Oysters contaminated with viral norovirus RNA in France

Following calls from RASFF and the Ministry of Health, the Dicastery once again issued a warning to recall the concealed oysters (Crassostrea gigas) bred in France contaminated by the Norovirus Genogroup GI marketed under the GISA brand SRL. The warning came from France, the country of origin of the molluscs, and came to Italy via the Rasff system, which sees the risk as serious.

 The new reference concerns many oysters, GTO 4024, packed by GISA SRL in the Anzio (RM) plant via Colle Cocchino 1 3 / A, in 3 kg boxes. The most aggressive virus under attack is Norovirus. Pathogen for which there is currently no vaccine.

My super-smart partner and I meet: Prion disease in Algerian camels

Amy says I shouldn’t cut-and-paste so much and that I’m better when I just write my own stuff.

Howard Stern’s wife said that to him, at least according to the movie version in Private Parts, 1997, but I counter with I only cut-and-paste the really interesting stuff.

Algeria, French and prions, we’re in a zone.

Everyone else is recall.net, where the copy is provided by 100K-a-year hacks who write and vomit press releases.

Journalism used to be a viable activity.

No worries, story-telling about the Tom-Wolfe-styled-vanities of the food safety privileged retain currency. And those stories are what I have been working on,

I’ll go with a Paul Giamatti,-style, who I am enjoying in Billions and was great in John Adams, Cinderella Man, American Splendor, and so on.

Everyone needs a Paul.

Or an Amy.

Her accomplishments over the seven years since we moved to Australia, including caretaking me and Sorenne, have been extraordinary.

Much love.

Prion disease in Dromedary camels, Algeria

6 June 2018

Emerging Infectious Diseases Vol 24, no 6

Baaissa Babelhadj, Michele Angelo Di Bari, Laura Pirisinu, Barbara Chiappini, Semir Bechir Suheil Gaouar, Geraldina Riccardi, Stefano Marcon, Umberto Agrimi, Romolo Nonno, and Gabriele Vaccari

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/24/6/17-2007_article

Prions cause fatal and transmissible neurodegenerative diseases, including Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans, scrapie in small ruminants, and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

After the BSE epidemic, and the associated human infections, began in 1996 in the United Kingdom, general concerns have been raised about animal prions.

We detected a prion disease in dromedary camels (Camelus dromedarius) in Algeria. Symptoms suggesting prion disease occurred in 3.1% of dromedaries brought for slaughter to Ouargla abattoir in 2015–2016. We confirmed diagnosis by detecting pathognomonic neurodegeneration and disease-specific prion protein (PrPSc) in brain tissues from 3 symptomatic animals.

Prion detection in lymphoid tissues is suggestive of the infectious nature of the disease. PrPSc biochemical characterization showed differences with BSE and scrapie.

Our identification of this prion disease in a geographically widespread livestock species requires urgent enforcement of surveillance and assessment of the potential risks to human and animal health.

 

 

Going public, Salmonella-in-French-cheese-style: Morbier and Mont d’Or cheese behind 10 deaths in France, 2015-16

In a country where reporting foodborne illness is deemed unpatriotic an investigation by France Inter radio revealed that at least 10 people died in the Franche-Comté region in the east of France linked to two cheeses made from unpasteurized milk  in late 2015 and early 2016.

The investigation produced a document which showed that in January 2016 national health authorities had discovered an unusually high number of salmonella contaminations in France that was centred on Franche-Comté.

Five cheese making companies in the region, between them making 60 different brands, were later identified as being at the source of the contaminations that began in November 2015 and continued until April the following year.

In a way that is truly French in its description, those who died in the outbreak were old people who were physically weak or who suffered from another illness.

Jean-Yves Mano, the president of the CLCV consumer association, said he was surprised that a product recall had not been ordered of products that might have been infected with salmonella.

“We do not understand why a general alert was not issued by state officials, or at least information given on what precautions to take,” he told France Inter.

The state food agency, the Direction générale de l’alimentation (DGAL), said there were two reasons why a recall was not ordered.

The first was that it would have allegedly been very difficult to identify which exact brand of the cheeses were contaminated because there were a total of 60 that were produced in the cheese-making firms where the outbreak originated.

The second was that by the time the authorities found out where the outbreak had come from, the contaminated cheeses had already been consumed and the new batches in the cheesemakers’ premises were not infected.

“It is perhaps due to these two factors that this contamination was not in the media, even though all the data was public nothing was hidden,” said Fany Molin of the DGAL food agency.

That’s French-bureau-speak.

Go public: Further illnesses may be prevented; others learn; citizens may not come with torches demanding change; and it’s the right thing to do.

Going public: Early disclosure of food risks for the benefit of public health

Mar.17

NEHA, Volume 79.7, Pages 8-14

Benjamin Chapman, Maria Sol Erdozaim, Douglas Powell

http://www.neha.org/node/58904

Often during an outbreak of foodborne illness, there are health officials who have data indicating that there is a risk prior to notifying the public. During the lag period between the first public health signal and some release of public information, there are decision makers who are weighing evidence with the impacts of going public. Multiple agencies and analysts have lamented that there is not a common playbook or decision tree for how public health agencies determine what information to release and when. Regularly, health authorities suggest that how and when public information is released is evaluated on a case-by-case basis without sharing the steps and criteria used to make decisions. Information provision on its own is not enough. Risk communication, to be effective and grounded in behavior theory, should provide control measure options for risk management decisions. There is no indication in the literature that consumers benefit from paternalistic protection decisions to guard against information overload. A review of the risk communication literature related to outbreaks, as well as case studies of actual incidents, are explored and a blueprint for health authorities to follow is provided.

Washed rind cheeses from France recalled in Australia

The NSW Food Authority advises Washed Rind Pty Ltd has recalled a variety of cheeses made in France from IGA and Supa IGA in NSW, independent retailers in QLD and ACT, Foodworks and independent retailers in VIC, Foodlands IGA and independent retailers in SA and IGA, Supa IGA and independent retailers in WA due to potential Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Product details:

Saint Simeon 200g, Plastic container, Best before 08-04-201

Brie de Nangis 1kg, Wrapped in cheesepaper/plastic and set in ½ wooden box, Best before 08-04-2018

Le Vignelait Brillat Savarin 500g, Plastic container, Best before 8-04-2018

Coulommiers Truffe 800g, Wrapped in cheesepaper/plastic and set in ½ wooden box, Best before 08-04-2018 and 22-04-2018

Le Coulommiers 500g, Wrapped in cheesepaper/plastic and set in ½ wooden box, Best before 08-04-2018 and 22-04-2018

Brie de Brie Pasteurise 2.8kg, Wrapped in cheesepaper/plastic and set in ½ wooden box, Best before 08-04-2018 and 22-04-2018

Hepatitis A surveillance in France, 2006-2015

(Many thanks to our correspondent in France for sending this along).
Hepatitis A surveillance has been carried out by mandatory reporting (DO) since November 2005, with the objective of detecting clustered cases in order to quickly take control measures, and estimating reporting incidence rates. The results of the analysis of cases reported during the first ten years of surveillance (2006-2015) are presented.

Methods

One case (positive anti-HAV IgM) must be notified to the Regional Health Agency using an OD card. This sheet gathers sociodemographic and clinical information as well as risky exposures (in particular cases in the entourage, stay outside the metropolis, consumption of seafood).

Results

For the period 2006-2015, 11,158 cases of hepatitis A were notified, giving an average incidence rate of 1.7 / 100,000. A downward trend in this rate has been observed since 2010. The average incidence rate of reporting in men was 1.9 / 100,000 and, in women, 1.4 / 100,000, with a downward trend for both sexes. The main exposures at risk were the presence of cases in the entourage (46%) and a stay outside metropolitan France (38%). Thirty-two percent of cases belonged to an identified episode of clustered cases. Each year, the share of grouped cases was relatively stable, ranging between 28 and 37%.

Conclusion

The annual rate of notification incidence has gradually decreased since 2010, reaching in 2015 that of a country of low endemicity for hepatitis A (1.1 / 100,000). The highest incidence of reporting was found in the under-15 age group, which is the most affected by fecal-oral transmission of the virus, favored in families and communities of children. The data collected by the OD and by the investigations of grouped episodes made it possible, in 2009, to develop vaccine recommendations in the family circle of a patient with hepatitis A and in living communities in situation precarious hygiene.

First ten years of surveillance of hepatitis A through mandatory reporting, France, 2006-2015

BEH

Elisabeth Couturier 1, Lina Mouna 2 , Marie-José Letort 1 , Dieter Van Cauteren 1 , Anne-Marie Roque-Afonso 2 , Henriette De Valk 

http://invs.santepubliquefrance.fr/beh/2018/5/2018_5_1.html

Botulism in France, 2013-2016

Human botulism is a rare but severe neurological disease which is submitted to the French Public Health. The biological diagnosis is performed by the National Reference Center of Anaerobic Bacteria and Botulism (CNR), Institut Pasteur, Paris.

This study carries the status of human botulism in France During the 2013-2016 period based on the epidemiological data of Public Health France and the biological investigation of CNR. episodes

Thirty-nine of confirmed botulism and 3 suspected episodes involving 68 and 4 persons, respectively were Identified: 6 Type A episodes (10 cases), 26 type B episodes (47 boxes), type 2 F episodes (5 cases), and 5 undetermined type episodes (6 boxes). The source of botulism was foodborne in 36 outbreaks (66 cases) and 6 cases were infant botulism. All type A and F botulism cases were severe forms

The incriminated food was identified in 15 of the 36 episodes of foodborne botulism. Homemade preparations of pork meat, especially raw ham, were responsible for 13 type B episodes, including 3 due to imported meat. Homemade pork meat was suspected in 12 other outbreaks. Other included pheasant pie and home canned asparagus. One of the two type F episodes was caused by industrial ground meat contaminated with Clostridium baratii F7 . No food has been identified in infant botulism and environmental contamination has been suspected in three cases. Penicillin and metronidazole resistant C. botulinum A2 strain was isolated from an infant botulism case with relapses.

Human botulism is rare in France. However, botulism surveillance is required for early identification of emerging novel botulinum toxin types, such as in the two C. baratii type F outbreaks in 2014 and 2015. Botulism surveillance also helps addressing recommendations to industrialists and consumers regarding hygiene and food preservation practices. Finally, this surveillance allows to quickly identify contaminated food in order to withdraw it from the market or from family’s homes.

Human botulism in France, 2013-2016

BEH

Christelle Mazuet 1 , Nathalie Jourdan-Da Silva 2 , Christine Legeay 1 , Jean Sautereau 1 , Michel R. Popoff 1

http://invs.santepubliquefrance.fr/beh/2018/3/2018_3_1.html

No hiding from DNA: Lactalis Salmonella contamination ‘may go back a decade’

Expatica reports researchers raised fears Thursday that salmonella-tainted milk produced by French dairy giant Lactalis, which sickened dozens of babies, could have infected others over more than a decade.

Lactalis has been engulfed in scandal since December when authorities ordered a massive international recall of the baby milk which made at least 38 babies ill in France and Spain.

The Pasteur research institute said Thursday that the exact same strain of salmonella sickened at least 25 others between 2006 and 2016 — and that the same Lactalis factory in northwest France was the likely origin.

Lactalis has been the target of heavy criticism after it emerged that the company’s own tests found salmonella at the factory in Craon, but it did not sound the alarm because it had not detected the bacteria in the milk itself.

That raised fears that contaminations may have occurred well before last year’s discovery but gone undetected, with critics pointing to an outbreak at the same production site that sickened 146 children in 2005 — before it was bought by Lactalis a year later.

“First we confirmed that the same type of Salmonella agona was behind the two outbreaks, in 2005 and 2017,” Pasteur Institute director Francois-Xavier Weill told AFP.

“So we asked ourselves where the strain could have been during the 12 years in between” those two scares, he said.

“The only possible hypothesis is that it remained at the factory in question.”

Although the institute could not definitively determine whether the sickened babies drank Lactalis milk, “the DNA evidence is very clear, and it points to this factory,” Weill said.

Lactalis CEO Emmanuel Besnier confirmed Thursday that tests between the two outbreaks had found the same salmonella at the factory, though not in the milk.

“We can’t exclude the possibility that some babies drank contaminated milk during this period,” he admitted.

The bacteria was found in a dehydration tower used to reduce milk, which Lactalis now plans to shut down for good, Besnier told newspaper Les Echos.

The company is facing several lawsuits over the outbreak, and police raided the group’s headquarters in Laval, western France, earlier this month.

It recalled 12 million packages of the affected baby milk, under brands including Picot, Milumel and Celia, across 83 countries.

Several retailers later admitted that they had continued to sell the products even after the recall was announced.

Investigators have opened a preliminary inquiry for suspected fraud as well as endangering health by failing to properly execute the recall.

Modeling foodborne illness effects in France, 2008-2013

Many thanks to our French correspondent who forwarded this abstract on the latest foodborne illness data from France.

To assess the impact of foodborne infections on human health and to set priorities for surveillance, prevention and control strategies, estimates of food-related morbidity and mortality are necessary. The objective of the present study was to produce the annual number of symptomatic cases, hospitalized cases and deceased cases for 21 foodborne pathogen agents (10 bacteria, 3 viruses, 8 parasites) in metropolitan France for the 2008-2013 period.

Our findings reveal that morbidity and mortality attributed to infectious foodborne diseases remain high in France, representing 1.28-2.23 million illnesses, 15,800-21,200 hospitalizations, and 232-358 deaths. Campylobacter spp., non-typhoidal Salmonella spp. and norovirus infections accounted for the majority of all food-related illnesses and hospitalizations in France. Non-typhoidal Salmonella spp. and Listeria monocytogenes accounted for half of the burden of food-related deaths.

The knowledge of the absolute and relative burden of food-borne infections is useful for all stakeholders (public authorities and operators) involved in the field of food safety.

Estimates of food-related morbidity and mortality in metropolitan France, 2008-2013

Bulletin epidemiologique hebdomadaire

Dieter Van Cauteren, Yann Le Strat, Cecile Sommen, Mathias Bruyand, Mathieu Tourdjman, Nathalie Jourdan-Da Silva, Elisaveth Couturier, Nelly Fournet, Henriette De Valk, Jean-Claude Desenclos

http://invs.santepubliquefrance.fr/beh/2018/1/2018_1_1.html

36 sick: Lactalis offers salmonella compensation, French government says probe continues

We’re in New Caledonia for Amy to do some French professoring stuff, with the Calgary-Carolina hockey game on in the background on a sports channel from France.

I went for a walk along the ocean this morning, sans Ted, which is the extent of my French.

While I’m surrounded by the beauty of this Pacific island, the Lactalis mess in France continues a downslide into parody (except for the sick kids and their families).

According to Reuters, France welcomed dairy group Lactalis’ pledge to compensate victims of a Salmonella contamination in its baby milk on Sunday, but said a judicial investigation to determine who was responsible would continue.

Lactalis Chief Executive Emmanuel Besnier told the weekly Journal du Dimanche his family company, one of the world’s biggest dairies, would “pay damages to every family which has suffered a prejudice.”

Is prejudice French for barfing?

Salmonella infections can be life-threatening and the families of three dozen children who have fallen sick in France as a result of the contaminated baby milk have announced a raft of lawsuits.

Besnier’s promise came two days after Lactalis widened a product recall to cover all infant formula made at its Craon plan, regardless of the manufacture date, in a bid to contain the fallout from a health scare that risks damaging France’s strategic agribusiness in overseas markets.

“Paying compensation is good, but money cannot buy everything,” government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said in an interview on BFM TV.

The health scare intensified last week after France’s biggest retailers including Carrefour, Auchan and Leclerc admitted products recalled in December had still found their way onto shelves.

“It is the job of the investigation to determine where failings occurred and who is to blame,” Griveaux said, adding that “responsibilities were shared.”

Implementing the global recall will be challenging. Privately owned Lactalis, one of the world’s biggest dairies, exports its baby food products to 83 countries across Europe, Africa and Asia.

The recall involves some 12 million tins of baby milk.

“It’s not easy to evaluate the number of items that need to be returned because we don’t know what’s been consumed already,” Besnier said in a rare newspaper interview published on Sunday.

Friday’s recall was the third in a month and Lactalis has come under fire for its clumsy response. Besnier also told the French weekly that the company had acted as quickly and efficiently as possible and denied slowing the process to curb losses.

Besnier has also been criticized for failing to speak out publicly during the salmonella scare.

While his family are France’s 11th wealthiest, according to a 2017 ranking by Challenges magazine, the dairy tycoon has long shunned the public limelight and schmoozing with politicians.

His workers nickname him the “invisible man.”

“We’re a discreet business. In this region there is a mentality of ‘work first, speak later,” he said. But he acknowledged lessons had been learned during the past few weeks.

Lactalis has become an industry giant, with annual sales of 17 billion euros ($20.73 billion) and 18,900 employees across some 40 countries.


 

Audits and inspections are never enough: French inspectors missed Salmonella at baby milk plant

French food safety inspectors failed to detect salmonella contamination at a plant belonging to dairy giant Lactalis, three months before the company carried out a major recall of baby milk, a report said Wednesday.

Lactalis, one of the world’s largest producers of dairy products, discovered the bacteria at its factory in Craon, northwest France, during tests in August and November.

It did not however report the find to the authorities.

Officials from the food safety department carried out a routine inspection of the site in September and gave it a clean bill of health, the Canard Enchaine investigative weekly reported.

It was only three months later, after around 30 infants being fed Lactalis powdered milk fell sick, that the health ministry sounded the alarm.

Officials from the national anti-fraud bureau swooped on the site on December 2 and found the assembly line where liquid milk is transformed into formula to be contaminated.

Lactalis issued two major recalls covering all production from the site from February 15, blaming the contamination on renovation work.

The plant has been at a standstill since December 8.

Lactalis is under investigation over the affair.

It could face charges of causing involuntary injuries and endangering the lives of others.

Market food safety at retail so consumers can choose.

Audits and inspections are never enough: A critique to enhance food safety

30.aug.12

Food Control

D.A. Powell, S. Erdozain, C. Dodd, R. Costa, K. Morley, B.J. Chapman

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956713512004409?v=s5

Internal and external food safety audits are conducted to assess the safety and quality of food including on-farm production, manufacturing practices, sanitation, and hygiene. Some auditors are direct stakeholders that are employed by food establishments to conduct internal audits, while other auditors may represent the interests of a second-party purchaser or a third-party auditing agency. Some buyers conduct their own audits or additional testing, while some buyers trust the results of third-party audits or inspections. Third-party auditors, however, use various food safety audit standards and most do not have a vested interest in the products being sold. Audits are conducted under a proprietary standard, while food safety inspections are generally conducted within a legal framework. There have been many foodborne illness outbreaks linked to food processors that have passed third-party audits and inspections, raising questions about the utility of both. Supporters argue third-party audits are a way to ensure food safety in an era of dwindling economic resources. Critics contend that while external audits and inspections can be a valuable tool to help ensure safe food, such activities represent only a snapshot in time. This paper identifies limitations of food safety inspections and audits and provides recommendations for strengthening the system, based on developing a strong food safety culture, including risk-based verification steps, throughout the food safety system.