Pinto defense: Consumer group says more than half of NZ chickens have campy

Meeting government standards is about the worst thing any group can say when it comes to trust.

chickenAlmost all food purchases are an act of faith-based food safety.

The Pinto, an American car that had a tendency to explode when hit from behind, also met all government standards.

More than half the supermarket chickens in a Consumer NZ study carried Campylobacter, but the poultry association says the test was much stricter than official requirements.

The study of 40 chickens found 65 per cent (26 chickens) tested positive for Campylobacter, Consumer NZ said.

Fourty chickens don’t mean statistical shit, especially if they were from the same grower.

But already, the industry and the government are defending NZ poultry, without a lot of data.

More posturing.

Like blowing up real good.

Poultry Industry Association director Michael Brooks said chicken only accounted for 40 per cent of New Zealand’s campylobacter cases.

Some might consider that a lot.

Radio New Zealand reported that Brooks said, “The important thing is to remember that cooking kills campylobacter, and that it’s important to have good hygiene practices when handling a raw product. Safe storage practices and cooking it thoroughly will prevent the risk of illness.”

It’s about lowering loads. All that Campy into a kitchen means cross-contamination is rife.

In a statement, MPI director of systems audit, assurance and monitoring Allan Kinsella said the ministry had considered a retail testing programme but decided it was unnecessary.

Mandatory testing for broiler chicken carcasses was introduced in 2006, she said, and had been so successful it had led to a more than 50 percent reduction in foodborne campylobacter cases between 2007 and 2015.

The posturing on either side is a scam.

When will someone step forward and credibly say, in NZ, we should have fewer people barfing?

Just cook it doesn’t cut it: Walmart shares latest Salmonella-in-poultry results

Joan Murphy of Agra-Net reports that Frank Yiannas, vice president of food safety at Walmart, told the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) annual meeting in St. Louis, Mo. that Walmart’s performance standards for suppliers of chicken parts are paying off, with the latest data showing a continuing reduction in Salmonella-positive products.

therm.turkey.oct_.13In 2014, Walmart announced new poultry safety measures to combat Salmonella and Campylobacter that require U.S. suppliers to “significantly reduce” potential contamination levels in whole chickens and chicken parts, and undergo specialized testing to validate the measures are effective.

The standards included new requirements for breeder stocks, an unusual request for a retailer, biocontrol measures, whole chicken process controls and chicken parts’ interventions. Walmart required at least a four log reduction in Salmonella on whole chickens and a one log reduction for chicken parts.

The first three standards went into effect in 2015, but suppliers of chicken parts had until June 2016 to comply, he said. Prior to launching the program, Walmart found 17% of chicken parts positive for Salmonella. In January 2016, the number was 5%, and by June 2016, Walmart reported only 2% of chicken parts tested positive for Salmonella.

Yiannas called the rate trend “extremely encouraging,” especially since Americans have moved away from buying whole chickens in favor of poultry parts like breasts, legs and wings. The levels of Salmonella are very low when the company does find the pathogen, he said.

In general, Yiannas said, companies need to move away from the old paradigm of “just cook it” for consumer education. “We need to just drop it.” Walmart has also learned that performance standards work better than prescriptive standards and that process control validations provide greater confidence than end product testing. 

CDC continues to say no: Should you kiss chicks – 2016 edition

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, multiple states, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) are investigating seven separate multistate outbreaks of human Salmonella infections linked to contact with live poultry in backyard flocks.

baby-chick-325pxIn the seven outbreaks, a total of 324 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella were reported from 35 states.

Among people with available information, illnesses started on dates ranging from January 4, 2016 to May 11, 2016.

Sixty-six ill people were hospitalized, and one death was reported. Salmonella infection was not considered to be a contributing factor in the reported death.

Eighty-eight (27%) ill people were children 5 years of age or younger.

Epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory findings linked the seven outbreaks to contact with live poultry such as chicks and ducklings from multiple hatcheries.

Regardless of where they were purchased, all live poultry can carry Salmonella bacteria, even if they look healthy and clean.

These outbreaks are a reminder to follow steps to enjoy your backyard flocks and keep your family healthy.

Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live poultry or anything in the area where the birds live and roam.

Do not let live poultry inside the house.

Do not let children younger than 5 years of age handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other live poultry without supervision.

These outbreaks are expected to continue for the next several months since flock owners might be unaware of the risk of Salmonella infection from live poultry or participate in risky behaviors that can result in infection.

small-epi-curve-6-2-2016

Michigan Salmonella infections rise after poultry contact

I didn’t know Michiganians was an actual word, but I’m sure Dr.-PhD-from-Ann-Arbor-and Tom-Brady-was QB-when-I-was-there-and-isn’t-he-dreamy will set me straight.

Ttom.brady.poultryhe Detroit News reports that more Michiganians are reporting salmonella infections after contact with live baby poultry, state health officials announced Monday.

There have been 20 cases of salmonellosis with live chick or duckling exposure reported throughout the state since March 2, but these numbers are expected to rise, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement. Six people were hospitalized; the reported cases were associated with individuals ranging from younger than 12 months old to 70 years.

“Investigators from several local health departments with salmonellosis cases have visited the feed and farm stores to collect environmental samples for testing in jurisdictions where ill residents purchased baby poultry,” state officials said. “These environmental samples have been tested at the MDHHS Bureau of Laboratories and a number of samples are positive for Salmonella; some of which match the outbreak strain. Testing and a traceback investigation are still in process. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been notified.”

People become infected with salmonella when handling poultry or their cages and coops. Germs can be found on the hands, shoes and clothing of those who handle the birds or work or play in areas where they live and roam. Young children are especially at risk for illness because their immune systems are still developing.

Medium and message: Need to frequently change handwashing signs to be effective

I’m a food safety voyeur.

Supermarkets, farmers markets, restaurants – fancy or not – kitchens, farms, I’ve been professionally watching people for 20 years.

surprise-01Chapman likes to recount how he was invited to the GFSI Consumer Goods Forum as a last minute replacement speaker in 2013 to talk about food safety infosheets and how we evaluated them.  He said that the literature shows surprise matters when it comes to communicating risks – and a message that is up all the time, like a hand washing sign, probably doesn’t do much after the day it was posted (when it is surprising to the food handler).

The level of surprise in a message determines how successfully the information is received. In 1948, the Bell Telephone Company commissioned a study on communication as a mathematical theory to aid in the design of telephones.  In a study of brain function, Zaghloul and colleagues (2009) also showed the brain’s sensitivity to unexpected or surprising information plays a fundamental role in the learning and adoption of new behaviors.

During the Q&A session at the end of the session someone from a German retail store asked Chapman if he was suggesting that that they take down all the handwashing posters they had up, and Chapman said, yes, unless they plan on changing them every couple of days. The audience had an audible gasp.

We’ve found that posting graphical, concise food safety stories in the back kitchens of restaurants can help reduce dangerous food safety practices and create a workplace culture that values safe food.

It was the first time that a communication intervention such as food safety information sheets had been validated to work using direct video observation in eight commercial restaurant kitchens and was published in the  Journal of Food Protection.

hand_sanitizer_hospital_11We found that infosheets decreased cross-contamination events by 20 per cent, and increased handwashing attempts by 7 per cent.

Based on observations of more than 5,000 patrons at a hospital-based cafeteria, we showed that an evidence-based informational poster can increase attempts at hand hygiene.

So we gladly welcome new work on food safety messages and media in poultry processing facilities.

Signs can provide repetitive training on specific food safety practices for multicultural food processing employees. Posted signs for workers in many food processing facilities tend to be text-heavy and focus specifically on occupational hazard safety. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of newly-developed hand washing pictograms on employees’ hand washing behavior using video observation.

Five employee hand washing behaviors (soap use, wash completeness, wash time, complete rinsing, and towel use) were evaluated with (a) no intervention, company signs posted and considered the baseline; and compared to (b) hand washing behavior the next day (short term) and two weeks (long term) after experimental hand washing signs were displayed at a raw poultry slaughter facility (Facility A) and a poultry further processing facility (Facility B).

sponge.bob.handwashingBoth facilities showed a significant increase (p < 0.05) in soap use after the new sign was introduced at both short and long term time periods. There was a significant increase (p < 0.05) in washing, time of washing, and rinsing observed by Facility B employees, when baseline data was compared to the short term. This indicates that a new sign could increase hand washing compliance at least in the short term. Sign color also had a significant effect (p < 0.05) on employee behavior for washing and time of washing. Behavior for four of the five variables (soap, wash, time of wash, and towel use) was significantly different (p < 0.05) between baseline and either experimental observation period.

While signs can be a useful tool to offer as recurring food safety training for food processing employees, employees tend to revert back to old habits after several weeks.

Evaluation of how different signs affect poultry processing employees’ hand washing practices

Food Control, Volume 68, October 2016, Pages 1–6

Matthew Schroeder, Lily Yang, Joseph Eifert, Renee Boyer, Melissa Chase, Sergio Nieto-Montenegro

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956713516301244

 

Watch the chickens; predict the campy

When I had campylobacteriosis I didn’t want to move much for fear of unleashing what was in my bowels. According to Yahoo News, chickens infected with campy also move less.

Using cameras to track how the birds move around can predict which flocks are at risk of being infected, according to research by Oxford University.images-1

Lead author of the study Dr Frances Colles, from Oxford University’s Department of Zoology, said: “Humans consume nearly 60 billion chickens a year, more than any other animal.

“At the same time, there is a worldwide epidemic of human gastroenteric disease caused by campylobacter.

“It is estimated that up to four fifths of this disease originates from contaminated chicken meat.”

The findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, showed campylobacter-positive birds had less movement and different behaviour to those without the bacteria.

Professor Marian Dawkins, Professor of Animal Behaviour at Oxford University, said: “The findings are compatible with the growing evidence that campylobacter may be detrimental to chickens’ health, rather than simply being harmless gut bacteria.

“Use of this optical flow information has the potential to make a major impact on the management of commercial chicken flocks, for the benefit of producers, consumers and the birds themselves.”

Researchers collected data for 31 commercial broiler flocks and tested for the presence of campylobacter at different ages.

A lot of poop on UK birds: Campylobacter survey report published

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has published the final report of its year-long survey of Campylobacter levels on UK fresh shop-bought chickens.

chickenThe report is an analysis of the data from the survey carried out by the FSA between February 2014 and March 2015, which showed the levels of Campylobacter found on fresh, whole chickens sold in the UK.

The results for the full year, as previously published, showed:

19% of chickens tested positive for Campylobacter within the highest band of contamination*

73% of chickens tested positive for the presence of Campylobacter

0.1% (five samples) of packaging tested positive at the highest band of contamination.

7% of packaging tested positive for the presence of Campylobacter.

* more than 1000 colony forming units per gram (>1000 cfu/g). These units indicate the degree of contamination on each sample.

The survey results, which were published on a quarterly basis throughout the year, allowed consumers for the first time to compare the Campylobacter levels found on chickens from all of the major retailers. The final report contains data sets of the results from all of the retailers and includes comparisons between different sized birds.

Going public: Standards aim to cut down on Salmonella and campy in poultry pieces

The U.S. government is pushing the poultry industry to make their chicken and turkey a little safer with new standards aimed at reducing the number of cases of foodborne illness by 50,000 a year.

chicken.cook.thermometerThe proposed standards announced Wednesday by the Agriculture Department apply to the most popular poultry products — chicken breasts, legs and wings, and ground chicken and turkey. They are voluntary but designed to pressure companies to lower rates of salmonella and campylobacter, another pathogen that can cause symptoms similar to salmonella, in their products.

Among the measures companies could take to reduce the rates of those pathogens: better screening of flocks and better sanitation.

The proposal would ask poultry producers to reduce the rates of salmonella in raw chicken parts from around 24 percent now to less than 16 percent, and campylobacter rates in raw chicken parts from 22 percent to 8 percent. Rates also would be reduced in ground chicken and turkey, and sampling would be done over a longer period of time to ensure accuracy.

The Agriculture Department says the standards could eventually reduce salmonella and campylobacter illnesses linked to raw poultry by about a quarter, or 50,000 illnesses a year.

“We are taking specific aim at making the poultry items that Americans most often purchase safer to eat,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Ashley Peterson of the National Chicken Council said the industry has already made improvements. She said poultry companies have been exploring options to reduce contamination, including

The standards come after a lengthy outbreak of salmonella illnesses linked to California chicken company Foster Farms, which sickened more than 600 people between March 2013 and July 2014. In 2013, USDA said inspectors at Foster Farms facilities had documented “fecal material on carcasses” along with poor sanitation.

Foster Farms took measures to improve its sanitation and screening, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says the company’s products have less than 5 percent salmonella.

chicken.thingies.raw.cookVilsack said the Foster Farms outbreaks led the department to realize it needed to be more focused on reducing salmonella in chicken parts. The department already had standards in place for whole carcasses, but not individual parts like breasts and wings. The new proposal would cover the parts, which the USDA says is about 80 percent of chicken available for purchase.

USDA also would make public which companies are meeting the standards or going beyond them, and which companies have more work to do, giving companies more incentive to comply.

The secretary said companies should realize that complying is good business. “It’s in the long-term best interest of the market to have safer food,” Vilsack said.

“These new standards, as well as improved testing patterns, will have a major impact on public health,” said USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Al Almanza. “The proposed changes are another way we’re working to meet the ever-changing food safety landscape and better protect Americans from foodborne illness.”

“Getting more germs out of the chicken and turkey we eat is an important step in protecting people from foodborne illness,” said Robert V. Tauxe, MD, deputy director of the Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “I look forward to seeing fewer Americans get sick as a result of these proposed changes.”

A pathogen reduction performance standard is the measure that FSIS uses to assess the food safety performance of facilities that prepare meat and poultry products. By making the standards for ground poultry tougher to meet, ground poultry products nationwide will have less contamination and therefore result in fewer foodborne illnesses. FSIS implemented performance standards for whole chickens in 1996 but has since learned that Salmonella levels increase as chicken is further processed into parts. Poultry parts like breasts, wings and others represent 80 percent of the chicken available for Americans to purchase. By creating a standard for chicken parts, and by performing regulatory testing at a point closer to the final product, FSIS can greatly reduce consumer exposure to Salmonella and Campylobacter.

The federal register notice is available on FSIS’ website at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulations/federal-register/federal-register-notices.


chickenConsumer Federation of America today applauded the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) for issuing the first ever performance standards for Salmonella and Campylobacter for raw poultry parts and updated standards for ground poultry.

“Pathogen rates on poultry parts and ground poultry are way too high,” said Chris Waldrop, Director of the Food Policy Institute at Consumer Federation of America. “These standards are essential to protect consumers and help drive down rates of contamination in these products.”

FSIS’ performance standards related to poultry have historically focused only on poultry carcasses. While reducing contamination on the carcass is critical, this approach has failed to address contamination levels once the bird is cut up into parts or processed into ground poultry. FSIS’ own testing revealed high prevalence levels of contamination on raw chicken parts – 24.02% for Salmonella and 21.70% for Campylobacter.  FSIS’ previous standards for ground poultry only addressed Salmonella (and not Campylobacter) and were set at nearly 50% so that a plant could fail almost half of FSIS’ sampling set and still meet the standard.

FSIS’ previous approach also did not account for the way consumers’ poultry purchases have changed over the years. Consumers today are more likely to purchase poultry parts such as breasts, wings and thighs, or ground poultry, than they are to purchase whole birds.

 

(This is also satire) Terrorists threaten to attack UK by washing uncooked chicken

The terror threat level to the UK has been raised to the highest level since the Iraq war after suspicions grew that terrorists might have been reading all the recent articles about the deadly peril of washing uncooked chicken.

veryRawChickenIt is now known that washing raw chicken releases tiny water droplets filled with extreme poison into your kitchen, killing you and all your family instantly. Until this fact was established by government scientists, there was no explanation for the mysterious spate of deaths affecting everyone in the country who cooked chicken.

“Raw chicken washing-related deaths were running at approximately five million per year, in London alone,” explained chief government medical officer Brian Panic. “We’d always wondered why this might be, but no-one had ever put two and two together, despite the obvious presence of freshly washed chicken fillets near all the bodies.”

“The raw material isn’t a problem in itself, if safely handled until cooked right through,” (piping hot) he explained. “But the combination of uncooked poultry and washing has the potential to destroy civilization, and I’m not exaggerating.”

“Now this has become widely known, if would be simple for a terrorist organization, perhaps using chefs, to wash chicken in the major metropolitan centers, with potentially devastating effects.”

“This could be the most severe threat since terrorists learned to secretly not turn off their Kindles during take-off and landing.”

After a meeting of COBRA, the government’s emergency response and cookery committee, the military are guarding all airports close to branches of Tesco and Sainsbury’s and are monitoring suspects’ water usage for potential chicken-related spikes.

There was an unfortunate incident in Dunstable this morning when an armed response team shot dead a suspected sous-chef who turned out to be merely rinsing a nice piece of sea bass, but a government spokesman pointed out that this is the price of freedom.

Police are asking anyone with the smallest Campylobacter-contaminated nugget of information should come forward immediately for rapid grilling.

Thanks to my Scottish food safety friend for sending along this bit.

344 now sickened says CDC: Multistate outbreak of human Salmonella infections linked to live poultry in backyard flocks

  • As of September 23, 2014, a total of 344 persons infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Newport, or Salmonella Hadar have been reported from 42 states and Puerto Rico.
  • campy.chicken31% of ill persons have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.
  • Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback findings have linked this outbreak of human Salmonella infections to contact with chicks, ducklings, and other live poultry from Mt. Healthy Hatcheries in Ohio.
  • 78% of ill people reported contact with live poultry in the week before their illness began.
  • Findings of multiple traceback investigations of live baby poultry from homes of ill persons have identified Mt. Healthy Hatcheries in Ohio as the source of chicks and ducklings. This is the same mail-order hatchery that has been associated with multiple outbreaks of Salmonella infections linked to live poultry in past years, including in 2012 and 2013.
  • CDC’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) laboratory conducted antibiotic resistance testing on Salmonella isolates collected from 11 ill persons infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Infantis or Newport. Of the 11 isolates tested:
  • Two (18%) were drug resistant (defined as resistance to one or more antibiotics).
  • Nine (82%) were pansusceptible (susceptible to all antibiotics tested).
  • Mail-order hatcheries, agricultural feed stores, and others that sell or display chicks, ducklings, and other live poultry should provide health-related information to owners and potential purchasers of these birds prior to selling them. This should include information about the risk of acquiring a Salmonella infection from contact with live poultry.
  • Read the advice to mail-order hatcheries and feed stores and others that sell or display live poultry.
  • Consumers who own live poultry should take steps to protect themselves:
  • Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live poultry or anything in the area where these birds live and roam.
  • Do not let live poultry inside the house.