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Posts tagged ‘E.coli’

US: Deliberate act cannot be ruled out for Germany’s 2011 outbreak

Food Safety News: Yes, the German E. coli O104:H4 was a pathogen of a high virulence that suddenly emerged, and that might point to an unnatural phenomenon. But might it have been a deliberate act? Or some kind of accident? To be sure, the 2011 outbreak centered on Northern Germany was large, severe, and deadly. Out of the 2,987 confirmed cases not involving hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), 18 died. And out of 855 HUS cases, 35 died.

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SA: Microbiological food safety status of commercially produced tomatoes from production to marketing

Journal of Food Protection: Tomatoes have been implicated in various microbial disease outbreaks and are considered a potential vehicle for foodborne pathogens. Traceback studies mostly implicate contamination during production and/or processing. The microbiological quality of commercially produced tomatoes was thus investigated from the farm to market, focusing on the impact of contaminated irrigation and washing water, facility sanitation, and personal hygiene. A total of 905 samples were collected from three largescale commercial farms from 2012 through 2014.

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CN: Survey of microbial contamination and characterization of Escherichia coli in kiwifruit orchards in Shaanxi, China, 2013

Foodborne Pathogens and Disease: The aim of the study was to survey three foodborne pathogens in kiwifruit orchards as a continuous monitoring program. A total of 193 samples were collected from 11 kiwifruit orchards in Shaanxi province in October 2013. Among the 193 samples, 68 Escherichia coli isolates were recovered, while no Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella was recovered.

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UK: A large Great Britain-wide outbreak of STEC O157 phage type 8 linked to handling of raw leeks and potatoes

Epidemiology & Infection: Between December 2010 and July 2011, 252 cases of STEC [Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli] O157 PT8 stx1 + 2 infection were reported in England, Scotland and Wales. This was the largest outbreak of STEC reported in England and the second largest in the UK to date. Eighty cases were hospitalized, with two cases of haemolytic uraemic syndrome and one death reported.

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US: Current issues in produce safety: growing areas

Food Safety News: There is nothing more iconic than the image of the farmer plowing his field, and anyone rubbing shoulders with these hard-working individuals enters a world of timeless traditions.

Food safety in any application may seem quite simple, and so it appears to be in agriculture, at least on the surface. If the growing area is free of contamination and workers are in good health, and the environment, water and overall growing conditions do not negatively impact operations, consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables should be considered a low risk for causing foodborne illness.

The evidence, however, points strongly in the other direction. Produce-borne outbreaks caused by bacteria, parasites and viruses are all-too-common events and, in many instances, investigation reveals unsanitary conditions in the growing area as the initial source of the pathogenic agent.

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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

Canadian Researchers Working on ‘Smart Labels’ to Detect Food Pathogens

Food Safety News writes: The day may not be too far off when consumers and food manufacturers will be able to detect the presence of E. coli, Listeria or Salmonella by visual changes in a polymer-based “smart label” now being developed by engineering professors at the University of Alberta.

Read the full article at Food Safety News

Green Cabbage Likely Caused Minnesota’s Recent E. Coli O111 Outbreak

Food Safety News writes: The 15 cases of E. coli O111 reported in Minnesota this summer were probably linked to green whole head cabbage, says the state’s health department.

Health officials’ routine monitoring identified the cases of illness associated with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O111. Bacterial isolates from all of the cases had the same DNA fingerprint.

Read the full article at

Image credit: Caelie Frampton / Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

“Learn from the past, because history has a habit of repeating itself” writes Richard Bennett

What’s the difference between a serious typhoid outbreak in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1964 and the tragic – was it cucumber or sprouts? – E. coli outbreak in Germany in 2011? Not a lot according to this article and the even worse news is that major foodborne illness outbreaks are most likely to happen…

New food safety & technology post by Richard Bennett on the PMA A-NZ Blog . View the full post here:

Image credit: E. coli with flagella by AJ Cann CC BY-SA 2.0

Number of severe E. coli strains grows

In addition to the better-known E. coli O157:H7, the group includes E. coli O26, O45, O111, O121, O130 and O145.

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that as much as one-third of infections are caused by these other strains.

These strains are known scientifically as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli because they have the traits of one or both Shiga toxins.

Although some outbreaks of these nasty strains have been linked to fruits and vegetables, they are nearly always traced to warm-blooded animals, including birds, that have passed over or through farms.

To read the full article from The Grower, click here.