1 dead, 46 sick: Multistate outbreak of Salmonella Kiambu linked to Maradol papayas

Mangos, I love; papayas, not so much.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Kiambu infections.

A total of 47 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Kiambu have been reported from 12 states.

Twelve ill people have been hospitalized. One death has been reported from New York City.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from May 17, 2017 to June 28, 2017. Ill people range in age from less than 1 year to 95, with a median age of 27. Among ill people, 67% are female. Among 31 people with available information, 18 (58%) are of Hispanic ethnicity. Among 33 people with available information, 12 (36%) report being hospitalized. One death was reported from New York City.

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence collected to date indicates that Maradol papayas are a likely source of this multistate outbreak.

CDC recommends that consumers not eat, restaurants not serve, and retailers not sell Maradol papayas until we learn more.

If you aren’t sure if the papaya you bought is a Maradol papaya, you can ask the place of purchase. Restaurants and retailers can ask their supplier.

When in doubt, don’t eat, sell, or serve them and throw them out.

Wash and sanitize countertops as well as drawers or shelves in refrigerators where papayas were stored.

This investigation is ongoing. CDC will provide updates when more information is available.

Looks like someone picked the wrong week to go to camp, again: 2 confirmed with E. coli in Ohio, others sick

Gates are closed at Plast Camp in Geauga County, Ohio, as the health district begins their investigation to try to figure out why kids at the summer camp suddenly got sick.  

Health District Commissioner Robert Weisdack said there are two confirmed E. coli cases, but a handful of other kids also said they didn’t feel well and more tests are being done to see if other kids have E. coli.

Camp workers handed out E. coli fact sheets to the parents who picked their kids up. Friday night, the health district said about 30 kids were still at the camp. They expect all kids to be out by Saturday so they can go in next week and investigate.

The health district said there is no risk to the community, so people outside the camp shouldn’t worry about getting E. coli.

No risk messages are risky, and so easy to pick apart.

Food fraud: Mexican alcohol edition

To my four Canadian daughters: Pay attention.

Tourists to all-inclusive resorts in Mexico suspect they were given tainted alcohol.

Raquel Rutledge of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes the scene at the swim-up bar at the Mexican resort where Abbey Conner was pulled listless from the pool in January was full of young tourists last month when an attorney hired by Conner’s family showed up.

It wasn’t surprising. It was a typical scene at an all-inclusive five-star resort where foreigners from both sides of the equator flock to escape their cold winters.

But as he watched, the attorney noticed something disturbing.

“They serve alcoholic drinks with alcohol of bad quality and in great amounts, mixing different types of drinks,” he wrote in his native Spanish.

That single paragraph, buried near the end of a four-page report summarizing how 20-year-old Conner drowned within a couple hours of arriving at the Iberostar Hotel & Resorts’ Paraiso del Mar, offers a possible lead in the investigation into her death.

And it could shed light on the circumstances surrounding numerous reports from others who have told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel they experienced sickness, blackouts and injuries after drinking at Iberostar and other resorts around Cancun and Playa del Carmen in recent months.

A Pewaukee family traveled to an all-inclusive resort in Playa del Carmen in January. Their two college kids wound up unconscious, face down in the pool within two hours. Twenty-year-old Abbey died.

They told the Journal Sentinel they believe they were drugged or the alcohol may have been tainted. They questioned how they could fall into a stupor so quickly. And whether they had been targeted.

Not the Sopranos: Police in Europe break up network selling illegal horse meat

Raphael Minder of The New York Times reports police in Europe have dismantled a criminal network that was selling horse meat across the Continent that was “not suitable for consumption,” arresting 66 people as part of a four-year investigation prompted by the discovery in Ireland of horse meat in burgers sold as beef.

Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said on Sunday that all but one of the arrests had been made in Spain. But the Spanish police said in a separate statement that their part of the investigation had accounted for “a small portion of a network stretching across the whole of Europe, under the control of a Dutch citizen.”

The Dutch citizen, who has not been publicly identified and was taken into custody in April in Belgium, was described in a Europol statement as the leader of a criminal gang that had acquired horses on the Iberian Peninsula that were judged to be “in bad shape, too old or simply labeled as ‘not suitable for consumption.’ ”

The animals’ meat was processed and sent to Belgium, one of the European Union’s biggest exporters of horse meat, and the criminal organization modified the animals’ microchips and documentation to facilitate the fraudulent export, the statement said.

The Pan-European investigation began after a scandal over horse meat in burgers in Ireland in 2013, and it was widened to other European countries as dishes like frozen lasagna labeled as containing beef were found to have horse meat.

In addition to the arrests, the Spanish police said on Sunday that they had seized property and luxury cars, and that they had frozen bank accounts. The police in Britain, France, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Switzerland also carried out interventions, according to Europol, although the statement did not provide details.

Thermometers, cats and the UK Food Standards Agency: Piping hot for the world?

I watched our veterinarian stick a thermometer into the ass of our cat(s) the other day while they were getting vaccinated for feline immunodeficiency virus (because they’ve now become outside roaming cats).

They didn’t care.

The UK Food Standards Agency is bragging that one of its own, Steve Wearne, got elected to the Codex Alimentarius Commission as vice-chair.

That’s an impressive bureaucratic achievement.

UK Food Minister George Eustice bubbled that, “The appointment of Steve Wearne to this important leadership role is testament to the strength and reputation of the UK’s food quality and safety standards. 

“This is a great opportunity to bring the UK’s renowned expertise to the table as the committee continues to pioneer global policy for food safety – increasing consumer confidence in the food we eat around the world.”

Heather Hancock, Chairman of the FSA said: ‘Steve’s appointment is a real vote of confidence in the UK’s leadership in modern, accountable food regulation. I’m delighted that he and the FSA will be taking such a significant role in setting the standards for food globally.’

I’m not.

This is an agency that ignores science and continues to tell consumers to cook things until they are piping hot, apparently because consumers are too low on the British caste system to understand how a thermometer works.

My cats know how thermometers work.

At least 5 sick with crypto: Raw milk from Moo View Dairy recalled by South Australian health types

There was this one time, about 1979, when me and my high school buddies fell into some tickets for Can-Am car racing, which none of us cared about.

So we stayed up all night as high school students do, and then I was the designated driver to Mosport, Ontario, a few hours away.

On the way we stopped at a truck stop off the 401 near Bowmanville, Ontario, and my friends, who were quite stoned, couldn’t stop laughing about the moo-moo cow creamer on every table.

It was pasteurized.

The stuff from Willunga Hill’s Moo View Dairy is not, and the dairy will be prohibited from selling and distributing raw cow’s milk after it was linked to at least five cases of gastroenteritis.

Brad Crouch, medical reporter at The Advertiser, writes, SA Health has taken the action under the Food Act 2001 and the South Australian Public Health Act 2011, after the sicknesses were linked to drinking unpasteurised (raw) cow’s milk.

SA Health Director of Public Health Associate Professor Kevin Buckett said the sale of raw cow’s milk for human consumption is illegal in Australia due to its high risk of contamination.

“We’ve confirmed at least five cases where people aged between three and 70 contracted gastrointestinal illness caused by the Cryptosporidium parasite after consuming raw cow’s milk products purchased from Moo View Dairy, and this number is likely to be higher,” he said.

“Luckily, these people did not require hospitalisation, but it is important to remember that raw cow’s milk products should not be consumed as they can contain harmful bacteria such as E.coli, salmonella, campylobacter, and listeria, as well as cryptosporidium.

“In June we noticed higher than expected numbers of cryptosporidiosis cases and following interviews and investigations, we identified Moo View Dairy’s raw cow’s milk as a common factor between five cases,” Assoc Prof Buckett said.

“We’ve also identified another two potential cases that implicate raw cow’s milk as the cause of illness.

And the next year, Mosport had this (and yes, that’s John (J.D.) Roberts doing some of the interviews for Much Music. He can be now found as chief White House correspondent for Fox News (gag me). Oh, and I arranged Teenage Head to play our high school in 1979.

Raw is risky.

A giant E. coli statue in New York City

John Metcalfe of City Lab writes there is now a giant statue of an E. coli microbe in City Hall Park in Lower Manhattan.

“Earth Potential: E. coli” is based on a 10,000-times magnified electron-microscope image of the fecal bacterium that causes 265,000 infections in the U.S. yearly, with symptoms including cramps and diarrhea. Made from a digital print on cut-out aluminum, it rests in City Hall Park as part of the larger exhibition, “Earth Potential,” by the Estonian artist Katja Novitskova. The show intends to portray “organisms and bodies” that have “significant research value within the scientific community for their potential to advance our understanding of our species and world,” according to the non-profit Public Art Fund. Aside from E. coli, the other pieces in the show include a huge earthworm, a slippery nematode, and a human embryo magnified to resemble a clump of moldy peaches.

Only certain strains of E. coli cause gut-churning maladies; others are beneficial components of the human intestines and boons to science. As the show’s primer explains: “E. coli has been at the center of groundbreaking research: Genetic engineers have used new synthetic biological techniques to recode the bacteria’s genome, potentially changing the organism’s functionality and radically increasing the prospect that humans will have the ability to rewrite the codes for life.”

 

Jennifer Lawrence barfs during Broadway show

Mike Moffitt of SF Gate reports “Hunger Games” star Jennifer Lawrence vomited during a Broadway adaptation of George Orwell‘s “1984,” but she says it was not the harrowing torture scene that made her toss her cookies.

The actress’ stomach problems were first reported by Page Six.

The play’s upsetting staging has reportedly caused audience members to faint, although until Monday night, no one apparently has thrown up.

Those who have read “1984,” are well aware of a nausea-inducing scene involving a cage and a rat.

According to a Page Six source, “Midway through the show, Jennifer Lawrence bolted from her seat. Several people saw her getting sick in the lobby. The ushers were very helpful and courteous in helping her out.”

The site quoted a friend of Lawrence, who said the visceral staging had nothing to do with the actress’ stomach distress. “She caught the stomach flu from her nephews,” the source said.

It’s not the first time Lawrence has publicly puked.

At a Guy Oseary-Madonna party in 2014, she got sick and threw up on a porch.

She told Seth Meyers: “I was in such bad condition, and I look behind me while I’m puking, and Miley Cyrus is there like, ‘Get it together.'”

I can’t make this shit up: Chipotle taps Wu-Tang Clan for marketing buzz

I can’t make this shit up: here’s a company with billions invested in it, and Chipotle decides to reach out to the Wu-Tang Clan.

A company that sucks bonding with a band that sucks and hoping that two negatives make a positive?

In April, 2017, Chipotle tapped hey-now Hank Kinsley and some other actors for some spots about how real Chipotle’s food was.

Guess that hasn’t gone so well.

Now, the aptly-named Mark Crumpacker, Chipotle’s chief marketing officer and convicted cokehead, told Bloomberg that Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., has enlisted rapper RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan to unveil a new website that spotlights Chipotle’s ingredients. The company’s so-called clean menu — free of artificial preservatives and other additives — was a major selling point before a 2015 food-safety crisis sickened hundreds of customers and sent its shares plummeting.

Yup, real hardcore reaching out to the Wu-Tang Clan.

RZA, whose real name is Robert Diggs, helped design Chipotle’s new Savor.Wavs site. The rapper created 51 snippets of music, one for each ingredient on the menu, that lets people hear a audio interpretation of their typical Chipotle order. The new site doesn’t let customers order food, but it’s meant to drive home the simplicity of the chain’s menu.

“That might be lost on some, but people who are into the music will appreciate it,” said Crumpacker.

Crumpacker touted Chipotle’s simple menu at a party in Manhattan on Tuesday that featured a performance by RZA. He noted that fast-food hamburgers can have as many as 47 ingredients.

While the company declined to say how much it spent on the RZA campaign, Chipotle indicated it was less than the $5 million that a Super Bowl ad would have cost.

Chipotle’s stock, which hit a closing high of $757.77 in August 2015, has been battered by the food-safety concerns. The shares had been up for the year until Tuesday, when reports surfaced that customers had been sickened after eating a restaurant in Virginia. That location, which was closed on Monday, was slated to be reopened on Wednesday.

The stock is now trading around $368, about half its peak.

Canadian family tested for HIV after catheter found in ice cream tub; Australian kids pricked at supermarket

There’s some weird things in food.

A family gathering in Quebec to celebrate the arrival of a new baby boy suddenly turned sour this weekend when someone discovered a piece of a catheter inside the ice cream the family was eating.

Three people had already started eating the Coaticook brand ice cream flavoured with pecan nuts, chocolate and double caramel when one of the guests – the new grandfather of the family – felt something hard in his mouth.

He spit it out and saw it was a piece of a catheter.

There was something dark on the tip and the family couldn’t tell if it was caramel or blood.

“He put it in his mouth and found the tip of syringe,” Carole-Anne Christofferson told Radio-Canada.  

“He’s the worst off, the most affected. He’s not even able to speak about it.”

Coaticook said it will be conducting an internal investigation into what happened.

Representatives for the ice cream producer say it’s the first time the company receives a complaint like this.

Based on the product’s lot number, they know the exact date the ice cream was made and are checking surveillance video.

The company maintains it is safe to consume its products.

“We have so many internal controls here and in food production in general, that having something like that show up in a food item, it’s not normal,” said Jean Provencher, the owner of Coaticook.

Yeah, but it apparently did: try empathy.

In Australia, two children have been pricked by a hidden syringe in separate incidents at Coles supermarket in Melbourne’s north-west, which is being described by police as “malicious.”

The first incident happened at the supermarket on Pascoe Vale Road, Broadmeadows, on Monday at 1:30pm, when a child was pricked by a needle hidden under a rail.

Another child was pricked about an hour later, and the needle was then discovered by the mother.

A spokesperson for Coles said the supermarket was working with police to investigate the incident.

“Our thoughts are with the customers affected by this event and their families,” the spokesperson said in a statement.