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.

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.

Staph in hummus

Loblaw Companies Limited is recalling President’s Choice brand Moroccan-Style Hummus from the marketplace because it may contain the toxin produced by Staphylococcus bacteria. Consumers should not consume the recalled product described below.

staph.hummusRecalled products

Brand Name: President’s Choice

Common Name: Moroccan-Style Hummus

Size: 280 g

Code(s) on Product: Best before 2015 JN 14

UPC: 0 60383 13387 0

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 Staphylococcus toxin may not look or smell spoiled. The toxin produced by Staphylococcus bacteria is not easily destroyed at normal cooking temperatures. Common symptoms of Staphylococcus poisoning are nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping and fever. In severe cases of illness, headache, muscle cramping and changes in blood pressure and pulse rate may occur.

-Learn more about the health risks

-Sign up for recall notifications by email or follow us on Twitter

-View our detailed explanation of the food safety investigation and recall process

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.

Illnesses

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

New regs to control Vibrio in raw oysters

I don’t eat raw oysters.

Lifelong Brisbane residents I know will not eat oysters, raw or cooked (and we have an abundant supply — of oysters, and lifelong Brisbane residents).

raw.oysters.washJoNel Aleccia of The Seattle Times writes that when a work trip sent Jill Poretta to Seattle two summers ago, the New Jersey resident decided to make a vacation of it, a chance to see the sights and enjoy the city’s fine dining.

But an appetizer plate of mixed oysters soon spoiled the trip. The day after her dinner at a restaurant on the central waterfront, Poretta became so violently ill she had to take a cab to a hospital at 3 a.m.

“I couldn’t get out of the car,” recalled the 43-year-old legal researcher from Haddonfield, N.J. “I’m vomiting as soon as I walk in the door.”

Poretta had to cut short her trip and head home, where she says she felt exhausted and ill for two weeks. Tests showed she’d contracted Vibrio parahaemolyticus, known as Vp, a leading cause of seafood poisoning in the U.S.

In July 2013, her case was one of four traced to Hammersley Inlet, an arm of water in southwest Puget Sound. State health officials closed the shellfish-growing area — but only after Poretta and others had gotten sick.

Starting this month, there’s a new approach — a first-in-the-nation effort by state health officials and shellfish growers — to curb heat-loving Vp long before it hits the plate. It requires quicker cooling of oysters when air and water temperatures get too warm and closing at-risk commercial beds before illnesses occur.

The protocol requires real-time monitoring to determine how fast harvested oysters must be cooled to a safe 50 degrees — and when they shouldn’t be gathered at all.

The rules aims to reduce the 40 to 45 infections tied to Washington oysters that are confirmed each year and another 6,000 to 7,000 cases that go undiagnosed, health officials said.

 “Anytime you’re basically waiting for illnesses to trigger an action, it means you’ve missed your peak window for public-health protection,” said Laura Wigand Johnson, a marine and environmental scientist who led the state’s two-year process to put the Vp procedures in place.

But the new strategy, which took effect May 1 and runs through Sept. 30, has sent ripples of concern through Washington state’s commercial shellfish industry. That includes 329 licensed private growers and 39 tribal producers, though only about 150 deal in oysters, Johnson said.

All say they are in favor of reducing hard-to-predict Vp illnesses, even as they acknowledge the move requires new duties, new documentation and extra staff.

“It’s quite a shift in the way we do business as it relates to oysters for raw consumption,” said Bill Dewey, a spokesman for Shelton-based Taylor Shellfish Farms, the largest producer of farmed shellfish in the U.S. “We’re working through the nuts and bolts of how we do it.”

Those nuts and bolts apply to shellfish harvesters and dealers who supply fresh oysters to market to be eaten raw, not oysters designated for shucking or post-harvest processing.

There’s lots more at http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/tighter-rules-aim-to-limit-seafood-poisoning-from-raw-oysters/

40 sick in Sweden from Cryptosporidium at kosläpp (letting the cows out)

Apparently it’s a thing in Sweden to go and watch the cows being let out; so is Cryptosporidium.

kosläppSome 40 people have fallen ill after being infected by Cryptosporidium, reports Skovde News.

It is associated with kosläpp, a Hjo and one in Skövde, two outbreaks occurred in May.

Infectious disease doctors in the area now warning parents to let young children petting calves at kosläpp and immediately afterwards eat food or refreshments, writes Skovde News. Then they risk getting upset stomach with abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Campy sucks: UK mother to sue Thomas Cook after bout of holiday food poisoning

A mother who was forced to miss two months of work after being struck down by food poisoning on a family holiday is calling on the EU to do more to prevent tainted meat from reaching the dinner plate.

tiara-beach-hotel-1Helen Witts, from Pontyclun, Wales, said her symptoms – vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps – were so severe she had to take eight weeks of sick leave from her job as a school driver assistant.

The 51-year-old contracted campylobacter and was diagnosed shortly after returning from Sunny Beach, Bulgaria, where she stayed at the Tiara Beach Club Hotel.

Helen fell ill on the penultimate day of her trip with her 58-year-old partner, Colin, and 15-year-old son, Liam, last August.

She said she used her own medication to ease her stomach cramps, but her condition worsened when she returned home to Wales.

A Thomas Cook spokesperson told MailOnline Travel: ‘Thomas Cook takes health and hygiene issues very seriously and maintaining the safety of our customers is our number one priority.”

Uh-huh

Campy isn’t kosher and kosher doesn’t mean microbiologically safe: NYC investigating reports of food poisoning at synagogue dinner

New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is investigating reports of food sickness following an event at a Manhattan synagogue dedicated to exotic kosher cuisine.

kosher.dinner.may.15The May 5 dinner, held at Congregation Shearith Israel, known as the Spanish-Portuguese synagogue, was meant to highlight animals and other foods that are kosher but rarely consumed by observant Jews, such as oxtail, locusts, quail eggs and organ meat from calves, chickens, ducks and other animals. The so-called Halakhic Dinner combined the exotic dishes with Jewish teachings about them and was led by the synagogue’s rabbi, Meir Soloveichik. Similar dinners have taken place in past years.

After the dinner, about 20 people reported gastrointestinal distress, according to Vos Is Neias, an Orthodox blog and news site. The blog cited Dani Klein, who runs the YeahThatsKosher blog and attended the dinner, as saying that his wife tested positive after the dinner for campylobacter, a bacteria associated with raw or uncooked poultry, unpasteurized dairy products or contaminated water, poultry or produce.

A spokesman for the city’s Department of Health, Christopher Miller, told JTA, “We’re investigating and working with the synagogue.”

“Did you know that giraffes are kosher? How about locusts? They are!” read a promotion for the event on Shearith Israel’s website. “Rabbi Soloveichik will entertain and enlighten with a special lecture over dinner. We’ll learn about some far out there kosher foods, and we’ll eat a few of them too. Goat, venison, bison and squab are just a few of the expected featured ingredients. Come hungry and adventurous.”

Wow: Grass plants can transport infectious prions

Grass plants can bind, uptake and transport infectious prions, according to researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). The research was published online in the latest issue of Cell Reports.

prion.plants.may.15Prions are the protein-based infectious agents responsible for a group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, which includes bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) in cattle, scrapie in sheep, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans and chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer, elk and moose. All are fatal brain diseases with incubation periods that last years.

CWD, first diagnosed in mule deer in Colorado in the late 1960s, has spread across the country into 22 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including the counties of El Paso and Hudspeth in Texas. In northeastern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming, the disease is endemic. Soto’s team sought to find out why.

“There is no proof of transmission from wild animals and plants to humans,” said lead author Claudio Soto, Ph.D., professor of neurology at UTHealth Medical School and director of the UTHealth George and Cynthia W. Mitchell Center for Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Brain Related Illnesses. “But it’s a possibility that needs to be explored and people need to be aware of it. Prions have a long incubation period.”

Soto’s team analyzed the retention of infectious prion protein and infectivity in wheat grass roots and leaves incubated with prion-contaminated brain material and discovered that even highly diluted amounts can bind to the roots and leaves. When the wheat grass was consumed by hamsters, the animals were infected with the disease. The team also learned that infectious prion proteins could be detected in plants exposed to urine and feces from prion-infected hamsters and deer.

Researchers also found that plants can uptake prions from contaminated soil and transport them to different parts of the plant, which can act as a carrier of infectivity. This suggests that plants may play an important role in environmental prion contamination and the horizontal transmission of the disease.

To minimize the risk of exposure to CWD, the CDC recommends that people avoid eating meat from deer and elk that look sick or test positive for CWD. Hunters who field-dress deer in an affected area should wear gloves and minimize handling of the brain and spinal cord tissues.

“This research was done in experimental conditions in the lab,” Soto said of the next step. “We’re moving the research into environmental contamination now.”

First author of the paper, “Grass Plants Bind, Retain, Uptake and Transport Infectious Prions,” is post-doctoral researcher Sandra Pritzkow, Ph.D. Co-authors from UTHealth are Rodrigo Morales, Ph.D.; Fabio Moda, Ph.D.; and Uffaf Khan. Co-authors from the Prion Research Center at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, are Glenn C. Telling, Ph.D.; and Edward Hoover, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Shame on the Brits: Why bad food safety advice for safe chicken?

Maybe there’s no tip-sensitive digital thermometers in the UK, maybe they’re not trying, maybe they just think they’re colonially better.

barfblog.Stick It InThe taxpayer-funded UK Food Standards Agency is going to have another go at Food Safety Week, focusing on Campylobacter in chicken.

Up to a third of the UK population could contract food poisoning from campylobacter during their lifetime, according to new figures released by FSA.

The figures are based on the current infection rates of more than a quarter of a million people per year. Campylobacter is most frequently found on raw poultry and is the biggest cause of food poisoning in the UK.  The FSA has released the figures to mark the start of 2015’s Food Safety Week and the launch of the ‘Chicken Challenge’ – its call to the whole food chain, from industry to consumers, to do their bit to halve the number of campylobacter food poisoning cases by the end of 2015.

Nina Purcell, director at the FSA, said in order to reduce Campylobacter illnesses, “check chicken is cooked properly until it’s steaming hot throughout with no pink meat and the juices run clear.”

Worse, the UK Institute of Food Research swallowed this line whole, and said, “check chicken is cooked properly until it’s steaming hot throughout with no pink meat and the juices run clear.”

This is chickenshit, and scientifically invalid.

The U.S., Canada, and now Australia, recommend the only way to ensure poultry and other foods are safely cooked, is to use a tip-sensitive digital thermometer. Color is a lousy indicator.

The Brit bureaurtards, and especially the supposedly science-based Institute of Food Research, should be ashamed.