July 10, 2020

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...]

Justice Department Seeks to End Online Sales of Miracle Mineral Solution

The United States District court for the Southern District of Florida has entered a temporary injunction halting the online sale of Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), that the government calls an "unapproved, unproven, and potentially dangerous coronavirus treatment product." The complaint alleges that the defendants, Genesis II Church of Health and Healing and its principals, Mark Grenon, Joseph Grenon, Jordan Grenon, and Jonathan Grenon, sell and distribute a product that claims without proof that it will cure diseases such as COVID-19, multiple sclerosis, brain cancer, Alzheimer's, AIDS, and autism, among others. The defendants sell and distribute this product. MMS contains sodium chlorite that, when combined with the activator included with the product or with citrus juices, … [Read more...]

COVID-19 Outbreaks at Meatpacking Plants Increase Food Supply Concern

While the USDA and FDA reassure the public that the shortages they are seeing in grocery stores are primarily the result of panic buying and shortage and not due to problems in the supply chain, other consumer advocate groups are increasingly concerned. COVID-19 outbreaks at meatpacking plants across the country are decreasing supply. That doesn't mean that you have to start hoarding pork, beef, and chicken. It's an acknowledgment that those workplaces may be at higher risk for coronavirus hotspots. They are considered an essential service and need to remain open during the pandemic. So COVID-19 outbreaks at meatpacking plants are a concern. At least 13 processing plants around the country have closed in the past few weeks because so many employees have contracted this illness. … [Read more...]

FDA Info on Red Clover Sprouts E. coli O103 Outbreak

The FDA is weighing in on the red clover sprouts E. coli O103 outbreak. This outbreak is  associated with Jimmy John's restaurants according to the CDC. and the fact that a majority of patients interviewed ate sprouts at Jimmy John's before they got sick. The outbreak is over after sickening 51 people in 10 states. Three people were hospitalized because they were so sick. The patient case counts by state are: Florida (1), Idaho (1), Illinois (7), Iowa (3), Missouri (1), New York (1), Texas (1), Utah (34), Virginia (1), Wyoming (1). Illness onset dates range from January 6, 2020 to March 15, 2020. The patient age range is from 1 to 79 years. The last illness onset date was March 15, 2020. The outbreak case count increased from 39 in 6 states from the last outbreak update in March … [Read more...]

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