Lactalis of France ‘Salmonella was released from inside the buildings’

The head of the French company at the centre of an international baby milk scandal denied Friday that it was responsible for the contamination that triggered a recall of formula in over 80 countries, calling it “an accident”.

Lactalis, one of the world’s biggest dairy groups, was forced to recall 12 million packages of powdered baby milk in 83 countries in December and January after being linked to an outbreak of salmonella poisoning in children.

French officials began investigating the company after at least 36 infants fell sick from drinking milk sold under the Picot or Milumel brands. Cases of suspected contamination were also reported among children in Spain and Greece.

The outbreak was traced to a Lactalis factory in Craon, western France.

CEO Emmanuel Besnier told a French parliamentary inquiry that a renovation of the plant in early 2017 “released salmonella which was inside the buildings”.

“It was an accident. Nobody inside the factory was responsible,” he told lawmakers.

Lactalis has come in for heavy criticism after it emerged that the company’s own tests found salmonella on a production line but that it did not report the finding because the bacteria was not found in the milk itself.

The company is facing several lawsuits over the outbreak.

1 child dead, 14 sick from E. coli O26 in French ‘Our regions have talent’ raw milk cheese

Outbreak News Today reports on a statement from the French abouthe Escherichia coli ( E. coli ) O26 outbreak linked to the consumption of raw milk reblochons produced at the Cruseilles (Haute-Savoie) site of Chabert. French health officials are now reporting 14 children aged one to five years included in the investigation.

As of May 31, 6 children with HUS were infected with the same strain of E. coli O26, for which the consumption or reblochon incriminated is documented. These six children are domiciled in several regions of metropolitan France (Center-Val de Loire, PACA, Ile-de-France, Auverhne-Rhone-Aples, Pays-de-la-Loire); and for 8 other children, investigations are in progress. Of these, two had signs of gastroenteritis and six had HUS. One of the children with HUS died; the investigation around this case is in progress. To date, it cannot be dismissed or affirmed that these cases of HUS are linked to the consumption of reblochon: non-isolated and characterized strain, or consumption of reblochon incriminated not yet documented.

7 children sick with E. coli O26: France’s Leclerc recalls ‘Our regions have talent’ cheese

French food retailer Leclerc has issued a recall of a brand of cheese made with raw milk that has been linked by the authorities to cases of E.coli O26 among young children.s

Leclerc, France’s biggest supermarket chain by market share, said on its website that it was withdrawing Reblochon cheese supplied by cheesemaker Chabert in the Savoy region and sold under the “Nos regions ont du talent” (“Our regions have talent”) brand.

The move came after the French health authorities linked seven cases of E. coli O26 bacteria among children between one-and-a-half and three years to the cheese, which is a creamy speciality of the French Alps.

“The investigations conducted by the health authorities have confirmed an epidemiological link between these cases and the consumption of whole Reblochon cheese made with raw milk under the brand and sold by the Leclerc chain in several regions,” France’s health and agriculture ministries said in a joint statement.

The ministries said that six of the seven cases of infection involved hemolytic-uremic syndrome, a potentially serious condition that can cause kidney failure among young children.

Six children were taken to hospital and one is yet to return home, the health ministry added in an emailed response.

If six of the seven cases have HUS, there are dozens more that are sick.

Oysters contaminated with viral norovirus RNA in France

Following calls from RASFF and the Ministry of Health, the Dicastery once again issued a warning to recall the concealed oysters (Crassostrea gigas) bred in France contaminated by the Norovirus Genogroup GI marketed under the GISA brand SRL. The warning came from France, the country of origin of the molluscs, and came to Italy via the Rasff system, which sees the risk as serious.

 The new reference concerns many oysters, GTO 4024, packed by GISA SRL in the Anzio (RM) plant via Colle Cocchino 1 3 / A, in 3 kg boxes. The most aggressive virus under attack is Norovirus. Pathogen for which there is currently no vaccine.

My super-smart partner and I meet: Prion disease in Algerian camels

Amy says I shouldn’t cut-and-paste so much and that I’m better when I just write my own stuff.

Howard Stern’s wife said that to him, at least according to the movie version in Private Parts, 1997, but I counter with I only cut-and-paste the really interesting stuff.

Algeria, French and prions, we’re in a zone.

Everyone else is recall.net, where the copy is provided by 100K-a-year hacks who write and vomit press releases.

Journalism used to be a viable activity.

No worries, story-telling about the Tom-Wolfe-styled-vanities of the food safety privileged retain currency. And those stories are what I have been working on,

I’ll go with a Paul Giamatti,-style, who I am enjoying in Billions and was great in John Adams, Cinderella Man, American Splendor, and so on.

Everyone needs a Paul.

Or an Amy.

Her accomplishments over the seven years since we moved to Australia, including caretaking me and Sorenne, have been extraordinary.

Much love.

Prion disease in Dromedary camels, Algeria

6 June 2018

Emerging Infectious Diseases Vol 24, no 6

Baaissa Babelhadj, Michele Angelo Di Bari, Laura Pirisinu, Barbara Chiappini, Semir Bechir Suheil Gaouar, Geraldina Riccardi, Stefano Marcon, Umberto Agrimi, Romolo Nonno, and Gabriele Vaccari

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/24/6/17-2007_article

Prions cause fatal and transmissible neurodegenerative diseases, including Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans, scrapie in small ruminants, and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

After the BSE epidemic, and the associated human infections, began in 1996 in the United Kingdom, general concerns have been raised about animal prions.

We detected a prion disease in dromedary camels (Camelus dromedarius) in Algeria. Symptoms suggesting prion disease occurred in 3.1% of dromedaries brought for slaughter to Ouargla abattoir in 2015–2016. We confirmed diagnosis by detecting pathognomonic neurodegeneration and disease-specific prion protein (PrPSc) in brain tissues from 3 symptomatic animals.

Prion detection in lymphoid tissues is suggestive of the infectious nature of the disease. PrPSc biochemical characterization showed differences with BSE and scrapie.

Our identification of this prion disease in a geographically widespread livestock species requires urgent enforcement of surveillance and assessment of the potential risks to human and animal health.

 

 

Going public, Salmonella-in-French-cheese-style: Morbier and Mont d’Or cheese behind 10 deaths in France, 2015-16

In a country where reporting foodborne illness is deemed unpatriotic an investigation by France Inter radio revealed that at least 10 people died in the Franche-Comté region in the east of France linked to two cheeses made from unpasteurized milk  in late 2015 and early 2016.

The investigation produced a document which showed that in January 2016 national health authorities had discovered an unusually high number of salmonella contaminations in France that was centred on Franche-Comté.

Five cheese making companies in the region, between them making 60 different brands, were later identified as being at the source of the contaminations that began in November 2015 and continued until April the following year.

In a way that is truly French in its description, those who died in the outbreak were old people who were physically weak or who suffered from another illness.

Jean-Yves Mano, the president of the CLCV consumer association, said he was surprised that a product recall had not been ordered of products that might have been infected with salmonella.

“We do not understand why a general alert was not issued by state officials, or at least information given on what precautions to take,” he told France Inter.

The state food agency, the Direction générale de l’alimentation (DGAL), said there were two reasons why a recall was not ordered.

The first was that it would have allegedly been very difficult to identify which exact brand of the cheeses were contaminated because there were a total of 60 that were produced in the cheese-making firms where the outbreak originated.

The second was that by the time the authorities found out where the outbreak had come from, the contaminated cheeses had already been consumed and the new batches in the cheesemakers’ premises were not infected.

“It is perhaps due to these two factors that this contamination was not in the media, even though all the data was public nothing was hidden,” said Fany Molin of the DGAL food agency.

That’s French-bureau-speak.

Go public: Further illnesses may be prevented; others learn; citizens may not come with torches demanding change; and it’s the right thing to do.

Going public: Early disclosure of food risks for the benefit of public health

Mar.17

NEHA, Volume 79.7, Pages 8-14

Benjamin Chapman, Maria Sol Erdozaim, Douglas Powell

http://www.neha.org/node/58904

Often during an outbreak of foodborne illness, there are health officials who have data indicating that there is a risk prior to notifying the public. During the lag period between the first public health signal and some release of public information, there are decision makers who are weighing evidence with the impacts of going public. Multiple agencies and analysts have lamented that there is not a common playbook or decision tree for how public health agencies determine what information to release and when. Regularly, health authorities suggest that how and when public information is released is evaluated on a case-by-case basis without sharing the steps and criteria used to make decisions. Information provision on its own is not enough. Risk communication, to be effective and grounded in behavior theory, should provide control measure options for risk management decisions. There is no indication in the literature that consumers benefit from paternalistic protection decisions to guard against information overload. A review of the risk communication literature related to outbreaks, as well as case studies of actual incidents, are explored and a blueprint for health authorities to follow is provided.

Washed rind cheeses from France recalled in Australia

The NSW Food Authority advises Washed Rind Pty Ltd has recalled a variety of cheeses made in France from IGA and Supa IGA in NSW, independent retailers in QLD and ACT, Foodworks and independent retailers in VIC, Foodlands IGA and independent retailers in SA and IGA, Supa IGA and independent retailers in WA due to potential Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Product details:

Saint Simeon 200g, Plastic container, Best before 08-04-201

Brie de Nangis 1kg, Wrapped in cheesepaper/plastic and set in ½ wooden box, Best before 08-04-2018

Le Vignelait Brillat Savarin 500g, Plastic container, Best before 8-04-2018

Coulommiers Truffe 800g, Wrapped in cheesepaper/plastic and set in ½ wooden box, Best before 08-04-2018 and 22-04-2018

Le Coulommiers 500g, Wrapped in cheesepaper/plastic and set in ½ wooden box, Best before 08-04-2018 and 22-04-2018

Brie de Brie Pasteurise 2.8kg, Wrapped in cheesepaper/plastic and set in ½ wooden box, Best before 08-04-2018 and 22-04-2018

Hepatitis A surveillance in France, 2006-2015

(Many thanks to our correspondent in France for sending this along).
Hepatitis A surveillance has been carried out by mandatory reporting (DO) since November 2005, with the objective of detecting clustered cases in order to quickly take control measures, and estimating reporting incidence rates. The results of the analysis of cases reported during the first ten years of surveillance (2006-2015) are presented.

Methods

One case (positive anti-HAV IgM) must be notified to the Regional Health Agency using an OD card. This sheet gathers sociodemographic and clinical information as well as risky exposures (in particular cases in the entourage, stay outside the metropolis, consumption of seafood).

Results

For the period 2006-2015, 11,158 cases of hepatitis A were notified, giving an average incidence rate of 1.7 / 100,000. A downward trend in this rate has been observed since 2010. The average incidence rate of reporting in men was 1.9 / 100,000 and, in women, 1.4 / 100,000, with a downward trend for both sexes. The main exposures at risk were the presence of cases in the entourage (46%) and a stay outside metropolitan France (38%). Thirty-two percent of cases belonged to an identified episode of clustered cases. Each year, the share of grouped cases was relatively stable, ranging between 28 and 37%.

Conclusion

The annual rate of notification incidence has gradually decreased since 2010, reaching in 2015 that of a country of low endemicity for hepatitis A (1.1 / 100,000). The highest incidence of reporting was found in the under-15 age group, which is the most affected by fecal-oral transmission of the virus, favored in families and communities of children. The data collected by the OD and by the investigations of grouped episodes made it possible, in 2009, to develop vaccine recommendations in the family circle of a patient with hepatitis A and in living communities in situation precarious hygiene.

First ten years of surveillance of hepatitis A through mandatory reporting, France, 2006-2015

BEH

Elisabeth Couturier 1, Lina Mouna 2 , Marie-José Letort 1 , Dieter Van Cauteren 1 , Anne-Marie Roque-Afonso 2 , Henriette De Valk 

http://invs.santepubliquefrance.fr/beh/2018/5/2018_5_1.html

Botulism in France, 2013-2016

Human botulism is a rare but severe neurological disease which is submitted to the French Public Health. The biological diagnosis is performed by the National Reference Center of Anaerobic Bacteria and Botulism (CNR), Institut Pasteur, Paris.

This study carries the status of human botulism in France During the 2013-2016 period based on the epidemiological data of Public Health France and the biological investigation of CNR. episodes

Thirty-nine of confirmed botulism and 3 suspected episodes involving 68 and 4 persons, respectively were Identified: 6 Type A episodes (10 cases), 26 type B episodes (47 boxes), type 2 F episodes (5 cases), and 5 undetermined type episodes (6 boxes). The source of botulism was foodborne in 36 outbreaks (66 cases) and 6 cases were infant botulism. All type A and F botulism cases were severe forms

The incriminated food was identified in 15 of the 36 episodes of foodborne botulism. Homemade preparations of pork meat, especially raw ham, were responsible for 13 type B episodes, including 3 due to imported meat. Homemade pork meat was suspected in 12 other outbreaks. Other included pheasant pie and home canned asparagus. One of the two type F episodes was caused by industrial ground meat contaminated with Clostridium baratii F7 . No food has been identified in infant botulism and environmental contamination has been suspected in three cases. Penicillin and metronidazole resistant C. botulinum A2 strain was isolated from an infant botulism case with relapses.

Human botulism is rare in France. However, botulism surveillance is required for early identification of emerging novel botulinum toxin types, such as in the two C. baratii type F outbreaks in 2014 and 2015. Botulism surveillance also helps addressing recommendations to industrialists and consumers regarding hygiene and food preservation practices. Finally, this surveillance allows to quickly identify contaminated food in order to withdraw it from the market or from family’s homes.

Human botulism in France, 2013-2016

BEH

Christelle Mazuet 1 , Nathalie Jourdan-Da Silva 2 , Christine Legeay 1 , Jean Sautereau 1 , Michel R. Popoff 1

http://invs.santepubliquefrance.fr/beh/2018/3/2018_3_1.html

No hiding from DNA: Lactalis Salmonella contamination ‘may go back a decade’

Expatica reports researchers raised fears Thursday that salmonella-tainted milk produced by French dairy giant Lactalis, which sickened dozens of babies, could have infected others over more than a decade.

Lactalis has been engulfed in scandal since December when authorities ordered a massive international recall of the baby milk which made at least 38 babies ill in France and Spain.

The Pasteur research institute said Thursday that the exact same strain of salmonella sickened at least 25 others between 2006 and 2016 — and that the same Lactalis factory in northwest France was the likely origin.

Lactalis has been the target of heavy criticism after it emerged that the company’s own tests found salmonella at the factory in Craon, but it did not sound the alarm because it had not detected the bacteria in the milk itself.

That raised fears that contaminations may have occurred well before last year’s discovery but gone undetected, with critics pointing to an outbreak at the same production site that sickened 146 children in 2005 — before it was bought by Lactalis a year later.

“First we confirmed that the same type of Salmonella agona was behind the two outbreaks, in 2005 and 2017,” Pasteur Institute director Francois-Xavier Weill told AFP.

“So we asked ourselves where the strain could have been during the 12 years in between” those two scares, he said.

“The only possible hypothesis is that it remained at the factory in question.”

Although the institute could not definitively determine whether the sickened babies drank Lactalis milk, “the DNA evidence is very clear, and it points to this factory,” Weill said.

Lactalis CEO Emmanuel Besnier confirmed Thursday that tests between the two outbreaks had found the same salmonella at the factory, though not in the milk.

“We can’t exclude the possibility that some babies drank contaminated milk during this period,” he admitted.

The bacteria was found in a dehydration tower used to reduce milk, which Lactalis now plans to shut down for good, Besnier told newspaper Les Echos.

The company is facing several lawsuits over the outbreak, and police raided the group’s headquarters in Laval, western France, earlier this month.

It recalled 12 million packages of the affected baby milk, under brands including Picot, Milumel and Celia, across 83 countries.

Several retailers later admitted that they had continued to sell the products even after the recall was announced.

Investigators have opened a preliminary inquiry for suspected fraud as well as endangering health by failing to properly execute the recall.