Food Safety News
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.
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
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.
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.