Doug Powell

About Doug Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of barfblog.com, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Download C.V. »

Four listeria deaths over three years traced to enoki mushrooms

Enoki mushrooms from South Korea have been recalled and investigators are linking them to a multi-year outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes that has killed four people.

The importer, Sun Hong Foods Inc., Montebello, Calif., recalled the mushrooms March 9 after Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development officials found two samples of the mushrooms were positive for the listeria strain.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, public health agencies are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses linked to the outbreak, using “DNA fingerprinting” through whole genome sequencing. 

The agencies did not report when the deaths occurred. Patients in California, Hawaii and New Jersey died.

The cases traced to the mushrooms have a high rate of hospitalization, with 30 of the 36 patients identified requiring hospitalization, according to the Food and Drug Administration, which released a warning to consumers March 10 to not eat any enoki mushrooms from Sun Hong Foods.

Sun Hong Foods, Inc 1105 W Olympic Blvd, Montebello, CA 90640 is recalling All Cases Enoki Mushroom (Product of Korea) Net Wt 7.05/200g because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium which can cause life-threatening illness or death. Consumers are warned not to even if it does not look or smell spoiled.

CDC’s At A Glance concluded:

Reported Cases: 36

States: 17

Hospitalizations: 30

Deaths: 4

Recall: Yes

Outbreak investigation of Listeria monocytogenes: Hard-boiled eggs (December 2019)

Why did Listeria appear in hard-boiled eggs? Insufficient cooking? Cross-contamination? Dirty pails? This report doesn’t say.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, CDC, and state and local partners investigated an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections linked to hard-boiled eggs produced by Almark Foods’ Gainesville, Georgia facility. Almark Foods announced an initial voluntary recall of hard-boiled and peeled eggs in pails on December 20, 2019, and then on December 23, 2019 expanded the recall to include all hard-boiled eggs produced at the Gainesville, Georgia facility. All recalled products are now past their “best by” dates.

CDC has announced this outbreak is over. FDA’s investigational activities, including an inspection, are complete. At this time, the firm is no longer producing products at this facility.

Recommendation

Recalled products are now past their “best by” dates and should be thrown away.

FDA recommends that food processors, restaurants and retailers who received recalled products use extra vigilance in cleaning and sanitizing any surfaces that may have come in contact with these products, to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.

Case Counts

Total Illnesses: 8
Illnesses in 2019: 5
Hospitalizations: 5
Deaths: 1
Last illness isolation date: December 7, 2019
States with Cases: FL (1), ME (2), PA (1), SC (2), TX (2)
States with Cases in 2019: FL (1), ME (2), SC (2), TX (1)
Product Distribution*: Nationwide
*Distribution has been confirmed for states list, but at this time we believe the product was distributed nationwide. Updates will be provided as more information becomes available.

What Products are Recalled?

Recalled products include bulk product sold in pails, as well as products sold at retail. Companies who received recalled product from Almark Foods have initiated recalls of products containing these eggs. A list of all these recalls is available on the FDA website.

 

Irony can be pretty ironic sometimes

And there will be no Alanis videos here.

Almost 10 years ago, I, full professor who had been tenured since 2000, was fired by Kansas State University for bad attendance because I did want to be the spouse who crushed his partner’s dreams and not move to Australia (she has lots of other ways to be disappointed in me, join the line).

I said, why not run a distance course.

That didn’t work out so well.

Now all the unis are trying to develop distance courses as they face shutdowns in response to Coronavirus.

Just saying.

Women

In honor of International Women’s Day (yesterday in Canada) and the first all female crew calling an NHL game (which I am watching), here’s to my girls who play hockey (digital cameras and iPhones didn’t exist when my older two were playing so I apologize for the lack of pics).

Back in the BC time frame (before children) Amy and I went to a game in Chicago versus St. Louis where I was giving some sort of talk (it may have been the melamine in pet food one, where I offended everyone by saying, pets are not humans).

But that doesn’t mean they should be fed shit.

That’s the game on tonight with the all female crew, and all I can think of is various people chanting, Missouri sucks

Lettuce is overrated: FDA’s leafy greens STEC action

I’ll say it again, as a comic in all seriousness: Lettuce is overrated.

My favorite salad is a Greek one with all those veggies and no lettuce.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced last week that between 2009 and 2018, FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified 40 foodborne outbreaks of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infections in the U.S. with a confirmed or suspected link to leafy greens.

Holy shit.

This is why The Tragically Hip were so great, and why they never appealed much beyond Canada.

I feel the same about academia.

And why Osterholm called me 15 years ago as a consultant for Fresh Express, and asked me how dare I the lettuce and skull picture, and I said because I can and it was fairly apt given there have been 40 outbreaks.

Holy shit (this is me echoing my John Oliver voice).

Coronavirus is just confirming: Go public, go often, go hard.

It’s the only way people will pay attention.

And as this story in the N.Y. Times points out, there have been spectacular public health failures by people who tell others, just shut the fuck up.

According to the FDA, it has an unwavering commitment to advancing the safety of fresh leafy greens. Leafy greens are among the most widely consumed vegetables and an important part of an overall healthy diet. While millions of servings are consumed safely every day, this produce commodity has been implicated too often in outbreaks of foodborne illness, and we believe that FDA, along with leafy greens sector stakeholders, can do more.

Between 2009 and 2018, FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified 40 foodborne outbreaks of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infections in the U.S. with a confirmed or suspected link to leafy greens. While most strains of E. coli are harmless, STEC can cause bloody diarrhea, anemia, blood-clotting problems, and kidney failure – conditions that are potentially life-threatening. The most common STEC, E. coli O157:H7, is the type most often associated with outbreaks.

Most leafy greens are grown outdoors, where they are exposed to soil, animals, and water, all of which can be a source of pathogen contamination. In addition, leafy greens are mostly consumed raw, without cooking or other processing steps to eliminate microbial hazards. The Produce Safety Rule under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) sets science-based standards to help ensure that water, soil amendments (e.g., fertilizer or compost), food contact surfaces and other materials that touch produce during growing, harvesting, packing, and holding do not contribute to produce contamination. The Produce Safety Rule also addresses animal intrusion into fields and worker hygiene.

Due to the recurring nature of outbreaks associated with leafy greens, FDA has developed this commodity-specific action plan. What follows is an overview of the actions FDA plans to take in 2020 to advance work in three areas: (1) prevention, (2) response, and (3) addressing knowledge gaps.

My girl

I know I’ve been writing a lot about Amy, and I will admit to mixed feelings, but I want to make it work.

Cause if I don’t have a stable home life, I don’t write.

I know there’s weird shit going on in my brain, and she doesn’t deserve this, but it’s happening.

So I can go to some sort of old folks home and pass away my days, or try to make things work around here, which seems a challenge.

55 years ago today, The Temptations’ “My Girl”, written by Smokey Robinson and Ronald White, from Motown Records, reaches number 1 on the Hot 100.

Same as it ever was: David Byrne explains food safety failures on SNL last week

It was probably 2009 that me and Amy and the 6-month old kid went on a southern U.S. road trip, featuring many stops to breastfeed, and many talks.

Sure, it wasn’t the same as me and the ex taking our now 33-year old to see the Grateful Dead north of Toronto when she was 6-weeks old, but it was cool (the Dead went back to Americana roots in 1970 and 71, producing two albums that had nothing to do with psychedelia and everything to do with, we are America, this is our music).  The theme of the 2009 road trip was, how did food safety get so shitty (see future posts). I found resonance in The Talking Heads, and David Byrne resurrected the iconic song which was the soundtrack of my 2009 tour last week on Saturday Night Live.

I have great memories of that trip, but now, all I have is memories, and they are fading fast.

Enjoy.

 

Girls rock

Amy was on the ice at 6:15 a.m. for training today.

This is the birthday card my mother sent Sorenne a few months ago (she has two 90 minute sessions tomorrow) and it’s fairly apt.

This is Amy being manager of Sorenne’s team last year, and now she’s manager of her senior team, and is finding that adults are way more whiny than kids. She’s on the phone constantly.

And while the girls are doing hockey, I try not to fall down, which I failed at spectacularly the other day and managed to cover a room in blood. That’s me and one of the kids who try to take care of me.