Eel smuggling ring busted in Spain

Who smuggles eels?

Baby eels, a traditional Spanish tapas. Gulas al ajillo

Maybe by friend Steve (right, not exactly as shown), but no one else I would know.

Chris Chase of Seafood Source reports that Europol and the Spanish Guardia Civil, in collaboration with Portuguese authorities, seized 350 kilograms of elvers that were about to be smuggled out of Spain during “Operation Elvers,” the three agencies announced on 6 April.  

Ten suspects were arrested – Spanish, Chinese, and Moroccan nationals – in connection with smuggling the eels. Authorities estimate the group has managed to smuggle a value of EUR 37 million (USD 45.5 million) worth of eels over the course of their operation. 

The European eel is subject to multiple EU regulations, including a blanket ban on all imports and exports and a global restriction on trade. In 2009, the species was listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora. Once it became clear that those measures weren’t enough, a ‘zero quota’ ban on all shipments to third countries was put into place.

A video released by the Spanish Guardia Civil shows authorities busting down doors in a raid on the elver smuggling facilities. Rows of tanks filled with make-shift aquaculture equipment, EUR 40,000 (USD 49,000) in cash, and stacks of travel bags used to smuggle the elvers out of the country were all found inside. According to Europol,  a total of 364 travel bags were being prepared to be sent to China, and could have been able to carry more than five tons of eels. 

The video also shows the 350 kilograms of live elvers, being released back into their natural habitat.

It’s all about poop: Argument over dog feces leads to stabbing, three arrests in Connecticut

Further to the dog poop storyline, an argument over dog feces turned violent Saturday morning and led to the arrests of three Bridgeport men.

According to a shift end report from Bridgeport police, officers responded at about 8:30 a.m. to the 1100 block of Park Avenue for “a large fight.”

When they arrived, officers found two men and a dog with minor stab wounds.

According to the report, Kirk Brown got into an altercation with Christian Rodriguez when Rodriguez allowed his dog to go to the bathroom near Brown’s residence. At some point, officers reported a third man, Ryan Bray, who was friends with Rodriguez, also joined the fight.

During the altercation, police said Brown brandished a “small knife” and stabbed Rodriguez and Bray. The dog was also stabbed, police said.

All three men were taken into custody.

Spring thaw leaves Canadian crusaders steaming over poop

A seasonal scourge prompts dog groomer Anne Dopson to tackle the neighbourhoods of Terrace, B.C. with a shovel at the first signs of melting snow.

In anticipation of this year’s thaw, Dopson adopted a strict anti-excrement regimen, plastering posters around town and even handing out scoops and garbage bags to her fellow canine lovers. 

But nothing seems to rid Terrace of the smelly brown mess revealed each spring.

“It’s right on the road, the side of the road,” sighed Dopson. 

“It’s almost like people just park there, open their doors and let their dogs out to do their business, and then they come back in. It gets on dogs’ paws, on people’s footwear, and they track that home.”

Persistent piles of poop aren’t just an assault on the senses, says Erin Fraser, a public health veterinarian with the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

“E. coli is often prevalent in dog feces,” which thrives alongside salmonella and assorted parasites, she told CBC Radio’s Carolina de Ryk.

And the feces itself is everywhere this time of year, Fraser adds. “The volume of dog waste can be staggering, and communities all over Canada struggle with how best to address this issue.”

Food porn excess: Woman uses $400 hair dryer to make roasted chicken

Helen Rosner, a food writer for The New Yorker, uploaded a photo of herself using a $400 Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer to blow dry a whole chicken.

“Happy snow day, I am using an astonishingly expensive hair dryer to remove all moisture from a chicken to maximize skin crispiness when I roast it,” Rosner writes in the post, which has earned over 1,600 likes and 100 comments.

Rosner went on to share the recipe for her roasted chicken, but fans were most interested in the first stage of her process – the hair dryer.

“For crisp skin, whether you’re cooking a chicken or a duck or a fish, you want there to be as little water moisture as possible, which is sped up by a fan. And that’s all a hair-dryer really is — a hand-held fan that you can pretty easily bring into the kitchen,” she said to Allure, likening the process to Food Network star Alton Brown using a box fan to make beef jerky.

 

We play but agree, cause many of us do hockey

After Chapman posted about the Humboldt Broncos’ terrible bus crash, I thanked him because, I didn’t know what else to say.

I’ve been playing, coaching and even sometimes administering local hockey for 51 years, and this stuff strikes deep into any parent who has swerved on a snow-covered Canadian road only to listen to the kid (me) complaining, ‘we need to get there.’

Chapman wrote, “I often tell people that all I really know is hockey, food safety and family; everything and everyone important to me falls in one of those buckets. …

“All I could think of is all the teams I have been part of, back to when I was just a kid until now. Those experiences have meant so much more than competition and sport.

“It’s exactly why I got into coaching.”

No. Chapman got into coaching because I was his graduate supervisor, and his responsibilities included helping to coach a 6-9-year-old girls rep hockey team from Guelph, and bailing me out of jail upon request.

(He will say he was coaching before, but it probably wasn’t as much fun).

In 2005, Chapman and I came up with barfblog.com, and the first post was about hockey and barfing.

The worst was when I was 10 or 11. I was playing AAA hockey in my hometown of Brantford Ont., and we were off to an out-of-town game. My parents (bless them) usually drove, but obligations meant I had to get a ride with a friend on the team. About half-way to the arena, I started feeling nauseous. I tried to ask the driving dad to pull over, but it came on so fast, I had to grab the closest item in the backseat, an empty lunchbox. 
I filled it.

And more.

Back in the 1970s, the coach’s main concern was that we win. I was the starting goaltender almost every game, while the backup sat on the bench. We had something to prove because we were from Brantford, the city that had produced Wayne Gretzky just a couple of years earlier and everyone was gunning for us. 

I tried to get myself together to play. No luck. We got to the arena and I promptly hurled. 

And again.

I couldn’t play, and, unfortunately, couldn’t go home. So the rest of the team went out for the game, as I lay on a wooden bench in a sweat-stenched dressing room, vomiting about every 15 minutes. 

Such tales are not unique.

Whenever I spark up a conversation with a stranger, and they discover I work in food safety, the first response is: “You wouldn’t believe this one time. I was so sick” or some other variation on the line from American Pie, “This one time, at band camp …”

But the stories of vomit and flatulence are deadly serious. In 1995, a 5-year-old died in Wales as part of an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that has sickened some 170 schoolchildren. Four people in the Toronto region were sickened with the same E. coli several weeks ago after drinking unpasteurized apple cider. Over 20 people are sick with the same bug from lettuce in the Minnesota area. And so it goes.

How did my game end? I could hear the various cheers but was lost in dizziness and nausea and sweat, wondering when this would end. 
The trip home was uneventful; I was drained — figuratively and literally.
We lost.

Thanks to all the Australians I hung out with today and asked me about the Humboldt Broncos’ and hopefully I provided some insight into the role of (ice) hockey in the small and large communities throughout Canada.

Florida woman mistakes 37-week pregnancy for bad Chinese food

Jake Newby of USA Today reports Crystal Gail Amerson, 29, of Pensacola Florida, said she woke up around 4 a.m. Sunday with stomach pains that had her running back and forth between the bathroom and bedroom for more than an hour. 

“I had Chinese food the night before and I kind of figured maybe I had food poisoning or something like that,” Amerson said. 

But it turned out there was nothing wrong with the General Tso’s chicken Amerson ate the previous night. Unbeknownst to her, she was actually 37 weeks pregnant and was on the verge of giving birth to her second son. 

Amerson called off work at 5 a.m., and an hour later, as the pain worsened, she woke her fiancé up because they needed to call an ambulance. 

“The stomach pains were just excruciating and I could hardly move,” Amerson said. “I think it was about 6:30 (a.m.) when (the ambulance) got there. … It escalated so quickly that I was having contractions and we figured out kind of what was going on because at first we really didn’t know what was going on.” 

So how was it possible that Amerson didn’t realize she was pregnant?

Amerson had already been through one pregnancy but said she was never the type to feel a lot of the symptoms typically aligned with pregnancy, such as morning sickness. She also said she didn’t notice much weight gain. 

“I gained a little bit of weight, but I think with my first baby I didn’t notice either,” Amerson said. “I never gained that pregnancy shape, really. And then I wear scrubs to work because I work at a retirement home for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. So I guess the way they fit me as well, it was hard to notice anything or tell anything.”

10 Million pounds of poop stranded in Alabama railway sparks outrage in nearby town

It’s the poop train that wouldn’t leave.

Charleston Lim of Inquisitr reports that in the small rural town of Parrish, Alabama, several train cars carrying tons of human waste have been stranded for months. Residents literally cannot step out of their houses without getting a whiff of the foul stench emanating from the stranded train cars. According to a report from CNN, the train cars were on their way to a private landfill operated by Big Sky Environmental from waste management facilities in New Jersey and New York. However, the cars were left there when the town of West Jefferson filed a case against Big Sky Environmental for temporarily storing the waste in a yard near the town.

As reported by WVTM 13, West Jefferson’s case was a success, which meant that the company would have to find another place to temporarily store their train cars. Due to the lack of any zoning laws in Parrish prohibiting the company from storing their train cars, Big Sky Environmental had decided to move their cargo to the small town. The train cars carrying the foul cargo were parked just across the town’s baseball field. Parrish currently has around 982 residents in an area of just around 2 square miles, which means that everything is practically within smelling distance.

Big Sky initially informed officials that the cars would eventually be moved after a few days, but that turned out to be false as the cars have been sitting on the tracks for more than two months now. The town’s mayor, Heather Hall, has been getting complaints from residents who are starting to get concerned about how the stench could be affecting their health. The qualities of life for Parrish residents have apparently been greatly affected as well as they can no longer stay outside their houses or have their kids play outdoors. There is also the concern of flies getting in their houses and potentially contaminating their food.

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management and the Environmental Protection Agency have informed residents that the cargo isn’t dangerous as it is categorized as “Grade A biowaste.” Hall has already approached Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey regarding their situation and lawmakers are reportedly now trying to find a solution to the problem.

The thing that wouldn’t leave from topo morto on Vimeo.

I don’t see gender: ‘Sitting on the fence: Biology, feminism and gender-bending environments’

Somehow, I was quoted in a Jan. 2000 publication of the Women s Studies International Forum, and received notification today.

“The story of endocrine disrupters is no different. Yet science has long been a slippery ally for environmental campaigners: on the one hand, it is the products of science and technology that seem to present problems through pollution, while on the other, campaigners must turn to science in order to demonstrate the problems (Powell and Leiss, 1997; Yearley, 1991).”

I didn’t write that, Leiss did, although I probably edited the sentence to make it coherent.

And some folks wonder why I didn’t want anything to do with a second edition.

At the time, this is what I sent Bill (without the pretty pic, upper right).

 

Salmonella sample swap: Welsh biologist used patient’s poo to get time off work

Philip Dewey and Jessica Walford of Wales Online report a scientist who didn’t want to work day shifts swapped his own feces with a patient who had salmonella to prove to his bosses he had food poisoning.

Bernard Watkins worked as a biomedical scientist in the microbiology department at Cwm Taf University Health Board.

After he was handed day shifts, instead of his preferred night shifts, he went into a freezer at work and took a patient sample which had tested positive for salmonella before using a computer at work to check a patient’s confidential details and make sure they had the disease.

But days later he confessed all to one of his bosses – admitting he had “spiked” his sample.

Mr Watkins was due to appear before a conduct and competence panel of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for allegations of dishonesty, misconduct and whether his fitness to practise has been impaired, but the hearing was held in his absence.

The panel heard on Thursday how on October 10, 2016, Mr Watkins, who had 20 years service at the time, told his bosses he was unable to come into work as he feeling unwell and suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting.

He left a fecal sample in the office on the same date.

Two days later, on October 12, he called his employers to say he wouldn’t be working for the rest of the week as he remained unwell.

The same day the fecal sample tested positive for salmonella.

One of his bosses, Kelly Ward, the manager for Microbiology, phoned Mr Watkins and asked him to submit another fecal sample signed by his GP.

On October 13 Mr Watkins explained to Mrs Ward he had been to his GP and provided the sample. But the sample tested negative for salmonella.

On October 17 Mr Watkins returned to work and Mrs Ward completed a return to work form. She discussed concerns with him going off work when he was required to work day shifts instead of his preferred night shifts.

But just two days later, as Mr Watkins was finishing a night shift which ended at 8am, he called Mrs Ward and asked to meet her when she got into work.

He told her he “deliberately contaminated” a sample of a patient who had salmonella with his own feces by adding in his own fecal matter, saying his employer would have “found out anyway”.

I didn’t even know the kid was in Ohio: Local man reports finding tooth in Captain D’s meal

A Newark, Ohio man’s complaint on social media of a tooth found in a Captain D’s chicken tenders meal has triggered investigations by the Licking County Health Department, the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Agriculture.

It has also resulted in the restaurant chain making a donation to Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio, at the request of Nick Bryner, the customer who discovered the tooth.

Bryner said he ordered the meal at the drive-through window at the Captain D’s restaurant, 1215 N. 21st St., in Newark, on Saturday and made the discovery while eating at work. He returned to the restaurant and showed them the tooth.

“I got a refund, and corporate is taking care of it,” Bryner told Kent Mallett of the Newark Advocate. “They said it’s probably the weirdest thing that’s ever happened. I’m satisfied with what they’re doing. They’re making a donation to Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio, in my name. They really helped me when our twins were born.

“I said I could take you guys to the cleaners if I wanted to, but I’m not that kind of guy.”

The Licking County Health Department inspected the Captain D’s restaurant, in Newark, on Monday, after learning of the complaint on social media.

The chicken tenders served at the local Captain D’s are made and frozen at another location, then shipped to the Newark restaurant, where they are deep-fried before serving, the health department reported.

Captain D’s corporate office released the following statement: “Our quality control procedures and food safety standards are our highest priority. We have been in contact with the guest and reassured them that this incident is atypical for Captain D’s and in particular for this Newark location that consistently exceeds our company’s food safety standards.

“As standard procedure with any consumer complaint, the health department has followed up with a visit to this restaurant and the store continues to remain within Captain D’s high safety standards.  We remain committed to providing our guests with the highest quality products and require all suppliers to undergo strict food safety certification. “

The health department contacted the Ohio Department of Agriculture to investigate the complaint at the wholesale level, or refer it to the Food and Drug Administration.

Ashley McDonald, spokeswoman for the ODA, said, “It is a supplier from out of state, so we will be forwarding it to the USDA.”

McDonald said the supplier is McLane, from Rocky Mount, North Carolina. The distributor shipped the food from 721 Taylor Road, in Frankfort, Kentucky.

(left, Sorenne, Friday after school)