Don’t poop in the pool, or be careful at resorts

A couple were struck down with Salmonella after staying in a Turkish hotel where several other guests fell ill with an unspecified illness.

Majesty Club Tarhan Beach hotel in DidimJames, 36, and Amanda Billaney, 35, were diagnosed after staying at the Majesty Club Tarhan Beach hotel in Didim on the west coast.

They and their children aged nine, seven and three, of Hull, were all ill. They blamed children reportedly having diarrhea in a pool.

Other families told on TripAdvisor of unspecified illness with one writing: “Our holiday was a nightmare, staff were also ill and at least five families.”

Slater & Gordon, lawyers for several holidaymakers, are investigating an alleged “breakdown in hygiene”.

The hotel said there had been “some kind of infection/virus” and it had stepped up cleaning.

Uh-huh.

The food taster: Turkish edition

In a modern twist on a self-preservation tactic used by cautious kings and pharaohs, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey is having his food tested before he eats — not by a human taster, though, but in the lab.

food.taster-195x300Mr. Erdogan’s physician, Dr. Cevdet Erdol, revealed this week that at least one of the thousand rooms in the president’s extravagant $600 million palace in Ankara, the capital, will hold a special food analysis laboratory to test the president’s meals for radioactive materials, poison or certain types of bacteria that could be used in an assassination attempt.

‘Perverting the course of justice’ UK pub Christmas dinner death, chef and manager jailed

Della Callagher, 46, died after eating at the Railway Hotel in Hornchurch, east London in December 2012.

railway.pub.jan.15Chef Mehmet Kaya and Ann-Marie McSweeney were found guilty of perverting the course of justice and jailed at Snaresbrook Crown Court for 12 and 18 months respectively.

They had fabricated food safety records relating to the cooking of turkey meat.

Mitchells and Butlers (M&B), the chain which owned the pub, was fined £1.5m for placing unsafe food on the market.

The court heard that on Christmas Day 2012 the pub served lunch to 128 customers. Thirty-three of them suffered food poisoning.

But the turkeys prepared the day before were not cooled properly after cooking and not adequately reheated before being served to the guests.

Clostridium perfringens bacterium, a common cause of food poisoning, was later found in samples taken from the diners who fell ill.

The jury heard Kaya, 38, from Purfleet, Essex and McSweeney, 40, from Suttons Avenue, Hornchurch, retrospectively filled out due diligence logs before health inspectors could carry out an investigation.

Prosecutor Andrew Campbell-Tiech QC said it was “highly likely that other food-related records were fabricated.”

His Honour Judge Alastair Hammerton said the evidence revealed “systematic failings” in record keeping and that McSweeney was “in charge and in control of the cover-up.”

‘Blood in the chicken cats around food’ Not a country song but Turkish resort where 595 fell ill in 2009

A family holiday to celebrate a honeymoon and a 40th birthday was ruined after a father-of-three was hospitalised with severe gastric illness.

cat.in.foodThe Swannell family, from West Yorkshire, had booked a week’s stay at the First Choice Holiday Village resort in Sarigerme, Turkey, when Mark Swannell, 46, fell seriously ill a few days into the break with diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and lethargy.

Mr Swannell, a bus driver from Dewsbury, said: ‘I was in a really bad way and Nicola had no option but to get the hotel doctor to come to our room as I felt like I was going to collapse. 

‘I was taken by wheelchair to the surgery, laid out on a stretcher and taken by ambulance to hospital – I couldn’t believe this was happening on our special family holiday.”

Back in 2009, an outbreak of gastric illness at the same resort led to £1.7m paid out in compensation, with 595 people affected by illness. 

Mr Swannell said that some of the food he was served at the hotel had been undercooked. On one occasion, he claims that he cut in to some chicken and noticed blood in the middle. Some food was also said not have to have been served at the correct temperature.

The family also claim that food was left uncovered for prolonged periods of time and appeared as though it had been served more than once. 

They said that cutlery, crockery and table linen used in the restaurant was not up to standard, while they saw cats in the public areas of the hotel and in the restaurant.

Mr Swannell had travelled to the Turkish resort on October 23, 2014 with his wife Nicola and their children Lewis, 13, Kyle, 13 and Keira, seven.

In the 2009 outbreak, over 400 holidaymakers within the group action suffered gastric illness with over 100 men, women and children suffering from infections including Salmonella, Cryptosporidium, Campylobacter and E-Coli. 

A spokesperson for TUI, who manage the First Choice and Thomson brands, told MailOnline Travel: ‘We are sorry to hear of the Swannell’s experience at the Holiday Village Turkey in October.

‘First Choice closely audits all resorts to which we operate to ensure that health, hygiene and comfort levels are maintained in line with industry standards.

‘As this case is now subject to legal proceedings it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.’

Do pop-up thermometers work? I don’t trust them

The Brits, known for there aversion of food thermometers – make mine steaming hot – have decide to promote a new Pop Up® disposable cooking thermometer timer device for use with all the turkeys being sold over the counter this year.

chicken.cook.thermometerThe timers are designed  to release a red button exactly when the bird has reached its optimum level of doneness at the thickest part of the meat, thus eliminating the annual ‘turkey guesswork’ and assuring a perfectly cooked and safe product.

I use a tip—sensitive digital thermometer because nothing can be more idiot-proof.

There was some group in Guelph (that’s in Ontario, Canada) that provided such advice 11 years ago,

But university beurotypes are forced to go after the easy dollar and cleaned me out for about $750K.

Whatever, I got to meet and marry Amy.

And then Kansas State University cleaned me out for $200K because, as a full professor, I got fired for bad attendance.

But back to the basics: do pop-up thermometers work?

Friend of the barfblog.com, Don Schaffner, provided a relevant reference:

Temperature histories at critical points and recommended cooking time for whole turkeys baked in a conventional oven

H.C. Chang, J.A. Carpenter, and R.T. Toledo

Time-temperature histories and cooking times were determined for turkeys bake at162.8°Cf rom4.44°Ct to an endpoint of82.2°C in the thigh joint or breast.Tur- keys(128)  infiveweightclassesfrom5.9to10.8kg(0.9kgincrements)were equallydividedintofresh,frozen,stuffed,unstuffed,and cooked shielded orunsheilded groups. The slowest heating point was either the wing joint or stuff- inggeometriccenter.Cooking time for unsheilded turkeys was 155min plus11 min/kg,unstuffed,and200minplus8.8min/kg,stuffed.

amy.thermometerMedian cooking loss was 23%.Shielding of breasts prolonged cooking time.The cooking end point of f82.2°C in the thigh joint provided adequate lethality against Salmonella in the slowest heating points of both stuffed and unstuffedbirds.

 

JOURNAL OF FOOD SCIENCE—Volume 63, No. 2, 1998

British holidaymakers take legal action against Thomas Cook after father contracts Salmonella following stay at four-star Turkish resort

A family of five says its four-star holiday to Turkeyd was ruined by illness and one of them tested positive for Salmonella following their return to England.

TC_FC_2007_TURKEYrCheryll Jordan, 45, and her husband Ian, 46 have hired solicitors to investigate the cause of the illness and seek compensation from tour operator Thomas Cook if the hotel is found to be culpable.

The couple travelled with their three children to Hotel Marmaris Palace resort in Dalaman in June this year, expecting 10 days of sun, sea and relaxation.

But the couple say they are angry and upset after they and their seven-year-old son Lewis fell ill with sickness, diarrhoea and abdominal pains a few days into the trip.

It left them confined to their hotel room and still suffering symptoms four months on.

 Bailey, 13, and the couple’s other son Luckas, 5 were the only family members to escape illness. On returning home to Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, the family saw their GP and Ian was ‘appalled’ to be told he had tested positive for Salmonella.

Thanksgiving in space

According to the food safety nerd historians (and every HACCP class) the world of food safety was revolutionized by a partnership between NASA and Pillsbury.

Jennifer Ross-Nazzal writes about the history in Societal Impact of Space Flight.

Concerned about safety, NASA engineers specified that the food could not crumble, thereby floating into instrument panels or contaminating the capsule’s atmosphere. to meet the outlined specifications, food technologists at Pillsbury developed a compressed food bar with an edible coating to prevent the food from breaking apart. in addition to processing food that would not damage the capsule’s electronics, the food also had to be safe for the astronauts to consume.

Thanksgivinginspac_3120060bAlmost immediately food scientists and microbiologists determined that the assurance of food safety was a problem. [Pillsbury microbiologist Howard] Bauman recalled that it was nearly impossible for companies to guarantee that the food manufactured for the astronauts was uncontaminated.

“We quickly found by using standard methods of quality control there was absolutely no way we could be assured there wouldn’t be a problem,” he said. To determine food safety for the flight crews, manufacturers had to test a large percentage of their finished products, which involved a great deal of expense and left little for the flights.

So HACCP was created.

Today, according to The Telegraph, American astronauts on the International Space Station are enjoying a risk-reduced and HACCP-inspired Thanksgiving meal including irradiated smoked turkey.

NASA Astronauts Terry Virts and Barry Wilmore cobbled together a festive feast by combining foods that are stocked on the station. 

The meal also includes candied yams, freeze-dried dressing, cranapple desert, mashed potatoes, green beans and mushrooms. 

Crew members get ‘bonus containers’ in which they are allowed to carry special items for specific holidays, like Thanksgiving or Christmas.

“The turkey they have available for Thanksgiving has been made shelf-stable by irradiation,” said Vickie Kloeris, ISS Food System Manager 

“So this product is ready to eat and they just warm it up and eat out of a packet with a fork.

Mine is still roasting.

From the uh, no, that’s not evidence-based file: ‘You never want to cook a turkey frozen.’

Thanksgiving food safety coverage is saturating the Interwebs and some of it is good (evidence-based) some isn’t.

Here’s a gem from WVIB in Buffalo:Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 5.24.58 PM

“You never want to cook a turkey frozen,” said [James] Malley. Malley, who’s been a culinary instructor with the Buffalo Public Schools for 17 years, says it’ll be stuck in the danger zone – meaning it won’t be cooked all the way through to the proper temperature. “It will never cook thoroughly. It will never reach that point,” he said.

Uh no.

And Pete Snyder, the patron saint of turkey roasting (among other things) has an excellent, science-based HACCP SOP for cooking turkey from a frozen state. From Pete’s document:

Actually, cooking a turkey from the frozen state has benefits over cooking a thawed turkey. Cooking can be done in a roasting pan, but it is unnecessary. If one thaws a turkey in a home refrigerator, there is a significant risk of raw juice with pathogens at high levels getting on refrigerator surfaces, other foods in the refrigerator, countertops, and sink, thus creating a hazard and a need for extensive cleaning and sanitizing.

Talking turkey with Butterball’s hotline

This is the first American Thanksgiving I’ll be away from Amy, but it’s not such a big deal because it’s too damn hot in Brisbane at this time of year.

turkey.headWe used to run the food safety hotline in Canada, and had all the inquiries you could imagine.

So do the staff at Butterball’s Turkey Talk-Line.

What started in 1981 as a group of six home economists answering calls has grown into a staff of more than 50 food and nutrition experts answering questions via phone, email, online chats and social media.

The hotline is open from early November to the day before Christmas and receives more than 100,000 questions per year. But, not surprisingly, the volume of questions peaks on Thanksgiving day, when the group answers more than 12,000 calls, Sue Smith, co-director of Butterball’s Turkey Talk-line, told USA TODAY Network.

Some of the questions:

• A mother returned home from work to find her husband thawing a frozen turkey in the bathtub while simultaneously washing up the kids. “The kids were like, ‘The water’s cold!’ because, you know, it’s a frozen turkey,” Smith said.

• A woman called the Talk-Line whispering her questions. When asked to speak up, the newlywed explained she was hiding in the closet from her mother-in-law, whom she was trying to impress.

• A young man hosting his first Thanksgiving called the Talk-Line while in a grocery store. A turkey expert stayed on the phone as he walked the aisle, advising him of all the items he’d need to buy.

• A landlord called panicked because his oven was too small to cook a turkey. He eventually was able to “rent” one from a tenant for $25. He thought he’d have to interrupt them every 10 minutes to baste it, but called the Talk-Line to learn that Butterball turkeys come pre-basted.

butterball• A woman lost power one hour into cooking her turkey and called the Talk-Line. The hotline talked her through transferring her turkey to her gas grill to continue cooking. What accounted for the outage? The caller’s neighbor had crashed into a power line while hang gliding.

But not all calls are quite that dramatic.

“How do I thaw my turkey?” is the most commonly asked question, according to Smith. One way is to put it in your refrigerator several days before Thanksgiving. It take one day for every 4 pounds, Smith said. But if it’s too late for that approach, the fastest way is to thaw it in water.