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.

Shellfishing areas in New York waters temporarily closed after reports of foodborne illness

Following reports of foodborne illness, harvesting of oysters and hard clams in some Town of Huntington waters was to be temporarily banned as of sunrise Friday as a precaution, the state Department of Environmental Conservation said late Thursday afternoon.

SUN0705N-Oyster7Tests linked a number of cases of illness to Vibrio parahaemolyticus, also known as Vp, which is a marine bacterium that occurs naturally, said the DEC, which could not immediately say how many people were affected. Vp is often associated with warm water and not connected to contamination from sewage or storm water, the DEC said.

Growth and survival of Enterobacteriaceae and inoculated salmonella on walnut hulls and maturing walnut fruit

Postharvest contamination of in-shell walnuts may occur when the fruit is dropped to or harvested from the orchard floor or as the outer hull is removed with mechanical abrasion and water.

walnuts.sorenne.apr.11To evaluate the effect of maturity on the potential for microbial contamination, ‘Howard’ walnut fruits were collected weekly from the tree canopy, from 6 to 7 weeks before to 1 week after typical commercial harvest. The numbers of microorganisms able to form colonies on plate count agar, MacConkey agar (presumptive Enterobacteriaceae), or violet red bile lactose agar (presumptive coliforms) were compared on whole walnut fruits collected by hand directly from the tree or after exposure to the orchard floor for 10 min or 24 h. Salmonella Enteritidis PT 30 was inoculated at <1 to 8 log CFU/g onto 5-g hull pieces (from walnut fruit of different maturities) and stored at ambient temperature (23 to 26°C) in unsealed bags (38 to 90% relative humidity [RH] within bag) or in low humidity (20 to 45% RH) or high humidity (68 to 89% RH) for up to 14 days. Salmonella at 2 or 5 log CFU/ml was inoculated onto hulls before or up to 14 days after blending with water.

As the walnut fruit matured, the indigenous bacterial levels on the surface increased, irrespective of whether fruit was collected from the tree or the ground. The RH influenced the growth of inoculated bacteria on hull pieces: Salmonella declined to <0.3 log CFU/g within 24 h at low RH but multiplied from 2 to 6 log CFU/g over 14 days of storage at >40% RH. Salmonella populations declined to <1 CFU/ml within 24 h in freshly blended green hulls but survived or multiplied in blended brown hulls or in blended green hulls that had been stored for 24 h or more before being inoculated.

Journal of Food Protection®, Number 9, September 2014, pp. 1448-1648, pp. 1462-1470(9)

Blessington, Tyann1; Mitcham, Elizabeth J.2; Harris, Linda J.

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/iafp/jfp/2014/00000077/00000009/art00002

Concern over shellfish safety controls in Ireland

A “significant” number of recommendations involving shellfish food safety controls still have not been fully addressed, more than two years after they were made, a new audit by the European Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office has found.

Raw oystersThe latest audit on some Irish-produced shellfish, carried out last October, found that the control system in place for the production and placing on the market of bivalve molluscs, which includes blue mussels, pacific oysters, king scallops and razor clams, presented “several deficiencies”.

These were in the classification and monitoring of production areas and in the official control of scallops and gastropods, a category that includes whelks and periwinkles.

Raw and risky: do rewards outweigh risks?

U.S. President Obama may want to think again about those burger outings he does.

five.guys.obamaObama likes Five Brothers Burgers and Fries, where, “kitchen rules include no timers in the kitchen (because good cooks know when food is done).

Maybe use a tip-sensitive digital thermometer?

Misti Crane of The Columbus Dispatch writes that those who run kitchens commonly run afoul of food-safety sticklers when it comes time to eat.

Most chefs will likely tell you that a burger cooked to a safe temperature is a burger they would rather not order. And they probably aren’t pushing themselves away from the bar when an icy tray of fresh-shucked oysters arrives.

Food-safety experts shake their heads at such culinary daredevils, but the risk-takers shake their heads right back. Food is pleasure, they say, and rules can stand in the way.

“I like my meat running around the block,” said Columbus restaurateur Tasi Rigsby. “I eat everything. I ate sushi when I was pregnant.”

Mike Suclescy, who co-owns the Thurman Cafe, said most of the burger lovers who visit his German Village restaurant prefer theirs cooked below 160 degrees, the temperature at which E. coli bacteria are killed, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines.

Most people go for medium or medium-rare, he said.

“I don’t think a whole lot of people worry about it here at our place,” he said, adding that a 12-ounce Thurmanator takes a good eight minutes per side to cook to well-done.

Doug Powell, a former food-safety professor and publisher of the website barfblog.com, worries a lot about the safety of children and said he doesn’t take any food-safety risks when it comes to him or his daughters.

barfblog.Stick It InMany people who routinely eat raw shellfish or rare beef are quick to point out that they’ve never been harmed in a lifetime of dining.

“You could play the numbers game, and I hear these arguments all the time,” Powell said. “But if it happens to you, the numbers become irrelevant because the only number is one. These illnesses can cause lifelong damage.”

In the case of oysters, for instance, reported illnesses are relatively rare but can be deadly.

Last year in the United States, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 12 outbreaks linked or possibly linked to oysters — 52 people were sickened, and three were hospitalized. The CDC database does not include individual illnesses or deaths linked to oysters, nor does it include those who are sickened and never seek medical care.

The CDC estimates that there are 3,000 food-related deaths per year in the United States and that 128,000 people are hospitalized.

“It’s up to the consumer, but they just have to be knowledgeable and be educated and understand that they are potentially at risk,” said Carol Zubovich, a specialist in the food-protection program at Columbus Public Health.

Restaurants that serve foods considered risky, including undercooked or raw meats, fish and shellfish, have the highest level of scrutiny by food inspectors, she said.

Rigsby said she’s especially selective about the meat, seafood and eggs she eats, and she and her husband, Kent Rigsby, are discriminating about whom they buy from and how they prepare their food.

The beef is all grass-fed, for instance. And the oysters are shipped in fresh from the East Coast and shucked to order. Neither of those things guarantees safety, experts caution, but it gives many people greater peace of mind.

Powell said he doesn’t buy the safe-sourcing argument.

“I know there’s a lot of food porn out there that says if you source it from the right place, it will be safer, but I don’t have any microbiological evidence of that,” he said. “I will not eat raw sprouts. I will not drink unpasteurized juice; and I generally cook my seafood, meat or protein. I wouldn’t touch raw dairy.”

Columbus Public Health’s Zubovich doesn’t go for potentially risky foods, either, and she mostly dines at home, she said. “Since getting into this line of work, I don’t eat out at a lot of restaurants.”

Naked sushi is happening in Vancouver (that’s in Canada), and, yes, it’s what you think it is

Ever heard of nyotaimori? It’s the Japanese practice of serving sushi on a naked body. It’s real, beyond that one scene from the first “Sex and the City” movie. And, for a price, you can now have your sushi served on a naked model in Vancouver. 

naked-sushi-4-620x936Naked Sushi, a catering and events company that supplies this unique service, just launched in Vancouver, reported VancityBuzz. The company employs models to lie very still, sometimes for hours at a time, while partygoers pluck sushi off of their naked bodies with chopsticks. 

A variety of maki and nigiri is arranged strategically on the model’s body on their stomachs, legs, chest area, etc. You can also order bento boxes and a variety of appetizers. And prices vary based on what kind of sushi you want, and how long you’d like your naked sushi model to stay at your party. 

45 sick from Campylobacter linked to raw milk in Utah

Utah public health officials are investigating a few cases of sickness associated with raw or unpasteurized milk.

A few? Is there that many people in Utah?

colbert.raw.milkSo far, 45 cases of Campylobacter infection have been confirmed in people who had raw milk in the week they got sick.

Officials said the illness has been reported in Cache, Davis, Morgan, Salt Lake, Utah and Weber counties.

Two cases have also been confirmed in California and Idaho.

The first case of the infection was reported May 9.

The Utah Dept. of Health said all 45 cases are linked to raw milk or cream purchased at Ropelato Dairy in Weber County.

The Utah Dept. of Agriculture suspended the dairy’s license to sell raw milk on Aug. 4 after several tests were positive for Campylobacter.

Larry Lewis with the UDAF said the dairy has been very cooperative in working with the inspectors and it will be allowed to sell raw milk again as soon as it consistently passes safety tests.

19 sick; E. coli O121 infections linked to raw clover sprouts (final update)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that this outbreak appears to be over.

clover.sprouts• A total of 19 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O121 (STEC O121) were reported from six states.

• The number of ill persons identified in each state was as follows: California (1), Idaho (3), Michigan (1), Montana (2), Utah (1), and Washington (11).

• 44% of ill persons were hospitalized. No ill persons developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and no deaths were reported. 

• Epidemiology and traceback investigations conducted by local, state, and federal officials indicated that contaminated raw clover sprouts produced by Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, LLC of Idaho was the likely source of this outbreak.

• Evergreen Fresh Sprouts is no longer using the seed lot linked to illnesses in this outbreak.

• Sprouts produced by this firm from this seed lot are likely no longer available for consumption given the approximately 14-day shelf life of raw clover sprouts.