What will I do with those tossed salads and scrambled eggs? Ditch them

Amy and I agree on this: If we need to fall asleep, put on an episode of Frasier.

Five minutes later we’re in la-la land.

Inspectors with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration say they found dozens of rodents and poor worker hygiene at a North Carolina chicken farm operated by an Indiana egg producer that last week recalled more than 200 million eggs.

Vic Ryckaert and Holly Hays of the Indy Star report that according to a FDA report, inspectors spent March 26 to April 11 at the Rose Acre Farms egg operation in Pantego, North Carolina, and found “unacceptable rodent activity” and dirty equipment. They also noted employees touching dirty floors, equipment and their bodies without washing their hands.

The unsafe conditions allow “for the harborage, proliferation and spread of filth and pathogens,” inspectors said.

In an emailed statement, Seymour-based Rose Acre Farms said the inspection report “is based on raw observations and in some cases lack proper context.”

“It’s unfair to be judged on the farm’s operation without proper perspective or a chance to formally respond to an incomplete representation of a massive facility that houses more than three million hens,” the company said. 

Context this.

The company said it will make public its response to the inspection, which is due on April 26.

“Until then, we would urge everyone to wait until all the facts are presented before rushing to judgment,” the company said.

The FDA said at least 23 illnesses have been reported. The eggs were distributed to consumers in Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

FDA spokesman Peter Cassell declined to comment specifically about the Rose Acre Farms inspections but said the facility must correct the issues before the next inspection or face repercussions. Consequences could include product seizures or, in a more serious step, shutting down the facility. 

Cassell encouraged shoppers not to assume that they are not exposed to the recall because they are not geographically near the states where cases have been reported.

“Consumers should look for the brands and the lot numbers we provided,” he said. “We want to make sure that people are getting the right information.”

The recall involved eggs sold under the brand names Country Daybreak, Crystal Farms, Coburn Farms, Sunshine Farms, Glenview and Great Value. Also included were eggs sold at Walmart and Food Lion stores.

The cartons were stamped with plant number P-1065 and the Julian date range of 011 through 102.

The company’s Hyde County Egg facility in North Carolina produces 2.3 million eggs a day.

Inspectors found “insanitary conditions and poor employee practices” throughout the farm, according to the FDA report.

The inspectors’ observations in the report included:

Dozens of live and dead rodents, including baby mice, in chicken houses and manure pits.

Employees skipping steps in the cleaning process by wiping off detergent before allowing it to soak in the eggs.

Condensation dripping onto crack detectors, egg graders and other production equipment.

Water pooling on floors and forklift pathways.

Grimy, dirty floors, pallets and equipment. 

Farm workers touching dirty equipment and trash cans as well as their face, hair and “intergluteal cleft” before touching eggs or handling equipment that touches eggs without washing hands or changing gloves.

22 sick: Over 200M eggs recalled by Rose Acre Farms

Rose Acre Farms of Seymour, Indiana, the second largest egg producer in the United States, is voluntarily recalling 206,749,248 eggs because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella Braenderup.

The eggs were distributed from the farm in Hyde County, North Carolina and reached consumers in: Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia through retail stores and restaurants via direct delivery.

22 illnesses have been reported to date. 

The affected eggs, from plant number P-1065 with the Julian date range of 011 through date of 102 printed on either the side portion or the principal side of the carton or package.

The voluntary recall was a result of some illnesses reported on the U.S. East Coast, which led to extensive interviews and eventually a thorough FDA inspection of the Hyde County farm, which produces 2.3 million eggs a day. The facility includes 3 million laying hens with a USDA inspector on-site daily. 

Their own PR says 22 sick people, and then, “some illnesses.” Outpouring of corporate empathy there. And the USDA inspector on site means …?

Understanding egg nanostructure to enhance food safety

Fertilized chicken eggs manage to resist fracture from the outside, yet are weak enough to break from the inside during chick hatching. It’s all in the eggshell’s nanostructure, according to a new study led by McGill University scientists.

The findings, reported in Science Advances, could have important implications for food safety in the agro-industry.

Birds have benefited from millions of years of evolution to make the perfect eggshell, a thin, protective biomineralized chamber for embryonic growth that contains all the nutrients required for the growth of a baby chick. The shell, being not too strong, but also not too weak, is resistant to fracture until it’s time for hatching.

But what exactly gives bird eggshells these unique features?

To find out, Marc McKee’s research team in McGill’s Faculty of Dentistry, together with Richard Chromik’s group in Engineering and other colleagues, used new sample-preparation techniques to expose the interior of the eggshells to study their molecular nanostructure and mechanical properties.

“Eggshells are notoriously difficult to study by traditional means, because they easily break when we try to make a thin slice for imaging by electron microscopy,” says McKee, who is also a professor in McGill’s Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology.

“Thanks to a new focused-ion beam sectioning system recently obtained by McGill’s Facility for Electron Microscopy Research, we were able to accurately and thinly cut the sample and image the interior of the shell.”

Eggshells are made of both inorganic and organic matter, this being calcium-containing mineral and abundant proteins. Graduate student Dimitra Athanasiadou, the study’s first author, found that a factor determining shell strength is the presence of nanostructured mineral associated with osteopontin, an eggshell protein also found in composite biological materials such as bone.

The results also provide insight into the biology and development of chicken embryos in fertilized and incubated eggs. Eggs are sufficiently hard when laid and during brooding to protect them from breaking. As the chick grows inside the eggshell, it needs calcium to form its bones. During egg incubation, the inner portion of the shell dissolves to provide this mineral ion supply, while at the same time weakening the shell enough to be broken by the hatching chick. Using atomic force microscopy, and electron and X-ray imaging methods, Professor McKee’s team of collaborators found that this dual-function relationship is possible thanks to minute changes in the shell’s nanostructure that occurs during egg incubation.

In parallel experiments, the researchers were also able to re-create a nanostructure similar to that which they discovered in the shell by adding osteopontin to mineral crystals grown in the lab. Professor McKee believes that a better understanding of the role of proteins in the calcification events that drive eggshell hardening and strength through biomineralization could have important implications for food safety.

“About 10-20% of chicken eggs break or crack, which increases the risk of Salmonella poisoning,” says McKee. “Understanding how mineral nanostructure contributes to shell strength will allow for selection of genetic traits in laying hens to produce consistently stronger eggs for enhanced food safety.”

Not just rockmelon: Australia still has an egg problem

Sarina Locke of ABC News reports that raw and runny eggs are the strongest link to soaring salmonella food poisoning cases in Western Australia, compared to NSW, where the number has fallen.

In 2017 salmonella cases in WA were more than double the five-year average, according to the latest WA Health Department’s OzFoodNet report.

Eggs emerged as the key culprit for several salmonella cases in 2017:

  • a sloppy egg casserole at a child care centre, affecting 24 children and staff 
  • home prepared chocolate mousse with raw eggs made seven guests sick
  • a cafe serving aioli and mayonnaise made with raw eggs

To be safe from salmonella, Better Health Victoria, said eggs needed to be cooked until they are hot all the way through.

As meaningful as the Brits’ piping hot recommendation. Use a thermometer, especially for a casserole. Use pasteurized eggs if you’re going to serve the dish raw.

The Western Australian Department of Health’s OzFoodNet 2017 report has conducted an investigation on a cluster of salmonella typhimurium found between January 2015 and June 2017.

“Egg dishes have been the implicated source food in 17 of 18 point source outbreaks,” the OzFoodNet report stated.

“They included raw egg desserts, fried/poached eggs and, in 13 of these outbreaks, a specific egg producer was identified, that supplied the eggs for the implicated dishes.” 

Whole genome sequencing is just a technique, with pros and cons: Australia still has a (raw) egg problem

In Australia, the incidence of Salmonella Typhimurium has increased dramatically over the past decade. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) is transforming public health microbiology, but poses challenges for surveillance.

To compare WGS-based approaches with conventional typing for Salmonella surveillance, we performed concurrent WGS and multilocus variable-number tandem-repeat analysis (MLVA) of Salmonella Typhimurium isolates from the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) for a period of 5 months. We exchanged data via a central shared virtual machine and performed comparative genomic analyses. Epidemiological evidence was integrated with WGS-derived data to identify related isolates and sources of infection, and we compared WGS data for surveillance with findings from MLVA typing.

We found that WGS data combined with epidemiological data linked an additional 9% of isolates to at least one other isolate in the study in contrast to MLVA and epidemiological data, and 19% more isolates than epidemiological data alone. Analysis of risk factors showed that in one WGS-defined cluster, human cases had higher odds of purchasing a single egg brand. While WGS was more sensitive and specific than conventional typing methods, we identified barriers to uptake of genomic surveillance around complexity of reporting of WGS results, timeliness, acceptability, and stability.

In conclusion, WGS offers higher resolution of Salmonella Typhimurium laboratory surveillance than existing methods and can provide further evidence on sources of infection in case and outbreak investigations for public health action. However, there are several challenges that need to be addressed for effective implementation of genomic surveillance in Australia.

Incorporating whole-genome sequencing into public health surveillance: Lessons from prospective sequencing of salmonella typhimurium in Australia

16 January 2018

Foodborne Pathogens and Disease

Laura Ford, Glen Carter, Qinning Wang, Torsten eemann, Vitali Sintchenko, Kathryn Glass, Deborah Williamson, Peter Howard, Mary Valcanis, Cristina Castillo, Michelle Sait, Benjamin Howden, and Martyn Kirk

https://doi.org/10.1089/fpd.2017.2352

http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/fpd.2017.2352

 

Looks like Chile has an egg problem: 174 sick with Salmonella linked to homemade mayo

The Bío Bío Department of Health has confirmed 174 cases of salmonellosis in people who consumed homemade mayonnaise in the local “Dulce y Salado” (“Sweet and Salty”) of Lota.

Among those affected are 25 hospitalized for severe dehydration, including a pregnant woman. There are also sufferers of all ages, such as a one-year-old baby and up to an adult older than 91.
According to the health authority, the number of patients should not increase substantially due to the number of days that have passed since the closure of the premises, on Jan. 3. 2018. Now it is expected that laboratories in Santiago will determine the serotype of the strain, which may allow them to fully define whether the raw egg was responsible for this outbreak.

 

10 family members sick with Salmonella in Israel: Probably raw egg mousse

The Yeshiva World reports that 10 family members, adults and children, visited the emergency room of Mayanei HaYeshua Hospital in Bnei Brak on Monday, 7 Teves, presenting with severe intestinal illness. Three of them were hospitalized in the pediatric ward. The illness began after eating homemade mousse prepared from raw eggs.

The microbiological laboratory at the hospital identified the suspicious growth as salmonella and tomorrow, Tuesday, the suspicions of doctors will be confirmed. For the time being, the family is ill and suffering.

Does Europe have an egg problem? Salmonella cases no longer falling in the EU

The declining trend of salmonellosis cases in the EU has levelled off according to the annual report on zoonotic diseases published today.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control reports that cases of Salmonella Enteritiis acquired in the EU have increased in humans by 3% since 2014. In laying hens, the prevalence increased from 0.7% to 1.21% over the same period. 

“The increase shown by our surveillance data is worrying and a reminder that we have to stay vigilant,” said Mike Catchpole, ECDC’s Chief Scientist. “Even in a state of high awareness and with national control programmes for S. Enteritidis in place, there is a need for continuing risk management actions at the Member State and EU level,” he added. 

Marta Hugas, EFSA’s Chief Scientist, said: “The decrease of Salmonella has been a success story in the EU food safety system in the last 10 years. Recent S. Enteritidis outbreaks contributed to a change in this trend in humans and poultry. Further investigations by competent authorities in the field of public health and food safety will be crucial to understand the reasons behind the increase.” 

There were 94 530 human cases of salmonellosis reported in the EU in 2016. S. Enteritidis – the most widespread type of Salmonella, accounted for 59% of all salmonellosis cases originating in the EU and is mostly associated with the consumption of eggs, egg products and poultry meat. 

Campylobacter and Listeria

Campylobacter, the most reported food-borne pathogen in humans, was detected in 246 307 people, an increase of 6.1% compared with 2015. Despite the high number of cases, fatalities were low (0.03%). Levels of Campylobacter are high in chicken meat.

Listeria infections, which are generally more severe, led to hospitalisation in 97% of reported cases. In 2016, listeriosis continued to rise, with 2 536 cases (a 9.3% increase) and 247 deaths reported. Most deaths occur in people aged over 64 (fatality rate of 18.9%). People over 84 are particularly at risk (fatality rate of 26.1%). Listeria seldom exceeded legal safety limits in ready-to-eat foods.

Salmonella food-borne outbreaks increasing 

The 4 786 food-borne disease outbreaks reported in 2016 represent a slight increase in comparison with 2015 (4 362 outbreaks), but the figure is similar to the average number of outbreaks in the EU during 2010–2016. 

Outbreaks due to Salmonella are on the rise, with S. Enteritidis causing one in six food-borne disease outbreaks in 2016. Salmonella bacteria were the most common cause of food-borne outbreaks (22.3%), an increase of 11.5% compared to 2015. They caused the highest burden in terms of numbers of hospitalisations (1,766; 45.6% of all hospitalised cases) and of deaths (10; 50% of all deaths among outbreak cases).

Salmonella in eggs caused the highest number of outbreak cases (1 882).

Australia still has an egg problem: Over 200 with Salmonella across NSW as temps rise

Providing food safety advice without preaching is tricky.

Matching the advice with what happens in reality is damn hard.

Amy, Sorenne and I are hanging out in Canberra – Australia’s capital — for the next couple of days while Amy goes to a French conference and Sorenne teaches me how to play Minecraft.

Dinner last night, including chicken wings and potato-somethings, were both served with aioli.

I asked the server, how was the aioli prepared, is it a commercial product or is it made with raw eggs?

Oh, we make our own aioli. We would never buy the commercial product.

No thanks.

Amy said, serve it on the side, I’ll take the risk.

So did Sorenne, although we did have a chat about microbiology (seize those learning moments).

This in context of health authorities warning people to take precautions to prevent salmonella poisonings, with 201 cases already reported in late November as temperatures start to climb.

Of the 4.1 million cases of food poisoning in Australia each year around a third of reported outbreaks are linked to raw or lightly cooked eggs.

Dr Vicky Sheppeard, Directors of Communicable Diseases at NSW Health said the best defence against salmonellosis was careful food preparation and food storage.

“Products containing undercooked eggs, and the spread of germs in the kitchen, are the most common source of salmonellosis outbreaks in NSW.”

NSW Food Authority CEO Dr Lisa Szabo said using commercially produced products instead of handmade mayonnaise and sauces when preparing food also reduced the risk of Salmonella poisoning.

“It is also much safer to use commercially pasteurised eggs rather than raw eggs in ready-to-eat products such as desserts and dressings,” DrSzabo said.

Good luck with that.

 

3 sick, 1 dead from Salmonella in Tahiti

Three cases of salmonellosis are officially confirmed, in Taravao, in addition to the suspect case of a fourth person who died after having shown the symptoms of salmonella poisoning. 

In a statement released Thursday morning, the Ministry of Health said “three cases of salmonellosis confirmed and a suspected case, occurred in Taravao. “These infections were reported to the Bureau de veille sanitaire between 20 and 28 November. Above all, “one person has died,” says this information, while indicating that ” the main cause of death remains uncertain.”

This person died in the night of November 18 to 19, a few hours after eating an egg dish (Kai Fan). His wife suffered a salmonella infection following this meal. One of two other confirmed cases of salmonellosis also consumed a Kai Fan. These takeaway meals were all purchased in the same Taravao business.