Looks like I missed this one too: ‘My mom’s death was needless’ Families want answers after Salmonella outbreak at Winnipeg care home

Tessa Vanderhart of CBC reported last month a Winnipeg care home where two residents recently died has confirmed it served frozen food from Thailand that was later linked to the Canada-wide outbreak of salmonella. 

Golden West Centennial Lodge executive director Joyce Kristjansson told staff and families in an email on Tuesday morning it had given residents cream puffs that are now on the recall list. 

Two residents at the 116-bed personal care facility in the Sturgeon Creek neighbourhood died in March, and a third was sickened. All three tested positive for salmonella.

The Public Health Agency of Canada confirmed the three cases at Golden West are linked to the outbreak which has struck 73 people nationwide. 

Investigators have linked the bacteria-caused gastrointestinal illnessto Celebrate-brand frozen profiteroles and mini chocolate eclairs.

Food handler training in Hawaii

I was asked to teach a couple of food safety courses in Hawaii a couple of years ago in February. I live in Winnipeg, Canada where the temperature hovers around -45C around that time. You do the math. I told my wife to pack up the bags and kids cause we’re getting the hell out here….
I am not going to refute that food safety training is essential for food handlers to prevent unnecessary public barfing. It’s how the training is delivered that makes the difference. Different people learn in different ways and so it is critical for trainers to accommodate student needs.
I have always been a proponent of providing on-site, hands-on training based on behavioral science. Prior to starting my grad work on food safety training, I took the grassroots approach and asked frontline workers, in particular, English as Second Language students how they would benefit from a training course. Answer is always a resounding on-site, hands-on training that is short, concise and to the point.

John Steinhorst of the Garden island writes
The Hawaii Department of Health amended Chapter 50, Food Safety Code, after public hearings were held on Kauai, Hawaii Island, Maui and Oahu in December 2016 and March 2017.
One of the major rule changes is a mandate for Food Handlers Education certification for persons-in-charge at all food establishments. This will ensure a minimum baseline of food safety knowledge for facility owners and managers.
“In reality, I think it’s probably a good idea that more people are certified to handle food safely,” said John Ferguson, owner of Kalaheo Cafe & Coffee Company. “It just makes the environment in restaurants a lot safer for everybody.”

This is no conclusive evidence to support this statement. Having a Certificate doesn’t mean anything, it’s all about human behavior.

Studies have shown that food establishments with properly trained persons-in-charge have a lower occurrence of critical food safety violations that are directly linked to food illnesses.
“I already have some employees that have gone through the program at the school, so they are certified themselves,” Ferguson said. “I was certified many times throughout my career, but I probably need a refresher as well too.
The new rule requires at least one employee present during normal work hours, including during food preparation, must have a formal food handler’s training level certification. DOH will accept certification recognized by the American National Standards Institute.

The rest of the story can be found here:


Investigating the potential benefits of on-site food safety training for Folklorama, a temporary food service event.

Journal of Food Protection®, Volume 75, Number 10, October 2012 , pp. 1829-1834(6)
Mancini, Roberto; Murray, Leigh; Chapman, Benjamin J.; Powell, Douglas A.


Tragic: Settlement reached after Canadian boy left disabled by E. coli

Kevin Rollason of the Winnipeg Free Press reports a 14-year-old Winnipeg youth has been awarded more than $2.5 million after eating ground beef tainted with deadly E. coli bacteria and being left to live with multiple disabilities and unable to look after himself for the rest of his life.

ground-beef_350(2)Justice Lori Spivak, of Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench, approved the settlement in an order last month, which had been reached earlier between the boy’s family, the province’s Public Trustee, grocer Westfair Foods, and meat processor XL Foods.

“The events were quite tragic,” Chris Wullum, the family’s lawyer, said on Thursday.

“The hamburger meat he consumed left catastrophic injuries. The family is pleased that a fair settlement was reached that will allow them to look after him.”

The boy, who is a permanent ward of Metis Child and Family Services, was just two in 2004 when his mother fed him Hamburger Helper with ground beef she had bought at the Superstore on McPhillips Street.

The mother got sick, but her son became severely ill and had to be hospitalized. He needed a kidney transplant and he suffered a massive stroke in his middle cerebral artery, leaving him with severe spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and permanent cognitive impairments. Doctors didn’t know if he was going to survive during the first couple of years.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency launched a recall of ground beef products in August 2004 after two people in Manitoba were poisoned with E. coli bacteria the month before. A Public Health Agency of Canada report later that year said 27 people became ill after consuming beef tainted with the same strain of E. coli.

Court documents said the agency tested frozen ground beef, still in the family’s freezer, and found it was contaminated with that strain of E. coli.

The boy became a permanent ward of Winnipeg Child and Family Services because the mother couldn’t look after him with all of his special needs, but he has since been transferred to Metis CFS and he has been living with his grandparents since 2009.

The settlement also saw XL Foods drop its counter lawsuit against the boy’s mother, in which it claimed she had been at fault for not cooking the ground beef properly.

Winnipeg water system investigated following January boil water advisory

Pathogens being pumped throughout a city into cups, food and showers make water system outbreaks scary in scope and outcome. In 1993 an estimated 400,000+ people in Milwaukee had cryptosporidiosis after oocysts made it through the city’s water treatment filtration system. In 2000, seven deaths and 2,300 illnesses were linked to a negligently-managed water system in Walkerton, Ontario (that’s in Canada).Price of Water Set To Rise

Winnipeg, Manitoba (that’s also in Canada) had a boil water advisory for a couple of days last month that was blamed on a set of samples that falsely showed the water was positive for E. coli. Canadian food micro guru Rick Holley said a couple of weeks ago questioned the water folk’s explanation saying,

“I still had concerns at that time and still do that the false positives might not be scientifically discredited,” said Holley. “It’s all too easy to continue testing until you get the results you want and any results you don’t want you discard as being false. That’s inappropriate.”

Holley said the only way to be sure Winnipeg water is safe is to understand what caused the positive results earlier this week.

“Why were those six samples positive? There has to be a reason why and that has to be established,” said Holley.

According to Global News, it sounds like the Manitoba Government agrees with Rick.

The Manitoba government has ordered an investigation into the susceptibility of Winnipeg’s drinking water after a false E. coli result prompted a boil-water advisory last month for the capital’s 700,000 residents.

City staff say they are confident the water system was not contaminated with bacteria, but the waste and water director says the province has ordered a further assessment.

“It’s a vulnerability assessment,” Diane Sacher told a city council committee Wednesday. “It’s to look at whether our system is vulnerable to possible contamination.”

The report is due at the end of April, Sacher said. The city is also waiting on an independent audit of how water samples are taken and analyzed so as to be sure last month’s results were due to a lab or sampling error.

The province has also amended the city’s licence so water samples are no longer all collected on the same day, but rather spread over a week, she added. It has also requested the city come up with a better plan to notify potentially vulnerable people rather than relying on the media.

False positives or not? Scientist skeptical of Winnipeg water monitoring procedures

CBC News reports the boil water advisory was lifted more than 24 hours ago, but questions remain over how the samples at the heart of the Winnipeg-wide scare could’ve tested positive for bacteria and E. coli in the first place.

mi-rick-holley-1212Six routine water samples taken on Monday showed the presence of bacteria, and E. Coli in some cases. After resampling and retesting, samples came up negative and the city lifted the advisory Thursday.

Mayor Brian Bowman assured Winnipeggers tap water was safe, and always had been, as the original tests were proven to be false positives.

Rick Holley, a professor at the University of Manitoba and expert in food safety, said that while mistakes like this do happen, they are unacceptable when hundreds of thousands of lives may be impacted.

“I still had concerns at that time and still do that the false positives might not be scientifically discredited,” said Holley. “It’s all too easy to continue testing until you get the results you want and any results you don’t want you discard as being false. That’s inappropriate.”

Holley said the only way to be sure Winnipeg water is safe is to understand what caused the positive results earlier this week.

“Why were those six samples positive? There has to be a reason why and that has to be established,” said Holley.

One telling detail released by the city was that all of the samples that tested positive were handled by the same employee.

The city provided a list of possible explanations for how the tests came to be positive, including:

  • A contaminated water tap or container
  • The water being contaminated during sampling
  • Mistakes made at the lab during analysis

Holley said while he hopes the city provides more detailed answers and soon, he remains concerned about the city’s water monitoring procedures.

Winnipeg restaurant closures due to dishwasher problems

Winnipeg or, The ‘peg, as it’s known in some hoser circles has been cracking down on food safety in restaurants with fifteen health inspection-related closures since June. According to the Winnipeg Free Press poor cleaning and sanitizing have been a common theme in the closures.winnipeg

Mike LeBlanc, Manitoba Health’s chief public health inspector, said it’s one reason why when inspectors fan out across Winnipeg and the province to check out the more than 9,000 eating establishments, one of the items on their checklist is whether the dishwasher is heating and sanitizing properly.

“They need to get at least to 71 C — 65 or 68 might not be killing cold or flu viruses on the edge of a glass, so they have to be 71 C,” LeBlanc said (I’d be much more worried about noro -ben).

“And as for sanitizing, they can get chlorine test strips, but many times restaurants don’t use them. But for cases we find, it may just be bad luck on their part that it stopped working a day or two before we got there.”

Two restaurants were closed temporarily in the second half of 2014 by health inspectors because their dishwashers weren’t functioning properly.

They’re just two of the 15 restaurants that were closed for health violations since the last health-protection report was issued in June. In total, 24 restaurants were temporarily closed during the year for health violations.

“We’re there to keep an eye open for the public because they are not allowed into the back kitchen,” LeBlanc said.

“We are out there looking for things and protecting the public’s health, between what we do and the diligence of the restaurant community.”

Child disabled due to tainted meat sues Winnipeg grocery chains

A Winnipeg child who ate ground beef tainted with deadly E. coli bacteria — commonly known as hamburger disease — will never see again or be able to look after himself. The nine-year-old child, who is a permanent ward of Winnipeg Child and Family Services, is suing Westfair Foods, Superstore and XL Foods for general damages, including care costs throughout his life and loss of future income.

"This is a child with catastrophic injuries," lawyer Norm Cuddy said on Monday.

Cuddy said the child was hospitalized in June 2004, but all of his injuries weren’t known until a few years later.

Another lawyer working on the lawsuit, Chris Wullum, said the child is a permanent ward of Winnipeg CFS because the mother wasn’t able to look after him with all of his special needs.

According to the statement of claim, filed in Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench last week, the child’s mother bought the ground beef at the Superstore on McPhillips Street.

The child suffered hemolytic uremic syndrome, received a kidney transplant, has spastic triplegia, severe and ongoing pain and has developmental delays, including not being able to take care of himself.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency initiated a recall of the ground beef products in August 2004 after two people in Manitoba were poisoned with E. coli bacteria in July 2004 and after tracing back those and other cases across the country to find the source of the meat.

Du jus à partir d’une compote de fruits lié à une éclosion à E. coli O157 lors d’une fête à Winnipeg

Les jus de fruits ont par le passé déjà été mis en cause dans des éclosions :
•E. coli O157 a contaminé des jus de fruits de la marque Odwalla avec 66 personnes malades en 1996
•Salmonella a contaminé des jus de fruits des marques Orchid Island Juice Company avec 15 personnes malades en 2005
• En 2006, le jus de carottes de Bolthouse Farms a été à l’origine de 6 cas de botulisme dont un décès

Les manipulateurs d’aliments doivent faire attention à ne pas contaminer les produits prêts à être consommés ou les boissons.
Ce que vous pouvez faire :
• Lavez-vous les mains avec du savon et de l’eau potable et séchez-vous les mains avec un essuie-mains en papier avant de manipuler les aliments.
• Quand des aliments sont entreposés dans des glacières ou des réfrigérateurs, conservez les aliments prêts à être consommés couverts afin d’éviter que d’autres aliments comme la viande crue ne puisse couler dessus.
37 personnes malades et 18 personnes hospitalisées sont liés à cette éclosion
Un jus de fruit est la cause qui a probablement rendu malades les visiteurs d’une fête à Winnipeg (Canada) en août 2010. La majorité des malades a été associée à un plateau de spécialités russes qui a été servi à Folklorama, une fête annuelle du patrimoine. Le plateau russe comprenait du bortsch (soupe de betteraves), des boulettes de viande, un plat de riz et du jus de compote. L’origine de la contamination s’est resserrée autour du jus parce que des consommateurs malades ont déclaré avoir mangé à la fois un plat végétarien et non végétarien avec le jus comme seul aliment commun. Le jus de compote a été préparé en ajoutant des pommes non pelées, des myrtilles et des mûres lavées à de l’eau bouillante.
Une fois bouilli pendant cinq à 10 minutes, le jus a été décanté dans les grands seaux en plastique. Le jus est ensuite réfrigéré jusqu’au moment de servir froid.
La contamination après chauffage est probable.
Les fruits ont été lavés et bouillis dans le cadre de la fabrication du jus. Il est probable que le jus ait été contaminé, soit par un membre du personnel ou par une contamination croisée dans le réfrigérateur.
Les autorités sanitaires pensent que la viande de boeuf haché, qui a été également manipulée et préparée sur le site, a été la source la plus probable de la contamination.
Pour plus d’Information, contactez Ben Chapman, benjamin_chapman@ncsu.edu ou Doug Powell, dpowell@ksu.edu

Nuevo Folleto Informativo: Jugo de compota de 
fruta relacionado con el brote 
de E. coli O157 en Winnipeg

Traducido por Gonzalo Erdozain
Resumen del folleto informativo mas reciente:
– Jugos han sido relacionados con brotes en el pasado
– Preparadores de alimentos deben tener cuidado para no contaminar alimentos
y bebidas listas para consumir.
Lávese y séquese las manos con jabón, agua potable y toallas de papel antes de tocar alimentos.
– Cuando almacene alimentos en conservadoras o heladeras, ponga los alimentos listos para consumir (envueltos) encima de los alimentos crudos.
Los folletos informativos son creados semanalmente y puestos en restaurantes, tiendas y granjas, y son usados para entrenar y educar a través del mundo. Si usted quiere proponer un tema o mandar fotos para los folletos, contacte a Ben Chapman a benjamin_chapman@ncsu.edu.
Puede seguir las historias de los folletos informativos y barfblog en twitter
@benjaminchapman y @barfblog.