This somewhat outside of my usual territory, but I heard on the radio that it has been suggested that there will be no second wave because the second wave idea is based on experience with ‘flu, and this is not ‘flu. True enough, but this SARS virus is related to the first SARS virus of note, and the graph below shows what happened when it was extant in 2003. Would people looking at the graph at the end of February 2003 be breathing a sigh of relief and thinking its all over now?Read More →

Promed is a wonderful thing, bringing to your desktop the latest information on human and animal disease occurring around the world. Most of the incidents reported don’t really come as a huge surprise e.g. Salmonella being present in minced poultry meat; nothing new there then. Sometimes it is something really novel and unusual, for instance Promed was the first medium that I saw heralding the white powder anthrax attacks in the USA. Personally, I like the ones that make you think and are a bit more enigmatic. An example is the current (July 2019) EHEC O26 outbreak in Iceland ( ) where there seems toRead More →

It’s been in the news yet again, another incident of people becoming infected by Listeria monocytogenes and sadly succumbing to the infection ( ). The source identified, as reported by the FSA, was sandwiches supplied to hospitals. In a way I think ‘nothing new there then’ as this has happened in the past; the epidemiology of listeriosis outbreaks in the UK seemingly intertwined with sandwiches (see a table produced in 2015 in ). Also remembering a Finnish listeriosis outbreak in which butter was the contaminated food, the scientist in you begins to ask whether it is terribly wise to supply sandwiches to people whoseRead More →

Nitrates or not? Surely another issue that needs a proper risk assessment Over the festive period there has been a lot of press reporting various individuals applying pressure to the meat industry to remove nitrates from processed meat products. Headlines have appeared such as this “’Vast majority of bacon contains cancer-causing chemicals, say campaigners urging the Government to take action on nitrates in processed meats” ( ). Indeed, this issue has been swirling around at least since I was an undergraduate in the late 1970s, and it is claimed that there is mounting evidence that nitrate is not a particularly desirable chemical to be presentRead More →

This is good ( ); maybe he other retailers will follow and reduce the UK’s food waste. My previous blog explores this a little more.Read More →

At one level the relationship between temperature, time and the death rate of pathogenic bacteria is well known. At a given (lethal) temperature a plot of the log of the surviving bacteria against time is a straight line with the time taken to decrease the population by one log10 unit known as the D (for decimal reduction) time, usually expressed given the temperature for which the D value applies, e.g. D70 = 1.2 minutes for the D value at 70°C for a given organism of 1.2 minutes. If the log of the D time is plotted against temperature, the temperature required to reduce the DRead More →