22 sick in Illinois: food poisoning suspected

The Jefferson County Health Department is investigating a possible outbreak of food poisoning which happened April 6.

Health Department Administrator Mark Stevens declined to give the location where the outbreak occurred. He said the department did not begin receiving reports of people becoming sick until April 9.

Becky Brooks, the director of nursing for the health department, said approximately 22 people are part of the department’s investigation, including the ones that presented no symptoms. Brooks confirmed there have been at least two hospitalizations as a result the incident — one person was still hospitalized Monday.

One of the victims said he and three other members of his group became sick following a Sunday brunch at the Holiday Inn and he is part of the investigation. All food at the hotel is prepared by Krieger’s Sports Grill, which is apparently being investigated.

Homemade goods: most Hawaiian lawmakers not in compliance with food safety regulations

State legislators and their staff have been busy whipping up homemade goods for the annual Hawaii Food Bank fundraiser. The effort to raise cash lasts from January to early May and features a variety of fares, from Filipino food to brownies ala mode.   

“Any legislator good with fundraisers often has baked goods from their constituents, so that’s what we find here,” said Rep. Tom Brower.

Hawaii Food Bank fundraiserHowever, unbeknownst to many of the men and women who craft Hawaii’s laws, almost any food sold outside a restaurant or certified kitchen requires a permit.  
“These are short-term events or sales that are going to distribute food to the general public,” explains State Environmental Health Program Manager Peter Oshiro. “Anybody that has or wants to do those types of sales is required to get a temporary food establishment permit from the Health Department.”

Lawmakers organizing the annual drive for the food bank were caught off guard when approached by KITV4 about the need for a Department of Health permit.
“We make the laws here and it wouldn’t be prudent if we didn’t follow the laws that we make, and so it’s all about compliance,” said Vice-Speaker John Mizuno. “I’ll make sure that whenever we send memos at the kickoff of the Hawaii Food Bank fundraising effort, that we attach forms so that offices will know how to be in compliance.”

About 500 temporary food establishment permits are issued by the Health Department every month. Oshiro says the department just wants to make sure that all food is safe.  

22 sick from staph in Vietnam horse-blood pudding

Twenty-two people in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai were poisoned after eating horse-blood pudding due to presence of Staphylococci and E. coli.

Test results of horse blood pudding showed that Staphylococci and E.coli were present in the dish which is reported to be popular with Hmong and other ethnic farming people in the mountains.

Tricorder for food safety?

While the original Star Trek television series was heavy on cheese, I enjoyed the more complex morality tales of Star Trek: The Next Generation (as complex as early 1990s TV could get).

And who doesn’t love them some Patrick Stewart.

patrick.stewartIn the fictional Star Trek universe, a tricorder is a multifunction hand-held device used for sensor scanning, data analysis, and recording data.

A UK based company has unveiled PERES, a handheld device and mobile app which provides information about the freshness and quality of meat, poultry, and fish and protects against food poisoning.

According to the promoters, this portable e-nose and its iOS/Android mobile app enables users to determine the quality, freshness of meat, poultry, and fish and whether it has gone bad and could potentially cause food poisoning.

Users point the PERES at meat and click a button. It works by analysing a sample of the gases for volatile organic compounds and ammonia. Within a few seconds, users receive information on their smartphone or tablet about the food’s freshness, whether it’s been left unrefrigerated and whether there may be a risk of food poisoning.

108 sickened; court rules no negligence in E. coli outbreak at NC state fair

The North Carolina State Fair is not, according to Courthouse News Service, liable after more than 100 people became sick after an E. coli outbreak at its petting zoo in 2004, the state appeals court ruled.

The state’s health department and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention traced the infection of 108 people to the petting zoo at the state fair in 2004. Jeff Rolan and dozens of others then sued the fair’s sponsor, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

amy_s_lamb_aug_121-300x225The North Carolina Industrial Commission ruled in favor of the state, noting that veterinarians prepared for the fair by checking the animals’ health and removing those that were sick. Also, a veterinarian posted additional signs warning patients to wash their hands and also added hand sanitizers to the petting zoo area.


In light of these facts, the commission determined that the state had taken precautions to protect the health of the patrons.
 The plaintiffs argued on appeal that the state should have taken additional cautionary measures, such as providing better supervision, erecting a fence between the children and the animals, and providing information on the risk of E. coli infection. A three-judge panel with the North Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed the commission’s ruling on April 1.
”While it was certainly possible for defendant to take the additional precautions suggested by plaintiffs, we agree with the Commission’s conclusion that Defendant did not fail to act with due care in October of 2004 to minimize the risk of exposure to E. coli,” Judge Linda Stephens wrote for the court. “Sources cited by the Commission note that it is impossible to eliminate the risk of enteric pathogens, like E. coli, in human-to-animal contact settings without eliminating petting zoos altogether.” 

Then maybe they should be eliminated, or at least much better controlled.

Best practices for planning events encouraging human-animal interactions

03.Apr.14

Zoonoses and Public Health

G. Erdozain , K. KuKanich , B. Chapman  and D. Powell

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/zph.12117/abstract?deniedAccess

Educational events encouraging human–animal interaction include the risk of zoonotic disease transmission. ‘It is estimated that 14% of all disease in the USA caused by Campylobacter spp., Cryptosporidium spp., Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157, non-O157 STECs, Listeria monocytogenes, nontyphoidal Salmonella enterica and Yersinia enterocolitica were attributable to animal contact. This article reviews best practices for organizing events where human–animal interactions are encouraged, with the objective of lowering the risk of zoonotic disease transmission.

Walmart challenging Chinese regulators

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is, according to this story, fighting back against Chinese regulatory authorities after facing continuous investigations.

The world’s largest retailer has been forced to pay roughly $10 million over the last three years for violating Chinese food and safety standards. These fines have not only impacted the company’s profitability, they have also hurt its long-term growth prospects by driving traffic away from Walmart stores.

walmart.chinaIn January, it was alleged to have been selling donkey meat, and it was found later there was fox meat in the product under question. Since then, the retailer has worked to improve quality standards through increased testing and new inspection techniques. Over 600 products are now tested daily at Walmart’s distribution centers in China for any flaws. The company also plans to start DNA testing for its meat products.

Although Walmart has taken the initiative to rectify these problems, they say manufacturers need to be investigated by regulatory authorities as well.

Food safety has been one of the biggest issues in China, as thousands of Chinese have fallen ill after consuming unsafe products. However, the story says, Chinese regulators do not investigate or fine local manufacturers or supermarket chains with the same frequency they regulate and fine international retailers.

FDA says, keep lilies away from your cats

The white, trumpet-shaped Easter lily symbolizes Easter and spring for many people, and is a popular decoration in homes at this time of year.

If you have cats, however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants to remind you that these particular flowers, as well as Tiger, Asiatic, Day, and Japanese Show lilies, are a safety threat to your feline friends.

easter.lilyEating small amounts of plants or grass may be normal for cats. But the entire lily plant (leaf, pollen, and flower) is poisonous to them, according to Melanie McLean, a veterinarian at FDA. Even if they just eat a couple of leaves or lick a few pollen grains off their fur, cats can suffer acute kidney failure within a very short period of time.

McLean says that if your cat has eaten part of a lily, the first thing you’ll see is vomiting soon afterwards. That may gradually lessen over two to four hours. Within 12 to 24 hours, the cat may start to urinate frequently. Then, if kidney failure sets in, the cat will stop urinating because the kidneys stop being able to produce urine. Untreated, she says, a cat will die within four to seven days of eating a lily.

220 now sick; Mexico suspends 8 restaurants in sushi chain poisoning

Eight restaurants, a distribution center and two suppliers of restaurant chain Sushi Roll were suspended by the Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks (Cofepris) due to poisoning of 220 customers.

“After consuming food in these businesses had reported the poisoning of 220 people in two different events, so the Cofepris launched an investigation into the sonoran-hotdog-kimbap-vegetarian-platter-copy-300x248quality of products and health conditions in which the company operates,” said the department in a statement.

Among the reasons for the suspension were the lack of control on the temperature of the freezing chamber of food and malfunction of the same, in addition to lacking adequate manuals for preparing food and cross contamination in the sushi prep tables .

“The investigation continues as federal verifiers took 36 samples of food and products for microbiological analysis laboratory and the results will start coming next week,” added the agency. 

Raw sewage, no hot water closes UK kebab shop

The Midhurst kebab shop has been fined for nine offences under food hygiene law in what was described as one of the worst cases of neglect of standards Chichester District Council (CDC) had ever seen.

Istanbul October 2010Following a routine visit by the council’s environmental health officers, the shop was voluntarily closed by Mr Dogdu in January last year after raw sewage was found in the premises close to the food preparation area.

Amongst many other serious matters there was also no working hot water system for washing equipment or hands, mouldy walls and food preparation surfaces in a state of disrepair.

Pleading guilty at Worthing Magistrates’ Court, Mustafa Dogdu who co-runs Ali’s Grill in North Street, has now been fined a total of £650. His brother Mehmed was cautioned by the council for two further offences.

The shop was allowed to reopen two days after the visit when the drains had been unblocked, hot water provided and other works requiring immediate attention completed.

335 students sick in Guatemala

Students who spent the day in the Guatemalan capital said that a lunch of beans and rice had a bad taste, and that the chicken was undercooked, but ate because they were hungry.

vomitThe 335 sick students were evaluated by lifeguards, of which 185 were transferred to the National Hospital of Chimaltenango and the rest received care on campus.