26 infants sick with Salmonella from baby formula: French order recall

Baby milk maker Lactalis and French authorities have ordered a global recall of millions of products over fears of Salmonella bacteria contamination.

Lactalis, one of the largest dairy groups in the world, said it has been warned by health authorities in France that 26 infants have become sick since Dec. 1.

The French company, one of the world’s largest dairy groups, said it was warned by health authorities in France that 26 infants have become sick since Dec. 1.

According to a list published on the French health ministry’s website, the recall affects customers in countries around the world, including: Britain and Greece in Europe, Morocco and Sudan in Africa, Peru and Colombia in South America and Pakistan, Bangladesh and China in Asia. The United States, a major market for Lactalis, is not affected.

Company spokesman Michel Nalet told The Associated Press on Monday that the “precautionary” recall involves “several million” products made since mid-February.

Lactalis said in a statement that the 26 cases of infection were linked to products branded Picot SL, Pepti Junior 1, Milumel Bio 1 and Picot Riz.

How is it precautionary when 26 babies are sick?

It said it is “sincerely sorry for the concern generated by the situation and expresses its compassion and support to the families whose children fell ill.”

The health scare started earlier this month when Lactalis was told that 20 infants under six months of age had been diagnosed with salmonella infection. The company ordered a first recall that has been extended to more products at the request of French authorities following new reports of infections.

Lactalis is a privately held company headquartered in Laval, western France. It has 75,000 employees in 85 countries and annual revenues of about 17 billion euros ($20 billion). Its other notable brands include President and Galbani cheeses and Parmalat milk.

California sisters fighting to recover from E. coli

The Public Health Agency of Canada may think Shiga-toxin producing E. coli is no biggie, but tell that to the Niles sisters of southern California, who were both hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

ABC 30 reports that Mariska and Willow were active and healthy kids with no medical history. Their parents thought it was a terrible case of the flu. Originally their pediatrician thought it was norovirus. But after days of worsening symptoms, they were admitted to Valley Children’s Hospital with E. coli.

13-year-old Mariska Niles is finally starting to improve after 16 days in the hospital. She’s had more blood transfusions than she can count along with excruciating stomach pain and she was hallucinating.

The sisters were diagnosed with E. coli HUS or typical hemolytic uremic syndrome but the girls had unique cases.

Dr. Molly Dorfman said, “There’s was pretty atypical. Particularly the severity of Willow’s case was very very severe.”

This form of bacteria usually originates from contaminated food or water products. Pinpointing the exact source has been difficult. They haven’t traveled anywhere recently. The family hadn’t eaten out lately. It’s likely other family members also ate what the girls did but did not become violently ill. Even more puzzling, Mariska and Willow rarely eat the same things.

9-year-old Willow’s kidney’s still are not working. She has been debilitated by toxins from the infection, and at one point couldn’t wake up. Both sisters have had blood transfusion and dialysis.

21 sick with E. coli O157 from Romaine lettuce in Canada: What says LGMA?

The Sponge-Bob leafy greens cone of silence has once again been deployed with 21 sick from E. coli O157 linked to Romaine lettuce.

The Public Health Agency of Canada made the announcement Monday night, so it’s time for another edition of spokesthingy fairytales. The statements in italics are from the Public Health Agency of Canada. The comments below are mine.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with provincial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada.

How do you know a Canadian is making a presentation at a scientific conference? They spend half the talk noting collaborations.

At this time, there are no product recalls associated with this outbreak. The outbreak investigation is ongoing, and this public health notice will be updated on a regular basis as the investigation evolves.

We’ll see.

The risk to Canadians is low.

If you have no product recalls, no real clues other than some lettuce, how can you say the risk is low?

However, Canadians are reminded to follow safe food handling practices for lettuce to avoid becoming ill.

Washing does almost nothing to improve the safety of leafy greens, other than to remove the snot from an appropriately heightened 5-year-old and make consumers feel better.

Most people with an E. coli infection will become ill for a few days and then recover fully.

Unless you’re part of the percentage that has life-long health issues from eating a salad.

Some E. coli infections can be life threatening, though this is rare.

But it really sucks when it happens.

Currently, there are 21 cases of E. coli O157 illness under investigation in three provinces: Quebec (3), New Brunswick (5), and Newfoundland and Labrador (13).

These are not prime lettuce growing areas in Canada, in November.

Individuals became sick in November 2017. Ten individuals have been hospitalized.

No deaths have been reported.

See, no biggie. But this was issued Dec. 11. 2017. So was it early November or late November. The difference is hugely significant when assessing the timeliness of the announcement.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is working with public health officials to determine the source of the romaine lettuce that ill individuals were exposed to.
Which will be buried and vaguely released in some journal article a couple of years from now.
The following food safety tips for lettuce will help you reduce your risk of getting an E. coli infection.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds, before and after handling lettuce.

Water temperature doesn’t matter.

  • Discard outer leaves of fresh lettuce.
  • Wash your unpackaged lettuce under fresh, cool running water. There is no need to use anything other than water to wash lettuce. Washing it gently with water is as effective as using produce cleansers.

And neither are effective at removing pathogens.

  • Keep rinsing your lettuce until all of the dirt has been washed away.
  • Don’t soak lettuce in a sink full of water. It can become contaminated by bacteria in the sink.
  • Ready-to-eat lettuce products sold in sealed packages and labelled as washed, pre-washed or triple washed do not need to be washed again.
  • Use warm water and soap to thoroughly wash all utensils, countertops and cutting boards before and after handling lettuce to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Store lettuce in the refrigerator for up to seven days. Discard when leaves become wilted or brown.
  • Bagged, ready-to-eat, pre-washed lettuce products should also be refrigerated and used before the expiration date.

The Government of Canada is committed to food safety.

The Government of Canada is committed to creating a perception of commitment to food safety.

The Public Health Agency of Canada leads the human health investigation into an outbreak and is in regular contact with its federal and provincial partners to monitor the situation and to collaborate on steps to address the outbreak.

Thanks for the org-chart update.

This is nothing but crass industry-government-academia politico ass-covering.

At some point, the people barfing would probably appreciate something just a tad more human.

Australia still has an egg problem: Over 200 with Salmonella across NSW as temps rise

Providing food safety advice without preaching is tricky.

Matching the advice with what happens in reality is damn hard.

Amy, Sorenne and I are hanging out in Canberra – Australia’s capital — for the next couple of days while Amy goes to a French conference and Sorenne teaches me how to play Minecraft.

Dinner last night, including chicken wings and potato-somethings, both served with aioli.

I asked the server, how was the tapas prepared, is it a commercial product or is it made with raw eggs?

Oh, we make our own tapas. We would never buy the commercial product.

No thanks.

Amy said, serve it on the side, I’ll take the risk.

So did Sorenne, although we did have a chat about microbiology (seize those learning moments).

This in context of health authorities warning people to take precautions to prevent salmonella poisonings, with 201 cases already reported in late November as temperatures start to climb.

Of the 4.1 million cases of food poisoning in Australia each year around a third of reported outbreaks are linked to raw or lightly cooked eggs.

Dr Vicky Sheppeard, Directors of Communicable Diseases at NSW Health said the best defence against salmonellosis was careful food preparation and food storage.

“Products containing undercooked eggs, and the spread of germs in the kitchen, are the most common source of salmonellosis outbreaks in NSW.”

NSW Food Authority CEO Dr Lisa Szabo said using commercially produced products instead of handmade mayonnaise and sauces when preparing food also reduced the risk of Salmonella poisoning.

“It is also much safer to use commercially pasteurised eggs rather than raw eggs in ready-to-eat products such as desserts and dressings,” DrSzabo said.

Good luck with that.

 

Australian bakery that sickened 203 with Salmonella in 1996 fined $130K

In late Jan. 2016, a bakery in Sydney’s south was closed as customers started reporting Salmonella illness.

On Monday, the owners of the Box Village Bakery, Thi Thu Ngo and Hung Son Le, were fined a total of $122,000 and ordered to pay $7,199 professional costs after each was convicted of ten breaches of the Food Act 2003.

The owners the Sylvania bakery at the centre of a Salmonella outbreak that affected more than 200 people, each pleaded guilty to five breaches of selling unsafe food, and five breaches of failing to meet food safety standards and were fined $61,000 each.

There were 203 documented cases of people who had presented to hospitals and other health care providers with symptoms of gastroenteritis including vomiting, diarrhea and fever after consuming bakery items such as chicken rolls and salads that were linked back to the bakery.

During its investigation the NSW Food Authority issued a Prohibition Order requiring the business to cease operations.

The business was only permitted to reopen and trade after it completed extensive work to ensure the bakery had been thoroughly cleaned and fully compliant with food safety laws.

The NSW Food Authority also conducted skills and knowledge testing with staff and management of the business to improve their food safety knowledge and conducted a number of inspections of the premises subsequent to its reopening to ensure it continued to be fit to trade.

CEO of the NSW Food Authority Dr Lisa Szabo said the court result served as a reminder to all food businesses and individuals as to why food safety systems are crucial.

Enjoy the holidays and follow safe food practices

As Christmas fast approaches, it is time for family and friends to get together and share in the festivities. This year my extended family and I have rigged together a massive outdoor spit and intend on roasting different cuts of meat all day. My job is to lather the meat with rosemary infused olive oil and ensure food safety. The latter is a given since my family knows my background and my less than par culinary skills. I’ll leave the cooking to my father-in-law and kids, I’ll make sure we have thermometers on hand.

The Boston Globe reports

One of the most rewarding parts of throwing a holiday bash is hearing the next day from guests reminiscing about how delicious and fun the prior evening was for all. What you don’t want to receive are messages about an impromptu afterparty thrown at the local emergency room. Food poisoning is a horrific holiday present to give folks as it’s a gift that could keep giving . . . for days.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 48 million people get sick from food poisoning each year, with 128,000 of them having to be hospitalized. Bouts of nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea are not only unpleasant reminders that you ate some bad food, but this type of foodborne illness can accelerate to the point that is life-threatening. According to the CDC, 3,000 people die annually from food poisoning.
If children, pregnant women, older adults, and/or those with certain chronic conditions are on your guest list, they are even more susceptible to food poisoning because their immune systems might be weakened or not as strong as they need to be yet. To help you enjoy your holiday season without regret, here are five strategies to safeguard your guests:
Be mindful when making cookies and dough ornaments
If you are baking cookies or making raw dough ornaments at your party, you could be asking for trouble. While you shouldn’t eat raw egg-containing cookie dough or batter because of the increased risk of salmonella, that’s only part of the problem. According to the Food and Drug Administration, flour may contain bacteria that can also sicken you. In 2016, there was an outbreak of foodborne illness from bacteria called Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O121. Because of this, the FDA is now recommending that you don’t let children play with raw dough. If you or your guests come in contact with flour, make sure that all hands, work surfaces, and utensils are thoroughly washed when the baking and crafts are completed.
Alter Grandma’s homemade eggnog recipe
Sipping eggnog topped with ground cinnamon and nutmeg just screams holiday cheer. Unfortunately, making the traditional recipe with raw eggs will put you and your guests at risk. The CDC recommends that you swap out the raw eggs from the eggnog recipe for pasteurized eggs that can be found at many supermarkets. Even better, save yourself time and worry by buying pre-made eggnog that is already pasteurized. Just don’t tell Grandma. 
Roast a safe turkey or chicken — and don’t wash it first
In a study done by researchers at the CDC, poultry was found to be the most common cause of foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States. The good news is that proper cooking will kill nasty bacteria. To avoid food poisoning, get yourself a reliable food thermometer and make sure that it is inserted in the innermost part of the thigh, wing, and breast of the poultry. If the thermometer reaches a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees, you are good to go. Contrary to popular thought, don’t wash the poultry before cooking it. Giving your bird a bath in your kitchen sink will not wash away the bacteria, but it could splatter it in the sink and contaminate surrounding surfaces.
Buffer the buffet table
When putting food out on a buffet table, you need to remember to keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Cold foods, such as cooked shrimp and salads, should be placed on a pan of ice to help keep these items at 40 degrees or colder. Use heating trays to keep hot foods at 140 degrees to keep bacteria from multiplying to levels that can make folks sick. Better yet, only put out small portions of these foods at a time. When the platter is empty, replenish the buffet table with a new platter of food from the refrigerator or oven. When the party is over, perishable foods left at room temperature for two hours or more should be tossed.
Provide parting gifts that go the distance
If you are sending your guests home with leftovers, be mindful of the distance they have to travel. If they’ll be on the road more than two hours, perishables should be packed in a cooler with ice or cold packs that will keep the food at 40 degrees.

 

Supplier connection? 27+ sick in Salmonella outbreak in Minnesota 2 Burger King’s closed

Two Burger King restaurants in Bemidji have been forced to shut their doors following a salmonella outbreak.

Minnesota Health Department tells the Star Tribune that since September, they’ve confirmed 27 cases of salmonella linked to the two fast-food restaurants.

 

Officials say there are four other possible cases. Both of the Burger King locations closed voluntarily Thursday to undergo a thorough decontamination process.

Liz Sawyer of the Star Tribune writes that since September, the Minnesota Department of Health has identified 27 confirmed cases and another four probable cases of salmonella with links to the two fast-food restaurants. Both sites voluntarily closed to the public on Thursday to begin the decontamination process.

“Some of the extreme measures we’re taking are that all of their employees need to test negative for salmonella [twice], not sooner than 24 hours apart,” said Doug Schultz, a spokesman for the state Department of Health. “Once that’s done, we can do additional cleaning and they can open again.”

Once most cases were reported this fall, the Health Department imposed strict interventions that rigorously cleaned the restaurants and barred employees with symptoms from working for 72 hours.

 

Cut means increased risk: 18 sick in Salmonella outbreak in Oregon, Washington linked to pre-cut fruit

Brad Schmidt of The Oregonian reports that 18 people in Washington and Oregon have been diagnosed with Salmonella after eating pre-cut fruit purchased from local grocery stores, prompting a review by state and federal health authorities.

Officials in both states have traced the outbreak to pre-cut watermelon, cantaloupe and fruit mixes containing those fruits. The products were purchased from Fred Meyer, QFC, Rosauers and Central Market.

Anyone who bought those products from those stores between Oct. 25 and Dec. 1 is urged to throw out the fruit.

“They should not eat it,” said Jonathan Modie, a spokesman for the Oregon Health Authority.

Just two of the 18 confirmed cases happened in Oregon, Modie said, with one in Multnomah County and one in Wasco County. Both people ate fruit purchased from Fred Meyer, he said, and the products carried Fred Meyer labels.

A spokesman for Fred Meyer, Jeffrey Temple, said the grocer pulled pre-cut watermelon and cantaloupe from store shelves in response to Friday’s advisory by the state of Washington.

Customers can return items to local stores for a full refund.

“Our highest priority is our customer’s safety and the safety of our food,” Temple said in a statement. “We will continue to work closely with state and federal health officials on their investigation to determine the source of this outbreak.” 

Uh-huh.

 

Norovirus sickens 60 students at NC State; kindergarten in China

In an update to the North Carolina State University norovirus outbreak, about 60 students are experiencing symptoms.

For me it was for one night and that night it was like the apocalypse, honestly. It was, ugh, really bad,” said Astri Sundstroem, a graduate student who battled the virus this week.

Most of the affected students, including Sundstroem and senior Linda Astrom, live in the Alexander residence hall.

“It was really bad. It was very intense for like just a few hours. Everything broke out. It was crazy. Everyone was really sick,” Astrom said.

To demonstrate how infectious norovirus can be, Zhang et al. report in the current International Journal of Infectious Diseases – recommended bath time reading – that noroviruses are a common cause of acute gastroenteritis outbreaks in institutions including schools and kindergartens around the world.

An outbreak caused by GII.P16-GII.2 norovirus in a kindergarten in Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province, China is reported here. An epidemiological investigation was conducted, and pathogen detection was performed. The descriptive analysis indicated that this outbreak in middle class 1 had a point source. Twenty cases of acute gastroenteritis occurred in this class within a period of 8.5 h; the attack rate was 52.6% (20/38). Airborne transmission via the air conditioning unit in a confined restroom could have played a critical role in this outbreak. Sequence analysis of GII-positive samples confirmed that the norovirus GII.P16-GII.2 variant was the etiological agent of this outbreak.

An acute gastroenteritis outbreak caused by GII.P16-GII.2 norovirus associated with airborne transmission via the air conditioning unit in a kindergarten in Lianyungang, China

International Journal of Infectious Diseases, December 2017, vol 65, pages 81-84,Ting-lu Zhang, Jing Lu, Liang Ying, Xiao-lu Zhu, Lian-hao Zhao, Meng-ying Zhou, Jia-long Wang, Guo-cai Chen, Lei Xu, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2017.10.003

http://www.ijidonline.com/article/S1201-9712(17)30259-X/fulltext