Brucellosis in a dog, raw meat origin

My friend Scott Weese wrote this up in his Worms and Germs Blog so I don’t have to.

˙(I still miss Sadie, who we had to relo˙cate before we moved to Australia).

A recent report from the Netherlands in Emerging Infectious Diseases (van Dijk et al 2018) describes a new twist on raw feeding concerns, Brucella suis infection. For the full details, you can read the whole paper here, but the short version of the story is outlined below.

The dog had fever, ascites (fluid free in the abdomen) and inflammation of the testicles, and after failing to respond to antibiotics, it was taken to surgery. At surgery, culture samples were collected from the epididymis (tissue adjacent to the testicle). Brucella suis was identified, which presumably caused a bit stir in the lab and clinic since that bacterium is a rarely identified, poses risks to people and is notifiable (the government has to be contacted when it’s found). Ultimately, the dog was euthanized after failing to respond to further treatment.

Because this is a notifiable disease, there was an investigation. The dog’s raw, rabbit-based diet became the leading potential source and Brucella suis was identified in samples from a 30,000 kg batch of raw rabbit imported from Argentina, a country where B. suis is present.

It’s a single case report so we can’t get too worked up about it, but it’s noteworthy for a couple reasons.

One is the disease…brucellosis is a nasty disease. It can be hard to treat, is potentially zoonotic and sometimes results in public health-mandated euthanasia of the dog.

Another is the importation aspect. The dog wasn’t imported but the bacterium was, via food. We’re trying to get increasing awareness of the need to query travel and importation history, since that can impact disease risks. Querying diet origins is tougher, since, while most people would know where their dog has been in the past few weeks, they may not know much about where their dog’s diet has been. With commercial processed food, it’s not a big deal but with a higher risk food like raw meat, importing food can be similar to the dog visiting the country of origin, from a disease standpoint. With raw meat, knowing where the meat came from and the disease risks in those areas may be important, but that’s not often easy to find.

The incidence of disease in dogs and cats associated with raw meat feeding ins’t clear and is probably low. Nevertheless, I recommend avoiding raw meat feeding, especially in  high risk households (e.g. with elderly individuals, kids <5 yrs of age, pregnant women or immunocompromised individuals). However, if raw meat is to be fed, some basic practices can be taken to reduce the risk, as we outline in the info sheet in our Resources section.

Man ‘smelling of raw meat’ sexually assaulted woman on Melbourne tram

A 42-year-old woman was sexually assaulted on a Melbourne tram by a man aged between 30 and 40-years-old who smelled of raw meat (right, sorta as shown).

raw-meat-manAnyone who has information about the incident or the man’s identity is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report at

UK dog found eating raw meat in illegal Co Armagh meat farm

Pictures of a dog eating raw meatd being prepared for the human food chain in an illegal Co Armagh butchery, have been released by a council.

dog meat farmThe owner of the premises Benard Muchan of Back Road, Mullaghbawn was arrested when police visited the shed in October 2012.

He pleaded guilty to ten offences relating to breaches of food safety regulations and was fined £10,000.

Newry and Mourne Council, which took the case, said conditions in the facility were “filthy.”

Environmental health officers called to scene found several beef carcases hanging in a makeshift butchery and cold room.

The council’s assistant director of environmental health Eoin Devlin said: “The premises, food contact surfaces and equipment were found to be in a filthy condition with decaying food debris and blood.

USDA says no to raw meat; Japan to ban raw pork, ‘liver sashimi’ at restaurants

As the U.S. Department of Agriculture reminds consumers to avoid raw meat, Japan’s health ministry will ban all raw pork, including raw pork liver, from restaurants because of the “major health risks” it can pose, sources said.

kibbeh_banned_windsor_jun__12_featuredThe ministry’s move will be based on the recommendation of a specialist research panel of the Food Safety Commission, which is under the Cabinet Office.

The panel started discussions on the adequacy of raw pork served at restaurants after a deadly food poisoning outbreak involving raw beef dishes. Panel members on Dec. 10 concluded that uncooked pork should not be served to customers.

The health ministry will revise codes of the food sanitation law to stipulate the ban on serving raw pork at restaurants and other eateries.

Violators of the ban will face business suspension orders and other administrative penalties, the sources said.

In 2012, the government banned raw beef liver for consumption, a popular item at yakiniku barbeque restaurants and izakaya Japanese pubs, following a series of food poisoning cases from raw beef. Some establishments switched to raw pork liver.

USDA says that raw meat dishes like tartare may be more common this time of year, but they still come with health risks.

raw.pork.japan“Tiger meat” is another traditional winter dish. Despite the name, this dish is not made using meat from tigers. It’s a holiday mixture of raw ground beef, raw eggs, onions and other seasonings served on rye bread or crackers. Beef tartare, tiger meat, and dishes alike have ground beef and eggs that pose a health hazard when eaten undercooked or raw.

Raw ground beef has been associated with several large outbreaks of foodborne illness. In 2012, an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that sickened 17 people in Wisconsin was caused by this traditional dish.

Most bacteria in meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can be killed by thorough cooking. To prevent illness, ground beef should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 °F. The only way to tell if the temperature is right is with a food thermometer. Color is not an accurate indicator that ground beef is fully cooked. Also, if you’re cooking another dish like meatballs or meatloaf, remember not to try any of the dishes before cooking, even if you just want to taste the seasoning.

Quackery confirmed: raw beef making a comeback

It took a pregnant mother-of-one to point out to the six-figure bureaucrats at Queensland Health that a leaflet promoting the Australian Vaccination-Sceptics Network was included in  pregnancy packs and listed as the only information source for vaccinations.

bullshitNot much different than Toronto Sick Kids hospital saying pregnant women can eat deli meats as long as they come from “reputable sources.”

And now the Washington Post, with this piece of food porn: “Every once in a while, Kapnos chef-owner George Pagonis will prepare a dish of lamb tartare, carefully plating the beautiful oval of ground meat atop a swish of charred eggplant puree and dollops of harissa, send it to the dining room — and it will promptly come back to the kitchen, untouched.

“A couple of people, when they order it, I guess they don’t know what tartare is. And they’re like, ‘Oh, is this raw?’ And they send it back,” said Pagonis. “You take all this time to make it look nice, and you’re like, what are you doing? I get all upset.”

But occasions for Pagonis to get upset are becoming almost as rare as that rosy-red lamb he’s serving. Diners are rediscovering the pleasures of a plate of velvety raw meat, as steak tartare makes a comeback (along with its Italian cousin, carpaccio).

Raw-meat dishes in ethnic cuisine — the Vietnamese bo tai chanh, Ethiopian kitfo and gored gored, and Lebanese kibbeh nayeh — are, of course, impervious to trends. But tartare, once a mark of sophistication at the “continental” restaurants of old, fell out of favor after the mad cow and E. coli scares of the 1990s. Now that the best restaurants are more cognizant of the conditions in which their animals are raised, diners who were once wary of eating raw meat might be more willing to let their guard down.

“Especially now, with these chef-driven restaurants, chefs are sourcing great products. And these products are more okay [for] eating raw,” said Pagonis. “People are trusting us.”

Absolute bullshit.

bullshit 2dIn December, an outbreak of E.  coli traced to steak tartare at a restaurant in Montreal sickened seven people. But Cliff Coles, president of California Microbiological Consulting, a company that tests food for produce and meat purveyors, said the risk of illness is minimal if chefs prepare well-sourced meat in a clean kitchen using proper technique.

“The beef industry has done a lot to improve not only the quality of the beef but the microbiological quality,” Coles said.


Bullshit ferments and grows and stinks. No bullshit. Literally.

Dogs, cats, raw meat risk factors for ocular toxoplasmosis in Brazil

Ferreira, et al report in Epidemiology & Infection the aim of this study was to investigate risk factors for ocular toxoplasmosis (OT) in patients who received medical attention at a public health service.

Three hundred and forty-nine consecutive patients, treated in the Outpatient Eye Clinic of Hospital de Base, São José do Rio Preto, São Paulo state, dogcat2012Brazil, were enrolled in this study. After an eye examination, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used to determine anti-Toxoplasma gondii antibodies.

The results showed that 25·5% of the patients were seronegative and 74·5% were seropositive for IgG anti-T. gondii antibodies; of these 27·3% had OT and 72·7% had other ocular diseases (OOD). The presence of cats or dogs [odds ratio (OR) 2·22, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·24–3·98, P = 0·009] and consumption of raw or undercooked meat (OR 1·77, 95% CI 1·05–2·98, P = 0·03) were associated with infection but not with the development of OT. Age (OT 48·2 ± 21·2 years vs. OOD: 69·5 ± 14·7 years, P < 0·0001) and the low level of schooling/literacy (OT vs. OOD: OR 0·414, 95% CI 0·2231–0·7692, P = 0·007) were associated with OT.

The presence of dogs and cats as well as eating raw/undercooked meat increases the risk of infection, but is not associated with the development of OT.

Washing raw meat is a risk

It’s Taste of Charlotte not Taste of Bacon.

And whatever the meat, don’t wash it.

Fox Charlotte (that’s in North Carolina) interviewed some vendors at the annual Taste of Charlotte, where Mital Naik of the Brazz Steakhouse booth was preparing to feed 5,000 people a sampling of 10 types of meats prepared on a traditional Brazilian grill.

"Today we’re doing filet wrapped in bacon and chicken wrapped in bacon and scallops wrapped in bacon," Naik said.

As Health Officials race against the clock to determine the cause of an E. coli outbreak just hours away in Atlanta, Naik said he’s making sure his high-end steak house’s meat is thoroughly cooked and washed. Naik said, "It’s something you have to think about."

Don’t wash raw meats. Salmonella and other bugs can be sprayed up to 3 feet away by washing. Canadian, American and even British governments all recommend no washing of raw meat. Washing cooked meat may not help with that high-end appeal.

Raw meat raves in New York

Lawyers, prepare your briefs.

And put on clean ones.

The New York Post reports on Gotham’s burgeoning food porn trend to consume meat raw, and lining up for the privilege.

Takashi is one of a small but growing number of restaurants around the city catering to those who are rah-rah about consuming their animal flesh raw-raw.

The first dish to come out is the yooke, ground chuck prepared like a Japanese version of steak tartare. Topped with a raw quail egg, it’s adorned with Japanese seaweed and an enormous shiso leaf.

It’s also by far the tamest uncooked dish at Takashi, which gets its meat from some of the better purveyors around, such as Dickson’s Farmstand and Pat LaFrieda.

Maybe they have those CSI UV goggles that make dangerous bacteria visible. Otherwise, it’s hucksterism to charge a premium.

“Raw meats or undercooked foods leave you at risk of infection [of parasites or a slew of other illnesses],” says Dr. Michael Mansour of the division of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital.

According to NYC’s Department of Health, restaurants must notify diners when food isn’t cooked to required temperatures — either verbally or by printing this on the menu. A diner may also request such a dish. Basically, it’s buyer beware — though the DOH says it will investigate complaints of people getting sick from eating raw food. But with so many New Yorkers obsessed with high-quality ingredients, meat so fresh it can be served raw is seen as a benchmark — not a danger.

Food porn trumps.

At downtown’s Acme, you’ll find endive leaves stuffed with a mix of raw bison and sweet shrimp. At Manzo in Eataly, Piedmontese beef is hand-cut and ground to order. Hakata Tonton, just a couple of blocks from Takashi, offers veal liver sashimi on its menu, as does EN Japanese Brasserie on Hudson Street. Last fall, Hecho en Dumbo in the East Village offered venison tartare on the chef’s menu. (It plans to bring it back next fall, too.)

And then there’s raw chicken, a dish not for the squeamish. “There are a lot of places in the city that serve raw chicken,” says Dave Pasternack, chef-owner of Esca in Hell’s Kitchen. But you might have to ask, with a nudge and a wink, to go off the menu.

For some, raw meat is uncontroversial. “It’s my soul food,” says Takashi’s Inoue, who grew up in Osaka. “That’s how we eat in my home in Japan. The meat is very, very fresh.”

Very fresh, except when it sickens and kills, like it did in Japan last year, leaving four dead and at least 70 sickened with E. coli O111 from raw beef.

Pick your poison.

Raw meat is risky but I’m sticking to my plan; that’s what chefs do

I wasn’t even watching. I had Family Guy on in the background while I marked assignments, and it went to that Gordon Ramsay show, Masterchef.

That’s when I heard one of the chef wannabes said, “Working with raw beef is risky but I’m sticking with my plan.”

The plan was to serve some beef tartare tart things, and one chef used a blow torch to warm it up (which did nothing to the inside of the tartare). Another judge said, serving raw meat is a really bad idea.

The hundreds of guests weren’t dumb: 100 per cent choose the beef Wellington over the tartare.

Lady Gaga wears raw meat bikini, risks E. coli outbreak

Lady Gaga graces the September cover of Vogue Hommes Japan wearing an ensemble of thinly sliced cuts of presumably prime beef (kobe?) that barely covers her body.

Connecticut News recommends that if you are not vegetarian and do happen to eat meat once worn by Lady Gaga, be sure to cook it thoroughly and use a meat thermometer to ensure it reaches an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees F.