February 19, 2020

Multi-State E. coli 0145 Outbreak Includes Alabama

Food Poisoning Bulletin has learned that the multi-state E. coli 0145 outbreak includes Alabama. There  are two confirmed cases of E. coli 0145 in Alabama, bringing the total number of patients in this outbreak to 11. There is still no official word from the CDC on the outbreak. Case count: Alabama (2) Florida (1) Georgia (5) Louisiana (2 ill, 1 death) The Alabama Department of Public Health told us that there are some additional possible cases pending. They are waiting to see test results. The states involved are working with the CDC, which is playing a supportive role. The illnesses began in April. The news about the outbreak broke when a toddler in New Orleans died of the infection last week. We have been contacting state health departments across the south to get … [Read more...]

Government Accountability Office Releases Report on E. Coli Interventions in Cattle

The bacteria live in the intestinal tract of healthy cattle and do not make them ill. The animals shed E. coli in feces. When the cattle are slaughtered, their intestines can explode and feces can contaminate the muscle that is used for ground beef. The United States beef industry has recalled more than 23,000,000 pounds of beef that has been contaminated with STEC E. coli in the past six years. These bacteria can cause potentially fatal hemolytic uremic syndrome in people, especially children and those in high risk groups. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that these bacteria cause about 110,000 cases of foodborne illness and 300 hospitalizations in the United States every year. The GAO details four objectives of the report: Identify preslaughter interventions. Look at … [Read more...]

Cruel and Unusual Punishment: Inmates and Food Poisoning

  The U.S. Centers for Disease control Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report was released this week. In it, a food poisoning outbreak at a minimum-security correctional facility was discussed. That facility, the Four Mile Correctional Center in Canon City, is a "designated work center where inmates are employed or receive vocational training." In 2010, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) started investigating an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli 0111 (STEC 0111). Ten inmates at the facility were confirmed victims of the bacteria. Investigators found that 14 other inmates had the same symptoms, including bloody diarrhea. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) testing found that the bacteria in stool samples matched bacteria taken from … [Read more...]

Jimmy John’s Clover Sprouts Linked to E. coli Outbreak

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has reported a multi-state outbreak of shiga-toxin producing E. coli 026 (STEC) infections linked to raw clover sprouts at Jimmy John's restaurants. Food Poisoning Bulletin has told you before about the hazards implicit in raw sprouts. Recently, there were seven recalls involving raw sprouts in one month, from December 2011 to January 2012. Many recent outbreaks of foodborne illness have been linked to sprouts. Sprouts can be contaminated many ways: from irrigation with contaminated water, feces from animals, runoff from farms, improperly cleaned growing or processing equipment, or improper handling. The seeds can be contaminated from the inside out. Last year, the restaurant management stated they were going to serve clover sprouts instead of … [Read more...]

Five Reasons Consumers Should Care About Wider E. coli Testing in Beef

The USDA has formally declared six additional pathogenic E. coli serogroups to be adulterants in ground beef. In March, USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) is scheduled to begin testing at meatpacking plants for the so-called Big Six: E. coli O26, E. coli O45, E. coli O103, E. coli O111, E. coli O121 and E. coli O145. They join E. coli O157:H7 as a new set of dangerous micro-organisms banned from ground beef and other non-intact beef products, such as needle- or blade-tenderized steak. Here are five reasons this is good news for the health of your family: 1) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that non-O157 strains of toxic E. coli are connected with about 110,000 human food poisoning illnesses annually -- almost double the number of illnesses connected … [Read more...]

E. coli Testing in Beef Trim to Expand

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is expected to begin testing beef trim in the next three months for six additional types of shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) bacteria. This breakthrough in food safety is being hailed by consumer groups and food safety experts. Since 1994, E. coli O157:H7 has been the only type of the bacteria declared as an adulterant and therefore subject to testing. The huge Jack-in-the-Box E. coli hamburger outbreak in 1993 was the impetus for this classification. It will soon be illegal to sell ground beef and beef intended for grinding if it is contaminated with six other serogroups: O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145. The pending change could be delayed depending on handling of comments from meat industry interests who are opposed to the … [Read more...]

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