October 2010

  • Posted: October 10th, 2010 - 10:41am by Doug Powell

    turkey.therm_.2.jpg

    Is today Thanksgiving in Canada, or is it tomorrow? Either way, Monday’s a holiday up there, bring on the turkey and side dishes.

    But questions remain: what is the safest way to cook a turkey or chicken?

    Thawing and preparing the bird to minimize cross-contamination present their own microbiological issues. Today, however, the big, really big news is that the Canadian government has spoken: poultry should be cooked to an end-temperature of 82C of 180F, not the 85C or 185F previously recommended (maybe they’ll change the advice). The U.S. says 165F or 74C.

    I’m not so concerned about the specifics – there are lots of microbiologists who can make those arguments. I am concerned about taxpayer-funded public health organizations and rather spectacular failings in accountability.

    For those who want to follow the British advice and cook their birds until they are piping hot, I refer you to Martin Mull’s History of White People, where it was concluded, “You can’t overcook turkey. That’s what the gravy is for.”

    Color is also a lousy indicator. The only way to tell a bird has reached a microbiologically temperature is using a tip-sensitive digital thermometer. But at what temperature is poultry microbiologically safe? Should I make extra gravy?

    Health Canada and government agencies in many countries issue all kinds of consumer advice: don’t smoke; wear condoms (but don’t flush them down the toilet); floss.

    There are reams of consumer food safety advice, but sometimes, the PhDs from different countries disagree on the recommendation. That’s normal, scientists disagree all the time. But to ensure confidence in those consumer recommendations, it’s best to have a process that says, “Look, you may not agree with what we decided, but here’s how we came to that conclusion, and here are the assumptions we made, so you take a shot at it and see if you can do better.” That’s the fancy way to describe the role of value assumptions in risk assessments and overall risk analysis.

    For over a decade I have been politely asking Health Canada how they determine consumer recommendations for preparing poultry. What is the best way to thaw poultry? How do they determine the safe end-point internal temperature? What references do they use? (This discussion is specific to consumer practices in the home, not in food service).

    I've never received an answer.

    At one point I was less polite, and wrote a piece entitled, Health Canada pulls holiday recommendations from its ass. One of my favorites.

    Either Health Canada media and science types I talked to didn’t know, or weren’t telling.

    The process inspired no confidence.

    In the U.S. in 2006, the recommended end-point cooking temperature for all poultry was lowered to 165F from the previous 180F. This was based on recommendations by the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods. Where the 180F recommendation came from , no one really knows. Diane Van, manager of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Meat and Poultry Hotline, was quoted as saying in a Nov. 2006 L.A. Times story about the old 180F advice, "I've looked all over and I really have no idea. I think it happened sometime back in the 1980s, but I don't know what it was based on."

    At least that's honest.

    In Canada, the Health Canada recommendation for whole poultry is 185F. How was that temperature decided? Are there peer-reviewed journal articles that were used to develop that recommendation? Do bacteria behave differently north of the 49th parallel?

    Given such inconsistencies, and the utter lack of accountability, why would consumers be expected to blindly follow what some governmental agency proclaims?

    On Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010, seven Health Canada types had a paper published in the journal, Food Protection Trends, outlining Health Canada’s recommendation for the safe endpoint temperature when cooking whole raw poultry. The abstract is at the end of this post.

    The curtain has been pulled back. Being in Kansas, I could use some Wizard of Oz metaphors, but won’t. And I wouldn’t say the three studies were “recently performed” as they were conducted in 2003-2007, 2000, and 1994.

    Now, what is the process within Health Canada to translate scientific evidence into public policy recommendations? I expect that answer in another 10 years.


    Safe endpoint temperature for cooking whole raw poultry: Health Canada recommendation
    01.oct.10
    Food ProtectionTrends,Vol.30, No.9, Pages 580–587
    Gosia K. Kozak, Helene Couture, Thomas Gleeson, Kim Hopkins, Pauiett Maikie, Thuy Phan and Jeffrey M. Farber
    ABSTRACT
    Poultry is a known carrier of Salmonella. however, it can be safely consumed when cooked to an appropriate internal temperature. The United States Department of agriculture and some Canadian provinces recommend 74°C, whereas health Canada currently recommends 85°C, as a safe internal temperature for cooking raw whole poultry, a difference that can potentially create consumer confusion. To address this, health Canada evaluated three studies recently performed in Canada to examine the survival of Salmonella in raw inoculated whole poultry (stuffed and unstuffed whole chicken and turkey), at six different endpoint temperatures. It was found that 82°C was a safe endpoint cooking temperature for whole unstuffed and stuffed poultry. The studies found that variability exists between and within ovens, and that shorter cooking times typically resulted in positive Salmonella tests in poultry. The thickest part of the breast was determined to be the optimum location for temperature measurement, as it was the last to reach the desired endpoint temperature. Thigh readings were often inaccurate and difficult to perform. As a result of the evaluation of these studies, Health Canada will likely be recommending changing its endpoint temperature recommendation for raw whole poultry to 82C, as measured in the thickest part of the breast.

    Your rating: None (2 votes)
    Food Safety Policy  |  Comments
  • Posted: October 9th, 2010 - 1:34pm by Doug Powell

    KTNV reports that Las Vegas’ Yun Nan Garden on Schiff Drive off of Valley View regularly serves Chinese Szechuan cuisine to patrons. But a total of 46 demerits caused the Southern Nevada Health District to force the restaurant to close its doors.

    The restaurant's walk-in cooler registered at 46 degrees, too warm for properly storing food. Beef, chicken, and pork sitting out at an unsafe temperature created what inspectors called a "potentially hazardous" situation.

    Then, inspectors found a large cooking pot covered with food debris sitting with clean dishware. A food handler was also observed sticking their finger into a wok to taste the food before they resumed cooking – without washing their hands.

    Also, two different employees were found to be working without health cards, which are required paperwork for anyone with a restaurant job.

    Now that Yun Nan Garden has re-opened after re-inspection, Channel 13 stopped by to speak with the owner about what changes had been made. He assured us everything was once again up to code.

    And, when media outlets do the dirty dining stuff, they usually get business pressure to praise the worthy as well. If I owned a restaurant and was doing everything right, I’d market my excellent food safety any way I could – but only if I was sure I was doing everything right.

    KTNV also reported the Florida Cafe Cuban Bar and Grill is on Las Vegas Boulevard just south of Charleston has been open since 1998 and is a restaurant with a good record. The latest visit by the Southern Nevada Health District was to inspect the new buffet now serving up Cuban dishes on the weekends. The results were zero demerits with food at the right temperatures and a clean set up, safe for waiters and customers enjoying the food.

    The Florida Cafe Cuban Bar and Grill has consistently earned an A grade with the exception of one C grade in 2001.

    The Florida Cafe wasn't the only recent restaurant to receive zero demerits. The Dive Bar on East Tropicana and the Michael Mina Restaurant at the Bellagio did as well.

    Your rating: None (2 votes)
  • Posted: October 9th, 2010 - 8:06am by Doug Powell

    The Scarecrow Fest in Akron, Iowa, has one of the better names for the various fall festivals.

    Michelle Clausen Rosendahl, of the Siouxland District Health told

    Le Mars Daily Sentinel, "In Iowa for the most part, if you're selling food, you have to have a license to do that.”

    For short events like the Akron Scarecrow Festival, vendors can purchase a temporary food license. Vendors buy the licenses the day of the event if a district health representative is present to sell them.

    They cost $33.50.

    Rosendahl said the district health office doesn't always know when food vendors are going to be at an event, and health officials request that event organizers notify them.

    Glenn Eckert, an environmental specialist with Siouxland District Health said, "If we know there is a festival going on, we'll stop in and check the vendors. There's lots of things that go on during weekends in smaller towns we don't even know about."

    Things going on in small towns like in a David Lynch movie?

    One of the biggest things district health officials see is food vendors that don't have a place to wash hands right where they are working.

    "If they have any kind of food or beverages that are not prepackaged, they would have to have a handwashing station," Rosendahl said. "It doesn't have to be a sink with actual running water."

    Using hand sanitizer is not enough to take the place of washing hands, Eckert said.

    The district health website gives instructions as to how to set up a temporary handwashing station.

    The health inspectors also will want to know where the food being sold came from.

    "It has to come from a licensed or approved source. If they have meat we would look at if it's inspected meat," Rosendahl said.

    Inspectors also want to know where food was prepared.

    "In this situation, it's not allowed for food to be prepared at home and brought to a temporary food stand and sold, with a couple exception of some non-potentially-hazardous baked goods," Rosendahl said. "We don't know what issues may be in the home. It's not an inspected kitchen."

    A non-profit organization can serve food one day per week on its premises without a temporary license.

    That means, for example, at a church potluck, people can bring food prepared at home, and no temporary food license is needed.
     

    Your rating: None (1 vote)
  • Posted: October 8th, 2010 - 2:03pm by Doug Powell

    Some New York City eateries suck at this food safety thing.

    GrubStreet reports that Cake Man Raven was closed by the Health Department a couple of years ago for using an unpermitted commercial kitchen for some of its cakes (mice droppings were also found), and on Wednesday, it was closed again.

    This time, the inspection report cites “food from unapproved or unknown source or home canned” and/or “ROP foods prepared on premises transported to another site,” which indicates that proprietor Raven Patrick De'Sean Dennis III is likely once again in trouble for transporting slices from off site (no one is picking up at the store). Add to that, the Cake Man apparently couldn’t produce a food protection certificate or an operating permit.

    Meanwhile in Manhattan, Market Table and BLT Steak recently racked up even more demerits than the Cake Man’s 78 (they scored a whopping 94 and 91, respectively), but both remain open for business, with grades still pending. Everyone’s favorite wedding-proposal spot, One if by Land, also rang up a surprising 64 demerits.

    GrubStreet has a full list of the food safety infractions from the reports. Fine dining.
     

    Your rating: None (1 vote)
  • Posted: October 8th, 2010 - 8:21am by Doug Powell

    The owners of a U.K. petting zoo accused of animal welfare offences and bad food safety have withdrawn their application for a zoo licence.

    Northern Echo reports that Tweddle Children’s Animal Farm, in Blackhall Colliery, County Durham, has also removed some of its more exotic animals.

    Earlier this year, the council’s environmental health officers and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs visited the farm following an undercover investigation by the Captive Animals Protection Society. The charity said it had found traces of E coli and dead animals decomposing near a children’s play area.

    It also said the bodies of dead animals, including a meerkat and tortoise, had been stored in a freezer on top of food for animals, while staff working with animals were working in the cafe wearing the same clothes.

    Tweedle also did not have the required licence for a zoo.

    The council said no traces of E coli were reported but head teachers who may have been planning school visits were warned about its investigation.
     

    Your rating: None (2 votes)
    Food Safety Policy  |  Comments
  • Posted: October 8th, 2010 - 7:59am by Doug Powell

    Tampa Bay Online reports that changes in state laws on food safety inspections has led to mass confusion about jurisdiction, so much that health departments are now regaining powers to conduct kitchen hygiene inspections at child care facilities, at least for an interim period.

    Marc Yacht, the retired former director of the Pasco County Health Department said he remains concerned about the "most vulnerable population" at nursing homes not having a regular food and hygiene inspection program.

    Unintended consequences seem to have plagued the new law from the start, Yacht and other critics say.

    Most Department of Children and Family inspectors have bachelor's degrees in social sciences, but they lack the training and experience for food inspections. The Department of Health inspectors have degrees in science or health and training in food safety.
     

    Your rating: None (1 vote)
    Food Safety Policy  |  Comments
  • Posted: October 7th, 2010 - 3:37pm by Rob Mancini

    Author: 
    Rob Mancini
    A new study from the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna has shown that Campylobacter jejuni is protected and dependent upon the presence of spoilage bacteria on meat, in particular Pseudomonas for survival.
     
     
    It is known that C. jejuni cannot grow under normal atmospheric conditions – the levels of oxygen are too high for it – so how it survives was until recently unknown. The mystery has now been solved by Friederike Hilbert and colleagues at the Institute of Meat Hygiene, Meat Technology and Food Science of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna.
    The surface of meat harbours a number of species of bacteria that – fortunately – are rarely harmful to humans, although they are associated with spoilage. It seems possible that the various species interact and Hilbert hypothesized that such interactions might help bacteria such as Campylobacter jejuni survive under hostile, oxygen-rich conditions. She thus tested the survival of C. jejuni in the presence of various meat-spoiling bacteria. When incubated alone or together with bacteria such as Proteus mirabilis or Enterococcus faecalis, Campylobacter survived atmospheric oxygen levels for no longer than 18 hours. However, when incubated together with various strains of Pseudomonas, Campylobacter were found to survive for much longer, in some cases over 48 hours, which would be easily long enough to cause infection.
     
    Campylobacter jejuni is a bacterium found primarily in the intestinal gut of animals and birds and shed primarily through the feces.  Poultry feces have been found to contain up to 106 cells or more per gram.  The infective dose for campylobacteriosis (disease acquired from the bacterium) can be as low as 500 cells. This makes it very easy for people to get sick from food contaminated with Campylobacter jejuni.  Symptoms commonly associated with campylobacteriosis are enteric in nature, that is abdominal cramps, diarrhea, in some cases bloody diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Keep poop away from food.
     
     
     
     
     Friederike Hilbert, Manuela Scherwitzel, Peter Paulsen and Michael P. Szostak. Survival of Campylobacter jejuni under Conditions of Atmospheric Oxygen Tension with the Support of Pseudomonas spp.
    September issue of the Journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology (Vol. 76, 5911-5917).
    Your rating: None (5 votes)
  • Posted: October 7th, 2010 - 2:47pm by Doug Powell

    The British swim squad at the Commonwealth games has been decimated by Delhi belly since arriving in India.

    Rob Mancini wrote a couple of days ago about two instances; the number of sick British swimmers has now risen to 40.

    The Telegraph reported that it later emerged that the Australian swimming team are testing the water quality at the aquatics complex. The problem could even stem from pigeon droppings which can swell contagious diseases. Pigeons have been nesting in the rafters since competition began here.

    Whatever is causing swimmers to barf, toilets in the athletes’ village are clogged with condoms.

    Plumbers sent to unblock toilets said used condoms were the problem, with an un-named health official quoted as saying 2,000 of the 8,000 free contraceptives had been used so far.

    Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell said the report was a positive, adding,

    "I am not quite sure what the point is, if that is happening it shows that there is use of condoms and I think that is a very positive story, that athletes are being responsible."
     

    Your rating: None (2 votes)
    Wacky and Weird  |  Comments
  • Posted: October 7th, 2010 - 2:04pm by Doug Powell

    The lord mayor of Melbourne from 2001-2008, John So, has been charged with running a dirty restaurant by the council he used to lead.

    Melbourne City Council has filed charges against Mr So and a company he is a director of, Doshay Pty Ltd, over food safety breaches at the Dragon Boat on the Yarra restaurant.

    The case was adjourned in Melbourne Magistrates' Court yesterday because Mr So's barrister was unavailable to represent him, so details of the allegedly unhygienic practices could not be read out in the court.

    But this is not the first time one of Mr So's restaurants has come under the glare of Melbourne Council for breaching food regulations.

    The Herald Sun reports that on its website, the Dragon Boat on the Yarra claims to specialize in live seafood with "a team consisting of the best chefs in Melbourne."
     

    Your rating: None (1 vote)
  • Posted: October 7th, 2010 - 1:50pm by Doug Powell

    Microbiologists at the Health Protection Agency’s Centre for Infections (CFI) in Colindale have confirmed the link between contaminated bean sprouts and 141 cases of Salmonella Bareilly in the U.K. (The Daily Mail reports the number sickened as of today at 169).

    Specialists in the CFI’s Salmonella Reference Unit report that the strain of Salmonella Bareilly isolated from a bean sprout sample is indistinguishable from the strain of S. Bareilly isolated from human samples.

    Bean sprouts had already featured strongly in a case control study in which people who had suffered from S. Bareilly infection and controls (people who did not become ill) were questioned about what they had eaten prior to the onset of illness.

    However, both the HPA and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) stress that bean sprouts are safe to eat provided that they are washed and cooked until piping hot before consumption or are clearly labelled as ready-to-eat.

    Such advice fails to account for potential cross-contamination in home or food service kitchens during preparation.
     

    Your rating: None (1 vote)
    Raw Food  |  Comments
  • Posted: October 7th, 2010 - 1:19pm by Doug Powell

    The Colbert Report last night took some well-earned shots at raw milk last night (the segment is below).

    Playing his Captain Freedom card, Colbert said “the nanny state is always sticking its nose into our business, from baby seats to motorcycle helments,” and in response to the proprieters of Rawesome Foods in Venice, Calif., which was raided for selling raw milk and also now features raw camel’s milk, Colbert deadpanned, “Raw milk, straight from the udder, just the way our founding fathers and their camels intended it.”

    The Colbert Report is satire, playing riffs on daily news events; it’s not real news (although many think it is).

    Former U.S. Food and Drug Administration food safety czar, David Acheson, was also interviewed for the piece and, according to Colbert, played the “bloody diarrhea” card, while Rep. Ron Paul said this is “pasteurization without representation.”

    There are lots of risky foods and Americans are free to pick their poisons. But no one wants bloody diarrhea from a staple food that is used to nourish children, especially when pasteurization offers a solution.
     

    The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
    Rawesome Foods Raid
    www.colbertnation.com
    Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election March to Keep Fear Alive
    Your rating: None (4 votes)
    Raw Food  |  Comments
  • Posted: October 7th, 2010 - 12:02pm by Doug Powell

    The Onondaga County Health Department says 60 people have become ill because of raw clams served at an event at Hinerwadel's Grove in North Syracuse.

    The Health Department says so far, all of the illnesses have been linked to a clambake September 15th for the CNY Builders Exchange. Approximately 3,800 members attended that clambake.

    The reported symptoms are related to campylobacter, a bacterial infection that causes diarrhea, cramps, and fever. The incubation period for the infection is usually two to five days, but it can last as long as 10 days. Symptoms can last up to two weeks.

    The Health Department is asking that anyone who ate at the facility and became ill to call (315) 435-6607.


     

    Your rating: None (1 vote)
    Raw Food  |  Comments
  • Posted: October 7th, 2010 - 4:44am by Doug Powell

    egg.farm_.jpg

    A salmonella outbreak that sickened thousands and led to the recall of 500 million eggs produced under filthy conditions by two Iowa farms led Elizabeth Weise of USA Today to report on an Illinois farm that produces over 800,000 eggs per day yet has never found a salmonella-positive test result.

    This morning, N.Y. Times reporter William Neuman examines the conditions at Hi-Grade Egg Farm in Indiana and finds that safe eggs can be produced on a large scale.

    “(The) droppings from 381,000 chickens are carried off along a zig-zagging system of stacked conveyor belts with powerful fans blowing across them.

    "The excrement takes three days to travel more than a mile back and forth, and when it is finally deposited on a gray, 20-foot high mountain of manure, it has been thoroughly dried out, making it of little interest to the flies and rodents that can spread diseases like salmonella poisoning.

    “Standing by the manure pile on a recent afternoon, Robert L. Krouse, the president of Midwest Poultry Services, the company that owns the Hi-Grade farm, took a deep breath. The droppings, he declared, smelled sweet, like chocolate"

    Mr. Krouse, who is also chairman of the United Egg Producers, an industry association, said

    “We’ve had to completely change the way we look at things. Thirty years ago, farms had flies and farms had mice, everything was exposed to everything else. They just all happily lived together. You can’t work that way anymore"

    Today the hens on Mr. Krouse’s farms come from hatcheries certified to provide chicks free of salmonella. The young birds are vaccinated to create resistance to the bacteria. And then steps are taken to keep them from being exposed to it, primarily by controlling mice and flies that may carry salmonella or spread it around.

    Big ag doesn’t mean bad ag. Organic or conventional, local or global, big or small, there are good farmers and bad farmers. The good ones know all about food safety and continuously work to minimize levels of risk.

    Unfortunately, consumers have no way of knowing which eggs or foods were produced by microbiologically prudent farmers and which were produced on dumps. Market microbial food safety at retail so consumers can actually use their buying power and choose safer food.
     

    Your rating: None (2 votes)
    Salmonella  |  Comments
  • Posted: October 6th, 2010 - 8:43pm by Doug Powell

    Frank Yiannas, vp of food safety at Walmart and the author of the 2009 book, Food Safety Culture, penned a piece for GFSI’s (Global Food Safety Initiative) latest newsletter about why behavior-based food safety management is key to enhancing food safety. An edited excerpt is below:

    The term food safety management system, as traditionally used, often refers to a system that includes having prerequisite programs in place, good manufacturing practices (GMPs), a Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Point plan, a recall procedure, and so on. It’s a very process focused system. A behavior-based food safety management system is process focused, but it’s also people focused.

    At the end of the day, food safety equals behavior. And to improve the food safety performance of your organization, you have to change people’s behaviors.

    Traditional food safety managers are focused on the principles of food safety, temperature control, and sanitation – the food sciences. They believe that managing these scientific principles will lead to food safety success.

    Behavior-based food safety managers have mastery over the food sciences. But they understand that the food sciences are not enough. They understand that achieving food safety success requires not only an understanding of the food sciences, but of the behavioral sciences too. Accordingly, they are students of behavioral change theories, the behavioral sciences, and principles related to organizational culture.

    Traditional food safety managers place an overemphasis on training and inspections in an attempt to change behavior and achieve results. They believe that desired behavior change can be achieved by simply training employees and inspecting processes and conditions against established standards. But as stated so elegantly by B.F. Skinner (1953), behavior is a difficult subject, not because it is inaccessible, but because it is extremely complex. While both of these activities (training and inspections) are important, behavior-based food safety managers realize they are not enough to achieve food safety success. They understand the complexity of behavior and, before jumping to an overly simplistic solution; they study and analyze the cause of the performance problem (lack of skill, ineffective work system, lack of motivation, etc) to propose the right solution.

    Traditional food safety management often addresses specific food safety concerns and strategies in isolation or as individual components, not as a whole or complete system. In other words, it approaches food safety with a sort of linear cause-and-effect thinking. Behavior-based food safety management realizes that this sort of linear cause-and-effect thinking is not fully adequate to address complex issues related to an organization’s food safety culture or an employee’s adherence to food safety practices.

    Behavior-based food safety management understands that there are numerous factors (physical, organizational, personal) that affect performance and they consider the totality of the numerous activities an organization may conduct and how they are linked together to influence people’s thoughts and behaviors.

    Traditional food safety management relies on formal authority to accomplish objectives. Food safety managers get others to follow them or their program because they have authority over them and hold them accountable to the rules. Behavior-based food safety managers also use a system of checks and balances, but they use them differently. For example, they use them to observe employee behaviors related to food safety, give feedback and coaching (both positive and negative) based on the results, and provide motivation for continuous improvement.

    More importantly, behavior-based food safety managers have figured out a way to go beyond accountability. They’ve figured out a way to get employees at all levels of the organization to do the right things, not because they’re being held accountable to them, but because they believe in and are committed to food safety. They create a food safety culture.

     

    Your rating: None (1 vote)
  • Posted: October 6th, 2010 - 1:30pm by Doug Powell

    Hockey goon and University of British Columbia by food microbiologist Kevin Allen found some listeria in samples of smoked salmon and said,

    "A healthy adult … likely could consume it with no consequence. However, if I was going to feed that to my daughter or son, the answer is no, I wouldn't."

    And yes, kids eat smoked salmon. Almost-2-year-old daughter Sorenne especially likes brie cheese and smoked turkey breast, along with pickles and olives. Goofy kid (that’s in a loving way; she's also apparently fascinated with money).

    CBC News reports that traces of the bacteria Listeria have been detected in samples of smoked salmon bought at a Vancouver retailer.

    Two contaminated samples — including one containing the potentially fatal strain Listeria monocytogenes — were found in chunks of smoked salmon, called salmon nuggets, purchased at Longliner Seafoods at the Granville Island Public Market.

    A total of 53 samples of delicatessen meat and ready-to-eat seafood from nine stores around Vancouver were tested by Dr. Allen.

    No Listeria bacteria were found in the deli meat .

    The sample containing Listeria monocytogenes contained a concentration of bacteria that was below the federal threshold that would have necessitated a recall, but it is still a cause for concern, said Allen.

    "It should definitely be ringing some alarm bells for these processors.”

    People with compromised immune systems, including pregnant women and the elderly, are especially vulnerable to listeriosis.
     

    Your rating: None (4 votes)
    Listeria  |  Comments
  • Posted: October 6th, 2010 - 12:01am by Ben Chapman

    Author: 
    Ben Chapman

    According to News9.com, 17 cases of salmonellosis have now been linked together as a cluster of illnesses in Oklahoma grows.  Most of the illnesses occured between September 2 and 13 with students in the Mustang School District but school and health officials did not contact parents until last week as the investigation unfolded. An additional three cases, matched genetically, have now been added to the cluster.

    Two adult cases have been identified in Oklahoma County as well as another case in Carter County. Investigators are trying to figure out if those cases are connected to the Mustang outbreak. Only one person, an adult, has been hospitalized.

    As Doug wrote last week, this sure looks like a common supplier issue with a ready-to-eat product like fresh produce, especially now since the outbreak includes illnesses outside of the school system. Although procuring safe food is about trust, knowing about the risks associated with ingredients/inputs and asking tough questions about how a supplier handles microbial food safety in production, preparation and handling is a responsible thing to do. And it's more than just relying on audits; they are just one part of good procurement practices. Dave Theno, formerly of Jack-in-the-Box summed up the limitation of third-party audits in an interview with USA Today last week saying that, "especially with critical suppliers, you're really betting your business on these guys [auditors]."
     
    In a Bobby McFerrin-esque manner, state health officials in Iowa say not to worry, two Salmonella-positive cases in the state, which are reportedly a genetic match to the Oklahoma cases, are not likely linked.
     
    Patty Quinlisk, Iowa’s chief epidemiologist, says there’s no cause for concern. “We’ve had two cases,” Dr. Quinlisk says. “We investigated both already. There’s no link for the two of them to each other. There’s no obvious exposure to any particular food products nor does there appear to be any link to people who are getting sick in other parts of the country, including Oklahoma.”
    Based on their testing and follow-ups, Quinlisk says she’s convinced the Iowa cases are not related to the others. Quinlisk says, “We’re not asking anyone to do anything nor do we see any potential risk to Iowans, though we will continue to watch this and other strains of diseases like salmonella.
    ” While there may be a DNA “fingerprint” match between the Iowa and Oklahoma strains of salmonella, Quinlisk says that doesn’t mean these people all ate the same type of food or ate in the same restaurant.

    “We do a follow-up,” Quinlisk says. “We go in and we interview the people and say, what have you been doing? What have you been eating? Have you been traveling? There’s no exposure link. There’s nothing that our people have been doing that’s anything similar to the cases in Oklahoma, in fact they’re not even in the same age groups, same kind of living situations or anything like that. They’re very different.”  


    Bobby McFerrin - Don't Worry, Be Happy

    Your rating: None (2 votes)
    Salmonella  |  Comments
  • Posted: October 5th, 2010 - 4:07pm by Rob Mancini

    Author: 
    Rob Mancini
    A good friend of mine is competing in the Commonwealth Games and I’m looking forward to see how everything pans out.  Well, it seems as if some of his competition may not be doing so well.  
     
    Commonwealth Games organisers have ordered an inspection of all food at the athletes village after Australians fell ill after eating there.
    Swimmers Ryan Napoleon and Rob Hurley, and swim coach Matt Brown, suffered a classic case of Delhi Belly on Sunday night after eating a meat bolognese pasta at the village dining hall.
    But Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell on Tuesday suggested their sudden sickness may not have come from the village - despite athletes being restricted to the campus apart from training and competition.
    "We have asked for a check on the food, but we were not told that it necessarily came from the village, it could have come from anywhere," Fennell said.
    "All I am saying, the village food, the caterers, we have asked to inspect fully."
    Delhi Games organising committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi said the food at the village had attracted rave reviews.

    Your rating: None (2 votes)
  • Posted: October 5th, 2010 - 5:47am by Doug Powell

    Amy and I got married at city hall in 2006.

    We had dinner with a couple of friends.

    Then Amy barfed.

    It wasn’t the food, it wasn’t the realization she had married me, it was thought to be her gall bladder.

    Six people at a Roseville (California) wedding on the weekend ended up in the hospital, part of about 30 people who were sickened by food after the nuptials.
     

    Your rating: None (1 vote)
    Wacky and Weird  |  Comments
  • Posted: October 5th, 2010 - 5:06am by Doug Powell

    There are three separate clusters of norovirus associated with raw oysters making people barf in the Vancouver area (that’s in Canada) but, as usual, no details were provided by health types on actual numbers of people sick.

    CBC News reports the B.C. Centre for Disease Control has confirmed that an outbreak of illness related to eating uncooked Pacific Coast oysters is being caused by a norovirus.

    The affected oysters have been traced to a section of Effingham Inlet on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The oysters were harvested between Sept. 7 and Sept. 21.

    Your rating: None (3 votes)
    Norovirus  |  Comments
  • Posted: October 4th, 2010 - 12:25pm by Ben Chapman

    Author: 
    Ben Chapman

    According to the New York Times, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s lovefest with its new music director, Riccardo Muti, came to a sudden halt on Sunday, when the maestro canceled two weeks of concerts to seek treatment in Milan for what the orchestra called “extreme gastric distress.”

    Mr. Muti suffered some discomfort while leading the orchestra on Friday, felt stomach pain at a rehearsal on Saturday and withdrew just before a gala concert on Saturday evening.
    “He just couldn’t do it,” said Mary Lou Falcone, a spokeswoman for Mr. Muti and the orchestra, who said the maestro suffered severe stomach pain. The orchestra was able to perform without him.

    Mr. Muti had been with the Chicago Symphony for only two weeks, beginning his tenure as its new music director after a lengthy courtship and much hoopla accompanying his arrival. “I cannot express the depth of my regret,” he said in a statement issued by the orchestra.
     
    Extreme gastric distress sounds like something the percussion section could use.
     
     
     
     

     

     

    Your rating: None (2 votes)
    Celebrity  |  Comments