Category Archives: food bourne outbreak

USA – FDA Report on E. Coli O157 Outbreak in Romaine Lettuce Points to “Significant” Finding of Strain in Sediment of Water Reservoir

Food Safety Tech 

The November 2018 outbreak of E.coli O157:H7 infections linked to romaine lettuce caused 62 illnesses across 16 states. The FDA zeroed in on the Central Coast growing regions of northern and Central California as being responsible for the contamination. The outbreak was declared over on January 9 and yesterday FDA released the report, “Factors Potentially Contributing to the Contamination of Romaine Lettuce Implicated in the Fall 2018 Multi-State Outbreak of E.Coli O157:H7”, which provides an overview of the investigation.

The report states that a sediment sample coming from an on-farm water reservoir in Santa Maria (Santa Barbara County, California) tested positive for the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7. Although this particular farm was identified in several legs of the Fall 2018 traceback investigations that occurred in the United States and Canada, as well as being a possible supplier of romaine lettuce in the 2017 traceback investigations, the FDA said that the farm is not the single source of the outbreak, as there is “insufficient evidence”. The traceback suggests that the contaminated lettuce could have come from several farms, because not all tracebacks led to the farm on which the contaminated sediment was found.


Australia – Nine people hospitalised after Salmonella outbreak linked to bakeries in Burton, Salisbury Downs and Blakeview

Adelaide Now

A salmonella outbreak linked to three bakeries in the northern suburbs has left nine people in hospital.

SA Health has confirmed 11 cases of salmonella have been reported after people ate Vietnamese rolls from three Angkor Bakery stores.

Deputy chief medical officer Dr Nicola Spurrier said that of those eleven people, nine were hospitalised due to the severity of the poisoning.

“SA Health authorised officers, in conjunction with local council Environmental Health Officers, have inspected stores at Springbank Plaza in Burton, Hollywood Plaza in

Salisbury Downs and Blakes Crossing in Blakeview,” Dr Spurrier.

“Food and environmental samples have been collected from all stores and results will assist in identifying the source of the contamination.

“Early investigations indicate the cases could be linked to raw egg butter, pate or BBQ pork ingredients.

USA – FDA Investigating a Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Concord Linked to Tahini Produced by Achdut Ltd.


Update: February 08, 2019

United States Food and Drug Administration, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local partners, is investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Concord illnesses linked to tahini imported from an Israeli manufacturer, Achdut Ltd., located in Ari’el, Israel.

On November 28, 2018, in response to the on-going investigation, Soom Foods voluntarily recalled the following additional products:

  • 12 oz. Chocolate Sweet Tahini Halva Spread 071318CH. Packed from tahini lot 18-123.

And tahini in the following sizes and types:

  • 40 lb. Organic Tahini.
  • 40 lb. Premium Tahini.
  • 16 oz. Premium Tahini.
  • 16 oz. Organic Tahini.
  • 11 oz. Premium Tahini.

The tahini product lot codes range from 18-097 through 18-141.

Some of the above listed products were included in the original voluntary recall by Achdut Ltd. on November 27, 2018. The FDA is posting this information to ensure the widest possible dissemination to the public.


The FDA is advising consumers not to eat recalled Achva, Achdut, Soom, S&F, and Pepperwood brand tahini and Soom brand Chocolate Sweet Tahini Halva Spread (lot code 071318CH) with expiration dates ranging from April 7, 2020 to May 21, 2020 and Baron’s brand tahini with the expiration date of May 5, 2021. The product lot codes range from 18-097 to 18-141. Consumers should discard the product or return the product to the store for a refund.

Some brands of tahini manufactured by Achdut Ltd. may lack specific dates or may have labels that are written in Hebrew. Consumers who have purchased a tahini product and are uncertain of where the product was manufactured or cannot identify the brand by lot codes or expiration dates should discard the product or return the food to the store for a refund. More product information and pictures of the recalled product labels can be found in Achdut ‘s recall announcement. View Soom Foods’ recall announcement.

Retailers and restaurants should not use any of the recalled tahini manufactured by Achdut Ltd. at their establishments. Retailers and restaurants should throw the product out.

Firms that may have used the recalled tahini (either repacked or used as an ingredient in a food without a kill step) should consider recalling their products. Recalls should be reported to your local FDA office. View a list of FDA recall coordinators.

USA – Botulism in Nome, Alaska Associated With Aged Beluga Flipper

Food Poisoning Bulletin

cdc clost spore

Image CDC

According to news reports, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services is investigating a botulism death and four illnesses that may be associated with fermented beluga whale flipper. The people allegedly got sick at a New Year’s Day dinner in Nome where native foods were served.

Alaska Botulism Report


Africa – A look at how Africa is tackling foodborne illness


CDC E.coli

Image CDC


Contaminated food poses a major health and economic threat to sub-Saharan Africa. While efforts are taken to provide safe food for exports, governments are reijigging the system to do more for domestic markets.

Small flies can be seen buzzing around many food markets. But the threat they bring is not visible to the naked eye.

Houseflies, infected with salmonella, E. coli and other bacteria, can contaminate food and cause serious gastro-intestinal illnesses. In Uganda’s popular pork snack bars, for example, one-third of raw pork sampled for a study by the International Livestock Research Institute tested positive for salmonella.

Foodborne diseases, either caused by pests, pesticides or improper storage, pose a major health threat to sub-Saharan Africa, which suffers the highest levels of foodborne illness anywhere in the world.

More than 91 million people in the region fall ill every year from eating contaminated food and 137,000 die as a result, according to the World Health Organization.


Research – Zoonotic Source Attribution of Salmonella enterica Serotype Typhimurium Using Genomic Surveillance Data, United States



Image CDC

Increasingly, routine surveillance and monitoring of foodborne pathogens using whole-genome sequencing is creating opportunities to study foodborne illness epidemiology beyond routine outbreak investigations and case–control studies. Using a global phylogeny of Salmonella entericaserotype Typhimurium, we found that major livestock sources of the pathogen in the United States can be predicted through whole-genome sequencing data. Relatively steady rates of sequence divergence in livestock lineages enabled the inference of their recent origins. Elevated accumulation of lineage-specific pseudogenes after divergence from generalist populations and possible metabolic acclimation in a representative swine isolate indicates possible emergence of host adaptation. We developed and retrospectively applied a machine learning Random Forest classifier for genomic source prediction of Salmonella Typhimurium that correctly attributed 7 of 8 major zoonotic outbreaks in the United States during 1998–2013. We further identified 50 key genetic features that were sufficient for robust livestock source prediction.

USA – Norovirus confirmed as cause of outbreak on ‘Viking Sea’

Outbreak News Today

In a follow-up on a report approximately one week ago, Vessel Sanitation Program officials confirmed the etiology of the gastrointestinal outbreak on the Viking Ocean Cruises vessel, Viking Sea was Norovirus.