November 2013

ZIP INTERNATIONAL GROUP LLC, 160 Raritan Center Parkway #6, Edison, NJ 08837, is recalling herring fillet in oil (FOSFOREL, ATLANTIKA) 400 gram in plastic packaging due to Listeria contamination.

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

The recalled herring fillet in oil (FOSFOREL, ATLANTIKA) 400 gram in plastic packaging includes best by dates 18/01/2014 (UPC: 4607095500208). The best by date is located on the round side of the packaging and was sold to retail grocery stores in New York State beginning on 11/01/2013 and ending on 11/14/2013. It is a product of Russia.

The recall was initiated after routine sampling by New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets Food Inspectors and subsequent analysis of the product by Food Laboratory personnel found the product to be positive for Listeria monocytogenes.

Flat Creek Farm & Dairy of Swainsboro, GA has recalled 200 pounds of Heavenly Blue cheese, because of potential contamination. As of November 27, 2013 at 11:00am, according to Flat Creek records, all of the purchasers have been notified and more than 90% of the product has been collected or destroyed.

Heavenly Blue was distributed in certain parts of Alabama, Georgia and Florida via and (3) online orders (www.flatcreekdairy.com), which have all been notified. The product is packed in clear plastic and ranges in sizes from 1/2 pound to whole wheels. The recall is specific to product marked with the lot code 130912XHB, which can be found on the front of the package.

The recall was the result of a routine sampling program conducted by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, which revealed that the finished products were contaminated. The company has identified the source of the problem and has eliminated it from future batches.

The product that has been recalled is potentially contaminated with Salmonella enteritidis, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Long-term complications can include severe arthritis.

“Companies have a responsibility to ensure that the food they produce is safe to eat and is made in accordance with federal law,” said Melinda K. Plaisier, FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “When a company continues to produce food that presents a risk for consumers, the FDA will take whatever steps necessary to protect public health.”

Food Safety News reported yesterday that Alfred Louie, Inc., in Bakersfield, CA, has agreed to the terms of a court order not to process or distribute food until it cleans up the unsanitary conditions found by U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspectors.

The company receives, processes, manufactures, prepares, packs, holds and distributes ready-to-eat mung bean and soybean sprouts and wheat flour noodles. The company also packs and distributes various dry, refrigerated and frozen food items, such as flour, nuts, rice, tea and spices received from other manufacturers.

FDA inspections since 2000 have documented numerous deficiencies in Alfred Louie’s processing facility, and laboratory testing by FDA in April and May 2013 revealed Listeria monocytogenes in sprouts and in the company’s facility. FDA repeatedly advised the company and its owners, Gordon and Victor Louie, of the unsanitary conditions at the facility. Under the consent decree approved by Judge Garland E. Burrell, Jr., of the Eastern District of California, the defendants cannot process or distribute food until they demonstrate that their facility and processing equipment are suitable to prevent contamination in the food that they process, prepare, store and handle.

The Packer reported earlier this year that the FDA in a Feb. 21 warning letter to Alfred Louie Inc., Bakersfield, Calif., the FDA cited multiple problems with sanitation found during an inspection of its sprout packing operation Sept. 19-Oct. 10. The letter to owner Gordon Louie said some issues had been resolved, but said others still needed to be addressed.

The FDA also wants Louie to provide documentation showing what he has done to correct problems.

“I’m really confused about why they sent this warning letter,” Louie said Feb. 25. “We did 85% of what they wanted at the time. I guess they want photos or something.”

The warning letter mentioned numerous sanitary concerns, including employees eating and packing sprouts with bare hands, failure to clean machines and food contact surfaces between mung bean sprout and soybean sprout packing, standing water on the floors, rodent gnaw holes and dropping, live flies and a dead mouse in the packing and storage areas, and condensation dripping on to exposed produce.

Public Health Muskegon County is nearing the conclusion of the investigation of an outbreak of Salmonella that has sickened at least 29 people (25 Muskegon County, 4 Ottawa County). Laboratory testing revealed that most cases were caused by Salmonella Enteritidis, a common type of Salmonella associated most often with eggs and poultry. Those sickened had in common a history of consuming meals containing chicken and/or lettuce at Pints and Quarts Pub and Grill or C.F. Prime Chophouse & Wine Bar, which share the same kitchen, in Roosevelt Park between Oct. 30 and Nov. 2, 2013.

“We conducted over 100 interviews with food service workers, restaurant patrons, and others,” explained Ken Kraus, Director of Public Health Muskegon County. “We spoke with those who were ill as well as those who did not get sick to gather as much information as possible about what may have happened during this 4-day period.”

In addition to conducting interviews and gathering food consumption histories, all food-borne illness outbreaks include reviewing food handling processes, exploring the possibility of food cross contamination as well as checking food supply sources.

The Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH)’s report of its investigation of an Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak in which 94 ill persons were identified was released today.

According to the report, the source of the outbreak was traced to a single location of Federico’s Mexican Restaurant chain located at 13132 W. Camelback Rd., Litchfield Park, with exposure dates occurring from July 18-30, 2013. A case-control study of 180 persons was performed, and environmental samples were collected on multiple dates.

The findings from the environmental samples and the case-control study both implicated contaminated lettuce as a probable source of the outbreak and vehicle for the E. coli that caused illness.  Midwest Beef supplied beef and produce to Federico’s Mexican Restaurant.

The report further found:

It is notable that the food supplier that provides produce to this restaurant also provides food to other Federico’s locations in Phoenix, as well as other food establishments in the valley. No confirmed cases of illness were recorded from other local restaurants. This point source exposure could have occurred due to contamination at any one of several levels. It could have occurred at the restaurant from an ill food handler, although no employee illnesses were reported from the restaurant during the month of July and this would be a large number of cases to be contracted from a single ill food handler. Cross contamination from another contaminated food source at the restaurant – such as beef, for example – is also a possibility. It is also possible that this restaurant received a small, highly contaminated batch of lettuce that did not go to any other facilities.

Krystle Wagner of the Grand Haven Tribune reports that one restaurant has been named (by itself) while another three restaurants and a grocery store are being protected by the Muskegon County Health Department “at the businesses’ request.”

Earlier this week, 20 Muskegon County and three Ottawa County residents were confirmed as being afflicted with Salmonella, which investigators have determined occurred between October 28 and November 5 based on the victims’ symptoms.  Four more cases were reported Friday, said Ken Kraus, director of Public Health Muskegon County.

Kraus said previously that they are focusing on one Muskegon County restaurant as a likely source because all of the people who contracted the disease ate there. However, he said Friday that investigators are looking into three or four Muskegon County restaurants and a grocery store as the source. Kraus declined to name the establishments at the businesses’ request.

A common ingredient perhaps?

This time in San Francisco.

As of November 19, 2013, a total of 32 persons infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from four states.

The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Arizona (1), California (27), Texas (1), and Washington (3).

32% of ill persons have been hospitalized. Two ill persons have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and no deaths have been reported.

Epidemiologic and traceback investigations conducted by local, state, and federal officials indicate that consumption of two ready-to-eat salads, Field Fresh Chopped Salad with Grilled Chicken and Mexicali Salad with Chili Lime Chicken, produced by Glass Onion Catering and sold at Trader Joe’s grocery store locations, are one likely source of this outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections.

Download Lawsuit Here.

The strain of E. coli that caused nine children to become ill after drinking raw milk obtained from McBee Dairy Farm near Knoxville, Tenn., has been matched to animal waste collected at the dairy, according to a Thursday press release from the Tennessee Health Department.

Five of the nine children, all younger than seven, required hospitalization, and three developed a severe kidney problem known as hemolytic uremic syndrome.

The department’s investigation involved an on-site inspection of the farm (McBee Dairy Farm), interviews of 88 households that purchased milk from the farm, and laboratory analysis of samples and materials to compare bacterial strains. Officials from the Knox County Health Department have also been involved in the investigation and patient outreach efforts.

“This outbreak points out, again, the serious risks associated with drinking unpasteurized or ‘raw’ milk,” said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, M.D., MPH. “While people with stronger immune systems may be able to overcome the bacteria found in raw milk, children, older people, pregnant women and those with health conditions can be seriously harmed by bacteria in non-pasteurized milk products and should not consume them.”

“Milk from the healthiest-appearing cows in the cleanest dairy operations can still contain deadly microorganisms,” said TDH State Epidemiologist Tim Jones, M.D. “Pasteurization, which simply involves heating the milk, kills these microorganisms and leaves the healthy nutrients. Those who consume raw milk are playing Russian roulette with their health; the glass they drink today may not have deadly microorganisms, but the one they drink tomorrow may cause serious health problems or even death.”

The McBee Dairy Farm operates a cowshare program in which the customers own shares in the cows and therefore also own the milk. Under this sort of arrangement, which state officials refer to as a “legal loophole,” the dairy is technically not selling the milk.

The CDC announced as of November 19, 2013, a total of 32 persons infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O157:H7 have been reported from four states.

The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Arizona (1), California (27), Texas (1), and Washington (3).

32% of ill persons have been hospitalized. Two ill persons have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and no deaths have been reported.

The STEC O157:H7 PFGE pattern combination in this outbreak is new to the PulseNet database.

Epidemiologic and traceback investigations conducted by local, state, and federal officials indicate that consumption of two ready-to-eat salads, Field Fresh Chopped Salad with Grilled Chicken and Mexicali Salad with Chili Lime Chicken, produced by Glass Onion Catering and sold at Trader Joe’s grocery store locations, are one likely source of this outbreak of STEC O157:H7 infections.

On November 10, 2013, Glass Onion Catering voluntarily recalled numerous ready-to-eat salads and sandwich wrap products that may be contaminated with STEC O157:H7.

Read the list of recalled products regulated by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

Read the list of recalled products regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).