CDC: Multistate outbreak of human Salmonella Heidelberg infections linked to kosher broiled chicken livers from Schreiber Processing

 How the hell would I know?

According to CDC, those kosher broiled chicken livers appear to be ready-to-eat, but are in fact partially cooked, and therefore need to be fully cooked before eating. Consumers may have incorrectly thought the use of the word “broiled” in the label meant the chicken liver was ready-to-eat; however, these chicken livers must be fully cooked before eating.

That’s the most salient point of the CDC’s investigation into how 169 people got sick from salmonella in chicken liver thingies.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is collaborating with public health and agriculture officials in New York, New Jersey, other states, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to investigate a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg infections linked to a kosher chicken liver product labeled as “kosher broiled chicken livers,” which is not ready-to-eat and requires further cooking before eating.

Public health investigators are using DNA fingerprints of salmonella bacteria obtained through diagnostic testing with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) to identify cases of illness that may be part of this outbreak. They are using data from PulseNet, the national subtyping network made up of state and local public health laboratories and federal food regulatory laboratories that performs molecular surveillance of foodborne infections. Because the Salmonella Heidelberg PFGE pattern associated with this outbreak commonly occurs in the United States, some of the cases with this pattern may not be related to this outbreak. Based on the previous 5 years of reports to PulseNet, approximately 30-40 cases with the outbreak strain would be expected to be reported per month in the United States. The outbreak strain is different from another strain of Salmonella Heidelberg associated with ground turkey recalled earlier this year.

In August 2011, CDC identified a sustained increase in the number of Salmonella Heidelberg isolates with the outbreak strain reported to PulseNet from New York and New Jersey. From April 1 to November 4, 2011, a total of 157 illnesses were reported in New York (93 cases) and New Jersey (64 cases). Based on the previous 5 years of reports to PulseNet, New York and New Jersey would expect approximately 5 cases per month, but in June through August 2011, these states experienced approximately 30-40 cases a month. No significant increase in the number of illnesses above baseline was identified in other areas in the United States during this period.

Among persons for whom information is available in New York and New Jersey, illnesses began on or after March 13, 2011. Ill persons range in age from <1 to 97 years with a median age of 10 years. Fifty-two percent are female. Among the 125 ill persons with available information, 21 (17%) have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Epidemiologic and laboratory investigations conducted by officials in local, state, and federal public health, agriculture, and regulatory agencies linked this outbreak to eating “kosher broiled chicken livers” from Schreiber Processing Corporation (doing business as Alle Processing Corporation/MealMart Company), and chopped chicken liver prepared from this product. These “kosher broiled chicken livers” are sold at retail stores and may be used as an ingredient in other prepared foods. These products appear to be ready-to-eat, but are in fact partially cooked, and therefore need to be fully cooked before eating. Consumers may have incorrectly thought the use of the word “broiled” in the label meant the chicken liver was ready-to-eat; however, these chicken livers must be fully cooked before eating. Alle Processing Corporation/MealMart Company is cooperating in the on-going investigation.

Among 30 ill persons for whom information is available, 22 (73%) reported consuming chicken liver products in the week before their illness began. Laboratory testing conducted by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Laboratory Division identified the outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg in samples of “kosher broiled chicken livers” and chopped liver products obtained from retail stores.

Sale of expired baby food investigated after Canadian infant falls ill

American retailer, Target, is moving into Canada, taking over a bunch of Zellers stores, which were bought by the original Hudson Bay Company in 1978 – Canada, beaver, pelts, etc.

Maybe Target can get the dates right on the babyfood it sells.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has investigated a reported case of food poisoning after an infant was fed baby food — sold by a retailer more than nine months after it had expired.

Kitchener, Ontario, mother Melodie White filed a complaint with the federal food watchdog and the local public health unit after her six-month-old son, Gabriel, became sick over the May long weekend.

She bought several cans of baby food at the Zellers store in the Laurentian Power Center a few weeks ago without realizing they had expired last summer. White became alarmed after she fed the food to her son and he developed a fever and diarrhea, she said.

Her son was sick for about four days, she said.

To back up her claims, White returned to the same store and bought another six cans, all expired. Then she called the store to complain.

The store removed the expired baby food after being made aware of the problem. Inspectors from both the Region of Waterloo Public Health and the inspection agency also visited the Zellers store to make sure the expired baby food was off the shelves.

Has the iPhone changed the way people poop?

Old question. I don’t need no stinkin’ iPhone, I haul my 17-inch MacBook Pro computer to the bathroom, as some started football quests observed on Sunday. Been doing it for a decade (thank you, wireless).

When Chapman first got a blackberry in 2005, he e-mailed me and proudly proclaimed, “I’m in the bathroom” (but not exactly like that).

A new study reveals that 27 per cent of Americans use their mobile devices to check Facebook while in the bathroom.

One commentator wrote, “Some people engage in personal reflection, others scribble on walls and some like to look at pictures of ex-girlfriends and wonder how things could have been. I say good for them. Enjoy your Poopbook.”

Me, I’m a bigger fan of clean sheets and working in bed.

As noted by Canadian comedy troupe Kids in the Hall long before these mobile devices became widely available (like the landline phones by the toilets in fancy hotel rooms) there’s nothing like clean sheets, a mug of cold beer on a hot day, and a good dump in the morning. These are some of life’s greatest contemplative moments and should be used to check e-mail. Or improve your putting. Whatever, just wash your damn hands.

Flying Pig, Cheeky Monkey porn in food trucks

The proliferation of food trucks in urban centers must be real because now there is a pornographic movie set in a food truck – literally.

However a legal dispute has developed between The Flying Pig catering truck and Metro Movies, which produced the flick under the name Cheeky Monkey, Inc., with allegations the Pig didn’t know it was a porn shoot, while the Monkey says, “the owner watched the DVD and raved about what he saw … saying in a letter, "SEX + FOOD + FUN = well, just about all my favorite things! A 10 for sure."

The porn company says they have no plans to stop the release of the film — as Flying Pig demanded — because the truck people knew exactly what they were getting into.

I will review the film for food safety infractions.

How not to handle foodborne illness: ‘put an adult diaper and get back to work’

Food service employees working while sick is a recurring theme in restaurant-related outbreaks.

Add this scenario:

An outbreak of diarrhea has decimated the staff of a Tex-Mex restaurant and Godfrey the manager, is on the phone imploring a staff member to come in anyway, even if that means wearing an adult diaper.

“Astronauts wear them. Do you think you’re better than an astronaut?”

The scene is from an upcoming Canadian movie called Servitude, and like the best comedy, has an element of truth.

Godrey is being played by Kids in the Hall/News Radio alumnus, Dave Foley. He’s one of the French fur trappers in the bit below.

Nosestretcher alert: CBC (that’s in Canada) sucks at food safety info

I was on a trip with some Kansas Staters earlier this week, and at a dinner, one of them started talking about a report he’d heard on NPR (National Public Radio) earlier that week.

I said, “State-sponsored jazz.”

He looked at me like I was special, because, how hard is it to repeat lines from the Colbert Report.

Satire, like the Intertubes, is lost on some people.

The Vancouver television section of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) ran a bunch of food safety stories in the run-up to Canadian Thanksgiving on Oct. 11, 2010. An astute reader e-mailed me to say, “You may want to check out their ‘food-safety facts.’” I have no idea where these alleged facts came from, but the BS highlights include:

2. "Pot luck meals are responsible for a large amount of food poisonings. They are usually caused by poor food temperature controls in egg or meat products."

4. "Harmful bacteria does not stop multiplying unless refrigerated below 5 degrees. However, most refrigerators are not capable of this temperature."

7. "Do not eat foods directly from a jar or can. Saliva can contaminate the contents inside."

8. "Peanut butter needs to be stored in a refrigerator after opening to prevent the fats from going rancid.”

None of these facts are substantiated, and there is plenty of available evidence to counter these claims. As the reader points out, nothing is mentioned about cross-contamination or handwashing.

Hate is a strong word, but I hate jazz. Especially state-sponsored jazz. And terrible taxpayer-funded news.

Food safety surveys are like jazz – they both suck

National Public Radio took a break yesterday from seeking out the nation’s most inaccessible jazz (see Colbert, below) to report that Americans worry about the safety of the food supply.

According to a national survey conducted for NPR by Thomson Reuters and released today, 61 per cent are concerned about contamination of the food supply. Most of them — 51 per cent — worry most about meat.

In our Thompson Reuters survey, more people said food companies should improve their quality control systems, rather than calling for more inspections, oversight or stiffer penalties.

Consumers Union, which did its own survey recently, asked 1,000 people whether Congress should pass a law to give the Food and Drug Administration the power to force food companies to recall tainted products; 80 per cent said yes.

Food safety surveys suck.

And now back to hateful, free-form jazz.

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The beard stays, you go; gastrointestinal anthrax after an animal-hide drumming event — New Hampshire and Massachusetts, 2009

We often host drum circles out on the large lawn where we beat on large animal hides and get into touch with our inner obscure jazz that NPR helps us find. Or Phish live albums.

Or not.

On December 24, 2009, a woman aged 24 years from New Hampshire was confirmed to have gastrointestinal anthrax on the basis of clinical findings and a Bacillus anthracis blood culture isolate. Her symptoms began on December 5.

One day before symptom onset, she had participated in a drumming event at a community organization’s building where animal-hide drums of multiple ages and origins were played. This report describes the case and subsequent investigation, which identified 84 persons potentially exposed to anthrax, including those persons at the drumming event and those who lived or worked at the event site. Review of New Hampshire disease surveillance data and clinical microbiology records for periods before and after the event identified no additional anthrax cases. Initial qualitative environmental testing of the event site yielded three positive samples (two from drum heads and one composite sample of three electrical outlets in the main drumming room). Wider, targeted, semi-quantitative environmental testing of the site and additional drums yielded six positive samples (two from one drum and four from environmental locations in the building).

These results suggested that aerosolization of spores from drumheads had occurred. All isolates obtained from environmental and drum samples matched the patient’s isolate by multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis using eight loci (MLVA-8). Public health agencies and persons with exposure to animal-hide drums should be aware of the potential, although remote, risk for anthrax exposure associated with these drums.

A total of 72 persons attended the December 4 event, and a total of 59 drums were present, including 17 drums that participants brought from home. Volunteers set up drums and prepared a vegetarian meal; participants ate dinner in the main drumming room (Figure) before beginning the drumming circle, which lasted 2 hours.

UK chef kills swan to answer question: do all swans belong to the Queen?

That Mother’s Day goose I made? It was awful. And wildly over-priced. I won’t be doing that again anytime soon. Although I have gotten much better at bread making thanks to some personalized tips from Chef Bryan.

The U.K. Telegraph reports that a chef has appeared in court charged with killing and cooking a swan in a case set to test the ancient law that all 30,000 wild swans in Britain belong to the Queen (right, not exactly as shown).

Mohammed Miah, 29, of Bedford, was allegedly found with blood and feathers on his hands, while the carcass of the bird was found in a black bin bag.

Miah was charged after an investigation by police and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

He is accused of stealing the swan from the Crown and killing it in Bedford during the early hours of May 10.

Simon Cocksedge, defending, at Bedford Magistrates Court asked for the case to be adjourned for time to research the law relating to swans.

14 confirmed sick with Salmonella from London kebab shop; 41 suspected sick, including kids

London Informer reports that health officials are investigating an outbreak of Salmonella poisoning linked to a Hammersmith and Fulham kebab shop which has left at least 41 people ill.

Of those 14 people have been confirmed as suffering from the potentially deadly infection.

Investigators from the North West London Health Protection Unit (HPA) are tracing the source of the infection and after early enquiries the Shahi Nan Kebab house in Uxbridge Road has voluntarily closed its doors.

Unfortunately, and no disrespect to the victims of either foodborne illness or choking on food, I can’t help but continue with the Kids in the Hall theme because it’s all I think of when I hear the word, kebab.