February 15, 2019

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...]

Potatoes and Food Poisoning Outbreaks: Botulism and Listeria Monocytogenes

Potatoes aren't often thought of when people think about food poisoning. This root vegetable is, after all, always cooked before it's eaten, which would kill off any pathogenic bacteria. But this vegetable grows in soil and can be contaminated at any point along the supply chain. But there have been some outbreaks linked to potatoes. Clostridium botulinum outbreaks have been linked to baked potatoes that are wrapped in aluminum foil. The spores that produce this deadly toxin are found in the soil, and they can contaminate the spuds. The spores can sometimes survive the baking process. If the potatoes are baked while tightly wrapped in aluminum foil, that creates an anaerobic (oxygen-free) environment. And that creates the perfect conditions for botulism spores to germinate, grow, … [Read more...]

Google FINDER Search May Pinpoint Restaurants Associated with Food Poisoning Outbreaks

Google and Harvard University have developed a new method for identifying restaurants that may be the source of food poisoning outbreaks much more quickly than traditional methods. The method is called FINDER (Foodborne IllNess DEtector in Real time), which uses web search and location data. Most food poisoning outbreaks are linked to restaurants and delis. Traditionally, foodborne illness outbreaks are investigated after people go to the doctor when they are sick. Officials then interview those patients to see if there is a common denominator in what they ate or where they ate before they got sick. Or officials are alerted to a potential outbreak through PulseNet, which is an aggregate of bacterial DNA taken from ill persons and categorized. What is FINDER? FINDER is actually … [Read more...]

Who is at High Risk for Complications From Food Poisoning?

Every week Food Poisoning Bulletin tells you about outbreaks that have sickened, hospitalized, or even killed dozens and hundreds of people. The ironic thing about these outbreaks is that a good number of sick persons never see a doctor. Unless something goes seriously wrong. So who is at higher risk for developing serious complications from food poisoning? Every year, about 1 in 6 Americans, or 48,000,000 people, contract some type of food poisoning infection. More than 120,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 people die. Those who are more likely to get a foodborne illness in the first place are children under the age of 5, adults over the age of 65, anyone who has a chronic illness such as cancer or diabetes, and pregnant women. That's why we stress that it is so important to … [Read more...]

CDC Surveillance Report Reveals Outbreak Numbers, But Not Consequences of Foodborne Illness

The CDC Surveillance Report for Foodborne Disease Outbreaks from 2009 - 2005 was released in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report today. The numbers show that food poisoning outbreaks remain a serious health problem in this country, causing millions of illnesses every year. But what the raw numbers don't reveal is how these largely preventable illnesses wreak havoc on individual lives and families. During the time frame of the report, the CDC's Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System received reports of 5,760 outbreaks that caused more than 100,000 illnesses, more than 5500 hospitalizations, and 145 deaths. These outbreak illnesses are a small fraction of the actual number of food poisoning cases that occur every year. The government estimates that 48,000,000 … [Read more...]

Multiple Grocery Stores Update Secondary Listeria Monocytogenes Recalls for Produce

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration reports that several grocery stores that issued secondary recalls of produce products last week have either updated or revised their lists of the items subject to recall. These recalls were prompted by the large-scale recall by Salinas, CA-based Mann’s Packing of thousands of pounds of minimally processed vegetables they distributed across the United States and Canada. This original recall was announced after the Canadian Inspection Service revealed it had found a single positive result of Listeria monocytogenes contamination during a random sampling of Mann Packing’s Produce. Listeria is a very serious variety of food poisoning that is particularly dangerous to pregnant women and their unborn children – it can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, or … [Read more...]

Ready. Chef. Go! Seafood Meal Bags Recalled by Randalls, Tom Thumb, and Albertsons Stores in AK, LA, and TX

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that Randalls, Tom Thumb, and Albertsons stores have recalled several of their “Ready. Chef. Go!” Seafood Meal Bags following Mann Packing’s enormous recall of its vegetable products from stores throughout the United States and Canada. These vegetables, incorporated into the processed seafood meals, were recalled after the Canadian Inspection Agency detected the presence of Listeria monocytogenes bacteria in a single random sample. Listeria is one of the most severe forms of food poisoning, and is particularly dangerous to pregnant women and their unborn infants as it can cause miscarriage, stillbirths, and birth defects such as hydrocephalus. In adults (especially the elderly or people with underlying medical conditions), it … [Read more...]

Salad Kits and Stir Fry Mixes Recalled in Alaska for Possible Food Contamination

Triple B Corporation, headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska, has now recalled eight (8) different vegetable products, including salad kits, in connection with the major October 19th recall by Mann Packing of many of its minimally processed vegetable items. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) reports that the broccoli florets, stir fry kits, and other vegetable products being recalled may possibly be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, a bacteria that can cause a serious form of food poisoning. All of the items affected by Triple B Corporation’s recall were prepared using potentially contaminated broccoli provided by Mann Packing of Salinas, California. They were then shipped to retail store delis throughout the state of Alaska. The eight (8) recalled vegetable products … [Read more...]

H-E-B Announces Recall of Store-Produced Single-Serving Soups

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has alerted the public that H-E-B stores in the state of Texas are recalling two single-serving soup products. These soups were made in-house from vegetable ingredients that are part of a massive recall issued on October 19th by Mann Packing, headquartered in Salinas, California. These vegetables may have been contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, which can cause a very dangerous form of food poisoning. The two single-serving soups affected by the recall are “H-E-B ASIAN NOODLE CUP BEEF” (UPC code 26010400000) and “H-E-B ASIAN NOODLE CUP CHICKEN” (UPC code 26010100000). Because of the food poisoning risk, anyone who has bought one of these soups should either dispose of it properly or return it to its place of purchase for a … [Read more...]

Iowa Warns About Use of Copper Mugs with Alcoholic Beverages

The State of Iowa has issued an advisory bulletin warning consumers about selling and serving alcoholic beverages in copper mugs. There are federal guidance and state regulations about the use of copper and copper alloys in contact with food and beverages. The popularity of a drink called Moscow Mule, an alcoholic cocktail that is typically served in a copper mug, has led to inquiries about the safe use of these mugs. The use of copper and copper alloys as a food contact surface is limited in Iowa. That state and many other states have adopted the Federal Food and Drug Administration’s Model Food Code, which prohibits copper from coming into direct contact with foods that have a pH below 6.0. Examples of foods with a pH below 6.0 include vinegar, fruit juice, or wine. Since the … [Read more...]

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