On Friday FDA released another update to its investigation of the Salmonella Infantis outbreak linked to Del Monte vegetable trays. The agency has been unable to find a single source or contamination point for the outbreak, but it also states that it’s not likely that these trays are either on store shelves or in consumers’ homes. The illness cases have been isolated to five people in Minnesota and Wisconsin, with the last illness onset reported on May 15. No hospitalizations or deaths have been reported.
Whole Foods Market has voluntarily recalled various products containing baby spinach following a recall by its supplier Satur Farms over concern of potential Salmonella contamination. The prepared foods have a Whole Foods Market scale label and were sold in eight states in the Northeast and Florida and include salads, pizza, sandwiches and wraps. No illnesses have been reported.
A full list of the products is available on FDA’s website.
As stated by CDC’s John Besser, Ph.D. last month at the Food Safety Consortium, “It’s been quite a year for outbreaks.” Here’s a not-so-fond look back at some of the noteworthy outbreaks and recalls of 2018.
Romaine Lettuce –E.coli O157:H7
2018 was not a good year for romaine lettuce. In the spring, a deadly multistate outbreak of E.coli O157:H7 was linked to romaine lettuce that came from the Yuma, Arizona growing region. “We knew right away that this was going to get bad and that it would get bad quickly,” said Matthew Wise, deputy branch chief for outbreak response at the Outbreak Response and Prevention Branch of the CDC at the 2018 Food Safety Consortium. Although the CDC declared the outbreak over at the end of June, the total number of illnesses had reached 210, with five deaths.
Then in November it was revealed that contaminated lettuce was coming from growing regions in northern and central California. According to the latest update from FDA, there have been 59 reported illnesses, with 23 hospitalizations, across 16 states. No deaths have been reported. Earlier this month Adam Bros Farming, Inc. recalled red leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce and cauliflower, because it may have come into contact with water from the reservoir where the E. coli outbreak strain was found.
Raw Beef Products – Salmonella
At the beginning of the month, JBS Tolleson, Inc. expanded a recall of its non-intact raw beef products due to concerns of contamination with Salmonella Newport. More than 12 million pounds of product have been recalled. The latest CDC update put the reported case count at 333, with 91 hospitalizations across 28 states.
Shell Eggs – Salmonella
In April, Rose Acre Farms recalled more than 206 million eggs after FDA testing determined that eggs produced from the company’s farm were connected to 22 cases of Salmonella Braenderup infections. A total of 45 cases were reported across 10 states, with 11 hospitalizations, according to the CDC.
Pre-cut Melon – Salmonella
In June Caito Foods recalled its pre-cut melon products after a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Adelaide infections were traced back to the products. A total of 77 cases across nine states, with 36 hospitalizations, were reported.
Vegetable Trays – Cyclospora
In July, Del Monte recalled its vegetable trays that contained broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and dill dip following confirmed cases of cyclosporiasis in people who consumed the products. The CDC declared the outbreak over in September, with a final case count at 250 people across four states.
Salad Mix – Cyclospora
Fresh Express salad mix served at McDonalds was linked to a multistate outbreak of cyclosporiasus. The outbreak was declared over in September, with the final illness count at 511, and 24 hospitalizations.
Raw Turkey – Salmonella
Just before Thanksgiving an outbreak of Salmonella linked to raw turkey products was announced. Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales recalled more than 255,000 pounds of raw ground turkey products, however the CDC has not identified a single, common supplier that can account for this outbreak. As of the agency’s latest update on December 21, 216 cases have been reported across 38 states. The outbreak is responsible for 84 hospitalizations and one death.
Honey Smacks Cereal – Salmonella
The early summer outbreak of Salmonella Mbandaka linked to Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal got a lot of press, and it didn’t help that even though the company recalled the product, many retailers continued to keep the cereal on their shelves. The last illness onset was reported at the end of August. A total of 135 people were reported ill, with 34 hospitalizations.
Duncan Hines Cake Mix – Salmonella
The company recalled four varieties of its cake mixes after a retail sample tested positive for Salmonella Agbeni.
Johnston County Hams – Listeria monocytogenes
The company recalled more than 89,000 pounds of RTE deli loaf ham products over concerns of adulteration with Listeria monocytogenes.
Other outbreaks involving Salmonella this year included dried and frozen coconut, pasta salad, chicken salad and raw sprouts.
Just in time for Thanksgiving, consumers are worrying about whether the turkey they are buying for the holiday is contaminated with Salmonella. A multistate outbreak of drug-resistant Salmonella linked to raw turkey products has been going on for months, but now USDA is facing increasing pressure to name any associated turkey brands. According to the CDC, “a single, common supplier of raw turkey products or of live turkeys has not been identified.”
As of the agency’s last update (November 5), 164 people across 35 states have been infected with the outbreak stream of Salmonella Reading. 63 people have been hospitalized, and one death has been reported. Three people reported living in households where raw turkey pet food was given to pets.
Thus far the CDC isn’t advising retailers to stop sell raw turkey. It is stresses that consumers should follow the basic food safety steps to prevent Salmonella infections, including proper handwashing, cooking the turkey to the proper temperature (including reheating the meat), keeping food prep areas clean, proper thawing of turkey in the refrigerator and avoiding feeding pets raw food.
CDC states that if the information becomes available, it will provide notification related to the supplier(s) related to the outbreak.
“FDA and the CDC informed Conagra Brands that a sample of Duncan Hines Classic White Cake Mix that contained Salmonella Agbeni matched the Salmonella collected from ill persons reported to the CDC. This was determined through Whole Genome Sequencing, a type of DNA analysis. The sample was collected by Oregon health officials. Based on this information, Conagra Brands is working with FDA to proactively conduct a voluntary recall of Duncan Hines cake mixes from the market. The FDA is conducting an inspection at the Conagra Brands-owned manufacturing facility that produced the cake mixes. The FDA is also collecting environmental and product samples.” – FDA, November 7, 2018
After a retail sample tested positive for Salmonella, Duncan Hines issued a recall of four varieties of its cake mixes. The sample that tested positive for the pathogen was the Classic White cake mix, but out of an “abundance of caution”, the company recalled its Classic Butter Golden, Signature Confetti and Classic Yellow cake mixes that were manufactured during the same period of time.
According to a Conagra Brands press release, the FDA and CDC are investigating five occurrences of Salmonella that may be linked to the Duncan Hines cake mix.
“Several of the individuals reported consuming a cake mix at some point prior to becoming ill, and some may have also consumed these products raw and not baked. Consumers are reminded not to consume any raw batter. Cake mixes and batter can be made with ingredients such as eggs or flour which can carry risks of bacteria that are rendered harmless by baking, frying or boiling.” – Conagra Brands
The recalled products have a “Best If Used By Date” ranging from March 7 to March 13, 2019 and were distributed to U.S. retailers as well as exported internationally (on a limited basis). Consumers are advised to return the recalled products to the store in which they were purchased.
The meat industry has been on alert over the past few days, much of which has been due to Salmonella and Listeria concerns. The following are the Class I recalls that have hit:
- JBS Tolleson, Inc. recalls 6,937,195 pounds of raw non-intact beef products over concerns of Salmonella Newport contamination. According to the CDC, there are currently 57 reported cases across 16 states. No deaths have been reported. A traceback investigation involving store receipts and shopper card numbers enabled FSIS to trace the reported illnesses to JBS “as the common supplier of the ground beef products”.
- Johnston County Hams recalls more than 89,000 pounds of RTE deli loaf ham products over concerns of adulteration with Listeria monocytogenes. The CDC and other health agencies are monitoring the outbreak, which has thus far infected four people, and one death has been reported. Recalled products were produced between April 3, 2017 and October 2, 2018. Also connected to this event is the recall of Callie’s Charleston Biscuits, which may contain ham from Johnston County Ham.
- Canteen/Convenco recalled more than 1700 pounds of RTE breaded chicken tenders with BBQ sauce and hot sauce. The products were misbranded, as they may contain milk, and this was not declared on the finished product label. Thus far there have been no reported cases of adverse reactions due to consuming the products.
- Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods has recalled more than 18,200 pounds of RTE meat and poultry deli-sliced products over concerns of product adulteration with Listeria monocytogenes. The products were produced and packaged from September 14–October 3, 2018. No confirmed illnesses have been reported to date.
Yesterday Mondelēz Global, LLC announced a voluntary recall of certain Ritz cracker sandwiches and Ritz Bits products sold in the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The products contain whey powder, which the company’s supplier recalled due to concern of the presence of Salmonella.
On Friday, the USDA’s FSIS issued a public health alert for products containing whey powder manufactured by Associated Milk Producers, Inc.. The company issued a voluntary recall. The product associated with this specific alert is frozen microwavable “Hungry Man Chipotle BBQ sauced boneless chicken WYNGZ” dinners, produced by Pinnacle Foods, Inc. The issued was uncovered by the company when Associated Milk Producers notified them that its recalled whey powder ingredient was user in the ranch dressing it supplied to Pinnacle Foods. The ingredient was used in mashed potatoes as a component of the frozen chicken dinner.
More companies initiated voluntary recalls as result of the potential Salmonella contamination involving the whey protein. Pepperidge Farm recalled four varieties of its Goldfish Crackers. The company has an extensive list of the products with packaging labeling to assist consumers with identifying the product(s) of concern. Yesterday Flowers Foods recalled its Swiss Rolls and Captain John Derst’s Old Fashioned Bread.
Thus far, no illnesses related to the above recalls have been reported.
Today USDA’s FSIS issued an update about a multistate outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella Reading illnesses that have been linked to raw turkey products. Thus far 90 people in 26 states have been infected with the strain. Forty people have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.
A single source of the outbreak has yet to be identified. However, the CDC states that this strain of Salmonella is present in live turkeys and many types of raw turkey products, so “it might be widespread in the turkey industry”.
“33 isolates from ill people and 49 isolates from food and animal samples contained genes for resistance to all or some of the following antibiotics: ampicillin, streptomycin, sulfamethoxazole, tetracycline, gentamicin, and kanamycin. Testing of four outbreak isolates using standard antibiotic susceptibility testing by CDC’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) laboratory confirmed these results. This resistance likely will not affect the choice of antibiotic used to treat most people since these antibiotics are not normally used to treat Salmonella infections.” – CDC
The illnesses began on November 20, 2017 to June 29, 2018. Officials are using PulseNet to identify illnesses that might be part of the outbreak.
Today FDA issued an alert after becoming aware that some retailers are still selling Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal, which was recalled in June following a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Mbandaka infections linked to the product. No deaths have been reported, but 100 people in 33 states have become ill, with 30 hospitalizations, according to the CDC.
“Retailers cannot legally offer the cereal for sale and consumers should not purchase Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal,” FDA stated in its update about the agency’s outbreak investigation.
USDA FSIS has awarded a contract to 3M Food Safety for its pathogen detection instruments and kits. 3M’s molecular detection system will be the primary method used by the agency to detect Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes and E. coli O157. The technology combines isothermal DNA amplification and bioluminescence detection for a fast, accurate and simple solution that also tackles some of the constraints of PCR methods. Users can concurrently run up to 96 different tests for many organisms across food and environmental samples.