Everyone’s got a camera: Chicago bus drivers caught on video urinating, defecating on buses, face little action

Do it in the country they like it just fine, do it in the city it’s a $20 fine,

That stench on your CTA bus? That puddle of urine? Turns out riders aren’t always the ones to blame.

The Chicago Transit Authority has disciplined three bus drivers who were caught relieving themselves on their routes in the past few years, according to CTA records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

In one bizarre, on-duty incident in September, a driver defecated on his bus after pulling over — busted by onboard surveillance camera footage.

The driver told his bosses he couldn’t hold it because he’d eaten “bad tacos.” CTA officials didn’t buy his story, according to a transit source who says the incident appeared to be “premeditated.” The agency initiated termination proceedings.

The source, who works for the CTA, says the official records don’t come close to revealing the extent of the problem, saying it’s fairly common for bus drivers to urinate or otherwise let loose on or near their buses and let the blame, and cleanup, fall to others.

“I can tell you it’s dozens we’re aware of,” the source says, adding that incidents are often ignored by supervisors or “classified as something else” in paperwork to obscure the offense. “This happens frequently, honestly. . . . There’s really no good excuse for it.”

Lets get the food safety science right at Thanksgiving

I’ve written before that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. A mid-week day off (which often stretches to a whole week of food, football and hanging out) is the way to go.
My parents make their annual pilgrimage from Southern Ontario to take in the whole turkey week Black Friday festivities as well.
The week also provides a really great opportunity to take food safety pictures (right, exactly as shown) and talk food safety stuff. The yearly blitz of holiday interviews have started – and so has Dr. Bob, suburban Chicago columnist.
A valiant effort at tackling food safety in the holidays, Dr. Bob misses the mark with a few things:
He starts with,
Emergency rooms across the state and nation are gearing up for a busy week following the Thanksgiving holiday. Unfortunately, many family get-togethers will spread more misery than joy. And I am not speaking of those troublesome individuals that exist in all families that drive many of us to contemplate violent acts. Rather, I am alluding to seasonal foodborne illnesses, which will put a quick end to the Thanksgiving holiday for tens of thousands of families nationwide and several hundred here in our own state.
That’s a great lede – but show your work here Dr. Bob, tens of thousands of hospitalizations might be an over reach here – even if we evenly divide the estimated 128,000 hospitalizations a year we get to a weekly average of 2,500 – I don’t think there’s data to show that Thanksgiving is a 5x or 10x riskier time of the year.
More from the good doctor,
Foodborne illnesses fall into two general categories: intoxication and infection. Foodborne intoxication is caused by ingestion of foods that contain a toxin that may be naturally present in the food, introduced by contamination with poisonous chemicals, or produced by bacteria or fungi growing on foods. Toxins may also be present in some fish and shellfish that have consumed toxin-producing algae. Examples can include contamination with cleaning agents, pesticides and herbicides as well as heavy metals.
Uh, I’m a bit lost – are we talking food borne illness or other stuff now.
Here’s the best though,
It is a well-accepted fact that 100 percent of poultry products are contaminated with salmonella. You read right, 100 percent of the Thanksgiving turkeys carry salmonella. It is only the cooking to proper temperatures and the avoidance of cross contamination that stands between health and sickness.
Not quite, FSIS actually does a great job in reporting contamination levels of Salmonella in poultry, and shows that in turkey contamination is much lower (like only 1.7% positive in turkey). And campy is around the same.
I’m all for talking about food safety and risk reduction and using the holidays as a hook – but lets get the numbers right, avoid the fake news, and give people real risk information.

Singapore: 1 dead, 72 sick from Spize restaurant

The Sats officer who fell sick after consuming food from popular restaurant Spize has died on Wednesday (Nov 14).

Mr Fadli Salleh, who was married with two young children, had been in critical condition in the intensive care unit (ICU) of Sengkang General Hospital (SKH) after he was one of 72 people who suffered gastroenteritis, allegedly after eating bento boxes prepared by Spize’s River Valley outlet for an event last Tuesday. (the raw egg looks like a Salmonella factory).

 

The party was for a Deepavali celebration organised by security company Brink’s Singapore and held on its premises at Kaki Bukit.

Mr Fadli attended the gathering as he was deployed to Brink’s Singapore, though the event itself did not involve Sats.

A Sats spokesman said: “We are providing support to the family during this sad and difficult time. Please approach Brinks if you have further questions.”

 

Brinks offered its condolences to Mr Fadli’s family and said it it was “deeply saddened” that an employee of its business partner died.

 

A joint statement by the National Environment Agency (NEA), MOH and Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority last Friday said the authorities were notified of the cases last Wednesday and they conducted a joint investigation that day.

Spize’s 409 River Valley Road branch’s licence was suspended at 7pm that evening.

 

The statement added that they were investigating several cases of gastroenteritis traced to the consumption of food prepared at the restaurant.

 

“Several hygiene lapses were observed, including leaving ready-to-eat food uncovered in a chiller, not providing soap for hand washing (soap dispenser was faulty) and slotting knives for preparing ready-to-eat food in the gap between the food preparation tables,” said the statement.

Spize had supplied 88 bento sets to Brink’s Singapore and Spize’s co-owner Mr Haresh Sabnani had told The Straits Times on Wednesday before news of Mr Fadli’s death was confirmed that “on that day, 221 bento sets were sent to six different locations, but only that one location was affected”.

Food Safety Talk 169: Panel of Plonkers

The episode starts with a quick discussion of books the guys are planning on reading this week, and a book that arrived mysteriously at the offices of many other food safety folks (including Don and Ben). The food safety discussion goes to a story of a Chicago bus driver pooping on his bus and trying to clean it up with the contents of a coffee cup; Don and Ben chat about the pros and cons of this approach. The guys tackle the safety of storing breast milk, pickling eggs in miso, and what levels of contamination may have led the Romaine-linked E. coli O157 outbreak earlier this year. The show ends on raw flour, TTIs (not STIs) and raw chicken thingies.

You can download episode 169 here and at iTunes.

Show notes so you can follow along at home:

5 sick raw is risky: Unpasteurized cheese made on Vancouver Island recalled for E. coli concerns

A voluntary recall has been issued for a Vancouver Island-produced cheese linked to an E. coli outbreak that infected five people.

Little Qualicum Cheeseworks’ Qualicum Spice cheese should be discarded or returned to the place of purchase, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control.

The E. coli outbreak occurred between August and October and was traced back to the unpasteurized product, which has a best before date up to and including April 24, 2019.

An investigation is ongoing “to determine the source and extent of contamination,” the BCCDC said.

At least 20 hospitalised: Salmonella in South Africa

News 24 reports that at least 20 people have been hospitalised due to salmonella poisoning in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, eNCA reported on Saturday.

Lancet Laboratories reportedly alerted doctors in the region about cases in both children and adults.

Food that has been affected include orange juice, eggs, fresh vegetables, frozen dinners, dairy products and peanut butter, based on tests by the laboratory.

Lancet says non-typhoidal salmonella species are the leading cause of bacterial food-borne illnesses.

Loblaws apologizes over viral photo of mouse in bag of bread at a Hamilton No Frills

There was this time about 15 years ago, and I was the scientific advisor for a group of food safety heads at Canadian supermarkets. We’d met once or twice a year, and the first four hours would be devoted to, no one takes my job seriously unless there’s an outbreak.

I could relate.

I guess they kept me on because we did good work when BSE was discovered in Canada in 2003: the only country where beef consumption increased after a mad cow disease warning, partly due to me standing in the snow at 6 am on a Guelph street doing national TV, lots due to Sarah and her team managing the phone lines and providing me with soundbites.

I get the sense Loblaws and its various spin-offs aren’t so vigilant

as they might have been before.

First it was piles of meat thawing in a shopping cart. Now Loblaws is apologizing to customers of a Hamilton No Frills after a photo went viral of a mouse in a bag of bread at the store.

The picture of the tail end of a mouse — visible through the plastic bag surrounding a loaf of D’Italiano bread in a shopping cart — was posted to the website Reddit on Wednesday. The photo had attracted more than 180 comments by the next day.

In a statement, Loblaws public relations director Karen Gumbs apologized to customers — but also assured them the city’s public health department checked out the No Frills location and has “no concerns.”

“The store has taken a number of steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again, including working closely with their third-party pest control team, and inspecting bakery items daily,” she said.

Uh-huh.

Ya can’t stop what’s coming: E. coli happens in France too

Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli serogroup O80, involved in hemolytic uremic syndrome associated with extraintestinal infections, has emerged in France. We obtained circularized sequences of the O80 strain RDEx444, responsible for hemolytic uremic syndrome with bacteremia, and noncircularized sequences of 35 O80 E. coli isolated from humans and animals in Europe with or without Shiga toxin genes.

RDEx444 harbored a mosaic plasmid, pR444_A, combining extraintestinal virulence determinants and a multidrug resistance–encoding island. All strains belonged to clonal complex 165, which is distantly related to other major enterohemorrhagic E. coli lineages. All stx-positive strains contained eae-ξ, ehxA, and genes characteristic of pR444_A.

Among stx-negative strains, 1 produced extended-spectrum β-lactamase, 1 harbored the colistin-resistance gene mcr1, and 2 possessed genes characteristic of enteropathogenic and pyelonephritis E. coli. Because O80–clonal complex 165 strains can integrate intestinal and extraintestinal virulence factors in combination with diverse drug-resistance genes, they constitute dangerous and versatile multidrug-resistant pathogens.

Emerging Multidrug-Resistant Hybrid Pathotype Shiga Toxin–Producing Escherichia coli O80 and Related Strains of Clonal Complex 165, Europe

Cointe A, Birgy A, Mariani-Kurkdjian P, Liguori S, Courroux C, Blanco J, et al. Emerging multidrug-resistant hybrid pathotype Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli O80 and related strains of clonal complex 165, Europe. Emerg Infect Dis. 2018 Dec [date cited]. https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2412.180272

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/24/12/18-0272_article

No they don’t: Netherlands study says consumers read food hygiene warning labels on poultry, and surveys still suck

Tony McDougal of Poultry World reports that researchers wanted to see how the label impacted consumer perceptions on risk and food-handling behaviour in the light that poultry meat is an important source of foodborne infections, such as campylobacter, salmonella and E.coli.

A random sample of 1235 adults from a representative internet panel received an email linking to the study questionnaire. Information was gathered about knowledge of safe food-handling regarding poultry, their current food-handling behaviour and intention to change after reading the label, as well as influencing factors.

The results, published in the October edition of the journal Food Control, found that respondents of households with people aged 65 or older, with safe food-handling practices and who judge foodborne infections as severe, were more prone to have read the label.

The study also found that after reading the label during the survey, the intention to change behaviour did not differ between the readers and previous non-readers.

The report’s authors, from the Dutch Centre for Infectious Disease Control, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, concluded that “a label is a relatively easy and reasonable way of informing and educating consumers about safe food-handling.

“The majority of the respondents had read the label on poultry meat and scored it as important, useful and reassuring. Therefore investigating the feasibility and possible benefits of a similar label on other meat products could be worthwhile.”

The study does not account for:

the fallibility of self-reported surveys (we all wash our hands);

does  not account for multi-languages in the diverse cultures we all prepare food; does not account for cross-contamination.

Consumers should not be the CCP on your brand.

Get it together.

No they don’t: Netherlands study says consumers read food hygiene warning labels on poultry, and surveys still suck

Tony McDougal of Poultry World reports that researchers wanted to see how the label impacted consumer perceptions on risk and food-handling behaviour in the light that poultry meat is an important source of foodborne infections, such as campylobacter, salmonella and E.coli.

A random sample of 1235 adults from a representative internet panel received an email linking to the study questionnaire. Information was gathered about knowledge of safe food-handling regarding poultry, their current food-handling behaviour and intention to change after reading the label, as well as influencing factors.

The results, published in the October edition of the journal Food Control, found that respondents of households with people aged 65 or older, with safe food-handling practices and who judge foodborne infections as severe, were more prone to have read the label.

The study also found that after reading the label during the survey, the intention to change behaviour did not differ between the readers and previous non-readers.

The report’s authors, from the Dutch Centre for Infectious Disease Control, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, concluded that “a label is a relatively easy and reasonable way of informing and educating consumers about safe food-handling.

“The majority of the respondents had read the label on poultry meat and scored it as important, useful and reassuring. Therefore investigating the feasibility and possible benefits of a similar label on other meat products could be worthwhile.”

Does not account for the fallibility of self-reported surveys (we all wash our hands); does not account for multi-languages in the diverse cultures we all prepare food; does not account for cross-contamination.

Consumers should not be the CCP on your brand.

Get it together.