SummaryThis time we will focus upon international issues in our report. Every week several foods borne outbreaks are reported, demonstrating that more efforts are required to eliminate such outbreaks. This blog includes a report about Hepatitis A outbreak due to sushi consumed in Genki restaurants on Oahu and Kauai in Hawaii. It is summer and consequently Cyclospora outbreaks are reported in Canada and Texas. Also in the news a large recall in Israel for Salmonella contamination in Hummus and Tahini.
Hepatitis A Outbreak in Hawaii Sushi ChainSource: CBS News and HawaiiNewsNow. The Hawaii State Department of Health reported that the outbreak “is likely due to imported frozen scallops served raw at Genki Sushi Restaurants on Oahu and Kauai.” The popular chain’s eateries have been shut down. The number of victims has topped 200 and health officials expect that it will increase. State health officials ordered 11 Genki Sushi locations on two islands to close. The state also embargoed scallops distributed by Koha Foods of Honolulu. The raw frozen scallops were imported to the U.S. from the Philippines by Sea Port Products Corp., a California company. About 70 percent of the victims reported eating at a Genki Sushi restaurants. Of the 206 victims so far, illness onset dates ranged from June 16 through August 9. Mary Hansen, chief administrative officer at Genki, said that the company’s officials were “shocked” to hear that the eateries were linked to the outbreak. “Genki Sushi cares about our customers’ health and safety. We immediately complied with the order” she said, in a Tuesday news conference.
Cyclospora in Canada, and TexasSource: Public Health Agency of Canada. In Canada, a total of 61 cases have been reported, most of them in Ontario (~85%). Individuals became sick between May and July 2016. One person was hospitalized. The investigation into the source of the outbreak is ongoing. Previous foodborne illness outbreaks of Cyclospora in the US and Canada have been linked to various types of imported fresh produce, such as pre-packaged salad mix, basil, cilantro, raspberries, blackberries, lettuce and snow and snap peas. The source of the illnesses has not yet been identified, although Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) stated that “imported fresh produce products are currently items of interesting in the ongoing investigation.” These individuals became ill between May and July 2016, the PHAC stated. The investigation into the source of the outbreak is ongoing. A similar outbreak was reported in 2015. According to the CDC Most of the reported cases and outbreaks in the United States of Cyclosporiasis occur during spring and summer months, particularly during May through August. Texas officials are investigating an increasing number of Cyclospora. The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is investigating an outbreak of at least 160 cases of Cyclosporiasis. 72 cases had been confirmed
Salmonella Contamination in Israel due to Tahini and HummusSource: Food Safety News and Tablet. HaNasich, a major Israeli manufacturer of Tahini paste, which is an important ingredient in Hummus, Tehina (Tahini), eggplant salad, and more. Several brands of salads containing Tahini or Hummus were contaminated with Salmonella. Shamir salads contaminated with Salmonella were recalled by the Israel Ministry of Health. Two other salad producers, Tsabar (Sabra) and Achla, also reported their products were contaminated with Salmonella, but the problematic products were caught and destroyed before the salads reached the market. The salad contamination may be a far larger issue in Israel. Shamir Salads recalled thousands of hummus and Tahini salad containers. Some of the contaminated raw product had been distributed before the problem was discovered. The Ministry of Health is focused on raw Tehina manufactured by HaNasich as the source of the contamination. It is destroying 200 tons of raw Tehina. HaNasich is a worldwide distributor of raw Tehina for making Hummus, Tehina and eggplant salads.
Alfalfa Sprouts Linked to Salmonella Multi State Outbreak
CDC and FDA report that 30 people across nine states have been infected in an outbreak of Salmonella reading and Salmonella abony, traced back to Alfalfa Sprouts supplied by Sprouts Extraordinaire of Denver, Colorado.
Illnesses started on dates ranging from May 21, 2016 to July 20, 2016. At least 30 people range in age from less than 1 year to 72, with a median age of 30. Five ill people have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.
Ill people in the current outbreak reported eating raw alfalfa sprouts on sandwiches from several different restaurants. This investigation indicated that Sprouts Extraordinaire supplied alfalfa sprouts to all five of these locations. On August 5, 2016, Sprouts Extraordinaire recalled its alfalfa sprout products from the market due to possible Salmonella contamination. These products were sold in boxes labeled “5-lb Living Alfalfa” The investigation is still ongoing.
Contaminated Cheese Linked to E. coli Outbreak
Grassfields Cheese LLC of Coopersville, MI, issued a nationwide recall of 20,000 pounds of its cheeses because of the E. coli. Whole Foods Markets has augmented that action, specifically recalling Grassfields Cheese products sold at its stores in 13 states. According to FDA the recall includes the following types of Grassfields Cheeses: Gouda, Onion ‘n Garlic, Country Dill, Leyden, Edam, Lamont Cheddar, Fait Gras and Polkton Corners. The potential for contamination was identified during an ongoing investigation of seven cases of human illnesses occurring between March and July 2016 caused by a same type of STEC.
Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), and local health departments in Michigan are investigating the outbreak of six cases of non-O157:H7 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli infections in Michigan residents. The first patient got sick March 13, with the most recent patient becoming ill on July 13. They range in age from 15 to 37 years old. One patient had symptoms so severe that hospitalization was required, but the patient has since been discharged, according to the Michigan health department. Several of the people sickened by E. coli said they had eaten restaurant meals containing Grassfields cheese. At least one sample of the cheese contained bacteria matching the E coli strain found in the ill individuals, the state health department reported in Friday’s update. Whole Foods reports its stores in 13 states sold the recalled organic cheese. At least seven people have been made sick after eating cheese contaminated with E. coli produced by family-owned artisan cheese producer in Michigan.
Grassfiels is a family owned cheese manufacturer, the owners, decided 15 years ago to make organic cheeses made from the grass-fed, antibiotic-free cows raised on the family farm. The business did not make the family rich, but it was popular online and is sold around the nation at Whole Foods. Making cheese is a process that takes months and the 20,000 pounds of cheese they have destroyed equals two-thirds of their yearly output. The E. coli outbreak could mean the end of family cheese-making business.