UK says raw eggs ‘safe for pregnant women’

That didn’t take long.

Six months after a UK Food Standards Agency working group suggested that raw or lightly cooked – runny – eggs were safe for all as long as they were produced under the Lion code or equivalent standards, the report was adopted by FSA so the BBC headline was, “Raw eggs ‘safe for pregnant women.”

Raw_eggThis in a country that still recommends cooking meat until it is piping or steaming hot, with temperature and thermometers as an afterthought because, it may be too complicated for consumers.

The risk of Salmonella from UK eggs produced to Lion code or equivalent standards should be considered “very low”, the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food said.

It said this meant eggs could be served raw or lightly cooked to “vulnerable” groups like the elderly and the young.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has begun a consultation on the issue.

The committee’s report said there had been a “major reduction in the microbiological risk from salmonella in UK hen shell eggs” since a report it produced in 2001,

Its recommendation to classify certain eggs as “very low” risk only applies to UK hens’ eggs produced under Lion code or equivalent standards.

It also warns that safety guidelines including proper storage and eating eggs within best before dates must be followed.

The FSA said it had launched an eight-week consultation in response to the report.

“The consultation is inviting views on the recommended changes to the FSA’s advice from a range of stakeholders, including food and hospitality industries, consumer and enforcement bodies, and health care practitioners,” it said.

seasame.street.good.egg.projectIt currently advises members of vulnerable groups against eating “raw eggs, eggs with runny yolks or any food that is uncooked or only lightly cooked and contains raw eggs” due to the risk of food poisoning.

Professor John Coia, Chair of the ACMSF Expert Ad Hoc group on eggs said, ‘The committee has found that there has been a major reduction in the risk from Salmonella in UK hens’ eggs since 2001. This is especially the case for eggs produced under the Lion Code, or equivalent schemes. It also recommended that these eggs could be served raw or lightly cooked to both those in good health and those in more vulnerable groups.’

Following Committee approval and a UK wide consultation of the report, the FSA has agreed to examine its advice taking into account the Committee’s conclusions and recommendations.

Raw is risky: Canada reports 1st case this year of illness linked to eating raw oysters

CBC News reports British Columbia has recorded its first case this year of someone being sickened by eating raw oysters contaminated with Vibrio bacteria.

oysters.grillThe B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) said the illness was reported June 30 in the Vancouver area.

Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria grow in seawater and can end up in shellfish like oysters and clams. When water temperatures rise in the summer, the accumulations of the naturally occurring bacteria increase to the point that eating undercooked shellfish can give people nausea, fever and diarrhea.

Last year’s outbreak of the Vibrio-caused illness was the biggest in Canadian history and sickened at least 73 British Columbians. Sixty of the illnesses were due to eating contaminated raw or undercooked B.C. oysters in restaurants. The other 13 illnesses were traced to exposure to seawater with high levels of the bacteria.

At the height of the outbreak last summer, Vancouver Coastal Health ordered restaurants not to serve raw oysters harvested from B.C. waters and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a food recall for B.C. oysters. 

“Eating raw shellfish increases your risk of Vibrio and other infections,” said Dr. Eleni Galanis, epidemiologist at the BCCDC, in a release.  

“It’s best to eat them cooked, but if you choose to eat raw shellfish like oysters, then understand the risks and take steps to reduce your likelihood of illness.”

Meanwhile, Florida health officials have reported 13 Vibrio vulnificus cases as of July 5, including four fatalities thus far in 2016.

Last year, Florida saw 45 cases and 14 deaths, the most since 2003.

Healthy individuals typically develop a mild disease; however, Vibrio vulnificus infections can be a serious concern for people who have weakened immune systems, particularly those with chronic liver disease.

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]

So don’t be a drunk and eat raw.

I BBQ them, and prefer scallops on the half-shell.

In other Virbrio news, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have uncovered a mechanism that a type of pathogenic bacteria found in shellfish use to sense when they are in the human gut, where they release toxins that cause food poisoning.

The researchers studied Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a globally spread, Gram-negative bacterium that contaminates shellfish in warm saltwater during the summer. The bacterium thrives in coastal waters and is the world’s leading cause of acute gastroenteritis.

“During recent years, rising temperatures in the ocean have contributed to this pathogen’s worldwide dissemination,” said Dr. Kim Orth, Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study, published today in the online journal eLife.

About a dozen Vibrio species cause infection in humans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Vibrio parahaemolyticus is one of the three most common culprits. Vibrio infections cause an estimated 80,000 illnesses and 100 deaths in the United States every year.

The study found that two proteins made by Vibrio parahaemolyticus work together to detect and capture bile salts in the intestines of people who eat raw or undercooked seafood containing the bacteria.

“When a person eats, acids in the stomach help break down the meal, and bile salts in the intestine aid in the solubilization of fatty food. When humans eat raw or undercooked shellfish contaminated with Vibrio parahaemolyticus, the bacteria use those same bile salts as a signal to release toxins,” said Dr. Orth, also an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), holder of the Earl A. Forsythe Chair in Biomedical Science, and a W.W. Caruth, Jr. Scholar in Biomedical Research. Dr. Orth studies the strategies that bacterial pathogens use to outsmart their host cells.

Evidence is increasing that several bacterial pathogens that cause gastrointestinal illness, including the extremely toxic Vibrio cholerae, sense bile salts. But until now, the mechanism that those pathogens use for doing this has remained unknown, Dr. Orth said. In previous studies, only one bacterial gene had been implicated in receiving and transmitting the gut-sensing signal, Dr. Orth said.

“We discovered that not one, but two genes are required for Vibrio to receive the bile salt signal. These genes encode two proteins that form a complex on the surface of the bacterial membrane. Using X-ray crystallography, we found that these proteins create a barrel-like structure that binds bile salts and receives the signal to tell the bacterial cell to start making toxins,” she said.

Future experiments will aim to understand how binding of bile salt by this protein complex induces the release of toxins.

“Ultimately, we want to understand how other pathogenic bacteria sense environmental cues to produce toxins. With this knowledge, we might be able to design pharmaceuticals that could prevent toxin production, and ultimately avoid the damaging effects of infections,” she said.

The receptor pair could possibly act as a model to discover sensors in other bacteria where pharmaceuticals might be more applicable, Dr. Orth said, adding “we are in the early stages of this research.”

Co-lead authors were graduate student Peng Li and research scientist Dr. Giomar Rivera-Cancel, both in Molecular Biology. Other contributing authors included Dr. Lisa Kinch, an HHMI bioinformatics specialist; Dr. Dor Salomon, postdoctoral researcher; Dr. Diana Tomchick, Professor of Biophysics and Biochemistry and Director of the Structural Biology Core Facility; and Dr. Nick Grishin, Professor of Biophysics and Biochemistry, an HHMI Investigator, and a Virginia Murchison Linthicum Scholar in Biomedical Research.

The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Welch Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the HHMI.

And finally, bacterial infections from various organisms including Vibrio sp. pose a serious hazard to humans in many forms from clinical infection to affecting the yield of agriculture and aquaculture via infection of livestock. Vibrio sp. is one of the main foodborne pathogens causing human infection and is also a common cause of losses in the aquaculture industry. Prophylactic and therapeutic usage of antibiotics has become the mainstay of managing this problem, however this in turn led to the emergence of multidrug resistant strains of bacteria in the environment; which has raised awareness of the critical need for alternative non antibiotic based methods of preventing and treating bacterial infections. Bacteriophages – viruses that infect and result in the death of bacteria – are currently of great interest as a highly viable alternative to antibiotics. This article provides an insight into bacteriophage application in controlling Vibrio species as well underlining the advantages and drawbacks of phage therapy.

Insights into bacteriophage application in controlling Vibrio species

Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.01114

http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fmicb.2016.01114/abstract

Vengadesh Letchumanan,  Kok Gan Chan,  Priyia Pusparajah,  Surasak Saokaew,  Acharaporn Duangjai,  Bey Hing Goh,  Nurul-Syakima Ab Mutalib and  Learn-Han Lee

Raw is risky: In Hawaii poke is the thing

A true fusion, Hawaiian cuisine is influenced by the food cultures that immigrant workers brought from China, Korea, Japan, the Philippines and Portugal. Combined with existing indigenous ingredients, as well as European and American foods, a style unique to Hawaii was born. In fact, it was so distinct that in 1992, a group of Hawaiian chefs worked together to establish the “Hawaii Regional Cuisine” culinary movement, putting a name to their style of cooking that made use of locally grown ingredients and focused on the blending of diverse culinary influences present on the islands.

Here on the mainland, Hawaii’s biggest culinary success has undoubtedly been poke (pronounced PO-kay) — the simple and sneakily addictive raw fish salad often served as an appetizer in Hawaiian cuisine. It certainly isn’t a new creation, originating from fishermen who would snack on trimmings of the fish they caught that day, but poke seems to be enjoying a serious moment pokeacross the country. The dish has become wildly popular in recent months, with versions of it popping up all over menus in New York, Los Angeles and everywhere in between. And now, an abundance of poke dishes have surfaced in North Jersey.

The word poke means “cut” or “section” in Hawaiian, and that’s exactly what the dish is: Pieces of raw fish cut into cubes, tossed with a dressing of some kind — such as the classic combination of soy sauce and sesame oil, and garnished with any number of toppings. Poke is most often made using raw yellowfin (ahi) tuna, but other adaptations may feature salmon, whitefish or even octopus. Each element of the dish works to elevate the others: The sweetness of the fresh raw fish combined with the saltiness of the sauce and a touch of oil works to build an enticing bowl rich in both flavor and protein.

Raw cat food recalled

We returned to Australia, last night, staying up until 2 or 3 a.m.

sorenne.cat.trip.jun.16No hockey for me at 6 a.m. Saturday morning.

The seven hours in the air from Paris to Dubai, then 13 hours from Dubai to Brisbane, plus all the waiting, is a tad overrated.

This was Sorenne at noon Saturday, as we were going to go get some stuff.

She missed her cat.

And apparently sleep.

We do not feed any pets raw food.

Radagast Pet Food, Inc. (Portland, OR) has announced a voluntary recall of four lots of frozen Rad Cat Raw Diet products, sold in 8oz., 16oz., and 24oz. tubs, and free 1oz sample cups, due to the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella and/or Listeria monocytogenes.

Pets with Salmonella or Listeria monocytogenes infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Some pets may have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

5_cupsThe FDA third party contracted lab found two lots of Grass-Fed Beef tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes, one lot of Free-range Chicken tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes, and one lot of Free-range Turkey tested positive for Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. As a precautionary measure, we are voluntarily recalling three products produced in these four lots.

All affected lot codes 62384, 62361, 62416, and 62372 and Best By dates are located on the lid of all products packaged in tubs and on the bottom of the sample cups.

The following recalled products were distributed in western Canada and all US States except in HI and MS.

Please do not return any of these recalled products to the retailer and dispose in a secure garbage receptacle. For refund claims, fill out all sections of our Consumer Claims Form which can be found on our website www.RadFood.com disclaimer icon and return this form only to the retailer where you purchased the product for a refund. Consumers may call Radagast Pet Food, Inc. for assistance in filling out the Claim Form.

Salmonella in raw pistachios

Crescent Specialty Foods, Inc. of Everett, WA is voluntarily recalling 6 oz. bags of Crescent Pistachio Raw, UPC Code: 8 95296 00103 5 because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

salm.pistachio.jun.16No illnesses have been reported to date.

The product was distributed to retail stores and on-line stores in Oregon and Washington.

The products are packaged in 6 oz. clear, plastic bag with Crescent Nuts & Dried Fruits Pistachio Raw label attached with UPC code 8 95296 00103 5 and were distributed from October 21, 2015 – May 2, 2016. See photo below.

The recall was as a result of a routine, random sampling program conducted by an FDA third party contracted lab which revealed the recalled product tested positive for Salmonella. The root cause is unknown to date.

Consumers should not consume the product. The consumer should return the product to place of purchase for a refund. Customers with questions may contact the stores where they purchased the product. For further inquiries email us at: info@csf1.com

This recall is being made at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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.