Category Archives: Food Micro Blog

Norway – 2 dead, 2,000 sick from Campylobacter in water in Norway

Barfblog

A 1-year-old child from the island died last week of an infection in the digestive tract, but it was not clear whether the death was linked to the water contamination.

About 2,000 people have fallen sick. Since June 6, 64 have been hospitalized.

Hospital tests have shown that Campylobacter was found in at least three dozen cases.

Local newspaper Askoeyvaeringen reported that there had been been safety issues with the waterworks in the Askoey municipality, and faeces was recently found near a reservoir that supplied part of the area’s drinking water.

Research – Norovirus structures could help develop treatments for food poisoning

Science Direct

Noroviruses are a leading cause of food-borne illness outbreaks, accounting for 58% of all outbreaks and cause 685 million cases worldwide each year. There is no effective therapeutic against them. Having knowledge of the intricate structure of the outer layer of noroviruses, the capsid, which allows the virus to attach to its human host, could help in vaccine development.

In vaccines, specific antibodies recognize the capsids and bind to them so they can no longer interact with human cells. “We need to understand what the norovirus capsid shapes actually look like, and the shape differences between different strains,” said James Jung, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Leemor Joshua-Tor’s lab at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL).

Jung and Joshua-Tor led a team to solve the high-resolution structures of four different strains of noroviruses using a cryo-electron microscope. This allowed them to see the intricate architecture of virus shells in high-definition. Their findings are published in the journal PNAS.

Jung gleaned new insights that could help in guiding the development of therapeutics to fight norovirus infection. “Previously, it was thought that the norovirus shells exist in single-sized assemblies consisting of 180 building blocks and 90 surface spikes. What we found was an unexpected mixture of different shell sizes and shapes. We found a smaller form, which consists of just 60 building blocks with 30 surface spikes placed further apart. We also found larger shells made out of 240 building blocks with 120 surface spikes that are lifted significantly above the base of the shell and form a two-layered architecture that could interact differently with the human cells,” he said.

The spikes on the shell interact with the host. Jung found that the distance and orientation of the spikes varied across the different strains of noroviruses. “That means each strain will interact differently with human cells,” Jung explained. “The way the antibodies bind is also going to be different. Vaccines should be formulated to take into account the variations across strains and structural forms.”

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Europe – Giardiasis (lambliasis) – Annual Epidemiological Report for 2017

ECDC

CDC Giardia2

Image CDC

Key facts
• In 2017, 19 437 confirmed giardiasis cases were reported in the EU/EEA.
• The EU/EEA notification rate was 5.5 cases per 100 000 population. The highest notification rates were reported in Belgium, Estonia and Sweden.
• The highest notification rate per 100 000 was observed in the age group 0–4 years (17.6 for males and 14.9 for females).
• While the EU/EEA notification rate was stable during the period 2013–2017, the annual number of cases has increased steadily.

Report Download

 

Research – Prevention of Foodborne Cyclospora Outbreaks

AGF Storage Cyclospora_LifeCycle201

In the spring and summer of 2018, Fresh Express and other fresh produce suppliers were linked to a Cyclospora cayetanensis outbreak — with U.S.-grown fresh produce samples testing positive for the parasite. To address this issue, Fresh Express formed the Blue-Ribbon Panel on the Prevention of Foodborne Cyclospora Outbreaks, comprising scientists with deep expertise in the biology of the organism, food safety, outbreak response, and public health. The panel was charged with studying the parasite and identifying controls to limit further C. cayetanensis– associated outbreaks. After a November 2018 in-person meeting, the Blue-Ribbon Panel formed four working groups that continued to work on C. cayetanensis specific issues related to root-cause assessment, preventive measures/controls, collaborative approach, and testing
validation over the next several months. This report contains the working groups’ preliminary findings, recommendations, and continuing priorities to more effectively prevent and control C. cayetanensis outbreaks going forward.

 

UK – Update on listeria cases being investigated

FSA

The Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland are continuing to investigate foods linked to listeria infections in hospitals.

There continues to only be cases in England.

All products linked to the cases have been withdrawn and food chain investigations continue.

Listeria is widespread in the environment and can contaminate a range of foods. However, all reported cases of listeria linked to food production are fully investigated to ensure public safety is being protected.

Low levels of listeria are legally permitted in some foods. The risk to the general population is low and infections are rare.

To date, all of the cases linked to this incident have involved people from vulnerable groups in healthcare organisations who were being treated for existing medical conditions.

North Country Quality Foods, which supplies meats produced by North Country Cooked Meats, took action once a link was confirmed to withdraw products that might pose a risk of listeria infection. This withdrawal notification instructed businesses not to use the food or distribute it further. North Country Cooked Meats and North Country Quality Foods both remain closed.

The Good Food Chain, who were supplied with ingredients from North Country Cooked Meats, has withdrawn all products from hospitals and other businesses and has ceased production.

Dr Colin Sullivan, Chief Operating Officer at the FSA said:

‘Our sympathies remain with the families of the patients who have tragically passed away.

‘We have taken action along with local authorities to minimise the risk based on the evidence so far.

‘The FSA will continue to investigate the cause of the outbreak to prevent a reoccurrence.’

USA – In Association with ADM Milling Co, King Arthur Flour, Inc. Voluntarily Recalls Limited Quantity of Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (5 Lb.) Because of Possible Health Risk – E.coli

FDA 

In cooperation with ADM Milling Company, King Arthur Flour, Inc. of Norwich, VT is voluntarily recalling 14,218 cases of 5 lb. Unbleached All-Purpose Flour due to the potential presence of Escherichia coli bacteria (E. coli).

The recalled Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (5 lb.) was distributed through retailers and distributors nationwide. No products sold through our website, Baker’s Catalogue, or the Baker’s Store in Norwich, VT are included in this voluntary recall.

The only product affected by this voluntary recall is our Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (5 lb.) from these six specific lot codes and three Best Used by Dates, which can be found on the bottom of the side panel, below the nutrition facts panel.


BEST USED BY 12/07/19   LOT:   L18A07C
BEST USED BY 12/08/19   LOTS: L18A08A, L18A08B
BEST USED BY 12/14/19   LOTS: L18A14A, L18A14B, L18A14C

USA -Outbreaks of Salmonella Infections Linked to Backyard Poultry

CDC

Latest Outbreak Information
Illustration of a megaphone.
At A Glance
  • Reported Cases: 279
  • States: 41
  • Hospitalizations: 40
  • Deaths: 0

Infographic with baby chickens on it reading Always wash your hands after handling live poultry.

  • Since the last update on May 16, 2019, illnesses in an additional 227 people and 20 states have been added to this investigation. Four Salmonella serotypes have also been added.
  • A total of 279 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella have been reported from 41 states.
    • 40 (26%) people have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported.
    • 70 (30%) people are children younger than 5 years.
  • Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicate that contact with backyard poultry, such as chicks and ducklings, from multiple hatcheries is the likely source of these outbreaks.
    • In interviews, 118 (77%) of 153 ill people reported contact with chicks or ducklings.
    • People reported obtaining chicks and ducklings from several sources, including agricultural stores, websites, and hatcheries.
  • One of the outbreak strains making people sick has been identified in samples collected from backyard poultry in Ohio.