75% of pregnant women in NZ aren’t aware of dangerous foods

New research from New Zealand has found that 75% of pregnant women aren’t aware of what foods are potentially dangerous.

Researchers took a survey of 205 pregnant women, both those in a hospital and online, between December 2017 and January 2018. The results, according to BabyGaga, can be read in two ways. The good news is that the average woman scored 95% correct. The troubling news? Only 25% scored a perfect score. With things like deadly foods for fetuses, you need 100% in order to be completely protected from the dangers.

What danger foods weren’t readily known by expectant mothers? Baked goods with added cream or custard, hummus, certain salads, and soft/semi-soft Cheese all were among the most missed.

Hummus typically purchased in packages run the risk of listeria. This bacteria poses a danger to an unborn baby as it can cause the immune system to weaken. This, in turn, leads to listeriosis. Pregnant women are told to prepare any hummus at home and make sure to eat it while it is still fresh.

Refrigerated, ready-to-eat foods are generally a no-no. Two recent recalls highlight the risk.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued a recall for a popular brand of lunch meat.

Levitts Foods (Canada) Inc. is recalling Compliments Smoked Beef Pastrami 175 g with a best before date of Dec 25th, 2020 

The CFIA said people should not consume the recalled product and instead throw it out or return it to the store they purchased it from. 

The recalled Pastrami was sold at stores in Alberta, Nova Scotia, Ontario and possibly across the country. 

Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you and your family sick. 

The CFIA said there have been no illnesses reported. 

This recall was triggered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) test results. The 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 the industry is removing the recalled product from the marketplace. 

In the UK, Tesco has issued a recall of 80G packets of its own-brand spicy chorizo slices.

Food standards officials reported a detection of Listeria monocytogenes inside some packs of 16.

Packets with the best before end date of 19/12/20 should return the product immediately.

Cyclospora sucks: 1060 North Americans sickened in summer Fresh Express outbreak

The parasite, Cyclospora, continues to provide illness and intrigue.

Florida-based Southeastern Grocers has issued a voluntary recall for its “SE Grocers Naturally Better Organic Fresh Cut Basil” following the detection of Cyclospora.

The company says the product was delivered through all of its distribution centers and sold in all its stores, including Winn-Dixie, BI-LO, Fresco y Más and Harveys Supermarkets. The basil comes in a 0.5-ounce container with UPC code 6-07880-20230-4.

The latest recall follows a summer outbreak of Cyclospora in the U.S. linked to Fresh Express and private label brand salad products produced at its Streamwood, IL facility that contain iceberg lettuce, red cabbage, and/or carrots.

690 people with laboratory-confirmed Cyclospora infections and who reported eating bagged salad mix before getting sick weren reported from 13 states (Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Wisconsin).

Illnesses started on dates ranging from May 11, 2020 to July 20, 2020.

37 people were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.

Canadians in several provinces were also sickened.

As of November 4, 2020, 370 confirmed cases of Cyclospora illness were reported in the following provinces and territories: British Columbia (1), Ontario (255), Quebec (105), New Brunswick (1), Newfoundland and Labrador (6), and Nunavut (2). Individuals became sick between mid-May and late August 2020. Ten individuals were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.

Frank Yiannas, Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in Aug. that a new method developed and validated by the FDA to sample for Cyclospora in agricultural water was used for the first time in a field investigation.

This method was used in our current investigation and may be instrumental in our efforts to better understand the dispersion of the parasite in the environment, which could help prevent future outbreaks. The collective work by public health officials to get these new findings demonstrates a commitment to innovation and science in the service of public health and the importance of strong federal and state coordination on food safety work.

Even as our agencies continue to respond to the COVID-19 public health crisis, teams of experts from the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have continued to respond to a threat of a different kind – a nationwide outbreak of Cyclospora illnesses. Cyclospora cayetanensis is a parasite that is so small it can only be seen with a microscope. It causes an intestinal illness called cyclosporiasis from the consumption of contaminated food, mainly fresh produce, or contaminated water.

Epidemiology linked the illnesses to bagged salad produced by Fresh Express. The number of reported cases of Cyclospora typically rises during May through August. Although CDC conducts surveillance for cyclosporiasis year-round, during the spring and summer months CDC conducts enhanced surveillance for cases of domestically acquired illness. In this outbreak, CDC has reported 690 cases across 13 states, with 37 hospitalizations and no deaths. Onsets of illness range from May 11, 2020 to July 20, 2020. Salads made by Fresh Express and containing iceberg lettuce, red cabbage, and carrots were identified as the food vehicle responsible for the outbreaks.

Traceback of cases with the strongest sources of information (shopper card info, etc.) revealed that bagged salad codes most likely to have resulted in illness contained iceberg lettuce from California and red cabbage from Florida. The FDA evaluated and investigated each of the ingredients in the bagged salads, identifying red cabbage from Florida and iceberg lettuce from California as those most likely in the bagged salads consumed by people who became ill. Traceback investigations are time-consuming work but are critical. In this instance, in the wake of traceback and collaboration with the retailers to recall product, FDA identified a noticeable decline in illnesses that matched the time period in which cabbage sourcing shifted from Florida to another area, providing a possible clue in the investigation.

Environmental sampling detected the presence of Cyclospora in the surface water of a canal near a farm suspected of being a source of the red cabbage. Two samples collected to the north and south of where the farm accessed canal water for seepage irrigation were found to be positive for Cyclospora cayetanensis. The farm that supplied red cabbage was no longer in production at the conclusion of the growing season, so it was not possible to sample product. Additionally, the farms growing iceberg lettuce in California were investigated and all of the samples collected in California were negative for Cyclospora.

Given the emerging nature of genetic typing methodologies for this parasite, the FDA has been unable to determine if the Cyclospora detected in the canal is a genetic match to the clinical cases, therefore, there is currently not enough evidence to conclusively determine the cause of this outbreak.

The FDA has pioneered ways to detect the parasite that have been employed in this outbreak investigation, developing and validating new methods to test for Cyclospora in produce and agricultural water. The first of these new methods was used in 2018 to confirm the presence of the parasite in a salad mix product tied to an outbreak that sickened hundreds of people.

In July 2019, the FDA made its second major advance in Cyclospora detection, completing studies that resulted in a novel, validated method to test agricultural water for the presence of the parasite. These new methods were developed by the Foodborne Parasitology Research Program that the FDA established in 2014 in our Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, in part to break the cycle of recurring Cyclospora outbreaks.

Strong federal and state coordination on matters of public health are critical. In identifying clinical cases of Cyclospora, assisting in providing traceback records and completing investigations in processing facilities and growing fields, our state partners’ work has proven essential to this investigation. We continue to work to strengthen these vital public health partnerships and federal agencies continue to work together to advance additional tools needed to assist with these investigations. For example, CDC is piloting the use of a genotyping tool to help identify cases of parasitic illness that might be linked to a common source.

While we as public health agencies have gotten better at detecting foodborne illnesses due to Cyclospora, our ability to trace contaminated foods back to their source has lagged, and once again, our ability to trace has been a challenge in this investigation, due in part to the lack of modernized food traceability capabilities.

Moreover, the detection of the parasite in surface waters near where product was grown once again puts a spotlight on the importance of managing the quality of irrigation water used to grow ready to eat crops. We are working closely with our colleagues at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to investigate this issue further to prevent future occurrences.

These findings further emphasize the importance of industry’s role in ensuring that irrigation water is safe to be used on produce. Under the FDA’s recently released New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint, we’ll continue to remain laser focused on prevention. In the coming months, we will be issuing a proposed rule that will aid in achieving our goal of enhancing traceability to greatly reduce the time it takes to identify the origin of a contaminated food or ingredient tied to a recall and/or outbreak.

In addition, we intend to release a proposed rule in late 2020 to revise certain agricultural water requirements in the Produce Safety Rule and to address practical implementation challenges while protecting public health. We also plan to advance detection techniques that will help us pinpoint sources of Cyclospora outbreaks and to continue our research around water treatments for this parasite.

In closing, we believe the entire fresh produce supply chain from farm to fork can do better and we look forward to continuing our work with our public health partners, growers, processors, distributors and retailers in our shared efforts to protect consumers. Together, we’ll make progress on our overarching goal to give consumers the confidence they deserve to have in the safety of fresh produce.

Food Safety Talk 225: Food Safety Talk 225: I Got a Little Holodeck

In this very special pre-Thanksgiving episode, Don and Ben start with talking about Ben’s on-set experiences this week, which was like a food safety holiday. The guys then talk about the challenges connecting with entertainment producers and publishers around getting food safety messages into recipes and cooking shows. The conversation goes to pizza and COVID-19 (Australian and Jersey), Thanksgiving plans (or lack thereof) and eating just black licorice as nutrient source. The episode ends with a discussion about number and size of COVID-19 clusters of in various food settings.

The episode can be found on your favorite podcast app or downloaded here.

 

Show notes so you can follow along at home:

Buy Apple Watch Series 6 Bands – Apple

Stray cat blues and zoonoses

Although trained in molecular biology, genetics and food science, I always had a desire to additionally express my creativity as a writer. In 1986I put aside my fears and made my way to the second floor of the university centre, home to all things student, including the University of Guelph student newspaper, The Ontarion.

I approached the editor-in-chief, who had issued a call for additional writers, and boldly – it seemed bold at the time – said. I want to write.

But rather than do record reviews or movie reviews, which everyone wanted to write, I said I want to write about science. I was a MSc student at the time.

After a few published pieces, I was awarded a weekly science column. The next year, through a series of weird events, I became editor-in-chief and lost interest in grad school (or was it the other way around?).

For a newbie journo, it was a struggle to come up with a weekly column while running my experiments to understand the basis of disease resistance –Verticillium wilt – in tomatoes.

My cats led the way.

My first warm-blooded pets – whom I named Clark and Kent — had been provided by my veterinary student girlfriend. I became fascinated with cat behavior, and thought the 25,000 potential readers would share my cat voyeurism.

Some did, enough to secure my weekly column and write about other sciencey things.

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, (B. Breedlove) and the British Library, London, UK (J. Igunma) write in the Dec. 2020 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases that Felis catus, the only domesticated species of cat in the family Felidae, flourishes on every continent except Antarctica. Able to thrive in almost any climate and habitat, it is among the world’s most invasive species. Current estimates of the global cat population, including pet, stray, and feral cats, range from 200 million to 600 million. Where there are humans, more than likely there are also cats.

Humans living in agricultural villages in northern Africa and the Near East are believed to have domesticated the African wildcat (Felis lybica) between 8,000 to 12,000 years ago. Archaeologist Magdalena Krajcarz and colleagues noted, “The cat’s way to domestication is a complex and still unresolved topic with many questions concerning the chronology of its dispersal with agricultural societies and the nature of its evolving relationship with humans.” Likely stored grains and trash piles in villages attracted rodent pests, which in turn lured local wildcats and initiated a nascent mutualistic relationship that has since flourished.

From those villages, cats found their way around the world. Authors Lee Harper and Joyce L. White wrote that ancient sailors “were quick to see the advantage of having cats aboard ship during long voyages to protect their food supplies from damage by rodents.” Trade and commerce helped spread cats from the Middle East to various ports of call in Europe, the Far East and Orient, and the Americas. Throughout this common history, cats have been both reviled and revered by humans.

During the Middle Ages in Europe, some religious institutions considered cats evil, leading to thousands being killed. Later, however, the Black Death spread by fleas on rats contributed to cats’ redemption. Harper and White noted, “The cat’s skill as a hunter of vermin was desperately needed. Its reputation was salvaged. Owning a cat was back in style.”

Ancient Egyptians ascribed to cats many characteristics shared with deities they worshipped. Freyja, Norse goddess of love, beauty, and fertility, rode on a cat-drawn chariot. Temples in medieval Japan often kept a pair of cats to protect precious manuscripts from being ruined by mice. In the Kingdom of Siam, which is modern-day Thailand, Buddhist monks welcomed cats into their temples, where they were protected as Maeo Wat (Temple Cats).

This month’s cover art, “two lucky cats to support leadership,” is the second folio from A Thai Treatise on Cats, created in the 19th century in central Thailand and acquired by the British Library in 2011. Such manuscripts about cats were made for breeders in Thailand at least from the 18th century on, although it is believed that cat breeding goes back to the beginnings of the ancient Thai Kingdom of Ayutthaya in the 14th century.

The positive side of cat ownership, as celebrated in those cat treatises, is acknowledged on the CDC website, “Research has shown that cats can provide emotional support, improve moods, and contribute to the overall morale of their owners. Cats are also credited with promoting socialization among older individuals and physically or mentally disabled people.” Cats, as noted earlier, have also historically helped control the spread of rodent-borne diseases among humans.

Nonetheless, living in close quarters with cats carries some health risks. Cats can transfer various zoonotic diseases, including Campylobacter infection, cat–scratch disease, cryptosporidiosis, hookworm infection, plague, rabies, and salmonellosis. Cats are the only animal in which the Toxoplasma gondii parasite completes its life cycle, and humans in close contact with cat litter, for example, are at risk of developing toxoplasmosis, which pregnant women can potentially transmit to a fetus. Much less common is transfer of disease from humans to animals, such as the suspected case of human-to-cat transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 reported in this issue. (Both owner and cat recovered.)

Detecting, responding to, and preparing for emerging zoonotic infections―which, like cats, have made their way around the world with our help―are major challenges for public health leaders. Even if cats are not actual talismans or have the power to improve leadership, spending a few minutes considering these lucky cats may provide public health officials a brief respite or serendipitous insight.

In consideration of our mutual relationship with cats

Emerging Infectious Diseases, vol. 26 no. 12

Byron Breedlove and Jana Igunma

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/12/ac-2612_article?ACSTrackingID=USCDC_331-DM42995&ACSTrackingLabel=Emerging%20Infectious%20Diseases%20Journal%20-%20Volume%2026%2C%20Issue%2012%20-%20December%202020%20Issue%20Now%20Online&deliveryName=USCDC_331-DM42995

Three sushi restaurants closed after Food Safety Authority discover they were being run from the bedroom of a house

Another reason not to like sushi

Eoghan Moloney of the Independent writes three unregistered online sushi restaurants were ordered to close by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) after it was found they were being run from a bedroom of a house in Dublin.

Koi Sushi, Nagoya Sushi and Kyoto Sushi takeaway restaurants were all registered to the same address of a house in the Santry area of Dublin and were ordered to close after the FSAI found them in breach of numerous laws around food and food safety.

Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive, FSAI expressed particular concern at the conditions in which the high-risk sushi products were being stored in.

Dr Byrne said the conditions in which the Sushi restaurants were operating in “posed a grave and immediate danger” to consumer health.

“Running a food business that has not been registered and is therefore, not supervised is totally unacceptable and poses a very serious risk to consumers’ health.

“In these instances, the unregistered businesses were producing sushi without any hygiene or temperature controls. Sushi is a very high-risk product because it contains raw fish which must be kept chilled to reduce the growth of dangerous bacteria. It can also contain cooked rice, which is a ready-to-eat product that must be kept chilled.

“In these instances, the absence of a food safety management system, no monitoring of the cold chain and no evidence of traceability of raw ingredients posed a grave and immediate danger to consumer health,” Dr Byrne said.

The FSAI closure orders on the premises detail how food was being produced, processed and distributed in an unsatisfactory and unclean environment.

There was an absence of safe practice when handling raw fish and cooked rice, it says, with the enforcement order noting a lack of access to hand washing facilities in the ‘food prep’ area. There was also no access to hot water, which posed “a serious risk to public health.”

Stick it in: Thermometers work but people don’t want to use them

This paper came out in Feb. but was lost in the Covid haze.

Observation is always better than self-reported survey BS (I cooked the turkey below, in Brisbane, and it went back in the oven)

Chapman learned well. Abstract below.

The purpose of this study was to test the effectiveness of an intervention for consumer thermometer use by using a randomized experimental design and direct observation of meal preparation.

The study was conducted in test kitchen facilities in two locations in North Carolina (one urban and one rural). Cameras recorded participants’ actions at various locations throughout the kitchen and recorded the meal preparation from beginning to end. Before preparing the meal, a randomized treatment group watched a 3-min U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) food safety video “The Importance of Cooking to a Safe Internal Temperature and How to Use a Food Thermometer.”

Participants in the control and treatment groups were observed while cooking turkey burgers and preparing a salad to determine whether a thermometer was used to check the doneness of the turkey patties. Following meal preparation, all participants responded to a post-observation interview about food handling behaviors. Treatment group participants were also asked about the intervention.

A total of 383 people participated in the study (201 in the control group and 182 in the treatment group). Participants who viewed the video were twice as likely to use a thermometer to check the doneness of the turkey patties compared with the participants who were not exposed to the video (75 versus 34%) and twice as likely to place the thermometer in the correct location (52 versus 23%). Sixty-seven percent of participants who watched the video reported that it influenced their behavior in the kitchen.

This study demonstrates the importance of timing and framing of a behavioral intervention for thermometer use and highlights considerations for the development of additional messages (e.g., proper insertion).

An observational study of thermometer use by consumers when preparing ground turkey patties

Minh Duong; Ellen Thomas Shumaker; Sheryl C Cates; Lisa Shelley; Lydia Goodson; Christopher Bernstein; Aaron Lavallee; Margaret Kirchner; Rebecca Goulter; Lee-Ann Jaykus; Benjamin Chapman

Journal of Food Protection

https://doi.org/10.4315/JFP-19-594

https://meridian.allenpress.com/jfp/article-abstract/83/7/1167/426199

‘My five-year-old son died with E. coli after eating infected meat at school. He would have been 21 this year’

I’m sorry I missed this story in Wales Online from Sept. 13, 2020, as I was doing my own recovering.

Cathy Owen writes that Sharon Jeffreys dreads this time of year.

As children return for the start of the school year, she relives what happened to her family 15 years ago over and over, and over again.

It was only two weeks into the start of the school year at Deri Primary in 2005 when her eldest son Chandler came home with stomach pains and the beginning of a nightmare for the young family.

Chandler had contracted E. coli O157 after eating contaminated food that had been supplied to the school by a local butcher.

But worse was to come after his younger brother Mason also became ill with the food poisoning.

The five-year-old had only just switched from taking packed lunches to having school dinners because he was so fond of chips and sausages.

“It was the worse decision I ever made,” says Sharon. “Mason loved his food. He was taking sausages and chips off the plates of children, so we decided to switch him to school dinners and he was really happy.”

Mason and eight-year-old Chandler were one of more than 150 schoolchildren and adults struck down in the south Wales outbreak. Thirty-one people were admitted to hospital, but Mason was the only one to die.

He had suffered high temperatures, stomach pains and had hallucinations and was admitted to Bristol children’s hospital, but died of kidney failure.

Today, his mum Sharon remembers every moment of those terrifying days.

“It will be 15 years on September 13 when Chandler first became ill,” she remembers. “When Mason started to be sick I tried to do everything I possibly could. Mason’s condition deteriorated considerably and he started to hallucinate saying he could see slugs and frogs.

“He went a yellow colour and started sweating like he’d just come out of a shower. Mason died two weeks later in unbearable pain.”

Reflecting on the amount of time that has passed, Sharon says: “I just can’t believe how long it has been, it feels like such a long time since I last saw him.

“It is still very difficult to think about, but at this time of year I always relive that awful time. I always dread September coming along because it takes me back there.

“I will never get over it, but I have had to learn how to live with it, but little things can take me back there. Like I see a blade of grass, or hear something and it takes me back with a jolt.

“After Mason died it was really busy, there was the inquest and then the legal proceedings, so I didn’t actually face what had happened for a long time, and then it went quiet and it was like trying to scramble out of a big black hole.

“Mason would have been 21 in December. He should have been looking forward to celebrating that milestone in his life.

“Chandler is 23 now, but he is not the same person. He and Mason were so close, it has left a big hole in his life.

“My younger son is 16 and it has affected his life too. He can’t remember Mason because he wasn’t even one at the time, and that upsets him.”

Fifteen years on and Sharon and her family still feel that they have been denied justice.

Bridgend butcher William Tudor, 56, was jailed for breaching hygiene laws by allowing raw meat to come into contact with cooked ham and turkey.

public inquest in 2010 heard how Tudor put cash before hygiene for years and may have caused other food poisoning outbreaks.

Butcher William Tudor was jailed for 12 months

It was claimed he bought cheap frozen New Zealand mutton and passed it off as prime Welsh lamb and staff who brought him rotten meat unfit for consumption were told to “mince it up” and use it in faggots.

Sharon went  on to immerse herself in other food safety issues, including a push to make restaurant inspection disclosure – scores on doors – mandatory in Wales. Voluntary disclosure misses the point and if large cities like Toronto, New York and Los Angeles can figure out how to make it mandatory so can Wales.

Disclosure became mandatory in Wales and Northern Ireland in Nov. 2013, thanks in part – or largely — to Sharon’s efforts.

The rest of the UK, and Australia, wallows in a voluntary system: lousy score, don’t post it.

“The food hygiene rating scheme is very important and it is good that more people are more aware after what happened,” says Sharon.

“It is a bit concerning to hear that Covid might have an impact on some council environmental services, but we need to make sure there are more officers carrying out inspections and making sure that best practice is being followed.

“I have heard back from people that they have used our story as part of their training for cooks and kitchen staff.

“Before Mason’s death I had never really heard of E. coli. I had heard the name, but didn’t know much about it.

“Now, I think people are definitely more aware. That is good to know, good to know that people haven’t forgotten, even after all these years.”

‘Remain humble’ Salmonella infections linked to peaches

In Aug. 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control warned consumers not to eat, serve, or sell loose or bagged peaches packed or supplied by Prima Wawona or Wawona Packing Company LLC.

Peaches were sold in bags and individually (bulk/loose peaches).

If you can’t tell where the peaches are from, don’t eat them. Throw them out.

Don’t eat food made with these peaches.

Check your kitchen and refrigerator for recalled peaches. If you freeze fresh peaches to use later, check your freezer, too.

Retailers that sold these peaches include Aldi, Food Lion, Hannaford, Kroger, Target, Walmartand Wegmans.

The recalled bulk/loose peaches were sold in grocery stores through August 3, 2020 in various ways, typically loose in bins for shoppers to select.

The peaches may have the following stickers with Price Look Up (PLU) numbers on them: 4037, 4038, 4044, 4401, 94037, 94038, 94044, 94401. However, not all peaches with these PLU codes are supplied by Prima Wawona. If you are unsure of the brand or variety of your loose peaches, you can contact your retailer or supplier, or throw them out.

Brands and product codes for recalled peaches sold in bags include:

Wawona Peaches – 033383322001

Wawona Organic Peaches – 849315000400

Prima® Peaches – 766342325903

Organic Marketside Peaches – 849315000400

Kroger Peaches – 011110181749

Wegmans Peaches – 077890490488

Wash and sanitize places where peaches were stored, including countertops and refrigerator drawers or shelves.

Restaurants and retailers, as well as suppliers, distributors, and others in the supply chain, should clean and sanitize any surfaces that may have come in contact with recalled peaches, including cutting boards, countertops, refrigerators, and storage bins. If peaches from other sources were mixed with recalled peaches, all peaches should be discarded.Prior to the CDC announcement, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) warned warned the public not to consume and retailers, distributors, manufacturers, and food service establishments such as hotels, restaurants, cafeterias, hospitals, and nursing homes not to serve, use, or sell the products described below.

Prima Wawona, located in Fresno, California, has recalled fresh peaches with various brand names due to possible Salmonella contamination. Various importers in Canada are conducting a recall of the affected products.

Martin Wiedmann, a professor of food safety at Cornell University, told the New York Times, “The challenge with salmonella is salmonella can really enter or contaminate food almost anywhere in the whole chain. It could start from a field or an orchard, where salmonella could be introduced. It could be in a facility where the product is packaged. It could be from a human who carries salmonella.”

Customers who have the peaches at home, even if they are frozen, should not eat them and should toss them out immediately, the F.D.A. said. They should also throw away any items that were made with the peaches. Health officials also recommend cleaning and sanitizing the area where the fruit was kept, because it may have come into contact with and contaminated surfaces or containers.

This is important because, according to Dr. Wiedmann, salmonella is incredibly resilient.

“Salmonella is very good at surviving in the environment,” he said, “so there are examples where salmonella lived in an environment, a built environment — a processing plant or a building — for years.”

Food and Drug Administration official Mark Moorman told The Packer the “smarter” era of food safety has not yet arrived.

Moorman, director of FDA’s Office of Food Safety, spoke about the agency’s food safety goals on Aug. 20 at the U.S. Apple Association’s online 125th Annual Crop and Outlook Marketing Conference.

Recall of onions from Thomson International Inc., Bakersfield, Calif., were still occurring as of Aug. 20, Moorman said.

He reviewed the four pillars of the New Era of Smarter Food Safety:

Tech-enabled traceability;

Smarter tools and approaches for prevention and outbreak rsponse;

New business models and retail modernization; and

Food safety culture.

He said the vision for the future is for a much more responsive food safety system, with end-to-end traceability.

“I want to be very clear with this group looking very hard and in our own culture and we are asking ourselves how do we influence consumer behavior,” he said.

Asked whether apples are low risk because they don’t come in contact with the ground, Moorman noted the current recall of peaches, which are linked to an outbreak of salmonella.

“I would agree in general that apples are a lower-risk (food), but all of us should remain humble, and recognize that the world of

Salmonella in cucumbers and cross-contamination during waxing

Cucumbers found in retail markets are often waxed to improve visual appeal and retard moisture loss. This waxing may affect bacterial survival and the waxing process may facilitate cross-contamination between cucumbers. This study assessed survival of Salmonella on waxed and un-waxed cucumbers and the potential for Salmonella cross-contamination during the waxing process.

Fresh waxed or un-waxed cucumbers were spot-inoculated with a Salmonella enterica cocktail. Three different wax coatings (mineral oil, vegetable oil, or petroleum wax) were manually applied to un-waxed cucumbers using polyethylene brushes. Salmonella transfer from inoculated cucumbers to brush or to un-inoculated cucumbers was quantified.

Higher Salmonella concentrations were observed on waxed cucumbers during the first 3 days of storage but the final concentration on un-waxed cucumbers was higher than on waxed cucumbers at the end of storage, regardless of storage temperature. Wax formulation did affect survival of Salmonella inoculated directly into waxes, with the significant decline in Salmonella populations observed in vegetable-based wax coating, but with populations unchanged over 7 days at 7 or 21 °C in mineral oil-based and petroleum-based waxes. Salmonella cells could transfer from inoculated un-waxed cucumbers to brushes used for waxing and then to un-inoculated cucumbers during waxing. Significantly higher log percent transfer to brushes was observed when cucumbers were waxed with vegetable oil (0.71 log percent, P = 0.00441) vs. mineral oil (0.06 log percent) or petroleum (0.05 log percent).

Transfer to un-inoculated cucumbers via brushes was also quantified (0.18 to 0.35 log percent transfer). Salmonella remaining on contaminated cucumbers after waxing could be detected for up to 7 days, and Salmonella survived better on cucumbers treated with a petroleum-based wax. These findings should be useful in managing risk of Salmonella contamination in cucumbers during post-harvest handling.

Quantification of survival and transfer of salmonella on fresh cucumbers during waxingJournal of Food Protection

30 October 2020

Jiin Jung and Donald Schaffner

https://doi.org/10.4315/JFP-20-375

https://meridian.allenpress.com/jfp/article-abstract/doi/10.4315/JFP-20-375/446920/Quantification-of-survival-and-transfer-of?redirectedFrom=fulltext

Texas shoplifter caught thanks to ‘I pooped today’ t-shirt he wore to go stealing

Jimmy McCloskey of Metro UK reported in July a shoplifter was caught thanks to a distinctive t-shirt emblazoned with the phrase ‘I pooped today’ he wore on his stealing expeditions.

We had fun with our Don’t Eat Poop T-shirts after the 2006 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in spinach and sales, which went to support our food safety news gathering and distribution activities, went on for years. Extremely popular with public health inspectors.

John Hunt admitted shoplifting from a Walmart in Wichita Falls, Texas, after police posted surveillance grabs of him stealing, with the vulgar t-shirt prompting one cop to recognize Hunt.

Hunt wore the memorable shirt and chatted to store workers while his alleged accomplice Kevin LaPointe began to steal. Afterwards, staff flagged up the distinctive item of clothing to police, with one cop immediately recognizing it on seeing images from another shop that Hunt had targeted.

Hunt was jailed for nine months Friday for stealing twice from a Walmart store – with his booty including two home security systems worth $600 – as well as theft of electricity from a meter. His guilty plea saw two further shoplifting charges against him dismissed. He has a lengthy list of previous arrests spanning back to 2014 for charges including assault, theft and driving without a seat belt.