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Two E. coli cases linked to livestock close Washington school

Two young Washington state girls are hospitalized with complications from E. coli infection and their school has been temporarily closed for cleaning. One of the girls has reportedly developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious kidney condition linked to E. coli infection.

Health officials said the source of their exposure to Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) bacteria was probably not food but contact with animals.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-petting-zoo-image1008725

Contact with livestock can be a source of E. coli infection. (Photo illustration)

“The exact source of contamination in E. coli can be very difficult to identify, but at this point we believe the children were likely exposed to livestock near their home,” said Dr. Gary Goldbaum, health officer and director of the Snohomish Health District.

A health district Facebook posting indicated that, “… based on our Communicable Disease team’s initial investigation and interviews with family, we do not believe this was caused by a food source.”

The Monroe Montessori School in Monroe, WA, was temporarily closed on Wednesday, and nobody answered the phone there on Thursday. Approximately 60 students and staff members were said to have potentially been exposed to the bacteria and were being tested for the infection.

A health district statement issued Wednesday noted that the school “has temporarily closed for disinfecting as a precaution,” and that the school, the district, the Washington State Department of Health and the Washington State Department of Early Learning were coordinating on the E. coli testing.

Contact with livestock in a rural area, a farm, or a petting zoo are common sources of E. coli bacteria. An outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infection last year in Washington state was traced to a fairgrounds dairy barn in Lynden, WA. That outbreak sickened 25 people, mostly young children, and hospitalized 10 of them.

Symptoms of STEC infections vary for each person but often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea that is often bloody, and vomiting. If there is fever, it usually is less than 101 degrees F. Most people get better within five to seven days as infections can be mild, but others can be severe or even life-threatening.

Young children and the elderly are more likely to experience serious illness. People with weakened immune systems, including pregnant women, are also at risk for serious illness.

Between 5 and 10 percent of those diagnosed with E. coli O157 infection develop the potentially life-threatening complication of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Clues that a person is developing HUS include decreased frequency of urination, feeling very tired, and losing pink color in cheeks and inside the lower eyelids.

People with HUS should be hospitalized because their kidneys may stop working and they may develop other serious problems. Most people who develop HUS recover within a few weeks, but some suffer permanent damage or die.

Handwashing is the most effective way to reduce chances of getting sick. Adults should supervise young children to make sure they don’t put their hands in their mouths and make sure that their hands are washed thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom.

The spread of illnesses from animals, such as those caused by E. coli, are commonly linked to hand-to-mouth contact. It is also important to avoid swallowing water when swimming and playing in lakes, ponds, streams, swimming pools, and backyard “kiddie” pools.

More information about STEC and other types of E. coli can be found here.

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Food Safety News

More sick, 20 hospitalized in Chicago E. coli outbreak

The number of people sickened in an E. coli outbreak traced to a suburban Chicago restaurant continues to increase, with 65 now confirmed. Twenty of the victims’ symptoms were so severe they were admitted to hospitals.

Public health officials have not yet determined the root cause of the outbreak, which was traced to the Carbón Live Fire Mexican Grill location on 26th Street in the suburb of Bridgeport. The restaurant remains closed, according to Matt Smith, a spokesman for the Chicago Department of Public Health.

logo Carbon Live Fire Mexican Grill“As part of our comprehensive investigation, we have taken and tested numerous samples from the restaurant and have tested staff,” Smith said Thursday. He did not say whether the department had the test results yet.

It remains unknown when exactly the health department became aware of the outbreak. The department posted a news release about the outbreak July 1, but has not posted an update since then.

The restaurant’s owners voluntarily closed the Carbón Live Fire Mexican Grill, according to the July 1 news release. A second Carbón Live Fire Mexican Grill on North Marshfield was also voluntarily closed, but the health department cleared it and the owners reopened.

At least two Carbón Live Fire Mexican Grill customers who became ill and had to be hospitalized after eating food from the 26th Street location have filed civil lawsuits seeking compensation.

In their lawsuits, the two victims reported eating food from the restaurant on June 22 and June 24, respectively. A third victim who was hospitalized with the outbreak strain of E. coli told Chicago’s CBS News affiliate she ate at the restaurant during the last week of June.

Chicago public health officials continue to urge people to seek immediate medical attention if they ate food from the restaurant and later developed symptoms of E. coli infection.

Generally symptoms develop within five to seven days of exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In otherwise healthy adults symptoms usually include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea that is often bloody, and vomiting.

“Some infections are very mild, but others are severe or even life-threatening,” according to the CDC. “Around 5 percent to 10 percent of those who are diagnosed with STEC infection develop a potentially life-threatening complication known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

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Food Safety News

K-State researcher gets $2M grant to develop E. coli vaccines

Weiping Zhang, professor of microbiology and a researcher with Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, has received a five-year, $ 2.1-million grant from the National Institutes of Health to further his work on developing vaccines for E. coli-associated diarrhea in both humans and animals.

Dr. Zhang and K-State research team

Weiping Zhang (center) and his team are developing E. coli-related vaccines. They are, from left, Carolina Garcia, master’s student in biomedical science; Jiachen Huan, master’s student in biomedical science; Zhang, professor of microbiology; Qiangde Duan, postdoctoral fellow in diagnostic medicine and pathobiology, and Ti Lu, doctoral student in pathobiology. (Not pictured are former postdoctoral fellows Rahul Nandre, Xiaosai Ruan and Mei Liu.) (Photo courtesy of Kansas State University)

The grant is Zhang’s third he’s received in three years in the quest for effective vaccines for E. coli-related diarrhea, according to a K-State news releasee.

Since 2003, Zhang has been studying ways to fight E. coli with vaccines because diarrhea is a leading cause of death in children younger than five. Also, enterotoxigenic E. coli, or ETEC, is one of the most common bacterial causes of diarrhea in children, he noted. It can be transmitted by food, water or other beverages.

“Currently, there are no available vaccines against this type of diarrhea,” Zhang said in a news release. “Whole-cell vaccine candidates have been under development but require further improvements because they provide inadequate protection and produce unwanted adverse effects.”

In a September 2015 article published in Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, Zhang laid out the current progress in developing E. coli vaccines. He wrote that while it is “theoretically possible to control or prevent ETEC-associated diarrhea through the installation of effective sanitation systems and country-wide access to clean drinking water,” the likelihood of accomplishing that in the coming decades is not good for low-income countries in South Asia, South America and sub-Saharan Africa because of political and economic factors.

“Consequently, vaccination is currently considered the most effective and practical approach to reducing the impact of ETEC diarrhea,” Zhang wrote. “Developing effective ETEC vaccines has become a top priority for the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund, and other public health institutions.”

Most recently, Zhang’s work has focused on multi-epitope fusion antigens, known as MEFA, for the development of broadly protective ETEC vaccines.

“Different ETEC strains produce immunologically heterogeneous bacterial adhesins that attach to host cells and colonize in small intestines, initiating ETEC diarrheal disease,” Zhang said. “With the inclusion of an adhesin multi-epitope fusion antigen, in addition to a toxoid fusion antigen, a subunit vaccine is potentially able to induce antibodies against both toxins and up to 15 prevalent ETEC adhesins, effectively protecting against ETEC diarrhea. This grant will allow us to continue our research and study the effectiveness of this approach.”

His multi-epitope fusion antigens technology has attracted attention from funding sources such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and was featured in a recent VASE, or Vaccines against Shigella and ETEC, meeting in Washington, D.C. Zhang’s lab team is working on ETEC vaccine projects funded by PATH Vaccine Solution/Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Food Safety News

Study: E. Coli From Feedlots Can Contaminate Produce by Air

New research finds that E. coli O157:H7 can spread more than a tenth of a mile downwind from a cattle feedlot onto nearby produce.

In the study, first author Elaine D. Berry of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Meat Animal Research Center and her colleagues sampled leafy greens growing in nine plots (three each at 60, 120, and 180 meters downwind from the cattle feedlot at the research center) over a two-year period.

The rate of contamination with the pathogenic E. coli O157:H7 declined with distance. There was an average positive sample 3.5 percent of the time at 60 meters and 1.8 percent at 180 meters.

The findings suggest that current buffer-zone guidelines of 120 meters (400 feet) from a feedlot may be inadequate.

Transmission of the pathogens is thought to be airborne. The researchers found E. coli in air samples at 180 meters from the feedlot, though the instruments were not sensitive enough to pick up E. coli O157:H7.

The highest levels of contamination on the produce were in August and September of 2012 after several weeks of very little rainfall and several days of high temperatures, conditions that appear to aid airborne transport of bacteria.

The research was published ahead of print in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Food Safety News

Australian Boy, 3, Dies in E. Coli Outbreak from Raw Milk

A 3-year old boy has died and four other children have fallen ill in an E. coli and Cryptosporidium outbreak linked to raw milk sold by a company based in Victoria, Australia.

The milk, Mountain View Organic Bath Milk, was labeled as being “for cosmetic use only” and “not for human consumption,” as well as “organic, grass-fed, ethical.”

Raw milk is illegal to sell for human consumption in Australia, but labeling it as a cosmetic product allows for it to be sold.

The five children sickened in the outbreak were between 1 and 5 years old. Three children, including the boy who died, developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a kidney disease associated with severe E. coli infections. The other two children came down with infections from Cryptosporidium, a pathogen that causes vomiting, nausea and stomach cramping.

Victoria’s minister for emergency services has reportedly called for an investigation into raw milk labeling, according to the Guardian. Regulators from around the country are also said to be discussing whether the product should be recalled or even banned.

Mountain View Organic Bath Milk has been sold for four years. These are the first illnesses connected to the product, according to the owner.

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized to eliminate potentially harmful pathogens. Children, the elderly, and individuals with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable to pathogens such as E. coli and Cryptosporidium sometimes found in milk.

Food Safety News

Cargill Recalls Ground Beef From Canadian Walmarts for Possible E. Coli Contamination

Cargill Meat Solutions is recalling Your Fresh Market brand ground beef products from the marketplace due to possible E. coli O157 contamination, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced Monday.

The public is being advised not to consume the recalled products described below, which have been sold at Walmart stores in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Brand Name Common Name Size Code(s) on Product UPC
Your Fresh Market Extra Lean Ground Beef Sirloin 475 g Best Before 2014.NO.28 6 05388 18363 7
Your Fresh Market Extra Lean Ground Beef 475 g Best Before 2014.NO.28 6 05388 18369 9
Your Fresh Market Medium Ground Beef 475 g Best Before 2014.NO.28 6 05388 18365 1
Your Fresh Market Lean Ground Beef 475 g Best Before 2014.NO.28 and 2014.NO.29 6 05388 18376 7
Your Fresh Market Extra Lean Ground Beef 900 g Best Before 2014.NO.28 6 05388 18372 9
Your Fresh Market Lean Ground Beef 900 g Best Before 2014.NO.28 6 05388 18378 1
Your Fresh Market Lean Ground Beef 1.6 kg Best Before 2014.NO.28 and 2014.NO.29 6 05388 18379 8

 

Check to see if you have recalled products in your home. Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased.

Food contaminated with E. coli O157 may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, mild to severe abdominal cramps and watery to bloody diarrhea. In severe cases of illness, some people may have seizures or strokes, need blood transfusions and kidney dialysis or live with permanent kidney damage. In severe cases of illness, people may die.

This recall was triggered by test results. CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.

The agency is verifying that industry is removing recalled product from the marketplace.There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these products.

For more information: Cargill Meat Solutions, Connie Tamoto, Communications Manager, Cargill, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Office: (204) 947-6187, Mobile: (204) 918-0344, [email protected]

Wal-Mart Canada Corp.: Alex Roberton, Director, Corporate Affairs & Social Media, (905) 821-2111, ext. 75402, [email protected]

Consumers and industry can contact CFIA by filling out the online feedback form.

Food Safety News

10 Sick in UK from E. Coli O55 Outbreak

At least 10 people in Blandford, United Kingdom, have been diagnosed with infection of E. coli O55, a rare strain of E. coli never before recorded in the U.K., according to BBC News.

Seven patients have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a kidney disease associated with the most severe E. coli illnesses.

Some of the patients include children from the Blanford Children’s Centre Nursery.

One child was diagnosed as far back as mid-October. The nursery closed for three days of deep cleaning after that diagnosis, according to a nursery representative.

Another child from the nursery became infected on Monday, Nov. 24. The nursery is currently closed while the staff undergo blood tests and children receive stool samples.

No direct link has been confirmed between the nursery and the outbreak.

E. coli can be past from person to person, and young children are especially vulnerable to infections from the bacteria.

Local health authorities are still investigating the exact cause of the outbreak.

Food Safety News

1,200 Pounds of Ground Beef Recalled Due to E. coli Risk

Ranchers Legacy Meat Co., of Vadnais Heights, Minn., is recalling 1,200 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coliO157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

Products subject to the recall are packaged in plastic cryovac sealed packets, and contain various weights of ground beef.  All products produced on Nov. 19, 2014 are subject to recall.

All of the following have a Package Code (use by) 12/10/2014 and bear the establishment number “Est. 40264” inside the USDA mark of inspection. Individual products include:

  • Ranchers Legacy Ground Beef Patties 77/23
  • Ranchers Legacy Ground Chuck Patties 80/20
  • Ranchers Legacy USDA Choice Ground Beef 80/20
  • Ranchers Legacy USDA Choice WD Beef Patties 80/20
  • Ranchers Legacy RD Beef Patties 80/20
  • OTG Manufacturing Chuck/Brisket RD Patties
  • Ranchers Legacy Chuck Blend Oval Beef Patties
  • Ranchers Legacy WD Chuck Blend Patties
  • Ranchers Legacy USDA Choice NAT Beef Patties 80/20
  • Ranchers Legacy NAT Beef Patties 80/20
  • Ranchers Legacy USDA Choice NAT Beef Patties 80/20
  • Ranchers Legacy Ground Chuck Blend
  • Ranchers Legacy Chuck Blend Bulk Pack NAT Patties
  • Ranchers Legacy Chuck Blend NAT Beef Patties

The product was discovered by FSIS inspection personnel during a routine inspection. Products testing positive on November 21, 2014 were held at the establishment.  The products being recalled were produced on the same day and equipment as the positive product.  Products were shipped to distributors for sales nationwide.

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps 2–8 days (3–4 days, on average) after exposure the organism. While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This condition can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children under 5-years old and older adults. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.

FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers. FSIS and the company have received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption of these products.

Food Safety News

Unpasteurized Apple Cider Linked to E. Coli Illnesses, Recalled in Canada

Rolling Acres Cider Mill is recalling unpasteurized apple cider from the marketplace due to E.coli O157:H7 contamination. There have been reported illnesses associated with the consumption of the products.

The following products were sold by Rolling Acres Cider Mill at the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market located in Waterloo, Ontario on October 11, 2014 and from the company’s own location in Waterloo, Ontario between October 10, 2014 and October 11, 2014.

Brand Name Common Name Size Code(s) on Product
Rolling Acres Pure apple cider
“Unpasturized”
2 L 10-10
Rolling Acres Pure apple cider
“Unpasturized”
4 L 10-10
None Unpasteurized apple cider This product was sold in unlabeled plastic bags None

 

Food contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, mild to severe abdominal cramps and watery to bloody diarrhea. In severe cases of illness, some people may have seizures or strokes, need blood transfusions and kidney dialysis or live with permanent kidney damage. In severe cases of illness, people may die.Check to see if you have the products in your home. If the products are in your home, do not consume them.

The recall was triggered by findings by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) during its investigation into a foodborne illness outbreak. The CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.

Food Safety News

Unpasteurized Apple Cider Linked to E. Coli Illnesses, Recalled in Canada

Rolling Acres Cider Mill is recalling unpasteurized apple cider from the marketplace due to E.coli O157:H7 contamination. There have been reported illnesses associated with the consumption of the products.

The following products were sold by Rolling Acres Cider Mill at the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market located in Waterloo, Ontario on October 11, 2014 and from the company’s own location in Waterloo, Ontario between October 10, 2014 and October 11, 2014.

Brand Name Common Name Size Code(s) on Product
Rolling Acres Pure apple cider
“Unpasturized”
2 L 10-10
Rolling Acres Pure apple cider
“Unpasturized”
4 L 10-10
None Unpasteurized apple cider This product was sold in unlabeled plastic bags None

 

Food contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, mild to severe abdominal cramps and watery to bloody diarrhea. In severe cases of illness, some people may have seizures or strokes, need blood transfusions and kidney dialysis or live with permanent kidney damage. In severe cases of illness, people may die.Check to see if you have the products in your home. If the products are in your home, do not consume them.

The recall was triggered by findings by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) during its investigation into a foodborne illness outbreak. The CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.

Food Safety News

Officials Suspect Pet Goat Was Source of E. Coli

Public health officials in Oregon suspect that the 4-year-old girl who died from an E. coli infection in September was infected by droppings from the family’s pet goat, according to a report by Lynne Terry at The Oregonian.

However, lab tests have not been conclusive, and the state health department is still working to try and determine the exact source of Serena Profitt’s infection. Her parents say they’re feeling frustrated about the lack of certainty.

Serena Profitt

A family friend, 5-year-old Bradley Sutton from Tacoma, WA, also fell ill with E. coli O157:H7 and spent nearly a month on dialysis in the hospital. He’s now on seven medications, requires blood work every three days, and only has 10-percent kidney function, according to the report.

The two children shared food and even fed the goat part of a watermelon that they both ate. Lab tests on the goat’s droppings revealed E. coli contamination, but officials have not yet connected that E. coli to the strain that sickened the children. Serena Profitt died Sept. 9 at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland.

Her mother, Rachel, told The Oregonian that the health department didn’t test any of the family’s other animals, which include dogs, cats and chickens.

Health officials advised the family to euthanize the goat, which they won’t do. It’s currently staying with some neighbors.

E. coli infections can come from a variety of sources, including food, water and animals. A number of high-profile illness outbreaks in recent years have been linked to animals at petting zoos.

Food Safety News

Officials Suspect Pet Goat Was Source of E. Coli

Public health officials in Oregon suspect that the 4-year-old girl who died from an E. coli infection in September was infected by droppings from the family’s pet goat, according to a report by Lynne Terry at The Oregonian.

However, lab tests have not been conclusive, and the state health department is still working to try and determine the exact source of Serena Profitt’s infection. Her parents say they’re feeling frustrated about the lack of certainty.

Serena Profitt

A family friend, 5-year-old Bradley Sutton from Tacoma, WA, also fell ill with E. coli O157:H7 and spent nearly a month on dialysis in the hospital. He’s now on seven medications, requires blood work every three days, and only has 10-percent kidney function, according to the report.

The two children shared food and even fed the goat part of a watermelon that they both ate. Lab tests on the goat’s droppings revealed E. coli contamination, but officials have not yet connected that E. coli to the strain that sickened the children. Serena Profitt died Sept. 9 at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland.

Her mother, Rachel, told The Oregonian that the health department didn’t test any of the family’s other animals, which include dogs, cats and chickens.

Health officials advised the family to euthanize the goat, which they won’t do. It’s currently staying with some neighbors.

E. coli infections can come from a variety of sources, including food, water and animals. A number of high-profile illness outbreaks in recent years have been linked to animals at petting zoos.

Food Safety News

Officials Suspect Pet Goat Was Source of E. Coli

Public health officials in Oregon suspect that the 4-year-old girl who died from an E. coli infection in September was infected by droppings from the family’s pet goat, according to a report by Lynne Terry at The Oregonian.

However, lab tests have not been conclusive, and the state health department is still working to try and determine the exact source of Serena Profitt’s infection. Her parents say they’re feeling frustrated about the lack of certainty.

Serena Profitt

A family friend, 5-year-old Bradley Sutton from Tacoma, WA, also fell ill with E. coli O157:H7 and spent nearly a month on dialysis in the hospital. He’s now on seven medications, requires blood work every three days, and only has 10-percent kidney function, according to the report.

The two children shared food and even fed the goat part of a watermelon that they both ate. Lab tests on the goat’s droppings revealed E. coli contamination, but officials have not yet connected that E. coli to the strain that sickened the children. Serena Profitt died Sept. 9 at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland.

Her mother, Rachel, told The Oregonian that the health department didn’t test any of the family’s other animals, which include dogs, cats and chickens.

Health officials advised the family to euthanize the goat, which they won’t do. It’s currently staying with some neighbors.

E. coli infections can come from a variety of sources, including food, water and animals. A number of high-profile illness outbreaks in recent years have been linked to animals at petting zoos.

Food Safety News

Children in KY E. Coli Outbreak Drank Milk From Raw Milk Dairy

The five Kentucky children hospitalized in an E. coli outbreak earlier this month all consumed milk from the same raw milk dairy, according to multiple reports and the mother of one of the sickened children.

The Kentucky Department for Public Health has not announced the source of the outbreak. Microbial testing of animals, milk samples, and environmental samples from the dairy in question came back negative for E. coli.

Since tests at the dairy did not reveal any contamination, the state health department did not order the dairy to suspend sales.

The state health department has not returned calls from Food Safety News looking for updates on the outbreak investigation. On Thursday, a spokesman for the Lincoln Trail District Health Department in Elizabethtown, KY, said that the state health department would be publishing an update by Friday, but it had not yet surfaced as of Monday evening.

Because no additional illnesses have been reported since the outbreak announcement, the source of contamination is not believed to pose a continuing public health threat, the spokesman said.

Amy Nordyke, the mother of an 18-month-old boy hospitalized in the outbreak, told Food Safety News that each of the children sickened in the outbreak belong to families in the same food club that allows legal access to raw milk from one dairy.

Raw milk is not legal to sell at retail in Kentucky, but residents can buy into food clubs — or herd shares — through which raw milk can be legally purchased.

Nordyke’s son fell ill with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a kidney disease associated with severe E. coli infections. He spent most of September in the hospital, but was discharged last week and is recovering.

Nordyke said three other children from her family’s food club were checked into the same children’s hospital at the same time as her son. Each of those children was also given raw milk by their parents, she said.

After the five children fell ill in early September, the food club advised its members to dispose of any remaining raw milk as a precaution, according to well-respected raw milk journalist David Gumpert. The club did not order any more milk for two weeks, but recently began ordering it again, Gumpert said.

Food Safety News will continue to watch for an update from the Kentucky Department for Public Health. As with many foodborne illness outbreaks, the investigation may not uncover enough evidence to conclusively pinpoint a source.

Young children are more susceptible to foodborne illness compared to healthy adults due to having developing immune systems. Populations with greater susceptibility to foodborne pathogens also include pregnant women, the elderly, and immunocompromised individuals.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, raw milk is 150 times more likely to cause foodborne illness compared to pasteurized milk, and it hospitalizes 13 times more individuals than pasteurized dairy products.

Food Safety News

Texas Beef Products Recalled for Possible E. Coli Contamination

Caviness Beef Packers of Hereford, TX, is recalling approximately 23,100 pounds of beef trimmings that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Thursday evening.

The products were produced on Aug. 14, 2014, and Aug. 20, 2014, and were shipped to fast-food restaurants and retail distribution locations in Texas.

The following products are subject to recall:

  • Combo bins containing “Beef Trimmings, BNLS, 90 L”
  • Combo bins containing “Beef Trimmings, BNLS, 84 L”

The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “EST. 675” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These products were sent to establishments for further processing and will likely not bear the establishment number “EST. 675″ on products available for direct consumer purchase.

The problem was discovered during a food safety assessment. The products subject to recall are lots that tested negative; however, they were produced consecutive to the positive lots and were subsequently processed into raw ground products and distributed to retailers.

FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers. Consumers with questions regarding the recall can contact Trevor Caviness, company president, at (806) 372-5781.

FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume beef that has been cooked to a temperature of 145 degrees F or 160 degrees F for ground meat. The only way to confirm that beef is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature.

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps 2-8 days (3-4 days on average) after exposure to the organism. While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This condition can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children younger than 5 and older adults. HUS is marked by easy bruising, pallor and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.

Food Safety News

Five Kentucky Children Hit With Kidney Disease Usually Caused by E. Coli

Five children were reportedly in a Louisville, KY, hospital on Friday being treated for hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a potentially fatal kidney disease typically caused by an E. coli infection.

Three of the children are from Hardin County, one is from Oldham County, and one is from Boone County. Their ages were not available.

Officials with the Kentucky Department for Public Health were trying to figure out how the children became ill. All the children were being treated at Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville.

HUS can develop after two days to two weeks of diarrhea associated with infection by a strain of E. coli known as O157:H7. HUS can cause kidney failure, and patients are sometimes put on dialysis as a result.

E. coli bacteria is found in contaminated food or water and can be transmitted by drinking unpasteurized milk or eating undercooked meat. It can also be transmitted person-to-person if hands aren’t washed adequately after using the bathroom or changing a diaper. Symptoms include stomach cramps and bloody diarrhea.

 

 

Food Safety News

Oregon Health Officials Say Source of Deadly E. Coli Infection May Never be Found

Health officials in Oregon are testing several possible contaminants that could be the source of the E. coli infection that killed a 4-year-old Oregon girl this week, but they warn that the source may never be found.

Serena Profitt

Serena Profitt died on Monday in Portland after suffering from an E. coli infection for more than a week. Food Safety News spoke with her uncle on Tuesday when reporting on her death.

A family friend, 5-year-old Brad Sutton, is in critical condition and on dialysis in a Tacoma, WA, hospital but was reported on Thursday to be steadily improving. The two children were playing together over Labor Day weekend and apparently shared one meal — a turkey sandwich — at a restaurant.

The children also played in a pond, which has been connected to E. coli cases in the past. Both children later tested positive for E. coli O157:H7.

But health officials are not ready to place blame on the sandwich. Investigation into the restaurant where it was served showed no evidence of E. coli exposure, according to Dr. David Long from the Lincoln County Health & Human Services Department.

“We’ve investigated the places that the people have been in the public and so far we haven’t found any evidence that there’s a source that would be potentially dangerous to the public,” Long said at a Thursday news conference in Newport, according to KOIN 6 News.

On Sept. 5, a 3-year-old girl in Washington state also died from an unrelated E. coli infection.

Food Safety News

4-Year-Old Oregon Girl Dies From Complications of E. Coli Infection

A 4-year-old Oregon girl has died from medical complications resulting from an E. coli infection contracted sometime around Labor Day weekend, according to the Lincoln County Health and Human Services Department.

A 5-year-old family friend from Washington state is reportedly also sick with an E. coli infection. State and local health officials are still working to determine the source of the infections.

Serena Profitt of Otis, OR, died Monday at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland.

The Profitt family is reporting that Serena and the other sick child shared a sandwich at a restaurant. They also played in a pond and a river with other children.

Severe E. coli infections in young children can cause kidney failure, brain damage and death. Hemolytic uremic syndrome is a type of kidney failure that can occur in people of any age, but it is most common in children less than 5 years old and the elderly who develop severe symptoms from E. coli infections.

Food Safety News

4-Year-Old Oregon Girl Dies From Complications of E. Coli Infection

A 4-year-old Oregon girl has died from medical complications resulting from an E. coli infection contracted sometime around Labor Day weekend, according to the Lincoln County Health and Human Services Department.

A 5-year-old family friend from Washington state is reportedly also sick with an E. coli infection. State and local health officials are still working to determine the source of the infections.

Serena Profitt of Otis, OR, died Monday at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland.

The Profitt family is reporting that Serena and the other sick child shared a sandwich at a restaurant. They also played in a pond and a river with other children.

Severe E. coli infections in young children can cause kidney failure, brain damage and death. Hemolytic uremic syndrome is a type of kidney failure that can occur in people of any age, but it is most common in children less than 5 years old and the elderly who develop severe symptoms from E. coli infections.

Food Safety News

125 People in Alberta Sickened With E. coli From Unknown Source

Alberta Health Services is currently investigating an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7. There have been 125 confirmed cases reported between July 15 and August 2o.

The investigation has not confirmed the source(s) of illness related to this outbreak, but Dr. Chris Sikora, the Edmonton Zone’s medical officer of health, says that nearly 80 per cent of cases were associated with Asian-style restaurants in Edmonton and Calgary during the last two weeks of July.

Sikora told CBC News that the E. coli strain seems to be isolated to Alberta, suggesting that the source could be a locally produced and distributed food.

CBC also reports that 17 people have been hospitalized so far.

This investigation is ongoing and involves collaboration with Alberta Health, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

E. coli infections are generally caused when a person eats food or drinks water that is contaminated with human or animal feces, or through direct contact with a person who is sick or animals that carry the bacteria. Proper hygiene and safe food handling and preparation practices are key to preventing the spread of E. coli.

To reduce the risk of infection, consumers should wash hands with hot, soapy water often; cook beef to at least  160 degrees F; thoroughly wash vegetables and fruits before eating; thoroughly wash all kitchen tools and surfaces that have touched raw meat, and use only pasteurized milk, dairy and juice products.

Food Safety News