NYC letter grades on plates? They’re flying off shelves but city wants an 8% cut

Church, mafia, university: everyone takes a cut, and there are fewer people to actually create (some will rob you with a six-gun, some with a fountain pen).

Fishs to the Daily Mail, a popular Manhattan housewares store has been forced to pay 8 per cent in royalties to New York City on all sales of its new Health Grade merchandise.

The city’s Health Department called Fishs Eddy ‘immediately’ after the line of trays and towels were launched, which are based on the city’s infamous restaurant letter grades.

‘They didn’t threaten us, but they made it clear we should be working with them,’ Fishs Eddy owner Julie Gaines told the New York Daily News. ‘I wasn’t seeking the collaboration. But people love the trays.’

The ‘A’ and ‘B’ grade items, priced at $9.95 to $16.95, are inspired by the restaurant letter grades instituted under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

NZ childcare centers warned on hand sanitizers

The Ministry of Education will warn all early childhood centers in New Zealand about the risks of alcohol-based hand sanitizer in the wake of an Invercargill 4-year-old girl becoming grossly intoxicated at her preschool.

dumbo-300x188The ministry has completed a two-week investigation into an incident at the Woodhouse Early Learning Centre that resulted in the girl being admitted to hospital with a blood alcohol level of 188mg, nearly four times the new legal driving limit.

The preschool owner, Jackie Woodward, believed the girl got intoxicated from drinking hand sanitizer at the premises without the knowledge of staff.

Her assertion has been backed up by the ministry, which has found it was “most likely” the child drank hand sanitiser.

“We’ve completed the investigation into the incident at Woodhouse Early Learning Centre, where a child was admitted to hospital due to a suspected alcohol intake,” ministry spokeswoman Katrina Casey said.

“Our investigation has shown that it was most likely the child ingested hand sanitizers at the center. We found no alcohol on the premises and the center manager has formally stated that there was no other form of alcohol on the premises.”

Possible further case of E coli O55 at UK children’s center

Public health officials investigating an E coli outbreak in Dorset have informed parents of a possible further case involving a child at Blandford Children’s Centre.

blandford-childrens-centre.jpg-pwrt2The children’s center only recently reopened after several children that attended there fell ill with the V055 strain of E coli.

Tests on all nursery users and staff then revealed a further eight people who have not suffered any symptoms but who have been found to be carrying the bacteria.

The nursery was thoroughly cleaned and only children and staff that had tested negative for E coli were allowed to return.

However, Public Health England (PHE) said that a child who originally tested negative for E coli has now displayed symptoms of the infection and could be a possible further case.

Raw remains risky: Hong Kong investigating raw oyster outbreaks

While waiting in line on Dec. 24 for our Xmas seafood, our local fishmonger was offering raw oysters.

SUN0705N-Oyster7I said, no thanks.

The Hong Kong Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (December 25) reminded the public to pay attention to food safety to prevent food-related illness during holidays and seasonal celebrations. Susceptible groups, such as the elderly, young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems or liver diseases, should avoid eating high risk food like raw oysters.

A CFS spokesman said, “The CFS received referrals from the Centre for Health Protection on two suspected food poisoning clusters recently. Raw oysters were among the suspected food items in both outbreaks.

Upon CFS’ request, sale of raw oyster was suspended on both food premises. The CFS is also tracing the source and distribution of the raw oysters in question.”

25 sick: Botulism in seal oil in Southwest Alaska

 A botulism outbreak in Bristol Bay communities is being monitored by state and local health officials, according to the state Department of Epidemiology, which said Wednesday that more than 25 people have so far been linked to a batch of contaminated seal oil produced in the village of Twin Hills.

garlic-scapes-2Alaska Dispatch News reports that several people have been hospitalized, some are being monitored and health officials are still trying to contact others.

The first botulism cases were reported Friday after two people were flown from the village of Quinhagak to Bethel for care. The two were later taken by medevac to Anchorage and remained on respiratory support Wednesday, reportedly unable to breathe on their own, according to a state official monitoring the outbreak.

Three others from Quinhagak were treated for symptoms of botulism, and others in Twin Hills and Dillingham have reported symptoms or are being monitored. One child has also shown symptoms of the disease, which can be fatal, according to Dr. Michael Cooper, the infectious disease program manager at the Department of Epidemiology.

“This is a very concerning outbreak,” said Cooper. “This is one of the largest clusters of botulism we’ve ever seen.”

An investigation linked the illnesses to a batch of seal oil produced in Twin Hills, and Cooper said testing conducted at a state lab revealed the oil was particularly toxic.

“When it was tested, it came back at the highest level the lab instrument can measure for botulinum toxin,” he said Wednesday.

The testing was completed Tuesday, and Wednesday morning, the state dispatched a second public health nurse from Anchorage to continue the investigation out of Dillingham.

“In an odd twist to this case, after we showed preliminary test results to the family who produced the oil, they sort of refused to stop eating or serving it,” said Cooper.

Man calls 911 to report undercooked chicken

Sometimes folks are complacent when they order food and it comes to their table or home not to their liking. I had an experience with my dad when I was a teenager, being the nice Canadian he is, struggling through a burger that he thought was too pink (although color isn’t an indicator).

The same can’t be said for a Saskatchewan (that’s in Canada) man who called 911 to report an undercooked piece a chicken that was delivered to his house by a local restaurant, according to CBC.images-14

A call to 911 about undercooked chicken being delivered from a restaurant in North Battleford, Sask., has led RCMP to remind people when it is — and isn’t — appropriate to call police.

An elderly man in North Battleford called 911 to report the chicken he ordered from a local restaurant Tuesday around 9 p.m. CST wasn’t fully cooked.

Police say he was frustrated the delivery driver wouldn’t come back to look at the chicken. Uncooked chicken is generally regarded as a potential health hazard.

“There (are) no laws broken with the cooking of chicken, and our advice to you would be not to shop at that location,” said Sergeant Amber Clark.

And really, the weather in Saskatchewan is probably worth a call to 911, or the CBC.



Raw milk cheddar recalled; aged 60+ days?

U.S. FDA announced today the recall of over 1100 lbs of raw milk cheddar cheese. According to a press release, Farm Country Cheese House of, Lakeview Michigan is recalling 1136.53 pounds of Raw Milk Cheddar, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria Monocytogenes.ucm428088

Raw Milk Cheddar was distributed in the state of Michigan. More specific in the Grand Rapids metro area and, Detroit metro area through retail stores and specialty shops.

The Raw Milk Cheddar in question is packaged under two different labels. The first label will have Farm Country Cheese House logo on the far left hand side, and the product name (Raw Milk Cheddar) will be written on top of the label. This product is sold as an 8 oz block. This product has “Use By Date” on the back of the cheese. The dates are between October 28th 2015 and December 5th 2015. This label will also have a Julian Date in the lower right hand corner. These Julian dates are as follows: 14301, 14302, 14308, 14309, 14324, 14325, 14332, 14336, and 14339.

The second label will have Farm Country Cheese House logo on the far left hand side, and the product name (Raw Milk Cheddar) written in white over a light blue banner this label will have the “Use By Date” on the back, it will not have a Julian Date. The “Use By Date” dates are between October 28th 2015 and December 5th 2015. This will be packaged in 8oz blocks and 5 lb. loafs.

The recall was the result of a routine sampling program by the FDA which revealed that the finished products contained the bacteria. Farm Country Cheese House has ceased the production and distribution of the product as FDA and the company continues their investigation as to what caused the problem.

I’m guessing its a hard cheddar, and missing from the info is how long it was aged before sale.

Why cafeteria food is the best

I sorta gotta agree with New York Times health guru Jane E. Brody when she writes that many parents undoubtedly think they are doing the best for their children by having them bring lunch from home instead of eating the lunches served in school. But recent studies clearly prove them wrong.

belushi.cafeteriaThe meals we serve in Sorenne’s school tuck shop are low in salt, high in protein and safety. And we’re always trying to do better.

But I volunteer at the school enough to know what most kids get for lunch and tea (Australian for morning break and afternoon break) and can agree with research cited by Brody that home-packed lunches are likely to be considerably less nourishing than the meals offered in schools that abide by current nutrition guidelines for the National School Lunch Program.

That program is, distressingly, increasingly under attack. The requirements for less salt and only whole grains were already reversed in the final federal spending bill approved by the Senate on Dec. 13.

But the program must not continue to be undermined, and more schools should be encouraged to participate. Nearly 32 million of the more than 50 million children in public elementary and secondary schools currently eat school lunches, most of them provided through the program. For about 60 percent of those children, half or more of their daily calories are consumed at lunch.

Those numbers, along with the recent findings on meals brought from home, make the contents of lunches served in school especially important to the health of America’s children, now and in the future.

One study, conducted in 12 elementary and intermediate schools in Houston, found that compared with what is served in school, lunches brought from home contained fewer servings of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and milk than the national program mandates.

Whether it’s school lunches or lunches made at home, focus on the basics and give kids the nutritional edge they need to develop.

No handwashing for staff: UK food company ordered to pay nearly £30,000

A Bradford food company has been ordered to pay nearly £30,000 for its persistent failure to comply with “integral” hygiene regulations, such as providing handwashing facilities for staff.

handwash_south_park(2)Ahmer Raja Foods Ltd, which trades as Rajas Pizza Bar on Leeds Road, was fined the bulk of the money, £20,000, for refusing to comply with a number of improvement notices issued by Bradford Council’s environmental health team.

Noone from the company attended the hearing at Bradford and Keighley Magistrates’ Court yesterday, but 21 breaches of food hygiene regulations were proven in their absence, and the firm was told to pay a total of £29,895 within 28 days.

Harjit Ryatt, prosecuting on behalf of Bradford Council, told the court that on five visits to the premises between January 24 and April 9 this year, officers found a lack of wash basins for staff, food handlers not wearing the correct protective clothing, and food kept in dirty or broken containers.

The impacts of an outbreak (or lots of illnesses and contamination): Campy in chicken edition

The U.K. FSA has declared war on Campylobacter, a pathogen that I had my own run-in with in 2009. Food safety coverage often impacts purchasing choices and market researchers in the U.K. suggest that chicken sales have dropped over last year. According to , the market for whole chicken sales has dropped almost 4%.

The latest sales statistics, released by consumer knowledge company Kantar Worldpanel, indicate that the focus on the bacteria has affected whole chicken sales. Spending for the 12 weeks ending 7 December decreased by 3.8% compared to the same period last year, while the volume sold decreased by 6.8%.whole-chicken

Market researcher Mintel said: “Concerns about cooking safely with raw chicken are likely to have been heightened by the campylobacter scandal. While many people may simply be extra careful when preparing and cooking chicken, it may also deter some consumers from buying raw chicken to eliminate risk.”

However, a number of retailers suggested that the their chicken sales had not been affected by the scare, including Marks & Spencer and Lidl. A Lidl spokesperson said: “Our poultry sales have remained steady, as we continue to work in partnership with our suppliers to reduce the levels of campylobacter in raw chicken.”

No word from Tesco on their sales.