Category Archives: foodborne disease

Philippines – Hundreds hospitalized with suspected food poisoning during Marco’s birthday party

Outbreak News Today

More than 300 people have been hospitalized due to suspected food poisoning during the 90th birthday celebration of Imelda R. Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines, according to Philippines news sources.

According to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, 306 are still admitted in the hospital. He went on to say that 149 have been discharged while the rest are still under observation or admitted in the hospital.

The patients “suffered from vomiting and dizziness,” said Richard Gordon, the chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross, which deployed emergency teams to the Ynares Sports Complex east of Manila where the party was held.

Mr. Gordon, who is also a Philippine senator, said hundreds of the estimated 2,000 people at the event apparently became ill after eating chicken adobo, rice and eggs.

USA – Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Linked to Karawan brand Tahini

CDC

This outbreak appears to be over, but recalled tahini products have a long shelf life and may still be in people’s homes. Consumers unaware of the recall could continue to eat these products and potentially get sick. Visit the FDA websiteexternal iconfor a full list of recalled products.

Final Outbreak Information
Illustration of a megaphone.
  • As of June 26, 2019, this outbreak appears to be over.
  • A total of 6 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Concord were reported from 3 states.
    • Illnesses started on dates ranging from March 9, 2019, to May 2, 2019.
    • One hospitalization and no deaths were reported.
  • Epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory evidence indicated that Karawan brand tahini products were the likely source of this outbreak.
  • Do not eat, sell, or serve recalled tahini that is labeled as Karawan Tahini, El-Karawan Tahin,i or SoCo Tahini. Do not eat, sell, or serve products made with recalled tahini, such as hummus.
  • This outbreak was not related to another recent multistate outbreak of Salmonella Concord infections linked to tahini. Ill people in the previous outbreak were infected with a different outbreak strain of Salmonella Concord.

Information – FDA issues new draft guidance to improve the safety of seeds for sprouting

FDA alfalfa

“Over the past 22 years, the FDA has investigated 50 reported outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with contaminated sprouts. Together, these outbreaks resulted in more than an estimated 2,600 cases of illness. Last year, there were two reported outbreaks associated with sprouts, resulting in more than an estimated 100 illnesses. Studies indicate that contaminated seed is the likely source of most sprout-related outbreaks, as this commodity is inherently more susceptible to these issues because they are grown in warm and humid conditions that are favorable for bacteria like Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli,” said FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas. “The FDA is committed to taking swift action to respond to outbreaks related to sprouts and keep our food supply safe, but we also know that measures to prevent issues from happening in the first place are an important element of protecting consumers. By studying outbreaks related to sprouts over the years, we have been able to recommend changes in the industry to help lower the incidence of sprout-related outbreaks. Today’s new draft guidance is another critical step, like the Sprout Safety Alliance or sprout-specific requirements of the Produce Safety Rule, the agency is taking to prevent illnesses related to sprouts.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today released a proposed draft guidance, “Reducing Microbial Food Safety Hazards in the Production of Seed for Sprouting,” intended to make the sprout seed industry (seed growers, conditioners, packers, holders, suppliers, and distributors) aware of the agency’s serious concerns with the continuing outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with the consumption of raw and lightly-cooked sprouts.

Incorporating aspects of the Codex Code of Hygienic Practice for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Annex II, Annex for Sprout Production; the International Sprout Growers Association-Institute for Food Safety and Health’s “U.S. Sprout Production Best Practices”; and Good Agricultural Practices, the FDA’s draft guidance issued today provides the agency’s recommendations to firms throughout the production chain of seed for sprouting. It states that if a grower, holder, conditioner, or distributor reasonably believes that its seeds are expected to be used for sprouting, we recommend that the grower, holder, conditioner, or distributor take steps that are reasonably necessary to prevent those seeds from becoming contaminated. We also recommend that firms throughout the supply chain – from seed production and distribution through sprouting – review their current operations related to seeds for sprouting.

During the 60-day comment period for this draft guidance, stakeholders will be able to provide comments on the draft provisions. For more information on this guidance, as well as instructions on how to submit your comments, please visit Draft Guidance for Industry: Reducing Microbial Food Safety Hazards in the Production of Seed for Sprouting.

USA – Outbreak of E. coli Infections Linked to Ground Beef Final Update

CDC

This outbreak appears to be over. Ill people in this outbreak ate ground beef from many sources. No single supplier, distributor, or brand of ground beef was identified. Consumers and restaurants should always handle and cook ground beef safely to avoid foodborne illness.

Europe – Multi-country outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes clonal complex 8 infections linked to consumption of cold-smoked fish products

ECDC ecdclogo

Summary
A prolonged multi-country outbreak of 22 listeriosis cases caused by Listeria monocytogenes sequence type (ST) 1247, clonal complex (CC) 8 has been identified through whole genome sequencing (WGS) in five EU countries: Denmark (9 cases), Estonia (6), Finland (2), France (1) and Sweden (4). Five patients have died due to, or with, the disease. The first case had symptom onset in July 2014 in Estonia, and the most recent case occurred in Denmark in February 2019. Eight patients, out of twelve for whom a food consumption history was available, confirmed the consumption of cold-smoked fish products. L. monocytogenes food isolates, matching the human outbreak strain by WGS, were detected at wholesale and retail level in four countries (i.e. France, Denmark, Italy and Sweden) from 13 batches of cold smoked or gravad salmon and from six batches of cold smoked trout products. Traceability information of the contaminated batches pointed to the Estonian processing Company A as the single common manufacturer of these fish products. The raw fish was received from suppliers in Norway and Finland. Environmental investigations and food testing at the Estonian processing plant showed the presence of L. monocytogenes that matched the outbreak strain in two samples on the processing line and in four batches of the final product.
The presence of L. monocytogenes matching the outbreak strain over several years in the fish products suggests the persistence of the microorganism at the Estonian company’s premises. Further investigation is needed to identify points of (cross-)contamination in the food processing plant. Control measures were implemented in Estonia, Denmark, France and Italy following the RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) notifications, but until the source of infection has been identified and controlled, new invasive listeriosis cases associated with this event may still occur.
In general, pregnant women, the elderly and immunocompromised individuals are at increased risk of invasive listeriosis, which is associated with severe clinical course and potentially death.

 

USA – Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Linked to Frozen Raw Tuna – has ended

CDC

Salmonellaa

Image CDC

This outbreak appears to be over, but recalled frozen tuna may still be in freezers. People could get sick if restaurants and retailers who are unaware of the recall continue to serve and sell sushi made with recalled frozen tuna. Check the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website for the list of recalled productsexternal icon.

Restaurants and retailers should not sell or serve recalled frozen, ground tuna from Jensen Tuna.

  • On April 15, 2019, Jensen Tuna in Houma, La., voluntarily recalledexternal icon frozen ground tuna imported from JK Fish of Vietnam.
    • The recalled tuna was individually packaged in one-pound bags and sold in 20-pound boxes under lot numbers z266, z271, and z272.
    • Jensen Tuna distributed product to distributors in Connecticut, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, and Washington. Recalled product might have been redistributed to additional states.
    • Restaurants and retailers should contact the distributor if they don’t know whether their frozen ground tuna is recalled. If in doubt, they should not sell or serve it.
  • Consumers who order sushi made with raw tuna, including “spicy tuna,” should ask the restaurant or grocery store if the tuna is from Jensen Tuna. If you are not sure if the tuna has been recalled, do not eat it.
  • Contact your health care provider if you think you may have become ill from eating raw tuna sushi.
  • In general, people who are at higher risk for serious foodborne illness should not eat any raw fish or raw shellfishexternal icon. People at higher risk include children younger than 5 years, pregnant women, adults 65 years and older, and people with weakened immune systems.

FDA

May 22, 2019

The United States Food and Drug Administration, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local partners, investigated a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Newport illnesses linked to frozen ground tuna imported from JK Fish of Vietnam.

On May 20, 2019, the CDC announced that this outbreak appears to be over.

Recommendation

Restaurants and retailers should check with their suppliers and not sell or serve the recalled ground tuna from Jensen Tuna. They should also be sure to wash and sanitize locations where the recalled ground tuna was stored or prepared.

It is unlikely that the recalled ground tuna was sold directly to consumers in grocery stores; rather, it was likely used in food dishes sold by restaurants or retailers. Consumers with concerns should ask their restaurants and retailers whether the tuna dish they are purchasing contains the recalled ground tuna.

 

Research – Lab work in South Africa’s Listeria outbreak was ‘remarkable’

Food Safety News

Researchers have described how a laboratory handled increased demand during the 2017-2018 listeriosis outbreak in South Africa.

Whole genome sequencing (WGS) and epidemiological data were used to determine the source of the outbreak as ready-to-eat processed meat manufactured by Enterprise Foods.

A total of 1,060 cases were reported from January 2017 to July 2018 and 216 people died.

The largest ever reported outbreak of listeriosis included an alert in mid-June 2017, a peak in mid-November 2017, and identification of the outbreak source in mid-February 2018.

“This eight-month timeline was rather remarkable, considering the large number of cases involved and the limited capacity and resources available for foodborne disease outbreak investigations in South Africa,” according to researchers.

The study is published in the Foodborne Pathogens and Disease journal