Oh no, not the nuts: Listeria found in Superfood Smoothie Kits

From a company announcement (and stop with the super foods BS; food is food):

Blendtopia Products, LLC is voluntarily recalling 29,078 cases of 7 ounce frozen Blendtopia brand Superfood Smoothie Kits because of potential contamination with Listeria monocytogenes.

The smoothie blends affected include: Blendtopia brand “Glow”, “Detox”, “Energy”, “Immunity” and “Strength” Superfood Smoothie Kits. The impacted product is labeled as “Best By July 2021, Best By Oct 2021, and Best By Nov 2021”. Product was distributed nationwide and is sold at select retailers and through online sales.

The company discovered the issue through its quality control processes. The issue is believed to be isolated to a supplied ingredient. The products are being voluntarily recalled as a precaution, with the health and safety of consumers as top priority and in full cooperation with the FDA. There have been no reports of sickness or illness to date associated with any consumption of products related to this recall.

“Food safety is our highest priority, and we’re committed to assuring consumers can have full confidence in our products,” said Tiffany Taylor, founder of Blendtopia.

Uh huh.

UK coroner blasts health bosses for ‘inexcusable delays’ in reporting listeria outbreak after grandmother, 81, died from eating infected chicken mayonnaise sandwich in NHS hospital

The headline sorta sums things up.

A coroner has slammed health officials for ‘inexcusable delays’ in reporting a nationwide listeria outbreak after a ‘much-loved’ grandmother died from eating an infected chicken mayonnaise sandwich while in hospital.

Alexander Robertson of the Daily Mail reports that Brenda Elmer’s family thought the 81-year-old was simply recovering from a recent operation, rather than battling the potentially life-threatening bacteria.

A coroner branded delays in reporting some listeria cases as ‘inexcusable’ and said it hindered the national response to last year’s outbreak of the infection.

An information ‘black hole’ also meant that warnings over the outbreak were delayed in reaching Mrs Elmer’s family, senior coroner Penelope Schofield said.

Mrs Elmer is one of five people thought to have died in last year’s national listeria scandal, linked to sandwiches that had been supplied to 43 NHS trusts.

It prompted a ‘root and branch’ review of hospital food in the UK by Public Health England.

But was the suspect mayo made from from eggs – a chef’s favorite but a public health nightmare – the story doesn’t say. And it was just as likely to be the meat rather than the mayo if the mayo was commercially prepared.

UK jurnos, I’ve given you some ledes, go find out.

Always question authority.

3 dead, one miscarriage, Listeria, ready-to-eat products, EU, 2017-2019

The European Centers for Disease Control reports patients had onset of illness between 2017 and August 2019. Three patients have died and one suffered a miscarriage due to the infection. The close genetic relatedness of the strains (≤3 allelic differences), and the temporal distribution of the cases suggest a prolonged, intermittent, common source foodborne outbreak which occurred in at least two EU Member States.

Nine isolates from six sliced ready-to-eat (RTE) meat products, produced between 2017 and 2019 by the Dutch Manufacturing Company A, were found to be contaminated with L. monocytogenes strains matching the outbreak strain (≤3 allelic differences). Although the exact points of contamination have not been identified yet, the results of the investigation suggest that the contamination may have happened at the Dutch Manufacturing Company A, which represents the only common manufacturing point of the contaminated products. The Dutch Manufacturing Company A distributed products to several EU countries as well as to countries outside the EU.

Following the detection in food of L. monocytogenes isolates matching the outbreak strain, and the discovery of the environmental contamination with other L. monocytogenes strains, the Dutch Manufacturing Company A stopped the production in October 2019, and finalised the withdrawals and recalls of all RTE meat products. This measure decreases the risk of new cases occurring possibly associated with products from this company.

Pregnant women, the elderly and immunocompromised people are at higher risk of invasive listeriosis, which is associated with severe clinical course and potential death. Therefore, specific attention should be paid to the administration of RTE meat products to people in hospitals, nursing homes and those belonging to vulnerable population groups.

We’re all hosts on a viral planet, even bacteria

Listeria monocytogenes may persist in food production environments and cause listeriosis. In Norway, a product of concern is the traditional and popular fermented fish product “rakfisk”, which is made from freshwater salmonid fish by mild-salting and brine maturation at low temperatures for several months. It is eaten without any heat treatment, and L. monocytogenes, therefore, poses a potential hazard.

We investigated the effect of salt and temperature on the growth of L. monocytogenes in rakfisk during the 91 days of maturation. The amounts of organic acids produced during fermentation were too low to inhibit growth of L. monocytogenes.

Temperature was clearly the most important parameter for controlling L. monocytogenes. At 7 °C, approximately 2 log growth was observed during the first 14 days of fermentation, and the level of L. monocytogenes thereafter remained constant. At 4 °C, only a little growth potential of the pathogen was recorded. We also investigated the effect of the anti-Listeria bacteriophage P100 on rakfisk with added L. monocytogenes. The phage was introduced to the L. monocytogenes-inoculated fish before fermentation, and an average of 0.9 log reduction was observed throughout the fermentation period.

This is the first study of L. monocytogenes behavior in rakfisk and points to possible measures for increasing the product safety.

Growth behavior of listeria monocytogenes in a traditional Norwegian fermented fish product (rakfisk), and its inhibition through bacteriophage addition

Foods

Lars Axelsson, Guro Alette Bjerke, Anette McLeod, Ingunn Berget and Askild L. Holck

https://www.google.com/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=https://www.mdpi.com/2304-8158/9/2/119/pdf&ct=ga&cd=CAEYASoTMTE1NzcxMjA4OTIyNjc2MTc3NDIaYmM3NzBmMDk3NWY0YjI4ZTpjb206ZW46VVM&usg=AFQjCNFJNVQuk-sddOTM-d7FT6mqcqo94w

White Castle frozen food division announces voluntary recall of a limited production of frozen sandwiches due to Listeria monocytogenes

Any excuse to write about White Castle means I get to recall the great movie, Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle.

I had a hockey friend over for lunch one day, we ate steak and watched Harold and Kumar, and it was one of the best times ever.

White Castle has initiated a voluntary recall of a limited number of frozen 6 pack cheeseburgers, frozen 6 pack hamburgers, frozen 6 pack jalapeno cheeseburgers, and 16 pack hamburgers, 16 pack cheeseburgers for the possible presence of Listeria monocytogenes. 

The voluntary recall will impact product on shelves at select retailers with best by dates ranging from 04 Aug 2020 to 17 Aug 2020. Any product with these dates on shelves is presently being removed. Any product with a best by date before or after these best by dates is not included in the voluntary recall.

To date, public health officials have not reported any illness associated with these products.

“Our number one focus is the safety of our customers and our team members, and as a family owned business, we want to hold ourselves to the absolute highest standards of accountability in all aspects of our business – and especially food safety,” said White Castle Vice President, Jamie Richardson.

Uh huh.

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.

UK: Health inspector warned hospital that listeria would grow on sandwiches in its broken fridges that were 5C too hot just three days before patient

The hospital where a cancer patient was killed by a listeria-infected sandwich was warned its fridges were broken and too hot several days before he died, it was revealed in early November..

Ian Hitchcock, 52, died in June after eating a contaminated meal – a scandal that appears to have claimed the lives of six people in the UK this year.

Today it emerged sandwiches at Royal Derby Hospital, where Mr Hitchcock was receiving cancer treatment, were kept in ‘ineffective’ fridges that warmed the food to above 8C – an offence under 2013 food safety laws.

The problem was found by experts inspecting the kitchen on June 4 and 5 where an environmental health officer said the broken fridges were serving food at illegal temperatures.

A report said the food was a particular risk to anyone with a weakened immune system, such as cancer sufferer Mr Hitchcock.

On June 8 he died after eating one of the pre-packed sandwiches.

Ian Hitchcock, 52, died after eating a pre-packaged sandwich while being treated for cancer at the Royal Derby Hospital last week. His death is being linked to an NHS listeria outbreak which has so far claimed five lives +2

Ian Hitchcock, 52, died after eating a pre-packaged sandwich while being treated for cancer at the Royal Derby Hospital last week. His death is being linked to an NHS listeria outbreak which has so far claimed five lives

In a letter, seen by the BBC, food safety inspector Jayne Hassall said ‘high risk foods’  such as sandwiches were ‘stored outside temperature control due to ineffective refrigerators’.

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.