May 26, 2020

Stop Foodborne Illness, CSPI Call For Poultry Safety Modernization

The food safety agencies Stop Foodborne Illness and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) are calling for poultry safety modernization to reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter infections in poultry. Those agencies believe that the USDA's regulatory framework lags behind advances in science and technology and doesn't reflect the best. practices to prevent illness from poultry. Stop Foodborne Illness CEO Mitzi Baum said in a statement, "To their credit, FSIS, academic experts, and many poultry industry leaders recognize the poultry safety problem and are working on solutions. Consumers rightfully expect, however, that FSIS build today’s best practices into its regulatory system so they can become common practices. Outbreaks linked to poultry products have occurred … [Read more...]

Backyard Poultry Salmonella Outbreak Sickens 97 in 28 States

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a report about a backyard poultry Salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 97 people in 28 states. This is not the first such outbreak; many of these outbreaks have been identified in the past few years. One of the issues is that Salmonella bacteria can be naturally present in chickens, even inside hen's ovaries, which then produce contaminated eggs. The pathogen is Salmonella Hadar. Seventeen people have been hospitalized because they are so sick. And 30% of ill persons are children younger than five. Epidemiologic evidence shows that contact with backyard poultry such as chicks and ducklings is the likely source of this outbreak. In interviews, 38, or 86% of 44 ill persons interviewed, said they had contact … [Read more...]

Serenity Meadows Raw Milk Tests Positive for Listeria in Cayuga County NY

Serenity Meadows raw milk has tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, according to a news release issued by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. The dairy is located at 2890 Jorolemon Road in Weedsport, New York. Two lab samples confirmed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in the unpasteurized milk. This pathogen can cause serious illness, especially for people in high risk groups, including the very young, the elderly, anyone with a compromised immune system, and pregnant women. Officials recommend that anyone who purchased raw milk from that dairy discard it immediately. They are also asking that anyone who purchased that milk call the department at 315-730-9738. No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this issue. The … [Read more...]

Factory Farming Increases the Risk of Pandemic Development

A study conducted at the University of Bath has found that factory farming increases the risk of pandemic development. Overuse of antibiotics, low genetic diversity, and a large number of animals increases the risk of animal pathogens transferring to humans. Viruses and bacteria that jump from animals to humans are called zoonotic diseases. Some zoonotic diseases include bird flu, Campylobacter, Salmonella, E. coli infections, swine flu, and novel coronavirus. Scientists investigated the evolution of Campylobacter jejuni, a bacteria that is carried by cattle. This pathogen causes is transferred to people who eat contaminated meat and poultry. It causes bloody diarrhea and cause serious illness in those with compromised immune systems and chronic illnesses. About 1 in 7 people … [Read more...]

Possible Hepatitis A at LaRoma’s Pizzeria in Rome, New York

An employee tested positive for hepatitis A at LaRoma's Pizzeria in Rome, New York, according to a press release issued by the Oneida County Health Department. The employee "worked while infectious and may have exposed people who were patrons of the shop," according to the press release. The Health Department is also alerting people who ordered take-out food from that venue. That employee worked at the LaRoma's Pizzeria, located at 600 Floyd Avenue in Rome, between April 20, 2020 and May 4, 2020. Since the hepatitis A vaccine is only effective if given within two weeks of exposure, that means that anyone who ate there or ordered take out food on April 27, 2020 must get a vaccination today. Contact the Health Department at 315-798-5747 and press 1 to make an appointment for a … [Read more...]

Food Safety Advocates Want Mandatory Meatpacking Worker Safety

Food safety advocates Food Chain Alliance and the Center for Food Safety filed a petition against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to implement mandatory meatpacking worker safety. Many employees at meatpacking plants and slaughterhouses  have contacted coronavirus. Some plants have closed because of these illnesses, triggering worries about meat shortages. Center for Food safety states, "OSHA has a duty to issue an emergency temporary standard to protect workers from new hazards that pose a grave danger to health and safety. The COVID-19 pandemic is certainly a grave threat to human health, but OSHA has only suggested that meat companies comply with voluntary safety standards." Ryan Talbott, staff attorney at Center for Food safety said in statement, "If … [Read more...]

Blue Bell Pleads Guilty in Ice Cream Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreak

Blue Bell pleads guilty in ice cream Listeria monocytogenes outbreak and pays $19.35 million. And a former company president has been charged in connection with a scheme to allegedly cover up the incident, according to the Justice Department. The charge is that the company shipped contaminated and adulterated product. That deadly outbreak covered a five year time span from 2010 to 2015 that sickened 10 people. All of the patients were hospitalized. Three people who lived in Kansas died. Eight of the patients were hospitalized when they were served contaminated Blue Bell ice cream. The outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes were found in ice cream made at the Blue Bell plants in Brenham, Texas and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. This outbreak was long and complicated; we have put together … [Read more...]

Foodborne Illnesses Increased, Healthy People 2020 Targets Not Met

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report has released information about incidence and trends of foodborne illness from their active surveillance network for 2016 - 2019. They have found that foodborne illnesses increased, so the Healthy People 2020 targets for reducing foodborne illness will not be met. In 2019, FoodNet identified 25,866 cases of infection, 6,164 hospitalizations, and 122 deaths. The overall incidence per 100,000 population was highest for Campylobacter, followed by Salmonella, STEC, Shigella, cyclospora, Yersinia, Vibrio, and Listeria. Eighty-six percent of infections were acquired domestically. It's important to note that most cases of foodborne illness are not reported to physicians, so those cases are not in the … [Read more...]

New Salmonella DNA Test Improves Tracking of the Pathogen in Outbreaks

A new Salmonella DNA test will help improve tracking of Salmonella outbreaks, according to research published in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics.  This should help investigators quickly trace and find the origin of the infection. Food poisoning caused by Salmonella bacteria causes 1.35 million infections every year in the United States. At least 26,500 people are hospitalized because they are so sick with this type of infection, and 420 people die. During an outbreak, speed in identifying and tracing the pathogen is critical to reducing serious illness and death. Traditional methods to find and identify Salmonella serotypes are to first grow the bacteria from samples and then test them to assign a subtype. The new Salmonella DNA test doesn't require first growing the … [Read more...]

Feds Investigating Six Meatpacking Plants After COVID-19 Outbreaks

Federal regulators are investigating six meatpacking plants after large COVID-19 outbreaks have been linked to those facilities. The plants include JBS Packerland in Green Bay, Wisconsin, American Foods Group in Green Bay, Smithfield Foods in Cudahy, Wisconsin, and Salms Partners in Denmark, Wisconsin, Pizza crust manufacturer TNT Crust in Green Bay and Birds Eye Foods in Darien, Wisconsin are also being investigated, according to Wisconsin Public Radio. Meatpacking and meat processing plants have become hotspots for coronavirus illnesses in the past few weeks. Smithfield Foods in South Dakota had to close last week after 300 employees were sickened by the virus. One of the issues with these facilities is that employees have to work in close contact with each other. Employees have … [Read more...]

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