Fresh attitude brand baby spinach recalled due to Salmonella in Canada

Fairly sure I had foodborne illness the past few days.

And I live in Brisbane, Australia.

Probably some fresh fruit or veg I ate a week ago, felt nauseas Wed. and Thurs. of last week, OK Friday, but Saturday was a torrent of vomit, accompanied by a weekend of diarrhea.

I have multiple thermometers and temp everything I cook.

Today is Monday and I’m fine.

As another reminder that fresh product is fresh, and anything that comes in contact can contaminate, Vegpro International is recalling Fresh Attitude brand Baby Spinach from the marketplace due to possible Salmonella contamination.

This recall was triggered by the company. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.

The CFIA is verifying that industry is removing the recalled products from the marketplace.

Recalled products

Brand Product          Size     UPC    Codes

Fresh Attitude          Baby Spinach            312 g   8 88048 00028 8         Best Before 2020 DE 04

Fresh Attitude          Baby

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these products.

Know your plants: Japanese pref. warns of toxic lily resembling edible taro after poisoning cases reported

The Kumamoto Prefectural Government is warning people to be on their guard following cases of food poisoning caused by people mistaking toxic night-scented lilies for edible taro plants (that’s the two plants, right).

A woman in southwestern Japan suffered symptoms of food poisoning, including acute pain in her mouth, after mistakenly eating night-scented lily, the prefectural government announced on Nov. 26.

There have been repeated cases across Japan where people accidentally consume the plants, as the leaves resemble those of edible taros. Officials are calling on people to “avoid eating taros of an unknown type.”

According to the prefecture, the 43-year-old woman and her family, who live in an area under the jurisdiction of the Mifune public health center in Kumamoto Prefecture, consumed a wild night-scented lily plant that had been growing at the side of an agricultural road near their residence, after mistaking it for edible shrimp-shaped taro. The woman felt a sharp pain in her mouth, as well as numbness in her lips and tongue, shortly after tasting the plant, which she used as an ingredient for miso soup, and was taken to hospital in an ambulance. Although the woman has been recovering, her symptoms apparently still remain. The woman said she had no experience cooking shrimp-shaped taro, and felt itchiness in her hand from the time she started cutting the plant.

In a separate case, eight people suffered food poisoning after eating night-scented lilies that were mistakenly sold at a produce stand in Miyazaki Prefecture in October. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has cautioned people to “avoid picking, eating, selling, or giving to others plants that cannot be ascertained as being edible.”

Does farting burn calories?

Claire Gillespie of Health asks the (literally) burning question: Does farting burn calories?

The average person farts up to 23 times a day, according to the Cleveland Clinic, so it’s really unavoidable.

On the Internet, entire reddit threads are devoted to the issue, and one even shares that “one fart burns approximately 67 calories,” according to a Google screenshot. “Farting, also known as flatulence, happens when you have excess gas in the stomach and/or intestines,” Tanya B. Freirich, MS, RD, New York-based nutritionist and registered dietitian for Sweet Nova, tells Health. “Expelling that gas through your anus creates a fart.”

Excess gas could be due to many different factors, such as malabsorption of food, increased fiber intake or swallowing a lot of air while eating.

“A common example of malabsorption of food is lactose intolerance,” Freirich explains. “Without the correct enzymes, the body doesn’t digest dairy sugar (lactose) properly, and produces excess gas as those sugars are fermented in the digestive tract.”

Cruciferous vegetables like sprouts, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower are also well-known for causing more gas production. Other foods that often cause a stink are beans and dried fruits.

Farting does not burn any measurable calories. “While calorie burn would be the silver lining on this stinky cloud, farting doesn’t burn calories,” Freirich says. This is because calorie burn is caused by muscle activation, and farting happens when muscles (in the anus) relax, she adds. Even when you bear down to push some gas out, no calorie are burned.

And let us all never forget the time Dianne Feinstein had to pretend she didn’t hear Trump fart pic.twitter.com/9LrDtulu2Q

1012 sick in US: Salmonella infections linked to onions

This is over two months old, but should get it out there, because onions are an infrequent source of foodborne illness, despite being grown in the ground.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported that onions supplied by Thomson International, Inc., or any foods made with recalled onions, should not be eaten.

As of August 31, 2020, a total of 1,012 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Newport have been reported from 47 states. A list of the states and the number of cases in each can be found on the Map of Reported Cases page.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from June 19, 2020, to August 11, 2020. Ill people range in age from less than 1 to 102 years, with a median age of 40. Fifty-seven percent of ill people are female. Of 581 ill people with information available, 136 hospitalizations have been reported. No deaths have been reported.

Illnesses might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 2 to 4 weeks. Please see the Timeline for Reporting Cases of Salmonella Infection for more details.

Whole genome sequencing analysis of 732 bacterial isolates from ill people did not predict any antibiotic resistance in 730 isolates; one isolate had predicted resistance to ampicillin, and one isolate had predicted resistance to tetracycline. Standard antibiotic susceptibility testing of seven clinical isolates by CDC’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) laboratory showed no resistance. This resistance does not affect the choice of antibiotic used to treat most people.

Whole genome sequencing analysis shows that an outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections in Canada is related genetically to this outbreak in the United States. This means that people in both of these outbreaks are likely to share a common source of infection.

Recalled onion types include red, white, yellow, and sweet yellow varieties.

Foods made with recalled onions, such as cheese dips and spreads, salsas, and chicken salads, have also been recalled. These foods were sold at multiple grocery store chains. View the list of recalled onions and foods

Check your home for onions and other foods recalled by Thomson International, Inc. and several other companies, including Food Lion, Giant Eagle, Kroger, Publix, Ralph’s, Trader Joe’s, and Walmart.

If you can’t tell where your onions are from, don’t eat them or any food made with them. Throw them away.

If you used recalled onions to make any other food, don’t eat the food. Throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one got sick.

Wash and sanitize any surfaces that may have come in contact with onions or their packaging, such as countertops, storage bins, refrigerator drawers, knives, and cutting boards.

When you order food from a restaurant or shop for food, check to make sure they are not serving or selling any recalled onions, foods prepared with recalled onions, or any recalled foods such as salads, sandwiches, tacos, salsas, and dips.

If they don’t know where their onions are from, don’t buy the product or order the food.

Check the list of recalled products.

If you don’t know where your onions are from, don’t serve or sell them.

View the list of recalled onions and foods

A total of 1,012 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Newport have been reported from 47 states.

136 hospitalizations have been reported. No deaths have been reported.

Epidemiologic and traceback information showed that red onions are a likely source of this outbreak. Due to the way onions are grown and harvested, other onion types, such as white, yellow, or sweet yellow, are also likely to be contaminated.

On August 19, 2020, Hello Fresh recalledexternal icon onions received by customers from May 8 through July 31, 2020.

See the full list ofrecalled onions and foods

This investigation is ongoing. CDC will provide more information as it becomes available.

Disgusting face, disease-ridden place? Emoji influence on the interpretation of restaurant inspection reports

Every year, millions of Americans get sick from foodborne illness and it is estimated half of all reported instances occur at restaurants. To protect the public, regulators are encouraged to conduct restaurant inspections and disclose reports to consumers. However, inspection reporting format is inconsistent and typically contains information unclear to most consumers who often misinterpret the inspection results. Additionally, consumers are increasingly searching for this information in a digital context. Limited research explores inspection reports as communication tools.

Using affect-as-information and ELM as theoretical frameworks, this experiment investigated how discrete emotions (e.g., disgust) conveyed through pictorial cues (i.e., emojis) influenced consumers’ processing of inspection reports. Participants, recruited from Amazon’s MTurk, were randomly assigned to one of six experimental conditions in a 3 (emoji: smiling vs. disgusted vs. none) x 2 (violation level: low vs. high) between-subjects design. Then, participants completed a questionnaire regarding perceptions and cognitive processing of the message.

Results revealed that, compared to text, disgusted face emoji increased risk perceptions and avoidance behavior. In terms of emotion, smiling face emoji motivated participants to feel more emotions related to sanitation. In turn, positive feelings decreased elaboration likelihood. As predicted by ELM, involvement also predicted elaboration, such that participants who were highly involved with inspection reports elaborated more than those less involved. Involvement also moderated the relationship between emoji presented and elaboration. Practical implications are also discussed.

Disgusting face, disease-ridden place?: Emoji influence on the interpretation of restaurant inspection reports

Health Communication, 18 August 2020

Elizabeth Ray and Patrick Merle

https://doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2020.1802867

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10410236.2020.1802867

Assessment of food safety compliance to federal, state and local regulations within NYS capital region farmers markets: An investigation of current facilitators, barriers, and future opportunities to increase food safety, 2020

Patricia Miller of the State University of New York at Albany writes in her Doctor of Public Health dissertation that within the United States there are over 8,000 farmers markets, that sell directly to consumers. New York State has the second-largest number of markets, at 637, with the capital region host to 114 markets.

Over the years the selections of offerings have grown to include not only produce but ready-to-eat foods, eggs, dairy products, crafts, beer, and wine. The increasing popularity of farmers markets coupled with inadequate regulatory oversight of these markets, can contribute to incidences of foodborne illnesses.

The Centers for Disease Control identified 95 foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States potentially associated with fairs, festivals, and temporary mobile services from 1988-2007, which resulted in almost 4,000 illnesses, including 144 hospitalizations (Centers for Disease Control, 2008). Of these markets, six are held year-round.

This research undertook a needs assessment to identify gaps in food safety as it related to compliance with regulations required by federal, state, and local government by farmers markets and their vendors. This was a multimethod study utilizing content of each farmers markets rules compared to regulations, direct observations of vendor behaviors, and data collection through observation of physical characteristics of the markets, and interviews with market managers. Market compliance was measured by analysis of market rules to key rules and regulations required through the Federal Food Code, and by the New York State Temporary Food Service Establishments Regulations. These rules included adherence to minimal cooking of foods, maintaining and monitoring temperatures of foods, hand hygiene requirements, prevention of cross-contamination, and storage of food. These regulations address transportation of food to the markets, into the markets, display of food, and serving of food.

Data collection through observation of each markets was done to assess market facilities, and direct observations were made of vendors during market operations on multiple occasions. Results showed many markets lacked clearly defined rules, and resources, including handwashing stations, as regulated, were not in evidence. Observational data collection showed that these markets did not comply with the New York State Department of Health Temporary Establishments Regulations and that the vendor behaviors did not meet food code requirements. In addition, this study looked to identify facilitators and barriers to safe food handling behaviors. A lack of handwashing facilities and thermometers were found to be barriers to safe food handling at these markets.

While implementing more rules or changing policies may improve these behaviors, enforcement of the required rules would be a better method to decrease these barriers. Inspection by local authorities may improve compliance to regulations as may providing resources to the vendors.

Is your pet’s food making you sick? Study finds many don’t know the risk

I’ve bragged before about daughter Sorenne’s knowledge of pet food and treat microbiological risks. The same applies to my four Canadian daughters.

Even my French professor partner, Amy, has become knowledgeable in things microbiological.

I’m just really proud and full of love for all six of them (and they all play hockey, or did).

The last few months have seen numerous outbreaks or recalls related to pet food or treats.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) collaborated with provincial public health partners and Health Canada to investigate an outbreak of E. coli O157 infections that occurred in three provinces. The outbreak appears to be over, and the investigation has been closed.

Based on the investigation findings, exposure to Carnivora brand frozen raw pet food was identified as the likely source of the outbreak. All of the individuals who were sick reported exposure to Carnivora brand frozen raw pet food, or to dogs fed this raw pet food, before their illnesses occurred.

In total, there were five confirmed cases of E. coli O157 illness linked to this outbreak in three provinces: British Columbia (2), Alberta (2) and Manitoba (1). The individuals were sick between early March and late May 2020. Two individuals were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.

Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after feeding, handling or cleaning up after pets. Animals fed raw meat diets are more likely to be shedding harmful bacteria like Salmonella and dangerous strains of E. coli even when they appear healthy, compared to those fed commercial kibble or other cooked diets. Regularly clean surfaces that come into contact with pet food or pets.

When possible, store all pet food and treats away from where human food is stored or prepared and away from reach of young children.

In Nov., New Jersey-based Albright’s Raw Dog Food issued a voluntary recall for 67 cases of “Chicken Recipe for Dogs” because of Salmonella contamination.

The food was sold in 2-pound frozen chubs/rolls with the lot number C000185 and best-by date 19 May 2021.

They were sold between June 8 and Aug. 27 in 10 states, including New York and New Jersey.

One animal illness has been reported. Pets with salmonella infections may be lethargic, have diarrhea, fever, vomiting or abdominal pain.

In Sept., Real Pet Food Company of Phoenix, AZ voluntarily recalled one lot of Billy + Margot Wild Kangaroo and Superfoods Recipe dog food in 4 lb bags because of a possible Salmonella health risk.

Each year, more than 50 million Americans develop gastrointestinal issues that lead them to question the safety of their most recent meals. It’s entirely possible that their distress could be caused not by the food they have eaten, but the meals served to their furry friends.

A study led by Purdue University’s Yaohua “Betty” Feng, an assistant professor of food science, showed that many Americans don’t wash their hands after feeding or playing with their cats and dogs and aren’t aware of the risk of contracting a foodborne illness from those activities.

“Almost all dog and cat owners interact with their pets closely like cuddling, sleeping with them, kissing them, but after those interactions fewer than one-third of them wash their hands with soap,” said Feng, whose findings were published in the Journal of Food Protection. “They don’t really consider that they could get sick or that a foodborne pathogen could be transferred from their pet to themselves.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that pathogens such as E. coli and salmonella sicken nearly 48 million people, hospitalize 128,000 and kill around 3,000 annually. There is no data on how many of those come from pet foods, but there have been more than a dozen pet food recalls in 2020 due to the presence of a foodborne pathogen. Last year more than 150 people were sickened by salmonella in pig ear dog treats.

“Some dogs and cats do not have symptoms, even if they were contaminated with foodborne pathogens like salmonella. There’s potential for them to share those pathogens with their owners when interacting with them,” Feng said.

According to the survey of more than 1,000 cat and dog owners in the United States:

93 percent of pet owners cuddle their pets, 70 percent allow the pet to lick them, 63 percent sleep with their pets, and 61 percent kiss their pets.

Only 31 percent wash their hands after playing with their pets, and 42 percent do not wash their hands after feeding their pets.

8 percent reported eating pet food and treats themselves. 

The study showed that 78 percent of people were not aware of recent pet food recalls or outbreaks associated with foodborne pathogens in those foods. One-quarter of people do not consider dry pet foods and treats as potential sources of these pathogens.

Raw meat or raw animal product diets are growing in prevalence for supposed health benefits. The study showed that about 25% of respondents feed their pets raw foods, but about half of those people did not report washing their hands after those feedings and allowed their pets to lick them.

Feng said the results suggest that pet owners need more education about the safety of pet foods and proper handling of food and pets to prevent contracting an illness. She plans to develop materials that will address those issues.

Some tips to keep pet owners from getting foodborne illness include:

Wash hands with soap and water after preparing food for pets, petting or playing with pets, and before preparing food for people.

Avoid feeding pets raw meat.

Handle and store pet food carefully to avoid cross-contamination. 

Keep up with pet food recalls and keep records of pet food lot numbers and other information for potential tracking.

“We’re not saying you shouldn’t hug your dog, but you should know the risks and how to protect yourself against the possibility of contracting an illness,” Feng said.

ABSTRACT

Risk of Foodborne Illness from Pet Food: Assessing Pet Owners’ Knowledge, Behavior, and Risk Perception

Merlyn Thomas; Yaohua Feng

doi.org/10.4315/JFP-20-108

Pet food has been identified as a source of pathogenic bacteria, including Salmonella and Escherichia coli. A recent outbreak linked to Salmonella -contaminated pet treats infected over 150 people in the United States. The mechanism by which contaminated pet food leads to human illness has not been explicated. Pet owners’ food safety knowledge and their pet food handling practices have not been reported. This study evaluated pet owners’ food safety knowledge and pet-food handling practices through an online consumer survey. The survey consists of 62 questions and assesses (1) owners’ food safety knowledge and pet-food handling practices; (2) owners’ interaction with pets; (3) owners’ risk perception related to their own health, their children’s health, and their pets’ health. The survey was pilot-tested among 59 pet owners before distribution to a national consumer panel, managed by Qualtrics XM. All participants (n=1,040) were dog and/or cat owners in the United States. Almost all pet owners interacted with their pets (93%) and most cuddled, allowed their pets to lick them, and slept with their pets. Less than one-third of pet owners washed their hands with soap after interacting with their pets. Over half (58%) the owners reported washing their hands after feeding their pets. Most pet owners fed their pets dry pet food and dry pet treats. Some fed their pets raw meat or raw animal product (RAP) diets because they believed these diets to be beneficial to their pet’s overall health. Many owners (78%) were unaware of pet food recalls or outbreaks associated with foodborne pathogens. Less than 25% considered dry pet foods and treats as a potential source of foodborne pathogens. The findings of this study indicated the need for consumer education about pet food handling. The data collected can assist in developing more accurate risk assessment models and consumer education related to pet food handling.

30 Helens and most of 635 epidemiologists agree: Stay at home for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, both the Canadian, in early October, and the American, today, the last Thursday in November.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has finally found a consistent voice and has recommendations to make #Thanksgiving safer. Bring your own food and drinks, stay at least 6 feet apart, and wash your hands often. Choose outdoor or well-ventilated spaces.

Most importantly, CDC and others strongly recommend to celebrate only with those you live with, and use virtual gatherings with others (I am exceedingly thankful for the electronic toys we have to help weather the pandemic; 1918 and the Spanish flu would have really sucked).

Of course, the current White House occupant is planning on hosting several parties throughout the holidays. Please ignore Trump et al. and listen to the science.

To that end, the N.Y. Times surveyed 635 epidemiologists and found that most are staying at home, and that those who are gathering with family or friends are taking precautions or rethinking their holiday rituals altogether.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving my American friends and colleagues, and be thankful that someone will live with you.

Australia has somewhat enviable statistics related to this pandemic and the lesson that America is only beginning to grasp is this: go fast, go hard and go smart to limit the spread of coronavirus or any illness.

The 3 Ws: A public health Thanksgiving

Friend of the barfblog, Michéle Samarya-Timm, MA, HO, MCHES, REHS, health educator and registered environmental health specialist at the Somerset County Department of Health in Somerville, New Jersey, has graciously made time from the public health front lines to continue her U.S. Thanksgiving tradition of contributing to the barfblog.

It’s the 10th month  of COVID-19 response for public health professionals in the U.S.

That’s 46 straight weeks (and counting) of conducting public testing clinics, providing COVID-19 information and test results, contact tracing, and educating on prevention.    

 In addition, public health has been proactive with regular disease prevention work, holding COVID-safe flu clinics, providing guidance to food establishments, schools and workplaces, and planning for the herculean task of vaccinating 70% of the population (twice) for COVID-19 as soon as the vaccine is delivered. 

 We do what we’ve been trained to do, and what needs to be done to protect our residents. It’s the prime directive of public health: prevent disease and save lives.

Be thankful, as I am, for their dedication and efforts as you pass the turkey…and pass the hand sanitizer.

This year, in addition to food safe practices to assure a disease-free meal, remember to add 3 W’s:

  • Watch your distance (keep 6 feet apart)
  • Wear a mask 
  • Wash your hands 

 Be safe, my friends.  And THANKS for all you do.

Listeria in sheep water trough

In the context of a study on the occurrence of Listeria species in an animal farm environment in Valencia, Spain, six Listeria -like isolates could not be assigned to any known species.

Phylogenetic analysis based on the 16S rRNA gene and on 231 Listeria core genes grouped these isolates in a monophyletic clade within the genus Listeria , with highest similarity to Listeria thailandensis .

Whole-genome sequence analyses based on in silico DNA–DNA hybridization, the average nucleotide blast and the pairwise amino acid identities against all currently known Listeria species confirmed that these isolates constituted a new taxon within the genus Listeria . Phenotypically, these isolates differed from other Listeria species mainly by the production of acid from inositol, the absence of acidification in presence of methyl α-d-glucoside, and the absence of α-mannosidase and nitrate reductase activities.

The name Listeria valentina sp. nov. is proposed for this novel species, and the type strain is CLIP 2019/00642T (=CIP 111799T=DSM 110544T).

Listeria valentina sp. nov., isolated from a water trough and the faeces of healthy sheep

International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology

Juan J. Quereda1​Alexandre Leclercq2​,3Alexandra Moura2​,3​,4​Guillaume Vales2​,3​Ángel Gómez-Martín1​Ángel García-Muñoz1​Pierre Thouvenot2​,3​Nathalie Tessaud-Rita2​,3​Hélène Bracq-Dieye2​,3​Marc Lecuit2​,3​,4​,5​

https://www.microbiologyresearch.org/content/journal/ijsem/10.1099/ijsem.0.004494