Posts from the "Microbial Contamination" category

US: Scared By The Apple Recall? These 5 Fruits And Veggies Are Even Bigger Risks

Yahoo health: Apples are the second most popular fruit in America, according the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center. But apple contamination is rare because the fruit has a hard surface, which prevents bacteria from entering the fruit, says Doug Powell, PhD, a former professor of food safety in the U.S. and Canada who publishes
“Fresh fruits and vegetables are probably the biggest source of foodborne illness today in North America, and that’s because they’re fresh — we don’t cook them — so anything that comes into contact has the potential to contaminate,” Powell tells Yahoo Health.
Powell is especially careful with the following five fruits and vegetables, which have been linked to a significant number of foodborne illness outbreaks over the past few years. (And no, apples didn’t make the list.)
Click here to read the full article on Yahoo Health.

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US: Bidart Bros. Works with Federal and State Officials to Determine Source of Listeriosis-Associated Outbreak

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is collaborating with public health officials … to investigate an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections (listeriosis) linked to commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples. As of January 10, 2015, a total of 32 people infected with the outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes had been reported from 11 states. Thirty-one ill people have been hospitalized, and seven deaths have been reported. Listeriosis contributed to at least three of these deaths. To date, 25 (89%) of the 28 ill people interviewed reported eating commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples before becoming ill.
Today, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the results of findings from additional tests performed on samples collected from Bidart Bros. apple processing plant. Test results confirm two strains of Listeria monocytogenes were found at the apple processing facility and are believed to be the same strains associated with the [caramel apples] outbreak. Those same strains were also found in Bidart Bros. apples collected from a retailer by the FDA. Bidart Bros. has instituted a voluntary recall of all Granny Smith and Gala apples still available in the marketplace.
Click here to read the US FDA media release and here for the latest CDC update.

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US: 2011 Cantaloupe Listeria Outbreak Still Lingers in 2014

In evaluating some of this year’s top stories in food safety, it’s been found that news originating two to three years ago still made headlines in 2014.
One of those stories was that of the 2011 Jensen Farms (Holly, CO) Listeria monocytogenes outbreak traced back to contaminated cantaloupes that ultimately caused 33 deaths and one miscarriage. The cantaloupes were shipped after a July 2011 audit conducted on behalf of food safety audit firm PrimusLabs Corporation, giving the packing facility a “superior” rating of 96 out of 100.
Click here to read the full article in Food Safety Magazine.

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US: Whole-Genome Technology Solving More Outbreak Investigations

James Andrews writes: A common disclaimer supplied by public health officials while in the midst of a foodborne illness outbreak investigation goes something like this: “We’re doing our best to find the food source of the outbreak, but it’s important to remember that the majority of outbreaks are never traced back to a source.”
In other words, most outbreaks go unsolved because it’s just too difficult to pinpoint a food source given the constraints of technology and resources. While that may still be the case, more public health agencies are beginning to adopt technology that will help close the gap between the number of solved and unsolved outbreaks.
That technology is whole-genome sequencing (WGS), a method of identifying organisms such as bacteria and other pathogens by analyzing their entire DNA sequence. By comparison, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), the decades-old industry-standard epidemiological technology, looks at less than 1 percent of a pathogen’s genome.
Click here to read the full article from Food Safety News.
Image credit: Col Ford and Natasha de Vere / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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NZ: Keep food poisoning at bay this summer

NZ Govt: “As summer weather approaches and we look to pull the barbeque out of the shed, Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew reminds New Zealanders to remember basic food safety rules.
“New Zealand produces some of the safest food in the world, but it is still common for foodborne illnesses to peak over the summer months,” Mrs Goodhew says.
“We have already seen cases trending up, with over 700 people diagnosed with food poisoning due to campylobacter in November.”
Click here to read the full media release from Jo Goodhew, NZ Food Safety Minister.

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US: Advances in nanotechnology can improve food safety and prep

Elizabeth Crawford writes: “A consumer backlash based on the fear of the unknown may have temporarily blocked marketing of nanotechnology in foods, but the ability to manipulate particles 100,000 times smaller than a strand of hair could improve food safety and prep, according to a Cornell University associate professor.”
Click here to read the full article in Food Navigator.

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US: Food safety agencies debut ads featuring dancing E. coli and salmonella

Heidi Parsons / Food Production Daily: “Don’t let E. coli mosh with your food. An estimated 3,000 Americans die from a foodborne illness each year. You can’t see these microbes, but they might be there. So always separate raw meat from vegetables. Keep your family safe… at”
Click here to read the full article including a link to the advertisement.

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US: Effect of Proximity to a Cattle Feedlot on Escherichia coli O157:H7 Contamination of Leafy Greens and Evaluation of the Potential for Airborne Transmission

American Society for Microbiology: “The impact of proximity to a beef cattle feedlot on E. coli O157:H7 contamination of leafy greens was examined. E. coli O157:H7 was recovered from 3.5% of leafy green samples per plot at 60 meters, which was higher (P < 0.05) than the 1.8% of positive samples per plot at 180 meters, indicating a decrease in contamination as distance from the feedlot was increased. Current leafy green field distance guidelines of 120 meters (400 feet) may not be adequate to limit the transmission of E. coli O157:H7 to produce crops planted near concentrated animal feeding operations.”

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US: Chlorine Dioxide Gas Offers Hope for Sprout Sanitation

Researchers at Rutgers University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have found that chlorine dioxide gas is more effective at killing Salmonella on bean sprouts than chlorine wash — the industry-preferred decontamination technique.
Sprouted seeds have a long, and poor, contamination record. Since 1995, at least 51 outbreaks in the U.S. and Canada have been linked to sprouts. Of those outbreaks, 39 were linked to Salmonella.
While the sprouted seed industry has been searching for a surefire way to sanitize its product, cleaning sprouts is tricky because the food is sensitive and any harsh treatment could affect its color or taste. Sprouts are also harder to treat because, as with other fresh produce, the porous, uneven surface of sprouted seeds provides many places for bacteria to tuck themselves away.
Click here to read the full article at Food Safety News.

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NZ: Investigation into the source of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis

The Ministry for Primary Industries investigation into the source of the Yersinia pseudotuberculosis outbreak in September has been completed. It did not find source of the pathogen.
This is not unusual in Yersinia outbreaks from around the world, where very few are pinned down to a definitive source.
Click here to read the full item from the Ministry for Primary Industries including a link to the report.

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