Food poisoning researcher up to four spoiled papers

via Wikimedia

The Journal of Food Safety has retracted two papers by a group from Iran over concerns that the work was tainted by problems with peer review and bad data. 

The articles, both of which appeared in 2018, came from the lab of Ebrahim Rahimi, of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tehran. Rahimi, by our count, has now lost four papers for questionable peer review and findings. 

For Rahimi’s article, “Antibiotic resistance properties and genotypic characterization of enterotoxins in the Staphylococcus aureus strains isolated from traditional sweets,” the retraction notice reads: 

The above article from the Journal of Food Safety, published online on November 23, 2018 in Wiley Online Library (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jfs.12573), has been retracted by agreement between the journal Editor‐in‐Chief, Vivian Wu and Wiley Periodicals, Inc. The retraction has been agreed due to evidence indicating that the peer review of this paper was compromised and concerns regarding the accuracy of the content.

The notice for the second article, “Pathogenic Staphylococcus aureus in hospital food samples; prevalence and antimicrobial resistance properties,” is identical. The authors purported to find an alarming amount of drug-resistant bacteria in hospital food: 

Forty‐seven out of 457 (10.28%) hospital food samples harbored S. aureus. Chicken meat (27.02%), meat barbecue (16.12%) and salad (7.14%) were the most commonly contaminated samples. S. aureus strains exhibited the highest levels of resistance against penicillin (70.21%), tetracycline (59.57%) and trimethoprim‐sulfamethoxazole (51.06%). Prevalence of resistance against ceftaroline (25.53%) and chloramphenicol (27.65%) were low. High prevalence of S. aureus in raw and cooked hospital food samples showed insufficiency of cooking time and temperature in the kitchens of hospitals as well as lack of personal hygiene. 

We attempted to contact Rahimi but the email bounced back as undeliverable. Vivian Wu did not respond to our requests for comment.

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