June 17, 2019

FDA Improves Ice Cream Production Safety After Listeria Outbreaks

The FDA announced today that they are taking steps to improve ice cream production after inspecting food facilities and collecting and testing samples from the environment where foods are produced. The notice states, "Following a string of safety issues related to a number of U.S. ice cream distributors, the FDA engaged a team to inspect and obtain environmental samples from 89 ice cream production facilities in 32 states to test for Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella. The government fond that some were in violation of the law." There have been two Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks linked to ice cream in the past few years. Last year, one person was sickened after eating Working Cow Homemade ice cream. And in 2015, the CDC released information about 10 people sickened with … [Read more...]

History of Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreaks Linked to Meat and Cheese

The deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to deli sliced meats and cheeses has sickened 8 people in 8 states. One person who lived in Michigan has died. All eight patients were hospitalized. These outbreaks are tragic. What is the history of Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks linked to meats and cheeses? In the current outbreak, patients purchased deli sliced meats and cheeses in unnamed stores. The CDC outbreak notice did state that investigators found the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes in samples from meat sliced at "a deli" and from deli counters in multiple retail locations in New York and Rhode Island. Patients sickened in this outbreak live in Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. This outbreak demonstrates why public health officials tell those … [Read more...]

Protect Yourself Against Listeria Outbreak Linked to Deli Meat Cheese

A deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to unnamed deli meats and cheeses has sickened at least eight people in four states. All eight people were hospitalized. And, sadly, one person in Michigan died. Can you protect yourself and your family against this illness? This pathogen does not cause many outbreaks in the U.S., since it sickens about 2,600 people every year. Compared to Salmonella, which sickens 1,200,000 people every year in this country, it may seem like this pathogen isn't as dangerous. But that perception is wrong. Listeria monocytogenes causes serious illness and death in this country every year.  In fact, Listeria infections are the third leading cause of death from food poisoning in the U.S. One of the issues with this pathogen is that the population … [Read more...]

Why Are Deli Sliced Products Vulnerable to Listeria Monocytogenes?

The deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to deli sliced meats and cheeses that was announced yesterday by the CDC has sickened eight people and one Michigan resident has died. For years, Food Poisoning Bulletin has told you about dozens of recalls of deli items for possible Listeria contamination. Why are these deli sliced products vulnerable to Listeria? Listeria monocytogenes is a very persistent and strong pathogen. It is found in the air, water, soil, animals, and plant material. Once it has been introduced into a facility, especially a moist and cool environment, it can become established and be very difficult to get rid of. The pathogen can hide in floor cracks, grease traps, air vents, in machines and surfaces that are difficult to clean, on food preparation … [Read more...]

Deadly Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreak Linked to Deli Meats and Cheeses

A deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to deli sliced meats and cheeses has just been announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Eight people are sick in four states; one person who lived in Michigan has died. All eight patients have been hospitalized because their illnesses are so serious. The patient case count by state is: Michigan (2), New Jersey (1), New York (2), and Pennsylvania (3). Illness onset dates range from November 13, 2016 to March 4, 2019. The patient age range is from 40 to 88 years. It's unusual that illnesses that occurred more than 2 years ago are only now being announced in an outbreak, but this has happened before in Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks; most notably in the Blue Bell ice cream outbreak. Investigators use … [Read more...]

Listeria Outbreak Associated With Pasteurized Chocolate Milk

Usually, when we write about an outbreak associated with milk, the subject is raw milk. But in the CDC's Emerging Infectious Diseases issue for March 2019, a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak associated with pasteurized chocolate milk in Ontario, Canada is the subject. That outbreak took place from November 2015 through June 2016. The article states that listeriosis outbreak associated with pasteurized milk are rare in North America, but, like all foods, dairy products can be contaminated with pathogens after pasteurization. A study conducted in the U.S. reviewed 83 fluid milk-associated outbreaks from 1990 to 2006; only one was attributed to Listeria monocytogenes. Thirty four people were sickened during this outbreak, but only people who lived in Ontario were studied. Illness … [Read more...]

Working Cow Homemade Ice Cream Listeria Outbreak: FDA Lifts Suspension

The FDA has lifted the suspension of Working Cow Homemade, reinstating their facility registration. In October 2018, the FDA suspended the company's registration, so the firm was forced to stop operating. During the months that followed, Working Cow Homemade submitted a proposed shift in business to become a warehouse distributor of ice cream products instead of a manufacturer. The company will not resume manufacturing operations. In October 2018, that company recalled two varieties of their ice cream after one person in Florida was allegedly sickened. The FDA found a strain of Listeria monocytogenes during environmental sampling of the facility n 2017. The government did not release any more information about the ill person. The FDA used their authority granted by the 2011 … [Read more...]

Previously Unreported Listeria Outbreak Associated with Caramel Apples

In the CDC's Weekly Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for January 25, 2019, a previously unreported Listeria monocytogenes outbreak associated with prepackaged caramel apples was announced.  In late 2014 and early 2015, a large and deadly outbreak of listeriosis linked to prepackaged caramel apples sickened ate least 35 people. Thirty four patients were hospitalized. And listeriosis contributed to at least three of the seven deaths reported. Eleven of those cases were associated with pregnancy, causing three premature births and one fetal loss. In the 2017 outbreak, PulseNet found a cluster of three Listeria monocytogenes clinical isolates with indistinguishable pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern combinations. That means that those three people were likely sickened … [Read more...]

Listeria Outbreak Linked to Long Phung Pork Ends With 4 Sick

The Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to Long Phung pork products has ended with four sick, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All four patients were hospitalized because they were so sick. Those patients live in Louisiana, Michigan, Tennessee, and Texas. The 165368 C. Corporation of Houston, Texas, doing business as Long Phung Food Products, recalled their ready-to-eat pork products for possible contamination. They were labeled with the establishment number "EST. 13561" inside the USDA mark of inspection. They were sold nationwide. The outbreak appears to be over as of January 29, 2019. Listeria specimens from ill persons were collected. Whole genome sequencing was conducted on that bacterial DNA and found that all of those sickened were … [Read more...]

Two 2018 Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreaks Sicken 8, Kill One

There were just two Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks in the U.S. in 2018, but the results for those affected were severe. In all, eight people were sickened, all eight were hospitalized because they were so sick, and one person died. The first outbreak was linked to Johnston County Hams. Four people in 2 states were sickened ion that outbreak. One person, who lived in Virginia, died. On October 3, 2018, Johnston County Hams recalled ready-to-eat deli hams. One of the problems with deli meats is that the pathogen can survive the standard cleaning procedures most delis use and can be persistent. In that outbreak, public health investigators used the PulseNet system to find people who were infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes. The illness onset date ranged … [Read more...]

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