Stalls in Singapore told to stop selling Chinese-style raw-fish dishes

Food stalls have been ordered to stop selling Chinese-style raw-fish dishes until they can comply with stipulated guidelines, after investigations by the Ministry of Health (MOH) found a definite link between eating these dishes and Group B Streptococcus  (GBS) infection, which can potentially cause permanent disability and even death in severe cases. date, two persons have died from GBS infections this year, said MOH today (Nov 27), without providing details. One of the cases was not linked to the ongoing outbreak, and the other is being investigated.

MOH said it has been notified of 355 cases of GBS infections so far. Of these, about 150 cases had the Sequence Type (ST) 283 strain which causes Type III GBS disease. In comparison, there were, on average, 150 cases of GBS infections per year from 2011 to last year.

The consumption of Chinese-style ready-to-eat raw-fish dishes was found to be associated with Type III GBS disease, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) in a joint media briefing yesterday with the MOH and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA). MOH had said previously it has not found any links between the GBS infection and the consumption of Japanese raw meat or fish dish sashimi. Examples of popular Chinese-style raw-fish dishes are “yusheng”, which is usually eaten during Chinese New Year, and raw-fish porridge.

Over 70 stalls selling Chinese-style raw fish dishes have been identified by the authorities. NEA met with the owners of some of these stalls to brief them on its directive and guidelines, which include buying fish from suppliers which can provide certification on the health of the fish from authorities in the country of origin. Other measures include proper cold chain management, such as keeping fish for raw consumption chilled at the right temperature, and proper hygiene practices like using separate kitchen tools for preparing raw fish.


Restaurants required to freeze raw fish before serving

Once again, the New York Times has show how really little it knows, declaring that fish mush be frozen before serving raw.

Ceviche_mixto_890They’ve been frozen at sea for decades, to control parasites.

And I don’t eat raw fish.

New regulations, published this week by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, require that fish served raw, undercooked or marinated raw in dishes like ceviche must first be frozen, to guard against parasites. In March, the Board of Health approved the regulations, which now align with Food and Drug Administration recommendations and are set to take effect in August.

That means that by the end of summer all fish used in sushi, sashimi, tartare and other popular raw dishes will make a pit stop in the freezer before they end up on diners’ plates.

Though some customers might blanch at the idea that their coveted crudo and sashimi — sometimes costing hundreds of dollars — emerged from a deep freeze, the truth is that many chefs in the city’s top restaurants have long used frozen fish to prevent serving their raw fare with a side of pathogens.

“We purposely deep-freeze at negative 83 degrees, and we use one of those medical cryogenic freezers,” said Yuta Suzuki, vice president of Sushi Zen, a popular Times Square restaurant. “This way, it’s kind of like cooking, but instead of using heat we use freezing to remove parasites or bacteria on the outer surface.”

Even the New York City chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association, which had complained about the regulations at a health department hearing in January, has reversed course. Now that the regulations have been stripped of certain record-keeping requirements that the association considered onerous, establishments serving raw fish should be able to handle the change, James W. Versocki, a legal counselor for the group, said.

2 dead from Vibrio in raw fish in Korea

Health officials in Incheon are on alert after two vibrio sepsis patients died there while receiving treatment. They contracted the disease after eating raw fish. year, 10 cases of vibrio sepsis have been reported throughout the country, most of which occurred in South Jeolla Province.

According to the Incheon Metropolitan Government, a patient from Ganghwa-gun, surnamed Hwang, 53, died Aug. 14 at a hospital where he had been treated for severe abdominal pains and diarrhea.

Hwang was the second vibrio sepsis patient in Incheon to die, following another fatality in Bupyeong-gu.

The bacterium Vibrio vulnificus is commonly contracted through the consumption of raw or undercooked seafood. The resulting sepsis can cause abdominal pain and vomiting, among other symptoms.

School lunch food safety

School lunches are on the buffet of N.Y. Times stories and columnist Jane E. Brody comes in with some somewhat contradictory advice.

Brody correctly notes that chances are you worry more about whether your children will eat the food in their lunch boxes than about whether that food will be safe to eat after spending hours unrefrigerated.

(Sorenne is 2.5-years-old and I’m having daily debriefing sessions with various teachers to figure out what she likes and doesn’t like. Yesterday I was told by three different teachers that Sorenne was hungry and I needed to do better. Today, below, featured yoghurt and frozen berries, the usual morning snack, a lunch of whole-wheat rotini covered with a tomato, chicken and capsicum (red pepper) sauce left over from dinner along with whole wheat bread and butter, and afternoon snacks of orange slices and watermelon.)

Brody says that just as it is unwise to consume at any time foods made with raw egg, undercooked poultry or ground meat, or unpasteurized milk, these absolutely should be avoided in a packed lunch. Also, all raw fish, and shellfish that can be safely consumed raw, must always be kept cold.

No, I won’t be sending any raw shellfish to school with Sorenne.