Foodborne Disease Scan for Mar 21, 2016

Listeria from raw milk
More cucumber-linked Salmonella
FDA finalizes BSE rules

CDC blames raw milk in two 2014 Listeria cases, one fatal

Two cases of listeriosis that occurred in 2014 have been linked to raw milk produced by a Pennsylvania organic arm, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today.

Two people were hospitalized with Listeria monocytogenes infections in California and Florida in 2014, the CDC said. The patients were 73 and 81 years old and had consumed raw milk before becoming ill. The Florida patient died of listeriosis.

Raw milk from Miller's Organic Farm in Bird-in-Hand, Pa., was identified as the probable source of both infections on Jan 29, following testing of samples of raw chocolate milk collected in November 2015 in Anaheim, Calif.

The CDC cautions consumers that contaminated raw milk from Miller's Organic Farm likely remains on the market and recommends that people consume only pasteurized dairy products.
Mar 18 CDC report


Cucumber-linked Salmonella outbreak grows to 907 cases, declared over

In the 2 months since a previous update, illnesses in a cucumber-linked Salmonella Poona outbreak have risen by 19 to a total of 907 cases, the CDC said in a Mar 18 update, noting that the outbreak is now considered over.

The outbreak, which was attributed to cucumbers imported from Mexico and distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce, sickened people in 40 states and resulted in 6 deaths. California health officials, however, said salmonellosis was not a contributing factor in two of the three deaths reported in that state. One death each was reported in Arizona, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Of 720 patients with information available, 204 (28%) were hospitalized. Illness-onset dates range from Jul 3, 2015, to Feb 29, 2016, and patients range in age from less than 1 year to 99 years. Nearly half (49%) were children, the CDC said.

Eleven clusters in seven states led officials to determine that cucumbers from Baja California, Mexico, were the source of the outbreak. Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce and Custom Produce Sales, both of California, recalled cucumbers in September 2015.

The CDC said that 127 illnesses began after Sep 24, when recalled cucumbers should have been unavailable or spoiled. Testing did not discover the source of these infections.

California confirmed the most Salmonella Poona outbreak cases (245), followed by Arizona (140) and Utah (62).
Mar 18 CDC update
Jan 26 CIDRAP News item on outbreak


Rules to guard against human exposure to BSE finalized by FDA

Interim rules aimed at minimizing human exposure to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), a progressive and fatal neurologic disorder of cattle, have been finalized, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Mar 17.

The interim rules, from 2004, 2005, and 2008, define specified risk materials (SRMs), meaning the cattle materials that pose a risk of containing so-called mad cow disease, and prohibit their use in human foods, dietary supplements, and cosmetics.

SRMs include bovine brain, skull, eyes, trigeminal ganglia, spinal cord, vertebral column with some exceptions, and dorsal root ganglia from cattle 30 months of age and older, plus the tonsils and distal ileum of all cattle. Also prohibited are the small intestine of all cattle unless the distal ileum has been properly removed, all material from nonambulatory cattle, and all material from uninspected cattle or cattle that have not passed inspection.

Milk and milk products, animal hides and products derived from hides, tallow containing 0.15% or less insoluble impurities, tallow-derived products, and gelatin are not among prohibited materials, as confirmed by the final rules.

The FDA points out that the risk of human exposure to BSE in FDA-regulated human foods and cosmetics the United States has been negligible in that the rules have been largely followed for an extended time even before their finalization.
Mar 17 FDA announcement
Mar 18 Federal Register notice of final rule

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