2 dead, 31 sick: Same Salmonella strain found in Australian bakery that supplies nursing homes

The strain of Salmonella thought to have killed two nursing home residents and caused dozens of others to fall ill has been found in a Wollongong bakery, tests have confirmed.

BettamaidTo date, 31 cases of confirmed salmonella have been reported from 10 aged care facilities in the Illawarra, south eastern Sydney and ACT.

Two patients have died as a result of the outbreak.

The nursing homes involved are either run by Illawarra Retirement Trust or supplied catering by IRT.

Last month testing conducted by the New South Wales Food Authority at Bettamaid wholesale bakery in Unanderra came back positive for Salmonella.

The Food Authority then carried out further testing on environmental swabs and food samples taken from the bakery.

A test on an environmental swab has returned positive to the strain of Salmonella detected in sick residents, Salmonella bovismorbificans.

A spokeswoman said food samples supplied by the bakery to affected facilities also tested positive for Salmonella, but the strain was still being typed.

There were no reports of illness in the broader community related to consumption of food from the bakery, which supplies a number of shops and school canteens.

BC woman tormented by lack of answers over mother’s E. coli-related death

 Madeline Jonah, 80, died after eating E. coli tainted food at a British Columbia (that’s in Canada) nursing home in Nov. 2011 her family is still seeking answers.

The Province reports that Kiwanis Park Place, a White Rock independent living facility was found in violation of a number of food-preparation standards weeks before the victim and two other seniors fell ill.

Langley woman Kathy Jonah says she has been tormented by a lack of answers and empathy from officials after her mother died.

“I just want someone to be accountable,” Kathy Jonah said. “The management [at Kiwanis Park Place] hasn’t called me back, and they haven’t offered me an apology or anything. It’s like a slap in the face.”

Kiwanis Park Place, a subsidized independent-living complex operated by Crescent Housing Society, offers food services under the licensing of Fraser Health Authority.

An investigation by the authority determined that the three seniors were likely infected with E. coli because of the facility’s food preparation, inadequate cooking or improper cleaning of food surfaces.

Fraser Health spokesman Roy Thorpe-Dorward said Crescent Housing Society voluntarily ended its food-services program, so there will be no further probes into the outbreak. The facility had no previous E. coli issues, Thorpe-Dorward said.

Jonah said that because of B.C.’s wrongful-death laws she has no way to hold anyone accountable.

Ben Doyle of the Trial Lawyers Association of B.C. says family members can’t effectively sue for damages in the deaths of children, seniors and the disabled, because the law only accounts for damages for loss of income support.

“We have legislation that makes children, seniors and people with disabilities worthless,” he said. “We’re pushing for legislation that respects the lives of all individuals and not just breadwinners.”

Officials with Crescent Housing Society did not answer interview requests on Monday.

Seven sick, one dead from salmonella in Canadian nursing home

CBC News reports six patients and one employee at the Kenneth E. Spencer Memorial Home in Moncton have been infected with salmonella in an outbreak that started Sept. 18 at the facility. One resident has died.

“Someone did die. They did have salmonella but at the particular time they had multiple diagnoses,” said Barbara Tremble Cook, the nursing home’s executive director.

“So I guess we can’t say with certainty that would have caused their death, but it could have been a contributing factor.”

She added that the facility’s kitchen has been found clear of any trace of salmonella.

Spencer’s is home to about 200 people and employs about 230 staff.

Florida food safety inspections shift again

Tampa Bay Online reports that changes in state laws on food safety inspections has led to mass confusion about jurisdiction, so much that health departments are now regaining powers to conduct kitchen hygiene inspections at child care facilities, at least for an interim period.

Marc Yacht, the retired former director of the Pasco County Health Department said he remains concerned about the "most vulnerable population" at nursing homes not having a regular food and hygiene inspection program.

Unintended consequences seem to have plagued the new law from the start, Yacht and other critics say.

Most Department of Children and Family inspectors have bachelor’s degrees in social sciences, but they lack the training and experience for food inspections. The Department of Health inspectors have degrees in science or health and training in food safety.

Florida not inspecting food at hospitals, nursing homes

In a few weeks we’ll be leaving for a month of seaside (Gulf-side) writing in Florida.

As food safety dude and axman Roy Costa has pointed out, I sure hope I don’t end up in a Florida hospital, because no one is doing food inspections.

The Department of Health told Associated Press yesterday it’s working with other agencies to figure out who will handle inspections at the state’s 286 hospitals and 671 nursing homes. Meanwhile, the Department of Children & Families is temporarily taking over the inspection of day-care centers, which were also part of the cuts.

The health department had been inspecting facilities four times a year until Gov. Charlie Crist signed a bill (HB 5311) stopping them. Experts say people at these facilities are the most vulnerable for foodborne illnesses.

DCF Secretary George Sheldon said his agency decided to fill the gap at day cares and will temporarily oversee inspections because “it was the right thing to do.”

DCF employees already inspect day-care facilities for safety issues. Sheldon said the Legislature was trying to consolidate inspections to prevent multiple state agencies from visiting the same facilities to inspect different standards.

The health department inspected more than 15,000 day-care centers last year, finding nearly 12,000 violations, including food from unsafe sources, poor hygiene and contaminated equipment.

I don’t really care who inspects as long as there is accountability in the system through — at a minimum — public availability of results and mandatory training for anyone who handles and prepares food.

2 dead, 20 ill in Salmonella outbreak in Australian nursing home

AdelaideNow reports that a 77-year-old male and a 71-year-old female have died and at least 20 other residents of Hahndorf Residential Care Services have become ill due to a Salmonella outbreak.

A spokeswoman last night said preliminary investigations indicated contaminated food may have entered the nursing home, with test results expected early this week.