FOOD SAFETY NEWS SCAN: Pine nut Salmonella update, E coli outbreaks

Nov 4, 2011

FDA confirms Salmonella in pine nuts
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today warned the public not to eat Turkish pine nuts distributed by Sunrise Commodities, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., after testing of nuts from a company warehouse yielded Salmonella. The FDA notice said some states have tested pine nut samples distributed by the company and found some of them positive for the Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak strain. The FDA said it is also testing its own samples further to determine if they carry the outbreak strain. Sunrise Commodities has recalled four lots of product totaling 21,000 pounds. They were distributed in bulk to food vendors in Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Canada. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said yesterday that the number of patients sickened in a multistate Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak linked to pine nuts held steady at 42, with more lab evidence pointing to bulk product sold at Wegmans Food Markets. The CDC subtracted Arizona from its list of affected states, lowering that total to five states. The pine nuts were imported from Turkey. In its initial report on Oct 26, the CDC said lab tests from Virginia and New York had linked pine nuts from bulk bins and those from patients' homes to the outbreak. Yesterday it said the Pennsylvania Department of Health Bureau of Laboratories detected Salmonella in homemade pesto and in pine nuts purchased from bulk bins.
Nov 4 FDA statement
Nov 3 CDC outbreak update

Missouri, North Carolina probe E coli outbreaks
Health officials in Missouri and North Carolina, two states grappling with Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreaks, reported new developments in the investigations, though so far the sources of the outbreaks have not been firmly identified. The outbreak in Missouri is centered in the St Louis area, where interviews with sick patients suggested a link to grocery store salad bars. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS) said yesterday that it has confirmed 24 cases in the outbreak. So far 55 food samples from Schnuck's grocery stores have been tested, and none were positive for E coli in preliminary testing. Further testing is under way. The agency said it is working closely with the CDC, and inspectors from the Food and Drug Administration have arrived to assist with the trace-back investigation. It said four cases from Boone County do not appear to be linked to the St Louis outbreak.

Meanwhile, North Carolina officials are investigating 28  E coli infections and are conducting a case control study in people who attended North Carolina's state fair. So far the North Carolina Division of Public Health (NCDPH) has confirmed 12 cases from eight counties, according to a statement yesterday.

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