Background: Foodborne illnesses linked to fresh produce has been on the rise in recent years. This increase in illnesses pose a massive burden to the healthcare system. One way to prevent this is through educating the public the importance of handwashing produce. There are many studies that have tested ways of washing and sanitizing fresh produce to reduce surface pathogens. However the average consumer mainly hand washes produce before consuming it. Thus this study intends to test the efficacy of hand washing by testing surface ATP on apples before and after they have been washed.
Methods: Apples were purchased from the bulk section of a super market. ATP swabs were used to test the concentration of ATP on the surface of the apples. The values were recorded. All the apples were hand washed under running tap water for 15 seconds and the surface ATP concentration were obtained and recorded. The values were then compared to draw a conclusion.
Results: The results show that there is statistically significant reduction in surface ATP values on apples after washing them (mean ATP value of 33.2) compared to before washing them (mean ATP value of 116.67). The p-value obtained was 0.00033 when α = 0.05.
Conclusion: This study was able to conclude that there was a significant reduction in surface ATP values following handwashing of the apples. There was an observed 60% reduction in the mean values of ATP of before and after hand washing. In conclusion, hand washing apples do provide an adequate reduction of surface ATP values thus attaining surface cleanliness., Peer reviewed, Peer-reviewed article, Published, Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2019., Outbreaks, ATP, Cross contamination, Apples, Sanitization, Foodborne illness, Cleaning methods, UltraSnap swabs, Luminometer, Pathogens, Fresh produce
Electronic e-cigarette ever users has been increasing as of 2015, the most prevalent ever users being young adults aged 20-24 years old. The implication of e-cigarette ever user developing into long term users is a emerging public health concern.
Electronic cigarette usage frequency and nicotine consumption was measured through a self-administered online survey of young adults (n= 54). Survey was advertised through social media sites between January 2019 till February 2019. Descriptive and inferential statistic was conducted using NCSS 12 to examine the association between electronic cigarette usage and nicotine consumption.
Among young adults aged 19 to 24 years old, the frequency of e-cigarette usage was 51% high usage, 31% no usage and 16% medium and low usage. For nicotine consumption, respondents were 25% daily, 40% no use, 18% infrequent, and 14.8% frequent.
There is an association between more frequent electronic cigarette usage and higher nicotine consumption among young adults in British Columbia. Frequency e-cigarette users were found to consumption nicotine at higher frequency then non users. Further research is needed to fully understand the extent of the relationship of if e-cigarette usage promotes daily nicotine consumption or daily nicotine consumption results in higher e-cigarette usage., Peer reviewed, Peer-reviewed article, Published., British Columbia, Electronic cigarette, E-cigarettes, nicotine, young adults, Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2019.
Background: Dairy products are consumed by a large portion of the population. The dairy processing plants (DPP) that produce these perishable products may create health hazards (chemical, physical, biological). In order to minimize any health risks from these products, DPP are inspected by regulating authorities. This study examined secondary data derived from the BCCDC dairy program’s semi-quantitative risk ranking tool (RRT) to examine trends over time with DPP inspections, and to assess risk factors within the tool.
Methods: RRT based data from individual DPP inspections from 2015 through 2018 were entered into a master spreadsheet. The RRT has two overall risk categories, inherent and measured risk. Inherent risk categories in the tool were sourced from surveys of dairy plants, while measured risks in the tool were sourced from inspection visits (routine and in-depth), environmental and food result submissions from dairy plants and inspectors, and based on compliance and history. In total, 107 items were assessed within the eight categories. Descriptive analyses were conducted, and statistical analyses performed using NCSS 12 software (NCSS, 2018).
Results: A total of 128 inspection reports from 30 different DPP were included in this study. From these inspections, 65% were considered low risk, 12% moderate and 23% high risk. DPP that were located on-farm were found to have significantly higher overall inspection risk scores than dairy plants located off-farm (average on-farm inspection risk ranking score = 694; average off-farm inspection risk ranking score = 153; p=0.0003, power=95%). When the microbiological scores category, derived from environmental swabs and food submissions, were compared to the inspection score category, these categories were statistically significantly correlated (p=0.0000, power=100%); when inspection score increases, so too does microbiological score. Higher risk scores were also found in DPP producing more than one category of dairy product (comparing one product versus 6 or 7 products, p=0.009, power=76%).
Conclusion: Dairy inspections ensure DPP follow good manufacturing practices and therefore help to protect the population from disease outbreaks or other contaminations. This study demonstrated that there is increased risk of having a dairy processing facility located on-farm, that more complex dairy processing operations that produce more than one type of dairy product have higher risk rating scores and that higher inspection score violations positively correlated to positive microbiological scores. This study further showed that in the absence of microbiological
results, a risk score could still be calculated by analyzing the inspection violations alone. The Food Safety Specialists at the BCCDC can use this data to focus their inspection time on higher risk areas and items to maximize time spent out in the field., Peer reviewed, Peer-reviewed article, Published, Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2019., audit, dairy, processor, risk, British Columbia, inspection, BCCDC, milk
Background: Following the recent legalization of medical cannabis in Canada, and many other countries around the world, people are turning to this drug for both medical and recreational reasons. Naturally, as human’s age, many rely on medication to maintain a better quality of life. Surveys show that, once legal, there will be an increase in cannabis consumption. Many adverse health reactions may occur by concurrently taking cannabis and other medications. Methods: A survey was distributed in-person throughout Vancouver targeting people who do not consume cannabis. The same survey was distributed in Vancouver, but to people coming out of dispensaries, targeting people who do consume cannabis. The survey consisted of seven knowledge questions asking about possible adverse drug interactions occurring between cannabis and commonly used licit and illicit drugs. A chi-square analysis was used to compare knowledge of users and non-users of cannabis. Results: Both users and non-users seemed to be most knowledgeable on the interaction between cannabis and alcohol; 39 out of 57 users (68%) and 23 out of 30 non-users (77%) gave the correct response. As for all the other interactions, neither group was very knowledgeable. The distribution of questions that were answered incorrectly seemed evenly spread between the two groups. The knowledge between users and non-users were significantly different when participants were asked on the possible adverse reactions between cannabis and opioid drugs (p=0.005), and cannabis and sedative drugs (p=0.002). In these cases, cannabis users were more knowledgeable about cannabis interactions than non-users. Conclusion: This study indicates that the general public is not very knowledgeable on the possible adverse reactions that may come about as a result of mixing cannabis and other commonly used licit and illicit drugs. Actions should be taken to provide the public with tools that will aid them in making the right decision when thinking about concurrently using cannabis and other licit and/or illicit drugs., Peer reviewed, Peer-reviewed article, Published, Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2019., Environmental health, Cannabis, Prescriptions, Drugs, Licit drugs, Illicit drugs, Drug interactions, Adverse interaction, Public health
Background and Purpose: The use of dietary supplements is on the rise in Canada. This raises questions about the safety of the supplements when taken in the recommended dosage. One ingredient of concern in dietary supplements is caffeine, which can cause adverse health effects when consumed in great enough
quantities. Given the lack of research into the caffeine content of dietary supplements, along with few regulations that exist regarding labelling or limits on caffeine content within Canada, a major concern is whether or not these supplements pose a risk to the public. The purpose of this study is to compare the caffeine content
of various types of dietary supplements, and to determine if the caffeine content warrants a risk to the public.
Methods: Supplement stores within the Vancouver Metropolitan Area were visited online and in person, and supplements were categorized as an energy drink, pre-workout supplement, energy bar, fat-loss supplement, or caffeine pill or capsule. The caffeine content per recommended dosage of each supplement was recorded from the label.
Results: It was found that the caffeine content did vary between supplement categories (Kruskall-Wallis one way ANOVA test had a p-value < 0.000), and that fat-loss supplements and pre-workout supplements had the highest caffeine content with a mean 221.19mg per serving and 249.68mg per serving respectively. Caffeine
pills had a mean of 186.90mg per serving, energy drinks had a mean of 166.84mg per serving, and energy bars had a mean of 85.06mg per serving.
Discussion: Health Canada recommends that healthy adults not exceed 400mg of caffeine per day. Exceeding this limit can lead to adverse health reactions, such as anxiety, insomnia, heart palpitations or more serious symptoms such as convulsions or death. It was found in this study that 5% of the samples exceeded 400mg,
and can be considered hazardous. Taking multiple doses of supplements, or consuming additional caffeine from alternative sources, such as coffee, also puts consumers at a greater risk of exceeding the recommended limits. Currently there are no regulations in Canada regarding how much caffeine is permitted within these
products, or any labeling requirements for caffeine in dietary supplements.
Conclusion: Given the increase in popularity of dietary supplements in Canada, along with the limited regulations on labelling requirements, caffeine-containing supplements could potentially pose a risk to consumers. This study shows that the caffeine content differs between types of dietary supplements, and that
some supplements exceed the Health Canada guidelines of 400mg. More regulations and guidelines on labeling requirements for these supplements may be necessary to protect the public., Peer reviewed, Peer-reviewed article, Published, Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2019., British Columbia, Dietary supplements, Caffeine, Caffeine content, Workout, Labelling, Supplement safety
Background: False Creek is a small inlet centered within Vancouver, British Columbia. Its long and narrow shape facilitates the build-up of contaminants and limits dilution of fresh water. The lack of flushing coupled with sources of fecal contamination results in high levels of Escherichia coli particularly in the summer months. High levels of E. coli in recreational water pose a health hazard to the public. Two organizations Metro Vancouver and Fraser Riverkeeper monitored E. coli levels in False Creek over the 2018 summer season.
Methods: Data collected by Metro Vancouver and Fraser Riverkeeper over the 2018 summer season was collected and compared. The secondary data was analyzed from July 8, 2018 to September 29, 2018 from thirty-day geometric means. Each organization sampled on a weekly basis in False Creek, Metro Vancouver sampled from twelve locations and Fraser Riverkeeper sampled from seven locations. Both organizations used similar methodologies in the collection of data with both analyzing for microbiological enumerations of most probable number [MPN] of E. coli per 100/mL samples. All sample sites were divided into three locations representative of False Creek: West, Central and East. The data was then analyzed in terms of overall weekly samples by organization, locational weekly samples by organization and locational weekly samples overall.
Results: The data was analyzed using an Aspin Welch Unequal Variance T-test to compare the overall weekly E. coli counts between the organization. Where p = 0.000 and power = 1.00. An Equal Variance T-test was used to compare the locational weekly E. coli counts from the West, Central and East regions of each organization. This yielded a p = 0.000 where power = 1.00. A Kruskal Wallis One-Way ANOVA was used to compare the locational weekly E. coli counts from the West, Central and East regions. This found p = 0.000 and power = 1.00. A MANOVA was used as a reiteration to compare the weekly E. coli counts at each location (West, Central and East) when collected by each organization. This confirmed the same p-value and power results from the three previous tests.
Conclusions: There is a statistically significant difference between the two organizations. Not only in overall samples but there is a statistically significant difference between the two organizations when E. coli is amalgamated by location. When accounting for location only, the East region obtained statistically higher E. coli counts as the mean E. coli count for West was 90.8, Central was 248 and East was 1040., Peer reviewed, Peer-reviewed article, Published, Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2019., public health, Vancouver, Canada, Escherichia coli, water quality, recreational water
Recreational water illnesses are not as well known as food borne illnesses in the media. There are several pathogens associated with ingesting surface water including Giardia, Cryptosporidium, and Toxoplasmosis. The use of technology for public health surveillance is also little known to the public and can provide much insight into other illnesses on social media not otherwise reported to public health and medical professionals. Illnesses on social media could represent a portion of unreported cases. These cases could be found on social media as a popular outlet for individual expression.
Social media posts were found using a variety of keywords including symptoms of significant waterborne illnesses and terms associated with human and environmental contamination. Social media posts were collected from forums and popular social media platforms such as reddit. The posts were then correlated with beach water quality data for a sampling site as geographically close to a case location as possible.
Social media and water quality data collected from the Columbia river region were correlated. The correlation coefficient of 0.2335 indicates that there is no correlation between social media posts and beach water quality data. Numerous limitations may have impacted the correlation coefficient. Keywords associated with symptoms were more effective in obtaining quality threads and posts
compared to other terms.
Correlating social media posts to water quality data in the Columbia river region does not provide statistically significant results. Manual gathering of social media data for public health surveillance is found to be inefficient and impractical. Further study is required in order to determine the effectiveness of using social media for public health data gathering. It remains to be seen whether correlating posts about illness on social media to water quality data is an effective method of surveillance for public health., Peer reviewed, Peer-reviewed article, Published, Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2019., Social media, Kite surfing, Swimming, Itchy, Scratchy, Illness, Infection, Vomiting, Sick, Sewage, Sinus, Bacteria
Background: Many comprising studies showed that probiotics can manifest antimicrobial activity. Due to positive health effects of probiotics, they have been added in a fermentation of various foods to increase the nutrient content and to improve the quality of the foods. Furthermore, probiotics are used as a starter culture for several fermented foods like a yogurt. Probiotics may contain strains that are capable of initiating fermentation of the foods, however, a safety of the foods is not certain. Therefore, the study is done to analyze use of probiotics as a starter culture for a yogurt.
Methods: The study was designed to analyze the pH pattern of three different yogurt groups (control, commercial starter culture, and probiotics). Each group had three samples that were made using Dairyland 2% milk and corresponding cultures. The control group samples were not inoculated with any culture. The commercial starter culture group samples were inoculated with Yogourtmet Freeze-Dried Starter and the probiotics group samples were inoculated with probiotic capsule, Jamieson 10 Billion Probiotic. The samples were incubated for 7 hours and every 45 minutes the pH was measured using Hanna Professional Portable Yogurt pH Meter.
Results: The statistical analysis of the pH measurement showed significant different between the control groups and other two groups. The control group samples pH decreased a bit, but it was not enough to turn the samples to a yogurt. The pH pattern of the commercial group samples showed rapid decrease in pH after 180 minutes and the average pH of the last reading was 4.10. The pH of the probiotics group samples decreased linearly, and the average pH of the last reading was 4.58.
Conclusions: The commercial starter culture and the probiotics group samples initiated fermentation and enough acidification occurred to decrease the pH below 4.6. With 7 hours of incubation period, the probiotics group samples just met the pH that makes the yogurt safe to consume. Therefore, the use of the probiotics as a starter culture for producing yogurt can be suggested with adequate incubation period., Peer reviewed, Peer-reviewed article, Published, Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2019., Acidification, Yogurt, pH, Probiotics, Starter culture, Fermentation
Background: Over the years, many reusable products have been invented to replace single-use disposable items to reduce waste. One of such products is the reusable beeswax food wrap, which aims to replace plastic film wraps to store food. According to manufacturer instructions, the beeswax wrap can only be washed with cold water and detergent. This presents the question whether the beeswax wrap can be effectively cleaned, as continuous reuse may present cross contamination issues. This study examines if manufacturer instructions is effective in cleaning the beeswax wrap.
Methods: ATP analysis was used to determine the level of cleanliness on the beeswax wrap between the pre-intervention and post-intervention treatments. Pre-intervention samples are the new beeswax wraps. Post- intervention samples are wraps that have been contaminated with avocado, washed, and dried. ATP counts (RLU) were measured with Hygiena SystemSURE Plus ATP monitoring system. Paired T-Test was done on NCSS to analyze the results.
Results: The mean of the pre-intervention group was measured at 8 RLU, which is considered clean under the Hygiena standard. The mean for the post-intervention group was measured at 67 RLU, which is considered a fail on cleanliness under the Hygiena standard. This shows that the manufacturer instructions on washing the beeswax wrap does not effectively clean the beeswax wrap. Statistical analysis show p-value is 0.000, therefore one can conclude there is a statistically significance difference in the mean ATP count between pre-intervention and post-intervention beeswax wrap samples.
Conclusion: Results show that some food residue remained on the wrap after washing. This means manufacturer instructions cannot effectively clean beeswax wrap. Therefore, it is recommended that manufactures should put a label on their packaging to let their customers know that the wrap can’t be thoroughly cleaned, and certain foods should be avoided for its use. During its use, the wraps should be labeled for the specific category of food it is used for. BCCDC can also use this result to add into the reusable container guideline., Peer reviewed, Peer-reviewed article, Published, Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2019., Food wrap, Beeswax wrap, Cross contamination, Dishwashing, Food safety
Background: Sous vide cooking is popular method of cooking involving a water bath with immersion circulator or a steam convection oven. This process is also known as low-temperature long-time method (LTLT), where food is held at a lower temperature over extended time for cooking (1). Plastic is the more commonly used medium with sous vide cooking. Glass and silicone are an environmentally alternative to plastic, since they are reusable mediums. These alternative mediums have not been studied and may affect the time to reach pasteurization. The purpose of this experiment is to determine how plastic, silicone, and glass influence time in sous vide cooking of gravy to 56.5°C.
Methods: Four of each medium: plastic, silicone, and glass containing 500 mL of gravy with SmartButton data loggers at 4°C were introduced into a 56.5 °C water bath for 150 minutes. The data loggers recorded the temperature at one minute intervals. The data was used to run a One-Way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) to analyze if there were any statistically significant differences between the three mediums and time, and a Scheffe’s test to compare the mean time of each of the mediums.
Results: There was a difference in time of sous vide cooking for gravy at 56.5°C between the mediums: plastic, glass, silicone. The p-value was 0.00, therefore rejecting Ho and accepting there is a difference in time of sous vide cooking gravy at 56.5°C between the different mediums: plastic, glass, silicone. Comparing the mediums among each other, it showed that there was a difference between glass and silicone, glass and plastic and no significant difference between plastic and silicone medium.
Conclusion: The results indicate that there is a statistically significant difference in time that it took for gravy to reach 56.5°C between the mediums: plastic, silicone, and glass. The mean time for each medium to reach 56.5°C differed; 65 minutes for plastic, 68 minutes for silicone, and 129 minutes for glass. This shows that a more environmentally friendly alternative to plastic sous vide pouches can be used. Silicone pouches show to be the best alternative, least compromising of the come-up and pasteurization time. If sous vide users opt to use glass, the come-up time almost doubles in time., Peer reviewed, Peer-reviewed article, Published, Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2019., Public health, Sous vide, Gravy, Silicone, Glass, Plastic, SmartButton
Background: Food Distribution Organizations (FDOs), such as food banks, community kitchen, and meal programs, are essential resources to relieve food insecurity in British Columbia. FDOs collect, process, store, and distribute donated food to the needy population. The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) published the Guidelines for Food Distribution Organizations with Grocery or Meal Programs in 2016 with purpose to educate FDOs on food safety and assist with their operational challenges. The guideline plays an important role especially for food bank operators who are not required to take food safety training. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the extent of the guideline use among food bank operators and assess its usefulness. This study also determines if the guideline use had a statistically significant association with higher knowledge in food safety.
Methods: Self-administered electronic surveys created on Survey Monkey Canada were distributed to Foodbanks BC members by weekly online newsletter and email. The survey assessed the extent of usage of the guideline, current issues and knowledge level of FDO operators in BC. The survey response was collected over three weeks long period.
Results: Among 37 FDO operators participated, 30 completed the survey. The majority of the operators was from BC, worked in food banks and had longer than 5 years long experience. 47% of participants did not know about the guideline. Among the guideline users, 83% agreed or strongly agreed that the guideline was useful. While retailers and groceries were the most common food donors, caterers and restaurants were the least common. Assessing each food item for safety was the most commonly encountered issue for FDOs. The least commonly encountered issue was having another FDO taking our donation from the donor. There was no association between the guideline use and level of food safety knowledge according to the Chi-square test (p= 0.89). There was no association between the years of experience and level of food safety knowledge (p= 0.23). The results did not show a statistically significant result potentially due to small sample size (n= 30).
Conclusion: The results indicated while the guideline is useful among the users, the extent of its use should be widened. There is a need to improve accessibility of the guideline by modifying the content to address current practical issues, formatting it in a more user-friendly way, and utilizing better distribution means., Peer reviewed, Peer-reviewed article, Published, Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2019., Food safety, Food distribution organization, Food bank, Food donation, Food donation guideline
Background: Rates of foodborne illness linked to consumers misinterpreting, or lack of proper cooking instructions on frozen food products continue to rise. With many recalls and outbreaks in the recent years surrounding frozen breaded chicken (FBC) products due to consumers not adequately cooking products and in turn becoming ill. However, it is not just frozen breaded chicken to blame, frozen microwavable entrees have also contributed to this problem. Therefore, the purpose of this project was to determine what was actually being displayed on the packaging of these frozen foods. Identifying whether or not frozen food products have clear, specific and consistent cooking instructions for the consumers is critical in identifying the risk of cooking and eating these foods.
Methods: Secondary data was obtained from the British Columbia Centers for Disease Control (BCCDC) of cooking instructions on FBC packaging, and primary data was collected through visiting grocery stores in the Metro Vancouver area by surveying cooking instructions on frozen microwavable entrees packaging. Four categories of data were assessed, 2008 and 2018 raw FBC products, 2018 cooked FBC, and 2019 frozen microwavable entrees. Parameters such as inclusion of internal cooking temperature, thermometer usage, microwave instructions, and additional food safety handling was gathered. Chi-square tests were used to analyze the results with the statistical software NCSS12.
Results: Of all categories surveyed 87.1% (n=122) said to cook the product to a minimum of 74°C, and 12.9% (n=18) did not state anything. 2018 raw FBC always stated an internal cooking temperature (100%), whereas 58% of the 2008 raw FBC stated an internal temperature and 89% of both the 2019 frozen entrees and 2018 cooked FBC did. Out of all 140 products surveyed across categories only 8% stated to use a thermometer when cooking to ensure food has reached proper internal temperature. The frequency of categories to display food safety was as follows, the 2018 raw FBC (82%) and the 2008 raw FBC (79%), followed by the 2019 frozen entrees (42%) and the 2018 cooked FBC (21%). For the microwave instructions the frozen entrees almost always stated this (81%), whereas the 2008 and 2018 raw FBC both never stated to use a microwave (0%). There was a significant association between products and the inclusion of the statement of internal cooking temperature and thermometer usage. This was based on the food product category itself, frozen breaded chicken or frozen entrees, or based on manufacturer of the product.
Conclusions: It was evident that the major gap lies in the consistency of instructions. Almost every manufacturer had their cooking instructions presented differently, which could in turn confuse the consumer. Instructions also rarely stated to use a thermometer to check the internal temperature, although almost always stated a specific temperature to cook to. A small portion of manufactures are diligent about displaying all necessary information to the consumer such as, Kraft, Conagra foods, and Olymel which adequately met all parameters assessed. In order to fix the gaps of inconsistency of instructions this information can be used as educational tools by the BCCDC to inform customers on what to look for in cooking instructions of frozen, Peer reviewed, Peer-reviewed article, Published, Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Health, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 2019., RTE, Cooking instructions, Frozen breaded chicken, Frozen microwavable entrees, Foodborne illness, Food safety, Public health, Thoroughness