Golden Ponds to reopen after bad gravy sickens 260

Golden Ponds Restaurant in suburban Rochester, New York – Rochester, who goes to Rochester — has been cleared by the health department to reopen, after 260 people were sickened after eating Thanksgiving dinner.

doug-turkey-cater_-nov_-16-300x225The restaurant will most likely be open for business starting next Tuesday, according to the owner.

The Monroe County Department of Health shut the restaurant down the day after Thanksgiving, after 60 people initially reported illnesses following eating food from Golden Ponds.

According to the health department, lab results point to an outbreak of Clostridium perfringens.

Officials say it is “most likely” that the gravy served was the source of the bacteria. They also noted that lapses in food safety practices were observed during their investigation.

Golden Ponds had previously been inspected several times in the months leading up to the outbreak, and had violations including food being stored at improper temperatures.

How do you like them tamales: Variations in storage and reheating procedures

Once made, quickly refrigerate tamales to limit spore growth, and frying may not be the best reheating option. Microwaves are lousy for cooking but great for reheating.

tamalesThis study analyzed the behavior of Clostridium perfringens in individual ingredients and tamales containing different pathogen concentrations upon exposure to different temperatures and methods of cooking, storage, and reheating.

In ground pork, C. perfringens cells were inactivated when exposed to 95°C for 30 min. Three lots of picadillo inoculated with 0, 3, and 5 log CFU/g C. perfringens cells, respectively, were exposed to different storage temperatures. At 20°C, cell counts increased 1 log in all lots, whereas at 8°C, counts decreased by 2 log. Four lots of tamales prepared with picadillo inoculated with 0, 2, 3, and 7 log CFU/g prior to the final cooking step exhibited no surviving cells (91°C for 90, 45, or 35 min). Four lots of tamales were inoculated after cooking with concentrations of 0, 0.6, 4, and 6 log CFU/g of the pathogen and then stored at different temperatures. In these preparations, after 24 h at 20°C, the count increased by 1.4, 1.7, and 1.8 log in the tamales inoculated with 0.6, 4, and 6 log inoculum, respectively. When they were stored at 8°C for 24 h, enumerations decreased to <1, 2.5, and 1.9 log in the tamales inoculated with 0.6, 4, and 6 log of C. perfringens cells, respectively. However, when the lots were exposed to 20°C and then 8°C, 0.8, 1.8, and 2.4 log changes were observed for the tamales inoculated with 0.6, 4, and 6 log, respectively.

how.tamalesMicrowaving, steaming, and frying to reheat tamales inoculated with 6 log CFU/g C. perfringens cells showed that the pathogen was inactivated after 2 min of exposure in the microwave and after 5 min of exposure to steam. In contrast, no inactivation was observed after 5 min of frying. The tamales inoculated with spores (7 log most probable number [MPN]/g) showed a decrease of 2 log after steaming or frying, and no survival was observed after microwaving. Tamales inoculated with spores (7 log MPN/g) after cooking were susceptible to microwaves, but 2.4 and 255 MPN/g remained after frying and steaming, respectively.

Behavior and inactivation of enterotoxin-positive Clostridium perfringens in pork picadillo and tamales filled with pork picadillo under different cooking, storage, and reheating conditions

Journal of Food Protection®, Number 5, May 2016, pp. 696-889, pp. 741-747(7)

Villarruel-López, A.; Ruíz-Quezada, S. L.; Castro-Rosas, J.; Gomez-Aldapa, C. A.; Olea-Rodríguez, M. A.; Nuño, K.; Navarro-Hidalgo, V.; Torres-Vitela, M. R.

13 dead, 10 sick from C. perfringens in Nigeria

On Feb. 27, 2016, Dr Rilwanu Muhammad, the Executive Secretary, of the Federal Capital Territory Primary Health Care Development Board in Nigeria said that 13 people died, while 10 people survived food poisoning caused by Clostridium perfringens in Abuja.

africa0027-e1407965162944The board took blood samples from infected persons and water from the well and the 3 bore holes in the community for clinical diagnosis at the laboratory of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). Muhammad called on community administration to provide safe and clean water for the community. He also called on the community to enhance personal hygiene, especially hand washing, adding that C. perfringens infection could be traced in the stool of the affected person.

‘Dead man’s tray’ Clostridium perfringens likely cause of Fargo jail outbreak

Three weeks after an apparent foodborne illness outbreak at the Cass County Jail, the North Dakota Department of Health determined what likely made about 110 inmates sick over a two-day stretch in mid-December.

fargo.margAlthough an official cause is still pending, State Epidemiologist Laura Cronquist says testing by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points to Clostridium perfringens bacteria as the culprit, based on stool samples from several inmates.

Clostridium perfringens is commonly found on raw meat and poultry, according to the CDC, and infection can occur when foods are prepared in large quantities and kept warm for a long time before serving.

“It’s really common,” Cronquist said, adding, “It’s not really surprising that it’s an institution that this happened in.”

Last month’s outbreak was the second major outbreak at the Cass County Jail in four years. In the latest case, about 40 percent of the jail’s 282 inmates had symptoms including diarrhea and nausea. No inmates were hospitalized, and jail staff said the illness was short-lived.

Clostridium perfringens was also the likely cause of a larger illness outbreak at the jail in November 2011, when 90 percent of the 184 inmates inmates came down with diarrhea and vomiting. In that case, the organism was also found inside sick inmates, but couldn’t be confirmed in the most likely food source, the chili macaroni served that day.

The Cass County Jail freezes meal samples daily to save in the event of illness in a process referred to in the corrections industry as a “dead man’s tray.” Cronquist said she’s working with the CDC to determine which of those specific foods will be tested.

UK care home fined after six elderly residents suffer food poisoning

A care home provider has been fined more than £14,000 after six elderly residents fell ill with food poisoning at its Southall home.

beef.pureeAccording to Ealing Council , Life Style Care plc, who operate the Grange Care Centre, in Adrienne Avenue, pleaded guilty to three offences at Ealing Magistrates’ Court on October 1 under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) regulations.

The council said that on December 27 last year, six elderly residents fell ill with food poisoning after eating a puréed beef meal.

Following an investigation by Public Health England (PHE) and Ealing Council, samples from the residents showed traces of the bacteria Clostridium perfringens and its toxins, concluding that the meal increased the risk of being ill 48 times.

The council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for safety, culture and community services, councillor Ranjit Dheer said: “It is so important for businesses to remember that poor food hygiene can have real consequences for their customers.

“This awful case highlights how serious food contamination can be. Had this business reheated the food thoroughly and held it at the right temperature, the outbreak would not have happened.

The company was fined £3,500 for each offence, and order to pay a victim surcharge of £120 and Ealing Council’s costs of £3,795.17, coming to a total of £14,415.17.

New Brunswick community dinner linked to death and over 100 illnesses

When I was a kid my parents regularly took me to church dinners. Part of my family’s social schedule was the faith-based community events where folks got together over pancakes, spaghetti, shortcake and egg salad sandwiches. It never occurred to me that the organizers and food handlers weren’t professionals; they were the parents and grandparents of my friends.

And they happened to be making meals for a couple of hundred hungry community members.Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 10.38.22 PM

I guess they meant well, but I have no idea whether the volunteers worried about food safety or did anything to keep me and the others sick. Or that community dinners had been a traditional setting for  foodborne pathogen outbreaks. According to CBC news, over 100 members of a New Brunswick (that’s in Canada) community fell ill following a community Christmas meal, and tragically an elderly woman died. 

Roughly 100 people attended the community supper on Dec. 5, where a traditional holiday meal of turkey, vegetables, gravy and pies was served.

Within a few hours of the supper, several people became sick. One woman died and 30 other people reported signs of gastrointestinal illness, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Bessie Scott has been identified as the woman who died, and on Friday family and friends filed into a funeral home in Nackawic to say goodbye.

Alex Hoffmann and his wife were among those who fell ill after eating the tainted food.

“At two o’clock we both woke up with terrible bellyache. And then I had to go that night three times …,” he said.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, the acting chief medical officer of health, said on Friday that public health officials have taken samples of the leftover food from the Christmas supper and are trying to determine the precise cause of the infections.

“But definitely the timeline of when those symptoms occurred was within 12 hours, so that is a pretty quick onset and so that in and of itself would tell us what kind of bacteria we are looking for,” Russell said.

“The most likely one that I discussed with Dr. Yves Leger [a local public health officer] is Clostridium perfringens.”

In 2011, the provincial government considered imposing food licensing and inspection requirements on not-for-profit events, such as church suppers.

But Madeleine Dubé, the health minister at the time, said the provincial government had received public feedback that “licensing and inspection requirements are too demanding for not-for-profit events.”

Environmental health specialists/health inspectors are the good guys, ensuring that organizers and volunteers have the right equipment in place and know what to do. Making turkey for hundreds is way different from making it for a family. A list of community dinner-linked outbreaks can be found here.


Smartphones lead to smarter outbreak investigations: Clostridium perfringens, London, March 2013

On 22 March 2013, 150 of 1,255 students (13–17 years) and staff at a school in London reported gastrointestinal symptoms; onset peaked 8 to 12 hours after a lunch served in the school on 21 March. We performed a retrospective cohort study of all students and staff. We defined cases as school attenders on 20 and 21 March with onset of gastrointestinal symptoms between 20 and 23 March.

carpet-vomit-stainsWe tested food, environmental and stool samples of cases for common pathogens and bacterial toxins. We administered an online questionnaire via email, encouraging the use of smartphones to respond, to measure risk of illness for food items eaten at school on 20 and 21 March. Survey response was 45%. Adjusted risk ratios were generated in a multivariable analysis. Those who ate chicken balti on 21 March were 19.3 times more likely to become ill (95% confidence interval: 7.3–50.9). Clostridium perfringens was detected in all 19 stool samples collected. Within eight school hours of its launch, 412 of 561 (73%) responders had completed the survey. Hygienic standards in the kitchen were satisfactory. The investigation was done rapidly due to smartphone technology and we recommend considering this technology in future outbreaks.

Euro Surveill. 2014;19(19)

Simone B, Atchison C, Ruiz B, Greenop P, Dave J, Ready D, Maguire H, Walsh B, Anderson S.

Health department says Bonicki’s outbreak could have resulted from improper food storage

The Michigan Department of Community Health reports that an outbreak of foodborne illness at Bonicki’s Sports Bistro, could have resulted from improper food storage.

In a news release Friday morning, April 11, the health department officials said the investigation at Bonicki’s at 1891 East Apple Ave. turned up the presence of Clostridium perfringens, a common bacteria that can cause foodborne illness.

395394_237923292949867_1801694089_nThe bacteria is found throughout nature but “typically causes illness when foods are served after improper storage or held at inadequate storage temperatures,” according to the health department.

Bonicki’s General Manager Karen Mead responded to the news with a prepared statement.

“We, the Bonicki’s family, apologize for the recent event,” she said. “We would like to thank the community, our loyal customers and the Muskegon County health department.”

On Friday, Ken Kraus, health officer at Public Health-Muskegon County, called the incident a teachable moment for others in the food service industry.

“We are relieved to know the cause and are working with the restaurant to improve their food storage practices,” he said in a news release. “While it may take a bit more effort, following proper food cooling and storage procedures is an important part in preventing foodborne illness.”

Foodborne toxin could trigger MS, studies suggest

Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York have, according to JoNel Aleccia of NBC News, discovered that a toxin made by the bacterium Clostridium perfringens — responsible for a million cases of food poisoning in the U.S. each year — appears to attack the cells associated with MS.

“What we’ve shown is the toxins target the cells that are targeted in MS,” said Jennifer Linden, a Weill Cornell researcher who’s presenting findings Tuesday at a meeting of the ms.symptomsAmerican Society for Microbiology.

Her research also showed that about 13 percent of a small sample of food products harbored C. perfringens bacteria, and nearly 3 percent were positive for the toxin linked to MS.

It’s too early to suggest that MS is caused by food poisoning, but it does raise the possibility that the C. perfringens bacteria could be involved in activating the disease, said Bruce F. Bebo, associate vice president of discovery research for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

New food safety infosheet: Nearly 60 ill with Clostridium perfringens at outdoor school in Oregon

Food Safety Infosheet Highlights:

– Multnomah County, Oregon, health officials, 60 students developed stomach pains, vomiting, and diarrhea after eating beef stroganoff.Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 12.41.18 PM
– C. perfringens spores often survive cooking but are not a problem until the food is held at an improper temperature.
– These spores can germinate into cells which then can multiply to food poisoning levels if food is held between 41°F and 135°F for more than four hours.Foodsafetyinfosheet-10-28-15
– Use a tip sensitive digital thermometer to measure temperature and monitor throughout service and cooling.

Click here to download.