Colorado Salmonella outbreaks.jpgOver the years, Marler Clark has been involved in litigating food poisoning illness cases all over the United States.  The great state of Colorado has, unfortunately, had its fair share of Salmonella-related outbreaks in the recent past.  In light of the recent Del Monte Cantaloupe Salmonella Outbreak that has thus far been linked to illnesses in Colorado and six other states, including Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, it seems appropriate to revisit some of Colorado’s past experiences with Salmonella.  Some of the more notable outbreaks include:

Tiny Greens Organic Farm/Jimmy John’s Alfalfa Sprouts Salmonella outbreak in 2010:  On December 17, the Illinois Department of Health announced that an investigation was underway into an outbreak of Salmonella, serotype I4,[5],12:i:-. Many of the Illinois cases had eaten alfalfa sprouts at various Jimmy John’s restaurants in the Illinois counties of: Adams, Champaign, Cook, DuPage, Kankakee, Macon, McHenry, McLean, Peoria, and Will counties. The sprouts were suspected to be the cause of the illnesses. On December 21, Jimmy John Liautaud, the owner of the franchised restaurant chain, requested that all franchisees remove sprouts from the menu as a “precautionary” measure. On December 23, the Centers for Disease Control revealed that outbreak cases had been detected in other states, including Colorado, and that the outbreak was linked with eating alfalfa sprouts while at a nationwide sandwich chain. On December 26, preliminary results of the investigation indicated a link to eating Tiny Greens’ Alfalfa Sprouts at Jimmy John’s restaurant outlets. The FDA subsequently advised consumers and restaurants to avoid Tiny Greens Brand Alfalfa Sprouts and Spicy Sprouts produced by Tiny Greens Organic Farm of Urbana, Illinois. The Spicy Sprouts contained alfalfa, radish and clover sprouts. On January 14, 2011, it was revealed that the FDA had isolated Salmonella serotype I4,[5],12:i:- from a water runoff sample collected from Tiny Greens Organic Farm; the Salmonella isolated was indistinguishable from the outbreak strain.

The Fort Restaurant Salmonella outbreak in 2010:  At least 29 people became ill from Salmonella enteriditis after eating at The Fort Restaurant between July 10 and July 16. This restaurant looks like a fort from the 1800’s and is located in Morrison, Colorado. The outbreak was suspected to have been caused by eggs. Many diners became ill after eating rattlesnake cakes, an exotic dish that contained eggs.

The Daniele Italian Sausages/Salame & Wholesome Spice and Mincing Overseas Spice Companies Black and Crushed Red Pepper Salmonella outbreak in 2009:  Salame products produced by Daniele International, Inc., were implicated in a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Montevideo, including residents of Colorado.  Daniele International issued a recall for its products on January 23, 2010, and then expanded their product recalls on January 31, February 4, and February 16. On January 27, 2010, The investigation showed that the salame products were properly cured, but became contaminated when they were rolled in spice mixtures containing Salmonella-contaminated pepper. The spice companies used a steam bath technique to kill bacteria that was insufficient. The spices are now irradiated as a consequence of this outbreak.

The Cargill Ground Beef Salmonella outbreak in June, 2009:  A Beef Packers, Inc. plant in California owned by Cargill, distributed approximately 830,000 pounds of ground beef that was likely contaminated with Salmonella Newport. The beef was shipped to distribution centers in Arizona, California, Colorado, and Utah where it was repackaged into consumer-sized packages and sold under different retail brand names. The contaminated beef contained a strain of Salmonella resistant to several commonly used antibiotics (called MDR-AmpC resistance). At least 40 people in nine states fell ill; at least 21 of the people lived in Colorado and five lived in California. Most of the ill in Colorado had purchased the ground beef at Safeway grocery stores.

Alamosa Municipal Water Salmonella outbreak in 2008:  An outbreak of gastroenteritis due to Salmonella Typhimurium occurred among residents of the City of Alamosa, Colorado. Laboratory results detected Salmonella Typhimurium in the municipal water.  Tests of water from the distribution lines were contaminated. Residents were ordered to use bottled water until the water system was flushed. A leaky, in-ground, water storage tank was blamed for the contamination; it was known to have been a problem since 1997. Giardia and Cryptosporidium were also found in the city’s water, but were not linked to any reported illnesses.

Agropecuraria Montelibano Cantaloupe Salmonella outbreak in 2008:  Cantaloupes grown in Honduras by the company, Agropecuraria Montelibano, were implicated in an outbreak of Salmonella Litchfield in the USA and Canada.

Colorado Multiple Pasteurized Cheeses Salmonella outbreak in 2007:  A confirmed outbreak of Salmonella Montevideo, resulting in the poisoning of at least 6 people, was linked to eating pasteurized cheeses in the state of Colorado. There was more than one type of cheese implicated. The brand names were not described.

ConAgra Banquet Pot Pie Salmonella outbreak in 2007:  This national outbreak resulted in at least 401 confirmed illnesses of Salmonella.  In early June, 2007, four infections sharing a pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern were identified by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.  As additional cases were reported, the initial investigation did not reveal the cause of the infections. A multistate, case-control study conducted in early October indicated that illness was associated with consumption of Banquet brand frozen, not ready-to-eat, pot pies. Further investigation determined that 77% of patients who ate these pies had microwaved them. Consumer confusion might have resulted in a failure to cook the product properly. A voluntary recall was issued by ConAgra, the manufacturer on October 11, 2007, for all nine brands of pot pies produced at the implicated plant. The outbreak strain was isolated from at least thirteen samples of unopened Banquet pot pies collected from the homes of patients. All pies that tested positive were turkey pot pies. Two of the pies underwent separate testing of filling and crust. The filling tested positive and the crust tested negative for both pies.

Colorado Restaurant Chicken Teriyaki Salmonella outbreak in 2006:  A confirmed outbreak among 22 Colorado residents of Salmonella Heidelberg was associated with eating chicken teriyaki at a restaurant in Colorado.

Seasons on the Pond Restaurant Fruit Salad Salmonella outbreak in 2002:  Customers of the Seasons on the Pond Restaurant in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, developed infections caused by Salmonella. The case control study indicated that ill patrons were more likely to have consumed fruit salad than well patrons. The possibility that the fruit was contaminated prior to reaching the restaurant was investigated, but was ruled out. Nine restaurant employees were laboratory confirmed to be infected with Salmonella, and five other employees reported having illness consistent with Salmonella, but did not have laboratory proven Salmonella. The restaurant had been open for only two months when the outbreak occurred.  Over 51 people were confirmed ill as part of this outbreak.

Wyndham Anatole Hotel Restaurant Salmonella outbreak in 2002:  Over a six week time period, beginning in mid-March, 700 people became ill with Salmonella Enteriditis after attending conferences and conventions held at the Wyndham Anatole Hotel in Dallas, Texas.  Eleven food workers, including one who prepared salsa and sauces on a daily basis, were confirmed to be infected with Salmonella Enteriditis. The implicated food vehicles were sauces and salsa. Tests of the water, ice, and selected foods from the hotel failed to find Salmonella. The outbreak affected people residing in 46 US states, including Colorado.

Mexican Cantaloupe Salmonella outbreak in 2000:  An outbreak of Salmonella Poona occurred among people who ate whole or pre-cut cantaloupe.  In total, 47 people were sickened by the contaminated cantaloupe.  This outbreak was one of three outbreaks that occurred between 2000 and 2002 involving imported, Mexican cantaloupe. These outbreaks led to an import alert on cantaloupes from Mexico.