Monday, March 28, 2011

Food Safety News - Salmonella outbreak linked to zeppoles

MB- Approximately 20 people are reported to be infected with Salmonella from the consumption of zeppoles, an Italian stuffed puff pastry. From reports, this appears to be a case of cross contamination. The empty cooked shells were reportedly stored in empty egg crates. Too often, less concern is placed upon bread items as a source for foodborne pathogens. But Salmonella can survive in dry process environments and potentially contaminate foods if proper care is not taken. Salmonella does not need to grow on the food, just be present in sufficient numbers to cause illness. In this case, Salmonella may have been present on the egg cases and was transferred to the pastry. If one had to guess, the egg crates were probably stored at room temperature, giving Salmonella a chance to grow on the unclean surface. (Makes me question the source of the eggs as well).
Tainted zeppole shells now eyed in salmonella probe
1:00 PM Sun, Mar 27, 2011
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The Rhode Island Department of Health has increased to 23 the number of possible salmonella cases in people who consumed zeppoles made by DeFuscos's Bakery in Johnston.
And the department now says the source of the salmonella contamination may not be just the cream used in the filling of the zeppole shells, but the shells themselves.
Andrea Bagnall-Degos, a Health Department spokeswoman, said Sunday that lab tests have confirmed 13 cases of salmonella so far among the suspected 23 reported illnesses. Thirteen people have been hospitalized; 10 remained in the hospital as of midday Sunday, she said.
DeFusco's Bakery voluntarily closed after health inspectors found that pastry cream was stored at unsafe temperature and in unsanitary conditions.
Bagnall-Degos said the health department has now determined that the bakery stored zeppole shells in used egg crates, possibly exposing the shells to raw egg residue.
"The probable source [of the salmonella contamination] is raw eggs," she said. "We're still working to find the source of the infection of the eggs."
The department is also working to determine all the locations where the zeppoles and zeppole shells were sold.
The pastries were distributed by American Bakery Supplies in West Warwick . Its customers include all five Crugnale Bakery locations in Providence, East Providence, North Providence, Cranston and Cumberland, Calvitto's Pizza & Bakery in Narragansett, Sal's Bakery in Providence, and Focaccia World in Johnston.
The health department advises that all baked goods from DeFusco's be discarded and any zeppole purchased from stores that offer DeFusco products be discarded immediately.
The first reported case of illness was March 21, two days after St. Joseph's Day.
Anyone who has fallen ill, particularly with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea after eating baked goods purchased from DeFusco's or zeppole from any of the stores where the baked goods are sold, should contact a doctor, the Health Department warned.

In general, it takes one to three days for a salmonella infection to produce symptoms, including nausea, cramps, diarrhea and fever. The illness generally lasts four to seven days and can be especially severe in the very young, the elderly and anyone whose immune system is weak. When hospitalization occurs, it's usually because the diarrhea has become severe, according to a fact sheet from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Recalls for March 25, 2011

Del Monte Fresh Produce Voluntarily Recalls Cantaloupes Because Of Possible Health Risk
FDA Release - March 22, 2011 - Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc. (“Del Monte Fresh”) of Coral Gables, Florida is voluntarily recalling 4,992 cartons of cantaloupes, each containing 4 plastic mesh sleeves with 3 cantaloupes per sleeve, because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella Panama. 
According to the CDC - As of March 22, 2011, 12 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Panama have been reported from Oregon (5 cases), Washington (4 cases), California (2 cases), and Maryland (1 case). R reported dates of illness onset range from February 5, 2011, to February 23, 2011.

Cantaloupes are harvested from the ground where they are subject to contamination, especially an issue in areas that do not follow GAPs with regard to natural fertilizers (aka manure) or where there is contaminated irrigation water.  Because the surface is difficult to clean, contamination may be left on the surface and then subsequently transferred to the edible part of the melon during slicing.

Pennsylvania Firm Recalls Lebanon Bologna Products Due to Possible E. coli O157:H7 Contamination
CDC - As of March 22, 2011, 14 persons infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli serotype O157:H7 have been reported from Maryland (3 cases), New Jersey (2 cases), North Carolina (1 case), Ohio (2 cases) and Pennsylvania (6 cases). Reported dates of illness onset range from January 10, 2011 to February 15, 2011. Ill persons range in age from 1 to 70 years, with a median age of 13.5 years.

The process for making Lebanon bologna requires a drop in pH followed by a low temperature cook (multiple hurdles – pH, temperature, and Aw).  The case count has been increased to 14, but interesting is the age rage – 1 to 70.  As might be expected, there is a much higher percentage of males – 79%.

Lakeside Foods Issues Recall of Nationwide Pickled Sliced Beets

FDA - March 21, 2011 - Lakeside Foods, Inc. of Manitowoc, Wisconsin is initiating a voluntary recall of 3000 cases of 105-ounce canned pickled sliced beets because some cans may have been under processed. While no illnesses have been reported, these cans have the potential to be contaminated with harmful organisms including Clostridium botulinum. Botulism, a potentially fatal form of food poisoning, can cause the following symptoms: general weakness, dizziness, double vision and trouble with speaking or swallowing.

The product was distributed in the following states AL, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN and WI. The product was sold with the following labels: BOUNTIFUL HARVEST, CODE ELITE, COMSOURCE MEDAL, LAKESIDE, MONARCH, NUGGET BLACK, RESTAURANT PRIDE and SYSCO CLASSIC.

There have been no reported illnesses.  According to the company report  the product may have been underprocessed – it did not receive a proper thermal process. Although called pickled, this is not an acidified product (pH<4.6), but is packed in a brine and must be processed under pressure.


 World Variety Produce, Inc. Recalls Serrano Peppers Because of Possible Health Risk

FDA - March 18, 2011 - WorldVariety Produce, Inc. of Los Angeles, CA is recalling Serrano Peppers, because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.  This recall extends only to Walmart stores in Wisconsin, Montana, Utah and Wyoming; in addition to Jewel-Osco stores in Illinois. The affected Serrano peppers were sold from bulk displays between the dates of March 1, 2011 through March 18, 2011.

No illnesses reported.  This was discovered through USDA testing.  While one lot was recalled, makes you wonder about other lots from where the product was produced.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Recall, recalls, recalls

Over  the first two weeks of March, 2011, there were a number of recalls and one that wasn’t (see next-to-bottom).

Hazelnuts - Seven cases of E.coliO157:H7 in the upper midwest US related to In-shell hazelnuts.  More often, Salmonella is a concern in nuts, so this, while not totally unexpected, is unusual.
UPDATE March 10, 2011: Laboratory testing conducted by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture on in-shell hazelnuts recovered from a patient's home has identified E. coli O157:H7 matching patient isolates by DNA analysis. Please see the Minnesota Department of Health press release1.
March 4, 2011 - DeFranco and Sons of Los Angeles, CA, is voluntarily recalling bulk and consumer-packaged in-shell, hazelnut and mixed nut products containing hazelnuts because they may be contaminated with Escherichia coli O157:H7 bacteria (E. coli O157:H7). The recall was initiated after the nut products were linked to 7 illnesses in the states of MI, MN, and WI. To-date, no E. coli 0157:H7 has been detected in the nut products; however, we are notifying our valued consumers and customers out of an abundance of caution.

Peanut Butter and Jelly SandwichesListeria monocytogenes – this is a case where LM was detected in a product where growth  of that organism is unlikely.
Mar 11, 2011 - Pierre Foods is voluntarily recalling one lot, 320 cases of PierreTM pb jamwich, crustless peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwiches, because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.
The sandwiches were distributed to Giant-Carlisle stores in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
The PierreTM pb jamwich comes in a 12-count red carton and is sold in the freezer section of the grocery store. The product in question is stamped “Best if purchased by 03-11-2011” in the lower right hand corner. The UPC code is 7599921368.
This recall is being conducted out of an abundance of caution after Listeria monocytogenes was detected in one product sample. After discussions with the FDA, Pierre Foods elected to recall the product to ensure consumer safety. There have been no reported illnesses or consumer complaints.

Bolognastaph toxin – product was not properly processed, so there was concern that Staph could grow and produce toxin
WASHINGTON, March 9, 2011 - Zweigle's Inc., a Rochester, N.Y., establishment, is recalling approximately 2,997 pounds of bologna products that may be contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus enterotoxin, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

Ground beef  - E.coli O157:H7
WASHINGTON, March 8, 2011 - Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, an Arkansas City, Kan., establishment, is recalling approximately 14,158 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.  Each case label bears the establishment number "EST. 27" inside the USDA mark of inspection.

Lean Cuisine MeatballsMeatballs have foreign material – discovered by company through receiving numerous consumer complaints.
WASHINGTON, March 14, 2011 -Nestle Prepared Foods Company, Gaffney, S.C., establishment, is recalling approximately 10,260 pounds of frozen spaghetti and meatball entrees that may contain foreign materials, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The products subject to recall include: [View Label]
  • 9.5-oz. packages of “Lean Cuisine Simple Favorites, Spaghetti with Meatballs.”

Skippy Peanut Butter  - Salmonella – potential, no illnesses
March 4, 2011 - Unilever United States, Inc. today announced a limited recall of Skippy® Reduced Fat Creamy Peanut Butter Spread and Skippy® Reduced Fat Super Chunk Peanut Butter Spread, because it may be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism that 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 (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.
The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). No other Skippy® products are affected by this recall.
The product was distributed to retail outlets in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Milk – Alkaline phosphatase is used as a marker to ensure that pasteurization was complete.
March 11, 2011 - Waco, Texas (March 11, 2011) – The Oak Farms Dairy plant in Waco is voluntarily recalling half gallon plastic bottles of whole chocolate milk, half pint paper cartons of whole chocolate milk, and half pint paper cartons of 1% chocolate milk due to the presence of Alkaline Phosphatase found in samples during routine testing. Oak Farms Dairy has received no reports of illnesses related to the affected product and is removing the product from the market out of an abundance of caution.

Ga. Dept of Agriculture regrets ‘error' on Salmonella recall; McCormick does separate recall – This error did not get as much press as the initial recall notice.  Evidently, they reissued a recall from last year.  Georgia seems to have their issues.  However, McCormick did

Batter Mix However, McCormick did recall batter mix for allergens.
March 4, 2011 - McCormick & Company, Incorporated (NYSE:MKC) has announced a voluntary recall of Golden Dipt® Tempura Seafood Batter Mix 8 OZ, with UPC Code 4123470132 and “BEST BY” date of OCT 08 12 H.  A very limited number of packages of Golden Dipt® Tempura Seafood Batter Mix with this date code contain an undeclared milk ingredient.  People who have an allergy to milk run the risk of serious or life threatening allergic reactions if they consume this product.