Listeria in the news again

 

Food company Ready to Eat has announced a Listeria outbreak in several of their pre-packaged meals.
Ready to Eat, which produces ‘Muscle Fuel’ pre-made meals, said the meals affected are the ‘Vegetarian Chickpea and Pumpkin Rosti on Spinach Salad’ and the ‘Turkish Style Chicken & Rice’ with best before dates of August 4th, August 5th, August 6th, 2017.
Other meals are unaffected, the company says.
Any customers in possession of one of the affected meals are being urged to discard it immediately.
In a statement, Ready to Eat CEO Hamish Coulter said they were horrified when they received the news.
“To learn that one of our trusted produce suppliers has let us down is extremely disappointing.”
The Hamilton-based company was informed on Friday afternoon that its supplier Vegeez had returned a positive result for Listeria in one of its recent batches of cabbage.
On Friday evening the company contacted the 139 customers affected.
Vegeez general manager Glen Reid said it had taken full responsibility for the “very rare” event.
Mr Reid said in total there were 15 companies supplied with the affected cabbage, but all other companies managed to dump the product before using it.
Mr Coulter apologised to the company’s customers and said they were putting in measures to ensure this did not happen again.
The company has discontinued the use of coleslaw for the foreseeable future.
If any customer has consumed what they believe to be a contaminated meal they are advised to seek medical advice.
All customers will be contacted again this week with refunds issued.

I stumbled across an interested paper published in the Journal of Food Protection in February 2017 investigating the fate of Listeria monocytogenes , pathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica , and Escherichia coli O157:H7 gfp+inoculated in low numbers into ready-to-eat baby spinach and mixed-ingredient salad (baby spinach with chicken meat).

A quick synopsis of the study showed that when mixed-ingredient salad was stored at 8°C during shelf life, only L. monocytogenes increased significantly, reaching 3.0 log CFU/g within 3 days. The 8°C reflects maximum refrigerator temperature storage in Sweden.

In plain baby spinach, only pathogenic Y. enterocolitica populations increased significantly during storage for 7 days, and this was exclusively at an abuse temperature (15°C). Thus, mixing ready-to-eat leafy vegetables with chicken meat strongly influenced levels of inoculated strains during storage. 

The authors then translated the numbers into risks of infection. The risk of listeriosis (measured as probability of infection) was 16 times higher when consuming a mixed-ingredient salad stored at 8°C at the end of shelf life, or 200,000 times higher when stored at 15°C, compared with when consuming it on the day of inoculation. They conclude that efforts should focus on preventing temperature abuse during storage to mitigate the risk of listeriosis.

Söderqvist K1, Lambertz ST1,2, Vågsholm I1, Fernström LL1, Alsanius B3, Mogren L3, Boqvist S1. Fate of Listeria monocytogenes , Pathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica , and Escherichia coli O157:H7 gfp+ in Ready-to-Eat Salad during Cold Storage: What Is the Risk to Consumers? J Food Prot. 2017 Feb;80(2):204-212. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-16-308.

Health types say animals were likely source of E. coil outbreak that killed 2 kids in Utah

The investigation into an outbreak of E. coli in the border towns of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona are drawing to a close and it is believed that infected animals were the source of the disease.

Two young children died and at least 11 people were sickened due to the outbreak, which Fox 13 News first reported July 2. 

Friday, The Southwest Utah Public Health Department issued an update and stated that “It has been determined that the likely source of the disease was infected animals, followed by person-to-person contact. Several livestock tested positive for the E. coli strain involved in this outbreak.”

The owners of affected livestock have been notified and given guidance about how to proceed. The health department says tests of water systems, nearby springs, ground beef, produce and dairy products in the area were all negative. There have been no new cases reported in connection with this outbreak since July 9.

The family of 6-year-old Gabriella Fullerton of Hildale confirmed their daughter died of kidney failure as a result of E. coli. Fullerton and another young boy who lives nearby died while several other people were sickened.

 

Benefit for 7-year-old Texas girl with E. coli set for August

Alexis Dominguez of KXII Fox News 12 reports a 7-year-old Tioga girl has spent the last month recovering in a Dallas hospital after getting E. coli.

Emorie Clayton, 7, from Tioga has been in the pediatric intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital in Dallas for nearly a month.

Austin Lewter, Emorie’s uncle says she is recovering after she was infected with E. coli, which attacked her intestines, her digestive system and her kidneys.

“She’s had several surgeries and procedures now but the biggest one actually removed 70% of her colon.”

Emorie’s family says doctors are unsure how she got E. coli and may never even know what caused it.

But during the family’s difficult time, friends and family have come together to help pay for their medical bills.

“There’s stories like this everywhere and when people want to do good, when people need to do good, when people need to come together, they do.”

Lewter says they are several events for the month of August being planned by community members.

“The 12th of August, here in Whitesboro, we’re planning an all-day benefit event. All the proceeds will go to her medical expenses.”

Looks like someone picked the wrong week to go to camp, again: 2 confirmed with E. coli in Ohio, others sick

Gates are closed at Plast Camp in Geauga County, Ohio, as the health district begins their investigation to try to figure out why kids at the summer camp suddenly got sick.  

Health District Commissioner Robert Weisdack said there are two confirmed E. coli cases, but a handful of other kids also said they didn’t feel well and more tests are being done to see if other kids have E. coli.

Camp workers handed out E. coli fact sheets to the parents who picked their kids up. Friday night, the health district said about 30 kids were still at the camp. They expect all kids to be out by Saturday so they can go in next week and investigate.

The health district said there is no risk to the community, so people outside the camp shouldn’t worry about getting E. coli.

No risk messages are risky, and so easy to pick apart.

A giant E. coli statue in New York City

John Metcalfe of City Lab writes there is now a giant statue of an E. coli microbe in City Hall Park in Lower Manhattan.

“Earth Potential: E. coli” is based on a 10,000-times magnified electron-microscope image of the fecal bacterium that causes 265,000 infections in the U.S. yearly, with symptoms including cramps and diarrhea. Made from a digital print on cut-out aluminum, it rests in City Hall Park as part of the larger exhibition, “Earth Potential,” by the Estonian artist Katja Novitskova. The show intends to portray “organisms and bodies” that have “significant research value within the scientific community for their potential to advance our understanding of our species and world,” according to the non-profit Public Art Fund. Aside from E. coli, the other pieces in the show include a huge earthworm, a slippery nematode, and a human embryo magnified to resemble a clump of moldy peaches.

Only certain strains of E. coli cause gut-churning maladies; others are beneficial components of the human intestines and boons to science. As the show’s primer explains: “E. coli has been at the center of groundbreaking research: Genetic engineers have used new synthetic biological techniques to recode the bacteria’s genome, potentially changing the organism’s functionality and radically increasing the prospect that humans will have the ability to rewrite the codes for life.”

 

Shiga toxin producing E coli in raw milk products in Norway

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has detected Shiga toxin producing E. coli (STEC) in four unpasteurized milk products.

Mattilsynet said 82 unpasteurized milk products were examined and STEC was isolated from three products from Norwegian companies and a French cheese. Stx genes were also detected in 20 samples.

E. coli O-, stx2a was found in a Norwegian-produced soft red cheese of cow’s milk and rømme (a type of blue cheese) and E. coli O26, Stx1 and eae was in fresh cheese from goat milk. E. coli O113, stx2d was detected in French chèvre.

Joe Whitworth of Food Quality News reports Mattilsynet took 714 samples of pasteurized and unpasteurized dairy products – mainly cheeses – as part of a monitoring program from 2010 to 2016 – including 184 samples last year.

Samples in 2016 consisted of 102 produced from pasteurized milk and 82 of unpasteurized milk from stores, importers and manufacturers.

These products consisted of cow’s milk (139), goat (33), sheep (11) and a mixture of these (1).

The monitoring program was done to acquire knowledge on hygiene of dairy products on the Norwegian market.

Almost 500 sickened: German pigs and Salmonella

In 2013, raw pork was the suspected vehicle of a large outbreak (n = 203 cases) of Salmonella Muenchen in the German federal state of Saxony. In 2014, we investigated an outbreak (n = 247 cases) caused by the same serovar affecting Saxony and three further federal states in the eastern part of Germany.

Evidence from epidemiological, microbiological and trace-back investigations strongly implicated different raw pork products as outbreak vehicles. Trace-back analysis of S. Muenchen-contaminated raw pork sausages narrowed the possible source down to 54 pig farms, and S. Muenchen was detected in three of them, which traded animals with each other. One of these farms had already been the suspected source of the 2013 outbreak. S. Muenchen isolates from stool of patients in 2013 and 2014 as well as from food and environmental surface swabs of the three pig farms shared indistinguishable pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns.

Our results indicate a common source of both outbreaks in the primary production of pigs. Current European regulations do not make provisions for Salmonella control measures on pig farms that have been involved in human disease outbreaks. In order to prevent future outbreaks, legislators should consider tightening regulations for Salmonella control in causative primary production settings.

Two consecutive large outbreaks of salmonella muenchen linked to pig farming in Germany, 2013 to 2014: Is something missing in our regulatory framework?

Eurosurveillance, vol. 22, no. 18, 4 May 2017, A Schielke, W Rabsch, R Prager, S Simon, A Fruth, R Helling, M Schnabel, Siffczyk, S Wieczorek, S Schroeder, B Ahrens, H Oppermann, S Pfeiffer, SS Merbecks, B Rosner, C Frank, AA Weiser, P Luber, A Gilsdorf, K Stark, D Werber

http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=22793

Animal poop is everywhere in Bangladesh, and fecal indicator bacteria sorta suck

Fecal-oral pathogens are transmitted through complex, environmentally mediated pathways. Sanitation interventions that isolate human feces from the environment may reduce transmission but have shown limited impact on environmental contamination.

We conducted a study in rural Bangladesh to (1) quantify domestic fecal contamination in settings with high on-site sanitation coverage; (2) determine how domestic animals affect fecal contamination; and (3) assess how each environmental pathway affects others. We collected water, hand rinse, food, soil and fly samples from 608 households. We analyzed samples with IDEXX Quantitray for the most probable number (MPN) of E. coli.

We detected E. coli in source water (25%), stored water (77%), child hands (43%), food (58%), flies (50%), ponds (97%) and soil (95%). Soil had >120,000 mean MPN E. coli per gram. In compounds with vs. without animals, E. coli was higher by 0.54 log10 in soil, 0.40 log10 in stored water and 0.61 log10 in food (p<0.05). E. coli in stored water and food increased with increasing E. coli in soil, ponds, source water and hands.

We provide empirical evidence of fecal transmission in the domestic environment despite on-site sanitation. Animal feces contribute to fecal contamination, and fecal indicator bacteria do not strictly indicate human fecal contamination when animals are present.

Animal feces contribute to domestic fecal contamination: Evidence from E. coli measured in water, hands, food, flies, and soil in Bangladesh

Environmental Science and Technology, July 2017, Ayse Ercumen, Amy Janel Pickering, Laura H. Kwong, Benjamin Arnold, Sarker Masud Parvez, Mahfuja Alam, Debashis Sen, Sharmin Islam, Craig Kullmann, Claire Chase, Rokeya Ahmed, Leanne Unicomb, Stephen Luby, and John M. Colford, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.7b01710

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.est.7b01710?journalCode=esthag

 

Use a thermometer Ireland pt, deux: Growing trend for eating rare burgers could hide deadly bacteria

Gavin White of the Independent follows up on the warning from safefood Ireland that there is “no way of knowing” if rare burger meat is safe.

A leading food safety expert said he was “very surprised” restaurants were offering undercooked burgers and putting their customers at risk.

Professor Martin Cormican, from the school of Medicine in NUI Galway, said small children and pregnant women were at an even higher risk of becoming ill.

“Restaurants need to understand that not every customer is the same and some are at more risk than others. There are liability issues,” Prof Cormican said.

He said that every burger had the potential to have the deadly bacteria, Vtec, which could cause severe illness.

“Although steak can have its bacteria killed on the outside, mince has the potential for the bacteria to end up in the middle where if not cooked properly, has the potential to make you seriously ill,” he said.

Safefood Ireland has launched its Burger Fever campaign as it was revealed 96pc of Irish people consider themselves well informed about food safety, yet 51pc are eating undercooked burgers.

A batch of French mince was recalled last week from French supermarkets over worries for the presence of Vtec, and Prof Cormican said it could easily happen in Ireland.

“Don’t take the risk, and especially if you’re taking medicine for illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis which severely impacts your immune system,” Prof Cormican said.

Dr Linda Gordon, chief specialist in food science at Safefood, said around 2pc of all mince had Vtec in it so the risk was always there for the “growing trend” of burger lovers.

Assessment of risk communication about undercooked hamburgers by restaurant servers

Ellen M. Thomas, RTI International; Andrew Binder, Anne McLaughlin, Lee-Ann Jaykus, Dana Hanson, and Benjamin Chapman, North Carolina State University; and Doug Powell, barfblog.com

Journal of Food Protection

DOI: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-16-065

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration 2013 Model Food Code, it is the duty of a food establishment to disclose and remind consumers of risk when ordering undercooked food such as ground beef. The purpose of this study was to explore actual risk communication activities of food establishment servers. Secret shoppers visited restaurants (n=265) in seven geographic locations across the U.S., ordered medium rare burgers, and collected and coded risk information from chain and independent restaurant menus and from server responses. The majority of servers reported an unreliable method of doneness (77%) or other incorrect information (66%) related to burger doneness and safety. These results indicate major gaps in server knowledge and risk communication, and the current risk communication language in the Model Food Code does not sufficiently fill these gaps. Furthermore, should servers even be acting as risk communicators? There are numerous challenges associated with this practice including high turnover rates, limited education, and the high stress environment based on pleasing a customer. If it is determined that servers should be risk communicators, food establishment staff should be adequately equipped with consumer advisory messages that are accurate, audience-appropriate, and delivered in a professional manner so as to help their customers make more informed food safety decisions.