Reader’s Digest nosestretcher alert: 13+ things you shouldn’t eat at a restaurant

In its futile quest to compete in a 140—character universe, Reader’s Digest (Canada) included meat with the bone in as a restaurant no-no.

steak.tartareAnd I quote: “small cuts of meat, like bone-in pork or chicken breasts, are harder to cook thoroughly because their outsides easily char. This often translates to crispy on the outside and raw on the inside. Unlike undercooked beef—say, a rare burger or a steak tartare—undercooked pork and chicken are highly dangerous and could causes foodborne illnesses.”

Rare burgers and steak tartares are microbiological messes and shouldn’t be touched. Regardless of the cut, use a tip-sensitive digital thermometer and stick it in.

barfblog.Stick It In

‘Safest food in the world E. coli in sprouts; just want to be misunderstood

Just days before his sister’s wedding, Alumnus Wilson Criscione was lying on a hospital bed, his body seemingly withering away and his arm impaled by an IV needle.

santa.barf.sprout.raw.milk“I didn’t really think it was food poisoning,” Criscione  told of Aaron Bocook of The Eastener in Washington State.

E. coli was eventually traced back to Evergreen Sprouts LLC of Moyie Springs, Idaho, who ships their product to both Pita Pit and Jimmy John’s, two places where he ate in the days leading up to his food poisoning. According to Criscione’s lawyer, Evergreen has been involved in lawsuits over food poisoning in the past, including a suit over salmonella in 2010. – See more at: http://easterneronline.com/33975/news/foodborne-illnesses-misunderstood/#sthash.2KTH3ifi.dpuf. “With food poisoning, you would think you’d be throwing up a lot, but I didn’t throw up once.”

He said he thought he had mild food poisoning earlier in the year: he threw up a few times, but was only sick for about one day.

“This was different,” he said.

After feeling sick to his stomach, Criscione said he started seeing blood coming from places it should not.

He went to the emergency room, where he was tested and given pain killers for severe abdominal cramping. “It felt like someone was strangling my stomach,” he said.

After a total of four days and three nights in the hospital, he lost 15 pounds. Along with a nearly $5,000 bill, he was given his diagnosis. Food poisoning from a rare strain of E. coli bacteria.

Dave McKay, Eastern’s director of Dining Services, said most people do not realize just how serious food borne illness can be, and it is his job to address any claims that these illnesses could be linked to an on-campus food supply.

“As the American public, our mothers taught us, ‘Was it something you ate?’” McKay said. “The truth is though, we have the safest food supply in the world in the United States. Just for Eastern, for our standards, and what we monitor, we have had in the last five years, over 5 million sales or transactions through our operations. We have not one confirmed case of food poisoning.”

Didn’t happen yesterday so  probably won’t happen tomorrow.

160 sickened: Australian restaurant to face criminal charges for using raw egg mayo

Over a year after 160 people were sickened from Salmonella linked to raw egg mayonnaise, owners of the former Copa Brazilian restaurant have been charged with criminal offences over the largest salmonella outbreak in Canberra’s history.

mayonnaise.raw.eggMany diners who ate at the newly-opened all-you-can-eat Brazilian barbecue were left with salmonella poisoning, and the Canberra Hospital’s emergency department reportedly had one of its busiest days on record.

Some victims are understood to still be suffering long-term health problems. 

A major ACT Health investigation found an egg supplier in Victoria to be responsible for the bad eggs.

The restaurant, which had only recently opened before the incident, issued an apology to those affected and removed all products containing raw egg from its menu to ensure the poisoning was not repeated.

It closed voluntarily, before reopening under the close watch of ACT Health authorities.

But the restaurant eventually closed its doors and left Dickson in June this year.

A criminal case has now been launched against Copa’s owners, listed on court papers as Zeffirelli Pizza Restaurant Pty Ltd.

Two charges have been laid for selling unsafe food likely to cause physical harm.

Under ACT food safety law, those who either knowingly or negligently sell unsafe food can face criminal prosecution.

The criminal charges come after the majority of the food poisoning victims settled civil claims against the restaurant. 

Copa has paid out an estimated $1 million, including costs, to many of those struck down by salmonella. 

Australia has a raw egg problem. A table of raw egg related outbreaks in Australia is available at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/raw-egg-related-outbreaks-australia-3-3-14.xlsx

2 sick with E.coli O157 in UK linked to raw milk

The UK Food Standards Agency reports Barton Farm Dairy (Kentisbury, Barnstaple, Devon EX31 4NQ) is recalling its raw cow’s drinking milk due to a potential link to two cases of E.coli O157 infection. If you have bought this product, do not consume it. The FSA has issued a Product Recall Information Notice.

baton.farm.dairyProduct details

The product being recalled is:

Barton Farm Dairy raw cow’s drinking milk

Size: All sizes

Barton Farm Dairy is recalling the above product. Product recall notices will be issued to the business’s customers and on the website, explaining why the recall is happening and what they can do if they have bought an affected product.

If you have bought any of the above products, do not consume them. Instead, contact the Barton Farm Dairy by calling 01271 882283 or emailing info@bartonfarmdairy.co.uk for further advice.

5 sickened: kids’ E. coli came from raw milk, Kentucky says

Five children sickened by E. coli infections last month drank unpasteurized milk, an investigation has found.

colbert.raw.milkThe state Department for Public Health worked with local health departments, hospitals and health care providers to find the cause of the outbreak, which affected children in Hardin, Oldham and Boone counties.

Four of the five children developed hemolytic uremic syndrome.

Dr. Stephanie Mayfield, commissioner of the state health department. “Unpasteurized milk is dangerous and has not undergone a process to kill bacteria before it is consumed …  raw milk, no matter how carefully it is produced, may contain pathogens.”

Hold order lifted on Idaho dairy after two potentially sickened with crypto

Raw goat milk tested at Treasured Sunrise Acres turned up negative for an illness that left two sick in August.

napoleon.raw.milkThe hold order preventing the Parma dairy farm from selling its milk was lifted Sept. 18, according to a post on the dairy’s Facebook page.

Public health officials recommended the public throw away any raw milk bought from the dairy between Aug. 24 and Aug. 31, but the release of the hold order posted to the Facebook page said all the samples of raw goat and cow milk tested negative for cryptosporidiosis.

Polio virus released into Belgian waters; The Netherlands issue shellfish warning

The Dutch Food Safety and Health Authorities issued a warning (computer translated) against the consumption of raw, improperly cooked shellfish (mainly oysters) harvested by individuals in the eastern part of the Westerschelde river in response to the 45 litres of concentrated live polio virus solution accidentally released into Belgium water sources by Glaxo SmithKline earlier this month.

Raw oystersThe Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) said in a release Monday (computer translated), The risk of infection with the poliovirus is very small. Since its release to the River Avenue, the concentration is diluted so much that the water itself is not a threat. However, shellfish filter water and the amount of virus can be higher than in the shell than in the water. Even then the chance to get infected even very small. But in the Netherlands, we are very cautious when it comes to polio. Along the Westerschelde are a number of municipalities with low vaccine coverage where many children are not protected against diseases like polio . When it comes poliovirus in such a community, there is great likelihood that many people get sick.

Belgium gave no such recommendations as the country’s polio vaccination rates are better than the Netherlands, according to the RIVM.

Fast Facts about Cutting Boards and Food Safety in Your Kitchen (from The Abstract)

Channeling my inner Dean Cliver, I had a chat last week with my friend Matt Shipman about cutting boards and food safety. Matt, a science writer, public information officer at North Carolina State University, curator of The Abstract, and all around swell dude, writes:

Anything that touches your food can be a source of contamination and foodborne illness – including cutting boards.

For example, if you cut up a raw chicken, and then use the same cutting board to slice a tomato for your salad, you run the risk of cross-contamination – with bacteria from the chicken being transferred to the tomato. That, of course, would be bad.

And vegetarians aren’t off the hook either. Fruits and vegetables can also carry pathogens (and transfer them to cutting boards).

To reduce the risk of foodborne illness in your kitchen, here are some things you should know about cutting boards.

Plastic Versus Wood

For a long time, most (if not all) cutting boards were made of wood. But at some point people began using plastic cutting boards. The idea was that they were easier to clean (and sanitize), and therefore were safer.

But in the late 1980s, a UC Davis researcher named Dean Cliver – the de facto godfather of cutting board food safety – decided to investigate whether plastic cutting boards really were safer. Answer: not really.

Photo credit: Betsssssy, via Wikimedia Commons.

Plastic cutting boards, Cliver found, are easier to sanitize. But cutting on them also leaves lots of grooves where bacteria can hide. Wood is tougher to sanitize, but it’s also (often) tougher in general – you won’t find as many deep scratches in the surface.

In addition, researchers have discovered that the type of wood your cutting board is made from also makes a difference.

“Hardwoods, like maple, are fine-grained, and the capillary action of those grains pulls down fluid, trapping the bacteria – which are killed off as the board dries after cleaning,” says Ben Chapman, a food safety researcher at NC State. “Soft woods, like cypress, are less likely to dull the edge of your knife, but also pose a greater food safety risk,” Chapman explains. “That’s because they have larger grains, which allows the wood to split apart more easily, forming grooves where bacteria can thrive.”

Which type of cutting board should you use? Chapman recommends using plastic cutting boards for meat and wood cutting boards for fruit, vegetables, or any ready-to-eat foods (like bread or cheese).

Why use plastic cutting boards for meat? Because of how you wash them.

Cleaning Your Cutting Board

Plastic and wood have different characteristics, so you have to handle them differently.

Plastic cutting boards can be placed in the dishwasher, where they can be sanitized by washing at high temperatures. But wood cutting boards would quickly be ruined by a dishwasher, and not everyone owns a dishwasher. If you’re washing a cutting board by hand, you should:

  • Rinse the debris off the cutting board (being careful not to splatter contaminated water all over the place);
  • Scrub the cutting board with soap and water (to get out anything in the scratches or grooves on the board’s surface); and
  • Sanitize the cutting board (you should use different sanitizers for wood cutting boards than for plastic ones).

For plastic cutting boards, you should use a chlorine-based sanitizer, such as a solution of bleach and water (one tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water – has a shelf life of a week or two). But for wood cutting boards, you should use a quaternary ammonia sanitizer, such as a solution of Mr. Clean and water (follow the dilution instructions on the label).

“This is because chlorine binds very easily to organic materials, like the wood in a cutting board, which neutralizes its antibacterial properties,” Chapman says. “Quaternary ammonia is more effective at killing bacteria on wood or other organic surfaces.”

It’s worth noting that you should also sanitize your kitchen sponge/rag/brush after you’ve used it to scrub the chicken-juice off your cutting board – or else you run the risk of contaminating the next thing you wash (which is the exact opposite of what you’re trying to do).

The last step in cleaning your cutting board is an important one –dry it.

“Make sure you put the cutting board somewhere that air circulates, so that it can dry completely,” Chapman says. Bacteria need moisture to grow, and you don’t want to give them a welcoming environment.

“Historically, butchers used to put salt on their butcher blocks to keep them from smelling bad,” Chapman says. “This worked because the salt drew the moisture out of the wood and prevented bacterial contamination, which is what caused the smell – though the butchers didn’t know it at the time.”

When To Replace Your Cutting Board

At some point, scrubbing and sanitizing might not be enough. When your cutting board has accumulated a lot of deep grooves from repeated use, you probably need to replace it.

“The more grooves it has, and the bigger they are, the more area is available for trapping moisture and giving bacteria a place to proliferate,” Chapman says.

Food porn idiocy: WSJ steak tartare for kids edition

Earlier this month, a columnist in New York’s Wall Street Journal proclaimed that steak tartare (raw beef and raw egg) was fine for kids.

rowan.atkinson.steak.tartare“Go ahead and get them started early. Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”

A week later the paper published a Corrections & Amplifications that said, “The FDA recommends cooking beef to 145 degrees and avoiding food that contains raw eggs. An earlier version of this article omitted this information.”

People smoke, they drink, OK, but we generally don’t sit down with our 5-year-olds to share a shot and a smoke.

Darin Detwiler of STOP Foodborne Illness wrote on Sept. 15 that, “the message of feeding raw meat and eggs to children undermines the hard work of many in the effort to protect consumers from foodborne illness.”

Individual stamps on every egg to trace Salmonella are a rotten idea, say small Australian egg producers

We went with another family to our favorite fish shop for dinner last night after an outing in the park with our daughters.

garlic_aioliThe restaurant owners know not to serve me the aioli which includes raw egg.

We’ve had that conversation.

ABC Rural reports that small-scale egg producers in New South Wales say compulsory stamps on every single egg are a rotten idea.

From November, NSW will follow Queensland to require all bought eggs to have stamps so any food poisoning outbreak like Salmonella can be traced back.

But small producers argue it would cost them up to $30,000 to install and manage the stamping equipment.

NSW Egg Farmers Association director Jo Damjanovic says if consumers get sick, it’s easier to trace the cartons than eggs.

“The egg would be used up by the consumer, the egg shell would be thrown in the rubbish and the traceability would be thrown in the rubbish as well.

“It’s just ridiculous to think you can jigsaw-puzzle a piece of eggshell back together to figure out where that egg came from.”

The NSW Government says egg producers have had two years to prepare for the new national standards and there are exemptions for micro egg producers, those who turn out 1,000 eggs a day or 20 dozen a week.

Eggs sold at the farm gate also will not require a stamp, nor will those sold for charity.

NSW Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson says eggs are one of the leading sources of Salmonella.

“Between 2010 and 2014, there were 40 food poisoning outbreaks associated with eggs, affecting more than 700 people.”

But Mr Damjanovic says a report he commissioned to assess the Regulatory Impact Statement found there has been no improved traceback in Queensland, where they’ve been stamping eggs since 2005.