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EMPRES Food Safety - Prevention and control of Salmonella and enterohemorrhagic E. coli in tree nuts

Lessons Learned Series, No. 2 – June 2012








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    EMPRES Food Safety - Prevention and control of Salmonella and enterohemorrhagic E. coli in tree nuts
    Lessons Learned Series, No. 2 – June 2012
    2012
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    Low-moisture foods, such as nuts, generally have been considered low risk for foodborne illness because they are consumed in a dry state. In low-moisture foods the water activity (available moisture) is too low to support microbial growth. For example, the water activity in tree nuts is generally less than 0.7. This may lead to the common misconception that low levels of pathogenic bacteria in foods such as tree nuts are not a food safety concern. However, it is increasingly recognized that many foodborne pathogens, including Salmonella and EHEC, can cause illness when present at very low levels, i.e. for illness to occur microbial growth does not need to take place. In addition, once ingested, the high fat content in tree nuts may protect pathogens from stomach acids allowing passage of viable organisms to the intestine. While a number of low-moisture foods have been associated with foodborne illness, e.g. spices, chocolate, powdered infant formula, the recognition of tree nuts as a p otential source of foodborne pathogens and human illness is relatively recent.
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    Enterobacter sakazakii and Salmonella in Powdered Infant Formula: Meeting Report. Microbiological Risk Assessment Series (MRA) 10 2006
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    The 37th Session of the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (2005) requested the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to extend the scientific advice provided by the expert meeting on “Enterobacter sakazakii and other microorganisms in powdered infant formula” held in Geneva in 2004 (FAO/WHO, 2004). Accordingly, a technical meeting was convened on E. sakazakii and Salmonella in powdered infant formula (FAO, Rome, 16-20 January 2006) to consider any new scientific data and to evaluate and apply a quantitative risk assessment model for E. sakazakii in powdered infant formula (PIF). This technical meeting also aimed to provide input to Codex for the revision of the Recommended International Code of Hygienic Practice for Foods for Infants and Children.
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    Report of the FAO Expert Workshop on Application of Biosecurity Measures to Control Salmonella Contamination in Sustainable Aquaculture. Mangalore, India, 19-21 January 2010 2010
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    This document contains the report of the FAO Expert Workshop on the “Application of Biosecurity Measures to Control Salmonella Contamination in Sustainable Aquaculture” held in Mangalore, India from 19 to 21 January 2010. The experts reviewed the current scientific evidence regarding the pathogen Salmonella enterica, its occurrence and survival in aquatic environment, possible pathways of contamination of aquaculture systems, serovars found in seafood and salmonellosis associated with fish and fishery products. The experts agreed that although Salmonella is a major foodborne pathogen, products of aquaculture are rarely involved in outbreaks of salmonellosis and the serovars which have been reported in products of aquaculture are rarely reported in cases of human salmonellosis in fish importing countries. The experts recognized that there are a variety of pathways reported as to how Salmonella can enter the aquaculture environment ranging from wild animals, domestic st ock, poor sanitation and inappropriate disposal of human and animal wastes. Control of such pathways poses major challenges such as land runoff during rains, control of wild animals in the farm environment. There was agreement that very low level prevalence of Salmonella can be seen in products from aquaculture systems in developed countries but this has not led to any particular public health problem in these countries. The experts agreed that good hygienic practices during aquacultur e production and biosecurity measures can minimize but not eliminate Salmonella in products of aquaculture. Biosecurity and control measures that would be useful in minimizing the risk of Salmonella contamination of aquaculture products were identified. The experts identified data gaps and made a series of recommendations to the national governments, national competent authorities, aquaculture industry and FAO.

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