July 19, 2019

History of Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreaks Linked to Meat and Cheese

The deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to deli sliced meats and cheeses has sickened 8 people in 8 states. One person who lived in Michigan has died. All eight patients were hospitalized. These outbreaks are tragic. What is the history of Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks linked to meats and cheeses? In the current outbreak, patients purchased deli sliced meats and cheeses in unnamed stores. The CDC outbreak notice did state that investigators found the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes in samples from meat sliced at "a deli" and from deli counters in multiple retail locations in New York and Rhode Island. Patients sickened in this outbreak live in Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. This outbreak demonstrates why public health officials tell those … [Read more...]

Protect Yourself Against Listeria Outbreak Linked to Deli Meat Cheese

A deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to unnamed deli meats and cheeses has sickened at least eight people in four states. All eight people were hospitalized. And, sadly, one person in Michigan died. Can you protect yourself and your family against this illness? This pathogen does not cause many outbreaks in the U.S., since it sickens about 2,600 people every year. Compared to Salmonella, which sickens 1,200,000 people every year in this country, it may seem like this pathogen isn't as dangerous. But that perception is wrong. Listeria monocytogenes causes serious illness and death in this country every year.  In fact, Listeria infections are the third leading cause of death from food poisoning in the U.S. One of the issues with this pathogen is that the population … [Read more...]

Why Are Deli Sliced Products Vulnerable to Listeria Monocytogenes?

The deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to deli sliced meats and cheeses that was announced yesterday by the CDC has sickened eight people and one Michigan resident has died. For years, Food Poisoning Bulletin has told you about dozens of recalls of deli items for possible Listeria contamination. Why are these deli sliced products vulnerable to Listeria? Listeria monocytogenes is a very persistent and strong pathogen. It is found in the air, water, soil, animals, and plant material. Once it has been introduced into a facility, especially a moist and cool environment, it can become established and be very difficult to get rid of. The pathogen can hide in floor cracks, grease traps, air vents, in machines and surfaces that are difficult to clean, on food preparation … [Read more...]

Deadly Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreak Linked to Deli Meats and Cheeses

A deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to deli sliced meats and cheeses has just been announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Eight people are sick in four states; one person who lived in Michigan has died. All eight patients have been hospitalized because their illnesses are so serious. The patient case count by state is: Michigan (2), New Jersey (1), New York (2), and Pennsylvania (3). Illness onset dates range from November 13, 2016 to March 4, 2019. The patient age range is from 40 to 88 years. It's unusual that illnesses that occurred more than 2 years ago are only now being announced in an outbreak, but this has happened before in Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks; most notably in the Blue Bell ice cream outbreak. Investigators use … [Read more...]

Is There Wood in Your Parmesan Cheese?

A cheese manufacturer went bankrupt and was charged in criminal court for food labeling violations over the manufacturing of Parmesan cheese. Almost three years ago, the FDA sent a warning letter to Castle Cheese in Pennsylvania, telling them that their products are adulterated because their Parmesan cheese doesn't actually contain Parmesan cheese. In addition, the facility was adding cellulose, or wood pulp (this was the sensational news headline part) to extend the cheese. Parmesan cheese is strictly regulated by its official definition. Parmesan cheese should be made from Parmesan cheese. That sounds logical, but some manufacturers substitute a less expensive cheese, and add filler to reduce their costs even more. Cellulose is technically wood, but it won't hurt you and is used in … [Read more...]

Most Campylobacter Outbreaks Caused by Dairy or Chicken

Most Campylobacter outbreaks are caused by contaminated chicken or dairy products, according to a new federal study by the Food Safety Analytics Collaboration of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The study was conducted to provide information that can be used to develop better food poisoning prevention measures. Of the 952 outbreaks attributed to one pathogen during the 14-year study period, 161 were Campylobacter outbreaks. Dairy products were the source of 106, or two thirds, of all Campylobacter outbreaks.  Chicken was the source of 24 of them. Vegetable row crops, seven.  Turkey and seafood were each the source of five. Seeded vegetables, three. Beef, fruit and poultry other … [Read more...]

Kraft Recalls String Cheese Varieties for Premature Spoilage

Kraft Foods is recalling some varieties of its string cheese because it could spoil before the expiration date on the label. Both Kraft and Polly-O String cheeses products "did not meet our high standards" according to the company.  About 735,000 cases of the product were shipped across the United States. The cheeses all have "best when used by" dates of October 25, 2013 through February 11, 2014. You can see pictures of the product labels at the FDA web site. The recalled products are 16 ounce Kraft Mozzarella String Cheese, with UPC number 21000006632; .834 ounce Kraft Low Moisture Part Skim Jalapeño String 2/24 PK with UPC number 21000007264; 24 ounce Kraft Low Moisture Part Skim String Cheese with UPC number 21000017171;  12 ounce Kraft Low Moisture Part Skim String with UPC number … [Read more...]

FDA Produces Risk Assessment for Soft Cheese and Listeria

There have been many recalls and some outbreaks linked to Listeria monocytogenes bacteria contamination in soft cheeses in the U.S. and around the world. Now the FDA has produced a draft assessment of the risk of consumers contracting listeriosis from soft-ripened cheese in the United States and Canada. The purpose of the draft is to evaluate the factors that lead to Listeria contamination in cheese, such as the microbiological status of milk, cheese manufacturing steps, and conditions during distribution and storage. The Listeria bacteria causes one of the highest hospitalization and death rates among all foodborne illnesses in the U.S. The assessment states that soft cheese made from unpasteurized milk has a high risk of contamination; in fact, those cheeses made from raw milk have a … [Read more...]

In Australia, Illnesses and Death Linked to Listeria in Soft Cheeses

The Australian Department of Health has issued a press release stating that there are 18 cases of Listeria monocytogenes linked to soft cheeses. Two men, one 84 and the other 44, have died as a result of their infections, and one woman suffered a miscarriage.  Jindi manufactured cheeses, sold at delis and supermarkets in that country, have been linked to the outbreak. All soft and semi-soft cheeses products at the Jindivick plant manufactured up to and including January 6, 2013 have been recalled. Those products include Wattle Valley 110 g brie and camembert and Jindi 125 g brie and camembert with best before dates up to 2/27/13. Jindi 120 g blue brie and 120 g triple cream blue with best before dates up to 2/28/13 are recalled, along with Top Paddock and Blue Cow 1 kg brie with best … [Read more...]

Listeria Outbreak Ends After Striking 22, Killing 4

A food poisoning outbreak linked to cheese tainted with the pathogen Listeria monocytogenes has ended after sickening a total 22 people in 13 states and the District of Columbia and killing four, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The cheese, Frescolina Marte brand ricotta salata, was imported from Italy and distributed by Forever Cheese, Inc. Listeria monocytogenes is a rare and dangerous bacteria, especially to pregnant women. It has and 80 percent hospital rate and 20 percent fatality rate. Symptoms include headache, fever and muscle stiffness which are sometimes accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms. Although pregnant women may only experience mild, flu-like symptoms, it can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and birth defects. In this … [Read more...]

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