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Depoorter P.,Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain FASFC | Persoons D.,Ghent University | Uyttendaele M.,Ghent University | Butaye P.,Coda Research | And 6 more authors.
International Journal of Food Microbiology | Year: 2012

Acquired resistance of Escherichia coli to 3rd generation cephalosporin antimicrobials is a relevant issue in intensive broiler farming. In Belgium, about 35% of the E. coli strains isolated from live broilers are resistant to 3rd generation cephalosporins while over 60% of the broilers are found to be carrier of these 3rd generation cephalosporin resistant E. coli (CREC) after selective isolation. A model aimed at estimating the exposure of the consumer to CREC by consumption of broiler meat was elaborated. This model consists of different modules that simulate the farm to fork chain starting from primary production, over slaughter, processing and distribution to storage, preparation and consumption of broiler meat. Input data were obtained from the Belgian Food Safety agencies' annual monitoring plan and results from dedicated research programs or surveys. The outcome of the model using the available baseline data estimates that the probability of exposure to 1000 colony forming units (cfu) of CREC or more during consumption of a meal containing chicken meat is ca. 1.5%, the majority of exposure being caused by cross contamination in the kitchen. The proportion of CREC (within the total number of E. coli) at primary production and the overall contamination of broiler carcasses or broiler parts with E. coli are dominant factors in the consumer exposure to CREC. The risk of this exposure for human health cannot be estimated at this stage given a lack of understanding of the factors influencing the transfer of cephalosporin antimicrobial resistance genes from these E. coli to the human intestinal bacteria and data on the further consequences of the presence of CREC on human health. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Claeys W.L.,Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain FASFC | Schmit J.-F.,Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain FASFC | Bragard C.,Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain FASFC | Bragard C.,Earth and Life Institute | And 6 more authors.
Food Control | Year: 2011

The output of a pesticide surveillance program (detection frequency and number of exceeding measures) can lead to unnecessary concern among consumers since they lack information concerning the actual exposure. In this study, the exposure to pesticide residues through fruit and vegetable consumption is evaluated based on the 2008 surveillance data of the Belgian Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC).Results (deterministic and probabilistic approach) demonstrate that the chronic exposure of the adult population (>15 years) is generally under control, even at high or frequent consumption of fruit and vegetables. For most of the pesticide residues studied, the exposure is one hundred times lower than the 'acceptable daily intake' or ADI. With regard to children (2-5 years) who consume regularly or large amounts of fruit and vegetables, there are however, indications that for some pesticides the ADI can be exceeded. Nevertheless, due to the large uncertainty in these calculations, a more detailed study is required for this vulnerable group of consumers. In addition, it was demonstrated that washing and peeling of fruit and vegetables result in an exposure that is probably five to six times lower. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


Claeys W.L.,Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain FASFC | Cardoen S.,Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain FASFC | Daube G.,University of Liège | De Block J.,Belgium Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research | And 14 more authors.
Food Control | Year: 2013

In the context of the prevailing trend toward more natural products, there seems to be an increasing preference for raw milk consumption as raw milk is associated with several perceived health benefits that are believed to be destroyed upon heating. However, many human pathogens can be isolated from raw cow milk. The prevalence of foodborne pathogens in raw cow milk varies, but their presence has been demonstrated in many surveys and foodborne infections have been repeatedly reported for Campylobacter, Salmonella spp. and human pathogenic verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli. In industrialized countries, milk-borne and milk product-borne outbreaks represent 2-6% of the bacterial foodborne outbreaks.The aim of this review is to present scientifically sound data regarding the risks and benefits related to the consumption of raw and heated cow milk. Both microbiological aspects (e.g., the prevalence of milk-borne pathogens, pathogen growth inhibition by antimicrobial systems and by lactic acid producing bacteria, probiotic bacteria, etc.) and nutritional or health aspects (nutritional value, immunity, allergies, lactose intolerance, diabetes, milk digestibility, etc.) are considered.As such, it is demonstrated that consumption of raw milk poses a realistic health threat due to a possible contamination with human pathogens. It is therefore strongly recommended that milk should be heated before consumption. With the exception of an altered organoleptic profile, heating (in particularly ultra high temperature and similar treatments) will not substantially change the nutritional value of raw milk or other benefits associated with raw milk consumption. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Van Damme I.,Ghent University | Berkvens D.,Institute of Tropical Medicine | Botteldoorn N.,Scientific Institute of Public Health | Dierick K.,Scientific Institute of Public Health | And 3 more authors.
Food Microbiology | Year: 2013

Pig carcass swabs (n=254) and minced meat samples (n=82) were examined for pathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica using different routinely used enrichment protocols. All samples were obtained in the context of the official Yersinia monitoring program in Belgium. In total, 28 carcasses (11.0%) were contaminated with Y.enterocolitica bioserotype 4/O:3 and one (0.4%) with bioserotype 2/O:9. Four minced meat samples (4.9%) tested positive for Y.enterocolitica bioserotype 4/O:3. Using the ISO 10273:2003 method, eight out of the 29 Yersinia-positive carcasses (27.6%) and none of the contaminated minced meat samples (0.0%) were detected. Reducing the enrichment time in PSB from 5 to 2 days increased the number of positive samples. Overall, enrichment in PSB at 25°C recovered more positive carcasses and minced meat samples than selective enrichment and cold enrichment. As the exclusive use of the ISO 10273:2003 method results in a strong underestimation of Y.enterocolitica positive carcasses and minced meats, efforts are needed to optimize the current version of the ISO method. In addition, isolation of pathogenic Y.enterocolitica requires experience and the use of a stereomicroscope to avoid false negative results. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Habib I.,Ghent University | Habib I.,Alexandria University | Berkvens D.,Institute of Tropical Medicine | De Zutter L.,Ghent University | And 5 more authors.
Food Microbiology | Year: 2012

This study investigates factors associated with Campylobacter contamination of broiler carcasses, using survey data collected from nine Belgian slaughterhouses in 2008 in accordance with a European Union baseline study. Campylobacter were detected in 51.9% (202/389) (95% confidence interval, 46.8%-56.9%) of broiler carcasses. Campylobacter concentration was <10 CFU/g in 49.6% of carcasses, while 20.6% were contaminated with ≥1000 CFU/g. The mean Campylobacter concentration, as calculated by maximum likelihood estimation for left-censored data, was 1.8 log 10 CFU/g, with a standard deviation of 1.9 log 10 CFU/g. There was statistically significant variation among slaughterhouses in prevalence and concentrations of Campylobacter in their sampled carcasses. Campylobacter prevalence (but not concentrations) was positively associated with increase in broilers age. Both Campylobacter prevalence and concentration were significantly higher in carcasses sampled during June and September (but not in July and August) than carcasses sampled in January. We also investigated the correlation (Spearman's rank correlation test) between the scores of official control inspections and Campylobacter prevalence for eight out of the nine slaughterhouses. The control inspections were routinely performed by the Belgian Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain, and the concluded inspection scores were used as a general numerical indicator for the status of operational hygiene and quality of management in the slaughterhouses. Ranking of slaughterhouses based on their inspection scores was statistically correlated (Spearman's correlation coefficient = 0.857) with their ranking based on prevalence of Campylobacter. In the present study we demonstrate how the outcomes from a routine baseline survey could be coupled with other readily available data from national control authorities in order to enable a better insight over Campylobacter contamination status in broiler slaughterhouses. Findings from this work call for subsequent in-depth investigations on technical and hygiene management factors that could impact Campylobacter contamination across broiler slaughterhouses. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


Habib I.,Ghent University | Habib I.,Alexandria University | De Zutter L.,Ghent University | Van Huffel X.,Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain FASFC | And 2 more authors.
Food Control | Year: 2012

Surrogating Campylobacter contamination level in broiler carcasses with other bacterial indicators, used to evaluate the hygienic status of the slaughterline operations, might be stimulation to the broiler meat industry to improve control of Campylobacter during slaughter. Theoretically, Escherichia coli might have some practical merits as a potential indicator for carcasses contaminated with Campylobacter. This study investigates the correlation between the counts of E. coli and Campylobacter in 231 postchill broiler carcasses. The impact of setting a process hygiene target based on E. coli counts on reducing the frequency of carcasses contaminated with Campylobacter at level of ≥3 log 10 CFU/g was also investigated. Almost half (48.9% (46/94)) of the carcasses with enumerable Campylobacter (≥1 log 10 CFU/g) had E. coli counts between 3 and 4 log 10 CFU/g. In addition, 54.8% (17/31) of the carcasses contaminated with Campylobacter of ≥3 log 10 CFU/g were correlated with E. coli count range of ≥3 & <4 log 10 CFU/g. A theoretical scenario assuming that hygiene and processing measures could allow achieving a target for E. coli that not exceeding 3 log 10 CFU/g showed a parallel impact on Campylobacter contamination in broiler carcasses. In such scenario, the overall number of Campylobacter-positive carcasses could be dropped from 40.6% to 12.5%; in addition, 80.6% (25/31) of the carcasses contaminated with Campylobacter of ≥3 log 10 CFU/g could be eliminated. Findings from this study reveal that a hygiene target based on E. coli count could be used as an indirect sanitary tool for reducing the level of Campylobacter contamination in postchill broiler carcasses. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


Welby S.,Unit for Co ordination of Veterinary Diagnostics | Govaerts M.,Coda Research | Vanholme L.,Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain FASFC | Hooyberghs J.,Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain FASFC | And 4 more authors.
Preventive Veterinary Medicine | Year: 2012

Belgium obtained the bovine tuberculosis (bTB) officially free status in 2003 (. EC Decision 2003/467/EC). This study was carried out to evaluate the components of the current bTB surveillance program in Belgium and to determine the sensitivity of this program. Secondly, alternatives to optimize the bTB surveillance in accordance with European legislation (. Council Directive 64/432/EEC) were evaluated.Separate scenario trees were designed for each active surveillance component of the bTB surveillance program. Data from 2005 to 2009 regarding cattle population, movement and surveillance were collected to feed the stochastic scenario tree simulation model. A total of 7,403,826 cattle movement history records were obtained for the 2,678,020 cattle from 36,059 cattle herds still active in 2009. The current surveillance program sensitivity as well as the impact of alternative surveillance protocols was simulated in a stochastic model using 10,000 iterations per simulation.The median (50% percentile) of the component sensitivities across 10,000 iterations was 0.83, 0.85, 0.99, 0.99, respectively, for (i) testing the cattle only during the winter screening, (ii) testing only imported cattle, (iii) testing only purchased cattle and (iv) testing only all slaughtered cattle. The sensitivity analysis showed that the most influential input parameter explaining the variability around the output came from the uncertainty distribution around the sensitivity of the diagnostic tests used within the bTB surveillance. Providing all animals are inspected and post mortem inspection is highly sensitive, slaughterhouse surveillance was the most effective surveillance component. If these conditions were not met, the uncertainty around the mean sensitivity of this component was important. Using an antibody ELISA at purchase and an interferon gamma test during winter screening and at import would increase greatly the sensitivity and the confidence level of Belgium's freedom from bTB infection status. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


PubMed | Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain FASFC, Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain, Ghent University, Belgium Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research and 2 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of agricultural and food chemistry | Year: 2016

A scenario analysis in regard to the risk of chronic exposure of consumers to residues through the consumption of contaminated honey and beeswax was conducted. Twenty-two plant protection products and veterinary substances of which residues have already been detected in beeswax in Europe were selected. The potential chronic exposure was assessed by applying a worst-case scenario based on the addition of a maximum daily intake through the consumption of honey and beeswax to the theoretical maximum daily intake through other foodstuffs. For each residue, the total exposure was finally compared to the acceptable daily intake. It is concluded that the food consumption of honey and beeswax contaminated with these residues considered separately does not compromise the consumers health, provided proposed action limits are met. In regard to residues of flumethrin in honey and in beeswax, zero tolerance should be applied.


PubMed | Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain FASFC, Coda Research and Royal Belgian Institute Of Natural Sciences
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Avian diseases | Year: 2016

Due to their probable role in the spread of Asian highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 virus, and in order to explore its implication in the low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) virus epidemiology, mute swans represent one particular wild bird species specifically targeted in the avian influenza (AI) surveillance elaborated in Belgium. A total of 640 individual mute swans have been sampled during a 4-yr AI surveillance program (2007-2010) to determine the AI seroprevalence and viroprevalence in this species; all were analyzed through age, temporal, and habitat (flowing and stagnant water) factors. Using a nucleoprotein (NP)-based ELISA, a global antibody prevalence of 35% has been found and was characterized by two peaks in the winter and the summer that might be indicative of a greater LPAI virus circulation in the autumn than in the spring. A significantly higher antibody prevalence was detected in adult swans (53.8%) as compared to juveniles (15.5%). In contrast, a low prevalence of infection (2.7%) was found, mainly in juvenile mute swans and only during the autumn migration period. Interestingly, an impact of water habitat was observed based on the comparison of the antibody prevalence and prevalence of infection from swan populations living on stagnant water vs. flowing water, suggesting that stagnant water provides a more-favorable environment for LPAI persistence and transmission.


Lambrecht B.,Coda Research | Marche S.,Coda Research | Houdart P.,Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain FASFC | Van Den Berg T.,Coda Research | Vangeluwe D.,Royal Belgian Institute Of Natural Sciences
Avian Diseases | Year: 2016

Due to their probable role in the spread of Asian highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 virus, and in order to explore its implication in the low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) virus epidemiology, mute swans represent one particular wild bird species specifically targeted in the avian influenza (AI) surveillance elaborated in Belgium. A total of 640 individual mute swans have been sampled during a 4-yr AI surveillance program (2007-2010) to determine the AI seroprevalence and viroprevalence in this species; all were analyzed through age, temporal, and habitat (flowing and stagnant water) factors. Using a nucleoprotein (NP)-based ELISA, a global antibody prevalence of 35% has been found and was characterized by two peaks in the winter and the summer that might be indicative of a greater LPAI virus circulation in the autumn than in the spring. A significantly higher antibody prevalence was detected in adult swans (53.8%) as compared to juveniles (15.5%). In contrast, a low prevalence of infection (2.7%) was found, mainly in juvenile mute swans and only during the autumn migration period. Interestingly, an impact of water habitat was observed based on the comparison of the antibody prevalence and prevalence of infection from swan populations living on stagnant water vs. flowing water, suggesting that stagnant water provides a more-favorable environment for LPAI persistence and transmission.

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