Blog Archives

Seattle Salmonella victims ate pork from Kapowsin Meats

Eleven people who attended a July 3 event in Seattle and ate pork provided by Kapowsin Meats became sick and health officials say they have laboratory evidence linking them to a Salmonella outbreak in 2015 that sickened almost 200 people and was traced to pork from Kapowsin Meats.

The Good Vibe Tribe Luau July 3 included pork from Kapowsin Meats, which was linked to a five-state Salmonella outbreak in 2015 that sickened 192 and resulted in a recall of more than 115,000 pounds of whole pigs.

The Good Vibe Tribe Luau July 3 included pork from Kapowsin Meats, which was linked to a five-state Salmonella outbreak in 2015 that sickened 192 and resulted in a recall of more than 115,000 pounds of whole pigs.

“We know that the pork served at the luau was supplied by Kapowsin Meats, and we know that everyone who got sick after the luau had eaten the pork that was served there. We also know that the genetic fingerprints of cases in this outbreak match the fingerprint of the Salmonella outbreak cases from last year,” according to a Tuesday afternoon update from Public Health of Seattle and King County.

The five-month, five state outbreak in 2015 sickened 192 people, with 30 having symptoms so severe they required hospitalization, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In August 2015 Kapowsin Meats of Graham, WA, recalled more than 115,000 pounds of whole hogs in connection with the outbreak of Salmonella I 4, [5],12:i:-and Salmonella Infantis.

The current outbreak is among attendees of the July 3 Good Vibe Tribe Luau. As of Tuesday, six people had been confirmed with Salmonella infections. Five others had symptoms consistent with Salmonella infection but were not tested, according to public health officials. All reported eating pork at the event, however no foods have been ruled out as possible sources.

“If you or a family member attended this event, even if you did not get ill, please take a few minutes to complete (this) survey. Comparing food histories between those who became ill and those who did not can help us determine what might have caused illness and prevent others from becoming sick,” public health officials said in an investigation summary posted Monday.

“The typical incubation period (the) time between exposure to the bacteria and symptom onset for Salmonella is one to five days, so if you attended the event and have not yet developed symptoms, it is unlikely you will become ill.”

Public Health of Seattle & King County reported food for the event was catered by Mojito, 7545 Lake City Way NE. Inspectors from the department checked the facility July 13 and inquired about food sources and preparation methods.

“Understanding where food came from and how it was prepared allows health officials to determine how food might have made people ill and, if necessary, to trace back to the food’s point of origin if specific food items are suspected,” according to the outbreak investigation summary.

This photo was posted on the Good Vibe Tribe Facebook page July 3.

This photo of roasting whole pigs was posted on the Good Vibe Tribe Facebook page July 3.

Good Vibe Tribe is a “non-profit organization that utilizes our social reach by creating unique events that bring people together to produce positive change,” according to the group’s Facebook page. According to the page, 2,900 people were invited to the July 3 event at Golden Gardens Park.

Public health officials reported receiving initial Salmonella case reports for the current outbreak on July 11, 12 and 15.

Salmonella infection is often spread through the fecal-oral route, through contaminated food and water, or through contact with animals and their environments, according to public health officials. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea that is often bloody, headache, fever, chills and abdominal cramping. Illness typically lasts several days and people can spread infection to others even after symptoms resolve.

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Food Safety News

MA Restaurant Linked to Salmonella Outbreak Closed ‘Until Further Notice’

A number of cases of foodborne illness have reportedly been linked to food served by the Churrascaria Aveirense restaurant in New Bedford, MA, and local health officials asked the owners to close the restaurant until all employees have tested negative and the facility meets all food-safety requirements.

News reports stated that the restaurant, which serves Portuguese food and other dishes, closed Friday and there were handwritten notes on the door citing “a family emergency” and that the facility would be “closed until further notice.”

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health recently informed the local board of health in New Bedford that several persons have tested positive for Salmonella bacteria.

Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most of those infected will recover without treatment.

Anyone who is experiencing these symptoms is advised to contact their primary health care provider.

The Massachusetts state health department has issued an informational fact sheet on Salmonella and can be reached at (508) 991-6199 by anyone who wants more information about the situation.

Food Safety News

Jump Your Bones Brand Kangaroo Meat Pet Treats Recalled for Salmonella Risk

Jump Your Bones, Inc. of Boca Raton, FL is recalling Jump Your Bones brand name “Roo Bites (Cubes)” due to potential Salmonella contamination. The pet treat product is made from dehydrated kangaroo meat.

Salmonella can sicken animals that eat contaminated products. Humans are at risk of contracting illness from handling contaminated pet products, especially those who do not thoroughly wash their hands after touching the products or any surfaces that touch the products.

The affected lots of Jump Your Bones Pet Treats were distributed to retail pet food stores nationwide and through pet food retailers and distributors, as well as online stores.

The recalls affects all products bearing the following UPC:

  • 63633010041 for 80g. / 2.82oz. including samples of .32 oz.
No illnesses have been associated with the recalled product. However, due to the time required to trace an illness back to a specific food product, it is impossible to say whether or not any illnesses have occurred.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection in humans include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever, and abdominal pain.

Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

Consumers who have purchased the recalled pet treats are urged to stop feeding them to pets and either dispose of the product return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Food Safety News

Fisher Chopped Walnuts, Pecan Cookie Pieces Recalled for Potential Salmonella Contamination

John B. Sanfilippo & Son Inc. (JBSS) of Elgin, IL, announced Tuesday that it is voluntarily recalling Fisher 8-oz. Chopped Walnuts and Fisher 8-oz. Pecan Cookie Pieces packaged in plastic bags because some of these products may be contaminated with Salmonella.

Consumers who have recently purchased the items with the BEST BY DATES listed below at stores located in AR, AZ, CO, KS, LA, MO, NM, OK and TX or online should not consume this product and should return it to the store of purchase for a full refund or replacement. The BEST BY DATES can be found on the back of the bags.

Item Description:

JBSS Item PRODUCT UNIT
Code UPC# BRAND DESCRIPTION WT. UM BEST BY DATE
P02352 070690 02360 3 Fisher Chopped Walnuts 8 oz. 10/31/15 TQ2
P02352 070690 02360 3 Fisher Chopped Walnuts 8 oz. 11/01/15 TQ1
P02352 070690 02360 3 Fisher Chopped Walnuts 8 oz. 11/01/15 TQ2
P02352 070690 02360 3 Fisher Chopped Walnuts 8 oz. 11/03/15 TQ1
P02352 070690 02360 3 Fisher Chopped Walnuts 8 oz. 11/03/15 TQ2
P02351 070690 02351 1 Fisher Pecan Cookie Pieces 8 oz. 11/03/15 TQ1
P02351 070690 02351 1 Fisher Pecan Cookie Pieces 8 oz. 11/03/15 TQ2

 

To date, JBSS has not received any reports of illnesses in connection with the items listed above.

This voluntary recall is the result of a routine sampling program conducted by FDA in the retail marketplace, which revealed that a package of Fisher Chopped Walnuts contained Salmonella.

Consumers or customers who have questions about the above recall may contact John B. Sanfilippo and Son Inc. Customer Service toll-free at (800) 874-8734, Monday through Friday, from 8:15 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. CST.

Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (e.g., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

Food Safety News

Dog Chews Recalled for Possible Salmonella Contamination

Barkworthies of Richmond, VA, is recalling select lots of Barkworthies Chicken Vittles dog chews because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

The recalled product was distributed nationwide beginning on May 6, 2014. The product can be identified by the Lot Code printed on the side of the plastic pouch. This product is being recalled as it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

BARKWORTHIES CHICKEN VITTLES

Lot Code: 1254T1

Size: 16 oz. Plastic Pouch

Best Used by Date: May 2016

UPC: 816807011510

The recall was initiated after routine testing by the Colorado Department of Agriculture revealed the presence of Salmonella in a single lot of the product. This batch tested negative by a third-party independent laboratory prior to release for distribution to consumers. No additional products are affected by this recall. The company has received no reports of illness in either people or animals associated with these products to date.

Salmonella can affect animals eating the products, and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected, but otherwise healthy, pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans.

Food Safety News

Nutrition Bars Recalled for Salmonella Risk

San Diego-based Perfect Bar & Company is recalling specific lots of its Peanut Butter and Cranberry Crunch nutrition bar products due to a Salmonella risk.

The recalled products have packaging and/or wrappers with the expiration date and lot codes listed below. The recalled product has reached the distributor, retail and end-user level.

While no illnesses to date have been associated with any of the recalled products, Salmonella bacteria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramps. Consumers with the above symptoms should consult their physician.

Anyone who purchased the recalled products are advised to dispose of them immediately.

Product photos below:

Individual Label Perfect Bar Peanut Butter and Cranberry Crunch nutrition bars

Carton label, Peanut Butter and Cranberry Crunch nutrition bars

Gluten Free Variety Carton, Peanut Butter, Cranberry Crunch, Almond Butter

Food Safety News

CDC Update: 111 Sickened in Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Bean Sprouts

At least 111 people in 12 states have been confirmed infected with Salmonella in an outbreak linked to bean sprouts produced by Wonton Foods, Inc., according to an outbreak update posted Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Twenty-six percent of patients have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Since the CDC’s last update on Dec. 4, 24 new illnesses have been found.

Wonton Foods continues to cooperate with state and federal public health officials. On Nov. 21, they agreed to destroy any remaining bean sprout products while conducting a thorough cleaning and sanitization of their facilities..

On Nov. 24, the company completed the sanitization process and resumed production. Shipments resumed on Nov. 29.

CDC says it is not likely that any more contaminated product is on store shelves.

CDC recommends that children, the elderly, pregnant women and immunocompromised individuals avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind due to their potential to harbor harmful bacteria. Cooking sprouts kills any such bacteria.

Food Safety News

19 Recent Salmonella Cases Linked to MA Restaurant

State and local health department officials are investigating 19 Salmonella cases linked to a restaurant in Holyoke, MA.

Brian Fitzgerald, Holyoke’s health director, told a local TV station that officials were trying to figure out why people were apparently sickened after eating at the Delaney House in Holyoke between Nov. 11 and 15, 2014.

Investigative reports from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health indicate that 19 confirmed Salmonella cases and additional potential cases were traced back to 10 different events held at the Delaney House.

The restaurant has not been shut down, although the state asked local health officials to order the management to comply with several alleged food code violations.

Five food handlers and one non-food handling employee at the restaurant also tested positive for Salmonella. Some of the infected food handlers reportedly worked at events outside of the Delaney House, including the Log Cabin, a take-out restaurant, and various catered events.

Peter Rosskothen, a co-owner of the restaurant, told local media that the management has cooperated with the investigation and that the problem appeared to be limited to the Nov. 11-15 period.

“We feel awful about this, but I know for a fact that no one has been related to us with this issue since Nov. 15th. I feel really comfortable that whatever came to us left us even before the investigation started,” Rosskothen said. He added that no new cases had been reported since the investigation began.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. It is usually transmitted to humans by eating foods contaminated with animal feces or by eating raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs or egg products.

Food Safety News

Sprout Salmonella Outbreak Up to 68 in Northeast

As of November 24, a total of 68 persons infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Enteritidis have been reported from 10 states. The number of ill people identified in each state is as follows: Connecticut (4), Maine (3), Massachusetts (31), Montana (1), New Hampshire (4), New York (5), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (10), Rhode Island (6), and Vermont (3). The one ill person from Montana traveled to the Eastern United States during the period when likely exposure occurred.

Illness onset dates range from September 30, 2014 to November 10, 2014. Ill persons range in age from younger than one year to 83 years, with a median age of 31 years. Fifty-six percent of ill persons are female. Among 43 persons with available information, 11 (26%) have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

Collaborative investigation efforts of state, local, and federal public health and regulatory agencies indicate that bean sprouts produced by Wonton Foods, Inc. are the likely source of this outbreak.

The information available to date indicates that bean sprouts produced by Wonton Foods, Inc. may be contaminated with Salmonella and are not safe to eat. As of November 21, 2014, the firm has verbally agreed to voluntarily stop the production and sale of their bean sprouts.

Food Safety News

Ongoing Multistate Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Sprouts

At least 63 people  in 10 states have been sickened in a multistate Salmonella outbreak linked to bean sprouts, reported the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Friday.

Bean sprouts distributed by Wonton Foods, Inc. of Brooklyn, NY have been linked to an outbreak of Salmonella Enteriitdis that has sickened people in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. An estimated 26 percent of victims have been hospitalized, according to CDC’s outbreak report.

The company said in a verbal statement that it was recalling the bean sprouts thought to be tied to the outbreak, according to the CDC outbreak report. The one illness in a person from Montana was likely contracted during a visit to the East Coast.

The first illnesses began September 30, 2014 and the latest reported illness onset to date was November 8, 2014, said CDC. Among 42 persons with available information, 11 (26%) have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

Of the 37 people interviewed by health officials, 29, or 78 percent, reported eating bean sprouts in the week before they fell ill.

Among those interviewed, “Wonton Foods, Inc. was the only supplier common to all of the restaurants and was the sole supplier of bean sprouts to at least two of the restaurants,” reported CDC.

The firm said its last bean sprout shipment was Nov. 18. On Nov. 21 after being notified of the outbreak, the firm stopped production and sale of its bean sprouts and is taking steps to prevent further Salmonella contamination.

 

Food Safety News

Officials Investigating Possible Salmonella Outbreak in Massachusetts and Other States

Health officials are investigating a series of potentially related Salmonella illnesses in multiple states, one of them known to be Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health revealed Thursday that it is investigating a possible cluster of Salmonella illnesses in the state, according to Fox25. The department said the potential multistate outbreak is also being investigated by federal health officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The source of the illnesses remains unknown, according to the MA Department of Public Health.

 

 

Food Safety News

Officials Investigating Possible Salmonella Outbreak in Massachusetts and Other States

Health officials are investigating a series of potentially related Salmonella illnesses in multiple states, one of them known to be Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health revealed Thursday that it is investigating a possible cluster of Salmonella illnesses in the state, according to Fox25. The department said the potential multistate outbreak is also being investigated by federal health officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The source of the illnesses remains unknown, according to the MA Department of Public Health.

 

 

Food Safety News

Officials Investigating Possible Salmonella Outbreak in Massachusetts and Other States

Health officials are investigating a series of potentially related Salmonella illnesses in multiple states, one of them known to be Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health revealed Thursday that it is investigating a possible cluster of Salmonella illnesses in the state, according to Fox25. The department said the potential multistate outbreak is also being investigated by federal health officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The source of the illnesses remains unknown, according to the MA Department of Public Health.

 

 

Food Safety News

Brown Rice Flour Recalled for Possible Salmonella Contamination

Lundberg Family Farms announced that it is voluntarily recalling specific bags of Brown Rice Flour because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

The recalled Eco-Farmed Brown Rice Flour (UPC# 0 73416 00550 1) and Organic Brown Rice Flour (UPC # 073416 00500 6) were distributed in retail store bulk bins, and 25lb bulk bags, between November 4 and November 12, 2014 in the following states: CA, HI, MA, AZ, NV, and through mail order.

The affected 25lb bulk bags contain the following lot numbers 141027, 141028, 141029, 141030 located on the bottom seam of the bag.

The potential for contamination was identified after routine testing and immediate corrective action has been taken. Distributors and retailers have been notified and requested to discard the affected products in stock. The company notified the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and is cooperating fully with the agency.

Customers who have purchased this product should discard it and contact place of purchase for a refund.

Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems if consumed raw. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Food Safety News

Connecticut Public Health Agencies Won’t Name Restaurant in Salmonella Outbreak

When John Snow traced the London cholera epidemic of 1854 to a local well, he removed the pump handle so all would know the source of the fatal disease when it ceased to plague the city. Removing that pump handle is still remembered today because it represented public health’s first major victory.

But it seems this act would be illegal today in Connecticut. Here’s the story:

Both the Orange, CT Health Department and the Connecticut Department of Public Health have declined to tell NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters, a local affiliate, if a closed restaurant was responsible for sickening a local resident with Salmonella.

Karan Niazi blames three slices of chicken pizza he consumed at Oregano Joe’s on Boston Post Road in Orange for his illness, which included a 104-degree fever, extreme diarrhea and vomiting. He spent almost a week in the Intensive Care Unit at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and was told by one of his doctors he was suffering from a severe case of Salmonella.

Another patient at the hospital with the same Salmonella symptoms reportedly also ate at Oregano Joe’s.

NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters reports that the restaurant was closed twice by the Orange Health Department, once on May 30 for one day and then again on June 20 for five weeks. However, the local health department won’t say why it closed the establishment and won’t say if there is a link between the illnesses and the restaurant closures.

Both the local and state health departments say state law prevents them from sharing the information they have with the public. The Troubleshooters investigation did find one local police report made when the restaurant owner needed access to the business while it was closed. The local police report quoted the owner as saying his eatery was shut down ‘due to multiple confirmed cases of salmonella poisoning.’”

Niazi also filed a lawsuit, and the TV report says court documents show Oregano’s was closed down for “falsified employee stool samples” during the investigation.

Law Professor John Thomas, who teaches healthcare law at Quinnipiac University, says officials are “completely wrong” in the way they are interrupting state statutes on privacy and confidentiality of records.

“I believe that both the Orange town health department, its lawyers, and the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission (FOIC) have erred in their interpretation of the governing statute,” Professor Thomas told Food Safety News.  ”As the Connecticut Supreme Court observed in the 1999 in the definitive case of Babcock v. Bridgeport hospital, the exemption from public disclosure only applies to ‘the designated materials…that are generated primarily for the purpose of the study of morbidity and mortality, undertaken specifically for the purpose of reducing the incidence of patient deaths.’

“The City of Orange data at issue in this case were not voiced in the context of a study for ‘the purpose of the study of morbidity and mortality.’ As a result, any claims that the records at issue are confidential are mistaken,” Thomas says.  He says it “remains a mystery” as to why the state’s elected officials have sided with health officials in the current narrow interpretation.

“Every state legislature and the relevant administrative agencies weigh the public’s interest in knowing about health risks against the disruption in the health treatment and evaluative process that revelation of health risks will cause,” he added.

Food Safety News also invited William Gerrish, director of communications and government relations for Connecticut’s Department of Public Health, to comment on the restrictive policy, but he did not respond to the invitation.

Food Safety News

Connecticut Public Health Agencies Won’t Name Restaurant in Salmonella Outbreak

When John Snow traced the London cholera epidemic of 1854 to a local well, he removed the pump handle so all would know the source of the fatal disease when it ceased to plague the city. Removing that pump handle is still remembered today because it represented public health’s first major victory.

But it seems this act would be illegal today in Connecticut. Here’s the story:

Both the Orange, CT Health Department and the Connecticut Department of Public Health have declined to tell NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters, a local affiliate, if a closed restaurant was responsible for sickening a local resident with Salmonella.

Karan Niazi blames three slices of chicken pizza he consumed at Oregano Joe’s on Boston Post Road in Orange for his illness, which included a 104-degree fever, extreme diarrhea and vomiting. He spent almost a week in the Intensive Care Unit at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and was told by one of his doctors he was suffering from a severe case of Salmonella.

Another patient at the hospital with the same Salmonella symptoms reportedly also ate at Oregano Joe’s.

NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters reports that the restaurant was closed twice by the Orange Health Department, once on May 30 for one day and then again on June 20 for five weeks. However, the local health department won’t say why it closed the establishment and won’t say if there is a link between the illnesses and the restaurant closures.

Both the local and state health departments say state law prevents them from sharing the information they have with the public. The Troubleshooters investigation did find one local police report made when the restaurant owner needed access to the business while it was closed. The local police report quoted the owner as saying his eatery was shut down ‘due to multiple confirmed cases of salmonella poisoning.’”

Niazi also filed a lawsuit, and the TV report says court documents show Oregano’s was closed down for “falsified employee stool samples” during the investigation.

Law Professor John Thomas, who teaches healthcare law at Quinnipiac University, says officials are “completely wrong” in the way they are interrupting state statutes on privacy and confidentiality of records.

“I believe that both the Orange town health department, its lawyers, and the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission (FOIC) have erred in their interpretation of the governing statute,” Professor Thomas told Food Safety News.  ”As the Connecticut Supreme Court observed in the 1999 in the definitive case of Babcock v. Bridgeport hospital, the exemption from public disclosure only applies to ‘the designated materials…that are generated primarily for the purpose of the study of morbidity and mortality, undertaken specifically for the purpose of reducing the incidence of patient deaths.’

“The City of Orange data at issue in this case were not voiced in the context of a study for ‘the purpose of the study of morbidity and mortality.’ As a result, any claims that the records at issue are confidential are mistaken,” Thomas says.  He says it “remains a mystery” as to why the state’s elected officials have sided with health officials in the current narrow interpretation.

“Every state legislature and the relevant administrative agencies weigh the public’s interest in knowing about health risks against the disruption in the health treatment and evaluative process that revelation of health risks will cause,” he added.

Food Safety News also invited William Gerrish, director of communications and government relations for Connecticut’s Department of Public Health, to comment on the restrictive policy, but he did not respond to the invitation.

Food Safety News

Connecticut Public Health Agencies Won’t Name Restaurant in Salmonella Outbreak

When John Snow traced the London cholera epidemic of 1854 to a local well, he removed the pump handle so all would know the source of the fatal disease when it ceased to plague the city. Removing that pump handle is still remembered today because it represented public health’s first major victory.

But it seems this act would be illegal today in Connecticut. Here’s the story:

Both the Orange, CT Health Department and the Connecticut Department of Public Health have declined to tell NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters, a local affiliate, if a closed restaurant was responsible for sickening a local resident with Salmonella.

Karan Niazi blames three slices of chicken pizza he consumed at Oregano Joe’s on Boston Post Road in Orange for his illness, which included a 104-degree fever, extreme diarrhea and vomiting. He spent almost a week in the Intensive Care Unit at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and was told by one of his doctors he was suffering from a severe case of Salmonella.

Another patient at the hospital with the same Salmonella symptoms reportedly also ate at Oregano Joe’s.

NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters reports that the restaurant was closed twice by the Orange Health Department, once on May 30 for one day and then again on June 20 for five weeks. However, the local health department won’t say why it closed the establishment and won’t say if there is a link between the illnesses and the restaurant closures.

Both the local and state health departments say state law prevents them from sharing the information they have with the public. The Troubleshooters investigation did find one local police report made when the restaurant owner needed access to the business while it was closed. The local police report quoted the owner as saying his eatery was shut down ‘due to multiple confirmed cases of salmonella poisoning.’”

Niazi also filed a lawsuit, and the TV report says court documents show Oregano’s was closed down for “falsified employee stool samples” during the investigation.

Law Professor John Thomas, who teaches healthcare law at Quinnipiac University, says officials are “completely wrong” in the way they are interrupting state statutes on privacy and confidentiality of records.

“I believe that both the Orange town health department, its lawyers, and the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission (FOIC) have erred in their interpretation of the governing statute,” Professor Thomas told Food Safety News.  ”As the Connecticut Supreme Court observed in the 1999 in the definitive case of Babcock v. Bridgeport hospital, the exemption from public disclosure only applies to ‘the designated materials…that are generated primarily for the purpose of the study of morbidity and mortality, undertaken specifically for the purpose of reducing the incidence of patient deaths.’

“The City of Orange data at issue in this case were not voiced in the context of a study for ‘the purpose of the study of morbidity and mortality.’ As a result, any claims that the records at issue are confidential are mistaken,” Thomas says.  He says it “remains a mystery” as to why the state’s elected officials have sided with health officials in the current narrow interpretation.

“Every state legislature and the relevant administrative agencies weigh the public’s interest in knowing about health risks against the disruption in the health treatment and evaluative process that revelation of health risks will cause,” he added.

Food Safety News also invited William Gerrish, director of communications and government relations for Connecticut’s Department of Public Health, to comment on the restrictive policy, but he did not respond to the invitation.

Food Safety News

Connecticut Public Health Agencies Won’t Name Restaurant in Salmonella Outbreak

When John Snow traced the London cholera epidemic of 1854 to a local well, he removed the pump handle so all would know the source of the fatal disease when it ceased to plague the city. Removing that pump handle is still remembered today because it represented public health’s first major victory.

But it seems this act would be illegal today in Connecticut. Here’s the story:

Both the Orange, CT Health Department and the Connecticut Department of Public Health have declined to tell NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters, a local affiliate, if a closed restaurant was responsible for sickening a local resident with Salmonella.

Karan Niazi blames three slices of chicken pizza he consumed at Oregano Joe’s on Boston Post Road in Orange for his illness, which included a 104-degree fever, extreme diarrhea and vomiting. He spent almost a week in the Intensive Care Unit at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and was told by one of his doctors he was suffering from a severe case of Salmonella.

Another patient at the hospital with the same Salmonella symptoms reportedly also ate at Oregano Joe’s.

NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters reports that the restaurant was closed twice by the Orange Health Department, once on May 30 for one day and then again on June 20 for five weeks. However, the local health department won’t say why it closed the establishment and won’t say if there is a link between the illnesses and the restaurant closures.

Both the local and state health departments say state law prevents them from sharing the information they have with the public. The Troubleshooters investigation did find one local police report made when the restaurant owner needed access to the business while it was closed. The local police report quoted the owner as saying his eatery was shut down ‘due to multiple confirmed cases of salmonella poisoning.’”

Niazi also filed a lawsuit, and the TV report says court documents show Oregano’s was closed down for “falsified employee stool samples” during the investigation.

Law Professor John Thomas, who teaches healthcare law at Quinnipiac University, says officials are “completely wrong” in the way they are interrupting state statutes on privacy and confidentiality of records.

“I believe that both the Orange town health department, its lawyers, and the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission (FOIC) have erred in their interpretation of the governing statute,” Professor Thomas told Food Safety News.  ”As the Connecticut Supreme Court observed in the 1999 in the definitive case of Babcock v. Bridgeport hospital, the exemption from public disclosure only applies to ‘the designated materials…that are generated primarily for the purpose of the study of morbidity and mortality, undertaken specifically for the purpose of reducing the incidence of patient deaths.’

“The City of Orange data at issue in this case were not voiced in the context of a study for ‘the purpose of the study of morbidity and mortality.’ As a result, any claims that the records at issue are confidential are mistaken,” Thomas says.  He says it “remains a mystery” as to why the state’s elected officials have sided with health officials in the current narrow interpretation.

“Every state legislature and the relevant administrative agencies weigh the public’s interest in knowing about health risks against the disruption in the health treatment and evaluative process that revelation of health risks will cause,” he added.

Food Safety News also invited William Gerrish, director of communications and government relations for Connecticut’s Department of Public Health, to comment on the restrictive policy, but he did not respond to the invitation.

Food Safety News

In Wake of Outbreak, Foster Farms Outlines New Salmonella Plan

Foster Farms, the California-based poultry company whose chicken was the source of a recent 17-month Salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 600 people, has announced a new plan to control contamination of its product.

The processor’s new program, unveiled Friday at the Delmarva Poultry Industry’s National Meeting on Poultry Health, will put $ 75 million towards reducing Salmonella in its raw products. The plan was developed in anticipation of new government microbiological standards for raw poultry parts, due to be announced soon, said Dr. Robert O’Connor, senior vice president for technical services Foster Farms.

The new strategy, O’Connor said, will center around an intensive data collection and analysis regimen.

The five-part plan will include the following elements:

- Collaboration and information sharing with all stakeholders, including regulatory agencies. The company has formed an advisory board to validate its methods.

- Extensive data collection: Sampling for Salmonella will be done on the ranch and throughout processing. The company has an internal lab, in which it plans to double testing from 80,000 tests to 160,000 tests per year.

- Analysis of internal data to identify trends at individual ranches and factors at different locations that could influence contamination.

- Acting on data: The company has established new procedures for environmental control in and around ranch houses to prevent spreading of Salmonella between flocks.

- Measuring results: According to O’Connell, Foster Farms is continuously measuring Salmonella levels at all stages of production and has recorded a continuous decline of Salmonella levels in packaged parts over the last seven months.

Between March 1, 2013 and July 11, 2014, 634 infections of multidrug-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg were linked to raw chicken products from Foster Farms in 29 states.

Foster Farms’ chicken was also the source of a 13-state outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg that sickened 134 people, mostly in Washington and Oregon, between June 2012 and April 2013. 

Food Safety News

Raw Macadamia Nuts Are Recalled for Possible Salmonella Contamination

Raw Macadamia nuts, some diced, and sold under the Shurfine, Western Family, Hyvee, Market Pantry, Pear’s Gourmet, Cash-Wa Distributing, Pegler Sysco, and Mayan Gold brands were recalled late Friday by Bellevue, NE-based Marathon Ventures Inc.

The recall came after the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found Salmonella contamination during routine testing. It’s too early to know if there are any illnesses associated with the recall.

Marathon said it has informed the FDA of its actions and is cooperating fully with the ongoing investigation.

Consumers who have purchased the items listed below should not consume this product and should return it to the store of purchase for a full refund or replacement.The recalled raw Macadamia nuts were sold after March 11, 2014, through grocery, food service and other retail outlets throughout the country.

The complete recall list with UPC and lot numbers can be found here.

Food Safety News