2 children from same UK family die from E. coli

Two children from the same UK family have died after contracting shiga-toxin producing E. coli, health officials have confirmed.

The children, whose ages have not yet been released, were from the Charnwood area of Leicestershire and had been treated for the infection in the last 2 weeks.

Public Health England confirmed the deaths and said it is working with
environmental health officers after 2 cases of hemolytic uremic
syndrome were confirmed in the siblings.

It is not yet known how the children contracted E. coli.

PHE East Midlands said E coli is a relatively rare infection, adding that good hand hygiene and supervised hand hygiene for small children are essential to minimise the risk of developing an infection such as E coli.

Not rare enough for this family and handwashing is never enough.

 

EU Listeria-in-frozen veg outbreak hits Australia

The Listeria-in-frozen veg outbreak in the EU that has killed nine and sickened 47 since 2015 has taken an Australian twist: the vegetables distributed by Belgium-based frozen food distributor Greenyard Frozen NV were also distributed in Australia (and who knows where else) underlying the role of bullshit and faith regarding global food safety.

Food safety is, of course, any distributor’s first priority (as Sorenne asked me today, about something completely different, “was that sarcasm?”

Nothing funny about this.

A whole bunch of frozen veg stocked by Woolworths, IGA and ALDI in Australia have been added to the recall by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

FSANZ spokeswoman Lorraine Haase said there had not been any evidence of infections in Australia, but a number of people had died in the United Kingdom.

Two days later, on July 11, 2018, the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services identified a case of Listeria from earlier in 2018 that has now been linked to the strain in Europe which has led to a recall of a range of imported frozen vegetables.

The listeria is the same serotype with similar genetics.

Unfortunately, the Victorian case who was being treated for another serious illness died earlier this year.

So it is not possible to confirm whether this person actually consumed any of the frozen vegetable products.

This is not the same serotype of Listeria which killed seven in Australia and caused one miscarriage after consumption of rockmelon earlier this year.

Listeria can be anywhere, and it is up to food producers and merchants to provide rapid, reliable, relevant and repeated information about these outbreaks, which, based on conversation at a hockey tournament in New South Wales this weekend, are starting to permeate the consciousness of shoppers in Aus.

9 dead, 38 sick from Listeria linked to frozen corn in EU back to 2015

My daughters ate a lot of frozen peas and corn when they were young.

Now I’m being told by Europeans I’m stupid.

As I’ve written before, Chapman and I did a bunch of work with the processing vegetable growers in Ontario (that’s in Canada).

We didn’t do any testing, but all the plants we visited had internal Listeria testing and used test-and-hold procedures. That was over 15 years ago.

Additionally, the blanching process should have removed Listeria (but should be verified).

The UK Food Standards Agency, Food Standards Scotland, Public Health England and Health Protection Scotland – that’s a lot of admin types — are reminding people that most frozen vegetables, including sweetcorn, need to be cooked before eating. This includes if adding them to salads, smoothies or dips.

People should always follow manufacturers’ instructions when preparing their food. If the product is not labelled as “ready to eat”, the cooking instructions should always be followed before eating the food hot or cold. 

In the UK, that means piping hot mush.

Any barfbloggers in the EU wanna take a picture of those clear cooking instructions on frozen corn and send them on?

Last week, the European Food Safety Authority said that frozen corn and possibly other frozen vegetables are the likely source of an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes that has been affecting Austria, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom since 2015.

Experts used whole genome sequencing to identify the food source, which initially was thought to be limited to frozen corn. As of 8 June 2018, 47 cases including nine deaths had been reported.

The same strains of L. monocytogenes have been detected in frozen vegetables produced by the same Hungarian company in 2016, 2017 and 2018. This suggests that the strains have persisted in the processing plant despite the cleaning and disinfection procedures that were carried out.

The available information confirms the contamination at the Hungarian plant. However, further investigations, including thorough sampling and testing, are needed to identify the exact points of environmental contamination at the Hungarian plant. The same recommendation applies to other companies belonging to the same commercial group if environmental contamination is detected.

On 29 June 2018, the Hungarian Food Chain Safety Office banned the marketing of all frozen vegetable and frozen mixed vegetable products produced by the affected plant between August 2016 and June 2018, and ordered their immediate withdrawal and recall. This last measure is likely to significantly reduce the risk of human infections and contain the outbreak. All freezing activity at the plant has been stopped.

New cases could still emerge due to the long incubation period of listeriosis (up to 70 days); the long shelf-life of frozen corn products; and the consumption of frozen corn bought before the recalls and eaten without being cooked properly.

To reduce the risk of infection, consumers should thoroughly cook non ready-to-eat frozen vegetables, even though these products are commonly consumed without cooking (e.g. in salads and smoothies). This applies especially to consumers at highest risk of contracting listeriosis – such as the elderly, pregnant women, new-borns and adults with weakened immune systems.

Frozen fruit and veg: That’s what my 2-decade hockey buddy, who also has four Canadian kids about the same age as mine, said when I asked, how do you go about managing the food for all these kids (along with the pets and horses).

But like Hepatitis A in frozen fruit, I now cook the shit out of them.

Beware the canal waters (I’m looking at you Holland Marsh, Ontario, that’s in Canada): Canal irrigation water likely source of E. coli O157 outbreak linked to romaine lettuce 5 dead, 218 sick

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local partners, are investigating a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses linked to romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region.

The FDA, along with CDC and state partners, initiated an environmental assessment in the Yuma growing region to further investigate potential sources of contamination linked to this outbreak.

Samples have been collected from environmental sources in the region, including water, soil, and cow manure. Evaluation of these samples is ongoing.

To date, CDC analysis of samples taken from canal water in the region has identified the presence of E. coli O157:H7 with the same genetic finger print as the outbreak strain. We have identified additional strains of Shiga-toxin producing E. coli in water and soil samples, but at this time, the samples from the canal water are the only matches to the outbreak strain.

Analysis of additional samples is still ongoing, and any new matches to the outbreak strain will be communicated publicly and with industry in the region.

Identification of the outbreak strain in the environment should prove valuable in our analysis of potential routes of contamination, and we are continuing our investigation in an effort to learn more about how the outbreak strain could have entered the water and ways that this water could have come into contact with and contaminated romaine lettuce in the region.

As of June 27, the CDC reports that 218 people in 36 states and Canada have become ill. These people reported becoming ill in the time period of March 13, 2018 to June 6, 2018. There have been 96 hospitalizations and five deaths.

The traceback investigation indicates that the illnesses associated with this outbreak cannot be explained by a single grower, harvester, processor, or distributor. While traceback continues, the FDA will focus on trying to identify factors that contributed to contamination of romaine across multiple supply chains.  The agency is examining all possibilities, including that contamination may have occurred at any point along the growing, harvesting, packaging, and distribution chain before reaching consumers. 

The FDA, along with CDC and state partners, initiated an environmental assessment in the Yuma growing region to further investigate potential sources of contamination linked to this outbreak. To date, CDC analysis of samples taken from canal water in the region has identified the presence of E. coli O157:H7 with the same genetic finger print as the outbreak strain. We have identified additional strains of E. coli in water and soil samples, but at this time, the samples from the canal water are the only matches to the outbreak strain.

The FDA is continuing to investigate this outbreak and will share more information as it becomes available.

“More work needs to be done to determine just how and why this strain of E. coli O157:H7 could have gotten into this body of water and how that led to contamination of romaine lettuce from multiple farms,” said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in a statement.

The Food Taster: German man suspected of killing 21 co-workers by poisoning their food

Darko Janjevic of DW reports German authorities launched a probe into a string of deaths at a metal fittings company after an employee was caught trying to poison a co-worker’s lunch. Police found quicksilver, lead and cadmium in the man’s home.

The man was arrested for the incident in the town of Schloß Holte-Stukenbrock, northwest Germany. However, police now suspect he may be responsible for up to 21 deaths of people working for the same company.

The police detained the 56-year-old suspect in May this year, after one of his co-workers noticed an unknown white powder on his food. The would-be victim alerted his superiors and asked them to review the recordings made by security cameras, which then showed the suspect adding the substance to the co-worker’s lunch.

“In the beginning we thought it was a misconceived prank between co-workers, and not a murder attempt,” said Tilo Blechinger, the manager for the metal fittings manufacturer ARI Armaturen, to the DPA news agency.

The case escalated to an attempted murder after authorities identified the powder as lead acetate, a highly toxic and nearly tasteless substance that could cause serious organ damage.

Woman in India ‘kills party guests with poisoned food because they ridiculed her cooking’

Pradnya Survase, of Khalapur, faces the death penalty after five guests died at the feast in Mahad, in Raigad district, on June 18. Police said Survase intended to kill her husband, her mother-in-law, two sisters-in-law, along with her mother-in-law’s sister and her husband after they ‘regularly insulted’ her complexion and cooking.

Pradnya Survase is alleged to have poisoned family members with pesticides in dal. According to authorities, Survase allegedly mixed snake poison into a container of dal that was then served to guests, which left 88 people in hospital and led to the deaths of five.

Vishwajeet Kaingade, senior police inspector of Khalapur police station, told the Hindustan Times: ‘Pradnya claims that since her marriage two years ago, she has been insulted regularly for her dark complexion and accused of not being able to cook well.’ Survase, divorced from her first husband, also believes relatives had damaged her second marriage. She is alleged to have served poisoned dal to the guests. Around 120 people were invited to the housewarming and a village cook prepared food which was served from 2.30pm until 11.30pm. But those who ate later in the day began complaining of nausea, vomiting and stomach ache just a few hours later. The newspaper reports that 88 people were hospitalised and four children, aged between seven and 13, died along with 53-year-old Gopinath Nakure, two of whom were related to Survase. Vilash Thikrey, a 13-year-old who survived the poisoning, remembers the dal tasting ‘bitter’. 

7 dead, 1 miscarriage: New control measures to be set up on Australian rockmelon farms

My thoughts go to Australian rockmelon growers because they’ve been sold down the stream.

In April, thousands of rockmelons were left to rot in paddocks near Geraldton on the Western Australian coast, record low prices and lost markets meant they were simply not worth picking.

Grower Carol Metcalf said the rows of rotting melons were the result of the listeria outbreak on a rockmelon farm more than 3,500 kilometres away in New South Wales.

Under a new plan released this week, all rockmelon farms in Australia will be inspected and work will be undertaken on each individual farm to ensure that the highest standards are implemented and maintained.

At the time of the outbreak on February this year, the NSW Food Authority speculated that the most likely cause of the listeria outbreak was contaminated soil possibly not being properly washed off the skin of the fruit.

In addition it was thought that a weather event may have increased the listeria bacteria on the product.

But the formal investigation into the cause of the outbreak has not been completed by the NSW Food Authority and therefore the official report on the cause has still not been released.

What is planned is visits to all Australian rockmelon growers and packing sheds to review and audit current practice and critical control points and provide one-on-one food safety consultations with growers, managers and key farm staff.

The development of a melon food safety Best-Practice Guide, was informed by the findings from consultations, feedback from retailers and other key stakeholder groups.

The development of a ‘toolbox’ for grower use including risk assessment templates, training guides, food safety posters and record sheets to support food safety programs — this will be housed on the Australian Melon Association website.

Regional roadshows in key growing regions will highlight the availability and contents of the toolbox and Best Practice Guide.

A helpdesk to provide technical support to growers, packers and other stakeholders will also be developed.

Australian Melon Association industry development manager Dianne Fullelove said the new initiatives would ensure that every rockmelon grower in Australia had the highest level of food safety possible.

“NSW DPI will lead the project and the key is that they will visit every farm and work with every grower to fix any problems or issues.

“We want to make food safety as good as it can be,” Ms Fullelove said.

“This new initiative will make that reputation even stronger and give our growers sure-fire tools to support our product integrity for decades to come.

“This move will put us ahead of the game.”

Food safety isn’t a game, not when your product contributes to the death of seven people and one miscarriage.

Why are melon growers relying on government to visit farms (oh, right, money).

They should hire their own people to be out front on any food safety issue; government is the last source to rely on. And don’t act like this is something new: There have been plenty of outbreaks of Listeria and Salmonella on rockmelon over the years.

(A table of rockmelon-related outbreaks is available here.)

Some basic questions that have yet to be answered:

  • was the farm prone to flooding and near any livestock operations;
  • what soil amendments, like manure, were used;
  • after harvest were the rockmelons placed in a dump tank;
  • was the water in the dump tank regularly monitored for chlorine levels;
  • did a proper handwashing program exist at the packing shed;
  • were conveyor belts cleaned and tested;
  • did condensation form on the ceiling of the packing shed;
  • were transportation vehicles properly cooled and monitored;
  • was the Listeria in whole cantaloupe or pre-cut; and,
  • was the rockmelon stored at proper temperatures at retail?

Stop waiting for change to happen and take charge, without relying on government: Your growers are still losing money.

Two gorillas at Milwaukee zoo likely died from water contaminated with E. coli

Two gorillas at the Milwaukee County Zoo likely died after ingesting water contaminated with E. coli, according to zookeepers.

Cassius, an adult male, died on April 12, and Naku, a 17-year-old female western lowland gorilla, died on April 29, the zoo said in a press release.

Autopsy results for the gorillas show that they died of gastrointestinal infections believed to have been caused by E. coli in their water supply, according to the zoo.

The water systems in the gorilla and bonobo areas have been disinfected, the zoo said, adding that the water supply available for consumption by the public was never affected.

Zookeepers are also using new protocols to disinfect produce, which can be another source of E. coli, according to the release.

While all animals, including gorillas and even humans, have healthy E.coli in their gut, some variants of E. coli can cause intestinal damage and disease, the zoo said.

Naku had been euthanized after veterinarians found that a portion of her intestine was no longer functioning, ABC affiliate WISN in Milwaukee reported.

Cassius and Nauku’s 8-month-old baby, Zahra, is now an orphan.

Zahra’s diet has consisted mainly of formula in the absence of her mother’s breast milk, zookeepers wrote on Twitter. She is also eating some produce, sweet potato, red pepper, and beans, the zoo said.

1 dead, 24 sick check your freezers: Hepatitis A death linked to frozen pomegranate recall in Australia (grown in Egypt)

Now for something more serious from Australia.

SA Health chief medical officer and chief public health officer Professor Paddy Phillips revealed a 64-year-old woman died last Wednesday after “some time” in hospital.

“This is a rare and tragic case and I offer my sincere condolences to the woman’s family,” Professor Phillips said.

“The majority of people infected with hepatitis A recover fully and the woman’s death is the only death linked to this recalled product nationally to date.

“The incubation period for hepatitis A is generally 15-50 days, so we don’t anticipate further cases because the product was recalled two months ago.

“While we expect most people would have disposed of the recalled product, we urge everyone to double-check freezers and remove any affected products.

“Fresh pomegranate and frozen Australian-grown pomegranate products are not affected.”

Her death had been referred to the Coroner.

The Creative Gourmet 180g frozen pomegranate arils, which are sold at Coles supermarkets, were first recalled in April after a hepatitis A outbreak in New South Wales.

Then in May, SA Health again reminded people to throw away the product, made by Entyce Food Ingredients, after 11 linked hepatitis cases.

Professor Phillips said some 2,000 packets of the fruit — grown in Egypt — were sold.

Of those, 226 packets were returned, but he said they believed many more were thrown away as instructed by health authorities.

He said it was “very rare” to die from hepatitis A.

“Most people usually recover without any consequences but occasionally this does happen,” he said.

He would not say if the woman suffered other medical conditions.

SA Health was told about the woman’s death yesterday, Professor Phillips said.

“We have come out as soon as we found out about it.”

1 child dead, 14 sick from E. coli O26 in French ‘Our regions have talent’ raw milk cheese

Outbreak News Today reports on a statement from the French abouthe Escherichia coli ( E. coli ) O26 outbreak linked to the consumption of raw milk reblochons produced at the Cruseilles (Haute-Savoie) site of Chabert. French health officials are now reporting 14 children aged one to five years included in the investigation.

As of May 31, 6 children with HUS were infected with the same strain of E. coli O26, for which the consumption or reblochon incriminated is documented. These six children are domiciled in several regions of metropolitan France (Center-Val de Loire, PACA, Ile-de-France, Auverhne-Rhone-Aples, Pays-de-la-Loire); and for 8 other children, investigations are in progress. Of these, two had signs of gastroenteritis and six had HUS. One of the children with HUS died; the investigation around this case is in progress. To date, it cannot be dismissed or affirmed that these cases of HUS are linked to the consumption of reblochon: non-isolated and characterized strain, or consumption of reblochon incriminated not yet documented.