Category Archives: E.coli O157

USA – USDA Can Determine Contamination-Free Romaine Regions

Quality Assurance Magazine Eurofins Food Testing UK

USDA data on daily shipments of romaine lettuce can be used to determine which production regions are free from contamination during a foodborne illness outbreak. These data, reported by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service with a one- or two-day lag, provide essentially real-time information on produce shipped out to retailers. An analysis conducted by the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) demonstrates how this information may allow FDA to rule out an entire production region as the source of contamination.

Leafy greens, including romaine lettuce, are the sixth most commonly consumed type of vegetable in the United States. From May to November, most romaine lettuce in the U.S. comes from California’s Central Coast region; from December to April, most comes from the Yuma, Ariz. region. Among the 29 outbreaks of Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 (E. coli) associated with romaine lettuce between 1998 and 2018, illnesses peaked in April and October, which corresponds with the tail end of harvest season in the two main romaine growing regions. In 2017 and 2018, there were three multistate, multinational foodborne illness E. coli outbreaks associated with the consumption of romaine lettuce that occurred at the tail end of either Yuma, Ariz., or California’s Central Coast production seasons. These outbreaks led to a total of 376 illnesses, 158 hospitalizations, and 7 deaths.

Research -An in situ-Synthesized Gene Chip for the Detection of Food-Borne Pathogens on Fresh-Cut Cantaloupe and Lettuce


Fresh foods are vulnerable to foodborne pathogens which cause foodborne illness and endanger people’s life and safety. The rapid detection of foodborne pathogens is crucial for food safety surveillance. An in situ-synthesized gene chip for the detection of foodborne pathogens on fresh-cut fruits and vegetables was developed. The target genes were identified and screened by comparing the specific sequences of Salmonella Typhimurium, Vibrio parahemolyticusStaphylococcus aureusListeria monocytogenes, and Escherichia coli O157:H7 from the National Center for Biotechnology Information database. Tiling array probes were designed to target selected genes in an optimized hybridization system. A total of 141 specific probes were selected from 3,227 hybridization probes, comprising 26 L. monocytogenes, 24 S. aureus, 25 E. coli O157:H7, 20 Salmonella Typhimurium, and 46 V. parahemolyticus probes that are unique to this study. The optimized assay had strong amplification signals and high accuracy. The detection limit for the five target pathogens on fresh-cut cantaloupe and lettuce was approximately 3 log cfu/g without culturing and with a detection time of 24 h. The detection technology established in this study can rapidly detect and monitor the foodborne pathogens on fresh-cut fruits and vegetables throughout the logistical distribution chain, i.e., processing, cleaning, fresh-cutting, packaging, storage, transport, and sale, and represents a valuable technology that support the safety of fresh agricultural products.

UK – STEC increase for England and Wales in 2018

Food Safety News

More than 1,500 confirmed Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infections were reported in England and Wales in 2018 and five people died, according to Public Health England data.

A total of 1,553 confirmed cases included 607 laboratory-confirmed cases of STEC serogroup O157 and 612 infections where a non-O157 serogroup was isolated. In 2017, 948 confirmed cases of STEC were reported.

For 334 cases, samples tested positive by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) for Shiga toxin (stx) genes, but STEC was not cultured with more than 300 of these in England.

Four STEC outbreaks caused by O157 affecting 55 people were investigated in 2018. It was not possible to find the vehicle and/or source of infection for the two largest and national outbreaks were a foodborne source was suspected. In one of these, 26 people were ill with 10 needing hospital treatment. In the other, 17 people were sick and four were hospitalised. The other two smaller outbreaks involved a petting farm and an outdoor event.

Research – Heat resistance in Escherichia coli and its implications on ground beef cooking recommendations in Canada

Wiley Online

This study assessed the adequacy of the current cooking recommendations in relation to heat resistant Escherichia coli by evaluating eight potentially heat resistant E. coli strains (four generic and four E. coli O157:H7) along with AW1.7. The D60°C‐values for these strains varied from 1.3 to 9.0 min, with J3 and AW1.7 being the least and most heat resistant strains, respectively. The D60°C‐values for E. coli 62 and 68 were similar and were not affected by growth medium, while the heat resistance of C37, J3, and AW1.7 varied with the growth medium. When heated in extra lean ground beef (100 g) in vacuum pouches, the mean D54°CD57°C, and D60°C‐values were 44.8, 18.6, and 2.9 min for C37, 13.8, 6.9, and 0.9 min for J3, and 40.5, 9.1, and 6.1 min for AW1.7. Burger temperatures continued to rise after being removed from heat when the target temperature was reached, by 3–5°C, and resting of 1 min would result in a destruction of 133, 374 and 14 log C37, J3 and AW1.7. These findings along with the very low occurrence of heat resistant E. coli expected in ground beef show that cooking ground beef to 71°C should be adequate.

Research -Evaluation of the Efficacy of Three Direct Fed Microbial Cocktails To Reduce Fecal Shedding of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Naturally Colonized Cattle and Fecal Shedding and Peripheral Lymph Node Carriage of Salmonella in Experimentally Infected Cattle

Journal of Food Protection


Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the feeding of direct fed microbials (DFMs) on fecal shedding of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in naturally infected cattle (experiment I) and on Salmonella in the feces and peripheral lymph nodes (PLNs) of experimentally infected cattle (experiment II). Thirty cattle, 10 per treatment, were used in each experiment. Treatments in experiment I consisted of a control (lactose carrier only); DFM1, a 1:1 ratio of Enterococcus faecium and Lactobacillus animalis; and DFM2, a 1:1 ratio of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Pediococcus acidilactici. In Experiment II, DFM1 was replaced with DFM3, a 1:2 ratio of Lactobacillus reuteri and other Lactobacillus strains. Additives were mixed in water and applied as a top-dressing to each pen’s daily ration for 50 days. Approximately half-way through each experiment, the DFM concentration was doubled for the remainder of the study. Fecal samples were collected throughout experiment I and cultured for E. coli O157:H7. Cattle in experiment II were inoculated intradermally with Salmonella Montevideo on days 32, 37, and 42 and then necropsied on days 49 and 50 (five cattle per treatment on each day). Innate immune function was assessed on days 29, 49, and 50. In experiment I, fecal concentration and prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 were not different (P > 0.10) nor was there an effect (P = 0.95) on the percentage of super shedders (cattle shedding ≥3.0 log CFU/g of feces). In experiment II, no treatment differences (P > 0.05) were observed for Salmonella in the PLNs except for the inguinal nodes, which had a significantly lower Salmonella prevalence in DFM-supplemented cattle than in the controls. Immune function, as measured by monocyte nitric oxide production and neutrophil oxidative burst, was decreased (P < 0.05) in the DFM treatment groups. Although results of this research indicate little to no effect of these DFMs on E. coli O157:H7 or Salmonella in cattle, an increase in the duration of administration to that similar to what is used for commercial cattle might elicit treatment differences.

  • Direct fed microbials were evaluated for pathogen mitigation in cattle.

  • No treatment effects on fecal shedding of E. coli O157:H7 were observed.

  • DFM treatment reduced Salmonella in only one the four lymph node types examined.

  • Under these experimental conditions, short-term feeding of DFMs failed to mitigate pathogens.


USA – Statement on the Salinas-linked romaine lettuce E. coli O157:H7 outbreak and status update on investigation


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local partners, previously reported on Dec. 12 that public health experts were tracking three separate outbreaks linked to romaine lettuce caused by three different strains of E. coli O157:H7. We also reported that, through the FDA’s traceback investigation, we were able to identify a common grower between each of these outbreaks in Salinas, California based on available supply chain information.

Today, the FDA is providing an update on the status of the E. coli O157:H7 illnesses linked to romaine lettuce, along with recent findings based on our investigation of fields linked to a common grower, which was identified in our traceback. It should be noted that romaine from this grower does not explain all of the illnesses seen in these outbreaks.

Outbreaks declared over, consumer advisory lifted

The FDA is lifting the consumer advisory to avoid romaine lettuce from Salinas as the growing season for this region is over, and there is no longer a need for consumers to avoid it. There is also no need to avoid other produce products from Salinas.

The FDA and CDC have been tracking two multi-state romaine lettuce outbreaks. Today, federal health officials are declaring both multi-state romaine lettuce outbreaks over. One of the outbreaks sickened 167 people in 27 states. The other outbreak, linked to Fresh Express salad kits, sickened 10 people in five states.

There was also a third outbreak in Washington State that sickened 11 people. This outbreak has also been declared over.

The last reported illness onset date for all the outbreaks was Dec. 21. Based on this information, it appears that our Nov. 22 advisory to not eat romaine from Salinas played an important role in preventing illnesses and containing this outbreak because it prompted the removal of romaine lettuce from Salinas from the marketplace and warned consumers to throw away romaine from that growing region.

Common grower, multiple fields investigated

The FDA traceback investigation for these outbreaks required investigators to go through hundreds of supply chain records to find a commonality to a single grower with multiple fields. We were able to narrow this down further to at least 10 fields in the lower Salinas Valley.

Investigators from the FDA, CDC, the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the California Department of Public Health, visited several of these fields and took a variety of samples from water, soil and compost. So far, sample results have come back negative for all of the three outbreak strains of E. coli O157:H7. However, we did find a strain of E. coli that is unrelated to any illnesses in a soil sample taken near a run-off point in a buffer zone between a field where product was harvested and where cattle are known to occasionally graze. This could be an important clue that will be further examined as our investigation continues. However, this clue does not explain the illnesses seen in these outbreaks.

Our investigation is ongoing, and we are doing everything possible to find the source or sources of contamination. The investigation into how this contamination occurred is important, so romaine growers can implement measures that will prevent future contamination and illnesses.

The FDA is planning to conduct an additional, in-depth, root-cause investigation. The investigation will further characterize how contamination might have occurred and will inform what preventive controls are needed to prevent future outbreaks. Once complete, we plan to issue a prompt report and share lessons learned, so that growers can implement best practices to protect consumers from contaminated produce.

Investigation will inform future prevention

As we mentioned in our last update, it is important to remember that millions of servings of fresh leafy greens are safely eaten every day by consumers, although the repeat nature of these outbreaks linked to leafy greens – and more specifically to romaine lettuce – remains a concern.

We are doing our part by continuing our sampling assignment to monitor for pathogens in romaine lettuce across the nation. Industry can and must do their part too. Everyone across the romaine supply chain must do everything possible to fully understand why and how these outbreaks keep happening and continue to aggressively implement preventive measures to further protect consumers.

Outbreaks illustrate need to stay focused on prevention

It’s critical that all stakeholders, including growers, processors, distributors and retailers, stay laser-focused on prevention to help bend the curve of foodborne illness. We understand the importance of food safety, and we know there’s a human face to every foodborne illness.

The FDA remains committed to doing everything we can to prevent outbreaks, working with fellow regulators and the food industry to identify and address causes and keep consumers aware of potential risks.

Rest assured that we are working hard every day to try to prevent foodborne illness. We also know that food safety is a shared responsibility. It involves food producers, distributors, manufacturers, retailers and certainly regulatory officials at the federal, state, local, territorial and tribal levels. That’s why we work directly with our partners on things such as training and inspections. We also work closely with industry, so they understand our requirements and are educated on the latest scientific standards and good agricultural practices. Working together, we have and will continue to advance food safety.

A New Era of Smarter Food Safety

While we will always place emphasis on prevention, being able to promptly respond to an outbreak when it occurs is a critical part of our food safety mission.

As public health agencies have gotten better at detecting foodborne illnesses, our ability to trace back to the source of contaminated foods that may have caused the illnesses has lagged, due in part to the lack of modernized food traceability capabilities.

As part of the FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety initiative, we plan to use advances in technology to improve our ability to track and trace products through the supply chain. We’ll be launching a New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint in early 2020 that will outline how we will advance our work in this area. This blueprint will help consumers get information more quickly, enabling people to better protect themselves and their families.

We look forward to continuing our work with growers, processors, distributors and retailers in our shared efforts to protect consumers, and we will continue to provide updated information as it becomes available.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

Canada -Scarpone’s Italian Store brand frozen Ground Veal recalled due to E. coli O157:H7


Recall details

Ottawa, January 13, 2020 – The Italian Store is recalling Scarpone’s Italian Store brand frozen Ground Veal from the marketplace due to possible E. coli O157:H7 contamination. Consumers should not consume the recalled product described below.

Recalled products

Brand Product Size UPC Codes Additional Information
Scarpone’s Italian Store Ground Veal (frozen) Variable Starting with:
0 200904
All units sold between December 23, 2019 and January 13, 2020, inclusive. Sold at The Italian Store, 5140 Skyline Way NE, Calgary, AB.

What you should do

If you think you became sick from consuming a recalled product, call your doctor.

Check to see if you have the recalled product in your home. Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased.

Food contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, mild to severe abdominal cramps and watery to bloody diarrhea. In severe cases of illness, some people may have seizures or strokes, need blood transfusions and kidney dialysis or live with permanent kidney damage. In severe cases of illness, people may die.


This recall was triggered by Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) test results. The CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.

The CFIA is verifying that industry is removing the recalled product from the marketplace.


There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.

Product photos

Printer ready version of photos

  • Scarpone's Italian Store - Ground Veal (frozen)
  • Universal Product Code - Scarpone's Italian Store - Ground Veal (frozen)