September 21, 2023

Listeria Outbreak in Canada Associated with Imported U.S. Caramel Apples

The Public Health Agency of Canada is reporting that two people are sick with listeriosis in Canada with the same genetic fingerprint as seen in the Listeria monocytogenes outbreak in the U.S. that is linked to commercially produced caramel apples. The outbreak in the United States has sickened at least 29 people and killed five. Public health officials are investigating to see if these people consumed prepackaged caramel apples imported from the U.S. Public officials in Canada are advising that Canadians do not eat commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples imported from the United States until further notice. This includes plain caramel apples as well as those made with nuts, sprinkles, chocolate, or other toppings. The products have a shelf life of one month so people may have … [Read more...]

Caramel Apple Outbreak: History of Apple Recalls for Listeria

The recent outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes linked to commercially prepared, prepackaged caramel apples in the U.S. may seem surprising. After all, caramel apples are hardly a food one thinks of in relation to food poisoning. But in the past two years, there have been a few recalls of apples products for this bacteria, so the outbreak is not unprecedented, although no illnesses were reported linked to the recalls below. Earlier this month, Giant Eagle recalled their Apple Pistachio Salad, plain and with chicken because they may have contained fresh cut Gala red apples recalled by Del Monte Fresh Produce for possible Listeria contamination. The Del Monte recall was for apple slices, apple slices with dip, apples with cheese, snack packs, pineapple medley, apples with grapes and cheese, … [Read more...]

Listeria Deaths Investigated with Advanced Outbreak Detection

U.S. food safety and health agencies are continuing to expand the use of whole genome sequencing (WGS) to detect outbreaks of life-threatening foodborne illness, especially clusters of infection from Listeria monocytogenes. A 2014 Listeria YouTube video presentation shared recently by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention depicts how the use of WGS solved a mysterious Listeria outbreak that was sickening pregnant women and infants in Maryland. The same outbreak caused a Listeria death in California. More recently, WGS was credited for helping to solve a multi-state outbreak of Listeriosis associated with mung bean sprouts produced by Wholesome Soy Products Inc. Currently, WGS is at the center of the public health response to a 10-state outbreak of Listeria associated with … [Read more...]

Attorney Investigating Listeria Outbreak Linked to Caramel Apples

Attorney Fred Pritzker and his Bad Bug Law Team® are investigating the Listeria outbreak linked to caramel apples that has so far has sickened 28 people in 10 states: Arizona (4), California (1), Minnesota (4), Missouri (5), New Mexico (5), North Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (2). "At this stage of the investigation, it is absolutely essential to know the chain of distribution for this product," said attorney Pritzker. "We need to find out where these products were processed and sold and the point along the chain of distribution where the contamination occurred. Without this information, it will be impossible to trace back all of the case patients to the source of the Listeria.” It is for this reason that Pritzker is calling on the processors and … [Read more...]

How Does Listeria Get on Apples?

The current Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to commercially prepared, prepackaged caramel apples is worrying. Twenty-eight people have been sickened and five have died so far in this multi-state outbreak. Caramel apples are not a food one usually associates with foodborne illness. But all raw produce can be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. Almost all farm fields are irrigated with water, especially during droughts. That water can be contaminated with any kind of bacteria. And fertilizers made from manure can contain bacteria. When that bacteria gets onto fruits or vegetables it attaches to the produce and produces a biofilm that protects the bacteria and helps it grow. Produce can be contaminated with bacteria at any time along the supply chain, from the fields to the … [Read more...]

Listeria Outbreak Linked to Oasis Cheese Ends

A Listeria outbreak linked to soft cheeses sold under the brand names Oasis, Lacteos Santa Martha and  Hondu Crema has ended after sickening five people in four states, one of whom died, according to a final report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There was one illness reported in each of the following states: Georgia, New York, and Texas and two cases reported in Tennessee. The fatality occurred in Tennessee. All of those sickened were Hispanic, three of the cases were related to a pregnancy, one case was diagnosed in a newborn baby. Because their immune systems are weakened, pregnant women are at special risk for Listeria which can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery and illness in newborn babies. Because of the likelihood that they will … [Read more...]

Illinois Sprouts Listeria Accountability Addressed in FDA Report

Food safety shortcomings at Wholesome Soy Products Inc. included employee practices that allowed for potential contamination in various ways, according to an FDA inspection report completed one month ago. The report, obtained by Food Poisoning Bulletin, was made in the wake of an Illinois outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes associated with mung bean sprouts. The outbreak, which also spread to Michigan, included the tragedy of two Listeria deaths. According to FDA documents, a team of four inspectors observed a variety of conditions and employee practices at Wholesome Soy Products over a series of 10 visits to the Chicago sprout-growing facility beginning October 7 and ending October 31. Seven days later, Wholesome Soy Products verbally agreed to close its facility, cease production and … [Read more...]

Cantaloupe Farmers Pay Fraction of Restitution for Listeria Outbreak

The brothers who owned the Colorado cantaloupe farm linked to the 2011 Listeria monocytogenes outbreak that sickened 147 people, killed 35, and caused one miscarriage have paid a fraction of the restitution they were initially ordered to pay. Eric and Ryan Jensen, both of Holly Colorado, pleaded guilty in October 2013 to introducing cantaloupe contaminated with Listeria to the marketplace and were ordered to pay $300,000 in restitution to victims who lost money because of the outbreak. Those who lost money in connection with the outbreak on medical bills, attorneys fees or funeral expenses and were seeking restitution were to have submitted an account to the court by a deadline last week. Only three people did. Their statements, for $7,624, $4,644 and $916, totaled $13,184. Many of the … [Read more...]

Update on Roos Foods Dairy Products Listeria Outbreak

The CDC has updated the Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to Roos Foods dairy products. A total of eight people have been sickened in two states. They are: California (1) and Maryland (7). Seven of the eight ill persons have been hospitalized because their illnesses are so severe. One death was reported in California. Five of the illnesses (2 mother-newborn pairs and a newborn) were related to pregnancy. All of the patients are of Hispanic origin. The outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes responsible for these illnesses was found in cheese products made by Roos Foods of Kenton, Delaware. In addition, whole-genome sequencing of the bacteria isolated from Roos Foods Cheese products found they were "highly related" to the Listeria isolated from patients in the outbreak. These … [Read more...]

FDA Closes Roos Foods Cheese Plant After Listeria Outbreak

The FDA has suspended the food facility registration of Roos Foods Inc. of Kenton, Delaware today after the FDA found there was a "reasonable probability of food manufactured, processed, packed, or held by Roos Foods causing serious adverse health consequences or death to humans." Cheese and other products made by Roos Foods are linked to a Listeria outbreak that has sickened at least seven people in Maryland and killed one person in California. The investigation by the FDA, CDC, and state and local authorities found that the cheese was contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. This is only the second time since 2011 that the FDA has used its power to close a facility for producing a contaminated product. Inspections by authorities found that the roof was leaking so badly that water … [Read more...]

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