I’m not your guy, pal: Raw oysters risky for wine drinkers

When Canada’s food safety agency announced a recall of B.C. oysters last August, it meant producers like Steve Pocock had to ensure every last oyster they had shipped after a certain date was accounted for.

Oyster-Vancouver, B.C.- 07/05/07- Joe Fortes Oyster Specialist Oyster Bob Skinner samples a Fanny Bay oyster at the restuarant. Vancouver Coastal Health now requires restaurants to inform their patrons of the dangers of eating raw shellfish.  (Richard Lam/Vancouver Sun)   [PNG Merlin Archive]

Along with a recall – issued by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) after dozens of people got sick as a result of eating raw oysters contaminated with Vibrio parahaemolyticus – there was a ban on restaurants serving raw oysters from British Columbia.

The inconvenience and forgone sales added up to a big hit for Mr. Pocock and other producers in British Columbia’s oyster sector.

Over the past few months, they have been working to prevent a repeat scenario.

“The recall had a very serious impact on our industry – and it should be taken very seriously,” Mr. Pocock said in a recent interview. He owns and operates Sawmill Bay Shellfish and is also president of the BC Shellfish Grower’s Association.

“And I’m not just talking about the farmers; I’m talking about everyone right through to the server in the restaurant,” he added.

A workshop last November spawned a national working group focused on Vibrio with representatives from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Health Canada, the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and provincial health authorities.

That group developed a prevention program for Vibrio, focusing on education, enhanced testing and improved communication between producers and government agencies.

On the education front, workshops for producers emphasized measures to control Vibrio, such as proper refrigeration during transport.

Oysters represent a relatively small chunk of British Columbia’s aquaculture sales – $13-million, compared with $380.4-million for salmon, according to a 2015 report by British Columbia’s Ministry of Agriculture – but are prized for their taste and local appeal.

“Shellfish are an important part of our business, and especially in the summertime, when patios are open, [oysters] go great with wine and it was disappointing we were unable to offer B.C. product for raw consumption,” said Guy Dean, vice-president of seafood distributor Albion Fisheries.

Yeah, especially since Vibrio produces a toxin that attacks the weak livers of persistent wine drinkers.

Raw is risky.

And this Guy ain’t your buddy. Or friend.

Canadians say: Update to the Vibrio parahamolyticus guideline

This notice provides an update to the information published on October 20, 2015 regarding the management of the risks of Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp) in raw oysters. Effective immediately, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is expanding the scope of application of the bacteriological guideline for Vp in live oysters.

Oyster-Vancouver, B.C.- 07/05/07- Joe Fortes Oyster Specialist Oyster Bob Skinner samples a Fanny Bay oyster at the restuarant. Vancouver Coastal Health now requires restaurants to inform their patrons of the dangers of eating raw shellfish. (Richard Lam/Vancouver Sun) [PNG Merlin Archive]

The interim bacteriological guideline for Vp, found in the CFIA’s Fish Products Standards and Methods Manual will now apply to all live oysters (end product), whether domestically produced or imported. This means that no sample can exceed 100 MPN per gram in each of five subsamples.

Importers, domestic processors and exporters are responsible for ensuring that fish and seafood products meet all applicable regulatory requirements, including the regulations made under the authority of the Fish Inspection Act.

Quality Management Program Importers (QMPI) and fish processing establishments must outline and implement controls to ensure that any significant health and safety hazards identified are controlled for fish imported into Canada, or processed in Canada.

Federally registered establishments must review their Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan to ensure that the measures, as a whole, to eliminate or reduce Vp to an acceptable level are effective in ensuring the live oysters meet the updated Vp guideline. Until the review of the HACCP plan is completed and the measures are determined to be effective, additional interim measures (e.g. lot by lot testing of the oysters) are necessary to ensure compliance. Interim measures must be initiated when conditions are favourable for Vp (identified as water or oyster meat temperature at point of harvest equal to or greater than 15°C or testing of Vp in oysters at the harvest area showing persistent levels at or near 100 Vp MPN/g).

Importers must ensure that the live oysters they import meet Canadian regulatory requirements, including the updated Vp guideline. They must also verify that the oysters have been harvested, handled, stored and conveyed in a manner which adequately manages the risk of Vp.

QMPI licence holders that import live oysters must review and amend their QMPI plan. This will ensure that effective controls are in place so that the oysters comply with the updated Vp guideline.

The CFIA will continue to verify that appropriate controls for Vp in oysters have been implemented; through its regular activities at federally registered processing establishments and with importers using inspections, audits and sampling and testing.

Health Canada is reviewing available Vp data, which may result in further revision to the interim guideline. Until this review is completed, the CFIA will apply the interim guideline to all live oysters sold in Canada, in order to continue to protect consumers. 

The CFIA is preparing additional guidance to assist industry in understanding and managing the Vp hazard.  This information will be available on CFIA’s website.  Industry is encouraged to subscribe to the e-mail notification service to be notified when CFIA manuals are updated.

WGS, Vibrio and traceback in oysters

In the summer of 2010, Vibrio parahaemolyticus caused an outbreak in Maryland linked to the consumption of oysters. Strains isolated from both stool and oyster samples were indistinguishable by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). However, the oysters contained other potentially pathogenic V. parahaemolyticusstrains exhibiting different PFGE patterns.

Oyster-Vancouver, B.C.- 07/05/07- Joe Fortes Oyster Specialist Oyster Bob Skinner samples a Fanny Bay oyster at the restuarant. Vancouver Coastal Health now requires restaurants to inform their patrons of the dangers of eating raw shellfish.  (Richard Lam/Vancouver Sun)   [PNG Merlin Archive]

In order to assess the identity, genetic makeup, relatedness, and potential pathogenicity of the V. parahaemolyticusstrains, we sequenced 11 such strains (2 clinical strains and 9 oyster strains). We analyzed these genomes by in silico multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and determined their phylogeny using a whole-genome MLST (wgMLST) analysis. Ourin silico MLST analysis identified six different sequence types (STs) (ST8, ST676, ST810, ST811, ST34, and ST768), with both of the clinical and four of the oyster strains being identified as belonging to ST8.

Using wgMLST, we showed that the ST8 strains from clinical and oyster samples were nearly indistinguishable and belonged to the same outbreak, confirming that local oysters were the source of the infections. The remaining oyster strains were genetically diverse, differing in >3,000 loci from the Maryland ST8 strains. eBURST analysis comparing these strains with strains of other STs available at the V. parahaemolyticus MLST website showed that the Maryland ST8 strains belonged to a clonal complex endemic to Asia. This indicates that the ST8 isolates from clinical and oyster sources were likely not endemic to Maryland. Finally, this study demonstrates the utility of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and associated analyses for source-tracking investigations.

A nonautochthonous U.S. strain of Vibrio parahaemolyticus isolated from Chesapeake Bay oysters caused the outbreak in Maryland in 2010

Appl. Environ. Microbiol. June 2016 vol. 82 no. 11 3208-3216

Julie Haendiges, Jessica Jones, Robert A. Myers, Clifford S. Mitchell, Erin Butler, Magaly Toro and Narjol Gonzalez-Escalona

http://aem.asm.org/content/82/11/3208.abstract?etoc

‘We grind our patties in store every day’ so they’re safe, and other hamburger myths

Not sure who is worse here: the celebrity chef or the government regulators.

But they’re both wrong on the topic of shiga-toxin producing E. coli in hamburgers.

meatwad.raw.hamburgerThe stories pitch it as a “bun fight between health bureaucrats and burger bars over what makes a safe hamburger.”

And both sides are using erroneous information.

I don’t really care what people eat, other than what they feed to their kids, and that accurate information is provided.

A NSW Food Authority spokeswoman said council officers had approached the watchdog in recent months “concerned about the increase in businesses serving rare/undercooked burgers” and potential health risks.

The authority has sent revised “Hamburger Food Safety” guidelines to Environment Health Officers, attached to the state’s 152 councils.

“Mince meat should be cooked right through to the centre,” the instructions say, citing a temperature of 71C.

“No pink should be visible and juices should run clear.”

Color is a lousy indicator, as is juices running clear. The only way to tell if a burger is safe is to use a tip-sensitive digital thermometer.

Regulators, with all their talk of science-based activities, should know better.

The spokeswoman said if businesses wanted to cook using an alternative temperature, “they must be able to demonstrate that their cooking process is safe”. Burger bars that don’t meet the new guidelines face penalties up to $1540 per offence “for the preparation or sale of unsafe food”.

Sydney chef Neil Perry, who plans to open four Burger Project stores this year, cooks his patties to medium — about 60C. But he said the big difference is staff at his outlets grind meat fresh every day, making it safe.

“We can do medium-rare, which is about 55C, but we rarely get asked for that,” he said. “About 10 per cent of orders are for ‘well done’.”

Perry said the food guidelines serve as a “worst-case scenario” safety net.

“Those guidelines from the health department are important because a lot of burger places have their patties supplied by butchers and have already been minced,” he said.

Perry said bacteria starts growing as soon as meat is minced so chefs need to mince and cook on the same day and keep meat refrigerated at the right temperature:

“We grind our patties in store every day.”

So what?

Shiga-toxin producing E. coli are generally found on the surface of meat cuts (unless that meat has been needle tenderized). The process of mincing moves the outside to the inside, so rare is risky.

Those dangerous E. coli are also especially infectious, with as few as 10 cells thought to cause illness.

hamburger-safe and unsafe-thumb-450x138-175

FDA warns ‘small family company trying to make dogs and cats healthier’ about Salmonella in its dog food

Federal authorities have notified a Berks County, Penn. raw-pet food producer that its dog food has been found to contain salmonella.

sadie.car.10A U.S. Food and Drug Administration “warning letter” sent last month to Lystn LLC, dba Answers Pet Food at 356 Maidencreek Road in Richmond Township, says the company’s Detailed Answers Chicken Formula dog food showed traces of salmonella.

The FDA letter says investigators found salmonella in its Detailed Answers Chicken, 8-ounce raw chicken patties and the 2-pound carton Detailed Answers Chicken Formula.

In a news release issued Wednesday and subsequent telephone interview, Lystn officials denied the company is introducing salmonella in its pet food or allowing product in the market “that could result in illness to animals or humans.”

Company officials also say they believe they have addressed the FDA’s concerns about its food processing and contend the agency has denied to address the company’s follow-up questions.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture allows a limited amount of salmonella in poultry and other food consumed by humans, said Jacqueline C. Hill, the company’s vice president of operations, product development and sales.

“But we’re not regulated by the USDA but by the FDA, and it says pet food can’t contain any salmonella,” Hill said. “We’re a small family company trying to make dogs and cats healthier.”

Lystn began selling raw pet food in 2010, said Hill, adding there are many advantages to feeding it to domestic animals, including helping to heal those with chronic health issues.

Raw is risky: 4 sick with Salmonella in Canada linked to raw pet food

Pet owners are being warned Saturday after an outbreak of Salmonella has been found in connection with raw pet food.

sadie.dog.powellAs of Friday afternoon, four British Columbians who feed their pets raw food diets have all become infected with the same strain of Salmonella. The BC Centre for Disease Control said the exact source of the Salmonella is unknown, but investigations are currently underway.

Raw is risky: Pressed Juicery edition

Besides the high sugar levels, I don’t frequent those funky juice bars and I don’t buy unpasteurized juice because of the risk of bacterial contamination.

pressed-juicery-reviewI haven’t seen frozen juice in Australia, but as Sloan sings, “three cans of water provokes me.”

Hayden Slater, chief executive thingy of Fresno, CA-based Pressed Juicery, received a catchy letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which said that after numerous inspections in 2015, that the juice manufacturing facility had serious violations from the FDA’s juice Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulation, Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 120 (21 CFR Part 120).

This inspection resulted in FDA’s issuance of a Form FDA-483 Inspectional Observations (FDA-483), at the conclusion of the inspection. 

Mr. Slater, your juice sucks.

  1. Your HACCP plan does not include control measures that will consistently produce, at a minimum a 5-log reduction of the most pertinent microorganism(s) of public health significance that is likely to occur in the juice, for at least as long as the shelf life of the product when stored under normal and moderate abuse conditions, as required by 21 CFR 120.24(a). Your HACCP plan for “Ready to Drink Beverages, Soups (Food Drink), Freeze and Toppings,” which includes low acid 100% juices (pH > 4.6), does not have control measures for the pertinent microorganism, Clostridium botulinum. Furthermore, the validation study conducted by Food Microbiological Laboratories to validate the microbial load reduction of Salmonella spp. and E. coli O157:H7 in your juice products using the High Hydrostatic Pressure (HHP) process did not take into consideration the pertinent microorganism C. botulinum for the low acid products. Additionally, FDA recommends you provide a validation study for each of the products you manufacture, to demonstrate, at a minimum, a 5-log reduction of the most pertinent microorganism(s) of concern.

FDA believes that it is necessary to address the control of hazards that could occur in low acid refrigerated juices subjected to severe temperature abuse. Further guidance on this public health issue can be found at: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/Juice/ucm072481.htm].

  1. Your HACCP plan must, at a minimum, list all food hazards that are reasonably likely to occur, to comply with 21 CFR 120.8(b)(1). A “food hazard” is defined in 21 CFR 120.3(g) as “any biological, chemical, or physical agent that is reasonably likely to cause illness or injury in the absence of its control.” However, your HACCP plan for “Ready to Drink Beverages, Soups (Food Drink), Freeze and Toppings,” which includes juice blends with apple juice, does not list the food hazard patulin. Because patulin, a mycotoxin, can occur in apple juice from rotting or molding apples and is not destroyed with thermal processing, it is reasonably likely to occur in your juice products that contain apple juice.

No thanks: Parasite destruction proof needed for sushi

The source of raw tuna and salmon being served at Enos Sushi in Forsyth County couldn’t be verified when a Forsyth County, Georgia, health inspector made a recent routine inspection.

sushi-largeThe fish was not in the original packaging and parasite destruction documentation was not available either, the inspector said. Points were taken off because food safety could not be determined, and the fish would be served raw in sushi.

Enos Sushi, 3630 Peachtree Parkway, Suwanee, received a failing score of 34/U. The restaurant also failed a routine inspection in August with a 62/U, then improved to 88/B on the follow-up inspection.

Trichinellosis in 3 French travelers after eating bear meat in Greenland

Jean Dupouy-Camet reports to ProMED-mail that on 11 Mar 2016, a 55-year-old patient presented to the Parasitology Clinical Service of Cochin Hospital in Paris complaining of high fever and muscular pain that he had been suffering from since 4 Mar 2016.

Green-MeatHe was part of a group of 3 French people having recently travelled in East Greenland. Between, 13 and 16 Feb 2016, they each had consumed around 200 g of polar bear (_Ursus maritimus_) meat. The polar bear meat had been cut into 1 cm thick slices and then fried for several minutes, but was still pink when eaten.

One of the consumers, aged 56, was totally asymptomatic besides one day of pronounced diarrhea at the beginning of March. On 9 Mar 2016 the last consumer, aged 59, developed fever, myalgia and a slight facial edema and one day of diarrhea. Blood tests were performed on all the patients and showed both elevated muscle enzyme and eosinophile levels.

Antibody testing for _Trichinella_ was positive by ELISA and western blot for the 3 patients (LDBio Diagnostics, France) and they were prescribed albendazole for 10-days. The polar bear, weighing around 400 kg, was shot by a local accredited Inuit hunter in the Scorebysund region on the East coast of Greenland.

Only the 3 French travellers ate under-cooked meat, whereas local people ate the meat boiled and have been informed that the polar bear was infected with _Trichinella_. None of the meat was imported to France.

Not just an Australian problem: Salmonella in raw-egg mayo apparent culprit in Lucky’s restaurant outbreak with 77 sick

Nine people who became ill after eating at Lucky’s Taproom & Eatery tested positive for salmonella, and so did mayonnaise that the restaurant made in-house, local health officials said Monday.

mayonnaise.raw.eggThe number of people who complained of being sickened after eating at Lucky’s rose to 77 by Monday, an increase of 17 since Friday, according to John Steele, spokesman for Public Health — Dayton & Montgomery County. Those who became ill reported stomach cramps, diarrhea, headaches, nausea and vomiting.

Five people were admitted to hospitals, although health officials said they don’t know whether anyone remains hospitalized. The restaurant shut down Monday, Feb. 29. Health officials expect the number of confirmed salmonella cases to rise as test results are completed, Steele said.

Drew Trick, the owner of Lucky’s, said Monday that the eatery will never make its mayonnaise in-house again. On the tap room’s Facebook page, Trick wrote, “Well, it seems our efforts to source locally and make our food from scratch has failed our customers and ourselves. Know that we are doing all that is possible to rectify the situation and eliminate the chance of this happening again.”

Lucky’s, at 520 E. Fifth St. in Dayton’s Oregon District, will remain closed “for an unknown period of time,” Trick wrote, but hopes “to open with a clean bill of health very soon.” The restaurant and craft-beer bar had been gearing up for its 5th anniversary celebration this week.

A table of raw egg-related outbreaks in Australia is available at:

http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/raw-egg-related-outbreaks-australia-12-1-15.xlsx