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Salmonella Alert: Triple Meats Recalls Chicken Salad Products Sold At Fareway

On February 9, 2018, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) was notified by Iowa health officials about an investigation regarding Salmonella Typhimurium illnesses. The health authorities linked the outbreak with chicken salad sold in Fairway stores.
On February 14, 2018, the FSIS issued the first alert relating to potential Salmonella contamination in chicken salad sold at Fareway grocery stores. 
On February 21, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety (USDA) and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced the recall of Triple T Specialty Meats Inc., from Ackley Iowa, of approximately 20,630 pounds of ready-to-eat chicken salad products that may have been contaminated with Salmonella Typhimurium.
The FSIS/USDA announcement stated that based on an epidemiological investigation, the onset of the illnesses was from January 4, 2018, to February 9, 2018. The products were sold in the grocery store in various containers from the deli department.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued their initial report on February 21, 2018.  The CDC reported that the recalled chicken salad was sold in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota from January 4, 2018, to February 9, 2018.
Epidemiological data indicated that the chicken salad produced by Triple T Specialty Meats Inc. and sold at Fareway grocery stores is the likely source of this multistate outbreak. 78% of the interviewed ill people reported eating chicken salad from Fareway.  65 people from 5 states were infected by the strain of Salmonella Typhimurium. 28 of the infected people were hospitalized, but no death reported.
Whole genome sequencing (WGS) of bacteria from the affected people indicated that the infected people were likely to share a common source of infection.  As can be seen in the chart, the illness started on January 8th and continued until February 10th. Some illnesses that happened after February 5 might not yet be reported.
Fareway Stopped selling the chicken salad on February 9th. However, only on February 21, 2018, did Triple T Specialty Meats, Inc. recall all chicken salad produced from January 2, 2018, to February 7.
Meanwhile, four lawsuits have been filed related to the chicken salad produced by Triple Meats and Sold by Fareway were filed by Marel Clark, the Food Safety Law Firm.  All complaints are against Triple meats and Fareway.
According to the complaint, Jeff Anderson purchased Fareway Chicken Salad on February 1, 2018, from the Fareway store in Moline, Illinois. He consumed the product on February 1 -2, 2018. On Sunday, February 4, Jeff became ill with diarrhea, body aches, and chills. His symptoms became so severe that Jeff required emergency medical attention on February 6, 2018.
Derek Porter and his wife Sarah from South Dakota, purchased Fareway Chicken Salad on February 8, 2018, from the store in Harrisburg, South Dakota. On Sunday and Monday—February 11th and 12th—both Derek and Sarah became ill with diarrhea and abdominal cramping. Both continued to suffer bouts of headache, stomach cramps, and diarrhea until Derek took Sarah to the Emergency Room at about 1:30 AM on Valentine’s Day, February 14th.
James Fox resides in the city of Grimes. He purchased a Fareway Chicken Salad product on February 2, 2018, from the Fareway store located in Grimes, Iowa, and consumed it on the same day. On Sunday, February 4, 2018, Mr. Fox became ill with diarrhea, chills, and fever. His symptoms became so severe that he required emergency medical attention on February 7, 2018.   This case again demonstrates the impact of slow recall of products. By the time that the recalls were issued on February 21, 2018, most of the infections had occurred, and the product was no longer on the market.  The vast majority of the victims of this infection were already on their way to recovery.
The case also demonstrates how expensive it is for manufacturers to have a Salmonella infection in their products.

Dog Foods in the News: Recalls for Salmonella, Listeria and Illegal Drug

In February a number of dog food brands were recalled.  The recalls were due to bacterial contamination (Salmonella and Listeria) as well as the presence of an illegal drug.

Recalls due to Bacterial Contamination

In February, Salmonella contamination appeared in four different dog food products, prompting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to announce the recall of these products.   Salmonella can cause illness in pets, but it can also cause the pets to become carriers infecting humans.  The companies recalling dog food include:

Raws Paws (Minneapolis, MN)

On February 8th the FDA announced the recall of ~ 4,000pounds of 5 lb. and 1 lb. sealed plastic tubes (chubs) of Ground Turkey Pet Food, due to Salmonella.  The product was distributed throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa directly to consumers and through online mail orders.
 The contamination of some packages of Turkey Pet Food was detected in testing by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA). Two illnesses (in the same household) have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

Smokehouse Pet Products, Inc. (Sun Valley, CA) 

On February 8th the FDA announced the recall of 4-oz bags of dog treats labeled as “Beefy Munchies”, due to Salmonella. The recall was expanded on February 15th to include all sizes of Smokehouse’s Beefy Munchies.
 The products were distributed in Washington, Michigan, North Carolina and Colorado through distributors selling to various retailers. No illness has been reported to date. The contamination was detected in two packages of 4 oz. Beefy Munchies in routine testing by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

Redbarn Pet Products, LLC (Long Beach, CA) 

On February 9th the FDA announced the recall of Redbarn’s 7-inch Bully Stick packs 2.4 ounce, green plastic bag due to Salmonella. The recalled products were distributed in pet specialty retail stores. 
According to the FDA, the company President Jeff Sutherland explained: “On 2/5/2018, we were notified by the Colorado Department of Agriculture that a single sample collected from a retail location detected Salmonella. At Redbarn, we test every product lot before it leaves our manufacturing plant. This lot code was tested both at our Redbarn lab and by a third-party testing facility. Those tests were negative for salmonella or pathogens. Despite not being able to replicate these test results or receiving any negative reports from customers regarding these chews, we feel the best course of action is to recall this lot code of the product and keep our customers safe”.  No illnesses, injuries or complaints have been reported.

Darwin’s Natural and ZooLogics pet foods (Tukwila, WA)

On February 13th the FDA investigated a pattern of contamination in raw pet foods made by Arrow Reliance Inc., which produced products for Darwin’s Natural Pet Products and ZooLogics Pet Food. From October 17th, 2016 to February  10th, 2018 there were four recalls of Darwin’s Natural Pet Products and ZooLogics Pet Food due to Salmonella and/or Listeria monocytogenes in samples of their raw pet food products.
The most recent recall (February 10th, 2018) was due to Salmonella in Duck with Vegetable Meals for Dogs and Chicken with Vegetable Meals for Dogs.  The FDA is investigating six complaints of illness and death of animals due to the consumption of the product. The dog food products were sold only online, and the customers were notified by email about the recall.  
The recent recall was triggered by a dog owner complaint. The dog had consumed the product and had recurring diarrhea over a nine-month period and tested positive for Salmonella.

Dog Food Contaminated with Pentobarbital

Pentobarbital is a sedative barbiturate drug that slows down the brain and the nervous system activity and used to euthanize animals. The presence of pentobarbital at any level in pet food is a violation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
On February 16, 2018, The  J.M. Smucker Company announced the recall of various canned dog food (Gravy Train, Kibbles ‘N Bits, Ol’ Roy, and Skippy canned products), since they contained an extremely low level of pentobarbital. The Company claims that it has identified the root cause to be a single supplier and a single minor ingredient used at a single manufacturing facility.
Barry Dunaway, President of Pet Food and Pet Snacks said: “We take this very seriously and are extremely disappointed that pentobarbital was introduced to our supply chain. We will continue to work closely with our suppliers and veterinarians to ensure the ingredients used in our products meet or exceed regulatory safety standards and our high-quality standards.”
The discovery of the product’s contamination was due to a study conducted by Clean Label Pet Food Project that tested 1,084 pet food products from 80 brands, screened for over 130 toxins including heavy metals, BPA, pesticides and other contaminants causing cancer and other health conditions in both humans and animals. In this study, the contamination was discovered in Gravy Train.
Clean Label Project Executive Director Jaclyn Bowen explained in an email: “One possible way [the drug got into the food] is through the use of contaminated ingredients, rendering plants take slaughterhouse animal tissues and convert them into stable, usable materials like purified fats such as lard or tallow… It is possible that animals exposed to pentobarbital were included in the rendering process.”

The New Trending Page of is Active Now

The trending page is active now.  I would like to emphasize the importance of this page in bringing up-to-date information about the trends of our profession. I encourage you to go to the trending page and read the topics that so far have been posted.
If you have any relevant interesting topic, it is easy to post it on the page and help bring the information to the benefit of our members.
This week’s covered topics include:
  • Microbial Sensor Provides Non-Destructive Snapshot of Environments;
  • It is Possible That Lactalis Sold Contaminated Baby Formula for ten years;
  • Raws for Paws Recalled Turkey Pet Food Due to Salmonella Risk:
  • Smokehouse Pet Products Recalled “Beefy Munchies” due to Salmonella;
  • More Than 100 Sick due to Norovirus in the Winter Olympic;
  • The Trend to Outsource Pathogen Testing Continues;
  • The FDA releases 2017 Food Code for Retail Food Protection.
The trending page should discuss current trends in food safety, intriguing articles, and bring to the attention of our members any new topic that might be of interest.  Any registered user can easily publish any relevant trend or post a comment on any previously published trend posting.
I am hoping that all registered users will contribute to this page thereby creating a compelling new relevant body of information and directing readers to important food safety information. By your active participation, you will be able to help your colleagues to understand the most pressing trends in food safety and determine where to focus their attention.
As you can see from our previous blog, adding new trends to the page is very easy (see for details).
Registered users and visitors can read the content of this page. We send updates about the information posted on the page to those people that are registered for such notifications. Registered users will not receive routine updates from the trending page. If you wish to receive updates, please sign for it by filling the information in the “Trending Email Sign up.”

The success of this page depends upon YOU


UMass Amherst Developed a Low-Cost Chip to Detect Bacteria in Food and Water

Rapid methods for the detection of pathogens have been gaining acceptance in the food industry. Recent advances in technology can result in faster detection of pathogens, more convenient, more sensitive methods.  We have seen many new alternative methods being proposed in the past couple of years. Below is an example of such a novel method.
According to a press release from University of Massachusetts Amherst ( ) a team of scientists (including Lily He, Lynne McLandsborough, and Brooke Pearson) developed a low cost, rapid method for the detection of bacteria in food samples.
The assay steps include rinsing the fruit or vegetable, collecting the rinse water sample, placing the water to the chemical-based microchip that captures the harmful bacteria, and detecting the bacteria using a smartphone with a light microscope adaptor.  He said:” If there are harmful bacteria, it will be shown as visible dots, to indicate that you may have, for example, salmonella or Listeria.”
The Chip includes 3-mercaptophenylboronic acid (3-MBPA) that attracts and binds to any bacteria. Food particles, sugars, fat, and proteins can be washed away with a high-pH buffer.
There are two detection methods: (i) surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy” (SERS) that relies on silver nanoparticles and the optical microscopy method. Both the optical method and the SERS mapping methods have a sensitivity of detection as few as 100 CFU/mL according to the publication (!divAbstract). The total assay time for the optical method is 1.25 hours and for SERS imaging 3 hours.
The method seems very attractive at first glance. It is straightforward and inexpensive. The use of a smartphone instead of a microscope is eye-catching. A lay person can use it without the need for a laboratory.
However, it seems to me that the method lack the desired selectivity as it detects all bacteria and not necessarily pathogenic bacteria. For pathogens, it lacks the desired sensitivity. While sensitivity of 100 CFU/mL is impressive, a system for pathogens needs to be 10,000 folds more sensitive.
There is a danger of prematurely promoting such rapid methods; it might take many years of research to obtain the desired specificity and sensitivity.