Every hour of every day people around the world are living with and working to resolve food safety issues. Here is a sampling of current headlines for your consumption.
Failure to open email results in outbreak
Email may be fast, but speed doesn’t matter if no one opens it. That’s exactly what happened this past summer at a long-term care facility in Canada when more than 100 people were sickened by contaminated raspberries that had been recalled.
Radio Canada reports the Canadian Food Inspection Agency emailed the recall notice to one employee at the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CISSS) in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region on July 20. On Aug. 2 and 4 patients and staff at the facility were served raspberry compote made with the recalled fruit, which was contaminated with norovirus.
“A few hours later, 26 people showed symptoms of gastroenteritis. Over the next 10 days, between Aug. 4 and 14, 61 patients and 48 employees at the facility fell ill,” according to the Radio Canada news story. The news organization had to file access to information requests to get the outbreak details.
The employee at the facility who received the CFIA recall email had not opened the message. Radio Canada reports that the facility has changed policies and six to eight people there are now on the list to receive recall emails.
Man admits to spraying feces on Harris Teeter produce
After laboratory tests confirmed that the substance a man sprayed on fresh produce at a Harris Teeter in South Carolina was human feces, the disgruntled third-party contractor admitted to the crime.
Pau Hang, 41, was taken into custody immediately and given a $100,000 bond for trespassing and property damage. When the test results came in, prosecutors in West Ashley, SC, filed an additional charge of tampering with food products and Hang’s bond was increased by another $100,000.
Investigators told CBS News affiliate Live 5 in Charleston, SC, that Hang confessed to detectives that he sprayed the produce with his urine and feces, which he mixed in a spray bottle in his vehicle prior to entering the business. The contents of the bottle tested positive for E. coli.
“The defendant continued to state that he intentionally exposed the produce with the forethought and knowledge that it would likely be purchased and consumed by Harris Teeter customers,” according to an affidavit filed in the case.
New research confirms dangers of eating placentas
Celebrities like Nikki Reed aka vampire Rosalie Hale in “The Twilight Saga” have been fueling the trend of new mothers eating the placenta after giving birth, new research published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology says the practice is a food safety nightmare.
Reed and other proponents of placenta eating, including Kim Kardashian, Blac Chyna, and January Jones, contend the practice can give new mothers energy, improve their milk production, and ease postpartum depression.
The researchers said they couldn’t find any evidence of those benefits. Instead they found that new mothers and their breastfed newborns are at risk of contracting life-threatening infections. That finding is in line with a warning in June this year from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That warning came after an Oregon mother had the placenta from her child dehydrated and capsulized by a company specializing in the process. The woman was taking the capsules like dietary supplements.
Her newborn was in and out of hospitals with unresolved Group B Streptococcus agalactiae sepsis until the birth hospital notified an attending physician the woman had requested the placenta when she delivered.
The growing popularity of placenta eating — both in dehydrated form and prepared as fresh meat — should be considered by physicians when they encounter new mothers or babies suffering from certain infections.
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