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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

A Busy Thanksgiving Week at Marler Clark – Lawsuits Salmonella Kosher Chicken Liver, Salmonella Turkish Pine Nuts and Listeria Colorado Cantaloupe

Although the office is closed this coming Thursday, we do have three days to get three lawsuits filed before I need to worry about cooking the turkey.

chickenlivers-label.jpgKosher Chicken Liver: The CDC identified a sustained increase in the number of Salmonella Heidelberg isolates with the outbreak strain reported to PulseNet from New York and New Jersey. From April 1 to November 4, 2011, a total of 157 illnesses were reported in New York (93 cases) and New Jersey (64 cases). Schreiber Processing Corporation, of Maspeth, New York, announced a recall of an undetermined amount of “kosher broiled chicken liver” products.

111711map.jpgTurkish Pine Nuts: A total of 43 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis were reported from 5 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state with the outbreak strain was as follows: Maryland (1), New Jersey (2), New York (28), Pennsylvania (8), and Virginia (4). FDA confirmed the presence of Salmonella on tested Turkish pine nuts distributed by Sunrise Commodities. The company voluntarily recalled four lots of the bulk Turkish pine nuts, totaling more than 21,000 pounds. Each lot was packed in 22-pound boxes. Sunrise Commodities distributed the Turkish pine nuts in bulk to various food vendors in Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Canada.

110211map.jpgListeria Colorado Cantaloupe: A total of 139 persons infected with any of the four outbreak-associated strains of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported to CDC from 28 states. The number of infected persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (1), Arkansas (1), California (2), Colorado (39), Idaho (2), Illinois (3), Indiana (3), Iowa (1), Kansas (10), Louisiana (2), Maryland (1), Missouri (6), Montana (1), Nebraska (6), Nevada (1), New Mexico (15), New York (2), North Dakota (2), Oklahoma (11), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (1), South Dakota (1), Texas (18), Utah (1), Virginia (1), West Virginia (1), Wisconsin (2), and Wyoming (4). Nevada and Utah have reported their first case each since the last CDC update. Among persons for whom information is available, reported illness onset ranges from July 31, 2011 through October 21, 2011. Ages range from <1 to 96 years, with a median age of 77 years. Most ill persons are over 60 years old. Fifty-seven percent of ill persons are female. Among the 134 ill persons with available information on whether they were hospitalized, 132 (99%) were hospitalized. State and local health departments in these and other states are investigating other listeriosis illnesses to determine if they are part of this outbreak. Twenty-nine deaths have been reported: Colorado (8), Indiana (1), Kansas (3), Louisiana (2), Maryland (1), Missouri (2), Nebraska (1), New Mexico (5), New York (2), Oklahoma (1), Texas (2), and Wyoming (1). Among persons who died, ages range from 48 to 96 years, with a median age of 81 years. In addition, one woman pregnant at the time of illness had a miscarriage. Five of the illnesses were related to a pregnancy; two were diagnosed in newborns and three were diagnosed in pregnant women. One miscarriage has been reported. Other outcomes are being monitored. Laboratory testing by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment identified Listeria monocytogenes bacteria on cantaloupes collected from grocery stores and from ill persons’ homes. Product traceback information from Colorado state officials indicated that these cantaloupes also came from Jensen Farms. Laboratory testing by FDA has identified L. monocytogenes outbreak strains in samples from equipment and cantaloupe at the Jensen Farms’ packing facility in Granada, Colorado.