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1,300 hit by food poisoning in Mexico

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By News Desk            https://www.foodsafetynews.com/author/newsdesk/       on May 2, 2019

More than 1,300 people have suffered suspected food poisoning in the Mexican state of Veracruz https://www.oecd.org/education/imhe/46827070.pdf after eating cake.

The Veracruz government reported that 1,358 people were treated in eight hospitals and clinics. People ate the cake, described as being in “poor condition” as part of a celebration of Children’s Day, https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/mexico/children-day which is marked every April 30 in Mexico.

The Ministry of Health of Veracruz https://www.devex.com/organizations/ministry-of-health-mexico-52587 posted a statement on Facebook confirming medical attention was given to intoxicated adults, infants and three pregnant women.

According to a health agency in Veracruz (SESVER), ingestion of contaminated food happened during an event organized by a non-governmental organization which distributed tamales, cake and beverages. A tamale https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamale is made with ground meat packed in dough, wrapped in corn husks, and steamed.

The non-governmental organization World Vision Mexico https://worldvisionmexico.org.mx/ issued a statement saying food for the event was provided by different organizations and it was working with authorities to determine the cause of the illnesses.

Between two and four hours after the event, infants had abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea. Initial evaluations did not find severe cases or deaths but emergency care continues and more patients are expected due to any incubation period.

In Tehuipango, Tlaquilpa, Zongolica and Río Blanco additional clinics were set up and children have been treated at the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/progdesc/ssptw/2016-2017/americas/mexico.html.

Tests on food samples are being conducted by another agency to find the origin of the poisoning and results are expected in the next few days.

Another food poisoning in Guerrero
Meanwhile in another incident, about 200 people, mostly children, suffered food poisoning in the Mexican state of Guerrero https://www.britannica.com/place/Guerrero.

The source is suspected to be pozole https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pozole – a type of stew or soup – which was consumed in celebration of Children’s Day. The incident happened in Mezcalcingo, a town in Chilapa.

Of those sick, 60 were initially reported as seriously ill but the secretary of health, Carlos de la Peña Pintos, later reported that infants who ate food in poor condition were out of danger and stable.

A total of 108 people were taken to Hueycantenango, a city in José Joaquín de Herrera for treatment. The governor, Hector Astudillo Flores, said the navy https://www.navy.mil/, Red Cross https://www.redcross.org/ and emergency response teams were involved.

Dates from Iran linked to Hepatitis A outbreak for second time in 2 years

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By Joe Whitworth  https://www.foodsafetynews.com/author/jwhitworth/ on May 1, 2019

Officials are investigating an outbreak of Hepatitis A https://www.fda.gov/food/foodborne-pathogens/bad-bug-book-second-edition

 in Sweden related to dates from Iran that are suspected to be the source of the infections.

The Public Health Agency (Folkhälsomyndigheten), https://www.folkhalsomyndigheten.se/the-public-health-agency-of-sweden/

and National Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket), https://www.livsmedelsverket.se/en

the relevant infectious disease units and municipalities are investigating to identify the source of infections.

Officials from Folkhälsomyndigheten and Livsmedelsverket told Food Safety News https://www.foodsafetynews.com

that hepatitis A cases are reported to the national database. At that point the suspected source of infection is often unknown.

“We observed an increase of domestically acquired hepatitis A virus infections with genotype IIIA strains, a genotype which we usually associate with travel-related cases in Sweden,” they said.

Since the end of February, nine cases of the viral infection have been linked to the outbreak, with the last one reported on April 16. Eight of the patients are confirmed and have the same type of hepatitis A infections from the genotype IIIA, which is also known as 3A. The ninth patient’s infection is suspected to be the same.

Patients are between the ages of 28 and 73. Five are men and four are women. They are from seven counties: Örebro, Stockholm, Uppsala, Skåne, Södermanland, Kalmar, and Halland.

The investigation has not yet identified one brand of dates or a joint producer.

“The cases (patients) reported consumption of dates https://www.foodsafetynews.com/tag/hepatitis-a-outbreak/

of different brands from different suppliers on the Swedish market but all dates are from Iran. Cases have bought dates from different supermarkets. The regional departments of communicable disease control are interviewing the cases. The dates have a long shelf life so it´s still too early to say that the outbreak is over.”

Outbreak in Denmark last year
In eight confirmed outbreak patients in 2018, four different strains from genotype IIIA were detected. Two of the Swedish patients have similar virus strains to those found in an outbreak in Denmark in 2018 linked to dates from Iran.

In the Danish outbreak, 27 people fell ill from December 2017 to February 2018, with 22 admitted to hospitals. Dates from Iran were imported by RM Import A/S and sold in Rema1000. Norway also reported one case as part of the outbreak.

In the 2018 outbreak, several variants of genotype IIIA strains were detected in patients. One of the outbreak strains was also detected in dates.

Folkhälsomyndigheten and Livsmedelsverket reported there are no ISO methods for detection of Hepatitis A on dates.

“The National Food Agency has used a similar method as Denmark used last year when they were able to detect hepatitis A virus in dates. After steps of elution with wash buffer and concentration of the virus, molecular analyses with PCR (polymerase chain reaction) is used to detect the virus. So far no viruses have been found in the different samples of dates but further analyses are ongoing,” according to agency officials.

Representatives from the agencies confirmed they had shared information on the outbreak strains with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, but no other countries had seen them so far this year.

Additional consumer information on hepatitis A https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/outbreaks/hepatitisaoutbreaks.htm

Hepatitis A is a viral liver disease that can cause mild to severe illness, including liver failure. It can take up to 50 days for symptoms to appear. Some infected people don’t develop symptoms at all, but they are contagious and can easily contaminate foods and beverages they prepare or otherwise handle.

The hepatitis A virus (HAV) can also be transmitted through direct contact with an infectious person.

The incubation period is usually 14 to 28 days. Symptoms include fever, malaise, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal discomfort, dark-colored urine and jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. Recovery following infection may be slow and take several weeks or months.

CDC Says – Do Not Wash Your Chicken

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By Bill Marler    https://marlerclark.com/lawyers/william-marler

POSTED IN LAWYER OP-ED         https://www.marlerblog.com/articles/lawyer-oped/

The CDC warns: https://www.cdc.gov/features/SalmonellaChicken/index.html

Place chicken in a disposable bag before putting in your shopping cart or refrigerator to prevent raw juices from getting onto other foods.

Wash hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling chicken. https://www.cdc.gov/features/SalmonellaChicken/index.html

Do not wash raw chicken. During washing, chicken juices can spread in the kitchen and contaminate other foods, utensils, and countertops.

Use a separate cutting board for raw chicken.

Never place cooked food or fresh produce on a plate, cutting board, or other surface that previously held raw chicken. https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/keep-food-safe.html

Wash cutting boards, utensils, dishes, and countertops with hot soapy water after preparing chicken and before you prepare the next item.

Use a food thermometer https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/appliances-and-thermometers/kitchen-thermometers/ct_index

Ensure the chicken is cooked to a safe internal temperature of 165°F.

If cooking frozen raw chicken in a microwavable meal, handle it as you would fresh raw chicken. Follow cooking directions carefully to prevent food poisoning.

If you think the chicken you are served at a restaurant or anywhere else is not fully cooked, send it back for more cooking.

Refrigerate or freeze leftover chicken within 2 hours (or within 1 hour if the temperature outside is higher than 90°F). https://www.fda.gov/media/110822/download

FOOD SAFETY ALERT

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Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Linked to Pre-Cut Melons

ttps://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/carrau-04-19/index.htmlCDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Carrau infections linked to pre-cut melons supplied by Caito Foods LLC.

At A Glance:

Do not eat, serve, or sell recalled pre-cut melon and fruit medley products produced by Caito Foods LLC and sold under several brands and labels.

On April 12, 2019, Caito Foods LLC 

Recalled pre-cut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and pre-cut fruit medley products containing one of these melons supplied at the Caito Foods LLC facility in Indianapolis, Ind.

Recalled pre-cut melons were packaged in clear, plastic clamshell containers. The products were distributed in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

These products were sold at Kroger under the Renaissance Food Group label and the Boar’s Head private label; at Target under the Garden Highway Label; at Trader Joe’s under the Trader Joe’s label; at Walmart under a Freshness Guaranteed label; and at Amazon/Whole Foods under the Whole Foods Market label.

Check FDA’s website for a full list of where recalled products were sold. If you cannot determine if any pre-cut melon you purchased was produced by Caito Foods LLC, don’t eat it and throw it away.

Check your fridge and freezer for recalled products and throw them away or return them to the place of purchase for a refund. Follow these steps to clean your fridge lif you had any recalled product.

Contact a healthcare provider if you think you got sick from consuming pre-cut melon.

  • Most people infected with Salmonella develop the following signs and symptoms 12 to 72 hours after eating a contaminated product:
    • Diarrhea
    • Fever
    • Abdominal cramps

Latest Outbreak Information

  • A total of 117 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Carrau have been reported from 10 states.
    • Illnesses started on dates ranging from March 4, 2019 to April 8, 2019.
    • 32 people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
    • Most of the ill people are adults over the age of 50 years.
  • Epidemiologic and traceback evidence https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/outbreaks/investigating-outbreaks/index.html indicates that pre-cut melons supplied by Caito Foods LLC is the likely source of this outbreak.
  • On April 12, 2019, Caito Foods LLC recalled pre-cut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and pre-cut fruit medley products containing one of these melons produced at the Caito Foods LLC facility in Indianapolis, Ind.
  • This investigation is ongoing, and CDC will provide updates when more information is available.

Investigation of the Outbreak

Epidemiologic and traceback evidence https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/outbreaks/investigating-outbreaks/index.html indicate that pre-cut melon supplied by Caito Foods LLC of Indianapolis, Ind. is the likely source of this multistate outbreak.

In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other Exposures  https://www.cdc.gov/features/solvingoutbreaks/index.htmlin the week before they became ill. Forty-six (73%) of 63 people interviewed reported eating pre-cut melons purchased at grocery stores, including pre-cut cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew, or a fruit salad mix or fruit tray with melon. Five additional people reported eating pre-cut melon outside the home.

Information collected from stores where ill people shopped indicates that Caito Foods LLC supplied pre-cut melon to these stores. On April 12, 2019, Caito Foods, Inc. recalled pre-cut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and pre-cut fruit medley products containing one of these melons produced at the Caito Foods LLC facility in Indianapolis, Ind.

This investigation is ongoing, and CDC will provide updates when more information is available.