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Foodborne Illness Outbreaks

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Bean Sprouts Link in Northeast Salmonella Outbreak

An outbreak of Salmonella illnesses in the northeastern United States, including three cases in Vermont, has been associated with bean sprouts. This is the finding from an investigation by the Vermont Department of Health along with other state health departments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

CDC reported today that 68 people in 10 states have become ill as part of the outbreak. Eleven were hospitalized and no one has died. None of the Vermont residents were hospitalized, and all three have recovered from their illness.

A review of records and invoices at restaurants in the northeast where people became ill shows they ate bean sprouts from Wonton Food, Inc. of Brooklyn, New York, according to the CDC.

The investigation by state and federal partners is still underway, but consumers should avoid eating bean sprouts grown and sold by Wonton Food, Inc. Restaurants and grocery stores have been advised not to serve or sell bean sprouts from this firm.

Infection with Salmonella typically causes diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal cramps. Illness can be severe and require hospitalization. Young children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop severe illness. Salmonella may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other parts of the body, and can be fatal without prompt treatment.

Massachusetts Reports Nationwide Salmonella Investigation

Boston’s Fox 25 News reports that Massachusetts state and federal health officials are looking into cases of salmonella that have been reported in multiple states.

The Massachusetts Department of Health confirmed on Thursday afternoon that the agency, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Food and Drug Administration, are investigating a potential multi-state salmonella cluster.”

The CDC defines a cluster as a “larger number of people than expected appear to have the same illness in a given time period and area.”

Although the investigation is underway, as of Thursday none of the cases have been tied directly to one source, according to the Mass.DPH No cases have been directly tied to a source 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.

Salmonella Egg Titans Face 1 Year in Jail and Millions in Fines

According to letters received by victims of the 2010 Salmonella Outbreak that sickened 2000 and forced the recall of 500,000,0000 eggs, U.S. District Judge Mark W. Bennett has scheduled a February sentencing for the father and son whose Iowa egg farms were linked to the outbreak.

U.S. District Judge Mark W. Bennett ruled Thursday that Quality Egg owners Austin “Jack” DeCoster and Peter DeCoster will be sentenced during hearings that begin February 9, 2015 in Sioux City and could last five days.

The DeCosters pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. They face up to one year in jail, but their attorney is arguing for a fine and probation.

Quality Egg also faces a fine after pleading guilty to bribing a federal inspector, selling misbranded food and introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce.  The fine may be as much as $7,000,000.

See full charging document.  Also, see Victims’ Statement.

 

California Celery Likely Link to Minnesota E. coli Outbreak

According to a recently released report by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDOH), 57 individuals who met the case definition[1] were deemed to be part of the outbreak linked to Jim-N-Joe’s Northland Katering.

Of those ill, 65% were women.  All cases reported diarrhea, 96% cramps, 61% bloody stool, 37% vomiting and 19% fever.  37% sought medical treatment with 16% hospitalized.  No one developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

After an exhaustive investigation, MDOH concluded that the common server at the five events between July 1 and July 17 on the Fond du Lac Reservation was Jim-N-Joe’s Northland Katering.  MDOH also found that the most common food items were the celery and onions.  Potato Salad, which included celery and onions was found to be tainted with E. coli O157:H7.  Cases were also identified at events where potato salad was not served, but celery was.  The celery was traced back to a field adjacent to a defunct dairy operation near Gonzales, California.

We represent several of those hospitalized due to E. coli O157:H7. See additional documents at Outbreak Database.

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.


[1] A case was defined as an individual who attended an event catered by Jim-N-Joe’s Northland Katering and subsequently developed diarrhea that was bloody or at least three days of duration, or an individual who had E. coli O57:H7 isolated from a stool culture with a PFGE pattern indistinguishable from the main outbreak pattern.

Norovirus Report Released

I just received the Final Summary Report on the 2014 Royal Hawaiian Norovirus Outbreak from the State of Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH).  It was well done and to the point.

On May 17, 2014, management at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel (RHH) reported illnesses linked to a wedding reception at the Azure Restaurant held on May 15th.  Illnesses were reported on May 16th.

The investigation found that 114 individuals reported illnesses compatible with a confirmed (stool culture positive for Norovirus) or probable case.  Illness onset ranged from May 14th to May 26th.

Ill persons identified a wide variety of food consumed at various venues.  The common denominator was that the food was prepared in the kitchen at the RHH.

17 RHH employees reported illness during the outbreak period.  On employee reported and episode of diarrhea on May 14th just prior to serving dinner.  On May 15th another employee reported vomiting into a kitchen area trashcan.

On May 19th HDOH inspected the RHH kitchen and observed violation of sanitizing procedure and cold holding temperatures.

The HDOH conclusion was “[t]his was a confirmed outbreak of Norovirus GL3B associated with consumption of a meal prepared by the [RHH]….  Of the 114 primary ill persons identified, 17 were employees of the [RHH]….  Illness among food handling personnel and coincident environmental contamination were likely contributing factors which served to propagate the infection among hotel guests and employees.”

Norovirus is a very contagious virus. You can get norovirus from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. The virus causes your stomach or intestines or both to get inflamed (acute gastroenteritis). This leads you to have stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea and to throw up.

NAACP Norovirus Outbreak at Hotel Sofitel

Aaron Kinney reports that the San Mateo County health officials announced Friday that norovirus was behind an outbreak of acute gastrointestinal illness at the upscale Hotel Sofitel in Redwood Shores.

Lab analysis of samples taken from some of the people who were sickened confirmed the highly contagious virus was to blame. At least 60 hotel guests and employees reported falling ill with symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea beginning Oct. 26, county health spokeswoman Robyn Thaw said.

Thaw said the hotel told county health investigators that guests at three separate special events became sick.

The outbreak began at the conclusion of the NAACP’s annual state convention. Attendees said several dozen people became sick on the morning of Oct. 26, a little more than 12 hours after a banquet dinner where roughly 300 people dined on salmon and salad. Twelve people were taken by ambulance to hospitals.

Norovirus is spread through contact with the vomit or feces of an infected person. Food service workers can spread the virus by not properly washing their hands before touching food.

People typically come down with norovirus symptoms between 12 and 48 hours after exposure, according to the CDC.  It causes 19-21 million illnesses per year in the United States, according to the CDC.  Norovirus is often linked to restaurant food.

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.

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.

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.