Everyone’s got a camera: Maryland bakery with rats edition

Dana Hedgpeth of The Washington Post reports the video depicts a rat crawling over cookies, pastries and pies at a Maryland bakery.

The incident unfolded Friday at Buttercup Bakery at Lexington Market in Baltimore. The bakery was shut down by city health officials, and so was another bakery nearby — Berger’s Bakery, which was closed for a fly infestation after an inspection, according to the Baltimore Sun.

The video has been viewed on Facebook more than 800,000 times. At one point in the video, the rat crawls onto cakes and then gets into a pile of cookies. Customers can be heard shouting. Someone yells, “Just grab him by the neck!”

Some customers of the Lexington Market, an indoor market that has operated since 1782, told the Sun that the area has had a longtime rodent problem.

The Sun said the video was taken by Milton Mitchell, who stopped by Buttercup Bakery on Thursday to buy cookies for his wife. He said he heard a noise as he neared the bakery, and another person pointed to the rat in the display case of desserts and pastries. Mitchell, according to the Sun, took out his phone and recorded it.

He told the Sun, “I never thought it would get this big, but I’m glad it did,” adding that he wanted to “let the public know what kind of situation Lexington Market is in.”

According to WBAL, the Buttercup Bakery general manager said an employee may have left a door open, possibly letting the rat inside.

Food fraud: Raids in Spain uncover expired meats about to be placed back on the market

Javier Arroyo of El Pais reports that Spain’s National Police and Civil Guard have seized hundreds of tons of expired jamón and other meat products that were about to be placed back in the market – in some cases, they were already back on sale.

In three separate raids conducted over the course of a few weeks, officers found that individuals and companies were apparently tampering with seals and labels to extend the shelf life of expired food products.

Sources at the Civil Guard and the Health Ministry said that the operations were independent from each other, but that further investigation is being conducted to determine whether there is a link between the cases.

The problem is no longer about lower-quality ham being passed off as gourmet or “pata negra,” a designation used for top pork products. This has been a more or less habitual scam that producers of real Iberian meats have been trying to eliminate through quality regulations established in 2014, as well as seals indicating the animal’s breed and feeding method.

This latest fraud involves taking expired food products that should legally be destroyed, altering their labels, and putting them back on the market.

1 dead, 25 sick: No fatal accident inquiry over girl’s E. coli death

BBC reports there will not be a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) into the death of a three-year-old girl from Dunbartonshire following an E. coli outbreak in 2016.

The Crown Office had previously said South Lanarkshire-based Errington Cheese would not face prosecution over the child’s death.

The firm’s Dunsyre Blue was named the most likely source of the outbreak.

The Crown Office said it had considered “all the relevant matters” before ruling out an FAI.

A total of 26 cases of the same strain of E. coli O157 were identified between July and September 2016 as a result of the outbreak, which left 17 people requiring hospital treatment.

A report published by Health Protection Scotland concluded in March 2017 that the source of the infection was consumption of an unpasteurised cows’ milk cheese.

Their incident management team found that potentially pathogenic E. coli were able to enter and survive the cheese production process at the food business.

However, Errington Cheese has repeatedly questioned the quality of the investigation and any suggestion that their product was responsible.

Always tragic: Iowa student dies from complications of E. coli

Southeast Polk Community School District officials say a student has died as a result of complications of E. coli.

No mention in early media reports is made of what kind of E coli was involved.

Willowbrook Elementary officials confirm Natalie Baker, a second grade student, died unexpectedly on Friday. Natalie’s mother said the death was very sudden, and urges parents to be on the lookout for signs of illness in their children, especially if they complain of a stomachache.

 

I’m known as the flyslayer around the home: More debate on the role of houseflies in E. coli transmission

The ecology of Escherichia coli O157:H7 is not well understood. The aims of this study were to determine the prevalence of and characterize E. coli O157:H7 associated with houseflies (HF).

 Musca domestica L. HF (n = 3,440) were collected from two sites on a cattle farm over a 4-month period and processed individually for E. coli O157:H7 isolation and quantification. The prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 was 2.9 and 1.4% in HF collected from feed bunks and a cattle feed storage shed, respectively. E. coli O157:H7 counts ranged from 3.0 × 101 to 1.5 × 105 CFU among the positive HF. PCR analysis of the E. coli O157:H7 isolates revealed that 90.4, 99.2, 99.2, and 100% of them (n = 125) possessed the stx1, stx2, eaeA, and fliC genes, respectively.

Large populations of HF on cattle farms may play a role in the dissemination of E. coli O157:H7 among animals and to the surrounding environment.

Association of Escherichia coli O157:H7 with houseflies on a cattle farm

July 2018

Applied and Environmental Microbiology vol. 84 no. 14

Muhammad Alam and Ludek Zurek

doi: 10.1128/AEM.70.12.7578-7580.2004

http://aem.asm.org/content/70/12/7578?ijkey=717a5417861fddb53638f51da6eecec048234a81&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha

1786 sick from toxo in Brazil: water suspected

Brazilian media report (via ProMed, thanks) that in the past 15 days, the number of cases of confirmed toxoplasmosis has increased from 594 to 621, according to a new epidemic bulletin from the government of Rio Grande do Sul and the city council on the epidemic facing the region.

Of the more than 600 confirmed cases, 54 are pregnant women, with 3 fetal deaths and 3 abortions.

The number of suspected cases increased from 1291 on [29 Jun 2018] to 1486 on Friday. Of these, 350 were rejected and 515 arestill under investigation. The total number of cases related to the disease is 1786, according to the latest newsletter.

The causes of the epidemic, confirmed by the State Secretariat of SAR in April this year [2018], are still unknown, and the authorities continue to investigate the event, under the supervision of the federal prosecution. Last Friday [6 Jul 2018], an examination detected the presence of the protozoan responsible for the disease in the water tank of a town residence. But the relationship between the protozoan and the epidemic has not been confirmed.

Toxoplasmosis, popularly known as cat disease, is an infectious disease caused by a protozoan called Toxoplasma gondii. This protozoan is easily found in nature and can cause infection in many mammals and birds around the world.

According to the Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases, the disease can occur through the ingestion of oocysts (where the parasite grows) from soil, sand, and bins contaminated with feces from infected cats; ingestion of raw and undercooked meat infected with oocysts, especially pork and mutton; or by transplacental infection, occurring in 40% of fetuses of mothers who contracted infection during pregnancy. The incubation period of toxoplasmosis ranges from 10 to 23 days when the cause is meat consumption, and from 5 to 20 days when the reason is contact with cat feces oocysts.

The Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases suggests some preventive measures. Do not eat raw or malnourished meats, and eat only well-washed vegetables and fruits cleaned with running water. Avoid contact with cat feces. In addition to avoiding contact with cats, pregnant women must undergo appropriate medical (prenatal) monitoring.

Thank you, WGS: Listeria linked to smoked salmon in Denmark and France

In Denmark, on 23 August 2017, Statens Serum Institut (SSI) identified a genetic cluster of four human Listeria monocytogenes sequence type (ST) 8 isolates by core genome multilocus sequence typing (cgMLST) [1]. The allele calling was performed in BioNumerics (v7.6.2, Applied Maths, Belgium). We initiated an epidemiological investigation and notified the Danish Central Outbreak Management Group (collaboration between the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (DVFA), the National Food Institute at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and SSI). On 25 August, two additional human isolates were found to belong to the same genetic cluster.

A confirmed case was defined as a person clinically diagnosed with listeriosis after 1 January 2017 with laboratory-confirmed L. monocytogenes ST8 clustering using cgMLST (≤ 5 allelic distance, single linkage). Cases diagnosed before 1 January 2017 with an isolate belonging to this cluster were defined as probable cases.

As of 25 August 2017, the genetic cluster comprised six cases; five confirmed and one probable. The age of the cases ranged from 59 to 96 years (median 80 years) and four were women. All patients had underlying illness and no travel history. One patient died within 30 days of diagnosis. Epidemiological investigations including a standard questionnaire on exposures showed that all five confirmed cases had consumed cold-smoked and/or cured salmon in the 30 days before disease onset. Four cases had bought the salmon in retail chain X. No other food-item was reported as consumed in high frequencies among cases. Epidemiological follow-up for the probable case did not include information on fish consumption.

On 29 August 2017, a comparison between the human outbreak isolates and 16 L. monocytogenes ST8 food- and environmental isolates identified in Denmark from 2014 to August 2017 showed that the human isolates clustered with a food isolate from cold-smoked salmon, cut and packaged at company Y in Poland (zero to two allelic differences using cgMLST). L. monocytogenes had been detected on 31 July 2017 at levels of 110 CFU/g (threshold: 100 CFU/g) at the end of shelf life. The product was widely sold in Denmark and had been sampled by the DVFA in retail chain X, as part of a consumer exposure survey (i.e. analyses project on retail packages). Because the L. monocytogenes concentration had been just above the accepted limit and found at the end of the product shelf life a recall of this batch was not conducted. However, due to the positive finding, follow-up sampling had been performed on the 9 and 10 August 2017 from the central storage unit of retail chain X. L. monocytogenes had been isolated from two batches analysed before end of shelf life. In one sample from the same batches, which was also analysed at the end of the shelf life, on 28 August 2017 a L. monocytogenes level of 240 CFU/g was found. Isolates from the follow-up samples had zero to four allelic differences to the human outbreak isolates using cgMLST.

The human outbreak sequences were also compared to all L. monocytogenes ST8 genomes derived from clinical samples in Denmark from 2012 onwards. Although ST8 genomes from Danish patients in the period 2012–2017 showed high diversity, the outbreak isolates clearly formed a distinct cgMLST cluster with 16 allelic differences to the nearest isolates outside the genetic outbreak cluster and a maximum of nine allelic differences within the cluster (Figure 2a). We investigated the relatedness of outbreak isolates further by single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) analysis performed by both SSI and DTU using two analysis pipelines: Northern Arizona SNP Pipeline (NASP) [2] and CSI Phylogeny version 1.4 from Center for Genomics Epidemiology (CGE), DTU [3] leading to the same conclusion.

On 30 August 2017, DVFA advised retail chain X to recall all cold-smoked salmon produced at company Y. This advice was based on the elevated number of L. monocytogenes (240 CFU/g) found in the product at the end of shelf-life and the link to the outbreak. Retail chain X voluntarily recalled both cold-smoked and cured salmon produced at company Y. As part of the recall procedure, retail chain X informed company Y on the situation. Information from company Y, provided by the Polish food authorities via the European Union Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF), showed that the implicated batches were exclusively sold via retail chain X and only in Denmark.

The French National Reference Centre (NRC) for Listeria (Institut Pasteur, Paris), compared the sequences of the Danish human isolates against its database, using cgMLST as previously described [1,4]. A human isolate from a French resident belonged to the same cluster (L2-SL8-ST8-CT771) as the Danish isolates. This French probable case, a female patient in her mid-80s, was diagnosed in June 2016. Epidemiological investigations carried out by Santé Publique France were inconclusive, since food consumption history was not available at the time of diagnosis nor could information on travel to Denmark be retrieved, as the person had since died.

On 6 September 2017, an official control by the Ministry of Economy was carried out at a French retailer where a kosher chilled cured salmon was sampled for analysis. The sample was contaminated with L. monocytogenes at the level of 460 CFU/g and the salmon producer was company Y. An isolate was sent to the French NRC for typing and showed to belong to the same cgMLST type as the Danish outbreak. Further investigations on the food product confirmed that it had not been further processed after production in Poland. The product was recalled and no human cases were linked to its consumption as of beginning of December 2017.

The other nine countries that replied to the EPIS-FWD UI-426 notification (Austria, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, United Kingdom) did not report any human or food isolates linked to the Danish outbreak. However, after submission of this report, at the end of November, we were informed through EPIS about three genetically linked human isolates in Germany.

Discussion

Here we report on a listeriosis outbreak and highlight the value of rapidly comparing the genomes of human and food/environmental isolates at the national and international levels.

The fact that the contaminated salmon products identified in Denmark and France were from different batches suggests environmental contamination possibly at the production facility at company Y. It is too early to assess whether any measures taken at company Y have been effective in controlling the outbreak. However, experiences from previous investigations suggest that once L. monocytogenes is detected in one product, the whole production site should be subject to a thorough inspection, and sampling with special attention to all the possible contamination/cross contamination issues before implementing corrective measures [5,6]. Moreover, the risk for L. monocytogenes persistent strains in the production environment requires the close monitoring for several years to ensure the elimination of these [7,8].

Since WGS was introduced for routine surveillance in Denmark, a number of listeriosis outbreaks have been detected and solved, including outbreaks involving cold-smoked ready-to-eat sliced fish products [5]. The present investigation further reinforces the suspicion that ready-to-eat fish products are important sources of L. monocytogenes infections in Denmark, as well as in other countries.

Though only involving a low number of isolates, WGS L. monocytogenes surveillance and communication between countries allowed us to detect and rapidly solve this salmon-associated outbreak, leading to food product recall in two European countries. Compared with previous typing methods, WGS has a higher discriminatory power and the ability to determine genetic distance between isolates. The introduction of WGS for surveillance of food-borne infections has shown that it improves outbreak detection and facilitates outbreak investigations and likely helps reduce the number of infections [4,9-16]. The EPIS-FWD communication platforms allowed for the communication to link cases across borders. However, currently cross-border outbreaks are only detected when case numbers in at least one country exceed normal levels and are notified internationally. Therefore, a possible future system for easy exchange of and comparison of WGS data, e.g. by the use of an agreed cgMLST nomenclature, across borders will enable the identification of more dispersed outbreaks as well as cross-border links between food samples and human infections. This report highlights that by the application of cross-disciplinary and real-time cross-border comparison of WGS data, L. monocytogenes infections can be prevented and thereby providing safer food for at-risk groups such as the elderly, immunodeficient individuals and pregnant women.

Cross-border outbreak of listeriosis caused by cold-smoked salmon, revealed by integrated surveillance and whole genome sequencing (WGS), Denmark and France, 2015 to 2017

Schjørring Susanne, Gillesberg Lassen Sofie , Jensen Tenna, Moura Alexandra, Kjeldgaard Jette S, Müller Luise, Thielke Stine, Leclercq Alexandre, Maury Mylene M, Tourdjman Mathieu, Donguy Marie-Pierre, Lecuit Marc, Ethelberg Steen, Nielsen Eva M. Cross-border outbreak of listeriosis caused by cold-smoked salmon, revealed by integrated surveillance and whole genome sequencing (WGS), Denmark and France, 2015 to 2017. Euro Surveill. 2017;22(50):pii=17-00762. https://doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2017.22.50.17-00762

https://eurosurveillance.org/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2017.22.50.17-00762

Multistate outbreak of Vibrio parahaemolyticus infections linked to fresh crab meat imported from Venezuela

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), is getting in on the vibrio outbreak linked to crab meat imported from Venezuela – often posing as Maryland crab – along with state and local health officials, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

CDC recommends that consumers not eat, restaurants not serve, and retailers not sell fresh crab meat imported from Venezuela at this time.

How would consumers know? Ask questions?

Consumers are not the critical control point of this food safety system.

Yet my 9-year-old knew enough to ask if the aioli that was served with her chips at a hockey tournament in Newcastle, Australia, this was weekend, contained raw egg.

I wasn’t around, but a shiver of pride went through my body.

This type of product may be labeled as fresh or precooked. It’s commonly found in plastic containers.

Food contaminated with Vibrio parahaemolyticus usually looks, smells, and tastes normal.

Steamed crab meat from blue crab (close up)

If you buy crab meat and do not know whether it is from Venezuela, do not eat, serve, or sell it. Throw it away.

CDC, state and local health officials, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are investigating a multistate outbreak of Vibrio parahaemolyticus infections linked to eating fresh crab meat imported from Venezuela.

Epidemiologic evidence indicates that precooked fresh crab meat imported from Venezuela is the likely source of this outbreak.

Twelve people infected with Vibrio parahaemolyticus who ate fresh crab meat have been reported from Maryland, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia.

Four people (33%) have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from April 1, 2018 to July 3, 2018.

Frozen berries, you’re breakin’ my heart: Recall in Canada ‘cause of Salmonella

Hain Celestial Canada, ULC is recalling Europe’s Best brand Field Berry Mixes from the marketplace due to possible Salmonella contamination.

This recall was triggered by a recall in another country. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.

The CFIA is verifying that industry is removing recalled product from the marketplace.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these products.

Over 500 sick: E. coli found in well water at zip line attraction in Tennessee

Tennessee’s Department of Health says testing has confirmed E. coli in well water at a zipline attraction.

The announcement comes after an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness among visitors at CLIMB Works Zipline Canopy Tour, WATE reported.

While tourists continue to enjoy the park, management is working to fix the drinking water.

“I did notice signs not to drink the water. So, I didn’t know if that was something normal everyday or something going on,” LaRie Roe said.

A new filtration system and bottled water for guests have been added. The park is offering refunds for anyone affected with any illness.