December 3, 2016

Don’t Eat Raw Dough for Food Safety Reasons

The FDA blog is focusing on raw dough today. The government is warning consumers that eating raw dough is risky and could give you food poisoning. While most people think that part of making cookies and cake is eating the raw dough or batter, you could get sick. Kids are especially vulnerable to serious complications from food poisoning, including kidney failure and death. The E. coli O121 outbreak linked to General Mills flour is a case in point. Flour is a raw agricultural product that can harbor pathogenic bacteria. Heat is the only thing that will kill those bacteria. A government investigation found that raw dough eaten or handled by some of those sickened was made with General Mills flour produced in their Kansas City, Missouri facility. Bacteria in a flour sample was linked to … [Read more...]

If Flour is Contaminated with E. coli Can You Still Use It?

The news about the General Mills flour E. coli O121 outbreak and the massive recall of their products has tapered off recently, with the exception of information that the FDA found E. coli O121 bacteria in an open bag of General Mills flour in the home of a patient sickened in this outbreak. The case count still stands at 38 sickened in 20 states, and the recall has not been updated. The news that bacteria that is "closely genetically related" to the outbreak strain of E. coli O121 that has made people sick is big news. That is an epidemiological link from the product to those who were sickened. But how many people have really gotten rid of the flour that was part of the recall? How many people decant their flour into another container and no longer have the bag with identifying … [Read more...]

Largest Multistate Outbreaks of 2014 #5: Clover Sprouts

An E. coli 0121 outbreak linked to raw clover sprouts sickened 19 people in 6 states in 2014 was the fifth largest outbreak of 2014. Traceback investigations found that contaminated sprouts were produced by Evergreen Fresh Sprouts of Idaho and were sold at Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwich locations, the Pita Pit, and Daanen's Deli. The case count per state was: California (1), Idaho (3), Michigan (1), Montana (2), Utah (1), and Washington (11).. Illnesses began from May 1, 2014 to May 20, 2014. Patients ranged in age from 11 years to 52 years, with a median age of 27 years. Sixty-eight percent of ill persons were female. Public health officials interviewed 16 patients; of those, seven, or 44%, were hospitalized. No one developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and no deaths were … [Read more...]

E. coli Sprout Lawsuit Will Consider Unsanitary Conditions Report

The FDA's Electronic Reading Room contains copies of the actual reports filed by food safety inspectors who recently spent six days inside the production facility at Evergreen Fresh Sprouts LLC of Moyie Springs, Idaho, the company believed by state and federal health officials to be at the center of a sandwich sprout E. coli outbreak in Seattle, Spokane and Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Jimmy John's, Pita Pit and Daanen's Deli Sprouts were the three restaurant establishments where consumers were infected with the pathogen E. coli O121 and all of those operators suspended sprouts from their menus when authorities warned the public not to eat sprouts from Evergreen Fresh Sprouts until further notice. So far, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified 17 case patients sickened … [Read more...]

CDC: E. coli O121 on Sprouts Hospitalizes 5

Clover sprouts contaminated with E. coli O121 on sandwiches from Jimmy John's and other stores have put five people in the hospital and sickened five others, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Seven of those sickened are in Washington and three are in Idaho. Health authorities are warning consumers not to eat sprouts from Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, LLC of Idaho. A recall for the sprouts has not been issued. Symptoms of E. coli poisoning, which include abdominal cramping and bloody diarrhea, usually develop within three days of exposure but can take anywhere from two to eight days. The case patients in this outbreak experienced first symptoms between May 1 and May 13. They range in age from 22 years to 45 years old. The median age is 27. Nine of them are … [Read more...]

Jimmy John’s Sproutbreak: E.coli on Sprouts Sickens 10 in WA, ID

Raw clover sprouts on Jimmy John's and other fast food sandwiches are the likely source of an E. coli outbreak that has sickened 10 people in Washington and Idaho, according to the Washington State Department of Health. Seven people have confirmed cases of E. coli O121 poisoning and three have probable cases. Five people have been hospitalized. Health officials are warning consumers not to eat raw clover sprouts from Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, LLC of Idaho. They were distributed to restaurants and grocery stores in the northwest.  “If you have these products at home, you should throw them out.,” said Washington State Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy. In Washington, the sprouts were served on sandwiches at Jimmy John's locations in King and Spokane counties and two Pita Pit locations in … [Read more...]

Farm Rich Food Recalled for E. coli Sold to Schools

The Farm Rich products recalled for E. coli O121 and linked to a multistate outbreak may have been served in schools on the east coast in the United States. So far in this investigation, only one school district, Harford in Maryland, sent a letter to parents last week stating that recalled Pizza Dippers and Mini Pizzas were served to children for lunch. The outbreak strain of the bacteria was found in a box of the Mini Pizzas from a patient's home in Texas. Now the company is saying that 300,000 pounds of the 10,000,000 recalled products were sold to schools. Public health officials are hoping that the products were cooked more thoroughly in school kitchens and tested with food thermometers; something that may not have happened when the products were cooked by the general public. The … [Read more...]

Retail List for Recalled E coli Farm Rich Products Grows Again

The USDA has released a new retail list for the Farm Rich products recalled for E. coli O121 and linked to a multistate outbreak. The products include frozen chicken quesadillas, pizza slices, mozzarella bites, Philly steaks, meatball sandwiches, and other heat treated, not fully cooked frozen mini meals and snack foods. At least 27 people are sick in 15 states, and two of the patients have developed HUS. Look carefully at this long list of stores that sold the products. Nationwide retailers include Alco and Walmart. The smaller stores and chains that sold the recalled foods are in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, … [Read more...]

Farm Rich E. coli Outbreak Issues: Label Confusion and Microwave Ovens

There are two issues that may have had an effect on the Farm Rich E. coli  0121 outbreak that has sickened 27 people in 15 states. Two patients in that outbreak have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication of STEC bacterial infections that can cause kidney failure. One  issue is label confusion; the other is microwave safety.  It's an unfortunate fact of modern life that processed foods can be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria and there is no way for the consumer to know if that processed food is safe. Consumers are the last line of defense against food poisoning. And some manufacturers try to shift the blame for foodborne illness outbreaks to improper consumer food handling. There is no excuse, legally or morally, for a manufacturer to sell a food that contains … [Read more...]

Why Are Teens Most Affected by Farm Rich E. coli O121 Outbreak?

More than 80% of the patients sickened in the Farm Rich E. coli 0121 outbreak are under the age of 21. And the median age of patients is 17. Unfortunately, two of the patients have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), the serious complication of an E. coli infection that can lead to kidney failure. The foods linked to the outbreak are microwavable frozen snacks and mini meals; the types of foods teenagers like to eat. They are easy to make, since all you have to do is pop them in the microwave and turn it on. But there's more to preparing these foods than just "nuking" them. If the products are contaminated with pathogenic bacteria, as the recalled products are, how they are handled and prepared is critical. Since manufacturers do not always produce food that is safe to eat, … [Read more...]

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