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salmonella-549608_1280Today’s post is a story that I heard from a colleague about a vegetable processing plant that became infected with salmonella and e. coli.

Please understand that this is a major international company and it is for this reason that I cannot disclose any names in the content of this article. This particular plant buys vegetables of all sorts directly from large farms and after grading, cleaning and sorting the vegetables are frozen and packed for the consumer and institutional markets.

The company in question works with just two or three trucking companies which bring the raw materials to the plant and deliver shipments of finished product to the local and foreign markets. Good relationships had been established with the trucking companies which included both the haulage companies and the factory itself helping each other out as much as possible as a matter of course. This factory had the best weigh bridge in the area and one of the favors that was performed on an ongoing basis was to weigh trucks of the said three companies even though the payload of the trucks had nothing to do with the business of the factory.

Complaints had been arriving at the factory’s quality control department stating that their products had tested positive for salmonella and e.coli. The factory checked all of their production lines to check that everything was working as it should and indeed no faults were found inside the factory itself.

A decision was taken to bring in an expert in the area of HACCP’s. and indeed it took him a mere five minutes to discover the source of the problem. Many different types of trucks were coming in to be weighed. Among them were trucks hauling the following cargoes: cages for chickens and turkeys being shipped from farms to slaughter houses, deep litter from dairy farms and poultry farms, various types of manure, and soil.

Trucks carrying these loads often waited for quite some time alongside trucks hauling vegetables for the factory itself. Dust and spray that inevitably flew from one truck to another was enough to cause the cross contamination of the vegetables with whatever the other truck was hauling.. This was a very basic and critical flaw in the work procedures and food hygiene standards of this particular factory. This situation was more than enough to cause this food hygiene crisis for this particular factory.

A decision was instantly taken to stop the weighbridge service to all trucks not carrying vegetables specifically for the plant. In this particular case, good intentions led to a very bad result.

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Campylobacter is one of the most common bacterial causes of gastro intestinal diarrheal sickness in the United States of America. The vast majority of these cases occur as isolated and sporadic events and not as part of recognized epidemic like outbreaks. Ongoing surveillance by FoodNet demonstrates that about thirteen cases are diagnosed each year for each 100,000 persons in the population. Many more cases go undiagnosed or unreported, and campylobacteriosis is estimated to affect more than 2.4 million persons each year, or 0.8% of the total population of the USA. This disease is also very common in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Campylobacteriosis occurs far more frequently in the summer months than in the winter months. The organism is isolated from infants and young adults more frequently than from persons in other age groups and from males more frequently than females. Although Campylobacter does not commonly cause death, it has been estimated that approximately 124 persons with Campylobacter infections die each year in the USA.

Campylobacter organisms are spiral-shaped bacteria that can cause disease in humans and animals. Most human illness is caused by one species, called Campylobacter jejuni, but human illness can also be caused by other species. Campylobacter jejuni grows best at the body temperature of a bird, and seems to be well adapted to birds, who carry it without becoming ill. These bacteria are fragile. They cannot tolerate drying and can be killed by oxygen. They grow only in places with less oxygen than the amount in the atmosphere. Freezing reduces the number of Campylobacter bacteria on raw meat.

Almost all persons infected with Campylobacter recover without any specific treatment. Patients should drink extra fluids as long as the diarrhea lasts. In more severe cases, antibiotics such as erythromycin or a fluoroquinolone can be used, and can shorten the duration of symptoms if given early in the illness. Your doctor will decide whether antibiotics are necessary.

Most people who get campylobacteriosis make a complete recovery within two to five days after the onset of symptoms, although sometimes in more serious cases recovery can take up to 10 days. Rarely, Campylobacter infection results in long-term consequences. Some people may develop arthritis. Others may develop a rare disease called Guillain-Barré syndrome that affects the nerves of the body which begins several weeks after the onset diarrheal illness. This occurs when a person’s immune system is triggered to attack the body’s own nerves which results in temporary paralysis that lasts several weeks and usually requires an intensive care regime. It is estimated that approximately one in every 1,000 reported Campylobacter illnesses leads to Guillain-Barré syndrome. As many as 40% of Guillain-Barré syndrome cases in this country may be triggered by campylobacteriosis.Campylobacteriosis usually occurs in single, sporadic cases, but it can also occur in outbreaks, when a number of people become ill at one time. Most cases of campylobacteriosis are associated with eating raw or undercooked poultry meat or from cross-contamination of other foods by these poultry items. Infants may get the infection by contact with poultry meat wrappings in shopping carts. Outbreaks of Campylobacter are usually associated with unpasteurized milk or contaminated water. Animals can also be infected, and some people have acquired their infection from contact with the stool of infected dogs or cats. The organism is not usually spread from one person to another, but this can happen if the infected person is producing large volumes of diarrhea and/or vomit. A very small number of Campylobacter organisms (fewer than 500) can cause illness in humans. Even one drop of juice from raw chicken meat can infect a person. One way to become infected is to cut poultry meat on a chopping board, and then use the unwashed chopping board and knife or other utensils which came into contact with the raw meat to prepare vegetables or other raw or lightly cooked foods. The Campylobacter organisms from the raw meat can by these means spread to the other food products.

Many chicken flocks are infected with Campylobacter but may very well show no signs of illness. Campylobacter can be easily passed from bird to bird through a common water source or through contact with infected feces of other birds. When an infected bird is slaughtered, Campylobacter organisms can be transferred from the intestines to the meat. Likewise, the bacteria can infect a whole batch of birds via the presence of the bacteria being present on equipment and on the hands and/or the gloves of the slaughter house workers who do not wash hands between each bird they handle. In 2005, Campylobacter was present on 47% of raw chicken breasts tested through the FDA-NARMS Retail Food program. Campylobacter is also present in the giblets, especially the liver.

Unpasteurized milk can become contaminated if the cow has an infection with Campylobacter in her udder or milk which has been contaminated with manure. Surface water and mountain streams can become contaminated from infected feces from cows or wild birds. This infection is common in the developing world, and travelers to foreign countries are also at risk for becoming infected with Campylobacter.

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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.

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