Salmonella in organic sprouts in Australia, again

Every time I publicly complain about the lack of information in Australian food safety notices, someone writes in to say, people got the information they needed, and how can you have any dessert if you don’t eat your pudding.

mung_beans1So in the wake of two outbreaks involving raw sprouts packaged in South Australia that sickened over 300 Aussies with Salmonella, the New South Wales Food Authority advises us plebes that Forest Gate Organics has recalled its Mung Bean Sprouts from fruit and vegetable stores and health food stores in NSW, QLD and VIC due to microbial (Salmonella) contamination.

No information if anyone is sick. No information on how this Salmonella positive was detected. Nothing. How will anyone learn?

So much for going back to sleep: After 300 sickened with Salmonella from sprouts, another positive linked to same Adelaide facility

At the end of April 2016, South Australia Health’s chief medical officer Paddy Phillips said after an outbreak of Salmonella Saintpaul linked to sprouts sickened over 300, “This business was completely compliant with all our investigations and there is no reason to believe there are any further issues with the production of bean sprouts at this factory.”

salm.sprout.adelaide.This is the factory (right, exactly as shown). I keep saying it’s like 1978 here, and there’s probably a VW microbus out back loaded with Salmonella-infectd sprout plants.

Today, SA Health is once again urging the public to throw out their bean sprouts after a dramatic surge in salmonella cases and discovery of the dangerous bacteria in packaged sprouts sold by Thebarton producer Star Tu — the second time it has been detected at the producer this year.

Officials have ordered Star Tu to recall all of its products and stop selling immediately after Salmonella Saintpaul samples were found in packaged bean sprouts.

A packager of Star Tu products, Sunshine Sprouts, has also been ordered by SA Health to stop selling any products containing Star Tu mung bean sprouts.

SA Health chief public health officer Professor Paddy Phillips said the public should either throw out their bean sprouts or return them to the place of purchase.

Since the start of last December there have been 271 cases of confirmed Salmonella Saintpaul notified to SA Health resulting in 47 people being admitted to hospital.

South Australia usually sees around 15 to 20 cases each year.

sprout.adelaide“Our investigations then led us to the Star Tu factory and we found a positive Salmonella sample taken from a piece of equipment. Once this was cleaned and further inspections took place there was no evidence indicating any further risk.

Dumbass.

Finding Salmonella on a piece of equipment in no way provides confidence that the problem has been solved and shows a complete lack of knowledge of how raw sprouts become contaminated at seed.

But that’s why Paddy gets the big bucks.

“Yesterday it was confirmed that since these investigations, five sealed bags produced by Star Tu were contaminated with Salmonella, and given this new evidence we have issued this factory with an order to recall and stop selling. We are also today advising South Australians to either throw out their bean sprouts or return them to the place of purchase and we are recalling all products that have come from this factory.

Li Tu, whose family owns the Star Tu business, said it had been “growing and distributing high quality bean sprouts for over 20 years”.

“As well as meeting SA Health standards, we also have had robust food safety programs since 1999 with annual checks and inspections,” he said.

Unknown“Our factory was described as being as clean as a hospital by one of SA Health’s employees.

“We’re obviously not in the business of making people sick so we do not take this matter lightly. We are working closely with SA Health to find the source of the problem.”

Bullshit.

Raw sprouts are an unnecessary health hazard. But they are happily served up at hospitals and aged-care facilities and other places where the immunocompromised can be found in oblivious Australia.

An updated table of raw sprout related outbreaks is available at: http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Sprout-associated-outbreaks-4-27-16.xlsx

Never underestimate the power of denial.

Erdozain, M.S., Allen, K.J., Morley, K.A. and Powell, D.A. 2012. Failures in sprouts-related risk communication. Food Control. 10.1016/j.foodcont.2012.08.022

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956713512004707?v=s5

Nutritional and perceived health benefits have contributed to the increasing popularity of raw sprouted seed products. In the past two decades, sprouted seeds have been a recurring food safety concern, with at least 55 documented foodborne outbreaks affecting more than 15,000 people. A compilation of selected publications was used to yield an analysis of the evolving safety and risk communication related to raw sprouts, including microbiological safety, efforts to improve production practices, and effectiveness of communication prior to, during, and after sprout-related outbreaks. Scientific investigation and media coverage of sprout-related outbreaks has led to improved production guidelines and public health enforcement actions, yet continued outbreaks call into question the effectiveness of risk management strategies and producer compliance. Raw sprouts remain a high-risk product and avoidance or thorough cooking are the only ways that consumers can reduce risk; even thorough cooking messages fail to acknowledge the risk of cross-contamination. Risk communication messages have been inconsistent over time with Canadian and U.S. governments finally aligning their messages in the past five years, telling consumers to avoid sprouts. Yet consumer and industry awareness of risk remains low. To minimize health risks linked to the consumption of sprout products, local and national public health agencies, restaurants, retailers and producers need validated, consistent and repeated risk messaging through a variety of sources.

sprouts.adelaide

Change the law, name the supplier: Salmonella in seed transfers to sprouts in Kansas and sickens 26

They’re probably still eating sprout-laden sandwiches at science-based faculty meetings at Kansas State University.

jimmy.john's.sproutsFollowing an initial announcement of eight people sick with Salmonella from sprouts in Kansas and Missouri – followed by surveillance silence – the U.S. Centers for Disease Control now reports that 26 people were infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Muenchen (25 people), or Salmonella Kentucky (1 person), as reported from 12 states. Eight people were hospitalized and no deaths were reported.

In February 2016, state and local health and regulatory officials in several states traced back the source of the sprouts from multiple restaurant locations where ill people ate them, and identified Sweetwater Farms of Inman, Kansas, as a supplier of alfalfa sprouts to all of these locations. The FDA collected and tested irrigation water and alfalfa sprout samples from Sweetwater Farms LLC and found Salmonella Kentucky and Salmonella Cubana. Salmonella Muenchen was not isolated.

On February 19, 2016, FDA and other federal, state, and local agencies briefed Sweetwater Farms LLC on their findings, and the firm voluntarily recalled alfalfa sprouts grown from a specific seed lot.

On February 26, 2016, Sweetwater Farms informed the FDA that it would recall all of its sprout products from the market.

After the recalls by Sweetwater Farms were completed, Salmonella Muenchen illnesses were still reported by people who reported eating alfalfa sprouts before they got sick. FDA traceback investigations indicated that several sprouters other than Sweetwater Farms produced the alfalfa sprouts these ill people ate. All of these sprouters, as well as Sweetwater Farms, used the same seed lot.

FDA tested samples of seeds from this lot and isolated Salmonella Cubana with the same DNA fingerprint of the Salmonella Cubana isolated in irrigation water from Sweetwater Farms. FDA contacted the seed supplier, who then called for the return of the contaminated seed lot from growers. The seed supplier is not named here because FDA is prohibited by law from releasing certain information about supply chains, which may constitute confidential commercial information. However, FDA has been able to confirm that all domestic sprouters who received contaminated seeds either returned or destroyed the seeds, and the shelf life of all sprouts grown from this seed lot has expired. Therefore, no sprouts from the contaminated seed lot are expected to be on the market.

sprout.santa.barf.xmasOn May 13, 2016, CDC reports that this outbreak appears to be over. FDA has provided the sprouters with information on reducing microbial food safety hazards for sprouted seeds and complying with new standards for growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of produce for human consumption under the Produce Safety Rule, which beings to go into effect for sprouters in January 2017 with additional time for small and very small operations. In particular, covered sprouters will now be required to comply with sprout-specific requirements such as treating seeds to reduce the presence of microorganisms of public health significance, testing the growing environment for Listeria as well as testing each production batch of spent sprout irrigation water or sprouts for E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella species and, under certain conditions, other pathogens. In addition, sprouters would be expected to comply with all other applicable requirements of the Produce Safety Rule, such as requirements related to worker health and hygiene, agricultural water and buildings, tools and equipment.

An updated table of raw sprout related outbreaks is available at: http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Sprout-associated-outbreaks-4-27-16.xlsx

Low levels of Salmonella in sprouted chia can cause big problems (I miss Phil Hartman)

Despite the increasing popularity of sprouted chia and flax seed powders, no data have been reported on their intrinsic physicochemical properties and background microflora.

chiahead11Here, we report the moisture content, water activity, pH, and fatty acid methyl ester and bacteriological profiles of 19 sprouted chia and flax seed samples, 10 of which were associated with an outbreak of salmonellosis in Canada and the United States. The physicochemical parameters of the Salmonella-positive samples did not differ significantly from those of the negative samples. However, the higher Enterobacteriaceae and coliform levels on the contaminated powders were associated with the presence of Salmonella. Enumeration of Salmonella by the most probable number (MPN) method revealed concentrations ranging from 1 MPN per 3 g of powder to 1 MPN per 556 g of powder.

The results of this study demonstrate that low numbers of Salmonella may be linked to foodborne outbreaks.

Physicochemical and bacteriological characteristics of organic sprouted chia and flax seed powders implicated in a foodborne salmonellosis outbreak

Journal of Food Protection®, Number 5, May 2016, pp. 696-889, pp. 703-709(7)

Tamber, Sandeep; Swist, Eleonora; Oudit, Denise

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/iafp/jfp/2016/00000079/00000005/art00002

Go back to sleep, problem contained: 300 sick with Salmonella from sprouts in Australia

Salmonella-carrying bean sprouts that led to more than 300 cases of the disease in South Australia and the Northern Territory were, according to this story which long on faith short on detail, contaminated in an SA factory.

kevin.allen.sproutAbout half the Salmonella Saintpaul cases occurred over the past few weeks and 60 people were hospitalised after eating raw mung bean sprouts since the outbreak began in December.

But SA Health’s chief medical officer Paddy Phillips, who usually sees fewer than 20 cases of the strain each year, says bean sprouts are again safe to eat after the factory’s processors were cleaned.

“This business was completely compliant with all our investigations and there is no reason to believe there are any further issues with the production of bean sprouts at this factory,” he said on Friday.

An updated table of raw sprout related outbreaks is available at: http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Sprout-associated-outbreaks-4-27-16.xlsx

244 now sick with Salmonella from sprouts in SA

An extra five South Australians have tested positive to Salmonella Saintpaul after eating contaminated bean sprouts, bringing the total number of victims to 244.

SA Health announced the new figure on Wednesday after testing confirmed the link to the popular Asian garnish.

sprouts.raw.milk.barfWhile the source of the salmonella remains a mystery, the contamination has been linked to the consumption of raw bean sprouts sourced from Queensland and grown and packaged in South Australia.

A spokeswoman from the health department told The Advertiser investigations were ongoing.

One of the victims included a pregnant woman who was rushed to hospital after suffering abdominal pain about two weeks ago.

Usually, the state records just 15 to 20 cases of Salmonella Saintpaul annually.

SA Health chief public health officer Professor Paddy Phillips advised consumers — as well as restaurant and cafe owners — to cook all bean sprouts and avoid eating them raw.

“We are working closely with the producers, suppliers and handlers of the sprouts and (we) are continuing to investigate,” Prof Phillips said.

sprouts.barf“(We’re) doing forensic investigation of the factories to work out where in the processing the salmonella might be.”

It is the second salmonella scare to hit SA this year after dozens of people across Australia were struck down with Salmonella Anatum from eating prepacked leafy greens.

The lettuce, supplied by Tripod Farmers in Victoria and sold at Coles and Woolworths among other companies, was recalled from shelves across the nation in February.

An updated table of raw sprout related outbreaks is available at: http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Sprout-associated-outbreaks-4-27-16.xlsx

Australia sucks at food safety: 233 sick with Salmonella from sprouts in SA, warning only issued now

A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from another satisfied subscriber – we’re over 70,000 now – saying why was I talking about the risk of sprouts; all those outbreaks were years ago.

sprouts.batzNow, the Department of Health in South Australia is warning SA residents not to eat raw bean sprouts following a big jump in the number of reported salmonella cases.

Over the past 11 days there have been 108 salmonella cases reported in South Australia, which normally sees around 15 to 20 cases each year.

Since the start of December, SA Health has been notified of 233 cases of salmonella. Of these 233 cases, 43 people have been hospitalised.

“Our investigations have indicated to us that it is likely that the consumption of raw beansprouts is contributing to this increase,” said SA Health’s chief public health officer, Professor Paddy Phillips.

Duh.

“As a result we are today advising South Australians to cook all bean sprouts and avoid eating raw bean sprouts.”

Duh.

U.S. has been advising that for a deade.

“We also want to alert food retailers such as restaurants and cafes not to serve raw bean sprouts until further notice. We are working closely with the producers, suppliers and handlers of the sprouts and are continuing to investigate.

jimmy.johns_.sproutsBut 20-year-old examples mean nothing when, it hasn’t happened here.

A table of sprout-related outbreaks can be found at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Sprout-associated-outbreaks-2-24-16.xlsx

And never underestimate the power of denial.

Erdozain, M.S., Allen, K.J., Morley, K.A. and Powell, D.A. 2012. Failures in sprouts-related risk communication. Food Control. 10.1016/j.foodcont.2012.08.022

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956713512004707?v=s5

Abstract

Nutritional and perceived health benefits have contributed to the increasing popularity of raw sprouted seed products. In the past two decades, sprouted seeds have been a recurring food safety concern, with at least 55 documented foodborne outbreaks affecting more than 15,000 people. A compilation of selected publications was used to yield an analysis of the evolving safety and risk communication related to raw sprouts, including microbiological safety, efforts to improve production practices, and effectiveness of communication prior to, during, and after sprout-related outbreaks. Scientific investigation and media coverage of sprout-related outbreaks has led to improved production guidelines and public health enforcement actions, yet continued outbreaks call into question the effectiveness of risk management strategies and producer compliance. Raw sprouts remain a high-risk product and avoidance or thorough cooking are the only ways that consumers can reduce risk; even thorough cooking messages fail to acknowledge the risk of cross-contamination. Risk communication messages have been inconsistent over time with Canadian and U.S. governments finally aligning their messages in the past five years, telling consumers to avoid sprouts. Yet consumer and industry awareness of risk remains low. To minimize health risks linked to the consumption of sprout products, local and national public health agencies, restaurants, retailers and producers need validated, consistent and repeated risk messaging through a variety of sources.

 

Tragic: Japanese woman dies of sequela of E. coli poisoning 20 yrs after infection

In June 1996, initial reports of an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 in Japan surfaced in national media.

radish_sproutsBy July 1996, focus had centered on specific school cafeterias and two vendors of box lunches, as the number of illnesses approached 4,000. Lunches of sea eel sushi and soup distributed on July 5 from Sakai’s central school lunch depot were identified by health authorities as a possible source of one outbreak. The next day, the number of illnesses had increased to 7,400 even as reports of Japanese fastidiousness intensified. By July 23, 1996, 8,500 were listed as ill.

Even though radish sprouts were ultimately implicated — and then publicly cleared in a fall-on-sword ceremony, but not by the U.S. — the Health and Welfare Ministry announced that Japan’s 333 slaughterhouses must adopt a quality control program modeled on U.S. safety procedures, requiring companies to keep records so the source of any tainted food could be quickly identified.

Kunio Morita, chief of the ministry’s veterinary sanitation division was quoted as saying “It’s high time for Japan to follow the international trend in sanitation management standards.”

Japanese health authorities were tragically slow to respond to the outbreak of E. coli O157:H7, a standard facilitated by a journalistic culture of aversion rather than adversarial. In all, over 9,500 Japanese, largely schoolchildren, were stricken with E. coli O157:H7 and 12 were killed over the summer of 1996, raising questions of political accountability.

The national Mainichi newspaper demanded in an editorial on July 31, 1996, “Why can’t the government learn from past experience? Why were they slow to react to the outbreak? Why can’t they take broader measures?” The answer, it said, was a “chronic ailment” — the absence of anyone in the government to take charge in a crisis and ensure a coordinated response. An editorial cartoon in the daily Asahi Evening News showed a health worker wearing the label “government emergency response” riding to the rescue on a snail. Some of the victims filed lawsuits against Japanese authorities, a move previously unheard of in the Japanese culture of deference.

Today, the sad news arrived that a 25-year-old woman in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, died in last October of an aftereffect of her infection with E. coli O157 in 1996.

radish.sprouts.2The woman had been suffering renal vascular hypertension, a sequela of hemolytic-uremic syndrome she developed upon her infection with O-157 when she was a first-grade student, the city government said, adding the direct cause of her death was brain bleeding due to the hypertension.

Sakai Mayor Osami Takeyama said in a comment that the city will redouble efforts for safety control and crisis management.
 The municipal government now plans to provide compensation for the family of the woman.

The current version of events in July 1996, according to the Japanese, was 9,523 sick, including 7,892 elementary school children, in Sakai who ate school lunch or other food were infected with the E. coli bacteria. In the massive outbreak, three girls died.

 

Cute name, lousy food safety: E. coli & Jack & The Green Sprouts

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has concluded that an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak involving Jack & The Green Sprouts of River Falls, Wisconsin, appears to be over, with 11 sick.

jack.sproutsSprouts are a known source of foodborne illness. We recommend that consumers, restaurants, and other retailers always follow food safety practices to avoid illness from eating sprouts.

This outbreak was not related to the multistate outbreak of Salmonella Muenchen infections linked to alfalfa sprouts produced by Sweetwater Farms of Inman, Kansas.