24 sick: E. coli O121 outbreak shows failures of food safety safety net

 

Chapman was always the kinder, gentler version of me, and he goes too easy on Canadian boffins who announced today there are now 24 people sick with E. coli O121 in British Columbia (12), Saskatchewan (4), Alberta (3) and Newfoundland and Labrador (5).

That the outbreak missed Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI should give epidemiologists solid clues, ones that the Public Health Agency of Canada is not ready to divulge.

The initial public announcement was Jan. 12, 2017.

A couple of months later, the case count has doubled, and the only advice PHAC has is wash your fucking hands.

The last two major North American outbreaks of E. coli O121 were in flour, last year, and in sprouts, a few years earlier (please, let it be sprouts, please).

Five months into the outbreak, I’m sure the dedicated Canadian public servants have had time to match the genetic fingerprint of the outbreak strain with the U.S.-based outbreaks, but don’t expect PHAC to answer such simple questions.

They could have done whole genome sequencing in the time it took to have miniions craft a press release that said … nothing.

“The Government of Canada is committed to food safety. The Public Health Agency of Canada leads multi-jurisdictional human health investigations of outbreaks and is in regular contact with its federal and provincial partners to monitor and take collaborative steps to address outbreaks.”

Eat me completely.

12 sick: E. coli O121 outbreak in Canada

This is my dog chewing on kangaroo ribs.

ted-kangeroo-rib-jan-17Go with the protein that is available.

It’s about the same amount of effort the boffins at Public Health Agency of Canada put into announcing an outbreak of E. coli O121 that has sickened at least 12 people from B.C. to Newfoundland.

kangeroo-rib-ted-jan-17There have been 12 cases of E. coli O121 with a matching genetic fingerprint reported in three provinces: British Columbia (4), Saskatchewan (4), and Newfoundland and Labrador (4). The illness onset dates range from November to December 2016. Four individuals have been hospitalized. These individuals have recovered or are recovering. The investigation into the source of the outbreak is ongoing.

I’ll continue to bond with my dog.

Canadian food is amongst the safest in the world, Canada edition

My high school friend and I outlined a book 40 years ago called, North of the 49th Parallel, about suburban Canada.

mike-myers-wwBut Mike Myers seems to have cornered the market.

And when did he become my father?

He’s the same age as me.

And from Toronto (Scarberia).

Canadians have a “very thick” accent and only anger easily at hockey, if you ask comedian Mike Myers.

“We’re very politically correct at times and I always think, well, isn’t politically correct just being considerate and nice for the most part?” he told CBC’s Wendy Mesley in an interview on The National.

The Canadian actor and comedian shared a lot of opinions about his home country found in his new book called Canada. Naturally, Canadian versus American pronunciations came up in conversation.

“It’s Owt, Owt” Myers jokes in his typical comic style, pointing to how Americans say “out.”

While he argues that, compared to Britain and the U.S., Canada doesn’t have as many cultural exports besides Anne of the Green Gables, Canada’s contributions have a higher purpose.

“I think civility will be our greatest legacy.”

Or false egomania.

The University of Guelph is going to get $76 million to bring big data to farming.

Except.

The money is earmarked for the university’s masterfly earmarked, Food from Thought program. The program’s scientific director, Evan Fraser, says that farmers are only on the cusp of what can be done with big data.

“Where the tools of data-driven agriculture allow for much more precise, real-time applications of inputs, we can reduce input costs while we increase production.”

“We know Canadian food is among the safest and most sustainable in the world and with these technologies we can demonstrate it.”

If you already know it, why do you have to demonstrate it?

If Guelph wants serious money for this stuf, they need to do much more serious communications.

Unfortunately, like most universities, PR fluffery has overtaken actual accomplishment.

Risk of Hepatitis E from pigs or pork in Canada

The role and importance of pigs and pork as sources of zoonotic hepatitis E virus (HEV) has been debated in Canada and abroad for over 20 years. To further investigate this question, we compiled data to populate a risk profile for HEV in pigs or pork in Canada.

pig-barfblogWe organized the risk profile (RP) using the headings prescribed for a foodborne microbial risk assessment and used research synthesis methods and inputs wherever possible in populating the fields of this RP. A scoping review of potential public health risks of HEV, and two Canadian field surveys sampling finisher pigs, and retail pork chops and pork livers, provided inputs to inform this RP. We calculated summary estimates of prevalence using the Comprehensive Meta-analysis 3 software, employing the method of moments.

Overall, we found the incidence of sporadic locally acquired hepatitis E in Canada, compiled from peer-reviewed literature or from diagnosis at the National Microbiology Laboratory to be low relative to other non-endemic countries. In contrast, we found the prevalence of detection of HEV RNA in pigs and retail pork livers, to be comparable to that reported in the USA and Europe. We drafted risk categories (high/medium/low) for acquiring clinical hepatitis E from exposure to pigs or pork in Canada and hypothesize that the proportion of the Canadian population at high risk from either exposure is relatively small.

Risk profile of Hepatitis E virus from pigs or pork in Canada

October 2016, Transboundary and Emerging Diseases, DOI: 10.1111/tbed.12582

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/308961418_Risk_Profile_of_Hepatitis_E_Virus_from_Pigs_or_Pork_in_Canada

 

At least 1 sick: Sliced turkey and chicken products sold at Tre Rose Bakery in Toronto recalled due to Listeria

Tre Rose Bakery is recalling sliced turkey and chicken products from the marketplace due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Consumers should not consume the recalled products described below.

trereose-bakeryThe following product products were sliced and sold at Tre Rose Bakery, 2098 Kipling Avenue, Toronto, Ontario from September 15, 2016 to September 16, 2016, inclusively.

Brand Name//Common Name//Size//Code(s) on Product//UPC

None//Lily O. R. Turkey//Variable//PACKED ON SE.15.16//Starting with 2 100252

None//Classic Turkey//Variable//PACKED ON SE.15.16//Starting with 2 100049

None//Brandt O. R. Chicken//Variable//PACKED ON SE.16.16//Starting with 2 100042

What you should do

If you think you became sick from consuming a recalled product, call your doctor.

Check to see if you have recalled products in your home. Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased. Consumers who are unsure if they have purchased an affected product are advised to contact the retailer.

This recall was triggered by findings of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) as part of an ongoing food borne illness investigation. The CFIA continues to conduct a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products.

There has been one reported illness associated with this investigation.

5 things a Canadian food safety expert will never eat

Carmen Chai of Global News reports that Rick Holley, a veteran food safety expert and University of Manitoba professor emeritus says these are the five things he won’t eat:

mi-rick-holley-1212Raw shellfish and seafood

Raw sprouts and chopped raw vegetables and fruits

(“I do not eat sprouts, unless they’re cooked.”

He eats the chopped salads from the grocery store, though.

“I’m confessing now that I accept the risk because I value the convenience,” he said.

If you’re chopping up vegetables and fruit, they’re safe to eat for about four hours if kept at room temperature. In the fridge, they can last for up to three days, he said.)

Unpasteurized drinks

Undercooked meat

Undercooked eggs.

“My wife doesn’t like to sit with me at dinner and have guests in because, invariably, the conversation rotates to subjects near and dear to my heart and that’s contamination,” Holley joked.

My list is the same.

Campy in Canada: Pets and raw milk underestimated

To inform source attribution efforts, a comparative exposure assessment was developed to estimate the relative exposure to Campylobacter, the leading bacterial gastrointestinal disease in Canada, for 13 different transmission routes within Ontario, Canada, during the summer.

sadie-dog-powellExposure was quantified with stochastic models at the population level, which incorporated measures of frequency, quantity ingested, prevalence, and concentration, using data from FoodNet Canada surveillance, the peer-reviewed and gray literature, other Ontario data, and data that were specifically collected for this study. Models were run with @Risk software using Monte Carlo simulations.

The mean number of cells of Campylobacter ingested per Ontarian per day during the summer, ranked from highest to lowest is as follows: household pets, chicken, living on a farm, raw milk, visiting a farm, recreational water, beef, drinking water, pork, vegetables, seafood, petting zoos, and fruits.

The study results identify knowledge gaps for some transmission routes, and indicate that some transmission routes for Campylobacter are underestimated in the current literature, such as household pets and raw milk. Many data gaps were identified for future data collection consideration, especially for the concentration of Campylobacter in all transmission routes.

A comparative exposure assessment of Campylobacter in Ontario, Canada

Risk Analysis, 18 Sept 2016, DOI: 10.1111/risa.126553

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/risa.12653/abstract

24 sick: Babylon Pizza and Shawarma staff ‘concerned’ by cases of Salmonella

Jennifer O’Brien of The London Free Press (the Ontario, Canada, one) reports the area’s public health watchdog couldn’t pinpoint what caused a salmonella outbreak at a south London eatery, but an official says staff there have shown “knowledge of good food safety practices” and he’s confident “things will be good going forward.”

babylon-pizza-and-shawarmaOwners of Babylon Pizza and Shawarma were “very co-operative, very good to work with and very concerned” when they learned two dozen customers had been infected with salmonella last month, Dave Pavletic, the Middlesex-London health unit’s food safety manager, said Wednesday.

“After our consultations and followup visits, (the owners) really demonstrated knowledge of good food safety practices,” he said. “They’ve achieved what we wanted.”

Pavletic said inspectors couldn’t determine exactly what made 24 Babylon patrons sick in August — a month that saw an unusual spike in salmonella reports even without those cases — but there have been no reports of salmonella linked to the restaurant since Aug. 25.

While two eatery staffers hold food handling certificates, he said, it’s not unheard of for health officials to learn of occasional infractions at restaurants. “From time to time, infractions occur.”

The health unit received 37 reports of salmonella — including the 24 linked to Babylon — in three weeks last month. That compares to the August average of nine reports.

So far this month, the health unit has received nine more salmonella reports.

At the same time, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency reports that Bulk Barrel is recalling No Sugar Added Almond Butter Crunch from the marketplace due to possible Salmonella contamination. Consumers should not consume the recalled product described below.

The following product was sold in bulk from Bulk Barrel, 301 Oxford Street W, Unit 76C, London, Ontario, from September 2 to 7, 2016 inclusive.

Recalled products

Brand Name//Common Name//Size//Code(s) on Product//UPC

None//No Sugar Added Almond Butter Crunch//Variable//None//None

This recall was triggered by a recall in another country. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (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.

Illnesses

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.

Barfblog daily is down

Blogging used to be glamorous, sorta like airplane travel before 9/11.

Sorta before you knew that Bob Ross’ afro wasn’t all-natural, how things were normal until Harrison Ford started wearing an earring, sorta before you knew that people who run ice hockey in Australia are just as self-centered as the Canadians (they mainly are Canadians).

There’s a lot of behind the scenes stuff, and the pay sucks. Chapman is off in Japan (right, not exactly as shown) and barfblog daily ain’t working. For the 4,000 subscribers, we’re trying to fix things.

With over 70,000 direct subscribers to barfblog.com in over 70 countries, you’re getting the news, just a bit fractured at the moment.

And since so many of you comment on my music choices, I’m sending this out to my favorite and under-appreciated hockey coach, bus driver Chris. Gotta have soul.