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Foodborne Illness Outbreaks

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Latest on Tropical Smoothie Cafe Hepatitis A Outbreak

Several states, CDC, and the FDA investigated a multistate outbreak of foodborne hepatitis A. Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicate frozen strawberries imported from Egypt are the likely source of this outbreak.

In interviews, nearly all ill people interviewed reported drinking smoothies containing strawberries at Tropical Smoothie Café locations prior to August 8 in a limited geographical area, including Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia, but there have been a small number of cases outside of that geographic area with no Tropical Smoothie Café exposure.

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134 people with hepatitis A have been reported from nine states: Arkansas (1), California (1), Maryland (12), New York (3), North Carolina (1), Oregon (1), Virginia (107), West Virginia (7), and Wisconsin (1). 129 of these cases reported eating a smoothie containing strawberries from Tropical Smoothie Café. There have been no cases reporting illness from this same exposure since September 23, 2016. 5 cases had no exposure to Tropical smoothie café. The latest illness onset date among these cases was October 1, 2016.  The investigation into these cases is ongoing. 52 ill people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

FDA traceback information indicated that the frozen strawberries served in the Tropical Smoothie Café locations were from the International Company for Agricultural Production & Processing (ICAPP), imported from Egypt. On August 8, 2016, Tropical Smoothie Café reported that they removed the Egyptian frozen strawberries from their restaurants in Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia and switched to another supplier out of an abundance of caution. Information available at this time does not indicate an ongoing risk of hepatitis A virus infection at Tropical Smoothie Cafes.

On October 30, 2016, the International Company for Agricultural Production & Processing (ICAPP) recalled all of its frozen strawberries that were imported into the U.S. since January 1, 2016. The recalled products were distributed for sale to and use in food service establishments nationwide. The FDA reports that hepatitis A virus contamination was found in four samples of ICAPP frozen strawberries.

Hepatitis A:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Hepatitis A outbreaks. The Hepatitis A lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Hepatitis A 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 Hepatitis A lawyers have litigated Hepatitis A cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as green onions, lettuce and restaurant food.  The law firm has brought Hepatitis A lawsuits against such companies as Costco, Subway, McDonald’s, Red Robin, Chipotle, Quiznos and Carl’s Jr.  We proudly represented the family of Donald Rockwell, who died after consuming hepatitis A tainted food and Richard Miller, wo required a liver transplant after eating food at a Chi-Chi’s restaurant.

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

Latest Update on Hawaii Scallops Hepatitis A Outbreak

On August 15, 2016, the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) identified raw scallops served at Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai as a likely source of the ongoing outbreak. The product of concern is Sea Port Bay Scallops (Wild Harvest, Raw Frozen) that originated in the Philippines (states “Product of the Philippines” on the box), distributed by Koha Oriental Foods.  As a result, HDOH ordered this product embargoed (not to be sold, purchased, or consumed) throughout the state, and the temporary closure of all Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai.

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HDOH has identified 292 cases of hepatitis A. Seventy-four (74) have required hospitalization. Findings of the investigation suggest that the source of the outbreak is focused on Oahu. Eleven (11) individuals are residents of the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, or Maui, and seven visitors have returned to the mainland or overseas. Onset of illness has ranged between 6/12/16 – 10/9/16.

The FDA and CDC are supporting the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) in an investigation of hepatitis A virus (HAV) infections linked to scallops supplied by Sea Port Products Corp. On August 17, 2016, the FDA, Hawaii DOH, CDC and state partners informed Sea Port Products Corp that epidemiological, laboratory and traceback information indicates their scallops are the likely source of illnesses. On August 18, 2016, Sea Port Products Corp initiated a voluntary recall of three lots of frozen Bay Scallops produced on November 23, 2015 and 24, 2015. The lot numbers are 5885, 5886, and 5887. The products were distributed to California, Hawaii, and Nevada. According to Sea Port Products Corp, the recalled products are not intended for retail sale. The FDA is working with the recalling firm to ensure their recall is effective and that recalled product is removed from the market.

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The FDA’s traceback investigation involved working with Hawaii DOH to trace the path of food eaten by those made ill back to a common source. The traceback investigation determined that Sea Port Products Corp imported the scallops that were later supplied to certain Genki Sushi locations in Hawaii, where ill people reported eating.

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On August 17, 2016, FDA laboratory analysis of two scallop samples, which were collected on August 11, 2016, were confirmed positive for hepatitis A. These samples were imported by Sea Port Products Corp and were produced on November 23, 2015 and 24, 2015.

Hepatitis A:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Hepatitis A outbreaks. The Hepatitis A lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Hepatitis A 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 Hepatitis A lawyers have litigated Hepatitis A cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as green onions, lettuce and restaurant food.  The law firm has brought Hepatitis A lawsuits against such companies as Costco, Subway, McDonald’s, Red Robin, Chipotle, Quiznos and Carl’s Jr.  We proudly represented the family of Donald Rockwell, who died after consuming hepatitis A tainted food and Richard Miller, wo required a liver transplant after eating food at a Chi-Chi’s restaurant.

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

Salmonella in Oahu, Hawaii from yet named source

The Hawaii State Department of Health is investigating 14 cases of Salmonella infection (salmonellosis) on Oahu. Reported cases include both children and adults. All of the cases developed diarrheal illness from mid- to late October and four have required hospitalization. Although a source has not yet been confirmed, preliminary investigations identified consumption of raw fish, specifically poke that contains limu (also called “ogo” or “seaweed”), in common among cases. The tainted limu has been linked to a seaweed farm on Oahu which was ordered by the department to halt operations and advise its customers to remove product from sale immediately.

“Although our investigation is still ongoing, our preliminary investigation has implicated limu, also known as ogo or seaweed, produced at a particular farm on Oahu,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “To protect the public’s health, the department stepped in to make sure this product is no longer being put on the market pending further investigation. At the same time, we want the public to be aware of the situation so they may seek medical care if needed.”

Salmonella is a group of bacteria that can cause illness in humans who come in contact with affected animals or their waste, either by direct contact or by contaminated food or water. Common symptoms of Salmonella infection are diarrhea (which may be bloody), abdominal pain, and fever. Nausea and vomiting can also occur. Symptoms typically begin within 12 to 72 hours after exposure to the bacteria. Persons who are experiencing these symptoms should seek medical care. Infants and the elderly, as well as persons with underlying health conditions or weakened immune systems, are vulnerable to more serious illness and even death.

As with many other foodborne illnesses, Salmonella infection can be prevented by thoroughly cooking food to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Washing hands, kitchen work surfaces, and utensils with soap and water immediately after they have been in contact with raw food is also an effective preventive measure. Thorough handwashing after contact with animals, especially birds and reptiles, or pet feces can also prevent spread of Salmonella. There is no vaccine to prevent Salmonellosis.

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.

Louisburg Cider Mill Ciderfest Linked to E. coli Outbreak

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is currently conducting an outbreak investigation of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157:H7 cases among persons who attended the Louisburg Cider Mill Ciderfest, which was held September 24-25 and October 1-2. To date, there are seven laboratory-confirmed cases associated with this investigation. However, this investigation is ongoing and information is subject to change. The Kansas Department of Agriculture along with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and KDHE performed an on-site assessment on October 27.

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FDA Weighs in on Hepatitis A Egyptian Strawberry Problem

150522130633-strawberries-medium-plus-169Update 11/3/2016: The FDA has learned that frozen strawberry products subject to recall by The International Company for Agricultural Production and Processing (ICAPP), including but not limited to whole, sliced and sugared, and diced strawberries, may have been served in food service operations as recently as October 27, 2016.

The FDA recommends that institutions and food service operations supplied by any of the five companies identified below immediately reach out to their suppliers and determine if they received frozen strawberry product recalled by ICAPP. Then, if needed, institutions and food service operations that find they served any recalled product within the last two weeks should contact their local health department and communicate to their customers regarding possible exposure to hepatitis A virus and the potential benefit of post exposure prophylaxis.

The FDA and CDC are not currently aware of any illnesses related to any recalled products other than whole frozen strawberries. However, because hepatitis A can have serious health consequences, CDC advises post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for unvaccinated persons who have consumed any of the recalled frozen strawberry products in the last 2 weeks. PEP offers no preventive benefit to persons whose exposure occurred more than 2 weeks ago.

The five consignees who received recalled frozen strawberry products from ICAPP are:

C.H. Belt of Lake Forest, Ca. (sold under CH World Brand)

Jetro/Restaurant Depot of College Point, N.Y. (sold under James Farm brand and unbranded “Bits & Pieces”)

Sysco Corporation of Houston, Tex. (sold under Sysco brand)

Patagonia Foods of San Luis Obispo, Ca. (sold under Patagonia brand)

Reddy Raw of Woodridge, N.J. (sold under Regal brand).

The FDA is working with these firms to help identify further downstream customers who may have received the recalled frozen strawberry products. More product information in table below.

The FDA, CDC and state and local officials are investigating hepatitis A virus (HAV) infections linked to frozen whole strawberries in smoothies served in Tropical Smoothie Cafe restaurant locations.

On October 19, 2016 the FDA placed frozen strawberries from ICAPP on Import Alert 99-35 after multiple positive samples confirmed hepatitis A in the product.

As of October 20, 2016, CDC reports 134 people with hepatitis A linked to this outbreak have been reported from 9 states (AR, CA, MD, NC, NY, OR, VA, WI and WV).

129 of these cases reported eating a smoothie containing strawberries from Tropical Smoothie Café. There have been no cases reporting illness from this same exposure since September 23, 2016.

5 cases had no exposure to Tropical smoothie café. The latest illness onset date among these cases was 10/1/2016.

The investigation into these cases is ongoing.

According to the CDC, information available at this time does not indicate an ongoing risk of acquiring hepatitis A virus infection at Tropical Smoothie Café’s.  Tropical Smoothie Café reported that they removed these strawberries from their Cafés nationwide on August 19.

On October 25, 2016, ICAPP recalled all frozen strawberries and frozen strawberry products that it has imported into the United States since January 1, 2016. These include whole, sliced and sugared, and diced frozen strawberries.

134 with Hepatitis A now linked to Tropical Smoothie Cafe

tropical-smoothie-cafe_1471641149449_5578065_ver1.0Several states, CDC, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration(FDA) are continuing to investigate a multistate outbreak of foodborne hepatitis A. Information available at this time does not indicate an ongoing risk of acquiring hepatitis A virus infection at Tropical Smoothie Café’s, as the contaminated food product has been removed as of August 8. Symptoms of hepatitis A virus infection can take up to 50 days to appear. As a result, CDC continues to identify cases of hepatitis A related to the initial contaminated product. As of October 17, 2016:

134 people with hepatitis A have been reported from nine states: Arkansas (1), California (1), Maryland (12), New York (3), North Carolina (1), Oregon (1), Virginia (107), West Virginia (7), and Wisconsin (1).

52 ill people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicate frozen strawberries imported from Egypt are the likely source of this outbreak.

In interviews, nearly all ill people interviewed reported drinking smoothies containing strawberries at Tropical Smoothie Café locations prior to August 8 in a limited geographical area, including Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

On August 8, 2016, Tropical Smoothie Café reported that they removed the Egyptian frozen strawberries from their restaurants in Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia and switched to another supplier. Out of an abundance of caution, Tropical Smoothie Café has since switched to another supplier for all restaurants nationwide.

Hepatitis A:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Hepatitis A outbreaks. The Hepatitis A lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Hepatitis A 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 Hepatitis A lawyers have litigated Hepatitis A cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as green onions, lettuce and restaurant food.  The law firm has brought Hepatitis A lawsuits against such companies as Costco, Subway, McDonald’s, Red Robin, Chipotle, Quiznos and Carl’s Jr.  We proudly represented the family of Donald Rockwell, who died after consuming hepatitis A tainted food and Richard Miller, wo required a liver transplant after eating food at a Chi-Chi’s restaurant.

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

Whole Foods has Hepatitis A Problem in Detroit

WholeFoodsMainThe Detroit Health Department is investigating two cases of Hepatitis A in connection with the prepared foods section at the Whole Foods Market at 115 Mack Avenue in Detroit, officials said.

Hepatitis A was diagnosed in an employee at the store who handles and prepared food at the store.

The second case was diagnosed in a Detroit resident who ate at the prepared foods section of the store.

According to health officials, it is unclear how either case was contracted.

It’s possible the second case might have been contracted from the food handler.

The Detroit Health Department recommends anyone who ate prepared foods from the Whole Foods in Detroit between Oct. 6 and Oct. 12 to be vaccinated.

Hepatitis A:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Hepatitis A outbreaks. The Hepatitis A lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Hepatitis A 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 Hepatitis A lawyers have litigated Hepatitis A cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as green onions, lettuce and restaurant food.  The law firm has brought Hepatitis A lawsuits against such companies as Costco, Subway, McDonald’s, Red Robin, Chipotle, Quiznos and Carl’s Jr.  We proudly represented the family of Donald Rockwell, who died after consuming hepatitis A tainted food and Richard Miller, wo required a liver transplant after eating food at a Chi-Chi’s restaurant.

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

Adams Farm Slaughterhouse E. coli Outbreak over at 11 Sicken

CDC collaborated with public health and regulatory officials in several states and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS)  to investigate a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 (STEC O157:H7) infections.

big-map-10-17-16Eleven people infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O157:H7 were reported from five states. A list of the states and the number of cases in each can be found on the Case Count Map page.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from June 27, 2016 to September 10, 2016. Ill people ranged in age from 1 year to 74, with a median age of 32. Forty-five percent of ill people were female. Seven ill people were hospitalized. One ill person developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure, and no deaths were reported.

Investigation of the Outbreak

Epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory evidence indicated that beef products produced by Adams Farm Slaughterhouse in Athol, Massachusetts, were the likely source of this outbreak.

In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Seven (100%) of the seven people reached for interview reported eating ground beef in the week before they became ill. Traceback information indicated that six (86%) of these seven ill people ate ground beef produced by Adams Farm Slaughterhouse.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health collected leftover Adams Farm Slaughterhouse ground beef from an ill person’s home and from a restaurant for testing. Test results showed the outbreak strain of STEC O157:H7 in both samples of leftover ground beef.

On September 24, 2016, Adams Farm Slaughterhouse recalled various cuts of beef, veal, and bison products due to possible E. coli O157:H7 contamination. The products originated from animals slaughtered on July 15, 25, and 27, 2016 and August 3, 8, 10, 11, 17, 24, and 26, 2016, and further processed and packed on various dates between July 21 and September 22, 2016. These items were shipped to farmers’ markets, retail locations, and restaurants in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and eastern New York. The products may have been shipped to neighboring states. The products subject to recall have establishment number EST. 5497 inside the USDA mark of inspection and include several lot numbers and cuts of meat. The full list can be found on the USDA-FSIS website.

This outbreak appears to be over. However, the recalled beef, veal, and bison products may still be in freezers. Consumers who don’t know about the outbreak could continue to eat recalled products and get sick.

Virginia Tropical Smoothie Cafe Hepatitis A Outbreak Update

gyQWTXN4_400x400The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A cases and has identified a potential association with smoothies that contained frozen imported strawberries suspected to be contaminated with the hepatitis A virus.  Those smoothies would have been consumed before August 9th, 2016.  Tropical Smoothie Cafes in Virginia received this product and ensured it was removed from use at all their restaurant locations by or before August 9th.

As of 12:00 pm on *October 13, 2016, 107 Virginia residents who had tested positive for hepatitis A reported consuming a smoothie at Tropical Smoothie Café prior to becoming ill. Approximately 35% of the residents, for whom information is available, have been hospitalized for their illness. The 107 ill residents range in age from 14-70. Onsets of illness for the 107 cases range from early May through September. The count by region is:  60 Northern, 17 Northwest, 17 Eastern, 13 Central, 0 Southwest.

Update on Foodborne Illness Outbreak – Suspect Food Product Removed from all Mighty Taco Locations on October 6th

lsThe ongoing investigation into gastrointestinal illnesses associated with consuming food from Mighty Taco, has identified 140 individuals reporting symptoms consisting primarily of nausea and vomiting after consuming refried beans from a Mighty Taco location in Erie County between the dates of September 30th and October 6th, 2016. As this is an ongoing investigation, this information may change as additional reports are received.

“There were no reports of illness associated with meals consumed at Mighty Taco after October 6th,” said Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County Commissioner of Health.  “Suspect food products related to this investigation were removed from all Mighty Taco locations on October 6th and subsequently discarded.”

Testing of the suspected lots of refried beans will take place at the New York State Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center laboratories in Albany. There is no estimate as to when those results will be available.

“During our onsite inspections of Mighty Taco’s Erie County locations, no additional food products or food handling practices were implicated,” said Jeffrey Jurewicz, Senior Public Health Sanitarian. “Mighty Taco’s food safety inspection record with our Department, across all their locations in Erie County, has been exceptional.”

The ongoing investigation is being conducted jointly with the New York State Department of Health (“NYSDOH”), Niagara County Department of Health, and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Additional information will be shared as it becomes available.