41 sickened with Salmonella at Michigan festival

Reading Summer Festival Days lasted from July 31 to Aug. 3, but the outbreak came from one event.

Reading Summer Festival Days“There were eight laboratory-confirmed cases and 33 probable cases” among the more than 250 people who attended an alumni reunion dinner Aug. 2, CHA health officer Steve Todd said. After being notified of the illnesses on Aug. 11 Todd put his department to work to contact attendees.

The community invited back all those who had attended Reading schools from across the state and country. Two members of the class of 1942 were present.

About 150 were found and interviewed by phone. “Several of the individuals either had been seen by a doctors or were hospitalized,” Todd said.

Many were in their 70s.

Because notification came nine days after the event there was little food to test. 

Shrimp sashimi sold in Hong Kong Thai restaurant contaminated with Salmonella

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) announced today (August 28) that a sample of shrimp sashimi taken at a Thai restaurant was found to be contaminated with a pathogen, Salmonella. The CFS has ordered the restaurant concerned to stop selling the affected product, and to review and improve the food production process.

Shrimp-SushiA CFS spokesman said, “The CFS took a sample of the shrimp sashimi from a licensed general restaurant in Kowloon City for testing through its regular Food Surveillance Programme. The test result showed that Salmonella was found to be present in 25 grams of the sample, contravening the ‘Microbiological Guidelines for Food’ which state that Salmonella should not be detected in 25 grams of food.”

Foster Farms, forget the soundbites and PR; market food safety at retail so consumers can choose

According to state-sponsored jazz, Foster Farms, California’s biggest chicken producer, has been accused of poisoning people with salmonella bacteria. After an outbreak last fall, the U.S. Department of Agriculture threatened to shut down three of the company’s plants.

foster.farms.salmonelleaSince then, though, the company has reduced its rates of salmonella contamination dramatically. Some food safety experts are now saying that the whole poultry industry should now follow this company’s example

Last summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found evidence that chicken from Foster Farms had caused a wave of Salmonella infections. More than 600 people had gotten sick.

Inspectors from the USDA arrived at Foster Farms plants, and this time, they went much further than the standard safety test. Instead of just testing whole chicken carcasses, they took samples of what most consumers actually buy: the cut-up parts, such as breasts, thighs and wings.

What they found is now shaking up the whole poultry industry. Their tests showed salmonella on about 25 percent of those cut-up chicken parts.

David Acheson, a former associate commissioner for foods at the Food and Drug Administration, says this pattern has been discovered at other poultry companies, too. Whole carcasses are largely free of salmonella, but then the bacteria appear on nearly a quarter of the chicken parts.

It’s a mystery that the poultry industry is now trying to resolve.

“What happened?” says Acheson. “Did this bug come in from the environment? Did something contaminate it during the process – the equipment, the workers, something weird like that? Or were we missing it the first time?”

Probably, we were missing it, Acheson says.

Others, like Seattle attorney Bill Marler, who makes his living suing companies when their food makes people sick, say it’s not good enough. “The standard is, it’s still OK to have a pathogen on your product that can sicken and kill your customers. And as long as that’s the way it is, we’re always going to limp from outbreak to outbreak to outbreak,” he says.

Marler believes that the FDA should take the same stand against salmonella that it did against another dangerous microbe: disease-causing E. coli.

When the FDA declared these E. coli bacteria illegal adulturants in food, the meat industry complained, but it also found new ways to prevent them from poisoning people. “It used to be 90 percent of my law firm’s revenue, and now it’s nearly zero. It’s a success story,” says Marler.

Eliminating salmonella altogether would be difficult — it’s much more common in the environment than disease-causing E. coli.

So for now, the FDA is asking companies to reduce salmonella contamination, but it’s not requiring chicken meat to be completely salmonella-free.

Food safety takes a hit in Danish budget proposal

At a time when a listeria outbreak continues to claim new victims – 13 people have died and a 29th person was confirmed as infected on Thursday – salmonella fears caused an egg recall and a steep increase in MRSA has been recorded, the government’s budget proposal released this week calls for cut in food control funding.

sorenThe government’s budget includes a 139.9 million kroner ($24.8 million) reduction in food safety controls and research. The cuts from a total food security budget of roughly 1.4 billion kroner and would be spread across the next four years. 

The cut was revealed on the same day that a new salmonella scare led to the recall of chilli-flavoured pork chops and just days after the food company Lepo recalled a batch of the popular liver pate spreadleverpostej after the discovery of listeria. 

 According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), measured by capita Denmark has some of the worst food security in the EU. The EFSA ranks Denmark as third worst country when it comes to the number of people infected with listeria, the eighth worst for campylobacter infections and the 11th worst when it comes to salmonella. 

Hundreds sick: that egg problem in Europe; apparently came from Germany

Sporadic or outbreak cases of Salmonella Enteritidis reported by Austria, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, in addition to one case reported in Luxembourg in a patient residing in France, appear to be linked by time of symptom onset and microbiological characteristics of isolates.

seasame.street.good.egg.projectCases in Austria, France and Germany share an epidemiological link to the same egg packaging centre in southern Germany. Isolates from contaminated eggs identified in France originating from the implicated German egg packaging centre share similar molecular characteristics to the human cases. Isolates from a sample of a Salmonella-contaminated strawberry cake, identified in Germany through an investigation unrelated to this outbreak, also share similar molecular characteristics to the human cases. Additional microbiological and environmental investigations could further strengthen evidence to support or discard the hypothesis of all cases being part of the same outbreak, and being infected after consumption of the same food (i.e. contaminated eggs produced in southern Germany).

This is particularly unclear with regard to the outbreak cases in the United Kingdom. Investigations and actions taken by the food sector have supposedly stopped the distribution of the suspected contaminated food to the market. However, due to the delay in case reporting, it is still possible that more cases will be notified. ECDC will continue to closely monitor the occurrence of human cases through EPIS-FWD and Member States could consider enhancing their surveillance activities for this Salmonella serovar and specifically for the phage type 14b.

It is noticeable that Salmonella Enteritidis-contaminated eggs have been able to reach the market, in spite of the strict regulations applying to table eggs for human consumption, and the success in reducing human and animal infections in recent years within the EU. EPIS-FWD and RASFF have been confirmed to be excellent tools for sharing information, identifying potential cross-border threats and linking independent investigations simultaneously occurring in different Member States.

European Food Safety Authority


Nosestretcher alert: ‘no salmonella on basil from decent companies’

Research from earlier this month from a bio-scientist from Gent University shows that certain intestinal bacteria, such as E. coli and Salmonella, can survive at 22 degrees on basil leaves and therefore can cause health risks.

basil.salmonellaAccording to John Van Laethem who is manager of Bell’aroma, a Belgian herb importer, this study is correct, but he quickly explains saying, “Consumers can rest easy because the lab conditions where this was tested were not using common practices.”

Van Laethem explained that after the plants were infected under lab conditions, tests were run using three different storing temperatures: 7°, 15° and 22°C. Only at 22°C did the Salmonella survive. Salmonella was completely killed off when stored at 7° and 15°. So as you can see these are conditions that you do not normally encounter.”

Come to sub-tropical Brisbane (that’s in Australia) and I can show you lots of basil at 22C.

Sprouts still suck; Globe and Mail is wrong to blindly promote them, especially for school kids

In 2005, as I was flying from Toronto to Kansas City to hang out with the love of my life in Manhattan (Kansas) I’d met a couple of weeks before, over 700 people in Ontario (that’s in Canada) were sickened with Salmonella in raw mung bean sprouts.

sprout.apple.aug.14After the German E. coli O104 outbreak that killed 53 people in 2011and sickened over 4,000, along, with the ridiculous public statements and blatant disregard for public safety taken by sandwich artist Jimmy John’s in the U.S., I figured we really needed to publish something.

The basic conclusions:

• raw sprouts are a well-documented source of foodborne illness;

• risk communication about raw sprouts has been inconsistent; and,

• continued outbreaks question effectiveness of risk management strategies and producer compliance

We document at least 55 sprout-associated outbreaks occurring worldwide affecting a total of 15,233 people since 1988. A comprehensive table of sprout-related outbreaks can be found at http://bites.ksu.edu/sprouts-associated-outbreaks.

Sprouts present a unique food safety challenge compared to other fresh produce, as the sprouting process provides optimal conditions for the growth and proliferation of pathogenic bacteria. The sprout industry, regulatory agencies, and the academic community have been collaborating to improve the microbiological safety of raw sprouts, including the implementation of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), establishing guidelines for safe sprout production, and chemical disinfection of seed prior to sprouting. However, guidelines and best practices are only as good as their implementation. The consumption of raw sprouts is considered high-risk, especially for young, elderly and immuno-compromised persons (FDA, 2009).

But, leave it to Canada’s self-proclaimed paper of record to push sprouts on kids in their back-to-school lunch feature.

247 sick in UK and it is an egg problem: Salmonella outbreak across Europe may be caused by single batch of eggs

The national salmonella outbreak which has struck down nearly 250 people across Britain could be traced back to a single source of eggs, health investigators have said.

egg.dirty.feb.12Earlier this month, three hospital patients affected by the salmonella outbreak in Birmingham died. But the infection was not cited as a contributing factor on the death certificates of two patients and the coroner’s report on the third patient has not yet been delivered.

Health officials said there have been 158 cases reported in the past week alone – since August 15 – but said these are not new infections but historical cases and that the reporting of new infections had in fact slowed down.

The UK Food Standards Agency decided to remind caterers to:

• keep eggs away from other foods, when they are still in the shell and when you have cracked them open;

• don’t use damaged or dirty eggs;

• be careful not to splash raw egg onto other foods, surfaces or dishes;

• if you are breaking eggs to use later (sometimes called ‘pooling’) keep the liquid egg in the fridge and take out small amounts as needed;

• use all ‘pooled’ liquid egg on the same day and don’t add new eggs to top it up;

• cook eggs and foods containing eggs thoroughly (piping hot?);

• use pasteurised egg for raw or lightly cooked foods;

• always wash and dry your hands thoroughly after touching eggs or working with them;

• clean food areas, dishes and utensils thoroughly and regularly, using warm soapy water, after working with eggs (doesn’t have to be warm, just soapy); and,

• serve egg dishes straight away, or cool them quickly and keep chilled

In Denmark, food authority Fødevarestyrelsen has ordered Hedegaard Foods to recall eggs and a number of egg-based products following the discovery of Salmonella in some of its goods. 

According to a Fødevarestyrelsen statement, the company found the bacteria in cages during its own inspections at a farm in Grindsted in central Jutland.

Pasteurised egg products made by the company are also being recalled as Salmonella can survive pasteurisation.

You’re not a fan of washing? I’m not a fan of Salmonella; 220 sickened and Australia still has an egg problem

In Feb. 2014,  the Victorian Department of Health blamed Green Eggs for a Salmonella outbreak in Melbourne and issued a health alert for the company’s raw eggs.

garlic.aioli_-300x300-300x300At least 220 people were sickened.

Science more that soundbites is what is needed on this issue.

The loss of 70 per cent of its business forced the Great Western company to shed staff and send their eggs to Melbourne for washing.

Owner Alan Green says the saga has cost the family-owned company hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“We lost 70 per cent of our market in 24 hours,” he said.

“We’ve got 40 per cent of that back and we’re now working rapidly on the other 30.”

The business has 33,000 chooks, which produce eggs for restaurants in Melbourne and farmers markets across Victoria.

The Department of Health has repeatedly said it’s confident Green Eggs was linked to a salmonella outbreak at two restaruants.

The farm was initially quarantined, with the department ordering the company to wash its eggs.

The couple has since, reluctantly, purchased an egg washer.

They wash their eggs prior to grading and packaging.

“Washing can be positive because it now eliminates any bacteria on the egg whatsoever,” Mr Green said.

“If done incorrectly, then washing won’t add bacteria but it can allow bacteria to get back in.

“It won’t happen during the washing because of the chlorine level in the washing water but it can get in later if the egg isn’t treated properly after washing.

“We’ve had to do it, not wishing to do it, but having done it we’ve now endorsed it and we’re doing everything we can to not only reach that level but go beyond it.”

Mr Green says all eggs in the United States must be washed, while in the UK egg producers are banned from washing eggs.

“We’re now vaccinating all our birds, which is what’s required in Europe and England.

“…we’ll be leaders in the small production field – there’s already big operators washing eggs.

“Does that mean everyone washing? I’m not a fan of washing.”

A table of raw egg related outbreaks in Australia is available at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/raw-egg-related-outbreaks-australia-3-3-14.xlsx.

166 sick from Salmonella linked to bearded dragons

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that this investigation is over; however, the illnesses linked to contact with pet bearded dragons are expected to continue at a low level.

bearded_dragon_pic*Reptiles can be carrying Salmonella bacteria but appear healthy and clean and show no signs of illness.

*Pet owners might be unaware of the risk of Salmonella infection from bearded dragons.

*It is important to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching reptiles or anything in the area where they live and roam.

*Simple tips on how to enjoy your pet reptile and protect yourself and your family from illness is available in English and en Español. 

*A total of 166 persons infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Cotham (160 persons) or Salmonella Kisarawe (6 persons) were reported from 36 states since February 21, 2012.

*59% of ill persons were children 5 years of age or younger.

*37% of ill persons were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.

*Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback findings linked this outbreak of human Salmonella infections to contact with pet bearded dragons purchased from multiple stores in different states.

*Bearded dragons are popular pet lizards that come in a variety of colors.

*CDC’S NARMS laboratory conducted antibiotic resistance testing on Salmonella Cotham isolates collected from ten ill persons and two bearded dragons infected with the outbreak strain.

*Nine (90%) of the ten isolates collected from ill persons were pansusceptible (susceptible to all antibiotics tested).

*One (10%) of the ten isolates collected from ill persons was resistant to ceftriaxone, an antibiotic used to treat serious Salmonella infections.

*The two isolates collected from infected bearded dragons were both pansusceptible.