In the United States, the principal federal regulatory organizations responsible for providing consumer protection with regards to food are:

  • US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is responsible for the safety of meat, poultry, and certain egg products and for performing certain food quality inspections and certifications that include food safety elements.
  • FDA is responsible for the safety of all other foods, including milk, seafood, and fruits and vegetables.The FDA is charged with protecting consumers against impure, unsafe, and fraudulently labeled food other than in areas regulated by FSIS.
  • EPA’s mission includes protecting public health and the environment from risks posed by pesticides and promoting safer means of pest management. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets limits on the amount of pesticide residues that are allowed in food.
  • National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) within the Department of Commerce provides fee-for-service inspections of seafood safety and quality.
  • Department of Homeland Security is responsible for coordinating agencies’ food security activities, including at U.S. borders.
  • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). APHIS’ primary role in the U.S. food safety network of agencies is to protect against plant and animal pests and diseases.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is responsible for monitoring, identifying, and investigating foodborne disease problems and for working with FDA, NMFS, USDA, state and local public health departments, universities, and industry to develop control methods. Read the rest of this entry »

Reports from the FDA and CDC (from late May to date) indicate:

  • 167  228 552 613 756 869 922 1017 1090 1148 1167 1196 1220 1237 confirmed cases of Salmonella Saintpaul poisoning from contaminated raw tomatoes, peppers, and/or cilantro.
  • At least 23 25 48 53 69 95 107 111 203 210 220 228 hospitalizations have been reported.
  • 2 deaths are believed to be associated with the outbreak.
  • 17 23  28 30 34 36 40 41 42 43 states involved. Texas has the largest number of cases with 131 384 448 people affected while Ilinois had 34 100 104,  followed by New Mexico at 70  98 102.
  • Illnesses began between April 16 and May 27.
  • Patients range in age from 1 to 82 years; 49% are female
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that for every salmonella case reported, 38 are not brought to the attention of physicians.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/saintpaul/

It started in April and since then 1017 persons infected with Salmonella Saintpaul with the same genetic fingerprint have been identified in 41 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada.The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (2 persons), Arkansas (14), Arizona (49), California (9), Colorado (13), Connecticut (4), Florida (2), Georgia (24), Idaho (4), Illinois (100), Indiana (14), Iowa (2), Kansas (17), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (1), Maine (1), Maryland (29), Massachusetts (25), Michigan (8), Minnesota (15), Missouri (12), New Hampshire (4), Nevada (11), New Jersey (9), New Mexico (98), New York (28), North Carolina (10), Ohio (8), Oklahoma (24), Oregon (10), Pennsylvania (11), Rhode Island (3), South Carolina (2), Tennessee (8), Texas (384), Utah (2), Virginia (29), Vermont (2), Washington (11), West Virginia (1), Wisconsin (11), and the District of Columbia (1). Four ill persons are reported from Canada; three appear to have been infected while traveling in the United States. At least 203 people have been hospitalized, 2 people have died. The outbreak isn’t over, or even showing any sign of slowing — with about 25 to 40 cases being a reported a day for weeks now.

The toll far surpasses what had been considered the largest foodborne outbreak of the past decade, the 715 salmonella cases linked to peanut butter in 2006. In the mid-1990s, there were well over 1,000 cases of cyclospora linked to raspberries, and previous large outbreaks of salmonella from ice cream and milk.

The CDC acknowledges that for every case of salmonella confirmed to the government, there may be 30 to 40 others that go undiagnosed or unreported. Read the rest of this entry »

The Food and Drug Administration has expanded a salmonella investigation focused on raw tomatoes to other fresh produce commonly consumed with tomatoes.

David Acheson, the FDA’s associate commissioner for foods, declined today to specify what new products the agency is looking at, and added that tomatoes remain the top suspect. Read the rest of this entry »

The victim count in the tainted tomato outbreak has risen dramatically again, according to the latest U.S. health count. The CDC days it now has 810 reports of persons infected with Salmonella Saintpaul in 34 states and the District of Columbia. More than 300 of the cases come from Texas.

At least 95 people have been hospitalized. Patients range in age from 1-99.

The recent jump is no surprise. The CDC had predicted that for every reported case, there would be 30 more. And health officials feared that the end was not yet in sight.

According to the latest CDC numbers, the victim count breaks down by state to: Arkansas (10 persons), Arizona (38), California (10), Colorado (6), Connecticut (4), Florida (1), Georgia (15), Idaho (3), Illinois (66), Indiana (11), Kansas (11), Kentucky (1), Maryland (25), Massachusetts (17), Michigan (4), Missouri (12), New Hampshire (3), Nevada (4), New Jersey (4), New Mexico (80), New York (18), North Carolina (5), Ohio (3), Oklahoma (17), Oregon (7), Pennsylvania (6), Rhode Island (3), Tennessee (6), Texas (330), Utah (2), Virginia (22), Vermont (1), Washington (4), Wisconsin (6), and the District of Columbia (1). Read the rest of this entry »

What’s going on with tomatoes? Reports from the FDA and CDC (to date) indicate:

  • 167  228 552 613 756 869 922 1017 1090 1148 confirmed cases of Salmonella Saintpaul poisoning from contaminated raw tomatoes
  • At least 23 25 48 53 69 95 107 111 203 210 220 hospitalizations have been reported.
  • 2 deaths are believed to be associated with the outbreak.
  • 17 23  28 30 34 36 40 41 42 states involved. Texas has the largest number of cases with 131 384 people affected while Ilinois had 34 100, followed by New mexico New Mexico at 70  98.
  • Illnesses began between April 16 and May 27.
  • Patients range in age from 1 to 82 years; 49% are female
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that for every salmonella case reported, 38 are not brought to the attention of physicians. Read the rest of this entry »