Tag Archives: CDC

chicken, beef, dairy, lettuce

Foodborne Illness Report Highlights High-Risk Food Categories

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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chicken, beef, dairy, lettuce

This month, the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration’s (IFSAC) released it newest annual report , “Foodborne illness source attribution estimates for 2020 for SalmonellaEscherichia coli O157, and Listeria monocytogenes using multi-year outbreak surveillance data, United States.” IFSAC is a collaboration between the CDC, FDA and USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

The report was developed to help shape the priorities of the FDA, inform the creation of targeted interventions to reduce foodborne illnesses caused by these pathogens, inform stakeholders and improve regulatory agency’s to assess whether prevention measures are working.

The report identified 3,749 outbreaks that occurred from 1998 through 2020 and were confirmed or suspected to be caused by Salmonella, E. coli O157, or Listeria, including 192 outbreaks that were confirmed or suspected to be caused by multiple pathogens or serotypes.

The IFSAC excluded 96 of these outbreaks according to its pathogen-exclusion criteria, leaving 3,653 outbreaks. The agency further excluded 1,524 outbreaks without a confirmed or suspected implicated food, 836 outbreaks for which the food vehicle could not be assigned to one of the 17 food categories, and six that occurred in a U.S. territory.

The resulting dataset for the report included 1,287 outbreaks in which the confirmed or suspected implicated food or foods could be assigned to a single food category. These included 960 caused or suspected to be caused by Salmonella, 272 by E. coli O157 and 55 by Listeria. Outbreaks from 2016 through 2020 provide 71% of model-estimated illnesses used to calculate attribution for Salmonella, 67% for E. coli O157 and 62% for Listeria.

Salmonella illnesses came from a wide variety of foods, with more than 75% of illnesses attributed to seven food categories: Chicken, Fruits, Pork, Seeded Vegetables (such as tomatoes), Other Produce (such as fungi, herbs, nuts, and root vegetables), Beef and Turkey.

More than 80% of E. coli O157 illnesses were linked to Vegetable Row Crops (such as leafy greens) and Beef.

More than 75% of Listeria monocytogenes illnesses were linked to Dairy products, Fruits and Vegetable Row Crops, though the IFSAC noted that “the rarity of Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks makes these estimates less reliable than those for other pathogens.”

Attribution estimates for Campylobacter outbreaks were not included in this year’s report, though they have been included in the past. IFSAC said that this was “due to continued concerns about the limitations of using outbreak data to attribute Campylobacter illnesses to sources … these concerns are largely due to the outsized influence of outbreaks in certain foods that pose a high individual risk for Campylobacter infection but do not represent the risk to the general population.” For example, 91% of reported Campylobacter outbreaks related to dairy products were associated with unpasteurized milk, while 57% majority of chicken-related outbreaks were due to chicken liver products, which are not widely consumed.

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FDA and CDC Sign MOU for Enhanced Collaboration To Reduce Foodborne Illness

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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The FDA and CDC have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strengthen food safety in retail environments. The goal of the renewed partnership is to help reduce the occurrence of foodborne illness in retail and foodservice establishments.

This MOU, which was signed on September 21, was developed to help increase the consistency and capacity of retail food protection programs across the country, promote a general culture of food safety and facilitate continued communication between the FDA and CDC to assist state, tribal, local, territorial (SLTL) and industry partners.

The three primary goals of the MOU include:

  1. Increase uniformity, consistency and capacity of STLT retail food protection programs
  2. Promote industry’s active managerial control (AMC) of foodborne illness risk factors and promote a culture of food safety
  3. Maintain a strong FDA National Retail Food Team (NRFT) and CDC National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) workforce to assist STLT partners.

The agencies are seeking to: improve STLT’s effectiveness in conducting risk-based inspections and foodborne illness investigations; promote a culture of food safety and food safety management systems within retail and foodservice establishments; and improve research in support of foodborne illness risk factor reduction.

To accomplish these objectives, the FDA and CDC are both tasked with establishing metrics to measure the success of collaborations as well as establishing direct and consistent relationships at multiple organizational levels, sharing best practices, and identifying opportunities for leveraging the resources of both agencies to more efficiently and effectively support STLT retail regulatory programs as well as both FDA and CDC retail food protection initiatives.

In its announcement of the MOU, the FDA notes that it has historically worked with CDC to help control the risk factors for foodborne illness outbreaks in retail settings. “This MOU will ensure enhanced continued collaboration on this important work,” the agency wrote.

Brie Cheese

FDA Links Listeria monocytogenes Outbreak to Old Europe Cheese Brie and Camembert Soft Cheese Products

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Brie Cheese

A multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections has been linked to Brie and Camembert soft cheese products manufactured by Old Europe Cheese, Inc. of Benton Harbor, Michigan. The products are sold at various retailers under multiple labels and brands. Six cases of illness have been reported in patients in California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and Texas.

The FDA reports that epidemiologic information provided by CDC found that, of the five patients with information available, four reported eating Brie or Camembert cheese prior to their illnesses. An FDA inspection of the Old Europe Cheese, Inc. facility in Michigan, performed with assistance from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, showed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes. Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) analysis determined that the Listeria strain found in the facility matches the Listeria strain causing illness in this outbreak.

The company has voluntarily recalled multiple brands of its Brie and Camembert cheeses produced at the facility in response to the investigation findings. The firm has also halted production and distribution of its Brie and Camembert products from the Michigan facility and is working with FDA on corrective actions.

Consumers, restaurants and retailers should not eat, sell or serve recalled products and should throw them away; this includes Best By Dates ranging from September 28, 2022 to December 14, 2022—all flavors and quantities. A full list of recalled products and stores that potentially sold these products is available on the firm’s recall.

Romaine Lettuce

Wendy’s Pulls Romaine Lettuce Over E. Coli Concerns

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Romaine Lettuce

A multi-state outbreak of E. coli led Wendy’s to take the precautionary measure of removing romaine lettuce being used in sandwiches from restaurants in the region of the outbreak.

The CDC reports that as of August 18, 2022, a total of 37 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The illnesses started on dates ranging from July 26, 2022, to August 8, 2022.

A specific food has not yet been confirmed as the source of this outbreak, but among 26 people who have been interviewed, 22 (86%) reported eating sandwiches with romaine lettuce at Wendy’s restaurants in Michigan, Ohio or Pennsylvania in the week before their illness started. Based on this information, Wendy’s removed the romaine lettuce being used in sandwiches from restaurants in those regions.

A spokesperson for Wendy’s released the following statement: “We are fully cooperating with public health authorities on their ongoing investigation of the regional E. coli outbreak reported in certain midwestern states. While the CDC has not yet confirmed a specific food as the source of that outbreak, we have taken the precaution of discarding and replacing the sandwich lettuce at some restaurants in that region. The lettuce that we use in our salads is different, and is not affected by this action. As a company, we are committed to upholding our high standards of food safety and quality.”

The CDC emphasized that it is not advising that people avoid eating at Wendy’s restaurants or that people stop eating romaine lettuce.

The CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, the FDA and the USDA-FSIS are collecting and analyzing data at the ingredient level to identify the food source of the outbreak, confirm whether romaine lettuce is the source and determine if there are any other possible foods that could be the source of the outbreak.

 

Ice Cream Cone

Listeria Outbreak Linked to Ice Cream

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Ice Cream Cone

On July 2, the CDC announced that a multi-state listeria outbreak has been linked to Big Olaf ice cream. So far, there are 23 reported illnesses, 22 hospitalizations and one death associated with the outbreak. The reports span 10 states, although the brand is only sold in Florida.

The CDC is advising consumers who have Big Olaf Creamery brand ice cream at home to throw away any remaining product and to clean any areas, containers and serving utensils that may have touched Big Olaf ice cream products.

If you are a business that carries the brand, do not serve or sell any Big Olaf ice cream products and clean and disinfect any areas and equipment that may have touched Big Olaf ice cream products, including ice cream scoops and other serving utensils.

Big Olaf Creamery, located in Sarasota, Florida, is voluntarily contacting retail locations to recommend against selling their ice cream products until further notice.

Listeria is most likely to sicken pregnant people and their newborns, adults aged 65 or older and people with weakened immune systems. Per the CDC announcement, consumers with the following symptoms should call their healthcare providers right away:

  • Pregnant people typically experience only fever, fatigue and muscle aches. However, Listeria infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn.
  • People who are not pregnant may experience headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions, in addition to fever and muscle aches.
FDA

FDA Ready to Start Domestic Surveillance Inspections

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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FDA

Last week the FDA announced that it would resume conducting domestic surveillance inspections on February 7—affecting all commodities. The agency will continue with mission-critical domestic and foreign inspections, and leverage remote assessments when necessary. FDA will also conduct previously planned foreign surveillance inspections that have received country clearance and fall within the CDC’s Level 1 or Level 2 COVID travel recommendation.

“Throughout all these activities, the agency remains committed to the health and safety of its investigators and will provide the protection needed to safely inspect facilities and conduct investigations at the ports and in agency laboratories.” – FDA

FDA’s plans to start foreign prioritized inspections in April. It will also continue remote FSVP activities for human and animal foods. However, state inspections under the FDA contract have the authority to determine whether to make inspection decisions as per local information.

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IFSAC to Continue Focus on Finding Sources of Foodborne Illnesses

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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The Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC) has published its 2022–2023 Interim Strategic Plan, placing continued emphasis on foodborne illness source attribution for Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes and Campylobacter. Over the next year, IFSAC will address several short-term goals surrounding improvement of methods to evaluate and identify foodborne illness source attribution through the use of outbreak and non-outbreak-associated disease data, and continued collaboration with external partners in an effort to boost data access and capabilities. The group will be targeting several efforts in the coming year, including:

  • Analysis of trends related to foodborne disease outbreak-associated illnesses over the past two decades, with a subsequent peer-reviewed journal article that reveals results.
  • Development and improvement of machine-learning methods used to predict food sources of illnesses that have an unknown source. WGS will be used to compare Salmonella isolates of known and unknown sources.
  • Collaboration with FoodNet when assessing key food sources for sporadic Salmonella Enteritidis and Campylobacter illnesses. The group will develop case-control studies using specific FoodNet data.

Formed in 2011, IFSAC is a partnership between FDA, FSIS and the CDC that seeks to strengthen federal interagency efforts and maximize use of food safety data collection, analysis and use. During 2022–2023, IFSAC will publish its yearly reports on foodborne illness source attribution for the previously mentioned priority pathogens.

Recall

FDA Continues Investigation of Listeria Outbreak in Packaged Salad

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Recall

— UPDATE — January 12, 2022

Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc. has now issued a voluntary recall of Dole-branded and private label packaged salads processed at its Springfield, OH (product ID lot code “W” and “Best if Used By” date December 22, 2021–January 9, 2022) and Soledad, CA production facilities containing iceberg lettuce.

–END UPDATE —

The FDA and CDC are investigating a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes illnesses linked to Fresh Express Packaged Salad and Dole Packaged Salad.

Last month Dole Fresh Vegetables issued a voluntary recall for salads processed at its facilities in Bessemer City, NC and Yuma, AZ due to the health risk. The company also temporarily suspended operations at both facilities. The brand names in which the salads were sold under include Dole, Kroger, Lidl, Little Salad Bar, Marketside, Naturally Better, Nature’s Promise and Simply Nature. The products have “Best if Used By” dates between November 30, 2021 and January 8, 2022.

The agencies’ investigation of Fresh Express Packaged Salad resulted in the company stopping production at its Streamwood, IL facility. It also initiated a recall of certain varieties of its branded and private-label salads that were produced at this facility.

The FDA’s investigation into the Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to both Dole and Fresh Express is ongoing. Thus far, no deaths linked to the outbreak have been reported.

Fast-Growing Salmonella Outbreak Spans 29 States, Origin Still Unknown

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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The CDC has been unable to determine the origin of a “fast-growing” Salmonella Oranienburg outbreak that has sickened nearly 280 people across 29 states. As of the agency’s latest update on September 24, state and local officials have been collecting food items from restaurants where sick people ate, however since several items were in takeout containers that were contaminated with the strain of Salmonella, the CDC has not been able to identify the source of the outbreak. Sampled items include takeout condiments that contain cilantro and lime.

The first illness was reported on August 3. The CDC also notes that recent illnesses may not yet be reported because it can take three to four weeks to determine whether a sick person is part of an outbreak. Thus far no deaths have been reported.

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FSIS Changes Mask, Social Distancing Requirements Effective Immediately

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Following CDC’s latest guidance announcing that fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or social distancing, FSIS issued new guidance for agency personnel in plants, laboratories and in-commerce.

Effective immediately, personnel fully vaccinate (at least two weeks past the final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine) are not required to wear a face mask, face shield or practice physical distancing in federal establishments, facilities that request voluntary inspection, labs or where in-commerce work is conducted. However, fully vaccinated personnel can continue to wear face masks or shields if they so desire.

Personnel that is not fully vaccinated must continue to wear a face mask or shield and maintain social distancing requirements as mandated by the agency.