Texas vet who killed cat with arrow, posed for photo can’t practice for 1 year, board decides

I slept with a veterinarian for 18 years.

We have four beautiful daughters who are all exploring the world in their own way.

vet-cat-arrowI also have no doubt she would kill a cat for practicality.

Me and my dairy farmer friend Jim are all for that.

But I often lay in bed, wondering, if she could castrate cats at the kitchen table, what fate might befall me?

“Some will rob you with a six-gun,

And some with a fountain pen.”

 The Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners ruled Tuesday that Kristen Lindsey, the veterinarian who posted a photo of a dead tabby cat named Tiger with an arrow through its head on her Facebook last year, will have her license suspended for one year where she will not be able to practice.

After, she will be able to practice under conditions of probation for four years.

Tuesday’s hearing was the last in a string of debates on what action to take, if any, against Lindsey, after her photo incited international uproar from animal activists.

Lindsey, a veterinarian since 2012, was fired from her position at the Washington Animal Clinic in Brenham and put under investigation by the Austin County Sheriff’s Office last April after she posted a photo holding a dead tabby cat named “Tiger” with a arrow through its head with a caption reading:

“My first bow kill, lol. The only good feral tomcat is one with an arrow through it’s (sic) head! Vet of the year award… gladly accepted.”

The clinic that fired Lindsey, 33, released a statement shortly after that saying: “We are absolutely appalled, shocked, upset, and disgusted by the conduct.”

Yup, that fits with the vet I used to sleep with.

11 sick in multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157 linked to Adams Farm

Since the initial announcement on September 24, four more ill people were reported from Massachusetts (2), Pennsylvania (1), and Virginia (1).

ground-beef-325Eleven people infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O157:H7 were reported from five states.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from June 27, 2016 to September 10, 2016. Ill people ranged in age from 1 year to 74, with a median age of 32. Forty-five percent of ill people were female. Seven ill people were hospitalized. One ill person developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure, and no deaths were reported.

This outbreak appears to be over. However, the recalled beef, veal, and bison products may still be in freezers. Consumers who don’t know about the outbreak could continue to eat recalled products and get sick. Read the Recall and Advice to Consumers, Restaurants, and Retailers.

Case Count: 11

States: 5

Deaths: 0

Hospitalizations: 7

Recall: Yes

Food get real when kids die: Cheesemaker goes to E. coli court

One of Scotland’s leading cheesemakers has pinned his hopes on legal action to keep his business open after it was caught up in an E. coli outbreak.

dunsyre-blu-e-coli-cheeseHumphrey Errington is seeking a judicial review to prevent Food Standards Scotland (FSS) from destroying all his stocks of Dunsyre Blue, which it claims lay behind the outbreak that affected 22 people and led to the death of a three-year-old girl.

Mr Errington said that unless the court rules in his favour his Lanarkshire firm Errington Cheese is “finished” and will have to close.

The company has gone to the Court of Session to ask for a suspension of instructions from FSS ordering enforcement officials to “seek out and destroy” all stocks of the product.

It is also seeking details of tests carried out by the agency which linked the cheese to the outbreak, after the firm’s own tests were unable to find the bacteria.

Mr Errington said: “We had no choice but to take this to court, otherwise we would have been shut down for ever.”

Sorta like the 3-year-old.

After the outbreak last summer the FSS banned sales of five brands of cheese sold by Mr Errington’s company: Dunsyre Blue, Dunsyre Baby, Lanark Blue, Lanark White, Maisie’s Kebbuck and Cora Linn. Customers who had bought the cheeses were asked to return them.

Professor Hugh Pennington, an expert on E.coli has questioned the proportionality of the food watchdog’s decision to issue a blanket ban on the sale of all cheeses from Errington.

The emeritus professor of bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen, said FSS had come down “very heavily” on Errington Cheese, stating there is a “real possibility” the organisation was “over-interpreting scientific evidence”.

He said that the “jury was still out” and while there may be a “moderately strong” case on Dunsyre Blue, there was “no scientific evidence” on any of the firm’s other cheeses.

FSS deny this, saying all all results from samples were shared with Errington and insist decision take to recall Errington Cheese Ltd products are “evidence-based and informed by interpretation from experts including legally designated food examiners”.

The FSS also intends to take further action to clamp down on any manufacturer using unpasteurised “raw” milk and has issued a letter to all local authorities requiring them to apply new and stringent tests on the presumption that any cheese made this way is unsafe.

The order applies to hundreds of cheesemakers, including some famous brands, and has led to some claiming they are being made subject to regulations far more severe than other food producers.

More animal welfare than microbial food safety, although the two are linked: The fight over transparency in the meat industry

Amy has Spam in her blood, being spawned in Albert Lea, Minnesota.

spam-albert-leaTed Genoways, a writer whose book “This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Farm” will be published next year by W.W. Norton writes in the N.Y. Times Magazine that it was still dark when Jay hit the highway. At 6 o’clock that morning, he would be starting his first shift at Quality Pork Processors, part of the Hormel Foods complex in Austin, Minn., almost an hour’s drive down Interstate 90 from his rented apartment in Rochester. He’d applied for the job on the meatpacking line barely a week earlier and was still mentally preparing for it. “When you’re in the car,” he told me recently, “you have to go over everything again.” He had to remember his story: where he was from, why he was there. He had to remind himself what he could and couldn’t say. He was going to be meeting a lot of new people that day, and it would be essential not to arouse suspicions.

Just before the exit off the Interstate, Jay passed an illuminated billboard for Austin’s Spam Museum: “Find slavation.” He steered down the winding road along the plant perimeter, past the high wall guarding the loading docks, until he came to the Q.P.P. employee entrance on Hormel Century Parkway. The factory was already enveloped in steam; overnight cleaning crews had hosed down the stainless-steel cutting line, and now the compound’s six-story hydrostatic Spam cooker was warming for the day shift. The steam billowed and swirled in the lights of the plant. Jay shuffled into the line of workers making their way through the employee turnstile. He swiped in and headed through the glass doors to where the day’s freshly laundered uniforms were being handed out, color-coded according to department.

 “What station?” the person at the window asked.

“Gam table,” Jay said. His job would be slicing open the rear legs of hog carcasses, loosening the tendons of the trotters and inserting a gambrel. “It looks like a clothes hanger, but with hook tips that point up,” he told me. The gambrel attaches to a trolley that carries the carcass on a chain conveyor system as it is broken down into “primal cuts,” before being sent to the Hormel Foods side of the plant for final processing and packaging.

Jay knew that the job would be physically grueling. To keep up with the speed of the line, a carcass had to be cut and hung in about six seconds. But more than that, it was going to be psychologically — even morally — taxing for him. Jay had been a vegetarian since he was in college. He couldn’t say why he quit eating meat, really, only that he always loved animals and that his vegetarian younger sister convinced him.

But in recent years, Jay’s commitment had grown. He became a vegan. When he was online, he found himself drifting toward websites of animal rights groups, pulling up footage of abuse shot by undercover investigators. One day it occurred to him that he should try to find such work. On a job site, he found an opening at Compassion Over Killing, or C.O.K., an advocacy group intent on ending cruelty to animals in agriculture and promoting vegetarianism. And just like that, he entered the shadowy world of undercover video activism, where no one around you knows whom you really work for and few people, not even your family and friends, know where you are or what you’re doing for months at a stretch. (To protect his identity, Jay uses only his middle name when speaking to reporters.)

Now, as Jay dressed in the locker room, put on a hard hat and picked up gloves in the equipment room, he could feel a weight descend on him. Once you’re inside, he said, you realize how alone you are. “You’re going to be out there pretty much by yourself,” he told me. “You’re going to be working these really long hours and seeing animal abuse on a day-to-day basis.”

His manager at C.O.K. had warned him that it would be months before he could transfer to the kill side of the plant, where live animals are handled, and weeks more before he would have enough video to complete the investigation. Every day for five or maybe six months, Jay would have to walk past posters reminding employees that all cameras were strictly prohibited inside the plant and to immediately report any suspicious individual, even if that person was a co-worker. The isolation and paranoia can be consuming, he said, coloring every sidelong glance, every passing conversation.

The story goes on to document how futile the mantra of USDA-inspected actually is.
So some spamalot, and Albert Lea’s own, Eddie Cochran.

Salmonella in beefburgers in France

A prolonged outbreak of Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis occurred in northern France between December 2014 and April 2015.

sorenne-beef-burgerEpidemiological investigations following the initial notification on 30 December 2014 of five cases of salmonellosis (two confirmed S. Enteritidis) in young children residing in the Somme department revealed that all cases frequented the same food bank A. Further epidemiological, microbiological and food trace-back investigations indicated frozen beefburgers as the source of the outbreak and the suspected lot originating from Poland was recalled on 22 January 2015. On 2 March 2015 a second notification of S. Enteritidis cases in the Somme reinitiated investigations that confirmed a link with food bank A and with consumption of frozen beefburgers from the same Polish producer. In the face of a possible persistent source of contamination, all frozen beefburgers distributed by food bank A and from the same origin were blocked on 3 March 2015. Microbiological analyses confirmed contamination by S. Enteritidis of frozen beefburgers from a second lot remaining in cases’ homes. A second recall was initiated on 6 March 2015 and all frozen beefburgers from the Polish producer remain blocked after analyses identified additional contaminated lots over several months of production.

Outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis linked to the consumption of frozen beefburgers received from a food bank and originating from Poland: Northern France, December 2014 to April 2015

Eurosurveillance, Volume 21, Issue 40, 06 October 2016


Food that won’t make you barf? Cargill ‘working hard to understand what consumers want’

Lisa M. Keefe of Meatingplace reports that Cargill Meats is preparing to launch its Pasture Crafted Beef brand, which will be grass-fed, grain-finished, “guaranteed tender and traceable to birth on sustainably operated ranches.”

cargill-pasture-craftedNicole Johnson-Hoffman, Cargill’s vice president and managing director of Cargill’s North American McDonald’s business, discussed the forthcoming product line at the Global Conference for Sustainable Beef, held here this week.

“Cargill is working hard to understand what consumers are looking for in their proteins. And we’re working to adjust our business to make sure that we are able to provide the products that people want and the information that they want about that product,” Johnson-Hoffman said.

The Pasture Crafted brand is “designed for the socially conscious beef consumer who can’t afford to go all the way to organic,” Cargill explained on its website.

Can’t you design beef that won’t make people barf? I know you can, can you at least brag about microbiologically safe food rather than playing to, and encouraging, consumer fears (so you can make more money).

I like pistachios: 11 sick with Salmonella so FDA get stern

Below are excerpts from a warning letter to Stewart Resnick, owner, The Wonderful Company based in Los Angeles, Calif., from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

salm-pistachiosDear Mr. Resnick:

From March 8th through April 7th, 2016, investigators from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted an inspection of your pistachio manufacturing process at your facility located at 13646 Highway 33, Lost Hills, CA 93249. The inspection was conducted in response to a multi-state outbreak of 11 human infections with Salmonella Montevideo (9 cases) and Salmonella Senftenberg (2 cases)) in nine states. Based on traceback and epidemiological evidence taken together with inspectional evidence, we have concluded that pistachio nuts produced by your firm are adulterated within the meaning of 21 U.S.C. 342(a)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) [21 U.S.C. § 342(a)(1)] in that they bear or contain Salmonella, a deleterious substance which may render them injurious to health, and within the meaning of 21 U.S.C. 342(a)(4) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 342(a)(4)], in that they were prepared, packed, and held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have been rendered injurious to health.

Our investigators’ observations were noted on Form FDA-483, Inspectional Observations, which our investigators issued to you at the conclusion of the inspection. You may find a copy of the Act and the regulations promulgated under the Act by following links at www.fda.gov.

Based on collaborative epidemiological and investigational efforts between the FDA, CDC, and the California Department of Public Health, we conclude that pistachio nuts produced by Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds, LLC were linked to this outbreak of Salmonella infections. Ten of the eleven individuals infected with Salmonella were available for interview, and eight of the ten (80 percent) reported eating pistachios during the week before illnesses onset, five of whom reported eating Wonderful brand pistachios. By comparison, a review of data from the 2006-2007 FoodNet Population Survey, which provides information about food consumption among the general population, suggests that only 12% of consumers would have been expected to consume pistachios in a weeklong period. CDC evaluated the probability of case-patients reporting this exposure among a sample of 10 persons and found significance when four or more case-patients report the exposure. No other food specific food was identified as a suspect vehicle.

trader-joes_-pistachiosAfter reviewing the epidemiological evidence, we inspected your facility and collected three product samples at your firm, each consisting of 30 subsamples. Five of 30 subsamples of one sample of raw in-shell pistachios we collected from your silos yielded four positive tests for Salmonella Senftenberg and one for Salmonella Liverpool. Whole genome sequencing determined that the Salmonella Senftenberg isolates were nearly identical to isolates from case patients involved in the outbreak. The most probable number in these subsamples ranged from less than 3 to 23 Salmonella cells/gram.

We acknowledge that you recalled product in response to this outbreak.

We acknowledge your written response to the Form FDA-483, dated April 19, 2016. In your response you proposed to study the optimal level of chlorine in the (b)(4) tank and to install a (b)(4) system to remove foreign material prior to conveying the pistachios into storage. However, you did not provide us with documentation demonstrating the effectiveness of these changes and any other changes you have made to prevent a reoccurrence of an outbreak.

This letter is not intended to be an all-inclusive list of violations at your facility. You are responsible for ensuring that your facility operates in compliance with the Act and all applicable regulations, including the CGMP regulations for food. You also have a responsibility to use procedures to prevent further violations of the Act and all applicable regulations.

You should take prompt action to correct the violations noted in this letter. Failure to promptly correct these violations may result in enforcement action by FDA without further notice, including, without limitation, seizure and/or injunction.

You should respond in writing within 15 working days of receipt of this letter describing the specific steps you have taken to correct the noted violations and to prevent these violations or other similar violations from occurring again. In your response, include documentation, including photographs, corrective actions you have taken to date, or other useful information that would assist us in evaluating your corrections. If you cannot complete all corrections within 15 working days, please state the reason for the delay and include a timetable for implementation of those corrections.

Section 743 of the Act (21 U.S.C. 379j-31) authorizes FDA to assess and collect fees to cover FDA’s costs for certain activities, including reinspection-related costs. A reinspection is one or more inspections conducted subsequent to an inspection that identified noncompliance materially related to a food safety requirement of the Act, specifically to determine whether compliance has been achieved. Reinspection-related costs means all expenses, including administrative expenses, incurred in connection with FDA’s arranging, conducting, and evaluating the results of the reinspection and assessing and collecting the reinspection fees (21 U.S.C. 379j-31(a)(2)(B)). For a domestic facility, FDA will assess and collect fees for reinspection-related costs from the responsible party for the domestic facility.  The inspection noted in this letter identified noncompliance materially related to a food safety requirement of the FFD&C Act.  Accordingly, FDA may assess fees to cover any reinspection-related costs.

Blame the media: Crypto reporting in England

During August 2015, a boil water notice (BWN) was issued across parts of North West England following the detection of Cryptosporidium oocysts in the public water supply.

les_nessmanUsing prospective syndromic surveillance, we detected statistically significant increases in the presentation of cases of gastroenteritis and diarrhea to general practitioner services and related calls to the national health telephone advice service in those areas affected by the BWN.

In the affected areas, average in-hours general practitioner consultations for gastroenteritis increased by 24.8% (from 13.49 to 16.84) during the BWN period; average diarrhea consultations increased by 28.5% (from 8.33 to 10.71). Local public health investigations revealed no laboratory reported cases confirmed as being associated with the water supply. These findings suggest that the increases reported by syndromic surveillance of cases of gastroenteritis and diarrhea likely resulted from changes in healthcare seeking behaviour driven by the intense local and national media coverage of the potential health risks during the event.

 This study has further highlighted the potential for media-driven bias in syndromic surveillance, and the challenges in disentangling true increases in community infection from those driven by media reporting.

The potential impact of media reporting in syndromic surveillance: An example using a possible Cryptosporidium exposure in north west England, August to September 2015

Euro Surveill. 2016;21(41):pii=30368. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2016.21.41.30368

AJ Elliot, HE Hughes, J Astbury, G Nixon, K Brierley, R Vivancos, T Inns, V Decraene, K Platt, I Lake, SJ O’Brien, GE Smith


Going public: Foody World Listeria edition

Listeria illnesses are tough because they often look like sporadic cases. Linking multiple individuals together, especially with the potential for a long incubation period, is tough. The mantra of share what you know, what you don’t know and be available for questions is one is essential in sharing public health information.

Who knew what, when, and what was the response are a common set of questions following any foodborne illness incident. These questions are being raised by Richmond News following Foody World’s link to six cases of listeriosis. foody-world

An outbreak of the potentially deadly Listeriosis disease at a Richmond grocery store – which is linked to the death of a customer – can be traced back three months.


The Richmond News learned on Tuesday that the first two cases of Listeriosis were reported and confirmed in late July, with another two in August and two more in October.

It was only last Friday, Oct. 14, that health officials were able to finally narrow it down to Foody World on Sexsmith Road, near Garden City Road and Sea Island Way.

“The incubation period for (the Listeria bacteria) could be a couple of months, so it’s difficult to investigate,” explained Claudia Kurzac, VCH’s manager for environmental health programs in Richmond.

A number of stores were named as being used by people in the first few cases that were reported, said Kurzac, making it problematic to accurately trace the source of the outbreak.

“Foody World came up, but so did many others and we had to look into all the others, as well,” she said.

“In early October, the fifth case was reported and only then were we able to narrow it down to Foody World.

“On Oct. 7, we carried out a detailed inspection of Foody World; preliminary results took a week and on the 14th we had it confirmed to be Foody World.”

It’s understood that the customers affected had all consumed processed meat, in particular pork and beef, from the store over the last few months.

Kurzac said the store’s management has brought in a professional cleaning company and are now working with VCH on the store’s procedures and policies. “Clearly, a lot of education is taking place,” she added.

“There will be a lot of testing before they will be allowed to re-open.”

Cleaning and sanitizing of deli slicers? Or is this maybe a supplier issue?