August 7, 2020

Which Foods May Be Contaminated With Listeria Monocytogenes Bacteria?

Which foods may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria? Outbreaks of listeriosis, the illness caused by this pathogen, that have been linked to these kinds of foods go back to 1985. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have put together a list of foods that people in high risk groups should avoid. While any food can be contaminated with this pathogen, the foods that are most likely to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes include deli meats, hot dogs, dairy products such as soft cheese, raw milk, and ice cream, and produce such as celery, sprouts, and cantaloupe. People who are at high risk for serious complications from a Listeria monocytogenes food poisoning infection should think about avoiding these foods unless they are cooked to 165°F. Those at … [Read more...]

History of Outbreaks Linked to Precut Melon is Long

The Salmonella Tailor Cut precut melon outbreak is still going on, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At least 96 people in 11 states are sick, as of the last update almost a month ago. Twenty-seven people have been hospitalized because they are so sick, and some recalls have been issued. How many multistate food poisoning outbreaks have been linked to precut melon? After all, not many people associate fresh fruit with food poisoning. Unfortunately, the list is long. Fruit can be contaminated with pathogens in many ways, including during the growing season, during harvest, and during processing. These are the most recent food poisoning outbreaks linked to precut melon: Salmonella Javiana outbreak linked to Tailor Cut Melon. This outbreak has … [Read more...]

Minnesota Resident Sickened in Possible Tailor Cut Produce Salmonella Outbreak

A Minnesota resident sickened in a possible Tailor Cut Produce Salmonella Javiana outbreak joins at least 10 other ill people who live in Pennsylvania, according to an outbreak update from the FDA. The person from Minnesota apparently got sick in New York, one of the states that received the recalled Tailor Cut Produce along with facilities in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicates that the fruit mix from Tailor Cut Product of North Brunswick, New Jersey is a potential source of this outbreak. The FDA has started an inspection at the Tailor Cut Produce facility and is collecting records to start a traceback investigation. The Tailor Cut fruit mix, called Fruit Luau, was distributed to nursing homes, schools, hospitals, and other … [Read more...]

History of Melon Outbreaks Is Long and Deadly

The Salmonella Carrau outbreak just announced by the CDC that is linked to precut melons produced by Caito Foods has sickened at least 93 people. This is not the first time that melons have caused food poisoning outbreaks in the United States. In fact, the history of melon outbreaks is long. Since 1985, there have been 1,520 illnesses, 297 hospitalizations, and 36 deaths linked to contaminated melon. Most of these outbreaks were linked to cantaloupes. One of the big problems with contamination on ready-to-eat foods is that there is no "kill step" before the food is eaten. That means the consumer does not heat the product, which would destroy pathogens. There is zero tolerance for Listeria monocytogenes contamination on ready-to-eat foods, but no such law exists for … [Read more...]

Steam Makes Melons Safer

After the huge and deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to Jensen Farms cantaloupes in 2011, scientists and researchers have been trying to find ways to make this product safer. The heavily webbed surface of melons is perfect for bacteria to hide and thrive. In that outbreak linked to melons, 147 people in 28 states were sickened, including seven pregnant women. One woman suffered a miscarriage, and three infants were born with listeriosis. In total, 33 deaths from outbreak-associated listeriosis in this outbreak were reported to the CDC.  The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment isolated Listeria monocytogenes bacteria from cantaloupe samples collected from grocery stores and from ill persons' homes. And the FDA isolated Listeria monocytogenes outbreak … [Read more...]

Farm to Fork Project Looks at Pathogen Transfer on Surfaces

A new study focusing on contact surface transfer of pathogens is halfway through its two year timeline. The research is being conducted at Virginia Tech. Dr. Laura Strawn, a produce safety Extension Specialist at that University is leading the project, along with Dr. Ben Chapman at NCSU and Dr. Michelle Danyluk at the University of Florida in Lake Alfred. The project is being funded by the Center for Produce Safety. Their research is looking at potential pathogen contamination of cantaloupe in the food chain. The study is focusing on Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes transfer. Back in 2011, a huge Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to Jensen Farms cantaloupe sickened 147 people and killed 30 in 28 states. Seven pregnant women were sickened in that outbreak. One woman … [Read more...]

Cantaloupe Farmers Pay Fraction of Restitution for Listeria Outbreak

The brothers who owned the Colorado cantaloupe farm linked to the 2011 Listeria monocytogenes outbreak that sickened 147 people, killed 35, and caused one miscarriage have paid a fraction of the restitution they were initially ordered to pay. Eric and Ryan Jensen, both of Holly Colorado, pleaded guilty in October 2013 to introducing cantaloupe contaminated with Listeria to the marketplace and were ordered to pay $300,000 in restitution to victims who lost money because of the outbreak. Those who lost money in connection with the outbreak on medical bills, attorneys fees or funeral expenses and were seeking restitution were to have submitted an account to the court by a deadline last week. Only three people did. Their statements, for $7,624, $4,644 and $916, totaled $13,184. Many of the … [Read more...]

Cantaloupe Recalled for Possible Listeria, Again

Heeren Brothers Produce in Grand Rapids, Michigan is recalling 5,400 Athena cantaloupes that were obtained from an unidentified supplier and distributed to local independent grocers for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Routine sampling by the FDA found the pathogenic bacteria. There have been no reports of illness to date connected with the consumption of the fruit. The cantaloupes were distributed between July 23 and July 26, 2013 according to The Packer. Heeren Brothers Produce issued a recall statement today. The cantaloupes do not have identifying stickers. The company announcement says, "after receiving notice from the FDA, Heeren Brothers Produce immediately alerted retailers and requested that they remove the produce from their shelves." If you have purchased … [Read more...]

After Listeria Outbreak, CA Cantaloupe Growers Began Mandatory Food Safety Program

The cantaloupe that caused the deadly Listeria outbreak of 2011, wasn't grown in California, but that outbreak prompted California growers to develop a mandatory food safety program that was in effect during this year's growing season.  Although California produces 75 percent of all cantaloupes sold in the U.S., there has never been a foodborne illness outbreak associated cantaloupe grown in California, and the growers there want consumers to know that they are trying hared to keep it that way. “Beginning this year, California cantaloupe farmers and shippers of all sizes will be operating under the only mandatory food safety program that requires government audits of all cantaloupe production activities,” said Steve Patricio, a California melon producer and chairman of the California … [Read more...]

FDA Assesses Causes of 2012 Salmonella Outbreak

The FDA has released an assessment factors that potentially contributed to the 2012 cantaloupe Salmonella outbreak linked to Chamberlain Farms in Indiana. The outbreak, which was announced in August, sickened 261 people in 24 states. Ninety four people were hospitalized, three of them died. Two stains of Salmonella were involved in the outbreak. A total of 228 people were sickened by Salmonella Typhimurium, and 33 were sickened by Salmonella Newport. The FDA took environmental samples of soil, wild animal excreta, well water, pooling water on field perimeters, drainage ditch water, and cantaloupe. Salmonella was found in soil samples taken form all four growing areas, in the packing house and on equipment. To see details of the FDA’s findings click here. Based on the findings … [Read more...]

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