Food Outbreak Scan for Apr 19, 2018

Romaine E coli outbreak grows
Egg farm investigation

Romaine-linked E coli outbreak expands to 5 more states as cases rise to 53

An Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to chopped romaine lettuce has sickened 18 more people, with five more states reporting illnesses, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said yesterday in an update.

The new cases lift the outbreak total to 53 in 16 states. The newly affected states are Alaska, Arizona, California, Louisiana, and Montana. Nine more patients have been hospitalized, including two who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a potential fatal kidney complication. Overall, 31 people have been hospitalized for their illnesses and 5 have developed HUS.

The latest illness onset is Apr 6, but the CDC said infections that occurred after Mar 29 might not be reported yet because of the delay between when a patient gets sick and when the illness is reported.

Health officials still suspect that chopped romaine from the Yuma, Az., growing area is the source of the outbreak, but so far no specific grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified. Interviews with patients sickened in the outbreak found that, of 43 people, 41 (95%) ate romaine lettuce the week before they became ill. For comparison, a survey of healthy people found that only 46% ate romaine the week before they were interviewed.
Apr 18 CDC outbreak update


FDA probe finds biosecurity problems at Salmonella outbreak egg farm

A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspection of a North Carolina egg farm linked to a multistate Salmonella Braenderup outbreak found an ongoing problem with rodent control and sanitation conditions and employee practices that could have contributed to contamination of egg processing equipment and eggs.

The agency on Apr 17 posted details of the investigation that took place from Mar 26 to Apr 11 in a 483 inspection form posted on its website. The outbreak has sickened 23 people from nine states and led to the recall of 206 million eggs from Rose Acre Farms that were produce at its facility in Hyde County, N.C.

During the inspection, the FDA reviewed the farm's pest control records from September 2017, which reflected an ongoing rodent infestation. During the visit, the FDA saw live rodents in multiple areas of eight poultry houses. Also, FDA officials saw flying insects throughout the facility that landed on food, food contact surfaces, and food production equipment.

A review of sanitation procedures found that one cleaning steps wasn't implemented and employees bypassed another step. In another instance, during a walk-through of cleaning procedures, FDA investigators observed that the farm didn't use a sanitizing step after the wash step. Authorities saw condensation dropping from ceilings and pipes, down walls, onto production equipment, and pooling on paths that had foot and forklift traffic. Also, they saw instances in which employees or equipment touched food contact surfaces after touching nonfood-contact surfaces.
Apr 17 FDA 483 inspection report

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