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Multistate E. coli outbreak linked to cake mix

6 hours 22 min ago

An ongoing E. coli outbreak affecting 16 people in 12 states has been linked to cake mix.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating the multistate outbreak of E. coli O121 infections from cake mix.

All those sick are female and illness dates range from Feb. 26 to June 21.

Sick people range in age from 2 to 73 years old, with a median of 13. Seventy-five percent are children under the age of 18. Children are more likely to have a severe E. coli infection.

Of 16 people with information available, seven have been hospitalized. One person has developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) but no deaths have been reported.

Searching for source
Of the eight people interviewed, six reported tasting or eating raw batter made with a cake mix. People said they bought different varieties and brands.

Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and Ohio have two patients while Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and Washington all have one.

Whole genome sequencing showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples are closely related genetically. This means patients in this outbreak likely got sick from the same food.

FDA is doing a traceback investigation using purchase records from locations where sick people bought cake mix to try to determine a common brand or production facility.

The CDC is advising people not to taste or eat raw cake batter, whether made from a mix or homemade. Eating raw cake batter can make you sick as it can contain harmful bacteria. Bacteria are killed only when raw batter is baked or cooked.

The agency also told the public not to make milkshakes with products that contain raw foods such as cake mix, flour, or eggs, to keep raw foods such as cake mix, flour, or eggs separate from ready-to-eat foods and to follow the recipe or package directions for cooking or baking.

About E. coli infections
Anyone who has developed symptoms of E. coli infection should seek medical attention and tell their doctor about their possible exposure to the bacteria. Specific tests are required to diagnose the infections, which can mimic other illnesses.

The symptoms of E. coli infections vary for each person but often include severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, which is often bloody. Some patients may also have a fever. Most patients recover within five to seven days. Others can develop severe or life-threatening symptoms and complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

About 5 to 10 percent of those diagnosed with E. coli infections develop a potentially life-threatening kidney failure complication, known as a hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Symptoms of HUS include fever, abdominal pain, feeling very tired, decreased frequency of urination, small unexplained bruises or bleeding, and pallor.

Many people with HUS recover within a few weeks, but some suffer permanent injuries or death. This condition can occur among people of any age but is most common in children younger than five years old because of their immature immune systems, older adults because of deteriorating immune systems, and people with compromised immune systems such as cancer patients.

People who experience HUS symptoms should immediately seek emergency medical care. People with HUS will likely be hospitalized because the condition can cause other serious and ongoing problems such as hypertension, chronic kidney disease, brain damage, and neurologic problems.

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As table set for United States v. Paul Kruse, save a place for Blue Bell

10 hours 57 min ago

Federal Judge Robert Pitman set the table for the criminal trial of the United States vs. Paul Kruse, which begins in seven and half months in Austin, TX. Jury selection and the trial is scheduled to get underway at 9 a.m. on March 14, 2022, in the Texas Western District of the U.S. District Court.

Judge Pitman’s latest scheduling order sets pre-trial deadlines for both prosecuting and defense attorneys.  The defense must share their expert witnesses with the government by Nov. 12, 2001. Pre-trial exclusion motions for any “Daubert” hearings to consider the admissibility of any “expert,” scientific or technical testimony and evidence are due Dec. 14, 2021.

The prosecution must turn over lists of witnesses and exhibits it plans to use at trial to the defense no later than Jan. 13, 2022, and impeachable evidence must be identified by that deadline.

Defense attorneys Chris Flood of Houston and John Cline of San Francisco are already in receipt of 1.1 million pages of material, some scientific and some technical requiring “consultation with experts.”  The government has already provided notice for 24 experts to call, subject to defense Daubert or other challenges.

Pre-trial action likely will resolve the role of Blue Bell Creameries in the criminal trial. Pitman quashed one subpoena seeking to compel testimony from corporate Blue Bell officials that the judge found violating attorney-client privilege.

The U.S. District Court for Western Texas is divided into seven divisions. Jury selection will likely be drawn from the 17 counties of the Austin Division. Those counties — Bastrop, Blanco, Burleson, Burnet, Caldwell, Gillespie, Hay, Kimble, Lampasas, Lee, Liano, Mason, McCulloch, San Saba, Travis, Washington, and Williamson — are at the heart of Blue Bell ice cream country.

Blue Bell’s headquarters is at Brenham, TX, located in Washington County.

Blue Bell Ice Cream is rarely out of the news in Texas and almost always very popular. And Texans remain close to their favorite ice cream. Last week, for example, a San Antonio woman was on a statewide crusade to bring back Krazy Kookie Dough. It was a flavor from the creamery’s temporary pandemic offerings.

Blue Bell makes news when it announces those seasonal flavors. And when a popular season flavor ends its run, it’s news again.

Blue Bell, in the past, was served on Air Force One. Last week, those in a dust-up over the Israeli-boycotting Ben and Jerry’s quickly named Blue Bell a better choice.

Massive coolers at those big H-E-B markets in Texas keep turning over and over with Blue Bell. Blue Bell Ice Cream production has been going non-stop for the past seven years.

But there was that time six years ago when Blue Bell was known for laying off almost all of its employees and an all-product recall of the nation’s third-largest ice cream.

The 2015 listeriosis outbreak led to the removal of all Blue Bell products from all of its production facilities including ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet, and frozen snacks.

Ten people with listeriosis were associated with the outbreak from four states: Arizona (1), Kansas (5), Oklahoma (1), and Texas (3). Kansas reported three deaths. All of the others required hospital care.

As a corporate entity, Blue Bell pleaded guilty in a related case in 2020 to two counts of distributing adulterated food products in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

The company agreed to pay criminal penalties totaling $17.5 million and $2,1 million to resolve False Claims Act allegations regarding ice cream products manufactured under insanitary conditions and sold to federal facilities, including the military. The total $19.35 million in fines, forfeiture, and civil settlement payments was the second-largest amount ever paid in the resolution of a food safety matter.

Kruse, 66, was the long-time president that led Blue Blue through the 2015 listeriosis crisis and remained for about three years before retiring. In 2020, a federal grand jury indicted Kruse for conspiracy and fraud, a total of seven federal felonies.

Most Texans lost their Blue Bell Ice Cream for about six months, especially between April and  August 2015 before the product slowly returned. Blue Bell’s return was phased in, first to Texas and then to the rest of the country where the ice cream is widely available.

And every year then since then, Blue Bell production has been steadily building.

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Scale of Campylobacter poultry link assessed in UK study

11 hours 8 sec ago

Chicken has been confirmed as the source of most Campylobacter infections, according to a research report published by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the United Kingdom.

The aim was to estimate contributions of the main sources to human infection and to identify changes over time. The work by Oxford University also looked at antimicrobial resistance.

About 300,000 cases of Campylobacter infections are estimated to be acquired from food each year in the United Kingdom and it costs the UK about £1 billion ($1.4 billion) annually.

The project assessed patient samples between October 2015 and September 2018 from a representative urban site in North Tyneside and a rural one in Oxfordshire alongside foods sampled from retail in York, Salisbury and London.

Past work has found Campylobacter types in fresh chicken often match those from ill people in Sweden and poultry meat is a major source of infection in New Zealand.

Role of lamb’s liver
The UK Campylobacter Source Attribution study estimated that 70 percent of Campylobacter jejuni and just under 50 percent of Campylobacter coli infection was linked to chicken as the source. These figures were relatively stable over time.

Ruminants such as sheep were the second most common source for Campylobacter jejuni and the main one for Campylobacter coli while there was some link to pigs. Findings on lamb’s liver consumption show it could cause several thousand cases in England each year.

A total of 3,821 of 6,119 patients returned a completed questionnaire. Reported duration of illness lasted up to 182 days. Almost 600 people were admitted to hospitals for 1 to 42 days.

Overall, 2,725 respondents reported eating chicken in the five days prior to onset of symptoms. This was followed by duck, turkey or goose and liver pate or parfait. Consumption of unpasteurised, raw milk was reported by 67 people and any cold milk by 1,066 people.

Nearly two thirds of people ate out in the five days before symptoms and close to one in five reported travel abroad. The top countries were Spain, India, Portugal, France and Turkey.

Product testing results
Sampling of fresh raw chilled food from retailers in three places from January 2017 to 2019 found Campylobacter in a quarter of tests. It included 1,890 samples of duck meat and liver, ox, calf and lamb livers and turkey.

Campylobacter was detected in 25.8 percent of samples and 1.4 percent had counts above 1,000 colony forming units (cfu) per gram. The highest single count was 57,000 cfu/g in lamb’s liver.

The proportion of turkey meat samples contaminated was significantly lower than other types. Duck liver and duck meat were more likely to be contaminated compared with ruminant liver samples. Campylobacter Lari was detected in one duck liver sample.

Rick Mumford, FSA head of science, evidence and research, said: “We will use these findings to better understand the causes of Campylobacter infection, and to inform further work on foodborne transmission. This will also help to identify further research areas to explore as we seek to reduce the overall burden of Campylobacter infection in the UK.”

For Campylobacter coli, most isolates had no closely genetically related isolate in the study, and, where identified, clusters were very small with four or fewer. However, for Campylobacter jejuni, 54 percent of isolates were part of clusters ranging from small to very large at 116 isolates. This substantial clustering suggests shared sources or transmission for isolates within clusters that could be targets for investigation and intervention, according to the report.

The study also revealed an increase in antimicrobial resistance in Campylobacter strains between 1997 and 2018.

There was a rise in fluoroquinolone and tetracycline resistance in Campylobacter jejuni human isolates. Fluoroquinolone resistance was more frequent in Campylobacter jejuni isolates from chicken than other animals, whilst tetracycline resistance was more common in poultry and pig isolates than ruminants. Resistance to macrolides and aminoglycosides remained low.

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FDA TechTalk podcast episode to focus on whole genome sequencing

11 hours 1 min ago

Nowadays, it seems rare to find someone or some entity without a podcast, and the Food and Drug Administration is no exception.

The TechTalk podcast is hosted by the FDA and focuses on cutting edge topics. Each quarter guests examine a different aspect of the New Era of Smarter Food Safety blueprint for which there are novel technological approaches and solutions.

TechTalk Podcast episode two: “Whole Genome Sequencing in the New Era of Smarter Food Safety,” a discussion on WGS and its potential to transform food safety, will go live Aug. 11. Whole Genome Sequencing is often described as providing fingerprints of specific strains of pathogens.

Click on image to enlarge.

Whole genome sequencing (WGS) is a cutting-edge technology that FDA has put to a novel and health-promoting use.  WGS reveals the complete DNA makeup of an organism, enabling the FDA to better understand variations both within and between species. This allows the FDA to differentiate between organisms with a precision that other technologies do not allow.

The podcast features top experts in the field involved in food safety and technology.

TechTalk Podcast episode two will feature Mark Moorman, director of FDA’s Office of Food Safety and Eric Brown, director of the Division of Microbiology in the Office of Regulatory Science at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

Moorman will lead a discussion with top experts in food safety and public health on the potential of WGS to transform food safety, how the capacity for its use can be increased across all sectors of the food safety stakeholder community, and how more opportunities for its use can be made available to all laboratory communities.

The experts:

  • Association of Public Health Laboratories: Shari Shea, Director of Food Safety
  • Western Growers: Afreen Malik, Science Programs Director
  • New York State Department of Health: William Wolfgang, Division of Infectious Diseases

The link to listen to episode two will be posted Aug. 11 here.

In the first installment in April, experts from the Institute of Food Technologists, FMI: The Food Industry Association, and the global standards organization GS1 discussed the role they envision new technologies playing in improving traceability, and the advice they have for food producers contemplating next steps in their traceability journey.

The first installation can be found here.

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WHO calls for mycotoxin data in some peanuts, cereals and spices

11 hours 2 min ago

The World Health Organization (WHO) wants data on certain mycotoxins in different food products.

The first call for information covers aflatoxin in cereals and cereal-based products. This includes maize grain; flour, meal, semolina and flakes derived from maize; husked and polished rice and sorghum grain destined for further processing.

Data is also wanted on total aflatoxins in cereal-based foods for infants and young children.

A session of the Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods agreed to establish an electronic working group led by Brazil to establish maximum levels (MLs) for aflatoxin for these items that will be debated at the next committee meeting in 2022.

Information submitted should cover the past 10 years and must be done through the Global Environment Monitoring System (GEMS) database. Data that has already been sent into the GEMS Food Database does not need to be re-submitted.

Those submitting data should provide information on the limit of quantification (LOQ) and limit of detection (LOD) of analytical methods, differentiate between maize food or feed; information to identify samples such as serial numbers and country of origin for imported food.

Second area
The second call is for total aflatoxins in ready to eat peanuts and certain spices and total Ochratoxin A in certain spices.

The same session of the Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods created an electronic working group led by India to establish maximum levels for the areas listed above. They will be considered by the committee at its next meeting in 2022.

Data is wanted on total aflatoxins in ready to eat peanuts, nutmeg, dried chili, paprika, ginger, pepper and turmeric. The list is the same for Ochratoxin A except for RTE peanuts. Submissions should cover the past decade and must be sent in via the GEMS database.

Information should be provided on if a food is fresh or processed such as fermented, dried, dehydrated or boiled and if it was analyzed cooked or raw. The deadline to submit data is 15 Oct. 2021.

WHO has also called for data on two heavy metals in a range of food types with the same deadline.

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Haen Meats 1959 House Blend recalled over potential Listeria contamination

July 28, 2021 - 5:20pm

Excalibur Seasoning Company of Pekin, IL is recalling 17 bottles of Haen Meats 1959 House Blend because of potential  Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

The company began shipping this product on July 14th, 2021. The recalled product reached consumers through a retailer located in the 54130 zip code of Wisconsin.

Packaging Item Description Quantity Lot No. UPC# Clear Plastic Shaker Bottles Haen Meats 1959 House Blend 6.5 oz. Bottles 107-354 729009768154

As of the posting of this recall, no illnesses have been reported.

The recall is the result of routine finished product testing which found the bacteria to be present in one product.

Consumers who have purchased the recalled product should not consume it and should dispose of the product or return it to your place of purchase.

About Listeria infections

Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled but can still cause serious and sometimes life-threatening infections. Anyone who has eaten any recalled products and developed symptoms of Listeria infection should seek medical treatment and tell their doctors about the possible Listeria exposure.

Also, anyone who has eaten any of the recalled products should monitor themselves for symptoms during the coming weeks because it can take up to 70 days after exposure to Listeria for symptoms of listeriosis to develop.

Symptoms of Listeria infection can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache, and neck stiffness. Specific laboratory tests are required to diagnose Listeria infections, which can mimic other illnesses.

Pregnant women, the elderly, young children, and people such as cancer patients who have weakened immune systems are particularly at risk of serious illnesses, life-threatening infections, and other complications. Although infected pregnant women may experience only mild, flu-like symptoms, their infections can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth.

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Whole Foods Market in Canada recalls Cahills brand Porter Irish Cheddar over Listeria concerns

July 28, 2021 - 2:54pm

Whole Foods Market in Ontario, Canada is recalling Cahills brand Porter Irish Cheddar from the marketplace because of possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. 

This recall comes after two other Cahills brand cheese recalls in the past week. The U.S. Whole Foods Market recall can be viewed here, and the Tree of Life Canada ULC recall can be viewed here.

The following product has been sold from the following Whole Foods Market locations in Ontario:

  • 951 Bank Street, Ottawa
  • 87 Avenue Road, Toronto.

Recalled product:

Brand Product Size UPC Codes Cahills Porter Irish Cheddar Variable Starting with 0293579 Sold from June 23, 2021 to July 23, 2021, inclusive

As of the posting of this recall, there have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.

Consumers should check to see if they have the recalled product in their home. Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is verifying that industry is removing the recalled product from the marketplace.

About Listeria infections
Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled but can still cause serious and sometimes life-threatening infections. Anyone who has eaten any recalled products and developed symptoms of Listeria infection should seek medical treatment and tell their doctors about the possible Listeria exposure.

Also, anyone who has eaten any of the recalled products should monitor themselves for symptoms during the coming weeks because it can take up to 70 days after exposure to Listeria for symptoms of listeriosis to develop.

Symptoms of Listeria infection can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache, and neck stiffness. Specific laboratory tests are required to diagnose Listeria infections, which can mimic other illnesses.

Pregnant women, the elderly, young children, and people such as cancer patients who have weakened immune systems are particularly at risk of serious illnesses, life-threatening infections, and other complications. Although infected pregnant women may experience only mild, flu-like symptoms, their infections can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth.

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BrightFarms expands recall of packaged salad greens linked to Salmonella outbreak

July 28, 2021 - 2:14pm

Amid an ongoing outbreak, BrightFarms is expanding a recall of packaged salad greens that were produced in its Rochelle, IL, greenhouse farm and sold in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana and Michigan because of potential Salmonella contamination.

The initial recall can be viewed here.

BrightFarms is taking this action after being notified of illnesses among eleven consumers, some of whom purchased or consumed the implicated products during the month of June.

The CDC’s latest update on the Salmonella outbreak says that there have been 11 illnesses and two hospitalizations in connection with BrightFarms salad greens. The illnesses are in Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois. 

Expanded recalled products:

The recall includes the below salad products packaged in clear, plastic clamshells with “best by” dates through 7/26/2021:

  1. BrightFarms Baby Spinach (4 oz. and 8 oz. package)
PRODUCT NAME PACKAGES UPC Best by Date

BrightFarms Baby Spinach

 

4 oz. package

8 oz. package

5706200439

5706200449

Expired

The implicated products were sold in the following locations:

  • Illinois: Mariano’s Fresh Markets, Walmart, Strack Van Till, Sullivan’s Foods, Caputo’s, Jewel-Osco
  • Wisconsin: Pick ‘n Save, Metro Market, Copps, Tadych’s, Walmart
  • Iowa: Walmart
  • Indiana: Strack Van Till
  • Michigan: Tadych’s

Affected retailers have been instructed to remove all affected products from store shelves.

Consumers who have purchased the affected products should discard them or return them to their place of purchase for a full refund.

Following is a complete list of recalled BrightFarms products. Some do not expire until July 29.

PRODUCT NAME

PACKAGES

UPC

BrightFarms NutrigreensTM 3 oz. package 5706200458 BrightFarms Butter Crisp TM 4 oz. package 5706200484 BrightFarms Harvest Crunch ® 4 oz. package 5706200486 BrightFarms Mighty Romaine TM 4 oz. package 8 oz. package 5706200452
5706200491 BrightFarms 50/50 Spring & Spinach 4 oz. package 5706200440 BrightFarms Spring Crunch 4 oz. package 5706200479 BrightFarms Lakeside CrunchTM 4 oz. package 5706200470 BrightFarms Spring Mix 4 oz. package 8 oz. package 5706200441
5706200451 BrightFarms Sunny Crunch ® 4 oz. package
8 oz. package 5706200460
5706200485 7/28/21 Update: BrightFarms Baby Spinach 4 oz. package 8 oz. package 5706200439
5706200449

 

About Salmonella infections
Food contaminated with Salmonella bacteria does not usually look, smell, or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection. Infants, children, seniors, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.

Anyone who has eaten any of the implicated salad and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about the possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonellosis. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Otherwise, healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, diarrhea may be so severe that patients require hospitalization.

Older adults, children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop a severe illness and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions.

Some people get infected without getting sick or showing any symptoms. However, they may still spread the infections to others.

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E. coli outbreak sickens young children in Ireland

July 28, 2021 - 12:05am

Health officials in Ireland are investigating an E. coli O26 outbreak at a childcare facility.

Officials with the Department of Public Health Mid-West of the Health Service Executive (HSE) said the agency is managing the outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) and highlighted the importance of effective hand hygiene and well water treatment.

The agency added that there are fewer than five patients at the childcare facility in Limerick and the incident is under control.

STEC, also known as Verotoxigenic E. coli (VTEC), can cause serious illness in children under 5 and the elderly. The serious outcomes of illness shows the importance of hand hygiene before and after preparing food and after contact with farm animals and their environment, said officials.

Seasonal E. coli rise
Ireland has one of the highest rates of STEC in Europe, and the Midwest region has one of the top rates in the country. In the Midwest, there were 128 cases in 2018; 130 in 2019; 117 in 2020; and 79 so far in 2021.

Earlier this year, another E. coli O26 outbreak among young children affected one setting in a region that includes Limerick.

The most common ways to be infected are through contact with farm animals, swimming in streams and lakes, drinking untreated water from private wells, person-to-person contact in child care centers or households with children under 5 years old, and through food and drinks contaminated with microscopic amounts of fecal matter.

Rose Fitzgerald, specialist in public health medicine, said infections and outbreaks are more common during summer.

“We are asking the public to be conscious of their activities throughout the summer period, particularly in relation to hand hygiene, drinking treated water, swimming in potentially contaminated fresh waters, and being on farms,” she said.

“It is a serious disease that can cause life-changing illness, and while it can last in the system for as short as a week, it can sometimes take several months to clear the infection. Anyone who is infected, or is a close contact of a case requires clearance from a public health doctor to attend healthcare, childcare or work that involves food-handling.”

About E. coli infections
Anyone who has developed symptoms of E. coli infection should seek medical attention and tell their doctor about their possible exposure to the bacteria. Specific tests are required to diagnose the infections, which can mimic other illnesses.

The symptoms of E. coli infections vary for each person but often include severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, which is often bloody. Some patients may also have a fever. Most patients recover within five to seven days. Others can develop severe or life-threatening symptoms and complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

About 5 to 10 percent of those diagnosed with E. coli infections develop a potentially life-threatening kidney failure complication, known as a hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Symptoms of HUS include fever, abdominal pain, feeling very tired, decreased frequency of urination, small unexplained bruises or bleeding, and pallor.

Many people with HUS recover within a few weeks, but some suffer permanent injuries or death. This condition can occur among people of any age but is most common in children younger than five years old because of their immature immune systems, older adults because of deteriorating immune systems, and people with compromised immune systems such as cancer patients.

People who experience HUS symptoms should immediately seek emergency medical care. People with HUS will likely be hospitalized because the condition can cause other serious and ongoing problems such as hypertension, chronic kidney disease, brain damage, and neurologic problems.

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DG Sante raises concerns on Belgian microbial controls

July 28, 2021 - 12:04am

Belgium’s system to prevent microbiological risks before and during harvest of certain foods has been criticized by the EU’s health and safety body. Officials in Belgium disagree.

A DG Sante audit found Belgium’s program is not designed to identify businesses that don’t have measures to stop the risk of contamination at these stages of production of food of non-animal origin (FNAO), which include fruits and vegetables.

The audit took place in late October 2020 but the coronavirus pandemic meant findings are based on a remote review of documentation and video interviews with officials. It was the second audit of official controls on FNAO in Belgium. A 2015 report made one recommendation but in the latest assessment DG Sante found the adopted measures were not sufficient.

Before and during harvest issues
The audit team found the official control system is unable to identify and rectify shortcomings prior to and during harvesting of FNAO and checks for primary producers focus on after harvest.

The Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) in Belgium didn’t agree with DG Sante’s opinion that there are no controls before and during harvest. However, the agency added it will see if some items can be improved.

“The FASFC, at present, still judges that no in depth official control is needed at the production stages prior and during harvest, due to the high level of certified self-checking systems and downstream official and own controls. FASFC believes the statement that there are no controls prior and during harvest is untrue,” according to the agency.

Auditors noted FNAO inspectors were not aware of EU guidance to check how companies do environmental sampling to detect Listeria monocytogenes, so this cannot be verified effectively by official controls.

The Belgium officials said staff will be made aware of the documents but they are under revision so a timeline for an e-learning tool with emphasis on Listeria will depend on when the new versions are published.

The audit found producer registration does not include the type of crop grown, which prevents identification of primary producers that have high risk crops like soft berries and leafy vegetables.

Different risk levels for different products are not taken into account. Leafy green vegetables, soft berries, frozen berries and frozen vegetables are in the same category as potatoes and other vegetables intended to be eaten after cooking. For the risk based plan in the same product group, factors such as farm size and production volume are also not included.

Information gaps
DG Sante said the risk-based official control system for FNAO is weakened because the information about primary producers is insufficient to take into account higher risks of microbial contamination of certain produce.

Also, inspections on food hygiene do not include specific measures to prevent microbiological risks during the pre-harvest and harvest stages of production.

The system of own-controls certified by a third party certification body could mitigate the risk of the lack of official controls before and during harvest. For primary producers, such systems are voluntary and only about 50 percent of 21,500 have them.

Controls like the presence and use of handwashing facilities and toilets and protection of fields from animal access and pests are not foreseen by the system and not implemented by inspectors even for crops deemed high risk. FASFC said it was “impossible” to prevent the access of animals to open fields and “not realistic” to protect them from bird droppings.

Official controls are carried out by qualified staff with help from IT tools and checklists plus detected non-compliances are followed up. A microbiological monitoring plan is in place and the laboratory capability and capacity was another positive.

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FDA clamps down on imported shark fins, cantaloupes, mushrooms and more

July 28, 2021 - 12:02am

The Food and Drug Administration uses import alerts to enforce U.S. food safety regulations for food from foreign countries. The agency updates and modifies the alerts as needed.

Recent modifications to FDA’s import alerts, as posted by the agency, are listed below. Click here to go to the FDA page with links for specific details about various alert modifications.

Click on chart to enlarge. Use link in story to go to FDA page with specific links.

 

Dead lizard in salad shocks restaurant patron

July 28, 2021 - 12:01am

Local media in the Seattle area are reporting the a woman found a dead lizard in her restaurant salad.

Maniza Qureshi reported the incident to Seattle & King County Public Health after the shocking experience with a lunchtime salad from an Evergreens restaurant.

“No other complaints of foreign items in the salad have been received by this location. Based on the items placed in the salad, it is possible that the lizard came in one of the sealed packages of greens,” a report from Public Health’s inspector said.

Seattle-based food safety attorney Bill Marler, an expert in the field of food safety, told KIRO-TV Channel 7 that finding creatures in food is not as rare as you might think.

“Snakes, mice, spiders, sometimes live things, sometimes not live things,” Marler said. “The positive thing is, even though these things are grotesque, most of the time they don’t cause human illness.”

Qureshi told the news outlet that part of a leg and the tail of the lizard were missing, leaving her to wonder if she ingested parts of the animal or if other customers’ food might have been contaminated.

The shocked restaurant patron also spoke with WKQX-Radio Channel 101.1, which posted a photo of the salad with the lizard on its Twitter feed.

Other area media reported that the restaurant management was just as shocked as their customer.

Ian Courtnage, the CEO of Evergreens, told the TV channel that the company pays a premium to suppliers to ensure the lettuce and greens they get are good to go.

“We’re working with a national supplier that triple washes, cuts, and bags the greens so they’re ready to eat for us – specifically to avoid any issues,” Courtnage said, adding that they immediately contacted the supplier to figure out what went wrong.

Qureshi told media outlets that she went public with the situation because she thinks the restaurant employees should have noticed the animal when they were preparing her salad.

“Staff were already required to go through the greens while filling the service container,” according to the Public Health report.

The report also said the supplier for lettuce is from California but did not indicate where the kale was grown.

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Whole Foods recalls cheese from stores in 22 states because of Listeria risk

July 27, 2021 - 8:24pm

Whole Foods Market is recalling Cahill Cheddar Porter and Whiskey Cheddar Cheeses in 22 states because of a potential contamination of Listeria monocytogenes. 

The issue was discovered when Whole Foods Market was notified by a distributor of a positive test result for the bacterial pathogen, according to the company’s recall notice posted by the Food and Drug Administration.

Customers who have purchased should not consume and should dispose of the product. No illnesses had been reported as of the posting of the recall today. The recalled cheese was sold in 44 stores.

The affected products were packaged in clear wrapping and sold in the specialty department with a Whole Foods Market scale label with “packed on” dates from May 17 to July 26. Recalled products can be identified by the following information and were distributed in the states listed below.

Product Name PLU Date Range Sold States Cheddar with Porter 93579 May 17 – July 26, 2021 Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Customers who purchased this product at Whole Foods Market can bring a valid receipt into stores for a full refund. Customers with additional questions can call 844-936-8255.

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One inspector finds five Seattle restaurants operating without permits

July 27, 2021 - 2:19pm

A King County, WA, food inspector shut down five food stands at Seattle’s Alki Beach on Saturday for operating without a valid permit.

The Public Health food inspector found the five food establishments operating at Alki Beach in Seattle without a valid food establishment permit on Saturday, July 24th, and were directed to immediately cease food and beverage services. These establishments and the time they were ordered shutdown include:

  • Botanas Locas closed July 24, 2021, at 12:20 pm
  • Chopped N Skewed closed July 24, 2021, at 1:55 pm
  • Marco Morales Stand closed July 24, 2021, at 1:55 pm
  • Nieves De Garrafa closed July 24, 2021 at 2:10 pm
  • Ivonne Pineda’s Stand closed July 24, 2021, at 2:40 pm

Each was ordered to stop serving food and drinks until they secure a mobile food services permit which is required for all food stands and food trucks.

Alki Beach is a long beach strip that runs roughly from 64th Place SW to Duwamish Head on Elliott Bay.

Seattle & King County Public Health is one of the largest metropolitan health departments in the United States with 1,400 employees, 40 sites, and a biennial budget of $686 million. The department serves a resident population of nearly 2.2 million people in an environment of great complexity and scale, with 19 acute care hospitals and over 7,000 medical professionals.

These closed establishments will be allowed to reopen once the person in charge of each business completes the 3-Step Plan Review process to secure a mobile food services permit (which also applies to food carts and stands) per the instructions online at www.kingcounty.gov/foodsafety/mobile

Restaurants closed before July 24 for health code violations are found on Public Health’s page for food establishment closures in King County.

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McCormick Italian Seasoning products and Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Ranch Seasoning recalled over Salmonella concerns

July 27, 2021 - 10:04am

McCormick & Company, Inc. is recalling McCormick Perfect Pinch Italian Seasoning, McCormick Culinary Italian Seasoning and Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Ranch Seasoning because of possible Salmonella contamination.

The recalled product was shipped to 32 states: Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin. 

The product was also shipped internationally to Bermuda and Canada.

The potential risk was brought to McCormick’s attention by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) during routine testing.

Recall products:

  • McCormick Perfect Pinch Italian Seasoning 1.31 oz bottle

UPC NUMBER:  052100049731

MCCORMICK ITEM NUMBER:  901582629

AFFECTED DATE CODES:  BEST BY MAY 26 24 K, BEST BY MAY 27 24 K, BEST BY JUN 04 24 K, BEST BY JUN 05 24 K

  • McCormick Perfect Pinch Italian Seasoning 2.25 oz bottle

UPC NUMBER:  052100038254

MCCORMICK ITEM NUMBER:  901455463

AFFECTED DATE CODES: BEST BY JUN 30 24 H, BEST BY JUL 01 24 H

  • McCormick Culinary Italian Seasoning 1.75 lbs. bottle

UPC NUMBER:  52100325743

MCCORMICK ITEM NUMBER:  932574

AFFECTED DATE CODES:  BEST BY Jun 12 24 H

  • Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Ranch Seasoning 153g bottle

UPC NUMBER:  066200021047

MCCORMICK ITEM NUMBER:  901543520

AFFECTED DATE CODES:  BB / MA 2022 SEP 06

  • SHIPPING DATES for all recalled products:  June 20, 2021 through July 21, 2021

As of the posting of this recall, no illnesses have been reported in connection with the recall products.

McCormick has alerted customers and grocery outlets to remove the product with the affected date codes from store shelves and distribution centers immediately and to destroy this product in a manner that would prevent any further consumption.

Consumers are urged to dispose of the recalled product and its container.

 About Salmonella infections
Food contaminated with Salmonella bacteria does not usually look, smell or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection. Infants, children, seniors, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.

Anyone who has eaten any of the recalled products and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about the possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonellosis. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Otherwise, healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, diarrhea may be so severe that patients require hospitalization.

Older adults, children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop a severe illness and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions.

Some people get infected without getting sick or showing any symptoms. However, they may still spread the infections to others.

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Parnell attorneys preparing their written arguments for vacating sentences

July 27, 2021 - 12:05am

Stewart Parnell, 67, and Michael Parnell, 62, have returned to their low and medium secure lockups after appearing for their motion hearings last month at the C.B. King Courthouse in Albany, GA.

Transcripts of those proceedings also became available to the parties, kicking off the written arguments for U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Q. Langstaff. Ultimately, Langstaff will decide whether the federal Middle District Court for Georgia will vacate part or all of the sentences the Parnells are serving.

Stewart Parnell, former Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) executive, has 18 years remaining on his prison sentence, and his peanut broker brother, Michael Parnell, has about 11 years remaining. They were convicted in 2014 by a jury for felony food safety violations in the deadly 2008-09 Salmonella outbreak linked to a PCA facility in Blakely, GA.

The Parnell brothers two years ago filed Motion 2255 petitions to vacate their sentences because of errors they claim were made by their trial attorneys failing to obtain a fair trial.

About two weeks after the oral arguments in Albany during the final week of May, the court released the transcript to the parties. That should mean the first written arguments will drop shortly.

May’s oral arguments left one hang-over issue involving the Stewart Parnell petition. Judge Langstaff did not allow jury consultant Denise de La Rue to testify as an expert witness for Stewart Parnell in May but rather had her provide a written report. She complied with that request on June 8.

The government filed on June 22, asking the judge to exclude the report. Langstaff’s deadline for the parties to identify witnesses was May 3, and Stewart Parnell waited until May 16, 2021, “to seek permission to add the expert’s testimony, without filing any notice regarding this witnesses expected testimony.”

He found her report “consists primarily of her conjecture as to other options that counsel could have employed regarding the venue and voir dire issues, basically speculating that if further analysis or questioning had been done and had shown bias.”

“Counsel could have filed motions to change the venue and to strike certain jurors, he added. “These are the basic arguments already put forth by the petitioner.”

Langstaff says there is ” no indication that petitioner’s expert has ever served as trial counsel in a jury trial, ever conducted voir dire, ever exercised either a peremptory challenge or a challenge for cause, ever participated in or observed a jury trial in the Albany Division of the Middle District of Georgia, ever participated in or observed a jury trial conducted by the trial judge in this case, or that she has any experience in striking a jury in any of the counties in Southwest Georgia from which this venire originated.

“It is clear that petitioner’s expert was not in the courtroom during any part of the jury selection process in this case, and was thus deprived of observing any non-verbal conduct on the part of the participants or being able to gauge the subtleties and nuances that are part of the selection of any jury.”

Next up, the Parnells have 30 days after they have access to the transcript of the evidentiary hearing to brief their support of their claims. The government will then have 21 days to respond.

Meanwhile, Stewart Parnell will wait this out while incarcerated at West Virginia’s Hazelton federal prison. Michael Parnell is a resident of the Fort Dix, NJ, federal prison.

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WHO wants data on heavy metals in food

July 27, 2021 - 12:04am

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for data on two heavy metals in a range of food types.

The first covers methylmercury and total mercury in orange roughy, pink cusk-eel and all toothfish and the second is on lead in cereal-based foods and ready-to-eat meals for infants and young children; dried spices and culinary herbs; eggs; sugars and sugar-based candies. Both have a deadline of Oct. 15, 2021.

New or additional data for mercury in fish should cover the past 12 years. It must be submitted to WHO through the Global Environment Monitoring System (GEMS) database. Data already sent in doesn’t need to be resubmitted.

The Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods met virtually in May and agreed to start work on maximum levels (MLs) for methylmercury in orange roughy and pink cusk-eel and to re-establish an electronic working group led by New Zealand and Canada to develop MLs and associated sampling plans for consideration in the committee’s next meeting in 2022. This group will also consider data to establish the feasibility of setting an ML for Patagonian toothfish.

Those with data should provide information on the limit of quantification (LOQ) and limit of detection (LOD) of analytical methods, list if samples are fresh or processed, canned, preserved, or salted, if fish were caught domestically or imported and information from at least two locations in representative fishery areas.

Lead data
The same Codex committee also agreed to establish an electronic working group led by Brazil to establish maximum levels for lead in the foods listed above for consideration at the meeting next year. New data should cover the past 10 years.

Dried spices includes floral parts; bark; rhizomes, bulbs and roots; fresh eggs includes chicken and duck eggs. For sugars, it is white, raw cane and soft brown sugar, honey, syrup and molasses and sugar-based candies covers hard and soft candies, gummy and jelly.

Information should include whether the analyzed food was cooked or raw, if it was analyzed on a dry matter basis or as is and country of origin.

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Salmonella dominates outbreaks in Australia

July 27, 2021 - 12:03am

More than 450 foodborne outbreaks were reported over a three-year period in Australia, according to a new study.

The 452 confirmed and suspected foodborne outbreaks affected 7,361 people, caused 705 hospitalizations and 18 deaths from 2013 to 2015.

Salmonella was the main agent identified and restaurants were the most frequently-reported food preparation setting. There were 213 outbreaks attributed to a single food with 124 linked to consumption of eggs and egg-based dishes.

A total of 129 outbreaks were recorded in 2013, 166 in 2014 and 157 in 2015. New South Wales reported the most in the period with 135.

More than 90 outbreaks were caused by an unknown agent, according to data from OzFoodNet, Australia’s foodborne disease surveillance system, published in the journal Communicable Diseases Intelligence.

Salmonella was responsible for 239 outbreaks. Salmonella Typhimurium was the most commonly-identified serotype in all years, accounting for 90 percent of these incidents.

Of outbreaks attributed to a single commodity, the foods mainly implicated were eggs followed by fish in 40 outbreaks and poultry in 27.

During the reporting period, having contaminated raw products was a factor reported for 132 outbreaks followed by cross-contamination from raw ingredients 50 times.

Large outbreak examples
Ten outbreaks affected more than 100 people. Six were because of Salmonella Typhimurium, three because of norovirus, and one with 125 patients was suspected to have been caused by a bacterial toxin in curried prawns. The largest Salmonella outbreak sickened 350 people due to potato salad with raw egg mayonnaise.

A 2013 norovirus outbreak that affected 525 people was linked to Tasmanian oysters. A leaking underwater sewer pipe was the suspected source of contamination. Overall, norovirus caused 35 outbreaks with 1,500 cases.

Campylobacter was implicated in 18 foodborne outbreaks during 2013 to 2015. Six had strong associations with consumption of poultry liver.

In 2014, the first locally-acquired outbreak of hepatitis E in Australia was identified and was related to consumption of pork liver pâté at a restaurant. In 2015, the first outbreak of hepatitis A in the country linked to consumption of imported frozen berries was detected.

Ciguatera fish poisoning was behind 29 outbreaks with 124 ill and eight were because of histamine with 31 patients. Eleven incidents were because of Clostridium perfringens and befermentans with 163 sick. E. coli only caused two small outbreaks and Listeria three with nine sick.

OzFoodNet sites reported increasing reports of 12 diseases or conditions that may be transmitted by food with 28,676 received in 2013; 37,958 in 2014; and 41,226 in 2015. The most common were campylobacteriosis and salmonellosis.

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Publisher’s Platform: Tiger Brands back in hot seat; recalls millions of cans of vegetables

July 26, 2021 - 9:47pm

According to South African press reports, Tiger Brands, South Africa’s biggest food manufacturer, announced yesterday that it is immediately recalling about 20 million Koo and Hugo’s canned vegetable products that were produced from May 1, 2019, to May 5, 2021, over safety concerns due to potentially defective cans.

The issue with the cans, which is a deficient side seam weld that could cause the cans to leak, was initially discovered in May this year with 18 cans at one of Tiger Brand’s facilities. The cans came from a supplier. While that batch and several others weren’t released for trade, a probe determined that some cans from a defective batch did. It did a test and out of 287 040 cans inspected after a transport and handling test, a side seam leak had developed in two cans. This prompted the recall.

No illnesses have been reported to date.  Although, it is unknown if botulism is a reportable disease in South Africa.

Although not mentioned in the Tiger press release below, defective cans have the potential to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium which can cause life-threatening illness or death. Consumers are therefore warned not to use the product even if it does not look or smell spoiled.

Botulism, a potentially fatal form of food poisoning, can cause the following symptoms: general weakness, dizziness, double-vision and trouble with speaking or swallowing. Difficulty in breathing, weakness of other muscles, abdominal distension and constipation may also be common symptoms. People experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention.

According to financial reports, Tiger Brands wiped more than R1bn off its market value after recalling millions of canned vegetable products on Monday in the latest food safety concern for a company that is still reeling from the discovery of the deadly Listeria strain at its meat processing factory.

The National Consumer Commission on Monday said it would only rest once all Tiger Brands’ defective canned vegetable products were removed from the market and consumers got their refunds.

Full Tiger Brands press release:

TIGER BRANDS LIMITED – Withdrawal of canned vegetable products 

Withdrawal of canned vegetable products

TIGER BRANDS LIMITED

(“Tiger Brands” or “the Company”)

(Incorporated in the Republic of South Africa)

(Registration number 1944/017881/06)

Share code: TBS

ISIN: ZAE000071080

WITHDRAWAL OF CANNED VEGETABLE PRODUCTS

Shareholders are referred to the interim results announcement of 20 May 2021, which included disclosure in respect of defective packaging materials identified at one of the Company’s sites. This related specifically to a small number (18) of leaking food cans which had been identified by Tiger Brands’ Groceries division during May 2021, as part of its internal quality assurance processes.

These defective cans were identified prior to the final labelling of the finished products and were traced back to three different batches of cans which had been purchased from one of the division’s key packaging suppliers. This incident was immediately reported to the packaging supplier.

Shortly after reporting this incident to the packaging supplier, we were notified by the supplier that a further three batches of cans could have presented the same defect, which was a deficient side seam weld that could cause the cans to leak.

The six defective batches referred to above were the subject of the disclosure made by the Company on 20 May 2021. It is important to note that all the affected finished products manufactured, using these six defective batches of cans, were never released to the trade, and were placed in quarantine for further investigation, with the knowledge and agreement of the packaging supplier.

After the initial identification of the six batches containing defective cans, a full investigation of all cans sourced from this supplier was initiated. In the early part of June 2021, the investigation identified a further small quantity of leaking cans in the finished goods warehouse. These were unlabeled finished product and, as a result, had not yet passed through the Company’s final quality control and inspection procedures. These defective cans were traced back to a seventh batch of cans purchased from the packaging supplier and, therefore, was not part of the defective batches of packaging material identified in May.

Unlike the defective cans identified in May (which had been isolated), it was established that a portion of the cans from this seventh defective batch had been released to the trade in the form of finished product. This release to the trade was after following the normal quality assurance processes which did not yield evidence of leaking cans.

Despite the Company having found no evidence of any leaking cans in the trade or with consumers, and with the agreement of the packaging supplier, it immediately initiated a rigorous transport and handling test. This entailed transporting both labelled and unlabeled product from our warehouses in Johannesburg to our facilities in the Western Cape.

The purpose of this test was to assess whether the leaks could manifest after the finished product had passed through Tiger Brands’ quality assurance processes and left Tiger Brands’ custody. Out of 287,040 cans inspected after the transport and handling test, a side seam leak had developed in two cans. These two defective cans formed part of the first six defective batches received from the packaging supplier.

A leak in a can presents a risk of secondary microbial contamination after the canned products are dispatched into the marketplace. Where such contamination occurs, it will present a low probability of illness and injury if the contaminated product is consumed.

Notwithstanding that only two side seam leaks had been detected because of the transport test, with consumer safety as an absolute priority, Tiger Brands considers it appropriate that it institutes an immediate recall of all products that could potentially be affected. This involves the withdrawal of specific canned vegetable products manufactured under the KOO and Hugo’s brands between 1 May 2019 and 5 May 2021 (both dates inclusive), amounting to approximately 20 million cans, which is ~9% of annual production. A full list of the potentially affected products can be found on the Company’s website at www.tigerbrands.com.

KOO canned fruit, which is produced using a different can from a different can manufacturing plant, is not impacted by this defect and does not form part of the recall. In addition, KOO canned pilchards are also not impacted as the cans are supplied by a different supplier.

Tiger Brands has engaged with the National Consumer Commission on this matter and will, with immediate effect, roll out an appropriate consumer and customer communication plan in respect of the recall. The recall is expected to be concluded in approximately 120 days.

The financial impact of the recall, including the cost of the potentially affected stock that may be written off, transport and storage costs, as well as the loss of margin on the returned stock, is estimated at between R500 million and R650 million. Tiger Brands has product recall insurance for the logistics of recalling the products. The Company’s claim under the contract with the third-party supplier is yet to be assessed.

Shareholders will be updated as appropriate.

The financial information contained in this announcement has not been reviewed or reported on by Tiger Brands’ auditors.

And, you thought Tiger Brands’ only had a Listeria problem.

Over 1,000 sickened with over 200 dead from Listeria tainted polony.  I have the honor to be working with counsel in South Africa – See Listeria Class Action.

Following the declaration of the Listeria outbreak in December 2017, a multi-sectoral outbreak response was initiated. Findings were shared by the Minister of Health, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi at a public media briefing on 4 March 2018 (statement available at www.nicd.ac.za), and are summarized below. In addition, the National Department of Health requested a full recall of implicated processed meat products.  According to Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi:

In our constant search for the source of the outbreak and the treatment of people who are affected, a team from the NICD has interviewed 109 ill people to obtain details about foods they had eaten in the month before falling ill. Ninety-three (85%) people reported eating ready-to-eat (RTE) processed meat products, of which polony was the most common followed by viennas/sausages and then other ‘cold meats’.

On Friday 12th January, nine children under the age of 5 years presented to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital with febrile gastro-enteritis. The paediatrician suspected foodborne disease, including listeriosis, as a possible cause. The environmental health practitioners (EHPs) were informed and on the same day visited the crèche, and obtained samples from two unrelated polony brands (manufactured by Enterprise and Rainbow Chicken Limited (RCL) respectively) and submitted these to the laboratory for testing.

Listeria monocytogenes was isolated from stool collected from one of the ill children, and from both of the polony specimens collected from the crèche. These isolates were sent to the NICD Centre for Enteric Diseases, and underwent whole genome sequencing and genomic analysis. The ST6 sequence type was confirmed on all three isolates on Saturday 27th January. Remember that in the last press conference I informed you that from clinical isolates obtained from patients (patient blood), 9 sequence types of Listeria monocytogenes were isolated and 91% were of sequence type 6 (ST6). We had then concluded that time that this outbreak is driven by ST6.

Following the lead from the tests performed on these children from Soweto and the food they had ingested, the EHPs (Environmental Health Practitioners), together with the NICD and DAFF representatives, accompanied by 3 technical advisors from the World Health Organisation in Geneva, visited a food- production site in Polokwane and conducted an extensive food product and environmental sampling.

Listeria monocytogenes was isolated from over 30% of the environmental samples collected from this site, which happens to be the Enterprise factory in Polokwane.

To conclude the investigation, whole genome sequencing analysis was performed from this Enterprise factory and the results became available midnight or last night. The outbreak strain, ST6, was confirmed in at least 16 environmental samples collected from this Enterprise facility.

The conclusion from this is that the source of the present outbreak can be confirmed to be the enterprise food-production facility in polokwane

According to the Centre for Enteric Diseases (CED) and Division of Public Health Surveillance and Response, Outbreak Response Unit (ORU), National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD)/ National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) the current number of ill and deceased are as follows:

As of 26 July 2018, 1060 laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases have been reported to NICD from all provinces since Jan. 1, 2017.

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Company initiates nationwide recall of cheese in Canada because of Listeria risk

July 26, 2021 - 6:18pm

Tree of Life Canada ULC is recalling Cahill’s brand “Original Irish Porter Cheese” because of possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. 

“This recall was triggered by the company. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products,” according to the recall notice posted by the CFIA.

Consumers should not consume the recalled products described below. They should check to see if they have the recalled products in their homes. Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased, according to the recall notice.

The company distributed the cheese in the provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec.

As of the posting of the recall notice, there hadn’t been any reports of illnesses associated with the cheese.

Brand Product Size UPC Codes Cahill’s Original Irish Porter Cheese 2.27 kg 00034463010160 22-JA-13
21125 Cahill’s Original Irish Porter Cheese 200 g 00034463016056 21-DE-13
21126

About Listeria infections
Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled but can still cause serious and sometimes life-threatening infections. Anyone who has eaten any recalled products and developed symptoms of Listeria infection should seek medical treatment and tell their doctors about the possible Listeria exposure.

Also, anyone who has eaten any of the recalled products should monitor themselves for symptoms during the coming weeks because it can take up to 70 days after exposure to Listeria for symptoms of listeriosis to develop.

Symptoms of Listeria infection can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache, and neck stiffness. Specific laboratory tests are required to diagnose Listeria infections, which can mimic other illnesses.

Pregnant women, the elderly, young children, and people such as cancer patients who have weakened immune systems are particularly at risk of serious illnesses, life-threatening infections, and other complications. Although infected pregnant women may experience only mild, flu-like symptoms, their infections can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth.

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