June 28, 2017

Mushroom Poisoning in California Subject of MMWR

The June 2, 2017 edition of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report has a study about mushroom poisoning in California. In December 2016, fourteen cases of Amanita phalloides poisoning were identified by the California Poison Control System (CPCS) among people who had consumed foraged wild mushrooms. All of the patients in this outbreak had the symptoms of mushroom poisoning. Three of the patients had to have liver transplants. All of the patients have since recovered, although one child had permanent neurologic impairment. The report recommends that all wild-picked mushrooms should be evaluated by a trained mycologist before they are eaten. Inexperienced foragers should be "strongly discouraged" from eating any wild mushrooms. And health care providers should be aware of … [Read more...]

Herbal Tea Poisons Two San Francisco Residents

Two residents of San Francisco were sickened by drinking an herbal tea that contained Aconite, a lethal poison, according to the San Francisco Department of Health. The patients are critically ill and were still hospitalized as of March 10, 2017. One of the patients, a women in her 50s, and the other, a man in his 30s, got sick in separate incidents in February and March of this year. They drank tea made from leaves supplied by the same San Francisco herbalist. Each developed weakness, then life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms, requiring resuscitation and intensive hospital care. Aconite was found in the lab tests of the patients and the tea samples they provided. The tea leaves were purchased at the Sun Wing Wo Trading Company at 1105 Grant Avenue in Chinatown in San … [Read more...]

Outbreaks Linked to Imported Foods Are Increasing

A study published in the March edition of the CDC's Emerging Infectious Diseases reveals that more Americans are being sickened by imported food. The study's authors state that "a small but increasing number of foodborne disease outbreaks [are] associated with imported foods, most commonly fish and produce. New outbreak investigation tools and federal regulatory authority are key to maintaining food safety." About 19% of the food we eat in this country is imported. About 97% of the fish and shellfish we consume, 50% of fresh fruits, and 20% of fresh vegetables come from other countries. This proportion has steadily increased over the past 20 years because consumers want to eat produce out of season and want a wider selection of products. A food poisoning outbreak is two or more … [Read more...]

Golden Ponds Outbreak May Be From One of Three Different Pathogens

The food poisoning outbreak at Golden Ponds restaurant at 500 Long Pond Road, in Greece, New York on Thanksgiving Day, 2016 may have been caused by one of three pathogens. The usual suspects in this type of outbreak include Salmonella, E. coli, norovirus, and Campylobacter. Those are the pathogens that cause most of the food poisoning outbreaks in this country. But the fast onset of symptoms and the fact that the primary symptoms were violent diarrhea and severe stomach cramps has narrowed the list of suspects down to three: Clostridium perfringens, Bacillus cereus, and a strain of Staphylococcus aureus, according to the Democrat and Chronicle. All of those bacteria produce toxins that act quickly in the body. The symptoms experienced by those sickened in this outbreak happened … [Read more...]

Food Poisoning Increases Risk of Crohn’s Disease

A new study conducted at McMaster University confirms that people who suffer from food poisoning by a particular bacteria may be at increased risk for developing Crohn's Disease, also known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In every Salmonella outbreak over the past four years, Food Poisoning Bulletin has stated that one of the long term complications from one of these illnesses is IBD. Researchers found that infectious gastroenteritis (food poisoning) caused by a common food poisoning bacteria increases and accelerates the growth of adherent-invasive E. coli (AIEC). The scientists used a mouse model of Crohn's Disease. Even after the mouse had cleared the food poisoning bacteria from their bodies, researchers still found increased AIEC levels in the gut. In the study, the … [Read more...]

Mighty Taco Outbreak Numbers Increase to 158 Sick

The gastrointestinal illness outbreak associated with consuming food from Mighty Taco restaurants in Erie and Niagara counties in New York state has now sickened 158 people. There are 140 people sick in Erie county alone, according to Mary C. St. Mary of Erie County and a new press release from the Erie County Department of Health. Eighteen people are sick in Niagara County, according to that county's health department. The press release from Niagara County about this outbreak is from last week. Those numbers have not been updated since October 7, 2016. The case count has increased from 104 to 140 sickened in Erie County in the last week. Those sickened have experienced nausea and vomiting. The patients ate refried beans from a Mighty Taco location in Erie County between … [Read more...]

LA School District Issues Safety Alert About Wild Mushrooms

Some elementary school children at the Los Angeles Unified School District got sick after eating wild mushrooms that were growing in a community garden, according to several news reports. The district issued a safety alert press release stating "students and staff (and others) must not ingest wild mushrooms because many species are poisonous and proper identification is not easy." Penn State Food Safety has collected articles on this incident and states that seventeen children were sickened. They say "a volunteer thought the mushroom - later identified as green-spored parasol, a common poisonous wild mushroom - was an edible part of the garden." Green-spored Parasol is known as Chlorophyllum molybdites. It is the most commonly consumed poisonous mushroom in North America. This … [Read more...]

Oceana Finds Seafood Fraud Worldwide

Oceana has released a report about seafood fraud around the world. The report, called Deceptive Dishes: Seafood Swaps Found Worldwide, states that seafood fraud is a serious global problem that threatens consumer health. The review looked at data in 2014, and it shows some promising trends because of recent regulations in the European Union (EU) that are "increasing transparency and traceability as well as addressing illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing." The report states that if the United States adopts comprehensive, full-chain traceability, it will be more difficult for consumers to be misled. The report states that on average, one in five of more than 25,000 samples of seafood tested was mislabeled. Oceana reviewed more than 20 published studies from 55 … [Read more...]

Food Poisoning Cancels Trip for Benito High School Students

A food poisoning outbreak associated with allegedly contaminated tri-tip sandwiches served to San Benito High School seniors on Thursday, May 19, 2016 has forced the cancellation of their trip to Disneyland. At least 80 students from the California high school were sickened, and at least 12 students had to go to the hospital. The day after the seniors ate the sandwiches, on Friday May 20, 2016, other students ate the leftovers and also got sick. Health officials say that since no food is left for testing, they cannot tell what made the students sick. But they could certainly conduct stool sample testing on the ill students and run PFGE tests to identify the bacteria and to see if the same strain made all of the teenagers sick. The symptoms of this outbreak included stomach … [Read more...]

Produce is the Most Common Source of Food Poisoning Outbreaks, Says Study

Fresh produce such as celery, cilantro, cucumbers, leafy greens and tomatoes is the most common source of food poisoning outbreaks, according to a new report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). The non profit food safety watchdog group looks at 10 years of outbreak data to compile the report title Outbreak Alert 2015. During that time period, fresh produce sickened almost 20,00o people and was the source of 629 outbreaks, according to the group. But that doesn't mean Americans should remove fresh produce from their diets, says David Plunkett, co-author of the report. “You are twice as likely to get sick from eating a serving of chicken as from eating a serving of vegetables,” said Plunkett.  “The data support improving the safety of our produce supply but don’t … [Read more...]

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