Mushroom safety

It’s a question many home and food service cooks deal with: what’s up with mushrooms? Should they be washed, what with that crud on them, and does washing turn fresh mushrooms into mush?

mushroom.growingI cook mushrooms.

Kathie T. Hodge, an associate professor of mycology at Cornell who writes the Cornell Mushroom Blog told the N.Y Times, “Even if you don’t clean the mushrooms, it’s probably fine.”

Common grocery store mushrooms, Agaricus bisporus, which include the white button, cremini and portobello varieties, “are grown in what is basically compost,” she said. “It’s usually heat-treated, not entirely sterile, but a lot of organisms have been killed.”

Every producer has its own recipe, including organic things like straw, peat moss, manure if it is obtainable, canola meal or cottonseed meal, and inorganic things like lime or gypsum. Then it is allowed to compost — that is, ferment — and then it is heat-treated, “trying to get rid of most things so the mushrooms will take over,” Dr. Hodge said.

Salmonella, staph, poop on sushi that sickened 220 in Mexico

Salmonella, fecal waste and Staphylococcus aureus were the bacteria that caused food poisoning in 36 customers three branches of Qué Rollo Sushi (Sushi Roll) and sickened up to 220.

sushi.vomit.apr.12Sergio Olvera Alba, director of Epidemiology, Ministry of Health, revealed the results of laboratory outbreak sushi, then matched the isolates with human samples.

104 sickened: increase in Vibrio parahaemolyticus infections associated with consumption of Atlantic coast shellfish — 2013

I don’t eat raw oysters. This is why.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp) is found naturally in coastal saltwater. In the United States, Vp causes an estimated 35,000 domestically acquired foodborne infections annually (1), of which most are attributable to consumption of raw or undercooked shellfish. Illness typically consists of mild to moderate Raw oystersgastroenteritis, although severe infection can occur. Demographic, clinical, and exposure information (including traceback information on implicated seafood) for all laboratory-confirmed illnesses are reported by state health departments to CDC through the Cholera and Other Vibrio Surveillance system. Vp isolates are distinguished by serotyping (>90 serotypes have been described) and by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE).

Vp serotypes O4:K12 and O4:K(unknown) comprise the Pacific Northwest (PNW) strain and, within the United States, had not been associated with shellfish outside the Pacific Northwest before 2012. During May–July 2012, Vp of the PNW strain associated with shellfish from Oyster Bay Harbor in New York caused an outbreak of 28 illnesses in nine states. Simultaneously, Vp of the PNW strain caused an outbreak of illnesses on a cruise ship docked on the Atlantic Coast of Spain; illness was associated with cooked seafood cooled with ice made from untreated local seawater. All Vp isolates from ill persons in the U.S. and Spanish outbreaks that were further subtyped were indistinguishable by PFGE (2).

In 2013, this same indistinguishable strain was traced from shellfish consumed by ill persons to a larger area of the U.S. Atlantic Coast, causing illness in 104 persons from 13 states during May–September (Figure). The median age of patients was 51 years (range = 22–85 years); 62% were male. Six (6%) patients were hospitalized; none died. Multiple outbreaks appeared to be occurring, accounting for many of these illnesses. Illness was associated with consumption of raw shellfish and seafood traceback was reported for 59 (57%) illnesses. Of these illnesses, 51 (86%) involved seafood that could be definitively traced to a single harvest area. The implicated harvest areas were located in Connecticut (20 illnesses), Massachusetts (15), New York (10), Virginia (four), Maine (one), and Washington (one). The remaining eight illnesses with traceback information involved seafood that could not be definitively traced to a single harvest area (locations reported included harvest areas of the Atlantic Coast of the United States and Canada). In response to the illnesses, four Atlantic Coast states closed implicated harvest areas; two issued shellfish recalls (3). The number of foodborne Vp cases in the United States traced to Atlantic Coast shellfish was threefold greater in 2012 and 2013 compared with the annual average number reported during 2007–2011.

This PNW strain is possibly becoming endemic in an expanding area of the Atlantic Ocean. The mechanisms for this introduction are not known. During the 2014 Vibrio season, beginning in the spring, clinicians, health departments, and fisheries departments should be prepared for the possibility of shellfish-associated diarrheal illness caused by this strain SUN0705N-Oyster7again. Appropriate actions, such as quick closure of implicated harvest areas, will help prevent additional illnesses. The Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference maintains a list of shellfish harvest area closures and recalls.* Clinicians seeking an etiology of diarrhea in a patient who has recently consumed raw or undercooked shellfish should notify the microbiology laboratory that Vp is suspected; the use of special culture media (thiosulfate citrate bile salts sucrose) facilitates identification of Vibrio species. Consumers can reduce their risk for Vp infection by avoiding eating raw or undercooked shellfish, especially oysters and clams.†

References

Scallan E, Hoekstra RM, Angulo FJ, et al. Foodborne illness acquired in the United States—major pathogens. Emerg Infect Dis 2011;17:7–15.

Martinez-Urtaza J, Baker-Austin C, Jones JL, Newton AE, Gonzalez-Aviles GD, DePaola A. Spread of Pacific Northwest Vibrio parahaemolyticus strain. N Engl J Med 2013;369:1573–4.

CDC. Increase in Vibrio parahaemolyticus illnesses associated with consumption of shellfish from several Atlantic coast harvest areas, United States, 2013. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2013. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/vibrio/investigations/index.html.

* Available at http://www.issc.org/closuresreopenings.aspx.

† Additional information available at http://www.cdc.gov/vibrio/investigations/vibriop-09-13/advice-consumers.html.

 CDC MMWR 63(15);335-336

Anna E. Newton, Nancy Garrett, Steven G. Stroika, Jessica L. Halpin, Maryann Turnsek, Rajal K. Mody

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6315a6.htm?s_cid=mm6315a6_e

27 sick with Yersinia and Campylobacter from raw milk in Finland

The first results from milk samples at a farm in Askola, Finland taken April 7 revealed Yersinia pseudotuberculosis and Campylobacter jejuni.

The number of people who drank milk from Uljaan tilamaito and experienced symptoms has still increased in Porvoo and in the neighboring municipalities (Askola, Lovisa, Borgnäs colbert.raw.milkand Sipoo). There are now 19 confirmed cases of Yersinia. Campylobakterier have so far been isolated from a total of eight people. Investigations are still ongoing for about twenty people.

Uljaan tilamaito pulled away all unpasteurized milk from the shops in early April.

22 sick from staph in Vietnam horse-blood pudding

Twenty-two people in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai were poisoned after eating horse-blood pudding due to presence of Staphylococci and E. coli.

Test results of horse blood pudding showed that Staphylococci and E.coli were present in the dish which is reported to be popular with Hmong and other ethnic farming people in the mountains.

Tricorder for food safety?

While the original Star Trek television series was heavy on cheese, I enjoyed the more complex morality tales of Star Trek: The Next Generation (as complex as early 1990s TV could get).

And who doesn’t love them some Patrick Stewart.

patrick.stewartIn the fictional Star Trek universe, a tricorder is a multifunction hand-held device used for sensor scanning, data analysis, and recording data.

A UK based company has unveiled PERES, a handheld device and mobile app which provides information about the freshness and quality of meat, poultry, and fish and protects against food poisoning.

According to the promoters, this portable e-nose and its iOS/Android mobile app enables users to determine the quality, freshness of meat, poultry, and fish and whether it has gone bad and could potentially cause food poisoning.

Users point the PERES at meat and click a button. It works by analysing a sample of the gases for volatile organic compounds and ammonia. Within a few seconds, users receive information on their smartphone or tablet about the food’s freshness, whether it’s been left unrefrigerated and whether there may be a risk of food poisoning.

335 students sick in Guatemala

Students who spent the day in the Guatemalan capital said that a lunch of beans and rice had a bad taste, and that the chicken was undercooked, but ate because they were hungry.

vomitThe 335 sick students were evaluated by lifeguards, of which 185 were transferred to the National Hospital of Chimaltenango and the rest received care on campus.

Aberdeen’s typhoid outbreak remembered 50 years on

Sheena Blackhall was a 16-year-old schoolgirl when Aberdeen was brought to its knees by the largest typhoid outbreak in recent British history 50 years ago.

More than 500 people of all ages had to be quarantined in hospital.

The infection was eventually traced back to a single tin of Argentinean corned beef sold in a supermarket.

typhoid.canned.beefIt happened in the summer of 1964, and led to speculation across the country of many deaths.

In reality, and somewhat remarkably, the outbreak was contained without a single related death.

Most patients spent many weeks in hospital until they were allowed home.

Ms Blackhall told BBC Scotland: “The GP that we had had been in a Japanese prisoner of war camp so he knew right away that I had typhoid and phoned for an ambulance, by which time I had a very high temperature and I was delirious.

“I remember nothing about this but apparently when they took me down the stairs I said ‘dinna cremate me! I want to be buried!’ – which upset everybody.

An inquiry into the outbreak later found that a large can of Argentinean corned beef had been sold sliced from the cold meat counter of the William Low supermarket.

The can had been cooled in Argentina using untreated water from a river.

The typhoid organism was assumed to have entered the meat through a small hole in the seam of the can.

It was then passed on to anyone who bought the corned beef, or other products which had come into contact with the shop’s meat slicer.

The media attention helped raise the importance of cleanliness and hygiene.

Hygiene lessons from the Aberdeen typhoid outbreak are still relevant today.

Prof Hugh Pennigton, the renowned bacteriologist, said it was an “enormous” outbreak.

Health fair attendees stricken with food poisoning

The Rio Grande County Public Health Department in Colorado is investigating an outbreak of food poisoning possibly linked to food that was served at the 9Health Fair in Monte Vista on Saturday, April 5. 9Health Fair says the food at the fair was supplied by the Kiwanis Club.

vomit.toiletPublic Health Department Director Emily Brown says they have sent samples to the state lab and expect results by the beginning of next week. Brown estimates about 30 cases were reported by volunteers and participants. Brown says that it doesn’t appear the illness is spreading.