Bad advice: Cook poultry thoroughly

 

The UK Food Standards Agency advises that poultry should be cooked thoroughly by ensuring it is steaming hot all the way through….NOPE. Use a thermometer and verify that the internal temperature has reached a minimum of 74C (165F). Stop guessing.

Following an article in The Mirror (9 September) which suggests that some people believe that raw chicken dishes are safe to eat, we are reiterating our advice not to eat raw chicken.
Raw chicken is not safe to eat – it could lead to food poisoning. Chicken should always be cooked thoroughly so that it is steaming hot all the way through before serving. To check, cut into the thickest part of the meat and ensure that it is steaming hot with no pink meat and that the juices run clear.
The article states that ‘if birds have been free range, kept in quality conditions, and processed in a clean environment, there’s not so much to worry about’; but this is not the case. All raw chicken is unsafe to eat, regardless of the conditions that the birds have been kept in.
Consuming raw chicken can lead to illness from campylobacter, salmonella and E coli. Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting and fever. In some cases, these bugs can lead to serious conditions.

961 sick with Salmonella: About those chicks, stop kissing them

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that since the last update on July 13, 2017, 172 more ill people have been reported. The most recent illness began on July 31, 2017.

CDC and multiple states are investigating 10 separate multistate outbreaks of Salmonella infections in people who had contact with live poultry in backyard flocks.

These outbreaks are caused by several DNA fingerprints of different Salmonella bacteria: Salmonella Braenderup, Salmonella Enteritidis, Salmonella Hadar, Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i-, Salmonella Indiana, Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Litchfield, Salmonella Mbandaka, Salmonella Muenchen, and Salmonella Typhimurium.

The outbreak strains of Salmonella have infected a reported 961 people in 48 states and the District of Columbia.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from January 4, 2017 to July 31, 2017.

215 ill people have been hospitalized. One death has been reported.

Epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory findings link the 10 outbreaks to contact with live poultry, such as chicks and ducklings, from multiple hatcheries.

In interviews, 498 (74%) of 672 ill people reported contact with live poultry in the week before illness started.

Contact with live poultry or their environment can make people sick with Salmonella infections. Live poultry can be carrying Salmonella bacteria but appear healthy and clean, with no sign of illness.

The Australian Institute of Food Safety identifies five high risk food items for poisoning

In the UK each year roughly 20,000 people are hospitalised with food poisoning and 500 people die.
Symptoms are unpleasant and include vomiting, diarrhoea and a high temperature, according to the NHS.
There are a number of causes, including chemicals, toxins and bacteria.
While it’s almost always an accident, food poisoning tends to affect people after they’ve eaten particular foods.
According to the Australian Institute of Food Safety, this is because certain foods are more at risk of bacterial growth than others.
Poultry
Raw and undercooked poultry can be contaminated with campylobacter bacteria and salmonella.
According to the Australian Institute of Food Safety, the bacteria can survive up until cooking kills them – so make sure you cook it thoroughly and don’t contaminate surfaces with raw chicken.

Cook poultry to an internal temperature of 74C (165F) to ensure safety, forget the jargon “cook thoroughly,”doesn’t tell me anything.

Eggs
Last week it was revealed that Dutch eggs contaminated with insecticide may have entered the UK.
They can also sometimes be contaminated with salmonella.
You can avoid being affected by cooking eggs thoroughly, and avoiding foods that purposely contain undercooked eggs, like mayonnaises and salad dressings, according to the Australian Institute of Food Safety.

Leafy greens
Because they are often eaten raw with no cooking process, bacteria like E.coli can easily affect you.
However, according to the Australian Institute of Food Safety, washing them can reduce risk of harmful bacteria as well as chemical pesticides.

Well this all depends if the salad is pre-washed and labelled accordingly, if so, washing lettuce at home will only increase the risk of cross-contamination. Reducing the food safety risk with leafy greens begins well before it arrives in your home.

Raw milk
This is where milk is unpasteurised, meaning it has not been heated up to kill harmful bacteria.
It leaves you at a higher risk than regular milk of consuming bacteria like E.coli, salmonella and listeria.

Raw milk has always left an impression on me ever since I was a food tech in Alberta. The health department submitted a sample of raw milk from a community in Alberta where a significant number of kids became ill. I was responsible in analyzing the milk to determine the etiologic agent and I remember vividly looking at this black, overgrown agar plate, completely taken over by Campylobacter jejuni, poor kids.

Cheese
A bacteria commonly found in cheese is staphylococcus aureus.
It’s heat resistant, so the best way of avoiding cheese becoming contaminated is to store it at or under 5 degrees.

 

Pinto defense: Consumer group says more than half of NZ chickens have campy

Meeting government standards is about the worst thing any group can say when it comes to trust.

chickenAlmost all food purchases are an act of faith-based food safety.

The Pinto, an American car that had a tendency to explode when hit from behind, also met all government standards.

More than half the supermarket chickens in a Consumer NZ study carried Campylobacter, but the poultry association says the test was much stricter than official requirements.

The study of 40 chickens found 65 per cent (26 chickens) tested positive for Campylobacter, Consumer NZ said.

Fourty chickens don’t mean statistical shit, especially if they were from the same grower.

But already, the industry and the government are defending NZ poultry, without a lot of data.

More posturing.

Like blowing up real good.

Poultry Industry Association director Michael Brooks said chicken only accounted for 40 per cent of New Zealand’s campylobacter cases.

Some might consider that a lot.

Radio New Zealand reported that Brooks said, “The important thing is to remember that cooking kills campylobacter, and that it’s important to have good hygiene practices when handling a raw product. Safe storage practices and cooking it thoroughly will prevent the risk of illness.”

It’s about lowering loads. All that Campy into a kitchen means cross-contamination is rife.

In a statement, MPI director of systems audit, assurance and monitoring Allan Kinsella said the ministry had considered a retail testing programme but decided it was unnecessary.

Mandatory testing for broiler chicken carcasses was introduced in 2006, she said, and had been so successful it had led to a more than 50 percent reduction in foodborne campylobacter cases between 2007 and 2015.

The posturing on either side is a scam.

When will someone step forward and credibly say, in NZ, we should have fewer people barfing?

Just cook it doesn’t cut it: Walmart shares latest Salmonella-in-poultry results

Joan Murphy of Agra-Net reports that Frank Yiannas, vice president of food safety at Walmart, told the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) annual meeting in St. Louis, Mo. that Walmart’s performance standards for suppliers of chicken parts are paying off, with the latest data showing a continuing reduction in Salmonella-positive products.

therm.turkey.oct_.13In 2014, Walmart announced new poultry safety measures to combat Salmonella and Campylobacter that require U.S. suppliers to “significantly reduce” potential contamination levels in whole chickens and chicken parts, and undergo specialized testing to validate the measures are effective.

The standards included new requirements for breeder stocks, an unusual request for a retailer, biocontrol measures, whole chicken process controls and chicken parts’ interventions. Walmart required at least a four log reduction in Salmonella on whole chickens and a one log reduction for chicken parts.

The first three standards went into effect in 2015, but suppliers of chicken parts had until June 2016 to comply, he said. Prior to launching the program, Walmart found 17% of chicken parts positive for Salmonella. In January 2016, the number was 5%, and by June 2016, Walmart reported only 2% of chicken parts tested positive for Salmonella.

Yiannas called the rate trend “extremely encouraging,” especially since Americans have moved away from buying whole chickens in favor of poultry parts like breasts, legs and wings. The levels of Salmonella are very low when the company does find the pathogen, he said.

In general, Yiannas said, companies need to move away from the old paradigm of “just cook it” for consumer education. “We need to just drop it.” Walmart has also learned that performance standards work better than prescriptive standards and that process control validations provide greater confidence than end product testing. 

CDC continues to say no: Should you kiss chicks – 2016 edition

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, multiple states, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) are investigating seven separate multistate outbreaks of human Salmonella infections linked to contact with live poultry in backyard flocks.

baby-chick-325pxIn the seven outbreaks, a total of 324 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella were reported from 35 states.

Among people with available information, illnesses started on dates ranging from January 4, 2016 to May 11, 2016.

Sixty-six ill people were hospitalized, and one death was reported. Salmonella infection was not considered to be a contributing factor in the reported death.

Eighty-eight (27%) ill people were children 5 years of age or younger.

Epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory findings linked the seven outbreaks to contact with live poultry such as chicks and ducklings from multiple hatcheries.

Regardless of where they were purchased, all live poultry can carry Salmonella bacteria, even if they look healthy and clean.

These outbreaks are a reminder to follow steps to enjoy your backyard flocks and keep your family healthy.

Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live poultry or anything in the area where the birds live and roam.

Do not let live poultry inside the house.

Do not let children younger than 5 years of age handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other live poultry without supervision.

These outbreaks are expected to continue for the next several months since flock owners might be unaware of the risk of Salmonella infection from live poultry or participate in risky behaviors that can result in infection.

small-epi-curve-6-2-2016

Michigan Salmonella infections rise after poultry contact

I didn’t know Michiganians was an actual word, but I’m sure Dr.-PhD-from-Ann-Arbor-and Tom-Brady-was QB-when-I-was-there-and-isn’t-he-dreamy will set me straight.

Ttom.brady.poultryhe Detroit News reports that more Michiganians are reporting salmonella infections after contact with live baby poultry, state health officials announced Monday.

There have been 20 cases of salmonellosis with live chick or duckling exposure reported throughout the state since March 2, but these numbers are expected to rise, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement. Six people were hospitalized; the reported cases were associated with individuals ranging from younger than 12 months old to 70 years.

“Investigators from several local health departments with salmonellosis cases have visited the feed and farm stores to collect environmental samples for testing in jurisdictions where ill residents purchased baby poultry,” state officials said. “These environmental samples have been tested at the MDHHS Bureau of Laboratories and a number of samples are positive for Salmonella; some of which match the outbreak strain. Testing and a traceback investigation are still in process. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been notified.”

People become infected with salmonella when handling poultry or their cages and coops. Germs can be found on the hands, shoes and clothing of those who handle the birds or work or play in areas where they live and roam. Young children are especially at risk for illness because their immune systems are still developing.

Medium and message: Need to frequently change handwashing signs to be effective

I’m a food safety voyeur.

Supermarkets, farmers markets, restaurants – fancy or not – kitchens, farms, I’ve been professionally watching people for 20 years.

surprise-01Chapman likes to recount how he was invited to the GFSI Consumer Goods Forum as a last minute replacement speaker in 2013 to talk about food safety infosheets and how we evaluated them.  He said that the literature shows surprise matters when it comes to communicating risks – and a message that is up all the time, like a hand washing sign, probably doesn’t do much after the day it was posted (when it is surprising to the food handler).

The level of surprise in a message determines how successfully the information is received. In 1948, the Bell Telephone Company commissioned a study on communication as a mathematical theory to aid in the design of telephones.  In a study of brain function, Zaghloul and colleagues (2009) also showed the brain’s sensitivity to unexpected or surprising information plays a fundamental role in the learning and adoption of new behaviors.

During the Q&A session at the end of the session someone from a German retail store asked Chapman if he was suggesting that that they take down all the handwashing posters they had up, and Chapman said, yes, unless they plan on changing them every couple of days. The audience had an audible gasp.

We’ve found that posting graphical, concise food safety stories in the back kitchens of restaurants can help reduce dangerous food safety practices and create a workplace culture that values safe food.

It was the first time that a communication intervention such as food safety information sheets had been validated to work using direct video observation in eight commercial restaurant kitchens and was published in the  Journal of Food Protection.

hand_sanitizer_hospital_11We found that infosheets decreased cross-contamination events by 20 per cent, and increased handwashing attempts by 7 per cent.

Based on observations of more than 5,000 patrons at a hospital-based cafeteria, we showed that an evidence-based informational poster can increase attempts at hand hygiene.

So we gladly welcome new work on food safety messages and media in poultry processing facilities.

Signs can provide repetitive training on specific food safety practices for multicultural food processing employees. Posted signs for workers in many food processing facilities tend to be text-heavy and focus specifically on occupational hazard safety. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of newly-developed hand washing pictograms on employees’ hand washing behavior using video observation.

Five employee hand washing behaviors (soap use, wash completeness, wash time, complete rinsing, and towel use) were evaluated with (a) no intervention, company signs posted and considered the baseline; and compared to (b) hand washing behavior the next day (short term) and two weeks (long term) after experimental hand washing signs were displayed at a raw poultry slaughter facility (Facility A) and a poultry further processing facility (Facility B).

sponge.bob.handwashingBoth facilities showed a significant increase (p < 0.05) in soap use after the new sign was introduced at both short and long term time periods. There was a significant increase (p < 0.05) in washing, time of washing, and rinsing observed by Facility B employees, when baseline data was compared to the short term. This indicates that a new sign could increase hand washing compliance at least in the short term. Sign color also had a significant effect (p < 0.05) on employee behavior for washing and time of washing. Behavior for four of the five variables (soap, wash, time of wash, and towel use) was significantly different (p < 0.05) between baseline and either experimental observation period.

While signs can be a useful tool to offer as recurring food safety training for food processing employees, employees tend to revert back to old habits after several weeks.

Evaluation of how different signs affect poultry processing employees’ hand washing practices

Food Control, Volume 68, October 2016, Pages 1–6

Matthew Schroeder, Lily Yang, Joseph Eifert, Renee Boyer, Melissa Chase, Sergio Nieto-Montenegro

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956713516301244

 

Watch the chickens; predict the campy

When I had campylobacteriosis I didn’t want to move much for fear of unleashing what was in my bowels. According to Yahoo News, chickens infected with campy also move less.

Using cameras to track how the birds move around can predict which flocks are at risk of being infected, according to research by Oxford University.images-1

Lead author of the study Dr Frances Colles, from Oxford University’s Department of Zoology, said: “Humans consume nearly 60 billion chickens a year, more than any other animal.

“At the same time, there is a worldwide epidemic of human gastroenteric disease caused by campylobacter.

“It is estimated that up to four fifths of this disease originates from contaminated chicken meat.”

The findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, showed campylobacter-positive birds had less movement and different behaviour to those without the bacteria.

Professor Marian Dawkins, Professor of Animal Behaviour at Oxford University, said: “The findings are compatible with the growing evidence that campylobacter may be detrimental to chickens’ health, rather than simply being harmless gut bacteria.

“Use of this optical flow information has the potential to make a major impact on the management of commercial chicken flocks, for the benefit of producers, consumers and the birds themselves.”

Researchers collected data for 31 commercial broiler flocks and tested for the presence of campylobacter at different ages.

A lot of poop on UK birds: Campylobacter survey report published

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has published the final report of its year-long survey of Campylobacter levels on UK fresh shop-bought chickens.

chickenThe report is an analysis of the data from the survey carried out by the FSA between February 2014 and March 2015, which showed the levels of Campylobacter found on fresh, whole chickens sold in the UK.

The results for the full year, as previously published, showed:

19% of chickens tested positive for Campylobacter within the highest band of contamination*

73% of chickens tested positive for the presence of Campylobacter

0.1% (five samples) of packaging tested positive at the highest band of contamination.

7% of packaging tested positive for the presence of Campylobacter.

* more than 1000 colony forming units per gram (>1000 cfu/g). These units indicate the degree of contamination on each sample.

The survey results, which were published on a quarterly basis throughout the year, allowed consumers for the first time to compare the Campylobacter levels found on chickens from all of the major retailers. The final report contains data sets of the results from all of the retailers and includes comparisons between different sized birds.