Kids acting like spider monkeys may have excessive caffeine (and hormones)

“Chip, I’m going to come at you like a spider monkey. … I’m all jacked up on Mountain Dew.”

If your family dinner conversation is similar to that between 10-year-old Texas Ranger, son of Ricky Bobby in the movie Talladega Nights , and grandpa Chip, the problem may be excessive caffeine.

The New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) is confirming its advice to parents and caregivers that energy drinks and energy shots containing caffeine are not for children and young teenagers, following completion of a risk profile on caffeine.

Public health principal advisor Donald Campbell said,

“The report has not found anything we didn’t already know: children and teenagers get caffeine from tea, kola drinks and coffee, and if they consume too much they could have effects like dizziness, rapid heartbeat, irritability, anxiety, tremors and insomnia. These products are labelled with their caffeine content, and just as you wouldn’t hand a child a double long black, you shouldn’t give them energy shots.

A single shot espresso coffee has around 80 mg of caffeine and a cafe latte 99 mg. Energy shots can have twice this level or more. A cup of tea has about 55 mg. A 50g milk chocolate bar has about 10mg.

NZFSA’s risk profile indicates that the temporary adverse effects can occur in some people when they consume about 3 mg of caffeine per kilogramme of body weight a day, which most adults would exceed if they had two single shot lattes or four cups of tea. There is no evidence of long-term harm in the general healthy adult population from caffeine consumption up to 400 mg per day.

Toddler still in hospital after E. coli outbreak linked to raw milk in Minnesota; new outbreak in Washington state

The kids always get it worst.

An outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 linked to consumption of raw milk in Minnesota has felled at least four people, including a toddler who remains hospitalized.

And last night, Washington state officials reported that two recent infections with E. coli O157 have been identified in Washington residents who drank raw, unpasteurized milk. The two cases confirmed this month bring the count of infections this year associated with one Bellingham dairy to eight.

Each year, several dozen people are usually sickened by raw milk in Minnesota. But this is the first outbreak — two or more cases that are linked — in at least 15 years, Health Department officials say.

Assistant state epidemiologist Richard Danila said the Health Department found four cases of E. Coli O157:H7 between May 1 and 21, all of which had the same DNA fingerprint.

Two of those sickened were school-age children, one was a man who was at least 70 years old and the fourth was a toddler. All four were hospitalized: one overnight, two for four days, and one, the toddler, is still in the hospital after being admitted late last week.

Today, the Star-Tribune reports that Michael Hartmann, the organic farmer who produced the implicated raw milk in Minnesota, has for years fought the government’s efforts to regulate him. He last had a license to sell Grade A milk in 2001. He has kicked inspectors off his property, refused to tell a judge his name in court and asserted he is a "natural man" with a constitutional right to raise and sell food without government interference.

Dr. Kirk Smith, supervisor of state Health Department foodborne disease investigations said Thursday that the investigation of his dairy is continuing but said they have little doubt it produced the raw milk containing a deadly strain of E. coli, adding,

"I am concerned that we are going to hear about more cases.” It often takes up to two weeks for cases to surface.

Hartmann declined to talk about the outbreak with a reporter Thursday, other than to say, "It’s all been blown out of proportion."

I doubt the parents of the toddler feel that way.

In Washington, the two new patients say they drank raw milk produced by Jackie’s Jersey Milk in Whatcom County. WSDA has conducted additional testing of the firm’s product, but has not found E. coli in the milk. WSDA continues to work with the farm to review the dairy’s production and product handling practices.

The firm issued a product recall notice in February after WSDA found E. coli during routine sampling of the farm’s raw milk. Soon after the February recall, six patients with E. coli infections reported drinking the dairy’s product. People who were sick said they got the milk at retail stores in King, Snohomish, and Skagit counties.

An updated table of raw-milk related outbreaks is available at

There’s a lot of poop moving around Kansas City transferring Shigella with it

The Kansas City Missouri Health Department reports the metro area has seen some 300 cases of Shigellosis this year – when there usually are a dozen.

Jeff Hershberger said 75 per cent of the nearly 300 cases in the KC area have involved children 10-years-old and younger, and that the bacterium targets daycare centers, adding,

"People are usually good at washing their own hands after changing a diaper. But, they don’t remember to wash the child’s hands."

And those same children can then possibly spread those germs to you at your local supermarket. They can spread those germs by touching produce.

Wamego, the Wizard of Oz and petting zoos

Every time I say, I’m from Kansas, some genius makes a remark about Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz.

Wamego (Kansas), about 20 miles from Manhattan (Kansas) is more than the home of the Wizard of Oz museum (visited by a couple of my daughters, right, exactly as shown), where fights among the little people on the set of the movie are depicted in all their glory. It is also apparently home to the annual Tulip Festival, which ran this weekend.

A couple of my colleagues went tuliping on Saturday, and found the fair also included a lot of food and a petting zoo: a poorly supervised petting zoo, where little kids could walk in and swap saliva with a bunch of animals like cows, and llamas and alpacas, without supervision, and then go eat food or suck their fingers or whatever.

I’m told there were signs, there were wipes available, but is that really enough, especially given all the tragic outbreaks that have been linked to petting zoos? And the handwashing facilities were about 30 yards removed from this sign (left).

Are children really drinking alcohol-based sanitizers?

It’s not just prisoners drinking alcohol-based hand sanitizers for a buzz.

The Irish National Poisons Information Centre (NPIC) received 54 enquiries about alcohol-based sanitizers in 2009 and 74 per cent related to children. In 2008, there were just 20 calls from concerned doctors who were treating patients who had ingested alcohol hand gel

Four Oregon children hospitalized in day care E. coli outbreak

Amy’s anxious.

For the first time in Sorenne’s 16 months, Amy is going away for a couple of days, leaving me and the kid to par–ty.

Amy and a colleague left early this morning for Montreal and the Northeast Modern Language Association annual meeting, or NeMLA. Every time she says NeMLA, I say NAMBLA. It never gets old.

I was chatting with the neighbors yesterday about how fortunate we are. We have two students provide 20 hours of child care for Sorenne – the most loved child in the world – in our house. And contrary to the expectations, Sorenne is exceedingly social. If we wanted 20 hours of day care, we’d have to pay for 40 – full-time. The U.S. has some weirdness, like 6 weeks of maternity leave. We’re fortunate.

Not so the kids at a day care center in Clark County, Washington, which has been temporarily shut down after four kids were hospitalized with E. coli O157:H7.

The Oregonian cited Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County’s public health officer, as saying the health department learned of the first hospitalization on March 19. Soon after, three other children required hospitalization. Investigators tested stool samples from 22 children and four adult caregivers at the day care and found six carrying the O157:H7 strain but not showing symptoms.

The day care will remain closed until the affected staff show no presence of the bacteria on two consecutive tests conducted at least a day apart, Melnick said. Children who tested positive have to meet the same criteria before being allowed to attend any daycare or school.

Getting sick from raw milk just isn’t an issue – Weston Price BS

"We just don’t see that as an issue.”

That’s what Kathy Kramer, a so-called nutritionist and office manager at the Weston A. Price Foundation in Washington, D.C., told Mike Nichols of the Wisconsin Journal Sentinel Online when he asked, what if people get sick from drinking raw or unpasteurized milk?

I don’t really care what adults choose to do. I care about what they impose on their kids, and my role is to provide information that may result in fewer people barfing from the food and water they consume. That’s why it’s called barfblog.

Lots of foods make people sick. Some of these illnesses are easily preventable. For an organization such as Weston Price that is often quoted or cited as some sort of authority on raw milk (or dentistry) to publicly state that people getting sick isn’t an issue demonstrates their priorities – and it doesn’t have much to do with you.

Further case of E coli confirmed at UK Feltham Hill Infant and Nursery School

Your Local Guardian reports that 13 people from Feltham Hill Infant and Nursery School, in Bedfont Road, Feltham, have been confirmed to have E. coli O157, along with one pupil from nearby Feltham Hill Junior School.

Environmental health officers completed a “deep clean” of the site to eliminate traces of infection and only children who have had the all-clear from the Health Protection Agency are being allowed back into class.

Books, toys, plants and equipment were thrown out as part of the clean-up.

Taking toddlers to fancy restaurants

Italian restaurants are best when dining with little kids. Maybe it’s a cultural stereotype, but I always found Italian eateries were more welcoming to the screaming, barfing and flirting that toddlers bring to the dining experience.

French restaurants? The worst.

Proponents of doggie dining often state that restaurants allow germ-spewing little kids inside so why not dogs?

Richard Vines of Bloomberg decided to check on the acceptability of children at London’s fancy foodie restaurants. Vines called 30 establishments, asking if a pair of kids aged 2 and 7 would be admitted, whether there were high chairs and about the availability of special menus. With few exceptions, each was child friendly.

Among the responses:

L’Anima: “Yes, we allow children. We have high chairs. When you come here we can arrange something with the chef.”

What if your kid hates high chairs for anything more than 3 minute stretches?

Bob Ricard: “We’re not allowing children under 10 years old. There are no special menus.”

The Ivy: “It’s fine. Any age. We have high chairs. We can adapt dishes for children.”

Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley: “Children are welcome but if kids get a bit restless and unhappy you might be asked to take them outside for a while. We can arrange a high chair if you let us know in advance. Our team can adjust the dishes for children.”

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay: “Children are welcome but babies are not recommended because the restaurant is quite small so we don’t have space for high chairs or push chairs.” What age would be OK? “I would say maybe seven or 10 years onwards. We don’t have kids’ menus but we will be able to offer something suitable.”

I find so-called fancy food is lost on little kids. They’d rather eat the crayons at Chuck-E-Cheese, although those places seem prone to violence.

The most mentioned simple food for kids was something around $7 for a bowl of pasta; who can afford that? That’s Sorenne (above, right)  in a gratuitious food porn shot with a simple bowl of rotini and a homemade tomato-veggie sauce during the U.S.-Canada hockey debacle Sunday night. Tonight, we’re going upscale with grilled tuna loins, although Sorenne will be again wearing her Ovechkin jersey (left) as Russia takes on Canada in the Olympic quarter-finals.

UK nursery to reopen Monday as more E. coli cases confirmed

Seven more people have been diagnosed with E coli following an outbreak at a primary school – while staff prepare to re-open for classes next week.

Eleven people from Feltham Hill Infant and Nursery School, in Bedfont Road, Feltham, have been confirmed with the bug – along with one pupil from the nearby Feltham Hill Junior School.

Parents criticised the Health Protection Agency (HPA) for not closing the junior school – which is on the same site – after it shut the infant school on February 3.

A spokeswoman for the HPA said: “This junior school pupil was excluded from school on February 3 when a sibling had symptoms. There is no case of onward transmission at the school.”

Parents were asked to destroy any exercise books that have been at home since January, and throw away all water bottles and book bags.