EU Listeria-in-frozen veg outbreak hits Australia

The Listeria-in-frozen veg outbreak in the EU that has killed nine and sickened 47 since 2015 has taken an Australian twist: the vegetables distributed by Belgium-based frozen food distributor Greenyard Frozen NV were also distributed in Australia (and who knows where else) underlying the role of bullshit and faith regarding global food safety.

Food safety is, of course, any distributor’s first priority (as Sorenne asked me today, about something completely different, “was that sarcasm?”

Nothing funny about this.

A whole bunch of frozen veg stocked by Woolworths, IGA and ALDI in Australia have been added to the recall by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

FSANZ spokeswoman Lorraine Haase said there had not been any evidence of infections in Australia, but a number of people had died in the United Kingdom.

Two days later, on July 11, 2018, the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services identified a case of Listeria from earlier in 2018 that has now been linked to the strain in Europe which has led to a recall of a range of imported frozen vegetables.

The listeria is the same serotype with similar genetics.

Unfortunately, the Victorian case who was being treated for another serious illness died earlier this year.

So it is not possible to confirm whether this person actually consumed any of the frozen vegetable products.

This is not the same serotype of Listeria which killed seven in Australia and caused one miscarriage after consumption of rockmelon earlier this year.

Listeria can be anywhere, and it is up to food producers and merchants to provide rapid, reliable, relevant and repeated information about these outbreaks, which, based on conversation at a hockey tournament in New South Wales this weekend, are starting to permeate the consciousness of shoppers in Aus.

100 sick from Salmonella in 33 states: Kellogg’s Honey Smacks Cereal still suck and still being sold

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has become aware that recalled Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal are still being offered for sale. All Honey Smacks cereal was recalled in June 2018.

Retailers cannot legally offer the cereal for sale and consumers should not purchase Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal.

The FDA has learned that some retailers are still selling this product. The FDA will continue to monitor this situation closely and follow up with retailers as we become aware of recalled products being offered for sale. Additionally, the public is urged to report any product being offered for sale to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in their region. More information about the recall can be found at FDA.gov.

The FDA, CDC, along with state and local officials are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Mbandaka infections linked to Kellogg’s Honey Smacks sweetened puffed wheat cereal.

The CDC reports that 100 people in 33 states have become ill. There have been 30 hospitalizations and no deaths.

Following discussion with FDA, CDC, and state partners, the Kellogg Company voluntarily recalled Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal. The recalled products were distributed across the United States including Guam and Saipan and internationally. Consumers should not eat any Honey Smacks cereal.

As this is an ongoing investigation, the FDA will update this page as more information becomes available, such as product information, epidemiological results, and recalls.

The FDA provided a more detailed a list of foreign countries to which the Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal was distributed.. Here is the list of the foreign countries: Aruba/Curaçao/Saint Maarten (Netherlands Antilles), the Bahamas, Barbados, Tortola (British Virgin Islands), Costa Rica, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Panama, and Tahiti (French Polynesia).

The FDA is advising consumers to not eat and to discard any Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal. This is regardless of size or “best if used by” dates. The recall notice accounts for all of the product that is on the market within the cereal’s estimated one year shelf-life. However, Honey Smacks products with earlier dates could also potentially be contaminated.  

The FDA quickly initiated an inspection at the contract facility where Kellogg’s Honey Smacks is manufactured. As part of the inspection, investigators collected environmental and product samples. Analysis of the environmental samples is now complete, and they were found to be a match to the outbreak strain. In addition, product samples collected and analyzed by state partners were positive for the outbreak strain of Salmonella Mbandaka. As of June 12, 2018, the manufacturing facility is no longer producing product. The FDA continues to work with the firm to address corrective actions.

When the Miami Herald filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the inspection of the facility, the FDA denied the request. The agency claimed two exemptions: “disclosure could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings” and possible disclosure of “trade secret and confidential commercial information.”

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 Safety Talk 159: Hot Tongs

Don and Ben get together in a room in Salt Lake City with a few listeners and talk about their week at IAFP, online shopping, selling soup on Facebook, roundtables and Gary Acuff’s Ivan Parkin lecture. The guy’s discussion goes to a few items of listener feedback on grilling techniques, peanut grinders and restaurant ratings. They talk about Listeria in European frozen vegetables and intentional poisoning of co-workers. The episode ends on in-studio questions on communicating environmental sampling to produce processors and IAFP membership benefits.

Food Safety Talk 159 can be downloaded here or on iTunes.

Show notes so you can follow along at home:

Vaccines work: Beware the Hep A in Denmark from Morocco

On 2 May 2018, Denmark reported a cluster of hepatitis A virus (HAV) infections with the subgenotype IA strain DK2018_231, through the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)’s Epidemic Intelligence Information System (EPIS) for food- and waterborne diseases and zoonoses (FWD).

One of the three confirmed cases had travelled to Morocco. In response, five additional European Union (EU) countries (France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom (UK)) reported cases (n = 20) infected with the same strain between 21 January and 10 April 2018.

Concurrently, Germany reported to EPIS that it observed more cases of hepatitis A with travel history to Morocco than expected, compared with the same period in the previous 5 years. Molecular analysis of the HAV VP1/P2A region revealed an unrelated cluster of the HAV subgenotype IB strain V18–16428. Cases infected with this unrelated strain were also reported from France, the Netherlands, Sweden and UK.

The appearance of clusters with a link to Morocco triggered further epidemiological investigations.

Two concurrent outbreaks of hepatitis A highlight the risk of infection for non-immune travelers to Morocco, January to June 2018

5.july.18

Eurosurveillance

Martyna Gassowski, Kai Michaelis, Mirko Faber, Julie Figoni…

https://www.eurosurveillance.org/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2018.23.27.1800329

Father of Tennessee E. coli victim ‘Nutritionist recommended raw milk’

James Zenker never imagined his young son would battle for his life at just two-years-old.

“It’s affected his kidneys; they shut down,” Zenker said. “It affected his intestines; he couldn’t digest any of his food and its affected his brain — he has a substantial brain injury.”

His son William got E. coli after drinking raw milk linked to French Broad Farm. Zenker said a nutritionist recommended the raw milk to help William fight allergies.

“He’s not able to speak and not able to do the same activities as before he was ill,” Zenker said.

The vast majority of nutritionists, dieticians and physicians I encounter – and it’s frequent with my brain status and trips to emergency – know shit about microbial food safety.

The odd ones do, and they are food safety heros.

But when hospitals continue to serve raw sprouts to immunocompromised people, when they won’t be sold at WalMart in the U.S., I gotta question their food safety credibility.

To reiterate, I stared the Food Safety Network (the original FSN) over 25 years ago as an incoming graduate student in 1993 in the wake of the Jack-in-the-Box outbreak, combining my science and journalism learnings, and because a constant refrain I observed was, I never knew foodborne illness could be so serious.

That’s why I continue to do it as a form of community service (I haven’t been paid since 2016).

Of the 15 children sick with E. coli in Tennessee that has now been linked to consumption of raw milk and contact with ruminants from French Broad Farm, William is the last one left in the hospital. His father said East Tennessee Children’s Hospital saved his son’s life.

The Knox County Health Department said an investigation concluded that the outbreak was caused by two separate sources, the exposure to farm animals and exposure to raw milk.

“While it is rare, it appears we had two sets of children sickened by two different strains of E. coli O157 at the same time. The epidemiological evidence overwhelmingly supported the two-source theory: consumption of raw milk and some type of contact, most likely indirect, with ruminant animals,” said KCHD Director Dr. Martha Buchanan.

William has had several blood transfusions during his recovery and still needs more. His home church Temple Baptist in Powell (no relation – dp) hosted a replacement drive Tuesday for William and the community.

“It’s so encouraging to see people take time out of their busy day and donate from their own life to help Will and others affected by E. coli,” Zenker said.

If you would like more information about future blood drives click here: 
Blood drives scheduled to help children infected with E. coli.

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.

Night soil: Kenyans feeding on Sukuma wiki grown in raw sewage

While some city residents have become farmers either by design or default depending on the residential area one resides in, cheap is proving to be life threatening as farmers are now using raw sewage for farming. This means much of the vegetables especially sukuma wiki (kales) on sale in Nairobi are highly contaminated and pose a serious health risk to consumers.

A visit to the sewage collection point in Njiru, Nairobi by Linda Shiundu of TUKO.co.ke revealed the effluence deposited there is always tapped and used for farming by farmers living. The farmers who wished to remain anonymous said instead of waiting for the rains, they would rather take advantage of the 75,000 liters of untreated sewage disposed daily to water their crops. They do so by digging trenches from the deposit site channeling the semi solid human waste into their farms which they use to water the crops and as manure. They mainly grow vegetables like sukuma wiki, spinach and other crops like bananas. Sewage deposited at the sewage collection point around Njiru area is always trapped by farmers living around the collection center and use for planting. The vegetables later on find their way into the market and in to the plates and stomachs of many unsuspecting residents. The vegetables later on find their way into the market.

Despite the health risks posed by the exposed raw sewage including, diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting and even death, open food kiosks are also run next to the disposal site. The kiosks are normally flooded with drivers who bring in the hundreds of lorries daily to deposit the sewage.

Raw is risky: NZ raw milk warning as Campylobacter cases rise

Nelson Marlborough Health said in the last four weeks, 24 cases had been notified to the Medical Officer of Health, compared to a range of 6-16 cases in the same period over the previous five years.

A number of known risk factors for campylobacteriosis had been identified in the people affected. These were: drinking raw (unpasteurised) milk or untreated water, and contact with animals and/or nappies.

Nelson Marlborough Medical Officer of Health Dr Stephen Bridgman advised people against drinking raw milk and said it was risky for anyone to consume, but young children and babies, older people, pregnant women and people with a weakened immune system were especially at risk of severe illness.

The public health service was working with the Ministry for Primary Industries, the Ministry of Health and the Institute of Environmental Science and Research to identify the reasons for the increase.

A single source cause was yet to be found and investigations were ongoing.

Mass. restaurant Kitty’s closed after 39 sick from suspected Salmonella

ABC News reports a Massachusetts restaurant has been shut down until further notice after nearly 40 people reported getting sick during a suspected salmonella outbreak.

The North Reading Board of Health posted an advisory saying the state Public Health Department had received complaints from 39 people who said they got sick at Kitty’s late last month. The state confirmed nine cases of salmonella and 30 suspected cases of salmonella.

The source of the outbreak was traced to the antipasto salad.

The restaurant was closed July 5 and allowed to reopen Friday after a sanitization but has since closed again.