Aug 26, 2011
Cargill announces expert panel to inspect ground turkey plant
Food producer Cargill announced yesterday that it has asked a panel of three experts to inspect the company's ground turkey safety procedures at its Springdale, Ark., plant, which has been linked to a Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak this summer that sickened at least 111 people in 31 states. Steve Willardsen, president of Cargill's turkey processing business, said in a company release that, although Cargill has taken steps approved by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to improve safety at the facility, "We believe a panel of independent experts will be able to help us assess and validate the measures we've put in place while also providing us with valued external perspectives and recommendations for additional steps we could take. We have asked the panel to look at the entire process from live animal operations through ground turkey production." The panel includes Dr. Michael Doyle, professor of food microbiology at the University of Georgia's Center for Food Safety; Barbara J. Masters, DVM, senior policy advisor at Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz as well as former administrator of USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service; and Dr. Craig W. Hedberg, an epidemiologist in the University of Minnesota's Division of Environmental Health Sciences.
Aug 25 Cargill press release
CDC's Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak page
Greece reports 31 new neuroinvasive West Nile cases
In the past month or so, Greece has reported 31 cases of neuroinvasive West Nile infection (24 confirmed and 7 probable) from four regions, according to a report yesterday in Eurosurveillance. Of those cases, which occurred from Jul 16 to Aug 21, 17 occurred in districts that recorded no cases last year. Researchers also reported six suspected cases of non-neuroinvasive West Nile. Greek scientists reporting the cases wrote, "The reoccurrence of human cases in two consecutive years (following the large 2010 outbreak) and the spread of the virus in new areas suggest that West Nile virus is established in Greece, and its transmission may continue to occur in the future."
Aug 25 Eurosurveillance report