Goats, sheep used for research lived in filth in Washington state, inspector reports

Continuing with the goat theme.

men.goats.apr.16Dozens of goats and sheep used by a Seattle medical research firm backed by a prominent food-safety expert were found in dirty, dilapidated conditions that endangered the animals’ welfare, a federal inspection found.

Many of the 42 goats and four sheep kept at a Redmond farm by Pi Bioscientific Inc., also known as Pi Biologique, suffered from “numerous medical ailments and severe health issues,” according to a March 3 report by the U.S. Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS).

“Lack of adequate staffing, equipment and facilities has adversely affected the care and well-being of the animals, prevented proper biosecurity and has led to the severe discomfort and pain and suffering in these animals,” veterinarian Diane Forbes found.

The animals had little protection from weather and there was no way to remove manure, the report noted.

In addition, staff members couldn’t account for 18 goats and one sheep that apparently went missing since a 2014 inventory that found there were 60 goats and five sheep on the premises.

Mansour Samadpour, the director of IEH Laboratories in Seattle — the firm hired by companies including Chipotle and Costco to improve their food-safety practices — said Tuesday he is a shareholder in Pi Bioscientific and the problems have been corrected.

“We had no idea this was happening,” Samadpour said, adding that staff who had been hired to care for the animals on the farm weren’t doing their jobs properly.

The animals are used for antibody testing for medical research, Samadpour said. Pi Biologique distributes test kits for common food allergies, according to a company website.

CNN’s version of 7 things to know about the U.S. food system

There’s a lot you don’t know about what you’re eating.

food.industy.usHere are some of the most important things we learned while reporting CNNMoney’s Raw Ingredients series.

  1. The food industry is vast

The U.S. spends a lot of money on food. We’re talking $1.5 trillion a year, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

  1. Corn is the foundation

The U.S. produced almost 800 billion pounds of corn in 2014.

It’s the basis of much of our food: It goes into animal feed, high-fructose corn syrup, cereal, starch and some alcohol. So if you’re eating meat and cereal or drinking soda, there’s a good chance it all started with corn.

  1. The industry has a fat wallet and lots of influence

When it comes to new regulations, food companies and their lobbying groups will throw their weight around.

Beginning in 2001, the USDA’s Microbiological Data Program shouldered about 80% of all public testing for pathogens in produce and regularly called for recalls. The produce industry lobbied against it, claiming that the agency within the USDA that ran it didn’t have the authority to test produce.

When the FDA moved to prohibit the use of poultry litter (that is, chicken poop) in cattle feed to prevent Mad Cow Disease in 2004, the industry argued that science didn’t justify the ban. Four years later, the FDA decided the regulation wasn’t necessary, saying it addressed the issue in other ways.

  1. Critics say there should be more food testing

Mansour Samadpour runs IEH Laboratories, one of the largest private food testing facilities in the nation. Companies hire him to test their food and make sure it’s safe for the consumer.

He believes much of the current testing is too infrequent and small in scale. “We call that faith-based food safety,” he says.

Why do companies resist more testing? If more was done at the retail level, it would “always result in recalls,” Samadpour says, because they find pathogens in the food so often.

But he also insists that some companies “are doing everything that they can” with regard to food safety.

  1. The environment is not the main priority

The aim of the food industry is having food at our fingertips — available anytime, anywhere. But we use a lot of resources to make that happen.

  1. Neither is your health

Americans are spending less money on food than ever before, but they are spending more on health care (as a percentage of overall spending).

  1. Companies adapt to consumer demands

Food companies really want to give consumers what they want. Fewer artificial ingredients, meatier fish, prewashed salads … producers are constantly evolving their products in response to customer feedback.

Prevalence and counts of Salmonella and enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli in raw, shelled runner peanuts

From the current issue of the Journal of Food Protection:

Three major outbreaks of salmonellosis linked to consumption of peanut butter during the last 6 years have underscored the need to investigate the potential sources of Salmonella contamination in the production process flow. We conducted a study to determine the prevalence and levels of Salmonella in raw peanuts. Composite samples (1,500 g, n = 8) raw, shelled runner peanutsof raw, shelled runner peanuts representing the crop years 2009, 2010, and 2011 were drawn from 10,162 retained 22-kg lot samples of raw peanuts that were negative for aflatoxin. Subsamples (350 g) were analyzed for the presence of Salmonella and enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli. Salmonella was found in 68 (0.67%) of 10,162 samples. The highest prevalence rate (P < 0.05) was for 2009 (1.35%) compared with 2010 (0.36%) and 2011 (0.14%). Among four runner peanut market grades (Jumbo, Medium, No. 1, and Splits), Splits had the highest prevalence (1.46%; P < 0.05). There was no difference (P > 0.05) in the prevalence by region (Eastern versus Western). Salmonella counts in positive samples (most-probable-number [MPN] method) averaged 1.05 (range, 0.74 to 5.25) MPN per 350 g. Enterohemorrhagic E. coli was found in only three samples (0.030%). Typing of Salmonella isolates showed that the same strains found in Jumbo and Splits peanuts in 2009 were also isolated from Splits in 2011. Similarly, strains isolated in 2009 were also isolated in 2010 from different peanut grades. These results indicated the persistence of environmental sources throughout the years. For five samples, multiple isolates were obtained from the same sample that had different pulsed-field gel electrophoresis types. This multistrain contamination was primarily observed in Splits peanuts, in which the integrity of the kernel is usually compromised. The information from the study can be used to develop quantitative microbial risk assessments models.

Miksch, Robert R.; Leek, Jim; Myoda, Samuel, Nguyen; Truyen; Tenney, Kristina; Svidenko, Vladimir; Greeson, Kay; Samadpour, Mansour

Journal of Food Protection®, Number 10, October 2013, pp. 1668-1816 , pp. 1668-1675(8)

My new job

Amy says I haven’t looked happier.

She hadn’t really seen what it was like when me, Chapman, Wilson and others would swoop in on a food safety crisis and focus our abilities and solutions.

sorenne.doug.usa.today.jun.11We always got a bit of a thrill out of that.

But now, I get the chance again in my new role as vice-president of communication for IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group.

I was attracted to Mansour’s message and offer because of his willingness to combine food safety risk assessment, management and communication – the version of risk analysis I’ve been promoting for 20 years; failure at one means failure at all.

And food safety is global; so is IEH.

I will be based in Brisbane but on call 24-7, just like the good old days.