Texas vet who killed cat with arrow, posed for photo can’t practice for 1 year, board decides

I slept with a veterinarian for 18 years.

We have four beautiful daughters who are all exploring the world in their own way.

vet-cat-arrowI also have no doubt she would kill a cat for practicality.

Me and my dairy farmer friend Jim are all for that.

But I often lay in bed, wondering, if she could castrate cats at the kitchen table, what fate might befall me?

“Some will rob you with a six-gun,

And some with a fountain pen.”

 The Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners ruled Tuesday that Kristen Lindsey, the veterinarian who posted a photo of a dead tabby cat named Tiger with an arrow through its head on her Facebook last year, will have her license suspended for one year where she will not be able to practice.

After, she will be able to practice under conditions of probation for four years.

Tuesday’s hearing was the last in a string of debates on what action to take, if any, against Lindsey, after her photo incited international uproar from animal activists.

Lindsey, a veterinarian since 2012, was fired from her position at the Washington Animal Clinic in Brenham and put under investigation by the Austin County Sheriff’s Office last April after she posted a photo holding a dead tabby cat named “Tiger” with a arrow through its head with a caption reading:

“My first bow kill, lol. The only good feral tomcat is one with an arrow through it’s (sic) head! Vet of the year award… gladly accepted.”

The clinic that fired Lindsey, 33, released a statement shortly after that saying: “We are absolutely appalled, shocked, upset, and disgusted by the conduct.”

Yup, that fits with the vet I used to sleep with.

UK woman killed by campylobacter

A woman from York has died from food poisoning after doctors battled in vain to save her life.

Retired bank clerk Lynn Welsh, 57, fell ill with sickness and diarrhea over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Her husband Mike said today they thought at first it was just a run-of-the-mill stomach upset and waited for it to run its course.

But over the following few days, Lynn felt no better and went to see her doctor, who arranged for tests to be carried out.

The results came back showing she was suffering from food poisoning, probably caused by chicken, and she was prescribed antibiotics.

But a fortnight ago, her condition worsened. Mr Welsh called 999 and she was taken by ambulance to A&E at York Hospital.

Doctors there said her kidneys had failed because of the bug, and she was placed in intensive care and given dialysis.

However, over subsequent days, her other organs began to fail, and she died on Thursday, September 16.

An inquest into her death opened yesterday and was adjourned.

Listeria in cheese from Austria killed six last year

Austria’s health ministry says contaminated cheese has killed six people.

The ministry said the deaths – four in Austria and two in Germany – occurred last year and were caused by listeria, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems.

The ministry said the four Austrians who died were senior citizens.

The contaminated cheese was made in the southern province of Styria by Prolactal.

It issued a recall last month and said it had halted production until the case is cleared up.

In 2009, Austria recorded 45 listeria infections that led to a total of 11 deaths.

Killing 99.9 per cent of bad bugs is great advertizing but may be meaningless

Food is 21st century snake oil. In an era of unprecedented affluence, consumers now choose among a cacophony of low fat, enhanced nutrient staples reflecting a range of political statements and perceived lifestyle preferences, far beyond dolphin free tuna.

In fall 2000, I contacted Procter & Gamble to ask for the data substantiating the claim that Fit would eliminate 99.9 per cent of bacteria on fresh produce,

After a bunch of calls to various PR types I got hooked up with some scientists at P&G in Cincinnati, who verbally told me that sample cucumbers, tomatoes and the like were grown on the same farm in California, sprayed with chemicals that would be used in conventional production, and then harvested immediately and washed with Fit or water. The Fit removed 99.9 per cent more, or so the company claimed, because no data was ever forthcoming.??????

One problem. Many of the chemicals used have harvest after dates, such as the one tomato chemical that must be applied at least 20 days before harvest. Residue data on produce in Canadian stores reveals extremely low levels, in the parts per million or billion. So that 99.9% reduction is really buying consumers an extra couple of zeros in the residue quantity, all well below health limits.

The Wall Street Journal picks up on this theme today
, stating that everything from hand-sanitizing liquids to products like computer keyboards, shopping carts and tissues tout that they kill 99.9%, or 99.99%, of common bacteria and fungi.

But some of these numbers look like the test scores in a class with a very generous grading curve. They often don’t include all pesky germs, and are based on laboratory tests that don’t represent the imperfections of real-world use.

Human subjects, or countertops, in labs are cleaned first, then covered on the surface with a target bug. That is a far cry from a typical kitchen or a pair of grimy hands.

"The 99.99% message is more powerful among consumers than ‘antibacterial’ or ‘germ kill’ alone," Maria Lovera, senior brand manager of skin care for Playtex Products Inc., maker of Wet Ones antibacterial wipes, wrote in an email.
In a study soon to be published, University of New Mexico biochemist Laurence Cole found that in two of three brands’ home-pregnancy tests, fewer than two-thirds of pregnancies among women who had missed their periods were detected.

To cite a 99.9% fatality rate, manufacturers don’t have to kill 99.9% of all known bugs. Regulations don’t require them to disclose which bugs they exterminate, just that the products are effective against a representative sample of microbes. For instance, many products can’t kill Clostridium difficile, a gastrointestinal scourge, or the hepatitis A virus, which inflames the liver. Yet by killing other, more common bugs, they can claim 99.9% effectiveness.

E. coli claims second child in Kansas

A Chase County boy is one of two young Kansas children who died within the past several days from E. coli infection, although the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said the deaths are unrelated and were caused by different E. coli serotypes.

Funeral arrangements were being made today for Brant Burton, 4, who died Sunday in Wesley Regional Medical Center in Wichita.

An 18-month-old from Liberal, Tanner Strickland, reportedly died Wednesday in Wesley. Tanner’s brother remains in Wesley in stable condition with the same illness.

Fifty-two cases of E-coli were reported to KDHE in 2007; 33 were caused by E-coli O157:H7. Kansas’ three-year median for 2004-2006 was 48 cases. The highest rate of disease (8.8 per 100,000) was reported among children aged less than five years.

Maple Leaf says listeria happens; Carl says, stop whining

Michael McCain, president of Maple Leaf Foods, told a press conference yesterday that continuing to find listeria in the plant responsible for producing luncheon meats that have killed 26 and sickened 63 in Canada was no biggie.

“To suggest a shock at a positive environmental test is at best misguided and at worst fear mongering.”

As Toronto’s Globe and Mail reported this morning,

When the company’s deli meats were first linked to an outbreak of the food-borne disease known as listeriosis last August, it was a humble Mr. McCain who stood before television cameras and reporters and apologized.

Yesterday, by contrast, he defiantly reproached those who have criticized Canada’s food-safety watchdog, including the media, accusing them of undermining the public’s confidence in the system and of potentially jeopardizing thousands of jobs.

“There’s been a lot of criticism of the [Canadian Food Inspection Agency] in recent weeks,” he said. “While there’s likely lots of blame to go around, I personally see no balance in the reporting.” …

He said it is unrealistic for the public to have zero tolerance for the bacteria because it is everywhere in the environment.

“Frankly, if that was the tolerance level of Canadians, then Canadians would starve. They wouldn’t eat.”

Mr. McCain, this isn’t gotcha journalism and you’re not Sarah Palin. Yes, you have finally released some test results — four out of 3,850 product samples and one environmental sample out of 671 tested positive for listeria in product that was never released to the public – but you refuse to release results prior to public notification of the outbreak.

Yes, this is the most scrutinized plant in North America. Apparently more inspectors, even with listeria goggles, won’t make the listeria go away. The political opportunism being practiced by the inspector’s union and various parties falling over themselves to promise the hiring of more inspectors in the lead-up to Canada’s federal election on Tuesday is breathtakingly offensive to the sick and dead – I think I just threw up a bit in my mouth.

And yes, the risk is small — Mansel Griffiths, an adviser to Maple Leaf, said the tiny fraction of products that tested positive, 0.1 per cent, was in the range that would be found in deli meats for sale in Canada, ranging from 0.1 to .03 per cent – but I’m sure glad you’re not advising pregnant women, like my wife, who are 20 times more susceptible to infection with listeria – a bug that has a 20-30 per cent kill rate.

Now that Mr. McCain is a listeria expert, telling Canadians to get over it, listeria happens, I wonder why he never issued such a warning about the risk of listeria in his products before 26 were killed. Would he serve cold cuts to the elderly in nursing homes where many of the 20 confirmed deaths occurred? What would he recommend to one of his pregnant family members? That listeria happens?

In response to the initial coverage of Mr. McCain’s statements yesterday, Carl, a former USDA guru e-mailed me, stating,

“Ummm, maybe someone ought to point McCain to Nebraska’s series of webinars. It’ll take more than the webinars but it could be a start. Eliminating listeriae in plants has been done but it takes effort and diligence not just whining.”

Here’s the info for the latest listeria webinar from Nebraska.

Free Web Seminars on Controlling Listeria monocytogenes on Ready-to-Eat Meat and Poultry Products and in the RTE Processing Environment

The Listeria monocytogenes is a foodborne pathogen and is most often transmitted through ready-to-eat (RTE) foods products contaminated with this pathogen. People at most risk for illness and infection due to this pathogen are young, elderly and those will weakened immune systems such as the immuno-compromised.

The USDA-FSIS requires the Ready-to-Eat (RTE) meat and poultry processors to control Listeria monocytogenes in the environment and on their products. The web-seminar is designed to help small and very small RTE meat and poultry businesses to address Listeria in their RTE environment and ways to reduce the Listeria risk in their products. The web-seminar is designed to update you and provide you an opportunity to ask questions and get answers from the experts.

The University of Nebraska along with its collaborating partners, Colorado State University, Cornell University, Kansas State University and The Ohio State University is conducting a series of free web seminars to inform and educate the RTE meat and poultry processors on various aspects of controlling the organism in the RTE processing environment and on the product. This web seminar series is funded through a grant from the National Integrated Food Safety Initiative (Special Emphasis Grant No. 2005-511110-03278) of the CSREES, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The next session is scheduled for Oct 15, 2008 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM (CST). Those interested can participate in these free web seminars by logging in at the following website:

http://connect.extension.iastate.edu/nebraska/ ??????

To receive notifications and presentation materials ahead of the web seminar, please register by sending an e-mail to Nina Murray at nmurray2@unl.edu with your name and e-mail. ??????

Topic:         L. monocytogenes Control Strategies: Quality Effects on RTE Meat Products ???Speaker:         Dr. Dennis Burson, University of Nebraska ??????

Dr. Dennis Burson is a Professor of meat science in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He also serves as the Extension meat specialist for the state of Nebraska and assists the meat, poultry and egg industry with outreach activities. He received his B.S. degree from University of Nebraska and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Kansas State University.  His outreach focus is on improving quality, consistency and value of market animals, value addition and processing of meat products and food safety for meat and poultry processors. Dr. Burson has conducted numerous meat processing, harvesting and quality workshops in addition to food safety workshops including HACCP for the meat and poultry industry over the years and still is very active in the food safety outreach programs. He coordinates the four state consortium of Universities (UNL, KSU, SDSU, and Missouri) and holds several HACCP workshops within each of the states every year. He has taught several courses, including animal and carcass evaluation, principles of meat evaluation, grading and judging and advanced meat grading and evaluation. Dr. Burson is active in several professional organizations, including American Meat Science Association, Institute of Food Technologists and International Association for Food Protection among others. ??????

Topic:         Tracking Listeria in the RTE Meat and Poultry Processing Environment: DNA Based Methods ???Speaker:         Dr. Kendra Nightingale, Colorado State University ??????

Kendra Nightingale is originally from a small farming community in western Kansas.  Kendra received a B.S. degree in Agriculture from Kansas State University, where she participated in the undergraduate honors program.  Kendra also holds a M.S. degree from Kansas State University in Food Science, where her research evaluated the use of lactoferrin, a milk-derived protein, to decontaminate and extend the shelf-life of beef products.  Kendra Nightingale completed her Ph.D. at Cornell University in Food Science with a concentration in Food Microbiology and minors in Epidemiology and Microbiology.  Her Ph.D. work probed the molecular epidemiology, ecology, and evolution of the human foodborne and animal pathogen Listeria monocytogenes.  Kendra also completed her postdoctoral training in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University. Kendra joined the Department of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University as an Assistant Professor in 2006.

E. coli O111 can kill

Reporter Julie Schmit says in today’s USA Today that 20-month-old Braylee Beaver, was one of 314 people sickened in August by E. coli O111 in Locust Grove, Oklahoma. A 26-year-old died in the outbreak.

Braylee’s father, Jake Beaver, said after her 12-day hospital stay (family hoto from USA Today, right),

"I didn’t know E. coli could do this. I just thought people got a little sick."

Dana and Rick Boner of Monroe, Iowa, also thought their daughter, Kayla, had a regular bug last year when she fell ill on her 14th birthday. Kayla died 11 days later because of an E. coli O111 infection — the cause of which was never determined — her mother says.

"I didn’t even know there were any other strains but O157. … I want people to know there are other strains. How could my child be the only person who got this?"

From 1990 to 2007, O111 was linked to 10 reported illness outbreaks in the U.S., the CDC says. Four of the 10 were linked to food. Before the Oklahoma outbreak, in which one person died, the biggest O111 outbreak happened in New York in 2004. Unpasteurized apple cider was blamed for 212 illnesses.

E. coli O111 is a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, or STEC. It is one of a handful of non-O157 STECs that have caused 22 reported illness outbreaks in the U.S. from 1990 to 2007, the CDC says. Food caused 10 of the outbreaks. …

The CDC estimates that more than 25,000 non-O157 STEC infections occur each year in the U.S. — about a third the number of O157:H7 infections.

In 1995, E. coli O111 sickened 173 people and killed a four-year-old girl in Australia, after eating contaminated mettwurst, an uncooked, semi-dry fermented sausage.

Quebec cheese linked to two deaths, one miscarriage, 120 illnesses — gets government bailout

I was a fan of Quebec agriculture minister Laurent Lessard.

After two separate outbreaks  — one listeria, one salmonella – in Quebec-made cheese that killed two, caused one miscarriage, sickened six other pregnant women and their newborn babies, and sickened a total of about 120 people, Lessard ordered a crackdown.

When asked about compensation for cheese retailers who had to discard potentially contaminated product, Lessard said on Sept. 17,

"The province is not there to compensate. We aren’t an insurance company."

Retailers have a responsibility to market safe products, and if there’s a risk associated to what they’re selling they have to absorb the losses, he said.

But being astute about Quebec politics and the role of dairy producers, Lessard didn’t rule out possible compensation for cheese producers, even though provincial food inspectors found traces listeria in 16 different establishments, either on cheese or processing equipment.

Three weeks later, and it appears that politics has caught up with the public health overtures of Monsieur Lessard as he announced Friday that Quebec’s small cheese producers and retailers will receive a three-year, $8.4-million provincial aid package, along with $11.3-million in interest-free loans.

"I want to reassure Quebec consumers. All of Quebec’s cheese producers are presently offering safe and secure products.”

Approximately half of the aid package will be spent on improving quality control. Government inspections will be conducted monthly, the minister said, and retailers will receive guidelines on improving the handling of cheeses.

Producers and retailers reported a significant drop in sales of Quebec cheeses, which last year alone totaled $2.6-billion.

Where’s the compensation for the sick people? Where’s the effort to accurately present the risks of soft cheeses (oh, and deli meats) to certain populations, like pregnant women and the elderly.

I’m not such a fan anymore.

E. coli continues to kill and maim

There’s a lot of E. coli, the kind that sickens and kills, circulating around the U.S. In addition to the Locust Grove, OK, outbreak of E. coli O111 which has killed one and sickened 314, E. coli O157:H7 continues its rampage.

A three-year-old in Colorado died last Friday; another child who attended the same day-care has also tested positive but is expected to recover. The daycare is closed.

In Ohio, a three-year-old girl died Sept. 13 of kidney failure at Akron Children’s Hospital after suffering from diarrhea, blood in her stool and vomiting, the hallmarks of shiga-toxin E. coli infection.

A Redmond family is praying for their 19-month-old son’s recovery after he was diagnosed with E. coli and flown to a children’s hospital in Portland.

A benefit was held for a three-year-old and his family after he spent a month in a Minneapolis Children’s Hospital, again with E. coli.

A fundraising BBQ for the Forest Ranch, California, volunteer firefighters has sickened at least 24, with two remaining in hospital, including a 6-year-old girl.

In Michigan, health officials have confirmed 24 cases of E. coli O157:H7 throughout the state, broadening their investigation from an initial cluster at Michigan State University.

The child pictured is five-year-old Mason Jones who died after eating a school lunch in Wales in Oct. 2005. These are the faces and stories of foodborne illness. And that’s just one week in the U.S.