I avoid potlucks and food trucks

The rise of food trucks as an eating out option requires knowledge of this sector. Balancing the reality of the food truck sector with access to safe food should guide actions and public policies to cater to its peculiarities. Therefore, this study aimed to characterize the Brazilian food truck vendors’ profile regarding their socioeconomic status and compliance with food safety rules.

From the 118 food truck vendors registered in the Brazilian Federal District, 30% (n = 35) participated in the study. We conducted structured interviews from December 2017 to April 2018. We ranked compliance levels according to a five-point Likert scale based on calculated compliance scores. The interviews revealed that food truck vendors were mostly married males, who had completed at least a tertiary education level, and wanted to start up their own businesses. The compliance levels depict good compliance with food safety rules (overall compliance (OC)-score = 0.69, on a 0 to 1 scale).

The food trucks assessed in this study distinguished themselves from the street food and food retail sectors due to their operational structure and the complexity of food production processes. Those particular features should be considered to ensure adequate and effective sanitary control and inspections, as well as to reduce the probability of microbial growth and food contamination and the consequent risk of foodborne illnesses.

Who is serving us? Food safety rules compliance among Brazilian food truck vendors

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Ligia Isonia Auad, Veronica Cortez Ginani, Eliana dos Santos Leandro, et al

http://scholar.google.com/scholar_url?url=https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/15/12/2807/pdf&hl=en&sa=X&d=331275599414970212&scisig=AAGBfm1ALcoGLQrOxOvwFJD5reiRlp-fiw&nossl=1&oi=scholaralrt&hist=2O4SIb4AAAAJ:16506682388974377703:AAGBfm0hA8hv9psB2ckGPRnkmmh7MNIaGQ

Food is the new Mob: There’s paperwork and there’s chicken shit; Brazil agriculture ministry investigates food processor



Brazil’s agriculture ministry has opened its own corruption probe into police allegations that BRF SA, the world’s largest chicken exporter, evaded food safety standards, a ministry official said on Wednesday.

Ana Mano of Reuters reports the investigation, announced in the official gazette on Oct. 17, does not name any companies. It follows the release two days earlier of a report by federal police claiming senior managers at BRF allegedly adulterated documents and laboratory results to dodge food safety and quality checks.

The ministry official, who asked not to be identified, said the investigation concerns companies cited in a March 2018 federal police operation, codenamed Trapaça.

The operation alleged that BRF and laboratory Mérieux NutriSciences Brasil colluded to bypass official controls.

The Agriculture Ministry’s press office had no immediate comment. BRF said it has not been notified of the ministry’s investigation and could not comment. Mérieux denied the fraud and corruption allegations.

Federal police alleged that BRF tried to control dissemination of news that China found traces of the highly toxic dioxin in chicken imports from Brazil in 2015, and acted to prevent the government from investigating the case thoroughly.

The police also accused BRF of using the forbidden antibiotic Nitrofurazone and misreporting the levels of other antibiotics in its industrial processes. BRF has said it is cooperating with the investigation and suspended all employees named in the police report.

Authorities found evidence that BRF ordered the slaughter in 2016 of about 26,000 birds infected with Salmonella Typhimurium, a pathogen harmful to humans, as well as faked information provided to authorities to hide that decision.

The police said chicken from this batch was sold in at least 10 Brazilian states and exported to Europe.

1786 sick from toxo in Brazil: water suspected

Brazilian media report (via ProMed, thanks) that in the past 15 days, the number of cases of confirmed toxoplasmosis has increased from 594 to 621, according to a new epidemic bulletin from the government of Rio Grande do Sul and the city council on the epidemic facing the region.

Of the more than 600 confirmed cases, 54 are pregnant women, with 3 fetal deaths and 3 abortions.

The number of suspected cases increased from 1291 on [29 Jun 2018] to 1486 on Friday. Of these, 350 were rejected and 515 arestill under investigation. The total number of cases related to the disease is 1786, according to the latest newsletter.

The causes of the epidemic, confirmed by the State Secretariat of SAR in April this year [2018], are still unknown, and the authorities continue to investigate the event, under the supervision of the federal prosecution. Last Friday [6 Jul 2018], an examination detected the presence of the protozoan responsible for the disease in the water tank of a town residence. But the relationship between the protozoan and the epidemic has not been confirmed.

Toxoplasmosis, popularly known as cat disease, is an infectious disease caused by a protozoan called Toxoplasma gondii. This protozoan is easily found in nature and can cause infection in many mammals and birds around the world.

According to the Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases, the disease can occur through the ingestion of oocysts (where the parasite grows) from soil, sand, and bins contaminated with feces from infected cats; ingestion of raw and undercooked meat infected with oocysts, especially pork and mutton; or by transplacental infection, occurring in 40% of fetuses of mothers who contracted infection during pregnancy. The incubation period of toxoplasmosis ranges from 10 to 23 days when the cause is meat consumption, and from 5 to 20 days when the reason is contact with cat feces oocysts.

The Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases suggests some preventive measures. Do not eat raw or malnourished meats, and eat only well-washed vegetables and fruits cleaned with running water. Avoid contact with cat feces. In addition to avoiding contact with cats, pregnant women must undergo appropriate medical (prenatal) monitoring.

Labs covered-up Salmonella-positive results: New arrests in Brazil rotten meat scandal

Brazilian police made new arrests Monday in a probe into a tainted meat scandal that first erupted last year — this time targeting laboratories accused of covering up salmonella in products from food giant BRF.

“The investigation showed that five laboratories and the company’s analysis departments falsified results” shown to health inspectors, the federal police said in a statement.

Agriculture Ministry representative Alexandre Campos da Silva said the department received 410 notifications of salmonella presence from 12 countries that imported the meat in question last year — 80 per cent of which were in the EU.

Monday’s operation — the third since the scandal was uncovered — involved 270 police officers and 21 health agents across five Brazilian states.

Federal police commissioner Mauricio Boscardi Grillo said 10 of 11 people targeted with arrest warrants were detained, including former CEO Pedro de Andrade Faria.

BRF is one of the largest food companies in the world, exporting products, primarily meat, to over 120 countries.

Only a government type could write ‘agents of transformation’ Restaurant inspections in Brazil

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the profile of foodservices’ in Curitiba, in southern Brazil and the results of health inspections performed at these establishments, with the goal of contributing to improvements in sanitary inspection processes and to the sanitary conditions in foodservices.

The study was based on data from sanitary inspections conducted at foodservice establishments from January 2005 to July 2015 found in the Municipal Sanitary Inspection and Environmental Information System.

Most of the establishments inspected were restaurants and similar establishments: snack bars, cafes; as well as grocery store, supermarkets and hypermarkets, and most irregularities were found in these sectors.

Health inspections in the city are carried out in emergency criteria, and most performed at the request of foodservices that are quest a license or because of a customer complaint. Inspections led to more educational than punitive measures. Even 10 years after passage of a national law governing food handling procedures, when 70% of the foodservices presented improper sanitary conditions. The main irregularities found were related to work procedures and processes, sanitary conditions, and physical structure. These result reinforces the importance that legislators and inspection teams reevaluate their goals, strategies and work processes to prioritize food safety.

Practical applications:

This study is important because it offers a diagnosis and a discussion of foodservices and evaluates actions of Sanitary Inspection Agency, to assist in the development of tools and strategies to strengthen the work of sanitary inspectors so that they can be recognized as agents of transformation in public health.

A profile of foodservices in Curitiba and a critical analysis of the results of sanitary inspections at these establishments

Journal of Food Safety

Patricia Vitorio Olmedo, Lize Stangarlin-Fiori, et al.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jfs.12377/full

Food fraud: Brazil bored bureaucrat mob-influenced version

Federal authorities announced Friday they’re investigating evidence that companies including JBS SA and BRF SA, the nation’s largest meat producers, bribed government officials to approve the sale and export of soiled meat. Federal police served hundreds of court orders, including more than 30 detention warrants, in what local media says is the largest police operation in the country’s history.

Police released transcripts of recorded conversations showing how agricultural inspectors were bribed, sometimes in the form of prime cuts of beef. It’s alleged that some of the meat, including sausages and cold cuts, was adulterated with ingredients including pig heads, and that suspect smells were masked by applying acid. Inspectors who refused to comply, it’s alleged, were reassigned elsewhere by the meat companies.

“It seems like magic realism,” Marcos Josegrei da Silva, the judge responsible for overseeing the so-called Weak Flesh investigation, said in a court order. “Unfortunately, it is not.”

In a statement, the Brazilian unit of Wal-Mart said it fully trusts its internal food safety procedures.

But should consumers?

The story trickled around the globe over the weekend and is now like a Brisbane downpour.

Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi said Saturday Brazil fears that it may lose foreign markets for its agricultural products.

The minister confirmed earlier media reports that the United States, the European Union and China have already requested Brazilian authorities to launch an investigation against the unscrupulous meat producers. However, none of these countries has so far announced that it was closing its market for animal products from Brazil.

On Friday, Brazil’s federal police arrested members of a major criminal group involved in trade of tainted food, mostly meat. According to police, the operation involved almost 1,100 police officers and became the country’s largest ever. The operation targeted major Brazilian meat producers selling their products both domestically and internationally.

Investigators detained a number of meat industry employees, who are suspected of bribing agriculture watchdogs to receive quality certificates for low-quality goods without proper checks. Some of those money were reportedly used to finance political parties.

Police says that the suspects also used acid and other chemicals to make the rotten meat appear fresh.

The Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment has stated it is taking the issue seriously and will investigate if spoiled meat has been brought to Finland.

In Finland, Brazilian meat has been sold in stores belonging to S Group.

Olympic advice: Sailors, keep your mouth closed

Andrew Jacobs  of The New York Times reports health experts in Brazil have a word of advice for the Olympic marathon swimmers, sailors and windsurfers competing in Rio de Janeiro’s picture-postcard waters next month: Keep your mouth closed.

brazil2Despite the government’s promises seven years ago to stem the waste that fouls Rio’s expansive Guanabara Bay and the city’s fabled ocean beaches, officials acknowledge that their efforts to treat raw sewage and scoop up household garbage have fallen far short.

In fact, environmentalists and scientists say Rio’s waters are much more contaminated than previously thought.

Recent tests by government and independent scientists revealed a veritable petri dish of pathogens in many of the city’s waters, from rotaviruses that can cause diarrhea and vomiting to drug-resistant “super bacteria” that can be fatal to people with weakened immune systems.

Researchers at the Federal University of Rio also found serious contamination at the upscale beaches of Ipanema and Leblon, where many of the half-million Olympic spectators are expected to frolic between sporting events.

“Foreign athletes will literally be swimming in human crap, and they risk getting sick from all those microorganisms,” said Dr. Daniel Becker, a local pediatrician who works in poor neighborhoods. “It’s sad, but also worrisome.”

Government officials and the International Olympic Committee acknowledge that, in many places, the city’s waters are filthy. But they say the areas where athletes will compete — like the waters off Copacabana Beach, where swimmers will race — meet World Health Organization safety standards.

Even some venues with higher levels of human waste, like Guanabara Bay, present only minimal risk because athletes sailing or windsurfing in them will have limited contact with potential contamination, they add.

Still, Olympic officials concede that their efforts have not addressed a fundamental problem: Much of the sewage and trash produced by the region’s 12 million inhabitants continues to flow untreated into Rio’s waters.

“Our biggest plague, our biggest environmental problem, is basic sanitation,” said Andrea Correa, the top environmental official in the state of Rio de Janeiro. “The Olympics has woken people up to the problem.”

A giant pipe running from downtown churns human waste into the marina [on Guanabara Bay] at certain times each day. Rats roam around in the waste. The stench makes uninitiated visitors feel like vomiting or fainting,” USA Today’s Martin Rogers reported Tuesday, less than two weeks before the Games kick off on Aug. 5.

Check the pork; cluster of toxoplasmosis in Brazil 

It’s not just for cats anymore.

In 2012, Hip-music-listening, and general all around good guy Mike Batz (and co-authors) identified Toxoplasma gondii and pork as the second most burdensome food-pathogen combination, resulting in an estimated 35,000 illnesses annually in the U.S.

At least 20 Brazilian cases of toxoplasmosis have been confirmed with another 70 showing symptoms according to Folha Geral (some things may be lost in translation).pork

Five months after identifying an outbreak of toxoplasmosis in the premises of the Agronomic Institute of Paraná (Iapar), in the south of Londrina, the Department of Epidemiological Surveillance of the Municipal Health Department yesterday confirmed another outbreak, this time in the unit of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa), located in the district of Warta, in the north.

According to the manager of Epidemiological Surveillance Londrina, Rosangela Libaroni, 73 people showed symptoms of the disease transmitted by the feces of cats between the end of last year and the end from January. The tests confirmed 20 cases of acute toxoplasmosis and dismissed another ten. The rest of the cases still under investigation follows awaiting official reports. Three patients presented symptoms but were not contaminated.

The task force set up to try to identify the source of contamination has a partnership with the State University of Londrina (UEL). The head of the Department of Preventive Veterinary Medicine UEL, Italmar Navarro, said the research follows in the analysis phase, but said that the contamination through the water was discarded. He also recalled that there was no conclusion about the focus of contamination that caused the outbreak in Iapar late last year after a series of laboratory tests.

Yesterday afternoon, the troughs of Embrapa who were sealed were reactivated. Already the cafeteria remains interdicted. Rosangela reported that all the people who have been infected will be heard to see if they were eating at the local cafeteria. “If it is not the water, suspicion falls on the food. We have to know the origin of this food, because of the outbreak of risk elsewhere in the city,” Rosangela warned.

Street food in Brazil; and The Beatles

The aims of this study were to assess the compliance of street foods sold in an urban center in a major capital of Brazil with international standards for food safety and to provide data that could be used for the elaboration of specific legislation to ensure the safety of street food.

brazil.street.foodThe study investigated demographic profiles of street vendors and hygiene practices used in critical points of food production for products sold. Direct observations and structured interviews were conducted among vendors at stationary locations in the downtown area. Forty-three participating vendors were mostly males who generally completed only elementary school. Among observed food safety risks: 12% of the vendors did not provide ice at the point of sale for perishable ingredients; 95% did not wash hands between food and money transactions and restroom breaks; 91% did not have hair coverings and 100% of the vendors did not have access to a water supply. The interviews revealed that 12% of the vendors did not provide proper cold holding during transportation; 33% did not wash their hands at all, whereas 24% only used water to wash their hands; and 33% never took the required food-handling course. The study indicates a need for improvements of the environmental conditions at these sites to prevent foodborne diseases. Specific local and national laws for street food need to be created to protect the consumer, and continuous training of vendors could help address the lack of food quality and safety.

And for no particular reason, today in 1966, The Beatles began recording sessions for Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The album cost $75,000 to record.

Food safety and hygiene practices of vendors during the chain of street food production in Florianopolis, Brazil: A cross-sectional study

Food Control, Volume 62, April 2016, Pages 178–186

Rayza Dal Molin Cortese, Marcela Boro Veiros, Charles Feldman, Suzi Barletto Cavalli

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956713515302498

Theatre or threat? Food safety concerns at Brazil’s Olympic stadium

Authorities have seized more than 45 kg of expired food during a raid of the Maracana Stadium, the showpiece venue for next year’s Olympics.

maracanaAgents from local consumer protection watchdog Procon found the products during Sunday’s football derby between Fluminense and Botafogo, Procon said in a statement on Monday. Among the items confiscated were sausages, eggs, pork, chocolate and cheese, reports Xinhua.

The Maracana Stadium hosted last year’s FIFA World Cup final between Germany and Argentina after undergoing a three-year, $500 million upgrade. The venue will also stage the opening and closing ceremonies, and football matches, at next year’s Olympics.