The FDA and CDC are investigating a multiple state infection due to Shiga toxin producing E. coli. According to the CDC update of July 25, 2016, 46 people in 21 states were infected by this outbreak. Thirteen ill people have been hospitalized, with one case of hemolytic-uremic syndrome. The common denominator is the eating or handling of raw dough from General Mills flours.E. coli 021 was found in open samples of flour and in infected people. The characterized 026 isolate (whole genome sequencing) from General Mills returned retail flour is closely related genetically to a clinical isolate that was subsequently added to the outbreak cluster. The first illness reports are from December 21, 2015, with the most recent illnesses reported on June 25, with cases keep coming up. The ages of the patients range from 1 -95 years.Ten million pound of a variety of General Mills flours was recalled by the company at the end of May. The flours were produced between Nov. 14 and Dec. 4, and include three brand names: Gold Medal, Signature Kitchens and Gold Medal Wondra.CDC in February of 2016 identified the string of illnesses that begun in December of 2015 and was associated with E. coli 021, a strain much less common that the better known E. coli 0157. It was determined that the common denominator among the sick individuals were people had been baking at home, and many of them said they used Gold Medal flour (Food Safety News). Many also mentioned eating raw homemade cookie dough. Outbreaks were also linked to restaurants that supplied raw dough for children to play with.This case brings to focus that a food that is normally not a likely source of infection can become one. Flour is not recognized by the public as a potential source of food borne pathogens, and is not associated with infection because usually it is cooked prior to consumption and E. coli is sensitive to heat. Better public education is needed to understand the danger of raw cookie dough and its use as a homemade “play dough”.
This website is a place for an interactive forum for the discussion of topics facing the food safety community. It will be a place for the exchange of information, get expert opinions, and to deal with hot topics as they emerge and also to get the latest industry news. Ask-BioExpert.com is such a site. Currently there is no such resource for the food safety community and it could become a premier focus point for information.
The site will allow viewing of previously asked questions and their answers, ask new questions, or comment on a question or a topic. In the center of the first page there is a selector with various categories. A user can follow a category, a specific question and be notified when someone relates to it. Eventually it will create a comprehensive database of questions, answers and discussions. The following categories are included: testing methods (conventional and molecular), food law, food safety, and various commodities such as dairy, beverages, acid foods, fruit, and vegetables. Any knowledgeable member can volunteer to answer questions he/she chooses.
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The Seattle Times reports that the Montessori school in Washington State has been closed temporarily after two preschoolers were hospitalized with dangerous E. coli infections and more than 10 staff members and 60 children may have been exposed. The difficult task of identifying the source of the E. coli is on its way. Read More
Fears of Listeria cause a recall of 372,000 pounds of hot dogs, corn dogs
The Sacramento Bee reported that more than 372,000 pounds of hot dogs and corn dogs made between July 10 and 13 are being recalled over concerns of Listeria contamination. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Alstus, Oklahoma-based Bar-S Foods is recalling five chicken and pork products (including Bar-S bun-length and classic franks made with chicken and pork, Bar-S classic corn dogs and Signature Pick 5 corn dogs) that could potentially be contaminated with Listeria. The USDA says Bar-S hasn’t received test results but is recalling the items due to recurring Listeria issues at the company. The product is sold all over the country. Currently no reports of illness were linked to the product. The USDA says Bar-S hasn’t received test results but is recalling the items due to recurring Listeria issues at the company. Read More
Delegate to the GOP convention got sick with Norovirus
The Washingtonn post reported that staffers of the California delegate to the GOP convention have fallen ill with Norovirus. The delegates from California are staying at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio, nearly 60 miles away from Cleveland. It is believed that one staffer brought the virus to Ohio from California and then passed it to the staffer’s spouse. Soon, 12 of the 36 staffers were sick. Read More:
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