January 24, 2022

Four Leafy Greens Outbreaks; How Do You Protect Yourself?

With four leafy greens outbreaks currently ongoing in the United States at this time (and several recalls), how do you protect yourself against foodborne illness? The CDC has some answers. From 2014 to 2018, there were 51 foodborne illness outbreaks linked to leafy greens. Five of those were multistate outbreaks reported to the public. (Most foodborne illnesses are not part of a recognized outbreak, and many are not multistate so the CDC does not cover them.) In 2019 to 2021, there were nine multistate outbreaks linked to leafy greens. And just in the last week of 2021, three of those outbreaks were announced. The current outbreaks are: Josie's Organics baby spinach E. coli outbreak. This outbreak, with illness onset dates ranging from October 13, 2021, to October 27, 2021, … [Read more...]

Three Packaged Salads Food Poisoning Outbreaks End 2021

Three packaged salads food poisoning outbreaks have ended 2021. While we got through the year without an E. coli outbreak specifically and officially linked to romaine lettuce, there are still seven unsolved outbreaks on the FDA's CORE Outbreak Investigation Table. In fact, there were five food poisoning outbreaks linked to packaged salad leafy greens in 2021: Josie's Organics Baby Spinach with E. coli O157:H7 that is still ongoing, Dole Salads with Listeria monocytogenes that is ongoing, Fresh Express with Listeria monocytogenes that is ongoing, Simple Truth and Nature's Basket Power Greens with E. coli O157:H7 that is ongoing, and BrightFarms salad with Salmonella that ended in August. Three Packaged Salads Food Poisoning Outbreaks The last three outbreaks linked to leafy … [Read more...]

Simple Truth and Nature’s Basket Greens Associated With E. coli Outbreak

Simple Truth and Nature's Basket Power Greens are associated with an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that has sickened at least 13 people in six states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Both brands are organic. Four people have been hospitalized, and one person has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. The patient case count by state is: Alaska (2), California (1), Mississippi (1), Ohio (1) Oregon (1), and Washington (7). The patient age range is from four to 79 years. Illness onset dates range from November 27, 2021 to December 9, 2021. Of 12 people who gave information to investigators, four were hospitalized, for a hospitalization rate of 33%. And of those 12 people interviewed, all reported eating packaged salads … [Read more...]

Fresh Express Sweet Hearts Romaine Positive For Listeria in MI

Fresh Express Sweet Hearts Romaine Lettuce Sweet Butter Lettuce has tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes contamination, according to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). A sample of that product that was collected as part of routine sampling and was analyzed by MDARD. No illnesses have been reported in Michigan in association with the consumption of these leafy greens. The product is Fresh Express Sweet Hearts Romaine Lettuce Sweet Butter Lettuce that is packaged in a 9 ounce clear plastic bag with a red and green label with white lettering. The use by date and lot code that is printed on the label is DEC 08 Z324B05A 16:04 07; Product of USA. That information is on the upper right corner of the front part of the bag. If you bought that … [Read more...]

BrightFarms Leafy Salad Greens Salmonella Outbreak Ends With 31 Sick

The BrightFarms leafy salad greens Salmonella outbreak has ended with 31 sick in four states and four hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  On the last update on case counts, which was issued in July 2021, there were only 11 people sick and two hospitalized. Another state, Pennsylvania, was added to the case count. The case count by state is: Illinois (18), Michigan (1), Pennsylvania (2), and Wisconsin (10). Illness onset dates range from June 10, 2021 to August 18, 2021. The patient age range was from less than 1 year to 86 years. The hospitalization rate was not given. Ofificlas interviewed people about the foods they ate before they got sick. They also collected shopper card records to discover which specific products were purchased. … [Read more...]

Farmers Market Food Safety Helps Prevent Foodborne Illness

It's National Farmers Market Week. That means it's also time to focus on Farmers Market food safety. When you visit a farmers market, you can find the freshest produce and sometimes meats and eggs, and you can learn more about these products and how to cook them. But you must remember that any food, even vegetables and leafy greens, can be contaminated with pathogens that can make you sick. There are more than 8,000 farmers markets across the country. During the COVID-19 pandemic, farmers markets were an essential source of health food for many communities. But how safe is the food you buy at farmers markets? It depends. There are some warning signs to look for and ways to protect ourself. Most farmers markets do not offer food washing stands, so it's a good idea to bring … [Read more...]

Old Souls Farms Leafy Greens Recalled For Possible Listeria

Old Souls Farms leafy greens are being recalled for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. These items were grown in greenhouses. No illnesses have been reported to the company to date in connection with the consumption of these items. The recalled Old Souls Farms leafy greens products include  clamshell packaged products that are in the sizes of 1 ounce, 4 ounce, and 5 ounce. The clamshell greenhouse product lot codes are 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 201, 202, and 203. These lot codes and best by dates are on the bottom of the clamshell. The expiration dates for all Arugula, Finstar, Green Bibb, Romaine, and Spring Mix items are 7/23/2021, 7/24/2021, 7/25/2021, 7/26/2021, 7/27/2021, 7/29/2021, and 7/30/2021. The Basil expiration dates are 7/20/2021, 7/21/2021, 7/22/2021, … [Read more...]

FDA Starts Sampling Salinas Valley Lettuce For E. coli Contamination

The FDA has started sampling Salinas Valley lettuce for Shiga toxin-producing E. coli and Salmonella species as part of online surveillance efforts following recurrent outbreaks linked to the products grown in this region. E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks linked to these products, more specifically romaine lettuce, have occurred in 2020, 2019, and 2018. Romaine lettuce is uniquely susceptible to contamination because of the way it grows. The lettuce grows in a cup shape very close to the ground. That shape can collect and hold irrigation water, which can be contaminated with pathogens, especially if the farm field is located near factory cattle farms. There is a recurring strain of E. coli O157:H7 in the region that has been identified in leafy greens year after year. In this new … [Read more...]

Investigation of Leafy Greens E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak in Fall 2020

The FDA has released an investigation report into factors that may have contributed to the leafy greens E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in fall 2020 that sickened at least 40 people in 19 states across the country. The outbreak was linked via whole genome sequencing and geography to outbreaks in 2019 and 2018 that were associated to the California growing region.; the proximity of cattle is a likely contributing factor. The outbreak caused 20 hospitalizations. Four people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication of an E. coli infection that is a type of kidney failure. The illness onset dates ranged from August 10 through October 31, 2020. Leafy greens were declared the likely source of this outbreak after interviews with patients. The E. coli O157:H7 outbreak strain … [Read more...]

Ultrasonic Cleaning Could Reduce Leafy Greens Outbreaks

A new study conducted at the University of Southamptom has found that ultrasonic cleaning could reduce leafy greens outbreaks in the future. The cleaning is done by spraying food with streams of water that carry sound and microscopic air bubbles. This can clean greens more effectively than current washing methods. The study was conducted in a collaboration between the University of Southampton, North Carolina State University,  with lead scientist Professor Timothy Leighton. The work was sponsored by Vitacress. There have been several deadly E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks in the past few years that were linked to leafy greens, particularly romaine lettuce harvested in Arizona and California. While most of the investigations conducted by the CDC, FDA, and local officials have not been … [Read more...]

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