Recall: 1.9 million pounds of ready-to-eat chicken that may be undercooked

National Steak and Poultry, an Owasso, Okla., establishment, is recalling approximately 1,976,089 pounds of ready-to-eat chicken products due to adulteration because of possible undercooking, resulting in the potential survival of bacterial pathogens in the products, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

national-steak-and-poultryThe scope of this recall expansion now includes a variety of ready-to-eat chicken products that were produced on various dates from August 20, 2016 through November 30, 2016. 

The cases containing the products subject to recall bear establishment number “P-6010T” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to food service locations nationwide and were sold directly to retail consumers at the establishments’ monthly dock sale.

The basis for recalling additional product was discovered on Nov. 28, 2016, when a food service customer complained to the establishment that product appeared to be undercooked.

Below are the details of the originally recalled product: 

– On November 23, 2016 – National Steak and Poultry recalled approximately 17,439 pounds of ready-to-eat chicken products produced Oct. 4, 2016.  The products were packaged on Oct. 4 and Oct. 5, 2016. The following products are subject to recall:

– 5 lb. bags packed 2 bags per case; product labeled “Distributed by National Steak and Poultry, Owasso, OK Fully Cooked, Diced, Grilled Boneless Chicken Breast Meat with Rib Meat” with Lot code 100416, and Case Code: 70020.

– 5 lb. bags packed 2 bags per case; product labeled “Hormel Natural Choice 100% Natural No Preservatives Fully Cooked Roasted Chicken Breast Strips with Rib Meat Natural Smoke Flavor Added” with Lot code 100416, and Case code 702113.

– The cases containing the products subject to recall bear establishment number “P-6010T” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to food service locations nationwide and should not be in consumers’ possession. No other Hormel product is impacted. The original problem was discovered on Nov. 14, 2016, when a food service customer complained to the establishment that product appeared to be undercooked. 

There have been no confirmed reports of adverse health effects or illnesses due to consumption of any of the recalled products. Anyone concerned about a health effect should contact a healthcare provider.

17 sickened with Hepatitis E linked to undercooked pig-liver stuffing

Background – On 11 December 2013, 3 clustered cases of hepatitis E were reported on a coastal island in Brittany. Cases had consumed spit-roasted and stuffed piglet during a wedding meal. The raw stuffing was partly made from the piglet liver. Investigations were carried out to identify the source and vehicle of contamination, and evaluate the dispersion of the hepatitis E virus (HEV) in the environment.

spit-roast-pigMethods – A questionnaire was administered to 98 wedding participants who were asked to give a blood sample. Cases were identified by RT-PCR and anti-HEV serological tests. A retrospective cohort study was conducted among 38 blood sampled participants after the exclusion of participants with evidence of past HEV immunity. Relative risks (RR) with their 95% confidence intervals were calculated based on foods consumed at the wedding meal using univariate and multivariable Poisson regressions.

The human HEV strains were compared with the strains detected in the liquid manure sampled at the farm where the piglet was born and at the inlet of the island wastewater treatment plants.

Results – 17 cases, including 3 confirmed cases, were identified and 70.6% were asymptomatic. Acute HEV infection was independently associated with piglet stuffing consumption (RR=1.69 [1.04-2.73]). Human strains from the index cases, veterinary and environmental HEV strains were identical.

Discussion – The outbreak was attributable to the consumption of an undercooked pig liver-based stuffing. After infection, the cases have probably become a temporary reservoir for HEV, which was detected in the island’s untreated wastewater.

Hepatitis E outbreak associated with the consumption of a spit-roasted piglet, Brittany (France), 2013

Épidémie d’hépatite E associée à la consommation d’un porcelet grillé à la broche, Bretagne, 2013. Bull Epidémiol Hebd. 2016;(26-27):444-9

Y Guillois, F Abravanel, T Miura, N Pavio, V Vaillant, S Lhomme, et al.

4 Frendz recalls beef jerky products that may be undercooked

I don’t buy beef jerky.

I really don’t buy beef jerky from 4 Frendz who can’t spell.

beef.jerky.recall.may.16For those who do, this Clarkston, Wash. establishment, is recalling approximately 497 pounds of beef jerky products due to under-processing and potential survival of bacterial pathogens in the products.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) says the items were produced from Aug. 10, 2015 to April 11, 2016. The following products are subject to recall:   






The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. M22017” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to retail locations in Idaho and Washington.                                

The problem was discovered during a comprehensive FSIS Food Safety Assessment (FSA) inspection performed in the establishment by an FSIS Enforcement Investigations and Analysis Officer.

There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider. 

McDonald’s chicken nuggets leave a bad taste for five-year-old Australian boy

Should the young kid working in fast-food or retail really be the food safety critical control point, the kid that carries the brand on her shoulders?

A five-year-old boy has sworn off chicken nuggets after he was served a near-raw six-pack from a McDonald’s Drive Thru on the New South Wales south coast on Wednesday night.

chicken.mcnuggetsRiley Luke’s dinner from the Woonona restaurant looked normal at first but was strangely “soft” when he bit it.

He alerted two of his brothers, who also sampled the pink poultry.

Together they ate about half a nugget before their mother, Tracy Luke, responded to their calls and told them: “Don’t eat that!”

The mother of four said the Woonona store manager told her, “Oh, sorry … we’ve had another one complain about that” when she returned later that night and asked for a refund.

She said she was later contacted by an area manager, who told her the error probably lay with “a young kid” working at the restaurant and asked her to remove a photo of the uncooked food she had posted on a Facebook page called Name, Shame and Praise Illawarra.

She refused.

“I’m livid. My son’s epileptic too – he could have possibly died from this,” Mrs Luke said.

“I said I won’t [remove the photo] until something’s done.

“I just don’t want this to happen to someone else.”

Neither Riley nor his brothers took ill in the following days.

Mrs Luke has since complained to McDonald’s head office.

A McDonald’s spokeswoman told the Illawarra Mercury the company was investigating.

Lydia Buchtmann, spokeswoman for the Food Safety Information Council, said chicken needed to be cooked all the way through, until it was 75 degrees in the centre, to kill the bacteria.

“People shouldn’t consume chicken if it appears uncooked,” she said.

Effectively communicating risks should lead to less risky food choices, not laws

When it comes to social issues I’m a bit of a libertarian hippy. I’ve looked the part (big bushy beard and longer thinning hair); used to play ultimate frisbee (poorly); and, our first-born was delivered at home. I saw The Dead, after Jerry, but I never really got into Phish.

The philosophy I’ve embraced around food safety is let people eat what they want. 

Extension folks like me should provide the best available evidence culled from the literature to help eaters calculate the risks and benefits of food choices. Present the info in a compelling way and then step back to let the individual do their thing.

Hopefully the choice results in the least amount of barf.

As North Carolina moves down the path of adopting the U.S FDA model food code, restaurant patrons will be able to order an undercooked burger, and the restaurant able to serve it, without risking a lower inspection grade. The responsibility to communicate the risks associated with undercooked burgers, and other raw/undercooked animal-derived foods (eggs, poultry, fish) lies with the restaurant. Risk must be disclosed somehow, and a reminder presented to the patron when they order.

Temperature guidance for cooking burgers doesn’t change (the food code suggests 155F for 15 seconds or 160F for 5-log reduction), just the ability for the restaurant to respond to patron requests – with the caveat of the mandatory risk discussion. And the risk dialogue applies to stuff like Caesar salad dressing, hollandaise sauce and sushi.

According to Kathleen Purvis of the Charlotte Observer:

The N.C. Commission for Public Health this week approved the adoption of most of the 2009 federal food code. Among other changes, it would allow restaurant customers to order raw or undercooked foods if the restaurant provides a warning – usually a note on the menu – to remind you it’s dangerous. A similar procedure is already followed in many states, including South Carolina.

“This really does represent the largest comprehensive change in our food safety rules in over 30 years.”
How big is that? It’s so big that when we called chef-owner Tom Condron at The Liberty, a pub known for its burgers, he was actually willing to come to the phone during the lunch rush.
“About time,” he said happily. “The quality of beef and the preparation have come so far. It’s about time North Carolina stepped up. For restaurants like us and others that grind in-house and take all the steps to make sure we get top-quality beef, it’s an important change.”
Michael says adopting the federal food code allows North Carolina to use the latest research in forming its own food safety standards.
“The majority of states use it,” he said. “It’s the most comprehensive standard out there.”
But the big one, Michael admitted, is the standard on allowing customers to request raw or undercooked foods. As it is now, undercooked burgers are often served to customers even though the restaurant isn’t supposed to do it – a sort of “wink-and-nudge” approach to food safety.
What the new regulation would do is put the decision into the hands of the consumer. The restaurant would have to tell you that you’re ordering a food that isn’t cooked to a safe level and it has to tell you that eating undercooked or raw foods puts you at a risk of foodborne illness, such as salmonella.
“This consumer advisory will be more helpful in ensuring consumers know they’re increasing their risk.”
I’m not sure what knowing the source well has to do with evaluating whether the primal cuts have pathogen-containing poop on the surface and in-house grinding can spread that surface bacteria just as well as at a processing plant.
Regardless of the source or method, undercooked ground beef carry food safety risks; restaurants with a positive food safety culture will communicate this effectively – or won’t serve it at all.


Reasons to cook meat: Toxoplasma gondii associated with the consumption of lamb meat, Aveyron (France), November 2010

Thanks to our French friend, Albert Amgar, for forwarding this item.

On 15 November 2010, 3 confirmed cases of toxoplasmosis of the same family were reported to the Midi-Pyrénées Regional Health Agency. A collective outbreak of food poisoning was suspected with regard to the single common meal taken on 3 October 2010 that included undercooked lamb’s leg. Clusters of toxoplasmosis cases are rare; therefore, investigations on the episode were conducted.

Epidemiological, clinical and serological data were collected from the participants in the meal. Genotyping of the strain isolated in the suspected food was performed as well as a traceability investigation.

All five sensitive people of the seven persons exposed during the meal had a recent uncomplicated evolutionary toxoplasmosis (attack rate 100 %; mean age 21 years). DNA genotyping in the frozen half lamb’s leg revealed a type II. The farm of origin of the lamb could not be identified.

Our investigations contributed to describe a Toxoplasma food poisoning limited in size, and to determine the origin of the contamination. However, other cases may have gone unnotified, considering the infection is usually asymptomatic. Toxoplasma foodborne illnesses are poorly documented and information on the possibility of contamination due to insufficiently cooked lamb meat should be spread more widely.

Evidence-based eating

I don’t care what adults choose to eat, smoke, drink or derive pleasure from; I do care when it affects kids, and that’s why many such activities are regulated based on age. For public health, it’s about reducing societal risk. For individuals, it’s balancing risk with choice.

But choice should be based on credible evidence.

Medium-rare hamburger is not the same as a medium-rare steak.

Robert Belcham arm-chair risk modeler and owner of ReFuel Restaurant in Vancouver, one of the few Canadian establishments to offer burgers to order, told the National Post the risk of his medium-rare hamburgers containing personally sourced meat, dried and ground fresh daily, is no greater than a medium-rare steak.

Show me the data. The difference is that meat, no matter how lovingly it is cared for and slaughtered, is prone to poop, somewhere, and when grinding steaks or other cuts, the outside becomes the inside.

Meat is just one offshoot of the Church of Raw, which sees nature as benign and good. I see nature as awesome and a great teacher, but also as an entity that is too busy to worry solely about the welfare of humans. Me say, fire is good.

The term pink burger is used throughout the article to denote a medium-rare burger, yet it has been known for almost 20 years that the color of meat has little to do with its actual temperature (and bacteria-wasting capabilities). Hamburger can appear brown but be woefully undercooked.

Hamburgers, more so than most illness-prone foods, remain subject to an odd double standard. Raw sushi remains largely unregulated. Any Ethiopian restaurant worth its salt offers gored gored (raw beef) and this month, Toronto’s prestigious Royal York Hotel is hosting the Great Toronto Tartare-Off, a showcase of raw minced steak mixed with raw egg. “Somehow, somewhere along the way we’ve been conditioned to think that if you see pink in a burger it means someone’s trying to kill you,” said Donald Kennedy, manager of the Victoria, B.C.-based Victoria Burger Blog.

That’s because people – especially kids – routinely get sick from undercooked hamburger and raw milk. Some die. An Iowa public health type wrote recently that “feeding unpasteurized milk to infants constitutes child endangerment.” Hardly the perfect food.

The line offered by one restaurateur, “I’ve served probably 100,000 burgers and nothing’s happened,” is commonly heard by food safety types from farm-to-fork, and underlies the why people and institutions underestimate risk. Those operating the BP Gulf oil well, the space shuttle Challenger, and Maple Foods meat slicing operations all saw warning signs, but were comforted by the quaint notion that, we did things this way before and nothing happened, so probably something won’t happen today. Food is part of the biological world and is constantly changing.

I’m not here to preach; lots of people do risky things, especially me. What individuals do with their raw meat in the privacy of their own homes is their own business: until it involves children. Or fairytales.

Faith-based food safety still dominates. But, as Lyle Lovett sang 15 years ago, “If a preacher preaches long enough, even he’ll get hungry too.”

E. coli O123:H in a family in France, 2009

King et al., report in Emerging Infectious Disease that on February 11, 2009, two cases of diarrhea were reported to a surveillance coordinator: 1 in a child with HUS and the other in that child’s sibling.

The 2 siblings, 2 and 6 years of age, had diarrhea beginning on February 4 and 5, 2009. Bloody diarrhea developed in the younger child, and HUS was diagnosed on February 9. The older child had non-bloody diarrhea for 3 days and abdominal pain. Questioning of the patients’ parents identified no recent history of travel, contact with farm animals, or outdoor bathing. A food history indicated that the 2 patients had shared an undercooked ground beef burger 4–5 days before symptom onset. The patients’ parents also ate burgers from the same package (box); they did not report any gastrointestinal symptoms.

And they found the same bug in a leftover frozen burger.

STEC serotype O123:H– has been isolated from feces of healthy lambs and sheep in Spain and in southwestern Australia and is considered to be among the predominant ovine STEC serotypes in these countries.

This family outbreak shows that STEC serotype O123:H–, albeit rarely described as causing human illness, can cause severe human infection. This serotype can also cause clusters of STEC infections and be transmitted by ingestion of undercooked ground beef.