10/22,2012
ISSUE:518

                                                    

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



Almost 50 have contracted E.coli
Source : http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/local/almost-50-have-contracted-e-coli-1-4394306
By News Letter,UK (Oct 22, 2012)
The number of people confirmed as having contracted E.coli in an outbreak linked to a north Belfast restaurant has almost reached 50.
The Public Health Agency have said there were 49 confirmed cases in the food poisoning crisis, with 181 further probable incidences.
The outbreak, which has been linked to Flicks restaurant in the Cityside Mall complex, has been described as the worst ever seen in Northern Ireland.
Since the start of October, 15 people have been treated in hospital with E.coli however the majority have since been discharged.
Management at the restaurant have voluntarily closed the premises and are co-operating with an investigation by the PHA and environmental health officers
from Belfast City Council.
Dr Carolyn Harper, Director of Public Health, PHA, said: “The PHA has activated a full public health response to this outbreak and the situation is being managed
and monitored very closely.”
The PHA has said the strain of E.coli found this month was not the same as a strain linked to four cases connected to Flicks in August.

Carcinogen benzene found in all soft drinks
Source : http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/Safety/chemical/carcinogen_benzene_found_in_all_soft_drinks_1021120103.html
By David Liu, PHD (Oct 21, 2012)
Benzene is a carcinogen and it can cause leukemia among other things.  A recent study published in Ig Sanita Pubbl. has found all soft drinks contained
trace levels of this toxic chemical.
The presence of benzene in soft drinks is no news.  But a study confirms that not all beverage producers have taken any measure to reduce the contaminant in
soft drinks and all soft drinks tested contained more or less trace amounts of benzene.
G. Bonaccorsi at Dipartimento di Sanità Pubblica, Università degli Studi di Firenze and colleagues tested 28 soft drinks for benzoic acid, sorbic acid, ascorbic acid
(vitamin C) and benzene and found benzene in all analysed beverages with a mean concentration of 0.45 ug/L ranging from 0.15 to 2.36 ug/L.
The concentration of benzene varied widely by the preservative used and higher concentrations were found in soft drinks containing both ascorbic acid and
sodium benzoate, both of which react to release benzene.
Benzene in two soft drinks with citrus fruit, which also contained both vitamin C and sodium benzoate, exceeded the European limit for benzene in drinking water,
that is, 1 ug/L.
The authors say that "not all soft drink producers have taken steps to eliminate benzoic acid from their soft drinks and thereby reduce the risk of formation of
benzene, as recommended by the European Commission."
They also speculated "the presence of benzene in trace amounts in all beverages suggests that migration of constituents of plastic packaging materials or
air-borne contamination may be occurring."
Benzene in soft drinks is known to be produced by the reaction between ascorbic acid and sodium benzoate.  Ascorbic acid is often used as a fortifier or
antioxidant and sodium benzoate is often used as a preservative.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is aware of the presence of benzene in some soft drinks at a dose above the legal limit for drinking water, which is
5 ppb, but the Food and Drug Administration denies it, according to Ryan Bernhardt at Marian College.
In May 1993, Lalita K. Gardner and Glen D. Lawrence suggested in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that benzene is formed through a chemical
process called decarboxylation of benzoic acid when vitamin c or ascorbic acid and a transitional metal catalyst are present.

A Bit(e) of Salmonella Peanut Butter History – Lessons not learned
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/a-bite-of-salmonella-peanut-butter-history-lessons-not-learned-2/
By Drew Falkenstein (Oct 21, 2012)
In 2009 the President Obama said:
“At a bare minimum, we should be able to count on our government keeping our kids safe when they eat peanut butter,” the president said.
“That’s what Sasha eats for lunch,” Obama said, referring to his 7-year-old daughter. “Probably three times a week. I don’t want to worry about whether she’s
going to get sick as a consequence of eating her lunch.”
I wonder how he feels seeing another outbreak?
With the Salmonella Bredeney outbreak linked to Trader Joe’s Valencia Creamy Salted Peanut Butter sickening 36 (so far) an overview of where we are now and
what happened in peanut butter Salmonella outbreaks in the past might be helpful.
Last week the CDC reported that a total of 35 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bredeney have been reported from 19 states. The number
of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Arizona (1), California (5), Connecticut (3), Illinois (1), Louisiana (1), Massachusetts (3), Maryland (1), Michigan
(1), Minnesota (1), Missouri (2), Nevada (1), New Jersey (2), New York (1), North Carolina (1), Pennsylvania (2), Rhode Island (1), Texas (5), Virginia (1), and
Washington (2).
Now the New Mexico Department of Health announced that a 5-year-old girl in Roosevelt County New Mexico has been hit with Salmonella Bredeney as a result
of eating several products containing peanut butter, in a case the New Mexico Department of Health said is linked to recalled peanut butter from the Sunland, Inc.
plant in Portales, New Mexico. Officials said that the child has recovered from the illness and did not need to be hospitalized.
FDA testing has found the presence of Salmonella Bredeney in raw peanuts from the Sunland peanut processing facility. Environmental samples taken from the
building also show the presence of Salmonella Bredeney. Washington State investigators have also found Salmonella Bredeney from an opened jar of Trader
Joe’s Valencia Creamy Peanut Butter collected from a case-patient’s home.
We have seen this before.
ConAgra Peter Pan and Great Value Peanut Butter 2006/2007 – 715 Sickened
In November 2006, public health officials detected a substantial increase in reports of Salmonella Tennessee isolates. In February, 2007, a multistate,
case-control study linked the consumption of either Peter Pan or Great Value Peanut Butter brands with infection. Subsequently the same strain of Salmonella
Tennessee was isolated from unopened jars of peanut butter and from environmental samples collected from the processing plant. The product was recalled,
and new illness reports declined. Unsanitary conditions at the Sylvester, Georgia, processing plant were known about since 2004. On April 5, 2007, ConAgra
announced inadvertent moisture from a leaking roof and sprinkler system could have promoted bacteria growth in the plant. Great Value brand was sold at
WalMart stores.
Peanut Corporation of America, Peanut Butter and Peanut Butter – Containing Products 2008/2009– 716 Sickened with 9 Deaths
Beginning in November 2008, CDC (Centers for Disease Control) PulseNet staff noted a small and highly dispersed, multistate cluster of Salmonella Typhimurium
isolates. The outbreak consisted of two pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) defined clusters of illness. The first cluster displayed a unique primary enzyme
(XbaI) restriction pattern and an uncommon secondary enzyme (BlnI) pattern. The second cluster had two closely related XbaI patterns that were very similar
to the first cluster and a BlnI pattern that was indistinguishable from the first cluster. Illnesses continued to be revealed through April 2009, when the last CDC
report on the outbreak was published. Peanut butter and peanut butter containing products produced by the Peanut Corporation of America plant in Blakely,
Georgia, were implicated. King Nut brand peanut butter was sold to institutional settings. Peanut paste was sold to many food companies for use as an
ingredient. Implicated peanut products were sold widely throughout the USA, 23 countries and non-U.S. territories. Despite numerous product recalls, beginning
in January, 2009, the wide dispersion of the peanut products, the long shelf life of these products, and the multiple labeling made it impossible to assure that all
sources of these contaminated products had been totally eliminated. Peanut prices and demand for peanut-based products were little affected by this outbreak.
Hopefully, the Trader Joe’s Salmonella outbreak will be much more limited, and we may finally start learning from history instead of repeating it.

JBS Takes Over Troubled XL Foods Beef Plant
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/jbs-takes-over-troubled-xl-foods-beef-plant/
By Kathy Will (Oct 20, 2012)
XL Foods announced this week that it was giving control of the Alberta Canada plant to the world’s largest beef processing company: JBS of Brazil. Beef from
that facility, which has been closed since September 28, 2012, is linked to an E. coli 0157:H7 outbreak that has sickened at least 16 people in Canada.
If XL sells the facility to JBS, they will receive $100 million in the deal. JBS will not assume any XL Foods debt or liabilities.
The facility has recalled millions of pounds of beef products, including ground beef, roasts, steaks, jerky, and other foods since September 17, 2012. The recall
has been expanded 18 times.
The Canadian government said that the change in management “will not affect the CFIA’s assessment” of the facility. So far, the CFIA’s test results in their
investigation have been negative for E. coli, although public health officials observed violations of food safety and processing laws at the plant. The plant remains
closed and no XL beef will enter the food chain until it is confirmed safe.
Doug O’Halloran, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 401, said, “JBS is going to have to come in here and prove they can run the plant and
in order to do that, they’re going to have to reach out to the workers.”
JBS’s record is not squeaky clean. The Brazilian meat processor was delisted by the USDA on May 6, 2010, because its product had “violative levels of the
animal drug Ivermectin” in its products. In June 2009, Swift & Company, an American food processing company that is a wholly owned subsidiary of JBS S.A.,
issued a recall of 380,000 beef primal cuts that may have been contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7.

Kroger Stops Selling Sprouts
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/kroger-stops-selling-sprouts/
By Linda Larsen (Oct 19, 2012)
In the past 10 months, there have been many recalls of raw sprouts for bacterial contamination and one large outbreak linked to sprouts in Jimmy John’s
sandwiches. The CDC advises many consumers to avoid raw sprouts altogether or to cook them thoroughly before consuming. Now a national grocery chain,
Kroger, has decided to stop selling sprouts.
Payton Pruett, Kroger’s vice president of food safety, said in a statement, “after a thorough, science-based review, we have decided to voluntarily discontinue
selling fresh sprouts. Testing and sanitizing by the growers and safe food handling by the consumer are the critical steps to protect against foodborne illness.
Sprouts represent a unique challenge because pathogens may reside inside of seeds where they cannot be reached by the currently available processing
interventions.”
Raw sprouts are a consistent source of bacterial pathogens. Barfblog has stated that there have been at least 55 sprout-associated outbreaks worldwide,
sickening 15,233 people since 1998. While most people regard raw sprouts as a health food, they are uniquely susceptible to contamination. The way they are
grown, in a warm, moist environment, is very conducive to bacterial growth. Dr. Raj Mody, infectious disease epidemiologist at the CDC, states that the sprouted
seed is a perfect vehicle for pathogens, it’s difficult to grow safe sprouts, and sprouts have caused many foodborne illness outbreaks.
The store and its subsidiaries will stop selling sprouts on October 22, 2012. The stores that are part of the Kroger chain include City Market, Dillons, Jay C,
Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, King Soopers, QUC, Ralphs, and Smith’s.

Smucker's Uncrustables sold to schools recalled
Source : http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/18/14542685-smuckers-uncrustables-sold-to-schools-recalled?lite#__utma=238145375.1260771225.13402
39740.1350521595.1350625488.55&__utmb=238145375.1.10.1350625488&__utmc=238145375&__utmx
=-&__utmz=238145375.1340585870.3.2.utmcsr=t.co|utmccn=(referral)|utmcmd=referral|utmcct=/MDZzzqxm&__utmv=238145375.|8=Earned%20By=msnbc%7
Chealth%7Cfood%20safety=1^12=Landing%20Content=Mixed=1^13=Landing%20Hostname=www.msnbc.msn.com=1^30=Visit%20Type%20to%20Content=E
arned%20to%20Mixed=1&__utmk=93072990
By Steve Karnowski (Oct 19, 2012)
Officials have told school lunch programs across the country to check to see whether they have any Smucker's Uncrustables sandwiches that might contain
peanut butter made by a New Mexico company that is being recalled because of potential salmonella contamination.
The J.M. Smucker Co. used peanut butter that was produced by Sunland Inc. and supplied by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in "limited production runs"
of 72-count bulk packs of the sandwiches that went to schools under the National School Lunch Program, Smucker's spokeswoman Maribeth Badertscher said
in an email Thursday.
Related post: Peanut plant closed after feds find more salmonella
Uncrustables are pre-made peanut butter and jelly, pocket-like, circular sandwiches.
The Orrville, Ohio-based company tests all the incoming USDA-supplied peanut butter it gets, and tests finished products before distributing them, and found no
problems, she said.
But out of "an abundance of caution," and working with federal agencies, she said, Smucker's recently notified school customers that they should check to see
if they still have any of the crustless frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from the recalled lots, which all have either expired or will expire soon.
They should not be served to students, the company said.
No other Smucker's products contain peanut butter from Sunland or other outside suppliers, Badertscher said. She said she did not immediately know how many
sandwiches were involved.
Related post: Peanut butter plant tests positive for salmonella; recall widens
Sunland shut down its plant in Portales, N.M., last month and recalled more than 200 products made under a variety of brand names after salmonella was found
in Trader Joe's Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter. Thirty-five illnesses in 19 states have been linked to Sunland, but no illnesses have been linked to the
Uncrustable sandwiches.
"When USDA learned of the FDA recall of certain products manufactured by Sunland, Inc., we coordinated with state agencies to immediately notify individual
school districts and ensure that recalled products were identified and destroyed," USDA spokeswoman Alyn Kiel said in an email.

Food Safety Outbreaks Don't Sway Consumer Concern
Source : http://foodservice.csnews.com/top-story-food_safety_outbreaks_don_t_sway_consumer_concern-1331.html
By Stagnito Media (Oct 18, 2012)
Despite frequent food safety outbreaks and recalls, concern about the safety of the U.S. food supply remains relatively consistent, with temporary spikes when news of an outbreak occurs, according to market research firm The NPD Group.
NPD's Food Safety Monitor, which tracks consumer awareness and concern related to food safety issues, revealed that for the period of January through August, 60 percent of U.S. consumers, on average, were somewhat or slightly concerned about the safety of the U.S. food supply, while 25 percent were extremely or very concerned, and 15 percent were not concerned at all.
This year's food safety concern levels are on par with previous years, NPD's research found.
Conducted on a bi-weekly basis, the Food Safety Monitor shows percentage fluctuations in terms of consumers who are or are not concerned about the safety of the U.S. food supply, based upon whether or not there is a food safety issue in the news at that time. The annual averages remain relatively consistent.
"The impact of a food recall on consumer attitudes and perceptions often depends on the amount of news coverage received, or the severity of the situation in terms of numbers sickened or dead as a result," said Darren Seifer, food and beverage industry analyst for NPD. "Recalls, unfortunately, have become more commonplace, but consumers are creatures of habit. It takes a lot for us to change what we eat."
According to The NPD Group, there are spikes in consumer concern followed by a leveling off with specific food safety outbreaks. For example, in July and August, there were outbreaks and product recalls involving listeria contamination. Awareness of and concern about listeria peaked during the time that the outbreaks were widely reported and then leveled off when the news subsided.
NPD's Food Safety Monitor surveys approximately 500 U.S. adults and tracks consumer awareness and concern about food safety issues, including salmonella, E. coli, mad cow disease, foot and mouth disease, acrylamide, trans fats, mercury in fish, avian bird flu and listeria.

E. coli Petting Zoo Deja Vu
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/e-coli-petting-zoo-deja-vu/
By Bill Marler (Oct 18, 2012)
The Division of Public Health of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services in collaboration with Local Health Departments is investigating an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infection in 81 people who attended the Cleveland County Fair.
Preliminary findings suggest animal exposure may be the source of this outbreak.
52 children* and 29 adults are known to be/have been affected by this outbreak.
Eleven individuals* have been or are currently hospitalized.
The county case counts are as follows: Cleveland County – 48, ?Gaston County – 11,*? Lincoln County – 13,
Catawba County – 1, Mecklenburg – 1, Union County – 2, Rutherford – 2, York County, South Carolina – 2, ?Cherokee County, South Carolina – 1.
*This number includes one death related to the outbreak
For more information on past E. coli outbreaks, See www.fair-safety.com.

Further E.coli cases revealed
Source : http://www.u.tv/News/Further-Ecoli-cases-revealed/e352c777-3dc9-4c8d-baef-d544fbe26d46
By UTV Media (Oct 17, 2012)
Health experts investigating the worst ever E.coli outbreak in Northern Ireland say 25 confirmed cases and 154 suspected cases of food poisoning are now being linked to a north Belfast restaurant.
Eight people have been hospitalised after contracting the bacteria, but the Public Health Agency (PHA) said most have now gone home.
An investigation is underway at Flicks in Cityside Mall to determine the cause of the outbreak.
Dr Michael Devine, Consultant in Health Protection, PHA, said: "The PHA has activated a full public health response to this outbreak, and the situation is being managed and monitored very closely."
E. coli, which is found in the human gut and in faeces, can survive in the environment. It can cause bloody diarrhoea, tummy cramps and vomiting.
"It is vital that everyone follows some simple rules to prevent the spread of E coli - not just those with symptoms, but everyone should wash their hands after using the toilet and before eating or preparing food," added Dr Devine.
"Raw and cooked food should be kept completely separate, raw meat should be cooked through and vegetables and fruit should be washed thoroughly before eating."
The restaurant has been voluntarily closed and the management are cooperating with the investigation.
Anyone with symptoms of E coli poisoning should contact their GP for medical advice.
Four other cases of E coli in August, also linked to Flicks, prompted a previous investigation by the PHA and Council Environmental Health Officers.
"All tests on the restaurant at that time were negative," said a PHA spokesperson.
"In addition, further environmental health inspections were conducted, all of which were satisfactory, and enhanced surveillance to monitor for cases was also put in place. The current cases came to light through that enhanced monitoring.
"As part of the investigation into the current outbreak, any potential link with the previous cases will be examined, although it is too early to comment further on this at such an early stage."

Cleveland County Fair E. coli Outbreak – 61 sickened with 11 hospitalized and 1 dead
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/cleveland-county-fair-e-coli-outbreak-61-sickened-with-11-hospitalized-and-1-dead/
By Bill Marler  (Oct 17, 2012)
According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services the outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections now includes 61 (38 children and 23 adults) who attended the Cleveland County Fair.
One child has died as a result of the infection; eleven individuals have been or are currently hospitalized.
Illnesses were reported in residents of Cleveland County (33), Gaston County (11, including the fatality), Lincoln County (10), Catawba County (1), Mecklenburg County (1) and Union County (2) in North Carolina, as well as York County (2) and Cherokee County (1) in South Carolina.

Campylobacter Found in Black Hills Raw Milk
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/campylobacter-found-in-black-hills-raw-milk/
By Linda Larsen (Oct 17, 2012)
The South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) reports they found Campylobacter bacteria in a sample of raw milk from Black Hills Milk in Belle Fourche, South Dakota. Raw milk is unpasteurized milk, and has been linked to five food poisoning outbreaks this year, including one linked to Organic Pastures Dairy in California.
SDDA advises consumers that raw milk purchased from that farm may contain Campylobacter, a bacteria that can cause serious illness and infection. Symptoms of a Campylobacter infection include diarrhea that can be bloody, nausea, lethargy, and vomiting, and can lead to complications such as Guillain-Barré Syndrome that can cause paralysis.
The milk was sold at a retail outlet in Spearfish, Black Hills Farmers Market at Founder’s Park in Rapid City, and other locations in the Black Hills. If you purchased this milk, discard it or return it to the place of purchase. Pasteurized milk that is properly handled, bottled, sealed, and refrigerated, is very unlikely to contain disease-causing bacteria. Raw milk sales in South Dakota are legal with a permit.

Vancouver Salmonella: “On the Border” Outbreak up to 94 Victims
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/vancouver-salmonella-on-the-border-outbreak-up-to-94-victims/
By Drew Falkenstein (Oct 16, 2012)
At least 94 people are now suspected to have been sickened with Salmonella at an On the Border in Vancouver, Wash. since September 20, Clark County Public Health told Food Safety News Tuesday.  That number includes 29 laboratory-confirmed cases and 65 probable. Probable cases are people with known exposure and corresponding symptoms, but no laboratory tests to confirm their infection.
At least one of the patients is a resident of Oregon, while Clark County Health Officer Dr. Alan Melnick said he believed he heard that another patient was from California.
The bacteria strain at the center of the outbreak, Salmonella Virchow, is a relatively rare strain in the U.S. The Washington State Department of Health has posted these illnesses on PulseNet, a national epidemiology network, in an effort to track other potential Salmonella Virchow outbreaks around the country.
The restaurant was allowed to reopen this week after a temporary closure. Health officials have stated that it may not be possible to determine the source of the outbreak.
One Salmonella lawsuit was filed today on behalf of a Happy Valley, Oregon couple.  Marler Clark is representing numerous other individuals sickened in the outbreak, and intends to file two additional lawsuits this week.

Salmonella news: lawsuits in “On the Border” Salmonella outbreak; and peanut rolling recall continues
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/salmonella-news-lawsuits-in-on-the-border-salmonella-outbreak-and-peanut-rolling-recall-continues/
By  Drew Falkenstein (Oct 16, 2012)
Dateline Vancouver Washington.  A lawsuit will be filed this morning against On the Border restaurant in East Vancouver, which is the site of a Salmonella Virchow outbreak that has sickened at least 88 people, including more than two dozen whose illnesses were confirmed by stool tests.  Clark County health officials have not identified the “source,” although with 5 foodhandlers who tested positive at the restaurant, it is almost certain that bacteria proliferated throughout the restaurant environment by restaurant employees.
Marler Clark represents approximately 10 people who were sickened at the restaurant, and expects to file additional lawsuits in the On the Border Salmonella outbreak in coming days.
In other Salmonella news, the rolling recall related to contaminated peanut butter products produced by New Mexico company called Sunland, Inc., is growing.  Mondel?z Global LLC announced today a voluntary recall in the United States of the Green & Black’s Organic Peanut & Sea Salt Milk Chocolate Bar. This product contains peanuts supplied by Sunland, Inc., which expanded its nationwide recall on October 12, 2012.
On October 12, Sunland, Inc. announced that it is extending its ongoing voluntary recall to include raw and roasted shelled and in-shell peanuts processed in its Peanut Processing Plant because the products have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.  This recall caused a new round of companies to recall products in the growing rolling recall.

Job openings
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10/17. Food Safety Auditor (SQF) – Emeryville, CA
10/17. Regional Corporate Food Safety Spec – New York, NY
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10/16. Quality/Food Safety Intern – Lakeville, MN

September Salmonella Outbreak in Chicago Schools Linked to OrganicLife
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/september-salmonella-outbreak-in-chicago-schools-linked-to-organiclife/
By Linda Larsen (Oct 21, 2012)
According to the Chicago Tribune, there was a Salmonella outbreak at five schools in Chicago in September. The outbreak appears to be over and the children sickened, who range in age from 7 to 14, have recovered. One child was hospitalized. One of the schools is in Lake County; the other four schools were in northern Cook County. The outbreak began on September 20, 2012.
The public was not notified, although parents of children who attended those schools were told about the illnesses.  There is no information about this Salmonella outbreak on either the Cook County Department of Public Health or the Lake County Department of Public Health web sites. The specific strain of Salmonella was not identified.
Public health officials have traced the source of the bacteria to OrganicLife, a vendor for the schools. OrganicLife sent letters to the schools they supply, telling them about the problem and warning them of the symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning. The company is now only allowed to provide hot or prepackaged foods. OrganicLife’s kitchens will be inspected and all food workers tested for Salmonella. They will not be allowed to work until they have two negative Salmonella tests.
The symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning include vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fever, chills, headache, and muscle pains. Complications of this infection can be severe, including Reiter’s syndrome or reactive arthritis, dehydration, and colitis.

As Cleveland County Shows, E.coli Outbreaks At Fairs Hit Children Hardest
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/as-cleveland-county-shows-e-coli-outbreaks-at-fairs-hit-children-hardest/
By Carla Gillespie (Oct 19, 2012)
The E. coli outbreak linked to the Cleveland County Fair in North Carolina is the latest example of how children are hit hardest when foodborne illness strikes fairgoers. Of the 106 people included in this outbreak, 64 are children, 12 of whom have been hospitalized and one of whom has died, according to the latest update from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. Animal exposure has been identified as a a possible source of the outbreak, which has been the case in a number of instances where foodborne illness outbreaks have been linked to fairs and petting zoos.
“These events are a well recognized source of E. coli  poisoning and have been implicated in several outbreaks in recent years,” said Fred Pritzker, food safety attorney and publisher of Food Poisoning Bulletin. “Despite the frequency and severity of these outbreaks, not enough is being done to prevent these severe injuries to children, who are particularly vulnerable to E. coli poisoning and the horrible condition that frequently develops from it, hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).”
HUS, a condition that develops in some cases of E. coli poisoning in children, leads to kidney failure and can cause organ damage, coma, stroke and death. The condition must be treated in a hospital setting. HUS symptoms include vomiting, bloody diarrhea, fever and lethargy.
E. coli and HUS are often part of outbreaks linked to fairs. Some recent examples include: the Fond du Lac County Fair, Wisconsin , 2011 where an 18-month old was hospitalized with an E. coli infection after attending the fair; the Hendricks County Fair, Indiana, 2011, where a five-year-old girl died of an E. coli infection after attending the fair, the North Carolina State Fair 2011, where 27 people got sick and 11 were hospitalized with HUS,  the Northwestern Michigan Fair, 2010 where three children who attended the fair contracted E. coli poisoning and the Rush County Fair, Indiana, 2010 where a four-year-old girl was hospitalized with HUS after attending the fair.
Health officials urge those who became ill after attending the Cleveland County Fair to seek medical attention and for those caring for ill family members to practice good hygiene to prevent person-to-person transmission.

XL Foods Beef E. coli Outbreak in Canada Grows to 16 Cases
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/xl-foods-beef-e-coli-outbreak-in-canada-grows-to-16-cases/
By Linda Larsen (Oct 19, 2012)
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Public Health Agency of Canada have updated the E. coli 0157:H7 outbreak linked to beef from XL Foods. As of October 19, 2012, sixteen people are now ill with the outbreak strain of the bacteria. That’s an increase of one case since the last update.
The case count is as follows by province/territory: Alberta (7), Newfoundland and Labrador (1), Quebec (5), and British Columbia (3, one a visitor to Canada). You can find a complete list of the products recalled at the CFIA web site. Dozens of recalls have been issued over the past month in response to the original recall.
Look over the list of recalled items carefully. If you have purchased any and have any in your home, discard them immediately. Wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap after handling the items. If you have experienced the symptoms of an E. coli infection, including severe stomach cramps, watery and bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and fever, see your doctor immediately.
About 5 to 10% of those who contract an E. coli 0157:H7 infection develop hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, which can lead to kidney failure and death. The very young, the elderly, pregnant women, those with chronic illnesses, and those with compromised immune systems are more likely to develop this dangerous complication.

Vancouver WA On the Border Salmonella Virchow Outbreak Continues to Grow
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/vancouver-wa-on-the-border-salmonella-virchow-outbreak-continues-to-grow/
By Kathy Will (Oct 19, 2012)
The outbreak of Salmonella Virchow linked to the On the Border Mexican restaurant in Vancouver Washington grew to include 113 patients today. Eight people have been hospitalized; seven have been released, according to the Clark County Heath Department.
The restaurant was closed on October 9, 2012 after reports of illness among customers. It was reopened on October 15, 2012 after a thorough cleaning and sanitizing. All employees were tested for Salmonella. Public health officials have not been able to identify the source of the outbreak, despite days of investigation.
Attorney Fred Pritzker, who has won lawsuits for clients who have been sickened in foodborne illness outbreaks, said, “going out to eat should not result in an illness or hospitalization. Restaurant food poisoning outbreaks can be prevented.” This strain of Salmonella is quite rare; the only illnesses caused by Salmonella Virchow in the United States are linked to the On the Border restaurant outbreak.
The symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, chills, headache, muscle pains, and blood in the stool. Complications of this infection can be serious, including dehydration, bacteremia, colitis, and reactive arthritis. Long term follow-up care is usually necessary after salmonellosis. If you ate at this restaurant and experienced these symptoms, see your healthcare provider immediately.

New Mexico DoH Updates Salmonella Bredeney Peanut Butter Outbreak; 36 Ill
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/new-mexico-doh-updates-salmonella-bredeney-peanut-butter-outbreak-36-ill/
By Linda Larsen (Oct 19, 2012)
The New Mexico Department of Health and the CDC have confirmed that a 5-year-old girl in Roosevelt County, New Mexico has contracted the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bredeney linked to Sunland peanut products. The little girl ate many different products containing peanut butter.
Food Poisoning Bulletin broke the story of the Smuckers Uncrustables recall for possible Salmonella contamination and the story that those sandwiches were used in the national school lunch program. Some of those products were made with recalled Sunland peanuts. Derivative recalls have been announced almost every day since the outbreak began. You can see all of the recalled products, along with consumer advice, at the FDA web site.
Attorney Elliot Olsen, who has won many lawsuits against corporations for this type of outbreak, said, “it is inexcusable that anyone would get sick from eating a peanut butter sandwich. The outbreak strain of Salmonella Bredeney was found in environmental samples taken from the Sunland plant and in Sunland products. Anyone who has been sickened in this outbreak deserves to have their medical bills paid.”
Sunland has ceased production and distribution of all of its products from its nut butter and peanut processing facility and has recalled many products, including raw and roasted in-shell and shelled peanuts.  So far, 36 people have been infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bredeney in 20 states. Most of the patients are children under the age of 10.
Look carefully at the long list of recalled products. If you have purchased any, do not consume them. Discard them or return to the place of purchase for a refund. The CDC is continuing to investigate this outbreak. Other foods manufactured by Sunland, Inc. are also under investigation.

Cleveland County Fair E. coli Outbreak Grows to 81
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/cleveland-county-fair-e-coli-outbreak-grows-to-81/
By Linda Larsen (Oct 18, 2012)
The E. coli outbreak linked to the Cleveland County Fair in North Carolina has grown to include 81 people, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. The outbreak is among people who attended the Fair, which ended on October 7, 2012.
Attorney Fred Pritzker, who is accepting cases from the current outbreak, said, “officials think this outbreak may have been caused by contamination in the Cleveland County Fair’s interactive animal exhibits.” An E. coli infection can lead to may long term health problems, including kidney ailments, hypertension, stroke, and heart disease. “It is crucial that anyone sickened in this outbreak get immediate medical care,” he added.
The case count as of 2 pm on October 18, 2012 is: Cleveland County (48), Gaston County (11, with 1 death), Lincoln County (13), Catawba County (1), Mecklenburg (1), Union County (2), Rutherford (2), York County, South Carolina (2), Cherokee County, South Carolina (1). Fifty two of the patients are children, and 29 are adults. Eleven people have been or currently are hospitalized. One toddler has died.
Since the incubation period for E. coli infections, which can be as long as 10 days, has passed, there should not be many new cases associated with the initial exposure at the Fair. But person-to-person transmission can still occur for the next few weeks.
To avoid person-to-person transmission, it’s crucial that people wash their hands, especially after using the bathroom and changing diapers, and before preparing, serving, and eating food. It’s also important that anyone who is ill stay home until 48 hours after symptoms have ended. The symptoms of an E. coli infection include diarrhea, which may be bloody, severe abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and a low grade fever. If you visited the fair and are experiencing these symptoms, see your health care provider immediately.

E. coli Cases Linked to NC Fair Rise by 20
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/10/count-of-e-coli-cases-linked-to-nc-fair-still-on-the-rise/
By Food Safety News Desk (Oct 18, 2012)
The number of E. coli O157:H7 infections linked to the Cleveland County Fair in North Carolina has jumped to 81, up from the 61 cases reported yesterday. One patient, a two-year-old boy from Gaston County, died last week as a result his illness.
At least 52 children and 29 adults are now known to be part of the outbreak connected to the county fair, which took place September 27 through October 7.
Patients can take up to 10 days to exhibit symptoms after exposure to E. coli bacteria, so the number of new cases is likely to taper off now that that window has passed.
“Now that we have passed 10/17, we do not anticipate many new cases associated with the initial exposure,” said the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services in a press release Thursday. “However, there is still the possibility of secondary cases (person to person transmission) for several weeks,” noted the agency.
Symptoms of E. coli infection include nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea (which can sometimes be bloody) and occasionally fever. Those who think they may have contracted an E. coli infection should contact their healthcare provider.
The number of cases by county is as follows.
Cleveland County – 48
Gaston County – 11
Lincoln County – 13
Catawba County – 1
Mecklenburg – 1
Union County – 2
Rutherford – 2
York County, South Carolina – 2
Cherokee County, South Carolina – 1

105 Now Ill in WA Restaurant Salmonella Outbreak
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/10/105-now-ill-in-wa-restaurant-salmonella-outbreak/
By Food Safety News Desk (Oct 18, 2012)
At least 105 people now have confirmed or suspected Salmonella infections after eating at mexican-style restaurant On the Border in Vancouver, Wash., Clark County Public Health told Food Safety News Thursday. Six have been hospitalized.
That number includes 34 laboratory-confirmed cases and 71 suspected. Suspected cases are those with known exposure and corresponding symptoms.
Nearly all of the victims are Washington residents, though a select few are from Oregon.
Salmonella Virchow, the bacteria at the center of the outbreak, is relatively rare in the U.S. The Washington State Department of Health has posted these illnesses on PulseNet, a national epidemiology network, in an effort to track other potential Salmonella Virchow outbreaks around the country.
The restaurant was allowed to reopen this week after a temporary closure. As health officials continue to investigate the source of the outbreak, they have stated that it may prove impossible to determine.

Foppen Salmonella Smoked Salmon Sickens 1,000 and Kills Three
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/foppen-salmonella-smoked-salmon-sickens-1000-and-kills-three/
By Bill Marler (Oct 18, 2012)
Three people have died and the number of those sickened by Salmonella Thompson after eating Foppen smoked salmon has risen to 950, Dutch health officials said on Thursday.
“Three elderly people have died as a result of being infected by Salmonella Thompson. In total, some 950 people have now been taken ill as a result of the salmon, which have been taken off the shelves,” said the National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) in the Netherlands.
The RIVM added that around 100 people in the United States were also infected “by the same type of Salmonella.”  The CDC has yet to confirm a link in the United States between Salmonella Thompson illnesses here and smoked salmon.
E. coli Outbreak Linked to Cleveland County NC Fair Grows to 61 Patients
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/e-coli-outbreak-linked-to-cleveland-county-nc-fair-grows-to-61-patients/
By Linda Larsen (Oct 17, 2012)
The E. coli outbreak linked to the Cleveland County Fair in North Carolina has grown to include 61 people. Eleven people have been hospitalized, and one child, a 2-year-old toddler, has died. The Division of Public Health of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services in collaboration with Local Health Departments is investigating the outbreak. The state is reporting updates on the outbreak every day.
Attorney Elliot Olsen said that this outbreak is a reminder that E. coli infections are very serious and can cause lifetime problems, including kidney failure if hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, develops. Olsen, who has won lawsuits for clients in cases like these, also said, “an E. coli infection, even a mild one, can cause hypertension, kidney problems, heart disease, and stroke. It’s crucial that anyone who attended this fair and is experiencing symptoms of an E. coli infection see their doctor immediately.”
The case count by county is: Cleveland County (33), Gaston County (11, with 1 death), Lincoln County (10), Catawba County (1), Mecklenburg (1), Union County (2), York County, South Carolina (2), Cherokee County, South Carolina (1). The symptoms of an E. coli infection can take as long as 10 days to appear. Symptoms include diarrhea which may be bloody, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and low grade fever.
The petting zoo at the fair is under investigation as a possible source of the illness. Since E. coli spreads from animals and fecal matter to humans, petting zoos have been the source of outbreaks in the past. There were nine hand-washing stations in place at the fair, more than the five that are required by state law.

Forever Cheese Listeria Outbreak Grows to 20, Lawsuit Filed against Whole Foods Market
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/forever-cheese-listeria-outbreak-grows-to-20-lawsuit-filed-against-whole-foods-market/
By Kathy Will (Oct 16, 2012)
The Listeria outbreak linked to Forever Cheese, Inc. Frescolina ricotta salata has grown to 20 CDC-confirmed illnesses. 4 adults and an unborn baby died.  The number of confirmed cases in each state is as follows: California (3), Colorado (1), District of Columbia (1), Maryland (3), Minnesota (1), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (3), New Mexico (1), New York (1), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (2), Virginia (1), and Washington (1).
The contaminated ricotta salata was distributed to retailers and restaurants. One of the retailers was Whole Foods Market, which cut and repackaged the cheese with a Whole Foods label. A lawsuit filed against Whole Foods Market and Forever Cheese on behalf of a listeriosis victim claims this repackaging by Whole Foods caused other cheeses to become contaminated with the dangerous pathogen.
Attorney Fred Pritzker, a national food safety lawyer, filed the lawsuit on behalf of a Pennsylvania couple in connection with the husband’s severe case of listeriosis and hospitalization after consuming gourmet cheese purchased from a Whole Foods store in Pittsburgh. According to the complaint, the man suffered “profound nervous-system and cognitive dysfunction, including ventilator-dependent respiratory failure.” The suit seeks comprehensive financial recovery and damages for pain and suffering. The suit (CV12-4634) was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, the state where Forever Cheese, Inc. is located.
After Pritzker filed the lawsuit, Whole Foods expanded its cheese recall and Forever Cheese announced they were expanding its cheese recall to include all of the Ricotta Salata imported from Italy. The recalled cheese was sold to distributors in Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas,Utah, Virginia, and Washington state.
If you have eaten ricotta salata or any other deli cheese and have experienced the symptoms of Listeria monocytogenes food poisoning, which include flu-like fever, muscle aches, upset stomach, diarrhea, stiff neck, headache, loss of balance, confusion, or convulsions, see your doctor immediately. Pregnant women may experience only mild symptoms, but the illness can lead to stillbirth and miscarriage. The time lag between eating contaminated food and experiencing symptoms can be as long as 70 days, so anyone who ate cheese in mid-September may not get sick until late November.
The outbreak strain of the bacteria has been genetically matched to the Listeria bacteria found in the cheese. That is proof that the cheese is the source of the illnesses. In fact, the Italian government has seized four varieties of the cheese. The following translation is provided by Google.
“Notice is hereby given that as a result of the activity conducted by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Institute of Health and the police, to determine the cause of human listeriosis in the United states as a result of consumption of ricotta from “Farms Chiarappa” with a factory in Conversano (BA), the public prosecutor in Bari has ordered the seizure of all the national territory of the following products: Ricotta frescolina mars type Toscanella, Ricotta Tower Mars, Ricotta roasted frescolina Mars, Ricotta marzotica Mars Greek type, and Ricotta marzotica Mars.”