We’ve got a match and 164 are sick: Happy Thanksgiving Jennie-O turkey store sales, LLC recalls raw ground turkey products due to possible Salmonella Reading contamination

FSIS and our public health partners, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state public health officials, are investigating a Salmonella Reading outbreak. Please note that FSIS is continuing to investigate illnesses associated with this widespread outbreak, and additional product from other companies may also be recalled. Salmonella is prevalent and can be present in raw poultry and meat – no raw poultry or meat is sterile. In addition to discarding the product associated with this recall, consumers can protect themselves now and in the future by always cooking their turkey, and other poultry products thoroughly, to a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees, as measured using a food thermometer. The cooking process kills the Salmonella. No one should be eating partially cooked or raw turkey. Additionally, it is essential that people wash their hands after handling raw poultry, meat, and pet food to avoid cross contamination.

Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales, LLC, a Barron, Wis. establishment, is recalling approximately 91,388 pounds of raw ground turkey products that may be associated with an illness outbreak of Salmonella Reading, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The raw ground turkey products items were produced on September 11, 2018. The following products are subject to recall: [View Labels (PDF only)]

1-lb. packages of “Jennie-O ground turkey 93% lean | 7% fat” with “Use by” dates of 10/01/2018 and 10/02/2018.

1-lb. packages of “Jennie-O Taco Seasoned Ground Turkey” with a “Use by” date of 10/02/2018.

1-lb. packages of “Jennie-O Ground Turkey 85% Lean | 15% Fat” with a “Use by” date of 10/02/2018.

1-lb. packages of “Jennie-O Italian Seasoned Ground Turkey” with a “Use by” date of 10/02/2018.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “P-190” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to retail locations nationwide.                                

FSIS, and its public health partners, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Arizona Department of Health Services, have been conducting traceback activities for a sample of Jennie-O brand ground turkey in an intact, unopened package from a case-patient’s home. The patient tested positive for Salmonella Reading and the sample from the ground turkey matches the outbreak strain.  

FSIS, the CDC, and state public health and agriculture partners, have been working together on an illness cluster involving 164 case-patients in 35 states. Patients have reported eating different types and brands of turkey products purchased from many different stores, handling raw turkey pet food and/or raw turkey, or working with live turkeys or living with someone who handled live turkeys. FSIS continues to work with the CDC and state health departments on this investigation and will provide updated information as it becomes available. Based on the continuing investigation, additional product from other companies may also be recalled.

Ya can’t stop what’s coming: E. coli happens in France too

Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli serogroup O80, involved in hemolytic uremic syndrome associated with extraintestinal infections, has emerged in France. We obtained circularized sequences of the O80 strain RDEx444, responsible for hemolytic uremic syndrome with bacteremia, and noncircularized sequences of 35 O80 E. coli isolated from humans and animals in Europe with or without Shiga toxin genes.

RDEx444 harbored a mosaic plasmid, pR444_A, combining extraintestinal virulence determinants and a multidrug resistance–encoding island. All strains belonged to clonal complex 165, which is distantly related to other major enterohemorrhagic E. coli lineages. All stx-positive strains contained eae-ξ, ehxA, and genes characteristic of pR444_A.

Among stx-negative strains, 1 produced extended-spectrum β-lactamase, 1 harbored the colistin-resistance gene mcr1, and 2 possessed genes characteristic of enteropathogenic and pyelonephritis E. coli. Because O80–clonal complex 165 strains can integrate intestinal and extraintestinal virulence factors in combination with diverse drug-resistance genes, they constitute dangerous and versatile multidrug-resistant pathogens.

Emerging Multidrug-Resistant Hybrid Pathotype Shiga Toxin–Producing Escherichia coli O80 and Related Strains of Clonal Complex 165, Europe

Cointe A, Birgy A, Mariani-Kurkdjian P, Liguori S, Courroux C, Blanco J, et al. Emerging multidrug-resistant hybrid pathotype Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli O80 and related strains of clonal complex 165, Europe. Emerg Infect Dis. 2018 Dec [date cited]. https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2412.180272

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/24/12/18-0272_article

German man sentenced to over 12 years in jail for baby food poisoning

A man who contaminated baby food in Germany has been sent to jail for 12-and-a-half years.

Gavin Grey of Eyewitness News reports the 54-year-old had attempted to blackmail retailers by claiming he would point out the poisoned items in return for cash.

He targeted shops in a southern German city.

In court, he admitted placing poisoned jars of adult and baby food in supermarkets and trying to blackmail the owners.

The contaminated jars contained ethylene glycol which is an odourless and toxic liquid used in antifreeze.

Prosecutors said some of the foods contained enough of the poison to kill a child and he was found guilty of five counts of attempted murder.

He was also found guilty of extortion, sending threatening emails to the stores demanding R200 million.

The court heard it was a matter of luck no child had been hurt.

135 sickened: Kelloggs returning Honey Smacks to shelves after Salmonella recall

Colin Kellaher of The Wall Street Journal reports that Kellogg Co.’s Honey Smacks cereal will begin returning to U.S. shelves next month in limited quantities following a nationwide recall over salmonella concerns.

Maybe the company now knows who makes the Honey Smacks.

The Battle Creek, Mich., cereal maker recalled more than 11 million boxes of Honey Smacks over the summer after a salmonella outbreak linked to a factory that produced the cereal sickened 135 people in 36 states. No deaths were reported in connection with the salmonella outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in September, and illnesses were reported between March and August.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in a July letter that it found “serious violations” following an inspection of a Gridley, Ill., plant. The agency said the factory, owned by Wisconsin-based Kerry Inc., maintained unsanitary conditions and failed to comply with rules meant to prevent foodborne illnesses. A spokesman for Kerry told The Wall Street Journal in September that as a result of the FDA’s investigation, it has worked to improve sanitation and enhanced employee training among other changes.

Kellogg said cereal production for the Honey Smacks relaunch has been moved to a “trusted and tested” company-owned facility. The company also said it has updated its recipe for the cereal, using simpler ingredients. Boxes of the cereal will be labeled with “New Recipe” in the top left corner.

On Sept. 28, 2018, the Food and Drug Administration wrote the Centers for Disease Control, along with state and local officials investigated a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Mbandaka infections linked to Kellogg’s Honey Smacks sweetened puffed wheat cereal. The FDA worked with Kellogg’s to voluntarily recall Honey Smacks from the market and conducted an inspection at the manufacturing facility owned by Kerry, Inc., resulting in a warning letter identifying specific problems at the facility.

A short guide to food thermometers

Chapman still owes me food thermometers.

He says he’ll send them, he says he’ll come to Australia, but nothing.

And he’s supposed to be the co-author on my next book.

It’s so hard to get good help.

But I’ve recruited the best of the past and we’ll get something done if my brain hangs together.

Barbara Gordon of At Right writes that you can’t tell if a food is safely cooked by sight, smell or even taste. A food thermometer is the only way to ensure food is cooked to the proper temperature and harmful bacteria are eliminated.

(Tell that to the British Food Safety Agency and their piping hot directive).

A food thermometer is not needed just for meat and poultry. A safe minimum internal temperature must be reached to avoid food poisoning in all cooked foods. The “danger zone” for perishable foods is between 40° and 140° Fahrenheit. Perishable foods are no longer safe to eat if they have been in this danger zone for more than two hours (one hour in 90° Fahrenheit or above). A food thermometer also is needed after food is cooked to ensure the temperature doesn’t fall into the danger zone. This is especially important for buffet and potluck-style gatherings.

Do you really have to wash your hands every time you use the bathroom? The definitive answer, according to Schaffner

Following on all things Schaffner, a professor of food science at Rutgers, who has been studying hand washing for years and says the conventional wisdom shouldn’t be ignored.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re peeing or you’re pooping, you should wash your hands,” he told Business Insider.

Here’s why.

Germs can hang out in bathrooms for a long time

Each trip to the restroom is its own unique journey into germ land. So some occasions probably require more washing up than others.

“If you’ve got diarrhea all over your hands, it’s way more important that you wash your hands than if… you didn’t get any obvious poop on your fingers,” Schaffner said. “My gosh, if you’ve got poop on your hands and you have the time, certainly, get in there, lather up real good and do a real good job.”

Compared to feces, urine can be pretty clean when we’re not harboring any infections, though it’s not totally sterile.

“People who use urinals probably think they don’t need to wash their hands,” Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, said to the New York Times. (In studies, women tend to be better about adhering to hand washing than men.)

But it’s best to wash your hands after every trip to the toilet because human feces carry pathogens like E. coli, Shigella, Streptococcus, hepatitis A and E, and more.

You can also easily catch norovirus by touching bathroom surfaces that have been contaminated with a sick person’s poo or vomit, then putting your hands into your mouth. The super-contagious illness is the most common food poisoning culprit, and causes diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain.

wide variety of other microbes and bacteria can be found in bathrooms, too. Some strains of Staphylococcus, or staph, are “found on almost every hand,” as a team of hand washing researchers pointed out in a 2004 study. Public toilets can house many different drug-resistant strains of that bacteria.

“I think a good general rule of thumb is you should wash your hands any time you feel that they might be dirty,” Schaffner said. In other words, seize the opportunity when you’re near a sink.

He said he’s not “super paranoid” about making sure his own hands are always squeaky clean, but some of his favorite times of day to wash up are after walking the dog, working in the dirt, or handling raw meat.

Even a quick “splash ‘n dash,” as researchers like to call the practice of rinsing with water but no soap, can help fight off some bacteria that causes infections. But that shortcut is not advised if you might have raw meat or feces on your mitts, and a lather with soap and water is more effective at disinfecting hands than any wipe or sanitizer.

Here are Schaffner’s best tips for your next journey to the toilet

Follow this simple, three-step hand-washing plan to lower your chances of getting colds, self-inflicted food poisoning, and diarrhea.

First, don’t worry about the temperature of the water; Schaffner’s studies have confirmed that doesn’t make a difference. He suggests that you “adjust the water temperature so it’s a nice comfortable temperature, so you can do a good job.”

Second, give yourself enough time to “get some soap in there, lather it up real good, clean under your finger nails,” Schaffner said. Spending even five seconds washing your hands can help reduce the amount of bacteria on them, but 20 seconds is better. The Centers for Disease Control recommends humming the Happy Birthday song to yourself twice as a timer.

Third, dry off before you leave the room. This step is key because wet hands transfer more bacteria than dry ones.

“If your hands are still wet, you go to touch that door of the bathroom, having your wet hand might actually help transfer bacteria,” Schaffner said. He’ll even dry his palms on his pants if there’s no paper towel around.

Despite all the evidence demonstrating the health benefits of regular hand washing, Schaffner knows his advice can only go so far.

“I’m not in charge of you washing your hands, just because I’m a guy who did some science and did some research on hand-washing,” he said. “You do what you want.”

Well said.

We ain’t preachers, just provide evidence-based advice.

Got me a job at Kansas State University, got me dismissed.

Science or scapegoat’? E. coli outbreak leaves Tennessee: day care owners worried

In May 2018, five children at Pam Walker’s day care in Tenn. were stricken with E. coli O157.

Kristi L Nelson of Knox News reports that science, public health officials said, sleuthed out the source of the E. coli infection: a goat farm across the road.

But for Walker, there’s been no closure — and she may never get the answers to exactly how a microorganism turned her dream of a bucolic child care center in a farm setting to a weeks-long nightmare.

Meanwhile, the health department was already investigating an E. coli outbreak among 10 children who’d consumed raw milk from a nearby dairy, French Broad Farms. Because it would be so unusual for two different E. coli O157 outbreaks to occur in the same area simultaneously, the health department, in the course of extensive interviews, looked for a link between Kids Place and the dairy. Did any children at the day care drink raw milk? Socialize or swim with anyone in the other group of infected children? Did any person or animal go back and forth between the dairy and the day care? The answers, they found, were no.

“Finding a bacteria that is microscopic, not visible to the naked eye, is really, really challenging,” said health department Director Dr. Martha Buchanan. “You have got to get the right sample at the right spot. And environmental cleaning did happen — the environment had changed when they went back” to sample.

With the positive culture from goat feces, the health department’s investigators determined that bacteria from the goats had somehow gotten into the baby house — and probably would have been present there before cleaning. When the specimens were sent back to the Tennessee Department of Health for DNA comparison with stool samples from the sick children, the DNA “fingerprint” from the goat samples and the Kids Place children were an exact match — but different from the DNA “fingerprint” of the cow feces from the dairy and the children who’d consumed raw milk, which matched each other. That meant, though unusual, that Knox County had two separate E. coli outbreaks in young children happening at the same time.

Finding it in goat feces, however, wasn’t a surprise. Goats, cows, sheep and other “ruminant” animals — animals that have a multichambered stomach and regurgitate and rechew food before digesting it — often carry E. coli in their digestive tracts. They can carry the bacteria, and shed it through their feces, but it typically doesn’t make them sick.

“Given that some of these illnesses have been linked to the goats at your facility, I recommend you no longer keep goats or other ruminant animals on your property, or that those who interact with the goats do not have contact with the children in your care,” Buchanan told Walker in a July 6 letter.

After the outbreak, Walker gave the goat herd to a friend. But the week after the health department informed her of the test results, she and her husband contacted the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine to have the goats tested again for E. coli. Dr. Marc Caldwell, assistant professor in large animal clinical sciences, remembers the test being requested merely to see if the goats were healthy, but Steve Walker said he wanted to see if this second test also would find a DNA fingerprint match between his goats and the children’s stool samples.

Techs from UTVM swabbed the goats themselves for fecal samples, rather than collecting feces from the ground as the health department did, and sent them to the Nebraska lab for culture. None of the goats tested positive for E. coli, but both herd dogs — also swabbed — did, while the health department’s dog feces samples were negative. It’s unusual, but possible, for dogs to carry E. coli, Caldwell said.

Caldwell said the test doesn’t prove the animals didn’t have E. coli O157 when the health department tested the feces. In fact, it doesn’t prove they didn’t have it that week, since the amount of bacteria shed from an infected animal can depend on heat, stress and other factors, and a certain amount has to be present for the antigen test — which is what the lab used — to show positive.

Salmonella cases double in Denmark

Ben Hamilton of CPH Post reports there were twice as many salmonella outbreaks in Denmark in 2017 than in the previous year.

In total, there were 25 outbreaks, and 1,067 people became ill as a result.

The increase is partly blamed on improved ways of detecting outbreaks. ‘Whole genome sequencing’, for example, makes it easier to detect the same source of infection.

“We hope it can lead to a decline in salmonella cases in the long term,” noted Luise Müller, an epidemiologist at Statens Serum Institut.

“It should enable us to become better at deducing why some foods are more likely to make people sicker than others.”

Danish-produced pork was the biggest culprit, while there were no cases sourced to chicken.

Foodborne outbreaks in general are increasing. In 2017, there were 63, up from 49 in the previous year.

The biggest culprit is campylobacter, a bacterium that made 4,257 people ill in 2017.

Lettuce is overrated: STEC in Finland

Escherichia coli are Gram-negative rod-shaped bacteria and part of the normal bacterial flora in the gastrointestinal tract, while diarrhoeagenic E. colipathotypes such as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) and enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) are able to cause gastrointestinal infections [1]. STEC can lead to a severe disease, such as haemolytic-uraemic syndrome (HUS) [2]. The risk of HUS has been related especially to children under 5 years and to elderly people. HUS is characterised by acute onset of microangiopathic haemolytic anaemia, renal injury and low platelet count.

More than 400 STEC serotypes have been recognised, of which the best-known serotype is O157:H7 [1]. The most common non-O157:H7 serotypes causing human infections are O26, O103, O111 and O145 [3]. The virulence of STEC is largely based on the production of Shiga toxin 1 or 2 and is identified by detecting the presence of stx1 or stx2 genes [1,4]. The virulence of EPEC is caused by its capability to form attaching and effacing (A/E) lesions in the small intestine. This capability requires the presence of virulence genes called the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) in a pathogenity island (PAI) that encodes intimin [4]. Unlike STEC, EPEC do not produce Shiga toxin. EPEC are divided into two distinct groups by the presence of EPEC adherence factor plasmid (pEAF) expressing bundle-forming pili (BFP), which is a virulence determinant of typical EPEC (tEPEC) [5]. Thus atypical EPEC (aEPEC) are defined as E. coli that produce A/E lesions but do not express BFP. Typical EPEC are best known as a cause of infantile diarrhoea, especially in developing countries [6]. Diarrhoea-causing aEPEC have been shown to be separate group without a close relation to tEPEC, but some serotypes are genetically related to STEC [5]. The pathogenity of aEPEC has been questioned but their involvement with diarrhoeal outbreaks supports the idea that certain strains are diarrhoeagenic [1,7].

Both STEC and EPEC are transmitted through the faecal-oral route, and outbreaks caused by STEC and aEPEC have been described after ingestion of contaminated food or water [7,8]. STEC is common in ruminants and can be found in foods contaminated by ruminant faeces [9]. Most studies on STEC have focused on the serotype O157:H7, but infections and outbreaks caused by non-O157 strains are increasingly reported in Europe and elsewhere [1013]. Atypical EPEC strains are found in animals used for food production, such as cattle, sheep, goat, pig and poultry, in contrast to tEPEC that has been found only in humans [1,14].

Since 1995, clinicians and clinical microbiology laboratories have been obliged to report culture-confirmed STEC infections to the Finnish Infectious Disease Registry (FIDR) maintained by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) in Finland. EPEC infections are not reportable. Since PCR instead of culture became the standard for screening of diarrhoeal patients in 2013, the incidence of reported STEC infections has increased in Finland to 1.2–1.8 per 100,000 population between 2013 and 2015 compared with 0.2–0.6 per 100,000 between 2000 and 2012. From 1997 to 2015, six food- or waterborne STEC outbreaks were detected in Finland (Table 1).

Outbreak of multiple strains of non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing and enteropathogenic Escherichia coli associated with rocket salad, Finland, autumn 2016

15.may.18

Eurosurvelliance, Volume 23, Issue 35, https://doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2018.23.35.1700666

Sohvi KinnulaKaisa HemminkiHannele KotilainenEeva RuotsalainenEveliina Tarkka,Saara SalmenlinnaSaija HallanvuoElina LeinonenOllgren JukkaRuska Rimhanen-Finne

https://www.eurosurveillance.org/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2018.23.35.170066

69 sick from Salmonella linked to tomatoes at Kansas church dinner

Marcus Clem Atchinson of News Press Now reported a month ago that contaminated tomatoes were responsible for nearly 70 confirmed cases of gastrointestinal illness that caused several hospitalizations last month affecting attendees of a church dinner in Highland, Kansas.

Theresa Freed, deputy secretary of public affairs for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said investigators tested each dinner item served as part of an Indian taco feast on Aug. 7 at the First United Methodist Presbyterian Church in Highland after the salmonella outbreak became known. They have now ruled out every food item except tomatoes, Freed said.

“Testing of food that was served at the dinner has been completed and all tested negative for salmonella except for a sample of tomatoes that tested positive for the same strain of Salmonella Newport,” Freed said, referencing one of the common strains of the pathogen.

No follow up to date.