Saturday, July 27, 2013

Raw milk linked with food poisoning in New Zealand

I have written several times about the hazards of drinking raw milk (see the label "raw milk").  Using Ministry of Health information obtained under the Official Information Act, Talia Shadwell has written about food poisoning linked with consumption of raw milk in the Manawatu and Waikato, two regions of New Zealand.

A total of nine people, including two young children, were hospitalised in March, suffering from Escherichia coli  infection.  A month later, six people contracted campylobacteriosis.  A common factor in all these cases was apparently consumption of raw milk.

What is of great concern to me is that these patients revealed that they had little knowledge of the hazards of drinking raw milk, despite the publicity given to such outbreaks.

I would uphold the right of individuals to consume raw foods if they so wish, but they should be fully aware of the risks and remember that their children do not really have the luxury of food choice.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Talking crap

Microbiologists, and particularly food microbiologists, are rarely invited to be after-dinner speakers - our interests are just too awful! 

I recently listened to a TED talk that set me thinking.  This blog is about safe food and, I admit, tends to concentrate on microorganisms in food.  Safe food should be the right of every man, woman and child on earth; without it, life becomes unpleasant, and in some cases, unsafe food can be the cause of death.

 We read about the devastation that can be caused by HIV, but apparently, the major cause of infant death is diarrhoea.  The latter is easy to treat, but without clean water and good sanitation, many children die.  My daughter-in-law recently presented me with a granddaughter.  It's a long time since I held a new-born baby, but I realised just how tiny a new-born is - they can't afford to lose large amounts of fluid.

As the TED lecturer said, we take clean water and flush toilets for granted, but a large proportion of the world's population don't have even suitable latrines. 

Have a look at an attractive woman talking crap: