840X greater risk from raw milk and products

Risk comparisons are generally risky.

I avoid them.

But if some folks are going to push a point, expect some push back.

Risk comparisons depend on meals consumed. Not many Americans consume raw milk or raw milk cheese, yet the products are continuously the source of outbreaks.

The following abstract of a paper takes a stab at quantifying the per-meal problem.

Why has no one published about the imagined safety of raw milk products in a scientific journal?

Because it’s another food safety fairytale.

Until credible data is presented, all the naturalist wankers can take the advice of novelist Kurt Vonnegut, “Why don’t you take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut? Why don’t you take a flying fuck at the mooooooooooooon?”

And stop wasting public health resources, assholes.

Outbreak-related disease burden associated with consumption of unpasteurized cow’s milk and cheese, United States, 2009-2014

Emerging Infectious Diseases, vol. 23, no. 6, June 2017, Solenne Costard , Luis Espejo, Huybert Groenendaal, and Francisco J. Zagmutt

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/23/6/15-1603_article
The growing popularity of unpasteurized milk in the United States raises public health concerns. We estimated outbreak-related illnesses and hospitalizations caused by the consumption of cow’s milk and cheese contaminated with Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter spp. using a model relying on publicly available outbreak data. In the United States, outbreaks associated with dairy consumption cause, on average, 760 illnesses/year and 22 hospitalizations/year, mostly from Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp.

Unpasteurized milk, consumed by only 3.2% of the population, and cheese, consumed by only 1.6% of the population, caused 96% of illnesses caused by contaminated dairy products. Unpasteurized dairy products thus cause 840 (95% CrI 611–1,158) times more illnesses and 45 (95% CrI 34–59) times more hospitalizations than pasteurized products. As consumption of unpasteurized dairy products grows, illnesses will increase steadily; a doubling in the consumption of unpasteurized milk or cheese could increase outbreak-related illnesses by 96%.

I loves me my fruit: It may explain my big brain (sic)

Passion fruit and mangoes are enough reason to move to Australia.

Sure, there are American versions, but not like these.


Bret Stetka of Scientific American writes that compared with other mammals, and along with those of a few other notably bright creatures—dolphins, whales and elephants among them—the brain to body-size ratios of monkeys, apes and humans are among the highest.

For decades the prevailing evolutionary explanation for this was increasing social complexity. The so-called “social brain hypothesis” holds that the pressures and nuances of interacting and functioning within a group gradually boosted brain size.

Yet new research suggests otherwise. A study conducted by a team of New York University anthropologists, and published Monday in Nature Ecology & Evolution, reports diet was in all likelihood much more instrumental in driving primate brain evolution. In particular, it appears that we and our primate cousins may owe our big brains to eating fruit.

I love my fruit.

In Guelph, I was the hockey coach who always ate a grapefruit during the game. I still do when I coach in Australia, but more towards the sweeter fruits.

That must be why I’m so smart (not).

Much of the research exploring the social hypothesis has rendered inconsistent results. And as many in the field have noted, a number of oft-cited studies in support of the theory suffer from small sample sizes and flawed design, including out-of-date species classification. The new work is based on a primate sample more than three times larger than that used in prior studies, and one that used a more accurate evolutionary family tree.

In over 140 primate species, the study authors compared brain size with the consumption of fruit, leaves and meat. They also compared it with group size, social organization and mating systems. By looking at factors such as whether or not a particular primate group prefers solitary to pair living or whether they are monogamous, the researchers figured they should theoretically be able to determine if social factors contributed to the evolution of larger brains.

And it appears they could not. Dietary preferences—especially fruit consumption—seems to have been much more influential. The researchers found that fruit-eating species, or frugivores, have significantly larger brains than both omnivores and “foliovores,” those that prefer eating leaves. “These findings call into question the current emphasis on the social brain hypothesis, which suggests larger brains are associated with increased social complexity,” explains Alex DeCasien, a doctoral candidate in anthropology and lead author of the study. “Instead, our results resurrect older ideas about the evolutionary relationship between foraging complexity and brain size.”

 

11 kids sickened: Campy from a dairy farm visit in Sweden

In April–May 2014, an outbreak of campylobacteriosis occurred after a preschool visit to a dairy farm in the South Western part of Sweden. During the visit, a meal, including unpasteurized milk, was served.

A retrospective cohort study using a web-based questionnaire was performed among the participants (n = 30) of the farm visit. A total of 24 of the 30 (80%) cohort members completed the questionnaire. Eleven cases were identified, and Campylobacter jejuni was isolated from eight of them. Seven of the cases were 2- to 7-year-old children. We found the highest attack rates among those who usually drink milk (45%) and those who consumed unpasteurized milk during the farm visit (42%). No cases were unexposed (risk ratio incalculable).

As result of the farm investigation, Campylobacter was isolated from cattle on the farm. Genotyping with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and whole genome sequencing confirmed that human and cattle isolates of C. jejuni belonged to one cluster.

Thus, cattle on the farm are considered the source of infection, and the most likely vehicle of transmission was contaminated unpasteurized milk. We recommend consumption of heat-treated milk only and increased awareness of the risk of consuming unpasteurized milk.

Foodborne Pathogens and Disease, March 2017, Lahti Elina, Rehn Moa, Ockborn Gunilla, Hansson Ingrid, Ågren Joakim, Engvall Eva Olsson, and Jernberg Cecilia, ahead of print. doi:10.1089/fpd.2016.2257.

http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/fpd.2016.2257

A table of petting zoo outbreaks is available at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Petting-Zoo-Outbreaks-Table-4-8-14.xlsx.

Best practices for planning events encouraging human-animal interactions

Zoonoses and Public Health 62:90-99, 2015

G. Erdozain , K. KuKanich , B. Chapman  and D. Powell

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/zph.12117/abstract?deniedAccess

Educational events encouraging human–animal interaction include the risk of zoonotic disease transmission. It is estimated that 14% of all disease in the US caused by Campylobacter spp., Cryptosporidium spp., Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157, non-O157 STECs, Listeria monocytogenes, nontyphoidal Salmonella enterica and Yersinia enterocolitica were attributable to animal contact. This article reviews best practices for organizing events where human–animal interactions are encouraged, with the objective of lowering the risk of zoonotic disease transmission.

 

 

6 sick with Campy linked to raw milk in UK

Six cases of campylobacter have so far been linked to people consuming unpasteurised milk from Low Sizergh Barn Farm in Kendal.

low-sizergh-barn-farm-in-kendalSouth Lakeland Council said it had launched a joint investigation with the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The farm said it was co-operating with the inquiry and had suspended sales of raw milk from a vending machine.

Public Health England (PHE) also asked anyone who had bought raw milk from the farm or visited its tearoom in the past two months to complete an online questionnaire.

The farm, which began offering unpasteurised milk from its vending machine in March, sells about 70 litres a day.

In August the farm won a National Trust fine farm produce award for its unpasteurised milk.

2 dead, 14 sick from Salmonella in Germany

Joe Whitworth of Food Navigator reports Germany has seen a significant increase in Salmonella Stourbridge infection that has not been identified but a past outbreak was linked to unpasteurized goat cheese.

The first case was in July and the most recent had disease onset in late October.

Nine of the 13 cases with available information have been hospitalised and two males have died.

Campy cases linked to raw milk dairy in Ohio

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is issuing a health alert for unpasteurized raw milk and raw milk products from Sweet Grass Dairy’s herd share, due to contamination with Campylobacter. Sweet Grass Dairy is located in Knox County at 6049 Bryant Rd., Fredericktown, OH 43019.

sweet-grass-dairyThis alert is the result of an investigation by ODA and the Ohio Department of Health after foodborne illnesses were reported in Franklin County. Later testing confirmed a connection between the illnesses and raw milk from Sweet Grass Dairy.

Brucella Free Villages: India says raw (milk) is risky

Neetu Chandra Sharma of DNA India reports the government has geared up following new outbreaks down South India. In a bid to curb cases of Brucellosis, a bacterial disease affecting cattle like cow and buffalo and causing undulant fever in humans, Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology has come up with a pilot project called “Brucella Free Villages”.

brucellosis-cattle-indiaBrucellosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria belonging to the genus Brucella. Brucellosis is also an important zoonotic disease of worldwide importance; people acquire the infection by consuming unpasteurized milk and other dairy products, and by coming in contact with the contaminated animal secretions and tissues.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), brucellosis is transmitted to humans from animals through direct contact with infected materials like afterbirth or indirectly by ingestion of animal products and by inhalation of airborne agents. Consumption of raw milk and cheese made from raw milk is the major source of infection in humans.

In humans, brucellosis can cause range of symptoms that are similar to the flu and may include fever, sweats, headache, back pain and physical weakness. Severe infections of the central nervous system or lining of the heart may also occur.

Doctors say that often brucellosis is diagnosed after ruling out all other fevers such as those caused by malaria, typhoid, dengue etc. Therefore, the disease is under reported and many medical professionals are not even aware of the problem. It is estimated that the disease causes economic losses of about Rs 28,000 crores.

“There is an urgent need for addressing this important issue of not only livestock health and production, but also public health. India is the world’s largest milk producer and hosts around 20 per cent of the world’s livestock population,” said Sudarshan Bhagat, Minister of State, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.

Raw (milk) is risky: Scotch and a smoke for your 5-year-old?

In April 1986, three classes of kindergarten and pre-K schoolchildren visited a dairy farm near Sarnia, Ontario (that’s in Canada, although it feels like grungy U.S.).

colbert-raw_-milk_1As recounted by David Waltner-Toews in his 1992 book, Food, Sex and Salmonella, “It was a typical Ontario farm, with 67 cows and calves, some chickens, some pigs, all well-cared for an clean, and seemed the perfect place to take a class of preschoolers. In April of 1986, 62 pre-school children and 12 supervising adults visited this farm. They played in the barn, petted the calves, pulled at the cows’ teats, and gathered a few eggs. For a break, they drank milk (right from the farmer’s tank!) and ate egg cookies (sliced hard-boiled eggs cleverly renamed to induce children to eat them). A good time was had by all.

“Within the next two weeks, 42 children and four adults came down with abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Three of the children ended up in the hospital with hemolytic uremic syndrome. One of the children fell into a coma. All eventually recovered. The bacterium blamed for these misfortunes called verotoxin-producing E. coli, or VTEC.

“Public health investigators looked everywhere on the farm. Although they found only two calves carrying the organism, they decided that exposure to the unpasteurized milk was the most plausible explanation for what they saw. And yet the farm family, which drank that milk every day, was apparently healthy and not shedding VTEC.”

The public health version states that “after extensive sampling at the farm the only samples that were positive for E. coil O157:H7 were stool samples taken from two calves at the dairy farm. Agriculture Canada veterinarians collected the animal stool samples and also checked the herd for Brucellosis.

“To control the spread of the E. coil the three classes were closed at the school for about three, weeks. All the affected children and their families were restricted in their contact with the community until the affected family member(s) has three successive negative stool samples. These restrictions imposed by the Lambton Health Unit quickly controlled the spread of the E. coll. Thus by mid-June all families were negative for E, coli and by mid-July the three children with HUS had returned home from the hospital.”

This outbreak was noteworthy in that dairy farms in Ontario stopped serving raw milk to visiting school children.

As one of my many dairy farmer friends have told me, when the schools visit, we go to town and buy some (pasteurized) milk.

Thirty years later and the same nonsense is still being debated, in Tasmania (that’s in Australia).

Rhiana Whitson of ABC News reported earlier this month a Tasmanian farmer who demonstrates milking cows to children, giving them a “squirt” from the udder, has fallen foul of health authorities who have warned he is at risk of losing his business if he does not stop.

huon-valley-caravan-park-aRowen Carter (left, exactly as shown) runs the Huon Valley Caravan Park, south of Hobart, which he said is “more than just a caravan park, we are a self-sufficient working farm that wants to teach people where real food comes from.”

Maybe Rowen should teach microbiology and Louis Pasteur.

Carter offers paying guests homemade Persian fetta made with raw milk, as well as a taste of raw cow’s milk straight from the udder’s teat.

“I squirt it in their mouth and then afterwards I appear with some plastic cups and show them the more couth way of tasting the fresh milk … everybody is amazed at how sweet and how nice it is,” Mr Carter said.

But his attempt to provide guests with an “old-fashioned farm experience” has landed him in trouble with the Tasmanian Dairy Industry Authority (TDIA).

Mr Carter denied selling raw milk and insisted his guests freely choose to sample it.

“It’s been taken away from us, the right to choose,” he said.

“I think people should be allowed to taste it … they don’t have to taste it, it’s their choice and it’s their choice to let their children have a taste.”

The sale of unpasteurised milk products for human consumption is illegal in Australia, however the use of raw milk in various products has continued with some arguing the risks have been overstated.

smoke-pancake-austinHealth authorities and experts have warned raw milk poses a health risk, especially to children. A boy died in 2014 after drinking raw milk, marketed as bath milk, labelled as being for “cosmetic use only”.

Mr Carter said the tasting of the milk straight from the cow was a “highlight of the day” for guests.

“There is always the question ‘can we do the milk squirting again tomorrow?’

“Now we have to tell them because it is deemed we are selling the milk, squirting is now no longer.

“How can something that brings so much joy be so wrong?”

Search raw milk on barfblog.com and find out how wrong it can be.

In a facebook post, Carter wrote, “I can legally allow you to sit at my dining room table and offer you a can of coke and a cigarette but I am unable to offer you a glass of fresh (raw) milk and a scone with clotted cream according to Tasmanian Dairy Industry Authority acting chairman Mark Sayer.”

Raw milk and other weird parental dietary preferences disproportionally affect the kids.

It’s always the kids.

Mr. Carter, drink all the raw milk you like, I don’t care, I provide information.

But as parents, we generally don’t have a scotch and a smoke with 5-year-olds.

And stop with the squirting references, especially around kids: it’s  just weird.

It’s still 1978 here in Australia; or 1803 in Tasmania.

Raw cheese firm faces the bugs: Drops legal action over E. coli investigation

After all the posturing and posing, Humphrey Errington, founder of Errington Cheese, now says he is no longer seeking a judicial review of the Food Standards Scotland’s (FSS) decision to impose a blanket ban on all his products after finding strains of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli.

dunsyre-blue-cheeseA child died after contracting the illness, which affected a total of 20 people in July this year. Food Standards Scotland (FSS) said Dunsyre Blue, made by Errington Cheese, was the “most likely cause”.

Mr Errington said the firm had also been offered a meeting with FSS to resolve their differences. “We have accepted that,” he said.

“It’s a major ‘back off’ off from them,” he added. “It’s a big, big step but it’s far from getting us back in the market. Our aim is get them to see that our cheese is not a risk to health.”

Pasteurization works.

Mr Errington always claimed there was “no evidence” linking its cheese to the outbreak and it accused the FSS of opposing the production of unpasteurised milk cheese.

After the legal challenge to the order was dropped, the watchdog confirmed it had issued a revised order in relation to Errington Cheese products. It stressed that the full product withdrawal remains in place as the cheeses are “regarded as a risk to health”.

A statement from the company said: “Errington Cheese Limited embarked upon a judicial review against Food Standards Scotland for two main reasons.

“Firstly, because we were clear that it was unlawful for FSS to have ordered the destruction of our cheeses on September 14 and secondly because we believed it was incumbent as a matter of fairness for FSS to share the evidence which they have been relying on with us.

“We are pleased to report that it has now been recognised that the destruction of our cheese was unwarranted and unnecessary and that FSS has finally started to share the evidence which they possess with us.”

In a statement, Food Standards Scotland confirmed that samples taken from different batches of different cheeses tested positive for E. coli O157 and for other strains of the bacteria.

FSS chief executive Geoff Ogle said: “This outbreak led to one fatality and 11 people being hospitalised. This was a major food incident where there was a significant risk to public health, with a tragic outcome. We have therefore decided to release the three versions of our risk assessment, each undertaken as new information became available, as well as our final risk management decision document.”

In a food safety information vacuum, anyone can say anything.

I understand there are uncertainties, legal implications, and a general fear that people don’t understand science, but if a regulator is going to shut down a business they need to make their case publicly – or others will do it for them (and they won’t like the result).

It’s a messy, modern world for regulators, but they, like scientists and everyone else, must be prepared to be held legally, politically and publicly accountable for their actions.

War is just a tweet away.

Everyone must be held accountable.

The actions described below should be incorporated into routine public health policy.

And by going public, the company backed off its ridiculous claims.

Geoff Ogle said a few days ago,, “Given the understandable level of interest and press coverage regarding the E. coli O157 outbreak linked to products from Errington Cheese Ltd, FSS has taken the decision that it is in the public interest to publish the information that we have used to inform our decision-making with regards to this incident.

“This outbreak led to one fatality and 11 people being hospitalised. This was a major food incident where there was a significant risk to public health, with a tragic outcome.

“We have therefore decided to release the , each undertaken as new information became available, as well as our final risk management decision document. Of particular relevance is the summary of the circumstances and information available to us at 14 September when FSS decided to undertake a full recall of all Errington Cheese Ltd products. The risk management document of 8 November 2016 sets out our conclusions at paragraphs 15-18 based on the risk assessments we have undertaken.

“I have seen a number of comments today and over the past weeks about this incident which FSS does not recognise nor accept. Reference to recent legal actions should not be about claiming any sort of victory given the consequences of the E. coli O157 outbreak. There is nothing to celebrate and this was never a vendetta against the rights to make, sell and consume cheese made from raw milk, nor against Errington Cheese Ltd. Given all that has happened it is sad to see this being portrayed as such in some quarters.

“Finally, I want to put on record my thanks to all FSS staff involved, and to our partner organisations who have supported our endeavours in managing this incident for their magnificent efforts. Their entire focus has been on protecting public health and making the right decisions based on the evidence we had. Scotland is fortunate to have such dedicated public servants.”

Go public.

War is just a tweet away.

Blessed are the cheese-makers: Storm parliament in NZ

A small-scale cheese maker is hauling her raw milk cheese to Parliament.

florida-swampKatikati’s Mount Eliza Cheese owner Jill Whalley says New Zealand artisan producers of raw milk cheese find high compliance costs crippling – about $60 a kilo.

That makes European products cheaper to import and it’s not fair, she says.

The Food and Safety Reform Bill is currently under consideration by a select committee.

“We want a level playing field,” says Whalley.

She believes it’s prohibitive to a thriving artisan cheese industry.

“If they took the same approach to road safety as they do to food safety, we would all have to drive at three miles per hour, with a person in front waving a red flag.”

Whalley argues pastuerisation destroys the milk’s good bacteria which protects the cheese from harmful bacteria.

Small cheese makers have greater control over hygiene and other variables and can prevent it from happening, Whalley says.

I also have some land in Florida you may want buy.