Soybean sprouts recalled because of Listeria risk

Henry’s Farm Inc. of Woodford, VA is recalling all packages of soybean sprouts because they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections to individuals with weakened immune systems.

list.sproutsThe contamination was discovered after sampling by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Food Safety Program and subsequent analysis by the Virginia Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services revealed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in the products. No illness has been reported to date.

4 of the most commonly recalled foods (and how to buy them safely)

We talked to former professor of food safety, Douglas Powell, about the safest ways to eat the things we love.

Baked Goods

doug.coach.happy.feb.15The Concern: While it’s been more than 10 years since the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act went into effect, unlabeled allergens—most often peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, dairy, fish, shellfish and eggs—are still the number one cause of recalls for FDA-regulated foods. And they often crop up unannounced in bakery products. 



Small Thing to Keep in Mind: If you have an allergy, check the label each time you buy a product, because manufacturers sometimes change recipes and a trigger food may have been added. Here’s a helpful list of unexpected words to watch out for, broken down by the type of diet you’re following.

Cantaloupe

The Concern: These orange-fleshed melons are different from honeydew and watermelon, since their “netted” exterior is more porous, so contaminants from soil, water, animals (and their manure) can get trapped in the rind. Plus, unlike other fruits, they’re not acidic, so pathogens can grow more easily once you cut the melon open. 



Small Thing to Keep in Mind: As many of us already do, avoid buying cantaloupes that look bruised; and, if you purchase precut cantaloupe, make sure it’s refrigerated or on ice. Finally, don’t let the sliced fruit sit out at room temperature for more than two hours.

Chicken

The Concern: This popular meat (we buy about 86 pounds per capita annually) is one of the most common causes of foodborne illness. 



Small Thing to Keep in Mind: A good recommendation is to buy chicken last when you’re grocery shopping, since keeping it cold can prevent bacteria overgrowth. Also, be sure to defrost frozen chicken safely and cook it to 165 degrees (use a meat thermometer).

Sprouts

The Concern: Alfalfa, clover, radish and mung bean sprouts, which add crunch to salads and sandwiches, score well nutritionally. But in recent years, there have been at least 30 food-related illness outbreaks linked to raw and lightly cooked sprouts. 



Small Thing to Keep in Mind: If you enjoy sprouts in salads, buy only ones with fresh, clean, white stems and roots that have been kept properly refrigerated. Dr. Powell says the safest way to prepare sprouts is to cook them thoroughly before eating (so, stir-fries and pad Thai are fine).

Salmonella and E. coli in sprouts in Mexico, oh my

Data on the presence of diarrheagenic Escherichia coli pathotypes (DEPs) in alfalfa sprouts and correlations between the presence of coliform bacteria (CB), fecal coliforms (FC), E. coli, DEPs, and Salmonella in alfalfa sprouts are not available. The presence of and correlations between CB, FC, E. coli, DEPs, and Salmonella in alfalfa sprouts were determined.

santa.barf.sprout.raw.milkOne hundred sprout samples were collected from retail markets in Pachuca, Hidalgo State, Mexico. The presence of indicator bacteria and Salmonella was determined using conventional culture procedures. DEPs were identified using two multiplex PCR procedures. One hundred percent of samples were positive for CB, 90% for FC, 84% for E. coli, 10% for DEPs, and 4% for Salmonella. The populations of CB ranged from 6.2 up to 8.6 log CFU/g. The FC and E. coli concentrations were between , 3 and 1,100 most probable number (MPN)/g. The DEPs identified included enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC; 2%), enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC; 3%), and Shiga toxin–producing E. coli (STEC; 5%). No E. coli O157:H7 strains were detected in any STEC-positive samples. In samples positive for DEPs, the concentrations ranged from 210 to 240 MPN/g for ETEC, 28 to 1,100 MPN/g for EPEC, and 3.6 to 460 MPN/g for STEC. The Salmonella isolates identified included Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium in three samples and Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis in one. STEC and Salmonella Typhimurium were identified together in one sample. Positive correlations were observed between FC and E. coli, between FC and DEPs, and between E. coli and DEPs. Negative correlations occurred between CB and DEPs and between CB and Salmonella. Neither FC nor E. coli correlated with Salmonella in the sprout samples.

To our knowledge, this is the first report of ETEC, EPEC, and STEC isolated from alfalfa sprouts and the first report of correlations between different indicator groups versus DEPs and Salmonella.

 

Presence and correlation of some enteric indicator bacteria, diarrheagenic Escherichia coli pathotypes, and Salmonella serotypes in alfalfa sprouts from local retail markets in Pachuca, Mexico

01.mar.15

Journal of Food Protection®, Number 3, March 2015, pp. 484-627, pp. 609-614(6)

Rangel-Vargas, Esmeralda; Gómez-Aldapa, Carlos A.; Torres-Vitela, M. del Refugio; Villarruel-López, Angélica; Gordillo-Martínez, Alberto J.; Castro-Rosas, Javier

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/iafp/jfp/2015/00000078/00000003/art00020

When food is cooking up a storm – proven recipes for risk communications 2015

If that headline isn’t enough to convince that European Union food safety risk communicators are clueless, read the following summary.

sprout.santa_.barf_.xmas_1-300x254Note: there seems to be an expanding business in talking about talking, rather that actually doing; the EU was absolutely absent when E. coli O104 killed 43 and sickened 4,300 in 2011.

The objective of these guidelines is to provide a framework to assist decision-making about appropriate communications approaches in a wide variety of situations that can occur when assessing and communicating on risks related to food safety in Europe. The aim is to provide a common framework applicable for developing communications approaches on risk across public health authorities in different countries.

Communicators from EFSA, Member States and the European Commission work together in EFSA’s Advisory Forum Communications Working Group (AFCWG). A key aim of that group is to promote cooperation and coherence in risk communications, particularly between risk assessors in Member States and EFSA – one of the key priorities laid down in EFSA’s Communications Strategy.

These guidelines are an initiative of that group, recognising two important points: 1) there is a need for more practical guidance with respect to principles laid down in scientific literature and 2) the literature on risk communications guidance specific to food safety is limited. As it is the group’s desire to continue to learn from experience and strengthen risk communications within the European food safety system, this will be a living document which will be periodically revisited and updated with best practice case studies.

As defined by Codex Alimentarius, risk communications is the: “exchange of information and opinions concerning risk and risk-related factors among risk assessors, risk managers, consumers and other interested parties”.

That’s enough. Read the rest of this verbal syphilis on your own time.

Canberra uses cow shares to get their raw milk fix

A Canberra woman admits “it would be fair to say that pasteurised milk would be safer” but she still intends on using raw milk for her family.

sprout.santa.barf.xmasSaffron Zomer developed a taste for raw milk while living overseas.

She is now involved in a cow share scheme which presently enables her to consume the untreated milk.

Ms Zomer is among around 25 Canberra households who are part of the scheme run by Julia McKay a dairy farmer at Bungonia north of the nation’s capital.

Ms McKay delivers around ten litres of milk on a weekly basis to the various shareholders.

Ms Zomer gets the milk “primarily because its delicious” after living in Switzerland where she and her husband had access to raw milk.

“I did some research and I think the nutritional value is higher.” Ms Zomer said.

Ms Zomer has three children, one who is newly born and not feeding on the milk.

“My oldest isn’t much of a milk drinker, but the little one likes it and he is always excited when it is delivery day because the milk is really fresh and he doesn’t like to drink supermarket milk anymore.” she observed.

Family guy barfShe argues that there is a clear difference in the taste of raw milk when compared to supermarket milk.

Her husband uses some of the milk to make cheese.

Ms Zomer compares drinking of raw milk to eating other unprocessed food.

“I also let my kids eat seafood, sprouts and raw spinach and chicken.

I wouldn’t let my kids eat raw sprouts. Or raw milk.

115 sickened: Multistate outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis infections linked to bean sprouts (Final update)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports this outbreak appears to be over.

wonton.foodA total of 115 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Enteritidis were reported from 12 states.

Twenty-five percent of ill persons were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.  

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

In interviews, 61 (72%) of 85 ill persons reported eating bean sprouts or menu items containing bean sprouts in the week before becoming ill.

In November 2014, Wonton Foods Inc. agreed to destroy any remaining products while they conducted a thorough cleaning and sanitization and implemented other Salmonella control measures at their firm. The firm resumed shipment of bean sprouts 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.

sprouts.kevinAlthough this outbreak appears to be over, sprouts are a known source of foodborne illness. CDC recommends that consumers, restaurants, and other retailers always follow food safety practices to avoid illness from eating sprouts.

Be aware that 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).

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

Sprouts still suck; another outbreak sickens at least 115 with Salmonella

The prison warden told Paul Newman’s Cool Hand Luke in the 1967 film that “what we have here is a failure to communicate.”

coolhandlukeIt’s based on an authoritarian model and is the oldest excuse out there; all kinds of problems could be solved if everyone just communicated better, especially scientists and others.

The anti-authoritarian heros of great American movies like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Blues Brothers and Stripes all found different ways to communicate, in unconventional ways.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports a total of 115 persons infected with the outbreak strains were reported from 12 states. The number of ill people identified in each state was as follows: Connecticut (8), Maine (4), Maryland (6), Massachusetts (36), Montana (1), New Hampshire (6), New York (22), Ohio (3), Pennsylvania (18), Rhode Island (7), Vermont (3), and Virginia (1). The one ill person from Montana traveled to the Eastern United States during the period when exposure likely occurred. Since the last update on December 16, 2014, four additional cases were reported from Maryland (1), Massachusetts (1), New York (1), and Pennsylvania (1).

Illness onset dates ranged from September 30, 2014, to December 15, 2014. Ill persons ranged in age from younger than 1 year to 83 years, with a median age of 32 years. Sixty-four percent of ill persons were female. Among 75 persons with available information, 19 (25%) were hospitalized, and no deaths were reported.

This outbreak appears to be over. However, sprouts are a known source of foodborne illness. CDC recommends that consumers, restaurants, and other retailers always follow food safety practices to avoid illness from eating sprouts.

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.

amy.sprouts.guelph.05Scientific 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.

87 now sick with Salmonella from sprouts

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports:

  • As of December 2, 2014, a total of 87 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Enteritidis have been reported from 11 states.

      amy.sprouts.guelph.05   Twenty-seven percent of ill persons have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.  

  • 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.

  • 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, 42 (78%) of 54 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 thorough cleaning and sanitization and implemented other Salmonella control measures. On November 24, the firm completed cleaning and sanitization and restarted 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.

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

2 dead, 3 sick from Listeria; sprouts strike again

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Protection:

  • CDC recommends that consumers do not eat any products produced by Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. Restaurants and retailers should not sell or serve them.
  • AA051036On August 28, 2014, Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. conducted a voluntary recall of mung bean sprouts due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination after FDA isolated the pathogen from samples as a result of a routine assignment.
  • During FDA inspections of the Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. facility in August and October 2014, investigators observed unsanitary conditions, many of which were present during both inspections.
  • Whole genome sequences of the Listeria strains isolated from mung bean sprouts produced by Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. and environmental isolates collected at the production facility were found to be highly related to sequences of Listeria strains isolated from five people who became ill from June through August 2014.
  •  These five ill people were reported from two states: Illinois (4) and Michigan (1).
  • All ill people were hospitalized. Two deaths were reported.
  • The two people interviewed reported eating bean sprouts.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) isolated Listeria monocytogenes from mung bean sprouts and sprout irrigation water samples obtained during a routine assignment on August 13, 2014, at Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. Based on this finding, FDA conducted an inspection of the facility from August 12, 2014, through September 3, 2014, and isolated Listeria monocytogenes from 25 environmental swabs obtained during the inspection. FDA also issued a report with 12 inspectional observations, citing the firm for numerous unsanitary conditions and poor equipment maintenance.

On August 28, 2014, Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. agreed to conduct a voluntary recall of mung bean sprouts and notified customers by telephone. Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. ceased production of sprouts on August 28, 2014, and resumed production on September 15, 2014 after Listeria monocytogenes was not identified in finished product. From October 7, 2014, to October 31, 2014, FDA re-inspected the facility and identified Listeria monocytogenes in nine environmental swabs. FDA investigators issued another report to the firm, noting 12 inspectional observations involving unsanitary conditions and poor equipment maintenance. Nine of these observations had persisted from the previous inspection.

On October 14, 2014, Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. ceased production of all products except mung bean and soy bean sprouts. FDA is working with the company to ensure that they do not produce sprouts until FDA has adequate assurances that this persistent and dangerous strain of Listeria monocytogenes is sufficiently controlled. Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is working to embargo all product at Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. and the other wholesalers that presently have product. In addition, IDPH has asked local health departments to contact facilities in their jurisdictions that have received the product to have the facilities either hold the product or destroy per the CDC recommendations.

FDA performed pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS) on the isolates from mung bean sprouts and environmental samples from Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. to further characterize the Listeria isolates. Compared with PFGE, WGS provides a clearer distinction of genetic differences among Listeria isolates (strains that are highly related by WGS are more likely to have a common source).

Public health investigators used PFGE and WGS to identify cases of illness that were caused by highly related strains and therefore possibly related to products made at Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. This included data from PulseNet, the national subtyping network of state and local public health laboratories, CDC, and federal food regulatory laboratories that perform molecular surveillance of foodborne infections. 

Whole-genome sequences of Listeria strains isolated from five ill people were found to be highly related to sequences of the Listeria strain isolated from mung bean sprouts produced by Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. These ill people have been reported from two states: Illinois (4) and Michigan (1).  They became ill from June through August 2014. All five people were hospitalized, and two deaths were reported. Two of the five people were interviewed, and both reported consuming bean sprouts in the month before becoming ill.

The high degree of genetic similarity between isolates from ill people and from mung bean sprouts and environmental samples collected at Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. shows that the food was contaminated with a strain of Listeria monocytogenes that can cause serious illness. Although limited information is available about the specific sprout products that the ill people consumed, the whole genome sequencing findings, together with the sprout consumption history of two patients and inspection findings at the firm, suggest that these illnesses could be related to products from Wholesome Soy Products, Inc.

CDC, the states involved, and FDA continue to work closely on this ongoing investigation, and new information will be provided when available.

We document at least 55 sprout-associated outbreaks occurring worldwide affecting a total of 15,233 people since 1988. A comprehensive table of sprout-related outbreaks can be found at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Sprout-associated-outbreaks-8-1-14.xlsx.

Wholesome Soy Products, Inc

Raw sprouts with Salmonella strike again; UK wedding guests win compensation

Wedding guests have won tens of thousands of pounds worth of compensation after beansprouts served at a reception caused a deadly outbreak of food poisoning.

wedding.crashersRene Kwartz, 82, died in hospital three weeks after contracting salmonella at a Jewish celebration in Prestwich in August, 2010.

Now 25 other guests who were also struck down with the bug have settled civil cases against caterers Shefa Mehadrin and suppliers Duerden Brothers.

Among them were Colin Thornton, 57, and his wife Rozanne, 53.

Colin, who used to live in Prestwich and now lives in Clitheroe, Lancashire, said: “You expect to go to a wedding reception and have a nice meal, you don’t expect this to happen to anybody.

“I feel very sorry for the family that booked it. They must feel terrible but it wasn’t their fault.”

He added: “It is very annoying that we’ve had to fight for four and a half years for this.

“A person’s life has been lost.”

The outbreak was traced back to a batch of beansprouts served raw in a salmon teriyaki dish.

Expert guidance recommends they are cooked to kill any bacteria.

The bride’s mum Norma Harris was among the others infected, along with the groom and best man.

At the time she said: “We are devastated. My daughter doesn’t want to see her wedding photographs. We are in bits.”

The settlements, negotiated by Slater and Gordon, are understood to range from £1,000 to £5,000.

We document at least 55 sprout-associated outbreaks occurring worldwide affecting a total of 15,233 people since 1988. A comprehensive table of sprout-related outbreaks can be found at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Sprout-associated-outbreaks-8-1-14.xlsx.