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 C.V. »

30 sick: Salmonella victim speaks out about ‘two weeks of hell’ after eating at The Real China in UK

One of the 30 diners struck down by an outbreak of salmonella after eating at the same Hampshire restaurant has described his “two weeks of hell” battling the infection.

salm.george williams_23George Williams, 20, became so unwell he ended up in hospital where doctors feared he might have Crohn’s Disease, a chronic bowel condition.

However medics finally diagnosed salmonella after further tests.

George has been suffering with vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramps for the past fortnight.

He is one of 30 people, including a three-year-old child, struck down by food poisoning after eating at The Real China in Eastleigh.

The town centre restaurant, the only Hampshire branch of the chain’s more than 20 UK restaurants, has closed voluntarily while the environmental health team at Eastleigh Borough Council investigates, as revealed by the Daily Echo on Saturday. The venue remains shut until the council and Public Health England pin down the source of the outbreak and are satisfied there is no longer a health risk.

The council has traced the outbreak to July 11 when George, who works in telesales in Romsey, dined at the restaurant with friends.

He first became unwell two days later and has been unable to retain any food in his body for long. 

Campy chaos at UK chicken plants?

The chicken factories at the centre of revelations over food poisoning contamination were checked by UK Food Standards Agency inspectors on Friday, as sources reported that Tesco auditors had found failings during a surprise middle-of-the-night inspection at an abattoir in Wales.

chicken-0011This week’s Guardian investigation prompted emergency reviews by three of the UK’s leading supermarkets, and the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, intervened on Thursday to demand that the FSA investigate more thoroughly, just hours after the agency had said it was content that correct procedures had been followed.

Labour accused the government of presiding over a food scandal made possible because David Cameron had split responsibility for food policy between the FSA, the Department of Health, and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and called on him to review the changes.

Undercover footage, photographic evidence and information from whistleblowers revealed how strict industry hygiene standards to prevent the contamination of chicken with the potentially deadly campylobacter bacterium can be flouted on the factory floor and in farms. Two-thirds of fresh chicken on sale in supermarkets is contaminated with the bug and 280,000 people a year are made sick by it.

The Guardian understands that Tesco auditors arrived unannounced at 4.30am last Friday at the Llangefni chicken processing site in Wales owned by the 2 Sisters group, after the Guardian had approached the retailer with a series of allegations about hygiene failings at this and another factory. The site supplies several leading supermarkets and fast food chains.

The alleged failings included repeated breakdowns that had led to feathers, guts and offal – high-risk material for the spread of campylobacter – piling up on the factory floor for hours while production continued. Sources also said water in scald tanks, through which birds pass before plucking, was not cleaned for three days. Whistleblowers and an undercover reporter said carcasses that had fallen on the floor at this site and another owned by the same company in Scunthorpe were sometimes recycled back on to the production line.

The company denied this, saying all carcasses from the floor were disposed of as waste. It also said it did not stop the slaughter line when the evisceration and defeathering blockages occurred because it had to consider the welfare of chickens waiting for slaughter. It said that the scald tank incident was isolated, had only lasted one day, and tests have confirmed that bacteria counts were acceptable.

Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer confirmed they were customers of the Welsh factory and had carried out inspections, with M&S auditors arriving unannounced last Wednesday. The Guardian understands the Scunthorpe factory has also been audited by retailers, and government inspectors arrived there on Friday.

Salmonella in pepper powder; who knew?

Clover Trading Company Ltd. is recalling Flying Swallow brand White Pepper Powder from the marketplace due to possible Salmonella contamination. Consumers should not consume the recalled product described below.

pepper.powder.salmRecalled products

Brand Name: Flying Swallow

Common Name: White Pepper Powder

Size: 55 g

Code on Product: None

UPC: 7 77244 00012 6

What you should do

Check to see if you have recalled product in your home. Recalled product should be thrown out or returned to the store where it was purchased.

Food contaminated with Salmonella may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick. Young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems may contract serious and sometimes deadly infections. Healthy people may experience short-term symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Long-term complications may include severe arthritis.

Background

This 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 product from the marketplace.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.

Cheese recalled in Canada because of E. coli O26:H11

La Fromagerie Hamel is recalling La fromagerie Hamel brand “St-Felicien lait cru France (Rhone-Alpes)” cheese from the marketplace due to possible E. coli O26:H11 contamination. Consumers should not consume the recalled product described below.

La Fromagerie HamelRecalled products

Brand Name: La Fromagerie Hamel

Common Name: “St-Felicien lait cru France (Rhone-Alpes)”

Size: 180 g

Codes on Product: 11772104 Best Before 19/08/2014

UPC: None

What you should do

Check to see if you have recalled product in your home. Recalled product should be thrown out or returned to the store where it was purchased.

Food contaminated with E. coli O26:H11 may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, mild to severe abdominal cramps and watery to bloody diarrhea. In severe cases of illness, some people may have seizures or strokes, need blood transfusions and kidney dialysis or live with permanent kidney damage. In severe cases of illness, people may die.

This recall was triggered by a recall in another country. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (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 product from the marketplace.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.

Fist bumps are less germy than handshakes

I went to the Apple store in Brisbane to fix my iPhone and got a lot of handshakes.

Then I watched staff shake a lot of other hands.

Wonder_Twins-fist-bumpI was a dumbass.

So says science.

“A short, sweet fist bump will transmit the least bacteria,” and even a high-five is better than a traditional shake, says David Whitworth, a senior lecturer in biochemistry at Aberystwyth University-Ceredigion in the United Kingdom.

Whitworth and a colleague systematically tested the three greetings for a study published Monday in the American Journal of Infection Control.

For the experiment, one of them repeatedly dipped a gloved hand into a container loaded with a not-too-dangerous strain of E. coli bacteria. The dirty-gloved scientist let the film dry, then shook, fist-bumped or high-fived the other person’s clean, gloved hand. Finally, the receiving gloves were tested for bacteria.

Result: The shakes transmitted about 10 times more bacteria than the fist bumps and about two times more than the high fives. The longest, firmest shakes transmitted the most.

In a separate round in which the gloves were dipped in paint rather than bacteria, the researchers found one rather obvious explanation: Bigger areas of the hands touched during the shakes. Handshakes also tended to last longer, but the researchers found more clinging germs even when they compared shakes to fist bumps and high-fives of the same duration.

Whitworth’s findings “are not surprising,” says Mary Lou Manning, an associate professor in the school of nursing at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and president-elect of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

She is not enthusiastic about replacing handshakes with fist bumps in hospitals. The better, more hygienic idea, she says, is to promote rigorous hand-washing and ban hand-to-hand greetings altogether. “That’s already starting to happen” in a lot of places, she says.

100 sick from Campylobacter in Iceland over past year

It wasn’t virtual, it was real (messy).

campy.chickenThe Directorate of Health says it has had to deal with a virtual explosion of diarrhea cases caused by Campylobacter.

The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) said that they could not definitively draw a connection between Icelandic chickens and the outbreak, nor could they rule it out. They pointed out that according to their findings, the incidence of Campylobacter in chickens has not significantly spiked upwards.

The Directorate of Health cautions the public to cook all meat thoroughly and to keep surfaces and hands clean during and after cooking, as well as to use clean water.

Raw milk in UK? FSA Board wants more evidence

The UK Food Standards Agency board has asked for the FSA to maintain the current regulations controlling the sale of raw milk, while further evidence is gathered to allow board members to make a final decision on whether to revise the rules.

colbert.raw.milkFollowing a review of the current raw milk regulations, the FSA had proposed exploring the scope for wider access to raw milk, including limited sales from vending machines in shops.

The proposals were discussed today by the Board. They concluded that additional evidence was required on risks from specific pathogens. More detail was also requested on the proposed testing regime that would be necessary to allow extended sales while maintaining consumer protection. The Board said a final decision should not be made until the European Food Safety Authority has delivered the findings of its own review of the risks from raw milk which is expected in December 2014.

The FSA will now consider the conclusions in more detail and agree a timeframe for delivering the additional work the Board has requested.

At least 22 sickened in E. coli outbreak on Minnesota Reservation

At least 22 people on the Fond du Lac Reservation experienced foodborne illness linked with E. coli bacteria, a spokesperson with the Minnesota Department of Health said Wednesday.

waterlakestream1The news was first posted on the band’s website Tuesday, when it indicated there were several cases. The band is cooperating with the state health department’s investigation, which has yet to pinpoint a cause of the contamination.

The strain is believed to be E. coli O157, commonly associated with ground beef, said the spokesperson. The strain that prompted Applebee’s restaurants to adjust its Minnesota menus earlier this month was E. coli O111, the spokesperson said as a way of comparison. The restaurant chain voluntarily changed a supplier as well as removed its Oriental Chicken Salad and other nuts and leafy vegetables from its Minnesota menus in that instance.

Health department spokesman Doug Schultz said the 15 people reported ill in that case was “probably the tip of the iceberg.”

Schultz explained that Minnesota is a “real-time investigation” state, placing it at the forefront of reactions to foodborne illness. The goal of a real-time investigation is to arrest the spread of illness by pulling potentially contaminated fare, rather than other states, which conduct follow-up investigations.