Hockey, Canadian style

Sorta.

It’s 36 C in Brisbane, there is smoke everywhere from the bush fires, and we were all up at 4:30 a.m. — when it gets light here — so Sorenne, who turned 11-years-old today could be on the ice at 5:45 a.m.

Take ice when you can get it.

This isn’t Canada.

But I didn’t have the stamina to go to her practice or birthday party this afternoon at a pool (Amy is doing the heaving lifting these days).

So I’m going to stop writing for barfblog.com for awhile, maybe write a book, maybe hang out more with my kid before she’s on to her next adventure.

It’s been 14 years of blogging and 26 years of news.

I’ve said it before, but I can feel the effects of my brain going away and just can’t do it right now.

Upper right is the card my mother sent Sorenne. Mom spent a few decades at the arena.

I may need a brain break, but I’m not done yet.

Happy birthday, kid.

Everyone’s got a camera: Boston Dunkin’ edition

Dunkin’ is no Tim Hortons.

The Boston Inspectional Services Department said an East Boston Dunkin’ location has closed after video captured what appears to be mice running around inside.

The video shows the rodents scurrying around the floor of the Maverick Square Dunkin’ while the store was closed late Monday night.

“[Tuesday], the Inspectional Services Department launched an investigation into the complaints and video of rodent infestation at the Dunkin’ located at 13 Maverick St. in East Boston,” the city agency said in a statement. “After reviewing the video, an inspector was immediately dispatched to the location to conduct a full compliance inspection of the establishment.”

“The health and safety of customers is our top priority,” Dunkin’ said in a statement. “We take this matter very seriously, and upon learning of the issue, the restaurant was immediately closed.”

Uh-huh.

Norovirus outbreak at Lego event leaves more than 40 people suffering with sickness and diarrhea

The organisers of the Bristol Brick show say they are ‘devastated’ and an investigation has been launched by the city’s health authorities.

Nearly 4,000 people visited the Action Indoor Sports centre to celebrate Lego but after the event more than 40 attendees started experiencing sickness and diarrhoea.

One Lego fan, who wishes to remain anonymous, said he was not happy with the cleanliness of the venue.

He said: “The state of the place left a lot to be desired.”

“The food wasn’t great and over the weekend, the toilets weren’t well maintained, the basins didn’t work well and there was no hand sanitiser and that sort of thing.”

“At least 40 people that I know about have been affected.”

On-farm food safety more important: Does washing produce with anything actually work

Human norovirus (HuNoV) is a foremost cause of domestically acquired foodborne acute gastroenteritis and outbreaks. Despite industrial efforts to control HuNoV contamination of foods, its prevalence in foodstuffs at retail is significant. HuNoV infections are often associated with the consumption of contaminated produce, including ready-to-eat (RTE) salads.

Decontamination of produce by washing with disinfectants is a consumer habit which could significantly contribute to mitigate the risk of infection. The aim of our study was to measure the effectiveness of chemical sanitizers in inactivating genogroup I and II HuNoV strains on mixed salads using a propidium monoazide (PMAxx)-viability RTqPCR assay. Addition of sodium hypochlorite, peracetic acid, or chlorine dioxide significantly enhanced viral removal as compared with water alone. Peracetic acid provided the highest effectiveness, with log10 reductions on virus levels of 3.66 ± 0.40 and 3.33 ± 0.19 for genogroup I and II, respectively. Chlorine dioxide showed lower disinfection efficiency.

Our results provide information useful to the food industry and final consumers for improving the microbiological safety of fresh products in relation to foodborne viruses.

Effectiveness of consumers washing with sanitizers to reduce human norovirus on mixed salad

Eduard Anfruns-Estrada, Marilisa Bottaro, Rosa Pinto, Susana Guix, Albert Bosch

https://www.google.com/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=https://www.mdpi.com/2304-8158/8/12/637/pdf&ct=ga&cd=CAEYACoTMzg5Njg3MDc5MDQ0MzQ4MDY2MTIaYjhlODI0Y2UzN2MyNjM2MDpjb206ZW46VVM&usg=AFQjCNHrQjbPOtC5w9HRrDeMpQBa1mdgCw

From the duh files: Ordinary people key resources in outbreaks

The case study is part of a wider project done by ECDC within the context of EU Decision 1082/2013/EU on serious cross-border threats to health. It is part of a multi-country case study project that investigates the synergies between communities affected by serious public health threats and the institutions (both health- and non-health-related) mandated to prepare for and respond to them.

The premise for the project is that affected communities are increasingly recognised as key resources in public health emergencies, and that the concerns and experiences of ordinary people should be harnessed as an important part of the response.

Community engagement and institutional collaboration in Iceland during a norovirus outbreak at an outdoor/scout centre (10-15 August 2017)

ECDC

https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/publications-data/community-engagement-and-institutional-collaboration-iceland-during-norovirus

Nice handle: Butter Me Up café prosecuted for food safety offences

Bristol News reports employees at a Bishopsworth café have been fined for food hygiene offences after pleading guilty to a string of safety standards breaches.

Laura West and Donna Flanagan, who were running the small Butter Me Up premises at Highridge Road, were also ordered to pay totals including prosecution costs of £2,937 and £2,855 respectively at Bristol Crown Court last week after pleading guilty to a number of offences at an earlier hearing.

The pair were also given an open-ended Hygiene Prohibition Order, banning them from participating in the management of any food business which, if breached, amounts to a criminal offence which could lead to a prison sentence.

Environmental Health officers from Bristol City Council launched an immediate investigation and visited the café in July 2018, having been alerted to the death of an elderly gentleman from suspected food poisoning after he and a friend were hospitalised.

Officers discovered that the business had been operating since November 2015 but had not registered with the Council since it opened. The café was also displaying a food safety sticker with a rating of 5, the highest rating, which belonged to a previous business at the same address.

Environmental health officers noted a range of further food safety offences, including little to no food hygiene and safety training, no written food safety management, poor pest control and lack of reliable disinfection practices. Environmental swabs and a cloth that had been used for handling equipment showed that food poisoning bacteria were widespread throughout the premises, indicating poor cleaning practices.

Man had hundreds of tapeworms in brain, chest after eating undercooked pork

Alexandria Hein of Fox News reports a 43-year-old man in China who was suffering from seizures and loss of consciousness went to the doctor after his symptoms persisted for several weeks, only to discover that he had hundreds of tapeworms in his brain and chest, reports say.

The patient, identified as Zhu Zhongfa, allegedly had eaten undercooked pork, which was contaminated with Taenia solium, a parasitic tapeworm.

“Different patients respond [differently] to the infection depending on where the parasites occupy,” Dr. Huang Jianrong, Zhongfa’s doctor at Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine, told AsiaWire. “In this case, he had seizures and lost consciousness, but others with cysts in their lungs might cough a lot.”

Jianrong explained that the larvae entered Zhongfa’s body through the digestive system and traveled upward through his bloodstream. He was officially diagnosed with cysticercosis and neurocysticercosis, and given an antiparasitic drug and other medications to protect his organs from further damage, according to AsiaWire.

Jianrong said his patient is doing well after one week, but the long-term effects from the massive infestation are unclear.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends cooking meat at a safe temperature and using a food thermometer in an effort to avoid taeniasis. Humans are the only hosts for Taenia tapeworms, and pass tapeworm segments and eggs in feces which contaminate the soil in areas where sanitation is poor. The eggs survive in a moist environment for days to months, and cows and pigs become infected after feeding in the contaminated areas.

Once inside the animal, the eggs hatch in the intestine and migrate to the muscle where it develops into cysticerci, which can survive for several years. This infects humans when they eat contaminated raw or undercooked beef or pork, according to the CDC.

‘When we have 20 kids actively vomiting in a school that already has 17% gone we know that we’ve got a problem’: Stomach virus shutters entire Oregon school district

CBS News reports the rapid spread of a stomach virus through the Greater Albany School District has forced the closure of all schools in the district for the rest of the week. The closure comes days after a Colorado school district of about 22,000 students was forced to close after a similar viral outbreak tore through its 46 schools.

CBS Portland affiliate KOIN-TV reported the school district in Linn County, Oregon, was trying to contain the spread of the virus, which causes vomiting and diarrhea.

The district disinfected buildings over the weekend, but kept Periwinkle Elementary School closed Monday after consulting with the Linn County Health Department. On Monday evening, the Greater Albany district said on Facebook that after consulting with state and county health officials — and noting a jump in absences in their other schools — that all schools would close and reopen December 2.

Officials said cleaning teams will continue to disinfect and sanitize throughout the closure.

In Colorado, hundreds of students were sickened by symptoms similar to those of norovirus, a highly-contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea. After the illness jumped quickly from school to school, officials were forced to take the unusual step of closing all 46.

“When we have 20 kids actively vomiting in a school that already has 17% gone we know that we’ve got a problem. We have to stop the exposure,” said Tanya Marvin, the head of nursing for the school district.

Michele Samarya-Timm writes: Grandma’s Traditions and a Food-Safe Thanksgiving

Longtime friend of the barfblog.com, Michéle Samarya-Timm, health educator at the Somerset County Department of Health (that’s in New Jersey, represent) writes:

It’s hard to contradict old school beliefs, change a recipe that’s been handed down for generations, or tell someone they didn’t fold the napkins correctly – holidays bring out both obvious and latent risks to family, sanity, and even one’s health. Knowing why traditions exist — as well as recognizing which ones to keep, and which to sunset — can be key to happiness and health at Thanksgiving and beyond.

Traditions for many begin with family, and food. I recall how holidays at Grandma’s house were a veritable cornucopia of harvest delights – sides like russet potatoes, zucchini pickles, carrot gravy and sliced beet salad were only ancillary adornments to the spotlight of the holiday – a gloriously roasted and hefty Tom turkey.

As grandma entered her mid-nineties, she reluctantly relinquished her holiday kitchen duties to her daughters – all 7 were well versed in cooking (and eating!), having been tutored by their mother’s exacting hand. It never mattered that every one of my aunts had roasted legions of turkeys in their time; Grandma would not trust that a turkey was done until she navigated her walker into the kitchen and stuck the bird with her favorite 2-pronged wood-handled meat fork. Neighbors and family alike knew a turkey wasn’t finished cooking until Mama decreed it was so.

Grandma was particular, mostly because she spent a good deal of her life on a farm. Folks didn’t go to the nearest supermarket to buy meat in those days. Instead, one ambled out to the poultry coop, grabbed the least scraggly fowl, and slaughtered it with a practiced hand. The turkey then would be bled, gutted and plucked. My Aunt Kay described the last step to me: “Mama would dip the bird into boiling water which loosened the feathers enough for easy yanking. Remaining quills would be carefully burned off with a quick pass of a torch made by lighting yesterday’s newspaper.” Any remaining soot or debris was removed by giving the defrocked bird a quick water bath before being seasoned and dressed for his multi-hour roast.

Fast forward to modern day, where many are lucky enough to select a thanksgiving entrée from the local supermarket, rather than a turkey roost. These days, the likes of Mr. Perdue, Butterball, Jennie-O and many others have taken over the chore of slaughter, and eased the preparation duties in American Thanksgiving kitchens. The processed and featherless grocery store bird relieves the holiday chef of the burden of slaughter, and with it abolishes the step of washing the turkey. Yup, you heard right — if you are not slaughtering the turkey, don’t wash it.

Raw poultry can contaminate anything it touches with harmful bacteria. Rinsing or washing the thanksgiving turkey can spread harmful bacteria on nearby surfaces through splash or aerosolized droplets – just like a sneeze can. And just like a sneeze can spread disease, so can a turkey bath.

It doesn’t matter if your mother, aunt, or grandmother used to wash their poultry, the modern, scientific guidance from the USDA and others is to let this tradition go. Properly cooking a turkey will kill any bacteria that are lurking in the meat, and keep your family safe.

These days, Thanksgiving is at my house. I happily take after my Grandma in setting out a bounteous feast, and welcoming family and friends. And like Grandma, a turkey isn’t done until I say it’s done – only I do it by sticking the bird with my favorite thin-probe thermometer, and verifying a reading of 165F. This is the new tradition, and one I’m delighted to pass on.

This Thanksgiving, remember: wash your hands, NOT the turkey!

Note: Writing this Thanksgiving piece for barfblog, I realize it’s my 12th year doing so, and I look forward to many more! Many thanks to Doug Powell, Ben Chapman and crew for continuing to enlighten the public and public-health masses on all things food safety. When it comes to fighting barf, you are truly superheros!