March 30, 2015

No Multistate Food Poisoning Outbreaks So Far in 2015, Six Year Record


It was 2009 the last time we made it this far into the year without a multistate food poisoning outbreak being announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of course, that doesn't mean that one hasn't happened or isn't happening right now, it just means the CDC hasn't told anyone about it. The CDC publishes a list of  "selected multistate food poisoning outbreaks" each year. The rest fly under the radar. For the last five years ,there have been about 10 announced multistate food poisoning outbreaks, with the first one occurring between January and March. Not April, like 2009's first, a  Salmonella outbreak associated with pistcahios. The new year was still new when last year's first outbreak was announced, a Salmonella outbreak linked to cashew cheese. That … [Read more...]

Food Safety Violations Found at Kansas Prisons


Inspections conducted at prisons in Kansas by the Kansas Department of Corrections has found consistent food safety violations in the prison system's kitchens. Almost 340 inspections conducted between January, 2013 and July 2014 at 19 facilities found repeated deficiencies and noncompliance. It is considered cruel and unusual punishment to not take adequate care of prisoners, who are under complete government control. In addition, when outbreaks occur, taxpayer money is then spent giving medical care to prisoners and investigating the problem. Lawsuits against prisons have been filed and won by the families of prisoners who have been sickened in outbreaks at prisons and jails. The violations recorded in the inspections included not keeping proper temperature logs, not having inmate … [Read more...]

New Mexico Caramel Apple Listeria Toll Could Climb


The number of people in New Mexico infected by Listeria from caramel apples could be more than five, a number that only one other state has matched in the ongoing state and federal investigation of a deadly listeriosis outbreak. The New Mexico Department of Health said work is ongoing to identify additional cases in the state. So far, more than one New Mexico baby has been diagnosed with Listeria while other case patients range in age up to 42. "These cases reside in Bernalillo, McKinley, and Lea counties and became ill in October and November,'' according to a caramel apple Listeria health alert from the department. "All were hospitalized and are recovering.'' Of 10 states confirmed by the CDC to be part of this outbreak, only Missouri was reported initially to have as many cases as … [Read more...]

Food Poisoning Can Have Lifelong Health Effects


Every American has had food poisoning at one time or another. Most people dismiss the illness as the "24 hour flu", even though no such illness exists. If you have had diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps,  nausea, and fever that passes fairly quickly, you probably had food poisoning. Most people recover fully after these illnesses and don't give them a second thought. But did you know that some people never fully recover from food poisoning? In the UK, a young women who contracted an E. coli O157:H7 infection when she was two years old just learned she needs a second kidney transplant. When she got sick as a child, she was hospitalized with kidney failure after eating a contaminated sandwich. She had a stroke and many serious infections and was on dialysis for four years. She did … [Read more...]

Sprouts to Blame for Two 2014 Food Poisoning Outbreaks

It's been 15 years since a United States National Advisory Committee issued a special report on the problem of pathogen contamination in commercially grown sprouts and the associated outbreaks of E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria that have become a chronic foodborne illness risk for consumers. Based on a pair of multi-state food poisoning investigations so far in 2014, the chances of falling seriously ill or dying from eating contaminated raw sprouts is still a threat. The latest outbreak confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is associated with mung bean sprouts produced in Chicago by Wholesome Soy Products Inc. Two people died and three other case patients were hospitalized in June, July and August from a strain of Listeria monocytogenes traced to the … [Read more...]

Food Poisoning Strikes Charlotte Postal Workers


Fifteen postal workers in Charlotte, NC were taken to taken to the  hospital this morning with food poisoning symptoms after eating leftovers yesterday from a Veterans Day potluck, according to local reports. The employees who received care at  Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center had eaten leftovers from a Veteran's Dat potluck. About 200 employees held a potluck dinner Tuesday night to honor co-workers who are veterans.  Those who became ill, ate the refrigerated leftovers. The bacterial source of the illness has not been identified. None of the illnesses are said to be life-threatening. Delivery and retail operations at the West Point Drive postal facility are expected to continue normally. Potlucks are a frequent source of food poisoning because there are so many … [Read more...]

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


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


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...]

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