Category Archives: Microbiology Investigations

Research – How Does Hepatitis A Spread Through Food?

Food Poisoning News

In a developed country such as the United States, outbreaks of Hepatitis A (HAV) from contaminated food are not common but are still possible and have occurred in the past. Some outbreaks have been linked to thousands of cases. It can be difficult, however, to pinpoint the source of infection because of the late onset of symptoms especially when the victims are geographically scattered. A food product can become contaminated at any step during the process of harvesting, distribution, preparation, etc…  When the problem occurs at one of the early stages, say during production, this can lead to a wide-spread outbreak, such as recent outbreaks of HAV linked to imported pomegranates or HAV linked to imported strawberries.

However, most recorded HAV outbreaks in the United States have occurred at the point of sale when food is handled and served in a restaurant. While most food handlers with HAV do not transmit the virus because they practice proper personal hygiene, all an infected person has to do to spread the virus is touch food after failing to wash their hands. These “establishment” HAV outbreaks are usually in a single geographic location tied to a particular restaurant, like the relatively recent Burger King or Famous Anthony’s outbreaks.

New Zealand – National Microbiological Database Programme

MPI

Introduction

This introduction is not part of the Animal Products Notice, but is intended to indicate its general effect.

Purpose

This notice supplements the requirements of the Animal Product Regulations 2021 and sets requirements for microbiological sampling and testing of animal material and animal products intended for human consumption.

Background

The National Microbiological Database (NMD) Programme is a standardised microbiological sampling and testing programme to provide ongoing monitoring of microbiological process control across all industry participants.

Who should read this Animal Products Notice?

You should read this notice if you are:

•an operator who processes red meat or poultry intended for human consumption; or

•a recognised laboratory that tests red meat or poultry intended for human consumption

Why is this important?

A failure to comply with this notice may be an offence under section 135(1)(c) of the Animal Products Act 1999 and may result in further action by an animal products officer.

Irish officials search for the source of the Salmonella outbreak

Food Safety News

Health officials in the Republic of Ireland are investigating a Salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 20 people.

The number of laboratory-confirmed cases associated with the epidemic is 26 and people fell ill between Nov. 30 and Dec. 25, 2022.

Patients range in age from 10 to 91 years old; 14 are male and 12 are female, according to the Health Service Executive (HSE).

The Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak was identified through routine whole genome sequencing.

The outbreak control team includes the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), regional departments of public health, HSE environmental health officers, the National Salmonella, Shigella, and Listeria Reference Laboratory, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and the Marine (DAFM), and colleagues from Northern Ireland.

The source of the infection remains under investigation. Officials would not say if the outbreak was linked to a recall of raw chicken products in late January.

Research – Zoonoses, foodborne outbreaks and antimicrobial resistance guidance for reporting 2022 data

EFSA

Abstract

This technical report of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) presents the guidance to reporting European Union (EU) Member States and non‐Member States in data transmission using extensible markup language (XML) data transfer covering the reporting of isolate‐based quantitative antimicrobial resistance data, as well as reporting of prevalence data on zoonoses and microbiological agents and contaminants in food, foodborne outbreak data, animal population data and disease status data. For data collection purposes, EFSA has created the Data Collection Framework (DCF) application. The present report provides data dictionaries to guide the reporting of information deriving from 2022 under the framework of Directive 2003/99/EC, Regulation (EU) 2017/625, Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/627 and Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2020/1729. The objective is to explain in detail the individual data elements that are included in the EFSA data models to be used for XML data transmission through the DCF. In particular, the data elements to be reported are explained, including information about the data type, a reference to the list of allowed terms and any additional business rule or requirement that may apply.

Research – Manual for reporting on zoonoses and zoonotic agents, within the framework of Directive 2003/99/EC, and on some other pathogenic microbiological agents for information derived from the year 2022

EFSA

Abstract

This reporting manual provides guidance to European Union (EU) Member States (MSs) for reporting on zoonoses and zoonotic agents in animals, food and feed under the framework of Directive 2003/99/EC, Regulation (EU) 2017/625, Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/627 and of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2018/772 and also on the reporting of other pathogenic microbiological agents or contaminants in food. The objective of this manual is to harmonise and streamline reporting by MSs to ensure that the data collected are relevant and comparable for analysis at the EU level. This manual covers all the zoonoses and zoonotic agents included under the current data collection system run by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Detailed instructions are provided on the reporting of data in tables and information in text forms. The instructions given relate to the description of the sampling and monitoring schemes applied by the MSs, as well as the monitoring results. Special reference is made to data elements which allow trend watching over time and the analysis of sources of zoonotic agents at the EU level. This manual is specifically aimed at guiding the reporting of information deriving from the year 2022.

Research – Campylobacter, the bacterium that causes most foodborne outbreaks in Spain

World Nation News

There were 11,244 cases of Campylobacteriosis in 2021, almost double the 6,891 cases reported in 2020

Campylobacter is the bacterium that causes most gastrointestinal infections in humans. According to the latest report on zoonotic diseases (infections from animals to humans) published by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Campylobacter was the most common cause of infection in the EU accounting for 62% of the cases registered in 2021. and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

In Spain, there were 11,244 cases of campylobacteriosis in 2021, almost double the 6,891 cases recorded in 2020. The incidence of this bacterium has a marked seasonal pattern, with the highest figures being found in summer, with a rebound in January. The most frequently implicated food as confirmed by the Consumers’ and Users’ Organization (OCU) is poultry meat (turkey and chicken).

India – 36 School Students Fall Sick Due To Food Poisoning In Maharashtra

NDTV

Sangli: 

Thirty-six students in Sangli in Maharashtra on Friday fell ill due to suspected food poisoning, an official said.

All of them were shifted to a hospital, where 35 were discharged post treatment, while one has been kept under observation, he said.

“Food samples from the school and the central kitchen have been sent to a lab for tests. A three-member committee has been formed to probe the matter,” Gaikwad added.

India – Over 60 students hospitalised following suspected food poisoning at Wayanad school

India Today

More than 60 students at a boarding school in Wayanad were hospitalised after they experienced vomiting and diarrhoea after having their meals.

Argentina – What is Shigella: The criminal ‘rotten meat’ bacterium

Urgente 24

Such as urgent 24 As reported, the Municipality of Berazategui made official two deaths from salmonella and shigella batteries after eating offal and other types of meat in poor condition. The subjects aged 49 and 36, without pre-existing diseases, had acute diarrheal symptoms, which required admission to intensive care with mechanical ventilation, but “died in hospital on January 12 and 17.”

As for the shigella bacterium or bacillary dysentery, it is transmitted by the fecal-oral route, just like salmonella , or by direct contact with infected people. It is endemic in tropical climates, with a higher incidence in summer, in addition to generally presenting in institutions such as nursing homes and schools due to lack of hygiene measures or contagion through food and water.

USA – Outbreak Investigation of Listeria monocytogenes: Enoki Mushrooms (November 2022)

FDA

FDA, along with CDC and state and local partners, is investigating an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections linked to enoki mushrooms. FDA has identified enoki mushrooms distributed by Utopia Foods, Inc. of Glendale, New York and imported from China, and enoki mushrooms labeled as “Producer: Shandong Youhe Biotechnology, Co.,” with an address in China and “Distributed By: Sun Hong Foods, Inc.” as likely sources of illnesses in this outbreak. Enoki mushrooms are long thin white mushrooms, usually sold in clusters. They are especially popular in East Asian cuisine and are also known as enokitake, golden needle, futu, seafood, or lily mushrooms.

As of January 18, 2022, CDC reports three illnesses included in this outbreak. Through ongoing import and product sampling of enoki mushrooms, two strains of Listeria monocytogenes detected on enoki mushroom products have been determined through Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) to be the same strains of Listeria monocytogenes linked to illnesses in this outbreak. Both strains are included in this outbreak investigation.

On January 17, 2023, FDA reported a positive import sample of enoki mushrooms that matched both outbreak strains and resulted in a voluntary recall expansion from Utopia Foods, Inc. Additional sample collection and analysis conducted by the Maryland Department of Health have also identified both outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes in two product samples of enoki mushrooms. These products that tested positive are sold in a 7.05-oz (200g) clear plastic package with a brown and green label and include a label on the back of the package that states: “Producer: Shandong Youhe Biotechnology Co.,” with an address in China, and “Distributed By: Sun Hong Foods, Inc.”

On December 17, 2022, FDA issued a safety alert for enoki mushrooms labeled as “Producer: Shandong Youhe Biotechnology, Co.,” with an address in China and “Distributed By: Sun Hong Foods, Inc.,” as a result of a positive product sample collected by Missouri state partners. At that time, these products were not linked to an active outbreak. The strain of Listeria found in these products matches one of the two strains linked to illnesses in this outbreak. FDA’s safety alert has been updated with the most recent information linking these products to an ongoing outbreak investigation.

FDA’s investigation is ongoing to determine a potential source of contamination and whether any other products are contaminated or linked to illnesses. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

Recommendation

Consumers, restaurants, and retailers should not eat, sell, or serve recalled enoki mushrooms from Utopia Foods, Inc. and enoki mushrooms labeled as “Producer: Shandong Youhe Biotechnology, Co.,” with an address in China and “Distributed By: Sun Hong Foods, Inc.” Consumers should check the label on both the front and the back of their enoki mushroom package to view distributor information (see photos below).

Listeria is especially harmful if you are pregnant, aged 65 or older, or have a weakened immune system due to certain medical conditions or treatments. If you are in any of these groups, do not eat any raw enoki mushrooms. For enoki mushrooms that are not recalled or potentially contaminated, always cook enoki mushrooms thoroughly to kill any foodborne germs.

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms after eating enoki mushrooms:

  • People who are not pregnant usually have fever, muscle aches, and tiredness. They may also get a headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, or seizures.
  • Pregnant people usually have fever, muscle aches, and tiredness. However, Listeria can cause pregnancy loss or premature birth. It can also cause serious illness or death in newborns.

Follow FDA’s safe handling and cleaning advice and use extra vigilance in cleaning and sanitizing any surfaces and containers that may have come in contact with these recalled products to reduce the risk of cross-contamination, including retailers who stored or repackaged recalled enoki mushrooms. Listeria can survive in refrigerated temperatures and can easily spread to other foods and surfaces.