Puke and pee is gradually destroying the world’s tallest church

I first travelled to Germany in 1998 to give a talk.

My parents told me the Germans have no sense of humor, try to be Dr. Doug and not Doug.

german-church-peeI knew better.

The only response to my food safety one-liners was crickets.

In 2012 or so, I went to a U.S. military base in Germany, to give a talk about sprouts and the E. coli O104, and the 50 people dying and thousands sick and sourcing safe food and what could be done.

That sounds fairly terrible.

Yet all I really remember is that when I got off the train, I had to pee.

I’m getting older, urinary function is becoming more of a priority.

There were no public bathrooms, it cost money to piss anywhere inside, and the locals said, just piss wherever you want, no one cares.

(And don’t think you can just crawl under those toilet doors; they have reinforced steel, barriers down to the base, all so someone has to pay a buck – and I didn’t have any German currency and thought it would be rude to piss in the sink.

So I did it outside.

According to River Donaghey of Vice, a seemingly endless stream of drunk people’s urine is eroding the stone foundation of the world’s tallest church in the German city of Ulm, and no one quite knows how to stop it, CNN reports.

Late-night revelers already face a $109 fine if they’re caught emptying their bladders on the 531-foot-tall Ulm Minster church, but the monetary threat hasn’t thwarted drunken partiers drawn to the hulking piss-beacon.

The damage to the stone base of the church comes from the acids and salt in the pee, not to mention other bodily fluids drunk folks might leave behind, like puke.

“I’ve been keeping an eye on it for half a year now and, once again, it’s coated with urine and vomit,” the church’s head of maintenance, Michael Hilbert, told a local paper. “This is about preserving law and order.”

What law and order means in this case is probably just some Ulm city officials dishing out a few bucks for more public toilets or for city cops to up their ticketing. But the easiest solution may lie in the bottom of a few five-gallon buckets of that pee-proof paint.

BTW, Australia has the best public facilities I’ve ever seen.

It’s a f***ing island, of course they have to keep it clean.

Prevent E. coli before church

Looks like former U.S. undersecretary for food safety, Richard Raymond, is losing his religion.

richard.raymondIn a column he wrote for MeatingPlace, Raymond confesses, “Members of a church I used to belong to decide to start a community garden plot. I volunteered to be on the planning committee. The first item out of the gate was that the garden had to be organic. I asked what they considered to be organic. The main emphasis was no artificial fertilizer could be applied, meaning the fields would have to lie idle or grow legumes periodically to recharge the soil.

“It also meant they intended to spread cow manure on the field, a great way to turn an organic garden plot into an E coli O157:H7. Field of Nightmares.

“I resigned.”

Good on ya.

Nanny state or public health? Adelaide council to inspect homes of church cake

Churchgoers who bake cakes for charity are browned off by council plans to subject their home kitchens to a health inspection.

adelaide.cake.inspectionsAlthough the cake makers from the northern suburbs church have been raising money for charity for “donkey’s years’’, they were told last week their homes would have to be visited by a Playford Council health inspector.

The council said all 12 bakers — mostly women members of the One Tree Hill Uniting Church Fellowship — would have to pass an inspection of their home kitchen’s hygiene standards, including utensils, and adequate storage of the ingredients.

Fellowship secretary and baker Win Harrip said many of the women were upset at the thought of strangers running a rule over their kitchen and would hang up their charity-cake aprons.

“We make around 20 cakes for our stall at the monthly One Tree Hill Market to raise money for the church and charities like the Flying Doctors,’’ Mrs Harrip, an aged pensioner from Elizabeth, said.

 

30 sick: Church says, don’t talk about Salmonella

At least 30 people, including some who were admitted to area hospitals, were reported sick due to a salmonella outbreak after a community meal Sunday at a Parker County church.  

Speak-No-EvilChurch leaders are now asking members to keep details about the luncheon, as well as updates on the conditions of affected persons to themselves.

Youth Pastor Spencer Row said, “ At this time, we as church staff, believe it is in the church’s best interest to allow our conference to handle this situation. We have taken the necessary steps to provide assistance internally. We ask that you refrain from posting or sharing any further information about this situation, for the protection of our members and our church as a whole.

“Please continue to pray for everyone, and make known how much love we have for one another! It’s in times like these that the true strength of the church is revealed.”

Food safety morons.

30 sick: Praise the Lord and pass the Salmonella at Texas church

At least 30 people, including some who were admitted to area hospitals, were reported sick due to a Salmonella outbreak after a community meal Sunday at a Parker County church. 

countryhamMany members of Bethesda United Methodist Church north of Garner have visited area emergency rooms in recent days with symptoms of food poisoning, including kidney issues and dehydration.

One woman was admitted to the intensive care unit of an area hospital and several children were among those hospitalized, according to family members.

Texas Department of State Health Services spokeswoman Christine Mann said the state is investigating a salmonella outbreak in connection with the church luncheon.

“Seems that everyone is on the slow road to recovery, so praise the Lord,” Youth Pastor Spencer Row wrote on the church’s public Facebook group Thursday afternoon. “Unfortunately, the situation that has taken place in our church has grabbed the attention of our local media. At this time, we as church staff, believe it is in the church’s best interest to allow our conference to handle this situation. We have taken the necessary steps to provide assistance internally.”

You may need some food safety advice – science not faith.

 

Awful: Ohio botulism outbreak up to 24 cases

There still are not a whole lot of details on what went wrong on Sunday at the Cross Pointe Free Will Baptist Church in Lancaster, Ohio. With the death of a 54-year-old woman an additional 23 folks hospitalized and on ventilators, this is a big deal. According to the Columbus Dispatch, a food vehicle has not yet been identified.

The person who died at a church potluck on Sunday in Lancaster has been identified as a 54-year-old woman, a spokeswoman for Fairfield Medical Center said at a noon press conference.cross-pointe-church

Everyone at the potluck has been personally contacted by health officials. In addition to the 23 people being treated for symptoms, others are under observation.

The botulism anti-toxin was requested at 10 a.m. yesterday, immediately after the illness was identified, said Dr. Andrew Murry, an infectious-diseases doctor at the Lancaster hospital. It arrived about midnight.

“We feel like it came and was administered in an appropriate time frame,” Murry said.

If administered within four days of infection, the anti-toxin can reduce the symptoms and length of the illness, he said.

Giving it to the dead woman sooner would not have saved her because she was so critically ill, he said.

“These people are really ill, and any time you’re on a ventilator for that amount of time, things could go badly,” he said.

Health department links undercooked and reheated barbecue linked to Salmonella illnesses

Growing up in Canada, barbecue was an event, or an outside cooking appliance. In North Carolina barbecue is a food.

And for some, sort of a religion.

Barbecue is made by slow cooking pork (often a whole hog) in a smoker for hours until the meat is tender enough to be pulled off of the bones. The kind I like is tossed in a vinegar and pepper sauce (that’s Eastern North Carolina style) and served with a couple of vegetable sides.bbq-tom-vin-m__05901.1405326372.1000.1200

Kind of like what led to almost 70 cases of salmonellosis last fall at a conference in Bessemer City, NC. According to the Gaston Gazette, the heath department’s investigation fingered the pork dish as the likely vehicle for the pathogen.

The investigation began after multiple people sought treatment for a stomach illness in early October.

The local health department collected information and found that many of the patients had attended a conference between Oct. 1 and 5 at Living Word Tabernacle Church in Bessemer City.

A report released this week found that Boston butts prepared by a church member were the likely culprits.

The pork was cooked overnight in a smoker a day before it was served. Then it was returned to the smoker the day of the meals.

Some of the pork hadn’t cooked all the way through in time for lunch so it was cooked longer then taken to the church for dinner.

The church member who cooked the meat said it was cooked at 350 degrees the first night, but no cooking temperature was given for when the pork was put back on the grill the next day.

Three people were hospitalized.

The purpose of the health department study isn’t to cast blame. It’s to educate, according to health officials.

The church was not required to have a permit to serve the food because the meals were free, but proper food preparation and storage should always be observed, said Samantha Dye with Gaston County Health and Human Services.

Salmonellosis outbreak linked to North Carolina church conference

Earlier this year, the Food Safety Summit, an annual gathering of food safety nerds dealt with an outbreak of foodborne illness amongst attendees. Over 100 became ill with C. perfringens  after eating a buffet meal. Conferences provide a nice environment for an outbreak – everyone eats sorta the same stuff and when things go bad, a lot of people get sick. salmonella

WSOCTV reports that Gaston County (NC) health officials are investigating an outbreak of salmonellosis that has been linked to a conference held Oct 1-5 at Living Word Tabernacle Church in Bessemer City.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, at least 50 attendees are reporting symptoms including diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever.

As of 2 p.m. Tuesday, seven cases of Salmonella were confirmed with a significant number of lab results pending and more samples being collected.

“Our public health staff is working closely with the church, the North Carolina Division of Public Health, and the community,” said Chris Dobbins, DHHS director. “Our priority is to identify those who have fallen ill, ensure they have received proper medical attention, and work together to identify a source so we can educate and prevent future outbreaks of this nature.”

Praise the lord and pass the (potatoes, ammunition) hepatitis A

The Fargo, North Dakota, Catholic Diocese’s new bishop may have exposed hundreds of church members here and in Jamestown to the hepatitis A virus in late September and early October.

“The risk of people getting hepatitis A in this situation is low, but the Department of Health felt it was important for people to know about 10-dogmathe possible exposure,” said Molly Howell, immunization program manager.

The diocese announced Monday that Bishop John Folda is taking some time off after being diagnosed with hepatitis A. The diocese said he contracted the infection through contaminated food while attending a conference for newly ordained bishops in Italy last month.

In New York City, a Hepatitis A  outbreak at a Westchester Square pizzeria, has its neighboring eateries dealing with the side effects.

The New York Daily News reported that several eateries near the still-shuttered New Hawaii Sea restaurant which closed last month after five patrons caught Hepatitis A, say they’re stuck dealing with the stigma of the virus.

Ljubo Kocovic, who opened his own pizzeria 28 years ago in 1985, said because of the Hepatitis scare, business has suffered.

“This is the slowest it has ever been. I’ve never seen an October like this,” Kocovic said. “One guy has a problem, and we all suffer. It’s very stressful.”

Restaurant owner, Nilesh Patel of M&R Coffee Shop agreed.

“People are afraid to come,” he said. “It’s not fair. They made a mistake, they should have to pay the price.”

New food safety infosheet: 103 cases of salmonellosis linked to North Carolina church fundraiser meal

When it comes to food safety temporary events can be problematic. Outbreaks have been linked to food festivals, community dinners and church fundraisers. The newest food safety infosheet is based on a September 2013 outbreak linked to a Shelby, North Carolina church fundraiser.Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 10.36.50 AM

Food Safety Infosheet Highlights:

– At least 13 individuals who ate at a barbecue event were hospitalized with symptoms including abdominal cramping, diarrhea and vomiting.
– All preparers should know safe cooking/cooling temperatures and procedures. Hold meals and ingredients requiring temperature control either below 41°F or above 135°F.
– Purchase ingredients from commercial food businesses instead of homemade/donated foods and ask about food safety systems for suppliers.
– Community dinners can be great fundraisers but are often held at temporary sites and staffed by volunteers unfamiliar with safe food handling practices for large meals.

Download the infosheet here.