Dec 7, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Although thorough cooking ensures that chicken and other poultry are safe to eat, birds from flocks infected with H5N1 avian influenza should be kept out of the food supply, international health and agriculture authorities said this week.The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) warned against eating raw poultry parts or raw eggs from areas with avian flu outbreaks in poultry, as well as eating infected birds or using them for animal feed.The agencies said they wanted to clarify food safety issues raised by the avian flu crisis. The statement released this week is an abridged version of a bulletin issued in November through the International Food Safety Authorities Network.”In areas where there is no bird flu outbreak in poultry, there is no risk that consumers will be exposed to the virus via the handling or consumption of poultry and poultry products,” the statement said.Cooking to achieve a temperature of 70˚C throughout all parts of a bird, so that no part remains raw or red, will kill any H5N1 virus present, the agencies said. This will prevent infection from an infected bird that is mistakenly allowed into the food chain.”To date, there is no epidemiological evidence that people have become infected after eating contaminated poultry meat that has been properly cooked,” the statement said.Many of the people who have contracted avian flu were infected when slaughtering or handling diseased or dead birds before cooking, authorities said. Slaughtering poses the greatest risk of infection.Most strains of avian flu viruses are found mainly in the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts of infected birds, not in the meat, the agencies said. But highly pathogenic viruses like H5N1 make their way into almost all parts of the bird, including the meat.Infected poultry excrete the virus in their secretions and feces, and people may be exposed by inhaling dust or touching contaminated surfaces. The virus can survive in feces for at least 35 days at low temperatures (4˚C) and for 6 days at higher temperatures (37˚C). It can survive on surfaces for several weeks, and it is not killed by refrigeration or freezing.It’s not always possible to distinguish infected and uninfected birds in outbreak areas, since ducks may harbor the virus without looking sick, officials said. This increases the importance of using preventive measures.Although public education campaigns about avian flu have reached rural people in affected countries, some continue to eat infected birds, the agencies said. They warned, “The practice of slaughtering and eating of infected birds, whether diseased or already dead, must be stopped. These birds should also not be used for animal feed.”The risk of getting infected by handling a bird produced through an industrialized slaughtering and processing chain is considered very low, even in countries with current outbreaks, authorities said.They also said eating vaccinated poultry poses no particular risk for consumers, provided the vaccination program follows proper standards and includes appropriate monitoring.Eggs from infected birds can be contaminated on both the inside and the shell, according to the agencies. Although sick birds normally stop laying eggs, eggs laid in the early phase of the disease could be contaminated. Proper cooking kills the virus, as does pasteurization used by industry for liquid egg products.Eggs from areas with outbreaks in poultry should not be consumed raw or partially cooked (with runny yolk), FAO/WHO say. But so far there is no epidemiologic evidence that people have been infected with avian flu by eating eggs or egg products.See also:FAO/WHO news releasehttp://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2005/1000172/index.htmlFull-length bulletinhttp://www.who.int/foodsafety/fs_management/No_07_AI_Nov05_en.pdf
Five USC schools and prominent members of the health community attended the eighth-annual obesity summit Friday at Town and Gown, where speakers and workshops focused on the growing problem of childhood obesity.Eating right · Chef Robert Edwards gives a healthy cooking demonstration to Congresswoman Grace Napolitano at the childhood obesity summit Friday. The summit focused on research and creating policies to solve the issue of childhood weight problems. – James Watson | Daily Trojan Part of the first National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, the summit attempted to lay the groundwork for future policies, and focused on mapping out the issue and discussing solutions.“Obesity is not just a problem for the child who gets picked on at school or doesn’t get picked on the playground,” USC President C.L. Max Nikias said. “There is a cost for all of us.”Nikias opened the summit by thanking various officials who came from different parts of the country.“I am convinced that together we can make sure the childhood obesity crisis of today is only a memory tomorrow,” Nikias said. “I feel privileged to be holding this literal ‘meeting of the minds’ here on campus.”The nearly 350 people in attendance, including six congressional members, was more than expected, according to administrators who organized the event.“It was a pretty amazing production, not only from standpoint of how it was done but by the attendance,” said Eddie North-Hager, a representative from USC Media Relations.When the Congressional Hispanic, Black and Asian Pacific American Caucuses, or tri-caucus, asked USC to host the event, North-Hager said the university jumped at the chance.Jennifer Grodksy, executive director of the USC Office of Federal Relations, said she believes the university was asked because of its place in the community.“We are known as a leader in healthcare, and because of our location … We’re a target population and because of all our civic engagement,” she said.The event also featured healthy cooking demonstrations with chefs and touched upon the need for future obesity research.“Twenty-six percent of Americans are obese and we have no good data on type 2 diabetes,” said Dr. Kenneth Moritsugu of the Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Institute.The summit, however, is not the first effort by USC to temper the increase of childhood obesity.Innovative projects are sprouting in an attempt to tackle the issue. A program called KNOWME, through the Viterbi School of Engineering, uses a mobile device to track a child’s activity level, sending text messages to a participant’s phone about his obesity-related behavior.“While we have many experts focusing on this problem, we cannot solve it alone. All of us must work together. We must combine our efforts. We must pool our resources,” Nikias said. An empowerment camp called Minority Youth Leaders in Action was held at USC in August. Led by USC’s Rossier School of Education, it encouraged teenagers at risk for obesity to increase their healthy options.“I think they’re trying to translate hard science into intervention that would work in the community,” said Janet Schneiderman, an assistant professor of social work. “This is the epicenter of obesity in L.A., South Central, so we have a very good possibility of making a difference in this particular community.” Keynote speaker Audrey Howe pointed out that hunger and obesity are two sides to the same coin. “They are both fueled by a lack of nutrition,” Howe said.The consequences of obesity range from diabetes to asthma to emotional disorders such as depression, anxiety and a lower self-esteem, Nikias said.One in every three American children are overweight or obese, and particular ethnic groups and regions are more severely impacted, according to White House reports.“It doesn’t take a crystal ball to see that this problem will get worse unless we do something to make it better,” Nikias said.
Set against a dimming pink sunset, 15 dancers from the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance showed off their moves while clothed in sequins to match the Los Angeles skyline. The students, all dance majors, performed at Griffith Observatory in January before an audience of cameras while filming a 60-second Discover Los Angeles commercial.The ad premiered on Super Bowl Sunday and aired during the Grammy Awards. Later this month, it will run globally in Mexico and the United Kingdom and later in the year in other countries such as Australia and China. Many dancers said they benefited greatly from the experience because they were directly placed in the show business world of lights, camera and action. “The experience was really eye-opening, and my perception of what it’s like to do commercial work really shifted,” sophomore Brianna Mims said to USC News. “I never understood the amount of work that goes into the one-minute commercials I see on TV until this experience.”The dancers said that the experience was different from many other dancing opportunities. Rather than performing on stage, they were performing for the camera — but sophomore Mark Daftari said that the two were actually more similar than most people think. “Dancing for the camera makes you feel like you’re dancing on stage because there is an audience, but it’s technically the camera,” Daftari said. Daftari also said that the camera adds a new component for the dancers; they are able to develop a new ability for transferring performance elements from stage to screen. He said he gained new insight about how to avoid losing the dancers’ stage presence while in front of the camera.“When dancing on stage, you have to make sure you are expansive and have elongating movements just so everyone can see you,” Daftari said. “While dancing on camera, you have to be more focused on being very detailed because the close-up shots are more revealing of your technique and emotions. Of course these are things to be wary of while on stage as well, but a camera adds an intimacy factor to you and the audience when it’s so close by.” Kaufman Vice Dean Jodie Gates designed the choreography for the commercial. According to Gates, the movement was based in contemporary and lyrical styles of dance. “The shoot at Griffith Observatory was massive and sophisticated,” Gates said to USC News. “The lighting equipment, drones and extensive staff made for an extraordinary experience.”Sophomore Juan Miguel Posada worked as Gates’ assistant, helping her choreograph and work out the logistics of the commercial. As the choreographer’s assistant, Posada said he was able to see a different side of the commercial world. He helped organize rehearsals, contact agents, perfect the dancers’ technique and design the costumes. “It was a good experience of what it’s like to work in the show business world,” Posada said. “It serves as a sneak peek to what the dancers want to be doing in their future careers. I got to see the behind-the-scenes of what the commercial world is like and so much goes into it to making it happen.”