June 6, 2023

Sick Restaurant Employees Cause 40% of Outbreaks

Sick restaurant employees cause 40% of foodborne illness outbreaks, according to an article in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for the week of June 2, 2023. Hundreds of foodborne illness outbreaks associated with retail food establishments are reported every year to the CDC. The period of time included in this study was 2017 to 2019. In 2014, CDC launched the National Environmental Assessment Reporting System (NEARS) to compliment the surveillance conducted by the National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS). State and local health departments enter data from their outbreak investigations of retail food establishments. The data entered include characteristics of outbreaks, including factors contributing to the illnesses, … [Read more...]

Study Confirms that Raw Milk Is Linked to Foodborne Illness

A new study has confirmed that raw milk is linked to foodborne illness. During the time period of 2013 to 2018, 75 outbreaks that caused 675 illnesses were linked to unpasteurized milk. Of these illnesses, almost half were among children and teenagers aged o to 19 years. Given that the consumption of raw milk is low in this country, with only about 1 to 2% of the adult population buying it, these numbers are shocking. The study points out that almost 80% of those outbreaks occurred in states where the sale of raw milk is allowed. Raw milk and raw milk products are a public health challenge in the United States. And laws that encourage availability of unpasteurized milk are associated with more illnesses and outbreaks. Raw milk can be contaminated with many different pathogens, … [Read more...]

FDA Issues Final Rule on Food Traceability Under FSMA

The FDA has issued the final rule on food traceability under the Food Safety and Modernization Act of 2011 (FSMA). Traceability is the ability to identify foods that may be contaminated, especially if that food is suspected as being part of an outbreak. The rule establishes traceability record keeping requirements for anyone who manufacturers, processes, packs, or holds foods that are on the Food Traceability List. Companies and people subject to this rule must maintain records containing Key Data Elements associated with specific Critical Tracking Events. They must provide information to the FDA within 24 hours or some other time frame to which the FDA has agreed. Foods that are on the Food Traceability List include: cheeses other than hard cheeses, specifically soft and … [Read more...]

How Many Outbreaks Are Linked to Fast Food Restaurants?

In the past ten years, there have been many food poisoning outbreaks linked to fast food restaurants. The outbreaks slowed significantly during the Covid-19 pandemic, however. This year, there was only one fast food outbreak that was allegedly associated with Wendy's restaurants in several states that may have been caused by romaine lettuce. These outbreaks can be very large simply because there are so many restaurants in these fast food chains. Now that people are no longer staying at home, and are eating out more, will there be more food poisoning outbreaks linked to fast food restaurants? Only time will tell. How many outbreaks are linked to fast food restaurants? In 2022, an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak was allegedly associated with romaine lettuce served on Wendy's hamburgers and … [Read more...]

Some Outbreaks Ended on FDA CORE Outbreak Table

Some outbreaks ended on FDA CORE Outbreak Investigation Table, and some case counts have increased in some of the still active outbreaks. There are no new outbreaks to announce. As usual, there is very little information about each outbreak until the government identifies some action consumers can take, such as discarding food or avoiding a particular restaurant. For the Salmonella Mississippi outbreak (ref# 1097) in a not yet identified product, the case count has increased from 99 to 100 cases. For the Salmonella Senftenberg outbreak (ref# 1087) in a not yet identified food, the case count has increased from 22 to 27 cases. For the mystery Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak (ref# 1095), the case count has increased from 73 to 78 cases. For the Cyclospora outbreak (ref# 1080) … [Read more...]

States With More Public Health Funding Track More Foodborne Outbreaks

States with more public health funding track more foodborne illness outbreaks, according to a study published in Emerging Infectious Diseases. The study was conducted by scientists at the Colorado School of Public Health with assistance by the University of Minnesota, the CDC, the FDA, and the US Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS). Foodborne illness surveillance in states is critical to identifying multistate outbreaks. Unfortunately, not all outbreaks are detected and investigated. This study looked at 8,131 single-state outbreaks reported during the years 2009 to 2018. Multistate outbreaks were not included in this analysis. Overall, high-reporting states reported four times more outbreaks than low reporting states. And low reporting states are less … [Read more...]

FDA Closes Listeria and Norovirus Outbreak Investigations

The FDA closes Listeria and norovirus outbreak investigations on its CORE Outbreak Investigation Table, while the alleged cereal outbreak case count increased. There are now only three active food poisoning outbreak investigations being conducted by the FDA. The Listeria monocytogenes outbreak that closed has sickened at least 20 people. A vehicle was not identified, even though traceback was initiated, an on-site inspection was initiated, and samples were collected and analyzed. The outbreak status is still listed as "ongoing" because the most recent illness onset date was April 20, 2022. It can take up to 70 days for the symptoms of listeriosis to manifest. The CDC will continue to monitor for more illnesses. This investigation will be reopened if more new illnesses are reported … [Read more...]

FDA Issues Final Guidance For Seeds Used For Sprouting

The FDA is issuing final guidance for seeds used for sprouting. The guidance outlines FDA's concerns over food poisoning outbreaks associated with th consumption of raw and lightly cooked sprouts. The guidance gives firms recommended steps to prevent adulteration throughout the production chain. Between 1996 and 2020, the were 52 reported foodborne illness outbreaks associated with contaminated sprouts. As a result, at least 2700 Americans were sickened. Contamination can occur at any point in the supply chain, but the seeds themselves are the most likely source of contamination in many of these outbreaks. In 2019 and 2020, an E. coli O103 outbreak linked to raw sprouts at Jimmy John's restaurants sickened at least 22 people in Iowa. Another Jimmy Jon's outbreak, this time caused … [Read more...]

FDA CORE Table Updates: More Cereal Illnesses, Listeria Cases Grow

The FDA CORE Outbreak Investigation Table has been updated again, with more cereal illnesses. ¬†Two unidentified Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks have grown. The outbreak that does not have a pathogen identified, but may be associated with dry cereal, has now had 446 adverse event reports, up from 231 reports in the last update a week ago. This outbreak may be associated with Lucky Charms cereal. Reports on iwaspoisoned.com match up to the dates of this investigation. An on-site investigation has begun, as noted in the last update. The two unidentified Listeria monocytogenes outbreak case counts have increased. One has increased to 17 cases from 15, and the other increased from 17 to 19. In the latter outbreak, traceback has stared, onsite inspection has been initiated, and … [Read more...]

Produce Contamination Is E. coli Blowing in the Wind?

The Center for Produce Safety is awarding grant money for a study to evaluate the risks of E. coli being carried in the wind on dust. For the issue of produce contamination is E. coli blowing in the wind? E. coli bacteria can survive in dust; in fact, an NIH study¬†conducted in 2016 found that the pathogen can live in dust samples for 20 years. Here's how this works: Cattle carry pathogenic E. coli bacteria in their guts and excrete it in the feces. The feces contaminates soil in the area, which can then dry and become airborne in dust. The problem is that if the pathogen is in dust from factory farms, it can travel on the wind to produce fields and contaminate vegetables, especially romaine lettuce. That lettuce's unique physiology makes it easy for bacteria to collect in its … [Read more...]

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