October 23, 2021

Williams Valley Family Farm Raw Milk Recalled For E. coli Contamination

Williams Valley Family Farm raw milk has been recalled because it may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria, according to the Washington state Department of Health. The dairy is located in Clayton, Washington. There is no post on the Department of Health agency's website about this recall, but an email alert has been distributed.  No reports of illness due to the consumption of this raw milk have been reported to the company or to public health officials as of October 14, 2021. The milk was shipped to retail locations in eastern and western Washington state. Public health officials will provide more distribution details when they become available. It is legal to sell raw milk at the retail level in that state. The raw milk was distributed in gallon and half-gallon containers. … [Read more...]

FDA Assesses Whole Genome Sequencing Effectiveness

The FDA has published a study on the effectiveness of the GenomeTrakr Whole Genome Sequencing Network, which is a tool the government uses to detect, investigate, and limit the spread of outbreaks that are linked to FDA-regulated foods. Despite improvements in the food safety system in this country, foodborne outbreaks are a major public health threat, sickening at least 9.4 million Americans every year, causing 56,000 hospitalizations and 1400 deaths. Illnesses caused by foods regulated by the FDA account for about 80% of the total estimated annual foodborne illnesses in this country. The FDA thinks that the program was cost effective in its second year and is generating $100 to $450 million in net annual health benefits, compared to a $22 million investment by public health … [Read more...]

It’s Petting Zoo Time! Do You Know How to Protect Your Kids?

With county and state fairs occurring around the country, especially after many closed last year because of COVID-19, parents need to know about petting zoos and the danger they can present. Since it's petting zoo time, do you know how to protect your kids? Children love small animals, and petting zoos are magnets to many of them. Many state fairs and county fairs offer these attractions. Unfortunately, these animals can harbor pathogenic bacteria that can make kids very sick. The most dangerous is E. coli bacteria, which occur naturally in the guts of ruminant animals such as cows, goats, and sheep. The animals themselves do not get sick, but they shed the bacteria in their feces, where it can contaminate the animals themselves and their environment. The CDC states that from … [Read more...]

Raw Pet Food Is a Public Health Issue Because of E. coli Contamination

A study published in Microorganisms has found that feeding pets raw pet food comes with a risk of pathogenic bacteria, including Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), which can cause serious illness in humans and is a public health issue. The study evaluated commercially available raw meat-based diets (RMBDs) in Switzerland. These foods are made of uncooked raw muscle meats, organ meats, and the meaty bones of livestock or wild animals. They are mostly from the by-products of animals that are slaughtered for human consumption. The study looked at the occurrence of STEC isolated from commercially available raw pet food in Switzerland.  In  a recent study in the U.S., Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria were identified in 4% of commercially available RMBDs. Studies demonstrating … [Read more...]

Active Food Poisoning Outbreak Investigations From FDA and USDA

What are the current active food poisoning outbreak investigations that the FDA and USDA are investigating? While there have been several outbreak investigations that have closed, there are still six open investigations on the FDA Outbreak Table, and one, possibly two, investigations on the USDA Table. On the FDA Table, there are two cyclospora outbreak investigations. Neither has any product linked to it. The first outbreak has 37 patients, an increase of two more patients since the last update 12 days ago. Traceback has been initiated, but there has been no on-site inspection, no sample collection, and no analysis. The second cyclospora outbreak has 119 patients, an increase of one patient since the last update. Traceback has begun, on-site inspection has been initiated, and … [Read more...]

When Should You Call the Doctor If You Have Food Poisoning?

We talk about food poisoning all the time on this site. We have told you about the different pathogens such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria monocytogenes, what foods they are likely to contaminate, and the symptoms of the infections those pathogens cause. But there's one question that needs to be answered: When should you call the doctor if you have food poisoning?   Of course, call your doctor if you are worried about anything pertaining to your health. But there are specific symptoms that the government says you should look for when you have food poisoning that should trigger an immediate call. First of all, there are certain groups that should always call if they contract a food poisoning infection. They include adults over the age of 65, pregnant women, parents … [Read more...]

How Does Greenhouse-grown Lettuce Get Contaminated with Pathogens?

Since mid-July, there have been two recalls for salad greens grown in greenhouses, one of them in conjunction with a multistate Salmonella outbreak. These recalls have some consumers wondering how does greenhouse-grown lettuce get contaminated with pathogens? The first recall was linked to herbs and salad greens produced by BrightFarms of Rochelle, IL. On July 15, BrightFarms issued a recall for a variety of products packaged in clamshell containers and sold at grocery stores in five states. On July 22, health officials identified BrightFarms salad greens and herbs as the source of a Salmonella outbreak that has sickened 11 people in Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin.  In recent years, consumers have learned from a string of E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks that neighboring livestock farms can … [Read more...]

Three New Outbreaks on FDA Table: Cyclospora, E. coli, and Salmonella

Three new outbreaks were announced on the FDA Table of Outbreak Investigations: One was caused by Cyclospora, the second by E. coli O121, and the third by Salmonella Typhimurium. UPDATE: One of these outbreaks, the Salmonella outbreak, has a suspect food attached to it. In the cyclospora outbreak, at least 32 people are sick. The notice states that this number represents a subset of the total number of domestically-acquired cases of cyclosporiasis illnesses in the U.S. Traceback has been initiated, and sample analysis and testing has taken place. This is encouraging, because the FDA may know what has caused this outbreak. Stay tuned, since a recall or outbreak investigation notice may be issued soon. In the E. coli O121 outbreak, at least 15 ill persons have been identified. No … [Read more...]

Artificial Sweeteners May Increase Pathogen Damage in the Gut

A study published in the International Journal of Molecular Science looked at the effect of artificial sweeteners on gut bacterial pathogenicity. They found that artificial sweeteners may increase damage in the gut, by increasing the ability of bacteria to form a biofilm and the ability of the bacteria to adhere to, invade, and kill the host epithelium, which is the lining of the gut. Researchers demonstrated that saccharin, sucralose, and aspartame all promote pathogenic changes in two model gut bacteria, E. coli and E. faecalis, which could "worsen the effect of consuming artificial sweetener in the diet on gut health." This is important because bacteria growing in biofilms are less sensitive to antimicrobial resistance treatment and are more likely to express virulence factors … [Read more...]

Long Term Effects of Food Poisoning Illnesses Can Be Significant

Food Poisoning Bulletin reports about food poisoning outbreaks all the time. We do warn that many pathogens can not only make you sick in the short term, but can cause significant problems for months or years to come. The long term effects of food poisoning illnesses can be significant. While any bout of food poisoning can be uncomfortable and distressing, most people recover from these infections without medical attention. But for some pathogens, and for some people, permeant disability and chronic disease can be the end result, even after what seems like full recovery. One of the conditions that can be caused by Salmonella or Campylobacter infections is reactive arthritis. This is a type of joint inflammation that develops within a few weeks of recovery. This condition, which … [Read more...]

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