20 years of PulseNet: The national molecular subtyping network for foodborne disease surveillance

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports PulseNet is celebrating 20 years of public health achievements in transforming the way foodborne disease outbreaks are detected and investigated.

pulse-net-20-200PulseNet is a national surveillance network of federal, state, and local public health laboratories that work together to detect foodborne disease outbreaks by connecting DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause illness. The network facilitates the early identification of common sources of foodborne outbreaks and helps regulatory agencies identify areas where implementation of new measures are likely to improve the safety of the food supply.

A recent economic evaluation of PulseNet activities suggests that the network prevents at least 270,000 illnesses from infection with Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria and saves an estimated $500 million each year. In 2013, PulseNet began using whole genome sequencing (WGS) to detect outbreaks caused by Listeria, the most deadly foodborne pathogen. PulseNet is quickly expanding the use of WGS in state laboratories and has begun using WGS in investigations of other foodborne pathogens such as Campylobacter, E. coli, and Salmonella. With incorporation of WGS and other advanced molecular detection methods, PulseNet will continue to improve foodborne disease detection and identify outbreaks faster and with more accuracy.

Additional information regarding CDC’s Advanced Molecular Detection initiative is available at http://www.cdc.gov/amd/. Additional materials on the 20th anniversary of PulseNet, including success stories from state public health laboratories and fact sheets are available at the CDC PulseNet website.

Raw cat food recalled

We returned to Australia, last night, staying up until 2 or 3 a.m.

sorenne.cat.trip.jun.16No hockey for me at 6 a.m. Saturday morning.

The seven hours in the air from Paris to Dubai, then 13 hours from Dubai to Brisbane, plus all the waiting, is a tad overrated.

This was Sorenne at noon Saturday, as we were going to go get some stuff.

She missed her cat.

And apparently sleep.

We do not feed any pets raw food.

Radagast Pet Food, Inc. (Portland, OR) has announced a voluntary recall of four lots of frozen Rad Cat Raw Diet products, sold in 8oz., 16oz., and 24oz. tubs, and free 1oz sample cups, due to the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella and/or Listeria monocytogenes.

Pets with Salmonella or Listeria monocytogenes infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Some pets may have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

5_cupsThe FDA third party contracted lab found two lots of Grass-Fed Beef tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes, one lot of Free-range Chicken tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes, and one lot of Free-range Turkey tested positive for Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. As a precautionary measure, we are voluntarily recalling three products produced in these four lots.

All affected lot codes 62384, 62361, 62416, and 62372 and Best By dates are located on the lid of all products packaged in tubs and on the bottom of the sample cups.

The following recalled products were distributed in western Canada and all US States except in HI and MS.

Please do not return any of these recalled products to the retailer and dispose in a secure garbage receptacle. For refund claims, fill out all sections of our Consumer Claims Form which can be found on our website www.RadFood.com disclaimer icon and return this form only to the retailer where you purchased the product for a refund. Consumers may call Radagast Pet Food, Inc. for assistance in filling out the Claim Form.

Denmark says; Give us your poop

They could have just gone to France. This is Sorenne beside a doodie at a subway stop yesterday.

sorenne.france.poop.jun.16Hvidovre Hospital near Copenhagen is looking for healthy faeces donors that can help build a stockpile of stools to be used to fight bacteria.

Faeces from healthy people has proven to be a good weapon against recalcitrant bacteria when typical antibiotics fail. Since 2014, over 60 patients at the hospital have been treated with faeces donated by family members to combat clostridium bacterium that often do not respond to common antibiotics.

Demand is increasing, so Andreas Munk Petersen, the chief physician at Hvidovre Hospital thinks it is a good time to get some poop on the shelves.

“There are some age limits, but if you are otherwise healthy and have no diseases and are not severely overweight, you be a donor,” Petersen told DR Nyheder.

The hospital hopes to develop a ‘faeces bank’ similar to today’s blood banks so that a regular stream of contributors are available to help spread the treatment method further.

 

To all the pregnant ladies: Hepatitis E is a risk

It is of great concern that pregnant women with acute viral hepatitis (AVH) type E have serious consequences. This study aimed to estimate the case-fatality risk (CFR) and potential risk factors of pregnant women with AVH type E.

We searched the PubMed, EMBASE, and Web of Science databases for studies containing data on CFR in pregnancy with AVH type E. A pooled estimate of CFR was calculated using a random-effects model. Potential sources of heterogeneity were explored using subgroup analysis, sensitivity analysis, and meta-regression. We identified 47 eligible studies with a total African and Asian population of 3968 individuals. The pooled CFRs of maternal and fetal outcomes were 20·8% [95% confidence interval (CI) 16·6–25·3] and 34·2% (95% CI 26·0–43·0), respectively. Compared with these, the pooled CFR was highest (61·2%) in women with fulminant hepatic failure (FHF). Community-based surveys had lower pooled CFR (12·2%, 95% CI 9·2–15·6) and heterogeneity (25·8%, 95% CI 20·1–32·0) than hospital-based surveys. Univariate analysis showed that hospital-based surveying (P = 0·007), and patients in the third trimester of pregnancy or with FHF (P < 0·05), were significantly associated with CFR. Intrauterine fetal mortality (27·0%) was statistically higher than neonatal mortality (3·9%).

Control measures for HEV infection would reduce feto-maternal mortality in Asia and Africa.

Case-fatality risk of pregnant women with acute viral hepatitis type E: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Epidemiology and Infection, Volume 144, Issue 10, July 2016, pp. 2098-2106, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0950268816000418

Jin, Y. Zhao, X. Zhang, B. Wang, P. Liu

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=10375512&utm_source=Issue_Alert&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=HYG

Food safety raid on flour, curry powder units

I never knew what masala was until Sorenne really liked the Indian chicken takeaway.

sorenne.jacques.jun.16So I’ve been trying to recreate the dish at home.

Guess it can suck at food safety too.

Food safety officials inspected 21 large-scale manufacturing units making curry, masala powders and flour on Wednesday. Six of the units were issued improvement notices while a fine of Rs.75,000 was imposed on five others.

Officials collected 20 statutory samples of curry powders and 36 surveillance samples for quality checks.

Food safety officials closed down a Nirapara roller flour mill at Attingal where raw materials like wheat were found to be stored in unhygienic and unclean conditions.

In Palakkad district, food safety officials seized and sealed stocks of cumin, coriander and turmeric from the Aanakkara Food Processing and Export Pvt. Ltd., as these were found to be sub-standard.

Why color sucks: Eating pink chicken

Joe Sevier of Epicurious had unknowingly done me a favor, telling his food porn audience it’s OK to eat pink chicken, if it is temped for safety.

Suck on that Food Standards Scotland.

scotland.pinkchicken-fss_largeWe’ve been trained as a society to treat pink poultry like anathema. Some cooks even go so far as to overcook chicken on purpose. But what if I told you some pink poultry is safe to eat? Would you believe me?

Amazingly, it’s true. When I spoke to Dr. Greg Blonder, a physicist and co-author of Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling, he explained why some pinkness will never fade. And if no amount of checking the chicken’s temperature will assuage your squeamishness, he offered some tips to avoiding pink poultry before you even bring it home from the store.

What causes cooked meat to turn pink?

“The majority of chickens sold in stores today are between six to eight weeks old,” says Blonder. Young chickens have hollow bones that are thinner and more porous than their older brethren. When cooked, “the purple marrow—so colored due to the presence of myoglobin, a protein responsible for storing oxygen—leaks into the meat.” This reaction, in effect, stains the bone; the color of the meat adjacent to it will not fade regardless of the temperature to which it’s cooked.

What about pink flesh nearer the surface? Certain cooking techniques—especially ones that use lower cooking temperatures, such as smoking—exacerbate the pink meat reaction. That pink smoke ring that’s a telltale sign of good barbecue? Myoglobin again. In fact, you don’t even need smoke to achieve that smoke ring.

barfblog.Stick It InWhy is my chicken bloody in the first place?

Actually, it’s not. Blonder notes, “all commercially-sold chickens are drained of their blood during processing.” The pink, watery liquid you’re seeing is just that: water. The moisture that seeps from the chicken while it’s waiting for you to buy it mixes with that old rascal myoglobin, causing the pink “juices” that you see pooling around the packaged bird—it’s called myowater, FYI.

That same substance is what gushes forth when you cut into a cooking chicken to see if the juices run clear. Unfortunately, that’s a long-held measure of doneness that can’t be trusted. The only way to know if your bird is cooked through: a good quality thermometer. (Here’s the Epi favorite.) To check the temperature, stick the probe into the meatiest part of the bird—checking both the breast and thigh is a good idea. You’re looking for a finished temperature of 160ºF to 165ºF. Accounting for carry-over cooking and the size of whatever it is you’re cooking, that could mean pulling the chicken off the heat anywhere from 150ºF to 155ºF.

Whatever, pink meat still freaks me out

There are a couple of things you can do to avoid pink meat altogether.

First, debone the meat before it’s cooked. Without a myoglobin-y bone around to stain it, your chicken breast will be as pristinely white as possible.

Second, change the pH. A lot of factors are at play here, notes Blonder, and even the way an animal is slaughtered can significantly change the pH level (i.e. acidity) of its meat. Higher pH—i.e. lower acidity—means higher myoglobin and higher myoglobin means pink had better be your new obsession. If you’re not Steven Tyler, opt instead to marinate your meat in a marinade with a lot of citrus or vinegar. Introducing the meat to a high-acid environment will lower the pH and reduce the risk of that anxiety-inducing rosy hue.

Scotland, your overpaid food safety communications types got some explaining to do. If you can’t even get cooking chicken right, how can anyone believe your so-called science-based approach to food safety issues?

And every generation will have its Aerosmith. They aren’t the Stones or Floyd.

People are barfing: Bolthouse Farms once again messes up food safety

In Sept. 2006, carrot juice produced by Bolthouse Farms sickened 2 people in Toronto, one in Quebec, and two people in Atlanta and two others in the U.S. with botulism.

recalled-Bolthouse-Farms-protein-shakesThe company maintained – and still does – that all these consumers in these different places were at fault because they did not properly refrigerate the juice, all at the same time.

All of these people fell into comas.

The juice was ordered off North American store shelves toward the end of September, 2006.

Carrots are grown in soil. Clostridium botulinum is everywhere. Sporulation is controlled by refrigeration. This was a failure by Bolthouse Farms, not consumers.

Now, the same company is recalling a selection of protein drinks due to possible spoilage that may cause the beverages to appear lumpy, taste unpleasant and have an off odor.

These products should not be consumed. The issue was identified after the company received consumer complaints, including reports of illness. The cause of this issue is currently under investigation.

The recall affects 3.8 million bottles that have been distributed nationally in the United States.

Bolthouse Farms is advising people not to drink these beverages and return them to the store where purchased for a full refund. For more information call 1-866-535-3774 between 6:00am to 7:00pm PST, Monday to Friday or visit Facebook/BolthouseFarms.

These folks really need to boost their food safety game.

botulism.infosheet-10-11-06