FOOD SAFETY NEWS SCAN: Norovirus in oysters, tainted meat indictment

Apr 28, 2011

Oyster norovirus outbreak led to household transmission
A 2009 norovirus outbreak linked to oysters served at a North Carolina restaurant sickened more than 200 people and had a secondary attack rate of 14%, researchers reported today in an early online edition of Epidemiology and Infection. Though the restaurant received oyster shipments from several different growing areas and used them in a variety of menu items, the multiagency investigators linked the illnesses to oysters from a specific Louisiana growing area. The authors said that although the secondary attack rate is consistent with other reports of point-source norovirus outbreaks, the outbreak shows how exposure to a contaminated food vehicle can be widely distributed. They also suggested that the minimum temperature for steaming raw oysters should be higher than the typical 145.4 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds.
Apr 28 Epidemiol Infect abstract

Federal officials indict man who sold tainted meat
US Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials, along with the US District Attorney's office, yesterday announced the indictment of a Puerto Rican man for violations of federal meat and poultry inspection laws. On Apr 6 a grand jury indicted Filiberto Berrios on four counts of adulteration, transport, distribution, and sale of contaminated products. He was arrested on Apr 12. USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service investigators found the violations during routine review operations at cold storage facilities in Puerto Rico. According to the charges, Berrios, a salvage operator, bought 45,582 pounds of spoiled and misbranded meat and poultry on Jun 25, 2009, repackaged it, and then took it to a food warehouse for sale to restaurants, retail stores, and other outlets. After microbiological tests found that the meat was unfit for human consumption, the products were destroyed. Berrios faces jail time or fines if convicted; he is currently free on bail.
Apr 27 USDA press release

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