Category Archives: Microbiology

USA – MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING – a collaborative efforts to reduce the occurrence of foodborne illness 

FDA

I. PURPOSE

This Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) constitutes an agreement between two Agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), specifically the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – hereinafter referred to individually as “Partner” and collectively as the “Partners.”

The purpose of this MOU is to outline an agreement through which both Partners intend to advance collaborative efforts to reduce the occurrence of foodborne illness risk factors in retail and foodservice establishments. Both Partners intend to promote the joint efforts established under this MOU, subject to the availability of funding and other necessary resources, which will be based on communication as the foundation of the two Partners working together to advance safe food practices in the United States.

II. BACKGROUND

Under the FD&C Act, the FDA, is directed to promote and protect the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of drugs, veterinary products, medical devices and radiological products as well as the safety and security of foods, dietary supplements, and cosmetics. The FDA also has responsibility for regulating the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products to protect the public health and to reduce tobacco use by minors. The mission of FDA is to enforce laws enacted by the U.S. Congress and regulations established by the Agency to protect the consumer’s health and safety. To accomplish its mission, the FDA must stay abreast of the latest developments in research and communicate with stakeholders about complex scientific and public health issues. Increased development of research, education, and outreach partnerships within the CDC NCEH will greatly contribute to FDA’s mission.

The FDA serves as a lead federal agency for retail food protection. Ensuring the safety of food at the retail level requires the collaboration of the FDA, other federal Agencies including, but not limited to, CDC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as state, tribal, local, and territorial (STLT) regulatory agencies, industry, academia, and consumers.

STLT governments exercise primary regulatory control over the retail segment of the food industry and provide the largest portion of the program’s resources. The FDA’s ability to leverage the resources of STLTs, while providing expertise, guidance, and technical assistance, represents an effective public health partnership and a model for a national integrated food safety system (IFSS).

USA – Torero’s Mexican Restaurant in Renton linked to E. coli Outbreak

Food Poison Journal

Summary

Public Health is investigating an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (also known as STEC) associated with diarrhea and abdominal pain at Torero’s Mexican Restaurant in Renton.

The investigation is ongoing. At this time, we have not identified how STEC was spread within the restaurant. This is not uncommon for STEC outbreaks, because the bacteria can spread through contaminated food items, environmental surfaces, and from person to person.

Illnesses

Since September 5, 2022, 3 people from 3 separate meal parties reported becoming ill after eating food from Torero’s Mexican Restaurant in Renton on September 3, 2022 and September 7, 2022. All of the people developed one or more symptoms consistent with STEC, including diarrhea (often bloody), abdominal cramping, nausea, and vomiting. We have not identified any ill employees.

USA – CDC says outbreak linked to Wendy’s sandwiches is over with more than 100 sick

Food Safety News

Federal officials have declared that an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections related to romaine lettuce on Wendy’s sandwiches has ended.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting that the total number of confirmed patients is 109, up from the 97 reported in its most recent update on Sept. 1. About half — 52 — of the patients have been so sick they had to be admitted to hospitals. Thirteen of the patients developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious often life-threatening condition that can cause kidney failure. No one had died as of this evening.

As of the report tonight from the CDC the specific source of the E. coli could not be 100 percent confirmed. However, 83 percent of 82 patients for whom the information was available reported eating at Wendy’s before becoming ill.

“The true number of sick people in this outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not have been limited to the states with known illnesses. This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for E. coli,” according to the CDC statement.

USA – Michigan consumers warned of produce contaminated with human waste

Food Safety News

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is advising consumers not to eat any Kuntry Gardens produce or products containing produce from Kuntry Gardens of Homer, MI, because it may be contaminated with raw, untreated human waste.

All of the implicated products are expected to be labeled under the name Kuntry Gardens.

During a routine produce safety inspection, MDARD staff identified that Kuntry Gardens was using raw, untreated human waste on the fields where produce was grown for sale to local grocery stores and direct sale. The use of raw, untreated, human waste for growing commodities intended for human food is a violation of state and federal laws and regulations.

If not treated professionally, human waste and other body fluids can spread dangerous infectious diseases such as hepatitis A, Clostridium difficile, E. coli, rotavirus and norovirus.

The state health department has placed impacted product still on the farm under seizure and is working with the farm to oversee disposition and corrective action.

Research – Managing Salmonella Enteritidis in commercial chicken flocks

MPI

INTERIM REQUIREMENTS FOR MANAGING SALMONELLA ENTERITIDIS FROM 6 OCTOBER 2022

The Animal Products Order: Emergency Control Scheme – Managing Salmonella Enteritidis in Commercial Chicken Flocks expired on 5 October 2022. After this, we’re using a regulatory framework to manage long-term risks to public health and international trade from Salmonella Enteritidis (SE).

Under the amended Animal Products Regulations 2021, people involved in the commercial chicken supply chain must have a registered Risk Management Programme no later than 1 November 2023. Before this occurs, interim requirements have been established in the Animal Product Notice: Production, Supply and Processing.

Animal Products Regulations 2021 

Animal Product Notice: Production, Supply and Processing [PDF, 2.5 MB]

On 29 June 2022, Cabinet agreed that risk management programmes (RMPs) and monitoring and surveillance programmes will be the regulatory framework. Industry was consulted on proposed options for a long-term regulatory framework from 29 April to 15 May 2022.

Management of Salmonella Enteritidis and Future Food Safety Risk [PDF, 817 KB]

The guidance on this web page will help people involved in the commercial chicken supply chain to comply with the good operating practice, testing and verification requirements of the Animal Product Notice: Production, Supply and Processing (the Notice) in Part JB1 [PDF, 2.5 MB]

The rules apply to all those in the commercial chicken supply chain, including:

  • breeders, hatcheries, and rearers
  • egg producers and broiler meat farms.

Research – Microbial Properties of Raw Milk throughout the Year and Their Relationships to Quality Parameters

MDPI

Raw milk microbiota is complex and influenced by many factors that facilitate the introduction of undesirable microorganisms. Milk microbiota is closely related to the safety and quality of dairy products, and it is therefore critical to characterize the variation in the microbial composition of raw milk. In this cross-sectional study, the variation in raw milk microbiota throughout the year (n = 142) from three farms in China was analyzed using 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing, including α and β diversity, microbial composition, and the relationship between microbiota and milk quality parameters. This aimed to characterize the contamination risk of raw milk throughout the year and the changes in quality parameters caused by contamination. Collection month had a significant effect on microbial composition; microbial diversity was higher in raw milk collected in May and June, while milk collected in October and December had the lowest microbial diversity. Microbiota composition differed significantly between milk collected in January–June, July–August, and September–December (p < 0.05). Bacterial communities represented in raw milk at the phylum level mainly included Proteobacteria, Firmicutes and Bacteroidota; PseudomonasAcinetobacterStreptococcus and Lactobacillus were the most common genera. Redundancy analysis (RDA) found strong correlations between microbial distribution and titratable acidity (TA), fat, and protein. Many genera were significantly correlated with TA, for example Acinetobacter (R = 0.426), Enhydrobacter (R = 0.309), Chryseobacterium (R = 0.352), Lactobacillus (R = −0.326), norank_o__DTU014 (R = −0.697), norank_f__SC-I-84 (R = −0.678), and Subgroup_10 (R = −0.721). Additionally, norank_f__ Muribaculaceae was moderately negatively correlated with fat (R = −0.476) and protein (R = −0.513). These findings provide new information on the ecology of raw milk microbiota at the farm level and contribute to the understanding of the variation in raw milk microbiota in China. View Full-Text

Research – Energy conservation can cause growth of Legionella in hot water systems

SSI

CDC legionella

Due to the current energy crisis, the authorities have various proposals for, and requirements for, saving on energy. Among other things, you can lower the temperature in hot water systems, and you can use less hot water by e.g. taking shorter baths, washing your hands in cold water and installing water-limiting measures, e.g. energy-saving showers.

However, both parts can contribute to increased growth of Legionella pneumophila in the water systems with a risk of infection and disease. It is therefore important that Danes think carefully before saving on energy.

Hot water systems can cause severe pneumonia

Most of our hot water systems contain Legionella pneumophila . The bacterium can cause a serious pneumonia called Legionnaires’ disease. Infection occurs by inhaling atomized water that is contaminated with the bacteria, e.g. while showering.

“The disease particularly affects elderly and debilitated people and causes up to 300 hospitalizations per year, but the bacterium is presumably the cause of far more mild cases of the disease, also in younger people. Since the bacteria are common in our hot water systems, it is important to limit their growth. This happens at home primarily by ensuring that cold water is no more than 20 °C and that hot water is at least 50 °C, as the bacteria cannot grow at these temperatures and begin to die at 50 °C,” says Søren Anker Uldum , who is head of department at the Statens Serum Institut.

Rinse through with very hot water

It is therefore important to continue to maintain at least 50 °C throughout the hot water system. The temperature must be reached at all tapping points after no more than 30 seconds. rinse and in the return water (before hot water tank or heat exchanger). In most cases, this can be achieved by heating the hot water to 55 °C in the hot water tank.

With reduced consumption of hot water, the water has longer residence times in the pipes and can have temperatures in the bacteria’s growth area for a longer period of time, so there must be a certain consumption of hot water.

Taps, such as faucets and showers that are rarely used, should be flushed with hot water at a minimum of 50 °C for a few minutes at least once a week.

When showering (which may well be short), it is also a good idea that at least once a week you first set the mixer to the maximum temperature and let the water run (to the drain) until it is as hot as it can be before setting it to bath water temperature (approx. 36 °C).

This advice applies especially if there are vulnerable people in the household or institution, such as the elderly or people with chronic illness or a weakened immune system.

Viet Nam – Food poisoning kills 12 sailors on Chinese boat off Con Dao islands

E. VN Express

A China registered boat with 21 crew members has been hit by food poisioning, with 12 dead and nine in critical conditon.

The nine, being treated at the Con Dao District medical center Friday afternoon, were in critical condition, doctors said.

When the crew members of the ship, Wuzhou 8 were airlifted by a rescue helicopter to Con Dao (110 km to the southwest) for emergency treatment, 10 had already died. Of the remaining 11, one died on the way to the airport and another arrived dead at the district medical center.

A Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province border guard representative said that the cargo ship was on its way from Thailand to China when the crew were hit by food poisoning, off the Con Dao islands.

Hoyer Tranpost Vietnam Co. Ltd, agent of the Wuzhou 8, sent a notice to the Department of Health of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province to request emergency arrangements for its crew members.

When Wuzhou 8 arrived in Con Dao waters, 18 crew members showed signs of food poisoning. The remaining victims looked seriously ill and in need of immediate treatment, so they were rushed to the mainland and taken to the local medical center.

“While people on the ship said they suffered food poisoning, it was not clear what they had consumed,” Loi said.

USA – More than 200 backpackers and rafters sickened in Grand Canyon National Park backcountry- Suspected Norovirus

Food Safety News

Between April 1 and June 17, 2022, at least 222 rafters and backpackers became infected with acute gastroenteritis, most likely norovirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is the largest outbreak of acute gastroenteritis documented in the Grand Canyon National Park backcountry.

Preliminary analysis of illness characteristics and portable toilet specimen test results suggested norovirus as the primary causative agent of illness. Norovirus spreads quickly through person-to-person contact and contaminated food or beverages and can persist in the environment. The bacteria can live for days to weeks on hard surfaces.

River outfitters and National Park staff members partnered to enable the implementation of prevention and control measures.

Norovirus-associated acute gastroenteritis is highly transmissible in settings with close person-to-person contact and decreased access to hand hygiene. Because many trips use the same campsites and place-portable toilets in the same locations, particles could have been transmitted to surfaces, beach sand or river water where new groups could have encountered them, and then transmitted the virus both from person-to-person and trip-to-trip.

Research – Europe sees large drop in E. coli infections in 2020

Food Safety News

There was a big fall in the number of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infections in Europe in 2020, according to recently published data.

In 2020, 4,824 confirmed STEC infections were reported. This is down from 8,339 in 2019. STEC infection is mainly acquired through consumption of contaminated food or water and contact with animals or their feces.

Data on STEC infections were reported by 29 countries. Notification is voluntary in Belgium, France, Luxembourg, and Spain or based on another type of system in Italy.

Germany with 1,409 and Ireland with 734 had the most infections, accounting for 44 percent of all cases. The highest country-specific notification rates were in Ireland, Malta, Denmark, and Norway.