In the spring of 2018, an E. coli O157 outbreak linked to romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Arizona area resulted in 210 reported illnesses from 36 states, 96 hospitalizations, 27 cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and five deaths.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has launched a new initiative with support from the Arizona Department of Agriculture, and in conjunction with the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, the Wellton-Mohawk Irrigation and Drainage District (WMIDD), and members of the Yuma area leafy greens industry to better understand the ecology of human pathogens in the environment in the Yuma agricultural region. This initiative will be a multi-year study which will focus on how these pathogens survive, move and possibly contaminate produce prior to harvest.
While the FDA, the Arizona Department of Agriculture and other state partners conducted an environmental assessment from June through August 2018 that narrowed the scope of the outbreak, the specific origin, the environmental distribution and the potential reservoirs of the outbreak strain remain unknown.
Between 2009 and 2017, FDA and partners at CDC identified 28 foodborne STEC outbreaks with known or suspected links to leafy greens. Like a lot of fresh produce, leafy greens are often eaten raw without a kill-step, such as cooking, that could eliminate pathogens that may be present.
Sounds like Yuma growers could use a Box of Rain. Or maybe more knowledge of the microbial ripple effect. May death be groovy for you, long-time Grateful Dead collaborator and lyricist Robert Hunter, who passed on Tuesday, aged 78.
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.
Maricopa 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.
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.
Health 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.
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?
That’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.
That 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.”
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.
Division 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.