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E. coli Blog

Surveillance & Analysis on E. coli News & Outbreaks

MA Whole Foods Recalls E. coli Tainted Beef

Whole Foods Market locations, South Weymouth, Mass. and Newton, Mass., are recalling 368 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

125 lbs. of the following ground beef products produced on June 8, 2014 at the Newton, Mass. location are subject to recall:

  • “BEEF GROUND SIRLOIN 93% LEAN 7% FAT” with SKU 90013
  • “BEEF GROUND SIRLOIN 93% LEAN 7% FAT FAMILY PACK” with SKU 90247
  • “BEEF SIRLOIN Patty  93% LEAN / 7% Fat” with SKU 90088
  • “BEEF GROUND 93% LEAN / 7% FAT” with SKU 90035
  • “BEEF GROUND SIRLOIN 93% LEAN 7% FAT patty FAMILY PACK” with SKU 52179
  • “BEEF GROUND 85% LEAN 15% FAT” with SKU 90004
  • “BEEF GROUND 85% LEAN 15% FAT FAMILY PACK” with SKU 90037
  • “BEEF GROUND PATTY 90% LEAN GRASS FED” with SKU 96363
  • “BEEF GROUND PATTY 90% LEAN GRASS FED, Value Pack” with SKU 52162
  • “BEEF GROUND 90% LEAN GRASS FED” with SKU 95997
  • “BEEF GROUND 90% LEAN GRASS FED, Value pack” with SKU 52190
  • “BEEF GROUND 85 15 GRASS FED” with SKU 95195
  • “BEEF GROUND 85 15 PATTIES GRASS FED” with SKU 95196
  • “BEEF BURGER GRASS FED GOURMET FEATURED” with SKU 52871

170 lbs. of the following ground beef products produced on June 10, 2014 at the Newton, Mass. location are subject to recall:

  • “BEEF GROUND SIRLOIN 93% LEAN 7% FAT” with SKU 90013
  • “BEEF GROUND SIRLOIN 93% LEAN 7% FAT FAMILY PACK” with SKU 90247
  • “BEEF SIRLOIN Patty  93% LEAN / 7% Fat” with SKU 90088
  • “BEEF GROUND 93% LEAN / 7% FAT” with SKU 90035
  • “BEEF GROUND SIRLOIN 93% LEAN 7% FAT patty FAMILY PACK” with SKU 52179
  • “BEEF GROUND SIRLOIN 93/7 PATTIES NE” with SKU 90199
  • “BEEF GROUNDSIRLOIN 93/7 NE” with SKU 95051
  • “BEEF GROUND 85% LEAN 15% FAT” with SKU 90004
  • “BEEF GROUND 85% LEAN 15% FAT FAMILY PACK” with SKU 90037
  • “BEEF GROUND PATTY 90% LEAN GRASS FED” with SKU 96363
  • “BEEF GROUND PATTY 90% LEAN GRASS FED, Value Pack” with SKU 52162
  • “BEEF GROUND 90% LEAN GRASS FED” with SKU 95997
  • “BEEF GROUND 90% LEAN GRASS FED, Value pack” with SKU 52190
  • “BEEF GROUND 85 15 GRASS FED” with SKU 95195
  • “BEEF GROUND 85 15 PATTIES GRASS FED” with SKU 95196
  • “BEEF BURGER GRASS FED GOURMET FEATURED” with SKU 52871

73 lbs. of the following ground beef products produced on June 21, 2014 at the South Weymouth, Mass. location are subject to recall:

  • “BEEF GROUND PATTY 90% LEAN GRASS FED” with SKU 96363
  • “BEEF GROUND PATTY 90% LEAN GRASS FED, Value Pack” with SKU 52162
  • “BEEF GROUND 90% LEAN GRASS FED” with SKU 95997
  • “BEEF GROUND 90% LEAN GRASS FED, Value pack” with SKU 52190
  • “BEEF GROUND 85 15 GRASS FED” with SKU 95195
  • “BEEF GROUND 85 15 PATTIES GRASS FED” with SKU 95196
  • “BEEF BURGER GRASS FED GOURMET FEATURED” with SKU 52871
  • “BEEF GROUND SIRLOIN 93% Lean 7% fat”  with SKU 90013
  • “BEEF GROUND SIRLOIN 93% LEAN 7% FAT FAMILY PACK” with SKU 90247
  • “BEEF SIRLOIN Patty 93% LEAN / 7% Fat” with SKU 90088
  • “BEEF GROUND 93% LEAN / 7% FAT” with SKU 90035
  • “BEEF GROUND SIRLOIN 93% LEAN 7% FAT patty  FAMILY PACK” with SKU 52179
  • “BEEF GROUND SIRLOIN 93/7 PATTIES NE” with SKU 90199
  • “BEEF GROUND SIRLOIN 93/7 NE” with SKU 95051

FSIS was notified of an investigation of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses on June 25, 2014. Working in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), FSIS determined that there is a link between ground beef purchased at Whole Foods Market and this illness cluster. Based on epidemiologic investigation, 3 case-patients have been identified in Massachusetts with illness onset dates ranging from June 13, 2014 to June 25, 2014. While the onset of illnesses was in June, on August 13, 2014, additional laboratory results provided linkages between the 3 MA case-patients and ground beef purchased from Whole Foods. Traceback investigation indicated that all 3 case-patients consumed ground beef purchased from 2 Whole Foods Market prior to illness onset. FSIS is continuing to work with state and federal public health partners on this investigation to determine a common source and will provide updated information as it becomes available.

Raw Milk Cheese Recalled Over E. coli O111:H8 Test

SW Wisc Dairy Goat Products Coop of Mt Sterling, Wisc is recalling Raw Milk Mild Cheddar Cheese Lot Code 103-114 because it may be contaminated with Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O111:H8 bacteria. This is one of the 6 STEC strains that have been deemed to be of serious health concern as it can cause diarrheal illness, often with bloody stools, and may lead to more severe complications like Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). HUS is most likely to occur in young children, the elderly and immunocompromised individuals and can lead to severe kidney damage and even death.

This product was distributed in the Midwest and Southwest regions of the US. This product was sent through distributorship in Wisconsin and Georgia. From these two states this product was then sent to retail stores in the Midwest and Southwest.

This product was packed as an 8oz cryovac retail size piece with the code 103-114 on a sticker attached to the side of the cheese. This product is all white in appearance and has a front and back separate label. The back label is a black and white nutrition and ingredient label and the front label is a yellow and blue colored label with the Mt Sterling Coop Creamery brand name. “No illnesses have been reported to date.”

The recall was initiated after a case of two five pound loafs in the original packaging was collected on 7-8—14 from an offsite warehouse. The product sample tested positive for Shiga toxin 1and was contaminated with E. coli O111:H8.

Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Reservation E. coli Outbreak Update

The Minnesota Department of Health has confirmed that at least 22 people on the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Reservation near Duluth have recently been sickened by foodborne illness linked to E. coli bacteria. The first illness was reported July 17.

The investigation is ongoing, but no specific cause has yet been found. The outbreak strain is believed to be E. coli O157, according to a department spokesman, which is not the one recently linked to Applebee’s restaurants in Minnesota.

The sickened reservation residents are being called and interviewed by a state epidemiologist, an environmental health supervisor and University of Minnesota graduate epidemiology students, the spokesman said.

Recent events on the reservation, including powwows, picnics, weddings, potlucks and outdoors meetings, have likely contributed to opportunities for foodborne illness. Residents were encouraged to throw away any leftover foods from these events.

Those experiencing symptoms of foodborne illness are advised to contact a health care provider or the local emergency room. More information and specific symptoms related to E. coli infection is available here.

The Minnesota Department of Health has provided the following contact numbers: toll free is 1-877-FOOD ILL (1-877-366-3455) or 1-651-201-5277 for individuals who have questions or would like to learn more about E. coli or any other foodborne illness. They advise callers to leave a message and someone will call back promptly.

 

33 with E. coli in Arizona, California, Texas and Washington – Link: Trader Joe’s and Walgreen’s

The CDC reported on December 11, 2013, a total of 33 persons infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 were reported from four states.  The number of ill persons identified in each state was as follows: Arizona (1), California (28), Texas (1), and Washington (3).  32% of ill persons were hospitalized. Two ill persons developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and no deaths were reported.

Epidemiologic and traceback investigations conducted by local, state, and federal officials indicated that consumption of two ready-to-eat salads, Field Fresh Chopped Salad with Grilled Chicken and Mexicali Salad with Chili Lime Chicken, produced by Glass Onion Catering and sold at Trader Joe’s grocery store locations, was the likely source of this outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections.

On June 17, 2014, the California Department of Public Health Report that concluded that:

An outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections occurred in October and November of 2013, affecting 33 individuals in four western states.  The outbreak disproportionately affected California residents, accounting for 85 percent of all case-patients. Two varieties of prepackaged RTE salads produced by “Company A” (Atherstone Foods – Glass Onion Catering) and sold by “GCA” (Trader Joe’s) were implicated as the source of infection.  This is supported by the statistically significant association of case-patients with consumption of one of the two implicated “GCA” salad varieties and by the regional distribution of reported cases matching the regional distribution of these two salads.  No other food items or exposures were associated with illness.  While these salads were strongly associated with the outbreak, the exact source of the contamination remains undetermined.

Today the Food and Drug Branch – Emergency Response Unit – of the California Department of Public Health produced the Environmental Investigation of an E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak in October 2013 Associated with Pre-packaged Salads. The report 28 pages long with several hundred pages of attachments, traces the consumption of the salads to the possible source of the E. coli O157:H7 contamination.

This report not only implicates the two varieties of prepackaged salads noted above, but also two others – one produced by Atherstone Foods – Glass Onion Catering – and another produced by an unnamed manufacturer in Oakland – both for sale at Walgreens.

The investigators concluded that the one common item between the two manufacturers and the four salads was romaine lettuce from a single filed in Modesto, California grown by Ratto Bros.  Five of 44 environmental samples collected in areas around the implicated farm tested positive for E. coli O157:H7, however, the “positive samples were not a genetic match to the outbreak strain” – not a match to the ill people.

Who made the Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad with E. coli?

Applebee’s restaurant officials have removed the chain’s popular Oriental Chicken Salad from the menu in Minnesota after at least seven diners fell ill with a rare strain of E. coli food poisoning, health officials said. The Applebee’s cases are among 13 reports of E. coli O111 infections in the state all tied to the same genetic strain of the bug — one that has not previously been seen in the U.S. In addition, two more cases have been reported in two other unidentified states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The six remaining cases in Minnesota appear to have no connection with Applebee’s, health officials said. Four of those sickened were hospitalized. Restaurant officials are cooperating fully with officials and pulled the salad and other ingredients included from the menu as a precaution. E. coli O111 is in the same family as the E. coli O157 typically tied to ground beef outbreaks. The infections are particularly dangerous to children and the elderly and can cause life-threatening complications. Anyone who visited a Minneapolis Applebee’s after June 20 and shows signs of diarrheal illness should contact a doctor.

Minnesota E. coli O111 Outbreak Possibly Linked to “widely distributed food item”

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is investigating 13 cases of foodborne illness associated with a type of E. colibacteria known as E. coli O111. This form of E. coli is in the same family as the more well-known E. coli O157:H7. All of the illnesses were caused by the same genetic strain of E. coli O111, and the ill people do not all share any obvious commonalities; these facts indicate the illnesses resulted from a widely distributed food item.

While seven of the people with E. coli O111 infections reported eating at Applebee’s restaurants in Minnesota between June 24 and 27, there are multiple cases with no apparent connection to the restaurant. Applebee’s is cooperating fully with the investigation, and as a precaution volunteered to remove the Oriental Chicken salad from menus at all its Minnesota restaurants while the investigation continues. The restaurant is also removing specific ingredients of its Oriental Chicken salad from other items on its menu out of an abundance of caution. Health officials are still working with Applebee’s, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and other regulatory partners to determine the cause of the outbreak.

Symptoms of illness caused by E. coli O111 typically include stomach cramps and diarrhea, often with bloody stools, but only a low-grade or no fever. People usually become ill two to five days after exposure, but this time period can range from one to at least eight days. Most people recover in five to 10 days. Complications from infection are more common among those with weaker immune systems, including young children and the elderly. MDH investigators note that this genetic strain of E. coli O111 has not been seen in the United States previously.

Health officials say anyone who visited a Minnesota Applebee’s since June 20 and has symptoms of E. coli O111 infection (particularly bloody diarrhea) should contact their health care provider immediately and inform them of their possible involvement in this outbreak. MDH also asks that they contact the department’s foodborne illness hotline at 1-877-FOOD-ILL (1-877-366-3455) to report the potential connection.

Four of the 13 people who became ill were hospitalized, and all have recovered or are recovering. Diarrhea associated withE. coli O111 infection should NOT be treated with antibiotics, as this practice might promote further complications. More information on E. coli infection can be found at www.health.state.mn.us. MDH will share more information with the public as the investigation continues.

Undercooked Burger Link to 22 with E. coli from Big Grill

Published by the Public Health Protection Unit of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, the report said that 19 of the cases ate beef burgers at the Big Grill  at SSE Hydro between 17 and 19 January, 2013. The remaining three individuals, all female, were “household contacts of these primary cases.”

The report said that the investigation uncovered evidence “strongly suggesting the possibility of processing errors leading to undercooking as well as the potential for cross contamination in the preparation and serving of the beef burger products.

The report also found that in the preparation of the burgers the searing of the meat was uneven, with some appearing to be well-seared while others “were barely seared with pink raw meat visible on the surface of the burger.”

Inspectors observed inadequacy of temperature monitoring records and weaknesses in temperature monitoring of food to test how cooked items were by staff.

It was also discovered there was “an inappropriate cleaning and disinfection regime, and an absence of documented evidence of a hazard analysis” at the venue.

Evergreen Fresh Sprouts Link in E. coli Outbreak

As of June 27, 2014, a total of 18 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O121 (STEC O121) have been reported from five states.

The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Idaho (3), Michigan (1), Montana (2), Utah (1), and Washington (11).

44% of ill persons have been hospitalized. No ill persons have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and no deaths have been reported.

Epidemiology and traceback investigations conducted by local, state, and federal officials indicated that contaminated raw clover sprouts produced by Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, LLC of Idaho are the likely source of this outbreak.

The FDA conducted an inspection of Evergreen Fresh Sprouts’ facility on May 22-23, 2014; May 27-30, 2014; and June 6, 2014. During the inspection, FDA investigators observed a number of unsanitary conditions, including condensate and irrigation water dripping from rusty valves; a rusty and corroded mung bean room watering system; tennis rackets that had scratches, chips, and frayed plastic” used to scoop mung bean sprouts; a pitchfork with corroded metal being used to transfer mung bean sprouts; and a squeegee with visible corroded metal and non-treated wood being used to agitate mung bean sprouts inside a soak vat.

E. coli Outbreak Hits 12

A total of 12 persons infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 were reported from 4 states. The number of ill persons reported from each state was as follows: Massachusetts (1), Michigan (5), Missouri (1), and Ohio (5).  58% of ill persons were hospitalized. No ill persons developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and no deaths were reported.

Epidemiologic and traceback investigations conducted by local, state, and federal officials indicated that contaminated ground beef produced by Wolverine Packing Company was the likely source of this outbreak of STEC O157:H7 infections.

On May 19, 2014, Wolverine Packing Company recalled approximately 1.8 million pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with STEC O157:H7.  The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “EST. 2574B.”  The recalled ground beef was shipped to distributors for retail and restaurant use nationwide. There was no distribution of the products to the U.S. Department of Defense, the National School Lunch Program, or catalog/internet sales.  The recalled ground beef was also distributed to a limited number of retail establishments for consumer purchase.  Read the full list of products that were recalled.

Sprouts from Idaho Link in 5 State E. coli Outbreak in Idaho, Michigan, Montana, Utah and Washington

Epidemiology and traceback investigations conducted by local, state, and federal officials indicated that contaminated raw clover sprouts produced by Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, LLC of Idaho are the likely source of this outbreak.  In interviews, 12 (86%) of 14 ill persons reported eating raw clover sprouts in the week before becoming ill.

As of June 9, 2014, a total of 17 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O121 (STEC O121) have been reported from five states.  The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows:  Idaho (3), Michigan (1), Montana (2), Utah (1), and Washington (10).  47% of ill persons have been hospitalized. No ill persons have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and no deaths have been reported.

The FDA conducted an inspection of Evergreen Fresh Sprouts’ facility on May 22-23, 2014; May 27-30, 2014; and June 6, 2014. During the inspection, FDA investigators observed a number of unsanitary conditions, including condensate and irrigation water dripping from rusty valves; a rusty and corroded mung bean room watering system; tennis rackets that had scratches, chips, and frayed plastic” used to scoop mung bean sprouts; a pitchfork with corroded metal being used to transfer mung bean sprouts; and a squeegee with visible corroded metal and non-treated wood being used to agitate mung bean sprouts inside a soak vat.

Raw clover sprouts have not been recalled from Evergreen Fresh Sprouts. Because contaminated sprouts may still be available on the market, CDC recommends that consumers do not eat any raw clover sprouts produced by Evergreen Fresh Sprouts.  The Washington State Department of Health and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare are also advising people not to eat raw clover sprouts produced by Evergreen Fresh Sprouts.