I don’t like sushi: New Mexico health officials investigate Salmonella cluster

Amy and Sorenne made sushi the other day.

I don’t like it.

sushi-largeNew Mexico health authorities are investigating a cluster of salmonella cases in the Albuquerque area, including possible exposures linked to sushi.

The state Department of Health reports six confirmed cases between April 4 and May 1, with five of the six people having reported eating sushi containing raw fish.

According to the Health Department, federal agencies and other states also are investigating illnesses associated with the same salmonella strain.

All six New Mexico cases involve adults, including one who has been hospitalized. Five live in Bernalillo County and one lives in neighboring Sandoval County.

Bugs in sushi in Norway

I don’t like sushi.

sushiI don’t like raw fish.

Researchers in Norway found that retail fresh sushi is gaining popularity in Europe. This study was conducted to investigate the microbiological quality of selected samples of fresh sushi with a shelf life of 2 to 3 days offered as complete meals in Norwegian supermarkets.

Analysis of aerobic plate counts in 58 sushi samples from three producers revealed large variations in microbiological quality, and 48% of the analyzed sushi boxes were rated as unsatisfactory (> 6.0 log CFU/g). Mesophilic Aeromonas spp. was detected in 71% of the samples. In a follow-up study, we collected products and raw materials directly from the production facility of one producer and observed a significant decrease (P < 0.01) in aerobic plate counts compared with the initial sampling. The observed difference between products purchased in stores compared with those collected directly from the factory suggests that poor temperature control during distribution and display in stores leads to reduced microbiological quality. Microbiological analysis of the sushi ingredients revealed that potentially pathogenic bacteria such as mesophilic Aeromonas spp. or bacteria belonging to the Enterobacteriaceae can be introduced into sushi through both raw vegetables and fish. The results highlight the importance of high quality ingredients and proper temperature control to ensure stable quality and safety of these food products.

Assessment of microbiological quality of retail fresh sushi from selected Sources in Norway

Journal of Food Protection

Hoel, Sunniva; Mehli, Lisbeth; Bruheim, Torkjel; Vadstein, Olav; Jakobsen, Anita Nordeng


Why I don’t eat sushi: 25 sick with rare Salmonella in Calif

A rare strain of salmonella has been reported in Ventura County and appears connected to sushi and other raw fish, possibly tuna, public health officials said Monday.

sushiAbout 25 cases have been reported in California and other states. There have been four cases in Ventura County, seven in Los Angeles County and one in Santa Barbara County. Other cases have reported in Orange and Riverside counties.

Many of the seven out-of-state cases involve travel to Southern California.

And while the investigation of the exact cause continues, officials say all 10 people who completed a food questionnaire said they ate sushi. Many said they ate raw tuna.

About 20 percent of the patients hit by the illness have been hospitalized.

The species of salmonella is called paratyphi, Levin said. The particular strain being reported had never been seen in animals or people before last month.

Dozens sickened: Sushi source of another Salmonella outbreak in Brisbane

Fresh off the Salmonella-in-deep-fried-ice-cream  outbreak which sickened at least 130 people in Brisbane, health types fear there could be more victims of food poisoning after dozens of people became sick from eating sushi sold in Asian grocery stores in Brisbane.



California sushi restaurants allegedly bought rice filled with bugs, rat poop, and mold

I don’t eat sushi. It’s a bit dodgy.

sushi.riceA new lawsuit alleges that rice sold to multiple sushi restaurants in California may have been “tainted” with ingredients like insects, rodent droppings, and black mold, CBS News reports.

Attorney Brian Kabateck told CBS2 that the rice is contaminated with “flush,” a.k.a. ingredients you definitely shouldn’t be eating. The case claims that Farmer’s Rice Cooperative sold the flush rice to thousands of California grocery stores and local restaurants.

According to the complaint, Farmer’s Rice Cooperative would “allow substances, such as insects, rodents and their soiling, bird remains, and black mold to be present in its processed rice.” The complaint also states that the restaurants and store owners thought they were purchasing U.S. No. 1 Extra Fancy rice, not the contaminated varieties they reportedly received. “This rice, although they claim it’s sushi grade, is as little as 15 percent sushi grade, and it’s adulterated with other inferior rices,” Kabateck told CBS.

Why I don’t eat sushi: What consumers expect from food control and what they get – A case study of the microbial quality of sushi bars in Denmark

Sushi is a traditional Japanese food, also popular in Europe, consisting of acidified rice and raw fish. This study investigated the correlation between monitoring of hygienic levels and compliance with establishment-managed controls by public food inspectors and observed microbial levels of two types of sushi products, Maki salmon and Nigeri salmon, sold by Danish outlets.

sushi denmarkDanish consumers’ knowledge of the specific tests carried out by food inspectors was also examined. The total microbial contents of the products ranged from 4.1 to 7.5 log CFU/g and contents of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus spp. ranged from <1 to 2.3 and <2 to 3.0 log CFU/g, respectively. There was in general no correlation between the publicly accessible rankings by the food inspectors and the microbiological contents of the products. Underlying reasons might be that the regulatory monitoring of compliance with control programs does not readily include two important parameters, personal hygiene and initial microbial quality of products. Microbiological examination of sushi products does not constitute a part of routine monitoring of hygienic levels, a fact that by use of a questionnaire study was found not to be widely known among consumers.

Food Control, Volume 45, November 2014, Pages 76–80

J.J. Leisner, T.B. Lund, E.A. Frandsen, N.B.E. Andersen, L. Fredslund, V.P.T. Nguyen, T. Kristiansen


Salmonella, staph, poop on sushi that sickened 220 in Mexico

Salmonella, fecal waste and Staphylococcus aureus were the bacteria that caused food poisoning in 36 customers three branches of Qué Rollo Sushi (Sushi Roll) and sickened up to 220.

sushi.vomit.apr.12Sergio Olvera Alba, director of Epidemiology, Ministry of Health, revealed the results of laboratory outbreak sushi, then matched the isolates with human samples.

26 poisoned by sushi in Sonora, Mexico

The number of people with symptoms of food poisoning from eating sushi increased to 26, reported the Ministry of Health of the state.

All affected persons have noted that the ingested products in the branch “Rodriguez” chain restaurants That Roll Sushi.

sonoran hotdog kimbap vegetarian platter copyLast year the company was the cause of more than 200 people with intoxicated will result. The business covered the costs of almost all concerned.

This time the penalty could be the closure of that branch due to recidivism, the Health Ministry said. 

(Something may be lost in translation.)

Fancy food ain’t safe food: Los Angeles sushi edition

Food safety isn’t linked to how much or little a restaurant charges for a meal or whether it’s on Rodeo Drive or a rural gravel road – what matters is whether the operator and staff reduce risks. And not increase them.

An operator forcing staff to handle food while sick or piss in a kitchen sink, Bieber-style, increases the likelihood of patron illnesses – and it’s dumb. I don’t want to eat in a place like that for food safety and labor reasons. According to a New York Times piece, a hot Los Angeles sushi place sounds like it belongs in an SNL Weekend Update Stefon bit.

stefanOne of the country’s most renowned sushi restaurants, Urasawa, sits in a small alcove above Rodeo Drive here. A typical bill for two people easily tops $1,000. Over an evening that can stretch to three hours, diners are served dishes dotted with caviar and 24-karat gold flakes (for the iron, the chef notes).

But workers in the back kitchen are routinely denied overtime pay and forbidden from taking breaks, according to former employees and a California Labor Department investigation. Now, the chef and owner, Hiroyuki Urasawa, is battling state and civil claims that he withheld tens of thousands of dollars in wages and overtime from workers. One former employee who left the restaurant last year said he resorted to urinating in the sink meant for cleaning mops after being told the men’s restroom was for customers only during business hours.

Each night, Mr. Urasawa stands behind a pristine sushi bar serving more than a dozen dishes, each with an elaborate description of the provenance of the ingredients, mostly imported from Japan. With an affable smile, he happily accepts sake from diners, who can spend hundreds of dollars on a bottle.

“It was always about the customers, making sure that they were happy,” said Heriberto Zamora, 26, who worked at the restaurant for more than five years and has filed a civil suit for back pay. “None of the employees were treated very well. We knew people were paying a lot to eat there, but for us it was no different.”

One day last June, nine hours into his shift, Mr. Zamora was coughing and asked to go home, complaining of a fever, he said. Mr. Urasawa fired him on the spot, he said.

Making staff work while ill and use a kitchen sink as a urinal is no way to go through life, son.

Sushi eaters beware: floor sink spewing waste onto bar floor at Sin City Sushi

A southeast valley restaurant that adopted Las Vegas’ nickname had its sushi bar shut down by the Health District because of an imminent health hazard.

KTNV reports Sin City Sushi committed a sanitation sin so severe that it alone was enough to shut down the sushi bar inside this restaurant on Eastern Avenue near the 215.

A big part of the sushi bar’s 45 demerits was a floor sink, which was overflowing and spewing liquid waste onto the sushi bar floor, making it impossible to keep a safe and sanitary environment for food prep.

We went there looking for answers and the owner’s wife, Yu Chung, told us they were waiting on a plumber the day health inspectors just happened to drop by.

Darcy Spears: Buy why didn’t you just voluntarily shut down if you knew it was such a big problem?
Yu Chung: I don’t know.

The plumbing problem extended to the handsinks. Inspectors found one had no hot water and the other had no water at all.

They also found sushi rice way out of the safe temperature zone and employees using duct tape for handles on the sushi cases.

Chung showed us that the sushi case doors now have real handles.

And she, like many other small restaurant owners we’ve spoken to, is suspicious of the Health District’s motives.

Yu: I think they need more money.
Darcy: You think they need more money and that’s why they write stuff up?
Yu: Yes.

The Health District says they’re focused on correcting violations, not collecting money. They say the “C” downgrades and closures which generate those high re-inspection fees are only four percent of all routine food inspections.