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).

Recalls and Alerts: May 27 – June 4, 2018

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.

If you would like to receive automatic email alerts for all new articles posted on eFoodAlert, please submit your request using the sidebar link.

United States

Outbreak Alert Update: CDC reports that the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak associated with consumption of romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region has claimed 5 lives. A total of 197 consumers from 35 states have been infected by the outbreak strain, and 89 of the outbreak victims required hospitalization.

Allergy Alert: Shearer’s Foods, LLC recalls Meijer brand Dill Pickle Flavored Potato Chips (9.5-oz bags; Sell by dates between 07/16/18 and 08/13/18; UPC 719283594365) due to undeclared milk. The recalled product was shipped to Meijer distribution centers.

Allergy Alert: SDQ Trading Inc. recalls Cheese Biscuits (16.5-oz pkg; UPC 6926145712902) due to undeclared milk. The recalled product was distributed in New York State in retail stores.

Allergy Alert: Sanders recalls Milk Chocolate Covered Fudge Mini Bites (3.75-oz pkg; Lot #8109 FL; Best by January 31, 2019) due to undeclared almonds. The recalled product was distributed throughout several Michigan retail stores.

Food Safety Recall: Goodman Food Products, Texas, Inc. recalls approximately 34,400 pounds of fully cooked ground beef products due to potential foreign matter (hard, white plastic) contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products, which were shipped to institutional locations in Maine and Connecticut.

Food Safety Recall: H-E-B recalls certain flavors and container sizes of EconoMax and Hill Country Fare ice creams and Creamy Creations sherbets due to broken metal in processing equipment found during routine maintenance. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products, which were distributed to stores in Texas and Mexico.

Food Safety Recall: Ruiz Food Products, Inc. recalls approximately 50,706 pounds of frozen breakfast burritos due to possible foreign matter (white, semi-rigid plastic pieces) contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a detailed description of the affected items, which were shipped to retail locations nationwide.

Food Safety Recall: Eddy Packing Co., Inc. recalls CARL’S PORK AND BEEF SMOKED SAUSAGE WITH A STICK (10-lb case; Lot code 8073; Case code PS9319; Sell by March 14, 2019) due to possible foreign matter (soft plastic) contamination. The recalled product was shipped to food service businesses in Texas.

Food Safety Recall: Supermercado Selectos recalls approximately 15,315 pounds of various raw, frozen beef, pork and poultry products that were produced without the benefit of federal inspection. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products, which were shipped to DGA Food Service, LLC, who further distributed the items to Head Start Child and Adult Care Food Programs in Puerto Rico.

Dietary Supplement Safety Recall: Pious Lion recalls Pure Premium Potent Limited Release Pink Bali (1-oz clear plastic pouches) and Pure Premium Potent White Maeng DA, Bright Uplifting Energy (4-oz clear plastic pouches) due to potential Salmonella contamination. The recalled products were sold primarily directly to consumers or in retail stores located in the States of North Carolina and Tennessee.

Canada

Outbreak Alert/Food Safety Recall: Loblaw Companies Limited recalls no name Chicken Burgers (1 kg; Outer package code 2019 FE 06; Inner package code 0378M; UPC 0 60383 16636 6) due to possible Salmonella contamination. The recalled product, which was distributed to retailers nationwide, is believed to be the source of 59 cases of Salmonella Enteritidis illness in eight provinces: British Columbia (6), Alberta (8), Manitoba (9), Ontario (14), Quebec (19), New Brunswick (1), Nova Scotia (1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (1).

Allergy Alert: Marché Bellemare (Brossard, QC) recalls GALETTE DE BOEUF HACHÉ / Lean ground beef patty (125g/2-pack; UPC 0227598703988; All lots sold on or before 30 May 2018) due to undeclared mustard seed.

Allergy Alert: Yeh-ho Trading Ltd. recalls Oh Green brand Red Cereal (500g; Expiry 2019.12.27; UPC 4 715409 892076) due to undeclared milk. The recalled product was supplied to retailers in Alberta and British Columbia.

Food Safety Recall: Industry recalls select Love Child Organics brand and PC Organics brand baby food pouches from the marketplace due to packaging defects that may allow the entry of spoilage microorganisms. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products, which were distributed to retailers nationwide.

Food Safety Recall: Messinger Meats recalls Italian Center Shop brand Veal –Ground Alberta 13095 (variable size; Best before MA.28.18 and JN.04.18) due to E. coli O157:H7 contamination. The recalled product was supplied to retailers in Alberta.

Food Safety Recall: Paradise Island Foods Inc. recalls Paradise Island Cheese brand Part Skim Mozzarella Cheese (variable size; Best before Best Before 2018 OC 19; UPC 245189 XXXXXX) due to generic E. coli. The recalled product was supplied to retailers in British Columbia.

Europe

Outbreak Alert/Food Safety Recall Update (France): The recall of cheese manufactured by Chabert has been expanded following the identification of another E. coli O26 outbreak victim who consumed cheese manufactured at the implicated Chabert facility, but cut and repackaged at a different location. Please refer to the recall notice for additional details.

Allergy Alert (Denmark): Flensted Snitgrønt A/S recalls Easy Tasty Coleslaw med sød chilidressing / Easy Tasty Coleslaw with sweet chili dressing (325g; Best by 03/06/18) due to undeclared sesame.

Allergy Alert (France): Jean Stalaven recalls RÉGAL DU CHEF brand omelette crème aux fines herbes et dès de chèvre (260g; Lot 8143/01; Best by 20/06/2018) due to undeclared soy and gluten.

Allergy Alert (Iceland): Krónan recalls Lasagna, Kjúklingalasagna, mexíkóskt lasagna (1 kg; All dates) due to undeclared egg, mustard and celery.

Allergy Alert (Ireland): Lidl Ireland recalls Milbona Cheese Triangles XXL (533g; all batches and codes not labelled in English) due to undeclared egg and milk.

Food Safety Recall (Belgium): Chicken Masters of Belgium recalls Vol au vent Super (750g; Best before 7/6/2018 – 27/6/2018; Lot code 180810011) due to Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Denmark): Løgismose recalls Chicken Breast (Lot 1391800921; Best by 04/06/2018) due to Campylobacter contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): Jean Rozé (Intermarché) recalls Jean Rozé brand Chipolatas -25% de sel (Best by 01/06/2018; Lot #T81380317) due to Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): Jean Rozé (Intermarché) recalls Jean Rozé brand Saucisses de Toulouse -25% de sel (Best by 01/06/2018; Lot #T81380321) due to Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Germany): Frankonia Schokoladenwerke GmbH recalls Power Protein Bar, raspberry flavor (Best before 22.5.2019) due to possible Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Germany): dennree GmbH recalls Porto Muinos Kombu (25g; Lot #LK 211217; Best before 04/2020) due to high levels of iodine.

Food Safety Recall (Germany): iglo GmbH recalls iglo Parsley (40g; Batch No. L8030CR005 / time 14:00 – 22:00; Best before 01/2019) due to shiga-toxin producing E. coli (VTEC).

Food Safety Recall (Germany): Giba Gewürze GmbH & Co. KG Ibrahim Bagbasi recall Sahra and Hira brands Paprika Edelsüss (various sizes and packaging; Lot L.218.G.B; Best before 31.12.2021) due to ochratoxin contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Germany): NUSWEET GmbH recalls NUSWEET Nuss-Nougat-Creme (180 g; Best before 09.10.2019) due to foreign matter (metal particle contamination.

Food Safety Recall (UK): Addo Food Group recalls batches of chilled pastry products, including sausage rolls, pasties, pastry pies and slices due to potential foreign matter (small pieces of metal wire) contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall (UK): Red Star Brands recalls Fulfil White Chocolate & Cookie Dough Vitamin & Protein Bars (55g; Lot #L7318/J; Best before 15 February 2019) due to possible foreign matter (small pieces of clear plastic) contamination.

Australia and New Zealand

Allergy Alert (Australia): Open Side Investments Pty Ltd trading as Ronda Food Products recalls French Style Duck Pate, Wild Mushroom and Cracked Pepper (150g; Use by dates 24/07/18 and 26/07/18) due to undeclared soy and dairy.

Food Safety Recall (New Zealand): New World Rototuna recalls Made In-Store Lamb Sausages (various weights; Best before 15.05.18) due to possible plastic foreign matter contamination.

Food Safety Recall (New Zealand): Wilson Consumer Products Ltd recalls Hormel brand Luncheon Meat (340g; Batch F143 EST 199N; Packed on 09/02/2018) due to possible metal foreign matter contamination.

Food Safety Recall (New Zealand): Drury Church Trust recalls Drury Church Trust raw (unpasteurised) milk (various sizes; Batch Nos. 170518 & 180518) due to Campylobacter contamination.

Recalls and Alerts: February 26, 2013

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.

If you would like to receive automatic email alerts for all new articles posted on eFoodAlert, please submit your request using the sidebar link.

For up-to-date information on recalls and product withdrawals associated with the horse meat investigation, please consult the Horse Meat Synopsis and Recalls page.

For up-to-date information on recalls and product withdrawals associated with the Kasel pet treat recalls and investigation, please consult the Kasel Dog Treat Recalls: 2012-2013 page.

United States

  • Allergy Alert: Lion Pavilion Ltd. (Maspeth, NY) recalls Grassplot Ginger Slices (100g/3.5 oz clear plastic bottle; Uncoded; Product of China), due to undeclared sulfites. The recalled product was distributed nationwide.
  • Allergy Alert: Domega NY International Co. Ltd. (Brooklyn, NY) recalls Green Day Brand White Melon Seeds (9.8 oz/280g clear plastic bag on plastic tray insert; EXP 09/29/2014; UPC 6868978724120; Product of China), due to undeclared sulfites. The recalled product was sold in New York City.
  • Food Safety Alert: The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services and Poland Spring recommend that people who have purchased 3-gallon or 5-gallon water bottles from Poland Spring since November 1, 2012 open them and check for possible gasoline odors before using the water. After Super Storm Sandy, some residents used empty containers such as large water bottles to transport gasoline, and a small number of contaminated bottles are believed to have made it through the detection process and back into consumer use.
  • Food Safety Alert: The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is warning consumers not to drink Dungeness Valley Creamery brand raw Jersey whole milk, raw Jersey skim milk, and raw Jersey cream because the products may be contaminated with toxin-producing Escherichia coli bacteria. The alert was initiated after routine sampling by WSDA found the pathogen in a sample of raw cream. Dungeness Valley Creamery products are sold at the following locations: Bainbridge Island (Real Foods; Pan D’Amore; Walt’s Lynwood Center Market), Bothell (Tru Health), Bremerton (CJ’s Evergreen General Store; Fresh Local), Federal Way (Marlene’s Market & Deli), Issaquah (Front Street Red Apple), Longview (Country Village Nutrition Shoppe), Olympia (Olympia Food Co-op East; Olympia Food Co-op West), Port Angeles (Country Aire; Good To Go), Port Townsend (Port Townsend Food Co-op), Poulsbo (Abundantly Green), Seattle (Madison Market; My Asia’s Essentials; Pike Place Market Creamery), Sequim (Sequim Prairie Grange; Red Rooster Grocery; Sunny Farms Farm Store), Tacoma (Marlene’s Market & Deli), and Vancouver (Chuck’s Produce; Neighbors Market)

Canada

  • Food Safety Recall: Cardinal Meat Specialists Limited recalls Cardinal Beef Burgers (4.54 kg; Production code ending 22712) due to E. coli O157:H7 contamination. The recalled product was supplied to hotels, restaurants and institutions in Ontario and Quebec.
  • Food Safety Recall: Arla Foods Incorporated (Concord, ON) recalls Mauri brand Gorgonzola Cheese (Approx. 1.44 kg; Product of Italy; Code L. 3100012; Packaging date 07/01/13; Best before 07/04/13), due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. The recalled product was sold to consumers in Alberta, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec.
  • Food Safety Recall: Clic International Inc. (Laval, QC) recalls Clic Sesame Paste Tahina (454g/1 lb containers; Lot #1 350/12; UPC 0 58504 74097 7), due to possible Salmonella contamination. The recalled product was sold to consumers nationwide.
  • Food Safety Recall: Loblaw Companies Ltd. recalls PC White Corn Black Bean Mild Salsa (650ml UPC 060383697211; Product code date BB 2013DE07) and PC Salsa Mild (430ml; UPC 060383736194; Product code date BB2014JA30), because some of the product may contain pieces of plastic. The recalled products were sold to consumers in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan.
  • Food Recall: Saladexpress (1995) Inc. recalls Saladexpress Iceberg Kit (3.745 kg; Product code 70344; Production date 13/02/2013; Best before 24/02/2013), due to non-harmful extraneous material contamination. The recalled product was supplied to hotels, restaurants and institutions in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Europe

  • Food Safety Withdrawal (UK): Castle Foods Company (London) Ltd. withdraws Sangha Foods and Core Foods brands of Chicken Tikka Masala with Rice, Chicken Curry with Rice, Chicken Biryani and Lamb Biryani with Rice (All use by dates), because the products were manufactured in premises that are not approved for meat products.
  • Food Fraud Recall (France): Ikea recalls KÖTTBULLAR chez IKEA brand meatballs, frozen (1 kg) due to possible adulteration with horse meat, after the Czech Republic reported finding horse DNA in a production lot of the meatballs.
  • Food Fraud Recall (Italy): Primia (San Giovanni in Persiceto) recalls Lasagne alla Bolognese (Lot #12326; Expiry 23 May 2014), due to possible adulteration with horse meat.
  • Food Fraud Recall (Spain): Nestlé España recalls Fusilli boloñesa Buitoni, Canelones microondas La Cocinera, Empanada gallega de carne La Cocinera, Relleno de carne La Cocinera, Gratén de berenjenas la Cocinera, and Empanadillas de carne La Cocinera due to potential adulteration with horse meat.
  • Food Safety Notification (EU #2013.0248): Salmonella in paan leaves from Bangladesh; distributed to the United Kingdom.
  • Food Fraud Notification (EU #2013.0251): Adulteration (horse DNA) of tortelloni carne from Liechtenstein, produced in Switzerland; distributed to Slovenia.
  • Food Fraud Notification (EU #2013.0252): Adulteration (horse DNA) of frozen beef burgers from Poland; distributed to the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
  • Food Safety Notification (EU #2013.0253): Salmonella in chilled trimmings from Sweden, with raw material from the Netherlands; distributed to Sweden.

Some supermarket chains post recall notices on their web sites for the convenience of customers. To see whether a recalled food was carried by your favorite supermarket, follow the live link to the supermarket’s recall website.

*The Kroger umbrella encompasses numerous supermarket, marketplace and convenience store chains, listed on the Kroger corporate home page.
**Includes Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Dominick’s, Genuardi’s, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs and Pak N’ Save.