21st century hucksterism: Budweiser’s unpasteurized beer is now available in Quebec

From the land of 8 per cent Brador beer in my misspent teen years to unpasteurized Budweiser crap.

Musée canadien des civilisations, Artefacts = Canadian Museum of Civilization, Artefacts

Quebec has some explaining to do.

But that’s nothing new.

Budweiser has launched a new kind of beer called Budweiser Brewery Fresh. It’s basically the same Budweiser you know and love, except with a little twist. That twist? Tank beer – the ultimate draught beer experience delivered cold, unpasteurized and free from any artificial ingredients, additives or preservatives for the purest taste. …

“Um, awesome much?”

Who writes this shit?

Clean water is a relatively new thing, so for millennia, people harnessed the power of fermentation to get rid of the nasties in water and drank beer and wine.

Budweiser Brewery Fresh is SO beyond fresh that it needs to be consumed within two weeks. Which means that no matter what, you’ll get to taste your favourite beer literally within 14 days of its creation.”

Enablers.

Just cook it doesn’t cut it: Campy in veal liver

A matched case–control study in Quebec, Canada, evaluated consumption of veal liver as a risk factor for campylobacteriosis. Campylobacter was identified in 28 of 97 veal livers collected concurrently from slaughterhouses and retailers. Veal liver was associated with human Campylobacter infection, particularly when consumed undercooked.

Recent investigations conducted in Quebec, Canada, after an increased number of sporadic campylobacteriosis illnesses suggested that consumption of veal liver may be a risk factor for campylobacteriosis. Many of the persons infected reported eating veal liver, and many of those had eaten it pink or undercooked. The association between campylobacteriosis and the consumption of meat products, including chicken liver and offal from different animal species, has been previously described (1–5). We designed an epidemiologic study to examine the relationship between veal liver consumption and campylobacteriosis.

We conducted a matched case–control study to examine a potential association between veal liver consumption and campylobacteriosis, using salmonellosis cases as controls. The study began in September 2016 and continued for 9 months. Salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis cases are reportable in Quebec; we selected all subjects from the provincial reportable disease registry. We used a systematic sampling method to select every fifth reported campylobacteriosis case-patient >45 years of age. We paired each campylobacteriosis case-patient with 1 salmonellosis case-patient by age group (45–64 and >65 y) and sex; both infections were confirmed by fecal culture. We matched case-patients if the salmonellosis sample was collected within a window of 7 days before to 60 days after the campylobacteriosis sample was collected. Inclusion criteria for cases and controls were infection that was sporadic and domestically acquired. Exclusion criteria were co-infection with another pathogen, being part of a recognized outbreak, or contact with a gastroenteritis case-patient <10 days before illness.

We administered a structured questionnaire by telephone to collect information on exposures in the 7 days before illness onset. Exposures were consumption of meat and unpasteurized milk products, contact with animals, drinking and recreational water exposures, and occupational exposures. In particular, we investigated consumption of a variety of livers and the degree to which they were cooked. We conducted matched univariate and multivariate analysis to estimate odds ratios (OR) for each exposure.

In addition, we collected samples of veal, chicken, pork, and beef livers from slaughterhouses and retail stores in Quebec between October 2014 and March 2017. We tested each liver specimen for the presence of Campylobacter, Salmonella, and Escherichia coli O157:H7 by using standardized methods (6,7).

We matched a total of 112 campylobacteriosis cases to salmonellosis cases. We found no significant statistical difference in the age or sex distribution of retained cases or controls and the excluded patients. The species of Campylobacter were C. jejuni (79.5%), C. jejuni/coli undifferentiated (3.6%), C. coli (0.9%), other (1.8%), and not identified (14.3%). Among campylobacteriosis case-patients, 42 (37.5%) consumed veal liver and 29 (69.0%) ate it undercooked.

Only the consumption of veal liver and having contact with farm animals were statistically significantly associated with campylobacteriosis (Table 1). After applying the Bonferroni correction to adjust for multiple comparisons (0.05 level of significance divided by 45 variables tested yields α = 0.001), only veal liver consumption remained as a statistically significant exposure (matched OR 9.50, 95% CI 3.39–26.62; p = 0.000001).

Among veal liver consumers, adequate cooking (e.g., well-cooked vs. pink or rare, on the basis of the participant’s subjective observation) was protective. Specifically, 13 (30.2%) of 43 case-patients versus 6 (85.7%) of 7 controls ate their veal liver well-cooked (unmatched OR 0.07, 95% CI 0.002–0.72; p = 0.02). Multivariate analysis using logistic regression confirmed that a statistically significant association between the consumption of veal liver and campylobacteriosis remained when all other exposures were included as covariates. Although we conducted this study among persons ≥45 years of age, it is reasonable to assume that eating veal liver, especially undercooked, would also carry risk for younger persons.

We sampled 339 veal, pork, chicken, and beef livers collected from 138 retailers and 16 slaughterhouses. When we evaluated all livers collected at both locations, we detected Campylobacter in 28.0% of veal livers, 22.2% of pork livers, 36.8% of chicken livers, and 19.1% of beef livers (Table 2). We detected Salmonella more frequently in chicken livers (22.1%) and pork livers (19.1%) than in veal livers (3.1%); we did not detect Salmonella in beef livers. We rarely identified E. coli O157:H7 in livers of any kind. The proportion of contaminated livers differed between animal species and also with respect to location of sampling. A higher proportion of veal livers (35.7%) collected from retailers were contaminated by Campylobacter, compared with veal livers collected from slaughterhouses (16.2%). We observed the reverse for chicken and pork livers. The reason for these variations is unclear at this time, but this finding may be an artifact resulting from the relatively small number of samples taken at each location.

Cattle are a well-known reservoir for a variety of Campylobacter species, such as C. jejuni, C. coli, and C. fetus (8,9). Campylobacter species have been isolated from beef intestinal contents and also from beef bile, bile ducts, gallbladder, and liver (10–14). The gallbladder and bile contain substances that have a chemoattractant effect on C. jejuni, which explains the presence of Campylobacter within the biliary tract (10,15). Liver contamination varies between animal species (10–14). Chicken liver, for example, can be contaminated by Campylobacter and Salmonella and has been the source of several outbreaks (3,4,11,13). Because few case-patients consumed livers from other animal species during our study, we were not able to identify any substantial risks associated with those exposures.

Because livers may be collected from several animals and stored together, they may be contaminated during the evisceration process or by cross-contamination (11). Both the external and internal tissue of a liver may be contaminated with Campylobacter, and inadequate cooking may not fully inactivate Campylobacter and Salmonella (10,11), which is a cause for concern because ≈70% of the patients with campylobacteriosis who consumed veal liver in our study reported eating it undercooked. We did not examine possible cross-contamination of foods and surfaces and the host-related factors that may increase the risk for enteric diseases.

Conclusions

Our study identified a strong and statistically significant association between the consumption of veal liver and sporadic, domestically acquired campylobacteriosis among persons >45 years of age in Quebec. We found that adequate cooking of veal liver mitigates the risk of infection. We detected Campylobacter in almost one third of veal livers we sampled from slaughterhouses and retail stores, which supports our finding that veal liver consumption is a risk factor for campylobacteriosis. In light of these results, we recommend the dissemination of safe food handling practices for veal liver and other offal for retailers, food establishments, slaughterhouses, and the general public.

Dr. Gaulin is a physician epidemiologist who works in public health at the Protection Branch of the Ministry of Health in Quebec, Canada. She works in infectious diseases on enteric and nonenteric disease surveillance and also coordinates provincial outbreak investigations.

Veal Liver as Food Vehicle for Human Campylobacter Infections

Gaulin C, Ramsay D, Réjean Dion R, Simard M, Gariépy C, Levac É, et al. Veal liver as food vehicle for human Campylobacter infections. Emerg Infect Dis. 2018 Jun [date cited]. https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2406.171900

DOI: 10.3201/eid2406.171900

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/24/6/17-1900_article#suggestedcitation

Norovirus-contaminated raspberries likely caused deaths, sickened hundreds, in Quebec last summer

Frozen raspberries imported from China made hundreds of people sick in Quebec last summer and probably resulted in multiple deaths, according to a recent public health report. 

The infected fruits led to a wave of recalls in August 2017 by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency because they had been used by a variety of food processors such as brewers, pastry chefs and ice cream makers and had been cooked in hospital cafeterias and residences for seniors.

The raspberries were contaminated by Norovirus. At least 724 Quebecers fell ill, a number that may represent just “the tip of the iceberg” 

According to Dr. Yves Jalbert, director of public health protection at the Quebec health ministry, it is clear that there were deaths over this period. No specific number has been given. Public health officials in Quebec do not track the progress of each infected patient. 

Bonhomme Carnival: Pee wee hockey in Quebec

About 45 years ago, I got to play in the pee wee tournament at the Quebec winter carnival.

In 1974, as a pee wee (ice) hockey goaltender, I boarded a train, with my parents, from Brantford, Ontario to Quebec City.
Today, I’m reading the messages of Australian parents who have sent their Ice Crocs to the same pee wee tournament in Quebec City, as part of the winter carnival, or as the French prof would say, Bonhomme Carnaval, or I would say, Quebec Winter Carnival (and not by train, it would sink).
The pee wee hockey tournament has been a cornerstone of the Quebec Winter Carnival for, forever.

Coming from the town of Gretzky, great expectations were thrust upon the kids from Brantford, and about 10,000 people showed up in the arena where the Nordique used to play (it was probably 500, but great storytelling sometimes requires great imagination).

I let in 4 goals in two periods and was yanked.

My friend Mike (who I used to fear as a better goalie, but now we’re facebook friends) went in for the third and let in two goals.

We lost 6-0.

I have tried to bring these humble homilies to my years of coaching, teaching, and whatever else.

The experience though, was fantastic, hanging out with our host family, walking around in -20C weather, and awestruck by the 30-foot snow piles at the end of driveways.

We lost the game, but learned so much.

This is my way of telling hockey parents — especially the Australian ones —  chill out.

My parents were and are awesome, driving me to the rink, going to Quebec City, getting on a plane when I needed them.

 

Norovirus in frozen raspberries: Quebecers sick

My grandfather, Homer the Canadian asparagus baron, always said if it wasn’t asparagus, he figured raspberries would be a good cash crop.

He had a patch out front and as a child I could often be found in the raspberry patch, picking a few and eating many.

So I’m disappointed (how Canadian) whenever cheap raspberries are the culprit in transmitting norovirus or hepatitis A.

I’m even more disappointed when taypayer-funded bureaucrats in government and public journalism fail to ask basic questions or provide basic information so consumers can make actual food choices, away from the hucksterism.

CBC News reports the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ) has issued a warning list of raspberry and raspberry products that may have been contaminated by norovirus.

Several cases of illness have already been reported to the ministry.

Those who have products on the list are asked to avoid consuming them and return them to the facility where they were purchased, or discard them.

Media coverage notes the bad batch of raspberries that is the likely culprit has been recalled by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Oddly, the only recall on the CFIA website involving norovirus and frozen raspberries happened on June 20, 2017, with almost no supporting information, other than, media should call.

Gelsius brand IQF Whole Raspberries were recalled due to norovirus,and were distributed by Farinex (113712 Canada Inc.), a Quebec-based distributor of all things food.

Here’s some questions to ask:

Where were the frozen berries grown?

Were they covered in human shit?

Why so little info from CFIA?

Montreal locations affected by the recall:

Crémerie Gélato Cielo (10414 Gouin Blvd. W.)

Raspberry gelato

Raspberry sorbet

Berry sorbet

C’Chô-Colat Inc. (1255 Bishop St.)

Raspberry gelato

Raspberry sorbet

Berry sorbet

Les Délices Lafrenaie Inc. (8405 Lafrenaie St.)

Frutti di bosco

Heavenly berry

Les gourmandises de Marie-Antoinette (4317 Ontario St. E.)

Marie-Antoinette cake

Glaces et Sorbets Kem Coba inc. (60 Fairmont Ave. W.)

Raspberry sorbet

Boulangerie Et Pâtisserie Lasalle R.D.P. Inc. (8591 Maurice-Duplessis Blvd.)

Berry cake

Gourmet Bazar inc. (9051 Charles-de-la-Tour St.)

Whole raspberries

Me thinks something is going on here.

Homer would be ashamed that raspberries got a bad name.

First conviction in Quebec maple syrup heist

The Maple Syrup Gang sounds like something out of Little Rascals and the He Man Woman Haters Club.

our_gangIn Dec. 2012, 18 people were arrested in Quebec after pulling off a massive maple syrup heist.

The sweet stuff was stolen in the town of Saint-Louis-de-Blandford between August 2011 and July 2012.

About 2.7 million kilograms of maple syrup, worth up to $18 million, was reported missing after a routine inventory check last summer.

Last week, Graeme Hamilton of the National Post reported a jury decided three of the men involved were common criminals.

After two days of deliberations at the courthouse in Trois-Rivières, Que., the 12-member jury delivered guilty verdicts against one of the ringleaders and two of his accomplices in the first case to come to trial following the brazen syrup theft.

Richard Vallières, 38, was found guilty of theft, fraud and traffic of stolen syrup. Étienne St-Pierre, 73, was convicted of fraud and trafficking, and Raymond Vallières, Richard’s 62-year-old father, was convicted of possession of stolen syrup. A fourth accused, Jean Lord, was acquitted on a possession charge.

The trial heard that over a 12-month period in 2011 and 2012, nearly 3,000 tonnes of syrup disappeared from a warehouse used by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers. In dollar terms, it was “the largest theft investigated by the Sûreté du Québec in its history,” Crown prosecutor Julien Beauchamp-Laliberté said.

The theft and fraud were committed against the provincial federation, which acts as a marketing board. The stolen syrup was pumped into a black market that undermines the quotas and prices established by the federation, the prosecutor said.

During the fall of 2011, a tractor-trailer began appearing at a federation warehouse in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, Que. and loading up barrels filled with syrup from that spring’s harvest. The barrels were transported to a sugar shack belonging to Raymond Vallières, where they were emptied and replaced with stream water. When the stream froze over, the syrup-transfer operation moved to a warehouse in Montreal in early 2012. Finally, the prosecutor said, the thieves drained the barrels directly at the federation warehouse. In total, 9,571 barrels were surreptitiously emptied, representing more than half the stockpile the federation keeps to maintain a stable price.

richard-vallic3a8res-1It wasn’t until August 2012 that federation staff grew suspicious when they noticed some barrels were dirty and rusty; when the containers were tapped, some sounded emptier than others.

The theft made international headlines, but the trial heard the valuable stockpile was protected with minimal security. The warehouse “wasn’t fortified. There were no security cameras or guards,” one of the co-owners testified.

The crime occurred amid a long-running dispute between the federation and rogue syrup producers and buyers who don’t want to be constrained by the quota system. Sébastien Jutras, a trucker who served eight months in prison after pleading guilty to his involvement in the plot, testified that after one syrup delivery, Raymond Vallières offered his opinion of the federation and the syrup being drained from its reserves: “Stealing from thieves is not stealing,” he said.

In a 2014 police interview played for the jurors, Richard Vallières said he had been buying and selling on Quebec’s maple syrup black market for 10 years and had previous run-ins with the federation. “They were after me because I buy a lot. . . . They want more control over the syrup,” he said.

The trial heard that as much as $200,000 in cash changed hands for a single syrup transaction, and the players used burner phones to avoid detection.

Richard Vallières’ defence was that he committed the theft under duress. He testified that when he realized the syrup he was buying came from the federation warehouse, he tried to back out. But the seller, who cannot be identified because he faces a jury trial in January, threatened him at gunpoint. Vallières said his wife and young daughter were also threatened.

But other evidence suggested Vallières was not too troubled by the theft. The jury heard of friendly text messages between him and the supposedly menacing seller. When the theft was uncovered and splashed across the news, Vallières’ response was, “The party’s over,” the jury heard.

 A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 27.

he-man-woman-haters

What is wrong with Quebec? Maple Syrup mafia begets Bee Boy gang

After arresting 18 people for the theft of 2.7 million kilograms of maple syrup, worth up to $18 million, in 2012, Quebec police have now arrested two men in the theft of five million bees in Quebec.

belushi-beeProvincial police say the 43-year-old suspect surrendered to police on Friday in Joliette, about 50 kilometres north of Montreal.

He will appear in court on Monday.

Earlier this week the man’s 36-year-old brother was also arrested and arraigned in connection with the theft.

Police suspect the accused also made off late last month with 180 hives belonging to Jean-Marc Labonte, who estimated the value of everything stolen at $200,000.

The bees have not yet been found.

Quebec grocery stores change expiry dates to make food seem fresh

According to documents obtained through an access to information request, 12 supermarkets have been given a total of 14 citations over the past two years for changing expiry date labels on food.

The changed dates vary from as little as one day to as much as two months, and ranged from raw chicken to bacon, mussels and salmon.

“There are foods you don’t mess with,” nutritionist Stephanie Cote said. “Meat, poultry and fish especially.”

Jean-Christophe Cognault, who manages another Montreal-area grocery store, said “the practice is much more common than these 12 supermarkets.

“It’s just that most of them are never caught.”

Cognault used to work for a large supermarket. He shared a few tricks that grocers use to modify best-before and expiry dates.

“For steak, you cut off the meat that’s gone brown on the sides and repackage it,” he said.

Don’t eat moose organs: Quebec health agency

A health agency in Northern Quebec is providing some, uh, Northern Quebec advice:  don’t eat moose organs because of cadmium found in samples collected last fall.

Moose kidneys and livers are considered a delicacy among the Cree First Nations of Eeyou Istchee.

MooseLast year officials from the Abitibi-Témiscamingue health agency and Quebec’s wildlife department collected samples from the kidneys of 24 moose that were hunted in the region.

In a press release, the health agency says there were not enough samples to draw definitive conclusions. But the release says the results are still “worrying.”

Cadmium is used in plastics, batteries and solar panels.

The Abitibi-Témiscamingue health agency wants to continue its research and is asking hunters to help out by keeping a kidney from each moose killed this season and dropping it off when registering the kill at the office in Rouyn-Noranda, Que..

Nurse in critical condition; E. coli poisoning leaves 7 sick after eating at Marché 27 in Quebec

Now it’s not so much a secret.

But the owner of Montreal restaurant Marche 27 is, according to CBC News, blaming the supplier for delivering contaminated meat after seven people including a nurse who is in critical condition, were sickened with E. coli after consuming beef tartare.

Owner Jason Masso said he’s been serving tartare at Marché 27 for six years and has steak.tartare.jan.14never had a problem.

Not one he knows of.

Val D’Or resident Isabelle St-Jean told CBC Daybreak host Mike Finnerty that she had been sick for several days and went for the hospital for tests, and that’s when she found out she had E. coli poisoning.  

“They saw that I had E. coli … I was sick to my stomach for one week,” she said.

Masso said his restaurant has passed all inspections and he wants to reassure the public that he has addressed the problem and his restaurant is safe. 

“I want to make sure this never happens again,” Masso told CTV News.

“There’s a lady that was hospitalized … like critically ill — that to me is extremely important.”

That’s the risks with raw meat.