January 16, 2017

E. coli Outbreak at Captain Al’s in Gulfport, Mississippi

An E. coli outbreak associated with Captain Al's Steak & Shrimp restaurant in Gulfport, Mississippi has sickened dozens of people, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health. That restaurant is located at 11268 Lorraine Road. The Health Department closed the restaurant on January 3, 2017 after being informed that at least 50 people had been sickened after eating there. The notice states that "molecular testing at the Mississippi Public Health Laboratory has indicated that the causative organisms are types of E. coli referred to as enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) and enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC). These types of E. coli are not Shiga toxin-producing E.coli (STEC), but are known to cause significant diarrheal illness." The restaurant has posted a sign on its … [Read more...]

E. coli O157 Outbreak Associated with Goat Dairy Farm Visits in 2016

The CDC has published a study about E. coli O157 infections that were associated with goat dairy farm visits in Connecticut in 2016 in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. A cluster of seven culture-confirmed Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infection were identified by the Connecticut Department of Public Health on March 24, 2016. All seven patients had bloody diarrhea. Three of them were hospitalized, and two developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Six of the seven sickened visited the same goat dairy farm in southeastern Connecticut the week before they got sick. In all, a total of 50 confirmed E. coli cases were associated with the outbreak, including 47 who had an epidemiologic link to the goat farm. Of the 50 confirmed cases, three did not have an … [Read more...]

Salmonella Outbreak at Schmidt Farm in Oregon

A Salmonella food poisoning outbreak linked to hazelnuts sold at Schmidt Farm and Nursery along Oregon Route 18 has been announced by the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division and the Oregon Department of Agriculture.  Officials are telling consumers who purchased the nuts there to throw them away immediately. Dr. Paul Cieslak, medical director of the Public Health Division's Acute and Communicable Disease Prevention Section said in a statement, "people who have hazelnuts from the farm stand at Schmidt Farm and Nursery should toss them out right away." Five people are sick with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium. The illnesses began between October 15 and December 13, 2016. When interviewed, three of those sickened said they bought hazelnuts from the Schmidt … [Read more...]

Top 10 Food Poisoning Stories of 2016

These are the top 10 food stories of 2016. We chose them based on the impact they had on the food world and on the people who were sickened in outbreaks, and on how they changed how we look at our food supply. Many of these outbreaks were uncovered by the PulseNet system, a national database of food poisoning illnesses. All of these outbreaks serve as a reminder that everyone needs to be careful about the foods they eat, about where they eat foods, and the importance of thorough handwashing. And this list is a reminder that food companies need to be held accountable when the foods they produce make people sick. 10. Petting Zoo Outbreaks Petting zoo outbreaks became common a few years ago, when a huge outbreak sickened more than 100 people at the Cleveland County Fair in North … [Read more...]

Largest Food Poisoning Outbreak of 2016: Salmonella in Cucumbers

The largest multistate food poisoning outbreak in 2016 ended in 2016, but it started in 2015. At least 907 people were sickened with Salmonella Poona infections that were linked to imported cucumbers. Six people died, and 204 people were hospitalized in this massive outbreak. The strange thing about this outbreak is that even though the cucumbers that were identified as the source of this outbreak, infections were still being reported to officials two months after the recall was issued. Cucumbers do not have a long shelf life. The cucumbers in question were traced to Rancho Don Juanito de R.L. de C.V. in Baja, Mexico. Two import alerts were issued by the FDA, banning those products from coming into the United States. Three outbreak strains of Salmonella Poona were identified … [Read more...]

Second Largest Foodborne Illness Outbreak of 2016: Hepatitis A in Strawberries

The second largest multistate food poisoning outbreak of 2016 was the hepatitis A outbreak linked to imported frozen strawberries served at Tropical Smoothie Cafe restaurants in the eastern United States. At least 143 people in 9 states were sickened in this outbreak. And 56 of those patients were hospitalized. Reports of hepatitis A illnesses starting coming in to the Virginia Health Department. Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicate that frozen strawberries imported from Egypt were the likely source of this outbreak. In interviewed, almost all of those sickened said they drank smoothies made with strawberries at Tropical Smoothie Cafe locations before August 8, 2016 in Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. There are fourteen cases with no connection to … [Read more...]

Third Largest Multistate Food Poisoning Outbreak of 2016: General Mills E. coli

The third largest multistate food poisoning outbreak of 2016 was the E. coli outbreak linked to recalled Gold Medal flour. Sixty-three people in 24 states were sickened after eating raw dough made with the flour. Seventeen people were hospitalized in this outbreak. The CDC states that "although the outbreak investigation is over, illnesses are expected to continue for some time." The flour has a long shelf life and some of it is most likely still in consumer's homes. And since flour spreads so easily, cross-contamination between the flour and other ingredients and surfaces is inevitable. Seventeen of those sickened were hospitalized because their illnesses were so serious. One person developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. No one died in this … [Read more...]

Top 10 Multistate Food Outbreaks of 2016: Garden of Life Meals

The fourth largest multistate food poisoning outbreak of 2016 was the Salmonella Virchow outbreak linked to Garden of Life RAW Meal Organic Shake and Meal products. At least 33 people in 23 states were sickened in this outbreak, and six people were hospitalized because their illnesses were so serious. Garden of Life products have a long shelf life and may still be in some people's homes. Check the recall list and make sure you don't have any. If you do, throw them away in a double bagged container. Throw these products away even if some was consumed and no one got sick. Wash your hands well after handling this product. The case count by state is: Alabama (1), California (2), Florida (1), Hawaii (1), Illinois (1), Massachusetts (1), Maryland (2), Michigan (1), Minnesota (3), New … [Read more...]

Top 10 Largest Outbreaks of 2016: Salmonella Sproutbreak

The fifth largest food poisoning outbreak of 2016 was the Salmonella Muenchen and Salmonella Kentucky outbreak linked to raw alfalfa sprouts. These sprouts came from one contaminated seed lot and were sold under various names. The sprouts were produced by multiple facilities, including Sweetwater Farms of Inman, Kansas. At least 26 people in 12 states were sickened in this outbreak. Eight people were hospitalized. No deaths were reported. The case count by state was: Kansas (5), Maryland (2), Missouri (3), New Jersey (2), New York (2), North Carolina (1), North Dakota (1), Ohio (1), Oklahoma (3), Pennsylvania (3), Virginia (2), and Washington (1). Twenty-five people were sickened with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Muenchen, and 1 person was sickened with the outbreak strain of … [Read more...]

Largest Multistate Outbreaks in 2016: Number 6 Dole Listeria

The multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections linked to Dole packaged salads was the sixth largest in 2016. That outbreak sickened 19 people in the United States and caused one death in Michigan. All nineteen of the patients were hospitalized. In Canada, 14 people were sickened by these salad products. One of those patients died, although health officials have not determined if listeriosis was the cause of that death. In March 2016, Food Poisoning Bulletin was the first to report that Dole knew about Listeria monocytogenes contamination in the plant in Springfield, Ohio, years before this outbreak. We requested information from the FDA through a Freedom of Information Act Report. The company found the pathogenic bacteria in that plant in early 2014 and … [Read more...]

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