Category Archives: Uncategorized

USA – Hearings set on motions to vacate convictions and sentences of Parnell brothers in deadly Salmonella outbreak

Food Safety News

Brothers Stewart Parnell, 66, and Michael Parnell, 62, have, respectively, another 18 and 11 years to serve in federal prisons for their 2014 jury convictions involving Peanut Corporation of America (PCA).

But with so-called “2255” evidentiary hearings now scheduled, on April 20  for Michal and on May 25 for Stewart, the early release of both men is a possible outcome. Their trial was in relation to a deadly Salmonella outbreak traced to their peanut products.

By getting evidentiary hearings on their motions to “Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct” their sentences, the Parnells have secured something many others do not get.

United States Magistrate Judge Thomas Q. Langstaff has agreed to hear the motions in the same Albany, GA, courthouse where the Parnells were convicted and sentenced.

Netherlands – Disease burden of food-related pathogens in the Netherlands, 2019


The burden of disease from foodborne pathogens in the Netherlands in 2019
Every year, RIVM investigates how many people become sick or die from 14 pathogens that can infect the stomach or intestines. This is termed the ‘burden of disease’ and it is expressed in DALYs (Disability Adjusted Life Years), an international measure for the number of healthy years of life that are lost to disease or because of people dying earlier than ‘normal’.
Not only can the 14 pathogens in question enter the human body via food (approximately 40% of infections), but also via the environment (for example, via surface water), animals and other people. The percentages of routes by which humans become infected vary depending on the pathogen concerned. The total number of DALYs these 14 pathogens caused in 2019 was the same as in 2018 and 2017 (11,000 DALYs). The burden of disease via food in 2019 was estimated at 4,200 and was slightly lower than in 2018 (4,300 DALYs).
The total cost of this burden of disease was estimated at EUR 423 million, which is lower than in 2018 (EUR 426 million). This cost of illness comprises direct medical costs and costs for patients and/or their fa milies, including travel expenses, and costs for other sectors, such as those due to absenteeism.
The cost of the burden of disease caused by infected food has risen slightly: EUR 174 million in 2019 compared to EUR 171 million in 2018. The difference in DALYs and costs are mainly due to the fact that the number of infections caused by some of the pathogens has changed. This is particularly the case with norovirus, rotavirus, and Cryptosporidium and Campylobacter spp.
RIVM was commissioned to carry out this study by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS). The results will help to provide a better understanding of the burden of disease and exposure routes of foodborne infections among the Dutch population. They also show the developments over the years. Keywords: food-related disease, burden of disease, DALY, costs.

New Zealand – Campylobacter Action Plan 2020-2021


Campylobacter kswfoodworld

The 2020 –2021 Action Plan incorporates a risk-based, whole-of-food chain approach to identification, selection and implementation of new control measures that will significantly reduce the foodborne campylobacteriosis burden in New Zealand.

The Action Plan includes: prioritisation of selected actions for immediate evaluation/implementation; identification of a further list of potential control measures on the basis of current knowledge, and establishing a framework for their systematic evaluation, prioritisation and implementation; setting of a public health improvement goal for the reduction of foodborne campylobacteriosis; and a lead in to medium-term control measures that will likely be implemented in out-years 2022 –2023.

New Zealand Food Safety will be primarily responsible for agreed actions and reporting against the work schedule. Industry will have responsibility for implementing both legislated and non-legislated actions.

Research – 10-Year Molecular Surveillance of Listeria monocytogenes Using Whole-Genome Sequencing in Shanghai, China, 2009–2019

Frontiers in Microbiology

Listeria monocytogenes is an etiologic agent of listeriosis, and has emerged as an important foodborne pathogen worldwide. In this study, the molecular characteristics of 155 L. monocytogenes isolates from seven food groups in Shanghai, the biggest city in China, were identified using whole-genome sequencing (WGS). Most L. monocytogenes isolates (79.3%) were obtained between May and October from 2009 to 2019. The serogroups and clonal complexes (CCs) of L. monocytogenes were found useful for identifying potential health risks linked to foods. Differences in distributions of serogroups and CCs among different food groups were analyzed using t-test. The results showed that the IIa and IVb serogroups were identified among most of food groups. However, the prevalence of serogroup IIb was significantly higher in ready-to-eat (RTE) food and raw seafood than in other food groups, similar to group IIc in raw meat and raw poultry than others. Meanwhile, the prevalence of CC9 in raw meat and raw poultry, CC8 in raw poultry, and CC87 in raw seafood significantly exceeded that of in other food groups. Specially, CC87 was the predominant CC in foodborne and clinical isolates in China, indicating that raw seafood may induce a high-risk to food safety. Also, hypervirulence pathogenicity islands LIPI-3 and LIPI-4 were found in CC3, CC1, and CC87, respectively. The clonal group CC619 carried LIPI-3 and LIPI-4, as previously reported in China. Core genome multilocus sequence typing (cgMLST) analysis suggested that CC87 isolates from the same food groups in different years had no allelic differences, indicating that L. monocytogenes could persist over years. These 10-year results in Shanghai underscore the significance of molecular epidemiological surveillance of L. monocytogenes in foodborne products in assessing the potential risk of this pathogen, and further address food safety issues in China.

Israel – Frozen Ground Chicken – Salmonella

Click to access RCL_28122020_EN.pdf


Happy New Year – Lets Hope for a Better Year in 2021


USA – Sources of Foodborne Illness Report Released – IFSAC

Click to access P19-2018-report-TriAgency-508.pdf

USA – Outbreak Investigation of E. coli – Leafy Greens (December 2020) – CDC declares outbreak over, FDA investigation ongoing


The FDA, along with CDC and state and local partners, investigated a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections in the fall of 2020. The epidemiology and traceback investigation have determined that the outbreak was linked to leafy greens. The epidemiological and traceback investigations were not able to determine a specific type of leafy green linked to illnesses. On 12/22/2020, the CDC announced that this outbreak appears to be over. This outbreak, announced by FDA and CDC on October 28, 2020, was caused by a strain of E. coli that is genetically related to a strain linked to the fall 2019 romaine outbreak.

The FDA completed a traceback investigation of multiple types of leafy greens identified in patient interviews. Although no single ranch was identified as a common source of the leafy greens, FDA and state partners also conducted on-site investigations on farms of interest. 

Teams were deployed to dozens of ranches in the region to conduct large scale environmental sampling. Additionally, no Shiga toxin-producing E. coli were found on leafy greens. 

At this time, FDA’s investigational activities, including sample analysis are ongoing. A detailed report of FDA’s findings in the investigation will be released in early 2021, following the conclusion of investigational activities.


CDC has declared this outbreak to be over. There is no recommendation for consumers, retailers, or suppliers.

Case Count Map Provided by CDC

Outbreak Investigation of of E. coli in Leafy Greens (December 2020) - Case Count Map from CDC 12/22/2020

Case Counts

Total Illnesses: 40
Hospitalizations: 20 (4 Cases HUS)
Deaths: 0
Last Illness Onset Date: October 31, 2020
States with Cases: AZ (2), CA (6), IL (2), IN (1), KS (4), MI (3), MN (2), MO (3), ND (4), OH (1), OR (1), PA (2), TN (2), TX (1), UT (1), VA (1), WA (1), WI (2), WY (1)
*States with confirmed distribution; product could have been distributed further

Useful Links

Singapore – Recall of “Crab Brand” Black Pepper Seed Due to Presence of Bacillus cereus Exceeding Permitted Level

Click to access sfa-media-release—recall-of-crab-brand-black-pepper-seed-due-to-presence-of-bacillus-cereus-exceeding-permitted-levels.pdf

Research – Food safety lessons learned from the COVID‐19 pandemic

Wiley Online

The COVID‐19 pandemic has ushered in a new era of food safety. To date, there is no evidence to suggest that consuming food is associated with COVID‐19. Nevertheless, COVID‐19’s impact on food safety and security has been grave. The world is currently experiencing several supply chain issues as a direct result of extensive lockdowns and impacts on essential workers’ safety. However, disruption in the food supply, while catastrophic in nature, has created opportunities for the advancement of medical science, data processing, security monitoring, foodborne pathogen detection, and food safety technology. This article will discuss the key components for food safety during the COVID‐19 pandemic. The discussion will draw from lessons learned early in the outbreak and will analyze the etiology of the disease through a food safety perspective. From there, we will discuss personal protective equipment, detection of SARS‐CoV‐2, useful surrogates to study SARS‐CoV‐2, and the expanding field of data science, from the food safety point of view. In the future, scientists can apply the knowledge to the containment of COVID‐19 and eventually to future pandemics.