For risk modelling nerds: Deli meat

Fun observation: Most people think it’s safer to buy deli meat or cold cuts, fresh at the counter, than the pre-packaged stuff, which is probably safer because it contains antimicrobials (in the U.S.) and doesn’t come into contact with all that slicer shit at the deli counter.

Follow up: What’s the difference between a clean and a deep clean? Phallic hyperbole.

Ready-to-eat (RTE) deli meats sliced at retail are predicted to cause 83% of deli meat-associated listeriosis cases annually. While Listeria monocytogenes is commonly found in delis, environmental prevalence varies by store (0–40%).

A deep clean sanitation standard operating procedure (SSOP) executed by a third-party cleaning service immediately reduced L. monocytogenes prevalence in delis, but reductions were not sustained over time. The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of a L. monocytogenes predictive risk model and a subsequent deep-clean SSOP (deep clean) conducted by store employees and management complemented with training and facilities improvements all aimed to reduce L. monocytogenes prevalence in stores with known high L. monocytogenes prevalence and evidence of persistence.

Fifty delis among six states were screened using a predictive logistic regression model that estimates the probability of high L. monocytogenes prevalence in a deli. The model identified 13 stores with potentially high L. monocytogenes prevalence; seven stores were confirmed and enrolled for further study. Retail employees executed deep clean; additional interventions (e.g., facilities improvements, training) were incorporated in stores. Environmental samples (n = 20) were collected immediately before and after, and for six months post-deep clean. Deep cleans immediately reduced L. monocytogenes prevalence in six of seven stores tested.

A total of 21/138 (15.2%) samples before and 8/139 (5.8%) samples after deep-cleaning were positive for L. monocytogenes, with a marginal 16.0% decrease on non-food-contact surfaces (NFCS) immediately after deep clean (p = 0.0309, αadj = 0.0125) and a marginal 10.8% on NFCS during follow-up (p = 0.0337, αadj = 0.0125). Employee executed deep cleans with training, education, and maintenance programs can reduce environmental L. monocytogenes prevalence in retail delis, a pivotal part of preventing subsequent cross-contamination to RTE deli meats.

Predictive risk models combined with employee-and management-implemented SSOPs identified and reduced listeria monocytogenes prevalence in retail delis

Food Control

Sophie Tongyu Wua1, Susan R.Hammonsa1m Jingjin Wanga, Clara Assisia, Brittany DiPietrob, Haley F.Olivera

Police to investigate 2012 listeria deaths in NZ hospital

In July 2012, it was publicly revealed that two people had died and two others sickened in a listeria outbreak linked to hospital food in New Zealand.

The two elderly women died after contracting listeria found in cold cuts supplied to the Hawkes Bay Hospital.

imagesNow, police have taken over the investigation.

In May, the Ministry for Primary Industries laid Food Act charges against Napier company Bay Cuisine.

It is understood the company is facing more than 100 charges. It was due to have made its first appearance in Napier District Court today, but this has been adjourned to November.

Listeria was found in pre-packaged ready-to-eat meats that had been supplied to Hawke’s Bay Hospital. Listeria was also found at Bay Cuisine, the sole supplier of pre-packaged meats to the hospital. The company issued a recall notice for affected products.

Robin Hutchinson, whose wife Patricia was one of the women who died, said he was determined that someone be held accountable for her death.

Mrs Hutchinson, a 68-year-old great-grandmother, was admitted to Hawke’s Bay Hospital on May 5 last year with symptoms similar to a stroke. It was later discovered she had contracted listeria. She died on June 5.

For the past year Mr Hutchinson has battled ACC and the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board, which he feels should contribute to his wife’s funeral costs.

He said his wife was not properly informed of risks associated with prescribed immunosuppressants, and that the hospital should not have served her cold meat that presented a risk to people on the medication.

Australian family awarded $200,000 after man dies from listeria-contaminated meat

Who are these dietician and menu planners at institutions who continue to provide cold-cuts to the immunocompromised – a known listeria risk. And what’s the matter with a little heat on that turkey breast sandwich to reduce the risk?

Adelaide Now reports the lawyer for a listeria poisoning victim’s family says hospitals should consider the potentially fatal consequences of serving chicken-based products to patients.

(He means refrigerated ready-to-eat foods, I think; I’m still learning to speak Australian.)

The District Court heard the family of Richard Formosa – who died in the Royal Adelaide Hospital in 2005 – would receive a $200,000 settlement from Conroy’s Smallgoods.

Mr Formosa’s mother, 80, and intellectually disabled brother, 44, had sued the hospital and the smallgoods maker, which provided the meat, over his death.

Outside court, John Doherty said health authorities should learn a lesson from the case.

“I’m on record as saying hospitals need to re-examine, very carefully, the provision of chicken-based products to certain patients,” he said.

“For people with compromised immune systems, in particular, it is not appropriate.”

Mr Formosa, 53, died on October 31, 2005, while receiving treatment for his diabetes-related condition.

He had been given Conroy’s smallgoods to eat – at the time, it was reported he had consumed corned beef. The food Mr Formosa ate contained a strain of listeria later found on the company’s conveyor belt, prompting a mass-recall of its product.

In December 2005, The Advertiser reported one of the state’s most senior doctors had admitted that feeding Mr Formosa the cold meat was a mistake.

The then-director of the Health Department’s Communicable Disease Control Branch, Dr Rod Givney, said there was “a failure” in identifying Mr Formosa as a high-risk patient.

Listeria in sandwich cold-cuts killed 8, sickened 20 over past 10 years in UK hospitals

Who are these dieticians in hospitals or aged facilities that keep feeding cold-cuts to the vulnerable? Do they have any food safety training? Didn’t they hear about the 23 elderly who were killed by Maple Leaf cold-cuts in Canada in 2008? Are they like the rest of us and ignore bland messages that state, refrigerated ready-to-eat foods like cold-cuts shouldn’t be consumed by immunocompromised people like the elderly or pregnant? How hard is it to heat the meat?

The UK Sun reports hospital sandwiches were yesterday revealed to have killed eight patients.

Watchdogs yesterday demanded a crackdown on shoddy handling of food after the grim toll over the past ten years was disclosed by the Health Protection Agency.

Twenty others were also poisoned by listeria but survived.

Sarnies were found to account for almost three quarters of outbreaks in hospitals — with the bug found in ham salad, sliced sausage, tuna, cheese and prawn mayo varieties.

Almost all were pre-packed by commercial firms — but at some stage had not been kept below 5°C.

Half of those hit were cancer patients weakened by chemotherapy treatment — leaving them less able to fight off the deadly bug.

The HPA warned: “Vulnerable patients and pregnant women can develop severe illness after ingesting levels that would not have an effect on other individuals. This suggests catering and ward staff are not aware of the importance of temperature control, or that proper methods of refrigeration were not used.”