The impacts of an outbreak (or lots of illnesses and contamination): Campy in chicken edition

The U.K. FSA has declared war on Campylobacter, a pathogen that I had my own run-in with in 2009. Food safety coverage often impacts purchasing choices and market researchers in the U.K. suggest that chicken sales have dropped over last year. According to , the market for whole chicken sales has dropped almost 4%.

The latest sales statistics, released by consumer knowledge company Kantar Worldpanel, indicate that the focus on the bacteria has affected whole chicken sales. Spending for the 12 weeks ending 7 December decreased by 3.8% compared to the same period last year, while the volume sold decreased by 6.8%.whole-chicken

Market researcher Mintel said: “Concerns about cooking safely with raw chicken are likely to have been heightened by the campylobacter scandal. While many people may simply be extra careful when preparing and cooking chicken, it may also deter some consumers from buying raw chicken to eliminate risk.”

However, a number of retailers suggested that the their chicken sales had not been affected by the scare, including Marks & Spencer and Lidl. A Lidl spokesperson said: “Our poultry sales have remained steady, as we continue to work in partnership with our suppliers to reduce the levels of campylobacter in raw chicken.”

No word from Tesco on their sales.

Over 100 exposed to hepatitis A after virus-shedding kids go to school

Getting my kids to wash their hands is a constant struggle. I’m likely not alone. There’s not a whole lot of great information on this outbreak but Heart is reporting that an outbreak of hepatitis A in Wessex (U.K.) has led to over 100 IgG shots.

According to health authorities, seven school-aged kids at a couple of schools in the U.K. have picked up hepatitis A – and the common link appears to be household-contact related.dirty-hands-medium-new

The Wessex PHE Centre has recommended that close contacts of the cases, including household, some children and staff attending the same class groups in school as some cases should receive Hepatitis A vaccination to prevent further spread of this infection.

Officials say the likelihood of spread of this infection in the school environment is very low, however as a precaution, all parents have been advised of the signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A and asked to contact their General Practitioner if they have concerns:

Dr Anand Fernandes, Consultant in Health Protection at PHE Wessex, said:

“We are working closely with colleagues in the local NHS and Portsmouth City Council Environmental Health and Public Health Departments to manage the very low risk of further spread of this illness. “No other children, staff or visitors to the schools will be offered the vaccine as the risk of exposure to them is very low.”

The News reports that Around 150 vaccinations are now being carried out at the Devonshire Infant School and Fernhurst Junior School in Southsea.


U.K. restaurant fines are no joke; caterer fined £20k for outbreak

Wedding season for Dani and I lasted three years. Not our wedding (which was organized somewhat hastily) but the ones we attended and participated in for our friends. At one point we had attended 30 in 24 months.

We didn’t experience an outbreak though. According to Get West London a caterer contributed to what sounds like the worst wedding ever – over 400 guests came down with Bacillus cereus intoxication.

A food inspector in a chip shop

And U.K. health officials slapped a £20,111 fine on Royal Club and it’s owner is banned from running a food business for 5 years.

Ealing Council’s food safety team were first alerted by the father of the bride on September 24, 2013, who contacted them claiming that 90% of the 470 wedding guests were suffering with food poisoning.

However, the prosecution could only be based on the 93 guests who formally reported their symptoms of food poisoning to investigators.

Greenford catering company, the Royal Club, was given a £20,111 penalty by Ealing Magistrates Court on Tuesday November 25. The company’s sole director, Mr Biku Thapa, was ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and is banned from being a director of any company for five years.

Inspections of the Royal Club kitchen revealed serious food hygiene violations. Only one member of staff was trained in food safety. Both the head chef and remaining staff had not received any food safety training at all. Inspectors also discovered that The Royal Club had no refrigerated vehicles in which to safely transport food to events.