July 30, 2021

Who Are High Risk Populations in Food Poisoning Outbreaks?

When Food Poisoning Bulletin writes about outbreaks, we always mention how some groups are more likely to suffer serious illness and complications if they get sick. Who are high risk populations? And why are they high risk in the first place? The main groups that are at higher risk for problems if they contract a food poisoning infection include: The elderly Pregnant women Very young children Anyone with a chronic illness Anyone who has a compromised immune system These groups are more susceptible to hospitalization for different reasons. Anyone who has a family member in one of these groups should take extra care in cooking food safely and should keep up with food recalls and outbreak notices. Elderly people are more susceptible to serious problems from food … [Read more...]

Do You Know If You Are Grilling Mechanically Tenderized Beef?

With grilling season upon us and the Fourth of July holiday next week, most Americans are taking to their outdoor grills. We grill everything from chicken wings to veggies to burgers to steaks. But do you know if you are grilling mechanically tenderized beef? There are several ways of tenderizing meat: marinating, the way you cut it after it's cooked, and mechanical tenderizing. Knowing if the meat you are grilling is mechanically tenderized can make the difference between enjoying a nice meal and getting sick. And there's a lot of mechanically tenderized beef out there: 6.2 billion servings of mechanically tenderized beef are served every year on American tables. The USDA is offering tips on how to protect yourself and your family while grilling. One section of that piece … [Read more...]

Consumer Knowledge About Flour Risks Lags Behind Reality

Consumer knowledge about flour risks lags behind reality, according to a research article published in the International Association for Food Protection. The research finds that consumers do not consider flour a high risk for bacterial contamination, but flour is a raw agricultural product and a source of outbreaks. Six food poisoning outbreaks have been linked to wheat flour and flour products in the U.S. and Canada since 2009. Those outbreaks have sickened at least 200 people with Salmonella and E. coli bacteria. In 2019, an E. coli O26 outbreak linked to ADM Milling flour sickened at least 21 people in 9 states. The flour brands that were recalled in association with that outbreak included Pillsbury bread flour, ALDI Baker's Corner, and King Arthur flour. And in 2016, an E. … [Read more...]

Three Unsolved Multistate Outbreaks on USDA Investigations Table

There are three unsolved multistate outbreaks on the USDA foodborne illness investigation table. This is a companion table to the FDA's Core Outbreak Investigation Table. One is a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak with an unknown source; the second is a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O145 outback that may be linked to ground beef; and the third is a Shiga toxin-producing E. coil o157:H7 outbreak with an unknown source.   The E. coli O157:H7 outbreak was announced by the CDC yesterday. There are sixteen people in five states sickened in that outbreak. The USDA and FDA are investigating, which means that any type of food could be connected to the outbreak. Nine people have been hospitalized, which is a very high rate for this type of outbreak, and one person in Washington has … [Read more...]

FSIS Foodborne Illness Outbreaks For Fiscal Year 2019

The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has released its summary of FSIS foodborne illness outbreaks for fiscal year 2019 that involved FSIS-regulated products. The four pathogens that most often affect those products are Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter. During fiscal year 2019, FSIS investigated 16 outbreaks that sickened about 1000 people and hospitalized more than 175 patients. 94% of these outbreaks involved illnesses in more than one state. Salmonella was the most common pathogen in these outbreaks, followed by STEC, and Listeria monocytogenes. Beef and chicken were the most common food products of interest. Salmonella serotypes in these outbreaks included Blockley, Enteritidis, Newport, Rissen, and … [Read more...]

FDA Launches Outbreak Investigation Table Triggering Questions

The FDA has just released a new outbreak investigation table to honor its promise for transparency to keep the public informed about food poisoning outbreaks. But the table is raising some questions. The table lists the pathogen responsible for each outbreak, total case count, investigation status, outbreak status, and whether a recall was initiated. If the outbreak doesn't result in "specific, actionable steps for consumers" the government may not identify a source or reveal contributing factors. And that is confusing. These outbreak investigations are managed by FDA's CORE Response Teams. The FDA will still issue public health advisories for investigations that have resulted in actionable steps. The table lists the three mystery E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks identified this … [Read more...]

What You Need to Know About Apple Cider Season and Food Poisoning

Every fall many family make trips to orchards to buy apple cider. But there are things you need to know about apple cider season and food safety, especially about unpasteurized fruit juices. There have been three food poisoning outbreaks linked to unpasteurized apple cider or juice in the last few years. Those outbreaks include a cryptosporidium outbreak in 2015 that was linked to apple cider that was sold and consumed at the Pike County Fall Color Drive in Illinois. At least 70 people were sickened in that outbreak, and several were hospitalized. Also in 2015, an E. coli O111 outbreak that sickened 13 people was linked to apple juice from High Hill Ranch. And in 2013, a cryptosporidium outbreak in Iowa was linked to unpasteurized apple cider. Eleven people were sickened in that … [Read more...]

Pritzker Hageman Files Second E. coli O157:H7 Lawsuit in Ohio

The law firm of Pritzker Hageman has filed a second E. coli O157:H7 lawsuit in the state of Ohio on behalf of a teenage girl who was sickened with a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infection after allegedly eating food purchased at the Chipotle at 1140 Polaris Parkway in Columbus, Ohio. The suit was filed on Friday, November 6, 2020. The first lawsuit, also against the same restaurant location, was filed on October 31, 2020. Their client allegedly ate a salad bowl or burrito bowl purchased from that restaurant on September 22, 2020, and another on September 24, 2020. The bowl contained romaine lettuce, tomato salsa, guacamole, and other items. Several days later the teenager got sick with bloody diarrhea, and sought medical treatment. A diagnosis of STEC infection was … [Read more...]

How Common Are E. coli O157:H7 Leafy Greens Outbreaks?

There are currently two active E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks in the United States that were announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this month. Neither has had a specific food, brand, store, or restaurant associated with it, although the FDA has hinted that one may be linked to a restaurant and one may be linked to leafy greens. How common are foodborne E. coli O157:H7 leafy green outbreaks? The CDC has a fact sheet on leafy greens that will shed light on this question and also helps consumers protect themselves against foodborne illness linked to those products. From 2014 to 2018 there have been 51 foodborne illness outbreaks linked to leafy greens. Five of those outbreaks were publicized by the government. Two of those five outbreaks were inked to packaged … [Read more...]

Learn How Romaine Lettuce Is Contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 Bacteria

With many E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks linked to romaine lettuce in 2017, 2018, and 2019, food safety experts are concerned that another outbreak could occur in 2020. Let's take a look at how romaine lettuce is contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 bacteria in the first place. That pathogen exists in the guts of ruminant animals, more specifically, cows and sheep. Deer can also carry it. How does it travel from those animals to farm fields? There are several factors that come into play here. First, many concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are located near fields where romaine and other leafy greens are grown. Second, feces can contaminate ground water and canals that are a source of irrigation water. And third, two of the physical attributes of the lettuce play a role. E. … [Read more...]

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