Ireland has ‘way too much iodine in milk’

This is a proactive approach to something us westerners don’t think about any more: the use of food supplements to ward off chronic disease.

Teagasc’s Dr. David Gleeson says the Irish dairy industry has lost markets in the EU due to the excessive levels of iodine in milk, adding, “We have way too much iodine in our milk.”

“A number of years ago when we had a deficiency of iodine, around 30 to 40 years ago, it was suggested that we should have higher levels of iodine [in our feedstuffs],” Gleeson said when explaining how the current issue developed.

And now, he said, there is too much iodine going into cows’ diets.

“About 12mg of iodine per cow per day is a safe bet. It’s 5mg per cow per day in other countries.

“We’re putting in 120mg in a lot of situations. Some of our feeds could contain 30mg/kg of iodine and farmers could be feeding 4kg of that. That’s 120mg per cow per day,” Gleeson said.

He also mentioned how some supplementary magnesium products contain added iodine and can result in iodine intakes of up to 90mg per cow per day.

Nutrition Australia says iodine is an essential trace element and an integral component of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones are required for normal growth and development of tissues and maturation of our bodies. Iodine deficiency is the most common preventable cause of mental retardation in the world; obtaining iodine through the food supply is therefore paramount. Iodine deficiency has re-emerged in Australia with the introduction of new practices of sanitization in the dairy industry and a decline in use and consumption of iodised salt.


Food fraud is a reoccuring problem; expired milk powder resold

Substituting for cheaper, or expired inputs, or adding supplemental ingredients isn’t new in the food world. As long as there have been food, there has been food fraud.

Melamine in dog food, horse meat in beef lasagne or seagull meat mixed with other protein sources have all garnered attention and research. Food manufacturers in China, a huge and still growing food export market, have been fingered in multiple fraud cases. The latest incident, according to Stuff, centers around reselling expired milk powder.

Chinese police on Monday (NZT) arrested 19 people in Shanghai for selling about 300 tonnes of expired Fonterra milk powder, Shanghai Daily reported.

The suspects were allegedly managing a company, which was packaging expired products of the New Zealand dairy company – one of the most popular brands in China – into smaller packages for resale below market prices, according to media reports.

After a months-long investigation, the police discovered that one of the suspects sold the expired products to another company, who in turn allegedly resold almost 200 tonnes to distributors in Shanghai and in the Jiangsu, Henan and Qinghai provinces, who sold them on e-commerce platforms or in wholesale.

The authorities have seized 100 tonnes of these products and have shut down the websites selling them.

Fonterra spokeswoman Maree Wilson said on Monday night it supported the enforcement steps taken by Chinese officials.

“The Chinese authorities have acted strongly and swiftly to investigate and arrest the people they believe are responsible for this and we fully support their actions.
“Food safety is our top priority and we are committed to providing safe and high quality dairy products.

“We work actively with our direct customers to ensure the integrity of our products. This includes providing guidelines on how to manage expired product in a responsible way.

“In this case there appears to have been criminal activity much further along the supply chain.

“While we believe this is an isolated criminal incident, we are reviewing the case internally.”

Wilson said that, to Fonterra’s knowledge, the milk powder was not being resold with Fonterra packaging.


View from India: Increasing the cost of violation only way to tackle food adulteration

The Economic Times writes that nearly 70% of the milk in India is adulterated. This, simply, is not acceptable. The government has said that a new scanner has been developed for quick detection of adulteration, and is now working towards developing a portable test kit based on this technology.

adulterated.milk.indiaWhile this development will help improve detection, addressing the problem of adulteration of this essential food item will require changes in the regulatory and legal framework and the manner in which the food safety administration discharges its duties.

The only way to tackle adulteration of essential food items like milk is to increase the cost of violation. Failure to do so will mean continuing to expose the millions of Indians, particularly children, to a public health time bomb.

Evidence of person-to-person transmission of Mycobacterium

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that Mycobacterium bovis, one of several mycobacteria of the M. tuberculosis complex, is a global zoonotic pathogen that primarily infects cattle. Humans become infected by consuming unpasteurized dairy products from infected cows (1,2); possible person-to-person airborne transmission has also been reported (3).

Mycobacterium bovisIn April 2014, a man in Nebraska who was born in Mexico was determined to have extensive pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) caused by M. bovis after experiencing approximately 3 months of cough and fever. Four months later, a U.S.-born Hispanic girl from a nearby town who had been ill for 4–5 months was also determined to have pulmonary TB caused by M. bovis. The only social connection between the two patients was attendance at the same church, and no common dietary exposure was identified. Both patients had pulmonary cavities on radiography and acid-fast bacilli (AFB) on sputum-smear microscopy, indicators of being contagious (4). Whole-genome sequencing results of the isolates were nearly indistinguishable.

Initial examination of 181 contacts determined that 39 (22%) had latent infection: 10 (42%) of 24 who had close exposure to either patient, 28 (28%) of 100 who were exposed to one or both patients in church, and one (2%) of 57 exposed to the second patient at a school. Latent infection was diagnosed in six contacts on follow-up examination, 2 months after an initial negative test result (4), for an overall latent infection rate of 25%. No infected contacts recalled consuming unpasteurized dairy products, and none had active TB disease at the initial or secondary examination. Persons who have M. bovis TB should be asked about consumption of unpasteurized dairy products (2), and contact investigations should follow the same guidance as for M. tuberculosis TB (4).

Human M. bovis disease is typically attributed to consumption of unpasteurized milk (or dairy products made from unpasteurized milk) in or imported from countries with affected cattle herds (1,2,7,8). Person-to-person airborne transmission of M. bovis has been reported infrequently, with uncertainty remaining about dietary exposures (3). Findings from contact investigations and a population study regarding infectiousness of M. bovis compared with M. tuberculosis are inconclusive (4,9,10).††

Standard nucleic acid amplification test methods detect the M. tuberculosis complex without distinguishing between M. tuberculosis and M. bovis. Although these species can be distinguished by routine genotyping, biochemical characterization and drug susceptibility testing, which generally provide results earlier, have been historically used and can increase the index of suspicion for M. bovis. Whole-genome sequencing can be used to identify species and investigate transmission. NVSL sequences genomes for all U.S. M. bovis animal isolates, a convenience sample of cattle isolates from Mexico, and human isolates upon request.§§

Patient A might have been infected from consuming unpasteurized dairy products originating in Mexico. The timing of the illnesses, relatedness of the M. bovis isolates, and common church attendance suggest that patient B might have acquired infection from patient A. Findings from the contact investigations suggest possible airborne transmission, because approximately one third of the infections could not be explained by potential exposure in countries where M. tuberculosis complex infections are common. Consumption of imported contaminated dairy products could not be excluded, but locally produced dairy products were unlikely to be contaminated with M. bovis.

This report adds to the evidence for airborne person-to-person spread of M. bovis (3,9,10). Whole-genome sequencing is an emerging tool for investigating transmission. Public health responses to M. bovis pulmonary TB should be the same as those for M. tuberculosis TB, with additional inquiries about consumption of unpasteurized dairy products. The ongoing incidence of M. bovis TB in humans substantiates the need to control bovine tuberculosis globally and to pasteurize all milk and dairy products.

Possible airborne person-to-person transmission of Mycobacterium bovis- Nebraksa 2014

Centers for Diesease Control and Prevention Morbidity Weekly Report

Bryan F. Buss, DVM; Alison Keyser-Metobo, MPH; Julie Rother; Laura Holtz; Kristin Gall, MSN; John Jereb, MD; Caitlin N. Murphy, PhD; Peter C. Iwen, PhD; Suelee Robbe-Austerman, DVM; Melissa A. Holcomb, DVM; Pat Infield

Deeply weird: Virginia woman ‘served family milk with shavings of dead skin from her feet’

A woman has been accused of serving family members milk with shavings of dead skin — from her feet.

grossfootSarah Preston Schrock, 56, is charged with second-degree assault for allegedly contaminating the drinks of Jessica Whitney Hurry and Allison Depriest at her Mechanicsville, Virginia home on Monday.

Ms Depriest was drinking a glass of milk at dinner when she began choking and coughed up what looked like skin, according to court papers obtained by Southern Maryland Newspapers Online.

Ms Hurry also began gagging. The women put the detritus through a strainer and found that it was dry, flaky flesh, the court papers state.

Ms Hurry told police Schrock has dry feet caused by diabetes and that she “has trays in her room with the same kind of dead skin shavings that had come off of her feet.”

Schrock, found at a local motel, “denied having any involvement” in the disgusting incident.

Presence of mycotoxins in animal milk: A review

Mycotoxins can cause toxicity when ingested by humans and animals. Although the rumen is supposed to be a barrier against mycotoxins, some studies demonstrate that carry-over of mycotoxins to milk is possible.

cattle_mycotoxins1Different studies have found mycotoxin levels in animal milk, mainly related to contaminated feed for ruminants. Aflatoxin M1 is the most studied mycotoxin in milk and levels exceeding the EU maximum level for this mycotoxin in this matrix (0.050 μg/kg) have been found. Maximum levels in milk for other mycotoxins have not been established; however ochratoxin A, aflatoxins G1, G2, B1, B2 and M2, fumonisin B1, cyclopiazonic acid, zearalenone and its metabolites and deepoxy-deoxynivalenol have also been found in milk samples.

Taking into account that multi-exposure to mycotoxins is the most likely scenario and co-occurrence of mycotoxins could affect their toxicological effects in humans and animals, there is a need to determine the co-occurrence of mycotoxins in milk.

Food Control, Volume 53, Pages 163-176

Myra Evelyn Flores-Flores, Elena Lizarraga, Adela López de Cerain, and Elena González-Peñas

Responding to bioterror concerns by increasing milk pasteurization temperature would increase estimated annual deaths from listeriosis

In a 2005 analysis of a potential bioterror attack on the food supply involving a botulinum toxin release into the milk supply, the authors recommended adopting a toxin inactivation step during milk processing. In response, some dairy processors increased the times and temperatures of pasteurization well above the legal minimum for high temperature, short time pasteurization (72°C for 15 s), with unknown implications for public health.

listeriaThe present study was conducted to determine whether an increase in high temperature, short time pasteurization temperature would affect the growth of Listeria monocytogenes, a potentially lethal foodborne pathogen normally eliminated with proper pasteurization but of concern when milk is contaminated postpasteurization. L. monocytogenes growth during refrigerated storage was higher in milk pasteurized at 82°C than in milk pasteurized at 72°C. Specifically, the time lag before exponential growth was decreased and the maximum population density was increased. The public health impact of this change in pasteurization was evaluated using a quantitative microbial risk assessment of deaths from listeriosis attributable to consumption of pasteurized fluid milk that was contaminated postprocessing. Conservative estimates of the effect of pasteurizing all fluid milk at 82°C rather than 72°C are that annual listeriosis deaths from consumption of this milk would increase from 18 to 670, a 38-fold increase (8.7- to 96-fold increase, 5th and 95th percentiles). These results exemplify a situation in which response to a rare bioterror threat may have the unintended consequence of putting the public at increased risk of a known, yet severe harm and illustrate the need for a paradigm shift toward multioutcome risk benefit analyses when proposing changes to established food safety practices.

Journal of Food Protection®, Number 5, May 2014, pp. 696-863 , pp. 696-712(17)

Stasiewicz, Matthew J.1; Martin, Nicole2; Laue, Shelley2; Gröhn, Yrjo T.3; Boor, Kathryn J.2; Wiedmann, Martin2

Green slime in Australia: cheese waste in up to 16% of milk

From the what-else-is-in-food file, the Brisbane Times reports that permeate – a watery, greenish waste product from the production of cheese – forms up to 16 per cent of the fresh milk in Australia according to documents obtained by the Herald.

The story isn’t new; check out this video from an Australian TV show in May 2008 (see below).

The story has all the elements of pink slime: a food additive that appears safe, but has s yuck factor; corporate misrepresentation (dude, it’s not milk) consumer outrage at not being told; and an industry deferring to government standards (the lowest kind), clueless about communication with its own snappy catchphrase — a rich source of dairy carbohydrate — and deep in denial about public disclosure.

As the milk wars between supermarkets have reduced margins for milk producers, industry sources say permeate is increasingly being used by producers to reduce the cost per litre.

Just how much permeate – which is cheaper than fresh milk and can be used to moderate fat levels – is used has been a closely held secret of the dairy industry.

In 2008 a number of NSW farmers accused the milk industry of adding up to 12 per cent permeate to milk to cut its production cost.

Internal documents from Australia’s biggest supplier, National Foods – which makes Pura, Big M, Dairy Farmers and supplies both Woolworths and Coles brand milk – reveal its milk now contains up to 16.43 per cent permeate. One document, labeled ”permeate cost savings”, reveals up to $22,960 can be saved by adding 16 per cent permeate to the production of 350,000 litres of whole milk. This shaves almost 16 per cent of the cost off the price of production, and does not have to be disclosed on the label.

In Australia, the food standards code allows producers to dilute milk with "milk components", such as permeate, as long as the total fat level remains at least 3.2 per cent (for full-cream milk) and the protein at least 3 per cent (for any milk). Natural cow’s milk has a fat level of 4 per cent.

There are no known health risks associated with adding permeate to milk.
Not only does its addition to milk reduce costs, but it eliminates the need to dispose of the permeate.

A Dairymark report recommends the industry should change its view of permeate to "a rich source of dairy carbohydrate, rather than a more orthodox view on permeate as a waste stream that is proving problematic in disposal terms."

The chief executive of A2 Milk, Peter Nathan, who said none of his milk contained permeate, described the substance as a "lemony-green liquid substance; it’s certainly not attractive”. He said consumers were "being led to believe that milk they are drinking is pure milk. It’s not".

According to the industry body Dairy Australia, permeate is green in colour because of the Vitamin B in milk.

A Woolworths spokeswoman said: "This is regulated by Food Standards Australia New Zealand. We contract our own brand milk to numerous suppliers around the country and we are confident that they are delivering a product that matches the nutritional panel."

A Coles spokesman said: "Coles brand milk is made to the same high standards as branded milk lines, and in no way has the quality of our milk been altered as a result of our milk price cuts in January 2011." 

UK farmer fears roosting starlings may cause salmonella in dairy calves, milk

The Brits love their birds.

But not so for a dairy farmer from the Somerset Levels who told BBC News
that roosting starlings and their salmonella-laden poop contaminating feed has led to the loss of 40 calves and is costing his business up to £40,000 a year.

He fears the droppings may also result in salmonella in his cattle’s dairy milk.

Thousands of starlings migrate from Baltic countries, such as Russia, to Somerset and other parts of the UK over the winter months.

In recent years their murmurations as they prepare to roost have become a major attraction for wildlife enthusiasts.

RSPB spokesman, Graham Madge, said, "The fact that starlings are visiting Somerset are not because the RSPB are encouraging them, it’s basically because these birds can find plenty of food in areas that are relatively warm for the winter.”

Chinese dairy farmer on death row for food adulteration, killing 3 kids

A Chinese dairy farmer has been sentenced to death for lacing her rival’s milk supply with industrial salt, causing the deaths of three young children, state media report.

A local court in Pingliang city in far western China’s Gansu province found Ma Xiuling guilty of deliberately adding nitrite to the milk of a dairy farming couple in revenge for some business disputes, the official Xinhua News Agency reported today.

Earlier reports said a month-old baby and two children younger than 2 died. Xinhua said 36 people were hospitalised.

The Gansu Daily newspaper said Ma’s husband, Wu Guangquan, was sentenced to life in prison for purchasing the poison.

Both Ma and her husband have lodged appeals, Xinhua said.