September 26, 2016

Why Are JEM Nut Butters Contaminated with Salmonella?

The Salmonella outbreak linked to JEM raw brand sprouted nut butter spreads has sickened at least 11 people in 9 states. This is not the first time nut butters have caused illness. Why are these products, which are relatively low in moisture and not usually considered a food safety risk, harboring pathogenic bacteria? According to the University of California-Davis, tree nuts can be a vehicle for foodborne pathogens. The tree nuts are too dry to support the growth of bacteria, but Salmonella and E. coli bacteria cause illness with only a few present. Tree nut handlers are supposed to consider Salmonella and STEC bacteria a major public health risk in their HACCP plans. Any raw food is a risk for bacteria, whether it's raw nuts, poultry, beef, seafood, or produce. Contamination can … [Read more...]

Rapid Response on Ohio’s Church Potluck Botulism Outbreak

The botulism outbreak at the Cross Pointe Free Will Baptist Church in Lancaster, Ohio in April 2015 was the nation's largest in 40 years. The CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) released a study on the outbreak that gives credit to early diagnoses that limited the number of deaths. One person died in this botulism outbreak; and 29 people were sickened. The last time an outbreak of 10 or more people resulted in a death in the U.S. was in 1978. An outbreak in New Mexico  at that time sickened 34 people and killed one person. It can be difficult to diagnose botulism, since the early symptoms, including difficulty swallowing, facial weakness, and drooping eyelids, can mimic a stroke. On April 21, 2015, the Fairfield Medical Center contacted with Ohio Department of Health … [Read more...]

Botulism Case in North Carolina: Be Careful with Home Canning

Home canning is becoming more popular, since more people are planting gardens, supporting locally grown produce, and the "clean food" movement gathers steam. But canning low-acid foods, such as potatoes, carrots, and meat, can be tricky. One mistake and one bite of an improperly canned food, and you could die. A woman in North Carolina contracted botulism earlier this year, according to a presentation at the Governor's Task Force on Food Safety and Defense at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center in Research Triangle Park. The North Carolina Health News broke the story. Botulism spores are produced by the Clostridium botulism bacteria. They can survive just about anything. They live in dirt, and can be on any plant harvested from any container, garden, or farm. The spores grow in … [Read more...]

After Botulism Outbreaks, CDC Issues Home Canning Tips

After two botulism outbreaks were reported in one month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has compiled some tips on home canning, the most common source of foodborne botulism. In New Mexico, two people sickened with botulism were hospitalized in Texas. In Ohio, at least 21 people who ate at a church potluck were sickened and one of them died. Botulism is caused by a nerve toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum which is found in soil and dust. Symptoms include: double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, muscle weakness, descending paralysis, difficulty breathing and shortness of breath. Death occurs when the muscles that control breathing are paralyzed. Between 1996 to 2008, 116 foodborne … [Read more...]

Home Canned Potatoes Likely Caused Ohio Church Botulism Outbreak

Public health officials in Ohio have found that potato salad made from home-canned potatoes likely caused the deadly botulism outbreak at the Cross Pointe Free Will Baptist Church potluck on April 19, 2015. As of today, there are 21 confirmed cases of botulism associated with that event. One woman died. There are also ten suspected cases where people are showing symptoms consistent with the illness. Patients have been treated with a botulism antitoxin provided by the CDC. Twelve people are still hospitalized. Improperly canned low-acid foods, such as potatoes, cheese, meat, and vegetables can harbor Clostridium botulism spores. Those spores grow in low-oxygen environments. Canned foods have very little oxygen, which is driven off during the cooking and canning process. It's … [Read more...]

Two Foodborne Botulism Outbreaks in One Month

Foodborne botulism is rare, but this month two outbreaks have been reported, one in New Mexico and one in Ohio. In New Mexico, two people were sickened and hospitalized in Texas. In Ohio, at least 19 people who ate at a church potluck were sickened and one of them died. Patients in that outbreak are being treated at the Fairfield Medical Center in Lancaster, Ohio. Health officials have not yet determined the food source for either outbreak. In Ohio, the list of possible suspects includes 20 items. Botulism is caused by a nerve toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum which is found in soil and dust. Symptoms include: double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, muscle weakness, descending paralysis, difficulty … [Read more...]

Doctor: Death Toll in Church Potluck Botulism Outbreak Could Rise

The botulism outbreak linked to a potluck dinner at Cross Pointe Free Will Baptist Church could claim more lives, according to  a doctor treating the victims at the Fairfield Medical Center in Lancaster, Ohio.  "These people are really ill, and the care is supportive," Dr. Andrew Murry told the Eagle-Gazette. Health officials are still trying to determine the food source of the outbreak which has killed one person and sickened at least 18 others. So far, the list of possible suspects includes 20 items. Botulism is caused by a nerve toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum which is found in soil and dust. Symptoms include: double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, muscle weakness, descending paralysis, difficulty … [Read more...]

Update on Cross Pointe Free Will Baptist Church Botulism Outbreak

Fairfield Medical Center has updated information on the botulism outbreak linked to the Cross Point Free Will Baptist Church in Lancaster, Ohio. There are 18 suspected cases, including the death of a 54-year-old woman. None of these cases have been confirmed through laboratory testing. Twenty-one more people have sought treatment at area hospitals as a precaution. All of those affected attended a potluck at the church on Sunday, April 19, 2015. About 60 people were in attendance. If you attended that event, go to an emergency room for questions and a health evaluation. The longer treatment is delayed, the more serious the resulting illness will be. The hospital made arrangements with the Centers for Discase Controla nd Prevention (CDC) to obtain botulism anti-toxin. The medicine … [Read more...]

Ohio Church Potluck Botulism Has Now Sickened 24

The outbreak of botulism linked to a potluck dinner served at the Cross Pointe Free Will Baptist Church in Lancaster, Ohio has now sickened at least 24 people. One person, a 54-year-old woman, has died, and all patients have been hospitalized. Still others are under observation. Three people are in critical condition, according to Fairfield Medical Center. The hospital has activated its Incident Command Center. More patients are being treated at other hospitals in the area. About 60 people were in attendance at the event, including some children.  Dr. Andrew Murry of Fairfield Medical Center said, "we are encouraging everyone who attended the potluck to report to the emergency room or their nearest medical facility for questions and also to seek an evaluation for further medical … [Read more...]

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