Category Archives: Food Microbiology

Research -Microbacteria can build up in your reusable water bottle

The Jakarta Post

Both oral and environmental bacteria and viruses could be building up on reusable water bottles that are not cleaned on a regular basis, according to a scientist from the Center for Ecology and Hydrology.

Senior scientist Andrew Singer was recently interviewed by the Huffington Post UK, where he explained that even E. coli could find its way into an unclean reusable water bottle.

“When you flush the toilet, the toilet water will get aerosolized and a fraction of the water droplets can land on and in your water bottle,” Singer explained.

Singer said that poor personal hygiene habits, such as rarely or not washing your hands after using the toilet, or taking your water bottle to the toilet with you, could increase the chances of getting serious infections.

 

Research – Soil bacteria provide a promising E. coli treatment

Medical Express

kswfoodworld E.coli O157

Image CDC

 

While thoroughly cooking meat and washing vegetables and hands after can prevent E. coli , treatment for the severe stomach bug can be difficult, as antibiotics are known to make the disease worse by releasing a potent toxin into the infected person’s gut.

Now, scientists from the University of Glasgow have found a product made by natural soil-living bacteria that can successfully treat E. coli O157 – [one of] the most serious types of the bug – without producing any serious side effects.

The new study, published in Infection and Immunity, found that Aurodox, a compound first discovered in 1973 but found to be poorly active as a true antibiotic, was able to successfully block E. coli O157 infections.

Scotland has one of the highest incidences of E. coli O157 in the world, and almost half of O157 cases in Scotland are in children under 16 years of age.

The Aurodox compound was able to reduce the ability of E. coli O157 to bind to human cells and, unlike traditional antibiotics, did not cause the release of potent toxins. The researchers believe that this compound could be used as a promising future treatment of E. coli O157 infections.

USA – Notes from the Field: Multiple Modes of Transmission During a Thanksgiving Day Norovirus Outbreak — Tennessee, 2017

CDC

On November 28, 2017, the manager of restaurant A in Tennessee reported receiving 18 complaints from patrons with gastrointestinal illness who had dined there on Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 2017. Tennessee Department of Health officials conducted an investigation to confirm the outbreak, assess exposures, and recommend measures to prevent continued spread.

On November 23, one patron vomited in a private dining room, and an employee immediately used disinfectant spray labeled as effective against norovirus* to clean the vomitus. After handwashing, the employee served family-style platters of food and cut pecan pie. For the November 23 Thanksgiving Day, restaurant A served 676 patrons a limited menu from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The manager provided contact information, seating times, and seating locations for 114 patrons with reservations. All patrons with contact information were telephoned, and a questionnaire was used to assess illness and exposures for anyone living in the household who ate at restaurant A on November 23. Stool specimens were requested from ill patrons. Among the 676 patrons, 137 (20%) were enrolled in a case-control study.

A probable case was defined as diarrhea (three or more loose stools in 24 hours) or vomiting within 72 hours of eating at restaurant A on November 23; probable cases with norovirus RNA detected in a stool specimen by real-time reverse transcription–polymerase-chain reaction (RT-PCR) were considered confirmed. On November 30, environmental swabs for norovirus testing were collected in the restaurant. Patient and environmental samples were tested by real-time RT-PCR and sequenced at the Tennessee State Public Health Laboratory.

Thirty-six (26%) case-patients (two confirmed and 34 probable) and 101 (74%) controls were enrolled in the case-control study. Illness onsets occurred during November 23–25, with 17 of 35 (49%) cases occurring on November 24 (Figure). The mean incubation period was 31 hours (range = 2.5–54.5 hours), and the mean illness duration was 3 days (range = 0–6 days). Only one case-patient sought medical care. Diarrhea was reported by 33 (94%) case-patients, fatigue by 29 (83%), nausea and abdominal cramps by 28 (80%), vomiting by 24 (69%), and fever by six (17%).

Among menu items, only pecan pie was significantly associated with illness (odds ratio [OR] = 2.6; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.1–5.8); however, it was eaten by only 16 (47%) of 34 case-patients. The vomiting event occurred around noon; patrons seated during 11 a.m.–1 p.m. were significantly more likely to become ill than were patrons seated during other times (OR = 6.0; 95% CI = 2.6–15.3). No significant differences between dining locations (i.e., private dining room versus general seating) were identified (OR = 1.4; 95% CI = 0.4–4.3). Logistic regression was used to evaluate the effects of eating pecan pie, seating time, and seating location; only seating time during 11 a.m.–1 p.m. remained statistically significant (OR = 6.0; 95% CI = 2.2–16.5).

Stool specimens from two case-patients identified Norovirus GII.P16-GII.4 Sydney. Norovirus GII was identified in one environmental swab collected from the underside of a table leg adjacent to the vomitus.

UK – Avoid the unwanted gift of food poisoning this Christmas

FSA

With an estimated one million cases a year, food poisoning doesn’t stop over the festive season.

To save you and your loved ones from a nasty bout of food poisoning over the holidays, follow our advice:

  1. When Christmas food shopping, take enough bags with you so that you can separate out raw and ready-to-eat foods to avoid cross-contamination.
  2. Check the guidance on your turkey to ensure you have enough time to fully defrost it – it could take as many as 4 days.
  3. Don’t wash raw turkey – it just spreads germs further by splashing them onto your hands, clothes, utensils and worktops.
  4. To work out the cooking time for your bird, read the instructions on the packaging. Check that: the meat is steaming hot throughout, there is no pink meat visible when you cut into the thickest part and meat juices run clear.
  5. Whether you cooked your turkey from frozen or fresh, your turkey leftovers can be used to make a new meal (such as a turkey curry). This new meal can then be frozen, but make sure you only reheat it once.

Research UK – Campylobacter levels continue to fall

FSA Campylobacter

The top nine retailers across the UK have today published their latest testing results on campylobacter contamination in UK-produced fresh whole chickens (covering samples tested from July to September 2018).

The latest figures show that on average, across the major retailers, 3.5% of chickens tested positive for the highest level of contamination. These are the chickens carrying more than 1,000 colony forming units per gram (cfu/g) of campylobacter. The corresponding figure for the previous set of results (April – June 2018) was 3.7%, while for the first publication (July-September 2017) it was 4.6%.

Michael Wight, Director of Policy at the Food Standards Agency said:

‘The latest figures show further progress being made in our efforts to reduce campylobacter in UK-produced fresh whole chickens.

‘We will continue to build on these encouraging results, working closely with retailers and smaller poultry businesses to bring levels down to as low as reasonably achievable.

‘Thanks again to the major retailers and poultry producers for continuing to tackle campylobacter and for working alongside the FSA in the publication of the results.’

Results

The average percentage of chickens in each band of contamination from the retailers’ own data can be found in the table below.

Contamination levels July-September 2017 October-December 2017 January-March 2018 April-June 2018 July-September 2018
cfu/g less than 10 48.7% 57.7% 59.1% 60.6% 58.8%
cfu/g 10-99 28.3% 22.0% 23.9% 23.3% 26.7%
cfu/g 100-1000 18.4% 16.7% 13.2% 12.5% 11%
cfu/g over 1000 4.6% 3.6% 3.8% 3.7% 3.5%

USA – Norovirus outbreak on Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Symphony voyage

Outbreak News Today norovirus-2(1)

Federal health officials are reporting an investigation into a norovirus outbreak o a recent Crystal Cruises voyage.

At least 47 passengers and crew onboard the Crystal Symphony were was sickened with vomiting and diarrhea due to norovirus. The voyage date were Nov. 8-Dec. 2.

Specimens were collected and tested onboard using a norovirus rapid test; results were positive for norovirus. The specimens have been sent to CDC for laboratory testing.

Crystal Cruises and the crew aboard the ship reported the following actions:

  • Increased cleaning and disinfection procedures according to their outbreak prevention and response plan.
  • Collected stool specimens from passenger and crew gastrointestinal illness cases and sent them to the CDC Calicivirus laboratory for testing.
  • Sent multiple daily reports of gastrointestinal illness cases to the Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP).
  • Consulted with VSP about sanitation cleaning procedures and reporting ill cases.

Singapore – Mandarin Orchard food poisoning: Main ballroom forced to close after 175 fall ill at 4 separate events

Channel News Asia

SINGAPORE: Banquet operations at Mandarin Orchard Singapore’s main ballroom have been suspended with immediate effect after 175 people fell ill with food poisoning and nine were hospitalised, the authorities said late on Wednesday (Dec 5).

The 175 cases were linked to four separate events held at the Grand Ballroom at Mandarin Orchard Hotel between Dec 1 and 3, said the Ministry of Health (MOH), National Environment Agency (NEA) and Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA).

The nine people who were hospitalised are in stable condition.

Investigations are ongoing, said the authorities.

As all the affected people had attended events or eaten meals at the hotel’s Grand Ballroom, and in view of “suspected ongoing transmission,” authorities said the NEA had also suspended the banquet kitchen serving the Grand Ballroom.

The hotel has also been instructed to close the Grand Ballroom to conduct a thorough clean-up and disinfection.