E. albertii: Prevalence in retail raw meat in China

Escherichia albertii is a newly emerging enteric pathogen that has been associated with gastroenteritis in humans.

e.albertiiRecently, E. albertii has also been detected in healthy and sick birds, animals, chicken meat and water. In the present study, the prevalence and characteristics of the eae-positive, lactose non-fermenting E. albertii strains in retail raw meat in China were evaluated.

Thirty isolates of such strains of E. albertii were identified from 446 (6·73%) samples, including duck intestines (21·43%, 6/28), duck meat (9·52%, 2/21), chicken intestines (8·99%, 17/189), chicken meat (5·66%, 3/53), mutton meat (4·55%, 1/22) and pork meat (2·44%, 1/41). None was isolated from 92 samples of raw beef meat. Strains were identified as E. albertii by phenotypic properties, diagnostic PCR, sequence analysis of the 16S rRNA gene, and housekeeping genes. Five intimin subtypes were harboured by these strains. All strains possessed the II/III/V subtype group of the cdtB gene, with two strains carrying another copy of the I/IV subtype group. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis showed high genetic diversity of E. albertii in raw meats.

Our findings indicate that E. albertii can contaminate various raw meats, posing a potential threat to public health.

Prevalence of eae-positive, lactose non-fermenting Escherichia albertii from retail raw meat in China

Epidemiology and Infection / Volume 144 / Issue 01 / January 2016, pp 45-52


Modeling toxo in meat

Toxoplasma gondii is a protozoan parasite that is responsible for approximately 24% of deaths attributed to foodborne pathogens in the United States.

doug.cats.jun.14It is thought that a substantial portion of human T. gondii infections is acquired through the consumption of meats. The dose-response relationship for human exposures to T. gondii-infected meat is unknown because no human data are available. The goal of this study was to develop and validate dose-response models based on animal studies, and to compute scaling factors so that animal-derived models can predict T. gondii infection in humans. Relevant studies in literature were collected and appropriate studies were selected based on animal species, stage, genotype of T. gondii, and route of infection. Data were pooled and fitted to four sigmoidal-shaped mathematical models, and model parameters were estimated using maximum likelihood estimation. Data from a mouse study were selected to develop the dose-response relationship.Exponential and beta-Poisson models, which predicted similar responses, were selected as reasonable dose-response models based on their simplicity, biological plausibility, and goodness fit. A confidence interval of the parameter was determined by constructing 10,000 bootstrap samples. Scaling factors were computed by matching the predicted infection cases with the epidemiological data. Mouse-derived models were validated against data for the dose-infection relationship in rats. A human dose-response model was developed as P (d) = 1–exp (–0.0015 × 0.005 × d) or P (d) = 1–(1 + d × 0.003 / 582.414)−1.479. Both models predict the human response after consuming T. gondii-infected meats, and provide an enhanced risk characterization in a quantitative microbial risk assessment model for this pathogen.

 Development of Dose-Response Models to Predict the Relationship for Human Toxoplasma gondii Infection Associated with Meat Consumption

Risk Analysis, 19 October 2015

M Guo, A Mishra, R Buchanan, J Dubey, D Hill, H Gamble, J Jones, X Du, and A Pradhan



‘I paid the guy in meat’ Barter grows in Greece

Thodoris Roussos stood in his butcher’s shop and pointed to a large white delivery truck at the curb.

greece.barterFor months, he had put off replacing the tires, because Greece’s financial crisis had cut into business. But recently, he upgraded the van with a set of good wheels at a price that could not be beat.

“Normally, the tires cost 340 euros, but no money changed hands,” Mr. Roussos said, beaming. “I paid the guy in meat.”

As Greece grapples with a continued downturn, bartering is gaining traction at the margins of the economy, part of a collection of worrisome signs for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras who was re-elected on Sunday.

Graphic artists are exchanging designs for olive oil. Accountants swap advice for office supplies. In the agricultural heartland and on the Greek islands, informal bartering, which has historically helped communities survive, has intensified as more people exchange fruits, vegetables, other crops, equipment, clothing and services.

South Carolina man smuggled stolen steak in his colostomy bag

A 55-year-old American man has been arrested after he allegedly stole packages of steak from a supermarket and concealed the meat in his colostomy bag.

colostomy.bagDavid Early Hoyt (not this dude) was tracked down by police officers from Spartanburg County in South Carolina after they were contacted by supermarket employees who claimed they had spotted a man stealing five packages of rib-eye steak, worth $75, by stuffing them in a bag.

The eagle-eyed employees managed to take note of the man’s licence plate number as he drove away in a green Nissan sedan.

UK minister says cut food safety audits

George Eustice, DEFRA’s newly appointed Minister of State, told the British Meat Processors Association’s annual conference in London that  meat manufacturers – and food businesses at large – must be freed from the “burden” of audits.

Eustice argues the need for fewer audits was one of the key findings to come out of Professor Chris Elliott’s report into 2013 horsemeat scandal. By the end of 2015 the government hopes to have finalised a strategy that paves the way for fewer inspections from both retailers and government agencies.

audit.checklistBut could it backfire?

Consumer trust in food safety is at an all time low

Thanks to wholesale media coverage of some notable cases of food fraud and breaches of food safety, we are living in an age of major consumer scepticism. The public wants to see tighter regulations on the food industry and it’s easy to see how the call for reduced audits could be perceived as a step backwards, not forwards.

It’s a stance that’s difficult to begrudge. Little has been done to ratchet-up traceability and safety measures since horsegate.

One thing that most food businesses agree on is the need for food safety procedures to be more streamlined. Paper-based checks are easy to falsify, annoying to complete and time-consuming to review. Eustice appeared to recognise as much when he noted that a greater use of technology must be central to any plans to reduce the incidence of audits.

Any government strategy to remove unnecessary burdens from food businesses will be warmly received. But food businesses must remember their obligation of safety to the end consumer. Technology that offers cloud integration presents the opportunity for food businesses to share safety data with one another on an open platform, paving the way towards transparent food chains.

Inspections and audits are not synonymous with safety. Beyond sharing data amongst companies, share it with everyone – especially consumers.

Three years ago, a group of us came out with a paper we could all (mostly) agree with and got it published. The main points were:

  • food safety audits and inspections are a key component of the nation’s food safety system and their use will expand in the future, for both domestic and imported foodstuffs., but recent failures can be emotionally, physically and financially devastating to the victims and the businesses involved;
  • many outbreaks involve firms that have had their food production systems verified and received acceptable ratings from food safety auditors or government inspectors;
  • while inspectors and auditors play an active role in overseeing compliance, the burden for food safety lies primarily with food producers;
  • there are lots of limitations with audits and inspections, just like with restaurants inspections, but with an estimated 48 million sick each year in the U.S., the question should be, how best to improve food safety?
  • audit reports are only useful if the purchaser or food producer reviews the results, understands the risks addressed by the standards and makes risk-reduction decisions based on the results;
  • sunnybrook-auditorthere appears to be a disconnect between what auditors provide (a snapshot) and what buyers believe they are doing (a full verification or certification of product and process);
  • third-party audits are only one performance indicator and need to be supplemented with microbial testing, second-party audits of suppliers and the in-house capacity to meaningfully assess the results of audits and inspections;
  • companies who blame the auditor or inspector for outbreaks of foodborne illness should also blame themselves;
  • assessing food-handling practices of staff through internal observations, externally-led evaluations, and audit and inspection results can provide indicators of a food safety culture; and,
  • the use of audits to help create, improve, and maintain a genuine food safety culture holds the most promise in preventing foodborne illness and safeguarding public health.

Audits and inspections are never enough: A critique to enhance food safety


Food Control

D.A. Powell, S. Erdozain, C. Dodd, R. Costa, K. Morley, B.J. Chapman



Internal and external food safety audits are conducted to assess the safety and quality of food including on-farm production, manufacturing practices, sanitation, and hygiene. Some auditors are direct stakeholders that are employed by food establishments to conduct internal audits, while other auditors may represent the interests of a second-party purchaser or a third-party auditing agency. Some buyers conduct their own audits or additional testing, while some buyers trust the results of third-party audits or inspections. Third-party auditors, however, use various food safety audit standards and most do not have a vested interest in the products being sold. Audits are conducted under a proprietary standard, while food safety inspections are generally conducted within a legal framework. There have been many foodborne illness outbreaks linked to food processors that have passed third-party audits and inspections, raising questions about the utility of both. Supporters argue third-party audits are a way to ensure food safety in an era of dwindling economic resources. Critics contend that while external audits and inspections can be a valuable tool to help ensure safe food, such activities represent only a snapshot in time. This paper identifies limitations of food safety inspections and audits and provides recommendations for strengthening the system, based on developing a strong food safety culture, including risk-based verification steps, throughout the food safety system.

Who flies with meat? 27kg of raw meat seized at Toronto airport

A traveler arriving from Egypt was found at Toronto Pearson International Airport with luggage filled with 27 kilograms of undeclared, raw meat last week.

who.throws.a.shoe_On June 9, Canada Border Services Agency officers found the partly frozen beef cuts, a whole goose and some smaller avian birds inside luggage.

The meat was found by a detector dog named Scout, in the baggage carousel of Terminal 1.

Any meat, animal hides, fruit, plants or insects must be declared to Canada Border Services agents. CBSA says that uninspected raw meat may damage Canada’s food supply, economy, environment and human health.

Food safety systems in India challenged by hygiene related problems

Indian food safety systems are challenged by the rapidly growing population, hygiene related problems, incidences of residues of antibiotics and heavy metals, foodborne pathogens, incidence of infectious diseases in food producing animals and anti- microbial resistance.

Pork MeatThese observations were made by experts addressing the recently-held National Symposium on Food Safety of Animal Origin, arranged during the XIII Annual Conference of Indian Association of Veterinary and Public Health.

Expressing his views at the symposium, Prof. Suresh S Honnappagol,animal husbandry commissioner, Government of India, stated, “The traditional production, processing and waste handling systems coupled with unhygienic practices in particular have tainted and tarnished the image of the Indian meat industry.”

Further, a panel of experts pointed out that population and income growth were driving enormous increases in demand for foods of animal origin. Livestock production systems are facing increasing demands for livestock feeds relative to availabilities. Accurate assessments of current and future supplies and demands for livestock feed are needed for national food and feed security policy and planning. The development of National Feed Assessment Systems (NFASs) is suggested to support sustainable livestock sector growth.

Dr C Renukaprasad, vice-chancellor, KVAFSU, Bidar,stated,“There is need to have extensive knowledge about the main health hazards associated with consumption of meat, poultry and eggs and their epidemiology in animals and humans. In addition, the risk analysis and HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points). There must be an awareness of international regulation concerning the safety of meat, poultry and eggs and related trade issues.There is also need to put in risk-based inspection procedures.”

NZ woman fined $1125 over home-kill meat

A Whangarei bakery manager has been fined after being convicted of buying unregulated home-kill meat she intended to use in produce sold across the counter.

meatIn Whangarei District Court on Monday Sok Heng Chhiv, 30, pleaded guilty to a charge of buying unregulated meat, which had not been processed in accordance with the Animal Products Act. The charge was laid by the Ministry for Primary Industries and Chhiv was fined $1125 and the unregulated meat was forfeited.

She had bought the meat from Whangarei homekill operator Arron Ogle, 40, director of Homekill Services, who was last month convicted of selling 71.7kg of unregulated meat and fined $2250.

The court heard on Monday that May 21, last year, an MPI animal products officer inspected Whau Valley Hot Bread Shop in Whangarei, then jointly owned and managed by Chhiv and her husband.

The officer found 71.7kg of beef that Chhiv had no receipts for. Meat for human consumption must be documented throughout the food chain so it can be traced back to its farm of origin should there be a health or hygiene issue.

Chhiv said she had bought 60kg of diced beef and 11.7kg of beef fillet and rump steak for $500 from “Aaron” the previous day. She said she had not bought meat from “Aaron” before, but did so because it was cheaper than the butcher and good quality. She said “Aaron” was a home-kill operator, but did not know it was illegal to buy meat from this source.

‘Construction workers like it’ Activists call on Swiss parliament to outlaw eating cat for Christmas

Amy talks glowingly of her time in Switzerland, but seems sorta weird to me.

steve.martin.cat.jugglingKeeping with the shameless exploitation of cats to increase blog hits, animal rights activists have drawn up a petition to ban the ‘barbaric’ practice of eating pets in Switzerland, where cat meat often appears on traditional Christmas menus in rural areas.

The animal protection group, SOS Chats Noraingue, has handed over a petition with 16,000 signatures, including such notable animal rights defenders as Brigitte Bardot, to the Swiss parliament on Tuesday.

Dog meat is often used to make sausage, while cats are prepared around the holiday season in a similar style to rabbit – in a white wine and garlic sauce. A type of mostbröckli made from marinated cat or dog is another local favorite.

Though there are no statistics available on the amount of cat and dog meat consumed by the Swiss, SOS Chats founder and president, Tomi Tomek told AFP she suspects that “around three percent of the Swiss secretly eat cat or dog.”

While the commercial sale of dog meat is banned nationwide, its consumption is still legal and is particularly popular in Lucerne, Appenzell, Jura and in the canton of Bern, according to Tomek. Farmers are free to kill and eat their own animals. Those in the Appenzell and St. Gallen areas are said to favor a beefy breed of dog related to Rottweilers.

In a 2012 report on pet eating in the Swiss paper Tages Anzeiger, the Swiss Veterinary Office chalked up the practice to a “cultural matter” and noted that some countries breed dogs specifically for slaughter.

One farmer, defending the practice, told the paper, “There’s nothing odd about it. Meat is meat. Construction workers in particular like eating it.”

38 sick, blame Germany: second Salmonella outbreak, this one linked to meat

The 38 human cases of monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium detected recently in six Member States are likely to be part of the same cluster, a joint EFSA/ECDC report has found. Based on limited available information from food investigations, meat is the suspected vehicle of infection.

article-1282120789302-001a91c800000258-577370_304x156The recently detected 38 cases of monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium with MLVA profile 3-12-17-NA-211 and 3-12-18-NA-211 occurring in six Member States are likely to be part of the same cluster. Given the typing delay and the fact that not all countries are performing MLVA typing, the number of cases currently detected is most likely to be underestimated. These two profiles emerged simultaneously in several Member States in June and July 2014, indicating a simultaneous exposure to the clonal strain at several locations within the EU. Based on limited available information from food investigations, meats are the suspected vehicle of human infection at present. It is important to interview new cases to identify a common exposure and to report all new cases with matching MLVA typing results through the TESSy molecular surveillance service and EPIS FWD in order to assess the evolution of the cluster. There is a need to gather information on the findings of these MLVA profiles in feed, animals, and foods (of animal origin and non-animal origin) in order to narrow the hypothesis for further epidemiological studies. This cluster highlights the need to ensure a rapid exchange of information between the public health and food safety health authorities in order to assess the situation and the need for further epidemiological studies as quickly as possible.