Category Archives: food death

USA – Outbreak Investigation of Listeria monocytogenes: Enoki Mushrooms (March 2020)


Total Illnesses: 36
Hospitalizations: 30
Deaths: 4
Illness Onset Date Range: November 23, 2016 – December 13, 2019
States with Cases: AZ (2), CA (9), FL (2), HI (3), IN (1), KY (1), MA (2), MD (2), MI (1), MO (1), NC (1), NJ (1), NV (1), NY (4), RI (1), TN (1), VA (3)


Consumers should not eat and should check their refrigerators and throw away any recalled enoki mushrooms from Sun Hong Foods, Inc. and Guan’s Mushroom Co., because they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Restaurants and retailers should not sell or serve recalled enoki mushrooms distributed by Sun Hong Foods, Inc. and Guan’s Mushrooms Co.

FDA recommends that anyone who received recalled products use extra vigilance in cleaning and sanitizing any surfaces and containers that may have come in contact with these products to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. Listeria can survive in refrigerated temperatures and can easily spread to other foods and surfaces.

At this time, high risk groups, including the elderly, people with weakened immune systems or chronic diseases, pregnant women and their newborn babies, should not eat enoki mushrooms from Korea (Republic of Korea), even if they were not part of the recalls by Sun Hong Foods, Inc. and Guan’s Mushroom Co.

Consumers, restaurants, retailers, and high risk groups should discard and not eat, sell, or serve enoki mushrooms if they cannot tell where they came from.

Enoki mushrooms from Sun Hong Foods were sold in 200 g/7.05 oz clear plastic packaging with a green label; Sun Hong Foods, Inc. is labeled on the back of the packaging underneath the bar code. These products can also be identified by the UPC code: 7 426852 625810. Recalled product was sold to distributors in California, Florida, Illinois, Oregon, and Texas; and was sold to the following retailers: J&L Supermarket, Jusgo Supermarket, ZTao Market, New Sang Supermarket, Galleria Market. This distribution information has been confirmed by the firm, but product could have been distributed further, reaching additional states and retail locations. Laboratory analysis of a sample of these mushrooms found the presence of Listeria monocytogenes, and whole genome sequencing analysis of the sample found that the Listeria monocytogenes found in these mushrooms matched the outbreak strain.

Enoki mushrooms from Guan’s Mushroom Co. were sold in 200 g/7.05 oz clear plastic packaging with the description “Enoki Mushroom” in English, Korean, and French; Guan’s logo is on the front. On the back of the packaging, the UPC code 859267007013 and package code 14-1 are on the lower right corner. Recalled product was sold to distributors and wholesalers in California, New York, and Pennsylvania in white cardboard boxes with Guan’s logo in green color and code “#02473,” but could have been distributed further. Whole genome sequencing analysis is currently being conducted to determine if these products are linked to this outbreak.


FDA, CDC, and state and local partners are currently investigating a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections linked to enoki mushrooms. Enoki mushrooms are a long thin white mushroom, usually sold in clusters. They are especially popular in East Asian cuisine and are also known as enokitake, golden needle, futu, or lily mushrooms.

On March 23, 2020 Guan’s Mushroom Co. recalled all cases of its 200 g/7.05 oz packages of enoki mushrooms imported from Korea (Republic of Korea). The firm recalled product and ceased distribution after the California Department of Public Health found that a sample of these mushrooms was positive for Listeria monocytogenes. At this time, whole genome sequencing analysis is being conducted to determine whether or not enoki mushrooms from Guan’s Mushroom Co. are linked to this outbreak.

On March 18, 2020, the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) issued a press release on their findings related to Listeria monocytogenes and enoki mushrooms. The government of the Republic of Korea investigated four companies that export enoki mushrooms to the United States and detected Listeria monocytogenes in enoki mushrooms produced by two firms in Korea. The Korean MFDS did not name the firms in the press release; the FDA is working to obtain this information. The Korean MFDS did not link product to any illnesses in Korea.

The Korean MFDS has recommended that enoki mushrooms should be cooked before being consumed and starting March 23, 2020, the Korean MFDS will require large production companies of enoki mushrooms to include additional labelling indicating that they should be cooked.

On March 9, 2020, Sun Hong Foods, Inc. recalled all enoki mushrooms imported from Korea (Republic of Korea). The firm recalled product after the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development found that a sample of these mushrooms was positive for Listeria monocytogenes. Whole genome sequencing analysis of the sample found that the Listeria monocytogenes found in these mushrooms matched the outbreak strain.

The investigation is ongoing to determine the source of contamination and if additional products are linked to illness. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

Research – Human foodborne listeriosis in England and Wales, 1981 to 2015

Cambridge Press

Almost all cases of human listeriosis are foodborne, however the proportion where specific exposures are identified is small. Between 1981 and 2015, 5252 human listeriosis cases were reported in England and Wales. The purpose of this study was to summarise data where consumption of specific foods was identified with transmission and these comprised 11 sporadic cases and 17 outbreaks. There was a single outbreak in the community of 378 cases (7% of the total) which was associated with pâté consumption and 112 cases (2% of the total) attributed to specific foods in all the other incidents. The proportion of food-attributed cases increased during this study with improvements in typing methods for Listeria monocytogenes. Ten incidents (one sporadic case and nine outbreaks of 2–9 cases over 4 days to 32 months) occurred in hospitals: all were associated with the consumption of pre-prepared sandwiches. The 18 community incidents comprised eight outbreaks (seven of between 3 and 17 cases) and 10 sporadic cases: food of animal origin was implicated in 16 of the incidents (sliced or potted meats, pork pies, pâté, liver, chicken, crab-meat, butter and soft cheese) and food of non-animal origin in the remaining two (olives and vegetable rennet).

Philippines – 2 dead from food poisoning in Negros


BACOLOD CITY – Two members of a family died while three others were hospitalized due to food poisoning in Hinoba-an, Negros Occidental Tuesday.

Fatalities were brothers aged seven and eight.

Police Major Clifford Batadhay, town police chief, said the children’s father gathered crabs locally known as “kumong-kumong” or “krukudlong” here Monday. The following day, they cooked it and ate it for breakfast.

UK – New research shows societal burden of foodborne illness in the UK


The FSA Board has welcomed a report which presents new comprehensive estimates of the societal burden caused by foodborne illnesses in the UK.

The outcome of an extensive programme of work conducted over a five-year period was scrutinised by Members at the FSA Board Meeting, and provides a more in depth understanding of the wider impacts of foodborne diseases such as norovirus, campylobacter and listeria.

For the first time, the study also incorporates estimates based on the impacts of foodborne illness cases where a specific pathogen is not identified, often as a result of people not seeking medical attention.

The new model which produced the estimates follows an established process used in the UK and internationally to assess the financial impacts and the ‘human costs’ such as pain grief and suffering and changes to quality and length of life.

Estimates for these ‘human costs’ were developed in part by surveying more than 4,000 people to produce monetised values to measure the impact of different foodborne pathogens.

This will allow for these intangible human impacts to be considered alongside financial impacts when decisions relating to foodborne illnesses are made.

The model shows that for 2018:

  • the burden arising from the 13 main foodborne pathogens is around £3bn. Norovirus imposes the greatest burden at an estimated annual cost of £1.68bn followed by Campylobacter spp. (£0.71bn) and Salmonella spp. (non-typhoidal) (£0.21bn).
  • foodborne illness cases where a pathogen was not identified causes an estimated societal burden of around £6bn.
  • Taken together, the two estimates lead to a headline figure of approximately £9bn, as the annual cost burden of foodborne illness in the UK in 2018.
  • cases of Campylobacter, which are more common but generally less severe, impose a burden of £2,380 each while Listeria, the least common of the 13 measured, has a burden equivalent to £230,748 due to a higher proportion of fatalities, resulting in a higher ‘human cost’.


The Board welcomed the work and the report’s findings which provides the FSA with a more robust and comprehensive awareness of the impact of all foodborne illnesses and an additional tool to direct future decisions on prevention.

Heather Hancock, Chair of The Food Standards Agency said:

“I welcome this vital new research.  Being able to put a cost on the personal, social and economic burden when someone becomes ill as a result of food, represents a milestone for the FSA.

“We will use this new analysis of the cost of illness, and how it varies between different germs, to help set our priorities for tackling foodborne illness and to focus the FSA’s expertise, money and influence.”


Professor Rick Mumford, Head of Science Evidence and Research at the Food Standards Agency said:

“For the first time this model gives the FSA and other partners a much more detailed picture of how foodborne illnesses can impact society.

“We have designed it from the ground up to measure the impacts of specific pathogens as well as for the first time providing an estimate of the majority of cases where no pathogen is attributed.

“As a result, we are now equipped with robust, quantitative evidence on the impact of foodborne disease which significantly strengthens our decision-making ability.”


Richard Smith, Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor and Professor of Health Economics at the University of Exeter said:

“Providing an understanding of the impact of foodborne disease on individuals and wider society is a critical building block to understanding where and how to best deal with it.

“The FSA has a rich history of developing such analyses, and this latest work builds on that with significant revisions and updates to provide the most robust values yet of the societal impact of foodborne disease.

“This provides a robust, powerful and flexible tool to assist FSA in determining its priorities for tackling foodborne disease, which remains a serious challenge for our society.”

FSA economists worked with academics from leading UK universities to develop the Cost of Illness (COI) model to identify and measure all the costs of a particular disease.

The model is loosely based on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)’s Cost to Britain model (Opens in a new window)which estimates the annual cost of workplace fatalities, self-reported injuries and ill health at £15bn.

This new model was quality assured internally and externally by independent experts and represents a significant improvement from the previous, much simpler model used to estimate the burden of foodborne illness. Further work is currently ongoing to apply these methodologies to other areas, including food allergy and hypersensitivity.

Notes to Editors


The Burden of Foodborne Disease in the UK 2018 Report

Other notes

Comparisons to previous estimates is not possible as this is the first time that the FSA have estimated the total burden of foodborne illness.

This estimate is therefore inevitably greater than the estimates for identifiable cases alone for the following reasons:

  • this is the first time we are measuring cases where no specific pathogen is attributed, which account for 60% of cases
  • the estimated number of illnesses cases attributed to foodborne illnesses has increased from 1 million to 2.4 million as announced last month
  • The new model uses a different methodology to calculate the non-financial ‘human costs’, which account for almost 80% of the overall burden

USA – Listeria Outbreak linked to enoki mushrooms began in 2016

Food Poison Journal listeria

As of March 9, 2020, 36 people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from 17 states. Arizona 2, California 9, Florida 2, Hawaii 3, Indiana 1, Kentucky 1, Maryland 2, Massachusetts 2, Michigan 1, Missouri 1, Nevada 1, New Jersey 1, New York 4, North Carolina 1, Rhode Island 1, Tennessee 1, Virginia 3.

Four deaths have been reported from California, Hawaii, and New Jersey. Six cases are pregnancy-associated and two resulted in fetal loss.

Listeria samples from ill people were collected from November 23, 2016 to December 13, 2019. Ill people range in age from less than 1 to 97 years, with a median age of 67. Fifty-eight percent of ill people are female. Of 32 ill people with information available, 30 hospitalizations have been reported.

USA – Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Linked to Raw Turkey Products — United States, 2017–2019



What is already known about this topic?

Salmonella Reading is a serotype that is uncommonly associated with human illness. Salmonella outbreaks have previously been associated with ground turkey and turkey burgers.

What is added by this report?

During November 2017–March 2019, a multistate outbreak of S. Reading involving 356 cases in 42 states occurred. Patients reported exposure to various turkey products, suggesting industry-wide contamination, a novel type of outbreak in which contamination is not isolated to a single food or facility.

What are the implications for public health practice?

Interventions should target all parts of the supply chain, including slaughter and processing facilities and upstream farm sources. Public health agencies and industry can take steps to provide more consumer education about food safety.

Hungary – Hungary tries to prevent repeat of Listeria outbreak

Food Safety News

A system in Hungary to prevent a repeat of the deadly Listeria outbreak traced to a frozen vegetable factory in the country in 2018 is working well, according to those involved.

The Hungarian Deep Freezing and Canning Association (MHKSZ) revealed the first-year operational experience of the system was positive.

After the outbreak source was found nearly a year and a half ago, some members of MHKSZ and Campden BRI Hungary Nonprofit Ltd. developed a voluntary audited Listeria Prevention System. It includes Listeria troubleshooting, identifying potential contaminant sources and focal points as well as possible routes of contamination.