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Hit this Link to Zion Roots FSNET JULY 11, 1997 At least 42 become sick after eating at country club Salmonella Infections - UK (Scotland) (03) Phase II Efficacy Trial of Antex’s Campylobacter Vaccine Announced Azerbaijan fears epidemics after floods Parasites may be behind bad meat—waste firm Ginseng Products Recalled For Mislabeling, Alcohol Content NYU-Poisoning Federal labs to be shut down. Ottawa closing facilities that did independent tests on pharmaceuticals, food safety Bureaucrat withholding research data, five Health Canada drug scientists say Poultry-borne Infection Control 'Fen-Phen' Drug Makers Sued Diet Centers Rethink Prescribing Diet Pills Strict Vegetarians Risk Vitamin Deficiency - Study Eating on the Run Can Be Healthy Russia imports 730 tonnes of British beef-minister Farmers Lobby EU Chief Over Beef Announcement FSnet is produced by researchers at the Science and Society Project at the University of Guelph, and is supported by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Health Canada, the U.S. National Food Processors Association, the U.S. National Pork Producers, AGCare (Agricultural Groups Concerned About Resources and the Environment), Monsanto Canada, Hedley Technologies Inc., Ag-West Biotech Inc., Qualicon, L.L.C., DeKalb Canada Inc., Pioneer Hi-Bred Limited (Canada), Novartis Crop Protection Canada and the Ontario Soybean Growers Marketing Board. To subscribe to FSnet, send mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org leave subject line blank in the body of the message type: subscribe fsnet-L firstname lastname i.e. subscribe fsnet-L Doug Powell To unsubscribe to FSnet, send mail to: email@example.com leave subject line blank in the body of the message type: signoff fsnet-L For more information about the FSnet research program, please contact: Dr. Douglas Powell Dept. food science University of Guelph Guelph, Ont. N1G 2W1 tel: 519-824-4120 x2367 fax: 519-824-6631 AT LEAST 42 BECOME SICK AFTER EATING AT COUNTRY CLUB July 10, 1997 Beacon Journal DELAWARE, Ohio -- At least 42 people attending a 50th anniversary party at the Wedgewood Golf & Country Club became ill after eating a buffet. Three were hospitalized. Two of the cases were confirmed salmonella poisoning. Health officials said the outbreak was probably caused by salmonella bacteria in chicken salad, tuna salad, potato salad or pasta salad. John Boyer, the Wedgewood's general manager, told The Delaware Gazette that he believes the food was contaminated before it arrived at the club. The Ohio Department of Agriculture will be asked to investigate. It is not known whether the food products had bacteria in it before it arrived. Boyer said the club's kitchen staff uses proper food-handling practices. However, Susan Sutherland, Delaware's food-service inspector, said she found violations during a surprise inspection July 3 of the country club's kitchen. Some foods were not properly stored in a walk-in cooler; a cook was found eating in the kitchen; and buffet food was not kept on ice. Boyer said the club's employees are now refrigerating buffet food. SALMONELLA INFECTIONS - UK (Scotland) (03) July 7, 1997 ProMed Steve Berger from the Tel Aviv Medical Centre provided the following background information on salmonella infections in the U.K. (including enteric fever salmonellae) which was abstracted from the GIDEON software program: Over 76% of salmonellosis cases in the U.K. are acquired from meat or poultry. Most outbreaks are ascribed to _Salmonella enteritidis_. 90% of typhoid fever cases are imported. England and Wales registered 22,474 isolates in 1991. Approximately 30,000 isolates are registered yearly during 1989 to 1994. 1,489 outbreaks and 30,427 isolates were reported in 1994 (13,782 of these were characterized as _S. enteritidis_ PT4). 29,717 cases were reported in 1995 - including 6,700 reports of _S. typhimurium_ (this is the second most common _Salmonella_ species from humans in England and Wales). Regarding enteric fever salmonellae, England and Wales registered 132 isolates of _Salmonella typhi_ and 91 _S. paratyphi_ A and B in 1991. 183 cases of typhoid were reported in 1993; 238 in 1994; 255 in 1995; 173 in 1996 (152 of these imported). 135 cases of paratyphoid were reported in 1994; 126 in 1995; 100 in 1996. Northern Ireland registered 160 isolates in 1991; and one case of typhoid during 1979 to 1993 (in 1993). Scotland registered 133 salmonellosis outbreaks (involving 939 patients) in 1985; 180 outbreaks (942 patients) in 1987; 156 outbreaks (1,081 patients) in 1988; 151 outbreaks (712 patients) in 1989; 122 outbreaks (910 patients) in 1990; 114 outbreaks (459 patients) in 1991. Scotland registered 267 cases of typhoid (and 32 carriers) 1975 to 1990; 7 in 1992; 3 in 1993; 8 in 1994. Wales reported one case of typhoid and 1 of paratyphoid in 1990; 2 typhoid and 0 paratyphoid in 1991; 3 typhoid and 1 paratyphoid in 1992; 1 typhoid and 1 paratyphoid in 1993; 4 typhoid and 0 paratyphoid in 1994. PHASE II EFFICACY TRIAL OF ANTEX'S CAMPYLOBACTER VACCINE ANNOUNCED July 9, 1997 (from a Antex Biologics press release) Gaithersburg, MDóAntex Biologics, SmithKline Beecham, and the United States Navy today jointly announced the start of a Phase II clinical trial for Antex's Campylobacter vaccine consisting of inactivated Campylobacter whole-cells plus an adjuvant. This double-blinded, placebo-controlled study will evaluate the potential protective efficacy of this oral vaccine in healthy adult volunteers against challenge with infectious Campylobacter. The sequence of clinical and microbiological events associated with Campylobacter infections will also be characterized and correlated with immune response patterns in the vaccinated volunteers. The trial will consist of approximately 65 healthy adult volunteers in two phases. The first phase, which is ongoing, will consist of two groups of approximately 15 volunteers each, to determine the dose of live organisms needed to give the appropriate incidence of disease. Once determined, the appropriate dose of live organisms will then be used as the challenge dose for the second phase of the study. The second phase of the study, for which recruitment is ongoing, will consist of approximately 35 individuals who will receive either a placebo or the Campylobacter vaccine and will be subsequently challenged with live infectious organisms. The trial is expected to take approximately 5 months for the clinical portion, including dosing, challenge and follow-up observations, followed by laboratory analysis of all samples collected during the clinical phase. This trial is being conducted at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Maryland by the U.S. Navy and Army, and is a continuation of ongoing research under existing Cooperative Research and Development Agreements between the Navy and Antex or SmithKline Beecham. A portion of this research is also being supported by the U.S. Army Medical Material Development Activity. Two prior Phase I safety and immunogenicity clinical trials have been successfully completed; the first assessed the inactivated Campylobacter whole cells alone and the second tested the Campylobacter whole cells in combination with an adjuvant, which is the vaccine formulation being evaluated in this Phase II study. The data from both Phase I trials show that the vaccine is safe and immunogenic and that the adjuvant both improves and broadens the nature of the immune responses elicited by the vaccine. Volunteers responded to the vaccine in a dose-dependent manner. Blood samples from volunteers were collected and analyzed for both humoral and cellular immune responses. Data from IgA antibody secreting cell assays (an indicator of the humoral immune response) show that the vaccine produces a Campylobacter-specific response. Further, measurements of interferon-gamma (INF-g) showed that the vaccine group had greatly increased INF-g levels as compared to placebo recipients. INF-g production typifies a Th1-type T-cell response, which is predominantly indicative of active cellular immunity. These data are consistent with results of preclinical safety and immunogenicity studies in animal models. Data from animal models also showed that the vaccine provides protective immunity against live infections and illness. "Based on the positive results from the two Phase I human clinical trials and preclinical animal models, we are encouraged to proceed with the Phase II efficacy trial, which is a major milestone for the Company," said Dr. Vic Esposito, Chairman and CEO of Antex. Dr. Esposito continued, "The Campylobacter vaccine, based on our patented NST (Nutriment Signal Transduction) technology, is the most advanced of our vaccine products. NST is a highly innovative and proprietary platform for the development of products to prevent and potentially treat a range of different diseases. Moreover, this is the first clinical trial that will provide a unique opportunity to more thoroughly assess the humoral and cellular immune factors contributing to protection against Campylobacter infections in humans, and should confirm results from similar preclinical studies." "We share Antex's enthusiasm for proceeding with the Phase II trial of this vaccine based on promising results of the prior preclinical and Phase I human studies," said Capt. A.L. Bourgeois, Director of the Enteric Diseases Program at the Naval Medical Research Institute in Maryland. Capt. Bourgeois continued, "In my view, the rapid progress of this project has clearly demonstrated the benefits that can accrue from Department of Defense and industry partnerships to solve common medical problems. This Campylobacter vaccine is hoped to greatly reduce the threat of acute diarrheal disease among soldiers, sailors, and marines deployed overseas." Antex Biologics Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company committed to improving human health by developing new products to prevent and treat infectious diseases and related disorders. The Company has two other vaccines in clinical development: one is for Helicobacter pylori, the causative agent of peptic ulcers; and the other is directed against Haemophilus influenzae, a leading cause of otitis media. The Company's common stock is quoted on the NASDAQ OTC Bulletin Board under the ticker symbol ANTX. AZERBAIJAN FEARS EPIDEMICS AFTER FLOODS July 11, 1997 Reuter Nino Ivanishvili YEVLAX, Azerbaijan -- Floods have sent raw sewage flowing through dozens of towns and villages in central Azerbaijan, prompting fears of epidemics. Waist-deep water covered most main streets of this town of 75,000 people on Friday, five days after rains subsided. It was reported that raw human sewage was floating along the surface in many plances and many residents used homemade rafts and boats to collect fresh drinking water provided by the local government. Kamil Muratov, deputy administrative chief of Yevlax, 300 km west of the former Soviet republic’s capital, Baku said: "We fear the sewage could contaminate drinking water. We badly need disinfection materials and drugs." Officials said they were caught off guard by the freak rains which swept across usually arid desert and steppe regions. "This is the first time we have faced a problem like this," said Muratov. Many rural homes in the mostly Moslem country do not have indoor toilets, increasing the problems with sewage flows. The risk of epidemics is heightened by temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius (105 Fahrenheit). Emergency workers and local residents frantically dug canals and tried to pump the standing water out of the town. The government has sent in 25 fire engines with special pumping equipment from places including Baku. Most people in central Azerbaijan are poor and the area is a haven for some of the hundreds of thousands of destitute refugees who have fled the country's nearly decade-long conflict with Armenia over the disputed region of NagornoKarabakh. The country's largest hydroelectric station at Mingechaur has shut down after being damaged by the rains, causing some power cuts. PARASITES MAY BE BEHIND BAD MEAT—WASTE FIRM July 11, 1997 Edmonton Journal JACK DANYLCHUK SWAN HILLS -- Don Colley, vice-president of Bovar Inc., said Trichnenella could be the source of worms and cysts found in meat from a moose shot downwind from a hazardous waste treatment plant at Swan Hills. The company’s advisors raised the possibility of contamination after natives displayed meat dotted with cysts to demonstrate the need for further study of the plant's impact. Colley was quoted as saying, "The cysts are part of the natural cycle of the parasite, it's a common issue in Alberta." But Karen Bus, a lawyer for the eight member bands of the Lesser Slave Lake Regional Indian Council said toxic chemicals released by the plant could be to blame for the greater incidence of meat infested with parasites such as Trichenella. She said: "We have to question why that animals are succumbing to parasites more readily than they used to." "There's no doubt that the animals have higher PCB, dioxin and furan levels. One of the things these substances do is break down the immune system. But no one has done enough studying to verify the relationship is between all these factors." At a news conference on Wednesday, a Health Canada official said that a provincial study failed to measure the waste plant's impact on aboriginal people living nearby and announced that a federal study will fill in that blank. Colley said provincial studies of the plant's impact have been thorough, but had no objection to Health Canada studying the health of native people who live in the area. ALBERTA ENVIRONMENT MINISTER TY LUND WAS UNAVAILABLE FOR COMMENT. GINSENG PRODUCTS RECALLED FOR MISLABELING, ALCOHOL CONTENT July 11, 1997 Dow Jones ALBANY, N.Y. -- Twenty brands of ginseng products were recalled in New York state because their labels failed to note their high alcohol levels, some contained more than 5% to nearly 24% alcohol, which is not listed as an ingredient. Food inspectors from the state Department of Agriculture and Markets will seize cited ginseng products that are not removed from store shelves. Donald Davidsen, the department’s commissioner said: ''These products are packaged in such a way as to appeal to children as an alcoholic beverage. We are asking retailers to remove these products from store shelves and return them to the wholesale distributors.'' The recalled products have been sold in clear glass vials containing about 10 milliliters of liquid. They can be purchased separately or in packages of 30 vials. The following ginseng products are being recalled: Dr. Chan's High Potency Ginseng in strawberry cream, amaretto, mocha and mint flavors; Renshenfengwang Jiang Ginseng and Royal Jelly in a Honey Base; Panax Ginseng Extractum Yut Yat Brand; Red Panax Ginseng Extract; Red Ginseng Extract; Chinese Red Panax Ginseng Extract; Panax Ginseng Extractum by Foreign Trade Corp. of Zhejiang; Root to Health American Ginseng Extractum Oral Liquid; Royal King Red Panax Ginseng; Kung Fu Brand Panax Ginseng Extractum; Rising Sun Brand Panax Ginseng Extractum; Siberian Ginseng; Pine Brand Panax Ginseng Extract; Ex. Ginseng Absolute Natural Lover's Tonic For Men; Chrusanthemum Brand Ginseng Royal Jelly; and Panax Ginseng Extractum by Sang Shu Pai China National Native Produce and Animal-ByProducts Imports and Export Corp. Zion Organic Roots Drink, which is not ginseng, also was found to be mislabeled. NYU-POISONING July 11, 1997 AP Dr. John R. L. Froude The article is an overview of food poisoning issues. It states the most common symptoms that can arise but also reports that they can become very serious. It states that young people, elderly people, and immunocompromised people are particularly vulnerable. The article also says that antacids may make people susceptible to food poisoning because they neutralize stomach acid which normally kills germs. The article then gives examples of common germs including: bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella and Campylobacter, viruses such as the Norwalk virus, parasites such as cyclospora, cryptosporidium and giardia. The article also says that toxins sometimes are produced by a bacterium, like staphylococcus or clostridia or they can come from outside sources, such as pesticides sprayed on fruits and vegetables, or chemicals and heavy metals found in fish from polluted waters. The article then provides four easy steps to protect yourself against food poisoning: Wash. Scrub your hands before preparing the food. Many cases of food poisoning are caused by E. coli bacteria, which is found in feces. Wash the food. If you are preparing high-protein foods (meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cheese) be sure to wash the cutting board, knives and other utensils before preparing other foods on them. Animal foods tend to carry germs and worms. Cook your food thoroughly. Do not eat raw meat, seafood, or poultry. Avoid raw eggs, even in uncooked cookie dough. If you are canning fruits and vegetables from your garden, remember to boil them first. Never eat food from cans that have bulges or dents. Bacteria inside cans can produce gas that swells the cans. Some bacteria produce botulism toxin, which is deadly. Minuscule amounts can kill a grown man. Be wary of untreated water. If you are traveling or camping, bring bottled water. If you must drink from a stream or lake, boil or filter the water first. Be especially careful at high altitudes, where water boils at lower temperatures, thus killing fewer germs. Rare cases of food poisoning from boiled water have been reported in the Rocky Mountains. Finally, store your food at the proper temperature. Germs are happiest in the "danger zone" between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Either heat or refrigerate food to avoid the danger zone. This is especially important for fish, meat, poultry, dairy products, and eggs, although germs can grow on almost any food. Be careful when you pack picnic and brown bag lunches: avoid dishes containing mayonnaise (like tuna salad) and cream-filled desserts (like eclairs) unless you can refrigerate them. Food that has gone bad does not always smell bad. Remember to discard food that is old or was not properly stored. FEDERAL LABS TO BE SHUT DOWN. OTTAWA CLOSING FACILITIES THAT DID INDEPENDENT TESTS ON PHARMACEUTICALS, FOOD SAFETY July 11, 1997 Globe and Mail Laura Eggertson It is reported that the federal Health Department is closing its in-house drugresearch laboratories by the end of the month and will rely instead on scientific research from universities, foreign regulatory agencies and the pharmaceutical companies that apply to have their drugs approved. The closure will save $2-million a year, Dann Michols, director-general of the department's drugs directorate, said yesterday. Those jobs will now be left to outside advisory committees convened from universities—some of whom receive financing from the drug industry for their research. The department is also closing some laboratories and programs in its food directorate and cutting 123 positions in that area, saving $6-million to $7million a year, assistant deputy minister Joseph Losos said. Dr. Losos said that those programs will now either be contracted out or eliminated as Canada simply gets out of the business of basic science in those areas. The cost-cutting measures, ordered in the 1995 federal budget, have alarmed current and former staff, who believe that, as deregulation takes hold, Canada will gradually lose a vital storehouse of expertise about the safety and efficacy of drugs. Art Beaubien, a pharmacologist who recently retired from the bureau of drug research said: "Since we no longer will have scientists independent of industry doing research for motives other than profit, we will no longer have an unbiased viewpoint when it comes to the marketing of drug products. You will only have the drug companies' viewpoint." Representatives from the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Association of Canada were unavailable for comment. The bureau will now direct its remaining research at a relatively new area called biologics—the vaccines, blood products and genetic materials used to fight illness. That's an area Canada can develop as its research niche, Mr. Michols said. Among the programs affected in the food directorate are laboratories responsible for nutritional studies and research into the effect of chemicals and bacteria on food. An internal document prepared by several Health Canada scientists says the closing of the bureau of drug research may prevent a thorough examination of drug companies' product claims. That is particularly true as the government's cost-recovery policy, which requires companies to pay for the approval process, increases pressure to do reviews quickly. "In the long run, as expertise gets thinner and thinner, there's going to be less and less important questions asked," Mr. Beaubien said. The government will rely more on information about pharmaceuticals provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and similar regulatory agencies in the United Kingdom and Australia, said Mr. Michols. "More and more, it's the same product in the United States, Britain and Australia and Canada—why do all these regulatory agencies have to have the same research capacity?" he asked. In addition, the government will look to companies for more information, he said. Companies already are required to submit safety and efficacy data from the results of drug trials when they apply to licence a product. But Mr. Beaubien and some Health Canada drug reviewers believe heavier reliance on information from drug companies will only exacerbate the potential for conflict of interest. "The opportunity for conflicts of interest to arise from external research already being funded or in contractual relationship to drug manufacturers whose product is to be subjected to examination is very real and a major concern," the Health Department scientists said in their paper. Scientists have a legitimate concern about the loss of research expertise in the government, Mr. Michols said. But the government cannot afford to spend the hundreds of millions of dollars it would take to replicate industry research in order to prove it is safe, he said. "Maintaining an in-house laboratory capacity is probably one of the most expensive aspects of a government operation and of a regulatory operation. "We just don't have the resources to be able to do basic or even some applied research on the pharmaceutical side. But the capacity does exist in the country. I think it's redundant for us to have that capacity." BUREAUCRAT WITHHOLDING RESEARCH DATA, FIVE HEALTH CANADA DRUG SCIENTISTS SAY July 4, 1997 Ottawa Citizen Mark Kennedy Five drug regulators in Health Canada, concerned about the potential effects on humans who drink milk from cows fed rBST, say their manager has denied them access to the "human safety data". They recently filed a formal grievance through their union about the dispute but the situation has yet to be resolved. "Evaluators have not had an opportunity to examine human safety data on this product," writes the union. Furthermore, the union predicts that if the regulators are continually shut out of key discussions about drug approvals, "future decisions will be based on a compromised human safety assessment" and will not be "rationalized in science." Critics of the department have said that this illustrates a growing tendency of Health Canada managers to ignore safety warnings from their scientists. However, the department it has a thorough system in place to ensure drugs aren't approved for sale in Canada unless they are first proven safe and that it’s normal for scientists within the department to disagree on complex matters and that the public should not be alarmed by such internal squabbling. Joseph Losos, assistant deputy minister said the human safety division is a small unit in the department with a history of "staff dynamics problems." "I've had this similar problem many times over with scientists. Scientists are extremely difficult to manage. We're talking about several people. I've run scientific organizations of varying size, and this is a big one of over 2,000 people. I have never run an organization where there isn't scientific conflict and personal conflict between individuals. That's the name of the game with scientific entities." The article goes on to discuss the dispute which revolves around BST. The article explains that it has been approved in the U.S. for three years although in Europe it has not been approved due to safety concerns. It also reports that Monsanto Inc. has been trying to obtain federal permission to sell BST to dairy farmers for several years and that senior Health Canada bureaucrats have already concluded that milk from BST-treated cows poses no human health hazard. Monsanto spokeswoman Adele Pelland said there have been many scientific studies that show BST is safe for humans, adding that the company is patiently waiting for government approval. The article then cites the concerns surrounding BST by consumer groups, the National Farmers Union and the National Dairy Council. They include: increased mastitis which would require antibiotic treatment which could be passed on to humans who consume the milk and; potential long-term effects on humans such as in their own hormonal systems. The federal regulators who have filed the joint grievance complain they haven't been given a chance to discuss the implications of the proposed BST application. "Our concern is that we don't know what's in the files," said one of the regulators, Shiv Chopra, a scientist who has worked in the department for 28 years. "We are there on the understanding that we are the people who are doing the job (of reviewing drug submissions). We have complete security clearance." POULTRY-BORNE INFECTION CONTROL July 8, 1997 (from Cornell University release) ITHACA, N.Y. -- Significant progress in controlling poultry-borne infection was reported recently at the 69th Northeastern Conference on Avian Diseases at Cornell University. Still, two diseases (avian influenza, or AI, and infectious laryngotracheitis, or ILT) threaten the economic health of the American poultry industry and at least one (Salmonella enteritidis) worries Americans who eat eggs, conference participants from as near as New York and Pennsylvania and as far as Australia were told. "When it comes to infectious diseases, there's a lot a stake for an industry that exports up to 20 percent of the 6 billion broilers produced here each year to other countries," said Benjamin Lucio, the poultry extension veterinarian who organized the June 11 to 13 meeting at Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine. "The general public doesn't know or care when millions of dollars are lost because hundreds of thousands of infected birds must be slaughtered. But the public wants assurances," he said, "that the eggs they consume are not infected with salmonella." That confidence can come from voluntary egg quality assurance programs, John Mason of Food Safety Consultant Services told the avian disease conference. A successful quality-assurance program in Pennsylvania has producers certifying that whole eggs sold to market come only from salmonella-free flocks (and that eggs from flocks with evidence of SE are diverted to processing plants where the eggs are pasteurized to destroy infectious organisms). A similar quality-assurance program is expected to start in New York later this year, according to Syed A. Naqi, professor of avian medicine at Cornell. The New York program is the result of combined efforts of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine's Diagnostic Laboratory. "We've made tremendous progress in this century in understanding and controlling avian diseases," said Lucio, who along with Cornell poultry scientist Robert C. Baker was the first to prove that SE is transmitted by eggs. He pointed to successful test and control strategies developed for potentially devastating conditions in poultry, such as Marek's disease, mycoplasmosis, infectious bursal disease and infectious bronchitis. "Yet, there continue to be emerging diseases, and in an era of expanding international trade, proving that your animals are disease-free is more important than ever," he said. One strategy for controlling avian influenza could be a genetically engineered vaccine that is in use in Mexico, Lucio said. The alternative to prevention is "depopulation," in which entire flocks of birds are slaughtered and buried. Earlier this year, infection by the H7N2 strain of avian influenza cost a Pennsylvania egg producer a flock of 123,000 birds, Susan C. Trock of the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported. In the early 1980s, a different avian influenza strain crippled the Pennsylvania poultry industry, forcing the slaughter of some 17 million birds; the result was an estimated loss to producers of $400 million and expense to American taxpayers of $50 million when the federal government partially compensated poultry producers. Like avian influenza, infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT) does not affect humans— except in the pocketbook—Lucio said. One out of every six broiler chickens raised in the United States is exported, primarily to China and Russia, the Cornell poultry expert said, "and if we can't eradicate that disease to the satisfaction of our overseas customers, we'll have a big problem. While conventional vaccines protect against clinical ILT, they contribute to perpetuating the infection in vaccinated flocks," Lucio said. He noted that genetically engineered vaccines, now under development, show greater promise. "By hosting the avian disease conference, Cornell University renewed its longstanding ties to poultry medicine and husbandry," Lucio said. "The exchange of ideas between university researchers, industry representatives and veterinarians from the USDA will influence policies for the control and eradication of these important diseases." Besides the disease-control strategies with bio-engineered vaccines and international embargoes, the conference-goers learned of one type of immunization with which every chicken can identify—the lowly earthworm. Canadian researchers reported on studies with salmonella and vermicompost, the soil-like material that passes through worms when they eat. The researchers raised earthworms on feces from disease-free chickens and then fed the vermicompost to newly hatched chicks. In theory, "good" bacteria in the vermicompost was supposed to thrive and displace any "bad" bacteria, including salmonella, in the young birds. Yes, the chicken-worm-chicken connection helps, to some extent, researchers said. 'FEN-PHEN' DRUG MAKERS SUED July 9, 1997 AP BOB EGELKO SAN FRANCISCO -- Two users of the prescription pills, fenfluramine and phentermine (fen-phen) are suing the manufacturers for concealing the drugs' hazards. This comes a day after the Mayo Clinic warned of the potential dangers of this popular diet pill combination. The lawsuit will also seek classaction status on behalf of millions of consumers. Lawyers for the patiens said the makers of these two drugs and a third diet drug, dexfenfluramine or Redux had "purposely downplayed and understated the health hazards." The lawsuit contends that SmithKline Beecham, Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories Inc. and other manufacturers, "have actively encouraged the combination use" of fen-phen and dexfenfluramine because they allegedly knew that "the combination use, although not approved by the FDA, would increase sales of each individual drug." The suit seeks unspecified damages, refunds and company-funded medical monitoring. DIET CENTERS RETHINK PRESCRIBING DIET PILLS July 11, 1997 New York Times Dana Canedy Following a report that the popular diet drug combination fen-phen could lead to a rare heart aiment, Jenny Craig Inc., one of the diet center chains, said Thursday that it was recommending that doctors at its centers stop prescribing the drug combination, while another, Nutri-System Inc., said it was reviewing its position. According to the article, regional weight loss centers as well as national chains have been enlisting doctors to prescribe the drugs through what the companies call "medically supervised programs." Jenny Craig reversed its position on fen-phen saying that doctors at its more than 600 centers had prescribed the drug to fewer than 1 percent of customers in the seven months since the company introduced the drug program. "In light of the Mayo Clinic data, however, we are advising the independently contracted physicians in our centers that they not prescribe fen-phen until its long-term safety and efficacy is validated," said C. Joseph LaBonte, the company's president and chief executive. However, the company is still offering Redux, a diet drug that has been linked to other potentially harmful side effects. Nutri-System, which has been running a television advertisement offering two months of free medication—fen-phen or Redux—to Jenny Craig customers who agree to switch to its program, said that it was considering its options but had not made a decision on changing its drug dispensing program. "Our medical board is in the process of evaluating the research data and also taking a look at the treatment charts for these patients prior to making any recommendations on changing the program," said Joseph J. DiBartolomeo, vice president for scientific affairs at Nutri-System, which has 500 centers and is controlled by Heico Holding Inc. of Chicago. Nutri-System also offers a “natural” alternative which contains ephedrine, an herbal stimulant whose use the FDA has said it planned to restrict after more than a dozen deaths and hundreds of illnesses were linked to diet supplements that contain the ingredient. Weight Watchers International Inc., the industry leader with some 1,200 diet centers, has maintained all along that it would have nothing to do with diet drugs of any kind and said Thursday that it still maintained that any medication should be taken only with the approval of a person's primary-care physician. STRICT VEGETARIANS RISK VITAMIN DEFICIENCY - STUD July 11, 1997 AAP Rada Rouse BRISBANE -- The results of a survey of 245 Seventh-Day Adventist Ministers shows 77 per cent had B-12 intakes below the minimum required and the problem was mainly related to their diet, clinical chemist Bevan Hokin said. Mr Hokin, director of pathology at Sydney Adventist Hospital, said B-12 deficiency could cause lethargy, numbness and tingling of the extremities, and eventually megaloblastic or "pernicious" anaemia, and degeneration of the spinal cord. The ministers, many of whom (over 200) had been vegetarian for 20 years or longer, were either lacto-ovo vegetarians - consuming milk and eggs but less than one serve of flesh food a week - or vegans, who refuse all animal products. The results, to be published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, show that diet rather than malabsorption or increased excretion was the major cause. "This is important because a lot of the textbooks say diet is not the prime cause but many of them come out of the USA where there is widespread fortification of foods," Mr Hokin said. An advocate of more vitamin boosts for common foods here, Mr Hokin said many of the ministers in his study reported tiredness although none had developed anaemia. Mr Hokin said at least 15 to 20 serves a week of dairy, eggs and fortified soy milk is required to provide the minimum maintenance intake. Only 23 per cent of the vegetarians in his study met this intake. Meat-eaters take in 3 to 9 ug a day, building up reserves in the liver. EATING ON THE RUN CAN BE HEALTHY July 10, 1997 AP Tammy Baker, a dietician in Phoenix and a spokeswoman for the Chicago-based American Dietetic Association contends that eating on the run can be healthy if drive-thru diners choose low-fat items, refrain from overeating and pack nutritious snacks in the glove box. She says that people who eat on the run often don't notice when they're full. Another dietician, Diane Quagliani, is quoted as saying, "If you're constantly eating in the car, you might not be eating variety, and you need variety to make sure you're getting your vitamins, minerals and fiber." She also reports that fast-food drive-thrus often offer plenty of low-fat choices and that motoring diners can order smaller burgers without sauces and cheese and side salads instead of french fries. She admits that salads are bit harder to eat while driving, but suggests building a salad with finger foods like cucumber slices and carrot sticks. The National Center for Nutrition and Dietetics offers these tips for people who eat on the run: ? Buy low-fat muffins and fruit juice at the drive-thru. ? Pack a banana, bagel and low-fat string cheese and eat at work. ? Stash a jar of peanut butter and crackers in a desk drawer. ? If lunch is burger and fries, eat cereal, fruit and milk for breakfast and dine on grains, vegetables and fruits for dinner. ? Keep pretzels, animal crackers, bite-sized rice cakes and raisins in the car for snacks. ? Ask for condiments on the side. ? Choose juice or milk instead of soft drinks or milkshakes. RUSSIA IMPORTS 730 TONNES OF BRITISH BEEF-MINISTER July 10, 1997 Reuter MOSCOW --Viktor Khlystun, Russia's agriculture minister was quoted as saying Russia has imported 730 tonnes of British beef subject to a worldwide ban because of mad cow disease. He did not give a precise date for the import of the beef, which he said came via Belgium, nor did he say to where in Russia it was delivered. According to the articles source, he also declined to say whether the meat had already gone on sale. The announcement marked the first time the Russian government has recognised the imports of large quantities of banned beef. Officially, Russia has not imported British beef since 1990. A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry was quoted Thursday saying, it was "practially impossible" to import poor quality meat into Russia legally but the agriculture ministry said it could not block all illegal channels. Khlystun said: "Preventing the import of contaminated meat is in principle impossible, although we have mobilised frontier guards and veterinary services. There is no legal or moral ground for banning beef imports from Belgium." "There is no 100 percent guarantee that Russian importers will not import one or more cargo of British beef." "Even if we checked every car crossing the border, it is not possible to prevent (such imports), insofar as there is no way to diagnose bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)." This week, German authorities seized an unspecified quantity of beef imported from Belgium which they believed came illegally from Britain and was headed for Russia via Germany. FARMERS LOBBY EU CHIEF OVER BEEF July 11, 1997 PA News Jo Butler A delegation of more than 200 local farmers led by National Farmers' Union President Sir David Naish was meeting Mr Fischler at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show in Builth Wells. They are angry over planned cuts in compensation to beef farmers. Last month Europe agreed to Agriculture Minister Jack Cunningham's request for a 11% cut in compensation to farmers for cattle over 30 months old slaughtered in the BSE eradication programme. Angry farmers say the cut represents a drop in the price per kg for cattle from 64.9p to 57.7p. The changes are due to come into effect on August 4. ANNOUNCEMENT July 2, 1997 OMAFRA Bruce McNab This announcement is to inform any interested parties that a series of documents illustrating the approach to risk assessment that is being promoted within the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) in Canada, has been updated and moved to a new URL at: FYI: In the near future I am presenting a paper at the 8th International Symposium on Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics, entitled: "Harmonization of Risk Assessment Between Disciplines of Animal Health, Food Safety and Plant Health". It will be interesting to see how conference attendees respond to ideas of harmonization across disciplines. Personally, I think it is important.
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