Australia still has an egg problem as Salmonella cases surge in WA

West Australians are being warned to avoid eating raw or partly cooked eggs because of a surge in cases of salmonella food poisoning.

Reports of salmonella gastroenteritis are at records levels and have been linked to particular molecular types associated with eggs.

The WA Health Department said yesterday there had been 713 reported infections from salmonella typhimurium by the end of April, which was more than four times the usual number.

The infection was commonly associated with consumption of foods containing raw or under-cooked eggs.

A spokeswoman told Cathy O’Leary of The West Australian that cases of the salmonella infection had been increasing in WA since 2015 but had accelerated since late last year.

“There are two molecular subtypes, PFGE1 and PFGE43, that are currently causing most of this increase,” she said.

“Epidemiological evidence from investigations of identified localised outbreaks and a large case-control study of community cases indicates that eating raw or runny eggs is a significant cause of illness. This includes breakfast dishes containing eggs, and desserts and aioli made with raw eggs.”

Environmental investigations indicated some outbreaks had been caused by poor handling of egg products at the food manufacturing and preparation level and by consumers.

The department said that while eggs were a good source of vitamins and minerals, like many other foods they could be contaminated with bacteria, including salmonella. It was important to handle and prepare eggs safely to reduce the food poisoning risk.

 “The department recommends that people don’t use cracked or dirty eggs in raw egg dishes,” she said.

“If possible, it is best to avoid any uncooked foods or dishes that contain raw egg.

“This is because it is impossible to guarantee the safety of eating raw eggs and dishes that contain unpasteurised raw egg products.”

A selection of egg-related outbreaks in Australia can be found here.

Egg denial? 140 sick from Salmonella at Mother’s Day brunch in Canberra; scrutiny for egg supplier

A Victorian egg supplier is, according to The Age, under investigation and one person has ongoing health issues following Canberra’s largest salmonella outbreak, which has left health professionals ”struck by the severity” of the symptoms and high infection rate.

The outbreak, which affected 140 people and hospitalized 15 in mid-May, was traced back to raw egg mayonnaise served at the Copa Brazilian restaurant in raw.egg.mayoDickson. But ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Paul Kelly confirmed on Wednesday that the focus had turned to an egg producer in Victoria who supplied eggs to the Copa.

”We have actually sourced the eggs back to a supplier in Victoria, and our colleagues in Victoria have commenced an investigation of that particular place,” Dr Kelly said.

He also said so far results were pointing towards typhimurium phage type 170 as the specific bacterium, and clinicians at the territory’s hospitals had told ACT Health they’d never seen an outbreak with such strong symptoms.

”We were really struck by the severity of the symptoms and also the high attack rate – almost everyone that ate there got sick,” Dr Kelly said.

”Really, it was just the raw eggs. I really wish people would just stop using them.”

Dr Kelly said of 10 food poisoning outbreaks last year, half were salmonella-related, and four of those were traced back to raw egg products. He would like to see a national approach to combating the issue. ”At the moment there’s no law against using raw eggs. There is a law under the Food Act in the ACT and in other jurisdictions about … supplying unhealthy food to people. That is salmonella.eggsa breach of the law. I would argue that supplying food that has salmonella in it is pretty unhealthy,” he said.

Why any restaurant would serve raw egg mayo and incur the risk is beyond comprehension.

But, this is Australia, and Australia has an egg problem; or an egg denial problem.

A table of raw-egg related outbreaks in Australia is available at http://bites.ksu.edu/raw-egg-related-outbreaks-australia.

16 sick from Salmonella Typhimurium in ground beef from Hannaford Supermarkets; CDC weighs in

CDC is collaborating with public health officials in several states and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) to investigate a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium infections linked to eating ground beef purchased from Hannaford Supermarkets.

Representatives from Hannaford have been cooperating with public health officials throughout the investigation. Public health investigators are using DNA "fingerprints" of Salmonella bacteria obtained through diagnostic testing with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) to identify cases of illness that may be part of this outbreak. Investigators are using data from PulseNet, the national subtyping network made up of state and local public health laboratories and federal food regulatory laboratories that performs molecular surveillance of foodborne infections.

Preliminary testing shows that the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium is resistant to several commonly prescribed antibiotics. This antibiotic resistance may be associated with an increase in the risk of hospitalization or possible treatment failure in infected individuals.

A total of 16 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium have been reported from 7 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: HI (1), KY (1), MA (1), ME (4), NH (4), NY (4), and VT (1). Among persons for whom information is available, illnesses began on or after October 8, 2011. Ill persons range in age from 1 year to 79 years old, with a median age of 45 years old. Fifty percent are male. Among the 13 ill persons with available information, 7 (54%) have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Among 16 ill persons for whom information is available, 11 (69%) reported consuming ground beef in the week before their illness began. Among the 11 cases who reported consuming ground beef, 10 (91%) reported purchasing ground beef from Hannaford stores. For ill persons for whom information is available, reported purchase dates range from October 12, 2011 to November 20, 2011.

On December 15, 2011, Hannaford, a Scarborough, Maine-based grocery chain, recalled an undetermined amount of fresh ground beef products that bear sell-by dates of December 17, 2011 or earlier.

14 sick with salmonella linked to ground beef recalled in NE US

Hannaford, a Scarborough, Maine-based grocery chain, is recalling fresh ground beef products that may be contaminated with a strain of Salmonella Typhimurium that has sickened at least 14 people.

The PFGE pattern associated with this outbreak is reported rarely in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) have reported 14 ill persons with an indistinguishable PFGE pattern, and 11 of those individuals reported consuming ground beef. Seven individuals were hospitalized and no deaths have been reported. Ten of the 14 case-patients reported purchasing ground beef at Hannaford stores in Maine, New York, New Hampshire and Vermont between Oct. 12 and Nov. 20. No other product description is available at this time.

As a result of on-going epidemiologic and traceback investigations, as well as in-store reviews, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), working with CDC and its state health partners, determined that there is a link between the Hannaford ground beef products and this illness outbreak.

The outbreak strain ofSalmonella Typhimurium has initially tested resistant to multiple commonly prescribed antibiotics, including drug classes such as beta-lactams, aminoglycosides, and cephalosporins. Additional information on drug resistance will be made public as it becomes available.

Based on an examination of Hannaford’s limited records, FSIS was unable to determine responsible suppliers. FSIS recently identified this problem at the retail level and is pursuing rulemaking to address the concern. This recall is being issued as part of a continuing investigation. FSIS has not yet been able to identify FSIS-regulated suppliers of raw beef ground at Hannaford Stores related to the outbreak that could be subject to recall action.

The products subject to recall are any size package of the following:
• "73% Hannaford Regular Ground Beef"
• "75% Hannaford Regular Ground Beef"
• "80% Hannaford Regular Ground Beef"
• "85% Hannaford Regular Ground Beef"
• "90% Hannaford Regular Ground Beef"
• "80% Taste of Inspirations Angus Ground Beef"
• "85% Taste of Inspirations Angus Ground Beef"
• "90% Taste of Inspirations Angus Ground Beef"
• "85% Nature’s Place Ground Beef"
"90% Nature’s Place Ground Beef."

14 sick with salmonella linked to ground beef recalled in NE US

Hannaford, a Scarborough, Maine-based grocery chain, is recalling fresh ground beef products that may be contaminated with a strain of Salmonella Typhimurium that has sickened at least 14 people.

The PFGE pattern associated with this outbreak is reported rarely in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) have reported 14 ill persons with an indistinguishable PFGE pattern, and 11 of those individuals reported consuming ground beef. Seven individuals were hospitalized and no deaths have been reported. Ten of the 14 case-patients reported purchasing ground beef at Hannaford stores in Maine, New York, New Hampshire and Vermont between Oct. 12 and Nov. 20. No other product description is available at this time.

As a result of on-going epidemiologic and traceback investigations, as well as in-store reviews, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), working with CDC and its state health partners, determined that there is a link between the Hannaford ground beef products and this illness outbreak.

The outbreak strain ofSalmonella Typhimurium has initially tested resistant to multiple commonly prescribed antibiotics, including drug classes such as beta-lactams, aminoglycosides, and cephalosporins. Additional information on drug resistance will be made public as it becomes available.

Based on an examination of Hannaford’s limited records, FSIS was unable to determine responsible suppliers. FSIS recently identified this problem at the retail level and is pursuing rulemaking to address the concern. This recall is being issued as part of a continuing investigation. FSIS has not yet been able to identify FSIS-regulated suppliers of raw beef ground at Hannaford Stores related to the outbreak that could be subject to recall action.

The products subject to recall are any size package of the following:
• "73% Hannaford Regular Ground Beef"
• "75% Hannaford Regular Ground Beef"
• "80% Hannaford Regular Ground Beef"
• "85% Hannaford Regular Ground Beef"
• "90% Hannaford Regular Ground Beef"
• "80% Taste of Inspirations Angus Ground Beef"
• "85% Taste of Inspirations Angus Ground Beef"
• "90% Taste of Inspirations Angus Ground Beef"
• "85% Nature’s Place Ground Beef"
"90% Nature’s Place Ground Beef."

Salmonella suspect is Illinois restaurant, at least 7 ill

The Kane County Health Department said Tuesday it is investigating an outbreak of a form of salmonella poisoning, possibly linked to a Portillo’s restaurant in St. Charles.

In approximately the past two weeks, 10 cases of Salmonella ser. Typhimurium with a matching PFGE, or genetic, pattern have been reported In Illinois. This pattern is rare in Illinois. At least two additional cases of S. Typhimurium are pending the PFGE results. Cases in other states have also been identified.

The Kane Health Department said a common potential link is that seven of the people affected reported having eaten at Portillo’s at 3895 E. Main St. in St. Charles during April. No specific food item has been identified to be source of the illness.

The management of Portillo’s is actively cooperating with state and local health officials in the investigation, the Kane department said. The restaurant was sanitized overnight Monday and is having all its food handlers tested for possible infection.

King Nut peanut butter source of national Salmonella outbreak

I didn’t want to engage in any premature e-speculation, but epidemiology usually works. And I still dislike peanut butter. And jazz.

Today, the Minnesota Departments of Agriculture and Health announced that laboratory analyses have confirmed a genetic match between the strains of Salmonella bacteria found in a container of King Nut brand creamy peanut butter and the strains of bacteria associated with 30 illnesses in Minnesota and nearly 400 illnesses around the country.

MDA lab tests conducted last week discovered Salmonella bacteria in a 5-pound package of King Nut peanut butter collected from a long-term care facility associated with one of the reported illnesses.  The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) issued a product advisory on Friday alerting institutions that may have received the product.

MDA and MDH scientists performed additional testing this weekend to verify the connection between the contaminated product and the illnesses.

State officials initially discovered the contaminated product through product testing conducted after MDH epidemiological evidence and an investigation by MDA’s Rapid Response Team implicated King Nut creamy peanut butter as a likely source of Salmonella infections in Minnesota residents.

In the product advisory issued Friday, state officials urged establishments who may have the product on hand to avoid serving it, pending further instructions as the investigation progresses.

King Nut peanut butter is produced by Peanut Corporation of America, of Lynchburg, Va., and is distributed nationally by Ohio-based King Nut Companies. The product was distributed in Minnesota to establishments such as long-term care facilities, hospitals, schools, universities, restaurants, delis, cafeterias and bakeries. King Nut Companies reports that the product is not distributed for retail sale to consumers, and has voluntarily withdrawn the product from distribution.

Source unknown in Salmonella outbreak

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says today it has not activated any emergency group and has not identified any food source in an outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium that has been lab-confirmed in 388 cases in 42 states.

Apparently, that is driving Connecticut congresswoman Rosa DeLauro nuts, cause she said,

"Any delays in these critical investigations can sicken more people.”

Michael Doyle, director of the University of Georgia’s Center for Food Safety, sets things straight, noting that foodborne illness investigations can be very complicated, and it can take weeks or months for health officials to interview patients, find common links in what they ate, test suspected foods and come up with a clear-cut cause.

"There’s a lot more to this than meets the eye.”

There is. And at some point, politicians like DeLauro may pack away the posturing and provide some support for public health folks trying to do their jobs.