Don’t piss off parents: 3,300 Egyptian children hospitalized after food poisoning

Nour Youssef of the N.Y. Times reports that more than 3,300 children were hospitalized in Egypt on Tuesday after an outbreak of food poisoning at several state-run primary schools, state-owned news media said.

The mass poisoning, in the impoverished Upper Egypt province of Sohag, north of Luxor, was one of the biggest food-safety cases to hit the country in years.

Officials suspect that school lunches may have been contaminated, and they have opened an investigation. Samples from the lunches, consisting of processed cheese cubes, dry sesame paste bars and loaves of bread, were being analyzed, they added.

Children, most younger than 12, began vomiting within an hour of eating the lunches, Ahmed Nashaat, a Sohag lawmaker, said in a telephone interview. A total of 3,353 children became ill, and at least 50 ambulances were sent to the schools, state news media said. Since then, all but 17 of the students have recovered and been discharged. No deaths or serious complications were reported.

The ordeal revived complaints over the declining quality of Egypt’s public education and health systems. “It is ridiculous how this keeps on happening,” Mr. Nashaat said. “It is not hard to store biscuits and look at the expiration date.”

Apparently in an attempt to deflect some of the anger, the governor of Sohag, Ayman Abdel-Moneim, quickly suspended the distribution of government meals and demanded that changes be made to how they were stored and transported to schools.

Tuesday’s outbreak was one in a long series that have occurred in public schools and universities nationwide recently. Earlier this month, more than 214 students were found to have food poisoning caused by government meals at several schools in the provinces of Minya and Assiut.

Outrage over such instances of perceived government neglect was a main cause of the popular uprising in 2011 that toppled the government of President Hosni Mubarak. “It was not just the parents who were angry in Sohag,” Mr. Nashaat said. “Everyone believes that was the result of neglect. This is leading people to conclude that the people in charge don’t care about their kids.”

ICAPP voluntarily recalls certain lots of frozen strawberries

The International Company for Agricultural Production & Processing (ICAPP) is voluntarily recalling certain lots of its frozen strawberries out of an abundance of caution in response to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigation of an outbreak of Hepatitis A.

frozen-strawberryThe recalled products were all distributed for sale to and use in food service establishments nationwide — not for use in food products offered for retail sale to consumers. Nonetheless, ICAPP is issuing this news release publicly to help mitigate any possible risk to the public health and to fully ensure that all recalled products are recovered. Although none of ICAPP’s own testing through an established surveillance program or through third party testing of retained samples has identified the presence of Hepatitis A in any of its products, ICAPP has decided to recall all frozen strawberries that it has imported into the United States since January 1, 2016 out of an abundance of caution.

No other ICAPP products, frozen or fresh, are covered by this voluntary recall.

ICAPP is conducting this voluntary recall after learning that frozen strawberries that it distributed may be linked to a recent Hepatitis A outbreak in the United States. ICAPP has been engaged with FDA in its investigation of this outbreak and is taking this action in consultation with FDA because Hepatitis A virus was detected in four lots of frozen strawberries that were exported to the U.S. by ICAPP. ICAPP is working closely with all of the U.S. distributors of this product to ensure that this recall is effective.

ICAPP is fully committed to producing safe and high quality products; consumer safety is its top priority. ICAPP is conducting a comprehensive review of all of its operations and its suppliers to ensure that the food it produces is safe. ICAPP continues to work closely with federal and state authorities and is conducting this recall in cooperation with FDA.

For questions or more information, consumers may contact ICAPP by email at [email protected] or by phone, between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm Cairo local time, at +201-541-1624.

Russia, UAE ban Egyptian produce, Saudi lab say frozen berries safe

Rosselkhoznadzor, the state agricultural safety agency, said on Friday that imports of Egyptian plant products will be banned from next Thursday until Egypt’s authorities take steps to ensure their safety.

jeddah_marriott_no_women_signThe move comes after Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, changed its import regulations to ban any ergot fungus in imported wheat.

It had previously accepted 0.05% of it in imported wheat, a level considered harmless.

The new policy hurt Russia, which is one of the major suppliers of wheat to Egypt.

In the past, Russia often slapped bans on agricultural imports amid political or economic disputes with other nations, citing sanitary reasons.

Meanwhile, the UAE has tightened controls on imports of frozen strawberries from Egypt that may be linked to a hepatitis A outbreak in the U.S. that sickened 119 people

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment on Saturday said it had instructed food control authorities in each of the seven emirates “to tighten control procedures on frozen strawberries imported from Egypt in order to avoid the entry of any contaminated products that pose a risk to the consumer in the country”.

Yesterday, a Saudi laboratory following thorough tests has confirmed that Egyptian frozen strawberries in the market are safe for consumption.

The test negates all the rumours circulating on social media platforms regarding Egyptian frozen strawberry products and their link to the Hepatitis A outbreak reported recently across eight US states.

A day earlier, an official report posted on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) website does not conform to what has been circulated on social media platforms regarding Egyptian frozen strawberries.

The ministry urged the public to refrain from posting or circulating any news on social media platforms without contacting the concerned authorities to verify and validate the credibility of that information before posting.

Yes, that’s exactly how the world works. Some countries also value women as equal citizens, who can drive and play hockey.

And other countries value data. The Saudis offer nothing but an authoritarian decree.

Assholes.

89 now sick with hep A: What kind of trendy smoothie place gets their frozen strawberries from Egypt?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that several states, CDC, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are continuing to investigate a multistate outbreak of foodborne hepatitis A. Information available at this time does not indicate an ongoing risk of acquiring hepatitis A virus infection at Tropical Smoothie Café’s, as the contaminated food product has been removed as of August 8. Symptoms of hepatitis A virus infection can take up to 50 days to appear. As a result, CDC continues to identify cases of hepatitis A related to the initial contaminated product.

tropical-smoothie-cafe89 people with hepatitis A have been reported from seven states: Maryland (10), New York (1), North Carolina (1), Oregon (1), Virginia (70), West Virginia (5), and Wisconsin (1).

39 ill people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicate frozen strawberries imported from Egypt are the likely source of this outbreak.

In interviews, nearly all ill people interviewed reported drinking smoothies containing strawberries at Tropical Smoothie Café locations prior to August 8 in a limited geographical area, including Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

On August 8, 2016, Tropical Smoothie Café reported that they removed the Egyptian frozen strawberries from their restaurants in Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia and switched to another supplier. Out of an abundance of caution, Tropical Smoothie Café has since switched to another supplier for all restaurants nationwide.

If you think you’ve gotten sick from drinking a smoothie containing frozen strawberries from a Tropical Smoothie Café prior to August 8, contact your doctor.

Food handlers should contact their doctors and stay home if they are sick with hepatitis A.

 “To those who have become ill after eating at one of our cafes, we are deeply sorry,” Tropical Smoothie Cafe said in a statement. “We hope you recover quickly and completely.”

The Food and Drug Administration said in a statement that it would increase surveillance of imported strawberries.

 

Egypt investigates claims of hepatitis-A in strawberry exports

With 10 hepatitis A cases linked to frozen strawberries used by Tropical Smoothie Café in Virginia, and health officials saying the hep A strain has been associated with past outbreaks due to frozen strawberries from Egypt, the Egyptians are now investigating.

strawberry.harvest.egypeEgypt Independent cites Agriculture Ministry spokesman Edi Hawash as saying the U.S. has not officially informed Egypt of the claims, but the claims are being investigated anyway.

Agriculture Minister Essam Fayed has formed a committee, headed by the chairman of the Union of Egyptian Exporters, to investigate the issue, Hawash added.

He said that recent tests conducted on random samples of exported strawberries have shown no cases of the virus.

Hussein al-Hinnawi, the president of the Union of Producers and Exporters of Horticultural Crops, said he doubts that the reported hepatitis-A infections were caused by frozen Egyptian strawberries.

He said Egyptian strawberries are scrutinized at competent laboratories prior to export. Moreover, exporters have full awareness of good practice through the stages of production, transfer and export, Hinnawi said.

Egypt ranks first among Arab countries in the production and export of strawberries, exporting about 40,000,000 tons of fresh and frozen strawberries to 30 countries in Europe, America, Southeast Asia and the Gulf states, according to Al-Ahram.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe voluntarily withdrew all of the strawberries sourced from Egypt and found an alternate supply.

10 sick with Hepatitis A: Frozen strawberries from Egypt used in Virginia Tropical Smoothie Cafe customers

According to the Virginia Department of Health, people who consumed smoothies with frozen strawberries on August 5, 6, 7 or 8 may benefit from a vaccine or immune globulin to prevent hepatitis A.

Tropical Smoothie CafeAccording to a health department official, there have been 10 total cases of hepatitis A linked to the strawberries at Tropical Smoothie in Virginia so far.

The Department of Health has linked the smoothies with a strain of hepatitis A that has been associated with past outbreaks due to frozen strawberries from Egypt.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe voluntarily withdrew all of the strawberries sourced from Egypt and found an alternate supply.

The Department of Health says other restaurants and restaurant suppliers may have received the frozen strawberries. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify other locations where the product may have been distributed.

In a news release sent Friday, the department said genetic testing had linked frozen strawberries from Egypt, distributed to all 90 Tropical Smoothie Café locations across Virginia to the Hepatitis infections.

UK girl, 10, ‘could need kidney transplant’ after Egypt holiday

BBC reports that a 10-year-old girl could have to undergo a kidney transplant after contracting E. coli on a holiday in Egypt, her family has said.

emily.bridges.ukEmily Bridges from Queenborough, Kent, picked up the bug while on a trip to the Red Sea resort of Hurghada in May.

She spent a week on life support and is now dependent on immune suppressant drugs and 12 hours of dialysis a day.

Tour operator Thomson said the family had not contacted them but it closely monitored hygiene at its resorts.

Emily’s symptoms were initially diagnosed in Egypt as an upset stomach, but 24 hours after landing in the UK her organs began to shut down.

Her mother, Rachel, said: “Her kidneys stopped working. Her heart stopped working. They said it was like having a heart attack for five days.”

She said they were hoping Emily’s kidneys would recover from the damage but the “worst case scenario” was dialysis at home and “a transplant further down the line”.

The family said they were seeking legal advice about making a complaint.

In a statement, Thomson said it was sorry to hear of Miss Bridge’s situation, adding: “Nothing was reported to our team in resort or since the family has returned home.

“We’re not in a position to comment further, until the family have contacted us and we have had the opportunity to carry out an investigation.”

26 Brits win huge payout after contracting E. coli on holiday in Egypt

A young mum dad and daughter, who nearly died after contracting E. coli on holiday in Egypt in 2012, are among holidaymakers who have won a massive pay out from Thomas Cook.

sindbad-aqua-park-hotelRoxanne Barraclough was told by doctors that she was lucky to be alive after being admitted to a hospital with excruciating kidney pain following a family break.

Medics confirmed she had contracted deadly E. coli and, if left untreated, her kidneys could have ruptured.

Roxanne, 26, was one of 26 ailing tourists who suffered life-threatening gastric symptoms, after their stays at the Sindbad Aqua Park Hotel, in Hurghada.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell has now secured the group damages in excess of £100,000 from the tour operator to cover the holidaymakers’ pain and suffering and related losses.

Credit controller Roxanne, of Blackpool, Lancs, had noticed chicken sometimes served to guests at the four-star resort was undercooked and stopped eating it.

Just three days into their trip in July 2012, Roxanne, her partner Daniel, 24 and their seven-year-old-daughter Jessica fell ill.

Daniel’s symptoms continued two weeks after the young family returned home, with Jessica suffering for five weeks after the holiday.

sindbad_aqua_park_3On their return Roxanne’s illness became so bad she went for emergency treatment at an A&E department, where she tested positive for E. coli and was quickly transferred to an infection control unit where she spent a week receiving treatment.

Doctors later told her that had she not received urgent medical care both kidneys could have ruptured.

A Thomas Cook spokeswoman apologised and said health and safety was treated with “the utmost importance”.

She added: “We know how important holidays are to our customers and how upsetting it can be when they fall unwell while overseas. We have been liaising closely with the appointed solicitor representing Ms Barraclough, as well as other customers who stayed at the hotel in 2012, and are pleased that we have reached an agreement to resolve this matter amicably with them.”

Fancy food ain’t safe food – Egypt edition

Lawyers are investigating after a UK pensioner was hospitalized for five days and diagnosed with Salmonella food poisoning after holidaying at a luxury Egyptian resort.

John Middleton claims he caught food poisoning while holidaying in Egypt.

John Middleton claims he caught food poisoning while holidaying in Egypt.

John Middleton, 65, went on a two-week break to the five-star Sunrise Select Royal Makadi resort with his family in September.

On the final day of his holiday, John, who booked his trip through tour operator Thomas Cook, woke in the early hours with crippling stomach cramps and severe diarrhea.

The retired factory worker was examined by the hotel doctor and given an injection in his thigh to help ease his symptoms for his flight home.

When he arrived home in Sherburn Village, he tested positive for salmonella, a bacterial infection which can be caused by food poisoning.

John said: “When you book a luxury resort that is exactly what you should get.

“I had to suffer the emotional and physical trauma of being severely ill during the flight home. When you return home from a holiday you want to feel rested and relaxed. Instead I had to be admitted to hospital for five days, and I am still suffering from symptoms months down the line.”

 

UK man’s dream holiday in Egypt turned into ‘nightmare’ after contracting Salmonella ‘we meet industry standards’

A Manchester holidaymaker who returned from a trip to a luxury resort in Egypt with Salmonella is claiming compensation from his tour operator.

jake.ankersJake Ankers had to take more than a month off work after being diagnosed with the bug upon returning from an all-inclusive trip to Sharm El Sheikh’s Sensatori Hotel.

The 24-year-old, who lives on Princess Street in Manchester city centre, required medical attention while abroad after developing severe abdominal pains and diarrhoea, and his symptoms were so severe he required a wheelchair to leave the plane after returning home in June.

Gym-loving Jake is still recovering from the illness and says doctors believe he might have irritable bowel syndrome after losing more than a stone in weight.

He has now asked travel law experts at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors to investigate a claim against Thomson, who provided the holiday.

But the tour operator says it carries out checks to ensure its resort’s health, hygiene and comfort are maintained to ‘industry’ standards.