Listeria positive: Sliced chicken withdrawn from schools in Caerphilly, Wales

Action has been taken to withdraw a batch of sliced cooked chicken supplied to canteens in schools in Caerphilly after potentially harmful levels of Listeria monocytogenes – the bacteria that causes listeria food poisoning – was found in the product.

listeria4No illnesses linked to the incident have been reported and the risk to the vast majority of healthy children and staff is very low.

The potentially contaminated chicken was served in 45 of 90 schools supplied, as quality checks identified no concerns prior to service. As a precaution, all chicken from this supplier has been removed from the menus.

Parents of pupils from the affected schools have been notified of the incident. At this stage it is unclear whether the whole batch of chicken was affected. The samples in which the bacteria were found were taken from schools where the catering staff noticed an unusual smell and withdrew the chicken from service.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA), Public Health Wales and environmental health officers at Caerphilly County Borough Council have been urgently investigating the source of the contamination. No cause has been identified at this stage but a food manufacturer from England which supplied the chicken and a distributor in Wales are being investigated. As a precaution, all cooked sliced chicken from the company in England is being tested for contamination.

Sick at school? Here’s the stats

(With thanks to Batz for the tip)

Fitting that we had a parent-teacher interview tonight. The teacher doesn’t give the grade 1 students fruit breaks, when every other class does, because, “the students didn’t seem to mind working through.”

I said my kid minded.

Everyone needs an asshole.

State-reported school foodborne outbreaks account for about 3.8% (n = 464) of all outbreaks and 8.2 % (n = 20,667) of all illnesses reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System.

pink.floyd.educationOf 464 school foodborne outbreaks, 122 (26%) outbreaks, 7,603 illnesses, and 301 reported food safety errors met the criteria for inclusion in the analyses. The purpose of the authors’ study was to examine the role of contributing factors in school foodborne outbreaks.

Contamination factors accounted for the greatest proportion (49.2%) of outbreaks involving some level of food handling interaction by a school food service worker, followed by proliferation (34.9%) and survival factors (15.9%). Over 56% of all illnesses were associated with norovirus and food service worker practices.

The results of these analyses highlight the importance of effective food safety education programs that focus on the role of contributing factors and prevention of foodborne disease from food safety errors.

 Analyses of the Contributing Factors Associated With Foodborne Outbreaks in School

Journal of Environmental Health

Venuto, Margaret; Garcia, Kristin; Halbrook, Brenda

Are salad bars in schools a good idea?

There’s a bunch of food safety types who say they’ll never eat from salad bars, because who knows where the stuff comes from and who knows how many people have blown their nose on the contents.

I do eat from salad bars, but not that often. I have concerns about the sanitation, but also like the convenience of getting fresh fruit and veg into the system.

I’m not sure I want to eat at a salad bar frequented by snotty 10-year-olds who may be clueless about handwashing.

Michelle Obama apparently didn’t consider the food safety aspects when she endorsed the salad bar in every school.

I’m all for fresh fruits and veggies. But because they are fresh, anything that comes in contact has the potential to contaminate. So do it safely (produce condoms?)

Hand sanitizers and cleaning mean fewer kids home sick from school

New research in the journal Pediatrics has concluded that,

"A multifactorial intervention including hand sanitizer and surface disinfection reduced absenteeism caused by gastrointestinal illness in elementary school students. Norovirus was found less often on classroom surfaces in the intervention group. Schools should consider adopting these practices to reduce days lost to common illnesses."

Wonder if it would work for restaurants.