Who eats these things? Can you add more adjectives? 11 sick Multistate outbreak of Salmonella Virchow infections linked to Garden of Life organic shake meal

As of February 1, 2016, 11 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Virchow have been reported from nine states.

raw-mealOne ill person has been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

The epidemiologic and laboratory evidence available at this time suggests that RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal products made by Garden of Life, LLC are a likely source of this outbreak.

Of 10 ill people interviewed, 10 (100%) reported consuming powdered supplements or meal replacement powders in the week before illness onset, and all 10 (100%) specifically reported consuming Garden of Life RAW Meal products.

Utah and Oregon health officials reported that Salmonella was isolated from open containers of Garden of Life RAW Meal collected from ill people’s homes. Additional laboratory testing is ongoing to determine the DNA fingerprint of the Salmonella.

On January 29, 2016, Garden of Life, LLC voluntarily recalled a limited quantity of its RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal products available in chocolate, original, vanilla, and vanilla chai because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella Virchow.

These products have a long shelf life and may still be in people’s homes.

Consumers should not eat and retailers should not sell recalled RAW Meal products.

A list of the recalled Garden of Life RAW Meal products is available on the Recall & Advice to Consumers and Retailers page.     

The recalled products were available for purchase nationwide in many retail stores and online.

This investigation is ongoing. Updates will be posted when more information is available.

3 sick from Norovirus in raw oysters in Hong Kong

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (January 12) investigating a food poisoning outbreak and reminds the public to maintain personal, food and environmental hygiene to prevent food-borne diseases.

Raw oystersThe outbreak has affected three women, all aged 27. They developed vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and fever about 24 to 40 hours after having dinner in a food premises in Quarry Bay in the evening of January 3. The trio then sought medical attention and no hospitalization was required.

They have remained in stable condition.

The stool specimen of one of them tested positive for norovirus upon laboratory testing by the hospital. The CHP’s initial enquiries revealed that the trio had consumed raw oysters.

‘Food safety is a top priority’ McDonald’s Canada edition

Doug Gallant of The Guardian writes that Kaylee Foote, 22, of Stratford didn’t feel like cooking after a busy day last Wednesday so she pulled into the drive-thru at McDonald’s in Stratford.

nuggetsShe ordered a Happy Meal for each of her two daughters: one meal was with a hamburger, the other with Chicken McNuggets.

Foote told her children to wait until the family got home before digging into the meals.

When the family sat down to eat, Foote’s five-year-old daughter quickly found her meal to be quite an unhappy experience.

“She just bit (into a McNugget) and spit it back out and said ‘this is gross,”’ said Foote, who recently graduated from the bioscience technology program at Holland College.

“I was mortified because working in the science field I know how bad salmonella can be (salmonella infection is usually caused by eating raw or undercooked meat).”

mclovinFoote says roughly half of the chicken nuggets was raw while the other half was cooked.

She immediately called the restaurant about the incident.

The person who took her call merely thanked her for the heads up.

There was no apology, no offer of compensation.

“It was pretty irritating, especially when it is raw chicken,” she says.

Foote’s brother took the raw chicken into the restaurant and spoke with the manager.

The manager reimbursed the family for the cost of the meals.

Fortunately, Foote’s daughter did not become ill after chomping into the raw chicken.

Still, Foote would like to know how the raw chicken ended up being served. She would also like to know what the restaurant did after learning of the incident.

In a statement emailed to The Guardian Monday, David McKenna, franchisee for McDonald’s restaurants in P.E.I., said food safety is a top priority.

“As a local franchisee, I take matters of this nature very seriously and have very strict policies and procedures in place to ensure my guests receive the highest quality products whenever they visit my restaurants,” says McKenna.

“I was disappointed to hear of this experience, and as soon as my restaurant team was made aware of the incident, we launched a full investigation. These incidents, while unfortunate, are isolated. In addition to the investigation, I have taken immediate action by reviewing the proper procedures with my team to ensure it will not happen again.”

Pasteurization works, and don’t eat poop: 70 sickened with crypto from cow shit in cider

The cause of the cryptosporidiousis from the Pike County Fall Color Drive in apple cider is now known.

powell_kids_ge_sweet_corn_cider_00A test done by the CDC on environmental and human specimens has confirmed that this illness was due to cow manure contamination.

This unpasteurized apple cider was made on a private family farm in Adams County specifically for family consumption and sale at the Pike County Fall Color Drive October 17-18.

This cider was not produced at a licensed cider manufacturer or orchard.

Cattle were on the farm near the site of the apple cider press.

Raw is risky: I only eat cooked oysters (and didn’t get any for our 7 fishes feast tonight)

Although Salmonella has been isolated from 7.4 to 8.6% of domestic raw oysters, representing a significant risk for food-borne illness, little is known about the factors that influence their initial colonization by Salmonella.

oysters.grillThis study tested the hypothesis that specific regulatory changes enable a portion of the invadingSalmonella population to colonize oysters.

An in vivo promoter probe library screen identified 19 unique regions as regulated during colonization. The mutants in the nearest corresponding downstream genes were tested for colonization defects in oysters. Only one mutation, in ssrB, resulted in a significantly reduced ability to colonize oysters compared to that of wild-type Salmonella. Because ssrBregulates Salmonella pathogenicity island 2 (SPI-2)-dependent infections in vertebrate macrophages, the possibility that ssrB mediated colonization of oyster hemocytes in a similar manner was examined. However, no difference in hemocyte colonization was observed.

The complementary hypothesis that signal exchange between Salmonella and the oyster’s native microbial community aids colonization was also tested. Signals that triggered responses in quorum sensing (QS) reporters were shown to be produced by oyster-associated bacteria and present in oyster tissue. However, no evidence for signal exchange was observed in vivo.

The sdiAreporter responded to salinity, suggesting that SdiA may also have a role in environmental sensing. Overall, this study suggests the initial colonization of live oysters by Salmonella is controlled by a limited number of regulators, includingssrB.

 Influence of Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium ssrB on colonization of eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) as revealed by a promoter probe screen

Appl. Environ. Microbiol. January 2016 82:328-339; Accepted manuscript
posted online 23 October 2015, doi:10.1128/AEM.02870-15

Clayton E. Cox, Anita C. Wright, Michael McClelland, and Max Teplitski


264 sickened: Who’s to blame then? Brisbane ignores raw egg risk

Brisbane likes to think of itself as a bloomin’ metropolis (sorta like the onion), but its food safety politics are based in the old west, with its voluntary disclosure of restaurant inspection reports – 2 stars out of 5, I just won’t post it – and ridiculous number of raw-egg based Salmonella outbreaks.

regulators-younggunmountupIn Feb., 2015, 254 people, mostly state school principals, fell ill and 24 people were admitted to hospital after eating at an education conference at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition. A subsequent meeting sickened a few more people.

In Nov. 2015, The Courier-Mail reported that a kitchen stick blender contaminated with Salmonella was the source of the outbreak.

Documents showed that investigators examining the outbreak found bacteria on several kitchen utensils, with that bacteria “incubated’’ during the cooking process.

Test results from the investigation showed the people who fell ill were sick with the same strain of salmonella found on a kitchen stick blender “which demonstrates the source of the outbreak”.

bloomin.onionThe documents rule out the possibility the outbreak was caused by eggs being contaminated before they arrived at the convention centre.

“(Redacted) suggested that if the eggs were contaminated when they arrived, that this was the cause, however I advised … that poor cleaning and sanitising of the stick blender was the ultimate cause,’’ the documents say.

“(Redacted) questioned why the Sal. was not killed during the cooking process of the bread butter pudding. I advised that the QH microbiologist suggest that 140deg was not hot enough to kill Sal, but rather it was an incubation temp.’’

Brisbane City Council is now considering prosecuting the operators, with a decision due by the end of this year.

Today it was announced the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre will avoid prosecution after an investigation found no evidence the eggs that had been identified as a possible source of the outbreak were, in fact, responsible.

A Brisbane City Council investigation has found there was insufficient evidence to support a prosecution against the BCEC.

Brisbane lifestyle division chairman Krista Adams said a review of the investigation had found the prospect of a successful prosecution against the BCEC, which would cost ratepayers about $400,000, was “poor”.

“Council commissioned an independent review of the investigation which found that not everyone who tested positive for the salmonella strain consumed the suspect foods, which cast doubt as to the origin of the contamination.

Have any of you ever heard of cross-contamination?

A council spokesman supplied the following summary of the council’s legal advice:

There is no evidence that the eggs used by BCEC in the preparation of the suspect food were contaminated.

While a possible source of contamination may have been the stick blender, there is currently no evidence that the stick blender was used for the creation of the suspect food.

There is no evidence to discount the possibility that the stick blender was used in the preparation of other food on the same day which was not contaminated.

There is insufficient evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the contamination was in food prepared and served to the attendees by BCEC at their respective functions.

All of the evidence shows that BCEC has an exemplary record in keeping its kitchens clean and free of contamination and using proper handling and processing techniques to appropriately minimize contamination risks.

A court is more likely to find that the contamination resulted from a factor or factors beyond the reasonable control of the BCEC.


Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.

Yes, Brisbane is still a cow town but we’re not that dumb.

As I’ve said from the beginning, if BCEC wants anyone’s business, they should come clean and make a full public accounting of the dishes and ingredients served to principals instead of some legal nonsense with council.

It’s a simple thing: were raw eggs used in any of your sauces or dishes?

They won’t publicly answer.

And it’s not like there aren’t alternatives.

John O’Hara, CEO of leading egg provider Sunny Queen Meal Solutions, said caterers need to feel confident in the product they serve, not only during the festive season, but all year round.

“Caterers, meal providers and food service organisations are encouraged to research and ensure food comes from reputable sources where stringent food safety protocols are in place,” he said.

“Even when your own safety procedures are by the book, when it comes to the health of your guests and your ongoing reputation, it is important to be confident about the product you are serving.”

O’Hara said Sunny Queen prides itself on its quality assurance and food safety programs, and recommends that customers ask their suppliers detailed questions about their QA protocols.

He said manufacturers and suppliers should be transparent about their food safety procedures.

“Sunny Queen is proud of its quality management system, which includes sanitation and cleaning procedures, pest control programs, precise cooking protocols, microbiological testing and traceability systems.

“Sunny Queen Meal Solutions uses real eggs, laid on Sunny Queen farms, and they are all fully cooked or pasteurised, eliminating the need to use raw eggs so real egg dishes can be served with confidence.

“Food safety doesn’t have to be daunting, it just needs diligence. Eggs are an incredibly versatile, nutrient-rich food source, making them the perfect choice for meal providers and caterers.”

Good on ya.

A table of Australian egg outbreaks is available at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/raw-egg-related-outbreaks-australia-3-2-15.xlsx

Australia has a raw egg problem and why newspapers (they still exist here because the Internet sucks) would publish such recipes is baffling

The Courier Mail out of Brisbane published a column by Frances Whiting extoling the virtues of her grandmother’s raw egg nog recipe.

egg.farm_“She would have been rather chuffed to know that her words of hope still resonate with people today, particularly today.”

I have no idea what chuffed means, and no idea what Australians are talking about almost all of the time.

Basic Eggnog Recipe

6 eggs

1 cup sugar

½ tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp nutmeg

¾ cup rum

¾ cup brandy

2 cups milk

2 cups whipping cream

Beat eggs until frothy, add in sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, then stir in rum and brandy. Add milk and cream, stir vigorously. Pour into jug. Makes 1½ litres.

Why ruin perfectly good foods like eggs and rum?

Raw eggs are risky.

A table of Australian egg outbreaks is available at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/raw-egg-related-outbreaks-australia-10-9-15.xlsx

It’s vulnificus, dumbass: Florida reports most Vibrio cases in years

I did an almost one-hour radio interview this morning, and I messed up: I had a brain cramp and couldn’t remember the species of Vibrio that can cause problems, especially in raw oysters.

BC.oystersBut then I saw this story and was reminded that the number of Vibrio vulnificus cases reported in Florida in 2015 to date is the highest seen in the state in years, according to Florida Department of Health data. The 2015 tally, which has reached 42, is higher than any year from 2008 to 2014 (data available on DOH website).

Prior to this year, the high was reported in 2013 with 41 cases. Vulnificus cases have been reported in 25 counties with Hillsborough (5), Duval (4), Bay (3) and Polk (3) counties seeing the most.

In addition, the Vibrio death toll in Florida has reached 13, the most since 2011. Deaths have been reported from the following counties: Brevard (2), Duval (2), Escambia (1), Hillsborough (3), Lake (1), Marion (1), Pinellas (1), Polk (1) and Sarasota (1).

Vibrio vulnificus can cause disease in those who eat contaminated seafood or have an open wound that is exposed to warm seawater containing the bacteria. Ingestion of Vibrio vulnificus can cause vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Vibrio vulnificus can also cause an infection of the skin when open wounds are exposed to warm seawater; these infections may lead to skin breakdown and ulcers.

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.

Bleach is your friend: produce contamination in the Middle East

My former dean was known as Dr. Clorox while serving in Vietnam.

produce.cloroxI used to give these training sessions to food types headed for Iraq and Afghanistan from Fort Riley (in Manhattan, Kansas) and would sheepishly say, I have no idea what you’re going to face in terms of potable water, but bleach is your friend.

We take so much for granted.

In the developing countries, inaccessibility to safe water, lack of agricultural infrastructures and limitations to implementing good agricultural practices (GAP) are persistent challenges.

To understand the spread of hazards and identify critical areas of transmission in the food chain, a total of 90 samples of raw salad vegetables (parsley, lettuce, radish) were collected from farms and post-harvest washing facilities (n = 12) in an extensively cultivated area in Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley and from wholesale market stalls traced back to surveyed fields.

Our results showed high geometric mean indicator levels ranging from <0.7 to 7 log CFU/g (Escherichia coli), 1.69–8.16 log CFU/g (total coliforms), <0.7–8.39 log CFU/g (Staphylococcus aureus). The mean counts of total coliforms and E. coli on fresh produce followed an increasing trend from fields to the markets indicating potential sources of fecal contamination throughout the food chain. Of more concern was the presence of pathogens Listeria monocytogenes (14%) and S. aureus (45.5%) in fresh produce from harvest to retail, and Salmonella spp. was detected in 6.7% of the raw vegetables from the post-harvest washing areas.

the_first_bleach_bottle_by_thebleachbottle-d5h2xeyThese results along with our observations highlight shortfalls in hygienic farming and postharvest practices, including the use of inappropriately treated manure and chicken litter to fertilize the crops on the fields which contributed to the high levels of S. aureus in the product at retail. Unregulated use of wash water, inadequate transportation and storage conditions with risks of cross contamination was also identified.

Suggested control measures should mitigate the risks at the source and put emphasis on developing strict policies on monitoring the safety of water sources and on the application of the good agricultural and hygienic practices (GAP, GHP) on primary production stages, washing, transportation and storage at retail.

 Understanding the routes of contamination of ready-to-eat vegetables in the Middle East

Food Control, Volume 62, April 2016, Pages 125–133

Dima Faour-Klingbeil, Muhammad Murtada, Victor Kuri, Ewen C.D. Todd



It’s not home-made that’s the risk: Mayo on food poisoning risk list

This isn’t news: Home-made mayonnaise and aioli might taste better (no, they don’t) but experts are urging cooks to take extra care with raw egg dishes to avoid food poisoning.

raw.eggsAnd many Australians are unaware that cooked rice and alfalfa sprouts, usually eaten raw, also can be a poisoning risk.

A national survey, conducted before the start of Australian Food Safety Week on Sunday, found some people couldn’t correctly identify foods often linked to food poisoning outbreaks when not handled or cooked correctly

They include chicken, minced meat and seafood, says Food Safety Information Council chair Rachelle Williams.

The increase in salmonella outbreaks in recent years is linked to raw or minimally cooked egg dishes such as hand made aioli and mayonnaise.

If the risk of Salmonella in an egg in 1-in-20,000, what does that risk become when 100 eggs are pooled together to make mayo or aoili? 1-in-200.

Any restaurant should use pasteurized eggs.

This is news: Today, in 1971, the first record I ever bought was released: Led Zepplin IV. I remember arriving at my grandparents’ house in Cookstown, Ontario (that’s in Canada) and putting it on. They said it was a terrible noise. I loved it.