Japan to ban restaurants from serving raw pork

The central government will ban restaurants from serving raw pork starting in mid-June, following a similar ban in 2012 on beef liver, the health ministry said Wednesday.

raw.porkRestaurants have increasingly turned to pork after the ban on raw beef liver.

The ministry said it would now require pork to be heat-sterilized to prevent food poisoning. It will also ban retailers from selling pork for raw consumption.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry cited the possibility that pigs’ innards could be tainted with the hepatitis E virus, which causes liver inflammation, as the reason for the ban.

Under the new requirements, pork will have to be heated for at least 30 minutes at 63 degrees, or be heat-sterilized in other ways with a similar effect, the ministry said.

Violators will face up to two years in jail or a ¥2 million fine, it added.

The ministry will also urge consumers not to eat raw pork, saying the meat should be heated for at least a minute at 75 degrees.

The number of hepatitis E patients hit a record high of 146 in 2014 from 55 in 2011, with pork the most likely cause among foodstuffs, according to data compiled by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

Company warned to get its HACCP together for eel

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning letter to seafood processing company Saemus on May 18 over what it called “serious” Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) violations.

eelThe determination is based on inspection of the processing facility in Virginia from Oct. 29 through Nov. 5 of last year, the letter said.

Among concerns was that the firm does not have a HACCP plan in place for its frozen vacuum packed, cooked, ready to eat eel.

Also, its ready-to-eat broiled eel kabayaki and hot and spicy eel productslacked the required HACCP plan to assure the fish are cooked sufficiently.

It also found a product — Natural Fresh Water Eel — was misbranded, since the label fails to declare all major food allergens present in the product.

Terrible idea: UK kids meet animals at a raw milk farm

In the fall of 1998, I accompanied one of my four daughters on a kindergarten trip to the farm. After petting the animals and touring the crops – I questioned the fresh manure on the strawberries –we were assured that all the food produced was natural.

raw.milk.petting.zooWe then returned for unpasteurized apple cider. The host served the cider in a coffee urn, heated, so my concern about it being unpasteurized was abated. I asked: “Did you serve the cider heated because you heard about other outbreaks and were concerned about liability?” She responded, “No. The stuff starts to smell when it’s a few weeks old and heating removes the smell.”

But it’s all smiles at one Rimington farm as children enjoy the sunshine and all the farm has to offer.

Gazegill Farm in Rimington welcomes school groups and visitors to come to the farm and to have a look around.

Public health: It’s about resources

A shot rang out.

It was about 7:30 p.m. last night. I said to Amy that sounded like a gunshot, she said, nah, I grew up in Montana around guns, that wasn’t a gunshot.

revolver_webley_and_Scott_A_seriesIt was.

Ten minutes later we got an e-mail from the townhouse next door, saying a bullet had ripped through their walls.

We’ve lived beside these bogans for three years, but they’re getting worse.

The street was in lockdown, cops were negotiating with people inside the house, I was told to stay with Sorenne.

Talking to the two police officers this morning following up on the shooting – and this isn’t the U.S., they take such things seriously here – I said isn’t that house a drain on your resources. Don’t you have better things to do?

Yup.

It’s the same with raw milk, anti-vaxxers and whatever else is out there: It’s a huge drain on public resources that could be better spent elsewhere.

Science nonsense: No mention of thermometers for UK chicken

How can a supposed science-based organization be taken seriously when it won’t incorporate science-based recommendations into its taxpayer-payer funded advice?

chicken.thermMaybe the Brits think they above such pedantic notions.

According to the UK Food Standards Authority, chicken is safe as long as consumers follow good kitchen practice including, ake sure chicken is steaming hot all the way through before serving. Cut in to the thickest part of the meat and check that it is steaming hot with no pink meat and that the juices run clear.

BS.

FSA has just published results from its year-long survey of campylobacter on fresh chickens. Campylobacter is a food bug mainly found on raw poultry and is the biggest cause of food poisoning in the UK.

Cumulative results for samples taken between February 2014 and February 2015[1] have now been published as official statistics, including results presented by major retailer. The report can been found via the link further down this page.

The results for the full year show:

  • 19% of chickens tested positive for campylobacter within the highest band of contamination*
  • 73% of chickens tested positive for the presence of campylobacter
  • 1% (five samples) of packaging tested positive at the highest band of contamination
  • 7% of packaging tested positive for the presence of campylobacter

*More than 1,000 colony forming units per gram (>1,000 cfu/g). These units indicate the degree of contamination on each sample.

More than 4,000 samples of fresh whole chilled chickens and packaging have been tested. The chickens were bought from large UK retail outlets and smaller independent stores and butchers. The data shows variations between the retailers, but none has met the target for reducing campylobacter (see table below). A full analysis of the survey results, including the publication of the raw data and the full year results for smaller supermarkets and shops, is being carried out by the FSA and will be published later in the summer.

Further details of the ongoing testing of chickens for campylobacter were also confirmed by the FSA. A new survey will start this summer and once again sample fresh whole chickens from all types of shops. Continued testing will help the FSA to measure the impact of the interventions now being introduced by the industry to tackle campylobacter.

The FSA has welcomed the publication today of case studies by Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, the Co-op and Waitrose  showing the results of their recently implemented campylobacter reduction plans. The data show significant decreases in the incidence of campylobacter on their raw whole chickens. The tests were carried out on more recent samples than those taken from the FSA survey samples, with some targeted to demonstrate the effect of particular interventions.

Canada, how long does it take to write a PR? 13 sick with E. coli infections and possible link to leafy greens

The leafy greens cone of silence continues to silence or impair epidemiology across North America.

leafy.green.lettuceThe Public Health Agency of Canada says today that 13 people across Canada were sickened with E. coli O157:H7 with a possible link to leafy greens, and that the investigation concluded on May 12, 2015.

Two weeks is a long time to get approval for a simple press release.

“Although leafy greens were identified as a possible source of illness, a specific source of the outbreak could not be confirmed.

“During the investigation, exposure to leafy greens was identified as a possible source of illness. Leafy greens can include all varieties of lettuces and other green leaf vegetables such as kale, spinach, arugula, or chard. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency conducted an investigation into leafy greens, however no specific food products were identified as the source of the outbreak.”

And the usual boilerplate:

waynes-world-monkeys-might-fly-out--e1297873880696“Canadians are reminded to always follow safe food handling practices to avoid illness. Wash your hands thoroughly before preparing or eating food. Wash raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly with clean, safe running water before you prepare and eat them.”

Yup, 13 people from Alberta to Newfoundland got sick with the same E. coli because of bad handwashing (not).

Handwashing is never enough: 34 sick with Salmonella from chicks in Canada

Sorenne told me about plans to have a live animal farm with reptiles and baby chicks established at her school.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou see a cute chick, I see a Salmonella factory.

The Public Health Agency of Canada reports an outbreak of Salmonella infections in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan with cases of human illness related to contact with live baby poultry originating from a hatchery in Alberta.

The risk to Canadians is low.

No idea how they came up with that statement, and of course, no info on the age of those affected (I’ll put my money on little kids).

Inspections and audits are never enough: Blame the consumer, German version, deadly Salmonella outbreak traced to Bavarian egg farm

Despite visiting the infected farm on a number of occasions, finding Salmonella and seeing an unusual amount of dead chickens, Bavarian health authorities took no action, leading to widespread illness and multiple deaths across Europe last summer, Sputnik reported.

salmonella.eggsAn outbreak of Salmonella which led to hundreds of people falling ill across Europe last summer, and was linked to several deaths, has been traced back to contaminated eggs from a farm in Bavaria, German media has revealed.

The farm is owned by the Bayern Ei company, one of Germany’s largest egg producers which operates four chicken factories, where hens lay some one million eggs a day.

At the farm in question, in the southern region of Lower Bavaria, where hundreds of chickens were being found dead each day, company bosses initially told employees the death rate was due to chickens dying from heat.

According to the investigation carried out by reporters from Germany’s Suddeutsche Zeitung and Bayerischen Rundfunk, the Bavarian Health and Food Safety Authorities knew about the presence of Salmonella at the farm, having found evidence of the infection in two separate investigations.

However, the authorities turned a blind eye and took no action to take products from the farm off the market, since “the responsible customer” is aware that “eggshells are not sterile,” and should wash their hands after handling an egg.

Hamburgers and Memorial Day

As I devoured a 160F tip-sensitive thermometer verified hamburger this morning while watching Tampa beat New York in hockey playoffs, I was reminded that NY Times foodie Sam Sifton took 1,600 words last year to describe how to cook the ‘perfect burger’ and no mention of thermometers.

The Times wonders why it’s losing readers (and please, stop sending me the daily offers to resubscribe for almost nothing, it’s embarrassing).

Food porn always trumps food safety, until someone gets sick.

Bask in Memorial Day, my fellow U.S. citizens, remember those who gave and continue to give, and try not to make anyone barf.

hamburger-safe and unsafe-thumb-450x138-175