A deadly salmonella outbreak from last year ended before 2019 expired, but three other multistate foodborne illness Investigations involving Listeria and E. coli O157: H7 remain open into 2020

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, which is responsible for investigating multistate outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, closed the salmonella outbreak investigation.

A Dec. 30 CDC report said the outbreak involving contaminated ground beef “appears to be over. It ended with a tally of 13 illnesses in eight states and included nine hospitalizations and one death.

During the outbreak investigation, the CDC warned the public not to eat Stater Bros Ground Beef.

The outbreak was associated with the Nov. 15, 2019 recall of 34,222 pounds of ground beef by Hanford, CA-based Central Valley Meat Co., it may be contaminated with Salmonella Dublin.

The recalled beef, produced on July 23, 2019, was shipped to retail locations in California and labeled as the Stater Bros brand and establishment No. “EST. 6063A”

The epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory evidence all pointed to the contaminated ground beef as the source of the Salmonella Dublin outbreak. However, a single common supplier of ground beef accounting for all of the illnesses could not be identified.

Illnesses in the outbreak were experienced from Aug.8, 2019 to Oct. 22, 2019. The ill people ranged in age from 39 to 74 years of age, with a median age of 66. One death in California resulted from the outbreak.

An outbreak of Listeria infections linked to hard-boiled eggs tops the list of open multistate investigations that continue in 2020. Also responsible for one death, the outbreak count includes seven Listeria cases in five states with four hospitalizations.

Almark Foods has recalled all its hard-boiled egg production at its Gainesville, GA facility for potential Listeria contamination. The recalled eggs were sold to foodservice and retail outlets under more than 30 brand names.

Almark’s business customers who’ve bought and recalled the products on their own include Bakkavor Foods, Diebergs Kitchen, Reichel Foods, and Great American Deli.

The two E. coli O157: H7 outbreaks that remain open in 2020 both likely involve romaine lettuce, making it the four consecutive years that romaine and E. coli have been like “gum on the shoe” problem for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Eight E. coli cases in three states with three hospitalizations are blamed on Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp Chopped Salad Kits. The recalled Fresh Express bagged salads had UPC 0 71279 30906 and began with lot code Z, and best-before date 07DEC19 were recalled.

Romaine was one of the ingredients in the Fresh Express salad kits, but CDC has not determined if its the same product involved in the larger open outbreak.

The E. coli outbreak involving romaine from the Salinas growing area of California sickened 138 people in 25 states before 2019 ended. It had sent 72 to hospitals but fortunately has not killed anyone yet.

CCD has warned consumers to eat any romaine grown in the Salinas, CA area. If consumers cannot determine where romaine was grown, they also should not eat it.

Shiga toxin-producing E.  coli typically causes stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting over 5 to 7 days. However, it can also cause kidney failure known as a hemolytic uremic syndrome or HUS.

The current outbreak is caused by the same strain of E. coli O157: H7 that caused the outbreaks linked to leafy greens since 2017.

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