E. coli-still circulating

As reported October 26 by the CDC, the recent E. coli O157:H7 outbreak affected at least 40 people in eight states and was traced back to tainted ground beef from the Topps Meat Company in New Jersey. USDA’s FSIS also reported on October 26 that in a joint investigation with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), the likely source for the multi-state outbreak of E. coli caused by the Topps burgers was Ranchers Beef Ltd., of Balzac, Alberta, Canada, which the FSIS delisted as a supplier to the US on October 20, 2007.

According to FSIS, while Ranchers Beef ceased operations on August 15, 2007, some product remained in storage and was collected and tested by CFIA as part of the joint investigation of the Topps recall and as part of CFIA’s own investigation into 45 illnesses in Canada from E. coli. According to an October 26 statement from CFIA, 45 cases of E. coli were reported from July through September, 2007. Infections hospitalized 11 people and killed one elderly person. The report attributed the unique E. coli pattern found in the majority of the cases to be the same as “samples of beef taken from a meat facility in Alberta.”

Further reports from CFIA dated October 27 through November 6 state that the source of E. coli-in not only ground beef, but also several other cuts of beef distributed through Canada-was directly attributed to Ranchers Beef.  The company is currently under receivership and no longer operating. Remaining product in the Ranchers Beef warehouse has been detained by CFIA for further testing. When asked whether there was any connection between the company closing and CFIA action, CFIA spokesman, Garfield Balsom, said there was no correlation.

Two further, non-related recalls centered around potential E. coli contamination were announced by General Mills and Cargill. General Mills has recalled Totino’s and Jeno’s frozen pizzas with pepperoni contained in the toppings. The recall affects approximately 414,000 cases of pizza products currently in stores and in consumers’ freezers. According to CDC, 21 cases of E. coli from ten states have been isolated with eight people being hospitalized-four with kidney failure.

Cargill Meat Solutions, located in Wyalusing, PA has voluntarily recalled one-million pounds of ground beef produced. The ground beef was produced between October 8 and 11, 2007 and was distributed to retailers nationwide. The problem was discovered by FSIS through follow-up investigation and sampling after a positive E. coli O157:H7 at another federal establishment.

According to John Keating, president, Cargill Regional Beef, “No illnesses have been associated with this product.” Cargill is working closely with USDA to remove the product from the marketplace.

Invensys sells APV to SPX

Invensys plc has entered into an agreement to sell APV to SPX Corp. for a cash consideration of £250 million (about $521 million), subject to regulatory approvals. The disposal is made on a “debt free/cash free” basis, and completion is expected to take place by the end of December 2007. APV is a global supplier of process engineering solutions for the food, beverage, pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. During the year ended March 31, 2007, APV produced operating profit before exceptional items of £16 million ($33 million) on revenue of £421 million ($878 million) and at that date had gross assets of £284 million ($592 million).

Low fat and good taste

Dr. Stephen D. Kelleher, company founder and chief scientist at Proteus Industries Inc. (Gloucester, MA) has developed a way to produce low fat-battered and breaded fish, chicken and meat products that are both healthy and tasty. Proteus partners with processors that are interested in developing food products that retain moisture, minimize oil absorption and reduce calories. Kelleher applies Nutrilean, a thin invisible layer of fat-impenetrable protein to the fish, chicken or meat. This reduces the amount of cooking oil that would normally seep into the meat during frying. Under certain conditions, the protein is said to kill pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli.

Schneider Electric opens innovation center

Schneider Electric opened its Automation and Control Innovation Center, a hands-on demonstration center to showcase the company’s total automation and control solutions for OEM and end user customers. The center, located in Raleigh, NC, allows collaborative engineering design with Schneider industry experts and customers. Schneider is focusing its business on six key areas and has engineers with industry experience to communicate and work with customers. These areas include custom engineered solutions, food & beverage, logistics, migration services, oil and gas, and automotive.

Feds turn focus to food safety

The US government’s Import Safety Working Group met in Washington last month to obtain feedback from industry and government officials.


Sustaining your energy action plan

While being “green” may be good PR, it also makes lots of “cents.”

Tech Update: The economics of filtration

A number of factors are prompting food companies to upgrade filter systems and, in some cases, replace other technologies with advanced filtration.

Thoroughly dry, but rich in nutrients

Efficient technology preserves vitamins, minerals.

Assessing risk in Eastern Europe

Food safety problems facing nations such as Romania are not insurmountable, but they will not be solved quickly.

Rittal's new president,
Arnold Buescher

People, Plant and Industry News

Rittal Corp., headquartered in Springfield, OH, appointed Arnold Buescher (above) as its new president. Buescher comes to Rittal Corp. from its German-based parent company, Rittal GmbH & Co. KG. In Germany, Buescher served as sales director and was instrumental in improving the company’s market share and profitability.


Bison Gear & Engineering has promoted Bunnyray Larmond to senior application and sales engineer. Larmond joined the company four years ago as an application engineer after receiving his Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Wright State University in Dayton,OH.


Linda Ray joined Nordson Corp. as global business development manager for new markets in the Adhesive Systems Group. She will be based in Duluth, GA.


Juanita’s Foods (Wilmington, CA) has appointed brothers Mark and Aaron De La Torre to co-CEOs of the family owned company.


Eggland’s Best promoted John Cavaliere to marketing director and brought on Roger Koman as marketing manager and Sandy Ko as director of food science.


CPM Acquisition Corp. (CPM), a supplier of processing equipment to the animal feed, oilseed and food processing industries, has acquired Nanjing Ruiya Polymer Processing Equipment Cp., Ltd. of Nanjing, China. The CPM Ruiya Extrusion division will be aligned with CPM Century Extrusion.


Phillip Nelson, Purdue’s Scholle Chair Professor in Food Processing, has received the World Food Prize, an international award recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. Nelson is being honored for his work in aseptic processing, developing the “bag in a box” technology to process large quantities of seasonal crops such as tomatoes and oranges for long-term storage and bulk transportation.


Conwed Global Netting Solutions, supplier of lightweight plastic netting, has acquired the Tie-Net Unit of Tipper Tie, Inc., located in West Chicago.


Clemson University broke ground for a new 28,000 sq.-ft. building to house components of the packaging science and graphic communications departments in what will be the future home of the Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics.


The 54th annual ISA International Instrumentation Symposium will be held May 5-8, 2008 at the Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front Hotel in Pensacola, FL. The symposium, dedicated to innovative instrumentation techniques and applications, is sponsored by the Process Measurement and Control, Test and Measurement, and Aerospace divisions of ISA.