Over 100 sick; Wisconsin school district deals with aftermath of Campylobacter

After a severe illness sends dozens of students home sick, attendance is back to normal at Durand schools.

football.vomitMore than 100 total students in the district were reported absent last wee, with Durand’s football team being hardest hit by the illness.

There are 19 confirmed cases of campylobacter; all are members of the football team.

UK’s FSA was supposed to be independent; agrees to name stores that sell chicken contaminated with campy

The food safety watchdog is to name and shame supermarkets that sell chicken contaminated with a dangerous food-poisoning bug after the scandal was exposed by the Daily Mail.

borat.chickenThe UK Food Standards Agency has been testing chicken sold in the high street for campylobacter, which is associated with 100 deaths a year and 280,000 food-poisoning cases.

In August, officials said the names of shops involved should be kept secret until at least next summer following lobbying from stores, producers and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs over fears the news would damage the industry.

But following pressure from the Mail, academics and consumer groups, it has agreed to identify them.

The results will reveal which of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, the Co-op, Waitrose, and Marks & Spencer has the highest contamination levels.

The FSA began quarterly surveys of chicken sold on the high street in February to establish the levels of campylobacter. The first revealed that 59 per cent of 853 birds tested positive for the bug.

Some 16 per cent of the roasting birds tested positive for the highest level of contamination.

roast.chicken.june.10One in 20 sealed packs of chicken were even contaminated on the outside, suggesting that simply picking them up created a risk.

The FSA said it would be unfair to name the stores because its sample sizes were small and the public would not understand the results.

This from the same agency that thinks the public is too stupid to use a meat thermometer, so goes with piping hot.

Erik Millstone, professor of science policy at the University of Sussex, said: ‘The FSA was supposed to be independent of commercial and political pressures. Recent events show that in practice the FSA was blown off course by industrial and political pressures.’

45 sick from Campylobacter linked to raw milk in Utah

Utah public health officials are investigating a few cases of sickness associated with raw or unpasteurized milk.

A few? Is there that many people in Utah?

colbert.raw.milkSo far, 45 cases of Campylobacter infection have been confirmed in people who had raw milk in the week they got sick.

Officials said the illness has been reported in Cache, Davis, Morgan, Salt Lake, Utah and Weber counties.

Two cases have also been confirmed in California and Idaho.

The first case of the infection was reported May 9.

The Utah Dept. of Health said all 45 cases are linked to raw milk or cream purchased at Ropelato Dairy in Weber County.

The Utah Dept. of Agriculture suspended the dairy’s license to sell raw milk on Aug. 4 after several tests were positive for Campylobacter.

Larry Lewis with the UDAF said the dairy has been very cooperative in working with the inspectors and it will be allowed to sell raw milk again as soon as it consistently passes safety tests.

Careful with that fondue: determinants of the campylobacteriosis winter peak in Switzerland

Campylobacteriosis is the most frequently reported food borne infection in Switzerland. We investigated determinants of infections and illness experience in wintertime. A case–control study was conducted in Switzerland between December 2012 and February 2013. Cases were recruited among laboratory-confirmed campylobacteriosis patients. Population-based controls were matched according to age group, sex and canton of residence. We determined risk factors associated with campylobacteriosis, and help seeking behaviour and illness perception.

fondueThe multivariable analysis identified two factors associated with an increased risk for campylobacteriosis: consumption of meat fondue (matched odds ratio [mOR] 4.0, 95 % confidence interval [CI] 2.3–7.1) and travelling abroad (mOR 2.7, 95 % CI 1.1–6.4). Univariable analysis among meat fondue consumers revealed chicken as the type of meat with the highest risk of disease (mOR 3.8, 95 % CI 1.1–13.5). Most frequently reported signs and symptoms among patients were diarrhoea (98 %), abdominal pain (81 %), fever (66 %), nausea (44 %) and vomiting (34 %). The median perceived disease severity was 8 on a 1-to-10 rating scale. Patients reported a median duration of illness of 7 days and 14 % were hospitalised. Meat fondues, mostly “Fondue chinoise”, traditionally consumed during the festive season in Switzerland, are the major driver of the epidemic campylobacteriosis peak in wintertime. At these meals, individual handling and consumption of chicken meat may play an important role in disease transmission. Laboratory-confirmed patients are severely ill and hospitalisation rate is considerable. Public health measures such as decontamination of chicken meat and improved food handling behaviour at the individual level are urgently needed.

European Journal of Epidemiology

Philipp Justus Bless, Claudia Schmutz, Kathrin Suter, Marianne Jost, Jan Hattendorf, Mirjam Mäusezahl-Feuz and Daniel Mäusezahl

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10654-014-9917-0/fulltext.html#Fig3

46 sickened: Campylobacter and roast turkey or jus, Nov. 2013

In England, several recent campylobacter outbreaks have been associated with poultry liver consumption. Following a lunch event in a hotel in Surrey in November 2013 where chicken liver parfait was served, guests reported having gastrointestinal symptoms.

gravy-intro-612A retrospective cohort study showed 46 of 138 guests became unwell, with a median incubation period of two days and for 11 cases campylobacter infection was laboratory confirmed. Food item analysis identified an association between illness and consumption of roast turkey (aOR=3.02 p=0.041) or jus (aOR=3.55 p=0.045), but not with chicken liver parfait (OR=0.39 p=0.405). The environmental risk assessment did not identify non-compliance with standard food practice guidelines.

This study presents a point-source outbreak of campylobacter with a high attack rate and epidemiological analysis results show that the jus or roast turkey was the likely source of infection although this could not be confirmed by the environmental assessment. Consuming the chicken liver dish was not a risk factor for developing symptoms as was initially hypothesised. Prior knowledge on the association between poultry liver food items and campylobacter outbreaks should not overly influence an outbreak investigation to ensure the true aetiology is identified and on-going public health risk is minimised.

PLOS

Suzan Trienekens, Charlotte Anderson, Jennifer Duffy, Rachel Gill, Lisa Harvey-Vince, Helen Jones, Piers Mook, Chikwe Ihekweazu, Ishani Kar-Purkayastha

http://currents.plos.org/outbreaks/article/dont-count-your-chicken-livers-an-outbreak-of-campylobacter-sp-not-associated-with-chicken-liver-parfait-england-november-2013/

Roast-in-bag chicken is lower risk says poultry company

Does roast-in-bag chicken chicken cut Campylobacter risks? A UK poultry business recently investigated by the Guardian for hygiene issues says it does.

Quoted in The Grocer, a Faccenda Foods official says by using their no-handle cook-directly-in-the-bag chicken consumers are safer.yourfile

“There is no need for consumers to handle food, which improves food safety at home and significantly reduces the risk from campylobacter,” said MD Andy Dawkins, who added the bag reduced the risk of cross-contamination from work surfaces or cutting boards.

In the week the FSA announced the first batch of quarterly results from its 12-month campylobacter survey, Faccenda said “unprecedented demand” had prompted it to ramp up development of roast-in-bag chicken. By the end of the year, it plans to expand the format – launched last September in Asda with seven flavoured whole chickens – into non-flavoured birds.

Responding to this week’s FSA results – which found campylobacter in 59% of fresh shop-bought chickens and on the outside of the packaging of 4% of birds – Dawkins said Faccenda would continue to invest to address the issue.

Campy on the outside of packaging could be problem for cross-contamination and I want to see some data for the claims that consumers handle these roast-in-bag products safer. Folks often don’t really know what people do with their products.

 

And don’t lick the packaging: 59% of poultry positive for Campylobacter in UK

The Food Standards Agency has today published the first set of quarterly results from a new survey of Campylobacter on fresh shop-bought chickens.

cooked.chickenThe results show 59% of birds tested positive for the presence of Campylobacter. In 4% of samples Campylobacter was identified on the outside of the packaging.

Campylobacter is killed by thorough cooking, however, it is the most common form of food poisoning in the UK, affecting an estimated 280,000 people a year.

The 12-month survey, running from February 2014 to February 2015, is looking at the prevalence and levels of Campylobacter contamination on fresh whole chilled chickens and their packaging. The survey will test 4,000 samples of whole chickens bought from UK retail outlets and smaller independent stores and butchers. Today’s results are for the first quarter and represent 853 samples.

*Cook chicken thoroughly – Make sure chicken is steaming hot all the way through before serving. Cut in to the thickest part of the meat and check that it is steaming hot with no pink meat and that the juices run clear.

Steaming hot has apparently replaced piping hot. I wonder how many salaries were involved in that decision. Color is a lousy indicator of safety (the chicken, upper right, is microbiologically safe). Use a thermometer and stick it in.

barfblog.Stick It In

100 sick from Campylobacter in Iceland over past year

It wasn’t virtual, it was real (messy).

campy.chickenThe Directorate of Health says it has had to deal with a virtual explosion of diarrhea cases caused by Campylobacter.

The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) said that they could not definitively draw a connection between Icelandic chickens and the outbreak, nor could they rule it out. They pointed out that according to their findings, the incidence of Campylobacter in chickens has not significantly spiked upwards.

The Directorate of Health cautions the public to cook all meat thoroughly and to keep surfaces and hands clean during and after cooking, as well as to use clean water.

Open letter to the FSA on the publication of Campylobacter survey results

Richard Lloyd of Which? a UK consumer organization, writes to the UK Food Standards Agency to say:

chicken.thermI am writing to express our grave concern about the proposal being put to the FSA Board to withhold information about the levels of the deadly food poisoning bacteria Campylobacter in supermarket chickens. Campylobacter is a major public health issue. 72,000 people were reported to have suffered Campylobacter food poisoning last year and it kills an estimated 100 people every year.

As you know, the main source for the bacteria is in raw chicken which is why the FSA decided to undertake testing across supermarkets, butchers and convenience stores and publish the results on a quarterly basis with information by retailer and processor.

The publication of the performance of each retailer is in the public interest. The FSA should not sit on this survey data which it initially intended to publish in full.

The FSA was set up because of concerns about commercial and political interference in decisions about food safety. It is with great regret that it has become necessary to remind you of your role to put consumers first, be independent and operate transparently.

At your board meeting today, I urge you to reject the proposal to withhold this information and instead to publish the results in full on a quarterly basis in order to provide consumers with this important information and help to drive up standards.