April 17, 2024

CDC Releases Report of Northeast Seafood Salmonella Outbreak

The CDC releases report of Northeast Seafood Salmonella outbreak that sickened at least 115 people in 15 states in the fall of 2021. The report was released in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). This serotype is not usually associated with seafood, but with leafy vegetables, chicken, and beef.

CDC Releases Report of Northeast Seafood Salmonella Outbreak

From May through October 2021, the outbreak sickened at least 115 people. The case count by state was: (1), California (1), Colorado (93), Connecticut (1), Iowa (1), Minnesota (2), Missouri (1), Nebraska (2), New Jersey (2), Pennsylvania (1), Texas (2), Virginia (3), Washington (1), Wisconsin (2), and Wyoming (2). The patient age range was from less than one year to 85. Twenty patients were hospitalized.

Most patients reported that they ate seafood in Colorado before they got sick. Among 90 patients who gave information to investigators, 76, or 84%, said they ate seafood, and 35 of 85 respondents said they ate sushi or raw fish.

The outbreak strain was identified at a single seafood distributor and processor in Denver, Northeast Seafood. Inspectors found opportunities for cross-contamination in the plant due to inadequate sanitation.

Laboratory typing found that the pathogen was highly related to Salmonella identified in a 2020 multistate foodborne illness investigation, during which traceback was conducted for sushi-grade tuna and salmon. A common supplier was not identified in the 2020 outbreak.

Investigators found that patient isolates were genetically related to one another. Northeast Seafood issued a recall of 16 seafood items with high potential for cross-contamination on October 7, 2021.

Investigators identified six subclusters of illness, which are defined as establishments where two or more unrelated patients reported consuming a variety of seafood during the exposure period. Five subclusters were in restaurants, and one was a sushi bar inside a grocery store.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment then conducted a trace forward investigation, from customer lists and five samples of three unique products from the seafood distributors’ facility. The outbreak strain was not identified in these five samples. But the distributor directly supplied fish to four of the six subcluster establishments.

A seafood Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point Inspection was conducted on September 22, 2021 by the FDA. The outbreak strain of Salmonella Thompson was identified in 13 of 132 swabs of the facility’s floor and floor drains. The inspection also found several opportunities for cross-contamination of raw fish, including the use of high pressure hose that produced backsplash onto fresh fish. Other issues were insufficient sanitizer concentration, condensation dripping onto food contract surfaces, and employees using gloved hands to remove water from floor drains without changing gloves after contact with the drains.

The report states that effective cleaning and sanitizing procedures and implementation of controls are important for preventing contamination and illness.

Attorneys at the Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Law Firm

If you have been sickened with a Salmonella infection after eating seafood produced at Northeast Seafood in Denver, Colorado, please contact our experienced attorneys for help with a possible lawsuit at 1-888-377-8900 or text us at 612-261-0856. Our firm represents clients in lawsuits against grocery stores, restaurants, and food processors.

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