September 21, 2018

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...]

It’s State and County Fairs Time; Stay Safe at Animal Exhibits

As summer winds down and fall approaches, state and county fairs are underway. The CDC is warning parents and caregivers about ways to protect yourself and your children against E. coli and other illnesses that have been linked to those events. Animals exhibits and petting zoos at county and state fairs have been the source of E. coli outbreaks in the past few years. From 2010 to 2015, about 100 outbreaks of illness were linked to animals in public settings. These outbreaks have been caused by E. coli O157:H7, Cryptosporidium, and Salmonella bacteria. Last year, eight people were sickened with E. coli infections after visiting the Mesa County Fair in Colorado Junction, Colorado. An E. coli outbreak in Minnesota in 2014 was linked to Zerebko Zoo Tran, a traveling petting zoo. At … [Read more...]

Prevent Clostridium Perfringens Illnesses This Holiday Season

Clostridium perfringens food poisoning cases tend to spike around the holiday season. This bacteria causes almost 1,000,000 cases of food poisoning every year. The bacteria grows when large pots and containers of food are not kept from the danger zone of 40°F to 140°F. Restaurants, nursing homes, potlucks, and large parties are usually the sources of this type of outbreak. So FoodSafety.gov is offering tips to help stop this type of food poisoning. The bacteria is found on raw meat and poultry, in the environment, and in the intestines of people and animals. Some strains produce a toxin as the bacteria grows. This type of food poisoning has a sudden and fast onset, usually within a few hours of exposure to the pathogenic bacteria. Diarrhea is the main symptoms. This type of … [Read more...]

Learn How to Select and Serve Produce Safely

Summer is a time when everyone enjoys eating more fresh produce. But there have been many foodborne illness outbreaks in the past few years linked to fresh fruits and vegetables. Some of the pathogens in those outbreaks include Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and cyclospora. The FDA is offering tips to help you choose and serve fresh produce safely. Harmful bacteria can be in the irrigation water used in the fields. Animals can poop on the plants, transferring pathogenic bacteria onto the fruits and vegetables. Product can also be contaminated during harvest, processing, or transport. When you buy produce, always choose products that are not damaged, cut, or bruised. Those injuries are open doorways to pathogens. Once the pathogens are inside the fruit or vegetable, … [Read more...]

FDA Releases Year 5 Reportable Food Registry

The Reportable Food Registry is released by the Food and Drug Administration every year. It is a synopsis of a one-year reporting period from the Registry. The current edition is the 5th Annual Report: September 8, 2009 through September 7, 2014. The FDA is required to establish an electronic portal. Reports about instances of reportable food must be submitted to the FDA within 24 hours. A reportable food is an article of food or feed for which there is reasonable probability that the use of, or exposure to, such article of food will cause serious adverse health consequences or death to people or animals. The RFR is considered an early warning tool for public health risks and helps the government remove contaminated foods from the marketplace. The RFR covers all human and animal … [Read more...]

E. coli Causes Most of USDA-Regulated Food Outbreaks

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection service (FSIS) regulates meat, poultry, and egg products. That agency evaluated outbreaks associated with meat and poultry through fiscal years 2007 through 2012 to see how many were linked to FSIS-regulated products and which pathogens caused the most outbreaks. Differences in outbreaks from 2007 through 2009 and from 2010 through 2012 were assessed. Of the 163 reported outbreaks used in this analysis, 89, or 55%, were identified as possibly linked to FSIS-regulated products, and 74, or 45%, were definitely linked to FSIS-regulated products. These products were associated with 4,132 illnesses, 772 hospitalizations, and 19 deaths. Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria was associated with 55% of these outbreaks, followed … [Read more...]

Mycobacterium bovis Tuberculosis May be Spread Through the Air

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a paper published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report that brings up a possible risk for people who consume imported raw milk products or who eat raw milk products while in other countries. Mycobacterium bovis, a zoonotic pathogen of cattle, causes tuberculosis in people who eat unpasteurized contaminated dairy products in or imported from countries with affected cattle herds. That's bad enough, but scientists now believe that this illness can be transmitted person-to-person through the air. This investigation strengthens the evidence for person-to-person airborne transmission of M. bovis infections. In April 2014, a man in Nebraska who was born in Mexico was diagnosed with extensive pulmonary tuberculosis caused by M. … [Read more...]

Jack and the Green Sprouts MN and WI E. coli Outbreak: Protect Yourself

The FDA has released information on how to select and serve produce safely, which is timely considering the two current outbreaks linked to raw sprouts. An E. coli O157:NM outbreak in Minnesota and Wisconsin has sickened at least 9 people, and a Salmonella Muenchen outbreak in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania has sickened at least 13. It's worth noting, however, that raw sprouts are an inherently risky product, and your selecting and handling this food may not have any effect at all on their safety. Sprouts can be contaminated from within, so no amount of cleaning on your part will ever make them safe. For other produce, you can follow safe handling tips to protect yourself and your family. And if you choose to eat raw sprouts, these tips may help reduce the risk of … [Read more...]

Yelp Reviews Could Help Detect Food Poisoning Outbreaks

Consumer reviews of restaurants and other facilities on Yelp could help track and prevent food poisoning outbreaks, according to a new study published in Preventive Medicine. Researchers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute looked at reviews on Yelp of 5,824 food establishments from 2005 to 2012, screening customer reviews for relevant keywords, then analyzed every review. This information was compared to data from the CDC for the same time period. The scientists found that illnesses reported on Yelp matched the CDC stats. The Yelp reviews were of 13,262 businesses closest to 29 colleges in fifteen states. Those 5,824 businesses were categorized as Food or Restaurants. Researchers constructed a keyword list using common foodborne illness terms such as "diarrhea", "vomiting", and "puking". … [Read more...]

Two USDA Agencies Collaborate on Outbreak Cause Assessment

Two US. Department of Agriculture agencies are going to collaborate on an effort to assess the root cause in foodborne illness outbreaks in the U.S. Every year in this country, 48,000,000 people are sickened with a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die. The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that details the responsibilities and roles of each agency. The assessments include observational study design, questionnaire development, collection of data and samples, and statistical analysis and reporting. Those facets are all included in the investigation of a foodborne illness outbreak. The assessment team will also provide "frequent, descriptive updates" … [Read more...]

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