Beware the Shiga-toxin producing E. coli in sheep shit: Goat yoga is a thing in Oregon

I’m really glad the folks in Portland, Oregon have stopped demonstrating about Dump-a-Trump, and are going back to their old ways – like having yoga with goats.

goat-yoga-portlandThe No Regrets Farm in Albany, Oregon, is offering what it calls Goat Yoga classes.

The sessions take place outside. While participants stretch and pose, the animals wander around or sit on mats and wait to be pet, said Lainey Morse, who owns and lives on the farm.

Morse launched the program last month, and it was an instant hit, she told The Huffington Post. The remaining two classes of the season have filled up already, and her waiting list for next year is more than 500 people long, she added.

Though people have been taking the class for a suggested donation of $10, that price will likely change in the future due to demand.

To sign up for a class, people can visit the Goat Yoga Facebook page, where the class schedule and updates are posted.

“They are gentle and peaceful and just want attention,” the farm owner told HuffPost of the goats.

People seem to enjoy their experiences with the class. In fact, one participant, a cancer patient, was flooded with emotion when taking it, according to Morse.

252 sick: Noro cruise docks in Maine

Federal health officials say the first cruise ship to dock in Portland, Maine, this season is under surveillance for norovirus.

chapman.vomitThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 27 percent of the passengers aboard the Balmoral — operated by the Fred Olsen Cruises — have gotten sick since the cruise began April 16.

The ship and all aboard have since left Portland, according to police Lieutenant Robert Doherty.

The CDC reports that 252 of the 919 passengers on the Balmoral have fallen ill, as well as eight crew members.

Fred Olsen Cruises did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

So far this year, there have been 10 outbreaks of norovirus on cruise ships, according to the CDC.

Portland, I’m about to be in you; get rid of your Salmonella

I’m all caught up on my Portlandia viewing, I’ve got my beard trimmed and my suspenders packed.

I’m even going to bring my mason jars to drink out of.

I’m ready for IAFP in Portland.

Maybe the conference karma will be better for the food safety nerds than it was for attendees of the Open Source Bridge Conference. According to conference organizers, health authorities at least 50 attendees of the developers conference came away with salmonellosis.


We have determined that Salmonella caused gastrointestinal illness among conference attendees. Laboratory tests helped investigators identify a distinct Salmonella strain (Salmonella typhimurium) in six attendees who became ill between June 26th and June 30th. In addition to these six cases, 45 other people reported having symptoms consistent with Salmonellosis. They were among more than 220 conference attendees who responded to a Health Department survey that conference organizers shared last week.

The Health Department is continuing its investigation to identify the source of the bacteria that caused the illness. There is no indication that this outbreak spread beyond people connected to the conference. We are monitoring illness in Oregon to assure this is the case.

670K under boil water advisory after E. coli detected in Portland, Oregon, water

A citywide boil notice was issued for Portland, Oregon, after state health officials detected E. coli in the water supply.

The Portland Water Bureau said Friday that residents should boil all tap water used for drinking, food preparation, tooth brushing and ice for at least one minute. Ice or any beverages prepared with un-boiled tap water on or after Tuesday should be dumped.

boil.waterThe notice, which also covers some suburban cities, affects about 670,000 people. It will remain in effect until tests show the water system is clean.

The samples that tested positive for bacteria were collected this week from two uncovered reservoirs at Mount Tabor. The Water Bureau said it collects about 240 bacterial samples per month throughout the system, and the test to determine the presence of bacteria takes 18 hours.

Portland to flush 38M gallon reservoir after teen uses it as a toilet

Portland will dispose of 38 million gallons of treated reservoir water after learning that a 19-year-old man urinated into it, even though urine-tainted drinking water is apparently not much of a health risk. 

ReservoirdogWater Bureau Administrator David Shaff said that animals urinate into the reservoir often and that there’s no real problem with that, but this is different because it (naturally) makes everyone feel super weird — or, as he put it, “I could be wrong on that, but the reality is our customers don’t anticipate drinking water that’s been contaminated by some yahoo who decided to pee into a reservoir.”

The perp was seen peeing through an iron fence into Mount Tabor Reservoir No. 5 around 1 a.m. by security cameras and has been cited for public urination. He was accompanied by two others, ages 18 and 19, who tried (only one succeeded) to scale the fence surrounding the reservoir. All three have been given citations for trespassing. 

In describing the footage, Shaff said that there’s “really no doubt” what he’s doing. “When you see the video, he’s leaning right up because he has to get his little wee wee right up to the iron bars.”

Raw milk cheese? Maine bistro probed as possible source of foodborne illness

A popular Portland restaurant was investigated this month as a possible source of foodborne illness, the second such investigation of the restaurant in 18 months.

The Portland Press Herald reports health officials zeroed in on Petite Jacqueline after a food handler and a patron were stricken by the same bacterial illness on June 1, but they could not prove the restaurant’s food Petite-Jacqueline-Bistro-Burgerwas the cause – or that it wasn’t – because too much time had passed since the people who became sick were exposed.

Liz Koenigsberg, the restaurant’s part owner and general manager, said the restaurant is fully cooperating with state health inspectors and the Maine Center for Disease Control.

“It has not been concluded by any means that the source of illness was from Petite Jacqueline,” Koenigsberg said. “All of our food-handling practices are safe.”

The French bistro is a popular West End spot that has been nominated for a coveted James Beard Award.

Michael Russell, the manager of Portland’s Environmental Health and Safety program and the certified state health inspector who followed up on the illness complaint, said in an email Wednesday that the restaurant needed to change some of its food-handling practices.

“I observed some risk factors and made recommendations to correct (them),” he said.

Russell’s report said the restaurant should stop selling raw, aged cheese. State law prohibits eating establishments from selling raw, or unpasteurized, cheese unless it has been aged at a temperature of 35 degrees or higher for at least 60 days and is appropriately labeled.

Koenigsberg contends that the restaurant was selling appropriately aged cheese and is still working with health officials to clarify the rules. Russell said the eatery can resume selling the cheese as long as the “raw milk” labels are changed to “non-pasteurized.”

Russell also noted in his report that the restaurant uses the same color cutting boards for both meat and produce, which could result in accidental cross-contamination even though the boards were being sterilized. And he called on the restaurant to cover food items in the refrigerator to protect against contamination.

Ignore Dick: Portland posts all restaurant inspection reports online

There’s no one need to wait for the magical impacteur of government sanction to provide safe food.

Just do it.

While the U.S. state of Maine drags on restaurant inspection disclosure, the biggest city, Portland, has gone ahead and decided to post restaurant barf.o.meter.dec.12inspection reports online.

The change, announced Tuesday, follows a series of articles by the Portland Press Herald about the shortcomings of restaurant inspection programs in Portland and statewide.

Maine was one of just a few states where no state or local government agency put restaurant inspection information online for the public to review. The state’s requirement for each restaurant to be inspected once every two years is one of the least rigorous in the country; many states require two or more inspections a year.

Dick Grotton, president and chief executive officer of the Maine Restaurant Association, said posting inspection records online is a “bad idea,” because a restaurant can fail an inspection for a variety of reasons, many of which don’t directly affect food safety.

“If the public knew what the actual infraction was, they would laugh,” he said.

Grotton also said databases are difficult and expensive to maintain, which could leave a poor inspection result hanging over a restaurant even after the problems have been corrected.

I don’t laugh over people barfing.

The best restaurants in Maine, the ones that want consumers to knowingly spend their money at their establishment, will ignore Dick and publicize and promote their awesome food safety standards.

In August 2011, Portland hired Michele Sturgeon as its first full-time health inspector for the city’s restaurants. The city has since beefed up its inspection restaurant_food_crap_garbage_10program further, adding two part-time inspectors and more than doubling its budget, from $75,000 in 2011-12 to $154,000 in this fiscal year.

Portland’s inspection reports are available at and

30 sickened; fancy food ain’t safe food, Portland edition; can restaurant with norovirus turn crisis into opportunity?

Jim and Cary Fairchild were among more than 30 people who contracted norovirus after eating at Andina on March 1 or 2. After a few nights filled with flopsweat and heavyweight bathroom bouts, all recovered. But for Andina, the shadow cast by the outbreak could last far longer.

Michael Russell of OregonLive writes that if any Portland restaurant is positioned to survive a public relations disaster, it’s Andina. The Oregonian’s 2005 Restaurant of the Year is one of the busiest — if not the busiest — in Oregon, with the same weekend crowds as nationally known hotspots such Andina-mussels-with-salsa-criolla-blogas Pok Pok or Toro Bravo, but triple the capacity. Over the two days when the outbreak occurred, the restaurant’s 173 employees served more than 1,300 people.

Gary Conkling, a professor at Willamette University’s Atkinson Graduate School of Management and president of CFM Strategic Communications Inc., said all businesses should have response plans for just such a worst-case scenario. For restaurants, that means knowing who to contact in the wake of a breach in food safety.

“You need to be forthcoming,” Conkling says. “You can’t pretend like it didn’t happen, or that maybe you didn’t know about it. Being proactive in communications is about confidence-building. And if the actions match, that’s what people remember.”

But last week’s outbreak wasn’t Andina’s first. Last April, six people fell ill after eating at the restaurant. The cause was confirmed to be norovirus, according to the Multnomah County Health Department.

The restaurant had said they were unaware of the earlier outbreak. On Friday, general manager Jels McCaulay said investigators had visited the restaurant in April, but said they were searching for salmonella.

After the outbreak, staff cleaned the restaurant with bleach and discarded potentially contaminated food items. Management imposed a mandatory three-day waiting period for staff showing signs of illness and re-enforced the importance of frequent handwashing.

“We aren’t putting in place a new set of rules, since we’ve always followed the rules,” John Platt said. “But what we do have now is a much higher appreciation of why those rules are there.”

So far, the restaurant hasn’t seen a drop in business.

Long-term, the restaurant’s prospects hinge on whether people believe that it has customers’ best interests at heart, Willamette University’s Conkling said.

“In my classes, I tell people that you can turn a crisis into an opportunity if you’re up front, you’re credible, and you put your customer — in this case the patrons at your restaurant — first,” Conkling said.

“There’s plenty of evidence that people will forgive a misstep. They’re less forgiving when people don’t own it or deal with it straight.”

Why I never eat eggs benedict: staph in hollandaise sauce sickened 7 in Portland

Bill Stanley, an 83-year-old six-term county commissioner from North Carolina, had breakfast at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Northeast Portland last July.

As reported by Lynne Terry of The Oregonian, Stanley was in town for a nationwide meeting of county commissioners but become violently ill several hours after breakfast.

According to a state outbreak investigation, was one of seven people sickened after breakfast that morning at. All of them ate eggs benedict. An eighth person, who ordered eggs benedict but had the hollandaise sauce on the side and didn’t consume it, felt fine.

No one else got sick, pointing to the hollandaise sauce as the culprit.

Oregon heath officials couldn’t test it for pathogens, however. The hotel threw it away after breakfast service.

But lab tests confirmed that Stanley — and another person hospitalized in the outbreak — were sickened by a strain of Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium commonly found on the skin and in the noses of healthy people. Certain strains produce toxins that can spark quick and acute gastrointestinal symptoms.

The same strain was found in a nasal swab of one of the food workers at Crowne Plaza.

Dr. Mathieu Tourdjman, lead Oregon epidemiologist investigating the outbreak, said the sauce became toxic because it was not kept hot enough.

Unlike many other pathogens, the toxins produced by Staph cannot be killed by cooking. The only way to prevent foodborne Staph infections is by thorough hand washing and proper cooking. Food safety advocates recommend keeping cooked food warm at 140 degrees Fahrenheit or more.

The temperature of the hollandaise sauce was not monitored by kitchen staff at Crowne Plaza, Tourdjman found.

The outbreak shocked the hotel, according to general manager Ziggy Lopuszynski, who said the hotel has taken the hollandaise sauce off the menu.

Stanley is suing for medical expenses of nearly $14,000 and $26,000 in noneconomic damages. The hotel has balked at the settlement.

Elton John sick with E. coli, postpones Portland concert with Billy Joel

Hold me closer, tiny dancer, there will be no dueling pianos in Portland: The Elton John and Billy Joel concert originally scheduled for the Rose Garden November 10 was postponed after John was diagnosed with an E. coli infection.

Live Nation and The Rose Garden said Friday that John was advised by his doctor to postpone these performances due to a serious case of e-coli bacterial infection and the flu.

No word on what kind of E. coli had stricken Mr. John or possible sources.