Over at Outbreak Database, we have been keeping track of foodborne illness outbreaks – small and large – over the last 12 months.  Here are some of the more interesting Salmonella Outbreaks.

Don Julio Mexican Restaurant December 2011 – 59 Ill. A Salmonellosis outbreak was linked to eating at the Don Julio’s Mexican Restaurant in Corinth, Mississippi. A food producer or supplier did not appear to be the cause. The food vehicle and the contributing factors were not described as of December 16.

Hannaford Hamburger Ground Beef December 2011 – 16 Ill.  On December 16, Hannaford, a Scarborough, Maine-based grocery chain, recalled fresh ground beef products that may have been contaminated with a strain of Salmonella Typhimurium. The recall resulted from an investigation into human illness. By December 20, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 16 ill persons with an indistinguishable PFGE pattern. Eleven of those individuals reported consuming ground beef. Seven individuals were hospitalized and no deaths have been reported. Ten of the fourteen case-patients reported purchasing ground beef at Hannaford stores in Maine, New York, New Hampshire and Vermont between October 12 and November 20. The Salmonella Typhimurium was resistant to several commonly used antibiotics.

Sunrise Commodities Turkish Pine Nuts October 2011 – 43 Ill.  A confirmed outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis was associated with eating Turkish pine nuts purchased from bulk bins at Wegman’s grocery stores between July 1 and October 18. As of November 17, there were 43 cases, ranging in age from less than one year to 94 years of age. Some of the pine nuts were eaten as an ingredient in prepared foods, such as Caprese salad or asparagus with pine nuts. Among 40 ill persons for whom information was available, 28(70%)had eaten pine nuts or products containing pine nuts. Wegman shopper card records were helpful in identifying pine nut purchases. The outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis was isolated from several consumer pine nut samples and from pesto made in a private home using the implicated pine nuts. Wegman’s grocery stores are located along the east coast mostly in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Laboratory testing conducted by public health laboratories in several states identified the outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis from at least five samples of Turkish pine nuts or pesto containing Turkish pine nuts.

Larry Schultz Organic Farms Eggs August 2011 – 6 Ill.  An outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis was associated with eating organic eggs produced by Larry Schultz Organic Farms, Owatonna, Minnesota. At least six illnesses were attributed to this outbreak. The illnesses occurred in adults and children in a seven-county metropolitan area surrounding Minneapolis, Minnesota. Five of the six cases reported eating the implicated eggs after purchasing them from grocery stores or co-ops. The eggs were distributed to restaurants, grocery stores, food wholesalers and foodservices companies in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan and were voluntarily recalled.

Evergreen Produce Alfalfa and Spicy Sprouts June 2011 – 21 Ill.  In late June, Idaho health officials announced an investigation into an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis suspected to be caused by the consumption of contaminated alfalfa and spicy sprouts. As of June 28, at least 21 cases were known in Idaho, Washington, Montana, North Dakota, and New Jersey. Six cases reported consumption of alfalfa sprouts obtained from a northern Idaho grower, Evergreen Produce, located in Moyie Springs, Idaho. On June 27, the Idaho Department of Health and the FDA recommended the public to avoid eating the sprouts while the investigation was underway. On July 1, Evergreen Produce voluntarily recalled its alfalfa and spicy sprouts.

Portillo’s Restaurant Salad April 2011, Illinois – 36 Ill.  An investigation into an outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium among patrons of Portillo’s Restaurant in St. Charles, Illinois, was first announced on May 10, 2011. Cases were infected with a rare strain of Salmonella Typhimurium. There were 36 case patients meeting the case definition of which 19 were laboratory confirmed with S. Typhimurium. Cases resided in Kane, DuPage, Cook, DeKalb, Kenall and Will Counties. Two case patients lived in Minnesota but traveld to St. Charles in Kane County. An investigation was conducted by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Kane County Health Department. Investigators concluded that a salad prepared at Portillos was the contaminated food item. They did not determine how the salad became contaminated with Salmonella.

DeFusco’s Bakery, Salmonella Heidelberg March 2011 – 79 Ill.  On March 26, the Rhode Island Department of Health announced an investigation into an outbreak of Salmonella linked to recalled baked goods produced by DeFusco’s Bakery in Johnston, Rhode Island. The products were first recalled on March 25 when it was discovered that the pastry cream used to fill zeppoles, a doughnut-like pastry, and the eclairs, had been stored at unsafe temperatures. On March 27, it was revealed that the bakery had stored finished zeppole shells in used egg crates, which could have led to cross contamination of the zeppole shells. The bakery goods from DeFusco’s Johnston store were sold at all DeFusco Bakery locations, Crugnale Bakery locations in Providence, East Providence, North Providence, Cranston and Cumberland, Colvitto’s Bistro in Narragansett, Sal’s Bakery in Providence, and Focaccia World in Johnston. The zeppoles were also sold to American Bakery Supplies, a distributor, which in turn distributed the pastries to Roch’s Market in West Warwick, Meal Works in Coventry, and Touch of Class Catering in West Warwick. Meal Works, a catering company, served the zeppoles on March 17 and 18 at the West Warwick Manor Senior Center, St. John and Paul Church in Coventry, Sparrow Point Senior Center in West Warwick, and Crescent Park Manor in Riverside. Two deaths were linked to the outbreak. One of the decedents had been a resident of the West Warwick Manor Senior Center.

Del Monte Fresh Produce Cantaloupe February 2011 – 21 Ill.  Del Monte Fresh Produce recalled whole cantaloupes after an epidemiologic link was found between the cantaloupe and an outbreak of Salmonella Panama. The cantaloupes were sold as a package of three through warehouse clubs in Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. The cantaloupes were grown in Guatemala.

Cargill Meat Solutions Ground Turkey February 2011 – 136 Ill.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a public health alert, on July 29, due to concerns about illnesses caused by Salmonella Heidelberg that associated with the use and the consumption of ground turkey. The alert was initiated after continuous medical reports; ongoing investigations and testing conducted by various departments of health across the nation determined an association between consumption of ground turkey products and illness. On August 3, Cargill Meat Solutions issued a recall of ground turkey products. The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “P-963” inside the USDA mark of inspection. On August 4, the Centers for Disease Control published their first outbreak summary. The Salmonella Heidelberg was multi-drug resistant, resistant to ampicillin, streptomycin, tetracycline, and gentamycin. The CDC began their investigation on May 23, after recognizing an “unusual clustering” of Salmonella Heidelberg cases. About the same time, routine surveillance by a federal food monitoring system found the same strain of Salmonella Heidelberg in ground turkey in stores. On July 29, the initial outbreak strain and a second, closely related, strain of Salmonella Heidelberg was isolated from a sample of leftover unlabeled frozen ground turkey from the home of an outbreak case in Ohio. Since February 27, 2011, a total of 23 ill persons were reported to PulseNet with this second, closely related, strain. Eighty-four ill persons were infected with the initial strain. The consumer product sample originated from the Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation establishment in Springdale, Arkansas. On September 11, Cargill Meat Solutions recalled an additional, approximately 185,000 pounds, of ground turkey contaminated with an identical strain of Salmonella Heidelberg that had led to the earlier recall on August 3. As of September 27, no illnesses had been linked to the additionally recalled, ground turkey products.

Agromod Produce Papayas January 2011 – 99 Ill.  Agromod Produce recalled papayas purchased prior to July 23 after an outbreak of Salmonella Agona had been linked to the papayas. The outbreak related illnesses began after January 16 and continued to occur over several months. On August 25, the Food and Drug Administration banned imports of papayas grown in Mexico because of widespread and ongoing salmonella contamination. More than 15 percent of fresh papayas entering the U.S. from Mexico were contaminated with Salmonella.

Schreiber Processing Company, MealMart Brand, Kosher Broiled Chicken Livers January 2011 – 179 Ill.  An outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg was associated with eating broiled chicken liver or chopped chicken liver produced by the Schreiber Processing Company under the MealMart brand. As of November 16, 99 cases were identified in New York, 61 cases in New Jersey, 10 cases in Pennsylvania, 6 cases in Maryland, 2 cases in Ohio, and 1 case in Minnesota. Consumers believed that the product was fully cooked; however it was not. The product should have been heated before eating. The outbreak strain of Salmonella was found in samples of kosher broiled chicken livers and in samples of chopped chicken liver made from the same broiled chicken liver. In stores, “broiled chicken livers” are often re-packaged and sold in smaller quantities or are used to prepare chopped liver sold at deli-style establishments.