‘Pond of poo’ found in Irish kitchen

Ruairi Byrne of Buzz writes the owner of an Indian takeaway in Donegal has issued an apology to customers after a ‘pond of poo’ was discovered in the restaurant’s kitchen.

Saffron in Creeslough was served a closure order on October 19 by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland following an inspection which found “human excrement overflowing and ponding in an area beside the shed in which the potato peeler was located due to an overflowing manhole”.

“As staff had to stand outside while using this food equipment, they would be standing in the excrement, thereby carrying it into the food premises on their shoes,” the closure order stated.

Dead flies were also found “floating in oil used to baste pizza dough”, according to the closure.

“I would like to say sorry,” Mr Kumar told Independent.ie. “When this happened, me and the manager were out of the country for a few weeks. First of all I was told about that human waste issue.

“By chance, that day, the drain got blocked and it was our bad luck. Now we have sorted this. We stopped making chips there and now we get prepacked chips.

Mr Kumar continued: “We have fulfilled all the requirements of the FSAI now. Last week and this week a health inspector was here. They are now satisfied. I again apologise for what happened and I would like to make sure that it will never happen again.”

Australia: still has an egg problem: 17 major salmonella outbreaks for Adelaide in 2016/17 linked to pork and eggs

The almost southern most state of Australia, South Australia has a population of 1.7 million people, and yet almost 1,200 South Australians were stricken by food poisoning in the past 12-months.

Katrina Stokes of The Advertiser writes that according to the 2016/17 Health Department report, 17 food poisoning investigations conducted by officials revealed that dairy, poultry and meat products were responsible for the salmonella outbreaks.

New figures from SA Health reveal there have been a total of 1182 salmonella cases so far this year, compared to a total of 1561 in 2016.

Alarmingly, of this year’s cases, 17 per cent have been in children aged five or younger.

The biggest outbreak was at the InterContinental Hotel on July 31 last year after guests ate the buffet breakfast — and the cause was linked to cross contamination from eggs.

Of 140 people who reported feeling unwell, 85 were confirmed cases of salmonella and 20 were admitted to hospital.

Patients were treated for vomiting, diarrhoea, fever and headaches.

Other food poisoning cases in 2016/17 included:

CHILDREN at an out-of-hours care facility were struck down with gastroenteritis and an investigation identified one source was inadequate sanitation procedures in the kitchen. Some of the children also reported consuming eggs in an uncooked cupcake mixture. A total of 24 children were sick and 12 cases confirmed.

WEDDING guests fell ill after eating food, including chicken liver parfait and chicken galantine, at a restaurant. One food poisoning case was confirmed and a total of 12 people were sick.

DODGY egg sandwiches and wraps from a bakery caused a total of eight people to get sick. The source was the egg supplier.

Earlier this year, at least 14 people got sick after eating pork pies from the Pork Pie Shop at Victor Harbor.

An inspection of the bakery identified problems including possible contamination from raw egg wash used on the pies, inadequate storage temperature and cleaning of sanitising of equipment.

A total of 33 people got sick from a rare form of salmonella after eating rockmelon from an interstate producer in July 2016.

SA Health director of food and controlled drugs Dr Fay Jenkins said the exact cause of salmonella was often hard to pinpoint — but eggs, and egg handling, were often the culprit.

“To reduce the risk of sickness, do not use eggs if they are cracked or dirty, wash your hands after handling eggs and keep raw egg products like aioli, mayonnaise and mousse refrigerated,” she said.

How about, cook eggs.

A table of Australian egg outbreaks is available at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/raw-egg-related-outbreaks-australia-5-1-17.xlsx.

The vomit machine lives on; norovirus can aerosolize during vomit events

I’ve been lucky to be close to some excellent projects, some of the stuff and knowledge created through these projects ends up mattering to food safety nerds – especially those who are making risk management decisions. Former NC State student Grace Tung-Thompson’s PhD project on vomit spray and norovirus is one of the most impactful. The work was carried out as part of the USDA NIFA-funded NoroCORE project led by my friend Lee-Ann Jaykus.VOMIT-BLOG-HEADER-698x393

I’ve talked to lots of Environmental Health Specialists, retailers and food service food safety folks about what Grace and fellow graduate student Dominic Libera put together and many respond with a weird level of enthusiasm for the barf project.

Mainly because a real question they struggle with is how far will virus particles travel from an up-chuck event – knowing this, and then cleaning and sanitizing helps limit the scope of a potential outbreak.  Grace’s work was published in PLOS ONE a while ago, we used it as a centerpiece for a Conference for Food Protection issue on vomit clean up in 2016 (which, maybe, could be included in the oft rumored 2017 Food Code) and the Daily Beast  covered the work today.

A couple of years ago, PhD student Grace Tung Thompson demonstrated something incredibly gross: When a person vomits, little tiny bits of their throw-up end up airborne. You could ingest them just by breathing air in the same room. As if that weren’t disconcerting enough, if the person got sick from a virus, there could be enough viruses in the air to get you sick, too. Just try not to think about that the next time the person in the row behind you throws up on an airplane.
So how do you get rid of airborne viruses? “There is no known technology that will eliminate norovirus if it’s in the air,” Jaykus said, “and there really aren’t a lot of technologies—safe technologies—that even are likely to work.” Her research team recently experimented with misting antiviral compounds into spaces as an alternative to disinfecting surfaces individually, and it worked, but not completely. This technique, known as fogging, can only be used in spaces that can be cleared out and contained, like bathrooms, for example. “I think we need that technology, and that technology is really, really important, but how the heck we’re going to develop it? I’m at a loss for words.”

From an individual perspective, the best you can do is get yourself far away from a vomiting incident; Jaykus recommends at least 100 feet. If you were in the middle of a meal at a restaurant and someone at the next table threw up, you’d probably be wise to stop eating, and to wash yourself and your clothes when you are able.

From the perspective of a restaurant owner, the best course of action is to do a really, really good job of the cleanup. Commercial vomit and fecal matter cleanup kits are catching on with bigger companies in the foodservice industry, says Jaykus. They provide personal protection, including disposable coveralls and respirator masks, in addition to the material required to pick up and wipe down the mess.

Storytelling has structure

Don’t just say people need to be educated. Figure out how to tell the risk story.

We’ve talked about storytelling a lot on barfblog. Doug and I published a couple of papers a few years ago on using narratives to impact food safety behaviors (here and here). Doug has always stressed the importance of not only being a good storyteller, but that there’s structure to a good story.

I just watched Don Schaffner give a talk on food safety risk assessment at the Dubai International Food Safety Conference and while some might consider it a dry concept, Don told two stories that exemplified how it all works.

A recent podcast name check caused me to check out Community and Rick and Morty creator Dan Harmon and his storytelling circle (right, exactly as shown, from an excellent old Wired article).

And there’s this classic from Kurt Vonnegut.

 

Eating broken glass sucks; Trader Joe’s salad recalled

Friend of barfblog and mentor Tanya MacLaurin told me a story when I was in grad school that I still use when telling folks about physical hazards.

It goes sorta like this (or this is the version I remember):

Tanya was running food services at Kansas State and had a really big event with donors and university administrators. She came into the kitchen and saw her staff picking something out of a couple of hundred of salads that were prepped and ready to go our for service. Someone had broken a fluorescent light that was situated over the staging area and everyone was scrambling to pick out the glass.

A great risk manager, Tanya shut down the coverup operation.

Glass removal by eyesight isn’t a great critical control point.

In related news, a supplier of Trader Joe’s salads is recalling a whole bunch of prepared salads due to glass contamination.

Green Cuisine, a San Fernando, Calif. establishment, is recalling approximately 36,854 pounds of chicken and turkey salad products that may be contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically hard silica and glass fragments, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The ready-to-eat chicken and turkey salads were produced from Nov. 4 – 15, 2017. The following products are subject to recall:

* 10.5-oz. clear plastic individual serving packages containing “TRADER JOE’S White Meat Chicken Salad with celery, carrots and green onions” with a “Use By” date of November 10 – 21, 2017.

* 11.0-oz. clear plastic individual serving packages containing “TRADER JOE’S CURRIED WHITE CHICKEN DELI SALAD with toasted cashews, green onion and a bit of honey” with a “Use By” date of November 10 – 21, 2017.

* 10.25-oz. clear plastic individual serving packages containing “TRADER JOE’S TURKEY CRANBERRY APPLE SALAD TURKEY BREAST MEAT WITH SWEET DRIED CRANBERRIES, TANGY GREEN APPLES, PECANS AND SAGE” with a “Use By” date of November 10 – 21, 2017.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “P-40299” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to retail locations in the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington.

RIP Malcolm Young

Today it is with deep heartfelt sadness that AC/DC has to announce the passing of Malcolm Young.

Malcolm, along with Angus, was the founder and creator of AC/DC.
With enormous dedication and commitment he was the driving force behind the band.

As a guitarist, songwriter and visionary he was a perfectionist and a unique man.

He always stuck to his guns and did and said exactly what he wanted.

He took great pride in all that he endeavored.

His loyalty to the fans was unsurpassed.

.As his brother it is hard to express in words what he has meant to me during my life, the bond we had was unique and very special.

He leaves behind an enormous legacy that will live on forever.

Malcolm, job well done.

Hire me: Looks like youse could use some editors

US: FDA takes steps to build a stronger workforce

Scott Gottlieb

https://blogs.fda.gov/fdavoice/index.php/2017/11/fda-takes-steps-to-build-a-stronger-workforce/

I’m a Canadian, U.S. and Australian citizen (and maybe UK too), my scientific c.v. doesn’t suck, so I’ll work anywhere (and I’m cute with puppies, 15 years ago).

FDA faces challenges related to building and maintaining a diverse, talented, and dedicated professional workforce. The agency’s responsibilities increasingly demand a staff with specialized skills; and our own process sometimes doesn’t fully support our ability to recruit and retain the people we need. Congress has given FDA new resources and authorities to build and maintain our talented workforce. But the agency still needs to do more to expand on these opportunities and solidify our workforce.

A few months ago, I announced that FDA is taking action to build a stronger workforce by making key process improvements related to hiring and retention. Our people are the agency’s most important asset. We need to invest in our approach to how we hire and retain our staff.

To achieve this goal, we’ve established an FDA Hiring Initiative to reimagine the agency’s hiring practices and procedures with the goal of attracting, recruiting, hiring and retaining professionals who will support FDA’s mission. As part of that initiative, I requested a comprehensive evaluation of our hiring practices and procedures.

Today, FDA is releasing the Initial Assessment of FDA Hiring and Retentionreport. This comprehensive survey identifies the root causes of our current challenges and provides a roadmap for our future.

Building and retaining talented staff is critical to FDA’s ability to meet our public health mission. We’re launching a comprehensive effort to streamline our hiring practices with a focus on recruiting and retaining a world-class workforce. As a first step, FDA will hold a public meeting later this month to share the results of the report, our thinking for overhauling the hiring process, and to solicit public comment.

We’ll also be getting feedback from FDA staff since our people have the best perspective on the challenges they see recruiting the best and brightest people, and keeping them at FDA.

We also intend to conduct a hiring pilot early next year that will leverage the key findings from the initial assessment and that will modernize and streamline hiring practices by using new IT tools and eliminating unnecessary processes. The pilot will focus on the end to end hiring process beginning with the day the need for new staff is identified to the day a candidate is hired. It will directly align our administrative hiring procedures with the scientific objectives of our programsThe new, more efficient approach in the pilot will focus on hiring several critical occupations in the medical product areas to support commitments of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) VI and the Biosimilar User Fee Act (BsUFA) II.

As part of the initiative, we’ve established a Scientific Staffing team that will focus on recruiting scientists and conducting proactive outreach to professional associations and academia. Our scientific recruitment team will develop digital and social media tools, which will provide FDA with modern recruitment and outreach techniques. These efforts, combined with the successes of the hiring pilot, will yield a future state of efficient, consistent, processes that helps us get the right people in the right roles to achieve results.

The soul of FDA and our public health mission is our people. Retaining the people who help us achieve our successes is as important as recruiting new colleagues to help us meet our future challenges. 

 

Campylobacter uses other organisms to multiply and spread

Campylobacter spp. are extremely sensitive to environmental conditions and do not multiply at temperatures below 30C, however, they can survive temperatures as low as 4C for several months. They remain to be a prevalent pathogen on chicken and identified as a source of many outbreaks associated with unpasteurized milk.

Kingston University researchers have found that Campylobacter jejuni can multiply and spread using another organism’s cells.

Kingston University researchers have shown how a leading cause of bacterial food poisoning can multiply and spread – by using another organism’s cells as a Trojan horse.
Campylobacter jejuni is one of the most common causes of gastroenteritis in the United States and Europe, often infecting humans through raw or undercooked poultry. The new study revealed how the bacteria can infiltrate micro-organisms called amoebae, multiplying within their cells while protected inside its host from harsh environmental conditions.
As well as leading to a better understanding of how bacteria survive, the research could help efforts to prevent the spread of infection, according to lead author and PhD student Ana Vieira.
“Establishing that Campylobacter can multiply inside its amoebic hosts is important, as they often exist in the same environments – such as in drinking water for chickens on poultry farms – which could increase the risk of infection,” she said. “The amoeba may act as a protective host against some disinfection procedures, so the findings could be used to explore new ways of helping prevent the bacteria’s spread by breaking the chain of infection.”
The relationship between Campylobacter and amoebae has been hotly debated in scientific circles – with conflicting findings in previous studies as to whether the bacteria multiply inside, or only in the beneficial environment around, amoebae cells.
The Kingston University team used a modification of a process that assesses the bacteria’s ability to invade cells – called the gentamycin protection assay – to confirm they can survive and multiply while inside the amoeba’s protective environment.
This allows Campylobacter to thrive, escaping the amoeba cells in larger numbers – shining a light on how it spreads and causes disease, professor of microbiology Andrey Karlyshev, a supervisor on the study, explained.
“Our research gives us a better understanding of bacterial survival,” he said. “Because amoebae are widespread, we have shown how Campylobacter bacteria are able to use them as a Trojan horse for infection of the food chain. Otherwise they wouldn’t survive, as they are very sensitive to the environment.”
As part of the study, the researchers showed how a system used by the bacteria to expel toxins – known as a multidrug efflux pump – plays a key role in its ability to thrive within the amoebae.
The team examined how this system helps the bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, which could lead to new methods of preventing resistance from developing, Professor Karlyshev added.
“Campylobacter is becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics because of their wide use on humans and animals,” he said. “Due to its role in antibiotic resistance and bacterial survival in amoebae, the efflux pump could prove to be a good target for the development of antibacterial drugs.
“Targeting the bacterial factors required for survival within amoebae could help to prevent Campylobacter from spreading in the environment and colonising chickens. This is turn could help reduce its ability to enter the food chain and cause disease in humans.”

 

‘Look where some people poo’ Global citizen’s Taylor Swift parody

Yasmine Gray of Billboard writes  Global Citizen — a social action platform dedicated to solving the world’s biggest problems — released a Taylor Swift parody video for a cause. Bringing attention to one of the most pressing issues in global development, the “Look What You Made Me Do” spoof draws attention to sanitation and toilet access.

Worldwide, 4.5 billion people lack access to safe and working toilets and sanitation, while 892 million people are forced to defecate outside in the open or into bodies of water. Poor sanitation is linked to the transmission of many deadly diseases, including cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid, and polio, and 3.4 million people — mostly children — die from water-related diseases each year, with one in nine child deaths caused by diarrhea.

“Look Where Some People Poo” is the latest in a series of musical parodies Global Citizen has created to educate and inspire people around the world to take action. Past videos have included an Adele parody about calling Congress and a Bruno Mars parody concerning women’s rights.

Ahead of World Toilet Day (Nov. 19), the organization is asking supporters to sign a petition calling on the World Bank to commit to prioritizing basic sanitation.