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.

Australian reporter drank camel milk for a month, here’s what happened

PJ Madam writes: This is a story about camels, their milk, and my bowel moments.

What could possibly be more interesting and attractive?

camel.milkAs a reporter on Sunday Night, I’m encouraged to get involved in the story as much as possible.

In the case of camel milk – all I had to do was drink some, right? Well, drink and document the effects, which has been a little tricky.

See, I’m one of those people who repeatedly test negative to allergies and intolerances.

According to multiple tests, I should be able to digest the main culprits: wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs and nuts.

Yet I’m embarrassed to say, my stomach tells me otherwise.

For the past 10 years, I’ve had a sensitive and weak constitution. I get cramps, sharp pain, bloating followed by the bathroom dramas.

It’s humiliating and frustrating.

Sometimes there’s a pattern. Most times, there’s not.

My doctor strongly believes I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I’ve been asked to have a colonoscopy and urged to try a food elimination diet but make every excuse under the sun to dodge both.

I like so many Australians, just watch what I eat, and put up with the symptoms.

So never in my wildest dreams did I imagine turning to camel milk to help the symptoms.

To me, the whole concept was plain weird.

Who wants to drink milk that comes from a camel?

They spit, they kick, they smell, they grunt and a whiff of their bad breath is enough to make you pass out.

I figured there was no point to investigating the health benefits of camel milk if I wasn’t drinking it myself.

For the past two months I traveled through the Middle East and outback Australia, investigating if the benefits of camel’s milk were fad or fact.

I spoke to many families who drink it to treat their child’s autism or asthma.

One man I spoke to suffers from Common Variable Immune Deficiency and swears by it being a staple in his diet.

The list doesn’t end there. The science behind the milk – known as ‘white gold’ – shows it can also help treat diabetes, cholesterol, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s disease, hepatitis and leaky gut.

camel.milk 2Nearly everyone I met told me it has helped.

It sounded too good to be true. Annoyingly, some were even calling it a ‘super food’.

I was comfortably skeptical.

And that’s when I was given a challenge.

Tucked away among the hills in Perth is Australia’s only camel dairy farmer.

At 70, Chris O’Hora is hilariously inappropriate, very generous but incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about camel milk.

Chris O’Hora sells his camel milk raw, unpasteurized, which scientists say is better for you.

Under Australian law, selling raw milk also happens to be illegal. Chris covers his milk bottles with stickers saying “not fit for human consumption” so it’s my choice whether to drink it or not.

I chose yes. I’d been to Chris’ farm; saw the camels, where they lived, the milking process and hygiene standards so I felt very confident about drinking his milk.

That farm was cleaner than my kitchen.

Also, camels unlike cows naturally carry lower levels of dangerous bacteria that force us to pasteurize bovine milk. Despite this, Chris insists testing his milk every single day. I saw this and was more than confident about what I was about to do.

Australia has the largest population of wild camels in the world but that doesn’t mean they line up and stand still to be milked.

Catching them in the wild is difficult and expensive. Once you have one, they yield around four times less than a cow.

It also costs $25 a litre.

Food porn idiocy: WSJ steak tartare for kids edition

Earlier this month, a columnist in New York’s Wall Street Journal proclaimed that steak tartare (raw beef and raw egg) was fine for kids.

rowan.atkinson.steak.tartare“Go ahead and get them started early. Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”

A week later the paper published a Corrections & Amplifications that said, “The FDA recommends cooking beef to 145 degrees and avoiding food that contains raw eggs. An earlier version of this article omitted this information.”

People smoke, they drink, OK, but we generally don’t sit down with our 5-year-olds to share a shot and a smoke.

Darin Detwiler of STOP Foodborne Illness wrote on Sept. 15 that, “the message of feeding raw meat and eggs to children undermines the hard work of many in the effort to protect consumers from foodborne illness.”

Know the risks of feeding raw foods to your pets

Despite fawning media coverage, foods like raw milk comprise a small fraction of the U.S. market.

sadie.dog.powellNot so with raw pet foods.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Aministration, raw pet food consists primarily of meat, bones, and organs that haven’t been cooked, and therefore are more likely than cooked food to contain organisms that can make your dog or cat sick, says William J. Burkholder, DVM, PhD, Veterinary Medical Officer in the FDA’s Division of Animal Feeds. Moreover, raw food can make you sick as well if you don’t handle it properly. FDA does not believe feeding raw pet foods to animals is consistent with the goal of protecting the public from significant health risks.

The agency therefore recommends cooking of raw meat and poultry to kill harmful bacteria like Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes before you give the food to your pets. And as always, when working with food, you should follow FDA’s instructions on how to handle it safely.

Feeding raw food to a pet also increases the risk of contaminating food contact surfaces and other places.

“Even if the dog or cat doesn’t get sick, they can become carriers of Salmonella and transfer the bacteria to their surroundings, and then people can get the disease from contact with the infected environment,” Burkholder says.

Once Salmonella gets established in the pet’s gastrointestinal tract, the animal can shed the bacteria when it has a bowel movement, and the contamination will continue to spread. …

 “Feeding raw foods to pets increases the risk that both the pet and the people around the pet will encounter bacteria that cause foodborne illness, particularly if the products are not carefully handled and fed,” Burkholder says. “This is certainly one factor that should be considered when selecting diets for your pet.”

Farm to table oversight, new technologies improving spice safety

New and improved manufacturing technologies, as well as a greater focus on the individual steps of the production process, are helping to enhance spice safety in the U.S. and throughout the world, according to a June 22 panel discussion at the 2014 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo® in New Orleans.

spice.rawSpice consumption has grown substantially in the U.S. over the past 25 years, with 86 percent of households regularly using fresh/dried herbs, spices and seasonings, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Approximately 60 percent of spices are imported, with 12 percent containing “filth”– various contaminants, including microorganisms and pathogens, such as salmonella. Consumption of spices contaminated with pathogens resulted in 14 reported illness outbreaks from 1973 to 2010 around the world.

“We used to think that if the produce was dry we didn’t need to worry,” said Purnendu Vasavada, PhD, professor emeritus, University of Wisconsin-River Falls. “However, even a dry spice can maintain microbial properties, including bacteria.”

The challenge is ensuring safety throughout every step of the process, which often begins on a small family farm on the other side of the world, said George C. Ziobro, PhD, a research chemist at the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, the U.S. alternate delegate to the Codex Alimentarius Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs, and one of the authors of the recent FDA draft profile, “Pathogens and Risk in Spices.”

“Novel and improved food production technologies are helping to limit spice contamination,” said Kathiravan Krishnamurthy, PhD, assistant professor of food science and nutrition at Illinois Institute of Technology.

These include pulsed light, cold plasma, and controlled condensation steam processes to eradicate pathogens during the production process. These technologies, however, can be impacted by various external factors, including many that are difficult to monitor or assess.

For example, a spice farm in India “may be as small as a backyard,” or have “15 crops on one farm,” said Ziobro.

It’s important that manufacturers know how the spices are grown, dried, stored and transported, and how the vehicles that transport the spices are cleaned. “All of these (steps in the process) can contribute to problems with sanitation in spices,” said Ziobro.

In the traditional spice sourcing supply chain, “companies are far removed from the source,” said Roger Lawrence, vice president of global quality, regulatory affairs and environmental affairs at McCormick & Company, Inc. To improve product safety, McCormick has worked to lower the number of “partners” involved in the spice production process. 

“Fewer touch points reduce the risk of contamination allowing us to work directly to impact product quality and innovation,” said Lawrence.

The implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act will provide more specific guidelines for food manufacturers, including spice manufacturers, to prevent food-borne illness.

While “one outbreak is one too many, one recall is one too many,” Lawrence noted that the FDA has recorded just three contamination/illness outbreaks for spices in 37 years. Spices represent “an extremely small percentage of outbreaks.”

Not only oysters; clam-associated vibriosis, USA, 1988–2010

Infections with Vibrio spp. have frequently been associated with consumption of bivalve molluscs, especially oysters, but illness associated with clams has also been well documented. We describe the 2312 domestically acquired foodborne Vibrio infections reported to the Cholera and Other Vibrio Illness Surveillance system from 1988 to 2010. clamsClams were associated with at least 4% (93 persons, ‘only clams’) and possibly as many as 24% (556 persons, ‘any clams’) of foodborne cases. Of those who consumed ‘only clams’, 77% of infections were caused by V. parahaemolyticus. Clam-associated illnesses were generally similar to those associated with other seafood consumption. Clams associated with these illnesses were most frequently harvested from the Atlantic coastal states and eaten raw. Our study describes the contribution of clams to the overall burden of foodborne vibriosis and indicates that a comprehensive programme to prevent foodborne vibriosis need to address the risks associated with clams.

Diego Sanchez blames beef tartare for loss to Myles Jury at UFC 171

Armchair epidemiologist and mixed martial arts fighter Diego Sanchez, says he lost a March 15 fight at UFC 171 in Dallas because of the food he ate the night before.

“I wasn’t myself last night,” Sanchez wrote on Twitter. “I sustained food poisoning from eating a beef tartar with raw quail egg as an appetizer at dinner. This was my own mistake. MMA: UFC 166-Melendez vs SanchezI ordered it thinking I need red meat but raw was the wrong choice. I threw up first at 2 am and all day fight day.”

Nurse in critical condition; E. coli poisoning leaves 7 sick after eating at Marché 27 in Quebec

Now it’s not so much a secret.

But the owner of Montreal restaurant Marche 27 is, according to CBC News, blaming the supplier for delivering contaminated meat after seven people including a nurse who is in critical condition, were sickened with E. coli after consuming beef tartare.

Owner Jason Masso said he’s been serving tartare at Marché 27 for six years and has steak.tartare.jan.14never had a problem.

Not one he knows of.

Val D’Or resident Isabelle St-Jean told CBC Daybreak host Mike Finnerty that she had been sick for several days and went for the hospital for tests, and that’s when she found out she had E. coli poisoning.  

“They saw that I had E. coli … I was sick to my stomach for one week,” she said.

Masso said his restaurant has passed all inspections and he wants to reassure the public that he has addressed the problem and his restaurant is safe. 

“I want to make sure this never happens again,” Masso told CTV News.

“There’s a lady that was hospitalized … like critically ill — that to me is extremely important.”

That’s the risks with raw meat.