Salmonella risk sparks massive recall of UK supermarket dips

Fears over salmonella in guacamole and other dips have sparked a massive product recall affecting Tesco, Waitrose, Co-op and Sainsbury’s.

guacamoleNottinghamshire shoppers are being told to take the affected products back to the stores where they were bought – and they will be given a refund.

The Food Standards Agency said Bakkavor was recalling a number of its chilled guacamole products due to the possible presence of the bacteria.

A spokesman for the agency said: “The use-by dates for the products are up to and including July 2, 2016, and have been recalled as a precautionary measure because the products might contain salmonella. Symptoms caused by salmonella usually include fever, diarrhoea and abdominal cramps.

“The affected products have been supplied to the following UK retailers: Co-op; Tesco; Sainsbury’s; and Waitrose.

“Bakkavor is recalling the products from the retailers listed above. Product recall notices have been displayed in the retail stores that sell the products, explaining to customers the reason for recall and the actions they can take if they have bought the affected product.

UK grandmother dies after carvery meal: Investigation underway

A woman who ate a carvery dinner before she jetted off on holiday has died of suspected food poisoning two weeks after a pub visit.

julie.hemmingsGrandmother-of-four Julie Hemmings, 53, tucked in to a carvery meal in a London pub with her husband Mark, 55, brother-in-law Nick Kyriacou, and his wife Trish before the couple flew to Turkey.

But when the pair arrived at the resort the next day, Mrs Hemmings started spewing up ‘red’ vomit and died two weeks later after her condition worsened.

Doctors told her devastated husband that the poison was ‘seeping through her body’ after her bowel had perforated.

An investigation is now under way into the food poisoning claim after the couple and Mr Kyriacou all fell ill with sickness and diarrhea following their meal out.

A Merton Council spokesperson said: ‘Merton Council’s Environmental Health team are carrying out an investigation.

UK goes with Food Crime Confidential

The UK Food Standards Agency’s National Food Crime Unit has launched Food Crime Confidential. This is a reporting facility where anyone with suspicions about food crime can report them safely and in confidence, over the phone or through email. The facility is particularly targeted at those working in or around the UK food industry.

food.crime.confidentialThe FSA’s National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) works with partners to protect people from serious criminal activity that impacts the safety or authenticity of food and drink they consume.

Food crime involves dishonesty at any stage in the production or supply of food. It is often complex and likely to be seriously detrimental to consumers, businesses or the general public interest.

NFCU would like to receive any information relating to suspected dishonesty involving food, drink or animal feed. In addition to identifying and being able to tackle specific instances of food crime, such information will help us learn more about the circumstances that make offending possible.

The National Food Crime Unit would like to hear from anyone if they have suspicions including:

that food or drink contains things which it shouldn’t

that methods used in your workplace for producing, processing, storing, labelling or transporting food do not seem quite right

that an item of food or drink says it is of a certain quality or from a specific place or region, but it doesn’t appear to be.

Call 0207 276 8787 or email

Head of Food Crime at the FSA, Andy Morling said: ‘The National Food Crime Unit is committed to putting consumers first in everything we do. That is why we are launching Food Crime Confidential today to ensure that those with information about food crime can report it in confidence. The facility is open to anyone who has information about food which is being dishonestly produced, manufactured or sold.

‘We particularly want to hear from those who work in or around the UK food industry. We recognise that picking up the phone to pass on suspicions about an employer or an associate can be a big deal. That’s why we’ll ensure the information provided will be handled sensitively and professionally.’


E. coli O157 outbreak linked to salad, Bristol, UK

Public Health England has issued an alert about the increase in the number of cases of E.coli O157 infection involving people eating salad then being taken ill.

lettuce.skull.e.coli.O145No individual salad item or supplier has yet been identified, and PHE is working with environmental health officers in Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset and B&NES to try to trace the source of the outbreak.

Mike Wade, director of Health Protection for PHE South West said, “We also urge people to remove any loose soil before storing vegetables and thoroughly wash all vegetables, fruit and salad items that will be eaten raw.”

Not quite.

But it’s a good blaming consumers strategy.

No children have been affected to date.

UK restaurant owner fined £10k for food hygiene breaches

The owner of an Italian restaurant has been hit with fines totalling £10,000 after pleading guilty to seven food hygiene breaches.

mediciMehdi Karimian, who runs Medici’s restaurant in North Ferriby, appeared at Beverley Magistrates’ Court yesterday to answer the charges, which related to a routine visit by food safety inspectors last year. The court heard how on July 29 inspectors found an accumulation of “dirt and grease” across the walls, ceiling and floors of the restaurant kitchen.

Structural issues left food at risk of contamination and the inside of a freezer lid was found to have a build-up of mould. The kitchen ceiling was discoloured from an accumulation of grease and a chopping board used to prepare food was found to be “worn and dirty”.

Mr Karimian was not present at the restaurant on the day, but met with inspectors when they visited again the next day. The levels of dirt and grease were deemed to be so deeply ingrained that the owner was advised to close the restaurant temporarily while the premises was professionally cleaned as it was thought to be beyond the capabilities of his staff.

He blamed the shortcomings on his workers and chef, who he had handed over the day-to-day running of Medici’s to as he recovered from a serious operation on his ankle.

Old Vienna restaurateur in UK fined nearly £60k over food safety failings

A restaurateur must pay nearly £60,000 in fines after admitting a string of food safety failings.

Routine inspections at Old Vienna in Eastwood Road, Leigh, revealed congealed dirt, broken glass, and cooked food left unrefrigerated.

_89928613_oldvienna-5The proprietor, Walter Haiser, 76, admitted food safety breaches at Southend Magistrates’ Court.

Southend Borough Council said Mr Haiser had been “failing to comply” for some time.

The council said the business sold unfit food, failed to comply with improvement notices issued by environmental health officers and failed to provide essential information, despite repeated requests.

The Southend Echo also reported the restaurant’s food safety rating sank to zero.

UK kebab meat thrown out after five hours in warm van

Two tonnes of kebab meat has been destroyed after being driven from Newcastle to Inverness without being put in a fridge.

kebab-meat-seized-by-highland-council-in-june-2016-uploaded-from-council-press-releaseHighland Council’s environmental health team seized the van full of meat and dairy products after a tip-off from Police Scotland.

The 280-mile trip from Newcastle to Inverness would have taken more than five hours.

The distributor reportedly planned to sell the meat in the Highlands, Aberdeenshire and Moray.

The council said it highlighted the “lengths that some food businesses are willing to go to for the purposes of making money” without regard for food safety.

Blame celebrity chefs and lack of thermometer use: Campy increases in undercooked chicken livers

In the United Kingdom, outbreaks of Campylobacter infection are increasingly attributed to undercooked chicken livers, yet many recipes, including those of top chefs, advocate short cooking times and serving livers pink.

chicken-liver-pate-2During 2015, we studied preferences of chefs and the public in the United Kingdom and investigated the link between liver rareness and survival of Campylobacter. We used photographs to assess chefs’ ability to identify chicken livers meeting safe cooking guidelines.

To investigate the microbiological safety of livers chefs they preferred to serve, we modeled Campylobacter survival in infected chicken livers cooked to various temperatures. Most chefs correctly identified safely cooked livers but overestimated the public’s preference for rareness and thus preferred to serve them more rare.

We estimated that 19%–52% of livers served commercially in the United Kingdom fail to reach 70°C and that predicted Campylobacter survival rates are 48%–98%. These findings indicate that cooking trends are linked to increasing Campylobacter infections.

Restaurant cooking trends and increased risk for Camplyobacter infection

Emerging Infectious Disease Journal, Volume 22, Number 7, July 2016, DOI: 10.3201/eid2207.151775

A.K. Jones, D. Rigby, M. Burton, C. Millman, N.J. Williams, T.R. Jones, P. Wigley, S.J. O’Brien, P. Cross

Check the water: E. coli O157 in UK cattle

A longitudinal study in England and Wales of two dairy, five beef-fattener and three beef-suckler herds was carried out to identify risk factors for young cattle excreting verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli O157 (VTEC O157).


A total of 1,383 cattle, selected into cohorts at 0–24 months were sampled between March 2000 and February 2001. Mixed-effects logistic regression was employed to identify significant associations between VTEC O157 isolation from rectal faecal samples and explanatory factors (P < 0·001 unless shown).

The results revealed a positive association with feeding root crops and a negative association with animals fed silage, milk (P = 0·001) or grain (P = 0·027). Cattle in suckler herds (P = 0·001) and those changing group between sampling visits were identified as negatively associated with VTEC O157 presence. The recovery of VTEC O157 varied throughout the year. However, the winter period from December to February was a risk factor in the multivariable analysis.

Cattle in pens were 4·7 times more likely to shed VTEC O157 than those group-housed or at pasture. VTEC O157 detected in pooled environmental faecal pats and biofilm of the water supply within a group’s enclosure were positively associated with an animal’s VTEC O157 status in the multivariable logistic regression, as was detection of VTEC O157 in the pooled faecal pats at the previous visit.

A longitudinal study of risk factors for shedding of VTEC O157 by young cattle in herds with known E. coli O157 carriage

Epidemiology and Infection / Volume 144 / Issue 09 / July 2016, pp 1818-1829Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016  DOI: (About DOI), Published online: 01 February 2016

P. Smith, W. J. Pollitt And G. A. Paiba

There are no stupid questions only stupid people – UK edition

A new Reddit thread started by user MrTalkingDuck asks, “What is the dumbest 100% serious thing someone has said to you?”

South.Park_Mr.GarrisonMiddle_sized_Richard wrote: “I was once told that drug dogs at airports etc. were addicted to the drug they were looking for.

“So each airport has a heroin dog, cocaine dog and so on. This person was a university graduate.”

Aim_snap_fail added: “I used to work in a kitchen, and one of the pot washers was cleaning a slicer and not exactly being careful.

“I told him the correct way to do it, so he didn’t chance cutting any of his fingers.

“With a straight face and complete seriousness he told me he didn’t care if he cut his finger off… It would just grow back. Like a starfish.”

Redditor Yer_F*****_Now_Bud recalled: “I’ve been a cook for 15 years. One time a server asked me to rush a chicken breast she forgot to ring in.

“I said, ‘OK, it will be a few minutes, it’s still a bit raw.’ ‘Just give it to me, it’s fine,’ she says.

“I tell her I don’t feel like giving anyone salmonella poisoning today and she will have to wait.

“Her jaw drops and her face turns red. She rather belligerently shouts just give it to her because she’s losing tip money, then adds, ‘Besides, people don’t get salmonella from chicken, they get it from salmon. You’re a cook, you should know that by now.’”

Referring to famous physicist Stephen Hawking, who has motor neurone disease and relies on a speech-generating device to talk, MyUglyKitty divulged: “Stephen Hawking is British? But he doesn’t have an accent.” ~ me, unfortunately.”