Further to the previous sceptical post it seems that the unfortunate Waikato family were not suffering from botulism. It is puzzling as to how the symptoms described (e.g. thrashing around) fit with flaccid paralysis typical of botulism. But again we only have the ‘facts’ relayed to us by Stuff. The meat, or contaminants therein, seems to have been excluded as a cause of the symptoms, which might be a bit premature. It will be interesting to read the final results.  Read More →

Following an out break of Hepaptitis A, the company supplying the berries is being taken to court for compensation, according to a report in the Canberra Times “Patties said it had to dispose of $3.8 million worth of berries held in storage, and as of May had paid out $41,389 in compensation to seven customers who were infected from the berries.   The company incurred another $5 million in loses because of the outbreak and recall, including spending $196,576 advertising the recall, $198,591 running a call centre, $136,942 employing public relations professionals, $597,788 removing products from shelves, and $24,920 on social media”Read More →

There is a distinct contrast to the way that fruits and vegetables are sold in the UK and New Zealand. In the UK, almost all of the supermarket produce comes packaged in a kind of plastic that inevitably bursts open when an attempt is made to liberate the contents such that they spill all over the kitchen floor and get bruised. In New Zealand, produce is generally sold in bins. You get to choose which individual fruits/veg you buy, pop them in a bag and get them weighed at the checkout. A crucial difference is that there is no “Best Before” date on the AntipodeanRead More →

It’s probably fair to say that fruits and vegetables were once considered as pretty much safe to eat, but the picture is changing. Salmonella causes disease when present in small numbers (see my blog) which the pH of some fruits, like papaya, can allow pathogens to proliferate if the conditions are right. For more information from the CDC click hereRead More →

“Food-borne viruses are the second most important cause of food-borne outbreaks in the European Union (EU) after Salmonella. EFSA has today published a review of the latest scientific knowledge on these viruses providing advice on possible measures to control and prevent their spread in the EU. The assessment recommends among others that mitigating measures should focus on the prevention of contamination rather than removing the virus from contaminated food” This information is expanded upon here. There is also a link to an opinion on Hepatitis E.Read More →

The FSA has just produced some information on behavioural aspects of the transmission of Norovirus. From their website: “The literature review identified 5 strategies for controlling norovirus: Personal hygiene  Food handling Washing and cooking food Surface and uniform cleaning Fitness to work Visits to food catering establishments involved in-depth interviews, surveys, and structured environmental and behavioural observations. Strongest evidence was found for:  inadequate hand washing;  not washing hands before gloving;  using bare hands when preparing food; not regularly changing gloves;  food handlers instead of trained staff cleaning areas where people vomited;  not washing uniform correctly;  and returning to work too early after being ill.  DataRead More →