34 sick from Salmonella in backyard eggs, Poland, 2011

While Sorenne and I were up watching football at 3:30 a.m. local time (recovering from all the barfing yesterday), she was browsing through this week’s edition of Eurosurveillance and thought this abstract about backyard eggs and Salmonella would be of interest.

One of her teachers at school has chickens and ducks and provides me with eggs, and I provide her with cooked things.

But as I always explain to my 3-year-old sous chef, there are certain precautions to take with raw eggs, not just the undercooking but the cross-contamination, regardless of where they originate.

Abstract below:

Implementation of control measures in line with European Commission regulations has led to a decrease in salmonellosis in the European Union since 2004. However, control programmes do not address laying hens whose eggs are produced for personal consumption or local sale. This article reports an investigation of a salmonellosis outbreak linked to home-produced eggs following a family event held in a farm in September 2011 near Warsaw, Poland. In the outbreak, 34 people developed gastroenteritis symptoms. Results from a cohort study indicated a cake, prepared from raw home-produced eggs, as the vehicle of the outbreak.

Laboratory analysis identified Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis (S. Enteritidis) in stool samples or rectal swabs from 18 of 24 people and in two egg samples. As no food items remained, we used phage typing to link the source of the outbreak with the isolated strains. Seven S. Enteritidis strains analysed (five from attendees and two from eggs) were phage type 21c. Our findings resulted in culling of the infected laying hens and symptomatic pigeons housed next to the hens. Salmonella poses as a public health problem in Poland: control measures should not forget home-produced eggs, as there is a risk of infection from their consumption.

38 sick; Sunland Salmonella peanut plant focuses on reopening

Following the Canadian episode of yeah-we’re-going-back-to-work-after-bad-things-happened-to-people-without-plausible explanation in the E. coli O157 at XL Foods, the Portales, New Mexico plant of Sunland Inc. may back in business soon.

They’ve shut down, torn apart facilities, and now they’re rebuilding it all. Sunland officials hope to reopen their peanut processing facility within a week and the peanut butter plant before year’s end. 

“I think everyone is very excited to get back into production,” Sunland Vice President Katalin Coburn said.  “The mood has been increasingly positive, and I think everyone is ready to just go forward.” 

Home to the naturally sweet Valencia Peanuts, Sunland products reached big name stores nationwide like Target, Trader Joe’s and Costco. 

Inspections at the plant revealed bacterial contamination. Coburn said contamination appears to have occurred environmentally.

“I do believe that consumers and the industry understands not just the challenges but also the steps that Sunland has taken, and will continue to take to ensure safe, quality food,” Coburn added. 

Sunland is receiving this year’s peanut crop and storing it for now. Coburn said they’re still analyzing data from their tests and the FDA’s inspection.

I’m not sure the 39 people sickened in 20 states understand. And I look forward to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 483 being made public, so mere mortals and peanut eaters everywhere can assess for themselves the steps Sunland has taken.

If Sunland was actually concerned, they’d go and brag about their awesome food safety instead of assuming the sheep will follow the flock.

Undercooked eggs in rattlesnake cake linked to salmonella outbreak at fancy Colorado restaurant; dozens sick

I don’t know what rattlesnake cake is but like other cakes, it contains eggs – eggs that need to be cooked to reduce the risk of salmonella.

CBS4 in Denver reports more than two dozen people who ate at The Fort in Morrison, Colorado, last month got sick (there’s a photo gallery and it apparently involves patrons wearing hats).

Officials believe it was caused by undercooking eggs — in particular for one specialty of the house. So far there are eight confirmed cases of salmonella and 20 listed as probable.

The Fort is designed like, uh, a fort from the 1800s and its cuisine reflects the period. In 1997 at the Summit of the Eight, then President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin were among those who dined there.

According to the menu, the “Diamondback Rattlesnake Cake (similar to a crab cake) topped with a sweet and spicy avacodo relish and cilantro micro greens, served with Dixon chile aoli. $25 (subject to availability).”

Dr. Mark Johnson, Jefferson County Health executive director, said

"Testing did show that the batter that was used in preparation of one of the foods did have eggs in it that did test positive for the same type salmonella that the case had."

The restaurant quickly removed the item from its menu, but one person CBS4 spoke to who did not eat the rattlesnake cakes became ill with the salmonella bacteria and had to be hospitalized several days.

Through reservations the Jefferson County Health Department tracked down some 90 people who dined at the restaurant. It did not issue a public warning and the restaurant was not closed.

Holly Arnold Kinney, who describes herself as the Proprietress of The Fort Restaurant, said in a statement,

"Our deepest sympathy goes out to our customers who were affected by this illness. We hold the highest standards and consider each customer a guest in our home, The Fort. These were isolated confirmed cases of food borne illness. The one food item suspected was immediately removed from our menu. We are working closely with the Jefferson County Health Department adhering to all recommendations to make our preparation of food as safe as possible. There are no other concerns. I’m sorry we are not able to provide you with an on-air interview. Contact the Jefferson County Health Department for any other information."

The Proprietress scores well for a strong opening statement of empathy but low for the fluff about standards, especially if 27 people are barfing and especially if the cause is something as routine as eggs. The Proprietress demonstrates how the rattlesnake cakes are made on The Today show, below, in April.

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To cream butter – and other cooking tips from 1949

A barfblog.com fan sent along this film from 1949, but confused the University of Kansas (that’s in Lawrence) with Kansas State University (Manhattan).

They are apparently different places. I don’t care.

This film, produced under the technical supervision of Professor Edna Hill, then chair of the Dept. of Home Economics at the University of Kansas, follows a newlywed through her adventures into cooking and making husband Tim a cake before he comes home for lunch.

It’s sorta the way me and Amy live – except Amy goes off to work and I stay home and struggle with recipes.