Oregon food bank recalls chia seeds due to mouse poop

Almost one in seven American households were food insecure in 2012, experiencing difficulty in providing enough food for all their members due to a lack of resources. Food pantries assist a food-insecure population through emergency food provision, but there is a paucity of information on the food safety–related operating procedures that pantries use.

That’s what my friend and former student Ashley Chaifetz wrote in 2015.

The same words are true now.

A few years ago an outbreak linked to a Denver homeless shelter made it into the barfblog new and notable category. Forty folks who depended on the emergency food were affected by violent foodborne illness symptoms after eating donated turkey. Fourteen ambulances showed up and took those most affected to area hospitals.

Last year, while speaking at the Rocky Mountain Food Safety Conference I met one of the EHS folks who conducted the investigation and temperature abuse of the turkey after cooking was identified as the likely contributing factor.

The very folks who need food the most were betrayed by the system they trust.

I can’t imagine how hard it is to be homeless or not have enough money to feed my family. Focusing on safe, nutritious food is moot if the money isn’t available to buy groceries. Or if there’s no home to take them too.

It really sucks when food bank food is recalled.

According to KGW8 News, The Oregon Food Bank of Portland is recalling more than 22,000 pounds of chia seeds over fears that they may contain rodent droppings.

The chia seeds were donated to the food bank and distributed in Oregon and Clark County, Washington between November 1, 2017 and March 9, 2018. They were distributed in one-pound plastic bags with twist-type closure or a re-sealable pouch.

Greed: Two men imprisoned from the horsemeat scandal

This story is a good segue to promote my talk on food fraud at Bug Day on October 17th, 2017 in Winnipeg Manitoba. Bug Day is hosted by Health Sciences Centre in collaboration with the University of Manitoba’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Medicine Program.
Bug Day is Manitoba’s largest healthcare education event and it is held every year during National Infection Prevention & Control Week. 

Lucy Pasha-Robinson of the Independent writes:
Andronicos Sideras, 55, and Ulrik Nielsen, 58, were jailed at Inner London Crown Court for four years and six months and three years and six months respectively.The pair were found guilty of a conspiracy to sell 30 tonnes of horsemeat as beef, most of which entered the food chain. Sideras, one of the owners of meat manufacturer Dinos & Sons, mixed the products together before selling the meat to other firms. Nielsen, the Danish owner of FlexiFoods, bought horsemeat and beef from suppliers across Europe and had it delivered to Dinos in Tottenham, north London.Nielsen’s “right-hand man”, Alex Beech, 44, arranged for the shipments to be transferred and handled the accounting.

Some of the horses acquired for meat were racehorses injected with who knows what posing a myriad of possible chemical food safety concerns to consumers.

The majority of the meat, including some from farm horses not sold for slaughter, made it into the food chain and, while the face value of the fraud was £177,869, police said the true cost had probably run into millions of pounds.
Prosecutor Jonathan Polnay said the scandal had led to a “crisis of confidence” in the food supply chain which hit sales and there were a “very, very large number of victims” in this case.

34 E. coli O157 cases now associated with Oak Leaf Farm in Connecticut

According to a Connecticut Department of Public Health update the confirmed cases of E. coli O157 jumped over the past couple of days.

DPH is investigating 34 confirmed cases of E. coli O157 infection linked to the farm. The patients range in age from 10 months to 45 years, with a median age of five years. The patients include six adults and 28 children 14 years old and under; 18 of the children are age five years or under. In total, nine patients have been hospitalized with four still in the hospital. Three of the hospitalized patients have been diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a rare but serious illness that affects the kidneys and blood clotting system.

A table of animal contact-linked outbreaks can be found here.


Food Safety Talk 93: Does your dog poop outside

Food Safety Talk, a bi-weekly podcast for food safety nerds, by food safety nerds. The podcast is hosted by Ben Chapman and barfblog contributor Don Schaffner, Extension Specialist in Food Science and Professor at Rutgers University. Every two weeks or so, Ben and Don get together virtually and talk for about an hour.

Show notes so you can follow along at home:

International Association for Food Protection

Reconcilable Differences #16: Ancient Bird – Relay FM

Tom Jones (@mmbagelz) | Twitter

Conference for Food Protection

Chipotle may be safer than ever. Seriously!

Health department inspection criteria more likely to be associated with outbreak restaurants in Minnesota. – PubMed – NCBI

Chipotle will close Feb. 8 for company wide meeting on food safety | OregonLive.com

Chipotle Sabotaged by GMO Activists? : snopes.com


Winter’s the Time for Norovirus | North Carolina Health News

Farmers Markets and Food-Borne Illness – The New York Times


farmers markets microbiology – Google Scholar

Air driers suck; just ask local graffiti artists | barfblog

Evaluation of bacterial contaminants found on unused paper towels and possible postcontamination after handwashing: A pilot study – American Journal of Infection Control

Food Dehydrator

R.E.M. – What’s The Frequency, Kenneth? (Official Video) – YouTube

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lemmy | Documentary Film – Cosmos Documentaries | Watch Documentary Films Online

Motörhead – Ace Of Spades – YouTube

MC5 – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

R.E.M. LYRICS – It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

Doggy hardware: Friendly policy questioned after dog bites girl at Australian outlet

Bunnings is the Home Depot of Australia.

I’ve always been a fan of doggy dining, where canines can accompany folks to a restaurant, but only with a bunch of caveats:

  • only outside;
  • management can decide whenever they want to evict a dog; and,
  • the adults involved aren’t entitled douchebags.

bunningsJust days after the popular home improvement chain confirmed that customers were now allowed to take their pooches inside stores, a Melbourne child has allegedly been bitten on the leg.

Five-year-old Madeline Hungerford is recovering at home after an incident at the Bunnings store in Melton yesterday.

“We just don’t think dogs should be there,” Ms Hungerford told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell this morning.

“Bunnings on a Sunday is really busy … It’s just not a good environment for a dog.”

She said the family had been walking through the store when their little girl was set upon.

“We were walking past two little dogs, one was being patted at the time and Madeline tried to pat the other one,” Ms Hungerford said.

But before her little girl could get within patting range, she said, the dog — believed to be a Jack Russell terrier — allegedly bit her on the leg.

“It’s broken the skin just below her knee,” she said.

“She’s got two bite marks that broke the skin, a couple of bite marks around the side and bruising and swelling.”

dogs.playing.poker.velvetIn a cruel twist of fate, Madeline had only just become comfortable around dogs when the incident occurred.

News.com.au revealed on Thursday Bunnings had unveiled a new policy of welcoming pets into stores.

Bunnings operations director Michael Schneider then said that while customers weren’t being encouraged to bring pets inside, “as long as pets are under appropriate control, are not aggressive and do not compromise the safety of our team or customers they are welcome”.

“Our team members have full discretion to deny any pet entry to the store,” he said, adding that assistance animals “have always been and will always be allowed entry into our stores”.

While a majority of readers supported the move in an online poll, some expressed concern.

Your chewing gum is making your dog sick

If Snopes and scientific studies aren’t enough, perhaps reports at the Wall Street Journal, CBS News, and Nature World News can sway you: A sugar substitute found in chewing gum and other everyday food and household items can make dogs sick and even kill them.

sadie.dog.powellVeterinary experts say xylitol—also used in toothpaste, gummy vitamins, some peanut butters, and breath mints—is about 100 times as toxic as milk chocolate to dogs, and it’s being blamed for an uptick in accidental pup poisonings, say animal poison-control centers. The ASPCA’s poison center, for instance, received more than 3,700 xylitol-related calls last year, with nearly a dozen deaths. And a toxicologist from the Pet Poison Helpline says it’s seen a “dramatic increase” in calls related to the sweetener, with only 300 in 2009, but 2,800 so far this year.

The problem xylitol poses for dogs is it causes a sudden surge of insulin after they eat it, which makes blood pressure plummet, possibly resulting in seizures, brain damage, or liver failure. And it takes just a small amount: As little as 50 milligrams of the sweetener per pound of body weight can be toxic, so even one or two pieces of gum can make a small dog ill.


‘Don’t feed the birds’ Canberra’s war on bird poo

About 10 years ago I was in Canberra and got attacked by a bird.

magpie.bicycle.helmetThis is common in Australia, especially in spring. You’ll often see cyclists with pointy things out of their helmets to deter attacks, which may be as effective as tar under the eyes to reflect sunlight (I’m looking at you, Tom Brady).

In 2011 I was attacked by a magpie and punched it in the face (beak).

A tongue-in-cheek video made by the ACT Government and posted to Facebook has already garnered thousands of views.

The video came with a serious message even though it was shot and edited like an Alfred Hitchcock thriller.

tom.brady“It can be really tempting to feed birds but just remember what goes in must come out,” Territory and Municipal Services’ Mal Gale said in the video.

“Human food, like bread, is bad for birds’ digestive systems. They begin to see humans as a food source, which can increase their numbers in urban areas significantly and the chance of disease spreading climbs.

“If you’ve ever been to Trafalgar Square you’ll know what we’re talking about.

“Let’s keep the bush capital beautiful.”

But of course, being government, they only shared it on facebook and I can’t embed it. Put it on youtube.

Know what suppliers do for food safety; poaching on the rise in UK

Last Thursday I spent my morning with some really passionate folks who run emergency food agencies like church food pantries, soup kitchens and transitional homes. These agencies do really important work to help folks in need – especially those who can’t access food.

During the workshop we talked about the risks of receiving food donations from people who want to help but may not be great at food safety. Knowing your suppliers and what they do to address hazards (whether they are commercial producers, well-meaning amateurs, or poachers) is good food safety management.MDH_Deer_4031490_860x466

According to the Western Gazette, meat from poachers in the UK is making it’s way to dinner tables.

Police have asked residents to be on the lookout for meat acquired through illegal poaching and have warned that eating such meat can result in diseases such as Tuberculosis and E.coli.

In an effort to curb illegal poaching, police have joined forces with a number of agencies including South Somerset District Council to combat poaching in the region head on.

The South West Anti-Poaching Group now has agencies working hard together to share information and identify those catch poaching.

The group’s Stop Poaching campaign encourages the public to report poaching and report where the meat is going, where it is being butchered and where it is being sold.

Portfolio holder for environmental health at the district council Carol Goodall said: “The last few years have shown that poaching is not about the lone rural rouge taking one for his larder, there are those who are taking deer, fish and livestock which inevitably end up in the food chain be it via restaurants, hotels or via a meat supplier.

Hard to change culture: Cats and dogs slaughtered at Chinese dog meat festival despite warnings

Thousands of cats and dogs have been slaughtered at the Yulin Festival despite government promises to end the practice, which has been condemned internationally on grounds of animal cruelty.

TPGP12122113Hundreds of traders gathered in China’s southern Guangxi province on Sunday for the annual feast, where dogs are served with lychees to mark the summer solstice.

Amid the slaughter, animal activists arrived with cash, saving hundreds of dogs and cats from certain death.

Local authorities failed to honour pledges to ban the festival following an online petition signed by half a million people.

Actor Ricky Gervais and singer Leona Lewis have denounced the festival, where animals are kept dozens to a cage before being electrocuted, burned and skinned alive.

On Sunday, campaigners blockaded streets, raided slaughterhouses and bought animals in an attempt to save them.

“Workers were blow-torching the carcasses to make them shiny and ready for shipment to restaurants,” said Peter Li, a campaigner for the Humane Society China.


How about possums? Raccoon meat for sale at L.A. supermarket, store under investigation

An Asian supermarket in Temple City has come under fire for selling dead raccoons after a video circulated on social media showed bodies of the animals in the frozen meat section.

racoonChristina Dow posted the video she filmed Monday at Metro Supermarket in the 4800 block of Temple City Boulevard, showing the frozen raccoons in plastic bags along with packages of meat and fish. Dow pleaded with her Facebook followers to share the video.

According to Dow’s Facebook page, she found seven to eight “freshly slaughtered raccoons” inside the supermarket freezer. She noted the dead raccoons were fully intact and the fur bloody.

“Is this right or what?” she says on the video.

The raccoons were apparently sold for $9.99 per pound. One particular raccoon was sold for roughly $54.

An employee at the supermarket told the Los Angeles Times that health inspectors had hauled out their supply of dead raccoons on Tuesday.

The Los Angeles County Public Health Department would not confirm whether it removed the dead raccoons.

But it said the department was investigating.

According to the department, a raccoon would be considered a “game animal” under the California Health and Safety Code and could be sold.

But it could be sold only if it’s from an approved source and is not considered an endangered or threatened animal by the Department of Fish & Game.

The supermarket employee, who declined to give his name, said the owner of the supermarket is avoiding media calls.

Along with selling exotic meats, the 12,000-square-foot Chinese supermarket has its own farm, delivering vegetables and fruit daily, according to its website.