Posts from the "Microbial Contamination" category

An A-Z of common types of food poisoning

Dr Jocelyn Lowinger writes: Do you know which foods are more likely to cause campylobacter? Or how many hours it takes to develop symptoms of salmonella after eating a contaminated egg? Get the low-down on some of our most common causes of food poisoning.
Read the full article at the ABC Health & Wellbeing website

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Growers blame cuts for food poisoning fiasco

John Weekes writes: Angry growers are doubtful authorities will be able to prove the origins of the painful food poisoning outbreak as a consumer backlash against carrots and lettuce hits home.
Horticulture New Zealand and the Labour Party yesterday blamed cutbacks to the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI) food safety service for exacerbating the outbreak.
MPI yesterday released reports showing a high proportion of people suffering from yersinia pseudotuberculosis were exposed to lettuce and carrots.
A growers’ representative, John Seymour of Horticulture NZ, said the information provided to the public and to growers was inconclusive.
Read the full article at the NZ herald website.

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Salmonella food poisoning cases increasing despite education campaigns: ANU study

Craig Allen writes: The number of Salmonella food contamination cases in Australia is increasing despite more education campaigns on food safety.
While foodborne illnesses dropped overall by 17 per cent in the decade to 2010, the two leading causes of hospitalisation, Salmonella and Campylobacter, increased by 24 per cent and 13 per cent respectively.
Read the full article at ABC news.

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Yersinia pseudotuberculosis Outbreak: Summary of ESR case control studies

NZ MPI: Key points from the Institute for Environmental Science and Research (ESR) Second Interim Report of the outbreak, dated 8th October 2014, are:

The ESR studies identify foods eaten more often by people who became ill than by people who didn’t become ill.
The ESR studies do not identify any affected or contaminated food nor its source.
The ESR studies say the information is not definitive, but provides direction for further investigation.

MPI investigations to identify an affected or contaminated food are ongoing.
Read the full article at, including links to the first and second interim reports.
This information is contained within the media update for 16th October, available here.

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NZ Food poisoning suspects to be named

Rebecca Quilliam writes: A list of foods suspected of causing a painful food poisoning epidemic will be released to the public tomorrow [16th October], following continued questions from the public, the Government says.
The ministry had refused to release the list to the public, but on Monday Foodstuffs confirmed two of its products — Pams Fresh Mesclun Salad Lettuce and Pams Fresh Express Lettuce — were named in one of the ESR reports. Neither of those products were still on the shelves.
Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew said the list was not initially released because it showed no definitive cause for the illness.
Read the full article at NZ Herald.

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NZ Yersinia pseudotuberculosis update – 13 October 2014

NZ MPI: Ministry for Primary Industries Deputy Director General Regulation and Assurance Scott Gallacher said today food safety and the health of consumers is MPI’s highest priority.
“It is not a simple situation where we can recall a single product. It is not definitively linked to any one supermarket chain. The ESR working documents have provided useful pointers for continuing investigation.
“Comments in the media have indicated that specific products are implicated in the incident. People were surveyed to ask about their recollection of certain brands, but were not asked about all brands. A specific product was recalled by 8 from the 96 people. In other cases, people recalled a brand that included several individual products.
Read the full article at

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Escape from salmonella outbreak “nightmare” for small business owner

Eloise Keating writes: The owner of a family-owned business identified as the source of a salmonella bacteria outbreak says he has avoided a “nightmare” by having the correct food safety procedures in place.
Max Schofield is the founder of Fresh Fodder, which employs 20 people and manufactures dips, sauces and salads in the regional New South Wales town of Orange.
A recall was issued on Monday for a batch of Fresh Fodder’s Blue Cheese and Pistachio Dip, with a best before date of November 11, which was found to have been contaminated by salmonella.
Read the full article at

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Foodstuffs’ bagged lettuce linked to bug

Nicole Mathewson writes: Supermarket owner Foodstuffs has confirmed two products sold at its stores may be responsible for a severe outbreak of a gastrointestinal bug.
About 127 people have been affected and 38 hospitalised by the yersinia pseudotuberculosis outbreak since it first appeared last month.
Foodstuffs, the company which owns New World, Pak’n Save and Four Square, said it had viewed the report which named two of its products, Pam’s fresh express mesclun salad lettuce and Pam’s fresh express lettuce, as possible sources.
Read the full article at

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NZ Yersinia pseudotuberculosis – update

NZ MPI: There is a total of 124 confirmed cases and 18 presumptive (suspected but yet to confirmed) nationwide. A total of 38 people have been hospitalised.
The people who have become ill with Yersenia have been interviewed on what foods they have been eating and this information has been cross-referenced, giving us sources to investigate further.
It is important to note that MPI’s investigation is over a range of foods.
Read the full article at
Image credit: Dr. Todd Parker / CDC / Wikimedia

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EFSA assesses risks from Salmonella in melons and tomatoes

EFSA: Environmental factors (such as heavy rainfall), the use of contaminated water for irrigation or contaminated equipment are among the factors that cause contamination of melons with Salmonella and contamination of tomatoes with Norovirus and Salmonella.
These are some of the findings of a scientific opinion on risk factors that contribute to the contamination of melons and tomatoes at different stages of the food chain.
To read the full article and to source the reports on melons and tomatoes, please visit the EFSA website.
Image credit: Joby Elliot/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

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