Groups chart ways to improve foodborne illness probes

first_img “Just the fact that the meeting was held was an important sign that the issue is being taken seriously,” he said. Coalition offers resourcesTim Jones, MD, state epidemiologist for the Tennessee Department of Health, attended the meeting and gave the group an overview of projects launched by the Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFOR). The group is led by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists and the National Association of County and City Health Officials. It receives funding from the CDC and collaborates with a host of other federal agencies and public health organizations. The FSIS plans to publish reports on the meeting and exercise within the next few months, he said. For example, he said the group learned that local authorities need to know more specific details when food products are recalled in the event of an illness outbreak. “Sometimes they don’t hear from federal or state officials” and don’t know what has been recalled, he said. CIFOR’s work is one example of how seriously public health groups are taking the need to improve outbreak investigations, Jones said. Others include the EpiReady program, which teaches authorities how to conduct investigations, and various tabletop exercises. David Goldman, assistant administrator in the FSIS office of public health, told CIDRAP News that the 2-day event sparked robust discussions about a range of topics. “What we wanted the presenters to do was be candid about the problems they confront,” he said. The meeting was held in St Louis on May 15 and was followed the next day by a tabletop exercise that simulated a multistate Escherichia coli outbreak involving ground beef. The 2-day event was attended by officials from the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, plus state and local public health officials, food industry groups, university researchers, and consumer groups. Goldman said the tabletop exercise afterward was useful because it raised all of the concerns that had been discussed during the meeting. “And people who were unfamiliar with outbreak investigations learned a lot about them. It illuminated the problems and the obstacles,” he said. Some participants shared their frustrations about difficulties in getting information from regulatory agencies and industry. “Some of the information can’t be shared readily due to the laws that regulatory agencies operate under,” Hedberg said. Apr 25 USDA press release on outbreak investigation meeting (Problems in the dissemination of food safety information were the topic of a lengthy report released yesterday by a group called the Food Safety Research Consortium. See May 22 story link below for more information.) Oct 23, 2007, CIDRAP News story “USDA announces plans to reduce E coli contamination in ground beef” Recall messages could be better crafted to reflect more clearly that the recalled product is harmful and should not be consumed, Hedberg said. “The focus should be on the desired behavior of the consumer.” May 23, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Federal agencies that play key food safety roles recently held a public meeting to clarify the obstacles public health officials encounter in investigating foodborne disease outbreaks and to build support for measures to improve the process. Craig Hedberg, PhD, associate professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in Minneapolis, attended the meeting and took part in the tabletop exercise. He said the discussions were useful for charting the patterns that have occurred in outbreak investigations and fleshing out plans for improving them. Jones said CIFOR, now in its third year, has established an online source for questionnaires and outbreak training resources, has developed guidelines for multistate outbreak investigations, and is working on several other initiatives. Hedberg said that though many important issues were raised at the meeting, it’s clear that quick fixes are unrealistic. “Part of it is changing people’s normal work patterns. A lot of it is culture change that has to occur across the system,” he said. “Everyone is in theory committed to better communication and more transparency—the devil is in the details.” The FSIS had announced that it would explore how to improve outbreak investigations last October, as it unveiled measures to address a spike in E coli outbreaks linked to ground beef. See also: Whether a food recall is voluntary or mandatory is largely a technical issue, he said. However, focusing on whether a recall is voluntary or mandatory can lead some of the public to think that the associated outbreak isn’t an important public health problem. Hedberg also said a focus on the role of local officials was a useful outcome of the meeting. “People from local departments describe how they feel left out of larger multistate outbreak investigations, but local agencies are the ones interviewing the cases,” he said. “And sometimes it’s not apparent why the case should be at the top of their priorities.” Other issues that were raised at the meeting, Hedberg said, included the need to improve methods for assessing case-patients’ food exposures and the view of some experts that food recalls, as currently administered, don’t convey an adequate level of warning to consumers. May 22 CIDRAP News story “Experts propose steps to ease food safety info flow” All outbreaks start locallyOne of the major themes that participants emphasized was the important role of local public health officials, Goldman said. “Outbreak investigations can be quite complex, but everything starts locally with one or two cases,” he said. 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UK roundup: Watson Petroleum, PIC, NEST, BarraOne, JLT

first_imgThe Watson Petroleum Limited Retirement Benefits Scheme has transferred its £30m (€40.5m) worth of liabilities to Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC).The insurance buyout, conducted after the scheme’s sponsor was sold last year, means PIC will now take responsibility for the remaining liabilities.The fund will be wound up.Andrew Barnett, trustee to the scheme, said the recent corporate changes meant the board had to work closely with its new sponsors to ensure benefits were secure. In June, LCP estimated the UK bulk annuity market at £4.4bn, led by Prudential and Legal & General, with more than £1.1bn each.PIC amassed £681m in the first half of the year, compared with £1.8bn in 2014.In other news, the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) reappointed BarraOne as its investment risk-management system provider on another five-year contract.BarraOne, owned by MSCI, was appointed in 2011 in line with public sector tendering requirements, meaning the contract was re-negotiated and will commence next year for an additional five years.NEST said BarraOna provides the government-backed defined contribution master trust with information on its risk exposure at the security and portfolio levels.Lastly, research from consultancy JLT Employee Benefits places the value of UK private sector defined benefit (DB) deficits at £247bn, as of the end of September.This is an increase of £40bn over the year, JLT said.Deficits among FTSE 100 schemes came to £73bn, down from £82bn two months’ previous, giving an average funding level of 88%.Charles Cowling, director at JLT Employee Benefits, said the volatility stemming from the US Federal Reserve’s decision to maintain low interest rates had done nothing to boost pension scheme hopes of reducing deficits.“It is not surprising to see deficits jumping by £40bn,” he said.“With just under half of DB pension assets still invested in equities, pension schemes are exposed to a huge amount of market volatility, potentially leading to big losses that can further widen the deficit gap.”last_img read more

Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen reconnects with his 2017 self via Facebook

first_img Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start “That put me out of whack for over a year,” he said – not for the first time. “It’s not an excuse. It’s just speaking the truth.”He threw a very short bullpen during the Dodgers’ pre-game workout Tuesday, cutting it off after 10 pitches when he felt he could replicate the old mechanics, then retired the Rays in order in the ninth inning in that night’s game.Dodgers manager Dave Roberts liked what he saw.“Ultimately, the ball in the hitting zone, the characteristics, the cut, the life, any way you want to classify it and then you back up to the extension from the hand was better and you back up a little bit more the direction of his body going toward the plate versus getting rotational,” Roberts said. “So whatever he did in his delivery, kind of in sequence, has led to a more efficient throw and a better throw.”Jansen has found what he thought were solutions before only to slip into inconsistency. And replicating what will likely be the best season of his career – 41 saves, only one blown save, a 1.32 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 14.4 strikeouts per nine innings – might be too much to ask.“I’m happy that I found it,” he said of the video. “But you have to keep maintaining it.”SUNDAY FUN DAYRight-hander Kenta Maeda threw approximately 50 pitches in an extended bullpen session on Wednesday afternoon. He is eligible to come off the Injured List on Sunday and will be activated to start against the Pittsburgh Pirates.Maeda has been on the IL since his start last Wednesday against the San Diego Padres, ostensibly because of a leg contusion caused by a foul ball during one of his at-bats. In reality, the injury was minor and the Dodgers used their concern about Maeda altering his mechanics to compensate for the bruise as an excuse to go with a four-man rotation during a light stretch of the schedule.Maeda’s return will move Clayton Kershaw’s next start back to Monday, giving him five days off between starts.Related Articles Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies “A lot of things were out of whack,” Jansen said. “I was watching when Rick (Honeycutt, Dodgers pitching coach) came in and we started watching together. You could see so many differences.”Notably, Jansen’s posture on the mound had changed – he was standing stiff and upright as opposed to a more relaxed stance in 2017. As he drove toward home plate, his left arm pulled across his body toward first base now, movement that Jansen believes has allowed hitters an earlier look at the ball in his right hand.For Honeycutt, the most telling view was from the center-field camera, showing that Jansen’s direction down the mound and toward home plate was better in 2017.“This way he stays taller, gets into his hips and stays behind the ball better,” Honeycutt said of the adjustments Jansen made.Jansen believes the change in his mechanics can be traced to last spring’s left hamstring injury. Pitching with it during the first two months of the season, he created bad habits trying to “create velocity.” Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire center_img ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Who says no good ever comes from time spent on social media?Kenley Jansen was bored in his hotel room during the Dodgers’ off-day on Monday when he noticed a video had popped up on his Facebook feed from two years ago. It was from the “immaculate inning” he threw against the Miami Marlins on May 18, 2017 – Jansen struck out the side in the ninth inning on nine pitches.Good times.But what struck Jansen about the Facebook memory was how different he looked. In the Dodgers’ clubhouse the next day, Jansen headed to the video room, comparing video from that 2017 season to his current pitching mechanics. Through Wednesday, 256 of the Dodgers’ past 375 regular-season games (68 percent) have been started by a pitcher with more than the standard four days of rest, including 34 of the first 50 games this season. Dodgers starters are 16-6 with a 2.90 ERA when getting that extra rest, 6-3 with a 3.18 ERA on four days’ rest (before Wednesday’s game).STRONG BONESA day after taking a 103-mph liner off the side of his right knee, reliever Pedro Baez was walking without any apparent problems Wednesday.Roberts said he is optimistic that Baez will be able to pitch again as soon as Friday.UP NEXTThe Dodgers are off Thursday.Dodgers (RHP Walker Buehler, 4-1, 3.83 ERA) at Pirates (TBA), Friday, 4:05 p.m., SportsNet LA (where available), 570 AM Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more