Eggs in the Middle-East: 25,000 eggs seized as Salmonella outbreak feared

Customs officials on Thursday seized two trucks that turned out to be carrying over 10,000 eggs – produced by “Palestinian chickens” and headed for Israeli market shelves.

eggs-for-sale-at-the-arab-market-of-jerusalems-old-city-in-israel-B1K785The eggs were confiscated and destroyed. Officials said that the eggs could be contaminated, and that they had not been properly inspected by agricultural authorities.

The eggs, officials said, were being targeted as fears of a major salmonella outbreak was likely.

The egg smugglers were residents of the northern Arab village of Majd al-Krum, aged in their 20s. The eggs were destined to be sold in the northern city of Karmiel. Police have opened an investigation into their smuggling activities.

In a second egg nabbing, Veterinary Service officials seized a large truck, usually used for carrying oil, that was found to be loaded with illegal eggs – 16,800 of them. The source of these eggs was not known, but they, too, did not pass inspection.

On Wednesday, the Health and Agricultural Ministries announced that they were increasing their supervision of fresh food in order to stem an onslaught of food poisoning caused by salmonella. Recent samplings showed that a new form of salmonella bacteria that had not been seen in Israel before was being detected in high amounts – with ten times more salmonella present than in the past.

While there has not yet been an uptick in the number of salmonella cases, officials said that it was just a matter of time before there was a major outbreak.

Officials urged Israelis to cook food thoroughly in order to avoid getting sick, and to buy only inspected products, including eggs, fruits, and vegetables.

Vaccines work: Viral gastro reduced in Israel

Both rotavirus vaccines RotaTeq and Rotarix were efficacious against severe rotavirus gastroenteritis in clinical trials; yet real-world data on the effect of rotavirus vaccines on mild to moderate disease are limited.

rotavirus.vaccineWe used a large computerised database of Maccabi Health Services Health Maintenance Organisation (HMO), the second largest HMO in Israel covering 25% of the Israeli population, to compare the incidence of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) clinic visits in community settings (n = 302,445) before (2005–10) and after (2011–13) the introduction of universal rotavirus immunisation in Israel.

We retrieved laboratory results of rotavirus antigen tests (n = 18,133) and using a weighted analysis, we estimated the impact of rotavirus immunisation on the disease burden of rotavirus AGE clinic visits. Following the introduction of universal rotavirus immunisation, the typical winter peaks of rotavirus AGE were substantially lower and significant reductions of 14.8% (95% confidence interval (CI): 13.5–16.1) in all-cause AGE clinic visits and of 59.7% (95% CI: 59.8–62.6) in rotavirus AGE clinic visits were observed. The decrease was observed in all age groups, but it was greater in children aged 0 to 23 months than those aged 24 to 59 months. Continued rotavirus laboratory surveillance is warranted to monitor the sustainability of these changes.

Change in incidence of clinic visits for all-cause and rotavirus gastroenteritis in young children following the introduction of universal rotavirus vaccination in Israel

Eurosurveillance, Volume 20, Issue 42, 22 October 2015

K Muhsen, G Chodick, S Goren, E Anis, T Ziv-Baran, V Shalev,  D Cohen

‘Saletei Hashef’ recalls 3 salads in Israel due to possible Listeria

“Salatei Hashef” salads company announced that laboratory tests revealed possible cases of Listeria monocytogenes in three of its products including tehina, corn salad and red cabbage. All of the recalled products are in 200 gram containers and have September 2015 expiration dates.

tomato-corn-couscous-saladCustomers are asked to return recalled products to the stores they were bought in, in exchange for new, safe packages.

250 paratroopers stricken with food poisoning in Israel

Some 250 members of the IDF Paratroopers 202nd Battalion came down with food poisoning after eating Friday night dinner at their base this past weekend.

paratroppersThe soldiers are currently stationed on the Golan Heights, where they are taking part in a battalion-wide exercise that began last Monday and which might have to be suspended due to the soldiers’ health.

Some of the soldiers told Channel 2’s news site that on Friday they had arrived at Pilon Camp in northern Israel, where they were to spend the weekend. The soldiers said they were served a dinner of sautéed chicken, and some noticed that the chicken smelled bad.

Israeli Health says recycling egg cartons for arts and crafts forbidden due to fear of Salmonella

Using old egg cartons to recycle and make creative objects in elementary schools, kindergartens, nursery schools and day care centers sounds like an admirable idea — but not to the Health Ministry, which worries that the practice could spread disease.

UnknownAccording to The Jerusalem Post, dangerous Salmonella bacteria may stick to the cardboard, causing a serious danger to children and others with weak immune systems.

The Education Ministry accepted the recommendation that used egg cartons should not be allowed in educational institutions.

Pregnancy associated listeriosis – clinical characteristics and geospatial analysis of 10 years in Israel

Whenever I talk, I make sure the women in the crowd know about Listeria and what to do.

amy.pregnant.listeriaThis is an additional reason why.


Clinical Infectious Diseases

Hila Elinav, Anat Hershko-Klement, Lea Valinsky, Josef Jaffe, Anat Wiseman, Hila Shimon, Eyal Braun, Yossi Paitan, Colin Block, Rotem Sorek, Ran Nir-Paz, the Israeli Listeria Study group

Hepatitis A warning for patrons of Jerusalem hotel

Health officials in Israel are issuing a warning for patrons of the Eyal Hotel in downtown Jerusalem after an employee was diagnosed with hepatitis A, according to a Yeshiva World report today. The employee was a cook with the hotel on Shamai Street.

hepatitis.AHealth officials are asking guests who ate breakfast in the hotel between the 18th and 23rd of May to report to their family physician if they were not vaccinated in the past. The warning states the vaccine can still be helpful at this time and it is advised to act as quickly as possible in the matter.

Israelis warned to avoid unpasteurized milk on mouth lesions

Unpasteurized goat milk should not be applied to ulcers of the mouth because of the risk of pathogens such as E. coli, listeria, and brucella.

So says the Israeli Ministry of Health in warning residents to avoid the practice “even if they only gargle the milk without swallowing or only spread it on wounds.”Mouth-Ulcers-Due-To-Diabetes

Fancy food ain’t safe food Israeli edition: not a floor you’d want to eat off

Gourmet products manufacturer Olivia may describe its production facility as a pastoral-sounding "wooden house with a chimney" emitting the aroma of "a true kitchen," but it’s a kitchen that is characterized by unhygienic conditions, ranging from mold in its dried-tomato storage containers to filth and creepy-crawlies on the floor.

The Marker reports that founded in 1990 by Yoel Benesh, Tnuva completed its buyout in 2002. Olivia sells its upmarket sauces and spreads in Israel, the United States, France and England. It also manufactures products for the Israeli foods companies Strauss, Maadanot and Sunfrost, and for American burgers giant McDonald’s. In Israel its products command 8% of the market for sauces, 5% of the market for salad dressing, 2% of the soy sauce market and 2% of the market for margarine.

The "house" of Olivia is actually a 4,000-square-meter plant in Rehovot with 26 employees, which the company says produces healthy, quality gourmet products. But The Marker has obtained pictures showing that inside, the conditions have apparently been unsanitary for years.

Early one morning last October, worms were documented on the plant’s floor (the company later said they were caterpillars ). Workers related that for a long time, the sewage system had been backing up and often flooded the floor by the production line. In the room where bottles and jars are filled, the sewage trap was open and a pump installed inside transferred the filth to a channel passing inside the containers room.

A second food technician The Marker consulted says the sewage channel shouldn’t be open, and that it suggested that the system is constantly clogged.
The company stated that in September 2010, the plant’s sewage line broke down.

In October 2011, the production line shut down for three days after a worker complained about the unhygienic conditions to Tnuva, action he took, he claimed, after he was ignored by the Olivia management. A tape The Marker obtained features Tnuva executive Yigal Gali saying, "I’m in shock. Yesterday I heard [Tnuva internal auditor] Margalit [Shperber], who saw worms on the floor with her own eyes. When I went downstairs, I saw a production line working with glass shards on the floor."

Yoel Benesh, present at that conversation, said on the tape that he’d been struggling with the hygiene issue for four years. "Not long ago I went downstairs and saw the Universal machine [which makes sauces] filthy."

Tnuva’s quality manager, Michal Amsterdam, commented during the exchange that the problem with hygiene had been around a long time: "What’s missing is resources to clean."

Benesh summed up: "What’s needed here is a root canal, like they did at Maadanot. First of all clean, then work. It hasn’t happened here for 1,001 reasons."

After that meeting, Gali convened the plant’s workers and ordered them to undertake a cleaning blitz, and vowed to change sanitary standards at the plant.
The tape ends with one worker joking, "This place looks like a garage. All it needs is a calendar with naked women."


Leftovers should not be left outside – or you may barf

Nine children and three women from a village in the Galilee who attended a wedding celebration Sunday ended up Monday evening at the emergency room with diarrhea, fierce stomachache and vomiting. The Jerusalem Post reports that seven of the children and two of the women had to be hospitalized for observation.

They were diagnosed with food poisoning tracked back to the "doggie bags" taken and eaten at home. Amil Aga, epidemiological supervisor at the hospital, reached the conclusion that the leftovers had been left outside rather than in refrigeration for several hours until the extended family got home.

Hospital director-general Dr. Masad Barhoom warned people that during the hot summer months, store raw and prepared food under proper conditions to reduce the risk of food poisoning.

(The sticker, right, was a prototype; phone number and web site won’t work; but we can come up with a new one — dp).