December 3, 2016

GoIng to the Fair? Protect Your Family From E. coli

The E. coli outbreak in Washington County, Oregon that may be related to livestock at the Washington County fair is a reminder to all that attending county and state fairs can be dangerous. Officials are investigating "several" illnesses that occurred after those sickened attended the fair. In the past few years, there have been E. coli outbreaks linked to livestock exhibits and petting zoos at fairs. And now that we are getting into autumn, the big state fairs are set to begin.   Livestock exhibits and areas where ruminant animals are gathered are the hot spots for these outbreaks. Cows, goats, sheep, deer, and elk are ruminant animals; they can carry E. coli bacteria in their intestines. The bacteria comes out in their poop, which can get everywhere, including on the … [Read more...]

CDC Food Safety Tips at Fairs and Festivals

Foodborne illness increases during summer months and outbreaks are often linked to fairs and festivals. To help everyone safely enjoy their time at the fair, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has compiled some food safety tips. One of the biggest things to keep in mind, according to the agency, is that food safety issues are the same no matter where food is being prepared and served. People preparing food prepared outdoors, or in a truck need to use the same safety controls they would in a kitchen- such as storing food at the proper temperatures, avoiding cross-contamination, monitoring temperatures and keeping, hands, utensils and work surfaces clean. Before buying food from a festival vendor, the CDC advises, ask yourself the following questions:  Does the … [Read more...]

It’s State Fair Time! Watch Out for E. Coli …

State fairs around the country are in full swing. Some have ended, and some have yet to begin. These gatherings are celebrations of the harvest and of the hard work of farmers. But in the past, these fairs and other late summer and early fall gatherings have been the source of dangerous E. coli outbreaks. Last year, an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to the traveling Zerebko Zoo Tran petting zoo sickened at least 13 people. The fair traveled to the Rice County Fair, the Nashwauk 4th of July Festival, the Polk Country Fair, and the Olmsted County Fair. In 2013, an outbreak in September sickened three children Kentucky and Indiana after they visited Huber's Orchard in Starlight, Indiana. All three children had to be hospitalized as a result of their illnesses. In October 2013, three … [Read more...]

Neews on a Stick, Special State Fair Edition of Gross Food Stories

It's a special state fair edition of The Neews, our monthly feature of food stories that put the eew in news. This month, we're ditching our standard fare of gross food stories for fair fare and a good cause. Mandy Colten of St. Paul, Minnesota pledged to eat everything served on a stick at the Minnesota State Fair to raise money for Make a Wish. She has a blog with photos of the foods she's tried and a Twitter account for her State Fair Food Challenge. The rules of the challenge were: the food must be on a stick and eaten in its entirety at the fair. There are over a 100 foods served on a stick at the 12-day festival which ends Labor Day. Colton started off with 15 or 16 items each day and tapered off to 10 or 12. She finished just minutes ago with a big corndog and a victory … [Read more...]

Three Food Vendors Closed at Western Montana Fair

Three food vendors were shut down by health inspectors after officials discovered that "hundreds of pounds of food" had not been properly refrigerated for several days. Bacteria grow readily in certain foods at temperatures between 40 and 140°F; in fact, if the food is warm enough, bacterial counts can double every 20 minutes. More violations included improper storage of food, unsanitized dishes, a clogged sink, water supply violations, and employees not washing their hands. Three people did get sick after eating food served by those vendors, and some of it was served before they were shut down. But there are no confirmed cases of food poisoning definitely linked to the fair. The Missoula City-County Health Department reported these closures August 8, 2014 on their Facebook page. The … [Read more...]

E. coli Outbreak at Oklahoma Youth Expo

Several people are sick with E. coli after attending the Oklahoma Youth Expo in Oklahoma City, OK the week of March 12 - 20, 2014, according to news reports. Several children are hospitalized, and at least one child is in intensive care as a result of the illness. Others have been treated at the hospital and released. The Oklahoma State Department of Health has confirmed through lab  tests that the illnesses are caused by the E. coli bacteria. Public health officials are investigating to try to determine the source of the bacteria. The bacteria that causes these types of illness are found in the intestinal trays of ruminant animals, such as cows, sheep, and goats. Livestock and food trucks present at the event are also being checked out for any problems. Attorney Fred Pritzker has … [Read more...]

Cleveland County Fair E. coli Outbreak Investigated; One HUS Case

The Cleveland County Health Department in North Carolina is investigating four cases of E. coli poisoning. Health officials say the outbreak may be linked to the Cleveland County Fair. Two of the three patients visited the fair before becoming ill. One of the patients, a 12-year-old boy, milked a cow in the fair's petting zoo and then ate corndogs. He is now hospitalized in critical condition with HUS and Shigella. Outbreaks of illness at fairs is not unusual. This year there have been outbreaks of swine flu in people who have attended state and county fairs around the country. Attorney Brendan Flaherty said, "there needs to be more emphasis on hand sanitation in these situations. Farm animals can routinely carry pathogenic bacteria even if they are not sick themselves. And children, … [Read more...]

Six Ill From Swine Flu After Attending Minnesota State Fair

Two strains of swine flu have sickened visitors to the Minnesota State Fair, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Four cases of H1N2v were reported after the patients exhibited pigs or spent time in the swine barn at the Fair. Two new presumptive cases of the H3N2v flu have occurred: one a school-aged girl form the Twin Cities area and another in a pre-school-aged boy from greater Minnesota. Both children have fully recovered. The children visited the swine barn at the Minnesota State Fair with their families on September 2, 2012 and became ill on September 5. Neither family was exhibiting swine at the fair. Specimens from both children have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for confirmation. This is the first time that human infection with … [Read more...]

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