January 17, 2020

FDA Is Sampling Romaine To Test For Salmonella and STEC

The FDA is sampling romaine lettuce to test for pathogens. That agency has launched a small, focused assignment to collect samples of romaine lettuce to test for Salmonella and STEC (Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria). These two pathogens have been "repeatedly linked to foodborne illness associated with romaine lettuce consumption," according to the notice. Two large E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks in 2018 were linked with the consumption of romaine lettuce. Both outbreaks prompted nationwide public health advisories. One of those outbreaks was deadly; five people died. Last month, the FDA released information about an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak associated with romaine lettuce that sickened 23 people in 12 states. That outbreak was not announced until it was long past over. Last … [Read more...]

Somerville, NJ ShopRite Employee Diagnosed With Hepatitis A

A Somerville, New Jersey ShopRite employee has been diagnosed with hepatitis A, according to the Somerset County Health Department. That department, along with the New Jersey Department of Health and Wakefern Corporation, is working to notify shoppers of that market. The ShopRite store is located at 1 South Davenport Street in Somerville, New Jersey. The employee's infectious period was from October 13, 2019 to October 30, 2019. That means that anyone who who purchased items from the in-store deli or who used the restroom during that time frame may have been infected and should get the hepatitis A or immune globulin vaccine. Unfortunately, the vaccines are only effective if given within two weeks of exposure, which means that it's too late to get the shot for anyone who  visited … [Read more...]

Hepatitis A in Employee at E & B Discount Grocery in Hattiesburg, MS

An employee at E & B Discount Grocery at 5395 Old Highway 42 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi has been diagnosed with hepatitis A, according to a news release issued by the Mississippi State Department of Health. While infectious, that employee handled fresh produce and packaged smoked and uncooked meats. Anyone who bought those products between October 10 and October 24, 2019 may have been exposed to the virus. MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said in a statement, "The risk of transmission of hepatitis A in this situation is likely very low. However, as a precaution, we recommend that anyone who purchased the listed products in this time period should consider getting a hepatitis A vaccination if they have not been previously immunized. The management and staff of E & B … [Read more...]

Hepatitis A in Food Worker at NY Camillus Country Club

A food worker at the Camillus Country Club, also known as Camillus Hills Golf Course, located at 5690 Bennetts Corners Road in Camillus, New York, has been diagnosed with hepatitis A, according to the Onondaga County Health Department. The health department has launched an investigation. Anyone who consumed food or drinks from Camillus Hills Golf Course/Camillus Country Club during the time period of October 13, 2019 to October 24, 2019, has been potentially exposed to the hepatitis A virus. Since the hepatitis A or immune globulin vaccination is only good when given within two weeks of exposure, that means that anyone who visited that venue after October 18, 2019 is no longer eligible for the vaccine. The health department is recommending anyone who consumed food or drinks there … [Read more...]

Don’t Drink Unpasteurized Juice For Food Safety Reasons

Fall is the season for fresh juices, including apple and grape juices. The FDA has tips for what you need to know about juice and food safety: namely, don't drink unpasteurized juice or cider. If you drink untreated, or unpasteurized, juices, you run the risk of contracting food poisoning. In fact, in 2015, E. coli bacteria in High Hill Ranch unpasteurized apple juice sickened seen people. And in 2013, a Cryptosporidium outbreak in Iowa linked to unpasteurized apple cider sickened 11 people. Any juice made from produce can be contaminated just like the fresh produce can be. Pasteurization kills pathogens, making the juices and ciders safe to drink. Most of the juice for sale in the U.S. is heat-treated to kill bacteria. But some grocery stores, health food stores, farmers' … [Read more...]

CDC Offers Tips For a Fun and Safe Halloween

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is offering consumers tips for a fun and safe Halloween. They use the words "Safe Halloween" to make it easy to remember these tips. If your costume includes swords, knives or other accessories, they should be Short, soft, and flexible. Do not trick-or-treat Alone. Go in groups or with a trusted adult. Make sure your costume is reflective, or add reFlective tape to your apparel or bags so drivers can see you. All parents should Examine all treats for choking hazards and any sign of tampering before letting kids eat them. Hold a flashlight while you're out and about so others can see you. Always test make-up in a small area first; some can cause allergic reactions in some people. Remove it before bedtime. Look both ways … [Read more...]

Senator Schumer Concerned About Heavy Metals in Baby Food

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is urging the FDA to investigate a new report that states there are toxic heavy metals in baby foods. The government does not have regulation that would make industry to address this problem. That report, by Healthy Baby Food.org,  states that these metals, including arsenic, lead, mercury, and cadmium, are found in a wide variety of baby foods. According to the report, 95% of baby foods tested were contaminated by at least one of the heavy metals. One in four baby foods teated contains all four of the heavy metals. Only nine of 168 baby foods teated did not have any traces of these toxins. The products with the highest levels of contamination include fruit juices and rice-based products. Alarmingly, four of the seven infant rice cereals that were … [Read more...]

Antibiotic-Free or Organic Poultry Less Likely to Have MultiDrug-Resistant Bacteria

A study conducted at the Pennsylvania Department of Health, along with the Penn State College of Medicine and the FDA, found that meat from conventionally-raised poultry harbored almost twice as much multidrug-resistant Salmonella bacteria as meat from antibiotic-free or organic poultry. The study was presented at IDWeek 2019. Consuming Salmonella-contaminated meat is one of the most common causes of foodborne illness. Since this infection is treated with antibiotics, when the pathogen is resistant to many different commonly used drugs, the illness can be more serious and dangerous. The overuse and misuse of antibiotics in both humans and animals raised for food leads to antibiotic resistance. The FDA has issued guidance documents, which are not legally binding, to try to limit … [Read more...]

University of Arizona Scientists Examine Yuma Romaine E. coli Outbreak

University of Arizona (UA) scientists are examining the Yuma romaine E. coli O157:H7 HUS outbreak linked to lettuce from that Arizona growing area to look at growing practices and the environment. That outbreak was the sixth largest of 2018. In all, 210 people in 36 states were sickened, 96 people were hospitalized, and five people, who lived in Arkansas, California, Minnesota, and New York, died. Twenty-seven of those patients developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. This study is meant to provide recommendations to growers, packers, and distributors toward enhanced food safety. The FDA, the Arizona Department of Agriculture, and state partners conducted an environmental assessment in 2018 that narrowed the scope of the outbreak. The outbreak strain of … [Read more...]

How to Report a Problem With Food to the FDA and USDA

Most Americans have had food poisoning at one time or another, giving that 48,000,000 Americans contract this form of illness every year. Most people think they have the "stomach flu" or a "24 hour bug" when they actually have food poisoning. How do you report a problem with food? What do you do if you think you have food poisoning? First, know the symptoms of food poisoning for various pathogens: E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella. You can report your illness to the government if you think that a problem with food (such as the Northfork Bison E. coli outbreak) purchased from a store is the problem. First, call your doctor to get necessary treatment. Many foodborne illnesses can have long term health complications and this should be noted on your medical … [Read more...]

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