6 children sickened with E. coli; cattle return to UK park

In July 2012, six children were sickened with E. coli O157 linked to feces from cattle that also roamed the grounds of Sutton Park in Birmingham, the largest city sutton.park.UK.cattle.may.13park in Europe.

Children have now been given the all-clear to return to the park.

New signage has been put up at the park, for visitors reminding them to wash their hands to avoid infection and showing them where facilities are available. Additional handwashing points have also been installed and areas such as the playgrounds and car parks have been cleaned.

Handwashing is never enough.

Newborn mice found in chips at UK supermarket; it’s OK, we’re near a canal

A Birmingham mum went wild in the aisles – when newborn mice burst out of crisp packets in a busy supermarket.

Stunned shopper Liz Wray was horrified when she saw half a dozen pink mice emerge from multipacks of crisps at a new Tesco store in Aston Lane, Aston.

The mum-of-one snapped pictures of the mice on her phone (right) and confronted the store manager but said she was horrified Tesco bosses decided not to shut the store down.

“All the staff did was put a cardboard box over the mice and closed aisle six,” said Liz, a health visitor from Kings Norton. “I was with a work colleague who reached out towards the crisps and started screaming.

“Suddenly these tiny pink things appeared from the multipacks and were lying in front of us.

“They were repulsive and made me feel revolting. There were half a dozen of them crawling out of different holes in the crisps and we couldn’t believe our eyes. …

“When I told the store manager, he said ‘We can’t do much about it because we are near a canal and railway track and the mice tend to come through the floor.’”

Café owner sickened 47 police with staph sandwiches must wear electronic tag

In July, 2009, West Midlands Police were dispatched to control demonstrations between the English Defence League and anti-fascism groups in Birmingham, U.K. The coppers ordered more than 100 lunches from Morris’s Meal Machine cafe, in Nechells, Birmingham. Fourty-seven were sickened by contaminated chicken and tuna sandwiches. One officer said, “I thought my life was coming to an end.”

A couple of weeks later, Birmingham City Council’s environmental health department closed the café following checks into processes and procedures, which unvocered failures in “food handling, cross contamination, temperature control and general cleanliness.”

The Daily Mail reports the packed lunches were provided by former cafe owner Muriel Morris, 70, who admitted four charges of breaching food hygiene regulations at Birmingham Magistrates Court on Monday.

She was tagged and ordered to obey an overnight curfew after District Judge Robert Zara accepted she could not pay a large fine.

He also imposed a four-month suspended sentence on her.

She has since sold the business, the court heard.

The court was told some of the officers were left mentally scarred and even feared they would die because of the staphylococcus aureus infection.

Others passed out and required oxygen as they were taken to hospital by ambulance and another said he lost eight pounds in weight and suffered symptoms for a week.

Birmingham shop fined for selling moldy food and putting shoppers at risk

We were close to Birmingham, U.K. when we visited the statue of my great-great-great grandfather, the Tipton Slasher, and his training facilities – a pub.

If you go to Birmingham, you may want to steer clear of Super Food Ltd in Albert Road, Stechford.

The Birmingham Mail reports that officers form Birmingham City Council’s environmental health visited the premises, run by Mohammed Younis, on four separate occasions between April and November 2009 and found 23 items of food for sale that had gone off, including meat patties, roast turkey breast, hot dogs, yoghurt, pre-packed sliced bacon and chicken and mutton ready-to-eat curries.

The meat patties were visibly moldy in their plastic packaging, and were eight days past their use by date, as were many of the other items.

Younis was charged under Food Labelling Regulations 1996 for “deliberately” selling food that had gone past its expiry date and he was fined £2,000 and told to pay £659 prosecution costs and £15 compensation in a hearing at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court.

The news comes after Bashir Ahmed, owner of Mushtaq’s Ltd in Stratford Road, Sparkhill, was last week fined £4,500 and banned from running a food business after mouse droppings were discovered in his store.

Wing Wah pays out £65,000 after 50 diners fall sick

The Birmingham Post reports that a Chinese restaurant in the U.K.’s Black Country – and I know what that means having now been there — is being forced to pay out almost £65,000 after nearly 50 of its diners went down with food poisoning.

Kwai Lun Chiu, a director of the Wing Wah restaurant in Oldbury, was also given a 12 month Community Order and told to carry out 100 hours community punishment.

The sick diners included a 22-month-old baby and an 80-year-old man, who had to spend 12 days in hospital.

They all caught salmonella after the buffet restaurant chefs used raw eggs in a tiramisu dessert, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

UK caterer closed after making 44 cops barf

Birmingham City Council said Monday the Meal Machine was closed under Food Hygiene regulations amid concerns over cleanliness and cross contamination of foods.

Earlier this month it was reported that at least 44 police officers suffered the effects of what appeared to be food poisoning, including severe diarrhoea and vomiting, as a result of packed lunches issued to the officers by … Meal Machine.

It is known a number of officers ate a chicken and stuffing sandwich supplied to them as part of a packed lunch prepared by an outside contractor.

A spokesman for Birmingham City Council’s environmental health department said the decision followed checks into processes and procedures, including “food handling, cross contamination, temperature control and general cleanliness”.

Food poisoning strikes Birmingham police

In 1984, the Pope visited the restored 350-year-old Jesuit mission of Ste. Marie-among-the-Hurons in Midland, Ontario. After departing, 1,600 hungry Ontario Provincial Police officers who had worked the ropes gathered for a boxed lunch. Of those 500 officers who chose ones with roast beef sandwiches, 423 came down with salmonella.

On Saturday, July 4, 2009, more than 40 police officers in Birmingham, U.K., were stricken with food poisoning after consuming a boxed lunch of  a sandwich, packet of crisps, chocolate bar and piece of fruit, as they prepared to police a demonstration which passed off peacefully.

Dozens of fireman, police and ambulance staff rushed to the scene as British Transport Police shut the station at about 5pm on the advice of health agencies.

The station re-opened 50 minutes later.

Do you know where that finger’s been? The risks of potlucks

Yesterday was the departmental Xmas potluck.

I didn’t go.

Not cause of the newborn, I just, on those rare occasions I get invited, avoid potlucks. There’s the ‘Hey, Food Safety Man, would you eat this,’ to which I politely smile and say sure, the biggest risk is not eating at all, cause I’m trying to be publicly polite, and meanwhile I’m not touching the sprout salad, the unpasteurized juices, the raw oysters (a big hit in Kansas) and the beef that’s been sitting at room temperature for 14 hours.

Besides, once I start pontificating, I can’t shut up. Maybe I just like to hear myself talk.

Some middle school students in Birmingham, Alabama, found out the hard way – meaning they barfed a lot – the risks of potlucks.

The Birmingham News reports that nearly half of the students in a Smith Middle School language arts class became ill Friday after tasting meals that students had prepared as part of an assignment.

Birmingham schools spokeswoman Michaelle Chapman said the students were to write about their favorite dish and how it was prepared. The teacher allowed them to make and bring the dish to class if they wished.

Of the 18 students, 16 of them brought in dishes and eight students got sick after tasting them.

After seeing this story, one colleague wrote his daughter’s principal, asking if there was a policy about bringing food into schools to share with others. I did the same years ago after my daughter was almost exposed to unpasteurized cider as part of a class trip to the farm.