Seek and ye shall find: Beef products recalled due to possible E. coli O103 contamination

Caviness Beef Packers, a Hereford, Texas establishment, is recalling approximately 2,100 pounds of boneless beef trim products that may be contaminated with E. coli O103, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.  

caviness-beef-packerssThe 2,100-lb. Combo Bin of “boneless beef trim 84L” products were produced on September 14, 2016 and further processed into ground beef products by another establishment. The recalling establishment has control of all but 320 pounds of ground beef products.

10 lb. chub – 73% Regular Ground Beef products with a “Use By” or “Freeze By” date of October 10, 2016 and bear UPC number 52846-48935. 

2-3 lb. tray pack of – 73% Regular Ground Beef products with a “Sell By” date of September 28, 2016 and bear UPC number 2-01656-00000.

1.5 lb. tray pack of – 73% Regular Ground Beef products with a “Sell By” date of September 28, 2016 and bear UPC number 2-01654-00000.

The products subject to this recall were further processed by a firm other than Caviness Beef Packers, “EST. 675” and may not bear the establishment number “EST. 675”, on products available for direct consumer purchase. These products were shipped to retail locations in Texas.

The problem was discovered when FSIS was notified of a USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) sample that tested positive for E. coli O103. Because the company works with the AMS Commodity Program, AMS did routine microbiological testing. This shipment of beef was never intended for the National School Lunch Program (NLSP) and no sales were made to the NLSP. There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products.

Many clinical laboratories do not test for non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), such as STEC O103 because it is harder to identify than STEC O157. People can become ill from STECs 2–8 days (average of 3–4 days) after consuming the organism. Most people infected with STEC O103 develop diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. Some illnesses last longer and can be more severe. Infection is usually diagnosed by testing of a stool sample. Vigorous rehydration and other supportive care is the usual treatment; antibiotic treatment is generally not recommended.

Raw is risky: Seattle’s Toulouse-Petit closed during food-poisoning investigation

Toulouse is one of my favorite French cities.

horse_meat_09Why is it the name on a restaurant in Seattle?

Laura Fonda of Queen Anne View reports that Toulouse-Petit Kitchen & Lounge (601 Queen Anne Ave N) has been temporarily closed down by King County heath officials as they investigate possible food poisoning at the restaurant.

According to King County Public Health, six out of seven people from the same party ate at the restaurant and became ill with symptoms consistent with a bacterial infection such as Salmonellosis or Shiga toxin-producing E. coli.  The potential food source is still under investigation, but Public Health notes that the party had consumed food items that may increase the risk of foodborne illness, including raw beef and raw egg.

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-5-27-45-pmPublic Health investigated the restaurant today and found “several problems including room temperature storage, inadequate refrigeration and improper cooling of potentially hazardous foods and cross contamination, which resulted in temporary suspension of the restaurant’s permit.”

20 children sickened: E. coli O26 in Italy, 2013

In summer 2013, an excess of pediatric cases of haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) in a southern region of Italy prompted the investigation of a community-wide outbreak of Shiga toxin 2-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O26:H11 infections. Case finding was based on testing patients with HUS or bloody diarrhoea for STEC infection by microbiological and serological methods.

bobby-crosier-e-coli_-sep_-15A case–control study was conducted to identify the source of the outbreak. STEC O26 infection was identified in 20 children (median age 17 months) with HUS, two of whom reported severe neurological sequelae. No cases in adults were detected. Molecular typing showed that two distinct STEC O26:H11 strains were involved. The case–control study showed an association between STEC O26 infection and consumption of dairy products from two local plants, but not with specific ready-to-eat products. E.coli O26:H11 strains lacking the stx genes were isolated from bulk milk and curd samples, but their PFGE profiles did not match those of the outbreak isolates.

This outbreak supports the view that infections with Stx2-producing E. coli O26 in children have a high probability of progressing to HUS and represent an emerging public health problem in Europe.

Community-wide outbreak of hemolytic uraemic syndrome associated with Shiga toxin 2-producing Escherichia coli O26:H11 in southern Italy, summer 2013

Eurosurveillance, Volume 21, Issue 38, 22 September 2016

C Germinario, A Caprioli, M Giordano, et al.

Raw is risky: In Netherland E. coli in beef tartare is the ‘poop bacteria’

Because it’s raw beef.


Supermarket chain Jumbo is removing various beef tartar products, rissole and steak du boeuf from its shelves as the meat products may contain the E. coli bacteria.

jumbo_supermarktenAnd maybe something was lost in translation, but the NL Times story says, the E.coli bacteria, also known as the poop bacteria, can cause food poisoning symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal cramps. It is particularly dangerous to pregnant women, elderly people and people with weakened immune systems.

Raw milk cheese can really suck

Fresh cheeses are a main garnish of Mexican food. Consumption of artisanal fresh cheeses is very common and most of them are made from unpasteurised cow milk.

unknownA total of 52 fresh unpasteurised cheeses of five different types were purchased from a variety of suppliers from Tabasco, Mexico. Using the most probable number method, 67% and 63% of samples were positive for faecal coliforms and E. coli, respectively; revealing their low microbiological quality.

General hygienic conditions and practices of traditional cheese manufacturers were poor; most establishments had unclean cement floors, all lacked windows and doors screens, and none of the food-handlers wore aprons, surgical masks or bouffant caps. After analysing all E. coli isolates (121 strains) for the presence of 26 virulence genes, results showed that 9 (17%) samples were contaminated with diarrheagenic E. coli strains, 8 harboured non-O157 Shiga toxin producing E. coli (STEC), and one sample contained both STEC and diffusely ad-herent E. coli strains. All STEC strains carried the stx1 gene. Potential uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC) strains were isolated from 15 (29%) samples; the most frequent gene combination was fimA-agn43. Two samples were contaminated with Salmonella. The results demonstrated that unpasteurised fresh cheeses produced in Tabasco are of poor microbiological quality and may frequently harbour foodborne pathogens.

Food safety authorities in Mexico need to conduct more rigorous surveillance of fresh cheeses. Furthermore, simple and inexpensive measures as establishing programs emphasizing good hand milking practices and hygienic manufacturing procedures may have a major effect on improving the microbiological quality of these food items.

Mexican unpasteurised fresh cheeses are contaminated with Salmonella spp., non-O157 Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli and potential uropathogenic E. coli strains: A public health risk

International Journal of Food Microbiology 237 (2016) 10–16, DOI:

R Guzman-Hernandez, A Contreras-Rodriguez, R Hernandez-Velez, I Perez-Martinez, A Lopez-Merino, MB Zaidi, T Estrada-Garcia

Avoid pigeon poop, possible source of bad E. coli

Verotoxigenic Escherichia coli infections in humans cause disease ranging from uncomplicated intestinal illnesses to bloody diarrhea and systemic sequelae, such as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

pigeon-poop-shamelessPrevious research indicated that pigeons may be a reservoir for a population of verotoxigenic E. coli producing the VT2f variant. We used whole-genome sequencing to characterize a set of VT2f-producing E. coli strains from human patients with diarrhea or HUS and from healthy pigeons. We describe a phage conveying the vtx2f genes and provide evidence that the strains causing milder diarrheal disease may be transmitted to humans from pigeons.

The strains causing HUS could derive from VT2f phage acquisition by E. coli strains with a virulence genes asset resembling that of typical HUS-associated verotoxigenic E. coli.

Whole-Genome characterization and strain comparison of VT2f- producing Eschericha coli causing hemolytic uremic syndrome

Emerging Infectious Dieseaes, Volume 22, Number 12- December 2016,  DOI: 10.3201/eid2212.160017

E.coli, Giardia and crypto: Beware the duck pond at NZ Botanical Gardens

Gisborne’s chief medical officer has warned parents that children do not have to be in contact with water to pick up bugs from dirty water at the Botanical Gardens.

botanical-garden-japaneseGisborne District Council this week confirmed the duck pond at the gardens contained E.coli, Giardia and Cryptosporidium.

Although a statement from GDC said someone would have to drink “a good amount” of water to get sick, medical officer of health Dr Margot McLean pointed out that was not the case.

“You don’t have to enter the pond or drink the pond water to pick up the bugs that can make you sick. You could also pick up the bugs by putting hands in the water or touching areas where there is duck poo.

“This shouldn’t put people off visiting the ducks, as long as extra care is taken with hand hygiene.

“Antibacterial wipes could be used immediately after leaving the area, however parents should supervise children washing their hands and use the 20/20 rule; 20 seconds to wash/20 seconds to dry on the return home.

“Any duck poo should be removed from shoes so that the poo doesn’t contaminate surfaces like floors, or hands.”

E. coli in Scotland: FSS doubles down and says all Errington Cheese products pose a risk to public health

According to Lizzy Buchman of The Scotsman Food Standards Scotland (FSS) issued an alert to all Scottish councils calling for all Errington Cheese products to be removed from the shelves as they could pose a risk to public health. The outbreak is being linked to another outbreak in Angus where a playgroup has been temporarily shut down due to a small number of cases.

double-downThe South Lanarkshire-based firm has already been forced to take two of cheeses off the market following a wave of E. coli cases linked to a batch of Dunsyre Blue cows milk cheese and another batch of Lanark White ewe’s milk cheese. A statement released tonight by FSS Scotland said: “Both O157 and non-O157 strains of E. coli have been detected in a number of different types of cheese produced by Errington Cheese Ltd. “Errington Cheese Ltd has not voluntarily withdrawn these products so… FSS as the designated central public food body in Scotland, is initiating the withdrawal of all cheese produced by Errington Cheese Ltd from the marketplace. “FSS and South Lanarkshire Council’s investigations into food safety related to unpasteurised cheese produced by Errington Cheese Ltd are ongoing. Actions will continue to be determined by what is necessary to protect public health and the interests of consumers.” The affected products include Dunsyre Blue, Dunsyre Baby, Lanark Blue, Lanark White, Maisie’s Kebbuck and Cora Linn cheeses.

NHS Tayside said it is investigating linked cases of E.coli O157 affecting a “small number of children” in the region, which has led to a playgroup being temporarily closed. The playgroup, which has not been named by NHS Tayside, has been shut as a precautionary measure while investigations continue. The health board’s Health Protection Team has issued information to parents at the playgroup and an Angus primary school advising them of action to take if they have concerns about their child’s health. A helpline has also been set up on 0800 028 2816. The health board is examining possible sources and routes of transmission and said “necessary control measures” have been put in place to prevent the infection spreading. Consultant in public health medicine, Dr Jackie Hyland, said: “NHS Tayside and Angus Council are together investigating a small number of linked cases of E.coli O157 infection. The risk to the general public remains low and those affected have received appropriate medical treatment and advice.” No one at Errington Cheese was available for comment. The firm said previously that its own extensive testing had shown the cheese was safe to eat.

Matador customer: E. coli illness ‘worst pain you could imagine’

A Seattle woman who became ill in the recent E. coli outbreak described it as the “worst pain you could imagine.”

king_annamarie_kirkpatrick_1473816059517_6036798_ver1-033-year-old Annamarie Kirkpatrick said she ate at Matador in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood on August 20. She became ill with severe abdominal pain five days later.

“Probably the worst pain you could imagine,” she said. “But just having a doctor tell you we think it’s this, we think it’s this, having six diagnoses in three days was probably the worst.”

Kirkpatrick is one of six people who became ill after eating at the restaurant.

The sign on the door Tuesday said the restaurant was temporarily closed. Health investigators say they are still searching for the source.

“It’s scary to think you go out to a restaurant and order food, and they’re supposed to be the healthiest friendliest places, you would think. And you end up contracting an illness,” Kirkpatrick said.

Tragic: Indiana mom speaks out after toddler’s sudden E. coli death ‘Misdiagnosed five times’

Less than a week after he woke up feeling ill, 2-year-old Grayson Dunham was dead — the victim of an E. coli infection complication that took a grave turn.

e-coli-graysondunham_family_picture_139d18e7d0c0a23e98ad3c5c74f1d824-today-inline-large2xNow, his grieving mom is sharing his story hoping to spread awareness so that other families don’t have to go through a similar ordeal.

“It is a parent’s worst nightmare,” Kayla Dunham, 25, who lives in Sheridan, Indiana, told A. Pawlowski of Today. “He had never been sick… When you think of things happening, you think of severe illnesses like cancer or car accidents. You don’t think of E. coli.”

The family had been enjoying the summer, visiting a state fair, going to a petting zoo and eating out last month, when Grayson suddenly started vomiting and experiencing diarrhea on the morning of Aug. 10.

Doctors couldn’t settle on an exact cause, Dunham said. At first, the family was told it was stomach flu, then indications that the boy’s intestines may have been folded over each other, then possible problems with his appendix. As time went by, Grayson started having intense abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea.

“We were misdiagnosed five times before they said, yes this is HUS,” she recalled.

HUS, short for hemolytic uremic syndrome, can strike after an E. coli infection of the digestive system, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. It destroys red blood cells and clogs the kidneys’ filtering system. HUS is the most common cause of acute kidney injury in kids.

Grayson’s stool sample ultimately tested positive for Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, Dunham said. The family tried to figure out how he could have been infected: Was it the petting zoo? The restaurants they visited? Produce that his mom bought at a supermarket? The local health department told Grayson’s parents they may never know the source.

Grayson finally ended up in the intensive care unit of a children’s hospital in Indianapolis, Dunham said. Doctors told his parents he was stable for the night and urged them to take a nap in a nearby room, but the family was soon jolted by news the boy was deteriorating. His hemoglobin — a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen — had dropped from the normal range to zero, his mom said.

Doctors were not able to get his heart pumping on its own and performed CPR for an hour and 45 minutes, but to no avail, she recalled. Grayson passed away at 4:30 in the morning on Aug. 15.

“My heart is in shock, I’m numb, and I don’t have words for what even happened,” Dunham wrote on Facebook. Doctors still don’t know why her son deteriorated so suddenly, she said.