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Meatball company recalls 300,000 pounds of meat over listeria risk
Source: http://www.foxnews.com/health/

A New Jersey meatball manufacturer is recalling more than 300,000 pounds (136,000 kg) of meat products due to possible listeria contamination, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said on Saturday.
Bridgeton, New Jersey-based Buona Vita Inc was recalling about 324,770 pounds of frozen, ready-to-eat meat and poultry products produced in May, including meatballs, chicken and beef patties, and loafs of chicken and beef, the agency said in a written statement.
The FSIS described the health risk related to the recall as "high," according to the statement.
Representatives for Buona Vita, which says on its website that it produces 200,000 pounds (90,000 kg) of meatballs a day, could not immediately be reached for comment. The possible contamination was discovered through testing by FSIS and the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the FSIS statement said. There have been no reports of illness related to the company's products, it added.
In 2011, more than 30 people died from listeria-contaminated cantaloupe linked to Jensen Farms in Colorado. Listeria bacteria thrive in low temperatures. Outbreaks are usually associated with deli meats, unpasteurized cheeses and smoked refrigerated seafood products.
Listeriosis has a long incubation period, with symptoms sometimes not showing up until two months after people consume tainted foods.
Symptoms include fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea and other gastric problems.

UN Strengthens Food Safety Regulations
Source : http://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/news/2012/07/un-strengthens-food-safety-regulations.aspx
By ICT (July 06,2012)
The UN food standards body has agreed on new regulations – including the maximum level of melamine in liquid milk formula for babies – to protect the health of consumers across the world. Other measures adopted include new food safety standards on seafood, melons, dried figs and food labeling.
The Codex Alimentarius Commission, jointly run by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), sets international food safety and quality standards to promote safer and more nutritious food for consumers worldwide. Codex standards serve in many cases as a basis for national legislation, and provide the food safety benchmarks for international food trade.
Melamine can be lethal at high concentrations and has been used illegally to increase apparent protein content in food products including infant formula and milk powder. Milk tainted with melamine has caused death and illness in infants. Two years ago, the Codex Commission adopted a maximum melamine level of 1 mg/kg for powdered infant formula and of 2.5 mg/kg for other foods and animal feed. The Commission has now set a maximum limit of 0.15 mg/kg for melamine in liquid infant milk. Melamine is used to make dishware and kitchenware, among other industrial applications. The new limit will help governments protect consumers by determining if detected levels of melamine result from unavoidable melamine contamination that does not cause health problems or from deliberate adulteration.
Dried figs and aflatoxins
Aflatoxins, a group of mycotoxins produced by molds, are toxic and are known to be carcinogenic. They can be found in a variety of products such as dried fruits, nuts, spices and cereals at high levels if the produce is not stored properly. The Commission now agreed a safe maximum limit of 10 mg/kg for dried figs, together with details on how test sampling should be conducted.
An emerging public health issue relates to the increased popularity of pre-cut melon slices. Exposed pulp of the fruit can become a breeding ground for bacteria. This has been linked to life-threatening salmonella and listeria outbreaks. The Commission recommended that pre-cut melons should be wrapped or packaged and refrigerated as soon as possible and distributed at temperatures of 4° C or less. Cooling and cold-storing was recommended as soon as possible after harvest, while knife blades used for cutting or peeling should be disinfected on a regular basis.
Seafood and viruses
Food hygiene in seafood, particularly for molluscs, such as mussels and oysters, have become a major food safety concern. The Commission adopted a set of preventive hygiene measures aimed to control food-borne viruses. Viruses are generally more resistant than bacteria and those transmitted by the faecal-oral route can persist for months in bivalve molluscs, soil, water and sediments. They can survive freezing, refrigeration, UV radiation and disinfection but are sensitive to heat. Common foodborne viral diseases are caused by hepatitis A virus and norovirus. The Commission noted that the main hazard for the production of molluscs, such as oysters and mussels, was the biological contamination of the waters in which they grow. It is therefore important to ensure the seawater quality of growing areas, the Commission noted. When there is a likelihood or evidence of viral contamination, closure of the area, destruction of contaminated molluscs and/or heat treatment before consumption of already harvested molluscs is recommended.
Mandatory nutrition labeling
Codex recommended that food manufacturers across the world label nutritional content on their products to ensure that consumers are better informed; the recommendation is in line with WHO’s Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health and is a major step forward in promoting healthy eating worldwide.
The 49-year-old Codex Alimentarius Commission, meeting from July 2-7, is attended by 600 delegates representing 184 countries plus the European Union.

Feds mess up food safety rules in US again
Source : http://barfblog.foodsafety.ksu.edu/blog/155709/12/07/07/feds-mess-food-safety-rules-us-again
By Doug Powell (July 07, 2012)
This is why I don’t pay attention to grand, federal government initiatives.
It doesn't make food safer.
People do a lot of talk.
OMB Watch reports the 390 Americans who recently got sick from Salmonella in seafood probably missed out on holiday celebrations. But they weren't the only ones who weren't celebrating: food safety advocates were also bemoaning yet another missed Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) deadline.
July 4, 2012 was the statutory deadline for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to enact final "prevention-based requirements for food companies" to develop plans to identify and address possible sources of contamination. That sounds straightforward enough – yet the proposed rules have been waiting for approval from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) since late 2011.

Denmark Close to Conquering Salmonella
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/denmark-close-to-conquering-salmonella/
By Linda Larsen (July 06,2012)
According to new statistics, in 2011 the number of Danes contracting Salmonella infections fell to the lowest level since the 1980s. That country has a strict policy called the Danish National Salmonella Control Program that reduces Salmonella bacteria in egg-laying hens and broilers.
That program works to minimize human exposure to Salmonella from live animals and meat products. It detects, prevents, and controls Salmonella in “primary production”, or on the farm, before there is any threat to human health.
These proactive measures, as opposed to the reactive measures of recalls and relying on proper handling by consumers, has reduced the incidence of Salmonella infections to just 1,166 in 2011. And almost half of those infections were contracted by Danes traveling to Egypt, Thailand, and Turkey.
The effort includes a ban on selling eggs from any flocks that test positive for Salmonella. Denmark can also require any imported eggs to be free from Salmonella. In 2011, no breeding flocks were positive for Salmonella.
No Danes were infected by Salmonella from chickens raised in that country in 2011. Fresh chickens sold in Denmark must be free from Salmonella bacteria. The Control Program has worked to reduce the percentage of flocks with Salmonella infections to about 1 to 2%. When detected, those flocks are eradicated, so no Salmonella is spread through production and distribution.
According to the report, there were only a few Salmonella outbreaks in 2011; most were sporadic cases. But those cases decreased from 16.4% in 2010 to 7.4% in 2011.  And about 1/4 of those cases could not be tracked to a specific food source. Authorities believe that some foods that are not monitored for Salmonella bacteria, such as fruits and vegetables, were the cause of many of those outbreaks.
The Annual Report on Zoonoses in Denmark 2011 states that “for the first time in more than a decade none of the Salmonella outbreaks could be related to meat of Danish origin.”

CFA's dirty secret at Fiskville
Source : http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/cfas-dirty-secret-at-fiskville/story-e6frf7kx-1226418392157
By Herald Sun (July 06,2012)
THE Country Fire Authority knew of potentially deadly water contamination at its main training college for at least 12 years - but did nothing to warn firefighters.
Secret test results obtained by the Herald Sun reveal the CFA was told water used to douse training fires contained dangerous levels of E.coli, firefighting chemicals that cause reproductive problems, and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Norovirus cause of sickness at Notre Dame
Source :http://www.southbendtribune.com/news/sbt-norovirus-cause-of-sickness-at-notre-dame-20120629,0,6226797.story?track=rss&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeedBy South Bend Tribune (June 29,2012)
Laboratory tests have confirmed norovirus as the cause of a gastrointestinal outbreak that affected 106 students attending sport camps earlier this week at the University of Notre Dame, St. Joseph County Health Officer Dr. Thomas A. Felger said Friday.
A total of 29 students were treated and released from local emergency departments for the intestinal illness.
Norovirus is a contagious virus, and is the most common “stomach bug” in the United States, Felger said.
Norovirus can be spread by an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. Symptoms usually occur 12 to 48 hours after exposure, and include diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting. Most people recover in 1 to 3 days, but remain contagious for up to two weeks after recovery.
Hand washing is the most effective way to prevent the spread of norovirus, according to the county health department.

Rep. Louise Slaughter Reveals Results of Meat Antibiotic Survey
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/rep-louise-slaughter-reveals-results-of-meat-antibiotic-survey/
By Carla Gillespie (July 05,2012)
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) released findings from her survey of 60 fast food chains, meat processors, grocery store chains, and meat producers asking them about their policies on antibiotic use in meat and poultry production.
Here are the key findings from the survey:
¡áSome companies are providing exclusively antibiotic-free meat and poultry products, including Whole Foods, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Niman Ranch, and Sweetgreen. The companies also offer a high degree of transparency regarding the food production practices they support.
¡áMost companies, in fact, the “overwhelming majority” according to the report, regularly use antibiotics in food animals as preventative measures (sub-therapeutic doses), and to promote growth. Those are the two uses of antibiotics in farm animals most criticized by scientists and researchers as promoting the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
¡áThe law, as written, fails to address the threat of superbugs.
Rep. Slaughter said that only 31 companies responded directly to her query. She divided the companies she queried into several categories: full disclosure, some questions answered, and minimal disclosure. She also rated them by these categories: antibiotic-free only, moderate antibiotic use, and routine antibiotic use. You can see the survey results at her web site.
According to the survey, these are the companies that follow an antibiotic-free policy, have transparent policies, and offer antibiotic-free options to their customers:
¡áChipotle Mexican Grill
¡áWhole Foods
¡áApplegate Farms
¡áBell & Evans
¡áColeman Natural Foods
¡áMurray’s Chicken
¡áNiman Ranch
¡áOzark Mountain Pork
These are some of the companies which had low transparency, no antibiotic-free policies, and offered no options to consumers:
¡áRoy Rogers
¡áWhite Castle
¡áA&W Restaurants
¡áTrader Joe’s
¡áKraft Foods
In a statement, Slaughter said, “my findings finally provide consumers with valuable information about the food they eat, and answer the question, ‘what’s in the beef?’ I urge consumers to consider today’s findings when shopping, and I urge the FDA and my colleagues in Congress to strengthen our laws in order to fight the growing threat of superbugs. Until we do, the routine use of antibiotics will continue to breed antibiotic-resistant bacteria that threaten human health.”

Investigation: What the food inspectors found in your local take-away
Source : http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/the-northerner/2012/jul/05/sunderland-carlisle-food-safety-hygiene
By Sarah Hartley (July 05,2012)
Pizza prepared by staff who have no proper hand-washing facilities in the bathroom and out-of-date ingredients being served up in dishes are just a couple of things that the food police unearthed during their inspections.
Their findings lead to the scores which should be displayed prominently on every restaurant, cafe, work canteens and take-away as the Food Standards Agency explains: " The hygiene standards found at the time of inspection are rated on a scale. At the bottom of the scale is '0' – this means urgent improvement is required. At the top of the scale is '5' – this means the hygiene standards are very good."
But what diners and shoppers aren't told is what exactly led to the premises being zero rated and requiring urgent improvement.
Using the Freedom of Information Act we have asked the local councils in five cities across the north to supply details of the premises which their inspectors rated zero in the past year.
These reports become a snapshot of the premises taken, as they are, on the one day the inspection takes place.
The councils are required under the act to provide this information by July 23 and so far two, Carlisle and Sunderland, have already produced the information ahead of the deadline and those are mapped in full here.
The one premises to be rated zero in Carlisle was the Teza Indian Canteen & Bar at Unit 4a, English Gate Plaza, Botchergate which was inspected on 7 December 2011.
The inspector found that: "At the time of the inspection, hot water was not available at any of the sinks or wash hand basins" and also discovered rice said to have been cooked earlier in the afternoon was sitting at room temperature on the worktop in deep sided containers which could allow toxins to form.
In the Sunderland area a total of five premises required urgent action including Grindon Snacks, 38 Galashiels Road, Grindon which was inspected on 3 November 2011.
The full report found worrying food safety practices and in point five warns: "The temperature of the high risk foods stored in the refrigerator in the shop was too high. These foods are likely to support the growth of food poisoning bacteria or the formation of toxins and must not be stored above 8 C.
Then in point six, the inspector writes "high risk foods were found on your premises which were past their use-by date."
We will bring you the full reports of the remaining authorities we've already contacted during the next few weeks - they are Leeds, Manchester, and Middlesbrough.
But if you'd like to know what the inspector found in your local take-away, we'd welcome your help to join in with the investigation in other locations.The full instructions of how to submit a simple Freedom of Information Request and add your results to the map can be found here.

Food safety becomes national priority
Source : http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2012-07/05/content_15550855.htm
By Jin Zhu (July 05,2012)
The State Council pledged on Tuesday to solve food safety issues in three years, but effective supervision and punishment of those breaking the law is the key accomplishing the ambitious target, analysts said.
"China's food industry still has many safety risks and illegal actions happen often," said a statement released on Tuesday by the State Council.
The government will launch a crackdown on food plants and individuals endangering food safety to significantly improve the situation in three years, the statement said.
Also, the country will establish a better regulation mechanism, legal and standards systems, as well as technical support systems, to improve the overall food safety management level in about five years, according to the statement.
"Major food safety problems are mainly related to production issues, such as the use of illegal additives and illegal food processing in small plants," said food safety expert Dong Jinshi, executive vice-president of the International Food Packaging Association in Beijing.
Food safety has become a major concern for Chinese consumers after a string of cases surfaced, including melamine-tainted baby formula products and pork contaminated with clenbuterol.
According to the State Council statement, food safety will become a measure of local governments' performance in their annual assessments. A database of food companies' safety records will also be established. Blacklisted companies' names will be made public and the companies will be punished.
Local quality authorities must also prevent expired food products from returning to the market, while consumers will get cash rewards for exposing substandard food products, the statement said.
Li Chang'an, a public policy professor at the Beijing-based University of International Business and Economics, said that some local officials have been held responsible for severe food scandals in the past few years.
"But this is the first time that the country will launch long-term measures, which explicitly stipulate that officials will be accountable for food safety issues," he said.
However, analysts are worried that the measures in the statement will not be easily implemented because they lack details on officials' responsibilities and punishments.
"Safety problems with milk and the use of illegal additives in milk still exist after the melamine-tainted milk scandal in 2008," said Wang Dingmian, former vice-chairman of the Guangdong Dairy Industry Association.
"Punishment for food companies and officials with illegal operations in the food sector are always too light, which is the main reason for the prevalence of the food scandals," he said.
In 2011, several food safety scandals were exposed, including restaurants serving food cooked with "gutter oil" - illegal cooking oil recycled from kitchen waste, decomposed animal fat and organs from slaughterhouses.
"Many local government officials are only concerned with economic development. When food accidents happen, some of them just try to conceal them," Li said.

FSIS Expands Residue Testing in Meat, Poultry, Eggs
Source : http://www.foodproductdesign.com/news/2012/07/fsis-expands-residue-testing-in-meat-poultry-eggs.aspx
By Food Product (July 03,2012)
WASHINGTON—USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) later this summer will begin a new testing approach for meat, poultry and eggs that will allow the agency to test for dozens of chemical and drug residues from one sample.
"The new testing methods will help protect consumers from illegal drug residues in meat products," USDA Undersecretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen said. "By allowing us to test for more chemical compounds from each sample, these changes will enable USDA to identify and evaluate illegal drug residues more effectively and efficiently."
Through its National Residue Program (NRP), FSIS tests for the presence of chemical compounds, including approved and unapproved veterinary drugs, pesticides, hormones and environmental contaminants that may appear in meat, poultry and egg products. The new, modern, high-efficiency methods will conserve resources and provide useful and reliable results, while enabling the agency to analyze each sample for more chemical compounds than previously possible.
One of the multi-residue methods being implemented for veterinary drugs will allow the FSIS to screen for chemical compounds that include several types of legal and illegal drugs, such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and growth promoters. In the past, FSIS would have collected 300 samples from 300 cows and looked for just one chemical at a time. Under the new system, one sample may be tested for as many as 55 pesticide chemicals, nine kinds of antibiotics, various metals, and eventually more than 50 other chemicals. In all, FSIS will assess more compounds per sample using several multi-residue methods.
FSIS is also revamping its scheduled sampling program to increase the annual number of samples per slaughter class from 300 to 800. If an establishment has samples containing illegal residue levels, FSIS will notify FDA, which may review practices of producers supplying the establishment with livestock or poultry, and FSIS may subject the establishment to increased testing and review.
FSIS is seeking public comments of the new testing method, which is tentatively slated to be published in the Federal Register on July 6, 2012. The new testing regimen is expected to take effect 30 days after the Federal Register notice is published.

Source : http://www.foodproductdesign.com/news/2012/07/fsis-expands-residue-testing-in-meat-poultry-eggs.aspx
By Food Product (July 03,2012)
OTTAWA, July 3, 2012 - The public warning issued on June 26, 2012 has been expanded to include additional codes.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Phoenicia Group Inc. are warning the public not to consume Alkanater brand Tahina, described below, because the product may be contaminated with Salmonella.
The affected product, Alkanater brand Tahina, is sold in 454 g containers bearing the UPC 6 92551 00002 0, lot code TT3N-260112 and codes PRO: 26/01/2012 and EXP: 25/01/2014.
This product has been distributed in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia Ontario and Quebec and may have been distributed nationally.
There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.
Food contaminated with Salmonella may not look or smell spoiled. Consumption of food contaminated with these bacteria may cause salmonellosis, a foodborne illness. In young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems, salmonellosis may cause serious and sometimes deadly infections. In otherwise healthy people, salmonellosis may cause short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Long-term complications may include severe arthritis.
The importer, Phoenicia Group Inc., St-Laurent, Quebec, is voluntarily recalling the affected product from the marketplace. The CFIA is monitoring the effectiveness of the recall.
For more information, consumers and industry can call one of the following numbers:
Phoenicia Group Inc. at 514-389-6363;
CFIA at 1-800-442-2342 / TTY 1-800-465-7735 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday to Friday).
For information on Salmonella, visit the Food Facts web page at: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/concen/cause/salmonellae.shtml
For information on all food recalls, visit the CFIA's Food Recall Report at: http://active.inspection.gc.ca/eng/corp/recarapp_dbe.asp.
To find out more about receiving recalls by e-mail, and other food safety facts, visit: www.foodsafety.gc.ca. Food and consumer product recalls are also available at http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca.

Lake Superior Beaches Closed for E. coli Contamination
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/lake-superior-beaches-closed-for-e-coli-contamination/
By Kathy Will (July 03, 2012)
The Minnesota Department of Health has recommended No Contact with the water at several beaches along the shore of Lake Superior. The beaches are monitored on Mondays every week during the summer months.
The DOH announced today that  42nd Avenue East Beach and Brighton Beach in East Duluth both have high levels of E. coli bacteria.
In addition, Minnesota Point 15th Street Harbor Side Beach, Park Point 20th Street/Hearding Island Canal Beach, Park Point Sky Harbor Parking Lot Beach, have high levels of bacteria.
That area recently had severe flooding from heavy summer rains, causing millions of dollars worth of damage. Flooding can wash bacteria from sewage systems into lakes, rivers, and streams.
Do not swim in the water at these beaches. People have contracted bacterial infections from swimming in contaminated waters, and several children have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a life-threatening complication of an E. coli infection.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has stated that bacterial contamination of beaches is becoming a serious problem. That agency established the Beaches Environmental Assessment, Closure, and Health (BEACH) program in response to contaminations.
That program strengthens beach standards and testing, provides faster laboratory test methods, predicts pollution, informs the public of dangers, and invests in health and methods research to protect public health at bathing beaches.
Section 303(c) of the Clean Water Act is the legal basis for water quality standards. That is a state program under EPA oversight. It’s a good idea to check with your state health department before going to any beach, whether it’s a lake, ocean, stream, or river.
Just as an aside, water temperatures in Lake Superior are very cold, even at this time of year. They range from 43 degrees F. to 58 degrees F.

Subway Sick Employees and Public Health Non-Disclosure – Again
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/thanks-to-seth-slabaugh-of/
By Bill Marler (July 03,2012)
Thanks to Seth Slabaugh of the Muncie Indiana Star Press for his article today “January illness linked to employees - The Subway in Hartford City contributed to outbreak.”
Once again ill subway employees sicken customers – See, Subway Restaurant Shigella Outbreak Lawsuits - Illinois (2010) and Subway Hepatitis A Outbreak Lawsuits - Washington (1999), and a health department failed to disclose the link to the public.
According to Mr. Slabaugh:
“Sick Subway employees reported to work while ill during a Norovirus outbreak linked to the restaurant, according to a state health department report obtained by The Star Press. This information was discovered by the Blackford County Health Department during an investigation of the outbreak but was not shared with the public.
About 90 community members became ill with gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea, body aches, nausea, cramps, chills, fatigue and headache) on or after Jan. 5. The county health department began receiving calls on Jan. 7. Three victims were hospitalized, two others were treated in the emergency room and three more were treated at doctors’ offices.
Six stool samples from Subway employees analyzed at the state health department laboratory tested positive for Norovirus, according to a Feb. 7 report authored by Stephanie English, an epidemiologist at the department. “The Blackford County Health Department identified sick employees who reported working while symptomatic,” English wrote. “Four Subway employees were sick with nausea, diarrhea and/or vomiting on Saturday, Jan. 7. Most employees self reported to co-workers that employees worked while sick.”
The six-page report concluded, “Subway was a contributing factor to the spread of Norovirus in Blackford County.”
Thanks to Mr. Slabaugh and other members of the press who do the job of informing the public when public health fails to do their duty.

European Meat and Poultry Inspection Inadequate, EFSA Says
Carla Gillespie (July 02,2012)
Europe’s meat and poultry inspection methods don’t do enough to address the threat of foodborne illness and should be modernized, according to The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
The EFSA’s scientific opinion, published June 29, is part of a response to European Commission’s May 2010 request that the organization investigate the correlation between meat inspection and public health.
The EFSA was asked to identify and rank the main public health risks associated with the current inspection system and pinpointed Campylobacter, Salmonella, and β-lactamase bacteria as primary targets.
In an analysis of foodborne illness outbreaks among the 27 European Union members, EFSA found that Salmonella and Campylobacter were were often detected in fresh broiler meat. In 2010, 99,020 cases of human Salmonella infection and 212,064 cases of human Campylobacter infection were reported during 2010.
“Current inspection methods do not enable the detection of these hazards and, more broadly, do not differentiate food safety concerns from considerations related to meat quality, prevention of animal diseases or occupational hazards,” the EFSA said in a statement.
Reducing the incidence of foodborne illness from these bacteria will come from improved use of information between farms and slaughterhouses which will also improve the process of identifying animal health and welfare concerns, EFSA says.
The group’s recommendation include:
¡áCreating a comprehensive food safety assurance system that includes clear targets for slaughterhouse and farmers.
¡áUsing an number of controls from farm to slaughterhouse to reduce bacterial levels
¡áCollecting and analyzing information from farms and slaughterhouses to identify risks.


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Three Oregon Residents Contracted Botulism from Home Canned Foods
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/three-oregon-residents-contracted-botulism-from-home-canned-foods/
By Carla Gillespie (July 06, 2012)
The Oregon State Public Health Laboratory this week confirmed that three residents contracted botulism from home canned foods at a private barbecue. Since botulism is not spread person to person, there is no risk to the general public. All three people had to be hospitalized.
Deschutes County Health Services, which conducted the investigation, is reminding consumers of the importance of following hygienic canning procedures to the letter. Your state extension service is an excellent source of information about this practice.
The National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends the most current research-based metwhods for home food preservation. For instance, for low-acid foods such as green beans and meats, a pressure canner is needed. There are no safe boiling water canning options for vegetables, meats, seafoods, soups, and some food mixtures. That organization offers a free online course for consumers who want to can their own food.
Foods contaminated with botulinum toxin may not look, smell, or taste spoiled. To avoid botulism:
¡áCarefully follow rules when canning foods at home
¡áDo not eat foods from cans that are bulging or leaking
¡áDo not make flavored oils at home
¡áPotatoes baked while wrapped in foil should be kept hot until serving
¡áBoil home-canned foods for 10 minutes before consuming
Botulism is caused by eating foods that contain the toxin produced by Clostridium botulinum spores. The symptoms include double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, and muscle weakness. If you or anyone you know experiences these symptoms, see a healthcare provider immediately.
Foodborne botulism symptoms usually begin 12 to 36 hours after eating food contaminated with the bacteria, but they can occur 6 hours after eating or as long as 10 days later. In the U.S., there are about 145 cases of botulism each year. Most of those are infant botulism; many of those cases are caused by feeding infants honey, which can contain spores of the bacterium.

Norovirus Hits California Guest Ranch
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/norovirus-hits-california-guest-ranch/
By Bill Marler (July 08, 2012)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that noroviruses cause nearly 21 million cases of acute gastroenteritis annually, making noroviruses the leading cause of gastroenteritis in adults in the United States. So it should come as no surprise that, according to press reports, the highly contagious stomach virus that sickened more than a dozen guests, visitors and employees of the Alisal Guest Ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley has been confirmed as norovirus by the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.
County health officials have been investigating the outbreak since it was reported by visitors, who developed food poison-like systems after an event at the ranch on June 23.
Investigators still won’t say exactly how many people have been affected, but earlier this week that more than a dozen cases had been reported.
She said the health department doesn’t know of anyone who became ill with norovirus after Sunday, although many people were still reporting cases after the fact this week.
Norovirus spreads easily in close quarters from an infected person, contaminated food or water or when someone touches contaminated surfaces.

Cholera outbreak reported in Cuba
Source : http://www.examiner.com/article/cholera-outbreak-reported-cuba
By Robert Herriman (July 03, 2012)
An outbreak of cholera has hit the city of Manzanillo, in the province of Granma, which has sickened at least 53 people and killed three elderly people.
According to a report in Fox News Latino Tuesday, the Cuban Public Health Ministry says the three fatalities were elderly adults ages 95, 70 and 66, all with records of chronic illnesses.
The health ministry says the outbreak ”is under control” and the trend is toward a diminishing number of cases thanks to the hygiene, health-care and anti-epidemic measures carried out in the area.
In the city of Manzanillo, where the bulk of the outbreak occurred, health officials say the cholera was present in several polluted wells used for the local supply of drinking water.
Control measures put in place included closing down wells that were contaminated, distributing chlorinated water and educating the public of the risks.
Cholera is an acute bacterial intestinal disease characterized by sudden onset, profuse watery stools (given the appearance as rice water stools because of flecks of mucus in water) due to a very potent enterotoxin. The enterotoxin leads to an extreme loss of fluid and electrolytes in the production of diarrhea. It has been noted that an untreated patient can lose his bodyweight in fluids in hours resulting in shock and death.
It is caused by the bacterium, Vibrio cholerae. Serogroups O1 and O139 are the types associated with the epidemiological characteristics of cholera (outbreaks).
The bacteria are acquired through ingestion of contaminated water or food through a number of mechanisms. Water is usually contaminated by the feces of infected individuals. Drinking water can be contaminated at the source, during transport or during storage at home. Food can get contaminated by soiled hands, during preparation or while eating.
Beverages and ice prepared with contaminated water and fruits and vegetables washed with this water are other examples. Some outbreaks are linked to raw or undercooked seafood.
The incubation for cholera can be from a few hours to 5 days. As long as the stools are positive, the person is infective. Some patients may become carriers of the organism which can last for months.
Cholera is diagnosed by growing the bacteria in culture. Treatment consists of replacement of fluids lost, intravenous replacement in severe cases. Doxycycline or tetracycline antibiotic therapy can shorten the course of severe disease.
There is an oral vaccine available in some countries but it is not available in the U.S. Cholera prevention is the same as in other causes of traveler’s diarrhea.

Vibrio parahaemolyticus Illnesses in Missouri
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/vibrio-parahaemolyticus-illnesses-in-missouri/
By Bill Marler (July 01, 2012)
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is investigating a cluster of cases of Vibriosis in eastern Missouri which were identified June 27-28, 2012. Three cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus have been identified during this time period. Typically, this infection is associated with eating raw or undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters. The investigation is ongoing. DHSS recommends that any person who has signs or symptoms of acute gastroenteritis after consuming raw or undercooked shellfish should seek medical care. Health care providers should consider obtaining stool cultures for Vibriosis in such patients.
Vibriosis is caused by Vibrio bacteria, such as Vibrio parahaemolyticus that grow in coastal waters. Risk factors for acquiring gastrointestinal Vibrio infections include: eating raw or undercooked shellfish (oysters, clams, mussels) or crabs; or cross-contamination of other foods and surfaces with raw shellfish or crabs during preparation.
Disease symptoms may include: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and in some cases, signs of severe infection (septicemia), including fever and low blood pressure.
Symptoms can start from 4 to 96 hours after eating contaminated food. Vibriosis can be a mild to serious disease. People with weakened immune systems – especially those with liver disease, diabetes, and peptic ulcers – are at highest risk for serious disease. The infection is not normally communicable from person to person.
Vibrio organisms can be isolated from the stool of patients with gastroenteritis, from blood specimens, and from wound exudates. Because identification of the organism in stool requires special techniques, laboratory personnel should be notified when infection with Vibrio species is suspected.
Vibrio infections can be treated with antibiotics. Most episodes of diarrhea are mild and self-limited, and do not require treatment other than oral rehydration. Antibiotics are indicated in people with wound infections, severe diarrhea, or septicemia. Septicemia should be treated with a third-generation cephalosporin plus doxycycline. In younger children, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and aminoglycoside is an alternative regimen.

Sports Campers and Cheerleaders Hit by Norovirus
By Bill Marler (July 01,2012)
Indiana State Department of Health lab tests confirm norovirus as the cause of an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness that affected more than 100 youths taking part in Notre Dame sports camps. The specific reason for the outbreak at Notre Dame remains unknown. The outbreak sickened male and female middle and high school students attending camps for football, hockey, basketball, lacrosse and tennis on Wednesday. Twenty-nine campers received hospital treatment.
In Michigan health authorities are investigating a suspected norovirus outbreak among girls attending a cheerleading camp at Davenport University in Grand Rapids. 40 of the 425 middle and high school girls at the camp came down with symptoms consistent with norovirus — nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. They say no one has needed hospitalization.