January 27, 2023

Safer Food Choices For Those at Risk For Food Poisoning

Every month there is at least one food recall about a potentially dangerous food in the United States. These recalls are for foods that may be contaminated with E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, cyclospora, and Campylobacter. Unfortunately, some foods are inherently risky because of the way they are grown or prepared. While the general public certainly is at risk for illness from these foods, there are some people who can become seriously ill if they are infected. There are safer food choices for anyone who is at high risk for food poisoning complications. People at higher risk for serious complications from food poisoning include the very young, the elderly, pregnant women, people with chronic health problems such as diabetes, and anyone with a compromised immune system. … [Read more...]

FDA on Old Europe Cheese Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreak

The FDA has weighed in on the Old Europe Cheese Listeria monocytogenes outbreak. The illnesses are linked to that company's brie and camembert soft cheese products. The Old Europe Cheese company is located in Benton Harbor, Michigan. The cheese was sold at various retailers and under multiple labels and brands including Reny Picot. The case count by state is: California (1), Georgia (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (1), New Jersey (1), and Texas (1). Five people have been hospitalized. The last illness onset date was August 5, 2022. The cheeses were sold nationwide. The affected cheeses have best by dates ranging from September 28, 2022 to December 14, 2022, and include all flavors and quantities. The recalled products include these brands: Reny Picot Black Bear Block … [Read more...]

Old Europe Cheese Recall For Possible Listeria Contamination

An Old Europe Cheese recall for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination has been issued. These soft cheeses are linked to a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak that has sickened at least six people in six sates. This voluntary recall covers products with best by dates through 12/14/2022. The cheeses were distributed in many stores nationwide from August 1, 2022 through September 28, 2022. The recalling firm, Old Europe Cheese, is in Benton Harbor, Michigan.   These cheeses were sold at  supermarkets, retail sorters, and wholesale outlets in the United States and Mexico. The stores that carried these cheeses include Albertsons, Safeway, Meijer, Harding’s, Shaw’s, Price Chopper, Market Basket, Raley’s, Save Mart, Giant Foods, Stop & Shop, Fresh Thyme, Lidl, Sprouts, … [Read more...]

Old Europe Cheese Listeria Outbreak Sickens 6, 5 Hospitalized

An Old Europe Cheese Listeria monocytogenes outbreak has sickened at least six people in six states and has hospitalized five, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Brie and Camembert cheese, that were sold under multiple brand names, made by this company are linked to these illnesses. The patient case count by state is: California (1), Georgia (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (1), New Jersey (1), and Texas (1). The patient age range is from 56 to 83 years. Sick people's samples were collected from August 6, 2017, to August 5, 2022. This large date range is not uncommon in Listeria outbreaks, since not many people are sick in each outbreak and since the pathogen can exist in food manufacturing environments for years. The PulseNet system is used to … [Read more...]

What Foods Are Commonly Associated with Listeria Outbreaks?

Given the two mystery Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks the government is currently investigating, it is a good idea to know what foods are commonly associated with Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks? This deadly infection has severe consequences; many people who contract it require hospitalization. If you are at higher risk for complications from this infection, you should think about avoiding these foods. Those who are at higher risk include the elderly, the very young, anyone with a chronic illness such as diabetes, anyone with a compromised immune system, and pregnant women. Most people who are sickened with this infection are older, have a chronic illness, or are pregnant; 90% of patients fall into those categories. Others who contract this infection rarely become seriously … [Read more...]

El Abuelito Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreak Report in MMWR

The El Abuelito Listeria monocytogenes outbreak in 2021 is the subject of a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) from the CDC for the week of May 27, 2022. That outbreak sickened at least 13 people in four states. Twelve people were hospitalized and one person died. The outbreak was linked to Hispanic-style cheese within 19 days of the detection of the illness cluster. Rapid food testing by agencies identified the implicated cheese. PulseNet, the national molecular subtyping surveillance network that is coordinated by the CDC, found a cluster of three infections on January 19, 2021. Two of the patients lived in Maryland and one lived in Connecticut. All of the patients were of Hispanic ethnicity. The cheese that was linked to this outbreak is a fresh, soft cheese made … [Read more...]

New Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreak Sickens 20; No Food Identified

A new Listeria monocytogenes outbreak has been identified on the FDA's Core Outbreak Investigation Table. No food has been named, no advisory has been issued, and there are no recalls. So far, traceback has been initiated, on-site inspections have begun, and sample collection and analysis are initiated. That may mean that the FDA has an idea what food has caused these illnesses. But we don't know where the sick people live, their illness onset dates, the age range, or if anyone has been hospitalized. Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks are usually fairly small. The people who get sickest from this infection are typically the elderly, people with chronic illnesses, and those with compromised immune systems, such as cancer patients undergoing treatment. Pregnant women are also quite … [Read more...]

El Abuelito Cheese Listeria Outbreak Ends With 13 Sick, 1 Death

The El Abuelito cheese Listeria monocytogenes outbreak has ended with 13 people sick, 12 hospitalized, and one death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The patients live in four states on the east coast. The case count by state is Connecticut (1), Maryland (5), New York (4), and Virginia (3). Illness onset dates range from October 20, 2020 to March 17, 2021. Twelve of the illnesses occurred in 2021. The patient age range is from less than 1 to 75 years. Twelve of the patients were Hispanic. One death was reported from Maryland. Four people got sick during their pregnancy, resulting in two pregnancy losses and one premature birth; the fourth person remained pregnant after recovering. State and local public health officials interviewed the patients … [Read more...]

CDC Updates Hispanic Style Cheese Listeria Outbreak Investigation

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated their Hispanic style cheese Listeria outbreak investigation with new information from the Connecticut Department of Health. On February 16, 2021, Connecticut officials found Listeria in samples of El Albuelito queso fresco cheese that was collected from a store where a patient diagnosed with listeriosis shopped. Investigators are working to confirmed that the Listeria bacteria found in this queso fresco cheese is the same pathogen that is making people sick. They are using whole genome sequencing (WGS) that maps the DNA of the bacteria. The results should be known soon. The case count still stands at seven sick. Those people live in Maryland (4), Connecticut (1), New York (1), and Virginia (1). All seven patients … [Read more...]

Unsanitary Conditions of Soft Cheese Making Linked to Listeria Outbreaks

In the wake of the deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak that is linked to Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses, it's worth looking at a 2018 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that examined listeriosis outbreaks associated with soft cheeses from 1998 to 2014. The study, published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, showed that unsanitary conditions of soft cheese making was linked to listeriosis outbreaks. The number of listeriosis outbreaks associated with cheese produced under unsanitary conditions has increased since 2006. Moreover, two-thirds of those outbreaks were linked to "Latin-style soft cheese," accounting for 98, or 54%, of the cases of listeriosis during that time frame. FDA inspections of cheese-making facilities associated with outbreaks … [Read more...]

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