Foodborne Disease Scan for Jun 12, 2014

Chia-linked Salmonella
Food trucks vs restaurants
Campylobacter by economic status

Salmonella cases from chia powder mount in US and Canada

Four more cases of Salmonella linked to sprouted chia powder have been added to the US count and five to Canada's, and a third strain of the organism has been implicated in the outbreak, according to updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

The US count stands at 21 in 12 states as of Jun 9, the CDC said in an update yesterday. The newly implicated strain, Salmonella Oranienburg, is the cause of 2 US cases. The two previously implicated strains are Salmonella Newport (13 cases) and Salmonella Hartford (6 cases).

A Jun 10 update from PHAC says that country's total is 34 cases in four provinces, 22 of which are in Ontario. The Canadian cases so far have all been linked to the Newport and Hartford strains.

The number of US hospitalizations in the outbreak remains at two, and Canada has had one. There have been no deaths.

US companies that have recalled products containing sprouted chia seed powder, which is made from ground dried chia seeds, include Navitas Naturals and Health Matters America.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued food recall warnings on products from Organic Traditions, Back 2 the Garden, Intuitive Path SuperFoods, Harmonic Arts Botanical Dispensary, Naturallyorganic, Pete's Gluten Free, and Nourish Superfoods. The products are sold in numerous retail stores and online.

CDC and PHAC are working together on the outbreak investigation. Consumers are urged to not eat the recalled products, which can have a long shelf life.
Jun 11 CDC update
Jun 10 PHAC update
CFIA recall warnings

Report: Food trucks, carts score better than restaurants on sanitation

Mobile food vendors like food trucks and food carts in seven US cities averaged fewer sanitation violations than restaurants over the past several years, according to a study published yesterday by the Institute for Justice.

For its "Street eats, safe eats" report, researchers from the institute analyzed more than 260,000 inspection reports from government agencies involving food trucks, food carts, and restaurants in Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Miami, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

The institute requested data going back to 2008 or the first year that data included mobile vendors. Data were collected through part or all of 2012 or, for Boston and Louisville, through July 2013.

Researchers found that in every city, mobile vendors did as well as or better than restaurants and that in six cities they averaged 1 to 4 violations compared with 4 to 8 for restaurants. Seattle averaged almost 14 violations per mobile unit versus almost 17 per restaurant, because the city "weights" each violation more than the other cities do, the report said.

The difference was statistically significant in all cities but Seattle.

The report concludes, "The results suggest that the notion that street food is unsafe is a myth. They also suggest that the recipe for clean and safe food trucks is simple—inspections."
Jun 11 Institute for Justice executive summary
Report home page


Study shows more campylobacteriosis in wealthier neighborhoods

People of higher socioeconomic status (SES) in Connecticut are more likely to contract a Campylobacter infection than those of lower SES, according to a report today in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Yale researchers geocoded 5,708 (96%) of the 5,950 campylobacteriosis cases reported in the state from 1999 through 2009 to census data. They found an average annual incidence of 15.9 cases per 100,000 population.

The investigators also found a strong correlation between higher campylobacteriosis incidence and higher neighborhood SES. The average annual age-adjusted incidence was 10.1 for the lowest SES group (20% or more below poverty), 11.9 for the 10%–<20% group, 14.8 for the 5%–<10% group, and 16.9 for the highest SES group (0–<5% below poverty).

The trend, which was statistically significant, followed in all age-groups except those younger than 10 years, a group that showed the opposite correlation.

The authors said the difference in higher-SES neighborhoods might be explained by surveillance artifacts but is more likely tied to risk factors such as dining out more and international travel. They confirmed that such factors were associated with higher SES in Connecticut by using FoodNet population surveys.
Jun 12 Emerg Infect Dis study

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