Microbial Colonies Induce Increase of Chemical Substrate Contamination in Food

  • By Destiny Jolade
  • 27 Nov, 2017

Food is one of the most significant aspects of our society today; whether we're at work or with family, food helps to nourish our mind and our bodies.  Given the importance of food in our daily lives, factors affecting food like frequent outbreaks of food-borne illnesses as well as recalls of fruits, vegetables and meats have shaken the confidence of many consumers.  In response, a growing number of consumers, restaurants and food distribution organizations have implemented policies and safeguards against further microbial outbreaks in food.  In the majority of cases,  these microbe focused practices and procedures have helped to reduce the bacterial load in many foods noticeably and as such lead to less frequent outbreaks.  Though these new methods are effective against microorganisms, they do little in the way of preventing chemical and synthetic compounds from contaminating foods.

The presence of many chemical and synthetic compounds in food is not a new occurrence and is often due to unintentional introduction through environmental, mechanical and biological vectors.  As such, many of these compounds are frequently introduced at varying stages of the production, processing, and transport cycle [2,].  Though various chemicals are often introduced during the different stages, only a handful of compounds are shown to affect consumer health.  One such example of this occurred in the 1980s as levels of a class of chemical called dioxins, which are known to affect liver function and the immune system adversely, were shown to be elevated in several types of foods [1,3].   Since the 1980s, measures focused on minimizing the levels of dioxins in foods have yielded positive outcomes regarding the levels of dioxins found in people over the years has dropped [1,2].  Tests about the levels of dioxins in people using “milk as an indicator of the human body burden, where levels of dioxins have dropped to roughly 20% of the original level over the last 30 years.” [1].  The effectiveness of these distribution centered regulatory policies of contaminants has and will continue to lead to a long-term decrease in the levels of dioxins and other related chemical contaminants in the human body.

Tandem to dioxins, per and polyfluorinated alkylated substances (PFAS) have also been detected in many food products; however, unlike dioxins, the literature on these substances isn’t robust. Its known that PFAS are standard components in industrial-grade chemicals and are notoriously challenging to degrade while being detected at every level of the environment and in humans [1]. Due to the chemical properties of these compounds, they are commonly found in consumer products to give them water, dirt and grease repellant properties [2].  As such, the half-life of PFAS is particularly long in the human body as it takes several years for the compounds to exit the human body [1,2].  The presence of PFAS in food products may pose a long-term danger as high enough levels of these compounds has been shown to damage the liver, affect reproduction and even induce cancer [2].  Concentrations of these PFAS need to be continually monitored to mitigate any long-term health risks associated with elevated levels in food.

Along with these chemical substrated, current studies on nano and microscale materials like metals and metalloids, have also yielded results that point to elevated levels of these metals and metalloids in foods [1].  It is believed that many of the components in packaging materials used during the transport of these foods migrates into the food via microorganisms[1,2].  In a recent study by Munoz et al., on contaminant accumulation in bacterial communities called biofilms, it was shown "that PFASs are not only absorbed at the biofilm’s surface, but may also be incorporated within the matrix of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS)" [3].  In short, these findings show that microorganism accumulate these compounds in their cells at levels higher than would be observed in without microbes [3].  Thus the additive effect that microorganisms have on the concentration and introduction of these compounds in foods subsequently increases the risk of the presence of these compounds.

Elevated levels of the chemical compounds are known to be detrimental to the long-term health of people who consume foods containing these chemicals.  As we've seen with the efforts to reduce dioxin levels in foods, routine quality testing of foods is the most effective way to reduce the levels of these compounds in our diet. Here at Sure-BioChem Laboratories, we recommend staying away from highly processed and prepackaged foods as they have the highest likelihood of having these chemicals being introduced into the food product.  Additionally, foods stored in containers sprayed with nonstick substances also have a chance of introducing these substances onto food.  For more information regarding chemical testing, bioburden testing or creating testing plans contact Sure-BioChem at 888-398-7247 to get your consultation today.





References


  1. BfR Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. "Contaminants in food: Identifying and assessing risks as early as possible." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 July 2017.
  2. Mastovska, Katerina. “Modern Analysis of Chemical Contaminants in Food.”Food Safety Magazine, Feb. 2013,  www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/februarymarch-2013/modern-analysis-of-chemical-contamin... .
  3. Munoz, Gabriel, et al. "Spatio-temporal dynamics of per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) and transfer to periphytic biofilm in an urban river: case-study on the River Seine."Environmental Science and Pollution Research (2016): 1-9.



By Destiny Jolade 17 Jan, 2018


Hand washing is the most common and one of the most effective methods for reducing the spread of pathogenic microbes.  In our world today, hand washing is a part of our daily lives; this is especially true for those working in the food handling and medical industries predisposed to serious contamination events.  As such, employers often have strict worker hygiene policies, which emphasize hand washing, to prevent and reduce the frequency of these contamination events.  However, a recent study revealed that "liquid soap can become contaminated with bacteria" which can increase exposure to pathogenic organisms and potentially lead to illness [1].

In the study, it was observed that the design of soap dispensers commonly found in public bathrooms significantly increased the contamination risk for people using those dispensers. Bulk-soap-refillable dispensers (BSFD) were identified to have the most significant risk of microbial contamination as the process to refill these soap dispensers requires new soap to be directly poured into the existing dispenser [1].  Often viewed as a minor issue, pouring soap directly into soap dispensers has been shown to increase the likelihood of contamination events as outlined by several reported cases of bacterial contamination in healthcare settings [1].   In one such case in 2011, it was discovered that a batch of liquid soap intended for use in an Ohio hospital was found to be contaminated with a high quantity of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a highly infectious microbe [1,3].  Those infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa often experience high fever, vomiting, shortness of breath and impaired vision [1,3]. If not treated, those affected can develop pneumonia, septic shock and gastrointestinal infections which are often treated with antibiotics, however several multi-drug resistant strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa currently exist [2,3].  As such, preventing exposure to Pseudomonas aeruginosa and its multi-drug resistant strains with contaminant-free soap is paramount to ensuring the continued safety of healthcare workers and patients alike.

Similar to the Pseudomonas aeruginosa contamination event, investigators also tested soap dispensers in elementary schools.  As mentioned before, liquid soap from BSFD devices were tested for microbial contamination along with soap from sealed refill dispensers.  Results from the tests showed a 26 fold (26x) increase in gram-negative bacteria on the hands of students and staff after hand washing from the bulk-soap-refillable dispenser [1,2].  In contrast, sealed refill dispensers were shown to reduce the bacterial load on the hands of students and staff by two-fold (2x) [2].  Results from this study show how potentially dangerous contaminated soap can be as well as showing how the bacterial load on the hands of students and staff helps to facilitate the transmission of opportunistic pathogens [1,2,3]. The observed levels of bacteria on the hands of anyone that used BSFD devices can also spur the transmission of Klebsiella pneumoniae, Serratia marcescens, Enterobacter other pathogenic microbial species. Additionally, another related study found that 25% of soap dispensers in the US are excessively contaminated with potentially pathogenic microbes with 16% of the dispensers in the US also being contaminated with coliform bacteria commonly found in the digestive tracts of animals [2,3].  The significant increases in bacterial load after hand washing presented in this study highlights the potential risk of exposure and illness present in these soap dispensers while also characterizing the increasing potential for easily transmissible microbes to society at large.

Contamination events are an ever-present risk in today’s world and with many of us working in and around high traffic areas; proper hand washing is a must. As the studies have detailed, even hand washing can pose a contamination risk, thus increasing your likelihood of exposure to pathogens.  Here at Sure-BioChem Laboratories, we recommend avoiding bulk-soap-refillable soap dispensers and if possible using sealed refill soap dispensers as an alternative.  If sealed refill soap dispensers are not available, carrying hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes are known reduce your risk of exposure to pathogenic microbes from these soap dispensers.  For more information regarding other sources of microbial contamination, Microbial Analysis, and Bioburden Testing contact Sure-BioChem at 888-398-7247.








References

C. A. Zapka, E. J. Campbell, S. L. Maxwell, C. P. Gerba, M. J. Dolan, J. W. Arbogast, D. R. Macinga. Bacterial Hand Contamination and Transfer after Use of Contaminated Bulk-Soap-Refillable Dispensers. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2011; 77 (9): 2898 DOI:

10.1128/AEM.02632-10

Chattman, Marisa, and Sheri L. Maxwell. "Occurrence of heterotrophic and coliform bacteria in liquid hand soaps from bulk refillable dispensers in public facilities." Journal of environmental health 73.7 (2011): 26.

Lanini, Simone, et al. "Molecular epidemiology of a Pseudomonas aeruginosa hospital outbreak driven by a contaminated disinfectant-soap dispenser." PloS one 6.2 (2011): e17064.




By Destiny Jolade 02 Jan, 2018

Industry demands for complex and definitive testing protocols have increased over recent years. This new paradigm has put a strain on in- house testing laboratories by requiring them to conform to ever-changing, exacting, pharmacological standards established by industry oversight organizations. For many companies, their bottom line is negatively affected by the transient regulatory standards, and this often results in a fiscal drain for the company.

Compounding the fiscal shortfalls that in-house testing procedures may create, is the fact that many in-house laboratory protocol statements may suffer from reporting bias. Frequently, when testing protocols are conducted utilizing a company’s internal methods, there may be a misguided belief that their specific reporting schema will result in more favorable results. In other words, the laboratory, company or the employee themselves can produce better results because they know the product. However, this practice can lead to a tendency to under-report findings obtained using the company’s unique laboratory testing procedures, and consequently, skew the final testing results.

Many leading companies have shifted towards this new model of outsourcing testing protocols because verified testing laboratories can serve as a safeguard that ensures the continued growth of their company. Using verified testing laboratories also provides assurance that a company’s products are being examined through unbiased lens that are regulated by industry oversight organizations. In addition, if any discrepancies are detected in the samples, outsourced laboratories are typically in a better position to isolate and rectify any potential problems with a company’s product. The client would also be spared the burdensome process of conducting a complete audit of their entire laboratory protocol.

Considering the increasing level of industry guidelines, well-informed companies are contracting with certified testing laboratories to have testing results concurrently and accurately verified. Though not required, outsourcing helps provide a layer of protection for the company. More importantly, it also allows prospective companies to devote valuable fiscal and human capital to projects, which will result in the greatest return and increase the bottom line.

As a premier source of validated industry and laboratory testing, Sure-BioChem Laboratories continues to provide clients with testing services consistent with our belief of proactive prevention. Sure-BioChem’s experienced team offers a myriad of testing options for prospective companies that adheres to industry standards. We give our clients “Results they can be sure of”!

Contact  Sure-BioChem Laboratories at 888-398-7247 for more information about our services.


By Destiny Jolade 27 Dec, 2017

Heavy metals are undeniably a crucial element in many of today’s industrialized and developing economies. Unfortunately, heavy metals are also known to cause many despondent health related issues to people exposed to elevated levels of these compounds. Many of the symptoms associated with heavy metal poisoning like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hepatic cirrhosis and anemia are often mistaken for bacterial or viral pathogens [3]. Given how easily heavy metal poisoning can be mistaken for biotic pathogens, treatment for heavy metal poisoning often starts after permanent neurological and physical damage has occurred [3,4].

Recently, many heavy metal related contamination events have spurred public and governmental action on many aged water and wastewater infrastructure systems [2,3]. Though aged water and wastewater systems are responsible for some of the most prevalent contamination events, heavy metal contamination can also occur through a myriad of routes [5]. One of the more understated routes towards heavy metal contamination involves the inadequate clean up of irresponsible industrial processes that failed to meet the local, state and federal environmental standards [1,4,5]. Such a case occurred in an East Chicago housing complex where about 1,200 homeowners were forced to vacate their homes after dangerous levels of lead and other heavy metals were discovered in the soil underpinning this community [1,2].

Though detailed information regarding the EPA sanctioned relocation of these 1,200 homeowners is still scarce, it’s believed that the housing complex was built on a previously identified superfund site [2,3]. Information was provided by the EPA regarding this superfund site that this superfund site previously housed a lead smelting factory that was consequently shut down due to numerous EPA regulatory violations [1,4]. Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act act of 1980, the site of the lead smelting factory was supposed to be adequately cleaned up of any potentially toxic compounds like heavy metals [2,3]. After the cleanup of this site there was supposed to be independent testing to assure that the cleanup process was completed under federal and local guidelines [1].

In the case of the lead contaminated East Chicago neighborhood, the cleanup and verification process was not adequately done before the superfund site was approved for construction [3]. As a result, independent developers built the subsequent housing complex on the site which was still laced with too high levels of heavy metal contaminated soil [4].

Due to the shocking prevalence of the these superfund sites and the attractiveness these remediated sites pose to land developers, ensuring that the soil, water and relevant infrastructure is in accordance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 is both a public, legal and financial imperative [3,4]. As per EPA guidelines these sites must be independently tested to insure the heavy metal levels are well within safe parameters [5]. In accordance to these parameters the EPA advises that local governments have former superfund sites checked by a certified testing lab like Sure-Biochem Laboratories to ensure compliance with both state and federal regulations. Sure-BioChem Laboratories specializes in providing the highest quality environmental monitoring protocols and heavy testing. Achieving a verifiable standard of environmental safety not only benefits the neighborhood in question, but the surrounding community as well.

For additional information regarding your sterility and particulate matter monitoring services, contact Sure-BioChem Laboratories at 888-398-7247 for your particulate matter consultation today.

Reference:
1. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/31/us/lead-contamination-public-housing-east-Chicago-Indiana.html
2. http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/post-tribune/news/ct-ptb-east-Chicago-cleanup-st-1003-20161002-story.html
3. Dimaio, VJ; Dimaio, SM; Garriott, JC; Simpson, P (1983). "A fatal case of lead poisoning due to a retained bullet". The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology. 4 (2): 165–9.
4. Patrick, L (2006). "Lead toxicity, a review of the literature. Part 1: Exposure, evaluation, and treatment". Alternative Medicine Review. 11 (1): 2–22.
5. Pokras, MA; Kneeland, MR (2008). "Lead poisoning: using transdisciplinary approaches to solve an ancient problem". EcoHealth. 5 (3): 379–85.


By Destiny Jolade 20 Dec, 2017

Indoor air quality reductions are often induced by a wide array of factors corresponding to living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic) factors. In many instances these biotic and abiotic factors amalgamate to create issues that are greater than the sum of the individual factors acting alone. Nowhere is this more evident than in the environmentally induced growth of mold in inconsistently cooled and dehumidified indoor environments.

             In many industries, central heating and cooling systems are the essential component of maintaining a viable production, manufacturing and working environment. However, these central heating and cooling systems are often expensive to install and require extensive maintenance schedules that often go unfulfilled [3]. As such, a growing number of businesses, as a cost saving measure, are returning to the use of decentralized heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems (HVAC) that only effectively and reliably work within an area of few feet from the HVAC systems [3,4]. Implementation of such systems often results in a higher prevalence of stagnant air conditions in areas that are far removed from the decentralized HVAC [1].

            During the colder months, having an increased prevalence of stagnant air conditions poses no significant biotic threat to the building or the employees, as most microbes are cold intolerant [2]. However, these stagnant air conditions in the colder months do bring with them a greater propensity of decreased air quality conditions [1]. The World Health Organization (WHO) categorizes businesses and buildings being affected by decreased air quality standards as having “sick building syndrome” [5]. Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is defined as “an excess of work-related irritations of the skin and mucous membranes and other symptoms, including headache, fatigue and difficulty concentrating caused by poor air quality standards, in modern office buildings” [4,5].

            In the warmer months, the effects of these poorly maintained centralized HVAC systems or their decentralized counterparts often results in increased humidity and temperature within the workspace. Increases in humidity and temperature provides the perfect breeding ground from fungal growth and subsequent possible fungal sporulation events [3,5]. These sporulation events, compounded with the higher incidences of abiotic PM2.5 particulates leaching into workplaces during the warmer months, significantly reduce both the air quality and the prospective health of employees in that environment [2]. The combinatorial effect of these biotic fungal growth events and the abiotic PM2.5 leaching into the building often results in many adverse health conditions like coughing, wheezing, skin and eye irritation, cardiovascular stress and cancer in chronic cases [5].

            Within the medical, biotech and pharmaceutical industries where sterility and quality assurance is critical to production, having these biotic fungal sporulation and abiotic PM2.5 events severely affecting indoor air quality can be a cause avoidable product recalls and audits that can consequently hinder future production efforts [5]. Organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advise having a verifiable standard of air quality and microbial burden testing year-round [3,5]. Having your workspace and products certifiably accredited for sterility by a verified laboratory like Sure-BioChem Laboratories goes a long way to protecting your employees, customers and your investment.

Sure-BioChem Laboratories specializes in providing testing and certification that is industry and federally approved. Our experienced team specializes in testing for particle counts, HEPA filter integrity testing, airflow volume/velocity, establishing fungal detection protocols, temperature and year-round microbiological monitoring.

For more information regarding your air quality testing contact Sure-BioChem Laboratories for your microbial monitoring consultation today at 888-398-7247.

Sources:

1.   Bomberg, Mark, and Fred Andreas. "The energy conundrum of modern buildings." Frontiers of Architectural Research 2.4 (2013): 500-502.                    

2.   Maddalena, R., et al. "Effects of ventilation rate per person and per floor area on perceived air quality, sick building syndrome symptoms, and decision?making."Indoor air 25.4 (2015): 362-370.        

3.   Rocha, C. A., et al. "Characterization of Indoor Air Bioaerosols in an Electrical Headquarter Building." Indoor and Built Environment 22.6 (2013): 910-919.

4.   Visagie, C. M., et al. "Aspergillus, Penicillium and Talaromyces isolated from house dust samples collected around the world." Studies in mycology 78 (2014): 63-139.

Zamani,   Mohd Ezman, Juliana Jalaludin, and Nafiz Shaharom. "Indoor air quality and prevalence of sick building syndrome among office workers in two different offices in Selangor."American Journal of Applied Sciences 10.10           (2013): 1140-1147.  


By Destiny Jolade 04 Dec, 2017
Outbreaks can mean months of investigation for the company involved, the FDA, CDC and other public health departments. It can mean hundreds of recalls on product and a damaged company name from growing distrust. A 2014 mold outbreak resulted in the fatality of a 29-week-old infant. A product recall in over 25 states across the United States followed. The premature infant experienced immune system trouble and the hospital attempted to remedy the issue by treating the child with a probiotic.

Probiotics can be found in yogurt, capsule, or powder form and is intended to flood the consumer’s large intestine, or colon, with healthy bacteria over time. The harmless bacteria from these sources are valuable because they occupy space and nutrients, which otherwise a harmful microbe could nest in. Being preterm, the infant lacked both a fully functioning immune system and precious gut microbes to prevent the mold’s spread.

The mold, Rhizopus Orgzae, is an opportunistic fungus that takes residence is dead matter. Upon surgical investigation, the hospital found the infant’s bowel was necrotized, which happens when cells die. The bowl was heavily inhabited by the fungus, which caused mucormycosis. Mucormycosis is a rare, acute infection caused by fungus of the order Mucorales. Symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea and fever (1).

These is little to be done in sensitive cases where patients have a compromised immune system. The irreplaceable loss of a child cannot be reversed nor could it be foreseen. Outbreaks like this highlight the importance of utilizing numerous resources before shipping products. Outbreaks are preventable with the right education and resources. Good Manufacturing Practices, like what Sure-BioChem promotes, lessens the risk for financial and emotion expenses that could punch holes in a company. Take advantage of SBL’s Environmental Monitoring to identify any molds, viruses, or bacteria in your products or request Cleanroom Training where SBL can assist you in creating efficient philosophies for your company to stick by.

References
1. http://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/mucormycosis/
By Destiny Jolade 01 Dec, 2017

In 1980, the EPA established the Superfund program in response to heightened levels of unregulated toxic dumping grounds near and around residential zones [4,7]. Through the Superfund program, the EPA is tasked with the assessment, mitigation and remediation of these sites, which often pose a public health risk to the surrounding communities due to the hazardous compounds that are associated with these sites. Although these site are reclaimed through remediation, many studies have shown that toxic compounds often have a propensity to leach into the soil and local groundwater sources long after remediation practices are finished. [5].
Oftentimes, Superfund sites are characterized by contamination of substances such as arsenic, lead, mercury, benzene, cadmium, vinyl chloride, trichloroethylene, free radicals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons [3]. Consequently, through the diversity of potential contaminants, there can be differentiation in the methods of action of remediation techniques [1,3]. Selection of remediation techniques used in Superfund sites “can be a challenging task due to the uncertainty in assessment of level of contamination, high costs of remediation and the collateral impacts of the technique on the environment.” [6]. Although remediation techniques are numerous and often require specialized analysis for their implementation, the majority of remediation techniques often fit into five main categories:

(i) complete or substantial destruction/degradation of the pollutants, (ii) extraction of pollutants for further treatment or disposal, (iii) stabilization of pollutants in forms less mobile or toxic, (iv) separation of non-contaminated materials and their recycling from polluted materials that require further treatment and (v) containment of the polluted material to restrict exposure of the wider environment. [6].


Though the processes and technologies behind Superfund site remediation are continually improving, it is not uncommon to have the residual contaminants in the air, soil and water of surrounding communities after the the remediation processes are complete.
In the tri-state area, there are a shocking number of Superfund sites collectively totaling about 206 as of 2016. The breakdown of these sites follows with there being 100+ in New Jersey, 90+ in Pennsylvania and 16 in Delaware. Though many of these Superfund sites may have been cleared for reuse within the larger community, subsequent studies have shown that although levels of contaminants in soil “‘become less bioavailable, their total concentration in soils remains unchanged” [2]. Furthermore, complete removal of these contaminants is often precipitated through natural processes from plants; however, remediation in urban environments that have a noticeable absence of active plant life or have been shown to be “subject to leaching thereby causing groundwater contamination.” [2].
Given the continued rise of urbanization globally and nationally, many of these remediated Superfund sites often lie in areas that are ideal for future construction projects. As a result, prospective developers may not know of the health risks associated with residual contamination from these contaminated sites. Consequently, it is recommended as a matter of due diligence that environmental monitoring and testing be performed on all existing and planned development sites by certified testing laboratories like Sure-Biochem Laboratories. Sure-BioChem Laboratories specializes in providing the highest quality environmental testing and monitoring services year-round. Our experienced team is trained in producing verifiable testing services for for lead, manganese, arsenic, mercury and volatile organics in remediated or contaminated sites.


For additional information regarding our environmental monitoring services, contact Sure-BioChem Laboratories at 888-398-7247.

1. http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/spl/
2. Bolan, Nanthi, et al. "Remediation of heavy metal (loid) s contaminated soils–to mobilize or to immobilize?." Journal of hazardous materials 266 (2014): 141-166.
3. Dela Cruz, Albert Leo N. et al. “Assessment of Environmentally Persistent Free Radicals in Soils and Sediments from Three Superfund Sites.” Environmental science. Processes & impacts 16.1 (2014): 44–52. PMC. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.
4. http://www.epa.gov/superfund/search-superfund-sites-where-you-live
5. Gomez, Sarah A. Saslow, et al. "A General Chemistry Assignment Analyzing Environmental Contamination for the DePue, IL, National Superfund Site."Journal of Chemical Education 92.4 (2014): 638-642.
6. Hashim, M. A., et al. "Remediation technologies for heavy metal contaminated groundwater." Journal of environmental management 92.10 (2011): 2355-2388.
7. http://www.nj.gov/dep/oqa/labcert.html


By Destiny Jolade 27 Nov, 2017

Food is one of the most significant aspects of our society today; whether we're at work or with family, food helps to nourish our mind and our bodies.  Given the importance of food in our daily lives, factors affecting food like frequent outbreaks of food-borne illnesses as well as recalls of fruits, vegetables and meats have shaken the confidence of many consumers.  In response, a growing number of consumers, restaurants and food distribution organizations have implemented policies and safeguards against further microbial outbreaks in food.  In the majority of cases,  these microbe focused practices and procedures have helped to reduce the bacterial load in many foods noticeably and as such lead to less frequent outbreaks.  Though these new methods are effective against microorganisms, they do little in the way of preventing chemical and synthetic compounds from contaminating foods.

The presence of many chemical and synthetic compounds in food is not a new occurrence and is often due to unintentional introduction through environmental, mechanical and biological vectors.  As such, many of these compounds are frequently introduced at varying stages of the production, processing, and transport cycle [2,].  Though various chemicals are often introduced during the different stages, only a handful of compounds are shown to affect consumer health.  One such example of this occurred in the 1980s as levels of a class of chemical called dioxins, which are known to affect liver function and the immune system adversely, were shown to be elevated in several types of foods [1,3].   Since the 1980s, measures focused on minimizing the levels of dioxins in foods have yielded positive outcomes regarding the levels of dioxins found in people over the years has dropped [1,2].  Tests about the levels of dioxins in people using “milk as an indicator of the human body burden, where levels of dioxins have dropped to roughly 20% of the original level over the last 30 years.” [1].  The effectiveness of these distribution centered regulatory policies of contaminants has and will continue to lead to a long-term decrease in the levels of dioxins and other related chemical contaminants in the human body.

Tandem to dioxins, per and polyfluorinated alkylated substances (PFAS) have also been detected in many food products; however, unlike dioxins, the literature on these substances isn’t robust. Its known that PFAS are standard components in industrial-grade chemicals and are notoriously challenging to degrade while being detected at every level of the environment and in humans [1]. Due to the chemical properties of these compounds, they are commonly found in consumer products to give them water, dirt and grease repellant properties [2].  As such, the half-life of PFAS is particularly long in the human body as it takes several years for the compounds to exit the human body [1,2].  The presence of PFAS in food products may pose a long-term danger as high enough levels of these compounds has been shown to damage the liver, affect reproduction and even induce cancer [2].  Concentrations of these PFAS need to be continually monitored to mitigate any long-term health risks associated with elevated levels in food.

Along with these chemical substrated, current studies on nano and microscale materials like metals and metalloids, have also yielded results that point to elevated levels of these metals and metalloids in foods [1].  It is believed that many of the components in packaging materials used during the transport of these foods migrates into the food via microorganisms[1,2].  In a recent study by Munoz et al., on contaminant accumulation in bacterial communities called biofilms, it was shown "that PFASs are not only absorbed at the biofilm’s surface, but may also be incorporated within the matrix of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS)" [3].  In short, these findings show that microorganism accumulate these compounds in their cells at levels higher than would be observed in without microbes [3].  Thus the additive effect that microorganisms have on the concentration and introduction of these compounds in foods subsequently increases the risk of the presence of these compounds.

Elevated levels of the chemical compounds are known to be detrimental to the long-term health of people who consume foods containing these chemicals.  As we've seen with the efforts to reduce dioxin levels in foods, routine quality testing of foods is the most effective way to reduce the levels of these compounds in our diet. Here at Sure-BioChem Laboratories, we recommend staying away from highly processed and prepackaged foods as they have the highest likelihood of having these chemicals being introduced into the food product.  Additionally, foods stored in containers sprayed with nonstick substances also have a chance of introducing these substances onto food.  For more information regarding chemical testing, bioburden testing or creating testing plans contact Sure-BioChem at 888-398-7247 to get your consultation today.





References


  1. BfR Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. "Contaminants in food: Identifying and assessing risks as early as possible." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 July 2017.
  2. Mastovska, Katerina. “Modern Analysis of Chemical Contaminants in Food.”Food Safety Magazine, Feb. 2013,  www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/februarymarch-2013/modern-analysis-of-chemical-contamin... .
  3. Munoz, Gabriel, et al. "Spatio-temporal dynamics of per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) and transfer to periphytic biofilm in an urban river: case-study on the River Seine."Environmental Science and Pollution Research (2016): 1-9.



By Destiny Jolade 27 Nov, 2017


Antimicrobial resistance is a growing trend that's affecting the way we both monitor and treat an increasing number of microbial infections. Over several decades, the persistent rise of these antimicrobial resistant microorganisms has spurred both the private and public sectors into finding possible methods to halt the continued spread of these resistant microbes [4]. Currently several drug resistant strains of common pathogens like Staph, Strep and E.coli continue to emerge [3,4]. Previously, as more and more of these drug resistant microbes emerged, a handful of potent antimicrobials called “antibiotics of last resort proved effective in containing the spread of these drug resistant pathogens [2].  

However, recently a strain of E.coli was found in a woman in Pennsylvania that’s resistant to colistin,  the last agent used to combat microbes that are resistant to the strongest antibiotics [2]. The discovery of this particular resistant strain of E.coli points to an increased rate of lateral gene transfer, which is the main mechanism that theses microbes gain resistance to antimicrobial compounds [3,4]. Its also been shown that random mutations contribute to the emergence of these antimicrobial resistant strains of bacteria, parasites and viruses albeit at a lower rate [3].

Though the prevalence of these drug resistant microbes remains comparatively low, decades of data show that these low levels of drug resistant microbes are liable to significantly increase moving forward [1,4]. As such, many companies and institutions in both the public and private spheres have adopted many of the preventative measures outlined by agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO) [1]. In these reports, it’s highly advised that companies and institutions, especially those in the biotech and pharmaceutical sectors, have frequent and protesting protocols in place to catch any prospective antimicrobial resistant microorganisms in their infancy before they pose a greater public health risk [1,2,4].

Further outlined within these preventative measures is the increased utilization of certified testing laboratories like Sure-BioChem Laboratories to aide in the frequent testing of these companies and institutions [1]. As an industry leader Sure-BioChem Laboratories specializes in providing the highest quality microbial testing and monitoring services year-round.  Our experienced team is trained in sterility and antimicrobial efficacy testing services based on industry standards. With our commitment to quick and reliable results your company be assured of your production standards.

For additional information regarding our microbiological testing services, contact Sure-BioChem Laboratories at 888-398-7247.

References:

1."Antimicrobial Resistance." World Health Organization. N.p., Apr. 2015. Web. 08 June 2016.

2.The U.S. Military HIV Research Program (MHRP). "First discovery in United States of colistin resistance in a human E. coli infection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 May 2016. < www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160526152033.htm> .

3.Kay E, Vogel TM, Bertolla F, Nalin R, Simonet P (July 2002). "In situ transfer of antibiotic resistance genes from transgenic (transplastomic) tobacco plants to bacteria".

4.Barlow M (2009). "What antimicrobial resistance has taught us about horizontal gene transfer". Methods in Molecular Biology (Clifton, N.J.). Methods in Molecular Biology 532: 397–411


By Destiny Jolade 30 Oct, 2017

Creating a viable business decorum in the scientific and industrial manufacturing sectors often requires an area within your plant dedicated to sterile manufacturing. Decisions regarding how your clean-rooms are set up, as well as the efficacy of the clean-rooms themselves, often coincide with how productive your company’s operations are. It's no secret that attaining an optimal production ratio, while keeping quality and sterility at the forefront, significantly impacts your company’s bottom line. Here, we outline why having properly functioning clean-rooms, as well as having reliable clean-room checking mechanisms, are important for your manufacturing regime.  

Background

In recent months, several laboratories have come under regulatory scrutiny due to contamination of their products. In most of these cases, the laboratories involved were presumed to have been compliant with FDA, EPA and cGMP clean-room standards [7]. Given the marked frequency of the recent string of recalls, concerns have been raised regarding industry wide regulations which have been implemented as “metrics for evaluating products” through good manufacturing practices in the medical and industrial sectors [1]. Many industry analysts remain perplexed by these recalls given the years of significant investments that have gone into testing and clean-room technologies [6]. With these monetary and technological investments, coupled with stringent regulatory and clean-room standards, the overall prevalence of product recalls was expected to experience a significant reduction in the years to come [3]. However in recent years, the news trends points to a much different picture as “the amount of drug recall occurrences in the U.S. saw a general increase post-1998.” [1 ]
   

Though the stipulated reasons behind this rise in recalls can be attributed to many factors, recent studies have outlined two main causes that are found ubiquitously in all recalls: "quality of dosage forms" and “the quality of product not conforming to the registered specifications” [1,8]. Given that most product recalls are attributed to one or both of these circumstances, a relationship between product quality and recall frequency was established where the overall quality of consumable products is enhanced through the efficacy and availability of clean-room manufacturing stations [9]. Thus, creating a culture where clean-room sterility is up to standard provides a significant advantage to manufacturers that can effectively prevent the vast majority of product recalls that laboratories and manufacturers may face [5].
     

Solution           

Currently, there are systems in place that are co-dependent on utilizing properly verified sterile laboratory clean-rooms[3,4]. These systems can only be properly implemented when these clean-rooms are routinely checked and verified by accredited testing laboratories that specialize in clean-room certifications. Unfortunately, many manufacturers and laboratories choose to forgo proper clean-room certification as they assume the need is not there[7]. Notwithstanding, more and more studies are being published with “advanced molecular methods” that show “the microbial bioburden... of clean-rooms and other low-biomass environments” is increasingly diversifying despite utilization of standard in-house cleaning methodologies [2,4,5,8]. The current nature of the body of evidence distinctly shows the in-disposable nature of having clean-rooms certified by accredited laboratories [1].

Through proper implementation of current industry standards, coupled with proper clean-room certifications by accredited laboratories, laboratories and manufacturers will be able to observed a marked reduction in overall recall prevalence[1,5]. The current body of evidence, accompanied with the significant financial investments, provides industry producers a greater confidence with regards to their products that equates to an increase in “quality of dosage forms” and “the quality of product not conforming to the registered specifications” [1]

At the forefront of clean-room certifications, Sure-BioChem Laboratories is an approved clean-room performance testing contractor that complies with all industry standards and is dedicated to ensuring successful certification outcomes. Our certification team has experience qualifying clean-rooms of all classes and applications. Experienced in scientific, industrial and ISO 3 to ISO 9 protocols, Sure-BioChem Laboratories' expertise in a wide variety of clean-room applications makes us a preferred source for competent clean-room certification in accordance to ISO 14644-1 and 2 specifications. Our experienced team offers testing and certification of all classifications of ISO clean-rooms and anterooms including particle counting, HEPA filter integrity testing, airflow volume/velocity, room pressurization, temperature and humidity monitoring.

     
Conclusion
           
Attaining a verifiable standard of clean-room sterility is often paramount to the success of any industrial and scientific manufacturing endeavor. Having your clean-room accredited by a verified laboratory significantly reduces the risk to your product and company. Also, by keeping up with you clean-room accreditation, your company will be able to detect and rectify any underlying problems that my stem from clean-room sterility problems. For additional information regarding your clean-room sterility contact Sure-BioChem Laboratories at info@surebiochem.com for your clean-room consultation today.

 
REFERENCES

Cheah, Eng Tuck, Wen Li Chan, and Corinne Lin Lin Chieng. "The corporate social responsibility of pharmaceutical product recalls: An empirical examination of US and UK markets."Journal of Business Ethics4 (2007): 427-449.

Cooper, Moogega, et al. "Comparison of innovative molecular approaches and standard spore assays for assessment of surface cleanliness." Applied and environmental microbiology15 (2011): 5438-5444.

El-Nakeeb, M. A., A. M. Khalil, and A. F. Gasser. "Microbiological studies on bacterial isolates from penicillins filling cleanroom." New Egyptian Journal of Microbiology1 (2014): 87-110

La Duc, Myron T., et al. "Comprehensive census of bacteria in clean rooms by using DNA microarray and cloning methods." Applied and environmental microbiology20 (2009): 6559-6567.

La Duc, Myron T., et al. "Isolation and characterization of bacteria capable of tolerating the extreme conditions of clean room environments." Applied and environmental microbiology8 (2007): 2600-2611.

Nagarkar, Parag P., Satish D. Ravetkar, and Milind G. Watve. "Oligophilic bacteria as tools to monitor aseptic pharmaceutical production units." Applied and environmental microbiology3 (2001): 1371-1374.

Rieser, Gernot, Siegfried Scherer, and Mareike Wenning. "Naumannella halotolerans gen. nov., sp. nov., a Gram-positive coccus of the family Propionibacteriaceae isolated from a pharmaceutical clean room and from food." International journal of systematic and evolutionary microbiologyPt 12 (2012): 3042-3048.

Seiler, Herbert, Mareike Wenning, and Siegfried Scherer. "Domibacillus robiginosus gen. nov., sp. nov., isolated from a pharmaceutical clean room." International journal of systematic and evolutionary microbiology (2012): ijs-0.
Wu G. F., Liu X. H. (2007).


By Destiny Jolade 27 Oct, 2017

The enteric pathogen S. typhimurium has a phage-type known as DT104, which is associated with an epidemiology that is extensive and virulent. It was characterised about 30 years ago, and has spread to nearly all areas of the earth since then (2). S. typhimurium DT104 was found to have become resistant to multiple antibiotics in 1972 (2). This strain, now known as MDR-DT104, acquired the relevant mutation through the integration of an additional 43-kilobase genomic island (SGI1) into its genetic profile (3). In 1975, an alternative strain of DT104 also acquired multi-drug resistance in Thailand via different mechanisms (2). SGI1 confers resistance to a specific subset of antibiotics: sulphonamide-types, as well as tetracycline, streptomycin, chloramphenicol and ampicillin (3). However, some MDR-DT104 strains isolated in Britain were found to have added resistance to trimethoprim, (13%) ciprofloxacin (16%) or both (2%) to their anti-drug arsenal (1). In addition, some studies have reported evidence of resistance to ertapenem and ceftriaxone in some isolates (4). Ceftriaxone resistance may be conferred via transfer of the Incl1 plasmid, whereas enzymes such as IMP-4, IMP-13 and KPC-2 (that originate from E. coli) may be required to break down carbapenems (4). On the other hand, few studies have found these enzymes in any S. typhimurium phage-types (4).

MDR-DT104 is thought to have originated in Europe, where it was transmitted several times to a number of different countries therein. It then spread to Japan and to the U.S. in two separate transmission incidents, which may explain how it is also now present in Taiwan and Canada (2). However, other scientists conclude that MDR-DT104 actually originated in Southeast Asia, based on the presence of the rare ‘resistance’ genes tetG and floR (3). DT104 infects livestock such as cattle and poultry, and, subsequently, causes disease in the humans who consume them (1). The risk of drug-resistant salmonellosis is affected by several factors, including the handling of raw meat, consuming cheese made from unpasteurized milk, eating undercooked meat and (mostly in cases involving children) exposure to sand-pits while playing (1,5). The use of proton-pump inhibiting drugs and the antibiotics as listed above may also contribute to the risk of infection (2). MDR-DT104 is associated with several outbreaks among livestock in a number of countries, from the Republic of Ireland to the Philippines (2). It is also related to approximately 20,000 hospital visits and hundreds of deaths per year in the United States (2).

Historically, MDR-DT104 outbreaks have been addressed or prevented through treatment with quinolone-type antibiotics (1). However, evidence of some strains of the phage-type that have also acquired resistance to these drugs has surfaced (7). Quinolone-resistant DT104 (e.g. DT104B) strains are linked to new outbreaks with high mortality rates (6). A study of the subproteome of a clinical strain, DT104B-Se20, found seven proteins that were associated with this resistance, including familiar examples such as Omp subtypes (e.g. OmpD and OmpX) as well as the newly-discovered agent of resistance MipA (6). (Altered OmpD expression levels are also associated with carbapenem resistance (4). OmpC was also associated with the metabolic adaptations required for quinolone resistance, as were CheB, CheM, SodA and Fur (6). The clinical strain was also associated with certain proteins involved in lipopolysaccharide production (e.g. LptA and RfbF) (6). These interesting findings may form the basis for new research leading to new therapeutics or preventatives for infection with quinolone-resistant MDR-DT104.

References:

1. Threlfall EJ. Epidemic Salmonella typhimurium DT 104—a truly international multiresistant clone. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. 2000;46(1):7-10.

2. Leekitcharoenphon P, Hendriksen RS, Le Hello S, et al. Global Genomic Epidemiology of Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium DT104. Applied and environmental microbiology. 2016;82(8):2516-2526.

3. Mulvey MR, Boyd DA, Olson AB, Doublet B, Cloeckaert A. The genetics of Salmonella genomic island 1. Microbes and Infection. 2006;8(7):1915-1922.

4. Su LH, Wu TL, Chiu CH. Development of carbapenem resistance during therapy for non-typhoid Salmonella infection. Clinical microbiology and infection : the official publication of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. 2012;18(4):E91-94.

5. Doorduyn Y, Van Den Brandhof WE, Van Duynhoven YT, Wannet WJ, Van Pelt W. Risk factors for Salmonella Enteritidis and Typhimurium (DT104 and non-DT104) infections in The Netherlands: predominant roles for raw eggs in Enteritidis and sandboxes in Typhimurium infections. Epidemiology and infection. 2006;134(3):617-626.

6. Correia S, Hebraud M, Chafsey I, et al. Impacts of experimentally induced and clinically acquired quinolone resistance on the membrane and intracellular subproteomes of Salmonella Typhimurium DT104B. Journal of proteomics. 2016.

7. Voetsch AC, Van Gilder TJ, Angulo FJ, et al. FoodNet Estimate of the Burden of Illness Caused by Nontyphoidal Salmonella Infections in the United States. Clinical Infectious Diseases.         2004;38(Supplement 3):S127-S134.


More Posts
Share by: