Doug Powell

About Doug Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of barfblog.com, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Download C.V. »

Cat’s in the cream, NZ

About 15 years ago, some Aussie researchers, using motion-activated video cameras, found that however well-behaved cats were during the day, as soon as everyone went to sleep, it was party time, and the cats were everywhere.

In a story about how needles get into food and diagnosed – there’s been lotsa cases in Australia and NZ of late – the fun part is how New Zealand ERS scientists use their food forensics lab to track things down and in one case it was, again, cats (and happy 26th to this kid, who always loved — and sometimes tortured — her cats).

One complaint involving hair came from a milk company, which was continually finding ginger hairs in its on-line filter.

“We identified it as coming from a cat, so you get this image of the cat waiting until night time and jumping into the vat,” said scientist Darren Saunders.

“Literally, the cat that got the cream.”

Campy be difficult to get rid of

Campylobacter as an inhabitant of the poultry gastrointestinal tract has proven to be difficult to reduce with most feed additives. The use of in-feed antibiotics have been taken out of poultry diets due to the negative reactions of consumer along with concerns regarding the generation of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Consequently, interest in alternative feed amendments to antibiotics has grown.

One of these alternatives, prebiotics has been examined as a potential animal and poultry feed additive. Prebiotics are non-digestible ingredients that enhance growth of indigenous gastrointestinal bacteria that elicit metabolic characteristics which are considered beneficial to the host. In addition, these compounds support microbial activities in the gastrointestinal tract that are antagonistic to the establishment of pathogens. There are several carbohydrate polymers that qualify as prebiotics and have been fed to poultry. These include mannoligosaccharides and fructooligosaccharides as the most common ones marketed commercially that have been used as feed supplements in poultry.

More recently several non-digestible oligosaccharides have also been identified as possessing prebiotic properties when implemented as feed supplements. While prebiotics appear to be generally effective in poultry and limit establishment of foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella in the gastrointestinal tract, less is known about their impact on Campylobacter.

This review will focus on the potential of prebiotics to limit establishment of Campylobacter in the poultry gastrointestinal tract and future research directions.

Potential for prebiotics as feed additives to limit foodborne campylobacter establishment in the poultry gastrointestinal tract

Frontiers in Microbiology

Sun A. Kim, Min J. Jang, Seo Y. Kim, Yichao Yang, Hilary O. Pavlidis, and Steven C. Ricke

doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.00091

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2019.00091/abstract

Machines are difficult to clean yet poop emoji soft-serve is all the rage in Tokyo

It was our most popular blog post for years.

Baskin Robbins decided to offer free soft serve ice cream to expectant mothers on May 21, 2008, in California, Chicago, New York, Nashville, and El Paso, Texas. It was apparently the beginning of a national roll-out of soft serve ice cream at Baskin Robbins.

I have no idea why they targeted expectant moms, or why they recruited a pregnant D-list celebrity like Tori Spelling as spokesthingy.

Problem is, soft serve ice cream is on the Australian list of foods pregnant women should avoid. Sanitation with the equipment appears to be an on-going problem.

In 2015, a year after a giant recall of Snoqualmie ice cream tied to Listeria, a third illness was blamed on the bug after it apparently lingered in a machine used to make milkshakes for hospital patients.

Yet in Japan, Poop emoji soft-serve is here to haunt your dreams.

A cafe in Tokyo’s fashionable Harajuku neighborhood is hawking soft-serve that looks like the poop emoji, complete with googly eyes and a toilet-shaped bowl.

Yummy.

Michigan women put heroin in recovery home manager’s food in poisoning attempt

Sarnia is known as the armpit of Ontario, because it’s a chokepoint at the end of Lake Huron and full of oil refineries.

It’s the home of Canadian rockers, Max Webster and nothing else I can think of.

My first wife, the veterinarian with whom I had four beautiful daughters, whomst (I know that’s not a word) have now spawned three grandsons, was from Sarnia.

She would remind me occasionally that she got paid to castrate males of various species.

I slept comfortably for years.

Across the river on the American side is a town called Port Huron.

According to Roberto Acosta of M Live, these two (left) allegedly attempted to poison a recovery home manager by dumping heroin in her dinner.

Officers with the Port Huron Police Department were sent out around 9 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13 to the home in the 1200 block of Lapeer Road where the 38-year-old victim resided with the two women and others.

The victim is the recovery home manager who heard rumors that she was being poisoned by the two clients, police said.

One of the suspects is believed to have placed heroin in the victim’s macaroni and cheese on Friday, Jan. 11. The victim thought the food tasted funny and eventually discarded the meal.

Port Huron road patrol officers and detectives investigated the incident. The victim was treated at McLaren Port Huron and evidence was obtained by police indicating she’d been poisoned.

Shanna Marie Kota, 39, and Sarah Elaine Prange, 22, were later arrested and lodged in the St. Clair County Intervention Center. Both suspects were arraigned Tuesday, Jan. 15 and pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of poisoning, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, and had their bonds set at $100,000 each, according to district court records.

The suspects are scheduled to be back in court later this month for a probable cause conference.

As a side note, when students collect news, we try to get them to verify the geographical location.

When this story came up, it was labelled Missouri.

My second partner spent part of her youth in Missouri. And part in Michigan.

Anyone who has watched the TV show, Ozarks, knows Missouri is its own special kind of place.

The French professor may not know veterinary technique, but it may not matter?

Raw is risky: At least 44 sick in California from Norovirus in raw oysters

The California Department of Public Health has closed Tomales Bay to oyster harvesting due to a norovirus outbreak associated with the oysters.

Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County’s public health officer, said the closure was issued on Jan. 3. and on the following day the state health department issued a recall order on Tomales Bay oysters that had been sold to 34 restaurants by Hog Island Oyster Co., based in Marshall.

“There were 44 confirmed cases of norovirus between Dec. 29 and Jan. 5 across the Bay Area,” Willis said. “Only seven of those 44 cases were Marin cases.”

Willis said there is no concern in this case that the outbreak is related to food handling, cultivation or harvesting practices.

“It’s likely this represents contamination of the water itself,” he said. “The water testing showed high levels of bacterial and viral contamination, which is normal following high rainfall over a long interval.”

Willis said it is unusual for a norovirus outbreak to be linked to oysters. He said there are typically about 20 norovirus outbreaks every year in Marin County, and they usually occur in places where people congregate in close quarters such as schools or nursing homes.

What bullshit.

There are plenty of Norovirus-related raw oyster outbreaks throughout the world weekly.

Maybe not in Marin County, Matt, but globally, yes.

Things lawyers say ‘My owner insulted the inspector’s heritage but at the lower end of the scale’ Brisbane restaurant fined $20K

Health inspectors are poorly paid and take a lot of shit.

Can’t report reality, gotta keep tourism and biz happy regardless of how little they know about food safety.

A Brisbane restaurateur has been fined more than $20,000 after pleading guilty to racially abusing a health inspector who found a “cockroach infestation” in his business.

Ravendra Prasad (right, exactly as shown) said the public should be comfortable eating at his takeaway restaurant, which has remained open since he was charged, as he left the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

Toby Crockford of the Brisbane Times reports the 11 charges against the 64-year-old, who either owns or is involved in three restaurants, stemmed from two inspections in 2017 at his Indian Feast restaurant in St Lucia.

The health inspector found at least six breaches of the food standards code on July 5, 2017, which included a “large number” of live and dead cockroaches and cockroach faeces in the Indian Feast kitchen.

The restaurant’s licence was immediately suspended, resulting in the five-day shutdown, after separate infestations were found behind a dishwasher and freezer.

Brisbane City Council lawyer Roman Micairan said the kitchen was in “a state of uncleanliness” and, in addition to the cockroaches, “food waste and other debris [was] strewn around”.

Mr Micairan said the discovery of the cockroaches led to Mr Prasad becoming upset and insulting the health inspector, which included comments regarding the inspector’s eastern European heritage, telling her to go back  where she came from and questioning whether she could do her job.

During a follow-up inspection on August 18, 2017, the cockroach issue had been rectified, but the inspector found food-processing breaches, including pre-cooked food not be cooled at the correct temperature, increasing the risk of bacterial growth.

Defence lawyer Peter Trout argued Mr Prasad’s insult was “on the lower end of the scale” and his client had been “adamantly remorseful” after lashing out.

Raw and local risky: Milk & Honey sued over salmonella outbreak caused from raw egg use

Guess lots of areas got raw-egg-based problems.

Jason Steen of Scoop Nashville reports that newly filed court documents reveal Milk & Honey served salmonella-tainted ‘short rib gnocchi’ to patrons during August of 2018, causing over 20 patrons to fall ill with salmonella poisoning, and the Metro Health Department to deem it an outbreak.

Between August 3rd and August 15th of 2018, more than 20 patrons of Milk & Honey, a restaurant on 11th Ave S in the Gulch, were diagnosed with salmonella poisoning, according to the Metro Health Department, who formally deemed the incident an ‘outbreak’. Environmental, epidemiological, and lab testing linked the outbreak to the raw egg product furnished to Milk & Honey by a vendor, Gravel Ridge Farms. Specifically, they found the gnocchi was were only being cooked to 130 degrees, well below the required 145 degree required cook-kill temperature.

Documents from the lawsuit and Metro Health reveal:

Milk & Honey purchased unpasteurized raw eggs and/or raw egg product from Gravel Ridge Farms to be used in food prep, as part of their desire to source “local foods”

Milk & Honey used the unpasteurized eggs in a featured menu item: ‘Short Rib Gnocchi’. The gnocchi portion of this dish involves fashioning flour and raw egg yolk into dough, cutting it into pieces, and placed on a pan for freezing.

A plaintiff in the lawsuit dined at Milk & Honey in August of 2018, after which he fell sick with symptoms that found him hospitalized at Centennial Medial Center, which was diagnosed as salmonella poisoning.

At least 20 additional patrons were diagnosed with salmonella poisoning after eating the same dish.

An investigation by the Metro Health Department found a ‘lack of management oversight’ into the preparation of the short rib gnocchi. During their initial interview with the restaurant management, boiling of the raw gnocchi was indicated, however, in a reconstruction of events, it was learned that boiling did not take place in the actual kitchen production of the dish. It was being pan-seared upon each order, instead of boiled.

The Metro Health Department also found a lack of training to be a factor. The employee responsible for the final cooking and preparation of the dish was not unfamiliar with Gnocchi and was not trained on measuring or verifying final cooking temperatures of the raw gnocchi.

Taylor Monen, who is the owner of Milk & Honey, wrote a follow-up letter to Metro Health, which reads, in part:

After your visit on Friday, we felt that our past cook that evening probably did not cook the gnocchi long enough to reach a temperature that would have completely killed this bacteria present in the gnocchi…

I am not certain that I will be keeping it on the menu unless I am able to acquire pasteurized egg product that we can use to make these gnocchi noodles.

During the same email, Monen acknowledges the dangers of using small farms for egg sourcing, and acknowledged safer alternatives were readily available from food suppliers.

The newly filed lawsuit claims seeks claims of negligence in the amount of $575,000.00 &  punitive damages  up to $1,000,000.00.

Les Nessman explains how to talk about continuing leafy green outbreaks

A romaine lettuce task force was organized by the industry in December to help prevent future outbreaks, said Jennifer McEntire, vice president of food safety and technology for the United Fresh Produce Association.

The task force has representation from all types of growing operations from different growing regions, she said.

One primary focus of the task force is preventing outbreaks by looking at root cause analysis, she said.

A table of leafy green-related outbreaks – at least 80 since 1995 – is available here.

But Les Nessman gets to the heart of this political process — in 1978:

500 now sick from Royal Caribbean Norovirus cruise sickness

Hi, my name is Doug.

I’m married and not looking for anything like that.

I like smart women, long walks on the beach (with Ted the Wonder Dog — that’s him about 5:30 a.m. on Yaroomba Beach with me — and Amy and Sorenne, which I’ve been doing the last four days), and have never been on a cruise.

That Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas cruise has now sickened about 500 with Norovirus, up from 277 last week.

All the passengers will be offered a refund as a result of the outbreak, Royal Caribbean has said.

This is an unusual move on the part of Royal Caribbean. Costs for the seven-night Western Caribbean voyage on the Oasis of the Seas start at $626 (£487) per person before taxes and fees for an interior stateroom.

Cruise companies are not under obligation to provide a refund in such situations as this.

“Cruise lines look at this sort of thing on a case by case basis and how disruptive this was to passengers,” Colleen McDaniel, executive editor at Cruise Critic, told Market Watch.

277 sick from Noro: Carribean cruise from hell

CBS News reports one of the world’s biggest cruise ships, Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, is returning to a Florida port a day early and giving passengers full refunds of their fare after 277 guests and crew members were hit with an outbreak of norovirus as it sailed to Jamaica.

Cruise line spokesman Owen Torres told The Associated Press, “We think the right thing to do is get everyone home early rather than have guests worry about their health.”

He says the ship will return to Port Canaveral on Saturday. It sailed from there Sunday on a seven-day Caribbean cruise.

Passengers took to social media on Wednesday, tweeting they were forced to stay onboard after docking in Falmouth, Jamaica, for what was supposed to be a day of excursions.

Torres said returning a day early gives the cruise line “more time to completely clean and sanitize the ship” before it sails again.