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Food Poison Journal

Food Poisoning Outbreaks and Litigation: Surveillance and Analysis

Unpasteurized Apple Cider Link in E. coli Outbreak

According the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) unpasteurized apple cider at the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market in Waterloo, Ontario has been linked to an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7.

Rolling Acres Cider Mill is recalling unpasteurized apple cider from the marketplace due to possible E. coliO157:H7 contamination.

The following products have been sold by Rolling Acres Cider Mill at the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market located in Waterloo, Ontario on October 11, 2014 and from the company’s own location in Waterloo, Ontario between October 10, 2014 and October 11, 2014.

This recall was triggered by findings by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) during its investigation into a foodborne illness outbreak. The CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.

CDC: Genome Sequencing Likely Link Between Listeria Cheese and Death

Several recalls of cheese and dairy products produced by Oasis Brands, Inc. due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination have been announced by FDA.

  • On August 4, 2014, Oasis Brands, Inc. voluntarily recalled quesito casero (fresh curd) due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination after the pathogen was isolated from quesito casero produced by this firm.
  • On October 6, 2014, Oasis Brands, Inc. recalled cuajada en hoja (fresh curd) after U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) isolated Listeria monocytogenes from environmental samples collected from the production facility.
  • On October 16, 2014, Oasis Brands, Inc. recalled various cheese and dairy products sold under the Lacteos Santa Martha brand.

Whole-genome sequences of the Listeria monocytogenes strains isolated from recalled quesito casero cheese produced by Oasis Brands, Inc. were found to be highly related to sequences of Listeria strains isolated from one person who became ill in September 2013 and two persons who became ill in June and August 2014.

  • These three ill persons were reported from three states: New York (1), Tennessee (1), and Texas (1).
  • All ill persons were hospitalized. One death was reported in Tennessee. One illness was related to a pregnancy and was diagnosed in a newborn.
  • All ill persons were reported to be of Hispanic ethnicity and reported consuming Hispanic-style soft cheese. The two persons who were able to answer questions about specific varieties of Hispanic-style soft cheeses reported consuming quesito casero, though neither could remember the brand.

Listeria:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Listeria outbreaks. The Listeria lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Listeria and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Listeria lawyers have litigated Listeria cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, cheese, celery and milk

If you ate at an unnamed Maine Restaurant you may be at risk for Hepatitis A

Mike Reagan of WMTW reports that the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a health alert about hepatitis A.  However, the Maine CDC will not say what restaurant it is.

The center said that a food service worker at a Cumberland County restaurant tested positive for the virus. Maine CDC did not identify the location but said the person was working with food between Sept. 29 and Oct. 11.

Patrons at the unnamed restaurant may be at risk for infection.

Anyone experiencing fever, jaundice, nausea, clay-colored stool and dark urine are urged to get tested, Maine CDC said.

It is mainly contracted through the fecal-oral route by people who have not washed their hands well after going to the bathroom. Mills said people handling food can transmit the virus to other people, which is why regulations exist for food service workers.

Dr. Sheila Pinette, director of the Maine CDC, refused to comment on Thursday.

Hepatitis A:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Hepatitis A outbreaks. The Hepatitis A lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Hepatitis A and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Hepatitis A lawyers have litigated Hepatitis A cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as green onions, lettuce and restaurant food.  The law firm has brought Hepatitis A lawsuits against such companies as Subway, McDonald’s, Chipotle, Quiznos and Carl’s Jr.

CSPI: Top Ten Risky Foods

The Washington-based Centers for Science in the Public Interest tracked data from 1990 and 2006 and revealed which foods caused the most food-poisoning outbreaks during that period.

1.  Leafy greens, 363 outbreaks. Greens were found to contain various pathogens, including E. coli, norovirus, and salmonella. They often can become contaminated during harvesting or during the pre-washing process for bagged lettuce.

2.  Eggs, 325 outbreaks. Most of the outbreaks were from salmonella due to improper handling and cooking. Restaurants were the worst offenders, serving eggs too raw or leaving them too long on buffet tables.

3.  Tuna, 268 outbreaks. The primary culprit is something called Scombroid poisoning, a toxin released when fresh fish is stored above 60 degrees F. It can cause headaches, cramps, nausea, diarrhea, palpitations, and loss of vision.

4.  Oysters, 132 outbreaks. Norovirus is common in tainted oysters and usually comes from the waters in which these delicacies are harvested. A bacterium called Vibrio is also present in oysters and it can infect the bloodstream and be life-threatening.

5.  Potatoes, 108 outbreaks. Outbreaks occur most frequently from contaminated or improperly refrigerated potato salad. The most common cause of potato-linked illnesses comes from E. coli and salmonella.

6.  Cheese, 83 outbreaks. Salmonella is the most common cheese hazard. Although most cheese is made with pasteurized milk, California officials have warned that many Latin-American-style cheeses may be made by unlicensed manufacturers using milk that could contain harmful bacteria. Pregnant woman should be cautious about eating soft cheeses like Brie or Camembert, which can carry Listeria. Listeria can cause miscarriage, say experts.

7.  Ice cream, 75 outbreaks. Salmonella and staphylococcus, most often from raw eggs in homemade ice creams, were the biggest threat.

8.  Tomatoes, 31 outbreaks. Tomatoes were implicated in four multistate outbreaks of salmonella. Restaurants were responsible for 70 percent of tomato-related illnesses.

9.  Sprouts, 31 outbreaks. Sprout seeds can become contaminated with salmonella or E. Coli during storage. Because sprouts pose a contamination hazard, the FDA recommends that people with compromised immune systems, the elderly, and the very young, do not consume raw sprouts.

10.  Berries, 25 outbreaks. Berries can be contaminated with hepatitis A or Cyclospora. In 1997, more than 2.6 million pounds of contaminated strawberries were recalled across several states when students became ill with hepatitis A, possibly from an infected farm worker.