Nosestretcher alert: Australian food safety type talks shit

Food poisoning and gastroenteritis affect 4.1 million Australians a year.

y a t il un pilote dans l'avion ? airplane flying high 1980 réal : Jim Abrahams David et Jerry Zucker Leslie Nielsen Collection Christophel Collection Christophel

If you do find yourself stricken with something nasty, it might be tempting to put a big, black mark against the last restaurant you ate in. But, according to Dr Vincent Ho, clinical gastroenterologist and lecturer in medicine at the University of Western Sydney, eating out isn’t always to blame. “It’s more common to get food poisoning with home meals, and that’s because people eat at home more often than they go out,” he tells Time Out. “Generally speaking, in Australia, and other developed countries where we have good sanitation, the vast majority of the time when we go out, there isn’t any food poisoning or gastroenteritis.”

Another so-called expert talking shit.

For instance there was an outbreak caused by contaminated lettuce in NSW recently. They were able to trace that back by looking at the people affected, asking about what they were eating and looking for common elements.”

Some would call it epidemiology.

Poultry products and meat are the most common sources of food poisoning, but most cases of gastroenteritis can be traced back to inadequate hand washing.

Nosestretcher alert.

Can’t image a more factually incorrect and condescending statement.

Fresh produce is the leading source of foodborne illness in Western countries and has been for over a decade.

But it’s still 1978 here in Australia.

jon.stewart.handwashing.2002In Australia and other developed countries, “we’ve taken special preparations to reduce the incidences of food-borne infections.” We have health inspections, food safety laws and signs everywhere that say “all staff must wash hands” when we’re eating out.

Seriously, you think those signs work?

How did you get to be a professor of anything?

At home, we have to rely on ourselves, and it turns out, many people are not that reliable. It only takes 10 seconds of washing your hands with soap and water to seriously reduce your chance of passing around a stomach bug, and yet, most people aren’t doing it properly.

That’s the reason you’re more likely to pick up an illness at home, or in a closed-off environment like a cruise ship, day care or nursing home, where you’re exposed to lots of people’s germs, than you are from a restaurant. At a restaurant, “although there are always occasions where food isn’t prepared optimally” there are structures in place to ensure caution. At home, you’re on your own.

Dr. Ho, I’ll gladly go to your home and watch you prepare a meal.

Most people don’t invite me to dinner because they know who I am.

But I’ll give you a tip-sensitive digital thermometer.

Protein Balls recalled in Australia because of nuts

The New South Wales Food Authority advises:

health_food_ballsHealth Lab has recalled its Energise Choc Protein Balls and Refresh Choc Mint Protein Balls sold at Caltex in NSW, QLD and Vic and On The Run stores in SA due to the presence of an undeclared allergen (cashew nut).

Product details are:

* Energise Choc Protein Balls

– Plastic packaging, 40g

– Best Before 09/03/2017, 23/03/2017, 04/04/2017

* Refresh Choc Mint Protein Balls

– Plastic packaging, 40g

– Best Before 13/03/2017, 05/04/2017, 17/04/2017

Consumers who have a cashew nut allergy or intolerance should not consume this product.

Consumers should return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Any consumers concerned about their health should seek medical advice.

For more information contact Health Lab on (03) 9999 8535 or via 

So has Sorenne: Clones of Dolly the sheep have aged like any other sheep

I love science. also understand its limitations, and the need to continuously question.

Joanna Klein of the New York Times writes that Dolly the Sheep started her life in a test tube in 1996 – about the same time I got clipped after our fourth daughter was born — and died just six years later.

When Dolly was only a year old, there was evidence that she might have been physically older. At five, she was diagnosed with osteoarthritis. And at six, a CT scan revealed tumors growing in her lungs, likely the result of an incurable infectious disease. Rather than let Dolly suffer, the vets put her to rest.

Poor Dolly never stood a chance. Or did she?

Meet Daisy, Diana, Debbie and Denise. “They’re old ladies. They’re very healthy for their age,” said Kevin Sinclair, a developmental biologist who, with his colleagues at the University of Nottingham in Britain, has answered a longstanding question about whether cloned animals like Dolly age prematurely.

In a study published Tuesday in Nature Communications, the scientists tested these four sheep, created from the same cell line as Dolly, and nine other cloned sheep, finding that, contrary to popular belief, cloned animals appear to age normally.

“They are not monsters,” Pasqualino Loi, a scientist who studies cloning at the University of Terama in Italy and was not involved in the research, wrote in an email.

Dolly’s birth, 20 years ago this month, blew the world away. Scientists had taken a single adult cell from a sheep’s udder, implanted it into an egg cell that had been stripped of its own DNA, and successfully created a living, breathing animal almost genetically identical to its donor.

Sorenne’s birth in 2008 sorta blew me away.

dolly.sheepI’d gone through an ugly divorce, went to Kansas, met a girl, and she said she’d like a kid.

I told her on the first date I’d had a vasectomy.

But, science can work wonderous things.

And I’m still a kid, in wonder of nature and the science-based explanations.

Any of you getting uncomfortable, this is nothing new, it was all written up in USA Today in 2011 and they took pretty pictures in our house in Kansas which I still use.

So to all those new subscribers to – almost at 70,000 direct – here’s the story.

I’ve found the best therapy for anything is to be public.

Sorenne is developing a sound understanding of genetics. And environment.

The first time William Marsiglio became a dad, he was 18. When his second child was born, he was 49.

The intervening years brought a divorce, a remarriage and a new family.

Marsiglio, a sociologist at the University of Florida-Gainesville, finds himself among an emerging brotherhood of men in their 40s, 50s or 60s rearing young ones again at the same time they have adult children and sometimes grandchildren as well.

This generation of dads — many of them Baby Boomers — married young and had children very young by today’s standards. They did what was expected: worked hard and built careers. Divorce may have followed, then remarriage to a younger partner who wanted kids.

“These men are doing it the second time around, often with women half their age,” says Michael Kimmel, a sociologist at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, N.Y. He calls the phenomenon “serial paternity.”

The opportunity to have these “sequential families” marks an enormous change for men. Thanks to longer life spans, healthier lifestyles and changing attitudes about divorce and aging, these fathers have a chance, a second chance, to alter their thinking or their actions when it comes to child-rearing. In some cases, they get a do-over.

doug.sorenne.nov.09“There is some sense of wanting to experience a child and a family in a very different way than they did the first time around, and, in their mind, they hope they can get it right this time,” says Marsiglio, 53, who studies fatherhood.

“In my case, I hadn’t really embraced feminist principles as I did over time. I’ve changed,” he says. “The financial breadwinner role can be less dominant in their life, and they can look to a more nurturing form of parenting.”

He adds that a new wife or partner may be more career-oriented than the original partner, which requires men to step up to a more co-parenting role.

Experts say it’s not always easy for these dads, who may have thought their child-rearing days were done. Sleepless nights and cranky kids, coupled with pressures from adult children who don’t think their father spends enough time with the grandkids, can create additional family stress, says Kevin Roy, an associate professor of family science who studies fatherhood and trains marriage and family therapists at the University of Maryland-College Park.

But many say it’s worth it.

“What I’m living with now is a blessing,” says Gregg Weinlein, 60, of the Albany, N.Y., suburb of East Greenbush. “I don’t think I do a single thing with my kids that I feel I’m expected to do.”

Weinlein retired last summer after a career as a high school English teacher. His older children, a daughter, Christine, and son, Jesse, are 43 and 37. His younger daughter and son are 11 and 7. He also has two grandsons, ages 8 and 14.

More patience, more time

With his younger kids, Bryel and Beckett, he says he’s the “taxi service” and takes them to activities and is available during the day for school functions. He has breakfast with them and gets them to and from the school bus. It’s a far different story from when his two older kids were young.

“We lived on stereotypes in the late ’60s and early ’70s,” he says. “I really believe that. Women were home and supposed to take care of the kids, and the father was supposed to work.”

Doug Powell, a professor of food safety at Kansas State University-Manhattan, spends much of his day with his daughter Sorenne, 2.

Because he teaches from home for his distance-learning courses, Powell, 48, has created a routine.

“When she sleeps, I go record lectures on my computer and put on a clean shirt,” he says.

Powell also says he’s a more relaxed parent with his young daughter than he was when his four older daughters were growing up. They range in age from 16 to 24.

“I do enjoy having a 2-year-old to take care of. I just like hanging out with her,” he says.

Powell says he had a vasectomy in 1996, so he and his wife, Amy Hubbell, an associate professor of French at Kansas State, used a sperm donor for Sorenne. Colontonio Jr., 60, of Voorhees, N.J., also has five children. He married at age 21 and was married for 18 years until it ended in divorce. His older three children are in their 30s. He remarried at age 40. His young son Joseph was born in 1997, followed by a daughter, Julianna, in 2001.

Colontonio says he’s more patient as an older father. And because he works less than 20 hours a week as owner and president of a paper recycling company, he can be home to greet the kids when they get off the school bus. His two older sons are vice presidents and run the business, he says.

“I have more time today to spend with the little ones than when I was working 10-15 hour days,” Colontonio says.

Still, “I’ve never felt because he has younger kids that he doesn’t have time for me,” says daughter Jennifer Colontonio, 34, of Phoenixville, Pa. “He definitely makes equal time for all five of us.”

Dads raising kids under 18 do indeed spend more time in child care today than in earlier decades, finds a report released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center, which analyzed data from the 2006-2008 National Survey of Family Growth collected from 13,495 respondents ages 15-44.

In 1965, married fathers with kids under 18 at home spent an average of 2.6 hours a week caring for their children. The amount of time rose to 2.7 hours a week in 1975 and 3 hours a week in 1985. From 1985 to 2000, the amount of time these fathers spent with their children more than doubled, to 6.5 hours a week.

Tom Romero, a Chief Warrant Officer 3 in the U.S. Army, is in Iraq on his third deployment. Romero, 43, has a son Victor, 17, by his first marriage and Joshua, 2, from his current marriage. He has been away from both sons for military service in Iraq.

“I did spend a lot of time away from home that was work-related. I feel bad about that,” Romero says. “I did lose a lot of time with Victor in that respect.”

Keith Strandberg of Pomy, Switzerland says he’s spending about the same amount of time or a little more with his son Jake, 2½, than he did with his two older sons, Calen and Evan, 27 and 25.

But “I find I appreciate the opportunity to spend the time quite a bit more,” he says. “Today, I realize how precious it is to spend time with all the kids.”

Strandberg, who turns 54 in August, is a journalist who covers the watch industry. His first wife, Carol, died in 2005. He married Sophie, now 41, in 2009.

“When my older boys were young, I wasn’t an experienced parent. I may have overreacted to everything,” he says, noting he worries a lot less now.

Health is a concern

But these older dads do worry — about being around to see their kids grow up. As a result, staying active and healthy are among their top priorities.

“I’m kind of a workout monster so I can stay in shape and play with Jake and continue to play with him as he grows older,” Strandberg says.

Colontonio says he has stopped riding motorcyles. He rides a bicycle now instead.

Weinlein, who works out five days a week, says he does think about what he may miss and about his earlier parenting.

“Now, I worry at my age I don’t know the years I have left and what years I’ll miss out as my children get older,” he says. “I wish I had a more mature and accurate vision of life the first time around. It certainly would have helped me as a father.”

Powell says he doesn’t dwell on regrets. “I think we all have regrets, but I’m not sure I would do it any differently. I was 24 when I had my first. Now I’m 48 and I’m a completely different person.”

Having a child with different partners is called multiple-partner fertility and has been studied among low-income men who father children by different women. Social scientists say the research hasn’t kept up with the changes reflected in these sequential families.

Cassandra Dorius of the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor says society needs to adjust its thinking, because this form of multiple-partner fertility is part of a larger trend.

“We’re more open to divorce and remarriage and people don’t have to stay together their whole lives,” Dorius says. “There’s a lot of social acceptance for the idea of moving on.”

When her parents divorced in 1998 after 33 years of marriage, Renee Perelmuter, 41, of Winter Park, Fla., was already married. Her father, who is 64, remarried and has two younger children, ages 7 and 9.

“He’s very hands-on with them,” Perelmuter says. “He probably has more freedom at this point in his life than when I was the age my young siblings are. I don’t feel he loves them any more or any differently. I think the love is all divided equally.

“He really appreciates this second chance at fatherhood very much. He was such a young dad and was working so hard and now he’s able to relax and not sweat the small stuff. He understands what’s more important.”

We’re all hosts on a viral planet: Meet Luca, the ancestor of all living things

Some people look to the stars. Some look to themselves. I’ve always been interested in the cosmic goings on of DNA and RNA and their minuscule hosts.

dogma-jesusAccording to science writer legend Nicholas Wade of The New York Times life first emerged on Earth via a single-cell, bacterium-like organism, known as Luca, the Last Universal Common Ancestor, and is estimated to have lived some four billion years ago, when Earth was a mere 560 million years old.

The new finding sharpens the debate between those who believe life began in some extreme environment, such as in deep sea vents or the flanks of volcanoes, and others who favor more normal settings, such as the “warm little pond” proposed by Darwin.

The nature of the earliest ancestor of all living things has long been uncertain because the three great domains of life seemed to have no common point of origin. The domains are those of the bacteria, the archaea and the eukaryotes. Archaea are bacteria-like organisms but with a different metabolism, and the eukaryotes include all plants and animals.

Specialists have recently come to believe that the bacteria and archaea were the two earliest domains, with the eukaryotes emerging later. That opened the way for a group of evolutionary biologists, led by William F. Martin of Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, Germany, to try to discern the nature of the organism from which the bacterial and archaeal domains emerged.

Their starting point was the known protein-coding genes of bacteria and archaea. Some six million such genes have accumulated over the last 20 years in DNA databanks as scientists with the new decoding machines have deposited gene sequences from thousands of microbes.

Genes that do the same thing in a human and a mouse are generally related by common descent from an ancestral gene in the first mammal. So by comparing their sequence of DNA letters, genes can be arranged in evolutionary family trees, a property that enabled Dr. Martin and his colleagues to assign the six million genes to a much smaller number of gene families. Of these, only 355 met their criteria for having probably originated in Luca, the joint ancestor of bacteria and archaea.

Genes are adapted to an organism’s environment. So Dr. Martin hoped that by pinpointing the genes likely to have been present in Luca, he would also get a glimpse of where and how Luca lived. “I was flabbergasted at the result, I couldn’t believe it,” he said.

The 355 genes pointed quite precisely to an organism that lived in the conditions found in deep sea vents, the gassy, metal-laden, intensely hot plumes caused by seawater interacting with magma erupting through the ocean floor.

Food safety competes with this? FoodPorn, circa 1600s and now, more about status than appetite

Tove Danovich of NPR writes that in the 1600s, when famous still life artist Jan Davidsz de Heem was eating, people showed off their meals with paintings. new study by Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab found that capturing and showing off decadent and expensive meals is a decidedly old-fashioned practice. Brian Wansink, author of Slim by Design, and Andrew Weislogel, a curator at Cornell University’s Johnson Museum of Art, studied 140 paintings of “family meals” from 1500 to 2000 and found that the majority of foods depicted were not part of the average fare. Some of the most likely foods to appear were shellfish, ham and artichoke. For the common classes during the time these paintings were made, Wansink says, more likely items to eat would have been chicken, bread and the odd foraged fruit.

People don’t usually Instagram frozen foods they put in the microwave. Instead, the most successful #foodporn is often an item the photographer laboriously made in the kitchen or found in either an expensive or out-of-the-way restaurant. A recent top #foodporn on Instagram is a photo of seven elaborately decorated eclairs. In the caption the food blogger behind @dialaskitchen compares the Toronto-made pastries to some found a couple years ago, “while at L’atellier de l’éclair in Paris.” Wansink says that today’s social media food posts often attempts to convey that their creator is worldly, adventurous and has money to spare. “None of these things are about food,” he says.

In the paintings, some of the most popular foods are ones that had to be imported or were highly valuable. “It wasn’t Italian paintings that had olives,” Wansink says. “It was the countries that had to import them.” Olives, he points out, are somewhat useless nutritionally and aesthetically. “They look like black marbles,” he says. Even if they are delicious.

E. coli O165:H25 in Nebraska cattle

Russ Rice a DVM from Broken Bow, Nebraska, writes in Bovine Veterinarian that a recent experience in a Nebraska feedlot, supported by extensive diagnostic work from veterinarians at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, indicates Escherichia coli O165:H25, an enterohemorrhagic strain, can cause disease in cattle and potentially poses a food-safety hazard for humans.

Russ RiceNebraska veterinarians whose work on this case proved critical in establishing a diagnosis and analyzing the implications included Bruce Brodersen, DVM, PhD, Dee Griffin, DVM, MS, John D. Loy, DVM, PhD and Rodney A. Moxley, DVM, PhD.

The case report was published in JMM Case Reports in November 2015, in an article titled “Haemorrhagic colitis associated with enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli O165:H25 infection in a yearling feedlot heifer.” Authors, in addition to Brodersen, Loy and Moxley, included Zachary R. Stromberg and Gentry L. Lewis from the University of Nebraska School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and Isha R. Patel and Jayanthi Gangiredla from the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

This case began in early January, 2014, with a pen of 170 Iowa-origin heifers, averaging 160 pounds, in a Nebraska feedlot. The 54 mega-calorie ration included dry and high moisture corn, 32% wet distillers’ grains, syrup, roughage, standard supplements and Bovatec.

In February, the feedlot crew began pulling some heifers from the pen for respiratory disease treatment. Crews noted that some bloody stools were present in the pen, and we treated the cattle with amprolium based on a presumptive diagnosis of coccidiosis. Bloody stools persisted though, and one animal died and another showed neurological signs and bloody diarrhea on February 18th. We euthanized that heifer using methods approved by the University of Nebraska Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, and conducted a necropsy immediately. The gross lesion appeared to be acute inflammation of the cecum and colon. Our differential diagnosis included coccidiosis, salmonellosis, BVD, bovine coronavirus and clostridial enteritis.

We prepared fresh and fixed specimens and sent them to the UNL diagnostic laboratory for analysis. Dr. Loy’s laboratory isolated a strain of E. coli from the colonic mucosal tissue, and Dr. Brodersen noted histopathologic lesions in the colon that were suggestive of infection with a strain of attaching-and-effacing E. coli. He consulted with Dr. Moxley, an E. coli researcher, who requested the gross and fixed tissues for further study. Upon close examination, Dr. Moxley found small erosions in the colonic mucosa which he photographed.  He then had his laboratory conduct other cultures, and had the original E. coli isolate serotyped.  The isolate was determined to be an O165:H25 serotype.  At this point, Dr. Moxley obtained specific antiserum to O165, and had the histology laboratory of the diagnostic lab conduct immunohistochemistry using this antiserum. Dr. Moxley found O165-positive bacteria in lesion sites corresponding to the gross erosions, and it was then that the cause of the lesions was confirmed. He had the isolate tested further by microarray analysis through collaborators at the FDA. It was found to contain virulence genes corresponding to type III secretion system (T3SS) structure and regulation. Microarray analysis of another E. coli strain (serotype O145:H28) isolated from the same tissue by the Moxley laboratory ruled the latter organism out as a pathogen in the case because that strain was found to have a number of mutations that inactivated virulence genes, such as those of the T3SS. Details of the molecular typing are included in the paper published in JMM Case Reports. …

The O165:H25 serotype is similar to E. coli O157:H7, and could be an emerging food-borne pathogen in cattle and beef. The pathogen has been isolated from the feces and beef carcasses of cattle, but has not previously been associated with disease in cattle. UNL scientists note that the serotype has been involved in uncommon, but potentially severe disease in humans. Based on findings in this case, we suggest veterinarians include enterohemorrhagic E. coli in their list of differential diagnoses when they see enteric disease, particularly bloody diarrhea, in feedlot cattle. If EHEC is suspected, veterinarians should work with their diagnostic laboratory to ensure proper collection, handling and submission of appropriate samples for diagnosis.

At the diagnostic laboratory, Drs. Moxley, Brodersen, and Loy indicate that these lesions might not have been seen in samples taken as early as ten minutes of death. Fortunately in this case, in which we euthanized the heifer and were able to collect samples immediately, we were able to verify this unexpected diagnosis. Most of the time, post-mortem changes will occur before we get the opportunity to collect samples.

Several veterinarians have commented to me they may have missed cases of EHEC in the past. I probably have missed these as well. Going forward, I plan to take extra care in collecting samples and communicating this to our clients. This case serves as a good reminder of the public-health risk we face on a daily basis. We all need to emphasize this to our clients and staff.

Olympic advice: Sailors, keep your mouth closed

Andrew Jacobs  of The New York Times reports health experts in Brazil have a word of advice for the Olympic marathon swimmers, sailors and windsurfers competing in Rio de Janeiro’s picture-postcard waters next month: Keep your mouth closed.

brazil2Despite the government’s promises seven years ago to stem the waste that fouls Rio’s expansive Guanabara Bay and the city’s fabled ocean beaches, officials acknowledge that their efforts to treat raw sewage and scoop up household garbage have fallen far short.

In fact, environmentalists and scientists say Rio’s waters are much more contaminated than previously thought.

Recent tests by government and independent scientists revealed a veritable petri dish of pathogens in many of the city’s waters, from rotaviruses that can cause diarrhea and vomiting to drug-resistant “super bacteria” that can be fatal to people with weakened immune systems.

Researchers at the Federal University of Rio also found serious contamination at the upscale beaches of Ipanema and Leblon, where many of the half-million Olympic spectators are expected to frolic between sporting events.

“Foreign athletes will literally be swimming in human crap, and they risk getting sick from all those microorganisms,” said Dr. Daniel Becker, a local pediatrician who works in poor neighborhoods. “It’s sad, but also worrisome.”

Government officials and the International Olympic Committee acknowledge that, in many places, the city’s waters are filthy. But they say the areas where athletes will compete — like the waters off Copacabana Beach, where swimmers will race — meet World Health Organization safety standards.

Even some venues with higher levels of human waste, like Guanabara Bay, present only minimal risk because athletes sailing or windsurfing in them will have limited contact with potential contamination, they add.

Still, Olympic officials concede that their efforts have not addressed a fundamental problem: Much of the sewage and trash produced by the region’s 12 million inhabitants continues to flow untreated into Rio’s waters.

“Our biggest plague, our biggest environmental problem, is basic sanitation,” said Andrea Correa, the top environmental official in the state of Rio de Janeiro. “The Olympics has woken people up to the problem.”

A giant pipe running from downtown churns human waste into the marina [on Guanabara Bay] at certain times each day. Rats roam around in the waste. The stench makes uninitiated visitors feel like vomiting or fainting,” USA Today’s Martin Rogers reported Tuesday, less than two weeks before the Games kick off on Aug. 5.

1 sick with E. coli in Colorado: Ranch Foods Direct issues recall

Good Food Concepts, LLC, doing business as Ranch Foods Direct, a Colorado Springs, Colo. establishment, is recalling approximately 2,606 pounds of non-intact beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. non-intact beef items were produced on June 6, 7, and 8, 2016. The following products are subject to recall:

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 27316” inside the USDA mark of inspection and “PACKED ON” dates of June 6, 7, and 8, 2016. These items were shipped to wholesale and retail locations in Colorado.

FSIS was notified of an E. coli O157:H7 illness possibly associated with ground beef consumption on July 14, 2016. Working in conjunction with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the El Paso County Public Health Department, FSIS determined that there is a possible link between the ground beef products from Ranch Foods Direct and this illness. Based on epidemiological investigation, one case-patient has been identified in Colorado with an illness onset date of June 12, 2016. FSIS confirmed ground beef products originating from Ranch Foods Direct were adulterated with E. coli O157:H7 on July 25, 2016 through laboratory testing and traceback investigation. FSIS continues to work with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the El Paso County Public Health Department on this investigation and provides updated information as it becomes available.

FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers.

The only way to confirm that ground beef is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature,

Media and consumers with questions regarding the recall can contact Dave Anderson, Manager, at (719) 574-0750 x 241.