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

Foodborne Illness Outbreaks

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molly&drew caught in E. coli O121 Flour Outbreak

recalled-Molly-and-Drew-brear-bread-mixmolly&drew of Sac City, IA is recalling three lots (L1215A, L1215B, and L1215C) of AMERICAN ORIGINAL BEER BREAD MIX sold in retail because it may be contaminated with E. coli O121 bacteria.

These three lot codes of AMERICAN ORIGINAL BEER BREAD MIX retail product were manufactured by molly&drew and sold at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® in its retail stores nationwide.   Lots of molly&drew’s AMERICAN ORIGINAL BEER BREAD MIX purchased from other retail stores or from molly&drew’s website are not affected by this recall. No other molly&drew products are affected by this recall.

The affected AMERICAN ORIGINAL BEER BREAD retail product is in a red 19.75oz bag with the UPC number 855290003008 and Item Number: BB100. The specified lot code will be printed along the bottom seal of the pouch and will be accompanied by a BEST BUY DATE of 01/2018.

molly&drew is initiating this recall because we were notified by one of our suppliers that they were conducting a recall of an ingredient used in our mix for the potential presence of E. coli O121.

It is important to note that to date no molly&drew product has been linked to any illness or been shown to have any presence of E. coli. molly&drew is recalling this product out of an abundance of caution and to put consumer safety first.

If you have the affected retail product, do not use it and throw it in the garbage.

Lawsuit to be filed in Alejandro’s Taqueria Campylobacter Outbreak

Alejandro’s Taqueria on Texas Street in downtown Fairfield is to remain shut down until revised operations meet with approval from county health officials. While nothing was posted on its website or Facebook page to indicate that it was closed, no one answered the phone at the restaurant Friday morning.

“We are discussing opening it up over the weekend if they have met all the requirements and changes,” said Beth Armentano, an epidemiologist with Solano County Public Health.

“We’re still continuing with the investigation and we’re continuing with interviews and contacting every case that’s been reported to us,” she added.

Additional cases of campylobacteriosis could be identified as lab results come in, Armentano noted. To confirm the illness, a culture needs to be grown, and there is more than one test available and more than one lab to which samples might be sent.

According to Deputy Health Officer Dr. Michael Stacey, Solano County has received an unusually high number of reports of abdominal illness this month.

“There have been increased reports of laboratory-confirmed campylobacteriosis since the beginning of June,” he stated. “So far, 32 campylobacter cases have been reported to us this month, almost double the number of reported cases that we had for the whole month of June in 2015.”

A number of those people said they had eaten at Alejandro’s from May 26-29, according to health department reports, making the timeline for potential illness a few days before and after that period.

County health officials are not certain what food item might have caused the illnesses. They are still checking samples of cooked foods taken from the restaurant on June 8 and also continuing to investigate the reports of those sickened.

According to a health alert sent out June 6 by the Solano County Public Health Department, the most common sources of Campylobacter are the infected feces of animals or people, unpasteurized milk, and contaminated poultry, meat, water or other food products.

Infection with Campylobacter bacteria typically causes diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever within two to five days after exposure to the organism. The diarrhea may be bloody and can be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. The illness typically lasts about one week.

Some infected people do not have any symptoms but can transmit the illness to others. In those with compromised immune systems, Campylobacter occasionally spreads to the bloodstream and causes a serious life-threatening infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

E. coli Lawsuit filed against Pho 75

Food Safety News reports: Denver parents are seeking legal recourse after their teenage son was hospitalized with life-threatening complications from an E. coli O157:H7 infection linked to an Aurora, CO, restaurant.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday with the Arapaho County District Court in Centennial, CO, states that Marc and Candace Thompson and their son Noah, 14, ate at the Pho 75 restaurant at 2050 S. Havana St., in Aurora on May 24, 2016.

Pho-75-restaurant-colorado“Just days after eating at the Defendant’s restaurant, both Marc and Candace experienced gastrointestinal distress that included diarrhea. Fortunately, their symptoms quickly resolved, albeit after enduring substantial pain and suffering,” the lawsuit states.

However, on May 29, Noah developed nausea, vomiting, severe stomach cramping, diarrhea that turned bloody, fatigue and headache. He also began to run a fever of 102 degrees F. Subsequent lab tests were positive for E. coli O157:H7, according to the complaint.

His parents took him to the emergency room at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, where he was admitted to the ICU. The lawsuit states that Noah is still in the hospital and receiving regular dialysis treatments for hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious and potentially life-threatening complication of E. coli infection.

Four illnesses have so far been linked to the Pho 75 restaurant in Aurora, which closed June 10 following an investigation. Inspection reports from the Tri-County Health Department in Greenwood Village, CO, reveal a history of food safety violations over a long period.

The health department is asking anyone who ate at Pho 75 in Aurora from May 24 to June 10 to take an online survey posted June 13, even if they did not get sick.

“This will help us identify the food that caused the illnesses,” the site noted.

The Thompson family is asking for a jury trial, along with damages and court costs. They are being represented by John R. Riley of Montgomery Little & Soran, Greenwood Village, and Bill Marler of Seattle’s Marler Clark food safety law firm.

Complaint

Prison Hooch or Pruno Causes Botulism Outbreak

Botulism_rdax_100According to news reports, Botulism is believed to be the cause of an outbreak of severe illness that has affected 20 inmates at a federal prison in Mississippi, the Federal Bureau of Prisons said Thursday. More than a dozen inmates remain hospitalized. Test results for the toxin are pending. Investigators believe the inmates became ill as a result of drinking homemade alcohol.  Known as hooch or pruno, prison brew can be made from vegetable and fruit scraps, sugar and water.

All the cases began at the Yazoo City Correctional Institution, a medium-security federal prison. According to officials, another inmate became ill at an Oklahoma City facility but drank the tainted moonshine before transferring there.

As a precautionary measure, the Yazoo City institution, which houses 1,310 inmates, is on limited operations and has temporarily ceased family visits and release of inmates.

Botulism, a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by the germ Clostridium botulinum, is not spread from person to person. Therefore, only those who consumed the contraband beverage are at risk.

Illness can begin from six hours to 10 days after exposure, although most commonly, it occurs between 12 hours and three days after consumption. Symptoms include double or blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing and muscle weakness that moves down the body. In serious cases, botulism can result in death due to respiratory failure. Patients may have fatigue and shortness of breath for years.

Only 3% to 5% of patients die, according to the CDC, which reports an average of 110 cases annually. About a quarter of incidents result from food.

Botulism can also occur when spores germinate in wounds, particularly needle puncture sites on drug users. During the 1990s, wound botulism cases increased along with use of black-tar heroin, according to a 1998 study.

Ajuua’s Mexican Restaurant Employees Test Positive for Salmonella

5758a1134f598.imageThe Odessa American reports that Six Ajuua’s Mexican Restaurant employees have tested positive for Salmonella, but officials do not know if they contracted the infection before or after the outbreak was caught by Ector County health officials.

Ector County Health Department Director Gino Solla said the tests for the six employees came to the department Monday, and the number of lab-confirmed tests has increased to 10 since the outbreak was confirmed on June 6. The number of probable cases, he added, was now at 23.

The restaurant, at the request of the health department, closed their doors June 6 after complaints were made by residents.  It has since reopened.

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.

Flour Bag Tests Positive for E. coli – Smoking Bag

General_Mills-512x384-300x225The CDC reports that 38 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O121 have been reported from 20 states. Illnesses started on dates ranging from December 21, 2015 to May 3, 2016. Ten ill people have been hospitalized. In its investigation, CDC learned that some people who got sick had eaten or handled raw dough.

FDA’s traceback investigation determined that the raw dough eaten or handled by ill people or used in restaurant locations was made using General Mills flour that was produced in the same week in November 2015 at the General Mills facility in Kansas City, Missouri. Epidemiology and traceback evidence available at this time indicate that General Mills flour manufactured at this facility is the likely source of the outbreak.

On June 10, 2016, FDA whole genome sequencing on E. coli O121 isolates recovered from an open sample of General Mills flour belonging to one of the consumers who was sickened was found to be closely genetically related the clinical isolates from human illnesses. The flour came from a lot that General Mills has recalled.

On May 31, 2016, following a conference call among FDA, CDC and the firm, General Mills conducted a voluntary recall of flour products produced between November 14, 2015 and December 4, 2015. Recalled products are sold in stores nationwide or may be in consumers’ pantries and are sold under three brand names: Gold Medal flour, Signature Kitchens flour and Gold Medal Wondra flour. The varieties include unbleached, all-purpose, and self-rising flours.

General Mills also sells bulk flour to customers who use it to make other products. General Mills has contacted these customers directly to inform them of the recall. FDA is working with General Mills to ensure that the customers have been notified, and to evaluate the recall for effectiveness. Because of legal restrictions on commercial confidential information, FDA is not at this time authorized to release the names of these customers or the products they make with the flour.

Flour has a long shelf life, and bags of flour may be kept in peoples’ homes for a long time. Consumers unaware of the recall could continue to eat these recalled flours and potentially get sick. If consumers have any of these recalled flours in their homes, they should throw them away.

Recalled products are currently sold in stores or may be in consumers’ pantries and are sold under three brand names: Gold Medal Flour, Signature Kitchens Flour, and Gold Medal Wondra flour. The recalled products were sold nationwide and include unbleached, all-purpose, and self-rising flours varieties.

The specific products in the recall include:

13.5 ounce Gold Medal Wondra Flour

Package UPC 000-16000-18980
Recalled Better if Used by Dates 25FEB2017 thru 30MAR2017

2 lb. Gold Medal All Purpose Flour

Package UPC 000-16000-10710
Recalled Better if Used by Dates 25MAY2017KC thru 03JUN2017KC

2lb Gold Medal Self-Rising Flour

Package UPC 000-16000-11710
Recalled Better if Used by Dates 23AUG2016KC

10lb Gold Medal All Purpose Flour

Package UPC 000-16000-10410
Recalled Better if Used by Dates 02JUN2017KC,  03JUN2017KC

5lb Gold Medal All Purpose Flour

Package UPC 000-16000-10610
Recalled Better if Used by Dates 25MAY2017KC, 27MAY2017KC thru 31MAY2017KC, 01JUN2017KC, 03JUN2017KC thru 05JUN2017KC, 11JUN2017KC thru 14JUN2017KC

5lb Gold Medal Unbleached Flour

Package UPC 000-16000-19610
Recalled Better if Used by Dates 25MAY2017KC, 27MAY2017KC, 03JUN2017KC, 04JUN2017KC

10lb Gold Medal All Purpose Flour- Banded Pack

Package UPC 000-16000-10410
Recalled Better if Used by Dates 03JUN2017KC, 04JUN2017KC, 05JUN2017KC

5lb Signature Kitchens All Purpose Flour Enriched Bleached

Package UPC 000-21130-53001
Recalled Better if Used by Dates BB MAY 28 2017

5lb Signature Kitchens Unbleached Flour All Purpose Enriched

Package UPC 000-21130-53022
Recalled Better if Used by Dates BB MAY 27 2017

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.

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

Fig and Olive Salmonella Outbreak

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), multiple cities—Los Angeles, New York and Washington D.C.—are investigating Salmonella Enteritidis infections linked to eating at Fig & Olive restaurants.

Illnesses have so far been reported from Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, but the investigation is ongoing to determine whether there are illnesses in other states that are linked to eating at any other Fig & Olive locations that are owned by the New York-based chain.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reports that as of October 2, thirty- nine people may have been sickened with Salmonella after eating at the Fig & Olive restaurant in West Hollywood between September 6 and 11, 2015. Of these illnesses, eight cases have been confirmed by laboratory tests. So far, two people have reportedly been hospitalized, and there have been no related deaths.

The same type of Salmonella sickened at least sixty people in Washington, D.C., and five other states from late August through early September. As a result, an additional 150 cases are being investigated.

The source of the infections has not yet been identified, but the NBC affiliate in Washington reports that LaQuandra Nesbitt, director of the D.C. Department of Health, said that the truffle fries and mushroom croquettes were most likely to blame.

“We will advise the public if specific steps are identified that consumers can take to protect themselves,” CDC stated. “People with concerns about eating at a Fig & Olive restaurant location should contact their local health department.”

CDC is coordinating a multistate investigation with the Washington, D.C., Department of Health, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and other states that have Fig & Olive restaurant locations.

In addition to the D.C. and West Hollywood locations, Fig & Olive has three restaurants in New York City, one in Scarsdale, New York, one in Newport Beach, California, and one in Chicago, Illinois.

32 with Campylobacter at Alejandro’s Taqueria

Alejandro_RestaurantA number of press reports have announced that a Mexican restaurant in Fairfield, California has been linked with cases of food poisonings. The Solano County Department of Health said that it has found 32 cases of food poisonings. Dr. Michael Stacey of the Solano County Department of Health said that one thing was common in all the 32 cases that they were linked with Alejandro’s Taqueria.

Those who have fallen sick have eaten at Alejandro’s from May 26 to May 29. Most cases of Campylobacteriosis take place by eating raw or undercooked poultry or from cross-contamination of other food items. Symptoms of it include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever. There is a possibility that diarrhea may be bloody and may be accompanied with nausea and vomiting. Majority of people recover within few days. But there can be instances where people with weakened immune systems may suffer from chronic illness.

The restaurant will reopen again once it becomes sure that things are under control.

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.

If you or a family member became ill with a Campylobacter infection, including Guillain-Barré Syndrome, or GBS, after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Campylobacter attorneys for a free case evaluation.

Ajuua’s Mexican Restaurant linked to nearly 30 Salmonella cases

5758a1134f598.imageAccording to Odessa press, Ector County Texas Health Department Director Gino Solla said Friday afternoon the total number of people who have lab-confirmed cases of Salmonella has increased by one, bringing the total number to three.  Solla also said the restaurant where the people got the illness was Ajuua’s Mexican Restaurant. The restaurant, at the request of the health department, closed their doors Monday after complaints were made by residents who said they got sick after eating at the restaurant on June 1. Solla said there are also 24 probable cases.

The investigation started around 4:15 p.m. June 3 after officials with the health department got a call saying 10 people had gotten sick after eating at Ajuua’s, Solla said. After getting reports one person in that group did have salmonella, they visited the restaurant and asked them to voluntarily close down.

Ajuua’s CEO Julian Rubio said the restaurant is scheduled to open at 9 a.m. Saturday.

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.

General Mills Flour E. coli Outbreak

CDC is collaborating with public health and regulatory officials in multiple states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O121 (STEC O121) infections.

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. PulseNet, coordinated by CDC, is the national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories. PulseNet performs DNA fingerprinting on STEC bacteria isolated from ill people by using techniques called pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS). CDC PulseNet manages a national database of these DNA fingerprints to identify possible outbreaks.

Thirty-eight people infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O121 have been reported from 20 states. A list of the states and the number of cases in each can be found on the Case Count Map page. WGS showed that isolates from ill people are closely related genetically. This close genetic relationship means that people in this outbreak are more likely to share a common source of infection.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from December 21, 2015 to May 3, 2016. Ill people range in age from 1 year to 95, with a median age of 18. Seventy-eight percent of ill people are female. Ten ill people have been hospitalized. No one has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure, and no deaths have been reported.

This outbreak can be illustrated with a chart showing the number of people who became ill each day. This chart is called an epidemic curve or epi curve. Illnesses that occurred after May 5, 2016, 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 3 weeks. Please see the Timeline for Reporting Cases of E. coli O157:H7 Infection for more details.

Collaborative investigative efforts of state, local, and federal health and regulatory officials indicate that flour produced at General Mills’ Kansas City, Missouri facility is a likely source of this outbreak. This investigation is ongoing.

In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Sixteen (76%) of 21 people reported that they or someone in their household used flour in the week before they became ill. Nine (41%) of 22 people reported eating or tasting raw homemade dough or batter. Twelve (55%) of 22 people reported using Gold Medal brand flour. Three ill people reported eating or playing with raw dough at restaurants.

In an epidemiologic investigation, investigators compared the responses of ill people in this outbreak to those of people of similar age and gender reported to state health departments with other illnesses. Preliminary results of this investigation indicate an association between STEC O121 infection and someone in the household using Gold Medal brand flour to make something to eat.

Federal and state and local regulatory officials performed traceback investigations using package information collected from ill people and records collected from restaurants where ill people were exposed to raw dough. These investigations indicated that the flour used by ill people or used in restaurant locations was produced in the same week in November 2015 at the General Mills facility in Kansas City, Missouri. General Mills produces Gold Medal brand flour.

On May 31, 2016, General Mills recalled several sizes and varieties of Gold Medal Flour, Gold Medal Wondra Flour, and Signature Kitchens Flour due to possible E. colicontamination. The recalled flours were produced in the Kansas City facility during a time frame identified by traceback and sold nationwide. CDC recommends that consumers, restaurants, and retailers do not use, serve, or sell the recalled flours.