Doug Powell

About Doug Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Download C.V. »

UK pub kitchen shut after 62 diners report vomiting and diarrhea: Somerset

A day after The Morning Advertiser in Somerset, U.K. said with a straight face that only a few local restaurants had received a zero rating from the U.K. Food Standards Authority, a local pub has closed after at least 62 diners reported vomiting and diarrhea.

The Old Farmhouse in Nailsea, north Somerset, which is operated by Hall & Woodhouse and did not, apparently, receive a zero, will keep its kitchen shut while investigations from North Somerset Council and Public Health England (PHE) continue.


87 now sick from this kratom stuff in the U.S.

The investigation has expanded to include outbreak strains from three additional serotypes of Salmonella: Salmonella Javiana, Salmonella Okatie, and Salmonella Thompson.

The same strains of Salmonella Okatie and Salmonella Thompson were found in samples collected from kratom and from ill people.

47 more ill people from 25 states were added to this investigation since the last update on March 2, 2018.

At this time, CDC recommends that people not consume any brand of kratom in any form because it could be contaminated with Salmonella.

Kratom is also known as Thang, Kakuam, Thom, Ketom, and Biak.

Kratom is a plant consumed for its stimulant effects and as an opioid substitute.

CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella infections.

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that kratom is the likely source of this multistate outbreak.

No common brands or suppliers of kratom products have been identified at this time.

Because no common source of Salmonella-contaminated kratom has been identified, CDC is recommending against consuming any kratom.

Since the last update on March 2, 2018, investigators identified ill people infected with other types of Salmonella, including Salmonella Okatie, Salmonella Javiana, and Salmonella Thompson. Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence has linked these additional Salmonella illnesses to consuming kratom.

Health officials continue to collect various leftover and unopened kratom products to test for Salmonella contamination. Investigators in California collected leftover Phytoextractum brand kratom powder from an ill person in that state. The outbreak strain of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:b:- was identified in this sample. As a result of these findings, PDX Aromatics recalled kratom powder sold online between January 18, 2018 and February 18, 2018.

Investigators in Oregon and Utah collected kratom powder from retail locations and online retailers where ill people reported purchasing kratom. Outbreak strains of Salmonella Okatie and Salmonella Thompson were identified in these samples. No brand information was available for the kratom products collected in Oregon. The ill person in Utah purchased kratom powder from the website

State and local health officials continue to interview ill people to ask about the foods they ate and other exposures before they became ill. Forty (73%) of 55 people interviewed reported consuming kratom in pills, powder, or tea. Most people report consuming the powder form of kratom. People who reported consuming kratom purchased it from retail locations in several states and from various online retailers.

Despite the information collected to date about where ill people purchased kratom, a single common brand or supplier of kratom has not been linked to the outbreak. At this time, CDC recommends that people not consume any brand of kratom in any form because it could be contaminated with Salmonella and could make people sick. This investigation is ongoing and we will provide updates as needed.

Canada’s Good Butcher not so good: E. coli O157:H7 found in lean ground beef

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning the public not to consume the products described below due to possible E. coli O157:H7 contamination.

Check to see if you have the products in your home. If the products are in your home, do not consume them.

This warning was triggered by CFIA test results. The CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of these or other products. If products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through a Food Recall Warning.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these products.

Toilets’ water tanks confirmed to have caused norovirus in Pyeongchang

South Korea’s public health authorities have confirmed that the “water tanks of portable toilets” were the reason behind an outbreak of norovirus at the host city of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics that affected around 300 security personnel for the event last month. 

The authorities announced Sunday that the water tanks of mobile toilets were what caused the norovirus infection as a result of its epidemiological investigation of Horeb Youth Camp Center and other related facilities. According to the investigation, the genotype of the virus detected in water tanks was matched with those of patients. There had been around 570 portable lavatories set up during the Olympic period and ironically, water used to wash hands or brush teeth before leaving a toilet for the sake of hygiene was the culprit of infection.

In Indonesia, an elementary school teacher in Cempedak Lobang village, North Sumatra, appears to have escaped severe punishment, despite forcing one of her students to engage in a revolting punishment that could have easily endangered his health.

Last week, the parents of a student, identified by his initials MB, complained about their kid’s teacher, a woman with the initials RM, who subjected their son to needlessly vile corporal punishment simply because he didn’t bring his homework to school.

“My son was told to lick the toilet 12 times. But after four licks, he vomited,” said SH, MB’s mother, as quoted by Kompas yesterday.

(Considering the state of the toilet as shown in the picture below, it’s surprising that MB managed to get in any licks before throwing up…)

30 sick from Salmonella linked to raw frozen chicken thingies in Canada

In an outbreak that begin May 2017 and continues, the Public Health Agency of Canada is reporting 30 cases of Salmonella Enteriditis between May 2017 and February 2018.

The news release came out last Thursday, two days, one day after the feds reminded Canadians on the importance of properly cooking such this.

Use a thermometer.

Currently, there are 30 cases of Salmonella Enteritidis illness in four provinces: Alberta (2), Ontario (17), Quebec (7), and New Brunswick (4). Four individuals have been hospitalized. Individuals became sick between May 2017 and February 2018. The average age of cases is 32 years, with ages ranging from 1 to 73 years. The majority of cases (57%) are male.

Based on the investigation findings to date, exposure to poultry, including frozen raw breaded chicken products has been identified as a source of illness. Several individuals who became ill reported consuming a mix of poultry and frozen raw breaded chicken products. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is conducting a food safety investigation into a source of the outbreak. At this time, there is no food recall warning associated with this outbreak. The outbreak investigation is ongoing.

Frozen raw breaded chicken products may appear to be pre-cooked or browned but they contain raw chicken and should be handled and prepared no differently from other raw poultry products.

The safety of these products rests with the consumer who is expected to cook it, according to the directions on the package.

In 2015, industry voluntarily developed additional labelling on frozen raw breaded chicken products that included more prominent and consistent messaging, such as “raw,” “uncooked” or “must be cooked” as well as explicit instructions not to microwave the product and they voluntarily introduced adding cooking instructions on the inner-packaging bags.

Microwave cooking of frozen raw breaded poultry products including chicken nuggets, strips or burgers is not recommended because of uneven heating.

Use a digital food thermometer to verify that frozen raw breaded chicken products have reached at least 74°C (165°F). Insert the digital food thermometer through the side of the product, all the way to the middle. Oven-safe meat thermometers that are designed for testing whole poultry and roasts during cooking are not suitable for testing nuggets, strips or burgers.

Fifth person dies in Australia’s rockmelon listeria outbreak

An elderly man has died and a woman has miscarried as a result of the nationwide listeria outbreak, which has been linked to contaminated rockmelon.

Amy McNeilage of The Guardian reports the Victorian man in his 80s was the fifth person to die as a result of the outbreak.

The source of the outbreak has been traced to Rombola Family Farms in the Riverina region of NSW, according to authorities.

There have been at least 17 confirmed cases of listeria linked to the contaminated rockmelon, including two deaths in NSW and three in Victoria.

Victoria’s deputy chief health officer, Dr Brett Sutton, said all people affected so far ate the rockmelon before the national recall on 28 February. The latest cases have been linked to the outbreak through microbiological testing.

A miscarriage in Victoria was also linked to the outbreak, and a total 19 people – including those who died – had been affected across the country.

Hockey, facebook and years past

For all its flaws, facebook works.

I’ve apologized to my university sweet heart, I’ve unfriended a stalker, and I’ve caught up with childhood friends I never thought I would talk to again.

Yes, this is a Stand By Me moment.

When I was a pee wee AAA goalie in Brantford (that would have been about 12-years-old, in Ontario, Canada) this other kid appeared.

His name was Mike.

Mike Souliere.

(He’s bottom left, at the Leafs game in Buffalo, with what looks like his son, but how happy is the Sabres fan behind him?)

Mike was a better goalie than I was.

He’s also one of the few who still call me Boog.

I was so traumatized by reduced ice time that I calculated saves per minute for my father, who thought I had lost it.

Of course I had, I was 12.

I am reminded of such silliness when I coach.

Mike has gone on to have what seems to be a successful policing career, although I’m the one with the record.

I write this for nothing other than practice early in the morning – 6 a.m. ice times do that – and to say that facebook can be a useful tool to reach out to those in the weird and confusing times of adolescence.

Oh, and, damn you, Souliere. Damn you.


Listeria in SA: ‘Fuck you Doug’

Ms Patrick would be proud.

She was my grade 7 teacher and instilled in me an efficiency with words.

So when Seattle lawyer Bill Marler wrote me last night to say, “By the way Fuck you Doug,” I immediately thought, ‘By the way,’ is a waste of words.

Just say, Fuck you Doug.

The issue is 183 dead and 967 sick from Listeria in South Africa.

Every time I see Marler quoted as a food safety expert, I vomit a little bit in my mouth.

Rhetoric is the prose of lawyers.

I don’t like Rush, even though they played at my high school.



Restaurant liable in 2011 E. coli outbreak with 5 dead: Food safety disasters nothing new in Japan

In June 1996, initial reports of an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 in Japan surfaced in national media.

By July 1996, focus had centered on specific school cafeterias and two vendors of box lunches, as the number of illnesses approached 4,000. Lunches of sea eel sushi and soup distributed on July 5 from Sakai’s central school lunch depot were identified by health authorities as a possible source of one outbreak. The next day, the number of illnesses had increased to 7,400 even as reports of Japanese fastidiousness intensified. By July 23, 1996, 8,500 were listed as ill.

Even though radish sprouts were ultimately implicated — and then publicly cleared in a fall-on-sword ceremony, but not by the U.S. — the Health and Welfare Ministry announced that Japan’s 333 slaughterhouses must adopt a quality control program modeled on U.S. safety procedures, requiring companies to keep records so the source of any tainted food could be quickly identified. Kunio Morita, chief of the ministry’s veterinary sanitation division was quoted as saying “It’s high time for Japan to follow the international trend in sanitation management standards.”

Japanese health authorities were terribly slow to respond to the outbreak of E. coli O157:H7, a standard facilitated by a journalistic culture of aversion rather than adversarial. In all, over 9,500 Japanese, largely schoolchildren, were stricken with E. coli O157:H7 and 12 were killed over the summer of 1996, raising questions of political accountability.

The national Mainichi newspaper demanded in an editorial on July 31, 1996, “Why can’t the government learn from past experience? Why were they slow to react to the outbreak? Why can’t they take broader measures?” The answer, it said, was a “chronic ailment” — the absence of anyone in the government to take charge in a crisis and ensure a coordinated response. An editorial cartoon in the daily Asahi Evening News showed a health worker wearing the label “government emergency response” riding to the rescue on a snail. Some of the victims have filed lawsuits against Japanese authorities, a move previously unheard of in the Japanese culture of deference.

Fifteen years later, with at least four dead and 100 sick from E. coli O111 served in raw beef at the Yakiniku-zakaya Ebisu barbecue restaurant chain, Japanese corporate, political and media leaders are still struggling.

Anrakutei Co., a Saitama-based yakiniku barbecue chain, stopped serving yukke at its 250 outlets, mainly in the Kanto region, on Tuesday.

“We’ve been providing the dish to customers based on strict quality control, but customers’ concerns make it difficult to continue to serve it,” a public relations official of the company said.

Anrakutei said the company conducts bacteria tests on the Australian beef it uses for yukke three times–first before it is purchased, again before it is sent to the company’s meat processing plant and finally before it is shipped to outlets. At the plant, the meat is processed separately from other food materials to prevent it from coming into contact with bacteria, the company explained.

There is no discussion of what is being tested, and how valid those tests are at picking up a non-O157 shiga-toxin producing E. coli like O111 There is no verification that anyone is testing anything.

In the absence of meat goggles that can magically detect dangerous bacteria, eating raw hamburger remains a risk.

Today, the Tokyo District Court ordered restaurant chain operator Foods Forus Co. to pay ¥169 million ($1.58 million) to the families of three victims who died from food poisoning after eating raw meat at one of its barbecue restaurants in 2011.

While the court awarded damages to the plaintiffs, it ruled that the former president of Foods Forus, which is filing for special liquidation, was not guilty of gross negligence. The plaintiffs had sought around ¥209 million in damages and medical treatment expenses from the company and the former president.

Around 180 customers developed symptoms of food poisoning after dining at six Yakiniku-zakaya Ebisu restaurants in four prefectures — Kanagawa, Toyama, Ishikawa, and Fukui — in April 2011. A strain of E. coli, O-111, was found in many of the victims.

Five died due to illness. Nine plaintiffs, including the families of three who died after eating at the outlet in Tonami, Toyama Prefecture, sued the company and the former president in October 2014.

In February 2016, police investigated the former president on suspicion of professional negligence resulting in death or injury and sent the case to prosecutors. But the prosecutors decided not to indict him.

The families of the victims are considering filing a petition with a prosecution inquest panel in a bid to overturn the decision.