Foodborne illness caused by E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella can be avoided by following a few simple precautions. These measures are especially important during the summer months when many Alaskans enjoy picnics, barbecues, and camping trips.
The objective was to review the literature related to the risk of salmonellosis from chicken consumed in private homes in Canada. The pathway of concern was retail-to-consumption at private homes due to the direct link between this pathway and public health. A qualitative review was conducted by searching Canadian governmental agencies' webpages, published peer-reviewed journals, and by contacting experts in the field. Overall, with the data available, estimating risk from Salmonella in chicken breasts using only Canadian information was limited. Enumeration data for Salmonella in retail raw chicken at different regions across Canada are needed to be able to generalize the risk of salmonellosis in the Canadian population. Few Canadian surveys were found to describe consumers' food safety behaviors at Canadians' private homes. Observational designs to study food safety practices and Canadian consumers' behavior in private kitchens are needed to ensure that consumer behavior is consistent with consumer perceptions of their behavior. The results of such studies will give valuable input for designing educational programs needed to increase awareness of safe food handling practices by Canadian consumers when preparing food at their homes.
Botulism in Nunavik, Quebec is associated with the consumption of aged marine mammal meat and fat. The objective was to identify meat handling practices presenting a risk of contamination of seal meat with C. botulinum. Potential sources of contamination were assessed through interviews with igunaq producers from five communities of Nunavik. These sources were verified by detection and isolation of C. botulinum from igunaq prepared in the field from seal carcasses. Interviews indicated practices presenting a risk for contamination included: placing meat or fat on coastal rocks, using seawater for rinsing, and ageing meat in inverted seal skin pouches. Although the presence of C. botulinum type E spores was detected in only two of 32 (6.3%) meat or fat samples collected during the butchering process, two of four igunaq preparations from these samples contained type E botulinum toxin. Analysis of C. botulinum type E isolates recovered from these preparations indicated that shoreline soil may be a source of contamination. Seal meat and fat may be contaminated with C. botulinum type E during the butchering process. Measures can be adopted to reduce the risks of contamination in the field and possibly decrease the incidence of type E botulism in Nunavik.
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Department of Biological Sciences & Center for Bioengineering Innovation, Northern Arizona University, 617 S. Beaver St., PO Box 5640, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA. Electronic address: email@example.com.
People living a subsistence lifestyle in the Arctic are highly exposed to persistent organic pollutants, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Formerly Used Defense (FUD) sites are point sources of PCB pollution; the Arctic contains thousands of FUD sites, many co-located with indigenous villages. We investigated PCB profiles and biological effects in freshwater fish (Alaska blackfish [Dallia pectoralis] and ninespine stickleback [Pungitius pungitius]) living upstream and downstream of the Northeast Cape FUD site on St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea. Despite extensive site remediation, fish remained contaminated with PCBs. Vitellogenin concentrations in males indicated exposure to estrogenic contaminants, and some fish were hypothyroid. Downstream fish showed altered DNA methylation in gonads and altered gene expression related to DNA replication, response to DNA damage, and cell signaling. This study demonstrates that, even after site remediation, contaminants from Cold War FUD sites in remote regions of the Arctic remain a potential health threat to local residents - in this case, Yupik people who had no influence over site selection and use by the United States military.
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The content of total and inorganic arsenic was determined in 16 dietary supplements based on herbs, other botanicals and algae purchased on the Danish market. The dietary supplements originated from various regions, including Asia, Europe and USA. The contents of total and inorganic arsenic was determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and anion exchange HPLC-ICP-MS, respectively, were in the range of 0.58 to 5.0 mgkg(-1) and 0.03 to 3.2 mg kg(-1), respectively, with a ratio between inorganic arsenic and total arsenic ranging between 5 and 100%. Consumption of the recommended dose of the individual dietary supplement would lead to an exposure to inorganic arsenic within the range of 0.07 to 13 µg day(-1). Such exposure from dietary supplements would in worst case constitute 62.4% of the range of benchmark dose lower confidence limit values (BMDL01 at 0.3 to 8 µg kg bw(-1) kg(-1) day(-1)) put down by European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2009, for cancers of the lung, skin and bladder, as well as skin lesions. Hence, the results demonstrate that consumption of certain dietary supplements could contribute significantly to the dietary exposure to inorganic arsenic at levels close to the toxicological limits established by EFSA.
The background microbiota of 5 Norwegian small-scale cheese production sites was examined and the effect of the isolated strains on the growth and survival of Listeria monocytogenes was investigated. Samples were taken from the air, food contact surfaces (storage surfaces, cheese molds, and brine) and noncontact surfaces (floor, drains, and doors) and all isolates were identified by sequencing and morphology (mold). A total of 1,314 isolates were identified and found to belong to 55 bacterial genera, 1 species of yeast, and 6 species of mold. Lactococcus spp. (all of which were Lactococcus lactis), Staphylococcus spp., Microbacterium spp., and Psychrobacter sp. were isolated from all 5 sites and Rhodococcus spp. and Chryseobacterium spp. from 4 sites. Thirty-two genera were only found in 1 out of 5 facilities each. Great variations were observed in the microbial background flora both between the 5 producers, and also within the various production sites. The greatest diversity of bacteria was found in drains and on rubber seals of doors. The flora on cheese storage shelves and in salt brines was less varied. A total of 62 bacterial isolates and 1 yeast isolate were tested for antilisterial activity in an overlay assay and a spot-on-lawn assay, but none showed significant inhibitory effects. Listeria monocytogenes was also co-cultured on ceramic tiles with bacteria dominating in the cheese production plants: Lactococcus lactis, Pseudomonas putida, Staphylococcus equorum, Rhodococcus spp., or Psychrobacter spp. None of the tested isolates altered the survival of L. monocytogenes on ceramic tiles. The conclusion of the study was that no common background flora exists in cheese production environments. None of the tested isolates inhibited the growth of L. monocytogenes. Hence, this study does not support the hypothesis that the natural background flora in cheese production environments inhibits the growth or survival of L. monocytogenes.
A modular process risk model approach was used to assess health risks associated with Salmonella spp. after consumption of the Danish meatball product (frikadeller) produced with fresh pork in a catering unit. Meatball production and consumption were described as a series of processes (modules), starting from 1.3kg meat pieces through conversion to 70g meatballs, followed by a dose response model to assess the risk of illness from consumption of these meatballs. Changes in bacterial prevalence, concentration, and unit size were modelled within each module. The risk assessment was built using observational data and models that were specific for Salmonella spp. in meatballs produced in the catering sector. Danish meatballs are often pan-fried followed by baking in an oven before consumption, in order to reach the core temperature of 75°C recommended by the Danish Food Safety Authority. However, in practice this terminal heat treatment in the oven may be accidentally omitted. Eleven production scenarios were evaluated with the model, to test the impact of heat treatments and cooling rates at different room temperatures. The risk estimates revealed that a process comprising heat treatment of meatballs to core temperatures higher than 70°C, and subsequent holding at room temperatures lower than 20°C, for no longer than 3.5h, were very effective in Salmonella control. The current Danish Food Safety Authority recommendation of cooking to an internal temperature of 75°C is conservative, at least with respect to Salmonella risk. Survival and growth of Salmonella during cooling of meatballs not heat treated in oven had a significant impact on the risk estimates, and therefore, cooling should be considered a critical step during meatball processing.
The province of Ontario, Canada, has a highly diverse and multicultural population. Specialty foods (i.e., foods from different cultures) are becoming increasingly available at retail food outlets and foods service establishments across the province; as a result, public health inspectors (PHIs) are increasingly required to assess the safety of foods with which they may be unfamiliar. The aim of this study was to investigate the concerns, perceptions, and self-identified needs of PHIs in Ontario with regard to specialty foods and food safety information resources in languages other than English. A cross-sectional online survey of 239 PHIs was conducted between April and June 2009. The study found that while some food safety information resources were available in languages other than English, fewer than 25% of respondents (56/239) were satisfied with the current availability of these resources. With regard to specialty foods, 60% of respondents (143/239) reported at least one specialty food with which they were not confident about their current food safety knowledge, and 64% of respondents (153/239) reported at least one specialty food with which they were dissatisfied with the current availability of food safety information. Therefore, the development of additional food safety information resources for specialty foods, and food safety resources in additional languages may provide enhanced support to PHIs involved in protecting and promoting a safe food supply.