‘Tip of iceburg’ 7 sick from Campylobacter linked to NZ raw milk

A recent outbreak of Campylobacter in Timaru, New Zealand, has been blamed on raw milk.

Seven people have been confirmed as having Campylobacter after purchasing raw milk from a farm on the outskirts of Timaru.

South Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Daniel Williams believes the seven cases colbert.raw.milkare the tip the iceberg.

”Drinking raw milk is risky for your health. It can contain disease-causing bacteria and other organisms which can lead to gastroenteritis and other illnesses, some of which can be life-threatening,” Dr Williams said.

Dr Williams said even drinking raw milk from suppliers with the highest hygiene and safety standards can be dangerous as any raw cow milk can contain bugs.

New Zealand legislation allows producers to sell up to five litres of raw milk daily at the farm gate to buyers who purchase it for themselves or their family.

Campylobacter cases spike in NZ; cross-contamination fingered

A spike in the number of people struck down by a foodborne illness in the MidCentral District Health Board region is most likely the result of cross contamination from poultry meat.

New figures from the Institute of Environmental Science and Research for December show a high number of campylobacteriosis cases, with get.that.finger.out.of.your.ear.airplane49 notified in the MidCentral region.

It is a significant increase compared to previous months, which typically have about 20 to 30 cases.

Massey University Infectious Disease Research Centre director Nigel French said the “urban campylobacter season” was in full swing and was generally when most cases of cross contamination from poultry meat occurred. “There are a whole lot of possible reasons why you might see an increase but November to February is the time when you see most cases of campylobacteriosis in urban areas,” he said.

“In rural areas you tend to see more cases in spring, particularly associated with calving season.”

Good news, bad news: EU Campy and Salmonella illnesses drop, Listeria increases

The constant public health quest is to stay ahead of the bugs by making risk management decisions. With all the focus on pathogen reduction, CDC reported last year that raw numbers show decreases in Salmonella, E.coli O157, Listeria and Yersinia infections and significant increases in Campylobacter and Vibro illnesses (compared to 2006-2008). GoodNewsBadNews

EFSA using similar methods, released information today that shows an increase in Listeria with decreases in Salmonella and Campylobacter in the EU.

Campylobacteriosis is still the most reported disease, accounting for 214,000 cases of infections.

“It is encouraging to see that cases of campylobacteriosis have gone down in 2012. But more investigation and monitoring is needed to see if this is the beginning of a trend”, said Marta Hugas, Acting Head of EFSA’s Risk Assessment and Scientific Assistance Department.

Over the years, salmonellosis has been decreasing- with 91,034 reported cases in 2012. This is mainly due to the successful Salmonella control programmes put in place by EU Member States and the European Commission in poultry, the report said. Most Member States met their Salmonella reduction target for poultry flocks.

Listeriosis accounted for 1,642 reported cases, 10.5% more than in 2011 and has been gradually increasing over the past five years.

NZ eatery scrambles to cover up loo nudes; try our food safety infographics

A trendy pop-up restaurant has outraged customers with 1970s Playboy nudes plastered on the back of toilet doors.

Revealing magazine shots and explicit articles were used as wallpaper in the unisex toilets at Miss Pings, a Vietnamese eatery in the City Works Depot in Auckland.

A spokesman from the Department of Internal Affairs said the raunchy material breached an R18 restriction law and the restaurant could be asked to remove the display.

I understand the toilet is a learning opportunity, whether it’s for 1970s teenagers to be implanted with sex imagery from porn magazines, or food safety infosheets, to distinguish between food safety and food porn.

Miss Pings, try our food safety infographics on the toilet door.


From food safety infosheets to food safety infographics: Can your pâté make you sick?

The concept behind food safety infosheets is to take recent foodborne illness media coverage, and relevant evidence, and provide it to food handlers in a nice package. At first, they were text heavy, boring and weren’t very good. After a couple of years of refinement food safety infosheets turned into tool resulting in measured changes in practices.

If you’re doing the same stuff for 10 years without changing, you’re probably doing the wrong thing.

That’s kind of where we’ve been at with food safety infosheets for the past year. After making a couple of hundred of them we decided the format was getting old and tired. Katrina Levine joined the crew and put some renewed enthusiasm into the storytelling devices – and also suggested that we start making infographics.

After looking at our own lack of skill and capabilities we sought an outside partnership with New Mexico State University Media Productions. They get us; and do fabulous work.

Here’s the first food safety infographic that tells the story of last week’s outbreak of Campylobacter linked to undercooked chicken livers.

Download a pdf of the infographic here.


Six cases of campylobacteriosis linked to chicken liver

Food safety infosheet highlights:

-At least 6 people who consumed raw or undercooked chicken livers, mostly chicken liver pâté have been infected with Campylobacter in Washington and Oregon.Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 6.57.43 PM

- A recent study found that about 77% of raw chicken livers are contaminated with Campylobacter.

- Multiple outbreaks of Campylobacter infections linked to chicken livers have been reported in the United Kingdom and Australia.

Click here to download.

6 sick in campy outbreak linked to chicken liver pate; high-end restaurants mortified, 1 sick from pills

In a follow-up to the news of a Campylobacter outbreak centered in Oregon, Lynne Terry of The Oregonian quotes Dr. Katrina Hedberg, state epidemiologist in Oregon, as saying restaurants and stores supplied with the product are “mortified” and that one of the six sick people actually consumed chicken liver pills.

Terry reports that in all cases, the chicken livers were processed at Draper Valley Farms in Vernon, Wash., and the processor sold them raw to restaurants and stores, which turned chicken-liver-pate-2them into pate.

“You have to cook it through and through, just like chicken or ground beef,” Hedberg said.

Draper Valley did not issue a recall. Under U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations, processors are allowed to sell chicken livers tainted with a high level of campylobacter. In fact, one study showed that 77 percent are contaminated with the bacteria.

“This is a high-risk food,” Hedberg said.

6 sick from chicken liver pate in Oregon, Washington

When I think Oregon, I tend not to think UK. But these regions are apparently bound by a passion for undercooked chiken liver pate resulting in Campylobacter outbreaks.

Since December 2013, Oregon health officials have been looking into the source of campylobacteriosis that has sickened six individuals in Oregon, Washington and Ohio. All cases report eating undercooked or raw chicken livers; most cases consumed chicken pate_beet_dp_mar_12livers prepared as pâté. The cases in Ohio ate chicken liver pâté while visiting Oregon. The Oregon Health Authority is working with the Washington Department of Health, USDA and CDC.

This is the second reported multistate outbreak of campylobacteriosis associated with consumption of undercooked chicken liver in the United States.

Australia has had its own outbreak.

Chicken livers should be considered a risky food. A recent study found up to 77 percent of chicken livers tested were positive for Campylobacter. Washing chicken livers is not enough; chicken livers can be contaminated on the inside and on the outside, which is why thorough cooking is the only way to kill bacteria in contaminated livers.

(Hint: don’t wash them, you’re just spreading Campylobacter around your kitchen.)

Pâté made with chicken liver is often undercooked to preserve texture. It can be difficult to tell if pâté is cooked thoroughly because livers are often partially cooked then blended with other ingredients and chilled. Pâté prepared at a USDA inspected facility is considered safe to eat because in order to pass inspection the livers must be cooked to a proper temperature.

The 2009 FDA Food Code states that restaurants must inform customers about the risk of eating undercooked food; the warnings are often included at the bottom of restaurant menus.

3 sick with Campylobacter in Oregon, Coos Bay Oyster recalls shucked and in-shell oysters

Lynne Terry writes that Coos Bay Oyster Co. is recalling oysters over a food poisoning outbreak that has sickened at least three people in Oregon.

The company, based in Charleston, said it is pulling all of its shucked oysters and in-shell oysters sold to retail stores and wholesalers in Oregon and California.

The shucked oysters were sold in 1/2 gallon, quart, pint and half-pint containers with sell-by dates from Jan. 15 to Feb. 17. The containers carry the Coos Bay Oyster Co. label and Coos Bay Oyster Co.are marked raw/ready-to-eat shucked oysters.

The oysters in-shell were distributed in red onion sacks, each containing five dozen oysters of various sizes. They, too, have the company’s label, with harvest dates from December 2013 to January 2014.

Perceptions, behaviors and kitchen hygiene of people who have and have not suffered campylobacteriosis: a case study

I usually say, those that have knowingly had foodborne illness are more likely to pay attention to restaurant inspection data, be more attentive shoppers and take extra care at home.

Maybe I’ve been talking out my ass.

Or maybe not; it’s hard to know based on the results of a small-scale UK study.

Researchers looked at self-reported kitchen behaviors and perceptions (surveys still suck) of people who have had campylobacteriosis in chickencomparison to people who have not had food poisoning. It also investigates microbiological kitchen hygiene within a smaller sample.

Follow-up surveys were done six months later and found that individuals who had not had food poisoning increased their optimism: it’s risk perception 101; things didn’t go bad yesterday so there’s a better chance things won’t go bad today.

And, as usual, there was a call for more effective food safety communication. No tips on how to do that.


Whilst the scale of food poisoning in the home is not fully understood, the increase in sporadic cases of Campylobacter continues to place focus on home hygiene and domestic food safety practices. Domestic hygiene has rarely been identified as a risk factor for the incidence of campylobacteriosis but due to the high levels of sporadic cases of chicken.thingies.rawCampylobacter, cross contamination from kitchen practices remains of significant interest. Due to the complexities of human nature, finding the true risk perceptions and practices that take place in the kitchen is challenging, with social desirability bias affecting the results of surveys and optimistic bias influencing risk perceptions. This study looks at self-reported kitchen behaviours and perceptions of people who have had campylobacteriosis in comparison to people who have not had food poisoning. It also investigates microbiological kitchen hygiene within a smaller sample. The survey crucially includes a longitudinal element to investigate any change that may take place after a period of six months has elapsed. Optimistic bias was evident in both groups and no significant difference in perception was noted in the baseline study. However, the longitudinal study showed that individuals who had not had food poisoning increased their optimism, introducing a significant difference in optimistic bias between the two groups after six months had elapsed. Self-reported kitchen behaviours also exhibited a difference between the two groups, with the individuals who had campylobacteriosis responding more favourably with the exception of washing chicken and washing salad leaves sold in a bag. No evidence of kitchen hygiene differences could be found between the people who had suffered campylobacteriosis in comparison to people who had not had food poisoning. The results of the survey demonstrate that more effective food safety communication is required. Important messages such as ‘not washing chicken’ seem not to have been absorbed and the good practices become routine. These messages need particularly to be aimed towards people who may not perceive themselves as being at risk of getting food poisoning, such as the young, although the challenge of changing the practice of those who perceive themselves to be at low risk remains.

Food Control, Volume 41, July 2014, Pages 82–90

Caroline Millman, Dan Rigby, Gareth Edward-Jones, Lorraine Lighton, Davey Jones