Source remains a mystery for the growing Salmonella Oranienburg outbreak

In the 21 days since it was first reported, an investigation has not yet identified a food as the cause of a fast-growing outbreak of Salmonella Oranienburg infections — at least officially.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta say public health and regulatory officials in several states are still collecting different types of data to investigate the multistate outbreak.

In three weeks, the Salmonella Oranienburg outbreak grew from 20 infections to 279 confirmed cases. While there have been no deaths, there have also been no recalls because no food is yet linked to the outbreak.

The rapidly growing outbreak has spread to at last 29 states with illnesses starting on dates ranging from Aug. 3 to Sept. 13. Sick people range in age from less than 1 year to 89 years, with a median age of 35, and 59 percent are female. Of 86 people … Read more

Investigations into Salmonella outbreaks advancing but no cause found yet

Two Salmonella outbreak investigations that have sickened a total of more than 200 people are picking up steam at the FDA.

One has sickened at least 127 people with Salmonella Oranienburg infections and stretches across 25 states. 

Although the source of the outbreak pathogen remains unknown, an update Sept. 22 from the Food and Drug Administration shows that in addition to ongoing traceback efforts the agency has begun sample collections and testing. The agency did not provide any information about where the samples were collected or whether they came from patients, food or locations where food is produced or sold.

The other outbreak involves Salmonella Thompson and has sickened at least 78 people. The FDA has begun onsite inspections of unnamed locations, according to the update.

The FDA is working with state officials and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the outbreak investigations.

The table below shows … Read more

Here’s how to report your USA food problem directly to USDA or FDA

food safety education month

Anytime you think you are seriously ill, seek medical attention. And if you think food caused your illness, make sure it gets reported. Most foodborne illnesses are “reportable,” which means your doctor lets the local health department know about them.

That’s how you might become a “confirmed case” in a multistate outbreak.  It’s your confirmed test result that gets reported to the health department,  your name is kept private.

But if you do not want to pursue action through a medical route, you can report your bad food experience directly to federal regulators. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration both welcome consumer reports about contaminated or adulterated food.

But how?
Both FSIS and FDA explain how on their websites. As September’s food safety month comes to a close shortly, Food Safety News is passing this information along with … Read more

Petition responses point to direction that regulators are going on lab-grown meat labeling

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has responded to petition sponsors with differing opinions about how lab-grown “meat” and “beef” should be labeled.

The FSIS Office of Policy and Program Development has denied the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association’s petition asking the agency to “limit the definition of “meat” and “beef” to products derived from animals “born, raised, and harvested in the traditional manner.”
The petition from the Cattlemen’s Association has been pending since its submission on Feb. 9, 2018.

“This action would, as the petition notes, effectively prohibit the labels of products made using animal cell culture technology (hereafter, cultured products) or derived from non-animal sources, such as plant-based products, from displaying the term “meat” or “beef.” FSIS said it “received and analyzed over 6,000 public comments” to the petition.

The FSIS and the Food and Drug Administration had a public meeting in October 2018 on labeling cultured food products … Read more

AFDO puts the states’ food safety role to the numbers

Most everybody knows that state food safety programs are essential, but new data collected by the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) puts it into perspective with some actual numbers.

Consider, for example, that the states in 2019 conducted more than 84.5 percent of the 48,500 human food inspections at the manufacturing level. The Food and Drug Administration directly performed 3,500 human food manufacturing inspections and contracted with states for another 4,000.

The states themselves inspected more than 41,000 human food manufacturing facilities.

AFDO’s 2021 State Food Safety Resources Survey opted to skip over the year 2020 to focus on a comprehensive look at 2019 before the pandemic began up-ending everyone’s routine.

“The extensive work accomplished by states in manufactured food highlights how key these state programs are to regulatory oversight of these facilities,” said AFDO Executive Director Steven Mandemach. “Absent this oversight, many more food emergencies –outbreaks and … Read more