first_imgJun 19, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – A series of illness outbreaks linked to tomatoes over the last decade prompted the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to announce last week an initiative to explore contamination causes and develop better guidance to reduce the number of tomato-related illnesses.Over the past 10 years, fresh tomatoes have been linked to 12 outbreaks that resulted in 1,840 confirmed illnesses, according to a Jun 12 press release from the FDA. Most of outbreaks, including two last summer and fall, involved Salmonella.The FDA traced most of the outbreaks to tomatoes from Florida and the eastern shore of Virginia, though some of the contaminated products also came from California, Georgia, Ohio, and South Carolina, the press release said.The FDA said its investigators would collaborate with health and agriculture officials in Florida and Virginia to identify practices or conditions at tomato farms and packing facilities that lead to contamination. The initiative will begin during this year’s growing season, focusing on Virginia in the summer and Florida in the fall.During the environmental part of the investigation, officials will be examining irrigation water, wells, chemical mixing procedures, droughts and floods, and animal proximity to growing fields, the FDA said.”Produce is an important part of a healthy diet, and FDA wants to improve its safety by better understanding the causes of foodborne illnesses and by promoting more effective methods of safe food production, delivery, and preparation, said Robert Brackett, PhD, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, in the press release.The findings of the investigation will not only help the FDA improve its tomato safety guidance and policy, but also suggest areas for further research, education, and outreach, the agency said. Several universities and members of the produce industry will be part of the safety initiative, which the FDA says complements the Leafy Greens Initiative that was launched in 2006 to explore factors that led to a spate of Escherichia coli outbreaks linked to lettuce and other leafy greens produced in California’s Salinas Valley.In 1990 and 1993, investigations of multistate salmonellosis outbreaks traced the cause to tomatoes processed at a single South Carolina tomato packer. The authors, who published their findings in a 1999 issue of Epidemiology and Infection, concluded that inadequately monitored chlorine levels in the processor’s wash tanks likely contributed to the outbreaks.Craig Hedberg, PhD, lead author of the study and a University of Minnesota expert on foodborne disease, said that despite investments that have been made to address tomato contamination problems over the past decade, little fundamental change has occurred. Hedberg said he hopes the FDA’s current initiative will spur new measures to reduce the number of outbreaks linked to tomatoes.In 2005, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published findings on three Salmonella outbreaks in the summer of 2004 that were linked to Roma tomatoes. The account said the tomatoes in all three outbreaks were traced to a single packing house in Florida, though other growers or packers also could have supplied contaminated products.More research is needed to determine if Salmonella can travel from the roots to the fruit or if contaminated seeds can affect subsequent generations of tomato plants, the authors noted. “Understanding the mechanism of contamination and amplification of contamination of large volumes of tomatoes is critical to prevent large-scale, tomato-associated outbreaks,” they wrote.The authors pointed out that produce packing houses were exempt from Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) requirements, though the FDA encouraged GMP controls for water used in the packing houses. “However, the extent to which FDA guidance has been adopted by the industry is unknown,” the report said.At a Mar 20 FDA hearing on regulatory options for fresh fruits and vegetables, Elisa Odabashian, director of the Consumers Union’s West Coast office, asserted that the FDA’s voluntary guidelines for producers have failed to make food safer, according to a copy of the prepared testimony. She said the only way to make food safer and rebuild consumer confidence is for the FDA and/or the California Department of Health Services to mandate Good Agricultural Practices for growers and Hazard Analysis/Critical Control Point (HACCP) systems for all processors.See also:Jun 12 FDA news release Outbreaks of Salmonella infections associated with eating Roma tomatoes—United States and Canada, 2004. MMWR 2005 Apr 8;54(13):325-28 [Full text]Hedberg CW, Angulo, FJ, White KE, et al. Outbreak of salmonellosis associated with eating uncooked tomatoes: implications for public health. Epidemiol Infect 1999;122(3)385-93 [Abstract]Mar 20 Consumers Union testimony to the FDA read more

first_imgLos Angeles does need some help in its bullpen, that is for sure. Beyond Kenley Jansen, the team has gotten less out of free-agent acquisition Joe Kelly than it wanted and only Pedro Baez has decent numbers in the pen, aside from Jansen.The Dodgers need some help, that is clear. The trade deadline is July 31 at 4 p.m. ET. But, according to one report, that’s only a small fraction of the Dodgers’ pursuits of a reliever in the trade market.According to NBC Los Angeles, the Dodgers have reached out about at least 10 relievers in search of help for their bullpen. Related News MLB trade rumors: Mets will ‘have no issues’ sending Zack Wheeler to Yankees MLB trade rumors: Could Yankees target Diamondbacks’ Robbie Ray? The Dodgers have reportedly looked into Smith and Vazquez in addition to Brad Hand, Keone Kela, Jake Diekman, Ken Giles, Scott Barlow, Sam Gaviglio, Seth Lugo, Nick Anderson and Hansel Robles.Now, how far these discussions went is unclear. Most of these pitchers have been mentioned in some way in trade rumors and it makes sense the Dodgers would touch base about them. The Dodgers really want help for their bullpen, apparently.Los Angeles has already been linked to several relievers, including San Francisco closer Will Smith and Pirates lefty Felipe Vazquez. MLB trade rumors: Todd Frazier would be ‘OK’ if Mets dealt himlast_img read more

first_img 4 Final (July 10, Saint-Denis): Germany/Italy/Spain/France/England – Whoever reaches the final from Wales’ side of the draw will be massive underdogs given the sides in the other half. One of Germany, Italy, Spain will probably await in the final should the Welsh do the impossible and still be in the tournament come July 10. They could even face a rematch with England if Roy Hodgson sorts his strikers out. 4 4 Semi-final (Lyon, July 6): Croatia – Croatia topping Group D instead of Spain has really opened up this side of the draw and if Coleman’s men make it this far then that is who they could face. Alternatively, Poland could await Wales if Robert Lewandowski finds his shooting boots in the knockout rounds. Round of 16 (Paris, June 25): Turkey – click the arrow, right, to see Wales’ possible route to the final – Wales made the knockout stages in their only previous appearance at a major tournament but their opponent on that occasion was a Pele-inspired Brazil team in 1958. This time their reward for topping Group B is one of the third-placed sides, either Turkey or another home nations derby in the form of Northern Ireland. Quarter-final (Lille, July 1): Belgium – This is where it enters the unknown as their last 16 opponents could be any of Sweden, Belgium, Portugal, Iceland, Hungary or Austria with so many permutations remaining in Group E and F. Even if it is the worst case scenario with Belgium, the Welsh will be confident having kept two clean sheets as they won and drew against Marc Wilmots’ side in qualifying. Upon starring in Real Madrid’s Champions League final victory in May, their second in three years, Gareth Bale audaciously declared that Wales would go to France looking to win Euro 2016.As improbably as that seemed at the time, Chris Coleman’s side now have a great chance of going far in the tournament having won Group B ahead of England.Results in other groups mean all of the traditional European giants are in the other half of the draw, along with the Three Lions.Wales are the top scorers in the Championships with six goals and star man Gareth Bale is joint-top scorer with Spain’s Alvaro Morata after finding the net three times.The Welsh will be confident mood going into their last 16 tie, but who stands in between them and a place in the final on July 10?Click the arrow above, right, to see Wales’ reward for topping Group B and what England seemingly threw away having made six changes for their final group game. 4last_img read more