FoodHACCP Newsletter
01/06 2013 ISSUE:581



Salmonella Outbreaks from Nuts
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/salmonella-outbreaks-from-nuts/
By Carla Gillespie (Jan 6, 2014)
The current multi-state Salmonella outbreak linked to non-dairy cheeses made from raw cashews is not the first to be linked to nuts. During the last decade, illnesses from Salmonella have been linked to a variety of nuts including pine nuts, peanuts, pistachios, hazelnuts and almonds.
The current outbreak has sickened 14 people in three states: twelve in California, one in Nevada and one in Wyoming. Three people have been hospitalized. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has noted that outbreak strain of Salmonella Stanley is rarely seen outside of Southeast Asia where the cheese maker, Cultured Kitchen of West Sacramento, sources its cashews.
Here’s a look at other recent Salmonella outbreaks linked to nuts.
Between August and October of 2011, 43 people in five states contracted Salmonella infections, called salmonellosis, from imported Turkish pine nuts. The nuts were sold from bulk bins at Wegmen’s grocery stores. Two people were hospitalized. The illnesses were concentrated on the East Coast, where Wegman’s stores are located. By state, the case count was as follows: Maryland (1), New Jersey (2), New York (28), Pennsylvania (8), and Virginia (4).
From December 2010 to February 2011, a food poisoning outbreak was linked to hazelnuts. However, that outbreak, which sickened eight people in three states, was caused by E. coli, not Salmonella
A 2009 Salmonella outbreak linked to pistachios prompted Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Calif.,  the nation’s second-largest pistachio processor, to recall 2 million pounds of nuts. In 2006, 100 people in South Carolina got Salmonella infections from peanuts sold at a fair. Three people were hospitalized.
From September 2003 to April 2004, 29 people in 12 states and Canada contracted salmonellosis from raw almonds produced by by Paramount Farms of Lost Hills, Calif. and sold by retailers including Costco and Trader Joe’s. About 18 million pounds of nuts were recalled.
The number of recent outbreaks prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in July 2013 to issue a request for information that it could use to compile a risk assessment of  salmonellosis from tree nuts. The agency will use the risk assessment to crate policy and advise producers and customers.

In China, Dirty Pond Water Injected into Lamb
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/in-china-dirty-pond-water-injected-into-lamb/
By Linda Larsen (Jan 6, 2014)
The Guardian is reporting that seven people in China have been arrested because they allegedly injected dirty pond water into lamb to increase its weight and raise the price. Apparently, up to 100 sheep a day were slaughtered at an illegal warehouse.
The lamb was sold at markets, restaurants, and food stalls in Foshan, Guangzhou and other markets. Public health officials raided the slaughterhouse. They found carcasses, live sheep, equipment to inject water into the meat, and forged Chinese inspection stamps.
Food safety concerns have been a big problem in China for many years. Last week, donkey meat, which is prized as a delicacy in that country, was found to be tainted with fox meat, which is much cheaper. In 2008, six infants died after drinking melamine-tainted infant formula. The bird flu has been an issue in China for years; now no live birds can be sold at 110 markets in that country for the next five years.
Problems such as this one are why many food safety experts and consumer advocates are fighting the probable USDA decision to allow chicken processed in China into the United States. The U.S. government is close to approving this situation.

Health unit encourages good food safety practices
Source : http://www.northernlife.ca/news/localNews/2014/01/05-food-handling-sudbury.aspx
By Sudbury Northern Life Staff (Jan 05, 2014)
With the start of 2014 comes another list of New Year’s resolutions — why not start the year off with a goal to share good food safety practices?
The Sudbury and District Health Unit has received reports of illness related to food that was improperly prepared in the home. The health unit reminds residents of the importance of safe food handling. Whether you are getting ready for your first grocery shopping trip of the year, having a party or serving up leftovers, here are some simple tips that all food handlers can follow for cooking a delicious and safely prepared meal.
Before cooking
-Ensure hazardous foods such as meat and dairy products are kept refrigerated at 4 C (40 F) or less until ready for cooking. Use a thermometer in your refrigerator to ensure it is at 4C (40F) or below.
-Foods left in the danger zone (4C – 60C) or room temperature for two or more hours can become unsafe to eat. This is the zone where germs grow and readily multiply.
-Raw meat should be kept on the lowest shelf of the fridge and held in a container that prevents blood or meat juices from dripping onto the food below.
-Wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the toilet.
-Wash with soap and water and sanitize countertops, cutting boards and utensils with a mild bleach and water solution after they have come in contact with raw meat.
During and after cooking
-Cook foods to a safe internal temperature using a digital thermometer
-For meat, push the thermometer into the thickest section of the cut, making sure that it is not touching bone, fat or gristle.
-Wash, rinse and sanitize thermometers in between testing the meat.
-When the meat has finished cooking, don’t put it on the same plate you used for the uncooked meat. Juices from the uncooked meat may contain harmful bacteria.
Leftovers
Even when refrigerated properly, leftovers should be eaten, frozen or discarded within three to four days.
When heating and storing leftovers keep the following in mind:
-Refrigerate cooked leftovers promptly — within 2 hours. Use a thermometer in your refrigerator to ensure it is at 4 C (40 F) or below.
-Divide leftovers into smaller portions and store in shallow containers in the refrigerator.
-Wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the toilet.
-Reheat cooked leftovers thoroughly to 74C (165F) as measured with a food thermometer Sauces, soups and gravies should be reheated by bringing them to a boil.
-When microwaving leftovers, make sure there are no cold spots in food (where bacteria can survive). Cover food, stir and rotate for even cooking.
-Bring sauces, soups and gravy to a full boil every time you re-heat them.
As a further safety precaution, Cynthia Peacock-Rocca, manager of the Environmental Health Division, encourages residents to visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s website to view food recall alerts. Residents can subscribe to receive notifications (email, Twitter, RSS, etc.) at www.inspection.gc.ca.
If you suspect that you may have a food-borne illness, consult with your physician as soon as possible. Symptoms of food-borne illness can include: stomach cramps, diarrhea (possibly bloody), fever, nausea and or vomiting.
For more information on these food safety tips, contact the Environmental Health Division at 705-522-9200, ext. 464 or visit www.sdhu.com.

 

Food Safety Microbiology 2 days
Los Angeles, CA
March 20-21

How to Break a Foodborne Illness Story
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/lawyer-oped/how-to-break-a-foodborne-illness-story/
By Bill Marler (Jan 4, 2014)
Daily, weekly, monthly and yearly, people get sick from eating food. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that at least 48 million of us get sick each year, with 125,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.
Many of those sickened are the “canaries in the coal mine” – people who are the first to become ill in an outbreak.
Promptly, but accurately, announcing early illnesses and the cause of those illnesses can help prevent more illnesses from happening. Letting consumers know what products are poisoning them helps the free market work. Simply put, transparency allows consumers to make decisions about what products to avoid based on which manufacturers and products have a history of problems.
But, how, when, or if ever public health officials announce outbreaks and recalls remains a mystery to many reporters who cover food-related pathogen outbreaks.
After practicing in this area for more than 20 years – yes, it has been more than 20 years since the Jack in the Box E. coli O157:H7 outbreak – I think I have learned a few things about how the foodborne illness surveillance system operates and how to get information to consumers that allows them to protect themselves and their families and to make better choices about the food they choose to buy.
Bugs are now reportable.
In November 1992, there was an ominous uptick of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses in the San Diego area. Ultimately, by the end of December of that year, there would be at least 40 sickened and a child dead. However, since E. coli O157:H7 infections were not reportable at the time, no one knew the cause of the outbreak, and the same tainted meat served at San Diego-area Jack in the Box restaurants was shipped to other Jack in the Box restaurants in the Western U.S., eventually sickening several hundred and killing three more children.
That outbreak launched both a legal career and mandatory reporting of the most common foodborne pathogens: E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria and Shigella, to name a few.
Foodborne surveillance operates, but a bit slowly.
Think of the foodborne illness surveillance system as a large funnel. At the opening on top are all of us who eat food and get sick, and at the very bottom are those who get diagnosed, reported and linked to others so that the events become an outbreak.
One thing to remember is that, for every person who gets counted as part of an outbreak, sometimes dozens of others are actually sick, but remain undiagnosed and therefore uncounted. Here are some startling statistics: for every one E. coli O157:H7 case counted in an outbreak, 26.1 go undiagnosed; for Salmonella, that ratio is 1:29.3; for Campylobacter, it is 1:30.3; for Listeria, it is 1:2.1, and for Shigella, it is 1:33.3. That amounts to a lot of uncounted ill people.
If you are uncounted, no one asks you what you ate or drank or when. 
First, why do sick people remain uncounted? Well, in order to be counted, you need to be stool-culture positive for a reportable pathogen.
If you are not sick enough to go to the doctor, you do not get counted.
If the doctor does not order a stool culture, you do not get counted.
If you do not test positive for a reportable pathogen due to lack of testing, there is no reporting requirement.
If you are not counted, your local health department will never call you to ask what made you ill.
Without that intervention, whatever made you sick may well remain on the market to sicken others.
Hint No. 1:
Ask your local, state and national health authorities frequently about unusual upticks in reportable illnesses.
When a stool culture returns positive for a reportable illness, that lab is required to contact the local health department in the location where the ill person lives. The length of time it takes for a positive culture to be reported can vary widely, location to location, state to state, potentially slowing the process of local health authorities even beginning an investigation.
Often a state’s Department of Health will become involved. The stool culture isolate will be provided to the state’s lab, which may perform Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE), or genetic fingerprinting. The genetic fingerprinting allows for comparison between individual isolates (that may also include food samples). PFGE, along with good epidemiology, may well begin the process of finding connections between people and the food they consumed.
Again, this takes time, and time that keeps potentially tainted products on store shelves or allows a bad manufacturing process is continuing to sicken customers.
Hint No. 2:
CDC is important, but most of the real investigation happens at the state and local level.
If a PFGE is performed at the state lab, the digital image (it looks like the bar code on the back of a cereal box) is uploaded to CDC’s PulseNet. PulseNet, along with CDC’s OutbreakNet, are potentially seeing these uploads from a variety of states. If the PFGE patterns are “indistinguishable,” and if patients can be linked in time and by a product, there is likely a multi-state outbreak occurring.
Remember, CDC is compiling the information from the states that are supplying the information. They are leaders among equals, but they are only as good as the information they receive. Again, each state has its own interests and time constraints. These either enhance or detract from the ability of a state public health agency or CDC to move more or less promptly on a potential foodborne illness outbreak.
Once local, state and national health authorities determine that an outbreak is happening, or has happened, what next – Part One?
Here is where transparency may get a bit tricky. My bias is full disclosure, but only after it is clear which product or manufacturer is the likely source of the contamination. In my view, once a public health official determines the likely cause of an outbreak, transparency demands that the public be notified.
At this point, there are no legitimate reasons for nondisclosure, only excuses. That the business may lose business is not a reason. That the product is no longer out in the market is not a reason. The public has a right to know – period.
Hint No. 3:
If a health official refuses to name “nationwide fast-food Mexican restaurant A,” ask them under what legal authority they are making that decision. If they continue to refuse, file a Freedom of Information Act request and do not back down.
Once local, state and national health authorities determine that an outbreak is or has happened, what next – Part Two?
Traceback – once a product has been identified as the source of illnesses, a potentially complex agency process begins. Side note: the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is generally in charge of all meat – cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys and lamb. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deals with fish (except catfish; FSIS does that), dairy and all other food items. FDA now also does eggs. There is joint jurisdiction on meat pizzas with cheese.
Depending on the food involved, FSIS or FDA (sometimes both) will take the outbreak information from CDC and/or state health officials and attempt to trace the outbreak to the source or “root cause.” The idea is to both stop the outbreak and to learn the cause to prevent the next outbreak. Again, transparency becomes paramount. Of course, state Departments of Agriculture will be involved in partnership with FSIS and FDA as “boots on the ground.”
If the outbreak is local in nature – a local restaurant or church picnic, for example – CDC, FSIS or FDA may never be involved. Local health and environment health professionals will likely do all the real work.
Food that causes an outbreak seldom tests positive for the pathogen that caused the outbreak.
Simply put, the victims ate the evidence. That is why they became ill and why leftovers did not test positive for the same pathogen. Although there have been some successes – the spinach E. coli outbreak of 2006 and the peanut butter Salmonella outbreak of 2009 – most often there is no food left over to test.
Even if there is food from the same lot available to test, pathogens are not uniformly spread throughout a lot, or, by the time food is tested, other bacteria may have out-competed the pathogens.
Bottom line, even without a positive food sample, the good work of epidemiologists can link people locally, nationally and even internationally to a common pathogen and the food on which it hooked a ride.
Hint No. 4: 
Develop relationships with local, state and national public health and environmental officials. Do the same with people at FSIS, FDA, CDC and state Departments of Agriculture. Help them tell the story about how important what they do is to the health of the public.
Hint No. 5:
Develop relationships with reporters who know what they are doing. Talk to the good people at Food Safety News, Lynne Terry of The Oregonian, JoNel Aleccia at NBC and Elizabeth Weise of USA Today. Spend a few moments with the experts.

Chinese Wal-Marts Recall Donkey Meat for Containing Fox DNA
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/01/chinese-wal-mart-recalls-donkey-meat-for-containing-fox/
By News Desk (Jan 3, 2014)
The Chinese branch of Wal-Mart super stores is issuing a recall of donkey meat products after some of it was found to contain fox DNA.
The “five spice” donkey meat is considered a delicacy in parts of China. Fox meat is not – but it is cheap, as foxes are commonly bred in China for their fur.
Someone from the supplier’s factory has already been detained on suspicion of fraud, according to news reports.
China is no stranger to food controversies, including a 2008 scandal involving milk and infant formula tainted with melamine that sickened an estimated 300,000 people, including 54,000 hospitalized babies.
Wal-Mart’s Chinese stores have also earned some notoriety stateside for allegedly carrying products of questionable food safety quality, including raw meat available to grab with bare hands, sets of ribs sitting in the open air, and live frogs and turtles.
Wal-Mart has more than 400 stores in China.

Salmonella Stanley Sickens Several
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/salmonella-stanley-sickens-several/
By Bill Marler (Jan 3, 2014)
The CDC reports a total of 14 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Stanley have been reported from three states.
Most of the ill people have been reported from California (85%).
The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: California (12), Nevada (1), and Wyoming (1).
One ill person identified in Utah likely acquired their infection during international travel and was excluded from the case count.
25% of ill persons have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
Collaborative investigative efforts of state, local, and federal public health and regulatory agencies indicate that raw cashew cheese produced by The Cultured Kitchen of West Sacramento, California is the likely source of this outbreak.

Petting Zoo E. coli Outbreaks in 2013
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/petting-zoo-e-coli-outbreaks-in-2013/
By Carla Gillespie (Jan 2, 2014)
Petting zoos and other live animal exhibits can be the source of E.coli poisoning which can cause serious, sometimes life-ending illness for children. In 2013, at least two E.coli outbreaks were associated with petting zoos. Six children contracted E.coli infections, three of them developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication of E.coli infections in children that leads to kidney failure.
A September E. coli outbreak sickened three children in Kentucky and Indiana who had visited Huber’s Orchard, Winery and Vineyards in Starlight, IN prior to becoming ill. All three children were hospitalized and DNA “fingerprinting” tests showed they were all sickened by the same strain of E.coli. Tests on environmental samples from Huber’s did not yield positives of the outbreak strain.
In October, three children who visited Dehn’s Pumpkins in Dayton, MN got E. coli poisoning. They ranged in age from 15 months to 7 years old.
“Petting zoos are a well-recognized source of E. coli poisoning and have been implicated in several outbreaks in recent years,” said Fred Pritzker, publisher of Food Poisoning Bulletin and food safety attorney who has represented families who children have been sickened and died from E.coli complications after visiting petting zoos. “Not enough is being done to prevent these severe injuries to children.”
After attending the petting zoo at the the 2012 Cleveland County Fair in North Carolina, 106 people became ill, most of them were children, one of whom died. In 2013, organizers of that fair and others, such as the Stearns County Fair in Minnesota, decided against having a petting zoo because the risk involved is so great.
Recent E.coli outbreaks at petting zoos or animal exhibits include: a 2011 outbreak at the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh that sickened 25 people, four of whom developed hemolytic uremic syndrome. A 2004 outbreak, also linked to the North Carolina State Fair petting zoo, that sickened 187 people 15 of whom developed HUS. The 2011 Fond du Lac County Fair in Wisconsin where an 18-month old was hospitalized with an E. coli infection after attending the fair. An outbreak at the 2011 Hendricks County Fair in Indiana where a five-year-old girl died of an E. coli infection after attending the fair. The 2010 Northwestern Michigan Fair where three children who attended the fair contracted E. coli poisoning . And the 2010 Rush County Fair in Indiana where a four-year-old girl was hospitalized with HUS after attending the fair.

USDA Wants You to Make Resolutions for a Safer 2014
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/usda-wants-you-to-make-resolutions-for-a-safer-2014/
By Linda Larsen (Jan 2, 2014)
The USDA is offering advice to help consumers make 2014 a safe year for food. More than 48,000,000 Americans get food poisoning every year. Although outbreaks get a lot of attention, that only accounts for about 2,000 illnesses each year. The rest are simply from people improperly handling food. Of those millions who get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 Americans die every year from foodborne illness.
Follow four basic steps when preparing food to greatly reduce your risk of getting sick with a foodborne illness. They are: clean, separate, cook, and chill.
Always wash your hands after using the bathroom, after contact with animals and pets, after changing a diaper, and after coughing, sneezing, and nose wiping. Wash your hands before handling food. Wash utensils, cutting boards, and countertops with soap and hot water. And wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating and preparing.
Keep raw meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood, along with their juices, away from other foods. Separate these foods from each other starting in the shopping cart at the store. Place raw meats in plastic bags to keep them away from foods to be eaten raw. Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry, and seafood. And don’t ever use a plate that held raw meat for serving cooked meat.
Always use a food thermometer when you cook. Color and texture are not reliable indicators of safety. Heat kills pathogenic bacteria. Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb, and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees F. Let the meat rest for three minutes before carving. Cook all raw ground meats to 160 degrees F. Cook all poultry to 165 degrees F.
After each meal, chill foods promptly. Don’t let any cooked or perishable food sit at room temperature longer than 2 hours; 1 hour if the ambient temperature is above 90 degrees F. Make sure that your fridge is set to 40 degrees F or below and the freezer to 0 degrees F or below. Thaw frozen foods in the fridge, in cold water, or in the microwave, but if you choose this last method, cook the food immediately.

New Norovirus Strain Effects and Significance
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/new-norovirus-strain-effects-and-significance/
By Linda Larsen (Jan 1, 2014)
Last year at this time we told you about a new strain of norovirus, called GII.4 Sydney that the CDC was tracking. Last week, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services issued a warning about an outbreak in that state.
The CDC has been studying this new strain. They now have information and statistics on the strain, and have analyzed data from outbreaks in five states.
Since norovirus is the most common cause of gastroenteritis worldwide, and is often transmitted through contaminated food and drink, the discovery of this new strain is important. Norovirus causes 20 million illnesses every year in the U.S., causing 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths. Very few Americans have resistance to this strain. This new emerging strain has caused acute gastroenteritis outbreaks in New Zealand, Japan, Western Europe, and Canada.
A total of 637 norovirus outbreaks were reported in Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, and Wisconsin from August 1, 2012 to April 16, 2013. Sequence data were available for 358 of those outbreaks. Those outbreaks were more likely to have the transmission mode as foodborne; most occur at restaurants. The proportion of outbreaks attributed to GIII.4 Sydney strain increased from 8% in September 2012 to 82% in March 2013. In December 2012, GII.4 Sydney became the predominant strain.
Public health officials are concerned about an increase in incidence and severity of norovirus outbreaks. This has not happened yet. More outbreaks attributed to the GII.4 Sydney strain occurred in healthcare-related settings. The virus disproportionally affects older persons. Most patients have diarrheal illness and are less likely to have vomiting, fever, and abdominal cramps.
To prevent the spread of norovirus, clean up vomit and diarrhea immediately and sanitize the area with a diluted bleach solution, since most disinfectants are not effective against the virus. Do not prepare or serve food for others while you are sick and for at least 48 hours after you are better. Wash your hands well after using the bathroom and changing diapers and before you prepare and eat food.

Three Salmonella Outbreaks From Animal Contact in 2013
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2014/three-salmonella-outbreaks-from-animal-contact-in-2013/
By Carla Gillespie (Jan 1, 2014)
Three multi-state Salmonella outbreaks were linked to contact with live animals in 2013, two from live chicks and one from illegal pet turtles. A total of 987 people were sickened in these three outbreaks, most of them were children.
The outbreak associated with pet turtles sickened 473 people in 41 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) described the outbreak as a series of overlapping outbreaks that began in May 2011 and ended October 2013.
Seventy percent of those sickened were 10 years old or younger, 31 percent were 1 year old or younger. Forty four percent of the case patients were of Hispanic ethnicity. About 29 percent were of those sickened required hospitalization, no deaths were reported.
By state, the case count was as follows: Alabama (4), Alaska (2), Arizona (27), Arkansas (4), California (106), Colorado (6), Connecticut (1), Delaware (4), Florida (1), Georgia (10), Illinois (10), Indiana (1), Kansas (2), Kentucky (3), Louisiana (5), Maine (1), Maryland (17), Massachusetts (12), Michigan (5), Minnesota (1), Mississippi (4), Missouri (4), Nevada (11), New Jersey (26), New Mexico (15), New York (55), North Carolina (3), Ohio (6), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (34), Puerto Rico (1), Rhode Island (1), South Carolina (17), South Dakota (1), Tennessee (7), Texas (45), Utah (1), Vermont (1), Virginia (5), Washington (5), Washington, D.C. (3), Wisconsin (2) and West Virginia (3).
Children are among those who at particular risk when it comes to Salmonella infection, which is why the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the sale and distribution of small turtles as pets in 1975. Turtles with shells shorter four inches are illegal to own.
The FDA and state public health and agriculture agencies traced the origin of the illegal turtles sold in Florida shops to two turtle farms in Louisiana.  The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry issued  these farms cease and desist orders in March 2013, so they are no longer selling turtles with a shell length of less than four inches domestically. The source of turtles in other outbreaks could not be identified because many were sold by street vendors.
In the first outbreak associated with live poultry, 158 people were sickened by one of four outbreak strains: Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Lille, Salmonella Newport, or Salmonella Mbandaka. Illnesses from contact with live chicks or ducks were reported from 30 states, 41 percent of those sickened were children 10 years of age or younger. Twenty nine people were hospitalized.Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback investigations linked the outbreak to Mt. Healthy Hatcheries in Ohio.
In the second outbreak, 356 people in 39 states were sickened, 62 were hospitalized. About 57 percent of those sickened were children 10 years of age or younger.
Traceback investigations identified 18 mail-order hatcheries that supplied poultry to feed stores where the poultry was purchased. Privett Hatchery in Portales, New Mexico was identified as a major source of poultry linked to this outbreak.
Mail-order hatcheries, agricultural feed stores, and other companies that sell live poultry should provide health-related information to owners and potential buyers, including information about the risk of Salmonella.  Anyone handling live poultry, or anything in the area where they live and roam, should wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right afterwards. Live poultry should not be allowed  inside the house.

Lexington North Carolina Tyro Middle School – Two With E. coli O157:H7
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/lexington-north-carolina-tyro-middle-school-two-with-e-coli-o157h7/
By Bill Marler (Jan 1, 2014)
Dear Parents,
The Davidson County Health Department has received reports of two Tyro Middle School students with E. coli 0157 infection. The source in these cases is unknown at this time. We would like to make parents and students aware of the symptoms of E. coli 0157 infection.
Symptoms may include: • Acute diarrhea, including bloody diarrhea • Vomiting • Severe Abdominal cramps • Low-grade fever
If your child or an adult in the family has the symptoms listed above, please contact your medical provider and share the information in this notification with them.
Some people sickened by E. coli may develop severe complications, including kidney failure. Young children, the elderly and people with other medical conditions are most at risk.
Early medical treatment can help minimize the severity, so it is essential that people with E. coli infection receive early medical attention. A person who is ill with E. coli infection may transmit the disease to others. The best way to prevent transmission is to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after handling foods, before eating and after using the toilet and changing diapers.
If you have any general questions or concerns, you may call the Davidson County Health Department at (336) 236-3096 between the hours of 10:00AM and 2:00PM Saturday, December 28, 2013. After 2:00PM, please call (336) 242-2300, select the #8 prompt to leave a message and someone will call you back.
More information on E. coli can be found at the following websites:
http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/general/index.html http://epi.publichealth.nc.gov/cd/diseases/ecoli.html
Sincerely,
Debbie Hill, Principal

California Links Salmonella to Cashew Cheese
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/california-links-salmonella-to-cashew-cheese/
By Bill Marler (Dec 31, 2013)
California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Health Officer Dr. Ron Chapman today warned people not to eat cashew cheese products manufactured by The Cultured Kitchen because they may be contaminated with Salmonella. Fifteen cases of illnesses have been reported in the Western United States, with twelve of the cases occurring in California. Three patients have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported.
The Cultured Kitchen of West Sacramento, California has initiated a voluntary recall of all flavors of its cashew cheese products with expiration dates on or before April 19, 2014, due to the risk of contamination with Salmonella. The products were sold in natural food stores throughout Northern California and Northern Nevada, and at farmers markets in Sacramento County.
The cashew cheese products were sold in eight-ounce plastic containers in the following flavors: Herb, smoked cheddar, pepper jack, habanero cilantro lime, basil pesto and white cheddar.
While the cashew cheese products are no longer being sold at retail facilities, CDPH is concerned that consumers may still have some of these products in their homes.

Food safety in 2013: Year of the chicken
Source : http://www.oregonlive.com/health/index.ssf/2013/12/food_safety_in_2013_year_of_th.html
By Lynne Terry (Dec 30, 2013)
Call it the year of the chicken for food safety.
Salmonella-tainted poultry surged into headlines across the country in 2013, swirling around two outbreaks traced to Foster Farms. The first one started in the summer of 2012, sickening at least 134 people, mainly in Oregon and Washington.  As as that outbreak was dying down this past spring, another was ramping up which so far has made at least 416 people ill, mainly in California.
Those two outbreaks drew public attention to the persistent salmonella problem in the United States, where an estimated 1 million people suffer food poisoning every year after eating food tainted with the bacteria. Nearly 20 percent of those cases are caused by contaminated poultry, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
After a call for action from consumer groups for several years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a crackdown on salmonella earlier this month. The plan will include limits on allowable salmonella on chicken parts, requirements that companies develop methods to limit contamination and controversial, new inspection procedures.
Many consumer groups fear the new procedures will amount to a deregulation of sorts. They’re also unhappy that the USDA’s salmonella plan does not address ways to fight antibiotic resistant strains, which pose a major health threat. 
Salmonella also played a starring role in a Food and Drug Administration report in October on spices. The report showed that 12 percent of imported are contaminated with insect parts, rodent hairs, animal feces and other debris like twigs, plastic and rubber bands. Nearly 7 percent of the tests turned up salmonella.
In other food safety news this past year: Oregon's food safety pioneer, William Keene, died Dec. 1 after a short illness at the age of 56. Keene transformed food safety investigations nationwide, developing methods that enable epidemiologists to pinpoint the cause of an outbreak days, even weeks sooner. Brilliant, dogged and quirky, his death was mourned by hundreds of people from coast-to-coast. Though he worked largely out of the limelight, his persistence saved illnesses and lives.
Reser's Fine Foods of Beaverton issued a massive recall of listeria-tainted prepared salads and other food in October, then expanded the recall in November. The items were made at the company's Kansas plant.
In September, Chobani grappled with complaints over its popular Greek-style yogurt. The New York-based company initially denied it had a problem with bloated and fizzing containers, asking consumers to contact it directly via a form on its website. But the complaints kept coming, with more than 200 reporting illnesses to the FDA.
Chobani finally pulled its yogurt from shelves. It hired a public relations firm to do damage control. 
And finally in May, a hepatitis A outbreak was traced to a berry blend processed by Townsend Farms in Fairview. The outbread sickened at least 162 people in 10 states. Costco, where much of the product was sold, offered free hepatitis A shots to members.

Davidson County North Carolina E. coli Outbreak Reports Three Ill
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/davidson-county-north-carolina-e-coli-outbreak-reports-three/
By Bill Marler (Dec 30, 2013)
The Davidson County Health Department is investigating reports of illness in three children likely due to E. coli infection, the agency said this afternoon.
Two Tyro Middle School students have been hospitalized with recent bouts of severe bloody diarrhea. A case of E. coli has been identified in a third child who hasn’t been hospitalized and doesn’t attend the same school as the Tyro students, the Health Department says.
“We are asking anyone in the community who has been sick during the month of December with severe or bloody diarrhea to please call the Davidson County Health Department at (336) 242-2300. If you are still sick, please seek medical care.” said Monecia Thomas, the Davidson County Health Department health director.
E. coli are naturally occurring bacteria that normally live in the intestines of people and animals. While most E. coli are harmless, some produce Shiga toxin.
Shiga toxin-producing E. coli are found in animals, especially ruminant livestock, such as sheep, deer, goats and cows. Transmission can occur following contact with these animals or their feces or following consumption of undercooked meats or unpasteurized foods or drinks, according to the Health Department.
Symptoms of E. coli include:
• Severe abdominal cramps
• Acute diarrhea, including bloody diarrhea
• Vomiting
• Low-grade fever
• A type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome
Early medical attention can help minimize the severity on an E. coli infection.
A person who is ill with E.coli infection may transmit the disease to others. The best way to prevent transmission is to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before handling foods, before eating, after using the toilet, after changing diapers and after helping a person who has symptoms of the disease.

 

 

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