The University of Queensland’s Gatton piggery has suspended the supply of pigs to market while it investigates concerns about possible rat poison contamination.
The suspension follows testing on the livers of five pigs which died during a seven-month period last year.
Tests found traces of coumatetralyl, the active ingredient in rat poison.
The university’s acting Vice-Chancellor Alan Rix said the university was working with Safe Food Queensland and the Queensland Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Department on further testing and analysis.
“All rat poison has been removed from the Gatton piggery and the site has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected,’’ Professor Rix said.
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said the risk to humans of eating pork from the piggery was negligible.
“This was my opinion when I was first informed of the issue and the results of testing since then have confirmed this view,’’ Dr Young said.
“There is no food recall for pork or pork products because there is no serious risk to humans.’’
Dr. Richard Raymond writes in MeatingPlace.com that when it comes to food safety, no wonder it is hard for the public to believe what they hear. Here are four public statements that fell short on honesty and accuracy:
• “Our nations’ food safety system is a hazard to public health.” — President Barack Obama shortly after his inauguration.
• “We are standing on the brink of a public health disaster.” — Congresswoman Slaughter in February, 2014, right after the FDA released its latest National Antibiotic Resistance Monitoring System’s (NARMS) report.
• When farmers use antibiotics, “they do so…under the care of a veterinarian.” — United States Farmers and Ranchers Alliance’s website (USFRA)
• “Salmonella is killed when food is cooked and handled properly. So, people becoming ill from antibiotic resistant foodborne bacteria and not being able to be treated in some manner, is rare if not almost non-existent.” — USFRA website
Number 1 was a good sound bite that played to the media and the change mongers, but totally failed to recognize a food safety system that may have flaws and shortcomings, but for the most part is doing a very good job with the tools given to FDA and USDA to enforce and regulate and it also ignores the dedication of our farmers and ranchers, scientists, trade organizations, packers and processors who toil every day, knowing their work is critical to your and my health.
This was just a shameful slap at tens of thousands of men and women who have chosen a less than glamorous profession, work in harsh conditions at times and try to do it right every day.
Number 2 totally ignored the fact that the latest NARMS report regarding samples of retail meat and poultry for pathogens and antibiotic resistance showed that the drugs of choice for treating foodborne illnesses caused by Salmonella and Campylobacter remain effective with no resistance seen.
It also showed significant declines in resistance in pathogens to flouroquinolones, a class of antibiotic used in human medicine but for all effects and purposes banned from use in animals by the FDA because earlier NARMS reports indicated a rapidly growing resistance that was problematical.
Numbers 3 and 4 mislead and attempt to say “no problem here with antibiotic use in animals.” Two simple facts shoot these quotes down, even as this organization tries to speak positively for those raising our food.
Simply put, there are a lot of antibiotics being administered in feed and water with zero DVM oversight and supervision. We all know that as a fact.
Salmonella is the number one cause of deaths from foodborne illnesses in this country, accounting for 29 percent of the total deaths. If you read the CDC annual reports you know that fact also. Tell the family members of the 452 persons who died in 2012 that those deaths were “non-existent.”
The Salmonella pathogen class also causes over 1 million illnesses per year in the United States. That fact cannot be waived off with a toss of a hand and a web page declaration, especially after the recent Foster Farms related outbreak that sickened over 500.
We have been making steady progress in making our meat and poultry safer, especially since the Jack in the Box E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that caused the entire industry to declare food safety a non-competitive arena.
Headline seekers and grabbers do not help the movement to continue to improve. Using logic, common sense and science as the movers and shakers will produce a safer food supply.
Former graduate student Allison Smathers caught Liz Szabo’s color-is-not-an-indicator brief in USA Today and tweeted like love, food safety is color blind.
It’s a myth that color is a reliable indicator of whether food is fully cooked. Use a meat thermometer, says Benjamin Chapman, assistant professor at North Carolina State University. Poultry requires an internal temperature of 165 degrees, ground beef, 160; pork and seafood, 145.
Safely cooked chicken can still be pink; preservatives (nitrates or nitrites) also can cause a pink color, more common in younger birds with thin skin.
Stick it in.
Beef’s color is affected by acidity and fat content. Low-fat patties need more cooking and higher temperatures. Beef also can turn brown before reaching a safe temperature if it’s from an older animal, was stored for a long time or exposed to too much air.
Eleven years after Toronto came up with the red-yellow-green restaurant inspection grading system, an Orange County, California, grand jury on Thursday recommended the county adopt a health inspection system with green, yellow and red placards, instead of letter grades, to inform customers whether food-service establishments are complying with the health code.
The county is the only one among its neighbors without a letter-grade system, and Thursday’s report was the latest attempt to give consumers easily recognizable information. Previous tries here met opposition from the restaurant industry, but this time may be different, officials say.
The Board of Supervisors has three months to respond to the recommendations.
“I’m not trying to put restaurants out of business,” said Supervisor John Moorlach, who recommended a similar system in 2008, “but I want to make sure they’re doing their best to get a good green tag in the window.”
Patrons can get a copy of the restaurant’s latest inspection report online (ocfoodinfo.com) or if they ask for it at the restaurant, but hardly anybody does, said Russ Bendel, the owner of Vine Restaurant in San Clemente.
Colored signs “definitely will help guests choose where they want to go if they have multiple options,” he said.
The grand jury recommends using the same three categories as today, but coloring them like traffic signals. This is “a more practical approach” than letter grades, the report says, without the “disruption and burden” and expense.
“Improving the visibility of the current unremarkable graphic to a more distinctive image is an overdue step forward,” the report says.
It criticized other counties for “operating without any conformity” in their letter grades – for weighing certain infractions differently.
The Crocodile Lounge bar — known for offering free personal pizzas with each drink — was shut down by the Health Department this week after inspectors found rats, mice and other violations, according to online records.
Inspectors shuttered Crocodile Lounge at 325 E. 14th St. on Wednesday after issuing 51 violation points for food that was not protected from contamination, dirty wiping cloths, improper plumbing and conditions that attracted vermin, plus evidence of live rats and mice, records show.
Crocodile Lounge posted a note on its Facebook page saying it had closed because of a broken pipe.
In 2013, 33 invasive human listeriosis disease were registered in Austria, including two pregnancies. The 28-day mortality was 24% in 2013 (8 of 33). This high lethality and occasional serious permanent damage, require efforts for earliest possible detection of any food-borne outbreaks.
The example of an outbreak with a serovar 1/2b-Klon (2 cases in 2012 and 2 in the first half of 2013) shows that increased awareness as part of an outbreak investigation, when the causative source of infection can not be definitely proven, leads to increased preventative measures (something may be lost in translation).
Ashley Chaifetz, a PhD student studying public policy at UNC-Chapel Hill writes,
After last year’s extended recall of my dog’s food, I switched brands. The recalls kept piling up and I did not want to put Chloe, my dog, at an increased risk as I repeatedly switched out bags of food.
Our pet food store gave me all sorts of samples for her to try before I committed to a new 30-lb bag. This time, I decided look up all the brands I had samples for in the FDA recall database. I initially considered ruling out companies with a history of recalls because repeated problems demonstrates a company that can’t get it right.
But what to do about businesses that may have had one health-related recall? Or none?
What I want to know is what a company does, or has done in response to an event, to improve their systems to reduce the risk of dogfoodborne illness.
It’s really hard to find information from dog food producers about what they do to keep Chloe’s potential food safe. It’s time for producers to step it up.
Providing consumers with risk reduction plans and systems, whether a company has had a contamination event or not, should be the industry standard but only a few companies provide this information.
Retirement homes and hospitals have a lot of trouble with norovirus. If an ill resident, patient or staff member sheds the virus through vomit or poop in a public area a lot of folks can get sick.
According to KDRV ABC Channel 12, The V.A. hospital in White City Oregon is dealing with its own norovirus outbreak with over 125 veterans and 25 staff ill.
“This is very contact oriented, it’s not airborne, it’s by touch,” said V.A. Infection Preventionist Sue Thurston.
Thurston said about 470 vets live at the V.A, and more than a quarter of them are sick.
Veterans are being asked to not leave their rooms until they feel better and bag meals are dropped off at their rooms.
“We’re wiping down everything you can touch – all the side rails, all the doorknobs, all the vending machines, all the rooms, all the surfaces, every single flat surface is being wiped down and disinfected,” said Thurston (I wonder what sanitizer they are using and wiping may just be spreading virus particles around -ben).
Although the virus isn’t respiratory, epidemiological investigations of past outbreaks suggest that virus particles can be aerosolized through vomit events. At IAFP 2013, North Carolina State University graduate student Grace Tung showed a simulated vomit event would yield a spread of droplets 8-12 ft.; the greatest distance traveled in any one experiment was 14.5 ft.