Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Outbreaks in the News this week (2/7/12)

There have been some interesting foodborne illness outbreaks in the news this week (Feb 7, 2012).  Here is a quick summary.

Clostridium perfrigens outbreak due to taco meat served at N.D. basketball game.  How it probably happened - the spore-forming organism survived the heat treatment and then grew in the taco meat when that cooked meat was not held at the proper temperature.  Temperature control of cooked food can be an issue  in venues like this.  Unfortunately, people are not willing to question servers when they receive meat products that are not hot.  People preparing and handling food may not have been trained.

Watermelon the likely source for Salmonella outbreak – Over 35 people became ill (it occurred in England, so they became unwell) from eating ready-to-eat (pre-sliced) watermelon.  How it probably happened - during the watermelon slicing operation Salmonella was transferred from the outer surface to the interior surface.  This Salmonella could have originated on the raw fruit, and then been spread through the wash water.  If the sliced water melon was not refrigerated, Salmonella could grow on the more pH neutral fruit, making the situation worse.

Update – Outbreak of Campylobacter from consumption of contaminated raw milk affects 43 people in 4 states.  The dairy has resumed sales. (That raw milk group is a dedicated bunch).

3 cruise ships disinfected after norovirus outbreak

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