Nosestretcher alert: eating locally helps prevent foodborne illness?

The Globe and Mail, based in Toronto and self-proclaimed public record of all thing Canadian, used to be decent. There are still good people there, and some are my friends.

imagesBut this is just crap.

Jason Tetro, a similarly self-proclaimed microbiologist, writes that the first investigations in 2002 focused on comparisons between locally and organically grown foods and those sold in large grocery stores. The results revealed those who chose foods grown closer to home were more likely to have a safer supply with less pesticides, better food quality and, more importantly, less post-harvest handling, which is known to be a significant factor in foodborne infection spread.

No.

By 2010, these differences were solidified as being the basis for better microbiological quality in local foods. Researchers searched for the reasons behind foodborne outbreaks and found links to several well-known problems associated with large-scale farming. …

The most meaningful comparison for consumers comes in the form of statistics. Outbreaks resulting from large-scale farming continue to grab headlines both in the media and scientific literature. In contrast, only a few outbreaks resulting from eating locally grown food have been recorded. In these rare cases, the problems were the result of a significant environmental change, such as a major rain storm or flood. There were almost no cases of local malpractice leading to infection.

This is bullshit.

The only meaningful comparison, statistically speaking, would be to compare incidence of foodborne illness per capita – on a meal eaten basis.

And then he cites the bullshit clean, cook. chill separate, ideology without the source food from safe sources, from farmers who know what they’re doing bit.

Person with diarrhea most likely source of Crypto at Georgia splash pad

An infected person with diarrhea who used the East Athens Community Park splash pad earlier this month is the likely source for the recent spread of the parasite Cryptosporidium confirmed to have infected at least 16 children, the Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services Department and the Clarke County Health Department determined this week.

diaper.poolAccording to a statement, the CCHD was alerted Aug. 11 to several cases of children falling ill after attending a private party at the splash pad on Aug. 3. As part of its investigation, the health department contacted Leisure Services Aug. 12 for information and took water samples soon after. Water samples were submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the next day, and while final CDC test results are not expected until later this week, the health department confirmed samples taken from infected children indicate Cryptosporidium, commonly known as Crypto.

One of the leading causes of recreational water illness, Crypto is spread when people swallow water recently contaminated by an infected person’s fecal matter.

Once the health department determined Crypto as a probable cause, staff at Leisure Services initiated a precautionary disinfectant treatment at the splash pad prior to reopening it to the public. The treatment used more than twice the amount of chlorine shown by CDC studies to eradicate Crypto and was used for a longer period of time than required by the health department, according to ACC Leisure Services Park Services Division Maintenance Supervisor Keith Kirkland.

‘Apocalyptic’ vomiting bug hits French tourists

Hundreds of French tourists fell violently sick at a posh Greek hotel creating what one visitor called an “apocalyptic” scene that had guests vomiting in the swimming pool and hallways.

Lindos Imperial Resort and SpaA mysterious vomiting bug is sweeping through a five-star resort on the island of Rhodes and has sickened hundreds of French tourists who are now demanding answers.

One visitor described the nausea-inducing scene at the Lindos Imperial Resort and Spa to French daily La Depeche this week.

“Like hundreds of other holidaymakers, my family and I suddenly came down with vomiting and acute diarrhoea. My wife even got sick in a restaurant,” Jean-Pierre Lacaux, who spent €20,000 on the two-week trip for his family, told the paper.

“I saw people vomit in the pools and hallways…everywhere. It was Dantean, apocalyptic.”

In a meeting the angry and ill guests had with management they were told little about what was causing the outbreak. The manager reportedly tried to minimize the number of sick, saying there were at most 100 ill people.

A chocolate toilet? A $133,000 bathroom suite made out of Belgian chocolate

When I think chocolate toilet, I’m thinking of some 50-something digestive issue that explodes way too fast.

la-chocolate-bathroom-suite-20140820-photos-001Bathrooms.com, a bathroom furniture retail site, and U.K.-based chocolatiers Choccywoccydoodah have gotten together to create a bathroom furnished with Belgian chocolate. The set is being advertised on Bathroomsweets.com, a site Bathrooms.com Chief Executive Ian Monk decided to create after seeing people frequently mispell suite as sweet.

“We realized that over a million British people searching for new bathrooms were popping ‘bathroom sweets,’ rather than ‘bathroom suites’ into their preferred search engines,” said Monk in a statement on Bathroomsweets.com. “The simple mistake caught our imagination, what if we created a bathroom suite, out of something sweet?”

The Maderno Sweet bathroom set includes a 210,000-calorie chocolate bidet, a 210,000-calorie chocolate sink, an 8 million-calorie chocolate tub and a 980,000-calorie chocolate toilet. The entire set has 9.4 million calories and is listed for sale on the site for $133,040. Or you can purchase the pieces individually. Everything is made fresh, so you can expect a two- to three-month wait time.

eaten, can be kept at room temperature for years. And you can add a layer of varnish if you’d like to preserve your sweet suite even longer.

Defense attorney grills former peanut plant manager in trial linked to Salmonella outbreak

Defense attorneys for three people charged in a deadly salmonella outbreak sought to deflect blame and poke holes in the government’s case Tuesday as they questioned a co-defendant, who is a key prosecution witness.

PCA.AIB.certificateThe co-defendant, Samuel Lightsey, was a former manager of a Georgia peanut processing plant blamed in the 2008-09 outbreak. He was indicted along with his former boss, Peanut Corporation of America owner Stewart Parnell, and two others. Lightsey pleaded guilty in May after reaching a deal with prosecutors.

The 76-count indictment accuses Parnell and his brother, food broker Michael Parnell, of shipping tainted products to customers and covering up lab tests showing they contained salmonella. It also charges Stewart Parnell and the plant’s quality assurance manager, Mary Wilkerson, with obstructing justice.

Tom Bondurant, an attorney for Stewart Parnell, asked Lightsey about his plea agreement, which recommends that he not serve more than six years in prison. He had been facing decades behind bars.

Bondurant then pointed out that the government’s lawyers could ask the judge for further leniency, including no prison time, if Lightsey’s able to “substantially assist” their efforts.

“So the truth alone is not enough. You need a scalp to make this deal work, don’t you?” Bondurant said.

Bondurant asked Lightsey a series of questions to demonstrate that Stewart Parnell had given him considerable authority over the Georgia plant and relied on him.

“You made decisions every day about how to run the plant, didn’t you?” Bondurant said.

“That’s the job,” Lightsey responded.

Bondurant also had Lightsey review audits predating the salmonella outbreak that showed the plant receiving high marks from inspectors and a box of what he said was nearly 4,000 lab reports, of which about a dozen tested positive for salmonella.

Bacteria found in water samples from Malaysia’s vending machines

The water you buy from vending machines in Malaysia may not be as clean as you think.

bottled.water.malaysiaTwenty-nine samples of water were drawn from such machines throughout the Klang Valley – and almost all were contaminated.

There were harmful E. coli, Coliform and Clostridium perfringens microbes – the same kind of bacteria found in untreated sewage.

Coliform and Clostridium perfringens are also the same bacteria found in human and animal faeces.

These bacteria can cause cramps, diarrhoea and other gastrointestinal problems.

The Star conducted the tests together with Forum Air Malaysia, an organisation formed to assist the National Water Services Commission.

13 dead: Listeria found in another Danish workplace

Another sandwich meat producer has been hit by the Listeria outbreak that has now claimed 13 lives in Denmark. The food product authorities Fødevarestyrelsen ordered the Delika plant near Hammel to close its doors – for 24 hours – so that cutting equipment and other listeriaequipment that came into contact with contaminated ‘rullepølse’ sandwich meat, which originated from Jørn A Rullepølser in Hedehusene near Copenhagen, can be thoroughly cleaned.

 “Delika Hammel wants to protect our customers and eliminate any possible risk,” the company said in a statement.

A wide range of Delika products were pulled from the shelves of shops last week. The meats were cut on machines that had been in contact with the infected products from Jørn A Rullepølser, and authorities feared cross-contamination could have occurred.

Belleisle Farms brand cole slaw recalled due to Listeria monocytogenes

Roy Pope and Sons is recalling Belleisle Farms brand cole slaw from the marketplace due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Consumers should not consume the recalled product described below.

belleisle.cole.slaw.listeriaRecalled products

Brand Name: Belleisle Farms        

Common Name: Garden Fresh Cole Slaw         

Size: 227 g     

Code(s) on Product: Best Before:

2014-08-19    

UPC: 0 33383 65260 3

This recall was triggered by Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) test results. The CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.

The CFIA is verifying that industry is removing recalled product from the marketplace.

Improperly processed low-acid foods sold at Virginia farmers market; health alert issued

In 2011, a 29-year-old man was hospitalized after five days of progressive dizziness, blurred vision, dysphagia, and difficulty breathing. The patient required mechanical ventilation and botulism antitoxin. He remained in the hospital for 57 days and then spent some time in a rehabilitation facility. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he had tasted some potato soup that included botulinum toxin.

In 1977, 59 patrons of a Detroit Mexican restaurant became ill with botulism after consuming improperly canned peppers. As a result of rumors of a pending shortage of fresh peppers, the restaurant staff decided to stick lightly-cooked peppers and some water in jars and seal them.

Putting low acid foods in a jar and sealing them without either acidifying (with vinegar/fermentation) or processing using pressure is a bad idea.

According to WTVR, Corfino Foods of Richmond VA has been selling soups and sauces that were improperly processed resulting in a health alert from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.corfino-foods

These products were improperly processed, making them susceptible to contamination with Clostridium botulinum.

Corfinio Foods has already suspended production of all of its canned soups and sauces and the firm is currently working with VDACS to come into compliance with state requirements.

Although there have been no reported cases of illness associated with these products, VDACS is issuing this consumer warning so that people who have previously purchased the products do not consume them.

The soups and sauces are packaged in glass, mason style jars with metal, screw on lids and have been sold at the Brandermill Green Market. The jars are marked with the Corfinio Foods label.

The firm was made aware of the dangers associated with selling improperly processed foods of this type and is working with VDACS and the market to notify consumers of the product recall.

Consumers who have any of these products or any foods made with these products should discard them immediately. They should double bag the jars in plastic bags and place in a trash receptacle for non-recyclable trash. Those who don’t wear gloves when handling these products should wash their hands with soap and running water after handling.

 

122 sick: Alberta health officials trying to pinpoint cause of E. coli outbreak

A spike of E. coli cases in Alberta has health officials trying to pinpoint the cause.

cow.poop.spinachThere have been over 120 cases reported over the last few weeks across the province. Officials say since July 15 there have been 59 confirmed cases in Calgary, 48 cases in Edmonton, seven cases in the South, six cases in the North and two cases in the Central zone.

Andrea Rohachuk says she fell victim to the illness after eating out at a southeast Calgary restaurant.

“It came on pretty quick,” she remembers. “I was in the hospital for about 10 hours before they sent me home, but definitely it was the sickest I’ve ever been in my whole life.

 “I’ve maybe had a little bit of food poisoning, it kind of just goes through you, but [E. coli] was a thousand times worse than that.”

So far, a single cause behind the outbreak hasn’t been identified.

“It is too early. We’re in the middle of the investigation, and we hope we’ll be able to identify a common source if possible,” says Dr. Richard Musto, AHS Medical Officer of Health for the Calgary Zone. “We’ve got this increased number, so we’re trying to see are there any patterns, anything that would link one case to another.”