Canada: Raw frozen chicken thingies outbreaks

We’ve done extensive work on this topic dating back to 2006 (search barfblog.com), but new tools, like whole genome sequencing, mean additional outbreaks have been identified. A summary paper of recent outbreaks has just been published. Abstract below:

Frozen raw breaded chicken products (FRBCP) have been identified as a risk factor for Salmonella infection in Canada. In 2017, Canada implemented whole genome sequencing (WGS) for clinical and non-clinical Salmonella isolates, which increased understanding of the relatedness of Salmonella isolates, resulting in an increased number of Salmonella outbreak investigations. A total of 18 outbreaks and 584 laboratory-confirmed cases have been associated with FRBCP or chicken since 2017. The introduction of WGS provided the evidence needed to support a new requirement to control the risk of Salmonella in FRBCP produced for retail sale.

Outbreak of salmonella illness associated with frozen raw breaded chicken products in Canada 2015-2019

22 August 2019

Epidemiology and Infection vol. 147

  1. K. Morton(a1)A. Kearney(a2)S. Coleman (a3)M. Viswanathan (a1)K. Chau (a4)A. Orr (a5)and A. Hexemer (a1) 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0950268819001432

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection/article/outbreaks-of-salmonella-illness-associated-with-frozen-raw-breaded-chicken-products-in-canada-20152019/9F1E5C0D2BF560E540C47BA064E7F713

7 sick in Canada: Listeria infections linked to Rosemount brand cooked diced chicken

As of August 18, 2019, there have been 7 confirmed cases of Listeria monocytogenes linked to Rosemount brand cooked diced chicken in British Columbia (1), Manitoba (1) and Ontario (5). Individuals became sick between November 2017 and June 2019. Six individuals have been hospitalized. Individuals who became ill are between 51 and 97 years of age. The majority of cases (86%) are female.

The collaborative outbreak investigation was initiated because of an increase of Listeria illnesses that were reported in June 2019. Through the use of whole genome sequencing, two Listeria illnesses from November 2017 were identified to have the same genetic strain as the illnesses that occurred between April and June 2019.

It is possible that more recent illnesses may be reported in the outbreak because of the delay between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported to public health officials. In national Listeria monocytogenes outbreak investigations, the case reporting delay is usually between 4 and 6 weeks.

If you have Rosemount brand cooked diced chicken meat 13mm – ½” (#16305), packdate – 01/21/2019 in your food establishment, do not eat the product or serve it to others

Secure the product and any foods made with the product in a plastic bag, throw it out and wash your hands with soapy water.

MasterChef sucks at food safety

I blame celebrity cooking shows like MasterChef for the stupid things people do in their kitchens.

Raw egg aioli and mayo is bad enough, and leads to monthly outbreaks of Salmonella across Australia, but to decide that color is a reliable indicator of safety in chicken is stupid beyond belief.

Forget piping hot, forget color, get a thermometer.

I know food safety is 1% of the food discussion, while food porn is the other 99%, but this is just bad advice.

Our job is to provide people with evidence-based info and let them decide.

These people are preaching like a Baptist church.

According to Jamie Downham of The Sun, celebrity chef John, 55, revealed the pink uncooked flesh – which can deliver a devastating dose of salmonella – gagging: “Oh. Can’t eat that.”

Gregg and John were not impressed by Ottilie’s uncooked chicken

Undercooked chicken is often rife with foodborne illnesses that can leave people throwing up and confined to their beds for up to a week.

Viewers quickly dubbed the dish “chicken a la salmonella”, with John telling marketing manager Ottilie: “I think you’ve got to know when to stop. It’s all over the place.”

No where did the story mention using a fucking thermometer to ensure safety.

And these people are making meals for your kids, and they have no clue.

Raw is risky: Outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella infections linked to raw chicken products

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and public health and regulatory officials in several states are investigating a multistate outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella infections linked to raw chicken products. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) is monitoring the outbreak.

Always handle raw chicken carefully and cook it thoroughly to prevent food poisoning. This outbreak is a reminder that raw chicken can have germs that spread around food preparation areas and make you sick.

CDC is not advising that consumers avoid eating properly cooked chicken, or that retailers stop selling raw chicken products.

CDC advises consumers to follow these steps to help prevent Salmonella infection from raw chicken:

Wash your hands. Salmonella infections can spread from one person to another if hands have Salmonella germs on them. Wash hands before and after preparing or eating food, after contact with animals, and after using the restroom or changing diapers.

Cook raw chicken thoroughly to kill harmful germs. Chicken breasts, whole chickens, and ground poultry, including chicken burgers and chicken sausage, should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F to kill harmful germs. Leftovers should be reheated to 165°F. Use a food thermometer to check, and place it in the thickest part of the food.

Don’t spread germs from raw chicken around food preparation areas. Washing raw poultry before cooking is not recommended. Germs in raw chicken can spread to other foods and kitchen surfaces. Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils with warm, soapy water after they touch raw chicken. Use a separate cutting board for raw chicken and other raw meats if possible.

CDC does not recommend feeding raw diets to pets. Germs like Salmonella in raw pet food can make your pets sick. Your family also can get sick by handling the raw food or by taking care of your pet.

CDC will update the advice to consumers and retailers if more information comes available, such as a supplier or type of raw chicken product linked to illness.

Symptoms of Salmonella Infection

Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria.

The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.

In some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other places in the body.

In rare cases, Salmonella infection can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

Children younger than 5 years of age, adults older than 65 years of age, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe illness.
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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.

Epitaph ‘He tried to improve the world, one thermometer at a time’

Soon after Sorenne started at Junction Park State School, I started volunteering in the tuck shop, prepping foods for a few hundred kids on Fridays.

I put in some time, but then politics overtook my food safety nerdiness so I stopped.

But not before I left about 10 Comark tip-sensitive digital thermometers and advised, use them frequently.

While cooking breakfast this morning for 120 school kids, I ran into my friend, Dave, who is currently running the tuck shop, and he told me the thermometers get a regular workout each week, he had to change some batteries last week, and he took one home for cooking.

Now imagine that a tip-sensitive digital thermometer could be used to harness user data (and sell product).

Sapna Maheshwari of The New York Times writes that most of what we do — the websites we visit, the places we go, the TV shows we watch, the products we buy — has become fair game for advertisers. Now, thanks to internet-connected devices in the home like smart thermometers, ads we see may be determined by something even more personal: our health.

This flu season, Clorox paid to license information from Kinsa, a tech start-up that sells internet-connected thermometers that are a far cry from the kind once made with mercury and glass. The thermometers sync up with a smartphone app that allows consumers to track their fevers and symptoms, making it especially attractive to parents of young children.

The data showed Clorox which ZIP codes around the country had increases in fevers. The company then directed more ads to those areas, assuming that households there may be in the market for products like its disinfecting wipes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends disinfecting surfaces to help prevent the flu or its spread.

Kinsa, a San Francisco company that has raised about $29 million from venture capitalists like Kleiner Perkins since it was founded in 2012, says its thermometers are in more than 500,000 American households. It has promoted the usefulness of its “illness data,” which it says is aggregated and contains no identifying personal information before being passed along to other companies.

It is unique, Kinsa says, because it comes straight from someone’s household in real time. People don’t have to visit a doctor, search their symptoms on Google or post to Facebook about their fever for the company to know where a spike might be occurring.

“The challenge with Google search or social media or mining any of those applications is you’re taking a proxy signal — you’re taking someone talking about illness rather than actual illness,” said Inder Singh, the founder and chief executive of Kinsa. Search queries and social media can also be complicated by news coverage of flu season, he said, while data from the C.D.C. is often delayed and comes from hospitals and clinics rather than homes.

The so-called internet of things is becoming enmeshed in many households, bringing with it a new level of convenience along with growing concerns about privacy.

Clorox used that information to increase digital ad spending to sicker areas and pull back in places that were healthier. Consumer interactions with Clorox’s disinfectant ads increased by 22 percent with the data, according to a Kinsa Insights case study that tracked performance between November 2017 and March of this year. That number was arrived at by measuring the number of times an ad was clicked on, the amount of time a person spent with the ad and other undisclosed metrics, according to Vikram Sarma, senior director of marketing in Clorox’s cleaning division.

Being able to target ads in this way is a big shift from even seven years ago, when the onset of cold and cough season meant buying 12 weeks of national TV ads that “would be irrelevant for the majority of the population,” Mr. Sarma said. The flu ultimately reaches the whole country each year, but it typically breaks out heavily in one region first and then spreads slowly to others.

While social media offered new opportunities, there has been “a pretty big lag” between tweets about the flu or flulike symptoms and the aggregation of that data for marketers to use, he said.

“What this does is help us really target vulnerable populations where we have a clear signal about outbreaks,” Mr. Sarma said.

Imagine using similar for data for people cooking dinner tonight.

This is what we’re having (above, right; Chapman, about those thermometers?).

Don’t wash your chicken or turkey before cooking

Washing chicken or turkey for that matter is a cross-contamination nightmare. Cook your bird to 74C (165F) and verify with a digital tip sensitive thermometer. No need for washing. If you’re in Canada, the temperature to inactivate Salmonella mysteriously jumps to 82C (180F) for whole poultry, depending on the jurisdiction.

No wonder the public gets confused.

It is true that people are what they eat. The foods we eat say a lot about our general body’s health. However, before eating any food, people are always advised to wash them, even before
cooking. However, did you know that there are some food types you don’t need to wash before cooking? Well, there are some foods you will wash before cooking while others should just be cooked straight away. Here are three major foods you should never wash before cooking:
Chicken
Washing chicken before cooking it is very wrong. People think rinsing a chicken removes germs and bacteria from it, which is never true. Salmonella, which commonly grows on chicken will only be killed when chicken is cooked at temperatures above 165 degrees. Washing it does nothing good for the chicken.
Eggs
Many people tend to wash eggs before breaking them to cook. However, this is just a waste of time as eggs have their own protective layer that prevents any bacteria from getting inside. More so, washing the eggs might remove this protective layer exposing them to contamination which will make them go bad faster.
Fish
People think washing fish will remove any bacteria on it. Washing fish will only be robbing it of its flavor. Just like the bacteria in chicken will be killed when cooing it, so will the bacteria in fish.
Therefore, before washing these three foods, just know that you will be washing off their flavor.

NZ poultry industry calls chicken contamination findings ‘scaremongering’

That didn’t take long.

Nor should it.

But the so-called experts undermine their case by not advocating the use of a tip-sensitive digital thermometer and instead relying on the woefully unreliable color test (‘chicken must be fully cooked through until juices run clear) for safety.

A new University of Otago, Wellington study, published last week in the international journal BMC Public Health found an overwhelming majority of consumers were not aware of the widespread Campylobacter contamination.

But the Poultry Industry Association of New Zealand is challenging the findings, which it says does not reflect reported Campylobacter statistics nor consumer behaviour.

PIANZ executive director Michael Brooks said the findings did not add up with New Zealand’s soaring chicken consumption, and flat rates of reported campylobacter cases.

“Reported cases of campylobacter have sat between 6000 to 7000 for the past five years, so it’s misleading to estimate there are 30,000 cases occurring,” Brooks said.

“It is important to note that the source of these cases was not always chicken.

“Consumers contract campylobacteriosis from other sources too.”

Brooks said the poultry industry had made significant changes when it came to labelling for food safety.

The association lost control of that access to information once third parties like butchers or supermarkets started packaging their own raw chicken product.

“As an industry it is important for everyone to educate their customers on food safety practices.”

Brooks said he welcomed a collaborative approach with institutions such as Otago University, as consumer education was key to reducing cases of campylobacter.

Campy in NZ poultry: ‘Warning labels required’

(Doesn’t say if the study has been published in a peer-reviewed journal.)

New Zealanders want brightly coloured warning labels on fresh chicken to warn them of the risks of the country’s “number one food safety problem”, new research suggests.

A University of Otago study found only 15 per cent of consumers were aware that 60 to 90 per cent of fresh chicken meat for sale in New Zealand is contaminated with campylobacter.

“This study has identified some clear gaps in campylobacteriosis prevention in New Zealand,” University of Otago infectious diseases researcher Professor Michael Baker said.

“Fresh chicken is heavily contaminated with campylobacter and causes an estimated 30,000 New Zealanders to get sick each year. “

Fresh chicken was also spreading antibiotic resistant bacteria and was “New Zealand’s number one food safety problem”, Baker said.

Speaking on Mike Hosking Breakfast today, he said people were still getting sick as a result of not carrying out best practice when preparing fresh chicken – including not adequately cleaning bench surfaces or sinks that have come in contact with it.

Baker said a label would need good information to help a consumer, but would need to be tested.

He said labels to should read something like: “This food should be treated with care.”

The study was based on interviews with 401 shoppers over 16 who were recruited outside 12 supermarkets and six butcheries in the Wellington Region

“New Zealand has one of the highest rates of campylobacteriosis in the world and at least half of cases can be attributed to contaminated chicken,” Philip Allan, a medical student and researcher at the Department of Public Health, University of Otago Wellington (UOW), said.

“Our study showed that many consumers are not aware of the risks, and that retailers should do much more to inform shoppers.”

The study also assessed the quality of current chicken labelling in supermarkets and butcheries and identified major deficiencies in the safety information provided to consumers.

Butchery labels in particular were lacking in chicken preparation information.

More than half wanted the levels of campylobacter contamination reported, the study found.

“Most participants thought a large, brightly coloured warning label containing safety information would be the most effective for communicating safe chicken preparation information.”

The study’s researchers said the most effective way to reduce campylobacteriosis rates is for Ministry for Primary Industries to mandate lower contamination levels of fresh poultry.

“This measure has been highly effective in the past, halving the rate of campylobacteriosis in New Zealand when implemented in 2007.
“While improved labelling is important, it is no substitute for cleaning up our poultry,” Baker said.

35 now sick, 9 hosiptalized in South Australian Salmonella outbreak; bakery reopens

Confirmed cases of salmonella, linked to a South Australian bakery, have climbed to 35 with more expected as tests continue.

SA Health says nine people, including two children, have been hospitalised after eating products from the Gawler South bakery, which has two outlets in Gawler, about 40km north of central Adelaide.

The link to the bakery was first revealed late last month.

“We’ve now seen cases in people aged two years to 70 years old and we are anticipating more cases as further test results come through,” SA Health’s director of public health Kevin Buckett said.

The source of the contamination had been linked to sandwiches, wraps, rolls and focaccias with chicken and other fillings.’’

In a statement posted on social media the bakery’s management said it was no longer cooking chicken on the premises and SA Health officials were happy with its food handling processes.

Management also apologised to anyone who had become sick. “We hope this apology is received to be genuine and in good faith,” the statement said.

According to the ABC, the bakery was also struck by a salmonella outbreak in October 2016 which affected eight people.