December 7, 2021

FDA Releases Cyclospora Prevention Response and Research Action Plan

The FDA has released its Cyclospora Prevention Response and Action Plan, developed after 6,000 Americans were sickened with cyclosporiasis in the last three years. Cyclosporiasis is caused by the microscopic parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis. The number of reported cases has been rising in this country over the past few years, due in part to better diagnostic testing methods.These outbreaks are always linked to fresh produce that the consumer does not heat or cook before serving, so the parasite survives from farm to table. These outbreaks typically occur in the spring and summer months, from May through August. In 2020, a Cyclospora outbreak linked to Fresh Express bagged salads sickened more than 700 people in 14 states. In 2019, there were six outbreaks: An outbreak that was … [Read more...]

Public Health Alert For Listeria in Little Hatch’s Ready to Eat Foods

A public health alert for Listeria in Little Hatch's ready to eat foods has been issued by the FDA. The FDA is advising consumers not to purchase or eat Little Hatch's ready to eat Jalapeño Cream Cheese, Queso, Spicy Queso, Roasted Chili Salsa Medium, and Roasted Chili Salsa Hot because they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. Those products were sold in 13.5 ounce or 14 ounce containers. The FDA confirmed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in 23 of 149 samples taken from processing, packaging, and storage areas at the manufacturing facility, including various food-contact surfaces. The alert is being issued because the agency is concerned with the firm's ongoing Listeria monocytogenes contamination. The bacteria can become established in a facility and and … [Read more...]

Cooked Shrimp Salmonella Weltevreden Outbreak Sickens at Least Six

According to the FDA's Core Outbreak Investigation Table, the latest outbreak is a cooked shrimp Salmonella Weltevreden outbreak that has sickened at least six people. We do not know where the ill persons live, their ages, or if anyone has been hospitalized. We do know that the most recent illness occurred in late April 2021. Pre-cooked shrimp, of unknown origin, has become the focus of the FDA investigation. The government thinks that the product lots that are linked to these illnesses are past their shelf life and are no longer available for sale. The outbreak table does not state if the shrimp was sold frozen or not. And the FDA did not supply the brand name, the company that produced the shrimp, the dates the shrimp was for sale, or the lot numbers. If the shrimp was sold … [Read more...]

Thomson Red Onion Salmonella Outbreak Investigation Report

The FDA has released an investigation report into the Thomson red onion Salmonella outbreak that took place n the summer and fall of 2020. the report details the factors that may have contributed to the contamination of the onions. At least 1,127 American and 515 people in Canada were sickened in this outbreak, which was the largest Salmonella outbreak in more than ten years. The outbreak was also unusual because red onions had not been associated with a foodborne illness outbreak before. The outbreak strain of Salmonella Newport was not identified in any of the nearly 2,000 subsamples tested, but 11 subsamples, which included ten water and 1 sediment, that were collected near the growing fields identified in traceback were positive for Salmonella Newport. A conclusive root cause … [Read more...]

FDA Releases Info about 2020 Wawona Peach Salmonella Outbreak

The FDA has released information about its investigation into the 2020 Wawona peach Salmonella outbreak. Again, it seems that adjacent land use for animals, just like the conclusion about the deadly E. coli romaine outbreaks of 2018, may have been a contributing factor. That outbreak sickened at least 101 people in 17 states, and 28 people were hospitalized because they were so sick. This was the first time a Salmonella outbreak was linked to fresh peaches in this country. Epidemiological and traceback investigation determined that peaches packed by or supplied by a large grower/producer, Wawona, were the likely source of this outbreak. As a result of traceback, the FDA investigated peach packing/holding operations and peach orchards in Cutler, Kerman, and Sanger, California. … [Read more...]

Supplement Company Owner Pleads Guilty to Selling Steroid-Like Drugs

A New Jersey supplement company owner pleads guilty to introducing an unapproved new drug into interstate commerce "with the intent to defraud and mislead the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and consumers," according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.  The owner is Nicholas Andrew Puccio. The government alleges that from 2016 to 2020, Puccio marketed drugs as dietary supplements to the bodybuilding and fitness community. The supplements allegedly included a product labeled as containing ostarine, a type of synthetic steroid known as a Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator (SARM). Dietary supplements cannot contain unapproved drugs or they are considered unapproved new drugs by the FDA. The FDA has long warned against the use of SARMs, stating that they … [Read more...]

FDA Releases Results of Romaine Lettuce Sampling Assignment

The FDA has released results of their romaine lettuce sampling assignment, which was instituted after years of Shiga toxin-producing E coli (STEC) outbreaks linked to that product. The FDA did not detect any pathogens during the assignment. Unfortunately, this is not unusual and doesn't mean that there will not be any more outbreaks linked to romaine or leafy greens. Contamination can be spotty and can vary with weather conditions and the presence of animals in the field. Furthermore, it's impossible to sample every leaf of romaine lettuce. E. coli bacteria tend to clump in small amounts and can be difficult to detect. It only takes 10 of these bacteria to make someone sick. And one head of contaminated lettuce can contaminate many bags of prepared lettuce. In fact, the study … [Read more...]

Why Were Red Onions Contaminated with Salmonella? FDA May Know

In the 2020 Salmonella Newport outbreak linked to red onions, more than 1600 people were sickened in the U.S. and Canada, with 1,127 sickened in the United States alone. Red onions from Thomson International were the likely source of this outbreak, although the government could not identify a conclusive root source of the contamination. Why were red onions contaminated with Salmonella? This was the largest Salmonella outbreak in over a decade in the United States. The FDA has released a report which may supply some answers about why this outbreak happened So why were red onions contaminated with Salmonella bacteria? There were several potential contributing factors that may have caused the contamination. They include potentially contaminated source of irrigation water; sheep … [Read more...]

FDA Starts Sampling Salinas Valley Lettuce For E. coli Contamination

The FDA has started sampling Salinas Valley lettuce for Shiga toxin-producing E. coli and Salmonella species as part of online surveillance efforts following recurrent outbreaks linked to the products grown in this region. E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks linked to these products, more specifically romaine lettuce, have occurred in 2020, 2019, and 2018. Romaine lettuce is uniquely susceptible to contamination because of the way it grows. The lettuce grows in a cup shape very close to the ground. That shape can collect and hold irrigation water, which can be contaminated with pathogens, especially if the farm field is located near factory cattle farms. There is a recurring strain of E. coli O157:H7 in the region that has been identified in leafy greens year after year. In this new … [Read more...]

FDA Releases Report on Deli Food Poisoning Risk Factors

The FDA has released a new report on deli food poisoning risk factors. This study is part of a 10-year initiative that looks at risk factors in retail settings, which include employee practices, personal hygiene, and food safety practices such as improper handwashing. Some deli foods, such as soft cheeses and sliced meats,  are considered high risk for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination, due to the difficulty of cleaning some equipment and the intrinsic makeup of these foods. The study highlights the importance of having a well-developed Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS) and employing Certified Food Protection Managers, since delis with these procedures and employees are more likely to properly control foodborne illness risk factors. A well-developed FSMS was the … [Read more...]

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