1000 tons of meat seized in South China some ‘soaked in bleach’

Police in China’s southern province of Guangdong have seized $12.3 million of potentially hazardous frozen meat including some reportedly soaked in bleach.

goodfellas-body-meat-freezer-09Sixteen suspects were detained in the raid late last week, say local police, who uncovered 1,000 tons meat and offal — chiefly from the U.S., Brazil and Thailand — on a vessel near Dangan Island by the city of Shenzhen.

“A criminal gang that used to smuggle frozen meat products, along with marine smuggling channel in Guangdong waters, were busted in the crackdown,” said a police statement, reports the state-backed China Daily newspaper.

Police said some of the haul — including beef cuts, tripe, tongue and chicken wings — had been soaked in bleach in order to clean the meat and increase its weight. A kilogram of beef weighs more than 1.5 kg after soaking in highly toxic bleach, said police, warning that the doctored meat would have “seriously harmed people’s health.”


Reason to use different colored bottles: 28 children accidentally drink bleach at N.J. day care

Twenty-eight children and two adults accidentally drank bleach at a day care center in Jersey City on Thursday, according to officials.

the_first_bleach_bottle_by_thebleachbottle-d5h2xeyThe children, aged 3 and 4, were evaluated and taken from the day care center, Growing Tree II, to Jersey City Medical Center-Barnabas Health. The children were in stable condition and expected to be released to their parents, officials said.

“We don’t think the amount they ingested is significant,” said hospital spokesman Mark Rabson.

Hospital officials were not clear how or why bleach was ingested by the children and staff.

Dr. Steven M. Marcus, the executive director of New Jersey Poison Information and Education System, said such accidents are fairly common. Hotels, restaurants and other food service outlets are required to regularly sanitize certain areas, and often use bleach and water as the solution. Despite warnings by the poison center against it, workers will often put the solution in a container — such as a brand-name water bottle or gallon jug — that can be mistaken for water.

How to clean up after Norovirus

The Cleveland Clinic offers these tips for cleaning up after a norovirus outbreak:

1. Use bleach and water

You can catch norovirus from contaminated surfaces, and many disinfectants won’t kill it. Use bleach water. The CDC recommends a solution that contains anywhere from 5 to 25 tablespoons of household bleach per gallon of water. Stainless steel and similar surfaces need less, while more porous surfaces need more. If you don’t want to mix your own, shop for bleach-based cleaners.

norovirus-22. Clean safely

Use rubber gloves or disposable latex or vinyl gloves. This will help protect you not only from the bleach but also from the norovirus itself, which can hang around on surfaces for several days. Wear a protective mask for safety — and be sure to air out the room when you finish cleaning.

3. Clean everything you touch    

That includes the toilet, the floor, all counters, doorknobs, light switches, telephones, remote controls — you name it. For the best results, let the bleach water or cleaner sit on the surface for about 10 minutes before wiping it clean with paper towels or other disposable products. In addition, you may want to steam clean upholstered furniture.

4. Separate your laundry

Use gloves to handle soiled sheets, towels and clothes, and keep them separate from other laundry if possible. Wash everything in very hot water. For whites or light clothing you aren’t concerned about lightening, add a little bleach. Wash the items with detergent at the maximum available cycle length, then machine dry them.

5. Wash your hands — then wash them again

Washing your hands is a good practice both during and after any illness, particularly a hearty one like norovirus. Be sure to wash hands thoroughly after cleaning, too, so all your hard work doesn’t go to waste.


Avoid direct contact; baby changing station linked to Oregon norovirus outbreak

Norovirus is incredibly infectious. The particles can aerosolize, infecting anyone who, for example, cleans up norovirus-containing barf. The virus is sturdy, and stays viable for months on a variety of surfaces.

So when the call came in, Washington County health authorities figured this was WorldDryerABC-300HDryBabyChangingStationHorizontala typical norovirus outbreak caused by contaminated food.

Lynne Terry writes in The Oregonian that all of the people at the Hillsboro auto dealership who became ill ate take-out submarine sandwiches, served buffet-style, on the same day.

But what food safety sleuths uncovered was quite a different story, one that comes with a warning about baby changing stations.

The outbreak was reported this month in the Journal of Infectious Diseases but dates to May last year when the dealership held a staff meeting in the showroom at lunchtime.

All 16 employees working that day attended and all but two ate a submarine sandwich off a platter.

Within 30 hours, 12 employees started getting sick.

The dealership, which Washington County did not name, suspected the fast-food restaurant was to blame. So did Washington County food safety specialists.

“Any sort of buffet food is high-risk,” said Kimberly Repp,  epidemiologist at Washington County. “We figured it was that.”

Plus, the food came from a take-out restaurant with historically a poor inspection record, according to Washington County officials.

The auto dealership called the restaurant about the outbreak and also informed the county, which sent an environmental health inspector. The inspector found two code violations at the restaurant, but neither explained the outbreak.

The inspector also asked about staff illnesses.

“The typical scenario would be a food handler working while sick,” said William Keene, senior epidemiologist with Oregon Public Health. “That could have been the end of the investigation.”

Only one restaurant employee had been ill in the two weeks before the outbreak, but that person suffered a severe headache, not gastrointestinal symptoms imagesassociated with norovirus. No customers had complained of being ill, either.

Repp discovered that something else was to blame. During interviews with employees, one recalled that a customer with a sick child had used the diaper-changing station in the women’s restroom before the lunch. When the woman and toddler left, the restroom was a mess.

The employee cleaned it up as best she could with dry paper towels. She didn’t wear gloves or use bleach but did wash her hands. She left the restroom, opened the dealership’s front door for another employee carrying the food and was the first to take a sandwich from the platter.

All five of the women who worked at the dealership that day reported using the women’s restroom. They all got sick, as did seven of 11 male employees.

Repp figured the contamination started at the diaper-changing station, and then the virus was spread outside the restroom. To be sure, she swabbed the surface of the unit and had it tested. Results showed it was contaminated with norovirus. Tests also turned up the same strain in the toddler and two of the sick employees.

The outbreak investigation marked the first anywhere to trace norovirus to a diaper changing station, Repp said.

That connection warranted publication of the investigation in the journal. But another observation stunned Repp even more.

Two weeks after the outbreak, she returned to the dealership. Staff said the unit had been cleaned by professional janitors twice since then. But Repp could see fecal material on the surface.

She decided to dig deeper, visiting 14 other public restrooms in Washington County, in parks, a restaurant, grocery stores, gas station, libraries, shopping malls and an aquatic center. None turned up norovirus, the only lab test she ran. But eight were visibly soiled.

“I was horrified,” Repp said. “None of these stations are cleaned.”

There are no Oregon regulations on sanitizing diaper-changing stations.

Even when cleaned, baby changing stations might not be sanitized. Common disinfectants kill many bacteria but are not effective against norovirus. The virus is extremely hardy and can live for days — if not weeks — in the environment. Only a few organisms can make someone ill.

A solution of bleach or hydrogen peroxide is believed to be the one way to kill the virus. But the manufacturer of the baby station at the car dealership does not recommend bleach because it could damage the plastic.

Repp said the best practical precaution is for parents not to put their children directly on the surface. She advised them to carry their disposable liners or plastic to change diapers at a station.

Bleach is a friend: Oregon schools using ‘inappropriate’ cleaning products as norovirus spreads

When someone barfs, especially in a closed area like a daycare or school or other facilities, it’s crucial the vomit be cleaned up quickly to limit the spread of aerosolized viral particles.

And to use the right chemicals.

The Douglas County Health Department says the recent outbreaks that shut down Fir Grove in Roseburg and the entire Oakland School District were both identified as norovirus.

According to Caroline Regan, Douglas County Environmental Health Specialist, the results of testing so far indicate that the Oakland outbreak was found more in students who ate in the cafeteria. That facility is shared by all three Oakland Schools.

In a release sent out Monday afternoon, authorities say that at both schools, “inappropriate” cleaning supplies were used.  They say that the products used were not able to disinfect norovirus.

The schools have implemented new products that are bleach based and will kill the virus.

Bathrooms and other surfaces potentially contaminated with vomit or stool should be disinfected with a 5000 ppm bleach solution (1:10 dilution of household bleach).

The cursed 3 compartment sink method

I have finally decided to give my body a break and cut down on the amount of caffeine I consume daily. The problem is that I am not a morning kinda’ guy and when restaurant operators decide to tell me just how much they like me when I visit, I look like Christopher Walken ready to snap. This morning I decided to visit a local mom and pop restaurant to perform a routine inspection. These smaller type of establishments typically use the 3 compartment sink method for dishwashing as commercial dishwashers are not required. I feel that staff are not compelled to wash dishes using this method which includes washing with soap and water, rinsing, sanitizing (i.e. 50 ppm chlorine), and as a final step air drying, especially when the boss isn’t kicking around.  A commercial dishwasher equipped with an approved sanitation cycle would be more appropriate. So when I asked the owner how the dishes are washed, he cursed, then gave me the wrong answer.

 There seems to be a tendency for operators to mix soap with chlorine in the sanitizing step of the method, that is, in the third sink prior to air drying. In doing so, the sanitizer is not operating at its full potential. Soap is alkaline in nature as it uses sodium and potassium hydroxides to make surfactants. Bleach (chlorine) operates optimally at lower pH’s therefore added soap will decrease the efficacy of the bleach and should not be used.