E. coli O91 in food and environmental samples

Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains of the O91:H21 serotype have caused severe infections, including hemolytic-uremic syndrome. Strains of the O91 serogroup have been isolated from food, animals, and the environment worldwide but are not well characterized. We used a microarray and other molecular assays to examine 49 serogroup O91 strains (environmental, food, and clinical strains) for their virulence potential and phylogenetic relationships.

Most of the isolates were identified to be strains of the O91:H21 and O91:H14 serotypes, with a few O91:H10 strains and one O91:H9 strain being identified. None of the strains had the eae gene, which codes for the intimin adherence protein, and many did not have some of the genetic markers that are common in other STEC strains. The genetic profiles of the strains within each serotype were similar but differed greatly between strains of different serotypes.

The genetic profiles of the O91:H21 strains that we tested were identical or nearly identical to those of the clinical O91:H21 strains that have caused severe diseases. Multilocus sequence typing and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat analyses showed that the O91:H21 strains clustered within the STEC 1 clonal group but the other O91 serotype strains were phylogenetically diverse.

IMPORTANCE This study showed that food and environmental O91:H21 strains have similar genotypic profiles and Shiga toxin subtypes and are phylogenetically related to the O91:H21 strains that have caused hemolytic-uremic syndrome, suggesting that these strains may also have the potential to cause severe illness.

Shiga toxin-producing serogroup O91 Escherichia coli strains isolated from food and environmental samples

7.july.2017

Applied and Environmental Microbiology

Feng et al.

http://aem.asm.org/content/83/18/e01231-17.abstract?etoc

 

Takedown of food co-ops in Ep. 3 was awesome: Ronny Chieng – International Student is my favourite new show

Ronny Chieng may be known to barfbloggers as the Malaysian correspondent on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and his shit is funny.

And the dude knows food.

Kylie Northover of Melbourne’s The Age writes when asked about places to dine in Melbourne (that’s in Australia), Chieng swiftly sent back a small list of his favourite places – and a link, no less, to his own restaurant website.

Less food blog than a comprehensive list of cafes, restaurants and bars, Chieng’s site, I’m OK with Anything, also features his bio, links to buy merchandise and his agent details, but it’s foremost a comprehensive “guide to eating, drinking and playing in Melbourne city”.

“This is right up my alley,” Chieng says when we meet at his first choice, Malaysian cafe Aunty Franklee, in the city. “I’m all about this.”

Chieng loves his food, and when he moved here from Singapore to study law and commerce, he was shocked at the lack of late-night food options. This only got worse when he started comedy. But he’s seen a shift, and says it’s usually the Asian places that have spearheaded later opening hours.

“That then forces other places to start doing it too,” Chieng says. “When you do comedy shows, you usually don’t finish until about 11pm, then you have this adrenaline dump and you get hungry. There’s Supper Club and a couple of places but it used to be you had to settle for one of those shitty Lygon Street places; it’s good they’re open but the food is usually awful. That’s why I started the list.”

Visiting comedians would ask for recommendations and he would send out an email.

“That evolved into the website; now I just send people the link.”

Ronny Chieng
Photo Credit: Comedy Central

His site covers brunch, lunch, dinner, late openings and bars, and while he doesn’t rate restaurants as such, he does differentiate between prices and “moods”, like “fancy but not super fancy”.

“Sometimes you feel like a $15 meal and sometimes you feel like a $30 one.”

Chieng is fussy about his Malaysian food, and Aunty Franklee, inside the Exford Hotel, serves the best char kwai teow, a hawker flat noodle dish, he’s had in Melbourne.

“It’s a dish that I judge all Malaysian restaurants by,” he says. “It’s hard to get this taste outside of Malaysia, and this is the best I’ve had.”

Chieng orders that and the Bak kut teh, a traditional pork rib dish cooked in a fragrant broth made with 23 herbs, for us to share.

Starters are not really a thing in Malaysian cuisine, he says.

“And there’s no rules – it’s very informal,” Chieng says. “You can even use your hands. In fact, I’m probably the best dressed person ever to walk in here.”

Born in Malaysia but raised mostly in Singapore, Chieng moved to Melbourne to study and in one of those almost unbelievable scenarios, decided to try out at an open mic night – despite never having harboured any desire to be a comedian – and found, with his deadpan delivery, he was an instant hit.

Was he always funny?

“I don’t think so,” he says, although that deadpan thing makes it hard to tell. “I gave it a try, just to confirm my suspicions, really.”

That was in 2009, in the final year of his studies – and when he couldn’t get a legal job, he chose comedy. By 2012, he’d won the best newcomer award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and was already touring the major comedy festivals.

And what does his Mum, who, as fans would know, often features in his material, make of his throwing away 10 years of study?

He says she’s “very happy” he got his degrees.

“She’s surprisingly OK – she never once mentioned anything about being part of my stand-up,” he says, again with a tone.

In late 2015, he was headhunted for US comedy news program The Daily Show after host Jon Stewart’s departure. His replacement, comic Trevor Noah, emailed Chieng out of the blue and asked him to come on board as a correspondent. Chieng was on tour at the time, and, as one would, accepted the gig right away.

He didn’t even have time to tell his parents before the news broke in the media.

“I moved straight from the UK to New York – I didn’t even come back to Australia.”

It has been “intense”. “Living in in New York is intense anyway but then with the Trump thing it became even more so,” he says.

On top of the long hours, for many months Chieng was co-writing his sitcom, International Student, via Skype, with Declan Fay in Australia.

“Not to mention I got married last September,” he says.

He married his Australian-Vietnamese fiancee at City Hall in New York, but he’s not getting out of it that easily, with two more “proper” weddings being planned.

“Mum was OK about it but we are getting married again in Melbourne and then again in Kuala Lumpur for my family,” he says. “The Asian wedding is coming!”

He also says no to a beer with lunch, but for less health-conscious reasons.

“The photos will turn out weird if I drink – I have one and my face goes red.”

Much like his character in International Student, one of six comedy pilots shown on ABC last year through its Comedy Showroom initiative, Chieng’s was the first to be made into a full series.

Based “loosely” on his experiences as a student at Melbourne University, it’s a comic look at student life when you’re straddling the cultural divides between locals and foreigners.

It is, Chieng says, an under-explored story.

“It’s all based on stuff that actually happened – I mean, nobody really broke a photocopier, but we had drinking games and I went out of my way to participate in one to get out of my comfort zone,” he says. ” I don’t think you can go through Melbourne Uni without doing a ‘boat race’, for example,” he says of the drinking game in the show’s pilot episode.

When Chieng arrived here, he knew only his sister.

“Usually the international students stick to themselves, but I wanted to make a point of making friends with other students, not just the international ones. I made friends with the locals.”

The series is co-produced by The Comedy Channel in the US, where it will also screen and Chieng reckons despite it being Australian, it will translate to America, where tales of college life are almost their own genre.

As for what lies ahead, Chieng has no definite plan.

“I come from the corporate world where everyone has a five-year plan, but performing arts doesn’t work that way; you just kinda do the best job you can with the gig you’ve got.”

International Student is on ABC, Wednesdays at 9pm, and on ABC iview (that’s the Australian one).

 

Teach children to spot spoiled food?

In the same way that dying cancer patients in the UK are being held responsible for telling their doctors to wash their damn hands, Malaysian schoolchildren are being told they are the critical-controlpoint for school meals.

Sharvin A. Subramaniam told The Star Online, “It is also important

roti canai, school lunch, kuala lumpur, malaysia

roti canai, school lunch, kuala lumpur, malaysia

for parents and teachers to learn and teach students on food safety, especially on how to spot spoiled food that may cause food poisoning. This includes using your senses (sight, smell and taste) to determine whether the food is still good to be eaten.

“We should avoid food that has a slimy appearance, foul smell or tastes stale. These simple steps are easy to practise and must be taught to students.”

And often entirely useless.

Going public (not) Australian style: Chef fined for eating on the job in Adelaide

We all do it — have a nibble here and there while preparing dinner — but a patron at a Glenelg eatery took exception to seeing the chef do it, landing the hungry cook a $2500 fine.

waynes-world-monkeys-might-fly-out1The customer first complained to the waitress.

When the chef continued to eat on the job, the unhappy customer contacted the local council to report the cook’s snacking.

The resulting $2500 penalty made the restaurant the only food outlet in Holdfast Bay to receive a fine in the last financial year.

Council wouldn’t reveal the name of the restaurant fined, saying the fine was punishment enough.

The details of the complainant are also being kept under wrap.

 

Poop into food: NASA is spending $200,000/yr for research

According to a press release on NASA’s website, eight faculty-led teams received about $200,000 per year for up to three years of research dealing with high priority needs for the future of space exploration. Among the proposed projects is Clemson University’s “Synthetic Biology for Recycling Human Waste into Food, Nutraceuticals, and Materials: Closing the Loop for Long-Term Space Travel.”

don.knotts.astronautNASA currently pays commercial space travel firms like SpaceX to bring supplies to astronauts at the International Space Station (ISS). But for trips farther into the solar system, astronauts will need huge amounts of food to sustain themselves for months or even years.

Astronauts will, therefore, have to produce their own food, and it appears human waste might be the key to eliminating shortages and possibly making a home out of Mars.

ISS astronauts made a major leap toward self-sustainability last May by successfully growing lettuce in space. If human waste can be made to taste nearly as good as that red romaine lettuce, Mars could merely be the starting point for a series of journeys into the deepest depths of space.

Cluster of two cases of botulism due to Clostridium baratii type F in France, November 2014

The first two cases in France of botulism due to Clostridium baratii type F were identified in November 2014, in the same family. Both cases required prolonged respiratory assistance.

Clostridium baratii type FOne of the cases had extremely high toxin serum levels and remained paralysed for two weeks. Investigations strongly supported the hypothesis of a common exposure during a family meal with high level contamination of the source. However, all analyses of leftover food remained negative.

Euro Surveill. 2015;20(6)

Castor C, Mazuet C, Saint-Leger M, Vygen S, Coutureau J, Durand M, Popoff MR, Jourdan Da Silva N.

http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=21031

US food industry groups say they’ll label GMOs on their terms

I told food-industry types back in the mid-1990s to figure out a way to label – which is short-form for provide information at retail — genetically engineered foods, or others would do it for you (all food is genetically modified so all food would be labeled using GMO language).

ben-cornThey told me I was crazy.

We went ahead and did it at a retail market in 2000, and most shoppers didn’t care; but big retailers wouldn’t touch it.

Now, the U.S. Grocery Manufacturers Association and other food industry groups are, according to NPR, announced Thursday that it supports labeling — sort of.

It’s a mish-mash proposal of nonsense that I won’t go into because it has nothing to do with food safety and, as usual, when private outfits – the ones that profit – can’t figure things out and show leadership, they ask for government help.

The Pinto defense – we meet government standards.

Truck crammed with 500 cats stopped en route to restaurants in China

Some 500 cats were discovered crammed into a truck during a routine check as it made its way to restaurants across China to sell the pets as meat.

The animals were rescued thanks to vehicle checks in Xuzhou, in the eastern province of Jiangsu.

Having pulled over the truck in what they assumed was a run of the mill stop, officers were shocked to find the horrific haul.

Officer Sun Hai, who helped rescue the terrified felines along with a colleague, said: ‘The driver said it was a full load of rabbit. 

‘But after we instructed him to uncover the load we were shocked to find a full load of living cats.’

Following the find the pair informed volunteers from a local animal protection centre who quickly arrived on the scene.

They cut open the bags with keys and knives to save the animals from suffocation and also bought water and food.

It is believed that the owner of the load refused to reveal where the cats had come from and it even took seven hours of negotiations to get him to hand them over to rescue teams.

The cats have now been transferred to an animal rescue centre at Tangzhang County, where they are being treated.

Syria approves law on GM food as deadly conflict rages

Another reason to ignore discussions of genetically-engineered food:

Bashar al-Assad of Syria, where more than 33,000 people have been killed in 19 months of conflict, issued a law on GM food Thursday to preserve human life, state-run SANA news agency reported.

Assad, whose forces are locked in a bloody confrontation with armed rebels opposed to his rule, “has approved a law on the health security of genetically modified organisms… to regulate their use and production,” SANA reported.

The law is meant “to preserve the health of human beings, animals, vegetables and the environment,” the agency added.