May 30, 2020

How Do You Know If You Have a Botulism Infection?

Botulism is one of the scariest and most lethal foodborne illness infections. The bacteria Clostridium botulinum produces a toxin as it grows. A tiny, tiny amount of that toxin is enough to kill an adult. So how do you know if you have a botulism infection? Most people think that botulism outbreaks are tied to canned food. It's true that the bacterium grows in an anaerobic environment, which means that there is no air in the container that holds the food. But botulism can also grow in honey, which is why babies under the age of 1 should never be given honey. And a deadly botulism outbreak linked to nacho cheese sauce served at Valley Oak and Fuel in Walnut Grove, California in May, 2017 sickened 10 people and killed one person. The bacteria and the toxin do not change how the … [Read more...]

Current Food Poisoning Outbreaks: E. coli, Listeria, and Campylobacter

While information about the coronavirus pandemic has drowned out just about all other news at the present time, there are still four current food poisoning outbreaks and associated recalls that need some attention. The outbreak of E. coli O103 linked to raw clover sprouts and the Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to imported enoki mushrooms have sickened dozens of people in many states. A Listeria monocytogenes outbreak at China Buffet in Alexandria, Minnesota, and a possible Campylobacter outbreak at Rediviva restaurant in Aberdeen, Washington are also ongoing. It's important that consumers are aware of these outbreaks because there have been several recalls associated with two of them. People may still have some of the recalled foods in their refrigerators or freezers at … [Read more...]

FDA Updates Listeria Enoki Mushrooms Outbreak With Recall Information

The FDA has updated the Listeria Enoki Mushrooms outbreak that has sickened 36 people in 17 states with more recall information. The case counts remain the same:  Arizona (2), California (9), Florida (2), Hawaii (3), Indiana (1), Kentucky (1), Maryland (2), Massachusetts (2), Michigan (1), Missouri (1), Nevada (1), New Jersey (1),  New York (4), North Carolina (1), Rhode Island (1), Tennessee (1), and Virginia (3). Another product has been recalled since the last update on March 10, 2020. Guan's Mushrooms, sold in 200 gram packages with the UPC number 859267007013 were recalled on March 23, 2020. They were sold to distributors and wholesalers in California, New York, and Pennsylvania in white cardboard boxes with Guan’s logo in green color and code “#02473,” but could have been … [Read more...]

Clover Sprouts E. coli O103 Hits Utah Hard With Most Illnesses of Any State

The outbreak of clover sprouts E. coli O103 hits Utah hard with the most illnesses of any state. At least 27 people are sick in Utah as of March 19, 2020. There are 39 people sickened in the entire outbreak. Public health officials say that epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory evidence has found that raw clover sprouts are the source of this outbreak. No official has offered an explanation of why the number of ill persons in Utah exploded from 3 to 27 in just a few weeks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that clover sprouts served at Jimmy John's restaurants in Utah, as well as other states, may have made people sick. In interviews, 58% of ill persons said that ate sprouts at a Jimmy John's restaurant the week before they got sick. A recall of Chicago … [Read more...]

Clover Sprouts E. coli O103 Outbreak Updated: 39 Sick, 2 Hospitalized

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated the clover sprouts E. coli O103 outbreak that is associated with Jimmy John's restaurants and Chicago Indoor Garden raw clover sprouts. Since the last update on February 26, 2020, 25 more patients who live in two states have been identified. Twenty-four of the new patients live in Utah, and Florida has been added to the state count. The patient case count by state is: Florida (1), Illinois (6), Iowa (3), Missouri (1), Texas (1), and Utah (27). Illness onset dates range from January 6, 2020 to March 2, 2020. Two people have been hospitalized because they are so ill. The patient age range is from 1 to 79 years. This outbreak may continue to grow, since it can take up to a month from when a person gets sick to when their … [Read more...]

China Buffet Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreak in Alexandria, Minnesota

A China Buffet Listeria monocytogenes outbreak in Alexandria, Minnesota was announced in a health advisory issued by the Minnesota Department of Health. Two cases of listeriosis have been identified among people who ate or may have eaten at that restaurant, which is located at 4721 Highway 29 South. The health advisory is skewed to healthcare providers. It was sent to local and tribal health departments, hospitals, and clinics. Listeriosis is a reportable illness, which means that any doctor who diagnoses a patient with this illness must report it to the health department. There are only about eight cases of listeriosis reported every year in Minnesota. The two patients in this outbreak have the same strain of Listeria monocytogenes, which indicates that they share the same … [Read more...]

Is the Coronavirus Pandemic Forcing You to Cook? Learn About Food Safety

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our lives in just about every way. From stores and restaurants closing to practicing social distancing, everyone is being forced to learn new habits and new ways of living. Is the coronavirus pandemic forcing you to cook?  This is a great time to learn about food safety. In 2015, for the first time, Americans started spending more of their food budget on restaurant meals than grocery stores. While some groups will always cook from scratch, many people just don't do that anymore. So it's crucial that you learn about food safety as you are just starting to cook. You don't want to get food poisoning when hospitals are overwhelmed with pandemic patients, or any other time for that matter. Home cooks are the last line of defense against food … [Read more...]

FDA Warns Against Chicago Indoor Garden Sprouts in E. coli Update

The FDA has released an update on the E. coli O103 outbreak likely linked to clover sprouts, but this time is warning consumers not to eat Chicago Indoor Garden red clover sprouts and other products. FDA analysis found E. coli O103 in some of these products, which all contain sprouts. Whole genome sequencing tests found that the DNA in the bacteria on the sprouts matches the outbreak strain. The products are Chicago Indoor Garden red clover (with and without non-GMO labels), sprout salad, mixed greens, and spring salad with best by dates between December 1, 2019 and March 12, 2020. You can see more pictures of product photos at the FDA web site. The FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are investigating an outbreak of 14 illnesses caused by E. coli O103 in … [Read more...]

Restaurant Unpaid Sick Leave Policies Changing With Coronavirus Pandemic

The coronavirus outbreak, which has been characterized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, has highlighted an issue in the United States. Experts are telling people to reduce social interaction with others, called social distancing, to reduce the rate of transmission. But what if your  job requires you to be around people?  And what if you are paid hourly and can't afford to take time off? That's an issue for many workers, especially those in the food industry. Because of this pandemic, restaurant unpaid sick leave policies are changing now. There is no federal regulation mandating paid sick leave in this country. Sick leave is set by corporations and some states. And since 1 in 4 Americans, or 32,000,000 people, have no sick leave, they are often unwilling or simply … [Read more...]

Enoki Listeria Outbreak Sickens Pregnant Women, 30 Others

The Sun Hong Foods Enoki Listeria outbreak sickens pregnant women and 30 others in 17 states according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Four people died. Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that enoki mushrooms labeled "Product of Korea"are the likely source of this Listeria monocytogenes outbreak. The patient case count by state is: Arizona (2), California (9), Florida (2), Hawaii (3), Indiana (1), Kentucky (1), Maryland (2), Massachusetts (2), Michigan (1), Missouri (1), Nevada (1), New Jersey (1),  New York (4), North Carolina (1), Rhode Island (1), Tennessee (1), and Virginia (3). Illness onset dates range from November 23, 2016 to December 3, 2019. The patient age range is from less than 1 to 97. Of 32 people who gave information to the … [Read more...]

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