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FDA IDs farm in salmonella cantaloupe outbreak
Source :
By JoNel Aleccia, NBC News (AUG 23, 2012)
U.S. health officials have identified Chamberlain Farm Produce Inc. of Owensville, Ind., as one possible source of cantaloupes tied to an outbreak of salmonella food poisoning that now has sickened 178 people in 21 states. Two people have died.
Federal Food and Drug Administration officials warned late Wednesday that consumers should not eat melons from the previously unidentified farm.
FDA officials were under pressure from food safety advocates to release the name of the grower that now has voluntarily recalled the rest of this year’s cantaloupe crop because of detection of a strain of salmonella Typhimurium.
The two deaths occurred in Kentucky. Sixty-two people have been hospitalized nationwide after eating salmonella-tainted fruit, officials said.
FDA officials added that the investigation into the outbreak is continuing and that other possible sources could be identified.
The cantaloupe in question was shipped to seven states – Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin – though further shipment was likely.

Salmonella Cantaloupe Recall Expands
Source :
FDA has announced a recall of cantaloupe by Chamberlain Farms, of Owensville, Ind., because of possible contamination with Salmonella Typhimurium associated with a multi-state outbreak of salmonellosis (complete details are available on the CDC website). FDA is warning consumers not to eat, and to discard, cantaloupe from this farm.
After officials from the FDA, CDC and the state of Indiana briefed Chamberlain Farms on the current status of the investigation, Chamberlain Farms made the decision to recall its cantaloupe from the marketplace. Records available currently indicate that this product was initially shipped to Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin, although further shipment was likely.
CDC reports a total of 178 people from 21 states have been infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium. Nationwide, 62 people have been hospitalized. In Kentucky, two deaths have been reported.
The investigation into this outbreak continues, in order to determine whether there are other possible sources of the outbreak.

Microbiological Data Program to the rescue again? Dole Salad Recalled After Positive Listeria Test
Source :
By Bill Marler (AUG 23, 2012)
Dole Fresh Vegetables is voluntarily recalling 1,039 cases of bagged salad. The product being recalled is 10 oz. Dole Italian Blend coded 0049N2202008, with a Use-By date of August 20 and UPC 7143000819 due to a possible health risk from Listeria monocytogenes. Dole Fresh Vegetables is coordinating closely with regulatory officials. No illnesses have been reported in association with the recall.
The product code and Use-By date are in the upper right-hand corner of the package; the UPC code is on the back of the package, below the barcode. The salads were distributed in eight U.S. states (Florida, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Mississippi and Virginia). No illnesses have been reported in association with the recall. This recall notification is being issued due to an isolated instance in which a sample of Dole Italian Blend salad yielded a positive result for Listeria monocytogenes in a random sample test conducted by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture.
No other salads are included in the recall. Only the specific product codes, UPC codes and August 20, 2012 Use-By date identified above are included in the recall. Consumers who have any remaining product with this Product Code should not consume it, but rather discard it.
Although the product is 2 days past its Use-By date and it is highly unlikely that any product is still available at retail, retailers should check their inventories and store shelves to confirm that none of the product is mistakenly present or available for purchase by consumers or in warehouse inventories. Dole Fresh Vegetables customer service representatives are already contacting retailers and are in the process of confirming that the recalled product is not in the stream of commerce.

4 Ill in Minnesota Linked to Hoffman Turkey Jerky
Source :
By Bill Marler (AUG 23, 2012)
Minnesota State Department of Health issues consumer advisory for Hoffman Town & Country Meat Market turkey jerky. Four cases of Salmonella-related illness associated with consumption of product.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and Hoffman Town & Country Meat Market of Detroit Lakes today issued a consumer advisory for whole-muscle turkey jerky after state investigators linked the product to four cases of illness caused by Salmonella bacteria.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) determined that there have been four cases of infection with the same strain of Salmonella in Minnesota residents. All four individuals reported eating turkey jerky during the week prior to becoming ill (onsets of illness from August 2 through August 7). One of the cases lives in the Twin Cities metro area, and three in Greater Minnesota. One of the cases was hospitalized, but all have recovered.
Hoffman Town & Country Meat Market has issued a voluntary recall of all whole-muscle turkey jerky product sold on or before August 21, 2012. This product was sold wrapped in white butcher paper. Consumers should not eat any product they still have on hand.

Cantaloupe: the new lettuce or spinach
Source :
By Drew Falkenstein (AUG 23, 2012)
The first lawsuit in the Salmonella cantaloupe outbreak is now a going concern.  More will follow, against retailers of the contaminated cantaloupes, as well as the farm that grew the bad fruit, Chamberlain Farms in southwest Indiana.  This cantaloupe salmonella outbreak almost the 20th (give or take a few) cantaloupe outbreak since 1985, and follows by almost exactly one year, one of the most lethal outbreaks in US history--also a cantaloupe outbreak, but linked to Jensen Farms in Colorado.
Back a few years ago, leafy green vegetables like lettuce and spinach were the dish de jour for food poisoning outbreaks.  The spinach E. coli outbreak in 2006 (Marler Clark represented over 100 people; 30+ who developed kidney failure) occurred less than one year after the FDA sent this letter to the leafy greens industry in Salinas Valley, California:
FDA is aware of 18 outbreaks of foodborne illness since 1995 caused by Escherichia coli O157:H7 for which fresh or fresh-cut lettuce was implicated as the outbreak vehicle. In one additional case, fresh-cut spinach was implicated. These 19 outbreaks account for approximately 409 reported cases of illness and two deaths. Although tracebacks to growers were not completed in all 19 outbreak investigations, completed traceback investigations of eight of the outbreaks associated with lettuce and spinach, including the most recent lettuce outbreak in Minnesota, were traced back to Salinas, California.
Then the spinach outbreak happened, killing 5, sickening well over 200, and causing dozens of cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome.  The spinach outbreak was followed, in late 2006, by two more major lettuce E. coli outbreaks, and Marler Clark's revenues from lawsuits against the leafy greens industries skyrocketed.  For the full history, see:  Salinas Valley, Leafy Green Vegetables, and E. coli.
Fast forward a few years.  Even before the fateful (and fatal) Jensen Farms cantaloupe outbreak, the cantaloupe industry was under fire, having caused at least 15 recognized outbreaks since 1985.  Then 147 were sickened, and 37 died in the Jensen Farms cantaloupe listeria outbreak, and the ground beneath the cantaloupe industry's feet shook.  Incoming revenues at Marler Clark had already shifted from the pockets of the leafy greens industry to the cantaloupe industry (anecdotally, major leafy greens outbreaks are down since the disastrous year of 2006).  
It seems like the cantaloupe industry is at a crossroads.  To think otherwise would be to ignore reality.  Cantaloupes have caused 215 severe illnesses in just the last 2 major outbreaks (in less than a year's time), and have killed a total of 39 people during that stretch.  It seems, also, that the industry now has a reason, and an opportunity, to do right by its brand, and by its millions of customers nationally, many of whom are probably not even glancing at the cantaloupe display anymore when walking down the grocery aisle--and with good reason.
The choice is straightforward.  Change or suffer the losses of an industry with a continuing, very severe problem.  

ExpertRECALL Data Shows Food Recalls Increased 19% in 2Q 2012
Source :
By Kathy Will (AUG 22, 2012)
ExpertRECALL has released its findings for food and product recalls for the second quarter of 2012. The data shows that recalls have increased by 19% in the second quarter when compared to the first quarter of the year. The recalled products included sub sandwiches, peanut butter, romaine lettuce, and juice.
Undeclared allergens are the primary cause of recalls, accounting for 40% of all food recalls. Salmonella contamination was the second leading cause of recalls, followed by Listeria, Clostridium botulinum, and E. coli. Recalls in the second quarter were initiated by 156 companies, with twelve companies announcing more than one recall.
Thirty-four of the recalls were nationwide; the others were confined to states or certain cities.  Former FDA Senior Recall Coordinator Willie Bryant said, “it is critical that FDA- and CPSC-regulated industries follow the agencies’ requirements and guidelines to assure that they are met, thus diminishing the likelihood of a volative product and subsequent recalls.”
Recalls are most likely to be issued voluntarily by corporations when company or government testing or consumer complaints reveal an issue with contamination or mislabeling. Until the Food Safety Modernization Act was signed into law by President Obama in January 2011, the FDA had no power to force a company to recall products. Now they can force a recall, but the company has the opportunity to make its case before the FDA before one is issued.
No company has ever refused a recall request from the FDA or USDA, according to Ohio State University Extension. If a company refuses to issue a recall, the FDA and USDA do have the power to seize the product and stop production if the product is deemed dangerous to public health.

China Refuses FDA Jerky Pet Treat Testing
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By Linda Larsen (AUG 22, 2012)
The Food and Drug Administration has released four Establishment Inspection Reports of facilities in China that make pet treats linked to dog illnesses and death. The facilities are Gambol pet Products Co., Jinan Uniwell Pet Fodo Co., Ltd., Shandong Honva Food Co. Ltd, and Shandong Petswell Food Co. Ltd.  You can see the heavily redacted reports by visiting the FDA site and scrolling down to “Compliance & Enforcement”. The Chinese government has refused to let inspectors collect samples of the product for analysis. The inspections were conducted in April, 2012 at sites in Liaocheng and Jinan, China. The treats are sold by Nestle Purina PetCare Co.
The Chinese government did say they would let the FDA test samples, but only if the U.S. agreed to have the products tested in Chinese-run labs. The reports stay that there were no or only very sporadic tests of the raw materials used to make the treats. The FDA did have some concerns about record-keeping practices of the firms. One firm falsified receiving documents for glycerin, which is an ingredient in the pet treats. The Chinese authority, the Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) told the FDA it seized products at that firm and suspended exports. The FDA is investigating glycerin as a potential source of the illnesses.
There have been more than 2,000 reports of illness and death in dogs in this country that ate chicken jerky treats made in China. The FDA has tested the products, but has found no contaminants that would explain the problem. However, there was a “cautionary update” issued in November 2011 that told consumers to be cautious about feeding their pets jerky pet treat products, including chicken, duck, and sweet potato flavors. The government has also stated that “chicken jerky products should not be substituted for a balanced diet and are intended to be fed occasionally in small quantities.”
If you do give your dog this type of treats, watch out for warning signs, including decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, diarrhea, sometimes bloody, increased water consumption, and/or increased urination. Lab tests of the dogs who have been ill include kidney problems and Fanconi-like syndrome.
Nestle Purina could conduct a voluntary recall, but has chosen not to. And the FDA can’t force a recall of the products until there is evidence that the products are contaminated. You can see the complaints at the FDA site. And Food and Water Water has put together a petition you can sign to ask the government to forbid these treats from entering the U.S.

Salmonella Cantaloupe Outbreak Grows to Include West Virginia
Source :
By Linda Larsen (AUG 22, 2012)
The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department is investigating a case of Salmonella that may have been caused by the cantaloupes grown in southwestern Indiana. Along with three additional cases reported in Missouri yesterday, that brings the total number of cases nationwide to 145.
Some retailers across the country have removed cantaloupe from their shelves. Walmart, Krogers, Schnucks, Meijer, and Marsh have taken this pre-emptive step. The farm that grew the cantaloupe is contacting distributors, asking them to remove the cantaloupe from the marketplace. That farm, and the facilities that have sold it, have still not been named by the FDA or CDC, although the farm has agreed to stop distributing cantaloupe for the rest of the growing season.
The CDC has not updated their investigation information as of this afternoon. Fred Pritzker, national food safety attorney, said, “cantaloupe growers need to stop ignoring basic food safety measures to prevent their product from being contaminated with pathogens.”
The symptoms of salmonellosis, the illness caused by the Salmonella bacteria, include diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps, and fever. Patients may also experience chills, headache, and vomiting. If you are experiencing these symptoms, please see your healthcare provider and tell her what you ate. The symptoms usually occur within 8 hours to three days after the contaminated food is consumed. Long-term consequences of salmonellosis include reactive arthritis, colitis, sepsis, and can lead to death.
The case count of the Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak by state is as follows as of August 22, 2012: Alabama (7), Arkansas (3), California (2), Georgia (1), Illinois (17), Indiana (13), Iowa (7), Kentucky (50), Michigan (6), Minnesota (3), Missouri (12), Mississippi (2), New Jersey (1), North Carolina (3), Ohio (3), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (3), Tennessee (6), Texas (1), West Virginia (1), and Wisconsin (2).

First Lawsuit Filed in Salmonella Cantaloupe Outbreak Today
Source :
By Bill Marler (AUG 22, 2012)
Today, Seattle-based Marler Clark, the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of foodborne illness, filed a lawsuit today against Wal-Mart on behalf of a Michigan family stricken by the latest cantaloupe-related Salmonella outbreak. The complaint was filed in Calhoun County Circuit Court in Michigan on behalf of Battle Creek resident Angela Compton and her two children, who both fell ill with Salmonella Typhimurium infections after eating cantaloupe purchased from Wal-Mart in mid-July. Co-counsel on the case is respected Michigan attorney Michael Heilmann.
According to the complaint, Angela Compton purchased 3 cantaloupes at the Wal-Mart store located at 6020 B Drive North in Battle Creek on July 12, 2012, and later sliced the cantaloupes and served them to her family. Within days of eating the cantaloupe slices, one of Angela’s children, “MC”, became ill with symptoms of Salmonella infection, including diarrhea and painful abdominal cramping. She was treated several times by her pediatrician and was later seen at the emergency room for dehydration and was admitted to Bronson Kalamazoo hospital. MC was hospitalized for 4 days and continued to suffer symptoms of Salmonella infection for at least a week after she was discharged. MC’s sister, “CC”, fell ill with a Salmonella infection several days into MC’s illness. She was also treated at her pediatrician’s office, but required further treatment at the ER on three occasions. Both children tested positive for Salmonella Typhimurium. Mrs. Compton later learned in conversations with Michigan health officials that her daughters’ illnesses were part of the multi-state cantaloupe outbreak linked to melons grown in southwest Indiana.

Three Outbreaks Linked to Cantaloupe in Last 19 Months
Source :
By Linda Larsen (AUG 21, 2012)
As we wait for more information about the Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak linked to cantaloupes grown in Indiana, let’s look back at the outbreaks caused by this fruit in the 19 months. In 2011 and 2012, there have been three outbreaks of foodborne illness linked to cantaloupe.
This fruit is more likely to be contaminated because the thick webbed skin provides lots of places for bacteria to hide, and because the fruit lies directly on the ground while it is growing. Animals, contaminated irrigation water, improper handling, and unsanitary conditions on the farm and in packing sheds can contaminate the fruit. In fact, according to the FDA, from 1996 to 2008, there were 10 nationwide outbreaks linked to melons that caused 507 illnesses and two deaths.
In the spring of 2011, 20 people were infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Panama. Three people were hospitalized; no deaths were reported. The patients lived in Arizona (1), California (2), Colorado (1), Maryland (1), Montana (1), Nevada (1), Oregon (6), Pennsylvania (1), Utah (1) and Washington (5). Product traceback information found that the cantaloupes came from a single farm in Guatemala.
In the summer of 2011, 146 people were sickened by the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes after eating cantaloupes grown and processed at Jensen Farms in Colorado. At least 30 people died in this outbreak, and one woman suffered a miscarriage. The case patients lived in these states: Alabama (1), Arkansas (1), California (4), Colorado (40), Idaho (2), Illinois (4), Indiana (3), Iowa (1), Kansas (11), Louisiana (2), Maryland (1), Missouri (7), Montana (1), Nebraska (6), Nevada (1), New Mexico (15), New York (2), North Dakota (2), Oklahoma (12), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (1), South Dakota (1), Texas (18), Utah (1), Virginia (1), West Virginia (1), Wisconsin (2), and Wyoming (4).  The people who died lived in these states: Colorado (8), Indiana (1), Kansas (3), Louisiana (2), Maryland (1), Missouri (3), Nebraska (1), New Mexico (5), New York (2), Oklahoma (1), Texas (2), and Wyoming (1).
Even though Jensen Farms passed the audit conducted by a third-party auditor, the facility had ”several major deficiencies”. The melons were not pre-cooled, the water used to wash the melons was not chlorinated, and processing equipment was designed to wash potatoes, which are cooked before eating. Anyone who intends to assert a claim against Jensen farms must file by September 14, 2012, according to the United States Bankruptcy Court.
The current outbreak is caused by Salmonella Typhimurium, and is linked to cantaloupes grown in southwestern Indiana. The CDC has formally announced the outbreak, which has sickened at least 141 people in 20 states. At least 31 people are hospitalized; 2 people in Kentucky have died.
The government has not yet named the farm that grew and processed and melons, and has not named grocery stores and other facilities which have sold the fruit. The case patients live in these states: Alabama (7), Arkansas (3), California (2), Georgia (1), Illinois (17), Indiana (13), Iowa (7), Kentucky (50), Michigan (6), Minnesota (3), Missouri (9), Mississippi (2), New Jersey (1), North Carolina (3), Ohio (3), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (3), Tennessee (6), Texas (1), and Wisconsin (2).

Fred Pritzker, national food safety attorney, has called on the FDA to issue mandatory industry guidelines for melon growers and to enforce them with audits.  ”How many more people have to get sick and die before this hazard is addressed?” he asks. “We need more than non-binding safety recommendations for cantaloupe growing, handling, processing, and distribution.” We’ll keep you informed as more information becomes available.

Best Advice from Government about Salmonella Cantaloupe - "When in doubt, throw it out."
Source :
By Bill Marler (AUG 21, 2012)
Lets start what we do not know as consumers.  We do not know the name of the farm (its somewhere in southern Indiana), nor where the tainted cantaloupe was sold (well, except Walmart).  How helpful is that when you are shopping, or deciding what to feed your family for dinner?
Also, if you were a cantaloupe grower other than this one mentioned by the CDC (not by name), how pissed would you be - especially if you were in southern Indiana:
As a result of the initial investigations by the state health departments in Indiana and Kentucky (Salmonella positive samples of cantaloupe), a farm in southwestern Indiana has contacted its distributors, which reach outside Indiana into other states, and is withdrawing its cantaloupe from the market place. The farm has agreed to cease distributing cantaloupes for the rest of the growing season.
What we do know is that on August 17th the CDC and a variety of states announced that a total of 141 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium have been reported from 20 states linked to cantaloupe consumption.  31 ill persons have been hospitalized. Two deaths have been reported in Kentucky.
The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (7), Arkansas (3), California (2), Georgia (1), Illinois (17), Indiana (13), Iowa (7), Kentucky (50), Michigan (6), Minnesota (3), Missouri (9), Mississippi (2), New Jersey (1), North Carolina (3), Ohio (3), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (3), Tennessee (6), Texas (1), and Wisconsin (2).
So, no recall?  Really?  How pissed will people be that get sick after August 17th?  This all seems an odd way to run public health.  I just guess we take the advise:
"When in doubt, throw it out."

Questionable pickles not imported to Taiwan: FDA
Source :
By TWN, CNA (AUG 21, 2012)
Taiwan has not imported any pickled cabbage from a supply that allegedly caused a deadly outbreak of food poisoning in Hokkaido, Japan, in the first weeks of August, Taiwanese health authorities said yesterday.
There is no record of pickled Chinese cabbage exports to Taiwan from the food manufacturer in Sapporo that supplied the product in question, the Department of Health's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said.
Japanese health authorities have reportedly recalled the pickled products manufactured by the company, the FDA said.
Seven people in Japan died in the past weeks after eating pickled cabbage produced by the company, according to media reports. Five of them were found to have contracted infections caused by Escherichia coli O157:H7 bacteria, the reports said.
Meanwhile, more than 60 people in Hokkaido have been hospitalized with food poisoning symptoms such as diarrhea, according to the reports.
The enterohaemorrhagic E. coli O157:H7 bacterium can cause a severe food borne disease, which leads to diarrhea, abdominal cramps and occasionally kidney failure, the FDA said.
One way to avoid infection by the potentially fatal bacteria is to cook foods at high temperatures, the FDA advised.

More on Salmonella in cantaloupe, Colorado pertussis, egg guidance, food safety for the elderly
Source :
By CIDRAP (AUG 21, 2012)
CDC releases more details about cantaloupe-linked Salmonella outbreak
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued its initial report on a Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak linked to cantaloupe grown in southwestern Indiana that has sickened 141 people in 20 states and led to the death of two people from Kentucky. According to previous reports from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and state health officials, epidemiologic investigations and lab tests by Kentucky authorities on retail cantaloupe have linked the illnesses to the Indiana-grown cantaloupe. In an Aug 17 statement, the CDC said an Indiana farm is working with its distributors to remove their cantaloupe from the market and has agreed to stop distributing its cantaloupe for the rest of the growing season. The CDC said in patients for whom information is available, illness onset ranges from Jul 7 to Aug 4; age ranges from younger than 1 to 92 years, with a median of 49; and 55% are female. The CDC said the Salmonella pattern has been seen in PulseNet before and typically causes about 10 to 15 cases per month. Preliminary tests suggest that the strain is susceptible to commonly prescribed antibiotics. The CDC said more surveillance efforts are under way to identify additional cases linked to the outbreak and to determine if other types of melons are involved. The CDC is urging consumers to look at cantaloupe labels to determine where the fruit is grown and to discard cantaloupe grown in southwestern Indiana. The farm hasn't been publically identified yet and no recall notice has been issued, but as a precaution Wal-Mart is contacting its stores with instructions to remove cantaloupe grown in southwestern Indiana, according to an Aug 18 Bloomberg News story. Company spokeswoman Dianna Gee told Bloomberg that Wal-Mart doesn't have an indication or confirmation that any of the contaminated cantaloupes were sold at their stores.
Aug 17 CDC outbreak announcement
Aug 18 Bloomberg News story
Colorado reports pertussis epidemic
Colorado's top health official today issued an alert to the public about an epidemic of pertussis cases in the state. Chris Urbina, MD, chief medical officer and executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) in a statement also urged residents to get vaccinated against the disease. So far in 2012, 715 pertussis cases have been reported in Colorado, dramatically higher than the average 158 cases reported from 2007 to 2011 for this time in the year. The CDPHE said infection rates are highest in infants younger than 6 months, followed by older babies and children ages 11 to 14 years old. Many counties are reporting cases, with five reporting the largest numbers: Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Denver, and Jefferson. No deaths have been reported. Symptoms in adolescents and adults may be relatively mild, and people may not realize they're infected, the CDPHE said, adding that these individuals can still spread the disease to others, a particular concern for babies who are too young to be immunized and youngsters who don't have all their doses. Other parts of the country are reporting rising numbers of pertussis cases. In April, Washington state declared a pertussis epidemic, and in July federal officials said the pace of cases is on track to reach the highest count in decades. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also noted an illness spike in 13- and 14-year-olds that it said could suggest waning vaccine immunity, which could be playing a role in rising pertussis activity across the nation.
Aug 20 CDPHE statement
Jul 19 CIDRAP News story "CDC: Pertussis numbers suggest vaccine protection gap"
FDA issues new guidance for shell egg producers
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today released a new guidance resource for egg producers that is geared toward answering a host of questions about new egg safety rules. The FDA issued the egg safety rule in 2009 to prevent Salmonella Enteritidis in shell eggs, and the final provisions that address production, storage, and transportation went into effect for intermediate-sized farms in July. In December 2011, the FDA issued final guidance to help egg producers follow the new rules. The new 14-page guidance document, issued by the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), addresses several questions the FDA has received from egg producers, such as whether and when they must comply. The document covers questions about prevention measures, sampling and testing, facility registration, and enforcement. The agency said it also has plans to release draft guidance for producers who provide layer hens with outdoor access.
Aug 20 FDA CFSAN constituent update
Aug 20 FDA CFSAN guidance
Dec 29, 2011, CIDRAP News story, "FDA issues final egg safety rule guidance"
Gaps in food safety knowledge in older adults' care providers
Improvements in the food safety and foodborne disease education of healthcare providers who see older adults is needed and would could have an important public health impact, says a study published recently in Educational Gerontology. Eight telephone-based focus groups organized by type of provider were conducted from March to May 2010 to determine participants' knowledge of foodborne illness risk factors and pathogens by having them discuss their training in foodborne disease and food safety, their knowledge of food safety practices including those recommended specifically for older people, the importance they placed on educating older adults about food safety, and their suggestions for disseminating food safety information to older adults and to those providing care for this population. The groups included physicians; nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants; home health providers; and relative caregivers who worked with people 60 years of age and older. Upon analysis of the data collected, the authors found that a gap existed between older adults' trust in caregivers as a source of information and providers' training, knowledge, and in some cases willingness to provide food safety information to this population. The nonphysician groups were most receptive to improving their own knowledge and passing it on to the people they care for. Among the recommendations for dissemination of educational materials were distribution of food safety pamphlets and information sheets in doctor's offices, senior centers, grocery stores, and other locations as well as classes at senior centers.
Aug 14 Educ Gerontol article first page

Kroger Pulls Cantaloupe From Stores In Four States
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (AUG 20, 2012)
Kroger grocery stores is removing cut cantaloupe products from locations in four states, but other Kroger stores may soon be joining in. The grocery retailer’s removal of cut cantaloupe products from stores in Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas and Kentucky was prompted by a recall issued by Burch Farms in North Carolina for possible Listeria contamination. But cantaloupes produced in southwestern Indiana are also being recalled as they have been identified as the source of a Salmonella outbreak that has sickened 141 people in 20 states, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Friday.
“It’s unbelievable that better traceback measures are not in place, especially after the deadly cantaloupe Listeria outbreak last year,” said Attorney Fred Pritzker, food safety advocate and founding partner of PritzkerOlsen, a national food safety law firm that represents people sickened by cantaloupe.
Other retailers will remove or have already removed potentially tainted cantaloupes from their store shelves, but at this point it’s unclear where any of these melons are being sold. The Burch recall was initially announced at the beginning of this month. It has been expanded and amended but a retail distribution list for the melons, which now includes all of the cantaloupe and honeydew produced during this growing season, has not been released. What’s more, the Burch honeydew were sold with no identifying stickers on them.
The Burch Farms Listeria recall includes all cantaloupe and  honeydew melon produced by the farm during this growing season. The recalled products from Kroger stores include: cantaloupe slices, **4472; cantaloupe cube cup small random weight, **4473; cantaloupe half random weight, **4368; cantaloupe cube cup small, **4473; cantaloupe cube cut large random weight,*4358; cantaloupe athena east. 120 ea, cantaloupe half, **4368; melon mixed cube jumbo random weight, **54830; cantaloupe quarter **4361; cantaloupe cube cup large, **4358; cantaloupe slices random weight, **4472, melon mixed fruit bowl, random weight,  **54254; melon mixed fruit cup random weight,**54253; melon mixed fruit cup random weight, **54252; melon mixed cube cup  large random weight, **4363; melon mixed cube cup  small random weight,  **54878 and melon mixed cube cup  large, **4363.

Food safety officials upset over latest salmonella outbreak
Source :
By Karen Graham (AUG 20, 2012)
Whether it's romaine lettuce from Northern California, or cantaloupes from Indiana, the guidelines farmers are required to follow in the growing and shipping of America's produce shouldn't lead to sickness and death.
After an outbreak of food poisoning caused by tainted melons killed at least 30 people and sickened 146 people last year, it was thought that the problem had been taken care of by federal authorities. Food safety groups petitioned the FDA to review production regulations on growing of cantaloupes and work on having them enforced.
It was found on further investigation by the FDA that the farm responsible for the outbreak in 2011 had not been following FDA practices in the growing and production of cantaloupes. Further surveys suggested that cantaloupe farmers didn't want more federal regulations, and were more in tune with "self-regulation."
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the latest outbreak has sickened 141 people and two have died. The outbreak has now spread to 20 states. Agriculture experts are saying the numerous problems we've been having are due to the nature of the melons, and poor agricultural practices.
Last year the culprit was listeria, and this time it is salmonella. Both bacteria are potentially dangerous. The problems in both outbreaks could have been avoided, and that's what has everyone up in arms, and it seems to stem from poor agricultural practices.
In all fairness, the porous texture of the outer covering of cantaloupes makes them difficult to clean. As with all fruits and vegetables, they should be washed first before consuming them. It is just much more difficult to clean a cantaloupe.
The present outbreak still goes back to poor growing practices, from run-off of water from livestock pastures, to run-off from workers unsanitary bathroom practices. The cleaning of melons by immersing in chlorinated water needs to be better regulated, because chlorine levels are not always checked.
Consumers should check with their local grocery stores to find if melons from the affected producers are being sold. If you are not sure of where the produce came from, throw it away. Common sense food safety practices should always be followed when preparing fresh produce.

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Chamberlain Farms Is Indiana Cantaloupe Grower Linked To Salmonella Outbreak
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (AUG 23, 2012)
Chamberlain Farms of Owensville, Indiana is the cantaloupe grower linked to the Salmonella outbreak that has sickened 178 people in 21 states,  the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced. So far, 62 people have been hospitalized and two have died from Salmonella Typhimurium infections.
State and federal investigators who are working together on the investigation of the outbreak, say that cantaloupe from the farm is a likely source of the outbreak but there may be others. Chamberlain has issued a recall of cantaloupes that were initially shipped to Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin and were then redistributed. Illnesses in the each of the 21 states are as follows: Alabama (13), Arkansas (3), California (2), Georgia (3), Illinois (21), Indiana (18), Iowa (7), Kentucky (56), Massachusetts (2), Michigan (6), Minnesota (4), Mississippi (5), Missouri (12), New Jersey (2), North Carolina (3), Ohio (4), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (3), Tennessee (6), Texas (2), and Wisconsin (4).
Many grocery stores including, Krogers, Marsh, Meijer, Schnucks and Wal-mart (Walmart) have removed cantaloupe from their shelves. In Mississippi, one of the people who became ill reported purchasing a whole cantaloupe from Walmart.
Symptoms of a Salmonella infection, called salmonellosis,  include fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps which usually develop 12 to 72 hours after ingestion of the bacteria and last up to seven days. Sometimes, the diarrhea becomes so severe patients need to be hospitalized. And, should the infection spread from the intestines to the blood stream, it can be fatal if it isn’t treated promptly with antibiotics. Health officials advise anyone who has eaten the cantaloupe and develops these symptoms to see a health care provider.

Minnesota Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Hoffman Meat Market Turkey Jerky
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By Linda Larsen (AUG 23, 2012)
The Minnesota Department of Health is warning consumers to not eat whole-muscle turkey jerky made by Hoffman Town & Country Meat Market in Detroit Lakes because it has been linked to a cluster of four cases of Salmonella. All four patients ate turkey jerky during the week before they became ill, from August 2 through August 7, 2012.
One patient lives in the Twin Cities metro area; the other three live in Greater Minnesota. One person was hospitalized. All have since recovered.
Hoffman Town & Country Meat Market has issued a recall of all whole-muscle turkey jerky product sold on or before August 21, 2012. The product was wrapped in white butcher paper. If you have purchased this product, do not eat it, but return it to the store for a full refund.
For questions and more information, contact the company at 218-847-7207. Salmonellosis, the illness casued by the Salmonella bacteria, can cause diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain. If you think you have contracted Salmonella after eating the recalled product, call the Minnesota Department of Health at 1-877-FOOL-ILL (1-877-366-3455).

Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Linked to Cantaloupe Grows
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By Linda Larsen (AUG 21, 2012)
The multistate outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium linked to cantaloupes has grown, according to the CDC. Now 178 people are sick with the outbreak strain. Sixty-two people have been hospitalized and two people in Kentucky have died. Chamberlain Farms Produce of Owensville Indiana has been named as being “one source” of the cantaloupes, according to the FDA. That farm has recalled their melons for the 2012 growing season.
The case count is as follows: Alabama (13), Arkansas (3), California (2), Georgia (3), Illinois (21), Indiana (18), Iowa (7), Kentucky (56), Massachusetts (2), Michigan (6), Minnesota (4), Mississippi (5), Missouri (12), New Jersey (2), North Carolina (3), Ohio (4), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (3), Tennessee (6), Texas (2), and Wisconsin (4). The CDC says that the product was initially shipped to Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin, although distributors may have sold the melons to other states. We don’t know if another farm will be implicated in this outbreak.
If you or anyone you know recently purchased Chamberlain Farms cantaloupes, discard them. Retailers and food service operators should not sell or serve Chamberlain Farms cantaloupes.
Public health officials have interviewed 121 patients. Illness onset dates range from July 7, 2012 to August 9, 2012. The age range is from less than 1 year to 100 years, with a median age of 48 years. Fifty-nine percent of patients are female. Of those 121 patients, 62, or 51%, have been hospitalized. That means this Salmonella strain is quite virulent.
Fred Pritzker, national food safety lawyer said, “anyone who ate cantaloupe and is experiencing the symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning should see their healthcare provider immediately. The long term complications of this illness can be severe.”

Cholera in Sierra Leone
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By Carla Gillespie (AUG 22, 2012)
Since the beginning of the year, Sierra Leone has recorded 11 653 cases of cholera, with 216 deaths (Case Fatality Rate of 1.9%). The rate of new cases has accelerated rapidly since the beginning of August: since then, 5 706 cases have been recorded, and two new districts, Bonthe and Kono, have been affected by the epidemic. Ten of the country’s 13 districts are now registering cases and this spread emphasizes the need to rapidly scale up the response.
The two most heavily affected districts are Western Area and Tonkolili.
The President of Sierra Leone has declared the escalating cholera epidemic a “humanitarian crisis”. Consequently, a multi-sectoral approach to the response has been adopted involving the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS), as well as other line ministries such as finance, information and communication, and local government, together with partners and stakeholders. A National Emergency Task force has been established with sub-committees dealing with surveillance, case management, water and sanitation, logistics and social mobilization. The WHO Country Office (WCO) in Sierra Leone is chairing a weekly meeting of partners and stakeholders to better coordinate harmonize and strategize support.
The MOHS, in partnership with Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), UNICEF, WHO, and other partners, is implementing the following prevention and control activities: epidemiological investigation, surveillance, case management at established cholera treatment centres, water and sanitation control measures, social mobilization and community education.
WHO is supporting Sierra Leone in the areas of epidemiology, social mobilization and surveillance. WHO has deployed two epidemiologists, and three cholera experts from Zimbabwe to support coordination, public information, social mobilization, case management and infection control.
WHO does not recommend that any travel or trade restrictions be applied to Sierra Leone.

Salmonella Outbreak Sickens 12 In Missouri
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By Carla Gillespie (AUG 21, 2012)
At least 12 people in Missouri are now part of the cantaloupe Salmonella outbreak that has killed two people, sickened more than 140 others in 21 states and hospitalized 32, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). The number of confirmed cases in Missouri has increased by three since the outbreak was announced on Friday.
As Food Poisoning Bulletin reported today, this outbreak is the third to be linked to cantaloupe in the last 19 months. Last year, the cantaloupe Listeria outbreak linked to Jensen Farms in Holly, Colo., sickened at least 146 people and more than 30 people died. “We need appropriate control measures and the industry hasn’t delivered,’’ national food safety lawyer Fred Pritzker said in a press release today. “How many more people have to die before we address the hazard?’’
The cantaloupes associated with this outbreak were  grown in southwestern Indiana. Public health officials are advising consumers to check the origin of cantaloupes before they make a purchase and not to purchase or eat cantaloupe from southwestern Indiana. Retailers including Krogers, Marsh, Meijer, Schnucks and Wal-mart (Walmart) have all removed cantaloupe from store shelves. But an official retail distribution list has not yet been released by public health authorities.
In their initial report of the outbreak on Friday, federal authorities said two people had been killed, 31 had been hospitalized and a total of 141 people in 20 states had been sickened with by-state totals as follows: Alabama (7), Arkansas (3), California (2), Georgia (1), Illinois (17), Indiana (13), Iowa (7), Kentucky (50), Michigan (6), Minnesota (3), Missouri (9), Mississippi (2), New Jersey (1), North Carolina (3), Ohio (3), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (3), Tennessee (6), Texas (1), and Wisconsin (2). SInce then, three cases have been added in Missouri and one case was reported in a new state, West Virginia. That case patient was hospitalized for six days.

Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo – update
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By WHO(AUG 21, 2012)
As of 20 August 2012, a total of 15 (13 probable and 2 confirmed) cases with 10 deaths have been reported in Province Orientale in Eastern DRC. The reported cases and deaths have occurred in 3 health zones as follows: 12 cases and 8 deaths in Isiro, including three (3) health care workers who have died; 2 cases and 1 death in Pawa; and 1 fatal case in Dungu.
The Congolese Ministry of Health has convened a National Task Force and is working with several partners including WHO, UNICEF, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) Suisse, MSF Belgique and the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Similar Task Forces have been established at provincial and district levels to oversee and guide the response.
A joint MoH, WHO and MSF emergency response team is in the field to conduct a detailed epidemiological investigation and support case management. Control activities that are being carried out include active case finding and contact tracing, enhanced surveillance, case management, public information and social mobilization, and reinforcing infection control practices.
WHO is supporting the Ministry of Health in the areas of coordination, surveillance, field epidemiology, laboratory, case management, outbreak logistics, public information and social mobilization. An additional team of epidemiologists, a logistician, an anthropologist and social mobilization officers is being mobilized from the DRC, Republic of Congo, the WHO AFRO regional rapid response team, WHO Inter-Country Support team (IST) based in Gabon, and WHO HQ, for possible deployment in the field.
WHO does not recommend that any travel or trade restrictions be applied to Democratic Republic of Congo.

Live chick Salmo outbreak, Congolese Ebola, malaria vaccine research, early Tamiflu treatment
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By CIDRAP (AUG 21, 2012)
Salmonella outbreak from live chicks sickens 20 more in 10 states
Twenty more people have been sickened in a Salmonella outbreak linked to live chicks from an Ohio mail-order hatchery, raising the total to 163, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in an update yesterday. The outbreak, originally announced by the CDC in late May and one of three ongoing Salmonella outbreaks involving live chicks and other poultry, involves three strains: Infantis, Newport, and Lille. In its update, the CDC said the new cases are from 10 states: Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, and West Virginia. The latest illness onset was Jul 31. A second death has been reported in the outbreak—an individual from Maryland, raising the total to two. However, the CDC said it's not clear if the Salmonella infections contributed to the deaths. The outbreak has been linked to exposure to live chicks and ducks from Mt. Health Hatchery in Ohio, a mail-order firm that was linked to a 2011 outbreak of Salmonella Altona and Salmonella Johannesburg, according to the CDC. It added that the Ohio Department of Agriculture inspected the hatchery in May and made recommendations for improvements. Federal officials are also following up on two other Salmonella outbreaks linked to live mail-order poultry, a Salmonella Montevideo outbreak linked to a Missouri hatchery that has so far sickened 76 people and one involving Salmonella Hadar liked to an Idaho hatchery that has sickened 37.
Aug 20 CDC outbreak update
Ebola cases in Congo rise in number
A total of 15 cases (13 probable and 2 confirmed), 10 of them fatal, of Ebola have been reported from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as of Aug 20, according to an update today from the World Health Organization (WHO). This represents an increase of 5 cases with 4 deaths since DRC's original report to WHO on Aug 17. The current case count is distributed as follows: 12 cases with 8 deaths in Isiro, including 3 fatal cases in healthcare workers; 2 cases with 1 death in Pawa; and 1 fatal case in Dungu. A national task force has been formed by the Congolese Ministry of Health (MoH) with international partners including WHO, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); local task forces have been convened, as well. An emergency response team from MoH, WHO, and MSF is in the field carrying out epidemiologic investigation, supporting case management, and overseeing control activities. The strain causing the DRC cases differs from that causing the recent outbreak in neighboring Uganda, according to a CNN story today citing WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl.
Aug 21 WHO update
Aug 21 CNN story
New partnership should aid development of malaria vaccine
The PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) yesterday announced a collaboration with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and its laboratory partner Imperial College London that is expected to help malaria vaccine researchers measure human cellular immune responses as it moves candidate vaccines into clinical trials. A lack of uniform validated techniques and processes across laboratories to evaluate disease-fighting T-cell immunity elicited in humans by vaccines has been a roadblock to development of an effective malaria vaccine. The collaboration with IAVI, which has worked through some of the same challenges in AIDS vaccine research, should speed malaria vaccine development. Specifically, IAVI and London Imperial will provide two types of assays to MVI that can detect T-cells after vaccination—the interferon-gamma ELISpot assay and a multicolor flow cytometry assay. PATH (Program for Appropriate Technology in Health) is an international nonprofit organization formed in the 1970s to bring private-sector technologies to help solve global health needs; MVI was initially funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Aug 20 press release
Study confirms early oseltamivir benefits for H5N1
A study of patients who received oseltamivir for H5N1 avian influenza confirmed that the drug is especially effective if given early, before respiratory failure occurs. The study, published yesterday in an early online edition of the Journal of Infectious Diseases, comprised 215 patients from 10 countries who were part of a registry of H5N1 patients . The researchers looked at a host of factors that influenced oseltamivir effectiveness, such as demographics, virology, and clinical issues. They found that young children had lower fatality rates than older patients. For the overall group, the case-fatality rate (CFR) was 18.2% when patients received oseltamivir within 2 days of symptom onset, compared with 62.8% in those treated later. The highest CFRs were seen in patients from Indonesia, where clade 2.1 was circulating. Adjunctive antibiotic treatment did not impact survival, and corticosteroid treatment may have been associated with increased fatality rates. The authors wrote that their findings support the need for better access to oseltamivir and the importance of starting empiric treatment early when H5N1 infections are suspected. They urged that the findings be interpreted with caution, especially since virus clades are linked to countries, so outcomes could be affected by differences in access to or delivery of healthcare services. New therapeutic approaches are needed for patients who aren't treated until late in the course of their H5N1 infection, the group added.
Aug 20 J Infect Dis abstract

E. coli Outbreak in Livingston County, New York
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By Linda Larsen (AUG 20, 2012)
The Livingston County Department of Health in New York state is investigating an outbreak of E. coli infections that has sickened seven people in the month of August. Four people were hospitalized because of their illness. Two of the patients have been discharged. No deaths are reported in this outbreak.
There is no word on the cause of the outbreak. Public health officials are interviewing patients, and stool samples are being examined at the state Department of Health lab. The county has published a fact sheet on E. coli to help prevent further spread of the bacteria. The Health Department is asking the public to be aware of the signs and symptoms of E. coli, and to visit their health care provider if they experience those symptoms. The symptoms usually appear from one to nine days after exposure.
To prevent the spread of this bacteria, which can spread through person-to-person contact, wash your hands with soap and water after using the toilet or changing diapers. Cook ground beef to 160 degrees F. Drink only pasteurized milk, juice, or cider and wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
The illness onset dates range from August 6, 2012 to August 19, 2012. The patient age range is from 22 to 67. The symptoms of E. coli include diarrhea, which is often bloody, nausea, cramps, and vomiting. If you or anyone you know is experiencing these symptoms, please call the LCDH at 585-243-7299.

Food-poisoning in Kottayam school: 60 hospitalized
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By Staff reporter, The Hindu (AUG 20, 2012)
The Government Model Residential School, Peerumade, was closed on Monday after over 60 students were admitted to various hospitals since Sunday, due to alleged food poisoning.
The condition of none of the students was serious, reports reaching here said. The authorities at the Peerumade taluk hospital said that students started to arrive at the hospital with complaints of vomiting, head ache and fever symptoms by evening on Sunday. When the number of casualties increased by Monday, the hospital authorities referred those having severe symptoms to the Kottayam Medical College Hospital. 14 students were admitted there, 29 at the Institute of Child Health and Hospital for Children, Kottayam, 22 at the observation unit of the Taluk hospital, Kanjirappally and two at the Taluk hospital, Peerumade. Of them, 32 are male.
The Tamil medium residential school accommodates students from standard V to Plus-I after it was upgraded this academic year. Students of Scheduled Caste and general category from Vandiperiyar, Kumily and Munnar are admitted at the school.
A team of physicians led by District Medical Officer P.J.Aloxious checked all the students at the school after opening a temporary medical unit at the school office. The preliminary inquiry shows that students showed symptoms of vomiting and giddiness after having evening food on Sunday at the hostel.
An official of the medical team which visited the school said that stale food served could have been the cause and added that food samples had been collected and sent for analytical tests at the Regional Analytical Laboratory, Kakkanad. He said that water samples were also collected in addition to the samples of milk served to the students.
District Collector T.Bhaskaran who visited the hostel and the hospitals told The Hindu that an inquiry has been ordered and if anyone was found guilty, action will be taken. He said that health officials have been directed to visit government residential schools in the district on a routine basis and ensure that quality food is served to the students in other hostels also.
He said that a meeting of the peoples representatives, parents and teachers will be convened at the school on August 22 to address the problems being faced by it. The school has been closed till September 3.
By noon, parents of the students started reaching the school to accompany their wards home. About 250 students are accommodated at various classes in the school which cater exclusively for Tamil medium students.
Meanwhile activists of Youth Congress, led by its district secretary Nikson George, held a protest march to the school premises demanding action against the guilty and ensuring quality food,basic facilities in government residential schools.