It’s confusing, and leafy green folks are silent: Taylor Farms recalls fresh spinach

Once again, I messed up in a story yesterday, but the Leafy Greens Marketing types aren’t helping their cause with silence.

lettuce.skull.e.coli.O145According to Coral Beach of The Packer, few details are available on Taylor Farms’ recall of fresh spinach that was sold to at least two foodservice suppliers and distributed across multiple states under the Taylor Farms and Cross Valley Farms brands.

Michigan officials report they found E. coli and salmonella during routine testing of washed fresh spinach packaged for foodservice operations such as schools, hospitals and restaurants.

Michigan’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development collected three samples of the Taylor Farms fresh spinach from one bag in “a food warehouse facility on the west side of the state” on April 7. Test results on April 13 showed E. coli and salmonella were present and Michigan officials notified Taylor Farms and the Food and Drug Administration, said Jennifer Holton, the department’s communications director.

On April 21, officials from the Salinas, Calif.-based Taylor Farms did not respond to calls for comment on the recall, which the company apparently initiated April 14.

And did that spinach go into Canada, where there at least 12 cases of E. coli O157, possibly linked to leafy greens? Michigan is sorta close.

 

Why I don’t eat sushi: 25 sick with rare Salmonella in Calif

A rare strain of salmonella has been reported in Ventura County and appears connected to sushi and other raw fish, possibly tuna, public health officials said Monday.

sushiAbout 25 cases have been reported in California and other states. There have been four cases in Ventura County, seven in Los Angeles County and one in Santa Barbara County. Other cases have reported in Orange and Riverside counties.

Many of the seven out-of-state cases involve travel to Southern California.

And while the investigation of the exact cause continues, officials say all 10 people who completed a food questionnaire said they ate sushi. Many said they ate raw tuna.

About 20 percent of the patients hit by the illness have been hospitalized.

The species of salmonella is called paratyphi, Levin said. The particular strain being reported had never been seen in animals or people before last month.

Hope there’s a good public health system: Ethiopians are risking Salmonella to eat raw meat delicacies

Instead of chocolate, Ethiopia marks Orthodox Easter Sunday weeks after the Gregorian calendar celebration, with mass animal slaughter and a meat binge of epic proportions. Goat hides piled up to a metre high line busy city corners while goat heads, ox horns, and entrails overflow from neighborhood bins.

raw.meat.ethiopiaRevelling in the meat fest is Beza Selemon. Tradition dictates that the 22-year-old accountant should be at home breaking a 56-day vegan fast with her family. Instead she’s in town eating raw minced meat out of her boyfriend Dawit’s hand—a sign of affection in Ethiopian culture.

Beza and Dawit are a new breed of Ethiopians; those from the booming capital Addis Ababa (affectionately known as “Addisynnians”) who are snubbing Easter at home with the family in favour of joining friends at restaurants to enjoy a variety of raw meat dishes.

The aromatic doro wat, a saucy chicken stew, is traditionally eaten to break the fast but the most prized delicacy in Ethiopia is raw meat. It’s fair to say that Ethiopians are flesh obsessed. Ox is the most common meat consumed raw but the more expensive goat is gaining momentum.

Despite official health warnings, Ethiopians still prefer to buy their animals live and slaughter them at home. It’s a sign of respect for visitors and a practice they believe keeps the meat fresh.

Beza and Dawit are celebrating the end of fasting season by eating a highly desirable delicacy called kitfo, a dish consisting of raw minced ox meat.

“When I eat raw meat in the morning, I can go the whole day without eating anything else,” says Dawit. “It has good nutritional value so it makes me feel strong.”

And her friends are not alone. Fast food such as burgers and fries are now voraciously consumed in Ethiopia especially by the younger generations in Addis.

Ethiopia might have been associated with famines over feasts in the past but the country is now the “lion of Africa” enjoying rapid economic growth. Despite this, per capita income remains some of the lowest in the world and nowhere is this contrast more apparent than in the sprawling capital of Addis Ababa, where sub-Saharan Africa’s first metro train network is nearing completion.

As the wealth of the urban population grows, so too does the appetite for raw meat. Some raw meat dishes can cost up to 240birr (£8) per kilo, a price that is out of reach for most Ethiopians. Even for those that can afford it, raw meat dishes are reserved for special occasions.

Probably cilantro that sickened hundreds with cylospora in 2013; better detection needed

The 2013 multistate outbreaks contributed to the largest annual number of reported US cases of cyclosporiasis since 1997. In this paper we focus on investigations in Texas.

cilantroWe defined an outbreak-associated case as laboratory-confirmed cyclosporiasis in a person with illness onset between 1 June and 31 August 2013, with no history of international travel in the previous 14 days. Epidemiological, environmental, and traceback investigations were conducted.

Of the 631 cases reported in the multistate outbreaks, Texas reported the greatest number of cases, 270 (43%). More than 70 clusters were identified in Texas, four of which were further investigated. One restaurant-associated cluster of 25 case-patients was selected for a case-control study. Consumption of cilantro was most strongly associated with illness on meal date-matched analysis (matched odds ratio 19·8, 95% confidence interval 4·0–∞). All case-patients in the other three clusters investigated also ate cilantro. Traceback investigations converged on three suppliers in Puebla, Mexico.

Cilantro was the vehicle of infection in the four clusters investigated; the temporal association of these clusters with the large overall increase in cyclosporiasis cases in Texas suggests cilantro was the vehicle of infection for many other cases. However, the paucity of epidemiological and traceback information does not allow for a conclusive determination; moreover, molecular epidemiological tools for cyclosporiasis that could provide more definitive linkage between case clusters are needed.

2013 multistate outbreaks of Cyclospora cayetanensis infections associated with fresh produce: focus on the Texas investigations

Epidemiology and Infection [ahead of print]

Abanyie, R. R. Harvey, J. R. Harris, R. E. Weigand, L. Gual, M., Desvignes-Kendrick, K. Irvin, I Williams, R. L. Hall, B. Herwaldt, E. E. Gray, Y. Qvarnstrom, M. E. Wise, V. Cantu, P. T. Cantey, S. Bosch, A. J. Da Silva, A. Fields, H. Bishop, A. Wellman, J. Beal, N. Wilson, A. E. Fiore, R. Tauxe, S. Lance, L. Slutsker and M. Parise

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=9644741&fileId=S0950268815000370

Predictive models to estimate Listeria spp. growth on baby spinach leaves

Leafy vegetables such as spinach may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes during pre-harvest and postharvest management.

listeria.spinachRecent Listeriosis outbreaks associated to contaminated leafy vegetables have marked the need for technologies to minimize safety issues in fresh and fresh-cut produce.

US scientists at Texas A&M University have studied the effectiveness of washing treatments as a postharvest practice to minimize the growth of the pathogen and L. innocua on fresh baby spinach leaves under different storage temperatures and to evaluate the feasibility of using L. innocua as a surrogate to the pathogen. The objectives of the study were:

1. to determine the response of L. monocytogenes and L. innocua to different washing treatments with or without chlorine (200 mg/L) at room temperature (∼22°C);

2. to assess the effect of natural microbiota load on growth of both microorganisms at different storage temperatures, from 5 to 36°C;

3. to validate the use of L. innocua as a surrogate of L. monocytogenes for further studies with fresh baby spinach leaves.

Scientists developed predictive models to investigate the effect of simulated storage temperature on the growth patterns of L. monocytogenes and L. innocua.

Results showed that each microorganism had a different significant response to the type of washing treatment at room temperature and the pathogen was harder to remove from the leaves than the L. innocua was.

Although, the natural microflora on fresh baby spinach leaves affected the growth parameters (Maximum grow rate, lag time, maximum population density) for both bacteria, the effect was not significant. Thus, in the specific case of spinach leaves, the study shows that L. innocua may be a suitable surrogate for L. monocytogenes in growth studies.

Growth data for L. monocytogenes and L. innocua on fresh baby spinach leaves at 5–36 °C were modelled using the Baranyi and Ratkowsky (secondary) models which were validated by comparing the root mean square error (RMSEs) and biases between the growth data and model predictions. The secondary models showed good agreement between observed and predicted values.

The validation results show that these models could provide reliable estimates for growth of L. monocytogenes and L. innocua as a function of temperature. These models may be used by processors to evaluate the impact of postharvest practices such as storage and washing on the growth of Listeria in baby spinach leaves evaluated in this study. These models can provide useful input to quantitative risk assessment models.

Basri Omac, Rosana G. Moreira, Alejandro Castillo, Elena Castell-Perez, “Growth of Listeria monocytogenes and Listeria innocua on fresh baby spinach leaves: Effect of storage temperature and natural microflora”, 2015, Postharvest Biology and Technology, Vol. 100, 41–51.

20 sick in new Salmonella outbreak: Australia still has an egg problem

Amy figures we ate at this place last year.

Grocer and GrindAt least 20 people are believed to have been hospitalised after eating at Broadbeach cafe Grocer and Grind.

The venue’s head chef is reportedly among those admitted to hospital.

Some of those affected reported eating eggs benedict on Saturday morning and were admitted that evening with severe diarrhoea requiring several days in hospital.

Gold Coast Health has today confirmed the public health unit is investigating the possible source but at this stage have not publicly named the eatery involved.

But Grocer and Grind manager Martin Krolovic confirmed the cafe’s head chef had been hospitalised and had only just been discharged.

“The owners are on there way here to sort this out with out head chef who has only just got out of hospital,” he said.

“I don’t know any more than that.”

A table of Australian egg outbreaks is available at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/raw-egg-related-outbreaks-australia-3-2-15.xlsx

111 sick; US outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis infections linked to bean sprouts

We count 61 outbreaks associated with raw sprouts, sickening at least 11,179.

http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Sprout-associated-outbreaks-12-8-14.xlsx

sprout.apple.aug.14The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that as of December 15, 2014, a total of 111 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Enteritidis have been reported from 12 states.

Twenty-six percent of ill persons have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.  

Collaborative investigation efforts of state, local, and federal public health and regulatory agencies indicate that bean sprouts produced by Wonton Foods, Inc. are the likely source of this outbreak.

In interviews, 48 (66%) of 73 ill persons reported eating bean sprouts or menu items containing bean sprouts in the week before becoming ill.

Wonton Foods, Inc. continues to cooperate with state and federal public health and agriculture officials.

On November 21, 2014, Wonton Foods Inc. agreed to destroy any remaining products while they conducted a thorough cleaning and sanitization and implemented other Salmonella control measures. On November 24, the firm completed the cleaning and sanitation and resumed production of bean sprouts. The firm resumed shipment on November 29, 2014.

Contaminated bean sprouts produced by Wonton Foods, Inc. are likely no longer available for purchase or consumption given the maximum 12-day shelf life of mung bean sprouts.

CDC recommends that consumers, restaurants, and other retailers always practice food safety for sprouts

Children, older adults, pregnant women, and persons with weakened immune systems should avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind (including alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean sprouts).

Cook sprouts thoroughly to reduce the risk of illness. Cooking sprouts thoroughly kills any harmful bacteria.

CDC’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) laboratory conducted antibiotic resistance testing on Salmonella Enteritidis isolates collected from three ill persons infected with the outbreak strains.

All three isolates were susceptible to all antibiotics tested on the NARMS panel.

This investigation is ongoing, and CDC will update the public when more information becomes available.

7 dead, 32 sick from Vibrio vulnificus in Florida in 2014

Outbreak News Today cites the Florida Department of Health (DOH) as saying there have been 32 cases and seven dead from Vibrio vulnificus in Florida in 2014. Those numbers include both food and waterborne sources.

Raw oystersV. vulnificus can cause disease in those who eat contaminated seafood or have an open wound that is exposed to seawater. Among healthy people, ingestion of V. vulnificus can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. In immunocompromised persons, particularly those with chronic liver disease, V. vulnificus can infect the bloodstream, causing a severe and life-threatening illness characterized by fever and chills, decreased blood pressure (septic shock), and blistering skin lesions. V. vulnificus bloodstream infections are fatal about 50% of the time.

V. vulnificus can cause an infection of the skin when open wounds are exposed to warm seawater; these infections may lead to skin breakdown and ulceration. 

Raw and risky: Hepatitis A cluster linked to oysters and clams in Taiwan

Our friends are off to China and Indonesia at the end of the week (start of summer holidays) so we’re having them over for dinner tomorrow, where I’ll offer up a seafood pasta (I simply cannot compete with Susan’s stir-fry and other Chinese dishes).

SUN0705N-Oyster7But with the holiday season approaching, there will – like no raw egg dishes — be no raw shellfish served in this house.

The Taiwan CDC reports 30 indigenous cases of Hepatitis A from Oct. to Nov. 2014, in which more than 80 percent of the patients required hospitalization for their illness.

According to the epidemiological investigation, most patients consumed raw bivalves such as oyster and clams during the disease incubation period.

This has prompted the Taiwan CDC to remind the public to pay attention to personal dietary hygiene and consume only thoroughly cooked bivalves.

Bivalves such as oysters and clams concentrate the pathogens that are present in harvest waters.