October 29, 2020

Current Food Poisoning Outbreaks: E. coli, Listeria, and Campylobacter

While information about the coronavirus pandemic has drowned out just about all other news at the present time, there are still four current food poisoning outbreaks and associated recalls that need some attention. The outbreak of E. coli O103 linked to raw clover sprouts and the Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to imported enoki mushrooms have sickened dozens of people in many states. A Listeria monocytogenes outbreak at China Buffet in Alexandria, Minnesota, and a possible Campylobacter outbreak at Rediviva restaurant in Aberdeen, Washington are also ongoing.

Current Food Poisoning Outbreaks: E. coli O103 Sprouts, Enoki Listeria

It’s important that consumers are aware of these outbreaks because there have been several recalls associated with two of them. People may still have some of the recalled foods in their refrigerators or freezers at home.

Raw Clover Sprouts E. coli O103 Outbreak

The E. coli O103 outbreak linked to raw clover sprouts has sickened 39 people in 6 states. Two people have been hospitalized because they are so ill. No. deaths have been reported. The last time this outbreak was updated was March 19, 2020. Illness onset dates range from January 6, 2020 to March 2, 2020.

Chicago Indoor Garden recalled all products containing red clover sprouts in mid March 2020. The recalled products include the sprouts themselves along with sprout salad, mixed greens, and spring salad. The FDA found the outbreak strain of E. coli O103 in samples of Chicago Indoor Garden sprouts products.

Many of the patients said they ate raw sprouts at Jimmy John’s restaurants before getting sick. Jimmy John’s stopped serving clover sprouts on February 24, 2020. A common seed lot was used to grow the Chicago Indoor Garden sprouts and the sprouts that were served at Jimmy John’s restaurants.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection include a mild fever, possible vomiting, serious and severe abdominal and stomach cramps, and diarrhea that is bloody and watery. Anyone who is experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor.

Imported Enoki Mushrooms Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreak

A Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to imported enoki mushrooms from Korea has sickened at least 36 people in 17 states. Thirty people have been hospitalized. Four people have sadly died. And six of the patients are pregnant women; two have suffered fetal losses. This outbreak was last updated on March 27, 2020.

Guan’s Mushroom Company and Sun Hong Foods have both recalled their imported enoki mushrooms as a result of this outbreak. But only mushrooms from Sun Hong Foods have been linked to these illnesses, even though Listeria monocytogenes bacteria was found on Guan’s mushrooms.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

You can contact food safety attorney Fred Pritzker for help if you have been sickened with food poisoning by calling 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

The CDC is advising anyone who is at risk for serious complications from listeriosis to avoid eating any enoki mushrooms imported from Korea, even those that are not currently recalled,  until the source of contamination has been identified.

Symptoms of listeriosis include high fever, stiff neck, severe headache, nausea, muscle aches, and diarrhea. Pregnant women may only feel mildly sick with what seems like the flu, but this illness can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and premature labor.

Possible China Buffet Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreak

The Minnesota Department of Health issued a health advisory on March 19, 2020 informing healthcare providers that two cases of listeriosis were identified in people who may have eaten at the China Buffet restaurant at 4721 Highway 29 South in Alexandria.

The two ill persons are sickened by the same strain of bacteria. Both patients told public health officials that they ate at China buffet on February 15, 2020. The health advisory stated that there may be more ill persons who live along the I-94 corridor in northern Minnesota where that restaurant is located.

Possible Campylobacter Outbreak at Rediviva Restaurant

A possible Campylobacter outbreak has been identified among people who ate at Rediviva restaurant, located at 118 Wishkah Street in Aberdeen, Washington. At least 15 people are sick after allegedly eating at that facility on Valentine’s Day.

One report stated that investigators think the illnesses may be linked to chicken liver mousse. The restaurant was closed by Environmental Health on February 27, 2020, not because of the possible outbreak, but because the facility had 75 or more “red point” violations uncovered during an inspection.

Symptoms of a Campylobacter infection include fever, vomiting, nausea, cramps, stomach pain, bloody diarrhea, and headache. These symptoms typically begin a few days after exposure.

Stay Aware of Recalls and Outbreaks

If you have any of the symptoms listed above, contact your doctor. It’s important that all consumers stay aware of recalls and current food poisoning outbreaks at this time. Hospitals are strained with COVID-19 patients, and you do not want to be hospitalized with food poisoning at this time.

And of course, follow food safety recommendations when you prepare food at home. Most restaurants in the country are closed, but curbside service and delivery are still available. Understand what to look for in terms of food safety before you eat, including properly cooked meat and poultry.  And don’t be afraid to discard food you aren’t sure about.

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