In April 1988, an outbreak of gastroenteritis occurred among employees in a large company in Helsinki, Finland. A retrospective cohort study, using a self-administered questionnaire, was carried out to ascertain the cause and extent of the outbreak. To meet the case definition, employees had to have had diarrhoea and/or vomiting since 2 April, 1998. A subanalysis was made in the biggest office, consisting of 360 employees, of whom 204 (57%) completed the questionnaire. Of these 108 (53%) met the case definition. Employees who had eaten raspberry dressing were more likely to meet the case definition than those who had not (Attack Rate (AR) 65% versus AR 18% Relative Risk, (RR) 3.7, 95%, Confidence Intervals (CI) 2.0-6.7). Four stool specimens obtained from affected kitchen staff who had all eaten the raspberry dressing and who had all become ill simultaneously with the employees were positive by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for calicivirus. The data suggest that the primary source of the outbreak was imported frozen raspberries contaminated by calicivirus.
There is concern about the nutritional quality of processed gluten-free (GF) products. The aim was to investigate the nutrient composition and cost of processed GF products compared with similar regular products.
Product size, price, caloric value, and macro- and micronutrient composition were compared between foods labeled "Gluten-free" and comparable regular products in 5 grocery stores in 3 Canadian cities. Data were calculated per 100 g of product.
A total of 131 products were studied (71 GF, 60 regular). Overall, calories were comparable between GF and regular foods. However, fat content of GF breads was higher (mean 7.7 vs. 3.6 g, P = 0.003), whereas protein was lower (mean 5.0 vs. 8.0 g, P = 0.001). Mean carbohydrate content of GF pasta was higher (78 vs. 74 g, P = 0.001), whereas protein (7.5 vs. 13.3 g, P
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.
A ten point Conventional Convenience Rating Scale (CCRS) was developed to classify and analyze differences in use of convenience food for menu items of selective regular and diabetic diets for seven days in eight active treatment hospitals. Statistical analysis showed that the CCRS score detected differences between six meal components, three meals and four areas of production within each diet type. The convenience hospital had generally highest CCRS scores for all meal components; dessert CCRS scores were primarily dependent on the presence or absence of a bakeshop on the premises. Breakfast had the highest mean meal CCRS scores and lunch the lowest. CCRS scores were lowest for menu items which were prepared in the chef's area and in the salad and sandwich area. There was a significant inverse relationship (r = 0.895) between mean hospital CCRS score and aggregate skill level of food production employees. No correlation was found between the mean hospital CCRS score and 1) meal-days per food production labour minute, 2) total food cost per meal-day and 3) food production labour cost per meal-day. Among other recommendations, this research suggests that further investigation be made to assess the adequacy of the standards of performance used in this study and commonly used as indicators of institutional foodservice efficiency.
Trichinellosis, a zoonotic disease caused by nematodes of the genus Trichinella, is still a public health concern in the Arctic. The aims of this study were to investigate the seroprevalence of anti-Trichinella IgG in aboriginal peoples of two settlements in the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug (Russian Federation) on the Arctic coast of the Bering Sea, and to evaluate the survival of Trichinella nativa larvae in local fermented and frozen meat products. A seroprevalence of 24.3% was detected in 259 people tested by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The highest prevalence was detected among people who consumed traditional local foods made from the meat of marine mammals. Trichinella nativa larvae were found to survive for up to 24 months in a fermented and frozen marine mammal meat product called kopalkhen. Since the T. nativa life cycle can be completed in the absence of humans, it can be expected to persist in the environment and therefore remain a cause of morbidity in the human populations living in Arctic regions.
Salmonella enterica var. Heidelberg was isolated from an unusual food source during routine case follow-up, prompting a case control investigation of frozen chicken nuggets and strips. Most frozen nuggets and strips are raw; however, par-frying lends a cooked appearance. As such, suitable food preparation precautions might not be undertaken by consumers. Cases were confirmed in the laboratory between 1 January and 1 April 2003. Controls were generated through forward-digit dialing and individually matched by age category. Telephone interviews were conducted, and limited sampling of unopened product was performed. Eighteen matched pairs were interviewed. The odds of infection were 11 times higher in individuals who had consumed frozen processed chicken nuggets and strips (95% confidence interval, 1.42
Non-travel-related hepatitis A is rare in Canada. We describe a hepatitis A outbreak investigation in British Columbia in February to May 2012 in which exposure history was collected from nine confirmed non-travel-related cases. Suspected foods were tested for hepatitis A virus (HAV): a frozen fruit blend was identified as a common exposure for six of the nine cases using supermarket loyalty cards. Consumption of the product was confirmed in each case. Genetic analysis confirmed HAV genotype 1B in the six exposed cases. Of the three non-exposed cases, the virus could not be genotyped for two of them; the virus from the other case was found to be genotype 1A and this case was therefore not considered part of the outbreak. HAV was detected by PCR from pomegranate seeds, a component of the identified frozen fruit blend. Historically low levels of HAV infection in British Columbia triggered early recognition of the outbreak. Loyalty card histories facilitated product identification and a trace-back investigation implicated imported pomegranate seeds.
In 2009, the number of foodborne norovirus outbreaks in Finland seemed markedly high, and many outbreaks seemed to be linked to imported frozen raspberries. We reviewed the data regarding all notified foodborne outbreaks in 2009 in Finland in order to assess the magnitude of the problem and to summarize the information on raspberry-linked outbreaks. Between March and August, 13 norovirus outbreaks affecting about 900 people could be linked to imported frozen raspberries. Two raspberry samples corresponding to two batches of raspberries were positive for norovirus. These two batches proved to have been the likely source in six of the 13 outbreaks. Analytical studies had not been conducted for six outbreaks, and virological test results were inconclusive in two. However, combining epidemiological and microbiological methods often enabled finding the source, as exemplified in investigation of a large school outbreak. To ensure prompt control measures in similar situations in the future, both aspects of outbreak investigations should be strengthened.
In November 2013, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health was notified of a gastroenteritis outbreak following two meetings held at a conference centre. Identical food and beverages were served during the meetings. We investigated in order to identify the vehicle of infection and implement control measures. Meeting participants completed an online questionnaire on consumption of foods and beverages. We asked symptomatic participants to provide a stool sample. We defined a case as diarrhoea and/or vomiting in a participant who became ill within 3 days after the meeting. We calculated attack rates (AR) and adjusted risk ratios (aRR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) using binomial regression. We conducted environmental investigations. Overall, 147/168 (88%) participants responded, of which 74 (50%) met the case definition. All five stool samples provided were norovirus positive. No kitchen staff reported being sick. Risk of illness was higher in those who consumed raspberry mousse (aRR 3·4, 95% CI 1·4-8·2) and sliced fresh fruit (aRR 1·9, 95% CI 1·3-2·8). Seventy cases (95%) ate raspberry mousse. Frozen raspberries used for the mousse were imported and not heat-treated before consumption. Non-heat-treated frozen raspberries were the most likely outbreak vehicle. Contamination by a food handler could not be excluded. We recommend heat-treatment of imported frozen berries before consumption.