The agribusiness program Goldberg developed in 1955 continues to bring business leaders and policy makers from around the world together each year. Throughout his tenure, Ray has written over 100 articles and 24 books on the business of agriculture, including his very latest, Food Citizenship: Food System Advocates in an Era of Distrust.
He was interviewed by podcast host, Brian Kenny: Did you coin the term agribusiness?
Ray Goldberg: I did, together with John Davis. He was the Assistant Secretary of Agriculture under Eisenhower, and he became the first head of the (HBS) Agribusiness Program.
Brian Kenny: The case cites examples of foodborne illness outbreaks in the US. We’re coming on the heels of the recent romaine lettuce issue in the US, which has now occurred, I think, twice in the last few months.
Ray Goldberg: I can describe the romaine lettuce [event], because I talked to the produce manager this morning, and he tells me the cost to the industry was $100 million dollars.
The problem is that romaine lettuce itself, when cold temperatures occur, begins to blister, which make it more susceptible to listeria. When they tried to find the location of that listeria, it came from a dairy herd about 2,000 feet away from where that lettuce was grown. We have a rule that 1,200 feet is far enough, but they actually found listeria a mile away from where that lettuce was concerned, so he feels very strongly that they have to change the rules.
(They seem to be confusing Listeria with E.coli O157 in Romaine, but that’s Haaaaaaaaarvard.)
Brian Kenny: Which gets to another issue that the case raises, which is has the industry done well enough trying to regulate itself? What are some of the things the industry has tried to do?
Ray Goldberg: Under Danny Wegman’s leadership—he was the person in charge of food safety of the Food Marketing Institute that really looked at the whole industry—he got several members of the industry to sit down and create new rules with the FDA, the EPA, the USDA, and CDC, all of them saying we have to have better rules. Produce, as you know in the case, is the most valuable part of a supermarket but also the most susceptible to problems.
Brian Kenny: This gets a little bit to the topic of your book, Food System Advocates in an Era of Distrust. [What[ are the big ideas coming out of your book?
Ray Goldberg: The big ideas are two-fold, that the kind of men and women in the industry have changed from commodity handlers and bargaining as to how cheap they can buy something, or how expensive they can make something, to finally realizing that they have to be trusted. And because they have to be trusted, they have to start working together to create that trust. In addition to that, they realize that the private, public and not-for-profit sectors really need to work together. That’s why I tried to write a book to give people an inkling of the kind of men and women in this industry who really are the change-makers, who are changing it to a consumer-oriented, health-oriented, environmentally-oriented, economic development-oriented industry.
Now, over three years since residents of Ontario (that’s in Canada) began reporting illnesses from Listeria in pasteurized chocolate milk produced at a dairy in Georgetown, Ontario, investigators have gotten around to saying just how many people got sick.
According to health-types writing in Emerging Infectious Disease, 11 case-patients had an onset date during November 14, 2015–February 14, 2016. Onset dates ranged from April 11 to June 20, 2016, for 21 case-patients in the second wave; the remaining 2 case-patients were outliers. Median age was 73 years (range <1 years–90 years). More than half of the case-patients were female (20/34, 59%). Hospitalizations occurred for 32 (94%) case-patients, and 4 deaths (12%) were reported.
In Ontario, local public health professionals complete the national invasive listeriosis questionnaire and collect food samples. We conducted a case–case analysis by using Ontario case-patients listed in the national listeriosis database as controls. We used a variety of methods to support hypothesis generation, including supplemental questionnaires, centralized interviewing, and reviewing purchase records collected through shoppers’ loyalty card programs. A meeting was also held with representatives from a grocery chain that was common for case-patients (retail chain A) for insights into possible sources.
PFGE and whole-genome sequencing were performed at the Public Health Ontario Laboratory, in accordance with PulseNet Canada protocols (Table). Food safety investigations, including targeted retail sampling, were conducted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Rural Affairs. Laboratory analyses of food samples were conducted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Public Health Ontario Laboratory.
Several hypotheses were generated during the course of this outbreak. In the first wave, a concurrent listeriosis outbreak associated with leafy greens was ongoing in the United States and Canada. However, product testing did not establish a relationship between the 2 outbreaks. Cheddar cheese was also suspected, but a food safety investigation, including sampling at the manufacturer, did not support a link to this outbreak (6,7). Although leafy greens and cheddar cheese were ruled out, 1 commonality remained; shopping at retail chain A was reported frequently by case-patients.
A second wave began in April 2016 in which 10 of 17 case-patients reported consuming coleslaw. Six case-patients ate coleslaw from the same manufacturer, which supplied retail chain A and a fast food restaurant chain. However, the food safety investigation, including sampling at the manufacturer and supplier, did not support this hypothesis.
On May 24, 2016, L. monocytogenes isolated from expired bagged chocolate milk collected from the home of 1 case-patient was confirmed to have the outbreak strain PFGE pattern. Fluid milk in Canada is often sold in plastic bags. In this instance, the outer packaging, which is the only area that contains the brand name, was discarded. Thus, the brand name was uncertain, and efforts were undertaken to confirm the source of the chocolate milk. Because the proxy of the case-patient reported purchasing brand B milk, samples of brand B chocolate and white milk were collected from retail for testing. Brand B was the main brand of chocolate milk sold by retail chain A, and it is distributed only in Ontario.
Although the hypothesis-generating questionnaire used stipulated milk, with flavored milk as a prompt, chocolate milk was not specified, and as a result this type of milk might have been underreported. Exposure to pasteurized milk was reported by 60% of case-patients in the first wave compared with 76% of controls. Thus, milk was not originally pursued as a source. However, this new positive isolate led to re-interviewing of case-patients from the second wave and resulted in 9 (75%) of 12 case-patients reporting consuming brand B when asked specifically about chocolate milk.
On June 3, a retail sample of brand B chocolate milk was confirmed positive for L. monocytogenes. This finding led to a class I recall of 1 lot of brand B chocolate milk. On June 5, the recall was expanded to all lots of brand B chocolate milk processed at that facility because of the result of extensive retail sampling. Isolates from the original sample and 3 subsequent positive samples of chocolate milk matched the outbreak strain by PFGE and whole-genome sequencing. No white milk samples were positive for L. monocytogenes.
Environmental sampling at the manufacturer confirmed the presence of the outbreak strain within a post-pasteurization pump dedicated to chocolate milk and on nonfood contact surfaces. This post-process contamination of the chocolate milk line was believed to be the root cause of the outbreak. A harborage site might have been introduced by a specific maintenance event or poor equipment design. The equipment was subsequently replaced, and corrective measures were implemented to prevent reoccurrence. Chocolate milk production was resumed after vigorous testing for L. monocytogenes under regulatory oversight.
This outbreak lasted 7 months and resulted in 34 confirmed listeriosis case-patients. Discovering the cause of this listeriosis outbreak was challenging because pasteurized chocolate milk is a commonly consumed product. Although there have been previous outbreaks outside Canada caused by chocolate milk, pasteurized milk products are generally not expected to be the source. This outbreak highlights that even pasteurized products can be contaminated by and support the proliferation of L. monocytogenes when contamination is introduced post-pasteurization. The possibility of post-processing contamination indicates an ongoing need for regulatory oversight and robust quality assurance processes, which include routine sampling of the environment and finished products.
Brand B chocolate milk is a widely distributed product in Ontario, and contamination of this product could have resulted in >34 case-patients. It is possible that a lower number of case-patients were reported because chocolate milk may primarily be consumed by younger, healthier persons, in whom invasive listeriosis is less likely to develop. Another possible explanation is that the contamination in the milk appeared to be intermittent, with some samples testing positive while others tested negative. As such, careful attention should be given to equipment design and maintenance programs, as harborage sites could result in recurring contamination that goes undetected by routine monitoring. Targeted retail and environmental sampling was instrumental in identifiying the root cause in the facility and the breadth of potentially implicated products in the marketplace. Thus, this type of sampling should be considered during outbreak investigations.
Ultimately, the implicated product was determined on the basis of testing of food items obtained from the home of 1 case-patient. This finding highlights the necessity of obtaining a thorough food history and collecting and testing available samples of food that case-patients consumed during the incubation period. In Canada, where bagged milk is common, labeling of the inner and outer bags with the brand name would facilitate product identification by consumers. This recommendation could extend to other food products in North America (e.g., frozen hamburger patties) that have multiple layers of packaging.
That is a lucid, thought provoking summary of a complex foodborne outbreak, fraught with uncertainties.
When the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced the recall on June 4, 2016, Chapman wrote it up for the blog, reminiscing about his childhood innocence in southern Ontario, and noted, as has become the pattern, that CFIA reports recalls, but it’s up to PHAC or provincial health ministries to identify the number of sick people. As far as I can tell, no public statement about illnesses was ever made, until now.
What the fuck do these people do, especially the communication hacks? Do they have a responsibility to the public? Why didn’t epidemiology count and a public warning issued rather than waiting for a positive sample in an unopened package, which has apparently become the Canadian standard for going public?
If that’s the standard, that sucks.
Listeria monocytogenes associated with pasteurized chocolate milk, Ontario, Canada
Emerging Infectious Diseases vol. 25 no. 3
Heather Hanson , Yvonne Whitfield, Christina Lee, Tina Badiani, Carolyn Minielly, Jillian Fenik, Tony Makrostergios, Christine Kopko, Anna Majury, Elizabeth Hillyer, Lisa Fortuna, Anne Maki, Allana Murphy, Marina Lombos, Sandra Zittermann, Yang Yu, Kristin Hill, Adrienne Kong, Davendra Sharma, and Bryna Warshawsky
In an investigation of a listeriosis outbreak in Ontario, Canada, during November 2015–June 2016, Public Health Ontario identified pasteurized chocolate milk as the source. Because listeriosis outbreaks associated with pasteurized milk are rare in North America, these findings highlight that dairy products can be contaminated after pasteurization.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections linked to pork products produced by Long Phung Food Products appears to be over.
On November 20, 2018, 165368 C. Corporation of Houston, Texas, doing business as Long Phung Food Products, recalled ready-to-eat pork products because they might have been contaminated with Listeria bacteria.
Do not eat, sell, or serve recalled products from Long Phung Food Products.
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.
As of January 29, 2019, this outbreak appears to be over.
Four people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes were reported from four states.
Listeria specimens from ill people were collected from July 1, 2017, to October 24, 2018.
Four people were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.
Cornell University scientists have developed a computer program, Environmental Monitoring With an Agent-Based Model of Listeria (EnABLe), to simulate the most likely locations in a processing facility where the foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes might be found. Food safety managers may then test those areas for the bacteria’s presence, adding an important tool to prevent food contamination and human exposure to the pathogen through tainted food.
The computer model, which is described in the Jan. 24 issue of Scientific Reports, has the potential to be modified for a wide range of microbes and locations.
“The goal is to build a decision-support tool for control of any pathogen in any complex environment,” said Renata Ivanek, associate professor in the Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences and senior author of the paper. The study was funded by the Frozen Food Foundation through a grant to Martin Wiedmann, professor of food science, who is also a co-author of the paper.
The researchers, including first author Claire Zoellner, a postdoctoral research associate in Ivanek’s lab, want to eventually apply the framework to identifying contamination from pathogens that cause hospital-acquired infections in veterinary hospitals or E. coli bacteria in fruit and vegetable processing plants.
Food safety professionals at processing facilities keep regular schedules for pathogen testing. They rely on their own expertise and knowledge of the building to determine where to swab for samples.
“Whenever we have an environment that is complex, we always have to rely on expert opinion and general rules for this system, or this company, but what we’re trying to offer is a way to make this more quantitative and systematic by creating this digital reality,” Ivanek said.
For the system to work, Zoellner, Ivanek and colleagues entered all relevant data into the model – including historical perspectives, expert feedback, details of the equipment used and its cleaning schedule, the jobs people do, and materials and people who enter from outside the facility.
“A computer model like EnABLe connects those data to help answer questions related to changes in contamination risks, potential sources of contamination and approaches for risk mitigation and management,” Zoellner said.
“A single person could never keep track of all that information, but if we run this model on a computer, we can have in one iteration a distribution of Listeria across equipment after one week. And every time you run it, it will be different and collectively predict a range of possible outcomes,” Ivanek said.
The paper describes a model system that traces Listeria species on equipment and surfaces in a cold-smoked salmon facility. Simulations revealed contamination dynamics and risks for Listeria contamination on equipment surfaces. Furthermore, the insights gained from seeing patterns in the areas where Listeria is predicted can inform the design of food processing plants and Listeria-monitoring programs. In the future, the model will be applied to frozen food facilities.
The Fresh Peaches, Fresh Nectarines and Fresh Plums were distributed in Alabama, California, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Virginia through small retail establishments and the following select retail stores:
Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia
Nectarines, Peaches, Plums
Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia
The peaches and nectarines are sold as a bulk retail produce item with PLU sticker (PLU# 4044, 3035, 4378) showing the country of origin of Chile. The peaches, nectarines and plums sold at ALDI are packaged in a 2-pound bag with the brand Rio Duero, EAN# 7804650090281, 7804650090298, 7804650090304. The nectarines sold at Costco are packaged in a 4-pound plastic clamshell with the brand Rio Duero, EAN# 7804650090212.
No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem to date.
The recall was the result of a routine sampling program by the packing house which revealed that the finished products contained the bacteria. The company has ceased the distribution of the product as FDA and the company continue their investigation as to what caused the problem.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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