Anne-Marie Hickey of the University of Saskatchewan’s research communications office wrote an interesting article on the work of David Asper, a graduate student at the University of Saskatchewan.

The veterinary microbiology student’s work, soon to be published, is premised on the idea that humans can be protected from harmful bacteria by vaccinating cattle that are the source of the bacteria. Asper’s work builds on groundbreaking research by his supervisor Andrew Potter, director of the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) International Vaccine Centre. Potter’s work led to the first cattle vaccine against E. coli O157, the leading cause of “hamburger disease.” The vaccine prevents the bacteria from attaching to the animal’s intestines and from colonizing, cutting the disease off at the source.

“The E. coli O157 vaccine is the first of its kind worldwide and is expected to significantly lessen the amount of E. coli O157 present in food products and also in the environment,” said Potter. But while E. coli O157 is the most prevalent type of E. coli in North America, it’s just one of hundreds of E. coli bacteria around the world that cause disease by producing shiga toxin. These shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) produce infections that can range from very mild to severe or even life-threatening. “Right now, STEC bacteria is the number one cause of renal (kidney) failure in children around the world,” said Asper. “It affects adults too, but children are the most susceptible.”

STEC bacteria cause disease in humans if meat becomes contaminated during slaughter or if feces mix with groundwater, polluting drinking or swimming water or food supplies. But the STEC bacteria that cause human illness generally do not make animals sick so healthy cattle often have STEC bacteria living in their intestines.

Due to improved detection methods, cases of non-O157 E. coli infection are on the rise, increasing the importance of having the second-generation vaccine.

“We can protect humans by vaccinating animals before they come in contact with the pathogen. I think that’s very important work that will lead to a lot fewer infections,” Asper said. His work could help prevent tragedies such as the 2000 incident in Walkerton, Ont. when fecal material from cattle seeped into the water system, contaminating drinking water and resulting in thousands of illnesses and seven deaths in the community.

Just as the E. coli O157 cattle vaccine will be a significant tool for use by beef and dairy producers to mitigate human infection risk, Asper’s vaccine could also lessen financial losses to meat producers. When STEC bacteria is found in just one meat sample, beef processors are required to destroy the entire shipment — a significant cost to farmers.

Authors: Zhang, Guodong1; Ma, Li2; Beuchat, Larry R.2; Erickson, Marilyn C.2; Phelan, Vanessa H.2; Doyle, Michael P.2

Source: Journal of Food Protection®, Volume 72, Number 10, October 2009 , pp. 2028-2037(10)

Publisher: International Association for Food Protection

Abstract:

Survival and internalization characteristics of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in iceberg, romaine, and leaf lettuce after inoculation of leaf surfaces and soil were determined. A five-strain mixture of E. coli O157:H7 in water and cow manure extract was used as an inoculum for abaxial and adaxial sides of leaves at populations of 6 to 7 log and 4 log CFU per plant. The five strains were individually inoculated into soil at populations of 3 and 6 log CFU/g. Soil, leaves, and roots were analyzed for the presence and population of E. coli O157:H7. Ten (4.7%) of 212 samples of leaves inoculated on the adaxial side were positive for E. coli O157:H7, whereas 38 (17.9%) of 212 samples inoculated on the abaxial side were positive. E. coli O157:H7 survived for at least 25 days on leaf surfaces, with survival greater on the abaxial side of the leaves than on the adaxial side. All 212 rhizosphere samples and 424 surface-sanitized leaf and root samples from plants with inoculated leaves were negative for E. coli O157:H7, regardless of plant age at the time of inoculation or the location on the leaf receiving the inoculum. The pathogen survived in soil for at least 60 days. Five hundred ninety-eight (99.7%) of 600 surface-sanitized leaf and root samples from plants grown in inoculated soil were negative for E. coli O157:H7. Internalization of E. coli O157:H7 in lettuce leaves and roots did not occur, regardless of the type of lettuce, age of plants, or strain of E. coli O157:H7.

Document Type: Research article

Affiliations: 1: Center for Food Safety, University of Georgia, 1109 Experiment Street, Griffin, Georgia 30223-1797, USA; Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 5100 Paint Branch Parkway, College Park, MD 20740, USA 2: Center for Food Safety, University of Georgia, 1109 Experiment Street, Griffin, Georgia 30223-1797, USA

Big Red is out to find a diet that limits E. coli 0157:H7 at the feedlot. Researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are studying how nutrition of ruminants affects the colonization and growth of E coli 0157:H7.

Nebraska’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources is focusing on how nutrition affects microbiology. It has focused on E. coli research since 1997. Previous research showed E. coli is so common in feedlot cattle it would not be practical to eliminate it.

UNL has worked closely with Canadian researchers on a vaccine. One feed additive was found to reduce fecal shedding of E. coli by about 35 percent, and vaccination reduced shedding by 65 percent.

A company called Bioniche has obtained permission to market the vaccine in Canada. It is awaiting approval for sale in the United States. UNL researchers believe knowing when and where E. coli is being shed in manure is key to controlling it.

UNL is also studying the impact of distiller’s grain on E. coli shedding.

The following was an editorial by Youngstown, Ohio television station WYTV-33:

Summertime means firing-up the grill or heading to the county fair, but it also means e-coli dangers.

The US Department of Agriculture says at least three people in Ohio are sick with e-coli after eating meat from Valley Meats in Illinois.  The company is now recalling nearly 96,000 pounds of ground beef.

You can protect yourself from e-coli by washing your hands and food, and fully cooking your meat.  E-coli can cause abdominal pain, and even acute kidney failure.  Health officials say e-coli has a 1 to 10 day incubation period.

William Marler, Food Borne Illness Attorney says, “An e-coli outbreak, it is never the last thing you ate.  It is usually 3 to 4 or 5 days ago that likely made you sick.  So having a pretty good understanding of what your diet has been 3 or 4 or 5 days ago become equivical when the health dept. is investigating.”

For more information, you can call the USDA meat and poultry hotline at 1-888-MP-HOTLINE or click here.

Guest Blog by Denis W. Stearns:

On October 3, 2002 I submitted a petition to the USDA in which I asked the agency to explicitly clarify whether a USDA policy that appeared to allow the deadly pathogen E. coli O157:H7 on so-called “intact meat” applied to meat sold to retail outlets like grocery stores and restaurants. Even now it is a near-universal practice for retail outlets to use this meat—commonly called “boxed beef” because the cuts of meat are individually shrink-wrapped and then boxed—to make ground beef. Sometimes the meat is directly used to make ground beef, and sometimes only trimmings are used—that is, the pieces left over after roasts and steak are cut and trimmed. Either way, there has never been any doubt that tens of thousands of grocery stores and restaurants use tons of intact meat every day to make ground beef. To my mind it makes absolutely no sense that the USDA would allow meat companies to sell intact meat contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. Why allow a loophole so large that it essentially moots USDA policy on this deadly pathogen?

Interestingly, the USDA responded to my petition with a letter from Philip Derfler, Deputy Administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service. In the letter, Mr. Derfler acknowledged that USDA policy was unclear, and stated that my petition would be treated as a public comment and referred to the Regulations and Directives Development Staff. That was six years ago, and USDA policy is less clear today than it was back then, and just as indefensible.

We are now in the midst of yet another outbreak of heartbreaking illnesses and likely deaths caused by contaminated meat that the beef industry claims the USDA authorizes it to sell. This claim is hardly new either. In 2004, the American Meat Institute and other meat industry trade groups fought all the way to the United States Supreme Court trying to overturn a Wisconsin Court of Appeals decision. The decision held that USDA policy on intact meat did not immunize meat companies from lawsuits based on allegations that E. coli-contaminated meat was unreasonably dangerous as a matter of state law. In other words, the meat industry was fighting for the right to sell E. coli-contaminated meat, claiming that USDA policy said that it could. It lost, but that did not prompt the USDA to change or clarify its policy.

Putting legal arguments aside, common sense alone clearly demonstrates why an exception for intact meat makes no sense. While the meat industry can cleverly argue that its intact meat is not intended for ground beef, and that cooking always makes it safe, neither statement is true. As the recent Nebraska Beef outbreaks make tragically clear, most intact meat does not reach consumers still intact. Furthermore, if each shrink-wrapped cut of meat had “DO NOT USE FOR GROUND BEEF; E. COLI O157:H7 PRESENT” printed in bold letters on it, there is not a grocery store in the country that would buy it. Indeed, commenting on the current outbreak, a representative of Whole Foods explained that it was using intact meat to make its own ground beef “in an attempt to assure quality and safety.” I guess the joke was on them then.

The current USDA policy on E. coli and intact meat is indefensible because it protects the interests of the meat industry instead of the public health. A policy that is based on the demonstrably false assumption that intact meat is not being used to make ground beef at a retail level is a policy that has no basis in fact or reason. It also entirely ignores the incredible risk of cross-contamination, which is what caused the 2000 outbreak at a Milwaukee-area Sizzler restaurant that killed one child and sickened scores of others. The Sizzler outbreak also recently resulted in a $7.1 million verdict against the same meat company that fought to the Supreme Court (with industry trade groups) for the right to sell the deadly stuff. Meanwhile, all these years later, the USDA says it is continuing to consider its options. Well, I have a suggestion: How about putting the interests of the public first for a change and sticking to a real zero-tolerance policy for this deadly pathogen?

If it is the weekend, there is almost always something to read by Phil Brasher in the Des Moines Register.  In “Many beef cuts are never tested for E. coli,” Brasher reports that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is about to close the door on the sale of E. coli-tainted cuts of beef.

Brasher writes:

Processors are not allowed to sell ground beef that is tainted by E. coli because the product is considered most likely to carry the bacteria and pose the biggest risk to consumers.

But it’s perfectly legal to market whole cuts of beef that might be contaminated by E. coli, and the government doesn’t test them for the bacteria, either.

That could be changing. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering new regulations for the sale of steaks and other beef cuts, a move that officials in the meatpacking industry say is unjustified and unnecessary.

Richard Raymond, the USDA’s undersecretary for food safety, said he was shocked when he found out it was legal to sell E.-coli-contaminated beef. He said he is seeking a “practical solution” to “what I feel to be a gap” in USDA regulations. USDA has not proposed any specific measures.

Donna Rosenbaum, executive director of Safe Tables Our Priority, a consumer advocacy group, said it’s “way past time” for the USDA to take steps to prevent the sale of contaminated beef cuts.

“It takes such a small amount of this to make a person sick that putting the burden on consumers for controlling something that is that small to protect their children is just not right,” she said.

Go here for the entire Brasher story.

Report a Food Illness

www.rusick2.msu.edu

This project is being conducted by researchers and epidemiologists at the National Food Safety & Toxicology Center at Michigan State University. The Developmental Steering Committee had scientists from the Michigan Department of Community Health, Michigan Department of Agriculture, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Mid-Michigan District Health Department, Barry-Eaton District Health Department, and the Ingham County Health Department.

Since the rate of reporting foodborne illnesses is very low (about 1% – 2%), we are striving to increase the reporting of foodborne disease. This website helps visitors to recall their food exposures and allows them to organize information regarding their foodborne illness. It also gives assistance on how to contact their local health departments. By reporting foodborne illnesses to local health departments, we hope to prevent others from becoming sick from eating the same food items.

www.badfood.org

This site provides reporting and record keeping processes for incidences of food borne illnesses and unsanitary conditions. When you add a record to our system it is used primarily to gather statistical information. For cases of food borne illnesses you can at your option forward the information to the local health agency where the illness occurred. At your option, you can file a fully anonymous report. Unsanitary condition submissions provide information on specific trends and the system tracks this information for patterns that may identify a serious problem.

Support Groups

S.T.O.P – Safe Tables Our Priority

S.T.O.P. — Safe Tables Our Priority is a non-profit grassroots organization devoted to victim assistance, public education, and policy advocacy for safe food and public health. The organization was founded in 1993 by family and friends of people who became ill or died from exposure to E. coli 0157:H7 and other pathogenic bacteria in meat and poultry. S.T.O.P.’s mission is to prevent unnecessary illness and loss of life from foodborne contamination. This is an excellent informational site, but also a critical resource for people whose lives have been affected by these deadly bacteria.

E. Coli Help Organization – Eric’s ECHO

This website was created by a father, Rainer Mueller, in honor and remembrance of his son, Eric Mueller, who died after eating a hamburger contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7. In addition to be a valuable source of information about these deadly bacteria, this site is also a heartbreaking reminder of tragic human-costs inflicted by foodborne pathogens. This site is also particularly well-designed, and contains much helpful and needed information about food safety and foodborne illnesses.

Medical Services

The Medical Reporter

In our travels on the Web, we have had an opportunity to look at a LOT of sites about medical care and health, and this is one of the best. The Medical Reporter is an independent, educational, non-profit health magazine for enlightened healthcare consumers. Published solely in cyberspace since April of 1995, The Medical Reporter emphasizes preventive medicine, primary care, patient advocacy, education and support of interest to men and women alike. Please check it out and tell us what you think.

Centers for Disease Control (or, CDC) homepage

The CDC is at the heart of the government’s fight against foodborne illness outbreak. When an outbreak occurs, the CDC will inevitably be part of the resulting investigation into the cause of the outbreak. This website contains a lot of useful information, both general and technical. You can also find the online version of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Review (or, MMWR), which is the government’s primary publication for disseminating information about communicable disease statistics and other epidemiological research.

INSTITUTE OF FOOD TECHNOLOGISTS

The Institute of Food Technologists (or, IFT) was founded in 1939, and is a nonprofit scientific society with 28,000 members working in food science, food technology, and related professions in industry, academia and government. On several occasions, the attorneys at Marler Clark have been asked to give presentations at an IFT national or regional convention. THE IFT IS AN EXCELLENT ORGANIZATIION, AND WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS WEBSITE AS AN IMPORTANT SOURCE OF RELIABLE SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL INFORMATION.

National Institutes of Health Main Homepage

The National Institutes of Health web site is huge, with links to countless other sites, all having to do with (you guessed it) HEALTH. In particular, the sections having to do with HEALTH INFORMATION and SCIENTIFIC RESOURCES are both impressively vast, and typically quite helpful. You can do no-cost Medline searches here as well, and link to on-line catalogs, journals, and learn about ongoing research projects. You could spend hours surfing this site, and learn tons.

Foodborne Illness: What Consumers Need to Know

Part of a website designed to provide health and safety information for HIV-positive individuals, and persons living with AIDS, this web-page provide simple, yet important, information about foodborne illnesses and how best to avoid them.

National Center for Food Safety and Technology

The NCFST is a consortium organized to address the complex issues raised by emerging food technologies. It includes academia, industry, and the government to combine resources and encourage cooperative efforts to ensure the continued food safety and quality of the nation’s food supply. This is not necessarily the prettiest site around, but it contains a good amount of helpful information, especially about available educational programs.

Educational

The Food Safety Network

The Food Safety Network (FSN), housed at the University of Guelph, provides research, commentary, policy evaluation and public information on food safety issues, from farm-to-fork. In addition to four daily list serves, FSN offers consumer, student and industry outreach services, information research, on-line resources, collaborative projects, evaluation and analysis, and a capacity to address current and emerging food safety concerns.

Food Safety for Consumers – Washington State University

Food Safety Cooperative Extension Service – Washington State University

Washington State University now has two food safety information resources relating to Food Safety for Consumers and a web site for their Food Safety Cooperative Extension Service.

The Penn State Food Safety Web Site
Food Safety throughout the Food System

The Penn State Department of Food Science has recently created a new information resource for extension educators, the food industry, and consumers interested in the safety of our food supply. The Penn State Food Safety Web Site combines a user-friendly environment with a farm-to-fork approach for quick retrieval of food safety information pertaining to the entire food system. Unique to this site are two databases with over 1300 links to online food safety resources.

Ask a Food Safety Expert

Web site designed to answer common food safety questions with more than 600 frequently asked questions and answers. More than 100 food safety experts available to provide peer-reviewed answers to consumer and foodservice food safety questions.

Food Safety Information from Iowa State University Extension

Iowa State University Extension believes that resources are needed for consumers, educators and students to access research-based, unbiased information on food safety and quality. The goal of the Food Safety Project is to develop educational materials that give the public the tools they need to minimize their risk of foodborne illness.

HACCP Information Center

Collection of HACCP information for meat processors, juice processors, foodservice operations, and on-farm operations. Compiled from current research conducted at Iowa State University.

Home Food Safety

This web site covers food safety issues that arise during normal preparation of meals in the home. It is aimed at consumers but makes a great training tool for educators and health care providers as well!

Kids World – Food Safety Page

A beautifully animated site that is full of helpful food safety information for children. We especially like the food safety coloring book and the quiz, both designed for school-age children. Along with the FIGHT BAC! program, this site is an excellent resource for families who are trying to educate their young children about food safety.

The FOODSAFE Program homepage

Sponsored by the University of California, at Davis, this website provides an incredible amount of useful information about food safety issues. Two things make this site stand out: (1) a huge food safety database with powerful search capabilities, and (2) the most extensive links page we’ve yet managed to find. We use this website all the time at Marler Clark.

International Food Information Council Homepage

The International Food Information Council (or, IFIC) provides reliable scientific information on food safety and nutrition to journalists, health professionals, educators, government officials and consumers. Because this website is updated regularly, the information it provides is always quite current.

Bugs in the News!

Both lighthearted and informative, this is a great site to learn all about “bugs” of all kinds — and we don’t mean flies, and spiders, and bees! Don’t be fooled, however; this site contains load information — science, even! The creator of this web-site is John C. (Jack) Brown, Professor, Department of Molecular Biosciences at the University of Kansas. While you are there, be sure to check out the GREAT article “What the Heck is E. coli??????”

Food Science Links Page

Sponsored by the University of Kentucky, Lexington, this is arguably one of the most comprehensive lists of WWW links we’ve yet found. Divided into easy-to-use sections, e.g., Law, Microbiology, and HACCP, you should be able to find out everything you need to know by beginning your internet journey here.

Salmonella & Egg Safety

Sponsored by the American Egg Board, this website offers excellent information on the safe use of eggs and egg-products. As might be expected, however, the information slightly downplays the risks associated with Salmonella and the use and consumption of eggs. We would suggest that you also read about salmonella in the “Bad Bug” book. REMEMBER: YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MUCH INFORMATION ABOUT FOOD SAFETY.

The Food Safety Consortium

This consortium combines the collective talents of researchers from the University of Arkansas, Iowa State University, and Kansas State University. The Consortium was established by Congress in 1988, and was charged to conduct extensive research in all areas of poultry, beef, and pork meat production, from the farm to the table. Most of the information contained at this site is scientific and technical — but it is important information, and worth the time it takes to understand and appreciate it.

The National Safe Kids Campaign (Safe Kids)

The National Safe Kids Campaign operates with the beliefs that there is no such thing as an “accident”, and that ALL unintentional injuries of children are preventable. Their website offers many practical and useful tips on preventing even the most common childhood injuries.

FOODNET

Sponsored by the Food Institute of Canada, this web-site provides a wealth of information on the food industry, while also offering a global perspective. The Food Safety resource page is quite good, as is the site’s section on laws and regulations.

IFSE’s Food Safety Information and Links Page

This site, which is sponsored by Texas A&M’s Institute of Food Science and Engineering, collects a large number of articles and informational sites on food safety, in all its forms, including topics related to E. coli 0157:H7.

Northern Virginia Alliance for Safe Food

The Northern Virginia Alliance for Safe Food is a working partnership between several public agencies charged with the oversight of food safety and the private food industry. The site is nicely colorful and easy to navigate. It also includes some excellent resources for educating young children about food safety issues like hand washing.

Kid Source Online

This well-designed web site is a great source for in depth and timely education and healthcare information. Easy to navigate, and with a broad range of topics covered, we think this site is a good first-stop on the internet for any parent looking for answers. This site also has excellent search capabilities and an extensive list of resources on a wide range of topics.

Government

The “Bad Bug” Book

This online handbook provides basic facts about foodborne pathogens, and brings together in one place information from the FDA, CDC, National Institutes of Health, and the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. IT IS AN EXCELLENT RESOURCE THAT WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

U.S.D.A. Economic Research Service

The Economic Research Service (or “ERS”), an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provides economic analysis on issues related to agriculture, food, and the environment. Not all of its research reports are available (in full-text versions) on-line, but the reports are easy to order, and definitely worth reading. Of particular interest is the ERS research on the medical and productivity costs of foodborne illness in the United States. So, next time your hungry for some numbers, this is an excellent place to look for some.

USDA Foodborne Illness Education Information Center

The USDA/FDA Foodborne Illness Education Information Center provides information about foodborne illness prevention to education, trainers, and organizations. Here you can find the Educational Materials Database, which includes everything from posters, games, computer software, and teaching guides for elementary and secondary schools, as well as training materials for managers and employees of the food industry.

The Gateway to Government Food Safety Information

This is a gateway website that provides links to selected government food safety-related information. Not every government website is listed, but it is still an excellent place to begin your research for more general information.

Government Accountability Project

This excellent site is for the rabble-rouser in all of us, providing an internet resource for information about whistle blowing, government wrongdoing, and official misconduct of all kinds. Be sure to check out the excellent section on food safety, which features an expose’ of the substandard food that sometimes makes its way into the National School Lunch Program. Do you REALLY know what your kids are eating at school?

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (or, FSIS) is the public health agency that is responsible for ensuring (or trying to ensure) that the nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled. Not without its critics, this website is still a helpful resource for finding out more about the regulations that govern food inspection.

USDA Food Safety Index

This is a list of websites that the USDA selected as being of interest to persons in the food safety field. It has been our experience that this page is not routinely updated, so several links no longer work. Still, if you are looking for food safety information on a particular topic, this is a good place to start.

FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

This government website is primarily devoted to the information available from the FDA, including press releases, proposed changes in food safety regulations, and other more technical information about the FDA’s regulatory activities. It provides helpful information about how to contact several of the FDA’s agencies, how to propose regulations, and how to make Freedom of Information Act requests.

Non-Profit

S.T.O.P – Safe Tables Our Priority

S.T.O.P. — Safe Tables Our Priority is a non-profit grassroots organization devoted to victim assistance, public education, and policy advocacy for safe food and public health. The organization was founded in 1993 by family and friends of people who became ill or died from exposure to E. coli 0157:H7 and other pathogenic bacteria in meat and poultry. S.T.O.P.’s mission is to prevent unnecessary illness and loss of life from foodborne contamination. This is an excellent informational site, but also a critical resource for people whose lives have been affected by these deadly bacteria.

E. Coli Help Organization – Eric’s ECHO

This website was created by a father, Rainer Mueller, in honor and remembrance of his son, Eric Mueller, who died after eating a hamburger contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7. In addition to be a valuable source of information about these deadly bacteria, this site is also a heartbreaking reminder of tragic human-costs inflicted by foodborne pathogens. This site is also particularly well-designed, and contains much helpful and needed information about food safety and foodborne illnesses.

INSTITUTE OF FOOD TECHNOLOGISTS

The Institute of Food Technologists (or, IFT) was founded in 1939, and is a nonprofit scientific society with 28,000 members working in food science, food technology, and related professions in industry, academia and government. On several occasions, the attorneys at Marler Clark have been asked to give presentations at an IFT national or regional convention. THE IFT IS AN EXCELLENT ORGANIZATIION, AND WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS WEBSITE AS AN IMPORTANT SOURCE OF RELIABLE SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL INFORMATION.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (or, CSPI) is a nonprofit education and advocacy organization that focuses on improving the safety and nutritional quality of our food supply and on reducing the damaging health affects associated with the abuse of alcoholic beverages. CSPI promotes health through educating the public about nutrition and alcohol; it represents citizens’ interests before legislative, regulatory, and judicial bodies; and it works to ensure that advances in science are used for the public’s good. This site is an excellent clearinghouse for up-to-date information on food regulations; it is also a good way to participate in grass-root lobbying efforts.

Institutional

Food-Safety-News.com

Is a monthly online newsletter produced by food-safety.com.au for the retail food industry: e.g. restaurants, fast food outlets, hotels, motels, cafeterias, etc. Their newsletter focuses on a wide range of issues such as food safety plans, food poisoning, food safety, contamination, and customer service improvements. Advice of each issue is sent via E-mail to registered users.

The Food Research Institute

The Food Research Institute (or, FRI) is based at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and is both an independent research institute and an academic department in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Usually on the cutting-edge of food safety research, the FRI is a top-notch resource for obtaining the most recent scientific information about food microbiology and toxicology. The attorneys at Marler Clark regularly retain the experts here at the FRI for help in ongoing foodborne illness litigation.

National Food Processors Association homepage

The National Food Processors Association (or, NFPA) is the principal scientific and technical trade association for the food industry. While we normally advise people to be cautious when relying on information provided by trade associations, we have found that the NFPA remains an excellent source of information on food safety issues of all kind, both scientific and regulatory. The Marler Clark attorneys gave a presentation at last year’s NFPA national convention in Chicago, Illinois, and came away quite impressed with the organization, and its commitment to food safety. We recommend this site without reservation.

Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management homepage

This excellent website is packed with food safety information and research, with a particular focus on the retail food industry. There is also lots of information about food safety at home. Created by Dr. Pete Snyder, one of the country’s leading and most outspoken food safety advocates, this website is a treasure trove of useful and important information.

The Inspector.Com

Sponsored by the Midwest Council of Food Inspection Locals, a labor union that represents meat, poultry & egg inspectors, this site is informative, eye-opening, and unabashedly opinionated. With a perspective developed on the front-lines of the food safety war, this site does not pull many punches. For example, if you want to be shocked (and maybe even appalled), check out the article entitled “Edible S**t” THIS IS A GREAT SITE!

American Meat Institute homepage

The American Meat Institute (or, AMI) is a national trade association that represents approximately 70% of the Nation’s meat packers and processors. The AMI provides legislative, regulatory, and public relations services on behalf of the meat industry, and also sponsors scientific and economic research, and some public education programs. While this is not a website that we would recommend for researching food safety issues, or seeking unbiased information (there are several better sites for that), it is still an excellent way to find out what the meat industry is up to.

Food Marketing Institute homepage

Like the AMI, the Food Marketing Institute (or, FMI) is a national trade association, this one representing food retailers. This website has limited utility unless you are interested in learning more about the food retailing and the laws that regulate it.

Outbreak Inc.

Started by three of the attorneys at Marler Clark, Outbreak Inc. is a resource for companies in the food industry. In their roles as Outbreak consultants, the Marler Clark attorneys visit food companies, and attend food industry conventions and trade shows, offering practical advice on how to avoid litigation related to foodborne illness outbreaks.