The Band last played 39 years ago: Salmonella found in raw milk sold at NY farm

A Tompkins County farm was ordered to stop selling raw milk after a sample tested positive for salmonella last week, according to New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A Ball.

Officials say the “unpasteurized” raw milk from Jerry Dell Farm on Fall Creek Road in Freeville agreed to stop selling raw milk in light of the results.

The contamination was found during a test on Nov. 18. Sampling is performed every three months, according to the state.

And for no particular reason, today in 1976, The Band made their final performance, “The Last Waltz”, at Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. Not bad for a bunch of kids from around my hometown in southern Ontario, and an amazing drummer and vocalist from Arkansas.

Produce: ‘Washing it good enough is going to maybe reduce the risk’

“People get ill,” says Ted Labuza, a professor of food science at the University of Minnesota. “If you really want to reduce your chances, washing it good enough is going to maybe reduce the risk.”

lettuce.skull.e.coli.O145Labuza says people should scrub, rather than rinse, their fruits and vegetables for 30 seconds.

“It should really be to one rhyme of Mary Had a Little Lamb,” he says.

In this video from the University of Minnesota Extension, the difference between a quick rinse and deep wash with your hands is dramatic.

“The friction is scraping it off, but you don’t want to scrape it off so much that you’re damaging the fruits and vegetables,” Labuza says.

He says a good wash will remove about 90% of the bacteria. For most healthy people, that’s enough to avoid getting sick from a variety of food-borne illnesses, like E. coli, salmonella and listeria. Older people and children are generally at greater risk.

Studies have shown that water and friction offers a similar clean to commercial vegetable washes or diluted vinegar.

But, in rare cases, the best cleaning won’t help. For example, leafy fruits and vegetables that have been irrigated with bacteria-infected water can be dangerous.

“We do know with things like lettuce and spinach, sometimes the bacteria crawls up through the channels and nothing is going to work there,” Labuza says.

Raw milk bill in Wisconsin back in legislature

The legalize raw milk debate comes down to access, informed choice, risk perception, black markets and oversight. Folks who want to drink raw milk find a way to get it. Maybe they know about the risks, maybe not.

A law maker in Wisconsin is, according to Channel 3000, looking to legalize direct farm sales of raw milk in the state (again). some-like-it-raw1

Rep. Dave Murphy of Greenville introduced a bill Wednesday that would allow dairy farmers to sell raw milk and raw milk products such as butter and cheese directly to consumers on the farm where they’re produced. The farmers wouldn’t need state milk producer licenses or permits. State milk quality rules wouldn’t apply to raw milk products sold on the farms.

Murphy wrote in a memo to his fellow lawmakers seeking co-sponsors that more people want their food directly from farms and consumers would be aware the milk hasn’t been processed.

Being aware the the milk hasn’t been processed isn’t the same as raw milk drinkers making choices based on their personal risk decisions. This list helps me make my raw milk risk decisions.

It’s vulnificus, dumbass: Florida reports most Vibrio cases in years

I did an almost one-hour radio interview this morning, and I messed up: I had a brain cramp and couldn’t remember the species of Vibrio that can cause problems, especially in raw oysters.

BC.oystersBut then I saw this story and was reminded that the number of Vibrio vulnificus cases reported in Florida in 2015 to date is the highest seen in the state in years, according to Florida Department of Health data. The 2015 tally, which has reached 42, is higher than any year from 2008 to 2014 (data available on DOH website).

Prior to this year, the high was reported in 2013 with 41 cases. Vulnificus cases have been reported in 25 counties with Hillsborough (5), Duval (4), Bay (3) and Polk (3) counties seeing the most.

In addition, the Vibrio death toll in Florida has reached 13, the most since 2011. Deaths have been reported from the following counties: Brevard (2), Duval (2), Escambia (1), Hillsborough (3), Lake (1), Marion (1), Pinellas (1), Polk (1) and Sarasota (1).

Vibrio vulnificus can cause disease in those who eat contaminated seafood or have an open wound that is exposed to warm seawater containing the bacteria. Ingestion of Vibrio vulnificus can cause vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Vibrio vulnificus can also cause an infection of the skin when open wounds are exposed to warm seawater; these infections may lead to skin breakdown and ulcers.

Healthy individuals typically develop a mild disease; however, Vibrio vulnificus infections can be a serious concern for people who have weakened immune systems, particularly those with chronic liver disease.

Bleach is your friend: produce contamination in the Middle East

My former dean was known as Dr. Clorox while serving in Vietnam.

produce.cloroxI used to give these training sessions to food types headed for Iraq and Afghanistan from Fort Riley (in Manhattan, Kansas) and would sheepishly say, I have no idea what you’re going to face in terms of potable water, but bleach is your friend.

We take so much for granted.

In the developing countries, inaccessibility to safe water, lack of agricultural infrastructures and limitations to implementing good agricultural practices (GAP) are persistent challenges.

To understand the spread of hazards and identify critical areas of transmission in the food chain, a total of 90 samples of raw salad vegetables (parsley, lettuce, radish) were collected from farms and post-harvest washing facilities (n = 12) in an extensively cultivated area in Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley and from wholesale market stalls traced back to surveyed fields.

Our results showed high geometric mean indicator levels ranging from <0.7 to 7 log CFU/g (Escherichia coli), 1.69–8.16 log CFU/g (total coliforms), <0.7–8.39 log CFU/g (Staphylococcus aureus). The mean counts of total coliforms and E. coli on fresh produce followed an increasing trend from fields to the markets indicating potential sources of fecal contamination throughout the food chain. Of more concern was the presence of pathogens Listeria monocytogenes (14%) and S. aureus (45.5%) in fresh produce from harvest to retail, and Salmonella spp. was detected in 6.7% of the raw vegetables from the post-harvest washing areas.

the_first_bleach_bottle_by_thebleachbottle-d5h2xeyThese results along with our observations highlight shortfalls in hygienic farming and postharvest practices, including the use of inappropriately treated manure and chicken litter to fertilize the crops on the fields which contributed to the high levels of S. aureus in the product at retail. Unregulated use of wash water, inadequate transportation and storage conditions with risks of cross contamination was also identified.

Suggested control measures should mitigate the risks at the source and put emphasis on developing strict policies on monitoring the safety of water sources and on the application of the good agricultural and hygienic practices (GAP, GHP) on primary production stages, washing, transportation and storage at retail.

 Understanding the routes of contamination of ready-to-eat vegetables in the Middle East

Food Control, Volume 62, April 2016, Pages 125–133

Dima Faour-Klingbeil, Muhammad Murtada, Victor Kuri, Ewen C.D. Todd


Farmer in China takes cows to city to sell milk straight from udder

A farmer has made headlines after bringing his two cows to a city and selling fresh milk straight from the udder in Zhangye, Gansu Province over the weekend.

gansu-farmmer-sells-milk-straight_from-cowThe man realized city dwellers have a taste for raw milk, reported the Chinese language China News Service.

People have been queuing in the streets to purchase the milk, which is often in short supply as there are so many customers, the seller said.

Mark McAfee and raw milk: Suck at home, go to Australia to make a few bucks

At least AC/DC can say they made their name in Australia (what’s left played in Brisbane the other night) but to this ex-pat, I see too many bands and brands coming here for an easy buck.

raw.milk.aust.nov.15Guess it’s no different for raw milk spokesthingies.

We’re all on a highway to hell.

Mark McAfee, who runs runs Organic Pastures Dairy in California, milking 550 cows with his family and supplying 700 stores with products including milk, cream, cheese and butter, and sometimes sickening customers with Campylobacter or E. coli.

It is legal to sell raw milk products for human consumption in California.

Mr McAfee was in Australia last month and during that time he spoke at a pro-raw milk event in Melbourne hosted by the Australian Raw Milk Movement. He also met with dairy industry and regulatory organisations.

Following that meeting he told The Weekly Times he believed there was political will now in Australia to have the debate about the production and consumption of milk and milk products that have not been pasteurised.

It is illegal in Australia to sell unpasteurised milk for human consumption. Earlier this year Food Standards Australia and New Zealand lifted the ban on the sale of some raw milk cheeses in Australia.

Mr McAfee said the move in Victoria from January 1 that required a bittering agent to be added to raw milk if it was sold without pasteurisation wasn’t good for the consumer. The Government introduced the requirement following the death of a toddler who drank raw milk. The coroner’s report into the death is yet to be released.

Mr McAfee said the bittering agent was “ continuing the charade that bath milk is not consumed and people are taking a bath in it”.

“It is upsetting people and pissing them off. I can guarantee you there is unlabelled milk (from farms) getting around at the moment.”



Guidelines are nice, enforcement II: Will fewer people barf under new produce and import rules (no)

New produce safety rules from the government Friday are intended to help prevent the kind of large-scale outbreaks of foodborne illness that occurred over the past decade linked to fresh spinach, cantaloupes, cucumbers and other foods.

rulesUnder the rules, the government soon will have new oversight of the farms that grow Americans’ food. That means, for example, making sure workers are trained to wash their hands, irrigation water is monitored for harmful bacteria and animals do not leave droppings in fields.

The regulations are tailored to cover foods and growing methods that pose the greatest risk, and they target produce such as berries, melons, leafy greens and other items usually eaten raw and more prone to contamination. A farm that produces green beans that will be cooked and canned, for example, would not be regulated. There are also exemptions for smaller farms.

The rules require farmers to test irrigation water quality, regularly train workers on the best health and hygiene practices, and monitor wildlife that may intrude on growing fields, among other measures.

Compared with the original proposal, the final rule requires less stringent standards for irrigation water quality and reduces the frequency of testing, in some cases. The organic industry had expressed concerns about the rules, especially because many organic farmers use raw manure as fertilizer and try to treat irrigation water with fewer chemicals.

Advocates for food safety laws have cited the pressing need after several high-profile foodborne illness outbreaks. In 2006, E. coli in fresh spinach was linked to several deaths, including a 2-year-old. A 2011 outbreak of listeria linked to cantaloupes killed 30 people. This year, four people have died in a salmonella outbreak linked to Mexican cucumbers.

Also on Friday, the FDA released new rules to ensure the safety of food imported for the U.S. market.

These rules could help prevent against outbreaks such as the salmonella in Mexican cucumbers or cyclospora illnesses linked to Mexican cilantro. The FDA said the cilantro was grown in fields where American investigators found toilet paper and human feces.

Pistachios following the way of the almond industry: developing validated pasteurization interventions

Nuts and other low moisture foods can be a source of Salmonella. That’s not new. But many folks in the low-moisture foods industries are now conducting risk assessments and validating interventions (like pasteurization) to keep the Salmonella out of the hands of bar patrons everywhere.

The almond industry led the way about a decade ago. The peanut industry, in the wake of two outbreaks followed. According to Growing Produce, the pistachio industry is working with friend of barfblog (and known to her close friends as at the almond queen) Linda Harris and Michigan State’s Bradley Marks on some validation work.pistachios

“At this point in our world, Salmonella is a hazard that is reasonably likely to possibly occur in low-moisture products like nuts. It’s happened before, so we have to assume it’s possible it could happen again,” Marks says. “That being the case, the proposed rules of FSMA require that the processor have a validated process that they can document that they’ve shown achieves the food safety objective.”

Marks and his colleagues are currently working on lab-scale research to evaluate the effects of the pasteurization process and product conditions on the resistance of Salmonella to heating. “We’re doing some mathematical modeling so we can understand the rate of Salmonella activation as a function of temperature, time, and conditions of the product or the process itself,” Marks says.

The second part of the project will involve similar work on a pilot scale. “We have a system where we can inoculate pistachios with Salmonella and subject them to a process like a flatbed roaster,” Marks says. “So we are looking at validating that our prediction of the inactivation of Salmonella is correct, and that a non-pathogenic surrogate (Enterococcus faecium) also is reliable as a means to validate the process.”

Marks is working closely with Linda Harris, co-principal investigator for the Western Center for Food Safety at the University of California, Davis, to develop guidelines and on-site workshop training for pistachio processors. The guidelines and training will focus on what needs to be measured and documented to meet the FSMA requirements.