1 dead, 32 sickened: Salmonella in UK eggs from Bavaria

The UK also has an egg problem.

A report has found a Salmonella outbreak at a Birmingham hospital directly caused the death of a patient.

egg.dirty.feb.12The outbreak at Heartlands Hospital in Bordesley Green, between 25 May and 18 June 2014, saw 32 staff and patients infected.

Five of those patients, who were seriously ill, later died, but salmonella was not directly responsible, the report said.

The outbreak was traced to contaminated eggs produced in Bavaria, Germany.

Prof Eric Bolton’s report found inadequately equipped wards, unmonitored food preparation, and poor cleaning helped it spread.

Initial swabbing found a food trolley in the Beech ward, left near a toilet, to be contaminated with salmonella.

There were staff shortages on the two wards, which led to them feeling a sense of “blame and isolation”.

“On reflection these staff were taking the brunt of the salmonella infection issues and became a little demoralised during the outbreak,” the report said.

Main report recommendations:

  • The Heart of England NHS Trust should review its infection control and cleaning services to ensure they meet the requirements of The Health and Social Care Act 2008
  • The trust should review the need for a plan that deals with major incidents or outbreaks
  • The trust should regularly review major policies that relate to patient safety and infection control procedures as a number were overdue for review
  • The trust should review all of its high-risk, specialist wards in the light of the experience from this outbreak and ensure that the ward environment and equipment is fit for purpose
  • The trust should ensure that all ward staff handling food undertake food hygiene training.


Mouse infestation costs UK pub £13,000

I like that the UK at least fines food safety ‘tards.

alexander.pubA mouse infestation at a Weybridge pub led to multiple food hygiene offences, resulting in costs totaling more than £13,000.

Gastro UK Ltd, the company operating The Alexander pub, in Oatlands Drive, pleaded guilty to eight food hygiene offences at Redhill Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, May 19.

The charges relate to a routine inspection by a food team from Elmbridge Borough Council on August 15 last year.

Officers found evidence of a mouse infestation in ‘several areas of the business’, according to a statement released by the council, alongside poor structure and cleaning of the premises and a failure to implement a ‘suitable food safety management system’.

When officers returned on September 25 to undertake checks on compliance, the statement added, all the issues had not been resolved.

As a result, the court fined Gastro UK Ltd £1,400 per offence, amounting to £11,200, and ordered the company to pay £2,596 to the council for costs.

Science nonsense: No mention of thermometers for UK chicken

How can a supposed science-based organization be taken seriously when it won’t incorporate science-based recommendations into its taxpayer-payer funded advice?

chicken.thermMaybe the Brits think they above such pedantic notions.

According to the UK Food Standards Authority, chicken is safe as long as consumers follow good kitchen practice including, ake sure chicken is steaming hot all the way through before serving. Cut in to the thickest part of the meat and check that it is steaming hot with no pink meat and that the juices run clear.


FSA has just published results from its year-long survey of campylobacter on fresh chickens. Campylobacter is a food bug mainly found on raw poultry and is the biggest cause of food poisoning in the UK.

Cumulative results for samples taken between February 2014 and February 2015[1] have now been published as official statistics, including results presented by major retailer. The report can been found via the link further down this page.

The results for the full year show:

  • 19% of chickens tested positive for campylobacter within the highest band of contamination*
  • 73% of chickens tested positive for the presence of campylobacter
  • 1% (five samples) of packaging tested positive at the highest band of contamination
  • 7% of packaging tested positive for the presence of campylobacter

*More than 1,000 colony forming units per gram (>1,000 cfu/g). These units indicate the degree of contamination on each sample.

More than 4,000 samples of fresh whole chilled chickens and packaging have been tested. The chickens were bought from large UK retail outlets and smaller independent stores and butchers. The data shows variations between the retailers, but none has met the target for reducing campylobacter (see table below). A full analysis of the survey results, including the publication of the raw data and the full year results for smaller supermarkets and shops, is being carried out by the FSA and will be published later in the summer.

Further details of the ongoing testing of chickens for campylobacter were also confirmed by the FSA. A new survey will start this summer and once again sample fresh whole chickens from all types of shops. Continued testing will help the FSA to measure the impact of the interventions now being introduced by the industry to tackle campylobacter.

The FSA has welcomed the publication today of case studies by Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, the Co-op and Waitrose  showing the results of their recently implemented campylobacter reduction plans. The data show significant decreases in the incidence of campylobacter on their raw whole chickens. The tests were carried out on more recent samples than those taken from the FSA survey samples, with some targeted to demonstrate the effect of particular interventions.

Children hospitalized buthealth types refuse to release details: UK E. coli outbreak

An outbreak of E coli has been identified in Dorset after a child was confirmed to be infected with the disease.

claudia.e.coli.petting.zoo.may.14The child is one of two from the county who are currently in hospital with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication of E coli infection.

Public Health England, which is also carrying out tests on three further children, has refused to divulge any details about the location of the outbreak or where the children are from.

Last year 10 people in Dorset were affected by the disease between July and November.

5 sick with E. coli O157, UK nursery closed

Two children from a Teesdale nursery have been taken to hospital after contracting E.coli.

e.coli.uk.nurseryExperts are currently investigating a total of four cases at Kirklands Day Nursery, in Barnard Castle, as two other children are being cared for at home.

A spokeswoman for Public Health England also confirmed a fifth child with recent symptoms is awaiting test results. The children fell ill at about the same time between April 25 and April 27.

The nursery, in Bede Road, has been closed while the organisation, along with Durham County Council, investigates the cause of the infection.

The spokeswoman said: “Experts from Public Health England and Durham County Council can confirm they are investigating four cases of E. coli O157 infection in children who attend Kirklands Day Nursery in Barnard Castle.

“Two of the affected children are currently in hospital and the other two are being looked after at home.

“There is also a fifth child with recent symptoms who is awaiting test results.”

Seek and ye shall find: E. coli O26 testing in UK

Many serogroups of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) other than serogroup O157 (non-O157 STEC), for example STEC O26:H11, are highly pathogenic and capable of causing hemolytic uremic syndrome.

beef.stecA recent increase in non-O157 STEC cases identified in England, resulting from a change in the testing paradigm, prompted a review of the current methods available for detection and typing of non-O157 STEC for surveillance and outbreak investigations. Nineteen STEC O26:H11 strains, including four from a nursery outbreak were selected to assess typing methods. Serotyping and multilocus sequence typing were not able to discriminate between the stx-producing strains in the dataset. However, genome sequencing provided rapid and robust confirmation that isolates of STEC O26:H11 associated with a nursery outbreak were linked at the molecular level, had a common source and were distinct from the other strains analysed. Virulence gene profiling of DNA extracted from a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-positive/culture-negative faecal specimen from a case that was epidemiologically linked to the STEC O26:H11 nursery outbreak, provided evidence at the molecular level to support that link. During this study, we describe the utility of PCR and the genome sequencing approach in facilitating surveillance and enhancing the response to outbreaks of non-O157 STEC.

The utility and public health implications of PCR and whole genome sequencing for the detection and investigation of an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli serogroup O26:H11

Epidemiology and Infection, 143, pp 1672-1680




Does food safety inspection disclosure work in the UK? Sortof

The UK Food Standards Agency reports:

The evaluation was commissioned with the Policy Studies Institute in 2011 and ran until mid-2014.  It explored the impact of the FHRS and the FHIS on local authorities, consumers, businesses, food hygiene compliance and the incidence of foodborne disease. The evaluation and other research findings have been discussed by the FSA Board today.

rest.inspection.disclosure.ukIn England, Wales and Northern Ireland businesses are rated from 0 – 5, with 0 being the lowest rating and 5 being the highest. Businesses rated with a 3 or above are considered to be generally satisfactory or better. The FSA recommends consumers choose to eat in these ‘compliant’ establishments.

These final reports provide evidence that the FHRS had a positive impact on business compliance levels. These showed that there was a significant increase in ‘broad compliance’ (equivalent to ratings of 3 to 5) in the first year, and a significant increase in ‘full compliance’ (rating of 5) in the second year in local authority areas after the FHRS was introduced, compared with areas where the scheme was not yet operating.  There was also a significant decrease in the proportion of businesses with very poor levels of compliance in the first two years after launch.

For Scotland, although the general pattern was the same for FHIS, the changes in compliance levels were not statistically significant.

The reports also include findings on consumer views about the scheme and provide some interesting insights.  For example, those using the schemes said they were more likely to refer to hygiene information when in an unfamiliar location, or eating with vulnerable people or for special occasions when planning meals out at Christmas or Valentine’s Day.

£6,700 fine: Pictures show filth at UK Indian takeaway

Disgusting conditions were discovered in a takeaway when a horrified customer shopped the owner after seeing a mouse run into the kitchen.

3772162548Indian Ocean has been ordered to pay out more than £6,700 after its co-director Matab Uddin was banned from running any food business over its filthy kitchen.

An inspector visited the Fratton Road takeaway and found no hot running water for washing up and cooking pots on the floor near rat poison, magistrates were told.

Beware the mud: Mountain bikers and cross-country runners at risk of E.coli poisoning

Mountain bikers and cross-country runners are at risk from the deadly stomach bug E. coli if they get splashed with mud, doctors warned today.

mudMedics at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary say they treated a 23-year-old cyclist for an E. coli O157 infection after he was admitted to the hospital suffering from vomiting, abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea.

The man – a vegetarian – said he had not eaten undercooked meat or vegetables, nor had he spent time with livestock or visiting farms before falling ill.

But eight days before his symptoms began the man had competed in a cycling event along wet, muddy tracks in eastern Scotland.

He, along with other competitors, had removed the mudguards from his bicycle to reduce weight, and mud and water had splashed on his face during the race. 

It is thought this was how he became infected with the bug, which can be found in animal feces and farm slurry.

The man said he had taken part in a ‘Tough Mudder’ event, which involves a 10 -12 mile race with obstacles such as climbing vertical walls and plunging through ice pools.

The cyclist, who has not been identified, recovered – but the doctors have highlighted his case in the Journal of Infection Prevention.

mountain.bike.mudWriting in the research paper, the doctors warned: ‘Sporting endeavours such as cycling and cross-country running events often take participants through such high-risk areas and may be an important cause of contact with E. coli O157.

‘This case highlights such exposure and should alert clinicians to the possibility of E.coli O157 infection and the importance of individuals presenting with bloody diarrhea with a history of participation in similar sporting or other events.’

In 2012, three people contracted E.coli 0O57 infection following a 12-mile ‘Tough Mudder’ event at Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfriesshire, which involved immersion or contact with mud.

Also in 2012, a study of one of the world’s largest mountain bike races, the 95k Birkebeinerrittet in Norway, which annually attracts 19,000 participants, found that when mudguards were attached to bikes, there were fewer cases of gastrointestinal illness.