We pay tax dollars for this? Safe Food Queensland sucks

Safe Food Queensland: What do you get when you cross a Smurf with cheese?  Blue Cheese.  #cheesejoke #jokes #food #cheese

you.suckSafe Food Queensland should maybe focus on providing reports on the E. coli O157 outbreak that sickened 50 at the Ekka in 2013. Follow-up? Nothing.


In November 2013, at least 220 people were felled by salmonella and one was killed at Melbourne Cup functions, all linked to raw egg-based dishes served by Piccalilli Catering. Follow-up? Nothing.

In January 2015 at least 130 diners were stricken with salmonella after dining at Brisbane’s Chin Chin Chinese Restaurant. Dozens were hospitalised. Follow-up? Nothing.

In March 2015, 250 teachers contracted salmonella at a conference and an additional 20 people were sickened on the Gold Coast from the same egg supplier. Follow-up? Nothing.

But way to make bad, taxpayer-funded jokes, Safe Food Queensland.

Family wants answers: Daughter, 5 others stricken with E. coli O157 in 2011 after trip to UK petting farm

In June 2011, 11-year-old Megan Oldfield took a school trip to a petting farm in East Yorkshire and was left fighting for life with kidney damage.

Megan OldfieldMegan Oldfield needed dialysis for two weeks after contracting the infection following a visit to Cruckley Animal Farm in East Yorkshire.

She fell ill in the week after the school trip and was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary where she was put on dialysis for two weeks.

Megan still needs regular check ups on her damaged kidneys and is vulnerable to further infections throughout her life.

Her dad James, 34, a gas engineer, was quoted as saying, “Seeing my little girl fight for her life because she contracted an infection that might have been prevented was very hard to witness and something I will never forget.

“She went from perfectly healthy to being hooked up to a life saving dialysis machine in a matter of days and nothing could have prepared us for the horrific battle she would have to face.

A Health Protection Agency (HPA) report into the farm the month after Megan’s visit found insufficient hand washing facilities for visitors.

The owners of the attraction – which closed permanently later the same year – deny responsibility.

Megan’s family have now instructed specialist solicitors Irwin Mitchell to investigate the cause of his daughter’s illness.

Lawyers at the firm have received details of a Health Protection Agency (HPA) report into Cruckley Animal Farm which was commissioned following the HPA being notified of ‘six cases (five primary and one secondary) of E-coli O157 with possible links to Cruckley Animal Farm between 7th and 18th July 2011’

The Health Protection Agency report, dated July 2011 found:

  • Hand wash facilities provided were deemed insufficient for the volume

of visitors

  • Location of hand wash facilities also considered not to be adequate,

especially in regard to the covered picnic area, which was located too far from

hand wash facilities

  • As a result, it was considered unlikely that the visiting public washed their hands after interaction with animals and before eating
  • There was a lack of explicit information about the risk of contracting an infection from animals

The HPA report stated: “Two improvement notices were issued which required (a) improved segregation of visitors from animals and increased number of hand washing facilities with hot and cold running water, (b) improved provision of information to visitors.”

The report confirmed that there was strong evidence that the farm was the source of the infection as, “it was the single common link identified in all six cases”.

The HPA concluded: “A lack of explicit information about the risk of infection from animals was also noticed, and this was of concern due to the lack of adequate hand washing facilities in eating areas.”

Food Network gets it right: Adds temps for grilled steak

OMG. There’s actually temperatures.

bobby.flay.steakBobby Flay writes: Heat your grill to high. Brush the steaks on both sides with oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Place the steaks on the grill and cook until golden brown and slightly charred, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the steaks over and continue to grill 3 to 5 minutes for medium-rare (an internal temperature of 135 degrees F), 5 to 7 minutes for medium (140 degrees F) or 8 to 10 minutes for medium-well (150 degrees F).

Transfer the steaks to a cutting board or platter, tent loosely with foil and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Food as snake oil: ‘diet gurus’ hook us with religion veiled in science

With full respect to Kurt Vonnegut, I listen to the ethical pronouncements of the leaders of the church of organic and am able to distill only two firm commandments from them. The first commandment is this: Stop thinking. The second commandment is this: Obey. Only a person who has given up on the power of reason to improve life here on earth, or a soldier in basic training, could accept either commandment gladly.

vonnegut.back.to.schoolFood is 21st century snake oil. In an era of unprecedented affluence, consumers now choose among a cacophony of low‑fat, enhanced‑nutrient staples reflecting a range of political statements and perceived lifestyle preferences, far beyond dolphin‑free tuna.

And to go with the Salt Spring Island goat cheese, the all‑organic carrots and the Snapple-laced echinacea is a veritable sideshow of hucksters and buskers, flogging their wares to the highest bidder ‑‑ these things always cost a premium ‑‑ or at least the most fashionable.

In 2001, the U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld four complaints against claims in a Soil Association leaflet entitled Five Reasons To Eat Organic. The ASA ruled there was no evidence that, contrary to the assertions of the Soil Association, that consumers could taste the difference, that organic was healthy, that it was better for the environment, and that organic meant healthy, happy animals. On one claim, the Soil Association responded that 53% of people buying organic produce did so because they thought it was healthy. The ASA rightly ruled this did not constitute any sort of clinical or scientific evidence.

Alan Levinovitz writes for NPR that from Paleo to vegan to raw, nutrition gurus package their advice as sound, settled science. It doesn’t matter whether meat is blamed for colon cancer or grains are called out as fattening poison — there’s no shortage of citations and technical terms (tertiary amines, gliadin, ketogenesis) to back up the claims.

But as a scholar of religion, it’s become increasingly clear to me that when it comes to fad diets, science is often just a veneer. Peel it away and you find timeless myths and superstitions, used to reinforce narratives of good and evil that give meaning to people’s lives and the illusion of control over their well-being.

Take the grain-free monks of ancient China. (My specialty is classical Chinese thought.) Like all diet gurus, these monks used a time-tested formula. They mocked the culinary culture around them, which depended on the so-called wugu, or “five grains.”

According to the monks’ radical teachings, conventional grain-laden Chinese diets “rotted and befouled” your organs, leading to early disease and death. By avoiding the five grains, you could achieve perfect health, immortality, clear skin, the ability to fly and teleport. Well, not quite. To fully realize the benefits of the monks’ diet, you also had to take proprietary supplements, highly technical alchemical preparations that only a select few knew how to make. All of this may sound eerily familiar: Look no further than modern anti-grain polemics like Dr. David Perlmutter’s Grain Brain — complete with its own recommended supplement regimen.

Despite basic logic and evidence to the contrary, the philosophy of the grain-free monks gained popularity. That’s because then, as now, the appeal of dietary fads had much to do with myths, not facts. Chief among these is the myth of “paradise past,” an appealing fiction about a time when everyone was happy and healthy, until they ate the wrong food and fell from grace.

hucksterThe mythic narrative of “unnatural” modernity and a “natural” paradise past is persuasive as ever. Religious figures like Adam and Eve have been replaced by Paleolithic man and our grandparents: “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food,” is journalist Michael Pollan’s oft-quoted line.

The story also has a powerful moral dimension. It’s the Prince of Evil, after all, who tempted Eve. Once secularized, Satan reappears as corporations and scientists who feed us chemical additives, modern grains and GMOs, the “toxic” fruits of sin. (No matter if science doesn’t agree that any of these things are very toxic.)

Paradise past. Good and evil. Benevolent Nature with a capital N. The promise of nutritional salvation. After you’ve constructed a compellingly simple narrative foundation, all you have to do is wrap your chosen diet in scientific rhetoric.

For Chinese monks, that rhetoric involved “five phases theory.” For ancient Greeks and Romans it was “humors” — four fluids thought to be the basis of human health. Now it is peer-reviewed studies. Thankfully for diet gurus, the literature of nutrition science is vague, vast and highly contested — just like religious texts — making it easy to cherry-pick whatever data confirm your biases.

Staff at Irish hospital ‘terrified’ of contracting E. coli

A member of the domestic staff at Craigavon Area Hospital saysCraigavon-Area-Hospital1 she and others are “terrified” of contracting E.coli O157 after being asked to clean the kitchen where it was found.

The Southern Health and Social Care Trust confirmed yesterday (Thursday) that the bacteria had been detected in the main public canteen.

The domestic assistant, who contacted the Portadown Times, said she and other staff were alerted to the situation on Tuesday, when they were called in to a meeting.

She said all domestic staff had been asked to hand in their uniforms for swab tests and were also asked to submit a stool sample.

She criticised the hospital for the lack of information they had received since then and also expressed concern that she and other staff had been asked to go in and clean the kitchen.

“The staff are not happy. We are terrified that we are going to catch it,” she said.

However, a trust spokesperson said any cleaning is conducted under stringent environmental health guidelines and that staff are issued with all the necessary protective clothing.

Meanwhile, the canteen remains open and hot food is continuing to be served – as the bacteria cannot exist in it – but the salad and sandwich bars have been closed until all tests have been completed.

E. coli O157 discovered in kitchen at Irish hospital

E. coli O157 has been discovered in the main kitchen of Craigavon Area Hospital in Northern Ireland, as part of routine sampling.

Craigavon-Area-Hospital1A spokesperson from the Southern Health and Social Care Trust said: “The Trust can confirm that E. coli O157 has been detected during routine sampling at the main kitchen at Craigavon Area Hospital.

“To date, no patients, staff or members of the public have shown symptoms of being affected by this bacteria. We currently have stringent food safety measures in place and are liaising with all relevant agencies at this time.”

E. coli at SC day care: delays and violations

The Learning Vine on Overland Drive in Greenwood, S.C. at the center of an E. coli outbreak, has multiple health and safety violations pending correction, according to the state Department of Social Services’ Division of Early Care and Education.

e.coli.myles.mayfieldLearning Vine shut down voluntarily on Monday following the death of 2-year-old Myles Mayfield, of Greenwood, who died from hemolytic uremic syndrome, a condition associated with E. coli that can lead to kidney failure.

Since Myles’ death, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control confirmed that there are eight cases of E. coli connected to Learning Vine. 

The violation areas pending correction are:

- Diaper changing, 24-month and younger room (x2)

- Improper medication practices

- Sanitation violations (x3)

- Facility restrooms (x2)

- Feeding, 24-month and younger room

- Food safety/menu

- Posted information

- Other health and safety

Meanwhile, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) officials released a timeline Wednesday of their investigation.
DHEC says it’s been investigating fatal Greenwood E.coli cluster since May, but a nearly three-week gap between the reported diagnoses meant it took a month before they linked the outbreak to a daycare center.<

1 dead, 252 sickened in 2011: Beware the dirt: E coli O157 outbreak on UK leeks and potatoes

I was up early, as I do, and did a long interview with Good Housekeeping that will appear … I don’t know when.

leek_washThe hygiene hypothesis came up, or that a little bit of dirt is good for you.

I said we humans aren’t smart enough yet to know when dirt is good or bad.

The writer was in New York City, and said her friends were all going on about the microbiome – our stomach bacteria.

I said if Michael Pollan endorses the idea, I’m immediately suspect.

So after almost five years since UK health types, out of no where, announced there were 252 people sick with E. coli O157 , apparently linked to poorly washed leeks and potatoes – blame the consumer – UK types finally published a paper about the outbreak.

 Between December 2010 and July 2011, 252 cases of STEC O157 PT8 stx1 + 2 infection were reported in England, Scotland and Wales. This was the largest outbreak of STEC reported in England and the second largest in the UK to date. Eighty cases were hospitalized, with two cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome and one death reported.

Routine investigative data were used to generate a hypothesis but the subsequent case-control study was inconclusive. A second, more detailed, hypothesis generation exercise identified consumption or handling of vegetables as a potential mode of transmission. A second case-control study demonstrated that cases were more likely than controls to live in households whose members handled or prepared leeks bought unwrapped [odds ratio (OR) 40, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2·08-769·4], and potatoes bought in sacks (OR 13·13, 95% CI 1·19-145·3). This appears to be the first outbreak of STEC O157 infection linked to the handling of leeks.

 A large Great Britain-wide outbreak of STEC O157 phage type 8 linked to handling of raw leeks and potatoes

Epidemiology and Infection

Launders, M. E. Locking, M. Hanson, G. Willshaw, A. Charlett, R. Salmon, J. Cowden and G. K. Adak


Reducing E. coli in unpasteurized orange juice

Non-pasteurized orange juice is manufactured by squeezing juice from fruit without peel removal. Fruit surfaces may carry pathogenic microorganisms that can contaminate squeezed juice.

orange.juiceTitanium dioxide–UVC photocatalysis (TUVP), a non-thermal technique capable of microbial inactivation via generation of hydroxyl radicals, was used to decontaminate orange surfaces. Levels of spot-inoculated Escherichia coli O157:H7 (initial level of 7.0 log CFU/cm2) on oranges (12 cm2) were reduced by 4.3 log CFU/ml when treated with TUVP (17.2 mW/cm2). Reductions of 1.5, 3.9, and 3.6 log CFU/ml were achieved using tap water, chlorine (200 ppm), and UVC alone (23.7 mW/cm2), respectively. E. coli O157:H7 in juice from TUVP (17.2 mW/cm2)–treated oranges was reduced by 1.7 log CFU/ml.

After orange juice was treated with high hydrostatic pressure (HHP) at 400 MPa for 1 min without any prior fruit surface disinfection, the level of E. coli O157:H7 was reduced by 2.4 log CFU/ml. However, the E. coli O157:H7 level in juice was reduced by 4.7 log CFU/ml (to lower than the detection limit) when TUVP treatment of oranges was followed by HHP treatment of juice, indicating a synergistic inactivation effect.

The inactivation kinetics of E. coli O157:H7 on orange surfaces followed a biphasic model. HHP treatment did not affect the pH, °Brix, or color of juice. However, the ascorbic acid concentration and pectinmethylesterase activity were reduced by 35.1 and 34.7%, respectively.

 Inactivation of Escherichia coli O157:H7 on orange fruit surfaces and in juice using photocatalysis and high hydrostatic pressure

Journal of Food Protection®, Number 6, June 2015, pp. 1064-1243, pp. 1098-1105(8), DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-14-522

Yoo, Sungyul; Ghafoor, Kashif; Kim, Jeong Un; Kim, Sanghun; Jung, Bora; Lee, Dong-Un; Park, Jiyong


‘Only way to confirm that ground beef is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer’ Tyson recalls beef

Guess the Brits didn’t get that line about using a thermometer.

And the freshness is guaranteed, but not the safety.

tyson.e.coli.O157.recall.jun.15Tyson Fresh Meats, a Dakota City, Neb., establishment, is recalling approximately 16,000 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The ground beef items were produced on May 16, 2015. The following products are subject to recall:

5 lb. chubs of “80% Lean Ground Beef.”

The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “EST. 245C” inside the USDA mark of inspection and a “best before or freeze by” date of June 5, 2015. These products were shipped to one distribution location in New York.

FSIS discovered the problem during a routine sampling program. Neither FSIS nor the company received any reports of illnesses associated with consumption of this product. FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may have been sold and stored in consumers’ refrigerators or freezers.

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps 2–8 days (3–4 days, on average) after exposure the organism. While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This condition can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children under 5-years old and older adults. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.

FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume product that has been cooked to a temperature of 160° F. The only way to confirm that ground beef is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature, http://1.usa.gov/1cDxcDQ.

Media with questions regarding the recall can contact Worth Sparkman, at (479) 290-6358 or worth.sparkman@tyson.com. Consumers with questions regarding the recall can contact the consumer hotline, at (866) 328-3156.