Australia still has an egg (food porn) problem: Former partner of MKR judge investigated after food poisoning incident at Double Bay Public School

The story below from the Wentworth Courier gives a taste of the disdain and food porn that permeates Australian egg culture.

mayonnaise.raw.eggA table of egg-based Salmonella outbreaks is available here.

The former partner of TV chef Manu Feildel has been implicated in a Salmonella poisoning incident at the Double Bay Public School’s Year 6 farewell event.

The incident, which occurred in December 2014, has since been the subject of a NSW Food Authority and NSW Health investigation.

A NSW Food Authority spokeswoman said an investigation had linked the salmonella outbreak “to a raw egg sauce served”.

“The NSW Food Authority has worked with the home-based catering business involved … and provided the operator with advice, guidance and information in relation to food safety requirements.”

Ronnie Morshead, Feildel’s partner for more than a decade and the owner-operator of Red Sage Catering which catered the function, said yesterday she had sent the Food Authority’s findings on to the school’s principal Andrea Garling.

“I believe the school is still waiting on an official report from the director of public health (Mark Ferson),” Ms Morshead said.

“But I understand, as far as (Professor Ferson) was concerned the whole (investigation) was complete.”

Last week, the Courier published details of six confirmed cases of salmonella following the farewell.

Prof Ferson, the South East Sydney Local Health District public health director, said on Monday that “more than six people were affected”, but as the Food Authority had completed its investigation, there was no need for him to conduct ­interviews with other victims.

A parent, who did not want their name published, said upwards of 25 people had fallen ill, including their own child who was still yet to fully recover.

raw.egg.mayo“How can there have been a thorough investigation when not every body has been interviewed?” the parent said.

“There’s talk of reimbursing medical bills but this is so much more than that. What about all that unnecessary suffering?” Prof Ferson said his ­department had identified the farewell event as the source of a salmonella outbreak after receiving ­unusual lab results.

The school has declined to comment and has directed questions to the NSW Education Department.

A spokesman did not ­respond to the Courier’s questions yesterday.

Five Japanese men poisoned by puffer fish after ‘eating highly poisonous liver’

Five men have been poisoned in Japan after allegedly asking a restaurant to serve them banned parts of the world’s most toxic fish.


puffer.fish.liverThe men were having dinner on Friday night in the western city of Wakayama when they ate puffer fish liver, which prompted vomiting and breathing difficulties early the next morning.

Puffer fish – also called blowfish or fugu in Japanese – are the world’s most toxic group of fish and their livers, ovaries and skin contain tetrodotoxin, 100 times more lethal than cyanide.

Yet eating the fish’s flesh is a tradition in Japan, where wealthy diners play the Russian roulette of the restaurant world by dining on sashimi slivers so thin they are almost transparent.

According to a city health official, the men asked to eat a banned, toxic part of the fish – which the most foolhardy fugu aficionados are said to enjoy for the tingling it produces on the lips.

The tingling is only the first symptom of tetrodotoxin poisoning, and is seen as part of the thrill for lovers of the fish.

But if the toxin is served in any significant quantity it then paralyses the muscles, suffocating victims as it reaches their chests and diaphragms while they are still conscious.

The health official said the men were in their 40s and 50s and the restaurant was shut down for five days from yesterday amid an investigation.

 

175 principals sick: Brisbane needs to up its food safety

An op-ed by me in this morning’s Brisbane Courier-Mail:

g20.brisbane.14If Brisbane wants to be the world-class city it aspires to be, put aside obsessions with TV cooking shows, with political inanities, with imports and focus on what makes people — such as 175 delegates at a school principals’ conference — sick.

After decades of food safety research, I can conclude anyone who serves, prepares or handles food, in a restaurant, nursing home, day care centre, supermarket or local market needs some basic food safety training. And the results of restaurant and other food service inspections must be made public and mandatory.

Here’s why. Parenting and preparing food are about the only two activities that no longer require some kind of certification in Western countries. To coach little kids ice hockey in Brisbane, which I do, required 16 hours of training. But anyone can serve food.

Cross-contamination, lack of handwashing and improper cooking or holding temperatures are all common themes in food-service related outbreaks — the very same infractions that restaurant operators and employees should be reminded of during training sessions and are judged on during inspections.

eat.safe.brisbaneThere should be mandatory food handler training, for say, three hours, that could happen in school, on the job, whatever. But training is only the start. Just because you tell someone to wash their hands after using the toilet before they prepare salad for 100 people doesn’t mean it is going to happen; weekly outbreaks of hepatitis A confirm this. There are incentives that can be used to create a culture that values safe food and a work environment that rewards hygienic behaviour.

Next is to verify that training is being translated into safe food handling practices through inspection, which should be public and mandatory.

Brisbane’s star system is voluntary, which means an owner can choose to not display results if they suck. The best cities — Toronto, Los Angeles, New York — have mandatory disclosure.

In the absence of regular media scrutiny, or a reality TV show where camera crews follow an inspector into a place unannounced, how do diners know which of their favourite restaurants are safe?

Cities, counties and states are using a blend of websites and letter or numerical grades on doors, and providing disclosure upon request.

In Denmark, smiley or sad faces are affixed to restaurant windows.

Publicly available grading systems rapidly communicate to diners the potential risk in dining at a particular establishment and restaurants given a lower grade may be more likely to comply with health regulations in the future to prevent lost business.

More importantly, such public displays of information help bolster overall awareness of food safety among staff and the public — people routinely talk about this stuff. The interested public can handle more, not less, information about food safety.

I volunteer at my daughter’s school tuck shop — no inspection, no training — and they’re serving meals to kids. Principals visiting Brisbane, unfortunately, learnt the importance of food safety.

Dr. Douglas Powell is a former professor of food safety at the University of Guelph in Canada and Kansas State University in the U.S., who is now based in Brisbane.

 dpowell29@gmail.com

0478 222 221

E. coli vaccine effective but seldom used in feedlot cattle

When it comes to foodborne illnesses, few rival E. coli for the damaging effect it can have on humans.

beef.cattleResearch shows that STEC-related bacteria cause more than 175,000 human illnesses per year with an annual direct economic cost ranging from $489 million to $993 million, said Kansas State University agricultural economist, Glynn Tonsor.

Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, often referred to as STEC O157 or simply E. coli, is naturally occurring in cattle and though it does no harm to the cattle, can make humans sick. In some cases it is lethal. To reduce the chances that beef leaving their plants is contaminated with the pathogen, beef processors have implemented hazard control steps and also test their beef products for the presence of E. coli before they leave the plant.

Another potential way to reduce prevalence of E. coli is to vaccinate cattle in feedlots long before they are shipped to processing plants.

“Immunization through vaccination has been a commercially available pre-harvest intervention to reduce E. coli shedding in cattle for about five years,” said Tonsor, who is a livestock marketing specialist with K-State Research and Extension. “Despite demonstrated substantial improvement in human health the vaccine offers, it has not been widely adopted.”

In a recent study he, along with K-State colleague Ted Schroeder, also an agricultural economist, took a closer look at the potential economic impacts of incorporating animal vaccination into E. coli pre-harvest control practices.

A fact sheet is available at Market Impacts of E.coli Vaccination in U.S. Feedlots. Study results have been published in the Agricultural and Food Economics Journal.

The study made clear two primary reasons most feedlot managers don’t use E. coli vaccines. Because cattle themselves are not adversely affected by the pathogen, the presence of E. coli does not hinder cattle feeding efficiency so there are no production costs for feedlots directly associated with the prevalence of E. coli. In other words, it costs no more to feed cattle that have E. coli than it does to feed cattle that don’t.  

Further, there is no well-established market that compensates producers for vaccinating for the pathogen. So generally, the price paid for cattle coming out of feedlots is the same whether the vaccine was used or not. Because administering the vaccine adds costs without direct economic incentives, most cattle feeders choose not to, Tonsor said.

Key findings from the K-State study include:

  • Given the current market setting, producer adoption of E. coli vaccination protocols is likely to remain limited. If such vaccinations were implemented, it would cost U.S. feedlots $1.0 billion to $1.8 billion in economic welfare loss over 10 years if demand didn’t increase with premiums for vaccinated cattle.    
  • Retail or export beef demand increases could spur adoption by feedlot producers. Considering different scenarios, the study found that retail beef demand increases of 1.7 percent to 3.0 percent or export beef demand increases of 18.1 percent to 32.6 percent would be necessary to generate sufficiently higher fed cattle prices to offset the costs associated with vaccination.
  • Production cost decreases to either beef retailers or wholesalers (packers) could also provide an incentive for feedlot producers to vaccinate. The study indicated that cost declines of 2.2 percent to 3.9 percent for retailers or alternatively production cost declines of 1.2 percent to 2.2 percent for packers would be necessary to generate sufficiently higher fed cattle prices to cover feedlot adoption costs, making producers economically neutral to adoption.

“A key point of this research is that limited use of E. coli vaccinations in U.S. feedlots is consistent with the lack of current economic signals for producers to expand adoption,” Schroeder said. “Unless there is a substantial change in market signals presented to feedlot operators, limited use of E. coli vaccinations can be expected in the future.”

Up to 164 sickened after attending school principal’s conference in Australia

As misguided calls for Aussie-only produce bear fruit, up to164 delegates from across Queensland attending a school principals’ conference at Brisbane’s Convention and Exhibition Centre have been sickened, possibly with Salmonella.

pink.floyd.educationCheck the egg-based dishes (a table of Australian egg-based Salmonella outbreaks is available here).

Twenty-two people so ill they had to be admitted to hospital.

Queensland Health last night confirmed it had launched an investigation.

The Courier-Mail reports that blood tests of one patient indicated salmonella poisoning.

Queensland Teachers Union president Kevin Bates said last night delegates had suffered severe illness.

“The symptoms have been described as vomiting, nausea and severe dehydration,” Mr Bates said.

One sick principal questioned food handling standards.

“All the hot food – curry and rice and so on – was in pretty white bowls without heating. Not a bain-marie in sight,” the principal said.

Queensland Secondary  Principals’ Association president Andrew Pierpoint said an email was sent to principals yesterday urging them to contact a doctor if they felt ill.

Queensland Health communicable diseases director Dr Sonya Bennett said the education department had contacted the health office on Sunday afternoon to raise concerns about the number of conference attendees who had fallen ill.

The Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre did not return calls yesterday.

Careful with that cookie dough: E. coli O157:H7 can survive in wheat (at least in the lab)

Escherichia coli O157:H7 is a human pathogen that can cause bloody diarrhea, hemorrhagic colitis, and hemolytic uremic syndrome. E. coli O157:H7 illnesses are mainly associated with undercooked beef; however, in recent years, outbreaks have been linked to fresh produce, such as spinach, lettuce, and sprouts.

nestle.toll.house.cookie.doughIn 2009, flour was implicated as the contamination source in an outbreak involving consumption of raw cookie dough that resulted in 77 illnesses. The objectives of this research were to determine (i) whether E. coli O157:H7 could be translocated into the internal tissues of wheat (Triticum aestivum) seedlings from contaminated seed, soil, or irrigation water and (ii) whether the bacterium could survive on flowering wheat heads. The levels of contamination of kanamycin-resistant E. coli O157:H7 strains in seed, soil, and irrigation water were 6.88 log CFU/g, 6.60 log CFU/g, and 6.76 log CFU/ml, respectively.

One hundred plants per treatment were sown in pot trays with 50 g of autoclaved soil or purposely contaminated soil, watered every day with 5 ml of water, and harvested 9 days postinoculation. In a fourth experiment, flowering wheat heads were spray inoculated with water containing 4.19 log CFU/ml E. coli O157:H7 and analyzed for survival after 15 days, near the harvest period. To detect low levels of internalization, enrichment procedures were performed and Biotecon real-time PCR detection assays were used to determine the presence of E. coli O157:H7 in the wheat, using a Roche Applied Science LightCycler 2.0 instrument.

The results showed that internalization was possible using contaminated seed, soil, and irrigation water in wheat seedlings, with internalization rates of 2, 5, and 10%, respectively. Even though the rates were low, to our knowledge this is the first study to demonstrate the ability of this strain to reach the phylloplane in wheat. In the head contamination experiment, all samples tested positive, showing the ability of E. coli O157:H7 to survive on the wheat head.

 

Transmission of Escherichia coli O157:H7 to internal tissues and its survival on flowering heads of wheat

01.mar.15

Journal of Food Protection®, Number 3, March 2015, pp. 484-627, pp. 518-524(7)

Martinez, Bismarck; Stratton, Jayne; Bianchini, Andréia; Wegulo, Stephen; Weaver, Glen

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/iafp/jfp/2015/00000078/00000003/art00006

Food safety cleanup

In honor of fall cleaning of smelly hockey gear – and what use is scaffolding if not to dry out hockey equipment – I offer this cleanup of smelly food safety news.

hockey.equip.drying.feb.15Lots of Asian countries, including China have banned Canadian beef after bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) showed up on the same farm as a case diagnosed in 2010. How effective is enforcement of that feed ban?

Men wash their hands less than women.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is going to speed up implementation of labeling of needle or mechanically tenderized beef to 2016. If Canada can do it in 2014, so can the U.S.

New Zealand is going to require child care centers to have a food safety plan when they serve meals to little kids, and get inspected once a year. Australia should do the same.

50 school cafeterias out of the 350 in Rhode Island racked up the most food safety violations. Who knew Rhode Island had 350 schools?

Fancy food ain’t safe food, Scotland edition, the Waldorf Astoria Caledonian in Edinburgh has failed basic hygiene inspections by food safety authorities. No details of why the hotels had failed food inspections.

The manager of a former railway station in Ireland that was converted to a restaurant told an food safety type it was really busy, and that’s why they violated 44 food hygiene and safety regulations. Guilty.

doug.coaching.feb.15

Salmonella and E. coli in sprouts in Mexico, oh my

Data on the presence of diarrheagenic Escherichia coli pathotypes (DEPs) in alfalfa sprouts and correlations between the presence of coliform bacteria (CB), fecal coliforms (FC), E. coli, DEPs, and Salmonella in alfalfa sprouts are not available. The presence of and correlations between CB, FC, E. coli, DEPs, and Salmonella in alfalfa sprouts were determined.

santa.barf.sprout.raw.milkOne hundred sprout samples were collected from retail markets in Pachuca, Hidalgo State, Mexico. The presence of indicator bacteria and Salmonella was determined using conventional culture procedures. DEPs were identified using two multiplex PCR procedures. One hundred percent of samples were positive for CB, 90% for FC, 84% for E. coli, 10% for DEPs, and 4% for Salmonella. The populations of CB ranged from 6.2 up to 8.6 log CFU/g. The FC and E. coli concentrations were between , 3 and 1,100 most probable number (MPN)/g. The DEPs identified included enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC; 2%), enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC; 3%), and Shiga toxin–producing E. coli (STEC; 5%). No E. coli O157:H7 strains were detected in any STEC-positive samples. In samples positive for DEPs, the concentrations ranged from 210 to 240 MPN/g for ETEC, 28 to 1,100 MPN/g for EPEC, and 3.6 to 460 MPN/g for STEC. The Salmonella isolates identified included Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium in three samples and Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis in one. STEC and Salmonella Typhimurium were identified together in one sample. Positive correlations were observed between FC and E. coli, between FC and DEPs, and between E. coli and DEPs. Negative correlations occurred between CB and DEPs and between CB and Salmonella. Neither FC nor E. coli correlated with Salmonella in the sprout samples.

To our knowledge, this is the first report of ETEC, EPEC, and STEC isolated from alfalfa sprouts and the first report of correlations between different indicator groups versus DEPs and Salmonella.

 

Presence and correlation of some enteric indicator bacteria, diarrheagenic Escherichia coli pathotypes, and Salmonella serotypes in alfalfa sprouts from local retail markets in Pachuca, Mexico

01.mar.15

Journal of Food Protection®, Number 3, March 2015, pp. 484-627, pp. 609-614(6)

Rangel-Vargas, Esmeralda; Gómez-Aldapa, Carlos A.; Torres-Vitela, M. del Refugio; Villarruel-López, Angélica; Gordillo-Martínez, Alberto J.; Castro-Rosas, Javier

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/iafp/jfp/2015/00000078/00000003/art00020

Would you like E. coli with that Saeng-go-gi (it’s raw beef)

This study investigated the bacterial contamination levels in ready-to-eat fresh raw beef, Saeng-go-gi in Korean, sold in restaurants.

Saeng-go-giA total of 462 samples were analyzed by performing an aerobic bacterial plate count, a coliform count, and an Escherichia coli O157:H7 count. Aerobic bacterial plate counts of fresh raw beef obtained from Seoul, Cheonan, Daegu, Gunsan, and Gwangju retail store restaurants were 6.46, 6.89, 6.39, 6.58, and 6.67 log CFU/g, respectively, and coliforms were 4.05, 4.97, 4.76, 3.62, and 3.32 log CFU/g, respectively.

Among the 462 assessed samples, suspected E. coli O157:H7 colonies were found in 32, 24, 20, 22, and 16 samples obtained from Seoul, Cheonan, Daegu, Gunsan, and Gwangju, respectively. The identity of these isolated colonies was further assessed by using a latex agglutination kit. The agglutination assay data showed that the isolates were not E. coli O157:H7.

The data from this study could be used to design better food handling practices for reducing foodborne illnesses linked to fresh raw beef consumption.

Bacterial contamination in Saeng-go-gi, a ready-to-eat fresh raw beef dish sold in restaurants in South Korea

01.mar.15

Journal of Food Protection®, Number 3, March 2015, pp. 484-627, pp. 619-623(5)

Park, Myoung Su; Moon, Jin San; Todd, Ewen C. D.; Bahk, Gyung Jin

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/iafp/jfp/2015/00000078/00000003/art00022

Market impacts of E. coli vaccination in US feedlot cattle

Immunization through vaccination has been a commercially available pre-harvest intervention to reduce E. coli shedding in cattle for about five years.

Despite demonstrated substantial improvement in human health that vaccine adoption offers, it has not been widely adopted. This highlights the need for understanding the economic situation underlying limited adoption.

Using an equilibrium displacement model, this study identifies the economic impact to U.S. feedlots implementing this vaccination across a series of alternative scenarios.

Producers face $1 billion to $1.8 billion in welfare losses over 10 years if they adopt this technology without any associated increases in demand for fed cattle. Retail beef demand increases of 1.7% to 3.0% or export demand increases of 18.1% to 32.6% would each individually make producers economically neutral to adoption. Retail or packer cost decreases of 1.2% to 3.9% would likewise be sufficient to make producers neutral to adoption.

Agricultural and Food Economics 2015, 3:7

Glynn T Tonsor and Ted C Schroeder

http://www.agrifoodecon.com/content/3/1/7