Nearly 700 NYC restaurant-goers found something gross in their food last year

Yoav Gonen of the New York Post reports restaurant customers have called in a record number of complaints to the city’s 311 hot line for the second year in a row.

mr-creosote-monty-pythonRecords show there were 10,373 complaints to the municipal call center in the most recent fiscal year, which ended June 30 — up from 8,653 the year before.

The top complaints were the discovery of rodents, insects or garbage inside an eatery — with 2,832 such calls, up from 2,213.

New York diners also complained of spoiled food (997), concerns about a restaurant’s letter grade (804) — such as no grade being posted — and bare hands coming in touch with their food (775).

An additional 676 grubsters said they found a foreign object — usually a piece of hair or plastic — in their meal, an 18 percent increase.

The surge came even as the city rated 92.7 percent of the city’s 24,000-plus eateries with a grade of “A” in fiscal 2016, according to the Mayor’s Management Report.

That was close to the 93 percent that got the top grade in fiscal 2015.

Health Department officials didn’t provide data requested by The Post for the number of violations issued to restaurants last year, making it impossible to know whether the complaints spurred a higher number of summonses.

Hawthorne Effect hinders accurate hand hygiene observation, study says

Yeah, we used to have students loitering around bathrooms, but figured out fairly quick that didn’t work.

So we would train co-workers to be the spies of shit (on people’s hands).

Guess others have figured that out too.

handwashing.loadsAlthough there is a cultural factor. Amy don’t care much if I fart in Kansas or Australia, but in France, that’s a no-no, and I must button my shirt up appropriately and take showers so I don’t look like a homeless person, even though snotty French types would walk over children to get to wherever they were going that was so important.

To them, I fart in your general direction.

When healthcare providers know they are being watched, they are twice as likely to comply with hand hygiene guidelines. This is in comparison to when healthcare providers do not know someone is watching, according to a new study being presented at the 43rd Annual Conference of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC). This phenomenon—called The Hawthorne Effect—impacts the ability to capture accurate human behavior because individuals modify their actions when they know they are being observed.

The infection prevention department at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, California measured the differences in hand hygiene compliance rates when healthcare workers recognized the observers and when they did not. The study found a difference of more than 30 percent in hand hygiene compliance depending on whether or not they recognized the auditors. “This was not a result that we expected to see,” said Nancy Johnson, MSN, CIC, infection prevention manager, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. Infection preventionists validated the audits conducted by hospital volunteers, which showed no difference in the group’s observations.

“The level of hand hygiene compliance when staff did not know they were being watched was surprising,” said Maricris Niles, MA, infection prevention analyst, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, California. “This study demonstrated to us that hand hygiene observations are influenced by the Hawthorne Effect and that unknown observers should be used to get the most accurate hand hygiene data.”

Five infection prevention nurses (known to staff) and 15 hospital volunteers (unknown to staff) collected 4,640 observations between July 2015 and December 2015. The volunteers were trained in a two-hour course on the importance, identification and reporting of hand hygiene compliance.

Nancy Johnson stated that this data was recognized by our leadership. “We have rolled out many changes as a result, including an organization-wide, hand hygiene improvement plan that is actively supported by our leadership team. Moving forward, the medical center’s monitoring will be conducted by unknown observers.”

Outbreak of something at Lumby Days in Canada

I can’t help but think that Lumby, British Columbia, is named after lumberjacks, but perhaps I’m stereotyping.

Lumby Interior Health is investigating following an outbreak at a Lumby Days’ event left at least two dozen people sick.

lumberjackDr. Silvina Mema, IH medical health officer, said the health authority has received reports of 24 people falling ill after attending the delegates’ luncheon.

She said the event was attended by 75-80 people and more could have been sick, but did not report it.

Among those who fell victim to illness were Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund, Liberal MLA Eric Foster and North Okanagan Regional District board chair Rick Fairbairn.

Mema said officials do not suspect food poisoning, but rather a viral outbreak, possibly norovirus.

People had diarrhea, vomiting and a fever.

“We are thinking it’s a viral disease,” said Mema. “It is quite common and it gets around quite easily. Food poisoning usually develops faster – within a few hours. This was a longer incubation period.” (fail – dp)

Those attending the luncheon will be asked to fill out a questionnaire as officials try to find a common link.

Mema said there were also leftovers that people took home and IH would like to get samples from that food – if any is left – and to speak to anyone who became sick after eating it.

Fancy food ain’t safe food: UK luxury Penarth hotel and restaurant receives ‘one’ food hygiene rating

A luxury hotel and restaurant in Penarth has been given a score of just one in its latest food hygiene rating.

mr.creosote.monty.python.vomitFollowing an inspection carried out by the local food safety officer, Holm House Hotel, located on Marine Parade, ranked among six others in the town to score a one.

The report of its December 2015 inspection said “major improvement” is needed in aspects of its food hygiene standards.

Six other establishments were given a rating of one including Penarth Labour Club of Glebe Street, Cylch Meithrin Bethel of Plassey Street, Lucky House of Tennyson Road, One Stop of Cornerswell Road, M&M Kebab and Pizza of Glebe Street and the day centre on Castle Avenue.

Jan Morgan from Cylch Meithrin Bethel said the rating was not reflective of food hygeine standards but more to do with filling in the correct paper work.

She said that on the day of the inspection, the children were painting and that this was stored in the kitchen but that there were no concerns over hygiene practices.

Andrew Hooper from Penarth Labour Club said that no food is served on site and that the only issue was one of documentation.

No one from Lucky House was available for comment.

I’m a heterosexual man or not: Roman toilets gave no clear health benefit, and Romanization actually spread parasites

The Romans are well known for introducing sanitation technology to Europe around 2,000 years ago, including public multi-seat latrines with washing facilities, sewerage systems, piped drinking water from aqueducts, and heated public baths for washing. Romans also developed laws designed to keep their towns free of excrement and rubbish.


However, new archaeological research has revealed that — for all their apparently hygienic innovations — intestinal parasites such as whipworm, roundworm and Entamoeba histolytica dysentery did not decrease as expected in Roman times compared with the preceding Iron Age, they gradually increased.

The latest research was conducted by Dr Piers Mitchell from Cambridge’s Archaeology and Anthropology Department and is published in the journal Parasitology. The study is the first to use the archaeological evidence for parasites in Roman times to assess “the health consequences of conquering an empire.”

Dr Piers Mitchell brought together evidence of parasites in ancient latrines, human burials and ‘coprolites’ — or fossilised faeces — as well as in combs and textiles from numerous Roman Period excavations across the Roman Empire.

Not only did certain intestinal parasites appear to increase in prevalence with the coming of the Romans, but Mitchell also found that, despite their famous culture of regular bathing, ‘ectoparasites’ such as lice and fleas were just as widespread among Romans as in Viking and medieval populations, where bathing was not widely practiced.

Some excavations revealed evidence for special combs to strip lice from hair, and delousing may have been a daily routine for many people living across the Roman Empire

Piers Mitchell said: “Modern research has shown that toilets, clean drinking water and removing faeces from the streets all decrease risk of infectious disease and parasites. So we might expect the prevalence of faecal oral parasites such as whipworm and roundworm to drop in Roman times — yet we find a gradual increase. The question is why?”

One possibility Mitchell offers is that it may have actually been the warm communal waters of the bathhouses that helped spread the parasitic worms. Water was infrequently changed in some baths, and a scum would build on the surface from human dirt and cosmetics. “Clearly, not all Roman baths were as clean as they might have been,” said Mitchell.

Another possible explanation raised in the study is the Roman use of human excrement as a crop fertilizer. While modern research has shown this does increase crop yields, unless the faeces are composted for many months before being added to the fields, it can result in the spread of parasite eggs that can survive in the grown plants.

“It is possible that sanitation laws requiring the removal of faeces from the streets actually led to reinfection of the population as the waste was often used to fertilise crops planted in farms surrounding the towns,” said Mitchell.

The study found fish tapeworm eggs to be surprisingly widespread in the Roman Period compared to Bronze and Iron Age Europe. One possibility Mitchell suggests for the rise in fish tapeworm is the Roman love of a sauce called garum.

Made from pieces of fish, herbs, salt and flavourings, garum was used as both a culinary ingredient and a medicine. This sauce was not cooked, but allowed to ferment in the sun. Garum was traded right across the empire, and may have acted as the “vector” for fish tapeworm, says Mitchell.

“The manufacture of fish sauce and its trade across the empire in sealed jars would have allowed the spread of the fish tapeworm parasite from endemic areas of northern Europe to all people across the empire. This appears to be a good example of the negative health consequences of conquering an empire,” he said.

The study shows a range of parasites infected people living in the Roman Empire, but did they try to treat these infections medically? While Mitchell says care must be taken when relating ancient texts to modern disease diagnoses, some researchers have suggested that intestinal worms described by Roman medical practitioner Galen (130AD — 210AD) may include roundworm, pinworm and a species of tapeworm.

Galen believed these parasites were formed from spontaneous generation in putrefied matter under the effect of heat. He recommended treatment through modified diet, bloodletting, and medicines believed to have a cooling and drying effect, in an effort to restore balance to the ‘four humours’: black bile, yellow bile, blood and phlegm.

Added Mitchell: “This latest research on the prevalence of ancient parasites suggests that Roman toilets, sewers and sanitation laws had no clear benefit to public health. The widespread nature of both intestinal parasites and ectoparasites such as lice also suggests that Roman public baths surprisingly gave no clear health benefit either.”

“It seems likely that while Roman sanitation may not have made people any healthier, they would probably have smelt better.

Push to lift raw milk ban in Australia despite the death of 3-year-old

I used to be self-described lots of things, now I’m not so sure.

the.raw.storeSelf-described food activist Rebecca Freer, who owns an organic store in Thornbury in Victoria (that’s in Australia) claims her rights are being infringed and has begun a petition to legalize it even after the product was linked to the death of a three-year-old child.

“We have a long, long way to go to get the numbers required to be taken seriously … our human rights are at risk if we let the government make the decision on this issue,” she wrote.

The petition on change.org only had 100 supporters on December 12 when news broke of the child’s tragic death, but grew to 250 followers overnight and up to 500 by this week.

Supporters argued raw milk is completely safe and full of “beneficial” bacteria.

Current laws only allow the sale of raw milk as cosmetic or as “bath milk” and labelled “not fit for human consumption”.

Ms Freer said she drank raw milk herself and also gave it to her children.

Please, keep the children out of it, just like you wouldn’t share a scotch and a smoke with your six-year-old.

It’s always the kids who suffer.

Is that an African or European swallow? Can’t kill all the birds, but can manage risk

Zoonotic enteric pathogenic bacteria can live in the intestinal tract of birds and can be transmitted to food animals or humans via fecal contact. In the present study, cecal samples were collected from 376 migratory birds from species birdsfilm460often associated with cattle during the fall migration in the Central Flyway of the United States. Brown-headed cowbirds (n=309, Molothrus ater), common grackles (n=51, Quiscalus quiscula), and cattle egrets (n=12, Bubulcus ibis) contained foodborne pathogenic bacteria in their ceca. Salmonella enterica was isolated from 14.9% of all samples, and Escherichia coli O157:H7 from 3.7%. Salmonella serotypes isolated included the following: Muenster, Montevideo, and Typhimurium.

Our data suggest that migratory birds associated with cattle could be a vector for zoonotic enteric pathogenic bacteria to be disseminated across long distances.’

Isolation of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella from migratory brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater), common grackles (Quiscalus quiscula), and cattle egrets (Bubulcus ibis)

 Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. -Not available-, ahead of print

Callaway, Todd R., Edrington, Tom S., and Nisbet, David J.

http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/fpd.2014.1800

What have the Romans ever done for us? Sanctimonious Super Bowl adverts

Chobani yogurt suffered some serious quality issues in Aug. 2013, and persistent consumer complaints has led the company to respond to declining sales with a full public accounting of quality control measures with a Super Bowl ad.

On Feb. 2, when Fox broadcasts Super Bowl XLVIII, two brands of Greek-style yogurt, Chobani and Dannon Oikos, have bought bullshitcommercial time in the game.

A 60-second Chobani commercial — in the first Super Bowl appearance for the No. 1 brand of Greek yogurt — is scheduled for the third quarter. The spot, featuring a new theme, “How matters,” is the start of a multimedia campaign that includes ads in digital and social media, events and a public relations effort. The “How matters” campaign is to continue after the Super Bowl with elements like commercials during the Winter Olympics and the Academy Awards.

What Chobani believes it offers is summarized by an announcer’s declaration: “A cup of yogurt won’t change the world. But how we make it might.”

Especially if it has mold that makes people barf.

Post-Super Bowl, Chipotle Mexican Grill will release “Farmed and Dangerous,” a four-part comedy series on the TV-streaming service Hulu that takes a satirical look at industrial-scale farming.

Farmed and Dangerous,” billed as a “Chipotle original series,” hopes to promote the company’s concerns about sustainable agriculture and the humane treatment of animals used for meat. This stealth marketing strategy, Chipotle executives say, is not about “product integration,” but “values integration.”

Food safety would be an important value.

Why people ignore risk: [email protected] Conference opens with call to further strengthen risk assessment ‘community’

Monty Python says Americans like to talk.

Europeans sure like to talk. Amy is faux European, being a French professor, and she talks all the time.

And who uses dick fingers around the word community?

But talk doesn’t help people who are barfing: like the 53 who were killed and 4,400 who were sickened by raw sprouts last year.

Hundreds of the world’s leading food safety experts are gathering in Parma this week to take part in a high-level scientific conference organized by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to mark its tenth anniversary.

Does high-level mean they are all stoned?

The two-day event, “Challenging boundaries in risk assessment – sharing experiences”, which kicked off this morning (7 November), brings together global specialists from a wide range of scientific disciplines who will be debating the frontiers in risk assessment and considering future key issues and opportunities.

Hubert Deluyker, EFSA’s Director of Science Strategy and Coordination, outlined the Authority’s critical role in developing risk assessment in Europe, emphasized the necessity for a continued commitment to scientific cooperation and re-affirmed the need for a regulatory environment that evolves with scientific developments yet remains predictable.

“EFSA functions thanks to the EU risk assessment community,” said Dr Deluyker. “And we are central to its progress, for instance through the development of guidance that has harmonised and modernised methodologies relating to risk assessment for food and feed over the past decade.”

Awesome.