Sunday, 27 May 2012

Food Safety - It's a Global Issue- Article Points to BioLargo's Opportunity for Nature's Best Solution and Isan System


Publisher's Platform: Food Safety - It's a Global Issue


Food products now come to the United States from over 250,000 foreign establishments in 200 countries. Indeed, 15 percent of fruits, 20 percent of vegetables, and 80 percent of seafood come from overseas. And, with the consumption of imported foods growing, we have seen an increase in recalls and foodborne illness outbreaks linked to them.

A few days ago two meat processing plants in the United States, Lancaster Frozen Foods and G&W Inc., recalled nearly 7,000 pounds of ground beef after South Carolina state inspectors found that meat they received from an Australian packing plant was contaminated with potentially deadly E. coli O157:H7 bacteria. Fortunately, there appear to be no illnesses linked to the meat - yet.

Then there is the ongoing Salmonella outbreak linked to tempeh made by a North Carolina company, Smiling Hara, which purchased Tempeh Starter Yeast from an online Maryland company, which has issued a recall. As of Thursday, 76 confirmed, 6 probable, and 6 suspected cases have been recorded in five states: 80 in North Carolina, 3 in Georgia, 3 in South Carolina, 1 in Tennessee, and 1 in Michigan. The recalled starter yeast, imported from Indonesia, was distributed by nationwide and internationally through direct mail order, according to a May 22 company statement that was posted online by the FDA.

Last week, Caribe Produce LTD Co. recalled 286 cases of Papaya Maradol, Caribeña Brand papayas because they might be contaminated with Salmonella. Routine testing by the company revealed the presence of Salmonella in the papayas, according to the recall notice. The company says no illnesses have been reported. The recalled Papaya Maradol, Caribeña Brand cases were distributed in the Bronx, New York in wholesale stores and through retail stores from May 14 to May 17, 2012. The papayas were packed in 35 lb. cartons marked with the brand "Caribeña" and "Product of Mexico" stamped on the side. The papayas are sold individually, and each one bears a label that states "3112 CARIBEÑA Papaya MARADOL PRODUCT OF MEXICO".

Last month the CDC reported that a total of 316 individuals infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Bareilly or Salmonella Nchanga had been reported from 26 states and the District of Columbia. The outbreak announcement was followed by Moon Marine USA Corporation (also known as MMI) of Cupertino, CA recalling 58,828 lbs. of a frozen raw yellowfin tuna product, labeled as Nakaochi Scrape AA or AAA. Nakaochi Scrape is tuna backmeat, which is specifically scraped from the bones, and looks like a ground product. Moon Fishery (India) Pvt. Ltd., the manufacturer of the Yellow Fin Tuna Nakaochi Scrape, also recalled its 22-pound cases of "Tuna Strips" Product of India AA or AAA GRADE because they had the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

But, do not think that it is just food that is imported to the United States that is a problem. Our exports have raised concerns abroad, too.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (USDA ERS), the United States exported over $136 billion in agricultural products in 2011, which -- compared to the 2001 value of $53 billion -- represents a steady increase in exports. Nonetheless, the world has not been shy about denying American exports that demonstrate risk.

Spinach: In late 2006 an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to Dole bagged spinach led to 205 illnesses, 103 hospitalizations, and 2 deaths. The outbreak spanned 49 states and Canada and took a huge economic toll on the spinach and leafy greens industry due to consumer uncertainty inside and outside U.S. borders. During the outbreak Mexico placed a ban on all California lettuce imports.

Peanut Butter: In 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that there had been 628 confirmed cases of Salmonella infection in 41 states from August 2006 through May 2007. Although the outbreak slowed, cases continued to be confirmed after this time period. The cases were linked to the consumption of Peter Pan and Great Value brand peanut butter manufactured in ConAgra's Georgia peanut butter plant. The product was recalled worldwide and countries like China banned the brands.

Mad Cow Disease: Since 2003, the United States has confirmed a total of 4 cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) in cows, including an April 23, 2012 case linked to a California dairy cow. Over 65 countries have banned or limited U.S. beef sales in response to these events. Notably, Japan and South Korea, the first and third largest importers of U.S. beef in 2003, banned U.S. beef. Though Japan and South Korea had essentially lifted the bans by 2009, both countries continue to place restrictions on specific higher risk products. Following the 2012 case, Indonesia banned U.S. beef and some major Korean retailers halted the sale of U.S. beef. Since the initial mad cow case, the beef industry has taken a significant economic hit. In 2002 the U.S. exported 2.447 billion pounds of beef, but by 2004 the number of pounds exported had dropped to just 460 million. Only in 2011 did beef exports return to 2002 levels. And then we found another mad cow in 2012.

Food safety is "farm to fork" and around the world. We all - producers, shippers, importers, exporters, retailers and consumers - need to pay attention to the whole supply chain, even if it stretches around the globe. Ultimately food safety is both good for public health and good for business.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Bagged Salad Recalled for Listeria Contamination- Points to BioLargo Opportunity- Isan System Built to Solve this Problem


Bagged Salad Recalled for Listeria Contamination

The California Department of Public Health warned California residents not to eat certain bagged salads manufactured by River Ranch Fresh Foods, LLC due to potential contamination with Listeria monocytogenes on Friday.

iceberglettuce-406B.jpgAccording to a news release from CDPH, Salinas, California-based River Ranch Fresh Foods initiated a voluntary recall of bagged salads after routine sampling detected Listeria monocytogenes in two packages of shredded iceberg lettuce purchased from retail locations in California and Colorado. The recalled salad products were distributed nationwide to retail and foodservice outlets under various sizes and packaged under the brand names of River Ranch, Farm Stand, Hy-Vee, Marketside, Shurfresh, The Farmer's Market, Cross Valley, Fresh n Easy, Promark, and Sysco.

Although the bagged salads being recalled are no longer available for sale, CDPH issued a news release to warn consumers that they may have the recalled products in their homes. The agency published a list of all recalled products to aid consumers in identifying recalled products.

Anyone who finds recalled lettuce should discard it or return it to the point of purchase for a refund.

Symptoms of Listeria infection may include high fever, headache, and neck stiffness. Infants, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are at highest risk for severe illness and death. Listeria infection in pregnant women can lead to miscarriage or stillbirth, premature delivery, or infection of the newborn baby.

More Headlines from Food Recalls »

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

BioLargo Forms Medical Products Subsidiary to Focus on Advanced Wound Care

LA MIRADA, CA--(Link Here to Press Release at Marketwire -05/15/12)- BioLargo, Inc. (OTC.BB: BLGO), creator of patented iodine technologies, today announced the development of novel antimicrobial products for the advanced wound care industry and the formation of a wholly owned subsidiary BioLargo Medical Group, Inc., formed to advance proof of claims and pursue regulatory approvals. To run the new subsidiary, BioLargo is assembling a team of experts to capitalize on the industry's demand for novel products. Unlike other iodine products, BioLargo's iodine is non-toxic, non-staining, and can be delivered on demand in precision dosing at much higher levels. For the medical field, this means incorporating one of the best antimicrobials known to man into wound care products in a way that is safe and non-staining.

"Armed with positive results from testing and field trials by veterinarians and hoof care specialists of our recently developed hoof and leg products for animals, it became increasingly apparent to us that our technology could play a pivotal role in the human wound care field," stated BioLargo's president, Dennis Calvert. "With the need for wound care products without microbial resistance so great, the commitment to this vertical market became the next logical and necessary step."

With disease resulting from antibiotic resistant bacteria such as c.diff and staph on the rise and ever more making headlines, the industry has a great need for a product with no known microbial resistance. Advanced wound care products include wound washes, wound gels, and wound dressings, among others. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, current research projects that the globaladvanced wound care market will rise to nearly $21 billion in 2015. Significant areas of development are within the areas of antimicrobials (including iodine), hydrogels and other dressings.

BioLargo's new products have achieved high levels of antimicrobial efficacy without cytotoxicity in lab tests and are being developed and refined in preparation for market introduction upon receiving appropriate regulatory approvals. BioLargo's CupriDyne® technology is green, and can be delivered in a liquid, gel or ointments.

BioLargo has made recent additions to the team with the anticipation of the formation of BioLargo Medical Group. Last year, Biolargo brought on board an experienced medical professional with an advanced wound care background, and has recently added another experienced wound care professional to assist with regulatory strategy and business development. The Company expects to continue to identify and recruit professionals from this field to assist in executing its business plan. "We are highly encouraged by the response from industry and believe our work in this area is both important and significant," stated Calvert.

Related Press Coverage Below:

BioLargo (BLGO) Enters Into Wound Care Industry

BioLargo Inc. (OTCBB: BLGO), creator of patented iodine technologies, recently announced its entry into the wound care industry with the formation of a wholly owned subsidiary, BioLargo Medical Group, Inc. In today’s press release the company also announced the development of novel antimicrobial products for the wound care industry. The move could result in a higher valuation for its stock, as it competes alongside companies like Smith & Nephew plc (NYSE: SNN) (Market Cap $8.9Billion) and 3M Company (NYSE: MMM).

The company has been diligently assembling a team of industry experts to run the new subsidiary; last year the company brought on board an experienced medical professional with an advanced wound care background, and has recently added another experienced wound care professional to assist with regulatory strategy and business development.

With diseases resulting from antibiotic resistant bacteria on the rise, the wound care industry has an exceptionally great need for a product with no known microbial resistance. BioLargo’s new products have already achieved high levels of antimicrobial efficacy without cytotoxicity in lab tests, and as a result the company’s products are currently being developed and refined in preparation for market introduction, upon receiving appropriate regulatory approvals.

BioLargo’s president and CEO, Dennis Calvert, states “Armed with positive results from testing and field trials by veterinarians and hoof care specialists of our recently developed hoof and leg products for animals, it became increasingly apparent to us that our technology could play a pivotal role in the human wound care field. With the need for wound care products without microbial resistance so great, the commitment to this vertical market became the next logical and necessary step.”

Unlike other iodine products, the company’s iodine is non-toxic, non-staining, and can be delivered on demand in precision dosing at much higher levels than traditionally possible.

High-Value Focus Could Unlock Value

BioLargo’s new focus on the wound care industry could generate significant value for shareholders over the long-term. Medical device and technology companies tend to trade at higher price-earnings multiples than many other sectors. Moreover, these companies tend to trade with higher market capitalizations than other sectors prior to realizing any revenues.

Popular wound care companies include:

  • Smith & Nephew plc (SNN, 14.53x)
  • 3M Company (MMM, 14.19x)
  • Johnson & Johnson (JNJ, 17.53x)

BioLargo’s inclusion into the wound care industry could result in a greater market capitalization, and eventually, a higher price-earnings multiple.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Exploring the Link Between Animal Health and Food Safety- Food Safety News article points to BioLargo Opportunity


Exploring the Link Between Animal Health and Food Safety

There's growing pressure for animal agriculture to change its practices, whether it be utilizing gestation crates or feeding antibiotics, but a new paper cautions that these changes may negatively impact food safety.

pigs-inhumane-350.jpgThe discussion paper released by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology -- a research group that includes the Farm Bureau and the American Veterinary Medical Association -- this week identified some of the factors now being discussed that impact animal health, including: antibiotic use, economies of scale, housing, local production and sustainability.

Scientists have long known there is a link between animal health, stress levels and pathogen shedding, but as CAST and others have noted, more research is needed.

"In addition to overtly ill animals, there is a growing body of evidence showing that chronically, previously, and not visibly ill animals are more likely to be contaminated with foodborne pathogens after processing in the abattoir (slaughterhouse)," the researchers write. "These animals, however, may go unnoticed during antemortem (live animal) inspection, and thus questions arise concerning the potential impacts of these animals entering the food supply on public health risk from foodborne pathogens."

The paper discusses past research that has found animals under stress or sick for a long period of time are more likely to carry key foodborne pathogens, especially Salmonella. Studies have also shown that animals with abscesses or "other significant lesions" that need extra trimming have a greater chance of being cross-contaminated because of the extra handling required.

Many of the buzzwords being discussed in the food movement, and by an increasing number of consumers: "organic," "all natural," "antibiotic-free," or "pastured" have direct animal health implications -- many sustainable food advocates argue that these changes lead to healthier animals. But CAST gives some examples of how these methods could have the opposite effect.

Under organic certification, for example, animals cannot be treated with antibiotics or synthetic worm drugs and if animals are based on pasture, these methods directly impact animal health and how production is managed. According to CAST researchers, "increased exposure to the soil and vermin may increase the prevalence of zoonotic diseases in livestock."

"Various policy changes may negatively impact animal health, resulting in more marginally or not visibly ill pigs, which tips the scales toward reduced public health," the authors write. "These proposed changes and their consequences need to be considered carefully."

The paper looks specifically at some research on the difference between keeping animals indoors vs. outdoors:

"Housing livestock indoors can also provide advantages in managing many foodborne organisms. Because outdoor environments cannot be cleaned or disinfected easily, pathogens can persist in the soil, standing water, outdoor structures, and other micro-environments, infecting successive generations of livestock. Other studies have shown that Campylobacter and Salmonella are more common in chickens having outdoor exposure than in birds raised in conventional indoor housing (cages). Dairy cows were shown to be at greater risk of subclinical mastitis when kept in outdoor environments compared with cows kept in barns. According to several studies, outdoor production can also promote infection of the zoonotic parasite Toxoplasma gondii in poultry and swine. This organism has been related in prenatal infections to death or severe brain and eye damage, especially where the mother has not been previously exposed and acquires an infection during her pregnancy." (Note: For research citations, see the full study).

Researchers also discuss using antibiotics in animal agriculture, a hot topic in the media:

"Antibiotics have a major, positive effect on improving animal and human health. They are used in human and veterinary medicine to treat and prevent disease. Antibiotic use in food animals is highly regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The use of antibiotics in food-animal production, however, raises some concerns about antibiotic resistance in bacteria that could affect the efficacy of antibiotics in the treatment of human infections. Concern about antibiotic resistance is not equivalent to actual risk. Resistant bacteria were present long before antibiotics were discovered and found in many places without livestock exposure."

The FDA, however, has stated very clearly that certain "injudicious" antibiotic uses in agriculture are a public health risk. In its most recent guidance on the issue, the agency cited dozens of studies on antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance.

The full CAST paper, "The Direct Relationship between Animal Health and Food Safety Outcomes," can be read here.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

BioLargo's CupriDyne®: A Platform Technology- An Article from Green Technology Investments

BioLargo’s CupriDyne®: A Platform Technology


What do Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT), Micromet Inc. (NASDAQ: MITI) and BioLargo Inc. (OTCBB: BLGO) have in common? The answer: A platform technology.

The Value of Platform Technologies

Platform technologies are defined as those technologies that enable the creation of products across multiple industries. Companies that develop these technologies are generally extremely profitable, since a single platform developed can target numerous vertical markets through licensing, joint ventures or simply traditional development.

There are two keys to successfully commercializing a platform technology. First, a company must have a game changing technology that has an economic driver, like increased market share or lower cost. And second, the company must help licensees see that the project risk has been reduced to an acceptable level to help justify the investment required to launch the products or services. In the end, this business model profits diversification and leveraged returns to investors.

Some Quintessential Case Studies

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) developed an operating system that enabled other companies to build software on top of it. By reducing the complexity of computer use for end users and encouraging developers to build software for its platform, the company gained enormous market share in the 1990’s and 2000’s that built its empire.

A more recent example of a platform technology is Micromet Inc. (NASDAQ: MITI), which was recently acquired by Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN). Micromet developed a biotechnology platform that programs the body’s immune system to go after tumor cells. This single biotechnology could be applied to target many different forms of cancer.

BioLargo has the Key Ingredients

BioLargo Inc. (OTCBB: BLGO) is an up-and-coming company that has developed its own unique platform technology called CupriDyne®. By combining minerals with water from any source and delivering “free-iodine” on demand, in controlled dosages, the company could revolutionize several different industries by balancing efficacy with concerns about toxicity.

The company specializes in delivering iodine that is incorporated into products and systems for controlling odor, moisture and for disinfection. Its applications include water treatment and a host of medical products as well as all sorts of industrial and consumer applications.

The company has already entered into its first big deal with a major client, Central Garden & Pet Company that includes minimum purchase obligations and a promised national roll out. Amazingly the same technology that helps control odor and moisture in the pet industry looks to have game changing applications in the oil & gas, food & beverage, as well as, the medical & wound care industries.

Benefits for Investors & Shareholders

Platform technologies provide two key benefits for investors and shareholders. First, the large number of targeted end markets leads to greater diversification, which increases risk-adjusted returns over the long run. And second, the licensing aspect of the business model yields greater leverage, which means less capital outlay and greater free cash flow over time as the company continues to load its pipeline of products.

Companies that successfully develop platform technologies often benefit from higher price-earnings ratios, greater dividends and strong value creation for shareholders over the long term. Combined, these same aspects make up-and-coming platform technologies, like BioLargo’s CupriDyne® worthy of careful consideration by investors today.