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. »

London bakery fined $200k for using tennis racket to mash potatoes

Elizabeth Licata of the Daily Meal writes a London bakery was fined over $200,000 for failing to meet hygiene

Credit: Enfield Council

Between the tennis racket and the host of other health and hygiene violations, the Enfield Council fined the directors of the two bakeries £152,823, or $201,970.

‘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.

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. 

 

‘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.

 

 

Blame the kids: 20 sick at Hong Kong kindergarten

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating an outbreak of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) at a kindergarten in Tseung Kwan O, and hence reminded the public and management of institutions to maintain personal and environmental hygiene against AGE.
The outbreak involves 20 students, comprising 13 boys and seven girls aged 2 to 5, as well as two female staff members, who have developed vomiting, diarrhea and fever since November 4. Among them, seven students and one staff member sought medical attention, while one was discharged upon hospitalisation. All affected persons have been in a stable condition.

Officers of the CHP conducted a site visit and provided health advice to the staff of the school concerning proper and thorough disinfection, the disposal of vomit, and personal and environmental hygiene.

Same-sex marriage and thermometers promoted in Australia: Welcome to the naught years

Australian politicians decided to be good politicians, not leaders – because pioneers get arrows in their back – and threw the issue of same-sex marriage to a public mail-in vote. The yes side won by a 2:1 margin, thereby undermining the foundation of Western society (or so some say).

I say, who cares, let same sex people enjoy the benefits and grief of marriage like the rest of us.

Australian food safety week is Nov. 11-18, 2017.

The organizers have been to my church, and the theme is not hockey, but, “Is it done yet? Use a thermometer for great food, cooked safely every time.”

Stick it in.

The theme last year was“Raw and risky.”

Uh-huh.

These PR thingies are increasingly meaningless.

Chapman is coming over in Jan. or so, once our renovations are done.

Bring another batch of thermometers, buddy.

If a group wants to promote thermometer use, give them away.

According to a self-reported bullshit survey, 70% of Australians don’t know that 75°C is the safe cooking temperature for high-risk foods such as hamburgers, sausages and poultry. 75% of Australians surveyed also reported that there wasn’t a meat thermometer in their household and only 44% of those with a thermometer reported using is over the previous month.

Check out our media release Australians clueless about safe cooking temperatures – Use a thermometer for great food, cooked safely every time.

What’s in your weed?

In Hawaii, one of the testing labs certified by the state to check the quality of medical marijuana said they found contamination in more than half of the samples from the black market.   

The lab, Steep Hill Hawaii, says over 50 percent of the black market product had contaminants that included mold, yeast, and pesticides. 

The lab says that doesn’t mean all homegrown products are bad, but patients should be aware of what’s in their medicine. 

“I personally was shocked to find out how much stuff was in black market cannabis that you would never expect. E. coli, which comes from fecal matter. Salmonella, which comes from raw egg and chicken. We found that on product we tested,” said Michael Covington, of Steep Hill Hawaii. 

In Canada, CannaDrinks may be all the rage in some parts of the world, but there are some serious health concerns surrounding new products being formulated.

Sure it sounds cool, to order some cannabis-infused drinks at the bar for you and your buddies. However, a leading food safety expert is warning that these cool drinks may be dangerous, and the public (apparently) needs to take note.

While a $245 million deal was penned between Constellation Brands and Canopy Growth last week, for a 10 percent stake of CP, Canada’s largest cannabis producer, to produce the new CannaDrinks, Rick Holley claims the drinks are problematic, “[Producers] could screw this all up if they don’t get into the mechanics of how to safely prepare and develop new food products,” he said, adding, “They could kill people!”

BNN reported that Constellation Brands told them via email that the company, “has a long-standing commitment to producing products with the highest quality standards and that comply with all regulations.”

According to Lawrence Goodridge, a McGill University food safety expert (Larry, you’re an expert), alcohol has the advantage of killing bacteria and toxins in sealed bottles or cans, whereas cannabis-infused products may not, “Because cannabis is a plant, there are certain concerns — like the possibility of pesticides used in production, or the type of fertilizer used, or the potential presence of heavy metals that could be toxic to humans,” said Goodridge, adding that, “Bacteria like e-coli or listeria that could be on the plant and that could make it onto the food, whether it is drinks or edibles, the risk is the same — but alcohol is special because we know that helps to kill some of those toxins.”

Also, Sikora et al. identified a case of Hepatitis A associated with cannabis use.

We identified a case of acute Hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection linked to cannabis use. The local Public Health department received report of a man in his mid-20s with a classic presentation of hepatitis – jaundice, abdominal pain, vomiting, general malaise, and dark urine – as well as elevated serum aminotransferase levels and a positive anti-HAV IgM. Upon questioning, he reported no contact with ill individuals, or travel outside his metropolitan area. His exclusive source of water was the local municipal supply. He reported consuming mainly pre-packaged lower risk foods from large chain-style supermarket stores and eating at several local restaurants. While administering the questionnaire, the investigator identified that the patient smoked cannabis. Upon request, the patient agreed to provide a sample of cannabis for testing purposes. A viral elution of fresh cannabis leaves was completed. The sequences derived from the patient’s serum sample and the eluate from the cannabis leaves were identical, but did not match any other HAV sub-genotype 1B sequences from Canadian isolates within the National Microbiology Laboratory database. Hepatitis A virus can survive >60 days when dried and kept at room temperature and low humidity; HAV can remain infectious in water at room temperature for 300 days. It cannot be concluded with certainty that the cannabis was the source of the hepatitis A; however, as other sources were excluded, or were of lesser probability, the association of cannabis with his disease acquisition remains strong.