The Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC) published its analysis of what food tend to be linked to certain bacteria.

Salmonella illnesses came from a wide variety of foods. Salmonella illnesses were broadly attributed across multiple food categories. More than 75% of Salmonella illnesses were attributed to seven food categories: Seeded Vegetables (such as tomatoes), Eggs, Chicken, Other Produce (such as nuts), Pork, Beef, and Fruits.

E. coli O157 illnesses were most often linked to Vegetable Row Crops (such as leafy greens) and Beef. More than 75% of illnesses were linked to these two categories.

Listeria monocytogenes illnesses were most often linked to Fruits and Dairy products. More than 75% of illnesses were attributed to these two categories, but the rarity of Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks makes these estimates less reliable than those for other pathogens.

Non-Dairy Campylobacter illnesses were most often linked to Chicken. Almost 80% of non-Dairy foodborne illnesses were attributed to Chicken, Other Seafood (such as shellfish), Seeded Vegetables, Vegetable Row Crops, and Other Meat/Poultry (such as lamb or duck). An attribution percentage for Dairy is not included because, among other reasons, most foodborne Campylobacter outbreaks were associated with unpasteurized milk, which is not widely consumed, and we think these over-represent Dairy as a source of Campylobacter illness. Removing Dairy illnesses from the calculations highlights important sources of illness from widely consumed foods, such as Chicken.

Here is the full report.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an Import Alert over hepatitis A found in raw, frozen tuna from Sustainable Seafood Co. Ltd. in Can Lam, Vietnam, and P.T. Deho Canning Company in North Sulawesi, Indonesia.

“FDA believes that hepatitis A virus-contaminated seafood is a result of insanitary conditions in the production or packing facilities, e.g., poor worker hygiene, inadequate worker sanitation facilities, and/or contaminated water supply,” FDA said in the alert.

The FDA found hepatitis A virus in frozen raw tuna samples from the two suppliers in May 2017, but is issuing the Import Alert now “to address seafood products being introduced for entry based on two recent outbreaks,” Jason Stratchman-Miller, a spokesperson for FDA, told SeafoodSource.

In May, Hilo Fish Company in Hawaii recalled tuna sourced from Sustainable Seafood Company and Santa Cruz Seafood, Inc. that tested positive for the hepatitis A virus. The tuna had been distributed to several U.S. grocery stores.

“The current recall resulted from follow-up after the Hawaii Department of Health notified the FDA of a frozen tuna sample, sourced from PT Deho Canning Co., which tested positive for hepatitis A on 1 May, 2017,” FDA said in a statement in May.

In the new Import Alert, FDA explained that hepatitis A virus is excreted in feces of infected people “and can produce clinical disease when susceptible individuals consume contaminated water or foods.” 

As a result of the alert, FDA “may detain, without physical examination, shipments of fresh or frozen raw seafood” from Sustainable Seafood Co. and P.T. Deho Canning Company, the regulator said.

“Hepatitis A virus is primarily transmitted by person-to-person contact through fecal contamination, but common-source epidemics from contaminated food and water also occur,” FDA said in the alert. “Poor sanitation and crowding facilitate transmission. Contamination of foods by infected workers in food production facilities/processing plants and restaurants is common.”

So, where did the romaine lettuce come from?

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with provincial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada to investigate an outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7. The outbreak involves five provinces and is linked to romaine lettuce. At this time, there are no product recalls associated with this outbreak. The outbreak investigation is ongoing, and this public health notice will be updated on a regular basis as the investigation evolves

Currently, there are 30 cases of E. coli O157 illness under investigation in five provinces: Ontario, (6), Quebec (5), New Brunswick (5), Nova Scotia (1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (13). Individuals became sick in November and December 2017. Twelve individuals have been hospitalized. One individual has died. Individuals who became ill are between the ages of 4 and 80 years of age. The majority of cases (70%) are female.

So, where did the romaine lettuce come from?

Jim Sinnema, owner of Old Silvana Creamery, issued a recall today for the milk because samples of it have tested positive for E. coli.  The milk has best-by dates between Dec. 15 and Dec. 23.

“The recall includes both of the firm’s retail raw milk brands, ‘Jim’s Jerseys’ and ‘Guernsey Goodness,’ which were bottled in half-gallon and one-gallon plastic jugs with orange or green caps. Recalled product was sold at the on-farm store, directly to private customers, and at retail stores in Western Washington,” according to the recall notice.

“Consumers who have purchased Old Silvana Creamery retail raw milk with ‘Best By dates’ of  12/15 through 12/23 are urged not to drink the product and return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 425-268-7961.”

Anyone who has consumed any of the recalled milk and developed symptoms of E. coli infection should immediately seek medical attention and tell their doctors about the possible exposure. Specific tests are required to diagnose E. coli infections. No illnesses had been reported as of today, according to a spokesman with the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA).

However, it can take up to 10 days for symptoms of E. coli infection to develop. Consequently, anyone who has consumed the recalled raw milk or served it to their children or others should watch for symptoms in the coming days.

Symptoms often begin slowly with mild belly pain or non-bloody diarrhea that worsens over several days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other symptoms can include severe stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting. If there is fever, it usually is not very high, less than 101 degrees F.

A life-threatening complication — hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) — impacting the kidneys can occur, especially in children. It develops an average of seven days after the first symptoms appear, often when the diarrhea is improving.

This is at least the third time Old Silvana Creamery has recalled its raw milk because of contamination issues. In January 2015 the dairy recalled unpasteurized milk when Campylobacter bacteria were detected. In 2013 the dairy recalled raw milk because of antibiotic residues, according to records at WSDA.

“Old Silvana Creamery LLC and WSDA continue to work jointly to address the source of the problem while conducting additional product testing through the WSDA laboratory as well as Old Silvana Creamery’s independent laboratory,” according to the dairy’s recall notice.

It is within the law to sell unpasteurized milk and other dairy products at retail locations, according to Washington state law, but state health officials caution that it carries significant risks, especially for young children, the elderly, pregnant and nursing women and anyone with a suppressed immune system, such as cancer patients.

State law requires unpasteurized, raw milk and raw dairy products to carry warning labels.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with provincial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada to investigate an outbreak of Escherichia coli O157, commonly called E. coli. The outbreak involves three provinces and is linked to romaine lettuce. At this time, there are no product recalls associated with this outbreak. The outbreak investigation is ongoing, and this public health notice will be updated on a regular basis as the investigation evolves.

Currently, there are 21 cases of E. coli O157 illness under investigation in three provinces: Quebec (3), New Brunswick (5), and Newfoundland and Labrador (13). Individuals became sick in November 2017. Ten individuals have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Individuals who became ill are between the ages of 5 and 72 years of age. The majority of cases (71%) are female.

Many individuals who became sick reported eating romaine lettuce before their illnesses occurred. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is working with public health officials to determine the source of the romaine lettuce that ill individuals were exposed to.

Food Safety News reports that the investigation continues, but initial test results show turkey was the source of Salmonella that sickened employees at a pre-Thanksgiving dinner at a Georgia tire factory.

At least five people had to be hospitalized and lab tests confirmed dozens were suffering from Salmonella infections after the Nov. 14-15 catered meals at the Toyo Tire production plant in White, GA. Angelo’s New York Style Pizza and Bistro of Cartersville, GA, catered the two-day event, which included turkey.

“Preliminary findings implicate catered turkeys as the cause of a recent Salmonella outbreak among employees attending an event at Toyo Tire,” according to Logan Boss, risk communicator for the Georgia Department of Health.

The Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest Health District continues the investigation to confirm the test results. Representatives of the department interviewed about 1,800 Toyo Tire employees after the department started getting reports of illnesses.

Angelo Nizzari, owner of the implicated restaurant, issued a statement in late November through his attorney John T. Mroczko. Nizzari said he was heartbroken about the incident and offered his sympathy to those sickened in the outbreak.

The restaurant closed temporarily for cleaning. Health department officials inspected it and Angelo’s reopened Nov. 22. Employees of the restaurant received “rigorous training in safe food handling from Bartow County Health Department environmental health specialists,” the department reported.

The Kroger Company has recalled Comforts FOR BABY Purified Water with Fluoride Added 1 GAL (3.78 L) with sell by dates from 4/26/2018 to 10/10/2018, after receiving complaints about mold in the product. Testing by Kroger has identified the mold as Talaromyces penicillium. The water is sold in clear containers, but the mold may not be visible with the naked eye.

The FDA is issuing this consumer alert to reach parents and caregivers who may have bought the product, which is intended for infants.

The products were distributed to Kroger stores, including Food 4 Less, Jay C, Jay C Food Plus, Kroger, Kroger Marketplace, Owen’s, Payless Super Market, and Ruler stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.  The Kroger Company has instructed its stores to remove the recalled products.

The recalled products are labeled with the UPC Code 0 41260 37597 2 and the plant code 51-4140. The labels also state DISTRIBUTED BY THE KROGER CO, CINCINNATI, OHIO 45202.

The recalled products have sell by dates from 4/26/2018 – 10/10/2018.

If you have purchased this water return it to the store for a refund.

In general, inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in some people. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash. Allergic reactions to molds are common and can happen immediately after touching or inhaling mold spores, or later. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are also allergic to mold. Molds can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs, even in people who aren’t allergic to them.

Drinking water or other products contaminated with Talaromyces penicillium may affect infants who have HIV or other conditions that cause immune compromise. Consult your health care professional if you believe your infant may be affected.

The Washington State Department of Health announced today a Salmonella outbreak involving pre-cut watermelon, cantaloupe, or fruit mixes containing watermelon or cantaloupe in both Washington and Oregon.

People who purchased these products on or about Oct. 25 up to Dec. 1 from QFC, Fred Meyer, Rosauers, and Central Market in Washington and Oregon are urged not to eat the fruit and throw it away.

Eighteen people from King (5), Mason (1), Pierce (1), Snohomish (7), Thurston (1), and Yakima (1) counties and two individuals from Oregon have been diagnosed with Salmonella.

Lab results identified Salmonella Newport as the cause.

In Minnesota, the Bemidji Pioneer reported two Burger King restaurants in Bemidji temporarily closed Thursday after more than two dozen people contracted salmonella after eating there.  Doug Schultz, a spokesperson with the Minnesota Department of Health, said the department has confirmed 27 cases, and received reports of four more probable cases.

Both Burger King sites voluntarily decided to close Thursday. Most cases were identified in September, he said, but the victims may have been exposed to salmonella before then. Two additional cases came to light this week, prompting the closures.

 

Penn State Eberly College of Science have found house flies can carry Salmonella, E. coli and even bacteria which can lead to stomach ulcers and fatal sepsis. The research, published in Scientific Reports, says flies may have been overlooked by public health officials as a source of disease outbreaks.

The paper found that fly’s legs transferred most of the microbial organisms from one surface to another, suggesting even a brief step onto food could leave behind bacteria. Flies in urban areas were found to carry more bacteria than rural flies, with the scientists suggesting avoiding city parks for picnics and, instead, eating food in more rural locations.

”People had some notion that there were pathogens that were carried by flies, but had no idea of the extent to which this is true and the extent to which they are transferred.” said Dr. Donald Bryant, Professor of Biotechnology at Penn State University.

Maksud Khan of Satna, Madhya Pradesh in India, arrived at the hospital experiencing stomach pains that doctors presumed was food poisoning, but an endoscopy revealed the cause to be metal objects.

Those objects — 236 coins, 100 nails, dozens of razor blades, a 6-inch piece of a rusted iron shackle, four needles, and a few glasses pieces — were found in the man’s stomach.

Khan’s relatives said he was suffering from depression, which may have triggered the habit.

BACKGROUND

In 2016, a multijurisdictional team investigated an outbreak of Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC) serogroup O121 and O26 infections linked to contaminated flour from a large domestic producer.

METHODS

A case was defined as infection with an outbreak strain in which illness onset was between December 21, 2015, and September 5, 2016. To identify exposures associated with the outbreak, outbreak cases were compared with non-STEC enteric illness cases, matched according to age group, sex, and state of residence. Products suspected to be related to the outbreak were collected for STEC testing, and a common point of contamination was sought. Whole-genome sequencing was performed on isolates from clinical and food samples.

RESULTS

A total of 56 cases were identified in 24 states. Univariable exact conditional logistic-regression models of 22 matched sets showed that infection was significantly associated with the use of one brand of flour (odds ratio, 21.04; 95% confidence interval [CI], 4.69 to 94.37) and with tasting unbaked homemade dough or batter (odds ratio, 36.02; 95% CI, 4.63 to 280.17). Laboratory testing isolated the outbreak strains from flour samples, and whole-genome sequencing revealed that the isolates from clinical and food samples were closely related to one another genetically. Trace-back investigation identified a common flour-production facility.

CONCLUSIONS

This investigation implicated raw flour as the source of an outbreak of STEC infections. Although it is a low-moisture food, raw flour can be a vehicle for foodborne pathogens.

Samuel J. Crowe, Ph.D., M.P.H., Lyndsay Bottichio, M.P.H., Lauren N. Shade, B.S., Brooke M. Whitney, Ph.D., Nereida Corral, M.P.H., Beth Melius, M.N., M.P.H., Katherine D. Arends, M.P.H., Danielle Donovan, M.S., Jolianne Stone, M.P.H., Krisandra Allen, M.P.H., Jessica Rosner, M.P.H., Jennifer Beal, M.P.H., Laura Whitlock, M.P.H., Anna Blackstock, Ph.D., June Wetherington, M.S., Lisa A. Newberry, Ph.D., Morgan N. Schroeder, M.P.H., Darlene Wagner, Ph.D., Eija Trees, D.V.M., Ph.D., Stelios Viazis, Ph.D., Matthew E. Wise, M.P.H., Ph.D., and Karen P. Neil, M.D., M.S.P.H. N Engl J Med 2017; 377:2036-2043November 23, 2017DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1615910