May 28, 2024

Cantaloupe Salmonella Outbreak Includes 4 Deaths in Minnesota

The cantaloupe Salmonella outbreak that ended in January included four deaths in Minnesota, one in Oregon, and one in Indiana, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In Canada, seven deaths were reported. "The number of fatalities is unusually high," said Food Safety Attorney Eric Hageman whose law firm Pritzker Hageman is representing people sickened in the outbreak.  The outbreak was linked to Salmonella Oranienburg and Salmonella Sundsvall, a rare strain that causes severe illness, said Hageman, who is also the Publisher of Food Poisoning Bulletin.   The hospitalization rate was also higher than average. The outbreak, linked to Malichita and Rudy brand cantaloupe imported from Mexico, ended on January 19 with 407 illnesses, 158 hospitalizations, and six … [Read more...]

What is Salmonella Salmonella I 4:I:-?

It's the source of an outbreak linked to tainted charcuterie, but what Salmonella I 4:I:-? A strain by that name hasn't been associated with any previous outbreaks, recalls, or illnesses, so it had us intrigued until the Minnesota Department of Health cleared up the mystery. "This isn’t a new or different serotype but a change in laboratory methods. Since we now do serotyping using whole genome sequencing, 4 [5] 12:I:- is now reported as 4:I:-," an epidemiologist in the Foodborne Unit explained. Salmonella 4 [5] 12:I:- is a "monophasic variant of Salmonella Typhimurium, and it is an emerging threat to both human and animal health," according to a recent study. Contaminated feed is considered the primary vehicle, researchers found.  The strain has caused several recent food … [Read more...]

2023 Meat and Poultry Recalls

In-depth analysis from Food Poisoning Bulletin Meat and poultry producers issued 65 recalls last year, up 20 from 2022, but still far below the pre-pandemic four-year average of 126, according to a Food Poisoning Bulletin review of meat and poultry recalls published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS). Twelve of the recalls were for products contaminated with pathogens, seven with Listeria, and five with E. coli. For the second straight year, there were no meat or poultry recalls for Salmonella, even though the only outbreaks caused by contaminated meat or poultry were two ground beef Salmonella outbreaks. Two Ground Beef Salmonella Outbreaks One Salmonella outbreak was linked to ground beef sold at ShopRite stores in four … [Read more...]

Salmonella Outbreak Tied to “Highly Contaminated” Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe tied to a Salmonella outbreak that has caused hundreds of illnesses and eight deaths in the U.S. and Canada is likely "very highly contaminated," April Hexemer, an epidemiologist and director of outbreak management with the Public Health Agency Canada told CBC News this week. Cross-Contamination Risk In addition to causing severe illness, highly contaminated food also poses a major risk of cross-contaminating other foods and surfaces. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is one of the state agencies working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on a "traceback" investigation tracing back the melons' journey from store shelves to fields where they were grown. Minnesota is one of two states where fatalities have been reported in this outbreak. Oregon is the … [Read more...]

Salmonella Oranienburg Cantaloupe, Cut Fruit and Canada Redux

In its November 30 update on a deadly cantaloupe Salmonella outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed the fast-growing outbreak has caused 180 illnesses, 78 hospitalizations, and three deaths in the U.S. and Canada. And that some of the patients are residents of long-term care facilities. The update also disclosed that a second Salmonella strain, Salmonella Oranienburg, has been linked to some of these illnesses. And that's notable because Oranienburg isn't a top-10 strain in the U.S. It's been linked to a handful of multistate outbreaks over the last two decades. There was a 2014 chia powder outbreak,  back-to-back outbreaks linked to shell eggs produced by the same company in 2015 and 2016,  and a 2021 fresh onions outbreak that sickened 1,040 … [Read more...]

Does Indiana Cantaloupe Have a Salmonella Problem?

Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) closed without solving its investigation of a Salmonella Newport outbreak that sickened 11 people in August. But information the agency gathered during its probe unearthed a troubling finding. During interviews with patients, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) learned that people who got sick had eaten cantaloupe or watermelon before developing symptoms of Salmonella infections. Tracing the source of the melons back from the point of purchase, the FDA was able to determine that the melons were grown in Southwest Indiana. Three environmental samples collected from farms there matched the outbreak strain of Salmonella Newport. Other samples from a “farm of interest and surrounding areas” were positive for … [Read more...]

Listeria Outbreak – Where Was Soft Serve on the Go Made?

A Listeria outbreak linked to Soft Serve on the Go ice cream has sickened at least two people, both of whom were hospitalized. The recalled ice cream cups were distributed to 19 states, Washington DC, and some international locations. But just where the products were made has been a mystery, until now.  Real Kosher Ice Cream of Brooklyn issued a recall for the ice cream cups on August 9 and halted distribution of the products. A statement on the company’s website, says “Serve on the Go Cups are manufactured at their own dedicated facility.” But neither the recall nor the website statement indicates where that facility is located. It turns out, the mystery facility is located just blocks from Real Kosher Ice Cream. Soft Serve on the Go ice cream was made at Ice Cream House, LLC, located … [Read more...]

Does Vegan Cheese Pose a Food Safety Risk?

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published an analysis of a Salmonella outbreak linked to vegan cheese made from cashews. The 2021 outbreak linked to Jule's cashew brie marked the second time since 2014 that illnesses in multiple states were linked to cashew cheese. Does vegan cheese pose a food safety risk? If it's made from nuts, it might.   Cashews and Kill Steps The CDC's 2021 report on the Jule's brie Salmonella outbreak states that whole genome sequencing tests on the Salmonella strain cultured from patients produced the same genetic "fingerprint," meaning the patients were exposed to the same source of contaminated food. Investigators found this outbreak strain in samples of Jule's cheese, in the facility where it was made, and in the … [Read more...]

2021 Chipotle and Panera Romaine E. coli Outbreak

In 2021, health departments in Washington and Minnesota did something that doesn't happen very often. They solved an E. coli outbreak linked to leafy greens. "It is rare to be able to identify the outbreak vehicle for commercially distributed food like romaine lettuce (much less link back to a farm source) with only four laboratory-confirmed cases who consumed the romaine lettuce at four different restaurant locations in two states," Doug Schultz, an information officer at the Minnesota Department of Health told Food Poisoning Bulletin. The outbreak was never announced because, by the time investigators identified the specific grower, there was no ongoing risk to the public, he said. Stream of Unsolved Outbreaks Leafy greens recently overtook ground beef to become the leading … [Read more...]

FDA: There’s a Revolution Farms Lettuce Recall, No Outbreak

There is a Listeria recall for Revolution Farms lettuces but no outbreak, as a recall expansion implied, the FDA clarified to Food Poisoning Bulletin today. "The recalled product from Revolution Farms is not associated with any current outbreaks under investigation by FDA," an FDA spokesperson told us via email. The confusion started earlier this month when Revolution Farms issued a Listeria recall for products packed between March 3 and March 11.  The company expanded the recall to include all of its products the following day after receiving the results of whole genome sequencing tests conducted by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).   The company's notice of the recall expansion says, "The recall was voluntarily expanded on April 6, 2023, when the … [Read more...]

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