You think that chicken is done? It’s not done (or it’s burnt)

About one third of foodborne illness outbreaks in Europe are acquired in the home and eating undercooked poultry is among consumption practices associated with illness. The aim of this study was to investigate whether actual and recommended practices for monitoring chicken doneness are safe.

Seventy-five European households from five European countries were interviewed and videoed while cooking chicken in their private kitchens, including young single men, families with infants/in pregnancy and elderly over seventy years. A cross-national web-survey collected cooking practices for chicken from 3969 households. In a laboratory kitchen, chicken breast fillets were injected with cocktails of Salmonella and Campylobacter and cooked to core temperatures between 55 and 70°C. Microbial survival in the core and surface of the meat were determined. In a parallel experiment, core colour, colour of juice and texture were recorded. Finally, a range of cooking thermometers from the consumer market were evaluated.

The field study identified nine practical approaches for deciding if the chicken was properly cooked. Among these, checking the colour of the meat was commonly used and perceived as a way of mitigating risks among the consumers. Meanwhile, chicken was perceived as hedonically vulnerable to long cooking time. The quantitative survey revealed that households prevalently check cooking status from the inside colour (49.6%) and/or inside texture (39.2%) of the meat. Young men rely more often on the outside colour of the meat (34.7%) and less often on the juices (16.5%) than the elderly (>65 years old; 25.8% and 24.6%, respectively). The lab study showed that colour change of chicken meat happened below 60°C, corresponding to less than 3 log reduction of Salmonella and Campylobacter. At a core temperature of 70°C, pathogens survived on the fillet surface not in contact with the frying pan. No correlation between meat texture and microbial inactivation was found. A minority of respondents used a food thermometer, and a challenge with cooking thermometers for home use was long response time. In conclusion, the recommendations from the authorities on monitoring doneness of chicken and current consumer practices do not ensure reduction of pathogens to safe levels. For the domestic cook, determining doneness is both a question of avoiding potential harm and achieving a pleasurable meal. It is discussed how lack of an easy “rule-of-thumb” or tools to check safe cooking at consumer level, as well as national differences in contamination levels, food culture and economy make it difficult to develop international recommendations that are both safe and easily implemented.

Cooking chicken at home: common or recommended approaches to judge doneness may not assure sufficient inactivation of pathogens, 29 April 2020

PLOS One

Solveig Langsrud, Oddvin Sørheim, Silje Elisabeth Skuland, Valérie Lengard Almli, Merete Rusås Jensen, Magnhild Seim Grøvlen, Øydis Ueland, Trond Møretrø

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0230928

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0230928

Salmonella in poop on produce

Heightened concerns about wildlife on produce farms and possible introduction of pathogens to the food supply have resulted in required actions following intrusion events. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the survival of Salmonella in feces from cattle and various wild animals (feral pigs, waterfowl, deer, and raccoons) in California, Delaware, Florida, and Ohio.

Feces were inoculated with rifampin-resistant Salmonella enterica cocktails that included six serotypes: Typhimurium, Montevideo, Anatum, Javiana, Braenderup, and Newport (104 to 106 CFU/g). Fecal samples were stored at ambient temperature. Populations were enumerated for up to 1 year (364 days) by spread plating onto tryptic soy agar supplemented with rifampin. When no colonies were detected, samples were enriched. Colonies were banked on various sampling days based on availability of serotyping in each state. During the 364-day storage period, Salmonella populations decreased to ≤2.0 log CFU/g by day 84 in pig, waterfowl, and raccoon feces from all states. Salmonella populations in cattle and deer feces were 3.3 to 6.1 log CFU/g on day 336 or 364; however, in Ohio Salmonella was not detected after 120 days. Salmonella serotypes Anatum, Braenderup, and Javiana were the predominant serotypes throughout the storage period in all animal feces and states. Determination of appropriate risk mitigation strategies following animal intrusions can improve our understanding of pathogen survival in animal feces.

Survival of salmonella in various wild animal feces that may contaminate produce, 01 April 2020

Journal of Food Protection

Topalcengiz Z1,2Spanninger PM3Jeamsripong S4,5Persad AK6,7Buchanan RL8Saha J2LeJEUNE J7Jay-Russell MT4,9Kniel KE3Danyluk MD2.

DOI:10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-19-302

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32221570

(Oh, and I have a young lady who comes over every week for musical therapy, and we’ve been going through my greatest hits of the 1960s and 70s, so I just post whatever video I want now. Freedom of the press belongs to whoever owns one.)

Careful with the Salmonella if you eat rattlesnake meat

Salmonella foodborne infections have been well described. Cardiac complications of Salmonella, including Infective Endocarditis (IE) however are very rare.

Case

50-year-old Hispanic male presented with chest pain, fever & septic shock. Troponin & ECG were unremarkable. Patient was started on empiric antibiotics. Blood cultures grew Salmonella species serotype H&O. TEE confirmed aortic valve vegetation.

Decision-making

Patient denied contact with feces-contaminated food or water with no obvious source of infection and negative immunodeficiency work-up. Therefore, we started looking for other sources of infection. Upon further history taking, patient was found to be regularly consuming dried rattlesnake meat preparations, a rather common practice in the Chihuahua desert region. Surgery was not indicated, and patient was treated with 6 weeks of intravenous antibiotics.

Conclusion

Ingestion of rattlesnake meat has been previously studied in populations residing in the United States- Mexico border region. Few case reports have shown a link between consuming rattlesnake meat with Salmonella bacteremia. We are describing a unique case of Salmonella IE in a patient ingesting rattlesnake meat. This case presents an opportunity for physicians to recognize rare sources of IE by looking deep into cultural exposures and practices.

Slither into the heart: Salmonella endocarditis following rattlesnake meat ingestion

Journal of the American College of Cardiology vol. 75 no. 11

Kunal Mishra, Cameron Cu, Mehran Abolbashari, Jorge D. Guerra, Sclaudia Didia, Chandra Prakash Ojha and Haider Alkhateeb

DOI: 10.1016/S0735-1097(20)33595-6

http://www.onlinejacc.org/content/75/11_Supplement_1/2968

Wife’s heartbreak as husband dies from Salmonella linked to duck eggs

A wife has been left heartbroken after her “loving and caring” husband died from salmonella linked to duck eggs he bought at Messingham Show.

Jamie Waller of Grimsby Live reports Niptoon Tavakoli was hospitalised days after eating the eggs and died after two months in intensive care.

He bought six duck eggs at Messingham Show on June 2, and ate four of them five days later.

Niptoon was among thousands of people who attended the 114th Messingham show last year, one of the biggest events of its kind in northern Lincolnshire.

But after eating the eggs Niptoon suffered with sickness and diarrhea and an ambulance was called to his home in Lindholme near Doncaster on June 7. It was decided not to take him to hospital.

But paramedics were again called on June 10, and Niptoon was taken into Doncaster Royal Infirmary where doctors found evidence of salmonella.

He was admitted to intensive care, but his condition continued to deteriorate.

He died on August 12, just over two months later.

A second case of salmonella from the same strain has since been confirmed in the West Midlands.

Niptoon’s wife Cheryl has called for answers into how he contracted the salmonella as an inquest into her husband’s death opens. Niptoon was stepdad to Cheryl’s two sons Andrew and Paul.

13 sick: Salmonella outbreak in France linked to raw milk cheese

Outbreak News Today reports that since November 2019, Public Health France reports investigating 13 cases of salmonellosis caused by Salmonella enterica serotype Dublin (S. Dublin) reported by the National Reference Center (CNR) of Salmonella (Institut Pasteur) due to the fact that the strains belong to the same genomic cluster.

The outbreak has been linked to the consumption of raw milk Morbier (cheese), purchased from different brands, health officials note.

The cases are spread over 7 regions of the country. Three cases died, though its not clear if the salmonellosis attributed to the deaths.

The analysis by the Directorate General of Food (DGAL) of cheese purchases from case loyalty cards made it possible to identify that the Morbiers bought by the cases came from the same supplier.

The function of new microRNAs identified in Salmonella and Shigella infections

I had this prof back in my undergraduate genetics days who prayed at the church of RNA.

He may have been right.

He was an asshole.

MicroRNAs are small RNA molecules that do not code for proteins, however, they take care of an essential function: they act as regulators in gene expression, and so they have become a focus of attention for medical science. Despite there being thousands of different sequences of this genetic material, the individual role that each one plays in several illnesses continues to be unknown for the most part.

Recently, research done at the University of Cordoba, among other places, and published in Nature Microbiology, was able to determine the specific function of certain microRNAs in Salmonella Typhimurium and Shigella flexneri infections. These are two similar bacteria that are passed on to humans upon ingesting food or water infected by people or animals with the disease.

These are two intracellular pathogens that invade healthy cells and cause similar symptoms. Nevertheless, in spite of their many similarities, the results show that infections from these two bacteria are controlled by different microRNAs that have a radically opposite function.

In order to come to this conclusion, an array of over 1,400 different microRNAs were studied individually so as to verify what effect they produce in cells upon being infected by these two bacteria, explains University of Cordoba Genetics Department researcher Sara Zaldívar.

In the case of Shigella, the results show that upon infection, three specific kinds of microRNA silence the expression of the gene responsible for spreading the bacteria within the infected organism by means of filaments called filopodia. This is an immune response mechanism of the infected organism that, as a result, lessens the bacteria’s movement.

In the case of Salmonella, almost the opposite occurs. Once the cell is infected, a kind of microRNA activates the expression of a gene responsible for the bacteria reproducing. This is the pathogen’s attack mechanism in order to reproduce, something that was not only demonstrated in the laboratory but also was corroborated in vivo in pig intestinal mucosa.

The results show two mechanisms of how microRNAs act in completely different ways and that were not described ever before. While in some infections, such as Shigella, these small molecules of genetic material perform a function in the immune response of the infected organism, in others, like Salmonella, they are part of the strategies developed by the bacterium to benefit itself in order to reproduce.

One of the main takeaways from the research, as pointed out by another author, Professor Juan José Garrido, is the need to understand the specific response mechanisms of each pathogen so as to not err by extrapolating treatment. “If we do not know exactly how microRNA regulation works, then we are blindly assigning treatment and we will end up haphazardly using a wide range of antibiotics that build up resistance to the bacteria”, says the researcher. “In our laboratory alone”, adds Sara Zaldívar, “we have strains of Salmonella that have built up resistance to 14 different antibiotics”. For this reason, knowing about the mechanisms of each pathogen in particular is key to developing more effective drugs by means of searching for target genes involved in the process.

Raw eggs a potential problem in Spaghetti alla carbonara

Spaghetti alla carbonara is a traditional Italian dish, which the sauce made of raw egg yolks is heated using only the heat of cooked pasta. Concerns about the safety of this preparation have been raised due the possibility of egg yolks be contaminated by Salmonella and the heat treatment may not be sufficient for total Salmonella inactivation. 

This study was undertaken to analyze the survival of Salmonella in spaghetti alla carbonara in which the only thermal processing of egg yolks was the heat transfer from the pasta. A pool of Salmonella was inoculated in egg yolks reaching 8.8 log10 CFU/g. Contaminated egg yolks were added to the cooked spaghetti, away from the heat source. Results indicated that immediately after cooking and draining, the pasta reached 86.0 °C. After 4.5 min of contact with the egg yolks, the mean temperature of spaghetti alla carbonara decreased to lower than 60 °C. The preparation method was able to inactivate approximately 4.7 log10 CFU/g of Salmonella and the spaghetti alla carbonara processed by this method had a creamy and silky sauce formed by yolks. Based on the results, it should be advisable the use of thermo-processed eggs to ensure the safety of this preparation.

Survival of Salmonella in spaghetti alla carbonara

LWT

Stefani Machado Lopes and Eduardo Cesar Tondo

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lwt.2020.109115

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0023643820301031

356 confirmed sick; Multistate outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to raw turkey products

During 2018–2019, CDC, local and state public health partners, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigated a multistate outbreak of 356 Salmonella Reading infections from 42 states and the District of Columbia (DC) linked to turkey. The outbreak strain was isolated from raw turkey products, raw turkey pet food, and live turkeys. In July 2018, CDC and USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) shared outbreak investigation results with representatives from the U.S. turkey industry, engaging with an industry group rather than a specific company for the first time during an outbreak, and CDC issued a public investigation notice. During the investigation, four recalls of turkey products were issued. Evidence suggested that the outbreak strain of Salmonella was widespread in the turkey industry, and therefore, interventions should target all parts of the supply chain, including slaughter and processing facilities and upstream farm sources.

In January 2018, through routine state surveillance, Minnesota Department of Health investigators identified four Salmonella Reading infections with an indistinguishable pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern, suggesting they likely shared a common source. One patient had consumed ground turkey, and two lived in the same household where pets in the home ate raw turkey pet food. Minnesota investigators also identified this same strain in one sample of retail ground turkey. This PFGE pattern is the most common subtype of Salmonella Reading; however, the Reading serotype is uncommon, not ranking in the 20 most common types of human Salmonella infections reported in the United States (1). In response to Minnesota’s investigation, PulseNet,* the national laboratory network for foodborne disease surveillance, was queried for additional Salmonella infections with this PFGE pattern. CDC began a multistate cluster investigation, collecting information on patient exposures from local and state health departments and information on food and pet food products from FDA and FSIS.

CDC defined a case as an infection with Salmonella Reading with the outbreak PFGE pattern with illness onset from during November 20, 2017–March 31, 2019. Patients were interviewed to collect information on consumption of turkey and other poultry foods, exposure to raw poultry pet food, and contact with live poultry.

Investigators from DC Health and the Iowa Department of Health identified two illness subclusters of cases in which attendees ate at a common event before becoming ill. The two events occurred in November 2018 and February 2019, and 152 persons became ill, including 51 whose clinical isolates matched the outbreak strain and 101 who had clinically compatible illness without culture confirmation of Salmonella infection. Investigators identified whole turkey and boneless roast turkey as the food items significantly associated with illness at these two events and found that turkey was not handled or prepared in accordance with FSIS guidelines and was not held at proper temperatures to prevent bacterial growth (2).

Overall, 356 outbreak cases from 42 states and DC were identified. Patients ranged in age from <1 to 101 years (median = 42 years), and 175 (52%) of 336 patients for whom information on sex was available were male. Among 300 patients with available information, 132 (44%) were hospitalized, and one died. Among 198 interviewed patients, 132 (67%) reported direct or indirect contact with turkey in the week before illness; 123 reported preparing or eating turkey products that were purchased raw (including whole turkey, turkey pieces, and ground turkey), four became sick after pets in their home ate raw ground turkey pet food, and five worked in a facility that raises or processes turkeys or lived with someone who worked in such a facility. No common type, brand, or source of turkey was identified.

During the investigation, the outbreak strain was identified in 178 samples of raw turkey products from 24 slaughter and 14 processing establishments in 21 states that were collected by FSIS as part of routine testing and in 120 retail turkey samples collected as part of the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System retail meat sampling program. These samples represented several brands and types of raw turkey products. The outbreak strain was also identified in 10 samples from live turkeys in several states.

Investigators from the Arizona State Public Health Laboratory and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development identified the outbreak strain in two of three unopened ground turkey samples collected from two patient homes. These were the same brand of ground turkey but were produced in different facilities. Investigators from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture identified the outbreak strain in samples of two brands of raw turkey pet food that were served to pets in patients’ homes. No commercial connections or common source materials were identified among any of these facilities.

The two illness subclusters in this outbreak indicate improper handling and cooking of raw turkey products and highlight the need to reinforce consumer education. A 2017 study found that adherence to food safety practices among persons preparing turkey burgers was low but did improve after watching a USDA video on proper thermometer use (9). This same study also found very low adherence to CDC’s recommended steps for handwashing during food preparation and noted that approximately half of the participants contaminated other kitchen items, such as spice containers, by touching them while preparing turkey (9). These findings underscore the impact that food safety messaging can have on consumer behavior and the importance of proper food safety throughout the food preparation process. Consumers should always thaw turkeys safely (in the refrigerator in a container, in a leak-proof plastic bag in a sink of cold water, or in a microwave oven following the manufacturer’s instructions), avoid the spread of bacteria from raw turkey by keeping it separate from other foods and keeping food surfaces clean, and cook turkey to 165°F (74°C), measured on a food thermometer inserted into the thickest portions of the breast, thigh, and wing joint.† In addition to emphasizing the importance of food safety messaging, this outbreak reinforced the need for awareness of the recommendations against feeding pets a raw meat diet, which can lead to both human and animal illnesses (10). Finally, industries can take steps to provide consumer education through their marketing programs and on product packages. Consumers, public health agencies, and industry officials all play important roles in promoting and implementing Salmonella prevention and control strategies to prevent future illnesses.

Not-so-dirty birds? Nor enough evidence to link wild birds to food-borne illness

One of my favorite on-farm food safety lines is, “We can’t kill all the birds. They’re Salmonella and Campylobacter factories. Be the risk can be managed and reduced.”

That applies to greenhouses too, as one grower very publicly reminded me in 2000 that, ‘they get hot and we open the lids and birds fly in and crap on stuf.’

But a Washington State University study published in Biological Reviews on Jan. 31 has found scant evidence to support the link between wild birds and human illness involving those three pathogens.

The perceived risk of wild birds can impact their survival, said Olivia Smith, lead author on the study and a recent WSU Ph.D. graduate.

 “Farmers are being encouraged to remove wild bird habitat to make their food safer, but it doesn’t appear that these actions are based on data,” Smith said. “When you restrict birds from agricultural settings, you are doing something that can lead to their decline.”

Bird populations have been falling rapidly in recent decades. Scientists estimate that since 1970, North America has lost more than three billion birds. In light of this, the WSU researchers highlighted the need for more definitive research before destroying habitat and banning birds from fields in the name of food safety.

Smith and her colleagues, WSU Associate Professor Jeb Owen and Professor William Snyder, analyzed data for E. coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter in 431 North American breeding bird species and found no relevant studies for 65% of those species, including birds that are commonly found in farm fields such as raptors, great blue herons and black-billed magpies.

In their review, the researchers found only one study definitively linking wild birds to food-borne illness outbreaks: a case where sandhill cranes spread Campylobacter on fresh peas in an outbreak that sickened nearly 100 people in Alaska in 2008.

The most studied birds in relation to these pathogens were ducks, geese as well as two non-native species, house sparrows and European starlings, that tend to swarm on feed lots and can contaminate the food and water used for cattle. Yet there’s a huge gap in knowledge about many other common native species that are often around agricultural crops including American robins.

Only 3% of the studies that the researchers analyzed looked at the entire transmission process from bird to plant to human. The majority simply tested bird feces to see if the bacteria were present or not.

In order for the bacteria to make people sick, the bird needs to get pathogenic strains of E. coli, Salmonella or Campylobacter on a food crop, and that bacteria has to survive long enough until people eat the contaminated food, including through shipment, washing, food processing in plants and food preparation. The data on the pathogen survival is also very limited.

“Birds do carry bacteria that can make people sick, but from our review of the scientific studies, it’s unclear how big of a risk they are,” Smith said.

We’ll see.


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Shurley shum mistake: Salmonella in Flax Seed Fiber

Illinois-based Salud Natural Entrepreneur Inc. is voluntarily recalling Nopalina Flax Seed Fiber in both capsule and powder form due to possible salmonella contamination.

Nopalina Flax Seed products are distributed throughout the United States and Puerto Rico via retail stores and the company’s website.

The recall is the result of a Food and Drug Administration sampling of senna leaves powder, an ingredient used to manufacture the Nopalina Flax Seed Fiber in capsule and powder form. The powder tested positive for three types of salmonella including salmonella gaminara, salmonella Kentucky and salmonella Oranienburg.

The company has ceased the use of the suspect ingredient, according to its Jan. 29 announcement on the FDA’s website.