Grand Strand Sandwich is recalling Lunch Box Italian Subs, Lunch Box Ham & Swiss Croissants and Lunch Box Ham & Cheese Frozen Wedges due to a potential contamination of Listeria monocytogenes. Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, a Listeria monocytogenes infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

On January 3, 2019 the firm was notified by FDA that the swabs they collected from the meat slicing area on December 11, 2018 test positive for Listeria monocytogenes.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

Products affected are:

Product Size UPC Julian Dates
Italian Subs 7 oz package 0 67068 12222 8 35218
Ham & Swiss Croissants 5 oz package 0 67068 21217 2 34618
Ham & Cheese 4.5oz package 0 67068 12110 8 34618

The products were distributed between December 17, 2018 until January 4, 2019. These products were packaged in clear plastic and sold primarily in convenience stores and vending machines located in the States of: North Carolina and South Carolina.

R. L. Zeigler Co., Inc., a Selma, Ala. establishment, is recalling approximately 11,664 pounds of ready-to-eat (RTE) poultry and meat sausage products that may be contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically metal, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The RTE Red Hot chicken and pork sausage items were produced on Nov. 29, 2018. The following products are subject to recall: [View Labels (PDF only)]

  • 24-oz. plastic packages containing approximately 9 links of “ZEIGLER A TRADITION OF GREAT TASTE RED HOTS” with a “Use By Jan 24 19” date.
  • 24-oz. plastic packages containing approximately 9 links of “EXTRA HOT ZEIGLER A TRADITION OF GREAT TASTE RED HOTS” with a “Use By Jan 24 19” date.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. P-9156S” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to retail locations nationwide.

The problem was discovered after the firm received consumer complaints on Dec. 13 and 27, 2018. The firm investigated to determine the nature of the complaints and notified FSIS on Dec. 29, 2018.

There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.

FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers’ refrigerators or frozen and in consumers’ freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them.

Wash produce!

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration released two reports today on its sampling of whole fresh avocados and hot peppers to determine how frequently harmful bacteria are found in each commodity. These sampling studies are part of an ongoing effort by the FDA to help ensure food safety and prevent contaminated products from reaching consumers.

In 2014, the FDA adopted a new, proactive sampling program to learn more about how frequently common environmental pathogens like Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, and Escherichia coli (E. coli) are in selected foods, and to help the agency identify patterns that may help reduce microbial contamination in those foods. Additional information about this program is described in an “FDA Voices” blog by Susan Mayne, the director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), and William Correll, the director of CFSAN’s Office of Compliance.

For the hot pepper sampling assignment, the FDA collected, tested and analyzed domestic and imported hot pepper samples for Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, and other types of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC). Of the 1,615 hot pepper samples tested, 46 (2.85%) were positive for Salmonella and one was positive for STEC, but further testing revealed that the STEC strain could not cause severe illness.

For the whole fresh avocado sampling assignment, the FDA collected, tested and analyzed 1,615 domestic and imported avocado samples for Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. Of the 1,615 samples, 12 (0.74%) tested positive for Salmonella. As to the Listeria monocytogenes testing, the agency primarily tested the pulp of the avocado samples (as the pulp is the part of the fruit people eat), and some samples of the fruit’s skin. Of the 1,254 avocado pulp samples, 3 (far less than one percent) were positive for Listeria monocytogenes. Of the 361 avocado skin samples, 64 (17.73%) were positive for Listeria monocytogenes. FoodSafety.gov advises consumers to wash all produce before cutting into it or eating.

When the FDA found positive samples of hot peppers or avocados in domestic product, the agency worked with the responsible firms to conduct recalls as indicated, and followed up with inspections of growers and packinghouses to ascertain their adherence to recommended good agricultural and manufacturing practices. When the FDA found positive samples of hot peppers or avocados in imported product, the agency refused entry to all product in lots associated with the positive(s), and placed the firms on import alert to stop additional product from entering the U.S.

For additional information on the FDA’s sampling program, and to read the whole fresh avocado and hot pepper reports, visit “Microbiological Surveillance Sampling.”

In addition to the hot pepper and avocado sampling reports, the FDA also posted a quarterly update on its ongoing sampling assignments on fresh herbs, guacamole and processed avocado.

As of October 1, 2018, the FDA has tested 683 fresh herb samples (407 domestic, 276 import) and 474 processed avocado or guacamole samples (386 domestic, 88 import) as part of its ongoing monitoring of potential pathogens associated with these products. Of the fresh herb samples, nine tested positive for Salmonella (4 domestic, 5 import); six tested positive for STEC (2 domestic, 4 import), with further characterization determining that the STEC were incapable of causing severe illness; and four tested positive for Cyclospora cayetanensis (2 domestic, 2 import). The FDA did not detect 0157 in any of the fresh herb samples it tested. Of the processed avocado or guacamole samples, 11 tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes (9 domestic, 2 import). The FDA did not detect Salmonella in any of the samples of processed avocado or guacamole.

As of December 18, 2018, 216 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Reading have been reported from 38 states and the District of Columbia.

Illnesses started on dates from November 20, 2017, to December 6, 2018. Ill people range in age from less than 1 year to 99, with a median age of 40. Fifty-five percent of ill people are female. Of 175 people with information available, 84 (48%) have been hospitalized. One death has been reported from California.

State and local health departments continue to interview ill people about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Fifty-eight (54%) of the 108 ill people interviewed reported preparing or eating turkey products that were purchased raw, including ground turkey, turkey pieces, and whole turkey. Ill people reported buying many different brands of raw turkey products from multiple stores. Also, 3 of the 108 ill people interviewed became sick after pets in their home ate raw ground turkey pet food. Four of the 108 ill people interviewed worked in a facility that raises or processes turkeys, or lived with someone who did.

Public health officials in Arizona and Michigan collected unopened Jennie-O brand ground turkey from the homes of two ill people. WGS showed that Salmonella bacteria isolated from the ill persons and from the ground turkey were closely related genetically. This result provides more evidence that people in this outbreak got sick from eating turkey.

On November 15, 2018, Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales, LLC, in Barron, Wisconsin recalled approximately 91,388 pounds of raw ground turkey products. On December 21, 2018, Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales, LLC, in Faribault, Minnesota recalled approximately 164,210 pounds of raw ground turkey products.

Ill people in this outbreak report buying many different brands of raw turkey products from multiple stores. Available data indicate that this strain of Salmonella Reading may be present in live turkeys and in raw turkey products. A single, common supplier of raw turkey products or of live turkeys has not been identified that could account for the whole outbreak.

If anyone wants an informative read from a near Pulitzer-quality article and photos (if they would have also shown the real impacts on the consumers of the product, the article would have been a Pulitzer-lock – See The Burger that Shattered Her Life – 2010 Prize), please take the time to read Robert Anglen of the Arizona Republic recent article: Clues to a deadly medical mystery hide in Arizona’s romaine lettuce fields – Attempts to trace E. coli outbreaks are often unsuccessful and misleading. Outbreaks tied to romaine spread farther and sicken more.

Me, I am into the obvious, any real questions on why we have E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks linked to cows and romaine in Yuma?

According to the CDC, fifty-nine people infected with the outbreak strain of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from 15 states and the District of Columbia. Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 5, 2018 to November 16, 2018. Twenty-three people have been hospitalized, including two people who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.  In Canada, as of December 13, 2018, there have been 28 confirmed cases of E. coli illness investigated in Ontario (5), Quebec (19), New Brunswick (1), and British Columbia (3). The illnesses in British Columbia were related to travel to Quebec, Ontario and the United States. Individuals became sick between mid-October and mid-November 2018. Ten individuals have been hospitalized, and two individuals suffered from hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a severe complication that can result from an E. coli infection. No deaths have been reported. Individuals who became ill are between 2 and 93 years of age.

The above numbers will grow.

And, there are the real people I have spoken to in last week related to this outbreak:

  1. Husband with wife in rehabilitation after nearly two-month hospitalized in ICU with HUS.  She is still on dialysis three times a week and will be for rest of her life.
  2. Airline pilot who stopped over in Toronto and has now been hospitalized for weeks in the US with HUS.
  3. Father of Canadian child who ate romaine lettuce while on vacation in California and has been hospitalized with HUS for seven weeks in Vancouver, BC.
  4. Mom tonight who I spoke to as her daughter was undergoing a bowel resection do to E. coli O157:H7.
  5. Another mom whose daughter spent 15 days in the hospital undergoing several blood transfusions after being diagnosed with HUS.

Real people.

Fifty-nine people infected with the outbreak strain of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from 15 states and the District of Columbia. Since the last CDC update on December 6, an additional 7 ill people have been included in this investigation – California 12, Connecticut 1, District of Columbia 1, Florida 1, Illinois 2, Louisiana 1, Massachusetts 1, Maryland 1, Michigan 7, New Hampshire 6, New Jersey 12, New York 7, Ohio 1, Pennsylvania 4, Rhode Island 1, Wisconsin 1.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 5, 2018 to November 16, 2018.

Twenty-three people have been hospitalized, including two people who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

FDA Update.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has identified ill people infected with the same DNA fingerprint of E. coli O157:H7 bacteria in Canada. In Canada, as of December 6, 2018, there have been 27 confirmed cases of E. coli illness investigated in Ontario (4), Quebec (19), New Brunswick (1), and British Columbia (3). The illnesses in British Columbia were related to travel to Quebec, Ontario and the United States. Individuals became sick between mid-October and early November 2018. Nine individuals have been hospitalized, and two individuals suffered from hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a severe complication that can result from an E. coli infection. No deaths have been reported. Individuals who became ill are between 2 and 93 years of age. The majority of cases (52%) are male.

The FDA, along with CDC and state partners, is investigating farms and cooling facilities in California that were identified in traceback. CDC identified the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 in sediment collected within an agricultural water reservoir on Adam Bros. Farming, Inc. farm, which was identified in traceback.

CDC is advising that consumers not eat any romaine lettuce harvested from Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Barbara counties in the Central Coastal growing regions of northern and central California. FDA continues its investigation of farms identified in traceback.

Laboratory analysis indicates that the illnesses reported in this outbreak are genetically related to illnesses reported in a previous E. coli outbreak from December 2017 that affected consumers in both Canada and the U.S. This tells us that the same strain of E. coli is causing illness in Canada and the US as was seen in 2017 and it suggests there may be a reoccurring source of contamination. Investigators are using evidence collected in both outbreaks to help identify the possible cause of the contamination in these events.  Twenty-five people infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O157:H7 were reported from 15 states. Illnesses started on dates ranging from November 5, 2017 to December 12, 2017. Nine people were hospitalized, including two people who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. One death was reported from California.

In December 2017, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) investigated an outbreak of STEC O157:H7 infections in several provinces linked to romaine lettuce. In total, there were 42 cases of E. coli O157 illness reported in five eastern provinces: Ontario (8), Quebec (15), New Brunswick (5), Nova Scotia (1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (13). Individuals became sick in November and early December 2017. Seventeen individuals were hospitalized. One individual died. Individuals who became ill were between the ages of 3 and 85 years of age. The majority of cases (74%) were female.

HONOLULU, Hawaii – In October a preliminary settlement of $4,500,000 was reached on behalf of those exposed to Hepatitis A in correlation to Genki Sushi Restaurants. The court has extended the deadline for class members to submit a claim form to February 15, 2019. The class is represented by Marler Clark, the food safety law firm, Perkin and Faria, and Starn, O’Toole, Marcus, and Fisher, respected Hawaii firms.

Genki-Stipulation for Order to Amend Proposed Notice Plan filed 12.11.18

Genki-Order Approving Stipulation to Amend Proposed Notice Plan filed 12.11.18

Class members will be emailed and mailed a notice of settlement. Claim forms are also available at https://hawaiihepa.com or by calling 1-800-532-9250.

The class is defined as follows:

All persons who: (1) as a result of the 2016 Hepatitis A Outbreak infections linked to consuming food at thirteen Genki Sushi restaurants located on the islands of Oahu, Kauai, and Maui, were exposed to the hepatitis A virus (“HAV”) through one of three exposure-mechanisms (defined in the Exposure Subclasses), but did not become infected, and (2) as a result of such exposure, after learning of the requirement of treatment from an announcement of public health officials or a medical professional, obtained preventative medical treatment within 14 days of exposure, such as receiving immune globulin (“IG”), HAV vaccine, or blood test.

The preliminary settlement covers three subclasses:

(1) individuals who had direct contact with one of the 292 people identified by the Hawaii Department of Health as infected with the Hepatitis A virus (HAV).

(2) individuals who were exposed to HAV between August 1 and August 16 as a result of consuming food at one of the Genki Sushi restaurants implicated in the 2016 outbreak.

(3) individuals who ate at secondary restaurants reported by the Hawaiian Department of Health where infected Genki Sushi customers were employed.

Qualified claimants will be entitled to compensation as follows:

  • $350.00 for each member of Subclass 1.
  • $250.00 for each member of Subclass 2.
  • $150.00 for each member of Subclass 3.

The final hearing for approval of the class settlement is now March 6, 2019.

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s food safety law firm representing victims of Hepatitis A outbreaks. The Hepatitis A lawyers of Marler Clarkhave represented thousands of victims of Hepatitis A and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $650 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Hepatitis A lawyers have litigated Hepatitis A cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as green onions, lettuce and restaurant food. The law firm has brought Hepatitis A lawsuitsagainst such companies as Costco, Chi-Chi’s, Chipotle, Olive Garden, Taco Bell, Townsend Farms, Tropical Smoothie, Subway, McDonald’s, Red Robin, Chipotle, Quiznos and Carl’s Jr.  We proudly represented the family of Donald Rockwell, who died after consuming hepatitis A tainted food and Richard Miller, who required a liver transplant after eating food at a Chi-Chi’s restaurant.

This is Montlha Ngobeni of Polokwane – 1st named in the Tiger Brands class action and baby Theto, who got listeriosis from her in the womb. Theto turns 1 on Dec 22 but has yet to crawl, and she’s had three operations to insert shunts to drain fluid from her brain.

It will be told fully as the litigation proceeds.  See, https://listeriaclassaction.co.za 

Summary

In a new report, the Consumer Federation of America examines the legal and scientific foundations for USDA policy on Salmonella in raw meat and poultry. The report explains why the law authorizes federal regulators to treat Salmonella as an adulterant in raw meat and poultry, and it describes five policy options for harnessing new research and technology to protect public health.

Findings

The report shows that reforms to reduce Salmonella in raw meat and poultry are not only long overdue, but also legally and economically feasible. In particular, the report finds that:

  • Lack of enforcement has led to widespread incompliance with Salmonella standards introduced in response to recent outbreaks.
  • Progress on reducing Salmonella infections in the U.S. has stagnated for over a decade, with five large outbreaks associated with meat and poultry occurring in just the last year.
  • Many Salmonella reduction strategies with proven effectiveness, particularly on-farm, are not applied by major U.S. companies.
  • Federal regulators have refused to adopt common sense policies on the basis of legal precedent that is woefully outdated and scientifically wrong.Conclusion and Recommendations

    The report urges USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service to announce an interpretiverule under which the agency will consider raw meat and poultry “adulterated” if it iscontaminated with Salmonella. The report describes the pros and cons associated with five policy options for implementing such a rule, namely:

  • A zero tolerance approach to all Salmonella
  • Prohibiting particular Salmonella serotypes associated with human illness on rawfoods
  • Prohibiting Salmonella strains associated with an ongoing outbreak
  • Prohibiting Salmonella resistant to certain medically important antibiotics

• Prohibiting high loads of Salmonella bacteria

The report explains why any of these policies would protect public health better than the status quo.

Foodborne Illness Statistics

Each year 48 million Americans are sickened, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die from foodborne disease. (CDC, 2011)

Between 2009 and 2015, 35% of outbreak associated illnesses were attributable to meat and poultry products. (CDC, 2018)

The medical costs of treating Salmonella infection in the U.S. is estimated to exceed $3.7 billion each year. (USDA ERS 2014)

Timeline

1905 – Upton Sinclair publishes The Jungle. Six months later, Congress passes the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA).

1974 – The D.C. Circuit rules in American Public Health Association v. Butz that Salmonella is not an adulterant under the FMIA or PPIA because “American housewives and cooks normally are not ignorant or stupid and their methods of preparing and cooking of food do not ordinarily resultin salmonellosis.”

1993 – E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in the Pacific Northwest linked to Jack-in-the-Box causes 400 illnesses and four deaths. A year later, Administrator Michael Taylor announces that FSIS considers “raw ground beef that is contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 to be adulterated”under the FMIA.

July 25, 1996 – FSIS issues landmark Pathogen Reduction/HACCP Systems rule.

December 6, 2001 – Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rules in Supreme Beef Processors, Inc. v. USDA that FSIS cannot take enforcement action against meat processors on the basis of Salmonella testing results alone.

November 17, 2003 – European Commission issues Salmonella control rule that targets certain serotypes in livestock.

August 3, 2011 – Cargill Meat Solutions, Inc. recalls 36 million pounds of turkey for suspected contamination with Salmonella Heidelberg implicated in 136 illnesses and one death.

July 12, 2014 – Foster Farms recalls an “undetermined amount” of chicken products for suspected contamination with Salmonella Heidelberg implicated in 634 illnesses.

February 11, 2016 – FSIS finalizes updated standards for Salmonella and Campylobacter in ground poultry and poultry parts.

November 23, 2018 – FSIS publishes data indicating nearly all major poultry companies are operating plants that fail to comply with the new rules.