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  • WinnieLiao 8:00 pm on November 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Salmonella outbreak, Salmonellosis, , Tuna   

    Salmonella: in Frozen Raw Tuna? 


    Q: What’s the big problem here with Salmonella?

    A: A Salmonella seafood outbreak that hit United States has caused 62 sick across 11 states as of July 20, 2015. US CDC reported that there were 11 cases of hospitalization and no case of deaths. 97% of the infected population recalled the consumption of sushi with raw tuna a week before becoming ill. Results from laboratory and epidemiological investigations indicated that these people were likely infected with Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+). Raw tuna processed in Indonesia by Osamu Corporation were confirmed responsible for 18 cases in California and some cases of infections in Minnesota.

    As a result, on July 21, 2015 Osamu Corporation called for a voluntary recall of two categories of items, frozen tuna and yellowfin tuna, processed in their Indonesian plant.


    Q: Isn’t Salmonella usually found in eggs and poultry?

    A: As known to the general population, Salmonella is often associated with foodborne illness due to its growth in poultry and egg products, as well as produce and complex foods. An interesting fact is that Salmonella is also a common pathogen found in seafood. Together with Shigella, these two pathogens constitute up to 10% of the reported foodborne illnesses in United States. Fish, shrimp, oysters and clam are food vehicles most often associated with seafood outbreaks.


    Want to know more? Here is a relevant video about Salmonella in seafood (published 3 years ago):


    Q: “Who” is Salmonella? Where is it from? How is it identified?

    A: Salmonella is a gram negative, rod shape, facultative anaerobic, non lactose fermenting bacillus with as much as 2500 serotypes identified. Transmission routes can include food-borne and water-borne, person to person and contact with animals. According to US FDA, Salmonella can be found in seafood that is intended for minimal processing and cooking.

    The source of this contamination can be traced back to the acquisition of the bacteria in polluted waters. Therefore to prevent outbreaks, current measures are carried out in harvesting waters before the final harvest. Another route of contamination can be traced to the processing and storage of the seafood.

    Laboratory test of stool samples from infected patients are used for diagnosis of salmonellosis. Further tests are required to discover the subtype of Salmonella responsible for the illness.


    Q: Yikes! What are the symptoms of salmonellosis?

    A: Salmonellosis, an infection caused by Salmonella, can cause acute gastroenteritis, accompanied by symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps from 6 to 72 hours. Headaches, nausea and vomiting in individuals may also be visible. However these symptoms usually disappear in 4 to 7 days, when many people recover. During this period, large volume of liquid is required to replace lost fluid from diarrhea. Severe manifestations include enteric fever, urinary tract infections, bacteremia and severe focal infections. Up to 10% of patients with typhoid fever can develop serious complications.

    In the circumstance of bacteremia, Salmonella can spread from intestines to blood eventually causing severe illnesses leading to death. Antibiotics may be applied to cure the disease, however antibiotic resistance is a perplex issue. Chronic pain in joints, urination pain and irritation of eyes can be some long term complications. In severe cases, chronic arthritis is observed in these patients.


    Q: Who is more likely to be infected? Are there any patterns that can be observed?

    A: Within the infected population, pregnant women, immuno-compromised individuals, young children (<5) and seniors (>65) are most likely at risk for developing severe disease. Consequently these individuals are advised to avoid consumption of raw finfish and shellfish. Patterns have been recorded regarding age and season: infants and elderly are on top of the list for being most vulnerable to salmonellosis; those infected individuals who consume contaminated food during the summer and early fall seasons are likely to contribute to the infection numbers.


    Q: What about… specifically Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+)?

    A: Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) (formerly Salmonella Java) belongs to the subspecies of Salmonella enterica and is known to cause non-typhoid salmonellosis. In contrast, Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(-) causes paratyphoid fever.



    Q: How should we “wrestle” with the pathogen especially in seafood?

    A: Besides usual ways of avoiding foodborne illnesses, effective methods of preventing foodborne illness in specifically seafood, as suggested by US FDA, include:

    1. Washing hands, utensils and cooking surfaces
    2. Cooking seafood for 15 seconds at minimum of 145oF
    3. Avoid cross contamination by separating raw and cooked seafood
    4. Storing seafood below 40oF in the refrigerator or below 0oF in the freezer


    And finally… Questions for you!

    1. What is a possible reason for Salmonella to be able to grow in frozen raw tuna?
    2. What are some possibilities that the infection cases can occur over 11 states (possible routes)?


    Salmonella in raw tuna articles:





    FYI… Check it out! (References:)

    Epidemiology of Seafood-associated infections in United States:


    Facts on Seafood safety:


    Salmonella Q&A:


    WHO document on Typhoid Fever:


    WHO document on Non-typhoid fever:


    Government of Canada guidelines:


    Paratyphoid fever:


    Youtube video on this case:


    • csontani 4:37 pm on November 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      First of all, I really like how you format your blog! It’s definitely easy to read since the questions really help the readers to stay focused on the topic. Anyways, I think that most people just assumed that they can only be infected by Salmonella from eating raw eggs and poultry (in this case, there should be another way to inform people that it’s not limited to those sources). I remember getting infected with Salmonella couple of years ago from eating raw salmon, which I thought isn’t possible. But then I’m from Indonesia and I’m definitely not surprised that many people were infected by pathogenic bacteria from food. But I think that possible ways that the seafood is contaminated with Salmonella would be during the thawing process. And since they determined that all of the cases lead back to one source, I think that the main problem started from Indonesia where the tuna was imported from.

      • dgozali 1:42 am on November 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Very interesting blog post and really great organisation of information! I think this really highlights the point that Salmonella can be associated with other types of food besides poultry and eggs. This personally scares me a little as I really love eating sushi and raw seafood. One of the reasons that Salmonella could have survived in frozen fish perhaps could be due to cross protection. If the pathogen was exposed to sublethal treatments it could develop resistance to subsequent steps in processing.

    • TamaraRitchie 9:54 am on November 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Very nice layout. This was really easy to read and reminded the reader of key points. I think it may be possible for Salmonella to grow in the frozen tuna because freezing the sample will not kill Salmonella, it will just inhibit the growth, therefore when the tuna comes to room temperature when being served at restaurants it could cause illness and the bacteria could start to multiply. I think it is possible that the cases were so wildly spread because this company possibly distributed this product to varying states.

    • angel519 1:37 pm on November 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      As mentioned in the blog, improper handling practices during processing and store can contaminate the raw seafood with Salmonella; I think for seafood especially sashimi grade seafood, it is very crucial to have proper handling practices and clean production area to avoid contamination. Because Salmonella can survive the freezing storage temperature, once the seafood is defrosted, the pathogen will be able to start replicating and grow.

    • RainShen 11:23 pm on November 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      It is interesting that the frozen tuna was processed in Indonesia, which is such a far place in Asia. I’m not sure how the company transported the tuna to US, by ship or by air. If the frozen tuna transported by sea then it was possible the products underwent temperature abuse during the long distance transportation. Even if the tuna transported by air, the products may thaw a little during the transferring between different vehicles, e.g. truck and airplane. If Salmonella was in the tuna in the first place then it’s very difficult to eliminate the pathogens after, since Salmonella can survive under very low temperature. I agree that improper handling can be one of the main causes of the contamination as well. Foods like sashimi is very hard to cook for 15 seconds at minimum of 145F, which may loss the texture and raw taste.

    • KristinaRichmond 8:59 pm on November 27, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Nice article! I agree that there are many points at which the fish could have become contaminated- poor storage temperature, thawing, or cross contamination all could have played a role in this outbreak. I always assumed that sushi fish would be sourced locally and a lot fresher. This goes to show that you really need to be a conscious consumer, and take the time to think about where the products you’re eating are coming from. However, I think sushi is a higher risk food and all this could have happened with local fish too, so it’s probably important for vulnerable individuals to avoid eating it.

    • Stephanie Chen 6:13 pm on December 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Great organization of points! Importing the processed tuna from an overseas plant creates many more opportunities for contamination to occur. As the product is being transferred from place to place, and then furthered processed for consumption, multiple points could have allowed thawing and growth of Salmonella. According to the FDA Food Code (http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/GuidanceRegulation/RetailFoodProtection/FoodCode/UCM374510.pdf), certain temperatures and times for freezing are designated to kill parasitic worms. But this of course does not guarantee that raw fish products can become pathogen free. I agree that freezing only slows or inhibits the growth of Salmonella. However, it is truly a challenge for heat treatment of these foods that are intended to be eaten raw. Therefore, sanitary handling practices are crucial in decreasing risk of contamination.

    • cheryl lau 3:14 pm on December 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      This is an interesting article as Salmonella outbreaks are not typically associated with seafood. As stated in the article, the contaminated tuna was processed in Indonesia. Perhaps the cold temperatures that the products were subjected too were not cold enough to kill the bacteria and actually activated the stress proteins that made them survive other subsequent sub-lethal stresses. If the company was distributing the fish to the 11 states, perhaps their storage facilities or the mode of transport was contaminated and it could have affected all the shipments. Personally, I feel like there is always a risk when eating raw or partially cooked foods, but it would be a shame to give them up because of a fear of contamination. As long as restaurants or processors follow the proper handling procedures, consumers can feel safe enjoying these delicacies.

    • meggyli 11:48 pm on December 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      This is a really interesting layout for a blog with the Q&A. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone else do their blog this way! The Q&A definitely makes the blog easier to follow and highlights the important points. Again, it’s an article on a foodborne illness in which the pathogen involved is not commonly associated with the food. This article highlights the risks and dangers of operating a plant for raw and spoil-prone food, and in this case, tuna. Getting them overseas may be the cheaper option, but I feel that the risks associated with the long-distance travel and storage are not worth the money saved. Personally I would prefer eating locally farmed or wild seafood.

    • yichen25 1:02 am on December 11, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I really enjoyed reading your blog post as the flow is well thought over. As for the questions you mentioned, I personally think that there is a possibility of the activation of stress response which enabled Salmonella to survive in extreme conditions, as learnt in FNH 413. Also, the stress response activated in Salmonella can also be applied in the survival in the host’s environment which further enhance their virulence. Therefore, it is vital to only consume raw seafood if it is certified to be safe for consumption or always cook the seafood to ensure the elimination of the seafood. I personally am a Sashimi lover and I guess one of the ways to avoid consuming contaminated seafood will be to only eat in a restaurant which is well reputable for the preparation of raw seafood.

    • Carissa Li 1:56 am on December 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Your article is among all the simplest to read since they all start with a question and your answers are very detailed! It is very shocking to know that even frozen tuna can be contaminated by salmonella. Firstly is because it is rare to see samonella appear in seafood and secondly, we never learned that salmonella is tolerant to low temperature so this article really opened my mind! Eating raw food always has an increased risk of getting foodborne illnesses so getting the regulation straight and letting people know how to properly handle and prepare raw food is an important step to prevent any foodborne illness outbreak.

    • CindyDai 12:07 am on December 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I really like your Q & A formatting. It really makes the blog more interesting and attractive to the general public. Public education on food safety practices is the most efficient way to prevent cross-contamination at the household level. It is also very interesting to know that Salmonella can survive cold treatment, such as freezing and refrigeration, and be present on raw seafood products. This indicates the importance of controlling initial contamination at the primary food production site. If we want to keep enjoying sashimi, microbiological quality control tests at the farm level are definitely necessary.

    • JorgeMadrigalPons 11:45 am on December 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Salmonella is a very flexible organism and it can be a problem in many food products. When talking about seafood, preventing contamination may be difficult. Since seafood is often eaten raw, killing salmonella by cooking or high temperatures is not possible. Washing the tuna before preparing the dish might be a good preventive method.

    • CandiceZheng 2:47 pm on December 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Salmonella again?!! It is such a nasty microorganism that would exist EVERYWHERE in our food system. I really appreciate the organization of your post: not only did you use the Q&A format, which makes the blog post very clear and simple to use, but the logic flow is clear and easy to follow. Besides, I like the practical advise you gave at the end. They are very helpful and easy to follow, and also based on scientific evidence that we learnt in class.

  • Silvia Low 4:34 pm on October 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Salmonella outbreak   

    Europe: Salmonella Stanley Strikes Again! Find out why S. Stanley keeps refusing to back down. 

    SalmonellaTurkeys Stanley, as friendly as this particular strain of salmonella may sound, is no friend to the European member states at all. S.Stanley may as well be a multi-national celebrity as it has been making headlines across Europe for various food-borne outbreaks since 2011.

    After a string of salmonella outbreaks that affected 7 European states and more than 400 patients, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and other authorities finally initiated investigations on the source of the culprit strain in 2012. Evidence from the investigations led to a suggested source of turkey meat and without slowing down, the notorious S.Stanley continued to make various headlines up until 2014. Now, S.Stanley has re-emerged in clusters throughout 2015 and is taking over a new wave of Austrian turkey supply.

    Between 1 January and 8 October 2015, 141 cases of non-travel related infection with S. Stanley were identified in eight of the nine Austrian provinces. At least 36 of these cases have been traced back to turkey kebabs made with turkey meat supplied by a single retailer located in Slovakia. More trace back by National authorities indicate that the Slovakian retailer sources its turkey meat from a facility in Hungary. This same facility was linked to a S.Stanley cluster back in 2014. Furthermore, recent investigations using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) molecular typing indicate that the 2015 salmonella isolates have the same unique pattern as S.Stanley from the 2011 to 2014 outbreaks.

    So what is the secret to S.Stanley’s everlasting presence?

    Antimicrobial Resistance.

    Since the early 1990s, antimicrobial resistant salmonella strains have emerged and become serious public health concerns. Antimicrobial resistance occurs when pathogenic cases are routinely treated with antimicrobial therapy but result in not eliminating the more resistant bacteria strains. The subsequent result is resistant bacteria strains reproducing, and the antimicrobial treatment becoming ineffective.

    The same strain of Salmonella Stanley has consistently been recognized from 2011-2014 due to its pattern of resistance to nalidixic acid antibiotics. That was up until now, where the 2015 strain of S.Stanley has been identified as having low-level resistance to ciprofloxacin in addition to nalidixic acid antibiotics.

    To prevent further cases of antimicrobial resistance cases, the single most important action is to change the way antibiotics are used. Mostly, the use of antibiotics in people and animals are unnecessary especially in mild cases of infection. Treatment guidelines should be reviewed regularly while considering bacterial resistance patterns.

    Here are some simple tips to prevent Salmonella from spreading in your home:

    • Clean surfaces regularly and wash your hands often especially after coming into contact with animals and animal products.
    • Separate raw and cooked, ready-to-eat foods to prevent cross contamination.
    • Cook food to the right temperature. Checking the colour and texture of meat is not enough to ensure it is safe. Instead, use a food thermometer to check internal food temperatures.
    • Refrigerate foods below 4°C. Germs can grow in many foods within 2 hours and even quicker during the summer.


    Works Cited

    CDC. (2014). Antibiotic Resistance and Food Safety. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/antibiotic-resistance.html

    CDC. (2015). About Antimicrobial Resistance. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/about.html

    ECDC. (2015). CDTR Week 41, 4-10 October 2015. . COMMUNICABLE DISEASE THREATS REPORT. Available at: http://ecdc.europa.eu/en/publications/Publications/communicable-disease-threats-report-10-oct-2015.pdf

    Whitworth, J. (13 October 2015). New Cases reported in multi-year, multi-country Salmonella outbreak. Food Quality News. Available at: http://www.foodqualitynews.com/Food-Outbreaks/Turkey-production-chain-at-centre-of-Salmonella-concerns

    WHO. (2013). Salmonella (non-typhoidal). Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs139/en/

    WHO. (2015). Antimicrobial resistance. Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs194/en/

    • ayra casuga 9:57 am on October 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Very interesting and intriguing blog! I found it very interesting to see recent real-world cases of antimicrobial resistance playing a large role in the prevalence of food-borne illnesses. I was surprised that the same strain managed to make its way to Australia considering that the outbreaks mostly occurred in Europe. Especially since these Australian outbreaks were non-travel related. Perhaps it was though some sort of international trade or shipment of these products. After reading this blog, I was wondering if the EU are going to add an extra antimicrobial (ciprofloxacin) into their food supply since S. Stanley is resistant to nalidixic acid? If so, wouldn’t that cause an emergence of another, possibly more infective, strain of Salmonella that would be resistant to the new antimicrobial?

    • EmilyChow 7:06 pm on October 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Nice post! It’s interesting to see that just one strain of salmonella could have such a lasting impact in one particular part of Europe. Since it’s emergence in 2011, it’s amazing how S. stanley had continuously been responsible for so many outbreaks. Because the last outbreak was specific to one place, Austria, and also to one source, turkey, it makes me wonder how the food safety regulations are implemented in Europe. Over 9 months in 2015 is quite a period of long time. Are the warnings and regulations the same in Europe as they are here? Perhaps this continuous emergence of salmonella is not only attributed to antimicrobial resistance but also due to how the meat is handled?

    • Michelle Ebtia 11:59 pm on November 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Very well written, nicely organized blog!
      As mentioned in the report, the single most important factor that needs to be taken into account while discussing antibiotic (AB) resistance is its use in animals and people. However, as more than 80% of all AB used in the US are fed to farm animals (Levy et al. 1976), the most effective way of controlling the emergence of AB resistant strains of pathogens can be limiting their use in animal farming.
      A very promising corrective measure that has taken place recently, is FDA’s initiative in banning/limiting the use of such drugs as growth promoters in farming practices. According to Kuehn (2014), AB’s that are currently prescribed for treating bacterial infections in humans, can no longer be administered to animals, without the supervision of veterinarians, and the manufacturers of the drug are also required to mention in their labeling that the use of their product as growth enhancer is illegal. I really hope this initiative would help resolve the issue of AB resistance!

      Works Cited:

      Kuehn, B. M. (2014). FDA moves to curb antibiotic use in livestock. JAMA, 311(4), 347-348.

      Levy, S. B., FitzGerald, G. B., & Macone, A. B. (1976). Changes in intestinal flora of farm personnel after introduction of a tetracycline-supplemented feed on a farm. New England Journal of Medicine, 295(11), 583-588.

  • EmilyLi 1:50 am on October 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bread, , , Salmonella outbreak,   

    “Banh mi” in Vietnam 



    Recently, on Oct. 20th 2015, there was a Salmonella outbreak in the Quang Binh province, which located in the north- central coast of Vietnam. The outbreak affected 224 local people, who showed symptoms such as stomach ache, vomiting, fever and diarrhea. The Salmonella bacteria were found in “Banh mi” supplied by the “Vuong Tien Thanh Bakery”. “Banh mi” is a Vietnamese snack introduce by the French during the Colonial Period. It consisted of a baguette, usually filled with variety of meats, pickled vegetables and chili peppers.


    According to the Quang Binh province Hygiene and Food Safety department, samples taken from the bakery and the contents of the victims’ stomach both tested positive for the bacteria Salmonella. Most of the consumer infected with Salmonella developed symptoms within 72 hours and rushed to the local hospital. This was the biggest case of food poisoning seen in the province.


    About a week prior to the detection of Salmonella bacteria in “Banh mi”, the bakery had supplied bread to “Tan Phat Sport Company”. 20 of the worker. who consumed the bread suffered from vomiting and diarrhea.  “Vuong Tien Thanh Bakery” had five branches, which 3 were suspended after the incident.


    A little background in Vietnamese food culture and the snack food item “Banh mi”. “Banh mi” from the journal article “An Outbreak of Foodborne Salmonellosis Linked to Bread Takeaway Shop in Ben Tre City, Vietnam” was referred as stuff bread. In the article it was mention that in 2013 media reported multiple incidents where people had been hospitalized with acute gastroenteritis due to consumption of stuffed bread. They found that “Banh mi” usually included the ingredients pork bologna, pork pate, salted and dried pork and raw egg mayonnaise. Many of these items were found to have Salmonella species as well as E. coli growing.  Most of the stuff breads were brought from street food stalls and vendors. At these vendors poor hygiene was found: some had cooked food and raw food place very close together, some had cooked food kept at room temperature for long period of time.


    Vietnam is a lower middle income country, where development and industrialization are still taken place. The food culture there is still very traditional, which comprised of traditional foods with traditional methods of making the food. Traditional practices of preparing the food are not necessary food safe or hygienic. Vietnam is also one of the Asian countries known for its delicious and inexpensive street food. To regulate and improve food safety laws for street food vendors in Vietnam, in 2011 laws were passed providing guidelines on operating street food stalls.


    The guidelines are:street-food-vendor

    1. Stall must be away from polluted place.
    2. Clean water must be used to cook and clean kitchen utensils
    3. Origin of the produce used to make food must be clear
    4. Vendors must have a waste collection system in place
    5. Vendors can only make use of a specific list of additives


    Many other Asian countries are also known for the inexpensive and impressive variety street foods. What would be your opinion on regulation on street food? How can we blend traditional practices with modern implications?


    Thank you so much for your time.

    Emily L. 


    Reference links:






    • cvalencia 10:25 am on October 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      This is interesting since I’ve always wondered how safe the street food are in countries such as China, Vietnam, and in the Philippines. Having grown up in the Philippines, my parents didn’t allow me to buy food from street vendors as the safety of the food they sell is questionable. In my knowledge, there hasn’t been a report of an outbreak associated with street foods there, probably only because of poor reporting and monitoring strategies in place. My parents once contracted Hepatitis A from eating street food, so they are extra careful in letting us, their children, consume any of these foods. Great current events article!

    • csontani 3:55 pm on October 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      This is very interesting to read since I’ve never actually read a news regarding outbreaks in many Asian countries. I grew up in Indonesia where the street foods are famous for being really good but dirty, and I think that food safety is not a big deal in those kind of countries. I wonder if street food vendors can really follow the guidelines, especially for number 1 since it is quite hard to have a food stall on the side of the road and trying to avoid the pollution, unless they have more budget to invest more for their business. I really think that the government should manage their food safety regulation better to prevent more outbreaks especially in countries where they have inexpensive and “dirty” foods.

    • meggyli 9:39 pm on October 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I agree with the charms of street food. Even though we all know that it’s relatively unhygienic, there is just something about street food, such as in night markets, that attracts us. Theoretically speaking street vendors should be making the food in a completely enclosed area with the exception of a pass-through window to hand out the food to prevent contamination of food. However in all my summer evenings at night markets here and in China alike I find that very few street vendors are actually following these regulations, and I have also seen some unsafe food practices and/or food handling as well. Personally I think street food is a cultural trademark and should be maintained as such. As for the safety and quality regulations for street food I think it is challenging to control the premises while keeping the costs down. Instead, it should be based on a mutual trust and understanding between customer and vendor: the vendor should not sell contaminated, spoiled, or adulterated foods to customers; and the customers should trust that the food vendors are selling are safe to eat. Environmental Health Officers may want to inspect these places more frequently and be given the authority to shut down a street vendor that practices unsafe food handling.

    • dgozali 10:30 pm on October 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Very interesting read! Growing up in south east asia, street food was part of my daily life and I’ve definitely witnessed some unhygienic practices in some stalls. Nevertheless, people would still consume street food as it is usually seen as the authentic cuisine of that country. Especially for tourists, in order to have a complete experience, they would often give the local street food a try. Because of this i think that it is becoming increasingly important to maintain a standard of food safety in street food stalls. Although it may be difficult to implement in the beginning, it is a step that must be done.

    • TamaraRitchie 8:38 am on October 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I think food is an important part of many cultures. If too harsh regulations, guidelines and fees were put in places for street vendors it may cause some people to decide not to cook their foods. Although it is important to have some food safety precautions in order. When consuming street food there is automatically more chance for cross contamination due to the area in which the food is being cooked. I think the main issues is when travelers go to these regions and eat the street food and become sick. For locals who eat the food semi-regularly would be less likely to become sick from the food because their bodies are use to consuming it. When travelers consume the same foods their stomachs are not accustomed to it and could become sick. I believe it should be a personal choice as to weather you eat at food carts/street vendors.

    • mustafa akhtar 10:23 am on October 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I agree with Tamara – Street food seems to be an important part of Vietnamese culture. Too many regulations would only deter such vendors. I think change needs to come from the supply side and not from the vendors. Regulations such as use of sanitary practices at the farm would benefit more in the sense that it would target the root of the problem.

    • carissarli 12:41 am on November 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I experienced food poisoning when I was a child. I remember eating street food in my home town and the hygiene there wasn’t good at all since I recall insects flying around the food but I didn’t really care about that because the food just attracted me! I had a severe stomachache and diarrhea afterwards and it was a nightmare. My parents did not bring me to the hospital so I am not sure what bacteria was acting on me. I also think getting the regulations straight cannot really help on improving the hygiene because they don’t have an indoor area that protect their food from getting infected. I will suggest the Food Safety Department from Vietnam to increase the inspection and supervision on street food vendors in order to remind them to improve their food hygiene.

    • KristinaRichmond 4:46 pm on November 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I agree that street food is culturally important, but maybe some simple practices could be implemented to help minimize the risk to consumers. I read another article about a similar problem with street food in India, and by educating vendors about their water source and cross contamination they were able to stop an outbreak. So maybe a few simple changes in their preparations could help.
      I thought it was interesting as well that one of the contaminated food sources was bread, as we usually hear about Salmonella more commonly in poultry or vegetables.

    • Stephanie Chen 6:18 pm on November 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Street food indeed plays a significant role in many cultures and was also a part of my daily life growing up. It is not surprising to see that people may be infected from foods consumed from these stalls as hygiene can often be neglected and safe food practices poorly carried out. It may also be difficult to enforce regulations on these food stalls. I agree with Tamara that it is especially unfortunate when tourists get sick after consuming must-eat foods that are authentic to specific regions. While guidelines may improve food safety in street food, people must eat them at their own risk!

    • CindyDai 2:51 pm on December 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      In most Asian countries, street food is cheap and tasty, which becomes popular among people easily. However, street food is usually a blind spot of food safety surveillance. Many food vendors dispose garbage in open lid bins or throw it on the road. They rarely use hand gloves and usually forget to wash hands before and after handling raw or cooked food. Better hygiene status and food practices should be achieved by asian street food vendors. There is a need of generating food safety awareness amongst street food vendors.

    • AngeliMalimban 6:48 pm on December 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Banh mi is definitely up there for one of my top favourite foods (next to sushi of course). A lot of the street food vendors in Asia, from my experience in the Philippines, are not even aware of food safety. In fact, a lot of people live in such conditions that food safety is not really a top priority when it comes to making food. The culture surrounded in the Philippines is more surrounded by “whether or not food will make the table” as opposed to if food is actually okay for people to consume. I think that if there was education at the home level for the importance of food safety, and the serious consequences of foodborne disease, people will start to finally understand. It can then build up with the street vendors (who often don’t have permits/just sell outside of their own house) so that they can have safe practices.

    • DeniseZhang 7:55 pm on December 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I actually loved eating street foods when I was studying in middle school. I believe young kids loves eating everything that is not regularly cooked at home. Street foods are cheap and delicious, young kids therefore can afford and enjoy such foods. However, as I have grown up, I now understand why our parents did not allow us to eat street foods. The safety of street foods are not guaranteed and no one actually know how did they prepare the ingredients. Used oil and harmful food additives might be used to enhance the flavour. I love how these foods taste but I do not really appreciate how did they become that tasty. I guess sometimes delicacy comes with risks just like eating raw seafoods 😀

  • RainShen 8:44 pm on October 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Cucumber, , , , Salmonella outbreak   

    An Outbreak of Salmonella Poona Infections: Think Twice Before Eating That Cucumber 

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating a very serious strain of salmonella called Salmonella Poona, which has affected 767 people as reported until October 14, 2015 by consuming contaminated cucumbers. Among 36 states, 205 cases reported from California, which has the highest number of infected people in this salmonella outbreak. Four deaths have been reported from California, Arizona, Texas, and Oklahoma. More than gettyimages-175696368half of the infected people are children younger than 18 years old. FDA investigations have identified that the contaminated cucumbers were imported from state of Baja California in Mexico and distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce. The company has issued a recall of all cucumbers sold under its Limited Edition label, which are those Slicer cucumbers imported from Mexico, during the period from August 1, 2015 to September 3, 2015. However, the shelf life of this type of cucumber is 14 days and some customers may store the cucumbers and do not notice the recall of these contaminated cucumbers. Moreover, it usually takes 2 to 4 weeks for the case actually reported as part of the outbreak since the person is exposed to salmonella, which means there will be more illnesses reported later on. CRbPX0_VAAA47iN

    Children, elderlies, and people with suppressed immune systems are more likely to get salmonella
    infections and the infection can be fatal. Salmonellosis causes abdominal cramping, vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. According to CDC, 8% of reported infections had long-term impact, such as chronic gastroenteritis, osteomyelitis, and septic arthritis.

    People mostly hear about salmonella when it comes to poultry, egg and beef, not vegetables, but any type of food might be contaminated by salmonella bacteria. Research shows that 13% of the source attribution of salmonellosis is vine vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Cucumber, as a delicious and refreshing vegetable, is usually eaten raw, which increases the risk of getting infected by salmonella. Salmonella grows optimally at 37 °C and pH of 6.5 to 7.5. However, most salmonella serotypes can grow in the range of 7 to 48 °C and are able to survive under freezing for a relatively long period of time. They can also survive under very acidic and dry condition. An efficient way to eliminate salmonella in the food is heating to an internal temperature of 72 °C for at least ten minutes.

    Nevertheless, going back to the salmonella outbreak linked to cucumbers in US since September 2015, fresh cucumbers are usually not cooked before consumption, which means it would not go through the heating process, so it is very difficult to eliminate the pathogens during the preparation. The question is: how to safely prepare your produce? According to FDA, there are some precautions to take each time before eating the produce:

    1. Clean your hands by washing them for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water before and after preparation.

    2. Wash your produce thoroughly under running water before eating, cutting or cooking — home-grown veggies included.

    3. Scrub firm produce like cucumbers with a clean produce brush.

    4. Dry produce with a clean towel to further reduce bacteria from spreading.

    Furthermore, avoiding cross-contamination is also very critical. Raw meat, poultry, and produce need to be separated in the grocery shopping cart and the refrigerator. For the preparation, different cutting boards can be used for different types of food, especially for separating cooked and raw food.

    Eating raw food always links to high risk of getting infected by the foodborne pathogens. Personally, I always eat cucumbers raw, since produce is not a very big concern for salmonella infection. As I heard this outbreak, I started to re-consider if I should cook them before eating. I feel like cooking is the safest way to prevent from getting infected.

    Suggestions by FDA – “how to safely handle raw produce and fresh-squeezed fruit and vegetable juices”


    What do you think? How would you prevent yourself from being harmed by eating raw produce?

    • shinnie 2:11 am on October 20, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Wow, similar to Karen’s research, it’s amazing to see how Salmonella can still survive on the surface of cucumbers which, I’m pretty sure has low water activity (on its surface) and acts as a barrier against pathogens. This blog post definitely highlights how important it is for consumers to adopt safe and proper cleaning procedures when working with raw fruits and vegetables. There are a few things to consider. If the cucumbers are not properly washed and finished all at once (i.e. leftovers and stored in the fridge), the few Salmonella bacteria on the surface will have access to the nutrients inside the cucumber and start growing, reaching the infectious dose. This is similar for bulk-making of squeezed vegetable juices, if not finished all at once. The FDA’s video provides some good advice, but cooking in my opinion (and yours too!) is by far the safest route in pathogen elimination; however, it is impossible to thermally process all foods we eat. I am not sure if this procedure is valid but I like to soak raw fruits and vegetables in soapy water before I eat or use them to make juices. I would always wash them very very thoroughly, every single crevice, no matter how lazy I am. I am honestly developing a fear of eating raw foods now.

    • ColleenChong 8:10 pm on October 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Very interesting article Rain! I agree with Shinnie, this article is highlights Karen’s research on Salmonella’s ability being able to survive under low water activities conditions. As we have learned in Karen’s presentation that Salmonella is able to adapt in stress conditions; which results in cross-protection. This makes salmonella a major concern in the food industry, especially animal products and raw foods. The video that you have provides value information to public on cleaning their produce properly to reduce the risk of consuming salmonella contaminated foods. However, in my option young children, elderly and immuno-compromised individuals should avoid consuming raw foods; unless washed thoroughly with soap because they are susceptible to serious long term illness. As for myself I am accustomed in consuming raw foods and I have been exposed to them for a long period of time. Also my immune system is quite strong, so I am no too worried. But I am guilty of no washing my produce properly, I usually just give them a quick rinse. From this video I l learned to wash my produce properly and I will try to do so from now on.

    • catherine wong 10:07 pm on October 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      It is certainly unsettling to hear about these cases of Salmonella in produce that can be eaten uncooked. I also am in the same boat as everyone else so far that maybe eating products fully cooked is the way to go from now on. The 4 precaution steps before eating produce by the FDA is new to me, I never knew that using a clean produce brush to scrub firm produce is one of the ways to make sure the product is clean. Although with that then one has to always make sure that the brush is clean as well and that introduces another way for contamination if the brush is not clean enough. When consuming raw foods, it is hard to completely make sure that it would be safe for consumption as there is no kill step and that would always be one of the risks associated with eating raw foods. There are some foods that I love eating raw and I do not think that I could give it up even with knowing all the risks. It might decrease the amount of times I will be eating it but I would not be able to avoid it completely.

    • Jasmine Lee 11:46 pm on October 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I love snacking on raw cucumbers and not having them in my sandwiches is unthinkable! Despite the Salmonella outbreak, I may consider reducing rather than avoiding the consumption of raw cucumbers. Like Rain mentioned, most of the patients were young children and immunocompromised individuals. As long as we maintain good health and microflora, the immune system should be able to remove the pathogen from the body. For precautionary purposes, I always wash my vegetables well under warm running water. I do not believe that soap will be more effective than water in terms of eliminating bacteria. Applying dish soap may in fact introduce more food hazards. The soap may be absorbed into the food and the residues will be consumed. I also avoid preparing salads in advance and leaving washed produce in the fridge overnight. The nutrients and enzymes from the diced vegetables may provide suitable conditions for growth of spoilage and pathogenic organisms, especially if the produce was not washed thoroughly.

    • elaine chan 12:12 am on October 26, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      It’s unfortunate to see how many individuals have fallen ill, and even 4 deaths, due to this Salmonella outbreak. I agree with Colleen’s point on how young children, elderly and immunocompromised individuals should refrain from consuming raw produce, for the safety of their health. With a product like cucumbers, that’s commonly consumed in its raw form, it’s difficult to manage and prevent the spread of the bacteria on the consumer level. Especially when the consumers rely and trust on the safety in consumption of the product from its distributors. I definitely think that precautions should be considered when handling raw produce at home, but I also feel that precautions should also be considered during the transportation and distribution process. This will help limit the chances of an outbreak like this from occurring, and ensure the safety of produce being sold at markets. Going through FDA’s recommended precautionary procedures, I wondered how practical it can be…Could the simple process of running cucumbers under water, or scrubbing with a brush, be sufficient to remove the Salmonella bacteria from the produce? And subsequently be safe to consume in its raw form? Even if these precautionary procedures are practiced at home, how do we ensure that these practices are also implemented in food preparation facilities for raw produce like cucumbers?

    • JorgeMadrigalPons 9:15 am on October 26, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      It catches my attention to know the recalled cucumbers were imported from Mexico, since I am an exchange student from there, and my studies are related to agri-food production. The passed summer, I did an internship as a quality control assistant in an asparagus production field in Guanajuato state. I noticed that during harvesting, there is very few food safety measures taken. This is a major area of opportunity for Mexican agronomists, since most of the production targets exportation to the US & Canada. Applying food safety measures at the very beginning of the food chain (field production) can greatly help reduce pathogen contamination, just like in this salmonella recall case of Mexican cucumber.

    • Michelle Ebtia 10:43 am on October 27, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Considering the benefits of eating raw fruits and vegetables, and the fact that cooking or any type of thermal processing may reduce their nutrient content through leaching in the cooking medium (Leong and Oey. 2012) I would not cut back on consuming them, but prefer to adopt two strategies to minimize the associated risk: first, I can make sure I wash the produce thoroughly, and second, I would avoid consuming those that are considered very high risk in general (e.g. raw sprouts) or those that have been implicated in an ongoing or very recent outbreak!

      Leong, S. Y., & Oey, I. (2012). Effects of processing on anthocyanins, carotenoids and vitamin C in summer fruits and vegetables. Food chemistry, 133(4), 1577-1587.

    • MarinaMoon 4:36 pm on October 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      It’s fascinating and scary at the same time that salmonella can withstand such various stresses. While I was reading through the article, I wanted to mention that there are ways Koreans eat cucumber by fermenting and pickling it in an acidic condition. However, as soon as it mentioned that it could even survive very low acidity I thought it would be impossible to safely consume cucumbers other than not consuming contaminated ones. I’m still curious what will happen to fermented vegetables in terms of pathogen survival. Overall, I would try to avoid those easily contaminanle fresh vegetables during the times that are easily contaminated, especially look out for outbreaks announced by CDC and FDA and other food safety agencies.

    • MichelleLui 2:50 pm on November 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Very informative article. With the increase consumption of produce, the industry and government sectors must work together to ensure the food safety compliance of the growers and processors. Importers must source their produce from a GAP certified supplier. Random sampling for micro analysis should be carried out by both the importers and regulatory agency for verification purpose. It’s great you brought up the consumer food handling practices. As the trend of consuming raw food on the rise, consumers will also need to be aware of the food safety risk involved in the consumption of raw produce.

    • WinnieLiao 10:30 am on November 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      It’s interesting to know that cucumbers can also be contaminated with Salmonella on its surface. As a raw cucumber lover, this article definitely helps me to gain knowledge about handling cucumbers. These methods can also be applicable to other vegetables and produces as well. I usually wash my hands and the cucumber thoroughly with water, but never used a scrub for surface cleaning! This article also reminds me to clean and wash in small portions, firstly as to reduce the chance of contaminating other cucumbers, second as to reduce the possibility of bacterial growth if there happens to be any leftover portions!

    • cheryl lau 3:15 pm on December 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      This blog post was very informative. With the increased cases of contaminated produce, my household has also started follow the practices listed above. We separate our groceries depending on if the food will be consumed raw or if further preparations are necessary. We barely eat salads as well. However, when vegetables are heat treated, they typically lose a lot of nutrients. It has been a constant struggle between the convenience of eating a raw healthy snack and the ensuring the safety of the food being consumed. Lately, there has been more research on technological advances to address the problem of contaminate produce. One approach that I have come across utilizes bacteriophages in sanitizers that can be sprayed on and be fit for human consumption. Perhaps these approaches can be
      Improved so that consumers can feel safe and not be as reluctant when eating salads.

    • CandiceZheng 3:17 pm on December 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for your informative blog! Cucumbers, same as many other vegetables, have very short shelf life. As stated in the blog, only 14 days. However, with traditional microbial testing method, this is pretty much the time required to get a result. Also, as mentioned in the blog, some customers may store the cucumbers and do not notice the recall of these contaminated cucumbers. In this case the food safety is a huge concern, and it is essential to develop some rapid detection method to detect the pathogenic microorganisms in food matrix and report any hazard on time.

    • teewong 12:00 am on December 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      It fascinates me how salmonella can be found in cucumbers because i’ve only heard of it being present in eggs and poultry. What really shocks me is how vulnerable we are when it come to these types of vegetable because like you said we usually eat it raw, therefore, the likelihood of us killing the bacteria in high temperatures is really low unlike other vegetables we cook. On top of all that, it is very unfortunate that because it takes some time to find out where salmonella came from from the ill, the chances of the company recalling cucumbers back is slim to non as people would’ve already consumed it. Therefore, your statement that many more reports of ill people from salmonella are to come, it really disturbs me that those people are just waiting for the illness to take place. On the other hand, this information is very valuable to me as I will probably cook most of my food and vegetables from now on.

  • flyingsquirrel 6:30 pm on October 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , PHAC, , Salmonella outbreak   

    A Canada Exclusive: Salmonella Across the Country, Majority on the East-side! 

    Just last Friday on October 16th, news outlets have published an article about a recent outbreak on Salmonella, with reports starting from June 12, 2015. The Salmonella outbreak has spread over the country in 8 provinces by the 20th of September with the most cases reported in Ontario. Other provinces include British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Quebec. Luckily, there has been no reported deaths.

    The source of outbreak is still unknown as of today, however many common food carriers of Salmonella pathogens include: poultry and poultry products (ex. eggs), beef, pork, nuts, and produce (ex. fruits and vegetables.

    A Study has shown that Salmonella can be a tricky pathogen as it can become resistant to standard sterilization procedures in food industries through cross-protection. Cross-protection occurs when a pathogen experiences sub-lethal conditions—in which it develops resistance to harsh environments—followed by conditions that would have otherwise killed it (Fong, 2015). In the case of Salmonella, lethal conditions include but are not limited to: pH <6.5, temperature>70 degrees Celsius, and water activity <0.93.

    This means that Salmonella can be found not only on food sources, but surviving on surfaces that have come into contact with the contaminated products! It is a very versatile pathogen, which means that the source of outbreak could be identified in any step of the food chain:

    1. Agricultural Sector
    2. Manufacturing/processing Sector
    3. Distribution and Transportation Sector
    4. Retail Sector
    5. At home/restaurants in which the foods are prepared and consumed

    2Salmonella can cause symptoms within 6-72 hours of ingestion. Common symptoms include: fever, chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea, and vomiting which can last 4-7 days. In more severe cases, such as for those with compromised immune systems, are elderly, or are children, may have to be hospitalized and in the worst case scenario, death may occur. In some cases, people may be asymptomatic and spread the bacteria onto others by not practicing hygienic procedures (handwashing, keeping equipment clean, etc.). (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2015).

    This outbreak is a very curious incident as it has spread so far across the country, yet the source(s) is/are not pinpointed to exact foods or modes of process/transportation. With the largest cases found in Ontario and incidences tapering off towards the west, it would seem that the source of outbreak would be from the east. However there may also be a chance that the outbreaks are due to improper food handling methods at home. Another interesting finding is that over half of the effected are female.

    With such a large difference of outbreaks between the east and west, could there be a difference between provinces for public education in food handling procedures? Could there be any meaning behind why half of those affected were women?

    Before this reported outbreak, there had been another in January 2015. These incidents have been identified rather quickly. However there is an ongoing debate about whether inspection has become quicker and well executed, or if the increased frequency in outbreaks is due to recent cuts in finance for CFIA. More about the cuts can be read on from this article.

    What other underlying factors contribute to outbreaks?

    How should industry procedures change in order to minimize the effect of cross-protection?

    In addition, this link is very helpful with explaining the bacteria and names some organizations involved in food safety for those of you who are looking at the policies currently in place for protecting consumers.

    Any related and passionate comment is welcome!


    Works cited:

    Public Health Agency of Canada. 2015. http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/fs-sa/phn-asp/2015/salm-0628-eng.php

    Image obtained on October 19, 2015 from http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/thumblarge_1666/16666999.jpg

    Fong, K. 2015. Environmental adaptation and stress response of Salmonella enterica in peanut oil, peanuts, and chia seeds. University of British Columbia.



  • yichen25 10:31 pm on October 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Brisbane, Eggs, , , , Salmonella outbreak   

    Australia: Unresolved egg problem 


    In the past week, a Salmonella outbreak was reported at the South Bank Surf Club in Brisbane, Australia where the restaurant was inspected after receiving some complaints from consumers who felt sick. After further investigation, it was found out that it was due to a bad batch of eggs which was provided by the supplier and the eggs were used in the sauces in seafood platter. As a major egg lover myself, it will be a terrible nightmare to know that you will end up sick eating your favorite food and not knowing the cause of it.

    In Australia, despite an overall decline in the national rate of foodborne illness cases each year, the number of Salmonella– related food-poisoning cases continues to increase drastically, posing a health threat to the local community. According to the statistics shown by the Victoria’s Department of Health Figures, there has been a 50% increase in Salmonella-related food poisoning since 2012 along with a doubling of Salmonella poisoning cases occurring in the past 12 months in Queensland with 1895 reported cases so far. A table of past raw eggs related outbreak in Australia was carefully tabulated which shows recurring food outbreaks occurring year by year revolving around eggs. This also indirectly implies the fact that the existing intervention strategies to combat against Salmonella were not as efficient in the prevention of raw egg contamination.

    For your information, Salmonella food-poisoning is one of the most common food-borne illnesses reported which is often associated with contaminated poultry products such as eggs. Salmonella can be naturally found in soil and water and contamination of Salmonella is prone to occur with unsanitary food handling and improper cooking of raw food items. Besides, ingestion of food contaminated with Salmonella can lead to salmonellosis which shows symptoms such as abdominal cramping, vomiting and diarrhea.

    In conjunction to the recent outbreak which points upstream to the reservoir, studies have shown that some Salmonella serovars, especially Salmonella enterica serovar have the capacity of infecting developing eggs within the oviduct. Therefore, contaminated eggs which serve as an ecological amplifier could then facilitate the dissemination of Salmonella into the food chain and further leads to human transmission.

    Besides the possibility of initial product contamination, it is also undeniable that proper food handling techniques are mandatory when it comes to the prevention of food contamination. To properly address that issue, new guidelines have been released by the Fresh Produce Safety Centre Australia New Zealand to spread more awareness and knowledge about the importance of proper food safety standards. In conclusion, I personally think that the Australian Government should properly educate the public about the importance of proper food handling techniques and how does it relate to foodborne illnesses. Also, strict policies in regard to proper food handling practices and maintenance of hygienic standards should be further enforced from farm to fork to minimize the occurrence of foodborne illnesses in Australia.

    Please leave some comments on your thoughts on the increasing Salmonella outbreak cases in Australia. Thanks.

    Yi Chen Teh


    • BarbaraCorreiaFaustino 9:23 pm on October 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting article! I wonder why there is that increase in Salmonella-related foodborne diseases, even though there is a decline in the number of overall foodborne diseases. Clearly the strategies that the Australian authorities are using to prevent food poisoning from other pathogens are not working so well to prevent food poisoning from Salmonella-contaminated food. So I’m glad that at least they released those new guidelines, which are very helpful, so that people will have more information on how to properly handle and prepare their food in order to prevent salmonellosis and, therefore, also prevent Salmonella outbreak cases in Australia.

    • NorrisHuang 10:31 pm on October 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I am also curious about why Salmonella infection is still so common while the rate of occurrence of other identified pathogens such as E.coli is decreasing. I don’t know much about guidelines in Australia but I checked on their government website and I don’t see much advices on how to prevent Salmonella infections whereas in the USA, for example, they actually request restaurants to use pasteurized eggs to make food that contains lightly cooked/raw eggs. I wonder if that is one reason of the increasing trend of Salmonella infections.

      ps. I am a big fan of gudetama too :p

    • Susanna Ko 6:56 pm on October 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Unfortunately I think that it is not uncommon to use raw egg in food dishes. For example, in asian hot pot, my friends add a raw egg to their soy sauce. In French cuisine, beef tartare with a raw egg. I guess egg adds flavour and texture to these sauces. Eggnog made with raw egg is deemed to be “true eggnog”. As you’ve pointed out, there are many risks involved with raw egg and Salmonella. The general population probably doesn’t know about the significant risk involved with raw eggs. However, if companies started bottling pasteurized/retorted versions of the sauces with (cooked) egg, then it might alleviate some of these issues.

    • YaoWang 1:17 pm on October 20, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I’m an egg lover too! It’s so bad to hear the news. But I’m curious why Salmonella–related food-poisoning cases still continue to increase drastically while the overall food safety environment is getting much better these years. And I’m wondering what are the proper handling techniques at home. Does that mean I have to cook the eggs thoroughly? The thing is I personally prefer medium raw eggs and I believe many people even consume raw eggs. Is it possible to have the producers to prevent initial contamination so that we can still eating eggs without much cook?

    • wen liao 10:41 pm on October 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      HA Salmonella is literally everywhere and they grow very fast! I remembered when I was in lab grow them, they can reach a OD value of 1 within just 16 hours! Therefore, it is important that food producers are following the guidelines for safe production. I am very curious about the Australia standards of raising their chickens as such. To be honest, with the technology we have now, I feel like it would not be hard if we really want to control the existence of Salmonella in the eggs. Japan for example. is a country that have a long history of consuming raw eggs. However, very seldom was Japan reported to host a large foodborne pathogen related outbreak, including Salmonella outbreak. They have a very established system for food safety surveillance. I believe that there must be some human errors that are causing this Salmonella outbreak in Australia.

    • Mandy Tam 3:02 pm on October 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Eggs produced from local farms or self raised are more popular nowadays because of the trend of organic foods, and getting food from local areas/ themselves. Although this seems to be a good idea, most of the fresh egg from local farms or self raised are not pasteurized like commercial production. Also, they do not go through microbe testing like most companies required. I wonder the suppliers for that restaurant is from a local farm or from a bigger company. It will be interesting to know because it can determine if the result of such outbreaks are due to bad manufacturing practices or lack of regulation in self raised chicken/ eggs and/or local farms.

    • angel519 4:56 pm on October 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      It is not surprising that the number of foodborne illnesses caused by Salmonella still remains high. As mentioned in the blog, eggs are one of the main source of Salmonella in the diet; and because eggs are so preferability to be eaten raw or half cooked, there is a higher chance of being infected by Salmonella. I agree that the government should emphasize the consequences of getting infected by Salmonella. And that the quality control and safety control of eggs should be addressed and strictly inspected.

    • laurenrappaport 6:17 pm on October 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Super interesting article! I cant believe that there are still so many cases of foodborne illness in relation to Salmonella. For some reason we cant seem to get rid of it! Its scary to know that you can get so sick on a food so commonly consumed in our society and around the world! As eating raw eggs or partially cooked eggs occur so frequently, people don’t really think about the consequences it may cause. The impacts of this are clearly highlighted in your article when you said that there has been a 50% increase in Salmonella poisoning over the past 3 year which I found so crazy! I totally agree that stronger government regulations should be implemented in Australia as clearly so many people have been effected by this. When it comes to the case of Salmonella in eggs I think education about proper handling and storage would be the most effective way to prevent contamination and the illnesses associated with it.

    • amreenj 7:43 pm on October 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Really interesting article! Like many of the people who posted before me, I am also really surprised that the occurrence of Salmonella related food poisonings have increased by a staggering 50%. What is confusing is that the occurrence of food-borne illnesses in general has drastically declined over the years. I wonder what would be causing this? It seems as though the strategies (food preventative measures) they have currently are working to some extent but perhaps they need to develop Salmonella -directed measures to better eliminate Salmonella related food borne illnesses!

    • Ya Gao 8:18 pm on December 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I personally enjoy eating eggs that are not fully cooked, and it is scary for me to see that eating eggs rare will cause so much trouble. People tend to cook poultry products entirely to well done, but I saw most people having eggs not completely cooked, as sunny side up for example. Since it takes time for people to adapt to a new habit, I believe Australian government should focus more on regulating egg farms and improving their sanitary condition to reduce the cases of Salmonella-related food poisoning. 1895 reported cases in a year is a shocking number to see, and number of real cases must be much more because of the under-reporting situation that exists worldwide. Hope the condition in Australian egg farms will get better!

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