Virginia Chipotle closed after reports of illness

According to multiple outlets, a Sterling VA, Chipotle restaurant has closed due to what looks like a foodborne illness outbreak. Folks are speculating that it might be norovirus. And by folks, I mean Chipotle.

Huffpo reports,

After voluntarily closing a restaurant in Sterling, Virginia, after multiple customers reported falling ill, Chipotle said it plans to reopen the burrito spot on Tuesday.

Eight customers who ate at the location between July 14 and 15 filed reports on the food safety crowdsourcing website iwaspoisoned.com, indicating they suffered symptoms like diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

According to the reports, at least two customers have been hospitalized. 

“Norovirus does not come from our food supply, and it is safe to eat at Chipotle,” Jim Marsden, Chipotle’s executive director of food safety, said in an emailed statement. “We plan to reopen the restaurant today.”

“We take every report of illness seriously,” Marsden added. “In accordance with our established protocols, our team is working to ensure the safety of our customers and employees, including voluntarily closing the restaurant yesterday to conduct a complete sanitization.”

Uh, Jim, noro can come from the food supply. Yours and others’. It has even been linked to lettuce distribution. It certainly sounds like this is localized (like most noro is), but seems a bit early for certainty statements like this. Oh, and noro can definitely be foodborne. Sure, there’s likely a lot of person-to-person transmission out there but a couple of years ago my man Aron Hal of CDCl (and colleagues) looked at foodborne noro outbreaks in the U.S. They state that on average, 365 foodborne norovirus outbreaks were reported annually, resulting in an estimated 10,324 illnesses, 1,247 health care provider visits, 156 hospitalizations, and 1 death.

Safe is a promise.

From Business insider,

Here are some of the reports from iwaspoisoned.com related to the Sterling restaurant. All the reports were made from Sunday to Monday:

• Friday 7/14: Daughter and friends went to Chipotle Saturday 7/15: stomach pains and nausea started in morning Saturday 7/15: violently sick, puking, diarrhea, severe pain, overnight into Sunday. Friends ill as well with one friend also in ER. Sunday 7/16: Hospital visit for dehydration, nausea, pain Monday 7/17: severe pain, trauma pain This is the worst that I have ever seen. Severe food borne illnesses can cause long-term damage to the gastro-intestinal track. This was BAD!

• I ate a chicken bowl at 6ish and the rest at 11 pm Friday and then woke up Sunday morning with diarrhea and was nauseous

• Wife and I ate chicken bowls Friday night. Puking brains out Saturday night and Sunday.

• Ate salad bowl on Friday at 1230pm, became ill at 3pm on Saturday. Three up multiple times, had fever, dizziness, etc. Salad bowl with chicken, Pico, beans, medium salsa, corn

• My husband and I both had chicken around 7:00 on Friday, July 14th. Over 24 hours later, we both started vomiting. We are still experiencing symptoms as of Monday morning.
Chicken bowl – around 6 pm on 7.15.2017

• My husband and I shared a burrito bowl last night for dinner around 6:30 PM. It had rice, chicken, corn, pico, sour cream, cheese, medium salsa. At around midnight my husband woke up vomiting violently. Less than an hour later I began vomiting as well. We have since continued vomiting in addition to having diarrhea, stomach pains, dizziness upon standing, and low grade fevers. Chipotle was the only thing we both ate yesterday.

• My Son and I both had burrito bowls and became violently ill within hours of each other. He was visiting from college. Chipotle was the only food item we both ate that day. Violent stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting. Violently ill. Same exact symptoms Burrito bowl. Steak, rice, green peppers and onions, guacamole, cheese. Violently ill.

Full disclosure, I’ve been collaborating with the iwaspoisoned.com guy, Patrick Quade over the past couple of years through NoroCORE.

Shares plummeted more than 5 percent after the illnesses were reported.

British Columbia oysters and norovirus: Another fairytale, as hundreds of cases in months with an “r”

Researchers at the BC Centre for Disease Control report in the British Medical Journal that between November 2016 and March 2017 more than 400 individuals across Canada developed norovirus gastroenteritis associated with the consumption of BC oysters. Over 100 cases occurred mid-November in participants at a Tofino oyster festival. Six cases occurred in persons attending a December oyster barbecue in Victoria. By March over 300 additional cases of norovirus linked to cultivated BC oysters harvested from multiple sites on both the east and west coasts of Vancouver Island were identified in BC, Alberta, and Ontario consumers. 

Norovirus is a highly infectious cause of gastroenteritis typically spread from person to person and is associated with regular community outbreaks in schools, hospitals, day cares, and care facilities. Foodborne outbreaks of norovirus are often linked to ill food handlers. In this recent outbreak, oysters were contaminated in the marine environment where they were farmed. The trace-back of oysters consumed by infected individuals led to the closure of 13 geographically dispersed marine farms in BC and to extensive public outreach.

Genotypic analysis of norovirus isolated from the cases included several variants of genogroup I (GI) early in the outbreak and both genogroups GI and GII later in the outbreak. 

Both GI and GII norovirus were detected in oysters from shellfish farms. This suggests that oysters bind and act as a reservoir for community outbreak strains and disseminate those strains to consumers.[1

Although sewage is often the cause of oyster contamination it remains unclear whether one or many sewage sources contributed to the contamination of shellfish farms. The 2016–17 outbreak was preceded by a wet fall and accompanied an unseasonably cold winter. Wet, cold, and dark winters enhance norovirus survival, allowing for longer retention in ocean sediments and in oysters.[2,3] The infective dose of norovirus is estimated as few as 18 particles.[2] Given the low infective dose and the viability of norovirus in cold water, we postulate that sewage spread by ocean currents may have contaminated geographically dispersed farms. Among potential sources under investigation are sewer overflows, metropolitan and local wastewater treatment plants, municipal raw sewage discharge, and commercial fishing vessels. The BCCDC is leading a collaborative group reviewing pollution sources discharging to BC marine environments that may have contaminated BC oysters. 

In this outbreak, both raw and cooked oysters led to illness; oysters were likely insufficiently cooked to inactivate norovirus. In addition to norovirus, pathogens like Vibrio sp., Salmonella sp., and hepatitis A can be transmitted to oyster consumers; cooking oysters to an internal temperature of 90 °C for at least 90 seconds will reduce this risk. The “rule” that shellfish is safe to eat in months with an “r” (September to April) is false. First, bacteria and viruses persist in cold seawater. Second, marine biotoxins (saxitoxin and domoic acid that cause paralytic and amnesic shellfish poisoning) occur year round. 

Physicians and laboratories play an important role in controlling foodborne disease. In this outbreak, trace-back of oysters linked to cases was used to close shellfish farms. If you see patients with acute gastroenteritis who recently consumed shellfish, inform your local public health office and submit stool samples for testing.[4]

BC oysters and norovirus: Hundreds of cases in months with an “r”

BCMJ, Vol. 59, No. 6, July, August 2017, page(s) 326,327

BC Centre for Disease Control

Lorraine McIntyre, MSc, Eleni Galanis, MD, MPH, FRCPC, Natalie Prystajecky, PhD, Tom Kosatsky, MD

http://www.bcmj.org/bc-centre-disease-control/bc-oysters-and-norovirus-hundreds-cases-months-%E2%80%9Cr%E2%80%9D

Norovirus in frozen raspberries: Quebecers sick

My grandfather, Homer the Canadian asparagus baron, always said if it wasn’t asparagus, he figured raspberries would be a good cash crop.

He had a patch out front and as a child I could often be found in the raspberry patch, picking a few and eating many.

So I’m disappointed (how Canadian) whenever cheap raspberries are the culprit in transmitting norovirus or hepatitis A.

I’m even more disappointed when taypayer-funded bureaucrats in government and public journalism fail to ask basic questions or provide basic information so consumers can make actual food choices, away from the hucksterism.

CBC News reports the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ) has issued a warning list of raspberry and raspberry products that may have been contaminated by norovirus.

Several cases of illness have already been reported to the ministry.

Those who have products on the list are asked to avoid consuming them and return them to the facility where they were purchased, or discard them.

Media coverage notes the bad batch of raspberries that is the likely culprit has been recalled by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Oddly, the only recall on the CFIA website involving norovirus and frozen raspberries happened on June 20, 2017, with almost no supporting information, other than, media should call.

Gelsius brand IQF Whole Raspberries were recalled due to norovirus,and were distributed by Farinex (113712 Canada Inc.), a Quebec-based distributor of all things food.

Here’s some questions to ask:

Where were the frozen berries grown?

Were they covered in human shit?

Why so little info from CFIA?

Montreal locations affected by the recall:

Crémerie Gélato Cielo (10414 Gouin Blvd. W.)

Raspberry gelato

Raspberry sorbet

Berry sorbet

C’Chô-Colat Inc. (1255 Bishop St.)

Raspberry gelato

Raspberry sorbet

Berry sorbet

Les Délices Lafrenaie Inc. (8405 Lafrenaie St.)

Frutti di bosco

Heavenly berry

Les gourmandises de Marie-Antoinette (4317 Ontario St. E.)

Marie-Antoinette cake

Glaces et Sorbets Kem Coba inc. (60 Fairmont Ave. W.)

Raspberry sorbet

Boulangerie Et Pâtisserie Lasalle R.D.P. Inc. (8591 Maurice-Duplessis Blvd.)

Berry cake

Gourmet Bazar inc. (9051 Charles-de-la-Tour St.)

Whole raspberries

Me thinks something is going on here.

Homer would be ashamed that raspberries got a bad name.

Norovirus spoils Love Island’s sexy antics in the villa

Natasha Rigler of the UK Sun reports the TV show, Love Island,  is set to return for its third series on Monday night but producers are worried it could be ruined by a nasty illness currently sweeping Majorca.

Given that Love Island is filmed on the Med island, producers have taken the step of making sure all contestants and crew are covering themselves in anti-bacterial and anti-viral hand gels to prevent infection.

The bug, which causes sickness and diarrhåea, could throw the show into chaos if it took hold in the villa.

A source told the Daily Star: “Infection spreads fast in a hot climate and it would ruin months of planning.

“The show is about sexy young people hooking up in the sun – vomiting or diarrhea would not be a good look.”

Caroline Flack (right) will return to host Love Island for the third year running on Monday evening.

Probably noro: 252 sick from cafeteria at Spanish hospital

Ainhoa Iriberri of El Español reports (and something may be lost in translation) there are already 252 those affected by the outbreak of acute gastroenteritis that ravaged last week to the Hospital of Bellvitge, in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat. The Public Health Agency of Catalonia (ASPCAT) has reported the increase of victims, which last Friday had been set at 190, all workers at the health center.

In all cases the symptomatology has been mild so, despite the high number of affected, the outbreak has had no attendant consequences. That is to say, it has not had to reprogram surgeries nor close operating rooms, always according to the governmental organism.

This has also indicated that the analysis of samples is ongoing but that, so far, two of them have proved to be norovirus positive, reason why it is suspected that this pathogen is the cause of the massive infection.

Although the information is still preliminary, it seems also to confirm where the source of the infection would be that is not other than the snacks served in the cafeteria for hospital staff between Tuesday and Friday.

Or sick employees.

Australian masterchef (I just threw up a bit in my mouth) Calombaris sued for Norovirus outbreak; sought solace from Heston-Norovirus-Blumenthal

The problem with celebrity chefs is they tend to be morons.

Food safety morons.

Their practices make people sick.

The only skill they have is describing cooking in prose equivalent to some soft-core porn Harold Robbins novel.

Avert your eyes, because the more attention they get, the more stupid their pronouncements.

(And yes, others have recently published about the food safety failings of celebrity chefs, but me and my gang did it first, 13 years ago, so all you posers, go find some authenticity, and go fuck yourselves.)

According to the Canberra Times, MasterChef star George Calombaris is facing legal action over food poisoning at his Hellenic Republic restaurant in Kew (some suburb in Australia).

 According to a writ filed in the County Court earlier this month, Mr Schreuder claims to have become seriously ill with norovirus encephalitis after dining at the Cotham Road restaurant on Mothers Day in 2014.

At the time, Hellenic Republic was forced to close its doors for 24 hours when dozens of patrons who’d eaten from a set menu complained of vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramps.

An investigation by the Victorian Department of Health subsequently found that a staff member was most likely responsible for the infection of norovirus – a common, highly contagious cause of gastroenteritis.

“Of the 300-plus diners we interviewed, around 90 reported illness, which could have been associated with eating at Hellenic Republic Kew,” a department spokesperson said in 2014.

Mr Schreuder is seeking damages for the injuries which he claims were suffered due to negligence and breach of contract by the restaurant in “causing or permitting the infected food to be served to him”. 

Norovirus plagues nearly 1,000 people in northern Calif. schools

I love that barfblog Ben’s partner, Dani, wrote today that, “For those of you wondering, Barfblog Ben has no idea how to actually clean up barf in real life,” after she cleaned up dog barf at 1 a.m. and kid barf at 1 p.m. at the hockey store.

I feel your pain – and irony.

There was this one time, we were driving home from Florida, and we were already back in Kansas, and Sorenne barfed, so I barfed in response.

I viewed it as a pathetic fallacy barf.

And this other time, one of my daughters barfed as the plane landed and I handled it like a pro.

Maybe it’s a cleaning of convenience that Chapman suffers from.

Almost 1,000 people in northern California have been infected with norovirus as it rips through multiple school districts.

That’s a lot of people barfing, and a disturbing lack of knowledge about what a deep clean actually means.

The Yolo County Health & Human Services Agency announced the virus, which causes fever and diarrhea, was rapidly affecting students, teachers and staff at area schools.

“The number of sick people is increasing every day at a very alarming rate,” the agency said in a press release.

The gastrointestinal illness, for which there’s no treatment, has impacted 32 schools in the county, located northwest of Sacramento.

Norovirus is highly contagious, health officials said. People can catch it by touching contaminated surfaces, coming in close contact with others carrying it and eating infected food.

The message is good hygiene and staying home 48 hours after the symptoms have resolved are crucial,” said Yolo County spokeswoman Beth Gabor. “I think that has been the problem. Kids have been returning to school too soon.”

It’s a nice message, but not one that works for parents or staff who have to work.

Be more creative.

There’s almost 1,000 people sick.

Dani, Amy, happy mother’s day. Being a mother usually involves a lot of barf.

 

In-N-Out closes Livermore location for investigation after some customers fall sick after eating there

In-N-Out Burger is one of those trendy joints lauded by celebrities that happens to print bible citations in small print on areas of packaging.

Cool.

But food safety isn’t cool, just boring, so when the Livermore, Los Angeles location shut down after nine members of a college softball team complained of flu-like symptoms after eating at the restaurant last Saturday, customers were shocked.

Here at In-N-Out Burger, the health and well-being of our customers and our associates is a top priority. We apologize for any inconvenience this closure may cause for our customers and we will re-open our Livermore restaurant once we are certain that there are no issues there,” the company said in a statement.

Boilerplate.

Officials suspect that the norovirus is to blame but have not yet confirmed that.

This Livermore In-N-Out burger has had past problems.

The county web site shows they were cited for a high risk violation in December of last year.

That involved surfaces, utensils, and equipment that was not cleaned or sanitized.

They had minor citations for the same problem just last month.

Bruce said, “It’s very concerning considering the amount of foot traffic and patronage that this place gets, I’m surprised this hasn’t happened sooner if that is the case.”

Employees with In-N-Out Burger say they don’t have any indications that there were any issues at this restaurant but they did clean and disinfect it along with screening their associates.

Heston still don’t know food safety, and Aust. viewers thought he was on acid

In late February 2009, complaints from customers who suffered vomiting, diarrhea and flu-like symptoms began pouring celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal’s UK restaurant, the Fat Duck.

A report by the UK Health Protection Agency concluded that 529 patrons paying a ridiculous amount of money for food-porn styled dishes were sickened with Norovirus – this at a restaurant that only seats 40 patrons per night — introduced through contaminated shellfish, including oysters that were served raw and razor clams that may not have been appropriately handled or cooked.

Investigators identified several weaknesses in procedures at the restaurant that may have contributed to ongoing transmission including: delayed response to the incident, the use of inappropriate environmental cleaning products, and staff working when ill. Up to 16 of the restaurant’s food handlers were reportedly working with Norovirus symptoms before it was voluntarily closed

Last night, Heston appeared on Australian current affairs program, The Project, and left hosts and viewers scratching their heads.

Appearing on the show to promote the announcement of the world’s 50 best restaurants, Blumenthal was asked a simple question by Waleed Aly but gave the world’s most confusing answer, with some viewers joking he might have been on “acid.”

“What is it that makes a great restaurant?” Aly asked.

“This might seem a little tangential,” Blumenthal replied, which turned out to be the understatement of the year.

“Human beings became the most powerful species on the planet because through being able to imagine things that don’t exist we created shared beliefs. So all the things that happened after humans: religion, money, language, cultures, social media, fairy tales, they are very human being.

“The reason that happened was the brain trebled in size for lots of reasons but primarily through eating cooked food. It broke the food down and our gut changed and this [touches head] is on top of our body to protect, because this [touches neck] is where the next generation are prepared for life.”

Blumenthal’s answer was met with blank stares from The Project panelists, but the celebrity chef pushed on.

“And so the thing, we should be called omnivores or herbivores, we’re coctivores … we are interdependent beings,” he said.

“We’ve been able to work collectively in numbers larger than any other creature and our efficiency in group learning has become quicker, quicker, quicker, quicker. We don’t have to climb a mountain to get water every day, we don’t have to kill an animal to the death to feed our children.”

The Project’s resident smarty pants, Waleed Aly, interjected and said, “That explains why we like restaurants, but how do we tell the good ones from the bad ones?”

And Blumenthal was off again.
“We have two universes,” he said.

“We have our internal universe, our human being and we have our human doing. We have our feelings and our emotions and then we have getting on in life … The problem that’s happening is we are confusing the two things. We are thinking that our happiness is going to be developed by a numerical system … thank god we have because that’s what’s got us to where we’ve got to.

(Hang in there, it’s almost over)

“There’s a palliative care nurse that wrote a piece in The Guardian last year, the most common things, regrets people had while they were passing away and it was they wished they lived a life true to themselves,” Blumenthal said.

“If every human being had an ambition not to have that feeling, and that’s because our new brain that came from eating cooked food … starts to fade and then our raw emotion comes through and we realise, actually, this is about emotion. Food is about emotion.”

Food is also about sustenance, enjoyment, socializing, and not making one barf.

Heston is a master of both food and words to make one barf.

Seattle’s Crab Pot source of foodborne outbreak

Any place called the Crab Pot should welcome foodborne illness, or other STDs.

King County public health investigated an outbreak of gastroenteritis with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea associated with The Crab Pot restaurant located at 1301 Alaskan Way, Seattle. Five people from the same meal party became ill after eating at the restaurant on 3/4/2017. We do not have laboratory confirmation of the etiology, but symptoms are suggestive of norovirus. Often in norovirus outbreaks no laboratory testing is done.