September 20, 2020

Forty Leafy Greens STEC Outbreaks Occurring During 2009 to 2018

The October 2020 issue of the CDC's Emerging Infectious Diseases has a study about E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks from 2009 to 2018 and found that there were forty leafy greens STEC outbreaks during that time frame. STEC is Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria, most often E. coli O157:H7. Those outbreaks caused 1,212 illnesses, 77 cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and eight deaths. More of those outbreaks were linked to romaine lettuce than any other type of leafy green. Forty-five percent of those outbreaks occurred in the fall, and 28% occurred in the spring. Leafy greens are the second most common source of foodborne STEC outbreaks, after ground beef. The connection between those two products is that cattle are considered the major reservoir for the pathogen, and STEC … [Read more...]

Will There Be a 2020 E. coli Romaine Lettuce Outbreak?

Food safety experts are holding their collective breath. Now that fall is here, will there be a 2020 E. coli romaine lettuce outbreak? In previous years, by this time there has been at least one serious outbreak linked to leafy greens. Is our luck about to run out? Or have changes made by the California and Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreements and government made a difference? There has been at least one E. coli outbreak in the U.S.  linked to leafy greens every year since 2017; hundreds have been sickened, dozens have been hospitalized, and several people died. One of the issues in these outbreak developments, especially in the past several years, has to do with climate. When there has been an unusually hot and dry summer, farmers in California and Arizona have to use more … [Read more...]

FDA Investigation Into Three Fall 2019 Romaine E. coli O157:H7 Outbreaks

The FDA has released a report detailing their investigation into three fall 2019 romaine E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks that sickened at least 188 people.  That agency worked with the FDA and state officials to investigation how the romaine lettuce was contaminated. The romaine E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks began in September 2019 and were declared over in January 2020. Some clusters within each of these outbreaks were traced to a common grower with multiple ranches and fields in the Salinas, California growing region. That grower was not named. Investigators found one of the outbreak strains of E. coli O157:H7 in a sample taken from public land less than two miles upslope from a produce farm with multiple fields that was identified during traceback investigations. Other Shiga … [Read more...]

FDA Releases 2020 Leafy Greens Action Plan After Romaine E. coli. Outbreaks

The FDA has released its 2020 Leafy Greens STEC Action Plan after the E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks linked to romaine lettuce in the past few years sickened hundreds. In fact, in 2019 alone, there were three E. coli O157:H7 romaine lettuce outbreaks that sickened more than 170 people and hospitalized more than 85 patients. Between 2009 and 2018, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified 40 foodborne outbreaks of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infections in the U.S. with a confirmed or suspected link to leafy greens. This illness can cause serious and life-threatening complications, including hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. Part of the problem is the nature of leafy greens and especially romaine lettuce. Most are grown … [Read more...]

Leafy Greens Industry Frustrated By Recurring E. coli Outbreaks

Will there be another E. coli outbreak linked to leafy greens this year? Since 2017, there has been at least one multistate E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to romaine lettuce every year. Outbreaks linked to packaged salads and other leafy greens go back to 2010. And every year, the outbreak is unsolved, with the FDA and CDC unable to pinpoint where the contaminated greens originated. The leafy greens industry is frustrated. The California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement group (LGMA) adopted new rules for its members last year, asking them to increase the buffer zone between between farm fields and animal feedlots, to clean equipment daily, to improve traceability, and to review the impact of severe weather on crops. Growers should now categorize the source of water used on their … [Read more...]

FDA Investigation of Romaine Multistate E. coli O157:H7 HUS Outbreak

The FDA has announced that the romaine multistate E. coli O157:H7 HUS outbreak is over after sickening 167 people in 27 states. The romaine lettuce that. made people sick is no longer on the market, since it was grown and harvested in the Salinas, California region and that area's growing season is over. The case count by state is: Arizona (4), California (8), Colorado (6), Delaware (1), Florida (4), Iowa (1), Idaho (4), Illinois (15), Maryland (5), Michigan (2), Minnesota (7), Montana (1), North Carolina (3), Nebraska (2), New Jersey (9), New Mexico (2), New York (3), Ohio (12), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (21), South Carolina (1), South Dakota (1), Tennessee (1), Texas (6), Virginia (6), Washington (6), and Wisconsin (35). Patient illness onset dates ranged from September 20, 2019 to … [Read more...]

FDA Weighs in on Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp E. coli Outbreak

The FDA is weighing in on the Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that sickened 10 people in 5 states. Four people were hospitalized and one patient developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. This salad mix also made 25 people sick in Canada, where the Fresh Express product was recalled. There was no recall issued in the U.S. The contaminated Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp Chopped salad kits that made people sick are "likely no longer available on the market," according to the FDA statement. The outbreak has ended as of January 15, 2020 after sickening 1 person in Georgia, Illinois, and North Dakota; three in Wisconsin; and four in Minnesota. Once again, the FDA states that this outbreak, the outbreak associated with Evergreen … [Read more...]

FDA Yiannas Statement on Salinas Romaine Lettuce E. coli Outbreaks

FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas has posted a statement on the Salinas romaine lettuce E. coli O157:H7 outbreak and investigation. There are three separate outranks the FDA is tracking, caused by three different strains of E. coli O157:H7. They are: the large multistate outbreak linked to that lettuce, a small outbreak linked to Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp Chopped Salad Kit in the upper Midwest, and an outbreak associated with Evergreen restaurants in Seattle. There is a common grower between each of these outbreaks, and that grower is located in Salinas, California. However, romaine from this grower doesn't explain all of the illnesses in these outbreaks. The last reported illness for all of the outbreaks was December 21, 2019. Yiannas says … [Read more...]

Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak Ends With 10 Sick

The Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp E. coli O157:H7 outbreak is over, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), after sickening 10 people in 5 states and hospitalizing 4. One patient developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). That is an increase of two more patients in two more states from the latest outbreak update that was released on December 9, 2019. The two new patients live in Georgia and Illinois. The case count by state is: Georgia (1), Illinois (1), Minnesotas (4), North Dakota (1), and Wisconsin (3). Illness onset dates ranged from November 5, 2019 to November 16, 2019. The patient age range is from 21 to 92. Four of 10 patients were hospitalized, and one person developed HUS. No deaths were reported. The contaminated Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp … [Read more...]

Salinas Romaine E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak Over After Sickening 167

The Salinas romaine E. coli O157:H7 outbreak is declared over by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), after sickening 167 people in 27 states. That is an increase of 29 more patients and two more states since the last outbreak update on December 19, 2019. Eighty-five people were hospitalized, 15 people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure, and there were no deaths. The CDC is no longer telling people to avoid romaine lettuce from the Salinas Valley growing region in California, but the growing season is over in that area until later this year. Once again, no specific grower or producer was named in this outbreak, although several recalls of products were issued. The case count by state is: Arizona (4), California (8), Colorado (6), … [Read more...]

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