But more than a century ago, after her youngest son, John, died from drinking contaminated milk as an infant, Hoodless embarked on a campaign to have all milk heat-treated — pasteurized — to kill potentially harmful bacteria, making her one of Canada’s earliest food safety proponents.
Tracey Tyler of the Toronto Star writes that Hoodless grew up on a farm in St. George, near Brantford,and is sometimes described as one of the country’s most effective but least-known social reformers.
After her son’s death in 1889, she devoted herself to educating women in the “domestic sciences” and giving them the institutional backing they needed to protect their families.
Her work led to the formation of Women’s Institutes, home economics programs in schools and the creation of the Macdonald Institute at the University of Guelph.
Toronto passed a bylaw in 1915 requiring all milk sold to be pasteurized and that became mandatory across Ontario in 1938. The Star was a prominent advocate for pasteurization, and remains so today, with the publication of an editorial insisting there is no sound scientific evidence supporting the claim that raw milk improves people’s health, but a mountain of data showing it can be dangerous. It’s especially risky for children, pregnant women and the elderly.
That day, a painted turtle -- large as this species goes -- had hunkered in grass by the breakdown lane, pointing west toward the busy highway.
That day with Katelyn, I stopped my bicycle, showed her the turtle and said, "Why don't you move it across the road so no one runs over it."
I wanted Katelyn to get accustomed to doing good deeds for wildlife, but she was worried the turtle might scratch her, a good thing.
Unknown to me at that moment, aquatic turtles commonly carry salmonella bacteria. I should have known that fact after writing nature articles for the past three decades -- but just didn't.
Normally, this small species doesn't claw people anywhere near as readily as snappers do, making me careless. When I gently grasped the carapace with my fingers and thumb between the front and back legs, the turtle immediately reached back with its right front leg and scratched my index finger hard enough to break the skin. Then later, without washing my hands, I ate a piece of pizza at a convenience store. Either incident could have given me Salmonella poisoning.
By Monday morning, I was deathly sick with diarrhea, big-time nausea, headache, fever, chill and worst of all, severe abdominal pain, and it lasted through the power outage until well into Wednesday.
The following day, I told William Woodward, a retired biologist, about the snapper, and he quickly said, "Be careful handling turtles because they commonly carry Salmonella."
Jen Chung of The Gothamist writes that if you're spending $14 on soup or $10 on a side of spinach (let's not get into the $47 veal chop), you'd probably hope that the restaurant would have a New York City Department of Health Restaurant Inspection grade of A.
The BLT Market restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton on Central Park South, is a C-venue—thanks to violations like "Hot food item not held at or above 140º F" and "Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.
The New York Post, which has the lede, "The Ritz is the pits, as far as the city’s Health Department is concerned," reports that the restaurant's C-grade is "barely visible" in the window (not surprising!) and spoke to potential diners who seemed turned off (right, photo from Post). A tourist said, "We do like to go to upscale restaurants when we’re here, but I don’t expect that type of grade from a restaurant of this level of quality. It taints it. No, I won’t be going.”
Manager Scott Geraghty was apologetic to the Post, “More than anything, we care about our guests and customer. The Health Department came in a while ago, and we took all their suggestions and made all the improvements, and now we’re just waiting for them to come back... It’s sort of a mystery, they come when they come."
BLT Market had 67 points in June and 42 points in March, which suggests that the restaurant got a C back in March and when inspectors came back three months later, it really bombed.
Thousands of packages of cooked pigs ears produced in Spain and distributed in southern France have been recalled after testing positive for Listeria monocytogenes.
Our French friend Albert Amgar provided the link to the AFP story, and Amy translated on the way home from New Zealand this morning.
The Roussillon Salaisons company which makes pork products and prepared meals in Perpignan initiated their own recall of the products in question from the concerned stores. In cases where the product had already been sold, it is requesting that people who still have the product not eat it and either destroy it or return it for a refund.
Those who might have eaten the incriminated product and who have symptoms such as fever, with or without headache, are encouraged to consult their doctor and indicate what they have eaten.
Pregnant women must be especially attentive to these symptoms, as should be immune-depressed and elderly people.
The implicated products are 3200 vacuum-packed bags of plain cooked pigs ears and Galician style cooked pigs ears, both from the Régal Catalan brand. They were sold from July 4 in a few dozen Leader Price stores in Aquitaine, Midi-Pyrénées, Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur, the company explained.
They come from two imported lots from Spain with the numbers 07072011and a best by date of 5 October 2011, and 27062011, best by date 25 September 2011. Roussillon Salaisons insisted that the products were made by the Spanish firm Carnes Esman and not by Roussillon Salaisons itself. Roussillon Salaison emphasized that it does make certain pork products but in this case it only sold the pigs ears.
Listeria was discovered during a routine test undertaken by a Leader Price store.
Roussillon Salaisons was alerted to the problem Friday and said that they immediately asked all the stores to pull the product from their shelves and to put up a poster to notify consumers. But the health authorities asked that the company additionally alert consumers through the media, the company explained.
The one thing everyone had in common was they all ate catered food at the Georgia Aquarium over the summer.
In the week of July 24, three groups had catered events at the aquarium. Two had corporate conferences, and there was a wedding reception, officials said. One or two weeks later people started coming down with week-long bouts of diarrhea.
The Georgia Division of Epidemiology said it is still investigating but told Channel 2’s Jeff Dore that cyclospora made the people sick, totaling well over 100 guests and staff.
Officials said they haven't pinned the exact cause of the breakout, but did say the common food served at all three events was salad mix, fresh basil and cherry tomatoes.
Basil has a history of cyclospora outbreaks.
Wolfgang Puck catering prepares all the food at aquarium events, and its CEO took an overnight flight from California to talk with Channel 2.
After six months of investigations the infection was ultimately linked to people handling loose raw leeks and potatoes in their homes, said the Health Protection Agency (HPA), which has only now acknowledged the outbreak.
The cases began last December and continued until July. In total 250 victims – 100 of them under 16 – were left sick with vomiting and diarrhea. Of those, 74 needed hospital treatment. One unnamed patient, who the HPA said had underlying health problems, died.
In each of the past three years an average of 81 people across the U.K. have been infected with E coli O157 PT8.
Soil on the vegetables is thought to have been the likely source of the E coli bacteria. "In this outbreak, which is now over, the vegetables could have carried traces of contaminated soil. It is possible people caught the infection from cross-contamination in storage, inadequate washing of loose vegetables, insufficient hand washing after handling the vegetables or by failing to thoroughly clean kitchen equipment, utensils or surfaces after preparing the vegetables."
A spokeswoman said the HPA did not alert the public to the ongoing outbreak because they did not know where it had originated and therefore could offer no useful public health advice.
And the sanitized press release nonsense ends here.
Potato and leek soup is a standard in my kitchen, using chicken stock made from the weekly roast chicken.
I’m not sure what else leeks are used for, and they can contribute to some fantabulous gas, but they are a mess to clean: dirt and soil is engrained throughout the white part of the vegetable. I give them a rinse under tap water and then slice for soup. But the risk is with cross-contamination – leeks are grown in soil and whatever microorganisms are within the white bits are going to drip on the counter and elsewhere.
Be the bug, follow the bug.
The folks at the U.K. Food Standards Agency whose idea of science-based verification is to cook meat until it is piping hot, have apparently decided that E. coli O157:H7 – the dangerous kind – found on or in leeks, is the consumers’ responsibility.
"This outbreak is a timely reminder that it is essential to wash all fruits and vegetables, including salad, before you eat them, unless they are labeled 'ready to eat', to ensure that they are clean. It is also important to wash hands thoroughly as well as clean chopping boards, knives and other utensils after preparing vegetables to prevent cross contamination,” said Dr Andrew Wadge, chief scientist at FSA.
No questions about what E. coli O157:H7 is doing on so many potatoes and leeks that 250 people get sick.
The Brits are so bad at communicating basic food safety information that FSA put out its own press release stressing the need for home hygiene because of “two recent E.coli outbreaks,” referring to the leeks and the German-based E. coli O104 sprout outbreak earlier this year which killed 53 and sickened over 4,000. People could have washed sprouts all they liked but it wouldn’t have done anything to control E. coli, especially if it was originally in the Egyptian seed, as is widely suspected.
Consumers, you are apparently the critical control point for microorganisms that will rip out your kidneys: FSA says, those leeks and potatoes, “although safe to eat if handled correctly, could have had soil on them containing harmful bacteria.”
Despite decades of food safety communication case studies and research to the contrary, the Brits are intent on forging their own top-10 stupid ways to talk about foodborne illness, with special mention to mad cow disease, salmonella in eggs and proper cooking temperatures.
If U.K. food and health types have a communications policy, it seems to be one of, no positive food, no public statement, no matter how many are dead or dying.
Why not say, as many other jurisdictions do, that an increase in a type of rare but dangerous E. coli has been noted, we’re not sure where it came from, but we’re trying to figure things out, and as soon as we know more, you’ll hear it first from us.
Is there any policy on providing the public with information about foodborne illness in the U.K.?
It’s tired but true that major outbreaks of foodborne illness are reproessed through the political filters of punditry to advance a cause, rather than focus on the biological aspects of an outbreak – especially when the unknowns are numerous.
Regardless of how it happened, the situation has left the town and farm reeling and in fear. Jensen had to quit growing and shipping cantaloupes after the outbreak was discovered — a staggering blow to a region where cantaloupe has always been a proud local tradition.
Sherri McGarry, a senior adviser in the FDA's Office of Foods, said the agency is looking at the farm's water supply and the possibility that animals wandered into Jensen Farms' fields, among other things, in trying to figure out how the cantaloupes became contaminated. Listeria bacteria grow in moist, muddy conditions and are often carried by animals.
The water supply for farms in the Holly area comes from wells and irrigation ditches that tap the nearby Arkansas River. There's no shortage of thoughts around town about the potential causes.
Proponents for Denver’s Initiative 300 that would let private employees and city workers earn up to 72 hours of paid sick days a year sent out a campaign flier that connects the ballot measure to the deadly listeria outbreak, upsetting opponents.
The mailer by Campaign for a Healthy Denver features a photo of cantaloupe next to a dish of bow-tie pasta with the question: “What can you do to make your food safer? Make sure workers handling food are healthy.”
The mailer continues: “There are many types of food contamination we can’t control. But we can help stop sick workers from handling our food by voting yes on Initiative 300.”
Greg Sauber, co-owner of the Wash Park Grille, said, “It is outrageous and disgusting to use a tragedy for a political campaign. I don’t know where they are coming from with this.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control published an outbreak investigative summary yesterday, including a description of how once cantaloupe was implicated, PulseNet, the national molecular subtyping network for foodborne bacterial disease surveillance, detected a multistate cluster with a fourth PFGE pattern combination; a sample of cantaloupe collected from the implicated farm yielded L. monocytogenes with this pattern, and interviews with patients revealed that most had consumed cantaloupe. Isolates with this pattern were then also considered to be among the outbreak strains.
This outbreak has several unusual features. First, this is the first listeriosis outbreak associated with melon. Second, four widely differing PFGE pattern combinations and two serotypes (1/2a and 1/2b) have been associated with the outbreak. Third, this outbreak is unusually large; only two U.S. listeriosis outbreaks, one associated with frankfurters (108 cases) and one with Mexican-style cheese (142), have had more cases. Additional cases likely will be reported because of the long incubation period (usually 1--3 weeks, range: 3--70 days) and the time needed for diagnosis and confirmation. Fourth, this outbreak has the highest number of deaths of any U.S. foodborne outbreak since a listeriosis outbreak in 1998.