Category Archives: Water Safety

Research – Influence of Metal Concentration and Plumbing Materials on Legionella Contamination


Legionella colonization of water supply pipes is a significant public health problem. The objective of this work was to evaluate Legionella colonization in hotel hot water systems and to investigate the relationship between metal concentrations, piping materials (galvanized iron pipes and plastic pipes), and Legionella proliferation. Concentrations of calcium and magnesium ions and the presence of Legionella pneumophila were determined in a total of 108 water samples from the hot water systems of four hotels in Split-Dalmatia County over a 12-month period, and additional data on piping materials were collected. L. pneumophila was isolated in 23.1% of all samples—in 28.8% (15/52) of water samples from galvanized iron pipes and in 17.8% (10/56) of samples from plastic pipes. L. pneumophila serogroups 2–14 were isolated from all samples. This study found higher prevalence of L. pneumophila at higher concentrations of Ca and Mg ions (except for Mg and plastic pipes). The metal parts of the water supply may be important factors in Legionella contamination due to the possibility of lime scale or roughness of the pipes. Higher Ca and Mg ion concentrations increased the risk of Legionella colonization. View Full-Text

USA – FSIS Issues Public Health Alert for Ready-To-Eat Ham Product Due to Possible Processing Deviation


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a public health alert for ready-to-eat (RTE) ham product because the product may not be fully cooked due to underprocessing. FSIS is issuing this public health alert to ensure that consumers are aware that this product should not be consumed. A recall was not requested because it is believed that the product is no longer available for consumers to purchase.

The RTE, sliced Black Forest Ham item was produced by Plumrose USA, doing business as Swift Prepared Foods, a Council Bluffs, Iowa establishment, from April 28, 2022 through May 1, 2022. The following product is subject to the public health alert [view labels]:

  • 1-lb resealable plastic packages containing “Great Value Black Forest Ham Water Added” with a “BEST IF USED BY 07/15/22” date.

The product subject to this public health alert bears establishment number “EST. 26C” inside the USDA mark of inspection. This item was shipped to Walmart stores in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

The problem was discovered when the firm identified product that did not appear to be fully cooked, which prompted the establishment to perform an investigation and notify FSIS of their findings that the ham was underprocessed.

There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.

FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers’ refrigerators or freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

Members of the media with questions about the public health alert can contact Nikki Richardson, Head of Communications, Swift Prepared Foods, at Consumers with questions about the public health alert can contact Rusty Parker, Strategic Accounts Manager, Swift Prepared Foods, at 479-268-7131.

Click to access PHA-05182022-Labels.pdf

USA – FDA Issues Final Guidance for Seeds Used for Sprouting


Constituent Update


May 13, 2022

Today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final guidance titled “Reducing Microbial Food Safety Hazards in the Production of Seed for Sprouting: Guidance for Industry.” This guidance outlines FDA’s serious concerns over foodborne illness outbreaks associated with the consumption of raw and lightly-cooked sprouts and provides firms with recommended steps to prevent adulteration throughout the production chain of seed for sprouting.

Between 1996 and 2020, there were 52 reported outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with contaminated sprouts, resulting in more than 2,700 cases of illness. Although contamination can occur at any point along the sprout supply chain, seed has historically been, and continues to be, identified as the likely source of contamination in many of these outbreaks. The Produce Safety Rule (PSR) includes sprout-specific requirements for sprout growers. However, we do not consider seed for sprouting to be covered produce under the PSR and, therefore, the growing, conditioning, and distribution of seed for sprouting is not subject to PSR requirements. Although seed used for sprouting is not covered by the PSR, the FDA does consider seed used for sprouting to be food.

The final guidance recommends that everyone in the sprout seed supply chain become as informed as reasonably possible about the food safety practices, processes, and procedures followed by the firm(s) from which they source their seed, where the seed will go after it leaves their firm, and whether their seed is reasonably likely to be used to produce sprouts for human consumption. The final guidance acknowledges that the practices and conditions appropriate for producing seed for sprouting likely will necessitate a higher level of food safety precautions compared to practices and conditions for producing seed that will be used for other purposes.

Consistent with the draft guidance published in June 2019, this final guidance recommends that seed for sprouting be grown using Good Agricultural Practices or in conformance with international standards such as the Codex Alimentarius International Code of Hygienic Practice for Fresh Fruits and VegetablesExternal Link Disclaimer. In addition, this guidance clarifies that testing should not be used in place of GAPs or Codex standards.

USA – Bring Food Safety to Your Summer Vacation


As summertime brings families and friends together for outdoor celebrations, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) wants to make sure your summer festivities are food safe. Whether you’re grilling burgers, camping, or having a picnic, everyone should always remember to practice proper handwashing and use a food thermometer.

After observing that consumer behavior in test kitchens revealed that people are skipping basic food safety practices, USDA is concerned that consumers are not doing enough to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

“Our research shows that participants were not adequately washing their hands or using a food thermometer,” says USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Sandra Eskin “Summer is a time to relax and enjoy delicious meals with friends and family but foodborne pathogens never rest. Following safe food handling practices during this and all other seasons can reduce the risk of you and your loved ones getting sick.”

USDA encourages all Americans to follow these food safety tips to keep you and your family foodborne illness free this summer.

Wash Your Hands

Inadequate handwashing is a contributing factor to many illnesses, including foodborne illness. It is important to follow proper handwashing steps before, during, and after preparing food to prevent bacteria from transferring from your hands to your meal.

Recent USDA consumer research (January 2020-2021) showed that 56% of participants didn’t attempt to wash their hands during meal preparation. This is a major drop in handwashing attempts from prior years’ research. In year 3, this figure was 71% and in year 2 it was 74%.

In addition to low attempts at handwashing, roughly 95% of participants failed to wash their hands properly. The most common reason in the study for unsuccessful handwashing was failing to rub hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, followed by not wetting hands with water as a first step.

There are five steps for proper handwashing: wet hands, lather with soap, scrub for 20 seconds, rinse, and dry.

Use a Food Thermometer

Don’t forget to bring a food thermometer to your summer activities. Always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your food to determine if it is safe to eat. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, through the side, for the most accurate temperature reading. In the study, only 55% of participants used a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the hamburgers and sausages they were cooking. Use a food thermometer to ensure the following foods have reached their safe internal temperature:

  • Beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops and roasts: 145 F with a 3-minute rest
  • Fish: 145 F
  • Egg dishes: 160 F
  • Ground meats (beef, pork, lamb and veal): 160 F
  • All poultry (whole or ground): 165 F

Avoid Cross-Contamination

While preparing your meal this Memorial Day, be sure to keep your raw meat separate from your fruits and vegetables. Raw meat and poultry can carry bacteria that causes foodborne illness. To reduce the risk of cross-contamination, USDA recommends using separate cutting boards: one for raw meat and poultry, and another for fruits and vegetables.

In this study, cross-contamination was prevalent. Across all participants:

  • 32% contaminated their plates and cutting boards while preparing food.
  • 28% contaminated their kitchen sinks.
  • 12% contaminated spice containers.
  • 8% contaminated the cupboard handles in their kitchen.

These findings are part of a multi-year, mixed-method study that USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) commissioned to evaluate various consumer food handling behaviors. The study uses test kitchens, focus groups, and nationally representative surveys to better understand food safety practices and experiences with food recalls, foodborne illness, and FSIS food safety resources. More information about this study is available in an executive summary.

China – Outbreak Reports: Extensively Drug-Resistant (XDR) Salmonella Typhi Outbreak by Waterborne Infection — Beijing Municipality, China, January–February 2022

China CDC

kswfoodworld Salmonella

On February 6, 2022, an unusual infection event was noticed by hospitals and Beijing CDC: 4 clinically diagnosed typhoid cases (3 in Beijing, 1 in Chifeng City, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region) were reported to China’s Infectious Disease Information System. The detailed epidemiological investigation was initiated by Changping District CDC. This outbreak involved 23 cases in an apartment in Changping District in Beijing and was caused by extensively drug-resistant (XDR) Salmonella Typhi (S. Typhi) through polluted water supply, which was confirmed by laboratory detection.

Based on the epidemiological curve by date of onset and spatial distribution of cases, a point outbreak was suggested. Considering the possibility of foodborne infection, we checked the dietary history of these cases for 14 days prior to onset, but no evidence of common food or dining together was found to support this. We did not conduct case-control studies, but we received information that most cases keep good hygiene in water usage: they did not drink raw water, but they used tap water to wash vegetables and brush teeth. During this survey, the residents reported that the household water had an odor for about half a month in late December 2021, and some reported that there was disruption of water supply and transient muddy water in mid-January 2022. Herein, the water supply in this apartment was further investigated. The domestic water was supplied from a self-provided well in the village, which was piped to six apartments including the apartment where the cases lived in. Water was pumped from a nearby branch well to storage tank on the roof of the apartment for 24 hours a day to ensure adequate water supply, and then distributed to each room. In field investigation, we learned that sewage pipeline reconstruction work was carried out in December 2021 near the apartment, and the sewage pipeline was just about 1 meter away from the branch well which supplied water for the apartment.

In summary, this was the first report of waterborne outbreak caused by XDR S. Typhi in China. Whole-genome comparison and drug resistance analysis indicated that it belonged to H58 lineage originating from Pakistan, which had the capacity to invade and spread globally by travel-associated international transmission, with the potential to replace native strains (4). However, it was unclear how this novel clone strain entered China and was associated with this outbreak, due to the lack of detailed historical epidemiological data. Importantly, in a modern city such as Beijing, especially in suburban or rural areas where the municipal water supply does not reach, there is still a potential risk of typhoid fever outbreak. So, it is urgent to appeal to relevant governmental authorities to provide safe and hygienic potable water, strengthen supervision on water quality, and educate the public to keep good hygiene habits. In addition, with narrow treatment options for typhoid fever, XDR typhoid itself should also attract great attention, which may lead to treatment failure, prolonged hospitalization, as well as recurrent and extensive transmission of the disease. Therefore, it is necessary to track the source of the XDR strains and to strengthen monitoring their spread through laboratory and extensive epidemiological investigations in the future.

Italy – Claudia sparkling mineral water – Staphylococcus aureus



Name : Claudia sparkling mineral water

Reason for reporting : Recall due to microbiological risk

Publication date : 11 May 2022



Research – France – Cholera

Sante Publique

Food Illness

Digestive poisoning , cholera is a notifiable disease caused by the ingestion of water or food contaminated by Vibrio cholerae bacilli of the toxigenic serogroups O1 and O139.

Cholera: the disease

A rare imported pathology in France

Cholera is an acute digestive poisoning caused by ingestion of water or food contaminated by Vibrio cholerae bacilli of toxigenic serogroups O1 and O139 (cholera vibrios).

Today, collective and individual sanitation and hygiene measures have led to the disappearance of cholera in France (excluding Guyana and Mayotte, where sporadic and limited epidemics were described in the decades 1990-2000 in the two previous decades). In mainland France, cholera, which is subject to mandatory notification , is indeed a rare imported pathology. Symptomatic cases of cholera are mainly linked to the absorption of contaminated drinks or food abroad.

Early reporting of suspected and confirmed cases, and notification of confirmed cases takes place from a single case. They allow the management of imported cholera cases as soon as possible. Between 0 and 2 cases of cholera have been declared each year in France since 2000, they concern travelers returning from endemic areas . This is a small and decreasing number.

Although rare in France, cholera can cause severe digestive symptoms and dehydration. Even if the risks of contamination and epidemic are very limited on French territory, the epidemiological surveillance of Public Health France requires the early notification of cases as soon as this infection is suspected in order to prevent its spread.

Human-to-human and environmental transmission

Man is the main reservoir of cholera. But in some regions, the environment can also play this role, resulting in the circulation of cholera vibrios in an endemic mode . Cholera is linked to the absorption of contaminated water or food. Bacilli , or cholera vibrios, secrete cholera toxin in the intestine, which causes the loss of water and electrolytes (up to 15-20 liters per day). Diarrheal stools released in large quantities spread bacilli in the environment and faecal-oral transmission .

High population concentrations, combined with poor environmental hygiene, favor the appearance and development of cholera epidemics.

Prevention through hygiene and vaccination

When the basic rules of hygiene are respected, the vibrio responsible for cholera is not very transmissible. Appropriate chlorination of water and basic hygiene measures are generally sufficient to prevent contamination.
In the event of a trip to these endemic areas , compliance with hygiene measures (food hygiene with consumption of cooked and hot food, capsulated bottled water, avoidance of ice cubes, and hand washing) remains the best prevention.

There is no active vaccine against Vibrio cholerae serogroup O139. On the other hand, health personnel going to work with patients or in refugee camps during an epidemic can benefit from the anti-cholera vaccine (against different Vibrio cholerae O1 strains and a recombinant cholera toxin B subunit) administered orally (2 doses one week apart for adults and 3 doses one week apart for children 2 to 6 years of age).

Severe intestinal symptoms

The incubation period of cholera is short, from a few hours to five days.

Most people infected with Vibrio cholerae show few or no symptoms, although the bacillus can be found in their stool for one to two weeks. In case of illness, 80 to 90% of episodes are mild or moderately severe and it is then difficult to distinguish them clinically from other types of acute diarrhoea.

Less than 20% of patients develop all the typical symptoms of cholera, with symptoms of moderate to severe dehydration: violent diarrhea profuse with “rice water”, vomiting, without fever.

In the absence of treatment, death occurs in 1 to 3 days, by cardiovascular collapse in 25 to 50% of cases. Mortality is higher in children, the elderly and vulnerable individuals.

The diagnosis of cholera is clinical and biological. It is based on the detection of V. cholerae serogroup O1 or O139 producing cholera toxin in the stools of a patient. In the event of suspected isolation of a strain of cholera vibrio, immediate contact should be made with the National Reference Center for vibrios and cholera for typing and confirmation of the diagnosis: public-health/cnr/the-cnr/vibrions-cholera

A treatment based on rehydration

The treatment of cholera essentially consists of compensating for the digestive losses of water and electrolytes. Depending on the degree of dehydration, rehydration takes place orally or intravenously. An improvement in the subject’s condition is visible quickly (in a few hours) and healing occurs in a few days. There are no sequels. Antibiotic therapy can be useful in certain severe cases, but multi-resistant strains may appear.

An endemic circulation in South Asia

Cholera is regularly the subject of epidemics in developing countries where it evolves according to the country on an endemic and/or epidemic mode .

The world has been experiencing the seventh cholera pandemic since 1961, caused by Vibrio cholerae serogroup O1 .

Cholera has been endemic in the Indian subcontinent for several centuries. Cholera spread from 1817 to all of Asia, the Middle East and part of Africa, during the first cholera pandemic. Subsequent pandemics also developed from Asia and were facilitated by improved transportation. The seventh pandemic started in Indonesia in 1961, affected Asia in 1962, the Middle East and part of Europe in 1965, Africa in 1970, and South America in 1991.
On the n the island of Hispaniola an epidemic has been ongoing since the emergence of V. cholerae serogroup O1 in 2010 in Haiti.
Today, Africa and Asia are the two areas most affected by cholera. The disease is spreading there. The outbreak declared in Yemen since 2016 is the largest ever documented.

In 1992, a strain of Vibrio cholerae belonging to the new  serogroup O139 appeared in India and Bangladesh. Since then, it has caused epidemics in several Asian countries and could one day be the cause of an eighth pandemic. Cholera is the first disease to have been the subject of international notification (since 1892).

Guatemala: Red tide alert issued, One fatality reported -Saxitoxins – PSP

Outbreak News Today

The National Commission for Surveillance and Control of the Toxic Red Tide in Guatemala, declared a red tide alert because the constant monitoring and analysis that is carried out showed high concentrations of saxitoxins above the appropriate limits.

The presence of toxic red tide was detected on the Pacific Coast, on the coast of Tiquisate, Escuintla, indicated Virginia Herzing de Stwolinsky, head of the Risk Management Unit of the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance (MSPAS).

For this reason, bivalve mollusks, such as mussels, clams and shells. The consumption of the aforementioned foods produces severe intoxication and could even cause death.

Saxitoxins are also known as paralytic shellfish poisons (PSPs). Most human saxitoxin toxicoses have been associated with the ingestion of marine shellfish, which accumulate saxitoxins produced by marine dinoflagellates. However, saxitoxins are also found in freshwaters, produced by cyanobacteria in the genera Anabaena, Aphanizomenon, Planktothrix, Cylindrospermopsis, Lyngbya and Scytonema

Pakistan – Heatwave, unhygienic food increase risk of seasonal infections

The News

Islamabad: Water and food-borne seasonal infections on the rise in the twin-cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad as the current intense heatwave that has engulfed many parts of Pakistan has made favourable conditions for such infections to transmit rapidly.

The consumption of unhygienic food and locally made beverages has added to the situation as all the major public and private hospitals in the twin-cities including Holy Family Hospital, District Headquarters Hospital, Benazir Bhutto Hospital, and Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) received a large number of patients with gastroenteritis.

One the major reasons behind the transmission of water-borne infections such as viral hepatitis A&E, and gastroenteritis is the inferno-like temperatures that are hitting the country hard and compelling people to consume more water and locally prepared juices, said Dr Naeem Yousaf.

“My children were also affected with diarrhoea as they went for swimming to beat the heat and unintentionally swallowed contaminated water of the swimming pool,” he added

ECDC – Legionnaires’ disease – Annual Epidemiological Report for 2020


ECDC’s annual surveillance reports provide a wealth of epidemiological data to support decision-making at the national level. They are mainly intended for public health professionals and policymakers involved in disease prevention and control programmes.

Executive summary

  • Legionnaires’ disease remains an uncommon and mainly sporadic respiratory infection with an overall notification rate of 1.9 cases per 100 000 population for the EU/EEA in 2020.
  • A small decrease in the annual notification rate was observed, down from the 2.2 cases per 100 000 population reported in 2019.
  • Notification rates remained heterogenous across the EU/EEA, varying from fewer than 0.5 cases per 100 000 population to 5.7 cases per 100 000 population, with the highest rate reported by Slovenia.
  • Four countries (France, Germany, Italy and Spain) accounted for 72% of all notified cases.
  • Males aged 65 years and older were most affected (7.1 cases per 100 000 population).
  • The number of reported cases to the travel-associated surveillance scheme decreased by 67% in 2020 compared with 2019.
  • Only 10% of cases were culture confirmed (10%), likely leading to underestimation of disease caused by Legionella species other than Legionella pneumophila.