FOOD SAFETY SCAN: Peanut butter Salmonella , cantaloupe outbreak over, tainted raw-milk cheese

Oct 5, 2012

Salmonella cases tied to peanut butter grow to 35; recall expands
Five more patients have been sickened in a Salmonella Bredeney outbreak linked to a New Mexico company's peanut butter, raising the total to 35 cases, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in an update. The number of affected states stayed the same at 19, and four more patients have been hospitalized, pushing that total to 8. The latest known illness onset is Sep 18. The CDC said tests by Washington state officials on an opened jar of Trader Joe's Valencia Creamy Peanut Butter, made by Sunland, Inc., yielded the outbreak strain. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said today that environmental samples in its ongoing investigation at Sunland's nut butter production facility in Portales, N.M., turned up Salmonella, and tests to identify the type are pending. Meanwhile, Sunland yesterday expanded its recall to include all products made at the plant as far back as Mar 1, 2010. The company's move adds 139 products to the recall, which now totals 240. The new recall applies to previously identified peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, and tahini products as well as roasted blanched peanut products. Categories added by the recall expansion include several flavored butters and spreads, including Thai ginger butter, chocolate butter, and banana butter, the FDA said. Included in the expanded recall are 49 products that are still within the manufacturer's recommended shelf life.
Oct 5 CDC outbreak update
Oct 5 FDA investigation update
Oct 4 FDA recall notice

CDC says cantaloupe Salmonella outbreak is over
The CDC said today that the Salmonella outbreak linked to cantaloupe from Indiana-based Chamberlain Farms appears to be over. The outbreak involved two strains, Salmonella Typhimurium (228 cases) and Salmonella Newport (33 cases). The total of 261 infections is a drop from 270 that the CDC reported in its last update on Sep 13. Today it said the number of cases declined in some states after multiple-locus variable-number repeat analysis (MLVA) was used to define the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium. That strain is a common one, typically linked to 10 to 15 cases a month, and the MLVA test was needed alongside pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) to distinguish outbreak-related cases. Earlier this week the FDA released a report on its inspection at Chamberlain Farms, which found widespread contamination in cantaloupes and environmental samples.
Oct 5 CDC final outbreak update

2010 raw-milk cheese outbreak traced to free in-store samples
Trace-back investigations in a 41-case multistate outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in 2010 found raw-milk cheese served as store samples to be the culprit, according to a study in the Journal of Food Protection. Most patients in the outbreak, which affected people in five southwestern US states, reported eating free samples of aged raw-milk Gouda cheese at national warehouse chain stores. Sampling that cheese was significantly associated with illness, with an odds ratio of 9.0 (95% confidence interval, 1.7 to 47), and several Gouda samples yielded the outbreak E coli strain. Inspection of the cheese manufacturer revealed deficient sanitation practices and improper curing times, and inspection of the retail food-handling steps also revealed sanitation deficiencies. The authors conclude, "Policymakers should continue to reexamine the adequacy and enforcement of existing rules intended to ensure the safety of raw-milk cheeses and retail food sampling."
October J Food Prot abstract

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