylobacter outbreak that sickened 10 people. At that time, Campylobacter was also detected in a sample of raw cream. Of the 10 people sickened, six were under the age of 18.

Symptoms of a Campylobacter infection, called campylobacteriosis ,include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever which usually develop two to five  days after exposure and last about a week. The infection can be serious or even life-threatening for some people. Those most at risk include children, seniors and people who have compromised immune systems. In some cases, campylobacteriosis can  trigger the development of a rare disease called Guillain-Barre syndrome, which causes weakness and paralysis that occurs several weeks after the initial illness.


Articles of Interest

Consumer Group Wants USDA To Reject “Agent Orange” Soy

Food Poisoning Bulletin

The Center For Food Safety (CFFS) wants the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to reject Dow Chemical’s request that a genetically modified soybean  that is resistant to a major component in Agent Orange be approved for use. The group is circulating a petition to show the agency that consumers resist the move.

Agent Orange is the chemical defoliant used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. Health concerns about exposure  to it are still being explored but include increased risk of some types of cancer and birth defects in offspring of those exposed. Dow’s genetically engineered soybean is resistant to 2,4-D ,  a component of Agent Orange.

CFFS is concerned that approval of the soybean will lead to a greenlighting of approval for similarly engineered crops, harm wildlife and expose millions of Americans to a toxic chemical. According ot the petition, “Dow plans to sell this GE 2-4,D soy “stacked” with resistance to glyphosate—the active ingredient in Roundup—and glufosinate herbicides, yet neither Dow nor USDA has analyzed the potential synergistic or cumulative impacts that these planned combinations pose. Glufosinate has both reproductive and neurological toxicity to mammals, and on this basis is slated to be banned in the EU by 2017. ”

CFFS is a non-profit organization that challenges food production technologies and  practices it considers harmful and promotes sustainable alternatives. It is based in Washington, D.C..

COOL Act Moves to U.S. District Court in Denver

Food Safety News


An act that would require meat, chicken and fish to be sold with a label indicating their country of origin has made its way to district court after being struck down by the World Trade Organization.
The U.S. Country of Origin Labeling Act, also known as the “COOL Act,” which was found by WTO to be in violation of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, should continue to be enforced in the United States, say COOL Act advocates.
Proponents of the Act have teamed up to ask the U.S. District Court in Denver to overrule the WTO decision that struck down the COOL Act. Plaintiffs in the action against the U.S. government and WTO are USA Foundation, Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund-United Stockgrowers Association (R-CALF) and a meat and vegetable distributor that goes by the name Melonhead.
Previously, the USA Foundation promoted the protection of domestic car and truck content and American craft designers.
The COOL Act requires meat, chicken and fish to be labeled so that consumers can tell the country of origin for those products. First adopted in 2002, COOL was never popular with U.S. neighbors and WTO appeals were eventually filed by Mexico and Canada.
A WTO panel consisting of representatives from Portugal, Pakistan and Switzerland found that COOL violates Tariffs and Trade because it imposes discriminatory burdens or barriers to Mexico and Canada.
Billings, MT-based R-CALF, however, does not see it that way. The cattlemen say they don’t see it as “a barrier to trade of any kind.” Instead, they say it fulfills a overwhelming consumer demand for information.
“Consumers could choose not to buy raspberries from Guatemala because of a bacterial problem there, or could refuse to buy Canadian beef because of a Mad Cow disease problem there,”
 R-CALF says.
They also say the Uruguay trade and tariff agreement, signed into law by President Clinton in 1994, states that U.S. law prevails in any trade conflict between the U.S. and other countries.
They point to Section 102(a)(1) of the Uruguay Round, which states, “No provision of any of the Uruguay Round Agreement, nor the application of any such provision to any person or circumstance, that is inconsistent with any law of the United States shall have effect.”
R-CALF says the WTO ruling was an attempt to intimidate the U.S., and harms American cattlemen because it means consumers may confuse foreign meat for domestic products.
Specifically named defendants in the lawsuit include U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk.
Vilsack and Kirk are accused of failing to protect and preserve U.S. sovereignty and exceeding their authority because, the plaintiffs say, they had “no legal right to amend or contravene this law by regulations or negotiations.”
The plaintiffs want a federal judge to order the trade representatives to cease and desist from negotiating with Canada and Mexico an amended and “watered-down” COOL, and they want the Secretary of Agriculture ordered to do his “legal duty.”
R-CALF is the second largest organization of U.S. cattlemen after the Denver-based National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. NCBA views COOL as a marketing issue — not a food safety issue — to be worked out with the USA’s top two trading partners who together account for 59 percent of beef exports.
Mike Schultz, who chairs R-CALF’s COOL Committee, says the organization filed the lawsuit in order to “protect and preserve the right of all Americans to know the origins of their food.”
“For nearly eight years, the multinational meatpackers, the governments of Canada and Mexico, and even the U.S. Department of Agriculture fought to prevent U.S. citizens from knowing the origins of their food by vigorously opposing the implementation of the 2002 COOL law.
“But we cattle producers joined with consumers in that long battle and we finally prevailed.  COOL went into effect in March of 2009.  But, the governments of Canada and Mexico persisted and filed a complaint at the WTO, essentially asserting that U.S. citizens do not need to know where their food, particularly their meat from livestock, was born, raised and slaughtered.
“As U.S. citizens, we never gave up our right to continue governing ourselves under our U.S. Constitution, and we certainly didn’t grant the WTO authority to undermine our domestic laws.  This lawsuit is necessary to force this Administration to stand up and defend our U.S. sovereignty by disavowing any authority the WTO claims over our nation’s ability to pass beneficial laws for U.S. citizens.”

Chicago Public Health Inspector Who Took Bribes Heads To Prison

Food Poisoning Bulletin

A retired Chicago public health inspector who took almost $100,000 in bribes was sentenced to two and half years in federal prison last week. Maryanne Koll who taught food service sanitation classes and administered state certifications is alleged to have accepted at least $96,930 in bribes in exchange for fraudulently arranging to provide 531 people with certifications as food sanitation managers.

Koll, 69, who operated Kollmar Food Safety Institute from her home in Burr Ridge, Ill., was convicted of one count of bribery conspiracy in federal court in September 2011. U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber sentenced her to 30 months in prison and ordered her to begin serving the sentence on Dec. 31, 2012.

llinois state law requires that all food service establishments have someone on site who s certified as a food service sanitation manager. The coursework for this certification includes 15 hours of training on various topics including  foodborne illnesses, time/temperature relationships, personal hygiene, pest control and prevention of food contamination.

From 1995 to 2007, Koll was authorized by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to teach the state-approved coursework and to administer the certification exams. During that time, she certified individuals who had not taken the coursework or passed the exams in exchange in exchange for cash bribes.

Food safety education and training is one of the most important ways to reduce foodborne illness. Every year, one sixth of all Americans are sickened by foodborne pathogens incurring $365 million in direct medical costs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 


[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Using recycled sewage treatment plant water for irrigating crops

by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX)

Previous studies have suggested that wastewater effluents can expand natural reservoirs of antibiotic resistance, which may contribute to clinically associated antibiotic resistance.

A new study eases concerns that irrigating crops with water released from sewage treatment plants – an increasingly common practice in arid areas of the world – fosters emergence of the antibiotic-resistant bacteria that cause thousands of serious infections each year. The research appears in ACS’ journal Environmental Science and Technology.

Eddie Cytryn and colleagues explain that a large fraction of antibiotics given to people or animals pass out of the body unchanged in the urine and are transferred via sewage systems to wastewater treatment facilities.

These facilities do not completely remove common antibiotics like tetracycline, erythromycin, sulfonamide and ciprofloxacin and may actually enhance the abundance of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and antibiotic-resistance genes.

Previous studies have suggested that wastewater effluents can expand natural reservoirs of antibiotic resistance, which may contribute to clinically associated antibiotic resistance.

Arid and semi-arid areas of the world are plagued by severe water shortages, which are expected to increase as a result of growing population and global climate change.

As a result, more areas are turning to treated wastewater (TWW) to irrigate croplands. In Israel, for instance, TWW provides more than half of the water used for irrigation.

The researchers wanted to find out if long-term irrigation with treated wastewater enhances antibiotic resistance in soil microbial communities, which could potentially be transferred through agricultural produce to clinically relevant bacteria.

The authors found that levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and genes for antibiotic resistance in fields and orchards irrigated with freshwater and TWW were essentially identical, suggesting that antibiotic-resistant bacteria that enter soil by irrigation are not able to survive or compete in that environment.

The authors say there is “cause for cautious optimism” that irrigating with TWW is not increasing the prevalence of bacteria resistant to the antibiotics they studied.


Related Links
American Chemical Society
Farming Today – Suppliers and Technology