07/30,2012
ISSUE:506

                                 

Comprehensive News List
General Food Safety News/ Outbreak News/ Recall News/ New Methods News/
USDA/FDA News
/ On-Line Slides/ Job Information/Internet Journal of Food Safety


FDA Needs Better Way To Tell Consumers About Food Recalls, Says GAO
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/fda-needs-better-way-to-tell-consumers-about-food-recalls-says-gao/
By  Carla Gillespie (JULY 29, 2012)
When a food safety issue requires a recall, delivering fast, accurate information to consumers can limit the spread of illness and in some cases, save lives. But quickly disseminating recall information to consumers is not a strong suit of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), one of the federal agencies charged with protecting our nation’s food supply, according to Government Accountability Office (GAO).
“FDA faces a number of communication challenges when advising the public about food recalls or outbreaks of foodborne illness, ranging from balancing technical accuracy with timeliness of communications to coordinating messages with other agencies to meeting the needs of diverse public audiences. The agency has taken steps to begin meeting these challenges but has yet to fully address recommendations from GAO and others to fashion a comprehensive food recall communication policy and related implementation plans,” the GAO states in  a recent report.
The GAO report sites three recommendations the FDA has not yet put into action:  its Advisory Committee on Risk Communication’s recommendation to create a policy for emerging events that addresses key communication challenges;  the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council recommendation to address coordination challenges surrounding communication and the GAO’s recommendation that the FDA work jointly with the the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)  on new approaches to alerting consumers about recalls.
Balancing speed and accuracy is a key part of  alerting the public to a food safety hazard. Recalls ordered by mistake can cost producers a lot of money. If taking extra steps to make sure a recall is warranted, is causing delays in consumer alerts,  there is a way to remove , or at least mitigate, this area of concern, the report states. For example, food producers could be compensated through a dedicated federal government program or through federally government-subsidized insurance.
The GAO concludes its report by recommending that the FDA issue regulations or industry guidance to clarify its food recall process and implement the outlined above.

Campylobacter, Listeria, Salmonella, Vibrio and Cryptosporidium are up, Shigella, E. coli O157:H7 and Yersinia are down in new CDC numbers
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/lawyer-oped/campylobacter-listeria-salmonella-vibrio-and-cryptosporidium-are-up-shigella-e-coli-o157h7-and-yersi/
By  Bill Marler (JULY 29, 2012)
The Washington Post’s Dina ElBoghdady must not have had a busy social calendar this Summer weekend if she was stalking the pages of FoodNet for the latest in foodborne illness trends. Her story, “Food-borne illnesses not diminishing” which ran this morning on the Post’s website, I caught while sneaking a peak on my forbidden iPhone on a family camping trip. I will get to the trends in a second, but I was also struck by this line in the story:

the CDC released the data without reaching out to consumer groups and other key stakeholders who typically are notified in advance. Instead, the charts and graphs were quietly posted online Friday.
Can someone at the CDC explain the rationale for that?
On the numbers front, there are some things that you would think that the CDC would not want to release in the middle of the night:

Although Campylobacter, Listeria, Salmonella, Vibrio and Cryptosporidium are up, Shigella, E. coli O157:H7 and Yersinia are down that does not seem to justify a late Friday night posting on the CDC's website.  It will be interesting to watch the non O157 E. coli trends over the next years.  Here are the numbers for this year:


Also, hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) was up in 2011 as compared to some earlier years.  Since this outcome can be caused by both E. coli O157:H7 and non E. coli O157, that might well be the reason.  Time will tell.
Overall, however, we (public health and food producers) are doing better that when I started doing foodborne illnesses cases in the 1993 Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak - that is a good thing.  Now we just need to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and drive the numbers done farther.  I really think it is time I spent more time camping.

New Study Shows Packaging Can Inhibit Listeria in Ready-to-Eat Products
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/new-study-shows-packaging-can-inhibit-listeria-in-ready-to-eat-products/
By  Kathy Will (JULY 27, 2012)
A new study conducted by the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of Georgia has found that antimicrobial packaging can make food safer. Scientists looked at the effectiveness of antimicrobial packaging structures in ready-to-eat (RTE) meat products.
They inoculated cooked ham with Listeria monocytogenes, then packaged it in antimicrobial packaging. The samples were stored at 4 degrees, 10 degrees, and 22 degrees Centigrade, then tested for aerobic bacteria (bacteria that need oxygen to live and reproduce), Entereobacteriaceae, and Listeria monocytogenes two times over four weeks. They found that packaging with an oxygen scavenger or a carbon dioxide generator was effective at reducing bacterial growth, and that packaging with an allyl isothiocyanate (AIT) generator was less effective.
The packaging modifies the air inside the package, called “headspace”, to make it unfriendly to bacteria. The study concentrated on Listeria monocytogenes because that bacteria has caused quite a few outbreaks in ready-to-eat foods. In fact, it’s illegal to sell ready-to-eat foods contaminated with Listeria in the United States. More than 20% of food recalls in the last nine years were triggered by the presence of L. monocytogenes bacteria.

Food Handling Procedures Not Followed in Denver Rescue Mission Outbreak
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/food-handling-procedures-not-followed-in-denver-rescue-mission-outbreak/
By  Linda Larsen (JULY 26, 2012)
According to a press release, Denver Rescue Mission said the Lawrence Street Shelter “did not follow our established procedures for handling pre-prepared food donations on Sunday, July 22, which is often receives. We are working closely with officials at Environmental health and Denver Public Health regarding Sunday’s incident. We are taking this matter very seriously by thoroughly examining internal procedures for food safety.”
The shelter is not serving pre-prepared food until health officials complete their investigation into what caused the outbreak. Sixty people were hospitalized in the outbreak. All of those hospitalized have been treated and released.
The Mission did not say exactly which procedures were not followed. Procedures for safe food handling include heating food to safe internal temperatures, holding food at temperatures above 140 degrees F so bacteria do not multiply, proper hand washing, and storing food at temperatures below 40 degrees F. It’s also possible that the food was left out of refrigeration longer than 2 hours, it was improperly cooled before transfer, or the food may have been contaminated before it reached the shelter.
The USDA has compiled a fact sheet on Cooking for Groups that helps volunteers prepare and serve food safe for large groups. That information is not intended for commercial facilities and is not the same as the FDA food code. It may also differ from state and local regulations, but it’s a useful guide to help volunteers serving food at community gatherings.

Vermont Endures Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Cargill Ground Beef Sold At Hannaford Stores
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/vermont-endures-salmonella-outbreak-linked-to-cargill-ground-beef-sold-at-hannaford-stores/
By Carla Gillespie (JULY 25, 2012)
The Salmonella outbreak linked to Cargill ground beef sold at Hannaford grocery stores has hit Vermont hard. Of the 33 people sickened in the multi-state outbreak, 10 are from Vermont. And of 11 hospitalizations in seven states, three are from Vermont.
Vermont’s case patients, who became ill between June 6 and June 26, are from Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, Rutland. and Windham counties, according to the Vermont Department of Health (VDH). Since June, VDH has been part of a collaborative investigation that has grown to include, seven state health departments, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (USDA, FSIS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
After laboratory testing confirmed that the Salmonella strain that sickened people and the one discovered in the ground beef were a genetic match, Cargill Meat Solutions issued ca recall for 30,000 pounds of ground beef. Because the beef was produced in late May and the recall wasn’t issued until late July the beef was no longer being sold and the “use-by” date had passed, but officials were concerned that some consumers may have some of the tainted beef in their freezers.  The USDA has published a retail distribution list to let consumers know where the recalled ground beef was sold.
Salmonella poisoning symptoms include fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. An infection that enters the bloodstream can be life-threatening for children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. Public health officials urge anyone who ate the recalled beef an develops these symptoms to seek help from a health care provider.

Aflatoxin Detected in Chinese Infant Formulas
Source : http://www.foodproductdesign.com/news/2012/07/aflatoxin-detected-in-chinese-infant-formulas.aspx
By Xinhua: Aflatoxin found in infant formula in south China (JULY 24, 2012)
China’s food-safety reform suffered yet another setback this week after authorities in Guangzhou discovered excessive amounts of aflatoxin in some infant formula products, reported the state-run Xinhua news agency. Aflatoxin is produced by a fungus that commonly grows on crops such as grains and peanuts, and high levels of the toxin may lead to cancer in some animals.
The mildew contamination was detected in five formula products produced between July and December 2011 in Central China's Hunan province. Four of the products were produced by Ava Dairy Co Ltd. Ava Dairy based in Hunan's capital of Changsha, while the fifth was produced by Hunan Ava Dairy Holdings Co Ltd., the parent company of Ava Dairy. Authorities have ordered retailers to stop selling the formulas until the investigation is concluded.
In December 2011, high doses of aflatoxin were found in dairy products from the popular Mengniu Dairy Group. An initial investigation revealed the contamination was caused by mildewed feed given to cows in the dairy's plant in southwest Sichuan province. The toxin also was found in milk from a smaller company—the Changfu Dairy Industry Group—in Fujian Province.

CDC Asks States to Regulate Raw Milk
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/cdc-asks-states-to-regulate-raw-milk/
By Kathy Will (JULY 24, 2012)
Dr. Robert Tauxe, deputy director of the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, sent a letter to state public health departments, asking them place more restrictions on the sales of raw milk. The letter also asked those agencies to stress the dangers of consuming raw milk. In fact, public health experts say that pasteurization is one of science’s most effective food safety interventions.
Dr. Tauxe stresses the fact that raw milk and raw cheese caused 82% of all dairy-related outbreaks between the years 1973 and 2009. The CDC investigated 93 outbreaks linked to raw milk and raw milk products between 1998 and 2009. Those outbreaks caused 1,837 illnesses, 195 hospitalizations and 2 deaths. The CDC data shows the rate of raw milk outbreaks is higher in states where the sale of raw milk is legal than in states where the sale of raw milk is illegal.
The letter states, “to protect the health of the public, state regulators should continue to support pasteurization and consider further restricting or prohibiting the sale and distribution of raw milk and other unpasteurized dairy products in their states.” It continues, “adherence to good hygienic practices during milking can reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of milk contamination. pasteurization is the only way to ensure that fluid milk products do not contain harmful bacteria.”
At this time, 30 states allow for some form of raw milk sale or production. Eighteen states completely prohibit raw milk sales, and 17 states permit sales directly from the farm to consumers. The remaining states allow off-farm sales. Some farmers get around the prohibition by labeling their milk “not for human consumption”. Herd shares are another way raw milk producers  circumvent the law.
The CDC has recently updated their web site on raw milk, with information for consumers and related resources. The page includes links to information on the bacteria that raw milk carries, including Brucella, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, and E. coli. In addition, stories from people who consumed raw milk and were sickened by it are highlighted.

Retail Outlets of Cargill Salmonella Beef Named
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/retail-outlets-of-cargill-salmonella-beef-named/
By Bill Marler (JULY 24, 2012)
According to the CDC today, the number of ill linked to ground beef produced by Cargill held steady. A total of 33 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis have been reported from 7 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Maine (1), Massachusetts (3), New Hampshire (2), New York (14), Rhode Island (1), Virginia (2), and Vermont (10). 11 ill persons have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported. Collaborative investigation efforts of state, local, and federal public health (CDC) and regulatory agencies (FSIS) indicate that ground beef produced by Cargill Meat Solutions at a single production facility is the likely source of this outbreak. This evening FSIS announced an expanded list of retail outlets that received Cargill meat that is now subject to a 30,000 pound recall:
Hannaford, Stores in ME, MA, NH, NY and VT
Country Market in CT
Brackett's Market, Will's Shop N' Save and Gray Shop N' Save in ME
Pure Food Market, Inc, IGA in MAHunter's Shop 'n Save in NH
IGA, Peck's Market, Hurley Ridge Market, Wilson's Lakeside Market and G-Mart in NY
IGA, Town Market in NJ
Lake Region IGA in PA

FDA Warns Consumers Against Eating Shellfish from Oyster Bay Harbor
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/fda-warns-consumers-against-eating-shellfish-from-oyster-bay-harbor/
By Linda Larsen  (JULY 22, 2012)
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers to not eat raw or partially cooked oysters and clams with tags listing Oyster Bay Harbor in Nassau County, New York as the harvest area. Eight people in several states have been sickened with Vibrio parahaemolyticus food poisoning after consuming those foods.
The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) closed Oyster Bay Harbor to shellfish harvesting on July 13, 2012. The FDA told shellfish harvesters, shippers, re-shippers, processors, restaurants, and retail food establishments to dispose of any shellfish that have identity tags showing Oyster Bay Harbor was the harvest area and harvest date on or after June 1, 2012. The map of the emergency shellfish closure is available at the New York web site. The area will remain closed until samples taken by the DEC indicate that shellfish are no longer a threat to consumers.
The shellfish in question was distributed in Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. But distributors in those states may have sold the shellfish to facilities in other states.
Shellfish are not being harvested in the closed area, the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference has been informed, and several press releases have been issued about the contamination. If anyone developed a diarrheal illness within a week after eating raw or undercooked shellfish, they should see a healthcare provider and be tested for Vibrio. Other symptoms of Vibrio illness include nausea and vomiting, and can begin within a few hours to a week after consumption of a contaminated product. Any consumers with questions about seafood safety can call the FDA at 1-888-SAFEFOOD.

Some Duluth Beaches Still Contaminated with Fecal Bacteria
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/some-duluth-beaches-still-contaminated-with-fecal-bacteria/
By Linda Larsen (JULY 22, 2012)
As we told you on July 3, 2012, some Lake Superior beaches in the Duluth area were closed because of high levels of E. coli bacteria. A few of those beaches are now safe to use, but some remain closed. Flooding in the Duluth area in late June most likely washed bacteria from sewage systems into water around the area.
According to the Lake Superior Beach Monitoring Program, the Minnesota Point 15th Street Harbor Side Beach has high bacteria levels, along with Hearding Island Canal Beach/Park Point 20th Street, and the Park Point Sky Harbor Parking Lot Beach. The 42nd Avenue East Beach, and Brighton Beach in East Duluth now have acceptable water.
You can check on the water safety at a beach near you by visiting the Environmental Protection Agency’s Beach Advisory and Closing On-line Notification. There have been outbreaks from people contracting bacterial infections by swimming in contaminated waters. For instance, just last week there was a norovirus outbreak at Lake Wazee in Wisconsin, and a Cryptosporidium outbreak at two Minnesota water parks in April. And in 2011, an E. coli 0157:H7 outbreak in Pennsylvania was caused by an ill swimmer at Cowan’s Gap State Park.

Hannaford Link - Cargill Sickens 33 with Salmonella in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia and Vermont
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/cargill-sickens-33-with-salmonella-in-massachusetts-maine-new-hampshire-new-york-rhode-island-virgin/
By Bill Marler (JULY 22, 2012)
Hannaford Stores in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont named as one retail outlet linked to Cargill Meat Solutions recall of 29,339 pounds of fresh ground beef products that may be contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis. Twenty were sickened in 2011 by Hannaford ground beef tainted with Salmonella – See, Hannaford Hamburger Ground Beef 2011.
The products subject to recall, sold wholesale and for further processing:
• 14 pound chub packages of "Grnd Beef Fine 85/15", packed 3 chubs to approximate 42-pound cases.
The products subject to recall bears the establishment number "EST. 9400" inside the USDA mark of inspection. While the use-by date has passed and these products are no longer available for retail sale, FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may be frozen in consumers' freezers. These products were produced on May 25, 2012, and were shipped to distribution centers in Connecticut, Maine and New York for further distribution.
FSIS became aware of the problem during the course of an ongoing investigation of a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis involving 33 case-patients from 7 states (MA, ME, NH, NY, RI, VA, VT-preliminary data, subject to change). Working in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Vermont Department of Health, New York State Department of Health, and New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets, FSIS was able to link illnesses in five case-patients to the ground beef products produced at this establishment based on epidemiologic and traceback investigations, as well as in-store reviews. Illness onset dates among these five case-patients ranged from June 6, 2012 to June 13, 2012. Two of the five case-patients were hospitalized. Leftover product with no packaging information collected during the course of this investigation by the Vermont Department of Health tested positive for Salmonella Enteritidis with the outbreak strain.

E. coli O145 Outbreak Remains a Mystery - 17 Sick and 1 Dead
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/e-coli-o145-outbreak-remains-a-mystery---17-sick-and-1-dead/
By Bill Marler (JULY 20, 2012)
A total of 18 persons infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O145 infection were identified in 9 states.
The number of ill persons identified in each state was as follows: Alabama (2), California (1), Florida (1), Georgia (5), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (5), Maryland (1), Tennessee (1), and Virginia (1).
Four ill persons were hospitalized. One death was reported in Louisiana.
Dates for patients' onset of illness ranged from April 15, 2012 to June 12, 2012.
Based on interviews conducted, a source for these infections was not identified.

Portland isolates drinking water in one reservoir after test shows possible E. coli
Source : http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2012/07/portland_isolates_drinking_wat.html#incart_river_default
By Beth Slovic, The Oregonian The Oregonian (JULY 20, 2012)
The Portland Water Bureau has isolated drinking water from Reservoir 3 in Washington Park after an initial test showed possible E. coli bacteria.
"We have no reason to believe at this time the water is contaminated," said Tim Hall, a Water Bureau spokesman.
However, the bureau is in the process of testing a second water sample. Results, Hall said, would be available Saturday.
Although the Water Bureau does not know the specific strain of the possible E. coli, Hall said the type associated with serious illness is not generally found in water supplies.
In 2009, Portland issues a boil-water alert to westside residents after tests showed E. coli bacteria in Washington Park Reservoir 3.

Hospital food linked to two deaths
Source : http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10820628
By Morgan Tait and Newstalk ZB (JULY 19, 2012)
Two people have died and three others have become ill in a listeria outbreak believed to have originated in hospital food in two different regions.
The affected products have also been recalled from shops as they may contain the bacteria causing the disease.
The two elderly women died after contracting listeria, a food-transmitted illness found in meat supplied to the Hawkes Bay Hospital.
Two other people contracted the disease but recovered.
Hawkes Bay Hospital spokesman Andrew Coleman says another case has been reported today at Tauranga Hospital.
"At this stage there doesn't seem to be any any correlation between what's happening in Hawkes Bay with these cases, relating to the death and illness.''
The cause of the women's deaths in Hawkes Bay - in June and this month - were reported a day after the recall notices were placed in newspapers by Napier company Bay Cuisine.
The company supplies the hospital's kitchen and cafeteria, and the Mad Butcher and Preston shop chains.
The products included Mad Butcher 500g salami and pepperoni rolls.
The products, as well as Ratanui Hams and EZY Carve boneless leg ham, are sold in Mad Butcher and Preston stores in Wellington, Porirua and Palmerston North.
The recall notice warned that the products "must not be consumed".
Four patients with listeria went to the Hastings hospital between May and June but the Hawkes Bay District Health Board said it was still unclear if they had contracted the illness while in its care.
However, it could not completely rule out the possibility.
Health board chief executive Kevin Snee said: "It is fair to say this is a very unusual situation. The last thing we want is for a very rare and unusual event to be creating alarm."
The four patients with symptoms of listeria went to hospital on May 9 and 18, and June 21 and 29. The two women, one in her 60s and one her 80s were "immune-compromised" and died within a week to ten days, said Hawkes Bay DHB's director of population health, Dr Caroline McElnay.
Infectious diseases physician Dr Andrew Burns said one woman definitely died from listeria, and it was a significant factor in the death of the other.
Dr McElnay said test results received on Monday showed three different "strands" of the disease in the four patients, and the women who died had different strands.
"For us to get four cases over a period of two months is really, really unusual," she said. "When you have a suspected cluster of listeria outbreak, the most likely cause would be a food source."
New Zealand had only about 25 cases of the disease a year.
The Ministry for Primary Industries has started an investigation which is looking at the "internal processes" of the hospital's food supply.
"We have identified listeria with products sold to us," Dr McElnay said.
She said the board was not buying any more ready-to-eat meat products - "we are cooking meat and slicing it ourselves".
The ministry's general compliance and response deputy director, Andrew Coleman, said the government body was overseeing Bay Cuisine's voluntary recall.
Asked why it had taken from Monday until yesterday to let the public know about the outbreak, Dr Snee said: "We got the results on Monday and were considering them over the next 24 hours and now we are here. I think that is not a long time."
Dr Burns said symptoms of listeria took up to 70 days to appear, and it was therefore harder to find its cause than the cause of other types of food poisoning.
The health board said listeria was dangerous only to pregnant women, their babies, the elderly and people with a lowered immune system. Bay Cuisine joint managing director Simon Wills said last night he was "extremely concerned" about the situation.
"As a precautionary measure, we felt it best to recall all products in the market until our investigations are complete," he said.
"Currently, we are waiting on the results of an independent review of our food preparation procedures."
He expected the recall would be completed within days.
Mad Butcher owner Mike Morton said only a minimal amount of product had been recalled from his stores, and it was not confirmed that it was infected.

Two E. coli Outbreaks, No Advice To Consumers
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/two-e-coli-outbreaks-no-advice-to-consumers/
By Carla Gillespie (JULY 20,2012)
Two E.coli outbreaks were in the news this week: one because it was declared officially over by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the other because the likely source of the outbreak was revealed months after people became ill. The outbreaks, which together sickened dozens of people and claimed the life of one young girl, were caused by different strains of E. coli but they had one thing in common: while they were ongoing, officials weren’t able to give consumers any food safety advice.
The outbreak that came to an official end this week began in April, sickened 18 people in nine states and took the life of  a 21-month old girl from Louisiana. The outbreak was caused by the rare strain  E. coli 0145.  Most of those who were sickened live in the southeastern part of the United States.  The CDC collaborated with health departments in nine states on the investigation. They extensively interviewed 15 of the victims to determine which foods or other exposures may have caused the illness. But they were never able to identify a source and consequently never able to provide consumers with information that could prevent them from contracting a foodborne illness.
The same is true for the other outbreak which also took place in April but was caused by the more common strain E.coli 0157:H7. It  sickened nine people California and at least 13 others in Canada.  Romaine lettuce was the only commonality that the illnesses in both locations shared, a California Department of Public Health (CDPH) spokesman told Food Poisoning Bulletin this week. But by the time this was discovered, months after the illnesses began, all of the lettuce form the questionable batch had been consumed or thrown out.  The lettuce had been distributed in California, Quebec and New Brunswick, but it was far too late for a recall.
Without lettuce samples, laboratory testing was never done to see if  the romaine’s genetic fingerprint matched that of the outbreak strain. But because it was the only commonality, CDPH, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) worked together on a trace-back investigation.  They established that the lettuce came form Peter Rabbit Farm, which is owned by Amazing Coachella Inc., in Coachella, Calif. They visited the farm on June 12 and June 13, two months after the first victims became ill. They  found no conditions or practices that needed to be changed and no lettuce. The crop from which the potentially tainted batch had been harvested was long gone. The field was empty and  consumers are left empty-handed.

E. coli and salmonella at food compost firm WormTech
Source : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-18920618#?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
By BBC NEWS (July 20,2012)
E. coli and salmonella have been found at a food composting firm in Monmouthshire, Environment Agency Wales (EAW) has confirmed.
WormTech in Caerwent has had its environment permit suspended and said it was working with EAW.
The firm recycles waste for councils, including Monmouthshire, Torfaen and Blaenau Gwent. They say food waste collections won't be affected.
Public Health Wales (PHW) says there is "no wider public health risk".
Officers from EAW found a substance known as leachate, produced by the composting process, coming out of the wall of a building used for food waste deliveries.
It has served a notice suspending WormTech's environment permit, meaning it cannot process any more waste until it proves it has sealed its buildings.
Nadia De Longhi, environment manager at EAW, said ammonia, e. coli and salmonella had been found in the leachate.
"We've suspended inputs of waste to the composting facility at WormTech," she said.
"We believe there is a serious risk of pollution to groundwater and surface water from the operations.
"From a health perspective we've been liaising with PHW and they are satisfied that there is not a public health risk at this stage."
WormTech, which is based inside a Ministry of Defence training area, handles 10,000 tonnes of food and green waste a year.
It says on its website that materials are processed inside converted old munitions buildings.
The company said: "We are working with Environment Agency Wales and have asked for more time to deal with situation".
'No disruption'
Blaenau Gwent council said it is in discussions with WormTech and are in the process of agreeing contingency plans.
"Suitable arrangements will be put in place so that food waste and green waste is still collected and recycled across Blaenau Gwent," it said.
"There will be no disruption to the public."
Monmouthshire council said "there will be no break in green waste and food collections as we have contingencies in place".
Torfaen council added: "We are working closely with the Environment Agency and have a contingency plan in place to manage all of Torfaen's food and garden waste.
"We would like to reassure our residents that this will not affect any waste collections and to continue recycling food and garden waste as normal."

Job openings

07/26. Food Safety Quality Inspector – Tolleson, AZ
07/26. Quality Mgmt Specialist - Food Safety – Houston, TX
07/26. Food Safety Specialist – Mills – Hastings, MT
07/23. QA & Food Safety Scientist – Saint Paul, MN
07/23. Food Safety Admin – Springdale, OH
07/23. Food Safety - Technical Support – Hatfield, PA

 

Disney World Illnesses Are A Mystery, Officials Say
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/disney-world-illnesses-are-a-mystery-officials-say/
By Carla Gillespie (July 28, 2012)
Dozens of people became ill after visiting Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Wild Africa Trek in early June, but  so far, health officials have been unable to find out why, according to information from the Orange County Health Department (OCHD).
The Animal Kingdom Wild Africa Trek is the only part of the park associated with the illnesses, other park venues are not part to the investigation. Most of the illnesses occurred over a two-day period  during the first week of June. Symptoms included diarrhea, abdominal pain and fatigue. The length of illness ranged from two to five days. None of those who became ill required hospitalization.
The investigation into the illness cluster is ongoing and OCHD officials are still trying to determine a cause or source of the outbreak. Two restaurants that provide food to the Wild Africa Trek were inspected and no issues of concern were discovered. No one who went on the tour had any contact with animals.
Hundreds of people who went on the tour have been interviewed and OCHD epidemiologists are continuing to interview others. So far, stool sample tests have not been positive for any pathogens.
The Wild Africa Trek is a three-hour tour “featuring close encounters with exotic wildlife species,” according to the website. “Adventurers are fitted with an expedition harness that attaches to an overhead track. Once your group reaches the riverbank, get a stunning look at the hippos, just 10 feet below. After a seemingly precarious trek across a rope bridge dangling over a throng of enormous crocodiles, experience another unbelievable view as you hang over the crocs’ riverbed lair!”
In response to the illness cluster, Disney World deep cleaned surfaces on the tour and emphasized to guests and employees the importance of  good hand washing and hygiene.

Ebola in Uganda
Source : http://www.who.int/csr/don/2012_07_29/en/index.html/
By WHO (July 29, 2012)
The Ministry of Health (MoH) of Uganda has notified WHO of an outbreak of Ebola haemorrhagic fever in Kibaale district in the western part of the country.
A total of 20 cases, including 14 deaths have been reported since the beginning of July 2012. The index case was identified in a family from Nyanswiga village, Nyamarunda sub-county of Kibaale district, where nine of the deaths were recorded. The deceased include a clinical officer who attended to a patient, and her four month-old child. Nine of the 14 deaths have occurred in a single household.
Laboratory confirmation was done by the Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe.
Currently, two patients are hospitalized and are in stable condition. The first is a 38 year-old female who attended to her sister, the clinical officer who died. She was admitted to the hospital on 26 July 2012. The second is a 30 year-old female who participated in conducting the burial of the index case. She was admitted to the hospital on 23 July 2012. Both cases were admitted to hospital with fever, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Neither of the cases has so far shown bleeding, a symptom that often appears in viral haemorrhagic fever patients.
The MoH is working with stakeholders and partners to control the outbreak. Response plans at the national and district levels are being finalised. A national task force coordinated by the MoH has been re-activated at the MOH headquarters and holds daily meetings. In Kibaale a district task force has been formed to better coordinate field response. The neighbouring districts have been put on high alert about the outbreak and to step up surveillance.
A team of experts from MoH, WHO and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is in Kibaale to support the response operations. All possible contacts that were exposed to the suspected and confirmed cases since 6 July 2012 are being identified for active follow up. The necessary supplies and logistics required for supportive management of patients are being mobilized.
Kibaale hospital has established a temporary isolation ward for suspected, probable and confirmed cases. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Holland, has mobilized necessary requirements for setting up isolation centre at the hospital. The MoH and Mulago Hospital have mobilized some staff to manage the isolation centre but more are urgently needed.
The MoH has advised the public to take measures to avert the spread of the disease and to report any suspected patient to the nearest health unit.
WHO does not recommend that any travel or trade restrictions are applied to Uganda.

Young Girl Still Hospitalized with HUS E. coli After Ohio Picnic
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/young-girl-still-hospitalized-with-hus-e-coli-after-ohio-picnic/
By  Linda Larsen (July 27, 2012)
A four-year-old girl is still hospitalized in serious condition with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) that developed after an E. coli 0157:H7 infection. The little girl, along with 74 others, became ill after attending a customer appreciation picnic held by Neff’s Lawn Care in Germantown, Ohio.
Fourteen people have been hospitalized in the outbreak. A 73-year-old man died on July 24, 2012 from his illness. But a 14-year-old boy who was in serious condition with HUS was released from the hospital this week.
Officials still do not know what caused the outbreak. More than 300 people attended the picnic on July 3, 20121, and many brought food to share. Public health authorities are working to try to solve the outbreak. But since there were not many leftovers of food, pinpointing the exact cause of the outbreak is very difficult.

Onondaga County Shigella Case Count at 69
Sorce : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/onondaga-county-shigella-case-count-at-69/
By Linda Larsen (July 27, 2012)
Kathy Mogel, Program Coordinator for the Onondaga County Health Department told Food Poisoning Bulletin that there are 69 cases of “confirmed or probable” Shigella infections in that county. The cause of the infections is still not known.
Shigella is a bacteria that causes symptoms of diarrhea that is often bloody, fever, and stomach cramps. Children under the age of 2 can develop a severe infection with a high fever that causes seizures. One of the problems with this bacteria is that infected people may have no symptoms at all but can pass the bacteria to others. In fact, person-to-person contact and cross-contamination are the main ways this bacteria is transmitted.
Public health officials say that anyone with diarrhea should not prepare or handle food or drink served to others. It’s important to thoroughly wash hands with soap and water after using the bathroom or changing a child’s diapers.  Most people with shigellosis recover completely, but it can take months for the diarrhea to go away. About 2% of Shigella patients develop post-infectious arthritis, which can last for years. Symptoms of this complication include pain in the joints, irritation of the eyes, and painful urination.
Shigella infections are acquired from eating food contaminated with water that contains feces, or flies that breed in infected feces and then contaminate food. It can also be acquired by drinking, swimming in, or playing with contaminated water. Every year, about 14,000 Americans contract shigellosis, but it is very common in developing countries.

Raw Scraped Nakaochi Tuna Salmonella Outbreak Final Update
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/raw-scraped-nakaochi-tuna-salmonella-outbreak-final-update/By Linda Larsen (July 27, 2012)
Today the CDC announced that the outbreak of Salmonella Nchanga and Salmonella Bareilly linked to raw scraped tuna imported by Moon Marine USA appears to be over. A total of 425 people in 28 states and the District of Columbia were sickened by the product, which was produced in, and imported from, India. Moon Fishery Pvt. Ltd. in India was the manufacturer of the frozen yellowfin tuna Nakaochi Scrape linked to the outbreak. Several state and federal labs found that the product was contaminated with both of the outbreak strains of Salmonella.
A total of 410 people were infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bareilly, and a total of 15 people were infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Nchanga. Fifty five people were hospitalized, and there were no deaths. Although the government believes the outbreak is over, there may be more cases that appear since some food facilities may still have the contaminated product in their freezers and not be aware of the recall or outbreak.
You can see the timeline of events, including the epidemiological curve of the outbreak, at the CDC site. Since the last update, on June 21, 2012, when 390 people were sickened, the outbreak has grown by 35 people, and one more state, New Hampshire, is included.
The new cases are in these 12 states: Alabama (1), California (1), Georgia (2), Illinois (1), New Hampshire (2), New Jersey (5), New York (4), Pennsylvania (3), South Carolina (1), Texas (1), Virginia (11), and Wisconsin (3). The case breakdown for those sickened with Salmonella Bareilly is as follows: Alabama (5), Arkansas (1), California (8), Colorado (1), Connecticut (11), District of Columbia (3), Florida (1), Georgia (20), Illinois (30) Indiana (1), Kansas (1), Louisiana (6), Massachusetts (36), Maryland (39), Missouri (4), Mississippi (2), Nebraska (2), New Hampshire (2), New Jersey (39), New York (62), North Carolina (12), Pennsylvania (37), Rhode Island (6), South Carolina (5), Tennessee (4), Texas (14), Virginia (33), Vermont (1), and Wisconsin (24). The case breakdown for those sickened with Salmonella Nchanga is as follows: Georgia (2), Maryland (1), New Jersey (3), New York (6), Texas (1), Virginia (1), and Wisconsin (1).
Illness onset dates ranged from January 1, 2012 to July 7, 2012. The age range of patients is from less than 1 year to 86 years, with a median age of 30 years. Sixty percent of the patients were female.
Symptoms of salmonellosis, the illness caused by Salmonella bacteria, include vomiting, fever, nausea, severe stomach and abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. The elderly, infants, older people, pregnant women, and those with chronic illnesses and compromised immune systems are more likely to suffer severe illness and complications from these infections. If you eat sushi, especially spicy sushi tuna rolls, and become ill, contact your healthcare provider and tell her what happened to you.

425 Sick by Salmonella Tuna Scrape from Moon Marine
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/legal-cases/425-sick-by-salmonella-tuna-scrape-from-moon-marine/
By Bill Marler (July 26, 2012)
The CDC just released its final report on this ongoing outbreak.
A total of 425 persons infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Bareilly (410 persons) or Salmonella Nchanga (15 persons) were reported from 28 states and the District of Columbia. 55 ill persons were hospitalized, and no deaths were reported.
Collaborative investigation efforts of state, local, and federal public health agencies linked this outbreak to a frozen raw yellowfin tuna product, known as Nakaochi Scrape, from Moon Marine USA Corporation.
Consumers should not eat the recalled product, and retailers should not serve the recalled raw Nakaochi Scrape tuna product from Moon Marine USA Corporation.
This particular outbreak appears to be over. However, additional cases may be reported over the next several months since some food establishments may be unaware that they received recalled product and continue to serve this frozen raw yellowfin tuna product, which has a long shelf-life.

It is interesting to note the number if ill AFTER the April 13, 2012 recall:

New Hampshire Part Of Cargill, Hannaford Ground Beef Salmonella Outbreak
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/new-hampshire-part-of-cargill-hannaford-ground-beef-salmonella-outbreak/By Carla Gillespie (July 26, 2012)
Three New Hampshire residents are part of the multi-state Salmonella outbreak linked to Cargill ground beef sold at Hannaford grocery stores, according to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. (NHDHHS). More than 30 people in seven states contracted Salmonella poisoning after eating ground beef processed May 25 by Cargill Meat Solutions of Wyalusing, Pa.
The meat was distributed throughout the Northeast. At Hannaford grocery stores, the 85/15%” mixture  was sold  in packages labeled with “sell by” dates from May 25 – May 28. By the time lab tests confirmed that the meat was the source of the outbreak, it was no longer on store shelves but a recall was issued because health officials were concerned that some consumers may have some of the meat in their freezers.
An infection called salmonellosis can result from eating food that is contaminated with Salmonella. Symptoms of this infection include, fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps which usually develop within six to 72 hours of ingestion. Salmonellosis can be be life-threatening. Those most at risk include young children, seniors, and people with compromised immune systems.
“Contaminated food is always concerning,” Dr. José Montero, Director of NHDHHS,  said in a statement. “But since we cannot always know if a food is contaminated or not, it is very important that it be handled correctly. All ground beef should be cooked until the internal temperature is 160°F or greater using a food thermometer. People should take care not to cross-contaminate while cooking either, which means make sure to wash hands often, wash utensils that come in contact with raw meats or something else before using , and make sure meat juices to not come in contact with other foods.”
Thirty three people in seven states  have been sickened by the contaminated ground beef, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  By state  the case count is: Maine (1), Massachusetts (3), New Hampshire (2), New York (14), Rhode Island (1), Virginia (2), and Vermont (10). The CDC has two cases listed for New Hampshire, but the state reports that there have been three illnesses.

Vermont Endures Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Cargill Ground Beef Sold At Hannaford Stores
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/vermont-endures-salmonella-outbreak-linked-to-cargill-ground-beef-sold-at-hannaford-stores/
By  Carla Gillespie (July 25, 2012)
The Salmonella outbreak linked to Cargill ground beef sold at Hannaford grocery stores has hit Vermont hard. Of the 33 people sickened in the multi-state outbreak, 10 are from Vermont. And of 11 hospitalizations in seven states, three are from Vermont.
Vermont’s case patients, who became ill between June 6 and June 26, are from Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, Rutland. and Windham counties, according to the Vermont Department of Health (VDH). Since June, VDH has been part of a collaborative investigation that has grown to include, seven state health departments, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (USDA, FSIS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
After laboratory testing confirmed that the Salmonella strain that sickened people and the one discovered in the ground beef were a genetic match, Cargill Meat Solutions issued ca recall for 30,000 pounds of ground beef. Because the beef was produced in late May and the recall wasn’t issued until late July the beef was no longer being sold and the “use-by” date had passed, but officials were concerned that some consumers may have some of the tainted beef in their freezers.  The USDA has published a retail distribution list to let consumers know where the recalled ground beef was sold.
Salmonella poisoning symptoms include fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. An infection that enters the bloodstream can be life-threatening for children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. Public health officials urge anyone who ate the recalled beef an develops these symptoms to seek help from a health care provider.

Another Needless E. coli Death in Ohio
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/legal-cases/another-e-coli-death-in-ohio/
By  Bill Marler (July 24, 2012)
Peggy O'Farrell of the Dayton Daily News has become the latest in two decades of reporters who are thrust into the middle of yet another E. coli outbreak. This one, as she reports today, “claimed its first fatality Tuesday, a longtime area school superintendent known for his dedication to children. Lowell Draffen, 73, of Germantown, was one of at least 75 people sickened after consuming food served at a July 3 customer appreciation picnic at Neff’s Lawn Care in German Twp. He retired in 2010 as superintendent of Trotwood-Madison City Schools, and had also been superintendent at Valley View and Mad River schools.”
As the health department announced, “two others remain hospitalized — a 4-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy. A total of 14 people have been hospitalized, and health officials still do not know the cause of the contamination.”
I spoke to Ms. O'Farrell early this morning after the news of Mr. Draffen’s death was announced:
Bill Marler, managing partner for Marler Clark, a Seattle law firm that specializes in foodborne illness outbreaks, said he found it “a little perplexing” that investigators hadn’t identified the source of the outbreak three weeks after the event.
Marler handled lawsuits filed after a 1993 E. coli outbreak tied to 73 Jack in the Box restaurants that sickened 700 people in Washington state, California, Nevada and Idaho. Four people died in that outbreak, which was linked to beef that wasn’t cooked to the proper temperature.
“It’s obviously a significant, significant outbreak you’re dealing with,” Marler said.
Yet, every preventable outbreak and preventable death is significant. Not far from my mind – especially in an E. coli outbreak in Ohio – is the needless loss of Abby Fenstermaker.  I think about her and her parents alot:

Cholera outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
Source : http://www.who.int/csr/don/2012_07_23/en/index.html
By WHO (July 23, 2012)
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has reported a sharp increase in the number of cholera cases in the armed conflict area of North Kivu. According to the report, 368 new cases were reported from epidemiological week 24 (11-17 June) to epidemiological week 26 (25 June-1 July). The most affected areas include Birambizo, Goma, Karisimbi, Kiroshe, Mutwanga, Mweso and Rwanguba.
There is concern that the security situation may increase difficulty in accessing the health-care facilities and could increase the number of severe and fatal cases. The current armed conflict in North Kivu also poses a risk of international spread of the disease to neighbouring countries such as Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda.
North Kivu is one the five provinces of eastern DRC where cholera is endemic. Vibrio cholerae was confirmed in the AMI-Kivu laboratory since 2011.
Response
Epidemiological investigation conducted by national authorities and other partners, including Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Merlin, and International Rescue Committee (IRC) indicated that insufficient access to safe water supply remains the main cause of the epidemic in North Kivu.
Patients are being treated with infusions and antibiotics as appropriate, at treatment centres. Interventions to control the epidemic that are being carried out include education and communication; management of cases; increased surveillance; hygiene and sanitation; and provision of safe drinking water.
WHO is working to support national authorities in response to the cholera outbreak and the broader humanitarian emergency resulting from conflict and population displacement.

E. coli Infection from Ohio Picnic Kills 73-Year-Old Man
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/e-coli-infection-from-ohio-picnic-kills-73-year-old-man/
By  Linda Larsen(JULY 24, 2012)
A 73-year-old man has died from complications of an E. coli infection he contracted at the Neff’s Lawn Care customer appreciation picnic. Montgomery County Health Commissioner Jim Gross said, “our hearts go out to his familiy and loved ones. This is a very difficult time for everyone. You may rest assured that Public Health will continue to examine all aspects of this foodborne tragedy.”
At least 75 people have been sickened by the outbreak linked to the picnic. Fourteen people have been hospitalized, and three, including the man who just died, developed hemolytic uremic syndrome. That complication of shiga-toxin producing bacterial infections, such as E. coli 0157:H7, can lead to kidney failure and other serious health issues.
The other patients who developed HUS are a 4-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy. Both are still in serious medical condition. Public health officials are still working to discover the source of the bacterial contamination. They are looking at donated food, food handling, storage, and preparation.

Outbreak at Homeless Shelter in Denver
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/outbreak-at-homeless-shelter-in-denver/
By Kathy Will (JULY 23, 2012)
According to Alexxa Gagner, Director of Public Relations for the Denver Rescue Mission, at least 60 people are hospitalized after eating a turkey dinner at the center last night. According to the press release, the Mission’s first priority is the health and safety of each individual.
Brad Meuli, President and CEO of the the Mission said, “we are shocked by this situation. Our main concern is for those who have become ill. Nothing like this has ever happened at Denver Rescue Mission and we are taking this matter very seriously. Today, we are working with the health department and local authorities to investigate the cause of the incident.”
Responders were called to the Lawrence Street Shelter where the dinner was served and to Samaritan House, where some of the guests were staying. No deaths have been associated with this outbreak. Turkey, mashed potatoes, and other vegetables were served at the dinner. Public health authorities do not know the exact source of the contaminated food.
Since 340 people were served at the dinner, it’s possible that more homeless people in the Denver area are sick. Other organizations are helping the Mission, along with Denver’s Road Home, look for people who may be ill and on the street.
The Mission provides more than 600,000 meals every year. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served every day. They are serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner today, but are not serving donated or pre-prepared food from the community. Environmental health, Denver Public Health, and Denver Human Services are investigating the outbreak.

E. coli O145 Outbreak Remains a Mystery - 17 Sick and 1 Dead
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/e-coli-o145-outbreak-remains-a-mystery---17-sick-and-1-dead/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MarlerBlog+%28Marler+Blog%29
By Bill Marler (JULY 20, 2012)
A total of 18 persons infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O145 infection were identified in 9 states.
The number of ill persons identified in each state was as follows: Alabama (2), California (1), Florida (1), Georgia (5), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (5), Maryland (1), Tennessee (1), and Virginia (1).
Four ill persons were hospitalized. One death was reported in Louisiana.
Dates for patients' onset of illness ranged from April 15, 2012 to June 12, 2012.
Based on interviews conducted, a source for these infections was not identified.