Category Archives: foodbourne outbreak

RASFF Alert- Salmonella – Foodborne Outbreak – Frozen Chicken Meat

RASFF-Logo

RASFF – foodborne outbreak caused by and Salmonella enterica ser. Virchow (presence /25g) in frozen chicken meat from Brazil, via Austria in the Netherlands

 

Research – Prevalence of Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp. in alternative and conventionally produced chicken in the United States: A systematic review and meta-analysis

JFP

The burden of foodborne illness linked to the consumption of contaminated broiler meat is high in the United States. With the increase in popularity of alternative poultry rearing and production systems, it is important to identify the difference in food safety risks presented by alternative systems when compared to conventional methods. While many studies have been conducted surveying foodborne pathogen prevalence along the broiler supply chain, a systematic overview of all of the available results is lacking. In the current study, a systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted to quantify the differences in Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp. prevalence in farming environment, rehang, prechill, postchill, and retail samples between conventional and alternative production systems. A systematic search of Web of Science and PubMed databases was conducted to identify eligible studies. Studies were then evaluated by inclusion criteria, and included studies were qualitatively and quantitatively analyzed. In total, 137 trials from 72 studies were used in the final meta-analysis. Meta-analysis models were individually constructed for subgroups that were determined by sample type, pathogen, and production type. All subgroups possessed high amounts of heterogeneity (I 2 > 75%). For environmental sample subgroups, Campylobacter prevalence was estimated to be 15.8 and 52.8% for conventional and alternative samples, respectively. Similar prevalence estimates for both production types were observed for Salmonella environmental samples and all retail samples. For conventional samples, Campylobacter and Salmonella prevalence was highest in prechill samples, followed by rehang and postchill samples, respectively. The presented results will be of use in future quantitative microbial risk assessments to characterize the differences in foodborne illness risks presented by different broiler production systems.

UK – New research shows societal burden of foodborne illness in the UK

FSA

The FSA Board has welcomed a report which presents new comprehensive estimates of the societal burden caused by foodborne illnesses in the UK.

The outcome of an extensive programme of work conducted over a five-year period was scrutinised by Members at the FSA Board Meeting, and provides a more in depth understanding of the wider impacts of foodborne diseases such as norovirus, campylobacter and listeria.

For the first time, the study also incorporates estimates based on the impacts of foodborne illness cases where a specific pathogen is not identified, often as a result of people not seeking medical attention.

The new model which produced the estimates follows an established process used in the UK and internationally to assess the financial impacts and the ‘human costs’ such as pain grief and suffering and changes to quality and length of life.

Estimates for these ‘human costs’ were developed in part by surveying more than 4,000 people to produce monetised values to measure the impact of different foodborne pathogens.

This will allow for these intangible human impacts to be considered alongside financial impacts when decisions relating to foodborne illnesses are made.

The model shows that for 2018:

  • the burden arising from the 13 main foodborne pathogens is around £3bn. Norovirus imposes the greatest burden at an estimated annual cost of £1.68bn followed by Campylobacter spp. (£0.71bn) and Salmonella spp. (non-typhoidal) (£0.21bn).
  • foodborne illness cases where a pathogen was not identified causes an estimated societal burden of around £6bn.
  • Taken together, the two estimates lead to a headline figure of approximately £9bn, as the annual cost burden of foodborne illness in the UK in 2018.
  • cases of Campylobacter, which are more common but generally less severe, impose a burden of £2,380 each while Listeria, the least common of the 13 measured, has a burden equivalent to £230,748 due to a higher proportion of fatalities, resulting in a higher ‘human cost’.

 

The Board welcomed the work and the report’s findings which provides the FSA with a more robust and comprehensive awareness of the impact of all foodborne illnesses and an additional tool to direct future decisions on prevention.

Heather Hancock, Chair of The Food Standards Agency said:

“I welcome this vital new research.  Being able to put a cost on the personal, social and economic burden when someone becomes ill as a result of food, represents a milestone for the FSA.

“We will use this new analysis of the cost of illness, and how it varies between different germs, to help set our priorities for tackling foodborne illness and to focus the FSA’s expertise, money and influence.”

 

Professor Rick Mumford, Head of Science Evidence and Research at the Food Standards Agency said:

“For the first time this model gives the FSA and other partners a much more detailed picture of how foodborne illnesses can impact society.

“We have designed it from the ground up to measure the impacts of specific pathogens as well as for the first time providing an estimate of the majority of cases where no pathogen is attributed.

“As a result, we are now equipped with robust, quantitative evidence on the impact of foodborne disease which significantly strengthens our decision-making ability.”

 

Richard Smith, Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor and Professor of Health Economics at the University of Exeter said:

“Providing an understanding of the impact of foodborne disease on individuals and wider society is a critical building block to understanding where and how to best deal with it.

“The FSA has a rich history of developing such analyses, and this latest work builds on that with significant revisions and updates to provide the most robust values yet of the societal impact of foodborne disease.

“This provides a robust, powerful and flexible tool to assist FSA in determining its priorities for tackling foodborne disease, which remains a serious challenge for our society.”

FSA economists worked with academics from leading UK universities to develop the Cost of Illness (COI) model to identify and measure all the costs of a particular disease.

The model is loosely based on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)’s Cost to Britain model (Opens in a new window)which estimates the annual cost of workplace fatalities, self-reported injuries and ill health at £15bn.

This new model was quality assured internally and externally by independent experts and represents a significant improvement from the previous, much simpler model used to estimate the burden of foodborne illness. Further work is currently ongoing to apply these methodologies to other areas, including food allergy and hypersensitivity.

Notes to Editors

Publications

The Burden of Foodborne Disease in the UK 2018 Report

Other notes

Comparisons to previous estimates is not possible as this is the first time that the FSA have estimated the total burden of foodborne illness.

This estimate is therefore inevitably greater than the estimates for identifiable cases alone for the following reasons:

  • this is the first time we are measuring cases where no specific pathogen is attributed, which account for 60% of cases
  • the estimated number of illnesses cases attributed to foodborne illnesses has increased from 1 million to 2.4 million as announced last month
  • The new model uses a different methodology to calculate the non-financial ‘human costs’, which account for almost 80% of the overall burden

USA – Listeria Outbreak linked to enoki mushrooms began in 2016

Food Poison Journal listeria

As of March 9, 2020, 36 people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from 17 states. Arizona 2, California 9, Florida 2, Hawaii 3, Indiana 1, Kentucky 1, Maryland 2, Massachusetts 2, Michigan 1, Missouri 1, Nevada 1, New Jersey 1, New York 4, North Carolina 1, Rhode Island 1, Tennessee 1, Virginia 3.

Four deaths have been reported from California, Hawaii, and New Jersey. Six cases are pregnancy-associated and two resulted in fetal loss.

Listeria samples from ill people were collected from November 23, 2016 to December 13, 2019. Ill people range in age from less than 1 to 97 years, with a median age of 67. Fifty-eight percent of ill people are female. Of 32 ill people with information available, 30 hospitalizations have been reported.

USA – Enoki Mushrooms Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreak Sickens 36

Food Poisoning Bulletin

At least 36 people are sick in an enoki mushroom Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to product imported from Korea. The mushrooms were imported by Sun Hong Foods. The mushrooms were just recalled after a sample tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. There is zero tolerance for Listeria monocytogenes contamination in ready to eat foods in this country.

Enoki Mushrooms Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreak Sickens 36

Canada – Outbreak of Salmonella illnesses linked to raw turkey and raw chicken is over.

PHN

 

This is the final update for this outbreak investigation. The Public Health Agency of Canada collaborated with provincial and territorial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to raw turkey and raw chicken products. The investigation has been closed, however illnesses could still be reported because this Salmonella strain is present in some raw turkey and raw chicken products in the Canadian marketplace.

The Public Health Agency of Canada continues to remind Canadians to always handle raw turkey and raw chicken carefully, and to cook it thoroughly to prevent food-related illnesses like Salmonella. The Public Health Agency of Canada is not advising that consumers avoid eating properly cooked turkey or chicken products, nor is it advising retailers to stop selling raw turkey and raw chicken products.

The Public Health Agency of Canada collaborated with provincial and territorial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella infections.

Based on the investigation findings, exposure to raw turkey and raw chicken products was identified as the likely source of the outbreak. Many of the individuals who became sick reported eating different types of turkey and chicken products before their illnesses occurred. A single common supplier of turkey and chicken products was not identified through the investigation. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency did not issue any food recall warnings related to this outbreak. The Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency shared investigative findings with representatives from the turkey and chicken industries.

The investigation has been closed, however illnesses could still be reported because this Salmonella strain is present in some raw turkey and raw chicken products in the Canadian marketplace. The Public Health Agency of Canada will continue to monitor reports of illnesses and will provide updates in the future if there is an increase in newly reported cases or new investigation information is identified.

USA – Texas, Florida, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Maine link in Listeria Egg Outbreak

Food Poison Journal

Eight ill with one death. As of March 4, 2020, this outbreak appears to be over.

A total of eight people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes were reported from five states.

Listeria specimens from ill people were collected from April 10, 2017, to December 7, 2019. Ill people ranged in age from less than 1 to 82 years, with a median age of 71. Sixty-two percent of ill people were male. Of seven ill people with information available, five hospitalizations were reported. One death was reported from Texas. One illness was reported in a newborn who was infected with Listeria while the mother was pregnant, but the newborn survived.

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicated that hard-boiled eggs produced at the Almark Foods Gainesville, Georgia, processing facility were the likely source of this outbreak.