Research – 2014 Caramel Apple – USA – Listeria Outbreak Cause

Food Safety News Eurofins Food Testing UK

In November 2014, health officials began investigating two concerning clusters of Listeria infections that seemed to be related. The two strains of bacteria had already killed at least five people and hospitalized a few dozen others by the time they got on the case, and they wanted to find the source and stop it as quickly as possible.

Her hypothesis: When the sticks (used for holding the caramel apple) punctured the contaminated apples, they spread small amounts of apple juice over surface of the otherwise dry outer skin. Then, once the caramel coating was applied, it locked in the juice and created a micro-environment in which the Listeria on the surface of the apple could grow undisturbed.

Within days, the amount of Listeria present on the caramel-coated room-temperature apples more than doubled, while the caramel-free room-temperature apples saw mild, steady growth of the bacteria over a much longer period of time. The caramel-coated apple in the fridge still grew a significant amount of bacteria, while the growth of bacteria on the caramel-free refrigerated apple was relatively minimal.

Research – E.coli O157 – MRSA – Food and Waterborne Diseases

Eurosurveillance – Event-based surveillance of food- and waterborne diseases in Europe: ‘urgent inquiries’ (outbreak alerts) during 2008 to 2013

CDC – Escherichia coli O157 Outbreaks in the United States, 2003–2012

Eurosurveillance – Detection of livestock-associated meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus CC398 in retail pork, United Kingdom, February 2015

Science Direct – Ultraviolet-C light inactivation of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes on organic fruit surfaces

USA – Cyclospora – Cilantro (Coriander) – Faeces – Toilet Paper

FDA

Reason for Alert:

NOTE: Revision to this Import Alert dated July 28, 2015 updates the guidance section to provide clarification to SENASICA and COFEPRIS� processes. Changes are noted and bracketed by three asterisks (***).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state public health officials have identified annually recurring outbreaks (in 2012, 2013, and 2014) of cyclosporiasis in the United States which have been associated with fresh cilantro from the state of Puebla, Mexico. There is currently (in July 2015) another ongoing outbreak of cyclosporiasis in the United States in which both the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection have identified cilantro from the Mexican state of Puebla as a suspect vehicle with respect to separate illness clusters.

Cyclospora cayetanensis is a human-specific protozoan parasite that causes a prolonged and severe diarrheal illness known as cyclosporiasis. In order to become infectious, the organism requires a period outside of its host. Illnesses are known to be seasonal and the parasite is not known to be endemic to the United States. Cyclosporiasis occurs in many countries, but it seems to be most common in tropical and subtropical regions. People become infected with C. cayetanensis by ingesting sporulated oocysts, which are the infective form of the parasite. This most commonly occurs when food or water contaminated with feces is consumed. An infected person sheds unsporulated (immature, non-infective) C. cayetanenis oocysts in the feces.

After finding human waste and toilet paper in Mexican cilantro fields that have been linked to U.S. Cyclospora outbreaks for three straight years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has placed an import alert on cilantro from the Puebla region of Mexico. The alert, which covers fresh in tact and chopped cilantro, allows U.S. officials to detain without physical inspection any cilantro shipments from the Puebla region from April 1 through August 31
Eight people in Wisconsin contracted Cyclospora infections after eating cilantro imported from Mexico that was grown in fields contaminated with human waste. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has put a ban on summer imports of cilantro form the implicated area, says the   illnesses are part of a two-state outbreak of parasitic infections that includes more than 200 cases in Texas.

USA – Texas Cyclospora – Cilantro

TEXAS Dept. Health

Cyclospora – July 27, 2015

A recent surge in reports of illnesses due to the parasite Cyclospora has prompted DSHS to investigate the infections in hopes of determining a common source. DSHS has received reports of 205 Cyclosporiasis cases from around Texas this year. Past outbreaks have been associated with cilantro from the Puebla area of Mexico. While the investigation into the current outbreak is ongoing, DSHS has identified imported cilantro as a possible source of some infections.

Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness caused by consuming food or water contaminated with the Cyclospora parasite. The major symptom is watery diarrhea lasting a few days to a few months. Additional symptoms may include loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss, abdominal cramps, bloating, increased gas, nausea, vomiting and a low fever. People who think they may have a Cyclospora infection should contact their health care provider.

DSHS recommends thoroughly washing fresh produce, but that may not entirely eliminate the risk because Cyclospora can be difficult to wash off. Cooking will kill the parasite.

Last year, Texas had 200 cases, some of which were associated with cilantro from the Puebla region in Mexico.

Research – UV Light to Control Pathogens on Fruit

WSU mango

PULLMAN, Wash. – The growing organic produce industry may soon have a new way to ensure the safety of fresh fruits.

Scientists at Washington State University have shown that ultraviolet C (UVC) light is effective against foodborne pathogens on the surface of certain fruits. The study was published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology.

The findings are expected to be welcome news for organic fruit processors who seek alternatives to chemical sanitizers and must also comply with the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act to help prevent food borne illnesses.

After learning from organic farmers and food processors about a lack of sanitizing options, WSU food safety specialist Shyam Sablani and his colleagues looked into alternatives and decided to explore UVC light. It has a shorter wavelength than ultraviolet A or B light.

Hong Kong – Food Alert – Centre for Food Safety continues to follow up on unsatisfactory sorbet sample

CFS

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Food Product Sorbet
Name of Importer
Product name and Description Product name: Mango Gelato (Sorbet)
Distributor: da dolce Gelato Italiano
Manufacturer: Wealthy Making Limited
Volume: 450 millilitres
Best before date: 28 February 2016
Reason For Issuing Alert

– Subsequent to the detection of excessive coliform organisms in a sample of locally made prepackaged sorbet (frozen confection), the CFS has been following up on the incident closely, including taking follow-up samples from the manufacturer concerned, and found again another mango-flavoured sample of the same batch contained a coliform count of 240 per gram, exceeding the legal limit.

– Under the Frozen Confections Regulation (Cap 132 sub leg AC), each gram of frozen confection for sale should not contain more than 100 coliform organisms. The fact that the coliform count exceeded the legal limit indicated that the hygienic conditions were unsatisfactory, but did not mean that consumption would lead to food poisoning.

Action Taken by the Centre for Food Safety

– The CFS has informed the manufacturer concerned of the irregularity and instructed it to suspend the production of the sorbet concerned, carry out thorough cleansing and disinfection, and review and improve its manufacturing process. Prosecution will also be considered.

– Although the manufacturer concerned has voluntarily stopped manufacturing the sorbet in question, for the sake of prudence, CFS staff will inspect major retail outlets to ensure that no affected product is available for sale in the market. Sorbet products of other flavours will not be affected.

– The CFS will inform the local trade, follow up on the case closely and take appropriate actions, including collecting samples for testing when the manufacturer resumes supply of the relevant product, to safeguard food safety and public health.

Advice to the Trade

– Stop using or selling the product concerned immediately.
Advice to Consumers
– Not to consume the affected product, regardless of batches.
Further Information The CFS press release

Hong Kong – Food Alert – One sorbet product with coliform count exceeding legal limit

CFS

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Food Product Sorbet
Name of Importer
Product name and Description Product name: Mango Gelato (Sorbet)
Distributor: da dolce Gelato Italiano
Manufacturer: Wealthy Making Limited
Volume: 450 millilitres
Best before date: February 28, 2016
Reason For Issuing Alert

– The CFS collected a sample of the above-mentioned product from Taste at Maritime Square, Tsing Yi, for testing under its regular Food Surveillance Programme. The test result showed that it contained a coliform count of 180 per gram, exceeding the legal limit.

– The fact that the coliform count exceeded the legal limit indicated that the hygienic conditions were unsatisfactory, but did not mean that consumption would lead to food poisoning

Action Taken by the Centre for Food Safety

– The CFS has informed the vendor concerned of the irregularity and instructed it to stop selling the affected product immediately. The Centre has also provided health education on food safety and hygiene for the person-in-charge and staff of the vendor concerned.

– The CFS has also followed up with the manufacturer.