Not in Kansas: Sometimes, ya just have to mow the lawn

I chatted with my 70ish-year-old mother the other day, and she said the rain had let up enough in Brantford, Ontario (that’s in Canada) so that she could cut the lawn.

She didn’t mention anything about tornadoes.

Ashifa Kassam of The Guardian reports a Canadian man’s commitment to lawn care has earned him international fame, after social media lit up with a photo of him mowing the lawn as a large tornado loomed on the horizon.

On Friday evening, as dark clouds began to gather near Three Hills, Alberta, Theunis Wessels paid little mind. Instead his thoughts were focused on the busy weekend that lay ahead for the family.

The list of chores he was hoping to get done included cutting the lawn. “I had to get it cut,” he told CTV News. “A lot of things happening over the weekend. Children were attending swim meets and some other sporting events over the weekend, so I had to make sure I got it done.”

He began mowing the lawn while his wife was napping. His nine-year-old daughter, nervous about the swirling twister gathering behind him, urged him to come inside. When he refused, she woke up his wife.

His wife, Cecilia Wessels, came out shortly after and snapped a few pictures, including one that captured her husband casually mowing the lawn against the dramatic backdrop of the tornado. It was the first time anyone in the family, originally from South Africa, had seen a tornado.

“I did ask him if he was coming inside with that thing in the clouds when I turned to come inside and he calmly said no,” she told the Associated Press.

80 sick: Outbreak at Fort McMurray oilsands camps

An outbreak of gastro-intestinal illness has hit work camps near the Fort Hills oilsands site, 90 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, an Alberta Health Services spokesperson said Monday.

vomit-fbAHS Public Health is aware of the illness, Kerry Williamson said in an emailed statement. “It has not been confirmed as norovirus,” he added.

A Suncor spokesperson said about 80 people at Fort Hills have reported symptoms.

No flights to or from the camps have been cancelled, Suncor said. But workers showing symptoms are being asked not to board flights but to remain in their rooms.

Williamson said outbreaks of this type are not unusual at this time of year, particularly at sites where people are living and working in close quarters. 

He said inspectors visited the site Monday, and AHS Public Health provided information over the weekend, to help limit the spread of the illness.

Nickelback? Really? So much for Trudeau being cool and Shiga-toxin producing E. coli in pigs

Still a deafening silence from public health types over whether or not people are definitively sick or just sick from Cantran Meat Co. raw pork and pork organ products linked to an E, coli O157 outbreak in Alberta.

TrudeauNickelbackSmallIt is a long weekend in Canada – Queen Victoria’s birthday or something as an excuse to go camping in the cold and mark the start of summer – so don’t expect anything public soon.

But an astute conversationalist did send along this abstract from last month to help answer the question, what is Shiga-toxin producing E. coli doing in pig?


Similar to ruminants, swine have been shown to be a reservoir for Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), and pork products have been linked with outbreaks associated with STEC O157 and O111:H-.

STEC strains, isolated in a previous study from fecal samples of late-finisher pigs, belonged to a total of 56 serotypes, including O15:H27, O91:H14, and other serogroups previously associated with human illness. The isolates were tested by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and a high-throughput real-time PCR system to determine the Shiga toxin (Stx) subtype and virulence-associated and putative virulence-associated genes they carried. Select STEC strains were further analyzed using a Minimal Signature E. coli Array Strip. As expected, stx2e (81%) was the most common Stx variant, followed by stx1a (14%), stx2d (3%), andstx1c (1%).

kid_pig_kissThe STEC serogroups that carried stx2d were O15:H27, O159:H16 and O159:H-. Similar to stx2aand stx2c, the stx2d variant is associated with development of hemorrhagic colitis and hemolytic uremic syndrome, and reports on the presence of this variant in STEC strains isolated from swine are lacking. Moreover, the genes encoding heat stable toxin (estIa) and enteroaggregative E. coli heat stable enterotoxin-1 (astA) were commonly found in 50 and 44% of isolates, respectively. The hemolysin genes,hlyA and ehxA, were both detected in 7% of the swine STEC strains. Although the eae gene was not found, other genes involved in host cell adhesion, including lpfAO113 and paa were detected in more than 50% of swine STEC strains, and a number of strains also carried iha, lpfAO26, lpfAO157, fedA, orfA, and orfB.

The present work provides new insights on the distribution of virulence factors among swine STEC strains and shows that swine may carry Stx1a-, Stx2e-, or Stx2d-producing E. coli with virulence gene profiles associated with human infections.

Characterization of Shiga toxin subtypes and virulence genes in porcine Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli

Frontiers in Microbiology, 21 April 2016,

Gian Marco Baranzoni, Pina M. Fratamico, Jayanthi Gangiredla, Isha Patel, Lori K. Bagi, Sabine Delannoy, Patrick Fach, Federica Boccia, Aniello Anastasio and Tiziana Pepe

Orwellian: People are sick, but CFIA plays word games with E coli O157 notice

As usual, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency buries the lede at the bottom:

george-orwell-6“There have been no illnesses definitively linked to the consumption of these products.”

Yet the recall of Cantran Meat Co. raw pork and pork organ products from the marketplace due to possible E. coli O157:H7 contamination was triggered by findings of CFIA, Alberta Health Services, and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry during the investigation into a foodborne illness outbreak in Alberta.

Way to mention government agencies and snivel servants, way not to mention sick people.

The affected raw pork and pork organ products, supplied by Cantran Meat Co. Ltd., may have been transformed into raw muscle meat cuts, ground pork, sausages, and raw ready-to-eat products. The products, which have been sold fresh, have only been distributed in Alberta.

The affected products are known to have been sold or distributed by the companies from April 28, 2016 up to and including May 14, 2016. The products may have been sold pre-packaged or clerk-served, with or without a label. Consumers who are unsure if they have the affected products are advised to check with their retailer.

18 sickened: Court OKs $4-million settlement over E. coli beef recall in Canada

An Alberta court has approved a $4-million settlement of a class-action lawsuit filed after an E. coli outbreak that sparked the largest meat recall in Canadian history.

mediocrity-mediocrity-lazy-slob-beer-mediocre-demotivational-posters-1335853439-235x300The lawsuit was against XL Foods Inc., which operated a meat-packing plant in southern Alberta during the tainted beef recall in the fall of 2012.

Lawyer Clint Docken says hundreds of people in Canada and the United States could apply by the Aug. 17 deadline.

Under the agreement, which refers to possible E. coli O157 contamination, XL Foods does not accept any wrongdoing or liability (it was all documented in a report).

XL Foods recalled more than 1.8 million kilograms of beef in Canada and the United States, and the plant in Brooks, Alta., was later sold to JBS Canada.

Settlement reached in XL Foods beef recall

A settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit over the largest meat recall in Canadian history.

XL.fine.foodsThe lawsuit was launched against XL Foods based in Brooks, Alberta after 18 people got sick with E. coli after eating tainted meat in 2012.

The majority of the $4 million settlement will go to those poisoned by the meat, health care providers and claims will also be paid out to consumers who had to throw out the tainted products.

The settlement still has to be approved by the courts.

But it’s not enough: Calgary petting zoo adopts no-touch poultry policy

It’s nice that the bureaucrats at Alberta Agriculture are recommending that petting zoos implement a no-touch poultry policy for children under five years of age following a Salmonella outbreak linked to baby chicks, but what about the barriers? What about aerosolization of pathogens?

chicken.south.parkAlberta Health reports that 24 Albertans have become ill since April 5, including 10 children. Three adults and one child required hospitalization, but all four have since been released.

The outbreak has also been linked to illnesses in British Columbia and Saskatchewan. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) says all of the cases involved contact with live baby poultry, and most have been traced back to an unnamed Alberta poultry hatchery.

“The funny thing about Salmonella is that it causes noticeable disease in humans, but for a lot of animals, they’re not noticeably affected at all,” said Dr. James Talbot, Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health.

There’s nothing funny about Salmonella.

Butterfield Acres, a popular petting zoo located northwest of Calgary, is no longer allowing patrons to have any contact with live poultry on site.

In a emailed statement to Global News, a spokesperson said:

“We are taking precautions by adopting a no-touch policy for the poultry, and by restricting access to all our poultry pens. We are asking all visitors to watch the birds through the fences, and to use this situation as an excellent reminder that good hand washing is important.”


Handwashing is never enough: 34 sick with Salmonella from chicks in Canada

Sorenne told me about plans to have a live animal farm with reptiles and baby chicks established at her school.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou see a cute chick, I see a Salmonella factory.

The Public Health Agency of Canada reports an outbreak of Salmonella infections in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan with cases of human illness related to contact with live baby poultry originating from a hatchery in Alberta.

The risk to Canadians is low.

No idea how they came up with that statement, and of course, no info on the age of those affected (I’ll put my money on little kids).

Chicken sausages linked to four illnesses in Alberta

My Wednesday night hockey team grills brats after games sometimes. Sort of a late night tailgate – after a shower and a quick in-dressing room beer, a portable grill is fired up in the parking lot.

We each bring an item or two to contribute to the 2

I bring a meat thermometer (right, exactly as shown).

This week there were some pork brats as well as some spicy chicken sausages. Kinda like the ones that were, according to CBC, linked on Friday to an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in Alberta (that’s in Canada).

Missing Link Extraordinary Sausage is recalling frozen, raw and ground chicken products over concerns of E. coli O157:H7 contamination.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says there have been four reported illnesses associated with the products.

The national food agency says recalled products from the Calgary-based company should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased.

· Garlic, Garlic and More Garlic Chicken Sausage: 454 grams sold between July 14, 2014, and Oct. 3, 2014.
· Missing Link Extraordinary Sausage Garlic, Garlic and More Garlic Chicken Sausage: 227 grams sold between July 14, 2014, and Oct. 3, 2014.
· Missing Link Extraordinary Sausage Garlic, Garlic and More Garlic Chicken Burgers: 340 grams sold between July 14, 2014, and Oct. 3, 2014.
· Missing Link Extraordinary Sausage Garlic, Garlic and More Garlic Chicken Sausage “In the Raw”: 454 grams sold between July 14, 2014, and Oct. 3, 2014.

E. coli O157 in Alberta linked to pork?

Nine days ago, Alberta Health Services said there was confirmed 130 cases of E.coli O157  infection in Alberta and urged people to wash their hands with hot, soapy water — especially after using the bathroom.

UnknownBureaucratic BS.

Today, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency cryptically stated that raw pork products sold by V&T Meat and Food, Calgary, Alberta and Hiep Thanh Trading, Edmonton, Alberta were being recalled due to E. coli O157:H7, and that further analysis is underway to determine if these affected products are linked to some of the E. Coli O157:H7 illnesses in Alberta.

Canadian tax dollars at work.