September 27, 2016

Five Minnesotans Sickened in General Mills Flour E. coli Outbreak

Five people in Minnesota have been sickened in the E. coli O121 and O26 outbreak linked to recalled General Mills flour. The outbreak case count now includes 46 people in 21 states. Thirteen of those ill persons have been hospitalized. One person has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, and no deaths have been reported. Laboratory, traceback, and epidemiologic evidence indicate that flour produced at the General Mills facility in Kansas City, Missouri is a "likely source" of this outbreak. Two strains of E. coli bacteria have been found in the flour; E. coli O121 and E. coli O26. General Mills has expanded its recall of flour produced at that mill twice to include more production dates. Please look carefully at the list of recalled products to see if you purchased any. If you … [Read more...]

Salmonella Outbreak in MN Associated With Taylor Farms Kale

A Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak associated with Taylor Farms Organic Kale Medley sickened six people in Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Health told Food Poisoning Bulletin in an email. The illnesses began between April 3 and April 26, 2016. One person was hospitalized as a result of their illness, and all patients are recovering. The product associated with this outbreak, Taylor Farms Organic Kale Medley "power greens" mix, was purchased at Sam's Club locations in Minnesota. The product contains kale, shredded carrots, chard, and spinach. That company pulled the product from store shelves nationwide on May 4, 2016, and directly notified all customers who purchased the product in Minnesota since March 1, 2016. Doug Schultz, of the Minnesota Department of Health, stated in … [Read more...]

Norovirus Outbreak Sickens Carleton College Students

A norovirus outbreak has sickened at least 22 Carleton students, according to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Public health officials think that the students were sickened after they ate at Hogan Brothers' Acoustic Cafe in Northfield, Minnesota. Hogan Brothers' is a popular restaurant in town that serves custom made sandwiches. The restaurant is temporarily closed to clean and investigate what happened. The college has set up a form to report any stomach illness among students and staff. The college itself is reporting that about 20 to 25 students are ill with symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The news release on Carleton's website states that "it is very unlikely the illness is related to food served in any of the Carleton dining facilities." The form is to help … [Read more...]

How Does Salmonella Get on Pistachios?

The current Salmonella outbreak linked to recalled Wonderful pistachios brings up a question: how does Salmonella get on pistachios? Most of us are familiar with problems with Salmonella on poultry and in eggs. But a dry, shelf-stable product such as pistachios doesn't seem to be a candidate for this bacteria. Unfortunately, Salmonella can live for a long time on dry products, according to research published in the Journal of Food Protection in October 2015. Salmonella can survive for at least six months on foods that are very dry, and will not grow, but survive, on foods that are refrigerated or frozen. And, as we have told you before, any product, including produce, which includes nuts, can be contaminated with bacteria. There have been 89 recalls of nut butters and nuts for … [Read more...]

E. coli Sproutbreak in MN and WI: What is It About Sprouts?

An E. coli O157:NM outbreak in Minnesota and Wisconsin had been linked to alfalfa sprouts made by Jack and the Green Sprouts in River Falls, Wisconsin. The outbreak has sickened at least nine people so far. Two of those sickened have been hospitalized. The sprouts have been recalled and hopefully there will be no new illnesses reported. But there will be more recalls and outbreaks involving sprouts in the future, because these products are inherently risky. Just browse through all of the stories of recalls and outbreaks we've written about in the past four years. What is it about sprouts that makes them so prone to contamination? The answer lies in how the seeds are sprouted and how they are grown in the first place. The seeds themselves can be contaminated, from feces from animals, … [Read more...]

Unusual Advice for Those Who Bought Recalled Sprouts Linked to Outbreaks

Every time a food is recalled for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination, the advice from food safety experts is to clean out the fridge with a mild bleach solution, since that bacteria can grow at refrigerator temperatures. Now, the FDA is recommending that anyone who bought alfalfa sprouts from Sweetwater Farms LLC should do the same. Their advice is to wash the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards, and countertops, then sanitize them with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water; and dry with a clean cloth or paper towel that has not been previously used. Of course, cleaning your refrigerator regularly is important for food safety in general, but this advice is unusual with foods that may be contaminated with Salmonella … [Read more...]

CDC Investigates RAW Meal Organic Shake Salmonella Outbreak

The CDC is investigating the multistate outbreak of Salmonella Virchow linked to RAW Meal Organic Shake and Meal Replacement Products. Evidence available suggests that those products, manufactured by Garden of Life LLC of Florida, are the likely source of this outbreak. At least 11 people in 9 states are sickened in this outbreak, and one person has been hospitalized as of February 1, 2016. No deaths have been reported. Of 10 people interviewed, 100% reported consuming powdered supplements or meal replacement powders the week before they got sick, and all specifically reported consuming Garden of Life RAW Meal products. The outbreak case count by state is: Minnesota (2), New Jersey (2), New Mexico (1), Ohio (1), Oklahoma (1), Oregon (1), Tennessee (1), Utah (1), and Wisconsin … [Read more...]

Which Chipotle Restaurants are Part of the E. coli Outbreak?

The E. coli O26 outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in six states hasn't been updated in more than 10 days. This outbreak has been strange. The case count grew to include 50 patients, then that number was reduced to 37. Then the case count grew to 45 patients, and four more states were added to the outbreak base. As of November 20, 2015, there are 45 people sickened in six states. The case count per state is: California (2), Minnesota (2), New York (1), Ohio (1), Oregon (13), and Washington state (26). There are no reports of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and no deaths. No food or environmental samples have yielded the outbreak strain of the shiga toxin-producing bacteria. But 43, or 96%, of ill patients said they ate at a Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant the week before they … [Read more...]

Deadly Salmonella Cucumber Outbreak Grows to 671 Sick

The Salmonella Poona outbreak linked to cucumbers imported by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce has grown to include 671 people sick in 34 states. Three people have died from their infections, and 131 people have been hospitalized. Alabama was added to the list of states with ill persons. This is an increase of 113 cases since the last update on September 22, 2015. Now, 51% of ill persons are children younger than the age of 18. The case count by state is: Alabama (1), Alaska (13), Arizona (112), Arkansas (9), California (164), Colorado (17), Hawaii (1), Idaho (22), Illinois (8), Indiana (2), Iowa (5), Kansas (2), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (5), Minnesota (34), Missouri (10), Montana (14), Nebraska (5), Nevada (13), New Mexico (30), New York (5), North Dakota (3), Ohio (2), … [Read more...]

Cucumber Salmonella Outbreak Sickens 558

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated their investigation into the Salmonella Poona outbreak linked to imported cucumbers. Since the last update on September 15, 2015, 140 new illnesses have been reported. Now at least 558 people in 33 states have been sickened in this outbreak. One hundred twelve people have been hospitalized as a result of their infections, and three people have died. Those who died lived in Arizona, California, and Texas. Fifty-two percent of ill people are children under the age of 18. The new states involved in this outbreak are Iowa and South Dakota. A recall by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce, which imported the cucumbers, has been issued. The FDA has discovered that the cucumbers were produced at Rancho Don Juanito de R.L. de … [Read more...]

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