Posts

November 17, 2014

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9:37 AM | Space food: The fascinating story of astronaut food (it should include HACCP)
Since the beginning of the space race, the American public has been fascinated by how astronauts eat. “Astronaut ice cream” is an evergreen impulse buy in museum gift shops across the country, and Tang has gotten nearly unlimited marketing mileage … Continue reading →
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9:31 AM | Some Chiefs fans indifferent about food violations at Arrowhead Stadium
As the Kansas City Chiefs beat up the Seattle Seahawks in brutal KC weather, most fans weren’t concerned about critical food violations at Arrowhead Stadium. Arrowhead is known for tailgating and a lot of fans said they were relieved that … Continue reading →
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6:10 AM | Microbiomania, microbophobia, and getting excited about the microbiome
Jonathan Eisen at UC Davis famously polices news and academic articles that oversell the microbiome on his blog, The Tree of Life. He provides a valuable service to the field of microbiome research, since it benefits neither the researchers nor the public when writers convey wishful or wrong messages.Recently on his blog, Eisen "rediscovered" two new words that I think capture some important concepts:1) Microbiomania:The overselling of the impact (beneficial or detrimental or otherwise) of […]
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5:29 AM | Five Questions About the Foraminifera
by Elio | The Foraminifera ("forams") are among the largest and most abundant of all unicellular organisms. They can reach 20 cm in length and 18 cm in width, and the shells surrounding them are even bigger, up to 30 cm in length. They have existed in prodigious numbers that the remnants...
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12:32 AM | UK: Bird Flu Reported On Yorkshire Duck Farm
Source Defra    # 9334   Although there is no official notice yet on the UK’s Defra website, as the graphic above illustrates, Defra has just posted updated guidance on spotting and reporting signs of avian flu infection.    The British press – including the BBC below – are carrying preliminary reports however, of an outbreak of an unidentified subtype of avian flu at a duck farm in Yorkshire.   This report comes on the heels of […]
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12:28 AM | 172 Fall Ill after Norovirus outbreak on Princess Cruises Ship headed to L.A.
More than 170 passengers and crew members on board a Princess Cruises cruise ship that was docked in San Pedro Sunday have fallen ill following an outbreak of Norovirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Crown … Continue reading →
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12:22 AM | 33 sick from Salmonella in Italian schools
Something may be lost in translation but thanks to our Italian food safety friend for sending this along: The medical report on salmonellosis in the schools has been upgraded to a total of 33 people infected, 25 confirmed and 8 to … Continue reading →
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12:14 AM | Don’t diss stool samples: Detecting foodborne diseases is most important
My friend Dr Peter K. Embarek, senior scientist with the Department of Food Safety and Zoonoses (animal diseases which can be communicated to humans) at the World Health Organisation (WHO) and head of the International Food Safety Authorities Network (Infosan) … Continue reading →
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12:08 AM | Oh Aggies: student had sex with sheep ‘because he was stressed about his exams’
From the university integrity files, a student had sex with a sheep because he was stressed about his exams, he told police. The 23-year-old computer engineering major was caught with a ewe in a barn on his California university campus. … Continue reading →

November 16, 2014

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11:34 PM | Escaped scientists spotted in Tasmania!
It appears that we forgot to lock the lab and office doors again! A few of our researchers escaped and boarded the brand new Australian Marine National Facility research vessel from the CSIRO, The Investigator.They are taking part in one of the first scientific sea trials which left from Hobart, Tasmania, last Monday. The transect is going northward criss-crossing the continental shelf. These first sets of voyages are used to check, test and optimise all of the equipment onboard, so they can be […]
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9:53 PM | Does ‘no serious illnesses’ mean some illnesses? Lundberg Family Farms recalls flour products tainted by Salmonella
Lundberg Family Farms, a company based in Northern California, is voluntarily recalling two brown rice flour products that may be contaminated with Salmonella. The family-owned company said on its website that it is recalling Eco-Farmed Brown Rice Flour and Organic Brown Rice … Continue reading →
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9:32 PM | ‘Get out of Ukraine’ G20 leaders enjoy lavish seafood BBQ
The G20 is over, Brisbane is slowly returning to normal, but it was Canadian PM Stephen Harper who stole the show when he met Russia’s Putin and said, “I guess I’ll shake your hand, but get out of Ukraine.” The … Continue reading →
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8:42 PM | Separation of church (hockey) and state: Micro results for Canada, 2012-2013
As part of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) annual testing of various food products, a report released today shows that more than 99 per cent of a wide variety of food samples tested were compliant with Canadian guidelines and … Continue reading →
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5:03 PM | UCSF Women in the Life Sciences Coffee Talk and Seminar
I’m heading over to the University of California San Francisco this coming Wednesday (December 19th). I’ll be chatting with the […]
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4:27 PM | Confirmation Of HPAI H5N8 In The Netherlands
# 9333   Although it is a little rough, we’ve a translation of a letter posted on the central government site for the Netherlands (Rijksoverheid.nl) that confirms the subtype of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza discovered on a local Poultry farm as being H5N8. This comes just 9 days after the announcement of HPAI H5N8 having arrived in Germany.  Prior to that, the highly pathogenic form of that bird flu virus had only been reported in Korea and northeastern China. […]
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3:09 PM | Egyptian MOH: Two New H5N1 Cases (Minya, Assiut)
  # 9331   In what is turning out to be a bird-flu centric morning, we have an announcement from the Egyptian Ministry Of Health on two new (apparently unrelated) H5N1 cases.  The last case reported out of Egypt was in late September (see Egyptian MOH: 4th H5N1 Case Of 2014)   While today’s cases bring Egypt’s total to 6 cases for the year, FluTrackers has an additional case confirmed by the regional (Beheira) Ministry of Health, which would […]
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1:35 PM | FAO On The Potential Threat Of HPAI Spread Via Migratory Birds
  # 9330   Although it may sound so very 2006, once again we appear to be faced with a westward expansion of one or more novel avian flu strains out of Asia.  Readers with good memories will recall the scramble in middle of the last decade to prevent the spread, and entrenchment, of H5N1 into Europe (see 2007’s Germany Reports More Infected Poultry & UK: Bird Flu Cull Complete).   Between a strict culling policy, and enhanced biosecurity measures, […]
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12:18 PM | Netherlands: `Severe’ HPAI Outbreak In Poultry
Hekendorp – Credit Wikipedia   ***  UPDATED *** Reuters is now reporting the subtype has been identified as HPAI H5N8, the same strain that was reported at a German Poultry Farm 10 days ago.     # 9329   From the central government site for the Netherlands (Rijksoverheid.nl) this morning we get the first official statement on a large outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Flu (HPAI) at a poultry farm in Hekendorp, which has resulted in the immediate […]
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8:37 AM | Really cool: 3D printed microbes for the visually impaired
Image from Nanowerk story.This is one of the most interesting things I have seen relating to microbiology recently:  3D printed giant germs help visually impaired see the world of microorganisms reported by Nanowork News on October 31.  This work has done by researchers from the BBSRC (the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council in the UK) who hosted an event called "Giant Germs" for the blind and visually impaired.  In discussing various microbes (alas, the […]

November 15, 2014

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8:50 PM | All you could hear was people vomiting and at night in the Sahara, noise travels far’ Desert trekker struck by Norovirus in sand storm
A Sevenoaks fundraiser had to be rescued from the Sahara Desert after he and his team were struck down by norovirus in a sand storm. Mike Purtill, of Amherst Place in Riverhead, was five days and 50km into the Alzheimer’s Society trek … Continue reading →
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1:59 PM | FluView & Flu Watch Reports – Week 45
  # 9328   Although influenza activity sometimes get off to an early start, most years we don’t see a big uptick until after the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays.  Thus far the big seasonal influenza story hasn’t been about the numbers (which remain low), but focuses instead on the antigenic diversity of flu viruses in circulation this year.   Two weeks ago, in A `Drift’ In A Sea Of Influenza Viruses, I wrote about the emergence over the […]
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12:27 PM | China Reports Two Recent H7N9 Cases
  # 9327   During its first two waves, China’s H7N9 outbreak had been restricted to the Eastern half of their country, with the bulk of cases occurring along the Eastern seaboard.  In August of this year things changed when we saw the virus reported twice in Xinjiang, China’s westernmost province/autonomous region.   Since then (including today), of the eight cases reported this fall, half have come out of Xinjiang.    First an excerpt […]
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6:34 AM | 20 years after Jack in the Box, foodborne illnesses still an issue
Darin Detwiler, a senior policy coordinator for food safety at STOP Foodborne Illness in Chicago and a graduate lecturer in regulatory affairs of the food industry at Northeastern University in Boston, writes in this op-ed: I am deeply saddened to … Continue reading →
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5:03 AM | Salmonella spurs peanut butter recall in Philippines
The Philippines Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced the recall of several batches of Arrowhead Mills Peanut Butter products over possible contamination from Salmonella. Based on FDA Advisory 2014-079, specific batches of Arrowhead Mills Creamy Organic Peanut Butter (16oz.) … Continue reading →

November 14, 2014

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11:05 PM | CIDRAP: Migrations in West Africa seen as challenge to stopping Ebola
  # 9326   About six weeks ago CIDRAP Director Michael Osterholm penned an article that appeared in Politico Magazine called The Ebola Epidemic Is About to Get Worse. Much Worse which drew attention to the seasonal migration of West African workers away from their family farms after the fall harvests, to jobs in neighboring countries. This year, the concern is that some of these workers may leave the Ebola stricken regions of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea and carry […]
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9:46 PM | Food safety is our top priority, but ‘you will sell the dough’ Bugs, mold on menu at Kansas stadiums
The food safety manager at Kansas City’s Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums, home to the Royals and the Chiefs, told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” that poor food handling and dirty conditions have routinely been putting fans’ health at risk — including … Continue reading →
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9:33 PM | Tainted celery linked to Gonzales farm
An outbreak of E. coli in Minnesota has been linked to celery grown in Gonzales, but the attorney representing many of the sickened people said Thursday that he is not, yet, targeting the grower. According to a recently released report … Continue reading →
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9:23 PM | 7 sickened with E. coli and Campy from manure-in-wells in Wisconsin
A young family visiting Door County for a weekend in mid-September were the subject of a public health investigation when they returned to their Calumet County home and their four-month-old daughter came down with an illness that was identified as … Continue reading →
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9:03 PM | Beef balls recalled for Listeria
Nha Trang Deli Inc. is recalling Beef Balls from the marketplace due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. This recall was triggered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) test results. The CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation, which may … Continue reading →
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8:01 PM | Meet......Candy Albicans!
After winning some prize money from “I’m a scientist, Get me out of here”, it didn’t take me long to decide on how to spend the money on communicating microbiology to students. Microbiology is a very small part of the National Curriculum at KS3 (aged 11-14), which is a shame because microbes are incredibly important for our health, the environment, for producing food and so much more.  Meet Candy Albicans, one of the characters in “Meet the Microbes”, a […]
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