April 1, 2020

It’s National Pizza Week: Are Pizzas Linked to Outbreaks?

It's National Pizza Week! Have pizzas been linked to any food poisoning outbreaks in the U.S.? The answer is yes. The ingredients in pizza that could be problematic include flour in the dough, cheeses, produce such as leafy greens, and any type of meat toppings. But since pizzas are usually cooked so thoroughly, how can people get sick? There are three answers to that question: handling the pizzas before they are cooked, cross-contamination, and microwave cooking. Raw dough is considered a risky food, since flour used to make it has long been associated with E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks, from the Nestle raw cookie dough outbreak in 2009, to the General Mills flour E. coli outbreak in 2016 that sickened 63, to the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to ADM Milling flour last year that … [Read more...]

FDA Weighs in on Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp E. coli Outbreak

The FDA is weighing in on the Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that sickened 10 people in 5 states. Four people were hospitalized and one patient developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. This salad mix also made 25 people sick in Canada, where the Fresh Express product was recalled. There was no recall issued in the U.S. The contaminated Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp Chopped salad kits that made people sick are "likely no longer available on the market," according to the FDA statement. The outbreak has ended as of January 15, 2020 after sickening 1 person in Georgia, Illinois, and North Dakota; three in Wisconsin; and four in Minnesota. Once again, the FDA states that this outbreak, the outbreak associated with Evergreen … [Read more...]

Timeline of Three Romaine E. coli O157:H7 Outbreaks

This timeline of three romaine E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks is intended to reduce confusion about the illnesses and the products and restaurants they are linked to or potentially linked to. The three outbreaks are a large multistate outbreak linked to romaine lettuce grown in Salinas, California; an outbreak linked to Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp Chopped Salad Kit that has sickened people in the upper Midwest; and an E. coli outbreak associated with seven Evergreen restaurants in the Seattle, Washington area. Only the outbreak associated with Evergreen restaurants has been declared over. All three of these outbreaks have been named by the FDA as having a common grower, even though the strains of E. coli are different. The FDA notice states, "Currently, the tracebacks on all three … [Read more...]

FDA Updates Salinas Romaine E. coli HUS Outbreak; 138 Sick

The FDA has updated their investigation into the Salinas romaine E. coli HUS outbreak and has found that 138 people in 25 states are now sick, an increase of 36 more patients since the last update on December 4, 2019. Seventy-two people are hospitalized, and 13 have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. Epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory evidence indicates that romaine lettuce from the Salinas, California growing region is the likely source of this outbreak. The case count by state is: Arizona (3), California (4), Colorado (6), Florida (2), Idaho (3), Illinois (10), Iowa (1), Maryland (5), Michigan (1), Minnesota (5), Montana (1), Nebraska (2), New Jersey (9), New Mexico (2), North Carolina (2), Ohio (12), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (17), South … [Read more...]

E. coli Salinas Romaine Outbreak Has Now Sickened 138; 13 With HUS

The E. coli Salinas romaine outbreak has now sickened 138 people in 25 states. Seventy-two people have been hospitalized. And 13 people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure. This is an increase of 36 more patients since the last update on December 4, 2019. The case count by state is: Arizona (3), California (4), Colorado (6), Florida (2), Idaho (3), Illinois (10), Iowa (1), Maryland (5), Michigan (1), Minnesota (5), Montana (1), Nebraska (2), New Jersey (9), New Mexico (2), North Carolina (2), Ohio (12), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (17), South Carolina (1), South Dakota (1), Tennessee (1), Texas (6), Virginia (6), Washington (4), and Wisconsin (33). Illness onset dates range from September 20 ,2019 to December 1, 2019. The patient age range … [Read more...]

Food Poisoning Outbreaks 2019: #9 Salinas Romaine E. coli Outbreak

NOTE: This outbreak was updated on December 19, 2019 and now has 138 sick, with 72 hospitalized and 13 with HUS. The number 9 largest multistate food poisoning outbreak of 2019 is the ongoing┬áSalinas romaine E. coli O157:H7 outbreak, which has sickened 102 people in 23 states as of December 4, 2019. Fifty-eight of those patients have been hospitalized because they are so ill. And ten people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. The case count by state is: Arizona (3), California (4), Colorado (6), Florida (1), Idaho (3), Illinois (1), Iowa (1), Maryland (4), Michigan (1), Minnesota (3), Montana (1), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (7), New Mexico (2), North Carolina (1), Ohio (12), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (8), South Dakota (1), Texas (4), Virginia (4), … [Read more...]

Ohio Romaine Outbreak Sickens 12 with E. coli O157:H7 Infections

The Ohio romaine outbreak has sickened 12 people with E. coli O157:H7 infections, making it the state with the second most illnesses after Wisconsin, with 33 cases as of December 9, 2019. Overall, at least 102 people are sick across the country, with 58 hospitalized and 10 who have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. The Ohio Department of Health as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the FDA have warned consumers to avoid any romaine lettuce that is harvested from other Salinas, California growing region. The growing season in that area ended on November 30, 2019, but some reports issued by government officials have said that this romaine may still be on store shelves. Most romaine products, including baby romaine, … [Read more...]

FDA Updates Romaine E. coli O157:H7 HUS Outbreaks

The FDA updates romaine E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks in a notice sent on December 12, 2019. This update is interesting because, although case counts in the large outbreak have not changed, the notice states that the two other ongoing E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks are linked to the large outbreak in a special way: "tracebacks on all three outbreaks have identified a common grower in Salinas." Those outbreaks are in the upper Midwest, sickening nine people in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota; and an outbreak in the Seattle, Washington area that is linked to Evergreen restaurants. One interesting tidbit: these two outbreaks are caused by E. coli strains that are different from each other and different from the larger outbreak. The case count is still 102 people sick in 23 states. … [Read more...]

Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp Salad E. coli Outbreak in Canada Updated

The Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp salad E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in Canada has been updated by Public Health Canada. Now, 24 people are sick with E. coli infections in six provinces. An E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in the U.S., which has sickened 9 people in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota is linked to the same product. This outbreak appears to be ongoing. The Fresh Express product has been recalled in Canada, but not in the United States. The genetic fingerprint of the pathogen that is making people sick is similar in both countries, indicating a common source of infection. Based on the investigation to date, exposure to Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp Chopped Salad kits has been identified as a likely source of this outbreak. Many of those sickened told investigators they ate … [Read more...]

FDA Has Identified a Common Grower in Three Ongoing E. coli Outbreaks

The FDA has identified a common grower in the three ongoing E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks that are linked to or associated with romaine lettuce. A statement from FDA commissioner Frank Yiannas issued last night updated the public on the investigation into these outbreaks. While a common grower, not named at this time, has been identified, the outbreaks are "currently being considered as three separate outbreaks caused by three different strains of E. coli O157:H7," according to the statement. These outbreaks were all identified at different times in November 2019 and early December 2019. While the FDA has identified a common grower in these outbreaks, Yiannas states "Because of the expansive nature of these outbreaks, our investigation remains a complicated work in progress, and it is … [Read more...]

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