Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network—2 decades of achievements, 1996–2015

The Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) provides a foundation for food safety policy and illness prevention in the United States.

FoodNet.pyramid.fbi.OverviewFoodNet conducts active, population-based surveillance at 10 US sites for laboratory-confirmed infections of 9 bacterial and parasitic pathogens transmitted commonly through food and for hemolytic uremic syndrome.

Through FoodNet, state and federal scientists collaborate to monitor trends in enteric illnesses, identify their sources, and implement special studies. FoodNet’s major contributions include establishment of reliable, active population-based surveillance of enteric diseases; development and implementation of epidemiologic studies to determine risk and protective factors for sporadic enteric infections; population and laboratory surveys that describe the features of gastrointestinal illnesses, medical care–seeking behavior, frequency of eating various foods, and laboratory practices; and development of a surveillance and research platform that can be adapted to address emerging issues.

The importance of FoodNet’s ongoing contributions probably will grow as clinical, laboratory, and informatics technologies continue changing rapidly.

Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network—2 decades of achievements, 1996–2015

Emerging Infectious Diseases, Volume 21, Number 9,  September 2015

Olga L. Henao Comments to Author , Timothy F. Jones, Duc J. Vugia, Patricia M. Griffin, and for the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) Workgroup

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/21/9/15-0581_article

Irrigation water, produce and pathogens

The microbiological sanitary quality and safety of leafy greens and strawberries were assessed in the primary production in Belgium, Brazil, Egypt, Norway and Spain by enumeration of Escherichia coli and detection of Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) and Campylobacter.

strawberryWater samples were more prone to containing pathogens (54 positives out of 950 analyses) than soil (16/1186) and produce on the field (18/977 for leafy greens and 5/402 for strawberries). The prevalence of pathogens also varied markedly according to the sampling region. Flooding of fields increased the risk considerably, with odds ratio (OR) 10.9 for Salmonella and 7.0 for STEC.

A significant association between elevated numbers of generic E. coli and detection of pathogens (OR of 2.3 for STEC and 2.7 for Salmonella) was established. Generic E. coli was found to be a suitable index organism for Salmonella and STEC, but to a lesser extent for Campylobacter. Guidelines on frequency of sampling and threshold values for E. coli in irrigation water may differ from region to region. 

Risk Factors for Salmonella, shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli and Campylobacter occurrence in primary production of leafy greens and strawberries

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Siele Ceuppens, Gro S. Johannessen, Ana Allende, Eduardo César Tondo,  Fouad El-Tahan, Imca Sampers, Liesbeth Jacxsens, and  Mieke Uyttendaele

http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/12/8/9809

67 sick: Raw oysters can suck and yes, I’ve temped oysters on the grill

Canadian health types are now investigating 67 Canadian cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus infections in British Columbia and Alberta linked to raw shellfish. The majority of the illnesses have been linked to the eating of raw oysters.

oysters.grillThe risk to Canadians is low, and illnesses can be avoided if shellfish are cooked before being eaten.

In Canada, a total of 67 cases have been reported in British Columbia (48) and Alberta (19). One case has been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Individuals became sick between June 1 and August 7, 2015 and all reported consumption of raw shellfish, primarily oysters. The investigation is ongoing to determine the source and distribution of these products.

The following safe food practices will reduce your risk of getting sick from Vibrio and other foodborne illnesses.

-Do not eat raw shellfish.

-Cook shellfish thoroughly before eating, especially oysters. Shellfish should be cooked to a safe internal temperature of 74°C (165°F).

-Discard any shellfish that do not open when cooked.

-Eat shellfish right away after cooking and refrigerate leftovers.

-Always keep raw and cooked shellfish separate.

-Avoid eating oysters, or other seafood, when taking antacids as reduced stomach acid may favour the survival and growth of Vibrio species.

-Always wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap after using the bathroom.

-Avoid exposing open wounds or broken skin to warm salt or brackish water, or to raw shellfish. Wear protective clothing (like gloves) when handling raw shellfish.

-Wash your hands well with soap before handling any food. Be sure to wash your hands, cutting boards, counters, knives and other utensils after preparing raw foods.

 

Salmonella and campy happen in France too

In 2007, Amy and I spent a few weeks in France, and being the food safety nerd, I was struck by the indifference many of the people I met showed to foodborne illness.

DSC00006.JPGIt seemed to be a point-of-pride amongst the locals to not report foodborne illness.

I’m familiar with the French desire for food to be alive, sexy, and part of a life well-lived, but also saw a lot of people going to McDonald’s.

We stayed for a week at a friend’s cottage in a small town in the south, and we would visit the butcher, who cross-contaminated everything.

We had dinner at a neighbor’s place one night and he confessed, that butcher, “he made me so sick with his chicken.”

And when I got home, someone told me my don’t eat poop story made it onto Letterman, while Amy developed the look.

Researchers report that community incidence estimates are necessary to assess the burden and impact of infections on health and to set priorities for surveillance, research, prevention, and control strategies.

letterman2The current study was performed to estimate the community incidence of campylobacteriosis and nontyphoidal salmonellosis in France from the number of laboratory-confirmed cases reported to the national reference center (NRC). The probabilities of a case in the community visiting a doctor, having a stool sample requested, having a positive laboratory test, and having the case reported to the NRC were estimated using data of national surveillance systems, national hospitalization and health insurance databases, and specific surveys informing about these parameters. Credible intervals (CrI) were calculated using Monte Carlo simulation. In addition, we estimated the number of hospitalizations for both infections in France.

The annual community incidence rate in France is estimated at 842 cases per 100,000 (90%CrI 525–1690) for campylobacteriosis and 307 cases per 100,000 (90%CrI 173–611) for salmonellosis. The annual number of hospitalizations is estimated at 5182 for campylobacteriosis and 4305 for salmonellosis. The multiplication factors between cases ascertained by the surveillance system and cases in the community were 115 for campylobacteriosis and 20 for salmonellosis.

amy.the.look.2007They are consistent with estimates reported in other countries, indicating a high community incidence of campylobacteriosis and salmonellosis in France.

Community incidence of campylobacteriosis and nontyphoidal salmonellosis, France, 2008–2013

Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. 2015 ahead of print. doi:10.1089/fpd.2015.1964.

Van Cauteren Dieter, De Valk Henriette, Sommen Cecile, King Lisa A., Jourdan-Da Silva Nathalie, Weill François-Xavier, Le Hello Simon, Mégraud Francis, Vaillant Veronique, and Desenclos Jean C.

http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/fpd.2015.1964

 

Use a thermometer, color sucks: UK FSA says don’t serve your duck pink

Color is a lousy indicator.

But that doesn’t stop the taxpayer-funded UK Food Standards Agency from issuing nonsensical advice.

smoked-duck-breast1I’ve asked the UK food safety types why they don’t recommend that people use thermometers – as is the advice in the U.S., Canada and Australia – and the response is usually along the lines of, people can’t handle such complicated information.

A colleague received similar advice yesterday from the UK FSA.

Arrogant bullshit.

And not science-based.

The Telegraph reported today that duck should never be served pink as diners could be poisoned by a potential deadly bug more commonly associated with chicken, food officials have said.

While many upmarket restaurants recommend their duck dishes medium-rare, the Food Standards Agency said the poultry should always be cooked “thoroughly” at home.

It warned that the prevalence of the campylobacter bug among ducks was “not dissimilar” to the levels among chickens, where seven in 10 birds are infected.

The bacterium, which makes 280,000 ill every year, is only killed when meat is fully cooked.

On Wednesday the food watchdog said it was concerned that there was a public misconception that duck was different to chicken in that it could safely be served pink.

There’s a public misconception because the bureaucrats are not offering clear, evidence-based information.

Stick it in.

 

Promote food safety at retail: UK may do it to control Campylobacter

The UK Food Standards Agency is to ramp up its campaign against shops that continue to sell a high proportion of chickens with Campylobacter, admitting that “much further work needs to be done.”

campy.chickenThe bug makes 280,000 people ill each year, with 20,000 admitted to hospital.

Under proposals to be discussed this week, shoppers could be told to avoid certain supermarkets if they continue to sell high numbers of infected chickens in an explicit bid to change consumers’ “purchasing habits.”

The highly unusual intervention is likely to provoke legal challenges from retailers if it is forced through.

Officials will also consider whether the law should be changed to make it illegal to sell highly-contaminated poultry. Shops that fail to meet new requirements might be told to cook or freeze the infected chickens to kill the bacteria before the birds go on sale.

In a document outlining the proposals, Steve Wearne, director of policy at the FSA said: “The indications are that the prevalence of campylobacter in chickens is beginning to come down.

 

86,000 sickened: Waterborne outbreaks in Nordic Countries, 1998 To 2012

Water.

We love it, take it for granted, and yet water can be the source of horrific outbreaks, like E. coli O157 in Walkerton, Ontario, Canada.

walkertonA total of 175 waterborne outbreaks affecting 85,995 individuals were notified to the national outbreak surveillance systems in Denmark, Finland and Norway from 1998 to 2012, and in Sweden from 1998 to 2011. Between 4 and 18 outbreaks were reported each year during this period.

Outbreaks occurred throughout the countries in all seasons, but were most common (n = 75/169, 44%) between June and August. Viruses belonging to the Caliciviridae family and Campylobacter were the pathogens most frequently involved, comprising n = 51 (41%) and n = 36 (29%) of all 123 outbreaks with known aetiology respectively.

Although only a few outbreaks were caused by parasites (Giardia and/or Cryptosporidium), they accounted for the largest outbreaks reported during the study period, affecting up to 53,000 persons. Most outbreaks, 124 (76%) of those with a known water source (n = 163) were linked to groundwater. A large proportion of the outbreaks (n = 130/170, 76%) affected a small number of people (less than 100 per outbreak) and were linked to single-household water supplies. However, in 11 (6%) of the outbreaks, more than 1,000 people became ill.

Although outbreaks of this size are rare, they highlight the need for increased awareness, particularly of parasites, correct water treatment regimens, and vigilant management and maintenance of the water supply and distribution systems.

Waterborne Outbreaks in the Nordic Countries, 1998 To 2012

Eurosurveillance, Volume 20, Issue 24, 18 June 2015

B Guzman-Herrador, A Carlander, S Ethelberg, B Freiesleben de Blasio, M Kuusi, V Lund6, M Löfdahl, E MacDonald, G Nichols, C Schönning, B Sudre, L Trönnberg, L Vold, J C Semenza, K Nygård

http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=21160

9 sick with campy: Wales (mystery) restaurant closed after outbreak

A Cardiff restaurant has been closed after an outbreak of food poisoning.

mystery-restaurantSeven people with confirmed campylobacter infection and two people with suspected infection ate at the restaurant during the weekend of May 16, Public Health Wales (PHW) confirmed.

Science nonsense: No mention of thermometers for UK chicken

How can a supposed science-based organization be taken seriously when it won’t incorporate science-based recommendations into its taxpayer-payer funded advice?

chicken.thermMaybe the Brits think they above such pedantic notions.

According to the UK Food Standards Authority, chicken is safe as long as consumers follow good kitchen practice including, ake 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.

BS.

FSA has just published results from its year-long survey of campylobacter on fresh chickens. Campylobacter is a food bug mainly found on raw poultry and is the biggest cause of food poisoning in the UK.

Cumulative results for samples taken between February 2014 and February 2015[1] have now been published as official statistics, including results presented by major retailer. The report can been found via the link further down this page.

The results for the full year show:

  • 19% of chickens tested positive for campylobacter within the highest band of contamination*
  • 73% of chickens tested positive for the presence of campylobacter
  • 1% (five samples) of packaging tested positive at the highest band of contamination
  • 7% of packaging tested positive for the presence of campylobacter

*More than 1,000 colony forming units per gram (>1,000 cfu/g). These units indicate the degree of contamination on each sample.

More than 4,000 samples of fresh whole chilled chickens and packaging have been tested. The chickens were bought from large UK retail outlets and smaller independent stores and butchers. The data shows variations between the retailers, but none has met the target for reducing campylobacter (see table below). A full analysis of the survey results, including the publication of the raw data and the full year results for smaller supermarkets and shops, is being carried out by the FSA and will be published later in the summer.

Further details of the ongoing testing of chickens for campylobacter were also confirmed by the FSA. A new survey will start this summer and once again sample fresh whole chickens from all types of shops. Continued testing will help the FSA to measure the impact of the interventions now being introduced by the industry to tackle campylobacter.

The FSA has welcomed the publication today of case studies by Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, the Co-op and Waitrose  showing the results of their recently implemented campylobacter reduction plans. The data show significant decreases in the incidence of campylobacter on their raw whole chickens. The tests were carried out on more recent samples than those taken from the FSA survey samples, with some targeted to demonstrate the effect of particular interventions.