According to recent literature, delivering chilled Meals on Wheels to seniors increases food quality and safety. The purpose of this study was to determine the acceptability and/or feasibility of a cook-chill delivery system for participants in the Maimonides Geriatric Centre Meals on Wheels program in Montreal, Quebec. The authors also evaluated whether the meal was eaten upon delivery, documented where the meal was stored if consumption was delayed, determined what cooking/heating appliances were used and if the recipients were capable of heating up their meals, and assessed preferences for receiving chilled versus hot meals. Upon receiving the meal, 89% of the 60 seniors did not eat it immediately. Those who ate the meal later stored it in the refrigerator. All had some appliance available to heat the delivered meal; 55% used a microwave. Approximately 75% did not object to receiving meals chilled. The majority of recipients did not require delivery of hot meals, as most delayed consuming the meal until later in the day. Other meal-delivery program planners can use these findings when deciding if a cook-chill system is appropriate for their client populations.
Intensified aquaculture includes the use of antimicrobials for disease control. In contrast to the situation in livestock, Escherichia coli and enterococci are not part of the normal gastrointestinal flora of fish and shrimp and therefore not suitable indicators of antimicrobial resistance in seafood. In this study, the diversity and phenotypic characteristics of the bacterial flora in raw frozen cultured and wild-caught shrimp and fish were evaluated to identify potential indicators of antimicrobial resistance. The bacterial flora cultured on various agar media at different temperatures yielded total viable counts of 4.0 × 10(4) to 3.0 × 10(5) CFU g(-1). Bacterial diversity was indicated by 16S rRNA sequence analysis of 84 isolates representing different colony types; 24 genera and 51 species were identified. Pseudomonas spp. (23% of isolates), Psychrobacter spp. (17%), Serratia spp. (13%), Exiguobacterium spp. (7%), Staphylococcus spp. (6%), and Micrococcus spp. (6%) dominated. Disk susceptibility testing of 39 bacterial isolates to 11 antimicrobials revealed resistance to ampicillin, amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, erythromycin, and third generation cephalosporins. Resistance to third generation cephalosporins was found in Pseudomonas, a genus naturally resistant to most ß-lactam antibiotics, and in Staphylococcus hominis. Half of the isolates were susceptible to all antimicrobials tested. Results indicate that identification of a single bacterial resistance indicator naturally present in seafood at point of harvest is unlikely. The bacterial flora found likely represents a processing rather than a raw fish flora because of repeated exposure of raw material to water during processing. Methods and appropriate indicators, such as quantitative PCR of resistance genes, are needed to determine how antimicrobials used in aquaculture affect resistance of bacteria in retailed products.
Portuguese chouriço de vinho is made by drying coarsely minced meat and fat that has been previously marinated with wine (usually red), salt, and garlic for 1 to 2 days at a low temperature (4 to 8 °C). This procedure may improve the microbiological safety of the product. The aim of this study was to evaluate the behavior of three pathogens in this product, Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes, and Staphylococcus aureus, to establish the minimum period of drying and maturation necessary to render safe products. The pathogens were inoculated in the chouriço de vinho batter. A factorial design was used to study the following variables in the fermentation process: (i) the presence or absence of an indigenous Lactobacillus sakei starter culture; (ii) the presence or absence of fermentable carbohydrates; and (iii) the salt level (1.5 or 3%). The samples were analyzed 24 h after the preparation of the batter (at stuffing); after 7, 15, and 30 days of drying; and after 30 days of storage at 4 °C under vacuum. Under all of the conditions studied, the levels of the three pathogens decreased during the drying period. In the early stages of drying, the addition of L. sakei starter culture and/or carbohydrates resulted in lower levels of gram-positive pathogens. After 15 days of drying, populations of all pathogens decreased by ca. 2 log in all samples. At that sampling time, L. monocytogenes was undetectable in the chouriço de vinho with L. sakei starter culture and carbohydrates. The mean count of S. aureus after 15 days of drying was below 1 log CFU/g. After 30 days of drying, no pathogens were detected. The drying period could be shortened to 15 days when considering only the gram-positive pathogens studied and the use of a starter culture and carbohydrates. Due to the low infective dose of Salmonella spp., the product should be considered safe after 30 days, when this pathogen became undetectable.
Biological activity was examined on Alaska pollack sikhae produced with 4 treatments (by irradiating at 5 or 10 kGy, or by adding either 0.1 or 0.3% of chitooligosaccharide), compared with control (2-step fermentation only) during fermentation at -2 degrees C. The extracts (500 ppm level) of sikhae had antimicrobial activities against 4 different strains of food poisoning bacteria such as Staphy. aureus, B. subtilis, B. cereus, and L. monocytogenes. Antioxidative activity (EDA(50), 11.55 mg/mL) in control group increased with time up to 60 days of fermentation but decreased thereafter, while those levels in other products were kept within 10.60-18.30 mg/mL ranges during fermentation. Inhibitory activity of angiotensin-I converting enzyme (ACE) (IC(50), 1.51-2.89 mg/mL) in all products was observed during fermentation except at 0 day. Inhibitory activity of xanthine oxidase (XO) (IC(50), 0.65-0.87 mg/mL) in all products also increased with time up to 30 days of fermentation. Without irradiating or adding of chitooligosaccharide, Alaska pollack sikhae showing biological activities was enough by 2-step fermentation and storage at -2 degrees C only.
A family cluster of three cases of type E botulism were identified in south-east France in September 2009. The suspected food source of infection was a vacuum packed hot-smoked whitefish of Canadian origin purchased by the family during a visit to Finland and consumed several weeks later in France on the day prior to symptom onset. No leftover fish was available to confirm this hypothesis. Vacuum packed hot-smoked whitefish has previously been associated with cases of type E botulism in multiple countries, including Finland, Germany, the United States and Israel.
Minimally processed spinach has been recently associated with outbreaks of foodborne illnesses. This study investigated the effect of commercial minimal processing of spinach on the coliform and Escherichia coli counts and the prevalence of E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, Shigella spp., and Listeria monocytogenes on two types of spinach before and after minimal processing. A total of 1,356 spinach samples (baby spinach, n = 574; savoy spinach, n = 782) were collected daily in two processing plants over a period of 14 months. Raw spinach originated from nine farms in the United States and three farms in Canada. Overall, the proportion of samples positive for coliforms increased from 53% before minimal processing to 79% after minimal processing (P 0.1) was observed. E. coli O157:H7 and Shigella spp. were not isolated from any of the samples. Salmonella and L. monocytogenes were isolated from 0.4 and 0.7% of samples, respectively. Results demonstrate that commercial minimal processing of spinach based on monitored chlorine washing and drying may not decrease microbial load on spinach leaves as expected. Further research is needed to identify the most appropriate measures to control food safety risk under commercial minimal processing of fresh vegetables.
This paper discusses an outbreak of trichinosis that occurred in 1998 in Montgomery County, Ohio, and the investigation that followed. The outbreak was associated with consumption of bear meat from a hunt in Ontario, Canada. The person who had the index case had eaten two bear burgers that were cooked rare in a microwave oven. Bear meat from the same hunt later was consumed by 15 other people at a church supper and an additional 13 people who did not attend the supper. Of the 15 attendees at the church supper who ate the bear meat, seven developed illness consistent with Trichinella infection (attack rate about 47 percent). An additional seven people attended the supper but did not eat the bear meat and did not become ill. Having eaten bear meat at the church supper was associated with an increased risk of illness (p = .05). Inadequate cooking of the bear meat resulted in the transmission of live trichinae. The 13 other people who ate the bear meat but did not attend the supper reported no illness. A total of eight people, including the person with the index case, met the case definition for trichinosis. Adequate cooking of the bear meat or consumption of uninfected portions of the meat was probably the protective factor for those who did not become ill after consuming the bear meat.
Comparison between genetic parameters of cheese yield and nutrient recovery or whey loss traits measured from individual model cheese-making methods or predicted from unprocessed bovine milk samples using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy.
Cheese yield is an important technological trait in the dairy industry. The aim of this study was to infer the genetic parameters of some cheese yield-related traits predicted using Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectral analysis and compare the results with those obtained using an individual model cheese-producing procedure. A total of 1,264 model cheeses were produced using 1,500-mL milk samples collected from individual Brown Swiss cows, and individual measurements were taken for 10 traits: 3 cheese yield traits (fresh curd, curd total solids, and curd water as a percent of the weight of the processed milk), 4 milk nutrient recovery traits (fat, protein, total solids, and energy of the curd as a percent of the same nutrient in the processed milk), and 3 daily cheese production traits per cow (fresh curd, total solids, and water weight of the curd). Each unprocessed milk sample was analyzed using a MilkoScan FT6000 (Foss, Hillerød, Denmark) over the spectral range, from 5,000 to 900 wavenumber × cm(-1). The FTIR spectrum-based prediction models for the previously mentioned traits were developed using modified partial least-square regression. Cross-validation of the whole data set yielded coefficients of determination between the predicted and measured values in cross-validation of 0.65 to 0.95 for all traits, except for the recovery of fat (0.41). A 3-fold external validation was also used, in which the available data were partitioned into 2 subsets: a training set (one-third of the herds) and a testing set (two-thirds). The training set was used to develop calibration equations, whereas the testing subsets were used for external validation of the calibration equations and to estimate the heritabilities and genetic correlations of the measured and FTIR-predicted phenotypes. The coefficients of determination between the predicted and measured values in cross-validation results obtained from the training sets were very similar to those obtained from the whole data set, but the coefficient of determination of validation values for the external validation sets were much lower for all traits (0.30 to 0.73), and particularly for fat recovery (0.05 to 0.18), for the training sets compared with the full data set. For each testing subset, the (co)variance components for the measured and FTIR-predicted phenotypes were estimated using bivariate Bayesian analyses and linear models. The intraherd heritabilities for the predicted traits obtained from our internal cross-validation using the whole data set ranged from 0.085 for daily yield of curd solids to 0.576 for protein recovery, and were similar to those obtained from the measured traits (0.079 to 0.586, respectively). The heritabilities estimated from the testing data set used for external validation were more variable but similar (on average) to the corresponding values obtained from the whole data set. Moreover, the genetic correlations between the predicted and measured traits were high in general (0.791 to 0.996), and they were always higher than the corresponding phenotypic correlations (0.383 to 0.995), especially for the external validation subset. In conclusion, we herein report that application of the cross-validation technique to the whole data set tended to overestimate the predictive ability of FTIR spectra, give more precise phenotypic predictions than the calibrations obtained using smaller data sets, and yield genetic correlations similar to those obtained from the measured traits. Collectively, our findings indicate that FTIR predictions have the potential to be used as indicator traits for the rapid and inexpensive selection of dairy populations for improvement of cheese yield, milk nutrient recovery in curd, and daily cheese production per cow.