Reducing campy in poultry processing

Campylobacter persistence through poultry processing is an important food safety issue in many developed countries. This investigation aimed to determine the effectiveness of peracetic acid (PAA) in reducing Campylobacter during processing. 

Campylobacter jejuni was tested against PAA using laboratory-based food matrices under conditions that mimicked commercial poultry processing interventions, including scalding and chilling. The assessments utilised two Campylobacter poultry strains (2674 and 2704) with testing performed in three different food matrices (Buffered peptone water (BPW), chicken breast meat and meat-based broth) and under eight processing conditions. Campylobacter inactivation was measured across eight processing conditions which mimicked scalding (3.5 min, 54.5 °C and 57 °C) and chilling (30 min, 4 °C, with/without 80 ppm PAA), and combinations of scalding and chilling (with/without 80 ppm PAA).

The organic matter in the meat-based broth protected Campylobacter against PAA, resulting in less Campylobacter inactivation compared to BPW and meat matrices. Processing conditions with PAA demonstrated a greater Campylobacter inactivation compared to those without PAA. Chilling with PAA, without prior scalding, led to a greater Campylobacter inactivation than any other processing conditions within BPW and with meat.

This suggests a potential mechanism that heat exposure cross-protects Campylobacter allowing them to better survive subsequent PAA treatment. Importantly, strain 2674, known to be relatively resistant to chlorine, was more susceptible to PAA than strain 2704. This investigation suggests PAA to be an effective processing alternative applicable to secondary immersion chilling tanks when little or no organic matter accumulates and may be able to achieve greater Campylobacter inactivation. The study demonstrates PAA could be beneficial in controlling Campylobacter during poultry processing.

Effect of peracetic acid on campylobacter in food matricies mimicking commercial poultry processing

Food Control

Stanley H.ChenabNarelleFeganaChawalitKocharunchittbJohn P.BowmanbLesley L.Duffya

Salmonella persisters on chicken

The prevalence of Salmonella in poultry and poultry products is a source of concern for the poultry industry, consumers and regulatory agencies. Most consumers buy their poultry in parts (legs, drumsticks, wings, etc.), and not whole carcasses. The rate of Salmonella contamination has been shown to be higher in parts as compared to whole carcasses. The intent of this project was to evaluate poultry parts (cut pieces) coming out of second unit processing to see if that product has increased Salmonella prevalence compared with whole poultry carcasses processed in the same plant. The main goal of this study was to evaluate potential contamination patterns and track the origin of Salmonella on the second processed (cut) poultry parts.

The project had the three objectives: 1.) Identify risk factors leading to Salmonella contamination in post-chilled whole poultry carcasses and poultry parts; 2.)  Identify high-risk areas or steps during processing that promote Salmonella dissemination on cut chicken pieces during second unit processing; 3.) Use the findings to create a model for predicting cross-contamination during second unit processing.

Data collected showed that contamination patterns are different on skin-covered chicken parts versus chicken parts with no skin. Findings suggest that skin-covered chicken parts promote the presence and survival of Salmonella spp., especially in suboptimal concentrations of disinfectant. This allows for the increased possibility of cross-contamination. Assessments of the collected strains suggested the presence of ‘persisters’, or Salmonella strains strongly associated with environmental samples that survive the sanitation process and are present on equipment for an extended time. Poultry parts resulting from second processing had more Salmonella than incoming carcasses, but the source appeared to be the processing equipment. Results indicate that the predominant Salmonella patterns and isolates are significantly associated with the persistent strains on the processing line.

The solution seems to reside with stringent environmental sampling plans and appropriate follow-up actions that can eliminate persistent strains. When antimicrobial treatment such as chlorine is applied, chlorine concentration and contact time with the poultry carcass are important factors to eliminate Salmonella on carcasses and parts.

Evaluation of risk factors associated with salmonella spp. contamination in post-chilled carcasses and secondary processing products in a poultry plant, July 2019

Clemson University

Kay Cooksey

Black Bean and Yam Chili manufactured by Hinty’s recalled due to potential C. bot

With Amy gluten intolerant, my shopping experiences last about twice as long and I need a couple of pairs of glasses: Can’t you people make the labels so grumpy grandfathers like me can read the fucking things?

But she loves the Mexican food and I’m sorta learning how to make it, and will have my first batch of homemade refried beans — from beans, not a can — going next week – because why does it cost twice as much to have beans that have already been cooked be cooked again?

black-bean-chili-bot-nov-16That’s not what refried beans are? Change the name.

Same with chili. It’s just beans and slop, because is a ridiculous cost versus the ingredients, and seems to be getting recalled routinely because these processors have forgotten the basics of canning.

Hinty’s is recalling Black Bean and Yam Chili from the marketplace because it may permit the growth of Clostridium botulinum. Consumers should not consume the recalled products described below.

Brand Name//Common Name//Size//Code(s) on Product//UPC

None//Black Bean and Yam Chili//Approximately 500 mL//All units sold up to and including November 2, 2016//None

None//Black Bean and Yam Chili//Approximately 1 L//All units sold up to and including November 2, 2016//None

This recall was triggered by test results. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.

The CFIA is verifying that industry is removing recalled product from the marketplace.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these products.

CFIA suspends organic food processor

Jim Romahn of Agri 007 reports the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has suspended the registration of Establishment 691, Thomas Canning Ltd., of Maidstone, Ont. (Jim also supplied the pic of this real, but unrelated jar of salsa.)

barf-in-a-jarThe company, which says it is the only organic food processor in Ontario, specializes in tomatoes and juices.

The CFIA “the operator failed to make corrections to three non-compliances identified during an inspection performed in 2014.

Thomas Canning Ltd., will not be allowed to export, trade interprovincially, or apply a Canadian grade mark to products regulated under the Processed Products Regulations until the necessary corrective actions have been implemented and the CFIA has verified that the regulatory requirements can be consistently maintained.”

But go ahead, Ontario, eat up.

Leafs are bumpy: Change in disinfecting spinach, salad greens could reduce illness

Cross contamination in commercial processing facilities that prepare spinach and other leafy greens for the market can make people sick. But researchers are reporting a new, easy-to-implement method that could eliminate or reduce such incidences.

howcleanisyoThe scientists will present their work at the 250th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Spinach or other leafy salad greens were responsible for 18 food-poisoning outbreaks over the last decade.

Greens are washed by commercial processes before they head to the grocery store. But these methods, which can include water and bleach rinses or irradiation, are not completely effective, says Nichola Kinsinger, Ph.D. She says scientists have estimated that 99 percent of food-borne illnesses from leafy greens can be traced back to disinfection issues. As a result, they have searched for and developed a different approach to attacking the bacteria, most notably E. coli, which is the cause of many outbreaks.

“Despite current disinfection rinsing, bacteria are surviving on the leaf and causing cross contamination, resulting in the numerous outbreaks we hear about in the media,” Kinsinger says. She is a postdoc in the lab of Sharon Walker, Ph.D., at the University of California, Riverside. “Pathogens can come from irrigation waters or from water used during processing, and they can adhere to spinach leaves. If these bacteria are not all killed in the disinfection process, they can continue to live, grow, spread and contaminate other surfaces within the facility and other leaves.”

Using a parallel-plate flow chamber system that Walker developed, the researchers tested the real-time attachment and detachment of bacteria to the outer layer of spinach leaves. At low bleach concentrations, the bacteria fell off the leaves, but remained alive. At the higher concentrations used commercially, however, all of the bacteria were killed. “This result was perplexing,” Walker says. “Our experiments were telling us that commercial bleach rinses should be much more effective than they are. But then we studied the leaf itself in more detail.”

A spinach leaf is not perfectly smooth, she notes. So, the team modeled how the bleach would move across the surface of a spinach leaf, taking its bumps and grooves into account. Surprisingly, the model revealed that the concentrations of bleach on leaves may not be consistent.

“We found that because of the topology of the spinach leaf, nearly 15 percent of the surface may ‘see’ a bleach concentration that is 1,000-times less than that of the rinse solution,” Kinsinger says. In some cases, that translated to a 90 percent bacterial survival in their tests—and a high risk for cross contamination.

To reduce that risk, the researchers are optimizing an inexpensive titanium dioxide (TiO2) photocatalyst that companies could add to the rinse water or use to coat equipment surfaces that come into contact with the leaves as they are processed. When TiO2 absorbs light, it produces a strong oxidant that kills bacteria.

The scientists now plan to conduct more studies on the photocatalyst, and they will look at a broader range of foods, engineered surfaces and pathogens.


New light technology may improve food safety

Light-based technologies are emerging as tools to enhance food shelf life and guard against food contaminants but more research needs to be done, warn food scientists at a July 13 panel discussion at IFT15: Where Science Feeds Innovation hosted by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in Chicago.

pink_floyd_moon_mdThe use of ultraviolet light, pulsed light and LED lights are being studied by food technologists as a new way to improve food longevity and assist in eliminating bacteria from such food products as milk and juices. However, scientists warn they need to learn more about how these light rays penetrate foods at varying degrees to ensure food safety.

“Light-based technologies can assist in breaking down bacterial cells in food products and are effective for surface sterilization,” said Dr. Kathiravan Krishnamurthy, an assistant professor in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the Illinois Institute of Technology. “But the main issue with light-based technology is the penetration depth. We need to make sure every part of the food product sees the light.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates each year roughly one in six Americans — or 48 million people — gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases. According to 2011 estimates, the most common foodborne illnesses are caused by norovirus and by the bacteria Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens, and Campylobacter. Light technology provides a more cost-efficient and effective new way to process foods to effectively inactivate these dangerous microorganisms while maintaining product quality.

“Light-based technologies are very powerful for selected applications but more research needs to be done,” Krishnamurthy said, adding they’ve mainly been used in non-food applications. “These technologies are still in their infancy.”

Tatiana Koutchma, a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food of Canada, has been exploring a new application by experimenting with UV purification to extend the shelf life of cold-pressed juices as well as iced teas, soft drinks, syrups, milk, cheese and calf milk.

“It’s an alternative to pasteurization and ESL [extended shelf life] method for juices, milk products, liquid sugars, liquid ingredients, raw, and finished food products,” Koutchma said. “More research is needed for milk, fresh juices and wines.”


Food porn isn’t food safety: Williams-Sonoma sauce recalled for potential botulism risk

Williams-Sonoma always sounded a bit fancy pants to me.

My introduction was through a decent turkey recipe Amy had in one of those glossy catalogues — the catalogues made obsolete by the Internet.

pestoBut it looked pretty, as most food porn does.

Yet food porn is no replacement for food safety.

California Department of Public Health officials warned the public Friday of a potential botulism risk in a sauce sold at Williams-Sonoma retailers.

Director and State Health Officer Ron Chapman said consumers should not eat Pumpkin Seed Pesto Sauce sold by the retailer because it may have been improperly produced, which made it susceptible to contamination with the botulism toxin.

Authorities said the manufacturer, California Olive and Vine, LLC, voluntarily recalled the product after the CDPH determined it had been improperly processed.

The product has been sold nationwide at retail stores since September, authorities said.

The product was packaged in 8-ounce glass jars with screw-on metal lids, CDPH officials said.

The recalled product can be identified by looking for the stock keeping unit numbers 6404305 and 6389043.

Consumers who have had contact any of these products, or any foods made with these products, are urged to discard them immediately.

Health officials advised of double bagging the jars and placing them in a trash receptacle for non-recyclable trash while wearing gloves.

Tracking an Escherichia coli O157:H7–contaminated batch of leafy greens through a pilot-scale fresh-cut processing line

Cross-contamination of fresh-cut leafy greens with residual Escherichia coli O157:H7–contaminated product during commercial processing was likely a contributing factor in several recent multistate outbreaks.

lettuceConsequently, radicchio was used as a visual marker to track the spread of the contaminated product to iceberg lettuce in a pilot-scale processing line that included a commercial shredder, step conveyor, flume tank, shaker table, and centrifugal dryer. Uninoculated iceberg lettuce (45 kg) was processed, followed by 9.1 kg of radicchio (dip inoculated to contain a four-strain, green fluorescent protein–labeled nontoxigenic E. coli O157:H7 cocktail at 106 CFU/g) and 907 kg (2,000 lb) of uninoculated iceberg lettuce. After collecting the lettuce and radicchio in about 40 bags (∼22.7 kg per bag) along with water and equipment surface samples, all visible shreds of radicchio were retrieved from the bags of shredded product, the equipment, and the floor. E. coli O157:H7 populations were quantified in the lettuce, water, and equipment samples by direct plating with or without prior membrane filtration on Trypticase soy agar containing 0.6% yeast extract and 100 ppm of ampicillin. Based on triplicate experiments, the weight of radicchio in the shredded lettuce averaged 614.9 g (93.6%), 6.9 g (1.3%), 5.0 g (0.8%), and 2.8 g (0.5%) for bags 1 to 10, 11 to 20, 21 to 30, and 31 to 40, respectively, with mean E. coli O157:H7 populations of 1.7, 1.2, 1.1, and 1.1 log CFU/g in radicchio-free lettuce. After processing, more radicchio remained on the conveyor (9.8 g; P < 0.05), compared with the shredder (8.3 g), flume tank (3.5 g), and shaker table (0.1 g), with similar E. coli O157:H7 populations (P > 0.05) recovered from all equipment surfaces after processing.

These findings clearly demonstrate both the potential for the continuous spread of contaminated lettuce to multiple batches of product during processing and the need for improved equipment designs that minimize the buildup of residual product during processing.

Journal of Food Protection®, Number 9, September 2014, pp. 1448-1648, pp. 1487-1494(8)

Buchholz, Annemarie L.1; Davidson, Gordon R.1; Marks, Bradley P.2; Todd, Ewen C.D.3; Ryser, Elliot T.

UK man fined £4.6k for operating illegal poultry cutting plant

A Lutton man has been fined £4,650 for operating an illegal poultry cutting plant.

Shahbaz Khan, 36, of 157 Dallow Road, Luton, was prosecuted during a hearing at Luton Magistrates’ Court on Monday (January 6).

chix-caleb1-WEBHe also paid a victim surcharge of £47 and council costs of £866.

In July 2012 Luton council food safety officers were alerted by a member of the public who noticed crates of chicken meat piled up beside a garage behind shops in Riddy Lane in July 2012.

When officers visited, chicken meat was being processed without approval in unhygienic conditions. Food safety officers immediately closed the business.

Chicken was being processed in a garage with no running water and a splintered wooden pallet covered in greasy cardboard was used as a cutting surface for the meat.

The garage wall was covered with a tarpaulin sheet stained with blood and dried-on chicken flesh and the fridge door handle was dirty with dried-on chicken flesh and feathers.

Flies were crawling over a wooden cutting block.

Butchers were wearing dirty aprons stained with grease and blood, and there was a bag of filthy butchers aprons encrusted with scraps of chicken flesh.

Outside the garage, 38 crates of chicken waste including skin, bones and feathers were piled up and covered in blue-bottle flies with blood dripping from the crates and running over the pathway.

When Mr Khan failed to attend court in September 2013, a warrant was issued for his arrest.

He was finally brought before the magistrates this week and pleaded guilty to ten food hygiene offences. 

Improperly canned elk leads to botulism

Doug likes to call me the canning queen; this is something I embrace. I’ve detailed my recent skill development in home food preservation, which has been part necessity and part interest. I’m a jam/sauce/pickle kind of guy though. Canned elk (or other meats) isn’t for me. It’s not a safety issue, because tested recipes exist at the fabulous National Center For Home Food Preservation site, it’s more of a quality thing.

Deviating from the prescribed steps can create the perfect environment for Clostridium botulinum spore outgrowth, germination and toxin production. Of the 20-30 cases of botulism in the U.S. every year, the majority are linked to improper home canning. It’s not just meat, last year in Oregon three folks became ill after eating under-processed beets. images-3

KPLU in Seattle WA reports that a lawyer for the state of Washington’s Legislative Ethics Board gave himself botulism after eating elk that he canned using an adapted old family recipe which he processed in a pressure cooker and sped up the cooling time. Lucky to be alive, after months of recovery he has trouble walking and his taste buds don’t work.

On the Friday before Mother’s Day this year, Mike O’Connell was looking forward to spending the weekend with his wife at their home in the Seattle area. During the week, he lives alone in Olympia where he works. But he woke that morning with the strangest affliction: double vision.

The next morning, he felt even worse. He was bumping into walls. He called his wife.
“I told her, ‘You know, I’m going to stop by the ER on the way up just so somebody can tell me I’m okay and I’m not having a stroke,”’ he said.

“I didn’t know enough to bring up the fact that I had eaten canned meat,” said O’Connell.
Canned meat. You see, the night before O’Connell woke up with double vision, he had eaten some elk meat from a hunting trip. He canned it himself about a week earlier.

“Borrowed a pressure cooker, used an old family recipe for canning,” O’Connell said.
O’Connell’s mother had canned everything when he was a kid. He wanted to recapture a bit of his childhood. But things started going wrong from the start.

The pressure cooker was too small. O’Connell had already browned the meat in a cast iron pan. So he decided to shortcut the process. Once the jars sealed airtight he would take them out of the pressure cooker and start a new batch. The next day, he heard a pop in the pantry.

O’Connell found the jar with the popped seal, put it in the fridge and ate it the next day. He says it was delicious. The following week he heard another lid pop. Just as he had before, O’Connell found the jar and stuck it in the fridge. And a few days later he ate it for supper.
His breathing was getting shallow.

Daughter Weisfield was frustrated with the lack of answers and scared. She called a doctor she knew, a neurosurgeon. He ran through a short checklist of things to rule out. That list included a disease first identified in the 18th century: botulism. Weisfield looked it up online.

“It just made the hair on the back of my neck stand up because it was every single symptom just laid out exactly what my dad was experiencing,” she said.
Botulism is a paralyzing illness caused by what Centers for Disease Control calls the most potent toxin known to science. It’s rare; there were only 20 foodborne cases nationwide in 2011, just one in Washington state last year.

The doctors didn’t even wait to confirm botulism. They ordered a dose of anti-toxin from the CDC. Now the medical mystery was solved.

After receiving the anti-toxin, O’Connell transferred to Swedish Hospital in Seattle for rehab. It took just days for the Botulism to paralyze O’Connell. The recovery would be painfully slow.

“My eyes were the first thing to come back. I still walk with difficulty and use a cane. I have no taste with the exception of chocolate, so I buy chocolate ensure, chocolate mints and night before last, I found where they sell chocolate wine so I had some of that, too,” O’Connell said.