July 24, 2014

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...]

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


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


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


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...]

Outback Steakhouse: We May Not Be Source of Illnesses


The Outback Steakhouse in Hartford County, MD says it's premature to say if the restaurant has any association with a number of recently reported illnesses, according to WBAL-TV. Dozens of people have contacted the county saying they have experienced food poisoning symptoms such as abdominal cramps, vomiting and diarrhea. Some of them said they ate at the restaurant before becoming ill. They county health department collected stool samples and submitted them to a lab for testing more than a week ago. Results of those tests are still pending. After initial reports of illness, a county health official visited the restaurant and did not find anything amiss, a county spokesperson told Food Poisoning Bulletin. A restaurant spokeswoman told the WBAL that they performed extra cleaning … [Read more...]

Dozens in Hartford County MD Sick With Food Poisoning Symptoms


The health department in Hartford County, Md. has received dozens of reports of illness with symptoms that include vomiting, diarrhea and nausea. The county is working with state officials to determine if the cause of the illnesses is Norovirus, foodborne bacteria or something else. Some of those who became ill ate at a restaurant and have submitted stool samples that are being tested. Results from those tests should be available soon, according to a health department spokesman. Norovirus is common at this time of year. A highly contagious virus, Norovirus accounts for about half of all food posioning outbreaks. Often a sick food handler is involved, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Like other foodborne illnesses, symptoms  of Norovirus include … [Read more...]

Legislators Angry About Increased Poultry Line Speeds


According to Food and Water Watch, congressional leaders and poultry workers have asked the Obama administration to stop the USDA from letting poultry plants increase line speeds. The new regulations, which were announced two years ago, will increase line speeds from 140 birds per minute to 175, despite a lot of evidence that this speed is a primary contributor to worker injuries. OSHA does not regulate line speeds or enforce safety rules for poultry plants; the USDA is the only federal agency involved in this area. The coalition, which includes Center for Effective Government and Center for Progressive Reform, is also stating that this increase will make workers less able to identify and remove tainted chicken. Hilary O. Shelton, director of the NAACP Washington Bureau said in a … [Read more...]

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