February 20, 2019

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro Criticizes FDA Delay of Produce Safety Rule

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), has released a statement criticizing the FDA on the delay of some parts of the Produce Safety Rule  following the deadly romaine lettuce E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that occurred late last year. The FDA released the findings of its investigation last week. And that was not the only E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to romaine lettuce last year. Another was announced in summer 2018. Together, those outbreaks caused 272 illnesses, 121 hospitalizations, and five deaths. Her statement reads, "For all the Agency’s bluster on improving traceability, the FDA has done little to advance real actions that would prevent food outbreaks in the first place. The FDA’s investigations into last year’s romaine lettuce recalls have confirmed what we already knew to be … [Read more...]

Dying Bacteria Absorb Antibiotics, According to New Study

A new study from researchers at Princeton University and California State University-Northridge has found that dying bacteria can absorb antibiotics, giving other pathogens the chance to survive. The dying bacteria can absorb large amounts of the antibiotic. The paper was published in eLife on December 18, 2018. The work is supported by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the University of Waterloo in Canada. That's not the only way pathogens can survive antibiotic doses. They can also delay their growth, grow more quickly,  or create biofilms as they grow that shield them from the drug. Researchers created a mathematical model to try to explain this phenomenon. The model "describes the dynamics of bacterial populations facing different … [Read more...]

Scientists Use Machine Learning to Find Source of Salmonella

Scientists at the University of Georgia Center for Food Safety has developed a new approach to identify the animal source of some types of Salmonella outbreaks. The researchers have developed a machine learning approach. The study is published in the January 2019 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases. Researchers Xiangyu Deng and Shaokang Zhang, along with a team of colleagues, used more than a thousand genomes to predict the animal sources of Salmonella Typhimurium. The project used experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food & Drug Administration, the Minnesota Department of Health, and the Translational Genomics Research Institute. Almost 3,000 outbreaks of food poisoning were reported in the U.S. from 2009 to 2015. Ninety percent of those … [Read more...]

Possible Hepatitis A Exposure at City Billiards in Aiken, SC

An employee at City Billiards in Aiken, South Carolina has tested positive for the hepatitis A virus, according to a news release by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). Anyone who ate there from January 22, 2019 to February 5, 2019 may have been exposed to the pathogen. The Health Department is working with that facility to investigate exposures and have arranged vaccinations for anyone who may have been affected. The DHEC is declaring a hepatitis outbreak in Aiken County. Last week, there was another employee who tested positive at the Aiken Brewing Company on Laurens Street in downtown Aiken. There have been 10 hepatitis A cases diagnosed in that county since December 1, 2018. The people who are sick in Aiken County did not get sick by … [Read more...]

CDC Again Warns Consumers About Brucellosis in Raw Milk

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is again warning the public in 19 states about the potential exposure to Brucella RB51 in 19 states, connected to consuming raw milk from Miller's Biodiversity Farm in Quarryville, Pennsylvania.  One case of brucellosis was confirmed in New York in November 2018. Three people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with brucellosis after drinking raw milk since 2017. An unknown number of people, estimated to be in the hundreds, may have been exposed to the bacteria from drinking unpasteurized milk from this farm, a farm in Texas, and an online retailer. A cow that tested positive for the pathogen has been removed from the Miller's Biodiversity Farm milking herd. In late December 2018, raw milk and raw milk products from Miller's … [Read more...]

FDA Goes After Dietary Supplements That Claim Alzheimer’s Treatment

The FDA is taking action against 17 companies for illegally selling dietary supplement products that claim to treat or cure Alzheimer's disease. The agency posted 12 warning letters and 5 online advisory letters to those corporations. The companies are illegally selling more than 58 products, many sold as dietary supplements, that are unapproved new drugs or misbranded drugs. These products have not been reviewed by the FDA and are not proven safe and effective to treat these diseases and health conditions. In fact, these products could be unsafe and could prevent a patient from seeking proper treatment. FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in a statement, "Science and evidence are the cornerstone of the FDA’s review process and are imperative to demonstrating medical … [Read more...]

Botulism in Nome, Alaska Associated With Aged Beluga Flipper

According to news reports, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services is investigating a botulism death and four illnesses that may be associated with fermented beluga whale flipper. The people allegedly got sick at a New Year's Day dinner in Nome where native foods were served. Louisa Castrodale, an epidemiologist with the Health Department told Anchorage Daily News that the aged beluga flipper has tested "preliminary positive" for botulism toxin. Officials are waiting for the final lab results on all foods served at the potluck, as well as samples from the patients. Final results will be available next week. The patient, a 54-year-old man, became ill with stomach pain, difficulty breathing, double vision, and weakness. Those are typical symptoms of botulism food … [Read more...]

Listeria Monocytogenes in Raw Milk From Shunpike Dairy NY

Listeria monocytogenes bacteria was found in raw milk that was produced by Shunpike Dairy at 1342 Shunpike, in Millbrook, New York. That is in Dutchess county. The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets released this information in a press release. Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized. The pasteurization process briefly heats the milk to kill pathogens such as Listeria. No illnesses have been reported to date in association with this issue. A sample of the milk that was collected by a Department inspector tested preliminary positive and the dairy was notified on January 25, 2019. Further testing conducted on January 30, 2019, confirmed the presence of the bacteria in the milk. The dairy is now prohibited from selling raw milk until sampling indicates the product … [Read more...]

Raw Turkey Salmonella Reading Outbreak Investigation Updated

The raw turkey Salmonella Reading outbreak has been updated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The case count remains the same as it was in the last update - 216 sick in 38 states, with 84 hospitalizations and one death in California. But another product has been tied to illnesses. The case count by state is: Alabama (4), Alaska (2), Arizona (3), Arkansas (1), California (16), Colorado (6), Connecticut (3), Delaware (1), District of Columbia (2), Florida (8), Georgia (2), Hawaii (1), Idaho (2), Iowa (4), Illinois (21), Indiana (5), Kansas (1), Kentucky (1), Maryland (5), Massachusetts (3), Michigan (8), Minnesota (18), Missouri (3), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (9), New York (15), North Carolina (8), North Dakota (2), Ohio (8), Oklahoma (2), Oregon (2), Pennsylvania … [Read more...]

Listeria Outbreak Linked to Long Phung Pork Ends With 4 Sick

The Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to Long Phung pork products has ended with four sick, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All four patients were hospitalized because they were so sick. Those patients live in Louisiana, Michigan, Tennessee, and Texas. The 165368 C. Corporation of Houston, Texas, doing business as Long Phung Food Products, recalled their ready-to-eat pork products for possible contamination. They were labeled with the establishment number "EST. 13561" inside the USDA mark of inspection. They were sold nationwide. The outbreak appears to be over as of January 29, 2019. Listeria specimens from ill persons were collected. Whole genome sequencing was conducted on that bacterial DNA and found that all of those sickened were … [Read more...]

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