Category Archives: foodbourne outbreak

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

ECDC ecdclogo

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



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.


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.


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

USA – Ground Beef E. coli O103 Outbreak Grows to 196 Sick

Food Poisoning Bulletin

The ground beef E. coli O103 outbreak has now sickened at least 196 people in 10 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Twenty-eight people have been hospitalized because they are so sick. Two people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). No one has died. That’s an addition of 19 more ill persons since the last update on April 26, 2019.

Ground Beef E. coli O103 Outbreak Grows to 196 Sick

USA – Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Linked to Butterball Brand Ground Turkey


This outbreak appears to be over. People should always handle and cook turkey safely. Get CDC’s tips to prevent foodborne illness from turkey.

  • On March 13, 2019, Butterball, LLC in Mount Olive, North Carolina recalled external icon approximately 78,164 pounds of raw ground turkey products because they may have been contaminated with Salmonella Schwarzengrund.
    • Recalled ground turkey products were produced on July 7, 2018 and were shipped to institutional and retail locations nationwide.
    • Products were labeled with the establishment number “EST. P-7345” inside the USDA mark of inspection.
    • Visit the USDA-FSIS website for a list of recalled products external icon.
  • Institutions, restaurants, and retailers should not serve or sell recalled turkey products and should check food storage and freezers for them.
    • If possible, retailers who received recalled turkey products should contact their customers to alert them of the recall.
  • Consumers should check their homes for Butterball brand ground turkey labeled with the establishment number “EST. P-7345” with a sell or freeze by date of 7/26/18. Visit the USDA-FSIS website for a list of recalled products external icon.
    • Do not eat recalled ground turkey. Return it to the store or throw it away.
  • Contact a healthcare provider if you think you got sick from eating recalled ground turkey.
  • In general, consumers and restaurants should always handle and cook ground turkey safely to avoid foodborne illness. It is important to handle and prepare all ground turkey products carefully.
Final Outbreak Information
  • As of May 7, 2019, this outbreak appears to be over.
  • A total of 7 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Schwarzengrund were reported from 3 states.
    • Illnesses started on dates ranging from December 19, 2018 to March 16, 2019.
    • One person was hospitalized. No deaths were reported.
  • Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicated that ground turkey produced by Butterball, LLC was the likely source of this outbreak.
  • On March 13, 2019, Butterball, LLC recalled external icon approximately 78,164 pounds of ground turkey products that may have been contaminated with Salmonella Schwarzengrund.

RASFF Alert – Foodborne outbreak suspected to be caused by shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (O26) in raw milk cheese


RASFF – foodborne outbreak suspected to be caused by shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (O26) in raw milk cheese from France i n France

USA – 53,200 and 113,424 pounds of raw ground beef products recalled in E. coli O103 Outbreak – more recalls likely

Food Poison Journal

As of this week, a total of 156 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O103 have been reported from 10 states – Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, Mississippi, Georgia and Florida.

To date there have been two recalls.  Link between two producers of meat and the recalls remain unclear (How are the two connected?  Presumably a common supplier?) except that both recalls were prompted by positive E. coli O103 tests on “Unopened, intact, packages of ground beef collected as part of the ongoing investigation tested positive for E. coli O103 at an FSIS laboratory.”

It is likely that more recalls will happen as FSIS, CDC and state health authorities continue their efforts to find the source.

Food Poison Journal

What we know is that illnesses began March 1 and it is now almost May 1 – why did it take so long to figure out that 177 people with E. coli O103 were linked to ground beef? Why do we do not yet know the original source of the contamination?  Why is the public not being told the location where known illnesses occurred? Finally, are more people going to get sick?