Category Archives: Food Poisoning

USA – Investigation of E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak Linked to Romaine from Salinas, California, November 2019


kswfoodworld E.coli O157

Image CDC



FDA, CDC, and state health authorities are investigating an outbreak of illnesses caused by E. coli O157:H7 in the United States. Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback evidence indicates that romaine lettuce from the Salinas, California growing region is a likely source of this outbreak. According to CDC, there have been 102 cases reported in 23 states.  The latest date that one of these patients reports becoming ill was on November 18, 2019.

Romaine from Salinas, California Label Enjoy By December 2, 2019


Romaine from Salinas, California Label Use By November 29, 2019

Consumers: Consumers should not eat romaine lettuce harvested from Salinas, California. Additionally, consumers should not eat products identified in the recall announced by the USDA on November 21, 2019.

Romaine lettuce may be voluntarily labeled with a harvest region. If this voluntary label indicates that the romaine lettuce was grown in “Salinas” (whether alone or with the name of another location) do not eat it. Throw it away or return it to the place of purchase.  If romaine lettuce does not have information about harvest region or does not indicate that it has been grown indoors (i.e., hydroponically- and greenhouse-grown), throw it away or return it to the place of purchase. Consumers ordering salad containing romaine at a restaurant or at a salad bar should ask the staff whether the romaine came from Salinas.  If it did, or they do not know, do not eat it.

At this time, romaine lettuce that was harvested outside of the Salinas region has not been implicated in this outbreak investigation. Hydroponically- and greenhouse-grown romaine, which is voluntarily labeled as “indoor grown,” from any region does not appear to be related to the current outbreak. There is no recommendation for consumers to avoid using romaine harvested from these other sources.

Restaurants and Retailers: Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell romaine harvested from Salinas, California.  If you do not know the source of your romaine lettuce, and if you cannot obtain that information from your supplier, you should not serve, nor sell it.

Suppliers and Distributors: Suppliers, distributors and others in the supply chain should not ship or sell romaine harvested in Salinas, California. If the source of the romaine lettuce is unknown, you should not ship, nor sell the product.

For Restaurants, Retailers, Suppliers and Distributors: Currently, the FDA does not have enough traceback information to identify the specific source of the contamination that would allow us to request a targeted recall from specific growers.

FDA requested that industry voluntarily withdraw romaine grown in Salinas from the market and is requesting that industry withhold distribution of Salinas romaine for the remainder of the growing season in Salinas. Without more specific traceback information, this was the most efficient way to ensure that contaminated romaine was off the market.

At this time, romaine lettuce that was harvested outside of the Salinas region has not been implicated in this outbreak investigation. Hydroponically- and greenhouse-grown romaine, which is voluntarily labeled as “indoor grown,” from any region does not appear to be related to the current outbreak. There is no recommendation for consumers or retailers to avoid using romaine harvested from these other sources.


According to the CDC, as of December 2, 2019, 102 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from 23 states. The case patients report that illnesses started on dates ranging from September 24, 2019 to November 18, 2019. Illness onset dates reported to date are prior to the public warning issued on November 22.

Based on available traceback data, FDA requested that industry voluntarily withdraw romaine grown in Salinas from the market and is requesting that industry  withhold distribution of Salinas romaine for the remainder of the growing season in Salinas. This was the most efficient way to ensure that contaminated romaine was off the market.

Products that were part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced recall related to this outbreak investigation had a “Best By” of Nov. 1 or earlier, more than one month ago, and should no longer be on the market.

FDA continues to actively investigate the cause of this outbreak. FDA, with the assistance of staff from the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Food and Agriculture, immediately deployed investigators to three farms in the Salinas area that were identified based on the traceback investigation. On the farms, investigators sampled soil and animal droppings, compost, water, and other potential environmental sources. The samples and information collected during the farm investigations are currently being analyzed. Investigators are attempting to identify any factors that could have led to contamination. Additionally, state partners are testing romaine lettuce samples for E. coli that they have collected from stores and from case patients’ homes.

The FDA and state partners are conducting a traceback investigation to determine whether a common supplier or source of contamination can be identified.  This investigation involves collecting and analyzing potentially hundreds of distribution records to trace the romaine that may have been available at points of exposure reported by ill people to their source. We are continuing to collect these records.

This remains an evolving and fluid situation. Information about our findings will be forthcoming as the investigation proceeds.

The Salinas region as defined by the United Fresh Produce Association and the Produce Marketing Association Romaine Taskforce ReportExternal Link Disclaimer includes: Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, San Benito, and Monterey counties in California.

Case Counts

Total Illnesses: 102
Hospitalizations: 58
Deaths: 0
Last illness onset: November 18, 2019
States with Cases:  AZ (3), CA (4), CO (6), FL (1), IA (1), ID (3), IL (1), MD (4), MI (1), MN (3), MT (1), NE (1), NJ (7), NC (1), NM (2), OH (12), OR (1), PA (8), SD (1), TX (4), VA (4), WA (2), WI (31)

New Zealand – MPI puts consumer health first – directs unregistered raw (unpasteurised) drinking milk producers to stop selling

MPI Raw Milk Food Safety KSW Foodworld

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has directed unregistered raw (unpasteurised) drinking milk suppliers across the country to stop selling their product until they comply with the legal requirements for sale.

MPI compliance staff yesterday executed search warrants at non-compliant raw drinking milk suppliers in Auckland, Hawkes Bay, Manawatu, Horowhenua, Nelson, and Southland following a year-long operation.

MPI’s manager of food compliance Melinda Sando says the purpose of the coordinated site visits was to gather evidence of the offending and to allow further investigation of non-compliant sales.

“We believe that the suppliers we visited today are operating outside of the regulatory framework. By not adhering to the rules for selling raw drinking milk, they are putting consumer health at risk.

“There have been multiple instances in the past of people getting sick after drinking raw milk from some of these suppliers. We can’t let this continue.

“Raw unpasteurised milk is a risky product as it hasn’t been heat-treated (pasteurised) to remove illness-causing bacteria including E. coli, listeria and Campylobacter.

“These types of bacteria most commonly cause severe diarrhoea and vomiting, but occasionally some have been linked with more serious complications that include miscarriage, paralysis, meningitis, and serious kidney problems in children. Raw milk may also be a source of tuberculosis (Tb).

Canada -Food Recall Warning – President’s Choice brand Coleslaw recalled due to Salmonella


Recall details

Ottawa, December 3, 2019 – Loblaw Companies Ltd. is recalling President’s Choice brand Coleslaw from the marketplace due to possible Salmonella contamination. Consumers should not consume the recalled product described below.

Recalled product

Brand Product Size UPC Codes
President’s Choice Coleslaw 397 g 0 60383 22267 3 Best Before 2019 DE 04 – B318005 and
Best Before 2019 DE 04 – B318006


This recall was triggered by Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) test results. The CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.

The CFIA is verifying that industry is removing the recalled product from the marketplace.


There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.

Product photos

Printer ready version of photos

  • President's Choice - Coleslaw
  • President's Choice - Coleslaw - code

Cambodia – Two die from food poisoning in detox centre

Khmer Times

Two young men out of more than 100 youths being treated for drug addiction at a detox centre in Banteay Meanchey province’s Serei Sorphoan city died today from food poisoning, a health official said.

Keo Sopheatra, director of Banteay Meanchey provincial Health Department, today said that more than 100 youths at Phnom Bak New Life Center had food poisoning on Sunday, but two of them died.

UK – Dairy recalls milk and cream products due to potential E. coli infection


03 December 2019

Article: 53/4806

Darwin’s Dairy, located in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, has recalled all of its milk and cream products, as they may not have been effectively pasteurised. This means that these products may contain harmful bacteria such as E. coli.

Details of the products affected can be found on the Food Standards Agency (FSA) website. Point-of-sale notices will be displayed in all retail stores selling the products. The notices explain to customers why the products are being recalled and what to do if they have bought the products.

The dairy has also contacted delivery customers to advise them of the product recall.

Source: FSA, 27 November 2019

Research – NARMS report shows rising resistance in foodborne bacteria


The latest data from a national surveillance system that monitors foodborne bacteria for antibiotic resistance shows rising resistance to the drugs commonly used to treat Salmonella infections.

The findings come from the 2016-2017 National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring Systems (NARMS) Integrated Summary, which combines data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). The report provides a snapshot of antibiotic resistance patterns found in bacteria isolated from humans, raw retail meats (chicken, ground turkey, ground beef, and pork chops), and healthy animals at slaughter.

In addition to finding rising resistance to first-line antibiotics in human isolates of Salmonella, the NARMS data also show an increase in multidrug-resistant (MDR) Salmonella recovered from chickens and multidrug-resistant Campylobacter coli isolated from beef and dairy cattle.

USA – UNFI Voluntarily Recalls Wild Harvest® Organic All-Purpose Flour, Unbleached – E.coli


UNFI announced today a voluntary national recall of five-pound bags of its Wild Harvest® Organic All-Purpose Flour, Unbleached, with a Code of AA BEST IF USED BY 010820 CC 15:58 and UPC Code 711535509158. The recall is being issued for the potential presence of E. coli. During routine FDA sampling of the five-pound bag product, results were found to be positive for E.coli.

E. coli can cause serious and sometimes life-threatening infections in infants, older people, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems. The most common symptoms of E. coli are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting, which develop within three or four days of eating contaminated food. The illness usually lasts about a week and most people recover without treatment. Guidance from FDA and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) continues to warn that consumers should refrain from consuming any raw products made with flour and that all surfaces, hands and utensils should be properly cleaned after contact with flour or dough.

To date, UNFI has not received any direct consumer reports of confirmed illnesses related to this product. This recall is being issued out of an abundance of care.

This recall only affects the following code date of Wild Harvest® Organic All-Purpose Flour, Unbleached five-pound bags currently in stores or consumers’ pantries. No other types of Wild Harvest® Flour are affected by this recall.

Wild Harvest® Organic All-Purpose Flour, Unbleached (sample label below) Package UPC: 711535509158 Best if Used by Date: 010820 CC 15:58 (can be found on top of the product, see sample below)

Consumers are asked to check their pantries and dispose of the product affected by this recall. Consumers with questions may contact UNFI at 855-423-2630 (customer support is available seven days-a-week between 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM CST). Any consumers concerned about an illness should contact a physician.