The effect of diet on E. coli 0157:H7 in cattle

Fifteen years old, written for me by Rena Orr while I was a prof at Guelph, and I’m still citing it.

cow.poop.spinachThe gastrointestinal tract of animals and humans is an ideal habitat for the growth of mostly harmless bacteria. Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a normal inhabitant of the human gastrointestinal tract. The 0157:H7 strain of E. coli, however, is responsible for the illness known as hamburger disease.  As few as 10 viable E. coli O157:H7 can cause infection. Victims may experience severe cramping and abdominal pain, watery or bloody diarrhea, vomiting or low-grade fever for an average of eight days. It can also cause kidney failure and death, primarily in children and immune compromised adults.

A small percentage of cattle are carriers of E. coli O157:H7. The prevalence of Shiga toxin‑producing Escherichia coli (STEC) in beef slaughter steers and heifers on P.E.I. was reported to be 4% (2000, Douglas Schurman). When meat is contaminated with cattle feces at slaughter, this strain of E. coli can enter the food chain. With the increasing use of hazard analysis and critical control point ( HACCP) plans, dietary management during the pre-slaughter period of beef production may play a role in reducing the incidence of E. coli O157:H7‑positive ruminants. Reducing the levels of E. coli O157:H7 organisms that enter slaughter plants would require two interrelated strategies: (i) reducing the number of cattle shedding E. coli O157:H7 and (ii) reducing the magnitude of shedding (CFU/gram) by those animals infected with the organism (1998, Cray Jr.).

cow.poop2Since September 1998, there has been conflicting information on the effect of diet on E. coli shedding from cattle. The conflict arises in part from the effect of diet on the ability of E. coli to develop acid resistance. The induction of acid resistance could increase the risk of human food‑borne illness. Normally, stomach acid is an effective barrier to infection by food‑borne pathogens because the organisms die in an acid environment. Acid resistant bacteria are able to survive this defence mechanism, reproduce, and produce the toxins that cause disease.

Diez‑Gonzalez et. al demonstrated that feeding a high‑grain diet to cattle results in an acidic environment in the colon. Because the animals incompletely digested the starch in grains, some starch was able to reach the colon where it fermented, producing fermentation acids. The researchers believe an acidic environment selects for or induces acid resistance among the Escherichia coli population.

On a diet of hay, there is no residual starch to be fermented in the colon. Thus, the acid level remains low and the E. coli remain acid‑sensitive. Acid‑sensitive E. coli are easily destroyed in the human stomach. Diez‑Gonzalez et al. concluded that if cattle were given hay for a brief period (five days) immediately before slaughter, the risk of food‑borne E. coli infection would be significantly reduced because the acidity in the colon is greatly reduced. “Our studies indicate that cattle could be given hay for a brief period immediately before slaughter to significantly reduce the risk of food‑borne E. coli infection.”  This finding was supported by studies on fecal shedding of E. coli 0157H7. Van Donkersgoed et al. concluded that feces and rumen content are sources of E. coli and Victor Gannon et al. showed that there were significantly fewer E. coli isolated from steers changed to an alfalfa hay diet for three weeks than for steers that stayed on silage/grain. The effect of dietary stress such as fasting has also been demonstrated to increase fecal shedding of E. coli O157:H7. The Science article received mainstream media attention, and was covered by the Associated Press and The New York Times, as well as scientific releases and reports. In the Irish Times, it was cited as the basis for concluding that because Irish cattle are fed a grass‑based diet rather than grain, Ireland has a low incidence of E. coli 0157:H7.

Hancock et al. contend that this conclusion is unsupported or contradicted by several lines of evidence. The E. coli that contaminate beef typically originate from the hide, the hooves, or the equipment used in slaughter and processing rather than directly from the colon, and likely replicate in environments unlike the colon. Therefore, the induced acid resistance of E. coli contaminating beef is likely to be unrelated to the pH of its ancestral colonic environment. The E. coli O157:H7 bacterium uses several mechanisms to survive acid environments, some of which are innate and are not influenced by environment . Although acid resistance is likely a factor in an infective dose, induced acid resistance has not been shown to be a factor in E. coli O157:H7 infectivity by experimental (dose‑inoculation) or observational (epidemiological) data . Therefore, acid resistance induced by exposure to weak acid may not influence the virulence of this pathogen.

mad.cows.mother's.milkPublished data on E. coli O157:H7 tends to contradict or does not support the effects of the dietary change proposed by Diez‑Gonzalez et al. In a recent study on three different grain diets (85% cracked corn, 15% whole cottonseed and 70% barley, or 85% barley), the fecal pH of the animals fed the corn diet was significantly lower (P < 0.05) than the fecal pH of the animals fed the cottonseed and barley and barley diets, likely resulting in a less suitable environment for E. coli O157:H7 in the hindgut of the corn fed animals (2000, Buchko et al). In the Journal of Food Protection, researchers concluded that changing from grain to a high roughage diet did not produce a change in the E. coli concentration that was large enough to deliver a drastic improvement in beef carcass hygiene. Sheep experiencing an abrupt diet change have higher concentrations and increased shedding of fecal E. coli O157:H7 for longer periods than sheep fed a consistent high‑grain diet. Another study compared the duration of shedding E. coli O157:H7 isolates by hay‑fed and grain‑fed steers experimentally inoculated with E. coli O157:H7 as well as the acid resistance of the bacteria. The hay‑fed animals shed E. coli O157:H7 longer than the grain‑fed animals, and irrespective of diet, these bacteria were equally acid resistant.

These results suggest that the proposed dietary change would actually increase contamination with E. coli O157:H7. Also, the 1,000‑fold reductions in total fecal E. coli demonstrated by Diez‑Gonzales et al. are far greater than those recorded in cattle experiencing similar ration changes. Finally, extensive surveys show that grain‑fed feedlot cattle have no higher E. coli O157:H7 infection prevalence than similarly aged dairy cattle fed forage (hay) diets. Abrupt feed change immediately before slaughter could have unexpected deleterious effects. The proposed diet change has the potential to increase the risk of bovine salmonella infections, a potential source of food poisoning. The dietary change results in sharply reduced volatile fatty acid

concentrations in the large intestine as well as changes in the bacteria, allowing for colonization of Salmonella.

Several people interviewed in the media, including U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, Dr. Gary Weber of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Dr. Robert Buchanan, a microbiologist at the Food and Drug Administration, and the authors, including Diez-Gonzalez, of a review article of recent research pointed out the need for further study to confirm that cattle feeding management practices may be manipulated to decrease the risk of foodborne illness from E. coli . Glickman said in a statement that the findings, if confirmed by additional research, “have the potential to greatly assist efforts to fight foodborne illness” and may lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture to recommend changes in the way cattle are fed. Peter Doris of the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association recommended a “cautious approach” on this issue. “Subjecting cattle to a special diet before slaughter is a problem in itself since most market‑ready cattle are sorted from pens in feedlots no more than 12 hours before they board the truck to the packing plant . Before we get to that point, we need to clarify if the research findings are valid”.



Buchko, S. J., R. A. Holley, S. J. Buchko, W. O. Olson, V. P. J. Gannon, and D. M. Veira. The Effect of Different Grain Diets on Fecal Shedding of Escherichia Coli O157:H7 by Steers Journal of Food Protection: October 2000 Vol. 63, No. 11, pp. 1467­1474

Brody, Jane E. The New York Times: September 11, 1998.

Cray Jr., William C., Thomas A. Casey, Brad T. Bosworth, and Mark A. Rasmussen. Effect of Dietary Stress on Fecal Shedding of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Calves.  Applied Environmental Microbiology: May 1998, p. 1975‑1979, Vol. 64, No. 5

Diez‑Gonzalez, Francisco, Todd R. Callaway, Menas G. Kizoulis, James B. Russell.

Grain Feeding and the Dissemination of Acid‑Resistance Escherichia coli from Cattle.

Science: Sept 11, 1998. Volume 281, Number 5383, pages 1666‑1668.

Douglas Schurman R., Harry Hariharan and Susan Heaney.  Prevalence And Characteristics of Shiga Toxin‑producing Escherichia Coli in Beef Cattle Slaughtered on Prince Edward Island

Journal of Food Protection: November 2000. Vol. 63, No. 11, pp. 1583­1586.

Farm and Country: Scientists Debate Hay vs Corn. October 19, 1998

Gannon, Victor, Thomas Graham, Walter Olson, Roger Johnson: Fecal Shedding of

Escherichia coli O157:H7 during the Beef Cattle Production Cycle. Health Canada and

Agriculture and Agri‑Food Canada, Lethbridge Alberta and Health Canada, Guelph,


Hancock, Dale D., Thomas E. Besser (College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164, USA), Colin Gill (Agriculture and Agri‑Food Canada Research Center, Lacombe, Alberta, Canada T4L1W1), Carolyn Hovde Bochach (Department of Microbiology, Molecular Biology, and Biochemistry, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844, USA): Cattle, Hay, and E. coli. Science, April 2, 1999 Volume 284, Number 5411, Page 49.

Hovde, Carolyn, et al. Applied and Environmental Microbiology: 65: 3233‑3235. 1999

Jordan, David, Scott McEwen. Effect of Duration of Fasting and a Short‑Term High Roughage Ration on the Concentration of Escherichia coli Biotype 1 in Cattle Feces.  Journal of Food Protection 1998. Volume 61, No. 5, pages 531‑534.

Kudva, Indira T., Carl W. Hunt, Christopher J Williams, Ursula M. Nance, Carolyn J.

Hovde: Dietary Influences on the Shedding of Escherichia coli 0157:H7 by Ruminants.

Department of Microbiology, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Department of

Animal and Veterinary Sciences and Division of Statistics, University of Idaho, Moscow,


O’Sullivan, Kevin. Irish Times: September 23, 1998.

Russell JB, F  Diez‑Gonzalez, GN Jarvis. Invited review: effects of diet shifts on Escherichia coli in cattle. Journal of Dairy Science: 2000 Apr;83(4):863‑73

Tkalcic, Suzana, Barry G. Harmon, Cathy A. Brown, E. Mueller, A. Parks, T. Zhao, M.P.

Doyle: Effects of the Rumen Microenvironment on the Growth and Fecal Shedding of E

coli 0157:H7. The Department of Pathology and Department of Food Science and

Technology, University of Georgia.

Van Donkersgoed, Joyce, (Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, 11 Bruns

Road, Lacombe, Alberta, T4L 1P1), Tom Graham, Vic Gannon (Animal Diseases

Research Institute, Health Canada., Lethbridge Alberta). The Prevalence of Verotoxins,

  1. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella in the Feces and Rumen of Cattle at Processing.

Boy Scouts avoid liability in E. coli lawsuit

I was shocked and shamed about a month ago when we were invited to dinner at the home of other hockey parents.

thermometers.feb.15I normally carry a spare Cormark PTD 300 tip-sensitive digital thermometer in my knapsack, but had donated the spare to Sorenne’s school the day before and forgot to replenish the stash (thanks, Chapman, for providing more).

I felt naked not being able to probe the pork roast, especially when our hosts asked for a demonstration.

Dr. food safety was Dr. fail.

Apparently the Boy Scouts of America don’t care about such things either.

Harrison King, then 14, was among more than 80 campers who became ill after a 2008 gathering at a sprawling Boy Scout camp in Rockbridge County. King suffered brain damage as a result of his illness, according to his lawsuit.

A Virginia Department of Health report concluded the outbreak was caused in part by undercooked ground beef.

amy.thermometer.05King sued both the Boy Scouts and the company that sold ground beef used at Camp Goshen. He claimed the meat supply was tainted and the Boy Scouts failed to ensure the meat was properly cooked.

U.S. District Judge Norman K. Moon first ruled in November that the Boy Scouts were entitled to charitable immunity in King v. S&S Foods LLC, Boy Scouts of America (VLW 014-3-618).

At the time, Moon left the case open for the parties to explore whether there was evidence of gross negligence that would allow King’s claim to proceed against the Boy Scouts.

Based on evidence that the Boy Scout regional unit had provided guidance on the proper cooking of so-called “foil dinners” and on safe food handling generally, Moon rejected the allegations of gross negligence. He dismissed the Boy Scouts and the BSA regional unit on March 20 in King v. S&S Foods LLC (VLW 015-3-142).

Take a thermometer.


Over 300 sickened: We have the highest standards, we plead guilty

In Oct. 2012, reports started trickling in of people sick with E. coli O157 after dining at Flicks, a Belfast restaurant.

flicksBy Nov. 2012, 137 confirmed cases and 164 probable cases of E. coli O157 had been linked to this one restaurant.

“All of our books and health checks are up to date, staff training is all up to date,” co-owner Michael McAdam said at the time.

“We have followed every rule and regulation. We take our job seriously and where this came from I have no idea.”

Yesterday, as the charges were put to Yorkgate Movie House boss McAdam, as an owner of the former Flicks Restaurant, he replied: “we plead guilty”.

The charges included failure to supervise, instruct or train staff in food hygiene; inadequate training for food hygiene procedures; failure to protect foods from E. coli contamination; failures to identify hazards, or to record or monitor them; no cleaning or drying facilities for staff, or even soap in a blocked wash hand basin; and one charge of failing to keep chopped parsley at the proper temperature to prevent pathogenic microorganisms or formation of toxins.

Adjourning the case until next month, Judge Gordon Kerr QC asked defence lawyer Stuart Spence for an up-to-date report on the company as the court would be considering ‘a financial penalty’ in such a case.


Boo-hoo: Australian raw milk pushers losing thousands under new laws

 New Victorian laws governing the sale of unpasteurised milk are costing organic dairy farmers thousands of dollars.

raw.milk.death.1917The death of a three-year-old boy last year, as well as three additional cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome in children under 5-years-old prompted the State Government to bring in new laws this year.

Dairy farmers must add a gagging agent to their milk, to make it unpalatable, if they want to sell it as raw or bath milk for cosmetic purposes.

Simon Schulz, a third generation dairy farmer from the state’s south-west, said he was unable to add a gagging agent and still keep his organic certification.

He said his family now pasteurised all its milk.

Adam Jenkins, the recently installed president of the United Dairy Farmers of Victoria, the state’s peak dairy lobby group, said, “People have made comments about how old farmers drink their own milk out of the vat or we give it to our neighbours. At the end of the day, that’s not really the discussion.”

Mr Jenkins said he understood the need for farmers to supply niche markets to maintain their incomes.

He said the biggest issue facing the raw milk industry was ensuring a safe supply chain from the farm to customers’ houses.

“You can’t just say ‘yes, we’re going to have it’ and have no quality assurance process,” Mr Jenkins said.

“I agree the [government] has done the right thing – maybe gone too hard, too quick – but maybe we need to relook at it. If people are really that keen on that, then they can pursue their own advocacy towards that.”

‘Disgusting’ says Schaffner: Philly McDonald’s leaks sewage, continues to operate for 4 days

As the stench of backed-up sewage permeated the restaurant, a West Philadelphia McDonald’s continued selling Big Macs, Quarter Pounders, and fries over four days last fall, installing porta-potties in the parking lot but never notifying the city, which would have ordered a closure.

mcdonald'sA complaint led the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to dispatch an inspector to the franchise at 52d Street and Columbia Avenue on Sept. 15. She found ruptured plumbing in both restrooms and “smelled sewage throughout the facility.”

“The Person in Charge failed to notify the Department of an imminent health hazard and cease operations. Establishment has been operating with raw sewage backup for at least 4 days,” La’Sandra Malone-Mesfin wrote in her report. She listed 24 violations, four of which were related to the plumbing.

There is no evidence that any customers or employees got sick, although most cases of foodborne illness go unreported nationwide.

Raw sewage in a restaurant is “a very high-risk situation,” said Caroline Johnson, disease-control director for the city health department, who was talking generally.

“By design, a sewage line removes the nastiest, filthiest things from a food establishment,” said Janice Buchanon, an official at Steritech, a national brand-protection company that specializes in food safety. A common component, she said, would be E. coli O157, which can cause serious illness and lead to kidney failure in children.

“That the restaurant would continue to operate for even one day is beyond belief,” she said.

Four days after the restaurant was closed, a follow-up inspection by the city found that the plumbing was working, and management was given the go-ahead to reopen.

The city took no further action.

“We do not impose fines or penalties, and we do not have the authority to do so,” said Jeff Moran, spokesman for the city health department.

“Most health departments use closure of a facility as the most punitive action they can take,” said Buchanon, the Steritech official, who formerly worked as a restaurant inspector in various cities. The restaurants “lose face, have to explain to all the customers why they were closed, and lose revenue for a number of days.”

But she and others expressed surprise that the city had to find out about the sewage leak from a complaint.

“I don’t understand why the management didn’t immediately shut down the restaurant,” said Don Schaffner, a professor of microbiology at Rutgers University who also sits on McDonald’s Food Safety Advisory Council. “Not only is it disgusting, it’s a real risk. You can’t operate with nonfunctioning sewage lines.”

Analysis for Salmonella of all imported beef products sampled for Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC)

This notice provides instructions for import inspection personnel to follow when collecting samples for Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7 and other Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) that will also be analyzed for Salmonella.

beef.stecRaw beef samples, including import MT08 and MT51 samples, collected for STEC analysis will also be analyzed for Salmonella

Import inspection personnel are not to add a Salmonella type of inspection (TOI) for the analysis

The Salmonella analysis result is non-regulatory, and if positive, the product is not a refused entry

How notify the importer of record when a sample tests positive for Salmonella but is negative for STECs

On June 5, 2014, FSIS announced in the Federal Register (79 FR 32436) that raw beef samples collected for routine and follow-up sampling projects for STEC also will be analyzed for Salmonella. This new approach will allow FSIS to gather baseline data to determine the prevalence of Salmonella in ground beef and trim and to gather data necessary to propose new performance standards for ground beef. FSIS does not consider Salmonella an adulterant in raw meat products. Therefore, a positive test result for Salmonella in imported raw beef product, sampled by FSIS import inspection personnel, does not require a regulatory control action to be taken.

When import inspection personnel receive an E. coli O157:H7 MT08 or E. coli O157:H7 MT51 TOI, under which imported boneless manufacturing trimming are also to be tested for STEC, they are to:

Collect samples following the sampling instructions in FSIS Directive 10,010.1,

Verification Activities for Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Raw Beef Products;

Continue to follow the instructions on notifying establishments about sample collection for STEC analysis that are set out in FSIS Directive 10,010.1; and

Inform official import inspection establishment management that all samples analyzed for STEC will also be analyzed for Salmonella. However, the importer of record (IOR) only has to hold and control the lot until the results for STEC are reported, provided there are no other unreported laboratory samples requiring the lot to continue to be held.

Note: Salmonella results reporting may take 1 – 3 days longer than STEC reporting.

Everything comes down to poo

My mom said she got foodborne illness a couple of years ago, and it affected her for over a year.

ben.stool.sample.nov.09She didn’t contact the health unit and didn’t go the hospital, because that’s how we roll.

My mom’s like most people I chat with about poop: it’s sorta embarrassing. It’s nerds like Chapman (his kit, right) that get stool samples and find out they’re part of a state-wide outbreak.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that increased availability and rapid adoption of culture-independent diagnostic tests (CIDTs) is moving clinical detection of bacterial enteric infections away from culture-based methods. These new tests do not yield isolates that are currently needed for further tests to distinguish among strains or subtypes of Salmonella, Campylobacter, Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli, and other organisms.

Public health surveillance relies on this detailed characterization of isolates to monitor trends and rapidly detect outbreaks; consequently, the increased use of CIDTs makes prevention and control of these infections more difficult (1–3). During 2012–2013, the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet*) identified a total of 38,666 culture-confirmed cases and positive CIDT reports of Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, Shiga toxin–producing E. coli, Vibrio, and Yersinia. Among the 5,614 positive CIDT reports, 2,595 (46%) were not confirmed by culture. In addition, a 2014 survey of clinical laboratories serving the FoodNet surveillance area indicated that use of CIDTs by the laboratories varied by pathogen; only CIDT methods were used most often for detection of Campylobacter (10%) and STEC (19%).

Maintaining surveillance of bacterial enteric infections in this period of transition will require enhanced surveillance methods and strategies for obtaining bacterial isolates.

Bacterial enteric infections detected by culture-independent diagnostic tests — FoodNet, United States, 2012–2014

CDC MMWR March 13, 2015 / 64(09);252-257

Martha Iwamoto, Jennifer Y. Huang,. Cronquist, Carlota Medus, Sharon Hurd, Shelley Zansky, John Dunn, Amy M. Woron, Nadine Oosmanally, Patricia M. Griffin, John Besser, Olga L. Henao

Use a thermometer, not steaming hot: Bad government advice paid by taxpayers in UK and Aus

The taxpayer funded bullshit is below, even though the US and Canada say, use a damn thermometer, because color is a lousy indicator. The science is clear on this issue. UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) is reminding people to take care when preparing and cooking burgers at home.

Steve Wearne, Director of Food Policy, at the FSA, said: ‘The most important thing to remember is to cook your burgers so they are steaming hot all the way through, that none of it is pink and that any juices run clear.”

And in Australia, Safe Food Queensland endorsed a fact sheet from Queensland Health that stated, “Make sure to cook chicken thoroughly so that there is no pink meat and the juices run clear.”


Stick it in and use a tip sensitive digital thermometer.

It’s the season, not the farm, silly (and the poop): E. coli and leafy greens in US

Small- and medium-size farms in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States use varied agricultural practices to produce leafy greens during spring and fall, but the impact of preharvest practices on food safety risk remains unclear.

lettuceTo assess farm-level risk factors, bacterial indicators, Salmonella enterica, and Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) from 32 organic and conventional farms were analyzed.

A total of 577 leafy greens, irrigation water, compost, field soil, and pond sediment samples were collected. Salmonella was recovered from 2.2% of leafy greens (n = 369) and 7.7% of sediment (n = 13) samples. There was an association between Salmonella recovery and growing season (fall versus spring) (P = 0.006) but not farming system (organic or conventional) (P = 0.920) or region (P = 0.991). No STEC was isolated.

In all, 10% of samples were positive for E. coli: 6% of leafy greens, 18% of irrigation water, 10% of soil, 38% of sediment, and 27% of compost samples. Farming system was not a significant factor for levels of E. coli or aerobic mesophiles on leafy greens but was a significant factor for total coliforms (TC) (P < 0.001), with higher counts from organic farm samples. Growing season was a factor for aerobic mesophiles on leafy greens (P = 0.004), with higher levels in fall than in spring. Water source was a factor for all indicator bacteria (P < 0.001), and end-of-line groundwater had marginally higher TC counts than source samples (P = 0.059).

Overall, the data suggest that seasonal events, weather conditions, and proximity of compost piles might be important factors contributing to microbial contamination on farms growing leafy greens.

The growing season, but not the farming system, is a food safety risk determinant for leafy greens in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States

Applied and Environmental Microbiology

Sasha C. Marine, Sivaranjani Pagadala, Fei Wang, Donna M. Pahl, Meredith V. Melendez, Wesley L. Kline, Ruth A. Oni, Christopher S. Walsh, Kathryne L. Everts, Robert L. Buchanan, and Shirley A. Micallef

A repeated cross-sectional study was conducted to identify farm management, environment, weather, and landscape factors that predict the count of generic Escherichia coli on spinach at the preharvest level.

E. coli was enumerated for 955 spinach samples collected on 12 farms in Texas and Colorado between 2010 and 2012. Farm management and environmental characteristics were surveyed using a questionnaire. Weather and landscape data were obtained from National Resources Information databases.

lettuce.tomato.skullA two-part mixed-effect negative binomial hurdle model, consisting of a logistic and zero-truncated negative binomial part with farm and date as random effects, was used to identify factors affecting E. coli counts on spinach.

Results indicated that the odds of a contamination event (non-zero versus zero counts) vary by state (odds ratio [OR] = 108.1). Odds of contamination decreased with implementation of hygiene practices (OR = 0.06) and increased with an increasing average precipitation amount (mm) in the past 29 days (OR = 3.5) and the application of manure (OR = 52.2).

On contaminated spinach, E. coli counts increased with the average precipitation amount over the past 29 days. The relationship between E. coli count and the average maximum daily temperature over the 9 days prior to sampling followed a quadratic function with the highest bacterial count at around 24°C.

These findings indicate that the odds of a contamination event in spinach are determined by farm management, environment, and weather factors. However, once the contamination event has occurred, the count of E. coli on spinach is determined by weather only.

Multifactorial effects of ambient temperature, precipitation, farm management, and environmental factors determine the level of generic Escherichia coli contamination on preharvested spinach

Applied and Environmental Microbiology

Sangshin Park, Sarah Navratil, Ashley Gregory, Arin Bauer, Indumathi Srinath, Barbara Szonyi, Kendra Nightingale, Juan Anciso, Mikyoung Jun, Daikwon Han, Sara Lawhon, and Renata Ivanek

Food: Hucksters and snake oil

While the Food Babe may have gotten some less than glowing press from the N.Y Times, two Australian food porn types have been thoroughly routed and lost their book deals.

SnakeOilIf only people wouldn’t initially fall prey to 21st century snake oil.

The paleo cookbook Bubba Yum Yum: The Paleo Way was due for release last week, but has now been cancelled by publisher Pan MacMillan in NZ and Australia amid health concerns over a recipe for babies.

The book apparently advocates baby milk formula based on liver and bone broth.

But co-author Pete Evans, who penned the book with blogger and actress Charlotte Carr, appears unperturbed by the news, taking to Facebook to announce: “Our nurturing new book ‘Bubba Yum Yum’ will also being [sic] released in the next week or two, so we’ll keep you updated [sic].”

Enthused about the project, which he wrote with Wes Carr’s wife Charlotte and naturopath Helen Padarin, he ended the post with: “We surly [sic] all are part of something very, very special… good things are coming! Good things are here!”

We have close to a 1000 people coming to the Melbourne town hall tomorrow for our Paleo Way Tour. I am so excited to share the stage with such truly inspiring, open hearted people!

Fresh off filming the sixth season of My Kitchen Rules, Pete is currently busy touring his Paleo Way cooking class through the country.

The tour is an offshoot his Pete’s TV show of the same name, which the Daily Telegraph reported has been green-lit for a second season.

Aussie mum Kim Reddy wrote an open letter to Pete Evans, asking him to “stop being a jerk and go back to being a chef.”

Simultaneously, publishing giant Penguin will pull Belle Gibson’s debut cook book after the author failed to defend accusations of falsely claiming to have cancer and explain why she withheld charitable donations.

The publisher has previously admitted never fact checking Ms Gibson’s story, which claims healthy living and natural therapies helped her treat multiple terminal cancers.

imagesMs Gibson has so far offered no evidence to support her claims of surviving cancers after rejecting conventional treatment. Former friends and leading medical experts have cast strong doubt over her story and purported diagnoses.

“Despite our best endeavours, Penguin Books has not received sufficient explanation from Ms Gibson, author of The Whole Pantry recipe book, in response to recent allegations,” a spokeswoman said.

“As such, we have been left with no other option but to stop supplying the book in Australia. We remain hopeful that we will receive the formal assurances we have requested in the coming days.”

It comes as next month’s overseas release of The Whole Pantry also is in doubt, with major US publisher Simon & Schuster confirming it will investigate Ms Gibson’s biography and charitable donations.

Global tech company Apple, which heavily promoted Ms Gibson’s app as one of the first to be made available on the Apple Watch device, has remained silent for almost a week despite mounting accusations and repeated requests for comment. Apple refuses to say whether it stands by Ms Gibson.

Gibson recently encouraged her followers to drink raw cow’s milk and discussed investing in a co-op.

She is facing criticism for ignoring the Victoria State government move to further restrict raw milk sales after one child died and four became seriously ill after consuming ‘cosmetic milk’ products.

Using her private Instagram handle of @onlybelle she told her followers to go #vegan, #notmilk, #rawmilk or #nomilk.

On an image showing a fridge of raw milk products she wrote: ‘Raw Milk is Not for Human Consumption!” with “F*** the government. Hahaha’

The 23-year-old has told her followers to avoid vaccinating their children.

The doctor video below from Jimmy Kimmel is fairly good (NSFV).