Raspberry mousse cakes recalled due to norovirus; are those berries frozen?

Doug and I share recipes sometimes; we’ve talked about roasting chicken, turkey stock and earlier this summer we shared ideas on good veggies to grill. Today we chatted about something neither of us have made: raspberry mousse. We weren’t sure if the raspberries were heated at all – all of this to reason out how norovirus got into raspberry mousse cakes and other baked goods that are making people sick in Canada. Not sure how many, or where. Because, you know, going public is tough.

From CFIA,

Industry is recalling various raspberry mousse cakes from the marketplace due to norovirus. Consumers should not consume and retailers, hotels, restaurants and institutions should not sell, or serve the recalled products described below.

Retailers, hotels, restaurants and institutions are advised to check the labels of raspberry mousse cakes or check with their supplier to determine if they have the affected product.

These products may also have been sold frozen or refrigerated, or clerk-served from bakery-pastry counters with or without a label or coding. Consumers who are unsure if they have purchased the affected product are advised to contact their retailer.

This recall was triggered by findings by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) during its investigation into a foodborne illness outbreak.

I figured the raspberry mousse out, most recipes are some variation of blend up a bunch of raspberries (fresh or frozen), strain them, set some gelatin, add the raspberry juice and whip. Not a whole lot of noro control.

Oh, and frozen raspberries have been linked to (as the title of this article suggests) multiple norovirus outbreaks. Including these, that were recalled in June in Quebec.


I will survive, even hockey

I survived 90 minutes of pickup hockey today, first time I’ve played goal in a year.

If the pavement is going to rise up and bash me on a bicycle, I might as well let people shoot a hard rubber disk at me and get told by a 15-year-old that my technique sucks (paraphrased).

It ain’t Guelph, I was the oldest on the ice, but it doesn’t suck to go to the arena in shorts year round, at noon.

Two grandsons, two birthdays, proud papa from afar

I had coffee with a friend this morning after dropping Sorenne off at school.

She was interested in psychology and I shared with her what I thought was relevant.

But it was watching the women in my life skating last night, and I just sat there with a shit-eating grin on my face.

Amy and Sorenne, playing hockey and wanting more ice.

Go figure.

Daughter 1 (Madelynn) and daughter 2 (Jaucelynn) both have children of their own now, with birthdays within a week.

Gabe turned 4, and Emerson turned 2.

They both apparently like cake

I miss them but it was best I leave, however painful that was.

And it was a long time ago.

Yes, your cat is trying to kill you: Antibiotic-resistant Salmonella found in Australian cat

Microbiology is not a Marvel comic strip: Not every bacteria is a superbug.

data-spotResistance is not futile.

But it is normal.

A drug-resistant salmonella strain that could infect humans and livestock has been found in Australia for the first time.

The salmonella superbug was discovered in an infected cat after it was taken from a shelter to a Sydney vet last year with a suspected gut infection, ABC News reported.

The ‘highly transferrable’ bacteria is resistant to carbapenems- a life-saving drug used in Australian hospitals.

This rare drug resistance could pose a serious threat to public health, experts believe.

‘This is the first time that a salmonella strain with resistance to most drugs has been reported in any Australian domestic animal and it is a significant concern to public health, Dr Sam Abraham told the publication.

Mr Abraham led a study into the risks of the dangerous salmonella strain with a team of veterinary and medical researchers.

He describes the bacteria as a ‘superbug’ because it has picked up a piece of DNA that gives it ‘super powers or resistance to about nine classes of drugs that we usually use to treat humans and animals’.

The study led by Abraham has been accepted for publication in Scientific Reports.

So what? It’s not like other mortals can see it. Publication before press release. Otherwise, Cake has it covered (NSFV).

Same with the U.S. election.

Oregonian newsroom staffers sickened by Norovirus at morale booster

A May 31 cake-and-coffee gathering to recognize outstanding staff performance at The Oregonian went awry according to Williamette Week.

The Multnomah County Health Department is now investigating a potential norovirus outbreak after at least 14 people came down with stomach pain and severe diarrhea after the event.

The county sent samples of the cake to a laboratory for testing, according to health department spokeswoman Julie Sullivan-Springhetti. “One person did test positive to norovirus,” Sullivan-Springhetti says, referring to the stomach-flu-like ailment sometimes called “cruise-ship disease.”

As The Oregonian has reported, norovirus and other foodborne disorders are increasingly common.

“It was definitely unfortunate,” Oregonian Editor Mark Katches says in an email. “But it won’t stop us from doing these types of celebrations in the future.”

I will survive: Salmonella in filled cracker snack thingies

A study was done to determine the rate of inactivation of Salmonella in cookie and cracker snack sandwiches.

salm.pcrackerbutter.eanut.Two cookie bases (chocolate and vanilla) and cheese crackers, along with high-sugar chocolate and peanut butter–based crème cookie fillings and peanut butter– and cheese-based cracker fillings, were obtained from commercial sources.

Fillings and sandwiches containing fillings that had been dry- or wet-inoculated with Salmonella were stored at 25°C for 1, 6, 21, 35, 70, 112, and 182 days (6 months). At initial populations of 3.4 and 3.6 log CFU/g of cookie sandwiches containing chocolate crème and peanut butter crème fillings, respectively, Salmonella survived for at least 182 days; initially at 0.36 log CFU/g, the pathogen survived for at least 35 and 70 days.

Initially at 2.9 and 3.4 log CFU/g of cracker sandwiches containing peanut butter– and cheese-based fillings, respectively, Salmonella survived for at least 182 and 112 days; initially at 0.53 log CFU/g, the pathogen survived for at least 6 and 35 days. Inactivation of Salmonella was more rapid in wet-inoculated peanut butter crème cookie filling than in dry-inoculated filling but was less affected by type of inoculum in peanut butter–based cracker filling. Chocolate cookie base (water activity [aw] 0.39) and chocolate crème filling (aw 0.30) components of sandwiches equilibrated to aw 0.38 within 15 days at 25°C; vanilla cookie base (aw 0.21) and peanut butter–based crème filling (aw 0.27) equilibrated to aw 0.24 between 50 and 80 days. Cheese cracker (aw 0.14) and peanut butter–based filling (aw 0.31) or cheese-based filling (aw 0.33) components of sandwiches equilibrated to aw 0.33 in 80 days.

The ability of Salmonella to survive for at least 182 days in fillings of cookie and cracker sandwiches demonstrates a need to assure that filling ingredients do not contain the pathogen and that contamination does not occur during manufacture. 

Survival of Salmonella in cookie and cracker sandwiches containing inoculated, low–water activity fillings

Journal of Food Protection®, Number 10, October 2015, pp. 1776-1924, pp. 1828-1834(7)

Beuchat, Larry R.; Mann, David A.


Low water activity, but gross: US couple eats bite of unrefrigerated wedding cake each year for 60 years

A couple who celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last week have revealed one secret to keeping their marriage from getting stale: eating cake that is very, very much so.

marriageAnn and Ken Fredericks of Satellite Beach, Florida, celebrate their anniversary by eating a bite from their wedding cake every year — the remains of which they’re now keeping covered in plastic wrap inside a metal coffee can, Florida Today reports.

But they don’t store it inside a refrigerator or freezer. The cake’s actually sitting inside a closet at room temperature.

Ann Fredericks, 81, said their children are “appalled” they’re still eating the decades-old dessert, but said the dark fruit cake will keep indefinitely. They pour brandy over the cake to moisten it before digging in, and usually break open a bottle of champagne to go with it, she said.

“Believe me, it’s quite tasty, as long as it’s got enough brandy on it. And it’s never made us sick,” she told Florida Today.

She did tell ABC News that “it’s a little dry.”


34 sick from Salmonella in backyard eggs, Poland, 2011

While Sorenne and I were up watching football at 3:30 a.m. local time (recovering from all the barfing yesterday), she was browsing through this week’s edition of Eurosurveillance and thought this abstract about backyard eggs and Salmonella would be of interest.

One of her teachers at school has chickens and ducks and provides me with eggs, and I provide her with cooked things.

But as I always explain to my 3-year-old sous chef, there are certain precautions to take with raw eggs, not just the undercooking but the cross-contamination, regardless of where they originate.

Abstract below:

Implementation of control measures in line with European Commission regulations has led to a decrease in salmonellosis in the European Union since 2004. However, control programmes do not address laying hens whose eggs are produced for personal consumption or local sale. This article reports an investigation of a salmonellosis outbreak linked to home-produced eggs following a family event held in a farm in September 2011 near Warsaw, Poland. In the outbreak, 34 people developed gastroenteritis symptoms. Results from a cohort study indicated a cake, prepared from raw home-produced eggs, as the vehicle of the outbreak.

Laboratory analysis identified Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis (S. Enteritidis) in stool samples or rectal swabs from 18 of 24 people and in two egg samples. As no food items remained, we used phage typing to link the source of the outbreak with the isolated strains. Seven S. Enteritidis strains analysed (five from attendees and two from eggs) were phage type 21c. Our findings resulted in culling of the infected laying hens and symptomatic pigeons housed next to the hens. Salmonella poses as a public health problem in Poland: control measures should not forget home-produced eggs, as there is a risk of infection from their consumption.

38 sick; Sunland Salmonella peanut plant focuses on reopening

Following the Canadian episode of yeah-we’re-going-back-to-work-after-bad-things-happened-to-people-without-plausible explanation in the E. coli O157 at XL Foods, the Portales, New Mexico plant of Sunland Inc. may back in business soon.

They’ve shut down, torn apart facilities, and now they’re rebuilding it all. Sunland officials hope to reopen their peanut processing facility within a week and the peanut butter plant before year’s end. 

“I think everyone is very excited to get back into production,” Sunland Vice President Katalin Coburn said.  “The mood has been increasingly positive, and I think everyone is ready to just go forward.” 

Home to the naturally sweet Valencia Peanuts, Sunland products reached big name stores nationwide like Target, Trader Joe’s and Costco. 

Inspections at the plant revealed bacterial contamination. Coburn said contamination appears to have occurred environmentally.

“I do believe that consumers and the industry understands not just the challenges but also the steps that Sunland has taken, and will continue to take to ensure safe, quality food,” Coburn added. 

Sunland is receiving this year’s peanut crop and storing it for now. Coburn said they’re still analyzing data from their tests and the FDA’s inspection.

I’m not sure the 39 people sickened in 20 states understand. And I look forward to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 483 being made public, so mere mortals and peanut eaters everywhere can assess for themselves the steps Sunland has taken.

If Sunland was actually concerned, they’d go and brag about their awesome food safety instead of assuming the sheep will follow the flock.

Undercooked eggs in rattlesnake cake linked to salmonella outbreak at fancy Colorado restaurant; dozens sick

I don’t know what rattlesnake cake is but like other cakes, it contains eggs – eggs that need to be cooked to reduce the risk of salmonella.

CBS4 in Denver reports more than two dozen people who ate at The Fort in Morrison, Colorado, last month got sick (there’s a photo gallery and it apparently involves patrons wearing hats).

Officials believe it was caused by undercooking eggs — in particular for one specialty of the house. So far there are eight confirmed cases of salmonella and 20 listed as probable.

The Fort is designed like, uh, a fort from the 1800s and its cuisine reflects the period. In 1997 at the Summit of the Eight, then President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin were among those who dined there.

According to the menu, the “Diamondback Rattlesnake Cake (similar to a crab cake) topped with a sweet and spicy avacodo relish and cilantro micro greens, served with Dixon chile aoli. $25 (subject to availability).”

Dr. Mark Johnson, Jefferson County Health executive director, said

"Testing did show that the batter that was used in preparation of one of the foods did have eggs in it that did test positive for the same type salmonella that the case had."

The restaurant quickly removed the item from its menu, but one person CBS4 spoke to who did not eat the rattlesnake cakes became ill with the salmonella bacteria and had to be hospitalized several days.

Through reservations the Jefferson County Health Department tracked down some 90 people who dined at the restaurant. It did not issue a public warning and the restaurant was not closed.

Holly Arnold Kinney, who describes herself as the Proprietress of The Fort Restaurant, said in a statement,

"Our deepest sympathy goes out to our customers who were affected by this illness. We hold the highest standards and consider each customer a guest in our home, The Fort. These were isolated confirmed cases of food borne illness. The one food item suspected was immediately removed from our menu. We are working closely with the Jefferson County Health Department adhering to all recommendations to make our preparation of food as safe as possible. There are no other concerns. I’m sorry we are not able to provide you with an on-air interview. Contact the Jefferson County Health Department for any other information."

The Proprietress scores well for a strong opening statement of empathy but low for the fluff about standards, especially if 27 people are barfing and especially if the cause is something as routine as eggs. The Proprietress demonstrates how the rattlesnake cakes are made on The Today show, below, in April.

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