You really have to wonder about Republicans. They always say they hate those damn ambulance chasing trial lawyers, but, short of sending flowers, defunding food safety is the best gift ever. Cutting the budgets for the CDC, FDA and FSIS will only mean more food poisoning outbreaks, more illnesses, more lawsuits, and more money in my pocket – to give to Democrats who want to drive foodborne illness down. Here are this weeks outbreaks:
As of March 22, 2011, 12 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Panama have been reported from Oregon (5 cases), Washington (4 cases), California (2 cases), and Maryland (1 case). Reported dates of illness onset range from February 5, 2011, to February 23, 2011. Ill persons range in age from less than 1-year-old to 68 years old, with a median age of 12 years old. Sixty-six percent are male. Among ill persons, two have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported.
Once in 2009 and again in 2010 and again on March 22, 2011, Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc. voluntarily recalled 4,992 cartons of cantaloupes, because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella Panama. The cantaloupes were distributed through warehouse clubs in Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. See, History of Salmonella Lawsuits and Litigation.
The CDC estimates that over 1 million cases occur annually in the United States, according to a 2011 report. Of these cases, approximately 20,000 result in hospitalization and 378 result in death. This means that Salmonella accounts for almost 30 percent of foodborne illness-related deaths each year. Complication like Reactive Arthritis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome may occur.
As of March 22, 2011, 14 persons infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli serotype O157:H7 have been reported from Maryland (3 cases), New Jersey (2 cases), North Carolina (1 case), Ohio (2 cases) and Pennsylvania (6 cases). Reported dates of illness onset range from January 10, 2011 to February 15, 2011. Ill persons range in age from 1 to 70 years, with a median age of 13.5 years. Seventy-nine percent are male. Among 13 ill persons for whom information is known, 3 or 23%, reported being hospitalized, and none have reported hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure that is associated with E. coli O157:H7 infections. No deaths have been reported.
Once in 1995 and now once again, Palmyra Bologna Company, of Palmyra, PA, is recalling approximately 23,000 pounds of Lebanon bologna products that may be contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7. See, History of E. coli Lawsuits and Litigation.
The CDC estimates that there are about 75,000 E. coli cases every year. At least 2000 Americans are hospitalized, and about 60 die as a direct result of E. coli infection and its complications. Complication like Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, Reactive Arthritis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome may occur.
Damn, even Senator Coburn said we could do away with Food Safety because we have the best lawyers in the world (or something close to that). Hmm, I wonder if I should become a Republican?