WHERE YOU LIVE MAY BE PUTTING YOU AT RISK FOR FOODBORNE ILLNESS, RESEARCHER FINDS
From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton Released: 28-Aug-2014
Source Kansas State University Citations Foods
Newswise — MANHATTAN, Kansas — Improving education about risky food handling behaviors would reduce the amount of foodborne illness and help improve food security around the world, according to Kansas State University research.
For their study, the university’s Kadri Koppel, assistant professor of human nutrition, and Edgar Chambers IV, university distinguished professor and director of the Sensory Analysis Center, worked with around 100 consumers from India, Korea, Thailand, Russia, Estonia, Italy, Spain and two cities in the United States. The consumers completed questionnaires about their purchase, storage, handling and preparation practices of poultry and eggs. It is one of the only studies to use the same questionnaire to collect data between different countries and is part of a larger project to develop science-based messages for consumers about food safety practices.
The study produced the article “Eggs and Poultry: Purchase, Storage and Preparation Practices of Consumers in Selected Asian Countries,” which was published in the journal Foods.
“We really wanted to know how consumers in different countries are actually handling raw eggs and poultry because these products are the source of two main bacteria: salmonella and campylobacter,” Koppel said.
“These bacteria lead to many cases of foodborne illness and we need a better understanding of food handling practices to find the risky behaviors that may lead to contamination.”
Food safety regulations vary by country. The research found that most consumers purchase their eggs from the supermarket, with the exception of Argentina, where consumers get their eggs from the regular open-air market. However, the way the eggs were stored at the supermarkets varied. While some countries kept the eggs refrigerated, most eggs in Thailand, India, Spain, Italy and Colombia were stored at room temperature.
“When you think about the range of countries that we had and you compare the annual average temperatures in those countries, they can vary by about 50-degrees Fahrenheit — and that is a pretty big range,” Koppel said. “A lot can happen to eggs if they are stored at room temperature in a country where the climate may be somewhat tropical.”
The researchers found the majority of consumers store their eggs in the refrigerator once they brought them home.
Another similar finding was that the majority of consumers in these countries buy raw poultry and meats, but how they store those meats varies. Fifty percent or more of the consumers in Russia, India, Thailand, Colombia and the U.S. would freeze the meat right away, although these consumers often would improperly store the meat.
“If you think about the typical refrigerator and the air movement within the fridge, warmer air typically rises higher,” Koppel said. “If you put the meat in a place where the temperature is warmer, then it is more likely to spoil. Raw meats also may have juices that leak and there is a possibility that the juices may cross-contaminate ingredients on lower shelves.”
The safest place to store raw meat in the refrigerator is on the bottom shelf. The research found mixed results on this, with most of the consumers in Argentina and Colombia storing meat on higher shelves, putting them at a higher risk for contamination.
The riskiest behavior was exhibited in preparing the eggs and poultry. About 90 percent of consumers in Colombia and 70 percent of consumers in India washed these products in the sink before preparation. In the U.S., about 40 percent did.
“If you think about washing something in the sink, typically water splatters on the surface around the sink,” Koppel said. “If you have some other ingredients near the sink that you are about to use for your meal, all that water splattering around the sink could cross-contaminate the other ingredients you are about to use.”
The researchers found consumers also need to improve their cutting board cleanliness. About 40 percent of Colombian consumers reported using the same cutting board for multiple ingredients without washing or wiping it down between each use. While most other consumers reported cleaning the board between ingredients, Koppel said that not all forms of cleaning are effective.
“This may seem like a safe behavior, but it really depends on the wiping agent,” Koppel said.
“If you are using a kitchen towel, it may not remove a lot of the material that is come into contact with the cutting board. If you use the sponge that you use to wash dishes, research has shown that those sponges actually contain a lot of other bacteria and that may contaminate your other ingredients in addition to what is already on the cutting board.”
The safest practice is to use a different cutting board for different ingredients, she said.
NEW GLUTEN-FREE INGREDIENT MAY CAUSE ALLERGIC REACTION
From FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton Released: 25-Aug-2014
Source Newsroom: Kansas State University
Newswise — MANHATTAN, Kansas — A popular new ingredient in gluten-free products could be causing an allergic reaction, according to a Kansas State University food safety specialist.
Lupin, a legume belonging to the same plant family as peanuts, is showing up as a wheat replacement in an increasing number of gluten-free products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is now issuing an alert, urging consumers with peanut and soybean allergies to read labels before buying these products.
“Lupin is a yellow-colored bean that is very popular in Europe, Mediterranean countries, Australia and New Zealand,” said Karen Blakeslee, Kansas State University extension specialist in food science and coordinator of the Rapid Response Center.
“However, it is new to the United States and because of that, many consumers have never heard of it and may not realize that lupin has the same protein that causes allergic reactions to peanuts and soybeans.”
Allergic reactions can have various symptoms, including hives, swelling of the lips, vomiting, breathing difficulties and anaphylactic shock. Even those without allergies to legume products need to be aware of the ingredient.
“You can become allergic to something at any point in your life,” Blakeslee said. “If you do start seeing any symptoms of an allergic reaction, stop eating the food immediately and contact your doctor.”
The FDA expects lupin to become a popular product in the gluten-free arena because of its many health qualities. It is high in protein and in dietary fiber — which helps lower cholesterol — and is low in fat.
Manufacturers are required to list lupin on the food label. The FDA is actively monitoring complaints of lupin allergies by U.S. consumers.
RESEARCHERS FIND UP TO 3,000 TIMES THE BACTERIAL GROWTH ON HOLLOW-HEAD TOOTHBRUSHES
From FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton Released: 28-Aug-2014 Citations Journal of Dental Hygiene
Source: University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Newswise — HOUSTON – (Aug. 28, 2014) — Solid-head power toothbrushes retain less bacteria compared to hollow-head toothbrushes, according to researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Dentistry.
The results of the study are published in the August issue of the Journal of Dental Hygiene. Lead author and professor at the UTHealth School of Dentistry, Donna Warren Morris, R.D.H., M.Ed., notes that microbial counts were lower in the solid-head toothbrush group than in the two hollow-head toothbrush groups in 9 out of 10 comparisons.
“Toothbrushes can transmit microorganisms that cause disease and infections. A solid-head design allows for less growth of bacteria and bristles should be soft and made of nylon,” Morris said. “It is also important to disinfect and to let your toothbrush dry between uses. Some power toothbrushes now include an ultraviolet system or you can soak the head in mouthwash for 20 minutes.”
The study was conducted over a three-week period where participants brushed twice daily with one out of three randomly assigned power toothbrushes. Participants used non-antimicrobial toothpaste and continued their flossing routine throughout the study, but refrained from using other dental products like mouthwash.
“The packaging on most power toothbrushes would not distinguish between a hollow-head and a solid-head design,” Morris said. “The best way to identify a solid-head design is through the connection to the body of the power toothbrush. Naturally, there will be some space to connect the two parts but a significant portion will be solid, up to the bristles or brush head.”
During the study the brush heads were exposed to five categories of oral microorganisms: anaerobes and facultative microorganisms, yeast and mold, oral streptococci and oral enterococci anaerobes, Porphyromonas gingivalis and Fusobacterium species.
The article also states that there is no present or published study that has demonstrated that bacterial growth on toothbrushes can lead to systematic health effects, but as Morris stated, several microorganisms have been associated with systemic diseases.
“We do know and there are studies that have linked Fusobacterium to colorectal cancer. Some of these other bacteria have been linked with cardiovascular disease,” Morris said.
“There is a high association with gum disease and cardiovascular disease. Researchers have been able to culture the same bacteria around the heart that causes gum disease. ”
This study was funded in part by the Advanced Response Corporation. Other researchers include Millicent Goldschmidt, Ph.D., M.S., professor emerita at the UTHealth School of Dentistry; Harris Keene, D.D.S., retired professor from The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center; and Stanley Cron, M.S.P.H., research instructor at the UTHealth School of Nursing.
Back tomorrow Jeanne