Recalls and Alerts: April 26 – 28, 2019

Here is today’s list of food safety recalls, product withdrawals, allergy alerts and miscellaneous compliance issues. The live links will take you directly to the official recall notices and company news releases that contain detailed information for each recall and alert.

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United States

Food Safety Recall: Grant Park Packing recalls approximately 53,200 pounds of raw ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O103. Please refer to the recall notice for complete details on the recalled products, which were shipped to Minnesota for further distribution and Kentucky for institutional use.

Canada

OUTBREAK ALERT / FOOD SAFETY RECALL: Retail Resource Services Inc. recalls several Celebrate brand frozen profiteroles and mini eclairs that have been linked to an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis illnesses in six provinces. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products, which were manufactured in Thailand.

Allergy Alert: Concord Premium Meats recalls Marc Angelo brand Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin – BBQ Flavoured (700g; Batch code 2019AL 22; UPC 6 27907 07848 4) and Marc Angelo brand Sweet BBQ Chicken Breast Portions (220g; Batch codes 2019AL08, 209AL10, 2019AL15, 2019AL18, 2019AL22; UPC 6 27907 03489 3) due to undeclared soy and wheat.

Food Safety Recall: Boucherie St-Chrysostome recalls Dried beef jerky (75g; Pack date 24 April 2019) due to lack of temperature storage labeling.

Food Safety Recall: Ecoideas recalls Ecoideas brand Organic Skinned Tigernuts (227g; Product code 84919101 / Best By 013121; UPC 8 75405 00284 9) and Ecoideas brand Organic Skinned Tigernuts (454g; Product code 85619101 / Best By 013121; UPC 8 75405 00285 6) due to Salmonella contamination.

Europe

OUTBREAK ALERT / FOOD SAFETY RECALL (France): La société Fromagerie Alpine recalls FROMAGERIE ALPINE, CARREFOUR, REFLET DE FRANCE, LECLERC, LIDL, AUCHAN, ROCHAMBEAU, PRINCE DES BOIS, SONNAILLES ET PREALPIN brands SAINT- FELICIEN et SAINT MARCELLIN raw milk cheeses due to E. coli O26 contamination. The recalled cheeses have been linked to 13 cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome in young children resulting from E. coli O26 infections.

Food Safety Recall (Belgium): Colruyt recalls various cooked roast beef, raw ground beef and products containing raw ground beef due to potential shigatoxin-producing E. coli contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Belgium): Purasana recalls Purasana brand Raw Chlorella Powder (200g; Lot #CB045I17/12; Best before 30/12/2020) due to Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Germany): Rösner Backstube recalls bread (no details given) due to foreign matter contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Italy): GRANDI SALUMIFICI ITALIANI S.p.A. recalls CONAD S.C. SALAME GOLFETTA® (100g; Lot #26910002; Best before 08 05 2019) due to Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Italy): ARC EN CIEL SOC. AGR. COOP. recalls Sanabios CREMA DI MARRONI DA AGRICOLTURA BIOLOGICA (350g; Lot #17.07.21; Best before 17-07-2021) due to foreign matter contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Italy): ARC EN CIEL SOC. AGR. COOP. recalls ARC EN CIEL brand CREMA DI MARRONI (Lot #17.07.21; Best before 17-07-2021) due to foreign matter contamination.

Food Safety Recall (UK): Asda recalls Asda Cranberry and Nut Cereal Bars (4 x 35g; Best before end September 2019) and Asda Peanut and Almond Cereal Bars (4 x 35g; Best before end September 2019) due to Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (UK): Tesco recalls Tesco Apricot Almond and Yogurt Bars (4 x 35g; Batch codes 9100 and 9101; Best before 31 January 2020) due to Salmonella contamination.

Raw milk, farm animals likely cause of new E. coli outbreak among children

This story by Coral Beach first appeared in Food Safety News and is reposted here with permission.

Photo Illustration

Unpasteurized, raw milk and a visit to an unrelated agricultural animal operation are most likely the causes of an outbreak of E. coli infections among children in Knox County, TN. At least four of the victims are in kidney failure.

Health department spokeswoman Katharine Killen told Food Safety News this afternoon that all of the confirmed illnesses have been caused by the same serotype of E. coli bacteria. During a press conference with local media today, Dr. Joe Childs of East Tennessee Children’s Hospital also reported that all of the cases at that hospital are from one serotype.

Knox County Health Department epidemiologists are working with investigators from the state’s health department and other local and state agencies, including agriculture officials to pinpoint the source of the bacteria.

Childs said the ongoing E. coli outbreak is the largest he has seen in his 30 years at the hospital. Killen said the county averages only about 19 cases on an annual basis. Both said some of the sick children had consumed unpasteurized milk in the days before their symptoms began.

Other victims visited a farm unrelated to the raw milk dairy before becoming ill. Cows and other animals carry E. coli that can cause serious infections in humans. Swimming pools, however — especially public pools — are not a likely source because chemicals used to treat the water are very effective at killing E. coli bacteria, Childs said.

Officials have not specified what kind of agricultural animals victims of the current E. coli outbreak came into contact with before becoming ill. Goats are among the animals that can carry E. coli. Photo illustration

Neither the doctor nor the county spokeswoman would identify the dairy or animal farm. Killen said she wasn’t sure if the dairy was still selling its unpasteurized milk as of this afternoon. A conference call set today could provide more details.

The county started receiving reports about a cluster of E. coli infections among children last week, Killen said. She did not provide the total number of cases or the age range of the patients. However, there are “several” cases and all are children, according to county information.

The East Tennessee Children’s Hospital started hearing about the cluster of E. coli illnesses about 10 days ago, Childs said. He said the hospital is “approaching” 10 cases. Some children who were admitted have recovered enough to go home. Other’s are more seriously ill. Children started being admitted to intensive care units at the hospital about four days ago. Four of the children have developed a life-threatening form of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

Tennessee is one of the states that allows sales of unpasteurized raw milk. Federal law prohibits the interstate sale of raw milk because of its high risk for causing foodborne illnesses. Young children, elderly people, pregnant women and people with depleted immune systems are at the highest risk of developing life-threatening complications, according to a wide variety of health care providers and other entities.

Among those recommending against consumption of unpasteurized, raw milk are the American Academy of Pediatrics, state health departments, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Pasteurization is the process of heating milk to 161 degrees F for 15 seconds. It kills bacteria, viruses and parasites commonly carried by dairy cows. Those pathogens include E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes and Brucella.

Photo illustration

Advice to consumers
Anyone in the Knox County area — including people who consumed raw milk from the area or visited an animal operation — who develops symptoms of E. coli infection should immediately seek medical attention. 

People should make sure their doctors know about their possible exposure to the pathogen so the proper diagnostic testing and treatment can be provided, Childs said. 

Antibiotics generally should not be used for E. coli infections because the bacteria die off and release even more toxins into the body. This complicates diagnosis because the symptoms of E. coli infections are similar to other illnesses that should be treated with antibiotics.

Symptoms usually begin one to eight days after ingesting the bacteria, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention. Symptoms can include diarrhea that can range from mild and watery to severe and bloody; abdominal cramping, pain or tenderness; nausea; and vomiting in some people.

Healthy adults usually recover from E. coli O157:H7 infections within a week. Young children, older adults, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems have a greater risk of developing a life-threatening form of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

New Hope for HUS

In one of the first rays of hope for sufferers of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), FDA announced today its approval of Soliris “… to treat patients with atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (aHUS), a rare and chronic blood disease that can lead to kidney (renal) failure and is also associated with increased risk of death and stroke.”

According to FDA, atypical HUS accounts for 5-10% of all cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome and affects children disproportionately. Soliris is the first drug to be approved in the USA for treating atypical HUS.

Soliris (eculizumab) is a humanized monoclonal antibody that was first approved by FDA in 2007 to treat a rare type of blood disorder (paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria), and is classified as an orphan drug. It is marketed in the USA by Alexion Pharmaceuticals.

While today’s FDA approval of Soliris is limited to atypical HUS, the agency’s action represents the first hint that a specific treatment for more common forms of hemolytic uremic syndrome may be in the offing. HUS is a life-threatening syndrome that affects a significant percentage of people – especially children – who are infected with E. coli O157:H7 and other shiga-toxin producing strains of E. coli.

More than 900 victims of this summer’s E. coli O104:H4 outbreak developed HUS, and 34 of those people died of the disease. The death toll might have been even higher, had doctors not administered eculizumab (Soliris) to 3 children with severe HUS and central nervous system complications. The children were at risk of permanent neurologic damage and not responding to conventional treatment.

All three children responded to the Soliris treatment, and eventually were discharged from hospital with apparently normal neurological status and little or no residual effects of their illness. Six months later, all three children were “in full remission,” according to a report published in New England Journal of Medicine.

Doctors who want to use Soliris to treat HUS must jump through a few extra hoops, due to the limited nature of its clinical trial. Soliris is available only through a restricted program, according to FDA, and prescribers must enroll in a registration program and provide a medication guide to patients who receive the drug.

Nevertheless, today’s approval is major news for HUS sufferers, so many of whom are children. Parents whose children are suffering from HUS – and physicians who treat HUS patients – should educate themselves about this new treatment possibility.