Washing Hands – Is It All That It’s Cracked Up To Be?

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Jan 29, 2018
By Gideon Eden

For years we have been told by the scientific community that hand washing is a key factor in preventing disease. Since childhood, we have been educated by our parents to wash our hands whenever we may be exposed to microorganisms. We regularly wash our hands before meals, after touching dirty surfaces, after petting animals, and of course after touching sick individuals. Nevertheless, the author wishes to raise an issue regarding the role of the personal immune system in preventing diseases and ask whether excessive hand washing for years can potentially inhibit the immune system from developing its own natural protection mechanisms, thereby becoming a contributor of illnesses rather than its protector.

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South Africa Has the World’s Largest Listeria Outbreak According to WHO

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Jan 16, 2018

South Africa is encountering the worst case of listeriosis ever reported, according to WHO. Currently, there are 727 laboratory-confirmed cases, with 67 death reported. The number of cases and the death toll has increased significantly since last December when South Africa had 577 cases and 36 deaths. The most distressing element of this outbreak is that 40% of the dead are babies less than four weeks old mostly infected from their mothers. The infected people come from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, as determined by the use of both public and private hospitals. The source of the infection is unknown yet.

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Trending now in food Safety- New page to the BioExpert site

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Jan 10, 2018

We have just added a new exciting page on our website. The purpose of this additional page is to introduce and discuss current trends in food safety, intriguing articles, and bring to the attention of the food safety community any new topic that might be of interest. Any registered user will be able to easily publish any relevant trend or comment on any previously published trend articles. Anyone can read the content of this page. I am hoping that all of you will contribute to this page thereby creating a compelling new relevant body of information and pointing readers to important food safety information.

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E. coli in Romaine Lettuce-Impact of No Recall and Potential Solution

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Jan 6, 2018

An E. coli O157: H7 outbreak in the US is suspected of being related to an outbreak in Canada that was linked to romaine lettuce. The Canadian Health authorities recommended the people in the Eastern provinces refrain from eating romaine lettuce. In the U.S. there is no recall of romaine lettuce since the CDC believes that the evidence collected to date does not have enough information linking the lettuce to the illnesses. The consumer Report magazine has taken an extreme step advising the public to stop the consumption of any romaine lettuce until there is a clarification of the situation. The consumer Report recommendation was intensely covered by the many TV outlets and in many of the papers.

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T. Marzetti Buttermilk biscuits sold across the US recalled due to Listeria concerns

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Jan 3, 2018

The FDA announced that T. Marzetti Company voluntarily recalled 23 varieties of 12 or 20 count frozen biscuits due to the potential contamination with Listeria monocytogenes, as a precautionary measure. The products were distributed in 13 states, using different brands. The frozen biscuits are not ready-to-eat products and need to be baked before consumption. Typically the baking instructions call the baking of the product at 4000F for 20 minutes. The internal biscuit temperature should reach 2000F (930C) enough to kill the organism if present. However, since undercooking can occur, there might be a slight risk, and as a result, Marzetti had decided to recall the product.

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Lettuce E. coli Outbreak May be Spreading to the US from Canada

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Dec 30, 2017

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) says preliminary test results from an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in the U.S. shows a common source of infection with an outbreak in Canada that was linked to romaine lettuce. Seventeen illnesses in 13 states are reported. In Canada, there are currently 41 cases of E. coli O157 illness under investigation in five eastern provinces. The CDC is performing whole genome sequencing on samples of bacteria making people sick, from the U.S. cases to obtain information about the possible relationship between the US cases and the Canadian outbreak. The preliminary testing results “show the type of E. coli making people sick in both countries is closely related genetically, meaning the ill people are more likely to share a common source of infection.”

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Listeria Recalls in the News: due to Raw Apples and Smoked Salmon Fish

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Dec 21, 2017

Raw Apples Recall The FDA announced that Jack Brown Produce, Inc. of Sparta, MI had recalled Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp and Golden Delicious apples due to the potential contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. The contaminated apples were processed and shipped by their supplier Nyblad Orchards, Inc., on December 11 through December 16, 2017. The apples were distributed to retail stores in Michigan, Georgia, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, and include the following varieties: Honeycrisp apples in two-pound clear plastic bags; Gala, Fuji, and Golden...

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Lactalis Baby Formula recalled due to Salmonella agona contamination

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Dec 13, 2017

Lactalis, a French dairy company, is one of the world’s largest dairy producers was ordered to recall 7,000 tons of powdered milk products due to the contamination with Salmonella agona (French Health authorities).   Twenty-six infants have become ill in France since early December. Initially, 20 children, younger than 6, became ill. This caused an initially limited recall that was expanded as more children got sick. This week 5 new cases of Salmonellosis were reported. The recalled products were sold in Europe (France and Britain,...

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A New Technology Can be Used Instead of Antibiotics to Kill Superbugs

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Dec 7, 2017

Dr. Timothy Lu, an associate professor in biological engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, found a new potential way to kill superbugs with a DNA editor called CRISPR-Cas9. “It is basically a molecular scissor that can snip bacterial genes that make bacteria drug-resistant, killing the bug in the process”, said Dr. Lu. The technology combines bacteriophages and CRISPR-Cas9 to target drug-resistant genes. He combines the CRISPR-Cas9 technology with bacteriophages, and engineering the bacteriophages to attack only bacteria with drug-resistant genes. They were successful in including the CRISPR-Cas9 into a bacteriophage that was designed to attack a drug-resistant E. coli.

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Sample6 Pathogen DETECT Platform Acquired by IEH

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Nov 30, 2017

Sample6 has two main products: DETECT, the pathogen detection system that is used for the detection of Listeria monocytogenes in environmental samples; and CONTROL a food safety software package. Sample 6 businesses were split into two. The pathogen detection system (DETECT) was acquired by IEH while Sample 6 will continue with its CONTROL software. The DETECT system can detect 1 cfu/LM in a swab in 4 hours. Sample6 CONTROL is environmental monitoring software, allowing to schedule, monitor and report environmental program data. It allows gaining an insight into the effectiveness of the environmental monitoring system.

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