Posts belonging to Category Pascapanen

Antibiotic use discussed in Washington, DC

Livestock and poultry groups hosted educational briefings this week in Washington, DC about antibiotic use in raising food animals two weeks after a CBS Evening News report questioned the practice.

The informational sessions were co-hosted by several US livestock groups, among which the National Pork Producers Council. Other groups involved the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the National Chicken Council, National Milk Producers Federation, National Turkey Federation, American Meat Institute and National Meat Association.

The briefings were held in cooperation with US representatives from both Democratic and Republican background and included US livestock and poultry health experts.

Health and resource efficiency
“Maintaining access to FDA-approved safe and effective technologies, including animal health products, helps ensure both the health and resource efficiency of US herds and flocks,” said Dr Guy Loneragan, an epidemiologist and associate professor at West Texas A&M University.

Many organisations and scientists in the USA point out that “there is no conclusive scientific evidence that shows the use of antibiotics on farms contributes significantly to an increase in antibiotic resistance in humans.” They add that there is a growing body of evidence that the responsible, professional use of these products keeps animals healthy and enhances animal welfare while not contributing to resistance.

Activist groups claim the contrary, and the CBS report included a look at the Denmark antibiotics ban. For reasons of potential antibiotic resistance, in the whole of the European Union, the use of antibiotics as growth promotor has been banned since January 2006. In the EU, producers can still use them for disease control purposes.

“We use antibiotics judiciously and responsibly to protect the health of our herds and to produce safe pork,” said Craig Rowles, DVM. “We know that a ban on antibiotics, like the one in Denmark, will have adverse affects on our pigs, will raise the cost of production and will not provide a benefit to public health.”

Antibiotics act
Nearly a year ago legislation titled the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act was introduced in the House by representative Louise Slaughter and in the Senate by the late senator Edward Kennedy and 17 co-sponsors.

Pork Board: Strategic antibiotic use remains key

The US National Pork Board has issued a statement that the responsible use of antibiotics has always been a top priority for America’s pork producers.

Recent stories in the media have triggered more interest in the topic, e.g. a CBS story on the use of antibiotics by pork and poultry producers.

Fact-based discussion
“We welcome a fact-based discussion about this issue, because we know that science tells us we’re doing the right thing for animal health and food safety,” said Liz Wagstrom, assistant vice president of science and technology for the National Pork Board. “Producers care about their animals and the safety of the food they produce. That’s really the bottom line that should be understood by everyone.”

The NPB refers to the 21-year history of the Pork Quality Assurance Plus programme, which in its view reflects the value pork producers place on using antibiotics in a strategic and judicious way.

“The Pork Quality Assurance Plus programme, started by farmers in 1989, has led the way in reinforcing good on-farm practices that help ensure animals are healthy, well cared for and produce safe food,” said Wagstrom.

“Antibiotics are vital”
The pork board said to recognise the importance of getting the facts out about this important issue and fostering open, honest dialog about why tools such as antibiotics are a vital way to keep animals healthy and the food supply safe.

According to the NPB, the top four messages that consumers should know about antibiotic use are:

• Antibiotics are given strategically – administered when pigs are sick, susceptible or exposed to illness.

• Using antibiotics strategically to ensure that, what the NPB calls ‘the safest meat in the world’, ends up on America’s dinner tables.

• Only antibiotics approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are used to treat pigs.

• The USA has a 20-year history of continuous improvement working with modern farm production to make pork better, healthier and safer to eat.

European Union
In the European Union, however, the preventive use of antibiotics is much less advocated nowadays. Since it is known to have a direct influence on human immunity to antibiotics, the preventive use in livestock has been banned for several years.

UK now has its own COOL on pork products

In the UK, a new labelling code of practice is introduced for the country of origin for pork and pork products in order to be more transparent to consumers about where the meat was produced.

Major supermarkets have endorsed the voluntary code which aims to give clear and unambiguous information about country of origin on packs of pork, bacon and ham.

Pig meat supply chain task force
The final code, launched this week at the National Farmers Union (NFU) conference by environment secretary Hilary Benn, has come about as a result of the Pig Meat Supply Chain Task Force which represents a broad range of stakeholders, including retailers, food service companies, consumers, processors, industry organisations, government and its agencies.

The Task Force was brought together by the British Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and chaired by food and farming minister Jim Fitzpatrick.

End the nonsense
Benn said: “A year ago I said that I wanted to end the nonsense of unclear country of origin labelling on pig meat products – and through the Task Force bringing together farmers, processors and retailers, we now have a code of practice that will do this.

“I expect all major retailers to sign up and join those who have already decided to end the confusion for shoppers. If they don’t, their customers should ask them why they’re not in favour of clear, honest labelling.”

Clearly displayed
The key aim of the code will be to ensure that the country of origin of the pork used in processed products will be clearly displayed on the pack. For example, the code says that terms such as ‘Produced in the UK’ can be ambiguous if origin is not qualified.

Companies adhering to the new code have committed to providing clear information such as ‘Produced in the UK using pork from country x.’

Production definitions, such as ‘outdoor bred’ and ‘outdoor reared’ are being finalised and an announcement on how these could be incorporated into labelling is expected in the near future.

Key elements
The code of practice also covers the use of single country of origin descriptions and where pork from a number of different countries may be used. The key elements of country of origin include:

* A commitment to clearly display the country of origin on retail packs;

* Where single country of origin is displayed it means that the pig was born, reared and slaughtered in that country;

* The term ‘produced in the UK’ will not be used without qualification of the origin of the pork;

* The use of national terms and symbols (such as flags) will mean that the pork comes from that country;

* Product specific terms such as Wiltshire Cure will mean that the pork used to make the product comes from within the UK.  If not the origin will be clearly stated;

* Imagery that could imply UK origin will only be used on UK origin product, otherwise there will be a statement of origin on the pack;

* Food service outlets will make origin information readily available to customers such as on the menu, in literature or on company websites; and

* Where the term ‘local’ is used it will be clearly defined.

Highest standards
NFU President Peter Kendall said: “British pig producers, who have embraced the highest standards of animal welfare enshrined in the Red Tractor pork logo, will welcome this Code of Practice and consumers will be able to make informed decisions knowing there is absolute clarity and transparency about country of origin.”

Task Force member and chairman of BPEX and the NPA Stewart Houston said: “Clear labeling is great news for everyone in the supply chain, easier choice for consumers, more sales of British pork products for the retailer, benefiting both the producer and the processor.”

Major companies already committed to the code include Asda, Baxter Storey, Marks and Spencer, Morrison’s, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, The Co-operative, Waitrose and Whitbread.

The Task Force will now seek to encourage more retailers and food service companies to sign up to the code before it goes live for consumers in April. A planned website will give consumers a list of those businesses who have signed up to the code.


Salmonella” bacteria are the most frequently reported cause of foodborne illness. In order to reduce salmonellosis, a comprehensive farm-to-table approach to food safety is necessary. Farmers, industry, food inspectors, retailers, food service workers, and consumers are each critical links in the food safety chain. This document answers common questions about the bacteria “Salmonella,” describes how the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is addressing the problems of “Salmonella” contamination on meat and poultry products, and offers guidelines for safe food handling to prevent bacteria, such as “Salmonella,” from causing illness.

Q. What is Salmonella?
A. Salmonella is a gram-negative, rod-shaped bacilli that can cause diarrheal illness in humans. They are microscopic living creatures that pass from the feces of people or animals to other people or other animals.

The Salmonella family includes over 2,300 serotypes of bacteria which are one-celled organisms too small to be seen without a microscope. Two types, Salmonella Enteritidis and Salmonella Typhimurium are the most common in the United States and account for half of all human infections. Strains that cause no symptoms in animals can make people sick, and vice versa. If present in food, it does not usually affect the taste, smell, or appearance of the food. The bacteria live in the intestinal tracts of infected animals and humans.

Salmonella bacteria have been known to cause illness for over 100 years. They were discovered by an American scientist, Dr. Daniel E. Salmon.

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Q. What is salmonellosis?
A. Salmonellosis is an infection caused by the bacteria Salmonella. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), salmonellosis causes an estimated 1.4 million cases of foodborne illness and more than 500 deaths annually in the United States. The Surveillance Report from the Food Diseases Active Surveillance (FoodNet) for 2004, identified Salmonella as the most common bacterial infection reported. (42% Salmonella, 37% Campylobacter, 15% Shigella, 2.6% E. coli O157:H7, and 3.4% others such as Yersinia, Listeria, and Vibrio).

FoodNet is a collaborative project among CDC, the 10 Emerging Infections Program sites (EPIs), USDA, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). One of the objectives of FoodNet is to measure effectiveness of a variety of preventive measures in reducing the incidence of foodborne illness attributable to the consumption of meat, poultry, and other foods.

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Q. What are the symptoms of salmonellosis?
A. Most people experience diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 8 to 72 hours after the contaminated food was eaten. Additional symptoms may be chills, headache, nausea, and vomiting. Symptoms usually disappear within 4 to 7 days. Many people with salmonellosis recover without treatment and may never see a doctor. However, Salmonella infections can be life-threatening especially for infants and young children, pregnant women and their unborn babies, and older adults, who are at a higher risk for foodborne illness, as are people with weakened immune systems (such as those with HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, and transplant patients).

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Q. Are there long-term consequences?
A. Persons with diarrhea usually recover completely, although it may be several months before their bowel habits are entirely normal. A small number of persons who are infected with Salmonella may develop pains in their joints, irritation of the eyes, and painful urination. This is called Reiter’s syndrome. It can last for months or years and can lead to chronic arthritis that is difficult to treat.

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Q. How do people get salmonellosis?
A. Salmonella lives in the intestinal track of humans and other animals, including birds. Salmonella is usually transmitted to humans by eating foods contaminated with animal feces. Salmonella present on raw meat and poultry could survive if the product is not cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature, as measured with a food thermometer.

Salmonella can also cause foodborne illness (salmonellosis) through cross-contamination, e.g., when juices from raw meat or poultry come in contact with ready-to-eat foods, such as salads.

Food may also become contaminated by the unwashed hands of an infected food handler. Salmonella can also be found in the feces of some pets, especially those with diarrhea. People can become infected if they do not wash their hands after contact with these feces. Reptiles are particularly likely to harbor Salmonella. People should always wash their hands immediately after handling a reptile, even if the reptile is healthy.

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Q. What foods are most likely to make people sick?
A. Any raw food of animal origin, such as meat, poultry, milk and dairy products, eggs, seafood, and some fruits and vegetables may carry Salmonella bacteria. The bacteria can survive to cause illness if meat, poultry, and egg products are not cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature as measured with a food thermometer and fruits and vegetables are not thoroughly washed. The bacteria can also contaminate other foods that come in contact with raw meat and poultry. Safe food handling practices are necessary to prevent bacteria on raw food from causing illness.

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Q. Are chickens labeled “Kosher,” “free-range,” “organic,” or “natural” lower in Salmonella bacteria?
A. FSIS does not know of any valid scientific information that shows that any specific type of chicken has more or less Salmonella bacteria than other poultry.

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Q. What is FSIS doing to prevent Salmonella contamination?
A. The Food Safety and Inspection Service is the public health regulatory Agency in the USDA responsible for the safety of the nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry and egg products. As part of this responsibility, FSIS issued the “Pathogen Reduction; Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (PR/HACCP) Systems, Final Rule” in 1996. This rule sets Salmonella performance standards for establishments slaughtering selected classes of food animals or those producing selected classes of raw ground products to verify that industry systems are effective in controlling the contamination of raw meat and poultry products with disease-causing bacteria, like Salmonella.

FSIS inspectors make sure the establishments are meeting the standards by collecting randomly selected product samples and submitting them to an FSIS laboratory for Salmonella analysis. FSIS requires all plants to reduce bacteria by means of the PR/HACCP system.

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Q. How can consumers prevent salmonellosis?
A. Bacteria on raw foods of animal origin do not have to cause illness. The key to preventing illness at home, in a restaurant, at a church picnic, or anywhere else is to prevent the bacteria from growing to high levels and to destroy the bacteria through cooking to a safe minimum internal temperature. Follow these guidelines for safe food preparation:

CLEAN: Wash Hands and Surfaces Often

  • Wash your hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and handling pets.
  • Wash utensils, cutting boards, dishes, and countertops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next item.
  • Consider using paper towels to clean kitchen surfaces. If you use cloth towels, wash them often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.

SEPARATE: Don’t Cross-contaminate

  • Separate raw meat, poultry, and seafood from other foods in your grocery shopping cart and in your refrigerator.
  • If possible, use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
  • Always wash cutting boards, dishes, countertops, and utensils with hot soapy water after they come in contact with raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
  • Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood.

COOK: Cook to Safe Temperatures
Use a clean food thermometer when measuring the internal temperature of meat, poultry, casseroles, and other foods to make sure they have reached a safe minimum internal temperature:

  • Beef, veal, and lamb steaks, roasts, and chops to 145 °F.
  • All cuts of pork to 160 °F.
  • Ground beef, veal and lamb to 160 °F.
  • Egg dishes, casseroles to 160 °F.
  • All poultry should reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F.
  • Stuffed poultry is not recommended. Cook stuffing separately to 165 °F.
  • Leftovers to 165 °F.
  • Fish should reach 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer.
  • Bring sauces, soups, and gravy to a boil when reheating.
  • Reheat other leftovers thoroughly to at least 165 °F.

CHILL: Refrigerate Promptly

  • Keep food safe at home, refrigerate promptly and properly. Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared foods, and leftovers within 2 hours (1 hour if temperatures are above 90 °F).
  • Freezers should register 0 °F or below and refrigerators 40 °F or below.
  • Thaw food in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave. Foods should not be thawed at room temperature. Foods thawed in the microwave or in cold water must be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature before refrigerating.
  • Marinate foods in the refrigerator.
  • Divide large amounts of leftovers into shallow containers for quick cooling in the refrigerator.

Don’t pack the refrigerator. Cool air must circulate to keep food safe.