Category Archives: Microbiology

USA – FDA Issues Report Highlighting Salmonella Outbreak in Packaged Leafy Greens Produced in a Controlled Environment Agriculture Operation

FDA

Vegetable Bacteria Danger

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a report on its investigation of the Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak that caused 31 reported illnesses and four hospitalizations in the U.S. between June and August 2021. The FDA worked with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state partners to investigate the outbreak, which was linked through epidemiology and traceback to packaged salad greens during the summer of 2021. This outbreak is believed to be FDA’s first domestic investigation of a foodborne illness outbreak associated with leafy greens grown in a Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) operation. The CEA operation produces leafy greens using common commercial high density hydroponic growing techniques with deep water culture and floating raft production methods. The report released today includes an overview of the traceback investigation, investigation results, and various factors that potentially contributed to the contamination of packaged leafy greens with Salmonella.

Although a conclusive root cause was not identified, the agency identified certain conditions and practices that could result in contamination, including the presence of a different serotype of Salmonella in pond water used to grow the leafy greens, growth media storage practices, water management practices, and general sanitation practices at the CEA that were inadequate to prevent the introduction or spread of microorganisms of public health significance into the leafy greens.

FDA isolated the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium in a stormwater retention basin adjacent to the CEA farm. However, the investigation did not reveal if that stormwater retention basin was the source of the Salmonella that ultimately contaminated the leafy greens. This highlights the importance of assessing all microbial hazards, including those associated with adjacent and nearby land uses.

In light of this report, FDA highlights the following requirements and recommendations applicable to firms, such as the hydroponic operation implicated in this S. Typhimurium outbreak, engaged in CEA. Here are some of the requirements and recommendations:

  • Develop a keen understanding of potential sources and routes of contamination including the raw materials and inputs used, as well as possible sources of contamination throughout the operation.
  • Implement effective sanitation procedures and sampling plans while also paying close attention to hygienic operations and equipment design, ensuring cleaning procedures do not contribute to the dispersion of microbial contaminants that may be present.
  • Assess growing operations to ensure implementation of appropriate science- and risk-based preventive measures, including applicable required provisions of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule and good agricultural practices (GAPs).
  • Implement procedures that are effective in rapidly cooling and cold holding harvested leafy greens after harvest and verify the effectiveness of the cooling and cold holding procedures, including the routine monitoring of processing and storage environments and product temperatures to prevent pathogen growth in harvested leafy greens.
  • If employing tools such as pre-harvest and post-harvest sampling and testing of food, water, and the physical environment, seek to identify and inform sampling plans, limits of detection, and mitigation measures that control potential sources and routes of bacterial contamination in the growing and harvesting environment.
  • Ensure that all growing pond water is safe and of adequate sanitary quality for its intended use, which includes implementing measures (such as water treatment) necessary to reduce the potential for contamination by known or reasonably foreseeable hazards.
  • Perform a root cause analysis when a pathogen is identified in the growing environment, in raw agricultural inputs such as water, or in the agricultural commodity to determine how the contamination likely occurred and implement appropriate prevention and verification measures.
  • Assess and mitigate risks associated with adjacent and nearby land uses that may impact CEA operations, in both rural and more urbanized settings.

These requirements and recommendations are just some examples that serve as a reminder that as the use of CEA is increasing globally, all types of food production must continue to address basic food safety concerns, including potential sources and routes of contamination. Food safety is a shared responsibility that involves food producers, distributors, manufacturers, retailers, and regulators. Recognizing the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment when it comes to public health outcomes, we encourage collaboration among various groups in the broader agricultural community (i.e., produce growers, state government and academia) to address this issue. The FDA is committed to working with these stakeholders to advance critical work.

For More Information:

USA – Lohxa LLC Issues Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Senna Syrup 8.8mg/5mL Due to Microbial Contamination

FDA

UPC code, Senna Syrup

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 01/11/2022 – Worcester, MA. Lohxa LLC is voluntarily recalling one lot of Senna Syrup 8.8mg/5mL, unit-dose cups to the consumer level. The product is being recalled due to microbial contamination.

Use of contaminated product by the elderly, patients with a weakened immune system, or patients at a higher risk of developing life-threatening inflammation of the heart, could result in infections that could be life-threatening. To date, Lohxa LLC has not received any reports of adverse events related to this recall.

The product is used as a natural vegetable laxative for the relief of occasional constipation and is packaged into 5 mL unit-dose cups. The product is distributed into cases of 20 cartons packaged with 24 units each, NDC: 50268-731-24. The affected Senna Syrup 8.8mg/5mL lot is AM1115S with expiration date of 01/2023. The product can be identified by the label below. Product was distributed to AvKare (Wholesaler) who may have further distributed this to clinics, hospitals, and healthcare providers.

Outer carton labeling (see images below)

Unit-Dose Cups (see image below)

Lohxa LLC is notifying its distributors and customers by letter and is arranging for return of all recalled products. Consumers/distributors/retailers that have product which is being recalled should stop using the product and return it to place of purchase.

Consumers with questions regarding this recall can contact Lohxa LLC by 800-641-5564 or by email to info@lohxa.com Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm EST. Consumers should contact their physician or healthcare provider if they have experienced any problems that may be related to taking or using this drug product.

Adverse reactions or quality problems experienced with the use of this product may be reported to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program either online, by regular mail or by fax.

  • Complete and submit the report Online
  • Regular Mail or Fax: Download form or call 1- 800-332-1088 to request a reporting form, then complete and return to the address on the pre-addressed form, or submit by fax to 1-800-FDA-0178

This recall is being conducted with the knowledge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.


Company Contact Information

Consumers:
Lohxa LLC
 800-641-5564
 info@lohxa.com

Australia – Saputo Dairy Australia Pty Ltd Butter and Spreadable Butter Blend Products – Microbial Contamination

FSANZ

Product information

Saputo Dairy Australia Pty Ltd is conducting a recall of various butter and spreadable butter blend products. The products have been available for sale nationally at various outlets including Woolworths, Coles, ALDI, independent supermarkets and Costco.

Problem

The recall is due to a potential microbial contamination.

Food safety hazard

Food products with a microbial contamination may cause illness if consumed.

Country of origin

Australia

What to do​

Consumers should not eat these products. Any consumers concerned about their health​ should seek medical advice. Consumers should return the products to the place of purchase for a full refund.

For further information please contact:

Saputo Dairy Australia customer service team

1800 032 479

Related links:

USA – The latest on Gino’s Ristorante & Pizzeria Hepatitis A outbreak in Norristown Montgomery County Pennsylvania

Food Poison Journal

NORRISTOWN, PA – The Montgomery County Office of Public Health(OPH) announced today the temporary closure of Gino’s Ristorante & Pizzeria in West Norriton in relation to a Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) outbreak in the county. The restaurant will be closed until further notice while the investigation continues.

Per standard public health protocols, OPH coordinated with the Pennsylvania Department of Health to issue a health advisory on Wednesday. As a result, OPH continues to receive additional information to support its investigation and identify additional potential cases. Investigation conducted to date suggests the exposure occurred in late November no longer presents a risk. However, additional investigation into probable cases resulting from the health advisory associated with this outbreak are underway. In the interest of public health, the restaurant has been shut down until further notice.

At this time, 11 total cases are under investigation, with 9 confirmed cases of Hepatitis A and 2 potential cases of Hepatitis A. Of the 9 confirmed cases, 7 people were hospitalized. To date, one death is confirmed and one additional death is under investigation.

The source of the outbreak remains under investigation. Anyone experiencing symptoms of Hepatitis A should contact their doctor.

USA – Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Pet Bearded Dragons

CDC

Fast Facts
  • Illnesses: 44
  • Hospitalizations: 15
  • Deaths: 0
  • States: 25
  • Investigation status: Active
Bearded dragon on a white background
Bearded Dragons and Salmonella

Bearded dragons can carry Salmonella germs in their droppings even if they look healthy and clean. These germs can easily spread to their bodies and anything in the area where they live and roam.

You can get sick from touching your bearded dragon or anything in its environment and then touching your mouth and swallowing Salmonella germs.

What You Should Do

Always take these steps to stay healthy around your pet bearded dragon:

  • Wash your hands
    • Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching or feeding your bearded dragon and after touching or cleaning the area where it lives and roams.
    • Adults should make sure young children are washing their hands.
  • Play safely
    • Don’t kiss or snuggle your bearded dragon, and don’t eat or drink around it. This can spread Salmonella germs to your mouth and make you sick.
    • Keep your bearded dragon out of your kitchen and other areas where you eat, store, or prepare food.
  • Keep things clean
    • Clean your bearded dragon supplies outside the house, if possible. These supplies may include its feeders, toys, and food and water containers.
    • If you clean the supplies indoors, don’t clean them in the kitchen or other areas where you eat or prepare food. Use a laundry sink or bathtub, and thoroughly clean and disinfect the area right after.

If you are thinking of getting a pet bearded dragon:

  • Pick the right pet for your family
    • Bearded dragons and other reptiles are not recommended for children younger than 5, adults aged 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems. These people are more likely to get a serious illness from germs that reptiles can carry.

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these severe Salmonella symptoms:

  • Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102°F
  • Diarrhea for more than 3 days that is not improving
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • So much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down
  • Signs of dehydration, such as:
    • Not peeing much
    • Dry mouth and throat
    • Feeling dizzy when standing up
What Businesses Should Do
  • Educate customers about how to stay healthy around bearded dragons.
    • This poster provides information on how to stay healthy around pet reptiles, including bearded dragons.
    • Consider putting the poster right by the bearded dragon area and giving a copy to customers who are buying a bearded dragon.
    • This graphicimage icon can be used as a sticker and illustrates handwashing when handling pet reptiles, including bearded dragons.
  • Learn more about how to protect your customers and employees from Salmonella infection and other diseases shared between animals and humans.
Symptoms of Salmonella
  • Most people infected with Salmonella experience diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps.
    • Symptoms usually start 6 hours to 6 days after swallowing the bacteria.
    • Most people recover without treatment after 4 to 7 days.
  • Some people – especially children younger than 5 years, adults 65 years and older, and people with weakened immune systems – may experience more severe illnesses that require medical treatment or hospitalization.
  • For more information about Salmonella, see the Salmonella Questions and Answers page.
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Investigation Details
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Netherlands – Safety warning Pasta chicken green pesto Lidl from the brand Chef Select & you

NVWA

Safety warning Pasta chicken green pesto Lidl from the brand Chef Select & you

Lidl Netherlands has issued a safety warning for the product ‘Pasta chicken green pesto’ of the brand ‘Chef Select & you’.  

Due to a production error, the chicken in the product may not have been cooked sufficiently. Consuming the ‘Chicken Pasta Green Pesto’ with the best-before dates below may pose a health hazard. This is especially true for the elderly, pregnant women and people with a weakened immune system.

Which products are involved? 
This safety warning only applies to the product “Chicken Pasta Green Pesto” of the brand ‘Chef Select & you’, with best before date 19-01-2022 to 25-01-2022 and barcode 4056489476221. 

See Lidl’s website

Researchers tackle Salmonella in onions

Uvalde Leader News

Salmonella contamination of bulb onions, which caused recalls across the U.S. and Canada in 2020, is the focus of a Texas A&M AgriLife Research project to help onion producers solve the problem.

Salmonella outbreaks in onions and onion products show that the pathogen might persist during production, handling or storage. This is a significant concern to the onion produce industry, researchers said.

“Little is known about salmonella’s behavior related to bulb onions,” said Vijay Joshi, Ph.D., AgriLife Research assistant professor in the Department of Horticultural Sciences and systems physiologist at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Uvalde.

Joshi’s team, over the next two years, with more than $400,000 in grant support from the Center for Produce Safety, will develop an onion-specific risk reduction plan to deliver to industry.

Research – HUS reports down in Italy but stable in France; some linked to raw milk

Food Safety News

Italy and France have reported updated statistics on a potentially fatal complication of E. coli infection.

The complication, hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is a type of kidney failure that can result in lifelong, serious health problems and death.

Italian data is from the start of September 2020 to the end of August 2021 when 49 cases were recorded. There were 84 cases from September 2019 to August 2020. French figures cover 2020 when 167 cases were reported.

Norway –  Investigates Salmonella Blockley outbreak

Outbreak News Today

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) reports investigating an outbreak of Salmonella enterica serotype Blockley (Salmonella Blockley).

To date, infections have been detected in 16 people living in several counties in Norway. The source of the infection is currently unknown, and an outbreak investigation has been initiated in collaboration with the Norwegian Food Safety Authority and the Norwegian Veterinary Institute.

Research – UC-Santa Cruz undergraduates win award for system that fights E. coli

Food Safety News

A team of undergraduates at the University of California-Santa Cruz has developed a system called Progenie that’s designed to target and eliminate a toxic gene found in Shiga toxin-producing E. coli.

The team’s method provides an alternative to antibiotics commonly used in agriculture. This new method is designed in part to stop the rise of drug-resistant bacteria.

The team’s project won a gold medal at the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Jamboree, an annual competition that brings together student teams from around the world to present synthetic biology projects that aim to address pressing global issues.

At the jamboree, teams are judged on their virtual project posters, wiki pages, and video presentations. Teams are awarded gold medals if they demonstrate excellence across multiple categories.