E. coli found in Icelandic meat

Keeping with all things Icelandic, E. coli was found in 30% of lamb samples and 11.5% of beef samples in a test carried out by the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST). The particular strain discovered is known as STEC, or shiga-toxin producing E. coli. This is the first time lamb and beef have been screened for STEC in Iceland.

The testing was carried out on around 600 samples of lamb, beef, pork, and chicken of both Icelandic and foreign origin between March and December 2018. The purpose of the testing was to determine the prevalence of pathogenic micro-organisms in products when they reach the consumer, and for this reason the samples were taken from shops.

Campylobacter and salmonella were not detected in pork or chicken samples, with the exception of a single sample of pork from Spain. MAST attributes this to improved preventative measures in slaughterhouses.

MAST points to several ways consumers can reduce the risk of infection from salmonella, campylobacter, and E. coli, including cooking meat all the way through and taking care to avoid cross-contamination. Most E. coli is found on the surface of meat, and therefore is killed by frying or grilling, but when meat is ground, the bacteria is distributed throughout. Therefore, hamburgers and other types of ground meat should be cooked through.

But what does that mean?

Use a tip-sensitive digital thermometer.

279 sick: Salmonella infections again linked to backyard poultry

People, seriously, stop kissing your chicks.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that since the last update on May 16, 2019, illnesses in an additional 227 people and 20 states have been added to this investigation. Four Salmonella serotypes have also been added.

A total of 279 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella have been reported from 41 states.

40 (26%) people have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported.

70 (30%) people are children younger than 5 years.

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicate that contact with backyard poultry, such as chicks and ducklings, from multiple hatcheries is the likely source of these outbreaks.

In interviews, 118 (77%) of 153 ill people reported contact with chicks or ducklings.

People reported obtaining chicks and ducklings from several sources, including agricultural stores, websites, and hatcheries.

One of the outbreak strains making people sick has been identified in samples collected from backyard poultry in Ohio.

People can get sick with Salmonella infections from touching backyard poultry or their environment. Backyard poultry can carry Salmonella bacteria but appear healthy and clean and show no signs of illness.

Follow these tips to stay healthy with your backyard flock:

Always wash your hands with soap and water right after touching backyard poultry or anything in the area where they live and roam.

Adults should supervise handwashing by young children.

Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available.

Don’t let backyard poultry inside the house, especially in areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored.

Set aside a pair of shoes to wear while taking care of poultry and keep those shoes outside of the house.

 

Australia still has an egg problem: Egg recall due to possible Salmonella

The NSW Food Authority advises that the following eggs are being voluntarily recalled by The Egg Basket Pty Ltd because they may be contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis (SE):

Country Fresh Eggs Just Eggs, 600g, cardboard box

Chefs Choice Free Range, 700g, 30 pack tray

Chefs Choice Cage Free, 800g, 30 pack tray

The Use By dates are 14 June 2019, 20 June 2019, 24 June 2019, 29 June 2019, 5 July 2019, 9 July 2019 or you may identify the individual eggs through the stamp eb24449 on the shell.

The eggs were sold directly from The Egg Basket business in Kemps Creek, and at the Flemington Markets.

Consumers who may have purchased the eggs are advised they should not eat the eggs and to dispose of them in the garbage or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Proof of purchase is not required for recalled products.

CEO of the NSW Food Authority Dr Lisa Szabo said consumers may be aware of a higher number of SE related egg recalls in recent months due to a cluster of interconnected egg farms across the state.

“This recall is related to the detection of this particular organism”, Dr Szabo said.

As part of its response NSW DPI has increased surveillance and monitoring at poultry farms and where necessary has issued biosecurity directions to individual properties, including the quarantine of premises to stop movement of eggs into the marketplace.

Further information about how to reduce your food safety risk when consuming eggs can be found at www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/eggs

A table of Australian egg-related outbreaks is available at https://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/raw-egg-related-outbreaks-australia-5-1-17.xlsx.

Brain cloud: UK former Royal Marine tells of holiday Salmonella nightmare that left him a shell of a man

When ex-Royal Marine Commando Steve O’Connell caught salmonella on holiday, he never foresaw it ruining his life.

Trapped in a world of constantly being tired, he turned to medics for help.

Lisa Hutchinson of Chronicle Live writes following the initial trauma from the salmonella, he was diagnosed with ME or chronic fatigue syndrome.

And while Steve struggled with keeping up with the running of his successful business, he would have done virtually anything to get his old life back.

Now, after teaming up with specialist body-worker Adam Foster who put Steve through his paces with his own created recovery model, Steve is now fighting fit again and is back to gruelling circuit training and five mile runs after years of pain and fatigue.

Steve, 47, who owns Advantex Network Solutions Ltd in Gateshead with brother Dave, said: “In 2008 I contracted salmonella on holiday in Turkey and shortly after my recovery I started experiencing excruciating pains all over my body that were not associated with any sort of injury. 

“I would get arthritic pains, my eye balls felt like they were been squeezed, my muscles felt like I had just finished a 10-mile run and I even had pains in my teeth, not tooth ache but pains in my actual teeth.

“I also became very lethargic and tired – I thought I’d become lazy as I couldn’t motivate myself to do anything beyond basic tasks and if I did it would knock me on my back for days.

 “The worst thing though was the brain fog, imagine not been able to hold a sensible or coherent conversation for more than a couple of minutes. 

“I would sit in meetings disengaged and dazed trying so hard to not appear disinterested, giving all my energy to meetings with clients leaving little or no ability to hold meetings with colleagues or talk with my wife and three children when I got home.

“I think it’s safe to say for 10 years they didn’t have the husband or dad I wanted them to have.

Bacteria flip an electric switch to worsen food poisoning

Salmonella bacteria flip an electric switch as they hitch a ride inside immune cells, causing the cells to migrate out of the gut toward other parts of the body, according to a new study publishing on April 9 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by Yaohui Sun and Alex Mogilner of New York University and colleagues. The discovery reveals a new mechanism underlying the toxicity of this common food-borne pathogen.

Salmonella are among the commonest, and deadliest, causes of food poisoning, causing over 400,000 deaths every year. Many of those deaths result when the bacteria escape the gut inside immune cells called macrophages. Macrophages are drawn to bacteria in the gut by a variety of signals, most prominently chemicals released from the site of infection. Once there, they engulf the bacteria as a regular part of their infection-fighting job. However, rather than remaining there, bacteria-laden macrophages often leave the site and enter the bloodstream, disseminating the bacteria and greatly increasing the gravity of the infection.

Tissues such as the gut often generate small electrical fields across their outer surfaces, and these electrical fields have been known to drive migration of cells, including macrophages. In the new study, the authors first showed that the lining of the mouse cecum (the equivalent of the human appendix) maintains a cross-membrane electrical field, and that Salmonella infection altered this field and contributed to the attraction of macrophages. Measurements of the polarity of the local charge indicated that the macrophages were attracted to the anode, or positively charged pole within the field. Once they engulfed bacteria, however, they became attracted to the cathode and reversed their migratory direction, moving away from the gut lining, toward vessels of the circulatory system. This switch was driven by a in the composition of certain charged surface proteins on the macrophages; the mechanism by which bacterial engulfment triggers this change is still under investigation.

“Dissemination, rather than localized infection, is the greatest cause of mortality from Salmonella (and other food-borne bacteria), and so understanding more about this polarity switch is likely to help develop new treatments to reduce deaths from food-borne bacterial infections,” said Mogilner.

Looks like I missed this one too: ‘My mom’s death was needless’ Families want answers after Salmonella outbreak at Winnipeg care home

Tessa Vanderhart of CBC reported last month a Winnipeg care home where two residents recently died has confirmed it served frozen food from Thailand that was later linked to the Canada-wide outbreak of salmonella. 

Golden West Centennial Lodge executive director Joyce Kristjansson told staff and families in an email on Tuesday morning it had given residents cream puffs that are now on the recall list. 

Two residents at the 116-bed personal care facility in the Sturgeon Creek neighbourhood died in March, and a third was sickened. All three tested positive for salmonella.

The Public Health Agency of Canada confirmed the three cases at Golden West are linked to the outbreak which has struck 73 people nationwide. 

Investigators have linked the bacteria-caused gastrointestinal illnessto Celebrate-brand frozen profiteroles and mini chocolate eclairs.

Fancy childcare ain’t safe childcare Nebraska elite edition

Local media outlets report that the Douglas County Health Department is investigating a Salmonella outbreak linked to the Omaha-based Elite Childcare Academy daycare facility.

Candess Zona of Outbreak News Today reports the daycare has closed its doors pending the investigation. The number of illnesses and exact source of the outbreak have not yet been released. The agency’s representative, Phil Rooney, commented that the reason for the lack of information is because children may still be within the incubation period for Salmonella.

In the meantime, the health agency is having the daycare’s staff, parents, and guardians of the 100 or so children that are part of the agency complete surveys to determine the root source.

Damn you, hedgehogs: 27 now sick from Salmonella

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that since the last update on March 29, 2019, illnesses in an additional 10 people and six states have been added to this investigation.

Twenty-seven people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium have been reported from 17 states.

Two people were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Forty-two percent are children aged 12 or younger.

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicate that contact with pet hedgehogs is the likely source of this outbreak.

Don’t kiss or snuggle hedgehogs, because this can spread Salmonella germs to your face and mouth and make you sick.

Don’t let hedgehogs roam freely in areas where food is prepared or stored, such as kitchens.

Clean habitats, toys, and supplies outside the house when possible. Avoid cleaning these items in the kitchen or any other location where food is prepared, served, or stored.

They are not cute and funny. They are Salmonella factories.

‘Contamination of wheat poses a foodborne illness risk’

Following up on Chapman’s coverage of the current outbreak of E. coli O26 in flour that has sickened at least 17 people, researchers have concluded that little information is available regarding microbial pathogens in wheat and wheat flour. Information about microbial pathogens in wheat is needed to develop effective methods to prevent foodborne illnesses caused by wheat products.

From 2012 to 2014, we conducted a baseline study to determine the prevalence and levels of pathogens in wheat samples taken before milling. A total of 5,176 wheat samples were tested for enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC), Salmonella spp., Listeria spp., and L. monocytogenes. Positive samples were assayed for most probable numbers (MPNs), and isolates were fingerprinted by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). The rate of detection of each pathogen tested was as follows: Salmonella was in 1.23% of the samples (average level of 0.110 MPN/g), EHECs occurred in 0.44% of the samples (0.039 MPN/g), and Listeria spp. occurred in 0.08% of samples (0.020 MPN/g), but L. monocytogenes was not detected.

The PFGE assessment found a high diversity for all organisms. All EHEC PFGE patterns (22 of 22) were unique, and 39 of 47 Salmonella patterns (83%) were unique. These results indicate a diverse background of naturally occurring organisms. These findings suggest that the microbial contamination is coming from diverse sources and provide no evidence in support of a specific pathogen load. Altogether, our surveillance study shows that contamination of wheat with pathogens is clearly evident and poses a foodborne illness risk.

Occurrence and levels of salmonella, enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli, and listeria in raw wheat

June 2019

Journal of Food Protection vol. 82 no. 6 pp. 1022-1027

Samuel Myoda, Stefanie Gilbreth, Deann Akins-Leventhal, Seana Davidson, and Mansour Samadpour

https://doi.org/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-18-345

https://jfoodprotection.org/doi/full/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-18-345

Outbreak investigation of Salmonella infantis linked to Del Monte vegetable trays, spring 2019

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is inspecting the Del Monte facility that produced vegetable trays that the Wisconsin Department of Health Services linked to an outbreak of salmonellosis. The facility is in Kankakee, Illinois.

On May 21, 2019, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced that vegetable trays produced by Del Monte Fresh Produce Inc. and sold at Kwik Trip convenience stores in Wisconsin and Minnesota are linked to three illnesses in Wisconsin and one illness in Minnesota.

According to Wisconsin authorities, these patients reported becoming ill between April 13 and April 27, 2019, and Kwik Trip has voluntarily removed all Del Monte vegetable trays from their stores.

The FDA, CDC and state authorities from Wisconsin and Minnesota continue to investigate the cause and source of the outbreak and the distribution of products.

This outbreak is not related to the Cyclospora infections linked to Del Monte vegetable trays in 2018.