July 22, 2014

Outbreak of Cyclospora in Texas

Cyclospora Parasites

The Tarrant County Public Health Department (TCPH) announced on their Facebook page that there is an outbreak of Cyclospora that has sickened at least 69 people in northern Texas within the last month. Reports of this illness always increase in the summer, but this news comes almost a year to the day when a huge cyclosporiasis outbreak sickened at least 631 people in 25 states. Most of those illnesses were linked to contaminated produce that was imported from Mexico. Public health officials are encouraging healthcare providers to test patients for cyclosporiasis if they have diarrhea that lasts more than a few days, or diarrhea that is accompanied by weight loss, loss of appetite, or fatigue. Nine cases have been reported to TCPH this month; the county has only had one case since … [Read more...]

CDPH Issues Final Report on 2013 E. coli Outbreak at Trader Joe’s and Walgreens

E. coli O157:H7 Salad Outbreak 12.11.13

The California Department of Public Health has released a report on their investigation into the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in October 2013 associated with pre-packaged salads sold at Costco and Walgreens stores. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released their final report on this outbreak in December 2013. Thirty-three people were sickened in this outbreak; seven of those people were hospitalized. Two people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious complication of an E. coli infection, from their illness. No deaths were reported. The outbreak count per state was: Arizona (1), California (28), Texas (1), and Washington (3). The STEC O157:H7 PFGE pattern was new to the PulseNet database. Epidemiologic and traceback investigations indicated that Field … [Read more...]

If You Bought Fruit Recalled for Listeria, Here’s What to Do

Fruit Recalled for Listeria Contamination

We have received quite a few responses to the story about the recall of fruit from Sam's Club, Costco, and Trader Joe's stores for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. It's difficult to hear about this story, especially if you have already consumed the fruit and fed it to your family. Here's what to do. First, make sure you actually bought the recalled fruit. The FDA has published the Wawona Packing List that contains all of the fruit with lot and BlockID numbers. You can also see all the pictures of the packaging and crates with the UPC numbers and product sizes at the FDA web site. If you aren't sure if you did buy the recalled products, contact the store where you purchased the fruit; they should be able to tell you if you did buy it. Secondly, if you ate the fruit and … [Read more...]

Researchers Find Cinnamon a Natural Antibacterial Agent

E. coli

Researchers at Washington State University have found that cinnamon may help prevent food poisoning by killing pathogenic bacteria. Their work has been published in Food Control Journal. It turns out that cinnamomum cassia oil is very effective at killing the top six non-O157 STEC (shiga toxin producing E. coli) bacteria. The major component in C. cassia oil is cinnamaldehyde. The government recently declared the six non-O157 STEC bacteria as adulterants and require testing for those bacteria in beef slaughter plants.There is a "zero tolerance" policy for those bacteria in raw ground beef and trimmings. The essential oil "killed several strains of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli" according to the researchers, and it is effective in low concentrations. Just 10 drops in a liter … [Read more...]

CFIA Suspends Operating License of Beef Slaughter Plant


The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has suspended the operating license of Northern Natural Processing, Establishment 659, effective July 10, 2014. the slaughter plant is located in Neudorf, Saskatchewan. The license was suspended because the company did not implement corrective measures as required by law to ensure the safety of meat products produced at that facility. There is no word on what the problem is or what the food safety violations were. There is also no word on whether or not any illnesses have occurred relating to these alleged violations. The CFIA has determined that adequate controls for food safety were not being implemented on a insistent basis. The plant will not reopen until the "necessary corrective measures" have been taken and the government is … [Read more...]

Ibuprofen and Oxcarbazepine Tablets Recalled for Incorrect Labeling


American health packaging is recalling Ibuprofen Tablet in a hospital unit dose presentation that may contain Oxcarbazepine Tablets. The recall is the result of a mislabeled inner unit dose blister packaging which could mean patients get ibuprofen instead of their scheduled dose of oxcarbazepine. There was one customer complaint that resulted in the investigation and recall. There have not been any adverse events reported to date. Oxcarbazepine is used for treating seizures in epilepsy patients. These are the affected products: Cartons of 100 count (10x10) Hospital Unit Dose blisters of AHP Ibuprofen Tablets, USP, 600 mg, with outer carton NDC#: 68084-703-01 and individual dose NDC#: 68084-703-11, Lot #142588, Expiration Date, 01/2016. The drug product can be identified by physical … [Read more...]

Sysco Pays $19.4 Million For Dangerous Food Storage Practices

Storage Units

Sysco Corporation, the world's largest food distributor, has agreed to pay the State of California $19.4 million because the corporation stored meat, produce, and dairy in unrefrigerated and filthy outdoor storage units. Those products included raw meat, milk, and seafood. NBC San Francisco aired an investigative report last year about the illegal storage. The food that was stored in an unsafe manner was delivered to restaurants, hospitals, and schools. After the report aired, the California Department of Public Health investigated the company's illegal practice. CDPH combed through Sysco's records and found that more than 400,000 food products were stored at those sites from July 2009 to August 2013. Temperatures in the area were at least 80°F during that period. Perishable foods … [Read more...]

Wisconsin Appeals Court Upholds Hershberger’s Guilty Verdict


The Wisconsin Court of Appeals upheld Vernon D. Hershberger's guilty verdict for violating a Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection holding border. That order prohibited the dairy farmer from selling dairy and meat from his farm without permission in the 14 days it was in force. In 2012, Hershberger was charged with four misdemeanors of violating Wisconsin's law that prohibits the sale of raw milk products. Hershberger did not have a license to produce or sell dairy products; instead, he "leased" his cows to a food club and claimed that exempted him from the law. The holding order was issued when Hershberger was released on bail. It stated that he agreed not to manufacture dairy products and no sell or distribute mail produced on his farm without a … [Read more...]

Cornell Develops Faster Salmonella Detection


Scientists at Cornell University have developed a way to detect Salmonella bacteria faster, which could help solve food poisoning outbreaks much more quickly. The Cornell Food Safety Lab, led by dr. Martin Wiedmann and research associate Henk den Bakker, worked with the New York State Department of Health on the next-generation DNA sequencing techniques. The traditional method of identifying outbreak strains of bacteria, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) is not always precise enough to identify specific pathogen strains, including their relationships to each other and if they have a common origin. With Salmonella Enteritidis, for example, 85% of strains can be grouped into five PFGE types. Instead, rapid whole-genome sequencing gives doctors and public health officials much … [Read more...]

FDA: Avoid Pure Powdered Caffeine

Powdered Caffeine

The FDA has released an advisory to consumers about powdered pure caffeine: do not use it. This product is being marketed to directly to consumers. The government is aware of at least one death of an 18=year-old Ohio teenager who used this product. Parents should be aware that teenagers and young adults may be using these products to stay awake. Powdered caffeine is 100% caffeine. One teaspoon of this product is equivalent to the amount in 25 cups of coffee. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant and people can easily overdose on it. The symptoms of caffeine overdose include rapid or dangerously erratic heartbeat and seizures, along with vomiting, diarrhea, stupor, and disorientation. These symptoms are much more severe when taking the powdered caffeine rather than caffeinated beverages. … [Read more...]

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