May 2010

The CDC estimates that "non-O157 STECs (like O26, O45, 0103, O111, O121, and O145) cause 36,700 illnesses, 1,100 hospitalizations and 30 deaths in America each year."

In speaking about the recent E. coli O145 outbreak linked to romaine lettuce, Patricia M. Griffin, chief of CDC’s Enteric Diseases Epidemiology branch, said it is likely that E.

I love Economists.  Actually, one of my three BA’s was in Economics.  When you look at the cost of just two bugs that the Economic Research Service (ERS) looked at, you have to wonder why we do not demand more from the corporations who feed us and the government that is supposed to regulate them?


With raw milk in the news nearly everyday, I thought supporting a website that offered unbiased facts on the pros and cons of consuming raw milk products would be useful in the raw milk debate. More than anything, I wanted to be able to have a place where parents could “find out the answers to

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand last week introduced new legislation to require the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to regulate the six currently unregulated strains of E. coli proven to cause food-borne illnesses. In addition to the most common form of E. coli that is already regulated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has

There seems to be no middle ground in the debate over raw milk. On the one side, you have farmers happy to sell a product for $10 to $18 a gallon, and consumers who believe that they are purchasing a product that is not only more healthful but will also cure everything from allergies to

David Dinsmore of the Town Talk of Alexandria and Pineville Louisiana continues to report on the tragedy surrounding an outbreak of illnesses that sickened more than 40 people and killed three patients at Central Louisiana State Hospital. Mr. Dinsmore reports that test results found the third most common cause of food poisoning — clostridium perfringens — was to blame for the outbreak at Central earlier this month, said Dr. David Holcombe, medical director for Region 6 of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals’ Office of Public Health. The C. perfringens bacterium appears to have come from the chicken salad served before patients and staff members began getting sick, Holcombe said. Those who had the chicken salad at that time were 23 times more likely to show symptoms, which is a good indicator that the dish was the culprit.

Clostridium perfringens is an anaerobic, Gram-positive, sporeforming rod (anaerobic means unable to grow in the presence of free oxygen). It is widely distributed in the environment and frequently occurs in the intestines of humans and many domestic and feral animals. Spores of the organism persist in soil, sediments, and areas subject to human or animal fecal pollution. (1)

Perfringens food poisoning is the term used to describe the common foodborne illness caused by C. perfringens. The symptoms are caused by ingestion of large numbers of (greater than 10 to the 8th) vegetative cells. Toxin production in the digestive tract (or in test tubes) is associated with sporulation.

The common form of perfringens poisoning is characterized by intense abdominal cramps and diarrhea which begin 8-22 hours after consumption of foods containing large numbers of C. perfringens bacteria capable of producing the food poisoning toxin. The illness is usually over within 24 hours but less severe symptoms may persist in some individuals for 1 or 2 weeks. In the elderly or infirm, those symptoms may often last 1-2 weeks. Complications and/or death only very rarely occur; a few deaths have been reported as a result of dehydration and other complications.

Perfringens poisoning is diagnosed by its symptoms and the typical delayed onset of illness. Diagnosis is confirmed by detecting the toxin in the feces of patients. Bacteriological confirmation can also be done by finding exceptionally large numbers of the causative bacteria in implicated foods or in the feces of patients. Standard bacteriological culturing procedures are used to detect the organism in implicated foods and in feces of patients. Serological assays are used for detecting enterotoxin in the feces of patients and for testing the ability of strains to produce toxin. The procedures take 1-3 days. (1)

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I have decided this week that the Tea Party movement is right – business and government in the U.S.A. are a bunch of damn socialists – at least they are when poisoning consumers and investigating outbreaks.

First, full disclosure. When I am not channeling Rupert Murdoch in my role as publisher at Food Safety News