Norovirus, also known as Norwalk virus, is a fast-spreading and very unpleasant gastrointestinal illness. It thrives in environments with lots of people in close quarters, like health care facilities, cruise ships, and conventions. That’s why it’s bad news that norovirus has been reported at a big gathering in Cleveland happening now: the Republican National Convention. [More]
Yesterday, Chipotle restaurants didn’t open until 3 PM so 50,000 or so restaurant employees could sit in hotel conference rooms or movie theaters to watch a live-streamed company-wide meeting about food safety. The future of the chain is at stake, and their task is to prove to the public that they’re not trying to make us all sick. [More]
Foodborne illness outbreaks have dominated the news in recent months: E. coli and norovirus at Chipotle, listeria in prepackaged Dole salad mixes, and salmonella in cucumbers. These outbreaks have sickened — and in some cases killed — consumers, and one food safety expert says that inadequate safety oversight is at least partly to blame. [More]
There’s a promotion at Chipotle tonight where people who wear costumes that include something extra, or a scary “unnecessary additive,” get burritos for $3. Yet restaurants in two states have closed today “out of an abundance of caution” because of something even scarier: an apparent outbreak of Shiga toxin E. coli in recent weeks at six restaurants in Oregon and Washington. [More]
The question of who is in charge of a given foodborne outbreak can become complicated in the United States: responsibility for testing and recalling different food types and for tracing infectious diseases is split between three federal government and numerous state and local government agencies. Yet there is one great tool that the infectious disease experts over at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have given us: The FOOD database. [More]
Sprouts are exactly what they sound like: the first sprouts from plants like beans or alfalfa, grown for a short time and then packaged for maximum deliciousness in a stir fry or on a salad. However, two pieces of sprout-related news from this week might make you pause before adding them to your salad. [More]
Foster Farms Recalls 39,747 Pounds Of Cooked Frozen Chicken Strips For Possible Listeria Contamination
You may remember the name Foster Farms from the year-long salmonella outbreak that authorities finally linked to the company this past July. During a recent inspection, routine tests turned up Listeria Monocytogenes bacteria in frozen chicken strips shipped to warehouses in California, Texas, Utah, and Washington state. [More]
Whenever we forget how massively inter-connected our food supply is, a huge national recall of prepared foods comes along and reminds us. This time, the reminder comes from Minnesota-based manufacturer Parkers Farm Acquisition, LLC, which packages salsa, cold pack cheeses, peanut butter, and pepper spreads under its own name and also store brands. Some of their products were contaminated with the very nasty foodborne pathogen, Listeria monocytogenes.
The bad news is that 181,620 pounds of chicken and ham salads sold in popular retail outlets like Walgreens, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s has been recalled due to possible contamination with E. coli bacteria. The good news, if such a thing is possible, is that this isn’t yet another iteration of the massive and scary Foster Farms salmonella recall from last month. [More]
Mmm, listeria! Last week, Reser’s Fine Foods recalled 109,000 cases of refrigerated ready-to-eat salads, dips, slaws, and other items that you generally serve cold and don’t reheat enough to kill off all bacteria. Now they’ve expanded that recall to include meat-containing products like chicken and ham salad and baked beans with beef. [More]
The shopper loyalty cards that your grocery store provides can have a higher purpose than giving you discounts, profiling your shopping habits, and racking up points for rewards programs. Loyalty card data can also help track down the source of foodborne pathogens, retaining records of specific brands and items that customers probably won’t remember. Trying to find the source of a mysterious salmonella outbreak, the CDC mined grocery loyalty card data to narrow the source down to specific brands of Italian cured meat.
It may seem like a minor inconvenience when you’re home sick with some kind of foodborne illness, but the overall cost of these illnesses to our economy is huge–and staggering when you consider how many foodborne illnesses are preventable. A new study from the Produce Safety Project, a Pew Charitable Trusts initiative, shows that foodborne illness costs $152 billion nationwide each year in medical care and quality of life.
Americans should have more poop in their diets, writes a doctor at Slate. Like superbugs and anti-bacterial products, we’ve become too successful at cleansing our food supply of all manner of contaminants—so that kids, for example, “have zero experience with routine gut infections, and when they encounter one that has slipped past our pipes and filters, the result can be catastrophic.”