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.

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.

Wife’s heartbreak as husband dies from Salmonella linked to duck eggs

A wife has been left heartbroken after her “loving and caring” husband died from salmonella linked to duck eggs he bought at Messingham Show.

Jamie Waller of Grimsby Live reports Niptoon Tavakoli was hospitalised days after eating the eggs and died after two months in intensive care.

He bought six duck eggs at Messingham Show on June 2, and ate four of them five days later.

Niptoon was among thousands of people who attended the 114th Messingham show last year, one of the biggest events of its kind in northern Lincolnshire.

But after eating the eggs Niptoon suffered with sickness and diarrhea and an ambulance was called to his home in Lindholme near Doncaster on June 7. It was decided not to take him to hospital.

But paramedics were again called on June 10, and Niptoon was taken into Doncaster Royal Infirmary where doctors found evidence of salmonella.

He was admitted to intensive care, but his condition continued to deteriorate.

He died on August 12, just over two months later.

A second case of salmonella from the same strain has since been confirmed in the West Midlands.

Niptoon’s wife Cheryl has called for answers into how he contracted the salmonella as an inquest into her husband’s death opens. Niptoon was stepdad to Cheryl’s two sons Andrew and Paul.

From the BS files: UK luxury spa told guests its ‘apple crumble could help reduce cancer risk’

Kevin Rawlinson of The Guardian writes the luxury spa chain Champneys is being taken to court over claims it told guests its apple crumble could help reduce the risk of cancer and other conditions.

The chain has also been accused of failing to tell guests about allergens, including gluten, mustard, eggs and soybean, in its restaurant food. And it allegedly sold diners a vegan tofu Pad Thai dish that contained milk.

It had been due to go on trial on Tuesday after West Sussex county council launched a prosecution against it on 19 charges relating to food safety, information, nutrition and consumer protection laws. If found guilty the firm could face an unlimited fine.

However, the case at Brighton magistrates court was adjourned at the last minute after neither Champneys nor the county council attended court.

Champneys has been accused of making a series of claims on its food menu and of failing to inform guests at its Forest Mere resort in Liphook, West Sussex, that it had a food hygiene rating of just two out of five.

The chain allegedly told guests, who paid up to £230 a night, that its apple crumble could cut the risk of “cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes”. Guests were also informed a black rice, quinoa and ginger salad was “anti-inflammatory”, it has been claimed.

The so-called wellness centre claims on its website it “steers away from all the fads and fallacies” to “keep things honest and enjoyable”. Champneys denies all the charges.

I love the berries but not the Hep A or noro

Foodborne enteric viruses, in particular HuNoV and HAV, are the most common cause of the berry-linked viral diseases, and outbreaks around the world, and have become an important concern for health authorities. Despite the increased importance of berry fruits as a vehicle for foodborne viruses, there is limited information concerning the fate of foodborne viruses in the berry supply chain from farm to consumer.

A comprehensive understanding of berry-associated viral outbreaks – with a focus on contamination sources, persistence, survival, and the effects of current postharvest and processing interventions and practices – is essential for the development of effective preventative strategies to reduce risk of illness.

The purpose of this paper is twofold; (i) to critically review the published literature on the current state of knowledge regarding berry-associated foodborne viral outbreaks and the efficiency of berry processing practices and (ii) to identify and prioritize research gaps regarding practical and effective mechanism to reduce viral contamination of berries.

The review found that fecally infected food handlers were the predominant source of preharvest and postharvest pathogenic viral contamination. Current industrial practices applied to fresh and frozen berries demonstrated limited efficacy for reducing the viral load. While maintaining best practice personal and environmental hygiene is a key intervention, the optimization of processing parameters (i.e., freezing, frozen storage, and washing) and/or development of alternative processing technologies to induce sufficient viral inactivation in berries along with retaining sensory and nutritional quality, is also an important direction for further research.

Outbreaks, occurrence, and control of norovirus and hepatitis A virus contamination in berries: a review, 03 February 2020

Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition

Hayriye Bozkurt,Kim-Yen Phan-Thien,Floris van Ogtrop,Tina Bell &Robyn McConchie

https://doi.org/10.1080/10408398.2020.1719383

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408398.2020.1719383?journalCode=bfsn20&mc_cid=4f462afa96&mc_eid=3d0743ebc0&