Pennsylvania restaurant trying to repair sewage pipe leak with duct tape

Department of Agriculture inspectors this week found a restaurant trying to repair a sewage pipe leak with duct tape.

A complaint was filed at U.S. 30 Diner on West Market Street in York and the inspector found 24 violations. The inspector found a sewage back-up in the basement piping system. One of the pipes was leaking and the facility was using duct tape as a repair. The inspector also says food employees were wearing soiled garments, and personal medication was found on a shelf with food. They say the entire food facility was extremely dirty with old food, trash, and dirt. The inspector also found a dog leash. The person in charge acknowledged that he brings his dog into the rear of the food facility, according to the report.

Twelve in Ontario, Quebec sickened in Salmonella outbreak linked to sausages

People always thought I was a bit affected when I would do the cooking for an Australian sausage sizzle and whip out my tip=sensitive digital thermometer and test every sausage.

I would say, no kid is getting sick on my watch.

Canadian health types say an outbreak of Salmonella that sickened a dozen people in Ontario and Quebec has been linked to a brand of sausage.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says the outbreak appears to be ongoing, in spite of a recall of the affected sausages.

The agency says the source of the outbreak is Filicetti brand Italian Style mild, dry, cured sausage (which is supposed to be cooked, but apparently not so much)

Ten people in Ontario and two in Quebec have become sick.

On-farm food safety; yeah we did that in 1999

I had a nice chat with my Australian friend, Deon, of over 20 years.

He may even come and stay at the Brisbane house for a few days.

He did tell me, keep writing as long as you can, because I don’t suffer fools gladly, but the psche is coming back at 7:30 a.m. so I can get another brain scan and Amy can go do her work.

Food safety remains faith-based. So does my brain. Too many pucks to the head, starting in 1967.

Odours that cause barfing are expensive in New Zealand

A Waikato dairy processing company has been handed down the largest fine in the region for its recidivist dirty dairying behaviour.

Rural Life, one of my favorite bathtub magazines.

The offending by Open Country Dairy Ltd, based in Waharoa near Matamata, was so bad residents suffered dehabilitating effects – from closing the doors and windows to headaches and vomiting.

The company was convicted and fined $221,250 for discharging objectionable odour that caused significant impacts on the local community, and also unlawfully discharging wastewater, impacting on a local river.

Waikato Regional Council’s investigations and incident response manager, Patrick Lynch, said it was the largest fine imposed for any prosecution taken under the Resource Management Act in the Waikato region.

The prosecution followed “numerous complaints” from local businesses and residents of Waharoa through two periods in 2018.

Residents reported that there had been ongoing, persistent and objectionable odour.

In March 2018 the council discovered the odour issues were connected to the failure of the company’s wastewater pond liner. As a result, the Waitoa River was also contaminated.

“This is the fifth prosecution of this company, or its predecessor, relating to unlawful discharges into the environment,” Lynch said.

Chicago looks back on restaurant inspection

The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) conducts routine food inspections of over 15,000 food establishments to ensure the health and safety of their patrons.

In 2015, CDPH deployed a machine learning model to schedule inspections of establishments based on their likelihood to commit critical food code violations.

The City of Chicago released the training data and source code for the model, allowing anyone to examine the model. We provide the first independent analysis of the model, the data, the predictor variables, the performance metrics, and the underlying assumptions. We present a summary of our findings, share lessons learned, and make recommendations to address some of the issues our analysis unearthed.

Hindsight analysis of the Chicago food inspection forecasting model, 2019

Illinois Institute of Technology

Vinesh Kannan, Matthew Shapiro, and Mustafa Bilgic

https://arxiv.org/pdf/1910.04906.pdf

Udder Delights in Australia recalling cheese after E. coli found

Some of its most popular cheeses, including its 200g camembert and brie are being recalled. Dixie Sulda and Jessica Galletly of Adelaide Now report the SA company said there was no evidence the form of E.coli found was dangerous but it was recalling them as a precaution.

The cheeses are available from Coles and independent retailers in SA, Queensland, Victoria and WA. In NSW they also sell at Woolies and in Tasmania they are sold at independent retailers.

Udder Delights chef executive Sheree Sullivan said the team was “devastated” after small levels of the bacteria were found in some of the company’s white mould 200g cheeses.

“It is with a very heavy heart that Udder Delights is doing its first voluntary recall since we began 20 years ago,” Ms Sullivan said.

“The whole team is devastated, because we all just work so hard to create a really high quality product.

“You always learn some of your best lessons through disasters, and I never really understood what a voluntary recall was. It means you have a choice – do you want to recall or not? We decided as a business we wanted to be 100 per cent sure it was safe.

“It was great SA Health and Dairysafe confirmed it wasn’t a dangerous bacteria, which can sometimes be a little bit of sunshine in a dark cloud.”

Ms Sullivan would not speculate on what caused the contamination, but said they were working with SA Health and their quality assurance team to quickly resolve the issue.

A tale of two antimicrobial resistance reports

I’ll leave the summary of two antimicrobial resistance reports to my friend and hockey colleague (and he’s a professor/veterinarian) Scott Weese of the Worms & Germs Blog (he’s the semi-bald dude behind me in this 15-year-old pic; I’m the goalie; too many pucks to the head):

 Two reports came out this week, both detailing the scourge of antibiotic resistance.

In Canada, the Canadian Council of Academies released “When antibiotics fail: the expert panel on the potential socio-economic impacts of antimicrobial resistance in Canada.

Not to be outdone, the CDC released Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2019.

They’re both comprehensive, with a combined >400 pages explaining that this is a big problem.

I’m not going try to summarize the reports. I’ll just pick out a few interesting tidbits.

From the CCA report (Canada):

According to their modelling, first-line antimicrobials (those most commonly used to treat routine infections) helped save at least 17,000 lives in 2018 while generating $6.1 billion in economic activity in Canada. “This contribution is at risk because the number of effective antimicrobials are running out.”

Antimicrobial resistance was estimated to reduce Canada’s GDP by $2 billion in 2018. That’s only going to get worse unless we get our act together. It’s estimated that by 2050, if resistance rates remain unchanged, the impact will be $13 billion per year. If rates continue to increase, that stretches to $21 billion. Remember, that’s just for Canada, a relatively small country from a population standpoint.

Healthcare costs due to resistance (e.g. drugs, increased length of stay in hospital) accounted for $1.4 billion in 2018.  But remember that people who die from resistant infections can actually cost less. If I get a serious resistant infection and die quickly, my healthcare costs are pretty low since I didn’t get prolonged care. All that to say that dollar costs alone don’t capture all the human aspects. Regardless, this cost will likely increase to $20-40 billion per year by 2050.

In terms of human health, resistant infections were estimated to contribute to 14,000 deaths in Canada in 2018, with 5,400 of those directly attributable to the resistant infection (i.e. those deaths would not have occurred if the bug was susceptible to first line drugs). That makes resistance a leading killer, and it’s only going to get worse.

I’ll stop there. The document has a lot of good information and it’s worth reading if you’re interested in the topic.  They also provided a handy 2-page “infographic” summary if you can’t quite stomach the complete 268-page report (also see image below).

From the CDC report (US):

The document’s dedication says a lot. “This report is dedicated to the 48,700 families who lose a loved one each year to antibiotic resistance or Clostridioides difficile, and the countless healthcare providers, public health experts, innovators, and others who are fighting back with everything they have.”

The forward has some great messages too:

To  stop antibiotic resistance, our nation must:

Stop referring to a coming post-antibiotic era—it’s already here. You and I are living in a time when some miracle drugs no longer perform miracles and families are being ripped apart by a microscopic enemy. The time for action is now and we can be part of the solution.

Stop playing the blame game. Each person, industry, and country can affect the development of antibiotic resistance. We each have a role to play and should be held accountable to make meaningful progress against this threat.

Stop relying only on new antibiotics that are slow getting to market and that, sadly, these germs will one day render ineffective. We need to adopt aggressive strategies that keep the germs away and infections from occurring in the first place.

Stop believing that antibiotic resistance is a problem “over there” in someone else’s hospital, state, or country—and not in our own backyard. Antibiotic resistance has been found in every U.S. state and in every country across the globe. There is no safe place from antibiotic resistance, but everyone can take action against it. Take action where you can, from handwashing to improving antibiotic use.

Some might say it’s alarmist. However, I don’t think it’s alarmist when someone really should be raising the alarm. We need to talk about it more, not less. We need to get people (including the general public, healthcare workers, farmers, veterinarians, policymakers) on board, to realize it’s a big issue that needs to be addressed now. “Short term pain for long-term gain” certainly applies here. We can keep delaying and the numbers will keep going up, or we can invest in solutions.

The numbers are scary but specific numbers don’t really matter in many ways. “Lots” is all we should have to know to get motivated. However, decision-makers like numbers, so these numbers hopefully will be useful to show the impact and potential benefits of investing in this problem, and motivate them to put money into antimicrobial stewardship. Saving lives should be enough, but that often doesn’t cut it. Antibiotic resistance doesn’t have a good marketing campaign. Everyone knows why people were wearing pink last month and why there are some pretty dodgy moustaches this month. Those are important issues, for sure. However, considering the overall impact, antibiotic stewardship needs to get more people behind it if we’re going to effect change.

Another reason to dislike sushi: First report of E. coli O157

AIMS: The aim of this study was to evaluate the microbiological quality of commercially prepared ready-to-eat (RTE) sushi by enumerating aerobic mesophilic bacteria (AMB) and thermotolerant coliforms (TC) and detecting Escherichia coli and Salmonella ssp. An isolate was identified as E. coli O157:H7 which was evaluated for its virulence and antimicrobial resistance profiling as well as its ability to form biofilms on stainless steel.

METHODS AND RESULTS: There were four sampling events in seven establishments, totalling 28 pools of sushi samples. Mean AMB counts ranged between 5·2 and 7·7 log CFU per gram. The enumeration of TC varied between 2·1 and 2·7 log MPN per gram. Salmonella ssp. were not detected, and one sample was positive for E. coli and was identified as E. coli O157:H7. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of E. coli O157:H7 in sushi samples in the world literature. This isolate presented virulence genes stx1, stx2, eae and hlyA. It was also susceptible to 14 antimicrobials tested and had the ability to form biofilms on stainless steel.

CONCLUSIONS: There is a need to improve the good hygiene practices adopted in establishments selling sushi in the city of Pelotas, Brazil. In addition, the isolated E. coli O157:H7 carries a range of important virulence genes being a potential risk to consumer health, as sushi is a RTE food. This isolate also presents biofilm formation ability, therefore, may trigger a constant source of contamination in the production line of this food.

SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: The increase in the consumption of sushi worldwide attracts attention regarding the microbiological point of view, since it is a ready-to-eat food. To our knowledge, this was the first time that E. coli O157:H7 was identified in sushi samples.

First report of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in ready-to-eat sushi

21 September 2019

Journal of Applied Microbiology

Ramires T 1  Iglesias MA 2 Vitola HS 1 Núncio ASP 1 Kroning IS 1  Kleinubing NR 1 , Fiorentini ÂM 1  da Silva WP 1  

DOI: 10.1111/jam.14456 

https://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/31541508

Meat fell from the sky in Kentucky 140 years ago

Emma Austin of the Courier Journal asks, what would you do if chunks of raw meat rained down from the sky?

Hopefully you wouldn’t eat it, but apparently some people did when “a horse wagon full” of hunks fell from the sky on March 3, 1876, covering the yard of a confused farmer’s wife in Bath County.

What was described as “flakes” of meat rained down around Mrs. Allen Crouch, who was making soap in her garden at the time.

An article in The New York Times a week later published the account of Harrison Gill, “whose veracity is unquestionable.” The article said some pieces were three to four inches square, and others stuck to the fences. When the meat first fell, it “appeared to be perfectly fresh.”

The two unidentified men who tasted the meat said it was either mutton or venison.

Over the next two days, curious neighbors and scientists flocked to the Crouches’ farm to try to determine what had caused the strange phenomenon.

There is no definitive agreement about what happened that day, said Kurt Gohde, an art professor at Transylvania University who has researched the incident. There are, however, plenty of theories.

Gohde’s favorite theory is one that he said was presented later in The New York Times that it was “cosmic meat” — flesh of animals from an exploding planet. People were familiar with meteors at the time, but they didn’t know that it would’ve been impossible for the meat to fall through the Earth’s atmosphere without being incinerated. So the explanation was certainly plausible to them, no matter how absurd it sounds today.

One scientist who tested the meat said it was tissue from the lungs of a child or goat, which drew a lot of attention, but didn’t stick.

One theory that didn’t get a lot of attention, Gohde said, was by Robert Peter, a scientist at Transylvania University: vulture vomit.

Peter knew, or at least theorized, that when vultures are startled or need to take off quickly, they may need to lighten their load so they can fly. In such cases, the birds vomit food they’ve recently eaten, possibly even while flying.

This theory is believed today to be the most likely, though Gohde pointed out it has a big hole: To believe the vulture vomit theory is to disbelieve the account of the only person who saw it happen. Mrs. Crouch said when she looked up, the sky was clear, and if vultures were vomiting enough meat to scatter across a football field, Mrs. Crouch presumably would have seen vultures overhead.

The Kentucky Meat Shower is not a historical event taught in classrooms, but there is a children’s book about it, and no, it’s not “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.”