October 24, 2016

CDPH Issues Final Report on 2013 E. coli Outbreak at Trader Joe’s and Walgreens

The California Department of Public Health has released a report on their investigation into the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in October 2013 associated with pre-packaged salads sold at Costco and Walgreens stores. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released their final report on this outbreak in December 2013. Thirty-three people were sickened in this outbreak; seven of those people were hospitalized. Two people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious complication of an E. coli infection, from their illness. No deaths were reported. The outbreak count per state was: Arizona (1), California (28), Texas (1), and Washington (3). The STEC O157:H7 PFGE pattern was new to the PulseNet database. Epidemiologic and traceback investigations indicated that Field … [Read more...]

Bagged Salad Poses Risk of E. coli O157:H7

Researchers in Tennessee, along with scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released a study published in Foodborne Pathogens and Disease about the risk of E. coli O157:H7 in bagged salads. An estimated 63,000 STEC O157 infections occur every year in the United States. Recent outbreaks have been associated with leafy greens such as lettuce and spinach. The researchers look at an outbreak of STEC O157 that was associated with bagged salads in institutional settings. The outbreak was in schools, and the case-control study was made up of controls matched by school and grade. Seventeen patients from three states were identified. The median age of a cases was 23 years. Seventy-six percent of the cases were female. Six people were hospitalized and two … [Read more...]

Transport, Storage Temperature Affects Food Safety of Bagged Salad

Temperature fluctuations during commercial transport and retail storage and display can affect the quality and food safety of bagged salads, according to a new study published in the Journal of Food Protection. The study, the first to examine time and temperature in commercial settings, could improve the food safety of leafy greens which are a major source of food poisoning Researchers from Michigan State University in East Lansing,  California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and the University of Cordoba in Spain, measured  temperatures on five transportations routes covering four geographic regions. The measurements included two to three days in transport, one to three days in retail storage, and three days of retail display. The conditions were then duplicated in a … [Read more...]

Fast-Growing Glass Onion Catering Under Scrutiny for E. coli

The California company at the center of a multi-state outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 associated with gourmet style, grab-and-go salads and wraps sold at Trader Joe's and other large and moderately sized retail chains is a fast-growing firm that only recently undertook a large expansion to serve a growing market. Now the company, known as Glass Onion Catering and Gourmet Foods, is the focus of investigation by three federal agencies and several state health departments in connection with its recall this week of 181,620 pounds of ready-to-eat salads and sandwich wrap products with fully-cooked chicken and ham that the feds say may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. So far, government officials say there are 22 people in California who have been confirmed as being infected by the outbreak … [Read more...]

German Researchers Look for New Ways to Make Safer Salads

Dr. Herbert Schmidt is the head of the University of Hohenheim's Department of Food Microbiology. His work focuses on foods and E. coli contamination, particularly the virulent enterohemorrhagic strain of the bacteria called EHEC. These bacteria are also known as Shiga-toxin producing E. coli, or STEC, and they cause serious illness that can lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). After the 2011 E. coli O104:H4 outbreak in Germany that sickened more than 3,800 people and killed 54, more research has been conducted into ways to make ready-to-eat foods safer. That outbreak was linked to raw sprouts. Dr. Schmidt's project is part of a collaboration between the Research Association of the German Food Industry, the German Federation of Industrial Research Association and the German Federal … [Read more...]

E. coli Outbreak Third In Three Years Linked To Salad Greens

The E.coli outbreak linked to spinach and spring mix salad greens sold at Wegmans and other grocery stores is the third multi-state E.coli outbreak linked to salad greens in  the last three years, according to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The outbreak, which began in New York, now includes cases in Connecticut, Virginia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. A spinach and spring mix blend sold at Wegmans grocery stores has been identified as one source of the outbreak for victims in New York. However, case patients  outside of New York mentioned eating other brands of pre-packaged leafy greens  before they became ill so other brands are still being investigated. The number of those ill in each state is as follows: Connecticut (2), Massachusetts (2), … [Read more...]

Iowa Schools Served Students Recalled Lettuce; Possible Listeria

The Iowa City Community School District served students recalled lettuce that may have been contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The fifth largest school district in Iowa was notified Monday that a recall of retail and foodservice bagged salads produced by River Ranch Fresh Foods of Salinas Calif. had been issued after Listeria was detected in a finished product during random sampling. But for the Iowa school district, the notice was too late. During the previous two weeks, salad included in the recall had already been served to all 12,454 students in the district, according to a statement posted on the district's website. Tuesday, May 7, was chef salad day for the elementary schools, so the recalled lettuce was offered to all elementary students on that day, according to the … [Read more...]

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