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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →