Yes, it’s gratuitous.
But it is a Salmonella and Campylobacter risk.
Yes, it’s gratuitous.
But it is a Salmonella and Campylobacter risk.
We eat a lot of cilantro in my house; whether in fresh salsa, guacamole or as an ingredient in tacos it’s a favorite.
I’m rethinking my love of the herb as it’s entering the raw sprouts realm.
After notable recalls in 2009, 2011 and a 2013 Cyclospora outbreak where the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that fresh cilantro grown in Puebla, Mexico was the source, cilantro is at it again.
According to NBCDFW a current outbreak of Cyclospora has been linked yet again to the fresh herb.
The Texas Department of State Health Services said Thursday the its investigation has linked the cases in four restaurants clusters to fresh cilantro from Puebla, Mexico.
Texas DSHS says a total of 21 people got sick and all of them reported eating food containing cilantro within two weeks of becoming ill.
The FDA and DSHS traced the cilantro from all four restaurants to Puebla, Mexico. While investigators could not find cilantro contaminated with cyclospora they say there’s a strong enough “epidemiological link” between the illnesses and the cilantro to draw the conclusion.
In October 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also linked a cyclospora outbreak to cilantro from Puebla, Mexico.
The Texas DSHS reported a total of 166 confirmed cyclospora cases in the state, but only 126 cases were considered part of the outbreak.
Dallas County reported the majority of this year’s cases with 38, 19 cases were confirmed in Tarrant County and 12 in Collin County.
Food Safety Talk, a bi-weekly podcast for food safety nerds, by food safety nerds. The podcast is hosted by Ben Chapman and barfblog contributor Don Schaffner, Extension Specialist in Food Science and Professor at Rutgers University. Every two weeks or so, Ben and Don get together virtually and talk for about an hour. They talk about what’s on their minds or in the news regarding food safety, and popular culture. They strive to be relevant, funny and informative — sometimes they succeed. You can download the audio recordings right from the website, or subscribe using iTunes.
In a special episode recorded back before Ben went on summer hiatus, the guys invite Doug Powell on for a chat. According to Wikipedia (which is never wrong), Dr. Douglas Powell was raised in Brantford, Ontario (that’s in Canada). Doug describes himself as a former professor of food safety and the publisher of barfblog.com. He is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey.
These days Doug is been thinking a lot about soul, and given the Venn diagram of their intersecting musical tastes this leads to a discussion of Mr. Soul and a place where even Richard Nixon has got soul. Any discussion of music and soul leads to a mention of the classic Soul Man, which Don knows from the Blues Brothers movie, and Doug knows from the original version by Sam and Dave. Doug is thinking about soul because of his monthly writing gig for the Texas A&M Center for food safety. The piece he was ruminating on during the call led to a post called “It’s Gotta Have Soul” where his central thesis is that most people talking about food safety lack relevance; they lack soul, and fail to resonate.
After the guys bid Doug good night, the discussion turns to managing graduate students, task tracking software like OmniFocus, distracting diversions like Flappy Bird, managing references using Sente or Mendeley and a brief look forward to this special events which are coming, or rather were coming, at the IAFP annual meeting.
In 2011, a 29-year-old man was hospitalized after five days of progressive dizziness, blurred vision, dysphagia, and difficulty breathing. The patient required mechanical ventilation and botulism antitoxin. He remained in the hospital for 57 days and then spent some time in a rehabilitation facility. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he had tasted some potato soup that included botulinum toxin.
In 1977, 59 patrons of a Detroit Mexican restaurant became ill with botulism after consuming improperly canned peppers. As a result of rumors of a pending shortage of fresh peppers, the restaurant staff decided to stick lightly-cooked peppers and some water in jars and seal them.
Putting low acid foods in a jar and sealing them without either acidifying (with vinegar/fermentation) or processing using pressure is a bad idea.
According to WTVR, Corfino Foods of Richmond VA has been selling soups and sauces that were improperly processed resulting in a health alert from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
These products were improperly processed, making them susceptible to contamination with Clostridium botulinum.
Corfinio Foods has already suspended production of all of its canned soups and sauces and the firm is currently working with VDACS to come into compliance with state requirements.
Although there have been no reported cases of illness associated with these products, VDACS is issuing this consumer warning so that people who have previously purchased the products do not consume them.
The soups and sauces are packaged in glass, mason style jars with metal, screw on lids and have been sold at the Brandermill Green Market. The jars are marked with the Corfinio Foods label.
The firm was made aware of the dangers associated with selling improperly processed foods of this type and is working with VDACS and the market to notify consumers of the product recall.
Consumers who have any of these products or any foods made with these products should discard them immediately. They should double bag the jars in plastic bags and place in a trash receptacle for non-recyclable trash. Those who don’t wear gloves when handling these products should wash their hands with soap and running water after handling.
There’s something big going on in Alberta (that’s in Canada). Alberta Health Services is investigating over 120 cases of E. coli illnesses with no known source. Canadian Press reports that there have been 59 confirmed cases in Calgary, 48 cases in Edmonton as well as other cases across the province. It appears to be unrelated to an outbreak earlier this month linked to sprouts.
According to Global News,
Andrea Rohachuk says she fell victim to the illness after eating out at a southeast Calgary restaurant.
“It came on pretty quick,” she remembers. “I was in the hospital for about 10 hours before they sent me home, but definitely it was the sickest I’ve ever been in my whole life.
“I’ve maybe had a little bit of food poisoning, it kind of just goes through you, but [E. coli] was a thousand times worse than that.”
So far, a single cause behind the outbreak hasn’t been identified.
“It is too early. We’re in the middle of the investigation, and we hope we’ll be able to identify a common source if possible,” says Dr. Richard Musto, AHS Medical Officer of Health for the Calgary Zone. “We’ve got this increased number, so we’re trying to see are there any patterns, anything that would link one case to another.”
At the 2007 IAFP annual meeting in Florida, CDC foodborne illness outbreak guru Robert Tauxe told symposium audience that the next big thing for food safety was low-moisture ingredients. Salmonella is hardy, especially when stressed through drying, so it sticks around for a while. It might not grow much without available water, many low-moisture foods are also high-fat which protects the pathogen in the gut and leads to a lower mean infectious dose. Tauxe’s comments were post- Salmonella Tennessee in Peter Pan peanut butter and pre- Salmonella Wandsworth in Veggie Booty (and other outbreaks) and he talked about dried spices and flavorings and peanut butter-type products like hummus and tahini. And almond butter.
According to a message on the Trader Joe’s website, the retailer is recalling specific lots of two types of of almond butter.
We have been alerted by our supplier of Trader Joe’s Raw Almond Butters that there is a possibility that product with the specified date codes may be contaminated with Salmonella:
Raw Crunchy Unsalted Almond Butter
USE BY 28DEC14 thru 18JUN15
Raw Creamy Unsalted Almond Butter
USE BY 27DEC14 thru 18JUL15
In accordance with our stringent health and safety standards, and as an extreme precaution, all of the potentially affected product has been removed from sale and destroyed.
Customers who have purchased any of these items with the specified code dates are urged to not eat them and to dispose of them or return them to any Trader Joe’s for a full refund.
No other Trader Joe’s products are included in this recall.
Fermented fish isn’t for me. It’s not just a quality/taste thing, I also worry about the safety of the fermentation process – especially if it was carried out at home.
Deviating from the prescribed steps can create the perfect environment for Clostridium botulinum spore outgrowth, germination and toxin production. Of the 20-30 cases of botulism in the U.S. every year, the majority are linked to improper home canning. Last year, a Washington man gave himself botulism after eating elk that he canned using an old family recipe. He used a pressure cooker instead of a pressure canner and sped up the cooling time. A couple of years ago in Oregon, three folks became ill after eating under-processed beets. Botulism happens, and when it does, it’s nasty.
According to the Alaska Dispatch News, a death and two other botulism illnesses have been linked to a meal of fermented fish heads in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.
Alaska State Troopers on Sunday evening identified the man who died as Allen Nook, 59, of Lower Kalskag, a village of about 300 people on the Kuskokwim River 350 miles west of Anchorage. He ate the fish Wednesday and complained of seeing double and feeling ill, according to the troopers report.
Nook was found dead in his home Friday. His body was flown to Anchorage for an autopsy by the state medical examiner.
With Jack starting kindergarten a couple of weeks ago (we have year-round school in Raleigh), our luxurious summer schedule came to an end. No biggie for me as I’m in the habit of a 5:30 am wake up (it’s quiet and it gives me an excuse for going to bed at 9pm) but it does mean packing a lunch everyday that will stand-up to no refrigeration.
According to WJHG 7 in Tampa Bay, there are some things to think about when packing a lunch.
Food safety is vitally important. Freeze juice boxes (100% juice), small water bottles or small gel packs and place in the bag. The juice and water will keep other foods cool and will thaw by lunchtime. Use an insulated thermos for hot (140 or higher) or cold (40 or cooler) food. For best results rinse out a thermos with very hot water to heat it before adding hot items or rinse it out with ice water to chill the thermos before adding cold items.
Keeping food cold or hot slows bacterial growth and is essential for food safety. o Harmful bacteria multiply rapidly in the ‘Danger Zone” – the temperature between 40 – 140F.
Keep perishable foods refrigerated until time to leave home.
Use an insulated bag, if possible, rather than a paper bags. It is so much better for keeping food cold.
Fortunately for us Jack’s love of individually packed shelf-stable hummus and apple sauce supplemented with peanut butter sandwiches, temperature isn’t much of a factor.
My friend, Matt Shipman, a science writer and public information officer at North Carolina State University writes in the below Quest North Carolina post about washing food (reprinted with permission):
Food safety is an important issue. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year one in six people in the United States will get sick because of food-borne illness. And risks can be increased or decreased at every point between the farm and your fork. Yes, you want to make sure to cook your food to the appropriate temperature, but here are some other tips to help you make good decisions in the kitchen.
1. Don’t Wash Meat
Some people think that you’re supposed to wash chicken, turkey, or other meats before cooking. Those people are wrong. “Research shows that washing meat can spread dangerous bacteria around your kitchen or food preparation area,” said Ben Chapman, a food safety researcher at North Carolina State University. “And washing poultry under running water can spray surface contamination up to three feet away. We cook meat to make it safer; washing meat can only make a meal riskier.”
2. Washing Fruits and Veggies Only Removes up to 99 Percent of Pathogens
“That seems good, but it’s not great,” Chapman said. By comparison, cooking food can cut the number of bacteria or other microbial pathogens by 99.9999 percent. And that 0.9999 percent difference can be important. If a food is contaminated by thousands of microbes, washing off 99 percent means that dozens will be left behind — and that’s enough to make you sick. That is why people who are immunocompromised, such as some chemotherapy patients, are often discouraged from eating raw fruits and vegetables.
3. Don’t Use Soap
“Although washing has its limitations, vigorously rinsing produce under running water is the most effective way to remove the microbes that cause foodborne illnesses,” Chapman said. You don’t need to use soap or special cleaning solutions. In fact, using soap can actually introduce additional risk, because soaps may contain chemicals that aren’t intended for human consumption.
4. You Can’t Get All the Pesticides Off Your Food (but Don’t Panic)
Some minute traces of pesticide will probably be on — or in — your fruits or vegetables when you eat them. “But being able to detect a pesticide doesn’t mean that it’s a public health problem,” said Chris Gunter, a researcher at NC State who studies vegetable agriculture. That’s because, after using a pesticide, farmers are required to wait for a specific period of time before harvesting (it’s called a “pre-harvest interval”). During that time, the pesticide breaks down or washes off, meaning any residual pesticide meets EPA’s human health requirements.
5. Even Organic Food Can Use a Rinse
Just because produce is labeled “organic” doesn’t mean that it’s somehow immune to microbial contamination. Organic farmers usually grow their fruits and vegetables in open fields, just like conventional farmers, and are subject to some of the same risks, such as fecal contamination from wildlife (that is, poop can still get on the food).
“Any time you’re going to eat fresh produce you should rinse it off, if for no other reason than to rinse off dirt,” said Don Schaffner, a food safety researcher at Rutgers. “And rinsing off produce may offer some risk reduction in terms of microbial pathogens.”
Bonus: Don’t Wash Pre-Washed Veggies
If you’ve bought salad mix that is labeled as “pre-washed,” you really don’t need to wash it again, Schaffner said. In fact, you probably shouldn’t wash it again. “An expert panel reported in 2007 that consumers who wash these salads again won’t reduce the risk,” Schaffner said, “and may actually create a risk of cross-contamination” where pathogens from other foods get onto the salad. In this case, being lazy is a virtue.