Europe models: Listeria monocytogenes contamination of ready-to-eat foods and the risk for human health in the EU

Here’s an idea: don’t serve cold cuts and raw sprouts to old people.


The European Food Safety Authority reports that food safety criteria for Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat (RTE) foods have been applied from 2006 onwards (Commission Regulation (EC) 2073/2005). Still, human invasive listeriosis was reported to increase over the period 2009–2013 in the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA). Time series analysis for the 2008–2015 period in the EU/EEA indicated an increasing trend of the monthly notified incidence rate of confirmed human invasive listeriosis of the over 75 age groups and female age group between 25 and 44 years old (probably related to pregnancies).

A conceptual model was used to identify factors in the food chain as potential drivers for L. monocytogenes contamination of RTE foods and listeriosis. Factors were related to the host (i. population size of the elderly and/or susceptible people; ii. underlying condition rate), the food (iii. L. monocytogenes prevalence in RTE food at retail; iv. L. monocytogenes concentration in RTE food at retail; v. storage conditions after retail; vi. consumption), the national surveillance systems (vii. improved surveillance), and/or the bacterium (viii. virulence).

Factors considered likely to be responsible for the increasing trend in cases are the increased population size of the elderly and susceptible population except for the 25–44 female age group. For the increased incidence rates and cases, the likely factor is the increased proportion of susceptible persons in the age groups over 45 years old for both genders. Quantitative modelling suggests that more than 90% of invasive listeriosis is caused by ingestion of RTE food containing > 2,000 colony forming units (CFU)/g, and that one-third of cases are due to growth in the consumer phase. Awareness should be increased among stakeholders, especially in relation to susceptible risk groups. Innovative methodologies including whole genome sequencing (WGS) for strain identification and monitoring of trends are recommended.

Not: How to talk food safety with customers

Talk with, not to, people.

not-waynes-worldAnd if you’ve invested “tremendous resources in food safety” why not brag about it at retail, rather than in a lame journal no one will read.

FightBac sucks.

Food retailers have invested tremendous resources in food safety over the past two decades. Food safety is the foundation of food retailers’ relationships with their customers—consumers expect the food they purchase is safe. According to US Grocery Shopper Trends 2016 (FMI), nearly nine out of 10 shoppers have confidence in the safety of the food at the grocery store. Also, an increasing number of consumers are taking personal responsibility for food safety compared to just six years ago.

Food retailers are a credible and very accessible source of food safety information for consumers. For this reason, FMI has been a founding member and partner of the Partnership for Food Safety Education (PFSE) since its inception in 1997. PFSE is better known as the FightBac!® campaign which promotes  four core practices for food safety– Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill. The FightBac!® campaign provides food safety education to a variety of audiences through a network of health and food safety educators, called BAC Fighters. The retail food industry is an integral part of the BAC Fighter network.

 Because interacting with customers is essential for doing business, grocers are well positioned to put food safety information at shoppers’ fingertips. Over the years, PFSE has developed campaigns and toolkits for retailers to use in stores to help promote safe food handling at home.

The Marriage Ref, iguanas and Salmonella

The Marriage Ref is a terrible show, even with A-lister guests Madonna, Larry David and Ricky Gervais, some of my personal favorites.

The scene of the couple sharing pretty much everything with a giant salmonella-shedding iguana brought no complaints, and while Entertainment Weekly has already have called the episode much better than the previous, it still sucked.

Consumers looking for antioxidants in food to control aging

A pomegranate salad, a Frozen Sangria Rita and an oxygen facial.

According to the Arizona Republic, these are the ingredients for a more youthful appearance, and restaurants are jumping on the trend by offering antioxidant-rich dishes.

Annika Stensson, spokeswoman for the National Restaurant Association, said the association recently conducted a survey asking more than 1,200 professional chefs in the United States to list the trendiest items on their menus. Out of almost 200 items, pomegranate finished 16th, fresh fruits were 61st and scallops were 100th. All are foods rich in antioxidants.

The interest in antioxidants also has been transforming beverage lists. Trudy Thomas, director of beverages for Camelback Inn, said the resort created an antioxidant-rich margarita, the Frozen Sangria Rita, after guests expressed interest in red wine’s antioxidant qualities.

Since its debut in February, the concoction of red wine, pomegranate and blueberry has been one of the most popular drinks on the menu, she said.

Diane Aiello, owner of Glam Lounge in Scottsdale, said,
"I am a huge believer in antioxidants. … When we do an oxygen facial, we can see the person’s skin actually changing. The skin is more hydrated, more plump, and lines are softer."

Madonna is said to be a fan.

Keep the hepatitis A poop off your hands — and Oscar party platters

The Hollywood Writer’s Strike ended just in time for the Oscars, but not in time to salvage several already canceled Oscar parties.

Madonna, fresh from potentially being exposed to hepatitis A at Ashton Kutcher’s 30th birthday party on Feb. 7, has stepped up and put together a ‘last minute’ party with the help of her manager, Guy Oseary, and pal Demi Moore.

Hope Madge and Demi will have all the servers screened for the hepatitis A virus.

Hepatitis A is a relatively rare disease spread by putting something in one’s mouth that has been contaminated with traces of fecal matter.

Get vaccinated for hepatitis A. And dude, wash your damn hands.

Don’t eat poop.