It’s not a virus or bacterium, it’s a parasite: 7 positive, 16 sick with crypto after visit to Welsh petting farm

A Monmouthshire farm has cancelled a series of open day visits for primary school children following the outbreak of a diarrhea-causing virus.

powell.namePublic Health Wales along with Torfaen and Monmouthshire councils are continuing to investigate an outbreak of cryptosporidium associated with Coleg Gwent’s farm in Usk.

Seven people have tested positive for cryptosporidium and 16 others are suspected of having the bug after regular attendance at the farm or contact with those who have.

Heather Lewis, consultant in health protection for Public Health Wales, said: “We are continuing to work with Coleg Gwent, who have written to all students who may have been on the farm in March.

“As a precaution, Coleg Gwent have also cancelled a series of open days which were due to take place with invited primary schools from Tuesday, April 12 to Friday, April 15.”

A spokesman from Public Health Wales said: “Good hand washing after coming into contact with farm animals, their bedding or dirty equipment including clothing is of the utmost importance in preventing infection with cryptosporidium.

“There is no reason for anyone to avoid visiting petting farms as long as they ensure that anyone who has touched animals, thoroughly washes their hands with hot water and soap immediately afterwards and before eating, as hand sanitisers or alcoholic gels should not be solely relied upon.”

Handwashing is never enough.

Welsh farm investigated after visitors test positive for crypto

A Monmouthshire farm is being investigated after a number of visitors tested positive for a microscopic parasite that causes a diarrheal disease.

Coleg Gwent’s farm in UskPublic Health Wales, Torfaen County Borough Council and Monmouthshire County Council are investigating an outbreak of cryptosporidium at Coleg Gwent’s farm in Usk.

Three people have tested positive for cryptosporidium and eight others are under investigation after a regular attendance at the farm.

“All the confirmed cases had direct contact with the lambs at the college farm. As part of our investigations, we are checking on all those whom we believe had contact with these animals and Coleg Gwent is co­operating fully with our investigations.


Food giants’ low food hygiene ratings in Wales

KFC in Pontypool was given a zero score by the Food Standards Agency, the worst rating meaning urgent action is needed.

KFC in PontypoolCo-operative stores in Pontardawe, Porth, and Birchgrove, Cardiff scored one, along with Subway in Queen Street, Cardiff and Harvester in Cardiff Bay.

Costa in Brecon, Tesco cafe in Maesteg and Asda in Aberdare had a two rating.

That means improvement is necessary.

There are more than 26,000 businesses in Wales which have ratings, of which more than 1,400 had a two rating or below. The highest score is five.

Russel Smith, chief operating officer, KFC UK, said: “I was extremely disappointed by the rating this restaurant received, which is completely unacceptable.

“We took immediate action to return the restaurant to the standards we demand and are awaiting a re-inspection which we are sure will reflect this.”

Going public: Seven people struck by campy in UK but public health body refuses to name restaurant it closed down

Wales Online reports that a public health body says it will not name a Cardiff restaurant at the centre of a food poisoning outbreak. Health Wales says it is “satisfied” that the situation – which led to seven people being confirmed with the campylobacter infection – has been dealt with and there is “no risk to public health.”

The victims ate at the restaurant during the weekend of May 16, and two people are also suspected to have the infection.

At the end of last week, Public Health Wales, the Regulatory Service for Cardiff, the Vale of Glamorgan and Bridgend councils, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and the Food Standards Agency said they were working together to investigate an outbreak of campylobacter with links to the restaurant.

The restaurant is not being named despite the fact that new laws require all premises dealing with food to openly display their food hygiene ratings.

Facebook user Claire Drewen said: “That is wrong! The public have a right to know. Public Health Wales should release the name. Maybe people would like to avoid the restaurant when it reopens.”

But Greg Cannon said: “Why can’t we have an intelligent debate rather than scaremongering? There is probably a very good legal as well as commercial argument for not naming; but in the age of social media all it takes is one Facebook or Twitter post and the name is known. PHW might avoid the legal case and the public still get the information they think they need.”


9 sick with campy: Wales (mystery) restaurant closed after outbreak

A Cardiff restaurant has been closed after an outbreak of food poisoning.

mystery-restaurantSeven people with confirmed campylobacter infection and two people with suspected infection ate at the restaurant during the weekend of May 16, Public Health Wales (PHW) confirmed.

C. perfringens: UK Christmas Day diner died and dozens seriously ill after Xmas turkey lunch at pub ‘where staff paid lip service to safety procedures’

A Christmas Day diner died and dozens of others became seriously ill after eating their turkey lunch at a pub where staff paid ‘lip service’ to safety procedures, a court heard today.

grinch.beastMother-of-one Della Callagher, 46, died after paying £39.95 for the four-course lunch at the Railway Hotel, Hornchurch, Essex, on Christmas Day 2012.

She was among 33 people who fell ill following the alleged outbreak of food poisoning, later attributed to a bacteria known as Clostridium perfringens.

The restaurant’s former owner Ann McSweeney, 40, and ex-chef Mehmet Kaya, 37, deny serving food that was unfit for human consumption.

The pub’s parent company, Mitchell and Butlers PLC, based in Birmingham, also deny the charge at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

McSweeney, of Hornchurch, and Kaya, of Purfleet, Essex, also deny perverting the course of justice by falsifying records in a ‘daily kitchen due diligence log’ relating to the cooking and cooling of turkey meat.

The pair are accused of failing to properly monitor the temperature of the turkey as it cooked.

Following the incident, they allegedly falsified their food safety records to hand to health and safety inspectors.

McSweeney further denies obstructing an officer in the course of their duty by handing the falsified documents to food safety inspectors.

Andrew Campbell-Tiech, prosecuting, told the court: ‘Mehmet Kaya grossly, grossly mismanaged the preparation of the Christmas turkey.

‘By that act he caused his employer, the company, to place unsafe food before its customers on Christmas Day.

‘Miss McSweeney was in overall charge. She knew, she must have known, that Mr Kaya did not follow safety procedures. Her default is clear, she should have intervened. She did not.’

Referring to the charge of perverting the course of justice, Mr Campbell-Tiech said: ‘The actions of Miss McSweeney and Mr Kaya in the immediate aftermath of this tragedy were not those of innocent actors caught up in a tragedy not of their making.

Mr Campbell-Tiech claimed the kitchen logbooks showed ‘the kitchen of The Railway Hotel paid lip service only to the systems the company had prescribed but did not enforce’.

The trial continues.

Wales to close only public food safety lab

I’m big on my Welsh heritage as I get older, but not sure I understand this.

hugh.pennigtonUK food safety go-to-person, Groundhog Day’s Hugh Pennington, says the closure of Wales’ only publicly-run food testing laboratory due to cuts mean councils may struggle to respond to another incident like the horsemeat scandal, and that relying on private laboratories could create problems in times of crisis.

Cardiff council said cuts had forced the closure but it would ensure public safety was maintained.

Eight other local authorities also use the laboratory.

It means the councils, like others around Wales, will contract-out the testing to privately-run facilities.

But Prof Pennington, an expert on bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen, said: “If you don’t have [a publicly-run lab] you could get into serious difficulties.

Prof Pennington led the investigation into the 2005 E. coli outbreak in south Wales

tipton.slasher.statue“Like horsemeat, where something comes out of the blue and suddenly there’s an enormous issue, the public want it resolved and you have to work out if there’s a public health threat.

“You have to work out what the scale of the problem is and you need some sort of central authority working for the public to do that.

“You can’t do that just by relying on outsourcing all your testing.”

The moves Wales has taken to stop future outbreaks of E.coli

Positive progress has been made by the majority of Welsh local authorities in preventing future outbreaks of E.coli, a new report has found.

mason.jonesThe Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) Food and Feed Law Enforcement Review in Wales, commissioned in January 2014, looked at what progress has been made to implement recommendations of the Pennington inquiry following a serious outbreak nine years ago.

Five-year-old Mason Jones, from Deri, near Bargoed, Rhymney Valley, died in 2005 and more than 150 others fell ill with the O157 strain across Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taff.

The outbreak, which struck 44 schools, was the UK’s second biggest.

But the new report, which was unveiled at the Royal Welsh Show, said most councils had “acted decisively” to implement recommendations of the 2009 Pennington inquiry.

powell_tipton_slasher_10_0_storyGwynedd Council was singled out as the only exception.

The FSA set up a food hygiene delivery programme in response to the inquiry’s recommendations and developed a programme of work to improve food hygiene delivery and enforcement across the UK.

Local authority data has confirmed there have been significant improvements in the proportion of food businesses in Wales which are compliant with food hygiene law.

The report said the introduction of the food hygiene rating scheme – known as “scores on the doors” – and collaborative working between local authorities, the FSA and the Welsh Government has empowered consumers to make informed choices about where they eat.

Wales is the only part of the UK where all businesses must display their rating by law.

Food hygiene ratings: why Wales did the ‘dirty dozen’

The dirty dozen in the U.S. is equated with pesticide resides on produce items and largely bullshit.

However, residents of North Wales have shown unprecedented interest in the standard of food hygiene in our local restaurants, takeaways and food shops since the Daily Post first published a series highlighting ‘North Wales’s dirty dozen’, highlighting the local establishments which received a zero rating for hygiene, as ruled by the Food Standards Authority.  

bullshitThere were criticisms that the Daily Post went “too hard” on these food outlets, as some of the owners had claimed that the negative rating was due to poor document keeping or incomplete paperwork.

Daily Post editor Mark Thomas writes, we have done a lot to promote and encourage excellence in our small businesses, and will continue to do so, but I believe we also have a duty to share with you issues like this which ought to be of concern to you as consumers.

That is not sensationalist, or inaccurate reporting. It is us doing our job for you.

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme means that people can choose instead to eat out or buy food at places with higher ratings and businesses with low ratings are in danger of losing customers and so will be encouraged to improve standards more quickly and to maintain these in the future.

Fancy food ain’t safe food – Welsh curry edition

A curry house voted the best in Wales only last year has been fined £10,000 after food hygiene inspectors found rat droppings on the premises.

The owners of Llanymynech’s Bengal Spices, Rabiul Alam, 34, and Mizanur Chowdhury, 43, pleaded guilty to nine food hygiene breaches when they appeared at Llandrindod Magistrates Court this week.

Llanymynech’s Bengal SpicesThe restaurant was closed in November 2013 after Powys County Council (PCC) received a complaint from a member of the public.

Nigel Vaughan, prosecuting, said that inspectors found rat droppings in the toilets and the lobby near the kitchen area.

They also found evidence of “gnawing”.

Mr Vaughan said the restaurant displayed “unacceptable standards of cleanliness” and food premises, articles, fittings and equipment were not kept in a “clean condition”.

The court heard the restaurant had also failed to ensure food was thawed safely, while other food was found uncovered.

The owners also admitted to failing to follow procedures based on the HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) procedure.
Magistrates heard they had signed off to confirm daily checks had been carried out.