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Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption


E. Coli Outbreak Centered on Private School in Louisiana


When an exclusive private school suddenly extends its Easter break, it might be a good time to check with social media to see if, in fact, an outbreak of foodborne illness has occurred. That appears to be what has happened with Louisiana’s Silliman Institute, where the original schedule for the term shows Easter break not… Continue Reading

Culture-Independent Diagnostics Most Common for Campylobacter, STEC


According to Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network’s report on foodborne illness in 2013, clinical laboratories used culture-independent diagnostic tests (CIDTs) to detect more than 20,000 infections. Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has delved deeper into the data collected about these tests. CIDTs are attractive to clinicians because they can be faster… Continue Reading

Swedish Study Finds STEC in 13 Percent of Imported Beef


Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) has been detected in 13 percent of beef samples tested from meat imported to Sweden between 2010 and 2011. The country’s National Food Agency tested both beef and leafy greens to obtain data that will help assess the public health risk of STEC in food and could help in developing… Continue Reading

FoodNet Report: Pathogen Infection Rates Still ‘Well Above’ Government Targets


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its latest report card on the trends in foodborne illnesses on Thursday, and, in general, not much has changed from previous years. According to the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet), there were a total of 19,056 infections, 4,200 hospitalizations and 80 deaths reported in 2013…. Continue Reading

Mother Transfers E. coli to Son During Delivery

Newborn's illness was first recorded from this strain


The first reported case of human illness from E. coli O146:H28 was recorded this year in Switzerland in a two-day-old boy. While this strain of E. coli was known to be pathogenic because it produces Shiga toxins,  it had not previously produced symptoms in infected humans. Researchers speculate that the newborn contracted the bacteria from… Continue Reading

Salad Makings Blamed for 5-State E. coli Outbreak


The Organic Spinach and Spring Mix Blend salad makings responsible for an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 (STEC O157:H7) has sickened 28 and put ten people in hospitals. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta on Monday said most of the cases were in New York State. Of those… Continue Reading

Publisher’s Platform: MMWR – Food for Thought



Several years ago I started following the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).  It used to come weekly in the mail (perhaps it still does), but it is a bit easier to see it online and it can be quickly downloaded. Given my profession, I tend to quickly pass over some of the other… Continue Reading

STEC Derived HUS: Infection or Toxemia?



For some time now, the worldwide food supply has been under attack by a bacterium we know well as a generally non-trouble-making resident of the human colon (Escherichia coli), which has lately been possessed of a terrible “new” weapon in the form of Shiga toxin. We call this beast “Shiga toxin-producing  E. coli” (STEC). We… Continue Reading

New Antitoxin Targets Many Pathogens

A team of researchers at Tufts University has developed a powerful and efficient way to weaken toxins and clear them from the body. Toxins produced by dangerous bacteria such as Clostridium botulinum or certain strains of E. coli can cause serious damage or even death if allowed to take their course. Current strategies for combating… Continue Reading

Publisher’s Platform: Non-O157 E. coli – An Alphabet Soup of Illness


E. coli O157:H7, O26, O111, O103, O121, O45 and O145 – it can get a bit(e) confusing. As of June 8, 2012, the CDC and various State health Departments report that there are 14 cases of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O145 infection with indistinguishable DNA patterns that have been identified in lab samples from… Continue Reading