August 16, 2022

Salmonella an Adulterant? National Chicken Council Bawks

The USDA announced plans this week to make it illegal to sell chicken Kiev and other stuffed, breaded, raw chicken products that are contaminated with Salmonella. Declaring Salmonella an "adulterant" in this subset of the vast array of poultry products available to American consumers is a small step forward in the agency's stated goal of remaking its strategy for controlling Salmonella in poultry. But it made big news. Chair of the House Appropriations Committee Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), who is perhaps the greatest champion of food safety in Congress, released a statement calling the announcement a "vital first step to improved protections for the public from foodborne illness." The Centers for Science in the Public Interest, which along with other consumer groups, petitioned the USDA … [Read more...]

What Do Inspection Reports for Big Olaf Creamery Reveal?

Last week, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services  (FDACS) revealed that Listeria had been found in 10 environmental swabs and samples from 16 different flavors of ice cream at Big Olaf Creamery's production plant in Sarasota, FL. The samples were collected after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on July 2 that epidemiological evidence identified the ice cream as the source of a Listeria outbreak that has sickened 23 people over an 18-month period. One of the patients died and another suffered a miscarriage. Presented with that information, Big Olaf declined to issue a recall. Then a spokesperson for the company issued a statement that deemed the epidemiological information "speculative" and wondered why the company was being unfairly … [Read more...]

Big Olaf Who? Amid Outbreak Shops Ditch Ice Cream, Branding

For Big Olaf, the break-ups came quickly but not all at once. And not all of them quietly. In the two and half weeks since Big Olaf ice cream was linked to a deadly Listeria outbreak, licensed shops throughout Florida started switching to new suppliers. One owner has permanently changed the names of the two stores she operates. Although Listeria isn't as common as other foodborne pathogens. It is the most deadly. And it targets pregnant women, who can suffer a miscarriage or stillbirth if they develop an infection. "Five of the patients in this outbreak are women who contracted listeriosis while they were pregnant," said Eric Hageman, a Listeria lawyer, and Food Poisoning Bulletin Publisher. Hageman has extensive experience with Listeria lawsuits including one filed on behalf of a … [Read more...]

A Recurring Salmonella Strain and a Secret, Deadly Ground Beef Outbreak

Two years before a 2018 Salmonella outbreak linked to ground beef produced by JBS Tolleson triggered one of the largest beef recalls in modern history, another outbreak, a secret and deadly one was linked to the same strain. The deadly 2016 outbreak was never announced and no recall was ever issued because the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) said traceback records didn't conclusively point to a single establishment. So, contaminated ground beef was sold to consumers and 106 people in 21 states got Salmonella infections. Forty-eight percent of the patients were hospitalized, and one person died. One year after that outbreak ended, the first illness in the 2018 outbreak was reported. That outbreak, which was publicly announced, eventually … [Read more...]

FDA: Abbott Didn’t Test Similac Samples in Internal Probe of Infant Death

Analysis Contrary to its own operating procedures, Abbott Nutrition completed an internal probe of a fatal Cronobacter case without testing samples of the associated lot of Similac Pro Total Comfort, according to the FDA's 2022 inspection report of Abbott's facility in Sturgis, MI. Federal health officials have been investigating four Cronobacter illnesses, two of them fatal, reported between September 2021 and January 2022 among infants who consumed Similac products made at Abbott's Sturgis plant. Yesterday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the reports from its three most recent inspections of the Sturgis facility. The reports show that Abbott failed to maintain sanitary conditions at the plant where it makes a variety of infant formulas including some for babies … [Read more...]

Timeline: Chronobacter Illnesses Linked to Infant Formula

The CDC, FDA, and state health departments are investigating Cronobacter illnesses among infants who consumed powdered baby formula. Between September 2021 and January 2022, four illnesses were reported -one from Minnesota, two from Ohio, and one from Texas. The two babies in Ohio died. Cronobacter is not a “reportable disease” nationwide. So, doctors and labs aren’t required to report these infections to their state health departments who then report them to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Minnesota is the only state in the country that requires reporting. The CDC does receive reports of Cronobacter, an average of three a year. It's just not required. So unlike illnesses from E. coli, Salmonella, or Listeria, the genetic fingerprint of the Cronobacter that made … [Read more...]

Similac Recall Includes Formula Made November 2020 to February 2022

Abbott Nutrition's recall of powdered infant formula includes Similac products made at the company's facility in Sturgis, MI over the 15-month period from November 1, 2020, to February 17, 2022, according to recall information the company provided to retailers. Because these dates are not mentioned in the company's public recall announcement, consumers may not be aware that formula they purchased for their infants more than a year ago is part of this recall. The length of the production window associated with the recall also raises questions about the results of the FDA's inspection of the plant. Abbott issued a recall for Similac, Alimentum, EleCare, and EleCare Jr on February 17, 2022, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced an investigation of … [Read more...]

Same E. coli Strain Linked to 4 Outbreaks and 8 Deaths 2018- 2021

This week, the CDC announced the end of a deadly leafy greens E. coli outbreak. And revealed that it was caused by the same strain as the deadly outbreak linked to romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, AZ in 2018. This is the fourth multistate outbreak linked to this E. coli O157:H7 strain since 2018. All of them have included at least one fatality. Two of them occurred in 2021. Together these four outbreaks resulted in 274 illnesses, 126 hospitalizations, 33 cases of a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and eight deaths. Leafy greens were identified as the source of two of the outbreaks. For the other two, which occurred in 2020 and 2021, the source was declared as "unknown." Like the 2018 outbreak, some of the greens linked to the outbreak that ended this … [Read more...]

CDC Cronobacter Investigation Widens, 2 Ohio Infants Dead

In a typical year, between two to four cases of Cronobacter are reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But a current federal investigation that already includes two deaths in Ohio and two illnesses in Texas and Minnesota among infants who consumed Similac powdered infant formula has widened, according to the CDC. After the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its collaborative investigation with the CDC and state partners of Cronobacter illnesses, and one Salmonella illness, in Ohio, Minnesota, and Texas, the CDC received additional reports of possible Cronobacter illnesses and another Salmonella illness. The agency is using whole genome sequencing tests to sort things out, Brian Katzowitz, a CDC spokesman, told Food Poisoning Bulletin this … [Read more...]

Minnesota Cronobacter Case Spurred Federal Investigation

In St. Louis County, MN, which encompasses the central and eastern portions of the Iron Range as it stretches from Duluth to the Canadian border, the leaves were reaching peak color when one of its newest and tiniest residents fell gravely ill. It was September 2021. The baby had developed a Cronobacter infection and would spend 22 days in the hospital successfully fighting it off. But because Minnesota is the only state in the nation that requires reporting of Cronobacter, which is known to cause severe, often fatal, infections in infants, that was not the end of the story. Reportable or notifiable diseases are considered to be of such great public health importance that when they are diagnosed they must be reported to state health officials who, in turn, report them to the … [Read more...]

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