November 5, 2020

What Food Poisoning Outbreaks Are Carrying Over From 2019?

As we enter 2020, there are four multistate food poisoning outbreaks that have not ended, and may still grow. There were many outbreaks in 2019, sickening thousands of people, hospitalizing hundreds, and even killing some.

What Food Poisoning Outbreaks Are Carrying Over From 2019?

These food poisoning outbreaks that were first announced in 2019 and are still not over include:

  • A deadly¬†Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to Almark Foods hard cooked eggs. was first announced on December 19, 2019. This outbreak has triggered seven secondary recalls for products that were made with those eggs. Seven people are five states are sick. Four of those patients have been hospitalized, and one person who lived in Texas died. Almark Foods has now recalled all hard cooked eggs produced at its facility in Gainesville, Georgia for potential contamination.
  • A Salmonella Javiana outbreak linked to Tailor Cut Produce prepared fresh fruit has sickened at least 96 people in 11 states. This outbreak was first noticed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, when 31 people who were sickened in four healthcare facilities in the state tested positive for the same Salmonella strain. This outbreak was first reported on December 7, 2019.
  • One of two E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks still going on linked to romaine lettuce in the Upper Midwest has sickened at least eight people in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Three people have been hospitalized, and one person developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. These people got sick after eating Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp chopped salad kit. That kit contains romaine lettuce, but officials don’t know if this outbreak is related to a large outbreak caused by romaine harvested in the Salinas, California region.
  • The E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that is linked to romaine harvested in Salinas has sickened at least 138 people in 25 states. Seventy-two people have been hospitalized, and 13 have developed HUS. This outbreak was first announced November 20, 2019. We don’t know if the outbreak will grow any more, since the harvesting time frame in California supposedly ended November 30, 2019. At one time during this outbreak, officials recommended that consumers avoid all romaine harvested in the Salinas region.

More outbreaks will undoubtedly sicken people in 2020. One of the big questions if another E. coli O157:H7 outbreak will emerge linked to romaine lettuce, since that has happened every year in the U.S. since 2017.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

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

Government officials and private groups have tried changing rules about this crop, including increasing the buffer zone between lettuce fields and the large concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) that can exist nearby, and requiring more testing of environmental and irrigation water in the area, but those ideas haven’t stopped outbreaks.

Consumers can help protect themselves and their families by keeping up to date on recalls and outbreak announcements, by preparing raw meats carefully and correctly (cooking to a safe final internal temperature), and thoroughly rinsing produce before preparing it. Stay away from naturally risky foods, that include raw sprouts, undercooked meats, and unpasteurized milk and juices. But illnesses and outbreaks will keep happening. It’s a good idea that people are also aware of the symptoms of the most common types of food poisoning so if someone is ill, they can get early and prompt treatment.

 

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