‘Better think about the consequence of (temperature abuse) actions’ Over 700 sick from C. perfringens at one Chipotle

Chipotle’s head of food safety, Jim Marsden, has been conspicuously silent after at least 647 patrons at a single Chipotle restaurant in Powell (no relation), Ohio, were sickened with Clostridium perfringens.

As one of my colleagues said, Preventing C. perfringens is kind of like food safety 101. They must’ve had a massive temperature abuse situation.

In response, CEO Brian Niccol said Chipotle will start retraining all restaurant employees on food safety and wellness protocols next week.

Uh-huh.

#MeToo

How the hell would I know? 395 sickened by Cyclospora linked to McDonalds salads

There was this one time, in 2010, I got a phone call at 6 a.m. from the esteemed Michael Osterholm of the Minnesota food safety system.

My wife does a better Minnosotan accent, spending her yute in Albert Lea, eh?

He didn’t like the photo, right, made by the creative couple of Heather and Christian, who used to work in my lab, and opened the conversation with, “How could you print that?”

I said it was an accurate description of what had been publically known about the leafy greens folks since the E. coli O157 spinach outbreak of 2006 (I’m old, waiting for news on the birth of my third grandson).

He then told me he was a consultant for Fresh Express and that they had an excellent food safety system.

I said great, make it public, so people can judge on their own.

Fresh Express has now been linked to 395 cases of Cyclospora through their lettuce served at McDonalds.

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., is pressing Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb for specifics about the investigation of the cyclosporaoutbreak linked to product sold by Fresh Express.

In an Aug. 3 letter her office released to the media, DeLauro said she wrote the letter “out of concern about the current outbreak of cyclosporiasis as well as the transparency and timeliness of your agency’s ongoing investigation.”

“Although once rare in the United States, parasitic outbreaks caused by cyclospora have become more common over the last several decades,” she said in the letter. “Many of these outbreaks have continually been found to be associated with imported fruits and vegetables.”

The recent outbreak is currently responsible for 395 infections — including 16 hospitalizations — across 15 states.

The parasite was first found when the FDA conducted testing on an unused package of Fresh Express salad mix, distributed to a McDonald’s restaurant, containing romaine lettuce and carrots.

The FDA states as of July 13, McDonald’s decided to stop selling the salads at restaurants impacted in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan. Ohio, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota. Montana, North Dakota, Kentucky, West Virginia and Missouri.

In a July 20, statement, McDonald’s said the health and safety of their customers is their top priority.

“The health and safety of our customers and the people who work in McDonald’s restaurants is always our top priority. The additional states identified by the FDA and CDC are among the same states where a week ago we proactively decided to remove our lettuce blend in impacted restaurants and replace it through a different supplier. McDonald’s is committed to the highest standards of food safety and quality and we continue to cooperate and support regulatory and public health officials in their investigations. For those seeking additional information about Cyclospora, we encourage them to visit the CDC and FDA websites.”

Uh-huh.

Cyclospora sucks. My aunt, my mom’s sister, got it in Florida from basil, about a decade ago.

(Doesn’t she look amazing at 80, left.)

Cyclospora isn’t one of those things doctors routinely check for. Then you’re sick for about six weeks until some bright doc figures it out.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued an alert to the public on “beef, pork and poultry salad and wrap products potentially contaminated with Cyclospora that were distributed by Caito Foods LLC, of Indianapolis,” Indiana.

USDA also released a public health alert after Indianapolis-based food distributor Caito Foods “received notification from their lettuce supplier, Fresh Express, that the chopped romaine that is used to manufacture some of their salads and wraps was being recalled.”

“Fresh Express follows rigid food safety requirements and preventive controls throughout our supply chain that are carefully designed to mitigate against potential health risks. Working together with public health officials, we are hopeful a definitive source of the outbreak clusters will be identified soon.”

Uh-huh.

Still here, Mike. You can call me in Australia through Google voice 785-532-1925 and tell me what Fresh Express is doing, and why they are importing lettuce in the middle of North American summer.

Raw is risky: Grapes pressed with infected mice caused tularemia outbreak at German winery

The consumption of grape must from fruit that had been accidentally pressed with infected mice appeared to be the cause of a small 2016 outbreak of oropharyngeal tularemia at a winery in Germany, investigators reported in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Animals — primarily hares, rabbits and rodents — often die in large numbers during outbreaks of tularemia, according to the CDC. Humans can become infected several ways, including through tick and deer fly bites, skin contact with infected animals or drinking contaminated water.

Six grape harvesters at a Rhineland-Palatinate winery were likely infected when they drank contaminated grape must, a juice containing seeds, stems and the skin of grapes, investigators said.

According to the report, the harvesters — two women and four men — suffered from symptoms of tularemia, including swollen cervical lymph nodes, fever, chills, difficulty swallowing and diarrhea. They tested positive for Francisellatularensis, the bacterium that causes tularemia.

The investigators discovered that wine made at another winery from grapes harvested by the same mechanical harvester used at the winery involved in the outbreak also tested positive, “a finding that suggests that the harvester was the source of cross-contamination,” the investigators wrote. They said vintners confirmed that mice were occasionally collected by the harvesters, along with grapes.

“This outbreak suggests that mechanical harvesting can be a risk factor for the transmission of zoonoses such as tularemia and that raw food stuffs should be treated before consumption,” they wrote. “All contaminated products were confiscated and their sale prohibited by public health and other local authorities.”

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.

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.

61 sick in 7 states from Cyclospora in new outbreak linked to McDonald’s; 3000 locations removing salads

At least 61 people in seven Midwestern States have been sickened with Cyclospora possibly linked to salads served at McDonald’s restaurants.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that two people have been hospitalized and to date, no deaths have been reported.

Ashley Nickle of The Packer reports that health authorities in Illinois and Iowa have reported 105 recent cases of cyclosporiasis and have linked some of them to McDonald’s salads.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to voluntarily stop selling salads at impacted restaurants until we can switch to another lettuce blend supplier,” McDonald’s said in a statement. “We are in the process of removing existing salad blends from identified restaurants and distribution centers, which includes approximately 3,000 of our U.S. restaurants, primarily located in the Midwest.”

McDonald’s spokeswoman Terri Hickey said, “McDonald’s is committed to the highest standards of food safety and quality control. We are closely monitoring this situation and cooperating with state and federal public health authorities as they further investigate”

In June, federal agencies investigated cyclosporiasis cases that were linked to Del Monte vegetable trays. More than 225 illnesses have been reported in that outbreak. At this time, no link has been made by health authorities between the outbreak linked to McDonald’s salads and the outbreak linked to Del Monte vegetable trays, which included broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and dip.

Food fraud: Crab meat from Venezuela linked to 9 cases of vibrio in Maryland

While Maryland Blue Crabs are a staple in the DMV, many places do sell crabs, packaged crab meat, and crab cakes with crab from elsewhere.

Anne Cutler of Fox 26 says the National Aquarium in Baltimore reports that due to environmental degradation and years of overfishing, there’s not enough blue crab in the region to support demand, and grocery stores and restaurants often resort to selling imported crab.

According to ocean conservancy organization Oceana, 33 percent of the seafood purchased in the United States is actually mislabeled.

The National Aquarium reports that under current law, crab meat can be imported from around the world, pasteurized in-state and relabeled as “Maryland crabmeat.”

Nine people have contracted dangerous Vibrio infections in Maryland alone. The state’s Department of Health is warning residents to not eat crab meat from Venezuela.

“We’re selling a lot of crab meat, shrimp, lobster, whatever you want. We’re steaming it for you. And as far as this crab meat, we gotta get it from the eastern shore now, because we heard from the media what’s going on,” said Clarence Goodman, with Jessie Taylor Seafood.

Goodman says the company is not taking any chances — sticking with products almost exclusively from the eastern seaboard. 

The crab in question comes in the little plastic tubs. Consumers should look for a label on the side of the container that says where the meat is from. If it comes from Venezuela, you don’t want to get it.

Diners should also pay attention when buying crab cakes as well.A 2015 study from Oceana found that 38 percent of crab cakes being advertised as having locally sourced Chesapeake blue crab were actually made of imported meat.

In the state of Maryland, only a few dozen restaurants in the state reliably make their crab cakes from local crabmeat and the state does not require restaurants to identify the specific source of the meat.

The state has a listing of “True Blue” local restaurants that serve Maryland blue crab.

Over 500 reports of gastrointestinal illness at Tennessee zip line attraction

The Tennessee Department of Health says it is investigating an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness among visitors to a zip line attraction in Sevier County.

Health officials say they have received reports of more than 500 cases of gastrointestinal illnesses including diarrhea and vomiting from people from multiple states who visited CLIMB Works Zipline Canopy Tour since mid-June 2018.

State and local health investigators are working with the company to identify additional cases, what caused the illnesses and keep more people from getting sick.

State health officials say CLIMB Works has taken appropriate steps and closed temporarily, but has resumed routine operations.

The East Tennessee Regional Health Department says it has taken samples of well water, but the tests are not back yet. A manager at CLIMB Works says they’re not sure what’s causing the illnesses, but they have stopped using and distributing water at the attraction.

Cilmb Works Manager, Brian Turley, says 108 visitors called the business directly to report sickness. He says most of them called, not for a refund, but to inform the business of potential issues. 

Turley says they are offering refunds for anyone affected with illness. 

Speaking with WATE 6 On Your Side, Turley shared a message for visitors:

“We are so sorry. We obviously had no idea or we never would have never let you [visitors] drink our water. We had no idea. It’s so frustrating it wasn’t something we didn’t catch sooner,” said Turley.

212 sick: Multistate outbreak of cyclosporiasis linked to Del Monte Fresh produce vegetable tray

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that Cyclospora cayetanensis is a single-celled parasite that causes an intestinal infection called cyclosporiasis.

As of July 5, 2018 (9am EDT), CDC has been notified of 212 laboratory-confirmed cases of cyclosporiasis in persons who reportedly consumed pre-packaged Del Monte Fresh Produce vegetable trays containing broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and dill dip. The reports have come from four states.

Seven (7) of these people have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

Epidemiologic evidence indicates that pre-packaged Del Monte Fresh Produce vegetable trays containing broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and dill dip are the likely source of these infections.

Most ill people reported eating pre-packaged Del Monte Fresh Produce vegetable trays containing broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and dill dip.

Most ill people reported buying pre-packaged Del Monte Fresh Produce vegetable trays containing broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and dill dip in the Midwest. Most people reported buying the trays at Kwik Trip convenience stores.

The investigation is ongoing. CDC will provide updates when more information is available.

General advice for consumers about prevention of cyclosporiasis can be found here.

On June 15, 2018, Del Monte Fresh Produce recalled 6 oz., 12 oz., and 28 oz. vegetable trays containing fresh broccoli, cauliflower, celery sticks, carrots, and dill dip. Recalled products were sold in clear, plastic clamshell containers.

Recalled products were distributed to the following stores: Kwik Trip, Kwik Star, Demond’s, Sentry, Potash, Meehan’s, Country Market, FoodMax Supermarket, and Peapod.

Food safety and tourism are mutually dependent: Vibrio in conch in Bahamas

Morgan Adderley of Tribune 242 reports there have been four confirmed cases of conch poisoning and as many as six unconfirmed cases, Bahamas Health Minister Duane Sands announced yesterday.

According to Dr Sands, the exposure took place in the previous 72 to 96 hours with a number of the patients affected having eaten at Potter’s Cay.

Noting that an outbreak of conch poisoning is something the country can “ill afford” right now, Dr Sands was adamant the issue can be easily mitigated if proper hygiene is maintained.

Four cases have been confirmed via laboratory testing but Dr Sands said there are a number of unconfirmed cases – “possibly as many as six” awaiting laboratory results. He added the affected people are being treated at both Doctors Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital, and so far, all the self-identified patients are Bahamian.

Dr Sands said the steps to controlling the outbreak lie in proper hygiene and public and vendor awareness.

“Environmental Health teams (are speaking) directly with the vendors, not only at Potter’s Cay but throughout New Providence and anywhere else that we may have reason to suspect possibility of exposure,” Dr Sands said.

“We learned back in the 1990s that this is easily controlled if people practice very simple techniques of washing conch with fresh water. And that minimises, if not eliminates the possibility of transmission.

If it’s so simple, why do so many people get sick?