Food Outbreak Scan for Jul 02, 2015

Cyclospora in Texas
Tainted chicken entrees

Texas Cyclospora cases reach 103

Texas health officials reported today that the the state's surge of Cyclospora infections has reached 103, including 91 cases in the past 2 weeks.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) said cases have been reported in at least 22 of the state's 254 counties, but the largest portion—38 cases—are in Travis County, which includes Austin.

Cyclospora can cause intestinal illness when food or water contaminated with the parasite is consumed. The main symptom is watery diarrhea, which can last from a few days to a few months.

Last summer Texas had 200 cases of cyclosporiasis, some of which were associated with cilantro from Mexico's Puebla region, the TDSHS said.
Jul 2 TDSHS news update
Jun 24 CIDRAP News item "Texas officials investigating 42 Cyclospora infections"


Frozen chicken entrees blamed for Salmonella cases in Minnesota

The problem of Salmonella infections tied to frozen chicken entrees that may look cooked but are actually raw has cropped up again, with seven recent cases in Minnesota, according to state and federal officials.

The cases have been traced to two kinds of raw, frozen, breaded and pre-browned, stuffed chicken entrees, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) said in a news release today.

The US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a public health alert about the cases yesterday.

State investigators determined that the illnesses occurred in two separate outbreaks involving two different Salmonella strainsin products from two unrelated producers, the MDH said.

In the first outbreak, four illnesses from Apr 5 through Jun 8 were linked to Barber Foods Chicken Kiev, the MDH said. The product has a USDA stamped code of P-276. The four patients ranged in age from 19 to 82 years, and two were hospitalized.

In the second outbreak, three people got sick between May 9 and Jun 8 after eating Antioch Farms brand Cordon Bleu raw stuffed chicken breasts with a USDA code of P-1358, the MDH reported. The patients were all in their 30s and 40s, and two were hospitalized.

The MDH said Minnesota has had nine salmonellosis outbreaks linked to these kinds of chicken products since 1998. The labeling was improved in 2008, but three outbreaks involving such products have occurred since 2014.

"These chicken products are raw, breaded and pre-browned and often found near pre-cooked products at the grocery store, so even though the current labels state that the product is raw, consumers could mistakenly think the product is pre-cooked," said Carlota Medus, PhD, an MDH epidemiologist.

The FSIS notice said some case-patients reported following label cooking instructions and using a food thermometer to confirm that the recommended temperature was reached. The agency said consumers should take care to cook raw poultry products to a temperature of 165°F.
Jul 2 MDH press release
Jul 1 FSIS
press release

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