Romaine Lettuce: The FDA Dilemma to Recall or Not and When to Recall

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May 11, 2018

According to the CDC the outbreak due to E. coli O157:H7 that started in March 2018, involves a total of 129 people. Sixty-four (50%) of them have been hospitalized, and one death. A very troubling aspect of this outbreak is that 17 of those sickened have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The extremely high number of hospitalization for the outbreak and the high number of HUS patients is because the E. coli O157:H7 produces Shiga toxin type 2 (STX2) making it particularly dangerous. This is the same type of strain associated with the 2006 outbreak linked to fresh spinach. Federal investigators first warned of the E. coli problem in April after people started getting sick from greens that they ate on March 22 to 31 in Panera Bread in NJ. Now, seven weeks later, the federal investigation led by the FDA has not been able to pinpoint which romaine fields are causing the outbreak. The Investigators are looking at “dozens” of farms as possible sources.

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Trends in Food Recall 2004-2013- USDA Report, April 2018

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Apr 24, 2018

Summary A report published by the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) analyzing both FDA and USDA recall data reveals that the number of recalls increased for many food categories such as grain products, animal products, and prepared meals. In the decade from 2004 to 2013 food recalls increased from an average of 304 to 676. A leading cause of food recalls was due to undeclared allergens, where the recalls almost doubled over the decade.  Increase in Recalls over the Years During the period 2004-2013...

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Blog Update: Multistate E. coli outbreak- Source Found: Chopped Romaine Lettuce

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Apr 13, 2018

The CDC and the FDA reported that the data indicates that chopped romaine lettuce grown in Yuma Arizona is probably the cause of the contamination with E. coli O157: H7. A common grower had not yet been identified. As of April 12, 2018, 35 people from 11 states (Connecticut 2; Idaho 8; Illinois 1 Michigan 1; Missouri 1; New Jersey 7; New York 2; Ohio 2; Pennsylvania 9; Virginia 1; and Washington 1) were infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7. Twenty-six (93%) of 28 ill people that were interviewed reported consuming romaine lettuce in the week before their illness started. This percentage is significantly higher than results from common healthy people in which 46% reported eating romaine lettuce in the week before they were interviewed. The lettuce was consumed in salad at a restaurant. The restaurants reported using bagged, chopped romaine lettuce to make salads. At this time, ill people are not reporting whole heads or hearts of romaine

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Multi state E. coli outbreak- Source unknown and Investigation Underway

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Apr 12, 2018

The CDC, the FDA, and other agencies are investigating a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7, there are currently 17 cases in 7 states (Connecticut (2), Idaho (4), Missouri, New Jersey (6), Ohio, Pennsylvania (2), and Washington). Six of those infected have been hospitalized, one of the hospitalized patients developed hemolytic uremic syndrome. Illnesses started on March 22, 2018, and data include cases that were diagnosed until March 31, 2018. The states associated with the outbreak are not clustered together, making a common source more difficult to find. To date, no specific food item, grocery store, or restaurant chain has been identified as the source of infections.

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Salmonella in Kratom causes FDA to Orders Mandatory Recall

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Apr 5, 2018

The FDA issued a forced recall due to Triangle Pharmanaturals, refusal to cooperate and voluntarily pull its products after they tested positive for Salmonella. It is the first time that such order is issued. “Our first approach is to encourage voluntary compliance, but when we have a company like this one, which refuses to cooperate, is violating the law and is endangering consumers, we will pursue all avenues of enforcement under our authority,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said. The mandatory recall is the FDA’s first since it was given the authority to issue such an order for food products in 2011. Under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, the FDA has the authority to order the recall of food products when it determines that there is a reasonable probability that the article is adulterated and that its use could cause serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals. Under the federal law, Dietary supplements are considered foods, not drugs. FDA is investigating a Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Linked to Products Reported to Contain Kratom.

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Detection of bacterial growth and Biofilm formation in pipelines made easy

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Mar 18, 2018
By Giovanni Pavanello

Bacteria embedded in the biofilm are more difficult and expensive to eliminate, than free-floating planktonic bacteria. Their presence in manufacturing pipelines can be responsible for a wide range of water quality and operational problems. By measuring bacteria bio-electrochemical activity (a phenomenon known as “ennoblement” or “cathodic depolarization”), the ALVIM technology detects biofilm formation since its first phases, online and in real time. The system allows the user to decide when to apply CIP, and check in real time if biofilm was actually removed.

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Precedence-setting Food Safety Case: Foster Chicken Farm found Liable in Salmonella Case

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Mar 12, 2018

A jury in Arizona returned a precedent-setting verdict in favor of 5 ½ years old boy (Noah Craten) that had brain surgery in 2013, as a result of a massive brain abscess. The doctors determined that the abscess was caused by bacterial meningitis due to Salmonella Heidelberg infection from what was believed to be chicken produced by Foster Poultry Farms. The jury’s conclusion on Foster Farm negligence was based on microbiological and epidemiological evidence alone. Fluid removed from the abscess during surgery showed that the Salmonella bacteria present in the abscess matched one of the strains in the Foster Farm’s outbreak. The jury seems to reject the argument that Salmonella contamination is natural to raw chicken, and therefore it cannot form the basis of liability.

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A Single Genetic Code Change Makes African Salmonella More Deadly

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Mar 1, 2018

A new study identified a single genetic code change that allows Salmonella Typhimurium (ST313) to play a major role in bloodstream infection in sub-Saharan Africa. Invasive non-typhoidal Salmonellosis (iNTS) is killing ~ 390,000 people annually in sub-Saharan Africa. iNTS is caused by Salmonella that enters the bloodstream and spread through the body. The African iNST is caused by a variant of Salmonella Typhimurium (ST313) that is antibiotic resistant, and affect people with a deficient immune system. This Salmonella strain seems to be very similar to the Salmonella Typhimurium that causes gastrointestinal illness. A team of scientists used advanced genetic techniques to switch various single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) to find the one responsible for the difference in the Salmonella strain between the strain that can enter the bloodstream and are antibiotic resistant, and the one causing gastroenteritis.

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

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Feb 23, 2018

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...

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

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Feb 20, 2018

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...

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