Test and ye shall find: Listeria in Blue Bell ice cream, again

A supplier of cookie dough that Blue Bell Creameries blamed for a possible listeria contamination of some of its ice cream products said Thursday that its product tested negative for the pathogen before it was sent to the Texas-based company.

listeria-blue-bellBlue Bell announced Wednesday it was recalling select flavors of ice cream distributed across the South and made at its Sylacauga, Alabama, plant after finding chocolate chip cookie dough from a third-party supplier — Iowa-based Aspen Hills Inc. — that was potentially contaminated with listeria.

Blue Bell halted sales, issued a voluntarily recall of all its products in April 2015 and shut down its three plants due to bacteria contamination that was linked to 10 listeria cases in four states, including three deaths in Kansas. The company, headquartered in Brenham, about 70 miles outside Houston, resumed selling its products about four months later. Before resuming production, the company said it had implemented new cleaning and sanitizing procedures at its facilities, as well as new testing programs and new employee training.

The iconic ice cream brand is beloved in Texas, where people impatiently awaited its return to store shelves after the recall.

No illnesses have been reported from the latest recall of ice cream distributed in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, Blue Bell said.

Blue Bell said on Thursday in an email to The Associated Press that it found listeria contamination in packages of cookie dough ingredient received from Aspen Hills.

But a statement from Aspen Hills said its cookie dough product tested negative for listeria before it was shipped to Blue Bell and that the “positive listeria results were obtained by Blue Bell only after our product had been in their control for almost two months.”

Aspen Hills said that Blue Bell is the only customer who received the cookie dough product “included in our voluntary recall.” Blue Bell has been a customer of Aspen Hills since January.

Apple Tree Goat Dairy recalls four goat cheeses because of possible health risk

I don’t want apples in goat shit.

list-apple-tree-goatAnd don’t want Listeria in feta.

Apple Tree Goat Dairy of Richfield, PA is recalling Feta cheese aged 60 days lot #836, Gouda Cheese aged 60 days Lot #426 Pasturized chevre Lot #816, in 5 lb. or 8 oz. and French Herb Chevre Lot #736 in 8 oz. Or 5 lb. because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, .

Product may have been distributed in Washington DC, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia thru Lancaster co-op.

The Chevre lot #816 was in 8 oz. shrink wrapped bags, French herb chevre lot #736 was packaged in 8oz. Shrink bag. Both Chevre may also have been in 5 lb. plastic tubs. The Feta lot #836 with expiration 12/16 and Gouda lot 426 was a square block 8oz package or a 5 lb block, also shrink wrapped.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

The recall was the result of a routine sampling program by Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. The samples collected by Pennsylvania were found to be contaminated with Listeria Monocytogenes. We are currently working with PA Department of Agriculture to resolve the issue.

WTF is listeria doing in Eggos

I’ve always been suspicious of Kellogg Co.

eggoSure, as a kid, I loved Tony the Tiger, but then I grew up.

The company founded on fairytales and colonic cleansing in Michigan, the company that said in the wake of the 2009 Peanut Corporation of America that called for more government because its own internal audits of suppliers was so terribly shitty, is now recalling about 10,000 cases of its Eggo Nutri-Grain Whole Wheat Waffles in 25 states because they could be contaminated with listeria.

The Battle Creek, Michigan company said Monday it has received no reports of illnesses. Kellogg says it learned of the potential problem after routine tests.

The recalled waffles are available in 10-count packs with “Used by” dates of Nov. 21, 2017 and Nov. 22, 2017. Kellogg Co., which also makes Frosted Flakes and Special K, said no other Eggo products were affected.

Crabs, marinade and pathogens

Knowing the survival characteristics of foodborne pathogens in raw ready-to-eat (RTE) seafood is the key to predicting whether they pose a microbiological hazard. The present study examined the survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella Typhimurium, Vibrio parahaemoliticus, Listeria monocytogenes, and Staphylococcus aure- us in raw RTE crab marinated in soy sauce.

cartooncrab_1_jpg103a1464-d351-465e-90ed-f6ab47e3c8bboriginalInoculated crabs (initial bacterial population = 4.1–4.4 log CFU/g) were immersed in soy sauce and then stored at refrigeration (5 °C) or room temperature (22 °C) for up to 28 days. At 5 °C, all bacteria (except V. parahaemolyticus) survived in crab samples until Day 28 (counts of 1.4, 1.6, 3.1, 3.2 log CFU/g for E. coli O157:H7, S. Typhimurium, L. monocytogenes, and S. aureus, respectively). Howev- er, at 22 °C, all tested bacteria were more susceptible to the antimicrobial effects of marination. Regardless of tem- perature, foodborne pathogens attached to crab samples were more resistant to marination than those suspended in soy sauce samples; however, the survival pattern for each species was different. Gram-positive bac- teria were most resistant to marination conditions (high salinity, low pH), whereas V. parahaemolyticus was ex- tremely susceptible.

Marination is the only antibacterial step in the manufacturing processes; however, the results presented herein reveal that this is not sufficient to inactivate foodborne pathogens. In particular, the survival of pathogens on crabs at refrigeration temperature may pose a major hazard for the consumption of raw RTE seafood. Thus, appropriate decontamination methods and implementation of safety management practices are needed.

This study provides predictive microbiological information of foodborne pathogens in raw RTE seafood with margination.

Survival of foodborne pathogens (Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella Typhimurium, Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes, and Vibrio parahaemolyticus) in raw ready-to-eat crab marinated in soy sauce

International Journal of Food Microbiology 238 (2016) 50–55, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2016.08.041

TJ Cho, NH Kim, SA Kim, JH Song

Listeria can be sticky

This study evaluated the occurrence of L. monocytogenes in the processing environment of a butcher shop, and the in vitro adhesion capacity and sensitivity of isolates to two sanitizers: A (Mister MaxDG1, chlorine based) and B (B-Quart Sept, quaternary ammonium based).

rolling_stones-sticky_fingersOf the total of 40 samples, 75% were positive for Listeria spp. and 22.5% for L. monocytogenes. 20 isolates were from serogroup 1/2c or 3c, with positive results for all tested virulence genes. All isolates presented adhesion potential. The evaluated sanitizers had the potential to inhibit isolates growth and adhesion, and removed formed biofilms. After evaluation, the sanitizers were adopted by the butcher shop in its sanitation routine, being effective against L. monocytogenes.

Collected data allowed identification of adhesion potential by L. monocytogenes and the effectiveness of the tested sanitizers to control contamination by this pathogen.

Listeria spp. contamination in a butcher shop environment and Listeria monocytogenes adhesion ability and sensitivity to food-contact surface sanitizers

Journal of Food Safety, DOI: 10.1111/jfs.12313, ahead of print

DAL Silva, AC Camargo, SD Todorov, LA Nero

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jfs.12313/abstract;jsessionid=302167477C8A0B64C7E52E6E08696398.f03t02

Antimicrobial coatings could improve cantaloupe safety

Nicola Perry of Contagion Live writes that according to new research, applying antimicrobial coatings to whole cantaloupes during storage significantly reduces contamination by pathogenic bacteria, and has the potential to improve their microbiological safety and extend their shelf life.

cantaloupe-salmonellaQiumin Ma, PhD, from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and colleagues published the results of their study in the International Journal of Food Microbiology.   Chitosan-based coatings “significantly inhibited the growth of E[scherichia] coli O157:H7, L[isteria] monocytogenes and S[almonella] enterica cocktails on whole cantaloupes during 14-day storage at ambient temperature (21°C),” the authors write. “Coatings also significantly reduced total mold and yeast counts on whole cantaloupes.”   Cantaloupes are particularly susceptible to microbial contamination because they grow on the ground and can therefore come into contact with foodborne-pathogens associated with polluted irrigation water, uncomposted manure, or animal droppings. They can also become contaminated during harvesting, handling, and preparation. The rough cantaloupe skin also allows bacteria to easily attach to the surface of the fruit. 

“These pre- and post-harvest safety factors have directly or indirectly contributed to more than 25 outbreaks of foodborne illnesses associated with the consumption of cantaloupes between 1973 and 2003 in the United States and Canada,” the authors state.  

Food preservation, safety, and quality maintenance therefore represent mounting concerns for the food industry. Antimicrobial food coatings represent just one form of technology that has been investigated as a tool to help improve food safety in various food types, including fresh produce and meats.    

Chitosan, derived from the polysaccharide chitin, is known to have film-forming properties as well as antimicrobial activity. Chitosan-based coatings have also been shown to improve food safety—in fresh produce, for example.   With this in mind, Dr. Ma and colleagues conducted a study to investigate the efficacy of such antimicrobial coatings in reducing bacterial populations from the surface of cantaloupes. In addition to chitosan, they investigated two generally-recognized-as-safe antimicrobials—lauric arginate (LAE; which inhibits a broad spectrum of foodborne pathogens) and cinnamon oil (CO; an essential oil that has shown activity against Listeria species, gram negative bacteria, E. coli 0157:H7, and Salmonella species). They also investigated ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA; an agent that chelates divalent calcium ions that are important to bacterial structures; it also enhances the activity of some antimicrobials).

Pathogens in raw sheep’s milk cheese

Italy is one of the main producers and exporters of cheese made from unpasteurized sheep milk. Since raw milk and its derived products are known sources of human infections, cheese produced from raw sheep milk could pose a microbiological threat to public health. Hence, the objectives of the study were: to characterize the potential risk of the presence of pathogens Escherichia coli O157, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella in raw ovine milk destined for cheese production obtained from all the sheep farms (n = 24) in the Marches region (Central Italy) that directly transform raw milk into cheeses and to evaluate the equivalence between the analytical methods applied.

gene-wilder-sheepA three-step molecular method (simultaneous culture enrichment, species-specific DNA magnetic isolation, and multiplex real-time polymerase chain reaction) was used for milk (n = 143) and cheese (n = 5) analysis over a 3-year period. L. monocytogenes was not detected on any of the farms, while E. coli O157 was found on three farms, although only using the molecular method. Four farms tested positive for Salmonella spp., and Salmonella enterica subsp. diarizonae serovar 61:k:1,5,7 was isolated in one of those cases.

This information highlights the need to develop preventative measures to guarantee a high level of consumer safety for this specific product line, and the molecular method could be a time-saving and sensitive tool to be used in routine diagnosis.

Presence of Escherichia coli O157, Salmonella spp., and Listeria monocytogenes in raw ovine milk destined for cheese production and evaluation of the equivalence between the analytical methods applied

Foodborne Pathogens and Disease, ahead of print. doi:10.1089/fpd.2016.2159.

G Amagliani, A Petruzzelli, E Carloni, F Tonucci, M Foglini, E Micci, M Ricci, S di Lullo, L Rotundo, G Brandi

http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/fpd.2016.2159

Listeria contamination suspected at Israeli cafe chain

The popular Aroma coffee chain has stopped selling two lychee-coconut iced drinks after finding possible listeria, the latest in a series of food health scares in Israel this month.

lychee-coconut iced drinksThe chain, among the most popular coffee shops in the country, said in a statement that it had stopped selling the drink after “a routine check found suspicion of listeria in one of the batches.” It added that it hoped to go back to marketing it after completing an inspection of the factory.

The Health Ministry said in a statement it had been informed of the possible outbreak Sunday evening and was carrying out a check of the product. It said the factory was being cleaned and disinfected.

Last week two salmon companies announced possible listeria contamination. The Neto Group, a large Israeli food conglomerate, said a shipment of salmon was found to contain the harmful bacteria. No fish from the tainted shipment made it to its factory, the company said, adding that all shipments are tested at the port before being released to the next destination.

Where’s the leafy greens lobby? Feds to seek listeria, leafy green connections after Dole outbreak

Mike Hornick of The Packer writes that health officials will begin routinely asking listeria outbreak victims if they consumed leafy greens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

lettuce.skull.noroThe addition of leafy greens to the standard federal questionnaire on listeria comes in response to last winter’s outbreak linked to a Dole Fresh Vegetables salad plant in Springfield, Ohio. That outbreak sickened 33 in the U.S. and Canada and was tied to at least one death. Dole stopped production in January and reopened the plant in April.

It was the first reported listeria outbreak in the U.S. associated with leafy greens, and the eighth with fresh produce. All occurred since 2008, according to an Aug. 26 report by the CDC.

“It is unclear whether the appearance of these outbreaks might be attributed to improved outbreak detection, changes in consumer behavior, or changes in production and distribution,” the report says. “Fresh produce processors are advised to review food safety plans and consider incorporating measures to avoid the growth and persistence of listeria.”

In the Ohio centered outbreak, the older questionnaire failed to identify a common source for seven infections reported by Nov. 30.

Then in December and January, eight new or previously interviewed patients or their representatives took part in open-ended interviews or provided shopper card records.

That revealed the connection. All reported consuming leafy greens in the month before the onset of illness.

Among these, seven reported romaine and six reported spinach, higher than national food consumption estimates of 47% and 24%, respectively. Six patients recalled consuming packaged salad, according to the report.

Dole Fresh Vegetables denied responsibility in two foodborne illness lawsuits that followed the outbreak.

Go public with data: More Listeria in more frozen veggies

Country Fresh, LLC. of Conroe, Texas, is recalling 30,000 cases of various fresh-cut vegetable products because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

country.fresh.listeriaThe product in question was shipped to retailers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia under the Country Fresh and store brand labels described in the product listing.

The product bears “BEST IF USED BY” dates between August 7, 2016 (8/7/16) through August 19, 2016 (8/19/16).  The product is in either a clear plastic container as labeled below or in Styrofoam trays overwrapped with clear plastic film as labeled below.  No products except those on this list are subject to this recall.

To date, no illnesses have been confirmed by public health authorities.

“We are treating this incident very seriously because we want to ensure that our customers are provided with only the safest, most wholesome, and high-quality products available,” said Max Payen, Country Fresh’s Director of Food Safety.  The potential for contamination was uncovered as the result of a single routine sample taken at a retail store by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, which revealed the finished product tested positive for the bacteria.  

If the company believes its soundbites, will it reveal its own testing results?