Today the FDA announced a new foodborne illness outbreak from an unknown  source. The outbreak comes on the heels of three others of unknown origin that were investigated in late 2020. Those events  have since been declared over.

In the Food and Drug Administration’s “CORE Investigation Table Update” the new outbreak constitutes a huge  one-liner as you read across the boxes in the weekly grid. Without the source, though, there are few details available, according to an FDA spokesperson. 

“If an entry in this column reads ‘Not Yet Identified’ we don’t have enough evidence to determine what specific food is making people sick at this stage of the investigation. The investigations on the table will be at many different stages, and when we have narrowed the traceback investigation enough to identify a likely food as the suspect vehicle, we will report that information publicly,” according to a spokesperson for the CORE program.

“After looking for signals that could be an early warning of an outbreak and then determining that an FDA-regulated food item is likely causing an outbreak, the outbreak is transferred to a response team. At that time, the information regarding that outbreak will post on the CORE Investigation Table.”

As of this afternoon neither the FDA nor the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had added any outbreak notices to their websites yet this year.

“. . . when we have narrowed the traceback investigation enough to identify a likely food as the suspect vehicle, we will report that information publicly,” said the FDA spokesperson.

Neither FDA nor CDC agency has released information about the new Salmonella Miami outbreak, except for the FDA’s reference in the weekly grid. Following is the grid information regarding the new outbreak, listed in bullet format:

  • Date posted: 01/13/21 — no link
  • Reference number: 10 — no link
  • Pathogen: Salmonella Miami — link to general Salmonella information page
  • Products linked to illnesses, if any: not yet identified — no link
  • Total case (patient) count: 48 — no link
  • Investigation status: Active — no link
  • Outbreak status: Ongoing “See Advice” — links to safe food handling page
  • Recall initiated: blank box
  • Traceback initiated: box checked — no link
  • Onsite inspection initiated: blank box — no link
  • Sample collection and analysis initiated: blank box — no link

About Salmonella infections
Food contaminated with Salmonella bacteria does not usually look, smell, or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection. Infants, children, seniors, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.

Anyone who has developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about any possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonellosis. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Otherwise, healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, diarrhea may be so severe that patients require hospitalization.

Older adults, children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop a severe illness and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions.

Some people get infected without getting sick or showing any symptoms. However, they may still spread the infections to others.