Blame Qatar? No, blame poor food handling as 825 sickened at Mosul camp

The first time I understood the term displaced person, was from my carpenter friend John Kierkegaard who, in the Danish tradition, had a beer at morning coffee, one at lunch, and one at afternoon coffee.

John would often tell me, it tastes good, but the work is not so good.

He told tales of bicycling 20-30 km/h with full infantry gear during WW II, and how he migrated to Canada at the end of the war as a displaced person.

On June 12, 2017, at sundown, hundreds of residents of one of the many tent camps that have sprawled across the barren landscape around Mosul gathered for iftar, the evening meal to break the day’s Ramadan fast. They were treated to a meal of chicken, rice, soup, beans and yogurt — paid for by a Qatari charity and prepared by a restaurant in Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region.

Within hours, hundreds fell sick, vomiting and suffering from diarrhea. Overnight, until about 4 a.m., ambulances and cars rushed victims to hospitals, said Alaa Muhsin, an ambulance driver from Baghdad who works at the camp.

The period between when the food was cooked and then transported to the IDP camps resulted in the food poisoning of over 825 displaced persons from Mosul in southwestern Erbil.

 

“After we carried out an investigation of the case, we found out the cause of the food poisoning was due to the long period between preparing and consuming the food as it was packed in plastic containers and transferred to the camps,” Erbil Governor Nawzad Hadi said on Monday in a press conference.

“There were no deliberate intentions to poison IDPs by those who cooked the food,” he added.

“The food itself was okay, but the delay between the preparation of the meals and their distribution, along with the improper storing of the food, was the reason hundreds of IDPs became ill,” Hadi emphasized, stating the case had been sent to court.

The Governor previously mentioned the food was cooked at 9:00 a.m. then transferred to the camp at 1:00 p.m. The food was later distributed between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m.

Following the incident, seven people were arrested, six from the restaurant where the meals were prepared and one from a charity organization.

The restaurant was also closed, Erbil police previously informed.

Hadi noted the food should be prepared at the camps and that premade meals are forbidden.

He thanked the Peshmerga and security members for quickly transporting 638 IDPs to hospitals in Erbil to receive prompt medical treatment, while the remaining were treated at the camps.

The Erbil Health Department’s Director-General Saman Hussein Barzinjy told Kurdistan24 the group which delivered the donation did not take into consideration health hazards related to food preparation and distribution.

At the time, Barzinjy mentioned one of the camp’s inhabitants had died from food poisoning.

However, a statement released on Tuesday apologized for the misinformation, assuring no one had died, adding the condition of the child who was thought dead was “stable.”

The Kurdistan Region is home to almost two million IDPs and refugees who fled from the threat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Keep it cool: C. perfringens is not a friend; UK pub fined thousands

Nikkie Sutton of The Morning Advertiser writes that a carvery operator that provides food in a West Midlands pub has been ordered to pay thousands of pounds after 20 diners contracted food poisoning.

A 94-year-old woman and several children became ill after eating at the pub last year and informed Dudley Council of their food poisoning symptoms.

IP Carvery, which makes the food on behalf of the Park Lane Tavern, in Cradley, pleaded guilty to placing unsafe food on the market in a case brought by Dudley Council at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court on 18 May.

A public apology was made to the court on behalf of IP Carvery’s director. The court also heard the company had employed a food-safety expert to advise them, inspect their facilities and train staff.

The food business was fined £1,350 and ordered to pay costs of £2,483.55 to Dudley Council and a victim surcharge of £120.

At the the hearing, the court heard how the diners ate at the carvery in a two hour slot on Saturday 2 April last year and 20 customers were confirmed to have suffered from Clostridium perfringens, that can be caused by the inadequate cooling of large joints of meat, leading to the formation of toxic bacteria, which survives cooking and then grows in the meat while cooling. It can cause illness shortly after being reheated and consumed.

Two leftover samples of turkey taken home by customers were found to be contaminated with the bacteria.

Environmental Health officers also visited the pub and found inadequate storage temperatures of cooked joints, a lack of monitoring of cooling times and temperature of cooked meats and inadequate record keeping.

Brisbane’s idea of a water warning

Fucking hopeless at communication.

Walkerton Water Tower

The Courier Mail reports that residents north of Brisbane (we’re southsiders) are being advised to boil all their tap water before drinking it following fears the water supply has been compromised.

Unitywater says the advise applies to 3,500 residents in Petrie and Old Petrie Town.

In a statement, Unitywater said residents should boil water for the next 24 hours, or until the water quality has returned to normal.

Residents have been advised to use cool boiled water or bottled water when brushing their teeth, drinking, washing and preparing food beverages, making ice, bathing infants or preparing baby formula.

“This is a rare event and Unitywater is working closely with Queensland Health to resolve the situation as quickly as possible,” the statement said.

Unitywater is currently flushing the mains in the area and supplying water from an alternative reservoir.

“We are also taking regular samples to monitor the water quality.”

Can consumers handle the truth (yes)? Can they handle potty-mouth (yes)? are auditors fucking robotrons when people die, from food (yes)

A subscriber from a third-party auditing company recently wrote and said I had a potty mouth.

I said get the fuck over it, nothing else seems to work, so try something different when it comes to food safety behavior.

You can go and get all hepped up on food safety culture, but it don’t translate into shit.

Night soil shit.

The kind that fertilizes all the veggies for the fancy restaurants in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and around the globe.

Gregory Bloom asks in MeatingPlace, can consumers handle the truth?

Besides the tortured writing, the answer is, duh.

For the past 25 years, all I’ve heard is we can’t adopt new technology because consumers don’t want it.

Bullshit.

Consumers don’t know what they want until they are offered it.

We sorta proved that in 2000 when we offered genetically engineered and conventional sweet corn and potatoes for sale at a farmer’s market.

The big stores wouldn’t let us in, because they were terrified to let moms and dads know that sweet corn and potatoes was grown with pesticides.

Corporate assholes.

Which allowed the anti-GE crowd to come up with some conspiracy shit that resulted in a death-to-science banner on my lab door.

Move out of your parent’s basement, get a life.

Bruce Cran of the Consumers Association of Canada told CTV News the federal government has done “an incompetent job” informing Canadians that irradiation is safe and he worries that a lack of action could lead to a deadly outbreak.

“They need to promote an understanding so Canadians can make an informed choice, and they’re not doing that for whatever reason,” Cran said. “This is not only a safe practice, it’s one that many of us would like to be able to use.”

“Our members would absolutely support it,” said Robin Horel, president of the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council.

“But we haven’t pushed hard because … the companies that produce chicken and turkey are concerned about what the consumer response would be.”

It’s called leadership.

Yes, leaders get some arrows in the back, but it’s been decades, either get behind science or suffer down the road.

My cousin the asparagus farmer bills his crop as genetically-engineered free. But anyone in the know knows that asparagus has been bred using multiple techniques over the years so it is absolutely genetically modified.

I asked him once if a fungal resistant GE asparagus came along, would he plant it.

He shrugged.

I have full respect for any farmer that can make a living doing whatever, getting gullible consumers to buy whatever.

There is a long history of food fairy tales, most famously linked to Dr. Kellogg in Michigan.

Anna Madison, a spokeswoman for Health Canada, said in an email the federal government would not promote irradiation since it does not engage in promotional activities.

Bullshit.

Health Canada promotes all kinds of bad food safety advice, from handwashing to thermometer use.

Rick Holley, professor emeritus of food microbiology and food safety at University of Manitoba, says irradiation is safe and is even more important for chicken than for ground beef. Chicken causes more illness in Canada, he said.

Holley said salmonella is naturally present on a lot of chicken and the gastro-intestinal bacteria campylobactor is present on all of it, regardless of whether a bird is free-range or factory.

“Both of these organisms occasionally kill, but because they make more people ill who recover, then the emphasis is not placed on them to the same extent as E. coli O157 in hamburger,” said Holley, who suggested that irradiating chicken could cut food-related illness in Canada by 25 per cent.

(Like my The Who T-shirt?)

 

Mushrooms, some are yummy, some are psychedelic, some are lethal: I wouldn’t know the difference.

Ingestion of Amanita phalloides is responsible for a majority of mushroom-related deaths worldwide. Amatoxins, the principal toxic alkaloids found in these fungi, cause cell injury by halting protein synthesis. A possible antidote licensed in most of Europe, intravenous silibinin, is undergoing evaluation by clinical trial in the United States.

In December 2016, 14 cases of Amanita phalloides poisoning were identified by the California Poison Control System (CPCS) among persons who had consumed foraged wild mushrooms. In the past few years before this outbreak, CPCS only received reports of a few mushroom poisoning cases per year. All patients in this outbreak had gastrointestinal manifestations of intoxication leading to dehydration and hepatotoxicity. Three patients received liver transplants; all patients recovered, although one (a child) had permanent neurologic impairment.

Wild-picked mushrooms should be evaluated by a trained mycologist before ingestion. Inexperienced foragers should be strongly discouraged from eating any wild mushrooms. Health care providers should be aware of the potential for toxicity after wild mushroom ingestion, that gastrointestinal symptoms mimicking viral gastroenteritis can occur after ingestion and slowly progress to potentially fatal hepatotoxicity, and should contact the local poison center for reporting and assistance with management of these patients.

Amanita phalloides Mushroom Poisonings- Northern California, December 2016

MMWR, Weekly, June 2, 2017, 66(21); 549-553, Kathy T. Vo, MD; Martha E. Montgomery, MD; S. Todd Mitchell, MD; Pieter H. Scheerlinck, MD; Daniel K. Colby, MD; Kathryn H. Meier, PharmD; Susan Kim-Katz, PharmD; Ilene B. Anderson, PharmD; Steven R. Offerman, MD; Kent R. Olson, MD; Craig G. Smollin, MD

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6621a1.htm?s_cid=mm6621a1_e

Seek and ye shall find: Sapovirus sickens 650 in Sweden, 2016

A foodborne outbreak of gastroenteritis with more than 650 suspected cases occurred in April 2016 in Sollentuna, Sweden. It originated in a school kitchen serving a total of 2,700 meals daily.

Initial microbiological testing (for Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, Yersinia, Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Entamoeba histolytica, adeno-, astro-, noro-, rota- and sapovirus) of stool samples from 15 symptomatic cases was negative, despite a clinical presentation suggestive of calicivirus.

Analyses of the findings from both the Sollentuna municipality environmental team and a web-based questionnaire suggested that the source of the outbreak was the salad buffet served on 20 April, although no specific food item could be identified.

Subsequent electron microscopic examination of stool samples followed by whole genome sequencing revealed a variant of sapovirus genogroup V. The virus was not detected using standard PCR screening. This paper describes the epidemiological outbreak investigation and findings leading to the discovery.

Investigation of a foodborne outbreak of gastroenteritis in a school canteen revealed a variant of sapovirus  genogroup V not detected by standard PCR, sollentuna, Sweden, 2016

Eurosurveillance, vol 22, issue 22, 01 June 2017, M Hergens, J Nederby Öhd, E Alm , HH Askling, S Helgesson, M Insulander, N Lagerqvist, B Svenungsson, M Tihane, T Tolfvenstam, P Follin,

http://dx.doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2017.22.22.30543

http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=22808

 

910 sick: Sucks to be in jail in the Philippines

I’ve been in jail.

The food sucks, even if I helped make it better before I went into food safety.

Jonathan M. Hicap of the Manila Bulletin reports a total of 910 prisoners at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City have fallen ill due to apparent food poisoning since Friday.

Director General Benjamin delos Santos of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) told The Manila Bulletin that the “proximate cause is food served by caterer Thursday evening.”

However, investigators are also testing the facility’s water source.

“(We) will do lab tests on food and water tomorrow (May 29),” said Delos Santos.

Quoting the NBP report, he said 69 prisoners have been confined at the NBP Hospital and that one of them – an elderly inmate – was in critical condition.

“He is an elderly inmate from the minimum security compound and has been ill before,” he noted.

At least 600 other prisoners were diagnosed with diarrhea and attended to by doctors at the NBP Hospital emergency room since Friday.

Delos Santos said a total of 910 prisoners were affected including those who showed symptoms of diarrhea but could just treated at their own dormitories in the Minimum Security, Medium Security and Maximum Security compounds.

8 dead, 100 ill after consuming pork in India

The Hindustan Times reports that Ri-Bhoi district magistrate has ordered a magisterial inquiry to ascertain what caused the deaths. Villagers claimed the consumption of pork led to the tragedy

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Eight children in Meghalaya’s Ri-Bhoi district have died of suspected food poisoning and over 100 others are undergoing medical treatment, an official said on Tuesday.

The children died after consuming pork after attending a church gathering on Sunday at Nongkya village, Ri-Bhoi district magistrate Chinmay P Gotmare told IANS. “Three persons died on Monday and another five on Tuesday morning in hospitals,” he said.

Gotmare said he had ordered a magisterial inquiry to ascertain what caused the deaths. Villagers claimed the consumption of pork led to the tragedy.

I don’t go to restaurants much anymore: Too many fake beliefs, not enough science

Beginning in April, 2011, 190 people were sickened with Salmonella Heidelberg linked to partially-cooked chicken livers throughout six U.S. states.

There have been endless outbreaks, especially of Campylobacter in the UK linked to similar products.

Stephen Luscombe, who runs the Golden Ball in Lower Assendon, UK, admitted serving undercooked calves’ liver in 2015.

Two diners suffered food poisoning and others suffered symptoms after eating a dish containing the meat at the restaurant.

Luscombe was fined £4,434, ordered to pay £5,284 costs and a victim surcharge of £120. 

Luscombe admitted serving food on the premises that was unsafe as it had been inadequately cooked and failing to implement and maintain legally required food safety procedures, including those for the safe cooking of high risk foods. 

Magistrates heard South Oxfordshire District Council, the environmental health authority, was asked to investigate after a member of the public suffered campylobacter food poisoning after eating at the restaurant.

Environmental health officers carried out an immediate unannounced inspection and found that the diners had been offered a set menu including calves’ liver for the main course.

They found the calves’ liver had been cooked at too low a temperature.

The restaurant was found to have no protocol to ensure high risk items, such as liver, were cooked according to recommendations from the Food Standards Agency.

It also failed to complete required monitoring records for almost three months, meaning it was failing to meet its legal requirements for food safety. 

1 dead, 3 sick, 2016 Indiana restaurant: It was the C. perfringens in mystery food (probably sitting on the counter for far too long)

When people die from stupid food safety mistakes, are the rest of restaurant goers supposed to just pass it off, like industry, government and academic associations, or should the families be pissed?

Katie Cox of The Indy Channel writes that Indiana State Department of Health says it is “highly likely” that food from a West Lafayette restaurant was the cause of a man’s death last October.

The health department began their investigation into the Agave Azul on Sagamore Parkway after four people reported becoming sick shortly after eating at the restaurant on October 22, 2016. The four had eaten dishes containing beef, pork or chicken.

One of those four, Alexander Zdravich, 66, was hospitalized because of the severity of his illness. Despite aggressive medical treatment, the health department said Zdravich died on October 26.