foodsafety.jpg1.  The Rhode Island Health Department announced today that a second elderly gentlemen passed away in the Defusco’s Salmonella outbreak.  So far, it is known that 66 people fell ill with Salmonella between March 14 and March 28.  All but one reported having eaten a product from DeFusco’s, including the other man who died.  28 of those 66 victims have been hospitalized, and several remain hospitalized.  The bakery closed down on March 25 after a Health Department inspection found many food-safety violations.

2.  Fresh Express has voluntarily recalled 2,939 cases of 9 oz. Bag Spinach with Product Codes starting with H081 and H082, UPC Code of 7127913204 and Use-by Dates of April 6 and 7 out of an abundance of caution due to a positive result for Salmonella from random sample testing.  The company is not aware of any illnesses reported in connection with the recall and no other Fresh Express products are included in the recall.

3.  Quebec’s Health Department confirmed Thursday that one person in the province has died of an E. coli infection after possibly eating contaminated walnuts. So far, 13 cases of E. coli illness in Canada have been linked to contaminated walnuts distributed by Quebec-based Amira Enterprises. Nine of the cases have been in Quebec. Two have been confirmed in Ontario along with two in New Brunswick. In all, public health officials say nine people have had to be hospitalized and two people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, an illness associated with E. coli infections that can result in kidney failure.  (NOTE:  various reports have indicated that consumers can roast the nuts for certain period of time at a certain temperature and then eat the nuts safely.  The better advice is to simply not eat the walnuts at all.)

4.  In August of 2010, Veron Foods, LLC of Prairieville, Louisiana recalled approximately 500,000 pounds of “ready to eat” sausage and hog head cheese products that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.  The CDC announced this outbreak only recently, stating that “a total of 14 cases of laboratory-confirmed invasive listeriosis were reported to the Louisiana Office of Public Health (OPH). Isolates of Listeria monocytogenes from the blood samples of eight patients were identified as serotype 1/2a and had pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern combinations that were indistinguishable from one another. Eight patients had illnesses that met the case definition. Their median age was 64 years (range: 38–93 years). Six patients were men; no patients were pregnant. Six patients had one or more underlying medical conditions (i.e., human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] infection, alcohol abuse, cancer, and diabetes mellitus). Illness onsets occurred from February 18 to June 16. Signs and symptoms included fever (n = 6 patients), altered mental status (n = 3), diarrhea (n = 3), vomiting (n = 3), and weakness (n = 2). Seven patients were hospitalized; two patients died.