Restaurant employee positive for Hepatitis A

A worker at Cliffside Bistro tested positive for Hepatitis A in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada.

City News reports
Toronto Public Health said Monday that anyone who recently ate at a Scarborough restaurant may have been exposed to hepatitis A.
Health officials said an employee at Cliffside Bistro at 22-77 Kingston Rd. near Midland Avenue has tested positive for the illness.
Anyone who ate at the restaurant on July 21, between July 25-29 and between Aug. 2-4 may have been exposed.

The problem with Hep A is the long incubation period and symptoms may not appear until 14-28 days after exposure.

While the risk of infections is low, Toronto Public Health says they will be holding several free hepatitis A vaccination clinics at the Scarborough Civic Centre.
The clinics are open on Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Hepatitis A can be spread by improper hand washing after using the washroom and the coming into contact with food. Common symptoms include fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea/vomiting, stomach pains and jaundice (yellowing of the skin).

 

Drug-related outbreak now affecting food events: Hepatitis A outbreak causes fifth death in San Diego

FOX 5 reports a hepatitis A outbreak in the San Diego area has claimed the life of a fifth person, county health officials reported Wednesday.

Vaccinations to help prevent Hepatitis A and B, where given by HEP Team to those interested, free of cost. Second day of the 26th Annual Sunset Junction Street Fair with food, games rides and health information for the hundred attending on Sunday. (Photo by Carlos Chavez/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The outbreak now totals 228 cases and required the hospitalization of 161 of those sickened, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency. So far, the disease has mostly affected the homeless population and/or users of illegal drugs, with seven out of every 10 cases affecting those populations. One of every five people sickened with hepatitis A also has hepatitis C.

But according to a couple of barfblog.com types, the outbreak has led to the cancellation of food events in September.

Public health investigators have not identified any common food, drink or drug source as a contributing cause to this outbreak, officials said. Hepatitis A is most commonly spread via contaminated food or water, sexual contact or sharing drug paraphernalia.

“It is imperative that anyone at risk for hepatitis A get vaccinated,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “We cannot stress this enough — get vaccinated and make sure you wash your hands after going to the bathroom.”

“Lives are at risk,” Wooten said. “Protect yourself, your family and the community.”

County health officials have been working with homeless services providers, community health clinics, faith-based organizations, substance abuse treatment providers, hospital emergency departments, jails and probation facilities to conduct vaccination clinics for people who are at risk of catching the illness. It can take up to nearly two months after exposure to develop symptoms, but the disease can be prevented if people get immunized within two weeks of exposure, the HHSA said.

Get vaccinated now: Marriage shouldn’t involve hep A

When Amy and I agreed to marry, having both been divorced and having already bought a house together, we went and bought cheapo wedding rings, and I asked her by the car, in 2006, across from the jewelers in Manhattan, Kansas, and said, I’m too old to be engaged, let’s just get married.

Done.

Now, it’s 2017, and once again, newlyweds who want it all are grappling with Hepatitis A.

It’s like getting married and then saying one of you has chlamydia.

Ariana Lubelli of FiOS 1 reports June 10, 2017 was the day Jay and Jennifer Gorinson had been dreaming of: a wedding that seemed as perfect as can be. But in the days following, the newlyweds faced a nightmare.

“We were notified on the first day of our honeymoon of a potential infection of hepatitis A,” said Jay Gorinson, the groom.

The couple’s nearly 200 guests are at risk for Hepatitis A. The Health Department confirmed that a bartender at their wedding venue, Monteverde at Oldstone in Cortlandt Manor, was infected.

“It’s embarrassing. The first notification that I had to put out about our marriage was warning our guests, family members and loved ones about a potential virus infection,” continued Gorinson.

“All attendees essentially that may have been inside the mansion, including my 1 and 3-year-old nephew and niece, who just got vaccinated today as well and incurred about $700 worth of charges that I contacted Monteverde about today and they said it was an unfortunate circumstance and they had no further comment after that.”

Get vaccinated now.

More Hep A means more human shit where fish swim

REO Speedwagon was a terrible band.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are assisting state and local officials in assessing the risk of hepatitis A virus exposure from contaminated frozen tuna sourced from Sustainable Seafood Company, Vietnam, and Santa Cruz Seafood Inc., Philippines. If unvaccinated consumers have consumed the recalled product within the last two weeks, post-exposure prophylaxis may help prevent hepatitis A virus infection.

Prior to FDA’s announcement, Hilo Fish Company alerted its customers and distribution partners directly to let them know about the company’s voluntary recall of certain tuna products on May 18. The FDA received records from the company or its distribution partners indicating that they sold frozen tuna to the establishments listed on the FDA’s website. The FDA is working with Hilo and other distributors to ensure that the companies remove product from the market. The table containing the names of establishments have been updated.

It is the responsibility of the Hilo Fish Company to notify its customers about the voluntary recall. It is also the responsibility of any company that received a recall notice from Hilo Fish Company to notify its customers. The establishments identified on the FDA’s website should have received a notice from Hilo Fish Company or their direct supplier. If they have not, they should reach out to their suppliers for more information. Any company that has questions about the voluntary recall or has affected product and did not receive notice should contact the FDA at 1-800-SAFEFOOD.

4 sick, link to 2015 berry outbreak: Creative Gourmet frozen berries recalled again over Hepatitis A in Australian

From Jan.-April 2015, at least 34 people in Australia developed Hepatitis A linked to frozen, ready-to-eat berries.

This followed several outbreaks in frozen berries in the EU, grown in various places.

On Friday, Creative Gourmet berries in Australia were once again linked to 4 cases of Hepatitis A.

Food-types think the berries are the same ones from the 2015 outbreak.

Yes, berries are good, yes companies will source the cheapest supplier where night soil may be rampant, and yes this story is weird.

Here’s what happened:

In 2015 Creative Gourmet’s Mixed Berries and Nanna’s range of frozen
berries were owned by the same company.

Ivone Ruiz, the General Manager of Entyce Food Ingredients told Choice magazine, “We purchased the Creative Gourmet brand and some existing stock reserves from Patties in late 2015. The stock had been extensively tested by independent accredited laboratories, all of which cleared the batch for traces of the hepatitis A.”

Testing is a necessary evil, but doesn’t tell anyone much about safety.

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand suggests the batches are related. “These cases have an identical sequence [of hepatitis A] to that of the cases from the 2015 outbreak,” says a spokesperson. “This product was not in the market at the time of the 2015 recall.” A representative from the Department of Health and Human Services in Victoria suggests how the batch could have evaded testing. “There is a possible link. They came in at a similar time to [Nanna’s] berries, but they came in before the test-and-hold [procedures were] put in place at the border,” spokesperson Bram Alexander tells Choice.

Creative Gourmet Mixed Berries contain strawberries, raspberries and blackberries from China, as well as blueberries sourced from Canada.

The berries are packaged in China before being shipped to Australia and are then repackaged in Melbourne.

Entyce says it’s decreasing its reliance on berries sourced from China having recognized “a level of concern that exists in the community.”

“When we took over the Creative Gourmet brand, over 95 percent of the fruit was sourced from China; we have brought this figure down to 5 percent,” Entyce’s Ruiz tells Choice. “With a number of sourcing contracts expected to cease shortly, 100 percent of all fruit used in the Creative Gourmet brand will be sourced from Canada, Chile, Brazil and Vietnam.”

The food safety regulator issued the “precautionary” recall on Friday, asking anyone who had bought the Creative Gourmet Frozen Mixed Berries 300-gram product with a best-before date before January 15, 2021 to return it immediately to the supermarket for a refund.

About 45,000 packets of the berries are affected. The berries were sourced from Canada and China and packed in Australia.

Entyce stopped sales of the suspect berries after the 1st reported case on 4 May 2017, but the actual recall did not start until a month later on 3 Jun 2017.

Someone’ got some explaining to do.

Frozen berries are a staple in our household.

I’ve taken to boiling the berries in the microwave for a couple of minutes – on the advice of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland – but it’s unclear how effective this is.

Then they sit in the fridge overnight, ready for breakfast.

Vaccines work, and my family is all vaccinated against Hepatitis A.

Companies, please be clear about where you get your food so consumers can choose (yes, I know it’s another fairy tale).

Vaccines work: 18 sick with hep A linked to award-winning bakery in Scotland

Malcolm Gladwell — a poor imitator of Lyle Lovett hair — cites research in his 2008 book, Outliers, that says the difference between good and great is about 10,000 hours of practice.

That’s what it takes to adjust the brain wiring: from pianist to poet, Beatle to Stone, haberdasher to hockey player, from good to great.

I’m not going to take up the academic and practical concerns with this simplification that gets used as mantra.

Biology is always messier.

Hockey camp at the beach over the weekend with 36 kids was great for the exercise, the repetition, and the bonding that lasts a lifetime.

So I’m always baffled when some restaurant owner who has devoted his lifetime – their 10,000 hours, to their craft — can lose it all in a microbiological minute.

Again, biology is messy.

Rachel Macpherson of The Sun reports that JB Christie has closed its Airdrie bakery in North Lanarkshire and ordered the immediate withdrawal of products after being linked to multiple cases of the potentially deadly virus.

NHS Lanarkshire announced nine patients had been treated with a further nine suspected cases of the bug.

Initial probes by health chiefs said the infection was possibly linked to the bakery, but a probe, including staff blood tests, failed to turn up any sign of the virus.

Jody Harrison of The Herald reports Andrew Chisholm, owner of JB Christie Baker’s, now intends to re-open both shops, saying that he viewed it as his “civic duty” to shut as soon as the link was made.

He said: “As a business, we have fully and voluntarily co-operated with Lanarkshire NHS and Environmental Health Officers during this process.

“As of this morning all staff at the bakery have been blood tested and have been found to be clear of the infection. Also as a precaution all have been vaccinated for Hepatitis A.

The baker said: “I have made my career in this industry and I bought the JB Christie business just over four years ago and I am proud to have done so.

Good on Chisholm for taking so-called swift action (but ‘major electrical issue,’ sorta douchebagish). Epidemiology works, so tests afterwards don’t mean much.

Neither do vaccinations.

If an owner devoted 10,000 hours to his craft to be award winning, vaccinating all employees against Hepatitis A should have been done before, not after a health risk emerged – real or not.

Going public real time: Hepatitis A in my daughter’s Brisbane school, this time it’s personal

At 4:23 p.m. AET on Friday, March 3, 8-year-old Sorenne’s school issued a notice to some parents that said:

“Hepatitis A has been reported at school. Hepatitis A is a viral disease that affects the liver. Anyone can be infected with hepatitis A if they come into direct contact with food, drunks, or objects contaminated by faeces of an infected person.”

I’m not sure they meant drunks, but that’s what it said.

Amy got the e-mail.

I got notification of the e-mail at 5:30 p.m. AET

I immediately called the school.

No answer.

I e-mailed all the school contacts to say, “Hepatitis A is a serious disease for those who are unvaccinated. It passes fecal-oral, and can be acquired by drinks with straws, but usually not drunks (as your note says).”

Standard procedure in the U.S is vaccination clinics for anyone who has the potential to be exposed, but is only useful if done within a few days.:

So then I called Queensland Health, the state health agency.

Being after 5 p.m. on a Friday, there wasn’t no one around, except for a nice man who said he would investigate.

I e-mailed my questions:

“What is standard vaccination clinic procedure in the event of a positive case?

“What is the vaccination policy for hep A in Australia? Queensland?

“What was the timeline for detection and public notification?”

He said he would do the best he could and call me back.

He didn’t.

This is apparently normal.

On Feb. 23, 2017, I e-mailed media relations at Queensland Health to ask, “Can Queensland Health confirm or deny there was an outbreak of Salmonella in Sunnybank (Brisbane) around the Chinese New Year possibly involving deep-fried ice cream?
“thank you”

No answer.

Going public is about protecting people from public health threats.

Brisbane sucks at it.
Going public: Early disclosure of food risks for the benefit of public health

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.

The public health cost of a hepatitis A outbreak: scallops edition

A recent twitter exchange about corporate food safety folks really becoming compliance teams highlights that all this food safety stuff is nestled somewhere in a web of risk, cost and benefit. Risk and benefit come down to public health and business risk metrics – which can be fraught with limitations and assumptions.screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-7-11-13-am

Risk-based decision making is the mantra in food safety. Picking out an intervention is a starts with a numbers game: calculating the likelihood of an action (like handwashing) and matching that with the prevalence of a pathogen in the system. This is the stuff that gets the math nerds like Schaffner excited (me too). Businesses are faced with risk, cost and benefit decisions daily.

Food safety teams that focus just on compliance are trusting that the compliance folks got the science and risk correct. Sometimes they do. But lawmaking is slow.

The cost part of the equation somewhat straight forward.

One cost that’s been debated in food service for over twenty years is whether or not employers or public health folks should require food handlers to be vaccinated for hepatitis A. Jacobs and colleagues arrived at the conclusion that the public health benefit of vaccinating for hep A doesn’t equal the costs – but doesn’t factor in all the bad publicity, hassle and incident management costs.

Or costs to the public health system. According to KHON2 300+ cases of hepatitis A is costing hundreds of thousands of public health dollars.

The Hawaii Department of Health says it’s spent approximately $336,100 to investigate and respond to the hepatitis A outbreak.

images-1Here’s how it breaks down: $304,600 were spent on normal staff work hours, and an estimated $19,750 went to pay for 300 hours of overtime work.

The rest went to pay for vaccines and lab specimen shipments to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but the health department tells us that was covered by federal grant funds.

It took a lot of work for health officials just to pinpoint the source of the outbreak, including an online survey, numerous interviews with people, and visits to businesses.

Although officials identified the source — imported frozen scallops — they’re still not done with this outbreak. They’re now looking into a hepatitis-A-related death.

“The woman was in and out of the hospital really since she became ill in July, and so there were times where she needed a liver transplant,” said foodborne illness attorney Bill Marler. “She sort of seemed to rally. She got to go home for a little while, and then she was back in the hospital with complications.”

ICAPP voluntarily recalls certain lots of frozen strawberries

The International Company for Agricultural Production & Processing (ICAPP) is voluntarily recalling certain lots of its frozen strawberries out of an abundance of caution in response to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigation of an outbreak of Hepatitis A.

frozen-strawberryThe recalled products were all distributed for sale to and use in food service establishments nationwide — not for use in food products offered for retail sale to consumers. Nonetheless, ICAPP is issuing this news release publicly to help mitigate any possible risk to the public health and to fully ensure that all recalled products are recovered. Although none of ICAPP’s own testing through an established surveillance program or through third party testing of retained samples has identified the presence of Hepatitis A in any of its products, ICAPP has decided to recall all frozen strawberries that it has imported into the United States since January 1, 2016 out of an abundance of caution.

No other ICAPP products, frozen or fresh, are covered by this voluntary recall.

ICAPP is conducting this voluntary recall after learning that frozen strawberries that it distributed may be linked to a recent Hepatitis A outbreak in the United States. ICAPP has been engaged with FDA in its investigation of this outbreak and is taking this action in consultation with FDA because Hepatitis A virus was detected in four lots of frozen strawberries that were exported to the U.S. by ICAPP. ICAPP is working closely with all of the U.S. distributors of this product to ensure that this recall is effective.

ICAPP is fully committed to producing safe and high quality products; consumer safety is its top priority. ICAPP is conducting a comprehensive review of all of its operations and its suppliers to ensure that the food it produces is safe. ICAPP continues to work closely with federal and state authorities and is conducting this recall in cooperation with FDA.

For questions or more information, consumers may contact ICAPP by email at customerservice@icapp.com.eg or by phone, between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm Cairo local time, at +201-541-1624.

Food Safety Talk 111: The Meat Spot

Food Safety Talk, a bi-weekly podcast for food safety nerds, by food safety nerds. The podcast is hosted by Ben Chapman and barfblog contributor Don Schaffner, Extension Specialist in Food Science and Professor at Rutgers University. Every two weeks or so, Ben and Don get together virtually and talk for about an hour.slide-image-1

They talk about what’s on their minds or in the news regarding food safety, and popular culture. They strive to be relevant, funny and informative — sometimes they succeed. You can download the audio recordings right from the website, or subscribe using iTunes.

Episode 111 can be found here and on iTunes.

Show notes so you can follow along at home: