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Food Poison Journal

Food Poisoning Outbreaks and Litigation: Surveillance and Analysis

152 with Salmonella and 523,380 Lbs of Pork Recalled in Washington

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 6.46.51 PMKapowsin Meats, a Graham, Wash. establishment, is recalling approximately 523,380 pounds of pork products that may be contaminated with Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:-, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

FSIS has been conducting intensified sampling at Kapowsin Meats while this establishment took steps to address sanitary conditions at their facility after the original recall on August 13, 2015. Sampling revealed positive results for Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- on Whole Hogs for Barbeque, associated pork products and throughout the establishment. FSIS has deemed sanitary improvement efforts made by the Kapowsin Meats insufficient, and the scope of this recall has been expanded to include all products associated with contaminated source material. The establishment has voluntarily suspended operations.

The whole hogs and associated items were produced on various dates between April 18, 2015 and August 26, 2015. The following products are subject to recall:

  • Varying weights of boxed/bagged Whole Hogs for Barbeque
  • Varying weights of boxed/bagged fabricated pork products including various pork offal products, pork blood and pork trim.

The product subject to recall bears the establishment number “Est. 1628” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The product was shipped to various individuals, retail locations, institutions, and distributors in Alaska, Oregon and Washington.

On July 15, 2015, the Washington State Department of Health notified FSIS of an investigation of Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- illnesses. Working in conjunction with the Washington State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), FSIS determined that there is a link between whole hogs for barbeque and pork products from Kapowsin Meats and these illnesses. Traceback investigation has identified 36 case-patients who consumed whole hogs for barbeque or pork products from this establishment prior to illness onset. These illnesses are part of a larger illness investigation. Based on epidemiological evidence, 152 case-patients have been identified in Washington with illness onset dates ranging from April 25, 2015 to August 12, 2015. FSIS continues to work with our public health partners on this ongoing investigation.

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.

If you or a family member became ill with a Salmonella infection, including Reactive Arthritis or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Salmonella attorneys for a free case evaluation.

Canada Cyclospora illnesses are up to 92

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with provincial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and Health Canada to investigate 92 Canadian cases of Cyclospora infections in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, and Quebec. The source of this outbreak is not yet known, and the Agency and its partners continue to investigate.

The risk to Canadians is low, but people with weakened immune systems, young children and older adults are at increased risk for developing complications if they get sick. In Canada and the US, past foodborne outbreaks of Cyclospora have been linked to various types of imported fresh produce.

Cyclospora is a microscopic single-celled parasite that is passed in people’s feces. If it comes in contact with food or water, it can infect the people who consume it. This causes an intestinal illness called cyclosporiasis.

Cyclospora is most common in certain tropical and subtropical countries and regions.

In Canada, non-travel related illnesses due to Cyclospora occur more frequently in the spring and summer months. lllnesses among travellers can happen at any time of year.

In Canada, a total of 92 cases have been reported in British Columbia (4), Alberta (1), Ontario (82), and Quebec (5). Two cases have been hospitalized, and are recovered or recovering. No deaths have been reported. Individuals became sick between May 3 and August 5, 2015. To date, no source has been identified. The investigation is ongoing.

Previous foodborne illness outbreaks of Cyclospora, in Canada and US have been linked to various types of imported fresh produce, such as pre-packaged salad mix, basil, cilantro, berries, mesclun lettuce and snow peas.

To date, no multi-jurisdictional outbreaks have been linked to produce grown in Canada.

Washington Pork Outbreak Continues

first-chinese-bbqThe Salmonella outbreak linked to pork products has grown to 134 cases in 10 counties around the state. Consumers are advised to cook pork thoroughly.

The case count has continued to grow as state health officials work with Public Health — Seattle & King County along with other local, state, and federal partners on the disease investigation. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sent its team of “disease detectives” to the state to help. Investigators are interviewing the most recent cases and comparing information to early cases, which were first reported in the spring.

Disease investigators are searching for possible contamination and exposure sources from a wide range of possible venues, including restaurants, markets, slaughter facilities, and farms/ranches. Salmonella bacteria are commonly found in animals used for food, and proper storage, handling, preparation, and cooking can help prevent the illness known as salmonellosis.

Most of the illnesses have been confirmed with the outbreak strain of Salmonella bacteria, and early testing shows a connection to a slaughter facility in Graham, WA. Samples were collected at Kapowsin Meats in Pierce County last week. Testing confirms the outbreak strain was present. The business, which is regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service, has cooperated with the investigation. There may be other sources and disease investigators are searching for the origin of the Salmonella bacteria in the outbreak.

The 134 cases include residents of Clark (2), Cowlitz (1), Grays Harbor (1), King (84), Kitsap (1), Mason (2), Pierce (12), Snohomish (24), Thurston (2), and Yakima (5) counties.

Exposure for many of the ill people apparently was whole roasted pigs, served at private events and restaurants. State health officials have issued guidance for cooking whole roasted pigs, with an emphasis on making sure the meat is cooked thoroughly. In addition to proper handling and preparation, thorough cooking can help prevent possible illness. A meat thermometer should be used to ensure an internal temperature of 145 degrees in the thickest cut of the meat.

Salmonellosis, the illness caused by infection with Salmonella, can cause severe and even bloody diarrhea, fever, chills, abdominal discomfort, and vomiting. Serious bloodstream infections may also occur. Annually, 600-800 cases of salmonellosis are reported among Washington residents.

Proper food handling, preparation, and cooking are the best precautions to take to prevent illness. Following food safety guidance can help prevent food-borne illness. Health officials warn consumers to use a food thermometer to make sure all meats and fish are cooked to a safe internal temperature; guidance can be found on the Department of Health website. Other food safety tips include washing hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after preparing food, especially raw meats.

To avoid cross-contamination, don’t place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat of any kind. It’s also important to wash and then sanitize cutting boards, knives, and countertops that come into contact with raw meat by using a solution of bleach water (1 teaspoon bleach per gallon of water) or antibacterial cleaner.

Contact with live animals— including pigs or other livestock at home, in petting zoos, at local fairs and elsewhere — can create exposure to Salmonella and other bacteria. Thorough hand washing after contact with live animals is an important tool in preventing the spread of disease.

The Department of Health website (www.doh.wa.gov) is your source for a healthy dose of information. Also, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Listeria Test Causes Green Bean Recall

green-beans-1General Mills recalled a “limited quantity” of Cascadian Farm frozen green beans after a package of the product tested positive for listeria.

No illnesses have been reported, General Mills said. Listeria is a bacteria that causes listeriosis, a serious infection with symptoms including fever and gastrointestinal problems.

General Mills, based in suburban Minneapolis, said the voluntary recall involves 10-ounce bags of Cascadian Farm Cut Green Beans with either of two “better if used by dates” stamped on the package: “10APR2016” and “11APR2016.” The recalled products were distributed nationwide.

The company didn’t specify the quantity of the recall in pounds. Cascadian Farm is a major brand in the organic food market.

General Mills said the recall “is being issued as a precaution after one package of finished product tested positive for the presence of Listeria monocytogenes.” The recalled product was produced and packaged over two days in March 2014.