Hong Kong fairytales: More Vibrio: Suspected food poisoning outbreak in tour group

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating a suspected outbreak of food poisoning in a tour group, and hence urged the public to maintain good personal, food and environmental hygiene to prevent food-borne diseases.

Because all foodborne illness is caused by poor personal hygiene, and not contaminated product.

Not

The outbreak affected six members of the tour group, comprising two men and four women aged from 44 to 80, who developed abdominal pain, diarrhoea and vomiting 14 to 40 hours after their lunch buffet in a restaurant in a hotel in Macau on August 13 arranged by a travel agent in Hong Kong.

Among them, three sought medical attention in Hong Kong and required no hospitalisation. All affected persons have been in stable condition.

The stool specimen of one patient tested positive for Vibrio parahaemolyticus upon laboratory testing.

 

2 sick with botulism from deer antler tea in Calif.

As I sip tea and watch the Pacific waves roll into Coff’s Harbour from our 13th floor beachside apartment, resting for the next-of-so-far-12 hours on the ice at a weekend hockey camp we arranged for 36 kids from Brisbane, I ask myself: who the fuck drinks tea from deer antlers?

Lots of people.

Lots of North Americans make lots of money selling deer antler velvet to southeast Asians, especially Chinese, who value the ingredient in traditional herbal medicine.

Until it gives someone botulism.

Public health officials consider a single case of botulism a public health emergency, because it might foretell a larger outbreak, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

One adult in Orange County, California has a confirmed case of botulism, and another has a suspected case. Health types suggest the botulism illnesses may be connected with drinking deer antler tea obtained in March.

According to ProMed, velvet antler (<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velvet_antler>) “is used as a drug in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that classifies many
similar substances from a variety of species under the simplified
Chinese name pinyin Lu Rong and the pharmaceutical name Cervi Cornu
Pantorichum. The 2 common species used within the TCM system are Sika
Deer and Red Deer. Within the TCM system it is prescribed by a doctor
to a patient in the use to treat yang deficiency syndromes. In Asia,
velvet antler is dried and sold as slices or powdered. The powder or
slices are then boiled in water, usually with other herbs and
ingredients, and consumed as a medicinal soup.

Velvet antler in the form of deer antler spray has been at the center
of multiple controversies with professional sports leagues and famous
athletes allegedly using it for injury recovery and performance
enhancement purposes. In mid-2011 a National Football League (NFL)
player successfully sued a deer antler velvet spray manufacturer for
testing positive for methyltestosterone in 2009 for a total amount of
5.4 million.[19][20] In August 2011, Major League Baseball (MLB) added
deer antler spray to their list of prohibited items because it
contains “potentially contaminated nutritional supplements.”

On January 30, 2013, a professional PGA Tour golfer was caught unaware
and openly admitted to the personal use of deer antler spray which
contained a banned substance at the time. A week later the World
Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) lifted the ban on deer antler spray, but
with urgency, “Deer Antler Velvet Spray may contain IGF-1
(Insulin-like Growth Factor -1) and WADA recommends therefore that
athletes be extremely vigilant with this supplement because it could
lead to a positive test.” The consensus opinion of leading
endocrinologists concerning any purported claims and benefits “is
simply that there is far too little of the substance in even the
purest forms of the spray to make any difference,” and “there is no
medically valid way to deliver IGF-1 orally or in a spray.”

 

Nothin’ new here: China reports 500,000 food safety violations in 9 months

The Bangkok Post reports China, rocked in recent years by a series of food safety scandals, uncovered as many as half a million illegal food safety violations in the first three quarters of the year, an official has told lawmakers.

Chinese officials have unearthed a series of recent scandals, including rice contaminated with heavy metals, the use of recycled “gutter oil” in restaurants, as well as the sale of baby formula containing lethal amounts of the industrial chemical melamine in 2008.

Bi Jingquan, the head of the China Food and Drug Administration, told the Standing Committee of National People’s Congress on Friday that while significant progress had been made in the food sector, “deep-seated” problems remained.

Thanksgiving leftovers? Ship them to Shanghai

Liu Renzhi of CCTV reports that authorities and some restaurants in Shanghai’s Putuo District have set up shared refrigerators in various public spaces. The refrigerators look to serve the disabled and elderly in getting free leftovers. The initiative also aims to reduce the amount of waste at restaurants.

sorenne-tedMr. Wang got some free cake from a community refrigerator this morning in Changshou compound. He says it’s convenient.

“I like this idea. I can’t walk normally due to a stroke. Now I don’t have to go far for food or spend too much thanks to the community refrigerator,” he said.

“The locals come as soon as we open at 8:30 am. Most of them are in their 70s or 80s,” said Peng Hongjun, volunteer, New Puxiong Community in Putuo District.

Suppliers put about 30 boxes of food in the refrigerator every time. They include half-cooked dishes, milk and cake. And more food is added in the afternoon. There’s no limit of how much food one person can get. The food is often all gone within ten minutes of the refrigerator opening in the morning.

thanksgiving-leftoversWang said they’re working with food safety authorities to ensure the hygiene and quality of the food. Volunteers also write down the names and contacts of those who take food in case there are any food safety issues.

Food fraud is a reoccuring problem; expired milk powder resold

Substituting for cheaper, or expired inputs, or adding supplemental ingredients isn’t new in the food world. As long as there have been food, there has been food fraud.

Melamine in dog food, horse meat in beef lasagne or seagull meat mixed with other protein sources have all garnered attention and research. Food manufacturers in China, a huge and still growing food export market, have been fingered in multiple fraud cases. The latest incident, according to Stuff, centers around reselling expired milk powder.

Chinese police on Monday (NZT) arrested 19 people in Shanghai for selling about 300 tonnes of expired Fonterra milk powder, Shanghai Daily reported.

The suspects were allegedly managing a company, which was packaging expired products of the New Zealand dairy company – one of the most popular brands in China – into smaller packages for resale below market prices, according to media reports.

After a months-long investigation, the police discovered that one of the suspects sold the expired products to another company, who in turn allegedly resold almost 200 tonnes to distributors in Shanghai and in the Jiangsu, Henan and Qinghai provinces, who sold them on e-commerce platforms or in wholesale.

The authorities have seized 100 tonnes of these products and have shut down the websites selling them.

Fonterra spokeswoman Maree Wilson said on Monday night it supported the enforcement steps taken by Chinese officials.

“The Chinese authorities have acted strongly and swiftly to investigate and arrest the people they believe are responsible for this and we fully support their actions.
“Food safety is our top priority and we are committed to providing safe and high quality dairy products.

“We work actively with our direct customers to ensure the integrity of our products. This includes providing guidelines on how to manage expired product in a responsible way.

“In this case there appears to have been criminal activity much further along the supply chain.

“While we believe this is an isolated criminal incident, we are reviewing the case internally.”

Wilson said that, to Fonterra’s knowledge, the milk powder was not being resold with Fonterra packaging.

 

Norovirus outbreak sickens dozens linked to ‘party place’ in Hong Kong

Something was lost in translation, so I asked my friend from China, what’s a party place?

She told me it was a gathering spot that can cater to large events — 2-3,000 people — and called it an infection centre.
stephen_colbert_asian_friendAn ideal place to circulate Norovirus.

Health officials with Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) announced the investigation of a norovirus outbreak that has sickened at least two dozen in a party place in Sham Shui Po.

The 24 patients, including 13 children (six boys and seven girls) and 11 adults (three men and eight women) aged from 1 to 39, have presented with fever, vomiting and diarrhea since October 1. Among them, 18 sought medical attention while five of them have been discharged after hospitalization. All patients are now in a stable condition.

The stool specimen of one child tested positive for norovirus upon laboratory testing by the hospital concerned. Investigations are continuing.

In addition, health officials are investigating two outbreaks of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) in two kindergartens in Tai Po and Tin Shui Wai. An etiology has not been determined.

The outbreak at the kindergarten in Tai Po involves eight males and 13 females, comprising 18 pupils aged 3 to 5 and three staff members. They have presented with vomiting, diarrhea and fever since September 29. Fourteen of them sought medical attention and none required hospitalization.

The outbreak at the kindergarten in Tin Shui Wai involved eight boys and 13 girls aged between 2 and 5. They have presented with diarrhea and vomiting since October 3. Eleven pupils sought medical attention while one of them required hospitalization.

All three facilities have been visited by health officials and received advice concerning  proper and thorough disinfection, disposal of vomitus, and personal and environmental hygiene. The three places have been put under medical surveillance.

Check if there’s paper towels in the kids’ bathrooms: Evidence-based interventions of Norovirus outbreaks in China

In resource-limited settings where laboratory capacity is limited and response strategy is non-specific, delayed or inappropriate intervention against outbreaks of Norovirus (NoV) are common. Here we report interventions of two norovirus outbreaks, which highlight the importance of evidence-based modeling and assessment to identify infection sources and formulate effective response strategies.

norovirus-bathroomMethods

Spatiotemporal scanning, mathematical and random walk modeling predicted the modes of transmission in the two incidents, which were supported by laboratory results and intervention outcomes.

Results

Simulation results indicated that contaminated water was 14 to 500 fold more infectious than infected individuals. Asymptomatic individuals were not effective transmitters. School closure for up to a week still could not contain the outbreak unless the duration was extended to 10 or more days. The total attack rates (TARs) for waterborne NoV outbreaks reported in China (n = 3, median = 4.37) were significantly (p < 0.05) lower than worldwide (n = 14, median = 41.34). The low TARs are likely due to the high number of the affected population.

Conclusions

We found that school closure alone could not contain Norovirus outbreaks. Overlooked personal hygiene may serve as a hotbed for infectious disease transmission. Our results reveal that evidence-based investigations can facilitate timely interventions of Norovirus transmission.

BioMed Central Public Health

Tianmu Chen, Haogao Gu, Ross Ka-Kit Leung, Ruchun Liu, Qiuping Chen, Ying Wu and Yaman Li

DOI: 10.1186/s12889-016-3716-3

https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-016-3716-3

Shanghai gets tough with lifetime bans for food-safety violators

Shanghai has announced it will hand out new penalties to food-safety violators, with some crimes even leading to life bands from the food industry.

The move is the result of a draft review by the Standing Committee of the city’s Municipal People’s Congress of local measures on safeguarding food safety.

The draft, which contains measures to implement the national law on food safety, urged “the strictest punishment” for violators.

 

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.”

 

Bridesmaid chokes to death on her own vomit after excessive drinking session at Chinese wedding

I thought it was only drummers that did that – Keith Moon, John Bonham.

bridesmaid_chokes_to_death_on_her_own_vomit_after_excessive_drinking_session_at_chinese_wedding_1_2And Bon Scott.

A night of merriment ended in tragedy when a bridesmaid choked to death on her own vomit from drinking too much.

In a series of video clips, the 28-year-old woman is seen knocking back a glass of liquor with her male friends at a wedding banquet in Wenchang city, Hainan province.

She is then seen passed out and supported by her drinking companions.

After that, she is filmed being rolled away on a hotel baggage trolley.

The final video clip shows her in the hospital with doctors fighting to save her life by pumping on her chest but to no avail.

According to Shanghaiist, a lawyer said that revelers who encouraged her to drink bear some responsibility for her death.

Excessive drinking is common in China where the ability to out-drink peers and colleagues is seen as a marketable skill.