Machines are difficult to clean yet poop emoji soft-serve is all the rage in Tokyo

It was our most popular blog post for years.

Baskin Robbins decided to offer free soft serve ice cream to expectant mothers on May 21, 2008, in California, Chicago, New York, Nashville, and El Paso, Texas. It was apparently the beginning of a national roll-out of soft serve ice cream at Baskin Robbins.

I have no idea why they targeted expectant moms, or why they recruited a pregnant D-list celebrity like Tori Spelling as spokesthingy.

Problem is, soft serve ice cream is on the Australian list of foods pregnant women should avoid. Sanitation with the equipment appears to be an on-going problem.

In 2015, a year after a giant recall of Snoqualmie ice cream tied to Listeria, a third illness was blamed on the bug after it apparently lingered in a machine used to make milkshakes for hospital patients.

Yet in Japan, Poop emoji soft-serve is here to haunt your dreams.

A cafe in Tokyo’s fashionable Harajuku neighborhood is hawking soft-serve that looks like the poop emoji, complete with googly eyes and a toilet-shaped bowl.

Yummy.

13 sick: Some had eaten rakfish: — more affected by mysterious listeria outbreaks in eastern Norway

News Beezer reports that shortly before Christmas, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health announced that there had been six reports of a new outbreak of Listeriosis. Today it was known that this number has increased significantly and that the affected area is also larger than previously known

Typically, 1-2 patients with listeriosis are reported monthly. Four of the six patients reported in December come from Hedmark and Oppland. Now the infection has spread further and is increasing more and more.

A total of thirteen people have been reported with listeriosis. Most are located in the above circles, and Buskerud is now included in the list. It is common that they are older than 70 years and affect their general condition. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority works with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the Municipal Health Service and the Norwegian Veterinary Institute to determine if patients can share a common source of infection. So far, five patients have detected bacteria with a similar DNA profile.

FDA says wash those avocados

The avocado-based dip was the cause of an aggressive barfing incident that I’ve never been able to push aside, in the same way I wasn’t able to eat muffins for years after a barfing incident when I was a child.

I’m still amazed at the effects sight, sound and smell can have on food preferences.

It was about 33 years ago, and my ex-wife decided to make a batch of her self-proclaimed world-class guac.

We were driving to my relatives in Barrie, Ontario (that’s in Canada) and somewhere on highway 400, we pulled over and too much booze or guac or just being with me caused one of the most violent vomiting incidents I’ve witnessed.

The smell of the guacamole is forged in my memory.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released two reports on its sampling of whole fresh avocados and hot peppers to determine how frequently harmful bacteria are found in each commodity.

For the whole fresh avocado sampling assignment, the FDA collected, tested and analyzed 1,615 domestic and imported avocado samples for Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. Of the 1,615 samples, 12 (0.74%) tested positive for Salmonella. As to the Listeria monocytogenes testing, the agency primarily tested the pulp of the avocado samples (as the pulp is the part of the fruit people eat), and some samples of the fruit’s skin. Of the 1,254 avocado pulp samples, 3 (far less than one percent) were positive for Listeria monocytogenes. Of the 361 avocado skin samples, 64 (17.73%) were positive for Listeria monocytogenes. FoodSafety.gov advises consumers to wash all produce before cutting into it or eating.  

Washing doesn’t do much, but with avocadoes it seems the exterior skins are loaded with Listeria, so the opportunities for cross-contamination are huge (think of how you prepare avocado).

CBS News concludes that one-in-five avocados tested positive for Listeria on the outside, so better wash those skins.

Washing won’t do much, but clean the damn cutting board and be the bug, think about where it would go.

Like my ex barfing.

Norway reports increase in listeriosis

Outbreak News Today reports that officials with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health report seeing an increase in listeriosis cases in December, prompting a warning for high-risk groups.

According to an official notice Friday (computer translated), six cases were reported this month when the country typically sees 1-2 cases a month.

Four of the six patients reported in December are from Hedmark and Oppland.

Health officials are working to identify if their is a common food source linked to the increase in cases.

Listeria is usually transmitted through food, especially long-life foods that are refrigerated and eaten without further heat treatment. Many of these food products are popular as Christmas foods and can be found on many Christmas parties.

Biofilms be good protection for bugs

In nature and man-made environments, microorganisms reside in mixed-species biofilms, in which the growth and metabolism of an organism are different from these behaviors in single-species biofilms. Pathogenic microorganisms may be protected against adverse treatments in mixed-species biofilms, leading to health risk for humans. Here, we developed two mixed five-species biofilms that included one or the other of the foodborne pathogens Listeria monocytogenes and Staphylococcus aureus.

The five species, including the pathogen, were isolated from a single food-processing environmental sample, thus mimicking the environmental community. In mature mixed five-species biofilms on stainless steel, the two pathogens remained at a constant level of ∼105 CFU/cm2. The mixed five-species biofilms as well as the pathogens in monospecies biofilms were exposed to biocides to determine any pathogen-protective effect of the mixed biofilm. Both pathogens and their associate microbial communities were reduced by peracetic acid treatments. S. aureus decreased by 4.6 log cycles in monospecies biofilms, but the pathogen was protected in the five-species biofilm and decreased by only 1.1 log cycles. Sessile cells of L. monocytogenes were affected to the same extent when in a monobiofilm or as a member of the mixed-species biofilm, decreasing by 3 log cycles when exposed to 0.0375% peracetic acid. When the pathogen was exchanged in each associated microbial community, S. aureus was eradicated, while there was no significant effect of the biocide on L. monocytogenes or the mixed community. This indicates that particular members or associations in the community offered the protective effect. Further studies are needed to clarify the mechanisms of biocide protection and to identify the species playing the protective role in microbial communities of biofilms.

IMPORTANCE This study demonstrates that foodborne pathogens can be established in mixed-species biofilms and that this can protect them from biocide action. The protection is not due to specific characteristics of the pathogen, here S. aureus and L. monocytogenes, but likely caused by specific members or associations in the mixed-species biofilm. Biocide treatment and resistance are a challenge for many industries, and biocide efficacy should be tested on microorganisms growing in biofilms, preferably mixed systems, mimicking the application environment.

Behavior of foodborne pathogens listeria monocytogenes and staphylococcus aureus in mixed-species biofilms exposed to biocides

Applied and Environmental Microbiology; DOI: 10.1128/AEM.02038-18

Virginie Oxaran, Karen Kiesbye Dittmann, et al

https://aem.asm.org/content/84/24/e02038-18?etoc=

Raw milk convention goerers got sick from raw milk

Katie Burns of JAVMA News writes, what could be more wholesome than chocolate milk from an Amish farm?

In November 2015, the International Raw Milk Symposium in Anaheim, California, brought in unpasteurized chocolate milk from an Amish farm in Pennsylvania. The sale of raw milk is legal in California and Pennsylvania, but the interstate sale of raw milk is illegal. Authorities embargoed the chocolate milk and sent a sample to the Food and Drug Administration—turning up Listeria.

An investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health departments found that Listeria isolates from the milk seized at the symposium were related to isolates obtained from two people in 2014. One person in California had been hospitalized and the other, a cancer patient in Florida, had died.

The investigation revealed some of the risks of raw milk and some of the complexities of buyers’ clubs, which can be so secretive as to involve drop points and burner phones for temporary use. The AVMA supports laws requiring pasteurization of all milk, but unpasteurized milk has a devoted following despite the safety concerns and varying legality among states.

30+ sick from Listeria linked to Jerusalem Deli meats in Israel

Outbreak News Today reports that Israeli health officials concluded in a report that more than 30 listeriosis cases were reported to the Ministry of Health, some are severe and include invasive infection and fetus mortality, mostly in the southern region among the Bedouin sector settlements.

In food sampling carried out by the Southern District National Food Services according to information emanating in morbidity incidents investigation, Listeria monocytogenes bacterium has been found in “Jerusalem Deli Pastrami” and the “Jerusalem deli smoked salami” products in the 200 and 400 grams packages by Almadain Food Products Ltd. (Madco) Ltd. The manufacturing date of the products is 08/10/2018 and the expiry date is 07/01/2019.

4 sick: Outbreak of listeria infections linked to pork products

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) are investigating a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections linked to pork products produced by 165368 C. Corporation, doing business as Long Phung Food Products.

On November 20, 2018, 165368 C. Corporation, doing business as Long Phung Food Products in Houston, TX recalled ready-to-eat pork products because they might be contaminated with Listeria.

Do not eat, sell, or serve recalled products from Long Phung Food Products.

The full list of recalled ready-to-eat pork patty rolls is on the USDA-FSIS website.

Recalled products are labeled with establishment number “EST. 13561” inside the USDA mark of inspection.

Recalled pork patty rolls were produced on various dates from May 21, 2018, through Nov. 16, 2018. These items were shipped to distributors and retail locations nationwide.

Return any recalled pork products to the store for a refund or throw them away. Even if some of the product was eaten and no one got sick, do not eat it. If you do not know if the pork product you purchased was recalled, ask the place where you purchased it or throw it away.

Wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in refrigerators and freezers where recalled pork products were stored. Follow these five steps to clean your refrigerator.

Retailers should clean and sanitize deli slicers and other areas where recalled pork products were prepared, stored, or served. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for sanitizer strength and application to ensure it is effective.

If you develop symptoms of a Listeria infection  after eating recalled pork products, contact a healthcare provider and tell them you ate recalled pork products. This is especially important if you are pregnant, age 65 or older, or have a weakened immune system.

Four people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from four states.

Listeria specimens from ill people were collected from July 1, 2017, to October 24, 2018.

Four people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that pork products from 165368 C. Corporation, doing business as Long Phung Food Products are a likely source of the outbreak.

On November 20, 2018, 165368 C. Corporation, doing business as Long Phung Food Products recalled ready-to-eat pork products because they might be contaminated with Listeria.

This investigation is ongoing, and CDC will provide updates when more information is available.

 

2 dead, 10 sick from Listeria in Switzerland

RTS Info reports that since June, 2018, an unexplained outbreak of listeriosis, has been occurring across Switzerland. The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has identified 12 cases, 2 of which were fatal.

“What is unusual is that it is all cases of the same subtype of bacteria. We counted 12 cases, which is not that much, but 12 of the same type in a short time, it’s not normal,” said Daniel Koch, director of the Division of Communicable Diseases at the FOPH.

Research is being conducted to find the sources of the infection.

“We can talk about an epidemic and this disease can be deadly, but the population is not at risk. These germs benefit from flaws, a decrease in immunity, in the defenses of individuals. This therefore concerns especially pregnant women and the elderly,” Raffaele Malinverni, head of the Department of Medicine at the Neuchatel Hospital, told RTS on its Tuesday 12:45 broadcast.

The FOPH reminds that people at risk should avoid raw vegetables, raw or undercooked meat, raw fish and seafood, soft cheese and unpasteurized milk.
“Our survey is all the more difficult because the cases are spread all over Switzerland; it’s not easy, people have probably been infected with the same food, but it’s a food that had to be distributed in many places,” said Daniel Koch.

In 1987, more than 120 people became ill after eating Vacherin-Mont-d’or, and 30 of them died.

4 dead 8 sick in EU outbreak of Listeria linked to salmon products beginning in 2015

A multi-country outbreak of 12 listeriosis cases caused by Listeria monocytogenes sequence type (ST) 8 has been identified through whole genome sequencing (WGS) analysis in three EU/EEA countries: Denmark (6 cases), Germany (5) and France (1).

Four of these cases have died due to or with the disease. It is likely that the extent of this outbreak has been underestimated since the outbreak was identified through sequencing and only a subset of the EU/EEA countries routinely use this advanced technique to characterise L. monocytogenes isolates.

The first case was sampled in October 2015 in Denmark and the most recent case was reported in May 2018 in Germany. In August 2017, Denmark identified the first cluster of cases, which was investigated and linked to the consumption of ready-to-eat cold-smoked salmon produced in Poland. Control measures were implemented and the Member States and competent authorities were informed.

In October 2017, France reported the identification of a matching L. monocytogenes strain in food isolates from marinated salmon originating from the same Polish processing company as identified in the Danish outbreak investigation. This supports the hypothesis that contamination may have occurred at the processing company in Poland. However, due to the lack of WGS data on the isolates found in the environmental and food samples taken at the Polish processing plant, it is not possible at present to confirm the contamination with the L. monocytogenes ST8 outbreak strain at the suspected Polish plant. Moreover, until detailed information on the Norwegian primary producers of the salmon used in the contaminated batches is reported and assessed, possible contamination at primary production level cannot be excluded either.

Although control measures were implemented following the Danish outbreak investigation in September 2017, the identification of the same strain in a salmon product in France and a new human case in Germany suggest that the source of contamination is still active and contaminated products have been distributed to other EU countries than Denmark.

Until the source of infection has been eliminated, new invasive listeriosis cases may still occur. Pregnant women, the elderly and immunocompromised individuals are at increased risk of invasive listeriosis, which is associated with severe clinical course and potentially death.