Fail: Paulding County restaurant inspections

Food safety is behavior-based. Public health inspections are a necessary means to ensure compliance with food safety regs but are a snap shot in time. It may be more beneficial to provide some on-site training during the inspection to effectively engage operators. They’ll be in their own environment, feel comfortable, and by actually working with them hands-on; you can break the English-as-second language barrier, if that exists.

Doug Gross reports

Two different Paulding County restaurants failed their health and safety inspections this past week, with inspectors finding problems ranging from raw chicken being stored on the floor to food that should have been thrown away still being in the cooler.
China Wok, off of Dallas Nebo Road at 4813 Ridge Rd., scored a 63/U on its inspection Tuesday and Las Palmas Restaurant, at 480 Watts Rd. in Hiram, scored an even lower 55/U on Monday.
At China Wok, inspectors said they found raw chicken being stored in a plastic bin on the floor. Rangoons were found in a small metal bowl being stored on top of a trash can. In the cooler, an uncovered container of raw chicken was being stored above containers of sauce and another bowl of raw chicken was being stored above green onions.
Food residue was found on a knife and potato peeler that were supposed to be clean, an employee was wearing a charm bracelet while preparing food and another was serving food without any kind of hair restraint.
Managers were found not to be properly trained and the restaurant couldn’t show that workers had gotten the proper food safety training.
At Las Palmas, cooked pork, pasta noodles, stuffed peppers and refried beans all were found with date markings that meant they should already have been thrown out. The marking on the beans suggested they were more than two-and-a-half weeks old.
Packages of raw ground beef were being stored next to lettuce, raw shrimp was left in a sink to thaw, two microwaves had food debris in them from the day before and food was being stored at the wrong temperature.
Managers didn’t display they’d had the proper training and the restaurant had no established procedures for what to do if a customer gets sick while there, the report said.
According to state policies, the restaurants will be inspected again within the next 10 days. If either hasn’t addressed the problems from the original inspection by then, inspectors could shut the restaurant down until the problems are fixed.

Not going to solve the issue. The problems may be altered temporarily and the restaurant will be open for business. However, from my experience, unless you can tackle the underlying issues that contributing to the problems initially; the restaurant will resort its’ original state. It’s all about behavior and effective training.

Everyone’s got a camera Arkansas, edition: Clinton students say school served them raw chicken

Color is still a lousy indicator of whether food is safe, but if Clinton High School wanted to make a case, they would provide internal temperature logs.

For two days a Clinton mother says her children sent her pictures of the food being served in the school cafeteria at lunch.  She says it appears to be undercooked chicken.

“I don’t want my child sick from food poisoning,” says Kathleen Page, mother of two teens at Clinton High School.

” It was so obviously raw,” says her son, Jonathan Carter, a junior at the school.  “You could see pink in it.  I’d cut it open with my fork and it’d be more red on the inside.”

Page called the school and was transferred to the cafeteria.  “I started to ask her questions and she told me it was none of my business and hung up.”

She also called the Health Department and they told her this wasn’t the first complaint they’d gotten about the school lunches.

Clinton School District Superintendent, Andrew Vining, released a statement regarding the issue.

“The Clinton School District strives to serve our students and staff a variety of meals that are healthy, nutritious, and appealing.  The photos that have been circulated do not appear that way.  This concerns us and we have taken steps to resolve the matter to ensure our students are provided with the best meals possible.

“There were also photos that were circulated regarding apparent raw pork; to clarify, no pork was served.

“The chicken fajita meat which was pictured was Tyson, fully cooked and prepackaged.  None of our staff or students have reported becoming ill after eating chicken from our cafeteria.  In the event someone does get sick, they need to notify my office and go to their doctor to see if symptoms were due to food-borne illness.

“We regret this has happened and we will continue to put the health of our students first in all things.”

1000 sick: As North America turns to Fall, another bumper crop of Cyclospora

CDC reports that as of September 13, 2017 they have been notified of 988 laboratory-confirmed cases of cyclosporiasis in persons who became ill in 2017. This number includes persons who reported international travel as well as persons who did not report travel. The reports have come from 40 states.

  • At least 553 (56%) of these persons did not report international travel (i.e., likely were infected in the United States) and became ill on or after May 1, 2017 (a date after which cases tend to increase each year). These 553 persons were from the following 36 states: Arizona (1), California (10), Colorado (6), Connecticut (23), Florida (68), Georgia (10), Illinois (17), Indiana (4), Iowa (14), Kansas (2), Louisiana (7), Maryland (12), Massachusetts (13), Michigan (3), Minnesota (11), Mississippi (1), Missouri (13), Montana (2), Nebraska (5), New Hampshire (4), New Jersey (19), New Mexico (1), New York (excluding NYC) (15), New York City (30), North Carolina (45), Ohio (16), Pennsylvania (2), Rhode Island (2), South Carolina (7), South Dakota (4), Tennessee (3), Texas (163), Utah (1), Virginia (7), Washington (1), West Virginia (2), and Wisconsin (9).
  • At this time, no specific vehicle of interest has been identified, and investigations to identify a potential source (or sources) of infection are ongoing. It is too early to say whether cases of Cyclosporainfection in different states are related to each other or to the same food item(s).

Previous U.S. outbreaks of cyclosporiasis have been linked to various types of imported fresh produce (e.g., basil, cilantro, mesclun lettuce, raspberries, snow peas). Consumers should continue to enjoy the health benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables as part of a well-balanced diet.

Chlorine works: Reducing Salmonella outbreaks in mangoes

The new crop of Australian mangoes is starting to arrive in spring-like Brisbane (because it’s more like summer with temps expected to hit 40 C this weekend), and they are delicious.

A team in one University of Connecticut lab recently processed 4,000 mangoes and water samples to test the efficacy of three disinfectants commonly used by the industry to avoid contamination.

To the utter surprise of researcher Mary Anne Amalaradjou, they found an unlikely candidate was extremely effective: chlorine. “When I saw the results, I didn’t believe it. So we re-ran the test ten times,” says the assistant professor in the Department of Animal Science.

Amalaradjou will present her findings at a meeting of the National Mango Board.

Salmonella is a frequent culprit for outbreaks in mangoes because it makes its way into the water used to wash the fruit in processing plants. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Salmonella leads to approximately 1.2 million cases of Salmonellosis each year in the United States and around 23,000 hospitalizations and 450 deaths.

“We had several outbreaks of people getting sick. The worrying part was the illnesses were not from cut mangoes, these were from mangoes they bought whole,” says Amalaradjou, whose work focuses on food safety and in finding new approaches to control or prevent foodborne illnesses.

In mango processing plants, the wash water is housed in gigantic tanks and once the water is contaminated, the bacteria are able to attach to the fruit’s skin and then enter the fruit’s pulp. Once bacteria make their way into the fruit, no amount of washing can remove them. With so many mangoes washed at once, the number of contaminated mangoes can be numerous, potentially causing many cases of Salmonellosis.

mango tropical fruit with male hand picking fruit from tree

Recognizing the danger, the Center for Produce Safety and the National Mango Board funded Amalaradjou’s study.  After taking on the project, Amalaradjou traveled to a mango processing plant to see the source of the contamination, the big wash water tanks, for herself in order to learn the processes so she could adapt them to a smaller-scale laboratory set up.

Amalaradjou was surprised by the results because chlorine is not very effective in the wash step for most produce. For one reason or another, from lettuce, to tomatoes to apples, chlorine simply doesn’t reliably kill Salmonella.

With mangoes, Amalaradjou found, chlorine cleaned the wash water and also helped prevent cross-contamination by cleaning the mangoes themselves.

One of the other challenges the research group had to tackle was not only effective Salmonella killing, but doing so with affordable and easily implementable measures on a large scale. Because chlorine is already used in the wash water, all that the processing plants need to do is to monitor the levels frequently to keep it at an effective concentration.

1 dead, over 200 sick: Salmonella Anatum infections linked to imported maradol papayas

This outbreak is one of four separate outbreaks currently under investigation that are linked to imported Maradol papayas from Mexico.

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

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. PulseNet is the national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by CDC. DNA fingerprinting is performed on Salmonella bacteria isolated from ill people by using techniques called pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS). CDC PulseNet manages a national database of these DNA fingerprints to identify possible outbreaks. WGS gives a more detailed DNA fingerprint than PFGE.

This past spring, CDC investigated a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Anatum infections. Fourteen people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Anatum were reported from three states. A list of the states and the number of cases in each can be found on the Case Count Map page. WGS showed that isolates from people infected with Salmonella Anatum were closely related genetically. This close genetic relationship meant that people in this outbreak were more likely to share a common source of infection.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from December 20, 2016, to April 8, 2017. Ill people ranged in age from less than 1 year to 85, with a median age of 38. Ninety-two percent were female. Among 11 people with available information, 10 (91%) were of Hispanic ethnicity. Among those 11 people, 5 (45%) were hospitalized. One death was reported from California.

In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Seven (88%) of eight people interviewed reported eating papayas. This proportion was significantly higher than results from a survey of healthy Hispanic people in which 22% reported eating papayas in the week before they were interviewed. In addition, four of these seven people reported buying papayas from the same grocery store chain.

While the epidemiologic information indicated that papayas were the likely source of this outbreak at the time, investigators could not determine the specific source of contaminated papayas and the outbreak investigation ended after illnesses stopped.

FDA informed CDC that a sample from an imported papaya identified Salmonella Anatum on September 4, 2017. This sample came from a papaya from a grower in Mexico named Productores y Exportadores de Carica Papaya  de Tecomán y Costa Alegre in Tijuana, Mexico. WGS showed that the isolate from the papaya and the isolates from the 14 people infected with Salmonella Anatum this past spring were closely related. Bravo Produce Inc. was a supplier of Maradol papayas to the grocery store chain where four of seven ill people reported buying papayas. After receiving FDA’s recent Salmonella isolate from papayas, CDC reviewed the PulseNet database to look for matching DNA fingerprints in bacteria from people who got sick after the investigation closed in the spring of 2017. Six more ill people have been identified and CDC is investigating to determine if these more recent illnesses are also linked to Maradol papayas imported by Bravo Produce Inc.

On September 10, 2017, Bravo Produce Inc. recalled Maradol papayas packed by Frutas Selectas de Tijuana, S. de RL de CV. The grower of the recalled Maradol papayas is Productores y Exportadores de Carica Papaya de Tecoman y Costa Alegre in Tijuana, Mexico. The papayas were distributed to California from August 10 to August 29, 2017. The recalled papayas can be identified by the label on the fruit from the packing company, Frutas Selectas de Tijuana.

This investigation is ongoing. CDC and state and local public health partners are continuing laboratory surveillance through PulseNet to identify additional ill people and to interview them. FDA continues testing papayas from Mexico to see if other papayas from other farms are contaminated with Salmonella. Investigations are ongoing to determine if additional consumer warnings are needed beyond the advice not to eat papayas from specific importers or farms. Updates will be provided when more information is available.

Should they have animals? 13 sickened including several hospitalized after E. coli outbreak linked to California pumpkin farm last year

Drew Bollea of CBS Sacremento reports a California pumpkin farm south of Marysville is set to open for the season after making changes to its petting zoo following an E. coli outbreak last year.

Roughly 180,000 people will come through the gates of Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm during the seven weeks they’re open this fall.

“We spent a lot of time last winter thinking about whether we should even have animals,” said Wayne Bishop, the Co-Owner of Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm.

Bishop says the decision was difficult after an E. coli outbreak last year was linked to their farm.

“Five to 10 people who were seriously ill,” said Bishop.

According to a report by the California Department of Health, E. coli was detected in fecal matter found in more than a dozen samples from the petting zoo. Thirteen people reported an illness and exposure to the petting zoo. Several children ended up in the hospital for observation.

“With all that rain, it’s very possible that bacteria was washed out of the pens out into areas that people were walking,” said Bishop describing one theory of how people may have contracted the bacteria.

So what changes were made to the petting zoo at Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm this year?

  • The animals are now vaccinated
  • Guests are required to watch a health and safety video
  • The pens are redesigned to keep waste and water away from guests.
  • Bishop added more hand washing stations near the entrance and exit making it nearly impossible to leave the petting zoo without washing your hands.

“If you want to be able to pet animals, this is the safest place in the world to do it,” said Bishop.

Erdozain GKukanich KChapman BPowell D. 2012. Observation of public health risk behaviours, risk communication and hand hygiene at Kansas and Missouri petting zoos – 2010-2011. Zoonoses Public Health. 2012 Jul 30. doi: 10.1111/j.1863-2378.2012.01531.x. [Epub ahead of print]

Abstract below:

Observation of public health risk behaviors, risk communication and hand hygiene at Kansas and Missouri petting zoos – 2010-2011Outbreaks of human illness have been linked to visiting settings with animal contact throughout developed countries. This paper details an observational study of hand hygiene tool availability and recommendations; frequency of risky behavior; and, handwashing attempts by visitors in Kansas (9) and Missouri (4), U.S., petting zoos. Handwashing signs and hand hygiene stations were available at the exit of animal-contact areas in 10/13 and 8/13 petting zoos respectively. Risky behaviors were observed being performed at all petting zoos by at least one visitor. Frequently observed behaviors were: children (10/13 petting zoos) and adults (9/13 petting zoos) touching hands to face within animal-contact areas; animals licking children’s and adults’ hands (7/13 and 4/13 petting zoos, respectively); and children and adults drinking within animal-contact areas (5/13 petting zoos each). Of 574 visitors observed for hand hygiene when exiting animal-contact areas, 37% (n=214) of individuals attempted some type of hand hygiene, with male adults, female adults, and children attempting at similar rates (32%, 40%, and 37% respectively). Visitors were 4.8x more likely to wash their hands when a staff member was present within or at the exit to the animal-contact area (136/231, 59%) than when no staff member was present (78/343, 23%; p<0.001, OR=4.863, 95% C.I.=3.380-6.998). Visitors at zoos with a fence as a partial barrier to human-animal contact were 2.3x more likely to wash their hands (188/460, 40.9%) than visitors allowed to enter the animals’ yard for contact (26/114, 22.8%; p<0.001, OR= 2.339, 95% CI= 1.454-3.763). Inconsistencies existed in tool availability, signage, and supervision of animal-contact. Risk communication was poor, with few petting zoos outlining risks associated with animal-contact, or providing recommendations for precautions to be taken to reduce these risks.

Microbiological failure? UK school forces teachers to shake hands with pupils to help kids feel respected

Trevor Noah of The Daily Show rarely shakes hands with guests or correspondants.

He’s big into the fist-bump.

Maybe Schaffner can design a study to figure out which is microbiologically safer.

It’d be another pop-culture hit.

Maybe someone has done it.

Whatever, the  handshaking policy introduced by a new principal has led to panic among staff and parents.

Some teachers at Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys, southeast of London, are now arming themselves with hand sanitiser amid fears that shaking hands up to 150 times a day may cause them to pick up germs.

Principal Amanda Simpson is standing by her decision, which sees teachers shaking hands with every member of their class before each lesson.

One parent told local news website Kent Live that she was worried about the consequences of the mandatory handshaking.

“It will be interesting to see what happens if there’s an outbreak of Norovirus,” she said.

“I assume it was introduced because the new head wanted to introduce some element of respect – but I wouldn’t think that sort of thing would make any difference.”

Ms Simpson believes that starting every lesson “with a handshake and a smile” makes children feel welcome and appreciated.

She confirmed that hand sanitiser was available throughout the school for anyone worried about the spread of germs.

But, but mom, I don’t like beets

I called my mother the other day and she cut me short because she was jarring beets.

“You know your father likes his pickled beets.”

OK.

It was one of our go-to phrases growing up, and I have no idea why.

Probably because beets were a staple of 1970s funky glassware along with pickles and pickled onions.

But to do beets right, you may need advice from North Carolina canning queen, Ben Chapman, who produced this infosheet five years ago.

It’s 87 degrees and humid in Jacksonville, and Jaguars fans are swimming in mayonnaise

Chris Thompson of Deadspin writes the Jacksonville Jaguars, at 1-0, are off to their best start since the 2011 NFL season, when they opened up with a narrow win over the Tennessee Titans.

Jaguars fans, in their euphoria, have rocketed all the way to the Belly-Flopping-Into-A-Vat-Of-Mayonnaise stage of celebration.

You just don’t want to be, like, the fourth person to belly flop into a vat of mayonnaise. It’s bad enough to be coated in mayo; imagine being covered in mayo and stray body hair and various other effluvia. The worst. The Jaguars host the Titans today—you hate to even imagine the kind of shit those fans might get up to if they find themselves at 2-0 next Sunday.

260 sickened last year: Closed and broke, Golden Ponds restaurant to hold auction

On Tuesday, September 19, the owner of the Greece restaurant, Golden Ponds, will sell everything at auction – from the freezer to the flatware.

The Monroe County Health Department says last year 260 people got sick after eating at his Thanksgiving Buffet. Health inspectors shut him down. When he finally reopened, patrons did not come back. Now he’s facing lawsuits, deep debt, and the end of his career. On Friday, he opened his doors and ended his silence for this week’s Restaurants Exposed report.

Ralph Rinaudo hasn’t changed a thing since that January day when he closed the doors for good at Golden Ponds. When News10NBC toured the restaurant, tables were still set, plates were stacked, and linens covered long tables were buffets were served.

“I left everything just the way it was, and it’s tough to just take things out,” said Rinaudo. “All the parties we had booked they just canceled because people were telling me that their friends or people don’t want to come here because they were afraid,” he admitted.

In fact, in the party room, tables are still set for a party that canceled eight months ago. Warmers await food for the buffet – an eerie reminder of the event that forced Rinaudo to close his doors. Asked if he felt guilty about the 260 people who the health department has determined were sickened at his restaurant he answered. “That’s what they said, ‘They got sick here.’ I can’t dispute that what they say.

But the patrons aren’t the only ones saying it. So are scientists at the Monroe County Department of Health who investigate the source of foodborne illness. They say at last year’s Thanksgiving buffet Golden Ponds served up turkey with a side dish of Clostridium perfringens – a dangerous bacteria that inspectors say was likely in gravy held at unsafe temperatures. Two hundred and sixty people suffered serious symptoms from bloody diarrhea to cramping resulting in hospitalizations for some.

“The most difficult case we had a woman who had her colon removed and is going to spend the rest of her life with a colostomy bag,” said Paul Nunes, an attorney for dozens of plaintiffs suing the restaurant.

In his lawsuits, Nunes points to the Monroe County Health Department’s inspection reports which lists mold on the floor of the walk-in refrigerator, heavily rusted shelving in that same refrigerator, a walk-in freezer that didn’t close tightly, mouse droppings, and a kitchen area that inspectors said was quote “in very poor sanitary condition.”

“If you’re sloppy in one thing, you’re sloppy in another thing,” said Nunes. “It’s a modus operandi. This is how they ran the restaurant.”

That’s an allegation Rinaudo denied during News10NBC’s tour of the now closed Golden Ponds. Everything is now for sale from the stove to the ovens still marked with the signs of heavy use. Asked if the auction would get him out of debt he said, “No, no, nothing. Selling this building wouldn’t get me out of debt.”