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.

Most Canadian heist ever: Guy in goalie gear robs Manitoba beer store

I was in Brisbane.

William-Bashin-Bill-Barilko-March-25-1927-c-August-26-1951-celebrities-who-died-young-31630951-650-385Really.

RCMP in Manitoba are on the hunt for two people who pulled off a beer store heist in the community of Russell.

One of the suspects had a hockey stick and was apparently dressed as a goalie.

In surveillance footage from Aug. 15 posted on YouTube, the men are seen smashing a door and walking into the store to steal a bunch of beer.

Police said the one suspect may have been “a defenceman or forward in disguise as he was wearing jersey #17 — a non-traditional number for goalies.”

“Anyone with information about this theft or has played against a goalie matching this description is asked to call Russell RCMP,” the RCMP added.

In others matters Canadiana the full concert of the Aug. 20, 2016 Tragically Hip show that was broadcast around the country – and world – is now up on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7H2ew1MwyQM.

I laughed, I cried, I rocked.

 

Going public: London, Ontario (that’s in Canada) version after Salmonella spike

Rather than waiting until all the facts were in and all the linkages solid, the Middlesex-London Health Unit on Friday decided to do something which has now become radical: it shared what they knew about a spike in Salmonella illnesses, said what they were doing to find out more, and implied that when they  find out more, you’ll hear it from health-types first.

risks.aheadGood job.

Jennifer O’Brien of the London Free-Press reports that 14 reported cases of Salmonella in a week — compared to a monthly August average of nine — has mystified health inspectors who couldn’t find a “common thread” among those affected.

Stephen Turner, director of environmental health and infectious diseases said, “We look for relationships — common restaurants, grocery stores, a common workplace . . . whether they’ve purchased a common product. We haven’t found that. That is why it’s raised our eyebrows so we are investigating diligently.”

The next step for the health unit is to contact each infected person and find out information that might explain how they became infected, he said.

The 14 people who were infected between Aug. 18 and Friday included males and females who range in age and live in various neighbourhoods across London.

They all reported typical symptoms associated with salmonella — diarrhea, vomiting and fever, said Turner, adding the health unit would like anyone experiencing such symptoms to report them.

Washing is never enough but are they linked? Summer means Cyclospora in Canada, Mexico and Texas

Finally, some decent risk-based advice from a government agency.

Washing will not remove Cyclospora from fresh produce.

pesto.basil_.cyclosporaWashing removes very little of anything from fresh produce.

Canada’s Public Health Agency is investigating 51 cases of people infected with the single-celled parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis between mid-May and late-July. Forty-four of the 51 cases reported so far have been in Ontario.

The infection can cause watery diarrhea, fatigue, stomach pain

Though uncommon in food and drinking water in Canada and the U.S., the parasite often persists on fruit and vegetables even after they have been washed. Public Health Canada recommends that people cook vegetables and fruit imported from Peru, Cuba, India, Nepal, Mexico, Guatemala, Southeast Asia and Dominican Republic.

Last week, health officials in Texas also reported a major outbreak of the disease, and are continuing an investigation into fresh produce as a possible source. After a series of outbreaks linked to imported produce from Puebla Mexico in 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned imports from the region during summer months.

Previous outbreaks of Cyclospora have been linked to pre-packaged salad mix, basil, cilantro, raspberries, blackberries, and snap-peas.

At the same time, 148 British tourists have been confirmed with Cyclospora after visiting 24 luxury hotel complexes most of which are in the Riviera Maya resort near Cancun in Mexico.

Public Health England  are now warning UK tourists to be wary of travelling to Mexico and the Foreign Office have updated their website to include a warning from health authorities about travelling to the region.

Tragic: Settlement reached after Canadian boy left disabled by E. coli

Kevin Rollason of the Winnipeg Free Press reports a 14-year-old Winnipeg youth has been awarded more than $2.5 million after eating ground beef tainted with deadly E. coli bacteria and being left to live with multiple disabilities and unable to look after himself for the rest of his life.

ground-beef_350(2)Justice Lori Spivak, of Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench, approved the settlement in an order last month, which had been reached earlier between the boy’s family, the province’s Public Trustee, grocer Westfair Foods, and meat processor XL Foods.

“The events were quite tragic,” Chris Wullum, the family’s lawyer, said on Thursday.

“The hamburger meat he consumed left catastrophic injuries. The family is pleased that a fair settlement was reached that will allow them to look after him.”

The boy, who is a permanent ward of Metis Child and Family Services, was just two in 2004 when his mother fed him Hamburger Helper with ground beef she had bought at the Superstore on McPhillips Street.

The mother got sick, but her son became severely ill and had to be hospitalized. He needed a kidney transplant and he suffered a massive stroke in his middle cerebral artery, leaving him with severe spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and permanent cognitive impairments. Doctors didn’t know if he was going to survive during the first couple of years.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency launched a recall of ground beef products in August 2004 after two people in Manitoba were poisoned with E. coli bacteria the month before. A Public Health Agency of Canada report later that year said 27 people became ill after consuming beef tainted with the same strain of E. coli.

Court documents said the agency tested frozen ground beef, still in the family’s freezer, and found it was contaminated with that strain of E. coli.

The boy became a permanent ward of Winnipeg Child and Family Services because the mother couldn’t look after him with all of his special needs, but he has since been transferred to Metis CFS and he has been living with his grandparents since 2009.

The settlement also saw XL Foods drop its counter lawsuit against the boy’s mother, in which it claimed she had been at fault for not cooking the ground beef properly.

Hepatitis A case at 2 Edmonton-area Edo restaurants

Alberta Health Services is warning customers of two Edmonton-area Edo Japan restaurants that they may have been exposed to hepatitis A.

hep.aedo-japanAHS said it confirmed a case of the infection in a food handler who works at two Edo restaurants in the Capital Region – the Manning Town Centre location in Edmonton and the Tudor Glen Market location in St. Albert.

People who consumed food from the above locations between June 13 and 18, 2016 and June 21 and 28, 2016 may have been exposed to hepatitis A, AHS said Tuesday afternoon.

“While we believe the risk to the public is low, hepatitis A is a serious infection,” Dr. Joanna Oda, medical officer of health with the AHS Edmonton Zone, said.

Hepatitis A can be spread through the fecal-oral route, direct contact with an infected person or by ingesting contaminated food or water. If an infected person does not property wash his or her hands after using the washroom, the virus can be transmitted through food and beverages prepared by the infected individual.

Anyone who ate food from either Edo location is urged to monitor themselves and their family members for symptoms of hepatitis A until Aug. 17. 

 

Health Canada proposes rules for veterinary drugs in livestock

John Cotter of Canadian Press reports the Canadian government is proposing new rules for veterinary drugs used in livestock as it works to reduce human health risks associated with resistance to antibiotics and other antimicrobials.

ab.prudentHealth Canada says the decreasing effectiveness of antimicrobials is having a significant impact on the government’s ability to protect Canadians from infectious diseases.

“The overuse and misuse of antimicrobials in animals is a contributing factor to the development and spread of AMR (antimicrobial-resistance),” reads a summary of the proposed rules.

“The development of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens in animals can pose serious risks to human health when they are transmitted as food-borne or water-borne contaminants. Antimicrobial-resistant infections are associated with a greater risk of death, more complex illnesses, longer hospital stays and higher treatment costs.”

The department says current regulations do not provide the necessary regulatory oversight to mitigate the risk.

The proposed changes would restrict the importation of some veterinary drugs used in livestock, require drug manufacturers to follow stricter rules regarding the quality of active ingredients and allow for increased monitoring of drug sales.

The department is seeking feedback on the proposals until Sept. 8.

Health Canada says the proposed changes will align Canada with policies in the United States and the European Union.