54 sick from Salmonella at Chicago’s Cook County Jail

At least five detainees have gotten sick in an apparent salmonella outbreak at a medium-security division of the Cook County Jail in Chicago.

Detainees at the jail’s Division 11, 3015 S. California Boulevard, “began experiencing symptoms of a gastrointestinal illness” last week, according to a statement from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. Over the weekend, five cases of salmonella were confirmed among the 54 detainees reporting symptoms.

Two of the detainees were hospitalized for their symptoms, the sheriff’s office said. One has since been returned to the jail and the other was expected to be returned to the jail on Tuesday.

C. perfringens : Over 100 sickened at Minnesota jail

I’ve been in jail, sometimes for long times, sometimes for short times, but my best measure of a graduate student has always been the one who would bail their prof out of jail.

Mara H. Gottfried of the Twin Cities Pioneer Press reports that bacteria in food was probably what sickened 137 inmates at the Ramsey County jail recently, according to testing by the Minnesota Department of Health.

In early Sept. 9, people at the jail in St. Paul began complaining of stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting. Nurses treated inmates at the jail and none had to be hospitalized.

The jail notified the Minnesota Department of Health and St. Paul-Ramsey County Public Health. State health officials said they tested sample trays of food served for lunch and dinner Sept. 8 and a bacteria called Clostridium perfringens was found in a sample of tamale pie and in rice.

“C. perfringens is a common bacteria that lives in the environment and can be a common cause of bacterial intoxication if food is not handled appropriately with respect to time and temperature,” Amy Saupe, a foodborne-disease epidemiologist, wrote in an email.

“Due to the difficulty of this type of food testing, these results are not sufficient on their own to implicate this food,” Saupe said. “However, the identification of C. perfringens in the tamale pie support other investigation findings. Bacterial intoxication, specifically C. perfringens enterotoxin, was the likely cause of the outbreak.”

The Ramsey County sheriff’s office has a contract with Summit Food Service to provide and serve food at the jail. There were no additional cases reported outside of the Ramsey County jail, according to a Health Department spokesman.

“Food safety is our top priority, and we continuously work to ensure our food service operations comply with the standards of our company and our facilities,” Doug Warner, Summit Food Service spokesman, said in a statement. “While food has not been conclusively identified as the source of the symptoms at Ramsey County jail, we take these issues very seriously, and have been working closely with the health department and our client.”

Oh, fuck off.

Shakita Riley said her fiance, Justin Reynolds, called her from the jail during the outbreak and told her he kept having to use the bathroom and had fever, chills and vomiting. Reynolds said his stomach cramping lasted several days.

“He said, ‘I think we got food poisoning,’” Riley said. She said she could hear other inmates in the background talking about how sick they were.

Reynolds, who has been jailed since July and is awaiting trial in a fatal shooting outside a St. Paul bar, has mostly avoided eating the jail-issued food since he became sick in September. But other options are limited — he’s been buying noodles from the vending machine, Riley said.

21 sickened: Salmonella outbreak at New York jail

Undercooked chicken served at the Suffolk jail in Riverhead led to a salmonella outbreak that sickened at least 21 inmates in May, health officials said.

One inmate who was hospitalized has filed a notice of claim with the county, a prelude to a lawsuit.

“Suffolk County comes with an affirmative obligation to supply its criminals in prison all food that’s free of any unhealthy or dangerous substance,” stated Andrew Siben a Bay Shore attorney representing the inmate, Shawn Carpenter.

They are donuts, not a rubber biscuit: Everyone has a camera, Dunkin’ Donuts edition

It was business as usual inside a Mendon Dunkin’ Donuts on Uxbridge Street, Massachusetts Thursday night, but former employees are speaking out about what was captured on video last November.

The employees said it shows what an employee did before the store opened that has them coming forward.

A video shows a tray of donuts accidentally spilled on the floor. The female manager picked them up, waited some time and then put them back onto the tray and into the case to be sold.

Liam, who didn’t want his last name used, said to the best of his knowledge the donuts were then sold to customers when the store opened.

He told NewsCenter 5’s Maria Stephanos that he was taken off the schedule after working there for three years. He admitted that when that happened he wasn’t happy so he came forward with the video, but he said the video speaks for itself.

“People are eating food that went to the ground, to the counter, and then putting it into their mouth,” Liam said. “That’s a problem.”

Prison inmate who got sick from eating bad chicken gets $350 in damages, court says

A federal prison inmate who sued for $130,000 in damages after he became sick from eating chicken tainted with salmonella will have to be content with the $350 granted him by a U.S. Middle District judge.

Eugene K. Brinson is among more than 500 inmates who sued the U.S. government following a June 2011 salmonella outbreak at the federal penitentiary at Canaan in northeastern Pennsylvania. Most of those lawsuits were settled for a total of around $700,000.

Brinson appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, challenging the $350 in damages district Judge Matthew W. Brann awarded in his case. A panel of the appeals court upheld Brann’s decision in a recent ruling.

E. coli cases being investigated at Lovelock Correctional Center

Just cause you’re in jail doesn’t mean you deserve food poisoning.

Public health officials are investigating a case of E. coli at the Lovelock Correctional Center, the Nevada Department of Corrections said Thursday.

Besides the confirmed case at the prison about 100 miles northeast of Reno, there are two suspected cases of E. coli being examined, the department said in a news release.

Aramark, another food safety gift: Bills would require food safety inspections for Mich. prisons

When I was in prison, no one thought much about food safety. There was a cannery, and inmates prepared food, made pruno, and extracted revenge, I guess.

blues-brothers-1989-movie-still-dan-aykroyd-john-belushi-01
Prison kitchens in Michigan managed by contractors
would be required to have food safety inspections under recently introduced bipartisan legislation.

Democratic Rep. John Kivela and Republican Rep. Ed McBroom announced the legislation Wednesday. It comes in response to recent news that inmates at a Jackson-area prison found maggots in a food preparation area.

Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services operates Michigan’s prison food services as part of a three-year, $145 million contract.

The legislation would make prison kitchen facilities subject to the same routine food safety inspections that are required for other food establishments in Michigan. The contractor would have to pay for the inspections.

McBroom says it seems reasonable that prison kitchens “face the same strict inspections as required by any kitchen serving the public.”

Chef teaches inmates (Blues Brothers?) at Cook County Jail how to cook, how to live

When it comes to getting a fresh start in life, a jail is probably just about the last place that comes to mind — particularly one as large and with as storied a past as Illinois’ Cook County Jail.

n-BRUNO-large570But a new beginning is exactly what’s being served up these days in Division 11. Bruno Abate, chef and owner of Tocco, a popular Italian restaurant in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, has been teaching a cooking class to inmates.

The class, which began last spring, isn’t just about cooking up a perfectly crispy pizza or a zesty marinara. Rather, Abate says the program aims to educate its participants in professionalism and responsibility, and to give them hope for their life beyond the cell — hope that they can secure employment, many of them through Abate’s restaurant, and avoid returning to jail.

“I’m trying to teach them the simple life, that you always have the chance to start again,” the Naples, Italy native told The Huffington Post. “You made a mistake, but this country is a good country to start again as long as you’re strong and you fight for the freedom to make a change in your life.”

Abate, who has lived in Chicago since 1998 and opened Tocco in 2009, starts the program with lessons in food safety and sanitation before moving onto classes centered on nutrition, fresh pasta, pizza, cooking with fresh herbs, baking bread and more. When it comes to utensils that could be used as weapons, namely knives, the implements are tethered to the table when in use and stored in lockboxes when they aren’t.

When I was in jail, it was spoons for every meal. I taught school, and afterwards for awhile, but this program sounds awesome. And I had a lotta love.

Today in 1979, the Blues Brothers hit #1 with Briefcase Full of Blues (yes the clip is from the movie, not the album, which I owned, on vinyl).

Fancy food isn’t safe food: Emirates edition

I’ve got some work in Dubai and inexplicably scored access to the Emirates fancy pants lounge at the Brisbane airport. So I wore shorts. Fabulous beef, fruit, and I’m drinking Veuve Cliquot champagne (which I usually pronounce Verve Cluque) like Dan Aykroyd in the Blues Brothers.

But proving once again that even the fanciest places may not know much about food safety, this delightfully refreshing and crisp prawn salad was tainted with sprouts Raw pea sprouts. Yuck. Besides direct ingestion there is cross-contamination.

A table of sprout-related outbreaks is available at http://bites.ksu.edu/sprouts-associated-outbreaks.