Category Archives: food bourne outbreak

Norway – Yersinia enterocolitica outbreak linked to pre-washed spinach product

Outbreak News Today 

In a follow-up on the Yersinia enterocolitica O3 outbreak that started in mid-May in Norway, health officials are now saying based on an analysis of patient interviews and purchase information show that 22 of 23 cases (96%) state that they have eaten a pre-washed spinach product the week prior to illness. In one case, it has not been possible to conduct an interview.

RASFF Alert – Foodborne Outbreak – Salmonella enterica ser. Enteritidis – Eggs


RASFF – foodborne outbreak suspected to be caused by Salmonella enterica ser. Enteritidis in eggs from the United Kingdom in the UK

USA – Outbreak of Cyclospora Infections in the Midwestern U.S. Linked to Bagged Salad Mix


CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administrationexternal icon (FDA) are investigating a multistate outbreak of Cyclospora infections linked to bagged salad mix containing iceberg lettuce, carrots, and red cabbage produced by Fresh Express and purchased at ALDI, Hy-Vee, Jewel-Osco, and Walmart stores in the Midwestern United States.

Advice to Consumers, Restaurants, Retailers, and Suppliers/Distributors

CDC has important advice for consumers and retailers in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin:

  • Do not eat, sell, or serve:
    • Recalled Marketside brand Classic Iceberg Salad
      • Sold at Walmart stores in Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin
      • 12-ounce and 24-ounce bags
      • Use-by dates of 05/19/2020 through 07/04/2020
    • Recalled Little Salad Bar brand Garden Salad
      • Sold at ALDI stores in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin
      • 12-ounce bags
      • Use-by dates of 05/01/2020 through 06/29/2020
    • Recalled Hy-Vee brand Garden Salad
      • Sold at Hy-Vee stores in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin
      • 12-ounce bags
      • Any use-by date
    • Recalled Jewel-Osco Signature Farms brand Garden Salad
      • Sold at Jewel-Osco stores in Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa
      • 12-ounce bags
      • Use-by dates of 05/16/2020 through 07/04/2020
  • Check your home for any of these recalled salads. Throw any remaining salad away, even if some of it has been eaten and no one has gotten sick.
  • If you live in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, or Wisconsin and don’t know whether the bagged salad mix you have in your home is one of these recalled salads, do not eat it. Throw it away.

Take action if you have symptoms of a Cyclospora infection:

  • Talk to your healthcare provider.
  • Write down what you ate in the two weeks before you started to get sick.
  • Report your illness to the health department.
  • Assist public health investigators by answering questions about your illness.

Latest Outbreak Information

  • 206 people with laboratory-confirmed Cyclospora infections and who reported eating bagged salad mix before getting sick have been reported from 8 Midwestern states (Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wisconsin).
    • Illnesses started on dates ranging from May 11, 2020 to June 17, 2020.
    • 23 people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
  • Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicates that bagged salad mix containing iceberg lettuce, carrots, and red cabbage produced by Fresh Express is a likely source of this outbreak.
  • Bagged salad mixes purchased at ALDI, Hy-Vee, Jewel-Osco, and Walmart do not explain all of the illnesses in this outbreak. CDC and FDA continue to investigate to determine whether other products are a source of illnesses.
  • CDC will provide updates when more information is available.

Investigation Details

June 26, 2020

Since the last update on June 23, 2020, 84 new laboratory-confirmed Cyclospora infections have been reported, including 6 from a new state, North Dakota.

Health officials in North Dakota interviewed ill people in their state. In interviews, all six ill people reported eating a salad purchased from a single restaurant location in North Dakota. Health officials determined that the restaurant used Marketside brand bagged garden salad mix purchased from Walmart.

On June 25, 2020, Fresh Express recalled Marketside brand Classic Iceberg Salad sold in 12-ounce and 24-ounce bags at Walmart stores in Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

As of June 25, 2020, a total of 206 people with laboratory-confirmed Cyclospora infections associated with this outbreak have been reported from 8 states: Illinois (57), Iowa (74), Kansas (1), Minnesota (25), Missouri (10) Nebraska (20), North Dakota (6), and Wisconsin (13).

Illnesses started on dates ranging from May 11, 2020 to June 17, 2020. Ill people range in age from 16 to 92 years with a median age of 60 and 57% are female. Of 198 people with available information, 23 people (12%) have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Illnesses might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 4 to 6 weeks. If the number of cases reported by CDC is different from the number reported by state or local health officials, data reported by local jurisdictions should be considered the most up to date. Any differences may be due to the timing of reporting and website updates.

There are typically multiple clusters of Cyclospora infections that occur each summer. CDC is working to determine if other recent cases of Cyclospora infection are linked to contaminated ingredients in these bagged salad mixes. This investigation is ongoing.

Finland – Decline in foodborne outbreaks likely due to COVID-19 measures

Food Safety News

More than four times fewer suspected food and waterborne epidemics have been reported in Finland in the past few months.

Between March and May, four suspected foodborne outbreaks were reported, compared with an average of 18 in previous years, according to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

The agency believes this is because of the coronavirus pandemic and associated limitations and recommendations. When hands are washed diligently and food is prepared for smaller groups, there are fewer epidemics, the THL reported.

Suspected pathogens in the four outbreaks are Campylobacter, Yersinia, and norovirus.


Denmark – Campylobacter outbreak linked to milk sickens more than 100

Food Safety News

More than 100 people are sick in a Campylobacter outbreak in Denmark linked to a local dairy.

The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (Fødevarestyrelsen), DTU Food Institute and Statens Serum Institut (SSI) are investigating illnesses that began in Bornholm in late May.

Patient interviews point toward pasteurized milk from Bornholms Andelsmejeri (Bornholm Dairy) as the source of infection but product testing has been negative for Campylobacter. Bornholm Dairy is a cooperative owned by Bornholm milk producers.

Denmark -DTU is helping to investigate outbreaks of disease on Bornholm – Campylobacter


The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, DTU The Danish Food Institute and the Swedish Serum Institute, SSI, have jointly investigated an ongoing disease outbreak on Bornholm since June 2, 2020. Currently, there are reports of up to 100 people with symptoms similar to a campylobacter infection.

So far, 54 people aged 9 months to 97 years have tested positive for campylobacter and several patient samples are being investigated. The sick live on Bornholm or have visited the island recently. SSI is also investigating whether it is the same type of campylobacter that has made patients sick.

The goal of the collaboration is to identify the source of infection. At present, there is no trace of a particular source, but one suspects a locally produced food – presumably a ready-to-eat product.

Read more

The details of the outbreak and the work on finding the source of infection are described in more detail in a news from the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration: Several sufferers of campylobacter on Bornholm . The news also provides good advice on how consumers best avoid getting infected with campylobacter.

Research – Emerging Foodborne Pathogens

Pub Med

The broad spectrum of foodborne infections has changed dramatically over time, as well-established pathogens have been controlled or eliminated, and new ones have emerged. The burden of foodborne disease remains substantial: one in four Americans is estimated to have a significant foodborne illness each year. The majority of these illnesses are not accounted for by known pathogens, so more must remain to be discovered. Among the known foodborne pathogens, those more recently identified predominate, suggesting that as more and more is learned about pathogens, they come under control. In addition to the emergence or recognition of new pathogens, other trends include global pandemics of some foodborne pathogens, the emergence of antimicrobial resistance, the identification of pathogens that are highly opportunistic, affecting only the most high-risk subpopulations, and the increasing identification of large and dispersed outbreaks. New pathogens can emerge because of changing ecology or changing technology that connects a potential pathogen with the food chain. They also can emerge de novo by transfer of mobile virulence factors, often through bacteriophage. Though this is rarely observed, it can be reconstructed. Better understanding of the ecology and dynamics of phage transmission among bacteria will help us to understand the appearance of new pathogens in the future. One may look for emerging foodborne pathogens among the silent zoonoses, and among the severe infections affecting the immunocompromised humans. We should expect the unexpected. In the past, separating human sewage and animal manure from human food and water supplies was critical to improving public health. Now, our health depends increasingly on the safety of the feed and water supplies for the animals themselves. The successes of the 20th century and the new challenges we face mean that public health vigilance, careful investigation of new problems, responsible attention to food safety from farm to table, and partnerships to bring about new foodborne disease control measures will be needed for the foreseeable future.

Research – Researchers identify seasonal peaks for foodborne infections

Eureka Alert

Each year, thousands of pounds of food are wasted and billions of dollars in food sales lost because of recalls tied to foodborne infections. Using a newly developed approach, researchers identified seasonal peaks for foodborne infections that could be used to optimize the timing and location of food inspections.

“We rely upon food producers, distributors and retailers to keep food safe in fields, grocery stores and restaurants,” said Ryan B. Simpson, doctoral candidate at Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. “A lapse in food safety practices during any step in the food delivery and supply chain can jeopardize human health, waste food resources and threaten the national food economy.”

Foodborne infections can be caused by a variety of pathogens, such as Listeria, Salmonella and E. Coli. A single pathogen can lead to outbreaks that peak in different states at different times. Knowing the patterns for each pathogen and state could be used to design an optimized schedule for food safety inspections.

To characterize the timing and intensity of infection peaks, Simpson and colleagues developed an analysis method that robustly determines which specific pathogens are likely to cause an outbreak at a given time.

Simpson will present the new analysis method as part of NUTRITION 2020 LIVE ONLINE, a virtual conference hosted by the American Society for Nutrition (ASN). The research was performed under the supervision of Elena N. Naumova, Chair of the Department of Nutritional Epidemiology and Data Sciences at Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.

Using their new analysis method, the researchers found that although foodborne outbreaks typically peak in July, food recalls are delayed by 1 to 2 months, peaking from mid-August through mid-September. These findings were consistent across examined states and pathogens.

Next, the researchers aim to refine their analysis method by exploring specific foods and food groups linked to foodborne outbreaks. They also plan to examine relationships between outbreaks for particular pathogens with food preparation practices and other factors.

“Our future research will provide valuable information that could help refine existing food safety policies while also aiding food producers, distributors and retailers in preventing or mitigating foodborne outbreaks,” said Simpson.


Belgium – Belgium reports record high number of outbreaks

Food Safety News

Belgium has recorded the highest number of foodborne outbreaks in a year since recordkeeping began.

This past year, 571 outbreaks were reported to the National Reference Laboratory for Foodborne Outbreaks (LNR-TIA). A total of 2,457 people fell ill and 28 were hospitalized.

Data on outbreaks have been collected by Sciensano, the Belgian Institute for Health, since 1999. From 1999 to 2010, 39 to 116 outbreaks were reported each year, but this number doubled in 2011 to 281. There were an average of 336 outbreaks per year between 2011 and 2016. Almost 400 outbreaks were recorded in 2018.

USA – Blue Bell Directors Reach $15 Million Listeria-Outbreak Deal


Blue Bell Creameries Inc. directors agreed to a $15 million settlement resolving claims that their alleged mismanagement led to a 2015 listeria outbreak that forced the ice-cream maker to recall all products.

The deal means a Blue Bell shareholder won’t get a chance at an April 27 trial to determine whether Blue Bell’s board did enough to oversee the cleanliness of the company’s plants. Delaware Chancery Court Judge Joseph Slights III must approve the deal.

Blue Bell officials agreed to settle to cut down the “expense, inconvenience and distraction” the listeria allegations caused, according to a filing Friday in Chancery Court. The $15 million in cash will be returned to the company under the terms of the deal.


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