Happy Thanksgiving and a sheep riding on a truck

To my Canadian brethren, who have consumed the 165F minimum temped bird and are now plopped on the couch watching hockey, including reruns of last night’s barnburner of a hockey game where our beloved but hapless (sorta like me) Toronto Maple Leafs pulled out a 7-6 overtime win against Chicago, I can say we did nothing to celebrate this year.

For every day is … never mind.

The house renovations just got finished, the bank account is empty, maybe we’ll pull something off for American Thanksgiving.

And now, a sheep riding on a truck in New Zealand.

“This is a highly unusual incident and not representative of how sheep are transported in New Zealand,” Ministry for Primary Industries spokesman Peter Hyde said.

Ellerslie resident Ada Rangiwai captured the sight on a cellphone while travelling along the city’s southern motorway. The sheep didn’t seem nervous and it was just standing there, unfazed by the attention.

“It was surfing,” she said.

And if you get a facebook request from me to be friends, ignore it. I, like millions of others, have been hacked.

Raw is risky: Netherlands study finds STEC and Campylobacter in dairy goats and dairy sheep, shows importance of pasteurization

Researchers with the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) shows that two types of bacteria that can cause diarrhea in humans ( STEC and Campylobacter) are common in dairy goat farms and dairy sheep farms, according to a RIVM press release (computer translated).

According to Outbreak News Today, in the animal study, 181 dairy goat farms and 24 dairy sheep farms were examined. STEC (Shiga-toxin-producing E. coli) and Campylobacter was found on most. STEC appeared on virtually all the farms studied. Campylobacter has been demonstrated in one out of three goat farms (33 percent) and almost all sheep farms (96 percent). These bacteria have found much less among cattle farmers and family members.

Listeria was less common, at about 9 percent of the goat and about 17 percent of the sheep farms. The bacteria was not found in the people studied. People run the risk of becoming infected with the listeria bacteria by eating raw milk soft cheese. The study also looked at Salmonella and ESBL-producing bacteria. These were not very common on the farms surveyed.

The results show that pasteurization of milk and hygiene after visiting a dairy goat farm or dairy sheep farm is important to prevent disease.

The bacteria found are in the intestines of the animals and thus enter the manure. A small amount of manure can contaminate raw milk or raw milk cheese. Contamination can be prevented by drinking only pasteurized milk or using it in other foods. In addition, people at a farm can become infected if they have contact with the animals or their environment. Visitors can reduce the risk of illness by washing their hands after contact with the animals or their environment.

In unrelated but related news, Brandon Macz of the Monroe Monitor reports that St. John Creamery in Monroe, Washington, announced on Thursday it is voluntarily recalling raw goat milk that may be contaminated with Escherichia coli (E.coli) bacteria.

A June 14 news release states the recall was initiated after “the presence of toxin-producing E.coli in retail raw goal milk dated 6/17” was discovered during routine sampling by the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

Included in the recall are half-gallon and one-pint containers of raw goat milk marked best by June 17-21.

US haggis ban set to be lifted (again) allowing ex-pats to celebrate Burns night in traditional way

Colan Lamont of the Daily Record reports Scots in the US could be eating haggis on Burns Night for the first time in 45 years as a ban on the traditional fayre looks likely to be lifted.

haggis-nov-16The traditional recipe has been outlawed there since sheep lungs became a banned food  in 1971.

But haggis made here could again adorn American dinner tables as the Scottish Government say a ban on Scots lamb could be overturned in the first half of 2017.

Producers of haggis and Scots farmers say they are ready to cater to the estimated 5.3 million Scots-Americans living in the US.

Scots have been fighting to ­overturn the ban since the days of President Nixon, when the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) ruled livestock lung could not be consumed by humans.

The campaign was dealt a further blow in 1997 when the US Government banned all imports of British lamb because of mad cow disease.

George Milne, regional ­development officer for the National Sheep Association, was part of a Scottish delegation that travelled to the US last year to urge USDA to end the ban on imports of lamb.

He said: “Having been there and spoken to people, it seems there would be a fairly big market for Scots lamb in America.

“The potential is big enough to be of massive ­benefit to Scots lamb. Let’s hope we get a successful outcome and the market will open up as soon as possible.

“There’s no reason why haggis and prime cuts of Scottish lamb could not be launched at the same time on Burns Day.”

The Scottish Government said: “A significant milestone was reached on September 16 when the US concluded its public consultation on proposals to lift the ban on the importation of lamb from the EU.

“Discussions are ongoing. We are hopeful the restrictions on the export of lamb and haggis will be lifted during the first half of next year.”

Pathogens in raw sheep’s milk cheese

Italy is one of the main producers and exporters of cheese made from unpasteurized sheep milk. Since raw milk and its derived products are known sources of human infections, cheese produced from raw sheep milk could pose a microbiological threat to public health. Hence, the objectives of the study were: to characterize the potential risk of the presence of pathogens Escherichia coli O157, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella in raw ovine milk destined for cheese production obtained from all the sheep farms (n = 24) in the Marches region (Central Italy) that directly transform raw milk into cheeses and to evaluate the equivalence between the analytical methods applied.

gene-wilder-sheepA three-step molecular method (simultaneous culture enrichment, species-specific DNA magnetic isolation, and multiplex real-time polymerase chain reaction) was used for milk (n = 143) and cheese (n = 5) analysis over a 3-year period. L. monocytogenes was not detected on any of the farms, while E. coli O157 was found on three farms, although only using the molecular method. Four farms tested positive for Salmonella spp., and Salmonella enterica subsp. diarizonae serovar 61:k:1,5,7 was isolated in one of those cases.

This information highlights the need to develop preventative measures to guarantee a high level of consumer safety for this specific product line, and the molecular method could be a time-saving and sensitive tool to be used in routine diagnosis.

Presence of Escherichia coli O157, Salmonella spp., and Listeria monocytogenes in raw ovine milk destined for cheese production and evaluation of the equivalence between the analytical methods applied

Foodborne Pathogens and Disease, ahead of print. doi:10.1089/fpd.2016.2159.

G Amagliani, A Petruzzelli, E Carloni, F Tonucci, M Foglini, E Micci, M Ricci, S di Lullo, L Rotundo, G Brandi

http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/fpd.2016.2159

Listeria and raw milk cheese: A risk assessment involving sheep

Semisoft cheese made from raw sheep’s milk is traditionally and economically important in southern Europe. However, raw milk cheese is also a known vehicle of human listeriosis and contamination of sheep cheese with Listeria monocytogenes has been reported.

sheep.milk.cheeseIn the present study, we have developed and applied a quantitative risk assessment model, based on available evidence and challenge testing, to estimate risk of invasive listeriosis due to consumption of an artisanal sheep cheese made with raw milk collected from a single flock in central Italy.

In the model, contamination of milk may originate from the farm environment or from mastitic animals, with potential growth of the pathogen in bulk milk and during cheese ripening. Based on the 48-day challenge test of a local semisoft raw sheep’s milk cheese we found limited growth only during the initial phase of ripening (24 hours) and no growth or limited decline during the following ripening period. In our simulation, in the baseline scenario, 2.2% of cheese servings are estimated to have at least 1 colony forming unit (CFU) per gram. Of these, 15.1% would be above the current E.U. limit of 100 CFU/g (5.2% would exceed 1,000 CFU/g). Risk of invasive listeriosis per random serving is estimated in the 10−12 range (mean) for healthy adults, and in the 10−10 range (mean) for vulnerable populations.

When small flocks (10–36 animals) are combined with the presence of a sheep with undetected subclinical mastitis, risk of listeriosis increases and such flocks may represent a public health risk.

Risk assessment of human listeriosis from semisoft cheeses made from raw sheep’s milk in Lazio and Tuscany

Roberto Condoleo, Ziad Mezher, Selene Marozzi, Antonella Guzzon, Roberto Fischetti, Matteo Senese, Stefania Sette, Luca Bucchini

Risk Analysis, June 2016, doi:10.1111/risa.12649

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/risa.12649/abstract;jsessionid=519D74728E4A34E1CE300B856B99D54B.f04t04

This isn’t Rocky II and another reason to avoid private schools: Aust. rugby team practices by tackling sheep

In 1986, when I became editor of the University of Guelph student paper, The Ontarian, we were still using that old aggie joke, Guelph: Where men are men and sheep are afraid.

john.cleeseI taunted myself for using that line in a food safety video recorded in 2000.

Yet in Australia, in 2016, sheep do need to be afraid.

Farming and animal welfare groups have slammed a Sydney school after vision emerged of students tackling and wrestling sheep and rams during a rugby training camp.

The ABC obtained videos showing first and second XV players from Sydney’s prestigious King’s School in Parramatta chasing rams in a farm paddock and dragging them into designated squares before flipping them over.

The videos were reportedly posted on a Facebook page by teacher and coach James Hilgendorf and ex-professional Hugh Perrett, but were taken down when the ABC contacted the school on Wednesday.

RSPCA chief executive Steve Coleman was disgusted by what he saw.

President of the NSW Farmers’ Association Derek Schoen said farmers would have watched the vision “with horror”.

“This is unacceptable animal husbandry practice. You’d never treat your stock like that and I would say most concerned farmers would view that with a bit of horror,” Mr Schoen said.

“It’s distressing to the animals. It will make future husbandry practices more difficult with the animals — they’ll remember what has happened in those yards.

“To have rams running around with a whole lot of school kids I think is just plain stupid.”

Understandably, viewers who saw the footage on ABC on Thursday night were outraged.

Despite this response, the school’s headmaster Dr Tim Hawkes said he had no problem with the practice.

“A strength and team-building exercise devised by the farmer involved the boys having to undertake a task not dissimilar to that undertaken by shearers,” Hawkes said in a statement to the ABC.

“The task was supervised closely by the farmer who gave instructions to the boys as to how this task should be done.

“The two rugby coaches involved were assured by the farmer beforehand that the activity was safe and all the more so because he would be supervising it carefully.

“No animals were injured in the exercise. Neither were any boys.”

To head-master Dr Tim Hawkes: Your title says it all.

Goats, sheep used for research lived in filth in Washington state, inspector reports

Continuing with the goat theme.

men.goats.apr.16Dozens of goats and sheep used by a Seattle medical research firm backed by a prominent food-safety expert were found in dirty, dilapidated conditions that endangered the animals’ welfare, a federal inspection found.

Many of the 42 goats and four sheep kept at a Redmond farm by Pi Bioscientific Inc., also known as Pi Biologique, suffered from “numerous medical ailments and severe health issues,” according to a March 3 report by the U.S. Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS).

“Lack of adequate staffing, equipment and facilities has adversely affected the care and well-being of the animals, prevented proper biosecurity and has led to the severe discomfort and pain and suffering in these animals,” veterinarian Diane Forbes found.

The animals had little protection from weather and there was no way to remove manure, the report noted.

In addition, staff members couldn’t account for 18 goats and one sheep that apparently went missing since a 2014 inventory that found there were 60 goats and five sheep on the premises.

Mansour Samadpour, the director of IEH Laboratories in Seattle — the firm hired by companies including Chipotle and Costco to improve their food-safety practices — said Tuesday he is a shareholder in Pi Bioscientific and the problems have been corrected.

“We had no idea this was happening,” Samadpour said, adding that staff who had been hired to care for the animals on the farm weren’t doing their jobs properly.

The animals are used for antibody testing for medical research, Samadpour said. Pi Biologique distributes test kits for common food allergies, according to a company website.

Sheep farts forced plane to make emergency landing

This story couldn’t be any more Australian unless Mr. G was dancing with the sheep (thanks Courtlynn for the link).

 sheep.fartA Singapore airlines Boeing 747 from Sydney was forced to make an unexpected stopover after methane gas set off the fire alarm .

The Aviation Herald reports the cargo flight from Australia to Kuala Lumpur, with 4 crew and 2,186 sheep on-board, was flying just to the south of Indonesia when the smoke alarms sounded on October 26.

Crew on-board SQ-7108 descended the aircraft immediately and diverted to Bali where they landed about 45 minutes later.

Emergency services didn’t find any trace of fire or smoke and identified the cause to be the result of exhaust gasses and manure produced by the sheep. 

Take your sheep to McDonald’s?

Police stopped a driver in northern England this week who had a large sheep tucked in the back of his small Peugeot 206, and police were concerned it might constitute an “insecure load.”

sheep.carThe man said the sheep was from his farm and that he just wanted to take it out with him while he grabbed a burger at McDonald’s. “Some people take their dogs in their cars, I take my sheep,” he reportedly told the officers who pulled him over.

“He seemed fine to be honest — although he obviously felt a little sheepish when we pointed out the two bald tires,” Chris Marlow, one of the officers, told the Echo, earning a round of applause from pun lovers everywhere.

Can scrapie in sheep cause disease in humans?

On March 20, 1996, British Health Secretary Stephen Dorrell rose in the House to inform colleagues that scientists had discovered a new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease (CJD) in 10 victims, and that they could not rule out a link with consumption of beef from cattle with bovine spongiform encephalapthy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease.

timmy.timeThe announcement of March 20, 1996 was the culmination of 15 years of mismanagement, political bravado and a gross underestimation of the public’s capacity to deal with risk.  More important than any of the several lessons to be drawn from the BSE fiasco was this: the risk of no-risk messages.  For 10 years the British government and leading scientific advisors insisted there was no risk — or that the risk was so infintesimly small that it could be said there was no risk — of BSE leading to a similar malady in humans, CJD, even in the face of contradictory evidence.  The no-risk message contributed to the devastating economic and social effects on Britons, a nation of beefeaters, the slaughter of over 1 million British cattle, and a decrease in global consumption of beef, especially in Japan, at a cost of billions of dollars.

Part of that logic stemmed from the apparent absence of zoonotic or human effects from the sheep transmissible spongiform Encephalopathy, scrapie, which had been know in the UK for hundreds of years.

mad.cows.mothers.milkEuropean researchers have now reviewed the available evidence.

The factors that modulate the transmissibility of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE) and the approaches for the study of their zoonotic potential are reviewed. The paper ‘Evidence for zoonotic potential of ovine scrapie prions’ by Cassard et al. (2014) is scientifically appraised, focussing on the experimental design, the results and the conclusions.

The paper provides evidence in a laboratory experiment that some Classical scrapie isolates can propagate in humanised transgenic mice and produce prions that on second passage are similar to those causing one form of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD). It is concluded that the results from the study raise the possibility that scrapie prions have the potential to be zoonotic, but do not provide evidence that transmission can or does take place under field conditions.

The conclusions of the 2011 ECDC-EFSA ‘Joint Scientific Opinion on any possible epidemiological or molecular association between TSEs in animals and humans’ are reviewed in the light of the new scientific evidence available since its publication. This supports and strengthens the conclusions of that opinion with regard to the potential for some animal TSE to be zoonotic, but does not provide evidence of a causal link between Classical or Atypical scrapie and human TSE. Current evidence does not establish this link, and no consistent risk factors have been identified for sCJD.

shaun.sheep
The possibility of scrapie-related public health risks from the consumption of ovine products cannot be assessed. Recommendations are formulated on further studies and data that are needed to investigate the zoonotic potential of animal TSE and to estimate the amount of infectivity from TSE-infected products sourced from small ruminants and entering the food chain in the European Union.

Scientific Opinion on a request for a review of a scientific publication concerning the zoonotic potential of ovine scrapie prions

EFSA Journal 2015;13(8):4197 [58 pp.]. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2015.4197

EFSA Panel on Biological Hazards (BIOHAZ)

http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/4197.htm?utm_source=feed&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ej

http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/4197.htm?utm_source=feed&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ej