One person has died and 87 are sick with salmonella food poisoning from tainted cheese in Quebec.

The outbreak comes amid consumer alarm over a massive recall by Maple Leaf Foods Inc of ready-to-eat meats. An outbreak of listeriosis food poisoning from deli meats produced at the company’s Toronto plant has been linked to the deaths of 15 people.

Quebec public health director Horacio Arruda said the salmonella outbreak had no connection to the Maple Leaf case. Read the rest of this entry »

Florida tomato growers want compensation from the federal government for millions of dollars lost because of an investigation that originally focused on raw tomatoes after a salmonella outbreak in parts of the country this spring. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson travels to Washington next week to seek changes in the process so an entire industry is not unnecessarily tainted.

“Public health and safety is of course, the top priority, but we also have to look out for growers who are losing tens of millions of dollars unnecessarily,” said Liz Compton, spokeswoman for Bronson’s office. “We’re going to have food-borne illnesses in the future, but that doesn’t mean an entire industry should have to suffer.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspected Florida tomatoes in June and found no problems, but the investigation virtually killed the market for fresh tomatoes.

For now, the FDA is warning people not to eat raw jalapeno peppers after one pepper at a Texas food distribution center tested positive for the strain of salmonella linked to the outbreak.

State Department of Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin is ready to take on the federal government over jalapeño peppers. Read the rest of this entry »

Grand Produce Company is recalling jalapeno peppers, serrano peppers and avacados after random samples taken by the Texas Department of Health Services were found to contain salmonella bacteria.

The peppers and avacados were distributed to the following states: TX, DE, NC, GA, OK, IA, MN, IL, FL, IN, MD, NY, MS, AR, KS, and KY. The avocados being recalled were shipped in boxes labeled “Frutas Finas de Tancitaro HASS Avocados, Produce of Mexico,” all sizes, with lot number HUE08160090889. The Jalapeno Peppers and Serrano peppers being recalled were shipped in 35lb. plastic crates with no brand name or label.

According to the Texas and North Carolina Departments of Health, the strain of Salmonella found in this company’s jalapeño and serrano peppers and in its avocado is not Salmonella Saintpaul, and is not believed to be related to the current Salmonella outbreak.

The recall is a result of sampling not by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but by the Texas Department of State Health Services (Texas Health) and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (North Carolina Health ) which revealed that these products contained the bacteria.

The company has voluntarily initiated a recall of its already distributed products and has stopped future distribution while the FDA, Texas Health, North Carolina Health and the company continue to investigate to determine the source of the problem.”

Consumers who purchased Avocados, Jalapeno Peppers and Serrano Peppers should contact their supplier to determine if their products are involved in the recall. Consumers with questions may contact the company at (956) 843-8575.

Source: http://www.fda.gov/oc/po/firmrecalls/grandeproduce07_08.html

The tomato/pepper/cilantro fiasco goes on. More people sick, harvests destroyed, farmers ruined, $100 million down the drain, and still no answers as to why over 1,220 people have contracted a food borne illness that up until now was extremely rare.

Late yesterday, in what could be the ultimate flip-flop, the FDA announced that tomatoes are ok to eat. Sort of. They say it doesn’t mean that tomatoes harvested in the spring are cleared (try guessing which ones those are). It just means that the tomatoes in fields and stores today are safe to eat, said Dr. David Acheson, the Food and Drug Administration’s food safety chief.

The source of the outbreak of salmonella still isn’t known. The latest suspect is jalapeno peppers. Also still on the suspect list is fresh cilantro.

Thursday’s move to attempt to create some perception that the problem has been resolved, comes as the tomato industry estimates its losses at more than $100 million,

Just coincidentally, the tomato industry held an unprecedented meeting with FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach and other officials on Monday. They (of course) have welcomed the new announcement.

Sources: http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/saintpaul/, http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/conditions/07/17/fda.salmonella/index.html

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/

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 »

An outbreak of salmonella food poisoning first linked to uncooked tomatoes has now been reported in nine states, U.S. health officials announced on Tuesday. Lab tests have confirmed at least 40 illnesses in Texas and New Mexico as the same type of salmonella. At least 17 have been reported hospitalized. Read the rest of this entry »

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced that at least 23 people in 14 states have been diagnosed with salmonellosis that was caused by the same strain of Salmonella that was found in the recently recalled unsweetened Puffed Rice and unsweetened Puffed Wheat Cereals produced by Malt-O-Meal.

The recalled products were distributed nationally under the Malt-O-Meal brand name as well as under private label brands including Acme, America’s Choice, Food Club, Giant, Hannaford, Jewel, Laura Lynn, Pathmark, Shaw’s, ShopRite, Tops and Weis Quality. The cereals have “Best If Used By” dates from April 8, 2008 (coded as “APR0808”) through March 18, 2009 (coded as “MAR1809”).

Consumers should throw out any product in their homes from these recalled lots. Grocery stores and other retailers should promptly remove the cereals from their shelves. Read the rest of this entry »

The Quaker Oats Co. (owned by PepsiCo Inc.) announced a recall today of Aunt Jemima Pancake & Waffle Mix: Original, Original Complete and Buttermilk Complete, which may have potential salmonella contamination. No other Aunt Jemima, frozen Aunt Jemima or Quaker products are affected.

The products, sold in 2 pound and 5 pound boxes with Best Before dates of FEB 08 09 H through FEB 16 09 H stamped on the top, contain the following UPC codes:

  • 30000 43272: Aunt Jemima Buttermilk Complete, 5 lb.
  • 30000 05040: Aunt Jemima Original, 2 lb.
  • 30000 05070: Aunt Jemima Original Complete, 2 lb.
  • 30000 05300: Aunt Jemima Buttermilk Complete, 2 lb.

Read the rest of this entry »

A startling 83% of the chickens tested in a 2007 Consumer Reports investigation were contaminated with one or both of the leading bacterial causes of food-borne disease — salmonella and campylobacter.

That is up from 49% in 2003, when the group last reported on contamination in chickens.

In their report, “Dirty Birds,” investigators with Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports, concluded that  that fewer than one of five birds tested (17%) were free of both pathogens, the lowest percentage of clean birds recorded since the group began testing chickens eight years ago. Read the rest of this entry »