Get a stool sample it may improve your food safety knowledge in Vietnam

Consumption of fast food and street food is increasingly common among Vietnamese, particularly in large cities. The high daily demand for these convenient food services, together with a poor management system, has raised concerns about food hygiene and safety (FHS). This study aimed to examine the FHS knowledge and practices of food processors and sellers in food facilities in Hanoi, Vietnam, and to identify their associated factors.

A cross-sectional study was conducted with 1,760 food processors and sellers in restaurants, fast food stores, food stalls, and street vendors in Hanoi in 2015. We assessed each participant’s FHS knowledge using a self-report questionnaire and their FHS practices using a checklist. Tobit regression was used to determine potential factors associated with FHS knowledge and practices, including demographics, training experience, and frequency of health examination.

Overall, we observed a lack of FHS knowledge among respondents across three domains, including standard requirements for food facilities (18%), food processing procedures (29%), and food poisoning prevention (11%). Only 25.9 and 38.1% of participants used caps and masks, respectively, and 12.8% of food processors reported direct hand contact with food. After adjusting for socioeconomic characteristics, these factors significantly predicted increased FHS knowledge and practice scores: (i) working at restaurants and food stalls, (ii) having FHS training, (iii) having had a physical examination, and (iv) having taken a stool test within the last year.

These findings highlight the need of continuous training to improve FHS knowledge and practices among food processors and food sellers. Moreover, regular monitoring of food facilities, combined with medical examination of their staff, should be performed to ensure food safety.

Evaluating food safety knowledge and practices of food processors and seller working in food facilities in Hanoi, Vietnam, April 2018

Journal of Food Protection, vol 81, no 4

BACH XUAN TRAN,1,2 HOA THI DO,3 LUONG THANH NGUYEN,1 VICTORIA BOGGIANO,4 HUONG THI LE,1 XUAN THANH THI LE,1 NGOC BAO TRINH,1 KHANH NAM DO,1 CUONG TAT NGUYEN,5* THANH TRUNG NGUYEN,5 ANH KIM DANG,1 HUE THI MAI,1 LONG HOANG NGUYEN,6 SELENA THAN,5 and CARL A. LATKIN2

https://doi.org/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-17-161

Fancy food ain’t safe food: Possible Salmonella infections at popular Brisbane eatery

Holly Hales of the Daily Mail reports a popular Vietnamese restaurant in Brisbane‘s trendy West-End has been accused of disregarding food safety laws after it was searched by health inspectors.   

It come after eight diners were left with a bad taste in their mouth after claiming a visit to the restaurant gave them food poisoning.

Trang Restaurant has previously found fame being named Brisbane’s best Vietnamese food but the new allegations claim defrosting raw chicken found underneath a sink was allegedly among discoveries made by inspectors during a visit to the premises.

Despite the allegations of contempt for food safety laws, Trang has retained a largely satisfied customer-base

The allegations come as council health inspectors filed a complaint in the Brisbane’s Magistrate’s Court accusing the eatery of skimping on food safety laws.

The Courier Mail also reports complaints filed in late February included sightings of infected food, which was found throughout the restaurant. 

It is thought the raid was catalysed by eight diners allegedly contracting salmonella after eating at the restaurant between February and March this year. 

NZ poultry industry calls chicken contamination findings ‘scaremongering’

That didn’t take long.

Nor should it.

But the so-called experts undermine their case by not advocating the use of a tip-sensitive digital thermometer and instead relying on the woefully unreliable color test (‘chicken must be fully cooked through until juices run clear) for safety.

A new University of Otago, Wellington study, published last week in the international journal BMC Public Health found an overwhelming majority of consumers were not aware of the widespread Campylobacter contamination.

But the Poultry Industry Association of New Zealand is challenging the findings, which it says does not reflect reported Campylobacter statistics nor consumer behaviour.

PIANZ executive director Michael Brooks said the findings did not add up with New Zealand’s soaring chicken consumption, and flat rates of reported campylobacter cases.

“Reported cases of campylobacter have sat between 6000 to 7000 for the past five years, so it’s misleading to estimate there are 30,000 cases occurring,” Brooks said.

“It is important to note that the source of these cases was not always chicken.

“Consumers contract campylobacteriosis from other sources too.”

Brooks said the poultry industry had made significant changes when it came to labelling for food safety.

The association lost control of that access to information once third parties like butchers or supermarkets started packaging their own raw chicken product.

“As an industry it is important for everyone to educate their customers on food safety practices.”

Brooks said he welcomed a collaborative approach with institutions such as Otago University, as consumer education was key to reducing cases of campylobacter.

People are sick: Frozen strawberries grown in Egypt recalled because of hep A in Canada

For at least the third time in the last six years, people have gotten sick with hepatitis A after consuming strawberries – fresh or frozen — grown in Egypt.

A multistate outbreak of hepatitis A virus (HAV) among European travellers returning from Egypt occurred between November 2012 and April 2013.

A total of 14 European Union (EU)-European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries reported 107 cases. Twenty-one cases from six countries were affected by strains of sub-genotype IB harbouring identical RNA sequences, suggesting a common source outbreak.

In Sept. 2016, at least 89 were sickened in the U.S. with hepatitis A at Tropical Smoothie Cafés in Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia, linked to consumption of frozen strawberries from Egypt.

Now, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says Groupe Adonis Inc. is recalling Montana brand frozen strawberries from the marketplace due to possible Hepatitis A contamination. Consumers should not consume the recalled product described below.

The ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ) transmitted an alert to the news media concerning the affected product. Please click on the following link for details: https://www.mapaq.gouv.qc.ca/fr/Consommation/rappelsaliments/2018/04/Pages/3682.aspx (French only).

The following product has been sold exclusively from Adonis markets in Quebec and Ontario.

Recalled products

Brand Name Common Name Size Code(s) on Product UPC
Montana Strawberry
(frozen)
1 kg All codes purchased on or before April 14, 2018 6222000401487

If you think you became sick from consuming a recalled product, call your doctor.

Check to see if you have recalled products in your home. Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased.

This recall was triggered by findings during an investigation into a foodborne illness outbreak.

CFIA won’t say how many are sick, that’s up to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

And vaccines work.

Campy in NZ poultry: ‘Warning labels required’

(Doesn’t say if the study has been published in a peer-reviewed journal.)

New Zealanders want brightly coloured warning labels on fresh chicken to warn them of the risks of the country’s “number one food safety problem”, new research suggests.

A University of Otago study found only 15 per cent of consumers were aware that 60 to 90 per cent of fresh chicken meat for sale in New Zealand is contaminated with campylobacter.

“This study has identified some clear gaps in campylobacteriosis prevention in New Zealand,” University of Otago infectious diseases researcher Professor Michael Baker said.

“Fresh chicken is heavily contaminated with campylobacter and causes an estimated 30,000 New Zealanders to get sick each year. “

Fresh chicken was also spreading antibiotic resistant bacteria and was “New Zealand’s number one food safety problem”, Baker said.

Speaking on Mike Hosking Breakfast today, he said people were still getting sick as a result of not carrying out best practice when preparing fresh chicken – including not adequately cleaning bench surfaces or sinks that have come in contact with it.

Baker said a label would need good information to help a consumer, but would need to be tested.

He said labels to should read something like: “This food should be treated with care.”

The study was based on interviews with 401 shoppers over 16 who were recruited outside 12 supermarkets and six butcheries in the Wellington Region

“New Zealand has one of the highest rates of campylobacteriosis in the world and at least half of cases can be attributed to contaminated chicken,” Philip Allan, a medical student and researcher at the Department of Public Health, University of Otago Wellington (UOW), said.

“Our study showed that many consumers are not aware of the risks, and that retailers should do much more to inform shoppers.”

The study also assessed the quality of current chicken labelling in supermarkets and butcheries and identified major deficiencies in the safety information provided to consumers.

Butchery labels in particular were lacking in chicken preparation information.

More than half wanted the levels of campylobacter contamination reported, the study found.

“Most participants thought a large, brightly coloured warning label containing safety information would be the most effective for communicating safe chicken preparation information.”

The study’s researchers said the most effective way to reduce campylobacteriosis rates is for Ministry for Primary Industries to mandate lower contamination levels of fresh poultry.

“This measure has been highly effective in the past, halving the rate of campylobacteriosis in New Zealand when implemented in 2007.
“While improved labelling is important, it is no substitute for cleaning up our poultry,” Baker said.

Poop makeup in California

Never got the make-up thing: My partners always looked great without it.

CBS Sacramento reports, buyers beware! Sometimes when you spot a good makeup deal, it’s too good to be true.

The Los Angeles Police Department says it confiscated counterfeit makeup that tested positive for high levels of bacteria and animal waste.

The department seized $700,000 worth of bootleg cosmetics on Thursday after raiding 21 locations in Santee Alley, a Los Angeles fashion district, said LAPD Capt. Marc Reina.

“Those feces will just basically somehow get mixed into the product they’re manufacturing in their garage or in their bathroom — wherever they’re manufacturing this stuff,” Detective Rick Ishitani told CNN affiliate KABC.

One of the brands being knocked off was Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Cosmetics. Kim Kardashian West, Jenner’s sister, took to Twitter to respond to the raid:

“Counterfeit Kylie lip kits seized in LAPD raid test positive for feces. SO GROSS! Never buy counterfeit products!”

Other prominent makeup brands that were faked included Urban Decay, MAC and NARS.

The LAPD was tipped off by the brand-name companies, which received complaints from consumers who said they had rashes and bumps after using their products. The complainants had one thing in common: They bought the product in the Los Angeles fashion district.

The packaging of the bogus products looks like the real deal, but the prices are way too low.

Raw is risky: Norovirus outbreak linked to raw oysters rises to 126 in BC

In a follow-up on the norovirus outbreak linked to the consumption of British Columbia raw oysters, The Public Health Agency of Canada has reported that a total of 126 cases of gastrointestinal illness linked to oyster consumption have been reported in three provinces: British Columbia (92), Alberta (9), and Ontario (25). No deaths have been reported.

Ensure oysters are fully cooked before consuming them. Lightly cooking oysters does not kill norovirus. Oysters need to be cooked to an internal temperature of 90° Celsius (194° Fahrenheit) for a minimum of 90 seconds in order to kill norovirus.

Taxes, folks and WKRP

Like any good American, I spent the early hours of the Australian morning to finalize and submit my 2017 U.S. taxes.

Wasn’t too hard, I don’t get paid, but we have to declare any foreign income to avoid future troubles with the IRS.

The Canadian one is next and then will be starting on the Australian one, where the tax year runs from July 1 rather than Jan. 1.

Filing in the U.S. is joint for me and my partner, but separate in the other countries.

I get confused.

And when I get confused, I watch TV (was WKRP in Cincinnati a great TV show or the greatest?).

Or go to the supermarket.

When I started in the food safety stuff, my friend Gord told me, pay attention to the farmers.

Those that produce the food.

I agreed, did that for years, then expanded further to customers, the people that actually buy food.

Yesterday I went to my supermarket-lab after a few hours in the city.

Half of the meat section was cleared out.

I asked if they had a power outage, but the young dude said, nah, it’s all monitored at HQ, the temp went down so we had to pull the stock to the back cooler.

OK, cool, way to be responsive, until a manager walked by, tapped the worked on his shoulder, meaning get back to work or stop talking to the food safety dude, or both.

At the checkout, I overheard a number of staff had called in sick.

That prompted me to ask, are you told to stay at home when you’re sick, and they both said yes, until the one said the other was sick, and at work.

They said it’s a great policy but lousy in action.

I learn so much just goofing around.

39 sick with Norovirus from frozen mussels in Spain

The appropriately named Olive Press has reported 39 people have become infected by norovirus after eating contaminated frozen mussels.

The outbreak  occured in Valencia, but the infected batch had already been distributed to Andalucia, the Balearic Islands and nine other regions.

The Spanish Agency for Consumer Affairs, Food Safety and Nutrition has issued a warning to anyone who has bought frozen mussels from the batch to throw them away immediately.

The product is frozen cooked mussels from Galicia, called Mejillón media concha súper, under the Estrella Polar brand.

Any packaging containing the lot number 010DOP-18 should be thrown out.

The European Competent Authorities have also been informed through the Rapid Alert System for Food (RASFF).

Handling eggs that have been recalled

When there’s a recall of 200 million eggs there’s a food waste/risk conversation. Telling folks to just cook them isn’t the full story. What about cross-contamination? How about a family with an immunocompromised individual? If there’s something special about the eggs (and by special I mean that they’ve led to over 20 illnesses) I don’t really want to have to make the call to handle it extra special. I like to think that I take lots of precautions with eggs (cooked until set, careful to not cross-contaminate) but what if I make a mistake. 

It’s not worth the risk. Take ’em back. That’s what I told Rachael Rettner from Live Science:

Having that [contaminated] product means I have to make no mistakes” when preparing the food, he told Live Science. In addition to undercooking, there’s a risk that consumers could cross-contaminate parts of their kitchen with Salmonella if they aren’t careful. “I would rather just not have that product … knowing it’s a risk of contamination,”