The Kentucky Derby is decadent and depraved: 5 quotes that capture the madness

Elaborate clothes, excessive drinking and loutish behaviour. Can you tell the difference between the 1970s Kentucky Derby and the atmosphere at the races today?

‘The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved’ is Hunter S. Thompson’s 1970s rendering of the ever-famous Louisville event, the annual Kentucky Derby. Alongside his companion and cartoonist Ralph Steadman, he paints a picture of an event that is just that: utterly decadent and wholly depraved.

Check out our top five quotes and you’ll see what we mean…

#1 Hunter S. Thompson and Steadman arrive at the racetrack bar and anyone who’s anyone is there: the politicians, the beautiful women and the rich locals, all there to see and be seen.

The only thing more important than the horse race itself is the sport of people-watching.

How different is that to the streams of spectators dressed in their best finery on Millionaire’s Row, desperate to impress the watchful eyes of the fashion police at the track nowadays?

#2 Looking out over the stands, Hunter S. Thompson imagines them packed with spectators, crying, fighting and falling over each other when the Kentucky Derby begins. The screaming, the vomiting, the public urination, the desperate grappling for money.

Ever sat in the cheap seats at a race track? If you’re in the infield, say goodbye to your hearing, you might as well throw away your shoes, and forget about personal space.

#3 Hunter S. Thompson studies the faces of the horse breeders, looking for the one face that perfectly represents the character of the typical Kentucky Derby race-goer. The privileged sort, drunk on whiskey and the belief in their own pure-bred Southern superiority.

They might be less conspicuously drunk nowadays but the only people who claim to be more pure-bred than the horses at a derby are the people who breed them.

#4 That night after the first race, drinking ensues in the unfortunate absence of drugs. Stealing passes to the race clubhouse, Hunter S. Thompson and Steadman spend an incoherent Kentucky Derby Day lost in a sea of whiskey-soaked people.

We’ve all seen the pictures of the rowdy drunken crowds falling over each other and pouring out of a race track. Hardly a stretch for the imagination.

#5 Hunter S. Thompson awakes from his drunken, sleep-like stupor, he sees an ill, red, haggered-looking face in the mirror. The exact face of the loathsome type of person he was looking for at the Derby.

The morning after the night before. We’ve all been there. This one doesn’t necessarily apply exclusively to horse races…just, mornings.

Hunter S. Thompson got one thing right in ‘The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved’: the racetrack is capable of bringing out the worst in human nature. But there’s really no denying it, it’s still a great day out.

300 French schoolchildren sickened by ‘gone-off cheese’

Katie Forster of The Independent reports a dodgy batch of smelly French cheese has been blamed for a mass food poisoning outbreak at schools in Normandy.

All French cheese smalls bad.

Dodgy is not a microbiologically–specific term.

An investigation launched after 300 children fell ill in the town of Rouen named the culprit as gone-off cheese served up by school canteens.

One parent said her child would be avoiding school meals after the scandal, telling local media: “I’d prefer to take them to a fast food place”.

Local authorities inspected the producers of the cheese – a soft, mould-ripened local variety called neufchâtel – but were unable to identify the origin of the contamination.

The children began to suffer headaches, vomiting and stomach aches after eating the cheese at 54 different primary schools and nurseries on 27 April.

A survey of 1,000 parents of children in the region, both those affected and not affected by the outbreak, found a “strong association between the consumption of the cheese and the appearance of digestive symptoms,” according to the local health board.

 

Bambi poops in water, 4 kids get sick with E. coli O157, 2016

In May 2016, an outbreak of Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli O157 infections occurred among children who had played in a stream flowing through a park. Analysis of E. coli isolates from the patients, stream water, and deer and coyote scat showed that feces from deer were the most likely source of contamination.

In the United States, recreational water is a relatively uncommon source of Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157 outbreaks (1). We describe an outbreak of STEC O157 infections among children exposed to a contaminated stream in northern California, USA, and provide laboratory evidence establishing wildlife as the source of water contamination.

In May 2016, four cases of Shiga toxin (Stx) 1– and 2–producing E. coli O157 infection were reported to a local health department in northern California; investigation revealed a common source of exposure. The case-patients, ranging in age from 1 to 3 years, had played in a stream adjacent to a children’s playground within a city park. Exposure of the case-patients to the stream occurred on 3 separate days spanning a 2-week period. Two case-patients are known to have ingested water while playing in the stream. Two case-patients were siblings. All case-patients had diarrhea and abdominal cramps; bloody diarrhea was reported for 3. One case-patient was hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome.

The stream is a second-order waterway located in a northern California community of ≈7,500 residents. At the time of exposures, stream flow was <30 ft3/s. The land upstream is not used for agricultural activities such as livestock production. The community is serviced by a public sewer system; inspection of sewer lines indicated no breach to the system.

Water samples were collected from the exposure site 7 days after the last case-patient was exposed and weekly thereafter for 17 weeks; samples were tested quantitatively for fecal indicator organisms. Throughout the study period, all water samples exceeded recreational water quality limits for E. coli and enterococci levels (2). Water samples were also cultured for STEC isolation and PCR detection of stx1 and stx2 (3). Stx1- and Stx2-producing E. coli O157 were isolated from stream water each week for the first 4 weeks. Additionally, an Stx2-producing E. coli non-O157 strain was isolated from the stream in the first week of sampling. Enrichment broth cultures of water samples were also positive by PCR for stx1 and stx2 for the first 4 weeks of sampling. Thereafter, both stx1 and stx2, or stx2 only, were intermittently detected in enrichment broth cultures for 9 additional weeks.

In the absence of an obvious source (e.g., upstream agricultural operation or sewer leak), wildlife was considered as a possible contributor to water contamination. Thirteen fresh wildlife scat specimens were collected along the stream for STEC culture and PCR. Of the 13 scat specimens, 8 originated from deer, 2 from raccoon, and 1 each from coyote, turkey, and river otter. Six scat specimens (4 deer, 1 coyote, 1 river otter) were positive for stx1 and stx2 or for stx2 by PCR (Technical Appendix[PDF – 16 KB – 1 page]). Stx1- and Stx2-producing E. coli O157 were isolated from deer scat and coyote scat. An Stx2-producing E. coli non-O157 strain was isolated from a deer scat specimen. The animal origin of the coyote and river otter scat specimens were definitively identified by partial DNA sequencing of mitochondrial cytochrome b (4).

To assess strain relatedness, we compared STEC O157 isolates from the case-patients, water, deer scat, and coyote scat by using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and multilocus variable-number tandem-repeat analysis (MLVA) (5). PFGE patterns for XbaI-digested genomic DNA were highly similar among all isolates; only slight variations were found in the lower-sized bands (Figure). PFGE patterns for genomic DNA samples digested with BlnI also demonstrated a high degree of similarity (data not shown). Furthermore, MLVA profiles were identical for the case-patient, water, and deer scat isolates; only the coyote scat isolate differed from the main profile by 2 repeats at a single locus (VNTR_3).

This study provides laboratory evidence linking STEC O157 infections with the ingestion of recreational water that was probably contaminated by wildlife scat. Wild ruminants, including deer and elk, are known carriers of STEC and have been connected to outbreaks of human infections (69). We detected STEC in 50% of deer scat specimens collected from the stream bank. One of these specimens, found 1.5 miles upstream of the exposure site, contained an E. coli O157 isolate that was highly similar by molecular subtyping to case-patient and water isolates. These findings support the likelihood that feces from deer carrying STEC were the source of water contamination or, at the very least, contributed to the persistence of STEC in the water. It is unknown whether the STEC detected in coyote and river otter scat represents carriage or transitory colonization within these animals.

The common risk factor among the case-patients in this STEC O157 outbreak was exposure to a natural stream within a city park. After the outbreak was recognized, signs warning of bacterial contamination were posted along the stream. No further STEC O157 infections attributed to stream water exposure were reported.

Dr. Probert is the assistant director for the Napa-Solano-Yolo-Marin County Public Health Laboratory. His research interests focus on the development of molecular diagnostic tools for the detection of infectious agents.

Acknowledgment

We thank Frank Reyes, Keith Snipes, and Nailah Souder for their technical assistance; the County of Marin Health and Human Services and Environmental Health Services for information about the epidemiologic and environmental investigation; and the Microbial Diseases Laboratory Branch of the California Department of Public Health and the Santa Clara County Public Health Laboratory for the molecular subtyping data.

References

Heiman KE, Mody RK, Johnson SD, Griffin PM, Gould LH. Escherichia coli O157 outbreaks in the United States, 2003–2012. Emerg Infect Dis. 2015;21:1293–301. DOIPubMed

United States Environmental Protection Agency. 2012. Recreational water quality criteria. Office of Water 820-F-12–058 [cited 2017 Apr 13]. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-10/documents/rwqc2012.pdf

Probert WS, McQuaid C, Schrader K. Isolation and identification of an Enterobacter cloacae strain producing a novel subtype of Shiga toxin type 1. J Clin Microbiol. 2014;52:2346–51. DOIPubMed

Parson W, Pegoraro K, Niederstätter H, Föger M, Steinlechner M. Species identification by means of the cytochrome b gene. Int J Legal Med. 2000;114:23–8. DOIPubMed

Hyytia-Trees E, Lafon P, Vauterin P, Ribot EM. Multilaboratory validation study of standardized multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis protocol for Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli O157: a novel approach to normalize fragment size data between capillary electrophoresis platforms. Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2010;7:129–36. DOIPubMed

Fischer JR, Zhao T, Doyle MP, Goldberg MR, Brown CA, Sewell CT, et al. Experimental and field studies of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in white-tailed deer. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2001;67:1218–24. DOIPubMed

Keene WE, Sazie E, Kok J, Rice DH, Hancock DD, Balan VK, et al. An outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections traced to jerky made from deer meat. JAMA. 1997;277:1229–31. DOIPubMed

Rounds JM, Rigdon CE, Muhl LJ, Forstner M, Danzeisen GT, Koziol BS, et al. Non-O157 Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli associated with venison. Emerg Infect Dis. 2012;18:279–82. DOIPubMed

Laidler MR, Tourdjman M, Buser GL, Hostetler T, Repp KK, Leman R, et al. Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections associated with consumption of locally grown strawberries contaminated by deer. Clin Infect Dis. 2013;57:1129–34. DOIPubMed

 Contaminated stream water as source for Escherichia coli O157 illness in children

05.may.17

William S. Probert, Glen M. Miller, and Katya E. Ledin

Emerging Infectious Diseases, vol. 23, no. 7, July 2017

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/23/7/17-0226_article

Food inspector in the house: Petting zoo, sushi and school fete

Grey nomading is a term I never heard until I came to Australia.

Same with fete.

A grey nomad is “a retired person who travels independently and for an extended period within their own country, particularly in a caravan or motor home.”

My retired friend Rod, previously with the New South Wales Food Authority, and his wife Alison were grey nomading by BrisVegas on Sunday, so I took them to Sorenne’s school fete, featuring a petting zoo, homemade foods and a host of microbiological hazards.

As we passed the sushi stall, we looked at each other and silently shook our heads, no.

Darcy Spears of KTNV in Nevada reports, the annual River Run, which brings tens of thousands of people to Laughlin from Las Vegas and elsewhere, a Laughlin sushi bar will be recovering from a 33-demerit C grade.

The sushi bar at Minato Japanese and Korean restaurant on South Casino Drive in Laughlin is back on Dirty Dining for the second time.

Darcy: And we’d just like to get your side of the story from whoever is in charge.

Person in charge: Um, sorry, right now we’re not available for that.

Darcy: You’re not available? But you’re standing right in front of me. You look available.

Person in charge: I mean, you say you need a person in charge, right?

Darcy: Yes. And so of course if the restaurant’s open there has to be someone in charge on property.

Person in charge: Well, I’m in charge but you need someone probably a little higher than me for this kind of thing.

Darcy: If you need to call someone you can. We just want to make sure we give you guys the chance to tell customers why you guys happened to get the most demerits of all the inspected restaurants last week, and, a lot of stuff in here seems to indicate with temperature issues that the sushi could be potentially unsafe and we like to make sure you have the chance to comment on that.

Person in charge: Um, no thanks. I’ll decline.

Inspectors found sushi rice and shredded crab left out on the counter at unsafe temperatures. 

Ground mixed tuna and shrimp were also in the temperature danger zone.

There weren’t roaches running around or expired food, but there was a lot of issues with temperatures and handwashing and things that could spread foodborne illness.

Food safety is what happens when people pay attention.

 

Power of going public: 30 children in Jerusalem daycare sick with Salmonella

Arutz Sheva of Israel National News reports that on April 30, a report was received from the mother of an infant enrolled in an Emunah daycare in Jerusalem claiming infants and toddlers in one of the daycare’s classes were suffering stomachaches and intestinal disturbances.

According to Ynet, an investigation by the Jerusalem District Health Office found the problems had begun several days earlier, in the daycare’s 2-year-old class, when 15 of the class’s 24 children became ill and one was hospitalized.

In the infants’ group, 15 out of 18 infants became ill, and one was hospitalized.

Last Wednesday, the Health Office received the results of the various tests performed, and found that one of the sick children tested positive for salmonella.

A district health supervisor was immediately sent to the daycare, where they found that both breakfast and lunch were served hot and made on the premises. The supervisor also made a list of health hazards which the daycare will need to fix.

During the visit, the supervisor took samples of food stored in the daycare since April 28. Though the samples did not test positive for salmonella, they did test positive for several other pathogens.

40 sickened: Don’t eat poop and raw is risky: Poop in Puget Sound sickened customers but really hurt oystermen’s livelihood

I wonder why Marler’s FSN hasn’t reported this one.

Rob Hotakainen of the Miami Herald quotes John Hansen as saying there’s an easy explanation for why he can no longer sell his shellfish: There’s just too much poop in the waters of Puget Sound.

Oyster-Vancouver, B.C.- 07/05/07- Joe Fortes Oyster Specialist Oyster Bob Skinner samples a Fanny Bay oyster at the restuarant. Vancouver Coastal Health now requires restaurants to inform their patrons of the dangers of eating raw shellfish. (Richard Lam/Vancouver Sun) [PNG Merlin Archive]

When nearly 40 people were sickened in March after eating raw oysters, the Washington state Department of Health traced the outbreak to shellfish beds along a three-mile stretch of Hammersley Inlet. It includes Hansen’s farm, South Sound Mariculture, one of 31 companies that had to shut down. States officials blamed the illnesses on norovirus, a stomach illness linked to fecal coliform pollution.

“I’m losing $10,000 a month,” said Hansen, 51, of Shelton, Washington. “I’d say the average farm is losing somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000 a month — and that’s not a stretch when they’re shut down.”

Shellfish farming is big business in Washington state, which ranks first in the nation in production and where 3,200 jobs are tied to the Puget Sound. And from Washington state to Washington, D.C., shellfish farmers and their allies want the government to clean up the nation’s second largest estuary and keep their operations running.

While Hansen wants local officials to do a better job of treating the water, the shellfish industry and its allies are taking their case to Congress, hoping to convince members to kill President Donald Trump’s plan to cut cleanup funding next year for the nation’s major bodies of water, including Puget Sound, the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay.

Congress’ 2018 budget remains very much in doubt, but Puget Sound advocates won a reprieve last week when lawmakers struck a deal on a $1 trillion spending bill that will keep the government running through September. The bill, which passed the House on Wednesday and the Senate on Thursday, includes $28 million to continue cleaning up the Sound.

Food Safety Talk 125: Slapping it on a bun

Don and Ben talked big concerts, Flaming Lips (the band, not the anatomy) obscure Canadian bands covering Neil Young and then got into some food safety stuff like the particulars of deer antler tea, with some deer penis sprinkled in. The discussion went to the rules around home-based food businesses and how risk-based decisions are made in regulatory choices. The episode finished with some listener feedback on washing produce and mold and whether food employees at Blue Apron (and like mail-order businesses) should have local health department food handler training.

Episode 125 can be found here and on iTunes.

Show notes so you can follow along at home:

Missing the boat on food safety messages in cookbooks: redux

From the food-safety-in-popular-culture files comes the paper that keeps on giving. Katrina Levine and I both chronicled our experiences around our British Food Journal paper exploring the food safety messages in cookbooks.

I’m still being asked by friends whether Gwyneth and I are on speaking terms (we would be, and I’d point her and her Goop towards science and data); the print version of the paper was published last week (abstract updated with page numbers and stuff here).

And Huffington Post Australia, always current, picked up the story yesterday.

Researchers analyzed 1,497 recipes from 29 cookbooks that appeared on New York Times bestseller lists in 2013 and 2014. Recipes were considered “correct” if they noted the proper endpoint temperature for a meat or animal product, per guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. About 92 percent of recipes didn’t note a temperature at all. Some recommended other ways of measuring doneness, like cooking meat until its juices run clear or until it turns a certain color. Since these methods aren’t reliable, the study considered those recipes “incorrect.”

Some cookbooks offered both good and bad cooking advice, the study’s senior author Benjamin Chapman told The Huffington Post. For example, one recipe in Paltrow’s cookbook It’s All Good noted a correct endpoint temperature, but also instructed readers to wash poultry before cooking it ― a practice that can spread bacteria around the kitchen and is warned against by the USDA and other experts.

Celebrity cookbook authors should include safe cooking temperatures in their recipes more often, he added.

“We have the ability to list a science-backed indicator,” Chapman said. “And we’re missing the boat.”

The boat cliche seemed appropriate at the time. Me and the boys had just finished watching Showtime’s, The Beach Boys: Making Pet Sounds, and I was thinking of Sloop John B.

 

Bot cluster linked to California gas station

Botulism is no joke. The threat of bot toxins binding to nerve endings and blocking muscle contractions scares me.

A small bit of toxin means no more hockey, no catch with my kids and months of rehab. That’s why I find it so scary.

There’s usually less than a couple of hundred cases annually in the US. And not much foodborne. In the past week we’ve seen dried deer antler tea-linked to two illnesses – and now a California gas station looks to be the source of another outbreak, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Sacramento County Public Health officials are investigating a botulism outbreak after several people who ate prepared food from the Valley Oak Food and Fuel gas station in Walnut Grove contracted the possibly fatal form of food poisoning.

County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye said five cases are under investigation and the affected people are in serious condition at local hospitals. Four of the five confirmed they’d eaten prepared food from the gas station. Kasirye said the county wants to ensure that anyone who has eaten at the gas station since April 23 and is experiencing botulism symptoms receives immediate medical attention.

Unknown are the linked foods – and what the type toxin it is (because that may be a clue). I usually stick to candy bars and gum at gas stations.

Ron Doering: Of course I’m proud of CFIA, why isn’t the rest of Canada?

Doering writes: The 20th anniversary of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)  seems to have gone by unnoticed, even by the CFIA. Has it lived up to the original vision? Has it achieved its promise from 20 years ago?

Of course I‘m not an unbiased observer. In April, 1995 I was given the lead responsibility to carry out the consultation on how Canada should reorganize its food inspection and related activities. I put together the team to carry out the review.  We called ourselves the Office of Food Inspection Systems (OFIS). When we completed the consultation, we  recommended the most ambitious of the options reviewed–that the government should create a new independent legislated agency with the full regulatory authority for the whole food chain. Our Minister Ralph Goodale went to Cabinet in  the late fall of 1995 and the Chretien Government adopted our recommendation. OFIS was also given the lead to set it up and we got the historic legislation through in time to open the doors on April 1, 1997. Later I served as its President until I retired from the public service. 

Looking back on the original OFIS documents, the CFIA was created to meet five broad objectives. How well have these been met? 

Enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of federal food inspection and related services. The CFIA clearly met this goal. $44 million dollars were saved.  Overlap and duplication was reduced. Sixteen programs that had formerly been delivered by four different departments were brought under one roof. Consumers and industry now have one point of contact. 

Provide integrated governance of food safety, plant health and animal health. This was fully achieved.    We are still the only jurisdiction in the world that brings under one agency the whole food chain: feed, seeds, fertilizer, all food including fish as well as animal and plant health. The value of this integration has been widely recognized. For example, Canada managed the challenge of BSE better than most countries because senior officials in charge of animal health were also in charge of food safety. This integration also accounts for our fully integrated investigation and recall system led by the widely-respected Office of Food Safety and Recall (OFSR). Canadians now take this single point of contact for granted. Remember, for example, that in the US it is still the case that a vegetarian pizza is the responsibility of FDA but a pepperoni pizza falls under the jurisdiction of USDA etc.

Enhance international market access.  The CFIA has harmonized technical trade areas, negotiated many international equivalency agreements, challenged misuse of technical measures and played a major role in influencing international standards. Former OFIS member and afterwards CFIA Vice-President Peter Brackenridge has noted that “with the changing international trade environment, a single organization like the CFIA is well placed to manage the challenge of protectionism by the misuse of technical standards.”

Enhance Provincial and Federal regulatory harmonization.  Former OFIS member and afterwards CFIA Vice-President Cam Prince notes that this is one area where progress has not met our original expectations. This issue may take on increased impetus in light of the recently announced Canadian Free Trade Agreement but there continues to be major international trade law barriers to full intergovernmental harmonization.

Modernize Canadian Food Law. In 1999 the CFIA introduced  First Reading of Bill C-80 which would have provided a truly modernized legal basis for the regulation of food and related activities but it did not proceed for political reasons. With the current Safe Food for Canadians Act (and Regulations) now being completed, finally we will have a more modern legal foundation for the future, though not as integrated as the former Bill would have provided. 

With an annual budget of over $700 million and over 6,000 staff the CFIA is, by far, Canada’s largest science-based regulatory agency, respected within the federal system, by the provinces and admired around the world as a model. 

The CFIA has met most of our original expectations. While there have been bumps along the road, Canadians should be proud of the CFIA’s many achievements. Its anniversary should be celebrated.