Always tragic: Washington state third-grader’s death may be linked to E. coli

Wendy Culverwell of the Tri-City Herald reports a Pasco elementary student has died from apparent complications of E. coli.

Ismael Baeza Soto, 9, died Feb. 11 at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, apparently of kidney failure brought about by E. coli.

The Benton-Franklin Health District is investigating the source of what sickened the boy. So far, it appears to be an isolated case that hasn’t been linked to other investigations, though future testing could change that.

“We have not identified any ongoing public health threats,” said Dr. Amy Person, the public health officer for the Mid-Columbia.

Be serious about B. cereus

Employing advanced genetic-tracing techniques and sharing the data produced in real time could limit the spread of bacteria – Bacillus cereus – which causes foodborne illness, according to researchers. As part of a recent study, researchers at Penn State University implemented whole-genome sequencing of a pathogen-outbreak investigation, following an outbreak of foodborne illnesses in New York in 2016.

“Here, in our study, we use this approach for the first time on Bacillus cereus,” says Jasna Kovac, assistant professor of Food Science at Penn State. “We hope that whole-genome sequencing of Bacillus will be done more often as a result of our research, as it allows us to differentiate between the various species of Bacillus cereus group and project the food-safety risk associated with them.”

The project marks the first time researchers have conducted whole-genome sequencing to investigate a Bacillus cereus outbreak to link isolates from human clinical cases to food. The New York outbreak in 2016 lasted less than a month and stemmed from contaminated refried beans served by a small Mexican restaurant chain.

Although the toxin-producing bacteria are estimated to cause 63,400 foodborne disease cases per year in the US, Bacillus cereus does not receive the attention given to more deadly foodborne pathogens such as Listeria and Salmonella.

Because illness caused by Bacillus cereus typically resolves within days and outbreaks are self-limiting in nature, foodborne illness caused by members of this pathogen group are often under-reported. Although there have been reports of severe infections resulting in sudden patient death, Bacillus cereus group isolates linked to human clinical cases of foodborne disease typically do not undergo whole-genome sequencing, as is becoming the norm for other foodborne pathogens.

In this case, the New York State Department of Health coordinated the epidemiological investigations. The methods included a cohort study, food-preparation review, a food-product traceback, testing of the environment, food and water and an inquiry at a production plant in Pennsylvania that produced the contaminated refried beans. The researchers sequenced the majority of Bacillus cereus isolates, from both food and humans, at the Penn State Genomic Core Facility, which is part of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences.

Food Safety Fairytales: My life is an open book

I’ve always done the open stuff, where I put myself out there for criticism or praise or something else, 5 new chapters added, when people reminded me of things.

Anyone else wanna chip in?

Food safety is simple         Powell

Just cook it                            Powell

BSE                                      Bert

Cyclospora                                                                Ron (??)

Food safety programs ensure food safety                        Chapman

Training ensures safe food                                     Mancini

Five-second rule                                                       Schaffner

Sprouts are a health food                                       Powell

Cold-cuts should be served in aged care             Powell

Cantaloupe is a health food                                   Powell/Chapman

Labels are a meaningful way of communicating             Celia/Powell

Pasteurized products are safe                                Powell

Lettuce and leafy greens are a health food          Powell

Pet food is cooked and safe                                                Hammlet

Petting zoos are fun                                                 Erdozain

Piping hot is a food safety strategy                      Powell

Handwashing                                                           Michele

Celebrity chefs know food safety                          Powell

Raw is safe                                                                Powell

MasterChef sucks at food safety

I blame celebrity cooking shows like MasterChef for the stupid things people do in their kitchens.

Raw egg aioli and mayo is bad enough, and leads to monthly outbreaks of Salmonella across Australia, but to decide that color is a reliable indicator of safety in chicken is stupid beyond belief.

Forget piping hot, forget color, get a thermometer.

I know food safety is 1% of the food discussion, while food porn is the other 99%, but this is just bad advice.

Our job is to provide people with evidence-based info and let them decide.

These people are preaching like a Baptist church.

According to Jamie Downham of The Sun, celebrity chef John, 55, revealed the pink uncooked flesh – which can deliver a devastating dose of salmonella – gagging: “Oh. Can’t eat that.”

Gregg and John were not impressed by Ottilie’s uncooked chicken

Undercooked chicken is often rife with foodborne illnesses that can leave people throwing up and confined to their beds for up to a week.

Viewers quickly dubbed the dish “chicken a la salmonella”, with John telling marketing manager Ottilie: “I think you’ve got to know when to stop. It’s all over the place.”

No where did the story mention using a fucking thermometer to ensure safety.

And these people are making meals for your kids, and they have no clue.

She’s no Churchill: ‘Scrape the mould off’ Theresa May’s unusual advice horrifies Brits

Microganisms are only visible when they are numerous.

I would throw away the entire jam to get rid of the unseen bugs, which number in the trillions.

Theresa May, chief Brexit strategist, PM and armchair microbiologist, shocked the UK by telling a Cabinet meeting Tuesday that she “will not throw away a jar of jam if it has gone mouldy on top”  according to the Daily Mail,

Instead, the newspaper reported, “she scrapes off the mould and eats the good preserve left underneath”.

May considered the rest of the jam to be “perfectly edible”, a Whitehall source told the Mail, and instead of binning food past its best-before date shoppers should “use common sense” to check if it’s edible.

The tip came during a Cabinet discussion on how to reduce food waste.

Social media immediately set about debating on whether this was good food advice, but more importantly, whether it was a metaphor for Brexit.

Nick Miller of The Canberra Times writes, some asked if Brexit was a case of “jam tomorrow.”

As the country lurches towards a potential no-deal Brexit, featuring potential food and medicine shortages, there has been a new focus on making the most of indigenous food supplies.

The UK is Europe’s biggest producer of citrus jams and marmalades, however France is by far the biggest producer of other types of jams and purees, followed by Germany.

If there are significant customs delays then breakfasts across the UK could be disrupted.

It may also be significant that the British government has been simulating the immense traffic jams expected to materialise around its southern ports if there is a no-deal Brexit.

Interestingly, the British government revealed in 2016 that its post-Brexit ‘Food and Drink International Action Plan’ would include a major campaign to sell British jam to Australia.

Asked on Wednesday if May thought people should follow her example, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said it was a “matter for the individual”.

Time magazine reported in 2015 that “when visible mould is present, its tentacles – called ‘threads’ – have likely penetrated deep into your food [unless it’s a hard cheese], contaminating even those parts that appear to be mould-free”.

They added that mould exposure can produce mycotoxins leading to respiratory problems, allergic reactions and even cancer.

However, in 2014, a “mould expert” told the BBC that “the moulds you find on jam are fine – just scrape them off”.

Kansas, you’ll always be special in my heart ‘Bomb threat’ was a warning from man needing to poop at Home Depot, Kansas cops report

Because I met Amy there.

A “polite warning” and some “men’s bathroom humor” at a Home Depot led to a 911 call about a potential bomb threat, according to a report from the Wichita Police Department.

Officers were called to the home improvement store at about 12:15 p.m. Monday for a reported bomb threat, the report states. When police got there, an employee said he was “standing at the urinal” when a man came out of a bathroom stall and said, “Somebody told me there’s a bomb in the building, you need to leave the building,” the report states.

The employee told police that he asked the man to repeat what he said, and that man gave the same statement two more times.

The Wichita Home Depot employee left the restroom and told store security about the warning, and the security guard called 911, police wrote in the report.

A store clerk recognized the man who gave the warning as a “regular customer,” and gave the customer’s name to police.

The officer got a hold of the man on the phone, and he told police “that he had no intention of causing such alarm, and that the comment he said … was meant to be funny,” the report says.

The man reported to police that he was in the bathroom stall when he heard another man announce something along the lines of, “You all need to get out of here because I’m fixin to blow it up.” It is not known who said that, according to the report.

The man said that he and another person laughed because they understood the warning. He said they understood the man “was in a serious need to defecate, and that he was attempting to provide a polite warning to the other patrons of the bathroom,” an officer wrote.

Japan is into some weird shit

Sukhbir Cheema Mashable SE Asia writes the Japanese love for weird shit knows no boundaries.

There’s going to be an exhibition that is set to display shit of all shapes and sizes. But most importantly, that shit is going to be cute. Or kawaii as they say in Japanese.

There’s going to be some fun and interactive shit for people of all ages.

Dubbed the Unko Museum (Unko translates to shit in Japanese), the exhibition will run between March 15 to July 15.

Shit Museum. Yeah…

Visitors would be able to find cute cartoonified shit all over the exhibition. There’s even going to be an “Insta-poop area” where coils of poop adorn the four walls – perfect for those of you who’re into such shit.

Woman eats 50 cherries at one go, experiences “blood-coloured” poop & faints in toilet

Pui Fun of World of Buzz writes that cherries are an amazing fruit that has lots of nutrients but eating too much of it isn’t a good idea either, as proven by this 32-year-old lady in Chongqing, China.

 According to Sina, the lady surnamed Wang was preparing to go to Wuhan for the Chinese New Year celebrations when she received two boxes of fresh cherries from her relatives and friends. Since there would be no one home during the holidays, she decided to wash the cherries and put them in two big bags so that she could eat them during her journey to Wuhan. Source: Health A few days later, Wang experienced severe stomach discomfort after she got off the plane and rushed to the bathroom in the hotel. She was shocked when she discovered that her poop looked “bloody” and red in colour. Her diarrhoea continued and she had to go to the toilet for more than 20 times in one night. At one point, it got so bad that she even fainted in the bathroom. Her family was worried about her and sent her to the hospital the next morning where the doctor quickly ran some tests on her stools. However, when the results came back, the doctor was surprised to see that there were no big issues with her stools.

The doctor suspected that the “bloody stools” that raised the alarm could actually be caused by red pigments in the food that Wang had eaten and began to question her. It was then that Wang recalled she had eaten 3kg of fresh cherries for five days straight and before she got off the plane to Wuhan, she had eaten about 50 cherries in one go.

Food Safety Talk 175: Dodransbicentennial

Don and Ben talk about UK author Nick Hornby (not to be confused with the non-Canadian Bruce Hornsby). Before they get into food safety stuff the discussion goes to the origins of hip-hop, the Beastie Boys book and Ben Folds. Don’s ongoing bit of talking about British TV comes up and then the guys discuss recent food safety talks they’ve given and Ben’s upcoming bridge tour of Athens, GA. The real food safety starts with a conversation on a Fox News host’s handwashing habits and top 10 lists of foods (and their click-bait). The guys also discuss tea water safety, Goop, how to become a process authority and software to manage food safety in restaurants. The episode ends with a phenomenal rap video on vitamins.

This episode is available at or on iTunes.

Show notes so you can follow along at home:

Food Safety Fairytales: We’re putting the band back together but we’re not on a mission from God

I finally spoke to Blaine.

I can now go ahead with the book.

Katija always was the reasonable one, kept me and Chapman on track, especially during our 6 a.m. golf rounds, and was always there to make up for our silliness.

I implored her to do a PhD, but she resisted, and was comfortable with what she did.

Over the past 10 years, when I needed help to get a paper out the door, I would turn to Katija.

She’s seen life’s ups and downs, but has come out confident and better than ever.

Katija and Chapman have been with me for almost 20 years, each. Carol, who worked with me for a bit is also on for editing.

The book I’ve been working on has a tentative title of Food Safety Fairytales.

I was gonna write the whole thing myself, but then I realized my brain and body weren’t up to it, so I called in favors from my friends – sorta like The Band in the Last Waltz (not bad for a couple of Brantford-area boys).

And rather than keep it to ourselves, which is not my style, it will be public all the way (also a good way to hold certain people accountable, including myself).

The titles are all fairytales and will be destroyed by evidence.

But unlike what I told students, 60% content, 40% style, I want this to be 60% style 40 % content; I want it to be a best seller in airports.

Because every time I’m on a plane and someone asks what do I do, and I say food safety, they say, there was this one time, I barfed, and it was horrible. That led to in 2005, now it’s time to do something else.

Chapters, in no particular order:

Food safety is simple                                               Powell

Just cook it                                                                 Powell

BSE                                                                             Bert

Cyclospora                                                                Ron

Food safety programs ensure food safety                        Chapman

Training ensures safe food                                     Mancini

Five-second rule                                                       Schaffner

Sprouts are a health food                                       Powell

Cold-cuts should be served in aged care             Powell

Cantaloupe is a health food                                   Powell/Chapman

Labels are a meaningful way of communicating             Celia/Powell

Pasteurized products are safe                                Powell

I have a lot more, but would rather get one out and then think about the next one

Thank, you, Katija. On we go.