Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Top U.S. science advisors answer bird flu questions

HHS advisor fields online pandemic preparedness queries
Lisa Schnirring Staff Writer

Feb 19, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – FluWiki, an online resource and community forum, has its finger on the pulse of pandemic influenza planning issues and avian flu news, but today it featured something unusual: a dialogue with a top federal science advisor who's directly involved in the government's pandemic preparations.

William Raub, PhD, science advisor to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Mike Leavitt, fielded six multipart questions from the FluWiki community, covering issues such as vaccine prioritization, food and medication stockpiling, the federal government's role in pandemic planning, and how HHS plans to publicize the role of community mitigation measures.


Local to global...Database of countries' food safety requirements

Jan / Feb 08 FAO newsletter links to WHO database...Info on other countries' food safety requirements & standards.

Newsletter also includes list of upcoming food safety / risk assessment conferences & meetings.


Center for Science in the Public Interest's
Food Safety Solutions

This latest recall represents a fundamental failure in USDA's mission to keep sick animals out of the human food supply. On-site USDA inspectors apparently failed to stop these practices for two years, resulting in the biggest recall in our nation's history. Following 18 months of food scares, ranging from tainted spinach to poisoned pet food, this massive meat recall is proof positive that Congress must fully fund and remake our food safety agencies. Here are five steps necessary to improve food safety:

1. Modernize the food inspection program to make it comprehensive and effective, from farm to table. It should include product sampling and a risk-based schedule for inspections with clear authority for inspectors to travel from the farms to foreign countries to ensure the safety of the US food supply.

2. Require all food growers and processors to implement mandatory process controls to prevent food contamination. Any one who wants to produce food for sale in the U.S. should have a food safety management plan, written and subject to auditing by its customers, and state and federal regulators.

3. Give USDA and FDA (or a new agency) mandatory recall and tracking authority over the food supply. Ensure that both agenices can track tainted products to their source and also require companies to recall product with full information going to the public on where recalled products were sold.

4. Toughen the penalties for violating food safety laws and for producing, processing or knowingly selling tainted products. Existing statutes have only a patchwork of fines and penalties -- decades old, andclearly not effective.

5. Put all these elements in a modern food safety law passed by Congress, creating strong federal oversight by a single federal agency with an increased budget that coordinates with state and foreign governments to ensure safe food in this country, whether the food is domestically produced or imported.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bangladesh - Study on the impact of bird flu

In case you missed it, the impact of bird flu in Bangladesh is described in this link:

Beef recall -- Who made the decision? Who's to blame?

The recall this week of 143 million pounds of beef produced in California is an interesting study in decision-making and response.

Specifically, was the decision to recall the beef made by the Federal gov't in Washington D.C. or by the individuals on the ground who recorded the video of animal mistreatment and saw fit to let others know? Local actions, global implications?

Response has been a proposal to strip the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture of its responsibilities.
Is this placing blame solely where it needs to be placed?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Pandemic Flu Preparedness Guide

Produced by the Michigan (USA) Department of Community Health...Written in very clear language with good advice...Could be adapted to audiences in other locations.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Global warming to equal more insects?

History shows insect boom during past warming period.

Chikungunya outbreak likely, say Aussie scientists

Half of mosquito species in Australia deemed efficient carriers of the disease,23739,23204552-5003426,00.html

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Amer Public Health blog addressing flu

Our partners at the American Public Health Association host a very useful blog on the potential for influenza outbreaks and suggested preparedness and prevention methods.
Learn how to GET READY at:

Measles on the rise in England, Wales

Case number grows from 56 in '97 to more than 700 in '07...many children unvaccinated.

Positive TB test found in Minnesota cattle

Bovine TB has been found in another herd of cattle in Minnesota...Brings the total to 10 herds.

Vietnam on high alert for bird flu

More about preparedness plans leading up to Feb. 6th New Year's celebration: