December 10, 2016

CDC Releases Final Report on Winnable Battles Program

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released the final report on the Winnable Battles program, which is an effort to make the biggest health impact for the most Americans in the shortest time. The program tackled seven threats to public health where they believed they could make an immediate impact: Tobacco; Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity; Food Safety; Healthcare-Associated Infections; Motor Vehicle Safety; Teen Pregnancy; and HIV. The project was launched in 2010. Progress on some of these fronts were significant. But the battle against food poisoning yielded mixed results. In food safety, illnesses caused by some pathogens decreased significantly, while others have kept increasing. Every year, 1 in 6 Americans gets sick by eating contaminated food … [Read more...]

Campylobacter Outbreak Linked to OH Sweet Grass Dairy Raw Milk

The Ohio Department of Agriculture is issuing a health alert for unpasteurized raw milk and raw milk products that may be contaminated with Campylobacter bacteria. The products are from Sweet Grass Dairy's herd share. That dairy is in Knox County at 6049 Bryant Road in Fredericktown. There is no word on how many people have been sickened, the patient age range, or whether or not anyone has been hospitalized. The last Campylobacter outbreak linked to raw milk was in September 2016. In that outbreak, at least 20 people were sickened in Pueblo, Colorado. A herd share is a system where people buy into a dairy farmers herd, then share in the products the cows produce. This is a way to get around the ban on raw milk sales in many states. The sale of unpasteurized milk is illegal in … [Read more...]

Restaurants Don’t Explain Risks of Undercooked Meat to Customers

According to a study by North Carolina State University and published in the Journal of Food Protection, front line staff in restaurants do not do a good job explaining risks of undercooked meat to customers. Undercooked meat served at restaurants, especially ground beef, has been the source of food poisoning outbreaks in the past.   Unfortunately, servers in restaurants are a high turnover position with relatively low wages. These workers want to give their customers a positive experience, so they typically don't want to mention potential problems with food. Inaccurate information provided by servers often contracts science-based information people need to make informed food safety decisions. All of the 50 states in this country have adopted some version of the FDA's … [Read more...]

Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Contact with Dairy Calves

Twenty one people in eight states are sick with multidrug-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg infections linked to contact with Dairy Bull Calves, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory results linked this outbreak to contact with the calves that were purchased from livestock markets in Wisconsin. Eight of those sickened have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Among 19 people with available information, illnesses began on dates ranging from January 11, 2016 to October 24, 2016. The patient age range is from less than 1 year to 72, with a median age of 21. PulseNet was used to identify people who may be part of this outbreak. PulseNet performs DNA fingerprinting on bacteria with pulsed field-gel … [Read more...]

After General Mills E. coli Outbreak, Say No to Raw Dough!

The large E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to recalled General Mills flour sickened 63 people in 24 states this year. One person developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) as a complication of that illness. And many of those sickened got sick because they ate raw cookie dough. So the CDC is warning consumers not to eat raw cookie dough, cake mixes, or bread this holiday season, even if you are using pasteurized eggs. Raw flour is a raw agricultural product that has not been treated to kill pathogenic bacteria. And since flour has a long shelf life, that recalled General Mills flour could still be in people's homes. Please check the list of recalled products and make sure you don't have one of those flour types in your pantry. The recall was expanded once, and there have been some … [Read more...]

Pritzker Hageman Wins $7.55 Million Verdict for Child with HUS E. coli

On November 22, 2016, noted food safety attorney Fred Pritzker and his team won a $7.55 million verdict for a child who contracted an E. coli infection and developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) in 2013 after visiting Dehn's Pumpkins, a business in Dayton, Minnesota. A jury in Hennepin County, Minnesota returned the verdict in favor of the child, who suffered severe kidney damage. The supporting lawyers on this case were Brendan Flaherty and Lindsay Lien Rinholen. The 10 year old girl went to the farm with her parents on the weekend of October 12 - 13, 2013 and got sick a few days later. At least seven people were sickened in that particular E. coli O157:H7 outbreak. The Minnesota Department of Health linked the illnesses to cows that were in the animal attraction at the farm. At … [Read more...]

Sabra Recalls Hummus for Possible Listeria Monocytogenes

Sabra Dipping is voluntarily recalling some hummus products that were made before November 8, 2016 because Listeria was found at their manufacturing facility. If you have any product listed on the recall notice with a "Best Before" date up through January 23, 2017, throw it away. You can find the recalled products, along with the packages sizes, UPC numbers, and SKU numbers at the FDA web site. The products include Hummus Classic, Hummus Olive, Hummus Pin Nut, Hummus Red Pepper, Hummus Spinach & Artichoke, Hummus Sun Dried Tomato, and Hummus Tuscan Herb Garden, among others. Sabra products not included in the recall are Sabra Organic Hummus, Sabra Salsa, Sabra Guacamole and Sabra Greek Yogurt Dips. These products were distributed to retail outlets, including food service … [Read more...]

Salmonella Outbreak Sickens 77, Hospitalizes 12 in AL

A presumptive Salmonella outbreak in Colbert County, Alabama sickened at least 77 people and sent 12 to the hospital last weekend. The private event was held on Saturday, November 12, 2016. All patients are recovering. The Colbert County Health Department has been investigating this outbreak since Monday, November 14, 2016. Public health officials have been interviewing patients, obtaining patient specimens, inspecting the food source, and obtaining food samples. All of the samples are being processed by the Alabama Department of Public Health's laboratory. Initial patient specimens tested presumptive positive for Salmonella. It takes longer to test food specimens, so the results from those tests will be available later in the week or early next week. The caterer who provided … [Read more...]

Foodborne Outbreak Sickens 40 in Shoals, Alabama

A foodborne illness outbreak in Shoals Alabama sickened at least 40 people last weekend, Karen Landers of the Alabama Department of Public Health told Food Poisoning Bulletin. Those sickened have symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever. Six people have been hospitalized because their illnesses are so severe. The illnesses happened after a private event in Sheffield, Alabama, near Muscle Shoals. About 150 people attended that event. Public health officials believe that "while the number of ill persons and the hospitalized numbers may increase, we may be at the peak of the illness given the average incubation period and course of foodborne outbreaks." Test results may be available late in the week. Officials will not speculate on the "causative agent" at this … [Read more...]

Owner of Oasis Cheese Sentenced to Prison

The owner of Oasis Brands, Inc., a Florida cheese company, was sentenced to 15 months in prison on November 15, 2016. Christian Rivas was sent to prison for distributing contaminated cheese that was associated with a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak in 2014 that sickened five people in four states. U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr. sentenced Mr. Rivas with "the intent to defraud and mislead, delivered cheese processed and packed at the Oasis facility into interstate commerce that was “adulterated . . . in that it contained lysteria monocytogenes (“listeria”) a deleterious substance, which may render the food injurious to health." The outbreak investigation and whole genome sequencing of the Listeria monocytogenes isolated from the recalled Oasis quesito casero cheese found … [Read more...]

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