Hotter summer temperatures put food safety at risk
Source : http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/hotter-summer-temperatures-put-food-safety-at-risk-1.1893053
By Karen Thomas (June 7, 2015)
Warmer temperatures during the summer increase the likelihood for food safety issues. Typically, food can remain at room temperature for no more than two hours — including preparation, storage and serving time — without a heat or cold source. If the outdoor temperature reached 90 F or higher, however, perishable food can safely remain at room temperature for just one hour.
• Food safety begins at the grocery store. Shop the inner aisles first where nonperishable foods are located, then sweep the perimeter just before checking out to pick up perishable items like meats, dairy products and frozen foods so they stay cold longer.
• Put raw meat and fresh produce in separate plastic storage bags the store provides before placing them in your cart. This will help prevent cross-contaminating fresh produce with juices from the raw meat. Also, do not buy meat or poultry that has a tear in the package or is leaking. Keep raw meat separated from ready-to-eat foods like grapes, lettuce and store-made sandwiches in your cart as another precaution against contamination.
• Do not buy food past the “sell by” or “use by” dates. Also do not buy canned foods if the cans are dented, leaking, bulging or rusting. Dented or bulging cans may be a warning sign that botulism is present, while a sharp dent may damage the can’s seam and allow bacteria to enter.
• When checking out, place fresh or frozen raw meat, poultry and fish in different shopping bags from fresh produce and other ready-to-eat foods. If you use reusable cloth bags, wash them frequently, especially after carrying fresh produce, meat, poultry or fish. Some reusable grocery bags may not be machine washable, so clean them by hand frequently with hot, soapy water.
• Place bags in your air-conditioned car or trunk to keep them out of direct sunlight. Consider keeping a cooler and ice packs in your trunk to help keep the perishable foods cold.
• Avoid running other errands after purchasing your groceries. Make the supermarket your last stop before going home.
• At home, store the perishable foods first. Keep raw meat in the plastic storage bags and separate from other cooked or ready-to-eat foods in the refrigerator. After putting away your groceries, clean the areas where you placed your bags while unbagging your food, especially the kitchen counter and the kitchen table.
KAREN THOMAS is a family and consumer sciences educator for Penn State Extension in Lackawanna County.
Raw Milk is a Risky Elixir
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-information/raw-milk-is-a-risky-elixir/#.VXTyD9iJjs1
By Bill Marler (June 7, 2015)
There seems to be no middle ground in the debate over raw milk. On the one side, you have farmers happy to sell a product for $10 to $18 a gallon, and consumers who believe that they are purchasing a product that is not only more healthful but will also cure everything from allergies to autism. On the other side, you have public health officials defending the time-tested benefits of pasteurization as a way to make milk safe to consume. I posted some time ago the Legal History of Raw Milk.
But even though the argument appears to have two sides, the reality is as simple as it is undeniable: raw milk is seriously risky, and should be consumed, if at all, with extreme caution. Children, the elderly or those with compromised immunity, should not consume raw milk – period! If you are a healthy adult, go ahead and flip a coin, but do not feed it to your kids.
Over the last several years I have tried to bring some level of rationality to the debate over the consumption of raw milk. I first published on my blog a summary of the findings of a review of peer-reviewed literature on the topic of the “pros” of the consumption of raw milk. Most alleged benefits were anecdotal, with a reduction in allergies as the only scientific observation. I then posted about the “cons.” The overwhelming “con” of drinking raw milk, according to the scientific literature, relates to the serious risk of infection, and the injury, disability, and death that result.
In trying to base the debate over the pros and cons of raw milk more firmly on facts, and not anecdote and emotion, I have found that the most instructive thing that I can do is to remind debate-participants of “real world” effects that drinking raw milk can cause. For example:
Chris Martin, then age seven, developed an E. coli O157:H7 infection in September 2006 following consumption of raw milk. He was hospitalized beginning September, suffering from severe gastrointestinal symptoms. Shortly thereafter, he developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). In an effort to properly treat his rapidly deteriorating condition, Chris was moved to multiple medical facilities, twice by life-flight. His HUS was remarkably severe, marked by prolonged renal failure, pancreatitis, and severe cardiac involvement. He required 18 days of renal replacement therapy. On two occasions his cardiac problems became so severe that he was placed on a ventilator. At several junctures, the possibility that he might not survive was very real. Ultimately he was hospitalized through November, after incurring over $550,000 in medical bills. Renal experts have opined that Chris is likely to develop severe renal complications in the future. These complications include end stage renal disease (ESRD) and kidney transplant.
Mari Tardiff was one of those sickened in the June 2008 outbreak of Campylobacter connected to raw milk. As a result of her Campylobacter infection, Mari developed Guillain Barré syndrome, or GBS, a potentially fatal inflammatory disorder. By the time she was hospitalized in mid June, Mari was essentially paralyzed. Mari was intubated and placed on mechanical ventilation. For weeks on end, Mari’s condition remained unchanged. She was heavily sedated, unable to move, and entirely dependent on mechanical ventilation for survival. In August, there were indications of slight improvement, and the very slow process of weaning Mari off mechanical ventilation began. At the outset, it was not clear that the process was successful. Through incredible effort on Mari’s part, she was fully weaned off mechanical ventilation by August, and discharged to a rehabilitation facility. She spent more than two months at the rehabilitation facility diligently attempting to re-acquire the ability to speak, breathe, and move her arms and legs on her own. She was discharged home in November, still in need of essentially 24-hour care. Since that time, she has worked every day toward achieving her goal, as yet unreached, of walking again. Medical expenses to date exceed $1,000,000.
Nicole Riggs developed an E. coli O157:H7 infection in May 2008 from consumption of raw goat’s milk. She was nine years old at the time. Nicole suffered from symptoms typical of E. coli O157:H7 infections – bloody diarrhea, cramping, and nausea – that quickly intensified and led to her hospitalization. Once hospitalized, Nicole developed renal failure, anemia, and thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) indicating that she was developing HUS. She was transferred to a Children’s hospital and started on dialysis in order to save her life. She received dialysis for 18 days. Nicole’s renal function slowly returned to the point that she was deemed healthy enough for discharge on June 1. After discharge, she remained under the care of a nephrologist. In addition, damage suffered during her HUS has required that her gall bladder be removed. Medical costs to this point exceed $180,000. As the result of damage to her kidneys suffered during her bout with HUS, Nicole is at significant risk for severe renal complications in the future.
I certainly understand the desire of a farmer to sell a highly profitable product, just as I can understand the desire of consumers to make up their own minds about drinking raw milk. But farmers and consumers need to be fully informed, and the risks need to be fully understood. Because of the debate and the risks, I helped fund the building of Real Raw Milk Facts as a place where the pro’s and con’s of raw milk production and consumptions can be discussed against the background of scientific facts.
Bottom line, be informed – See Parent’s Food Safety Guide for Raw Milk.
Raw Milk Farmer Points Out Great Reason to Avoid Raw Milk
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/raw-milk-farmer-points-out-great-reason-to-avoid-raw-milk/
By Carla Gillespie (June 6, 2015)
Raw goat milk produced by Claravale Farms in San Benito County has been linked to a Campylobacter outbreak that has sickened three small children, hospitalizing one of them. The outbreak follows to previous recalls for Campylobacter in raw dairy products from the farm, one in April 2105 and one in April 2012.
The farm’s website does not mention the current outbreak. But it does have news updates about the April recall. One of them states: “We have been cleared by the CDFA to sell milk again and are now back in the stores and farmers markets. Our problem turned out to be a single cow with Campylobacter living in the milk in her udder… So what these results mean is that the problem was in no way connected to our milking or processing procedures or our cleanliness standards or any other dairy management issue.”
Public health officials are often the ones to make the point that unpasteurized milk can harbor dangerous bacteria no matter how clean the barn is or what processing procedures were used. But here it is from a raw milk farmer, sometimes animals that don’t look sick can have infections and produce milk that isn’t safe to drink.
Children are disproportionately affected by raw milk outbreaks and this one is no exception. Symptoms of an infection include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever. For some people, the infections can become life-threatening. Others may develop long-term complications such as reactive arthritis which causes joint pain and swelling after infection or Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a condition that causes weakness and paralysis which can occur several weeks after the initial illness.
Staphylococcus aureus Cause of Salt Lake City Homeless Shelter Outbreak
By Bill Marler (June 6, 2015)
55 men, women and children have shown symptoms that include vomiting and severe stomach pains.
The Salt Lake County Health Department (SLCoHD) has determined that a food item served Sunday night at the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall contained Staphylococcal enterotoxin, a common cause of foodborne illness that produces symptoms consistent with those reported by the affected individuals.
The toxin is caused by Staphylococcus aureus, common bacteria found on the skin that does not usually cause illness—unless it is introduced into improperly heated or cooled food. Staph bacteria are most often introduced into food when food handlers touch food with their bare hands. If that food is within the “food danger zone” of 40°F to 140°F, the bacteria can then grow and produce the toxin.
“This is an important reminder to anyone who prepares food—either commercially or at home—that hand washing, avoiding bare-hand contact with food, and keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold are all essential to preventing illness,” said Andrea Gamble, SLCoHD environmental health scientist.
“This incident at St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall appears to be an isolated food handling error,” said Gamble. “Unfortunately, a single lapse in temperature controls or food-contact protocols can cause problems.“
It is relatively rare to identify the specific organism that caused a foodborne illness outbreak. Health department epidemiologists and environmental health scientists began work late Sunday night to interview those affected and to inspect various kitchens and food items identified by those ill. The Utah Public Health Lab ultimately isolated the staph toxin from a food sample late Thursday night.
“It doesn’t really matter which specific organism caused this unfortunate illness,” continued Gamble. “Whether it had been salmonella, norovirus, or staph—the important message is that proper food handling will help prevent them all.”
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CDC: Arizona Finds Two Types of Salmonella in Imported Tuna
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/06/cdc-update-arizona-tests-find-two-types-of-salmonella-in-imported-ground-tuna/#.VXTxCtiJjs1
By Cathy Siegner (June 5, 2015)
California firm recalls ground frozen yellowfin tuna
In an investigation update posted Friday, June 5, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that unopened frozen ground tuna products tested by the Arizona State Public Health Laboratory, working with the Maricopa County (Phoenix) Environmental Services Department, had found Salmonella Newport in one sample and Salmonella Weltevreden in another sample.
The unopened frozen ground tuna products represented two different lots of product imported from Indonesia by Osamu Corporation of Gardena, CA, CDC stated. On May 27, Osamu Corporation recalled the two lots of ground frozen yellowfin tuna imported from Indonesia and distributed in California and Arizona due to possible Salmonella contamination.
The company’s recall announcement includes a seven-page retail distribution list of restaurants and sushi bars in California where the recalled product had been distributed. CDC is advising restaurants and retailers not to sell or serve the recalled ground frozen yellowfin tuna imported from Indonesia by Osamu Corporation.
However, CDC stated that a search of the PulseNet database did not identify any known human illnesses linked to the tuna recall. State health departments continue to test samples of raw tuna products, but the strain of Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) (formally known as Salmonella Java) linked to the outbreak has not been identified.
Friday’s CDC update stated that as, as of June 4, a total of 53 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) have been reported from nine states. Ten of those people have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.
The reported cases are in Arizona (10), California (31), Illinois (1), Mississippi (1), New Mexico (6), South Dakota (1), Virginia (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (1). Most of those sickened in the outbreak reported eating sushi made with raw tuna in the week before becoming ill, CDC noted.
CDC case count map sushi Salmonella outbreak
Persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+), by state of residence, as of May 21, 2015 (n=53).
The illness caused by this bacteria typically includes diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12-72 hours after an exposure, CDC stated, adding that Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) does not cause paratyphoid fever, enteric fever, or typhoid fever.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports it has increased its monitoring of tuna, according to the CDC update. Additionally, FDA is conducting a traceback investigation and is evaluating and analyzing records to determine whether there is a common source of raw tuna linked to the outbreak.
CDC, along with and state and local public health partners, is continuing laboratory surveillance through PulseNet to identify additional ill people and to interview them about foods they ate before they became ill.
CDC also stated that people at higher risk for serious foodborne illness, such as children younger than 5, adults older than 65, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems, should not eat any raw fish or raw shellfish, regardless of an ongoing outbreak.
EU food safety watchdog issues cancer warning on acrylamide
Source : http://www.euractiv.com/sections/agriculture-food/eu-food-safety-watchdog-issues-cancer-warning-acrylamide-315130
By euractiv.com (June 05, 2015)
Experts from the European Food Safey Authority (EFSA) have confirmed previous conclusions that acrylamide, a chemical substance formed when heating foods like potato chips, barbecued meat, and bread, potentially increases the risk of developing cancer.
EFSA's Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM) said it stood by a draft opinion, published in July last year, which concluded on an increased risk of cancer caused by acrylamide.
Over the past year, EFSA held a public consultation to improve its scientific opinion on acrylomide, but left its conclusions unchanged, the agency announced on Thursday (4 June).
The risk applies to all age groups, EFSA said in a statement.
Baking and roasting
Acrylamide is a chemical compound that typically forms in food products such as potato crisps, chips, bread, biscuits and coffee, during high-temperature processing (above 120°), including frying, baking and roasting.
Acrylamide has previously been linked to cancer. In 2002, Swedish researchers found the compound by coincidence, and had a strong suspicion that acrylamide was a carcinogenic agent.
“The public consultation helped us to fine-tune the scientific opinion. In particular, we have further clarified our evaluation of studies on the effects of acrylamide in humans and our description of the main food sources of acrylamide for consumers. Also, recent studies that we became aware of during the public consultation phase have been integrated into the final scientific opinion,” said Diane Benford, Chair of the CONTAM panel.
FoodDrinkEurope, a trade association, noted that the levels of acrylamide found in different products are dependent upon a wide-range of factors, but recognises the importance of reducing acrylamide wherever possible.
For more than a decade, industrial food producers have tried to reduce acrylamide in their products and have developed a toolbox in collaboration with the European Commission and EU member states as well as a code of practice and guidance for SMEs.
"These actions have successfully reduced acrylamide levels in a number of foods," FoodDrinkEurope told EurActiv.
Individual food companies have also contributed to EFSA’s call for data by providing some 40,000 samples from various food products to ensure the broadest possible survey.
"Europe’s food and drink manufacturers continue to invest significant resources to address the issue of acrylamide, particularly through education, participation in crop research programmes and the introduction of new food processing procedures and technologies," the industry group added.
No other harmful effects
Apart from cancer, EFSA also considered other possible harmful effects of acrylamide, for example the nervous system. But the effects were not considered to be a concern, based on current levels of dietary exposure, the agency said.
The EU's food safety agency will now advise and inform EU and national decision-makers on how to reduce consumer exposure to acrylamide in food. Reccomendations might include advice on eating habits and home cooking, or controls on commercial food production.
Washington E. Coli Outbreak: Fairgrounds Dairy Barn was ‘Likely Source’ of Contamination
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/06/washington-e-coli-outbreak-fairgrounds-dairy-barn-was-likely-source-of-contamination/#.VXUPFtiJjs1
By Cathy Siegner (June 4, 2015)
A Final Investigation Summary released Wednesday by the Whatcom County Health Department in Bellingham, WA, indicates that the source of the recent Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 outbreak, which sickened 25 people and hospitalized 10 of them, was probably the Dairy Barn at the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds in Lynden, WA.
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-dairy-cows-feeding-stable-eating-image52152472All of those who became ill either attended the Milk Makers Fest held April 21-23 at the fairgrounds, helped to set up and/or during the event, or were close contacts of people associated with the event. However, the summary notes that the E. coli contamination “most likely occurred” before the Milk Makers Fest.
Most of those sickened were children, including older ones who helped with the dairy festival. More than 1,000 children from elementary schools in the area attended the Milk Makers Fest.
(The investigation summary also includes information on the final case counts, epidemiologic investigation findings, recommendations for event organizers, and recommendations for the public, which is provided below.)
The investigative team, including county health officials and experts from the Washington State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, took multiple environmental samples from the fairgrounds on two different days (April 30 and May 13) and had them tested, the summary states.
“The samples indicated that several areas of the north end of the Dairy Barn at the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds were contaminated with the same strain of E. coli that made people ill. Negative results do not rule out contamination in other parts of the barn.
“The outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 was identified in the following areas of the Dairy Barn:
•Hay maze area
•Bleachers by east wall
•Bleachers by west wall
Contamination of the environment most likely occurred before the Milk Makers Fest. Any environment where animals have been kept, such as barns, should be considered contaminated. E.coli 0157 can survive in the environment up to 42 weeks (Varma, 2003 JAMA).”
In a statement posted Wednesday, the Whatcom County Dairy Women, which sponsored the Milk Makers Fest, said the group’s concern has always been with those who became ill and their families.
“Our hearts are broken because of their illnesses and learning about the source does not change our concern or prayers for their complete recovery,” the group stated. “We want to express our deep appreciation to those who worked so hard to identify the source. We were committed from the very beginning to fully support their investigation. Only by identifying a cause can we and all others involved in the important task of agriculture education learn from this and improve the already careful prevention measures.”
The fair manager also released a statement on Wednesday noting that officials there would be doing whatever they could to make events held at the fairgrounds safer for participants.
“The reality is that any time groups host events in proximity to livestock, there is always a heightened chance of coming in contact with bacteria, including E. coli,” Jim Baron told the Bellingham Herald. “What we do know is that the most effective way to prevent contamination is through common-sense steps, including appropriate hand-washing and sanitization.”
In addition to thanking the Whatcom County Dairy Women, the investigative team members said they appreciated the time and support of many people in the community who made the work possible, including the Whatcom County schools, teachers, parents, students, the fair, and clinical and lab providers.
Final case counts
According to the county’s investigation summary, disease investigators calculated case counts based only on lab-confirmed infection with E. coli 0157:H7 or physician-diagnosed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure.
•25 people were confirmed cases. Nine of these were considered secondary cases (the ill person didn’t attend the Milk Makers Fest but had close contact with someone who did attend).
•No one died.
•10 people were hospitalized.
•Six people developed HUS.
Epidemiologic investigation findings
As part of the investigation, officials interviewed many of the confirmed cases to find out what they did during the event before they were sickened. Officials also interviewed “controls,” meaning people who attended the Milk Makers Fest but did not get ill to find out what they might have done differently.
The results of analyzing the data collected during the interviews are not final, but a few preliminary findings stand out:
•Event attendees who reported washing or sanitizing their hands before eating lunch were less likely to become ill.
•Children who reported always biting their nails were more likely to become ill.
•Leaving animal areas without washing hands might have contributed to an increased risk of transmission.
•Eating in animal areas might have contributed to an increased risk of transmission.
Recommendations for event organizers
•Evaluate and update plans for cleaning and disinfection before, during, and after events, particularly surfaces with high levels of hand contact (such as seats, door or fence handles, and hand railings).
•Evaluate and update measures to restrict access to areas more likely to be contaminated with animal manure.
•This is especially important for people at higher risk for severe illness. These people include young children, pregnant women, adults older than 65, and people with weakened immune systems.
•Ensure access to hand-washing facilities with soap, running water, and disposable towels.
•Display signs and use other reminders to attendees to wash hands when leaving animal areas.
•Store, prepare, or serve food and beverages only in non-animal areas.
Recommendations for the public
•Consider any environment where animals have been kept, such as barns, to be contaminated with bacteria or viruses that can make people ill.
•Hands should always be washed immediately when exiting animal areas, after removing dirty clothing or shoes, and before eating or drinking.
•Hand-washing with soap, running water, and disposable towels is the most effective method.
•Adults should always supervise young children while they wash their hands.
•Food and beverages should be consumed in non-animal areas and only after washing hands first.
•Be aware that objects such as clothing, shoes, and stroller wheels can become soiled and serve as a source of germs after leaving an animal area.
•Nine secondary cases were reported during this outbreak. It’s important for people infected with E. coli or those with a family member infected with E. coli to follow these precautions to prevent secondary infection:
•Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after using the restroom or changing a child’s diaper.
•Wash your hands before and after preparing food for yourself and others.
•Stay home from school or work while diarrhea persists. Most people can return to work or school when they no longer have diarrhea. Special precautions are needed for food handlers, health care workers, and child care providers and attendees. Check with your employer before returning to work, and check with your child’s child care center before resuming child care.
More information on E. coli is available from CDC here.
Whatcom County E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak Final Summary
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/whatcom-county-e-coli-o157h7-outbreak-final-summary/
By Linda Larsen (June 4, 2015)
The Whatcom County Health Department in Bellingham, Washington has issued their final report into the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that sickened at least 25 children. The outbreak appears to be over.
All of the ill people either attended the Milk Makers Fest between April 21 and 23, 2015 at the Northwest Fairgrounds in Lynden, Washington; helped with the event between April 20 and April 24, or were in close contact with people associated with the event. Environmental contamination with E. coli O157:H7 at the Dairy Barn at the fairgrounds was the likely source of this outbreak.
Case counts were calculated based only on lab-confirmed infections with E. coli O157:H7 or physician-diagnosed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a complication of an E. coli infection. Twenty-five peoeple were confirmed cases. Nine of those cases were considered secondary (the ill person didn’t attend the event but had close contact with someone who did). No one died. Ten people were hospitalized. And six people developed HUS.
Multiple samples were taken from the environment where the event was held. They were collected on April 30 and May 13, 2015 and tested in a lab. Several areas of the north end of the Dairy Barn at the fairgrounds were contaminated with the same strain of E. coli that made people sick. Negative results “do not rule out contamination in other parts of the barn.”
The outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 was identified in the manure bunker, the hay maze area, bleachers by the east wall, and bleachers by the west wall in the Dairy Barn. The report states that contamination most likely occurred before the Milk Makers Fest.
Any environment where animals have been kept, such as barns, should be considered contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. E. coli O157 can survive in the environment up to 42 weeks.
Interviews of patients, and those who did not get sick, revealed some results. Event attendees who reported washing or sanitizing their hands before eating lunch were less likely to get sick. Children who reported always biting their nails were more likely to become ill. Leaving animal areas without washing hands may have contributed to an increased risk of transmission. And eating in animal areas might have contributed to an increased risk.
The report ends with several recommendations, both for event organizers and the public. Organizers should have pans for cleaning and disinfection before, during, and after events, and ensure access to hand washing facilities with soap, running water, and disposable towels.
The public should always consider any environment where animals are kept, whether a barn, farm, or petting zoo, to be contaminated with bacteria. Hands should always be washed right away when leaving animal areas, after removing dirty clothing or shoes, and before eating. Adults should supervise young children. Be aware that shoes, clothing, and stroller wheels can become contaminated and be a source of illness after leaving an animal area.
Finally, the nine secondary cases highlight the need to be careful when caring for those who are ill with diarrheal illnesses. Always wash your hands throughly with soap and water after using the bathroom or changing a diaper. Always wash hands before and after preparing food for yourself and others, and before eating. Stay home from work or school if you have diarrhea. And check with your doctor if diarrhea lasts longer than three days or is watery and/or bloody. Many schools and day care centers have special rules for those who have been diagnosed with E. coli infections.
E. coli HUS Takes Life of Myles Mayfield, 2, of Greenwood SC
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/e-coli-hus-take-life-of-myles-mayfield-2-of-greenwood-sc/
By Carla Gillespie (June 4, 2015)
Myles Mayfield, 2, of Greenwood, SC has died from hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication of E. coli infections that causes kidney failure. He died May 31 at Greenville Memorial Hospital, coroner Sonny Cox told WYFF News.
HUS primarily affects young children occurring in about 10 percent who have E. coli infections. In addition to kidney failure, it can cause seizure, stroke and coma. Health officials have not identified the source of the infection.
E. coli is transferred when microscopic amounts of human or animal feces are ingested. This can happen through poor hygiene of food handlers, consuming unpasteurized dairy products or contact with live animals at petting zoos or other exhibits.
The daycare that Myles attended told WYFF in a statement: “We are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of all of our children. We are working with DHEC to ensure that no other children are sick and at this time it, seems to be isolated. We have had the facility professionally cleaned on Saturday and we’re also having professional cleaners come in today. Our parents will be immediately notified if another child becomes sick.”
Supermercado Los Corrales Lawsuit is 2nd Filed against Kenosha Restaurant
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/supermercado-los-corrales-lawsuit-is-2nd-filed-against-kenosha-restaurant/
By Carla Gillespie (June 4, 2015)
Two lawsuits have been filed in connection with a Salmonella outbreak Supermercado Los Corrales at 3933 52nd Street in Kenosha, Wis. Seventy people who ate the pork carnitas Mother’s Day weekend May 8th-10th became sick. Of those, 35 have laboratory confirmed cases.
Many families visited Los Corrales over Mother’s Day weekend. But the meat counter and food preparation areas at the store were closed after the county health department began receiving reports of illness. Those areas remaining closed during the outbreak investigation but reopened yesterday after it was cleaned and inspected by health officials.
Salmonella poisoning causes vomiting and diarrhea that can be bloody. Symptoms, which usually appear between six and 72 hours after exposure, last for a about a week.
The Vela family of Kenosha were among those who were sickened. Kenneth and Melissa Vela, have filed a lawsuit on behalf of themselves and their three children Andrew, Elizabeth and Jacob.
The Velas purchased pork carnitas from Los Corrales May 9 and ate them that day. The next night they began to feel ill, experiencing nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and headaches. The symptoms intensified over several days and the Velas brought their children to a hospital where they received treatment, according to a report from Fox6 News. It was there that they were diagnosed with Salmonella infections.
“We’ve all lost weight because we couldn’t eat or because we’ve just been, you know, vomiting or diarrhea and it’s just been horrible,” Vela told Fox 6 News.
Although the family has recovered, they’ve missed work and school and despite having health insurance, have beed saddled with more than $10,000 in medical bills. “It’s just astronomical,” he said.
The Silva family, Martin, Leticia and Oscar, had a similar experience. They have also filed a lawsuit.
The Kenosha County Division of Health began an investigation May 15 after receiving several reports of illness. The meat counter was closed during the investigation after Salmonella was discovered in the pork carnitas and the strain was found to match the strain cultured from those sickened.
People who became ill have submitted stool samples for testing. So far, 35 of them have tested positive for Salmonella. Another 35 people have reported symptoms consistent with Salmonella poisoning.
Salmonella is a bacteria that is transmitted when food or beverages contaminated with microscopic amounts of human or animal feces are ingested. This can happen when food is not cooked thoroughly or handled properly, through cross contamination or poor hygiene of food workers.
Complications of Salmonella poisoning include reactive arthritis, which causes painful swelling of the joints and tissues in the eye and meningitis which is a swelling of the lining of the brain.
Salmonella infections are more common in the summer months when warmer temperatures facilitate bacterial growth. Every year, about 1.2 million Americans are sickened by Salmonella. Of those, 19,000 are hospitalized and about 450 die.
Several small children were among those sickened in this outbreak, county health officials have confirmed. Those at elevated risk for Salmonella infections are children under 5, adults over 65 years old, and people with weakened immune systems. Certain medications, such as antacids, can increase the risk of food poisoning from Salmonella.
70 Sick from Pork Carnitas at Los Corrales in Kenosha
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/70-sick-from-pork-carnitas-at-los-corrales-in-kenosha/
by Carla Gillespie (June 4, 2015)
Supermercado Los Corrales in Kenosha, WI has been cleared by the county health department to reopen after being linked to a Salmonella outbreak that sickened 70 people, according to Fox6News. Half of those sickened have laboratory confirmed cases of Salmonella matching the strain found in pork carnitas served Mother’s Day weekend, May 8th-10th.
The meat counter at the store was closed during the investigation. It was cleaned and inspected by health officials who cleared it for reopening yesterday.
Small children, who are at heightened risk for food poisoning, were among those sickened. Salmonella poisoning causes vomiting and diarrhea that can be bloody. Symptoms, which usually appear between six and 72 hours after exposure, last for a about a week. Anyone who ate at the restaurant and developed those symptoms should contact the county health department.
Legal implications of zoonotic-disease outbreaks
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/legal-cases/legal-implications-of-zoonotic-disease-outbreaks/#.VXUTuNiJjs1
By Bill Marler (June 4, 2015)
Livestock exhibitions, petting zoos, county and state fairs, frankly any “farm experience,” are “as American as apple pie.”
Unfortunately, these same places have been the source of large outbreaks of zoonotic diseases over the last decades. And, just as unfortunately, despite the severe illnesses and a death attributed to these activities, little seems to be learned from outbreak to outbreak despite previously existing standards for safer exhibition of animals being encoded more forcefully into law. After each outbreak it is hoped that future exhibitors will, one hopes, heed the calls previously issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and by veterinarians: to take steps to reduce the likelihood of zoonotic-disease transmission to animal exhibition patrons – and to young children in particular.
Now we see another one. During April’s Milk Maker’s Fest at the Washington Fairgrounds at least 25 were sickened by E. coli O157:H7 with 10 hospitalized and six developing hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The cause of this outbreak is clearly set forth in recommendations for future event organizers:
•Evaluate and update plans for cleaning and disinfection before, during, and after events, particularly surfaces with high levels of hand contact (such as seats, door or fence handles, and hand railings).
•Evaluate and update measures to restrict access to areas more likely to be contaminated with animal manure.
•Ensure access to hand washing facilities with soap, running water, and disposable towels.
•Display signs and use other reminders to attendees to wash hands when leaving animal areas.
•Store, prepare, or serve food and beverages only in non-animal areas.
Seeing this I feel a bit frustrated since I gave a speech 10 years ago to the Washington State Fair Association about the risks of animal contact in these types of settings and recommendation on how to avoid outbreaks.
The risk of transmission in exhibition settings of zoonotic diseases in general and E. coli O157:H7 in particular is not – or should not be – news. A survey as far back as 2003 of the literature, including CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), revealed at least 23 outbreaks of zoonotic disease, including illnesses from E. coli O157:H7, associated with animal exhibitions in the United Kingdom and the United States. These prior outbreaks included an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak associated with a county fair in Medina, Ohio, in August, 2000; two E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks in Pennsylvania in 2000 and 2001 associated with farm animals; 92 E. coli O157:H7 cases associated with the Wyandot County Fair in Ohio in September 2001; and the largest E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in Oregon history at the Lane County Fair in September 2002. And, over the last decade there is not a year that has gone by that many other outbreaks have left hundreds and hundreds sickened.
In addition, research has shown that E. coli O157:H7 is prevalent even among the prize livestock exhibited at agricultural fairs. A 2003 study on the prevalence of E. coli O157: H7 in livestock at 29 county and three large state agricultural fairs in the United States found that E. coli O157:H7 could be isolated from 13.8 percent of beef cattle, 5.9 percent of dairy cattle, 3.6 percent of pigs, 5.2 percent of sheep, and 2.8 percent of goats. Over 7 percent of pest-fly pools also tested positive for E. coli O157:H7.
Against this backdrop, the CDC published recommendations for reducing the risk that enteric pathogens will be transmitted at petting zoos, open farms, and animal exhibits. The most updated version of these recommendations can be found on CDC’s MMWR Web site. These recommendations arise out of several documented outbreaks in which enteric pathogens were passed to humans in such settings. Draft recommendations were published in MMWR on April 20, 2001; readers were invited to submit comments and suggestions; and the final recommendations were posted on the Internet on October 26, 2001. The recommendations encapsulated on the CDC Web site and in MMWR were created by the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHN). Many of the recommendations are common sense and most, if not all were likely ignored by those involved with the Milk Maker’s Fest:
Venue operators should take the following steps:
•Become familiar with and implement the recommendations in this compendium.
•Consult with veterinarians, state and local agencies, and cooperative extension personnel on implementation of the recommendations.
•Become knowledgeable about the risks for disease and injury associated with animals and be able to explain risk-reduction measures to staff members and visitors.
•Be aware that direct contact with some animals is inappropriate in public settings, and this should be evaluated separately for different audiences.
•Develop or obtain training and educational materials and train staff members.
•Ensure that visitors receive educational messages before they enter the exhibit, including information that animals can cause injuries or carry organ- isms that can cause serious illness.
•Provide information in a simple and easy-to-under- stand format that is age and language appropriate.
•Provide information in multiple formats (eg, signs, stickers, handouts, and verbal information) and languages.
•Provide information to persons arranging school field trips or classroom exhibits so that they can educate participants and parents before the visit.
Venue staff members should take the following steps:
•Become knowledgeable about the risks for dis- ease and injury associated with animals and be able to explain risk-reduction recommendations to visitors.
•Ensure that visitors receive educational messages regarding risks and prevention measures.
•Encourage compliance by the public with risk- reduction recommendations, especially compliance with hand-washing procedures as visitors exit animal areas.
Recommendations for nonanimal areas are as follows:
•Do not permit animals, except for service animals, in nonanimal areas.
•Store, prepare, serve, or consume food and beverages only in nonanimal areas.
•Provide hand-washing facilities and display hand- washing signs where food or beverages are served.
•Entrance transition areas should be designed to facilitate education.
•Post signs or otherwise notify visitors that they are entering an animal area and that there are risks associated with animal contact.
•Instruct visitors not to eat, drink, smoke, and place their hands in their mouth, or use bottles or pacifiers while in the animal area.
•Establish storage or holding areas for strollers and related items (eg, wagons and diaper bags).
•Control visitor traffic to prevent overcrowding.
•Exit transition areas should be designed to facilitate hand washing.
•Post signs or otherwise instruct visitors to wash their hands when leaving the animal area.
•Provide accessible hand-washing stations for all visitors, including children and persons with disabilities. Position venue staff members near exits to encourage compliance with proper hand washing.
Recommendations for animal areas are as follows:
•Do not allow consumption of food and beverages in these areas.
•Do not allow toys, pacifiers, spill-proof cups, baby bottles, strollers, or similar items to enter the area.
•Prohibit smoking and other tobacco product use.
•Supervise children closely to discourage hand-to- mouth activities (eg, nail biting and thumb sucking), contact with manure, and contact with soiled bedding. Children should not be allowed to sit or play on the ground in animal areas. If hands become soiled, supervise hand washing immediately.
•Ensure that regular animal feed and water are not accessible to the public.
•Allow the public to feed animals only if contact with animals is controlled (eg, with barriers).
•Do not provide animal feed in containers that can be eaten by humans (eg, ice cream cones) to decrease the risk of children eating food that has come into contact with animals.
•Promptly remove manure and soiled animal bedding from these areas.
•Assign trained staff members to encourage appropriate human-animal interactions, identify and reduce potential risks for patrons, and process reports of injuries and exposures.
•Store animal waste and specific tools for waste removal (eg, shovels and pitchforks) in designated areas that are restricted from public access.
•Avoid transporting manure and soiled bedding through nonanimal areas or transition areas. If this is unavoidable, take precautions to prevent spillage.
•Where feasible, disinfect the area (eg, flooring and railings) at least once daily.
•Provide adequate ventilation both for animals and humans.
•Minimize the use of animal areas for public activities (eg, weddings and dances). • If areas previously used for animals must be used for public events, they should be cleaned and disinfected, particularly if food and beverages are served.
In addition, the Pennsylvania legislature enacted a law mandating standards for animal exhibition sanitation. The Pennsylvania law requires animal exhibit operators to “promote public awareness of the risk of contracting a zoonotic disease” by posting notices. The law further requires adequate hand-cleansing facilities and prohibits the exhibition of any animal not properly cared for by a veterinarian.
Thus, even before the outbreaks in North Carolina and Florida in the fall and winter of 2004-2005, the risk of disease transmission and the means of reducing that risk were well known. This common knowledge forms the basis of legal liability for both the private and governmental entities that operate animal exhibitions. While laws vary from state to state, the liability of these entities to those sickened through exposure to animals on site would be based in the premises of both liability and negligence.
Under premises liability law, the entity or entities responsible for managing an animal exhibition have a duty of care to those it invites onto the premises. This duty includes the responsibility to adequately reduce risks the entity is or should be aware of. The duty also carries a responsibility to warn fairgoers of risks present at the exhibition.
The principles of negligence also revolve around the risks to fairgoers that animal exhibitors know of or reasonably should know of. To successfully bring a negligence claim, a sickened person would need to show that the actions of an animal exhibitor fell below a reasonable standard of care in the operation of the exhibit. Failing to implement the well-established recommendations of the CDC and NASPHV constitutes falling below that standard of care.
Both bases for liability on the part of animal exhibitors-premises liability and negligence-carry with them a burden of education on the part of the exhibitor. Because the law holds people to a standard of what they reasonably should know, ignorance of the risks involved is not an effective defense. The law thus provides no impetus to stray from the course of action that is best for both customers and exhibitors in the first place-recognizing the risk and taking steps to reduce it.
Following the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in North Carolina, the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy at Duke University contracted with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to develop recommendations on regulating petting zoos. The researchers concluded:
In response to the largest outbreak of Escherichia coli (E. coli) in North Carolina history, we recommend that the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) issue guidelines and pursue legislation that will control public contact with animals, inform the public of risks related to animal contact, provide transition areas, regulate animal care, and license petting zoos.
The North Carolina Legislature subsequently adopted “Aedin’s Law,” named after a young child who was severely injured in the outbreak. According to the preamble of the bill, the child was hospitalized for 36 days and will suffer lifelong injury from complications of HUS. Aedin’s Law requires that animal exhibitors acquire a public permit. The bill further requires the North Carolina State Board of Agriculture to adopt regulations in line with those of the Duke University study and CDC.
There are benefits to continuing the tradition of animal exhibits – it is a recreational and educational link to our country’s ongoing agricultural heritage. Slowly heeding the hard lessons learned, private, public, and legal forces are at work to reduce the risks associated with this pastime. Animal exhibitors are unwise to view these changes as a threat, or those working for change as enemies. Likewise, it is shortsighted to resist the recommendations and guidelines offered to make the animal exhibits safer. The long-term existence of animal exhibits to the public cannot be assured in an environment that permits the possibility of large-scale, life-threatening disease outbreaks like those that occurred in North Carolina and Florida. And, the best way to keep the lawyers out of it is to keep the children safe.
1.See E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in Whatcom County, Washington Final Investigation Summary – http://wa-whatcomcounty.civicplus.com/CivicSend/ViewMessage/Message?id=5760
3.E. Keen, T.E. Wittum, J.R. Dunn, J.L. Bono, and M.E. Fontenot. 2003. “Occurrence of STEC O157, O111, and O26 in Livestock at Agricultural Fairs in the United States,” Proc. 5th Int. Symp. on Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli Infections, Edinburgh, UK 22 (2003) – http://www.ars.usda.gov/research/publications/Publications.htm?seq_no_115=144426
4.National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians, Inc. (NASPHV). “Compendium of Measures to Prevent Disease Associated with Animals in Public Settings – http://nasphv.org/documentsCompendiumAnimals.html
5.CDC, “Notice to Readers: Availability of Final Recommendations on Reducing the Risk for Transmission of Enteric Pathogens at Petting Zoos, Open Farms, Animal Exhibits, and Other Venues,” 50 MMWR Weekly, 928 (October 25, 2001) – http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5042a6.htm
6.Outbreak Response and Surveillance Unit, Recommendations: Farm Animal Contact, (Atlanta, CDC September 2002) – http://www.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/publication/recomm_farm_animal.htm
7.See 3 Pa. C.S. [section]2501 et seq
8.Dustyn Baker, Tugba Gurcanlar, Emily Hildebrand, Matthew Perault, & Kuang-zhen Wu, “E. coli Outbreak Creates Need for Government Regulation” (Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy May 2005) – http://www.fair-safety.com/ecoli-public-policy.pdf
9.See N.C. S. L. 2005-191
10.Marler speech to Washington State Fair Association 2005 – http://www.slideshare.net/marlerclark/2005-washington-fair-assoc
Second Lawsuit Filed Against Kenosha Supermarket that Sickened 70 with Salmonella
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/second-lawsuit-filed-against-kenosha-supermarket-that-sickened-70-with-salmonella/#.VXUUK9iJjs1
By Bruce Clark (June 4, 2015)
Outbreak tied to pork carnitas sold by Supermercado Los Corrales and purchased over Mother’s Day weekend
Another lawsuit has been filed against Los Corrales Enterprises, LLC dba Supermercado Los Corrales on behalf of three members of the Silva family, who were all sickened by Salmonella after consuming tainted pork carnitas prepared and sold by the company. Supermercado Los Corrales is based in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Silvas are represented by Marler Clark, a law firm specializing in cases related to food safety. The case code is 30100. This is the second lawsuit filed by the firm
On the morning of May 10, 2015, Oscar Silva, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, purchased pork carnitas at Supermercado Los Corrales to bring to his parents’ home in Kenosha to celebrate Mother’s Day. Oscar and his father, Martin, and his mother, Leticia, ate the carnitas at the family dinner.
The next day, Oscar and Leticia began to feel the first symptoms of their illness: nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. Oscar also began vomiting and, in the early hours of the morning on May 11, he threw up blood and went to the nearest emergency room where he was diagnosed with food poisoning and treated with anti-nausea medication and intravenous fluids.
Meanwhile, Leticia was becoming increasingly ill. She developed a high fever and was suffering from increasingly severe diarrhea as well as intense chills and pain throughout her body.
Leticia’s husband and Oscar’s father, Martin, began to feel ill on May 11, but brushed his discomfort aside to go to work. Soon, however, his symptoms—which included cramping, diarrhea, and nausea—became so severe that he was forced to head home.
Over the next several days, the Silvas remained ill. Martin and Leticia sought emergency care on May 13.
On May 18, Leticia contacted the Kenosha County Health Department (KCDH) to report her and her family’s illnesses. After testing, it was determined that they were the victims of Salmonella.
On May 21, KCDH issued a “news flash” that announced an investigation related to “individuals with gastrointestinal illness and exposure to Supermercado Los Corrales.” As of this time, 70 ill persons have been identified. The ongoing investigation has also found that the source of the outbreak was pork carnitas purchased over May 9 and 10, 2015–Mother’s Day weekend.
“Salmonella is a really terrible Mother’s Day gift. Unfortunately, dozens of moms and other family members got just that and have been suffering ever since,” said Bill Marler, co-founder and partner with Marler Clark. Marler has been an advocate for victims of food borne illnesses since representing those made sickest by an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 traced back to fast food giant Jack in the Box. He has represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and is seen as an expert on food safety.
Salmonella is the second most common foodborne illness in the United States. Approximately 1.4 million cases of Salmonella occur each year with 95% of those caused by tainted food. The acute symptoms of Salmonella include the sudden onset of nausea, abdominal cramping, and bloody diarrhea and mucous over a period of days. While there is no cure, infected persons usually recover completely, although it may take months. A small number of people experience ongoing symptoms such as joint pain, which can lead to chronic arthritis.
Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella 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 Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants. The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.
If you or a family member became ill with a Salmonella infection, including Reactive Arthritis or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Salmonella attorneys for a free case evaluation.
Hepatitis A Warning for Pizza Cart in Cedar City, Utah
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/hepatitis-a-warning-for-pizza-cart-in-cedar-city-utah/
By Linda Larsen (June 3, 2015)
The Southwest Utah Public Health Department has confirmed that a food handler working at the Pizza Cart in Cedar City, Utah has tested positive for hepatitis A. That means that anyone who ate at that restaurant from April 29 through June 1, 2015 may have been exposed to the virus.
Anyone previously vaccinated for hepatitis A is protected. Unvaccinated customers who ate there from May 20 through June 1, 2015 should receive a hepatitis A or immune globulin vaccination. This vaccine is only good for two weeks after the initial exposure.
If you ate at the restaurant April 29th through May 19, 2015, monitor yourself for the symptoms of hepatitis A. They include jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin), fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. If you do get sick, see your doctor. Most people recover from this illness on their own, but some people, especially those with liver disease, need to be hospitalized.
There are no other confirmed cases of hepatitis A relating to this restaurant. The restaurant is open for business.
Vaccinations will be available at the Southwest Utah Public Health Department at 260 East DL Sargent Drive. The hours are 7:30 am to 5:30 pm Monday Wednesday and Thursday; 1:00 pm to 5:30 pm Tuesday; and 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Friday. Bring your immunization records, picture ID, and insurance card. If you don’t have insurance, the cost is $75 for those over age 19, and $50 for those 18 years and under. No appointment is needed to get a vaccination, but allow 30 minutes for your visit.
‘Dangerous’ Domoic Acid Levels Prompt Seafood Warning in California
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/06/dangerous-domoic-acid-levels-prompt-seafood-warning-in-california/#.VXUPk9iJjs1
By News Desk (June 3, 2015)
Due to “dangerous levels” of domoic acid found in some species, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is advising consumers not to eat recreationally harvested mussels and clams, commercially or recreationally caught anchovy and sardines, or the internal organs of commercially or recreationally caught crab taken from Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.
Department officials are working with commercial fisherman in the area to ensure that recently harvested anchovy and sardines were not distributed into the human food supply.
Dangerous levels of domoic acid have been detected in some of these species and are also likely to be present in the other species, CDPH stated. Molluscan bivalve shellfish, anchovy and sardines are especially of concern because the toxin resides in their digestive tract and these seafood products are normally not eviscerated prior to consumption.
CDPH stated that the agency is continuing to collect a variety of molluscan bivalve shellfish, fin fish and crab samples from the area to monitor the level of domoic acid. There have been no reported illnesses associated with this event, the department added.
This warning does not apply to commercially sold clams, mussels, scallops or oysters from approved sources. State law permits only state-certified commercial shellfish harvesters or dealers to sell these products. Shellfish sold by certified harvesters and dealers are subject to frequent mandatory testing to monitor for toxins, CDPH stated.
Symptoms of domoic acid poisoning can occur within 30 minutes to 24 hours after eating toxic seafood. In mild cases, symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache and dizziness. These symptoms disappear within several days.
In severe cases, the victim may experience trouble breathing, confusion, disorientation, cardiovascular instability, seizures, excessive bronchial secretions, permanent loss of short-term memory (a condition known as Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning), coma or death.
For updated information about shellfish poisoning and quarantines, call CDPH’s toll-free “Shellfish Information Line” at (800) 553-4133. For additional information about natural marine toxins, go here.
Beverage and food cooler safety
Source : http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/beverage_and_food_cooler_safety
By Michelle Jarvie, Michigan State University Extension (June 3, 2015)
The kids are out of school, summer weather has arrived – it’s time to enjoy summer vacation. Inevitably, those plans involve taking a cooler full of food and beverages for the duration of your trip. Good vacation planning should include food safety and coolers are no exception. Michigan State University Extension recommends following these simple guidelines to keep your cooler food-safe this summer:
1.Use the proper size cooler for the amount of storage needed. Storing a small amount of food in a large cooler can create extra air space that heats up more quickly, making it more difficult to maintain the proper temperature inside the cooler. In contrast, having too much food packed into too small of a cooler will not leave enough space for the proper amount of ice, again, making it difficult to maintain the proper temperature. A cooler should have enough room for food and plenty of ice, leaving little air space inside.
2.Use a refrigerator thermometer to monitor the temperature inside the cooler. This is a simple tool that is often overlooked when it comes to coolers. Coolers, just like refrigerators, should be kept at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to keep food safe. Place the thermometer near the top or in the internal pockets of the lid, as that is the warmest area of the cooler.
3.Keep raw meat and egg products separate from ready to eat foods and drinks. Uncooked meat and eggs could be a source of cross-contamination in a cooler, especially when ice starts to melt and the cooler fills with water. Dangerous bacteria could be transferred from this liquid to ready to eat foods or contact surfaces of pop cans, bottles, etc. If possible, keep raw meat and eggs in a cooler separate from other foods, otherwise make sure they are properly sealed to prevent leakage and cross-contamination.
4.Limit how many times the cooler is opened, as well as the duration it is open. The more times a lid is opened, and for longer times, the faster the ice will melt and the more difficult it will be to regulate the temperature inside.
5.Try to organize your cooler so that all items needed for one meal are next to each other so they can be grabbed quickly. Also consider putting beverages in their own cooler as they are often a reason for a cooler being opened regularly. This will help keep more perishable food from being subjected to temperature changes.
6.Clean and sanitize your cooler regularly. Coolers can get pretty “funky” inside, especially if they weren’t cleaned out properly at the end of the previous season. Coolers should be washed before and after each trip with soap and warm water. Sanitize coolers with a 10 percent bleach solution to reduce the number of potential bacteria and mold. Store coolers in a clean, dry place, out of direct sunlight.
Contact your local MSU Extension food safety educator to get a thermometer for your cooler, and visit http://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/chill.html for more tips on food safety.
Crack down on Maggi: In war over food safety, netas are the biggest culprits
Source : http://www.firstpost.com/india/crack-down-on-maggi-in-war-over-food-safety-netas-are-the-biggest-culprits-2279164.html
By Sandip Roy (June 4, 2015)
Sometimes our government straps on its armour and goes into battle on our behalf, all guns blazing.
This is such a time. And the great enemy of the people is a packet of 2-minute noodles.
The Maggi wars are heating up all over the country. A map of India in The Telegraph shows the various battlefronts helpfully colour-coded in red (banned for now), orange (partial ban/warning), blue (tests ongoing) and green (cleared). As in banned in Delhi for 15 days, warning issued in Karnataka but cleared in Chandigarh. The Indian Army has asked its personnel not to consume Maggi. And the retail giant Future Group, the biggest buyer of Maggi, is taking off its shelves. The Haryana government has conducted raids. Assam CM Tarun Gogoi is asking health officials to get cracking. The Aam Aadmi Party-led government in Delhi has summoned Nestle India officials to discuss safety practices.
But this is not just about Big Bad Maggi and by getting it off the shelves of our stores (and hauling Madhuri Dixit and Big B to court) we will not all be safer and healthier.
As is becoming increasingly clear, Maggi is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to food safety standards that are lax at best and rotten at worst.
As Ashim Sanyal COO of Consumer Voice tells Firstpost, "Why is it restricted to a single brand? The government should get other products checked and ensure that the companies must follow national standards laid down by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and Food Safety Standards."
Maggi is just a symptom of a much larger problem. Of course it makes sense to go after the company that is sitting on 70% of the instant noodles market. But that does not mean the other 30% are off the hook.
“The entire packaged foods market could come under scrutiny,” says Harish Bijoor of Harish Bijoor Consults Inc. to the Times of India. “The incident has woken up consumers and they’ll be wary of all dehydrated noodles, branded or unbranded.”
But it’s not just about noodles. Maggi sales might have nosedived but that does not mean its replacements are any safer. Biochemist Thuppil Venkatesh, the national chair of the Indian Society for Lead Awareness and Research, paints a grim picture of what we eat for G.S. Mudur of The Telegraph.
“I think we’ve just seen the tip of an iceberg,” says Venkatesh. According to Venkatesh while we might go into hysteria at the prospect of lead in our Maggi, the fact is there’s documented lead in “a variety of processed and raw food products such as chocolates, milk, vegetables, fish and water.”
Once lead gets into the water it can infiltrate the entire food chain. It’s only recently that some governments are restricting immersion of idols in our rivers because the paint has lead. Most of us have no idea how to dispose of used batteries and the very pipes that we use for plumbing could be leaching lead into our water. And it’s not even what we eat. A 2013 study by doctors in Kolkata showed that at least 20% of the city’s children were affected by lead poisoning via the paint on toys, cheap plastic mugs, cheap crayons cooking utensils, even the paint peeling on the wall. Children are more susceptible because they have smaller bodies.
Now add to this dismal scenario spotty enforcement and testing by the very bodies entrusted with food safety like the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. Figures published in media of the FSSAI’s track record show that in 20011-12 it tested 64,593 samples, found 8,247 to be non-conforming, prosecuted 6,,845 and obtained a paltry 764 convictions. That ratio has improved in 2013-14 with 3845 convictions in 10,235 prosecutions but Venkatesh tells The Telegraph that the details of which food products failed tests are not immediately available to the public. “We’d like to know how many failed lead tests.”
And we just don’t know until we find out about lead in buffalo milk in Chennai or paddy in Odisha.
That does not inspire confidence in the monitors of food safety in India.
For example, in the current Maggi hullabaloo we have learned that the Kolkata Municipal Corporation tells The Times of India that the three samples of Maggi is has tested for lead and MSG were within “permissible limits”. Of course, it’s unclear what “permissible limits” even means for presence of lead in food products. But the results hardly inspire consumer confidence because as the Times News Network notes West Bengal is among the worst states for collecting and testing food samples. The annual report from FSSAI shows that in 2012-13 only 91 samples were tested in the state compared to 13,554 in Uttar Pradesh. Even Arunachal Pradesh tested more samples than West Bengal.
In a situation like this the consumer is pretty much left to the mercies and goodwill of the corporation. And companies take full advantage of our lack of standards. Business Standard reports that most paint companies in India have dangerous levels of lead in the enamel paints they sell in this country but we have no mandatory standard for regulating lead in paints only a voluntary code laid down by the Bureau of Indian Standards. The Centre for Science and Environment says in a 2008 study they found that "the biggest and best companies had lead levels 180 times the voluntary standard." Most governments have tried to phase out lead in paints some 20 years ago. The New York Times’ Gardiner Harris’ child’s respiratory problems dramatically highlighted Delhi’s choking pollution and made much news. Lead wreaks havoc far more insidiously.
“We regularly monitor all our raw material for lead, including testing by accredited laboratories which have consistently shown levels in MAGGI Noodles to be within permissible limits,” says Maggi in a statement trying to exert damage control over the situation. Nestle claims it has submitted 600 product batches to an external laboratory for independent analysis and tested almost 1,000 batches in its own accredited laboratory. Those samples represent almost 125 million packets. In a way Nestle is trying to claim it is doing far more due diligence than the food inspectors themselves.
“Yes. We are confident that our MAGGI Noodle products in India and elsewhere are absolutely safe for consumption,” says Maggi bravely. Whether that bolsters consumer confidence remains to be seen.
But one thing is absolutely clear. Delhi has a pollution problem that has is much bigger than the travails of The New York Times’ Gardiner Harris. And India has a food safety problem and environment problem that’s much bigger than Maggi. And if we think this wake-up call is about a bowl of noodles we are all living in a fool’s paradise.
Maggi is just one battlefront in a far larger war is about food safety.
Breakers Hotel, CA Restaurant Shut Down for Norovirus
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/breakers-hotel-ca-restaurant-shut-down-for-norovirus/
By Linda Larsen (June 2, 2015)
The Sky Room at the Long Beach Breakers Hotel closed down for four days in May after a norovirus outbreak, according to the LA Times. The restaurant closed on May 22 through the 25th for cleaning.
About 21 people were sickened in an outbreak that occurred between May 1 and May 9, 2015. Symptoms included nausea, watery diarrhea, headache, weakness, chills, abdominal pain, and a low fever. Three of the patients had lab-confirmed norovirus illnesses. The rest are considered “probable” cases.
The restaurant followed CDC guidelines to clean, including steam cleaning furniture, the elevator, fabrics, and equipment. The sanitation process was repeated several times. No illnesses have been reported since May 9.
Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that is spread through person to person contact,through contaminated food and drink, and by touching contaminated surfaces. It is more common in the winter months when more people are indoors together.
The specific origin of the virus could not be found. Those who were sickened consumed various foods and drink and no common food or drink was pinpointed.
Most Food Poisoning Outbreaks Not Made Public
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/most-food-poisoning-outbreaks-not-made-public/
By Carla Gillespie (June 2, 2015)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is out with a new report about food poisoning outbreaks in 2013. There were 818 food poisoning outbreaks that year, 26 of them were multistate, but only seven of those appearing on the list were made public in 2013.
The CDC defines an outbreak as two or more illnesses caused by the same source. The 818 outbreaks resulted in 13,360 illnesses, 1,062 hospitalizations, 16 deaths and 14 recalls. The 26 multistate outbreaks resulted in 1,530 illnesses, 403 hospitalizations and seven deaths. The seven multistate outbreaks that the CDC made public in 2013, resulted in 1,092 illnesses, 313 hospitalizations and two deaths.
Comparing the multistate outbreaks listed in the new report to those disclosed is a little tricky. On its website, the CDC lists multistate outbreaks by the year in which they were announced.This report, lists outbreaks that began in 2013.
In 2013, 11 multistate outbreaks were announced. Three of them were left off this report because they began in 2012. They were: the Farm Rich E. coli outbreak, the first Foster Farms Salmonella outbreak and a Salmonella outbreak linked to ground beef produced by Gab Halal Foods and Jouni Meats. And one outbreak that was announced in 2014, Salmonella in raw cashew cheese, was included because it began in 2013.
It is unclear why the fourth outbreak announced in 2013 is missing from the list. It began in 2013 and all of the illnesses took place in 2013. It was a Vibrio outbreak linked to shellfish that sickened 104 people in 13 states, hospitalizing six of them.
Another change is that the CDC website lists a 2013 Cyclospsora outbreak as having sickened 631 people in 25 states, hospitalizing 49 of them. The report represents that outbreak as sickening 161 people in two states, with 10 hospitalized. At the time of the outbreak, only three states were able to identify the contaminated food source. Texas linked its illnesses to cilantro, Iowa and Nebraska linked their to a bagged salad mix used by restaurants. The report includes only Iowa and Nebraska’s cases.
Of the 26 multistate outbreaks in the report, 11 were caused by Salmonella; Vibrio parahaemolyticus, shiga toxin-producing E. coli and Listeria each caused four; and hepatitis A, Cyclospora cayetanensis, and niacin were each the source of one outbreak.
The implicated foods included cherry and grape tomatoes, chicken, cucumber, ground beef, papaya, pistachios, pork, raw cashew cheese, sugarcane, tahini, tilapia fish, prepackaged leafy greens, romaine lettuce, salmon, an unspecified lettuce, pasteurized Latin-style soft cheese, pasteurized French-style semi-soft cheese, raw oysters, raw clams, steamed clams, infused rice products, and pomegranate seeds.
Greenwood, SC Boy Dies from E. coli; School Outbreak?
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/greenwood-sc-boy-dies-from-e-coli-school-outbreak/
By Linda Larsen (June 2, 2015)
The Greenwood School District 50 sent a letter to parents on June 1, 2015 stating that the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is investigating a possible Shiga toxin-produing E. coli (STEC) infection at the Springfield Elementary School. A 2-year-old boy has died from complications relating to an E. coli infection. Myles Mayfield died Sunday night at Greenville Memorial Hospital.
The entire school has been sanitized, and the health department is monitoring the situation. “We take these matters very seriously,” said Superintendent Darrell Johnson. “We are very concerned about the health and well-being of every student and adult at Springfield and in our district.”
The letter states that the symptoms of a STEC infection include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, which is often bloody and/or watery, and vomiting. A mild fever may also be present. Most people get better within a week, but some become very ill and may develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can cause kidney failure and death. Children under the age of 5 are especially susceptible to HUS development.
STEC is spread by eating contaminated food, drinking raw milk or other unpasteurized dairy products, by drinking contaminated water, having direct contact with animals, or contact with the feces of infected people. The letter urges people to avoid eating undercooked or raw meat, raw milk, and unpasteurized fruit juices, and to prevent cross-contamination when preparing food.
To safeguard the public, do not send your children to school or daycare if they are sick. If they have diarrhea, keep them at home and away from school until they are completely well and have been cleared by a doctor as healthy enough to return to school. Two negative STEC test results are required for all students with an E. coli infection before they can return to school or daycare.
If you child has diarrhea that lasts for more than three days, or is accompanied by a fever, stomach cramps, blood in the stool, or so much vomiting that they can’t keep liquids down, see a doctor immediately. If your child passes very little urine, get to a doctor as soon as you can; this is a symptom of HUS.
Blue Bell Agrees to Stop Selling Ice Cream with Listeria
Source : http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/food-poisoning-information/blue-bell-agrees-to-stop-selling-ice-cream-with-listeria/#.VXUQutiJjs1
By Bill Marler (June 2, 2015)
Blue Bell Creameries has signed a voluntary agreement with the Alabama Department of Public Health laying out a series of steps the company plans to take to control Listeria contamination before its products may legally be sold there again. The company has a plant in Sylacauga, AL, which is currently closed.
The Blue Bell agreement with Alabama health authorities states that the company will be:
•Conducting root cause analyses to identify the potential for Listeria or actual sources;
•Retaining an independent microbiology expert to help establish and review controls to prevent the future introduction of Listeria;
•Notifying the Alabama Department of Public Health promptly of any presumptive positive test result for Listeria monocytogenes found in ingredients or finished product samples and providing the state agencies full access to all testing;
•Ensuring that the company’s Pathogen Monitoring Program for Listeria in the plant environment outlines how the company will respond to presumptive positive tests for Listeria species, and,
•Instituting a “test and hold” program to assure that products are safe before they are shipped or sold.
See FDA Inspection Reports of Sylacauga plant – One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six and Seven.
As I said to the Austin American Statesman:
However, several Alabama state health inspection reports hinted at these issues years earlier — a sign that neither Blue Bell nor the FDA were paying enough attention to food safety at the facility, as the FDA only visited after news of the listeria concerns were out, said Bill Marler, a Seattle-based food-borne illness lawyer who has been watching the Blue Bell case.
“The FDA and Blue Bell were not paying attention to the warning signs that could have prevented this disaster,” Marler said. “If you look at it critically, it screams at you, ‘My God, you have the potential for a Listeria problem.’ I think Blue Bell is really fortunate that this outbreak didn’t sicken hundreds. They are very lucky as it is.”
Listeria: Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Listeria outbreaks. The Listeria lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Listeria 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 Listeria lawyers have litigated Listeria cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, cheese, celery and milk.
If you or a family member became ill with a Listeria infection after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Listeria attorneys for a free case evaluation.
French Government to Force Supermarkets to Give Away Unsold Food
Source : http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/06/france-to-force-supermarkets-to-give-away-unsold-food/#.VXUROtiJjs1
By News Desk (June 1, 2015)
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-french-cheese-shop-paris-dozens-kinds-french-chees-france-december-december-france-image41368018Attempting to bridge the gap between “an epidemic of food waste” and a hungry subset of its population, the French government will be requiring supermarkets to give unsold food to charities and animal feed operations, according to the Guardian.
The bill was passed May 21 with bipartisan support in the French Parliament. It will require big supermarkets to sign contracts with charities by July 2016 or face fines up to €75,000 ($82,000).
In recent years, some French supermarkets have begun pouring bleach over their throwaway food to dissuade people from foraging in dumpsters and potentially contracting foodborne illnesses from spoiled food.
For many types of foods sold in supermarkets, however, passing an expiration date does not introduce a significant foodborne illness risk. Many expiration dates only indicate a time at which the food is not in optimal shape.
The average French citizen is estimated to throw out 44 to 66 pounds of food each year, 15 pounds of which is still in its packaging. This new supermarket law is part of a greater effort to cut food waste in France by 50 percent in the next 10 years.
Two Year Old Dies Of E. coli in South Carolina
Source : http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/two-year-old-dies-of-e-coli-in-south-carolina/#.VXUU4tiJjs1
By Bill Marler (June 1, 2015)
A 2-year-old boy from Greenwood, SC, has died from complications related to E. coli infection, according to Greenwood County Coroner Sonny Cox. Myles Mayfield reportedly died Sunday night at Greenville Memorial Hospital.
On Monday, the local school district posted a letter indicating that the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) was investigating a potential Shiga toxin-producing (STEC) infection at Springfield Elementary School.
“We take these matters very seriously,” stated Superintendent Darrell Johnson in the letter. “We are very concerned about the health and well-being of every student and adult at Springfield and in our district.”
Johnson said that the elementary school has been sanitized and that district officials would be working with DHEC personnel to monitor the situation.
Uttarakhand Food Safety Department tests Maggi noodles after lead scare
Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-3104932/Uttarakhand-Food-Safety-Department-tests-Maggi-noodles-lead-scare.html
By Press Trust Of India (May 31, 2015)
Nestle is facing fresh concerns over the safety standards of its famous Maggi noodle brand, after the Uttarakhand Food Safety Department collected samples of the ‘two-minute’ noodles from the company's Pantanagar plant and other places in the state.
The company is already facing problems in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, where the food regulator FSDA (Food Safety and Drug Administration) had found higher-than-permitted levels of monosodium glutamate and lead in Maggi samples.
Now, the Uttarakhand state government officials have collected samples of the Maggi noodles from Nestle India's Pantnagar plant and other cities, including Dehradun, and have sent them to the state government laboratories for tests.
“A team comprises state Food Safety Department officials visited the Nestle's plant at Pantnagar and collected the eight samples of Maggi noodles, which were sent to the state government laboratories,” District Magistrate of Udham Singh Nagar Pankaj Kumar Pandey told reporters here.
Maggi noodles came under the scanner last month after the Uttar Pradesh Food Safety and Drug Administration asked Nestle India to withdraw a batch of Maggi noodles which were manufactured in February 2014 after it found presence of non-essential taste enhancer MSG and high levels of lead in the samples.
What do Peter Pan and Blue Bell Have in Common?
Source : http://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2015/what-do-peter-pan-and-blue-bell-have-in-common/
By Carla Gillespie (May 28, 2015)
One is peanut butter, one is ice cream. One was contaminated with Salmonella, the other with Listeria. Still, there are similarities between the Peter Pan peanut butter and Blue Bell ice cream food poisoning outbreaks.
Peter Pan was in the news this week because the company that makes it, ConAgra Grocery Products LLC, a subsidiary of ConAgra Foods Inc., pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in connection with a 2006-2007 Salmonella outbreak that sickened 700 people. ConAgra admitted that it had shipped contaminated food across state lines and agreed to pay a criminal fine of $8 million and to $3.2 million in asset forfeiture.
“No company can let down its guard when it comes to these kinds of microbiological contaminants. Salmonellosis is a serious condition, and a food like peanut butter can deliver it straight to children and other vulnerable populations,” said said DOJ Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Mizer,
Companies shouldn’t let their guards down when it comes to microbiological contaminants, but plenty of them have since 2007 including another product delivered straight to children and vulnerable populations: Blue Bell ice cream.
Blue Bell shipped contaminated products across state lines to vulnerable populations in hospitals, nursing homes, schools and retirement communities including one where David Philip Shockley worked.
Shockley is the plaintiff in a federal lawsuit filed May 19 against Blue Bell. He repeatedly ate single-serve Blue Bell ice cream products while he was at work. Because he suffers from ulcerative colitis, Shockley had been taking immunosuppressive medications since 2012 rendering him particularly vulnerable to food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. According to the complaint, the Listeria meningitis infection he contracted was so severe, he nearly died.
At Via Christi hospital in Wichita, five patients who were unknowingly served contaminated Blue Bell products got Listeria infections. Three of them died.
As part of its plea agreement, ConAgra admitted it was aware of some risk of Salmonella contamination in peanut butter before the outbreak. One of the potential contributing factors was a leaky roof that allowed moisture into the plant. After the outbreak, the company speculated that the moisture enabled the growth of Salmonella present in the raw peanuts or peanut dust.
Blue Bell also had trouble with moisture. Condensate from pipes dripped right into product, according to inspection reports, released after the outbreak. The reports, dating back to 2009 and made public by Freedom of Information Act requests by newspapers, also revealed that the company found Listeria in non-food contact areas of its plant but did not test it to see if it was a pathogenic strain.
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