Everyone’s got a camera: Restaurants in China edition

Workers at two popular restaurant chains in China have been caught on undercover video reusing leftover food scraps and handling meals with filthy hands, according to a report.

Man Ling restaurant, which has 1,000-plus locations throughout China and markets itself as “healthy,” issued an apology to the public after the scandalous video emerged. 

Joshua Rhett Miller of the New York Post reported employees were filmed using leftover food to cook congee – a classic Chinese rice porridge – as well as other revolting practices, the South China Morning Post reported Wednesday. They were also nabbed placing their unwashed hands on the grub. 

One employee even pulled out pork ribs from a pot of leftover soup and used them to cook Chinese yam and meat congee for other diners, according to the report.

“Yeah, it’s leftover,” a Man Ling worker told the undercover reporter from Fujian Television when asked if there was any food safety issue. 

“It’s OK to cook again.”

Man Ling, renowned for its cut-price offerings, sells more than 180 million bowls of congee each year, according to one food ordering data analysis app. 

Its store in Fuzhou, in southeastern China, was shut down earlier this week following the scandal, and the chain apologized Monday for “disappointing” its customers, according to the South China Morning Post.

Microbial food safety education in China

I included this abstract because it was one of the two papers today that cited papers my lab and I produced, all those years ago. Google scholar alerts is wonderful, and tells me when one of the 70 or so peer-reviewed papers, book chapters and a book is cited by someone else. It averages out to about once a day, or 400 times a year. Certainly something we weren’t aiming for, but a pleasant reminder when I get one of those e-mails.

Millions of foodborne illness cases occur in China annually, causing significant social and economic burdens. Improper food handling has been observed not only among commercial food handlers but also among residential food handlers. It is critical to conduct a comprehensive scoping review of previous efforts to identify food safety knowledge gaps, explore the factors impacting knowledge levels, and synthesize the effectiveness of all types of food safety educational interventions for commercial and residential food handlers in China.

This review aims to analyze food safety education studies published over the past 20 years and provide foundations for developing more effective food safety educational interventions in China. A total of 35 studies were included in this review. Most studies reported that Chinese commercial and residential food handlers had insufficient food safety knowledge, especially in the areas of foodborne pathogens and safe food-handling practices. The factors impacting food handlers’ knowledge levels included education level, gender, income level, residency (rural vs. urban), the use of WeMedia, college students’ major, and food safety training experiences. Food handlers in the following demographic groups tend to have lower levels of food safety knowledge: lower education levels, the elderly, males, lower-income levels, rural residents, those who do not use WeMedia, those without food safety training experience, or college students in nonbiology-focused majors.

Many food handlers did not always follow recommended food safety practices, such as proper meat handling practices, handwashing practices, and cleaning and sanitation practices. Thirteen studies evaluated the effectiveness of educational interventions, and knowledge increases were reported after all interventions. The findings of this review provide guidance to researchers, educators, and government agencies in their future efforts to develop education programs emphasizing the importance of microbial food-safety content and behavior change regarding food safety and hygiene practices.

Moving forward to the future: A review of microbial food safety education in China

Foodborne Pathogens and Disease

Han Chen and Yaohua Feng

https://doi.org/10.1089/fpd.2020.2889

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/fpd.2020.2889

(the hair, the clothes, must be 1972 below)

Chinese fish ball factory crawling with centipedes, cockroaches ordered shut

I live in Brisbane, so when I eat fish it’s golden snapper, scallops or big fat prawns. All from our local shores.

It ain’t cheap, but damn it’s good.

In China, they have something called fish balls which sounds as gross as I imagine they are. Penang Health Department inspectors ordered the closure of a 50-year-old fish ball factory after vermin were found contaminating products at its premises.

Food Safety and Quality Division (BKMM) environmental health officer, Mohd Wazir Khalid, said the factory has 14 days to improve cleanliness after flies, cockroaches and centipedes were discovered on the food and in storage containers; while rat droppings were found in the storeroom.

“Although it is not a halal product, we still have a responsibility to protect the non-Muslim community,” he said of the Ops Tegar that was conducted yesterday.

He told reporters that the product was found on the floor, covered in flies and cockroaches, which could cause food poisoning.

He said they also found a fish ball product mixed with a pork-based product that was not labelled in Malay, violating Regulation 10 of the Food Act 1983, which could cause consumer confusion because it is sold at wet markets around Penang.

Mohd Wazir said the factory was raided twice last year and given a verbal warning for the same violations.

He said BKMM also issued three compound notices under Regulation 32 of the Food Act 1983 because employees were not wearing aprons or shoes, and many had not been immunised against typhoid.

Barefoot in fish balls is food I don’t want to think about.  I had the privilege of seeing Dutch live in small Canadian clubs several times over the years. Great entertainer.

Burger King apologizes over expired food sold in China

Burger King is sorry.

Burger King has apologised to customers in China after state media reported that two of the US fast food chain’s outlets sold expired food in the country, causing an uproar on social media.

Food safety issues have long been a concern in China, where quality-control scandals have fuelled fears over the safety of food and anger at regulatory lapses.

The problems at the two restaurants were highlighted on Thursday (July 16) in an influential consumer affairs programme on state television CCTV that previously shamed McDonald’s in China.

A Burger King in Nanchang, in central Jiangxi province, had used expired ingredients to make its burgers, according to the programme.

Here’s to you, Susie.

Chinese primary school hit by food poisoning with more than 100 children hooked to drips

Abigail O’Leary of the Mirror writes that a primary school hit by a wave of food poisoning caused scenes of chaos as more than 100 children were struck down. 

The school, in the central Chinese province of Henan, saw pupils suffering from vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhoea.

Officials are now investigating a so-called ‘central kitchen project’ in Yucheng County, where four government-contracted catering companies are supplying school meals to 4,500 kids.

Distressing images from rural hospitals in the county show young children hooked up to intravenous drips while others are slumped on chairs in waiting areas with their parents.

More than 100 youngsters have been admitted to hospital since Wednesday (10th June). County officials said most have been discharged, but some are still receiving treatment.

Exotic food lover in China who once gobbled down a raw snake gall bladder has lungs riddled with worms

An exotic food lover from China who once devoured a snake gall has found his lungs festered with worms.

Doctors said that the infection could be caused by eating raw food or drinking unclean water.

Shocking footage shows a medic pointing out the serious, line-shaped infections on the man’s lungs on CT scans.

The Chinese resident, known by his surname Wang, recently went to a hospital in Suqian, Jiangsu province of eastern China after suffering difficulty in breathing for several months.

When the doctors asked about his dietary habits, Mr Wang said that he enjoyed having seafood, such as crayfish and river snails.

The food lover also confessed that he even gobbled down a raw snake gall once before.

The patient was later diagnosed with paragonimiasis, a food-borne parasitic infection caused by lung fluke.

Only time you’ll ever see a n Us video from me.

Man had hundreds of tapeworms in brain, chest after eating undercooked pork

Alexandria Hein of Fox News reports a 43-year-old man in China who was suffering from seizures and loss of consciousness went to the doctor after his symptoms persisted for several weeks, only to discover that he had hundreds of tapeworms in his brain and chest, reports say.

The patient, identified as Zhu Zhongfa, allegedly had eaten undercooked pork, which was contaminated with Taenia solium, a parasitic tapeworm.

“Different patients respond [differently] to the infection depending on where the parasites occupy,” Dr. Huang Jianrong, Zhongfa’s doctor at Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine, told AsiaWire. “In this case, he had seizures and lost consciousness, but others with cysts in their lungs might cough a lot.”

Jianrong explained that the larvae entered Zhongfa’s body through the digestive system and traveled upward through his bloodstream. He was officially diagnosed with cysticercosis and neurocysticercosis, and given an antiparasitic drug and other medications to protect his organs from further damage, according to AsiaWire.

Jianrong said his patient is doing well after one week, but the long-term effects from the massive infestation are unclear.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends cooking meat at a safe temperature and using a food thermometer in an effort to avoid taeniasis. Humans are the only hosts for Taenia tapeworms, and pass tapeworm segments and eggs in feces which contaminate the soil in areas where sanitation is poor. The eggs survive in a moist environment for days to months, and cows and pigs become infected after feeding in the contaminated areas.

Once inside the animal, the eggs hatch in the intestine and migrate to the muscle where it develops into cysticerci, which can survive for several years. This infects humans when they eat contaminated raw or undercooked beef or pork, according to the CDC.

Rabbits can be risky: Chinese hunter diagnosed with bubonic plague after eating wild hare

My father’s family is Welsh, Newport, got the shit bombed out of them when he was an infant, and rabbit was a common meat.

Twenty-eight people in northern China have been quarantined after a hunter was diagnosed with bubonic plague on Saturday.

Chinese officials believe the unidentified male became infected after handling and eating a wild hare on Nov. 5 in the Inner Mongolia, according to state news site XinhuaNet

As a precaution, officials quarantined the people who had since come in contact with the man. None of them have exhibited fever or other symptoms of the plague, infamous for the Black Death pandemic during the Middle Ages. 

Two cases of pneumonic plague, a highly contagious form of the disease, were confirmed in China by local health officials last week. The two patients, who also were from Inner Mongolia, were diagnosed in Beijing and are currently being treated for the condition in the Chaoyang District. 

No epidemiological association has been found between the two cases, according to officials.

The plague is caused by Yersinia pestis — a common bacteria carried by rats, rabbits and squirrels, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Humans can contract the bubonic plague when bitten by infected fleas. Handling infected animals directly also can cause infection.

168 kindergarteners hit by possible salmonella in China

Cal Rolston of NCTY News reports 168 children were sent to hospital with possible Salmonella food poisoning in Dongguan, Guangdong Province prompting health authorities to shut down a kindergarten on Monday for two days. 

One hundred and three people, including 99 children, remained in hospitals in the city and neighboring Shenzhen, according to statements released by the Dongguan Health Bureau.

Nobody died or was critically ill as of Sunday midnight, the bureau said.

Just ill enough to go to the hospital.

Food fraud: Gel-injected shrimp from China

Ms. Yang in the southern China port city of Guangzhou bought six high priced giant tiger prawns in October—she was happy with the purchase until she found gel inside the heads of the prawns.

Juliet Song of NTD writes that such gel, the presence of which is not typically detectable upon superficial inspection, is injected some time between when the shrimp are caught and when they’re sold, in order to add weight and thus earn a greater profit. Shrimp sold live have not been injected, because the injection would kill the shrimp.

Chinese food authorities have not been particularly active in pursuing the cases brought to their attention, according to interviews and news reports, and there is not even a consensus at which point in the production line the operation takes place.

China is the third-largest exporter of seafood to the United States, and it also exports significant amounts of shrimp and catfish, representing 2 of the 10 most consumed seafood products in the country. Nearly $150 million worth of shrimp were imported from China between January and October 2015, according to data by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The problem of adulterated shrimp has persisted for over a decade, despite new cases regularly reported in the Chinese press. Some of the first well-publicized cases of the gel-injected shrimp appeared in 2005, the same year in which the municipal government of Tianjin launched a strike-hard campaign against shrimp injectors. The report, which referred to the campaign gave no details about how many were arrested, or whether the shrimp adulteration rings were broken.

It is unclear how much, or if any of the gel-injected shrimp make their way to these shores, but food safety experts said there is reason to be concerned. The Food and Drug Administration issued an import alert on Dec. 11, 2015, about the “presence of new animals drugs and/or unsafe food additives” from seafood imported in China, including shrimp.

Wu Wenhui, a professor at Shanghai Ocean University, said in an interview in the Chinese press that customers should be wary about industrial gel ending up in shrimp, given that it’s cheaper than the edible version. “Industrial gel is used for furniture, print, and contains many heavy metals such as lead and mercury, which harms the liver and blood, and is even carcinogenic.”

But the act of injection is itself potentially unsafe.

“Even if what was injected was edible gel, which may not itself be harmful, who can guarantee that the process is aseptic?” said Liu Huiping, a member of the executive council of the Tianjin aquatic products association, in an interview with the Beijing News.