05/21,2012
ISSUE:496


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Salmonella outbreak linked to consumption of frozen raw yellowfin tuna has now sickened 316 people in 26 U.S. states, CDC says
May 18, 2012 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

source from: http://www.industryintel.com/news/read/3331233960/Salmonella-outbreak-linked-to-consumption-of-frozen.html
Headlines are rewritten for editorial clarity. The original story and headline begin below.
Original Headline: Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Bareilly and Salmonella Nchanga Infections Associated with a Raw Scraped Ground Tuna Product
WASHINGTON, May 18, 2012 (press release) . A total of 316 individuals infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Bareilly or Salmonella Nchanga have been reported from 26 states and the District of Columbia. The 58 new cases are from Alabama (1), California (2), Colorado (1), Georgia (3), Illinois (4), Indiana (1), Louisiana (1), Maryland (3), Massachusetts (6), New Jersey (1), New York (10), North Carolina (6), Pennsylvania (5), Tennessee (2), Texas (3), Virginia (6), and Wisconsin (3).

* Three hundred and four persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bareilly have been reported from 26 states and the District of Columbia. The number of ill persons with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bareilly identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (3), Arkansas (1), California (4), Colorado (1), Connecticut (9), District of Columbia (2), Florida (1), Georgia (13), Illinois (27), Indiana (1), Louisiana (4), Maryland (27), Massachusetts (33), Mississippi (2), Missouri (4), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (26), New York (48), North Carolina (10), Pennsylvania (25), Rhode Island (6), South Carolina (3), Tennessee (4), Texas (7), Virginia (22), Vermont (1), and Wisconsin (19).
* Twelve persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Nchanga have been reported from 5 states. The number of ill persons with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Nchanga identified in each state is as follows: Georgia (2), New Jersey (2), New York (6), Virginia (1), and Wisconsin (1).

Among 316 persons for whom information is available, illness onset dates range from January 28 to May 3, 2012. Ill persons range in age from <1 to 86 years, with a median age of 30. Fifty-nine percent of patients are female. Among 217 persons with available information, 37 (17%) reported being hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Illnesses that occurred after April 17, 2012, might not be reported yet due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported.
Investigation Update

Laboratory testing conducted by state public health laboratories in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Wisconsin has isolated Salmonella from 53 (96%) of 55 samples taken from intact packages of frozen yellow fin tuna scrape from Moon Marine USA Corporation or from sushi prepared with the implicated scrape tuna product. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis results are available for Salmonella isolates from 41 of the 53 positive samples. Thirty-six samples yielded the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bareilly, and 12 samples yielded the outbreak strain of Salmonella Nchanga. Seven samples yielded the outbreak strains of both Salmonella Bareilly and Salmonella Nchanga.

On April 24, 2012, FDA issued a documentExternal Web Site Icon that lists observations made by the FDA Representative(s) during the inspection of a Moon Fishery (India) Pvt. Ltd facility conducted as part of this ongoing outbreak investigation.
Recall Update

On May 10, 2012 Moon Fishery (India) Pvt. Ltd., the manufacturer of the frozen yellowfin tuna Nakaochi scrape recently recalled, expanded the voluntary recallExternal Web Site Icon to include its 22-pound boxes of ˇ°Tuna Stripsˇ±, Product of India, marked as ˇ°AAˇ± or ˇ°AAA Gradeˇ± because the product has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

On April 13, 2012, Moon Marine USA Corporation (also known as MMI) of Cupertino, California voluntarily recalledExternal Web Site Icon 58,828 lbs of a frozen raw yellowfin tuna product, labeled as Nakaochi Scrape AA or AAA. Nakaochi Scrape is tuna backmeat, which is specifically scraped off from the bones, and looks like a ground product.


State agency criticized for refusal to name restaurant linked to E. coli
Source : http://blog.usfoodsafety.com/2012/05/16/state-agency-criticized-for-refusal-to-name-restaurant-linked-to-e-coli/
By Lynne P. Shackleford(May 16, 2012)
A state agency is being criticized for refusing to release the name of a Spartanburg Mexican restaurant linked to a recent outbreak of Escherichia coli.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control confirmed Friday it is investigating 11 cases associated with the same restaurant, but has declined to identify the establishment. Two of the cases are patients with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, which is characterized by kidney failure caused by E. coli.
DHEC spokesman Adam Myrick said he understands the concerns of consumers, but the agency does not believe there is a current health risk. He said inspectors visited the restaurant on Friday, and it scored 96 out of 100 on an inspection.
“When it comes to balancing business interests with the public’s health, we’re always going to make a decision based on what’s in the best interest of the health of our citizens,” DHEC Director Catherine Templeton said in a written statement. “If we had any reason to believe there was ongoing transmission of disease or a current public health threat, we would readily disclose more information about the restaurant associated with the disease outbreak investigation.”
However, Myrick said he can’t recall a single case in his eight years with the agency where DHEC has identified a restaurant associated with a food-borne illness. There is no agency policy on releasing the name of restaurants linked to food-borne illnesses, he said.
Myrick said Templeton wouldn’t be available for a phone interview this week to discuss the Spartanburg E. coli cases.
Right to know’
A nationally recognized food safety advocate is lambasting DHEC’s decision to keep the name of the restaurant under wraps.
“People have a right to know. Consumers have a right to decide if they want to eat at a particular place, and it makes no sense to me how DHEC can justify protecting them while putting a target — literally a target — on every other Mexican restaurant in that area,” said Bill Marler, a nationally recognized attorney and author who specializes in food-borne illness cases.
Rita Roman, owner of Rita’s Restaurante at 1047 Fernwood-Glendale Road, said she noticed an immediate impact from the announcement and said her business has continued to lag. Her restaurant is not the source of the outbreak.
“It has hurt us big time,” she said. “I had 10 tables all day on Saturday. That’s just ridiculous. We’re all suffering right now. It’s hard enough to bring people to the east side to eat anyway. Something like this just makes it more difficult.”
Roman’s restaurant had a perfect score during its last inspection on May 2 and said she only uses fresh, high-quality ingredients in her dishes.
“It’s not fair,” she said. “I think (DHEC) needs to release the name of the restaurant to the public. I don’t want to see anyone’s business hurt, but it’s better than all of us suffering. Other (Mexican) restaurants have an advantage because they have several stores in Spartanburg. But we just have the one, so it’s harder on us.”
Marler has represented thousands of clients in claims against food companies, securing more than $600 million for victims of E. coli, Salmonella and other food-borne illnesses. He has testified in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce and is a national speaker on food safety issues.
“When you hide information from people, it distorts the free market,” Marler said. “If people don’t know why people are getting sick, or the source of that illness, they can’t vote with their pocketbooks and nothing ever changes. Why would a restaurant change its practices if there’s no accountability. There’s no incentive to change.”
Myrick said health investigators are still trying to determine whether the contamination was specific to one restaurant, or if it’s a supplier issue.
If it’s a mass production supply issue, Marler said, multiple restaurants in this area, and even in multiple states could have been affected.
Marler doesn’t favor a state law specifying a timeline for when an agency should disclose the name of a restaurant once it has been linked to a food-borne illness because it takes time to investigate and positively trace bacteria to a facility.
“They should get the data right, release the name to the public and let the chips fall where they may,” he said.
Social media and the Internet have opened the door for people to warn others of the culprit in food poisoning cases, he said.
“It’s different nowadays because of social media and the Internet,” Marler said. “You can’t — and I’m not suggesting you should — but you can’t hide names anymore.”
Spartanburg Sen. Lee Bright, R-Roebuck, said DHEC should release the name of the restaurant linked to the E. coli cases, and after speaking with officials in Columbia, Rep. Mike Forrester, R-Spartanburg, said the agency could determine in the next day or so on whether the cases are connected to a supplier or if it’s a restaurant issue.

The Herald-Journal has filed a request under the state Freedom of Information Act for documents related to the Spartanburg case, but as of Tuesday evening, no documents had been provided.

Job Openings
05/21. Quality Mgmt Spec - Food Safety . Williamsburg, VA
05/18. Quality Assurance / Food Safety Manager
05/18. Retail Food Safety Specialist . Miami, FL
05/18. Sr. Research Quality Scientist . St. Louis, MO
05/18. Qual Mgmt - Food Safety . Williamsburg, VA
05/18. Regulatory and Food Safety Specialist . Chicago, IL
05/16. QA & Food Safety Manager - Mendota Heights, MN
05/16. Demo Coordinator Food Safety . Austin, TX
05/16. Sr Food Safety Scientist . Glenview, IL
05/14. Quality & Food Safety Auditor . Port Huneme, CA
05/14. Food Safety/Zoonotic Technologist - Marshfield, WI
05/14. Food Safety Specialist . Princeton, NJ
05/10. Food Safety & Quality Control . Grand Forks, ND

GMO Labeling on California Ballot This Fall
The Right-to-Know campaign has obtained more than enough signatures on its GMO labeling petition to appear on the California ballot this fall. The petition will require GMO labeling on foods in California.
The measure would require food manufacturers to identify genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that are in any food sold in California.
This may lead to nation-wide labeling so manufacturers don’t have to print two labels on the same product.
When California added the caramel coloring 4-MI to its list of carcinogens under Proposition 65 in 2009, the manufacturer of that product agreed to change it to meet California’s standards.
Food Poisoning Bulletin asked Stacy Malkan, Media Director for the California Right-to-Know 2012 ballot initiative, about this issue. She said, “consumers have a right to know what’s in the food we buy and eat and feed our children, just as we have the right to know how many calories are in our food, or whether food comes from other countries like Mexico or China.
“The same goes for whether our meat, dairy, fruits, or vegetables are genetically engineered in a laboratory. We should all be able to make informed choices, and have the freedom to choose whether to buy genetically engineered food or not.”
We asked if there are any health issues connected to GMO foods. Ms. Malkan answered, “the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t require any health studies or safety testing of genetically engineered food, so there’s a lot we don’t know about the health impacts. But we do know there is cause for concern.
“Independent studies show that genetically engineering food can create new, unintended toxicants and increase allergies and other health problems. Experts around the world agree that by labeling genetically engineered food, we can help identify if these foods are causing any health problems.
He measure needed at least 550,000 verified signatures to be added to the ballot. The group has collected almost 1 million signatures. California requires that the signatures be verified by random sampling and full check methods. The Right to Know organization used volunteers to collect signatures.

According to a poll conducted by the Mellman Group, 90% of Americans want to see GMO labeling on foods. Transparency in labeling is important, according to Dr. Ted Labuza, food science professor at the University of Minnesota, who stresses the principle of informed consent.


Exploring the Link Between Animal Health and Food Safety
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/05/exploring-the-link-between-animal-health-and-food-safety/
By Helena Bottemiller (May 09,2012)
There's growing pressure for animal agriculture to change its practices, whether it be utilizing gestation crates or feeding antibiotics, but a new paper cautions that these changes may negatively impact food safety.
The discussion paper released by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology -- a research group
that includes the Farm Bureau and the American Veterinary Medical Association --  this week identified
some of the factors now being discussed that impact animal health, including: antibiotic use, economies of scale, housing, local production and sustainability.
Scientists have long known there is a link between animal health, stress levels and pathogen shedding, but as CAST and others have noted, more research is needed.
"In addition to overtly ill animals, there is a growing body of evidence showing that chronically, previously,
and not visibly ill animals are more likely to be contaminated with foodborne pathogens after processing in the abattoir (slaughterhouse)," the researchers write. "These animals, however, may go unnoticed during antemortem (live animal) inspection, and thus questions arise concerning the potential impacts of these animals entering the food supply on public health risk from foodborne pathogens."
The paper discusses past research that has found animals under stress or sick for a long period of time are more likely to carry key foodborne pathogens, especially Salmonella. Studies have also shown that animals with abscesses or "other significant lesions" that need extra trimming have a greater chance of being cross-contaminated because of the extra handling required.
Many of the buzzwords being discussed in the food movement, and by an increasing number of consumers: "organic," "all natural," "antibiotic-free," or "pastured" have direct animal health implications -- many sustainable food advocates argue that these changes lead to healthier animals. But CAST gives some examples of how these methods could have the opposite effect.
Under organic certification, for example, animals cannot be treated with antibiotics or synthetic worm drugs and if animals are based on pasture, these methods directly impact animal health and how production is managed. According to CAST researchers, "increased exposure to the soil and vermin may increase the prevalence of zoonotic diseases in livestock."
"Various policy changes may negatively impact animal health, resulting in more marginally or not visibly ill pigs, which tips the scales toward reduced public health," the authors write. "These proposed changes and their consequences need to be considered carefully."
The paper looks specifically at some research on the difference between keeping animals indoors vs. outdoors:
"Housing livestock indoors can also provide advantages in managing many foodborne organisms. Because outdoor environments cannot be cleaned or disinfected easily, pathogens can persist in the soil, standing water, outdoor structures, and other micro-environments, infecting successive generations of livestock. Other studies have shown that Campylobacter and Salmonella are more common in chickens having outdoor exposure than in birds raised in conventional indoor housing (cages). Dairy cows were shown to be at greater risk of subclinical mastitis when kept in outdoor environments compared with cows kept in barns. According to several studies, outdoor production can also promote infection of the zoonotic parasite Toxoplasma gondii in poultry and swine. This organism has been related in prenatal infections to death or severe brain and eye damage, especially where the mother has not been previously exposed and acquires an infection during her pregnancy." (Note: For research citations, see the full study).
Researchers also discuss using antibiotics in animal agriculture, a hot topic in the media:
"Antibiotics have a major, positive effect on improving animal and human health. They are used in human and veterinary medicine to treat and prevent disease. Antibiotic use in food animals is highly regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The use of antibiotics in food-animal production, however, raises some concerns about antibiotic resistance in bacteria that could affect the efficacy of antibiotics in the treatment of human infections. Concern about antibiotic resistance is not equivalent to actual risk. Resistant bacteria were present long before antibiotics were discovered and found in many places without livestock exposure."
The FDA, however, has stated very clearly that certain "injudicious" antibiotic uses in agriculture are a public health risk. In its most recent guidance on the issue, the agency cited dozens of studies on antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance. 
The full CAST paper, "The Direct Relationship between Animal Health and Food Safety Outcomes," can be read here.

Ottawa to allow slaughterhouses to process already dead animals
Source : http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1178428--ottawa-to-allow-slaughterhouses-to-process-already-dead-animals
By Bruce Campion-Smith (May 14, 2012)
OTTAWA—The federal government wants to allow the carcasses of already dead animals to be processed in slaughterhouses for human consumption, a move that is raising concerns about the safety of Canada’s food system.
The Conservative government is pitching the change as a way to cut red tape and provide greater flexibility to slaughterhouse operators.
But the New Democrats are raising a red flag saying the move invites possible “contamination” of the food supply.
“Under the present regulations . . . it has to come in alive, be slaughtered on site,” said NDP MP Malcolm Allen (Welland), the party’s agriculture critic.
“Now you can bring in dead stock. It’s okay to bring in that animal into a slaughterhouse, have it cut, wrapped . . . for human consumption.
“The real fear is how did it die, (and) under what circumstances did it die.”
The proposed changes to Meat Inspection Regulations, outlined in the Canada Gazette, would allow “greater flexibility” to the activities that can be carried out in federally regulated slaughterhouses.
Current federal regulations do not allow meat to be processed from animals slaughtered outside of a registered slaughterhouse.
Now the government is proposing to make exemptions to that rule for animals that cannot be transported to a slaughterhouse alive because they are too aggressive to move or because they are injured.
“It is proposed to amend the (meat inspection regulations) to allow into registered establishments carcasses from food animals slaughtered elsewhere . . . following a detailed ante-mortem examination by a private veterinary practitioner,” the proposed rules state.
“Such an amendment would be extremely useful for industry in a number of situations, such as when injured animals cannot be transported alive for welfare reasons; or when animals are dangerous, aggressive or difficult to handle and cannot be transported.”
A vet would have to inspect an animal prior to slaughter to confirm it could not be safely transported, as well as determine if the animal is fit to serve as food. The vet will also certify the date of the slaughter and method.
Allen said that rule change risks allowing the food supply to be contaminated by “dead stock.”
“You wouldn’t know by looking at it and nor would the label tell you it’s dead stock because I’ll guarantee you if the label said dead stock, you would never buy it,” Allen said.
“All the regulations before about dead stock not being consumed by humans is for a reason and that was to protect our health,” he said.
A spokesperson for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency cited the example of an animal suffering from a broken leg.
“The cow could be slaughtered on the farm and after inspection at a federally registered establishment can be processed. This meat would be eligible for retail,” Guy Gravelle said.
“As for concerns that this amendment may allow unfit animal into the food supply system, this would not be the case.”
“CFIA inspectors, including veterinarians, are present daily during operations at federally registered establishments to verify that food safety requirements are met. All carcasses are individually inspected to protect the health and safety of Canadians,” he said in an email.
That was echoed by Meagan Murdoch, a spokesperson for Agriculture Minster Gerry Ritz, who called the rule change “common sense.”
“This does not affect food safety,” she said.


FDA 483 Inspection of Tuna Scrape Plant finds Violations
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/legal-cases/fda-483-inspection-of-tuna-scrape-plant-finds-violations/
By  Bill Marler (May 13, 2012)
A total of 258 persons infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Bareilly (247 persons) or Salmonella Nchanga (11 persons) have been reported from 24 states and the District of Columbia. 32 ill persons have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported. Collaborative investigation efforts of state, local, and federal public health agencies indicate that a frozen raw yellowfin tuna product, known as Nakaochi Scrape, from Moon Marine USA Corporation is the likely source of this outbreak.
FDA 483 Inspection Report (download PDF):
Mr. Dominic Sebastian, Managing Director, Moon Fishery (India) Pvt. Ltd., 11/722/D, Chemical Industrial Estate, Aroor, Alleppy 688534 Kerala India
Observation No. 1
Your HACCP plan does not list one or more critical control points that are necessary for each of the identified food safety hazards.
Specifically, your HACCP plan for raw tuna does not list critical control points at the following process step to control the hazards of Clostridium botulinum, histamine and allergens.
A. There is no Critical Control Point listed on your HACCP plan for the process of cutting, scraping, and vacuum packaging performed in your processing room, kept at a temperature of REDACTED C to control the hazard of pathogen growth and histamine formation.
B. There is no Critical Control Point listed on your HACCP plan for Clostridium botulinum and allergen labeling applied to the primary packaging.
C. There is no Critic al Control Point listed on your HACCP plan for metal detection.
D. In your HACCP plan for receiving tuna, the only critical limit listed is temperature, with no critical limit listed for vessel monitoring and histamine testing records to show that tuna was not temperature abused on the harvesting vessel.
Observation No. 2:
You are not monitoring the sanitation conditions and practices with sufficient frequency to assure conformance with Current Good Manufacturing Practices including safety of water that comes into contact with food or food contact surfaces, including water used to manufacture ice condition and cleanliness of food contact surfaces maintenance of hand washing, hand sanitizing and toilet facilities, and protection of food, food packaging material, and food contact surfaces from adulteration.
A. You are not monitoring the safety of water as evidenced by:
1. Tanks used for storage of process waters have apparent visible debris, filth and microbiological contamination. Sand and activated carbon filter units used in manufacturing of water are not sanitized, and ventilation for tanks is not filtered to protect against contamination. There is no laboratory analysis for water used in ice manufacturing at the REDACTED facility to show the water used to make ice is potable. Ice manufacturing lacks sanitary controls: ice manufacturing equipment at the Moon Fishery facility is located outside and is susceptible to adulteration from pests and the environment. Apparent bird feces were observed on the ice manufacturing equipment at Moon Fishery; insects and filth were observed in and on the equipment. Ice manufacturing equipment at your REDACTED facility is rusty and situated so that the ice cannot be protected against adulteration, as the ice manufacturing process is constructed into the flooring of the ice facility. Tuna processed at your facility, which is consumed raw or cooked, comes in direct contact with water and ice.
B. You are not monitoring the condition or cleanliness of food contact surfaces as evidenced by:
1. Some of the floor and wall tiles in the tuna processing area are broken and cracked, not allowing for proper cleaning.
2. After cleaning, the ceiling directly above the in-process tuna line was observed to have visible product residue.
3. After cleaning, product residues and rust were observed on knives and utensil storage boxes. These knives are used to cut raw tuna.
C. You are not monitoring protection from adulterants as evidenced:
1. Peeling paint was observed directly above the in-process tuna line.
D. You are not monitoring hand washing, hand sanitizing and toilet facilities as evidenced by:
1. There was no hand drying devices available in the employee rest rooms on the first floor.

Spartanburg SC, Where All The Restaurants Are Above Average
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/spartanburg-sc-where-all-the-restaurants-are-above-average/
By Carla Gillespie ( May 16, 2012)
In Garrison Keillor’s fictional hometown, Lake Wobegone, all the women are strong, all the men are good looking and all the children are above average. In Spartanburg, S.C.  it’s the restaurants that are all above average including the one that is the source of an E.coli outbreak that has sickened 11 people and hospitalized two. Because all 452 restaurants in Spartanburg have a letter grade of A from the South Carolina Department of Health an Environmental Control’s (SCDHEC) restaurant rating system.
Earlier this week, when Food Poisoning Bulletin asked how residents in Spartanburg could make safe choices without knowing the name of the restaurant at the source of the outbreak, a SDHEC spokesman said there was not an ongoing threat and they would be OK eating at any of the area restaurants that had a good letter grade.
A review of the restaurant ratings posted online, showed that the lowest score any Spartanburg restaurant received was an 88, which, under the grading system , is an A.
On May 11, SCDHEC issued a health advisory to announce that they were investigating an outbreak of E.coli 0157:H7 infections linked to food served at a “Spartanburg-area Mexican restaurant during the last week of April, 2012.”  Two of the 11 people sickened have been hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS,) a serious, sometimes life-threatening condition that develops, often in young children, after an E. coli infection and can cause kidney failure, seizures, stroke and coma.
Despite pressure for transparency from members of the media, food safety advocates, and Mexican restaurant owners in Spartanburg, SCDHEC has said it did not release the name of the restaurant because it believes there is not an ongoing threat and it is not their policy to disclose the names of restaurants linked to foodborne illness outbreaks.
This situation is reminiscent of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) decision earlier this year to withhold the name of a Mexican-style fast food restaurant at the heart of a Salmonella outbreak. That chain turned out to be Taco Bell.

New Brunswick E. Coli Outbreak Linked to Jungle Jim's Eatery


Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/05/new-brunswick-e-coli-outbreak-linked-to-jungle-jims-eatery/
By News Desk (May 16, 2012)
Public health officials investigating an E. coli outbreak in the Canadian province of New Brunswick named Jungle Jim's Eatery as the likely common link on Tuesday, according to CBC News.
The province's health department confirmed 13 people infected with E. coli O157:H7, while another 11 suspected cases are likely linked to the same outbreak.
The majority of sickened individuals ate at Jungle Jim's Eatery in Miramichi in late April. Public health officials are still trying to determine the exact source of contamination, though they assume it was a contaminated food product that has since been used up.
No new illnesses are being reported. Investigators could not find E. coli at Jungle Jim's during testing, though the restaurant did fail a health inspection last week before passing a follow-up inspection.



Under The Sea: Oysters and Norovirus Outbreaks

Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/under-the-sea-oysters-and-norovirus-outbreaks/
By Carla Gillespie (May 12, 2012)
Area 23, a shellfish harvesting zone off the Louisiana coast roughly equal in size to the city of New Orleans, was closed this week after health officials linked a norovirus outbreak to its oysters.
An investigation into the outbreak that sickened 14 people who ate oysters at a Louisiana restaurant determined that the oysters were tainted before they arrived at the restaurant. Health officials issued a recall of the oysters and the temporary closure of Area 23.
Closing a harvesting zone the size of a major metropolitan area might seem like an indicator of a massive outbreak, but that’s likely not that case, according to Ken Pastorick, spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (LHH).
When oysters are harvested, they are put into burlap sacks marked with tags that identify the area. “Restaurants, by law, are required to keep those tags for traceback purposes,” said Pastorick. (In this case, the restaurant did and that’s how health officials determined the source so quickly.)
But within a harvesting area, there can be a number of oyster reefs and fisherman are not required to specify from which reef each bag of oysters was pulled. So, sick oysters from one reef will close the whole area, Pastorick said.
“For an outbreak with 14 illnesses, it’s likely that the oysters, sickened with norovirus, came from one reef,” he said.
How do oysters get sick.

“As immobile filter feeders, oysters get sick from germs in the water that surrounds them,” Pastorick said. “The source of those germs includes everything from agricultural runoff of livestock manure, to a sick fisherman throwing up over the side of the boat. When they get sick, it takes them about three weeks to flush their systems, so that’s the minimum amount of time a harvesting will be closed.”
“For 21 days, we allow the oysters to purge,” said Pastorick. Then, they test the waters. Literally. When the test are all clear, the zone reopens. For some zones, it takes much longer to recover than others, said Pastorick. Zone 8, for example, where the Mississippi River meets the Gulf of Mexico, has been closed since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

CDC Tracking 5 Overlapping Turtle Salmonella Outbreaks in 27 States


Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/cdc-tracking-5-overlapping-turtle-salmonella-outbreaks-in-27-states/
By Kathy Will (May 13, 2012)
Five overlapping Salmonella outbreaks linked to human contact with small turtles have sickened at least 124 people in 27 states, prompting the continuation of a public health investigation that began last year. One of the outbreaks dates back to June 2011 and another to August 2011.
Two new outbreaks have unfolded since early last month, sprouting new geographic distributions of Salmonella infections that are spreading in many cases from human contact with contaminated water in the turtles’ environments.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 7 of 10 outbreak victims are children under the age of 10. In many cases the turtles are pets purchased from street vendors because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned the sale and distribution of turtles in 1975.
All together, 19 people have been hospitalized and no deaths have occurred. The turtles in question have shell lengths of less than four inches.
Contact with reptiles (such as turtles, snakes, and lizards) and amphibians (such as frogs and toads) can be a source of human Salmonella infections. The animals might appear healthy and clean, but Salmonella germs are shed in their droppings and can easily contaminate their bodies and anything in their tanks or aquariums. The bottom line is that they may look cute, but they can make you sick.
Each of the five outbreaks has its own type of Salmonella: Sandiego, Poona, Pomona, Sandiego “B” and Pomona “B”. States hardest hit include New York (24), California (21), Texas (12), Pennsylvania (9), New Jersey (7) Colorado (5). Theoutbreak has stretched all the way to Alaska, where two illnesses have been confirmed at part of the outbreak.