57 sick: Arizona meat firm recalls almost 7 million pounds of raw beef linked to Salmonella outbreak

JBS Tolleson, Inc., a Tolleson, Ariz. establishment, is recalling approximately 6,937,195 pounds of various raw, non-intact beef products that may be contaminated with Salmonella Newport, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Oct. 4, 2018.

The raw, non-intact beef items, including ground beef, were packaged on various dates from July 26, 2018 to Sept. 7, 2018. The following products are subject to recall: [Products List (PDF) (or XLSX) | Product Labels (PDF only)]

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 267” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to retail locations and institutions nationwide.

On September 5, 2018, FSIS was notified of an investigation of Salmonella Newport illnesses with reported consumption of several different FSIS-regulated products by case-patients. The first store receipt potentially linking the purchase of FSIS-regulated product to a case-patient was received on September 19, 2018; FSIS was then able to begin traceback of ground beef products. To date, eight case-patients have provided receipts or shopper card numbers, which have enabled product traceback investigations.  FSIS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state public health and agriculture partners have now determined that raw ground beef was the probable source of the reported illnesses. Traceback has identified JBS as the common supplier of the ground beef products. The epidemiological investigation has identified 57 case-patients from 16 states with illness onset dates ranging from August 5 to September 6, 2018. FSIS will continue to work with public health partners and will provide updated information should it become available.

Over 100 now sick with crypto from pools in Arizona

Heath officials in Arizona said Friday that more than 100 people have been sickened in an outbreak of diarrheal infection and that more than 20 water facilities may have been contaminated.

caddyshack.pool_.poop-1Maricopa County officials said that splash pads, water parks and public pools in the Phoenix area may have been contaminated with the pool-linked gastrointestinal illness cryptosporidiosis, or crypto, the Arizona Republic reported.

Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, the medical director for the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, told the paper that there’s no reliable test for the disease in water, making the determination where the outbreak started difficult to find.

The microscopic, chlorine-resistant parasite that causes sickness is most commonly spread through water. Symptoms of the infection include diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pains, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Crypto could be spread at streams, rivers, ponds and lakes as well.

Poop in the pool: Crypto outbreaks grow to 32 in Arizona, 100 in Ohio

Maricopa County’s cryptosporidium outbreak grew to 32 confirmed cases as of Wednesday afternoon.

caddyshack.pool.poop-1Health officials say at least four public swimming pools have been linked to infected people. Officials, who would not confirm the locations, said all the operators are complying with protocols to super-chlorinate water to kill any crypto that may exist.

Last week a mother told ABC15 said her teen daughter got sick after visiting Wet ‘N’ Wild in the north Valley.

Wet ‘N’ Wild tells ABC15 the they are in compliance with CDC and county health standards. A spokeswoman also says the pools are being super-chlorinated weekly as a precaution, and signs inform customers of healthy swimming practices. Those include showering before entering the water and not swimming after bouts of diarrhea.

Columbus Public Health along with other central Ohio agencies have declared a community outbreak of cryptosporidiosis after more than 100 cases have been reported in the area.

There has been a recent rise over the normal threshold of cases across several jurisdictions in central Ohio, including Columbus, Franklin County and Delaware County, according to Columbus Public Health.

The three jurisdictions have reported more than 107 cases so far this year, which is more than the last three years combined. This outbreak is not tied to any one location. A spokesperson with Columbus Public Health says there have been 62 cases in Columbus, 34 in Franklin County and 11 in Delaware County.

A large portion of the cases include people with multiple exposures at various recreational water facilities throughout the three jurisdictions.

19 sick with crypto in Arizona

Maricopa County Department of Public Health officials are investigating an outbreak of Cryptosporidium, a diarrheal illness caused by a parasite Cryptosporidium parvum, and are advising the public to take precautions to further prevent the spread of this disease.

diaper.poolPublic health officials said 19 cases were reported in July. Five of those initial cases have been linked to recreational water facilities.

While officials said some people with Crytosporidium show no symptoms, the most common symptom to be on the lookout for is watery diarrhea usually beginning 2-10 days from infection.

Some other symptoms include stomach cramps, dehydration, nausea, vomiting, fever and weight loss.

While chlorine typically kills most germs in swimming pools, this disease can survive even in properly chlorinated waters for long periods of time.

From the duh files: Arizona paper says give diners more information on health inspections

Emery Cowan of the Arizona Daily Sun writes that if a restaurant has print out a calorie count for most meals on the menu, why not a letter grade for how safely it prepared its food?

toronto.red.yellow.green.grades.may.11That’s one of the reactions to our story earlier this month reviewing the Coconino County’s food inspection procedures and listing some of the more serious offenders. We found that although most eating establishments were being inspected twice a year and some even forced to close temporarily, diners were kept largely in the dark. A closed restaurant must post a notice but is not required to give a reason, and the public health department’s bimonthly report usually comes out well after any violations – large or small — have occurred.

Most restaurants never come close to being closed and their violations are relatively minor and fixed almost immediately. What benefit is it to diners to have outdated information about infractions that don’t rise to the level of a health threat?

We suppose that if a letter grade was the only information available to diners, it could be misleading. But in the age of the Internet, the Health Department can post a lot more information if diners are interested. They just have to know where to look.

But unfortunately, Coconino County’s website has no portal through which citizens can obtain information about the results of a restaurant’s inspection or even lodge a complaint. Even when a restaurant like China Star, which has been forced to close twice in the past five years, posts a notice of closure, there is no way for diners to find the 16 complaints it received since 2009 or the multiple critical violations it accumulated.

A brief tour of the Internet turns up dozens of cities with web sites containing interactive public databases of restaurant inspections and enforcement actions. Many have explanations of the scoring and ranking methods, the most commonly cited critical and noncritical violations and the risk associated with different types of violations.

We urge county health officials to put a restaurant inspection public database on the fast track.

Do it in the country, like it just fine, do it on the city, $20 fine

Goodyear Police in Arizona arrested CBS 5 journo Jonathan Lowe Monday afternoon while he was on assignment, reporting on a former Arizona State University football player who allegedly sacrificed the family dog by putting him in a smoker in order to appease an angry God.

poo-emoji-collectionThat doesn’t begin to explain the kind of day Lowe was having, however.

“Lowe chose to use the front yard of a residence to relieve himself,” Goodyear Police Department spokeswoman Lisa Kutis tells New Times. “An onlooker from across the street called it in to officers. They approached him, he said he’d had to relieve himself, and they arrested him.”

Lowe was handcuffed and taken to the Goodyear Police station, where he was booked, cited, and released. Kutis says Lowe was cited under Goodyear code violation 11-1-30, “public urination or defecation,” a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 or six months in jail. 

Goodyear police haven’t released the arrest report, but the department confirms that the citation was for defecation. Kutis says the arrest took place at about 3:10 p.m., and that at the time various media outlets had been “in the neighborhood of the home where the dog incident took place.”

News of Lowe’s arrest was reported by TV news industry gossip site FTVLive.com, which published a photo of the reporter being taken away in handcuffs beneath the headline “Cops Bust the Potty Reporter.” A subsequent article on the site claimed Lowe’s arrest “was the talk inside the Phoenix newsrooms” and that “two competing stations had video of Lowe being lead [sic] away.” 

Bizarrely, there was no further news about the former football player who smoked the dog to appease God.

Arizona Holiday Inn closed after reports of illness

We spent a few days visiting family in Casa Grande during our recent North American tour.

We didn’t stay at the Holiday Inn.

holiday-inn-express-and-suites-casa-grande-3769972655-4x3Pinal County Public Health Services District (PCPHSD) is temporarily suspending the food establishment permit of the Holiday Inn Casa Grande, following multiple reports of foodborne illnesses after consuming food at the facility.

PCPHSD will monitor the food related activities of the Holiday Inn Casa Grande for the next 30 days and provide technical assistance to the operators to ensure that all food safety requirements are met before the facility returns to full service.

Health officials anticipate more cases of illness to arise as their investigation continues.

220 inmates sick at Arizona prison

Winslow, Arizona, famous for one of the few Eagles songs I can stand and where Starman Jeff Bridges had to be to return to his planet, is now notable for hundreds of inmates sickened at a state prison.

starman.winslowThe department says lab samples are being sent out to determine why 220 inmates in the Winslow prison complex’s Kaibab and Coronado units have had gastrointestinal illness.

According to the department, the stricken inmates are receiving medical care and being monitored.

It also says precautions being taken include having inmate meals prepared off-site and sanitizing the two units with a bleach solution.

Arizona diners can look up restaurant inspections on smart phones

Maricopa County Environmental Services has just rolled out a new mobile restaurant ratings tool that can be accessed from any smartphone.

rest.inspection.smartphoneDivision manager Andrew Linton said the restaurant tool allows anyone, anywhere to look up specific restaurant inspection reports for any of the 22,000 food service establishments across the Maricopa County.

“If you are out on the go and decide to eat at a restaurant that you are not familiar with,  you see how they do on their inspections,” said Linton. “This is a really easy way to get an idea of how they are doing.”

The restaurant ratings tool is different from your basic phone app, said Linton.

To access it, all users have to do is go to the county’s website at www.maricopa.gov.

Users can then do a search of a specific restaurant or look up all restaurants within a one-mile radius of their location.

Users will see a map that they can then use to look up an individual restaurant, and see its latest health inspection report.

According to Linton, another benefit of the restaurant ratings tool is that if diners have a bad experience going out to eat, they can file a complaint right from their smart phone.

Highway to Hell: 22 sickened with Salmonella at wedding at Arizona winery

Highway to Hell, one of the West’s most popular wedding songs, took on added meaning when at least 22 guests were stricken with Salmonella at a winery in Arizona.

highway.to.hellPinal County’s Public Health Services District say they’re investigating the outbreak that’s linked to a March 19 wedding at the Windmill Winery.

The district received a call from a participant of the wedding who reported that at least four attendees needed to be hospitalized.

County public health officials began an investigation into the winery’s food practices and found the operators had exceeded their legally allowable level of food preparation and used a non-permitted caterer.