Salmonella, E. coli O157, Listeria, Campy: 1.9 million foodborne illnesses in US per year

In an ongoing effort to understand sources of foodborne illness in the United States, the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC) collects and analyzes outbreak data to produce an annual report with estimates of foods responsible for foodborne illnesses caused by pathogens. The report estimates the degree to which four pathogens – Salmonella, E. coli O157, Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter – and specific foods and food categories are responsible for foodborne illnesses.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that, together, these four pathogens cause 1.9 million foodborne illnesses in the United States each year. The newest report (PDF), entitled “Foodborne illness source attribution estimates for 2017 for Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157, Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter using multi-year outbreak surveillance data, United States,” can be found on the IFSAC website.

The updated estimates, combined with other data, may help shape agency priorities and inform the creation of targeted interventions that can help to reduce foodborne illnesses caused by these pathogens. As more data become available and methods evolve, attribution estimates may improve. These estimates are intended to inform and engage stakeholders and to improve federal agencies’ abilities to assess whether prevention measures are working.

Foodborne illness source attribution estimates for 2017 for salmonella, Escherichia coli O157, listeria monocytogenes, and campylobacter using multi-year outbreak surveillance data, United States, Sept.2019

CDC, FDA, USDA-FSIS

https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/ifsac/pdf/P19-2017-report-TriAgency-508.pdf?deliveryName=DM10264

For risk modelling nerds: Deli meat

Fun observation: Most people think it’s safer to buy deli meat or cold cuts, fresh at the counter, than the pre-packaged stuff, which is probably safer because it contains antimicrobials (in the U.S.) and doesn’t come into contact with all that slicer shit at the deli counter.

Follow up: What’s the difference between a clean and a deep clean? Phallic hyperbole.

Ready-to-eat (RTE) deli meats sliced at retail are predicted to cause 83% of deli meat-associated listeriosis cases annually. While Listeria monocytogenes is commonly found in delis, environmental prevalence varies by store (0–40%).

A deep clean sanitation standard operating procedure (SSOP) executed by a third-party cleaning service immediately reduced L. monocytogenes prevalence in delis, but reductions were not sustained over time. The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of a L. monocytogenes predictive risk model and a subsequent deep-clean SSOP (deep clean) conducted by store employees and management complemented with training and facilities improvements all aimed to reduce L. monocytogenes prevalence in stores with known high L. monocytogenes prevalence and evidence of persistence.

Fifty delis among six states were screened using a predictive logistic regression model that estimates the probability of high L. monocytogenes prevalence in a deli. The model identified 13 stores with potentially high L. monocytogenes prevalence; seven stores were confirmed and enrolled for further study. Retail employees executed deep clean; additional interventions (e.g., facilities improvements, training) were incorporated in stores. Environmental samples (n = 20) were collected immediately before and after, and for six months post-deep clean. Deep cleans immediately reduced L. monocytogenes prevalence in six of seven stores tested.

A total of 21/138 (15.2%) samples before and 8/139 (5.8%) samples after deep-cleaning were positive for L. monocytogenes, with a marginal 16.0% decrease on non-food-contact surfaces (NFCS) immediately after deep clean (p = 0.0309, αadj = 0.0125) and a marginal 10.8% on NFCS during follow-up (p = 0.0337, αadj = 0.0125). Employee executed deep cleans with training, education, and maintenance programs can reduce environmental L. monocytogenes prevalence in retail delis, a pivotal part of preventing subsequent cross-contamination to RTE deli meats.

Predictive risk models combined with employee-and management-implemented SSOPs identified and reduced listeria monocytogenes prevalence in retail delis

Food Control

Sophie Tongyu Wua1, Susan R.Hammonsa1m Jingjin Wanga, Clara Assisia, Brittany DiPietrob, Haley F.Olivera

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodcont.2019.106942

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956713519305316

Listeria kills three in two years, source traced to Dutch cold meat factory

Three people have died and one woman has had a miscarriage after eating cold meat contaminated with listeria, the public health institute RIVM said last Friday.

top view of round slices of smoked pork loin ham in transparent plastic tray packaging isolated on white background

Dutch News reports all are thought to have become ill after eating meat products from the Offerman company over the past two years, the agency said. In total, at least 20 people have become ill after eating Offerman cold cuts. The company issued a health warning last Friday and Jumbo, which stocks 135 different products from Offerman, ordered an immediate recall. Aldi too has recalled its Offerman products, which were also widely sold to company canteens.

The source of the infection was traced by the RIVM and product safety board NVWA after an analysis of the different types of listeria infection this week. ‘It has only been recently possible to use this technique and without it, we would not have been able to identify the source,’ the RIVM said.

The factory where the bacteria originates is located in Aalsmeer and has been closed pending a thorough clean-up, the AD reported last Friday afternoon. According to broadcaster NOS the NVWA had ordered Offerman to take extra hygiene measures because there were suspicions that something was going wrong. ‘But this would appear not to have done the job,’ a NVWA spokesman told the broadcaster.

Listeria is particularly dangerous to the elderly and pregnant women and can cause miscarriages. Every year about 80 cases of listeria are reported to the RIVM.

Owner of food company responsible for Spain’s worst ever listeriosis outbreak arrested for manslaughter

Eva Saiz of El Pais reports the owners of the food company responsible for the worst-ever listeriosis outbreak in Spain were arrested on Wednesday for manslaughter.

Since August, the outbreak has killed three people, caused seven miscarriages, and infected more than 200 people. The source of the bacterial infection was traced to a Seville-based company called Magrudis, which sold a contaminated pork loin product called carne mechada under the brand name La Mechá. Three more products produced by the company also tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes.

The owners of Magrudis, José Antonio Marín Pince and his two children Sandro and Mario, have been accused, to different degrees, of involuntary manslaughter, crimes against health and causing injury to a fetus.

According to investigators, the three men knew in February that some of their products had been contaminated but did nothing to eliminate the bacteria from their facilities. Instead they continued producing and distributing their products.

“When the crisis broke, we reminded the business by email that one of their samples had been contaminated much earlier. Given that they did nothing, we passed on this information to the courts,” José Antonio Borrás, the owner of the Microal Group laboratory, told EL PAÍS.

The laboratory handed a report to the court in early September, and according to sources close to the investigation, the contents prompted Judge Pilar Ordóñez, who is overseeing the case, to take action on Tuesday.

Neither laboratories nor companies are legally obliged to warn the authorities if a product is found to test positive, but a company does have a duty to adopt measures to correct the problem. Investigators want to find out why the owners of Magrudis did not do this, and why, more importantly they hid the positive test results from health inspectors who visited the factory after the alert was raised. In public appearances, both Marín and his son Sandro claimed that the company had successfully passed all sanitary controls.

Traces of listeria were found in tests carried out on the Magrudis production line, including the oven carts used to transport the meat during the preparation process, and the larding needles used to inject the pork with fat before cooking. The crisis was complicated by the fact that the company’s products had been sold on to another firm and prepared for sale as an own-brand product in a supermarket chain without the proper labelling.

6 dead 20 sick: Listeria traced to Estonia fish factory

Several countries’ studies have suggested that a mutated and very aggressive form of the listeria bacteria is raging in an M.V.Wool fish plant located near Harku, just outside of Tallinn. According to the latest info, 26 people across Europe have already contracted the bacteria, six of whom have died — among them nine people in Estonia, two of whom have died, according to a longer story to air on ETV investigative program Pealtnägija on Wednesday night.

Genetic analysis ordered by the Veterinary and Food Board (VTA) revealed that the aggressive and contagiousST1247 strain of listeria can be traced back to the factory owned by M.V.Wool, Estonia’s largest fish producer. Bacteria from this specific strain have been found both in the plant’s production building as well as from people that have fallen ill.

VTA deputy director general Olev Kalda said that the fish plant is under the watchful eye of inspectors, and each product batch to leave the plant is currently being thoroughly inspected.

“Clearly some fairly innocuous listeria monocytogenes ended up at that business, possibly three or four years ago, but it’s possible that as a result of insufficient [cleaning] measures, this mutation occurred there and it developed into a persister strain, i.e. a strain unique only to that specific place,” Kalda explained.

M.V.Wool factory owner and board chairman Mati Vetevool has categorically denied that the dangerous bacteria came from their factory, pointing the finger instead at Norwegian and Finnish farms from which he claims the bacteria ended up in their plant.

“I absolutely do not agree that this bacteria is our bacteria,” Vetevool said. “It comes in from the fish farm; it hasn’t developed here. We can also end up stuck with a strain originating from a fish farm. Every night, our fish plant is thoroughly washed, and we destroy absolutely all bacteria in the cleaning process. It’s not possible that we are poisoning anyone. Nothing of the sort is possible — this is simply sheer libel.”

According to Kalda, however, Vetevool’s story doesn’t add up.

“The studies show that this specific strain has been found only in products to be produced by this company, it has been found in this company’s environment — i.e. in its production facilities, on its production equipment — but it, as I mentioned, did not enter this company in this form, with this current strain of DNA,” the VTA official said.

UK factory put uncooked sausage in pre-packed sandwiches posing ‘danger to health’

James Cain of The Mirror reports a factory has been ordered to stop making food after it put uncooked sausages into pre-packed sandwiches.

The Middlesbrough-based factory has been told by health authorities it risked causing a listeria outbreak.

Café Class Ltd has been served with a hygiene emergency prohibition order for food safety practices that posed an “immediate danger to human health”.

A court this week heard how the company extended the use-by dates of boiled eggs, cheddar cheese and streaky bacon, putting consumers’ health at risk.

The risk to the public was so severe that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) issued an immediate product recall on sandwiches, wraps and salads made by the company.

Listeria has been in the spotlight this year after six people died after getting listeria from prepackaged sandwiches and salads served in UK hospitals.

In the unrelated case the company, which traded with stores including Londis, Nisa and North East Convenience Stores, faced court as Middlesbrough Council sought an emergency hygiene order to prevent it from making food, reports the Local Demoracy Reporting service for Teesside Live .

Company directors Shahid Nawaz and Mohammed Haris Abdullah arrived at Teesside Magistrates’ Court yesterday to hear Middlesbrough Council lay out the case against their company.

Andrew Perriman, prosecuting for the council , told magistrates that Café Class, based in Riverside Park, was visited by environmental health officers on September 9.

The inspection was arranged “to assess compliance with a hygiene improvement notice served earlier in the year as a result of allergy management concerns”.

But Mr Perriman said the officers were shocked to discover the factory was routinely placing ingredients on their use-by date in sandwiches, wraps and salads which would then be labelled with a four-day use-by date.

“In respect of cooked ham aspect used in the final product, it is specified by the manufacturer to be used within three days once opened,” said Mr Perriman.

But the officers found that once opened, the ham had been placed in a plastic container on September 8 and labelled with a use-by date of September 11.

Mr Perriman said it could be argued that if September 8 is counted as day one, this actually meant the ham was being used for four days.

In any case, the factory would continue to use the ham as an ingredient right up until the final use-by day.

But Mr Perriman added: “It was then placed into a sandwich and given a further four-day use by date.

“Not only that, the packaging on the final product stated ‘once opened consume within 24 hours’.

He said this practice meant cooked ham with a use-by date of September 10 or 11 was actually being used in a product labelled with a use-by date of September 15 or 16.

“As a result, the three-day shelf life is exceeded by a further six days,” he said adding that this was “way past” safe limits.The company’s website says: “We here at Café Class carefully ensure that the standards of Food Agency are met at all times and any waste is disposed of appropriately.

“All our products are fully cooked but we do not send the food waste to landfill sites, thus helping the environment and fulfilling our responsibility towards the society.”

Uh huh.

Australian frozen meals recalled for Listeria

This recall is particularly notable because the meals are distributed to some of the most vulnerable in society.

The NSW Food Authority advises:

The Flagstaff Group Limited T/A Flagstaff Fine Foods is conducting a recall of the products below. The products have been available for sale at Meals on Wheels and community organisations in NSW, ACT, QLD and SA.

Product details:

Chicken Schnitzel with Gravy, 360g, Cardboard container clear film seal, Use By: 17/07/2020, 24/07/2020, 25/07/2020, 05/08/2020, 06/08/2020, 18/08/2020, 13/08/2020, 27/08/2020, 03/09/2020

Lamb Chop, 360g, Cardboard container clear film seal, Use By: 17/02/2020, 18/07/2020, 25/07/2020, 30/07/2020, 06/08/2020, 18/08/2020, 20/08/2020, 22/08/2020, 27/08/2020, 09/09/2020, 12/09/2020

Honey Mustard Beef, 360g, Cardboard container clear film seal, Use By: 28/07/2020, 25/08/2020

Pork in BBQ Sauce, 360g, Cardboard container clear film seal, Use By: 25/07/2020, 18/08/2020

Apricot and Fig Chicken, 360g, Cardboard container clear film seal, Use By: 15/08/2020

Vienna Schnitizel, 360g, Cardboard container clear film seal, Use By: 22/07/2020, 05/08/2020, 18/08/2020, 29/08/2020, 10/09/2020

Pork Apple and Cranberry Casserole, 360g, Cardboard container clear film seal, Use By: 12/08/2020, 01/09/2020

Roast Beef, 360g, Cardboard container clear film seal, Use By: 21/07/2020, 25/07/2020, 01/08/2020, 06/08/2020, 18/08/2020, 22/08/2020, 29/08/2020, 05/09/2020, 12/09/2020

Problem: The recall is due to a potential microbial (Listeria monocytogenes) contamination.

Food safety hazard: Listeria may cause illness in pregnant women and their unborn babies, the elderly and people with low immune systems.

Country of origin: Australia

What to do: Consumers should not consume this product and should return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund. If you are concerned about your health, you should seek medical advice.

For further information please contact:

The Flagstaff Group Limited T/A Flagstaff Fine Foods
Ph. 02 4272 0208
www.flagstaffgroup.com.au

Ignoring the safety: Listeria meat firm in Spain knew its products were infected, months before outbreak

That safety is always going off. We won’t get caught. No one got sick yesterday, so there’s a greater chance no one will get sick today.

These basics of the human psyche continue to undermine tragedies from Bhopal to BP to the Challenger and food safety.

But with all the toys and technology, you’ll be found out – so act accordingly, even if decent humanity is not enough against the directive of profit.

What’s going on in Spain is strikingly similar to what happened in New Zealand in 2012. More about that later.

In Aug. 2019, an outbreak of listeriosis in Spain was detected and reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) on Aug. 16, 2019.
To date, three people have died and more than 200 have been sickened from Listeria linked to chilled roasted pork meat products manufactured in southern Spain by Seville-based Magrudis Company and sold under the brand name La Mechá.

James Warren of EuroWeekly reports today that according to sources from Seville City Council and the Ministry of Health, the Laboratorios Microal sounded the alarm on February 18, 2019 after samples of the shredded meat product were sent to them for evaluation.

Mariano Barroso, the manager of the quality control and research at Microal, said that of the two samples that were submitted, one came back as positive.

A further test to determine the level of contamination was requested by the laboratory but the food manufacturer refused to agree to the tests.

Barrosco went on to clarify that the company did not inform the authorities as “in their line of work it is common to find forms of bacteria. It is the role of the manufacturer to remove the product from its production lines.”

In July 2012, a meat processor, its director and an employee have admitted selling Listeria-contaminated meat to the Hawke’s Bay Hospital in New Zealand and omitting to provide test results showing meat had tested positive.

The Hawke’s Bay District Health Board discovered cold ready to eat meats supplied by the company was contaminated in July 2012, after a number of Listeria cases had been linked to the hospital kitchen.

The outbreak claimed the life of 68-year-old Patricia Hutchinson on June 9 that year, and contributed to the death of an 81-year-old woman on July 9. Two other people were infected.

When the health board discovered a link between the infections and the hospital kitchen it sent 62 unopened plastic pouches of Bay Cuisine meat products to ESR for testing. All the pouches were found to contain Listeria.

A summary of facts complied by the Ministry for Primary Industries said the company had the contract to supply the hospital since 2002.

The summary states that on July 9, 2012 the DHB requested copies of all test results Bay Cuisine had carried out for Listeria. Production manager Christopher Mackie replied by telling the DHB a batch of corned silverside had tested negative for Listeria, when in fact it had tested “presumptive positive”.

The following day an officer from the Ministry, investigating the Listeria cases at the hospital, requested test results. Mackie sent these on July 13 but again omitted reports showing that some products had tested “presumptive positive”.

But analysis of cellphone text messages between MacKie and company director Garth Wise show that on the evening of July 12 Wise had sent a text to Mackie suggesting that he “hold back the presumptive listeria ones [results] as there is only 3 or 4 of them and we just send the good”.

A subsequent search of the Bay Cuisine premises by the Ministry found the company had not provided the original, correct spreadsheet to the Ministry. This spreadsheet showed positive Listeria tests for meat products on June 18 and July 10.

In 2009, the operator of a yakiniku barbecue restaurant chain linked to four deaths and 70 illnesses from E. coli O111 in raw beef in Japan admitted it had not tested raw meat served at its outlets for bacteria, as required by the health ministry.

“We’d never had a positive result [from a bacteria test], not once. So we assumed our meat would always be bacteria-free.”

Same story, varying locales.

Listeria warning after sliced pastrami products affected across South Australia

Emily Olle of 7 News writes an urgent warning has been issued by SA Health after listeria was detected in sliced pastrami purchased from a variety of Foodlands, IGAs, butchers, continental delis, bakeries, cafes and sandwich bars.

South Australians, particularly pregnant women, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, are advised not to consume the pastrami.

SA Health’s Acting Director of Food and Controlled Drugs Branch, Joanne Cammans, said as yet there have been no cases of Listeria infection reported to SA Health linked to the product.

Listeria in Spain: 3 miscarriages, almost 200 sick

Lucy Domachowski of the Daily Star writes that three pregnant women have suffered miscarriages and nearly 200 people hospitalised with listeria as an outbreak of the infection grips Spain’s holiday spots.

A nationwide alert has been sent out after listeria, a bacteria which can cause a type of food poisoning called listeriosis, was suspected in packaged pork.

Two of the miscarriages happened in Seville and the other in Madrid.

One devastated mother lost her baby at 32 weeks, while the others lost their little ones just eight weeks into pregnancy.

Most of the 197 cases have occurred in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia but people have fallen ill across the country, from Madrid to the island of Tenerife.

Spanish authorities have said as many as five pregnant women may have lost their babies to the outbreak, and three people may have died – but stats are yet to be confirmed.