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Food Poison Journal

Food Poisoning Outbreaks and Litigation: Surveillance and Analysis

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.

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.

Listeria monocytogenes Contamination in Raw Milk in Sullivan County, New York

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today warned consumers in Sullivan County and the surrounding area not to consume “unpasteurized” raw farm milk from the Richard Dirie Farm, due to possible Listeria contamination. The Dirie Farm is located at 1345 Shandelee Road, Livingston Manor, New York. To date, no illnesses are known by the Department to be associated with this product.

A sample of the milk, collected by an inspector from the Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services on October 21, 2014, was subsequently tested by the Department’s Food Laboratory and discovered to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. On October 23, 2014, the producer was notified of a preliminary positive test result and he volunteered to suspend raw milk sales until the sample results were confirmed. Further laboratory testing, completed on October 28, 2014, confirmed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in the raw milk sample. The producer is now prohibited from selling raw milk until subsequent sampling indicates that the product is free of harmful bacteria.

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, cancer patients, elderly people and others with weakened immune systems. Although otherwise healthy persons may suffer only short-term, flu-like symptoms such as high fever, severe headaches, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

It is important to note that raw milk does not provide the protection of pasteurization, which eliminates all pathogenic bacteria, including Listeria.

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.

Salmonella Causes Cashew Contamination Recall

Chetak New York L.L.C. of Edison, NJ is recalling its 5560 packages of 7oz., 3840 packages of 14oz., & 1920 packages of 28oz. “DEEP RAW CASHEW PIECES” because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

The recalled “Deep Raw Cashew Pieces” were distributed nationwide in retail stores from March 12, 2014 to October 21,2014. The product comes in a 7 oz., 14oz., & 28oz. clear plastic package marked with UPC number on the rear of the package.

  • UPC number for 7oz. is 011433133104
  • UPC number for 14oz. is 011433133111
  • UPC number for 28oz. is 011433133128

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

The potential for contamination was noted after routine testing conducted by the FDA.

Salmonella:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella 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 Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants.  The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.