Category Archives: Water Safety

USA – Stay Food Safe this July Fourth


Many Americans will be celebrating the Fourth of July outdoors this year a little differently, with celebrations at home, including backyard barbecues and picnics perhaps with only your household. No matter how you’re celebrating the Fourth of July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) encourages you to make food safety and other public health recommendations a part of your celebration.

“Foodborne illness can increase during summer because of the warmer temperatures and extended time spent outside,” said Dr. Mindy Brashears, the USDA’s Under Secretary for Food Safety. “You may not be grilling at the park this year, but instead you may be grilling at home. As we celebrate this Fourth of July holiday, I encourage consumers to use food safety steps to reduce their risk of illness.”

Follow these tips from USDA to ensure a food safe Fourth of July:

Don’t Cross-Contaminate

Always keep raw meat and their juices from touching other foods. While grilling, avoid using the same utensils for cooked and ready-to-eat foods that were previously used with raw meat or poultry products. Wash and sanitize all surfaces and utensils after they touch raw items. A recent USDA survey showed that 34 percent of respondents do not follow an important step to use a different utensil to take food off the grill. Bring enough tools to keep your raw meat and poultry away from any cooked or ready-to-eat foods and have extra cleaning and sanitizing supplies ready for your surfaces, plates and utensils.

Use a Food Thermometer

Some grill masters may say they know their food is done just by looking at its color when it comes off the grill. That’s not possible and shouldn’t be relied upon. This is where a food thermometer comes in.

“More than 25 percent of burgers can turn brown inside before they are fully cooked,” says FSIS Administrator Paul Kiecker. “Although your grilled foods may look done, foodborne illness causing germs are not killed until the safe internal temperature has been reached. Using a food thermometer is the only way to know your food is done and safe to eat.”

The USDA recommended safe minimum internal temperatures are:

  • Beef, pork, lamb and veal (steaks, roasts and chops): 145°F then rest for three-minutes
  • Fish: 145°F
  • Ground meats (beef, pork, lamb and veal): 160°F
  • Whole poultry, poultry breasts and ground poultry: 165°F

Keep Foods at a Safe Temperature

Perishable food items should not be left outside for more than two hours, and only one hour if the temperature is at or above 90°F. Keep your food at or below 40°F, in coolers or containers with a cold source, such as ice or frozen gel packs. This includes any leftovers from the grill, cold salads and even cut fruits and vegetables. Leftovers should be refrigerated or placed back in the cooler within 2 hours of being placed outside (1 hour if temperatures are at or above 90°F). If you are not sure how long food has been sitting out, throw it out immediately.

If you have questions about these tips, or any other food safety topics, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or chat live at from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

New Zealand -Vibrio parahaemolyticus infections linked to raw mussels in New Zealand

Outbreak News Today

CDC Vibrio

Image CDC

In New Zealand, officials are encouraging the public to ensure they cook raw mussels thoroughly after an increase in cases of food poisoning associated with commercially grown mussels from the Coromandel area.

“Testing is being done to confirm the type of Vibrio parahaemolyticus that has caused this illness. New Zealand Food Safety has an ongoing survey program to test mussels and growing waters to help us understand why this occurred.

“Until we have more information, New Zealand Food Safety is reminding consumers to take care when handling, preparing and consuming mussels. Our advice to consumers who are pregnant or have low immunity is to avoid eating raw shellfish,” says Paul Dansted.

Research – Washing away stubborn biofilms using fungal cleaning products

Science Daily biofilm

Lurking inside pipes and on the surfaces of indwelling medical devices, slimy layers of bacteria, called biofilms, cause problems ranging from largescale product contamination to potentially fatal chronic infections. Biofilms are notoriously difficult to eliminate — not surprising given that one of their main functions is to protect encased bacteria from threats such as predation, antibiotics, and chemical cleaning agents.

Bleach, harsh oxidizing cleaning products, and petrochemical-derived detergents called surfactants combined with scrubbing are the most effective methods of removing biofilms. However, bleach and harsh chemicals are obviously unsuitable for use in biological settings, and while surfactants are used in products such as hand soap and cosmetics, many are toxic to the environment and can damage the surfaces that they are used on.

But in a study published this month in peer-reviewed journal Langmuir, researchers from the University of Tsukuba have found a new way of tackling biofilms, using cleaning agents derived from microbes themselves.

USA -76 with Cyclospora illnesses linked to ALDI, Jewel-Osco and Hy-Vee salads in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Nebraska

Food Poison Journal crypto

CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating a multistate outbreak of Cyclospora infections linked to bagged salad mix purchased at ALDI, Hy-Vee, and Jewel-Osco stores in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, and Nebraska. As of June 19, 2020, a total of 76 people with laboratory-confirmed Cyclospora infections associated with this outbreak have been reported from 6 states:  Iowa (28), Illinois (23), Kansas (1), Minnesota (10), Missouri (7) and Nebraska (7).

People with laboratory-confirmed Cyclospora infections and who reported eating bagged salad mix before getting sick have been reported from 6 states (Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Minnesota). Illnesses started on dates ranging from May 11, 2020 to June 14, 2020. Sixteen people have been hospitalized. No deaths attributed to Cyclospora have been reported.


Research – Effect of essential oils on pathogenic and biofilm-forming Vibrio parahaemolyticus strains


In this study, the effect of three essential oils (EOs) – clove oil (CO), thyme oil (TO), and garlic oil (GO), which are generally recognized as safe – on the planktonic growth, minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC), minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC), motility, biofilm formation, and quorum sensing (QS) of Vibrio parahaemolyticus was investigated. All three EOs showed bacteriostatic activity, with MICs in the range 0.02%–0.09% (v/v). CO and TO completely controlled planktonic growth at 0.28% and 0.08% (v/v), which is four times their MIC (4 × MIC), after 10 min, whereas GO completely controlled growth at 0.36% (v/v) (4 × MIC) after treatment for 20 min. V. parahaemolyticus motility was significantly reduced by all three EOs at 4 × MIC (0.28% for CO, 0.08% for TO, and 0.36% for GO), whereas QS was controlled and biofilm formation reduced by all three EOs at 8 × MIC (0.56% for CO, 0.16% for TO, and 0.72% for GO) after 30 min of treatment. These results suggest that CO, TO, and GO have a significant inhibitory effect on V. parahaemolyticus cells in biofilm sand thus represent a promising strategy for improving food safety. These results provide the evidence required to encourage further research into the practical use of the proposed EOs in food preparation processes.

Research – Escherichia coli Biofilms

Springer Link ecoli

Escherichia coli is a predominant species among facultative anaerobic bacteria of the gastrointestinal tract. Both its frequent community lifestyle and the availability of a wide array of genetic tools contributed to establish E. coli as a relevant model organism for the study of surface colonization. Several key factors, including different extracellular appendages, are implicated in E. coli surface colonization and their expression and activity are finely regulated, both in space and time, to ensure productive events leading to mature biofilm formation. This chapter will present known molecular mechanisms underlying biofilm development in both commensal and pathogenic E. coli.

Research – Transmission of Legionnaires’ Disease through Toilet Flushing

CDC CDC legionella

We describe 2 cases of healthcare-associated Legionnaires’ disease in patients in France hospitalized 5 months apart in the same room. Whole-genome sequencing analyses showed that clinical isolates from the patients and isolates from the room’s toilet clustered together. Toilet contamination by Legionella pneumophila could lead to a risk for exposure through flushing.

Research – Prevalence of E. coli , Salmonella , and Listeria spp. as potential pathogens: A comparative study for biofilm of sink drain environment

Wiley Online


Since knowledge and understanding of waterborne pathogens and their diseases are well illuminated, a few research publications on the prevalence of pathogenic microorganisms in various household sink drain pipes are often not extensively examined. Therefore, this study aims to (a) assess and monitor the densities of the bacterial community in the different natural biofilm that grow on plastic pipelines, (b) to detect Escherichia coli Salmonella , and Listeria spp. from natural biofilm samples that are collected from the kitchen (= 30), bathroom (= 10), laboratories (= 13), and hospital (= 8) sink drainage pipes. Three bacterial species selected were assessed using a culture‐dependent approach followed by verification of isolates using both BIOLOG GEN III and polymerase chain reaction. The estimated number of each bacterium was 122 isolates, while 60, 20, 26, and 16 isolates were obtained from the natural biofilm samples, kitchen, bathroom, laboratories, and hospital, respectively. As for the tests, in all types of biofilm samples, the overall bacterial counts at low temperature (22°C) were higher than those at high temperature (37°C). Meanwhile, coli had the most significant number of bacterial microorganisms compared to the other two pathogens. Additionally, the most massive cell densities of coli Salmonella , and Listeria species were discovered in the biofilm collected from the kitchen, then the hospital. Statistically, the results reveal that there is a positive correlation (≥ .0001) with significance between the sources of biofilm. This work certainly makes the potential of household sink drain pipes for reservoir contagious pathogens more explicitly noticeable. Such knowledge would also be beneficial for prospective consideration of the threat to human public health and the environment.

Information – Legionella risks during the coronavirus outbreak


CDC legionella

Image CDC


Employers, the self-employed and people in control of premises, such as landlords, have a duty to identify and control risks associated with legionella.

If your building was closed or has reduced occupancy during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires’ disease. This may particularly affect:

For detailed guidance on Legionella and safer working during the coronavirus outbreak visit the HSE website.

Research – Use of algal oil in shrimp diets shows sharp reduction in vibrio deaths, study finds

Under Current News

A study conducted by a team of shrimp disease experts from the US and Vietnam has found that the usage of algal oil in vannamei shrimp diets has a notable impact on survival rates among shrimp exposed to the bacterium vibrio, responsible for early mortality syndrome, or EMS, reports the Global Aquaculture Alliance.

Groups of specific pathogen-free 3-gram shrimp were fed different diets by the research team, before being exposed to shrimp broth inoculated with a consistently virulent strain of vibrio collected from a farm in Vietnam.