Mystery E. coli O145 Outbreak Ends, No Source Found
Before closing their investigation into a multistate outbreak of E. coli O145, health officials identified 3 more victims – bringing the case count up from 15 to 18 – but were unable to find the source of the bacteria.
FDA Warns Consumers Against Eating Shellfish from Oyster Bay Harbor
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers to not eat raw or partially cooked oysters and clams with tags listing Oyster Bay Harbor in Nassau County, New York as the harvest area. Eight people in several states have been sickened with Vibrio parahaemolyticus food poisoning after consuming those foods.
The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) closed Oyster Bay Harbor to shellfish harvesting on July 13, 2012. The FDA told shellfish harvesters, shippers, re-shippers, processors, restaurants, and retail food establishments to dispose of any shellfish that have identity tags showing Oyster Bay Harbor was the harvest area and harvest date on or after June 1, 2012. The map of the emergency shellfish closure is available at the New York web site. The area will remain closed until samples taken by the DEC indicate that shellfish are no longer a threat to consumers.
Neff’s Lawn Care Ohio Picnic E. coli 0157 Outbreak Update
The Dayton & Montgomery County Health Department has updated their investigation into the Neff’s Lawn Care picnic E. coli 0157:H7 outbreak. As of July 23, 2012, 75 people have been sickened, 14 have been hospitalized, and three people are still hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Those three with HUS include a 4-year-old girl, a 14-year-old male, and a 73-year-old male
As many as 300 people attended the picnic which was held on July 3, 2012. Because of cross-contamination after the original outbreak, two secondary cases of E. coli 0157:H7 have been reported. Public health officials are stressing the need for good hygiene practices, including washing hands thoroughly after visiting the bathroom, and before preparing food.
In fact, anyone who is ill with a diarrheal illness should not prepare food or serve food to others. Anyone who has been sickened in this outbreak should have a negative test before they cook or handle food.
Portland Area Boil-Water Advisory Ends
The boil-water advisory has been lifted for people who live and work west of the Willamette River and have Portland city water. On Saturday, July 21, 2012, Portland’s water bureau issued a ‘Boil Water Notice’ after a second test was positive for bacterial contamination in Reservoir 3 inWashington Park. An investigation into the source of the contamination is ongoing.
In addition to those living west of the Willamette River, customers in the Burlington Water District, Valley View Water District, Palatine Hills Water District, Lake Grove Water District, West Slope Water District and the City of Tigard were also affected. Customers in those areas were under the boil-water advisory for about 24 hours. In 2009, fecal contamination from a bird source caused a similar situation.
60 Hospitalized in Denver After Eating Charity Dinner
Less than an hour after eating a turkey dinner served at the Denver Rescue Mission at 7 p.m., dozens of meal recipients began to vomit and became dehydrated from fluid loss.
More Victims in Ohio E. coli Outbreak Linked to Picnic
74 ill; 14 hospitalized
An outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 thought to have originated at a picnic in Germantown, Ohio has expanded from 68 victims to 75, according to the local health department. The number of people hospitalized remained steady at 14 since the last report.
Cargill Beef Tied to 33 Person, 7 State Salmonella Outbreak
A Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak linked to Cargill ground beef is affecting 33 people in 7 Northeastern states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday, a day after the company recalled nearly 30,000 pounds of product.
According to CDC, 11 of those connected to the outbreak have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported. An investigation by state, local and federal public health agencies has zeroed in on ground beef processed by Cargill Meat Solutions at a single facility in Pennsylvania as the likely source of the outbreak. Authorities were able to conclusively link illnesses in five case patients to ground beef products produced at the Cargill meat establishment (EST. 9400) after state labs found the outbreak strain in two separate leftover ground beef samples from patient homes.
CDC said that the different agencies would continue coordinating with one another and using PulseNet to identify ill people connected to the outbreak. So far, the illness count for each state is: Maine (1), Massachusetts (3), New Hampshire (2), New York (14), Rhode Island (1), Virginia (2) and Vermont (10). Illness onset dates range from June 6 to June 26 and those sickened range from 12 years to 101 years old. More than half are female.
Though it’s likely most of the recalled meat has been consumed, health officials are urging consumers to check their refrigerators and freezers for any meat that might remain — consumers should return the product for a refund. Since some of the ground beef was repackaged into consumer-sized packages sold at retail, CDC urged consumers to visit the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service website to view the list of stores that carried the beef, which may not bear the EST. 9400 mark.
Cargill Beef’s president John Keating said late Sunday he was “sorry or anyone who became sick from eating ground beef we may have produced.”
“Ensuring our beef products are safe is our highest priority and an investigation is underway to determine the source of Salmonella in the animals we purchased for harvest and any actions necessary to prevent this from recurring,” said Keating.
In a FAQ posted online about the outbreak, Cargill noted that they do not test for Salmonella Enteritidis: “This particular strain of Salmonella Enteritidis in beef has not been linked to a public health problem before, and no validated test for it in fresh beef is commercially available.”
Leading food safety expert David Theno, who helped Jack in the Box reform their practices after the historic 1993 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak, told Food Safety News that a regular Salmonella screen would have detected the strain. (Also, it appears that several companies, including DuPont, Roka Bioscience, Cell Biolabs, and BioControl offer relatively rapid testing technology for Salmonella Enteritidis in beef).
E. coli Infection from Ohio Picnic Kills 73-Year-Old Man
A 73-year-old man has died from complications of an E. coli infection he contracted at the Neff’s Lawn Care customer appreciation picnic. Montgomery County Health Commissioner Jim Gross said, “our hearts go out to his familiy and loved ones. This is a very difficult time for everyone. You may rest assured that Public Health will continue to examine all aspects of this foodborne tragedy.”
At least 75 people have been sickened by the outbreak linked to the picnic. Fourteen people have been hospitalized, and three, including the man who just died, developed hemolytic uremic syndrome. That complication of shiga-toxin producing bacterial infections, such as E. coli 0157:H7, can lead to kidney failure and other serious health issues.
CDC Asks States to Regulate Raw Milk
Dr. Robert Tauxe, deputy director of the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, sent a letter to state public health departments, asking them place more restrictions on the sales of raw milk. The letter also asked those agencies to stress the dangers of consuming raw milk. In fact, public health experts say that pasteurization is one of science’s most effective food safety interventions.
Dr. Tauxe stresses the fact that raw milk and raw cheese caused 82% of all dairy-related outbreaks between the years 1973 and 2009. The CDC investigated 93 outbreaks linked to raw milk and raw milk products between 1998 and 2009. Those outbreaks caused 1,837 illnesses, 195 hospitalizations and 2 deaths. The CDC data shows the rate of raw milk outbreaks is higher in states where the sale of raw milk is legal than in states where the sale of raw milk is illegal.
The letter states, “to protect the health of the public, state regulators should continue to support pasteurization and consider further restricting or prohibiting the sale and distribution of raw milk and other unpasteurized dairy products in their states.” It continues, “adherence to good hygienic practices during milking can reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of milk contamination. pasteurization is the only way to ensure that fluid milk products do not contain harmful bacteria.”
New Produce Regulations Won’t Be Final Until OMB Says So
Fresh Cheese Recalled for Improper Pasteurization
Undeclared Milk Brings Cookie Recall in Canada
Wellements LLC Recalls Baby Prune Concentrate for Possible Salmonella
Wellements LLC is recalling Baby Move™ Prune Concentrate liquid dietary supplement, because one of the ingredients used to make the product may be contaminated with Salmonella. The ingredient supplier told the company about the problem.
Wellements Baby Move™ Prune Concentrate, in 4 ounce size, is sold in a glass bottle and packaged in an individual product carton. The UPC number is 729609019878. All product lots up to and including number 12179 are part of the recall. The product was distributed from January 2012 to July 2012 nationwide through retail stores and online retailers.
Cargill Recalls Fresh Beef After 7-State Salmonella Outbreak Sickens 33
Hannaford Stores in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont named as one retail outlet – Cargill and Hannaford linked to past Salmonella outbreaks.
Cass-Clay Creamery Recalls Ice Cream for Undeclared Allergens
Cass-Clay Creamery of North Dakota is recalling some varieties of ice cream because they may contain undeclared Brazil nuts, peanut oil, and soy lecithin. Tree nuts such as Brazil nuts are one of the major food allergens. Peanuts are another allergen, and so is soy.
The flavors recalled for Brazil nuts are Cass-Clay Maple Nut ice Cream in one gallon containers (3.78 liters) with UPC number 70422-03404; Cass-Clay Premium Light Maple Nut Ice cream in one gallon containers with UPC number 70422-23404; and Hornbacher’s Maple Nut Ice Cream in half-gallon containers (1.89 liters) with UPC number 41130-21666. Cass-Clay Premium Light Double Chocolate Fudge Ice cream, in half-gallon containers, UPC number 70422-24061 is being recalled for undeclared peanut oil and soy lecithin
Articles of Interest
Some Duluth Beaches Still Contaminated with Fecal Bacteria
As we told you on July 3, 2012, some Lake Superior beaches in the Duluth area were closed because of high levels of E. coli bacteria. A few of those beaches are now safe to use, but some remain closed. Flooding in the Duluth area in late June most likely washed bacteria from sewage systems into water around the area.
According to the Lake Superior Beach Monitoring Program, the Minnesota Point 15th Street Harbor Side Beach has high bacteria levels, along with Hearding Island Canal Beach/Park Point 20th Street, and the Park Point Sky Harbor Parking Lot Beach. The 42nd Avenue East Beach, and Brighton Beach in East Duluth now have acceptable water.
Another Salmonella Hatchery Outbreak: 37 Ill in 11 States
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Monday that 37 people in 11 states have reportedly been infected with the same strain of Salmonella Hadar.
The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Arizona (2), California (1), Colorado (3), Idaho (5), Illinois (2), Oregon (5), Tennessee (2), Texas (1), Utah (5), Washington (9), and Wyoming (2).
Of those known to be sick, eight have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported. Health authorities said 37 percent of those sickened are children 10 years of age or younger.
“Epidemiologic, laboratory and traceback findings have linked this outbreak of human Salmonella infections to contact with live poultry from Hatchery B in Idaho,” said CDC in a release Monday. “Mail-order hatcheries, agricultural feed stores, and others that sell or display chicks, ducklings, and other live poultry should provide health-related information to owners and potential purchasers of these birds prior to the point of purchase. This should include information about the risk of acquiring a Salmonella infection from contact with live poultry.”
Might Food Become a Vehicle for Tropical Disease?
EU Might Block Parts of Food Safety Modernization Act
NFL Linebacker Joins Antibiotics Briefing on Capitol Hill
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY), a constant advocate for reining in the use of antibiotics in agriculture, hosted another congressional briefing on the issue Tuesday — this time featuring an NFL linebacker.
Will Witherspoon, who plays for the Tennessee Titans and owns Shire Gate Farm, joined Frank Reese of Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch cooperative and veterinarian and medical expert Dr. Michael Blackwell on panel to brief staff on raising livestock without using antibiotics.
According to Rep. Slaughter’s office, Witherspoon’s Shire Gate Farm applies high-welfare, sustainable farming techniques that almost entirely rule out the need for antibiotics. “By following these techniques, Witherspoon doesn’t need to rely on routine antibiotic use to keep animals healthy or prevent disease.”
At the briefing, Slaughter emphasized her platform: that the U.S. needs to reduce its antibiotic use in food animals and address the growing public health threat of antibiotic-resistant pathogens.
European E. coli Outbreak Sheds New Light on Treatment Strategies
It is an accepted fact among medical experts that an E. coli infection should not be treated with antibiotics, as these drugs may worsen illness. But a new review of strategies used to treat victims of last year’s European E. coli outbreak shows that a combination of two or more antibiotics may have helped patients recover from hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) – a potentially fatal complication of E. coli infection.
UK Bans Dangerous Sports Supplements
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK warned the public of potentially dangerous sports supplements available for sale. The agency said that “illegal sports supplements might contain dangerous ingredients that could cause kidney failure, seizures, and heart problems.”
Eighty-four illegal products that are marketed as energy and muscle gain enhancers are part of the warning. They contain high risk chemicals such as Ephedrine, Synephrine, and Yohimibine that can cause serious health side effects. The products may also contain steroids, stimulants, and hormones. Retailers have been told to remove those products from store shelves.
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