July 28, 2016

High Lead Levels Lead to Two Spice Recalls

Turmeric is a spice that can provide many health benefits. But this golden spice can also have high levels of lead. Two recalls from the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets highlight this issue. No illnesses have been reported to date, but lead can cause long-term serious health problems, including cancer, developmental defects, learning disorders, and brain damage. First, Blue Mountain brand Jamaican Curry Powder is being recalled for elevated levels of lead. The product is packaged in a 6 ounce glass jar with a UPC number 09349-19906. The code on the curry powder is B/B 06/03/19 OPC LOT #060116 on the bottom of the container. This product was sold throughout the United States. Second, Gel Spice, Inc. is recalling Fresh Finds Ground Turmeric for elevated lead levels. … [Read more...]

Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Found in Florida Sewage

According to the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, antibiotic resistant bacteria has been found in Florida sewage. The bacteria was discovered in samples taken from water and sediment after a 2014 sewer-line spill that released 500,000 gallons of untreated wastewater into a St. Petersburg neighborhood. This information was published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. The bacteria, Enterococcus faecium, is resistant to vancomycin, one of the "last resort" antibiotics we have to fight serious infections. That antibiotic has not been used for years because it has toxic side effects. But since more and more antibiotics are becoming less effective against infections, it is being brought back. And that vancomycin-resistant … [Read more...]

Two E. coli Outbreaks in NH and CO and Two Recalls: Coincidence?

Something unusual happened this week. The USDA posted two recalls for beef products on the same day, recalled for E. coli O157:H7. And in those recall notices there was information that the products had been linked, or possibly linked, to two E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks; one in New Hampshire and one in Colorado. The first recall was for more than 8,000 pounds of PT Farm raw beef products that were produced in June 2016. The illness cluster associated with this recall has sickened at least 14 people in New Hampshire. Traceback for 8 case-patients who were interviewed as a result of their illnesses "led back to a single day of production at PT Farm," according to the USDA release. There is a link between beef products from PT Farm and this illness cluster. The second recall was for … [Read more...]

Five Minnesotans Sickened in General Mills Flour E. coli Outbreak

Five people in Minnesota have been sickened in the E. coli O121 and O26 outbreak linked to recalled General Mills flour. The outbreak case count now includes 46 people in 21 states. Thirteen of those ill persons have been hospitalized. One person has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, and no deaths have been reported. Laboratory, traceback, and epidemiologic evidence indicate that flour produced at the General Mills facility in Kansas City, Missouri is a "likely source" of this outbreak. Two strains of E. coli bacteria have been found in the flour; E. coli O121 and E. coli O26. General Mills has expanded its recall of flour produced at that mill twice to include more production dates. Please look carefully at the list of recalled products to see if you purchased any. If you … [Read more...]

Meijer Recalls Salads and Sandwiches for Possible Salmonella

Meijer is recalling some fresh salads and sandwiches because they may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. These products were sold in Meijer stores from July 20, 2016 to July 25, 2016. No illnesses have been reported in connection with the consumption of these products. The salads and sandwiches contain a cooked egg ingredient sourced from Prime Foods. Prime Foods notified Meijer of a positive Salmonella test of its product. The recalled items are all Meijer brand. They are Macaroni Salad in 1 pound containers, with UPC number 0-41250-16058-8, Macaroni Salad in 3 pound packages with UPC number0-41250-16060-1, and Meijer Egg Salad Spread in 12 ounce containers with UPC number 7-08820-62022-3. Also recalled are Potato Salad Amish in 1 pound containers with UPC … [Read more...]

General Mills E. coli Flour Recall Roundup

The E. coli O121 and O26 outbreak linked to recalled General Mills flour has many people concerned. Since flour is such a ubiquitous product, any kitchen in the country could contain some flour that has been recalled. We have gathered all of the General Mills flour recalls and secondary recalls here so you can have one resource to make sure your kitchen is safe. We will keep this list updated. The first recall was issued on May 31, 2016. These are the products that were recalled at that time: Wondra flour was sold in 13.5 ounce containers with UPC 000-16000-18980 number and Better if Used by Dates 25FEB2017 thru 30MAR2017. The recalled Gold Medal All Purpose flour was sold in 2-pound packages with the UPC number 000-16000-10710 and  Better if Used by Dates 25MAY2017KC thru … [Read more...]

Hawaii Hepatitis A Outbreak Grows; Another Food Worker Diagnosed

The Hawaii Department of Health has updated its investigation into the hepatitis A outbreak in that state. Now 93 people are sick with the viral infection. And another food handler on the island was diagnosed with the disease. Officials have still not identified the source of the outbreak. This illness has a long incubation period of two weeks to a month, and patients are often not able to remember the foods they consumed or where they ate during the exposure period. Healthcare workers are informed to notify the HDOH immediately if they think a patient has hepatitis A. As of July 26, 2016, 19 new cases of hepatitis A have been diagnosed. All of the cases have been in adults. Of the 93 people sickened, 29 have been hospitalized because their illness is so severe. The illness onset … [Read more...]

Ranch Foods Beef Recall Associated with CO E. coli Outbreak

Good Food Concepts, doing business as Ranch Foods Direct in Colorado, is recalling 2,606 pounds of raw beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 bacteria. These products are possibly linked to an E. coli outbreak in Colorado. FSIS was notified of an E. coli O157:H7 illness possibly associated with ground beef consumption on July 14, 2016. The USDA worked with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the El Paso County Public Health Department to determine that there is a possible link between the products from Ranch Foods Direct and this illness. FSIS found E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef products originating from Ranch Foods Direct on July 25, 2016 through laboratory testing and traceback investigation. FSIS is working with those departments in … [Read more...]

Consumer Reports Details Ways You Can Get E. coli From Flour

Consumer Reports wrote an interesting article about five surprising ways you could get an E. coli infection from flour. With the news that General Mills has expanded their recall of flour associated with a multistate E. coli outbreak, and that the outbreak has grown, this information is valuable. Consumers have been told for years that it is not safe to eat raw cookie dough or raw cake batter. But did you know that the risk factor in those products isn't just the raw eggs? Raw flour is an agricultural product that should be cooked before you eat it. It can be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria just like raw meats or raw fruits or vegetables. But did you know that modeling clay and play dough, ornaments made with flour, and paper mâché are also risky? There are many recipes in … [Read more...]

General Mills Flour E. coli O26 and O121 Outbreak Grows

The CDC has announced that the multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections linked to recalled General Mills flour has grown to include four more patients. Now 46 people in 21 states are sick. One person has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) as a complication of their illness. General Mills has expanded its recall of flour products to include more production dates. To see all of the UPC numbers and "Better if Used by" dates of the recalled flour products and products containing the flour, please see "General Mills E. Coli Flour Roundup." The most recent illness started on June 25, 2016. An infection with another serotype of E. coli O26 has been added to the outbreak investigation. The Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) bacteria O26 was isolated from a … [Read more...]

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