Don’t eat poop: Texas cop edition

A policeman in Texas has been sacked for allegedly giving a sandwich filled with feces to a homeless man.

matthew-luckhurst-san-antino-pd_650x400_81478532857Matthew Luckhurst, a San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) officer who had been on the force for five years, reportedly placed fecal matter between two pieces of bread and gave it to a homeless person.

“This was a vile and disgusting act that violates our guiding principles of ‘treating all with integrity’, compassion, fairness and respect,” SAPD Chief William McManus said in a statement.

“The fact that his fellow officers were so disgusted with his actions that they reported him to Internal Affairs demonstrates that this type of behavior will never be tolerated. The action of this one former officer in no way reflects the actions of all the other good men and women who respectfully serve this community,” he was quoted as saying by San Antonio Express-News.

The alleged incident occurred in May, when Officer Luckhurst bragged to a fellow officer that “he had picked up some feces, placed it in a slice of bread, and put it in a Styrofoam container next to the unknown homeless male”, a statement from the police chief’s office said.

“The officer reported that he told Luckhurst to go back and throw it away. The officer said he saw Luckhurst go back and he assumed that Luckhurst discarded the container,” it said.

The incident was reported to Internal Affairs in July. Police Department officials have been unable to locate the homeless man.

“Firing this officer was the right thing to do,” Mayor Ivy Taylor was quoted as saying.

Ben Sifuentes, Luckhurst’s attorney, said his client joked about giving an excrement sandwich to a homeless person but never actually did so.

Seek and ye shall find: Beef products recalled due to possible E. coli O103 contamination

Caviness Beef Packers, a Hereford, Texas establishment, is recalling approximately 2,100 pounds of boneless beef trim products that may be contaminated with E. coli O103, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.  

caviness-beef-packerssThe 2,100-lb. Combo Bin of “boneless beef trim 84L” products were produced on September 14, 2016 and further processed into ground beef products by another establishment. The recalling establishment has control of all but 320 pounds of ground beef products.

10 lb. chub – 73% Regular Ground Beef products with a “Use By” or “Freeze By” date of October 10, 2016 and bear UPC number 52846-48935. 

2-3 lb. tray pack of – 73% Regular Ground Beef products with a “Sell By” date of September 28, 2016 and bear UPC number 2-01656-00000.

1.5 lb. tray pack of – 73% Regular Ground Beef products with a “Sell By” date of September 28, 2016 and bear UPC number 2-01654-00000.

The products subject to this recall were further processed by a firm other than Caviness Beef Packers, “EST. 675” and may not bear the establishment number “EST. 675”, on products available for direct consumer purchase. These products were shipped to retail locations in Texas.

The problem was discovered when FSIS was notified of a USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) sample that tested positive for E. coli O103. Because the company works with the AMS Commodity Program, AMS did routine microbiological testing. This shipment of beef was never intended for the National School Lunch Program (NLSP) and no sales were made to the NLSP. There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products.

Many clinical laboratories do not test for non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), such as STEC O103 because it is harder to identify than STEC O157. People can become ill from STECs 2–8 days (average of 3–4 days) after consuming the organism. Most people infected with STEC O103 develop diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. Some illnesses last longer and can be more severe. Infection is usually diagnosed by testing of a stool sample. Vigorous rehydration and other supportive care is the usual treatment; antibiotic treatment is generally not recommended.

Unpasteurized cheese making record number sick in Texas

Claire Z. Cardona of The Dallas Morning News reports a record number of people in Dallas County have been sickened from an infection caused by consuming unpasteurized cheese, health officials said. 

brucellosisThere have been 13 brucellosis infections in residents so far this year, affecting patients between 6 and 80 years old, according to a health advisory released Thursday

All of the patients reported eating the cheese brought into the U.S. from Mexico by friends or relatives, consuming the cheese while traveling in Mexico or eating unidentified cheese products from local street vendors, officials said. 

The county typically sees two to six cases a year, though 11 were recorded in 2004. 

Health officials confirmed all the Dallas County cases by blood culture. In two instances, hospital lab personnel were exposed while handling the samples. 

The Brucella bacteria can infect livestock and is most commonly transmitted to humans who consume the unpasteurized dairy products. Some areas, such as Mexico and Central and South America, are considered high-risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Go public with data: More Listeria in more frozen veggies

Country Fresh, LLC. of Conroe, Texas, is recalling 30,000 cases of various fresh-cut vegetable products because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

country.fresh.listeriaThe product in question was shipped to retailers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia under the Country Fresh and store brand labels described in the product listing.

The product bears “BEST IF USED BY” dates between August 7, 2016 (8/7/16) through August 19, 2016 (8/19/16).  The product is in either a clear plastic container as labeled below or in Styrofoam trays overwrapped with clear plastic film as labeled below.  No products except those on this list are subject to this recall.

To date, no illnesses have been confirmed by public health authorities.

“We are treating this incident very seriously because we want to ensure that our customers are provided with only the safest, most wholesome, and high-quality products available,” said Max Payen, Country Fresh’s Director of Food Safety.  The potential for contamination was uncovered as the result of a single routine sample taken at a retail store by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, which revealed the finished product tested positive for the bacteria.  

If the company believes its soundbites, will it reveal its own testing results?

Illegal tamales in Texas

Scott Shackford of Reason.com writes that homemade tamales sold on street corners or directly from people’s houses are about as common as lemonade stands in communities across the Southwest United States and probably elsewhere.

tamalesIt’s an avenue for people without a lot of resources to make some scratch on the side. And they’re very popular around the holidays in the Latino community. Of course, this is all totally illegal. They don’t have business permits. They don’t have professional kitchens. There’s all sorts of rules and regulations to follow, but attempting to do so would be so costly that it would likely turn it into a money-losing venture.

So because of government fears about food safety, there’s a black market for tamales. In Carrollton, Texas, a suburb north of Dallas, Dennise Cruz found out the hard way not to do anything that could draw attention from government meddlers. Cruz decided to sell tamales from her home, advertised as such on a community social-media site called Nextdoor, and then the city cracked down hard on her, sending her a $700 fine for selling food without a permit. They didn’t send her a warning or come and shut her down. They when straight to threatening her with arrest unless she forked over a ton of money. The local CBS affiliate in Dallas covered the horrific crime:

A director said a fine was issued and not a warning because tamales are considered “potentially hazardous food” due to the cooked corn and meat being used.

“What if somebody got sick from them? What if somebody could have died from them? And I completely understand those concerns,” said Cruz.

14 sick with Cyclospora in (North) Texas

Frank Heinz of NBC DFW 5 cited health officials as saying more than a dozen cases of cyclosporiasis have been confirmed in North Texas’ four major counties and that the source is likely contaminated food.

pesto.basil.cyclosporaThe Texas Department of State Health Services said Wednesday the parasite was found in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton counties and that the origin may be linked to a fresh produce item.
County officials told NBC 5 there have been four cases recorded in Dallas County, three in Collin County, four in Denton County and seven in Tarrant County. The Denton County cases and at least four of the Tarrant County cases had recently traveled out of the country — calling into question the point of origin.

Across the state, there are currently 66 confirmed cases of cyclosporiasis — though the sources of infection haven’t been confirmed. For most people, the symptoms are serious. “But for those who are very young and those who are older, or those who have a suppressed immune system, this illness can cause major problems,” said Dr. Khang Tran, chief medical officer at The Medical Center of Plano. 

In recent years, 2012-2015, cyclospora outbreaks were associated with fresh cilantro imported from Puebla, Mexico. Since the summer of 2015, the Food and Drug Administration has instituted ban on imports from that region between from April through August.
In 2015, the DSHS said there were 316 cases of cyclosporiasis in Texas.

Cyclosporiasis Case Counts and Incidence Rates in Texas, 2001-2014

Year | Case Count | Incidence Rates

2014* | 200 | 0.7
2013* | 351 | 1.3
2012* | 44 | 0.2
2011* | 14 | 0.1
2010 | 9 | 0.0
2009 | 10 | 0.0
2008 | 6 | 0.0
2007 | 2 | 0.0
2006 | 1 | 0.0
2005 | 1 | 0.0
2004 | 4 | 0.0
2003 | 1 | 0.0
2002 | 1 | 0.0
2001 | 0 | 0.0

IR=incidence rate per 100,000 *incidence rates are bases on projected census data obtained from the DSHS Center for Health Statistics. 

Salmonella-positive serrano peppers recalled

Warren Produce, Edinburg, Texas, has voluntarily recalled 200 cartons of serrano peppers after a sample tested positive for salmonella.

serrano.pepperThe cartons were from 18 orders, but Warren Produce managing member Jimmy Henderson said none of the product is expected to make it to retail.

Henderson said the company was notified of the issue at 4:30 p.m. July 22 after the Food and Drug Administration sampled a single lot. Warren Produce recalled that lot along with two others from the same grower, although those lots did not test positive for salmonella. The recalled lots are #115181, #115158 and #115186.

By the morning of July 25, Henderson had received confirmation from 15 of the 18 destinations for the peppers that the product was pulled from the supply chain.

Henderson described the recall as “very effective.”

24 probable, 3 confirmed with Salmonella linked to Texas restaurant

The Odessa American reports Ector County Health Department Director Gino Solla said Friday afternoon the total number of people who have lab-confirmed cases of salmonella has increased by one, bringing the total number to three.

ajuua'sSolla also said the restaurant where the people got the illness, Ajuua’s Mexican Restaurant, will open Saturday after several of the employees tested negative for salmonella.

Nine of the business’ employees tested negative for salmonella, Solla said, and a new hire was made, allowing them to operate with a skeleton crew.

The restaurant, at the request of the health department, closed their doors Monday after complaints were made by residents who said they got sick after eating at the restaurant on June 1. Solla said there are also 24 probable cases.

The investigation started around 4:15 p.m. June 3 after officials with the health department got a call saying 10 people had gotten sick after eating at Ajuua’s, Solla said. After getting reports one person in that group did have salmonella, they visited the restaurant and asked them to voluntarily close down.

An inspection was also done for the restaurant, with the store getting a rating of 87 out of 100. The store was reported as being out of compliance on several issues, such as not keeping food separated and protected during preparation, food was not dated in the walk-in cooler, no hand sanitizer for the hand sink and there were no paper towels in the men’s restroom.

Salmonella positive triggers habanero pepper recall

Montero Farms of McAllen, Texas is recalling Orange Habanero Peppers, because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

salm.pepper.recallOrange Habanero Peppers were shipped to Indianapolis, Indiana and to McAllen, Texas from April 28 2016 to present.

The product comes in 8 pound cardboard boxes marked with lot #41142-41143 on the top. In total 154 boxes are being recalled.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

The potential for contamination was noted after routine testing by the FDA.

Production of the product has been suspended while FDA and the company continue their investigation as to the source of the problem.

Fresh From Texas recalls apple product because of Listeria

Fresh from Texas of San Antonio, Texas is voluntarily recalling multiple products containing sliced red apples which are identified below because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes,

No illnesses have been reported to date.

The product was sold by H-E-B stores in Texas.

The recall was the result of internal company testing which indicated the presence of Listeria Monocytogenes in two random samples of the same product. The company has ceased the production and distribution of the product as FDA and the company continue their investigation as to what caused the problem.