Category Archives: Food Poisoning Death

Switzerland – Pathogenic bacteria in food


The main pathogenic bacteria in food are Campylobacter and Salmonella. But Listeria in cheese and enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (ECEH) bacteria in young shoots have also made headlines in recent years.



Smoked fish, what are the health risks?

04/16/2021 – Smoked fish are popular specialties in Switzerland. Consumed without cooking, they can become a food safety concern if hygiene rules are not respected during processing.

An assessment of the dietary risks associated with smoked fish was carried out as part of a pilot study in collaboration with the Office for Consumer Affairs of the canton of Vaud.

The study did not reveal any major risk, but follow-up should be ensured in order to maintain a high level of food safety and quality. The cantonal authorities concerned will keep this topic in their monitoring program and the FSVO plans to carry out a more detailed assessment.

Eingefärbtes rasterelektronisches Bild von Campylobacter jejuni

The prevention of infections with food germs of bacterial origin requires careful observance of simple hygiene rules in the kitchen .

Likewise, it is very important to wash your hands after coming into contact with animal products, as Campylobacter, Salmonella, Listeria and EHEC are transmitted from animals to humans. These diseases are called zoonoses.


Infection with Campylobacter bacteria is the most common zoonosis in Switzerland, as in other European countries. It is the cause of gastrointestinal diseases in humans. The illness can last for about a week and in some circumstances may require hospitalization.

Campylobacter infection is characterized by abdominal pain, watery or bloody diarrhea, and an increase in temperature. Vomiting and high fever can also occur.

Infection is caused by contaminated food that has not been sufficiently cooked before consumption or that has come into direct contact with animals. In southern countries, contaminated water sources also represent a significant risk. The main source of infection, however, remains poultry meat.

According to data from the Federal Office of Public Health (OFSP), there are around 1,000 cases of Campylobacter infections each year. All patients do not consult their doctor, this figure is actually much higher. Overall, the number of cases has grown steadily over the past few years to reach around 7,500 during the year 2014.

Prevent Campylobacter infections

Campylobacter bacteria can survive in food, but cannot multiply there. Since contamination by Campylobacter does not affect foodstuffs, it is not possible to identify their presence by smell or appearance.

Campylobacter can be safely eliminated by thoroughly cooking the food at 70 ° C for at least 2 minutes by roasting, cooking or pasteurization. Freezing the food reduces the number of Campylobacter, without eliminating them completely.


Salmonella infection is most often manifested by inflammatory bowel disease with sudden onset of diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever, headache and abdominal pain. Salmonella infections are subject to notification .

They usually occur by ingesting contaminated food. The danger comes mainly from poultry, eggs, egg preparations, unpasteurized milk and meat products. Contamination through other animal products, utensils used, water, humans, etc. can occur throughout the food manufacturing process.

Prevent salmonellosis  

Salmonella infections are fought on two levels:

  1. the number of infected domestic animals should be reduced; 
  2. contamination of food with salmonella must be avoided and their multiplication stopped.


In people without weakened immune systems, a Listeria infection is usually accompanied by mild symptoms or even no symptoms at all. People who are immunocompromised can experience a variety of serious symptoms, the outcome of which can be fatal. During pregnancy, a Listeria infection can lead to miscarriage or cause a child to have sepsis or meningitis when it is born.

Listeria transmission is caused by the ingestion of contaminated raw food, mainly of animal origin: meat, smoked fish, cold cuts, soft cheese. Transmission through contact with infected animals is rarer.

Prevent listeriosis  

In the first place, the general rules of hygiene should be observed when in contact with food and animals. Pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems should in particular avoid raw vegetables, raw or undercooked meat as well as raw fish and seafood, soft cheese and cheese made from unpasteurized milk. .

Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC)

The majority of people infected with EHEC have abdominal pain accompanied by cramping, a short-term fever followed by intestinal colic which becomes violent, and slightly bloody hemorrhagic diarrhea. In a minority of people, only watery diarrhea is observed. Cases of EHEC infections are very rare in Switzerland. The mortality rate reaches 3 to 5%.

Escherichia coli bacteria naturally belong to our intestinal flora. EHECs are a pathogenic line of these generally harmless bacteria. Infection occurs first by consuming contaminated animal foods, mainly undercooked ground beef and unpasteurized dairy products. Contaminated drinking water, young shoots, potatoes and unpasteurized apple juice can, for example, also contain EHEC. More rarely, cases of transmission of EHEC are observed through contact with animals or animal faeces.

Prevent EHEC infections

Since a very small number of infectious agents is enough to get sick, it is important to follow the general rules of hygiene. It is therefore strongly recommended to wash your hands thoroughly after having been in contact with animals and to cook the meat thoroughly when preparing meals. Raw food should always be stored in the refrigerator.

Further information

Research – An Overview of Traceback Investigations and Three Case Studies of Recent Outbreaks of Escherichia coli O157:H7 Infections Linked to Romaine Lettuce

Journal of Food Protection

Eurofins Food Testing UK

Leafy greens contaminated with Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) have continued to cause foodborne illness outbreaks in recent years and present a threat to public health. An important component of foodborne illness outbreak investigations is determining the source of the outbreak vehicle through traceback investigations. The Food and Drug Administration is home to traceback investigation experts that employ a standardized process to initiate, execute, and interpret the results of traceback investigations in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local partners. Traceback investigations of three outbreaks of STEC infections linked to romaine lettuce in 2018 and 2019 were examined to demonstrate challenges, limitations, and opportunities for improvement. The three outbreaks resulted in a total of 474 illnesses, 215 hospitalizations, and five deaths. These illnesses were linked to the consumption of romaine lettuce from three distinct growing regions in Arizona and California. Some of the challenges encountered included the time it took to initiate a traceback, limited product-identifying information throughout the supply chain, lack of interoperability in record keeping systems, and co-mingling of product from multiple suppliers. These challenges led to time delays in the identification of the farm source of the leafy greens and the inability to identify the root cause of contamination. Implementation of technology enabled traceability systems, testing of these systems, and future regulations to incentivize adoption of traceability systems are some of the initiatives that will help address these challenges by improving traceback investigations and ultimately preventing foodborne illnesses and future outbreaks from occurring.

Research – Climate change emerges as another culprit in leafy green food poisoning outbreaks

The Counter

The last decade has been particularly rough on the leafy greens industry. If you’ve followed lettuce news, you’re certainly aware of the multiple outbreaks of foodborne pathogens like E. coli, which have killed hundreds and sickened thousands more. Cattle feedlots have emerged as a major source of contamination for leafy green contamination but over at Eater, Jenny Zhang homes in on another culprit: climate change. Though it’s an emergent field of study and many unknowns remain, some early observations include: Rising temperatures can help E. coli and salmonella proliferate; those same hot temps provoke cattle into shedding pathogens more readily; and climate change-related flooding can rapidly spread contamination into water supplies used in irrigation. “Think of climate change as both an amplification of existing hazards, as well as a potential trigger for things we can’t foresee,” writes Zhang.

Vietnam – Woman dies in HCMC after eating toxic vegan pate – Clostridium botulinum

VN Express


A 42-year-old woman has died and two others are in critical condition in HCMC after consuming vegan food that might have been contaminated with the botulinum toxin.

The woman, her 16-year-old daughter and 53-year-old sister had bowls of rice vermicelli on March 20. Among its ingredients was pate from an inflated can, indicating possible contamination.

All three women later developed symptoms of muscle weakness, respiratory and circulatory failure. They were rushed from the southern province of Binh Duong to the 115 People’s Hospital in HCMC. While one woman died, the other two were in critical condition as of Thursday.

India – Two-year-old dead, several babies ill due to food poisoning at shelter home in Bengal’s Nadia

New Indian Express

RANAGHAT: A two-year-old baby died and seven others fell ill at a shelter home in West Bengal’s Nadia district on Monday allegedly due to food poisoning, officials said.

The incident happened at the shelter home in Ranaghat’s Rabindra Sarani area, District Magistrate Partha Ghosh said.

The shelter home is run by NGO State Adopted Agency and total 16 babies live there, he said.

However, sources said that the number of babies taken ill is more and the toll may rise as a few babies are critical.

They are undergoing treatment at the Ranaghat Anulia Hospital, Ghosh said.

The babies started falling ill after having food on Sunday night, officials said.

Madagascar – Nineteen die in Madagascar after eating turtle – Algal Toxin


Nineteen people, nine of them children, have died from food poisoning in Madagascar after eating a turtle, sources said Thursday.

Thirty-four people were hospitalized on Monday in Vatomandry, in the east of the island, after eating the protected species, the Health and Food Safety Control Agency said.

Ten of them died, it said.

Another nine people, all of them children, died at home after eating meat from the same turtle, region’s governor said.

Health authorities have warned against eating turtles, as well two dozen species of fish, which feed on algae that can be toxic during the November-March hot season.

Dozens of food poisonings occur each year in coastal Madagascar and deaths are common.

Sixteen fatalities were recorded in two incidents in the 2017-18 hot season.

UK – Update 12 March: The FSA is reiterating its advice on cooking frozen raw breaded chicken products following links to cases of Salmonella


The FSA is repeating advice to consumers following an updated recall linked to salmonella contamination.

SFC has issued an updated recall of chicken products because Salmonella Enteritidis (a food poisoning bug) has been found in some of these foods.

This update includes the original products identified in previous recalls as well as additional products.

Dr Colin Sullivan, Chief Operating Officer, FSA said:

‘The products are linked to two ongoing outbreaks of Salmonella Enteritidis (a food poisoning bug) in chicken from Poland.

‘The producer put additional controls in place to improve the safety of their products in November 2020. SFC has decided to withdraw and recall all of its chicken products produced before this date.

‘The FSA will be making additional checks to ensure the effectiveness of this withdrawal and recall.’

Products affected

The full list of products is available in the food alert.

Update on the wider Salmonella investigation

We are continuing to work with Food Standards Scotland (FSS), Public Health England (PHE), Public Health Scotland, Public Health Wales and the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland as part of the ongoing investigation into two particular strains of Salmonella linked to frozen raw breaded chicken products from Poland.

We previously issued precautionary consumer advice in October 2020 and February 2021. Additional controls have been put in place by food businesses at production level. These changes to the production process are proving to be effective and we hope to see a further reduction in cases in the coming months as these products are removed from the food chain. While we continue these efforts, it is important that people carefully follow food hygiene advice.

Investigations are ongoing into identifying the source of the outbreaks at farm level in Poland. Should more products be identified actions to remove unsafe food will be taken.

Saheer Gharbia, Head of the Gastrointestinal Pathogens Unit of PHE’s National Infection Service, said:

‘While we appear to be past the peak of this outbreak, and case reporting rate has decreased in recent months, we are still detecting some cases through whole genome sequencing, so it is important that people carefully follow food hygiene advice. We continue to work closely with the Food Standards Agency to resolve the outbreak.

‘Salmonella generally causes a mild illness, although vulnerable groups like children under five years, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems may experience more severe illness and may require hospitalisation. Symptoms of a Salmonella infection include diarrhoea, stomach cramps and sometimes vomiting and fever. Anyone who is concerned about symptoms should contact their GP or out of hours service in the first instance.’

Our advice to consumers

If consumers have bought any of the products in the updated recall, they can return them to the store where they were bought for a full refund.

We are encouraging consumers to always cook food at the right temperature and for the correct length of time to ensure any harmful bacteria are killed. Before serving these products, make sure they are steaming hot and cooked all the way through. When you cut into the thickest part of the meat, check that none of the meat is pink and that any juices run clear.

Anyone who is concerned about symptoms should contact their GP or out of hours service in the first instance.

Only the products listed in the recall notice are affected. There is no need to change your shopping habits for chicken products.

India – Evolution of Organic Food Safety Standards in India

FNB News

Food safety is the key to achieve better public health. The high incidence of foodborne illness is a burden on public health and contributes significantly to the cost of health care. Though most of the foodborne illnesses are rare and often not reported in India, however, a nationwide study reported an alarming 13.2 per cent prevalence at the household level. Therefore there is a need for a comprehensive approach for safer and nutritious food for Indian citizens. Safer food promises a healthier lifestyle, longer lives, less costly healthcare and more resilient food industry.
The Indian food industry is regulated by the number of legislations covering licensing, sanitation, and permits. Food Safety and Standards Act 2006, established by the Government of India, was a vital step in the direction of developing the standards for food and regulating and monitoring the manufacture, processing, storage, distribution, sale, and import of food to ensure the availability of safe and nutritious food for human consumption.

Kyrgyzstan – Food poisoning kills 6 in Kyrgyzstan


Six people have died from food poisoning in Kyrgyzstan after dining at a cafe, the press service of the country’s Ministry of Health reported on Thursday.

Early Thursday morning, four victims went to the Aksy Territorial Hospital in Jalal-Abad Oblast in the southern part of the country for treatment for food poisoning.

Three of them have died despite rescue measures while the other one continued to receive treatment, whose symptoms are moderate and the person’s condition is stable, the ministry said, adding that another three victims died from food poisoning at home.

The victims said that 19 people had salad and beshbarmak and drank alcohol diluted with water for lunch at a cafe on Tuesday.

At present, local health workers are checking the rest participants of the meal, and an epidemiological investigation into the poisoning is ongoing, the ministry said. Enditem

Research – Case–control study of gastro-intestinal outbreak in a rural village, Philippines – 2017

IJID Online

On March 21, 2017, field investigating team was sent to Cayapa Village, Abra, Philippines due to an increasing cases of foodborne illness. An epidemiologic investigation was conducted to verify the diagnosis, establish existence of outbreak, identify risk factors, and recommend control and prevention measures.

The epidemic curve indicates a point source outbreak of gastrointestinal Anthrax. We found valid statistical and temporal association of eating by-product of dead water buffalo and gastrointestinal Anthrax. Though, bacterial isolation were both negative for human specimen and environmental sample, all clinical manifestations were consistent with Bacillus anthracis rather than other foodborne bacterial pathogens. Hence, we conducted massive information education campaign sick or dead animal by-product should not be sold or eaten and properly handled and disposed.