Food Safety Talk 100: No buns in the bathroom

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.1459283728049

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.1461946810971

Episode 100 can be found here and on iTunes.

Here is a bulleted list of link to the topics mentioned on the show:

Consumed frozen cherry/berry mix from Costco in Canada? You might have been exposed to hep A

The often-missed Bill Keene was quoted in 2013 about using loyalty cards in an outbreak investigation ‘We rely on people’s memories, which are quite fallible, and on our interviews, which are quite fallible; Shopper club cards are a good source of finding out what people ate.’

Cards can be used to connect with members who purchased specific products if those products are part of an outbreak or recall – a tool to overcome the poor memories.

Lots of data is collected by retailers with every swipe of a loyalty or membership card: date, product, lot, location. CDC reported that the cards aided in an investigation into a 2009 outbreak of Salmonella montevideo linked to pepper (which was used as an ingredient in multiple foods).image

And this frozen cherry/berry hepatitis A outbreak at a Canadian membership retailer in 2013 (sounds familiar).

It’s not failsafe though; folks, who, according to PHAC, sampled frozen berry dishes at Canadian Costco outlets recently, may not know they might have been exposed to hepatitis A.

CBC says go ahead and get an IgG shot at Costco quickly. Because it might not work for too long (based on the window of exposure).

Eastern Health’s chief medical officer David Allison is warning people who have eaten or handled contaminated fruit to get vaccinated within 14 days.

Allison said that one person in the province has contracted hepatitis as a result, but no other cases have been found. Twelve other cases have been identified in provinces across Canada.

According to Costco, approximately 1,600 households in the province have purchased the product.

While vaccines “aren’t easy to come by,” Costco is offering post-exposure immunization to those who have come into contact with the berries.

Water suspected: 114 sick with Hepatitis A in Kenya

Mombasa residents are living in fear after the county’s health department confirmed that cases of Hepatitis A infections have risen from 21 to 114 as at Tuesday this week.

mqdefaultCounty officials on Wednesday held a crisis meeting to discuss how the menace will be tackled.

Speaking at the Coast General Hospital on Wednesday, the Mombasa County government Secretary Francis Thoya said that the outbreak has sent county health officials into panic mode.

Thoya said the rate at which the cases are increasing is disturbing, adding that the county is working round the clock to stabilise the situation.

“We have set aside eleven million shillings to tackle the problem before it gets out of hand,” said Thoya.

It’s out of control.

Collaboration two-step: 12 sick with hep A from frozen cherries grown who knows where

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners to investigate an outbreak of Hepatitis A infections in three provinces linked to the frozen fruit product: Nature’s Touch Organic Berry Cherry Blend.

clear.present.dangerThe Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued a food recall warning advising Canadians of the recall of the frozen fruit product that has been distributed in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Public Health Agency of Canada advises Canadians not to consume the frozen fruit product Nature’s Touch Organic Berry Cherry Blend sold exclusively at Costco warehouse locations in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.  If you suspect you have been exposed to the recalled product, or have symptoms consistent for Hepatitis A, see your health care provider immediately. Vaccination can prevent the onset of symptoms if given within two weeks of exposure.

Currently, there are 12 cases of Hepatitis A in three provinces related to this outbreak: Ontario (9), Quebec (2), and Newfoundland and Labrador (1). Individuals became sick in February and March of this year. Some of the individuals who became ill have reported eating the recalled product. The majority of cases (58%) are male, with an average age of 37 years. Three cases have been hospitalized.

Costco, where you getting those cherries from?

 

People are sick, but Canada won’t say how many: Frozen fruit strikes again

Following the outbreaks of hepatitis A throughout Europe traced to frozen fruit, I’ve taken to microwaving the product to a boil, and then cooling. Yes, my daughter is vaccinated, yes, I am getting my vaccines updated, but people shouldn’t be eating shit when they go for frozen berries.

hep.a.berryYet that is exactly what they do.

And Costco, where are you sourcing your stuff from?

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says that Nature’s Touch brand Organic Berry Cherry Blend is being recalled due to Hepatitis A.

The following product has been sold exclusively at Costco warehouse locations in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Recalled products

Brand Name             Common Name      

Nature’s Touch         Organic Berry Cherry Blend

Size     Code(s) on Product            

1.5 kg(3.3 lb) Best Before dates up to and including 2018 MR 15

UPC   

8 73668 00179 1

This recall was triggered by findings of the CFIA during the investigation into a foodborne illness outbreak. 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 reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.

No shit.

Hepatitis A cluster in Northern British Columbia

A few weeks ago CDC released a progress report on hepatitis A in the U.S. has been reduced from over 30 cases/100,000 people to less than 1/100,000. Most of the reduction has come since vaccination for the virus has been recommended.

I’m not sure what the rates look like in Canada but the good folks of Dawson Creek, British Columbia (that’s in Canada) are dealing with a cluster of hep A illnesses.

Health officials continue to investigate the source of the outbreak, which made five people sick earlier this year.

Northern Health spokesperson Jonathon Dyck said the health authority has not had any reports of new cases since January. “We are still in an outbreak monitoring situation, as we have to go through that process before our medical health officers officially make a decision if it’s over,” he told the Alaska Highway News.

Food Safety Talk 89: On a scale from 1 to 11

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. Spinal_Tap_-_Up_to_ElevenThey 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.

Show notes and links so you can follow along at home:

Yes: Can Hepatitis A be eliminated?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Hepatitis A virus (HAV) disease disproportionately affects adolescents and young adults, American Indian/Alaska Native and Hispanic racial/ethnic groups, and disadvantaged populations.

A packet of frozen Nanna's brand Mixed Berry is pictured in Brisbane, Monday, Feb. 16, 2015. The Patties Foods product has been linked to several cases of hepatitis A in Australia. (AAP Image/Dan Peled) NO ARCHIVING

A packet of frozen Nanna’s brand Mixed Berry is pictured in Brisbane, Monday, Feb. 16, 2015. The Patties Foods product has been linked to several cases of hepatitis A in Australia. (AAP Image/Dan Peled) NO ARCHIVING

During 1996–2006, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) made incremental changes in hepatitis A (HepA) vaccination recommendations to increase coverage for children and persons at high risk for HAV infection. This report examines the temporal association of ACIP-recommended HepA vaccination and disparities (on the absolute scale) in cases of HAV disease and on seroprevalence of HAV-related protection (measured as antibody to HAV [anti-HAV]).

ACIP-recommended childhood HepA vaccination in the United States has eliminated most absolute disparities in HAV disease by age, race/ethnicity, and geographic area with relatively modest ≥1-dose and ≥2-dose vaccine coverage. However, the increasing proportion of cases of HAV disease among adults with identified and unidentified sources of exposure underscores the importance of considering new strategies for preventing HAV infection among U.S. adults. For continued progress to be made toward elimination of HAV disease in the United States, additional strategies are needed to prevent HAV infection among an emerging population of susceptible adults. Notably, HAV infection remains endemic in much of the world, contributing to U.S. cases through international travel and the global food economy.

US: Progress toward eliminating Hepatitis A disease in the United States

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Trudy V. Murphy, MD; Maxine M. Denniston, MSPH; Holly A. Hill, MD, PhD; Marian McDonald, DrPH; Monina R. Klevens, DDS; Laurie D. Elam-Evans, PhD; Noele P. Nelson, MD, PhD; John Iskander, MD; John D. Ward, MD

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/su/su6501a6.htm?s_cid=su6501a6_e

Don’t poop on the mussels

I enjoy a good mussel, with the broth and the bread and the beer.

doug.powell.mussels.nz.08
This report describes an outbreak investigation starting with two closely related suspected food-borne clusters of Dutch hepatitis A cases, nine primary cases in total, with an unknown source in the Netherlands. The hepatitis A virus (HAV) genotype IA sequences of both clusters were highly similar (459/460 nt) and were not reported earlier. Food questionnaires and a case–control study revealed an association with consumption of mussels.

Analysis of mussel supply chains identified the most likely production area. International enquiries led to identification of a cluster of patients near this production area with identical HAV sequences with onsets predating the first Dutch cluster of cases.

The most likely source for this cluster was a case who returned from an endemic area in Central America, and a subsequent household cluster from which treated domestic sewage was discharged into the suspected mussel production area.

Notably, mussels from this area were also consumed by a separate case in the United Kingdom sharing an identical strain with the second Dutch cluster.

In conclusion, a small number of patients in a non-endemic area led to geographically dispersed hepatitis A outbreaks with food as vehicle. This link would have gone unnoticed without sequence analyses and international collaboration.

International linkage of two food-borne Hepatitis A clusters through traceback of mussels, The Netherlands, 2012

Eurosurveillance, Volume 21, Issue 3

Boxman I, Verhoef L, Vennema H, Ngui S, Friesema I, Whiteside C, Lees D, Koopmans M.

http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=21356

Canadian Christmas dinner volunteer had hepatitis A

It’s mid January, and Canadian health types are now declaring that an Alberta Health Services volunteer at a Christmas dinner was infectious with hepatitis A.

hep.aThe government says guests who attended the Wetaskiwin Mission Church dinner on Dec. 20 may have been exposed to the virus.

Officials say the risk to the public is low, but advise anyone who attended the dinner to monitor themselves and family for symptoms until Feb. 7.