Category Archives: STX 1

RASFF Alerts – STEC E.coli – Frozen Beef

Last two weeks catch up


RASFF – shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (stx1+ /25g) in frozen boneless beef topside from Brazil in the Netherlands

RASFF – shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli ( stx2+ eae-; stx2+ eae+ present /25g) in frozen beef from Uruguay in Finland

RASFF Alert -STEC E.coli – Chilled Beef


RASFF – shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (stx1+, stx2+,) in chilled beef from Argentina in Italy

Summary of the last two weeks RASFF Alerts – STEC E.coli – Frozen Minced Meat – Chilled Beef


RASFF – shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (O157:H7, O26:H11) in frozen beef minced meat with raw material from Spain in France

RASFF – shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (stx2+) in chilled beef from Argentina in Italy

Research – Whole Genome Sequencing Characterization of Shiga Toxin–Producing Escherichia coli Isolated from Flour from Swiss Retail Markets

Journal of Food Protection


Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains are often found in food and cause human infections. Although STEC O157:H7 is most often responsible for human disease, various non-O157 subtypes have caused individual human infections or outbreaks. The importance of STEC serogroup typing is decreasing while detection of virulence gene patterns has become more relevant. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) reveals the entire spectrum of pathogen information, such as toxin variant, serotype, sequence type, and virulence factors. Flour has not been considered as a vector for STEC; however, this product has been associated with several STEC outbreaks in the last decade. Flour is a natural product, and milling does not include a germ-reducing step. Flour is rarely eaten raw, but the risks associated with the consumption of unbaked dough are probably underestimated. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of STEC in flour samples (n = 93) collected from Swiss markets and to fully characterize the isolates by PCR assay and WGS. The prevalence of STEC in these flour samples was 10.8% as indicated by PCR, and a total of 10 STEC strains were isolated (two flour samples were positive for two STEC subtypes). We found one stx2-positve STEC isolate belonging to the classic serogroups frequently associated with outbreaks that could potentially cause severe disease. However, we also found several other common or less common STEC subtypes with diverse virulence patterns. Our results reveal the benefits of WGS as a characterization tool and that flour is a potentially and probably underestimated source for STEC infections in humans.

  • Several STEC serotypes, including O26, were isolated from 8 (8.6%) of 93 flour samples.

  • STEC isolates from flour had a variety of virulence patterns.

  • Flour is a probably underestimated source of STEC infections in humans.

  • WGS for STEC characterization is more comprehensive than common serotyping.

RASFF Alerts – STEC E.coli – Soft Cheese


RASFF – shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (stx1+ stx2- eae-) in soft cheese from Belgium in Germany

UK – England: Health officials warn of E. coli STEC infections in individuals returning from Egypt

Outbreak News Today

British health officials are advising travelers to Egypt of a number of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infections reported in people who traveled to the Hurghada region of Egypt.

There have been 18 cases of STEC in individuals returning from Egypt in 2019, including one case of Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS).

E. coli can cause an unpleasant diarrhea illness with stomach cramps and occasionally fever. Most people will recover without the need for medical treatment, but younger and older people may go on to develop complications of the infection, leading to kidney failure. This rare condition is called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which in very rare circumstances can be fatal.

E. coli is caught through ingesting contaminated food or water.


PHE recommends travellers to the region to:

  • where possible, avoid eating salads and uncooked vegetables
  • only eat fruit they can peel
  • avoid unpasteurised milk, cheese and ice cream
  • avoid food that has been left uncovered in warm environments and exposed to flies
  • ensure all meat is cooked thoroughly before you eat it, avoiding any meat that is pink or cold
  • avoid ice, unless made with filtered or bottled water, and tap water, even when brushing teeth
  • only drink bottled water or use ice made from bottled/filtered water
  • wash your hands thoroughly after visiting the toilet, and always before preparing or eating food. Alcohol gel can be helpful (but not entirely effective) when hand washing facilities are not available
  • when swimming, try and avoid swallowing water where possible and supervise children when swimming.
  • don’t swim whilst ill

For more information, visit NHS.UK.

This advice also applies to other countries where E. coli infections are common, including Turkey and Spain.

Dr Nick Phin, Deputy Director, National Infection Service, Public Health England, said:

We are aware of people returning from Egypt with E. coli infections, some with a serious kidney complication called haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS). We are gathering information about those affected to better understand the cause.

There are simple precautions that travellers can take. These include ensuring meat is cooked thoroughly, not drinking tap water or ice made from tap water and trying to avoid swallowing water when swimming.

Anyone suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting should ensure they keep well hydrated and seek medical advice if their symptoms don’t improve within 48 hours. They should also avoid preparing or serving food while they have symptoms and thoroughly wash their hands after using the toilet to stop the bug being passed to others. Individuals with symptoms after returning from holiday should seek medical advice from their GP or NHS 111.


USA – Outbreak Investigation of E. coli Linked to Ground Bison from Northfork Bison Distributions, July 2019 – E.coli O121 – E.coli O103


July 16, 2019

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local partners in the U.S., and with the support of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), are investigating a multistate outbreak of E. coli O121 and E. coli O103 illnesses likely linked to ground bison supplied by Northfork Bison Distributions Inc. of Saint-Leonard, Québec, Canada.

The FDA and CDC analyzed traceback and epidemiological information to determine that ground bison supplied by Northfork Bison Distributions Inc. is the likely cause of the illnesses.

FDA regulates bison meat because the authority is not assigned specifically to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) in the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA).


Buffalo Burger Canadian Bison Meat

Distributors, retailers and restaurants should not distribute, use or serve ground bison (including bison burgers) recalled by Northfork Bison Distributions Inc.

As of July 16, 2019, Northfork Bison Distributions Inc. is voluntarily recalling its ground bison, referred to as Bison Ground, and its ground bison patties, referred to as Bison Burgers and/or Buffalo Burgers, produced between February 22, 2019, and April 30, 2019.

Consumers should not eat products prepared using recalled ground bison (including bison burgers) sold under the Northfork Bison label including Bison Burgers sold to retailers in 4 x 4-ounce packages with expiration dates through October 8, 2020.

Northfork Bison Distributions Inc. has been quick to initiate a voluntary recall and has been forthcoming with information to aid in the investigation. The investigation is ongoing and updates will be provided when available.