big-map-2-22-2016CDC is collaborating with public health officials in multiple states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Muenchen infections.

A total of 13 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Muenchen have been reported from four states. The number of ill people identified in each state is as follows: Kansas (5), Missouri (3), Oklahoma (3), and Pennsylvania (2).

Illnesses started on dates ranging from December 1, 2015 to January 21, 2016. Ill people range in age from 18 years to 73, with a median age of 51. Ninety-two percent of ill people are female. Among 13 ill people with available information, 5 reported being hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

Collaborative investigative efforts of state, local, and federal public health and regulatory officials indicate that alfalfa sprouts produced by Sweetwater Farms of Inman, Kansas are a likely source of this outbreak.

In interviews, ill people answered questions about foods eaten and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Of the 12 ill people who were interviewed, 10 (83%) reported eating or possibly eating sprouts in the week before illness started. When asked about the type of sprouts eaten, nine (90%) of these ten ill people reported eating alfalfa sprouts. One ill person reported purchasing Sweetwater Farms brand alfalfa sprouts from a grocery store.

State and local health and regulatory officials performed traceback investigations from five different restaurant locations where ill people ate sprouts. These investigations indicated that Sweetwater Farms supplied alfalfa sprouts to all five locations.

Laboratory testing isolated Salmonella from samples of irrigation water and alfalfa sprouts collected during a recent inspection at Sweetwater Farms. Further testing is ongoing to determine the type and DNA fingerprint of Salmonella isolated in these samples.

small-map-03-07-16-300x191CDC is collaborating with public health officials in multiple states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Montevideo infections.

A total of 11 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Montevideo have been reported from 9 states. A list of states and the number of cases in each can be found on the Case Count Map page.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from December 12, 2015 to February 9, 2016. Ill people range in age from 9 years to 69, with a median age of 31. Seventy-three percent of ill people are male. Among 9 ill people with available information, 2 reported being hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

Collaborative investigative efforts of state, local, and federal public health and regulatory officials indicate that pistachios produced by Wonderful Pistachios of Lost Hills, California are a likely source of this outbreak.

Recent laboratory testing isolated the outbreak strain of Salmonella Montevideo from samples of raw pistachios collected from Paramount Farms, where Wonderful pistachios are grown.

On March 9, 2016, Wonderful Pistachios voluntarily recalled a limited number of flavors and sizes of in-shell and shelled pistachios because they may be contaminated with Salmonella. The pistachios were sold under the brand names Wonderful, Paramount Farms, and Trader Joe’s and were sold nationwide and in Canada. The pistachios, which were distributed through several retailers, food companies and manufacturers nationwide and in Canada, can be identified by a 13-digit lot code number, which can be found on the lower back or bottom panel of the package.  The specific products and lot codes affected are attached, and only product with these lot codes is subject to recall.

Today the CDC announced that it is investigating two multistate outbreaks of Salmonella infections, each involving a different Salmonella serotype: Hartford and Baildon.  An analysis indicates that eating at a Mexican-style fast food restaurant chain, Restaurant Chain A, is associated with some illnesses. Among persons eating at Restaurant Chain A, no specific food item or ingredient was found to be associated with illness for either outbreak.  An extensive traceback effort was initiated to determine if a common source or supplier could be identified to help focus the epidemiologic investigations. No common food source was identified in either traceback.

Interestingly, we have been tracking both Salmonella Hartford and Baildon illnesses in several states in the preceding months.  Many of those ill recall (long-prior to the CDC announcement) eating at a Taco Bell.  Several of those in Kentucky.  We continue our investigation.  Here are the details from the CDC:

Salmonella Hartford Outbreak Investigation

As of August 1, 2010, a total of 75 individuals infected with a matching strain of Salmonella Hartford have been reported from 15 states since April 1, 2010. The number of ill people identified in each state with this strain is as follows: CO (1), GA (1), IL (5), IN (11), KY (23), MA (2), MI (3), MT (1), NC (1), NH (1), NY (1), OH (19), PA (1), SC (1) and WI (4). Among those for whom information is available about when symptoms started, illnesses began between April 30, 2010 and July 18, 2010. Case-patients range in age from <1 to 80 years old, and the median age is 39 years. Fifty-seven percent of patients are female. Among the 47 patients with available hospitalization information, 15 (32 %) were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Salmonella Baildon Outbreak Investigation

As of August 1, 2010, a total of 80 individuals infected with a matching strain of Salmonella Baildon have been reported from 15 states since May 1, 2010. The number of ill people identified in each state with this strain is as follows: CT (1), GA (1), IA (1), IL (20), IN (4), KY (5), MA (1), MI (4), MN (5), NJ (6), NY (2), OH (6), OR (1), WA (1) and WI (22). Among those for whom information is available about when symptoms started, illnesses began between May 11, 2010 and July 19, 2010. Case-patients range in age from 1 to 82 years old, and the median age is 47 years. Seventy-four percent of patients are female. Among the 68 patients with available hospitalization information, 27 (40 %) were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

A wide range of processed foods – including soups, snack foods, dips and dressings – are being recalled after salmonella was discovered in a flavor-enhancing ingredient.

Food and Drug Administration officials said Thursday that the ingredient, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, is used in thousands of food products, though it was unclear how many of them will be recalled. The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said no illnesses or deaths have been reported.

The officials said the recall, which dates to products manufactured since Sept. 17, is expected to expand in the coming days and weeks. It only involves hydrolyzed vegetable protein manufactured by Las Vegas-based Basic Food Flavors Inc.

The agency said Thursday it collected and analyzed samples at the Las Vegas facility after one of the company’s customers discovered the salmonella. The FDA then confirmed the presence of a strain of salmonella in the company’s processing equipment.

Jeffrey Farrar, associate commissioner for food protection at the FDA, said Thursday that many of the products that contain the product are not dangerous because the risk of salmonella is eliminated after the food has been cooked. Many of the foods involved in the recall are ready-to-eat items that are not cooked by the consumer.  "At this time we believe the risk to consumers is very low," Farrar said.

A list of more than 50 recalled foods on the FDA Web site include several dips manufactured by T. Marzetti, Sweet Maui Onion potato chips manufactured by Tim’s Cascade Snacks, Tortilla Soup mix made by Homemade Gourmet and several prepackaged "Follow Your Heart" tofu meals manufactured by Earth Island.  The FDA said the contamination was discovered by a new tracking system implemented to improve tracing of foodborne illnesses.

Richardson Elementary School students in Lee’s Summit, MO were sent home with warning letters yesterday after two kindergartners were hospitalized with salmonella.

A boy, listed in fair condition, and a girl, whose condition was not being released, were enrolled in Richardson’s Kids Country during the school year.

Health officials could not say if the illnesses are school related.

Salmonella is often spread through contaminated food and less frequently from person-to-person or on toys and other objects. The school has instructed its district custodians to do additional cleaning and disinfecting at Richardson Elementary as a precaution.

FOX-4 in Kansas City is covering the situation here.

Somebody must have hit the "re-send" button overnight at the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) as we received a number of recall notices from earlier May that we’ve already written about.

One that is somewhat new, however, is from last Friday when Union International Food Company recalled Lian How Brand White Peppers with red labels because of possible Salmonella contamination.   

The City of Industry, CA-based company said the Lian How Brand White Peppers were packaged in 5 pound containers with red labels for distribution to Southern California restaurants and wholesalers between Sept. 2008 and March 2009.   So, the possibility of any of these White Peppers still being around is probably pretty small.

Why it has taken so long to identify this problem is not clear.  Union says the recall was the result of a testing done on a shipment of peppers that was purchased around September of 2008 which revealed that the finished products contained the salmonella bacteria. 

Why it took until May 29, 2009 to issue a recall on products that tested positive for salmonella in September 2008 is question we do not know the answer to.  Union claims it is cooperating fully with FDA; and no illnesses are yet associated with this recall.

Consumers who have purchased the affected white peppers with red label product are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at (626) 854-8880

Here’s what the FDA has on it.

 

 

In a 483 Inspection Report released today, FDA inspectors identified multiple food-safety shortcomings at the Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella California that was linked to a Salmonella outbreak earlier this year:

1. The company detected the bacteria in roasted pistachios in October but did not change its processing procedures until March

2. In one instance, the company re-roasted pistachios that had tested positive for Salmonella and blended them together with other nuts for sale.

3. Inspectors identified a "failure to manufacture, package and store foods under conditions and controls necessary to minimize the potential for growth of microorganisms and contamination."

4. Specific physical problems ranged from a rusty hole in the roof above one pistachio roaster to "thick layers of dust and debris" in a packaging room.

5. Procedural shortcomings included failure to monitor roasting temperatures and allowing raw and roasted pistachios to potentially come into contact.

6. Between October 2008 and March 2009, the report noted that "there were at least eight reported Salmonella-positive test results" coming out of the Terra Bella plant. When the firm learned of the private laboratory test results, inspectors said, there were no "procedures in place" to respond appropriately.

7. Prior to January, inspectors added, the Terra Bella plant did not monitor roasting temperatures, roasting times or the depth of pistachios placed on the roasting conveyor belts.

8. Inspectors checked records for 14 lots of roasted pistachios. In a potentially dangerous step, 10 of these lots had raw pistachios packed on the same packaging equipment prior to the roasted pistachios being run.

Does this not sound just a bit like the 483 Inspection report at the Peanut Corporation of America?  Setton is just lucky they did not sicken and kill people or they may too be facing bankruptcy and jail time.  When are companies going to get a clue?

salmonellaThe Lancaster News reported that at least eleven people have been culture-confirmed with Salmonella infections since eating food from Mazzi, a restaurant whose owner also co-owns the Leola Village Inn & Suites.  According to  the story:

John Calabrese, who owns Mazzi and co-owns Leola Village Inn & Suites with his wife, Deborah Shirk, said about 50 people attended the Dec. 10 party at the restaurant, which is part of the Leola Village complex off Route 23.

When the workers got sick with nausea, fever, chills and other symptoms, "we couldn’t figure out what was going on" and immediately notified the Health Department, Calabrese said. The restaurant also quarantined some areas "and sanitized everything," he said.

Stacy Kriedeman, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health, said Friday that there were 11 confirmed laboratory cases of salmonella involving people who ate at Mazzi on Dec. 10, 11 and 12, and 39 more people who reported feeling ill.

Both diners attending private parties at Mazzi and diners who attended the Leola Village Christmas gathering experienced Salmonella infection.  The health department continues its work to determine which foods can be associated with illness. 

Elsewhere, KULR TV reported that Yellowstone County, Montana, residents have become ill with a strain of Salmonella that has also been isolated from residents of Texas and Pennsylvania.  The investigation into what has caused this apparent outbreak is ongoing:

The information will then be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where experts will pinpoint the source of contamination. "The CDC will run it through an EPI program, and it’s like a sorting program that goes through all the interviews and sorts through what item it could be," said Tamalee Taylor, communicable disease specialist at Yellowstone County Health Department.

A lawsuit was filed today against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., the company whose Greenwood, Indiana, store was the source of a Salmonella outbreak. The lawsuit was filed in Johnson County Superior Court on behalf of a Greenwood resident whose son became violently ill and was hospitalized after consuming foods purchased at the Wal-Mart deli. The lawsuit was filed by Marler Clark, a Seattle-based law firm that has represented hundreds of victims of Salmonella outbreaks.

The complaint alleges that Mr. Merritt purchased ham and cheese from the Wal-Mart deli. Mr. Merritt’s son, Noah, consumed the ham and cheese in the subsequent days and became ill; Noah’s symptoms became severe, and he was seen in the Emergency Room at St. Francis Hospital in Indianapolis. Noah was subsequently admitted to the hospital; while hospitalized, Noah provided a stool sample that tested positive for Salmonella.

“The Indiana State Health Department reported that at least 84 customers who ate foods from the deli and bakery departments at Wal-Mart from May to August were part of this Salmonella outbreak,” said William Marler, attorney for Mr. Merritt. “We’ve seen this before and will see it again,” Marler continued. “Businesses who fail to enforce strict handwashing policies will continue to be the source of outbreaks, and will be held responsible for their failures through the legal system.”

Public health professionals will soon have a clearer picture of the magnitude of food poisoning across Europe, thanks to a new European project which aims to improve the surveillance of food-borne infections across the continent.

The project is part of the Med-Vet-Net initiative, a European Network of Excellence which brings together experts from a range of fields to improve research into diseases transmitted from animals to humans, including food-borne infections.

The new project will focus on two of the most common food-borne infections in Europe: Salmonella and Campylobacter. Between them, these bacteria cause hundreds of thousands of cases of gastrointestinal illness every year. Salmonella is found principally in meat, meat products and eggs. Campylobacter is also found mostly in meat, but it has also been detected in fish products, cheese and vegetables.

Ultimately, the researchers hope that by painting a more accurate picture of the incidence of these diseases, public health officials will be able to implement better disease control methods.