Posts from the "Microbial Contamination" category


US: Inspectors find Listeria at Bidart Bros. cooling and packing house

Food Safety News: Inspector observations from the investigation into the role of Bidart Bros. in last year’s 12-state outbreak of Listeriosis involving commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples found that the problem could well have originated in the California grower’s apple cooler and packing facility.

That outbreak required the hospitalization of 34 of 35 people from 12 states who were sickened. Before the outbreak ended, seven of them were dead, and Listeriosis was blamed for the deaths of at least three of them.

Areas inside the Bidart Bros. packing plant where Listeria positives were found were on polishing brushes, drying brushes, packing line drain, inside a wood bin, and on an automatic line.

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US: Source of Cucumber-Linked Outbreak Determined Too Late to Alert the Public

Food Safety News: In late February, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a detailed report describing a summer 2014 outbreak of Salmonella linked to cucumbers grown in the Delmarva region of Maryland.
The outbreak resulted in 275 confirmed illnesses and the death of one man. Considering that CDC estimates only one in 30 Salmonella cases are confirmed, the outbreak is believed to have had a wide-reaching impact on consumers.
Given the size of this Salmonella outbreak, some consumers were surprised and even alarmed to first hear about it several months after it ended. Why did CDC not previously alert the public, as they do with many other foodborne illness outbreaks?
Click here to read the full article from Food Safety News.

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US/AU: Treatments may speed vegetable replanting of Salmonella-contaminated soil

Center for Produce Safety: Simultaneous field trials are being conducted half way around the world to determine whether cover crops, soil or bed solarization, or a combination of both can help remediate Salmonella enterica-contaminated soil.

The research is being led by Trevor Suslow, University of California Extension Research Specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences, Davis, California; along with co-investigator Robyn McConchie, Associate Professor in the Department of Plant and Food Science and department head, University of Sydney, Australia.

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FI: Noroviruses easily spread by workers’ gloves

The Packer: A Finland study confirms what may seem like common sense: Noroviruses are easily transferred to ready-to-eat foods via foodservice workers’ handling.
Human noroviruses are a leading cause of foodborne gastroenteritis throughout the world and the study by researchers at the Finnish Food Safety Authority and the University of Helsinki confirm virus-free food ingredients and good hand hygiene are needed to prevent contamination of prepared foods.
Click here to read the full article from The Packer.

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Contaminated Food Causes 14 Percent of Norovirus Outbreaks Worldwide

Food Safety News: According to new work by researchers from the Netherlands, New Zealand and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 14 percent of all norovirus outbreaks are attributed to contaminated food.
Noroviruses are one of the leading causes of gastroenteritis worldwide. In the U.S., the virus causes 19-21 million illnesses, 56,000-71,000 hospitalizations and 570-800 deaths.
Determining the transmission route during an norovirus outbreak investigation is complicated because transmission can occur through multiple sources in a single outbreak. If a virus is first transmitted through food, it can continue person to person or through the environment, making it hard to trace the disease back to contaminated food.
Click here to read the full article at Food Safety News.

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Take a deep breath and reflect on the hep A saga, suggests Richard Bennett

I’ve given a few presentations over recent years about crisis management, starting with the need to prevent a crisis as much as possible by having the right attitude towards food safety backed up with the necessary systems. I put attitude first for a reason.

The next stage is to be prepared. Despite the best prevention systems and intentions, glitches happen and you might find yourself in need of a plan to manage the unthinkable. Good prevention and preparation will make all the difference to response and recovery. There’s plenty of evidence to show that resilience – the ability to bounce back – is almost directly related to how you respond, which is directly related to what you have done to prevent and prepare.

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AU: Australian consumers’ food safety report card released

Food Safety Information Council: To celebrate World Health Day 2015, which has the theme of food safety, the Food Safety Information Council has released a report card assessing Australian consumers’ knowledge of food safety.
Council Chair, Professor Michael Eyles, said that, while it is good news that a recent Australian National University study found food poisoning cases in Australia have decreased from an estimated 4.3 million cases in 2000 to 4.1 million in 2010, this is still an alarmingly high number.
‘Food poisoning can be serious and results in 31,920 hospitalisations, 86 deaths and 1 million visits to doctors on average each year.
Click here to read the full story at the Food Safety Information Council

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EU: Growers and industry hit by $1.3 bn in losses due to 2011 outbreak of E. Coli

Food Safety News: The World Health Organization (WHO) has totaled up some economic costs of the 2011 outbreak of the rare and deadly E. coli O104:H4 centered on Northern Europe. Farmers and industries lost $1.3 billion, and emergency aid provided to 22 European states cost another $236 million, according to WHO.
The novel E. coli strain was the cause of the May through June 2011 outbreak that saw 3,950 people infected, with 53 deaths blamed on the deadly pathogen. All but two of the deaths occurred in Germany.
Public health officials in Germany initially thought the source of the contamination was cucumbers imported from Spanish greenhouses, but that theory proved incorrect. It was a mistake that Spanish growers said cost them $200 million a week. Russia banned imports of all EU fresh produce in June 2011.
Click here to read the full story at Food Safety News

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AU: Cases of Hepatitis A lower than last year

Food magazine: There have now been 65 cases of hepatitis A in Australia this year. This time last year there were 81 cases.
As at 11:00 on 17 Mar 15, according to the Department of Health there were 27 cases of Hepatitis A linked to frozen berries. All 27 cases have reported eating Nanna’s frozen mixed berries during their period of acquisition (15-50 days prior to the onset of symptoms). No other common exposure has been determined and this strong epidemiological association is further strengthened by genotyping.
The risk of contracting hepatitis A from eating frozen berries is estimated to be very low noting there have been only 27 cases to date despite berries being a commonly consumed food.
The product is packed in China, containing raspberries, strawberries and blackberries grown there, and blueberries. The blueberries in the product were initially thought to have come from Chile, however, the Department of Health is now advised by the company that they were sourced from Canada.
Click here to read the full article from Foodmagazine.

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US: Researchers tap GIS to help predict on-farm foodborne pathogen risks

US Center for Produce Safety: Growers may soon be able to log onto a website, note their farm’s location and view the relative risks from foodborne pathogens as different color gradients on a map. They could then make more informed planting and management decisions that would help minimize potential contamination. That scenario isn’t too far off and is one of the next steps in research that melds geographic information system (GIS) mapping with mathematical equations to create foodborne pathogen risk-prediction models.
“People want guidelines in terms of high risk areas and how far to stay away in terms of planting,” Wiedmann said. “How many meters is that magic cutoff? Risk is never yes or no. It’s a gradient.”
Click here to read the full article from the US Center for Produce Safety.

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