Cats say what? Food recalled for Salmonella, Listeria risks

A voluntary recall went out over the weekend for four different lots of cat food made by a Portland company.

sorenne.cats.aug.15Radagast Pet Food, Inc. recalled Rad Cat Raw Diet products, sold in 8, 16 and 24 ounce tubs, as well as given in 1 ounce sample cups. 

The company recalled the foods due to threats of Salmonella and Listeria contamination. Handling the products and not washing hands afterward could spread the bacteria to humans. 

The FDA third party contracted lab found two lots of Grass-Fed Beef tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes, one lot of Free-range Chicken tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes, and one lot of Free-range Turkey tested positive for Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. As a precautionary measure, we are voluntarily recalling three products produced in these four lots.

All affected lot codes 62384, 62361, 62416, and 62372 and Best By dates are located on the lid of all products packaged in tubs and on the bottom of the sample cups.

The following recalled products were distributed in western Canada and all US States except in Hawaii and Mississippi.

If you have the cat food, you’re being asked to not return them to the store, but rather , throw them away. To get a refund, fill out the claim form at www.RadFood.com and return the form to the store where you purchased it for a refund.

UK says raw eggs ‘safe for pregnant women’

That didn’t take long.

Six months after a UK Food Standards Agency working group suggested that raw or lightly cooked – runny – eggs were safe for all as long as they were produced under the Lion code or equivalent standards, the report was adopted by FSA so the BBC headline was, “Raw eggs ‘safe for pregnant women.”

Raw_eggThis in a country that still recommends cooking meat until it is piping or steaming hot, with temperature and thermometers as an afterthought because, it may be too complicated for consumers.

The risk of Salmonella from UK eggs produced to Lion code or equivalent standards should be considered “very low”, the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food said.

It said this meant eggs could be served raw or lightly cooked to “vulnerable” groups like the elderly and the young.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has begun a consultation on the issue.

The committee’s report said there had been a “major reduction in the microbiological risk from salmonella in UK hen shell eggs” since a report it produced in 2001,

Its recommendation to classify certain eggs as “very low” risk only applies to UK hens’ eggs produced under Lion code or equivalent standards.

It also warns that safety guidelines including proper storage and eating eggs within best before dates must be followed.

The FSA said it had launched an eight-week consultation in response to the report.

“The consultation is inviting views on the recommended changes to the FSA’s advice from a range of stakeholders, including food and hospitality industries, consumer and enforcement bodies, and health care practitioners,” it said.

seasame.street.good.egg.projectIt currently advises members of vulnerable groups against eating “raw eggs, eggs with runny yolks or any food that is uncooked or only lightly cooked and contains raw eggs” due to the risk of food poisoning.

Professor John Coia, Chair of the ACMSF Expert Ad Hoc group on eggs said, ‘The committee has found that there has been a major reduction in the risk from Salmonella in UK hens’ eggs since 2001. This is especially the case for eggs produced under the Lion Code, or equivalent schemes. It also recommended that these eggs could be served raw or lightly cooked to both those in good health and those in more vulnerable groups.’

Following Committee approval and a UK wide consultation of the report, the FSA has agreed to examine its advice taking into account the Committee’s conclusions and recommendations.

State health officials investigate Salmonella illnesses in Alaska

Charles Enoch of KTVA 11 reports the Alaska Division of Public Health is investigating salmonella infections in the Bethel area. A team is in Bethel to track down the source of the infection.

bethelLouisa Castrodale is an epidemiologist with the state’s Public Health division.

“It’s not even the end of July and we had gotten about six cases of confirmed salmonella from the Bethel-YK area. That’s a large number of cases for a short amount of time in a smaller location, so we were really concerned there was a common source for these infections,” said Castrodale.

Cause unknown: 72 sickened by Salmonella in Australian state

Matt Johnston of the Herald Sun reports that Victoria is battling a major outbreak of salmonella and bacteria-related illnesses which has experts desperately searching for a cause.

mayonnaise.raw.eggIn the past two months 72 cases of foodborne infections have been reported to the Department of Health — including 46 identified in one June week alone.

The average number of ­salmonella reports each month is about six.

Despite the outbreak, a clear pattern has not been identified and experts have been unable to pin down a suspect food source.

Health Minister Jill Hennessy has issued a blanket food-safety warning. “All Victorians should remember to take care when preparing food at home, especially during the winter months, to prevent food turning nasty,” she said.

In the first six months of this year there were 67 per cent more cases compared to the last six months of 2015.

Also, Melbourne’s opulent Langham Hotel has been charged over a salmonella outbreak that left 90 diners ­violently ill.

The high tea crisis, which was triggered by raw egg mayonnaise, put 16 people in hospital last year.

The Sunday Herald Sun can reveal Melbourne City Council has charged the hotel over its handling and service of unsafe food and noncompliance with the Food Standards Code.

The case will be heard in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court in October.

Local outbreak to national recall: Kapowsin Meats recalls pork products linked to Salmonella

Kapowsin Meats Inc., a Graham, Wash. establishment, is recalling approximately 11,658 pounds of pork products that may be contaminated with Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:-, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

pig.potty.trainThe whole roaster hogs were produced between June 13, 2016 and July 15, 2016. The following products are subject to recall:

* Varying weights of boxed/bagged Whole Hogs for Barbeque

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 1628M” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to various individuals, retail locations, institutions, and distributors in Washington.

FSIS was notified of an illness investigation in Washington on July 13, 2016. The Washington State Department of Health updated FSIS on July 19, 2016 of confirmed case-patients involved in an illness outbreak of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:-. Working in conjunction with the Washington State Department of Health, local health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), FSIS determined that there is a highly probable link between whole hogs for barbeque from Kapowsin Meats and this illness cluster. Based on epidemiological investigation, three Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- case-patients have been identified with illness onset dates ranging from July 5, 2016, to July 7, 2016. Traceback investigation indicated that three case-patients consumed whole hog roasters for barbeque from Kapowsin Meats. At this time, it is not known if this outbreak strain has any drug resistance; results are pending.

This investigation is ongoing. FSIS continues to work with public health partners at the Washington State Department of Health, local health and the CDC on this investigation.

Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after exposure to the organism. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Most people recover without treatment. In some persons, however, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Older adults, infants, and persons with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a severe illness. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact their health care provider.

FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers.

Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

FDA shares data on cucumber and hot pepper testing

Tom Karst of The Packer reports the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released preliminary results of pathogen testing of cucumbers and hot peppers.

animal.house.cucumberStarting November 2015, the agency began microbiological surveillance sampling and testing of cucumbers and hot peppers because these products have previously been involved in large-scale outbreaks, according to the FDA report. The outbreaks were linked to hospitalizations, and in the case of hot peppers, two deaths, according to the FDA.

The agency is in the midst of testing approximately 1,600 samples for Salmonella spp. and E. coli O157:H7 in cucumbers, and Salmonella spp., Shiga toxin-producing E. coli and E. coli O157:H7 in hot peppers, according to the report. 

So far, the FDA said it has tested 452 samples of hot peppers and 352 samples of cucumbers. Of those, 13 of the hot pepper samples and three cucumbers samples tested positive for Salmonella. The rest tested negative for the targeted pathogens, according to the FDA.

The FDA report said the testing continues and offered no conclusions about the results so far.

Salmonella from same processor stalks Seattle cook-outs

On July 15, 2015, the Washington State Department of Health notified the feds of an investigation of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- illnesses. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) determined there was a link between whole hogs for barbeque and pork products from Kapowsin Meats of Pierce County and those illnesses.

pig.sex_In the end, at least 192 were sickened by the oddly named Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:-.

It has now emerged that the Salmonella that sickened at least 11 people at a Seattle luau in July is the same type — and possibly from the same source — as the July 2015 outbreak.

JoNel Aleccia of The Seattle Times cited Washington state epidemiologist Dr. Scott Lindquist as saying they all ate whole roast pork served either at the Good Vibe Tribe Luau at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle on July 3, or at a private event in Pierce County,. The meat in both cases came from Kapowsin, which reopened with approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on June 13.

“This is very concerning to me,” said Lindquist.

The genetic fingerprints of the bacteria match those from the outbreak that caused 22 clusters of illnesses in June and July 2015 in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California and Alaska, Lindquist said.

When reached by phone, John Anderson, chief executive of Kapowsin Meats in Graham, Pierce County, declined to answer questions Tuesday. He referred calls to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

FSIS officials said Kapowsin had implemented new cleaning, processing and bacterial-sampling protocols, including running whole hog carcasses through a steam intervention to kill bacteria. Federal inspectors were at the plant when it reopened in June and have been there every day that slaughter occurred.

The plant remained open Tuesday, FSIS officials said. Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they were monitoring the outbreak closely.

Health officials urge consumers to use care when cooking whole roast pig to avoid getting sick. Consumers should make sure the meat is clean, avoid cross-contamination of utensils and surfaces, cook the meat to a minimum temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, and quickly refrigerate cooked meat after meals.

But this doesn’t sound so much like a consumer problem as a slaughterhouse problem.

Parents hate my food safety stories, so just a face palm: 611 sick with Salmonella from backyard chicks

Sorenne rode her bike to school on Friday for the first time.

After months of angst, probably because she saw daddy wipe out and get 23 stiches a couple of years ago when she was on training wheels, she rode her bike.

Today (Wed) they had a bike-to-school day to play-bicycle-polo-on-the-tennis courts, and the number of kids and bikes was a bit much to handle.

But that’s a good problem.

picard.face.palmI was chatting with a parent after school, while the kids retrieved their bikes that were stored at the swimming pool due to overload, and I said it was a nice problem to have, and then we chatted about the weather – depths of winter, 24C in Brisbane – and he said I guess spring has sprung, our backyard chickens laid two eggs yesterday, so I guess spring is here.

I smiled but inside I was doing my best Jean-Luc.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports there are now eight multistate outbreaks of human Salmonella infections linked to contact with live poultry in backyard flocks.

In the eight outbreaks, 611 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella were reported from 45 states.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from January 4, 2016 to June 25, 2016.

138 ill people were hospitalized, and one death was reported. Salmonella infection was not considered to be a cause of death.

195 (32%) ill people were children 5 years of age or younger.

Epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory findings have linked the eight outbreaks to contact with live poultry such as chicks and ducklings sourced from multiple hatcheries.

Regardless of where they were purchased, all live poultry can carry Salmonella bacteria, even if they look healthy and clean.

These outbreaks are a reminder to follow steps to enjoy your backyard flock and keep your family healthy.

Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live poultry or anything in the area where the birds live and roam.

baby.chickDo not let live poultry inside the house.

Do not let children younger than 5 years of age handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other live poultry without adult supervision.

These outbreaks are expected to continue for the next several months since flock owners might be unaware of the risk of Salmonella infection from live poultry or participate in risky behaviors that can result in infection.

Ill people reported purchasing live baby poultry from several suppliers, including feed supply stores, Internet sites, hatcheries, and friends in multiple states. Ill people reported purchasing live poultry to produce eggs, learn about agriculture, have as a hobby, enjoy for fun, keep as pets, or to give as Easter gifts. Some of the places ill people reported contact with live poultry include their home, someone else’s home, work, or school settings.

Public health officials collected samples from live poultry and the environments where the poultry live and roam from the homes of ill people in several states. Laboratory testing isolated four of the outbreak strains of Salmonella.

Are those leafy greens kept cold? Meh

Leafy green vegetables are highly susceptible to microbial contamination because they are minimally processed. Pathogenic bacteria of concern include Escherichia coliO157:H7, Salmonella spp., and Listeria monocytogenes. Leafy greens are a highly perishable commodity, and in some cases have a postharvest shelf-life limited to one week.

lettuceThis study provides an approach to optimize storage temperature of leafy greens in the supply chain, considering the cost of refrigeration, sensory quality parameters (i.e., fresh appearance, wilting, browning, and off-odor), and microbial safety using nonlinear programming (NLP).

The loss of sensory quality parameters was expressed as Arrhenius equations and pathogen growth were represented by three-phase linear (primary) and square-root (secondary) models. The objective function was refrigeration cost, which was to be minimized. The constraints were growth of pathogens and the loss of sensory characteristics. An interactive graphical user interface was developed in MATLAB.

Pathogen growth is of more concern than loss of sensory quality in fresh-cut Iceberg lettuce when considering a shelf-life of up to two days, and the model indicates is difficult to maintain sensory qualities for longer shelf-life values. Browning is of maximum concern for fresh-cut Iceberg and Romaine lettuce, whereas off-odor is the biggest concern for fresh-cut chicory.

Cost, quality, and safety: A nonlinear programming approach to optimize the temperature during supply chain of leafy greens

LWT – Food Science and Technology, Volume 73, November 2016, Pages 412–418

Abhinav Mishra, Robert L. Buchanan, Donald W. Schaffner, Abani K. Pradhan

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S002364381630370X

Washing salad is no magic bullet; safe sources matter

I’ve become increasingly fond of the convenience of pre-washed, bagged, fresh salad mix. A staple of my weekly meals is 4oz of steak, a crumble of blue cheese, grilled mushrooms, sliced pear, a few walnuts all over a bed of 50/50 mix of pre-washed baby spinach and and mesclun mix.

I just open the bag and throw the salad on the plate.contVis_mesclun

Because there’s not much I can do, safety-wise, to it once it’s in my home. If there’s pathogenic E. coli, Listeria or Salmonella there (or others) I’m stuck with it. I’m following recommendations from a bunch of my food safety friends who reviewed the literature on cut, bagged, washed, ready-to-eat leafy greens from a few years ago.

In the abstract, they write:

The panel concluded that leafy green salad in sealed bags labeled “washed” or “ready-to-eat” that are produced in a facility inspected by a regulatory authority and operated under cGMPs, does not need additional washing at the time of use unless specifically directed on the label.

Leafy green food safety risks need to be addressed before they get to me, all I can do by washing it again is increase the chance I cross-contaminate the salad precursor in my home. My purchasing choice is based in trust that growers, packers and processors know what they are doing, and do it. But at best, they can only remove 90% of what is there with a wash.

Some folks, according to BBC News, disagree. They say things like:

‘washing foods is not 100% fail-safe, but it gives people the best chance against infection.’

and

‘we always wash everything, especially if we’re going to eat it raw. We don’t use much bagged salad or spinach, but if we did, we would definitely wash it.’

I’ll stick with the science.

But what exactly are the best ways to wash your greens? The BBC asked two food industry professionals for the best practice in food safety and hygiene when it comes to salad and vegetables.

Camilla Schneideman worked in the food industry for 18 years having run her own restaurants abroad and in the UK, and is currently the managing director of the Leiths Cookery School in London.

Rosalind Rathouse is a professional cook with more than 50 years of experience, who runs the Cookery School in central London.

Ms Rathouse advises storing all salad and vegetables in a cold environment, because it slows down the rate at which bacteria multiply.

What about ready-to-eat pre-packed salads?

Pre-packed salads are often washed in a low-chlorine solution to kill off the bugs, according Ms Schneideman, so eating straight from the bag is unlikely to harm you.

“It comes down to personal choice whether you want to give it an extra wash,” she said.

Soaking stuff all together also seems like a recipe for cross contamination. If I am washing something I’m going to rinse it down the drain.