FoodHACCP Newsletter
08/19 2013 ISSUE:561

Vibrio parahaemolyticus Oysters on increase in Seattle
Source :
By Bill Marler (AUG 18, 2013)
The Seattle King County Department of Health reports a saltwater bacteria has sickened more than twice the number of people in King County this summer than typically is reported during this period – leading health officials to warn of the dangers of eating raw or undercooked shellfish.
During July, there were 13 confirmed or probable cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection in King County, compared to an average of four reported in that month in recent years. Since the beginning of August, an additional eight cases have been confirmed, while typically King County would see six for the entire month.
“This is probably the tip of the iceberg. For every case that is reported, an estimated 142 additional cases go unreported,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Chief of Communicable Disease for Public Health–Seattle & King County.
People typically get vibriosis from eating raw or undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters, that have Vibrio bacteria in them. Those with pre-existing medical conditions or who take antacids regularly are at higher risk for illness from Vibrio infection. Cooking shellfish until the shells just open is not enough to kill Vibrio bacteria. Shellfish should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F for at least 15 seconds.
Symptoms of Vibrio infection can include moderate to severe diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills and headache. Vibrio bacteria also can cause a skin infection when open wounds are exposed to warm seawater.
“We have warnings on menus about the risks of eating raw shellfish, but people might not always get the message or know that the risks are much higher this time of year,” Duchin said.
Vibrio bacteria occur naturally in marine waters, and they grow more rapidly during the warm months. That’s why Vibrio levels in shellfish increase during the summer, and infections in humans normally peak in late summer. It’s possible that the early warm streak in July has led to a longer period of Vibrio presence in local waters. Once water temperatures begin to cool in October, the bacteria decline.
The worst outbreak in recent years came in 2006, when Washington had 80 lab-confirmed Vibrio cases and King County had 36 confirmed cases. In 2012, King County had 26 cases of vibriosis for the entire year; so far in 2013, 22 confirmed or probable cases have already been reported.
To prevent Vibrio infections:
1.Thoroughly cook shellfish before eating
2.Do not rinse cooked shellfish in seawater, which can re-contaminate them
3.Keep raw or cooked shellfish well-refrigerated before serving
4.Do not harvest shellfish from areas where harvesting has been closed.
5.Avoid swimming in warm seawater if you have open wounds.
For more information, see:
•King County’s Vibriosis webpage
•Washington Department of Health webpage detailing different illnesses related to shellfish.

Mounting Cases of Cryptosporidiosis in Iowa
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By Linda Larsen (Agust 18, 2013)
In addition to battling an outbreak of Cyclospora infections and a Salmonella outbreak, the state of Iowa is reported increased Cryptosporidiosis cases this summer.  That parasite is usually spread through people with diarrhea swimming in pools, lakes, and rivers. The parasite gets into the water and people contract the illness when they swallow swimming water.
There have been at least 358 cases of Cryptosporidiosis reported to the Iowa Department of Public Health this year; 272 reported since June 1, 2013. An additional 138 cases are under investigation.
To prevent infection, it’s important that if anyone is experiencing diarrhea, including children in diapers, they should not swim. If you have been diagnosed with Crypto, do not swim for at least two weeks after the diarrhea ends. When swimming, don’t swallow water. Always wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers, and shower before swimming. Change diapers in the bathroom, not poolside. And take kids on bathroom breaks often while swimming.
It can be difficult to diagnose Cryptosporidium oocysts, so patients are often asked to submit several stool samples over several days. The symptoms of the infection include watery diarrhea, stomach cramps and pain, dehydration, weight loss, fever, nausea, and vomiting. Symptoms can last for up to a month. See a doctor if you develop watery diarrhea that lasts for several days.

Non complying product not a food safety issue
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By Westland Milk Products (AUG 19, 2013)
Non complying product not a food safety issue
Hokitika based dairy company Westland Milk Products announced today that a small amount of lactoferrin powder with elevated nitrate levels has been exported to China. The product has been traced and quarantined. Further, the nitrate levels did not comprise a food safety risk.
Chief Executive Rod Quin said Westland had reported to the Ministry of Primary Industries that two batches of lactoferrin (totalling 390kg) showed nitrate levels of 610 and 2198 parts per million respectively. The New Zealand maximum limit for nitrates is 150 parts per million. The product was initially not identified as non-compliant during Westland’s routine testing regime prior to export. All of the 390kg of non-complying lactoferrin was sent to China.
“We immediately initiated a process to find and quarantine all of the product and it has been put on hold,” Quin said.
Quin says nitrates are a naturally occurring substance found in such foods as leafy green vegetables. The issue is not the fact that it was present in the lactoferrin powder, but that the 390kg was over allowable levels.
“Food safety is not the issue in this instance because lactoferrin is used as a very minor ingredient in food products. This means that, even if the lactoferrin with elevated nitrates had been added to food, the retail products would still have nitrate levels significantly below allowed limits.”
Westland also put a hold on all of its lactoferrin in its own warehouse and commenced re-testing all individual batches. All other lactoferrin product tested to date has returned results well below the New Zealand nitrates limit. No other Westland products were affected.
“Based on these results and our investigations to date,” Mr Quin said, “Westland is of the view it is an isolated incident in the lactoferrin plant only, where traces of cleaning products (which contains nitrates) were not adequately flushed from the plant prior to a new run of product.
“Our investigation is underway to establish the root cause and we have implemented corrective actions,” Quin said, “so we can ensure this does not happen again.”

Rail passengers treated for food poisoning
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By (AUG 19, 2103)
Seven passengers travelling by the Ajmer-Ernakulam Marusagar Express who complained of uneasiness after consuming food on the train were treated at the General Hospital and Malik Dinar Hospital here on Saturday night. The passengers showed symptoms of food poisoning, hypertension, and low pulse rate, said a senior Railway official. The train reached Kasaragod station at 11.02 p.m.
On being alerted from Mangalore about the commotion on the train, Railway officials had requisitioned the services of a team of physicians and paramedical staff from the hospitals. The District Medical Officer and the Railway Divisional Medical Officer from Mangalore, who reached here by the same train, and his counterpart from Kannur supervised the medical treatment.
Three ambulances from the hospitals and the Fire and Rescue Services and police personnel were requisitioned at the station by 10 p.m., an hour ahead of the arrival of the train that reached here after halting at Mangalore Junction, to facilitate treatment to the affected persons.
The seven affected passengers, including Mohammed Kutty (35), Mohammed Ali (35), both hailing from Perinthalmanna, and Abu Baker (64) from Mannarcaud, were admitted to the General Hospital and Malik Dinar Hospital. They were discharged by 3 a.m. and could continue their onward journey on the Ernakulam-bound Mangala Express from Delhi at 3.30 a.m., he said.
A few other affected passengers, in S-11 and S-12 coaches of the train, were administered first aid at the railway station. The train was allowed special stoppages at Kanhangad, Tanur, Pattambi as requested by the affected passengers, they said.
The passengers complained about the “rude” behaviour of the pantry car manager.
Piyush Aggarwal, Divisional Railway Manager, Palakkad, had promised to take up the matter with the Railway Ministry, he said.

Beefing Up Food Safety
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The government's new effort to strengthen its weak inspection system for imported food isn't going to cover everything we eat from foreign countries.
In a 1968 comedy called The Secret War of Harry Frigg, Paul Newman is captured during World War II in Italy. After the prisoner of war spends several weeks trying to escape, his captor tells him some great news: The guards now have bullets in their guns.
The Food and Drug Administration news about food safety reminds me all too much of this scene. Guess what? They’re now going to start trying to make sure our imported food is safe!
“Under the proposed regulations…U.S. importers would, for the first time, have a clearly defined responsibility to verify that their suppliers produce food to meet U.S. food safety requirements,” reads the agency’s press release.
Let me translate this: The guardians of our food supply now have bullets in their guns.
Imported foods make up one fifth of the vegetables, half of the fruits, and more than 90 percent of the seafood we eat. The odds are that some of the food you eat is imported. And while Greek olives and French cheese sound divine, how about Chinese tilapia or Vietnamese catfish that ate human feces as part of their diet?
Yep, that’s gross, but I’m not making it up. When I reported on the safety of imported seafood, the experts I interviewed described fish farms in China where the family outhouse flows directly into the tilapia pond.
The most outrageous part of the imported seafood story happens at U.S. borders and ports, where imported food enters our country. We can’t control whether other countries think human waste is an acceptable fish food, nor can we control whether they enforce their own laws. But — in theory at least — we do control what we allow into the U.S. market.
Unfortunately, our government inspects less than 2 percent of the seafood we import — a much smaller percent than either the EU or Japan. Even the Government Accountability Office says our system is lousy.
And when the inspectors find filthy, rotting, or contaminated seafood? They don’t destroy it, they just give it back to the importers. The importers are then free to bring it in through another port, where there’s a 98 percent chance it won’t be inspected.
Nowadays, many foods have country-of-origin labeling, so you can choose to avoid imported foods from certain countries when you’re shopping at the store. But you won’t have the same option when dining out, because restaurants are exempt.
Labeling is only a partial solution. We need real food safety. And that means a regulatory system that works.
Our federal food safety system is a convoluted mess overseen by a number of different departments and agencies. Marion Nestle, author of Safe Food, famously pointed out the ridiculous nature of the system, noting that one agency regulates cheese pizza but another one regulates pepperoni. Corn dogs and bagel dogs are regulated by different agencies. So are liquid beef broth and chicken broth.
Meanwhile, many small farmers see the government as a bully who lets large corporations with intimidating legal teams off the hook yet focuses its “food safety” efforts on small, sustainable farmers who are less capable of fighting back.
Just ask Vernon Hershberger. He’s an Amish farmer who got in trouble for selling wholesome (yet illegal) foods to 200 members of a private food-buying club — and his food never made anyone sick.
How does it serve the public interest for the government to crack down on farmers like Hershberger while allowing imported foods into the country even when we know they come from countries that frequently produce unsafe food?
Let’s hope these new regulations on imported foods do the trick. But even if they do, they won’t cover all imported foods. The new system will only cover imported food that’s regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. In other words, only some of the guards now have bullets in their guns.

Owosso El Potrero Linked to Salmonella Outbreak
Source :
By Bill Marler (August 17, 2013)
According to the Argus-Press the focus of an Owosso, Wisconsin Salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 13 has been El Potrero, a Mexican restaurant with four locations in Owosso, Flint and Swartz Creek.  Manager Alex Aylala told the Argus-Press that he is shocked the probe has focused on the business because of its emphasis on sanitation.
According to Aylala, the health department’s investigation has centered on the restaurant’s salsa and canned tomatoes used in the preparation of the condiment.  “They didn’t find anything (wrong) during inspections. We changed things, to double check that they are OK,” he said. “Just to make sure.”
Director of Personal Health Courtney Herrick Wednesday said that during the investigation, multiple food samples were taken from the facility suspected of causing the outbreak, but all of the samples have come back negative for Salmonella.  She said the negative tests are the major reason the name of the restaurant was not released.
“Most people infected with salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection,” the press release notes. “The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment. However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. If you have any questions or concerns please contact the health department at 743-2355.”

What do Cantaloupe and Baseball have in Common?
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By Bill Marler (AUG 17, 2013)
At Least Baseball Won’t Kill You.
I stopped being a fan of Alex Rodriquez years ago when he left the Mariners, so I was not that particularly bothered when he was banned from baseball for steroid use.
A-Rod’s banning, along with the past steroid-induced sins of Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds and others, show that player punishment or embarrassment does not always stop the crime.
No serious person can believe that players have an incentive to play “clean.”  More homers and strikeouts mean more fans in the stands, or glued to TV commercials, and even more revenue for the owners.  More revenue for owners translates into bonuses for players, incentivizing players to cheat.  Owners talk all season about the evils of steroid use as they stuff great gobs of money into their pockets that they make from players advantaged by steroids.
Money talks and ethics walk.
Players are the well-paid chattel of owners who want to win at any cost.  Owners may well feign ignorance of steroid-induced homers or strikes, but they covet them nonetheless.  Banning A-Rod changes nothing.
Want to change the direction of baseball overnight?  Change the incentives.  If the Yankees had been banned from Baseball for a year and a half – not A-Rod – you can bet that no player in baseball would touch the stuff again.
So, what does cantaloupe have to do with Baseball?  Much, in addition to both being round.  Like players and the baseball industry, incentives are wrong with cantaloupe growers – actually all food – and the retail industry.
In 2011, Listeria-tainted cantaloupes grown in Eastern Colorado sickened 147 in two dozen states, killing at least 33.  It was the largest foodborne outbreak death toll in the United States in 100 years.  That is saying a lot given that the Centers for Disease Control and prevention estimate that food sickens 48,000,000, hospitalizes 135,000 and kills over 3,000 each year.
The year before, a third generation cantaloupe grower had been enticed by a broker-shipper preferred by Walmart and Kroger to expand its market nationwide.  An auditor recommended by Walmart inspected the farm and packing shed in 2011, while the cantaloupes were actually being washed by un-chlorinated, Listeria-tainted water.  The farm, as with most food audits, got a superior rating of 96%.  That was the green light for the cantaloupes to ship to your local Walmart or Kroger.
Those same retailers distance themselves from such behavior, clucking constantly about food safety from “farm to fork” and creating a “culture of food safety.”  They hire auditors as middlemen in the food-safety chain to give them cover to ignore food safety risks.
The grower of the tainted cantaloupe has gone bankrupt.  The grower is also facing criminal misdemeanor charges for selling food considered to be “adulterated,” which according to Federal law is food that “bears or contains any poisonous or deleterious substance, which may render it injurious to health.”  These charges, unlike a felony charge, “do not require proof of fraudulent intent, or even of knowing or willful conduct.”  The grower does face fines and jail nonetheless.
Countless other growers and manufacturers of food produced in the last decades have faced both civil and criminal liability – yet food poisoning continues.
Sound a bit like players facing suspension over and over again?
Retailers, like team owners, require audits, set the rules, called specifications, for how food – like cantaloupes – should be safely produced.  They then ignore their own rules because living by their rules costs a cent or two more, and that seems not worth the price.  Why?  Because just like Baseball owners who can pass the buck to the players, it is not retailers who are on the hook if there is a problem – the growers are.
Team owners squeeze their players by demanding performance.  No home runs or strike-outs – no place on the team.  Retailers squeeze their suppliers on price.  Not the lowest price?  You are out.  In fact, retailers squeeze growers for the last bit of profit, leaving little for growers to invest in producing safer food – an oddly perverse incentive.
Want to change the direction of food safety overnight?  Change the incentives.
Most Americans do not realize that the retailers they buy their food from are mainly insulated from civil and criminal liability.   Only their suppliers have liability.  But, if we were to put the onus of compensating customers for medical bills and lost wages onto the retailers that profit the most from the sale, their incentives to buy food that will not kill you would go up a lot.
Want to change the incentive of a retailer who sells you food that can make you sick or kill you?  Have them face jail time or fines if they do.
Want to make food safer from “farm to fork” in a “culture of food safety?”  Pay fair wages to farm workers and fair prices to growers.  Both are investments in safer food.
Like steroid use in baseball, food safety will not change until those with the most power have the incentive to change behavior.  Banning players or bankrupting cantaloupe growers does nothing to change the dynamic.  Banning baseball owners would stop steroid use overnight.  Fining or jailing retailers who sell food that kills people – well, that will do it.

Firefly Tapas Kitchen Lawsuit Puts Food Safety on Trial
Source :
By (AUG 17, 2013)
A Salmonella lawsuit filed against the Las Vegas restaurant, Firefly Tapas Kitchen and Bar, is calling into question the establishment’s past food safety discipline in an attempt to achieve justice for the people who suffered serious illnesses in an outbreak that received nationwide attention back in April and May. According to a legal complaint on file in Nevada’s Clark County District Court, the restaurant’s food safety inspection score was so overloaded with demerits at the time of the outbreak that the facility was shut down to minimize ongoing risk to public health. It has since reopened.
At Pritzker Olsen Attorneys, the case has been assigned to the firm’s Bad Bug Law Team, which has been working on pre-settlement issues surrounding insurance and the lawsuit’s allegations of negligence and other fault. The suit lays out a scenario of reckless food safety practices and demands punitive damages above and beyond what the restaurant should pay Salmonella outbreak victims for their medical expenses, lost work, other expenses, pain, suffering and future costs related to follow-up treatment and conditions. “The defendant’s violation of food safety practices as alleged in this complaint was willful, reckless and conscious,” the complaint states. “It showed a total disregard for the safety and rights of the plaintiff and other likely situated citizens.”
According to a memorandum from the Southern Nevada Health District, more than 330 people were sickened in the outbreak, including some who were hospitalized. The group of Firefly Salmonella outbreak victims includes people who ate at the restaurant on 3900 Paradise Road between April 21 – 26, 2013. Authorities first were alerted to the cluster of food poisoning cases when people from eight separate groups of Firefly on Paradise customers reported having diarrhea, nausea, fever, painful cramps and other symptoms. As the investigation progressed, the health authority indicated that the likely source of the outbreak was chorizo sausage cooked by restaurant staff.
According to a subsequent report by Dr. Linh Nguyen, an epidemiologist for the health department,  inspectors of the restaurant’s kitchens found “numerous conditions… that could contribute to an outbreak of foodborne disease. Those conditions included inadequate holding of food, inadequate cooling of food, improper hand washing by employees, bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food, improper cleaning of facilities and improper thawing of food. Other safety gaps noted in the lawsuit include raw ground beef stored over cooked chicken and raw seafood; multiple fruit flies and small moths in the cooking area and broken cooking thermometers (despite being in ice, some thermometers read over 100 degrees).

Cyclospora: Almost 600 Sick, Slow Progress, No Recall
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By Carla Gillespie (AUG 17, 2013)
Almost 600 people in 19 states now have confirmed cases of Cyclospora infection, according to the latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And the actual total is likely higher as some states have consistently reported more cases than are reflected in the agency’s updates.
The outbreak has grown steadily since it was announced in early July, but with the exception of Iowa and Nebraska, progress on the investigation has been slow. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has described the work as “painstaking.”
Health officials in Iowa and Nebraska linked their cases to salad served at Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurants in those states. Days later, the FDA announced that the source of the contaminated salad served at those restaurants was Taylor Farms de Mexico but did not link the salad mix to Cyclospora outbreaks in the other states. One week later, Taylor Farms voluntarily agreed to suspend operations at its plant in Mexico, stopping production and shipments of all ingredients in the salad mix aas well as green lettuce and green cabbage. No recalls have been issued. And, at this time, no other potential food sources have been mentioned by the federal agencies leading this investigation.
Cyclospora, a rare parasite usually associated with tropical and sub-tropical regions, causes symptoms which  untreated can last for two months and include bouts of explosive diarrhea, loss of appetite, cramping, bloating, gas, nausea, fatigue and weight loss. One of the obstacles to the investigation is that Cyclospora is not something doctors routinely screen for and diagnoses may have been missed prior to the announcement of the outbreak. And, except for their duration, the symptoms of cyclosporiasis are not  unusual enough to distinguish themselves from other gastrointestinal maladies.
By state the cases counts according to the CDC are: Texas (240), Iowa (153), Nebraska (86), Florida (29), Wisconsin (14), Illinois (11), Arkansas (10), New York City (5), Georgia (4), Kansas (4), Missouri (4), Louisiana (3), Minnesota (2), New Jersey (2), New York (2), Ohio (2), Virginia (2), California (1), Connecticut (1), and New Hampshire (1). At least 36 people have been hospitalized.

Hygiene a casualty in meal scheme, says petition in Supreme Court
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By (AUG 17, 2013)
The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Centre and 12 States seeking their response on steps taken to ensure cleanliness in the midday meal scheme and to prevent incidents like the one that occurred last month in a government primary school in a Bihar village, where 23children died after eating contaminated food.
The States to which a Bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Ranjana Desai issued notice, returnable in four weeks, on petitions filed by Antarashtriya Manav Adhikaar Nigraani and Sanjeeb Panigrahi, are Bihar, Odihsa, West Bengal, Assam, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Jharkhand.
The petitioners said “there have been a number of deaths and incidents of vomiting by children in different parts of the country, mostly in Bihar, Odisha, Haryana, West Bengal, after eating unhygienic mid-day meal.”
In over 12 lakh government-run and aided schools across the country, children received free, cooked lunch every day but “they are constantly exposed to the risk of food poisoning and related health hazards due to a lack of mid-day meal infrastructure and proper monitoring of the scheme,” the petitioners said.
When children fell sick, “there is a backlash against the whole programme from parents and teachers.” There was also a failure to meet standards in terms of calorific value of meals, quality of food, and micronutrients. It was noticed that inspection of foodgrains was not being undertaken. The petitioners sought a direction to the respondents and authorities to enforce procedures in the interest of hygiene and safety of children, and to initiate criminal proceedings against the persons responsible for death of children caused by contaminated or poisonous meal.

Food safety must come ahead of profit
Source :
By (AUG 16, 2013)
THIS summer our newspapers have been full of stories about healthy bread, sausages and the risk of sugary drinks, to name but a few.
While healthy eating is important, we ought to take a closer look at what’s happening earlier in the food chain.
Plans from the EU, backed by the UK government, are set to weaken meat inspection, opening the door to diseased animals getting into the food chain. As one meat hygiene inspector put it, in a stomach-churning warning: “If you stop looking for it, you stop finding it and you start eating it.”
Currently, symptoms of disease or ill-health in animals, killed for food, are prevented from entering the food chain by meat inspectors, independent of the meat producers. They stop cysts, abscesses and tumours from being processed into food for sale by cutting open animals. If the changes are not stopped by MEPs, the only checks in future will be visual.
A range of unpleasant symptoms of illness in pigs, with sheep and cattle to follow, will be processed into food unchecked and unnoticed. Chickens are not even being visually checked. The European Food Safety Agency has also identified concerns about animal welfare.
The strength of the meat lobby in the EU has already been successful in weakening meat inspection with the introduction of inspectors employed by the companies themselves. We need independent, qualified and skilled officials making these decisions, not the people who work for the meat plants who can be put under pressure to maximise profit and minimise waste for the owners. Consumer confidence requires independent inspection and that needs to be rebuilt after the horsemeat scandal. Supermarkets also have a responsibility to support strong regulation, rather than simply push for cheap food.
Unfortunately, the UK’s Food Standards Agency has “form” for accepting “light touch” regulation. You would have thought after the horsemeat scandal that this would change, but don’t bet on it.
The Scottish Government’s expert advisory group report on the horsemeat scandal recognised the importance of strong sampling and inspection regimes with unannounced visits and stronger sanctions. They said: “Meaningful fines or custodial penalties need to accompany serious food fraud otherwise it will continue to be seen as a relatively risk-free enterprise.”
The report also highlighted the stretched resources of local authorities in enforcing food standards. This is something Unison Scotland identified earlier this year through a survey that showed big cuts in the number of environmental health officers and other enforcement staff. As a consequence the number of food safety samples has dropped from 16,000 to just over 10,000 in the last three years. In addition, the number of meat inspectors has more than halved since 2003.
As one environment health officer put it: “I have spent time with parents whose child has been desperately ill with E.Coli poisoning. It is awful and preventable. We can help prevent this and other tragic things happening. But this will become less and less often. A rise in public health-related illness and injury will happen. But possibly more gradually than most think. Unnoticed maybe. But it will happen.”
Greater control
All of this becomes more relevant as the Scottish Government takes greater control of these matters through the establishment of a new food safety body in Scotland. The Scottish Government must ensure that food safety comes before private profit, but it will be challenging. During the horsemeat scandal, ministers appeared to be more concerned about protecting the Scottish Meat brand. While Scottish Meat is undoubtedly very good, it is also a premium product, out of the reach of low paid consumers. These consumers need regulatory protection for mass market products and I would also argue that Scottish Meat needs this consumer reassurance. It takes many years to build a brand, but just one scandal to destroy it.
Independent officials carry out ante and post mortems on every red meat animal we eat to ensure the consumer does not eat abscesses, tumours, pneumonia, parasitic cysts and a host of other culinary delights. Personally, I prefer it that way! So let’s make sure the new food safety body in Scotland does as well.
• Dave Watson is the head of bargaining and campaigns at Unison Scotland

Townsend Hepatitis A Outbreak Ending?
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By Bill Marler (August 16, 2013)
The CDC reports as of August 16, 2013, 159 people have been confirmed to have become ill from hepatitis A after eating ‘Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend’ in 10 states: Arizona (23), California (77), Colorado (28), Hawaii (8), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (1), New Mexico (10), Nevada (6), Utah (3), and Wisconsin (2). [Note: The cases reported from Wisconsin resulted from exposure to the product in California, the cases reported from New Hampshire reported fruit exposure during travel to Nevada, and the case reported in New Jersey was a household contact of a confirmed case from Colorado.] Currently, 6 of the confirmed cases are household contacts of confirmed cases (secondary cases).
By combining information gained from FDA’s traceback and traceforward investigations and the CDC’s epidemiological investigation, FDA and CDC have determined that the most likely vehicle for the hepatitis A virus appears to be a common shipment of pomegranate seeds from a company in Turkey, Goknur Foodstuffs Import Export Trading.
FDA will detain shipments of pomegranate seeds from Goknur were imported into the United States by Purely Pomegranate.  These pomegranate seeds were used by Townsend Farms to make the Townsend Farms and Harris Teeter Organic Antioxidant Blends.
Hepatitis A:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Hepatitis A outbreaks. The Hepatitis A lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Hepatitis A and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Hepatitis A lawyers have litigated Hepatitis A cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as green onions, lettuce and restaurant food.  The law firm has brought Hepatitis A lawsuits against such companies as Subway, McDonald’s, Chipotle, Quiznos and Carl’s Jr.
If you or a family member became ill with a Hepatitis A infection after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Hepatitis A attorneys for a free case evaluation.

Shiawassee County Salmonella Outbreak Case Count at 13
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By Linda Larsen (August 16, 2013)
The Salmonella outbreak in Shiawassee County, Michigan has grown to include 13 people. Of those 13 cases, 9 are confirmed and 4 cases are suspect, according to Courtney Herrick, Director of Personal & Community Health Services for the county.
Ms. Herrick told Food Poisoning Bulletin that public health officials ”took food samples from the restaurant that was the potential source but all tests came back ‘not detected’ for salmonella.” The investigation is ongoing, and the restaurant has not been named. The Health Department is working with the Michigan Department of Community Health and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to determine the cause.
Salmonella symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps that appear about 12 to 72 hours after exposure. If you have been experiencing these symptoms, see your doctor and contact the health department at 989-743-2355.
To prevent Salmonella infections, cook poultry, ground beef, and eggs thoroughly. Do not eat raw eggs or drink raw milk. If a restaurant serves you any of these products undercooked, send it back to the kitchen for further cooking. Be aware of cross-contamination in your kitchen and always wash your hands and work surfaces with soap and water after handling raw meat.

594 Now Sick With Cyclospora in USA – End in Sight?
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By Bill Marler (August 16, 2013)
As of August 15, 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been notified of 576 ill persons with of Cyclospora infection from 19 states: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York (including New York City), Ohio, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.  Here is the daily breakdown according to the CDC:
Texas (240)
Iowa (153)
Nebraska (86)
Florida (29)
Wisconsin (14)
Illinois (11)
Arkansas (10)
New York City (5)
Georgia (4)
Kansas (4)
Missouri (4)
Louisiana (3)
Minnesota (2)
New Jersey (2)
New York (2)
Ohio (2)
Virginia (2)
California (1)
Connecticut (1)
New Hampshire (1)
The Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) shows that state’s number at 258, which is 18 more than the CDC’s Texas count; with those included, the nationwide total would be 594.
Among 423 ill persons with available information, 36 (9%) have reported being hospitalized.

New Singapore Standard on food safety management for caterers
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By (AUG 16, 2013)
The National Environment Agency has launched a new Singapore Standard on food safety management for caterers.
SINGAPORE: The National Environment Agency (NEA) has launched a new Singapore Standard on food safety management for caterers.
Developed by NEA and the Food Standards Committee, it is meant to guide the caterers on putting in place a Food Safety Management System (FSMS) in a cost-effective way.
Announcing this on Friday, NEA said a properly-implemented FSMS can help caterers to systematically identify, prevent and reduce food-borne dangers at every stage of their operation.
NEA said it has also worked with the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) to provide caterers with training to design and implement an FSMS plan suitable for their operations.
Caterers will need to have at least one staff undergo training in FSMS planning and execution.
Course fees are subsidised up to 90 per cent for small and medium enterprises.
WDA-accredited training companies will run the course from January 2014.
NEA's statement on Friday follows its earlier announcement on new measures to ensure the hygienic preparation of food by caterers.
It made the earlier announcement at the 2013 Committee of Supply (COS) debates in Parliament.

Chilean Chicken Recall for Dioxin Expands
Source :
By Linda Larsen (AUG 15, 2013)
The recall of chicken for dioxin contamination that was imported from Chile has expanded according to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The government of Chile notified U.S. officials that the chicken tested positive for the carcinogenic substance. As of today, 343,637 pounds of chicken may be affected and 155,595 pounds is currently being held. FSIS determined that 188,042 pounds of the chicken was distributed to federal establishments for further processing, a distributor, and retail locations in Florida, Georgia, New York, Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rico.
Public health officials in the U.S. conducted an analysis of the Chilean test results and have determined that the risk to consumers is negligible. But they are considered unfit for consumption and adulterated, and should be destroyed. The chicken was produced at San Vicente Establishment (Chilean Est. 0608) on May 30, 2013 and June 12, 2013.
The U.S. government has not recalled the chicken; the recall is from the government of Chile. FSIS is not announcing a recall because “the establishment most directly associated with producing the adulterated product has recalled product, and USDA works with its counterparts to conduct effectiveness checks in the United States.”
Dixoins come from forest fires, industrial emissions, and burning trash. The chemical gets into plants, and are eaten by animals, where they become concentrated in the body fat. At “very high doses for a prolonged period”, according to the USDA release, dioxins can have adverse health effects.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “dioxins are highly toxic and can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer.” The WHO also states that “due to the highly toxic potential of this class of compounds, efforts need to be undertaken to reduce current background exposure.” And once dioxins get into your body, they stay for a long time because they are quite stable. Their half-life is seven to eleven years. The higher you go  in the food chain, the higher the concentration of dioxins. And chronic exposure to dioxin leads to cancer.

Food Poisoning at Federico’s is Largest U.S. E. coli Outbreak in Years
Source :
By (AUG 15, 2013)
The recent burst of  food poisoning cases from a single Federico’s restaurant west of Phoenix has eclipsed the Farm Rich frozen food outbreak as the biggest toxic E. coli outbreak of 2013 and is among the largest domestic E. coli outbreaks of the past few years, according to E. coli information kept by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Public health officials have had to go back to 2011 to find an E. coli outbreak with nearly as many confirmed case patients as the 68 people counted as victims in the current spread of E. coli illnesses in Arizona.
The Federico’s outbreak was first announced on August 2 when the Maricopa County Departments of Public Health and Environmental Services collaborated with the Arizona Department of Health Services on a press release alerting families to 15 cases of bloody diarrhea. The officials noted that the outbreak appeared to be “linked” to Federico’s Mexican Restaurant at 13132 W Camelback in the West Valley.
Bloody diarrhea is the chief symptom of toxic E. coli infection, and officials have confirmed the scores of illnesses that have since been tied to the outbreak were caused by E. coli O157:H7, the most common type of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli tracked by the CDC. Food Poisoning Bulletin has reported that 23 of the infected patients from the outbreak were hospitalized with life-threatening E. coli HUS syndrome and other complications. The outbreak started in late July and the restaurant closed during the investigation, but has now reopened. Private legal teams and public health investigators continue to hone in on what food or drink caused the outbreak and how the contamination occurred.
Prior to the Federico’s outbreak, the largest documented outbreak of toxic E. coli from food this year was associated with Farm Rich frozen snack foods, including mini quesadillas, philly cheese steak and mozzarella bites. Rich Products Corporation announced a sweeping recall of the products in early April and the CDC’s final report on the outbreak indicated 35 people were sickened in 19 states, including nine people who were hospitalized. There were at least two similarly sized toxic E. coli outbreaks in 2012 — one involving organic spinach and another associated with clover sprouts served at certain Jimmy Johns sandwich restaurants. Going back further, a toxic E. coli outbreak in 2011 sickened 60 people and was tied to tainted romaine lettuce.
Federico’s E. coli litigation has been started in the Arizona court system by three separate victims of the outbreak and more lawsuits are expected to be filed as individuals and families recover their health and grapple with the multi-faceted costs and future health risks that they face because they were served contaminated food.

Canadians Warned of Possible Salmonella Contamination of Imported Coconut
Source :
By Ron Ruggless (AUG 13, 2013)
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Diwa Products Ltd. are warning the public not to consume Diwa Brand Grated Coconut described below because it may be contaminated with Salmonella.
The products were distributed nationally, but the agency said that no confirmed illnesses had been associated with their consumption.
The following Diwa Brand Coconut is affected by this alert. The product is sold frozen and is from the Philippines: Diwa Brand Grated Coconut, 16 oz., UPC 6 28838 52049 3, and Diwa Brand Grated Coconut, 40×16 oz. case, Code SPO313.
Food contaminated with Salmonella may not look or smell spoiled. Consumption of food contaminated with these bacteria may cause salmonellosis, a foodborne illness. In young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems, salmonellosis may cause serious and sometimes deadly infections.
In otherwise healthy people, salmonellosis may cause short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Long-term complications may include severe arthritis.
The importer of the coconut, Diwa Products Ltd. of Toronto, ON, is voluntarily recalling the affected product from the marketplace. The CFIA stated that it is monitoring the effectiveness of the recall. More information can be found on the CFIA Website.

Cyclospora Outbreak: 19 States – 539 Sick – 32 Hospitalized
Source :
By Bill Marler (AUG 13, 2013)
As of August 12, 2013, CDC has been notified of 539 cases of Cyclospora infection from the following 19 states: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York (including New York City), Ohio, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
† Includes one case that was likely acquired out of state.
‡ Includes two cases that were likely acquired out of state.
¶ May include one travel-associated case.
Most of the illness onset dates have ranged from mid-June through mid-July.
At least 32 persons reportedly have been hospitalized in five states.
On August 12, 2013, FDA released information regarding the traceback investigation of Taylor Farms de Mexico salad mix and the company’s decision to suspend “production and shipment of any salad mix, leafy green, or salad mix components from its operations in Mexico to the United States.”
It is not yet clear whether the cases from all of the states are part of the same outbreak.
Additional cases are currently under investigation and will be included on this page as confirmed. Cases in this outbreak are defined as laboratory-confirmed Cyclospora infection in a person with onset of illness since June 2013 and no history of travel outside of the United States or Canada during the 14 days prior to onset of illness.

Herbalife saga continues with 2011 food safety concerns
Source :
By Atossa Araxia Abrahamian (AUG 13, 2013)
A former employee of Herbalife Ltd has been subpoenaed by the New York State attorney general to produce documents regarding a 2011 safety concern about the company's nutritional shakes, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.
The ex-employee, who is seeking whistleblower status with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, asked to remain anonymous, the newspaper said. The attorney general's office declined to comment.
The Times reported that the employee first approached the U.S. Food and Drug Administration with concerns about product safety before getting in touch with activist investor Bill Ackman, who offered to pay his legal fees, according to the Times.
Ackman has made a $1 billion short bet against Herbalife, and has been a vocal critic of the company since he disclosed his short position last December. He labels the maker of nutritional supplements as a pyramid scheme.
A spokeswoman for Pershing Square Capital Management, Ackman's firm, said she did not have a comment.
The health concern in question dates to 2011, when fine shards of metal were detected in some of Herbalife's nutrition shakes at a plant in California, according to the newspaper.
The problem was resolved within several weeks, The New York Times said.
Herbalife acknowledged the 2011 incident in a statement on Tuesday, and said only safe products were shipped to consumers.
The company added it received no complaints from consumers and that California state authorities have regularly audited the factory and found "no serious violations."
"We believe this story is yet another example of Mr. Ackman's desperation," Herbalife said.
Shares of Herbalife have soared this year, causing Ackman to see losses of hundreds of millions of dollars on his bet against the company.
Ackman's view has been challenged by other Wall Street titans, including investor Carl Icahn, a major stakeholder in Herbalife, and billionaire investor George Soros, who have both taken long positions on Herbalife.
Herbalife shares closed down 2.5 percent at $64.62 on Tuesday. The shares are still trading at more than double the price where they closed on December 31, 2012.
The company last month posted better-than-expected second-quarter earnings and revised its outlook upwards, citing a fast-growing distributor network and strong demand for its products.

Revamped Texas convention focuses on water, food safety
Source :
By Pamela Riemenschneider (AUG 122013)
SAN ANTONIO — Bringing the industry together with an emphasis on family was a major draw for attendance for this year’s Texas Produce Convention.
About 400 people attended the annual event Aug. 7-9, sponsored by Mission-based Texas International Produce Association, Texas Vegetable Association and Texas Citrus Mutual.
“That’s a higher attendance than we’ve had in maybe a decade,” said TIPA president Bret Erickson. “We couldn’t have been more pleased with the turnout.”
Part of the revitalization of the show included dropping the traditional casino night in favor of an awards banquet and concert featuring country music star Rick Trevino.
“Our chairman Ed Bertaud was a big proponent of refreshing the event,” Erickson said. “Moving the awards to the evening gave them a lot more exposure and attendance.”
This year’s Texas Citrus Mutual Special Award went to Earl Neuhaus of Weslaco-based Neuhaus & Co. and the Texas Vegetable Association’s Award of Merit went to Bernie Thiel of Sunburst Farms, Lubbock.
The convention also reflected the ongoing evolution of the Texas International Produce Association, with exhibitors from cities including Laredo and Pharr in the Rio Grande Valley looking to expand their presence in the import business, Erickson said, as well as a strong presence from customs brokers.
“Our membership is up 30% over last year,” he said.
Workshops focused on the primary issues for both Texas producers and importers.
Water, immigration reform, the Food Safety Modernization Act and healthcare reform took center stage.
“It was a small enough venue where attendees were able to ask questions, in more of a one-on-one workshop atmosphere,” Erickson said. “It made the information very relatable.”
Good, bad water news
Attendees also heard from state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon of Texas A&M University about the state’s water situation. Currently on track for the most severe drought on record, weather patterns show neither exceptionally good news nor bad news for Texas producers.
Pacific Ocean weather patterns do not indicate an El Niño or La Niña for this winter, Nielsen-Gammon said.
“The good news is that means we should have near normal rainfall this winter,” he said. “We should have a neutral winter, but the period of drought susceptibility is still strong.”

Understanding Food Recalls: The Recall Process Explained
Source :
By Jessica White-Cason (AUG 12,13)
This article was originally published by Food Sentry on July 25.
Food recalls are very common. In the U.S. and Canada in the past 12 months, there have been more than 600 recalls. With disconcerting frequency, foods enter the market with problems that have the potential to cause serious adverse health effects. When this happens, food companies and U.S. federal regulatory agencies must take steps to ensure that consumers are kept safe. Food recalls are the method by which companies and government regulators try to improve food safety by removing products from distributor inventories, store shelves and consumers’ kitchens.
Regulatory agencies involved
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for the regulation and safety standards of approximately 80 percent of the food supply in the U.S., both domestic and imported foods. The FDA is also responsible for overseeing the safety of pet foods. The remaining 20 percent, primarily meat, poultry and some egg products, is regulated by a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) known as the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
These agencies can become aware of a problem in the food supply in one of several ways:
•A food manufacturer or distributor discovers a food safety issue and contacts FDA or FSIS directly.
•Inspection of a manufacturing facility or importer by FDA or FSIS reveals a potential cause for recall.
•A food product or manufacturer fails testing carried out through FDA or FSIS sampling programs.
•In the case of illness associated with a specific food product, individual state health departments will contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which in turn contacts FDA or FSIS.
Typically, recalls are voluntary and initiated by manufacturers and distributors. If FDA or FSIS requests that a product be recalled, the responsibility to take action falls on the company which manufactures the product. In the event that the company does not respond to FDA/FSIS requests for recall, legal action can be taken.
Under new authorities granted to it in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) of January 2011, FDA now has authority to actually shut down operations at food production facilities if it deems that there is a significant threat to public health. It exercised this authority for the first time in September 2012 when it shut down the Sunland, Inc., peanut-processing facility in Portales, NM, when Salmonella contamination was discovered.
Once a company initiates a food recall, it is the responsibility of either FDA or FSIS to evaluate the potential severity of the recall and make sure that all reasonable efforts to remove or correct the problem are being made. These regulatory agencies will also seek media publicity when the situation warrants widespread and rapid public awareness. In most cases, FDA and FSIS do not deem it necessary to alert the media to recalls; however, every recall is posted to agency Websites for consumers to seek out at their convenience.
Finally, FDA or FSIS determines when to terminate a recall. Recalling companies can request a recall termination by submitting a written request or wait on the agency to determine recall termination. Once a reasonably expected amount of the offending food product has been recovered or corrected, the product can be classified as safe. Written notification that the recall has ended is then sent to the recalling company by the responsible agency.
Recalling company
Many manufacturers work tirelessly to prevent recalls in the first place. Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plans are used to ensure quality and safety during the manufacturing process; however, mistakes can and do occur. When such mistakes occur, it is ultimately the manufacturer’s responsibility to remove the product from the market quickly and before harm is caused. These events are typically planned for through contingency and crisis management strategies, facilitating the speed with which a recall can be completed.
Once a recall is initiated, the recalling company submits their recall strategy to be reviewed by FDA or FSIS. This strategy includes the depth of the recall (Does the recall effect wholesalers, retailers, consumers?), the type of press release to be issued and proposed effectiveness checks. Recall strategies are always executed immediately, even as they are under review. If FDA or FSIS finds issues that need correcting, they prompt the recalling company to make those changes.
Reasons for food recalls
Contamination, adulteration and misbranding comprise the major reasons for which food products can be recalled. Some examples of these include:
•Contamination with a pathogen such as E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes or Salmonella
•Foreign object contamination such as plastic, glass or metal fragments
•Nutrient imbalance (often seen in pet food recalls)
•Undeclared allergens such as peanut, tree nut, milk, egg, soy, shellfish, etc.
•Undeclared sulfites
•Uneviscerated fish
According to Food Sentry’s data, between July 2012 and July 2013, there were 610 food recalls. The primary reason for recall during this period was Salmonella contamination, accounting for 37.6 percent of all recalls.
This year was unusual because of the massive peanut butter recall that originated with Salmonella contamination at a primary producer’s plant in Portales, NM. Sunland, Inc., was the nation’s largest organic peanut processor. More than 300 separate products were recalled over a period of months.  The plant was shut down in September 2012 until May 2013 while it regained certification and permission to resume operations.
Other causes for food recalls were undeclared allergens (21.6 percent) and contamination with Listeria monocytogenes (20.2 percent). Typically, these three pathogens account for the majority of food recalls.
Recall classification
Recalls are classified according to their potential seriousness. This classification is given to a recall by the government agency responsible for overseeing the recall.
Both FDA and FSIS classify recalls according to this system:
•Class I - A Class I recall involves a health hazard situation in which there is a reasonable probability that eating the food will cause health problems or death.
•Class II - A Class II recall involves a potential health hazard situation in which there is a remote probability of adverse health consequences from eating the food.
•Class III - A Class III recall involves a situation in which eating the food will not cause adverse health consequences.
The bottom line
Because food recalls are expensive and stigmatizing for the recalling companies, they are usually highly motivated to clean up their mess as quickly as possible. It is in the manufacturer’s best interest to do everything in their power to maintain and regain consumer confidence during recall events. The only way to ensure this is through coordination with federal agencies to achieve a rapid and efficient recall of potentially harmful products. Most companies will post updates and information on the recall on their company Websites. See Sunland’s Website for a good example of how companies keep interested parties informed and updated on food recall issues.
Food Sentry tracks and reports all recalls from the U.S. and Canada in a user-friendly format within hours of their posting.

The Summer of Cyclospora – An ongoing Mystery
Source :
By Bill Marler (AUG 122013)
As of this morning, the CDC has been notified of 535 cases of Cyclospora infection from Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.  Although the number of ill is slowing, it is expected to continue in the coming weeks as more states announce illnesses and/or increase their case count.
Nebraska and Iowa have linked Cyclospora infections in their states to a salad mix served at Olive Garden and produced by Taylor Farms de Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V. The CDC announced that it would continue to work with federal, state, and local partners in the investigation to determine whether this conclusion applies to the increase in cases of cyclosporiasis in other states.  CDC’s independent analyses of data from the epidemiologic investigations in Iowa and Nebraska confirmed an association between consuming salad and being ill with cyclosporiasis during June and July 2013 in those two states.
On August 2, 2013, CDC received results of a traceback investigation from FDA. The traceback investigation conducted by FDA identified Taylor Farms de Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V., a processor of foodservice salads, as the source of the pre-packaged salad mix identified in the cyclosporiasis outbreak in Iowa and Nebraska.  As of this morning Taylor Farms de Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V., suspended production of salad mix and leafy greens.
Illness onset dates have stretched from June 1st through July 28th.  Given that the shelf life of the suspect vector – pre-packaged salad mix – is only a few weeks at most, it does raise some interesting questions.
Assuming that the entire outbreak – or, at least most of it – is linked to the Taylor Farms de Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V., production facility, where the contamination events (cross-contamination within the plant, water contamination within the plant or reintroduction of contaminated product) likely occurred, why did it continue for several weeks?
Also, given that 14 of 16 states are not yet identifying Taylor Farms de Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V., as the source for illnesses in those states, it does raise the possibility that Taylor Farms de Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V., is not the sole source of the outbreak.  True, it could have co-packed leafy greens that then went through brokers and shippers to a variety of restaurants, which has made traceback difficult.  However, there is also the possibility that the area where the leafy greens were grown harbors Cyclospora, and that those greens went both to Taylor Farms de Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V., and other manufacturers and then on to other restaurants.
Another thought – only about 35 states require cyclosporiasis to be reported, therefore, it is possible that some states (look at Oklahoma above) have cases but are not required to count them.
Any other ideas?

Cyclospora Investigation Halts Taylor Farms Production In Mexico
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (AUG 12, 2013)
One week after salad it produced was linked to a Cyclospora outbreak that sickened hundreds of people in Iowa and Nebraska, Taylor Farms de Mexico voluntarily suspended production and shipment of leafy greens, salad mix and salad mix components from its operations in Mexico to the United States, the company told the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today. The company, which suspended operations Friday, has told FDA officials that it will not resume production or shipment of these products without the agency’s approval.
The suspension of operations at the plant in Mexico includes the implicated salad ingredients: iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, red cabbage and carrots;  and others including green leaf lettuce and green cabbage. In Iowa and Nebraska, about 240 people who ate salad served at Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurants developed Cycsloposra infections. Health officials in those states said at the end of July that they were confident that the tainted salad was no longer in circulation.
But it seems something tainted with the rare parasite was circulating more recently than that. Texas now leads the nation in number of Cyclsopora infections with at least 215  people sickened, some of whom only first became ill at the end of July. And within the last week the outbreak has grown to incude two more states: New Hampshire and Virginia.
In addition to Iowa and Nebraska, there are 16 other states with reported cases of Cyclsopora infections. But officials from those states and from federal agencies have not named Taylor Farms salad mix served at Olive Garden and Red Lobster as the source of illness in those states. Will green leaf lettuce and green cabbage be a common thread?
Maybe. Patients in several states were asked to fill out a lengthy food history questionnaire. The implicated salad greens and restaurants in Iowa and Nebraska are mentioned, but apparently not showing much of a pattern in other states.  In 2008, produce from Mexico was implicated in one of the largest food poisoning outbreaks in the last five years. In that outbreak, which sickened 1,442 people in 43 states, several foods were named as sources or likely sources including serrano pepers, jalapeno peppers and tomatoes.
This outbreak, the fourth-largest in five years, has sickened 535 people in 18 states. By state, the breakdown of  535 cases is as follows: Texas (215), Iowa (153), Nebraska (86), Florida (27), Wisconsin (10), Illinois (9), Arkansas (5), Georgia (5),  New York (6), Missouri (4), Kansas (3), Louisiana(3), New Jersey (2), Ohio (2), Virginia (2), Connecticut (1), Minnesota (1), New Hampshire (1).



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