Over the past 5 days, our health care facility in northwest Wisconsin, USA, has seen 3 women hospitalized with E. coli O157 infection. All presented with significant abdominal pain without fever and watery diarrhea which in 2 progressed to bloody diarrhea. None of the 3 have manifested any evidence of hemolytic-uremic syndrome. Both of the women seen by the Infectious Diseases service stated that their diet contains a lot of salads.
At least 61 people in seven Midwestern States have been sickened with Cyclospora possibly linked to salads served at McDonald’s restaurants.
Ashley Nickle of The Packer reports that health authorities in Illinois and Iowa have reported 105 recent cases of cyclosporiasis and have linked some of them to McDonald’s salads.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to voluntarily stop selling salads at impacted restaurants until we can switch to another lettuce blend supplier,” McDonald’s said in a statement. “We are in the process of removing existing salad blends from identified restaurants and distribution centers, which includes approximately 3,000 of our U.S. restaurants, primarily located in the Midwest.”
McDonald’s spokeswoman Terri Hickey said, “McDonald’s is committed to the highest standards of food safety and quality control. We are closely monitoring this situation and cooperating with state and federal public health authorities as they further investigate”
In June, federal agencies investigated cyclosporiasis cases that were linked to Del Monte vegetable trays. More than 225 illnesses have been reported in that outbreak. At this time, no link has been made by health authorities between the outbreak linked to McDonald’s salads and the outbreak linked to Del Monte vegetable trays, which included broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and dip.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are working with the Florida Department of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to support an investigation of a dead bat that was found in a packaged salad purchased from a grocery store in Florida. Two people in Florida reported eating some of the salad before the bat was found. The bat was sent to the CDC rabies lab for laboratory testing because bats in the United States sometimes have been found to have this disease. The deteriorated condition of the bat did not allow for CDC to definitively rule out whether this bat had rabies.
Transmission of rabies by eating a rabid animal is extremely uncommon, and the virus does not survive very long outside of the infected animal. CDC is supporting Florida local and state health officials in evaluating the people who found the bat in the salad. In this circumstance, the risk of rabies transmission is considered to be very low, but because it isn’t zero, the two people who ate salad from the package that contained the bat were recommended to begin post-exposure rabies treatment. Both people report being in good health and neither has any signs of rabies. CDC is not aware of any other reports of bat material found in packaged salads.
On April 8, 2017, Fresh Express issued a recall of a limited number of cases of Organic Marketside Spring Mix. The salads were sold in a clear container with production code G089B19 and best-if-used-by date of APR 14, 2017 located on the front label. The recalled salads were distributed only to Walmart stores located in the Southeastern region of the United States. All remaining packages of salad from the same lot have been removed from all store locations where the salad was sold.
The company said in a statement it worked quickly with officials to remove the entire batch of salads from store shelves, and only one line of its products had been affected.
“Fresh Express takes matters of food safety very seriously and rigorously complies with all food safety regulations including the proscribed Good Agricultural Practices.”
Maybe install bat filters as the lettuce goes through a wash?
The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department said on November 15 that a sample of mixed vegetable ingredient of a made-to-order smoked salmon mixed vegetable salad was found to have been contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Follow-up is in progress.
A spokesman for the CFS said, “The CFS took the sample of smoked salmon mixed vegetable salad for testing from a licensed food premises in Sha Tin under a risk assessment study on microbiological quality of vegetables and vegetable salads. The result showed that the salad sample contained Listeria monocytogenes at a level of 2 400 per gram, exceeding the standard of the Microbiological Guidelines for Food which states that no more than 100 of the pathogen per gram should be detected.”
The CFS has informed the premises concerned of the irregularity and instructed it to stop selling the food item in question immediately.
The CFS has also provided health education on food safety and hygiene to the person-in-charge and staff of the premises. The premises have voluntarily suspended its business temporarily to carry out thorough cleaning and disinfection. The CFS is also tracing the sources of the ingredients of the affected food item.
“Listeria monocytogenes can be easily destroyed by cooking but can survive and multiply at refrigerator temperatures.
Dole’s Springfield plant, source of an awful outbreak of listeriosis linked to over 30 illnesses and four deaths, had resident Listeria monocytogenes problem. With illnesses stretching back to July 2015, linked through whole genome sequencing, the pathogen was hanging out somewhere.
The Packer reports that Dole is disputing a couple of lawsuits that have been filed on behalf of victims.
A suit filed in July for the estate of Ellen DiStefano alleges Dole failed to design and implement a food safety program capable of preventing listeria contamination of its salad mixes.
Listeria was found eight times in the Springfield plant from March 2014 to December 2015, according to a Food and Drug Administration report cited in court documents. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, also claims Dole did not use newer detection technologies such as genome sequencing.
DiStefano became ill Jan. 17 and died Feb. 27. She was 79.
“The product was not defective at the time it left Dole’s custody and control,” attorney R. Leland Evans said July 15 in the court record. “Any later defect was caused by a substantial alteration and change in the condition of the product by other parties over whom Dole had no control.”
Show me the data.
Prepacked ready-to-eat mixed ingredient salads (RTE salads) are readily available whole meals that include a variety of ingredients such as raw vegetables, cooked meat, and pasta.
As part of a trend toward healthy convenience foods, RTE salads have become an increasingly popular product among consumers. However, data on the incidence of foodborne pathogens in RTE salads are scarce.
In this study, the microbiological safety of 141 RTE salads containing chicken, ham, or smoked salmon was investigated. Salad samples were collected at retail and analyzed using standard methods for Listeria monocytogenes, Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC), pathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica, Salmonella, and Campylobacter spp.L. monocytogenes was isolated from two (1.4%) of the RTE salad samples.
Seven (5.0%) of the samples were positive for the ail gene (present in all human pathogenic Y. enterocolitica isolates) and three (2.1%) of the samples were positive for the Shiga toxin genes stx 1 and/or stx 2. However, no strains of pathogenic Y.enterocolitica or STEC were isolated.
Thus, pathogens were found or suspected in almost 1 of 10 RTE salads investigated, and pathogenic bacteria probably are present in various RTE salads from retail premises in Sweden.
Because RTE salads are intended to be consumed without heat treatment, control of the ingredients and production hygiene is essential to maintain consumer safety. The recommended maximum storage temperature for RTE salads varies among countries but can be up to 8°C (e.g., in Sweden). Even during a short shelf life (3 to 5 days), storage at 8°C can enable growth of psychrotrophs such as L. monocytogenes and Y. enterocolitica. The maximum storage temperature should therefore be reduced.
Foodborne bacterial pathogens in retail prepacked ready-to-eat mixed ingredient salads
Journal of Food Protection®, Number 6, June 2016, pp. 896-1055, pp. 978-985(8)
Söderqvist, Karin; Thisted Lambertz, Susanne; Vågsholm, Ivar; Boqvist, Sofia
The advanced nurse practitioner inspected the two inch-long furball and was disgusted to discover a leg and tail – as well as what looked like an eye.
She took the salad back to the shop in Bradford, West Yorkshire, where she claims she was offered a £5 voucher. An investigation later revealed the “foreign object” was a baby weasel and staff offered Ms Asghar £100 in vouchers, which she turned down.
Supermarket bosses claim the furry animal must have been picked up in a field during harvesting and passed through the entire factory without being spotted.
California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Food and Drug Branch (FDB), Emergency Response Unit (ERU) investigated a multi-state foodborne illness outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 (PulseNet Cluster ID 1310CAEXH-1) linked to the consumption of pre-packaged salads purchased in October 2013 at multiple retail locations. The outbreak included a total of 33 ill persons in 4 states; Arizona (1), California (28), Texas (1), and Washington (3). The illness onset dates ranged from October 5, 2013 to November 1, 2013. The case patients had a single matching strain of E. coli O157:H7 (XbaI EXHX01.0589 and BlnI EXHA26.3182).
Initially, two varieties of Trader Joe’s salads were suspected food vehicles in this outbreak. These Trader Joe’s salads were produced by the same manufacturer, Atherstone Foods Inc. in Richmond, CA. As the epidemiological investigation progressed, two additional salads were identified as possibly causing illness.
One of these salads was manufactured by in Oakland, CA, while the other salad was also manufactured by Atherstone Foods Inc., for the Walgreens chain of drug stores. Analysis of the common ingredients among all four salads revealed that romaine lettuce was the only common component. FDB narrowed the traceback to romaine lettuce and determined that a single field of romaine lettuce in Modesto, CA, grown by Ratto Bros. could have been used in the production of all four salads. FDB and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted an environmental investigation at Atherstone Foods, Inc. (DBA: Glass Onion Catering), in Richmond, CA. Seven retain product samples (consisting of the two implicated Trader Joe’s salads) were collected by FDB and tested by the Food and Drug Laboratory Branch (FDLB) in Richmond, CA. These samples were negative for E. coli O157:H7. The inspection at Atherstone Foods, Inc. did not result in any food safety violations or potential areas of cross-contamination. FDB and FDA continued the outbreak investigation at the grower of the suspected romaine. Investigators inspected Ratto Bros. procedures related to growing, handling and transport of the suspect romaine lettuce. Distribution documents, farm conditions, and water systems used by Ratto Bros. were reviewed in detail. Five of 44 environmental samples collected from areas around the implicated ranch were positive for E. coli O157:H7. One of these samples was obtained from a private road while the other four samples were collected on public roads near the implicated field. The positive samples were not a genetic match to the outbreak strain. FDB could not determine the root cause of contamination to the salads implicated in this outbreak. Investigators identified factors during the investigation at the implicated field that could have contributed to contamination of romaine in a farm environment. These potential factors were wind transferring pathogens from contaminated areas to growing fields and farm equipment contaminating crops after using public roads shared with neighboring cattle operations. Ratto Bros. management responded to the Department’s findings by enhancing their current procedures and adopting new procedures in an effort to prevent potential contamination events in the future.
I don’t know what it is about some folks from Minnesota; they take any opportunity to lecture the rest of the country – and world – about how they should better investigate foodborne illness.
Seriously, it’s not like you grew up with Wayne Gretzky.
But, they’re probably right.
Except this time the real culprit may be the leafy greens cone of silence.
The on-going cyclospora outbreak that has sickened almost 400 Americans in 15 states has been linked by Iowa and Nebraska to “a nationally distributed packaged salad mix.”
Can I buy that at retail? Good branding.
“Our investigation implicated prepackaged, prewashed, salad mix as the cause of this outbreak,” said Nebraska’s chief medical officer, Joseph Acierno, in the online update.
Both Iowa and Nebraska officials said in the online updates that the salad mix contained iceberg and romaine lettuce, carrots and red cabbage, though neither state would name the brand or the producer of the bagged salad mix — and they would not say whether it was an imported or domestic product.
But it wasn’t yet clear whether the packaged salad was linked to other infections in other states, officials with the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
I take a fair amount of teasing from my girlfriends here in Australia.
“Amy, what’s Doug making for dinner tonight?”
And last time Doug took a trip away, one of them invited me over a few times because she was rather convinced I don’t know how to cook. It’s not the first time in my life I’ve convinced other people I cannot cook so that they will feed me delicious food. But alas, I can cook. I just gave it up when I met Doug because I was terrified of killing us by cross-contaminating or undercooking our food. And now I’m out of practice.
On one of our first dates, I invited Doug to my house for dinner and a movie. After I get to a certain level of hungry, I can no longer think. And as we weighed options for ordering take out, I hit that point. I finally blurted out, “Let’s go to the grocery store and just buy some steak and salad.” Doug says that’s what won him over.
Tonight Sorenne-the-Ravenous only wanted to eat a sandwich, but after too many frozen chicken thingies and wondering why Australians don’t say whether the chicken is pre-cooked or raw, I needed some real food. Broiled porterhouse steak cooked to an internal temperature of 150F and left to rest while the temperature rose slightly, rosemary and sea salt chips, English cucumber and 4 leaf salad with cherry tomatoes, balsamic and olive oil. Yum. But a lonely dinner for one.