They said loads: Handwashing and glove use both necessary

Handwashing and glove use are the main methods for reducing bacterial cross-contamination from hands to ready-to-eat food in a food service setting.

amy.sorenne.handwashingHowever, bacterial transfer from hands to gloves is poorly understood, as is the effect of different durations of soap rubbing on bacterial reduction. To assess bacterial transfer from hands to gloves and to compare bacterial transfer rates to food after different soap washing times and glove use, participants’ hands were artificially contaminated with Enterobacter aerogenes B199A at ∼9 log CFU. Different soap rubbing times (0, 3, and 20 s), glove use, and tomato dicing activities followed. The bacterial counts in diced tomatoes and on participants’ hands and gloves were then analyzed. Different soap rubbing times did not significantly change the amount of bacteria recovered from participants’ hands.

Dicing tomatoes with bare hands after 20 s of soap rubbing transferred significantly less bacteria (P < 0.01) to tomatoes than did dicing with bare hands after 0 s of soap rubbing. Wearing gloves while dicing greatly reduced the incidence of contaminated tomato samples compared with dicing with bare hands. Increasing soap washing time decreased the incidence of bacteria recovered from outside glove surfaces (P < 0.05).

These results highlight that both glove use and adequate hand washing are necessary to reduce bacterial cross-contamination in food service environments.

Adequate hand washing and glove use are necessary to reduce cross-contamination from hands with high bacterial loads.

J Food Prot. 2016 Feb; 79(2):304-8. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-15-342.

Robinson AL, Lee HJ, Kwon J, Todd E, Rodriguez FP, Ryu D

Crappy bathrooms in NY’s JFK

It was Australia Day, 33 C, so why not coach an exhibition hockey game. travelled to Toowoomba yesterday, about 100 minutes from Brisbane, where one of my fellow coaches lives, and put the younger kids on a makeshift ice surface to drum up local interest in the sport (they’re trying to build an arena).

Afterwards, many of the families went to a park, where the one grilling had remembered to bring his tip-sensitive digital thermometer, and another asked me about the bathroom.

I explained how 29 years ago, when I was editor of the Ontarion, the University of Guelph student paper, my first story in my new role was to rate the bathrooms at local bars.

It cost the paper thousands in lost advertising revenue because many of the bars didn’t like the results. The story was popular, and we made up the lost revenue in no time.

Christine Negroni writes in The Huffington Post that women arriving on oneworld flights into New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport have one word for the condition of the bathrooms in Terminal 8, “Ewwww.”

hockey.toowoombaKisha Burgos stopped at the bathroom in the baggage claim area and was shocked to see paper-strewn floors, filthy toilets and empty and broken paper dispensers in the stalls. “It’s bad,” she told me comparing it to the airports she visited in in Bangkok, Vietnam and Laos on her recent five week trip.

“Everything was really clean,” she said of the bathrooms in places one might not expect to find them. 

Airport workers know the secret is to use the toilets on the departure level because passengers are better cared for there. Keeping them happy encourages them to shop and dine while waiting to board their flights. Arriving passengers on the other hand, are in a hurry and on their way out.

The most customer-friendly airport is Singapore’s Changi where every bathroom has a touch screen survey enabling users to immediately register their satisfaction (is that before or after washing their hands?).

I reported back to the parent the bathroom had the essentials – running water, soap and paper towel (which isn’t that common in Australia).

As a coach, I like that – we had the basics covered.


Canberra gets a lot of gastro

For a nation’s capital – Canberra, that’s in Australia – with all those public servants preaching handwashing and sanitation, they get a lot of gastro.

CT Health has warned of the potential danger of gastroenteritis after a North Canberra childcare centre has been hit with the virus.

handwashing.sep.12Chief Health Officer Dr Paul Kelly said a handful of staff and children had been infected since he was first notified last Thursday.

It was the first outbreak of 2016 to involve ACT Health.

A Canberra woman was one of 150 people who fell ill on a musical cruise in October featuring Australian and international stars and Opera Australia performers.

Six months earlier, a Canberra nursing home was in lockdown after the diagnosis of gastroenteritis in a number of residents, leading to restricted access for family to visit residents.

Fifty-three students caught the virus after an ANU end of year celebration at Burgmann College in 2014.

‘Bacteria, viruses don’t care if food is GMO-free or natural’ and ‘safety of our guests is always our highest priority’ Chipotle still struggles with food safety

It’s difficult to fathom Chapman as an expert of anything, except garbage goals in hockey and bailing his PhD supervisor out of jail (as all graduate students should do).

family.guy.diarrheaI also hate being called an expert, but I know some stuff.

Dr. Chapman told Technician Online that, “Practicing good hygiene and having systems in place to verify that foods are cooked go a long way in preventing these sort of outbreaks. On the supplier’s side, systems are needed to make sure that suppliers are managing food safety on farms and the processing companies.”

On the individual’s side, Chapman said there is not much a customer can do to ensure that the food they get from a retailer is safe. Sanitation scores can be checked as a precaution but mostly it just comes down to trust in the retailer.

“The safety and well-being of our guests are always our highest priority,” said an official statement from Chipotle and Customer Service Consultant Olivia Beltran.

Stephanie K. Baer of The Pasadena Star-News wrote a few days ago that Chipotle’s food safety problems are about much more than where the Denver-based food company gets its ingredients, according to inspection data and experts.

Food safety experts say the fact there have been so many foodborne illness outbreaks in such a short period of time — six different outbreaks of E. coli, norovirus and salmonella in six months — it is indicative of a lack of training and oversight of the fast-food chain’s employees.

While there have been no confirmed reports of customers getting sick at Chipotle locations in Los Angeles County, major health hazards that cause foodborne illness are common at the food chain’s locations in the area.

Outbreaks at restaurants are commonly caused by ill employees and unsafe cooking or holding temperatures of perishable food, among other factors. And at Chipotle, where burritos are constructed with precooked and prepared food at a steam table, maintaining safe food temperatures is a recurring problem, according to inspection data and reports.

“There will always be foodborne illnesses, complaints and deficiencies, but what we see here appears to be repeated incidents that are similar in nature and that would suggest a systemic problem within the company that requires further investigation,” said Angelo Bellomo, deputy director for health protection at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

According to Los Angeles County Department of Public Health inspection data, health inspectors observed 126 violations for unsafe hot and cold holding temperatures at Chipotle restaurants — the most common health hazard observed across 84 locations in Los Angeles County — between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2015.

kenny.diarrheaAt the Simi Valley Chipotle, a health inspector who visited the location after the August outbreak found a container of beef held at 118 degrees — more than 15 degrees colder than required hot holding temperatures — according to Ventura County Environmental Health Division documents.

Similar food temperature violations were observed at the Boston restaurant where more than 130 people were sickened by norovirus and in Seattle and Portland area restaurants where the largest numbers of E. coli cases have been confirmed, online inspection reports show.

“It’s ridiculous that they can get that wrong so often,” said Doug Powell, a retired food safety professor and the publisher of

While cooking food to the proper temperatures kills bacteria that is commonly found on raw meat, keeping food at the proper hot or cold temperatures is important to minimize the growth of pathogenic bacteria, like E. coli and salmonella, that may be in the food.

It’s a problem, Powell noted, that restaurants deal with industrywide — inspection data shows unsafe holding temperatures is the most common public health threat in Los Angeles County restaurants — but other prominent food chains seem to have a better handle on the issue.

Los Angeles County health inspectors observed 146 violations for unsafe hot and cold holding temperatures across 350 McDonald’s facilities between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2015 — 20 more than what was found at Chipotle facilities — according to inspection data. However, the problem was less common at McDonald’s, where facility and equipment maintenance were the most common health code violations.

 “To really get to the heart of this matter they really have to focus on the culture within individual stores and that’s hard with 1,900 outlets,” Powell said. “They have to focus on the things that really make people sick because bacteria don’t care or viruses don’t care if your food is GMO-free or natural.”

Yet despite these obvious flaws, people still go to Chipotle, much like my wife still professes in me.

The Washington Post reports that despite outbreaks of food-borne illness, die-hard Chipotle fans stand by their chain

For burrito brigade, it’s a matter of risk vs. reward

Anne and Jeff Owens love Chipotle. They love it so much that they went there on their wedding day four years ago— she, radiant in her strapless wedding gown and a veiled fascinator in her hair, and he, in his tuxedo and teal vest — to order burritos and pose for photos. They love it so much that the Blacksburg, Va., couple goes back each Aug. 13, their anniversary, to re-create those photos, with their now 3-year-old daughter in tow. They love it so much that even now — even with Chipotle Mexican Grill linked to hundreds of cases of illness because of E. coli, salmonella and norovirus — they still go at least once a week.

“We’re totally willing to throw up a little for tradition,” Anne says. She laughs, then pauses. “That’s probably gross,” she says. “That’s so gross!” But even if their anniversary had come during the height of the outbreak, she adds, “we totally would have gone.”

“Sorry but I still love chipotle. And you have to take risks when it comes to love,” tweeted @calisalafia. “since I continue to eat chipotle knowing the risk i guess you could say i would die for chipotle,” @GNVZT tweeted.

“Sometimes, something gets some sort of odd cult following, and it builds upon itself,” says Anne Owens, who knows of other Chipotle devotees through blogs that round up pictures of fan photos. “We’re among this strange underbelly of Chipotle-obsessed weirdos, and we love our kind. I feel like that doesn’t happen for McDonald’s.”

Her friends have tried to get her to stop eating at the restaurant.

That won’t work. Provide information, let people decide for themselves.

And here’s another lost cause, Johnny Cash, who today in 1968, played a show, which was recorded for his forthcoming live album at Folsom Prison.

New strain of Norovirus hits Minnesota

A new strain of norovirus, the most common cause of sudden intestinal illness, has shown up in Minnesota, and that could mean more norovirus illnesses this winter, state health officials warned today.

NorochickThe new strain, called GII.17 Kawasaki, caused many outbreaks in Asia last winter before arriving in the U.S. MDH has investigated more than 20 outbreaks caused by norovirus since the beginning of September. The new strain first showed up in sporadic cases in the state earlier this year and the first outbreak caused by the new strain was reported last week. Reports of norovirus-like illnesses in the community have also increased in the past week.

“Every few years, a new strain of norovirus emerges and causes many illnesses. We don’t know yet if this new strain will lead to an increase in the number of outbreaks reported, but it could,” said Amy Saupe, a foodborne disease epidemiologist at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). “If we’re meticulous about washing our hands and handling food properly, we may be able to limit the impact.”

Illness caused by norovirus is often mistakenly called “stomach flu,” which is a confusing term because norovirus is not related to influenza. Influenza is a respiratory illness, with symptoms that include high fever, chills, body aches, sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, and/or coughing. Norovirus is not a respiratory illness, and is not spread through breathing or coughing.

“When people say that they have ‘stomach flu,’ referring to a short illness with diarrhea and/or vomiting, what they generally have is a norovirus infection,” said Saupe.

Norovirus can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache, body aches, a general run-down feeling, and a mild fever. Symptoms typically begin 24 to 48 hours after swallowing the virus, and usually last one to two days. The virus passes from one person to another by the fecal-oral route. That means the virus comes from the feces or vomit of people who are sick or were recently sick, and can make someone else sick if they get the virus in their mouth and swallow it. A tiny amount of virus can make someone sick.

norovirus-2d”Fecal-oral transmission sounds gross, but it’s important for people to understand that they may have gotten their norovirus from food, and that they could pass the virus to others by handling food, even after their symptoms are gone,” Saupe said.

Norovirus is the most common cause of food-related illness in Minnesota. In a recent outbreak example, employees who had been sick with diarrhea prepared food items that were eaten by restaurant patrons and at least 25 patrons became ill from norovirus.

The majority of norovirus illnesses and outbreaks can be prevented through good handwashing and appropriate food handling. Always wash your hands well before preparing food, and do not prepare food for others (at home or for your job) at all if you have been sick with vomiting or diarrhea in the last three days. If you are sick with vomiting or diarrhea, wash your hands very carefully after using the restroom. Norovirus can be present in your stool for several days even after you are feeling better, so continue to be extra careful about handwashing.

Always wash your hands before eating. Do not eat food prepared by someone who is ill with vomiting or diarrhea. If someone in your household is sick with vomiting or diarrhea, have them use a separate bathroom, if possible. Clean surfaces with soap and water and sanitize with a bleach solution to kill any norovirus that was spread to bathroom or kitchen surfaces. Launder soiled clothing in hot water promptly. Wash your hands after helping children in the bathroom or touching surfaces that may have vomit or feces on them.

Thorough handwashing includes washing your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, rinsing under running water, and drying with a towel.

Australian supermarket edict on porn but not food safety

Coles is one of the two major supermarkets in Australia.

coles.miranda.dec.15They recruit celebrity chefs like Heston-norovirus Blumenthal and Curtis-aren’t-I-handsome Stone, while Woolworth’s goes for Jamie-watch-all-the-food-safety-mistakes-I-make Oliver.

Coles also has a unique set of priorities.

Coles won’t install hand wipes like most U.S. supermarkets have, to deal with inadequate meat packaging and dripping bacterial-laden juices because they cost $0.05 each, put has decided to pull thousands of copies of Harper’s Bazaar Australia magazine featuring a nude Miranda Kerr on the cover because the store’s executives deemed it “inappropriate”.

However, the retail giant has been unable to elaborate on what was the catalyst for the decision to impose the censorship on behalf of its shoppers.

182 sick: Barf cruise ship docked in Sydney

The Explorer of the Seas arrived at around 6am on Wednesday with Royal Caribbean confirming 182 cases of a gastrointestinal illness among guests and crew of the 14-night trip.

mr.creosote.monty.python.vomit“Those affected by the short-lived illness have responded well to over-the-counter medication administered onboard the ship,” the statement issued on Wednesday said.

Paramedics were on stand-by as the 3,566 passengers and 1,139 crew members disembarked the Royal Caribbean Explorer, but no patients needed to be transported, am Ambulance NSW spokesman told AAP.

The ship and terminal will undergo enhanced cleaning and sanitisation to prevent any illness affecting future cruises as the ship prepares to depart for its next voyage on Wednesday evening.

With more than three per cent of the ship’s passengers struck down with the stomach bug, it is a legal obligation that health authorities be alerted.

The outbreak started on December 5 and peaked on December 11 and 12, but has since been decreasing, NSW health authorities told AAP.

Street food in Brazil; and The Beatles

The aims of this study were to assess the compliance of street foods sold in an urban center in a major capital of Brazil with international standards for food safety and to provide data that could be used for the elaboration of specific legislation to ensure the safety of street food.

brazil.street.foodThe study investigated demographic profiles of street vendors and hygiene practices used in critical points of food production for products sold. Direct observations and structured interviews were conducted among vendors at stationary locations in the downtown area. Forty-three participating vendors were mostly males who generally completed only elementary school. Among observed food safety risks: 12% of the vendors did not provide ice at the point of sale for perishable ingredients; 95% did not wash hands between food and money transactions and restroom breaks; 91% did not have hair coverings and 100% of the vendors did not have access to a water supply. The interviews revealed that 12% of the vendors did not provide proper cold holding during transportation; 33% did not wash their hands at all, whereas 24% only used water to wash their hands; and 33% never took the required food-handling course. The study indicates a need for improvements of the environmental conditions at these sites to prevent foodborne diseases. Specific local and national laws for street food need to be created to protect the consumer, and continuous training of vendors could help address the lack of food quality and safety.

And for no particular reason, today in 1966, The Beatles began recording sessions for Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The album cost $75,000 to record.

Food safety and hygiene practices of vendors during the chain of street food production in Florianopolis, Brazil: A cross-sectional study

Food Control, Volume 62, April 2016, Pages 178–186

Rayza Dal Molin Cortese, Marcela Boro Veiros, Charles Feldman, Suzi Barletto Cavalli

‘I do wash my hands!’ – Jennifer Lawrence shuts down toilet rumors

Jennifer Lawrence told an MTV interview with Hunger Games co-stars Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson, that she didn’t wash her hands when she went to the toilet.

jennifer.lawrence.hunger.gamesShe was joking.

Her joke was taken out of context, leading to a series of questions about her hygiene on her press tour.

So, being media savvy, J-Law made a video, and said, “I hate talking to the Internet but I can’t get asked another question about my hygiene on this press tour. I told MTV I didn’t wash my hands after going to the bathroom because I was trying to gross out Josh and Liam and I ended up grossing out the world. Of course I wash my hands after going to the bathroom! (I can’t believe I’ve put myself in a situation where I even have to say that.) Anyway with all the rumors I’ve ever heard about myself this is the one I really had to put to rest.’


Food truck operators need tools to reduce risks – like a handwashing sink

I like a good food truck meal. The experience is less about eating food from a small sweaty kitchen and sitting on the ground and more about ordering something from a small menu that the chef specializes in. A couple of weeks ago I had a fantastic sautéed cauliflower and roasted potato pita from a food truck at a community event.foodtruck

Before eating there I checked out whether they had an inspection grade (because there are some trucks that like to operate incognito, outside the law) and asked how they washed their hands. The chef told me that they have a handwashing sink with running water and a collection tank. I still have to trust that he actually uses it but at least he had the tools.

That’s a bit different from a food truck on the Carnegie Mellon campus. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Tartan Express was forced to close following an inspection where they were cited lots of risky things including not having a sink.

The Allegheny County Health Department has cleared the Tartan Express food truck on the Carnegie Mellon University campus to reopen after it was closed earlier this week for multiple food safety violations, including lack of running water.

The truck, which serves Asian food, operates at 5000 Forbes Ave. “No one in the vehicle is able to wash hands when beginning new tasks, after handling money or touching the face or hair,” an inspector wrote this week.

Other violations included holding food at unsafe temperatures and inadequate sanitization.