CDC 70 now Ill with E. coli O157:H7 Lined to Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough 30 Hospitalized, 7 with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS)
Source of Article: http://www.marlerblog.com/
According to the CDC, 70 persons infected with a strain of E. coli O157:H7 with a particular DNA fingerprint (Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis - PFGE) have been reported from 30 states. Ill persons range in age from 2 to 65 years; however, 66% are less than 19 years old; 75% are female. Thirty persons have been hospitalized, 7 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Interestingly, this PFGE pattern has been seen on PulseNet before with over 300 being seen in last four years.
Of 70 linked in this outbreak, 41 have been confirmed by an advanced DNA test (likely MLVA, or Multiple Loci VNTR Analysis) as having the outbreak strain; these confirmatory test results are pending on the others. Most patients reported eating refrigerated prepackaged Nestle Toll House cookie dough products raw.
The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Arizona (2), California (3), Colorado (5), Connecticut (1), Delaware (1), Georgia (1), Hawaii (1), Iowa (2), Illinois (5), Kentucky (3), Massachusetts (4), Maryland (2), Maine (3), Minnesota (6), Missouri (2), Montana (1), North Carolina (2), New Hampshire (2), New Jersey (1), Nevada (2), Ohio (3), Oklahoma (1), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (1), Texas (3), Utah (2), Virginia (2), Washington (5), and Wisconsin (1).
We have been contacted by over a dozen culture-confirmed cases in the last few weeks. We filed suit yesterday in California on behalf of and 18 year old young woman hospitalized for seven days and will be filing this morning on behalf of a Colorado 6 year old who developed HUS - acute kidney failure.
Child Sickened by E. coli Cookie Dough Files Lawsuit
An E. coli lawsuit was filed today on behalf of a Denver-area child who became gravely ill with E. coli O157:H7 after eating refrigerated Nestle Toll House cookie dough. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the family of Madison Sedbrook by her attorneys, William Marler of the Seattle-based foodborne illness law firm Marler Clark and Kara Knowles of the Denver firm Montgomery, Little, Soran, & Murray.
Six-year-old Madison ate Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie dough several times in mid-April, 2009. She began to experience flu-like symptoms including fatigue, fever, nausea, and vomiting. Not knowing the source of her illness, she continued to eat Nestle cookie dough, and by the first week of May, she had abdominal cramps, fever, and bloody diarrhea. Over the next several weeks, the family sought medical care several times for Madison¡¯s illness, which deepened in severity. She was admitted to the hospital and then released before being rushed back and admitted to pediatric intensive care. It was determined that Madison had hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, a complication of her E. coli infection, which was not diagnosed until her second hospital stay. The genetic fingerprint of the E. coli O157:H7 found in her stool matches that of the nationwide outbreak tied to cookie dough.
¡°This child ? and this family ? have been through a terrible ordeal, not the least of which is how many times they sought care before E. coli was detected,¡± said Marler, who spoke from the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) convention.. ¡°In order to detect and limit foodborne illness outbreaks, we have to make changes in our healthcare system; doctors and emergency health providers need to be encouraged to test for foodborne pathogens any time these symptoms ? especially bloody diarrhea - are present.¡±
On Monday, the CDC released updated information on the nationwide outbreak, which now encompasses 70 ill in 30 states. Thirty people have been hospitalized, and 7 have developed HUS. Almost seventy percent of the victims are female and under the age of 19. Nestle USA has voluntarily recalled the product, and stopped production at the facility that made it and are cooperating with FDA and CDC to pinpoint the cause.
¡°State health departments did a great job of getting to the bottom of this outbreak, and getting the word out,¡± continued Marler. ¡°But more resources are needed to speed the process up. Every day saved means dozens, maybe hundreds of families spared the Sedbrook family experience.¡±
ABOUT MARLER CLARK: William Marler has been a major force in food safety policy in the United States and abroad. His food safety blog, Marler Blog, is read by over 1,000,000 people around the world every year. He and his partners at Marler Clark have represented thousands of individuals in claims against food companies whose contaminated products have caused serious injury and death. His advocacy for better food regulation has led to invitations to address local, national, and international gatherings on food safety, including recent testimony to US Congress Committee on Energy and Commerce. In 1998, Mr. Marler formed the not for profit, Outbreak Inc. He spends much of the year speaking on how to prevent foodborne illnesses.
Posted on June 23, 2009 by Bill Marler
coli in Nestle cookie dough stumps FDA
The outbreak appears to be
linked to consuming uncooked Nestle refrigerated and frozen Toll House
cookie dough products.
Did E. Coli Get Into Nestle's Cookie Dough?
eat that cookie dough¡¦
In a prepared statement,
Nestle spokesmen said the company is taking this action, ¡°out of an
abundance of caution,¡± after being notified that the Food and Drug Administration
(FDA), together with the Centers for Disease Control, are conducting
an investigation into reported E. coli 0157:H7 illnesses that may be
related to eating raw cookie dough.
No other Nestle Toll House
products are involved in the recall (such as packaged Nestle cookies,
chocolate morsals, baking bars or cocoa, or Dreyer¡¯s and Edy¡¯s ice cream
products that include Nestle cookie dough ingredients).
confidence in food manufacturers plunges, says survey
Debilitating impact of recalls
A question of trust
Recall Leaves A Mystery in Its Wake
Federal microbiologists and
food safety investigators have descended on the Danville, Va., plant
that makes Nestle's refrigerated cookie dough, trying to crack a scientific
mystery surrounding a national outbreak of illness from E. coli 0157,
a deadly strain of bacteria, which has been linked to the product.
The outbreak, which has sickened at least 65 people in 29 states, is the latest worry for consumers in the Washington area and across the country unnerved by a wave of food-borne illnesses, including botulism associated with canned chili and infections from salmonella linked to peanut products. With cookie dough, like peanut butter, being a favorite of children, the latest outbreak is particularly alarming because the young and the elderly are more likely to develop severe complications if infected with E. coli 0157. More than two-thirds of the 65 victims are younger than 19, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. None has died.
Two of the victims live in Maryland, and two live in Virginia, the CDC reported. Their identities have not been revealed. In supermarkets yesterday, Nestle products had been pulled from the refrigerated section, and consumers were left to ponder the safety of the U.S. food system. "When I heard about the recall, I thought, 'Is nothing safe anymore?' " said Carole Feld, a D.C. resident who has a 13-year-old child, pushing a shopping cart through a Glover Park Whole Foods Market yesterday. "If bacteria has gotten into Nestle's Toll House cookie dough, then everything is suspect." David Evans, who was shopping in a Safeway in McLean with stepdaughter Kelly Ready, said that when he heard about the recall, he immediately checked to see whether there was any of the suspect cookie dough -- which Kelly, 14, said she sometimes eats raw -- in his home. There wasn't.
"I think [the food supply] is basically safe," Evans said. "But we need tighter controls, though I'm not a believer in big government." The outbreak comes as the federal government is attempting to revamp the nation's outdated food safety system. President Obama has identified food safety as a priority, and Congress is moving legislation that would place new requirements on food manufacturers while beefing up the Food and Drug Administration's inspection and enforcement powers. A key House committee passed legislation last week that could be voted on as early as this week, and a companion bill is pending in the Senate. Nestle has a solid reputation within the food industry for manufacturing practices designed to prevent contamination. The company has cooperated fully with the investigation, said David Acheson, assistant commissioner for food safety at the FDA.
Nestle recalled all its refrigerated Toll House cookie dough products, or about 300,000 cases, on Friday, within 24 hours of being notified by the FDA that it suspected a problem, said Laurie MacDonald, a vice president at Nestle USA. The company also suspended operations at the Danville plant that day, she said. About 500 people work at the plant, which is a major employer in the small community near the North Carolina border. Nestle, which has a 41 percent share of the prepared cookie dough market, has not estimated the cost of the recall, MacDonald said. Investigators have not confirmed the presence of E. coli 0157 in any Nestle product; they are testing samples of dough collected from the plant as well as from victims. But William E. Keene, chief epidemiologist for the state of Oregon, said he was "100 percent" certain that the culprit was the cookie dough. "Virtually everyone [who got sick] ate the same brand of cookie dough," he said. "I have absolute confidence in the conclusion." Because the appearance of E. coli 0157 in cookie dough is so unusual, investigators are looking at a broad range of possible factors, analyzing the ingredients, the plant's equipment and interior, the health of workers and whether the facility is located near cattle. Federal officials are also considering whether the dough might have been intentionally contaminated.
State health officials first noticed cases of E. coli 0157 emerging in March. Initially, they suspected ground beef or strawberries. But after interviewing victims, state officials and the CDC compared notes during a conference call Tuesday and settled on the refrigerated cookie dough as the prime suspect. The risk usually associated with cookie dough is salmonella, a bacteria that can be found in raw eggs contained in the dough. Nestle's cookie dough is packaged with labels warning consumers not to eat it raw. But people tend to disregard the warning -- 39 percent of consumers eat raw cookie dough, according to Consumer Reports. It has become such a popular snack that many ice cream makers have developed a cookie dough flavor. William Marler, a prominent food safety lawyer in Seattle who is representing six of the E. coli 0157 victims, said Nestle's warning label is not a defense. "It doesn't absolve them of liability," he said.
E. coli refers to many kinds of bacteria, most of which are harmless or even beneficial. But certain types, including E. coli 0157, produce a toxin that can cause severe illness and even death in humans. The E. coli 0157 bacterium lives in the intestines of cows and other animals -- goats, sheep, deer and elk -- and is found most often in ground beef. But over the past decade, a number of E. coli 0157 illness outbreaks have been associated with green, leafy produce, such as spinach.
are generally a moving target," Hedberg said. "We can't get
too comfortable thinking we know how these organisms behave."
Salmonella at Two ND Events
John A. Kraeutler, Chief
Executive Officer, stated, ¡°ImmunoCard STAT!¢ç CAMPY is a significant
addition to our foodborne category because it provides laboratories
with a rapid, accurate and easy to perform platform for the detection
of Campylobacter. This innovative assay, along with Meridian's Premier¢â
CAMPY and toxigenic E. coli tests, demonstrates Meridian¢¥s emerging
leadership in foodborne testing. ImmunoCard STAT!¢ç CAMPY is already
in distribution by Meridian Bioscience Europe for the Company¢¥s European
markets and was also recently approved for sale in Canada.¡±
By Jess Halliday, 23-Jun-2009
Andrew Wadge, chief scientist at the FSA, stressed that the agency¡¯s view that aspartame is safe still holds and it is not proposing to test the sweetener¡¯s safety once again. ¡°However we know that some people consider they react badly to consuming this sweetener so we think it is important to increase our knowledge about what is happening.¡± A spokesperson for the agency gave a comparison with peanuts, saying that some people may have a reaction, but that does not mean peanuts are unsafe for the general population. Part of the study may involve trying to establish a mechanism, or seeing whether the effects that the individuals put down to aspartame could, in fact, have other roots.
The planned study will involve participants being invited on two occasions to consume a specially developed food product that may or may not contain aspartame, in a clinical setting and under medical supervision. Researchers will then record any symptoms and take a blood sample to measure biochemical parameters.
However major aspartame producer Ajinomoto has expressed its surprise that the FSA is initiating this study, given its re-confirmation that it has no concerns about the safety. It said that anecdotal reports linking aspartame to health conditions ¡°include rumours circulated on the internet by scaremongers and conspiracy theorists, mostly from the United States¡±. The company cited the position of food safety experts in New Zealand, who said in August 2007 that ¡°the claims being made ? and widely reported in the media ? are doing a great public disservice¡±.
However Wadge set out the role he sees for anecdotal evidence in science in his blog on the FSA website yesterday:
¡°What role does ¡®anecdotal evidence¡¯ play in science? Truly anecdotal evidence is not evidence in the scientific sense, it¡¯s observation, it¡¯s often subjective, and the effects seen may be due to a number of factors all varying at the same time. Observation can help us towards understanding certain issues, but is a first step towards a testable hypothesis, not an end in itself.
¡°Therefore, anecdotal reports do sometimes deserve closer examination, especially when a number of unrelated people are reporting similar things.¡±
Individuals wanting to find out more or get involved can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Industry Advancements in Listeria Control At FSIS Public Hearing on
Retail Risk Assessment
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
(American Meat Institute)
Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) has been the catalyst for more changes in the processed meat industry than any other event in the last 30 years and the establishment of effective and attainable protection plans has been key to the industry¡¯s successful evolution to a high level of control, according to John Butts, vice president of research at Land O¡¯ Frost.
Butts spoke on behalf of the American Meat Institute Foundation at a Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) public meeting on its Interagency Retail Lm Risk Assessment. FSIS and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have initiated a joint interagency risk assessment that will evaluate the dynamics of Lm contamination in retail facilities.
Butts shared with the committee the lessons learned by the meat industry during the evolution of the industry¡¯s Listeria control efforts. Butts also detailed the impact of the AMI Board vote in 1999 to make food safety a non-competitive issue and encourage collaborative problem-solving among members of the industry.
¡°Declaring food safety ¡®non competitive¡¯ and sharing the process control ¡®best practices¡¯ were key in the industry¡¯s successful evolution to a high level of control,¡± Butts told those attending the roundtable discussion.
Since 2000, the prevalence of Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat products has been reduced by 74 percent to less than 0.4 percent, Butts said. Butts also noted that since 2003 there have been no USDA-inspected plants linked to a Listeria illness investigation.
Butts said that as the scope of control evolves, there are some pitfalls to avoid, including punishment?either regulatory or corporate?for finding a problem. Butts also expressed his opposition to prescriptive government programs.
¡°Given room for discovery and continuous improvement, like habit-forming, change will be slow and gradual,¡± Butts said.
Butts also warned that there are some missing gaps between data from the meat processors to public health illnesses that should be considered when moving forward.
¡°AMI and the processed meats
industry remain committed to solving the food safety problems associated
with our products from the farm to the fork,¡± Butts concluded.
Source of Article: http://www.cattlenetwork.com/Content.asp?ContentID=324931
The foodie/organic/raw/local/small farmer blogs are alive with conspiracy theories (real or imagined) about the reasons behind the moves in Congress to finally try to make our food supply safer. Some see the evil hand of Monsanto, Cargill, etc., and their minions in Congress, as trying to crush the organic, small farmer by enacting ¡°one size fits all¡± rules. Others see that the administration and Congress have finally noticed that 76,000,000 of our citizens are sickened by food each year in the US and may actually try and do something. True? False? Perhaps a little of both?
Last week I had a long chat with the Dean of Agriculture reporters, Phil Brasher, about the risks to ¡°small-scale farmers and organic growers [who] say those standards can force them to choose between selling to supermarkets and schools or else following practices that degrade the soil and require more synthetic chemical ¡¦ [that] ¡¦ farmers worry that food-safety bills being considered in Congress could make matters more difficult.¡± As I said:
Bill Marler, a Seattle lawyer who represents victims of food poisonings, said safety standards shouldn't be weaker for small farms. Should kids get sick at school from contamination linked to a small farm, parents will ask why the farm didn't meet the standards required of bigger suppliers, he said. "We all need to figure out a way, whether you're a big player or a small player, that you're treated fairly, that you're inspected fairly and the product you're producing, whether big or small, has the least chance of poisoning some kids," Marler said. "That's not easy."
Not easy, but not impossible. It is time to actually engage in a reasoned discussion instead of a shouting match across the blogs. Food safety should be important whether you¡¯re a small or large producer of food for supermarkets or schools. The discussion should not be that food safety regulations should be less concerned about producing safe food if you¡¯re a small farmer. Small or large, producers of food should be concerned about what we feed our neighbors and kids.
Perhaps we need to look hard at stopping the environmental degradation caused by mass-produced, factory farming ? overuse of pesticides, antibiotics and energy ? in the production food? Perhaps we need to look hard at localizing and regionalizing our food supply while at the same time making it safe and sustainable? Perhaps we need to focus at changing how we get our food while still making it safe for parents who buy the food at the local supermarket or kids that eat in our school lunch rooms?
So, ideas? I've been blogging about ideas for a long time. Heck, I've even applied for a job - "Hey, Mr. President, call me, I'll work for peanuts."
So, engage the President, FSIS, FDA and Congress in a dialog about how to fix the problem of creating a safe, sustainable, fair food supply. For me, there can be no compromise on food safety - I have seen too much to give slack to Cargill or to a local farmer who supplies my grocery store or my kid's school. Sure, some rules will need to be adjusted to reflect economic realities. However, regardless of your size, if you poison someone with your products it is wrong.
We - all of us - need to figure out what our goals are and move fairly and openly towards solving the problems plaguing our food supply. So, stop with the conspiracies and roll up your sleeves and dig in the garden of politics, you might actually find it fruitful.
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