KState changes handwashing recommendations

Twelve years after Chapman and I set out for Prince George, B.C., where Chapman announced his fears of both bears and jello-swim nights at the local college, and then went to Kansas State University, where I met a girl (who’s still my best friend and wife), where I got sexually advanced upon in an unpleasant manner by a professor dude, where I had lunch with the president, got a job offer, and enjoyed a great career, my former boss sent me this:

KState has changed its handwashing recommendations.

They disconnected the blow dryers in those groovy all-in-one handwashing units.

One reason I was offered the job is because I took the prez to the bathroom and showed him how shitty their handwashing recommendations were.

But that story is old.

No one should be recreating their past glory days (and if I ever quote a Bruce Springsteen song again, put me out of my misery).

Change does sometimes happen: usually not as fast as any of us would like.

Duty calls: Tweet when you barf (maybe FSA should tell Heston)

This is what is infuriating about food safety government types: they have the budgets, they have the knowledge, but they don’t have the wherewithal to confront an issue on a public scale.

heston-blumenthalThey can say, oooohhh, we use social media to track when people are barfing but they do no evaluation of their alleged interventions.

Telling people to wash their hands doesn’t mean people will wash their hands.

Elizabeth Cassin of BBC writes if you’re suffering with projectile vomiting and watery diarrhea, reach for your phone and post an update.

While it won’t ease your suffering, a tweet or two could help researchers track the spread of the winter vomiting bug (which the rest of the world calls Norovirus).

The UK Food Standards Agency has been using social media to track levels of norovirus, a highly contagious illness which spreads via food and through person-to-person contact. The symptoms usually last for one to two days, with the person remaining infectious for a further two days.

If you’ve ever had, it you know what it means: vomiting, diarrhea, pain, and the general feeling of having been run over by a car.

In 2013, the Foods Standards Agency started looking at new ways to track the virus. They analysed Google searches but found that social media was a better source of data. “It’s more about the immediacy… what’s happening in their lives right now,” says Dr Sian Thomas.

On the other hand, “if you’re in hospital or a nursing home and you’re sick, then they might take a sample and send it to a laboratory for analysis,” she says.

The FSA compared this official sample data with the volume of relevant tweets and concluded that “there’s a really good correlation between the number of mentions on Twitter of ‘sick’ and a range of search terms, with the incidents of illness as defined by laboratory reports.”

“Our current estimate is that between 70-80% of the time, we are able to accurately predict an increase the next week.”

If the team predict a national outbreak, they plan to run a digital campaign explaining how to look after yourself.

“The intervention is really quite basic,” she notes. “It’s about washing your hands, it’s about looking after yourself, and not coming in to contact with other people while you’re sick.”

Norovirus can be dangerous for children or the elderly. Fortunately for healthy adults though, the illness is usually a minor, if messy, inconvenience.

 

From the duh files: Study suggests handwashing compliance in child care facilities insufficient

Except the authors get it wrong.

This is the most telling quote from the PR, and I’m not sure who reviewed this shit:

handwashing-loads“The guidelines outline sequential handwashing steps that need to be followed, including use of warm water, soap, paper towels, and continuing for 20 seconds. This study confirms the results of previous studies in this area that there is a need for funding of education and training about proper hand hygiene.”

Water temp doesn’t matter. 20 seconds doesn’t matter. And give us more money to ingratiate ourselves with future funders.

Anyone who has worked in a daycare or restaurant, for lousy pay, knows that time constraints and screaming babies sometimes interfere with best practice. Did anyone follow the guidelines? Acknowledge the realities of the world we’re in, and offer practical advice. But you’ll probably get funded in the next round.

Child care personnel properly clean their hands less than a quarter of the times they are supposed to, according to a study published in the December issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official journal of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC, http://www.apic.org).

A new study from the University of Arkansas used video cameras to record handwashing habits and compliance among child care workers at an early childhood center in northwest Arkansas. The researchers found that personnel and parents at the facility on average followed proper handwashing procedures only 22 percent of the time before and/or after tasks such as wiping noses, emptying garbage cans, preparing food, changing diapers, or using their cell phones. Caregivers washed 30 percent of the time it was called for, with paraprofessional aides at 11 percent, and parents at 4 percent.

“Handwashing is an important component of reducing illness transmission among children in early childhood centers, especially for the adults in charge of their care,” said lead study author Jennifer Henk, PhD. “As we seek to improve overall quality in early childhood settings, our study shows the need to adopt creative strategies to increase handwashing compliance and efficacy.”

amy-sorenne-handwashingSurveillance cameras were used to randomly record 25 hours of handwashing compliance in ten different classrooms. The center was aware of the cameras, but not alerted to the primary purpose of the study. There were a total of 349 handwashing opportunities in the 25 hours; 78 corresponding handwashing events took place for an overall compliance rate of 22 percent. Handwashing opportunities and events were based on guidelines for early child care established by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The guidelines outline sequential handwashing steps that need to be followed, including use of warm water, soap, paper towels, and continuing for 20 seconds. This study confirms the results of previous studies in this area that there is a need for funding of education and training about proper hand hygiene.

“Hand hygiene in early childhood centers is especially important because children under five years of age have only partially developed immune systems, increasing their susceptibility to communicable diseases,” said Susan Dolan, RN, MS, CIC, FAPIC, president of APIC. “Studies have shown that children who spend time in an early childhood care center are two to three times more likely to acquire infections than children cared for in the home, with respiratory and gastrointestinal infections posing the highest risks.”

Handwashing can prevent about 30 percent of diarrhea-related sicknesses and about 20 percent of respiratory infection in children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So what are the creative strategies to increase handwashing compliance? Waste of time.

Food Safety Talk 111: The Meat Spot

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.slide-image-1

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.

Episode 111 can be found here and on iTunes.

Show notes so you can follow along at home:

Pools or animal farms: 223 sick UK crypto could be anywhere

Janet Hughes of Gloucestershire Live writes that scientists are checking to see if summer holiday visits to animal attractions are behind a massive spike in the number of toddlers with cryptosporidium.

crypto.petting.farmPublic health chiefs are asking affected families to fill in questionnaires about where they have been and what they have eaten in an effort to trace the source of the outbreak which is particularly bad in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

Children aged between one and five years are most at risk from the parasite cryptosporidium which is three or four times more prevalent than normal this summer.

Doctors believe a small number of cases could be linked Oasis leisure centre in Swindon, which has been closed as a precautionary measure, and say swimming in contaminated lakes, rivers or swimming pools can cause the disease to strike.

But many of those struck down are young toddlers so other possible theories include the prospect that children might not have washed their hands after petting animals at attractions during the summer holidays.

Hand washing is never enough.

 

Nosestretcher alert: Australian food safety type talks shit

Food poisoning and gastroenteritis affect 4.1 million Australians a year.

y a t il un pilote dans l'avion ? airplane flying high 1980 réal : Jim Abrahams David et Jerry Zucker Leslie Nielsen Collection Christophel Collection Christophel

If you do find yourself stricken with something nasty, it might be tempting to put a big, black mark against the last restaurant you ate in. But, according to Dr Vincent Ho, clinical gastroenterologist and lecturer in medicine at the University of Western Sydney, eating out isn’t always to blame. “It’s more common to get food poisoning with home meals, and that’s because people eat at home more often than they go out,” he tells Time Out. “Generally speaking, in Australia, and other developed countries where we have good sanitation, the vast majority of the time when we go out, there isn’t any food poisoning or gastroenteritis.”

Another so-called expert talking shit.

For instance there was an outbreak caused by contaminated lettuce in NSW recently. They were able to trace that back by looking at the people affected, asking about what they were eating and looking for common elements.”

Some would call it epidemiology.

Poultry products and meat are the most common sources of food poisoning, but most cases of gastroenteritis can be traced back to inadequate hand washing.

Nosestretcher alert.

Can’t image a more factually incorrect and condescending statement.

Fresh produce is the leading source of foodborne illness in Western countries and has been for over a decade.

But it’s still 1978 here in Australia.

jon.stewart.handwashing.2002In Australia and other developed countries, “we’ve taken special preparations to reduce the incidences of food-borne infections.” We have health inspections, food safety laws and signs everywhere that say “all staff must wash hands” when we’re eating out.

Seriously, you think those signs work?

How did you get to be a professor of anything?

At home, we have to rely on ourselves, and it turns out, many people are not that reliable. It only takes 10 seconds of washing your hands with soap and water to seriously reduce your chance of passing around a stomach bug, and yet, most people aren’t doing it properly.

That’s the reason you’re more likely to pick up an illness at home, or in a closed-off environment like a cruise ship, day care or nursing home, where you’re exposed to lots of people’s germs, than you are from a restaurant. At a restaurant, “although there are always occasions where food isn’t prepared optimally” there are structures in place to ensure caution. At home, you’re on your own.

Dr. Ho, I’ll gladly go to your home and watch you prepare a meal.

Most people don’t invite me to dinner because they know who I am.

But I’ll give you a tip-sensitive digital thermometer.

Parents hate my food safety stories, so just a face palm: 611 sick with Salmonella from backyard chicks

Sorenne rode her bike to school on Friday for the first time.

After months of angst, probably because she saw daddy wipe out and get 23 stiches a couple of years ago when she was on training wheels, she rode her bike.

Today (Wed) they had a bike-to-school day to play-bicycle-polo-on-the-tennis courts, and the number of kids and bikes was a bit much to handle.

But that’s a good problem.

picard.face.palmI was chatting with a parent after school, while the kids retrieved their bikes that were stored at the swimming pool due to overload, and I said it was a nice problem to have, and then we chatted about the weather – depths of winter, 24C in Brisbane – and he said I guess spring has sprung, our backyard chickens laid two eggs yesterday, so I guess spring is here.

I smiled but inside I was doing my best Jean-Luc.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports there are now eight multistate outbreaks of human Salmonella infections linked to contact with live poultry in backyard flocks.

In the eight outbreaks, 611 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella were reported from 45 states.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from January 4, 2016 to June 25, 2016.

138 ill people were hospitalized, and one death was reported. Salmonella infection was not considered to be a cause of death.

195 (32%) ill people were children 5 years of age or younger.

Epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory findings have linked the eight outbreaks to contact with live poultry such as chicks and ducklings sourced from multiple hatcheries.

Regardless of where they were purchased, all live poultry can carry Salmonella bacteria, even if they look healthy and clean.

These outbreaks are a reminder to follow steps to enjoy your backyard flock and keep your family healthy.

Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live poultry or anything in the area where the birds live and roam.

baby.chickDo not let live poultry inside the house.

Do not let children younger than 5 years of age handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other live poultry without adult supervision.

These outbreaks are expected to continue for the next several months since flock owners might be unaware of the risk of Salmonella infection from live poultry or participate in risky behaviors that can result in infection.

Ill people reported purchasing live baby poultry from several suppliers, including feed supply stores, Internet sites, hatcheries, and friends in multiple states. Ill people reported purchasing live poultry to produce eggs, learn about agriculture, have as a hobby, enjoy for fun, keep as pets, or to give as Easter gifts. Some of the places ill people reported contact with live poultry include their home, someone else’s home, work, or school settings.

Public health officials collected samples from live poultry and the environments where the poultry live and roam from the homes of ill people in several states. Laboratory testing isolated four of the outbreak strains of Salmonella.

Handwashing rarely observed by Yellowknife restaurant inspectors

Seems like Larry has taken up the throne of food safety dude in Canada.

see.no.evil.monkeysI remember the days when I taught Larry and Kevin Allen – who’s been sidelined by a concussion but is still a hockey goon at heart – the basics of risk analysis at the University of Guelph.

I have other NSFV Larry stories, but will leave those for another day.

Priscilla Hwang of CBC News reports Yellowknife’s restaurant inspectors have been checking off the “not-observed” box on their inspection sheets, indicating they’re not seeing handwashing in over a quarter of all city restaurants and food-handling locations.

That means workers in one in four food locations in Yellowknife are not checked by inspectors to see if they’re complying with one of the critical inspection items — “hands clean and properly washed,” according to a CBC News analysis of the territory’s most recent restaurant inspection data.

“It seems like not only are those critical things not followed by the restaurant, but the inspectors themselves are not necessarily looking for them or spending long enough time to observe them,” says Lawrence Goodridge, a food safety professor at McGill University.

“And in my opinion, handwashing is probably the most important part of food safety.”

Goodridge says workers generally need to wash their hands frequently, especially after touching something that may contaminate them, or after using the washrooms.

He cites one U.S. study that suggests restaurant employees should wash their hands 29 times per hour. “So, you tell me,” he chuckles.  

Goodridge admits the critical things, like handwashing, are more difficult to observe and “are the ones that tend to be missed.” But he says that handwashing is right at the top of the critical list.

“They should stay long enough to see all the critical points in the inspection are being met, at the least,” says Goodridge.

More than a quarter of the city’s restaurants also received “not observed” status for proper sanitizing and storing of cloths used for wiping tables and dirty dishes, a non-critical item on the list.

 

‘It’s a good thing the standard greeting in Japan is bowing not shaking hands’ Handwashing in Japan

Surveys suck, but can be entertaining.

japan.handwashingCasey Baseel of Rocket News 24 reports Creative Survey recently polled a group of 600 Japanese men and women (75 of each gender in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s) about their bathroom habits, and came away with some pretty gross statistics regarding how many of them properly wash their hands after going to the bathroom

Almost one in five people polled said that they occasionally skip washing their hands after dropping a deuce or unleashing an uno. Things get more cringe-provoking still when examining the breakdown of how the respondents “wash” their hands.

Only slightly more than 40 percent of those polled seemed to understand that the use of soap is really the deciding factor in whether or not you’re “washing” something (which is why walking around in the rain for five minutes doesn’t count as taking a shower). Also disturbing is the one percent of respondents who gave “other” as their answer.

It’s probably a good thing that the standard greeting in Japan is bowing, not shaking hands.

Do they work? Do they really work? FDA says prove those hand sanitizers work

Maggie Fox of NBC News writes that hand sanitizers are everywhere – at supermarket entrances, in public rest rooms, in schools and cafeterias. People believe they work and give them to their kids. Now U.S. the Food and Drug Administration says makers of the products need to show they’re safe and hand.sanitizerwork as well as people believe they do.

It’s the latest stage in FDA’s ongoing review of cleaning and hygiene products, forced in part by pressure from Congress and a lawsuit by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

It’s not that there is any indication the products are not safe or do not work, the FDA stresses. But there are some very vague hints from just a few studies that suggest some of the ingredients might be absorbed through the skin. And since they are so heavily used by pregnant women and small children, it’s best to check out even the most unlikely risks.

“Today, consumers are using antiseptic rubs more frequently at home, work, school and in other public settings where the risk of infection is relatively low,” said Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

“These products provide a convenient alternative when hand washing with plain soap and water is unavailable, but it’s our responsibility to determine whether these products are safe and effective so that consumers can be confident when using them on themselves and their families multiple times a day. To do that, we must fill the gaps in scientific data on certain active ingredients.”

FDA wants manufacturers to provide data for ethanol or ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol and benzalkonium chloride. “Since 2009, 90 percent of all consumer antiseptic rubs use ethanol or ethyl alcohol as their active ingredient,” the FDA said.

“New safety information also suggests that widespread antiseptic use could have an impact on the development of bacterial resistance,” the agency says in its proposal.