Food Outbreak Scan for Nov 13, 2015

More Chipotle E coli cases
Finalized FSMA rules

Two-state Chipotle E coli outbreak total rises to 49

Seven more illnesses have been reported in an Escherichia coli O26 outbreak in Washington and Oregon linked to eating at Chipotle restaurants, boosting the overall total to 49, the two states reported yesterday. The Washington State Department of Health (WSDH) said it has confirmed 31 cases, while the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) put its total at 18.

Federal health officials are assisting with the outbreak. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in an update yesterday that 14 people have been hospitalized, but so far no patients have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a potentially fatal kidney complication.

An investigation is still under way to determine if the sick people had a common meal item or ingredient, according to the CDC. It noted that 33 isolates from patients have been uploaded to PulseNet, the national subtyping network, adding that all have the same DNA fingerprints.

Chipotle has reopened most of its restaurants in Washington and Oregon that had been temporarily closed in the wake of the investigation.
Nov 12 WSDH update
Nov 12 OHA update
Nov 12 CDC outbreak update


FDA finalizes rules on produce safety, food auditors, foreign suppliers

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today finalized rules on produce safety, third-party accreditation, and Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVPs), leaving only two of seven major rules left to be finalized in 2015, as required by the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

In September the FDA finalized rules covering prevention steps for both human and animal food. Today's finalized reports were due Oct 31.

The produce safety rule establishes science-based minimum standards for growing, harvesting, packing, and holding fresh produce, the agency said. It was first proposed in January 2013. The FDA today also published an environmental impact for the produce safety rule.

The third-party certification rule establishes a voluntary accreditation program for auditors to conduct food safety audits of and issue certifications to foreign facilities and the human and animal food they produce. "These requirements will help ensure the competence and independence of the accreditation bodies and third-party certification bodies participating in the program," the FDA said.

The finalized FSVP rule requires that importers perform specified risk-based activities to verify that food imported into the country meets US safety standards. Compliance requirements begin in 18 months.

The two rules due to be finalized by Dec 31 cover registration of food facilities and auditor user-fee programs.
FSMA update page, with links to final rules
Sep 10 CIDRAP News scan "FDA finalizes FSMA rules on human, animal food safety steps"

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