Campylobacter in UK: Just cook it still doesn’t cut it

The British Poultry Council (BPC) told The Grocer that media reports that supermarkets are knowingly selling chickens contaminated with Campylobacter may mislead consumers, and that “cooking it properly and observing good kitchen hygiene” will take care of the problem.

album-Rolling-Stones-Let-It-BleedIt’s easy to blame consumers. What are producers doing to reduce risk?

An article in today’s (19 November) The Times cited BPC data that showed 24% of a randomly tested sample of 5,000 batches of chicken had tested positive for the highest levels of campylobacter contamination.

The results were similar to those revealed in August in  the first batch of quarterly results from a 12-month survey currently being undertaken by the FSA on the prevalence and levels of campylobacter contamination on fresh whole chickens and their packaging. The FSA survey showed 16% of birds at the highest level of contamination of more than 1000 colony forming units per gram, and 26% at between 100 and 1000 cfu/g.

BPC CEO Andrew Large said The Times article was based on a small sample of testing, designed to assist members of the Joint Working Group on Campylobacter in their operations.

“As the data is neither comprehensive nor statistically robust, it will not be useful for consumers and risks being misleading,” he warned, adding: “Consumers have a key role to play as good kitchen hygiene will remain a cornerstone of preventing foodborne illness.”

A spokeswoman for the British Retail Consortium said, “As long as campylobacter is present in the food chain, and we don’t yet have the solution for that despite our best efforts. We need to maintain the very strong message that all raw chicken should be handled with appropriate care and releasing incomplete data could dilute that message to consumers and lead to confusion.”

The FSA will next week issue the second set of quarterly results of its campylobacter survey, when it will also name-and-shame” retailers with the worst record for campylobacter-contaminated poultry.

Spin away.

(And this is from the last time I saw the Stones, in 1981; didn’t need to go again in Brisbane the other night.)

UK student needs second kidney transplant 20 years after eating E. coli O157 contaminated cheese

A student who almost died after eating a contaminated cheese sandwich as a toddler has been told she needs a second kidney transplant.

lois.reid.e.coliLois Reid fell desperately ill when she was two years old. But a transplant at the age of six meant she could live a normal life.

This year, however, the 22-year-old suffered kidney failure again.

And now she has to play a waiting game again for another donor organ.

In the meantime, she spends three days a week hooked up to a dialysis machine in hospital.

But despite her illness and the exhaustion it causes, Lois managed to complete her final year of college.

And she passed her last exam just three days after getting out of hospital.

Lois said: “I couldn’t believe it when I found out I had passed. I phoned my mum and she just burst into tears.”

The family’s nightmare began after Lois fell ill after eating a sandwich with

home-made farmhouse cheese that was contaminated with E coli O157.

She was taken to Aberdeen Royal Children’s Hospital, where doctors found out her kidneys were failing.

Lois spent four years on dialysis, during which she suffered a stroke and frequent life-threatening infections.

Leicester diners placed at “unnecessary risk” says UK Food Standards Agency

Leicester City Council has been criticized by the Food Standards Agency for the way it has let restaurant hygiene levels slip.

public.healthConcerns were raised over the lack of enforcement action taken against low-rated businesses and the backlog of uninspected restaurants in the city.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said the authority was putting diners at “unnecessary risk” after it was audited earlier this year.

A report released today by the agency’s chief executive Catherine Brown highlighted a number of concerns, nationwide, with regard to a lacklustre approach to food hygiene.

But Ms Brown drew particular attention to Leicester City Council in the eight-page document, saying its inspectors had failed on a number of points when dealing with food safety.

The report says: “An authority of particular concern to us at the moment is Leicester City Council, which the FSA has informed is in default of its statutory obligations under food law.

“This is as a result of ongoing and serious issues concerning levels of unrated premises, backlogs in inspecting premises, failing to inspect food manufacturing businesses prior to approval to operate and the level of enforcement activity undertaken in order to protect consumers.”

85 sick in UK shiga-toxin producing E. coli outbreak; source unknown

So far 75 people have been affected (primary cases): 67 in England, 3 in Wales and 5 in Scotland. Genetic analysis has shown that all these individuals have all been infected with the same E.coli strain. Most of these cases are adults but the total number of cases has an age range of between 2 to 90. Twenty-seven males and 48 (64%) females have been affected.

e.coli.magnifiedIn addition, there have also been 10 secondary cases reported. These are people who have become unwell through contact with a primary case.

Further details are available on 82 of the total cases all of whom reported symptoms of diarrhoea. Bloody diarrhoea was reported by 58 people (71%) and 25 people have been hospitalised as a result of their illness. There have been no deaths or cases of haemolytic-uraemic syndrome which is a serious complication of an E. coli infection which can result in kidney failure.

At present there is no clear indication as to what is causing the outbreak. 

Still prefer scores on doors: UK diners should ‘look before they book’

Festive diners are advised to ‘look before they book’ when planning a Christmas meal out in Bucks. Food Standards Agency said people should check a restaurant’s food hygiene rating, which is determined by local authority food safety officers.

Restaurants are marked from nought to a high of five.

Ninety-three per cent of food businesses in Bucks are rated three or better.

South Bucks District Council’s cabinet member for health and housing, Councillor Jennifer Woolveridge, said: “It’s easy to check hygiene ratings online and choose a restaurant for Christmas parties that takes food hygiene seriously. A good food hygiene rating is something to be proud of.

Visit to check
a rating or look for the green and black sticker on the restaurant. If you cannot see one, just ask.


Two children in hospital following an E. coli outbreak at UK nursery

Specialists from Public Health England and environmental health officers are investigating the cases of E. coli O157, which are linked to Little Brook Childrens Nursery, in Great Harwood.

nurseryTesting is being carried out on staff and children who may have come into contact with the bacteria, and children have been asked to remain at home until they have tested negative.

A spokeswoman for Public Health England said that although staff were at the nursery yesterday, it will effectively be closed to children until those given the all clear begin to return.

‘Poor hygiene is totally inexcusable especially when selling food’ UK ‘Cockroach takeaway’ closed

Four eateries closed in Ealing after being issued with emergency prohibition notices, closing them immediately, until officers were satisfied extensive pest control cleaning had taken place.

mib.cockroachA West Ealing takeaway was closed and ordered to pay costs of more than £600 by Ealing Magistrates’ Court after a cockroach was found in a customer’s meal.
Ealing has more food businesses than any other outer London borough and is one of the most proactive greater London councils in terms of prosecuting food outlets who endanger the public.

Pan Pizza and China Garden at 177, Uxbridge Road, West Ealing was among four eateries in the borough temporarily closed by Ealing Council food hygiene officers in September, due to infestations and poor cleaning. The takeaway was ordered to pay the council’s legal expenses of £611 on Thursday, 2 October.
The businesses were issued with emergency prohibition notices, closing them immediately, until officers were satisfied extensive pest control cleaning had taken place.

The council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for community services and safety, Councillor Ranjit Dheer said:  “Poor hygiene is totally inexcusable especially when you’re in the business of selling food to the general public. I really don’t know how the owners of these businesses thought they could get away with it.” 

2 sick with E.coli O157 in UK linked to raw milk

The UK Food Standards Agency reports Barton Farm Dairy (Kentisbury, Barnstaple, Devon EX31 4NQ) is recalling its raw cow’s drinking milk due to a potential link to two cases of E.coli O157 infection. If you have bought this product, do not consume it. The FSA has issued a Product Recall Information Notice. details

The product being recalled is:

Barton Farm Dairy raw cow’s drinking milk

Size: All sizes

Barton Farm Dairy is recalling the above product. Product recall notices will be issued to the business’s customers and on the website, explaining why the recall is happening and what they can do if they have bought an affected product.

If you have bought any of the above products, do not consume them. Instead, contact the Barton Farm Dairy by calling 01271 882283 or emailing for further advice.

UK grocer rated zero for food hygiene

A grocer’s shop in Aldershot has been given a slap on the wrists after failing a handful of food hygiene and safety standards.

phewa1Phewa Stores in Victoria Road was issued two cautions last Thursday (September 18) following an inspection by Rushmoor Borough Council earlier this month.

The first caution relates to seven separate food safety offences and the second to one health and safety failing.

Oasis Trading Impex Ltd, one of the owners of the company, has accepted the cautions and admitted the offences on behalf of Phewa.

Council inspectors have since revisited the premises and noted improvements in general standards of hygiene.

But an unannounced inspection on September 3 led to the store racking up a catalogue of offences, enough to earn Phewa the ignominious honour of a zero food hygiene rating in the Food Standards Agency’s national rating scheme.

Offences included a lack of effective cleaning and disinfection of equipment, particularly at the store’s butcher’s counter.

Food handlers were found to be not suitably trained in food hygiene matters and demonstrated their own poor personal hygiene.

The shop also failed to identify where some items of food had been sourced from and to implement various mandatory food safety management systems.

Inspectors also noted some food hygiene issues raised at previous inspections had reoccurred.


Social media rules: owners of Chicken Cottage in UK fined after customer snaps rat in shop

A fast-food restaurant has been fined for a number of food hygiene failings after a customer took a picture of a rat on their premises.

chiken.cottagArun District Council has successfully prosecuted Bethel Catering UK Ltd, for food safety offences found at Chicken Cottage in East Street, Littlehampton.

Two Environmental Health Officers inspected the take-away last August following a call from a member of the public who had taken a photo of a rat she had seen inside the shop early that morning.

During this inspection the officers found clear evidence of a rat infestation both inside and outside the premises and the director of the company, Mr Somasundaram agreed to close the premises due to an imminent risk to public health.