In 2013, Emma Heidish spent a month overcoming a potentially deadly form of kidney disease which cause her kidneys to shut down and required surgery and near constant dialysis.
On Tuesday, a Hennepin County jury found the owners of the farm where she got E. coli, Dehn’s Pumpkins in Dayton, negligent for not taking steps to prevent their animals from transmitting diseases and awarded Emma $7.5 million.
The bulk of the money is for future medical bills and pain and suffering.
“It is one of the largest verdicts in the country for an E. coli outbreak for a condition like this one and its one of the largest involving a petting zoo case,” Emma’s attorney, Fred Pritzker, said. “The people who run the pumpkin patch are decent people. It’s not that they were mean spirited. But, what they didn’t know caused a great deal of pain and suffering for my clients.”
Since the outbreak, the popular pumpkin patch no longer operates a petting zoo, but Pritzker sais animal attractions like it are not regulated or inspected.
His firm will push for a new law, named after Emma, requiring petting zoos to follow safety precautions, like having hand washing stations nearby to help prevent the spread of the disease.
“There have been 150 to 200 cases of outbreaks involving animals in public settings in the last 15 years, Pritzker said
Pritzker says Emma probably won’t see all the money because the farm’s insurance doesn’t have that much coverage.
In April 1986, three classes of kindergarten and pre-K schoolchildren visited a dairy farm near Sarnia, Ontario (that’s in Canada, although it feels like grungy U.S.).
As recounted by David Waltner-Toews in his 1992 book, Food, Sex and Salmonella, “It was a typical Ontario farm, with 67 cows and calves, some chickens, some pigs, all well-cared for an clean, and seemed the perfect place to take a class of preschoolers. In April of 1986, 62 pre-school children and 12 supervising adults visited this farm. They played in the barn, petted the calves, pulled at the cows’ teats, and gathered a few eggs. For a break, they drank milk (right from the farmer’s tank!) and ate egg cookies (sliced hard-boiled eggs cleverly renamed to induce children to eat them). A good time was had by all.
“Within the next two weeks, 42 children and four adults came down with abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Three of the children ended up in the hospital with hemolytic uremic syndrome. One of the children fell into a coma. All eventually recovered. The bacterium blamed for these misfortunes called verotoxin-producing E. coli, or VTEC.
“Public health investigators looked everywhere on the farm. Although they found only two calves carrying the organism, they decided that exposure to the unpasteurized milk was the most plausible explanation for what they saw. And yet the farm family, which drank that milk every day, was apparently healthy and not shedding VTEC.”
The public health version states that “after extensive sampling at the farm the only samples that were positive for E. coil O157:H7 were stool samples taken from two calves at the dairy farm. Agriculture Canada veterinarians collected the animal stool samples and also checked the herd for Brucellosis.
“To control the spread of the E. coil the three classes were closed at the school for about three, weeks. All the affected children and their families were restricted in their contact with the community until the affected family member(s) has three successive negative stool samples. These restrictions imposed by the Lambton Health Unit quickly controlled the spread of the E. coll. Thus by mid-June all families were negative for E, coli and by mid-July the three children with HUS had returned home from the hospital.”
This outbreak was noteworthy in that dairy farms in Ontario stopped serving raw milk to visiting school children.
As one of my many dairy farmer friends have told me, when the schools visit, we go to town and buy some (pasteurized) milk.
Thirty years later and the same nonsense is still being debated, in Tasmania (that’s in Australia).
Rhiana Whitson of ABC News reported earlier this month a Tasmanian farmer who demonstrates milking cows to children, giving them a “squirt” from the udder, has fallen foul of health authorities who have warned he is at risk of losing his business if he does not stop.
Rowen Carter (left, exactly as shown) runs the Huon Valley Caravan Park, south of Hobart, which he said is “more than just a caravan park, we are a self-sufficient working farm that wants to teach people where real food comes from.”
Maybe Rowen should teach microbiology and Louis Pasteur.
Carter offers paying guests homemade Persian fetta made with raw milk, as well as a taste of raw cow’s milk straight from the udder’s teat.
“I squirt it in their mouth and then afterwards I appear with some plastic cups and show them the more couth way of tasting the fresh milk … everybody is amazed at how sweet and how nice it is,” Mr Carter said.
But his attempt to provide guests with an “old-fashioned farm experience” has landed him in trouble with the Tasmanian Dairy Industry Authority (TDIA).
Mr Carter denied selling raw milk and insisted his guests freely choose to sample it.
“It’s been taken away from us, the right to choose,” he said.
“I think people should be allowed to taste it … they don’t have to taste it, it’s their choice and it’s their choice to let their children have a taste.”
The sale of unpasteurised milk products for human consumption is illegal in Australia, however the use of raw milk in various products has continued with some arguing the risks have been overstated.
Health authorities and experts have warned raw milk poses a health risk, especially to children. A boy died in 2014 after drinking raw milk, marketed as bath milk, labelled as being for “cosmetic use only”.
Mr Carter said the tasting of the milk straight from the cow was a “highlight of the day” for guests.
“There is always the question ‘can we do the milk squirting again tomorrow?’
“Now we have to tell them because it is deemed we are selling the milk, squirting is now no longer.
“How can something that brings so much joy be so wrong?”
Search raw milk on barfblog.com and find out how wrong it can be.
In a facebook post, Carter wrote, “I can legally allow you to sit at my dining room table and offer you a can of coke and a cigarette but I am unable to offer you a glass of fresh (raw) milk and a scone with clotted cream according to Tasmanian Dairy Industry Authority acting chairman Mark Sayer.”
Raw milk and other weird parental dietary preferences disproportionally affect the kids.
It’s always the kids.
Mr. Carter, drink all the raw milk you like, I don’t care, I provide information.
But as parents, we generally don’t have a scotch and a smoke with 5-year-olds.
And stop with the squirting references, especially around kids: it’s just weird.
It’s still 1978 here in Australia; or 1803 in Tasmania.
The sessions take place outside. While participants stretch and pose, the animals wander around or sit on mats and wait to be pet, said Lainey Morse, who owns and lives on the farm.
Morse launched the program last month, and it was an instant hit, she told The Huffington Post. The remaining two classes of the season have filled up already, and her waiting list for next year is more than 500 people long, she added.
Though people have been taking the class for a suggested donation of $10, that price will likely change in the future due to demand.
To sign up for a class, people can visit the Goat Yoga Facebook page, where the class schedule and updates are posted.
“They are gentle and peaceful and just want attention,” the farm owner told HuffPost of the goats.
People seem to enjoy their experiences with the class. In fact, one participant, a cancer patient, was flooded with emotion when taking it, according to Morse.
In the journal Nature, Manuela Raffatellu, associate professor of microbiology & molecular genetics, and colleagues provide the first evidence that small protein molecules called microcins, produced by beneficial gut microbes, play a critical part in blocking certain illness-causing bacteria in inflamed intestines.
In their study, the researchers show that a probiotic strain of E. coli called Nissle 1917 utilizes microcins to inhibit the pathogen salmonella and an invasive form of E. coli (isolated from patients with inflammatory bowel disease).
“Although an in vivo role for microcins has been suggested for 40 years, it has never been convincingly demonstrated,” said Raffatellu, who’s affiliated with UCI’s Institute for Immunology. “We hypothesize that their role was missed because, as our data indicate, microcins do not seem effective in noninflamed intestines. In contrast, we show that in an inflamed intestine, microcins help a probiotic strain limit the growth of some harmful bacteria.”
She added that microcins are essential for the therapeutic activity of E. coli Nissle, and her next step is to purify microcins and test whether they can be given as targeted antibiotics.
Ilze Meistere, a spokeswoman for the Food and Veterinary Service, told LETA that the bacteria can cause severe diarrhea and hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS).
The Food and Veterinary Service has issued a warning to consumers, advising not to eat Majas Desa sausages made by Biovela. The expiry date of these sausages is January 22, 2017 and the barcode is 4770118401377.
Biovela has promised to recall all the contaminated sausages from stores by the end of this day.
Over the past week The Sun has been inundated with calls from guests staying at the Liberty Lykia Hotel in Turkey throughout October claiming to have been affected by an “epidemic” sweeping the resort.
They’ve reported adults, kids and even babies projectile vomiting along pathways, in the swimming pool and in bushes – as well as many being unable to even leave their rooms after having been gripped by the sickness and diarrhoea bug.
Throughout October guests have been falling ill – but say staff at the hotel, and from Thomas Cook, have done nothing to stop it spreading and continue to deny there is a problem.
One guest, who arrived with another family on October 21 but have asked to remain anonymous, said her stepdaughter was “projectile vomiting” and suffering from diarrhoea within hours of getting to Turkey.
Within a few days four out of their group of six had been struck down with the bug.
The mum and others claim they were told they had to fork out 50 Euros to see the hotel doctor, or 100 Euros for the medic to visit them in their room.
She said: “They checked her pulse and said it was double what it should be and to call an ambulance for her straight away.
“They didn’t ask if we had insurance or an E111 or anything they just told us to bring our passports
“At the hospital they ran tests and put her on a drip, said she had a blood infection or something like gastroenteritis.
According to Thomas Cook it is “standard procedure” for customers to pay for a doctor’s visit and to claim the cost back through travel insurance.
Several families report having at least one family member being taken to hospital, while video footage shows young children being transported away by ambulance.
No food safety dramas for us in Brisbane (unlike those at the cider mill in Kansas, more about that later), but thanks to our Alaskan hockey-playing friend Andy and his family for their annual party.
I decided to go as a hybrid of the two things hockey players hate most — a goaltender and a linesmen (now that I have my stripes) — while Andy opted for the more traditional Jason-approach.
The girls went traditional goth — Amy was a bloody baker while Sorenne had some spider thing going on — and, proving some of my genes did get transmitted down the family line, grandson Emerson went as a robot with a pail oh his head.
Gallo Farms Pty Ltd has recalled Gallo Marinated Fetta in Far North QLD only, due to microbial (E.coli) contamination. Food products contaminated with E.coli may cause illness if consumed. Consumers should not eat this product. Any consumers concerned about their health should seek medical advice. The product can be returned to the place of purchase for a full refund.
Date notified to FSANZ
Marinated Fetta in oil with added parsley and pepper
Gallo Marinated Fetta
Package description and size
Plastic tamper-evident tub, 250g
All best before dates between 06.11.16 and 30.11.16
Country of origin
Reason for recall
Microbial (E.coli) contamination
Selected IGA supermarkets and small grocery stores in Far North QLD.
Food products contaminated with E.coli may cause illness if consumed. Consumers should not eat this product. Any consumers concerned about their health should seek medical advice. The product can be returned to the place of purchase for a full refund.
The findings show that polysorbates attack the protective biofilm in which E. coli lives and renders the deadly bacteria harmless.
“Biofilms are multicellular communities of bacteria that are usually encased in a protective slime,” says Waters. “We found that polysorbate 80 obliterates the biofilm and takes away the E. coli’s ability to damage the host during infection. We think this is due to blocking the ability of E. coli to produce toxin.”
Specifically, the team focused on the potent strain isolated from Germany that swept through Europe in 2011, causing thousands of infections and more than 50 deaths. Waters and Shannon Manning have previously studies this strain. Having samples of the bacteria at hand helped the team, led by Rudolph Sloup, a graduate student in microbiology and molecular genetics, isolate compounds that inhibited biofilms.
However, the results didn’t come easily. Waters and his team scoured scientific literature to identify anti-biofilm compounds, but none of them inhibited biofilms of this E. coli strain. Finally, the team found that the 20th compound tested, polysorbate 80, obliterated E. coli’s ability to form biofilms in the lab.
The next step was to determine if the compound was effective in an animal model of the disease by administering polysorbate 80 to infected mice in their drinking water.
“During our animal infection studies, polysorbate 80 had no effect on the numbers of infecting E. coli. This was a little shocking, especially based on how promising our earlier tests had been,” Waters says. “Later, though, our pathology tests showed that polysorbate 80 essentially blocked all toxicity, even though it didn’t reduce the number of bacteria.”
“Antibiotic use can often cause more harm than good with these types of E. coli infections because it causes the bacteria to release more toxin and it drives antimicrobial resistance,” Waters says. “Our results indicate that polysorbate 80 makes this strain of E. coli harmless, without these negative side effects. This approach also doesn’t disrupt patients’ natural microbiome leading to a healthier gut.”
Since polysorbate 80 is categorized as a GRAS (generally regarded as safe) compound, it doesn’t require FDA approval to be used as a treatment. Along with its potential for disarming the deadly German E. coli outbreak, polysorbate 80 could potentially help tackle more-common E. coli infections such as traveler’s diarrhea.
The next steps for this research will be to identify how polysorbate 80 inhibits biofilm formation and test its activity in other infection models.
Additional researchers from Michigan State and the University of Texas contributed to the study. Partial funding came from the National Institutes of Health and a Strategic Partnership Grant from the MSU Foundation.
Polysorbates prevent biofilm formation and pathogenesis of Escherichia coli O104:H4
Escherichia coli biotype O104:H4 recently caused the deadliest E. coli outbreak ever reported. Based on prior results, it was hypothesized that compounds inhibiting biofilm formation by O104:H4 would reduce its pathogenesis. The nonionic surfactants polysorbate 80 (PS80) and polysorbate 20 (PS20) were found to reduce biofilms by ≥ 90% at submicromolar concentrations and elicited nearly complete dispersal of preformed biofilms. PS80 did not significantly impact in vivo colonization in a mouse infection model; however, mice treated with PS80 exhibited almost no intestinal inflammation or tissue damage while untreated mice exhibited robust pathology. As PS20 and PS80 are classified as ‘Generally Recognized as Safe’ (GRAS) compounds by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), these compounds have clinical potential to treat future O104:H4 outbreaks.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is currently conducting an investigation of an outbreak of E. coli among people who attended the Louisburg Cider Mill Ciderfest, which was held Sept. 24-25 and Oct. 1-2, according to a KDHE news release on Wednesday.
To date, there are seven laboratory-confirmed cases associated with this investigation, KDHE said. However, the investigation is ongoing and information is subject to change. The Kansas Department of Agriculture along with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and KDHE performed an on-site assessment on Oct. 27.