Bureaucrats at work, more eggs recalled: Australia sucks at this recall-provision-of-information thing

My elderly parents arrived from Canada yesterday, and we took them out to dinner.

barfblog.Stick It InThe restaurant knows me, knows my concerns, and does not serve aioli (garlic and mayonnaise) on those occasions when I venture out because they make it with raw eggs.

Australia not only has an egg problem, it has a regulatory problem.

The company that packed those eggs involved in the Salmonella outbreak that sickened at least 20 in the Gold Coast, and may be linked to 250 illnesses in Brisbane (but nobody’s talking about that) has expanded its list of recalled products because they’re dirty.

Safefood Queensland today decided to tweet, “Don’t serve raw egg foods that won’t be cooked to the elderly, small children, pregnant women & people with compromised immune systems.”

250 school principals generally don’t fall into those categories. A table of the shit fest of Australian raw egg outbreaks is available at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/raw-egg-related-outbreaks-australia-3-12-15-2.pdf. Why are consumers the critical control point in this?

raw.eggsLast week, the safefood group endorsed an infosheet from Queensland Health that said, “Make sure to cook chicken thoroughly so that there is no pink meat and the juices run clear.”

I can’t make this stuff up. Tax dollars at work.

Use pasteurized eggs. Use a tip-sensitive digital thermometer and stick it in.

‘It’s a mitigation measure’ Food safety amateur hour continues in Queensland with ‘dirty eggs’

With 250 teachers sick from a conference, and an additional 20 people sick in a separate outbreak around Brisbane – but apparently using the same egg supplier – people are now being told it’s possible dirty eggs may be the cause.

mountain_range_eggsThis isn’t CSI, with its groovy UV lights that make great television but lousy science.

This also isn’t rocket surgery: publicly release all surveillance data on raw eggs in Queensland (or Australia), publicly release the menu items at the Queensland Convention Center and the Grocer and Grind on the Gold Coast where two of their own chefs got sick, and tell chefs to stop using raw eggs in dishes they have to so expertly craft from scratch like aioli or mayonnaise.

This is nothing new and we have been documenting the problem for years. A table of Australian raw egg Salmonella outbreaks is available here (or here to download the spreadsheet).

Queensland Health yesterday revealed 1,895 cases of Salmonella had been detected since the start of the year, more than double previous levels, prompting an alert to businesses involved in food preparation and the wider community.

Safe Food Production Queensland general manager Phil Pond said Darling Downs Fresh Eggs had immediately issued the voluntary recall of the dirty eggs once notified.

Mr Pond said salmonella bacteria was carried in many animals, especially poultry and pigs, and any ingestion of fecal matter could be harmful to people.

But because the fecal matter could not be entirely eliminated, Queensland had adopted a mitigation strategy which included limiting the sale of any produce, including dirty eggs.

my.brain.hurts“Queensland has had a food safety scheme since 2005 with a salmonella mitigation strategy,” Mr Pond said.

“That’s what this is, a mitigation measure.

“Darling Downs Fresh Eggs has done everything possible to alert the public of the possible dirty eggs in the market place.”

Not quite.

Queensland Health’s Sophie Dwyer said an increase in raw egg consumption, poor food handling and hygiene standards, and consumption of cracked and dirty eggs had all contributed.

“One of the issues is that sometimes people think dirty eggs indicate they’re more healthy, or naturally produced,” Dwyer said.

“But if they are dirty it doesn’t mean they’re safer, they’re more hazardous.

“We are seeing a wider range of products being produced in the home and restaurants that include raw eggs. Products like aioli, mayonnaise, mousse and tiramisu use raw eggs and therefore don’t have a step that would kill any salmonella bacteria.”

Peter Collignon of the Austalian National University said salmonella cases were increasing each year, with more than 10,000 reported cases annually, adding, “The problem is that in Australia, we don’t take the same precautions as other countries do to keep salmonella rates down.”

The restaurant industry was a major source of contamination, he said, because it was impossible for consumers to tell which meals on a menu contained raw egg.

Food porn crazy in Australia: feed your baby formula from liver and beef broth

An Australian baby recipe book that advocates milk formula based on liver and bone broth has been put on indefinite hold after intervention by a consortium of health organizations.

PeteEvans_articleBut no worries for one of the authors of Bubba Yum Yum: The Paleo Way, Pete Evans (right, exactly as shown), he’ll keep his food porn gig as a Channel 7 My Kitchen Rules judge.

The other authors are baby recipe blogger Charlotte Carr and naturopath Helen Padarin. None have medical qualifications.

“In my view, there’s a very real possibility that a baby may die if this book goes ahead,” Professor Heather Yeatman, president of the Public Health Association of Australia, has told The Weekly online.

Experts warn it contains more than ten times the safe maximum daily intake of vitamin A for babies and inadequate levels of other nutrients.

“That’s the really troubling thing: the infant is totally at the whim of their parents when it comes to feeding,” says Prof Yeatman. “If the wrong decision is made, they may be seriously affected.”

Paleo advocate Pete Evans has more than 780,000 Likes on his Facebook page, which includes many personal testimonials from fans. He describes his current national speaking tour as “spreading the medicine”.

In his foreword to the book, he implies that the Paleo diet may help prevent autism, birth defects, behavioural disorders, digestive disorders, rashes and asthma.


Australia still has an egg problem: And a food safety culture problem

It’s a simple question that journalists and beaurocrats in Queensland (that’s in Australia) seem unwilling to answer: were raw eggs used in any of the menu items that sickened 250 school principals, and now an additional 20 people on the Gold Coast?

Catch22Australians are into food porn – show us mere residents the recipes.

Darling Downs Fresh Eggs,a Queensland egg producer, has issued a voluntary recall of its caged and mountain range free eggs.

In a statement, the company said it issued the recall after being advised of a production issue with the eggs that had a Julian date of 036 up to and including 063.

“It was possible that dirty eggs may have been packed into some of these cartons and we are implementing a voluntary recall of these eggs,” the statement said.

Food safety amateur hour continues in Brisbane.

Those 250 school principals that got sick in Brisbane at a conference last week?

Nothing, no follow up.

Now, with at least 20 people sick linked to eggs at a Gold Coast restaurant in a separate outbreak, the most telling lines in a press conference earlier today were that the restaurant continued to sell food after their head chef was hospitalized with food poisoning.

Grocer and Grind manager Martin Kralovic said the cafe’s head chef, James Lennon, was rushed to hospital on Sunday morning after eating some of the store’s eggs.

The following day a second Grocer and Grind chef was rushed to hospital with food poisoning.

Despite the two contaminations, Mr Kralovic said the cafe continued to serve customers until Tuesday when Gold Coast City Council health authorities inspected the venue.

Health inspectors cleared the cafe but were unable to confirm whether the eggs were the cause of the contamination. The cafe had dumped its stock of eggs on Sunday, fearing they may have been linked to the illness.

Mr Lennon, who was bedridden for four days, said he felt like he was going to die.

“I started feeling ill at about midnight on Saturday. I immediately knew it was the eggs because it is all that I had really eaten that day.

“Also a week prior to that our egg supplier turned up and told us they had been shutdown due to the contamination (at the convention centre) in Brisbane.”


The Gold Coast Bulletin became aware of the food poisoning outbreak after being contacted by the father of a woman who became ill on Saturday evening.

The man, who did not want to be named, said his adult daughter was admitted to Robina Hospital late on Saturday after eating eggs benedict at Grocer and Grind in the morning.

She ended up spending three days in hospital on a drip and yesterday was still very unwell and resting at home.

He said there were about 12 other patients in hospital with his daughter at the same time who were ill after eating at the cafe.

Mr Kralovic said the eggs came from the same farm which was involved in the recent contamination at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

It is understood the farm was forced to source eggs from another farm after the convention centre contamination.

The Bulletin contacted the second egg supplier but a staff member declined to comment.

Gold Coast Health spokesman yesterday said an outbreak of 20 people was classed as severe and the public health unit were investigating but could not confirm the cafe as suspected source for legal reasons related to the Food Act.


20 sick in new Salmonella outbreak: Australia still has an egg problem

Amy figures we ate at this place last year.

Grocer and GrindAt least 20 people are believed to have been hospitalised after eating at Broadbeach cafe Grocer and Grind.

The venue’s head chef is reportedly among those admitted to hospital.

Some of those affected reported eating eggs benedict on Saturday morning and were admitted that evening with severe diarrhoea requiring several days in hospital.

Gold Coast Health has today confirmed the public health unit is investigating the possible source but at this stage have not publicly named the eatery involved.

But Grocer and Grind manager Martin Krolovic confirmed the cafe’s head chef had been hospitalised and had only just been discharged.

“The owners are on there way here to sort this out with out head chef who has only just got out of hospital,” he said.

“I don’t know any more than that.”

A table of Australian egg outbreaks is available at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/raw-egg-related-outbreaks-australia-3-2-15.xlsx

Australian mums go for placenta smoothies

My first four daughters were born at home. We buried the placentas under trees to commemorate the kids. Some people make soup. At least that’s a kill step.

placenta.smoothieBut a smoothie? And of course, it’s the affluent.

An ancient practice of consuming the placenta after birth is gaining popularity in some affluent Sydney suburbs.

Pre-natal yoga teacher, doula and placenta specialist Brooke Martin, 38, said over the past three years she had helped nearly 100 new mums turn their placentas into “vitamin” capsules and even smoothies, using just a thumbnail-sized piece of the placenta, blended with fruit and ice.

She said there was evidence to show valuable stem cells and nutrients in the placenta can boost energy levels, help prevent post natal depression, reduce post-birth bleeding and ­increase milk supply.


E. coli in Australian pigs

Background: Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) are a major economic threat to pig production globally, with serogroups O8, O9, O45, O101, O138, O139, O141, O149 and O157 implicated as the leading diarrhoeal pathogens affecting pigs below four weeks of age.

kid_pig_kissA multiple antimicrobial resistant ETEC O157 (O157 SvETEC) representative of O157 isolates from a pig farm in New South Wales, Australia that experienced repeated bouts of pre- and post-weaning diarrhoea resulting in multiple fatalities was characterized here. Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) O157:H7 cause both sporadic and widespread outbreaks of foodborne disease, predominantly have a ruminant origin and belong to the ST11 clonal complex. Here, for the first time, we conducted comparative genomic analyses of two epidemiologically-unrelated porcine, disease-causing ETEC O157; E. coli O157 SvETEC and E. coli O157:K88 734/3, and examined their phylogenetic relationship with EHEC O157:H7.

Results: O157 SvETEC and O157:K88 734/3 belong to a novel sequence type (ST4245) that comprises part of the ST23 complex and are genetically distinct from EHEC O157. Comparative phylogenetic analysis using PhyloSift shows that E. coli O157 SvETEC and E. coli O157:K88 734/3 group into a single clade and are most similar to the extraintestinal avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) isolate O78 that clusters within the ST23 complex. Genome content was highly similar between E. coli O157 SvETEC, O157:K88 734/3 and APEC O78, with variability predominantly limited to laterally acquired elements, including prophages, plasmids and antimicrobial resistance gene loci. Putative ETEC virulence factors, including the toxins STb and LT and the K88 (F4) adhesin, were conserved between O157 SvETEC and O157:K88 734/3. The O157 SvETEC isolate also encoded the heat stable enterotoxin STa and a second allele of STb, whilst a prophage within O157:K88 734/3 encoded the serum survival gene bor. Both isolates harbor a large repertoire of antibiotic resistance genes but their association with mobile elements remains undetermined.

flying.pig.kids.in.the.hallConclusions: We present an analysis of the first draft genome sequences of two epidemiologically-unrelated, pathogenic ETEC O157. E. coli O157 SvETEC and E. coli O157:K88 734/3 belong to the ST23 complex and are phylogenetically distinct to EHEC O157 lineages that reside within the ST11 complex.

Comparative genomic analysis of a multiple antimicrobial resistant enterotoxigenic E. coli O157 lineage from Australian pigs

BMC Genomics 2015, 16:165

Ethan Wyrsch, Piklu Roy Chowdhury, Sam Abraham, Jerran Santos, Aaron E Darling, Ian G Charles, Toni A Chapman and Steven P Djordjevic


Food safety cleanup: and don’t celebrate International Women’s Day at an all-male club in Australia

Three new cases of hepatitis A linked to recalled frozen berries imported from China have been reported in Australia, bringing the total to 26. Sucks. Cook frozen berries for one minute, see our infosheet at http://barfblog.com/2015/02/new-food-safety-infosheet-hepatitis-a-illnesses-linked-to-frozen-berries-in-australia/

john.oliverWe don’t need no inspection: The farmer who runs an organic dairy farm in Minnesota will appear in court Monday, defending his refusal to allow a state inspection he doesn’t want and contends his farm doesn’t need. Raw milk, live free or die.

Royal China Restaurant in Chamblee, Atlanta, serves some of the city’s best dim sum. Just don’t order the lobster. An employee was observed hitting lobster against the inside of a trash can while prepping the crustacean during a recent routine health inspection. There were also four dead lobsters inside a holding tank at the restaurant at 3295 Chamblee Dunwoody Road.

Fund us: Local health departments that spent more money on food safety and sanitation experienced significantly lower incidences of salmonella and cryptosporidium, according to a University of Washington study published today in the American Journal of Public Health.

From the duh files, and why I ignore Washington: The U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report last week stating that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration “is not planning to meet” mandates required within the Food Safety Modernization Act and the agency is raising doubts that the high number of required inspections is actually beneficial in any way.

McDonald’s capitulates, saying it plans to start using chicken raised without antibiotics commonly used in humans, and milk from cows that are not treated with rBST. That’s normal. McDonald’s killed off the genetically engineered Bt potato about 2000 because of its purchasing decisions, ensuring increased pesticide use around the fragile waterways of PEI and New Brunswick (in Canada).

There are literally tons of human poop on Mount Everest and it’s now estimated that they leave behind up to 26,500 pounds of excrement annually — and it’s getting to the point where the pits of poop and urine surrounding these camps are becoming a serious environmental and health problem.

How does one eliminate a norovirus outbreak? The Village Manor in Michigan claims to have done that. Probably with laser cats.

And Australia continues to embarrass itself, with the governing party celebrating International Women’s Day at an all-male club. Fortunately, John Oliver is a better comedian than I am (and I may be a better food safety type than John Oliver).

Why does Australia have these huge outbreaks? And an egg problem? 250 now sick from principals’ conference

The number of people who have been struck down by food poisoning since eating at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre last week as part of a principals conference has jumped to 250.

salmonella.eggsThe cases are spread across Queensland with the highest numbers in Cairns and the Sunshine Coast with 34 cases reported in each of those regions.

About 1400 people descended on the venue for the conference on Thursday and Friday last week.

The outbreak is the second worst case of salmonella poisoning in the state’s history.

The worst was in November 2013 from a Melbourne Cup function with 350 reported cases and 12 hospitalizations.

A 77-year-old women’s death was linked to that outbreak which was suspected to have been caused by bad eggs.

An outbreak of Salmonella in January this year from deep fried ice cream at Chin Chin restaurant (it was the eggs) led to 141 cases with at least eight people hospitalized.

A table of Australian egg outbreaks is available at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/raw-egg-related-outbreaks-australia-3-2-15.xlsx\