May 24, 2022

It’s Not Safe to Store Food Outside During the Cold Winter Months

So it's cold outside, and your refrigerator and freezer are packed after a shopping trip. Is it safe to store food outside during these cold winter months? Or even cool down perishable foods like cooked meats or gravy? According to experts, no. Even if you put the food on the porch or in your garage to keep it away from animals, you are taking a big risk, according to the experts at Penn State Extension. The issues are uncontrolled temperature fluctuation and possible contamination. The danger zone for bacterial growth in food is 40°F to 140°F. In this temperature range, bacterial counts can double every 20 minutes. And since it can take only ten E. coli bacteria, for instance, to make your very sick, food can become dangerous to eat very quickly. Your refrigerator should be … [Read more...]

Georgetown Outbreak Has Increased to 62 Sick Students and Residents

The Georgetown outbreak has increased to 62 sick on the Main Campus, including students and "community members." That is an increase of 20 more patients since the last update on Thursday, September 23, 2021. We don't know the official patient age range in this outbreak, but college age students are in their late teens to early or mid 20s. Staff members are included in this outbreak. Health officials have seen a "marked decrease" in case numbers over the past two days, according to the update from the administration. The university is still coordinating with DC Health to investigate the source of these illnesses. Officials have still not identified a common food source among those who have been sick, which includes students and staff living both on- and off-campus. Georgetown … [Read more...]

How Do You Know If You Have a Clostridium Perfringens Infection?

Many food poisoning outbreaks have been caused by Clostridium perfringens, a bacteria that produces a toxin as it grows. The pathogen also can produce toxins in the intestines after it is ingested. This bacteria causes almost one million cases of foodborne illness in the United States every year. How do you know if you have a Clostridium perfringens infection? The bacteria is found on raw meat and poultry, in the intestines of animals, and in the environment. C. perfringens makes spores that protect the bacteria from stomach acid and cleaning solutions. Common sources of this pathogen include poultry, gravies, meat, and foods that are cooked in large batches. The bacteria is anaerobic, which means it grows in conditions without oxygen. Large batches of food are the perfect … [Read more...]

Alaska Hospital Outbreak Was Clostridium Perfringens

The Alaska hospital outbreak was Clostridium perfringens, according to an article in the Anchorage Daily News. The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services believe that the culprit was a Cubano sandwich, and may have been the pulled pork that was used to make that sandwich. Jeremy Ayers, section manager with the Food Safety and Sanitation Program within the Division of Environmental Health at the Alaska Department of Health told the paper that many of the signs during the investigation pointed toward the Cubano sandwich. Clostridium perfringens is a pathogen that commonly causes outbreaks when meat and gravies are cooled too slowly or held at improper temperatures in the danger zone of 40°F to 140°F. The pathogen produces a toxin as it grows in these protein rich … [Read more...]

Foodborne Illness Outbreak at South Peninsula Hospital in Homer, Alaska

A foodborne illness outbreak at South Peninsula Hospital in Homer, Alaska has sickened almost 80 people, according to the Anchorage Daily News. State epidemiologists are investigating the outbreak that has sickened hospital employees. All patients developed symptoms on or around on the morning of August 7, 2021. Everyone who got sick ate food brought in as employee meals from a variety of local restaurants. Those restaurants have not yet been named. A post on the Alaska Health and Social Services Facebook page has a survey that anyone who lives in the Homer area can take to help officials solve this outbreak. No patients or hospital residents ate the food. The source of the outbreak is not known at the time. The agencies investigating the outbreak are the Alaska Department of … [Read more...]

Outbreak at Waterford Township School District in New Jersey

An outbreak at Waterford Township School District in New Jersey has closed school buildings for two weeks, according to a letter by Superintendent Dr. Brenda Haring that was sent to parents on May 10, 2021. According to the letter, employees who attended a luncheon held on May 6, 2021 that was catered by an outside vendor are sick with symptoms of food poisoning. More than 60% of the staff members got sick and are "continuing to recover." The district can't properly staff the building so they switched to an asynchronous day of instruction yesterday and continued that schedule today. The district reported the incident to the Camden County Department of Health and the Waterford Township Police Department for investigation. The pathogen that caused the illnesses is not yet known, … [Read more...]

Chipotle Mexican Grill Pays $25 Million In Criminal Charges After Outbreak

Chipotle Mexican Grill is paying a $25 million fine in criminal charges related to the company's involvement in foodborne illness outbreaks that sickened more than 1000 people between 2015 and 2018. The U.S. Department of Justice announced this news in a press release. Chipotle was charged with adulterating food in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The company agreed to a three-year deferred prosecution agreement that will let it avoid conviction if it complies with an improved food safety program. The $25 million criminal fine is the largest ever in a food safety case. Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division said in a statement, "This case highlights why it is important for restaurants and members of the food … [Read more...]

Outbreak Associated with Thai Woodinville Restaurants in Seattle, WA

A gastroenteritis outbreak is associated with Thai Woodinville restaurant in Woodinville, Washington, according to public health officials. That restaurant is located at 17610 140th Avenue NE. Three people are sick with symptoms of abdominal cramping an diarrhea. Public Health Seattle King County learned of this outbreak on January 24, 2018. Three people from a single meal party started getting sick on January 18, 2019. The symptoms and the timing of illness onset suggest a bacterial toxin may have caused the outbreak. Officials think that Bacillus Cereus or Clostridium perfringens may be involved. Public health officials have not identified the exact food or drink that caused the illness. This type of outbreak happens when large quantities of food are prepared, then not properly … [Read more...]

Bacterial Outbreak Associated With Xi’an Noodles in Seattle Sickens Three

Three people are sick after a bacterial toxin is associated with Xi'an Noodles restaurant in Seattle, Washington. None of the patients have been hospitalized. The people ate at that restaurant on December 21, 2018. King County Public Health is investigating this outbreak. The symptoms patients experienced include abdominal cramps and diarrhea. All three patients were from a single meal party. The press release states that symptoms and timing suggest that a bacterial toxin is responsible for the illnesses, such as Clostridium perfringens or Bacillus cereus. The exact food or beverage served at Xi'an Noodles that caused the illness has not yet been identified. Environmental Health investigators were at the restaurant on December 31, 2018. Earlier food safety inspections and the … [Read more...]

Clostridium Perfringens Warning As the Holidays Approach

A Clostridium perfringens outbreak sickened hundreds of people who ate at the Poplar Tent Presbyterian Church BBQ on November 1, 2018. The Cabarrus Health Alliance reported that at least 290 people had reported symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea after that event. The bacteria that caused the illness was identified as Clostridium perfringens after food samples were tested. The bacteria was fond in the Brunswick stew. Clostridium perfringens outbreaks are common around the holidays, because the bacteria grows in food prepared in quantities. When gravies or stews are not kept at a safe temperature, the bacteria easily grows. These outbreaks happen when large groups gather, such as events with catered food, nursing homes, schools, and hospitals. So how can you prevent these … [Read more...]

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