April 18, 2014

New Device Sniffs Out Decomposing Food


A new device called PERES can tell if your food is rotting. Please note that this device does not detect pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella; it just detects volatile organic compounds that decaying or decomposing beef, pork, and poultry gives off. The device has four sensors to check temperature, humidity, ammonia, and volatile organic compounds. Bluetooth technology transmits data to a smartphone or tablet, which displays results. Most food that is rotten or not fresh can be detected with a keen sense of smell. Pathogenic bacteria do not emit any type of gas or odor and food contaminated with Salmonella, E. coli, or Listeria will not smell, look, or taste bad. If you don't have a good sense of smell, this device may be a good investment. But it won't help protect … [Read more...]

Food Poisoning Investigated in Malaysia MH370 Disappearance

Airplane food

Food poisoning is being investigated as one possible answer to the mystery of the missing Malaysian Airlines MH370 Boeing 777 jumbo jet. According to Illawarra Mercury, Malaysian police officer Khalid Abu Baker said the plane's food caterers are being investigated, as is every possible angle. The plane most likely crashed into the Indian Ocean. The investigators are looking at everything from where the food came from, who harvested it, where it was packed and prepared and who shipped it. These traceback investigations can take weeks or months to complete. Investigators want to rule out sabotage, and deliberately poisoning the food is one possible method. It is highly unlikely that a simple case of food poisoning caused by bacteria or viruses would be responsible for an accident, … [Read more...]

Outback Steakhouse: We May Not Be Source of Illnesses


The Outback Steakhouse in Hartford County, MD says it's premature to say if the restaurant has any association with a number of recently reported illnesses, according to WBAL-TV. Dozens of people have contacted the county saying they have experienced food poisoning symptoms such as abdominal cramps, vomiting and diarrhea. Some of them said they ate at the restaurant before becoming ill. They county health department collected stool samples and submitted them to a lab for testing more than a week ago. Results of those tests are still pending. After initial reports of illness, a county health official visited the restaurant and did not find anything amiss, a county spokesperson told Food Poisoning Bulletin. A restaurant spokeswoman told the WBAL that they performed extra cleaning … [Read more...]

Dozens in Hartford County MD Sick With Food Poisoning Symptoms


The health department in Hartford County, Md. has received dozens of reports of illness with symptoms that include vomiting, diarrhea and nausea. The county is working with state officials to determine if the cause of the illnesses is Norovirus, foodborne bacteria or something else. Some of those who became ill ate at a restaurant and have submitted stool samples that are being tested. Results from those tests should be available soon, according to a health department spokesman. Norovirus is common at this time of year. A highly contagious virus, Norovirus accounts for about half of all food posioning outbreaks. Often a sick food handler is involved, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Like other foodborne illnesses, symptoms  of Norovirus include … [Read more...]

Legislators Angry About Increased Poultry Line Speeds


According to Food and Water Watch, congressional leaders and poultry workers have asked the Obama administration to stop the USDA from letting poultry plants increase line speeds. The new regulations, which were announced two years ago, will increase line speeds from 140 birds per minute to 175, despite a lot of evidence that this speed is a primary contributor to worker injuries. OSHA does not regulate line speeds or enforce safety rules for poultry plants; the USDA is the only federal agency involved in this area. The coalition, which includes Center for Effective Government and Center for Progressive Reform, is also stating that this increase will make workers less able to identify and remove tainted chicken. Hilary O. Shelton, director of the NAACP Washington Bureau said in a … [Read more...]

Study Finds Food Poisoning May Trigger Multiple Sclerosis

Clostridium perfringens

A study conducted at Weill Cornell Medical College has found that a toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium perfringens may be a trigger for the development of multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease. The study was presented at the American Society for Microbiology meeting last week. Clostridium perfringens causes a million cases of foodborne illness every year in this country. The bacteria produces a toxin that the researchers found for the first time in MS patients. Dr. K Rashid Rumah, the study's first author, said in a statement, "this bacterium produces a toxin that we normally think humans never encounter. That we identified this bacterium in a human is important enough, but the fact that it is present in MS patients is truly significant because the toxin targets the … [Read more...]

Puffer Fish Poisoning Case Catches FDA Attention

The FDA is investigating a case of puffer fish poisoning in VA.

A Virginia case of food poisoning from imported puffer fish has caught the attention of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The case is a little mysterious. Puffer fish that are not from the mid-Atlantic coastal waters of the U.S. can contain dangerous or deadly toxins. For this reason, imports of puffer fish, also called fugu, bok, blowfish, globefish, swellfish, balloonfish, or sea squab, are severely restricted. In fact, only one company, Wako international of New York, has FDA approval to import the fish two or three times a year for special occasions. And when it does, the fish must be processed and prepared by specially trained and certified fish cutters in Japan. When the fish arrives here, it is sold only to restaurants. Because the supply is so limited,  dishes … [Read more...]

Possible Food Poisoning Outbreak in Mobile, Alabama


The Mobile County Health Department in Alabama is investigating a possible foodborne illness outbreak that occurred last weekend in downtown Mobile. At least three people became ill after eating food served before the First Light marathon. No one has been hospitalized in this outbreak, and no deaths have been reported. There is no mention of symptoms that patients have been experiencing. The Food and Lodging Division started the investigation on Monday, January 13, 2014, the day after the marathon was held. Dr. Bernard Eichold, Health Officer for MCHD said in a statement, "we take such reports very seriously and are working to get to the bottom of what happened. We hope to give more details about the investigation when we know more." … [Read more...]

USDA Wants You to Make Resolutions for a Safer 2014


The USDA is offering advice to help consumers make 2014 a safe year for food. More than 48,000,000 Americans get food poisoning every year. Although outbreaks get a lot of attention, that only accounts for about 2,000 illnesses each year. The rest are simply from people improperly handling food. Of those millions who get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 Americans die every year from foodborne illness. Follow four basic steps when preparing food to greatly reduce your risk of getting sick with a foodborne illness. They are: clean, separate, cook, and chill. Always wash your hands after using the bathroom, after contact with animals and pets, after changing a diaper, and after coughing, sneezing, and nose wiping. Wash your hands before handling food. Wash utensils, cutting … [Read more...]

Another Jimmy John’s Outbreak in Garden City, Kansas


Officials are investigating an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness that has occurred among peole who ate food at the Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches restaurant in Garden City, Kansas. As of noon on Friday, December 27, 2013, more than 110 people have been reported sick. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and muscle aches. The Kansas Department of Agriculture has inspected the restaurant and is investigating the outbreak. At this time officials think the cause may be norovirus. That virus causes gastrointestinal illness and is easily spread through contaminated food and drink and from person to person. If you or anyone you know ate at the restaurant between December 10 and December 24, 2013 and have experienced symptoms of illness, please complete a survey being conducted … [Read more...]

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