salmonella.jpgToday, Del Monte recalled approximately 23,000 pounds of Guatemalan-grown canteloupe due to the product’s implication in a Salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 12 people in 7 states.  The recalled products were sold at Costco locations in affected states.  This is the third time in the last three years that Del Monte cantaloupe products have been recalled, or implicated as the cause of a Salmonella outbreak. 

October 2010 Del Monte Salmonella cantaloupe recall

October 2009 Del Monte Salmonella cantaloupe recall

Salmonella Illnesses

Symptoms of Salmonella gastroenteritis include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea, and/or vomiting. In mild cases diarrhea may be non-bloody, occur several times per day, and not be very voluminous; in severe cases it may be frequent, bloody and/or mucoid, and of high volume.  Complications of Salmonella infection can include sepsis, reactive arthritis, and post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome. 

Reactive Arthritis

The arthritis that can be caused by Salmonella infection affects the knees, ankles, and feet, causing pain and swelling. Wrists, fingers and other joints can be affected, though with less frequency. Patients with reactive arthritis commonly develop inflammation where the tendon attaches to the bone, a condition called enthesopathy. Some patients with reactive arhtritis also develop heel spurs, bony growths in the heel that cause chronic or long-lasting foot pain. Reactive arthritis can also affect the joints of the back and cause spondylitis, inflammation of the vertebrae in the spinal column. The duration of reactive arthritis symptoms can vary greatly. Most of the literature suggests that the majority of patients recover within a year. The condition, can, however, be permanent. One study found nearly 50 percent of patients with post dysenteric reactive arthritis continued to have symptoms roughly one year after onset (Inman, et al., 1998).

Post-Infectious Irritable Bowel Syndrome

 Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one disorder in a spectrum of common functional gastrointestinal disorders. Symptoms of IBS can include constipation, diarrhea, alternating diarrhea and constipation, abdominal pain, urgency, bloating, straining at stools, and a sense of incomplete evacuation. The Rome III definition for IBS, which is widely accepted in the medical community, is recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort at least three days per month for at least three months, with at least two of the following symptoms also present: improvement of the pain or discomfort with defecation, a change in frequency of stools, or a change also in the form or appearance of stool.

The observation that the onset of IBS symptoms can be precipitated by gastrointestinal infection dates to the 1950s. Different studies have shown that 7-31% of individuals who have experienced an episode of infectious gastroenteritis, whether bacterial or viral, may develop symptoms of IBS.Continue Reading Salmonella, Cantaloupes, and Information

Telephone.jpgWhen it comes to efficient and effective outbreak detection, it is well understood that local and state health departments rely on the complaints of the public.  In conjunction with culture-confirmed lab test notification, public complaints make health departments aware of possible foodborne illnesses emerging within a given community.  Until recently, however, the strength of the

The E. coli O157 outbreak linked to Dole baby spinach is still known as “The Outbreak” amongst producers in America’s salad bowl–a.k.a the Salinas Valley, California.  It caused more than 200 severe illnesses, more than 30 cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome, and killed 5 people–although the CDC only acknowledges 3 deaths.

Ken and Polly Costello

merlesfoodpoisoning.jpgClostridium perfringens has caused an outbreak of food poisoning illnesses at Merle’s BBQ in Evanston, Illinois, sickening more than 30 people.  Actually, the implicated meal was catered by Merle’s for the parent/teacher conferences at Haven Middle School on Feb. 16.  “The outcome of the investigation revealed unsafe food handling and temperature storage at both Merle’s

New Market Poultry, a New Market, Va., establishment, is recalling approximately 3,339 pounds of ice-packed, whole chicken products that may be adulterated due to leaking cooler condensate, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The problem was identified Feb. 24, 2011 when the company discovered product under USDA retention