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Below you will find a story where a native Singapori woman died after eating Rojak salad at a renound Indian food stall. The lady in question and many others like her made a point of stopping for their favorite treat whilst doing their shopping.

After eating at this stall many times previusly the lady had no idea that this would be her final visit. This is a story with a tragic end. What could have caused this catastrophie to occur? Could it be that the stall owner unwittingly bought contaminated produce. Could it be that he bought cheap supplies knowing that it was not up to standard? Could it be that that there was some type of cross contamination in the market place? Possibly, but I doubt this because so many people were taken ill.

In my opinion this salad may well have been contaminated with a Yerisinia or staphilococcus aureus toxin. I come to this conclusion due to the speed at which the bacteria acted within the body of the victim. The article is quite shocking and put accross the importance of knowing the source of what you eat.

SINGAPORE The Geylang food poisoning outbreak claimed its first victim on Monday. 57 year old canteen assistant Aminah Samijo died at 6.50am.

A statement from the Changi General Hospital (CGH) said Mdm Aminah suffered from acute renal failure as the infection had affected her kidneys.

She was hospitalised on Friday at 11.45pm after she became unconscious after eating Indian rojak salad at a Geylang Serai market stall.

CGH said she was unresponsive and had breathing difficulties. She had a fever and was diagnosed with severe gastroenteritis.

CGH said Mdm Aminah was treated with antibiotics and put on a ventilator support. She was also given medications for low blood pressure and diarrhoea. Mdm Aminah passed away without regaining consciousnesses.

CGH said it is unable to comment on the cause of her death as it is now under a coroner’s inquiry.

As of Monday, the hospital has treated 77 patients who came down with food poisoning. 16 of them are currently hospitalised at CGH and are in a stable condition. They were admitted for diarrhoea and dehydration and were treated with antibiotics and intravenous infusion.

Meanwhile, a 38 year old woman miscarried after contracting food poisoning from eating rojak from the same stall. Rosiah Samat lost her two month old foetus over the weekend.

Her husband had bought the rojak for her on Friday. While eating, the housewife noticed that the gravy tasted slightly off. She fell ill hours later and was sent to KK Hospital that evening.

Madam Rosiah has two other daughters. One is twelve years old, whilst the other is eight.

Another pregnant woman, Madam Sarina, is now recuperating at KKH after eating the same rojak. Her sister in law, a Madam Sharifah, said she is now four months pregnant.

Madam Sharifah said: “My sister in law was admitted to KKH with stomach cramps and she had diarrhoea and she was vomitting. From what I understand, the gynaecologist had to do a thorough medical checkup and he checked whether the baby was ok. The heartbeat is alright. So the baby is pretty safe at this point in time.

“But they are keeping a very close watch on her. She is still totally bed ridden. In her ward, there are other women who are also down with the same (condition) — diarrhoea, due to the same stall. She is still very weak.

More than 100 people fell sick after eating from Stall number 302, Rojak Geylang Serai.

The National Environment Agency said investigations are ongoing.

animal-655308_1280I can remember when I was about fourteen years old I went on a school trip to see a steel mill in Sheffield England. Three things impressed me on that trip. These three things were the noise, the heat and the rats. I could hardly believe my eyes. Not a bite of food in sight and yet rats were scurrying around not twenty yards away from where we were walking.


I can remember wondering why rats would bother about a steel mill. There was not a morsel of food in sight. It was not until fifteen years later that I would find the answer to that question.  Yet the fact remains that rats do infest many types of factories.

If the common denominator for rats establishing presence in factories and mills wasn’t food then what was it? In 1991 I began a course of practical Engineering in agriculture. It was during this course that I found out why rats infested many types of industrial plants. The reason is copper. Mice have trouble getting enough copper to be able to operate their immune systems and the missing link that enables them to do so is copper.

All industrial operations run on electricity and electricity runs through copper wires. Rats peel away the plastic coating on electric cables and lick the wire to get more copper and they do this obcessively. People who have worked in factories will know that from time to time they will hear an almighty bang. More often than not this bang is caused by a rat short circuting an electric cable. Needless to say that the rat is dead.

Why an I telling you this? Because one needs to understand that if rats had no reason to infest a food factory, they would still be there because of the copper wiring.

Food factories can be categorized into two main categories. Ones that process raw agricultural produce, plant or animal and ones that process food that has already been processed for industrial use.  In the first example produce is brought from the farm or co-operative sorting plant to the factory. Here the produce is tipped, washed, sorted and peeled or alternatively slaughtered, skinned, gutted and cleaned in the case of most animal produce.

In both cases the amount of dirt and contamination that is around at this intitial stage of the game is quite unbelievable and it is at this stage of the process that most rats are found. Only an ongoing, organized and regular cleaning regime can reduce the presence of rats and mice.

Once the produce has finished this init ial stage it is then passed to the next stage. Whatever the stage the amount of dirt should be very minimal compared to that of the first stage. As the product progresses towards packing the work environment should be almost sterile in comparison.

There are systems that analyze the risks and points at which one can reduce risks to food products. One such system is called HACCP. HACCP means hazard analysis and critical control points. In this system each hazard is defined and critical control points at which the level of the hazard can be reduced, eliminated or controlled are also defined and adopted.

There may well be one sequence of actions to control vermin and an entirely differnt sequence for the control of bacteria, for instance. It is the job of management to ensure that workerd are familiar with all the various sequences and to make sure that they are adopted and applied.

When this system is implemented in all of the factories various departments threats such as salmonella poisoning from rats is greatly reduced. Trouble can start when priorities and sequences are changed for one reason or another. The enemy of the HACCP system is cut backs. Cut backs in staff or cut backs in spending. Right now we are in the midst of a recession. In recession we can expect cut backs on more or less everything.

In plants where produce is immediately pumped through stainless steel pipes the opportunity for vermin to contaminate the produce is greatly lowered. Businesses such as bakeries may enocounter problems with rats at the end of the process rather than at the initial stages. For some reason mice  rats and cats do not seem to like white flour and prefer to wait until it has been transformed into bread products. Here pest control is particularly important because there is no process between contamination and the consumer that will kill the bacteria that have been transferred through cross contamination.  Nothing should be left unattended at this stage. Nothing should be but directly on the floor and nothingshould be put into plastic trays that have not been washed thoroughly in a proper industrial manner. To fail to be attentive to this points can cause indirect contamination via contact with vermin excretions.

The golden rule is to leave noting to chance. Always pre suppose that anything that can happen in theory will happen in practice.

Just how many articles need to be written about pistachios? Well, obviously one more because now I’m writing one too.

Ok, so lets look at the facts. We know that the nuts were rodent infested and that salmonella bacterium were found to be present in the nuts. Ok, sounds reasonable! food hygiene standards were down and a few dirty little mice or rats got at the nuts.

Here’s a video demonstrating the somewhat less than delicate method of harvesting pistachios

Excuse me! Don’t all types of nuts, seeds and grain attract rats anyway? Don’t pistachios grow in the open environment where field mice, cute little chipmunks and a whole host of other little critters frolic to their hearts content. OK, the mice and rats that infest wharehouses, sewers and industrial areas are not quite the same as those found in nature, right?

The answer to this is yes, and no. And another question comes to mind. Is salmonella the only dangerous bacteria spread by rodents? The answer to this is NO. Rodent urine very often contains a bacteria called leptospira which infects other species with a desease called leptospirosos. Rodents have no control over their excretions and there fore wherever they go a trail of their infected urine is left behind. This is how many snake species track rodents.

Leptospirosis is a very unpleasant desease which can require up to three weeks in a hospital bed to recover from. It is a zoonotic desease and is often contracted by fishermen who work on wharfs, dairy workers and other professions involving animals or places where rodents congregate such as sewers and feed bins. Leptospira as a species is far more heat resistant than salmonella. We should remember that not all deseases involving food are contracted through ingestion. Some, like leptospirosis can be contracted through healthy skin, especially when wet.

Rodents may also be responsible for the spreading of other forms of bacteria such as camphilobacter, staphilococcus aureus, clostridium spp. pseudomonas aeroginosa and many more. All of which can cause serious illness and similarly to leptospira are more heat resistant than salmonella.

But let’s say for a minute that in spite of all these other possibilities salmonella is our prime concern. What could have happened that caused the bacteria to remain alive? They are roasted and salted, right? In theory that is correct. Pistachios are typically roasted and salted if they are left in the shell. If they are taken out of the shell they may be sugared in which case the pistachios are dipped into boiling sugar syrup and cooked in an oven so that the sugar crystalizes.

If salmonella remained alive on the nuts it is clear that they did not receive sufficient roasting. Could it be that the second largest pistachio distributer in the ‘US of A’ did not roast his nuts adequately? What’s going on? We have been chomping these nuts for years why the problems all of a sudden? Were there no rodents then?

We are in a recession, right? Cuts in costs have to be made, right? Could it be that workers were instructed to change the control setting on the roasters to a lower temperature and/or keep the nuts within the machine for a shorter period of time.

As I said, salmonella is by no means the only health risk where pistachios are concerned. We have not even started to discuss liver cancer causing moulds that have been found on pistachios all over the world.

One thing that I can assure you is this, just about every pistachio that you will ever eat has been in indirect or direct contact with a rodent at some stage of its production. It is all but impossible to keep rodents away from this type of crop in the natural habitat. The problem that occured here is one of HACCP’s and GMP. In my opinion critical control points were disregarded in the interest of saving money. This could include pest control within the processing plant also.

The moral of this story is that if you don’t want to loose big time, don’t try to save small time!

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Have you ever seen a strawberry that looks bright red and mushy? Although it doesn’t look mouldy or rotten it is clear that the strawberry has come to the end of it’s useful life. Is the strawberry bad to eat? Personally, I think that strawberries at this stage are at the height of their flavor, in the initial stages of this softening process they are incredibly sweet but as bacterial activity sets in the sweetness will turn into sourness which will eventually turn into bitterness.

Notice the order in which the fruits decay. It’s interesting to see which fruits last longest. The longer the fruit lasts, the greater it’s anti-oxidizing qualities.

If they have not gone mouldy or rotten I have no problem eating as many as I can. Others might find this revolting and think that food at this stage of decay should only be used for cooking purposes and then only if you are one hundred percent sure that the fruit has not been in conditions where bacterial contamination can occur. In order to understand why I have no problem eating such a strawberry one needs to know a little about the physiology of the cells of all living things, plant or animal.

As a living organism, such as a piece of fruit, begins to age, nature has designed mechanisms that help it to disintegrate and turn into what basically boils down to compost at a faster rate than if the fruit were to be disintegrate through micro-organismic activity alone. This mechanism of self destruction is called “lysis”.

The reason for this is so that the contents of the fruit (or animal) and micro-organisms effect the environment in as minimal a way as possible. It also facilitates the process in which the seed takes root and continues a new generation of the plant species.

All living organisms have several defense mechanisms, some specific and some non specific. Specific defence mechanisms know how to neutralize a pre memorized target such as a specific bacterial species or viral species. This is done through a process of protein recognition. All cellular structures in nature contain elements of protein. Each species has designed and employed it’s own unique protein structures and it is for this reason that specific defense systems can be set up by living organisms.

Specific defense mechanisms can take several days to be set into motion and it is for this reason that organisms need non specific defense mechanisms. Non specific defense mechanisms play a dual role. Firstly they make a dent in the pathogen’s attack by managing to kill a significant number of invader cells, hopefully. Secondly, the non specific defence system destroys the invader and by dispersing the bacterial cell debris rondomly they make the job of indentifying the attacker easier for the specific defense mechanism.

The bodie’s non specific defence mechanisms come in several forms. Some are cellular. This means that some are forms of white blood cells (in the animal kingdom) which travel around in the intra cellular fluids. Should they become atached to a cell which it recognizes as problomatic by virtue of being “non self”, if will kill it.

Some none specific defense mechanisms are not cellular but exist as fluid filled cysts within the organisms cells. These fluids are called complement chemicals. Complements comprise some of the most destructive chemical compounds known to nature.

One such chemical os called “lysozyme”. The lysozyme is contained within a cyst that exists within all healthy cells and this cyst is called a “lyzozome”. Some non specific defender cells will engulf an invader, taking it into its own body cavity. Lyzozomes will attach themselves to the foreign body and empty the contents of the cyst into the invader. The lyzozyme oxydizes the invader and kills it. This process is happening all of the time in every living organism.

When an organism ages as the metabolic exchange of chemical nutrients slows, cell walls begin to rupture. The contents of the cell spill into the cellular structure of the organism. Lysozyme is now floating freely around other cells. The lyzozyme oxydizes the walls of the cells it comes into contact with and causes them to rupture as well. Thus, a tissue deterioration process has initiated. The organism’s tissues will become mush and micro-organisms will work in conjunction with this process to bring about the re-incorporation of the organism with the soil. This process is often called enzymatic wastage of tissue.

This process can initiate whether a fruit is still attached to the tree or not and in animals, during old age. It is a natural and unavoidable process. It is part of the recycling method of nature.

Food that has reached this stage of development should neither be bought nor used. Although this stage does not in itself signal bacterial infestation, infestation by bacteria and/or moulds is imminant and should always be considered a presupposed fact when preparing food for others.

Note: a similar process can occur by freezing. Water within frozen foods crystalizes. The crystals puncture cell walls and the fruit becomes mushy. Once thawed fruit in this condition must be cooked as soon as possible to prevent further enzymatic detrioration or bacterial contamination.

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In my last article on “scores on doors” about the initial results posted for the experimental scoring system of restaurants which is currently being tried in a nominal portion of urban and regional boroughs throughout the UK, it is quite clearly seen that certain restaurants run by specific ethnic groups are receiving far lower ratings than institutional and franchise type establishments.

The danger with results such as these is that it can very quickly be interpreted by certain people as an effort by local and national authorities to target restaurants and other food retail businesses owned by ethnic groups, primarily Asian.

It is my opinion that the authorties responsible for carrying out these environmental and food hygiene tests could well be hard pushed to prove their objectivity if ethnic groups were to register counter charges based upon claims of racial discrimination and targeting. Much thought and legal preparation would be wise in anticipation for such eventualities.

However, there are several issues that need to be put on the table before such claims are made. The first of these concerns staff. Are all staff working within ethnic restaurants asked to provide evidence that they are in good health and fit to work in a food preparation establishment? Secondly, have all staff received adequate training about food hygiene? Thirdly, is the restaurant adequately staffed to cover all the tasks that need to be done, especially cleaning tasks. Fourth, are the staff provided with suitable cleaning equipment and detergeants to do the job of cleaning? Fith, Can receipts be provided that all food stock was bought from a safe and legal source? Sixth, has the premises been checked by a public health official and been approved as suitable for running a food business? Seventh, are hygiene standards maintained? Is food stored in suitable and clean conditions? Eigth, the working day planned and executed in a way which all but eliminates the risk of cross contamination? Ninth, is food kept hot and served fully cooked at the appropriate temperatures?

If all of these conditions are maintained, no restaurant should have any trouble being scored highly on any food hygiene check. Race and ethnicity do not come into the equasion at all. All of these affore mentioned points are completely objective. A bacterial swab and culture doesn’t lie. As modern cultures we have an interest in diversity and choice. All we ask is that whilst sampling and enjoying the tastes and culinary traditions of other cultures, our health be safeguarded.

So what is the main difference between institutional kitchens, franchise businesses and ethnic restaurants? Why are the first group faring so much better than the ethnic groups? The obvious and initial answer wouls have to be good intent. Large corporations are consistantly concerned about the possibilities of law suits. Integrity then becomes an issue which translates directly into safeguarding reputation and profit margins. The second most pressing problem area is infrastructure. In order to prevent contamination of food certain logistical conditions must be in place such as, stainless steel work surfaces, well painted walls free of mildew, steam extractors, separated cleaning areas, safe waste disposal facilities, and professional food grade equipment for starters.

A large part of maintaining hygiene standards has to do with cleaning materials. Commercial degreasers such as caustic soda, chlorosept, phosphoric acid and bleach products destroy bacteria such as salmonella and E. Coli by effectively eating away at their lipopolysaccharide envelopes. Regular monitoring and treatment against insects and other pests further reduce desease risks.

In addition, in fast food restaurants there is very little handling of raw materials such as unpeeled vegetables. Therefore, the risk of cross contamination is greatly reduced.

bird-815011_1920Zoonotic diseases are ones which are passed from the animal kingdom to human beings. Many micro organisms tend to be species specific and it is for this reason that there are not a great many zoonotic diseases. Some diseases passed on to us via animals are very common whereas some others are very rare. Some have the potential to cause world catastrophes whereas others may just about give us an upset stomach.
Below you will find a list of zoonotic diseases in alphabetical order.

Anthrax is a serious disease that is found in all warm blooded animals. The specific host is thought to be antelope and carnivores seem to react more slowly to the bacteria. The bacteria responsible for the cause of anthrax is Bacillus Anthracis. Human infections usually occur through the skin but it may also be inhaled or ingested. This is a very resistant spore forming bacteria whose spores may survive for decades in soil or animal products. The distribution is worldwide. Gastrointestinal anthrax is a very uncommon, often-fatal manifestation of the disease, caused by devouring meat from an animal that died of the disease. Gastrointestinal anthrax causes inflammation of the  stomach and the intestine accompanied by sores or ulcers, much the same as the lesions that appear on the skin in the skin form of anthrax. The primary signs of the disease include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and fever, followed by severe abdominal pain, vomiting of  blood, and severe and bloody diarrhea.

Brucellosis comes in four strains, B. abortus (in cattle), B. melitensis (sheep or goats), B. suis (pigs), and canis (dogs). The distribution of brucellosis is distributed worldwide. The disease id contracted via direct contact with animal excretions including milk. it is a disease caused by any of several forms of the gram-negative coccobacilli Brucella: Brucella melitensis, B. abortus, B. suis, and B. canis, the latter of which is very rare and causes only mild illness. Brucellosis is most common in rural areas among farming populations, vets, meat packers, slaughterhouse staff, and livestock breeders. Laboratory workers are also among those who are at risk. It is primarily a disease of animals (including cattle, pigs, sheep, camels, goats, and dogs); humans usually contract it through ingestion of contaminated and unpasteurized milk or other non cooked milk products or by ingesting raw meat or bone marrow, through skin lesions and cuts, through direct contact with an infected animal, or through the inhalation of dust particles that may be present in contaminated soil. Symptoms of brucellosis are manifested as follows:  fever, chills, sweating, malaise, and weakness. The fever often occurs in recurring waves, rising in the evening and subsiding during the day,  separated by periods of remission at intervals. Other symptoms may include  weight loss, headache, muscle and joint pain, and an enlarged spleen, and  often orchiepididymitis in young men. In some victims the disease is acute; however, more often it is chronic, recurring over a period of months or years. Although brucellosis itself is rarely fatal, treatment is important because serious complications such as pneumonia, endocarditis, meningitis, and encephalitis may develop. Tetracycline plus streptomycin is the preferred treatment for this disease; bed rest is also of great importance. A vaccine is available outside the United States. The disease can also be called Cyprus fever, dust fever, Gibraltar fever, Malta fever, Mediterranean fever and  undulant fever. See also abortus fever.

Campylobacteriosis is caused by the bacterium campylobacter spp. It is carried by many animal species with a seemingly increasing incidence rate. Most species of animals seem to be reasonably host specific but cross infection is possible usually via fecal contamination of food. Improper or incomplete cooking of food is the most common way that the disease is spread, and it is commonly thought by bacteriologists that poultry account for over half the diagnosed cases. Untreated water and raw milk are also potential sources of contamination.
The incubation period after exposure is from one to ten days.  symptoms begin with a day or two of mild fever, muscle aches, and headaches. This stage is followed by symptoms that involve the the intestinal tract. Diarrhea occurs with or without the presence of blood and severe abdominal cramps are the overriding intestinal symptom. The severity of symptoms may vary from case to case, ranging from only mild fever to  severe dehydration and very rarely death (this is seen mainly in the very young or old). The disease usually lasts for about a week, but persists longer in about twenty percent of cases. At least ten percent will have a relapse, and some patients will continue to pass the bacteria for several weeks after recovery.
Complications

Clostridial disease is caused by the bacterium clostridium spp. It is transferred by mammals, birds and fish with a worldwide distribution. Although the disease is normally transmitted through wound infection, food poisoning does occur. There is little danger of cross species transmission. The clostridial family of bacteria are noted by their ability to manufacture very potent toxins. The most potent toxin in nature is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. This toxin renders the bodies ability to contract muscles ineffective and death will occur by paralysis and asphyxiation, or the inability to inhale. Clostridium botulinum is found in the manure of animals along with clostridium tetani, clostridium difficile and clostridium perfringens, which causes gas gangrene. These bacteria are spore forming and the spores can survive for many years in soil. When conditions are favorable the bacterial spores will grow back into bacteria and begin to produce toxin.

Food that has been improperly preserved or stored can harbor botulinum toxin-producing clostridia. Botulism symptoms usually appear within 18-36 hours after eating contaminated food, in extreme cases it may take four hours to eight days for the bacteria to develop toxin. Initial signs of infection include blurred or double vision and difficulty in swallowing food and speaking.  Gastrointestinal problems may include constipation, nausea, and vomiting. As botulism progresses, the victim experiences weakness or paralysis, starting with the head muscles and progressing down the body. Breathing eventually becomes increasingly more and more difficult. and without medical intervention, respiratory failure and death are the likely outcome.

Listeriosis is caused by the bacterium listeria monocytogenes and it can be found in numerous species of animals and birds. It has a worldwide distribution. Listeriosis was traditionally considered to be a disease of animals for the most part. However in recent decades there has been an alarming increase in the incidence of this disease. The symptoms can be severe and patients who are high risk may have a problem overcoming listeriosis. It is becoming resistant to many forms of antibiotics. This is primarily a food borne bacteria. Listeria can be contracted by the ingestion of contaminated meat, dairy products, shellfish, dust and by coming into contact with infected animals. Listeria can pass through the wall of the gut and enter the bloodstream. It likes to sit on the central nervous system and spinal column. Pregnant mothers can spread this disease to their unborn babies through the placenta. Listeria cam cause severe flu like symptoms, meningitis and encephalitis. Listeria is also found in soil, sewage and in five percent of the intestines of humans without them feeling any ill effect.

Salmonellosis is transmitted by the salmonella spp. Bacteria which has over two thousand serotypes. It can be found in all animal species but it is not commonly thought to infect fish. The distribution of salmonellosis is worldwide and the occurrence of this disease is mostly attributed to the ingestion of undercooked food which is contaminated with feces. It is a form of gastroenteritis that is usually caused by the ingestion of food that has been contaminated with a species of Salmonella bacillus. It is characterized by an incubation period of six hours  to forty eight  hours which is followed by sudden colicky abdominal pain, high fever, and bloody, watery diarrhea. Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms, and abdominal signs may be almost identical  those of acute appendicitis or cholecystitis.

Symptoms usually last from four to seven days, but diarrhea and fever may persist for up to 2 weeks. Dehydration may occur. There is no specific treatment for salmonellosis. Antibiotics are usually not prescribed unless the disease has spread beyond the intestine and into other organs. Adequate cooking, good refrigeration, and attention to personal hygiene, especially the washing of hands may reduce the frequency of  salmonella outbreaks. Salmonella can also cause typhoid fever.

Tuberculosis is caused by the bacterium mycobacterium bovis (cattle). It can be transferred to humans via cattle and non human primates. The distribution of tuberculosis is worldwide and has now been linked to the aids virus. The disease can be transmitted by any animal species including humans. It now normally takes treatment with three forms of antibiotics simultaneously to combat this bacteria. No other disease throughout history has claimed so many lives.  The tuberculosis bacteria will infect the organ via which it entered the body. In most cases this is the lungs. As it has a protective enveloping it manages to outsmart the bodies specific immune system. The tuberculosis bacteria can survive within the non specific white blood cells and by colonising them it can move around the body from organ to organ. This is a slow process. It can transpire over a period of years. In the early part of the last century one in seven people were infected with tuberculosis. In the western world this number has dropped greatly due to the improvement in living conditions and lifestyle. In the third world, particularly Africa , conditions are still right for tuberculosis infection.

Tularemia is transmitted by the Francisella Bacteria. It is transmitted to humans by rabbits, dogs, cats, rodents, sheep and deer. Its distribution is circumpolar within the confines of the northern hemisphere. The disease is transmitted through ingestion when exposed to infected animals and also via bites of arthropods. It is an infectious disease of animals caused by the bacillus Francisella (Pasteurella) tularensis, which may be transmitted by insect vectors or direct contact. It is characterized in humans by fever, headache, and an ulcerated skin lesion with localized lymph node enlargement or by eye infection, GI ulcerations, or pneumonia, depending on the site of entry and the response of the host. This disease can be fatal if not treated with the appropriate antibiotics. Treatment includes streptomycin, chloramphenicol, and tetracycline. Recovery produces lifelong immunity. A vaccine was used in the past to protect laboratory workers but is not currently available; however, a new vaccine is in development. Also called deerfly fever, rabbit fever. Also spelled tularaemia.

Vibriosis is transmitted by the Vibrio parahaemolyticus or the V. alginolyticus bacteria. It is transmitted salt water fish and shellfish and is found primarily in the pacific regions including Asia, Australia, North America and the gulf of Mexico . The cause is the ingestion of undercooked contaminated food. Vibriosis is caused by eating seafood contaminated with Vibrio parahaemolyticus or Vibrio vulnificus. These bacteria damage the inner wall of the intestine, which causes diarrhea and related symptoms. Vibrio vulnificus can get through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream.
Persons at risk for severe, often fatal vibriosis include those with liver disease (cirrhosis), excess iron (hemochromatosis), thalassemia (a blood disorder), AIDS, diabetes, or those who are immunosuppressed.
Symptoms of intestinal infection occur within two days of eating contaminated seafood. Symptoms last for two to 10 days and include watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache, and possibly fever. Symptoms of a blood infection develop one to two days after eating contaminated seafood, and include fever, chills, low blood pressure, and large fluid-filled blisters on the arms or legs. Similar blisters can also be produced by a Vibrio vulnificus skin infection. This can occur when the skin is pierced by the spines of infected fish. These infections can be severe and sometimes require amputations if not treated in time.

Yersiniosis is caused by the yersinia paratuberculosis or the V enterocolitica bacteria and is passed onto human beings by Animals and birds. It is distributed in the northern hemisphere and is transmitted via contaminated food and water.

Yersinia p. causes septicemia (blood poisoning) often with signs of gastroenteritis which is caused by Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, this occurs in wild rodents, birds, and most domestic species, particularly cats, although this is not common. The symptoms are: high  fever, severe toxemia with a high fatality rate. At postmortem there are large numbers of embolic abscesses in most of the internal organs. It is also called  pseudotuberculosis because of the way it infects multiple organs.
Occurs also in many species of fish as a septicemia. This form of infection is caused by Yersinia ruckeri.

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You have all heard of the Salmonella food outbreaks and scares that pop up all around this country and in many other places around the world, but how many of you know that “Salmonella” is not a disease as such?  That would be called Salmonellosis.

 

Salmonella is a genus of Gram-negative, non-spore forming, and motile enterobacteria with flagella which protrude in all directions (peritrihous).  Salmonella gets it’s energy from oxidation and reduction reactions using organic sources.  Most species of Salmonella are facultative anaerobics and are found around the world in  many different locations both  in warm blooded and coldblooded animals alike, and, believe it or not, human beings.  Some of the diseases attributed to Salmonella include typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever, and food borne Salmonellosis.

Samonella infections are all zoonotic.  They can be transmitted from humans to animals and from animals to humans.  Common strains are Salmonella Enterica Subsp., Enterica Serovar Typhi, or Salmonella Typhi.  Enteritis Salmonella can cause diarrhea, and infants, small children, the elderly, and people suffering from suppressed immune systems can become very seriously ill will need antibiotic treatment to rectify the problem.

There are an estimated forty thousand cases of Salmonella infections reported annually within the USA.  Salmonella can survive for weeks outside of a living organism.  Sunlight accelerates their death rate, as does being heated to a temperature of fifty five degrees for a period of one hour, or to sixty degrees for a period of not less than half an hour.  To guard against Salmonella food must be heated to at least seventy five degrees for a minimum of ten minutes.  Freezing does not kill salmonella .

Sources of Salmonella infections can be caused by injestion of unclean foodstuffs especially in institutional kitchens and restaurants, polluted surface water or stagnant water, improperly thawed poultry, or uncooked eggs from Salmonella infested birds.  Suspected foods contaminated by Salmonella outbreaks are taken off shop selves and returned to the manufacturer and should not be ingested.

The Salmonella in peanut butter found inside the products of the Peanut Corporation of America, has become one of the worst food borne Salmonella outbreaks in US food history and has been put down to criminal negligence.
Salmonellosis usually develops within twelve to seventy two hours after the person becomes infected with salmonella and Salmonella infections normally resolve in about seven days with oral liquid treatments.  Antibiotics such as ampricillin, ciproflaxacin, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazale are the best treatments for Salmonella infections which spreads to the intestines.  Some Salmonella patients have developed Reiter’s Syndrome which can lead to chronic arthritis and antibiotic treatments tend to have little effect on whether or not the patient develops arthritis from the Salmonella infection.

Beef, pork, milk, poultry, and eggs are the main host carriers of Salmonella, but any  type of food can become contaminated by this bacteria.  Eating raw or undercooked eggs, poultry, or meat can be a good method of contracting a Salmonella infection, as can cross-contamination of foods.  Symptoms of Salmonella infections may include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramping.  Laboratory tests are required to determine the presence of Salmonella and its specific strain.

Milk pasteurization, farm animal hygiene, cleaner slaughterhouse regimes, cleaner vegetable and fruit harvesting and packing operations, and better educational training standards of food industry workers in basic food handling and restaurant safety inspection procedures, may all help prevent Salmonella outbreaks from happening.
US Government Departments, such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, monitor the frequency of Salmonella infections in the Country, and help local and State Health Departments investigate outbreaks and devise controls and measures to lessen cases from happening.

 

The Food and Drug Administration inspects imported foods, milk pasteurization plants, promotes better food preparation techniques in restaurants and processing plants, as well as regulates the wrongful use of certain types of antibiotics as food animal growth inducers.  The United States Department of Agriculture monitors the health of food animals, inspects egg manufacturing plants, and the quality of slaughtered and processed meats.  The United States Environmental Protection Agency regulates and monitors drinking water supplies for safety.

The following steps can be taken to help prevent outbreaks of Salmonellosis:  cook poultry, ground beef, and eggs thoroughly at hot temperatures, avoid cooking oversized batches, do not eat or drink raw eggs or unpasteurized milk, wash hands after handling raw meat or poultry, and if foods in restaurants are served undercooked such as meat, eggs, and poultry send them back and have them cooked some more.
Salmonellosis is preventable by adopting correct food hygiene measures.

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In a previous article named “sores on doors” I outlined a new scheme aimed at providing a score system for restaurants and other eating houses which is being implimented on a trial basis throughout the UK . Certain regional and municipal councils are participating in the scheme, the aim of which is to provide an indication to the public of where to eat and where it is not reccomended  to eat.

The scheme is being run by public service departments such as the environmental health authority, the department of public health and other departments within the public sector. The scheme aims at providing equivalents to GMP and HACCP certifications in as much as businesses working in the restaurant and take away trade will now have to be aware that the grade they receive may well determine the volume of the trade they do.

The level of hygiene a business  maintains will now be integrally related to whether a food business will ultimately survive or not. Calderdale regional council posted it’s findings in a local paper for all the public to see. The gradeing is on a zero to five star system. A two star rating  indicates a level at which a business is complying with the minimum requirements of the law. The findings are interesting because they show that the vast majority of  food businesses in this northern region are in complience with the law.  The findings are listed below. It is interesting to note the range if businesses checked by the scheme and also to note the only type of business which received a “zero star” rating.  

Latest star ratings
Five stars:
Aramark, Commercial Street, Halifax
Burnley Road Junior and Infant School, Burnley Road, Mytholmroyd
Calder Cafe, Calder Workshops, Gibbet Street, Halifax
Calder Valley Club, Burnley Road, Mytholmroyd
Clover House Nursing Home, Clover House, Savile Road, Halifax
Domino’s Pizza, Commercial Street, Brighouse
Elland Junior and Infant School, Westgate, Elland
Farthing Wood Private Day Nursery, New Lane, Skircoat Green, Halifax
Savile House Residential Home, Savile Road, Halifax

Four stars:
Angaldale Guest House, Hangingroyd Lane, Hebden Bridge
Beckly House, Cooper Lane, Shelf
Dan Benn, Borough Market, Market Street, Halifax
Gibraltar Fisheries, Hopwood Lane, Halifax
Hairy Lemon, Lord Street, Halifax
James Street Fisheries, James Street, Holywell Green
Luigi’s, Rochdale Road, Greetland
Masons Arms, Navigation Place, Todmorden
Peaches, Market Street, Hebden Bridge
Pellon Baptist Church, Spring Hall Lane, Halifax
Plummet Line Hotel, Bull Close Lane, Halifax
Rastrick Hall and Grange, Close Lea Avenue, Brighouse
R G and J M Kemp, Gibbet Street, Halifax
S and J Dorsey, Borough Market, Market Street, Halifax
Sandwich Post, Bolton Brow, Sowerby Bridge
Seventy Two, Burnley Road, Todmorden
Siddalls Butchers, Borough Market, Market Street, Halifax
Stone Chair Inn, Moor End Road, Mount Tabor, Halifax
Thornhill Briggs Working Men’s Club, Old Lane, Brighouse
Todmorden Children’s Centre, Burnley Road, Todmorden

Three stars:
Albert Hotel, Albert Street, Hebden Bridge
Anchor Trust, Trinity Fold, Blackwall, Halifax
Bank Edge Fisheries, Bank Edge Road, Halifax
Bridges Bar, Station Road, Sowerby Bridge
Cafe Macchiato, Huddersfield Road, Elland
Copley Cricket and Athletic Club, Copley
First Class Child Care at Lorraines, Blackwall, Halifax
Ghanis Takeaway, King Cross Road, Halifax
Ginger Vegetarian Cafe, Northgate, Halifax
Hartleys Confectioners, Briggate, Brighouse
Hillcroft Kindergarten, Hillcroft, Kirk Lane, Hipperholme
Hungary Monkeys, Carr House Road, Shelf
Hungry Hippo, Denholme Gate Road, Hipperholme
Laurel Bank Nursing Home, Holdsworth Road, Holmfield, Halifax
Millers Quality Sandwiches, Huddersfield Road, Elland
Old Ship Inn, Bethel Street, Brighouse
Ovenden ARLFC, Cousin Lane, Ovenden, Halifax
P and W Stansfield, Todmorden Market Hall, Burnley Road, Todmorden
P Wilkinson Bakers Ltd, Borough Market, Market Street, Halifax
Rawson Primary School, Rawson Street North, Boothtown, Halifax
Robinson’s Farm Shop, Wall Close Farm, Score Hill, Northowram
Sagra Restaurant, Carlton Place, Halifax
Salvation Army Halifax Citadel, St James Road, Halifax
Sandwich Hut, Clifton Common, Clifton
Shears Inn, Boys Lane, Halifax
Sportsman Inn and Leisure, Bradford Old Road, Claremount, Halifax
Stephen Maskill Butchers Ltd, Well Head Farm, Well Head Lane, Sowerby
The Bear Cafe, Rochdale Road, Todmorden
The White Lion, Burnley Road, Mytholmroyd
Toppers Deli and Sandwich Bar, Commercial Street, Halifax
The Mushroom Sandwich Shop, The Kiosk, Gooder Street, Brighouse

Two stars:
Franco’s Pizzeria, Lineholme Mill, Burnley Road, Todmorden
Green Door Catering Company, Halifax Road, Ripponden
Grosvenors, Borough Market, Market Street, Halifax
Gusto, Water Street, Todmorden
Hebden Royd Primary School, Church Lane, Hebden Bridge
King Balti and Big Pizzeria, Bath Place, Halifax
Pockets Leisure Centre, Hollins Mill, Rochdale Road, Todmorden
Royal Oak Inn, Lower Edge Road, Rastrick
T Richardson and Son, Borough Market, Market Street, Halifax
Top Wok, Queen’s Road, King Cross
Towngate Groceries, Towngate, Sowerby
Travellers Rest, Stainland Road, West Vale

One star:
Ali Halal Meat, Hanson Lane, Halifax
Broadwood, Duke Street, Elland
Costermonger, Burnley Road, Todmorden
Crown Tandoori, Crown Street, Halifax
Dodgeholme Fisheries, Dodge Holme Drive, Mixenden, Halifax
Fortune Cookie Takeaway, Ovenden Road, Halifax
Marybeth Cafe, Burnley Road, Todmorden
Ovenden Kitchen, Ovenden Road, Halifax
Rastrick Spice Takeaway, New Hey Road, Rastrick
Saffron Restaurant and Takeaway, Oldham Road, Sowerby Bridge
Saghirs, Barum Top, Halifax
Zaika, Burnley Road, Todmorden
Zizzis, Waterhouse Street, Halifax

Zero stars:
Ronaldo/Khyber Kebab Centre, Wharf Street, Sowerby Bridge
Sultan Mahal, Westgate, Halifax

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They say, never judge a book by it’s cover. The same can be said about wine. I have one criteria that I use to judge a good wine and that is how good is it to drink?  Beverage quality and safety is not a science known only to the big wine producers.

I have bought so many expensive wines only to be completely and utterly disappointed that now I have absolutely no inhibitions about buying wine for one tenth of the price. Some small and quite obscure winerys are making very superior wines for a fraction of the price that you would pay for a Chateau Rothschild, for instance. To  find good cheaper wines I make a habit of going to my favorite wine merchants on days when he is having a wine tasting open day and make a point of tasting a good few of the cheaper wines as well as the more expensice ones. A good merchant, if he knows that you have an open mind, will give you tips about “little gems”  he has found. To be honest, usually it is enough to see the wine against the light to know it’s quality 

Generally speaking, about one third of the wines are not worth a second thought. One third are about the standard that you might expect from a three star restaurant and one third are really worth drinking. On deciding which wines I really like, I buy about two or three crates of assorted wines ranging from cabernet sauvignon to beaujolais.  I try do this about every couple of months.

I never let my dinner guests know that they are drinking bargain basement choices because all wine at my table is decantered. All that they ever know is that they are drinking a wine that is well worth drinking. It also gives me a sense of pride to know that I am helping lesser vineyards to raise their heads and take their true place among the established vineyards as truly good wine making professionals. The condition for this is that they continue to produce wines of a superior standard at competitive prices.

Some say that there is a lot of snobbery around the subject of wine drinking. I tend to agree with that to a degree because people who pay great sums for their wine, often have little or no idea of the wine making process. I have, in the past, tasted really expensive wines to which hydrochloric acid has been added in an attempt to cover up faults in the fermentation process. To those who know about wine, that is one of the most grievous cardinal sins possible to commit. Hydrochloric acid, when diluted to a concentration of five percent is synthetic vinegar. I don’t know about you but I most certainly do not want vinegar in my wine.

Adding hydrochloric acid is a technique that is sometimes used by winemakers who have fouled up the natural acid balance within the wine. By adding hydrochloric acid they are able to cover their mistakes to some degree and hopefully, those who are not experts in wine tasting will never know the difference.

If vineyards are faced with the eventuality of selling the majority of their years production as red wine vinegar they are tempted to use such inferior tactics. So, beware. It’s well worth Joining a good wine tasting course so that you’ll know the difference between good and bad wine and indeed, learn how to enjoy your wine much more.

Part of making really great wine has to do with maintaining correct hygiene conditions. We should always remember that the wine making process uses the yeast which is a naturally occuring micro-organism which grows on the skin of the grape. During the fermentation process the grape juice can pick up many forms of cross contamination in the form of various types of bacteria or undesirable forms of fungus which, if not prevent from entering the grape juice, will spoil or reduce the quality of the final wine. Cross contamination may well be the main cause of wine spoilage. All wineries are susceptible to  contamination precicely for the reason that they are processing a product which comes straight out of a fiels where it has been exposes to the surrounding environment for many months.

So, the message is that there is no absolute connection between the drinkability of wine and price. You will find many, many excellent wines from non label wine makers. Take a little time to discover those you like, enjoy the thrill of discovering priceless gems in the most unexpected places and save yourself a whole lot of money at the same time.

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In our modern world there’s no question that we all live longer and healthier lives than our forefathers. In saying that we have to remember that life has, in many ways, greater demands on us and we need to stay super fit to remain competitive. Our environment is constantly churning out poisonous chemicals  that react with Free oxygen in our bodies. These chemicals cause damage which we call free radical damage. Free radicals also play a crucial role in areas of food hygiene both directly and indirectly.

Many types pf anti oxidants are used in the food industry. These anti oxidants play a number of roles. Some are used to counter bad odors in food. These odors can come from a number of different causes. Poultry, especially turkey often has unpleasant odors even though the meat itself is not contaminated.  A lot of this has to do with the way the animal is reared.

Battery grown turkeys are reared in very crowded conditions. There is a lot of dust in the air and the turkeys droppings accumulate as deep litter  more and more until the turkey is literally walking on a layer of droppings that can reach one foot in thickness. In these conditions the birds feathers are constantly in contact with droppings and as you know the feathers pass through the skin into the  lower lawyers of tissue. In conditions such as these there is absolutely no way that the meat of the turkey will not be affected by the conditions in which the turkey is forced to live.

It is for this reason that the poultry meat industry uses antioxidants to counter the odors of turkey meat.

Other reasons for using anti-oxidants in the food industry include to increase the shelf  life of products by using natural anti-oxidizing substances that will help to prevent chemical reactions within the meat that can cause bacteria to begin to develop.

So antioxidants play a crucial role in the food industry which has very clear implications for food hygiene by preventing the development of undesirable qualities within potentially vulnerable products and by lowering the risk of contamination through the neutralization of free radicals that help harmful bacteria to develop.

At a personal level we can lower the risk of free radical harm by making sure that we have a sufficient intake of natural antioxidants. By providing our bodies with a constant supply of antioxidants we fortify the anti-oxidizing systems already in place within our bodies. This makes the fight against disease easier for our natural defenses.

In this lens I will talk about and give you ideas on how you can slow down free radical damage, quite considerably By making drinks from fruits, vegetables, and herbs that are all readily available to us in our grocer’s store or which we can grow in our gardens, it we are lucky enough to have access to a plot of land.

Vegetables, Fruits And Herbs For Making Health Drinks.

 Here’s a list of products that you can use to make anti-oxidizing drinks:

Fruits:
Kiwi, Persimmon, Noni, Papaya, Cranberry, hibiscus (a flower), blueberry, blackberry, red currant, elderberry, Black currant, bilberry Carob, acai berries, Strawberry, Apple, Passion fruit, Tamarind, red grapefruit.

Vegetables:
Broccoli, carrots, peas, snow peas, alfalfa sprouts, sunflower sprouts, bamboo sprouts, red cabbage, tomatoes, pumpkin, sweet potato, green cabbage, red peppers, pine nuts, wheat grass, onions, Spring Onions, garlic, beetroot, asparagus, aloe Vera, hops, Fennel Kale.

Herbs and Spices:
Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Basil, oregano, wild hyssop, coriander, parsley, dill, tarragon, mint, Louisa, melissa, lemon grass, ginger, aniseed, cumin seed, cardamon seed, caraway seed, vanilla pod, Clove.

Note: The dry seeds need to be re hydrated before use. Do this in water that has ice in it in the fridge.

Aloe Vera and carob come in the form of concentrates which can be bought at health food stores or at really good department stores or hypermarkets.

The first recipe that I would like to tell you about is really great for people who suffer from stomach problems and it contains a few things not in the product list above.

I like to prepare this drink on a base of carrot juice because it is gentle on the stomach.

Ingredients:
carrots, ginger, aloe vera, lemon grass, stevia (best from “sunrider”),

Extract juice from carrots and a decent sized piece of ginger. Add about 25ml. of aloe vera concentrate, extract juice from lemon grass, add about 10 drops of stevia per glass. MIX AND DRINK.
For optimal results this recipe should be taken 3-4 times a day. Stevia is a natural sweetener and has the added benefit of speeding up the recovery of stomach lesions.

Fruit Detox Drinks

*Here’s another of my recipes that’s really tasty.

Ingredients: Persimmon, Kiwi, Papaya, Passion fruit.

This recipe is a tropical delight and it doesn’t matter how much of which to put in. Just use as much as you have or experiment to find your favorite combination.

*Another favorite of mine is mixed berries. This can be a little expensive if the berries are out of season so go by what you can afford.

Red currant, Bilberry, Blackberry, blackberry and Cranberry,

Mix in a blender, Blitz and then pass through juicer or just drink.

*A real favorite is a strange combination to many people but it works really well.

Ingredients:
Carob, Tamarind, Carrot juice And Acai Berry (a Brazilian palm fruit).

The secret here is to use the carob to sweeten the mixture. Just put everything through the Juice extractor and stir well or blend.

*The next recipe involves hibiscus flowers which should be bought dried from your health food store. Put a couple of tablespoons of hibiscus in boiling water and leave to stand until the water is dark red.

To this add red grapefruit, apple juice and elderberry juice or juice of any other berry.

So I’ve given you a few ideas for great detoxifying drinks but really you can mix anything out of the list I gave you in any combination. A general rule of thumb when making your mixes is to mix different colors. The different colors have different antioxidant groups in them. Also, try to make your drinks as pulpy as possible, that way you are also taking advantage of the dietary fiber within the fruit.

© 2019 Food Hygiene Essentials