Undiagnosed deaths, dog, Australia: Voluntary meat diet dog food recall

ProMed mail reports in some of the drier parts of inland Australia (quite removed by distance from Bairnesdale in Victoria), there is a wild legume (_Indigofera_ spp.) containing the toxin indospicine. This plant tends to be more abundant during the wetter seasons in the desert country and/or is a more preferred food of some herbivores at these times.

This toxin can accumulate in the offal and musculature of monogastric
herbivores (e.g., horses). If said meat from such animals finds its
way into pet food and forms a substantial proportion of the pets’ diet, it causes a non-responsive acute hepatitis.

Indospicine in the diet of equines also causes chronic liver disease and a hepatic encephalopathy condition commonly referred to as “walk-about” disease (not to be confused with the condition of similar cause arising from consumption of hepatotoxic _Crotolaria_ spp. By horses in the wetter tropics and sub-tropics). Affected horses compulsively pace or walk, initially causing dumping of the toes of the hooves (especially rear) and progressive loss of coordination with
progression to head pressing and, ultimately, death. Feral horses (of which there are sizeable numbers scattered over the drier inland areas of Australia) and domesticated horses showing early signs of walk-about disease are more likely to find their way to knackeries.

This condition was researched and established in Alice Springs by Dept of Primary Industries and Fisheries and a local private veterinary clinic (in collaboration with CSIRO, Long Pocket Research Station in Brisbane, Qld.) in the early-mid 1980s after a run of very good seasons in the central Australian deserts, and seasonal occurrence of acute, non-responsive, fatal hepatitis affecting pet dogs.

Vets have the best drugs: Minneapolis investigates police use of ketamine on suspects

The veterinarian’s choice of drug – the horse sedative, ketamine – has been used by Minnesota police types to sedate people in custody, according to NPR.

I was married to a vet for 16 years and she had lots of tales about ketamine, but no evidence she used it herself, but I’ve met a few vets in rehab, and they liked their ketamine.

Ketamine, a powerful sedative is used in hospitals as an anesthetic and more recently, to treat depression. It’s also been called the date-rape drug. And now, city investigators in Minneapolis have found that police officers there directed paramedics to inject the drug into people on the street to subdue them. This, according to a draft report that was obtained by the Star Tribune. Andy Mannix is the reporter at the Star Tribune who broke the story, and he’s with us now. Andy Mannix, welcome. Thanks so much for speaking to us

MARTIN: What did we find from this report? I mean, for example, how do we know that the police were directing the paramedics to use the powerful sedative? And were there some other patterns that emerged when they reviewed all this information?

MANNIX: One of the issues that’s been alarming to a lot of people is just like how casually police and paramedics talk about this drug. So, we have one example where there’s a person who’s sort of being combative. The police officer is talking about ketamine. Give him a shot of ketamine – stuff like that. And then they give him two shots and then the guy sort of starts coming out of it and so they give him another shot. And the police officer – he says, he just hit the K-hole. So, they’re talking about in a way that’s almost like joking about it. There’s other examples of people saying, you know, calling a paramedic and saying bring ketamine, bring ketamine.

MARTIN: So tell us, who was being injected with this drug and what happened to them?

MANNIX: So most of the time they are – they’re calls dealing with someone who may be intoxicated or in a mental health crisis, you know, sort of like a minor nuisance crime – if a crime has been committed. So, in terms of what happens to these people, almost all of them – actually I think all of them get taken to the hospital.

MARTIN: The reports suggest that there was a large increase in the use of ketamine in recent years. There were reported of 3 incidents in 2012 and then there were 62 last year. Does the report offer any insight into why?

MANNIX: We have, in interviews with medical staff, asked that question many times and they say that there are more – there’s been a record amount of incidents involving severely agitated people. Paramedics and doctors would say that’s when someone is so agitated that they may hurt themselves or hurt somebody else. So they’re saying they’re running into more examples of this kind of behavior on the street.

MARTIN: On the other hand, though, the county hospital where the EMTs work was conducting studies on ketamine. The question arises, were they being sort of pressured?

MANNIX: You know, the scope of the oversight report is mostly police, but they do touch on this a little bit. There’s one case in particular where someone, you know, being recorded on police body camera asks why they sedated somebody and the paramedic talks about the study and says well, you know, we’re doing this study and so we needed to give them ketamine. There was one woman we talked to who had relapsed on alcohol and she was in her apartment and her sponsor, an AA, called and said can you just do a welfare check on my friend. I just want to make sure she’s OK. They ended up coming into her apartment – said she didn’t want this drug, they gave it to her anyway.

She wakes up 24 hours later with a breathing tube down her throat. And then on her way out, they hand her this form that says, by the way, you know, you’re enrolled in this study. And that’s pretty common, that’s a pretty typical story. There are several investigations going on right now including one with former acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates. She’s been appointed by the mayor, here, to come in and do an independent investigation. So obviously they’re very concerned.

MARTIN: That’s Andy Mannix. He’s a reporter at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. Andy, thanks so much for speaking to us.

MANNIX: Hey, thanks for having me.

Reasons to love Australia: Woman charged with being in charge of a horse while under the influence of liquor

A woman has been arrested for riding a horse into a bottle shop while drunk.

The 51-year-old allegedly rode her mount through the drive-through section of a pub in Logan, Queensland (not far from Brisbane) while more than four times the legal alcohol limit.

Officers from Springwood went to a tavern on Wembley Road at 11.30pm last night after the woman refused to leave.

The female was arrested and taken to Logan Central Police Station, where she allegedly provided a positive reading of 0.226 percent (4X the legal limit).

Officers took the horse to the police station too.

She was charged with being in charge of a horse while under the influence of liquor.

She will appear in Beenleigh Magistrates Court on June 26.

Queensland Police, said: “Police want to remind the public that drink driving does not just mean a vehicle, it can include a horse.”

Don’t eat (horse) poop: Philadelphia Eagles fan edition

TMZ reports an Eagles fan in a throwback Randall Cunningham jersey ate horse feces off the ground in Philadelphia last night. 


And why? Because he was happy … we think. 

By the way, it’s not like people were trying to talk him out of it — you can hear the crowd of fellow Philly fans cheering him on as he puts his face right up in the crap. 

Cops insist nobody died in the crazy Super Bowl celebration … so, Mr. Poo-Eater here clearly survived the stunt. 

Not the Sopranos: Police in Europe break up network selling illegal horse meat

Raphael Minder of The New York Times reports police in Europe have dismantled a criminal network that was selling horse meat across the Continent that was “not suitable for consumption,” arresting 66 people as part of a four-year investigation prompted by the discovery in Ireland of horse meat in burgers sold as beef.

Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said on Sunday that all but one of the arrests had been made in Spain. But the Spanish police said in a separate statement that their part of the investigation had accounted for “a small portion of a network stretching across the whole of Europe, under the control of a Dutch citizen.”

The Dutch citizen, who has not been publicly identified and was taken into custody in April in Belgium, was described in a Europol statement as the leader of a criminal gang that had acquired horses on the Iberian Peninsula that were judged to be “in bad shape, too old or simply labeled as ‘not suitable for consumption.’ ”

The animals’ meat was processed and sent to Belgium, one of the European Union’s biggest exporters of horse meat, and the criminal organization modified the animals’ microchips and documentation to facilitate the fraudulent export, the statement said.

The Pan-European investigation began after a scandal over horse meat in burgers in Ireland in 2013, and it was widened to other European countries as dishes like frozen lasagna labeled as containing beef were found to have horse meat.

In addition to the arrests, the Spanish police said on Sunday that they had seized property and luxury cars, and that they had frozen bank accounts. The police in Britain, France, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Switzerland also carried out interventions, according to Europol, although the statement did not provide details.

Cleveland fan eats horse poop during NBA championship parade

The Cleveland Cavaliers and 1.3 million of their fans celebrated the franchise’s first National Basketball Association championship on Wednesday as their victory parade and rally took over the downtown area.

In video clip below, courtesy of Barstool Sports, one fan in attendance decided to make a spectacle of himself by pushing other parade goers out of the way in order to rush over to what appears to be a fresh batch of horse manure and proceeding to eat it in front of the crowd around him.

What the hell Cleveland?


Buffett from hell: 31 sickened with Staph at a horsey event in Luxembourg

In June 2014, a staphylococcal food poisoning outbreak occurred at an international equine sports event in Luxembourg requiring the hospitalization of 31 persons.

horseWe conducted a microbiological investigation of patients and buffet items, a case–control study and a carriage study of catering staff. Isolates of Staphylococcus aureus from patients, food and catering staff were characterized and compared using traditional typing methods and whole genome sequencing.

Identical strains (sequence type ST8, spa-type t024, MLVA-type 4698, enterotoxin A FRI100) were isolated in 10 patients, shiitake mushrooms, cured ham, and in three members of staff. The case–control study strongly suggested pasta salad with pesto as the vehicle of infection (p<0.001), but this food item could not be tested, because there were no leftovers. Additional enterotoxigenic strains genetically unrelated to the outbreak strain were found in four members of staff. Non-enterotoxigenic strains with livestock-associated sequence type ST398 were isolated from three food items and two members of staff.

The main cause of the outbreak is likely to have been not maintaining the cold chain after food preparation. Whole genome sequencing resulted in phylogenetic clustering which concurred with traditional typing while simultaneously characterizing virulence and resistance traits.

 Investigation of a Staphylococcal food poisoning outbreak combining case control, traditional typing, and whole genome sequencing methods

Eurosurveillance, Volume 20, Issue 45, November 2015

  1. Mossong, F. Decruyenaere, G. Moris, C. Ragimbeau, C.M. Olinger, S. Johler, M. Perrin, P. Hau, P. Weicherding


Horsemeat scandal: probe failure by authorities dates back to 1998

British authorities were, according to The Guardian, aware that tonnes of condemned horsemeat was being imported for use by suspected fraudsters as long ago as 1998 but failed to investigate the criminal networks involved fully for lack of resources.

Over 15 years ago, environmental health officers from Rotherham council investigating a conspiracy in which hundreds of tonnes of unfit poultry meat was recycled in to the human food chain, discovered horse.office.feb.13that regular shipments of around 20 tonnes each of frozen “ponymeat” from China had been arriving at UK ports for months.

The horsemeat consignments had been condemned for the human food chain by the Chinese authorities but could have been used legally to make petfood, according to a source involved with enforcement. However a paper trail showed the horsemeat going in to cold stores licenced for the human food chain rather than for petfood and then disappearing in a separate suspected fraud, the source said.

A spokesperson for Rotherham council confirmed that at the time it had investigated “significant concerns relating to a wide range of food stuffs, including poultry, ‘ponymeat’, red meats, fish and frozen vegetables”. Convictions were secured over the poultry, but no one was charged in the other suspected cases.

The chain of brokers and cold stores through which the horsemeat was passing overlapped with a criminal chain in which condemned poultry meat that was green with slime and covered with faeces was being cleaned up with chemicals, repacked and relabelled with faked official health marks and then moved in to the human food chain, the source said. The fraudulently mislabelled chicken and turkey was sold across the UK to food manufacturers, schools and retailers including the discount supermarkets Netto and Kwik Save.

FSA and police investigations into the 2013 horsemeat scandal have uncovered a similar pattern, in which imported horsemeat passing through a system of brokers and cold stores appears to have been repacked and relabelled with faked official health marks as beef, the Guardian has been told, although they have not proved where exactly the fraud of mislabelling took place.

Food fraud: If verification is now standard, why isn’t it marketed at retail so consumers know?

Almost a year later, can we be confident that the beef burger is a horse-free foodstuff, asks Alison Healy in The Irish Times.

Every week seems to bring new scares: if it’s not fox masquerading as donkey meat in China, it’s the discovery of donkey, water buffalo and goat in sausages and burgers in o-HORSE-MEAT-COSTUME-570South Africa.

The chief executive of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, Alan Reilly, believes burgers and processed-meat products have never been safer, because of the range of tests and regulations that have been introduced in response to the scandal.

“The industry will never be caught on the hop again, like it was with horse meat,” he says. Laboratory certification has become standard for anyone selling or buying meat, and testing the authenticity of meat products is the industry norm now. “So from a consumer perspective, that’s a hugely positive step.”

Both ABP and Tesco Ireland point to a range of tests and standards they have introduced to ensure that a meat-contamination scandal cannot happen again. ABP says it believes it has the most comprehensive testing regime of any European meat processor, including DNA testing of cattle and a strict supplier-approval process.

Tesco Ireland says it now has a world-class traceability and DNA-testing system across its food products. “The initial focus of our testing programme was on products containing beef, but things have evolved during the course of the year to include pork, lamb, chicken, fish and processed meats,” a spokesman says.

Tesco is also looking at ways of using tests to help identify the likely origin of some products. “For example, it can be very difficult to identify the provenance of products such horse-hamburgeras olive oil, rice or coffee by sight, smell and taste alone. Using our authenticity testing, which looks closely at the chemical make-up of a product, we can verify that what is in the pack is exactly what it says on the label.”

That’s all nice, but consumers have heard all this before, only to be eventually disappointed.. Over time, or bad economics, or both, someone will cut corners. The best producers should be marketing the authenticity of their products and make the testing to validate those claims available for public review.

After horse meat scandal, food producers test for kangaroo and dog

The horse meat crisis has led the world’s largest food manufacturer Nestle to test for the presence of meat such as kangaroo and dog, according to the head of food safety at the firm’s research centre Dr horse.meat.09John O’Brien.

As reported in the Irish Times, Dr O’Brien, a former head of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, people working in food safety had now become molecular detectives. “Not only are we concerned with horse, we are also keeping an eye on kangaroo, dogs, goats and a few other species and asking questions. Could any of these find their way into the food chain? So we have probes for all of those.”