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Study Finds Outbreaks More Likely in Restaurants With Food Safety Violations
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/study-finds-outbreaks-more-likely-in-restaurants-with-food-safety-violations/
By Linda Larsen (Nov 12, 2012)
A report in the Journal of Food Protection’s November 2012 issue has found that more violations of food safety laws and regulations were found in restaurants that were linked to food poisoning outbreaks. While that may seem obvious, this was a meta-analysis that proved the point.
The Division of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Minnesota conducted the research. Since most foodborne illness outbreaks occur in restaurant settings, this research will help public health officials focus on interventions that have the most impact on reducing food poisoning outbreaks. The report states that “significantly more violations were recorded at restaurants that had outbreaks.”
Three pathogens that cause the majority of foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States are norovirus, Clostridium perfringens, and Salmonella. The data revealed eleven violations that were significantly more likely to be identified at restaurants that caused outbreaks than at restaurants that were not linked to outbreaks. Health department inspection reports should apply this information in a consistent fashion to help prevent more outbreaks.
This information backs up a CDC report that found restaurants that are complex establishments, using a complex food handling process, are involved in the majority of outbreaks. They also found that written policies were lacking in many of these establishments.

The Best Way To Clean Up After Food Poisoning Strikes
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/the-best-way-to-clean-up-after-food-poisoning-strikes/
By Carla Gillespie (Nov 11, 2012)
What’s the best way to clean up after someone in your household gets sick from food poisoning? A two-step method of wiping down surfaces with soap and then a bleach solution is best, according to a new a new study published in the November issue of the Journal of Applied  and Environmental Microbiology.
One way people become sick during foodborne illness outbreaks is from secondary spread, meaning  germs from someone who is sick make other people sick.  Unseen germs from diarrhea or vomit can contaminate surfaces in the bathroom which pose a risk for others who use the same facilites.
Researchers Era Tuladhar, Wilma C. Hazeleger, Marion Koopmans, Marcel H. Zwietering, Rijkelt R. Beumer, and Erwin Duizer contaminated surfaces with a variety of bacteria including Salmonella and Norovirus and tested a variety of cleaning methods. Norovirus is highly contagious and causes about 21 million illnesses, 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  It’s the most  common cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks in the U.S.  Salmonella is another common foodborne illness. There are about 42,000 confirmed cases of Salmonella poisoning in the U.S. every year, but officials estimate the total number of those sickened by the pathogen each year is actual 30 times higher than that.
With millions of people suffering from a foodborne illness each year,  good cleaning technique could prevent a lot of secondary spread. To conduct their research the scientists  ”used data on infectious doses and transfer efficiencies to estimate a target level to which the residual contamination should be reduced and found that a single wipe with liquid soap followed by a wipe with 250-ppm free chlorine solution was sufficient to reduce the residual contamination to below the target level for most of the pathogens tested,” according to the study’s abstract.

Eight Cases of Vibrio Food Poisoning Linked to Oysters Reported in Massachusetts This Year
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/eight-cases-of-vibrio-food-poisoning-linked-to-oysters-reported-in-massachusetts-this-year/
By Linda Larsen (Nov 11, 2012)
The Cape Cod Times is reporting that eight cases of Vibrio food poisoning were reported in Massachusetts this year from oysters. Last summer the state designed new regulations to keep consumers safe from this bacteria, but they failed.  The eight cases were linked to oysters harvested from Wellfleet, Orleans, Edgartown, Duxbury, Kingston, Barnstable, and Dennis.
Public health officials think that increased public awareness may be part of the cause of this outbreak, but warmer water and air temperatures this last summer may be to blame. Vibrio was not seen in Massachusetts oysters until 2011 because the state’s colder water temperatures discouraged the growth of the bacteria. In every month in 2012, the mean air temperatures were higher than average, including the third-warmest April and the warmest August on record. Sea surface temperatures this year were the highest ever in the Northest.
Vibrio populations double every 15 minutes, so keeping shellfish cool is critical to controlling bacterial growth.  The Vibrio Control and Management plan called for recreational harvesters to consume or refrigerate oysters within five hours of catch.  Commercial oyster harvesters had to record the time of harvest and ice the oysters within five hours and ensure that the oysters were not exposed to direct sunlight.
If the oysters were not brought down to 50 degrees F within 15 hours, they would be destroyed. And the only allowable storage was in a refrigerator “owned and maintained by a wholesale dealer subject to control measures required by state food safety regulations,” according to the plan.
For next year, coverage of the plan may be extended to include additional towns, and may place limits on the harvesting season time frame.  Symptoms of Vibrio food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, watery diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. The symptoms usually begin 4 hours to 3 days after eating contaminated products.

Bittersweet News in NC Fair E. coli Outbreak
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/11/bittersweet-news-in-nc-fair-e-coli-outbreak/
By James Andrews (Nov 10, 2012)
More than a month has passed since the first of the 106 victims in North Carolina’s Cleveland County Fair E. coli outbreak began showing symptoms of infection. This week brought bittersweet news regarding two of those victims.
First, the good: After 35 days in care, 12-year-old Jordan McNair was discharged from Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte on Thursday.
But Thursday was also the day 5-year-old Hannah Robertson was readmitted to Levine two weeks since being discharged. Her parents told WBTV that she had been suffering side-effects of her infection.
On Friday, North Carolina health officials declared the fair’s petting zoo exhibit the cause of the outbreak. Runoff from heavy rains during the fair may have helped spread the contamination to other parts of the fair, they added.
The fair ended Oct. 7. In the week that followed, 2-year-old Gage Lefevers of Gastonia died from his E. coli infection.
Among his many activities at the fair on Sept. 30, McNair — the boy discharged on Thursday — milked a cow at the petting zoo. But when he was finished, the hand-washing station only contained a small bit of soap, his mom told the Associated Press.
Five days later, he was hospitalized. He’s now still taking three medications and requires weekly lab tests, but he’s on schedule to return to his middle school in Cherryville next week.
And in a bit of hopeful news for Robertson, the girl readmitted to the hospital on Thursday, doctors told her parents they don’t think her latest symptoms are anything serious.

Food Safety in the Global Food System
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/food-safety-in-the-global-food-system/
By Linda Larsen (Nov 8, 2012)
On November 7, 2012, USDA Deputy Commissioner Michael R. Taylor spoke at the China International Food Safety and Quality Conference and Expo on ensuring consumer confidence in food safety in today’s global food system. He said that consumer confidence is the foundation for global food trade.
According to Taylor, consumers know that food is not risk free, but they also expect that everyone involved in the food industry is making a reasonable effort to prevent problems and make food safe. The food industry must commit to taking responsibility for food safety and enact a comprehensive systems approach, from farm to table, to make that happen. We need credible and effective government oversight, public-private collaboration and partnership, and transparency from both industry and government.
Since a breakdown at any point in the farm-to-table chain can introduce pathogenic bacteria, we need inspections and investigations to make sure standards are being met. Government builds the scientific foundation and knowledge for an effective food safety system. Industry must work with government in a complementary way.
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is grounded in science, with preventive controls, a comprehensive approach for managing supply chains, and a new import oversight system.  The public-private partnership must be transparent, and all stakeholders need to support firms and share information to prevent food safety hazards.
Unfortunately, several critical parts of FSMA have been stuck in the Office of Management and Budget for months. Consumers groups have sued the Obama administration over these stalled rules.   The stalled rules set new safety standards for produce, strengthen the safety of the imported foods supply chain, and set standards for fresh produce. They want a court to impose a deadline so these regulations are enacted in a timely manner, especially since in the last year three of the major foodborne illness outbreaks were caused by imported foods and fresh produce.

Salmonella Peanut Butter Outbreak Hits 41
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/11/salmonella-peanut-butter-outbreak-hits-41/
By FOODSAFETYNEWS (Nov 08, 2012)
At least 41 people in 20 states have fallen ill in an outbreak of Salmonella Bredeney linked to Trader Joe’s Valencia Creamy Salted Peanut Butter made by Sunland, Inc. in Portales, NM.
Of those ill, 28 percent have been hospitalized and 63 percent are children under the age of 10, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The case count has risen by 3 since last reported, with one new case each in New York, North Carolina and Virginia.
The case count according to state is as follows:
Arizona (1), California (7), Connecticut (3), Illinois (1), Louisiana (1), Maryland (1), Massachusetts (3), Michigan (1), Minnesota (1), Missouri (2), Nevada (1) New Jersey (2), New Mexico (1), New York (2), North Carolina (2), Pennsylvania (2), Rhode Island (1), Texas (5), Virginia (2), and Washington (2).
Since early October, Sunland has been voluntarily recalling hundreds of products featuring best-by dates between March 31, 2010 and September 24, 2013.
The company suspended production when the outbreak was first linked to its peanut butter, though executives have expressed a hope to restart peanut butter production in their sanitized facilities before the end of the year.

E. coli Cases in Northwest Michigan Linked to Unpasteurized Cider
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/11/e-coli-cases-in-northern-michigan-linked-to-apple-cider/
By FOODSAFETYNEWS (Nov 08, 2012)
Unpasteurized, unlabeled apple cider is thought to be the source of a series of E. coli infections that have recently cropped up in Antrim County, Michigan.
The Health Department of Northwest Michigan, along with the Michigan Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development and Community Health is currently investigating the cases. Health officials have collected samples from patient stools and the suspected apple cider to see whether bacteria isolated from each have the same genetic fingerprint.
The cider was produced locally by an unlicensed facility and lacked the required labels indicating that it was unpasteurized, says the Health Department of Northern Michigan.
Joshua Meyerson, the Department’s Medical Director, says cider – whether pasteurized or unpasteurized – should only be purchased from a licensed vendor.
Symptoms of an E. coli infection usually appear between 3 and 10 days after infection, and include, nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea – sometimes bloody – and vomiting.
“Anyone experiencing abdominal pain and worsening or bloody diarrhea, especially those who may have recently consumed unpasteurized apple cider from an unknown or unlicensed source, should contact a physician,” advises the health department in its press release.

Safe Turkey Preparation From the USDA
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2012/safe-turkey-preparation-from-the-usda/
By Linda Larsen (Nov 08, 2012)
The USDA has lots of information about food safety and turkey preparation. In fact, they have a nice selection of videos on You Tube all about safe turkey preparation. The videos show you how to fry a turkey, prepare a smoked or grilled turkey, prepare a brined turkey, safely thaw a turkey, stuff turkey, and cook turkey.
Turkeys present a challenge to many home cooks for several reasons. First, since this bird is only cooked once or twice a year, many people do not have experience working with a turkey. Second, since the turkey is so large, it requires extra space in the fridge and special handling. And finally, many people are not sure about how to determine doneness.
The most important part of cooking a turkey is to plan ahead. If you purchase a frozen turkey and want to thaw it before cooking, it needs to be in the refrigerator for several days, since it takes 24 hours per 4 to 5 pounds to thaw. A twenty pound turkey can take up to six days to thaw. Turkey should never be thawed at room temperature. If you want to brine the turkey, make sure you have enough space in the refrigerator to hold the container with the turkey and the brine.
Watch the videos carefully and follow all instructions. Make sure you have a reliable food thermometer on hand to take the temperature of the turkey and the stuffing. Follow food safety rules to the letter. And you’ll have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving!

Norovirus Sickens 39 in Peoria, IL After Banquet
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/11/norovirus-linked-to-banquet-sickens-39-in-peoria-il/
By Kathy Will (Nov 06, 2012)
At least 39 people fell ill with Norovirus infections after eating at a restaurant in central Illinois last week, according to the local health department.
All of those sickened were among a group of 80 people who attended an end-of-year banquet for a high school soccer team at Alexander’s Steakhouse in Peoria, IL October 28, reported the Peoria Journal Star.
Though the restaurant served a total of 1,100 meals the weekend the banquet was held, no patrons other than those who attended the banquet contracted the virus.
Victims experienced typical symptoms of Norovirus infection, including vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.
Health officials at the Peoria City/County Health Department, which is leading the investigation, say they don’t predict any people who did not attend the banquet are at risk of infection.
“It was an isolated incident, based on where we’re at in the investigation,” said City/County Health Administrator Greg Chance, as reported by the Peoria Journal Star.
A restaurant inspection after the outbreak did not reveal any evidence of contamination.



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