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. »

Don’t eat dogs: China finally agrees

China signaled that it is planning to officially ban the eating of dogs after the species was omitted from a list of animals approved for human consumption.

The Ministry of Agriculture published a draft version of the list on Wednesday, which lays out what animals will be allowed to be bred for meat, fur and medical use, and includes species such as deer, ostriches and foxes.

The ministry is seeking public feedback on the draft list until May 8, it said.

In its statement, the ministry specifically noted the omission of dogs, saying that public concern about the issue and a growing awareness of animal protection had contributed to the species being left off.

In the Chinese city of Wuhan, the wet market that spawned the pandemic which has brought the world to its knees now slumbers quietly behind a tidy-looking blue-and-white partition.

The eating of dogs has become an increasingly controversial issue in China as pet ownership has surged. 

It has been further brought to the fore by the coronavirus, which was first identified in patients linked to market in the city of Wuhan where non-traditional animals were sold for food.

Spitting on food, even in UAE, is not cool

Dude, I just said it wasn’t cool to spit in food.

Ruba Haza of The National reports a bakery worker has been tested for the coronavirus after he was caught on camera spitting in the bread he was preparing, police said.

They said the worker was detained after Ajman Municipality and Planning Department received a video from a customer.

The worker was brought to the Al Jarf Police Station and was tested for Covid-19 as a precautionary measure.

The bakery was shut down by the municipality for flouting food hygiene rules.

From the duh files: Spitting on food in a grocery store is not cool

Asher Klein of NBC Boston reports a man who allegedly coughed and spit at a Stop & Shop in Kingston, Massachusetts, before getting into a fight there Saturday afternoon has been taken to a hospital for evaluation and may face charges, police said.

A witness to the incident said the man was coughing and spitting on food at the supermarket. He shared video to Facebook showing two men holding another one down, with one of Stop & Shop’s hazard-spotting robots hovering nearby.

“Some guy at Stop and Shop in Kingston was coughing and spitting on the produce, he didn’t last long. He fought an employee and good customers took him down until the cops arrived,” the witness, Kyle Mann, wrote in the post.

Store officials have discarded potentially affected product and conducted a deep cleaning and sanitizing of all impacted areas, according to the statement. Additionally, the Board of Health has inspected the store and affirmed it is safe for shoppers.

The accused spitter has been told that police are moving to accuse him of crimes that may involve assault and battery and destroying property.

A Pennsylvania grocery store had to throw out tens of thousands of dollars worth of food late last month after a woman walked inside and “proceeded to purposely cough on our fresh produce, and a small section of our bakery, meat case and grocery.”

(And we had a lovely 1-hour of John Prine songs yesterday at my weekly music therapy session, but I forgot this one. As one of my Canadian daughters likes to say, we’ll just put that down as a dementia moment — dp).

John Prine, Who Chronicled the Human Condition in Song, Dies at 73

John Prine, the raspy-voiced country-folk singer whose ingenious lyrics to songs by turns poignant, angry and comic made him a favorite of Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson and others, died Tuesday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. He was 73.

The cause was complications from Covid-19, his family said.

Human-to-cat COVID-19 virus transmission: Belgium

My Guelph (that’s in Canada) friend, hockey buddy and veterinarian, Scott Weese, has done an admirable job of updating the world on pets and coronavirus through his Worms and Germs Blog.

He notes that a cat in Belgium, owned by a person with COVID-19, has tested positive for the virus. The cat developed diarrhea, vomiting and respiratory difficulty about 1 week after the owner got sick, and SARS-CoV-2 was found in the cat’s feces. It’s not clear whether the test used was PCR (which can detected live or dead virus) or virus isolation (which only detects live virus), or if other samples were also tested. It’s also not clear whether the cat was sick because of the infection with SARS-CoV-2 or whether it had some other co-incidental problem (or whether the cat is still alive or not).  They were clear that this is another suspected case of human-to-animal transmission, and not the other way around.

Is this surprising?

Not really. We’ve been saying there’s likely going to be some human-to-pet transmission, and cats have been a concern because they are theoretically a susceptible species based on analysis of the virus and cell receptors.

Is this concerning?

I don’t have any more concern today than I did before this report, since it was likely that this was going to happen, and animals (still) presumably pose very limited risk. An infected cat isn’t a big concern in the household since the person who exposed the cat in the first place is the main risk. This virus is being transmitted very effectively person-person, so animals likely play little role, if any in the grand scheme of things.  But we still want to take basic steps to keep the risk as low as possible.

So, what do we do?

The same thing we’ve been saying all along. If you’re sick, stay away from animals just like you would other people. If you have COVID-19 and have been around your pets, keep your pets inside and away from other people. While the risk of transmission to or from a pet is low, we don’t want an exposed pet tracking this virus out of the household (just like we don’t want an infected person doing that).

This is completely unsurprising. It doesn’t mean things are changing or that we have more risk today than yesterday. It just emphasizes again the importance of paying attention to basic infection control measures.

If you’re worried about getting COVID-19, worry about your human contacts, not your pets. Keep pets away from high risk people, but otherwise, your risk is from exposure to people, not your pet.

Salmonella in poop on produce

Heightened concerns about wildlife on produce farms and possible introduction of pathogens to the food supply have resulted in required actions following intrusion events. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the survival of Salmonella in feces from cattle and various wild animals (feral pigs, waterfowl, deer, and raccoons) in California, Delaware, Florida, and Ohio.

Feces were inoculated with rifampin-resistant Salmonella enterica cocktails that included six serotypes: Typhimurium, Montevideo, Anatum, Javiana, Braenderup, and Newport (104 to 106 CFU/g). Fecal samples were stored at ambient temperature. Populations were enumerated for up to 1 year (364 days) by spread plating onto tryptic soy agar supplemented with rifampin. When no colonies were detected, samples were enriched. Colonies were banked on various sampling days based on availability of serotyping in each state. During the 364-day storage period, Salmonella populations decreased to ≤2.0 log CFU/g by day 84 in pig, waterfowl, and raccoon feces from all states. Salmonella populations in cattle and deer feces were 3.3 to 6.1 log CFU/g on day 336 or 364; however, in Ohio Salmonella was not detected after 120 days. Salmonella serotypes Anatum, Braenderup, and Javiana were the predominant serotypes throughout the storage period in all animal feces and states. Determination of appropriate risk mitigation strategies following animal intrusions can improve our understanding of pathogen survival in animal feces.

Survival of salmonella in various wild animal feces that may contaminate produce, 01 April 2020

Journal of Food Protection

Topalcengiz Z1,2Spanninger PM3Jeamsripong S4,5Persad AK6,7Buchanan RL8Saha J2LeJEUNE J7Jay-Russell MT4,9Kniel KE3Danyluk MD2.

DOI:10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-19-302

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32221570

(Oh, and I have a young lady who comes over every week for musical therapy, and we’ve been going through my greatest hits of the 1960s and 70s, so I just post whatever video I want now. Freedom of the press belongs to whoever owns one.)

Proper handwashing requires proper tools: Alton Brown’s handwashing tutorial is funny, informative, and a little bit gory

Everyone says wash your hands in the wake of Coronavirus.

But proper handwashing requires proper tools.

I go to my local grocery store (when I’m let out of the house, and usually only with a carerer) and the bathroom for the shops has these stupid Dysan machines that just blow microbes around.

I got my job at Kansas State in 2005 because their handwashing thingies just blew stuff around, I wrote something up, they hired me, I did enough work to become full professor, and then they fired me.

Whatever.

Every time there is some weird outbreak at a local school, the first thing I do is check out the bathrooms – that’s right, I’m the creepy guy watching you kids wash their hands – and invariably they have no soap and no paper towel (the later is required for the friction).

Even the 20 seconds is probably overstating things: Can you imagine working in food service and having to wash your hands for 20-30 seconds every time you did something food safety risky?

You can keep imagining because you wouldn’t be working long.

Yes, wash your hands, my daughters have all had this engrained in them, but keep the messaging on a level people might actually follow.

Good Eats host Alton Brown is here to explain it in a 4-plus minute video that illustrates why soap is a solid line of defense against viruses, that demonstrates how to wash every square inch of your mitts, and that wraps up with one of the most surprising endings you’ll see outside of an M. Night Shyamalan flick.

“I’m happy that someone finally wants to talk about handwashing,” he says within the first minute. “I’ve been wanting to do a handwashing video for twenty years, but everybody was like ‘Oh no, hygiene’s boring, do cheese pulls.’ What do you think is going to save us now? Cheese pulls, nanorobots, lasers, hot yoga? I don’t think so.”

We did one 20 years ago.

So yeah, what might give us a shot at getting through… all of this is a bar of soap. (Regular soap, Brown emphasizes, not hand sanitizer. “Not the stuff you’ve been fighting over in drugstore parking lots,” he adds.)

Brown says that he actually travels with his own bar of soap, carrying it with him in a small tin. He also keeps his own zip-sealed bag of paper towels handy, to ensure that he can dry his hands properly too. (So take that, Dyson Airblade!) His handwashing technique takes a full 30 seconds to complete, and he adds a few ticks to the 20-second-minimum wash that has previously been suggested. He goes through a number of steps, for the front and backs of the hands, in-between the fingers, and under the nails. There are a lot of five-counts, but it works. And if that fails to do the job? Well, that’s where Brown’s sense of humor takes a darker turn.

I carry a tip-sensitive digital thermometer wherever I go.

Zoonoses in Minnesota

Prospective, population-based surveillance to systematically ascertain exposures to food production animals or their environments among Minnesota residents with sporadic, domestically acquired, laboratory-confirmed enteric zoonotic pathogen infections was conducted from 2012 through 2016.

Twenty-three percent (n = 1708) of the 7560 enteric disease cases in the study reported an animal agriculture exposure in their incubation period, including 60% (344/571) of Cryptosporidium parvum cases, 28% (934/3391) of Campylobacter cases, 22% (85/383) of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157 cases, 16% (83/521) of non-O157 STEC cases, 10% (253/2575) of non-typhoidal Salmonella enterica cases and 8% (9/119) of Yersinia enterocolitica cases. Living and/or working on a farm accounted for 61% of cases with an agricultural exposure, followed by visiting a private farm (29% of cases) and visiting a public animal agriculture venue (10% of cases). Cattle were the most common animal type in agricultural exposures, reported by 72% of cases.

The estimated cumulative incidence of zoonotic enteric infections for people who live and/or work on farms with food production animals in Minnesota during 2012–2016 was 147 per 10 000 population, vs. 18.5 per 10 000 for other Minnesotans. The burden of enteric zoonoses among people with animal agriculture exposures appears to be far greater than previously appreciated.

Animal agriculture exposures among Minnesota residents with zoonotic enteric infections, 2012-2016, 17 December 2019

Epidemiology and Infection

CA Klumb, JM Scheftel and KE Smith

https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/2F76B12833C41C4F63153CC4315C22F0/S0950268819002309a.pdf/animal_agriculture_exposures_among_minnesota_residents_with_zoonotic_enteric_infections_20122016.pdf

Smoked trout spread sold throughout Quebec likely to contain

I have this weird affliction (among many): Every time a food is involved in an outbreak or recall, I tend to crave that food.

Earlier in March, food safety officials warned the public about a possible health risk in consuming a smoked trout spread sold at several establishments throughout Quebec because it is likely to contain Listeria monocytogenes.

The spread, ‘Tartinade de truite fumee,’ was sold in 160g units and was produced by the National Herring Import Company Ltd. at 9820 Ray-Lawson Boulevard in Montreal. The units had a best before date of April 2, 2020.

The product was packaged in a clear plastic container with a black plastic cover and was refrigerated.

That’s not a trout lunch, this is, which I made yesterday (this not mine, but similar, because I forgot to take a picture).