Outbreak of Listeria infections linked to hard-boiled eggs

Reported Cases: 7

States: 5

Hospitalizations: 4

Deaths: 1

Recall: No

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is concerned that bulk, fresh hard-boiled eggs produced by Almark Foods of Gainesville, Georgia, are contaminated with Listeriaand have made people sick. These products were packaged in plastic pails for use nationwide by food service operators. These products have not been recalled. However, because Listeria  can cause severe infections, CDC is warning against selling, serving, or using these eggs to make other food products.

Retailers and food service operators should know who supplies their bulk hard-boiled eggs. Consumers will not be able to tell if products they’ve purchased from stores contain these eggs, so it is important that people at higher risk for Listeria infections follow the advice listed below.

Retailers and food service operators should not use bulk hard-boiled eggs produced at the Almark Foods Gainesville, Georgia facility, regardless of use-by date.

These eggs were peeled, hard-boiled, and packaged in plastic pails of various sizes.

Food processors and manufacturers should not use these eggs to make ready-to-eat foods, such as egg salad, deviled eggs, or salads.

These fresh hard-boiled eggs were packaged in plastic pails and have a 49-day shelf-life.

Salmonella strikes down wedding guests in Georgia

All 100 guests at a wedding in the Georgian Batumi were sickened with Salmonella as reported by the TV channel Rustavi 2.

It is reported that all the injured were taken to a local hospital.

It is noted that the cause of poisoning are the bacteria Salmonella, it is not reported exactly which dish they could be.

Director of the Center for public health of Adjara Nino Nizharadze said that the bacteria Salmonella could be a cream cake, if temperature for storage of dairy products broke.

At the same time in the food Agency of the country declare that when the experts of the Agency came to the restaurant, where the wedding, the food was gone.

As previously reported “FACTS” in the Russian Federation the staff of the Mariinsky theatre poisoned chicken liver with Salmonella.

Maybe don’t get turkey from a pizza joint

The Daily Tribune News reports that preliminary laboratory findings by the Georgia Department of Public Health have identified the food source responsible for the salmonella outbreak at last month’s catered Thanksgiving meal for Toyo Tire employees.

According to Georgia Department of Public Health spokesperson Logan Boss, preliminary findings implicate catered turkeys served by Angelo’s New York Style Pizza & Bistro.

Boss added the laboratory investigation is ongoing.

Five people were hospitalized and more than 70 were treated at area medical facilities in connection with the salmonella outbreak at the catered meal on Nov. 14-15.

Angelo’s New York Style Pizza & Bistro reopened last week after the restaurant was reinspected and received a perfect score.

$11.2M settlement: ConAgra finalizes deal in tainted peanut butter case

Russ Bynum of Federal News Radio reports that in November 2006, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and state health officials began investigating an outbreak of salmonella infections ultimately blamed for sickening at least 625 people in 47 states and killing nine.

peanut-butter-peter-panInvestigators traced the salmonella to jars of Peter Pan and Great Value brand peanut butter produced in Sylvester, Georgia.

ConAgra officials blamed moisture from a leaky roof and a malfunctioning sprinkler system at the Georgia plant for helping salmonella bacteria grow on raw peanuts.

ConAgra launched a huge recall in February 2007, destroying and urging consumers to throw out all of its peanut butter produced since 2004.

Peter Pan peanut butter vanished from store shelves for months. Meanwhile, ConAgra spent $275 million on upgrades at the Georgia plant and adopted new testing procedures to screen peanut butter for contaminants.

Six months later, in August 2007, ConAgra announced it was ready for Peter Pan to return to supermarkets.

Today, ConAgra faces a court hearing to finalize an $11.2 million settlement — including the largest criminal fine ever in a U.S. food safety case — to resolve federal charges in a salmonella outbreak that sickened hundreds who ate tainted Peter Pan peanut butter.

A federal criminal investigation followed the outbreak. More than eight years after the Peter Pan recall, in May 2015, the Justice Department announced charges and a pre-arranged plea deal with ConAgra.

The agreement called for ConAgra Grocery Products Company, a ConAgra subsidiary, to plead guilty to a single misdemeanor charge of shipping adulterated food. No charges were brought against executives of ConAgra, which was based in Omaha, Nebraska, at the time but has since moved its headquarters to Chicago.

ConAgra issued a statement saying the company didn’t know its peanut butter was contaminated with salmonella before it was shipped. However, the plea agreement documents note that ConAgra knew peanut butter made in Georgia had twice tested positive for salmonella in 2004. Prosecutors said the company destroyed the tainted peanut butter and identified likely sources of contamination, but ConAgra had not finished fixing those problems by the time of the 2007 outbreak.

Hillary bus craps in Georgia

A Democratic National Committee bus emblazoned with Hillary Clinton insignia spewed raw sewage and human feces all over the road after the bus inexplicably stopped in front of an auto parts store in Lawrenceville, Georgia and literally let it rip. A hazmat team soon declared the scene a biohazard.

hillary-bus-sewag“I’m sitting here in my store, and I look out the window, and I see this RV turn up,” Mike Robins, manager of O’Reilly Autoparts, tells Heat Street. “It says ‘Hillary and Kaine,’ has their pictures on the side. I was going to go out and take a picture when a guy got out of the bus, walked midway, pushed a lever, and right before I knew it, they were dumping all their raw sewage.”

Robins says he watched aghast—and then started snapping photos. “It was just right there, side of the street, dumping,” he says. “They just turned that lever and let it rip.”

 Robins tried to call the health department. They didn’t answer, so he called a friend in the police department, who promptly alerted others in the city. Before long, the fire department and a hazmat team arrived.

Authorities considered it a biohazard, Robins says, and they couldn’t spray it down the storm drain, so they swept it up in red bags. Police reported a pile of waste, toilet paper and a foul smell, WBS-TV Atlanta reported.

“I just can’t believe they did that,” Robin says. “Anybody. You just can’t believe anyone would do that. You see it in a comedy movie in TV, but you don’t think you’d see anyone do that in real life. … It’s not like they don’t have enough money to go to the reclaim basin, hook up and dispose of it properly. One of my customers said, ‘Well, she’s been crapping on us all these years, what are you surprised with?’”

In a statement to local press, the DNC called the incident “an honest mistake,” apologizing and vowing to work with state and local authorities to fix any problems.

Why a Kiwi café in Georgia? Sausage-wielding protesters attack patrons at vegan café

This is about Georgia the country, not Georgia, the U.S. state.

Georgia, a proud nation in the Caucasus that went to war with Russia in 2008, is no stranger to conflict. But a weekend assault by sausage-wielding attackers at a vegan cafe in central Tbilisi is fanning concerns that a simmering culture war could be intensifying.

kiwi.cafe.georgiaThe attack began Sunday evening at the bohemian Kiwi Cafe a popular spot for foreigners and Georgians alike – when, witnesses say, more than a dozen men carrying slabs of meat on skewers suddenly showed up and began pelting patrons with grilled meat, sausages and fish.

Witnesses writing on social media said that customers at the cafe, who were watching an animated science fiction sitcom called Rick and Morty, felt intimidated by the men, who refused to leave. The cafe referred to the attackers, some of whom wore sausages around their necks, as anti-vegan “extremists.”

“A group of people who prepared an anti-vegan provocative action, entered and started to be violent,” said a post on the cafe’s Facebook page. “They pulled out some grilled meat, sausages, fish and started eating them and throwing them at us, and finally they started to smoke.” It added, “They were just trying to provoke our friends and disrespect us.”

The cafe said that it called police, but that the assailants fled and no one was arrested.

Who is behind the attacks remains unclear, and analysts cautioned it was too early to say whether the incident was a violent prank, a revolt against veganism or part of a nationalist attack against the freewheeling Western liberal values epitomised by the cafe.

But the cafe said in a statement that the same group of men had come to the neighbourhood last month at night and asked a “friend in the next shop” if members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender community hung out at the cafe.

That has led some analysts to suggest that the attack should be seen against the backdrop of a continuing cultural battle as the country, a former Soviet republic long pulled between East and West, seeks to draw closer to the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, even as some conservative forces push back at perceived encroaching liberalism.

EU provides millions to enhance food safety in Georgia

I can’t figure why the EU has such an interest in Georgia’s food safety. Why not Montana? Or Rhode Island? Or Oklahoma.

I know some good folks at the Georgia Dept of Ag. And UGA is there.

Oh, it’s a different Georgia. The one that’s a country in Europe at the intersection of Eastern Europe and West Asia.

Georgia will receive €50 million from the European Union to improve national food safety standards.

A special agreement will be signed today in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi that outlines the start of the second phase of cooperation to establish food safety standards in Georgia.

The cooperation launched under the EU-funded European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD), which promotes agriculture and rural development policies and reforms to stimulate employment and improve the living conditions of Georgia’s rural population.

The main goal of the cooperation was to improve food safety and quality standards in Georgia, and improve the ways these standards and monitored and controlled.

The first phase included reforming and strengthening Governmental structures and building the capacity and capabilities of small farmers in Georgia to reduce poverty in Georgia’s rural areas.

From the joint cooperation between ENPARD and the Government, about 1,000 cooperatives were established and registered in Georgia and 52 consultation centres were created around the country to improve farmers’ access to agricultural information.

Cyclospora in cilantro: Again and again and again

Thomas Burke, a Kansas boy pursuing his Masters in Public Health at Emory University, with an emphasis in epidemiology, writes that Cyclospora-laden cilantro from the State of Puebla in Mexico had already sickened large parts of the U.S. in the summers of 2013 and 2014. Unfortunately, the summer of 2015 repeated the same pattern: a large, multi-state outbreak dispersed across the nation.

cilantro.slugs.powell.10The Georgia Food and Feed Rapid Response Team (GaRRT) activated in July 2015 to counter this threat to food safety. In any outbreak investigation, three of the most important pieces of evidence are place, time and the means of exposure to the suspected pathogen (the disease-causing bug). During this investigation, GaRRT members worked together through a combination of surveillance, fact-finding detective work, interstate communications and international collaboration in both public health interventions and policy changes.

Like many detective stories, the Cyclospora outbreak began with a phone call; complaints of gastrointestinal distress reached the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). As with any positive Cyclospora case, these complaints were reported due to Cyclospora being a reportable pathogen, or one of “the usual suspects” for severe or rare outbreaks. Cyclospora has the distinction of being the only parasite on Georgia’s list.

Epidemiologists at DPH noted the uptick in Cyclospora cases, which were clusters confined to particular localities across the state. From the epidemiologic evidence, DPH determined the connection — certain restaurants were the common denominator to those found ill with Cyclospora. It became clear at this point that the investigation would span other agencies, because of the many possible leads and evidence involved.

Though DPH is traditionally the lead agency to investigate restaurant outbreaks, the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) routinely works in conjunction by tracing ingredients used in restaurants. Among GDA’s responsibilities are inspecting retail and wholesale food establishments as well as food manufacturers. Since fieldwork members represent both GDA and DPH on the GaRRT, it was easy to bring together the 2 agencies during this investigation, to share the work and combine resources.

Because of the previous 2 outbreaks of Cyclospora, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asked regulatory agencies across the country to pay particular attention to the origin and distribution of cilantro in the investigation. In 2013 and 2014, cilantro from the State of Puebla, Mexico had been implicated in multi-state outbreaks of Cyclospora, making cilantro the chief suspect in the investigation.

Once the details began to crystalize, the GaRRT officially activated to coordinate federal, state and local entities pertaining to the outbreak. As the epidemiologic evidence from Georgia and Texas (among other states) was assembled, the chase to trace the cilantro started. DPH interviews with restaurant owners and staff directed investigators towards the restaurants’ wholesale suppliers who purchase, store and ship ingredients to restaurants and other food establishments. These interviews led the investigation team down the trucking route to Texas.

Teaming up with officials at the Texas Rapid Response Team, the GaRRT ascertained ports of entry for the cilantro under investigation: Hidalgo and McAllen, Texas. Thanks to this discovery, the team found the cilantro originated from the State of Puebla in Mexico, the same state that produced cilantro contaminated by Cyclospora in the summers of 2013 and 2014.

Because of continuing problems with this region, Mexican and U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) authorities collaborated to address the conditions that allowed for another Cyclospora outbreak. Enhancing fresh cilantro safety was the priority during and after the outbreak. The safety mechanisms incorporated a system for risk reduction — including export controls — for cilantro from the State of Puebla.

Correspondingly, on July 27, 2015, the FDA (a member organization of the GaRRT) implemented a supportive framework of import controls to detain without physical examination shipments of fresh cilantro from Puebla from April through August, 2015. This control framework will continue to be implemented for the same time period in future years.

Shipments of fresh cilantro from other states in Mexico were cleared for importation into the U.S. during this timeframe last summer, but only if documentation demonstrated the cilantro was harvested outside of Puebla. Additionally, the FDA and Mexican public health agencies worked collaboratively to prepare a “Green List” of companies not implicated in the outbreak that are known and documented to be safe in Puebla, whose shipments of fresh cilantro were not detained.

When the outbreak concluded, Cyclospora illnesses attributed to cilantro affected 546 persons in 31 states. Georgia had the third highest case count with 26 documented illnesses. Through the GaRRT, our state also had the distinction of identifying clusters and investigating leads that ultimately helped solve questions presented by the outbreak. 

No thanks: Parasite destruction proof needed for sushi

The source of raw tuna and salmon being served at Enos Sushi in Forsyth County couldn’t be verified when a Forsyth County, Georgia, health inspector made a recent routine inspection.

sushi-largeThe fish was not in the original packaging and parasite destruction documentation was not available either, the inspector said. Points were taken off because food safety could not be determined, and the fish would be served raw in sushi.

Enos Sushi, 3630 Peachtree Parkway, Suwanee, received a failing score of 34/U. The restaurant also failed a routine inspection in August with a 62/U, then improved to 88/B on the follow-up inspection.

Listeria in cantaloupes triggers recall at Georgia store

BI-LO, LLC, today announced an immediate recall for one BI-LO store in Glennville, GA (#5744) for fresh products containing cantaloupe, because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

list.cantaloupe.mar.16The address of the affected store is:
Store #5744
312 S. Veterans Blvd. 
Glennville, GA 30427

No other BI-LO stores are affected by this recall.

The recall is in response to a positive test of Listeria monocytogenes from a sample taken by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, from a medium-sized container of cantaloupe chunks, as communicated to BI-LO on Feb. 29, 2016.

The product is marked on the scale label as “BI-LO Cantaloupe Chunks Medium,” in medium plastic bowls with a lid, and had a sell-by date of 2/24/16.

Out of an abundance of caution, all BI-LO brand products containing fresh cantaloupe with a sell-by date of 2/24/16, are also being recalled at this store as follows:

Cantaloupe Chunks (sizes medium and large) in plastic bowl with lid

Cantaloupe Halves in Styrofoam trays wrapped in clear plastic

Cantaloupe Slices in Styrofoam trays wrapped in clear plastic

Mixed Melon Chunks (sizes medium and large) in plastic bowl with lid

Mixed Fruit Bowl (sizes medium and large) in plastic bowl with lid

Fruit Tray Cantaloupe in plastic tray with lid