November 29, 2014

FDA’s Consumer Advice on Bean Sprout Salmonella Outbreak

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is offering advice to consumers as a 10-state Salmonella outbreak unfolds on the East Coast. At least 63 people in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont have been diagnosed with Salmonella infections. Eleven people have been hospitalized. The outbreak has been traced to mung bean sprouts produced by Wonton Foods Inc of Brooklyn. They were distributed to Asian restaurants and other establishments in nine states on the East Coast (all of the above except Montana. The single case patient there is believed to have contracted the infection while visiting the East Coast.) Wonton Foods has not recalled the sprouts but claims to have contacted companies that took delivery. The … [Read more...]

Safe Turkey Handling Tips for a Happy Thanksgiving

Holiday turkey on white

The folks at Holiday Food Safety are offering tips for handling your turkey safely for a happy Thanksgiving. The Partnership for Food Safety Education includes the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Institute of Food Technology, and other organizations. Before you buy the turkey, make sure you have room for it in your fridge. Always store the turkey in a large pan so raw juices don't drip and contaminate other foods. If you buy a frozen turkey, make sure you leave enough time for it to thaw. It takes about 24 hours for every four to five pounds to thaw in the fridge, so by now it's too late. But you can cook your turkey from the frozen state! Always wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling the raw turkey. Never ever defrost the turkey on … [Read more...]

Salmonella in Bean Sprouts Sickens 68 in 10 States

soybeansprouts

Salmonella in bean sprouts produced by Wonton Food Inc. of New York has sickened 68 people in 10 states, according to the Vermont Department of Health.  Eleven people have been hospitalized. Vermont has been working with other state health departments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on an investigation of the outbreak which includes three people from Vermont who were not hospitalized and all have recovered. Some of those who were sickened ate sprouts on food they purchased at restaurants. Restaurants and grocery stores have been advised not to serve or sell bean sprouts from this firm. The CDC has not yet announced which other states are involved in the outbreak. Massachusetts is a likely candidate as health … [Read more...]

WI Raw Milk Outbreak Raises Ethical, Legal Questions

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A raw milk outbreak that sickened 38 people in Durand, Wisconsin, is raising ethical and legal questions. The milk was served at a potluck for the football team on September 18. Many of those sickened were high school students. The parent who supplied the milk told no one that it had not pasteurized. Two days after the dinner, reports of illnesses started rolling in. Like other bacteria that causes food poisoning, Campylobacter produces symptoms including diarrhea that can be bloody, vomiting, abdominal cramping and fever. Eight people were hospitalized. So many of the football players were so sick for so long that the school had to forfeit two football games. The outbreak also triggered a massive cleaning effort at the school and, before the source of illness was determined, … [Read more...]

Campylobacter in Raw Milk Could Pose Long Term Health Problems for Durand Football Team

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At least 38 people in Wisconsin who contracted Campylobacter infections from raw milk served at a banquet for the Durand High School football team could face long-term health problems. Some people with Campylobacter infections develop long-term complications such as reactive arthritis which causes painful swelling of the joints and Guillain-Barré Syndrome, (GBS) which is characterized by the sudden onset of paralysis that can last weeks, months or years. "People who develop GBS as a result of ingesting Campylobacter often have life-long complications. For example, one of our Campylobacter-GBS clients has paralysis in all four extremities that, years after consuming raw milk, still affect all of his activities of daily living," said Fred Pritzker, national food  safety attorney and … [Read more...]

Fond du Lac E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak from Jim-N-Jos Northland Katering

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The Minnesota Department of Health has released a report on the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that sickened people at the picnic for Elders of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and other events. The picnic was held on July 11, 2014 and was catered by Jim-N-Jo's Northland Katering. The caterer is licensed by the University of Minnesota and operated out of the Cloquet Forestry Center. Jim-N-Jo's catered at least 12 events in the Upper Midwest from July 5 to July 17, 2014. Five of those events resulted in illness and 57 patients met the outbreak criteria. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Department of Environmental Health, and MDH Tribal Relations conducted an investigation into this outbreak. They interviewed 199 individuals from seven catered events. Of these, … [Read more...]

Listeria in Mung Bean Sprouts Kills 2, Sickens 3 Others

mung-bean-sprouts-listeria

Listeria in mung bean sprouts produced by Wholesome Soy Products Inc. has killed two people and sickened three others, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports.  Four of the illnesses were reported in Illinois, one was reported in Michigan between June and August. The company issued a recall in August. Investigators used whole genome sequencing on Listeria strains isolated from the mung bean sprouts, environmental samples from the facility and from the five cases patients an found them to be "highly related." All five case patients were hospitalized. Two of the surviving patients reported eating bean sprouts before they became ill. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspected the Wholesome Soy Products facility in August and October and found … [Read more...]

E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak in Oregon Closes Montessori School

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The Clackamas County Health Department has released a statement on the E. coli outbreak in Clackamas County, Oregon and a Montessori school has temporarily closed. The school, Heart Centered Montessori, has told parents that all students and staff should be tested for the bacterium to try to discover the source of the illnesses, according to Oregon Live. Three children have been sickened in this outbreak. There is no news on their condition, but at least one of the patients has recovered. The school's owner is voluntarily closing the school while public health officials investigate the outbreak. There is also no word on whether the E. coli bacteria that has caused these illnesses is the same strain. E. coli O157:H7 infections can lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious … [Read more...]

E. coli in Clackamas County OR Sickens 3 at Montessori School

E. coli Bacteria

An E. coli outbreak has sickened three children at a West Linn Montessori school in Clackamas County, OR, according to the Oregonian. Two of the children have been diagnosed with E. coli O157:H7 infections. Health officials have recommended that students and employees of Heart Centered Montessori be tested for E. coli and not return to school, swim or participated in group activities until they receive clear test results. The school is for young children with classes for infants, toddlers, pre-schoolers and 6 year olds. E. coli is transmitted through contaminated food and water or through contact with  animals. Symptoms  of an E. coli infection include diarrhea that can be bloody diarrhea and abdominal pain. Children with these symptoms should see a doctor and mention possible … [Read more...]

Farming and Deforestation Could be Behind Ebola Outbreak

Ebola

According to an article in The Conversation, deforestation and industrial-scale farming could have been a contributing factor in the Ebola outbreak in Africa. The global palm oil industry has been deep-cutting into forests; this helps spread pathogens by opening areas formerly untouched to human exploration. And land grabs force animals out of forests where they come into more frequent contact with humans. The Ebola virus occurs in fruit bats, which are natural hosts. When people in very poor communities face scarcity of food, they go further into the forest to hunt and butcher wildlife, known as bush meat. Bush meat is a major source of the virus. These changes lead to something called an Allee effect, which occurs when changes in one part of the ecology cause populations in … [Read more...]

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