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. »

At least 30 sickened: Multistate outbreak of listeriosis associated with packaged leafy green salads, United States and Canada, 2015-2016

We investigated an outbreak of listeriosis detected by whole-genome multilocus sequence typing and associated with packaged leafy green salads. Nineteen cases were identified in the United States during July 5, 2015–January 31, 2016; isolates from case-patients were closely related (median difference 3 alleles, range 0–16 alleles). Of 16 case-patients interviewed, all reported salad consumption. Of 9 case-patients who recalled brand information, all reported brands processed at a common US facility.

The Public Health Agency of Canada simultaneously investigated 14 cases of listeriosis associated with this outbreak. Isolates from the processing facility, packaged leafy green salads, and 9 case-patients from Canada were closely related to US clinical isolates (median difference 3 alleles, range 0–16 alleles). This investigation led to a recall of packaged leafy green salads made at the processing facility. Additional research is needed to identify best practices and effective policies to reduce the likelihood of Listeria monocytogenes contamination of fresh produce.

CDC

Julie L Self, Amanda Conrad, et al

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/25/8/18-0761_article?deliveryName=DM4960

Authorities investigating hepatitis A outbreak from Chinese salted clams

Authorities have launched an investigation into a hepatitis A breakout.

The City of Busan said nineteen customers at a restaurant have been diagnosed with hepatitis A between mid-June and early-July.

The city suspects the Chinese salted clams from the restaurant may have been the cause of the breakout and are looking into the correlation.

Teens recorded spitting into soda bottles, placing them back in store fridge

The New York Post reports teens from Indiana were recorded spitting into soda bottles, then returning the drinks to a store refrigerator, according to a report.

Video footage of the cringe-worthy incident was posted online and shared by Indianapolis resident Brittney Edwards with the hopes of catching the soda spitters, according to WTHR.

“I don’t know what’s in kids’ minds these days, but that’s not right at all,” Edwards told the station.

What a difference a grade makes

There was this one time in a 4th year cell biology class about a century ago, that I totally chocked on an exam.

Guess I should have guessed I had anxiety issues back then.

I went to the prof the next day and she let me retake the exam and I aced it.

That’s the thing I’ve learned about anxiety which is like playing goalie in ice hockey: sometimes you’re good, sometimes not so much.

Amy and I have a lot of shared values, but I can see that my anxiety is causing issues.

She’s going to a conference in the U.S. for a couple of weeks with the kid, and I’m going to a new rehab place with my trusted psychiatrist, beginning Monday.

For 3 weeks.

I may write a lot.

I may write a little.

I’ve learned not to make predictions.

Can governments use grades to induce businesses to improve their compliance with regulations? Does public disclosure of compliance with food safety regulations matter for restaurants? Ultimately, this depends on whether grades matter for the bottom line. Based on 28 months of data on more than 15,000 restaurants in New York City, this article explores the impact of public restaurant grades on economic activity and public resources using rigorous panel data methods, including fixedeffects models with controls for underlying food safety compliance. Results show that A grades reduce the probability of restaurant closure and increase revenues while increasing sales taxes remitted and decreasing fines relative to B grades. Conversely, C grades increase the probability of restaurant closure and decrease revenues while decreasing sales taxes remitted relative to B grades. These findings suggest that policy makers can incorporate public information into regulations to more strongly incentivize compliance.

Michah W. Rothbart, Amy Ellen Schwartz, Thad D. Calabrese, Zachary Papper, Todor Mijanovich, Rachel Meltzer, Diana Silver

https://doi.org/10.1111/puar.13091

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/puar.13091

Chester restaurant infested with cockroaches

David Holmes of Cheshire Live writes that owners of a popular Indian restaurant have been fined a total of £11,848 for food hygiene offences with live cockroaches seen running up the walls, across the floor and even over the inspectors’ feet.

Chester Foods Ltd trading as Barton Rouge, Granary Wharf, Steam Mill Street, Chester, Kashem Ali Tahid, 52, of Brooklands Road, Manchester and Mohammed Aamir Latif, 43, of Arbour Drive Manchester, the owners of Chester Foods Ltd, were convicted of food safety and hygiene offences at Chester Magistrates Court, on Thursday, July 25.

Regulatory services officers visited Barton Rouge on July 25, 2018, to undertake a routine food hygiene inspection and found evidence of a German cockroach infestation and poor standards of cleanliness throughout the premises.

The level of cockroach activity was such that officers saw live insects run up the walls, across the floor and over their feet when equipment was moved.

E. coli O157, England and Wales

I am fascinated with viruses, and we’re all hosts on a viral planet.

We used whole-genome sequencing to investigate the evolutionary context of an emerging highly pathogenic strain of Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157:H7 in England and Wales.

A timed phylogeny of sublineage IIb revealed that the emerging clone evolved from a STEC O157:H7 stx-negative ancestor ≈10 years ago after acquisition of a bacteriophage encoding Shiga toxin (stx) 2a, which in turn had evolved from a stx2c progenitor ≈20 years ago. Infection with the stx2a clone was a significant risk factor for bloody diarrhea (OR 4.61, 95% CI 2.24–9.48; p<0.001), compared with infection with other strains within sublineage IIb. Clinical symptoms of cases infected with sublineage IIb stx2c and stx-negative clones were comparable, despite the loss of stx2c. Our analysis highlighted the highly dynamic nature of STEC O157:H7 Stx-encoding bacteriophages and revealed the evolutionary history of a highly pathogenic clone emerging within sublineage IIb, a sublineage not previously associated with severe clinical symptoms.

Highly pathogenic clone of shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7, England and Wales, December 2018

Emerging Infectious Diseases vol. 24 no. 12

Lisa Byrne, Timothy Dallman, Natalie Adams, Amy Mikhail, Noel McCarthy, and Claire Jenkins

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/24/12/18-0409_article

E. coli in eastern South Dakota

The South Dakota department of health is investigating several cases of E. coli in northeastern South Dakota.

The cases are in and around the Sisseton area.

According to state epidemiologist Joshua Clayton, some of the symptoms of E-Coli are bloody diarrhea and abdominal pain without any fever.

Those who have symptoms should see their medical provider and get tested. Clayton also said the state is still working to determine the source of the E-Coli.

“At this point, we have not identified a single source that’s causing the illnesses up in the area,” Clayton said. “But we are investigating to identify what might be common among the cases that we know of. The department of health is contacting those individuals and identifying where they may have been the time leading up to their illness.”

UK PHE issues advice to people travelling to Egypt

What terrible writing.

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All travellers had been to the Hurghada region of Egypt. Public Health England’s (PHE’s) scientists are gathering further information to understand the cause of these infections.

E. coli can cause an unpleasant diarrhoeal illness with stomach cramps and occasionally fever. Most people will recover without the need for medical treatment, but younger and older people may go on to develop complications of the infection, leading to kidney failure. This rare condition is called haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), which in very rare circumstances can be fatal.

E. coli is caught through ingesting contaminated food or water.

PHE recommends travellers to the region to: where possible, avoid eating salads and uncooked vegetables;

only eat fruit they can peel avoid unpasteurised milk, cheese and ice cream

avoid food that has been left uncovered in warm environments and exposed to flies ensure all meat is cooked thoroughly before you eat it, avoiding any meat that is pink or cold avoid ice, unless made with filtered or bottled water, and tap water, even when brushing teeth

only drink bottled water or use ice made from bottled/filtered water

wash your hands thoroughly after visiting the toilet, and always before preparing or eating food. Alcohol gel can be helpful (but not entirely effective) when hand washing facilities are not available

when swimming, try and avoid swallowing water where possible and supervise children when swimming.

don’t swim whilst ill

For more information, visit NHS.UK.

16 sick: Farm visits can be risky: E. coli outbreak in Iceland raises worries about infection spreading further

Andie Fontaine of Grapevine writes that 16 children have been diagnosed with E. coli, and concerns have been raised that tourists may spread it further, RÚV reports.

The outbreak is purported to have originated in Efstadal 2, a farm and restaurant near Laugarvatn, after a group of school children visited the place, with some of them contracting E. coli. To be clear: none of the food nor any of the employees tested positive for E. coli. Rather, it is all but certain the bacteria originated from the faecal matter of calves on the farm.

Health authorities have pointed out that there are many rural restaurants in Iceland that are located near farms, prompting a more thorough investigation into stopping the infection’s spread. Further, these locations are visited by many tourists, which could potentially increase the risk of spreading E. coli.