Martin Elvery of Get West London reports that rat droppings hanging from the ceilings of rooms where fruit and vegetables were stored, products being repackaged and sold after being gnawed by mice and a cement mixer allegedly being used to mix marinated chicken are just some of the horrors Ealing’s food safety officers have uncovered over the past year.
The council carries out thorough, regular checks of all premises serving and selling food in the borough which are categorised for their level of risk on a sliding scale of A to E.
Whilst the vast majority – 82% this year – complied fully with food standards, they have had to take swift action to deal with a few. A report summarising them was presented to the council’s general purpose committee on Tuesday, June 26.
When officers visited food store rooms used to keep fruit and vegetables based at a store in The Green, in Southall, they were found to be riddled with rat droppings.
The report states rat and mouse droppings were found throughout at wall and floor junctions, and on high level shelving. They were also found hanging from the ceiling and on the door leading to the rear store room.
Peter Andrey Smith of the New York Times writes that on a recent trip, Cliff Kapono hit some of the more popular surf breaks in Ireland, England and Morocco. He’s proudly Native Hawaiian and no stranger to the hunt for the perfect wave. But this time he was chasing something even more unusual: microbial swabs from fellow surfers.
Mr. Kapono, a 29-year-old biochemist earning his doctorate at the University of California, San Diego, heads up the Surfer Biome Project, a unique effort to determine whether routine exposure to the ocean alters the microbial communities of the body, and whether those alterations might have consequences for surfers — and for the rest of us.
Mr. Kapono has collected more than 500 samples by rubbing cotton-tipped swabs over the heads, mouths, navels and other parts of surfers’ bodies, as well as their boards. Volunteers also donate a fecal sample.
He uses mass spectrometry to create high-resolution maps of the chemical metabolites found in each sample. “We have the ability to see the molecular world, whether it’s bacteria or a fungus or the chemical molecules,” he said.
Then, working in collaboration with U.C.S.D.’s Center for Microbiome Innovation — a quick jaunt across the quad from his lab — Mr. Kapono and his colleagues sequence and map the microbes found on this unusually amphibious demographic.
He and his colleagues are looking for signs of antibiotic-resistant organisms. Part of their aim is to determine whether, and to what extent, the ocean spreads the genes for resistance.
Many antibiotics used today derive from chemicals produced by microbes to defend themselves or to attack other microorganisms. No surprise, then, that strains of competing bacteria have also evolved the genetic means to shrug off these chemicals.
While drug resistance comes about because of antibiotic overuse, the genes responsible for creating resistance are widely disseminated in nature and have been evolving in microbes for eons. Startlingly, that means genes giving rise to drug resistance can be found in places untouched by modern antibiotics.
Several years ago, researchers identified antibiotic-resistant genes in a sample of ancient permafrost from Nunavut, in the Canadian Arctic. William Hanage, an epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health, was among those showing that these genes conferred a resistance to amikacin, a semi-synthetic drug that did not exist before the 1970s.
“There was a gene that encoded resistance to it in something that was alive 6,000 years ago,” he said in an interview.
Another group led by Hazel Barton, a microbiologist at the University of Akron, discovered microorganisms harboring antibiotic-resistance genes in the Lechuguilla Cave in New Mexico. These bacteria, called Paenibacillus sp. LC231, have been isolated from Earth’s surface for four million years, yet testing showed they were capable of fending off 26 of 40 modern antibiotics.
It’s all cool research, but all I could think of was Celebrity, a skit by The Kids in the Hall.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that in January 2006, Nestle also rejected the company’s Plainview, Texas, plant after finding dozens of dead mice rotting in and around the plant, dead pigeons near a peanut receiving door and live birds roosting inside the plant.
Congressional types also heard that auditors AIB — also known as the American Institute of Baking based in Manhattan (sigh, Kansas) — were hired and paid by Peanut Corp. of America, notified the company in advance when they were coming, how to prepare for inspections and then gave its plants glowing reviews.
An inspector with AIB wrote to the manager of Peanut Corp.’s Blakely, Ga., in a December 2008 e-mail produced by the committee, “You lucky guy. I am your AIB auditor. So we need to get your plant set up for any audit.”
Mackay told the committee a version of, “how the hell could we know?” and that AIB is the most commonly used inspector by food companies in America.
He also wanted food safety placed under a new leader in the Health and Human Services department, called for new requirements that all food companies have written safety plans, annual federal inspections of facilities that make high-risk foods, and other reforms.
Kellogg’s is a multi-billion dollar company asking for a government handout to do what Kellogg’s should be doing – selling a safe product. Kellogg’s helped create the paper albatross that is third-party audits instead of having its own people at plants that supply product which Kellogg’s resells at a substantial profit. Kellogg’s crapmeister told Washington how to strengthen food safety when he couldn’t keep shit out of his own company’s peanut cracker thingies.
This is a company founded on fairytales and colonic cleansing in Michigan, making its money selling sugar-sweetened treats to kids and their parents, and using a sliver of those profits to sanctimoniously fund so-called research and training, using Michigan State University as their willing vessel.
With this background, it’s not surprising that, as reported by Dan Flynn of Food Safety News, that, “In mid-2007, Michael collaborated with his brother, Stewart Parnell, who was the President and CEO of Peanut Corporation of America, a peanut processing and manufacturing company, to provide peanut paste to Kellogg.”
P.P sales “was a small operation with two tanker trucks and one customer: Kellogg Company.
From mid-2007 to 2008, Michael shipped peanut paste from PCA’s Blakely, Georgia plant (PCA Blakely) to a Kellogg production facility in Cary, North Carolina.”
P.P.’s tanker trucks, filled with peanut paste, during those months were making 1,200 round-trips to provide the product Kellogg’s needed to put a little dab of peanut paste on all those Keebler PB sandwich crackers.
When anyone from Kelloggs talks about food safety, have a chuckle and move on; or tell them what dickshits they are and how they know nothing about food safety.
Audits and inspections are never enough: A critique to enhance food safety
D.A. Powell, S. Erdozain, C. Dodd, R. Costa, K. Morley, B.J. Chapman
Internal and external food safety audits are conducted to assess the safety and quality of food including on-farm production, manufacturing practices, sanitation, and hygiene. Some auditors are direct stakeholders that are employed by food establishments to conduct internal audits, while other auditors may represent the interests of a second-party purchaser or a third-party auditing agency. Some buyers conduct their own audits or additional testing, while some buyers trust the results of third-party audits or inspections. Third-party auditors, however, use various food safety audit standards and most do not have a vested interest in the products being sold. Audits are conducted under a proprietary standard, while food safety inspections are generally conducted within a legal framework. There have been many foodborne illness outbreaks linked to food processors that have passed third-party audits and inspections, raising questions about the utility of both. Supporters argue third-party audits are a way to ensure food safety in an era of dwindling economic resources. Critics contend that while external audits and inspections can be a valuable tool to help ensure safe food, such activities represent only a snapshot in time. This paper identifies limitations of food safety inspections and audits and provides recommendations for strengthening the system, based on developing a strong food safety culture, including risk-based verification steps, throughout the food safety system.
The attack began Sunday evening at the bohemian Kiwi Cafe a popular spot for foreigners and Georgians alike – when, witnesses say, more than a dozen men carrying slabs of meat on skewers suddenly showed up and began pelting patrons with grilled meat, sausages and fish.
Witnesses writing on social media said that customers at the cafe, who were watching an animated science fiction sitcom called Rick and Morty, felt intimidated by the men, who refused to leave. The cafe referred to the attackers, some of whom wore sausages around their necks, as anti-vegan “extremists.”
“A group of people who prepared an anti-vegan provocative action, entered and started to be violent,” said a post on the cafe’s Facebook page. “They pulled out some grilled meat, sausages, fish and started eating them and throwing them at us, and finally they started to smoke.” It added, “They were just trying to provoke our friends and disrespect us.”
The cafe said that it called police, but that the assailants fled and no one was arrested.
Who is behind the attacks remains unclear, and analysts cautioned it was too early to say whether the incident was a violent prank, a revolt against veganism or part of a nationalist attack against the freewheeling Western liberal values epitomised by the cafe.
But the cafe said in a statement that the same group of men had come to the neighbourhood last month at night and asked a “friend in the next shop” if members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender community hung out at the cafe.
That has led some analysts to suggest that the attack should be seen against the backdrop of a continuing cultural battle as the country, a former Soviet republic long pulled between East and West, seeks to draw closer to the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, even as some conservative forces push back at perceived encroaching liberalism.
Chinese officials, visiting plants in Europe ahead of the country’s new food safety law coming into force on May 1, reportedly complained about maintenance, raw milk transport temperatures, chemical storage and air sanitization, insisting that all UK dairies exporting cheese to China must now pass council inspections before the restriction is lifted.
However, it has emerged that the unnamed dairy visited does not even supply cheese to the country.
George Eustice, UK farming minister, said: “British cheese is the best in the world and produced to the highest safety and quality standards so it is disappointing that China have put a temporary block on cheese imports.”
I don’t know Kevin McDonald but I’ve laughed with him for 20 years as one of the founders of the popular Canadian comedy troupe, Kids in the Hall.
I also regularly insert his videos into barfblog.com, and say catchlines to Amy like, How the Hell Could I Know, or I Can’t Help Blaming Myself, but I Also Can’t Help Not Caring, Slipped My Mind, and There’s Nothing Like Clean Sheets (and a rock hard alibi).
So who knew I’d have a grad student that knew Kevin.
But this is really about that graduate student, Rob Mancini, who got his research published.
It’s not a TV show, but for science nerds, it’s the credibility that counts.
New methods of food safety training need to be developed and health inspections do help correct unsafe food preparation practices, according to new research from Kansas State University.
Rob Mancini, a MS graduate of Kansas State and a health inspector with the Manitoba Department of Health, led a study of how to improve food safety at Folklorama in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, a 14-day temporary food service event that explores the many different cultural realms of food, food preparation, and entertainment.
The results were published in the Oct. issue of the Journal of Food Protection.
In 2010, the Russian pavilion at Folklorama was implicated in a foodborne outbreak of Escherichia coli O157 that caused 37 illnesses and 18 hospitalizations. The ethnic nature and diversity of foods prepared within each pavilion presents a unique problem for food inspectors, as each culture prepares food in their own unique way.
The Manitoba Department of Health and Folklorama Board of Directors realized a need to implement a food safety information delivery program that would be more effective than a 2-h food safety course delivered via PowerPoint slides. The food operators and event coordinators of five randomly chosen pavilions selling potentially hazardous food were trained on-site, in their work environment, focusing on critical control points specific to their menu. A control group (five pavilions) did not receive on-site food safety training and were assessed concurrently. Public health inspections for all 10 pavilions were performed by Certified Public Health Inspectors employed with Manitoba Health. Critical infractions were assessed by means of standardized food protection inspection reports.
The results suggested no statistically significant difference in food inspection scores between the trained and control groups. However, it was found that inspection report results increased for both the control and trained groups from the first inspection to the second, implying that public health inspections are necessary in correcting unsafe food safety practices. The results further show that in this case, the 2 hour food safety course delivered via slides was sufficient to pass public health inspections. Further evaluations of alternative food safety training approaches are warranted.
“Rob was an outstanding graduate student and his research highlights the value of reality research,” said supervisor Dr. Douglas Powell, a professor of food safety in the Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology at Kansas State University. “The research was done in the field, Rob took all his courses by distance, but we communicated regularly using electronic tools.
Other authors include Dr. Leigh Murray of the Dept. of Statistics at Kansas State, and Dr. Ben Chapman, an assistant professor at North Carolina State University.
As of Friday, they had not found a specific food source, said Shaylene Baumbach, a public health educator for Olmsted County. They are investigating the possibility that a Denny’s Restaurant patron or employee brought in the foodborne illness.
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."