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Listeria Cantaloupe Toll - 13 deaths - 74 infected in 16 states
Source :
by Bill Marler (Sep 23, 2011)
The CDC as of September 21 listed eight deaths linked to Jensen Farms and Frontera Listeria-tainted Cantaloupe from 14 states: 2 in Colorado, 1 in Maryland, 4 in New Mexico, and 1 in Oklahoma. A review of state health department sites and media reports yield a much higher number:
California:- 1 confirmed outbreak case.
Colorado:- 15 confirmed outbreak cases, including 2 deaths.
Illinois:- 1 confirmed outbreak case; no additional cases under investigation at this time. The infected individual is an 82-year-old woman from suburban Cook County. She became ill on September 7th, and was subsequently hospitalized.
Indiana:- 1 confirmed outbreak case. None of the recalled cantaloupes were shipped directly to Indiana.
Kansas:- 5 confirmed cases; 3 cases under investigation. Two deaths.
Maryland:- 1 fatal confirmed outbreak case. None if the recalled cantaloupes were shipped directly to Maryland.
Missouri:- 2 cases under investigation. One death.
Montana:- 1 confirmed outbreak case in Yellowstone County; 1 suspect case from Gallatin County.
Nebraska:- 6 confirmed outbreak cases, all 70+ years old; two victims are 90+ years old. One death.
New Mexico:- 10 confirmed outbreak cases, including 4 deaths. All 10 individuals were hospitalized. Victims¡¯ ages range from 43 to 96 years, and include 6 women and 4 men. Patients are from seven different New Mexico counties. Three additional cases ? including 1 death ? are under investigation.
Oklahoma:- 8 confirmed outbreak cases, including one death. Two additional cases are under investigation. Outbreak-related illnesses have been reported from Oklahoma, Canadian, Cleveland, Love and McCurtain counties. Victims range from 61 to 96 years old; two-thirds are male.
Texas:- 9 confirmed outbreak cases.
Virginia:- 1 confirmed outbreak case.
West Virginia:- 1 confirmed outbreak case. Recalled cantaloupes were not shipped directly to West Virginia.
Wisconsin:- 2 confirmed outbreak cases. Recalled cantaloupes were not shipped directly to Wisconsin.
Wyoming:- 1 confirmed outbreak case.
According to the FDA, cantaloupes were shipped to at least 25 states: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming. And, not all of those states have reported illnesses - yet

ate and 60 percent of its pear juice or pear juice concentrate come from China. China is also a top five exporter to the United States of other juices. In 2008, the FDA found elevated levels of the toxin in pear juice concentrate from China and issued an import alert.
While inorganic arsenic standards for bottled water have existed for some time ? 10 parts per billion is considered dangerous ? there are currently no such standards for fruit juice.
In a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, Schumer urged the imposition of standards for food and beverages as well as increased inspections. ¡°Given continuing horror stories of toxic food additives and chemicals in the Chinese food supply, I am concerned that the juice and juice concentrate China exports to the United States may put children at risk of exposure to cancer-causing contaminants such as arsenic,¡± Schumer wrote.
Still, the senator said that there was no need for alarm. ¡°While there is no cause for alarm and no need to stop drinking juice, a good option for juice makers and families who have concerns is to buy juice made from New York produced apples, which, like apples throughout the United States, do not use pesticides with inorganic arsenic in them,¡± he said.

Too Early to Know 'Root Cause' of Listeria Outbreak
Source :
By DAN FLYNN (Sep 29, 2011)
The nation's top disease trackers and food regulators say it's too early for them to know the "root cause" of the deadly cantaloupe Listeria outbreak, which they expect to worsen in terms of the number of cases and deaths.
Dr. Thomas R. Frieden and Dr. Margaret Hamburg, respectively the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took questions about the outbreak from the media in a conference call Wednesday.
The top CDC/FDA brass, along with Dr. Barbara Mahon, deputy director of the enteric disease branch at CDC, and Dr. Sherri McGarry, senior advisor to FDA's office of foods, answered reporters' questions for about an hour.
"Listeria is a rare but deadly disease," Frieden said. He cautioned people not to eat the cantaloupe they may have in their refrigerators if they don't know where it came from.
"If you know the cantaloupe that you have is not Jensen farms, then it's OK to eat. But if you're in doubt, then throw it out," he said, referring to the Colorado farm at the center of the nation's deadliest food poisoning outbreak in more than a decade.
Because the Listeria bacteria that can cause infection can have a relatively long incubation period, the CDC expects to see both the number of outbreak cases and fatalities continue to rise into October. Currently, 13 deaths among 72 cases have been confirmed, and at least three more deaths in Kansas, Wyoming and New Mexico may be part of the outbreak.
Frieden said two of the case patients are pregnant women who are recovering. Frieden also explained what sets Listeria apart from other common foodborne pathogens.
"Listeria is an unusual bacteria in a couple of ways," he said. "One is that the -- what's called the incubation time, the time between which -- between when you consume it and when you get sick, is longer than it is for many other bacteria. It can be one to three weeks. It can even be two months or more in some cases. So people who consumed the cantaloupe some time ago may continue to develop illness in the coming days and weeks. So we do anticipate that there will be a rising number of cases in the days and weeks to come.
"Also, it's unusual in that it flourishes even in the cold. So unlike most other bacteria, if you got a contaminated cantaloupe in your refrigerator, that -- the Listeria in the cantaloupe -- will continue to grow in your refrigerator. That's unusual. That's not what we see with Salmonella or other bacterial infections, and it's one of the reasons that we unfortunately may see a continued number of cases from cantaloupe that are already in people's refrigerator now over the coming days and weeks."
McGarry said CDC and FDA are working with the state of Colorado on a "root cause" analysis at Jensen Farms, where the contaminated cantaloupes were grown, to see if they can pinpoint how this problem developed.
"To really get at the heart of what may have happened to cause this contamination, and not just how it may have been contaminated, but was there any opportunity for continued growth or spreading of that contamination," McGarry said. "So what we basically are doing is we will look at various parameters, environmental in particular, that may have contributed to that contamination and spread.
"And some of those things that we'll be looking at is any potential animal intrusion. We'll be looking at water quality. We'll be looking at the growing practices, the harvesting practice," she added. "We'll also be looking at the process within the facility for packing and potentially rinsing the cantaloupes themselves and how they were stored and whether there's amplification in that process. So we'll be looking at different factors from the environmental perspective to see how this contamination may have occurred, how it could have been spread.
"And then, most importantly, we're going to take these lesson learned, share that with our partners and industries, CDC and the states, and what we want to do is we want to really prevent this from happening in the future. And again, that's quite consistent with the (new) Food Safety Modernization Act. And that's our goal here is to prevent future outbreak (in) this particular situation."
Hamburg defended FDA's policy of asking consumers to find out on their own whether their grocery store carried the bad melons. The agency has not made a list of retailers available as USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) does when a pathogen contaminates meat.
"I think it's a lot more accurate for the consumer to actually ask their retailer in terms of the ability to get that information out and, of course, when you put stuff on the website, not everybody accesses it," the commissioner said. "So I think it is an important message that if people are uncertain to ask their retailer. That's how they'll get the most accurate and most direct information."
"Rocky Ford" cantaloupes grown by Jensen Farms were also exported, the regulators said. The FDA officials said they did not have list of countries handy, but all foreign governments were notified about the Listeria outbreak.
The FDA officials also said they did not know the total number of cantaloupes involved in the recall. (Later on Wednesday, a spokesman for Jensen Farms said at least 1.5 million cantaloupes, Jensen Farms' entire 2011 harvest, have been recalled because of the potential Listeria contamination.)
While cantaloupes have previously been contaminated by other pathogens, this is the first time the melons have been known to carry Listeria.

Tainted cantaloupe likely gone, but more illness expected
Listeria can affect people weeks, even months, after they eat contaminated food
Source :
By JoNel Aleccia (Sep 28, 2011)
Cantaloupe contaminated with listeria is nearing the end of its shelf life, but federal health officials warned Wednesday that more fatalities and illnesses can be expected through next month in the nation's deadliest food poisoning outbreak in more than a decade.
That's because the listeria bacteria that cause the infection have a very long incubation period compared to other foodborne pathogens, said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"It can be one to three weeks or two months in some cases," said Frieden, who urged people to toss any fruit from a Colorado grower responsible for the outbreak.
"For the public, it's important to know that if you know that the cantaloupe you have is not Jensen Farms, it's OK. If you're in doubt, throw it out," he added.
At least 72 people have been infected and 13 have died in 18 states in the widening outbreak traced to cantaloupes grown and shipped by Jensen Farms of Holly, Colo., CDC officials reported. At least three additional deaths are being investigated in Kansas, Wyoming and New Mexico, state health officials said.
The deaths top the nine killed in an outbreak of salmonella-tainted peanut butter nearly three years ago. In 1998, an outbreak of listeria in hot dogs and deli meat killed 21 people, according to CDC records. Jensen Farms recalled its entire 2011 harvest of cantaloupe, more than 300,000 cases, on Sept. 14, because of potential listeria contamination, said Amy Philpott, a company spokeswoman.
Source of bacteria still unknown
The Food and Drug Administration still has not determined the source of the contamination, the first-ever listeria detected in cantaloupe, Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said. Traces of bacteria have been confirmed in cantaloupe from Jensen Farms and on equipment used to process it, the FDA said. "The outbreak has been a tough one for all involved," she told reporters at a briefing Wednesday, adding later: "We at FDA are continuing to work on the root cause analysis."
The cantaloupe outbreak has led to deaths in eight states. Most of the victims of illness and death have been older than age 60, the CDC said, and many have health conditions that make them susceptible to the the bacteria's high mortality rate, which can top 20 percent.
Listeria is a common bacterium that typically causes mild illness in healthy people, but can cause severe illness in older people and those with compromised immune systems. It also can cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women and severe infections in new babies. In the current outbreak, two of the victims are pregnant, but the women and their babies appear to be doing fine, health officials said.
Symptoms can include fever, diarrhea, nausea and muscle aches, sometimes severe.
While it's not clear yet clear exactly how the cantaloupes became contaminated, the fruit is susceptible because of its rough, porous skin and soft, succulent interior. In addition, knives can carry bacteria from the outside of the melon into the flesh when they slice through.
The contaminated cantaloupes were shipped between July 29 and Sept. 10 to 25 states, where they were sold at stores including large retailers such as Safeway, King Sooper and Walmart.
But companies said they responded quickly and none of the tainted melons should remain on store shelves, health officials said. Diana Gee, a spokeswoman for Walmart, said that firm pulled suspect cantaloupe from stores in 14 states at the first hint of problem, on Sept. 12, two days before Jensen Farms issued its voluntary recall.
The Rocky Ford-brand cantaloupes from Jensen Farms were shipped to Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming.
Some consumers may still have the contaminated fruit in their homes, possibly under refrigeration. Unlike many other foodborne pathogens, listeria bacteria can continue to thrive in cold temperatures.
Health officials urged consumers to check the labels on cantaloupes or to ask their grocers directly about the source of the fruit. Any contaminated cantaloupe should be tossed, and household surfaces should be sanitized with bleach, FDA officials said.
"We don't want you to trying to wash off that contamination," said Dr. Sherri McGarry, senior advisor of the FDA's department of Foods. "We want you to throw that produce away."
In any case, whole cantaloupe has a shelf life of about two weeks before it goes bad, while cut cantaloupe has an even shorter edible span.
This is the 10th outbreak of food poisoning in a decade tied to cantaloupe, Frieden said. Seven of those have been tied to salmonella contamination, while three have been in fruit tainted by norovirus.
CDC estimates that about 48 million people in the U.S. each year get sick from tainted food, with about 128,000 hospitalized and 3,000 deaths.

3 illnesses from Raw Oysters ? 23 states affected
by foodsafeguru ( Sep 27, 2011)
The FDA is warning consumers not to eat raw oysters harvested from an area of Hood Canal in Washington State following an outbreak of illness in that state caused by Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria. Raw oysters harvested from ¡°growing area 4¡± in Hood Canal from August 30 to September 19 have been linked to three confirmed and two possible cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus illness.
All ill persons reported consumption of raw oysters. There have been no reports of hospitalizations or deaths resulting from consuming the oysters. The Washington State Department of Health closed the growing area associated with the illnesses. Commercial oyster harvesters and dealers who obtained oysters from this growing area have initiated a recall and notified their commercial customers in affected states.
Shipping and other records provided by Washington State indicate that oysters harvested from this area were distributed to establishments in 23 states and four foreign countries. They are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Utah, and Washington, and to the countries of China, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Thailand.

Loose monitoring leads to illegal food
Source :
By Wu Yiyao (Sep 27, 2011)
Loose regulations and monitoring have led to the rampant production and sales of illegal food and drugs, officers with Shanghai High People's Court said on Monday.
As many as 53 cases involving illegal production and sales of fake and harmful food and drugs have been concluded in Shanghai since 2008, with 117 people penalized.
In some cases, when quality monitors went to check food and drug production, they did not go to check the production line. Instead, they waited for staff members of the factory to deliver samples."In such cases, all the samples were carefully chosen as producers have to rely on these samples to pass quality inspections. However, the quality of their products were far lower than the samples," said He Pingfan, spokesman of Shanghai No 2 Intermediate People's Court. Regulatory supervision of sales is also impeded due to faulty monitoring, said He.
Supermarkets, for example, are obliged to stop selling expired food and destroy it. However, some supermarkets just rewrite the manufacturing date and put the food back onto shelves. In a recent case of colored steamed buns in Shanghai, the manufacturer collected unsold, expired steamed buns from supermarkets and processed the buns again, labeling a new date of production and reselling the buns.
However, no quality inspectors involved in the case have been sued as their faults have not met the standard of crimes, said He. The cases of illegal production and sales of fake and harmful food and drugs in Shanghai share some features, said Ding Shouxing, deputy director of Shanghai High People's Court. Products involved in the crimes cover a wide range, including buns, pork, milk, salt, wines, food additives and drugs. Most of the crimes were discovered in suburban areas, and defendants in the cases are not well-educated, said Ding.
"A striking feature is the clear division of labor in the cases, which involves production, supply and sales," he said. Severe penalties will be given to those involved in crimes of illegal production and sales of food and drugs based on the eighth amendment of the Criminal Law, which came into effect in May, said Ding. Ye Weilu, general manger of the food company that produced and sold dyed steam buns, was sentenced to nine years in prison and fined 650,000 yuan ($102,000) on Tuesday.
The food company had allegedly sold more than 270,000 packets of dyed buns worth of about 620,000 yuan between October 2010 and April this year. Xu Jianming, production manager, and Xie Weixian, sales manager, were each sentenced to five years and fined 200,000 yuan on Tuesday.

BPA in Canned Food for Kids: Is It a Threat?
Source :
By GRETCHEN GOETZ (Sep 26, 2011
A new study of several leading brands of kids' canned foods has found various levels of bisphenol A (BPA), an estrogenic chemical that has been linked to breast cancer, in 12 cans tested.
The Breast Cancer Fund collected 2 samples of 6 different types of food marketed to children, and found levels of BPA ranging from 21 parts per billion (ppb) to 77.5 ppb, with an average of 49 ppb.
The tested products include:
- Annie's Homegrown Cheesy Ravioli
- Campbell's Disney Princess Cool Shapes Pasta with Chicken in Chicken Broth
- Campbell's Spaghettios with Meatballs
- Campbell's Toy Story Fun Shapes, Shaped Pasta with Chicken in Chicken Broth
- Chef Boyardee Whole Grain Pasta, Mini ABC's & 123's with Meatballs
- Earth's Best Organic Elmo Noodlemania Soup

BPA is used in to make the inner linings of food cans. "What's meant to be a protective barrier between the metal and the can's contents actually contains this toxic chemical, which leaches into the food and is then consumed by adults and children alike," says the report. These findings illustrate the need for action to remove BPA from cans, says the Breast Cancer Fund, a move the organization is promoting through its Cans Not Cancer campaign, which asks consumers to urge companies to take BPA out of their packaging.
Research has shown that exposure to BPA, even in small amounts, can increase a person's risk of breast and prostate cancer, infertility, early puberty in females, type-2 diabetes, obesity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, reports the study.
However, highly regarded study published in June in Toxicological Sciences showed that the concentration of BPA in a human's bloodstream after exposure to BPA is extremely low compared to the amount they encounter. While animals may be affected by the chemical in clinical studies, these levels aren't enough to cause harm to humans
"In a nutshell," said Justin Teeguarden, the project's head researcher, "we can now say for the adult human population exposed to even very high diestary levels, blood concentrations of the bioactive form of BPA throughout the day are below our ability to detect them, and orders of magnitude lower than those causing effects in rodents exposed to BPA," reported Forbes.
This research - commissioned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in conjunction with the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shows that studies examining how BPA impacts animals, which have previously been used to determine its effects on humans, cannot be extrapolated to people. And other independent studies have shown that the body quickly detoxifies and expels BPA after consuming it.
The Breast Cancer Fund, however, argues that even low levels of BPA such as those found in the cans of soup it sampled, can cause harm when consumed over a long period of time.
However, other experts say that BPA has yet to be shown to cause long-term harm.
"No governmental science-based advisory board in the world has concluded that BPA is harmful," said Jon Entine, a science writer, in the September issue of The American. "Political systems often operate with limited information and short time horizons, while much of science is complex and evolving," he said in reference to campaigns in the US to ban BPA.

Traceability key to avoiding deadly E.coli crisis re-run, expert
Source :
By Ben Bouckley (Sep 26, 2011)
Effective traceability systems are key to avoiding a repeat of the drawn-out E.coli crisis, where the German food industry lost control to health authorities, according to a crisis management expert.
Tony Hines, head of food security and crisis management at Leatherhead Food Research told ¡°In many ¡®incidents¡¯ the food industry is the first to know. In this case illness and hospital presentations came first."
The E.coli outbreak that killed 48 people in Germany and 15 in France was traced to imported Egyptian fenugreek seeds, used to grow sprouts at a farm in Lower Saxony.
Said Hines: "In crisis management planning and management, we normally suggest that a manufacturer needs to retain a degree of control of the incident. In this case control passed to the health service.¡¯¡¯
Recent outbreaks of listeria traced to cantaloupe melons from Colorado in the US were another good example, Hines added, similarly complicated by the fact that consumers sometimes ate melons a month before symptoms appeared.
Food safety threats
Hines was reacting to a recent Berlin speech by European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) executive director Catherine Geslain-Laneelle, who warned that the EU was especially vulnerable in terms of food safety. ¡°Europe is the biggest global trader in food products, and the openness of the European market leaves us particularly vulnerable to food safety threats,¡± she said.
A single food product could contain ingredients from across the world, Geslain-Laneelle said, many of which were produced to non-European standards. Hines insisted that traceability of food ingredients was vital to effective crisis management: ¡°Where you get raw material from, what you make with it and where you send it to, is not only a legal requirement but instrumental in root-cause incident management," he said.
"The linking of Egyptian fenugreek seeds to illnesses in Germany and France will be a case study for future crisis management professionals for decades to come." Under EU law, 'traceability' means the ability to track any food, feed, food-producing animal or substance that will be used for consumption, through all stages of production, processing and distribution. This allows authorities to trace risks back to source.
In recent addresses to the food industry, Hines said he had emphasised the damage caused to the industry by the fact that health professionals knew about the incident long before the food industry. ¡°The investigation, equivalent to a multi-victim murder drama with of very ill patients has attracted worldwide media interest, speculation, reputational damage, claims for compensation,¡± said Hines. To make matters worse, when patients fell ill the evidence chain had also gone cold, he said.
Good crisis management
Together, these factors represented: ¡°everything you do not want in good crisis management¡±, Hines added, where traceability of a ¡°long-forgotten short shelf-life product¡± was at issue.
However, the German crisis was difficult to handle becuase of the gestation of the illiness and its indentification, Hines said, with a patient stricken with E.coli first feeling unwell 2-10 days after consuming the food, then visiting a doctor or hospital 72 hours later. Samples were then taken, said Hines, and identified as a specific, rare strain of E.coli with lethal virulence and antibiotic-resistant genes.
¡°[But] during this time your condition has worsened, talking and thinking are difficult and you can barely recognise your family, let alone remember what you ate 14 days ago or where,¡± he said.
Cases multiplied and alarm bell rung, said Hines, while ¡°false leads and a range of suspects from salad leaves, bean sprouts and cucumbers are all in the frame.¡±
He added: ¡°Laboratory results fail to identify root cause. All the while with a casualty list is growing and ¡®presenters¡¯ are still appearing at doctors¡¯ surgeries and emergency departments."

Top Three Death Counts in Foodborne Illness Outbreaks in US have been Listeria
Source :
By Bill Marler (Sep 28, 2011)
At 72 sickened with 13 deaths the Jensen Farms Frontera Listeria Outbreak has moved into third place in the United States most deadly foodborne illness outbreaks. The numbers of ill and dead are expected to increase in this recent Listeria Outbreak.
Jalisco's Listeria Outbreak
January 1985 / Vehicle: cheese / Number ill: 142 / Deaths: 48

Bil Mar Foods Ready-to-eat Meats Listeria Outbreak
January 1998 / Vehicle: deli and cured meats / Number ill: 101 / Deaths: 31

Jensen Farms Frontera Listeria Outbreak
September 2011 ? ONGOING / Vehicle: whole cantaloupe / Number ill: 72 / Deaths: 13

Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) Salmonella Outbreak
September 2008 / Vehicle: Peanuts and peanut butter / Number ill: 716 / Deaths: 9

Pilgrim's Pride Listeria Outbreak
July 2002 / Vehicle: deli meats / Number ill: 54 / Deaths: 8

Dole Brand Natural Selections Bagged Spinach E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak
August 2006 / Vehicle: spinach / Number ill: 238 / Deaths: 5

SanGar Produce Listeria Outbreak
January 2010 / Vehicle: celery / Number ill: 10 / Deaths: 5

Jack in the Box E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak
November 1992 / Vehicle: ground beef / Number ill: 708 / Deaths: 4

Chi Chi's Hepatitis A Outbreak
October 2003 / Vehicle: green onions / Number ill: 660 / Deaths: 4

Cargill Ground Turkey Positive for Outbreak Strain
Source :
By NEWS DESK (Sep 28, 2011)
A sample of ground turkey from Cargill's Sept. 11 recall of 185,000 pounds of ground turkey tested positive for the Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak strain (XbaI PFGE pattern 58/BlnI pattern 76), the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced late Tuesday.
In updating the earlier recall notice with confirmation of the outbreak strain, FSIS said lab results from the sample taken on Aug. 24 also indicate the isolate is resistant to ampicillin, gentamicin, streptomycin and tetracycline.
The Sept. 11 recall was in addition to Cargill's Aug. 3 recall of 36 million pounds of fresh and frozen ground turkey products produced over five months at the company's Springdale, Ark. plant.
The ground turkey is implicated in an outbreak that as of Sept. 14 had infected 119 people in 32 states with Salmonella Heidelberg, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Bravo Farms and Costco Raw Milk Cheese E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak
Source :
by Bill Marler (September 25, 2011)
On November 4, 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an alert to consumers and health professionals about an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 in five states: Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada. The alert was based on epidemiological evidence linking at least 25 E. coli O157:H7 illnesses in those states to a cheese product called ¡°Bravo Farms Dutch Style Gouda Cheese¡± that the defendant manufactured and distributed to Costco Warehouses. Costco offered the cheese product for sampling and sale at the ¡°cheese road show¡± held at certain Costco Warehouses, including the location at Christown Spectrum Mall in Phoenix, Arizona, from October 5 to November 1, 2010.
Further investigation by the CDC and various state and local health agencies demonstrated that 38 E. coli O157:H7 cases from Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada in the outbreak shared an indistinguishable DNA fingerprint pattern. The fingerprint pattern has never been seen before in the PulseNet database, which is the national subtyping network made up of state and local public health laboratories and federal food regulatory laboratories.
In a remarkable move, U.S. marshals and Food and Drug Administration agents raided Bravo Farms and seized the gouda, along with piles of edam and blocks of white cheddar on January 27, 2011. Investigators seized more than 80,000 pounds of cheese with the intent of disposing of it as garbage. This development is remarkable because the FDA so rarely feels compelled to actually visit a food manufacturing facility and impound potentially contaminated food items. Typically, the manufacturer has long since disposed of the implicated food at the FDA¡¯s request. It takes a rare combination of egregious manufacturing conditions and a lack of cooperation to induce such FDA action. With Bravo Farms, federal authorities reported:
1. Plant buildings and structures are not of suitable size, construction, and design to facilitate maintenance and sanitary operations for food-manufacturing purposes. Employees must travel from the in-process area directly through the finished product areas without sufficient controls to prevent cross-contamination, and uncovered in-process materials are transported outside of the building, exposed to the open environment.
2. Adequate measures under the conditions of manufacturing and handling are not being taken to destroy or prevent the growth of undesirable microorganisms particularly those of public health significance, to prevent the food from being adulterated within the meaning of the Act. The firm lacks the controls necessary to assure that cheese manufactured from raw (unpasteurized) milk is aged for the minimum requirement of 60 days.
3. Equipment containers and utensils used to convey, hold, or store raw materials, work-in-progress, rework, or food, are not handled and maintained during manufacturing or storage in a manner that protects against contamination. The firm utilizes the same equipment for young (unaged) cheese and aged cheese, without assuring proper cleaning and sanitization to prevent cross contamination.
4. Effective measures are not being taken to exclude pests from the processing areas and to protect against the contamination of food on the premises by pests. At least fifty (50) flies were observed in the processing areas of the firm, a rabbit was seen leaving the room in which packaging material for finished is stored, and gaps were observed around doors leading into the processing area.
5. The facility is not constructed in such a manner that drip or condensate does not contaminate food, food-contact surfaces, or food-packaging materials. Condensate was observed directly over an uncovered vat of in-process cheese.
6. Employees are not washing hands thoroughly and sanitizing if necessary to protect against contamination with undesirable microorganisms in an adequate hand-washing facility before starting work, after each absence from the work station, and at any other time when the hands may have become soiled or contaminated. An employee was observed dipping his hands in the utensil sanitizing bath and the proceeding to mix in-process cheese with his bare hands, and an employee scratched his chin under his beard cover and then mixed the milled cheese with his bare hands without washing or sanitizing his hands.
Additionally, 15 of 24 cheese samples collected tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes, a pathogenic organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in children and the elderly. The samples came from four different types of Bravo Farms cheese, including cheddar, edam, gouda, and jack. And one sample, a cheddar cheese, tested positive for E. coli O157:H7. As a result of the multiple positive samples for pathogenic bacteria representing approximately four (4) months of production, on November 22, 2010, the California Department of Food and Agriculture imposed a quarantine on all types, varieties and flavors of cheese manufactured, handled, or packaged by Bravo Farms, LLC and ordered a recall of all cheese distributed by Bravo Farms, LLC.

Settlement Reached in Listeria Death
Source :
By_ Bill Marler (Sep 18, 2011)
A confidential settlement was reached between the family of 87-year old John Powers and Whittier Farms stemming from an outbreak of Listeria linked to contaminated milk. The outbreak was responsible for the death of at least four.
A. News of the Outbreak
On November 27, 2007, a health department officer in central Massachusetts contacted the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) to report a Listeria infection in an 87-year-old man, later identified as John Powers. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) performed on Mr. Powers's Listeria monocytogenes stool isolate produced a pattern indistinguishable from that of isolates from three other cases identified in residents of central Massachusetts in June, October, and early November 2007. MDPH, in collaboration with local public health officials, conducted an investigation, which implicated pasteurized, flavored and non-flavored, fluid milk produced by a local dairy as the source of the outbreak. The milk was later revealed to have been produced by Whittier Farms, Inc., a family owned dairy located in Sutton, Massachusetts. In fact, it was coffee-flavored milk, produced by Whittier Farms and purchased at Shady Oaks Farm, that tested positive for Listeria and that was a PFGE-match to the strain of Listeria associated with Mr. Powers, the other victims, and the environmental samples collected from the dairy facility.
Whittier Farms operated a milk product pasteurizing, bottling, and processing facility; the dairy had operated for nearly 50 years. Raw milk was transported by tanker truck to the Whittier Farms processing facility from the company¡¯s own farm (with nearly 300 cows) and from another, independent farm located 25 miles away. Whittier Farms produced various milk and non-milk beverage products in glass and plastic bottles, including several varieties of flavored milk. Retail outlets were located at the dairy and the farm; however, the bulk of the dairy's milk products were sold through home delivery, and at various retail establishments in Massachusetts, including Shady Oaks Farm in Medway. The milk products were sold under the Whittier Farms name and other brand names. Bulk cream was distributed to a bakery in Rhode Island, where it was used in cooked products.
B. The Outbreak Investigation
The MDPH defined a case of outbreak-associated listeriosis as illness in a Massachusetts resident with illness onset in 2007 who: (1) was culture-positive for Listeria monocytogenes with PFGE patterns that matched the outbreak patterns as established by the first case; or (2) had culture-confirmed Listeria monocytogenes and a history of consuming milk products produced by Whittier Farms during the six weeks preceding illness and for whom a bacterial isolate was not available for PFGE analysis.
Five patients had illness consistent with the case definition. All but one of the patients met the first case definition criterion. The median age of the patients was 75 years old (range: 31 to 87 years); three were male. All five patients were hospitalized. All three of the males (75 to 87 years old), including Mr. Powers, died from sepsis attributed to Listeria, and died close to the time of their acute illness onset. The first case in a female was in a 31 year old woman who had chorioamnionitis at 36 weeks gestation. She delivered a healthy but premature infant. A subsequent placental culture tested positive for Listeria. The second case in a female was in a 34 year old woman who had a fever and abdominal pain. She experienced a stillbirth at 37 weeks gestation, and cultures of her blood, fetal blood, and placental tissue all were positive for Listeria monocytogenes.
Interviews were subsequently conducted with the patients or their families. One patient, however, could not be interviewed. Of the remaining four patients, all but one had consumed products from Whittier Farms during the six weeks preceding their illness. On December 17, evidence of Listeria growth was reported from a coffee-flavored milk sample, retrieved from the home of Mr. Powers. In response to the December 17 findings, the Massachusetts Food Protection Program (MFPP) inspected Whittier Farms and collected eleven samples of unopened, flavored and unflavored milk products for testing on December 18. On December 21, the organism from the December 17 sample was confirmed to be Listeria monocytogenes and was a match to the four clinical isolates from the other patients. Thus, the source of this particular genetic strain of Listeria was identified. The same unique PFGE pattern was identified within Whittier Farms milk products and the four PFGE confirmed cases associated with the outbreak, including Mr. Powers. From this point forward, there was no doubt that the Whittier Farms product resulted in the patients¡¯ Listeria infections.
C. Product Recall and Dairy Closure
MFPP returned to Whittier Farms on December 26 and collected environmental swab samples from inside the processing facility. On December 27, the State Laboratory Institute (SLI) of MDPH reported a presumptive positive Listeria specimen in a sample of unopened, coffee-flavored milk that had been collected from Whittier Farms on December 19. In response to this finding, MFPP asked the dairy to voluntarily cease all operations and recall its dairy products; Whittier Farms complied with this request on December 27. On December 30, SLI confirmed that Listeria monocytogenes with PFGE patterns identical to the outbreak strain was isolated from a sample of unopened, coffee-flavored milk ingested by Mr. Powers.
From December 28, 2007, to January 3, 2008, MFPP conducted a full environmental investigation in conjunction with the Food and Drug Administration and the local board of health. The facility did not have an environmental monitoring program for Listeria monocytogenes. Although this is not required by law, is typically implemented as a best practice by other food processors of ready-to-eat foods. Contamination, as demonstrated by the positive environmental samples, was documented in close proximity to areas where hoses were used to clean equipment. On February 1, 2008, Whittier Farms decided to permanently close the milk processing facility, citing an inability to invest the money necessary to make the facility safe.
On January 2, 2008, after the closure of Whittier Farms and the recall of its dairy products, approximately 100 additional environmental and product samples were collected by MFPP from the dairy's processing facility and adjacent retail store. One environmental swab from a floor drain in the finished product area, one skim milk sample, and seven flavored milk samples tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes and matched the outbreak strain by PFGE analysis. Two additional environmental swabs and four additional samples of milk, both flavored and non-flavored, tested positive for seven distinct strains of Listeria, including three different Listeria species and three strains of Listeria monocytogenes with PFGE patterns that differed from those of the outbreak strain.

Egyptian veg import restrictions to be lifted but sprout ban stays, says EU
Source :
By_Rory Harrington (Sep 16, 2011)
The European Commission (EC) said it will lift the import ban on some Egyptian vegetables imposed after E.coli outbreaks in Germany and France earlier this year - but that restrictions on fenugreek sprouts would remain.
In July, Brussels outlawed vegetable shipments from Egypt into the bloc as part of a move that contaminated fenugreek seeds from the country were responsible for the outbreak of E.coli 0104:H4 that killed 50 and sickened 4,000 in northern Germany and southwestern France during the summer. The temporary ban was introduced in the wake of a report from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that linked fenugreek seeds to the incidents- and included leguminous vegetables such as green beans and podded peas. It is due to run until the end of next month to give EU officials enough time to scrutinize production standards in Egypt.
The EC said member states had yesterday backed its recommendation to reverse the decision for vegetables but leave the ban in place for Egyptian fenugreek seeds. No details over the precise timing for the move were given.
Safety audit
This decision came after EU experts from the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) carried out a safety audit in Egypt ¡°which revealed no shortcomings in the production sites of leguminous vegetables¡±, said the EC
The FVO is expected to finalise its mission report at the end of October. The measures on the fenugreek sprouts will remain in force until 31 October and will be reviewed then, it added. In 2010, the EU imported around 49,000 tons of the banned fenugreek seeds from Egypt, worth more than ¢æ56m.
Knee-jerk reaction
The UK¡¯s Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC) welcomed the announcement but criticised Brussels for including the vegetables in the first place. ¡°It was vital that the European Commission identified the source of these serious E.coli outbreaks very quickly. However, this was no excuse for a knee-jerk reaction based on unfounded assumptions which jeopardised the viability of fresh produce businesses trading in Egypt and the UK,¡± said the body¡¯s CEO Nigel Jenney.
He added: ¡°Fresh produce should never have been included in this ridiculous ban and we want to see it lifted without delay. This removal of fresh produce from the ban reinforces the competence of Egyptian producers, although the same cannot be said about the Commission¡¯s handling of the matter.¡± It estimated that lost sales revenues for cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce ran to ¡Ì54m, while sales of bean sprouts dropped by 30%.


International Conference for
Food Safety and Quality

November 8-9, 2011
Holiday Inn Chicago O'Hare Hotel
5615 North Cumberland Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60631

Major Topic: Detection Methods for
Microbiological/Chemical Hazards for Food Safety and Quality

20% registration fee off by 8/31/2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Conference Place: Holiday Inn (Conference Room)

7:00 - 8:30 Registration and Breakfast (Juice, Tea, Coffee) and Poster Display
(***Exhibitors displaying time : 7:00-9:00 AM***)

8:40 - 9:00 Opening Announcement

Section A. Importance of Detection Methods for Food Safety and Quality

9:00 - 9:50 - The Importance of detection methods for food safety and quality

Michael Doyle
University of Georgia

9:50 - 10:40 - Advanced Detection methods for food safety and quality

Mansel Griffiths
University of Geulph
Editor of AEM

10:40 - 11:00 -
Coffee Break in Exhibitors' Section

11:00 - 11:50 - Current Foodborne Outbreak and legal issues

William D. Marler, Esq.
MarlerClark attorneys at Law

11:50 - 12:00: Exhibitos Presentation and GROUP PICTURE

12:00 - 1:00: Lunch buffet will be supported (Holiday Inn, Dinning Room)

Section B. Detection methods for Food Allergen Residues

1:00 - 1:50 - Detection of Food Allergen Residues in Processed Foods and Food Processing Facilities

Stephen Taylor
University of Nebraska
Director - Food Allergy Research and Resource Program

1:50 - 2:20 - Rapid Testing for Allergen Control Programs
Presentation by Ryan Waters
Charm Science

2:20 - 2:30 - Break / Visit Companies' Booth

Section C. Molecular/Immunoassay methods for Detection of Microbiological and Chemical hazards

2:30 - 3:10 - Costco Way for Food Safety and Quality

Robin Forgey
Food Safety Quality Manager

3:10 - 3:50 -
Novel biosensor technologies for high throughput screening of pathogens and toxins

A. Bhurnia
Professor, Purdue University


3:50 - 4:10- Innovative detection methods with immunoassay based method
Presented by SDI

4:10 -4:30 - Novel nucleic acid testing methods for industrial applications
Presented by Roka Bioscience

4:30 - 5:30 - Panel Discussion (All key speakers will be joined)

Stan Bailey
2008 IAFP President, bioMerieux

- Adjourn

Wed. November 9, 2011
Conference Place: Holiday Inn (Conference Room)

7:00 - 8:30 Registration and Breakfast (Juice, Tea, Coffee) and Poster Display
8:40 - 9:00 Poster Competition Award

  Section D. Importance of conventional/biochemical detection methods for Food safety and Quality

9:00 - 9:40 - Rapid Methods/Automation and a Look into the Future

Daniel Y.C. Fung
Director of Rapid Methods and Automation in Microbiology Workshop (KSU)
Professor, Kansas State University

9:40 - 10:20 -
Rapid Methods and Automation Workshop for 30 years

P.C. Vasavada
Director of Rapid Methods and Automation in Microbiology Workshop (UW)
Professor, University of Wisconsin

10:20 - 10:40 - Coffee Break in Exhibitors' Section

10:40 - 10:50 - Presentation Title from Company presentation


11:00 - 11:30 - New demands for Rapid and Automative Detection Methods for Food Safety

Stan Bailey
2008 IAFP President, bioMerieux


11:30 - 12:00 - Rapid methods for monitoring microbial numbers for food industries

Gregory Siragusa
Senior Principal Scientist
Danisco USA


12:00 -12:20 - Innovative methods for detection of microbiological/chemical hazards for food safety

Dupont Qualicon

12:20 - 1:30
- Lunch buffet will be supported (Holiday Inn, Dinning Room)

Section E. Impacts of Advanced/Conventional Detection methods on Food Industries

1:30 - 2:10 - Impact of detection methods for food industries

Robert Koeritzer
2006 AOAC President

2:10 - 2:30 - Application of several detection methods for Food industries


2:30 - 2:40 - Coffee Break in Exhibitors' Section

2:40 - 3:10 - The importance of detection procedures for food safety by 3rd party

Erdogan Ceylan
Director, Silliker

3:10 - 4:00 Application of Rapid Methods for Food Industries

Paul Hall
IAFP President (2004)
President, AIV Consulting LLC.

4:00 - 4:30 - Attendees' Certificate / Adjourn

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