October 26, 2014

Inspectors Find Salmonella, Flaws Inside Almond Butter Plant

The MaraNatha almond butter plant linked to a national outbreak of Salmonella Braenderup was observed to have food safety flaws ranging from hard-to-clean floors, imperfect almond-moving equipment, a hand-washing issue and a dirty food-contact surface, according to FDA inspection documents obtained by Food Poisoning Bulletin. The observations of five FDA inspectors cover visits they made to the plant in Ashland, Oregon, from July 15 through August 29. The top finding was a positive result from floor swabs that found Salmonella bacteria under two different cooling towers. The towers handle pasteurized almonds. A variety of MaraNatha brand almond butters were recalled by the inspired Natural Foods plant on August 19 because of potential contamination with Salmonella. Also recalled by … [Read more...]

FoodBorne Chicago Uses Twitter to Track Illness, Find Offenders

Restaurant

Can Twitter be used to identify sources of food poisoning ? FoodBorne Chicago, found success with a trial run and now Boston and New York are considering similar programs. FoodBorne Chicago is a project of the Smart Chicago Collaborative, a civic organization with the goal of using technology to improve the lives. Using an algorithm, FoodBorne Chicago tracked tweets originating from the Chicago area that mentioned food poisoning. During the 10-month study period, March 2013–January 2014,  2,241 tweets mentioning food poisoning originated from the Chicago metropolitan area. Of those, 270 described specific instances of food poisoning, eight of whom said they sought medical attention. Project staffers replied to these tweets saying "Help us prevent this and report where you ate here … [Read more...]

Three Food Vendors Closed at Western Montana Fair

County Fair

Three food vendors were shut down by health inspectors after officials discovered that "hundreds of pounds of food" had not been properly refrigerated for several days. Bacteria grow readily in certain foods at temperatures between 40 and 140°F; in fact, if the food is warm enough, bacterial counts can double every 20 minutes. More violations included improper storage of food, unsanitized dishes, a clogged sink, water supply violations, and employees not washing their hands. Three people did get sick after eating food served by those vendors, and some of it was served before they were shut down. But there are no confirmed cases of food poisoning definitely linked to the fair. The Missoula City-County Health Department reported these closures August 8, 2014 on their Facebook page. The … [Read more...]

E. coli Wrongful Death Takes Community Volunteer in Alabama

E.-coli-Death-Alabama

The Alabama E. coli death of a 71-year-old man who served as a volunteer in his community is at the center of a food poisoning outbreak in Morgan County that remains under investigation. The E. coli infections have been associated with a luncheon hosted by the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service (ACES). The Alabama Department of Public Health has promised to release a summary of its investigation when the outbreak report is final. The deceased man, Clarence Hampton, was a senior companion volunteer for the Community Action Partnership of North Alabama in Decatur. The leader of that organization, Chief Executive Officer Michael Tubbs, has said that at least 24 employees and volunteers of the group fell sick after the luncheon. Hampton's sister said she was one of the attendees who … [Read more...]

UN Makes a Top 10 List of Parasites That Cause Food Poisoning

pork-tapeworm

Ever wondered which foodborne parasites cause the most illness? The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) have recently compiled a Top 10 list so public health efforts can be focussed on the bugs with the greatest impact. Like foodborne bacteria, foodbrone parasites affect the health of millions of people every year. Health effects include damage muscles and organs, epilepsy, anaphylactic shock and dysentery.  Some parasites can live on in our bodies for decades. Parasites can be found in meat, poultry and produce. Last year, a cyclospora outbreak linked to fresh. imported produce sickened 631 people in the U.S. But cyclospora didn't make the Top 10 list. These bugs did. Number 1, Taenia solium, or pork tapeworm, contracted by … [Read more...]

Food Poisoning Cases Underreported

Foodpoisoning

We often tell you that there are 48,000,000 cases of food poisoning every year in the United States. But reported food poisoning cases, those that are diagnosed and that the government tracks, amount to only about 20,000 cases. Why are these numbers so different? Food poisoning cases are underreported. The outbreaks we write about consist of two or more unrelated people sick with similar symptoms, who have been diagnosed with medical tests. The bacteria that made them sick are tracked and "finger printed" with pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) tests, and the food that contained the pathogens is often identified through traceback and epidemiologic work. Many people who do get food poisoning think they have something else, from the "24 hour flu" to food allergies. And most people … [Read more...]

Antibiotic Resistance in Foodborne Bacteria a Public Health Threat, Says CDC

Not everyone uses calorie counts at fast food restaurants

Antibiotic resistance in foodborne bacteria continues to be a serious public health threat, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About 430,000 Americans contract antibiotic-resistant infections from foodborne bacteria every year and resistance in some strains is growing. The CDC report is based on data from the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS), a collaborative effort by the CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Deaprtment of Agriculture(USDA), that has tracked antibiotic resistance in humans, retail meats and food animals since 1996. The CDC NARMS report compares resistance levels in human samples in 2012 to a baseline period of 2003-2007. While multi-drug resistant Salmonella has … [Read more...]

FDA’s Anti-Listeria Enforcement Lingers at Roos Foods Cheese Plant

Cheese Listera Lawyer

The Maryland queso Listeria outbreak that also killed a person in California is over as stated by the CDC, but a related suspension order at the Roos Foods plant in Delaware will stay in effect until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration vacates the order, a public affairs official for the FDA's Investigations Branch in Philadelphia said. "Until the FDA vacates the suspension order, the facility may not introduce food into commerce,'' the FDA's JuliAnn Putnam told Food Poisoning Bulletin. For the FDA to vacate the suspension order, made on March 11, the agency would have to "make a determination that food manufactured, processed, packed, or held by the facility no longer has a reasonable probability of causing serious adverse health consequences,'' Putnam said. Such a determination … [Read more...]

New Device Sniffs Out Decomposing Food

Nose

A new device called PERES can tell if your food is rotting. Please note that this device does not detect pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella; it just detects volatile organic compounds that decaying or decomposing beef, pork, and poultry gives off. The device has four sensors to check temperature, humidity, ammonia, and volatile organic compounds. Bluetooth technology transmits data to a smartphone or tablet, which displays results. Most food that is rotten or not fresh can be detected with a keen sense of smell. Pathogenic bacteria do not emit any type of gas or odor and food contaminated with Salmonella, E. coli, or Listeria will not smell, look, or taste bad. If you don't have a good sense of smell, this device may be a good investment. But it won't help protect … [Read more...]

Food Poisoning Investigated in Malaysia MH370 Disappearance

Airplane food

Food poisoning is being investigated as one possible answer to the mystery of the missing Malaysian Airlines MH370 Boeing 777 jumbo jet. According to Illawarra Mercury, Malaysian police officer Khalid Abu Baker said the plane's food caterers are being investigated, as is every possible angle. The plane most likely crashed into the Indian Ocean. The investigators are looking at everything from where the food came from, who harvested it, where it was packed and prepared and who shipped it. These traceback investigations can take weeks or months to complete. Investigators want to rule out sabotage, and deliberately poisoning the food is one possible method. It is highly unlikely that a simple case of food poisoning caused by bacteria or viruses would be responsible for an accident, … [Read more...]

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