FOOD SAFETY NEWS SCAN: How Salmonella survives and thrives, food safety bill stalls again

Sep 23, 2010

Researchers find key step in Salmonella inflammation
Researchers have identified how Salmonella enterica, one of the most common foodborne pathogens, use a product from intestinal inflammation to dominate beneficial bacteria in the gut, according to a report in today's issue of Nature. The investigators, from the University of California (UC) Davis School of Medicine, used mice and in vitro tests, along with novel metabolomics techniques, to explore the effects of intestinal inflammation on Salmonella, according to a UC Davis press release. They found that the oxygen radicals produced during the immune response create a substance called tetrathionate that Salmonella bacteria use instead of oxygen for respiration. Dr Andreas Baumler, principal investigator of the study and professor of microbiology and immunology at UC Davis, said in the statement that the strategy allows Salmonella to quickly outgrow beneficial microbes in the intestine. The group reported that the inflammatory response Salmonella stimulates causes severe diarrhea and vomiting, which enhances transmission to other hosts. Identifying how Salmonella takes control in the gut is the first step in developing drugs against the bacterium. Antibiotic treatment is counterproductive for most Salmonella infections.
Sep 23 Nature abstract

Senate food safety bill moves and stalls again
Senate action on its version of sweeping food safety reform hit a snag again yesterday just hours after a US House of Representatives committee hearing on egg safety fielded several pleas from legislators, foodborne illness victims, and a food safety official for the Senate to push its bill forward. Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) tried to move the legislation through unanimous consent, but Sen Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) countered with an offer that would have required the bill to be paid for with offsets, Politico reported yesterday. The Congressional Budget Office has already said that the bill doesn't need offsets to be funded. The impasse continues the Senate's deadlock on the bill, and Democrats were expected to try again today to move the bill, the Politico report said. In related developments, a Senate panel today approved a bill that would boost criminal penalties for knowingly violating food safety standards, Dow Jones news service reported. Sen Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he thinks the bill could be added to the Senate's larger food safety bill, but he said he would not object to its passage as stand-alone legislation. The bill would make knowingly distributing misbranded products a felony rather than a misdemeanor and set fines and prison sentences up to 10 years for violations, according to the Dow Jones report.
Sep 22 Politico report
Sep 23 Dow Jones story

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