Category Archives: outbreak

USA – FDA Report on E. Coli O157 Outbreak in Romaine Lettuce Points to “Significant” Finding of Strain in Sediment of Water Reservoir

Food Safety Tech 

The November 2018 outbreak of E.coli O157:H7 infections linked to romaine lettuce caused 62 illnesses across 16 states. The FDA zeroed in on the Central Coast growing regions of northern and Central California as being responsible for the contamination. The outbreak was declared over on January 9 and yesterday FDA released the report, “Factors Potentially Contributing to the Contamination of Romaine Lettuce Implicated in the Fall 2018 Multi-State Outbreak of E.Coli O157:H7”, which provides an overview of the investigation.

The report states that a sediment sample coming from an on-farm water reservoir in Santa Maria (Santa Barbara County, California) tested positive for the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7. Although this particular farm was identified in several legs of the Fall 2018 traceback investigations that occurred in the United States and Canada, as well as being a possible supplier of romaine lettuce in the 2017 traceback investigations, the FDA said that the farm is not the single source of the outbreak, as there is “insufficient evidence”. The traceback suggests that the contaminated lettuce could have come from several farms, because not all tracebacks led to the farm on which the contaminated sediment was found.


USA – FDA Investigating a Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Concord Linked to Tahini Produced by Achdut Ltd.


Update: February 08, 2019

United States Food and Drug Administration, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local partners, is investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Concord illnesses linked to tahini imported from an Israeli manufacturer, Achdut Ltd., located in Ari’el, Israel.

On November 28, 2018, in response to the on-going investigation, Soom Foods voluntarily recalled the following additional products:

  • 12 oz. Chocolate Sweet Tahini Halva Spread 071318CH. Packed from tahini lot 18-123.

And tahini in the following sizes and types:

  • 40 lb. Organic Tahini.
  • 40 lb. Premium Tahini.
  • 16 oz. Premium Tahini.
  • 16 oz. Organic Tahini.
  • 11 oz. Premium Tahini.

The tahini product lot codes range from 18-097 through 18-141.

Some of the above listed products were included in the original voluntary recall by Achdut Ltd. on November 27, 2018. The FDA is posting this information to ensure the widest possible dissemination to the public.


The FDA is advising consumers not to eat recalled Achva, Achdut, Soom, S&F, and Pepperwood brand tahini and Soom brand Chocolate Sweet Tahini Halva Spread (lot code 071318CH) with expiration dates ranging from April 7, 2020 to May 21, 2020 and Baron’s brand tahini with the expiration date of May 5, 2021. The product lot codes range from 18-097 to 18-141. Consumers should discard the product or return the product to the store for a refund.

Some brands of tahini manufactured by Achdut Ltd. may lack specific dates or may have labels that are written in Hebrew. Consumers who have purchased a tahini product and are uncertain of where the product was manufactured or cannot identify the brand by lot codes or expiration dates should discard the product or return the food to the store for a refund. More product information and pictures of the recalled product labels can be found in Achdut ‘s recall announcement. View Soom Foods’ recall announcement.

Retailers and restaurants should not use any of the recalled tahini manufactured by Achdut Ltd. at their establishments. Retailers and restaurants should throw the product out.

Firms that may have used the recalled tahini (either repacked or used as an ingredient in a food without a kill step) should consider recalling their products. Recalls should be reported to your local FDA office. View a list of FDA recall coordinators.

USA – Norovirus confirmed as cause of outbreak on ‘Viking Sea’

Outbreak News Today

In a follow-up on a report approximately one week ago, Vessel Sanitation Program officials confirmed the etiology of the gastrointestinal outbreak on the Viking Ocean Cruises vessel, Viking Sea was Norovirus.

Ireland -Salmonella infection in Ireland, 2017


The 414 cases notified in 2017 were the highest number of salmonellosis cases reported
in Ireland since 2008
 International travel is a large contributor to the overall burden of salmonellosis in Ireland (40%), in particular in summer months
 The most common serotypes reported in Ireland and internationally are S. Enteritidis and S. Typhimurium, with S. Typhimurium the more prevalent among cases acquired in
 The highest reported incidence was in children under five years, with this effect being
more pronounced among cases acquired in Ireland
 A large outbreak of S. Brandenburg in HSE-E resulted in this serotype being the third
most common serotype in Ireland this year. This highlights the continued potential for
foodborne outbreaks of salmonellosis
 The introduction of WGS at the NSSLRL has contributed to confirmation of suspected
outbreaks and to the identification of outbreaks which may not have been recognised on
epidemiological grounds alone
 WGS has also enabled a small cluster of cases in Ireland to be recognised as being part
of a much larger EU incident

USA – Duncan Hines cake mix Salmonella Outbreak is over.


Final Outbreak Information

Illustration of a megaphone.

At A Glance

  • As of January 14, 2019, this outbreak appears to be over.
  • On November 5, 2018, ConAgra Brands recalled four varieties of Duncan Hines cake mix after officials in Oregon identified Salmonella Agbeni in a box of Duncan Hines Classic White Cake Mix.
  • CDC reviewed the PulseNet database and identified seven recent infections from five states with the same strain of Salmonella Agbeni as the Salmonella strain identified in the cake mix.
  • There was not enough epidemiologic and traceback information available to determine if ill people in this outbreak were linked to contaminated cake mix produced by Duncan Hines.

Advice to Consumers and Retailers

Illustration of a clipboard with check marks on it.
  • Do not bake with or eat recalled Duncan Hines cake mix, or eat cake prepared with recalled mix. Throw the mix away or return it to the store for a refund.
    • Recalled products include 15.25 oz. boxes of Duncan Hines cake mix in Classic White, Classic Yellow Cake, Classic Butter Golden Cake, and Confetti Cake flavors, with various “best if used by” dates ranging from March 7 to 13, 2019.
    • Check the FDA website for information to identify recalled mixes, including a list of “best if used by” dates for each flavor of recalled mix, and product photos.
  • Contact a healthcare provider if you think you got sick from eating recalled cake mix.
  • Retailers should not sell or serve recalled Duncan Hines cake mixes.

In general, CDC advises against eating any raw dough or batter, whether homemade or from a mix. Raw batter can contain germs that could make you sick.

RASFF Alert -Foodborne Outbreak – Norovirus in live oysters


RASFF-foodborne outbreak suspected to be caused by norovirus in live oysters (Crassostrea gigas) from Ireland, purified in United Kingdom in the UK

USA – CDC Led 24 Multi-State Foodborne Outbreak Investigations in 2018

Quality Assurance Mag

When two or more people get the same illness from the same contaminated food or drink, the event is called a foodborne disease outbreak.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CDC was the lead public health agency on 24 multistate foodborne outbreak investigations in 2018.

Perhaps the most significant event CDC was involved in was the December romaine lettuce recall.  CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, Canada, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigated a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 (E. coli O157:H7) infections linked to romaine lettuce from the Central Coastal growing regions in northern and central California.