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.

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.

Handle flour like raw meat: More Canadian flour and people sickened with E. coli O121

In April 2017, health-types in Canada said E.coli O121 had sickened 26 people that was linked to Robin Hood All Purpose Flour, Original.

On May 26, 2017, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Ardent Mills is recalling various brands of flour and flour products due to possible E. coli O121 contamination. Consumers should not consume the recalled products described below.

This recall was triggered by findings by the CFIA during its investigation into a foodborne illness outbreak. The CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.

The CFIA is verifying that industry is removing recalled products from the marketplace.

There have been reported illnesses associated with flour; however, at this time, there have been no confirmed illnesses associated with the products identified in this Food Recall Warning.

But there have been with Roger flour in B.C.

On May 21, 2017 the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) alerted British Columbians after six people in BC were infected with the same strain of E. coli O121 between February and April, 2017.

A sample of flour from one of the ill people was tested by the BCCDC Public Health Laboratory and found positive for the same strain of E. coli O121 as seen in all the illnesses.

While it is unknown at this time whether the other ill people consumed the same flour, the BCCDC recommends consumers:

Dispose of Rogers all-purpose flour in a 10kg bag with the lot number MFD 17 Jan 19 C.  This flour was available to Costco customers in B.C. beginning in January 2017.

Although this outbreak is occurring at the same time as a national outbreak involving a different strain of E. coli O121 that has been linked to various flours and flour products, it is unclear whether there is a link between the two outbreaks.

The national outbreak has affected 30 people from six provinces: British Columbia (13), Saskatchewan (4), Alberta (5), Ontario (1), Quebec (1) and Newfoundland and Labrador (5). One of the 30 cases was a visitor to Canada. The illness onset dates range from November 2016 to April 2017.

These are the questions that remain about the interactions between Robin Hood, Ardent, Rogers and their flour: Do you folks all get your flour from the same place and slap your name on it like Trump slaps his name on towers? If so, where is the common processor, and why the fuck is there E. coli O121 in it? What are companies prepared to do, like offering pasteurized flour, especially so the medically vulnerable can continue to bake without fretting about flour dust?And when will the Public Health Agency of Canada move beyond boilerplate fairy tales like wash hands, and offer something meaningful to Canadians who bake?

Overpaid bureacrats, worried about their retirement savings rather than a nasty bug like E. coli O121.

Inhale the dust, assholes.

The outpouring of compassion for the victims is underwhelming.

Really? Raising fish in containers on land is eco-friendly so grow veggies in fish poo

Although aquaponics is still in its infancy, Fort Langley–based West Creek Aquaculture and others see potential for this alternative to conventional agriculture

Felicity Stone of BC Business reports the fish from B.C.’s handful of land-based aquaculture farms are considered sustainable, with Ocean Wise certification from the Vancouver Aquarium. The farms use no antibiotics, hormones or chemicals, and they compost the fish waste.

Instead of composting the waste, West Creek has experimented with aquaponics, growing vegetables in the same water as the fish so the effluent nourishes the plants, which in turn clean the water. Although plant yield increased, Read found that he couldn’t compete with traditional vegetable growers. He’s still looking for a way to monetize fish effluent as plant fertilizer, but he thinks aquaponics is best suited for farmers in the business of plant, not fish, production.

Crops raised using aquaponics actually tend to be more profitable than the fish, according to U.S. studies. The key is marketing them to compete with other local and organic greens. Andrew Riseman, an associate professor of applied biology and plant breeding at UBC, believes aquaponic produce is superior to both conventionally grown and organic. “But until there’s product differentiation in the marketplace where they can get a premium for that specific product, they’re just lumped in with organics or chemical-free or pesticide-free or whatever other generic grouping they fit into,” he says. “Much like the land-based fish production—they’re grouped in with farmed salmon.”

The key is proving the produce is microbiologically safer?

Doubtful.

Guess the aquaponics folks wouldn’t want to market that.

Ron Doering: Of course I’m proud of CFIA, why isn’t the rest of Canada?

Doering writes: The 20th anniversary of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)  seems to have gone by unnoticed, even by the CFIA. Has it lived up to the original vision? Has it achieved its promise from 20 years ago?

Of course I‘m not an unbiased observer. In April, 1995 I was given the lead responsibility to carry out the consultation on how Canada should reorganize its food inspection and related activities. I put together the team to carry out the review.  We called ourselves the Office of Food Inspection Systems (OFIS). When we completed the consultation, we  recommended the most ambitious of the options reviewed–that the government should create a new independent legislated agency with the full regulatory authority for the whole food chain. Our Minister Ralph Goodale went to Cabinet in  the late fall of 1995 and the Chretien Government adopted our recommendation. OFIS was also given the lead to set it up and we got the historic legislation through in time to open the doors on April 1, 1997. Later I served as its President until I retired from the public service. 

Looking back on the original OFIS documents, the CFIA was created to meet five broad objectives. How well have these been met? 

Enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of federal food inspection and related services. The CFIA clearly met this goal. $44 million dollars were saved.  Overlap and duplication was reduced. Sixteen programs that had formerly been delivered by four different departments were brought under one roof. Consumers and industry now have one point of contact. 

Provide integrated governance of food safety, plant health and animal health. This was fully achieved.    We are still the only jurisdiction in the world that brings under one agency the whole food chain: feed, seeds, fertilizer, all food including fish as well as animal and plant health. The value of this integration has been widely recognized. For example, Canada managed the challenge of BSE better than most countries because senior officials in charge of animal health were also in charge of food safety. This integration also accounts for our fully integrated investigation and recall system led by the widely-respected Office of Food Safety and Recall (OFSR). Canadians now take this single point of contact for granted. Remember, for example, that in the US it is still the case that a vegetarian pizza is the responsibility of FDA but a pepperoni pizza falls under the jurisdiction of USDA etc.

Enhance international market access.  The CFIA has harmonized technical trade areas, negotiated many international equivalency agreements, challenged misuse of technical measures and played a major role in influencing international standards. Former OFIS member and afterwards CFIA Vice-President Peter Brackenridge has noted that “with the changing international trade environment, a single organization like the CFIA is well placed to manage the challenge of protectionism by the misuse of technical standards.”

Enhance Provincial and Federal regulatory harmonization.  Former OFIS member and afterwards CFIA Vice-President Cam Prince notes that this is one area where progress has not met our original expectations. This issue may take on increased impetus in light of the recently announced Canadian Free Trade Agreement but there continues to be major international trade law barriers to full intergovernmental harmonization.

Modernize Canadian Food Law. In 1999 the CFIA introduced  First Reading of Bill C-80 which would have provided a truly modernized legal basis for the regulation of food and related activities but it did not proceed for political reasons. With the current Safe Food for Canadians Act (and Regulations) now being completed, finally we will have a more modern legal foundation for the future, though not as integrated as the former Bill would have provided. 

With an annual budget of over $700 million and over 6,000 staff the CFIA is, by far, Canada’s largest science-based regulatory agency, respected within the federal system, by the provinces and admired around the world as a model. 

The CFIA has met most of our original expectations. While there have been bumps along the road, Canadians should be proud of the CFIA’s many achievements. Its anniversary should be celebrated.

‘Handle raw flour like raw meat’ 26 sick with E. coli O121 linked to Robin Hood All Purpose Flour

E.coli O121 has sickened 26 people that has now been linked to Robin Hood All Purpose Flour, Original, in Canada.

Health types advise Canadians not to use or eat any Robin Hood All Purpose Flour, Original sold in 10 kilogram bags with a code containing BB/MA 2018 AL 17 and 6 291 548 as these products may be contaminated with E. coli. For additional recall details, please consult CFIA’s recall notice. Restaurants and retailers are also advised not to sell or serve the recalled product, or any items that may have been prepared or produced using the recalled product.

This outbreak is a reminder that it is not safe to taste or eat raw dough or batter, regardless of the type of flour used as raw flour can be contaminated with harmful bacteria such as E. coli.

But what do the health types really know?

Free from the shackles of government PRery, someone from Health Canada told ProMed a few days ago, a sample of Robin Hood flour was collected from one case’s home. The sample tested positive for E. coli O121 and had matching PFGE to the clinical  cases. Subsequently, a sample of Robin Hood flour collected from a retail location also tested positive for E. coli O121. Several cases reported contact with Robin Hood flour.
Isolates from the 2016 U.S. outbreak have been compared to the current outbreak in Canada by whole genome sequencing (via PulseNet  International); the Canadian outbreak strain is not similar to the U.S. outbreak. Comparisons will continue to be made on an ongoing basis throughout the outbreak investigation in Canada. 

Profs. Keith Warriner and Jeff Farber of the University of Guelph told CBC uncooked flour, such as that found in raw cookie dough, can host E. coli bacteria, and we may need to handle flour in the same way that we handle uncooked meat.

 

24 sick: E. coli O121 outbreak shows failures of food safety safety net

 

Chapman was always the kinder, gentler version of me, and he goes too easy on Canadian boffins who announced today there are now 24 people sick with E. coli O121 in British Columbia (12), Saskatchewan (4), Alberta (3) and Newfoundland and Labrador (5).

That the outbreak missed Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI should give epidemiologists solid clues, ones that the Public Health Agency of Canada is not ready to divulge.

The initial public announcement was Jan. 12, 2017.

A couple of months later, the case count has doubled, and the only advice PHAC has is wash your fucking hands.

The last two major North American outbreaks of E. coli O121 were in flour, last year, and in sprouts, a few years earlier (please, let it be sprouts, please).

Five months into the outbreak, I’m sure the dedicated Canadian public servants have had time to match the genetic fingerprint of the outbreak strain with the U.S.-based outbreaks, but don’t expect PHAC to answer such simple questions.

They could have done whole genome sequencing in the time it took to have miniions craft a press release that said … nothing.

“The Government of Canada is committed to food safety. The Public Health Agency of Canada leads multi-jurisdictional human health investigations of outbreaks and is in regular contact with its federal and provincial partners to monitor and take collaborative steps to address outbreaks.”

Eat me completely.

12 sick: E. coli O121 outbreak in Canada

This is my dog chewing on kangaroo ribs.

ted-kangeroo-rib-jan-17Go with the protein that is available.

It’s about the same amount of effort the boffins at Public Health Agency of Canada put into announcing an outbreak of E. coli O121 that has sickened at least 12 people from B.C. to Newfoundland.

kangeroo-rib-ted-jan-17There have been 12 cases of E. coli O121 with a matching genetic fingerprint reported in three provinces: British Columbia (4), Saskatchewan (4), and Newfoundland and Labrador (4). The illness onset dates range from November to December 2016. Four individuals have been hospitalized. These individuals have recovered or are recovering. The investigation into the source of the outbreak is ongoing.

I’ll continue to bond with my dog.

Canadian food is amongst the safest in the world, Canada edition

My high school friend and I outlined a book 40 years ago called, North of the 49th Parallel, about suburban Canada.

mike-myers-wwBut Mike Myers seems to have cornered the market.

And when did he become my father?

He’s the same age as me.

And from Toronto (Scarberia).

Canadians have a “very thick” accent and only anger easily at hockey, if you ask comedian Mike Myers.

“We’re very politically correct at times and I always think, well, isn’t politically correct just being considerate and nice for the most part?” he told CBC’s Wendy Mesley in an interview on The National.

The Canadian actor and comedian shared a lot of opinions about his home country found in his new book called Canada. Naturally, Canadian versus American pronunciations came up in conversation.

“It’s Owt, Owt” Myers jokes in his typical comic style, pointing to how Americans say “out.”

While he argues that, compared to Britain and the U.S., Canada doesn’t have as many cultural exports besides Anne of the Green Gables, Canada’s contributions have a higher purpose.

“I think civility will be our greatest legacy.”

Or false egomania.

The University of Guelph is going to get $76 million to bring big data to farming.

Except.

The money is earmarked for the university’s masterfly earmarked, Food from Thought program. The program’s scientific director, Evan Fraser, says that farmers are only on the cusp of what can be done with big data.

“Where the tools of data-driven agriculture allow for much more precise, real-time applications of inputs, we can reduce input costs while we increase production.”

“We know Canadian food is among the safest and most sustainable in the world and with these technologies we can demonstrate it.”

If you already know it, why do you have to demonstrate it?

If Guelph wants serious money for this stuf, they need to do much more serious communications.

Unfortunately, like most universities, PR fluffery has overtaken actual accomplishment.