Nearly 400 sick from crypto in Sweden

Outbreak News Today reports that since the last report on the Cryptosporidium outbreak in Sweden about two weeks ago, health officials say the number of reported cases has decreased in recent weeks.

While cases are declining, the number of cases reported per week remains slightly higher compared to the same period in previous years. To date, some 400 Cryptosporidium cases have been recorded.

Most cases have been reported from Stockholm, Östergötland, Västra Götaland, Halland, Jönköping and Uppsala.

The Public Health Authority analyzes samples from the cases to determine what type of cryptosporidium they have become ill from. Of the 202 samples analyzed so far, 93 have been shown to belong to subtype (A) and 58 belong to subtype B of Cryptosporidium parvum. In addition to this subtype, a number of different subtypes have been detected.

The fact that different subtypes are seen indicates that there are different sources of infection for the cases reported during the fall. From the survey studies it was shown that cases with subtype A have drunk to a greater extent pre-purchased freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable drinks that are no longer on the market when the shelf life is short. The majority (almost 80%) of cases with subtype A were reported to have fallen ill.


Ciders and juices can cause illnesses; here’s a big list

Every fall since 2010 there’s been at least one juice or cider related outbreak in North America. Some beverages were pasteurized, many weren’t. CiderPic1Right now there are two outbreaks linked to unpasteurized ciders in California and Illinois.

Here’s a list of all the ones we’ve been able to find (going back to 1924) – 84 outbreaks leading to over 3500 illnesses.

Click here to download the entire list.

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Maybe cook from frozen, using a thermometer to verify safety? Campylobacter exploits chicken juice to flourish

A study from the Institute of Food Research has shown that Campylobacter’s persistence in food processing sites and the kitchen is boosted by ‘chicken juice.’

raw-chicken-bacteria-537x357Organic matter exuding from chicken carcasses, “chicken juice”, provides these bacteria with the perfect environment to persist in the food chain. This emphasises the importance of cleaning surfaces in food preparation, and may lead to more effective ways of cleaning that can reduce the incidence of Campylobacter.

The study was led by Helen Brown, a PhD student supervised by Dr Arnoud van Vliet at IFR, which is strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Helen’s PhD studentship is co-funded by an industrial partner, Campden BRI.

The researchers collected the liquids produced from defrosting chickens, and found that this helped Campylobacter attach to surfaces and subsequently form biofilms. Biofilms are specialised structures some bacteria form on surfaces that protect them from threats from the environment.

“We have discovered that this increase in biofilm formation was due to chicken juice coating the surfaces we used with a protein-rich film,” said Helen Brown. “This film then makes it much easier for the Campylobacter bacteria to attach to the surface, and it provides them with an additional rich food source.”

Campylobacter aren’t particularly hardy bacteria, so one area of research has been to understand exactly how they manage to survive outside of their usual habitat, the intestinal tract of poultry. They are sensitive to oxygen, but during biofilm formation the bacteria protect themselves with a layer of slime. This also makes them more resistant to antimicrobials and disinfection treatments

Understanding this and how Campylobacter persists in the food production process will help efforts to reduce the high percentage of chickens that reach consumers contaminated with the bacteria. Although thorough cooking kills off the bacteria, around 500,000 people suffer from Campylobacter food poisoning each year in the UK. Reducing this number, and the amount of infected chicken on supermarket shelves, is now the number one priority of the Food Standards Agency.

“This study highlights the importance of thorough cleaning of food preparation surfaces to limit the potential of bacteria to form biofilms,” said Helen.

 Chicken juice enhances surface attachment and biofilm formation of Campylobacter jejuni


Appl. Environ. Microbiol. November 2014 vol. 80 no. 22 7053-7060

Helen L. Brown, Mark Reuter, Louise J. Salt, Kathryn L. Cross, Roy P. Betts and Arnoud H. M. van Vliet; M. W. Griffiths, Editor


The bacterial pathogen Campylobacter jejuni is primarily transmitted via the consumption of contaminated foodstuffs, especially poultry meat. In food processing environments, C. jejuni is required to survive a multitude of stresses and requires the use of specific survival mechanisms, such as biofilms. An initial step in biofilm formation is bacterial attachment to a surface. Here, we investigated the effects of a chicken meat exudate (chicken juice) on C. jejuni surface attachment and biofilm formation. Supplementation of brucella broth with ≥5% chicken juice resulted in increased biofilm formation on glass, polystyrene, and stainless steel surfaces with four C. jejuni isolates and one C. coli isolate in both microaerobic and aerobic conditions. When incubated with chicken juice, C. jejuni was both able to grow and form biofilms in static cultures in aerobic conditions. Electron microscopy showed that C. jejuni cells were associated with chicken juice particulates attached to the abiotic surface rather than the surface itself. This suggests that chicken juice contributes to C. jejuni biofilm formation by covering and conditioning the abiotic surface and is a source of nutrients. Chicken juice was able to complement the reduction in biofilm formation of an aflagellated mutant of C. jejuni, indicating that chicken juice may support food chain transmission of isolates with lowered motility. We provide here a useful model for studying the interaction of C. jejuni biofilms in food chain-relevant conditions and also show a possible mechanism for C. jejuni cell attachment and biofilm initiation on abiotic surfaces within the food chain. 

Ice for fish used to make juice; restaurants closed in India

Food Safety officials on Sunday closed down three juice shops and a hotel in Kowdiar for unclean conditions and for serving stale food and beverages.

According to the officials, old fruits and ice blocks used earlier for preserving fish were used for making juice.“The fridges and freezers were found to be unclean. The fruits which were many days old had fungus on them. At the hotel, we found rats running around in the kitchen. Also, it did not have proper arrangements for waste disposal,” said an official.

On Saturday evening, an illegal slaughter house in Kunchalumoodu was raided and locked down following reports of veal beef being sold off as mutton. 

Most juice outlets in Kochi function by flouting food safety norms

Locating a juice shop in the city fully complying with the guidelines prescribed by the Commissioner of Food Safety may be a Herculean task this summer.

With shops mushrooming in every nook and cranny in Kochi, Indian Food Safety officials seem groping in the dark on how to curb the violations.

Even though reports on use of contaminated ice have come down gradually, they admitted that the majority of the shops store ice in thermocol boxes against the FRUITS_JUICE-2_1814515fprescribed rules. As per the guidelines, ice should not be stored in polystyrene boxes, but in freezers or ice boxes.

Many juice shop owners now claim that they use water supplied in cans by private manufacturers of bottled drinking water. But there is little check on whether these suppliers meet the safety standards.

Use of low quality milk, especially that brought from outside the State, is also rampant in juice shops offering milk shakes.

The Food Safety Department has no clues on whether the shops were storing milk in freezers well beyond the expiry period.

Power juice: microbial contamination of orange juice squeezed in Spanish bars and restaurants

I’ve always been wary of those fresh squeezed juice places; and those infomercials where all the dirty carrots, oranges, apples and anything else are tossed in for power juice.

Scientists from the University of Valencia in Spain analyzed 190 fresh orange juice squeezed by machines in catering establishments and found that 43% of samples exceeded the acceptable level of enterobacteriaceae, 12% exceeded mesophilic aerobic microorganism levels, Staphylococcus aureus was found in 1% of samples, and salmonella was found in 0.5% of samples.

Isabel Sospedra, one of the authors of the study appearing in Food Control, warns that, "generally a percentage of oranges juice is consumed immediately after squeezing but, as in many cases, it is kept unprotected in stainless steel jugs."

The scientists found that some juices that were kept in metal jugs presented "unacceptable" levels of enterobacteriaceae in 81% of cases and in 13% of cases with regards to mesophilic aerobic bacteria. However, when the freshly squeezed juice is served in a glass, these percentages fall to 22% and 2% respectively.

“It must also be borne in mind that juicers and juicing machines have a large surface area and lots of holes and cavities. This promotes microbial contamination, which is picked up by the juice as it is being prepared."

The researchers recommend that oranges are handled correctly, that juicers are washed properly and that the orange juice is served immediately rather than being stored in metal jugs.

In 2009, Spaniards drank 138 million litres of orange juice (according to data provided by the Spanish Ministry of the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs), 40% of which was freshly squeezed and consumed in catering establishments.

A table of juice-related outbreaks is available at

Sospedra, J. Rubert, J.M. Soriano, J. Mañes. "Incidence of microorganisms from fresh orange juice processed by squeezing machines". Food Control 23 (1): 282-285, 2012 (ya disponible on line).

Food poison risk from poultry packaging

Food safety types in Birmingham, U.K. have found that 40 per cent of all plastic packaging containing chicken in Birmingham contained food poisoning bacteria.

In a survey of 20 supermarkets, convenience stores and butcher’s shops throughout the city, food safety officials found that eight were contaminated on the outside of the packet.

They also found seven chickens were contaminated inside the wrapping, while one tested positive for salmonella. There was no link between those infected inside and outside the packaging.

Team manager Nick Lowe said, “Our message to consumers is that handling the packaging should be regarded as just as likely to cause food poisoning and touching the raw meat.”

Once handled in a supermarket the bacteria can be passed on through trolley handles, shopping bags and transferred to other foods. In one supermarket a pool of juice collected on the chiller shelf was also contaminated.

Food industry not acting on problems ‘very common’ – prof

With economic pressures, more food safety stuff gets farmed out to others.

Whether enough food safety expertise remains in the company selling the product is questionable.

Canwest News Service reported the DeGroot children, Johnny, now 9, and sister Jessica, 6, of Waterford, Ontario, are still battling parasites the family believes are linked to juice they consumed.

More than 100,000 Strawberry Kiwi Dole juice boxes were eventually destroyed last year following a government investigation showing a container-integrity problem with the boxes during distribution. Weakened boxes can become bloated and leaky, making them magnets for bacteria and yeast.

Newly released internal documents from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency about the affair reveal a food-safety system far from perfect, where flags during distribution might not have come to light had it not been for one determined family.

And a leading food-science expert who reviewed the agency’s final report into the matter says the case demonstrates an ongoing problem in the food industry.

University of Guelph food science professor Keith Warriner said,

"It was obvious to me that what they actually have, on paper, a system in place to detect the quality control of packaging, but they didn’t actually practise what they preached. . . . It was more a case of the company, when a defect did occur, not acting upon it. That’s very common in the food industry. … A lot of companies are subcontracting. Economically, it makes sense because if you subcontract, you don’t have to pay for facilities. But if you haven’t got control, it can literally collapse an organization so you’ve got to be careful.”

Whole Foods bragging about raw milk in Pennsylvania; this will be handy in the next lawsuit when someone gets sick

Whole Foods Market has terrible food safety advice, blames consumers for getting sick, sells raw milk in some stores, offers up fairytales about organic and natural foods, and their own CEO says they sell a bunch of junk.

This afternoon, the Whole Foods blog offers up, The Family Cow – Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, a heartwarming tale of nostalgic and scientific BS about the alleged virtues of raw milk.

“The Family Cow’s fresh raw milk is not processed in any way, making it truly a whole food, alive with natural enzymes, immunity building probiotic bacteria and bursting with full-bodied flavor.”

Check it out for yourself.

Chapman says amateurs shouldn’t cook on Thanksgiving

The idea of Chapman calling others amateurs is amusing.

P.J. O’Rourke wrote a National Lampoon column about how amateur drunks throw up on other people’s shoes. In Champan’s case, it would be other people’s rose bushes. That’s us, in 2000, at my house in Guelph. He barfed in the bushes.

But Chapman, food safety specialist and assistant professor of food science at North Carolina State University, did get quoted by a paper in Nebraska today saying,

"The biggest risk comes from undercooking. Color is not an indicator of safety or doneness. We see suggestions in recipes about making sure ‘the juices run clear’ but that’s a myth. You also have to worry about cross-contamination — which can happen when countertops, sinks or utensils aren’t being cleaned properly between use with raw meats and other foods."

And this was Chapman last weekend tailgating at the Kansas State football game. We left early because he had digestive upsets. Amateur.