Category Archives: Food Illness

USA – FDA Sampling of Romaine Lettuce in Yuma Finds No Widespread STEC or Salmonella Contamination

Food Safety Tech

Following last year’s widespread E.coli O157 outbreak involving romaine lettuce linked to the Yuma, Arizona growing region (Spring 2018), FDA launched a sampling assignment to test romaine lettuce for pathogenic Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) and Salmonella spp. The microbiological surveillance samplingbegan on December 18, 2018 in the Yuma region and focused on 26 commercial coolers and cold storage facilities to allow FDA to sample multiple farms from several locations at once. The agency collected and tested a total of 188 samples for both pathogens. It did not detect Salmonella in any sample; STEC was detected in one sample, but additional analysis found that the bacteria was not pathogenic.

“The findings of this assignment suggest that there was no widespread Salmonella or STEC contamination of romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region during the period when sampling occurred. As a next step, the FDA is working with leafy green stakeholders in the Yuma region to consider a longer-term environmental study to identify and control risks that will prevent future outbreaks, with the ultimate goal of protecting consumers. – FDA

The point of the sampling assignment was to determine whether target pathogens were present, and if so, to respond quickly before contaminated products reached consumers.

USA -Hepatitis A Outbreak at Mendham Golf and Tennis Club in New Jersey

Food Poisoning Bulletin

hepatitis A outbreak has sickened 23 people after they visited the Mendham Golf and Tennis Club in Mendham Township, New Jersey. This is a members only club. A food handler was diagnosed with hepatitis A and worked at the club while infectious. One person is “seriously ill,” according to the press release by the New Jersey Department of Health.

UK – Listeria outbreak in English hospitals: update

Apologies for this being late but i have been on holiday 🙂


06 August 2019

Article: 53/3104

The Public Health England (PHE) team investigating cases of listeriosis linked to sandwiches and salads in NHS hospitals in England has confirmed that, since the last update on 26 June 2019, there has been another death, bringing to six the total number of deaths linked to this outbreak.

The individual who died was one of the nine previously confirmed cases. The individual is considered to have acquired listeriosis from Good Food Chain products while at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

PHE continues to test all samples of listeria on an ongoing basis to check if they are linked to this outbreak. To date, thirty-four samples have been tested, with none linked to the outbreak.

There have been no new cases of listeriosis linked to this outbreak. Investigations are continuing and the public should be reassured that the risk continues to be low.

No cases have been reported in Scotland so far.

USA – Basil Cyclospora Outbreak Has Sickened 205 in 11 States

Food Poisoning Bulletin Cyclospora_LifeCycle201

The FDA has updated the basil cyclospora outbreak that has now sickened at least 205 people in 11 states. That’s an increase of 73 patients since the last update which was posted on July 25, 2019. Five people have been hospitalized because they are so sick. The basil in question is imported from Mexico by Siga Logistics de RL de CV from Morelos. That facility recalled basil on July 24, 2019.

USA -Outbreak of Listeria Infections Linked to Deli-Sliced Meats and Cheeses

Illustration with a microscope and text reading Investigation Notice

Posted April 17, 2019 at 4:30 PM ET

CDC and several states are investigating a multistate outbreak of Listeria infections linked to deli-sliced meats and cheeses. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are monitoring the outbreak.

Latest Outbreak Information
Illustration of a megaphone.
At A Glance

Photo of deli products.

  • A total of 8 people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from 4 states.
    • All 8 people have been hospitalized, and one death has been reported from Michigan.
  • Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that meats and cheeses sliced at deli counters might be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes and could make people sick.
  • In interviews, ill people report eating different types and brands of products, including meats and cheeses, purchased from and sliced at deli counters in many different retail locations.
  • The outbreak strain has been identified in samples taken from meat sliced at a deli and from deli counters in multiple stores.
  • A single, common supplier of deli products has not been identified.
  • CDC is not advising that consumers avoid eating products prepared at delis, or that retailers stop selling deli-sliced products.
  • Retailers should clean and sanitize deli slicersExternal frequently and other areas where deli products are prepared, stored, or served to avoid cross contamination.
  • This outbreak is a reminder that people at higher risk for severe Listeria infection should handle deli-sliced meats and cheeses carefully to prevent illness. Pregnant women and their newborns, adults age 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to get sick with listeriosis.

Research – Occurrence of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Pest Flies Captured in Leafy Greens Plots Grown Near a Beef Cattle Feedlot

Journal of Food Protection


Leafy greens are leading vehicles for Escherichia coli O157:H7 foodborne illness. Pest flies can harbor this pathogen and may disseminate it to produce. We determined the occurrence of E. coli O157:H7–positive flies in leafy greens planted up to 180 m from a cattle feedlot and assessed their relative risk to transmit this pathogen to leafy greens. The primary fly groups captured on sticky traps at the feedlot and leafy greens plots included house flies (Musca domestica L.), face flies (Musca autumnalisL.), stable flies (Stomoxys calcitrans L.), flesh flies (family Sarcophagidae), and blow flies (family Calliphoridae). E. coliO157:H7 carriage rates of house, face, flesh, and blow flies were similar (P > 0.05), ranging from 22.3 to 29.0 flies per 1,000 flies. In contrast, the carriage rate of stable flies was lower at 1.1 flies per 1,000 flies (P < 0.05). Differences in carriage rates are likely due to the uses of fresh bovine feces and manure by these different pest fly groups. E. coli O157:H7 carriage rates of total flies did not differ (P > 0.05) by distance (ranging from 0 to 180 m) from the feedlot. Most fly isolates were the same predominant pulsed-field gel electrophoresis types found in feedlot surface manure and leafy greens, suggesting a possible role for flies in transmitting E. coli O157:H7 to the leafy greens. However, further research is needed to clarify this role and to determine set-back distances between cattle production facilities and produce crops that will reduce the risk for pathogen contamination by challenging mechanisms like flies.

  • E. coli O157:H7 was common in flies captured in leafy greens plots near a feedlot.

  • E. coli O157:H7 carriage rates of house, face, flesh, and blow flies were similar.

  • Stable flies had lower E. coli O157:H7 carriage than the other four fly groups.

  • E. coli O157:H7 carriage of total flies was not affected by distance up to 180 m.

  • Research is needed to determine risk for leafy green contamination by pest flies.

Research – Domestic Kitchen Microbiological Contamination and Self-Reported Food Hygiene Practices of Older Adult Consumers

Journal of Food Protection


Because of increased susceptibility, older adults have an increased risk of foodborne infection, and data suggest elevated incidence; therefore, food hygiene is essential to reduce the risk. Research suggests older adults’ inadequate knowledge and negative attitudes toward food hygiene may increase implementation of unsafe food practices. Data on microbiological contamination of domestic kitchens of older adults are lacking. Therefore, this study aimed to determine microbiological contamination of domestic kitchens of older adults. Food contact surfaces and equipment (n = 1,292) in domestic kitchens (n = 100) of older adults (≥60 years) were analyzed to isolate aerobic bacteria, Enterobacteriaceae, Staphylococcus aureus, and Listeria spp.; self-reported hygiene practices were also recorded. Highest contamination levels were determined on in-use cleaning equipment (dish brushes, dishcloths, sponges) with aerobic bacteria <9.3 log CFU per item, Enterobacteriaceae <8.8 log CFU per item, and S. aureus <7.0 log CFU per item. Reported usage length of dish brushes was significantly correlated (P< 0.05) with Enterobacteriaceae contamination. Significant correlations (P < 0.05) were determined between contamination and reported cleaning frequency of refrigerators. Contamination of hand towels in single-occupant households was significantly greater (P < 0.05) than in multioccupant households. The study facilitates novel comparison between reported hygiene practices with microbial contamination, suggesting older adults fail to implement adequate and regular hygiene practices that may increase the possibility of cross-contamination in the domestic kitchen and the associated risk of foodborne illness. Data from this study have determined a need for older adults to improve food hygiene practices in the domestic kitchen.

  • In-use dish brushes and dishcloths were most commonly contaminated with high counts of bacteria.

  • Correlations existed between dishcloth contamination and multiple kitchen sites.

  • Reported dish brush usage length was significantly correlated with contamination level.

  • Reported time since cleaning of refrigerators was positively correlated with contamination levels.

  • Inadequate and irregular hygiene practices may increase foodborne illness risk to older adults.