E. coli O26 triggers recall of cheese sold in Avoca, Ireland

A notice issued on the Food Safety Authority of Ireland’s website read: “Following detection of shiga toxin-producing Eschericia coli O26 in a raw milk cheese, the above batch of Camembert de Normandie cheese is being recalled by La Fromagerie du Plessis.

“A point-of-sale recall notice is displayed in Avoca stores which sold the affected batch advising customers not to eat this batch.”

The affected product is the Camembert de Normandie au lait cru, 250g with approval number FR 14 608 001 CE.

The batch code is 260218DS0 with a use-by date of May 2, 2018.

Inquest told Irish woman died due to Salmonella after Communion function

On May 18, 2017, the first cases of food poisoning were reported to health types in Dublin and soon linked to a northern Dublin food business that had supplied food to numerous family parties the weekend of May 13 and 14, 2017.

25/05/17 Members of the ‘Sloggers to Joggers’ fitness group jog behind the hearse pictured after the funeral of Sandra O’Brien St. Finian’s Church, River Valley, Swords this morning. Sandra Murphy O’Brien, in her 50s, died after she became ill after a Communion celebration at a north Dublin pub….Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

“A Closure Order was served on the food business on Friday 19th May.”

The statement came a week after Sandra O’Brien, who was in her 50s, died from suspected food poisoning at a First Communion party.

The statement continues: “The HSE is aware of more than 50 people (including 4 children) ill from a number of separate groups of family parties supplied by a North Dublin food business on Saturday 13th May and Sunday 14th May.

“To date five people were admitted to hospital and 16 of those ill have been confirmed as Salmonella.”

Now, an inquest has heard the woman died from Salmonella.

Investigations by two separate authorities are ongoing into the salmonella outbreak, the inquest heard.

The Health Service Executive’s Environmental Health Office and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland are preparing files on the incident.

Reports will be filed by both authorities to the Director of Public Prosecution once investigations are complete.

The catering company, Flanreil Food Services, who provided the food served on the day of the First Communion function was represented at the inquest by solicitor Elaine Byrne.

Inspector Oliver Woods applied for a six-month adjournment of the inquest to allow for investigations to continue and the coroner adjourned the inquest until 8 November, 2018.

Rats, Ireland and babies

A crèche in Co Louth has been ordered to close after food safety inspectors discovered a rodent infestation in a pre-school room, baby room and nappy changing area.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has reported that six closure orders and one prohibition order were served on food businesses during the month of March for breaches of food safety legislation.

Among them was Aladdins’ Cave Montessori School and Crèche, Stoney Lane, Ardee, Co Louth. Also in Co Louth, a closure orders were served on Panda House, a take away at 43 Barrack Street in Dundalk.

Hab Foods, trading as Haji Baba, a wholesaler, was ordered to close a black container unit adjacent to its main building in the Cherry Orchard Industrial Estate, Ballyfermot, Dublin 10.

It was also served with a prohibition order and ordered to withdraw all minced lamb, diced beef, diced lamb and diced skinned chicken being supplied from the premises.

FSAI chief executive Dr Pamela Byrne said food business operators in Ireland “should fully understand that it is their legal responsibility to ensure they are maintaining a high standard of food safety throughout their food business. … Non-compliance by food businesses will not be tolerated and all breaches of food safety legislation will be dealt with to the full extent of the law.”

‘Pond of poo’ found in Irish kitchen

Ruairi Byrne of Buzz writes the owner of an Indian takeaway in Donegal has issued an apology to customers after a ‘pond of poo’ was discovered in the restaurant’s kitchen.

Saffron in Creeslough was served a closure order on October 19 by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland following an inspection which found “human excrement overflowing and ponding in an area beside the shed in which the potato peeler was located due to an overflowing manhole”.

“As staff had to stand outside while using this food equipment, they would be standing in the excrement, thereby carrying it into the food premises on their shoes,” the closure order stated.

Dead flies were also found “floating in oil used to baste pizza dough”, according to the closure.

“I would like to say sorry,” Mr Kumar told Independent.ie. “When this happened, me and the manager were out of the country for a few weeks. First of all I was told about that human waste issue.

“By chance, that day, the drain got blocked and it was our bad luck. Now we have sorted this. We stopped making chips there and now we get prepacked chips.

Mr Kumar continued: “We have fulfilled all the requirements of the FSAI now. Last week and this week a health inspector was here. They are now satisfied. I again apologise for what happened and I would like to make sure that it will never happen again.”

Poop and food don’t mix: Irish edition

Niamh Towey of The Irish Times writes that an Indian restaurant in Co Donegal was served a food closure order last month after a pond of human excrement was found in an area where staff were preparing food.

An overflowing manhole had resulted in the pond of human excrement gathering beside a shed where the potato peeler was stored at Saffron restaurant and takeaway in Creeslough.

A report from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland said “human excrement was overflowing and ponding in an area beside the shed in which the potato peeler was located due to an overflowing manhole”.

It goes on to say staff “would be standing in the excrement” while using the potato peeler and thereby “carrying it into the food premises on their shoes”.

The report also found “dirt, mould and encrusted food” on windows, in sinks and on floors and doors throughout the premesis, while “food storage containers in the fridge were covered with black mould”.

Cigarette butt in chips and rats spotted on premises among FSAI findings

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) report for 2016 reveals that they handled over 10,000 queries in 2016, as well as outlining some of the more gruesome finds made by their inspectors.

The report outlines the wide scope of the Authority, who now supervise almost 50,000 food businesses (49,404 to be exact) and their Advice Line took 10,497 queries from consumers, manufacturers and retailers in 2016.

According to the report, contamination of food with foreign objects was frequently reported to them by consumers.

Last year these reports included:

  • allegations of food contaminated with insects and glass,
  • a live insect found in a packaged dessert
  • a long black hair in garlic sauce
  • a human nail in a takeaway meal
  • glass in a dessert
  • plastic rope in a takeaway meal
  • a cigarette butt in a bag of chips.

Other complaints regarding poor hygiene standards included:

  • dirty customer toilets
  • rats seen on the premises
  • dirty tables and floors
  • and one case of a staff member at a deli sneezing into their hands and then preparing sandwiches without washing their hands.

All complaints received were followed up and investigated.

In total, 106 Enforcement Orders were served on food businesses last year by the Authority.

That broke down to 94 Closure Orders, three Improvement orders and nine Prohibition Orders.

The annual report also reveals the FSAI sampled and tested 56,588 samples, while 2,625 food supplements were assessed.

And the highest number of food alerts were issued in a decade, 39 in total.

These alerts resulted in product recalls or withdrawals.

50 sick in North Dublin Salmonella outbreak

Lloyd Mudiwa of the Irish Medical Times reports a large outbreak of foodborne salmonellosis involving more than 50 cases of infection in North Dublin is being investigated by public health specialists, IMT reports.

The HSE was initially notified on May 18 of an outbreak of salmonellosis associated with consumption of food at a family party in Dublin some five days earlier. Foods had been provided by a food business in North Dublin. Over the weekend of May 13 and 14 the business had supplied food to multiple off-site parties in addition to on-site dining. The investigation identified illness among attendees at additional off-site parties.

An Outbreak Control Team was convened and chaired by the Department of Public Health (East) with representation from Environmental Health Service ((EHS) Dublin Specialist (Communicable Disease Unit) and Dublin, Fingal), the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), Public Health Laboratory, and the National Salmonella Shigella and Listeria Reference Laboratory.

A closure order was served on the food business on May 19 by the HSE EHS under Section 53 of the FSAI Act 1998. Alerts were issued to GPs and hospital emergency departments by the Department of Public Health (East).

“To date more than 50 cases of illness have been identified and 24 persons have tested positive for salmonella. Six people have been admitted to hospital.

Use a thermometer Ireland pt, deux: Growing trend for eating rare burgers could hide deadly bacteria

Gavin White of the Independent follows up on the warning from safefood Ireland that there is “no way of knowing” if rare burger meat is safe.

A leading food safety expert said he was “very surprised” restaurants were offering undercooked burgers and putting their customers at risk.

Professor Martin Cormican, from the school of Medicine in NUI Galway, said small children and pregnant women were at an even higher risk of becoming ill.

“Restaurants need to understand that not every customer is the same and some are at more risk than others. There are liability issues,” Prof Cormican said.

He said that every burger had the potential to have the deadly bacteria, Vtec, which could cause severe illness.

“Although steak can have its bacteria killed on the outside, mince has the potential for the bacteria to end up in the middle where if not cooked properly, has the potential to make you seriously ill,” he said.

Safefood Ireland has launched its Burger Fever campaign as it was revealed 96pc of Irish people consider themselves well informed about food safety, yet 51pc are eating undercooked burgers.

A batch of French mince was recalled last week from French supermarkets over worries for the presence of Vtec, and Prof Cormican said it could easily happen in Ireland.

“Don’t take the risk, and especially if you’re taking medicine for illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis which severely impacts your immune system,” Prof Cormican said.

Dr Linda Gordon, chief specialist in food science at Safefood, said around 2pc of all mince had Vtec in it so the risk was always there for the “growing trend” of burger lovers.

Assessment of risk communication about undercooked hamburgers by restaurant servers

Ellen M. Thomas, RTI International; Andrew Binder, Anne McLaughlin, Lee-Ann Jaykus, Dana Hanson, and Benjamin Chapman, North Carolina State University; and Doug Powell, barfblog.com

Journal of Food Protection

DOI: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-16-065

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration 2013 Model Food Code, it is the duty of a food establishment to disclose and remind consumers of risk when ordering undercooked food such as ground beef. The purpose of this study was to explore actual risk communication activities of food establishment servers. Secret shoppers visited restaurants (n=265) in seven geographic locations across the U.S., ordered medium rare burgers, and collected and coded risk information from chain and independent restaurant menus and from server responses. The majority of servers reported an unreliable method of doneness (77%) or other incorrect information (66%) related to burger doneness and safety. These results indicate major gaps in server knowledge and risk communication, and the current risk communication language in the Model Food Code does not sufficiently fill these gaps. Furthermore, should servers even be acting as risk communicators? There are numerous challenges associated with this practice including high turnover rates, limited education, and the high stress environment based on pleasing a customer. If it is determined that servers should be risk communicators, food establishment staff should be adequately equipped with consumer advisory messages that are accurate, audience-appropriate, and delivered in a professional manner so as to help their customers make more informed food safety decisions.

 

Use a fucking thermometer: Ireland says eating undercooked burgers ‘like driving without a seatbelt’

Diners who enjoy a juicy burger have been warned that eating them pink in the middle is “like driving without wearing a seatbelt”.

Fiachradh McDermott of The Irish Times reports that safefood began its new campaign, “Burger Fever”, on Thursday to inform people that eating undercooked burgers could lead to serious or sometimes life-threatening food poisoning.

What she didn’t report is that color is a terrible indicator of safety, and that needle-or-blade-tenderized steaks carry the same risk as mince, so this science-based agency is publishing fairy tales.

But I’ll let the bureaucrats speak for themselves and you judge.

The body advised people to always ask for burgers to be well-cooked in restaurants.

In an online survey conducted by safefood, 96 per cent of people considered themselves well-informed about food safety. However, 51 per cent admitted to eating undercooked burgers.

Two thirds of respondents said they would reconsider their choice if they knew there was a possibility of food poisoning.

Undercooked burgers carry the risk of E. coli, which can have long-term effects. The biggest worry is a type called VTEC, which causes severe diarrhoea.

Dr Linda Gordon, chief specialist in food science at safefood, said it can result in “frequent serious complications.” VTEC can affect the blood and kidneys, and is most serious in older people and children under five. However, it only takes as little as ten E. coli cells to make a person sick, she said.

Dr Gordon said the campaign is intended as a preventative measure, but “emphasising the difference between a burger and a steak” is an important aspect.

According to Dr Gary Kearney, director of food science at safefood, “Mince used in hamburgers is a higher risk as the food poisoning bacteria that live on the surface of the beef (steak) is then mixed through the middle of the burger when the beef is minced – so in effect, the outside is now on the inside.”

Dr Martin Cormican, Professor of Bacteriology at National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), emphasised the possibility and danger of contracting VTEC from undercooked meat.

“Eating burgers that are pink in the middle is a bit like driving without a seatbelt; you might get away with it for years but if something goes wrong and you are harmed, will you still think it was worth it?”

No mention of thermometer, cooking temps and hold times, just plain pandering.

Use a fucking thermometer and stick it in.

Assessment of risk communication about undercooked hamburgers by restaurant servers

E. Thomas, E,M,, Binder, A., McLaughlin, A., Jaykus, L., Hanson, D, Powell, D.A., Chapman, B. 2016.

Journal of Food Protection Vol. 79, No. 12, pp. 2113-2118

http://www.jfoodprotection.org/doi/abs/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-16-065?code=fopr-site

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration 2013 Model Food Code, it is the duty of a food establishment to disclose and remind consumers of risk when ordering undercooked food such as ground beef.

The purpose of this study was to explore actual risk communication activities of food establishment servers. Secret shoppers visited restaurants (n=265) in seven geographic locations across the U.S., ordered medium rare burgers, and collected and coded risk information from chain and independent restaurant menus and from server responses.

The majority of servers reported an unreliable method of doneness (77%) or other incorrect information (66%) related to burger doneness and safety. These results indicate major gaps in server knowledge and risk communication, and the current risk communication language in the Model Food Code does not sufficiently fill these gaps. Furthermore, should servers even be acting as risk communicators? There are numerous challenges associated with this practice including high turnover rates, limited education, and the high stress environment based on pleasing a customer. If it is determined that servers should be risk communicators, food establishment staff should be adequately equipped with consumer advisory messages that are accurate, audience-appropriate, and delivered in a professional manner so as to help their customers make more informed food safety decisions.

Ireland has ‘way too much iodine in milk’

This is a proactive approach to something us westerners don’t think about any more: the use of food supplements to ward off chronic disease.

Teagasc’s Dr. David Gleeson says the Irish dairy industry has lost markets in the EU due to the excessive levels of iodine in milk, adding, “We have way too much iodine in our milk.”

“A number of years ago when we had a deficiency of iodine, around 30 to 40 years ago, it was suggested that we should have higher levels of iodine [in our feedstuffs],” Gleeson said when explaining how the current issue developed.

And now, he said, there is too much iodine going into cows’ diets.

“About 12mg of iodine per cow per day is a safe bet. It’s 5mg per cow per day in other countries.

“We’re putting in 120mg in a lot of situations. Some of our feeds could contain 30mg/kg of iodine and farmers could be feeding 4kg of that. That’s 120mg per cow per day,” Gleeson said.

He also mentioned how some supplementary magnesium products contain added iodine and can result in iodine intakes of up to 90mg per cow per day.

Nutrition Australia says iodine is an essential trace element and an integral component of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones are required for normal growth and development of tissues and maturation of our bodies. Iodine deficiency is the most common preventable cause of mental retardation in the world; obtaining iodine through the food supply is therefore paramount. Iodine deficiency has re-emerged in Australia with the introduction of new practices of sanitization in the dairy industry and a decline in use and consumption of iodised salt.