September 20, 2020

Four Americans Are Dead After Ingesting Methanol Hand Sanitizers

According to the Centers for Disease Control and PRevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for the week of August 5, 2020, four Americans are dead after ingesting methanol hand sanitizers. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers should only contain ethanol or isopropanol, but recently, some of them have been found to contain methanol. Methanol, or wood alcohol, is toxic when absorbed through the skin and can kill if ingested. Children can accidentally consume this product, and some adults use ethanol or isopropanol for substitutes for alcohol. Many recalls of these products have been issued in the past few months. Food Poisoning Bulletin has been reporting about this issue. From May 1 through June 30, 2020, 15 cases of methanol poisoning were reported in Arizona and New Mexico … [Read more...]

Hurricane Season Is Here: Be Prepared During the Pandemic

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is offering tips on how to stay safe during the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. CPSC Acting Chairman Robert Adler said in a statement, "Powerful storms and hurricanes are likely to affect millions of Americans who are already dealing with the stress that comes with a pandemic. That is why we urge everyone now more than ever, to be informed, be prepared and be safe." The hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through November. There are things you can do before the storm. Keep freezers full, since that helps the appliance keep food at a safe temperature longer. Keep water on hand too; each person in your household should have one gallon of clean water per day. If you must evacuate to a shelter, … [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...]

FDA Addresses Issue of China Coronavirus and Imported Products

On our Facebook page recently, one person asked if anyone should be concerned about the safety of products arriving from China as the coronavirus outbreak continues. The virus has been named COVID-19, as it is a virus causing coronavirus disease that was first identified in 2019. Is there a danger regarding coronavirus and imported products? The FDA is working to surveil the medical product supply chain and is using enforcement tools to oversee the safety and quality of FDA-regulated products. The FDA isn't able to conduct inspections in China now, as the U.S. State Department's Travel Advisory is not to travel to China because of the outbreak. Here's the takeaway line: "Fortunately, currently, we are not seeing the impacts of this outbreak resulting in an increased public health … [Read more...]

Study Looks at Hepatitis E Contamination in Pigs

A new study published in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Emerging Infectious Diseases looks at the prevalence of hepatitis E contamination in pigs used for food in the United States. The hepatitis E virus RNA was found in 6.3% of serum samples from market-weight pigs at 25 slaughterhouses in 10 states. The blood of these pigs may contaminate the pork supply chains in this country, according to the study. Hepatitis E does not get a lot of attention in the U.S., certainly not in comparison to hepatitis A. It is a self-limiting disease that doesn't cause chronic infection. It is usually associated with contaminated water supply in countries that have poor sanitation practices. There is no vaccine against this virus. Symptoms of hepatitis E are similar to hepatitis A … [Read more...]

Check Out These Game Day Food Safety Tips From the CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is offering game day food safety tips to keep your football watching and Super Bowl parties safe for family and friends. If you are offering a buffet of foods to guests, these rules are even more important. First, always wash your hands before preparing food. In addition, wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and countertops. Clean fruits and vegetables under running water before cutting into them so bacteria on the peel doesn't get onto the flesh. Make sure that all meats, poultry, and egg dishes are cooked to safe final internal temperatures. All chicken products should be cooked to 165°F. Egg dishes and ground meats (except for ground chicken and turkey, which should be cooked to 165°F) should reach 160°F. And always use a … [Read more...]

Mystery Deadly Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreak Ends With 24 Sick

The mystery deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak that sickened 24 people in 13 states and caused two deaths has been declared over by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with no resolution. The outbreak notice states, "A specific food item, grocery store, food processor, or restaurant chain was not identified as the source of infections in the United States." People who were sickened in this outbreak were sickened by a strain of Listeria bacteria that was closely related genetically to Listeria that made people sick in a Canadian outbreak. That Canadian outbreak was linked to recalled Rosemount frozen cooked chicken. The Listeria outbreak in Canada was deemed over on November 6, 2019. The case count by state is: California (4), Florida (1), Iowa (1), Illinois (4), … [Read more...]

Pig Ear Dog Treats Salmonella Outbreak Ends With 154 Sick

The pig ear dog treats Salmonella outbreak has ended with 154 sick in 34 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Both the CDC and FDA have dropped their warning for consumers to avoid buying or feeding any pig ear pet treats, except for those that are already recalled. The case count by state is: Alabama (1), Arizona (1), California (2), Colorado (3), Connecticut (1), Florida (3), Georgia (3), Hawaii (1), Illinois (10), Indiana (5), Iowa (24), Kansas (3), Kentucky (8), Louisiana (1), Maine (1), Maryland (1), Massachusetts (4), Michigan (17), Minnesota (1), Missouri (7), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (3), New York (16), North Carolina (2), North Dakota (1), Ohio (12), Oregon (3), Pennsylvania (8), South Carolina (2), Texas (2), Utah (1), Virginia … [Read more...]

Whole Genome Sequencing Solves Cake Mix Salmonella Outbreak

For the first time, whole genome sequencing solved a Salmonella outbreak associated with cake mix, according to a study published in the Center For Disease Control and Prevention's Weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report. This cake mix Salmonella outbreak was associated with Duncan Hines products. This outbreak was unusual because the Centers for Disease Control stated, "There was not enough epidemiologic and traceback information available to determine if ill people in this outbreak were linked to contaminated cake mix produced by Duncan Hines," even though a Salmonella Agbeni isolate was found in an unopened box of Duncan Hines white cake mix. The outbreak was first identified when two patients living in Oregon were diagnosed with Salmonella infections in August 2018. Both … [Read more...]

Cyclospora Has Sickened 1696 People As Of August 28, 2019 in the U.S.

Domestically acquired cases of cyclospora have sickened 1,696 people in 33 states, the District of Columbia, and New York City as of August 28, 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Some of these illnesses are linked to fresh imported basil and some restaurants and events throughout the country. But many of the individual cases could not be linked to a specific outbreak, in part because of the lack of validated molecular typing tools for the Cyclospora parasite. Identified cyclosporiasis outbreaks in the summer of 2019 include: An outbreak linked to fresh basil imported by Siga Logistics from Mexico, which has sickened at least 205 people in 11 states. That outbreak was last updated on August 15, 2019. An outbreak associated with three … [Read more...]

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