No they don’t: Netherlands study says consumers read food hygiene warning labels on poultry, and surveys still suck

Tony McDougal of Poultry World reports that researchers wanted to see how the label impacted consumer perceptions on risk and food-handling behaviour in the light that poultry meat is an important source of foodborne infections, such as campylobacter, salmonella and E.coli.

A random sample of 1235 adults from a representative internet panel received an email linking to the study questionnaire. Information was gathered about knowledge of safe food-handling regarding poultry, their current food-handling behaviour and intention to change after reading the label, as well as influencing factors.

The results, published in the October edition of the journal Food Control, found that respondents of households with people aged 65 or older, with safe food-handling practices and who judge foodborne infections as severe, were more prone to have read the label.

The study also found that after reading the label during the survey, the intention to change behaviour did not differ between the readers and previous non-readers.

The report’s authors, from the Dutch Centre for Infectious Disease Control, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, concluded that “a label is a relatively easy and reasonable way of informing and educating consumers about safe food-handling.

“The majority of the respondents had read the label on poultry meat and scored it as important, useful and reassuring. Therefore investigating the feasibility and possible benefits of a similar label on other meat products could be worthwhile.”

The study does not account for:

the fallibility of self-reported surveys (we all wash our hands);

does  not account for multi-languages in the diverse cultures we all prepare food; does not account for cross-contamination.

Consumers should not be the CCP on your brand.

Get it together.

Delta passenger who found dog feces on his seat claims he was given two paper towels and told to clean it up himself

Delta, the airline, sucks.

That’s my experience.

Others too.

Last Thursday, a passenger onboard a Delta Airlines flight from Atlanta to Miami stepped in poop while boarding the aircraft.

Stacey Leasca of Travel and Leisure reports that according to the passenger, when he brought the feces to the crew’s attention he was reportedly handed two paper towels and told to clean it up himself.

Delta Airlines confirmed to Business Insider that passengers did indeed begin boarding the aircraft before cleaning crews were done servicing the plane. The airline also noted that during the previous flight “an ill service animal” had an incident.

“It was feces, and it was everywhere. It was on my seat. It was on the floor. My feet were in it,” passenger Matthew Meehan told WSB-TV 2 Atlanta. He explained that he stepped in fecal matter and his fellow passengers refused to sit in their seats until it was cleaned up.

But, when he asked flight attendants for supplies he was handed “two paper towels and one of those little bottles of Bombay Sapphire.” And the Delta manager wasn’t much of a help either.

“She said to me, ‘Well, that’s not my problem.’ I said, ‘I’m sorry?’ She says, ‘Well, if the cleaning crew didn’t clean your seat, I don’t have any control over that,'” Meehan explained.

In the statement, Delta additionally apologized and offered a refund and compensation to customers affected by the flight.

And now for the meaningless boilerplate quote attributed to some bureaucrat or PR flunky:“The safety and health of our customers and employees is our top priority, and we are conducting a full investigation while following up with the right teams to prevent this from happening again,” Delta Said. Upon landing, the plane was also taken out of service and has since been disinfected.

Bugs be passed around on leafy greens

Several outbreaks of foodborne illness traced to leafy greens and culinary herbs have been hypothesized to involve cross-contamination during washing and processing. This study aimed to assess the redistribution of Salmonella Typhimurium LT2 during pilot-scale production of baby spinach and cilantro and redistribution of Escherichia coli O157:H7 during pilot-scale production of romaine lettuce.

Four inoculated surrogate: uninoculated product weight ratios (10:100, 5:100, 1:100, and 0.5:100) and three inoculation levels (103, 101, and 10−1 CFU/g) were used for the three commodities. For each of three trials per condition, 5-kg batches containing uninoculated product and spot-inoculated surrogate products at each ratio and inoculation level were washed for 90 s in a 3.6-m-long flume tank through which 890 L of sanitizer-free, filtered tap water was circulated. After washing and removing the inoculated surrogate products, washed product (∼23, 225-g samples per trial) was analyzed for presence or absence of Salmonella Typhimurium or E. coli O157:H7 by using the GeneQuence Assay.

For baby spinach, cilantro, and romaine lettuce, no significant differences (P > 0.05) in the percentage of positive samples were observed at the same inoculation level and inoculated: uninoculated weight ratio. For each pathogen product evaluated (triplicate trials), inoculation level had a significant impact on the percentage of positive samples after processing, with the percentage of positive samples decreasing, as the initial surrogate inoculation level decreased.

The weight ratio of contaminated: noncontaminated product plays an important role: positive samples ranged from 0% to 11.6% ± 2.05% and from 68.1% ± 33.6% to 100% among the four ratios at inoculation of 10−1 and 101 CFU/g, respectively.

To our knowledge, this study is the first to assess the redistribution of low levels of pathogens from incoming product to leafy greens during processing and should provide important data for microbial risk assessments and other types of food safety analyses related to fresh-cut leafy greens.

Transfer and redistribution of Salmonella typhimurium LT2 and Escherichia coli O157:H7 during pilot-scale processing of baby spinach, cilantro, and romaine lettuce

Journal of food Protection vol.81 no. 6 June 2018

HALEY S. SMOLINSKI,1 SIYI WANG,1 LIN REN,1 YUHUAN CHEN,2 BARBARA KOWALCYK,3 ELLEN THOMAS,3 JANE VAN DOREN,2 and ELLIOT T. RYSER1*

https://doi.org/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-17-420

http://jfoodprotection.org/doi/abs/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-17-420

Still need a better descriptor: Cross-contamination and cutting boards

Cross-contamination is one of the main factors related to foodborne outbreaks. This study aimed to analyze the cross-contamination process of Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis from poultry to cucumbers, on various cutting board surfaces (plastic, wood, and glass) before and after washing and in the presence and absence of biofilm.

Thus, 10 strains of Salmonella Enteritidis were used to test cross-contamination from poultry to the cutting boards and from thereon to cucumbers. Moreover, these strains were evaluated as to their capacity to form biofilm on hydrophobic (wood and plastic) and hydrophilic materials (glass).

We recovered the 10 isolates from all unwashed boards and from all cucumbers that had contacted them. After washing, the recovery ranged from 10% to 100%, depending on the board material. In the presence of biofilm, the recovery of salmonellae was 100%, even after washing. Biofilm formation occurred more on wood (60%) and plastic (40%) than glass (10%) boards, demonstrating that bacteria adhered more to a hydrophobic material.

It was concluded that the cutting boards represent a critical point in cross-contamination, particularly in the presence of biofilm. Salmonella Enteritidis was able to form a biofilm on these three types of cutting boards but glass showed the least formation.

Cross-Contamination and Biofilm Formation by Salmonella enterica Serovar Enteritidis on Various Cutting Boards

01.feb.18

Foodborne Pathogens and Deases, Volume 15, No. 2

Dantas Stéfani T. A. , Rossi Bruna F. , Bonsaglia Erika C. R. , Castilho Ivana G. , Hernandes Rodrigo T. , Fernandes Ary Júnior, and Rall Vera L. M.

https://doi.org/10.1089/fpd.2017.2341

Washing raw poultry increases cross-contamination

Campylobacter jejuni is an important human pathogen commonly associated with raw poultry. The risk of cross-contamination in the kitchen is escalated with washing raw poultry in the sink- an unnecessary measure for food safety. Cook the bird to an internal temperature of 74°C (165°F), no need for washing.

Holly Van Hare of The Daily Meal reports:

You’re spraying your sink with salmonella
Washing your fruit? Absolutely. Washing your lettuce? Necessity. But running warm water over a slimy slab of raw chicken is just about the worst thing you can do with your kitchen sink.
In fact, it’s such a bad idea that the National Health Service (NHS) in Britain issued a public warning against the “sanitary” practice — claiming that “it can increase your risk of food poisoning from campylobacter bacteria.”
Chicken is one of the most commonly infected raw foods when it comes to foodborne bacteria such as salmonella. These bacteria lurk both on the surface and insides of the raw meat, growing indefinitely until you cook them dead. “Only a few campylobacter cells are needed to cause food poisoning,” the NHS says.
Washing the chicken involves running tap water over that infested piece of meat. The water becomes contaminated as soon as it hits the surface of your poultry, and proceeds to splash in every direction both inside and around your kitchen sink. “Water droplets can travel more than 50 centimeters in every direction,” the NHS warns, a distance that equates to over one and a half feet.
After that bacteria spreads, it’s hard to get rid of. The only real way to effectively kill the bacteria you’ve now sprinkled around your home is to disinfect everything — an onerous task you’re likely saving until after you’re done cooking. That means your risk of exposure is prolonged and the bacteria could even come into contact with your other food.
If you’re preparing chicken, skip the washing step. The oven kills everything, anyway — and once a chicken is properly cooked, it’s 100 percent free of disease-causing bacteria. If you’re bored with bland old chicken and looking to spice things up, here are 101 of our best recipes.

Be the bug: Toast edition

Guest barfblogger Rebecca Fischer writes:

toast-rebecca-ja-17I wanted toast.

 I watched from the diner counter as my server bare handedly took bread from the storage drawer, toasted it, cut it, and put it on a plate. The manager who had been answering phones and rubbing his face while adjusting his glasses also made toast and wiped his hands on a kitchen towel that then disappeared to wipe something else down.

No imagination needed to see how something like E. coli or Norovirus could be spread as I watched each bit of contact affect all the bread, knives and surfaces.

Am I neurotic? I tried not to have a stomachache.

 I just want toast.

Rebecca Fischer (laughingkat2@gmail.com) says she’s in the middle of a career change, following my passion for food by studying nutrition. Food handling has become a fascination, another excuse for people-watching, to see how experience and education affect awareness in kitchen behavior.

And I may be on hiatus but I’m a sucker for helping students who want to learn and kids –little or big — who want to play hockey.

Campy increasing in Sweden

An unusually high number of people have been struck by Campylobacter in Sweden this winter, resulting in a less than festive combination of vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pains.

vomit-birdThe number of infections usually peaks during the late summer months then drops off, but this year has yet to see a notable downward curve, Sweden’s Public Health Agency (Folkhälsomyndigheten) warns.

The growth coincides with an increase in campylobacter among flocks of chicken in Sweden, and fresh chicken is therefore thought to be a culprit.

 “The explanation we have right now is that we eat a lot of chicken. We eat a lot of fresh chicken, and campylobacter can be found in the fresh chicken to a certain extent,” Folkhälsomyndigheten spokesperson Britta Björkholm noted.

“If you’re not careful with your hygiene you risk coming down with it,” she added.

Between August and November 2016 twice as many cases were reported as normal, and that pattern has continued into the last month of the year.

About 100 cases are usually reported in December, but in December 2016 the number was almost 300 by the middle of the month.

“People are not being sufficiently careful about separating raw chicken from utensils and work surfaces,” Björkholm insisted.

‘Barf-proof yourself like a food-safety ace’

Amy says she’s going to get me a hat that says, Ace.

Joe Dziemianowicz of the New York Daily News writes:

article-barf-1024He rarely eats in restaurants. When he dines at friends’ homes, he’s been known to peek into his hosts’ fridge and cupboards. “It’s an annoying habit,” he tells the Daily News.

Meet Doug Powell (right, exactly as shown, in 2005, dissenters to the left please) a former professor of food safety and publisher of barfblog.com, which is all about food-safety issues. There are plenty of them. Last year there were 626 food recalls in the U.S. and Canada. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that food-borne pathogens sicken 48 million Americans — that’s one in six — hospitalize 128,000 and kill 3,000. Powell, who was raised in Canada, lived in the U.S. and now resides in Brisbane, Australia, has been there. He wrote about that in barfblog.  “More recalls are due to better detection and awareness,” he says. “The food is as dangerous as it’s always been, not more so.”

Between posting about recalls and E. coli outbreaks in the U.S. and beyond, Powell, 53, set the Daily News straight about everyday food-safety questions.

Now it’s okay to eat pork that’s rosy pink, right?

Nope. “Research has shown that color is a lousy indicator of whether meat is safe to eat,” says Powell. Same goes for requesting your chops or steaks “well done,” which is vague enough to put you in hurl’s way. “When I go to a restaurant and they ask me how I want my steak, I say, ‘140 degrees.’” He also carries a tip-sensitive digital thermometer in his backpack. He swears by one from Comark that’s around $16.

Raw sprouts are good for you, yes?

dp-chest-protectorMaybe not. “I never eat them,” says Powell. And that includes ones he could grow at home. Warm and humid conditions ideal for growing sprouts are an Eden for growing bacteria, like Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli. In the past 20 years they’ve been connected to at least 30 outbreaks of foodborne illness (bring on your best shots, left, I got some new goalie equipment, 11 years later).

You should have two cutting boards in the kitchen — one for meat, the other for vegetables?

Powell uses one and “usually I use dish soap” to clean it. To sanitize, he uses a 10-to-one ratio of bleach to water.

(Nosestretcher alert: I already sent in the correction, which is somewhere between 250-400 parts water to I part bleach, or a tablespoon bleach per gallon of water.)

Is organically raised food safer than if it’s conventionally produced?

Nope. “Organic is a production standard and has nothing to do with microbial food safety,” says Powell. “Large or small, conventional or organic, safety is a function of individual farmers. They either know about microbial food safety risks and take steps to reduce or manage that risk, or they don’t.” Along the same line, “local” does not automatically mean safe, he adds.

Super-fresh sushi won’t make you sick will it?

“Raw fish houses an amazing microbiology profile that can make you sick,” he says. “It’s just not a good idea to eat it.”

Chapman says whenever someone calls him Ace, he responds with Ace of Spades, in a bad imitation of Lemmy’s voice.

Be the bug: Cross-contamination amongst beef fillets

The objective of the present study was to determine the factors affecting the transfer of foodborne pathogens from inoculated beef fillets to non-inoculated ones, through food processing surfaces.

filetamericain1Three different levels of inoculation of beef fillets surface were prepared: a high one of approximately 107 CFU/cm2, a medium one of 105 CFU/cm2 and a low one of 103 CFU/cm2, using mixed-strains of Listeria monocytogenes, or Salmonella enterica Typhimurium, or Escherichia coli O157:H7. The inoculated fillets were then placed on 3 different types of surfaces (stainless steel-SS, polyethylene-PE and wood-WD), for 1 or 15 min. Subsequently, these fillets were removed from the cutting boards and six sequential non-inoculated fillets were placed on the same surfaces for the same period of time. All non-inoculated fillets were contaminated with a progressive reduction trend of each pathogen’s population level from the inoculated fillets to the sixth non-inoculated ones that got in contact with the surfaces, and regardless the initial inoculum, a reduction of approximately 2 log CFU/g between inoculated and 1st non-inoculated fillet was observed. S. Typhimurium was transferred at lower mean population (2.39 log CFU/g) to contaminated fillets than E. coli O157:H7 (2.93 log CFU/g), followed by L. monocytogenes (3.12 log CFU/g; P < 0.05). Wooden surfaces (2.77 log CFU/g) enhanced the transfer of bacteria to subsequent fillets compared to other materials (2.66 log CFU/g for SS and PE; P < 0.05).

Cross-contamination between meat and surfaces is a multifactorial process strongly depended on the species, initial contamination level, kind of surface, contact time and the number of subsequent fillet, according to analysis of variance. Thus, quantifying the cross-contamination risk associated with various steps of meat processing and food establishments or households can provide a scientific basis for risk management of such products.

Effect of inoculum size, bacterial species, type of surfaces and contact time to the transfer of foodborne pathogens from inoculated to non-inoculated beef fillets via food processing surfaces

Journal of Food Microbiology

Volume 62, April 2017, p. 51-57

Gkana, E. Et al.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0740002016303744

Inevitability of reproduction – TV cooking show edition

In 2004, my laboratory reported (and by reported I mean published in a peer-reviewed journal) that, based on 60 hours of detailed viewing of television cooking shows, an unsafe food handling practice occurred about every four minutes, and that for every safe food handling practice observed, we observed 13 unsafe practices. The most common errors were inadequate hand washing and cross-contamination between raw and ready-to-eat foods.celebrity_chefs4

The abstract is below.

Once the paper was published, it made headlines around the globe.

And then it started getting replicated. Texas, Europe, a few other places, and now Massachusetts.

Compliance With Recommended Food Safety Practices in Television Cooking Shows

Nancy Cohen, Rita Olsen

Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 2016 Aug 28. pii: S1499-4046(16)30715-1. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2016.08.002. [Epub ahead of print]

Objective

Examine compliance with recommended food safety practices in television cooking shows.

Methods

Using a tool based on the Massachusetts Food Establishment Inspection Report, raters examined 39 episodes from 10 television cooking shows.

Results

Chefs demonstrated conformance with good retail practices for proper use and storage of utensils in 78% of episodes; preventing contamination (62%), and fingernail care (82%). However, 50% to 88% of episodes were found to be out of compliance with other personal hygiene practices, proper use of gloves and barriers (85% to 100%), and maintaining proper time and temperature controls (93%). Over 90% failed to conform to recommendations regarding preventing contamination through wiping cloths and washing produce. In only 13% of episodes were food safety practices mentioned.

Conclusions and Implications

There appears to be little attention to food safety during most cooking shows. Celebrity and competing chefs have the opportunity to model and teach good food safety practices for millions of viewers.

 Mathiasen, L.A., Chapman, B.J., Lacroix, B.J. and Powell, D.A. 2004. Spot the mistake: Television cooking shows as a source of food safety information, Food Protection Trends 24(5): 328-334.

Consumers receive information on food preparation from a variety of sources. Numerous studies conducted over the past six years demonstrate that television is one of the primary sources for North Americans. This research reports on an examination and categorization of messages that television food and cooking programs provide to viewers about preparing food safely. During June 2002 and 2003, television food and cooking programs were recorded and reviewed, using a defined list of food safety practices based on criteria established by Food Safety Network researchers. Most surveyed programs were shown on Food Network Canada, a specialty cable channel. On average, 30 percent of the programs viewed were produced in Canada, with the remainder produced in the United States or United Kingdom. Sixty hours of content analysis revealed that the programs contained a total of 916 poor food-handling incidents. When negative food handling behaviors were compared to positive food handling behaviors, it was found that for each positive food handling behavior observed, 13 negative behaviors were observed. Common food safety errors included a lack of hand washing, cross-contamination and time-temperature violations. While television food and cooking programs are an entertainment source, there is an opportunity to improve their content so as to promote safe food handling.