Marketing food safety: Denmark, schnapps and Salmonella

I’ve been a long-time proponent that those farmers, processors and retailers that are really good at microbial food safety should be able to market such evidence directly to consumers.

salm-free-chicken-denmarkThis has nothing to do with food safety being a non-competitive issue, or whatever else industry types claim: It has everything to do with providing a market-based incentive for those in the farm-to-fork food safety system to brag about what they do.

There are good actors, there are bad actors: if trade associations were really concerned about their customers barfing, they’d stop saying everyone cares about food safety and support efforts to make such information readily available at retail.

But such microbiologically-safe claims are only valid with publicly available data: And there’s no such thing as no risk – or no Salmonella.

As that foodborne Salmonella infections in Denmark reached a historic low, some Danish processors are, according to Steve Sayer of Meatingplace.com, claiming on labels their chicken is Salmonalla-free.

Right, is a retail package containing raw skinless/boneless chicken that was recently purchased in Denmark (DK) Europe.

The labeling on the package is claiming to Danish consumers (where there’s an orange drawing of a chicken within a round circle): “Dansk Salmonelllafri Kylling,” when translated means – “Danish salmonella-free chicken.”

The DK packer is Rose Packing that claims their chicken is “salmonella free” on their website.

The long and winding road that the Danes labored to lowering salmonella within their hatcheries, layer hens, broiler chickens and eggs are impressive.

In 2015 a total of 925 salmonella infections were reported among Danes, which is equivalent to 16.2 infected cases per 100,000 inhabitants. This is the lowest number of salmonella infections since 1988, which is the first year from which researchers at the National Food Institute have used data to map the sources of foodborne salmonella infections.

2015 is also the first year since the introduction of the salmonella source account that Danish eggs have not caused illness. There have also been no registered cases of infection due to Danish chicken meat, which has been the case in four of the previous five years.

“The good results regarding Danish eggs and poultry are very encouraging. However, salmonella still constitutes a risk. Therefore it is important to maintain the preventive measures that researchers, governments and industry have jointly implemented over the years to ensure that salmonella is kept out of Danish products,” Senior Scientific Officer Birgitte Helwigh from the National Food Institute says.

Campylobacter continued to be the cause of most of the registered foodborne infections in Denmark in 2015 with 4,348 cases of illness. This represents a 15% increase from 2014 and is the highest number of cases ever recorded.

denmark-chickenImprovements in the reporting system and changes in diagnostic methods mean that more cases of illness are registered than in the past. Therefore it is unclear whether more people actually got a campylobacter infection in 2015 compared to previous years.

In 2015, only 39 foodborne disease outbreaks have been registered. This is the lowest number of outbreaks since a nationwide database for food and waterborne disease outbreaks was established almost ten years ago. A total of 1,233 people have become sick in connection with the 39 outbreaks.

As in previous year norovirus was the leading cause of outbreaks (42%).

Fancy food ain’t safe food Denmark edition: Country’s only three-star restaurant fined £2,300 for hygiene breaches

Denmark’s only three-star Michelin restaurant on Thursday faced questions over hygiene after it was fined 20,000 kroner (£2,300) by the country’s food safety authority.

restaurant-geranium-iiGeranium, the first eatery in Denmark to receive top Michelin honours, had been storing fresh shellfish such as oysters, crayfish and scallops in temperatures that were too warm and over an extended period, the Danish Food Administration wrote after an inspection.

Two walk-in coolers also had “black, green and white splotches growing on the underside of shelves and on packaged pickled garlic”, according to a report dated 29 September but picked up by Danish media only on Thursday.

The regulator awarded the Copenhagen restaurant – which charges 2,000 kroner for a meal without drinks – a frowning “smiley,” the lowest grade of its four-tier system.

Geranium chef Rasmus Kofoed told Danish news agency Ritzau: “I do not agree with what is written. I believe that it is greatly exaggerated but I admit that there are some parts of the process where perhaps we have been a bit unattentive.”

geranium-denmarkLess talk, more action.

The restaurant had been using a computerized system to monitor food temperatures incorrectly, but fish and shellfish were always stored on ice regardless of the surrounding temperature, he added.

This year the Nordic edition of the Michelin Guide gave three stars to Geranium, but only two to Copenhagen’s celebrated Noma, which was named best restaurant in the world by Britain’s Restaurant magazine in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014.

Noma too faced criticism from the Danish food safety regulator in 2013, when it was accused of not taking adequate action after a sick kitchen worker gave dozens of customers food poisoning.

The gift that keeps on giving.

smiley-faces-denmark-rest-inspection

First Denmark, now Norway for smiley-faced restaurant ratings

Nina Berglund of News in English.no reports inspectors from Norway’s state food safety agency Mattilsynet had little to smile about after their most recent visits to 1,100 restaurants in the Oslo area. Six out of 10 restaurants failed to earn the smiley face insignia that symbolizes good hygiene.

rest.inspection.smile.norway.aug.16Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported Thursday that only 41 percent of the eating places inspected by Mattilsynet in Oslo, Asker and Bærum were awarded the smiley face, which means they met the authorities’ standards for good hygiene.

“We of course wished that the results were better, but we’re not surprised,” Marit Kolle, division chief at Mattilsynet, told NRK. The results show a decline from national inspections earlier this year, when more than 60 percent did well and received smiley faces.

Kolle said that half the restaurants inspected most recently were given a straight face, after inspectors found deficiencies and errors in hygienic routines. “Those establishments get a warning from us that they must improve their routines,” Kolle said.

Another 9 percent were hit with a sour face symbol, meaning they flunked the hygiene inspection. Inspectors can close them on the spot if the violations are severe, or fine them.

The system of symbolizing the hygiene of restaurants was launched January 1 as a means of advising patrons about food safety inspection results. After an initial round of visits to 2,279 restaurants nationwide, around a third failed to win smiley faces.

The restaurants are obliged to post the smiley-, straight- or sour-faced symbols at their front doors. NRK reported earlier this year that Mattilsynet inspectors claimed many were failing to do so, thus “sabotaging” the program.

Restaurant inspection results are also made public on the state agency’s own website, matportalen.no/smilefjes.

smiley.faces.denmark.rest.inspection

Denmark says; Give us your poop

They could have just gone to France. This is Sorenne beside a doodie at a subway stop yesterday.

sorenne.france.poop.jun.16Hvidovre Hospital near Copenhagen is looking for healthy faeces donors that can help build a stockpile of stools to be used to fight bacteria.

Faeces from healthy people has proven to be a good weapon against recalcitrant bacteria when typical antibiotics fail. Since 2014, over 60 patients at the hospital have been treated with faeces donated by family members to combat clostridium bacterium that often do not respond to common antibiotics.

Demand is increasing, so Andreas Munk Petersen, the chief physician at Hvidovre Hospital thinks it is a good time to get some poop on the shelves.

“There are some age limits, but if you are otherwise healthy and have no diseases and are not severely overweight, you be a donor,” Petersen told DR Nyheder.

The hospital hopes to develop a ‘faeces bank’ similar to today’s blood banks so that a regular stream of contributors are available to help spread the treatment method further.

 

Salmonella low, Campylobacter high in Denmark

A total of 925 patients were notified with salmonella in 2015, marking the first time in 30 years the number is lower than 1,000. More than half of the patients were infected abroad.

Denmark_travel_guide_-_7th_editionSalmonella Enteritidis, which was previously the most common salmonella type, is now rare in Denmark. Previously, this type was found in Danish eggs and chickens, but it has now been nearly eradicated from Danish food production. Nevertheless, the other common salmonella type, Salmonella Typhimurium, and its monophasic variant are still seen frequently in Danish food products. Unusually, we only recorded few outbreaks of salmonella in 2014 and nearly none in 2015.

In contrast, more than 4,300 cases of Campylobacter were recorded in the past year, largely attributed to better detection.

Emergence and spread of Salmonella Typhimuriam DT104

Since it first emerged more than half a century ago, a particular strain of multidrug-resistant Salmonella has spread all over the world. Now researchers have figured out why this strain, Salmonella Typhimuriam DT104, has been so successful. This new knowledge could prove valuable in combating other successful pathogens, according to the authors. The study is published ahead of print March 4th in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Salmonella Typhimuriam DT104In order to construct the history of this strain, the investigators performed whole-genome sequencing of samples of DT104 that had been collected from patients over more than 40 years, from 1969 to 2012, in 21 countries, on six continents. Very tiny changes in the genome that took place over time enabled them to construct the strain’s family tree. The sequences have also made it easy to estimate roughly when the pathogen acquired the resistance genes.

DT104’s success was due in no small part to its resistance to at least five antibiotics, including ampicillin, chloramphenicol, streptomycin, sulphonamide, and tetracycline, said corresponding author, Pimlapas Leekitcharoenphon, PhD.

Further abetting its spread, unlike other strains of DT Salmonella, DT104 was able to infect numerous livestock species, including cattle, poultry, pigs, and sheep, said Leekitcharoenphon. “Having multiple hosts increases the chances of dissemination,” she explained. Leekitcharoenphon is a postdoctoral researcher at the Research Group for Genomic Epidemiology, National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby.

Using a program that took into account the rate of mutations in DT104, the investigators estimated that it first emerged in 1948 as an antibiotic susceptible pathogen. It is not clear exactly when DT104 first acquired the multidrug resistance-containing transposon. Transposons are mobile genetic elements that can carry antibiotic resistance genes, and that can jump from one genome to another. In the case of DT104, transposons have been identified as the sources of the resistance genes. The study suggests that the first acquisition of antibiotic resistance may have happened in 1972. However, multidrug-resistant DT104 was first reported in 1984 in the United Kingdom.

The new results also illuminated, for the first time, the results of a program in Denmark to eradicate all pigs infected with DT104, which had begun in 1996, but was stopped in 2000 due to financial pressures. It turns out that program was quite successful.

“If we know and understand the past, we might be able to solve the current resistance problems and prevent future ones,” said Leekitcharoenphon.

Danish retailer pulling campy chicken off grocery shelves

Metroxpress reports that Danish food brand Løgismose will be pulling a batch of chicken infected with Campylobacter off grocery shelves.

Princip KyllingDangerous levels of the pathogen have been detected in chicken labelled ‘Princip Kylling’ and ‘Løgismose Kylling’ with an expiry date of 22 February 2016. Packets labelled ‘Løgismose Kyllingelår og Kyllingebryst’ and stamped with an expiry date of 23 February 2016 have also been contaminated. The chicken is being sold at Netto and other supermarkets.

Steen Olsen, the chief operating officer at Løgismose, said that while the situation is regrettable, it unfortunately happens sometimes as Løgismose‘s chickens are all free-range.

“Unfortunately, this is what happens sometimes. In contrast to other brands, our chickens are let out in the open. This means that they sometimes eat insects that are to blame for the campylobacter bacteria,” he said.

A decade of Lm in Denmark

Kvistholm Jensen and colleagues analyzed 559 clinical Listeria monocytogenes isolates from 2002-2012 using 2-enzyme PFGE and conducted serotyping. They found clustering of some common patterns that could either be a large linked source. or maybe a few types from unrelated foods. Not sure.

In Denmark, the annual incidence of listeriosis increased from 0.5 cases per 100,000 population in 2002–2003 to a peak of 1.8 cases in 2009 and 0.9 cases in 2012, and is now among the highest incidences reported globally (8,9). Similar increasing trends have been reported from other European countries during the same period (4). The high but variable incidence calls for further examination of the possible explanations. We retrospectively analyzed trends related to patient data and PFGE- and MLST-types of L. monocytogenes strains occurring in Denmark during 2002–2012. In addition, we assessed the possible association between clinical aspects of the disease and strain genotype.Lars+Eller+Boston+Bruins+v+Montreal+Canadiens+htM5Ay-dtO8l

Our findings show that retrospective typing of isolates gives new insight into the epidemiology of listeriosis. By PFGE typing, we found a high diversity of L. monocytogenes in clinical cases but also a small number of frequent types representing a substantial fraction of all cases. Possibly, these types represent epidemiologically linked cases (outbreaks) or, alternatively, ubiquitous types present in many unrelated food sources and infections

It can happen: Surveillance artefacts

In 1991, 1999 and 2006, randomly selected individuals from the Danish Central Personal Register provided a serum sample. From individuals aged 30 years and above, 500 samples from each year were analysed for Campylobacter IgG, IgA and IgM antibodies using a direct ELISA method.

surveillanceWe applied a seroincidence calculator available from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control to perform a mathematical back-calculation to estimate the annual Campylobacter seroincidence in the Danish population. The estimated Campylobacter seroincidence did not differ significantly between the 1991, 1999 and 2006 studies although the reported number of culture-confirmed cases of Campylobacter infection increased 2.5 fold from 1993 to 1999 among individuals aged 30 years and above.

This suggests that Campylobacter was widely present in the Danish population before the increase in poultry-associated clinical Campylobacter infections observed from 1993 to 2001 among individuals of this age groups.

Was the increase in culture-confirmed Campylobacter infections in Denmark during the 1990s a surveillance artefact?

Euro Surveill. 2015;20(41):pii=30041

Emborg H-D, Teunis P, Simonsen J, Krogfelt KA, Jørgensen CS, Takkinen J, Mølbak Kåre

http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=21277