October 20, 2017

Mysterious E. coli Outbreak in LaCrosse, WI Hospitalizes 6 Kids

An E. coli outbreak has sickened at least eight people in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and hospitalized six children. The La Crosse County Health Department is investigating the outbreak, according to the La Crosse Tribune. Some of the children have recovered and have been released from the hospital. The bacteria that made them sick is E. coli O157. And they were hospitalized because they developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication of an E. coli infection that can cause kidney failure, strokes, seizures, and death. This type of bacteria releases shiga toxins, which travel through the bloodstream and kill red blood cells. Those dead and damaged cells can then clog the kidneys, causing them to fail. The Wisconsin Department of Health is assisting La Crosse County in … [Read more...]

Salmonella Outbreak in Wisconsin Linked to Peas Sold at Farmers Markets

Seven people in four counties are sick with Salmonella infections in Wisconsin after eating fresh shell peas purchased at farmers markets. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and four local health departments are investigating this outbreak. Four of the patients live in Brown County. Those sickened ate fresh shelled (loose) peas purchased from farmers markets in Madison, Fond du Lac, and Green Bay on Saturday, July 22, 2017. Anyone who purchased shelled peas from these farmers markets from July 19 to August 15, 2017 should throw them away, even if they have been frozen. The farmers markets are Dane County Farmers Market in Madison located on the capital square (Saturdays) or Martin Luther King Blvd … [Read more...]

Norovirus Outbreak at Special Kids Day in Wisconsin

A norovirus outbreak that sickened at least 60 people last month at the Special Kids Day event at the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds has been linked to contaminated food served there. Jennifer Miller, spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services said, "all evidence in the investigation suggests that the primary mode of transmission of norovirus was through contaminated food. However, the source has not been determined and remains under investigation." Lab testing found a "commonality" in stool samples from ill persons that showed the outbreak was caused by food. Norovirus is spread through person-to-person contact, by touching contaminated surfaces, and by eating contaminated food and drink. About 738 disabled students from 26 school districts were at the … [Read more...]

Jimmy John’s Food Poisoning Outbreak in Wisconsin

Jimmy John's restaurants have been linked to outbreaks of E. coli food poisoning in the past. Now an outbreak of norovirus has been linked to the Jimmy John's restaurant at 3910 Schofield Avenue in Weston, Wisconsin, according to the Marathon County Health Department in Wausau, Wisconsin. Lawyer Fred Pritzker, who represents people sickened by unsafe food, said, "No one should get sick just because they decided to get a sandwich for lunch. Restaurants have a responsibility to serve safe food that is not contaminated by pathogens." Sprouts were the culprit in past outbreaks of illness. A multistate outbreak of E. coli O26 infections was linked to raw clover sprouts at certain Jimmy John's restaurants in 2012, sickening 29 people and hospitalizing 7, some with a severe complication … [Read more...]

Top 10 Multistate Outbreaks of 2016: Number 8 Jack & The Green Sprouts

The eighth largest food poisoning outbreak in 2016 was a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157 infections linked to alfalfa sprouts produced by Jack & the Green Sprouts. Eleven people in two states were sickened in this outbreak. Two people were hospitalized. The case count by state is: Minnesota (8), and Wisconsin (3). No one developed hemolytic uremic syndrome in this outbreak, and no one died. The facility that produced the sprouts is located in River Falls, Wisconsin. Epidemiological evidence indicates that that facility is the likely source of the outbreak. Raw sprouts are a known source of foodborne illness. People in high risk groups, such as the elderly, the very young, people with chronic illnesses, and those with compromised immune systems should not eat raw … [Read more...]

CDC Updates E. coli Sprouts Outbreak in MN and WI

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Has updated their investigation into an E. coli O157 (STEC O157) outbreak in Minnesota and Wisconsin linked to recalled Jack & the Green Sprouts alfalfa and alfalfa onion sprouts products. Seven people are sick in Minnesota, and two in Wisconsin. Two people in Minnesota have been hospitalized, but no one has reported hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. On February 25, 2016, Jack and the Green Sprouts voluntarily recalled all alfalfa and alfalfa onion sprout products. These products do not have a long shelf life, so hopefully consumers will not have them in their homes. If you do, throw them away and clean out your refrigerator with a mild bleach solution, then wash your hands thoroughly with soap and … [Read more...]

E. coli Sprout Outbreak in MN and WI: FDA Guidance

An E. coli O157:NM outbreak linked to recalled Jack and the Green Sprouts raw alfalfa sprouts and alfalfa onion sprouts has sickened seven people in Minnesota and two people in Wisconsin. Sprouts are a risky food that have been linked to at least 30 outbreaks in the past 20 years. In addition, many recalls of this product have been issued. The FDA has issued two about growing raw sprouts. In July 1999, the FDA issued an advisory to the public called "Consumers Advices of Risks Associated with Raw Sprouts," along with two guidance documents for sprout growers to try to deal with the problem. Sprouts include alfalfa, clover, sunflower, broccoli, mustard, radish, garlic, dill and pumpkin as well as mung, kidney, pinto, navy, soy beans and wheat berries (wheat grass). The most common … [Read more...]

Jack and the Green Sprouts Recall for E. coli Lawsuit in MN and WI

Jack and the Green Sprouts alfalfa sprouts and alfalfa onion sprouts are at the center of an E. coli O157:NM outbreak in Minnesota and Wisconsin that has sickened at least nine people. There have been many outbreaks linked to sprouts in the past 20 years; in fact, some food safety experts say that raw sprouts should be treated like raw meat. At least 30 outbreaks in the past 20 years have been linked to this product. While all fresh produce, when eaten raw, and for that matter all food eaten raw, carries the risk of pathogen contamination, sprouts are a special case. During the sprouting process, which occurs in moist and warm conditions, bacteria can multiply up to a million times the original amount that was on the beans, according to experts at the USDA. The makeup of the sprouts … [Read more...]

E. coli Sproutbreak in MN and WI: What is It About Sprouts?

An E. coli O157:NM outbreak in Minnesota and Wisconsin had been linked to alfalfa sprouts made by Jack and the Green Sprouts in River Falls, Wisconsin. The outbreak has sickened at least nine people so far. Two of those sickened have been hospitalized. The sprouts have been recalled and hopefully there will be no new illnesses reported. But there will be more recalls and outbreaks involving sprouts in the future, because these products are inherently risky. Just browse through all of the stories of recalls and outbreaks we've written about in the past four years. What is it about sprouts that makes them so prone to contamination? The answer lies in how the seeds are sprouted and how they are grown in the first place. The seeds themselves can be contaminated, from feces from animals, … [Read more...]

Unusual Advice for Those Who Bought Recalled Sprouts Linked to Outbreaks

Every time a food is recalled for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination, the advice from food safety experts is to clean out the fridge with a mild bleach solution, since that bacteria can grow at refrigerator temperatures. Now, the FDA is recommending that anyone who bought alfalfa sprouts from Sweetwater Farms LLC should do the same. Their advice is to wash the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards, and countertops, then sanitize them with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water; and dry with a clean cloth or paper towel that has not been previously used. Of course, cleaning your refrigerator regularly is important for food safety in general, but this advice is unusual with foods that may be contaminated with Salmonella … [Read more...]

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