The Times Union reported today that Death Wish Coffee is recalling its Nitro Cold Brew because there is a risk of Clostridium botulinum (C. botulinum) or botulism, a serious toxin that causes weakness of the muscles and difficulty breathing.

The coffee is being pulled from shelves at Price Chopper/Market 32, Healthy Living Market & Café, and independent retailers at the behest of Death Wish Coffee.

Nitrogen-infused coffee is a fairly new process with few federal standards and regulations through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

According to the Center for Disease Control, C. botulinum or botulism is a rare but serious illness caused by a toxin that attacks the body’s nerves. Symptoms of botulism usually start with weakness of the muscles that control the eyes, face, mouth, and throat. This weakness may spread to the neck, arms, torso, and legs. Botulism also can weaken the muscles involved in breathing, which can lead to difficulty breathing and even death.

The CDPH Food and Drug Branch (FDB) and Sacramento County Environmental Management Department (SCEMD) recently investigated an outbreak of botulism linked to the consumption of ready to eat nacho cheese purchased at Valley Oak Food and Fuel in Walnut Grove, California. The nacho cheese was applied to chips by customers from a counter-top, self-service warming and dispensing unit supplied by the cheese manufacturer. These types of warming and dispensing units are typically designed to maintain the cheese at approximately 140 deg. F.

As of May 31, 2017, a total of 10 case-patients were laboratory-confirmed with C. botulinum toxin type A. All patients were hospitalized; nine were in an intensive care unit, seven required ventilator support, and one died. Leftover nacho cheese sauce collected from the gas station yielded C. botulinum toxin type A bacteria and toxin. Due to the extensive distribution of the same lot code of nacho cheese throughout the United States without additional botulism cases, internal testing conducted by the Wisconsin manufacturer of the nacho cheese, and only a single bag of cheese linked to human illness, FDB and SCEMD suspect the nacho cheese was likely contaminated at the retail location. A few items in particular were noted during the investigation that was concerning:

The 5 pound bag of nacho cheese collected at the retail location on May 5, 2017 was being used past the “Best By” date.

Records were not being maintained by the gas station employees indicating when the bag of nacho cheese was originally added to the warming unit.

The plastic tool designed to open the bags of cheese (provided with the nacho cheese warming and dispensing unit) was not being used by employees. 
FDB is aware that these types of nacho cheese warming and dispensing units are in use at many retail locations throughout California. These units generally provide safe, ready-to-eat foods without significant input from employees at each location. FDB would like to provide the following guidance regarding the use of nacho cheese warming and dispensing units in retail locations.

1.  Management and employees should follow the instructions for each type of machine and product they use. Instructions for use may be included on the packaging of the 
bagged nacho cheese or included on the interior panels of the warming and dispensing unit. These directions may include pre-heating and the length of time a product can remain at elevated holding temperatures. In some cases the product may only be held above 135 deg. F. for 4-6 days.

2.  Management should ensure that records are maintained indicating when bagged cheese was last changed. This may be accomplished by writing the date the product was added to the warmer on the bag itself.

3.  Management should ensure that the warming and dispensing units are not turned off at night or plugged into a timer. These types of machines need to remain “on” at all times. This will ensure that appropriate temperatures are maintained in this ready-to- eat food.

4.  Management and employees should ensure that any supplied tools for opening the bags of cheese are used per the product directions. These devices need to be washed, rinsed, and sanitized between uses. In some cases these opening tools are only supplied with warming and dispensing unit.

5.  Management and employees should verify on a regular basis that the internal temperature of the hot held cheese product is being held at the proper temperature. The internal temperature can be measured by placing the cheese product in a cup with a thermometer to verify the product is maintaining the minimum hot holding temperature of 135 deg. F as required under the California Retail Food Code Section 113996 or hot holding temperature as recommended by the manufacturer.

CDPH hopes this information can be shared widely to ensure retail food facilities have current information and are taking appropriate measures to keep our food supply safe. Thank you for your consideration and ongoing collaboration with our Department.

A nationwide baked beans recall has been issued for three varieties of Bush’s Best Baked Beans because a canning defect could allow harmful bacterial growth.

Bush is voluntarily recalling certain 28 ounce cans of Brown Sugar Hickory Baked Beans, Country Style Baked Beans and Original Baked Beans because cans may have defective side seams. These side seam defects may affect can integrity and may cause the cans to leak or allow for harmful bacteria to grow inside the product. Bush Brothers found the issue as part of their quality control inspections.

The recalled products were distributed nationwide in retail stores.

Bush’s Best Baked Beans Recall Affected Products:

[July 22, 2017]: BUSH’S BEST BROWN SUGAR HICKORY BAKED BEANS Voluntary Recall – 28 ounce with UPC of 0 39400 01977 0 and Lot Codes 6097S GF and 6097P GF with Best By date of Jun 2019 
[July 22, 2017]: BUSH’S BEST COUNTRY STYLE BAKED BEANS Voluntary Recall – 28 ounce with UPC of 0 39400 01974 9 and Lot Codes 6077S RR, 6077P RR, 6087S RR, 6087P RR with the Best By date of Jun 2019 
[July 22, 2017]: BUSH’S BEST ORIGINAL BAKED BEANS Voluntary Recall  28 ounce with UPC of 0 39400 01614 4 and Lot Codes 6057S LC and 6057P LC with the Best By date of Jun 2019 
This event only affects the flavors and lot codes below. Lot codes are printed on the bottom of the can.

You should not use these products even if the beans do not look or smell spoiled. No illnesses or other adverse consequences have been reported to date in connection with this product.

The recall was initiated after product leakage from the side seams of cans of the above product was detected. Subsequent investigation indicated a temporary quality issue from Bush’s can supplier caused the problem. The problem was corrected and no other product is affected.

The botulism outbreak was reported to have come from nacho cheese sauce sold at the Valley Oak Food and Fuel gas station in Walnut Grove.

37-year-old Martin Galindo from Antioch also died in a hospital in San Francisco on Thursday night after contracting what his family said is a rare case of botulism. ABC7 News reported on Friday that Martin Galindo contracted botulism from nacho cheese bought at the gas station and was being treated in San Francisco.

Inspection reports for the Valley Oaks Food and Fuel station show that on May 6 and 7, officers impounded bags of Montecito nacho cheese tortilla chips and closed the facility. On May 8, health officers from the state Department of Health impounded four bags of Gehls cheese sauce and reopened the store to sell prepackaged food items only.

Botulism is a rare but potentially life-threatening bacterial illness. Clostridium botulinum bacteria grows on food and produces toxins that, when ingested, cause paralysis. Botulism poisoning is extremely rare, but so dangerous that each case is considered a public health emergency. Studies have shown that there is a 35 to 65 percent chance of death for patients who are not treated immediately and effectively with botulism antitoxin.

Infant botulism is the most common form of botulism. See below for symptoms specific to infant botulism.

Botulism neurotoxins prevent neurotransmitters from functioning properly. This means that they inhibit motor control. As botulism progresses, the patient experiences paralysis from top to bottom, starting with the eyes and face and moving to the throat, chest, and extremities. When paralysis reaches the chest, death from inability to breathe results unless the patient is ventilated. Symptoms of botulism generally appear 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food.  With treatment, illness lasts from 1 to 10 days.  Full recovery from botulism poisoning can take weeks to months.  Some people never fully recover.

In general, symptoms of botulism poisoning include the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Double vision
  • Dry skin, mouth and throat
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Slurred speech
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Body Aches
  • Paralysis
  • Lack of fever

If found early, botulism can be treated with an antitoxin that blocks circulation of the toxin in the bloodstream. This prevents the patient’s case from worsening, but recovery still takes several weeks.

On victim, Lavinia Kelly, who is turning 33 today, was driving home from work as an inventory manager on April 21 when she pulled over at the gas station’s small market for a snack. She picked up a bag of Doritos chips and drizzled them with nacho-cheese sauce, said her partner, Ricky Torres.

Within hours, the usually upbeat mother of three felt fatigued, he said. The next morning she complained of double vision and went to Sutter Medical Center, but was sent home hours later. By that evening, she was vomiting and having difficulty breathing, Torres said. He drove her back to the emergency room.

The next day, doctors ventilated Kelly and admitted her to the intensive care unit, where she’s been since. The neurotoxins have affected her motor control to the point that she can’t open her eyes, Torres said. When Kelly wants to see who has entered the room, he and other loved ones lift her eyelids open, sometimes using tape to keep them up.

According to the lawsuit we filed yesterday, Lavinia Kelly remains partially paralyzed and on a ventilator as her family and friends wonder whether this will be her last birthday. She had no way of knowing when she stopped for a snack of chips and cheese sauce on the way home from work on April 21 that she would be admitted to an intensive care unit less than 48 hours later.

“She has remained in intensive care ever since, unable to move much, speak, breathe on her own, or open her eyes. Family members must pull her eyelids up to enable her to see at all,” according to the civil lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of California in Sacramento County.

“Lavinia Kelly experiences significant pain all over her body constantly. She is receiving methadone and Neurontin for pain control. (Her) medical condition is poor, and her prognosis uncertain.”

Botulism, which can be fatal can be caused by eating foods that have been contaminated with botulinum toxin, often homemade items that have been improperly canned, preserved, or fermented, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Symptoms can include double vision, slurred speech and muscle weakness. If left untreated, botulism can cause paralysis of the respiratory and other muscles.

Ellen Garrison of the Sacramento Bee reports today that the Sacramento County Public Health officials are investigating the Valley Oak Food and Fuel gas station in Walnut Grove after several customers who ate prepared food from the station contracted botulism.

A county press release said the department is collaborating with the state Department of Public Health and the county Department of Environmental Management, which has the authority to stop the sale of prepared food at the gas station.

Botulism is a rare and potentially fatal type of food poisoning caused by a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum, according to the Mayo Clinic. Symptoms include double vision, drooping eyelids, difficulty swallowing, slurred speech, dry mouth and muscle weakness. The county is asking that anyone experiencing these symptoms after eating prepared food at the gas station from April 23 through Sunday contact their healthcare provider.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) warns against consuming local deer- antler tea due to botulism risk. Public Health has recently identified one confirmed and one suspected case of botulism occurring in adults. Preliminary investigation suggests that these cases may be associated with the consumption of a deer-antler tea product (photos attached) that was acquired during the month of March. Pending further investigation, Public Health recommends that all persons who purchased product similar to this (i.e., deer-antler tea provided in a sealed pouch similar to the attached photographs) during the month of March, immediately dispose of it.

Botulism is a rare but serious illness caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium. Classic symptoms of botulism include double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing and weakness. These are all symptoms of muscle paralysis caused by the bacterial toxin. If untreated, these symptoms may progress to cause paralysis of the respiratory muscles, arms, legs, and trunk. In foodborne botulism, symptoms generally begin 18 to 36 hours after eating a contaminated food, but they can occur as early as 6 hours or as late as 10 days. The respiratory failure and paralysis that occur with severe botulism may require a patient to be on a breathing machine (ventilator) for weeks or months, plus intensive medical and nursing care. The paralysis slowly improves.

People experiencing symptoms of botulism, who have recently drunk the tea, should seek immediate medical attention.

8 x 10 in. (1)Arcadia Trading Inc. of Brooklyn, NY, is recalling 34 cartons of Lizard Fish because they have the potential to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium which can cause life-threatening illness or death.  Consumers are warned not to consume the product even if it does not look or smell spoiled.

Botulism, a potentially fatal form of food poisoning, can cause the following symptoms: general weakness, dizziness, double- vision, and trouble with speaking or swallowing.  Difficulty in breathing, weakness of other muscles, abdominal distension and constipation may also be common symptoms.  People experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention.

The Lizard Fish was distributed nationwide to supermarkets between 2/11/2014 and 7/8/2016.

The product was imported from Vietnam and is packed in uncoded bulk 15 kg boxes.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

The potential for the contamination was noted by an FDA Investigator during a follow-up inspection.  Subsequent FDA analysis of the product confirmed that the fish was not properly eviscerated prior to processing.  The company has ceased distribution of the product.

I was “asked” by a New York state court judge on Friday to be in court the next Tuesday (tomorrow) on a hepatitis A case that has been pending for some time, so when checking the weather for for the city, this recall notice popped up:

generic-dried-yellow-fishA Brooklyn import-export company is recalling an undisclosed amount of dried yellow fish after a sample tested positive for the bacterium that causes botulism poisoning.

The notice on the FDA’s website did not indicate whether the recalled dried yellow fish was sold whole or in pieces.

The fish is a product of China, but was sold in New York City retail stores in unlabeled bulk boxes that do not have any identifying marks or traceability codes, according to the recall notice on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website.

“Consumers who have purchased dried fish are advised not to eat it, but should return it to the place of purchase. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 718-567-3339,” the recall notice states.

The Clostridium botulinum contamination was found in the dried yellow fish distributed by WD Import and Export Inc. in Brooklyn when staff from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Food Inspection program collected a random sample for testing.

“Subsequent analysis of the product by Food Laboratory personnel confirmed that the fish was not properly eviscerated prior to processing,” according to the recall notice.

Clostridium botulinum can cause botulism, a potentially fatal form of food poisoning. Symptoms include general weakness, dizziness, blurred or double-vision and trouble with speaking or swallowing. Difficulty in breathing, weakness of other muscles, abdominal distention and constipation are also common symptoms. People experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention.

Hmm, seems a bit too close to E. coli for comfort.

ECOLA Seafoods Inc. of Cannon Beach, Oregon is voluntarily recalling ALL canned salmon and tuna with any code starting with “OC” because it has the potential to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium which can cause life-threatening illness or death. Consumers are warned not to use the product even if it does not look or smell spoiled.

Botulism, a potentially fatal form of food poisoning, can cause the following symptoms: general weakness, dizziness, double-vision and trouble with speaking or swallowing. Difficulty in breathing, weakness of other muscles, abdominal distension and constipation may also be common symptoms. People experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention.

All products were distributed to consumers in Oregon.The last date of distribution of recalled products was September 2015 (with an expiration date of September 2018.) Affected production codes include any codes starting with “OC”. The code can be found on either the bottom or on top of the can. Recalled products are packaged in metal cans with net weight 7.5 oz.

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