Robert Mancini

About Robert Mancini

Robert Mancini hosted and provided research for the television series “Kitchen Crimes” for Food Network Canada, H.G. T.V. (U.S.) and Discovery Asia. He is currently a certified Public Health Inspector in Manitoba and the health protection coordinator/specialist in food safety for Manitoba Health. He holds a Master’s Degree in Food Safety through Kansas State University. He enjoys playing with his 3-year old boy, violin, and running.

The power of lemons


Every morning I am awaken to the sound of my preprogrammed espresso machine grinding beans. With young kids at home and my slowly aging body, this is a necessity. Anyone with kids can certainly relate. However, before departing for work, my wife and I have a shot of lemon juice for a number of health reasons. Last week I visited the dentist and apparently the acidity from the lemons was slowly corroding my teeth. I neglected to mention that we also add a splash of vinegar to the juice for added benefit. First time I ever heard my dentist laugh and swear. I guess I need something alkaline to balance all of the acidity.

Maggie Angst of the Insider  reports:

Adding a lemon wedge to your water can help shake up the dull beverage and help you reach your recommended 10 to 15 cups of water a day.
Lemon water is touted by experts and celebrities for its long list of benefits including preventing dehydration, assisting with digestion, and supporting weight loss.
But, like most things in life, you can have too much of a good thing.
Here are six dangerous things that can occur when you drink too much lemon water. Keep in mind most of these would take quite a bit of lemon juice before becoming a problem.
It can damage your teeth.
Although a squeeze of lemon in your water every day may seem harmless, it can wreak some major havoc on your pearly whites.
Since lemons are highly acidic, frequent exposure can erode your tooth enamel, the American Dental Association warns. If you’re not sure what eroded enamel would look like, imagine your teeth with a yellow tint and a coarse feeling when you touch them to the tongue.
If that doesn’t convince you to skip the lemon wedge, at least try to drink it out of a straw to cut down on the acid exposure on your teeth.
It can upset your stomach.
Too much of anything is a bad thing, even when it comes to lemon water.
While lemon juice contains a wide range of health benefits, squeezing too much in your water can cause dangerous side effects to your health including worsening ulcers and developing GERD, Livestrong reports.
GERD, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disorder, is triggered by acidic foods like lemon juice and can cause heartburn, nausea, and vomiting.
Lemon skins serve as a host for unpleasant organisms.
If you’re a germaphobe, you may want to steer clear of putting lemon wedges in your water — at least in a restaurant.
In a 2007 study in the Journal of Environmental Health, researchers tested the rinds and flesh of lemons from more than 21 restaurants. In conclusion, they found that nearly 70% of the lemons contained organisms such as E. Coli, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
To avoid the germs, squeeze the lemon instead your drink instead of dropping the whole wedge inside your glass.
Using concentrated lemon juice can cause cavities.
Growing up, you were probably instructed not to eat too much candy or you would get cavities. Well, it turns out candy isn’t the only culprit of tooth decay.
According to Healthline, cavities are a result of damaging bacteriathat digest the sugar in foods and produce acids. Although lemon water on its own may not lead to the development of cavities, if you typically sweeten it with sugar or use concentrated lemon juices instead of a freshly squeezed lemon, then you could have a problem on your hands… and teeth.
You may worsen canker sores.
Nothing is worse than waking up to the painful irritation of a newly formed canker sore in your mouth.
While most canker sores will clear up on their own within a week or two, coping with the uncomfortable annoyance for even that long can feel like forever.
If you drink lemon water while dealing with a mouth sore, you’re probably making it worse without realizing it. Lemon water can do more damage to your mouth than just decay your tooth enamel, it also has the potential to exacerbate canker sores and irritate mouth sores, according to the American Dental Association.
Citrus fruits may trigger migraines.
If you deal with headaches or migraines of any nature, it’s safe to say you don’t want to take any chances by eating or drinking something that could trigger them. And citrus fruits, including lemons, are among that category.
Some studies over the years have discovered a connection between migraines and citrus fruits, while a handful of others have not proven a link. Still, citrus fruits like lemons are on doctors’ radars as a possible trigger for migraines, Rebecca Traub, a neurologist with ColumbiaDoctors, told Health.

Probiotics as a means to improve the safety of cantoloupes

A couple of weeks ago I was hit with a horrible case of strep throat. I was off from work for week, stuck in bed with a fever hovering around 40C. Naturally, the doctor prescribed some potent antibiotics which took care of the strep and essentially everything else. My naturopath prescribed probiotics to deal with the aftermath. A food safety researcher and his team from College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources are looking at probiotics to improve the safety of cantoloupes.

Elaina Hancock reports

Just as probiotics can bring a wide range of benefits to your health, they can also make produce safer, according to new UConn research on cantaloupes.
This is good news, because the bumpy, net-like surface of a cantaloupe provides plenty of hiding places for bacteria to attach and weather the washing and disinfection steps in processing, allowing safe passage for pathogens to consumers’ plates.
This corrugated surface is likely the reason why cantaloupes have frequently hit the headlines in the past 10 to 15 years as the source of foodborne illness, says Professor Kumar Venkitanarayanan, a food safety specialist in the College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources, who has been researching ways to improve the microbial safety of cantaloupes.
Chlorine is used as an industry standard for disinfecting fresh fruits and vegetables to improve safety and shelf-life of the food, says Venkitanarayanan. Chlorine is effective, but not 100 percent effective, especially in the case of cantaloupes.
In an earlier study on the efficacy of different chemical disinfectants for the tricky-to-clean cantaloupe, Venkitanarayanan and his team of researchers came across something surprising.
The experiments involved washing one group of cantaloupes with chlorine, and omitting the chlorine wash on another, then inoculating both groups with typical foodborne illness-causing bacteria, such as Salmonella or Listeria. Surprisingly, the results showed the pathogenic bacteria were more persistent on the surfaces of the cantaloupes that were treated with chlorine.
“Chlorine was not only not very effective at removing the pathogens, but maybe it removed the normal beneficial bacterial flora, the probiotics,” says Venkitanarayanan. Probiotics that may be keeping pathogenic bacteria from establishing themselves on the fruit.
Probiotics are used widely these days in hopes of improving various aspects of health, from digestion to depression, but they are also used in the prevention of plant disease and for improving soil health, and Venkitanarayanan says he became interested in applying these principles to food safety.
He and his research team set out to look at probiotics that have been used effectively as biosanitizers for the control of plant and soil pathogens. Settling on five to eight types of bacteria, they tested the abilities of these probiotics to prevent the growth of pathogenic bacteria on circular rinds of cantaloupe.
The researchers then inoculated the rinds with either the pathogen, the probiotics, or both. They simulated what would happen to the cantaloupe in the environment, by keeping the rinds at room temperature, as they would be in the field or in a store’s produce section.
“The results were that the probiotics worked very well,” says Venkitanarayanan says. “They were effective in reducing the pathogen, and the probiotics survived well on the surface.”
And the probiotics surpassed chlorine’s efficacy in disinfecting the surface of the cantaloupe.
In addition to the potential for avoiding the use of chemical disinfectants on produce, probiotics also bring environmental benefits.
“Chemical means of disinfection can be helpful, but we don’t know what long-term effects they have on the soil bacteria if disinfectants are applied pre-harvest,” says Venkitanarayanan. “With probiotics, we know they are helpful for the soil.”
Although the study itself was small, he says the results are paving the way for further studies into probiotic applications for food safety. For example, he notes that many of these same probiotics help prevent biofilm formation. This is a concern because Listeria, a common foodborne illness-causing bacteria, can form biofilms in processing plants.
Currently, the team are looking into different types of probiotics, experimenting with different mixes to find the most effective candidates for future studies. They are also looking at ways to ease the process of applying the probiotics.
“It is not easy to work with the whole cantaloupes,” Venkitanarayanan says. “It’s difficult to mimic the uniform application we get when working with the smaller rind discs. That is what we need to optimize now.”
Probiotic sprays for produce are not yet available for use at home, but to learn about other food safety practices you can implement now, visit the UConn College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources’ Food Safety website.

 

Storytelling is more effective than PowerPoint

Food safety training and effective communication involves a myriad of techniques and behavior-based solutions in order to be compelling. The power of narration or story-telling is underrated and should be used more often as a way to inform the public on food safety than simply using PowerPoint. The CEO of Amazon has eliminated the use of PowerPoint in their executive meetings as a means to be more productive.

In his 2018 annual letter, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos repeated his rule that PowerPoint is banned in executive meetings. What Bezos replaced it with provides even more valuable insight for entrepreneurs and leaders.

In his letter, and in a recent discussion at the Forum on Leadership at the Bush Center, Bezos revealed that “narrative structure” is more effective than PowerPoint. According to Bezos, new executives are in for a culture shock in their first Amazon meetings. Instead of reading bullet points on a PowerPoint slide, everyone sits silently for about 30 minutes to read a “six-page memo that’s narratively structured with real sentences, topic sentences, verbs, and nouns.”

After everyone’s done reading, they discuss the topic. “It’s so much better than the typical PowerPoint presentation for so many reasons,” Bezos added.

As a student of narrative storytelling in business for the past 20 years, I can tell you exactly why it’s so much better.

1. Our brains are hardwired for narrative.
Narrative storytelling might not have been as critical for our survival as a species as food, but it comes close.

Anthropologists say when humans gained control of fire, it marked a major milestone in human development. Our ancestors were able to cook food, which was a big plus. But it also had a second benefit. People sat around campfires swapping stories. Stories served as instruction, warning, and inspiration.

Recently, I’ve talked to prominent neuroscientists whose experiments confirm what we’ve known for centuries: The human brain is wired for story. We process our world in narrative, we talk in narrative and–most important for leadership–people recall and retain information more effectively when it’s presented in the form of a story, not bullet points.

2. Stories are persuasive.
Aristotle is the father of persuasion. More than 2,000 years ago he revealed the three elements that all persuasive arguments must have to be effective. He called these elements “appeals.” They are: ethos, logos, and pathos. Ethos is character and credibility. Logos is logic–an argument must appeal to reason. But ethos and logos are irrelevant in the absence of pathos–emotion.

Emotion is not a bad thing. The greatest movements in history were triggered by speakers who were gifted at making rational and emotional appeals: Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.; and John F. Kennedy, who blended science and emotion to inspire America’s moon program.

Neuroscientists have found emotion is the fastest path to the brain. In other words, if you want your ideas to spread, story is the single best vehicle we have to transfer that idea to another person.

“I’m actually a big fan of anecdotes in business,” Bezos said at the leadership forum as he explained why he reads customer emails and forwards them to the appropriate executive. Often, he says, the customer anecdotes are more insightful than data.

Amazon uses “a ton of metrics” to measure success, explained Bezos. “I’ve noticed when the anecdotes and the metrics disagree, the anecdotes are usually right,” he noted. “That’s why it’s so important to check that data with your intuition and instincts, and you need to teach that to executives and junior executives.”

Bezos clearly understands that logic (data) must be married with pathos (narrative) to be successful.

The rest of the story can be found here.

Improving food inspections through effective scheduling

To properly assess a food establishment for compliance with local food safety regulations is a science and an art. They take time and energy.
The science is applying risk assessment to determine the severity of the public health violation and the art is being able to effectively communicate the findings to the operator or Person-in-Charge. On-site training of the cited violations is an additional effort conducted by inspectors time permitting.
A recent study “How Scheduling Can Bias Quality Assessment: Evidence from Food Safety Inspections,” co-written by Maria Ibáñez and Mike Toffel, looks at how scheduling affects workers’ behavior and how that affects quality or productivity. In the study the authors suggest reducing the amount of given inspections during the day as fatigue will negatively affect the quality of successive inspections . As such a cap on inspections should be implemented to correct this issue. As much as I agree with this statement, the problem stems from inadequate resources to hire more staff to conduct inspections. Many inspectors are generalists meaning that on any given day they may be required to inspect a restaurant, on-site sewage system, playground, pool and deal with any environmental health issues that arise. Unfortunately, quality is sometimes sacrificed by quantity simply due to a lack of staff.

Carmen Nobel reports:

Simple tweaks to the schedules of food safety inspectors could result in hundreds of thousands of currently overlooked violations being discovered and cited across the United States every year, according to new research about how scheduling affects worker behavior.

The potential result: Americans could avoid 19 million foodborne illnesses, nearly 51,000 hospitalizations, and billions of dollars of related medical costs.

Government health officers routinely drop in to inspect restaurants, grocery stores, schools, and other food-handling establishments, checking whether they adhere to public health regulations. The rules are strict. Food businesses where serious violations are found must clean up their acts quickly or risk being shut down.

Yet each year some 48 million Americans get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die due to foodborne illnesses, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The research is detailed in the paper “How Scheduling Can Bias Quality Assessment: Evidence from Food Safety Inspections,” co-written by Maria Ibáñez, a doctoral student in the Technology and Operations Management Unit at Harvard Business School, and Mike Toffel, the Senator John Heinz Professor of Environmental Management at HBS, experts in scheduling and in inspections, respectively.

“The more inspections you have done earlier in the day, the more tired you’re going to be and the less energy you’re going to have to discover violations”

“This study brought together Maria’s interest in how scheduling affects workers’ behavior and how that affects quality or productivity, and my interest in studying the effectiveness of inspections of global supply chainsand of factories in the US,” Toffel says.

Timing is everything

Previous research (pdf) showed that the accuracy of third-party audits is affected by factors such as the inspector’s gender and work experience. Ibáñez and Toffel wanted to look at the effect of scheduling because it’s relatively easy for organizations to fix those problems.

The researchers studied a sampling of data from Hazel Analytics, which gathers food safety inspections from local governments across the United States. The sample included information on 12,017 inspections by 86 inspectors over several years; the inspected establishments included 3,399 restaurants, grocers, and schools in Alaska, Illinois, and New Jersey. The information contained names of the inspectors and establishments inspected, date and time of the inspection, and violations recorded.

In addition to studying quantitative data, Ibáñez spent several weeks accompanying food safety inspectors on their daily rounds. This allowed her to see firsthand how seriously inspectors took their jobs, how they made decisions, and the challenges they faced in the course of their workdays. “I’m impressed with inspectors,” she says. “They are the most dedicated people in the world.”

Undetected violations

Analyzing the food safety inspection records, the researchers found significant inconsistencies. Underreporting violations causes health risks, and also unfairly provides some establishments with better inspection scores than they deserve. According to the data, inspectors found an average 2.4 violations per inspection. Thus, citing just one fewer or one more violation can lead to a 42 percent decrease or increase from the average—and great potential for unfair assessments across the food industry, where establishments are judged on their safety records by consumers and inspectors alike.

On average, inspectors cited fewer violations at each successive establishment inspected throughout the day, the researchers found. In other words, inspectors tended to find and report the most violations at the first place they inspected and the fewest violations at the last place.

The researchers chalked this up to gradual workday fatigue; it takes effort to notice and document violations and communicate (and sometimes defend) them to an establishment’s personnel.

“The more inspections you have done earlier in the day, the more tired you’re going to be and the less energy you’re going to have to discover violations,” Ibáñez says.

They also found that when conducting an inspection risked making the inspector work later than usual, the inspection was conducted more quickly and fewer violations were cited. “This seems to indicate that when inspectors work late, they are more prone to rush a bit and not be as meticulous,” Toffel says.

The level of inspector scrutiny also depended on whatever had been found at the prior inspection that day. In short, finding more violations than usual at one place seemed to induce the inspectors to exhibit more scrutiny at the subsequent place.

“This seems to indicate that when inspectors work late, they are more prone to rush a bit and not be as meticulous”

For example, say an inspector is scheduled to inspect a McDonald’s restaurant and then a Whole Foods grocer. Suppose McDonald’s had two violations the last time it was inspected. If the inspector now visits that McDonald’s and finds five or six violations, the inspector is likely to be particularly meticulous at the Whole Foods next on the schedule, reporting more violations than she otherwise would.

That behavior may be because inspectors put much effort into helping establishments learn the rules, create good habits, and improve food safety practices.

“It can be frustrating when establishments neglect these safety practices, which increases the risk of consumers getting sick,” Ibáñez says. “When inspectors discover that a place has deteriorated a lot, they’re disappointed that their message isn’t getting through, and because it poses a dangerous situation for public health.”

On the other hand, finding fewer violations than usual at one site had no apparent effect on what the inspector uncovered at the subsequent establishment. “When they find that places have improved a lot since their last inspection, they just move on without letting that affect their next inspection.”

Changes could improve public safety

The public health stakes are high for these types of errors in food safety inspections. The researchers estimate that tens of thousands of Americans could avoid food poisoning each year simply by reducing the number of establishments an inspector visits on a single day. Often, inspectors will cluster their schedule to conduct inspections on two or three days each week, saving the other days for administrative duties in the office. While this may save travel time and costs, it might be preventing inspectors from doing their jobs more effectively.

One possible remedy: Managers could impose a cap on the maximum number of inspections per day, and rearrange schedules to disperse inspections throughout the week—a maximum of one or two each day rather than three or four.

In addition, inspectors could plan early-in-the-day visits to the highest-risk facilities, such as elementary school cafeterias or assisted-living facilities, where residents are more vulnerable to the perils of foodborne illnesses than the general public.

On the plus side, tens of thousands of hospital bills are likely avoided every year, thanks to inspectors inadvertently applying more scrutiny after an unexpectedly unhygienic encounter at their previous inspection.

“Different scheduling regimes, new training, or better awareness could raise inspectors’ detection to the levels seen after they observe poor hygiene, which would reduce errors even more and result in more violations being detected, cited and corrected,” Ibáñez says.

The authors estimate that, if the daily schedule effects that erode an inspector’s scrutiny were eliminated and the establishment spillover effects that increase scrutiny were amplified by 100 percent, inspectors would detect many violations that are currently overlooked, citing 9.9 percent more violations.

“Scaled nationwide, this would result in 240,999 additional violations being cited annually, which would in turn yield 50,911 fewer foodborne illness-related hospitalizations and 19.01 million fewer foodborne illness cases per year, reducing annual foodborne illness costs by $14.20 billion to $30.91 billion,” the authors write.

Lessons for inspections

While the study focuses on food safety inspections, it offers broad lessons for any manager who has to manage or deal with inspections.

“One implication is that bias issues will arise, so take them into account as you look at the inspection reports as data,” Ibáñez says. “And another is that we should try to correct them. We should be mindful about the factors that may bias our decisions, and we should proactively change the system so that we naturally make better decisions.”

 

Don’t wash your chicken or turkey before cooking

Washing chicken or turkey for that matter is a cross-contamination nightmare. Cook your bird to 74C (165F) and verify with a digital tip sensitive thermometer. No need for washing. If you’re in Canada, the temperature to inactivate Salmonella mysteriously jumps to 82C (180F) for whole poultry, depending on the jurisdiction.

No wonder the public gets confused.

It is true that people are what they eat. The foods we eat say a lot about our general body’s health. However, before eating any food, people are always advised to wash them, even before
cooking. However, did you know that there are some food types you don’t need to wash before cooking? Well, there are some foods you will wash before cooking while others should just be cooked straight away. Here are three major foods you should never wash before cooking:
Chicken
Washing chicken before cooking it is very wrong. People think rinsing a chicken removes germs and bacteria from it, which is never true. Salmonella, which commonly grows on chicken will only be killed when chicken is cooked at temperatures above 165 degrees. Washing it does nothing good for the chicken.
Eggs
Many people tend to wash eggs before breaking them to cook. However, this is just a waste of time as eggs have their own protective layer that prevents any bacteria from getting inside. More so, washing the eggs might remove this protective layer exposing them to contamination which will make them go bad faster.
Fish
People think washing fish will remove any bacteria on it. Washing fish will only be robbing it of its flavor. Just like the bacteria in chicken will be killed when cooing it, so will the bacteria in fish.
Therefore, before washing these three foods, just know that you will be washing off their flavor.

Poop and food don’t mix- KFC edition

Always a bad idea to prepare and serve food when there is a sewage back-up and no surprise it was caught on video.
Public health takes a back seat to monetary gains I guess. I’ve seen this before when I was in the field. When I was in the field as an inspector, the City informed me that there was a sewage break in the south end. I went to visit the affected food establishments to ensure they were closed and following proper protocols. Three restaurants were involved, 2 shut down but 1 continued to operate in sewage. I shut down the third and when I asked why they continued to operate, the manager played the ignorance card. Meanwhile, his staff were sloshing around in sewage back of house, no excuse for that.

Vanessa Vasconcelos of ABC 30 reports

Cell phone video shows the conditions Kentucky Fried Chicken employees say they were forced to work in last Tuesday. The fast-food restaurant at Kings Canyon and Willow took on several inches of dirty water in the kitchen area.
According to the Fresno County Health Department, it all started with a sewer line blockage. “They brought in a hydro-flush unit that uses high-pressure water to (clean) it and that caused the backed up water in the building as they were trying to get it unclogged,” said Health Department division manager Wayne Fox.
The worker who captured the images didn’t want to be identified, but says their daily operations continued; including serving customers. By Wednesday, health inspectors received a complaint and investigated.
Fox says, “staff was working to clean the place up. Our environmental health staff determined the place needed to be closed while they were doing that cleaning.” He added the site manager should have been trained enough to understand the severity of the violation.
They held an office hearing with senior management then conducted a re-inspection that determined they could resume business, “We wouldn’t take any chances. We take this very seriously we want all the food that anyone gets at a restaurant to be pure and wholesome.
Site supervisors at KFC and JEM restaurant management corporation — which manages the KFC — declined our requests for comment.
Health Department officials say this is only the third complaint in the last decade this particular KFC has received and the previous ones weren’t as severe. They include food temperature violations, pests and improper handling of food.
The KFC at Kings Canyon and Willow is back up and running, but management and all employees will be undergoing mandatory training and will develop an emergency plan so employees know what to do should this ever happen again.
If this does become a recurring problem, the restaurant will have its health permit revoked.

White Hart Inn implicated in a foodborne outbreak leaving 25 guests ill from a common gathering

The Food Standards Agency awarded the White Hart Inn a 1-star rating after a foodborne outbreak incident left 2 people hospitalized and others ill from a gathering.

Inspections are a snap shot in time, what did the previous inspections look like for this facility? Any trends identified?

When I was in the field, I had to contend with a severe lack of resources to conduct my work adequately, meaning that a high risk establishment that should have been inspected 4 -6 times within a given year may have seen 1 inspection.

What’s the point?

Staff accordingly, provide the necessary resources to conduct a proper health inspection and ensure management supports your endeavors. It’s about quality not quantity.

Richard Duggan of Essex Live reports:

He said they are still trying to work out what happened
A businessman who runs a country pub has spoken out after a number of his customers contracted a nasty sickness bug.
The White Hart Inn, in Swan Lane, Margaretting Tye, has recently been scrutinised by food hygiene inspectors after the majority of a party became ill following a meal on February 18.
Of the 33 guests who attended the meal, 25 became ill following the outing, with two having to go to hospital because their symptoms were so severe.
Owing to the number of individuals who became sick, Public Health England and Chelmsford Environmental Health launched an investigation.
Following the episode, the pub’s owner, Saran Duffy, has explained how the incident has affected the business and what plans are being put in place to address customers’ concerns.
“All I’m trying to do is run a business here and employ people,” he said.
“We had our food tested – it all passed with flying colours.

What food was tested? Was there remaining food from the day of the incident or new batch?

“In terms of food poisoning, we are not sure how that happened – I’m not saying anybody else is at fault.”
Mr Saran states that tests conducted as part of the inspection of the premises following the outbreak found the restaurant’s food was “safe”.
Statement from a Chelmsford City Council spokesperson following the sickness outbreak
“Chelmsford City Council and Public Health England (PHE) have been made aware that a number of people attending a celebratory meal at an Ingatestone pub suffered with symptoms common with infectious gastroenteritis, although this is yet to be confirmed.
“Chelmsford Environmental Health Officers have been working with PHE and the pub to provide hygiene and infection control advice to help stop the illness spreading.
“PHE has also advised the cases that are poorly what to do to aid recovery and prevent them spreading the germ to others.”
Michele Dawes, from Cranham, was a member of the party that visited the White Hart Inn and then became ill.
“I was ill for five days, really dreadful and some were hit harder than others,” she said.
“It was non-stop for eight hours at a time. Some people just had diarrhoea, some had sickness, some had both. A lot of people were both.
The White Hart Inn is in Margaretting, Ingatestone
“If you have seen that scene from Bridesmaids and there is three of us in our house.”
The large group met for lunch, but following the meal, many fell ill with stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea over the following days.
It is believed that the customers suffered with symptoms common with infectious gastroenteritis, although this is yet to be confirmed through the investigation.
What is infectious gastroenteritis?
Gastroenteritis is the inflammation of the guy caused by a virus or bacteria and a type of highly-infectious virus that can be spread. The symptoms are usually connected with sickness and diarrhoea and similar to food poisoning.
The symptoms:
Sudden diarrhoea
Feeling sick (nausea)
Being sick (vomiting)
Stomach ache or cramps
A high temperature of 38C or above
They usually start a few hours or days after picking up a bug.
Michelle contacted the pub after becoming ill and it was later revealed that two staff members had become unwell around the same time.
“When you’re that ill the last thing you want to do is pick up the phone,” she added.
“Everyone is okay, thats the main thing, I took it very seriously.
“The pub has done everything they could to help, I want to stress that.
“It’s a lovely pub and they were lovely about it.”
Once news of the sickness had spread, it had a knock-on effect of the pub’s business.
An inspection of the pub by officers from the Food Standards Agency on February 20 resulted in the business being awarded a one star rating, which means major improvement is necessary.
How are the food hygiene ratings for businesses decided?
There are three categories which make up a food hygiene rating.
Each one is individually graded and adds to the overall score for a business.
Overall ratings can be scored from zero to five.
Below is the most recent food hygiene rating for The White Hart:
Area inspected by food safety officer
Standards found
Hygienic food handling
Hygienic handling of food including preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage
Improvement necessary
Cleanliness and condition of facilities and building
Cleanliness and condition of facilities and building (including having appropriate layout, ventilation, hand washing facilities and pest control) to enable good food hygiene
Generally satisfactory
Management of food safety
System or checks in place to ensure that food sold or served is safe to eat, evidence that staff know about food safety, and the food safety officer has confidence that standards will be maintained in future.
Major improvement necessary
The pub has been awarded a rating of one star which means major improvement is necessary.
Despite the decision, Mr Saran is confident that changes made in the wake of the scandal will result in a more satisfactory rating, but accepts that he cannot “hasten” the re-inspection.
“They could revisit on any day but we will be prepared for it,” he added.
“We should be able to recover our rating from one star, otherwise it’s going to be a very difficult summer for everyone.
“I can only put my hands up and say we are trying and have everything we can within the remit of the environment agency and we look forward to their next visit.”
The White Hart Inn currently has an average rating of 4.5 stars from customers who have left reviews on Trip Advisor.

Mulit-state E. coli outbreak, source not yet identified

Kaitlyn Naples of KPAX reports:

A case of E.coli has been linked to 17 cases of sickness reported in several states, including two in Connecticut.
Officials from the Centers for Disease Control said the illnesses are linked to an outbreak of a “Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 infections.”
Officials from the CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service are investigating the recent outbreak.
No specific food item, grocery store, or restaurant chain has been identified as a source of the infections, health officials said.
“Illnesses started on dates ranging from March 22, 2018 to March 31, 2018. Ill people range in age from 12 to 84 years, with a median age of 41. Among ill people, 65% are female,” officials said.
A statement was released from Dr. Matthew Cartter from Connecticut Department of Public Health, which said in part, “We are assisting the CDC in investigating a multi-state outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections. It is still early in the investigation and no specific source of the infection has been identified so far. Most people infected with E. coli will develop diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting within 3-4 days of swallowing the germ. People who develop symptoms of E. coli, should seek medical care, contact their local health department to report the illness, and try to track what foods were eaten and restaurants visited in the days prior to becoming ill.”
No deaths have been reported.