Food Outbreak Scan for Dec 22, 2017

Romaine-linked E coli outbreak
Baby formula Salmonella threat

Romaine-linked E coli outbreak sickens 10 more in eastern Canada

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is advising people in five eastern provinces to avoid eating romaine lettuce because of an ongoing Escherichia coli outbreak associated with that type of salad greens. In a statement yesterday, the PHAC said continued reports of illnesses suggest that contaminated romaine lettuce may still be on the market.

Since the PHAC's previous update on Dec 14, 10 more illness have been reported, raising the outbreak total to 40. Illnesses have been reported in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Sixteen people have been hospitalized, and one death has been reported

Most of the sick people reported eating romaine lettuce before their symptoms began, at home, in prepared salads from grocery stores, and in restaurants, including fast-food chains. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is working with public health officials to determine the source of the outbreak, and so far there's no evidence that western Canada is affected.
Dec 21 PHAC update


WHO warns of Salmonella threat from globally distributed baby formula

A Salmonella Agona outbreak that has sickened 35 infants in France has prompted a French infant formula maker to a recall of products exported to 48 countries, including some in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the French overseas territories, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced today.

In France, 16 infants have been hospitalized but all have fully recovered. No deaths have been reported.

Earlier this month, the company, Lactalis Nutrition Sante, recalled 600 batches of four different brands, but yesterday it expanded the recall to include all infant and nutritional produces made or packaged at its Craon plant since Feb 15, 2017.

The WHO said affected products pose a serious illness risk to infants, and French authorities are investigating the outbreak source. It said an international food safety network is coordinating the alert to countries outside of the European Union.

The WHO warned that similar outbreaks have occurred before and that powdered infant formulas are not sterile products, given that Salmonella is prevalent in raw ingredients and can survive under harsh, dry conditions for a lengthy period. Preparing formula with tepid water can allow rapid growth from initially low levels of Salmonella contamination. French authorities have posted information on formula substitutions and how to prepare formula in a way that inactivates Salmonella.
Dec 22 WHO statement

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