Restaurant employee positive for Hepatitis A

A worker at Cliffside Bistro tested positive for Hepatitis A in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada.

City News reports
Toronto Public Health said Monday that anyone who recently ate at a Scarborough restaurant may have been exposed to hepatitis A.
Health officials said an employee at Cliffside Bistro at 22-77 Kingston Rd. near Midland Avenue has tested positive for the illness.
Anyone who ate at the restaurant on July 21, between July 25-29 and between Aug. 2-4 may have been exposed.

The problem with Hep A is the long incubation period and symptoms may not appear until 14-28 days after exposure.

While the risk of infections is low, Toronto Public Health says they will be holding several free hepatitis A vaccination clinics at the Scarborough Civic Centre.
The clinics are open on Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Hepatitis A can be spread by improper hand washing after using the washroom and the coming into contact with food. Common symptoms include fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea/vomiting, stomach pains and jaundice (yellowing of the skin).

 

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.

 

BBQ food safety

BBQ food safety tips….in August…a little late in the game for us in Canada, then I realized this story stems from Australia.

Food safety tips for parties and BBQs
Storage:
Ensure you have enough fridge and freezer space
Keep cold foods in the fridge until they are ready to serve e.g. salads
Temperature controls:
The bacteria that cause food poisoning grow rapidly between 5°C and 60°C (also known as the temperature danger zone)
Hot food should be served steaming hot – at least 60°C
Food should be thoroughly cooked before consuming. It is recommended that poultry, minced meats and sausages be cooked until well done right through to the centre. No pink should be visible and the juices should run clear. Alternately, you can use a meat thermometer to check if the meat is properly cooked.

Nope. Always use a thermometer to ensure safety of foods, never rely on color alone. This will also prevent over-cooking meats/fish that would otherwise lend to formation of heterocyclic amines (HCA’s), potent mutagens formed when meats/fish are cooked using high temperature methods. One way to reduce the formation of HCA’s is to marinate your meat/fish before grilling. Studies have shown that marinated meats and fish contained lower levels HCA’s than non-marinated samples with the exception of pan-fried salmon(1). 

Preventing cross-contamination:
Wash and dry hands thoroughly before preparing food (and in between handling raw and cooked foods)
Keep raw and cooked food separate – don’t let raw meat juices drip onto other foods
Use different knives and cutting boards for raw and cooked foods
Ensure that benches, kitchen equipment and tableware are clean and dry
Avoid making food for others if you are sick
Leftovers:
Refrigerate any leftovers straight away
Leftovers should be consumed within 3 days
Reheat leftover food to at least 75°C or until it is steaming hot

1. Heterocyclic amines content of meat and fish cooked by Brazilian methods. 2010. J Food Compost Anal. Feb 1; 23(1): 61–69.

 

Food fraud in Canada

I love Canada except for the ridiculous sub-zero temperatures we get here in the winter-Powell and Chapman can attest to this having lived in Ontario.
Canada is not immune to food fraud and with increase testing of food products, we’ll see just how bad it is. A study conducted by Sylvain Charlebois, the dean of the Faculty of Management and professor in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University indicates that more than 40 per cent of Canadians believe to have been victims of food fraud already.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed. – Mahatma Gandhi

Liam Casey of the Globe and Mail writes

A federally funded study has found that 20 per cent of sausages sampled from grocery stores across Canada contained meats that weren’t on the label.
The study, published this week in the journal Food Control, was conducted by researchers at the University of Guelph and commissioned by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
It examined 100 sausages that were labelled as containing just one ingredient – beef, pork, chicken or turkey.
“About one in five of the sausages we tested had some off-label ingredients in them, which is alarming,” said Robert Hanner, lead author of the study and an associate professor with the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario at the University of Guelph.
The CFIA reached out to Prof. Hanner for the study after the European horse meat scandal in 2013, where food labelled as beef was found to have horse meat – in some cases beef was completely substituted by horse meat.
The goal of the study, the federal food regulator said, was to examine scientific methods used by Prof. Hanner to see if the CFIA could use them in its regulatory practices. The scientific tools showed promising results, the CFIA said.
Seven of 27 beef sausages examined in the study contained pork. One of 38 supposedly pure pork sausages contained horse meat. Of 20 chicken sausages, four also contained turkey and one also had beef. Five of the 15 turkey sausages studied contained no turkey at all – they were entirely chicken.
None of the sausages examined contained more than one other type of meat in addition to the meat the sausage was meant to contain, Prof. Hanner said, noting, however that researchers were only testing for turkey, chicken, pork, beef and horse.
“The good news is that typically beef sausages predominantly contain beef, but some of them also contain pork, so for our kosher and halal consumers, that is a bit disconcerting,” Prof. Hanner said.

The undeclared meats found weren’t trace levels, Prof. Hanner noted.
“The levels we’re seeing aren’t because the blades on a grinder aren’t perfectly clean,” he said, adding that many of the undeclared ingredients found in the sausages were recorded in the range of 1 per cent to 5 per cent.
More than one per cent of undeclared ingredients indicates a breakdown in food processing or intentional food fraud, Prof. Hanner explained.

Costco recalls cut broccoli because of E. coli O26

Non O157 STECs aren’t new but it’s still kinda notable when they pop up in recalls. The more folks look, whether buyers or suppliers are testing for them, the more folks find.

In 2015 E. coli O26 caused 60 illnesses (including 22 hospitalizations) associated with Chipotle. No source was identified, but the pathogen has been seen in both meats and produce. Today’s winner is cut broccoli.

According to a CFIA post, Costco is recalling Gold Coast brand broccoli florettes after someone found the pathogen. Or as CFIA so helpfully says, ‘This recall was triggered by the company.’

Gold Coast has a food safety page on their website. They say stuff like, ‘Microbiological Testing Program – Our new, fully equipped, in-house Microbiological Laboratory performs raw product, in process, finished product, and environmental testing.’

and

‘All raw and finished products are “lot coded” and can be traced back to specific suppliers, growers, ranches, fields, and plots.’

I look forward to hearing more.

Cyclosporiasis – France ex Mexico

This case of cyclospora may have no relation to the Canadian outbreak; or may.

A 64-year-old French [female] with type 2 diabetes mellitus was referred to our department on [Mon 3 Jul 2017] because she was suffering from protracted diarrhea.

Symptoms began on [Sat 10 Jun 2017] as she was just returning from a touristic trip in Cancun (Quintana Roo State, Mexico) where she stayed from [Mon 29 May to Fri 9 Jun 2017] with her husband.

She acknowledged having moderate watery diarrhea with abdominal discomfort, bloating, transient vomiting, 5 kg weight [approx. 11.02 pounds] loss and fatigue. Empiric therapy with oral Metronidazole 500 mg 3 times a day for 7 days she received previously failed to improve her symptoms. Of note, a 1st microscopic stool examination failed to identify parasites and no enteropathogenic bacteria was found by culture on selective media.

Up to 3 extra stool specimens where sent to the laboratory of clinical parasitology in our hospital.

Oocysts of Cyclospora cayetanensis where evidenced by autofluorescence after Bailenger concentration technique.

Low levels of Salmonella may be associated with foodborne outbreaks

A significant data gap exists with respect to the levels of pathogens in foods implicated in foodborne outbreaks. These data are essential for the quantification of pathogen exposure via the ingestion of contaminated food.

Here we report the levels of the foodborne pathogen Salmonella in comminuted raw chicken products that had been breaded and then frozen. The products investigated were collected during four food safety investigations of foodborne outbreaks that occurred in Canada from 2014 to 2016. Most-probable-number (MPN) distribution analysis of the food samples revealed Salmonella levels of 0.0018 to 3 MPN/g, which is equivalent to 1 MPN per 0.33 to 556 g of product. These data suggest low levels of Salmonella may be associated with foodborne outbreaks.

Enumerative analysis of Salmonella in outbreak-associated breaded and frozen comminuted raw chicken products

Journal of Food Protection – May 2017

Angela Catford, Kyle Ganz, and Sandeep Tamber

http://www.jfoodprotection.org/doi/abs/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-16-496?code=fopr-site

 

29 sick: An outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O121 infections associated with flour- Canada, 2016-2017

On December 29, 2016, PulseNet Canada identified a cluster of six Escherichia coli non-O157 isolates with a matching pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern combination that was new to the PulseNet Canada database. The patients resided in three geographically distinct provinces. In January 2017, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) initiated an investigation with local, provincial, and federal partners to investigate the source of the outbreak.

A case was defined as isolation of E. coli non-O157 with the outbreak PFGE pattern or closely related by whole genome sequencing (WGS) in a Canadian resident or visitor with onset of symptoms of gastroenteritis on or after November 1, 2016. Patients’ illness onset dates ranged from November 2016 to April 2017 (Figure). As of May 23, 2017, a total of 29 cases were identified in six provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan). One additional case was identified in a U.S. resident who traveled to Canada during the exposure period. Patients’ ages ranged from 2–79 years (median = 23.5 years) and 50% were female. Eight patients were hospitalized, and one developed hemolytic uremic syndrome. Clinical isolates were typed as E. coli O121:H19 (one case was typed as E. coli O121:H undetermined) with Shiga toxin 2–producing genes by in silico toxin testing and had closely related PFGE patterns and WGS.

Initial investigation into the source of the outbreak did not identify any clear hypotheses; common exposures were ground beef, sausage style deli-meats, pizza, and pork, but the data did not converge on any specific products. Patients were reinterviewed by PHAC using an open-ended approach. Knowledge of a recent E. coli O121 flour-associated outbreak prompted interviewers to ask about baking and exposure to raw flour or dough (1). Patients were also asked if any food items of interest, including flour, were available for testing.

In March 2017, E. coli O121 with the outbreak PFGE pattern was isolated from an open flour sample from a patient’s home and a closed sample collected at a retail store, both of the same brand and production date. The clinical and flour isolates grouped together, with only 0–6 whole genome multilocus sequence typing allele differences. As a result of these findings, a product recall was issued. Based on possible connections to the recalled lot of flour, market sampling of flour within certain periods was initiated. The investigation led to additional recalls of flour and many secondary products (2).

As of May 23, 2017, 22 patients had been asked about flour exposure in the 7 days before illness onset; 16 (73%) reported that the implicated brand of flour was used or probably used in the home during the exposure period. Comparison data on the expected proportion with exposure to this brand of flour were not available. Eleven of these sixteen patients reported they ate or probably ate raw dough during their exposure period.

This is the first national outbreak of non-O157 Shiga toxin–producing E. coli infections identified in Canada and the first Canadian outbreak linked to flour. An open-ended interview approach and flour sampling were used to implicate flour as the source. Because of the recent emergence of E. coli outbreaks linked to flour, public health professionals should consider flour as a possible source in E. coli outbreaks and communicate the risk associated with exposure to flour, raw batter, and dough in public health messaging.

At least 20 sick with Cyclospora in Canada

Health-types in Canada are investigating locally acquired Cyclospora infections in two provinces. The source of the outbreak has not been identified. Previous outbreaks in Canada and the United States (US) have been linked to imported fresh produce. The investigation is ongoing.

In Canada, a total of 20 cases have been reported in two provinces: British Columbia (5) and Ontario (15). Individuals became sick between May and early June of this year. The majority of cases (60%) are male, with an average age of 53 years. The investigation into the source of the outbreak is ongoing. To date, no multi-jurisdictional outbreaks of Cyclospora have been linked to produce grown in Canada.

The outbreak investigation is active and the public health notice will be updated on a regular basis as the investigation evolves.

People living or travelling in tropical or subtropical regions of the world who eat fresh produce or drink untreated water may be at increased risk for infection because the parasite is found in some of these regions.

7 sick: Outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to raw frozen breaded chicken thingies in Canada, again

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with lotsa other bureau-types to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis infections in four provinces with cases of human illness linked to frozen raw breaded chicken products.

PHAC feels compelled to tell Canadians the risk is low and illnesses can be avoided if safe food handling, preparation and cooking practices are followed when preparing these types of food products. This outbreak is a reminder that frozen raw breaded chicken products contain raw poultry and should be handled and prepared no differently from other raw poultry products.

It’s the just-cook-it stance, which doesn’t account for cross-contamination, and utterly fails to account for the BS marketing that companies use to market this shit (see video below, when we had no idea how to shoot video).

Currently, there are seven cases of Salmonella illness in four provinces: British Columbia (1), Alberta (4), Ontario (1) and New Brunswick (1). Two people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Individuals became sick between April and May of this year. The majority of cases (71%) are male. The average age of cases is 26 years.

It’s the end of June. How much time is needed to go public with an identifiable foodborne risk? And no company identified? A public health disgrace.

Direct video observation of adults and tweens cooking raw frozen chicken thingies (not the real title)

01.nov.09

British Food Journal, Vol 111, Issue 9, p 915-929

Sarah DeDonder, Casey J. Jacob, Brae V. Surgeoner, Benjamin Chapman, Randall Phebus, Douglas A. Powell

http://www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContentItem.do;jsessionid=6146E6AFABCC349C376B7E55A3866D4A?contentType=Article&contentId=1811820


Abstract:

Purpose – The purpose of the present study was to observe the preparation practices of both adult and young consumers using frozen, uncooked, breaded chicken products, which were previously involved in outbreaks linked to consumer mishandling. The study also sought to observe behaviors of adolescents as home food preparers. Finally, the study aimed to compare food handler behaviors with those prescribed on product labels.


Design/methodology/approach – The study sought, through video observation and self-report surveys, to determine if differences exist between consumers’ intent and actual behavior.


Findings – A survey study of consumer reactions to safe food-handling labels on raw meat and poultry products suggested that instructions for safe handling found on labels had only limited influence on consumer practices. The labels studied by these researchers were found on the packaging of chicken products examined in the current study alongside step-by-step cooking instructions. Observational techniques, as mentioned above, provide a different perception of consumer behaviors.


Originality/value – This paper finds areas that have not been studied in previous observational research and is an excellent addition to existing literature.