Where does it come from? Salmonella in macadamia nuts in Queensland

Salmonella enterica is a common contaminant of macadamia nut kernels in the subtropical state of Queensland (QLD), Australia. We hypothesized that nonhuman sources in the plantation environment contaminate macadamia nuts.

We applied a modified Hald source attribution model to attribute Salmonella serovars and phage types detected on macadamia nuts from 1998 to 2017 to specific animal and environmental sources. Potential sources were represented by Salmonella types isolated from avian, companion animal, biosolids-soil-compost, equine, porcine, poultry, reptile, ruminant, and wildlife samples by the QLD Health reference laboratory. Two attribution models were applied: model 1 merged data across 1998–2017, whereas model 2 pooled data into 5-year time intervals. Model 1 attributed 47% (credible interval, CrI: 33.6–60.8) of all Salmonella detections on macadamia nuts to biosolids-soil-compost. Wildlife and companion animals were found to be the second and third most important contamination sources, respectively. Results from model 2 showed that the importance of the different sources varied between the different time periods; for example, Salmonella contamination from biosolids-soil-compost varied from 4.4% (CrI: 0.2–11.7) in 1998–2002 to 19.3% (CrI: 4.6–39.4) in 2003–2007, and the proportion attributed to poultry varied from 4.8% (CrI: 1–11) in 2008–2012 to 24% (CrI: 11.3–40.7) in 2013–2017.

Findings suggest that macadamia nuts were contaminated by direct transmission from animals with access to the plantations (e.g., wildlife and companion animals) or from indirect transmission from animal reservoirs through biosolids-soil-compost. The findings from this study can be used to guide environmental and wildlife sampling and analysis to further investigate routes of Salmonella contamination of macadamia nuts and propose control options to reduce potential risk of human salmonellosis.

Source attribution of salmonella in macadamia nuts to animal and environmental reservoirs in Queensland, Australia,

04 December 2019

Foodborne Pathogens and Disease

Nanna MunckJames SmithJohn BatesKathryn GlassTine Hald, and Martyn D. Kirk

https://doi.org/10.1089/fpd.2019.2706

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/fpd.2019.2706?utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=FPD%20OA%20Dec%206%202019&d=12/6/2019&mcid=386543234

‘No biggie’: 11 gastro cases at Australian aged care home

An aged care home criticised for its handling of an influenza outbreak which killed 10 people has suffered a gastro outbreak.

A staff member, who asked to remain anonymous, raised concerns about the way the situation had been handled.

A Department of Health and Human Services spokesman said the first case was identified last Thursday with eight residents and three staff affected, with the department notified on Tuesday (that in early Dec.).

Respect Aged Care chief operating officer Brett Menzie said it wasn’t a major outbreak.

The dates and number of infected people differed to those provided to DHHS, with Mr Menzie stating five residents and three staff members were infected.

Mr McKenzie said a resident first showed signs of gastro on Sunday, with an outbreak – which occurs when three people show symptoms – declared on Monday.

He said the Health Department had been notified and infection control procedures enacted.

“St John’s Retirement Village Nursing Home did not implement a coordinated and timely infection control program that was effective in identifying and containing infection during the influenza and respiratory outbreak of August and September 2017,” a report found.

Lamb mince as a source of toxo in Australia

Objective: Toxoplasmosis may follow consumption of undercooked meat containing Toxoplasma gondii cysts. Lamb is considered to pose the highest risk for contamination across meats. Red meat is often served undercooked, yet there are no current data on T. gondii contamination of Australian sourced and retailed lamb. We sought to address this gap in public health knowledge.

Methods: Lamb mincemeat was purchased at the supermarket counter three times weekly for six months. T. gondii was detected by real‐time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of DNA extracted from the meat following homogenisation. Purchases were also tested for common foodborne bacterial pathogens.

Results: Conservative interpretation of PCR testing (i.e. parasite DNA detected in three of four tests) gave a probability of 43% (95% confidence interval, 32%–54%) that lamb mincemeat was contaminated with T. gondii. None of the purchases were contaminated with Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella species or S. enterica serovar Typhimurium, indicating sanitary meat processing.

Conclusions: Australian lamb is commonly contaminated with T. gondii. Future studies should be directed at testing a range of red meats and meat cuts.

Implications for public health: Consuming undercooked Australian lamb has potential to result in toxoplasmosis. There may be value in health education around this risk.

Lamb as a potential source of toxoplasma gondii infection for Australians

December 2019

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health

Abby C. Dawson, Liam M. Ashander, Binoy Appukuttan, Richard J. Woodman, Jitender P. Dubey, Harriet Whiley, Justine R. Smith

https://doi.org/10.1111/1753-6405.12955

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1753-6405.12955

Health update, and sprouts still suck

Amy and Sorenne came to visit me last night at the Clinical Facility I’ve been staying at for the past two weeks and we went out for dinner (the seafood was fabulous).

That’s me and the kid last night at dinner (right).

I checked myself in because I have been randomly falling when walking — the sidewalk just sorta rises up and I smash my head yet again. The other day I endured two seizures while eating lunch in the cafeteria and the docs present shipped me off to Emergency.

Long-time skeptics are finally agreeing with me that these things are happening because of genetics, booze (which is primarily to provide numbness to the fog upstairs but I’m going without) 50 years of pucks to the head, dozens of concussions, epilepsy and whatever else may be happening in that precious organ known as the brain.

So I haven’t been writing much.

They shipped out to New Caledonia this morning for Amy’s work for a few days, so I made sure I was taken care of so she wouldn’t have to worry.

It is seemingly impossible to get a sandwich or salad in Australia without it being covered in raw sprouts.

This is Amy’s salad from dinner last night (left).

We document at least 55 sprout-associated outbreaks occurring worldwide affecting a total of 15,233 people since 1988. A comprehensive table of sprout-related outbreaks can be found here.

Australia’s food safety system falls well short

Adele Ferguson of The Age writes that food safety is again in the headlines following an investigation into the Grill’d burger chain.

The long list of food safety transgressions at hamburger chain Grill’d outlined in a series of leaked internal food and safety audit reports, internal documents, a council report, and dozens of photos from staff, triggered a social media backlash.

In an attempt to dilute the public’s disgust Grill’d announced it would hire a global food auditor to review its food safety and work practices.

But in the process of exposing the worker exploitation and uncleanliness scandal it became clear there was another scandal that has been festering away: an overall lack of enforcement by the relevant authorities of food hygiene regulations and fines that are so low they fail to act as a deterrent.

Take for instance, Grill’d in Windsor, Victoria, the local council, Stonnington, issued an inspection notice of “major non-compliance” in October 2018. It said it didn’t have effective cleaning systems in place, which is the basic requirement of any restaurant.

What was even more disturbing was the council admitting that the same non-compliances were happening every year and that “infringement notices may be issued if this continues”.

In other words, the council’s inspection notice and wishy-washy threats were ineffectual.

This was no better demonstrated in early December when a photo was taken and posted on The Age and Sydney Morning Herald websites of a mouse inside a tray of hamburger buns sitting on the floor at Grill’d in Windsor.

The council’s reaction was to keep the public in the dark. It refused to say how many years of non-compliance it had recorded at the Grill’d Windsor restaurant and its only reaction to the buns stored on the floor, which attracted a mouse in the pest infested restaurant, was that it would act if someone lodged a complaint.

On a broader level, it illustrates shortcomings in the food safety system in Australia. It seems the public only get to know what’s going on when it is too late.

The Victorian Health register of convictions of food safety is an eye-opener. In 2019 only a few cases went to court and received a conviction, which attracted a minuscule fine.

The laws may be strict but if they aren’t properly monitored and enforced then things fall apart.

Hockey, Canadian style

Sorta.

It’s 36 C in Brisbane, there is smoke everywhere from the bush fires, and we were all up at 4:30 a.m. — when it gets light here — so Sorenne, who turned 11-years-old today could be on the ice at 5:45 a.m.

Take ice when you can get it.

This isn’t Canada.

But I didn’t have the stamina to go to her practice or birthday party this afternoon at a pool (Amy is doing the heaving lifting these days).

So I’m going to stop writing for barfblog.com for awhile, maybe write a book, maybe hang out more with my kid before she’s on to her next adventure.

It’s been 14 years of blogging and 26 years of news.

I’ve said it before, but I can feel the effects of my brain going away and just can’t do it right now.

Upper right is the card my mother sent Sorenne. Mom spent a few decades at the arena.

I may need a brain break, but I’m not done yet.

Happy birthday, kid.

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.

Australia: 15 people stricken with Salmonella after Core Powerfoods recall

Emily Olle of 7 News reports 15 people have been struck with salmonella following a national recall of frozen meals sold at Coles and IGA supermarkets.

Core Powerfoods issued a recall of their frozen meals, including the 310g or 350g Going Nuts, Deep South Chilli, Muay Thai Meatballs, Holy Meatballs, Naked

SA Health’s Dr Fay Jenkins said South Australians should throw out their products, with three South Australians among those affected.

 “There have been 15 cases of Salmonella Weltevreden in people who ate these products nationally and we are urging anyone with these meals in their freezers to throw them away or return them to where they bought them,” Jenkins said.

“While this particular type of Salmonella is unusual, any kind of Salmonella poses serious health risks and symptoms of infection can begin anywhere between six and 72 hours after exposure and last for three to seven days.”

So hard done by: Not

I built this electronic community originally as the Food Safety Network beginning in Jan. 1993. I consider it one big food safety family.

I provided a health update, not because I sought sympathy, but because I thought I should let the family know what was going on and why my writing had declined.

Australia is currently burning, and every time someone who has just lost everything is interviewed, they talk about how grateful they are for what they have and how they will plunge ahead.

It’s the Australian way, and I am very much of that attitude.

I am not wallowing, I am grateful that Deb will be here in a few minutes for the next four hours (not sure we can go for a walk, there is so much smoke in Brisbane from the fires 100km away that health warnings have been issued).

I’ll continue to teach her about hockey (in Australia you have to call it ice hockey).

And look at these two. They have arrived in Paris, where it’s 5C, and they have no winter clothes, because we are spoiled in Brisbane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They’ll figure it out and have a great time.

How blessed am I to have so much family?