Over 500 sick from Salmonella in onions in Canada and US

I got weepy just thinking about Salmonella Newport in raw onions.

The initial public fingering of red onions from Thomson International Inc.of Bakersfield, California, was done by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Subsequently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC)  announced they were investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Newport illnesses that had a similar genetic fingerprint to illnesses reported in this outbreak.

In Canada, as of August 2, 2020, there have been 120 confirmed cases of Salmonella Newport illness linked to this outbreak in the following provinces: British Columbia (43), Alberta (56), Saskatchewan (4), Manitoba (13), Ontario (2), Quebec (1) and Prince Edward Island (1).

Individuals became sick between mid-June and mid-July 2020. Seventeen individuals have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Individuals who became ill are between 3 and 100 years of age. The majority of cases (56%) are female.

CFIA’s advice is do not eat, use, sell or serve any red, white, yellow, and sweet yellow onions from Thomson International Inc., Bakersfield, California, USA, or any products made with these onions. This advice applies to all individuals across Canada, as well as retailers, distributors, manufacturers and food service establishments such as hotels, restaurants, cafeterias, hospitals and nursing homes.

Onions grown in Canada are not affected by this advice.

On August 1, 2020, in the U.S., Thomson International, Inc. recalled all varieties of onions that could have come in contact with potentially contaminated red onions, due to the risk of cross-contamination. Recalled products include red, yellow, white, and sweet yellow onions shipped from May 1, 2020 to present.

Onions were distributed to wholesalers, restaurants, and retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.

As of Aug. 3, FDA reported 396 illnesses in the U.S.

The onions were distributed in 5 lbs. carton. 10 lbs. carton. 25 lbs. carton. 40 lbs. carton, 50 lbs. carton. bulk, 2 lb. mesh sacks, and 3 lb. mesh sacks, 5 lb. mesh sacks, 10 lb. mesh sacks 25 lbs. mesh sacks, 50 lbs. mesh sacks under the brand names Thomson Premium, TLC Thomson International, Tender Loving Care, El Competitor, Hartley’s Best, Onions 52, Majestic, Imperial Fresh, Kroger, Utah Onions and Food Lion.

The investigation is ongoing to determine the source of contamination and if additional products are linked to illness. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

Salmonella going up in the U.S.

Newport is the third most common Salmonella enterica serotype identified among the estimated 1.2 million human salmonellosis infections occurring annually in the United States.

Risk factors for infection and food items implicated in outbreaks vary by antimicrobial resistance pattern. We conducted a descriptive analysis of data from four enteric disease surveillance systems capturing information on incidence, demographics, seasonality, geographic distribution, outbreaks, and antimicrobial resistance of Newport infections over a 10-year period from 2004 through 2013. Incidence increased through 2010, then declined to rates similar to those in the early years of the study. Incidence was highest in the South and among children <5 years old. Among isolates submitted for antimicrobial susceptibility testing, 88% were susceptible to all antimicrobials tested (pansusceptible) and 8% were resistant to at least seven agents, including ceftriaxone. Rates of pansusceptible isolates were also highest in the South and among young children, particularly in 2010. Pansusceptible strains of Newport have been associated with produce items and environmental sources, such as creek water and sediment. However, the role of environmental transmission of Newport in human illness is unclear.

Efforts to reduce produce contamination through targeted legislation, as well as collaborative efforts to identify sources of contamination in agricultural regions, are underway.


Salmonella enterica serotype Newport infections in the United States, 2004-2013: Increased incidence investigated through four surveillance systems, 23 July 2018

Foodborne Pathogens and Disease

Stacy M. CrimShua J. ChaiBeth E. KarpMichael C. JuddJared ReynoldsKrista C. SwansonAmie NislerAndre McCullough, and L. Hannah Gould



‘I look just like Mary Tyler Moore’ Now the Germans are copying us

Regarding peer-reviewed papers about cooking shows and food safety and something about integrity: There’s a lot of hucksters out there – especially in academia.

I’ve articulated where the idea came from (my father), how we set out to do the research in 2002, how the Canadian Food Network loved us and then threatened to sue us.

I’m, uh, unaffiliated, so sue away.

The rest of youse are posers, but at least the Germans cited us.

Which sorta freaks me out, given that my infant father had his surrounding landscape bombed away in Newport, Wales, in 1940 (some of my relatives may have owned the Red Lion, no one really wants to talk about it).

Since a few years, cooking shows have enjoyed great popularity in Germany. Currently, about 60 different formats are broadcasted on German television. In the field of food preparation and nutrition, they represent a significant passive source of information. This study aims to assess food safety practices in German TV cooking shows and to identify potential differences between professional and amateur chefs.

With the help of an observational sheet, three trained evaluators examined 100 episodes of eight popular TV cooking shows. On average, the evaluators observed 1.2 hygiene mistakes per minute or one hygiene lapse every 50 seconds. The most common mistakes include the use of unwashed cutting boards, adding ingredients with unwashed hands and wiping dirty hands with tea towels.

A lack of handwashing before beginning food preparation and after coughing, sneezing, wiping the nose or sweat or touching their hair, eyes, etc. was also frequently observed. No significant differences between professional and amateur chefs were found for the overall frequency of food safety mistakes, but professional chefs more often complied with specific personal hygiene measures.

Findings suggest that little attention is paid to safe food handling practices in German TV cooking shows. However, they may be particularly suited to convey safe food handling practices to a broad audience, not least because of their popularity.



Food safety behavior observed in German TV cooking shows


Food Control https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodcont.2018.09.017

JasminGeppert, Sarah SchulzeStruchtrup, RainerStamminger, ClaudiaHaarhoff, VolkerEbert, SeverineKoch, MarkLohmann, Gaby-FleurBöl


Don’t poop in the pool; 20 sickened; Welsh pool reopens after cryptosporidiosis cases

A swimming pool in Newport, Wales, where the Powell name is vaguely recognized, has reopened after 20 people were infected with cryptosporidium last month.

Newport Centre swimming pool was closed by the city council after the cases of cryptosporidium were confirmed.

The council said it was “100% satisfied everything is in order” after the pool was drained and re-grouted.

Public Health Wales (PHW) has urged swimmers to adopt better hygiene after seeing a rise in cases of the bug, which can survive chlorine in pools.

Meanwhile the BBC also reported a restaurant chain has apologized for accidentally serving whiskey to a two-year-old.

Frankie and Benny’s said on Thursday it was extremely sorry for Saturday’s incident and is looking into what systems need to be put in place to ensure that it does not happen again.

1 dead 54 sick with salmonella in UK, Europe linked to watermelon

The UK Health Protection Agency (HPA) is investigating an outbreak of a strain of Salmonella Newport infection among 30 people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland since the beginning of December 2011. Cases of illness caused by the same strain have been confirmed in Scotland, Ireland and Germany.

Dr Bob Adak, head of the gastrointestinal diseases department at the HPA said: “Although it’s too soon to say with certainty what the likely cause of infection is, early indications suggest that a number of people became unwell after eating watermelon. This has also been noted in the cases in Scotland and Germany although further investigation is ongoing.

Confirmed cases:

• England – 26
• Wales – 3
• Northern Ireland – 1
• Scotland – 4
• Republic of Ireland – 5
• Germany – 15

Wales starts restaurant inspection disclosure; mom of E. coli child death says system sucks

I know golf is boring. I only play the game when I don’t want to be with my wife. I like my wife, I don’t golf anymore.

The golf world is all a twitter with the Ryder Cup being held in Newport, Wales. Amy and Sorenne and I were there in January to visit the Powell family tree.

But in the food safety world, Wales is probably most famous for its terrible food safety failings in 2005.

Sharon Mills, the mother of 5-year-old Mason Jones, who was tragically killed in a 2005 E. coli outbreak in Wales that sickened 160 school kids, said the U.K. Food Standards Agency is putting the interests of businesses before public safety.

Abby Alford of the Western Mail reports that Mills comments came as the roll-out of a new food hygiene rating scheme, which will grade the cleanliness of more than 30,000 Welsh food retailers, began Friday.

Ms Mills, of Deri, near Bargoed, Caerphilly, said: “The FSA’s decision not to base ratings on existing environmental health inspection reports provides a get-out clause to failing restaurants, cafes, shops, pubs and takeaways, as does the decision not to make it mandatory for them to display their rating.”

Environmental health officers in the 22 local authorities have been told to award the food hygiene ratings from 0 for the worst to five for the best, based on routine inspections carried out after today. Businesses are inspected at six, 12 and 18-month intervals depending on the risk they pose. After their next inspection their rating will be uploaded to a dedicated website www.food.gov.uk/ratings.
Ms Mills said it would be months before the ratings would be made available to the public.

An FSA spokeswoman said it was not feasible to launch the scheme with all Welsh food businesses listed from the outset. But she added that within a 12-month period the highest risk categories of food businesses would have been visited at least once and their score ratings would be available.

Regarding mandatory display of the ratings, she said it would have required a change in legislation, which would have resulted in an “unwelcome delay” in implementing the scheme.

This is bureaucratic nonsense which the FSA has become famous for, especially its piping hot cooking recommendation.

Ms Mills said,

“It was this soft-touch approach which allowed William Tudor to continue trading and which ultimately led to the 2005 outbreak which cost Mason his life.”

Eight with salmonella in Newport’s Royal Gwent Hospital (that’s in Wales)

Maybe it’s time to get back to the family compound in Newport, Wales.

Health officials in Newport are investigating eight cases of salmonella at the city’s Royal Gwent Hospital.

A hospital spokesman said it was not yet clear whether those suffering from the bacterial infection had caught it in the community or in hospital.

GPs in the area have been contacted to alert them to the possibility the bug may be present in the community.

Salmonella is usually associated with eating contaminated foods. The eight people are said to be recovering well.

Some showed symptoms of the illness when they came into hospital but others did not, the spokesman said.