June 21, 2024

What Are the Current Food Poisoning Outbreaks?

What are the current food poisoning outbreaks? The FDA CORE Outbreak Investigation Table says that there are four outbreaks being investigated; two Salmonella outbreaks, one hepatitis A outbreak, and a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak. Only two have foods attached to them. And then there is another Listeria monocytogenes outbreak that was announced by the FDA in a recall notice that is not on the chart. The Salmonella infantis outbreak linked to raw flour has sickened at least 12 people in 11 states. Three people have been hospitalized because they are so sick. The case count by state is: California (1), Illinois (2), Iowa (1), Minnesota (1), Missouri (1), Nebraska (1), New York (1), Ohio (1), Oregon (1), Tennessee (1), and Virginia (1).  No specific brand of flour has been linked to … [Read more...]

What is the History of Outbreaks Linked to Flour?

With the newest identified outbreak on the FDA CORE Outbreak Investigation Table a Salmonella Infantis outbreak linked to flour, the question arises: What is the history of outbreaks linked to flour? Because flour is dry and seems so inert, many people assume that it could not harbor pathogens. But flour is a raw agricultural product, and can be contaminated in the field by birds and animals, during harvest, during transportation, and during processing. Many pathogens can survive with very little water. And no "kill step," that is, heating the grain to a temperature high enough to destroys pathogens, is used when flour is processed. That's why food safety experts warn consumers to be careful handling flour, and to avoid eating raw cookie dough and cake batter made with untreated … [Read more...]

Consumer Reports Lists 10 Risky Recalled Foods From 2017-2022

Consumer Reports lists 10 risky recalled foods from 2017 to 2022 that you should know about. These foods were recalled because of bacterial contamination and many were linked to foodborne illness outbreaks. The 10 risky recalled foods that are listed in rank order include: Leafy Greens. These types of vegetables were linked to 50 outbreaks and recalls. There were 614 illnesses and 11 deaths as a result of E. coli and Listeria monocytogenes bacterial contamination on these products, including the deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to Fresh Express packaged salads that sickened and hospitalized 10 people in 10 states, and the Wendy's E. coli romaine outbreak that sickened at least 109 people in six states. Contaminated water used to irritate crops is one source of these … [Read more...]

Flour Linked to Salmonella Infantis Outbreak Sickens 12

Flour linked to Salmonella Infantis outbreak has sickened at least 12 people in 11 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A specific brand of flour has not yet been identified, but this is a good opportunity to remind everyone that you should not eat any dough or batter that is made with uncooked flour. The case count by state is: California (1), Illinois (2), Iowa (1), Minnesota (1), Missouri (1), Nebraska (1), New York (1), Ohio (1), Oregon (1), Tennessee (1), and Virginia (1). Illness onset dates range from December 6, 2022 to February 13, 2023. The patient age range is from 12 to 81 years. Of 12 people who gave information to investigators, three have been hospitalized, for a hospitalization rate of 25%, which is higher than the typical 20% … [Read more...]

Safer Food Choices For Those at Risk For Food Poisoning

Every month there is at least one food recall about a potentially dangerous food in the United States. These recalls are for foods that may be contaminated with E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, cyclospora, and Campylobacter. Unfortunately, some foods are inherently risky because of the way they are grown or prepared. While the general public certainly is at risk for illness from these foods, there are some people who can become seriously ill if they are infected. There are safer food choices for anyone who is at high risk for food poisoning complications. People at higher risk for serious complications from food poisoning include the very young, the elderly, pregnant women, people with chronic health problems such as diabetes, and anyone with a compromised immune system. … [Read more...]

Holiday Reminder: Raw Dough Can Contain Dangerous Pathogens

It's time for the annual holiday reminder: raw dough can contain dangerous pathogens. While most people know that eating raw eggs is risky, fewer know that uncooked flour is also a potential hazard. The FDA has been warning consumers about the potential dangers of raw eggs for decades. Eggs can carry Salmonella bacteria not only on the shell, but inside the egg itself. Hens can carry the pathogen in their ovaries, so the eggs are then contaminated from the inside out. Always handle raw eggs as if they are contaminated. Cook them thoroughly, and avoid recipes that use raw eggs. Eggs that are pasteurized are safe to eat raw, as long as you follow expiration dates. There have been outbreaks linked to raw, or uncooked flour, in the past few years. Flour is a raw agricultural product … [Read more...]

More Consumer Education Needed About Consumption of Raw Flour

More consumer education is needed about the consumption of raw flour, according to a new study published in the Journal of Food Protection. Several outbreaks in the past few years have been linked to raw flour, including an E. coli outbreak linked to an unnamed brand of cake mix last year that sickened at least 16 people in 12 states, and an E. coli O26 outbreak in 2019 linked to ADM Milling flour that sickened at least 21 people in nine states. The study states that the consumption of raw flour is a public health risk. The FDA collected data on perceptions about uncooked flour in the fall of 2019, and on self-reported consumption behaviors, through its Food Safety and Nutrition Survey. The results showed that 35% of consumers said they tasted or ate something with uncooked, or … [Read more...]

Yearly Reminder: Don’t Eat Raw Cookie Dough or Cake Batter!

The holiday baking season has begun, and it's time for the yearly reminder: don't eat raw cookie dough or cake batter! There are two specific ingredients in those recipes that can make you very sick: raw flour and raw eggs. The only way to destroy those pathogens is with heat. Pathogens such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria monocytogenes are destroyed when they are heated to 160°F. While it may seem counterintuitive that a dry product such as flour can contain pathogens, flour is a raw agricultural product. It can be contaminated in the field, during harvest, or transport, or during processing just like leafy greens or other produce. There have been many recalls of flour for pathogen contamination, and several serious multistate outbreaks linked to that product. E. coli … [Read more...]

Do You Know Food Safety Rules For Baking in the Kitchen?

Do you know food safety rules for baking in the kitchen? You may know to handle eggs carefully and to bake cookie doughs and cake batters before eating them, but do you know why? With a new E. coli outbreak linked to cake mix, these rules are more important than ever. Many people know that raw eggs can contain pathogenic bacteria, and think that's why food safety experts say not to eat raw cookie dough and cake batter. But eggs are not the only safety issue when baking. As improbable as it seems, flour is a raw agricultural product and not only can it be contaminated with pathogens, it has caused several multistate food poisoning outbreaks in the past few years. All-purpose, cake flour, and bread flour are made from wheat, which is grown in fields. And like all foods grown … [Read more...]

Cake Mix E. coli Outbreak Sickens 16 in Twelve States; One HUS Case

A cake mix E. coli outbreak has been announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sixteen people in twelve states are sick. Seven people have been hospitalized. The patient case count by state is: Illinois (2), Indiana (1), Iowa (2), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (1), Nebraska (2), Ohio (2), Oregon (1), South Carolina (1), Utah (1), Virginia (1), and Washington (1). The patient age range is from 2 t0 73 years, with a median age of 13. The age range for outbreaks linked to baking ingredients usually skews young; 75% of children in this outbreak are under the age of 18. The hospitalization rate is 44%. That is high for an E. coli outbreak, which is usually around 20%. And one person has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. The … [Read more...]

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