Melboune beware: Shit with dangerous E. coli can survive a long time in river sediment

Bed sediment resuspension is a potential source of faecal microorganisms in the water column of estuaries. As such, it is important to identify the survival of faecal microorganisms in these bed sediments and understand how bed sediment resuspension impacts the quality of estuarine waters.

This study explores the effect of bed sediment resuspension on Escherichia coli on concentrations in the water column and the persistence of E. coli in the water column and bed sediments of the Yarra River estuary in South‐Eastern Australia. Using sediment cores, we identified that the resuspension of both surficial sediments (e.g., by tidal movements) and deeper bed sediments (e.g., by large storm events) can increase E. coli concentrations in the water column by up to 20 times in estuaries in oceanic climates. Bed sediment resuspension can result in increased E. coli concentrations in the water column even up to 24 days after E. coli first enters the estuarine water.

This study demonstrates that faecal microorganisms, such as E. coli, can persist for extended periods in estuarine bed sediments, which may then be re‐entrained into the water column via recreational activities, high flow events, or tidal fluctuations. If the survival and resuspension processes observed here hold true for pathogenic microorganisms, the resuspension of bed sediments may indeed represent an increased public health risk.

Escherichia coli survival and transfer in estuarine bed sediments

C. Schang, A. Lintern, P. L. M. Cook, G. Rooney, R. Coleman, H. M. Murphy, A. Deletic, D. McCarthy

121 sick, 52 hospitalized, 14 with kidney failure and 1 death linked to Yuma romaine E. coli outbreak

I’m not sure in what universe, the-growing-area-has-stopped-harvesting is a useful explanation for an outbreak of foodborne illness that has sickened 121 and hospitalized almost 50 per cent.

And this picture from 12 years ago is still apt.

I’ll write a much more scathing indictment of the 10-year-experiment in self-fellatio practiced by the Leafy Greens Marketing Association in my upcoming book, Food Safety Fairy Tales.

For now, let it be known that according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, E. coli O157:H7 linked to romaine lettuce has sickened 121 people in 25 states.

52 people have been hospitalized, including 14 people who have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome.

One death was reported from California.

This investigation is ongoing, and CDC will provide updates when more information is available.

‘Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries’ There’s no taunting like a French taunting

I’ve applied for a bunch of Australian public service jobs, to pay the bills, support my family, but I loath myself for doing so.

I should just write.

Or taunt French people.

One of my applications got promoted to the next level, where I was required to complete a one-hour test to demonstrate fluency – I cannot make this up – in logical, verbal and numerical elements.

I probably failed, and that’s why the best and brightest get promoted upwards.

John Wilson of The Canberra Times writes that Monty Python were never accused of holding back from crude humour. One of their more memorable lines – “I fart in your general direction” – uttered by the Insulting Frenchman, fits this bill. Yet their scenes are often divorced from reality, skirting outside the bounds of the possible.

However you say it – flatulence, bum sneezes, letting one rip or plain old farting – it is (usually) an involuntary act that is met with embarrassment. This is particularly true in the office, where it certainly is not met with the triumphant gloating of the Insulting Frenchman.

So it may surprise some readers to learn that intentional farts are in fact frequently cited as sources of workplace grievances and evidence of bullying. Not only are accusations levelled that a colleague farted in their general direction, it is often the case that someone farted in their specific direction.

The rest of the story has the smelly details.

My five daughters all made fart jokes, until they reached puberty. Then it’s just embarrassing.

So, I’m savoring every moment of daughter Sorenne peeling one off in the morning and proudly proclaiming, ‘Excuse me, I farted.’

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:
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.
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.
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.

Bloody diarrhea is usually the clue: 5 sick in E. coli outbreak linked to Oklahoma daycare

The State Health Department confirms they are investigating several cases in children in the Moore area. The department says this is not related to the nationwide romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak but instead, the virus (it’s a bacterium) can be traced back to a Moore day care.

Neveah Bell is usually a very a happy and active baby. So earlier this month, it was obvious that something was very wrong. 

“She wouldn’t even lift up her head, she was not eating anything. She wouldn’t play with her toys. She just wanted to be held,” said Melissa Bell, Neveah’s grandmother and guardian.

The day before, Neveah came home sick from day care.

“She had some diarrhea that was pretty violent and had blood,” said Bell.

Neveah was admitted to the hospital.

Doctors eventually confirmed she had E. coli.

The State Health Department says they have identified five cases of E. coli that can be traced back to a Moore day care. But say that’s not all that unusual.

“Clusters of cases happen in group settings, especially in child care facilities that are interacting on a daily basis,” explained Laurence Burnsed and Epidemiologist with the Oklahoma Department of Health.

E. coli can be transmitted directly or through contamination of objects that children share. The Health Department says they are working with the day care to stop further spread. Symptoms include diarrhea, bloody stools and cramps and like in Neveah’s case, it can be very serious.

“This is a bacteria that if it gets into your blood stream or effects other organs, it can cause other complications. Some occurrences can result in death,” explained Burnsed.

After two weeks in the hospital, Neveah has fully recovered.  But her grandmother says it was a very scary time.

Raw (or undercooked) is risky: BC oyster edition

I’m not a huge oyster fan  I’ve only eaten raw ones a couple of times and steamed are a bit chewy. I’ll eat them baked or fried.

Raw oysters have been linked to over 170 cases of noro
in Canada – oysters from the same harvesting area we’re distributed to the US too.

One of my favorite noro outbreaks (for the science, not the illnesses) was this one linked to steamed oysters. Lightly steamed doesn’t reduce noro risk that much.

And BC oysters had a similar outbreak last year.

This is satire

It’s a big story when The Onion weighs in:

Saying that it would be a nice break from the health-conscious diet, a local E. coli bacterium announced Tuesday plans to treat itself to a little beef after weeks of eating nothing but salad. “Lately, I’ve been on this kick of just having romaine lettuce for every single meal, but it can’t hurt to cut myself some slack once in a while with a raw steak or a little ground chuck, right?” said the Escherichia coli strain, noting that while its regimen of salad mixes and hearts of romaine had made it feel much healthier and stronger, it was about time to reintroduce some protein into its diet. “I can’t wait to bite into a nice room-temperature hamburger, or maybe some uncooked beef sausages. Man, I’ve been craving beef for so long now that I’ll basically take whatever I find lying around.” The bacterium went on to justify the indulgence by saying that the added energy would come in handy during its upcoming trips to Iowa and Nebraska.


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.

1 dead, 36 sick with E. coli O157:H7 in Canada, linked to pork from meat shop in central Alberta

Keith Gerein of the Edmonton Journal writes The Meat Shop at Pine Haven, located on a Hutterite colony southeast of Wetaskiwin, announced Wednesday it had temporarily shut down and issued a voluntary recall of a number of its raw and ready-to-eat pork products.

A full list of the recalled items, including ground pork, chops, sausages, bacon and salami, was available on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website.

The products in question were sold or distributed by the shop between Feb. 19 and April 24, and included pork served by Mama Nita’s Binalot restaurant where the outbreak was first identified a month ago.

“This is our businesses, it’s our livelihood and the food safety of our products to consumers is the highest priority,” facility manager Tim Hofer said. “It’s a very difficult time for us, but we are doing the best we absolutely can to identify the problem, and once we have found it, to mitigate the risks. “

All 36 patients sickened by E. coli O157:H7 have been linked in one way or another to meat from the shop, said Dr. Jasmine Hasselback, medical officer of health, Edmonton zone, for Alberta Health Services.

Hasselback said tracing the bug’s origins proved to be complex and time-consuming, requiring nearly a month of detective work by public health officials.

The initial cluster of five infections was discovered in late March among patrons of the restaurant, but investigators were hampered by the fact the establishment used different meat suppliers. As well, it appeared not all of the infected patients had eaten pork.

“When you are looking at foods people ate at the restaurant, there actually wasn’t a consistent pattern at that time,” Hasselback said. “It wasn’t until we were able to start adding information regarding the individuals who were not linked to the restaurant that pork was able to come a little bit clearer.”

Of the 36 patients identified to date, 21 are believed to have acquired their infection at Mama Nita’s — including several staff. The remaining 15 cases, including the deceased patient, have no connection to the restaurant.

Hasselback said those additional cases gave public health staff more information to work with, but also more variables to consider.

She said investigations of food-borne outbreaks tend to rely on three major avenues of inquiry.

These include interviews with patients to explore what they have eaten and where they have travelled, and lab tests to link the cases of E. coli 0157:H7. As well, investigators gather samples of food that are possibly suspect and have those tested in a lab.

Hofer said his meat facility has supplied products to “dozens” of customers in the Edmonton area — including Mama Nita’s — though he didn’t have an exact number.

He said the business was informed last Wednesday of a potential connection to the outbreak. When managers learned swabs of certain products had tested positive, along with one swab of the facility itself, the operation was shut down.

“The first thing we did was a deep clean of the facility, from ceiling to everything, all scrubbed and sanitized,” Hofer said, adding that a thorough review of the facility’s procedures has begun.

The family-run business has been operation since 2004 and has never before had a contamination issue, he said.

Good luck with the lawyers, who have already filed a $15-million lawsuit against The Meat Shop.

The lawsuit is on behalf of people who suffered damages as a result of buying or consuming pork products that may have been contaminated with E. coli, the law firm of James H. Brown & Associates said.