Cheap Trick in RR Hall of Fame? Bad as FSA cooking advice

There was this one time, I went to a Cheap Trick concert in Toronto.

We got pulled over by undercover narcs because my girlfriend in the front passenger seat was bragging to everyone around she was smoking a dube in 1979.

The girls cried a lot, and we got off without an infraction.

But Cheap Trick’s nomination to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is as ridiculous as this video from the UK Food Standards Agency on how to cook chicken.

Food Safety Talk 81: Food safety matters every week

Food Safety Talk, a bi-weekly podcast for food safety nerds, by food safety nerds. The podcast is hosted by Ben Chapman and barfblog contributor Don Schaffner, Extension Specialist in Food Science and Professor at Rutgers University. Every two weeks or so, Ben and Don get together virtually and talk for about an hour.  They talk about what’s on their minds or in the news regarding food safety, and popular culture. They strive to be relevant, funny and informative — sometimes they succeed. You can download the audio recordings right from the website, or subscribe using iTunes.

After a brief discussion about Quadrophenia, the guys thankfully decide to not sing this episode.Unknown-3

Ben mentions that the last video store in the Raleigh area is closing. This led to some discussion about the job security of academic careers where Don stated, ‘prediction is very difficult especially about the future.’

Spurred by Ben’s short visit to Baltimore, the guys then discuss how awesome The Wire is.  Don mentions a perspective by David Simon, the Wire’s creator, on the real life situation in Baltimore.  Ben was recently in Baltimore for the Food Safety Summit.  A nod goes out to Brian Saunders for doing a good job of boots on the ground coverage of what’s going on in Baltimore during the Food Safety Summit.

Don recommends Acorn TV for anyone interested in British TV. This subscription service has British programming not typically shown on US TV. At the Acorn website Ben spotted Time Team an archeology reality series that he thinks his kids would love.

This week Ben talks about media interviews and a focus on multiple food safety stories all hitting at the same time. He talked a cutting boards post on barfblog that garnered some attention.  He also fielded inquires regarding the Blue Bell Listeria outbreak .  Ben noted that Blue Bell announced they are recalling all the ice cream.

A tragic botulism outbreak linked to a church potluck in Ohio was also a topic in multiple media outlets. The potluck outbreak was linked to home-canned potatoes but the coverage prompted a side conversation about bot and foil-wrapped baked potatoes.

Looking ahead to future food outbreaks Ben mentions that a bill was introduced in North Carolina to legalize raw milk.  This bill would allow consumers to legally acquire raw milk via a cow share mechanism.  In this article Ben is quoted challenging an inappropriate comparison of raw milk outbreak data by the bill’s sponsor.

In After Dark Don shames Ben for not listening to Roderick on the Line. Again.

– 30 –

Chicken and campy: Foodnet Canada 2011-2012

FoodNet Canada (formerly known as C-EnterNet) is a preventive, multi-partner sentinel site surveillance system, facilitated by the Public Health Agency of Canada, that identifies what food and other sources are causing illness in Canada.

chickenEach sentinel site is founded on a unique partnership with the local public health unit, private laboratories, and water and agri-food sectors, as well as the provincial and federal institutions responsible for public health, food safety, and water safety. The pilot sentinel site (ON site), comprised of the Region of Waterloo, Ontario, has approximately 525,000 residents, with a mix of urban and rural communities and innovation in public health and water conservation.

A second site (BC site) was officially established in the Fraser Health Authority, British Columbia in April of 2010. This BC site includes the communities of Burnaby, Abbotsford, and Chilliwack and has approximately 450,000 residents.

In the ON site, enhanced surveillance of human cases of enteric disease in the community is performed, as well as active surveillance of enteric pathogens in water, food (retail meat and produce) and on farms. In the BC site in 2010, enhanced human disease surveillance began, as did active surveillance of enteric pathogens (for retail produce only).

The following key findings are based on the surveillance data from 2011–2012 in the ON and BC sites:

  • A total of 1663 human cases of 11 bacterial, viral and parasitic diseases were reported within the ON and BC sites between 2011 and 2012. The three most frequently reported diseases (campylobacteriosis, salmonellosis and giardiasis) accounted for 82% of the cases.
  • Campylobacteriosis remained the most commonly reported enteric disease in both sentinel sites, with Campylobacter jejuni being the most common species associated with human campylobacteriosis. The majority of raw chicken samples tested were also contaminated with Campylobacter jejuni. Possible exposure factors included living on a farm or country property, contacting on-farm poultry, contacting household pets, contacting animal manure and consuming spoiled food. Overall, as found in the past, retail chicken meat was considered to be the most important vehicle of transmission for Campylobacter.

Distributions of patient age and gender among the human salmonellosis cases between 2011 and 2012 were similar to those observed historically in both the ON and BC sites. The most commonly reported serovars for human cases of salmonellosis were Enteritidis, Typhimurium, and Heidelberg. Phage type alignment continues to be observed among isolates from endemic human cases, chicken meat, and broiler chicken feces for both Salmonella Heidelberg and Salmonella Enteritidis. A slight decrease was observed in the rate in both sites (in 2011–2012 combined compared to 2010), which is comparable to the national trend observed during the same time period (2, 3, 7, 8). The prevalence of Salmonella on ground chicken was twice the level found on chicken breast. This may highlight the greater chance of product contamination during processing. Overall, possible salmonellosis exposure factors included contact with pet reptiles, retail poultry products, and broiler chicken manure (Table 4.6). The most important possible vehicle of transmission is considered to be retail poultry products.

• Verotoxigenic E. coli (O157:H7 and non-O157:H7 serotypes) infections continue to be primarily acquired domestically, as demonstrated by the low number of travel-related cases in 2011–2012. E. coli O157:H7 PFGE patterns in both human and non-human samples from 2011–2012 continued to show considerable diversity, as observed nationally and within the FoodNet Canada sites, in past years.

• As in previous years, the majority of Yersinia cases are domestically acquired. Among travel-related cases, the majority reported travel to Central or South America in 2011–2012. The incidence in domestically acquired cases was much higher in females than males. None of the swine manure samples in the ON site in 2011 were positive for pathogenic Yersinia (biotype 4, serotype O:3). • As in previous years, pathogenic strains of Listeria monocytogenes were recovered in 2011–2012 from samples of skinless chicken breasts, ground beef, ground chicken and ground turkey, as well as uncooked chicken nuggets. The scientific literature suggests that abattoirs and meat processing environments rather than farm animals may be an important source of L. monocytogenes (21). The retail meat data from many historical surveillance years indicate that pathogenic serotypes of L. monocytogenes are present on raw chicken, beef, and pork meat sold at retail, as well as in bagged leafy greens. Although, based on one PFGE enzyme, there was a match between a human case and a sample of uncooked chicken nuggets in 2011–2012, there were no matches between sources and sentinel site cases of listeriosis in 2011–2012 when both PFGE enzyme patterns were compared. Also, based on one enzyme, a few matches were identified between meat isolates (chicken and beef) and four of the top five PFGE patterns reported at the national level in humans (according to PulseNet Canada data). In 2012, fresh herbs were tested for L. monocytogenes though the pathogen was not detected.

• The majority of Shigella infections were travel-related, with Asia being the most frequently reported travel destination.

FoodNet Canada surveillance identified human pathogenic strains of norovirus on retail soft berries and fresh herbs in 2011–2012. Historically, pathogenic subtypes have also been found in food animal manure, as well as retail pork chops and leafy greens.

Frankenface.berry• Cryptosporidium was found in 2011–2012 on retail soft berries and in untreated surface water. Giardia was detected on retail soft berries and herbs, and water in the same period. Also, Cyclospora was found on soft berries. However, the viability of these pathogens was unable to be determined.

• Travel outside of Canada continued to add to the burden of enteric disease observed in Canada during 2011–2012, with 27% of the reported cases from both sites (combined) likely involving infections acquired abroad. Safe travel practices continue to be important considerations among Canadians.

• Enhanced, standardized laboratory testing across all FoodNet Canada surveillance components (human, retail, on-farm, and water) has allowed for the identification of patterns in subtype distributions among human cases and potential exposure sources over time. Continued surveillance and addition of more sentinel sites will help in refinement of the key findings and inform prevention and control measures for enteric diseases in Canada.


4 dead, 732 sick from Salmonella Poona linked to imported cucumbers

As of October 5, 2015, 732 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Poona have been reported from 35 states. The number of ill people reported from each state is as follows: Alabama (1), Alaska (14), Arizona (114), Arkansas (11), California (192), Colorado (18), Hawaii (1), Idaho (24), Illinois (9), Indiana (3), Iowa (6), Kansas (2), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (5), Maryland (1), Minnesota (37), Missouri (11), Montana (14), Nebraska (6), Nevada (14), New Mexico (31), New York (6), North Dakota (6), Ohio (2), Oklahoma (12), Oregon (20), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (9), South Dakota (3), Texas (34), Utah (53), Virginia (1), Washington (22), Wisconsin (40), and Wyoming (7).

cucumberAmong people for whom information is available, illnesses started on dates ranging from July 3, 2015 to September 25, 2015. Ill people range in age from less than 1 year to 99, with a median age of 17. Fifty percent of ill people are children younger than 18 years. Fifty-five percent of ill people are female. Among 536 people with available information, 150 (28%) report being hospitalized. Four deaths have been reported from Arizona (1), California (1), Oklahoma (1), and Texas (1).

Illnesses that occurred after September 8, 2015 might not be reported yet. A series of events occurs between the time a person is infected and the time public health officials can determine that the person is part of an outbreak. This means that there will be a delay between when a person gets sick and confirmation that he or she is part of an outbreak. This takes an average of 2 to 4 weeks.

I will survive: Salmonella in filled cracker snack thingies

A study was done to determine the rate of inactivation of Salmonella in cookie and cracker snack sandwiches.

salm.pcrackerbutter.eanut.Two cookie bases (chocolate and vanilla) and cheese crackers, along with high-sugar chocolate and peanut butter–based crème cookie fillings and peanut butter– and cheese-based cracker fillings, were obtained from commercial sources.

Fillings and sandwiches containing fillings that had been dry- or wet-inoculated with Salmonella were stored at 25°C for 1, 6, 21, 35, 70, 112, and 182 days (6 months). At initial populations of 3.4 and 3.6 log CFU/g of cookie sandwiches containing chocolate crème and peanut butter crème fillings, respectively, Salmonella survived for at least 182 days; initially at 0.36 log CFU/g, the pathogen survived for at least 35 and 70 days.

Initially at 2.9 and 3.4 log CFU/g of cracker sandwiches containing peanut butter– and cheese-based fillings, respectively, Salmonella survived for at least 182 and 112 days; initially at 0.53 log CFU/g, the pathogen survived for at least 6 and 35 days. Inactivation of Salmonella was more rapid in wet-inoculated peanut butter crème cookie filling than in dry-inoculated filling but was less affected by type of inoculum in peanut butter–based cracker filling. Chocolate cookie base (water activity [aw] 0.39) and chocolate crème filling (aw 0.30) components of sandwiches equilibrated to aw 0.38 within 15 days at 25°C; vanilla cookie base (aw 0.21) and peanut butter–based crème filling (aw 0.27) equilibrated to aw 0.24 between 50 and 80 days. Cheese cracker (aw 0.14) and peanut butter–based filling (aw 0.31) or cheese-based filling (aw 0.33) components of sandwiches equilibrated to aw 0.33 in 80 days.

The ability of Salmonella to survive for at least 182 days in fillings of cookie and cracker sandwiches demonstrates a need to assure that filling ingredients do not contain the pathogen and that contamination does not occur during manufacture. 

Survival of Salmonella in cookie and cracker sandwiches containing inoculated, low–water activity fillings

Journal of Food Protection®, Number 10, October 2015, pp. 1776-1924, pp. 1828-1834(7)

Beuchat, Larry R.; Mann, David A.

No testing, but an A+ on audits: Lenient sentences for ex-peanut officials in Salmonella outbreak

USA Today reports that two ex-officials of Peanut Corporation of America drew lenient sentences Thursday for their self-admitted roles in a Salmonella outbreak blamed for killing nine and sickening hundreds.

AIB.audit.eggsGeorgia U.S. District Court Judge W. Louis Sands sentenced Samuel Lightsey, 50, a former operations manager at the peanut firm’s Blakely, Ga. plant, to serve three years in prison. Daniel Kilgore, 46, another ex-manager at the plant, drew a six-year sentence from the judge.

Sands allowed them to remain free, pending voluntary surrender after the U.S. Bureau of Prisons designates the correctional facilities where they will serve their sentences.

Both reached plea agreements with prosecutors that limited their punishment when they pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy, mail and wire fraud, along with sale of misbranded and adulterated food.

They later testified as government witnesses during the 2014 federal trial that ended with criminal convictions of ex-Peanut corporation of America owner Stewart Parnell and two other former top executives.

The case stemmed from findings by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that traced a national salmonella outbreak to the Parnell firm’s peanut roasting plant in Blakely. The incident sickened 714 people in 46 states and may have contributed to nine deaths, the CDC reported.

The illnesses erupted in January 2009 and prompted one of the largest food recalls in U.S. history.

Parnell, 61, was sentenced to a virtual life term — 28 years behind bars — on Sept. 21. His brother, Michael Parnell, received a 20-year term, and former quality control manager Mary Wilkerson, drew a five-year sentence.

Sands ordered the Parnell brothers to surrender immediately, denying defense arguments that they should be permitted to remain free on bond pending appeals of their convictions.

Government evidence presented at the trial established that Lightsey and Kilgore knowingly helped the top executives fabricate certificates of analysis in a scheme that falsely showed peanut butter from the Blakely plant was free of Salmonella and other pathogens. In fact, there had been no testing of the product, or tests had confirmed contamination, prosecutors showed.

Seek and ye shall find: More 5 now sick with Salmonella linked to raw frozen chicken thingies in Minn.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the Minnesota Department of Health, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) are investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis infections linked to raw, frozen, stuffed and breaded chicken entrees produced by Aspen Foods.

aspen-foods-recallFive people infected with two strains of Salmonella Enteritidis were reported from Minnesota with illness onsets from May to July 2015. Two of these people were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.

The five illnesses in Minnesota occurred after people had eaten Antioch Farms brand frozen, raw, stuffed and breaded chicken entrees, which are produced by Aspen Foods.

On July 15, 2015, Aspen Foods issued a recall of approximately 1.9 million pounds of frozen, raw, stuffed and breaded chicken products that may be contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis.

Products subject to this recall also bear the establishment number “P-1358” on the packaging, and have “best if used by” dates between July 14, 2016 and October 10, 2016.

Consumers, restaurants, and retailers should check their freezers for recalled frozen, raw chicken products and should not eat, serve, or sell them.

As part of the ongoing investigation, on September 17, 2015, USDA-FSIS reported that frozen, raw, stuffed and breaded chicken recently products produced by Aspen Foods have been confirmed as having the outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis.

USDA-FSIS reports that it cannot have confidence in the safety of any of these products produced after July 30, 2015.

Where were you the last 25 years? Andrew & Williamson donates to STOP

As the number of people sick with Salmonella from Mexican cucumbers continues to climb – 3 deaths, 671 people sick with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Poona, an increase of 113 cases since the last CDC update on September 22 — the U.S. distributor has donated to a non-profit group’s campaign aimed at improving foodborne disease diagnosis and it urged other produce companies to do the same.

cucumbersSan Diego-based Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce partner David Murray said in a Sept. 25 statement, that the firm is “absolutely devastated” by the outbreak and is working with authorities in the U.S. and Mexico, as well as food-safety experts, to analyze its processes and fix any problems.

“On a personal note, in reading information about the illnesses, it was clear that many doctors need additional guidance to ensure the timely diagnosis and treatment of foodborne illnesses,” he said. “With that in mind, we will be making a donation to STOP Foodborne Illness, a non-profit organization devoted to assisting those impacted by foodborne illness.”

“This donation is in support of STOP’s efforts to create an educational packet about foodborne illness to send to every pediatric emergency room and hospital in the U.S. so that patients receive a timely diagnosis and proper treatment.

While we recognize that our actions cannot alleviate the pain caused by a victim’s suffering or worse, the loss of a loved one, the A&W family promises you that we will learn from this experience. We will never forget what happened. And you can rest assured that our food safety decisions will forever be influenced by the memory of consumers who have been impacted by this recall.”

Start with the menu: 14 patients sick with Salmonella at Detroit hospital

In a medical mystery involving one of Detroit’s largest hospitals, more than a dozen patients, all in the same unit at Henry Ford Hospital, contracted Salmonella last week.

Hospital-food-tray-File-picture-5905763The hospital is working with state officials to try to figure out the source of the outbreak, but so far, no one knows where it came from.

Usually Salmonella is associated with contaminated food, but that’s not the case in this instance. Officials say it does not appear to be a food-related issue. They are still trying to find the source of the Salmonella.

A spokesthingy for Henry Ford Hospital said in a statement, “There’s no evidence at this time that the illness is food related.”

Dr. Frank McGeorge said, “In a hospital setting, it could be just about anything, and that’s where the detective work happens and really has to take place.”

It’s not unusual: UK spike in Salmonella cases linked to snakes

Public Health England have linked a spike in Salmonella cases to an unlikely source – snakes.

It’s not unusual.

You see a reptile, I see a Salmonella factory.

In the UK, 70 cases have been reported so far in 2015 involving people handling reptiles.

Professor Jeremy Hawker said the bug was primarily contracted from handling raw and frozen mice which are then fed to snakes.

He also warned that it could be caught from furniture, clothes and household surfaces contaminated by infected droppings.

But Welsh crooner Tom Jones has a simpler message that snake owners should take to heart.