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. »

Tourist infected by brain-invading parasite after eating slug on a dare in Hawaii

If people dare you to eat a slug, don’t.

It could turn out quite badly.

I try not to be prescribtive and just tell people about risks and let them make their own decisions, but in this case, don’t eat slugs (those are slugs going after my basil in Kansas, below).

Health officials in Hawaii are warning residents and visitors to avoid slugs, snails, and rats after the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) found that three travellers visiting the state were recently infected with rat lungworm disease. One visitor got the disease because the individual ate a slug.

The notice, issued late last month, warns people to inspect produce and wash fruit and vegetables that could have small slugs or snails. These gastropods get the rat lungworm parasite (also known as an Angiostrongylus Infection) by eating rat faeces, and rats eat the infected slugs and snails, forming a continuous vile circle. Sometimes, humans get looped in by eating an uncooked snail. Once the parasite has infected a host, it can move to the brain and cause a type of meningitis, and eventually lead to death. There is not a treatment for rat lungworm disease, according to the CDC.

The recent Hawaii health department notice states that it does inform travellers visiting Hawaii about the disease through signage, but acknowledges it needs to do better. “We recognise that there is more work to be done in educating residents and visitors and making sure they know how to prevent the spread of this disease,” the notice reads.

E. coli found in Icelandic meat

Keeping with all things Icelandic, E. coli was found in 30% of lamb samples and 11.5% of beef samples in a test carried out by the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST). The particular strain discovered is known as STEC, or shiga-toxin producing E. coli. This is the first time lamb and beef have been screened for STEC in Iceland.

The testing was carried out on around 600 samples of lamb, beef, pork, and chicken of both Icelandic and foreign origin between March and December 2018. The purpose of the testing was to determine the prevalence of pathogenic micro-organisms in products when they reach the consumer, and for this reason the samples were taken from shops.

Campylobacter and salmonella were not detected in pork or chicken samples, with the exception of a single sample of pork from Spain. MAST attributes this to improved preventative measures in slaughterhouses.

MAST points to several ways consumers can reduce the risk of infection from salmonella, campylobacter, and E. coli, including cooking meat all the way through and taking care to avoid cross-contamination. Most E. coli is found on the surface of meat, and therefore is killed by frying or grilling, but when meat is ground, the bacteria is distributed throughout. Therefore, hamburgers and other types of ground meat should be cooked through.

But what does that mean?

Use a tip-sensitive digital thermometer.

100 sick: Ice-maker in Iceland: stops sales to suppliers

E. coli was found in a water pool that is close to the infected area on Askøy. Nearly 100 primary school students have been sick Friday, and several have been admitted to hospital.

Later on Friday, Haukeland Hospital reported that it is campylobacter bacteria that cause intestinal infection, which has been detected in admitted from Askøy. Campylobacter is a bacterium that E-coli often finds along with.

Isbjørn Is has used the water in the municipality both in the products and for cleaning equipment. Kolseth explains that all the products in which it enters water are heat treated – so that no pathogenic bacteria can survive. However, they use lower temperature water for rinsing and cleaning parts and smaller equipment.

– This means that there can potentially be poor quality water on parts of our equipment when production starts. We have to have full control of this, says Kolseth.

Everyone’s got a camera: Burger King employee mopping tables edition

 A restaurant employee was caught on camera cleaning tables with a mop.

A customer recorded the video at a Burger King restaurant on Thursday night.

“It was disgusting, honestly. I had just ate on that table. Did you do this yesterday? Do you do this every night? Did you do this, this morning?” the customer asked.

Katie Duran recorded the video, and now, she has questions for the restaurant.

After sending the video to Burger King’s corporate office, she received this response:

“Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention, and rest assure that your comments have been forwarded to the appropriate management team.”

News4Jax looked into the restaurant’s inspection report with the state and found seven basic violations and one intermediate violation. The violations included vents in the kitchen containing mold and the interior of the freezer soiled with food residue.

E. coli: Kentucky teen is back in the game after life-threatening illness

Sixteen-year-old Anna Rexford is, according to this story, a winner. Not only is she the goalkeeper for the two-time state champions West Jessamine High School girls’ soccer team, Anna was named MVP for the tournament two years in a row. After her first season at West Jessamine, she committed to playing for University of Cincinnati and is a contender to play in the Allstate All-America Cup this summer. Clearly, Anna is at the top of her game. But just three short years ago, a harrowing illness made her future uncertain.

Anna Rexford on June 7, 2019. Photo by Mark Cornelison | UKphoto

In July 2016, Anna and her mother Tracy went on a week-long mission trip to Haiti. Tracy is a nurse, and the two spent the week doing health screenings and nutrition programs for children. Anna played with the local children nonstop during that week, challenging them to soccer and leading them in games.

“She gave 110 percent,” said Tracy. “She was always with the kids, playing and giving her whole heart to them.”

Within hours of returning home to Wilmore, Anna began to feel unwell. She had pounding headache and her whole body hurt. Her mother took her temperature. It was a staggering 106.8 degrees.

“I knew, as a nurse, that was almost incompatible with life and that we needed to get help,” said Tracy.

Anna was admitted to Kentucky Children’s Hospital and diagnosed with a rare case of four different strands of E.coli, two of which were toxic. She was showing signs of sepsis, a bacterial infection of the blood, as well as organ failure.

“There was one particular night where I didn’t think she would make it,” said Tracy. “There were some confusing times, questioning God, “‘God, you called a 14-year-old passionate Christian to go and serve, and you want to end it like this? You want to end it where she dies?'”

Hey kids, who wants rocks in their wraps?

CBS  reports that frozen breakfast wraps are being recalled because there might be small rocks in the bacon.

Ruiz Food Products is recalling more than 246,000 pounds of frozen egg, potato, bacon and cheese wraps because the bacon may be contaminated with small rocks, according to the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service.

The recall affects the following products:

8-Pack family size film packages containing “EL MONTEREY EGG, POTATO, BACON & CHEESE SAUCE BREAKFAST WRAPS” with “Best if Used By” dates of 01/17/2020 and 01/18/2020 and lot codes 19017 and 19018.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 17523A” on the back of the package.

Ruiz Foods received three consumer complaints about foreign material in the wraps. The company also received a report of a potential injury from eating the product.

FYI, those wraps sound disgusting, without the rocks.

California man dies at Dominican Republic resort after drinking scotch from minibar, niece says

Lisa Fernandez of Fox 10 writes that another American tourist has died in the Dominican Republic: The latest casualty is a California man who fell critically ill at an all-inclusive resort about a month before three others died in their rooms, Fox News has learned.

In all, six U.S. tourists have died in recent months while vacationing in the Dominican Republic – a trend that the FBI is now investigating. 

Robert “Bob” Bell Wallace, 67, of Modesto, and who grew up in Redwood City, became sick almost immediately after he had a scotch from the room minibar at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino resort in Punta Cana in April, his niece, Chloe Arnold, told Fox News on Sunday. He was in the Dominican Republic to attend his stepson’s wedding. He is survived by his wife, Beverly Tickenoff Wallace, according to his obituary. The two had three children between each other. 

Punta Cana is a town at the easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic and touches the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The spot is known for its beaches and lavish resorts. 

Norovirus strains don’t all look alike

Leemor Joshua-Tor of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute writes a new structural analysis of four norovirus strains reveals that the virus’s shell varies in size and molecular arrangement – a surprise finding that could help scientists developing vaccines. 

The discovery, reported June 10, 2019, in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, overturns nearly two decades of conventional wisdom about norovirus. Until now, the only structural data about the virus that scientists had came from a single, not particularly prevalent, strain.

“Everyone thought that all the strains would look about the same – like the one that was solved 20 years ago,” says Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator Leemor Joshua-Tor. “It turns out that they don’t!”

Joshua-Tor’s team used a microscopy technique called cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to visualize the shells of four viral strains, including one responsible for up to roughly 80 percent of norovirus outbreaks. That strain was 71 percent larger (by volume) than the one previously reported. Its shell was also decorated with a different pattern of molecular spikes.

Those structural details will be crucial for scientists working on vaccines or antiviral therapies to treat norovirus infection, says Joshua-Tor, a structural biologist at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL). Though norovirus causes about 21 million cases of foodborne illness in the United States every year, there are currently no approved therapies.

At least one vaccine candidate is working its way through clinical trials now. But CSHL study coauthor James Jung says scientists will need to take the virus’s newfound variation into account – so any new vaccine protects against a broad array of strains.

Fancy food ain’t safe food: Three Brit kids hospitalized after sickness bug outbreak at 5-star Menorca hotel

Charlotte Nisbet and Neil Murphy of the Mirror write that three British children have been hospitalised after a ‘frightening sickness bug’ outbreak at a five-star resort.

Louise Hunter, of St Helens, Merseyside, booked a family holiday to Insotel Punta Prima Resort & Spa, Menorca, Spain, with her husband Steven, 44, and their children Rosie, four, and Sarah, two.

Their trip quickly turned ‘hellish’ when Sarah woke in the early hours of the Sunday morning, May 3, having spent just one full day at the resort.

Louise, 36, says the toddler ‘projectile vomited in her sleep’ before both children became unwell with diarrhoea.

She claims both her children were later taken to a local hospital and given intravenous fluids and medication.

They consulted holiday illness compensation lawyers Hudgell Solicitors on their return after spending £2,000 on their all-inclusive holiday.

The legal specialists are now working with another family who have claimed they suffered a similar ordeal.

Jade Fulbrook, 33, booked her husband Dave and their family, a break for £2,800 between May 6 and 13 with their children, Zachary, 12, Buddy, six, Oscar 10 and three-year-old Bella, from Dorset.

Jade claims both herself and Oscar were hospitalised with acute gastroenteritis and dehydration after contracting a sickness bug at the resort.

The cause of the sickness bug is unknown, but solicitors are now investigating.

A TUI UK spokesperson said: “We are very sorry to hear of these customers’ experiences on their holiday. As this is now a legal matter, it would be inappropriate to comment further.

“We’d like to reassure customers that we regularly audit all of our hotels in respect of health and safety, including hygiene.”