Elderly woman dies of listeria infection as authorities warn thousands at risk

Anyone who authorizes feeding raw sprouts or cold colds to immunocompromised old people in hospitals is a microbiological moron and criminally negligent.

Paul Sakkal and Liam Mannix of The Age report a woman has died and thousands of people are at risk of listeria infection after the bacteria was detected in food from a south-east Melbourne catering company that supplies food to hospitals, aged care homes and Meals on Wheels.

The catering service I Cook Foods has been shut down after the woman, who was aged in her 80s and from the eastern suburbs, died in Knox Private Hospital on February 4.

Victoria’s acting Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the potentially contaminated food was in circulation until Thursday night, meaning people may have been eating the food on Friday morning.

“People who might’ve eaten it [on Thursday] or in recent weeks might still develop illness,” Dr Sutton said.

“Potentially thousands of people have been exposed.

“I don’t want to see any more [deaths].”

Six positive samples of listeria were found at the company’s Dandenong South kitchen during an investigation into the cause of the woman’s death over the past two weeks.

Offspring lead singer and chief songwriter, Dexter, has a PhD in microbiology.

Game meat: Because we do conference calls: Food poisonings prompt investigation after fundraiser feast

TV9 has learned the Johnson County Public Health Department and the Iowa Department of Public Health are investigating reports of food poisoning following an event in Swisher (interesting choice of graphic for game meat).

The illnesses have been linked to the Swisher Men’s Club’s Game Feast Dinner this past weekend. The group’s facebook page says the fundraiser has been going on for 15 years and features dishes that include meat from animals that are often hunted.

The health departments are looking for anyone who may have attended the meal to try to track down the source of the illnesses. It’s asking attendees to email diana.vonstein@idph.iowa.gov with their contact information.

Johnson County Public Health Director Dave Koch tells TV9 part of their investigative efforts have included taking part in a conference call with officials from the Iowa Department of Public Health on Tuesday.

Koch says part of the investigation will also include testing samples of the food that was served along with conducting tests on any individuals who think they may have contracted an illness.

Fancy food ain’t safe food: Spanish woman dies after eating at Michelin-starred restaurant in Valencia

Christina Vazquez of El Pais reports an investigation has been opened to determine the cause of death of a 46-year-old woman, who became ill after eating at a one-star Michelin restaurant called RiFF in Valencia.

A total of 23 other patrons, including the victim’s husband and 12-year-old son, also fell sick after the meal but their symptoms were mild and they have reportedly all recovered. The restaurant will be closed to the public until the cause of death has been established.

Everything appears to be normal and now analytical tests will be carried out on the food products

The case was confirmed by regional health chief Ana Barceló, who expressed her condolences to the family and said that an investigation was already underway.

Barceló added that at this point she could not confirm whether the sickness had been caused by morel mushrooms that were on the restaurant’s menu. “We will have to wait for the autopsy to be carried out on the woman before we can determine whether it was the ingestion of a food that directly caused her death, or whether it prompted a state that led to this fatal outcome, or if she had an exisiting condition,” she explained on Wednesday.

Forensic teams are working to determine whether she could have been poisoned by something she ate, or whether she may have choked on her own vomit.

In a statement, the owner of RiFF, Bernd H. Knöller, announced that the restaurant will remain closed until the cause of the food poisoning outbreak is determined and “activities can resume with full assurances for the staff and the patrons.”

Food Safety Talk 176: Bug Book

The show opens with a discussion about privacy, whether you should cover the microphone on your computer, or how you can scare your kids using Alexa. The guys talked briefly about what they’re watching, Ben’s trip to Athens Georgia, and celebrity feet. From there the show moves into listener feedback talking about the safety of eating Canadian seaweed. Listener feedback makes a interesting segue into failure, and the things we can learn from it. The show returns to listener feedback with a discussion about citrus safety and infused water. For some reason Don wants to talk about smoke detectors, before returning again to listener feedback and “Contamination Corner”, and ways to learn about stuff you don’t know about (like filibusters). Ben and Don talk about an interview that Don did for Cooking Light, before Don wants to talk about fixing his broken software. Ben ends the show with a long discussion regarding safe cooking directions for frozen vegetables, and why no one can agree.

This episode is available at foodsafetytalk.com or on iTunes.

 

Show notes so you can follow along at home are below:

Australia still has an egg probem: 51 sick from Salmonella at bakery

Brad Crouch of The Advertiser writes that raw eggs are to blame for a salmonella outbreak that so far has left 51 people sick including 19 admitted to hospital.

A SA Health investigation into the outbreak linked to three Angkor Bakery stores has found the likely source of contamination related to handling of raw egg products.

SA Health’s Acting Director of Public Health Services, Dr Fay Jenkins, said a number of food and environmental samples collected from all stores last week returned positive results for Salmonella.

 “Given the sample results and the strain of the Salmonella outbreak, it is most likely that the cause of contamination was related to handling raw egg products,” Dr Jenkins said.

“The owners of the Angkor Bakery stores continue to work closely with the local councils and SA Health to improve their practices, and all three bakeries closed voluntarily during the investigation.”

“Many food poisoning outbreaks have been associated with foods containing raw or partially cooked eggs such as aioli, mayonnaise, hollandaise or tartare sauce and mousse,” Dr Jenkins said.

“The external shell of eggs may contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella, and while eggs may not necessarily look or smell ‘off’ they may be contaminated.

“It’s important to check that eggs are clean and not cracked or dirty — and those that are should be thrown out.

Lakhina Eung, the shop owner of the bakery in Burton, told ABC News she was sorry to anyone impacted by the outbreak and hoped the community would still support the business.

“I couldn’t sleep for over three days now so it’s been stressful,” she said.

“I am really sorry to everyone that is affected and also I hope that the community will still be supportive to us and our customers [will] still support us.

“I hope that the public and the community still trusts us and we [will] try our best to do everything as the council and SA Health require.”

As soon as you learn some basic microbiology and don’t make customers barf.

A table of Australian egg-related outbreaks is available at https://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/raw-egg-related-outbreaks-australia-5-1-17.xlsx.

And to Dave, Sophie and Carol, who told me in the past week to stop pissing in the wind, this is for you.

39 sickened: Cow shit carries bugs: Campy outbreak in drinking water, Nebraska 2017

Jim still has nightmares.

It’s the helicopters.

We live near the publicly-funded Princess Alexandria hospital in Brisbane.

A helicopter flies over our house a couple of times a day bringing some victim from the outback or the coast.

The state of Queensland is really, really big.

It reminds me of my friend, Jim, and what he went through in the aftermath of the E.coli O157 outbreak in drinking water that killed seven and sickened 2,500 in the town of Walkerton, population 5,000.

Jim knew that every helicopter was someone dead or dying being flown to the medical center in London, Ontario (that’s in Canada, like Walkerton).

I think of Jim and the victims every time a chopper goes past.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports a center pivot irrigation system intended to pump livestock waste water onto adjacent farmland in Nebraska malfunctioned, allowing excessive run off to collect in a road ditch near two wells that fed a municipal water supply, sickening 39 persons who consumed untreated city water. The use of culture-independent diagnostic tests facilitated case identification allowing for rapid public health response.

Access to clean water sources continues to be an important public health issue, and public health professionals should consider exposure to untreated water sources as a potential cause for Campylobacter outbreaks.

In March 2017, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (NDHHS) and the Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department were notified of an apparent cluster of Campylobacter jejuni infections in city A and initiated an investigation. Overall, 39 cases were investigated, including six confirmed and 33 probable. Untreated, unboiled city A tap water (i.e., well water) was the only exposure significantly associated with illness (odds ratio [OR] = 7.84; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.69–36.36). City A is served by four untreated wells and an interconnected distribution system. Onsite investigations identified that a center pivot irrigation system intended to pump livestock wastewater from a nearby concentrated animal feeding operation onto adjacent farmland had malfunctioned, allowing excessive runoff to collect in a road ditch near two wells that supplied water to the city. These wells were promptly removed from service, after which no subsequent cases occurred. This coordinated response rapidly identified an important risk to city A’s municipal water supply and provided the evidence needed to decommission the affected wells, with plans to build a new well to safely serve this community.

On March 10, 2017, NDHHS was notified of five reports of campylobacteriosis in the Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department jurisdiction. Two positive culture reports and three positive culture-independent diagnostic tests, specifically a gastrointestinal polymerase chain reaction (PCR) panel, were received from persons not living together. Campylobacteriosis is a reportable condition in Nebraska, and this number of cases was higher than expected; during 2006–2016, an average of one Campylobacter case was reported in a city A resident every 3 years. Initial questioning of ill persons did not include an assessment of exposure to untreated drinking water and suggested ground beef consumption as a possible shared exposure. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Consumer Protection obtained distribution records for poultry and ground beef for two local restaurants and one local grocery store. The distribution of poultry and ground beef was evaluated by reviewing the routing records of these products to their source, and no evidence of a shared poultry source was identified. The ground beef was not ground in-house at the grocery store, and the distributors that supplied ground beef to the grocery store and each of the two local restaurants were not shared. Through interviews of city A residents and business owners, investigators were made aware of a report of standing water that “smelled of cattle manure” in a roadside ditch near two municipal water wells.

A collaborative on-site investigation revealed that during the pumping of a large volume of livestock wastewater from a concentrated animal feeding operation through a center pivot irrigation system, the system malfunctioned at an undetermined time. The wastewater was intended to be placed on adjacent farmland. This malfunction allowed excessive runoff to flood a road ditch approximately 15 feet (4.6 m) from two municipal water well houses (3 and 4) that had been operating 6 days before the onset of illness in the first patient. The presence of this standing water was confirmed by city A water operators, who reported seeing water in the ditch for 4 days (February 22–25) (Figure). Pump records indicated that during February 22–27, well 3 was in use, and during February 28–March 7, well 4 was in use (Table 1). During both periods, another well (well 2) was also operating. Wells are rotated in and out of service by city operators as part of regular operations. Water is distributed through the well system without any disinfection or filtration. Routine total coliform and Escherichia coli testing of water from the distribution system was performed on March 8; however, only wells 2 and 5 were operating on that date. As part of the investigation, additional coliform and E. coli testing was performed again on March 16 on direct samples from wells 2, 3, 4, and 5; bacterial culture specifically for Campylobacter was performed on March 20 (wells 4 and 5) and 27 (wells 2 and 3). All samples were negative for coliforms and Campylobacter. No additional pump or testing records were reviewed.

On March 16, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Agriculture conducted an additional investigation of two concentrated animal feeding operation–certified waste lagoons (a manufactured basin that collects livestock waste and water in an oxygen-deprived setting to promote anaerobic conditions as a way to manage refuse)* and associated use of three pivot irrigation systems. The investigation team observed that water from the waste lagoons had been pumped through a pivot onto an adjacent field, which is a common farming practice for fertilizing farm ground or watering crops. City operators confirmed that on February 24 they had observed flow of livestock wastewater into the road ditch near well 4. They followed the wastewater up the road ditch and reported that it came out of the farmland upstream from the wells. Investigators also obtained details of total well depths, static water levels, and pumping water levels (measured during active pumping). Wells 4 and 3 were relatively shallow, with static water levels of 21 and 22 feet, pumping levels of 25 and 26 feet, and total well depths of 43 and 46 feet, respectively; both began service in the 1930s, similar to the other wells in the system, which were also older.

While details around this event were being clarified and environmental testing was pending, an Internet-based questionnaire was designed to aid case-finding and assess potential exposures. A probable case was defined as a diarrheal illness of ≥2 days’ duration with one or more additional signs or symptoms (nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, or headache) in a city A resident, with onset during February 28–March 23, 2017. A confirmed case was defined as a person meeting the probable case definition with either stool culture or PCR-positive results for Campylobacter, or a laboratory-confirmed probable illness in a nonresident who worked, dined, or shopped for groceries in city A. Among approximately 600 city A residents, 94 (16%) completed a questionnaire to report food consumption history, drinking water source, animal exposures, and symptoms. Among questionnaire respondents, 39 (41%) campylobacteriosis cases (six confirmed and 33 probable) were identified, with illness onset from February 28–March 21 (Figure); 25 (64%) cases occurred in females and 14 (36%) in males. The median age was 34.5 years (range = 1.5–85 years). Twelve (31%) patients sought medical care, and three (8%) were hospitalized; no deaths were reported.

Data analysis indicated a significant association between ill persons and consumption of untreated, unboiled municipal tap water (OR = 7.84; 95% CI = 1.69–36.36) (Table 2). Other exposures were assessed, including unpasteurized milk, animal contact, raw poultry, and ground beef, but none demonstrated a significant association with illness. Notably, no cases were reported among the approximately 28 residents of city A’s only nursing home, which used city water but treated it with a reverse osmosis system.

Public Health Response

Wells 3 and 4 were both permanently removed from service on March 16, and no additional illnesses were reported with onset after March 21. On April 25, NDHHS reclassified these wells to Emergency Status, meaning the well can only be pumped during a case of emergency (e.g., fire, drought, etc.) for nonpotable purposes. Furthermore, meetings were held with area stakeholders to present these findings as evidence to support the award of a planning grant to city A to explore options for a new, higher-volume well to be dug to an acceptable depth in a different location.

This investigation implicates Campylobacter jejuni as the cause of this outbreak, most likely from a municipal water system contaminated by wastewater runoff from an adjacent concentrated animal feeding operation (1). In addition to environmental and statistical findings, this conclusion is consistent with prior investigations that demonstrate Campylobacter outbreaks of similar size are historically associated with contaminated water (2–7). Although laboratory testing of the water in this investigation did not yield any positive results, samples were not taken until long after the contamination event, and test results might have been affected by switches among wells supplying the system over time. These findings also suggest that routine coliform testing might not be a good indicator of the presence of Campylobacter species (8). Further, it is possible that Campylobacter in particular might be viable but not necessarily detectable by culture in water systems (9,10). The use of both culture and culture-independent diagnostic tests (PCR) were needed to detect the initial cluster of cases and early recognition of this outbreak. If culture alone had been used, only two cases would have been reported, one of which did not occur in a city A resident. Of those two culture-confirmed cases, one patient refused the interview and the other had typical Campylobacter exposures, such as live poultry, which might not have prompted such a rapid response. This investigation demonstrates the importance of considering exposure to untreated water sources as a potential cause for Campylobacter outbreaks. Including this risk factor in initial questioning could help to expedite outbreak investigations. Ultimately, early recognition and a coordinated response by several state and local agencies greatly facilitated this successful public health intervention.

Campylobacteriosis outbreak associated with contaminated municipal water supply-Nebraska, 2017

22.feb.19

CDC

Caitlin Pedati, Samir Koirala, et al

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6807a1.htm?s_cid=mm6807a1_e

Always tragic: Washington state third-grader’s death may be linked to E. coli

Wendy Culverwell of the Tri-City Herald reports a Pasco elementary student has died from apparent complications of E. coli.

Ismael Baeza Soto, 9, died Feb. 11 at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, apparently of kidney failure brought about by E. coli.

The Benton-Franklin Health District is investigating the source of what sickened the boy. So far, it appears to be an isolated case that hasn’t been linked to other investigations, though future testing could change that.

“We have not identified any ongoing public health threats,” said Dr. Amy Person, the public health officer for the Mid-Columbia.

Be serious about B. cereus

Employing advanced genetic-tracing techniques and sharing the data produced in real time could limit the spread of bacteria – Bacillus cereus – which causes foodborne illness, according to researchers. As part of a recent study, researchers at Penn State University implemented whole-genome sequencing of a pathogen-outbreak investigation, following an outbreak of foodborne illnesses in New York in 2016.

“Here, in our study, we use this approach for the first time on Bacillus cereus,” says Jasna Kovac, assistant professor of Food Science at Penn State. “We hope that whole-genome sequencing of Bacillus will be done more often as a result of our research, as it allows us to differentiate between the various species of Bacillus cereus group and project the food-safety risk associated with them.”

The project marks the first time researchers have conducted whole-genome sequencing to investigate a Bacillus cereus outbreak to link isolates from human clinical cases to food. The New York outbreak in 2016 lasted less than a month and stemmed from contaminated refried beans served by a small Mexican restaurant chain.

Although the toxin-producing bacteria are estimated to cause 63,400 foodborne disease cases per year in the US, Bacillus cereus does not receive the attention given to more deadly foodborne pathogens such as Listeria and Salmonella.

Because illness caused by Bacillus cereus typically resolves within days and outbreaks are self-limiting in nature, foodborne illness caused by members of this pathogen group are often under-reported. Although there have been reports of severe infections resulting in sudden patient death, Bacillus cereus group isolates linked to human clinical cases of foodborne disease typically do not undergo whole-genome sequencing, as is becoming the norm for other foodborne pathogens.

In this case, the New York State Department of Health coordinated the epidemiological investigations. The methods included a cohort study, food-preparation review, a food-product traceback, testing of the environment, food and water and an inquiry at a production plant in Pennsylvania that produced the contaminated refried beans. The researchers sequenced the majority of Bacillus cereus isolates, from both food and humans, at the Penn State Genomic Core Facility, which is part of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences.

Food Safety Fairytales: My life is an open book

I’ve always done the open stuff, where I put myself out there for criticism or praise or something else, 5 new chapters added, when people reminded me of things.

Anyone else wanna chip in?

Food safety is simple         Powell

Just cook it                            Powell

BSE                                      Bert

Cyclospora                                                                Ron (??)

Food safety programs ensure food safety                        Chapman

Training ensures safe food                                     Mancini

Five-second rule                                                       Schaffner

Sprouts are a health food                                       Powell

Cold-cuts should be served in aged care             Powell

Cantaloupe is a health food                                   Powell/Chapman

Labels are a meaningful way of communicating             Celia/Powell

Pasteurized products are safe                                Powell

Lettuce and leafy greens are a health food          Powell

Pet food is cooked and safe                                                Hammlet

Petting zoos are fun                                                 Erdozain

Piping hot is a food safety strategy                      Powell

Handwashing                                                           Michele

Celebrity chefs know food safety                          Powell

Raw is safe                                                                Powell

MasterChef sucks at food safety

I blame celebrity cooking shows like MasterChef for the stupid things people do in their kitchens.

Raw egg aioli and mayo is bad enough, and leads to monthly outbreaks of Salmonella across Australia, but to decide that color is a reliable indicator of safety in chicken is stupid beyond belief.

Forget piping hot, forget color, get a thermometer.

I know food safety is 1% of the food discussion, while food porn is the other 99%, but this is just bad advice.

Our job is to provide people with evidence-based info and let them decide.

These people are preaching like a Baptist church.

According to Jamie Downham of The Sun, celebrity chef John, 55, revealed the pink uncooked flesh – which can deliver a devastating dose of salmonella – gagging: “Oh. Can’t eat that.”

Gregg and John were not impressed by Ottilie’s uncooked chicken

Undercooked chicken is often rife with foodborne illnesses that can leave people throwing up and confined to their beds for up to a week.

Viewers quickly dubbed the dish “chicken a la salmonella”, with John telling marketing manager Ottilie: “I think you’ve got to know when to stop. It’s all over the place.”

No where did the story mention using a fucking thermometer to ensure safety.

And these people are making meals for your kids, and they have no clue.