Cut means increased risk: 18 sick in Salmonella outbreak in Oregon, Washington linked to pre-cut fruit

Brad Schmidt of The Oregonian reports that 18 people in Washington and Oregon have been diagnosed with Salmonella after eating pre-cut fruit purchased from local grocery stores, prompting a review by state and federal health authorities.

Officials in both states have traced the outbreak to pre-cut watermelon, cantaloupe and fruit mixes containing those fruits. The products were purchased from Fred Meyer, QFC, Rosauers and Central Market.

Anyone who bought those products from those stores between Oct. 25 and Dec. 1 is urged to throw out the fruit.

“They should not eat it,” said Jonathan Modie, a spokesman for the Oregon Health Authority.

Just two of the 18 confirmed cases happened in Oregon, Modie said, with one in Multnomah County and one in Wasco County. Both people ate fruit purchased from Fred Meyer, he said, and the products carried Fred Meyer labels.

A spokesman for Fred Meyer, Jeffrey Temple, said the grocer pulled pre-cut watermelon and cantaloupe from store shelves in response to Friday’s advisory by the state of Washington.

Customers can return items to local stores for a full refund.

“Our highest priority is our customer’s safety and the safety of our food,” Temple said in a statement. “We will continue to work closely with state and federal health officials on their investigation to determine the source of this outbreak.” 

Uh-huh.

 

30 sick: Salmonella linked to tuna

Marissa Harshman of the Spokesman-Review writes Clark County Public Health officials in Washington state were among the first to identify a nationwide salmonella outbreak linked to tuna loins and tuna steaks.

Locally, the case began with five reports of illness to Clark County Public Health in late August. Since then, the outbreak has grown to 30 cases in seven states and led to a recall of a California-based company’s tuna products.

The outbreak includes six confirmed and two presumed cases in Clark County, said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer.

The investigation is continuing at the national level by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The fact that little, old Clark County was able to be one of the first people to pick up on this ongoing outbreak really highlights the strengths of this system we’ve developed,” said Madison Riethman, an applied epidemiology fellow at Clark County Public Health, during a county health board meeting Wednesday.

And what did little old Clark County do to publicize the outbreak, go public to try and prevent others getting sick.

The first rule of public health is, as encapsulated by Riethman, make public health look good.

Local health officials first learned of a possible outbreak on Aug. 29, when local laboratories reported five cases of salmonella, a bacteria that causes illness with symptoms such as diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. Typically, the department gets three to eight reports each month, Riethman said.

“The fact that we got five in one day was a big red flag,” she said.

Wash. raw milk dairy flips off FDA, says Salmonella isn’t reason for recall:

Cathy Siegner of Food Dive reports that the owners of Pride & Joy Creamery in Granger, Washington declined to voluntarily recall products produced between September 13-28, despite the Washington State Department of Agriculture finding salmonella bacteria in a raw milk sample from Sept. 18.

On Sept. 28, the department issued a public health notice advising people not to consume the dairy’s products.

The owners wrote in their Facebook post that they had contacted distribution points and asked them to pull any milk with an Oct. 4 date for a full credit. They also said they would be producing their organic, grass-fed milk as usual while continuing to investigate the situation.

Pride and Joy shut down for three months this past spring after issuing a voluntary recall. The state said two people who reported drinking the dairy’s products had contracted salmonellosis, although no definite link was established. The state also reported finding E. coli in samples from the dairy, which the owners disputed. During the shutdown, the owners said remediation measures were implemented at the facility to reduce the chance of contamination.

 

40 sickened: Don’t eat poop and raw is risky: Poop in Puget Sound sickened customers but really hurt oystermen’s livelihood

I wonder why Marler’s FSN hasn’t reported this one.

Rob Hotakainen of the Miami Herald quotes John Hansen as saying there’s an easy explanation for why he can no longer sell his shellfish: There’s just too much poop in the waters of Puget Sound.

Oyster-Vancouver, B.C.- 07/05/07- Joe Fortes Oyster Specialist Oyster Bob Skinner samples a Fanny Bay oyster at the restuarant. Vancouver Coastal Health now requires restaurants to inform their patrons of the dangers of eating raw shellfish. (Richard Lam/Vancouver Sun) [PNG Merlin Archive]

When nearly 40 people were sickened in March after eating raw oysters, the Washington state Department of Health traced the outbreak to shellfish beds along a three-mile stretch of Hammersley Inlet. It includes Hansen’s farm, South Sound Mariculture, one of 31 companies that had to shut down. States officials blamed the illnesses on norovirus, a stomach illness linked to fecal coliform pollution.

“I’m losing $10,000 a month,” said Hansen, 51, of Shelton, Washington. “I’d say the average farm is losing somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000 a month — and that’s not a stretch when they’re shut down.”

Shellfish farming is big business in Washington state, which ranks first in the nation in production and where 3,200 jobs are tied to the Puget Sound. And from Washington state to Washington, D.C., shellfish farmers and their allies want the government to clean up the nation’s second largest estuary and keep their operations running.

While Hansen wants local officials to do a better job of treating the water, the shellfish industry and its allies are taking their case to Congress, hoping to convince members to kill President Donald Trump’s plan to cut cleanup funding next year for the nation’s major bodies of water, including Puget Sound, the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay.

Congress’ 2018 budget remains very much in doubt, but Puget Sound advocates won a reprieve last week when lawmakers struck a deal on a $1 trillion spending bill that will keep the government running through September. The bill, which passed the House on Wednesday and the Senate on Thursday, includes $28 million to continue cleaning up the Sound.

Some call it hockey? Shortest workout possible

Super-short workouts are all the rave in media space.

Me, I want to go back to working out 3 hours a day, and being mindful of it.

Gretchen Reynolds of The New York Times wrote in Feb. 2007, in an exaggerated example of exercise porn, that she had written about seven-minute, six-minute, four-minute, and even one-minute workouts. They are appealing because they require so little time, but they also demand straining effort.

Martin Gibala is the scientist we most have to thank for the popularity of very brief, very hard exercise. All of these workouts are built around the concept of high-intensity interval training, in which you push yourself almost to exhaustion for a brief spurt of minutes or seconds, and then rest and recover for a few minutes before repeating the intense interval.

It’s called hockey (the ice kind).

45-seconds shifts, go hard or go home, and do it again.

Norovirus sickens dozens at Spokane shelters

First a retirement community, not a homeless shelter.

Washington state sure likes to spread the norovirus around.

norovirusTwo homeless shelters in downtown Spokane were under quarantine last weekend after more than 60 people got sick from a suspected norovirus outbreak.

City officials made plans to erect a giant tent in the street to house homeless people who hadn’t shown symptoms, which include severe nausea and vomiting.

Norovirus is highly contagious and can be spread person to person, through food and water or by touching contaminated surfaces. It’s typically seen on a cruise ship because it spreads rapidly in enclosed environments with a lot of people. People typically see symptoms 12 to 48 hours after being exposed.

Mayor David Condon said the city, including the police and fire departments, is working with Catholic Charities during the outbreak in an effort to provide the homeless with a safe place to sleep. The Spokane Regional Health District is coordinating testing to confirm the norovirus diagnosis.

E. coli outbreak shows need for restaurant grading system

Paula Wissel of KNKX reports the Washington Department of Health is still investigating this month’s E. coli outbreak that forced a Seattle restaurant to close temporarily. The Matador in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood has now reopened, but the source of the E. coli that sickened several patrons remains a mystery. Meanwhile, food safety advocates say this latest scare underscores the need for a promised restaurant grading system to be implemented quickly by public health officials.

barf-o-meter_-dec_-12-216x300-216x3001-216x300-1-216x300Back in 1993, Sarah Schacht, along with her mother and little brother, was sickened in the deadly E. coli outbreak linked to undercooked hamburgers at Jack in the Box.  Then, a few years ago, she contracted the foodborne illness again.

“The experience of getting E. coli the second time was much worse. It was feeling like my stomach was being ripped open, I had extreme cramping and I was in and out of the hospital,” Schacht said.

She is one of the primary proponents of restaurants in King County being required to post placards showing what score they received from the health department. She sat on a stakeholders panel convened by the county to come up with a system. Although Public Health of Seattle and King County announced several years ago they were going to implement a system, it has yet to be put in place, which frustrates Schacht.

“They’ve continually rolled back deadlines for this program and so it’s been disappointing to see another outbreak and no posted signs,” Schacht said.

In response, county health officials says they want to make sure that when it launches, the grading system is consistent across eating establishments. The health department has conducted a series of studies to try and figure out how best to obtain that consistency.  A grading system pilot program is scheduled to begin in January.

 

Here’s a couple of suggestions:

Filion, K. and Powell, D.A. 2009. The use of restaurant inspection disclosure systems as a means of communicating food safety information. Journal of Foodservice 20: 287-297.

larry-the_-cable_-guy_-health-inspector-213x300-213x3001-213x300-1-213x300The World Health Organization estimates that up to 30% of individuals in developed countries become ill from food or water each year. Up to 70% of these illnesses are estimated to be linked to food prepared at foodservice establishments. Consumer confidence in the safety of food prepared in restaurants is fragile, varying significantly from year to year, with many consumers attributing foodborne illness to foodservice. One of the key drivers of restaurant choice is consumer perception of the hygiene of a restaurant. Restaurant hygiene information is something consumers desire, and when available, may use to make dining decisions.

 

Filion, K. and Powell, D.A. 2011. Designing a national restaurant inspection disclosure system for New Zealand. Journal of Food Protection 74(11): 1869-1874
.

The World Health Organization estimates that up to 30% of individuals in developed countries become ill from contaminated food or water each year, and up to 70% of these illnesses are estimated to be linked to food service facilities. The aim of restaurant inspections is to reduce foodborne outbreaks and enhance consumer confidence in food service. Inspection disclosure systems have been developed as tools for consumers and incentives for food service operators. Disclosure systems are common in developed countries but are inconsistently used, possibly because previous research has not determined the best format for disclosing inspection results. This study was conducted to develop a consistent, compelling, and trusted inspection disclosure system for New Zealand. Existing international and national disclosure systems were evaluated. Two cards, a letter grade (A, B, C, or F) and a gauge (speedometer style), were designed to represent a restaurant’s inspection result and were provided to 371 premises in six districts for 3 months. Operators (n = 269) and consumers (n = 991) were interviewed to determine which card design best communicated inspection results. Less than half of the consumers noticed cards before entering the premises; these data indicated that the letter attracted more initial attention (78%) than the gauge (45%). Fifty-eight percent (38) of the operators with the gauge preferred the letter; and 79% (47) of the operators with letter preferred the letter. Eighty-eight percent (133) of the consumers in gauge districts preferred the letter, and 72% (161) of those in letter districts preferring the letter. Based on these data, the letter method was recommended for a national disclosure system for New Zealand.

 

Local outbreak to national recall: Kapowsin Meats recalls pork products linked to Salmonella

Kapowsin Meats Inc., a Graham, Wash. establishment, is recalling approximately 11,658 pounds of pork products that may be contaminated with Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:-, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

pig.potty.trainThe whole roaster hogs were produced between June 13, 2016 and July 15, 2016. The following products are subject to recall:

* Varying weights of boxed/bagged Whole Hogs for Barbeque

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 1628M” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to various individuals, retail locations, institutions, and distributors in Washington.

FSIS was notified of an illness investigation in Washington on July 13, 2016. The Washington State Department of Health updated FSIS on July 19, 2016 of confirmed case-patients involved in an illness outbreak of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:-. Working in conjunction with the Washington State Department of Health, local health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), FSIS determined that there is a highly probable link between whole hogs for barbeque from Kapowsin Meats and this illness cluster. Based on epidemiological investigation, three Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- case-patients have been identified with illness onset dates ranging from July 5, 2016, to July 7, 2016. Traceback investigation indicated that three case-patients consumed whole hog roasters for barbeque from Kapowsin Meats. At this time, it is not known if this outbreak strain has any drug resistance; results are pending.

This investigation is ongoing. FSIS continues to work with public health partners at the Washington State Department of Health, local health and the CDC on this investigation.

Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after exposure to the organism. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Most people recover without treatment. In some persons, however, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Older adults, infants, and persons with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a severe illness. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact their health care provider.

FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers.

Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

8 sickened, 1 dead: CDC says Listeria linked to frozen produce is over

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the investigation into frozen fruits and vegetables produced at CRF Frozen Foods in Pasco, Washington.

veggierecallHowever, people could continue to get sick because recalled products may still be freezers and people who don’t know about the recalls could eat them. Retailers should not sell and consumers should not eat recalled products. Read the Recall and Advice to Consumers and Retailers.

CDC, several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigated a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections (listeriosis).

Listeria can cause a serious, life-threatening illness.

Nine people infected with the outbreak strains of Listeria have been reported from four states since September 13, 2013.

All nine people were hospitalized, and three of them died. Listeriosis was considered to be a cause of death for one person in Connecticut. For the two deaths in Maryland and Washington, listeriosis was not considered to be a cause of death.

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicated that frozen vegetables produced by CRF Frozen Foods of Pasco, Washington and sold under various brand names were a likely source of illness in this outbreak.

On April 23, 2016, CRF Frozen Foods recalled 11 frozen vegetable products because of potential Listeria contamination.

On May 2, 2016, CRF Frozen Foods expanded the initial recall to include all organic and traditional frozen vegetable and fruit products processed in its Pasco, Washington facility since May 1, 2014. More than 350 consumer products sold under 42 separate brands were recalled, as well as at least 100 other products prepared by other companies that contained recalled ingredients from CRF Frozen Foods.

CDC recommends that consumers do not eat, and restaurants and retailers do not serve or sell, recalled organic and traditional frozen vegetables and fruit products and recalled products containing these items.

Recalled items were sold nationwide and in Canada.

A complete list of recalled products is on the FoodSafety.gov website.

Poop in the restaurant: Nick’s Riverside Grill in DC now says poop-slinging Yelp response was ‘honest error’

Yet another twist in a saga that has captivated the District: Nick’s Riverside Grill is issuing an apology for accusing a Yelp critic of losing control of her bowels in what they’re now saying is a case of mistaken identity.

french.dont.eat.poopWashington City Paper reported earlier this week that Nick’s Riverside Grill responded to a one-star Yelp review with accusations that the writer in question, Emma C., pooped her pants at the Georgetown establishment.

“The fact of the matter is you lost control of your bowels in the middle of our restaurant, and you proceeded to sit in it for the remainder of the evening, making more of a mess. We had to reroute our other patrons so they didn’t walk through your mess, causing quite a scene,” Liz, a manager at Nick’s, posted in part.

Owner Greg Casten told WCP he allowed the response after vetting the claims through security footage and interviewing staffers. “While an unfortunate incident in general, the woman and her friends left a real mess, included numerous towels we had provided discarded in the restaurant, dirty clothing thrown away in the bathrooms, a ugly, smelly mess just outside our front door and some very distraught employees,” he wrote.

Or did she? Emma C. contacted WCP to tell them that Nick’s must have confused her with another patron. “I’m just a dissatisfied customer who is now being accused by this establishment of being someone that I’m not, saying some very nasty things about me and also insulting this other girl who could potentially have serious health issues,” she wrote.

Now, after further investigation, Casten says the restaurant screwed up, and is issuing Emma a formal apology. “I have very little question that the woman who wrote the review was in fact not the same person to whom the described incident occurred. We are wrong and we have reached out to apologize,” he wrote to WCP. He calls the situation an “honest error.”

Emma told WCP she is considering pressing charges, and she deleted her initial review on Yelp. Nick’s Riverside Grill currently has two-and-a-half stars on Yelp.