News Scan for Mar 15, 2019

Botulism from home-canned peas
More turkey Salmonella
Safety rules for agricultural water
Polio in Nigeria

Improperly home-canned peas linked to 3 botulism cases in New York

Improperly home-canned peas sickened three women in New York City last summer after they ate potato salad that contained the ingredient, underscoring the importance of safe canning procedures, New York health officials reported today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

The three related women were hospitalized for symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, and shortness of breath 14 hours before arriving at the hospital. Two had respiratory failure and were intubated in the emergency department, and the third was intubated later that evening. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released Clostridium botulinum antitoxin, and the patients received it about 12 hours after arriving at the hospital.

All survived, but they had lengthy hospitalizations in the intensive care unit.

A wash from the jar that contained the peas was positive for C botulinum, and residual samples from the salad bowl matched the patients' stool samples. Investigators learned that the patient was a novice canner and did not know that a low-acid food like peas require pressure-cooker processing to eliminate the C botulinum spores.

Following a freezer malfunction she had tried preserving frozen peas using the boiling water technique that she previously had used for peaches. After she canned the peas, she checked the seals, as recommended. One of the jars was unsealed, and she refrigerated it, based on recommendations, and the peas were included in the family's potato salad.

The authors said that, in the absence of proper processing, the closed jar created an anaerobic environment that allowed C botulinum spores to germinate, producing botulinum toxin.
Mar 15 MMWR report


CDC: 6 Salmonella cases in outbreak tied to turkey

The CDC released new numbers late yesterday on an ongoing outbreak of Salmonella illnesses tied to Butterball ground turkey. There are now six cases in three states, and one hospitalization.

The CDC said there have been no deaths reported in this outbreak. So far, North Carolina and Minnesota each reported one case, and Wisconsin has had four cases. Illness onsets range from Dec 19, 2018, to Feb 2.

On Mar 13 Butterball recalled nearly 80,000 pounds of ground turkey processed this summer because of possible contamination with Salmonella Schwarzengrund.

In its announcement about the recall yesterday, the US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service noted five cases in two states.
Mar 14 CDC update


FDA finalizes dates for agricultural food safety water provisions

Today the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized the dates for agricultural water requirements in the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule. Large farms will need to meet new requirements by Jan 26, 2022, while small farms have until Jan 26, 2023, and very small farms until Jan 26, 2024.

"The extension is designed to provide additional time to ensure the FDA applies the best thinking to clarify standards for pre-harvest microbial water quality and to continue working closely with produce farmers on sensible approaches to protect consumers," said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD. The requirements apply to water used to grow crops, to clean harvested crops, and to prevent dehydration on harvested produce.

The dates also give farmers time to incorporate lessons learned from the 2018 multistate outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections linked to romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region. That outbreak was likely caused by a contaminated irrigation canal.

According to the FDA, this extension period is applicable to all produce subject to the Produce Safety Rule's requirements, other than for sprouts. Sprout growers' compliance dates have already passed.
Mar 15 FDA statement


Nigerian contact of recent polio case tests positive

No new polio illnesses were reported this week, but a contact of a vaccine-derived polio case in Nigeria tested positive, according to the latest update today from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).

The contact that tested positive for circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) is from Konduga in Borno state. The contact's sample was collected on Feb 9. So far this year Nigeria has reported just one cVDPV2 illness.

Nigeria has two cVDPV2 outbreaks, one in Jigwa state that has spread to other parts of Nigeria and also to Niger. The other outbreak is centered in Sokoto state.
Mar 15 GPEI weekly update

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