Frozen spinach recalled in Italy, possible mandrake contamination

Something is probably lost in translation. But as reported by Repubblica Milano and translated in ProMed, a batch of Bonduelle brand frozen spinach was removed from the market.

The decision of the company, which produces the food in question at a Spanish plant in Navarre, came after a warning from the Ministry of Health. “The product should not be consumed — reads in the recall — due to a suspected presence of mandrake leaves.”

The withdrawal concerns production batch 15986504-7222 45M63 08:29 whose 750g bags have an expiration date of August 2019.

On 30 Sep 2017, an entire family was admitted to the Fatebenefratelli hospital in Milan after eating a pack of frozen spinach bought at the supermarket. A 60-year-old man, a 55-year-old woman, and their children, 18 and 16 years old, ended up at the first aid unit because they showed mental confusion and amnesia of various degrees of severity.

The AST [local health authority] analyses have determined that the clinical picture is compatible with contamination of the original product with mandrake, a grass that can invade fields of edible vegetable crops. The leaves of mandrake, thought to be magical in antiquity, are actually poisonous.

The company issued a clarification in the evening. “There is no information — the statement reads — that permits the attribution of mandrake leaf contamination of our products.” Bonduelle — adds the note — is issuing the recall of some of the product ‘Spinaci Millefoglie Bonduelle’ as a precautionary measure.”

German police arrest suspect in baby-food poisoning threats

Associated Press reports that German authorities said Saturday they are confident that a 53-year-old man arrested a day earlier is behind a blackmail attempt that saw jars of poisoned baby food placed on store shelves in southern Germany.

Prosecutors said investigators found the same poison — ethylene glycol, a compound used in antifreeze — when they arrested the man Friday near the southwestern city of Tuebingen.

Chief prosecutor Alexander Boger told a news conference in Konstanz, on Germany’s southern border, that the man hadn’t confessed but the evidence against him was substantial.

DNA found on the baby food jars and pictures taken with a supermarket surveillance camera also pointed to the suspect, who wasn’t identified due to German privacy rules, prosecutors said.

Authorities and companies received an email this month threatening to poison unspecified food at German retailers inside the country and beyond unless more than 10 million euros ($11.8 million) was paid by Saturday.

The blackmailer alerted authorities that five jars of baby food at shops in Friedrichshafen, near Konstanz, had been tampered with. Officials located the jars and found they contained ethylene glycol but said there’s no evidence that anyone was poisoned.

22 sentenced for selling 5,000 kg poisoned dog meat in China

The Indian Express reports that 22 people were sentenced to up to eight years in prison for making and selling more than 5,000 kilograms of tainted dog sadie.dog.powellmeat in China’s Jiangsu Province.

Prosecutors in Rugao city have investigated 14 cases regarding tainted food, which involved over 5,000 kilograms of poisoned dog meat, 11,000 poisoned birds and 500 kilograms of hazardous chemicals.

Police detained Lao Gan (pseudonym) who purchased 7,000 kilogrammes of poisoned dog meat before tracking down another five people.

They also bought half of the meat and sold it to restaurants in the outskirts of cities in Anhui, Shandong and Jiangsu provinces, state-run Global Times reported.

Local police also caught eight men for killing and selling over 11,000 ‘poisoned birds’, most of which were sold to restaurants in Shanghai, Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces.

The sentences came as China faced criticism both at home and abroad for not banning the annual dog meat festival in Yulin last week where 10,000 dogs were reported to have been slaughtered.

45 ISIS fighters killed by poisoned Ramadan meal

Reports surfaced from Iraqi media last week that 45 Islamic State (ISIS/IS/ISIL) jihadis were killed after ingesting an iftar meal commemorating the conclusion of Ramadan. It remains unclear whether the jihadis, who were breaking their Ramadan fast in Mosul, Iraq, died of food poisoning or intentional poisoning, Haaretz reports.

isis.poisonA Kurdish Democratic Party spokesman said that 145 ISIS militants took part in the iftar meal and that 45 died shortly thereafter.

ISIS fighters have fallen under a similar trap before, according to reports from other Middle East outlets.

In November, Free Syrian Army men who posed as cooks reportedly poisoned ISIS fighters’ meals, killing a dozen, the UK’s Mirror reported, citing the Times of Iraq.

Cameras everywhere: Student filmed allegedly spitting in roommates’ food, adding poison

Police say a University of South Carolina student has been arrested after her roommates set up a camera and caught her spitting and putting window cleaner in their food.

security-camera-iconInvestigators told media outlets the roommates set up the camera because they had several arguments with 22-year-old Hayley King and she refused to leave their off-campus apartment.

Columbia police say the camera caught King taking several containers of food out of a refrigerator in February and spitting or spraying window cleaner into them. Authorities say one of the roommates ate out of one of the containers before seeing the video.

King is charged with unlawful, malicious tampering with human drug product or food. Her lawyer didn’t respond to a request to comment.

10 sick; Croations in Italy hospitalized for food poisoning

At least 10 supporters of Cedevita Zagreb, a Croatian professional basketball team, were sickened during a trip to Sardinia.

Saturday there was a huge dinner on a farm, Sunday lunch in a restaurant with a menu based on fish. But something did not work and when the Cedevita Zagrebfans arrived at PalaSerradimigni, they began to twitch in the throes of an excruciating stomach ache that forced them to overshadow the game (something probably lost in translation).

Rubbing alcohol? Woman charged over poisoned juice at California Starbucks store

A California woman who police say planted two bottles of tainted orange juice at a San Jose Starbucks has been charged with attempted murder, a police spokesman said Tuesday.

Ramineh Behbehanian, 50, is accused of adding rubbing alcohol to the contents of the bottles and then placing them into a refrigerated display sbucksorangejuicecase, Police Sgt. Jason Dwyer told reporters.

“According to our San Jose firefighters that were on scene and the fire captain there — they really are the experts there — it was a lethal dose,” he said.

Behbehanian was arrested Monday after a customer spotted her allegedly pulling out two bottles of orange juice from a bag and putting them in the display case, he said.

The customer reported it to employees, according to police. The customer also got a license plate number, and investigators later traced the plate to Behbehanian’s residence, Starbucks spokesman Zack Hutson said.

The employees immediately pulled the bottles of orange juice from the display case, and the store was evacuated until firefighters could determine the contents of the bottles, Hutson said.

Hitler’s former food-taster tells all

Peter Elbling has lead what seems an interesting and varied live. A founder of the Times Square Two, a frequent guest of TV shows like Taxi and WKRP in Cincinnati, and the co-author of what would become the movie, Honey I Blew Up the Kid.

In 2003, he published his first novel, The Food Taster, telling the story of Ugo DiFonte and his teenaged daughter Miranda as they are Margot Woelk.hitler.food.tastersnatched from their farm and spirited away to Duke Federico Basillione DiVincelli’s estate. Ugo thinks life can’t get any worse…until he is forced to replace the recently de-tongued royal food taster. Now Ugo must stay alive–a difficult prospect considering the prince’s myriad of enemies and their poisons–to protect Miranda from her suitors and desires, and somehow hold the unruly court together.

I’ve read about half the book.

Food tasters have been used for thousands of years to sorta protect those in power from the many poisons out there. Doesn’t work so well with microorganisms like Listeria that may take six weeks to incubate, but other procedures have been developed.

There’s recurrent stories of U.S. Presidential food tasters, that are always denied, but the Food and Drug Administration does takes an food.taster.book.active role in food prep for the President, and especially at large political gatherings.

Maybe one of the worst jobs was as the food taster for Adolph Hitler.

Margot Woelk was one of fifteen girls who spent two-and-a-half years testing Adolf Hitler’s all-veggie diet to make sure it wasn’t poisoned, telling Stars and Stripes, “The food was delicious, only the best vegetables, asparagus, bell peppers, everything you can imagine. And always with a side of rice or pasta. But this constant fear — we knew of all those poisoning rumors and could never enjoy the food. Every day we feared it was going to be our last meal.”

Cyclists barfing: Tour de Langakwi peloton struck down by illness

I didn’t know what a peloton was until Frenchy was watching the Tour de France when I was around.

She said she knew they were all doped up, but not her elementary school friend, leviand she watched it mainly for the scenery of France.

Her friend was doped up.

That may not have felt as bad as the cyclists at Tour de Langkawi did as illness ripped through the peloton on Thursday night, with suspected food poisoning the most likely cause for the mass exodus from the race. Ten riders in all failed to either start or finish the stage.

Barfing at the BAFTAs

While Anne Hathaway delivered what some called a vomit-inducing acceptance speech at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards on Saturday, and while Argo won again but no one mentioned Canada’s role in getting those hostages out of Iran, Eddie Redmayne was backstage barfing.

I had to look up who Eddie Redmayne was, but realized I enjoyed his performance in The Good Shepherd, and he’s apparently in that French movie (see Anne Hathaway in the Zach clip below).

Eddie was slated to present an award with Lincoln’s Sally Field but was forced to pull out at the last minute. When Sally took to the stage, she said, “He is puking his guts out backstage.”

According to a source cited by Perez Hilton, “Eddie has bad food poisoning. It was a difficult for him to make it here today but he did his best. After doing the carpet he felt really sick again.”