Recalls and Alerts: December 1 – 3, 2017

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

Outbreak Alert: Departments of Health in Washington and Oregon report an outbreak of Salmonella Newport illnesses linked to consumption of pre-cut watermelon, cantaloupe, or fruit mixes containing watermelon or cantaloupe. Eighteen people from six Washington counties and two individuals from Oregon have been diagnosed with Salmonella in this outbreak. The implicated fruit was sold in QFC, Fred Meyer, Rosauers, and Central Market stores between October 25th and December 1st. The investigation into the source of the contaminated fruit is ongoing.

Allergy Alert: Rafedain Shish Kabob Restaurant, Inc. recalls RAFEDAIN FULLY COOKED CHICKEN PATTY SHISH KABOB (9-oz. vacuum-packed tray packages containing four pieces; produced on various dates between Feb. 7, 2017 and Nov. 27, 2017) due to undeclared milk, wheat and soy. The recalled products were shipped to distributors and retail locations in Massachusetts, North Carolina, Utah, Virginia and Washington.

Allergy Alert: Caesar’s Pasta, LLC recalls approximately 46,810 pounds of beef meatball products due to undeclared egg. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products, which were shipped to food service locations in Pennsylvania.

Europe

Allergy Alert (Sweden): Orkla Foods Sverige recalls Felix Små Delikatessköttbullar/Felix Small Delicatessen Meatballs (600g; Item #07375; Best before 2018-10-16) due to undeclared egg.

Allergy Alert (UK): Sainsbury’s recalls Sainsbury’s 10 Vegetable Spring Roll Selection (210g; All Use By dates between 30 November 2017 and 8 December 2017), due to undeclared prawns.

Allergy Alert (UK): Fundamental Supplies Ltd recalls Hench Fuel Protein Porridge (73g; Best before 1 November 2018) due to undeclared milk, oats and sulphites.

Food Safety Recall (Belgium): AFSCA announces recall of Ranobo brand Pistachios due to elevated levels of aflatoxin. Please refer to the recall notice for a detailed list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall (Germany): Le Antichi Bonta di Calabria recalls Figs from Calabria (All lot numbers and Best Before dates) due to mycotoxin contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Germany): Globus SB Warenhaus Holding Gmb HCo.KG recalls Korrekt Salami (200g; Lot #1311; Best before 16.12.2017) due to Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (UK): Aldi recalls Rooster’s Southern Fried Poppin’ Chicken (210g; Lot #10101701; Product code 45004 & 75744; Best before 09/4/2019) because packs may contain small pieces of hard plastic which could present a safety risk.

Chamberlain Farms: Double – or Is It Triple – Outbreak

Cantaloupes from Chamberlain Farm Produce, Inc. are the source of 270 cases of Salmonella infections, according to the latest figures from CDC.

The illnesses were due to Salmonella Typhimurium (240 persons versus the previous tally of 204) and Salmonella Newport (30 persons) in 26 states. Three people are dead, and 101 have been hospitalized in this cantaloupe-linked outbreak.

Salmonella Typhimurium illnesses were reported from the following states: Alabama (16), Arkansas (6), California (2), Florida (1), Georgia (9), Iowa (10), Illinois (26), Indiana (24), Kentucky (70), Massachusetts (2), Maryland (1), Michigan (6), Minnesota (5), Missouri (15), Mississippi (7), Montana (1), New Jersey (2), North Carolina (7), Ohio (6), Oklahoma (1), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (5), Tennessee (8), Texas (2), and Wisconsin (6).

Salmonella Newport cases were reported in Illinois (8), Indiana (9), Michigan (1), Missouri (6), Ohio (3), Virginia (1), and Wisconsin (2).

Salmonella Typhimurium (red) and Salmonella Newport (blue) timeline (from CDC)

Cantaloupe samples analyzed by FDA have yielded both the Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Newport outbreak strains. In addition, Indiana investigators have found a genetically different Salmonella Newport strain from a sample of watermelon from a field at Chamberlain Farms. Twenty-five illnesses in 8 states are being investigated to determine whether they may be linked to the Chamberlain Farm Produce watermelons.

On August 22nd, Chamberlain Farm Produce announced a recall of its entire 2012 cantaloupe crop. Schnucks Markets reported on September 7th that Chamberlain had expanded its recall to include the farm’s 2012 watermelon crop. So far, this expanded recall announcement has not appeared on the FDA web site. Nor has the public been given any information as to where – other than Schnucks, Logli and Hilander stores – the watermelons were sold.

CDC Advice to Consumers, Retailers, and Others

Contaminated cantaloupe may still be in grocery stores and in consumers’ homes.

  • Consumers who recently purchased Chamberlain Farms cantaloupes are advised not to eat them and discard any remaining cantaloupe.
    • Based on the available information, consumers can continue to purchase and eat cantaloupes that did not originate from Chamberlain Farms Produce, Inc.
    • Many cantaloupes have the growing area identified with a sticker on the fruit. If no sticker is present, consumers should inquire about the source. When in doubt, throw it out.
    • Consumers who are buying or have recently bought cantaloupe should ask their retailer if the cantaloupe originated from Chamberlain Farms Produce, Inc.
  • Cantaloupes should be disposed of in a closed plastic bag placed in a sealed trash can. This will prevent people or animals from eating them.
  • Dispose of any cantaloupes that you think may be contaminated. Washing them will not completely eliminate the contamination. Cutting, slicing and dicing may also transfer harmful bacteria from the fruit’s surface to the fruit’s flesh.
  • Retailers and food service operators should not sell or serve Chamberlain Farms cantaloupe.
  • Persons who think they might have become ill from eating possibly contaminated cantaloupes should consult their health care providers.

I would add watermelon to that advisory statement.

International Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Watermelon

Outbreaks of Salmonella Newport infections have been reported in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany according to information released today by the UK Health Protection Agency (HPA).

HPA has confirmed 30 cases in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland reported five cases; Germany’s Robert Koch Institute and the Republic of Ireland have confirmed 15 cases and 4 cases, respectively. One UK outbreak victim – an individual with serious underlying health complications – has died.

The 30 outbreak victims in England, Wales and Northern Ireland range in age from six months to 85 years; 70% of the case-patients were women, and the outbreak is tilted geographically towards the East of England. Four of Scotland’s five victims were young children, according to the HPA. The outbreak first was detected in early December 2011, and the most recently reported illness was at the end of December.

An Outbreak Control Team is working in the UK to determine the source of the illnesses. A questionnaire has been administered to 15 of the English case-patients so far; 10 of them confirmed having eaten watermelon in the three days prior to becoming ill.

Last November, HPA conducted a local food survey in Preston (Lancashire, England), and recovered Salmonella Newport from a ready-to-eat sliced watermelon fan. Genetic fingerprinting (PFGE) determined at the time that this was a previously unreported strain. The genetic profile of that strain matches the outbreak strain recovered from the four Scottish children who were diagnosed in late December. The same strain also was confirmed in patients from Germany and the Republic of Ireland.

This would not be the first time that Salmonella-contaminated watermelon was the source of an outbreak. In 1954, 17 residents of Upton, Massachusetts (USA) developed salmonellosis after consuming watermelon that was grown in Florida and purchased from a single supermarket in Milford – a neighboring Massachusetts town. Salmonella Miami was found in stool samples from outbreak victims, and from watermelon samples from the homes of two victims. And in 1991, 39 people in the USA became infected with Salmonella Javiana after eating watermelon.

HPA is not yet prepared to state definitively that watermelons were behind this outbreak, and there is no indication so far where the suspect melons may have been grown. Chances are – based on the illness onset dates that have been reported so far – that the offending watermelons will be off the market before they have been identified. Nevertheless, consumers in the affected countries would be wise to avoid purchasing cut watermelon. It is safer to buy an intact melon and sanitize the outside surface before cutting the fruit.