Listeria positive: Made-to-order salad in Hong Kong

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department said on November 15  that a sample of mixed vegetable ingredient of a made-to-order smoked salmon mixed vegetable salad was found to have been contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Follow-up is in progress.

smoked-salmon-saladA spokesman for the CFS said, “The CFS took the sample of smoked salmon mixed vegetable salad for testing from a licensed food premises in Sha Tin under a risk assessment study on microbiological quality of vegetables and vegetable salads. The result showed that the salad sample contained Listeria monocytogenes at a level of 2 400 per gram, exceeding the standard of the Microbiological Guidelines for Food which states that no more than 100 of the pathogen per gram should be detected.”
The CFS has informed the premises concerned of the irregularity and instructed it to stop selling the food item in question immediately.

The CFS has also provided health education on food safety and hygiene to the person-in-charge and staff of the premises. The premises have voluntarily suspended its business temporarily to carry out thorough cleaning and disinfection. The CFS is also tracing the sources of the ingredients of the affected food item.

“Listeria monocytogenes can be easily destroyed by cooking but can survive and multiply at refrigerator temperatures.

Dole and Listeria: The Shaggy Defense

Dole’s Springfield plant, source of an awful outbreak of listeriosis linked to over 30 illnesses and four deaths, had resident Listeria monocytogenes problem. With illnesses stretching back to July 2015, linked through whole genome sequencing, the pathogen was hanging out somewhere.

The Packer reports that Dole is disputing a couple of lawsuits that have been filed on behalf of victims.

A suit filed in July for the estate of Ellen DiStefano alleges Dole failed to design and implement a food safety program capable of preventing listeria contamination of its salad mixes.

Listeria was found eight times in the Springfield plant from March 2014 to December 2015, according to a Food and Drug Administration report cited in court documents. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, also claims Dole did not use newer detection technologies such as genome sequencing.

DiStefano became ill Jan. 17 and died Feb. 27. She was 79.

“The product was not defective at the time it left Dole’s custody and control,” attorney R. Leland Evans said July 15 in the court record. “Any later defect was caused by a substantial alteration and change in the condition of the product by other parties over whom Dole had no control.”

Show me the data.

 

RTE salad storage temps should be reduced in Sweden

Prepacked ready-to-eat mixed ingredient salads (RTE salads) are readily available whole meals that include a variety of ingredients such as raw vegetables, cooked meat, and pasta.

rte.salad.swedenAs part of a trend toward healthy convenience foods, RTE salads have become an increasingly popular product among consumers. However, data on the incidence of foodborne pathogens in RTE salads are scarce.

In this study, the microbiological safety of 141 RTE salads containing chicken, ham, or smoked salmon was investigated. Salad samples were collected at retail and analyzed using standard methods for Listeria monocytogenes, Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC), pathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica, Salmonella, and Campylobacter spp.L. monocytogenes was isolated from two (1.4%) of the RTE salad samples.

Seven (5.0%) of the samples were positive for the ail gene (present in all human pathogenic Y. enterocolitica isolates) and three (2.1%) of the samples were positive for the Shiga toxin genes stx 1 and/or stx 2. However, no strains of pathogenic Y.enterocolitica or STEC were isolated.

Thus, pathogens were found or suspected in almost 1 of 10 RTE salads investigated, and pathogenic bacteria probably are present in various RTE salads from retail premises in Sweden.

Because RTE salads are intended to be consumed without heat treatment, control of the ingredients and production hygiene is essential to maintain consumer safety. The recommended maximum storage temperature for RTE salads varies among countries but can be up to 8°C (e.g., in Sweden). Even during a short shelf life (3 to 5 days), storage at 8°C can enable growth of psychrotrophs such as L. monocytogenes and Y. enterocolitica. The maximum storage temperature should therefore be reduced.

Foodborne bacterial pathogens in retail prepacked ready-to-eat mixed ingredient salads

Journal of Food Protection®, Number 6, June 2016, pp. 896-1055, pp. 978-985(8)

Söderqvist, Karin; Thisted Lambertz, Susanne; Vågsholm, Ivar; Boqvist, Sofia

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/iafp/jfp/2016/00000079/00000006/art00011

‘Furry lump’ Woman discovers baby weasel in UK salad

A nurse was horrified when she tucked into her Asda salad and discovered a baby weasel.

weasel.jan.16Rifat Asghar, 42, was eating a carrot and sweetcorn meal from the supermarket for lunch when a colleague spotted a “furry lump”.

The advanced nurse practitioner inspected the two inch-long furball and was disgusted to discover a leg and tail – as well as what looked like an eye.

She took the salad back to the shop in Bradford, West Yorkshire, where she claims she was offered a £5 voucher. An investigation later revealed the “foreign object” was a baby weasel and staff offered Ms Asghar £100 in vouchers, which she turned down.

Supermarket bosses claim the furry animal must have been picked up in a field during harvesting and passed through the entire factory without being spotted.

Leafy greens cone of silence; 33 sickened: environmental investigation of an Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak in Oct. 2013 associated with pre-packaged salads

California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Food and Drug Branch (FDB), Emergency Response Unit (ERU) investigated a multi-state foodborne illness outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 (PulseNet Cluster ID 1310CAEXH-1) linked to the consumption of pre-packaged salads purchased in October 2013 at multiple retail locations. The outbreak included a total of 33 ill persons in 4 states; Arizona (1), California (28), Texas (1), and Washington (3). The illness onset dates ranged from October 5, 2013 to November 1, 2013. The case patients had a single matching strain of E. coli O157:H7 (XbaI EXHX01.0589 and BlnI EXHA26.3182).

lettuce.skull.e.coli.O145Initially, two varieties of Trader Joe’s salads were suspected food vehicles in this outbreak. These Trader Joe’s salads were produced by the same manufacturer, Atherstone Foods Inc. in Richmond, CA. As the epidemiological investigation progressed, two additional salads were identified as possibly causing illness.

One of these salads was manufactured by in Oakland, CA, while the other salad was also manufactured by Atherstone Foods Inc., for the Walgreens chain of drug stores. Analysis of the common ingredients among all four salads revealed that romaine lettuce was the only common component. FDB narrowed the traceback to romaine lettuce and determined that a single field of romaine lettuce in Modesto, CA, grown by Ratto Bros. could have been used in the production of all four salads. FDB and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted an environmental investigation at Atherstone Foods, Inc. (DBA: Glass Onion Catering), in Richmond, CA. Seven retain product samples (consisting of the two implicated Trader Joe’s salads) were collected by FDB and tested by the Food and Drug Laboratory Branch (FDLB) in Richmond, CA. These samples were negative for E. coli O157:H7. The inspection at Atherstone Foods, Inc. did not result in any food safety violations or potential areas of cross-contamination. FDB and FDA continued the outbreak investigation at the grower of the suspected romaine. Investigators inspected Ratto Bros. procedures related to growing, handling and transport of the suspect romaine lettuce. Distribution documents, farm conditions, and water systems used by Ratto Bros. were reviewed in detail. Five of 44 environmental samples collected from areas around the implicated ranch were positive for E. coli O157:H7. One of these samples was obtained from a private road while the other four samples were collected on public roads near the implicated field. The positive samples were not a genetic match to the outbreak strain. FDB could not determine the root cause of contamination to the salads implicated in this outbreak. Investigators identified factors during the investigation at the implicated field that could have contributed to contamination of romaine in a farm environment. These potential factors were wind transferring pathogens from contaminated areas to growing fields and farm equipment contaminating crops after using public roads shared with neighboring cattle operations. Ratto Bros. management responded to the Department’s findings by enhancing their current procedures and adopting new procedures in an effort to prevent potential contamination events in the future.

Iowa, Nebraska link cyclospora outbreaks to packaged salads

I don’t know what it is about some folks from Minnesota; they take any opportunity to lecture the rest of the country – and world – about how they should better investigate foodborne illness.

Amy was born in Albert Lea and I get the same attitude, about spongebob_oil_colbert_may3_103111-300x234other things.

Seriously, it’s not like you grew up with Wayne Gretzky.

But, they’re probably right.

Except this time the real culprit may be the leafy greens cone of silence.

The on-going cyclospora outbreak that has sickened almost 400 Americans in 15 states has been linked by Iowa and Nebraska to “a nationally distributed packaged salad mix.”

Can I buy that at retail? Good branding.

“Our investigation implicated prepackaged, prewashed, salad mix as the cause of this outbreak,” said Nebraska’s chief medical officer, Joseph Acierno, in the online update.

Both Iowa and Nebraska officials said in the online updates that the salad mix contained iceberg and romaine lettuce, carrots and red cabbage, though neither state would name the brand or the lettuce_skull__e_coli__O145_1_story1-300x225producer of the bagged salad mix — and they would not say whether it was an imported or domestic product.

But it wasn’t yet clear whether the packaged salad was linked to other infections in other states, officials with the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

food porn for one

I take a fair amount of teasing from my girlfriends here in Australia.

“Amy, what’s Doug making for dinner tonight?”

“Stone crab.”

“Poor Amy.”

And last time Doug took a trip away, one of them invited me over a few times because she was rather convinced I don’t know how to cook. It’s not the first time in my life I’ve convinced other people I cannot cook so that they will feed me delicious food. But alas, I can cook. I just gave it up when I met Doug because I was terrified of killing us by cross-contaminating or undercooking our food. And now I’m out of practice.

On one of our first dates, I invited Doug to my house for dinner and a movie. After I get to a certain level of hungry, I can no longer think. And as we weighed options for ordering take out, I hit that point. I finally blurted out, “Let’s go to the grocery store and just buy some steak and salad.” Doug says that’s what won him over.

steakforoneTonight Sorenne-the-Ravenous only wanted to eat a sandwich, but after too many frozen chicken thingies and wondering why Australians don’t say whether the chicken is pre-cooked or raw, I needed some real food. Broiled porterhouse steak cooked to an internal temperature of 150F and left to rest while the temperature rose slightly, rosemary and sea salt chips, English cucumber and 4 leaf salad with cherry tomatoes, balsamic and olive oil. Yum. But a lonely dinner for one.

300 sick; 2012 UK Cryptosporidium outbreak linked to pre-cut salad

In June 2012, the UK Health Protection Agency first announced 267 people were sick with Cryptosporidium across four areas of the UK, double the normal rate.

Ten months later, HPA says the crypto that sickened about 300 people was most likely linked to eating pre-cut bagged salad products which were likely lettuce.harvestto have been labeled as ‘ready-to-eat.’

The outbreak was short lived and the numbers of cases returned to expected seasonal levels within a month of the first cases being reported. Most of those affected had a mild to moderate form of illness and there were no deaths associated with the outbreak.

During the investigation, the initial link was found between illness and pre-cut spinach. When specific retailers were included in the analysis, the strongest association with infection was found to be with consumption of ready to eat pre-cut mixed salad leaves from a major supermarket chain.

In this analysis, exposure to pre-cut spinach only reached conventional levels of significance for one retailer – a second major supermarket chain. A link to spinach from a number of other retailers was also suggested but these were not statistically significant. Together these findings suggest that one or more types of salad vegetables could have been contaminated.

Dr Stephen Morton, regional director of the HPA’s Yorkshire and the Humber region and head of the multi-agency Outbreak Control Team, said, “Our findings suggest that eating mixed leaf bagged salad was the most likely cause of illness. It is however often difficult to identify the source of lettuce.tomato.skullshort lived outbreaks of this type as by the time that the outbreak can be investigated, the affected food and much of the microbiological evidence may no longer be available.

Dr Alison Gleadle, director of food safety at the FSA, took the opportunity to further confuse consumers, stating, “We’d like to remind everyone of our usual advice to wash all fruits and vegetables, including salad, before you eat them, unless they are labeled ready-to-eat.”

But wasn’t this outbreak linked to ready-to-eat salads? How is that advice of any use? Could have offered some details, like, additional washing of ready-to-eat products is largely ineffective. FSA is refocusing its efforts on farm management to limit such contamination, before it happens.

A spokesthingy for retailer Morrisons said, rather defensively, “Morrisons is not the source of this outbreak. We have received no complaints of illness and no Morrisons products have tested positive for Cryptosporidia.

“The HPA’s claim is based solely on statistics, not testing. The very same statistics also implicated products from other retailers that the HPA recognize as ‘implausible’.”

Why doesn’t Morrison’s say what they do to enhance the safety of products they sell rather than trash epidemiology?

Frog found in bag of Aussie salad

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Sydneysider Ben Mulligan has branded Woolworths’ claim that the salad he bought was “washed and ready to eat” as all “LIES!!!” after he says he found an amphibian friend alive in the bottom of the Kermit-the-Frogbag.

Mr Mulligan took photographs of the frog inside the pre-packaged Aussie salad and posted them on the supermarket chain’s Facebook page on Monday night.

“It appears that you forgot to list FROG on the ingredients of your pre-packaged salads, Woolworths,” Mr Mulligan wrote to Woolworths.

“This is disgusting. I ate some of this salad. I could DIE! This poor frog. Wait until PETA hear about this.

“I feel disgusted… disgusted, and still hungry, Woolworths. I bought the salad for me to eat. Not for a FROG to eat. The frog didn’t pay for this salad.”

Within a day of being posted online, the photographs had been shared more than 650 times on Facebook and had attracted nearly 2000 comments.

When contacted, Mr Mulligan said he was discussing the matter with Woolworths and couldn’t comment immediately.

In a statement, a Woolworths spokesperson said the company was investigating the incident.

‘Why have I a soggy fishcake on my plate?’ Tesco customers’ horror as they find dead bird in salad during meal

It’s happened before it will happen again, but the discovery of a dead bird in a store-bought salad still has a gross factor, regardless of biological realities.

According to the Mail Online, James, 30, and Jasmine Watson, 32, of Yate, Gloucestershire, made the grisly find in a £1.50 bag of the blackcap-bird-songbird-warbler.jpg.492x0_q85_crop-smartsupermarket’s Babyleaf Rocket Salad when they began eating in dimmed light.

The five-inch bird, which Tesco later identified as a Blackcap European warbler, was inside the salad which Mrs Watson had ordered from the supermarket’s website three weeks ago on January 30.

The couple went into their local Tesco Extra store to complain – and a manager visited their home to remove the bird. The supermarket later apologized and offered a £200 gift card as compensation.

Mr Watson said, We had the food delivery a couple of days before and then had gone out for a few drinks on the Friday evening. We came back and were preparing dinner in the kitchen.

“My wife was cooking some scallops and steak and I prepared the salad. I opened the bag, tipped it into a salad bowl and cut up some 6478873W004 TESCO BIRD IN SALAD.jpgother salad bits and put them on top.

“Then I served the salad on some plates. We sat down at the breakfast bar and only had a few low lights on so we were effectively eating by candlelight.

“I took three mouthfuls and then saw it. My first reaction was why have I got a soggy fishcake on my plate? But this was a full-size dead bird.”

A Tesco spokesman said, “We were concerned to learn of this issue and have investigated thoroughly with our supplier. 

“Both we and our suppliers have robust measures in place to prevent incidents such as this, and our salad leaves go through complex filtering and washing systems.

“We have been in contact with our customer to reassure them how seriously we have taken this matter, and offered them a gesture of goodwill.”

But Mr Watson said, “I want to know how it happened. I would really like someone from Tesco to sit down and explain me how an animal so large got into a bag of salad not so large.”