Food Safety Talk 199: Possum Droppers

Don and Ben start the episode talking about kimchi fermentation and all the cabbage that needed to be washed and salted. The conversation went towards collaborations with fun people that might seem a bit unnatural to outsiders. The guys talk about a few outbreaks including two pathogenic E. coli ones linked to Romaine lettuce and Hep A in blackberries. They then do some listener feedback on foreign objects, bad cleaning and sanitizing machines and chitterlings. Also, bacteria is everywhere.

Food safety recalls are always either too early or too late. If you’re right, it’s always too late. If you’re wrong, it’s always too early.
– Dr. Paul Mead

Food Safety Talk 199: Possum Droppers can be found on iTunes, Overcast or at foodsafetytalk.com

Show notes so you can follow along at home:

Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli survives storage in wheat flour for two years

Wheat flour has recently been recognised as an exposure vehicle for the foodborne pathogen Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC). Wheat flour milled on two sequential production days in October 2016, and implicated in a Canada wide outbreak of STEC O121:H19, was analysed for the presence of STEC in November 2018.

Stored in sealed containers at ambient temperature, the water activity of individual flour samples was below 0.5 at 6 months post-milling and remained static or decreased slightly in individual samples during 18 months of additional storage. STEC O121 was isolated, with the same genotype (stx2a, eae, hlyA) and core genome multilocus sequence type as previous flour and clinical isolates associated with the outbreak. The result of this analysis demonstrates the potential for STEC to persist in wheat flour at levels associated with outbreak infections for periods of up to two years. This has implications for the potential for STEC to survive in other foods with low water activity.

Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli survives storage in wheat flour for two years

Food Microbiology

AlexanderGill1TanisMcMahon1ForestDussault2NicholasPetronella2

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fm.2019.103380

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0740002019309906

Muffins? They made me barf when I was a kid and wouldn’t eat them for 20 years

This study was conducted to validate a simulated commercial baking process for plain muffins against E. coli O121 (isolated from the recent illness outbreak associated with flour), and compare the thermal inactivation parameters (D- and z-values) of cocktails of four isolates of E. coli O121 and three serovars of Salmonella (Newport, Typhimurium, and Senftenberg) in muffin batter.

Flour samples were spray inoculated with the E. coli O121 or Salmonella cocktails, dried back to the pre-inoculation weight to achieve ~7 log10 CFU/g, and used to prepare muffin batter. For the muffin baking validation study using E.coli O121, muffin batter was baked at 375 °F (190.6 °C) oven temperature for 21 min followed by 30 min of ambient cooling. The E. coli O121 population decreased by >7 log10 CFU/g in muffins by 17 min of baking, and was completely eradicated after 21 min of baking and ambient cooling. The D-values of E. coli O121 and Salmonella cocktails in muffin batter at 60, 65 and 70 °C were 42.0 and 38.4, 7.5 and 7.2, and 0.4 and 0.5 min, respectively; whereas the z-values of E. coli O121 and Salmonella were 5.0 and 5.2 °C, respectively.

Comparison of survival and heat resistance of Escherichia coli O121 and salmonella in muffins

International Journal of Food Microbiology

MintoMichaelaJenniferAcuffbKeylaLopezbDanielVegabRandallPhebusbHarshavardhanThippareddicLakshmikantha H.Channaiahd

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2019.108422

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0168160519303538

 

As romaine problems continue, US FDA takes closer look

Chris Koger of The Packer writes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will be collecting romaine samples in California and Arizona for a year to test for salmonella and E. coli following several foodborne outbreaks linked to the lettuce.

The new program begins this month, according to the FDA, citing two E. coli outbreaks in 2018 linked to romaine, and another one in October that was suspected to be from the leafy green. In its notice on the surveillance program, the FDA also cited a 2012 Salmonella Newport outbreak from romaine.

“Consistent with the FDA’s mission to protect consumers, if one of the target pathogens is detected as a result of this assignment, the agency will perform whole genome sequencing of the microorganism’s DNA to determine its virulence and whether it is genetically related to isolates causing human illness,” according to the notice.

 All samples will be tested before processing to allow the FDA to quickly find the point of origin, which has been problematic in recent outbreaks as public and federal health agencies traced lettuce through the supply chain. In part, traceability hurdles have led to the FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety program, which tasks the industry with enhancing traceability methods and technology.

Trimmed and washed lettuce will be tested, but not fresh-cut lettuce, and no lettuce at the farm-level will be involved in the surveillance program.

Samples will be targeted at facilities and farms identified in the outbreaks starting in 2017, including wholesalers, foodservice distribution centers, and commercial cooling and cold storage facilities, according to the FDA notice.

Lettuce continues to be overrated: 7 sick in Maryland from E. coli linked to pre-packaged salad

The Maryland Department of Health says seven confirmed cases of E. coli infections have been linked to pre-packaged Caesar salads.

According to the department of health, the infections were identified in people who’d eaten Ready Pac Bistro Bowl Chicken Caesar Salad purchased at Sam’s Club stores in Maryland.

One person was hospitalized as a result of the E. coli O157 infection.

No deaths have been linked to it.

And there aren’t enough bagpipes and mandolins in rock.

Udder Delights in Australia recalling cheese after E. coli found

Some of its most popular cheeses, including its 200g camembert and brie are being recalled. Dixie Sulda and Jessica Galletly of Adelaide Now report the SA company said there was no evidence the form of E.coli found was dangerous but it was recalling them as a precaution.

The cheeses are available from Coles and independent retailers in SA, Queensland, Victoria and WA. In NSW they also sell at Woolies and in Tasmania they are sold at independent retailers.

Udder Delights chef executive Sheree Sullivan said the team was “devastated” after small levels of the bacteria were found in some of the company’s white mould 200g cheeses.

“It is with a very heavy heart that Udder Delights is doing its first voluntary recall since we began 20 years ago,” Ms Sullivan said.

“The whole team is devastated, because we all just work so hard to create a really high quality product.

“You always learn some of your best lessons through disasters, and I never really understood what a voluntary recall was. It means you have a choice – do you want to recall or not? We decided as a business we wanted to be 100 per cent sure it was safe.

“It was great SA Health and Dairysafe confirmed it wasn’t a dangerous bacteria, which can sometimes be a little bit of sunshine in a dark cloud.”

Ms Sullivan would not speculate on what caused the contamination, but said they were working with SA Health and their quality assurance team to quickly resolve the issue.

Another reason to dislike sushi: First report of E. coli O157

AIMS: The aim of this study was to evaluate the microbiological quality of commercially prepared ready-to-eat (RTE) sushi by enumerating aerobic mesophilic bacteria (AMB) and thermotolerant coliforms (TC) and detecting Escherichia coli and Salmonella ssp. An isolate was identified as E. coli O157:H7 which was evaluated for its virulence and antimicrobial resistance profiling as well as its ability to form biofilms on stainless steel.

METHODS AND RESULTS: There were four sampling events in seven establishments, totalling 28 pools of sushi samples. Mean AMB counts ranged between 5·2 and 7·7 log CFU per gram. The enumeration of TC varied between 2·1 and 2·7 log MPN per gram. Salmonella ssp. were not detected, and one sample was positive for E. coli and was identified as E. coli O157:H7. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of E. coli O157:H7 in sushi samples in the world literature. This isolate presented virulence genes stx1, stx2, eae and hlyA. It was also susceptible to 14 antimicrobials tested and had the ability to form biofilms on stainless steel.

CONCLUSIONS: There is a need to improve the good hygiene practices adopted in establishments selling sushi in the city of Pelotas, Brazil. In addition, the isolated E. coli O157:H7 carries a range of important virulence genes being a potential risk to consumer health, as sushi is a RTE food. This isolate also presents biofilm formation ability, therefore, may trigger a constant source of contamination in the production line of this food.

SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: The increase in the consumption of sushi worldwide attracts attention regarding the microbiological point of view, since it is a ready-to-eat food. To our knowledge, this was the first time that E. coli O157:H7 was identified in sushi samples.

First report of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in ready-to-eat sushi

21 September 2019

Journal of Applied Microbiology

Ramires T 1  Iglesias MA 2 Vitola HS 1 Núncio ASP 1 Kroning IS 1  Kleinubing NR 1 , Fiorentini ÂM 1  da Silva WP 1  

DOI: 10.1111/jam.14456 

https://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/31541508

ProMed: 3 women hospitalized with E. coli O157, Wisconsin, RFI

Over the past 5 days, our health care facility in northwest Wisconsin, USA, has seen 3 women hospitalized with E. coli O157 infection. All presented with significant abdominal pain without fever and watery diarrhea which in 2 progressed to bloody diarrhea. None of the 3 have manifested any evidence of hemolytic-uremic syndrome. Both of the women seen by the Infectious Diseases service stated that their diet contains a lot of salads.

We would appreciate any reports of upswings in the number of cases of this process in the upper Midwest USA or elsewhere.

Seek and ye shall find

I have so many Larry stories that I’d probably get sued now that he’s a big shot.

But when I was teaching him and Kevin, about 1995 (I may have noticed Chapman joined my lab about 1999, it’s all a purple haze, but I got those 70 peer-reviewed papers out and made full-professor) so here’s Larry, now that he’s returned to Guelph (that’s in Ontario, Canada) and maybe you have a chat with Malcolm, see about getting my $750,000 returned and we can do some fun research.

And I won’t ever tell anyone about Atlanta.

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems, but the result of a more active investigative body and better testing tools — though they add more can be done.

“This is proof that the system is working well,” said Lawrence Goodridge, a professor focusing on food safety at The University of Guelph, speaking about the recent meat recall.

Yet, he believes that “in Canada, we have to get to a place where we can actually stop the food from going to retail in the first place.”

Since Sept. 20, a investigation by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency into possible E. coli 0157:H7 contamination in some beef and veal products sold by Ryding-Regency Meat Packers Ltd. and St. Ann’s Foods Inc. has led to the recall of nearly 700 products.

The CFIA suspended the Canadian food safety license for St. Ann’s meat-processing plant, as well as Ryding-Regency’s slaughter and processing plant, both in Toronto, in late September.

No illnesses have been reported in association with the products, according to the CFIA, but symptoms of sickness can include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps.
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Pregnant mum gets Salmonella at same hotel where girl ‘got E. coli’ and later died

A pregnant mum has told of her fears for her unborn baby after contracting salmonella at the same hotel where a mum claims her two-year-old daughter contracted E. coli and later died.

Emma Broadhurst was six months pregnant when she flew out to Turkey with friends for a 7-night stay at the Crystal Sunset Luxury Resort and Spa, east of the city of Antayla, at the start of September.

But, according to Andy Rudd of The Mirror, within days of arriving she fell unwell suffering from chronic diarrhea and became dehydrated and lost weight.

Just over 24 hours later her best friend’s seven-year-old son, Kailan, also fell ill with diarrhea and on their return to the UK his mum, Emma McComb, fell ill and Kailan was left ‘screaming in agony’ and projectile vomiting.

All three, who shared a room while on holiday, were then diagnosed with salmonella poisoning after stool samples were sent for testing by their local GP, claims Emma.

The friends stayed in the same hotel where two-year-old Allie Birchall and her family holidayed before little Allie was taken ill before passing away having contracted E. coli.

All members of her family, from Wigan, Greater Manchester, suffered from gastric symptoms including stomach cramps and diarrhoea during their 10-day stay with Jet 2.

Allie’s condition became so severe she was rushed to hospital after the family returned to the UK.

Her parents had to make the heartbreaking decision to switch off her life support on August 3.