Food safety silliness: 30-second food safety stories

There once was a dentist name Price.

He thought raw milk was all very nice.

miley.cyrus.tongueHe helped invent the Paleo diet.

And even, I’m told, Miley Cyrus likes it.

So it must be true.


But I want my food, like my medicine, to be based in 2015.

Not 1939.

30-second food safety stories.

Don’t get me started on microorganisms.

Seek and ye shall find: Salmonella in raw frozen chicken thingies

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is alerting consumers that frozen, raw, stuffed and breaded chicken products produced by Aspen Foods, a division of Koch Poultry Company, a Chicago, Ill. establishment have been confirmed as having the same Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak strain which was part of a July 15, 2015 recall.

aspen-foods-recallFollowing the July 15th recall, FSIS has been conducting intensified sampling at this establishment to ensure that the hazard responsible for the initial contamination has been controlled by Aspen Foods. Results from FSIS sampling revealed twelve positive results that match the outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis to Aspen Foods products. Three illnesses were epidemiologically linked to the original recall on July 15, 2015. FSIS continues to work with public health partners including the Minnesota Departments of Health and Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on this ongoing investigation.

FSIS is concerned about all frozen, raw, stuffed and breaded chicken products produced by Aspen Foods between July 30, 2015 and September 17, 2015. The twelve positive samples collected during FSIS’ intensified sampling efforts alerted FSIS to a systemic problem at the establishment. FSIS cannot have confidence in the safety of any products produced after July 30, 2015. In addition to issuing this Alert, FSIS has directed its personnel to detain products covered by this Alert that they find in commerce because the company has refused to recall the products.

The frozen, raw, stuffed and breaded chicken items may include the following brands and be labeled as “chicken cordon bleu,” “chicken Kiev” or “chicken broccoli and cheese” and bear the establishment number “P-1358” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These products were shipped to retail location and food service locations nationwide.

  • Acclaim
  • Antioch Farms
  • Buckley Farms
  • Centrella Signature
  • Chestnut Farms
  • Family Favorites
  • Kirkwood
  • Koch Foods
  • Market Day
  • Oven Cravers
  • Rose
  • Rosebud Farm
  • Roundy’s
  • Safeway Kitchens
  • Schwan’s
  • Shaner’s
  • Spartan
  • Sysco

These products were labeled with instructions identifying that the product was uncooked (raw) and included cooking instructions for preparation. As stated in the July 15, 2015 Recall Release, some case-patients reported following the cooking instructions on the label and using a food thermometer to confirm that the recommended temperature was achieved. Therefore, FSIS advises consumers not to eat these products. Special attention should be paid by the food service industry and food handlers. Using a food thermometer to properly cook these products will not protect the health of the consuming public.

Growers upset, but ‘it’s not the handling’ Oyster farms in Mass. remain closed as more Vibrio illnesses reported

Katama Bay oyster farms will remain closed for another week following additional confirmed cases of Vibrio illness tied to the area, a state Department of Marine Fisheries official said Tuesday afternoon.

SUN0705N-Oyster7The 12 shellfishermen harvesting oysters out of Katama Bay were scheduled to resume operation on Thursday morning after a one-week precautionary closure announced last Wednesday by state health and fisheries officials. The closure was prompted because of three reported cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus caused by consumption of raw oysters from Katama Bay.

Now the closure will be extended for another seven days due to three more confirmed cases of Vibrio from mid-August, state Vibrio program coordinator Chris Schillaci told the Edgartown shellfish committee at a meeting Tuesday. The meeting was attended by a small group of Katama Bay oyster farmers.

Under state guidelines, two to four illnesses within a 30-day period would result in a seven-day closure, while four or more illnesses require a 14-day closure. More than 10 illnesses would require a 21-day closure and a recall.

There have been six Vibrio cases reported from Katama Bay in the past 45 days, Edgartown shellfish constable Paul Bagnall said, and three in the last 30 days.

The Katama Bay closure is the first Vibrio-related shellfish closure in Massachusetts this year.

Katama and other oyster-producing areas around New England have seen more reported cases of Vibrio in recent years. This marks the third year in a row that Katama Bay oyster farms have been closed for some period of time in the late summer because of Vibrio.

Ryan Smith, a member of the shellfish committee and a Katama oyster farmer, said while demand remains high for farmed oysters, the repeated closures are stressful and there is a loss of business.

“It seems like nobody really knows what’s going on,” he said, adding that the closures seemed to start “out of nowhere” three years ago.

Oyster farmers peppered Mr. Schillaci with questions about how the illnesses were reported, accounted for and traced to the growing area, and discussed whether more stringent measures might be put in place in future years. In 2013 the state adopted strict protocols for handling oysters, and Mr. Schillaci said he’s observed Katama oyster farmers following those guidelines.

“It’s not the handling that’s the problem here and I truly believe that,” he said.


Science is hard, being a celebrity isn’t: Salmonella reductions in the US

With six cases of measles linked to the University of Queensland and paleo-diet-for-babies moron Pete Evans being eviscerated by viewers, it seems like a bright time for science.

paleo.pete.evansThe boring, repetitive, peer-reviewed stuff that science is made of.

I want the bridges designed to cross the Brisbane river to function safely based on mathematics and engineering, not scientology.

Following on Chapman’s deserved put-down of state-sponsored jazz and food porn – sometimes referred to as NPR – I offer this paper about Salmonella, and the efforts required to reduce the number of sick people.

Salmonella enterica causes an estimated 1 million domestically acquired foodborne illnesses annually in the U.S. Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis (SE) is among the top three serovars of reported cases of Salmonella.

We examined trends in SE foodborne outbreaks from 1973 to 2009 using Joinpoint and Poisson regression. The annual number of SE outbreaks increased sharply in the 1970s and 1980s but declined significantly after 1990. Over the study period, SE outbreaks were most frequently attributed to foods containing eggs.

The average rate of SE outbreaks attributed to egg-containing foods reported by states began to decline significantly after 1990, and the proportion of SE outbreaks attributed to egg-containing foods began declining after 1997. Our results suggest that interventions initiated in the 1990s to decrease SE contamination of shell eggs may have been integral to preventing SE outbreaks.

The rise and decline in Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis outbreaks attributed to egg-containing foods in the United States, 1973–2009

Epidemiology & Infection

P. Wright, L. Richardson, B. E. Mahon, R. Rothenberg and D. J. Cole



Beware raw egg dishes: 160 sickened, Salmonella trial delayed in Canberra

A criminal trial over Canberra’s largest salmonella outbreak has been delayed until next year.

mayonnaise.raw.eggThe owners of the former Copa Brazilian restaurant had been scheduled to go before the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday over the incident that left about 160 people with food poisoning in May 2013.

Under ACT food safety law, those who either knowingly or negligently sell unsafe food can face criminal prosecution.

The criminal case follows civil lawsuits against the restaurant, with an estimated $1 million, including costs, paid out to those struck down by salmonella.

An ACT Health investigation found a supplier in Victoria to be responsible for the bad eggs that had been used by the Dickson restaurant to make raw egg mayonnaise.

The mayonnaise was then served to diners in a potato salad.

Many patrons of the then newly-opened all-you-can-eat Brazilian barbecue were struck down with salmonella poisoning, and the Canberra Hospital’s emergency department reportedly had one of its busiest days on record.

In the aftermath, the restaurant issued an apology to those affected and removed all products containing raw egg from its menu to ensure the poisoning was not repeated.

It closed voluntarily, before reopening under the close watch of ACT Health authorities.

But the restaurant eventually closed its doors and left Dickson in June last year.

Vibrio in raw seafood a risk factor in China too

As the number sickened by Vibrio rises to 72 in western Canada, researchers report on dietary and medical risk factors for Vibrio parahaemolyticus (VP) infection in the coastal city Shenzhen in China. In April–October 2012, we conducted a case–control study in two hospitals in Shenzhen, China. Laboratory-confirmed VP cases (N = 83) were matched on age, sex, and other social factors to healthy controls (N = 249). Subjects were interviewed using a questionnaire on medical history; contact with seawater; clinical symptoms and outcome; travel history over the past week; and dietary history 3 days prior to onset. Laboratory tests were used to culture, serotype, and genotype VP strains. We used logistic regression to calculate the odds ratios for the association of VP infection with potential risk factors.

Results: In multivariate analysis, VP infection was associated with having pre-existing chronic disease (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 6.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.5–23.7), eating undercooked seafood (aOR, 8.0; 95% CI, 1.3–50.4), eating undercooked meat (aOR, 29.1; 95% CI, 3.0–278.2), eating food from a street food vendor (aOR, 7.6; 95% CI, 3.3–17.6), and eating vegetable salad (aOR, 12.1; 95% CI, 5.2–28.2).

Conclusions: Eating raw (undercooked) seafood and meat is an important source of VP infection among the study population. Cross-contamination of VP in other food (e.g., vegetables and undercooked meat) likely plays a more important role. Intervention should be taken to lower the risks of cross-contamination with undercooked seafood/meat, especially targeted at people with low income, transient workers, and people with medical risk factors.

Risk factors for Vibrio parahaemolyticus Infection in a southern coastal region of China

Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. Ahead of print. doi:10.1089/fpd.2015.1988.

Liao Yuxue, Li Yinghui, Wu Shuyu, Mou Jin, Xu Zengkang, Cui Rilin, Klena John D., Shi Xiaolu, Lu Yan, Qiu Yaqun, Lin Yiman, Xie Xu, Ma Hanwu, Li Zhongjie, Yu Hongjie, Varma Jay K., Ran Lu, Hu Qinghua, and Cheng Jinquan


476 sick with cyclosporiasis in US, 87 in Canada

As of August 17, 2015 (3pm EDT), a total of 476 ill persons with confirmed Cyclospora infection were reported to CDC in 2015. Most of these persons—282 (59%) of 476—experienced onset of illness on or after May 1, 2015, and did not have a history of international travel within 2 weeks before illness onset.

 cilantro.slugs.powell.10These 282 persons were from the following 22 states: Arkansas (2), California (2), Connecticut (3), Florida (10), Georgia (23), Illinois (7), Iowa (1), Kansas (2), Maryland (1), Massachusetts (9), Michigan (2), Missouri (1), Montana (3), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (6), New Mexico (2), New York (excluding NYC) (8), New York City (21), Texas (162), Utah (1), Virginia (3), Washington (2), and Wisconsin (10).

Clusters of illness linked to restaurants or events have been identified in Texas, Wisconsin, and Georgia. Cluster investigations are ongoing in Texas and Georgia. Cluster investigations in Wisconsin and Texas have preliminarily identified cilantro as a suspect vehicle. Investigations are ongoing to identify specific food item(s) linked to the cases that are not part of the identified clusters.

87 cases have been reported in Canada.

35 sick: raw is risky in rising temperatures in BC

A warning from the BC Centre for Disease Control about eating raw shellfish:

So far this summer, there have been an unprecedented number of shellfish-related illnesses thanks to the warm weather.

SUN0705N-Oyster7The majority of illnesses have been linked to eating raw oysters sourced in BC and served in restaurants.

Spokesperson Marsha Taylor says 35 people have become ill from eating the uncooked shellfish…

“We’re putting this message out both to the public that will also hit the restaurants and we’re also doing follow up with every restaurant to make sure they are aware of the issue and we’re inspecting the premises.”

Some illnesses have also been linked with raw oysters purchased or self-harvested.

Taylor says if you happen to get sick…

“People who are experiencing symptoms of the Vibrio Parahaemolyticus most often experience typical food-borne illness like nausea and vomiting, headaches, and feel pretty badly for a couple of days…but most people will recover on their own.”

To reduce risk of illness consumers are being told to eat only cooked shellfish.

Raw eggs again: 16 stricken with Salmonella in Seattle

JoNel Aleccia of The Seattle Times reports that as many as 16 people were likely sickened with salmonella poisoning from raw eggs used in Father’s Day weekend brunch dishes served at Tallulah’s restaurant in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, health officials said Wednesday.

Tallulah’sVictims in the June 21 outbreak ranged in ages from 4 to 71, officials with Public Health — Seattle & King County said. There were nine confirmed cases and seven probable cases of infection, including one person who was hospitalized.

The infections were traced to crab and ham eggs Benedict dishes, which typically include a sauce made from raw eggs. Managers at the restaurant at 550 19th Ave. E reported the problem to health officials after receiving complaints from customers. Restaurant staff have been cooperative with the environmental health and epidemiologic investigation, officials said.

An investigation of the egg supplier and distributor conducted by the Washington State Department of Agriculture revealed no violation of regulations regarding temperature control, storage or handling, officials said. The producer reported no recent positive tests for salmonella bacteria, although they don’t routinely test raw shell eggs.

The restaurant menu was appropriately labeled to note that dishes made with raw or undercooked foods could result in foodborne illness.


Raw remains risky: Osamu Corporation voluntarily recalls frozen yellow fin tuna chunk meat due to possible health risk

Osamu Corporation of Gardena, CA is recalling Frozen Yellow Fin Tuna Chunk Meat (Lot #68568) sold to AFC Corporation of Rancho Dominquez, CA sourced from one processing plant in Indonesia.

tuna.sushi.raw.jul.15Investigators with the Minnesota Department of Health found samples of this product from one retail location in Minnesota to be contaminated with Salmonella.

There have been two reports of illness to date associated with exposure to AFC sushi in Minnesota.

The Frozen Tuna Yellow Fin Chunk Meat (Lot #68568) was shipped to AFC from 05/20/15 to 05/26/15. AFC has removed the product from the marketplace and is destroying any remaining product it has.

AFC has sushi franchises nationwide in many different grocery stores and it is sold from sushi counters.

Consumers concerned about whether the sushi they purchased may contain the recalled tuna product should check with the store where they purchased the sushi. That store will be able to determine if it used the recalled product to prepare the sushi. At this time Osamu does not believe that the recalled product or sushi made with the recalled product is available for purchase by consumers.