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Entries in Contaminated (2)

Tuesday
Nov272012

Study Finds Most Pork Contaminated with Yersinia Bacteria

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A sample of raw pork products from supermarkets around the United States found that yersinia enterocolitica, a lesser-known food-borne pathogen, was present in 69 percent of the products tested, according to a study released Tuesday by Consumer Reports.

The bacteria infects more than 100,000 Americans a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but for every case that is confirmed with a laboratory test, about 120 more cases escape diagnosis. Symptoms can include fever, cramps and bloody diarrhea.

For its sample, Consumer Reports included the same pork products millions of Americans buy every day at their supermarkets. The study included 148 pork chops and 50 ground pork samples from around the United States.

In the samples tested, 69 percent tested positive for yersinia and 11 percent for enterococcus, which can indicate fecal contamination that can lead to urinary-tract infections. Salmonella and listeria, the more well-known bacterium, registered at four percent and three percent, respectively. Urvashi Rangan, one of the authors of the report, said the use of antibiotics in animals has created a “public health crisis” and is a reason for the findings.

“The results were concerning,” he told ABC News.  “It’s hard to say that there was no problem.  It shows that there needs to be better hygiene at animal plants. Yersinia wasn’t even being monitored for.”

In a written statement, the Pork Producer’s Council questioned the methods used by Consumer Reports, saying the number of samples tested, 198, did "not provide a nationally informative estimate of the true prevalence of the cited bacteria on meat.”

Despite the findings, Rangan said it’s good to know that the bacteria can be killed by cooking the pork properly and by being vigilant about cross-contamination. Pork cuts should be cooked to 145 degrees, while ground pork needs to reach a temperature of 160 degrees to kill the bacteria.

“Anything that touches raw meat should go into the dishwasher before touching anything else,” Rangan said. "Juices from raw meat that touch the counter should be washed with hot soapy water.”

Consumers wanting to purchase pork that was raised without antibiotics should look for labels that read: “No antibiotics used,” “Animal Welfare Approved” or “Certified Humane.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the findings “affirm that companies are meeting the established guidelines for protecting the public’s health."

“USDA will remain vigilant against emerging and evolving threats to the safety of America’s supply of meat, poultry and processed egg products, and we will continue to work with the industry to ensure companies are following food safety procedures in addition to looking for new ways to strengthen the protection of public health,” the department said in a statement.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr192012

FDA Warns of Infection Risks from Contaminated Ultrasound Gel

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Food and Drug Administration is warning doctors, hospitals and clinics that contaminated ultrasound gel produced by a New Jersey company infected 16 cardiac patients and could pose serious risks to pregnant women and others who undergo ultrasound imaging and treatment.

The gel is used by radiologists, urologists, gastroenterologists, OB-GYNs, internists, nurses and ultrasound technicians for diagnostic ultrasound testing. Chiropractors and physical therapists use the gel for therapeutic ultrasound treatment of pain, inflammation and injuries.

The agency told the health professionals to stop using the gel because of contamination with two strains of bacteria. “Although Other-Sonic Generic Ultrasound Transmission Gel is not labeled as either sterile or non-sterile, it is NOT sterile,” the FDA cautioned.

The 16 heart patients became infected with the bacteria, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, while undergoing transesophageal ultrasound exams with Other-Sonic Generic Ultrasound Transmission Gel during heart valve replacement surgery at a single hospital, the FDA said. The product is made by Pharmaceutical Innovations Inc., of Newark, N.J., which bills itself on its website as a “world leader in medical ultrasound.”

In February, an FDA analysis of product samples revealed "significant amounts of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Klebsiella oxytoca,” which the FDA said suggested that the contamination occurred “during the manufacturing process.”  Both types of bacteria can colonize the skin without causing any symptoms, although Pseudomonas also may cause skin eruptions, even on unbroken skin, the FDA warned. More concerning, however, is the potential of the bacteria to enter the body through ultrasound exams of the airway, lower digestive tract or a woman’s genital tract, where they could cause infection.

If you’re concerned about possible exposure to a contaminated gel, “the best thing to do is go home and take a good shower with soap and water,” or make sure the people performing your ultrasound “pat the area with alcohol afterwards,” said Dr. Robert A. Winters, an infectious disease specialist and chairman of the infection control division at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica.

“Not every patient exposed to Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Klebsiella bacteria in Other-Sonic Generic Ultrasound Transmission Gel will develop colonization (the presence of bacteria at a site without any signs of infection) or infection, but the risk remains present,” the FDA alert said. It warned that biopsies can let bacteria get into tissues, causing an abscess or severe bloodstream infection called sepsis. If Klebsiella bacteria, which are common in the digestive tract, enter the lungs or spread to other tissues, they could lead to pneumonia, wound infection or bloodstream infections, the FDA said.

At the agency’s request, New Jersey health authorities embargoed all lots of the gel manufactured from June through December 2011. The U.S. Marshal Service has since seized those lots. Health professionals were urged to stop using 250 milliliter bottles and 5-liter dispensing containers with three lot numbers: 060111, 090111 and 120111. They were also asked to identify any patients who underwent ultrasound exams with gel from those lots.

“This ultrasound gel presented serious health risks to patients, particularly vulnerable ones,” Dara A. Corrigan, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, said in a statement issued by the FDA. “Therefore, FDA, with the assistance of our state partner, is taking aggressive enforcement action to protect the public health.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio