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Food Poison Journal Food Poisoning Outbreaks and Litigation: Surveillance and Analysis

Foodborne Illness Outbreaks

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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

Marler Clark Retained in Minnesota Salmonella Chicken Outbreak

Minnesota state health and agriculture officials reported last week that six recent cases of salmonellosis in Minnesota have been linked to raw, frozen, breaded and pre-browned, stuffed chicken entrees. The implicated product is Antioch Farms brand A La Kiev raw stuffed chicken breast with a U.S. Department of Agriculture stamped code of P-1358.

Investigators from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) determined that six cases of Salmonella infection from August and September 2014 were due to the same strain of Salmonella Enteritidis. One person was hospitalized for their illness. That family has retained us to investigate the illness and outbreak.

On Friday night Aspen Foods Division of Koch Meats recalled 28,980 pounds of chicken products that may be contaminated with a particular strain of Salmonella Enteritidis, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. FSIS requested Aspen Foods conduct this recall because this product is known to be associated with a specific illness cluster.

The recalled product includes partially prepared chicken products sold by retailers under the Antioch Farms brand name, with “sell by” dates of October 1, 2015 and October 7, 2015. The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “P-1358” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The chicken products were produced on July 2, 2014 and July 8, 2014. These products were shipped to retail stores and distribution centers in Minnesota.

The product is identified as:

• Single 5 once plastic packets of Raw Stuffed Chicken Breast Breaded, Boneless Breast of Chicken with Rib Meat “A La Kiev”

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.

Aspen Foods Recalls Tons of Chicken Following Salmonella Outbreak

Aspen Foods Division of Koch Meats, a Chicago, Il., based establishment, is recalling 28,980 pounds of chicken products that may be contaminated with a particular strain of Salmonella Enteritidis, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. FSIS requested Aspen Foods conduct this recall because this product is known to be associated with a specific illness cluster.

The recalled product includes partially prepared chicken products sold by retailers under the Antioch Farms brand name, with “sell by” dates of October 1, 2015 and October 7, 2015. The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “P-1358” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The chicken products were produced on July 2, 2014 and July 8, 2014. These products were shipped to retail stores and distribution centers in Minnesota.

The product is identified as:

• Single 5 once plastic packets of Raw Stuffed Chicken Breast Breaded, Boneless Breast of Chicken with Rib Meat “A La Kiev”

FSIS was notified of an investigation of Salmonella Enteritidis illnesses on October 9, 2014. Working in conjunction with Minnesota Department of Health, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, FSIS determined that there is a link between the Chicken Kiev from Aspen Foods Division of Koch Foods and this illness cluster. Based on epidemiologic investigation, 6 case-patients have been identified in Minnesota with illness onset dates ranging from August, 17, 2014 to September, 27, 2014. Among the 6 case-patients with available information, 1 case-patient was hospitalized; 0 deaths have been reported. All 6 case-patients reported chicken Kiev consumption prior to illness onset. Samples of product collected during the course of this investigation by Minnesota Department of Agriculture tested positive for Salmonella Enteritidis with the outbreak strain. It is not known at this time if this outbreak strain has any drug resistance. On October 17, 2014 FSIS received evidence that linked the illnesses associated with this outbreak to a specific product or production lot. Evidence that is required for a recall includes obtaining case-patient product that tests positive for the same particular strain of Salmonella that caused the illness, and packaging on product that clearly links the product to a specific facility and a specific production date, which were all met. FSIS is continuing to work with our public health partners on this investigation and will provide updated information as it becomes available.

Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating the contaminated product. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Most people recover without treatment. In some persons, however, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Older adults, infants, and persons with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a severe illness. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact their health care provider.

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.

 

Raw, Frozen, Breaded and Pre-browned Chicken Sicken Six with Salmonella

State health and agriculture officials said today that six recent cases of salmonellosis in Minnesota have been linked to raw, frozen, breaded and pre-browned, stuffed chicken entrees. The implicated product is Antioch Farms brand A La Kiev raw stuffed chicken breast with a U.S. Department of Agriculture stamped code of P-1358. This product is sold at many different grocery store chains.

Investigators from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) determined that six cases of Salmonella infection from August and September 2014 were due to the same strain of Salmonella Enteritidis. One person was hospitalized for their illness.

“Our DNA fingerprinting found that the individuals were sickened by the same strain of Salmonella,” said Dr. Carlota Medus, epidemiologist for the Foodborne Diseases Unit at MDH. “The Minnesota Department of Agriculture collected samples of the same type of product from grocery stores and the outbreak strain of Salmonella was found in packages of this product.”

There have been six outbreaks of salmonellosis in Minnesota linked to these types of products from 1998 through 2008. This is the first outbreak since improvements were made in 2008 to the labeling of these products. The current labels clearly state that the product is raw.

Salmonella is sometimes present in raw chicken, which is why it is important for consumers to follow safe food-handling practices. This includes cooking all raw poultry products to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. “The problem arises when consumers don’t realize that they are handling and preparing a raw product,” according to Dr. Carrie Rigdon, an investigator for the MDA Dairy and Food Inspection Division.

Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramps and fever. Symptoms usually begin within 12 to 72 hours after exposure, but can begin up to a week after exposure. Salmonella infections usually resolve in 5 to 7 days, but approximately 20 percent of cases require hospitalization. In rare cases, Salmonella infection can lead to death, particularly in the elderly or those with weakened immune systems.

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.

Kentucky Public Health Urges Consumers to Avoid Unpasteurized Milk – Raw Milk – After E. coli Illnesses

Consumption could lead to E. coli infection, serious illness

The Kentucky Department for Public Health is warning consumers about the dangers of consuming unpasteurized milk as well as other products that could lead to disease-producing E. coli infection, following a recent outbreak in North Central Kentucky and the hospitalization of four children.

DPH has been working with local health departments, hospital and the provider community to investigate the outbreak. Four of the five children associated with the cluster developed Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), a disease caused by the most severe E. coli infections which may result in life-threatening kidney failure.

“At this time, we know that all of the children consumed unpasteurized milk, which is different from the milk and dairy products you purchase at the grocery store,” said DPH Commissioner Stephanie Mayfield, M.D. “Unpasteurized milk is dangerous and has not undergone a process to kill bacteria before it is consumed, meaning it could contain disease-causing agents such as E. coli. The health of anyone who drinks unpasteurized milk can be affected if they are exposed to E. coli or other bacteria that can cause very serious illness, but the risk is even greater for children.”

The sale of raw, unpasteurized milk is illegal in the state of Kentucky. However, individuals sometimes gain access to unpasteurized milk and consume the product despite the associated health risks.

“Raw milk, no matter how carefully it is produced, may contain pathogens,” said Mayfield. “Just as we recommend that you don’t eat raw hamburger, pork or fish, we also advise that consumers don’t drink raw, unpasteurized milk.”

According to DPH, children are more likely than adults to develop complications of E. coli infection, especially if they are younger than 5. Signs of an infection include diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting. HUS only develops in a small percentage of children with E. coli infection, but is a serious health concern. The condition can cause seizures, altered mental states, confusion, fatigue, dehydration, neurological complications and kidney failure. Patients with severe kidney disease may require dialysis. Three to 5 percent of HUS cases result in death, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Confirming a direct link to a given source of food or milk that causes an outbreak can be difficult, especially in situations where exposures occurred over a brief window of time. Laboratory testing has not yet definitively identified the source of the recent illnesses.

DPH is stressing the dangers of unpasteurized milk after learning all the affected children had consumed it and because it is a known source of E. coli bacteria, as well as numerous other pathogens that can lead to illness.

The pasteurization process, which uses heat to treat raw milk and kill pathogens, has been used since 1908 to assure the health and safety of the milk supply. All milk sold in Kentucky must be pasteurized, which is noted on the product label. If individuals are unsure if milk is pasteurized, they are advised to check the product labeling, ask their clerk or grocer, or to throw it out if pasteurization cannot be verified.

“Do not purchase milk unless you can verify that it has been pasteurized,” said Lewis Ramsey, manager of the DPH milk safety branch.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 1998 through 2011, 148 outbreaks due to consumption of unpasteurized milk or unpasteurized milk products were reported. These resulted in 2,384 illnesses, 284 hospitalizations and two deaths. Most of these illnesses were caused by E. coli, Campylobacter, Salmonella or Listeria.

“Unpasteurized milk is not safe for consumption,” said Mayfield. “Anyone who consumes or is planning to consume unpasteurized milk should consider the risks. We are asking you to do what is necessary to avoid exposure to E. coli or other sources of illness that could result from consuming products that have not been properly treated to eliminate bacteria.”

In addition to only drinking pasteurized milk, the public can help prevent HUS and E. coli infections by:

• Thoroughly washing produce before eating;

• Washing hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, especially after going to the bathroom, handling raw meat and eggs, or petting animals;

• Thoroughly cooking meat;

• Cleaning and sanitizing food preparation areas;

• Avoiding swallowing lake or pool water;

• Drinking only pasteurized apple cider;

• Frequently cleaning and sanitizing restrooms, including door knobs and faucets; and

• Reporting diarrheal illnesses to your physician.

Campylobacter Outbreak Confirmed in Wisconsin

Durand High School, in Pepin County, is experiencing an outbreak of a gastrointestinal illness that affected 32 football players. About 55 high school students are experiencing some symptoms, Doverspike said on Wednesday, and about 50 were absent from school Monday, causing the district to contact local and state health officials.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene have confirmed that the outbreak of gastrointestinal illness occurring in Pepin County, Wisconsin, was caused by Campylobacter. Campylobacter is a bacteria and a common cause of gastrointestinal illness in Wisconsin. Symptoms include diarrhea, which may be bloody, abdominal cramping and fever

To date, Campylobacter has been detected in specimens from 9 ill individuals. Not all of the ill individuals were tested.

The Pepin County Health Department continues to work with the DHS and the Durand School District in efforts to prevent and control infections and to investigate the source of the outbreak.

As a reminder, any person ill with diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, fever or other gastrointestinal symptoms should remain home from school and follow good hand washing and other hygienic practices to prevent the spread of the bacteria to other people. The DHS has recommended that students and staff may return to school when they have been symptom free for 24 hours. Students or parents of students who are ill are encouraged to consult their local health provider regarding treatment options.

The Durand School District continues to follow the cleaning guidelines recommended by the DHS to ensure all school buildings, buses, and grounds are safe for all parties involved. Students and staff are reminded that good hand washing and hygienic practices are effective in preventing the spread of illness.

Campylobacter:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Campylobacter outbreaks. The Campylobacter lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Campylobacter 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 Campylobacter lawyers have litigated Campylobacter cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as raw milk and municipal water.

Three County Kentucky E. coli Outbreak Still a Mystery

Nearly a month ago an E. coli outbreak prompted Kentucky health officials to launch an investigation. As of a week ago there were five confirmed cases among children in Kentucky and a sixth case is believed to be related and is under investigation.

The confirmed cases are in Boone (1), Oldham (1) and Hardin (3) counties. The children range from 18 months to 6 years old.  All children suffered from hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

As of Thursday, the Department of Public Health said the source of the infection was still unknown.

E. coli:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other 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.  Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products.  The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s.  We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.

Marler Clark Files 2nd Botulism Lawsuit

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Health Officer Dr. Ron Chapman warned consumers today not to eat VR Green Farms jarred food products because they may have been improperly produced, making them susceptible to contamination with Clostridium botulinum.

Ingestion of botulism toxin from improperly processed jarred and canned foods may lead to serious illness and death. CDPH is coordinating with the US Food and Drug Administration and the Ohio Department of Health in the investigation of two cases of suspected food-borne botulism infections that may be associated with consumption of the firm’s Pine Nut Basil Pesto.

VR Green Farms of San Clemente, California, is voluntarily recalling the following varieties of jarred food products: Pine Nut Basil Pesto, Pickled Farm Mix, Old World Tomato Sauce, Sundried Tomatoes in Olive Oil, Tuscan Grilling Sauce, and Pasta Sauce. These food products were sold under the VR Farms label and packaged in Mason-style glass jars with screw-on metal lids. The product labels do not include any coding or “use by” dates. Photographs can be found on Recalled Product Photos Page. The products were sold at the VR Green Farms stand in San Clemente, California and via the Internet to consumers throughout the United States.

Botulism toxin is odorless and colorless. Consumers who have any of these products or any foods made with these products should discard them immediately. Double bag the cans in plastic bags and place in a trash receptacle for non-recyclable trash. Wear gloves when handling these products or wash your hands with soap and running water.

Botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. The initial symptoms frequently experienced are double or blurred vision, drooping eyelids, and dry or sore throat. Progressive descending paralysis, usually symmetrical, may follow. Infants with botulism appear lethargic, feed poorly, are constipated, have a weak cry and poor muscle tone.

Botulism:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Botulism outbreaks. The Botulism lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Botulism 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 Botulism lawyers have litigated Botulism cases stemming from outbreaks traced to carrot juice and chili.

Marler Clark Retained in True Food Shigella Outbreak

Nancy Luna reports with the Orange county Register that an upscale restaurant at Fashion Island that bills itself as a healthy living establishment is at the center of a suspected foodborne illness outbreak involving at least six victims, county officials said Thursday.

The sickened diners tested positive for Shigella, an intestinal bacteria that triggers severe diarrhea. The “common factor” for each victim was they ate a meal at True Food Kitchen in Newport Beach on Aug. 21, 23, 24 and 25, county healthy officials said.

The county shut the restaurant Aug. 28 to investigate the outbreak. None of the victims ate the same dish, leading investigators to believe that the bacteria was spread “person to person,” said Denise Fennessy, director of Environmental Health at the county’s Health Care Agency.

Shigella:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Shigella outbreaks. The Shigella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Shigella 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 Shigella lawyers have litigated Shigella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as tomatoes, airplane and restaurant food.