August 14, 2022

Five Outbreak Investigations on USDA Table; Two Are Active

There are five outbreak investigations on the USDA outbreak response table for 2021 only two are active. That table, like the FDA’s CORE Investigation table, does not give much information to the public about the outbreaks. The USDA says that “The table does not include outbreak investigations that did not result in one more of the outcomes.” Those outcomes include a recall of an FSIS-regulated product linked to the illnesses, a public health alert, and/or an after-action review report.

Five Outbreak Investigations on USDA Table; Two Are Active

The inactive outbreaks include an E. coli O145 outbreak that officials suspect is linked to ground beef; an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak of unknown origin that does have a link to a CDC Investigation Notice; and a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak of unknown origin.

The E. coli O157:H7 outbreak CDC notice, which has not been updated since February 2, 2021, lists 16 illnesses, 9 hospitalizations, and one death. The statement at the top of the notice is, “CDC is concerned about the growing number of severe illnesses and hospitalizations in this outbreak. If you have E. coli symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider and report your illness to your local health department.”

The investigation details are scant, listing that the patient age range is from 10 to 95 years. Three people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure that is a complication of this infection. And illness onset dates ranged from December 23, 2020 to January 7, 2021. Officials were interviewing people to find out what foods they ate before they got sick.

The only laboratory data on that outbreak is the fact that whole genome sequencing performed on patient isolates were closely related genetically. That means that they likely got sick from eating the same food. This outbreak strain was linked to various sources, including recreational water and romaine lettuce, but officials do not have enough information to identify the source of this outbreak.

The two active outbreak investigations on USDA table are for an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that officials suspect is linked to ground beef, and a Salmonella Hadar outbreak that was just added to the table last night or this morning, that is of unknown origin.

You can protect yourself by following recall notifications and outbreak investigation notices, and by practicing good food safety in the kitchen. Wash your hands before and after cooking and before eating. Always cook ground beef to 160°F and measure that temperature with a food thermometer. Handle raw meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood with care and clean up diligently after you work with them. Wash produce before you prepare and eat it. And avoid eating raw or undercooked ground meats and poultry, raw milk, and raw juices and nuts.

The Food Poisoning Attorneys At Pritzker Hageman 1-888-377-8900

If you or a loved one have been sickened with a Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, E coli O45, or Listeria monocytogenes infection, please contact our experienced attorneys for help at 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.


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