A total of 173 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Kiambu (51), Salmonella Thompson (111), Salmonella Agona (7), or Salmonella Gaminara (4) have been reported from 21 states.  Connecticut 6, Delaware 4, Iowa 2, Illinois 3, Kentucky 4, Louisiana 1, Maryland 8, Massachusetts 8, Michigan 1, Minnesota 4, Missouri 1, North Carolina 5, New Jersey 36, New York 50, Ohio 1, Oklahoma 4, Pennsylvania 8, Tennessee 1, Texas 9, Virginia 16, Wisconsin 1.  Fifty-eight ill people have been hospitalized. One death was reported from New York City.

The CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella infections. This outbreak includes four different types of Salmonella: Kiambu, Thompson, Agona, and Gaminara. The same strain of these types of Salmonella were found in samples collected from papayas and from ill people.

 

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that Maradol papayas from the Carica de Campeche farm in Mexico are the likely source of this multistate outbreak. Three brands of Maradol papayas have been recalled: Caribeña brand, distributed by Grande Produce; certain Cavi brand papayas distributed by Agroson’s; and Valery brand papayas, distributed by Freshtex Produce, LLC. If anyone has these papayas in their home, they should dispose of them immediately. The FDA has also added the Carica de Campeche farm to Import Alert (IA) 99-35, after testing found multiple strains of Salmonella present in the fruit. Thus far, Salmonella strains matching the outbreak patterns by PFGE were only isolated from papayas from the Carica de Campeche farm.

As of April 21, 2014, a total of 132 persons infected with the outbreak strain of SalmonellaCotham have been reported from 31 states since February 21, 2012.

  • 58% of ill persons are children 5 years of age or younger.
  • 42% of ill persons have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback findings have linked this outbreak of Salmonella infections to contact with pet bearded dragons purchased from multiple stores in different states. Bearded dragons are popular pet lizards that come in a variety of colors.

Of the three isolates collected from ill persons, one (33%) was resistant to ceftriaxone, an antibiotic used to treat serious Salmonella infections.

Pacific International Marketing (“Pacific”) is voluntarily recalling 19 cases of bulk Romaine Lettuce sold at Vons and Pavilions stores in California and Nevada due to potential Salmonella contamination. The bulk Romaine Lettuce was sold in bulk produce bins from July 2, 2012 through July 4, 2012. The lettuce heads are banded with a red twist tie marked “Safeway.”  The product is distributed in Pacific International Marketing RPCs with 15 heads of romaine in each RPC. The product is Romaine lettuce distributed in bulk with the code 12EASROM182 on the RPC. The recall affects RPCs only. No carton Romaine or bagged Romaine products are affected.

Salmonella:  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.

chicks-and-ducklings-23441280233307cwnJ.jpgA total of 123 persons infected with outbreak strains of Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Newport, and Salmonella Lille have been reported from 25 states.

The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (4), Delaware (1), Georgia (5), Illinois (1), Indiana (3), Kansas (1), Kentucky (5), Louisiana (1), Massachusetts (1), Maryland (1), Maine (3), Michigan (1), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (1), New York (16), North Carolina (12), Ohio (30), Pennsylvania (10), Rhode Island (1), South Carolina (1), Tennessee (8), Texas (2), Vermont (1), Virginia (6), and West Virginia (7).

26 ill persons have been hospitalized. One death has been reported in New York, but it is unclear whether infection contributed to this death.

36% of ill persons are children 10 years of age or younger.

Epidemiologic, laboratory and traceback findings have linked this outbreak of human Salmonella infections to exposure to chicks and ducklings from Mt. Healthy Hatchery in Ohio. This is the same mail-order hatchery that was associated with the 2011 outbreak of Salmonella Altona and Salmonella Johannesburg infections. In May 2012, veterinarians from the Ohio Department of Agriculture inspected the mail-order hatchery and made recommendations for improvement.

Salmonella-map.jpgA total of 116 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bareilly have been reported from 20 states and the District of Columbia.

The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (2), Arkansas (1), Connecticut (5), District of Columbia (2), Florida (1), Georgia (5), Illinois (10), Louisiana (2), Maryland (11), Massachusetts (8), Mississippi (1), Missouri (2), New Jersey (7), New York (24), North Carolina (2), Pennsylvania (5), Rhode Island (5), South Carolina (3), Texas (3), Virginia (5), and Wisconsin (12).

12 ill persons have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

Tuna.jpgCollaborative investigation efforts of state, local, and federal public health agencies indicate that a frozen raw yellowfin tuna product, known as Nakaochi Scrape, from Moon Marine USA Corporation is the likely source of this outbreak of Salmonella Bareilly infections. Nakaochi Scrape is tuna backmeat that is scraped from the bones of tuna and may be used in sushi, sashimi, ceviche, and similar dishes. Moon Marine USA Corporation (also known as MMI) of Cupertino, Calif. is voluntarily recalling 58,828 lbs of a frozen raw yellowfin tuna product, labeled as Nakaochi Scrape AA or AAA. Nakaochi Scrape is tuna backmeat, which is specifically scraped off from the bones, and looks like a ground product.

Consumers should not eat the recalled product, and retailers should not serve the recalled raw Nakaochi Scrape tuna product from Moon Marine USA Corporation.

This investigation is ongoing. CDC and state and local public health partners are continuing surveillance to identify new cases.

Leasa living sprouts salmonella recall.jpgToday Winn Dixie and Leasa Industries Co., Inc. announced the recall of 346 cases of LEASA Living Alfalfa Sprouts with use by date 2/1/12, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

LEASA Living Alfalfa Sprouts with use by date 2/1/12 were distributed through FL, GA, AL, LA, and MS through retail stores, including Winn Dixie, and food service companies on 1/4/12, 1/5/12, 1/6/12, 1/7/12 and 1/8/12.

The affected product is in 6 oz. clear plastic containers with a UPC code of 75465-55912 and has an expiration date of 2/1/12. The UPC code is located on the side of the label at the side of the container. The expiration date of the package is located on the side of the container.

No illnesses have been reported to date

The potential for the contamination was discovered when routine customer sample testing on 1/9/12 revealed the presence of Salmonella

Customers with any of the LEASA Living Alfalfa Sprouts 6 oz. containers with used by date of 2/1/12 are asked to please dispose of the product by throwing away in the trash receptacle.

Salmonella is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

Asks Congress to Give USDA Recall Authority

Yonkers, N.Y.—Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, today called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to drastically tighten its present Salmonella standard, which allows almost half the samples tested at a ground turkey plant to be contaminated with this disease-causing bug. Consumers Union also called on Congress to give the USDA mandatory recall authority, as it just did for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Food Safety Modernization Act.

“The current USDA ground turkey standard, which allows 49.9 percent of samples in a test run to be positive for Salmonella is unacceptable and clearly ineffective as a tool for food safety,” said Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union.

The Center for Disease Control has identified 77 illnesses and one death so far, associated with a strain of Salmonella Heidelberg, found in ground turkey from one processing plant in Arkansas. On August 3, Cargill recalled 36 million pounds of turkey manufactured at the plant since February.

The ground turkey industry generally meets the current very lax USDA standard. USDA tests of 121 samples of ground turkey at 22 ground turkey facilities in the first quarter of 2011 show that 10.7 percent were contaminated, about the same number as for 2010. Consumers Union believes this level is too high and a tighter standard is needed.

“For one in ten packages of ground turkey to potentially be contaminated with disease-causing Salmonella is simply too great a risk,” Halloran said. “The current USDA standard, which allows almost 50 percent to be contaminated, is completely ineffectual as a tool for reducing this level.”

USDA recently reduced its acceptable level of Salmonella in whole turkeys from 19 percent to 1.7 percent contaminated in a given series of tests. “USDA should make a similar drastic reduction in its performance standard for ground turkey,” Halloran said.

Consumers Union points out that similar problems exist with ground chicken, where salmonella levels are even higher—about one third contaminated in USDA’s 2011 first quarter tests—and the USDA standard for acceptable contamination is 44.6 percent of samples. Consumers Union periodically has tested whole chicken and found high levels of bacterial contamination since 1998.

Consumers Union urges consumers to be sure to cook all poultry products well done, to an internal temperature of 165 degrees measured by a meat thermometer and to be very careful to keep packages of raw poultry of any kind away from all other foods in the kitchen.

“Knives and cutting boards used on poultry should go straight into the dishwasher. Turkey burgers on the grill must be well done,” advised Halloran.

“Food & Water Watch is pleased that the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service has finally updated the performance standards for salmonella in young chicken and turkey establishments, but there is more the agency should do to strengthen this program. We are also encouraged that FSIS has established a new performance standard for campylobacter in broiler chickens and turkey. Food & Water Watch identified deficiencies in the salmonella testing program in reports we released in 2006 and 2008. We are pleased to see that the agency has acted to correct some of these deficiencies in reporting testing results.

“In 1996, the federal government instituted major changes in the meat inspection system by creating the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system. Under HACCP, FSIS inspectors shifted to an auditing role and have less authority to require corrective action when they see a problem. As part of HACCP, the agency launched its salmonella testing program, which it touts as an indicator of the effectiveness of meat companies’ food safety procedures. One of the tenets of the HACCP program was that microbial performance standards would be updated regularly. But the salmonella standard that is updated by today’s announcement has been in use since 1998. We urge the agency to regularly revise the salmonella standard and new campylobacter standard in the future.

“In addition to updating the standards regularly, there is still more the agency should do. We are concerned that the agency’s salmonella “report card” will not be as transparent as the one currently used on the agency’s website. In fact, we urge the agency to post the results from all plants — those that fail to meet performance standards, as well as those that marginally pass and those that exceed the standard. A pass/fail listing is not good enough.

“The agency’s decision not to post the results of campylobacter test results by plant will deprive the public of vital information about companies’ progress in reducing this pathogen. Not releasing the plant specific results will force groups like us to use the Freedom of Information Act to seek these results and share them with the public.

“Even when companies fail to meet these performance standard, FSIS does not have the legal authority to shut down the plants or take other enforcement action. It is past time for the agency to seek legislation to make these microbial performance standards enforceable.”

Thanks to Hanah Boen of the Abilene Texas News, for this great warning on handling and cooking Rattlesnake:

rattlesnake.jpgRattlesnake are commonly feared when they’re alive and rattling, but is there anything to fear when they’re served on a plate with a side of gravy?

Teresa Shisk-Saling, a registered veterinary technician and a herpetologist in Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, said most of the health concerns surrounding handling and eating rattlesnake can all be avoided by simply being careful.

The first concern is venom. Like most living things, when rattlesnakes die their muscles relax. At that point, the venom is released from their fangs and can spread to other parts of the snake, she said. Venom is isolated to glands in the mouth, so when butchering the reptile, care should be taken to keep the head away from the meat.

“I personally know a couple people that have been poisoned by dead snakes when they were picking them up on the side of the road,” she said. “If venom’s been dripping down the snakes and it touches your hands, you would want to be sure you keep it away from any open wounds or scratches.”

Another concern is salmonella, which can dwell in the gut of the reptile. As long as the intestines are kept intact, she said, toxins would not be exposed to the meat.

Most of the meat available for cooking purposes is commercially available, she said, and is handled and prepared by experienced individuals.

“Most of the folks at things like this know what they’re doing,” she said of the roundup, “but if you get a novice that’s not the brightest bulb in the box you run a risk.”