Frog in a blender? People in Peru are drinking frog juice

The Titicaca water frog is very large and entirely aquatic and makes its home in the high-altitude rivers that flow into Andean lake for which it is named.

frog.blenderIn addition to being named a critically endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the frog, according to the Associated Press, is also believed by some Peruvians and Bolivians to be a cure for human maladies as wide ranging and seemingly unrelated as asthma, osteoporosis, fatigue and a low libido.

So say some Peruvians who make a habit of turning the amphibians into “juice.”

“I always come to drink frog juice here because it’s good for the children,” Cecilia Cahuana told the AP at a frog-juice bar in Lima. “For anemia, bronchitis and also good for older persons.”

WHO food safety facts

Food safety according to the World Health Organization:

Access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food is key to sustaining life and promoting good health.

world-healthUnsafe food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances, causes more than 200 diseases – ranging from diarrhoea to cancers.

Foodborne and waterborne diarrhoeal diseases kill an estimated 2 million people annually, mostly children.

Food safety, nutrition and food security are inextricably linked. Unsafe food creates a vicious cycle of disease and malnutrition, particularly affecting infants, young children, elderly and the sick.

Foodborne diseases impede socioeconomic development by straining health care systems, and harming national economies, tourism and trade.

Food supply chains now cross multiple national borders. Good collaboration between governments, producers and consumers helps ensure food safety.

Major foodborne illnesses and causes

Foodborne illnesses are usually infectious or toxic in nature and caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances entering the body through contaminated food or water.

Foodborne pathogens can cause severe diarrhoea or debilitating infections including meningitis. Chemical contamination can lead to acute poisoning or long-term diseases, such as cancer. Foodborne diseases may lead to long-lasting disability and death. Examples of unsafe food include uncooked foods of animal origin, fruits and vegetables contaminated with faeces, and raw shellfish containing marine biotoxins.

Bacteria:

Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli are among the most common foodborne pathogens that affect millions of people annually – sometimes with severe and fatal outcomes. Symptoms are fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhoea. Examples of foods involved in outbreaks of salmonellosis are eggs, poultry and other products of animal origin. Foodborne cases with Campylobacter are mainly caused by raw milk, raw or undercooked poultry and drinking water. Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli is associated with unpasteurized milk, undercooked meat and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Listeria infection leads to unplanned abortions in pregnant women or death of newborn babies. Although disease occurrence is relatively low, listeria’s severe and sometimes fatal health consequences, particularly among infants, children and the elderly, count them among the most serious foodborne infections. Listeria is found in unpasteurised dairy products and various ready-to-eat foods and can grow at refrigeration temperatures.

Vibrio cholerae infects people through contaminated water or food. Symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting and profuse watery diarrhoea, which may lead to severe dehydration and possibly death. Rice, vegetables, millet gruel and various types of seafood have been implicated in cholera outbreaks.

Antimicrobials, such as antibiotics, are essential to treat infections caused by bacteria. However, their overuse and misuse in veterinary and human medicine has been linked to the emergence and spread of resistant bacteria, rendering the treatment of infectious diseases ineffective in animals and humans. Resistant bacteria enter the food chain through the animals (e.g. Salmonella through chickens). Antimicrobial resistance is one of the main threats to modern medicine.

Viruses:

Norovirus infections are characterized by nausea, explosive vomiting, watery diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Hepatitis A virus can cause long-lasting liver disease and spreads typically through raw or undercooked seafood or contaminated raw produce. Infected food handlers are often the source of food contamination.

Parasites:

Some parasites, such as fish-borne trematodes, are only transmitted through food. Others, for example Echinococcus spp, may infect people through food or direct contact with animals. Other parasites, such as Ascaris, Cryptosporidium, Entamoeba histolytica or Giardia, enter the food chain via water or soil and can contaminate fresh produce.

Prions:

PRUSINERPrions, infectious agents composed of protein, are unique in that they are associated with specific forms of neurodegenerative disease. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or “mad cow disease”) is a prion disease in cattle, associated with the variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) in humans. Consuming bovine products containing specified risk material, e.g. brain tissue, is the most likely route of transmission of the prion agent to humans.

Chemicals:

Of most concern for health are naturally occurring toxins and environmental pollutants.

Naturally occurring toxins include mycotoxins, marine biotoxins, cyanogenic glycosides and toxins occurring in poisonous mushrooms. Staple foods like corn or cereals can contain high levels of mycotoxins, such as aflatoxin and ochratoxin. A long-term exposure can affect the immune system and normal development, or cause cancer.

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are compounds that accumulate in the environment and human body. Known examples are dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are unwanted byproducts of industrial processes and waste incineration. They are found worldwide in the environment and accumulate in animal food chains. Dioxins are highly toxic and can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and cause cancer.

Heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury cause neurological and kidney damage. Contamination by heavy metal in food occurs mainly through pollution of air, water and soil.

The evolving world and food safety

Safe food supplies support national economies, trade and tourism, contribute to food and nutrition security, and underpin sustainable development.

Urbanization and changes in consumer habits, including travel, have increased the number of people buying and eating food prepared in public places. Globalization has triggered growing consumer demand for a wider variety of foods, resulting in an increasingly complex and longer global food chain.

As the world’s population grows, the intensification and industrialization of agriculture and animal production to meet increasing demand for food creates both opportunities and challenges for food safety. Climate change is also predicted to impact food safety, where temperature changes modify food safety risks associated with food production, storage and distribution.

These challenges put greater responsibility on food producers and handlers to ensure food safety. Local incidents can quickly evolve into international emergencies due to the speed and range of product distribution. Serious foodborne disease outbreaks have occurred on every continent in the past decade, often amplified by globalized trade.

Examples include the contamination of infant formula with melamine in 2008 (affecting 300 000 infants and young children, 6 of whom died, in China alone), and the 2011 Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli outbreak in Germany linked to contaminated fenugreek sprouts, where cases were reported in 8 countries in Europe and North America, leading to 53 deaths. The 2011 E.coli outbreak in Germany caused US$ 1.3 billion in losses for farmers and industries and US$ 236 million in emergency aid payments to 22 European Union Member States.

Food safety: a public health priority

Unsafe food poses global health threats, endangering everyone. Infants, young children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with an underlying illness are particularly vulnerable.

Foodborne and waterborne diarrhoeal disease kill an estimated 2 million people annually, mostly children and particularly in developing countries. Unsafe food creates a vicious cycle of diarrhoea and malnutrition, threatening the nutritional status of the most vulnerable. Where food supplies are insecure, people tend to shift to less healthy diets and consume more “unsafe foods” – in which chemical, microbiological and other hazards pose health risks.

Governments should make food safety a public health priority, as they play a pivotal role in developing policies and regulatory frameworks, establishing and implementing effective food safety systems that ensure that food producers and suppliers along the whole food chain operate responsibly and supply safe food to consumers.

Food can become contaminated at any point of production and distribution, and the primary responsibility lies with food producers. Yet a large proportion of foodborne disease incidents are caused by foods improperly prepared or mishandled at home, in food service establishments or markets. Not all food handlers and consumers understand the roles they must play, such as adopting basic hygienic practices when buying, selling and preparing food to protect their health and that of the wider community.

Everyone can contribute to making food safe. Here are some examples of effective actions:

Policy-makers can:

build and maintain adequate food systems and infrastructures (e.g. laboratories) to respond to and manage food safety risks along the entire food chain, including during emergencies;

foster multi-sectoral collaboration among public health, animal health, agriculture and other sectors for better communication and joint action;

integrate food safety into broader food policies and programmes (e.g. nutrition and food security);

think globally and act locally to ensure the food produce domestically be safe internationally.

Food handlers and consumers can:

know the food they use (read labels on food package, make an informed choice, become familiar with common food hazards);

handle and prepare food safely, practicing the WHO Five Keys to Safer Food at home, or when selling at restaurants or at local markets;

grow fruits and vegetables using the WHO Five Keys to Growing Safer Fruits and Vegetables to decrease microbial contamination.

WHO response

WHO aims to facilitate global prevention, detection and response to public health threats associated with unsafe food. Ensuring consumer trust in their authorities, and confidence in the safe food supply, is an outcome that WHO works to achieve.

To do this, WHO helps Member States build capacity to prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks by:

providing independent scientific assessments on microbiological and chemical hazards that form the basis for international food standards, guidelines and recommendations, known as the Codex Alimentarius, to ensure food is safe wherever it originates;

assessing the safety of new technologies used in food production, such as genetic modification and nanotechnology;

helping improve national food systems and legal frameworks, and implement adequate infrastructure to manage food safety risks. The International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) was developed by WHO and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to rapidly share information during food safety emergencies;

promoting safe food handling through systematic disease prevention and awareness programmes, through the WHO Five Keys to Safer Food message and training materials; and

advocating for food safety as an important component of health security and for integrating food safety into national policies and programmes in line with the International Health Regulations (IHR – 2005).

WHO works closely with FAO, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and other international organizations to ensure food safety along the entire food chain from production to consumption.

Why are hospital patients the critical control point for doctor handwashing?

People in the hospital are invariably immunocompromised. They shouldn’t be fed things like deli meats that may harbor Listeria.

jon.stewart.handwashing.2002And it shouldn’t be the patient’s responsibility to ask if their doctor or nurse washed their hands.

A February audit shows more than 40 per cent of health-care workers and support staff at hospitals in the Regina area (that’s in Canada) failed to wash their hands properly. 

A follow-up report in June also reveals that 67 per cent of 204 doctors observed didn’t follow regional handwashing rules before patient contact. 

Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region (RQHR) requires all staff to wash their hands with soapy water or alcohol-based gels for a minimum of 20 seconds before and after contact with patients. They’re not allowed to wear excessive jewellery on their hands or wrists and can’t have gel nails. 

Kateri Singer, the woman in charge of infection prevention for RQHR said the region’s goal is 100 per cent compliance with handwashing rules “because it is the single most important thing we can do as health-care workers.” 

CBC’s iTeam has combed through RQHR’s February and June reports and has highlighted some of the least compliant facilities. The following percentages indicate non-compliance rates:

Broadview Union Hospital (February) - 94.8%​

Grenfell Health Centre (June) - 77.4%

Regina Lutheran Home (June) - 77.8%​

Wolseley Memorial Hospital (June) - 66.7%

Regina General Hospital – Day Surgery (February) - 86.7%

Regina General Hospital – Labour and Birth (June) - 94%

Pasqua Hospital – Day Surgery (February) - 100%

Pasqual Hospital – Short Stay (February) - 95.2%

Pasqua Hospital – Operating Room (February) - 68%

Pasqual Hospital - 3A (June) - 97%

Transparency is a key to change

handwashing.junk.apr.13Singer said though these numbers look bad, she’s committed to disclosure because “the public has the right to know” whether or not their doctor or nurse is keeping their hands clean. And she said patients have the right to hold them to account.

RQHR seems to have taken the lead in Saskatchewan when it comes to transparency regarding handwashing practices. Its public reports are far more comprehensive than any other region in the province.

Singer said transparency can be a catalyst to change behavior.

Michael Gardam, director of infection, prevention and control at Toronto’s University Health Network, told CBC Saskatchewan’s Morning Edition host Sheila Coles patients often do not feel they can stand up for themselves.

“I have seen patients get screamed at by health care providers,” Gardam said. “I’ve seen patients be told, ‘Don’t come back to my clinic. How dare you challenge me.’”

Campylobacter in UK: Just cook it still doesn’t cut it

The British Poultry Council (BPC) told The Grocer that media reports that supermarkets are knowingly selling chickens contaminated with Campylobacter may mislead consumers, and that “cooking it properly and observing good kitchen hygiene” will take care of the problem.

album-Rolling-Stones-Let-It-BleedIt’s easy to blame consumers. What are producers doing to reduce risk?

An article in today’s (19 November) The Times cited BPC data that showed 24% of a randomly tested sample of 5,000 batches of chicken had tested positive for the highest levels of campylobacter contamination.

The results were similar to those revealed in August in  the first batch of quarterly results from a 12-month survey currently being undertaken by the FSA on the prevalence and levels of campylobacter contamination on fresh whole chickens and their packaging. The FSA survey showed 16% of birds at the highest level of contamination of more than 1000 colony forming units per gram, and 26% at between 100 and 1000 cfu/g.

BPC CEO Andrew Large said The Times article was based on a small sample of testing, designed to assist members of the Joint Working Group on Campylobacter in their operations.

“As the data is neither comprehensive nor statistically robust, it will not be useful for consumers and risks being misleading,” he warned, adding: “Consumers have a key role to play as good kitchen hygiene will remain a cornerstone of preventing foodborne illness.”

A spokeswoman for the British Retail Consortium said, “As long as campylobacter is present in the food chain, and we don’t yet have the solution for that despite our best efforts. We need to maintain the very strong message that all raw chicken should be handled with appropriate care and releasing incomplete data could dilute that message to consumers and lead to confusion.”

The FSA will next week issue the second set of quarterly results of its campylobacter survey, when it will also name-and-shame” retailers with the worst record for campylobacter-contaminated poultry.

Spin away.

(And this is from the last time I saw the Stones, in 1981; didn’t need to go again in Brisbane the other night.)

Good food safety interventions are evidence-based and evaluated

Food safety and public health folks are pretty good at writing proposals, getting funds to do research, and, because of a funder’s requirement, sometimes add on an outreach throwaway activity to make something in the name of education.

Usually it is a brochure, or posters, or a website where the outputs are shared.

And they often suck.

I’m becoming more cynical as I get older and increasingly frustrated with how slow things progress. At one of my first IAFP meetings a decade ago I sat through a 3-hour session on cleaning and sanitation in processing environments and each speaker ended their talk with the same type of message – things would be better if we could just educate the staff, ritely stating it like it would be simple to in a 1-hr training session.

And no one mentioned evaluation.

There’s about 10,000 papers in the adult education, behavioral science and preventive health world that set the stage on how to actually make communication and education interventions that might work. The literature has some common tenants: know thy audience; have an objective; base your message on some sort of evidence; ground the approach in accepted theory and evaluate.

Unfortunately food safety professionals who are good at microbiology don’t usually consult it.

Young and colleagues from Canada recently published a paper in Foodborne Pathogens and Disease which provides an output of summarized packages of systematic reviews into one-and three page formats (abstract below).

The application of systematic reviews is increasing in the agri-food public health sector to investigate the efficacy of policy-relevant interventions. In order to enhance the uptake and utility of these reviews for decision-making, there is a need to develop summary formats that are written in plain language and incorporate supporting contextual information. The objectives of this study were (1) to develop a guideline for summarizing systematic reviews in one- and three-page formats, and (2) to apply the guideline on two published systematic reviews that investigated the efficacy of vaccination and targeted feed and water additives to reduce Salmonella colonization in broiler chickens. Both summary formats highlight the key systematic review results and im- plications in plain language. Three-page summaries also incorporated four categories of contextual information (cost, availability, practicality, and other stakeholder considerations) to complement the systematic review findings. We collected contextual information through structured rapid reviews of the peer-reviewed and gray literature and by conducting interviews with 12 topic specialists. The overall utility of the literature searches and interviews depended on the specific intervention topic and contextual category. In general, interviews with topic specialists were the most useful and efficient method of gathering contextual information. Preliminary evaluation with five end-users indicated positive feedback on the summary formats. We estimate that one-page summaries could be developed by trained science-to-policy professionals in 3–5 days, while three-page summaries would require additional resources and time (e.g., 2–4 weeks). Therefore, one-page summaries are more suited for routine development, while three-page summaries could be developed for a more limited number of high-priority reviews. The summary guideline offers a structured and transparent approach to support the utilization of systematic reviews in decision-making in this sector. Future research is necessary to evaluate the utility of these summary formats for a variety of end-users in different contexts.

While there’s a whole lot of information on how these summaries were designed – and that eight end-users were asked to participate in the development, there’s no mention of behavioral or education theory, why message and design choices were made or what they hoped the end users would do with them. And no evaluation at all.

Here’s how we’ve evaluated our food safety infosheets for a different user group, food handlers:

Assessment of Food Safety Practices of Food Service Food Handlers: Testing a Communication Intervention
June 2010, Journal of Food Protection

Abstract: Globally, foodborne illness affects an estimated 30% of individuals annually. Meals prepared outside of the home are a risk factor for acquiring foodborne illness and have been implicated in up to 70% of traced outbreaks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called on food safety communicators to design new methods and messages aimed at increasing food safety risk-reduction practices from farm to fork. Food safety infosheets, a novel communication tool designed to appeal to food handlers and compel behavior change, were evaluated. Food safety infosheets were provided weekly to food handlers in working foodservice operations for 7 weeks. It was hypothesized that through the posting of food safety infosheets in highly visible locations, such as kitchen work areas and hand washing stations, that safe food handling behaviors of foodservice staff could be positively influenced. Using video observation, food handlers (n ~ 47) in eight foodservice operations were observed for a total of 348 h (pre- and postintervention combined). After the food safety infosheets were introduced, food handlers demonstrated a significant increase (6.7%, P , 0.05, 95% confidence interval) in mean hand washing attempts, and a significant reduction in indirect cross-contamination events (19.6%, P , 0.05, 95% confidence interval). Results of the research demonstrate that posting food safety infosheets is an effective intervention tool that positively influences the food safety behaviors of food handlers. 

Foodborne outbreaks: Learning opportunities, regardless of uncertainty, and should not be hidden

My latest column for Texas A&M’s Center for Food Safety:

powell.food.safety.going.publicThere was this one time, about 32 years ago, I was sitting in the kitchen with the mother of my university girlfriend.

She was peeling potatoes for boiling and mashing, and I smugly asked, why are you wasting so much potato?

“Because I don’t have all bloody day and if you’re so concerned, get off your bloody ass and bloody-well help.”

I’ve cooked ever since.

But what the mom and I didn’t know was that those potato skins could be contaminated with nasties like E. coli O157.

Potatoes, carrots, leeks, they’re grown in soil, and poop has various ways of getting into soil, so peeling potatoes should be like handling raw meat – you never bloody-well know what is contaminated and what isn’t.

Be the bug, follow the bug.

The folks at the U.K. Food Standards Agency, whose idea of science-based verification is to cook meat until it is piping hot, have apparently decided that E. coli O157:H7 – the dangerous kind – found on or in leeks, is the consumers’ responsibility.

Almost two months after revealing 250 people were sickened and one died with E. coli O157:H7 phage-type 8 over the previous eight months in 2011, linked to people handling loose raw leeks and potatoes in their homes, FSA decided to launch a campaign reminding people to wash raw vegetables to help minimize the risk of food poisoning.

leek_washNo information on how those 250 became sick and no information on farming and packing practices that may have led to such a massive contamination that so many people got sick, no information on anything: just advice to wash things thoroughly so that contamination can be spread throughout the kitchen.

This outbreak combines two of the central themes of conflict and public trust in all things food: when to go public, and blaming consumers.

Often during an outbreak of foodborne illness there are health officials who have data indicating that there is a risk, prior to the public (although social media is changing that equation).

During the lag period between the first public health signal and some release of public information, there are decision-makers who are weighing evidence with the impacts of going public. Multiple agencies and analysts have lamented that there is not a common playbook or decision tree for how public health agencies determine what information to release and when. Regularly health authorities suggest that how and when public information is released is evaluated on a case-by-case basis without sharing the steps and criteria used to make decisions.

On June 2, 2008, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that it was investigating an ongoing multistate outbreak of human Salmonella serotype Saintpaul infections. CDC identified the consumption of raw tomatoes as the likely source of the illnesses in at least two states. By the time the outbreak was officially declared over on August 28, 2008, 1,442 people had been reported infected, at least 286 people had been hospitalized, and the infection may have contributed to two deaths. Despite the early identification of tomatoes as a potential pathogen source, jalapeño peppers were subsequently identified as the major source, with some implication of serrano peppers as well.

Was the public advisory to avoid raw tomatoes issued too early in the outbreak investigation, despite its intent as a control measure?  Some, including the Florida Tomato Committee may believe so, considering the outcome of the investigation and the substantial impact on the agriculture sector. The estimated economic cost to the tomato industry was more than $100 million in Florida and close to $14 million in Georgia.

In a 1999 news article about a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak, CDC foodborne illness epidemiologist Paul Mead summed up the conundrum that health officials face when reviewing preliminary data during an outbreak investigation: “Food safety recalls are always either too early or too late. If you’re right, it’s always too late. If you’re wrong, it’s always too early.”  Go public too early, and make a mistake, and a corporation or industry’s reputation could unduly suffer. Go public too late, and individuals and businesses may be denied critical information they could use to protect public health.

This balancing act was most recently on display in New Zealand, following 170 confirmed cases of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis and a further 59 suspected but not confirmed cases of infection, apparently linked to lettuce.

By early Oct. 2014, enough people were sick that Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew was compelled to finger Pams Fresh Mesclun Salad Lettuce and Pams Fresh Express Lettuce, while stressing the list was not initially released because it showed no definitive cause for the illness.

This is a disturbing trend, in that people are demanding microbiological proof when none exists – epidemiology remains a powerful and preventative public health tool.

Canterbury medical officer of health Dr Alistair Humphrey said a draft report from Environmental Science and Research (ESR) made available the previous week identified lettuce and carrots from a particular supermarket chain as the source.

“Everybody involved in this work, including MPI, ESR, all the public health units and the Ministry of Health, have seen the results of the ESR study, which is quite clear. It is unequivocal and it does name the types of food that have led to this problem and it also names one particular product,” Humphrey told Radio New Zealand.

He claimed MPI asked public health officials to keep the name of the supermarket and the products involved a secret, but he decided to name the vegetables to protect the public.

“[MPI] felt they should work with the industry rather than naming the foods but, of course, that leaves the New Zealand public slightly at risk, in my view.”

Bureaucrats are terrified of discussions of risk.

Within days of the public announcement, dozens of N.Z. Herald readers affected by the illness sent in messages describing what they went through, with many saying they were left bedridden, drowsy and debilitated.

But then the backpedaling started, portraying Living Farms, the producers of Pam’s greens, as victims of a zealous media, and by Nov., epidemiology was dumped in favor of “no Yersinia pseudotuberculosis was detected in any samples.”

Yet internal e-mails under the Official Information Act show the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) was mindful of balancing the risk of further illness against the risk of panicking the public and a loss of trust in the food supply chain.

An email from MPI, dated 1 October, said it considered “there will be greater ongoing positive effect and influence, with lesser risk of negative results, by managing the food safety hazard at the most likely source, ie: with industry.”

public.healthMPI had been visiting farms and retailers to try and pinpoint the source of the bug.

The documents also showed MPI believed the best it could do was inform the public to wash all fruit and vegetables as a precaution.

But, in an email dated 1 October, MPI said it was likely that the suspected vegetables were contaminated with the bacteria internally, rather than just on the surface: “Meaning that washing of the produce by consumers will not afford protection from illness.” This information was not passed on to consumers.

I don’t envy anyone facing bloody accusations. Growers and others would be better served if there were clear, publicly available guidelines for when to go public about foodborne illness. And don’t bloody-well blame consumers unless it is warranted.

Dr. Douglas Powell is a former professor of food safety who shops, cooks and ferments from his home in Brisbane, Australia.

 DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the original creator and do not necessarily represent that of the Texas A&M Center for Food Safety or Texas A&M University. 

Steak tartare is the food porn dish of the moment

I’ll take food safety advice from Vogue when I start dressing hipster or listen to Madonna.

Yet according to Vogue, steak tartare appeals to a sophisticated kind of adult who knew where to find his or her pleasure. Raw meat bound with raw egg, it was a rite of passage that often arrived with a push: Chances are, somebody more worldly first persuaded you to try it.

And it generally hewed to a basic recipe—one taught in culinary schools in the United States and Europe. Chopped or ground meat is mixed with something flavorful (mustard, Worcestershire, Tabasco), something crunchy (capers, cornichons, shallots), something colorful (chives, parsley, scallion). One version might have a pinch of cayenne, another a splash of cognac.

And on it goes, for pages of food porn and vulgarity.

UK student needs second kidney transplant 20 years after eating E. coli O157 contaminated cheese

A student who almost died after eating a contaminated cheese sandwich as a toddler has been told she needs a second kidney transplant.

lois.reid.e.coliLois Reid fell desperately ill when she was two years old. But a transplant at the age of six meant she could live a normal life.

This year, however, the 22-year-old suffered kidney failure again.

And now she has to play a waiting game again for another donor organ.

In the meantime, she spends three days a week hooked up to a dialysis machine in hospital.

But despite her illness and the exhaustion it causes, Lois managed to complete her final year of college.

And she passed her last exam just three days after getting out of hospital.

Lois said: “I couldn’t believe it when I found out I had passed. I phoned my mum and she just burst into tears.”

The family’s nightmare began after Lois fell ill after eating a sandwich with

home-made farmhouse cheese that was contaminated with E coli O157.

She was taken to Aberdeen Royal Children’s Hospital, where doctors found out her kidneys were failing.

Lois spent four years on dialysis, during which she suffered a stroke and frequent life-threatening infections.

Indian cricket team gives Australia food for thought in bid to take spice out of test series

Cricket may be more boring than baseball, but at least the wealthy team from India knows what it wants in food safety, and will bring a private chef to Australia this summer.

india.cricket.14Only mild curries such as butter chicken are on India’s list of nutritional requirements, with the explicit instruction of “no spicy foods” written in large, red letters on their list of food demands.

The tourists are also desperate to avoid their millionaire cricketers like MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli becoming sick while in Australia.

They have issued Test venue caterers with pages of hygiene instructions, many of which are simply common sense.

Australia’s cricketers have long suffered Delhi belly while in the subcontinent but India’s elite cricketers won’t hear of having any food germs.

They have ordered that hot dishes must be served at more than 60 degrees Celsius, and cold food below five degrees Celsius, and detailed a long list of food hygiene requirements.

“All utensils should look clean and have no food or anything else visible,’’ the document states.

“All staff must wash their hands thoroughly with warm, soapy water.

“Utensils must be sanitised in a dishwasher at high heat and must be dried before use, with air drying the best method.’’

India’s list of nutritional requirements isn’t as extensive as when England was here last summer and wanted their dressingroom to resemble a Michelin Star restaurant for the Ashes.

The Poms demanded dishes such as piripiri breaded tofu with tomato salsa, a quinoa and cranberry breakfast bar, mungbean curry with spinach and pistachio and ginger biscotti.

India simply insist there must be no spicy or fried foods.

And they say no beef or pork related products should be used in cooking or food preparation, given their high number of vegetarian cricketers.

Cafeterias in Boston hospitals get failing grades

Boston is home to many of the nation’s best hospitals, but the I-Team discovered some of these institutions may not always be as careful with the food they serve as they are with patient care.

UnknownThe I-Team obtained inspection reports for 12 Boston hospitals and we found several facilities failing on many levels. Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Carney Hospital both failed inspections for not keeping food cold enough. At Dana Farber, inspectors found boiled eggs at 54 degrees, tuna at 53 degrees and chicken at 51 degrees. Carney Hospital also had food items above 50 degrees. According to Boston University nutritionist Joan Salge-Blake, anything higher than 41 degrees is asking for trouble.