Campylobacter jejuni infection associated with raw milk consumption – Utah, 2014

To be presented at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 64th Annual Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) conference April 20-23 in Atlanta.

colbert.raw.milkSummary: Despite routine testing, raw milk from a Utah dairy sickened 99 people with Campylobacter; 1 died and 10 were hospitalized. A 2-month shutdown failed to stop the outbreak and the dairy’s raw milk permit was revoked.

Abstract:

Background: In Utah, raw milk sales are legal from farm to consumer. Despite routine bacterial and coliform

counts by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF), raw milk-related illnesses occur. In May 2014, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) identified a cluster of 3 Campylobacter jejuni infections with indistinguishable pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns. All patients reported consuming Dairy A’s raw milk. Routine testing of UDAF-licensed Dairy A’s raw milk was acceptable. We investigated to identify a source and prevent additional infections.

Methods: UDAF used onsite milk neutralization technique to preserve C. jejuni during testing. Utah’s electronic disease surveillance system identified cases. Confirmed illness was defined as diarrhea caused by C. jejuni matching the cluster PFGE pattern. Probable illness was diarrhea and contact with a confirmed patient or raw milk purchased from Dairy A. Confirmed patients were interviewed by using a standardized questionnaire.

Results: During May 9–July 31, a total of 89 (52 confirmed and 37 probable) cases were identified. Eleven (21.2%) confirmed patients were hospitalized; 1 died. Twenty-five (48.1%) confirmed patients reported having consumed Dairy A raw milk. Fifteen (28.8%) confirmed patients reported having eaten queso fresco. Dairy A’s raw milk yielded C. jejuni with the cluster PFGE pattern. UDAF suspended Dairy A’s raw milk permit on August 4 for 2 months. Additional cases occurred in November; UDAF revoked Dairy A’s raw milk permit on December 1.

Conclusions: Routine testing of raw milk does not ensure its safety. Mandatory reporting, timely sample collection, pathogen testing, and onsite milk neutralization likely led to C. jejuni detection. Linking case and raw milk PFGE patterns might identify the source and allow implementation of control measures.

Why I don’t eat sushi: 25 sick with rare Salmonella in Calif

A rare strain of salmonella has been reported in Ventura County and appears connected to sushi and other raw fish, possibly tuna, public health officials said Monday.

sushiAbout 25 cases have been reported in California and other states. There have been four cases in Ventura County, seven in Los Angeles County and one in Santa Barbara County. Other cases have reported in Orange and Riverside counties.

Many of the seven out-of-state cases involve travel to Southern California.

And while the investigation of the exact cause continues, officials say all 10 people who completed a food questionnaire said they ate sushi. Many said they ate raw tuna.

About 20 percent of the patients hit by the illness have been hospitalized.

The species of salmonella is called paratyphi, Levin said. The particular strain being reported had never been seen in animals or people before last month.

Hope there’s a good public health system: Ethiopians are risking Salmonella to eat raw meat delicacies

Instead of chocolate, Ethiopia marks Orthodox Easter Sunday weeks after the Gregorian calendar celebration, with mass animal slaughter and a meat binge of epic proportions. Goat hides piled up to a metre high line busy city corners while goat heads, ox horns, and entrails overflow from neighborhood bins.

raw.meat.ethiopiaRevelling in the meat fest is Beza Selemon. Tradition dictates that the 22-year-old accountant should be at home breaking a 56-day vegan fast with her family. Instead she’s in town eating raw minced meat out of her boyfriend Dawit’s hand—a sign of affection in Ethiopian culture.

Beza and Dawit are a new breed of Ethiopians; those from the booming capital Addis Ababa (affectionately known as “Addisynnians”) who are snubbing Easter at home with the family in favour of joining friends at restaurants to enjoy a variety of raw meat dishes.

The aromatic doro wat, a saucy chicken stew, is traditionally eaten to break the fast but the most prized delicacy in Ethiopia is raw meat. It’s fair to say that Ethiopians are flesh obsessed. Ox is the most common meat consumed raw but the more expensive goat is gaining momentum.

Despite official health warnings, Ethiopians still prefer to buy their animals live and slaughter them at home. It’s a sign of respect for visitors and a practice they believe keeps the meat fresh.

Beza and Dawit are celebrating the end of fasting season by eating a highly desirable delicacy called kitfo, a dish consisting of raw minced ox meat.

“When I eat raw meat in the morning, I can go the whole day without eating anything else,” says Dawit. “It has good nutritional value so it makes me feel strong.”

And her friends are not alone. Fast food such as burgers and fries are now voraciously consumed in Ethiopia especially by the younger generations in Addis.

Ethiopia might have been associated with famines over feasts in the past but the country is now the “lion of Africa” enjoying rapid economic growth. Despite this, per capita income remains some of the lowest in the world and nowhere is this contrast more apparent than in the sprawling capital of Addis Ababa, where sub-Saharan Africa’s first metro train network is nearing completion.

As the wealth of the urban population grows, so too does the appetite for raw meat. Some raw meat dishes can cost up to 240birr (£8) per kilo, a price that is out of reach for most Ethiopians. Even for those that can afford it, raw meat dishes are reserved for special occasions.

CSI UV goggles? How to tell if an egg is bad

Friend of the barfblog and current Welsh tourist, Don Schaffner of Rutgers University, has a few things to say about egg safety, especially: most of those so-called tests are BS.

nsw.egg.label.oct.14According to SafeBee, there are lots of egg tests on the Internet. You’re supposed to place an egg in a bowl of cold water, for instance. If it floats, it’s old. If it sinks, it’s fresh. If it sinks but stands on its pointed end, it’s supposedly a caution: eat it now before it goes bad. 

The theory behind the float test? Egg shells are porous, and as time goes on the egg’s liquid evaporates through the porous shell and air enters. That makes the eggs more buoyant, so some say the older an egg, the more it floats. 

Forget this test, says Don Schaffner, PhD, a food scientist at Rutgers the State University of New Jersey. “Eggs do take in air as they age, but the size of the air cell in the egg varies from egg to egg. So a freshly laid egg and an older egg may react similarly.” There is too much variability in air cell size from egg to egg to make this a valid test, he says. 

Other Internet advice calls for cracking the egg open and inspecting the yolk and albumen (the white part). If it’s a fresh egg, the yolk should be bright yellow or orange, and the white should not spread much. 

Schaffner gives a thumbs-down to this test as well. “The color of the yolk is primarily determined by what they feed the chickens,” he says. “It may change over time, but it will vary from egg to egg.”

As for the white part: “An older egg will have a white that spreads more than a fresher egg,” he says. “But that has nothing to do with the fact that the egg is spoiled or not, it’s a chemical, physical change in the egg.” 

Another popular idea is to give your egg the sound test. In a quiet space, hold the egg up to your ear and shake it. If it sloshes, the egg has gone bad, the story goes. That sloshing is said to indicate a watery, old yolk.  

Shaffner says this sound test has no credibility. “Eggs do slosh around,” he says. Sloshing doesn’t indicate spoilage, however, he says. He does have another use for the sound test: “That would be a good way to see if the egg is hardboiled or not.”

powell.egg.nov.14The best test to see if an egg is OK to eat? Get the egg in question and have your nose ready. “As far as I know the only way to know an egg is bad is to crack it open and see if it smells.” Of course, you can always examine the egg as you smell, he says. “If it looks strange, I wouldn’t consume it, but odor is the real tip off.” 

Never mind that your refrigerator has a special spot for eggs built into the door. Keep them in the carton, Schaffner and others say. “We know the door is not as good,” he says.

Instead, put the eggs, still in the carton, in the coldest part of the refrigerator. On the door, the temperatures may fluctuate when the door is opened and closed. Keeping the eggs in the carton also means you can refer to the sell-by date. Eggs — even hard-boiled eggs — should not be left out at room temperature more than two hours, as dangerous bacteria can grow. 

“Salmonella is the organism we are most worried about,” Schaffner says. It could be inside the egg if it was infected before it was laid, or it could be on the shell.

Cook whole eggs to about 144 to 158 degrees F; egg whites, 144 to 149; yolks, 149 to 158. Cooking eggs sunny side up or over easy is more of a Salmonella risk than cooking them more thoroughly, Schaffner says.

Listeria in raw milk, again

Public health types got other things to do than police the raw milk biz, especially when there is an alternative – pasteurization.

raw.milk.claravale (1)New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today warned consumers in Sullivan County and the surrounding area not to consume unpasteurized raw farm milk from the Richard Dirie Farm due to possible Listeria contamination.  The Dirie Farm is located at 1345 Shandelee Road, Livingston Manor, New York, 12758.

A sample of the milk, collected by an inspector from the department’s Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services on April 7, 2015 was subsequently tested by the Department’s Food Laboratory and discovered to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.     

On April 9, 2015, the producer was notified of a preliminary positive test result. He volunteered to suspend raw milk sales until the sample results were confirmed.  Further laboratory testing, completed on April 15, 2015, confirmed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in the raw milk sample.  The producer is now prohibited from selling raw milk until subsequent sampling indicates that the product is free of harmful bacteria.

To date, the department knows of no illnesses associated with this product.

Because when food safety is in question, ask a politician: UK raw milk producer back in business after ban

The North Devon farming family banned last year by the Food Standards Authority from selling their raw milk and cheese is back in action after a six-month ordeal.

baton.farm_.dairy_-300x200And their return to production has won warm feedback from hundreds of well wishers.

But the Wrights of Barton Farm, Kentisbury, are still in the dark about the allegations made about their milk and any connection with cases of E coli food poisoning.

They sought the help of North Devon MP Nick Harvey to try to have restrictions on their farm lifted.

A report about the FSA investigation into half a dozen cases is due to be published at the end of April.

Meanwhile Barton Farm has just won a Good Dairy Award from Compassion in World Farming.

Linda and husband Gary were stopped from selling their raw milk and cheese six months ago when the FSA said it was investigating half a dozen cases of food poisoning which officials linked with the bacteria E coli.

Although the FSA attributed the sickness to raw milk bought from Barton Farm Gary and Linda have had no evidence to link the two.

They recently sought the help of North Devon MP, Nick Harvey, who has contacted the FSA to find out why the restrictions on Barton Farm were continuing so long.

“The lifting of restrictions came out of the blue,” said Gary. “I had gone to Nick Harvey who’s been following our case.

“I can’t say that’s the reason but it’s a coincidence.”

Salmonella in raw milk cheese in Denmark

Salmonella has been found in a batch of cheeses from the manufacturer Wernersson Cheese Denmark in Stellenbosch, the company said in a statement.

Roquefort-Papillon-Noir-low_720x540_acf_cropped-720x540These are labeled ‘Roquefort Papillon Noir’ with durability date of 5 jun 2015.

The cheese is sold to wholesalers and retail stores throughout the country during the period 10 March to 30 March 2015.

In a press release from the Food Administration, it appears that there is a raw milk cheese made from sheep’s milk. Osten revoked now because of the prevalence of salmonella.

Probably cilantro that sickened hundreds with cylospora in 2013; better detection needed

The 2013 multistate outbreaks contributed to the largest annual number of reported US cases of cyclosporiasis since 1997. In this paper we focus on investigations in Texas.

cilantroWe defined an outbreak-associated case as laboratory-confirmed cyclosporiasis in a person with illness onset between 1 June and 31 August 2013, with no history of international travel in the previous 14 days. Epidemiological, environmental, and traceback investigations were conducted.

Of the 631 cases reported in the multistate outbreaks, Texas reported the greatest number of cases, 270 (43%). More than 70 clusters were identified in Texas, four of which were further investigated. One restaurant-associated cluster of 25 case-patients was selected for a case-control study. Consumption of cilantro was most strongly associated with illness on meal date-matched analysis (matched odds ratio 19·8, 95% confidence interval 4·0–∞). All case-patients in the other three clusters investigated also ate cilantro. Traceback investigations converged on three suppliers in Puebla, Mexico.

Cilantro was the vehicle of infection in the four clusters investigated; the temporal association of these clusters with the large overall increase in cyclosporiasis cases in Texas suggests cilantro was the vehicle of infection for many other cases. However, the paucity of epidemiological and traceback information does not allow for a conclusive determination; moreover, molecular epidemiological tools for cyclosporiasis that could provide more definitive linkage between case clusters are needed.

2013 multistate outbreaks of Cyclospora cayetanensis infections associated with fresh produce: focus on the Texas investigations

Epidemiology and Infection [ahead of print]

Abanyie, R. R. Harvey, J. R. Harris, R. E. Weigand, L. Gual, M., Desvignes-Kendrick, K. Irvin, I Williams, R. L. Hall, B. Herwaldt, E. E. Gray, Y. Qvarnstrom, M. E. Wise, V. Cantu, P. T. Cantey, S. Bosch, A. J. Da Silva, A. Fields, H. Bishop, A. Wellman, J. Beal, N. Wilson, A. E. Fiore, R. Tauxe, S. Lance, L. Slutsker and M. Parise

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=9644741&fileId=S0950268815000370

Market microbial food safety at retail and stop hucksterism: Brisbane campaign to buy local produce

It’s not a new superbug, it’s an outbreak of super stupidity.

A Brisbane TV station finally woke up to Australia’s egg problem, and titled their investigation (bottom), Scientists fear super strain of bacteria behind food poisoning outbreak.

Raw_eggThis refers to the numerous egg-related outbreaks in Queensland and throughout Australia, largely related to a chef snobbery that they have to make their own aioli or mayo using raw eggs.

A table of raw egg related outbreaks in Australia is available at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/raw-egg-related-outbreaks-australia-3-12-15-2.pdf or http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/raw-egg-related-outbreaks-australia-3-12-15.xlsx

And in response to the 32 Australians that have been stricken with Hepatitis A from imported frozen fruit, a new initiative is targeting Brisbane shoppers to support local farmers by buying local produce.

Every time some in Brisbane gets religion about buying local, I point out that’s much easier in a sub-tropical climate than, say, Canada.

The scheme involves 100 independent grocers and is backed by Brisbane’s Produce Markets. 

Greengrocer Joseph Guardala said the “hand picked” message was aimed at family shoppers.

He claims greengrocers have better fruit and vegetables than major supermarkets, because they specialize in it.

“They don’t want imported stuff, they want their local fruit to and veg to be locally grown here,” he said

He visits the Brisbane Markets every morning to source the produce for his store, Indooroopilly Fruit. 

“I’m hand picking everything, I’m tasting everything, I open boxes, I even pick through pallets every day, just to get my 24 grapes that I exactly want,” he said.

Here’s hoping you washed your hands properly before spreading Norovirus on all that fresh fruit and veg you touch.