Monday, August 22, 2016

Hepatitis A Outbeak Link to Frozen Strawberries from Eqypt.

The VA Department of Health issued a health warning about a cluster of hepatitis A cases and has identified a potential association with frozen strawberries used in smoothies from Tropical Smoothie Cafe restaurants in Virginia.  The frozen strawberries came from Egypt.

This is not the first time that frozen fruit sourced from the Middle East has been a problem for Hepatitis A.   In 2013, frozen pomegranate seeds were linked to a Hepatitis A outbreak  where over 150 were infected.  Smoothies are an issue because there is no elimination step such as heating.  Any contamination on the fruit gets blended into the drink.

Virginia Department of Health News Release
Health Officials Warn of Increased Hepatitis A Risk
August 19, 2016

Frozen Corn Recalled Due to Positive Listeria Results

A Lancaster, PA frozen food distributor is recalling frozen cut corn after the North Carolina Department of Agriculture tested samples of the corn and found them positive or Listeria.  The recall affects Laura Lynn, Key Food, and Better Valu brands.

No illness have been reported to date.

FDA Recall Notice
Cambridge Farms, LLC Recalls Three Brands Of Frozen Cut Corn Because Of Possible Health Risk
For Immediate Release
August 19, 2016

Friday, August 19, 2016

Curry Spice Recalled for Elevated Levels of Lead

A Miami, FL company is recalling approximately 377,000 lbs. of spice blends containing curry powder after testing found elevated levels of lead.  The testing was completed by the NY Health Department.
Two weeks back, turmeric was recalled because of elevated lead levels, also discovered by the NY Health Department laboratory.  Companies selling spices may want review their supply chain to see where there may be spices that are subject to high lead levels.
FDA Recall Notice
Oriental Packing Co. Inc. Issues Alert On Lead In Curry Powder
For Immediate Release
August 18, 2016

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Hepatitis Outbreak in Hawaii Linked to Raw Scallops

Raw sea scallops served at a sushi restaurant in Hawaii are being blamed for over 200 cases of Hepatitis A.  This is one of the largest Hepatitis A cases in the US in the last 20 years.

While sushi grade seafood must be frozen in order to kill parasites, this freezing process will not eliminate bacteria and viruses. 

The scallops are reported to have been sourced from the Philippines.

Hawaii Dept of Health
DOH NEWS RELEASE: Hawaii Department of Health orders embargo of frozen imported scallops and closure of Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Texas Firm Recalls Ground Meat Due to Complaint of Metal in Product

A Texas firm is recalling 60, 350 lbs of ground meat after a complaint was made from someone who found a piece of metal.  Unfortunately, the FSIS news release does not say what conditions, in addition to one complaint, were present to necessitate such a huge recall.  Were there more complaints logged in the companies consumer complain file, was there a non-conformance on metal detectors checks or grinder plate checks, or was there a noticeable metal issue in the facility?

Good reminder to have proper checks in place for metal.

FSIS Recall Notice
Sam Kane Beef Processors, LLC Recalls Ground Beef Products Due To Possible Foreign Material Contamination
Class II Recall 071-2016
Health Risk: Low Aug 10, 2016

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Alfalfa Sprouts Recalled After Linked to Salmonella Outbreak

Alfalfa sprouts from a Denver, CO facility have been liked to 30 cases of Salmonella infection spread over 9 states.  The company has issued a recall.

CDC Outbreak Notice
Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Reading and Salmonella Abony Infections Linked to Alfalfa Sprouts
August 5, 2015

Friday, August 5, 2016

Cyclosporiasis Outbreak Reported in Texas

Texas is facing another outbreak of cyclosporiasis with 66 cases now reported across the state.  In 2013, a nationwide outbreak of cyclosporiasis resulted in over 600 becoming ill.  In 2015, cyclospora contaminated cilantro resulted in over 450 becoming ill.

The parasitic agent, cyclospora, contaminates produce through the use of contaminated water.  Symptoms last about a week or so and symptoms include watery diarrhea, with frequent, sometimes explosive, stools, and in general, just feeling like heck (tired, bloated, slight fever, etc).  It can be a much bigger issue for those with compromised immune systems.

NBC 5  Dallas Fort Worth, TX
Source: Cyclospora Found in North Texas Counties Likely Food Borne | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Cyclospora Found in North Texas Counties Likely Food Borne By Frank Heinz