Raw sprouts and sausage: There’s some hot STECs out there

In 2011, one of the world’s largest outbreaks of hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) occurred, caused by a rare Escherichia coli serotype, O104:H4, that shared the virulence profiles of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC)/enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) and enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC).

sprout-santa_-barf_-xmas__0-featuredThe persistence and fitness factors of the highly virulent EHEC/EAEC O104:H4 strain, grown either in food or in vitro, were compared with those of E. coli O157 outbreak-associated strains.

The log reduction rates of the different EHEC strains during the maturation of fermented sausages were not significantly different. Both the O157:NM and O104:H4 serotypes could be shown by qualitative enrichment to be present after 60 days of sausage storage. Moreover, the EHEC/EAEC O104:H4 strain appeared to be more viable than E. coli O157:H7 under conditions of decreased pH and in the presence of sodium nitrite. Analysis of specific EHEC strains in experiments with an EHEC inoculation cocktail showed a dominance of EHEC/EAEC O104:H4, which could be isolated from fermented sausages for 60 days. Inhibitory activities of EHEC/EAEC O104:H4 toward several E. coli strains, including serotype O157 strains, could be determined. Our study suggests that EHEC/EAEC O104:H4 is well adapted to the multiple adverse conditions occurring in fermented raw sausages. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that STEC strain cocktails composed of several serotypes, instead of E. coli O157:H7 alone, be used in food risk assessments.

The enhanced persistence of EHEC/EAEC O104:H4 as a result of its robustness, as well as the production of bacteriocins, may account for its extraordinary virulence potential.

sproutssprouts-batzIMPORTANCE In 2011, a severe outbreak caused by an EHEC/EAEC serovar O104:H4 strain led to many HUS sequelae. In this study, the persistence of the O104:H4 strain was compared with those of other outbreak-relevant STEC strains under conditions of fermented raw sausage production. Both O157:NM and O104:H4 strains could survive longer during the production of fermented sausages than E. coli O157:H7 strains. E. coli O104:H4 was also shown to be well adapted to the multiple adverse conditions encountered in fermented sausages, and the secretion of a bacteriocin may explain the competitive advantage of this strain in an EHEC strain cocktail.

Consequently, this study strongly suggests that enhanced survival and persistence, and the presumptive production of a bacteriocin, may explain the increased virulence of the O104:H4 outbreak strain. Furthermore, this strain appears to be capable of surviving in a meat product, suggesting that meat should not be excluded as a source of potential E. coli O104:H4 infection.

Fitness of Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC)/Enteroaggregative E. coli O104:H4 in comparison to that of EHEC O157: Survival studies in food and in vitro

Applied and Environmental Microbiology; November 2016 vol. 82 no. 21 6326-6334

Christina Böhnlein, Jan Kabisch, Diana Meske, Charles M. A. P. Franz and Rohtraud Pichner

http://aem.asm.org/content/82/21/6326.abstract?etoc

Why a Kiwi café in Georgia? Sausage-wielding protesters attack patrons at vegan café

This is about Georgia the country, not Georgia, the U.S. state.

Georgia, a proud nation in the Caucasus that went to war with Russia in 2008, is no stranger to conflict. But a weekend assault by sausage-wielding attackers at a vegan cafe in central Tbilisi is fanning concerns that a simmering culture war could be intensifying.

kiwi.cafe.georgiaThe attack began Sunday evening at the bohemian Kiwi Cafe a popular spot for foreigners and Georgians alike – when, witnesses say, more than a dozen men carrying slabs of meat on skewers suddenly showed up and began pelting patrons with grilled meat, sausages and fish.

Witnesses writing on social media said that customers at the cafe, who were watching an animated science fiction sitcom called Rick and Morty, felt intimidated by the men, who refused to leave. The cafe referred to the attackers, some of whom wore sausages around their necks, as anti-vegan “extremists.”

“A group of people who prepared an anti-vegan provocative action, entered and started to be violent,” said a post on the cafe’s Facebook page. “They pulled out some grilled meat, sausages, fish and started eating them and throwing them at us, and finally they started to smoke.” It added, “They were just trying to provoke our friends and disrespect us.”

The cafe said that it called police, but that the assailants fled and no one was arrested.

Who is behind the attacks remains unclear, and analysts cautioned it was too early to say whether the incident was a violent prank, a revolt against veganism or part of a nationalist attack against the freewheeling Western liberal values epitomised by the cafe.

But the cafe said in a statement that the same group of men had come to the neighbourhood last month at night and asked a “friend in the next shop” if members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender community hung out at the cafe.

That has led some analysts to suggest that the attack should be seen against the backdrop of a continuing cultural battle as the country, a former Soviet republic long pulled between East and West, seeks to draw closer to the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, even as some conservative forces push back at perceived encroaching liberalism.

‘Where’s the rest of the rat’ NZ woman finds foot in toddler’s sausage

Aussies and Kiwis love their sausages and the ubiquitous sausage sizzle.

I’ve consciously stopped buying sausage because that’s what’s available at any school or sporting function.

rat.sausage.nz.mar.16Candace Mosen, Whanganui in New Zealand, said her son Lucas put a piece of saveloy in his mouth before spitting it back out while he was having lunch on Tuesday.

“I swore,” Ms. Mosen told the Wanganui Chronicle.

“It obviously went through a food processor, because it’s processed meat. It makes me sick to think about that.”

The rest of the family had already eaten from the same packet of Top Hat saveloys the previous night and were sickened by the sight of the tiny foot.

Ms. Mosen said the packet of saveloys was bought at a local supermarket earlier this month and had been in the freezer.

“Obviously, if there’s a foot, where’s the rest of the rat? I don’t want to see other babies getting sick,” she said.

Lucas was taken to hospital for a check-up but doctors said any ill-effects could take up to two days to present.

The supermarket has responded to Ms. Mosen’s complaint, saying its head office had been notified, as well as Tegel, who is the supplier. The Ministry of Health was also notified and collected the foot for testing on Wednesday.

“We followed all correct procedures and informed the supplier as well. They’re all aware of the situation,” a spokesperson told the publication.

 doug.sausage.mar.12The supermarket said the foot could not have come from their premises as it was found inside the packaging, but it had offered the customer a full refund.

Ms. Mosen said she was not offered a refund. She contacted Tegel, the supplier of the sausages, who told her the foot likely came from a chicken.

“They were telling me it was a chicken foot,” she said.

“I told them I would be hanging on to it, because I wanted to get it tested.”

Ms. Mosen told TVNZ she was not interested in compensation but wanted the company to take the complaint seriously.

“I would like to know where the rest of the rat is,” she said.

Botulism: Smoked sausages linked to four cases in Portugal

Outbreak News Today reports that Portugal health officials are reporting a botulism outbreak that has sickened up to six people, including one foreign national, according to the General Directorate for Health (DGS) last week (computer translated).

Origem Transmontana brand smoked sausagesThe DGS says there are four confirmed cases (one a Swiss resident) and two probable identified, linked to the consumption of Origem Transmontana brand smoked sausages and cheese.

Health officials report no deaths in the current outbreak.

Food safety loses; Australian sausage sizzle laws wound back for community and non-profit groups raising funds

A sausage sizzle is a sausage with all the crap cooked out of it, served on a piece of white bread, sometimes with onions.

sausageNo idea why they can’t use a tip-sensitive digital thermometer, or whole grain rolls, but it’s a different country.

Changes to ACT law will see fund-raising activities by community and non-profit groups exempted from onerous food safety regulations and a new category created for large events with a higher health risks for consumers.

Laws introduced in September 2013 sparked a community backlash, including over requirements that organisations holding more than five food sales each year appoint a trained food safety officer to prevent hygiene problems and food poisoning.

Organisers of sausage sizzles and other food sales in Canberra said expensive training and compliance threatened their viability.

Microorganisms don’t care a lot about politics.

Parents should care a lot about microorganisms.

Does Hepatitis E come from food?

A UK report concludes that 10 per cent of sausages sampled were found to contain Hepatitis E and there is “increasing evidence’ that hepatitis E is a foodborne infection.

The infection was once considered very rare but cases have risen by sausage.grillnearly 40 per cent in a year and there were 657 in 2012.

The virus usually causes only relatively mild symptoms such as sickness, a temperature and muscle pain, which clear up by themselves within a month.

But it can be fatal for the elderly, cancer victims, pregnant women and others with existing liver problems.

Around one in 50 of those infected will die, rising to one in five pregnant women.

Experts say sausages have to be cooked at 70C (158F) for at least 20 minutes to kill the virus but they say that most Britons do not leave them in the oven for this long.

Tests have showed that it can survive at 60C (140F) after an hour.

Sausages seized as police make arrests in Parry Sound wild game dispute

Parry Sound is more than the home of hockey legend Bobby Orr; it’s a place to not steal sausage.

Canadian Press reports fresh charges have been laid after police say a northern Ontario man was hit in the face and had his package of wild 1966-67-Topps-Bobby-Orr-Rookie-Cardgame sausages stolen.

Provincial police in Parry Sound say the man picked up the sausages Dec. 30 at a wild game dinner at the local community centre before making his way over to a Don Cherry’s Sports Grill for a drink.

They say that while later walking home the man was followed and attacked by another man who had also been at the restaurant, with the packaged meat allegedly stolen during the altercation.

Police say their investigation of the sausage incident led them to the home of a third man, who they say was seen wearing bloodstained clothes while cooking a sausage.

They say both men were arrested and the package of sausages was seized at the scene.

8 sickened; 5 families sue butcher for Salmonella in sausages in Italy

Five households have banded together to pursue legal action against an Italian butcher alleged to have provided Salmonella-infested sausage.

The butcher is accused of manslaughter and trade of food substances harmful and leading to unintentional injuries.

The butcher’s shop is open after the premises were cleaned and restored.

Is that a sausage in your hand or are you just happy to see me? Man robs man using stolen sausage

A Massachusetts man allegedly attacked and robbed a man using sausage links as a weapon.

Michael A Baker, 22, not only stole jewellery and a bicycle from the victim, police said, but the sausage was stolen from a stand in Brockton, south of Boston.

A man told police he was riding his bicycle in Brockton at around 8am local time on Sunday when Baker approached him and "started swinging sausage links at him," Brockton Police Lt David Dickinson said.

The victim, understandably, "had no idea why," according to Dickinson.
Baker then allegedly tossed the sausage, along with bread and cheese, and switched to a more formidable weapon: a wrench.

The victim said Baker took a silver chain, a ring and his bicycle, according to The Enterprise News.

Officers later apprehended Baker on the bicycle with the wrench in his pocket and bloodstains on his clothes.

337 sick from salmonella in sausage, France, 2011

Those supermarket loyalty cards helped pin down an outbreak of salmonella in sausage in France last year.

Researchers reported in Eurosurveillance last week that an outbreak of the monophasic variant of Salmonella enterica serotype 4,[5],12:i:- occurred in November and December 2011 in France. Epidemiological investigation and food investigation with the help of supermarket loyalty cards suggested dried pork sausage from one producer as the most likely source of the outbreak. Despite the absence of positive food samples, control measures including withdrawal and recall were implemented.

Between 31 October and 18 December (week 44 to week 50), a total of 337 cases of Salmonella enterica serotype 4,[5],12:i:- were identified. The median age was 10 years (range: 0–90 years) with about 30% of children under five. A majority of women were affected (female to male sex ratio: 1.22). Cases were reported throughout France.

An epidemic of Salmonella enterica 4,[5],12:i:- was already observed about three months prior to this outbreak. Between 1 August and 9 October, 682 cases were reported (Figure 1), of whom 100 cases were interviewed at the time but no common vehicle of infection could be identified. In comparison, 212 cases with this serotype had been isolated during the same period in 2010.

Epidemiological investigations pointed to a dried pork sausage purchased principally at supermarket chain A and consumed after week 44, 2011. Therefore purchases of pork delicatessen at supermarkets A and B up to four weeks prior to symptom onset were investigated by the DGAL using data recorded through supermarket loyalty cards.

The use of the loyalty card from supermarket chain A was important to identify the vehicle of infection and the local producer involved in this outbreak. These cards are used more and more and prove helpful in the investigation of food-related outbreaks. Nevertheless we should keep in mind that they do not necessarily reflect the consumption of cases perfectly. For instance, the card may not be used systematically, the household can purchase foods in additional shops and markets for which they have no loyalty cards, many food products are consumed outside the household and not recorded on the card, and the central database of the supermarket does not always contain data on all foods sold such as foods directly purchased by the retailers. For these reasons the data have to be interpreted together with the results from epidemiological and microbiological investigations.

That the producer and microbiological analysis did not find Salmonella does not exclude contamination. The limited number of samples and the processing of the food (especially salting and drying) reduce the likelihood of isolating the bacteria. Implementing checks earlier in the process (before salting and drying) and using additional methods of testing such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) should be considered.

This is the second described outbreak in France involving dried pork sausage, and indicates that this food item might be a likely vehicle of infection and further outbreaks in humans may be expected.

Given the limitations to detect Salmonella in dried sausages, the ability of the standard reference method to detect of monophasic variant strains in dried sausages is questionable. Additional methods should be explored in order to improve monitoring protocols.

The complete report is available at http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=20071.