Just cook it doesn’t cut it: 6-year-old in France dies from E. coli

(Thanks to our French colleague, Albert, who forwarded this)

Matthew, a child “full of life, very intelligent despite his disability ” according to his mother, Angélique Gervraud, died February 22, 2019 at the Children’s Hospital of Bordeaux. He had been sick for more than a month after eating an undercooked burger at the beginning of January 2019 says his mom in a forum posted on his Facebook page.

It’s probably poorly cooked mince that has contaminated Matthew, his mom is sure. “Matthew only ate that,” she explains. Matthew developed haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) usually linked to shiga-toxin producing E. coli.

And because food safety is simple – that’s sarcasm, which the French may not get —  the transmission of the disease can be avoided by simple actions, which advises the site Public Health France:

  • Cook meat thoroughly and especially minced meat at over 65 ° C(The Ministry of Health published a note to the attention of the professionals of the collective catering from February 2007, with the appearance of the first cases)
  • Avoid giving raw lai, and cheeses made from raw milk to young children. Prefer baked or pasteurized pressed cheese
  • Always wash your hands before cooking
  • Keep cooked and raw foods separately
  • Consume quickly and well warmed leftover food.
  • Do not give untreated water to children or the elderly.

In 2017, 164 cases of HUS were reported in children under 15 years of age. There are a hundred in France in general every year.

Always tragic: Washington state third-grader’s death may be linked to E. coli

Wendy Culverwell of the Tri-City Herald reports a Pasco elementary student has died from apparent complications of E. coli.

Ismael Baeza Soto, 9, died Feb. 11 at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, apparently of kidney failure brought about by E. coli.

The Benton-Franklin Health District is investigating the source of what sickened the boy. So far, it appears to be an isolated case that hasn’t been linked to other investigations, though future testing could change that.

“We have not identified any ongoing public health threats,” said Dr. Amy Person, the public health officer for the Mid-Columbia.

Why whole genome sequencing is important for food safety

In 1999, I gave a talk to hundreds of farm leaders in Ottawa and told them that DNA fingerprinting – via PulseNet – would revolutionize foodborne illness outbreak investigations and that farmers better be prepared (the pic is from a 2003 awards ceremony where I was acknowledged for my outreach and extension efforts, the hair was fabulous).

Twenty years later and whole genome sequencing is even further piecing together disparate outbreaks.

Joanie Stiers of Farm Flavor writes that Michigan’s laboratory toolbox now includes whole-genome sequencing, allowing public health officials to stop the spread of foodborne illness faster than ever.

Since January of 2017, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) has actively used whole-genome sequencing to precisely identify illness-causing pathogens and defend against widespread outbreaks of foodborne diseases.

MDARD’s Geagley Laboratory works in tandem with laboratories in the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s GenomeTrakr network, which allows global collaboration in the fight against foodborne illness.

“With food now being distributed worldwide, illness can be spread from anywhere in the world,” says Ted Gatesy, laboratory manager of the microbiology section at Geagley Lab, which houses the whole-genome sequencing. “Using whole-genome sequencing, an illness can be tracked, for the most part, to the point in the food chain where it originated.

Trade live cattle, introduce next E. coli O26 sequence type

Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli serogroup O26 is an important public health pathogen. Phylogenetic bacterial lineages in a country can be associated with the level and timing of international imports of live cattle, the main reservoir.

We sequenced the genomes of 152 E. coliO26 isolates from New Zealand and compared them with 252 E. coli O26 genomes from 14 other countries. Gene variation among isolates from humans, animals, and food was strongly associated with country of origin and stx toxin profile but not isolation source. Time of origin estimates indicate serogroup O26 sequence type 21 was introduced at least 3 times into New Zealand from the 1920s to the 1980s, whereas nonvirulent O26 sequence type 29 strains were introduced during the early 2000s.

New Zealand’s remarkably fewer introductions of Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli O26 compared with other countries (such as Japan) might be related to patterns of trade in live cattle.

Use of genomics to investigate historical importation of shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli serogroup O26 and nontoxigenic variants into New Zealand

March 2019

Emerging Infectious Diseases vol. 25 no. 3

Springer Browne1, Patrick J. Biggs, David A. Wilkinson, Adrian L. Cookson, Anne C. Midwinter, Samuel J. Bloomfield, C. Reed Hranac, Lynn E. Rogers, Jonathan C. Marshall, Jackie Benschop, Helen Withers, Steve Hathaway, Tessy George, Patricia Jaros, Hamid Irshad, Yang Fong, Muriel Dufour, Naveena Karki, Taylor Winkleman, and Nigel P. French

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/25/3/18-0899_article

Facebook don’t know food safety: Zuckerberg once served Dorsey cold, hand-killed goat

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey recalls as his “most memorable encounter” with Facebook boss Zuckerberg, in a new interview with Rolling Stone.

“He made goat for me for dinner. He killed the goat,” Dorsey says, before clarifying that he didn’t actually witness the slaughter. “He killed it before. I guess he kills it. He kills it with a laser gun and then the knife.”

When the interviewer rightly questions Dorsey’s use of the term “laser gun”, Dorsey says: “I don’t know. A stun gun. They stun it, and then he knifed it. Then they send it to a butcher.”

Though it was undoubtedly a smart move for Zuckerberg to send the animal to be prepared by a professional after he killed it, he might have also considered hiring a chef, with Dorsey indicating the meat wasn’t exactly cooked when it was served.

“I go, ‘We’re eating the goat you killed?’ He said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘Have you eaten goat before?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, I love it.’ I’m like, ‘What else are we having?’ ‘Salad.’ I said, ‘Where is the goat?’ ‘It’s in the oven.’

“Then we waited for about 30 minutes. He’s like, ‘I think it’s done now.’ We go in the dining room. He puts the goat down. It was cold. That was memorable. I don’t know if it went back in the oven. I just ate my salad.”

Being ruminants, goats are a significant source of Shiga-toxin producing E. Coli (STEC) with estimates of 10 per cent contaminated.

A pledge to only eat animals he personally killed was part of Zuckerberg’s yearly self-imposed challenge in 2011. Laser guns weren’t specifically mentioned in the challenge, but at this point nobody would be surprised if he used one. Apparently the goat was one of six he kept at his Palo Alto property.

Heterosexual man: Development of a phage cocktail to control the top 7 shiga -toxin E. coli serogroups on fresh produce

Sorenne is afraid of bugs.

I told her the other day how Surgeoner made his students (and kids) stick their arms into boxes filled with mosquitoes – mossies as they’re called here – to see what dose of DEET worked, while the kids got bitten.

She became more terrified.

That’s OK, I have lots of parenting failures.

As the consumption of fresh produce increases worldwide, Shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) outbreaks linked to contaminated produce are becoming more frequent. Biocontrol of STEC using phages can be a safe and effective way to reduce STEC on fruits and vegetables.

Purpose: 1) Evaluate the effectiveness of 7 bacteriophages to reduce viability of E. coli serogroups O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, O145, and O157 on lettuce and sprouts at 4, 10 or 25 °C and storage for 1, 24, 48, and 72 h; 2) to assess STEC phage effectiveness to reduce STEC compared to a conventional chlorinated water wash (150ppm for fresh produce, 1000 ppm for seeds); and 3) to determine if phage-insensitive mutants arise after phage treatments. Methods: 1) Phages either individually or as a cocktail (~108 log PFU/ml) were sprayed to control 105 log CFU/ml STEC spot-inoculated onto fresh lettuce and sprouts that were stored for 1, 24, 48, and 72 h at 2, 10, and 25°C. Samples were collected and bacteria enumerated on McConkey (STEC total numbers) and Rainbow agar (STEC individual serogroup numbers) after each storage period. STEC isolates were confirmed using latex agglutination tests specific for STEC, PCR, and Immunomagnetic Separation (IMS) to recover any surviving STEC serogroups. 2) A scale-up experiment with STEC phage cocktail and chlorinated water applied to lettuce, sprouts, and mung bean seeds (MB) was undertaken to further assess the effectiveness of STEC phage cocktail to reduce STEC on larger quantities of produce and to compare its effectiveness to chemical disinfection. Lettuce, sprouts, and MB were treated with: i) chlorinated water wash (150 ppm for lettuce/sprouts, 1000 ppm for MB); ii) STEC phage cocktail; and iii) a combination of chlorinated water and STEC phage cocktail. Phage cocktails were delivered by immersion. After treatment, lettuce and sprouts were stored for 1, 24, 48, and 72 h at 2, 10, and 25 °C. MB were stored in the dark for 24 h at 25 °C. Seeds were germinated in sterilized water and the survival of STEC isolates was assessed by plating on Rainbow agar. 3) To determine if phage resistant mutants developed during STEC phage treatment, isolated colonies surviving after exposure to phage were randomly picked and tested for phage sensitivity using a microplate virulence assay. OD was measured after microplate incubation for 5 h at 37 °C. Results: 1) In spot-inoculation experiments, the highest STEC reduction (3.7 log10 CFU/g) caused by the phage cocktail was observed at 2 °C after 72 h of storage on lettuce; whereas on sprouts the highest reduction (2.45 log10 CFU/g) occurred at 25 °C after samples were stored for 1 h. All STEC O157, O26, and O103 were killed by spraying phages on both lettuce and sprouts. Overall STEC phages reduced STEC by > 2 log10 CFU/g on fresh produce. 2) During scale-up experiments, the combination of STEC phage cocktail and chlorinated water achieved the highest STEC reductions on produce. On MB, the highest reduction in STEC (1.69 log10 CFU/g) was observed after treatment with the STEC phage cocktail alone. On MB germinated sprouts, the reduction in total STEC was < 1 log10 CFU/g in all treatments. However, none of the treatments eliminated all 7 STEC serogroups. 3) Regarding phage resistance experiments, no STEC mutants were recovered. Conclusion: Results showed that the phage cocktail was able to reduce STEC O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, O145, and O157 serogroups alone, or in combination with chlorinated water on lettuce, sprouts, and MB seeds without the development of phage resistant mutants. However, for MB, the STEC phage cocktail was not effective at controlling STEC populations during germination.

Raw is still risky: Say no to raw dough

My mother used to make and lot of cakes and brownies with her groovy 1960s hand mixer and I always got to lick the beaters.

No more.

And it’s not just the raw eggs, it’s the raw flour.

In June, 2009, an outbreak of shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC, primarily O157:H7) in Nestle Toll House cookie dough sickened at least 77 people in 30 American states. Thirty-five people were hospitalized – from cookie dough.

The researchers could not conclusively implicate flour as the E. coli source, but it remains the prime suspect. They pointed out that a single purchase of contaminated flour might have been used to manufacture multiple lots and varieties of dough over a period of time as suggested by the use-by dates on the contaminated product.

The study authors concluded that “foods containing raw flour should be considered as possible vehicles of infection of future outbreaks of STEC.”

So it wasn’t much of a surprise when 63 people fell sick from the outbreak strain of E. coli O121 from Dec. 2015 to Sept. 2016 linked to raw General Mills flour.

There have been about a dozen other flour-related outbreaks. STEC means people – and kids – get quite sick.

Flour is a raw commodity, crops the flour is derived from could be exposed to anything, and testing is so much better than it used to be.

There are some brands of pasteurized flour out there, but people seem to have gotten used to flour as a cheap source of play-dough-like stuff for kids and something to throw at people.

The U.S. Centres for Disease Control says, nope.

This is not a Christmas conspiracy (although I prefer Solstice Season): it’s CDC providing information, like they are supposed to.

People can, and will, do what they want.

As Maggie Fox of NBC reports, “Do not taste or eat any raw dough or batter, whether for cookies, tortillas, pizza, biscuits, pancakes, or crafts made with raw flour, such as homemade play dough or holiday ornaments,” the CDC advises.

“Do not let children play with or eat raw dough, including dough for crafts.”

Handling food, including flour, requires care and hygiene.

“Keep raw foods such as flour or eggs separate from ready-to eat-foods. Because flour is a powder, it can spread easily,” the CDC notes. “Follow label directions to refrigerate products containing raw dough or eggs until they are cooked. Clean up thoroughly after handling flour, eggs, or raw dough.”

Shiga-toxin E. coli at UK nursery sparks NHS probe

PA reveals a Perthshire school was involved in an E.coli scare last week.

NHS Tayside launched an investigation after a suspected case of the bacteria in a child at Errol Primary School’s nursery.

The nursery will undergo three days of deep cleaning as a “precautionary measure”.

Parents at the school were issued with letters from the health board with information on the infection.

The child was being tested for a non-O157 strain.

Speaking on Friday a spokesperson at NHS Tayside confirmed: “NHS Tayside’s health protection team is aware of and currently investigating a single suspected case of E. coli non O157 infection in a child who attends a nursery in Perthshire.

“As a precaution, a letter has been issued to parents of children at the nursery for information and reassurance.

“The risk to the wider public is very low.”

Raw is risky, Mods vs. Rockers: Apple cider from Virginia farm market recalled

Over two decades later and food safety types still have to deal with this shit – literally, because it’s shit in the cider. Don’t eat poop, and if you do, cook it.

Mountain Man Market of Cana has recalled their half gallon containers of apple cider because it has the potential to be contaminated with shiga-toxin producing E. coli.

The apple cider was sold at Mountain Man Market on Fancy Gap Road on and before November 10.

Their cider hasn’t been pasteurized, which means it can contain harmful bacteria.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services found the potential contamination after routine testing, and the Division of Consolidated Laboratories (DCLS) found shiga-toxin producing E. coli. in the cider.

VDCAS and Mountain Man Market say they will continue investigating into how the apple cider got contaminated in the first place.

(Quadrophenia is so much better than Tommy and a modern masterpiece)

5 sick raw is risky: Unpasteurized cheese made on Vancouver Island recalled for E. coli concerns

A voluntary recall has been issued for a Vancouver Island-produced cheese linked to an E. coli outbreak that infected five people.

Little Qualicum Cheeseworks’ Qualicum Spice cheese should be discarded or returned to the place of purchase, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control.

The E. coli outbreak occurred between August and October and was traced back to the unpasteurized product, which has a best before date up to and including April 24, 2019.

An investigation is ongoing “to determine the source and extent of contamination,” the BCCDC said.