September 20, 2021

Five Outbreak Investigations on USDA Table; Two Are Active

There are five outbreak investigations on the USDA outbreak response table for 2021 only two are active. That table, like the FDA's CORE Investigation table, does not give much information to the public about the outbreaks. The USDA says that "The table does not include outbreak investigations that did not result in one more of the outcomes." Those outcomes include a recall of an FSIS-regulated product linked to the illnesses, a public health alert, and/or an after-action review report. The inactive outbreaks include an E. coli O145 outbreak that officials suspect is linked to ground beef; an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak of unknown origin that does have a link to a CDC Investigation Notice; and a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak of unknown origin. The E. coli O157:H7 outbreak CDC … [Read more...]

History of E. coli O145 Outbreaks in the United States

There are three active multistate food poisoning outbreaks on the USDA outbreak table: One is for an outbreak caused by Listeria monocytogenes, one caused by Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7, and one caused by Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O145 bacteria. The last one may be linked to ground beef. Let's look at the history of E. coli O145 outbreaks. What is the history of E. coli O145 outbreaks in the United States? This pathogen is part of the Big Six STEC bacteria group that the USDA classified as adulterants back in 2011. The government started testing for the bacteria as part of a zero tolerance policy in 2012, but it has not been linked to many outbreaks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there was a multistate outbreak caused by E. coli O145 … [Read more...]

Wisconsin Warns Consumers To Not Make Cannibal Sandwiches

Every year during the holidays food safety experts warn consumers to avoid one type of traditional treat or another. Today, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services told consumers not to make or eat cannibal sandwiches. Cannibal sandwiches, also known as tiger meat or steak tartare, are made of raw ground beef, which is a food safety hazard. The Department also warned consumers about this item on its Facebook page. Eating raw ground beef may expose you to pathogenic E. coli O157:H7, a dangerous pathogen that can cause serious illness, kidney failure, and even death. Raw ground beef can also be contaminated with Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. It doesn't matter where you buy the ground beef, or how fresh it is; it can still be contaminated with … [Read more...]

USDA Releases Consumer Info on Preparing Frozen Foods Safely

The USDA has released consumer information on preparing frozen foods safely. New research reveals that consumers may not know how to safely cook these foods, which can put families at risk of contracting a foodborne illness. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, consumers are preparing more foods at home. It's important that all cooks, especially beginners, read product labels so they understand how to properly prepare these frozen foods. Don't rely on appearance. Some foods are not fully cooked or ready to eat. That can cause confusion, especially if the food is breaded or if it has grill marks. In a recent USDA study, 22% of consumer's said that a not ready to eat frozen chicken entree was either cooked, partially cooked, or they weren't sure, when the entree was actually … [Read more...]

Provigo Ground Beef Recalled For Possible E. coli O157 Contamination

Provigo ground beef is being recalled in Canada by JBS Food Canada for possible E. coli O157 contamination. The ground beef was sold in Quebec at the retail level. The ground beef was sold at Provigo Hull, 1 du Plateau, in Gatineau, Quebec. No illnesses have been reported to the company or the government to date in connection with this issue. The recalled products are Provigo ground beef in medium grind, in a club pack. The package sizes are variable. The UPC number on the label starts with 0 213026. All packages with the best before dates of 16.SE2020, 17.SE2020, or 18.Se2020 are recalled. Also recalled is Provigo lean ground beef fresh club pack, also packaged in variable size packages. The UPC number on that product starts with 0 217334. All packages with the best before dates … [Read more...]

Did You Know Salmonella Outbreaks Linked to Ground Beef Are Common?

People who are familiar with food poisoning outbreaks are used to linking ground beef to E. coli illnesses. And it is true that there have been four multistate E. coli outbreaks linked to ground beef since 2013. But did you know that Salmonella outbreaks linked to ground beef are fairly common? E. coli, especially E. coli O157:H7, lives in the guts of cows. The animals don't get sick from that pathogen. When the cow is slaughtered, the bacteria can escape from the guts and contaminate the meat. When the meat is ground, the pathogen is mixed all through it. Then when burgers are made from that beef and are not fully cooked to 160°F, pathogens can remain active and will cause illnesses. Recognizing that this product can be contaminated with Salmonella, the USDA proposed changes to … [Read more...]

Ground Beef Sickens One in Illinois; non-O157 E. coli Found in Meat

Ground beef sickens one in Macoupin County, Illinois, according to a press release from the Illinois Department of Agriculture. A public health alert has been issued for ground beef sold at David B’s Custom Meats in Carlinville, Illinois. While officials found non-O157 E. coli bacteria in the meat, they did not state that the ill person is sick with any type of E. coli infection. The ground beef was prepared at that Type II facility, which is custom exempt, at the beginning of 2020 to the current date. Custom exempt meat products are not inspected and cannot be offered for sale to the public. So a recall of the ground beef was not requested. Instead, the DOH is issuing a public health alert about the problem. A resident of Macoupin County notified local public health officials … [Read more...]

USDA Will Expand non-O157 STEC Testing to Ground Beef

According to an announcement in the Federal Register, the USDA will expand non-O157 STEC (Shiga toxin-producing E. coli) testing to ground beef, bench trim, and other raw ground beef components. The non-O157 strains include what's called the "Big Six" E. coli strains: E. coli O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145. USDA first announced the decision to test raw, non-intact beef product and raw, intact beef product for those six strains on September 20, 2011. The decision was made because these strains have high pathogenicity, low infectious dose, transmissibility from person to person, and thermal resistance of the pathogens that is high enough to survive ordinary cooking. The estimated benefits of this new testing include reduced outbreak-related recalls, reduced illnesses and … [Read more...]

Pandemic Food Safety: Most Googled Recipes and Safety

We all know that during the coronavirus pandemic, more people are cooking at home out of necessity. Many people are cooking for themselves for the first time. And some of those people haven't been taught about food safety. CNBC's Make It section found the top 10 most-googled recipes during quarantine. And we are listing the food safety issues with some of those recipes. The top 10 recipes are for: banana bread, pancakes, chicken, pizza dough, brownie, Recette crepe, meatloaf, French toast, lasagna, and cheesecake. All of these recipes can make you sick if not prepared correctly. Baking Recipes The potential food safety issues with the baking recipes are with eggs and flour. Don't make any recipe that calls for eggs and isn't cooked or baked before eating. Eggs can be … [Read more...]

Learn Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures For Different Foods

As part of our series on helping beginning cooks learn about food safety during the coronavirus pandemic, the safe minimum cooking temperatures for many foods is critical. These risky foods have to be handled carefully and cooked thoroughly to avoid the risk of a serious foodborne illness. These foods include beef, pork, seafood, chicken, turkey, shellfish, and foods made with eggs. All of these foods have been linked to multistate food poisoning outbreaks in the past. When you handle these foods, make sure to avoid cross-contamination between them and foods that are eaten uncooked. Meat juices dripping on other foods in the fridge is a main source of contamination. Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures First of all, the only way to tell if these foods are safe to eat is by using … [Read more...]

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