October 24, 2016

Grassfields Cheese Recalled for E. coli; Associated With Outbreak

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is warning the public not to consume Grassfields Cheese, because it may be contaminated with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria (STEC). About 20,000 pounds of organic cheeses are being recalled. The cheese was sold from the firm's retail store at 14238 60th Avenue in Coopersville, Michigan to wholesale and retail customers. The cheese was also sold nationwide through the company's website. The cheese is associated with a STEC outbreak that has sickened at least seven people between March and July 2016. All of those sickened have the same outbreak strain of E. coli bacteria. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's Geagley Laboratory confirmed the presence of STEC bacteria in a sample of … [Read more...]

More Details on Whatcom County, WA E. coli Outbreak

The Whatcom County Health Department is investigating a STEC (Shiga Toxin-producing E. coli) outbreak associated with the Milk Makers Fest at the Northwest Fairgrounds on April 21 through April 23, 2015. Six cases have been identified so far; five are of primary school children who attended the event. Public health officials are interviewing the children who attended the event and their parents to try to pinpoint the food, water source, or activity that caused the illnesses. The department is also monitoring to make sure the illness doesn't spread from person to person. If any person goes to a doctor with diarrhea, a stool culture will be taken. Any positive E. coli results will be reported to officials, since this is a reportable illness. Three of the five children had stool … [Read more...]

USDA Recalls Increased in 2014

The number of food recalls issued by USDA-FSIS increased in 2014 over previous years. Ninety-four recalls were issued, compared to 75 in 2013. Pounds of food recalled also increased, from 13.1 million pounds in 2013 to 18.7 million pounds in 2014. USDA oversees the safety of meat, poultry, seafood, and egg products. But there were fewer recalls overall for pathogenic bacteria and more recalls for undeclared food allergens and labeling issues. Most recalls were for undeclared allergens (6.15 million) and "other" reasons (9.64 million). The "other" reasons were lack of inspection, labeling problems, or failure to present import inspection paperwork. Most of the recalls last year were Class I. The government defines that class as "a health hazard situation in which there is a reasonable … [Read more...]

Study Finds Non-O157 STEC Bacteria in U.S. Cattle

A study published in the Journal of Food Protection has found shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) bacteria in ground beef sold in the U.S. at the retail level. Cattle are reservoirs for E. coli O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, O145, and O157. Those bacteria can cause serious illness and death in humans. STEC bacteria were declared adulterants in ground beef by the USDA last year. This study estimates the prevalence of non-O157 STEC and E. coli O157 in naturally infected beef cows at post-weaning, finishing, and at slaughter. The study also tested STEC presence in finished ground beef. They found non-O157 STEC in 8 to 39% of cows and 2 to 38% of steer calves. These findings are evidence that beef cows and steer calves shed non-O17 STEC bacteria at post-weaning and before they go into the … [Read more...]

Beef Recalled for Big Six STEC E. coli

PFP Enterprises is recalling about 15,865 pounds of beef products because it may be contaminated with E. coli 0103, 0111, 0121, 0145, 026, and 045 according to the USDA. Those are the six non-O157 shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria (STEC) that the USDA classified as adulterants last year. No reports of illness have been reported to date. The recalled products include 10.5 pound boxes of Beef Outside Skirt Steak with a pack date of "12/13/13"; 20 pound boxes of Studio Movie Grill Beef Tenderloin Sliced, with a pack date of "12/05/13"; 15 pound boxes of Preseasoned Beef for Fajita, with a use by date of "1/13/14"; 40 pound boxes of Southwest Style Beef Skirts, with a pack date of "12/5/13"; and 20 pound boxes of Patterson Food Processors Beef Skirt Seasoned, with a pack date of … [Read more...]

Researchers Studying E. coli Bacteria in Five Year Project

A major five year research study is looking at E. coli bacteria in beef and how to control it in the food supply. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is heading up the study, along with scientists at Kansas State University and other institutions such as New Mexico State University and the University of California-Davis. Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) bacteria cause serious illnesses, including hemolytic uremic syndrome, in hundreds of thousands of Americans every year. Of the 500 known STEC bacteria, 100 can cause human disease. The 5-year study involves 48 scientists from 11 land-grant universities and other institutions who are conducting integrated research on the eight types of STEC bacteria. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, acting USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture said, … [Read more...]

FDA Releases Two Year Plan for Program Priorities

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released its two year Plan for Program Priorities. It is designed to meet the issues of the globalization of the food supply chain, changing industry processes, and consumer preferences for fresh and minimally processed foods. The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) is implementing the plan. There are six program objectives detailed in the plan, taking into account new authorities established by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The first goal is to reduce foodborne illness rates every year by publishing guidance for egg safety, manufacturing process changes, and record keeping for high-risk foods to facilitate traceback. Rules on infant formulas, guidance on arsenic in apple juice and other foods, and rules for "gluten … [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...]

Missouri Issues Alert About Raw Milk and E. coli Outbreak

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is issuing a health advisory about consumption of locally produced, raw dairy products that may be contaminated with E. coli O103. This bacteria is Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) that can cause serious illness and death. Several cases of the illness in northwest Missouri have been reported to public health authorities, including one confirmed case of  E. coli O103. Anyone who has the symptoms of a STEC infection, including severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, which may be watery and/or bloody, and vomiting, should see a doctor immediately. Most people get better within a week, but some can develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can cause kidney failure and death. This is a reportable illness, so all health care … [Read more...]

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