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Food Safety News

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STEC

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

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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

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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

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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

Opinion

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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?

Opinion

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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

Opinion

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

Sources Remain Mysteries in Two Separate E. Coli Deaths

Boy dies in Massachusetts while a possible multistate outbreak kills girl in Louisiana

Two unrelated E. coli deaths at the end of May — a 6-year-old Massachusetts boy and a 21-month-old girl in Louisiana — still have public health officials searching for possible sources and explanations. In Millbury, Massachusetts, Owen Carrignan died May 26 after developing hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a kidney disease brought on severe E. coli… Continue Reading

FSIS Set to Implement Non-O157 E. coli Policy Next Week

Just days before the agency is set to begin testing raw beef trimmings for more strains of disease-causing E. coli, the Food Safety and Inspection Service issued a detailed response to comments it has received about the new policy. The new document, published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, confirms that despite industry calls for… Continue Reading

Q&A With Elisabeth Hagen, Part I: USDA’s New Non-O157 STEC Policy

A conversation with our nation’s highest ranking food safety official, Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, Under Secretary for Food Safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, on the agency’s landmark new policy on non-O157 STECs. Q: Can you give us a little bit of the background – some of the back story or detail that we maybe… Continue Reading