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Food Poison Journal

Food Poisoning Outbreaks and Litigation: Surveillance and Analysis

Salmonella Problem Prompts Pepper Recall

ucm501053Montero Farms of McAllen, Texas is recalling Orange Habanero Peppers, because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

Orange Habanero Peppers were shipped to Indianapolis, Indiana and to McAllen, Texas from April 28 2016 to present.

The product comes in 8 pound cardboard boxes marked with lot #41142-41143 on the top. In total 154 boxes are being recalled.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

The potential for contamination was noted after routine testing by the FDA.

Production of the product has been suspended while FDA and the company continue their investigation as to the source of the problem.

Minnesota Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Taylor Farms Organic Kale Medley

OrganicKaleMedley-1web-216x300Pacific Coast Fruit Company posted the following recall notice:

Reason:  Salmonella

Pack/Codes:  The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) are investigating an outbreak of foodborne illnesses associated with eating Taylor Farms Organic Kale Medley “power greens” mix in Minnesota. The mix contains spinach, kale, chard, and shredded carrots.

Distribution:  Sam’s Club pulled Taylor Farms Organic Kale Medley from store shelves nationwide on April 4 and is notifying customers who purchased the product in Minnesota since March 1.

Illnesses:  Six people with Salmonella Enteritidis infections with the same rare DNA fingerprint pattern were reported to MDH in April. The people range in age from 7 to 69 and are from Dakota, Hennepin, Itasca, Olmsted and St. Louis counties. Their illnesses began between April 3 and April 26. One person was hospitalized, and all are recovering. Five of the ill people in Minnesota reported eating Taylor Farms Organic Kale Medley purchased at several Sam’s Club locations, and the source of the sixth person’s illness is under investigation.

According to the FDA website, Kale was also recalled by Trader Joe’s due to Salmonella concerns.

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.

Sprouts Behaving Badly – Again with Salmonella

big-map-5-9-16The CDC reports today that a total of 26 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Muenchen (25 people) or Salmonella Kentucky (1 person) were reported from 12 states. A list of states and the number of cases in each can be found on the Case Count Map page.

Among people for whom information was available, illnesses started on dates ranging from November 26, 2015 to April 7, 2016. Ill people ranged in age from 12 years to 73, with a median age of 38. Seventy-six percent of ill people were female. Among 26 ill people with available information, 8 (31%) were hospitalized, and no deaths were reported.

Collaborative investigative efforts of state, local, and federal public health and regulatory officials indicated that alfalfa sprouts produced by multiple sprouters from one lot of contaminated seeds were the likely source of this outbreak.

State and local public health officials interviewed ill people to obtain information about foods they might have eaten and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Of the 22 ill people who were interviewed, 17 (77%) reported eating or possibly eating sprouts in the week before illness started. When asked about the type of sprouts eaten, 16 (94%) of these 17 ill people reported eating alfalfa sprouts.

In February 2016, state and local health and regulatory officials in several states performed traceback investigations from multiple restaurants  where ill people ate sprouts. These investigations indicated that Sweetwater Farms of Inman, Kansas supplied alfalfa sprouts to all of these locations.

FDA and Kansas Department of Agriculture conducted an inspection at Sweetwater Farms and collected samples of irrigation water and alfalfa sprouts. Testing of these samples isolated Salmonella Kentucky and Salmonella Cubana. Salmonella Muenchen was not isolated. A review of the CDC PulseNet database identified one recently reported person infected with the same DNA fingerprint of Salmonella Kentucky and this ill person was added to the outbreak case count.

On February 19, 2016, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment issued a warning to consumers to not eat alfalfa sprouts produced by Sweetwater Farms and the company withdrew alfalfa sprouts from the market. On February 26, 2016, Sweetwater Farms informed FDA that it would withdraw all of its sprout products from the market.

After the actions by Sweetwater Farms were taken, people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Muenchen continued to be reported. Many of these ill people reported eating alfalfa sprouts before they got sick. Traceback investigations indicated that several sprouters other than Sweetwater Farms produced the alfalfa sprouts consumed by these ill people. Additional investigation determined that all of these sprouters, as well as Sweetwater Farms, had used a common lot of alfalfa seeds to produce alfalfa sprouts. FDA tested samples of seeds from this lot and isolated Salmonella Cubana with the same DNA fingerprint of the Salmonella Cubana isolated in irrigation water from Sweetwater Farms. FDA reports that the seed supplier contacted sprouters who received the lot of contaminated seeds and asked that they return them. According to FDA, no sprouts from the contaminated seed lot are expected to be on the market.

47,112,256 pounds of not-ready-to-eat meat and poultry recalled over Listeria

Ajinomoto Windsor, Inc., with establishments in Fort Worth, Texas; Los Angeles, Calif.; Carthage, Mo.; and Portland, Ore., is recalling approximately 47,112,256 pounds of not-ready-to-eat meat and poultry products that may be adulterated with Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The heat-treated, not fully cooked, not shelf stable meat and poultry items were produced on various dates between May 1, 2014 and May 1, 2016. The following products are subject to recall: [View Labels(PDF only) Group AGroup BGroup C]

  • 14.2-oz packages containing “Tai Pei Chicken Fried Rice” with best-by dates ranging from 01/02/2015 to 10/27/2017.
  • 14.2-oz packages containing “Tai Pei Pepper Beef” with best-by dates ranging from 11/02/2015 to 10/19/2017.
  • 12-oz packages containing “Tai Pei Combination Fried Rice” with best-by dates ranging from 11/06/2015 to 10/27/2017.
  • 12-lb cases containing 32-oz packages of “Fred’s Jalapeño, Corn & Bacon Cornbread Pop” with product code 0945137.
  • 2-lb boxes containing “InnovASIAN Cuisine CHICKEN FRIED RICE” with best-by dates ranging from 5/15/2015 to 4/09/2017.
  • 20-oz packages containing “Trader Joe’s Chicken Fried Rice” with case codes ranging from 261231 to 281211.
  • 18-oz. bags containing “InnovASIAN Cuisine CHICKEN FRIED RICE” with best-by dates ranging from 05/01/2015 to 04/29/2017.
  • 18-oz. and 24-oz. packages containing “Simmering Samurai Orange Chicken Fried Rice” with best-by dates ranging from 5/12/2015 to 3/18/2017.
  • 20-oz. packages containing “HyVee chicken fried rice” with best-by dates ranging from 7/11/2015 to 3/03/2017.
  • 20-oz. packages containing “First Street Chicken Fried Rice” with best-by dates ranging from 7/11/2015 to 3/15/2017.
  • 54-oz. packages containing “Yakitori Chicken with Japanese-Style Fried Rice” with best-by dates ranging from 6/28/2015 to 5/2/2017.
  • 18-oz. packages containing “Simmering Samurai Chicken Fried Rice” with best-by dates ranging from 8/11/2015 to 3/18/2017.
  • 18-oz. packages containing “Simmering Samurai Hibachi Seasoned Chicken Fried Rice” with best-by dates ranging from 8/11/2015 to 11/16/2016.
  • 18-oz. packages containing “Simmering Samurai Spicy Hibachi Seasoned Chicken Fried Rice” with best-by dates ranging from 8/13/2015 to 11/16/2016.
  • 18 oz. and 24-oz. packages containing “Simmering Samurai General Tso’s Chicken Fried Rice” with best-by dates ranging from 8/18/2015 to 12/26/2016.
  • 1.53-kg packages containing “Arroz Frito Estilo Japones Con Pollo Yakitori” with best-by dates ranging from 1/22/2016 to 1/03/2017, exported to Mexico.
  • 1.53-kg packages containing “Yakitori Chicken with Japanese-Style Fried Rice (Poulet Yakitori Avec Riz Frit A La Japonaise)” with best-by dates ranging from 1/21/2016 to 3/7/2017, exported to Canada.
  • 30-oz. packages containing “Daily Chef Chicken Poblano Firecrackers” with packaging dates between 8/10/2015 to 1/25/2016.
  • 12.5-lbs packages containing “Golden Tiger SANTA FE BRAND CHICKEN EGG ROLLS” with packaging dates between 8/22/2014 to 11/6/2015.
  • 6.25-lb packages cases containing “Jade Mountain SOUTHWEST CHICKEN EGG ROLL TWISTS” with packaging dates between 6/3/2014 to 3/23/2016.
  • 30-oz packages containing 30 pieces of “Petite Cuisine CHICKEN POBLANO Hand Made Firecrackers” with packaging dates between 7/15/2014 to 1/15/2016.
  • 6.25-lbs. cases containing “Golden Tiger Firecracker Southwest Brand Chicken” with packaging dates between 6/2/2014 to 3/23/2016.
  • 7.5-lbs. packages containing “Posada Southwest Brand CHICKEN EMPANADA” with packaging dates between 5/12/2014 to 3/8/2016.
  • 8-oz packages containing 8 pieces of “The Original Appetizer Company CHICKEN POBLANO Handmade Appetizers (Firecracker) with packaging date of 11/4/2014.
  • 30-oz packages containing 30 pieces of “Petite Cuisine SOUTHWEST CHICKEN Handmade Firecrackers” with packaging dates between 10/9/2014 to 11/6/2014.
  • 8-oz packages containing 8 pieces of “Taste of Inspirations Chicken Poblano Firecrackers” with packaging dates between 8/12/2015 to 2/26/2016.
  • 6.89 kg. cases containing packages of “Golden Tiger SOUTHWEST SPICY CHICKEN SPRING ROLLS” with packaging dates between 5/7/2014 to 3/31/2016.
  • 8-oz. packages containing “archer farms Chicken Poblano Firecrackers” with packaging dates between 7/15/2014 to 3/21/2016.
  • 1.15-kg packages of “Molly’s Kitchen Mini Chicken Pot Pie Empanadas” with packaging dates between 6/4/2014 to 1/7/2015.
  • 7.5-lb packages of “CASA SOLANA SOUTHWEST BRAND CHICKEN EMPANADA MADE IN CALIFORNIA” with packaging dates between 11/4/2014 to 2/16/2016.
  • 15-lbs packages of “Perkins SOUTHWEST STYLE CRISPY ROLL” with a packaging date of 3/11/2015 and date code 5255070.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 21225,” “EST. 9281,” “EST. 1623A” or “EST. 18356” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped nationwide and to Canada and Mexico.

The problem was discovered when Ajinomoto Windsor, Inc. was notified by CRF Frozen Foods that its frozen vegetables used in Ajinomoto Windsor, Inc. products were involved in a recall. CRF Frozen Foods of Pasco, Washington voluntarily recalled frozen fruit and vegetable items due to an illness outbreak of listeriosis. There have been no confirmed reports of illness or adverse reactions due to consumption of Ajinomoto Windsor, Inc.’s products.

The CRF Frozen Foods’ recall can be found at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm498841.htm.

Consumption of food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, a serious infection that primarily affects older adults, persons with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women and their newborns. Less commonly, persons outside these risk groups are affected.

Listeriosis can cause fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. An invasive infection spreads beyond the gastrointestinal tract. In pregnant women, the infection can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn. In addition, serious and sometimes fatal infections in older adults and persons with weakened immune systems. Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics. Persons in the higher-risk categories who experience flu-like symptoms within two months after eating contaminated food should seek medical care and tell the health care provider about eating the contaminated food.

FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers.