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Pesticide Salsa Sickens 20 in Kansas

In late August 2009, patrons of Mi Ranchito restaurant in Lenexa, Kansas, began falling ill.

Their symptoms included severe nausea and vomiting. Part of the mystery surrounding the outbreak of illnesses was that the victims’ symptoms came on so quickly after dining at the restaurant–sometimes just after eating the meal.

The reason, as investigating health authorities recently discovered, was that the outbreak was not caused by a common foodborne pathogen like E. coli O157:H7 or Salmonella, which typically take a lot longer to incubate before causing illness. It was caused by the ingestion of a dangerous pesticide called methomyl, which causes illness much more quickly in human beings than do its bacterial and viral counterparts

Methomyl is a highly toxic compound in EPA toxicity class I. It was introduced in 1966 as a broad spectrum insecticide to be applied to the surface of plant foliage. Methomyl effectively kills target insects by direct contact, or by what is known as “systemic poisoning” or absorption of the insecticide by the target insects.

Oral ingestion by human beings is the quickest, most efficient delivery route, and produces the most severe symptoms.

Typically, symptoms of methomyl poisoning include weakness, blurred vision, headache, nausea, abdominal cramps, chest discomfort, constriction of pupils, sweating, muscle tremors, and decreased pulse. Cases of severe poisoning may also cause apparent neurological dysfunction including twitching, giddiness, confusion, lack of muscle coordination, slurred speech, low blood pressure, heart irregularities, and loss of reflexes.

In the most severe cases, paralysis and death may occur. In addition to ingestion orally, people may become sick from methomyl poisoning by inhalation of aerosolized or dustborne particles, and even by skin contact with the pesticide.

For the Mi Ranchito outbreak, the remaining mystery is how, or for what reason, a pesticide would have contaminated the restaurant’s salsa, which was identified as the contaminated food vehicle.

Given the nature of the contaminant involved one conclusion would be that a particular ingredient in the salsa was treated with a heavy dose of methomyl, which was not adequately washed off prior to processing or service.

Another theory, according to Rulber Dela Torre, one of the restaurant’s founders, is that the methomyl contamination was a deliberate act.

Understandably upset about his restaurant’s association with the public health crisis, Dela Torre stated ” If this did happen, it was a deliberate act by somebody who wants to hurt my business.”

State officials cleared the restaurant to open last week after it passed a safety inspection and its employees passed a safety test.

© Food Safety News
  • bob krieger

    This is an unusual event that requires clarification. Was the episode diagnosed as methomyl poisoning by public health officials? If yes, what clinical evidence was presented? what was the extent of methomyl contamination in the salsa? Normal rates of application of methomyl would not yield residues capable of acute poisoning. “Nausea and vomiting” are non-descript findings of illness. The matter should be carefully and critically investigated. There is probably a lot more to this story.

  • st

    Look at the 4 U.S. Patents, which Agraquest’s Denise Manker is listed on. AND NOTICE: THEY START IN 1998. She was with Agraquest in 1995 (founding scientist along with Pam Marrone).
    _______________________________________________________
    United States Patent
    6,844,182
    Outtrup , et al.
    January 18, 2005
    Mutants which produce a potentiator of bacillus pesticidal activity
    Abstract
    This invention is directed to Bacillus mutants which produce a factor which potentiates the pesticidal activity of a Bacillus related pesticide, a chemical pesticide and/or a virus with pesticidal properties.
    Inventors:
    Outtrup; Helle (Denmark, DK), Lidster; William D. (Sacramento, CA), MacIntosh; Susan C. (Woodland, CA), Starnes; Robert L. (Sacramento, CA), Manker; Denise Carol (Davis, CA)
    Assignee:
    Valent BioSciences Corporation (Libertyville, IL)
    Appl. No.:
    09/858,207
    Filed:
    May 15, 2001
    6.3. Compositions Comprising the Factor
    The factor obtained from the mutants of the present invention can be formulated alone; with a Bacillus related pesticide, which as defined, supra, is a Bacillus strain, spore, protein or fragment, or other substance, thereof, with activity against or which kills pests or protects plants against a pest; with a chemical pesticide and/or an entomopathogenic virus
    The chemical pesticide may be, for example, an insect growth regulator such as diflubenzuron, a carbamate such as thiodicarb and methomyl, an organophosphate such as chlorpyrifos, a pyrethroid such as cypermethrin and esfenvalerate, inorganic fluorine such as cryolite, and a pyrrole.
    ______________________________________
    United States Patent
    6,406,691
    Manker , et al.
    June 18, 2002
    Potentiator of Bacillus pesticidal activity
    Abstract
    The present invention relates to a factor that potentiates the pesticidal activity of a Bacillus related pesticide as well as methods for isolating and identifying said factor. The invention further relates to pesticidal compositions comprising the factor as well as methods of using the pesticidal compositions to control a pest and decrease the resistance of a pest to a pesticide and potentiate a Bacillus related pesticide.
    Inventors:
    Manker; Denise C. (Davis, CA), Lidster; William D. (Sacramento, CA), MacIntosh; Susan C. (Woodland, CA), Starnes; Robert L. (Sacramento, CA)
    Assignee:
    Valent Biosciences Corp. (Libertyville, IL)
    Appl. No.:
    09/013,488
    Filed:
    January 26, 1998
    5.2 Compositions Comprising the Factor
    The factor of the present invention can be formulated alone; with a Bacillus. related pesticide, which as defined, supra, is a Bacillus strain, spore, protein or fragment, or other substance, thereof, with activity against or which kills pests or protects plants against a pest; with a chemical pesticide and/or an entomopathogenic virus and an acceptable carrier into a pesticidal composition(s), that is, for example, a suspension, a solution, an emulsion, a dusting powder, a dispersible granule, a wettable powder, an emulsifiable concentrate, an aerosol or impregnated granule.
    The chemical pesticidal may be, for example, an insect growth regulator such as diflubensuron, a carbamate such as thiodicarb and methomyl, an organophosphate such as. chlorpyrifos, a pyrethroid such as cypermethrin and esfenvalerate, inorganic fluorine such as cryolite, and a pyrrole.
    ___________________________________
    United States Patent
    6,277,624
    Outtrup , et al.
    August 21, 2001
    Mutants which produce a potentiator of Bacillus pesticidal activity
    Abstract
    This invention is directed to Bacillus mutants which produce a factor which potentiates the pesticidal activity of a Bacillus related pesticide, a chemical pesticide and/or a virus with pesticidal properties.
    Inventors:
    Outtrup; Helle (Ballerup, DK), Lidster; William D. (Sacramento, CA), MacIntosh; Susan C. (Woodland, CA), Starnes; Robert L. (Sacramento, CA), Manker; Denise Carol (Davis, CA)
    Assignee:
    Valent BioSciences, Inc. (Libertyville, IL)
    Appl. No.:
    09/013,375
    Filed:
    January 26, 1998
    6.3. COMPOSITIONS COMPRISING THE FACTOR
    The factor obtained from the mutants of the present invention can be formulated alone; with a Bacillus related pesticide, which as defined, supra, is a Bacillus strain, spore, protein or fragment, or other substance, thereof, with activity against or which kills pests or protects plants against a pest; with a chemical pesticide and/or an entomopathogenic virus
    The chemical pesticide may be, for example, an insect growth regulator such as diflubenzuron, a carbamate such as thiodicarb and methomyl, an organophosphate such as chlorpyrifos, a pyrethroid such as cypermethrin and esfenvalerate, inorganic fluorine such as cryolite, and a pyrrole.
    ______________________________________
    United States Patent
    6,268,181
    Manker , et al.
    July 31, 2001
    Methods for producing a potentiator of Bacillus pesticidal activity
    Abstract
    This invention is directed to a method for obtaining a factor which potentiates the pesticidal activity of a Bacillus related pesticide, a chemical pesticide and/or a virus with pesticidal properties.
    Inventors:
    Manker; Denise Carol (Davis, CA), Lidster; William D. (Sacramento, CA), MacIntosh; Susan C. (Woodland, CA), Starnes; Robert L. (Sacramento, CA)
    Assignee:
    Valent BioSciences, Corporation (Libertyville, IL)
    Appl. No.:
    09/015,647
    Filed:
    January 28, 1998
    6.2. Compositions Comprising the Factor
    The factor obtained can be formulated alone; with a Bacillus related pesticide, which as defined, supra, is a Bacillus strain, spore, protein or fragment, or other substance, thereof, with activity against or which kills pests or protects plants against a pest; with a chemical pesticide and/or an entomopathogenic virus
    The chemical pesticide may be, for example, an insect growth regulator such as diflubenzuron, a carbamate such as thiodicarb and methomyl, an organophosphate such as chlorpyrifos, a pyrethroid such as cypermethrin and esfenvalerate, inorganic fluorine such as cryolite, and a pyrrole.

  • st

    METHOMYL USED IN BIO-CONTROL PRODUCTS
    United States Patent
    6,844,182
    Outtrup , et al.
    January 18, 2005
    Mutants which produce a potentiator of bacillus pesticidal activity
    Abstract
    This invention is directed to Bacillus mutants which produce a factor which potentiates the pesticidal activity of a Bacillus related pesticide, a chemical pesticide and/or a virus with pesticidal properties.
    Inventors:
    Outtrup; Helle (Denmark, DK), Lidster; William D. (Sacramento, CA), MacIntosh; Susan C. (Woodland, CA), Starnes; Robert L. (Sacramento, CA), Manker; Denise Carol (Davis, CA)
    Assignee:
    Valent BioSciences Corporation (Libertyville, IL)
    Appl. No.:
    09/858,207
    Filed:
    May 15, 2001
    6.3. Compositions Comprising the Factor
    The factor obtained from the mutants of the present invention can be formulated alone; with a Bacillus related pesticide, which as defined, supra, is a Bacillus strain, spore, protein or fragment, or other substance, thereof, with activity against or which kills pests or protects plants against a pest; with a chemical pesticide and/or an entomopathogenic virus
    The chemical pesticide may be, for example, an insect growth regulator such as diflubenzuron, a carbamate such as thiodicarb and methomyl, an organophosphate such as chlorpyrifos, a pyrethroid such as cypermethrin and esfenvalerate, inorganic fluorine such as cryolite, and a pyrrole.
    ______________________________________
    United States Patent
    6,406,691
    Manker , et al.
    June 18, 2002
    Potentiator of Bacillus pesticidal activity
    Abstract
    The present invention relates to a factor that potentiates the pesticidal activity of a Bacillus related pesticide as well as methods for isolating and identifying said factor. The invention further relates to pesticidal compositions comprising the factor as well as methods of using the pesticidal compositions to control a pest and decrease the resistance of a pest to a pesticide and potentiate a Bacillus related pesticide.
    Inventors:
    Manker; Denise C. (Davis, CA), Lidster; William D. (Sacramento, CA), MacIntosh; Susan C. (Woodland, CA), Starnes; Robert L. (Sacramento, CA)
    Assignee:
    Valent Biosciences Corp. (Libertyville, IL)
    Appl. No.:
    09/013,488
    Filed:
    January 26, 1998
    5.2 Compositions Comprising the Factor
    The factor of the present invention can be formulated alone; with a Bacillus. related pesticide, which as defined, supra, is a Bacillus strain, spore, protein or fragment, or other substance, thereof, with activity against or which kills pests or protects plants against a pest; with a chemical pesticide and/or an entomopathogenic virus and an acceptable carrier into a pesticidal composition(s), that is, for example, a suspension, a solution, an emulsion, a dusting powder, a dispersible granule, a wettable powder, an emulsifiable concentrate, an aerosol or impregnated granule.
    The chemical pesticidal may be, for example, an insect growth regulator such as diflubensuron, a carbamate such as thiodicarb and methomyl, an organophosphate such as. chlorpyrifos, a pyrethroid such as cypermethrin and esfenvalerate, inorganic fluorine such as cryolite, and a pyrrole.
    ___________________________________
    United States Patent
    6,277,624
    Outtrup , et al.
    August 21, 2001
    Mutants which produce a potentiator of Bacillus pesticidal activity
    Abstract
    This invention is directed to Bacillus mutants which produce a factor which potentiates the pesticidal activity of a Bacillus related pesticide, a chemical pesticide and/or a virus with pesticidal properties.
    Inventors:
    Outtrup; Helle (Ballerup, DK), Lidster; William D. (Sacramento, CA), MacIntosh; Susan C. (Woodland, CA), Starnes; Robert L. (Sacramento, CA), Manker; Denise Carol (Davis, CA)
    Assignee:
    Valent BioSciences, Inc. (Libertyville, IL)
    Appl. No.:
    09/013,375
    Filed:
    January 26, 1998
    6.3. COMPOSITIONS COMPRISING THE FACTOR
    The factor obtained from the mutants of the present invention can be formulated alone; with a Bacillus related pesticide, which as defined, supra, is a Bacillus strain, spore, protein or fragment, or other substance, thereof, with activity against or which kills pests or protects plants against a pest; with a chemical pesticide and/or an entomopathogenic virus
    The chemical pesticide may be, for example, an insect growth regulator such as diflubenzuron, a carbamate such as thiodicarb and methomyl, an organophosphate such as chlorpyrifos, a pyrethroid such as cypermethrin and esfenvalerate, inorganic fluorine such as cryolite, and a pyrrole.
    ______________________________________
    United States Patent
    6,268,181
    Manker , et al.
    July 31, 2001
    Methods for producing a potentiator of Bacillus pesticidal activity
    Abstract
    This invention is directed to a method for obtaining a factor which potentiates the pesticidal activity of a Bacillus related pesticide, a chemical pesticide and/or a virus with pesticidal properties.
    Inventors:
    Manker; Denise Carol (Davis, CA), Lidster; William D. (Sacramento, CA), MacIntosh; Susan C. (Woodland, CA), Starnes; Robert L. (Sacramento, CA)
    Assignee:
    Valent BioSciences, Corporation (Libertyville, IL)
    Appl. No.:
    09/015,647
    Filed:
    January 28, 1998
    6.2. Compositions Comprising the Factor
    The factor obtained can be formulated alone; with a Bacillus related pesticide, which as defined, supra, is a Bacillus strain, spore, protein or fragment, or other substance, thereof, with activity against or which kills pests or protects plants against a pest; with a chemical pesticide and/or an entomopathogenic virus
    The chemical pesticide may be, for example, an insect growth regulator such as diflubenzuron, a carbamate such as thiodicarb and methomyl, an organophosphate such as chlorpyrifos, a pyrethroid such as cypermethrin and esfenvalerate, inorganic fluorine such as cryolite, and a pyrrole.