Doug Powell

About Doug Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of barfblog.com, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Download C.V. »

Serial pooper plagues Virginia park

Kids love climbing and playing at Fort Barnard Park in south Arlington, VA, but now they have to watch where they step.

fort.barnard.park.vaSome parents are disgusted after learning a “serial pooper” is targeting the playground.

“I have three kids, one is a cancer survivor. You run into something like that?” Andy Delafield, who takes his kids to Fort Barnard Park, said. “Oh my God. Just … ugh. Who would be sick enough to do something like that?”

Arlington County Parks and recreation officials say human poop has been found about four or five times in the last few months.

Whoever is responsible is covering the poop with a shirt or jacket.

Park workers believe it happens after hours in the dark. Each time it is reported, workers clean it up and disinfect the area.

UK pub fined £100,000 for mouse infestation

Daniel Woolfson of The Morning Advertiser reports that Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) was slapped with a £100,000 fine after environmental health officers uncovered an infestation of mice at one of its Birmingham pubs.

The  Railway Pub, Birmingham UKThe company, which owns the Harvester and Toby Carvery, pleaded guilty to three food safety offences at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday (19 August) after inspectors discovered rodent droppings and unhygienic kitchen conditions at the Railway, Hill Street.

It was ordered to pay £105,000 as well as £9,528 in costs and a £120 victim surcharge.

Councillor Barbara Dring, Birmingham City Council’s licensing and public protection committee chair, said: “People should be able to have confidence in the safety of the food served and cleanliness of any food business in Birmingham – regardless of whether it’s a pub or a posh restaurant.

“We want the city’s food businesses to thrive and, as such, our officers work closely with premises to ensure they achieve the necessary standards required to operate safely.”

The Railway’s kitchen was ordered to close on the spot after the inspection on February 18 last year but was allowed to reopen two days later when inspectors returned and found improvements to have been made.

Since then it has gone on to achieve a five-star food hygiene rating.

Earlier this summer M&B admitted a breach of duty to 280 customers who were stricken with norovirus after visiting an Exeter Toby Carvery pub in April 2015.

The Exeter Arms was closed after instances of the virus, which causes diarrhea and vomiting, were reported to management.

However, it continued to trade after closing for one day and more people fell ill.

Amandeep Dhillon, partner at law firm Irwin Mitchell, which was instructed by the customers to investigate the outbreak, said at the time it hoped by taking legal action important lessons would be learned when it came to dealing with outbreaks of illness in similar premises.

Gastro outbreak strikes Australia’s Fraser Coast

Australia’s Fraser Coast, including the town of Hervey Bay, is billed as Australia’s whale watching capital and the scallops are like no other, especially those apparently hepatitis A infected frozen scallops from the Philippines which has sickened 208 Hawaiians.

_DSC0022----Whalesong-with-Eliza Wheeler of the Fraser Coast Chronicle reports an outbreak of gastroenteritis has stricken dozens of people over the past week, inundating home doctors, and putting a strain on the region’s hospitals.

House Call Doctor’s Assistant Clinical Director Dr Ryan Harvey said this particularly aggressive bug had been making people sick across the state.

He said it appeared to be a far more virulent strain than in previous years.

“It is worse than what we have seen and causing worse illness. A lot of people who might otherwise have had an upset stomach are experiencing severe gastro,” Dr Harvey said.

He said there had been reports of a 15% increase in the number of people with gastroenteritis being admitted to hospitals.

Egypt investigates claims of hepatitis-A in strawberry exports

With 10 hepatitis A cases linked to frozen strawberries used by Tropical Smoothie Café in Virginia, and health officials saying the hep A strain has been associated with past outbreaks due to frozen strawberries from Egypt, the Egyptians are now investigating.

strawberry.harvest.egypeEgypt Independent cites Agriculture Ministry spokesman Edi Hawash as saying the U.S. has not officially informed Egypt of the claims, but the claims are being investigated anyway.

Agriculture Minister Essam Fayed has formed a committee, headed by the chairman of the Union of Egyptian Exporters, to investigate the issue, Hawash added.

He said that recent tests conducted on random samples of exported strawberries have shown no cases of the virus.

Hussein al-Hinnawi, the president of the Union of Producers and Exporters of Horticultural Crops, said he doubts that the reported hepatitis-A infections were caused by frozen Egyptian strawberries.

He said Egyptian strawberries are scrutinized at competent laboratories prior to export. Moreover, exporters have full awareness of good practice through the stages of production, transfer and export, Hinnawi said.

Egypt ranks first among Arab countries in the production and export of strawberries, exporting about 40,000,000 tons of fresh and frozen strawberries to 30 countries in Europe, America, Southeast Asia and the Gulf states, according to Al-Ahram.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe voluntarily withdrew all of the strawberries sourced from Egypt and found an alternate supply.

Five Star Shellfish Inc. brand oysters recalled in Canada due to Salmonella

Five Star Shellfish Inc. is recalling Five Star Shellfish Inc. brand large standard and mixed oysters from the marketplace due to possible Salmonella contamination. Consumers should not consume the recalled products.

salm.oyster.aug.16This recall was triggered by Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) test results. The CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.

The CFIA is verifying that industry is removing recalled products from the marketplace.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these products.

Raw is risky: 2 Tampa Bay residents die from shellfish

Jacqueline Ingles of WFTS Tampa Bay reports, take a ride on Captain Nick Warhurst’s boat and there is just one rule: do not eat raw shellfish.

seven.fish.bbq.dec.11“I’d rather you not eat anything raw on my boat,” said Warhurst. “If you want to eat them raw you wait till you get to the dock and you’re on your own.”

Married to a nurse, Warhurst says he knows the dangers of eating raw or undercooked shellfish.

“Some people die from this stuff,” he explained.

According to the Florida Department of Health, two Bay area residents did get infected with Vibrio Vulnificus and died this year. One resident was from Citrus County, the other resided in Sarasota County.

Vibrio is a bacteria that occurs naturally in Gulf Coast waters.

You can also get infected if you go into water with an open cut or sore.

So far this year, 23 people have been infected by the bacteria across the states. A total of five people have died from the infections.

However, contracting it is rare.

“It is really, really, really rare, but why take the chance,” asked Terry Natwick, the director of sales and marketing at the Plantation Inn in Crystal River.

The inn, which is a hotspot for tourists who’ve come to scallop stay, offers a catch and cook program.

“Not only do we have somebody who will professionally shuck the scallops for you and keep it on ice and then put it in a Ziplock and then you bring it right to our kitchen where we refrigerate it at the proper temperature and cook if for you either that day at lunch or that night for dinner,” Natwick said.

First time scalloper Nick Tulse is taking the Inn up on it’s offer.

“Oh no no, you cook ’em,” said Tulse, who drove up from Bradenton.

Death by bagpipe: Man’s lung illness linked to mold in instrument

There’s not enough bagpipes in rock and roll.

BonScottBagpipesAccording to Liz Szabo of USA Today, British doctors are blaming the death of a 61-year-old Liverpool man on his bagpipes, whose moist, dark interior apparently provided an ideal breeding ground for fungus. Authors of the case report are calling the man’s condition “bagpipe lung.”

The man’s demise appears to be the first documented case of death by bagpipe, experts say.

“It sounds like a Monty Python skit or an Agatha Christie story gone wrong,” said William Schaffner, a professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville.

The technical name for the man’s lung disease is hypersensitivity pneumonitis, which occurs when the immune system tries to fight off a foreign invader, such as mold or yeast. The ensuing inflammation ends up scarring the lung, making it harder for patients to breathe, said study coauthor Jenny King, a pulmonology resident at University Hospital in South Manchester.

MNA fighter’s Listeria death shines light on illness

Amy Frazier of KOIN 6 reports the death last week of MMA fighter Chael Sonnen‘s newborn daughter from a listeria infection shined a spotlight on the foodborne illness.

Brittany-Smith-Chael-Sonnen-girlfriend-pictures1Sonnen, a West Linn native described as “one of the most polarizing figures in MMA,” talked about his baby, Blauna, on his podcast. She was born 10 weeks prematurely, and both she and his wife, Brittany, were diagnosed with listeriosis, said MMA official Jeff Meyer.

The CDC said listeriosis is usually caused by eating contaminated food and primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns and adults with weakened immune systems.

“It is worrisome in pregnancy because there is the chance a pregnant woman can pass the infection on to her fetus and that can cause potentially serious complications like miscarriage, still birth, preterm labor. So it can be serious in pregnancy,” said Dr. Jennifer Vines, the Deputy Health Officer for the Multnomah County Health Department.

“It’s an illness that would be hard to distinguish from others, so we talk about flu-like symptoms,” she said — fever, muscle aches, feeling tired, vomiting and diarrhea.

Vines said listeria is rare among pregnant women. Over the past 5 years, she said there’s been about 10 cases of listeria, “and of those, only 2 of those have been pregnant women.”

She suggested pregnant women steam hot dogs or deli meats, avoid unpasteurized cheeses and avoid cross-contamination from the water in the package to any other foods, like a salad.

“You’d want to avoid any unpasteurized milk and then any unpasteurized milk that’s used to make cheese,” Vines said.

Can a vaccine protect fetuses and newborns from listeriosis

Listeriosis is a fatal infection for fetuses and newborns with two clinical main morbidities in the neonatal period, meningitis and diffused cutaneous lesions.

amy.pregnant.listeriaIn this study, we vaccinated pregnant females with two gold glyconanoparticles (GNP) loaded with two peptides, listeriolysin peptide 91–99 (LLO91–99) or glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase 1–22 peptide (GAPDH1–22). Neonates born to vaccinated mothers were free of bacteria and healthy, while non-vaccinated mice presented clear brain affections and cutaneous diminishment of melanocytes.

Therefore, these nanoparticle vaccines are effective measures to offer pregnant mothers at high risk of listeriosis interesting therapies that cross the placenta.

Pregnancy vaccination with gold glyco-nanoparticles carrying Listeria monocytogenes peptides protects against Listeriosis and brain- and cutaneous-associated morbidities

Nanomaterials 2016, 6(8), 151; doi:10.3390/nano6080151 (registering DOI)

R Calderón-Gonzalez, H Terán-Navarro, E Frande-Cabanes, E Ferrández-Fernández, J Freire, S Penadés, S Yañez-Díaz, C Alvarez-Domínguez

http://www.mdpi.com/2079-4991/6/8/151

It ain’t happening at retail: Cut cantaloupe needs to be stored at 4C to control Listeria growth

Cantaloupes, marketed as “Rocky Ford,” were implicated in the U.S. multistate outbreak of listeriosis in 2011, which caused multiple fatalities. Listeria monocytogenes can survive on whole cantaloupes and can be transferred to the flesh of melons.

fresh-cut.cantaloupeThe growth of L. monocytogenes on fresh-cut “Athena” and “Rocky Ford” cantaloupe cultivars during refrigerated storage was evaluated. Fresh-cut cubes (16.4 cm3) from field-grown cantaloupes were each inoculated with 5 log10 CFU/mL of a multi-strain mixture of L. monocytogenes and stored at 4°C or 10°C. Inoculated fresh-cut cubes were also: (1) continuously stored at 4°C for 3 days; (2) temperature-abused (TA: 25°C for 4 h) on day 0; or (3) stored at 4°C for 24 h, exposed to TA on day 1, and subsequently stored at 4°C until day 3. L. monocytogenes populations on fresh-cut melons continuously stored at 4°C or 10°C were enumerated on selected days for up to 15 days and after each TA event. Brix values for each cantaloupe variety were determined. L. monocytogenes populations on fresh-cut cantaloupe cubes stored at 4°C increased by 1.0 and 3.0 log10 CFU/cube by day 7 and 15, respectively, whereas those stored at 10°C increased by 3.0 log10 CFU/cube by day 7.

Populations of L. monocytogenes on fresh-cut cantaloupes stored at 10°C were significantly (p < 0.05) greater than those stored at 4°C during the study. L. monocytogenes showed similar growth on fresh-cut “Athena” and “Rocky Ford” cubes, even though “Athena” cubes had significantly higher Brix values than the “Rocky Ford” fruit.

L. monocytogenes populations on fresh-cut cantaloupes exposed to TA on day 1 and then refrigerated were significantly greater (0.74 log10 CFU) than those stored continuously at 4°C for 3 days. Storage at 10°C or exposure to TA events promoted growth of L. monocytogenes on fresh-cut cantaloupe during refrigerated storage.

Survival and growth of Listeria monocytogenes on fresh-cut “Athena” and “Rocky Ford” cantaloupes during storage at 4°C and 10°C

Nyarko Esmond, Kniel Kalmia E., Reynnells Russell, East Cheryl, Handy Eric T., Luo Yaguang, Millner Patricia D., and Sharma Manan. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. August 2016, ahead of print. doi:10.1089/fpd.2016.2160.

http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/fpd.2016.2160