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Apples and a Recent History of Listeria

With at least two deaths in four hospitalizations reported by Team Diarrhea of the Minnesota Department of Public Health linked to caramel apples, and the likelihood of a nationwide Listeria outbreak in the offing, I thought it would be useful to see the FDA’s treatment of recent past apple/Listeria combinations.

December 11, 2014 – Giant Eagle has issued a recall of Giant Eagle Apple Pistachio Salad and Apple Pistachio Salad with Chicken because the salads may contain fresh cut Gala red apples currently recalled by Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A. due to potential Listeria monocytogenes contamination. To date, Giant Eagle has received no reports of customer illnesses associated with this recall.  http://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls/ucm426704.htm

November 14, 2013 – Crunch Pak® of Cashmere, Washington is voluntarily recalling 5,471 cases of Crunch Pak® Apple Slices due to a possible health risk from Listeria monocytogenes. No illnesses have been reported in association with this recall to date. No other Crunch Pak® products are affected by this recall. FDA is aware that the company is undertaking this voluntary action.  http://www.fda.gov/food/recallsoutbreaksemergencies/recalls/ucm375135.htm

November 7, 2013 – Garden-Fresh Foods has initiated an expansion of previous recalls of fresh cut vegetables, ready-to eat salads, slaws, dips and spreads sold under various brands and code dates manufactured prior to November 06, 2013. All packaging types and sizes are included. The company has not received reports of illnesses due to consumption of these products, however anyone concerned about an illness should contact a healthcare provider.  http://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls/archiverecalls/2013/ucm374295.htm

December 8, 2012 – Freshway Foods is voluntarily recalling 6,671 pounds of sliced apples that were packaged on November 12 using the same packaging machine, which may have been contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. A table of recalled consumer pack products, their respective use-by-dates and the states to which the company shipped them is provided below. No illnesses have been linked to this recall.  http://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls/ucm331564.htm

August 10, 2012 – Missa Bay, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ready Pac Foods, Inc., of Swedesboro, New Jersey is voluntarily recalling a total of 293,488 cases and 296,224 individually distributed units of fruit, vegetable, and sandwich products containing apples, as listed below, with the Use‐by dates of July 8, 2012 through August 20, 2012 because they contain diced or sliced apples which may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm315249.htm

August 6, 2012 – Reichel Foods, Inc. of Rochester, Minnesota is voluntarily recalling a limited amount of Dippin’ Stix Sliced Apples & Caramel with Peanuts and Armour Active Packs Cheese Pizza Lunch Kits because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women. No illnesses have been reported to date. http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm314587.htm

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 or a family member became ill with a Listeria infection after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Listeria attorneys for a free case evaluation.

Settlement Reached in Wolverine E. coli Outbreak

In late April 2014, public health and agriculture officials at the federal, state, and local levels initiated an outbreak investigation after receiving reports of reports of persons who had lab-confirmed E. coli O157:H7 infections.[1] Ultimately, a total of twelve persons from four states were identified as having been infected with the outbreak strain, which was identified by the PulseNet Pattern Identification Number EXHX01.0096/EXHA26.015. The number of infected persons in each state were as follows: Massachusetts (1 case-patient), Michigan (5 case-patients), Missouri (1 case-patient), and Ohio (5 case-patients).  The dates of illness-onset ranged from April 22 to May 2, 2014. The age of persons infected ranged 16 years to 46 years, with the median being 25 years. Seven patients (58%) were known to have been hospitalized, although no one died. The outbreak investigation was assigned CDC Cluster ID 1405MLEXH-1.

In interviewing the case-patients, public health officials found that eleven of the twelve (92%) reported eating ground beef prepared as a hamburger at a restaurant before becoming ill.  Officials conducted multiple traceback investigations of the ground beef used at restaurants where case-patients had reported dining. These investigations identified ground beef produced by Wolverine Packing Company as the source of the ground beef and thus the outbreak.

On May 19, Wolverine Packing Company recalled approximately 1.8 million pounds of ground beef that was potentially contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.[2]  This was a Class I Recall, which means that FSIS deemed the risk to the public health “High.” The ground beef had been shipped to distributors for retail and restaurant-use nationwide. The recalled ground beef bore the establishment number “EST. 2574B” inside the USDA mark of inspection and had a production date code in the format “Packing Nos: MM DD14” between “03 31 14” and “04 18 14.”


[1]           See CDC Final Outbreak Report, http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2014/O157H7-05-14/index.html

[2]           See FSIS New Release, “Michigan Firm Recalls Ground Beef Products Due to Possible E. coli O157:H7,” http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/recalls-and-public-health-alerts/recall-case-archive/archive/2014/recall-030-2014 .

Salmonella Sproutbreak Sickens 87 in 11 States

As of December 2, 2014, a total of 87 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Enteritidis have been reported from 11 states.

State Ill persons
Connecticut 7
Maine 3
Massachusetts 35
Montana 1
New Hampshire 4
New York 14
Ohio 3
Pennsylvania 10
Rhode Island 6
Vermont 3
Virginia 1
Total ill persons 87

Twenty-seven percent of ill persons have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

CDC’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) laboratory conducted antibiotic resistance testing on Salmonella Enteritidis isolates collected from three ill persons infected with the outbreak strains.

All three isolates were susceptible to all antibiotics tested on the NARMS panel.

Collaborative investigation efforts of state, local, and federal public health and regulatory agencies indicate that bean sprouts produced by Wonton Foods, Inc. are the likely source of this outbreak.

In interviews, 42 (78%) of 54 ill persons reported eating bean sprouts or menu items containing bean sprouts in the week before becoming ill.

Wonton Foods, Inc. continues to cooperate with state and federal public health and agriculture officials.

On November 21, 2014, Wonton Foods, Inc. agreed to destroy any remaining products while they conducted thorough cleaning and sanitization and implemented other Salmonella control measures. On November 24, the firm completed cleaning and sanitization and restarted production of bean sprouts. The firm resumed shipment on November 29, 2014

Contaminated bean sprouts produced by Wonton Foods, Inc. are likely no longer available for purchase or consumption given the maximum 12-day shelf life of mung bean sprouts.

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.

 

68 Sickened by Salmonella Sprouts, but No Recall?

The CDC reports as of November 24, a total of 68 persons infected with the outbreak strains have been reported from 10 states. The number of ill people identified in each state is as follows: Connecticut (4), Maine (3), Massachusetts (31), Montana (1), New Hampshire (4), New York (5), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (10), Rhode Island (6), and Vermont (3). The one ill person from Montana traveled to the Eastern United States during the period when likely exposure occurred.

Illness onset dates range from September 30, 2014 to November 10, 2014. Ill persons range in age from younger than one year to 83 years, with a median age of 31 years. Fifty-six percent of ill persons are female. Among 43 persons with available information, 11 (26%) have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

This outbreak can be visually described with a chart showing the number of persons who became ill each day. This chart is called an epidemic curve or epi curve. Illnesses that occurred after November 4, 2014 might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 2 to 4 weeks. Please see the Timeline for Reporting Cases of Salmonella Infection for more details.

Collaborative investigation efforts of state, local, and federal public health and regulatory agencies indicate that bean sprouts produced by Wonton Foods, Inc. are the likely source of this outbreak.  What the FDA has said thus far about a recall or not:  On November 21, 2014, Wonton Foods, Inc. said that it would stop the production and sale of mung bean sprouts and take other actions to prevent Salmonella contamination. The firm has reported that their last shipment of bean sprouts was on November 18, 2014.  FDA is continuing its investigation and will work with the firm on any required corrective actions. The company has been silent.

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.  Here is a bit of history of Sprout Lawsuits:

In September and October of 2008, public health officials in Colorado identified at least 19 cases of E. coli infection among customers of Jimmy John’s restaurants.  An outbreak investigation ensued and alfalfa sprouts were determined to be the source of E. coli contamination in the restaurants.

Between February and March of 2009, 235 people in 14 states became ill with Salmonella Saintpaul infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have advised consumers to stay away from all raw sprouts, as the contamination appears to be in the seeds, which are sold nationwide.

An outbreak of Salmonella Newport that sickened 23 people in 10 states was linked to raw alfalfa sprouts in March of 2010.  The CDC reported illnesses in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, and Wisconsin.

In December of 2010, Alfalfa Sprouts served at Jimmy John’s restaurants were identified as the source of a multi-state outbreak of antibiotic-resistant Salmonella Serotype I 4,5,12,i-. At least 140 people in 26 states and the District of Columbia were diagnosed with Salmonella infections linked to the consumption of contaminated alfalfa sprouts served at Jimmy John’s.

On January 3, 2011 the Oregon Health Authority issued a News Release warning consumers of a Salmonella Newport risk and recall related to clover sprouts produced by Sprouters Northwest, Inc. of Kent, Washington. Health officials linked at least six people to the outbreak who consumed sprouts in December 2010; two in Oregon and four in Washington.

Clover sprouts served on Jimmy John’s sandwiches between December, 2011 and March, 2012 were the source of a multi-state E. coli O26 outbreak.  On February 15, 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced it was working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and various local and state health departments to investigate an E. coli O26 outbreak linked to raw clover sprouts served on sandwiches sold at Jimmy John’s restaurants in five states. As of April 4, the CDC had confirmed that at least 29 people, including 6 who were hospitalized, had become ill with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O26 infections associated with the consumption of raw clover sprouts.

As of June 9, 2014, the CDC reported a total of 17 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O121 (STEC O121) have been reported from five states.  The number of ill persons identified in each state was as follows:  Idaho (3), Michigan (1), Montana (2), Utah (1), and Washington (10).

Salmonella Enteritidis Linked to Sprouts Sickens 68 in 10 States

As of November 24, a total of 68 persons infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Enteritidis have been reported from 10 states. The number of ill people identified in each state is as follows: Connecticut (4), Maine (3), Massachusetts (31), Montana (1), New Hampshire (4), New York (5), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (10), Rhode Island (6), and Vermont (3). The one ill person from Montana traveled to the Eastern United States during the period when likely exposure occurred.

Illness onset dates range from September 30, 2014 to November 10, 2014. Ill persons range in age from younger than one year to 83 years, with a median age of 31 years. Fifty-six percent of ill persons are female. Among 43 persons with available information, 11 (26%) have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

Collaborative investigation efforts of state, local, and federal public health and regulatory agencies indicate that bean sprouts produced by Wonton Foods, Inc. are the likely source of this outbreak.

The information available to date indicates that bean sprouts produced by Wonton Foods, Inc. may be contaminated with Salmonella and are not safe to eat. As of November 21, 2014, the firm has verbally agreed to voluntarily stop the production and sale of their bean sprouts.

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.

Don’t Let Your Turkey Take Revenge This Thanksgiving

Food Safety advocate Bill Marler provides the best food safety tips for purchasing, storing, and preparing turkey 

Each year, nearly 48 million Americans suffer from foodborne illness and one of the main culprits is turkey! Food safety advocate Bill Marler, of Marler Clark, the Food Safety Law Firm, has a few simple tips to help keep your Thanksgiving a joyous occasion.

“There’s a lot of misinformation about the best way to prepare, defrost, and store turkey. Even though it’s a common food, it’s something of a mystery to the average home cook. Unfortunately, when turkey isn’t handled with care, it can cause some pretty serious issues.” Let the turkey take center stage at your Thanksgiving celebrations for all the right reasons with a few straightforward safety tips.

Purchase and Storage

Be sure to pick out your turkey toward the end of your shopping trip and have it bagged separately. Keep turkey frozen immediately after purchase. Do not leave turkey out anywhere.

Thawing

Turkey is safe indefinitely when frozen. It is when the thawing process begins that bacteria has a chance to grow. Below are the three safest ways to properly thaw a turkey:

Refrigerator

  • Plan ahead. Thawing in the fridge takes a significant amount of time to be done properly. Allow one day of thawing for every 4 lbs of turkey.
  • Thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1-2 days before cooking.
  • Be sure to keep it in a tray to prevent any juices from leaking.

Cold Water

  • Allow 30 minutes of thawing for each pound of turkey.
  • Keep it in a leak-proof plastic bag to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Completely submerge the wrapped turkey in cold tap water, changing water every 30 minutes.
  • Cook turkey immediately once completely thawed.

Microwave

  • Check your owner’s manual for the minutes per pound and the power level to use for thawing turkey.
  • Be sure to remove all wrapping before microwaving and place in a microwave safe tray to catch juices.
  • Cook turkey immediately once completely thawed.

Cooking

You must use a food thermometer when cooking turkey. A safe internal temperature is 165°F. Set your oven no lower than 325°F and make sure the turkey is completely thawed before cooking. Place the turkey breast-side up on a flat wire rack in a shallow roasting pan 2 to 2 ½ inches deep.

While it’s best to cook stuffing separately in a casserole, it can be safely cooked inside the turkey. The trick is to not pack in the stuffing—it should be placed loosely with plenty of space in the cavity—and adjust the cooking time accordingly.

It is also very important to remember to thoroughly wash hands and utensils before, during, and especially after working with raw poultry. To prevent cross-contamination, use separate cutting boards for raw turkey and other foods. Make sure to refrigerate any leftovers within two hours of preparation. Do not let turkey or any food fall into the temperature danger zone (between 40°F and 140°F). In other words, don’t take a three hour car ride with frozen or cooked turkey in the trunk!

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of foodborne outbreaks such as E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, and Listeria. The lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of foodborne illness infections 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. The law firm has brought lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, Taco Bell, Peanut Corporation of America, ConAgra, Subway, Wal-Mart, and Jimmy John’s.

How to Prevent Foodborne Illness From Visiting This Holiday Season

Food Safety advocate, Bill Marler, discusses how to spread the holiday meal love without spreading foodborne illness; food safety tips for food preparation and transport 

Not only is the holiday season the time of the cold and flu, it is also a time when another and far more deadly sickness thrives: foodborne illness. Each year, it is estimated that 1 in 6 people contract a foodborne illness, such as Salmonella, E. coli, Shigella, or Listeria. Before you prepare a feast for your next holiday potluck, it is important to learn the best ways to prevent you and your loved ones from getting sick. Food safety advocate, Bill Marler of Marler Clark, the Food Safety Law Firm, provides his best food safety tips to help prevent foodborne illness from attending your party.

“The holidays should be a worry free time with family and friends that does not include a trip to the hospital,” said Marler, “Too often have I seen people get sick from food that’s been improperly handled, stored, or prepared—something that really is completely preventable.” While the food we eat during the holidays may not always be the healthiest, we can prevent it from making anyone immediately sick by following a few simple tips:

Plan Ahead

Make a list of all foods that will need to be refrigerated or kept warm, as well as what will be transported. Make a note of how long each food item takes to cook, thaw, and prepare. Pulling out a frozen turkey the day of your party is a recipe for disaster.

Always Use a Digital Thermometer

All food that is cooked should reach the safe internal temperature of 165°F. The only proper way to measure this is by using a digital food thermometer. Also, remember that any warm foods should be kept above 140°F during serving.

Keep Foods Out of the Danger Zone

Any leftovers should be refrigerated within two hours of preparation. Do not let any food fall into the temperature danger zone (between 40°F and 140°F). If transporting food, use a cooler or insulated carrier. For best results, avoid long travel times when carrying food.

Thaw All The Way

When defrosting your turkey, or any poultry, be sure to defrost it completely. Never leave it in the car, or outside, or on the counter to thaw. The three safest places to thaw a turkey are in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave.

  • When thawing in the refrigerator, allow one day of thawing for every 4 lbs of turkey. Keep it in a tray to prevent any juices from dripping.
  • For cold water thawing, allow 30 minutes of thawing for each pound of turkey. Make sure it is wrapped in a leak-proof plastic bag before completely submerging it in cold water. Change out the water every 30 minutes.
  • To thaw in the microwave, follow the owner’s manual instructions. Be sure to remove all wrapping and place in a microwave safe tray to catch juices.

Turkey should be cooked immediately once completely thawed.

Wash Everything…Multiple Times

The best way to prevent foodborne illness when preparing food is to wash, wash, wash. Wash your hands thoroughly, wash all fresh produce (even pre-packaged greens), and wash all utensils and surfaces. Hands, utensils, and surfaces should be washed before, during, and after each food item is prepared.

Avoid Cross-Contamination

Keep all your food items (especially raw meat, poultry, and seafood) separate when purchasing, storing, preparing, and serving. Wrap all meat, poultry, and seafood in a plastic bag and keep separate from raw produce. When serving food, always use a clean plate and use separate serving spoons for each food item.  Do not wash the turkey!

Keep Guests Out

With a ton of delicious food everywhere, guests will be tempted to stick their hands in for tasting or their heads in for smelling. Try to keep your guests out of the kitchen to prevent the spread of all illnesses, including cold and flu. Provide a serving utensil for all foods, including bread, to avoid germs on hands from spreading.

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of foodborne outbreaks such as E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, and Listeria. The lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of foodborne illness infections 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. The law firm has brought lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, Taco Bell, Peanut Corporation of America, ConAgra, Subway, Wal-Mart, and Jimmy John’s.

CDC: 10 State, 63 Person Salmonella Outbreak Announced

Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont implicated.

As of November 21, 2014, the CDC reports a total of 63 persons infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Enteritidis have been reported from 10 states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The one ill person from Montana traveled to the Eastern United States during the period when likely exposure occurred.

Illness onset dates range from September 30, 2014 to November 8, 2014. Among 42 persons with available information, 11 (26%) have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

Collaborative investigation efforts of state, local, and federal public health and regulatory agencies indicate that bean sprouts produced by Wonton Foods, Inc. are the likely source of this outbreak.

The information available to date indicates that bean sprouts produced by Wonton Foods, Inc. may be contaminated with Salmonella and are not safe to eat. As of November 21, 2014, the firm has verbally agreed to voluntarily stop the production and sale of their bean sprouts.

CDC recommends that restaurants and other retailers do not sell or serve bean sprouts produced by Wonton Foods, Inc. at this time. CDC recommends that consumers do not eat bean sprouts produced by Wonton Foods, Inc. at this time.

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.

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.

Listeria Outbreak: Is it Time for a Warning Label on Sprouts?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported last week that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) isolated Listeria monocytogenes from mung bean sprouts and sprout irrigation water samples obtained during a routine assignment on August 13, 2014, at Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. Based on this finding, FDA conducted an inspection of the facility from August 12, 2014, through September 3, 2014, and isolated Listeria monocytogenes from 25 environmental swabs obtained during the inspection. FDA also issued a report with 12 inspectional observations, citing the firm for numerous unsanitary conditions and poor equipment maintenance.FDA performed pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS) on the isolates from mung bean sprouts and environmental samples from Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. to further characterize the Listeria isolates. Compared with PFGE, WGS provides a clearer distinction of genetic differences among Listeria isolates (strains that are highly related by WGS are more likely to have a common source).

Public health investigators used PFGE and WGS to identify cases of illness that were caused by highly related strains and therefore possibly related to products made at Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. This included data from PulseNet, the national subtyping network of state and local public health laboratories, CDC, and federal food regulatory laboratories that perform molecular surveillance of foodborne infections.

Whole-genome sequences of Listeria strains isolated from five ill people were found to be highly related to sequences of the Listeria strain isolated from mung bean sprouts produced by Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. These ill people have been reported from two states: Illinois (4) and Michigan (1).  They became ill from June through August 2014. All five people were hospitalized, and two deaths were reported. Two of the five people were interviewed, and both reported consuming bean sprouts in the month before becoming ill.

My friends at Barf Blog document at least 55 sprout-associated outbreaks occurring worldwide affecting a total of 15,233 people since 1988. A comprehensive table of sprout-related outbreaks can be found at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Sprout-associated-outbreaks-8-1-14.xlsx.

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.

5 Sick with 2 Dead from Listeria Tainted Bean Sprouts in Illinois and Michigan

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported tonight than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) isolated Listeria monocytogenes from mung bean sprouts and sprout irrigation water samples obtained during a routine assignment on August 13, 2014, at Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. Based on this finding, FDA conducted an inspection of the facility from August 12, 2014, through September 3, 2014, and isolated Listeria monocytogenes from 25 environmental swabs obtained during the inspection. FDA also issued a report with 12 inspectional observations, citing the firm for numerous unsanitary conditions and poor equipment maintenance.

On August 28, 2014, Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. agreed to conduct a voluntary recall of mung bean sprouts and notified customers by telephone. Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. ceased production of sprouts on August 28, 2014, and resumed production on September 15, 2014 after Listeria monocytogenes was not identified in finished product. From October 7, 2014, to October 31, 2014, FDA re-inspected the facility and identified Listeria monocytogenes in nine environmental swabs. FDA investigators issued another report to the firm, noting 12 inspectional observations involving unsanitary conditions and poor equipment maintenance. Nine of these observations had persisted from the previous inspection.

On October 14, 2014, Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. ceased production of all products except mung bean and soy bean sprouts. FDA is working with the company to ensure that they do not produce sprouts until FDA has adequate assurances that this persistent and dangerous strain of Listeria monocytogenes is sufficiently controlled. Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is working to embargo all product at Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. and the other wholesalers that presently have product. In addition, IDPH has asked local health departments to contact facilities in their jurisdictions that have received the product to have the facilities either hold the product or destroy per the CDC recommendations.

FDA performed pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS) on the isolates from mung bean sprouts and environmental samples from Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. to further characterize the Listeria isolates. Compared with PFGE, WGS provides a clearer distinction of genetic differences among Listeria isolates (strains that are highly related by WGS are more likely to have a common source).

Public health investigators used PFGE and WGS to identify cases of illness that were caused by highly related strains and therefore possibly related to products made at Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. This included data from PulseNet, the national subtyping network of state and local public health laboratories, CDC, and federal food regulatory laboratories that perform molecular surveillance of foodborne infections.

Whole-genome sequences of Listeria strains isolated from five ill people were found to be highly related to sequences of the Listeria strain isolated from mung bean sprouts produced by Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. These ill people have been reported from two states: Illinois (4) and Michigan (1).  They became ill from June through August 2014. All five people were hospitalized, and two deaths were reported. Two of the five people were interviewed, and both reported consuming bean sprouts in the month before becoming ill.

The high degree of genetic similarity between isolates from ill people and from mung bean sprouts and environmental samples collected at Wholesome Soy Products, Inc. shows that the food was contaminated with a strain of Listeria monocytogenes that can cause serious illness. Although limited information is available about the specific sprout products that the ill people consumed, the whole genome sequencing findings, together with the sprout consumption history of two patients and inspection findings at the firm, suggest that these illnesses could be related to products from Wholesome Soy Products, Inc.

CDC, the states involved, and FDA continue to work closely on this ongoing investigation, and new information will be provided when available.

My friends at Barf Blog document at least 55 sprout-associated outbreaks occurring worldwide affecting a total of 15,233 people since 1988. A comprehensive table of sprout-related outbreaks can be found at http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Sprout-associated-outbreaks-8-1-14.xlsx.

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.