When you still can buy recalled product, that sickened dozens and nearly killed children, at Lucky’s Market on 200 Woodside Rd, Redwood City, CA 94061

Legal note:  It is against federal law for anyone to sell or resell recalled products in any setting, including yard sales and thrift shops.

Of course, this follows on Food Safety News reporting on September 5: “Earlier today, Amazon.com was still selling I.M. Healthy soy nut butter that was recalled in March when federal officials traced an E. coli outbreak to the product.”

And, for anyone who forgot the outbreak , the CDC reported on May 4, 2017, that thirty-two people infected with the outbreak strains of STEC O157:H7 were reported from 12 states. Arizona 4, California 5, Florida 2, Illinois 1, Massachusetts 1, Maryland 1, Missouri 1, New Jersey 1, Oregon 11, Virginia 2, Washington 2 and Wisconsin 1. Twelve people were hospitalized. Nine people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome. Twenty-six (81%) of the 32 ill people in this outbreak were younger than 18 years.

Epidemiological, laboratory, and traceback evidence indicated that I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter was the likely source of this outbreak. Several soy nut products were recalled:

On March 7, 2017, The SoyNut Butter Company recalled all varieties of I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butters and all varieties of I.M. Healthy Granola products. On March 10, 2017, The SoyNut Butter Company expanded its recall to include Dixie Diner’s Club brand Carb Not Beanit Butter.

On March 28, 2017, the FDA issued a Suspension of Food Facility Registration Order to Dixie Dew of Erlanger, Ky., after an inspection revealed insanitary conditions at the firm that could affect the safety of finished products. Dixie Dew is the contract manufacturer for SoyNut Butter Company’s soy nut butter products. The close out of the outbreak investigation does not affect the suspension order.

Dear readers, anyone else find this product for sale at grocery stores, online or other wise?

So, anyone else up at I.M. Healthy, FDA or the US Attorney’s office?

The La Crosse County Health Department is conducting a disease investigation on reported cases of E. coli among La Crosse County residents.

Children under age 5 and the elderly are most susceptible to infection. To date, there have been 8 cases of E. coli O157, a particularly nasty form, which produces a toxin that can be harmful to the body organs such as the kidneys. This form of E. coli is also called STEC- Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli. Of the 8 cases, 6 children have been hospitalized for HUS – Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome.

The Health Department is working with the Wisconsin Division of Health to complete disease investigation to contain the outbreak. At this time, the investigation is ongoing, and a single source of infection or contamination has not be identified.

E. coli is a bacterial infection that is more common during the summer months. Cases can be linked or stand alone. It is transmitted by eating contaminated food or water and by contact with fecal material from infected persons or animals. Person to person spread of bacteria is possible and may occur in family settings, daycare centers and nursing homes.

Signs and symptom of E. coli O157 infection or STEC include severe abdominal cramps and loose and bloody diarrhea. Symptoms occur an average of 3-5 days after swallowing the germ. Some individuals become infected but do not develop symptoms. People do not develop immunity to E. coli.

Parents and caregivers whose children have persistent diarrhea (2-3 days) should consult their child’s doctor, keep the child out of daycare and school and follow extreme hand hygiene to prevent the spread of the bacteria. Testing for E- coli is done by sampling the stool and culturing the bacteria in a laboratory. Testing can take several days for results to be completed.

Precautions for the public at this time consist of:

  • Hand hygiene – hand washing with plenty of soap and water. Special attention should be given to hand washing after using the bathroom, when changing diapers, before preparing food and eating and after coming in from outside activities.
  • Parents need to supervise handwashing for their young children to ensure that hands have been appropriately washed.
  • Parents and caregivers should keep their ill children out of school and daycare until advised to return by their medical provider. The Health Department recommends children stay home until they have been symptom free for 48 hours (2 days).

Persons with E. coli infection usually feel better over a few days without specific treatment. Rest and fluids to prevent and treat dehydration are recommended. For more information on E. coli (O157), STEC or HUS and hand washing techniques, please visit the La Crosse County Health Dept. website at www.lacrossecounty.org/health/

In March 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and several state health departments attributed a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 to I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter manufactured by Dixie Dew and sold at retail on online outlets.[1]

Outbreak investigators collected open containers of SoyNut Butter from the homes of sick people, and unopened containers from retail locations. Containers of SoyNut Butter from lots #243162 and 244161 tested positive for E. coli. Whole genome sequencing revealed that the same strain of E. coli was found in clinical isolates from sick people and containers of I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter. Epidemiologic investigation determined that 32 people ill with this strain of E. coli had been infected by eating or attending a facility that served I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter. This included residents of Arizona (4), California (5), Florida (2), Illinois (1), Massachusetts (1), Maryland (1), Missouri (1), New Jersey (1), Oregon (11), Virginia (2), Washington (2), and Wisconsin (1).

The damage caused by this outbreak has been considerable. Twelve people were hospitalized due to their infection, and nine developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS is a debilitating condition caused by E. coli that is commonly characterized by kidney failure, but may also lead to brain damage, seizures, and diabetes. Children less than 10 years of age are particularly at risk for developing HUS.

I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter has been recalled, but given its long shelf life, it may still be in some people’s homes. This product, therefore, may continue to pose a threat to people’s health.  Several online retailers continued to sell the recalled product at least well into August 2017.

It is not as if in 2017, contaminated nut butters should not have been an issue for manufacturers, suppliers and retailers.

In November 2006, public health officials detected a substantial increase in reports of Salmonella Tennessee isolates. In February 2007, a multistate, case-control study linked the consumption of either Peter Pan or Great Value Peanut Butter brands with infection[2]. 715 people were sickened with 129 hospitalized.  Subsequently the same strain of Salmonella Tennessee was isolated from unopened jars of peanut butter and from environmental samples collected from the processing plant. The product was recalled, and new illness reports declined. Unsanitary conditions at the Sylvester, Georgia, processing plant were known about since 2004. On April 5, 2007, ConAgra announced inadvertent moisture from a leaking roof and sprinkler system could have promoted bacteria growth in the plant. Great Value brand was sold at Walmart stores.[3]

Beginning in November 2008, CDC PulseNet staff noted a small and highly dispersed, multistate cluster of Salmonella Typhimurium isolates. The outbreak consisted of two pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) defined clusters of illness. The first cluster displayed a unique primary enzyme (XbaI) restriction pattern and an uncommon secondary enzyme (BlnI) pattern. The second cluster had two closely related XbaI patterns that were very similar to the first cluster and a BlnI pattern that was indistinguishable from the first cluster. Illnesses continued to be revealed through April 2009, when the last CDC report on the outbreak was published. A total of 714 were sickened, with 171 hospitalized and at least nine deaths. Peanut butter and peanut butter containing products produced by the Peanut Corporation of America plant in Blakely, Georgia, were implicated. King Nut brand peanut butter was sold to institutional settings. Peanut paste was sold to many food companies for use as an ingredient. Implicated peanut products were sold widely throughout the USA, 23 countries and non-U.S. territories.[4]

On September 22, 2012, the CDC announced a multistate outbreak of Salmonella serotype Bredeney linked to Trader Joe’s Valencia Creamy Salted Peanut Butter. Collaborative efforts by local, state and federal public health and regulatory officials traced the product to Sunland, Inc. a Portales, New Mexico company. Sunland issued a recall of multiple nut butters and products made with nut butters. When the outbreak was declared over, a total of 42 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella serotype Bredeney had been reported by 20 states. Among persons for whom information was available, illness onset dates ranged from June 14, 2012 to September 21, 2012. Ill persons ranged in age from less than 1 year to 79 years, with a median age of 7 years. Sixty-one percent of ill persons were children less than 10 years old. Among 36 persons with available information, 10(28%) patients had been hospitalized. The FDA confirmed that environmental samples collected at the Sunland facility had an DNA fingerprint that was indistinguishable to the DNA fingerprint found in outbreak associated patients.[5]

On August 21, 2014, the CDC announced a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Braenderup involving 6 people residing in Connecticut (1), Iowa (1), New Mexico (1), Tennessee (1), and Texas (2). Almond and peanut butter manufactured by nSpired Natural Foods, Inc. was named as the likely source of this outbreak. The outbreak was declared over on October 16, 2014. Illness onset dates range from January 22, 2014 to May 16, 2014. Among 5 ill persons with available information, one person reported being hospitalized. During inspections at the nSpired Natural Food facility in Ashland, Oregon, between January 2014 and August 2014, the FDA isolated Salmonella Braenderup from environmental samples. A search of the PulseNet database linked ill patients to the environmental isolates taken from the nSpired production plant. On August 19, 2014 nSpired Natural Foods issued a voluntary recall of certain lots of almond and peanut butters because of potential contamination with Salmonella. The recalled brands include Arrowhead Mills, MaraNatha, and specific private label almond and peanut butters.[6]

On December 2, 2015 JEM Raw Chocolate LLC (JEM Raw) of Bend, Oregon announced a recall of its full line of all nut butter spreads due to possible contamination with Salmonella. Health authorities at the FDA, Oregon Health Authority, Oregon Department of Agriculture and the CDC had linked illnesses in 13 persons who consumed nut spreads. Dates of onset ranged from July 18, 2015 to November 22, 2015. Cases were reported from California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, North Carolina, New Jersey and Oregon.[7]

Dixie Dew and I.M. Healthly, and the entire supply chain, should have been aware of these outbreaks and taken precautions.

[1]           https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2017/o157h7-03-17/index.html

[2]           A 1996 Salmonella Mbandaka outbreak linked to peanut butter sickened at least 15 in Australia – Aust N Z J Public Health 1998 Scheil

[3]           https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5621a1.htm

[4]           https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm58e0129a1.htm

[5]           https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/bredeney-09-12/

[6]           https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/braenderup-08-14/

[7]           https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/paratyphi-b-12-15/

Food Safety News just reported that

Earlier today, Amazon.com was still selling I.M. Healthy soy nut butter that was recalled in March when federal officials traced an E. coli outbreak to the product.

No one from Seattle-based Amazon immediately responded to mid-morning requests for comment from Food Safety News, but by 11 a.m. Pacific time, the recalled peanut butter substitute had been pulled from the retailer’s website.

Officials with the Food and Drug Administration are investigating the situation, but were not able to provide details as of mid-afternoon.

Although the outbreak was declared over in May by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that agency’s “final” report indicated additional illnesses were expected to be confirmed in relation to consumption of recalled soy nut butter products. The CDC cited the products’ long shelf life and the likelihood that some consumers still have unopened product in their homes as contributing factors to the lingering nature of the outbreak.

As of early May, the outbreak had sickened a confirmed 32 people across a dozen states. A variety of products made with soy nut butter produced by Dixie Dew Products Inc. remain under recall, including all varieties of I.M. Healthy “SoyNut Butter” products.

As of 9:45 a.m. Pacific time today, recalled I.M. Healthy brand “SoyNut Butter” was still available for purchase.

It is against federal law for anyone to sell or resell recalled products in any setting, including yard sales and thrift shops. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which became law in 2008, was used earlier this year by the Consumer Product Safety Commission against Home Depot. The big box home improvement retailer agreed to pay $5.7 million in relation to charges it sold recalled smoke detectors, light fixtures and other products.

The Amazon.com website does not appear to offer a list of recalled products that it has offered for sale, as do many retailers. Amazon provides a list of government recall links and a “recall policy” that includes the following statement:

“Amazon monitors public recalls alert websites and also learns of recalls directly from manufacturers and vendors. When we learn of a recall, we suspend all impacted product offerings from our website and quarantine any related inventory in our fulfillment centers. We also reach out to any customers that previously purchased impacted products (and any seller that may have offered such products) to inform them about the recall.”

Linda Harris, chair of the world renown Food Science and Technology Department at the University of California-Davis, said Monday that she ordered recalled I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter from Amazon.com during Labor Day weekend. She received the $50 shipment of three jars of the recalled product in less than 24 hours.

“The story really is about recalls and the ability in today’s world of recovering all product when you have a recall,” said Harris, who is the immediate past president of the International Association for Food Protection.

“They have sophisticated programs that set prices and figure out complicated delivery schemes – they should be able to make sure recalled product isn’t available for sale.”

As of today, there are eighteen cases linked to the recent E. coli O157:H7 outbreak. Of the eighteen cases, twelve are children and six are adults. All reported illnesses are associated with playing in the water at Commodore Beach in Lake Wildwood or taking care of someone who is infected. The best method of prevention when caring for an ill person is frequent washing and drying of your hands.

There have been a total of ten hospitalizations and of those, nine have been discharged home. To date, of those with laboratory-confirmed E. coli O157:H7, the onset of symptoms has ranged from July 20-29, 2017. The Public Health Department will continue to follow up on reports of illness received from health care providers.

The five public beaches at Lake Wildwood remain closed, and the no swimming advisory remains in effect for the lake. The Environmental Health Department continues to take samples from around the lake for testing; however, the cause of the outbreak remains under investigation.

The Columbian reports that Spanish Sonrise Dairy is recalling whole raw milk because it may be contaminated with E. coli.

The Yacolt dairy announced the recall on Tuesday, after routine sampling by the state Department of Agriculture found E. coli in the raw cream processed from whole raw milk, according to a news release issued by Spanish Sonrise Dairy.

The recall affects raw milk with a “best by” date of Aug. 23. The milk, which was bottled in half-gallon glass containers, was sold directly to private customers and at one retail store, Camas Produce.

E. coli infections may cause severe diarrhea, stomach cramps and bloody stool. Symptoms generally appear three to four days after exposure but can take as long as nine days to appear, according to the news release.

This isn’t the first recall for the Yacolt dairy. Spanish Sonrise issued a recall of raw milk and cream products in April 2015 after routine testing revealed listeria monocytogenes contamination. At the time of the first recall, the owners said they planned to close the dairy.

Fourteen children and adults have been diagnosed with E. coli after spending time at a Lake Wildwood beach in Nevada County, according to the county’s public health department.

Of the 14 cases, 11 children and three adults were infected at Commodor Beach. .

In addition, four children developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is a potentially life-threatening condition with anemia and kidney complications, health department officials said.

Commodor Beach as well as four other public beaches at Lake Wildwood were shut down on July 28, five days after the last known date of exposure to E. coli.

Prior to that, the Nevada County Health Department issued an advisory for people swimming at the lake after five people reportedly contracted E. coli from the beach area.

All public beaches will remain closed until contamination levels in the lake water have dropped to a safe level and until three E. coli incubation periods have passed since the last known case of exposure.

The Environmental Health Department continues to test the water at Lake Wildwood twice a week at eight different points near Commodore, Meadow Park and Hideaway Park beaches.

Results from Monday’s samples warrant continued beach closures after results at seven of the sites near the three beaches indicated elevated levels of fecal coliforms, with the highest levels being measures at Meadow Park, according to health officials.

A sources for the contamination has not been determined, but officials have already tested the wastewater system and the canals along Deer Creek. There is additional testing of wildlife feces, sand and other tributary points in order to determine the origin of the bacteria.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that a 5-year-old Wright County boy is fighting for his life after contracting a strain of E. coli that killed his younger sister earlier this week.

Kade and Kallan Maresh were sickened by a shiga toxin-producing bacteria on July 9, eventually sending them into acute kidney failure. State health officials are investigating the source for the E. coli that eventually led to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication of the bacterial infection.

Parents Joseph and Tyffani Maresh said the toxin from the bacteria attacked their 3-year-old daughter’s kidneys and her neurological system. “Her brain and heart were being damaged,” the family said. “Our sweet sweet little girl lost the battle. … Kade is still fighting.” Kallan would have turned 4 next month. “We were able to give Kallan a bath and put her favorite jammies on her,” her parents wrote in a journal entry on Sunday. “We got to hold her free of tubes and snuggle and kiss her. She is the most amazing little girl in the world. Our hearts are aching with the deepest sadness.”

Deaths resulting from HUS, which causes kidneys to stop working and red cells to be destroyed, are very rare, said Joni Scheftel, supervisor of the zoonotic diseases unit at the Minnesota Department of Health. Children and the elderly are most at risk, she said.

In an “abundance of precaution,” the animals at a petting zoo the children recently visited were taken off display, she said.

But the children could have been infected with E. coli from any number of other sources that health officials are investigating, she said.

Health officials may be able to zero in on the source by next week once lab results are in, Scheftel said. So far, no other similar cases have been reported, she said.

See www.fair-safety.com

According to Food Safety News, the E. coli outbreak in southwest Utah that has already killed two is growing, and public health officials there have warned people to avoid consuming raw milk or recently purchased ground beef.

Officials with the Southwest Utah Public Health Department initially reported six victims in a July 3 health alert. As of Tuesday, 11 victims had been confirmed. The first victim was a 3-year-old boy who died in June. He and the other fatality, a 6-year-old girl, were not related but they lived in the same apartment building in Hildale.

The source of the outbreak in Hildale, UT, remains under investigation, according to health department spokesman David Heaton who is quoted in local media reports.

Heaton told the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper on Tuesday that the public alert about raw milk and “recently purchased ground beef” is a standard warning and that there is not a confirmed link to such products. He also told the newspaper there could be multiple sources for the E. coli, or the original patient could have contaminated food or surfaces, resulting in additional people becoming infected.

Many news outlets have noted a bit too often that the E. coli outbreaks victims come from Hildale, which is the headquarters of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which broke off from the main Mormon church in 1913 and continues the practice of polygamy. The original Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints discontinued plural marriages in 1890.

My response is that all of us – regardless of politics or religion – need to do all we can to combat E. coli.

touchy_feelyWFFA reports:

An Azle family wants to warn others after both their young boys were hospitalized with E. coli earlier this year.

“It’s awful. You can’t do anything but just sit there and watch your child hurt,” said Emily Miller.

Miller’s sons Brayden, 7, and Dylan, 5, were both diagnosed with an E. coli infection, and Dylan’s case impacted his kidneys. Miller said Dylan required dialysis, and he was hospitalized 27 days, including several nights in the ICU.

“It’s such a crazy thought that this could happen,” Miller said.

She was surprised by the intensity of the illness and also by where her boys may have come into contact with E. coli.  She said doctors believe they were likely contaminated while the family was visiting a petting zoo.

“I wasn’t aware that you could get it from animals and livestock,” Miller said.

She took the boys to the petting zoo back in January, and four days later her oldest was in the hospital.

Both brothers are now doing well, though Dylan is still on blood pressure medicine due to the illness, Miller said.

The Centers for Disease Control says petting zoos do pose risks, as livestock can carry E. coli bacteria. The CDC’s advice is to wash hands with soap and water immediately after being near animals, whether you touch them or not.

The CDC also says that soap and water is more effective than instant hand sanitizers, and if sanitizers are the only option, go ahead and use them but follow up with soap and water as soon as possible.

Miller had used hand sanitizer with her kids instead of washing after visiting the zoo back in January.  Now, she says their petting zoo days are done.

“I won’t go to any more of them ever,” she said. “But the best advice, if you absolutely have to go, is wash your hands with soap and water.”

Might suggest folks visit www.fair-safety.com.