FSA released revised E.coli O157 control of cross-contamination guidance

The FSA E.coli O157 control of cross-contamination guidance has been revised and updated to take into account the results from independent research into the effectiveness of disinfecting complex equipment, and the views of industry and local authority stakeholders. The aim of the guidance is to ensure that businesses manage the risk to consumer health from the presence of E.coli in food.

The revised guidance will be published for an eight-week review period (from 4th July to 29th August 2014), allowing businesses and others to provide comments on the revised guidance that they would like to be considered.

The revised guidance clarifies that:

  • Businesses do not need to have separate areas for handling raw and ready to eat foods (RTE) where they can demonstrate that separation by time with effective cleaning and disinfection will manage the risk of cross-contamination.
  • Less complex equipment, such as temperature probes, mixers and weighing scales, may be used for both raw and RTE foods subject to the business being able to demonstrate that such equipment will be effectively cleaned and disinfected between uses.
  • It may now be possible to effectively clean and disinfect vacuum packers, slicers and mincers between uses as long as such machines are completely dismantled to allow all surfaces to be thoroughly cleaned. In practice, however, it is unlikely to be practical for a business to regularly change the use of vacuum packers as a competent engineer would need to undertake what is a complicated dismantling and reassembling process. However, cleaning to allow a more permanent change of use, for example to re-commission and buy and sell second-hand vacuum packers, may be feasible. In the case of slicers and mincers, dismantling, cleaning and disinfecting may be more straightforward but is unlikely to be feasible during normal business operations. Businesses wishing to use such machines for raw and RTE foods would need to fully assess the risks and to demonstrate to the relevant local authority that cleaning between uses will provide effective controls.

Bird flu outbreaks in China – Update 11.01.14

On 3rd January 2014 the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) notified to the Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (H5N1).

The outbreak started on 27th December 2013 in the village of Yijue, Guizhou, where 8.500 birds died and 23.067 chickens were culled to prevent the disease from spreading. The outbreak is ongoing and the causes are at the moment unknown. There will be weekly report to the OIE from the Chinese Authorities. All safety measures were applied, such as quarantine, movement control inside the country, screening, zoning and disinfection of infected premises/establishment.

On 21st December 2013 there were another outbreak of bird flu H5N2 in a Zhuzhuang village: 4.000 birds died and 127.500 culled by Authorities.

The bird flu in China is far from being under control.

Update 7.01.14

The Chinese Authorities confirmed a case of H7N9 in a sample taken from a live animal in a poultry market in the Guangdong province, where the sell of poultry is now stopped.

In the region there was a cluster of human cases. A 47 year-old man, poultry worker from Foshan, and a 71 year-old man are in critical conditions. The WHO confirmed also two cases in December and an 80 year-old man died on 26 December 2013, but in different regions from Guangdong