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.


Letter: Bacteria in dairy products in baggage of incoming travelers, Brazil

To the Editor: International air travel can lead to the rapid global dissemination of infectious agents. Unlike products and byproducts of animal origin imported between countries under agreements that legally establish sanitary standards, products introduced into a country illegally or irregularly do not follow specific standards and can come from any source, thereby posing a risk to the health status of a country. Animal products transported clandestinely in baggage can contain infectious agents harmful to animal and human health (14). We investigated Brucella spp., Mycobacterium bovis, and Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) in dairy products seized from baggage of passengers on flights at the 2 main international airports (Guarulhos Airport, São Paulo, and Galeão Airport, Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil.

maxresdefaultDuring 2010–2011, 12 missions were instigated by the International Agriculture Surveillance (VIGIAGRO/MAPA) in airports to detect and seize unauthorized dairy products carried by passengers; 195 products were collected from multiple flights from different destinations. Baggage was scanned by using an x-ray machine and, on detection of a product, was opened by the owner in the presence of a federal agriculture inspector. To avoid contamination, the products were not opened and were sent to the designated Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply Laboratory in their original packaging. All seized products were packed according to the International Air Transport Association standards (5) and transported by commercial aviation with official monitoring to the laboratory.

After completing real-time quantitative PCR (Promega, Madison, WI, USA) using TaqMan technology (Life Technologies, Darmstadt, Germany), we extracted DNA directly from the sample (6,7). The technique for the detection of MAP and eryD Brucella (except strain 19 Brucella abortus) and also using the region RD4 to detect M. bovis were proposed by Irange et al. (8). To detect M. bovis, we used the primers M. bovis-88-F (5′-CGC.CTT.CCT.AAC.CAG.AAT.TG-3′), M. bovis-88-R (5′-GGA.GAG.CGC.CGT.TGT.AGG-3′) and to detect Brucella, we used Bru-Eri-Taq-92-F (5′-GCC.ACA.CTT.TCT.GCA.ATC.TG-3′) and Bru-Eri-Taq-92-F (5′-GCG.GTG.GAT.AAT.GAA.ATC.TGC-3′).

We analyzed 35 containers of dulce de leche, a caramelized milk paste confection, from Argentina (n = 30), Angola (n = 1), and Uruguay (n = 4). We tested all specimens for Brucella spp. and MAP, and 32 for M. bovis. We detected MAP in 1 specimen from Argentina and 1 from Uruguay, Brucella spp. in 3 specimens from Argentina and 1 from Uruguay, and M. bovis in 1 specimen from Argentina.

de-niroThree containers of liquid milk from the United States were collected and analyzed for the presence of MAP; 2 were analyzed for M. bovis and Brucella. Brucella was detected in 1 specimen. Five containers of powdered milk were seized: 2 from Chile, 2 from Angola, and 1 from Portugal. Brucella was detected in 1 container from Chile; Brucella and M. bovis were found in 1 container from Angola. Four containers of yogurt were seized, 1 each from the United States, China, Angola, and South Africa. MAP was detected in those from Angola and South Africa, and the yogurt from South Africa also showed Brucella.

We analyzed samples from 147 cheeses that were confiscated from baggage owned by travelers from 21 countries, mainly from Italy (24.5%), Portugal (22.4%), and France (14.3%). M. bovis was identified in 18 (17.5%) cheeses collected from Italy, Portugal, Spain, the United States, the Netherlands, Lebanon, Morocco, and Norway. MAP was amplified in specimens from 13 cheeses from Spain, United States, Iraq, Israel, Norway, Peru, France, and Portugal, the last 2 countries showed the highest occurrence. Brucella was detected in 62 of the cheeses analyzed, which originated in Bolivia, Chile, Iraq, Lebanon, and Morocco (n = 1 in each country), Netherlands, Israel, and Norway (n = 2 in each country), Turkey and Spain (n = 3 in each country), United States, France and England (n = 4 in each country), Portugal (n=10), and Italy (n = 23).

Both M. bovis and Brucella were detected in 13 (8.8%) cheeses (1 each from Spain, Netherlands, Morocco, and Norway; 4 from Portugal, and 5 from Italy); Brucella and MAP were detected in 4 (2.7%) cheeses (Spain, France, Portugal, and Iraq). Co-amplification of the 3 genes (Brucella + MAP + M. bovis) occurred in 3 (2%) cheeses (United States, Norway, and Portugal). Among the cheeses analyzed, 84 (57.1%) contained isolates that amplified >1 of the genes for the 3 bacteria examined.

Of the 166 dairy products analyzed, Brucella was detected in 70 (42.1%). Cheeses were the most seized products (n = 121) and had the highest number of Brucella-positive results (62/121[51.2%]). Brucella was detected in dairy products that originated in Argentina, Spain, France, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Portugal, and Turkey; it was detected in 4 (21%) of the 19 cheeses from France and in 3 of the 4 (75%) cheeses that originated in Spain. M. bovis was detected in dulce de leche from Argentina, powdered milk from Chile, and in cheeses from Spain, Netherlands, Italy, Lebanon, Morocco, Norway, and Portugal.

Bacteria can be introduced into a country through contaminated animal products that are brought across borders illegally. The risk may be even greater when these products are carried in passengers’ baggage on international flights because of the growing number of international travelers and the wide range of origins of these passengers. Greater attention should be given to agricultural surveillance at airports to mitigate the risk for introduction of these products.

de Melo CB, de Sá MEP, Souza AR, de Oliveira AM, Mota PMPC, Campani, PR, et al. Bacteria in dairy products in baggage of incoming travelers, Brazil [letter]. Emerg Infect Dis. 2014 Nov [date cited].

Author affiliations: University of Brasília, Brasília, Brazil (C.B. de Melo, A.R. Souza, C. McManus, L. Seixas Author affliliations:); Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (MAPA), Brasília, Brazil (M.E.P. de Sa); MAPA, Galeão Airport, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (P.R Campani); MAPA, Guarulhos Airport, São Paulo, Brazil (J.O. Luna); MAPA, Confins International Airport, Belo Horizonte/Confins, Brazil (S. Cabral Pinto); MAPA, Brasilia International Airport (BSB), Brasília, Brazil (F.F. Schwingel); MAPA, Pedro Leopoldo, Brazil (A.M. de Oliveira, P.M.P.C. Mota).


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Emerging Infectious Diseases, Volume 20, Number 11—November 2014

Luna JO, Pinto SC, Schwingel FF, McManus C, Seixas L

England’s World Cup hotel raided by health and safety officials over out-of date food

I’m watching the Montreal-New York hockey conference finals (that’s ice hockey to the Australians) and am now going to write about soccer (right, exactly as shown).

Apparently there’s something big coming up in the world of fooootball, and the hotel that England will use during the upcoming World Cup in Brazil has had out-of-date food removed following a raid from Brazilian health and safety officials.

colbert.soccerAccording to the Mirror, the Royal Tulip hotel in Rio de Janeiro, had 2.6kg of salmon, parma ham and butter removed after it was deemed unfit for consumption.

Nonetheless, the Football Association have declared that they have no concerns following the seizure.

An FA spokesman stated: “The England chef has visited the Royal Tulip hotel several times and is happy with the cleanliness of the facilities. He will also closely supervise all the players’ food intake.”

The inspections were part of 13 venues visited by officials, with restaurants, supermarkets, bakeries, shops also raided.

England’s group rivals Italy – who the Three Lions meet in their opening game of the tournament on June 14 – saw their Portobello hotel also raided, from where 50 kilos of food was taken away.

In total, 218kg of food unfit for consumption was discarded.

Officials at Italy’s hotel discovered 25kg of seafood and margarine past the sell-by date, while another 24kg of meat, sauces, cheese and sugar had no visible sell-by date.

Additionally, both hotels were also warned for not providing condoms for guests, as is required under Brazilian law.

150 sickened with Salmonella in Brazil; fine amounts to less than cost of (suspect) mayonnaise

About 150 customers were sickened with Salmonella linked to a mayonnaise served at a New Town restaurant in Brazil in early January.

One of the penalties imposed was a fine of R$ 2,650,22, which would give R$ 17.66 per mayonnaise.raw.eggperson.

Mayonnaise on each site, which may have caused the intoxication, cost R$ 19.90.

The Tribune sought those responsible for the establishment, but until the time of writing, only one person answered the report, saying it was not reported and would not comment on the cause.

Fancy food ain’t safe food, Brazil edition

Tucked on a leafy street in Leblon, the seaside bastion of Rio De Janeiro elite, Antiquarius ranks among Brazil’s most exclusive restaurants. Well-heeled regulars frequent Antiquarius, which is ratatouilledecorated in faux-farmhouse style with landscape paintings and porcelain vases, and charges $68 for a stew of codfish in coconut-tomato sauce.

But while Antiquarius’s prices have long shocked many people here, the restaurant is now gaining notoriety for another reason. Inspectors raided it in Aug., finding more than 50 pounds of expired food like ham, endive and beef tripe in its kitchen, including more than 10 pounds of snails with an expiration date of July 2012.

The inspection in August was, according to the New York Times, one of several raids this year by officials seeking to improve the city’s restaurant standards as more visitors flock to Rio ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, both of which will be held here.

“Some restaurants think they will never be inspected, just because they are so chic and expensive,” said Cidinha Campos, director of Rio’s consumer protection agency, singling out an item on Antiquarius’s menu, grilled slipper lobster in beurre d’escargots, which costs about $78. The restaurant’s snail butter used in the recipe was also found to have expired, she said.

“Well,” Ms. Campos said, “even Antiquarius is not above the law.” She added that the restaurant, which serves dishes largely inspired by the cuisine of Portugal, Brazil’s former colonial ruler, could face a fine from about $200 all the way up to $3 million, depending on its explanation of its kitchen practices and the size of its revenues.


Dogs, cats, raw meat risk factors for ocular toxoplasmosis in Brazil

Ferreira, et al report in Epidemiology & Infection the aim of this study was to investigate risk factors for ocular toxoplasmosis (OT) in patients who received medical attention at a public health service.

Three hundred and forty-nine consecutive patients, treated in the Outpatient Eye Clinic of Hospital de Base, São José do Rio Preto, São Paulo state, dogcat2012Brazil, were enrolled in this study. After an eye examination, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used to determine anti-Toxoplasma gondii antibodies.

The results showed that 25·5% of the patients were seronegative and 74·5% were seropositive for IgG anti-T. gondii antibodies; of these 27·3% had OT and 72·7% had other ocular diseases (OOD). The presence of cats or dogs [odds ratio (OR) 2·22, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·24–3·98, P = 0·009] and consumption of raw or undercooked meat (OR 1·77, 95% CI 1·05–2·98, P = 0·03) were associated with infection but not with the development of OT. Age (OT 48·2 ± 21·2 years vs. OOD: 69·5 ± 14·7 years, P < 0·0001) and the low level of schooling/literacy (OT vs. OOD: OR 0·414, 95% CI 0·2231–0·7692, P = 0·007) were associated with OT.

The presence of dogs and cats as well as eating raw/undercooked meat increases the risk of infection, but is not associated with the development of OT.

Nurse in Brazil accidentally kills hospital patient with coffee injection

Grub Street New York reports a student nurse was just three days into her training at a Rio de Janeiro clinic when she injected an elderly woman with milky coffee by mistake.

The coffee entered the patient’s heart and lungs, drowning her within hours.

The student nurse has been charged with manslaughter.

Socrates, Brazilian soccer great, dies from food poisoning at 57

Fox Sports is reporting legendary Brazilian soccer captain Socrates died Sunday at the age of 57 after suffering an intestinal infection.

The star of the 1982 World Cup was rushed to Sao Paulo’s Albert Einstein Hospital late Thursday after suffering food poisoning and was said to be in critical condition in its intensive care unit Saturday.

Despite briefly responding to a stronger antibiotic, Socrates died early Sunday, O Globo reported.

Socrates’ wife and a friend of the couple also got sick after eating the stroganoff, but the former midfield maestro’s body was said to be too weak to fight the illness after years of alcohol abuse.

Socrates, whose full name was Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira, spent his entire club-playing career in Brazil, bar a single season with Italian club Fiorentina in 1984-85.

He rose to international prominence as the tall bearded playmaker who lit up the 1982 World Cup in Spain, despite Brazil’s shock exit ahead of the semi-finals.
Socrates graduated as a medical student during his early playing days and practiced after his career ended in 1989.

Regarded as an intellectual thinker, he also wrote widely about sport and culture later in life.

Brazilian woman finds condom in tomato can

A Brazilian woman who ate a dish of savory meatballs with tomato sauce only to discover a condom in the tomato can, will be awarded $US5000 ($A4552) in damages, the Globo news website reports.

The southern state of Rio Grande do Sul fined the tomato saucemaker the amount for "moral damages."

The woman was using tomato paste to season meatballs and it was only after finishing the meal that she noticed mold in the bottom of the can, with the condom wrapped around what remained of the paste.

Describing the "grotesque scene," Judge Joao Gilberto Marroni Vitola said in his ruling that the experience had "profoundly disgusted the family".

The tomato sauce company claimed that its entire production and packaging process was automated.

Brazilian boy dies after eating poisoned cookies

A 12-year-old boy died after eating cookies poisoned by two girls at his school in north-eastern Brazil, police said today.

The girls, aged 13 and 14, admitted putting a deadly dose of rat poison in the cookies, but claimed they were meant for two rival girls at their school on the outskirts of the city of Recife.

The boy, who was called to deliver the toxic cookies to allay suspicions, was not aware of the plan and ate them instead, with deadly result. He was taken to hospital in agony and died shortly afterwards.