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The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development on Monday warned consumers who may have purchased products with one of three labels – Brandy’s “Jam”boree-N-More, Brandy & Dutch Weigand and Pier III – to dispose of the products immediately.

No illnesses have been identified at this time. The products were sold at various farmers markets and festivals, including the St. Clair Shores, Dodge Park, Sterling Heights, Shelby Township and New Baltimore farmers markets.

The products were manufactured in an unlicensed facility not using required controls for safe production of processed foods, the MDARD said.

Known products include various pickled products, relishes, syrups and jams, but other products may have been produced under these labels. Acidified foods like pickled products pose a serious risk of botulism if pH and other critical factors are not carefully controlled during processing to prevent the growth of C. botulinum, the MDARD said in a statement.

Botulism can cause the following symptoms: general weakness, dizziness, double vision and trouble with speaking or swallowing, difficulty in breathing, weakness of muscles, abdominal distension and constipation.

The very young, the elderly, and persons with compromised immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness. People experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention.

Consumers who have any of these products or any foods made with these products should throw them away immediately.

A committee of advisors to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given its stamp of approval to an antitoxin designed to treat patients with botulism.

In a unanimous decision announced last week, the 18-member Blood Products Advisory Committee voted to recommend the heptavalent botulinum antitoxin (HBAT), developed by a Canadian pharmaceutical company, to the federal agency for approval.

HBAT is the only botulinum antitoxin currently available for use in the U.S. It is currently an investigational product controlled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Doctors must seek approval from CDC in order to administer HBAT to patients.

The antibodies contained in HBAT target all seven known types of botulinum toxins, which attack the nervous system of infected individuals and can cause paralysis or even death.

These neurotoxins infect humans through wounds or contaminated food, and have also been identified as a potential agent of biological warfare.

The drug, developed by Cangene Corporation of Fort Garry, Winnipeg, works to prevent internalization of the toxin in the nerves.

It was used on 148 patients in the U.S. between January of 2008 and December of 2012 at part of CDC’s trial program, according to the company’s briefing document for the committee. Adminisration of HBAT within two days of symptom onset significantly reduced the duration of hospitalization for patients.

FDA will decide whether to approve HBAT for licensing, under the proprietary name BAT™, in March of this year.

No indication that it was imported to United States.

Canada’s food safety authorities is said to have warned against the consumption of Barrie Bros. Fresh Broccoli Soup for fear of contamination with the bacteria that causes botulism.

The public have been told about the consequences which are likely to be caused following the consumption of this soup.

The Fresh Broccoli Soup (Barrie’s Pressure Sealed Natural), sold in a 744 milliletre Mason glass jar with a metal lid is likely to contain Clostridium botulinum, which could lead to a life-threatening illness.

This soup also does not contain UPC or lot code and not even a best before date. Though this soup has been distributed in Ontario yet so far no illnesses have been reported in association with the soup, the CFIA asserted.

However the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, in conjunction with Cambridge, Ont.-based Barrie Bros have warned about the potential danger.

The Institute of Food Research has collaborated in the development of a new method for detecting spores of non-proteolytic Clostridium botulinum. This bacterium is the major health hazard associated with refrigerated convenience foods, and these developments give the food industry and regulators more quantitative information on which to base the procedures that ensure food safety.

Botulism is a rare but deadly form of food poisoning that can be caused by consuming tiny quantities of botulinum neurotoxin. The botulinum neurotoxin is the most potent toxin known (just 30ng of neurotoxin is sufficient to cause illness and even death), and the consumption of as little as 0.01g of food in which C. botulinum has grown can result in botulism.

The majority of cases of foodborne botulism are caused by two bacteria known as non-proteolytic C. botulinum and proteolytic C. botulinum. A major difference between these two bacteria is that non-proteolytic C. botulinum is able to grow and produce toxin at 3°C, whilst proteolytic C. botulinum will not grow at temperatures less than 12°C. This ability to grow at form toxin at refrigeration temperatures makes non-proteolytic C. botulinum a major hazard in minimally heated refrigerated foods, such as chilled ready meals.

The production incorporates practices and risk assessments based on the latest scientific information, such as spore heat resistance, growth properties of non-proteolytic C. botulinum, and the incidence of these spores in food. The new method of detecting non-proteolytic C. botulinum is providing high quality information on the incidence of spores in food. An important feature of the new method is that it is specific, and enumerates only non-proteolytic C. botulinum spores. Some previous techniques were not optimised to distinguish between non-proteolytic C. botulinum and proteolytic C. botulinum. The new method is very sensitive with a low detection limit that has been achieved by the use of a selective enrichment and large test samples, and importantly this has been confirmed using carefully structured control samples.

The robust method was developed as a collaboration between the Nestlé Research Centre, Switzerland and IFR, an institute of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and is designed to provide the data the food industry needs for quantitative microbial risk analysis and the implementation of food safety objectives. This allows the total risk from spores of non-proteolytic C. botulinum in the final meal to be calculated. Modelling the risk of this total spore count rising above safe levels and the frequency that this event occurs will allow the management and control of the process more accountably.

 At the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Justice today filed a complaint for permanent injunction against a Brooklyn juice company to prevent it from processing and distributing juice products.

Delores H. Campbell and Winston A. Fearon and their company, Juices Incorporated (also known as Juices International and Juices Enterprises), are charged with violating the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act by failing to have a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan for certain juice products, such as the company’s carrot and beet juice products. The FDA requires all juice processors to have and implement HACCP plans that identify and control food hazards associated with their juices.

Among the violations observed by FDA investigators were failures to:

Continue Reading Juices Incorporated hit with FDA injunction

Amish Wedding Foods Inc. of Millersburg, Ohio, is recalling all lots of 9- 16- and 18-ounce pumpkin butter, as well as all lots of 16- and 18-ounce sweet potato butter. The items are recalled because of concerns over possible botulism contamination. No illness has been reported. The pumpkin and sweet potato butters were sold under a variety of brands and were available in most states

Botulism is a form of food poisoning caused by eating contaminated food containing a toxin that severely affects the nervous system. It can be very serious, although not contagious. There are two other types, wound botulism and infant botulism. These affect the central nervous system and the muscular system.

Causes of Botulism

Clostridium botulinum, a bacteria found in contaminated or incompletely cooked,
canned foods, is the cause of Botulism. This bacteria produces a powerful poison (toxin) that is absorbed from the digestive tract and spreads throughout the central nervous system. Likely foods to cause botulism include: home-canned vegetables and fruits, fish, meat, undercooked sausage, smoked meats and milk products. With infants under 1 year, raw honey or other uncooked foods may be the cause. The bacteria also may infect a wound and produce the toxin.

Signs and Symptoms of Botulism

Symptoms of Botulism usually appear suddenly 18 to 36 hours after eating contaminated food. They include blurred or double vision, drooping eyelids, dry mouth, slurred speech, swallowing difficulty, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness of the arms and legs. As the condition progresses, paralysis may develop. There is not direct effect on mental abilities and there is no fever associated with Botulism. Symptoms appearing in infants include severe constipation, feeble cry, and the inability to suck.

U.K. researchers linked a protein to the development of mad-cow disease and found a way to reduce it, a discovery that may lead to a treatment for the illness and its human form, according to a report today in PLoS Pathogens.

A team of scientists at the University of Leeds found that the protein, called Glypican-1, boosts abnormal and infectious proteins in the brain called prions, which are known to cause mad-cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy. When the researchers reduced Glypican-1 in infected mouse cells, abnormal prion levels also declined, they wrote in the online journal.

Glypican-1 may act as a scaffold that brings together the two forms of the prion protein, causing normal prions to mutate into infectious ones, Nigel Hooper, one of the authors, said in a telephone interview.

“It’s bringing the normal prion protein and the infectious molecule together and allowing them to interact,” said Hooper, a professor of biochemistry at the university in northern England. “The infectious molecule will then allow the normal one to convert, setting up a cascade.”

In the mid-1990s, scientists found a possible link between bovine spongiform encephalopathy and a variant of the fatal human illness, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which destroys brain tissue. An estimated 166 people in the U.K. may have died from variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob since 1995, according to the National Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance Unit in Edinburgh.
Infected Animals

People are believed to develop the disease by eating meat from infected animals or after transfusions of infected blood. Early symptoms include depression or psychosis, unsteadiness and involuntary movements. By the time of death, patients become immobile and mute.

Researchers may be able to use the Leeds team’s finding about Glypican-1 to design drugs that disrupt the disease process and treat mad-cow disease or variant CJD, Hooper said. He said his team next plans to study the effect of removing Glypican-1 from mice.

“We’re going into animal models to look at what happens if you take the Glypican-1 out,” Hooper said.
The Wellcome Trust and the U.K.’s Medical Research Council funded the research published today.

Bay Valley Foods, LLC, just recalled chunky steak soup sold under the Stater Bros. brand name; the reason given, as can be seen in the USDA-FSIS recall notice, is the company’s concern that the product was "underprocessed" during production.  Bay Valley should be commended for taking the necessary unilateral step of recalling its "underprocessed" product; but it’s important for consumers to know that the real concern with low-acid, thermally processed foods like this soup being "underprocessed" is botulism. 

Botulism is a nasty bug. It produces a potent neuro-toxin that causes paralysis. It has produced some of the most gruesome illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths of all clients at Marler Clark.

But botulism (i.e. the bacteria from which the toxins are produced) is also extremely prevalent in the environment.  It is a naturally occuring bacteria in the earth; in fact, if you were to go outside and pick up a handful of dirt from your backyard garden, you’d likely be picking up a bunch of botulism spores as well.  These are not harmful unless they are allowed to incubate at the right temperature for the right period of time, but they are there nonetheless.

To bring me back to the point with respect to the Stater Bros soup recall, the real risk here is that botulism spores in the low-acid, hermetically sealed soup containers might germinate and begin to produce the harmful botulism toxins.  The soup contains lots of vegetables, and lots of the vegetables probably came from dirt that contained lots of botulism spores. 

Thus, Bay Valley Foods/Stater brothers, should be commended for recalling the potentially contaminated (or "underprocessed") soup.  But it is equally important for consumers of this product to know the risks they face.  It’s not that your beef might be a little undercooked, or the carrots a little hard.  It’s botulism.