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‘Fugitive dust’ seems to have caused last summer’s salmonella outbreak from peaches

What caused last summer’s national recall of peaches? According to recent findings from the Food and Drug Administration, dust blown into orchards from nearby livestock.

From late June to August of last year, 101 people ended up sick with salmonella, a food-borne bacteria more commonly associated with raw cookie dough, eggs, and reptiles. No one died, but 28 were hospitalized. (Different types of salmonella cause different diseases, including typhoid fever. This outbreak involved the more common presentation colloquially known as salmonella, which involves several days of diarrhea and fever.)

About half of all salmonella outbreaks are linked to produce, as we’ve written before—but peaches are, according to the FDA, a new source. Before last year, peaches had been the culprit in three national food-borne outbreaks, including a 2014 listeria outbreak that led to national recalls. Still, none involved salmonella, the second-most common cause of food poisoning.

But fruit, and especially frozen fruits, have increasingly been linked to food borne disease, including hepatitis A outbreaks from strawberries and pomegranates.

Peaches and other fruit might seem like surprising sources of bacteria, says Alida Sorenson, a food safety supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture who has tracked fruit outbreaks before. “But it can happen. We had a weird one where we had listeria growing on caramel apples.”

The national investigation began last August, as dozens fell ill. Interviews with about 60 poisoned people showed that about 50 of them had eaten fresh peaches soon before getting sick, and the FDA issued a recall that hit everything from Kroger to Food Lion to Walmart.

From there, FDA investigators traced peaches up the supply chain, which led to the California grower and packer Prima-Wawona that had supplied “the majority of peaches associated with points of service during the timeframe.” A parallel Canadian investigation pointed in the same direction.

[Related: Don’t worry about eggs—these other foods are way more likely to give you Salmonella]

But that investigation also leaves some outstanding questions: the investigators didn’t actually find evidence of the guilty strain of salmonella on the leaves or fruits of the orchard. Much as epidemiologists have used genetic sequencing to trace the spread of COVID variants across the US, it’s become commonplace to hunt for a specific lineage of a food-borne illness using a DNA trail. 

No traces showed up on the orchard itself, but that doesn’t mean that investigators didn’t find any salmonella. As it turns out, there’s a poultry plant and a dairy farm adjacent to several of the fields.

Investigators found salmonella strains on trees facing both of those sites. And, tellingly, the type found near the poultry barns was almost identical to previously identified chicken diseases, while those near the dairy matched cattle diseases, indicating that the bacteria had spread from each animal to nearby trees.

The running theory, according to the FDA, is that “fugitive dust” from those livestock operations blew in on the wind, carrying bacteria with it.

That’s not exactly surprising, Sorenson says. “With any produce grown outside, it’s kind of unavoidable. We’ve seen [E. coli] outbreaks before associated with deer walking through the area, or birds that poop on the produce or in the lettuce as they fly over. In the Southeast, we’ll see a lot of salmonella associated with reptiles.”

Dust has been a research focus since the early 2000s because chick-raising operations are known to produce tons of salmonella-laden detritus. This type of interaction between large-scale produce and animal farming has also led to E. coli outbreaks when animal-contaminated water has been used to irrigate crops like spinach. The FDA findings themselves recommend that “all farms… be cognizant of and assess risks that may be posed by adjacent and nearby land uses.” But beyond monitoring for that contamination, it doesn’t suggest that there’s a lot to be done.

“There are way more outbreaks going on than we detect or know about,” says Sorenson. “Smaller ones, associated with smaller farms, where only a few people get sick. It’s just a matter of when there’s a big company with a lot of product and a lot of people get sick.”

(The CDC estimates that for every reported case of salmonella, seven go undetected.)

Land use, along with the increasing global reach of those potentially contaminated crops, is one reason that these surprising outbreaks are becoming more common. The other, more hopeful reason, says Sorenson, is that public health officials have gotten better at detecting outbreaks.

According to a 2017 research survey on salmonella epidemiology, open-ended interviews have made investigators better at catching surprise culprits, like peaches. And genetic surveillance allows investigators to quickly connect new outbreaks to previous sources of contamination. “We’re finding things that we wouldn’t have found before,” Sorenson says. “We can say, ‘oh, we tested this chicken, and then we looked back at historical data, and there was an outbreak that matched this. Wow, maybe this chicken was why that outbreak happened.’ We can look at things in reverse and say, oh, that might be an ongoing issue.”

Author: Sara Chodosh
This post originally appeared on Science – Popular Science

Crytek Seems To Be Teasing Something Related To Crysis 2…

Last year, Crytek surprised longtime fans with a remaster of the original Crysis game. It turns out this year is actually the 10th anniversary of Crysis 2, and well, you know what that means, right? If Crytek’s recent activity on social media is anything to go by, it seems the German developer might be gearing up for a remaster of the second game, which was originally released in 2011.

The quote “They used to call me prophet” in the tweet below, is a line spoken by Major Laurence “Prophet” Barnesa from Crysis 2, and is followed by some wide-eyed emojis and a screenshot of the same game – seemingly suggesting something could be on the way.

Last year’s Crysis Remastered was the first time a Crysis game had ever been released on a Nintendo platform. At the time, we labelled it a technical miracle and one of the best shooters on the hybrid platform. If a remaster of the second game does go ahead, it should also be running on CryEngine V.

Would you be interested in playing a remaster of the second Crysis game on Switch eventually? How about the third one? Leave a comment down below.

Author:
This post originally appeared on Nintendo Life | Latest News

It Seems Game Builder Garage Will Only Be Available On The eShop In Europe

Earlier this week, Nintendo announced Game Builder Garage for Switch. It gives players the chance to create their own games.

Alongside the reveal, we got an early look at the North American box art – confirming a physical release was on the way. Unfortunately, it seems not every region will be receiving a hard copy of the game. In Europe, Game Builder Garage will be “available in downloadable format only”, according to Nintendo’s latest release schedule.

Nintendo works in mysterious ways, so who knows what the reasoning behind this decision might be. What this does mean, though – is that if you’re located somewhere in Europe and were planning on picking up a physical version of this game, you’ll now probably have to import a copy from another region.

A Nintendo representative also confirmed to Nintendo Life this week that the digital file size of Game Builder Garage would take up 995 MB of space on the Switch. Will you be picking up a physical or digital copy of this upcoming release? Does this news impact your own plans? Leave a comment down below.

Author:
This post originally appeared on Nintendo Life | Latest News

Google Maps: Chilling aerial shot seems to capture two freshly buried bodies in dug graves

Google Maps[1] has snapped a very sinister scene taking place in a seemingly remote location. The disturbing photo is an aerial shot of a field – but the spectacle below is no normal sight. In the grass there appear to be two graves dug into the earth and a man is lying in each.
The Google user can easily see both the men. Intriguingly they are both wearing jeans and white T-shirts.

They lie with their arms by their sides in seemingly matching positions as they stare up at the sky.

No one else can be seen in the vicinity, nor can the spades which the graves were dug with.

Could the Google user be looking at the gruesome sight of two dead bodies – or is there more going on here than meets the eye?

DON’T MISS

There is hopefully a much more rational explanation to this image which at first glance seems very chilling indeed.

Unusually for Google Maps images that go viral, the story behind the photo is in fact known.

The men – a married couple – are in the process of carrying out a piece of performance art and no one knows how the image ended up on Google Maps.

The performance art piece was called “Untitled (Graves)” by the Chicago-based collaborators Dutes Miller and Stan Shellabarger.

They previously had a show running at Western Exhibitions art gallery in Chicago, USA.

Western Exhibitions’ Principal Scott Speh told Express.co.uk: “Dutes Miller and Stan Shellabarger each dig a grave in correlation to their individual body sizes.

“They then lay in the grave and dig sideways so that they can hold hands eternally, metaphorically speaking.

“This iteration of the piece was completed in Portland, Oregon as part of the Time Based Arts Festival put on by the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art.

“The festival provided a crane so that this piece could be photographed straight-on, from a distance.”

Miller, in an interview a few years ago stated that “mortality is a theme that runs through a lot of the work”

He said: “I think as we have gotten older it comes through more prevalently just because we are dealing more with mortality in a way.

“We’re not that old, but we’re not twenty. You don’t think about that so much when you’re twenty. Well, I don’t think I did.”

References

  1. ^ Google Maps (www.express.co.uk)