Category Archives: Food Testing

Australia – How a frozen meringue led investigators to the source of a potent Salmonella outbreak


When people started getting sick from a particularly potent strain of salmonella last year, a team of experts rushed to try to trace the source of the outbreak.

Key points:

  • Salmonella enteritidis (SE) is worse than other forms of the bacteria because it infects the hen’s ovaries, meaning the bacteria is deposited inside eggs
  • Other forms of salmonella are just found on the outside of eggs and human illness can be avoided by washing them and discarding those with cracked shells
  • SE is found in egg industries around the world, but until last year Australian farms were free of the harmful bacteria

Investigation is the key to managing and containing an outbreak’s impact — for consumers, farmers and entire industries, which can be brought to their knees if things go badly.

But investigators depend on people’s memories of what they’ve eaten, making it a seemingly impossible task.

A few weeks after being interviewed, one of those people remembered they had a frozen meringue cake in their freezer, leftover from a birthday party, around the time they got sick.

Officers went to that person’s home, collected the cake and had it tested.

“We were able to isolate the salmonella enteritidis and it had that same whole genome sequence. At the same time we could see who manufactured that cake,” Ms Szabo said.

USA – State Fairs – E.coli O157 Outbreaks are common

Food Poisoning Bulletin

With the announcement yesterday of the MN State Fair E. coli outbreak that has sickened 11 people and hospitalized six, we were wondering how many other state and county fairs have had these serious outbreaks. Are these E. coli. outbreaks common at local, county, and state fairs?

  • In 2012, a huge E. coli outbreak linked to the Cleveland County Fair in North Carolina sickened 106 people, including 65 children. Thirteen people were hospitalized in that outbreak, and one child died. Fair organizers banned petting zoos at the event after this outbreak.
  • In 2014, another E. coli outbreak in Minnesota was linked to Zerebko Zoo Tran, a traveling petting zoo that goes from fair to fair during the summer months. At least 13 people were sickened in that outbreak.
  • In 2015, an E. coli outbreak associated with the Oxford County Fair in Maine sickened two children; one child died.
  • Also in 2015, an E. coli outbreak at the Red River Valley Fair in West Fargo, North Dakota sickened three children; one child developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure.
  • In 2016, an E. coli outbreak associated with the Washington County Fair in Oregon sickened at least two people.
  • In 2017, an E. coli outbreak at the Mesa County Fair in Grand Junction, Colorado sickened at least eight people.
  • Earlier this year, an E. coli outbreak at the San Diego County Fair sickened 10 people. Three people were hospitalized and one child died.

USA – Fresno State Creamery Recalls Butter Spread For Listeria

Food Poisoning Bulletin

The Fresno State Creamery is recalling 40 15-ounce containers of Fresno State Butter Spread – Regular because it may contain Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. The product was sold at the Gibson Farm Market. One container was sold off site.

The recalled butter spread has a product code of 249 and a sell by date of 02/01/20 or 08/01/20. No reports of illness have been received to date in connection with this recalled product.

Fresno State Creamery is inspected by the Department of Milk and Dairy Food Safety branch of the California Department to food and Agriculture. This recall is being issued out of an abundance of caution. People who purchased this butter spread should return it to the store for a full refund.

USA – Outbreak Investigation of E. coli Linked to Ground Bison from Northfork Bison Distributions, July 2019


September 13, 2019

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local partners in the U.S., and with the support of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), investigated a multistate outbreak of E. coli O121 and E. coli O103 illnesses likely linked to ground bison supplied by Northfork Bison Distributions Inc. of Saint-Leonard, Québec, Canada.

On September 13, 2019, CDC announced that the outbreak appears to be over.

During the investigation, FDA and CDC analyzed traceback and epidemiological information to determine that ground bison supplied by Northfork Bison Distributions Inc. was the likely cause of the illnesses. FDA laboratory analysis of bison patties packed by the firm on February 26th, 2019, confirmed the presence of one of the outbreak strains of E. coli.

Northfork Bison Distributions Inc. was forthcoming with information to aid in the investigation, and publicly announced a voluntary recall on July 16, 2019. This recall included ground bison meat and bison patties produced between February 22 and April 30, 2019.

FDA regulates bison meat because the authority is not assigned specifically to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) in the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA).


Because the product is frozen and may still be in freezers, distributors, retailers and restaurants should not distribute, use or serve ground bison (including bison burgers) recalled by Northfork Bison Distributions Inc.

Consumers should not eat products prepared using recalled ground bison (including bison burgers) sold under the Northfork Bison label including bison burgers sold to retailers in 4 x 4-ounce packages with expiration dates through October 8, 2020.

Buffalo Burger Canadian Bison Meat

USA- More Hepatitis A in the USA

Food Poisoning Bulletin

A food worker at the Waffle House, located at 120 South Goose Creek Boulevard in Goose Creek, South Carolina was diagnosed with hepatitis A. Anyone who ate there between August 24 and September 13, 2019 may have been exposed. The restaurant is located in Berkeley County.

RASFF Alerts – E.coli – Chilled Mussels – Grand Livarot AOP Cheese – Chilled Beef – Live Clams- Dried Anchovies

Last two weeks catch up.


RASFF – too high count of Escherichia coli (790 MPN/100g) in chilled mussels from the Netherlands in the Netherlands

RASFF – too high count of Escherichia coli (1500000 CFU/g) in grand Livarot AOP (cheese made from pasteurised milk) from France in France

RASFF – Escherichia coli (in 5 out of 5 samples) in chilled beef from Italy in Italy

RASFF – too high count of Escherichia coli (up to 16000 MPN/100g) in live clams (Chamelea gallina) from Italy in Italy

RASFF – high counts of Enterobacteriaceae (up to 7.8 x 10^4 MPN/g) and of Escherichia coli (up to 1.1 x 10^3 MPN/g) in dried anchovies from Vietnam in the UK

USA – Deadly Doughnuts? Yet another food service worker with Hepatitis A

Food Poison Journal

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health has issued a warning of possible hepatitis A exposure after a Kensington doughnut shop worker tested positive for the infection. Health officials say the employee works at Yumcious Donuts at 3001 Kensington Ave.

The health department recommends anyone who purchased doughnuts from Yumcious or the Quick Stop at the same address between Aug. 20 and Sept. 4, should receive a hepatitis A vaccine as soon as possible. People who have previously received two doses of hepatitis A vaccine or have had hepatitis A in the past do not need to be vaccinated.