Doug Powell

About Doug Powell

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

Vaccines work: Fancy food ain’t safe food, Australia hep A edition

Get vaccinated.

The NSW Food Authority has issued an alert for diners of a top Sydney restaurant after a food handler employed there contracted Hepatitis A.

Any diners who ate at Sokyo restaurant in the Star Casino complex during September and October are being advised to contact their GP if they have any concerns.

The food handler, who works in the ‘hot food area’ in the restaurant’s kitchen, contracted the virus whilst travelling overseas. After being admitted to hospital with symptoms, hospital staff contacted the NSW Food Authority to advise of the issue after learning where the food handler worked.

NSW Food Authority performed a review the next day and concluded that processes and hygiene at the Sokyo restaurant are robust and that there there was a low risk of anyone being infected with no ongoing risk to other diners.

This Hepatitis A warning is unrelated to the current Hepatitis A outbreak occurring throughout Sydney.

Hare fever in Norway

(Something may be lost in translation.)

The veterinary institute has recently diagnosed hare fever (tularemia) with many hares and one dog – all from southern Norway. This indicates that the disease is relatively widespread in this area and people should be aware of it.

Harane with hare fever has been submitted from Agder, northern part of Buskerud and Inner Sogn during the last weeks. Tularemia (harepest) obsessed infection with the bacterium Francisella tularensis.

The bacterium can infect humans and many different animal species. The hare is particularly sensitive to infection and dying usually by blood poisoning few days after he has been infected. Dogs can be infected by catching or by eating smokers. Commonly, they develop transient disease.

Harepest (tularemia) is a disease that can be transmitted from animals to humans. Often it happens via drinking water, for example if dead mice or lem infect wells, streams and other water sources.

The danger of being infected with tularemia or other waterborne disease will always be present. After a lean year, the following year there may be dead animals still infectious. We therefore recommend that you follow the advice and measures for drinking water listed below for safety. It will prevent hare fever and other diseases from drinking water, especially the drinking water that is extracted from wells and other sources in nature.

Hundreds possibly sickened with Salmonella after jambalaya fundraiser in Louisiana

The Louisiana Department of Health is investigating a Salmonella outbreak at a fundraising event that has left dozens of people sick.

The department is calling the incident “a possible food-related gastrointestinal disease outbreak” in Caldwell Parish, which is located in Northeast Louisana. The fundraising event, which was supported by several local businesses, was held on Monday. During the event, attendees purchased plates of jambalaya, which is the suspected cause.

The health agency says as of Thursday, 49 cases of gastrointestinal illness have been confirmed with 31 people hospitalized. One person has died but officials are still working to determine if the person’s death was caused by the Salmonella outbreak. The victims’ ages range from 15 to 70 years old.

While only a few dozen people have reported sickness, the dish was served to at least 300 people. The agency expects more reports of illness in the next several days.

1 dead, 18 sick: Raw frozen chicken thingies strike again, in Canada

Sofina Foods Inc. of London, Ontario (that’s in Canada, not the UK), is recalling Janes brand frozen uncooked breaded chicken products from the marketplace due to possible Salmonella contamination. Consumers should not consume the recalled products described below.

This recall was triggered by findings by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) during its investigation into a foodborne illness outbreak. The CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.

Recalled products

Brand Name//Common Name//Size//Code(s) on Product//UPC

Janes//Pub Style Chicken Burgers – Uncooked Breaded Chicken Burgers//800 g//2018 MA 12//0 69299 12491 0

Janes//Pub Style Snacks Popcorn Chicken – Uncooked Breaded Chicken Cutlettes//800 g//2018 MA 15//0 69299 12542 9

The agency said frozen raw breaded chicken products may look pre-cooked, but they contain raw poultry and must be cooked correctly.

Been there, done that.

As we found back in 2007, when preparing frozen foods, adolescents are less likely than adults to wash their hands and are more susceptible to cross-contaminating raw foods while cooking.

“While half of the adults we observed washed their hands after touching raw chicken, none of the adolescents did,” said Casey Jacob, a food safety research assistant at Kansaas State. “The non-existent hand washing rate, combined with certain age-specific behaviors like hair flipping and scratching in a variety of areas, could lead directly to instances of cross-contamination compared to the adults.”

Food safety isn’t simple, and instructions for safe handling of frozen chicken entrees or strips are rarely followed by consumers despite their best intentions, said Doug Powell, K-State associate professor of food safety who led the study.

As the number and type of convenience meal solutions increases — check out the frozen food section of a local supermarket — the researchers found a need to understand how both adults and adolescents are preparing these products and what can be done to enhance the safety of frozen foods.

In 2007, K-State researchers developed a novel video capture system to observe the food preparation practices of 41 consumers – 21 primary meal preparers and 20 adolescents – in a mock domestic kitchen using frozen, uncooked, commercially available breaded chicken products. The researchers wanted to determine actual food handling behavior of these two groups in relation to safe food handling practices and instructions provided on product labels. Self-report surveys were used to determine whether differences exist between consumers’ reported food handling practices and observed behavior.

The research appeared in the November 2009 issue of the British Food Journal. In addition to Jacob and Powell, the authors were: Sarah DeDonder, K-State doctoral student in pathobiology; Brae Surgeoner, Powell’s former graduate student; Benjamin Chapman, an assistant professor at North Carolina State University and Powell’s former graduate student; and Randall Phebus, K-State professor of animal science and industry.

Beyond the discrepancy between adult and adolescent food safety practices, the researchers also found that even when provided with instructions, food preparers don’t follow them. They may not have even seen them or they assume they know what to do.

“Our results suggest that while labels might contain correct risk-reduction steps, food manufacturers have to make that information as compelling as possible or it will be ignored,” Chapman said.

They also found that observational research using discreet video recording is far more accurate than self-reported surveys. For example, while almost all of the primary meal preparers reported washing hands after every instance in which they touched raw poultry, only half were observed washing hands correctly after handling chicken products in the study.

Powell said that future work will examine the effectiveness of different food safety labels, messages and delivery mechanisms on consumer behavior in their home kitchens.

 Self-reported and observed behavior of primary meal preparers and adolescents during preparation of frozen, uncooked, breaded chicken products

01.nov.09

British Food Journal, Vol 111, Issue 9, p 915-929

Sarah DeDonder, Casey J. Jacob, Brae V. Surgeoner, Benjamin Chapman, Randall Phebus, Douglas A. Powell

http://www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContentItem.do;jsessionid=6146E6AFABCC349C376B7E55A3866D4A?contentType=Article&contentId=1811820

Abstract:

Purpose – The purpose of the present study was to observe the preparation practices of both adult and young consumers using frozen, uncooked, breaded chicken products, which were previously involved in outbreaks linked to consumer mishandling. The study also sought to observe behaviors of adolescents as home food preparers. Finally, the study aimed to compare food handler behaviors with those prescribed on product labels.

Design/methodology/approach – The study sought, through video observation and self-report surveys, to determine if differences exist between consumers’ intent and actual behavior.

Findings – A survey study of consumer reactions to safe food-handling labels on raw meat and poultry products suggested that instructions for safe handling found on labels had only limited influence on consumer practices. The labels studied by these researchers were found on the packaging of chicken products examined in the current study alongside step-by-step cooking instructions. Observational techniques, as mentioned above, provide a different perception of consumer behaviors.

Originality/value – This paper finds areas that have not been studied in previous observational research and is an excellent addition to existing literature.

South Korea McDonald’s offices raided after outbreak of HUS

The UK Daily Mail reports investigators have raided McDonald’s offices in Seoul, South Korea after allegations that several children fell ill after eating the U.S. chain.

At least five children have allegedly suffered life-threatening kidney disease as a result of an infection, after being served under-cooked hamburger patties at McDonald’s.

The raid on Wednesday saw the Seoul central district prosecutors’ office confiscated documents and evidence local news reports said.

Investigators also carried out raids at three other companies, including an ingredient supplier.

A spokeswoman at McDonald’s Seoul office confirmed the raid to Reuters, but gave no reason or further details.

In July, a consumer filed a complaint against the U.S. firm, saying her daughter was diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome – also known as hamburger disease – following the consumption of a McDonald’s hamburger last year.

The parent said that the four-year-old girl had been left with irreversible kidney damage.

Complaints were also filed by parents of four more children who became sick after eating McDonald’s burgers.

Salmonella-contaminated salami recalled from Aldi in Denmark for second time this year

The Local reports a brand of mini-salami sold at Aldi Nord has been recalled by the company Hans Kupfer & Sohn GmbH & Co after finding traces of Salmonella present. This follows a previous recall in September of the same product.

The Salami Piccolini, sold exclusively at Aldi North, was recalled by the manufacturer on Monday after consultation with the authorities.

The Bavarian company Hans Kupfer & Sohn GmbH & Co. KG have recalled batch number HKS170671 of the 100g packs of Mediterranean-type salami, with the use-by date 9.11.17, and have strongly advised against customers consuming the product if they have already bought it. 

The sausage was sold in branches of the Aldi Nord chain in Berlin and Hamburg, as well as in the federal states of Brandenburg, Hesse, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Lower Saxony, Nord Rhine Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein.

This is not the first time there have been problems with the product as, at the end of September, another batch of the mini-salami, with the serial number HKS169171 and the use-by date 22.10.2017, was recalled for the same reason.

 

Blame the consumer: India-style

Sindhu Bhattacharya of First Post reports the Indian Railways has blamed the passengers of Tejas Express for falling sick after eating food served on board.

Yes, without batting an eyelid, the world’s largest transporter has thought it fit to shrug off the embarrassment of having two dozen passengers down with food poisoning by conveniently saying their own doings – and the food that they were carrying – is to blame for the fiasco.

According to media reports, some of which quote a report by a three-member Central Railway Enquiry Committee, some children vomiting inside one coach could also be the culprits. Though how would 24 passengers suffer food poisoning if some kids threw up, remains a mystery.

Specially, since the kids who threw up were all in one coach, according to an IRCTC official we spoke to. This official also confirmed that passengers who fell sick were in different coaches, not all were in the same coach as the kids. Besides vomiting children, the Railways also wants to pin the blame on some fish that a group of Kolkatans was reportedly carrying, which stank, lead the kids to vomit and thereby somehow induced food poisoning in two dozen passengers.

This DNApiece is headlined “Not bad eggs or other food items, Hilsa caused food poisoning on Tejas Express” and goes on to say that in the report (on the food poisoning incident), the Central Railway has asserted “there was nothing wrong with the breakfast served to passengers. It has found that smell from stale fish had caused some children to vomit, triggering a similar response from other passengers. Some were taken ill after they consumed the fish.” It is not clear if the paper was in possession of the report or the entire piece has been strung together on source-based information. It is also not clear why anyone would carry stale fish, more than a fortnight old.

The Hindusays the samples collected for testing after the food poisoning incident were all packaged food items including soup powder, cake and mango punch. “However, the Railway authorities didn’t test the sample of the omelette that reportedly had a foul smell, as per its own inquiry report.” Why the omlettes or eggs were not tested is not known. The Hindu report goes on to add from the enquiry report of the Railways that “a few passengers complained of slightly different smell from omelette served to them. Quality of omelette may be ensured while serving.”

‘Many sick’ from crypto in Norway

Thanks to our Norwegian correspondent, we now know the Norwegian Food Safety Authority was notified on September 26, 2017, of a Cryptosporidium outbreak, and after talking to the sick, they could narrow the time of infection to 14-16. September,

The Food Safety Authority believes the people were infected at the Taqueros Taco & Tequila restaurant (because when I think Norway, I think tacos and tequila, not schnapps and raw fish).

The restaurant decided to shut one day to wash the premises when they heard about the outbreak and that the infection came from them.

The source of the infection was not found, but the Norwegian Food Safety Authority emphasizes that they do not discourage people from eating at the restaurant.

Specialist warden Erik Wahl in Mattilsynet in Trondheim and surroundings said, “We have reason to believe that the infection is now gone, as no people who have become ill after September 16 have not been reported. We have no reason to discourage people to eat at this restaurant.”

 

Australia still sucks at going public: Salmonella outbreak sickened 100 in March, shows up in annual report yesterday

In early March, 2017, more than 100 people reported becoming sick after dining at Ricardo’s Cafe in Canberra.

The outbreak was briefly noted in media accounts – only because so many people took to facebook – and then disappeared from public discussion.

Until yesterday.

According to ACT Health’s annual report there was a “disturbing” salmonella outbreak linked to Ricardo’s Cafe earlier this year.

Daniella White of The Age reports Ricardo’s was listed in the ACT Health report. 

None of the food outlets have faced prosecution, but ACT Health said it would provide reports on all three cases to the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions.

The biggest outbreak was associated with where 100 people reported suffering from gastroenteritis with 75 confirmed cases of Salmonella.

Of the confirmed cases 19 people were hospitalised, ACT Health said.

A second outbreak of Salmonella was also investigated about the same time with four confirmed salmonella infections from people who reported eating at Central Cafe in Gungahlin between January 30 and February 2.

Both cafes were found to have flaws in their food handling processes and procedures and forced to temporarily close.

Ricardo’s Cafe’s owner previously stated salmonella had been found on a dish cloth and tea towel in the cafe.

ACT Health said both cafes have been inspected since the outbreaks and found to be compliant.

A third Salmonella outbreak investigation was conducted in February and March, with 11 cases where people ate at the same restaurant over a five week period.

Several inspections of the premises did not identify any issues and the source of that outbreak remains unknown, ACT Health said.

It declined to identify the food outlet given it was found to be compliant and could not be held responsible for the outbreak.

An ACT Health spokesman said any foodborne outbreak was taken seriously by the Health Protection Service.

Associate professor Martyn Kirk, from ANU’s College of Health and Medicine said the food service industry had a responsibility to make sure it handled food safely and avoided high risk foods, such as raw eggs and improperly cured foods.

Going public: Early disclosure of food risks for the benefit of public health

Mar.17

NEHA, Volume 79.7, Pages 8-14

Benjamin Chapman, Maria Sol Erdozaim, Douglas Powell

http://www.neha.org/node/58904

Often during an outbreak of foodborne illness, there are health officials who have data indicating that there is a risk prior to notifying the public. During the lag period between the first public health signal and some release of public information, there are decision makers who are weighing evidence with the impacts of going public. Multiple agencies and analysts have lamented that there is not a common playbook or decision tree for how public health agencies determine what information to release and when. Regularly, health authorities suggest that how and when public information is released is evaluated on a case-by-case basis without sharing the steps and criteria used to make decisions. Information provision on its own is not enough. Risk communication, to be effective and grounded in behavior theory, should provide control measure options for risk management decisions. There is no indication in the literature that consumers benefit from paternalistic protection decisions to guard against information overload. A review of the risk communication literature related to outbreaks, as well as case studies of actual incidents, are explored and a blueprint for health authorities to follow is provided.