Salmonella cases spur FDA warnings on juice, ice cream

Jul 12, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued two nationwide alerts this month over orange juice and ice cream that may be contaminated with Salmonella.

The FDA warned consumers on Jul 8 not to drink unpasteurized orange juice marketed under various names by Orchid Island Juice Co. of Fort Pierce, Fla. Fifteen cases of infection with Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium were directly linked with consumption of Orchid Island juice in Michigan, Ohio, and Massachusetts from mid-May to mid-June, the agency said.

At least 16 other states reported S Typhimurium cases that matched the outbreak strain, the FDA said. Investigators were working to determine if these cases were related to Orchid Island products or not.

The unpasteurized juice comes in various containers sold to retail stores and restaurants under labels that include Nino Salvaggio's, Westborn Market, and Natalie's Orchid Island Juice, the FDA said. The company bottles products under other names that had not yet been provided to the FDA.

"These products do not bear a warning label that the juice is unpasteurized," the FDA statement said. "Such warning labels do appear on many unpasteurized juice products, so consumers should not assume these products are safe to consume simply because they do not bear the 'unpasteurized' warning label."

However, Dr. Robert Brackett of the FDA added that "the vast majority of orange juice sold in stores is pasteurized and safe to drink."

On Jul 1 the FDA warned the public that products containing "cake batter" ice cream sold at Cold Stone Creamery stores nationwide might be associated with an outbreak of S Typhimurium cases in four states. Fourteen people in Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, and Ohio had fallen ill in the outbreak, and many of them had eaten "cake batter" ice cream at a Cold Stone Creamery shortly before they got sick.

After being informed of the potential contamination, Cold Stone Creamery agreed to remove all "cake batter" ice cream products from its stores, the FDA said. The agency said consumers who might have purchased these products should not eat them.

Salmonella organisms are the leading cause of foodborne illness in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC's FoodNet program reported 14.7 cases of Salmonella infection per 100,000 people in 2004. Of the five most common strains of Salmonella, S Typhimurium was the only one with a significant drop in the number of cases in 2004, the CDC reported in April.

See also:

Jul 8 FDA news release
http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2005/ucm108457.htm

Jul 1 FDA news release
http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2005/ucm108454.htm

Apr 15, 2005, CIDRAP News story "CDC cites declines in major foodborne infections"

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