The federal government has closed some foodborne illness outbreak investigations in the past week.
The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service released even less information when it closed its investigation into an outbreak than it did when it announced it. Of infections caused by E. coli O157:H7 the agency merely reported that beef was the suspected vehicle for the pathogen. The investigation, which began on an unspecified date in November is now closed. The agency did not report how many people were sickened or where they lived.
Similarly, few details were provided by the Food and Drug Administration for an outbreak of infections from Salmonella Typhimurium for which the investigation remains open. At least 274 people have been sickened in the outbreak from an unknown source. The FDA did not report where they live. Traceback and sample analysis was initiated, but the agency did not report what food or foods are involved.
Both the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that an outbreak traced to frozen falafel sold under the Earth Grown brand and sold at Aldi stores has ended with 24 illnesses across six states. Five people required hospitalization.
The CDC and FDA are reporting that a Salmonella outbreak traced to fish has ended with 39 people sick across four states. Fifteen people required hospitalization. Several sick people reported eating from three restaurants before getting sick, and Mariscos Bahia, Inc. was the supplier. On Oct. 20, 2022, Mariscos Bahia, Inc. recalled fresh (not frozen) salmon, Chilean seabass, halibut, tuna, and swordfish.
The FDA and CDC have also declared that an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections linked to soft cheeses has ended. Cheese made by Old Europe Cheese Inc. was implicated in the outbreak that sickened six people across six states. Five people had to be hospitalized. Many brands of brie, camembert, and baked brie cheeses were recalled in September and October. These cheeses had best-by dates through Dec.14, 2022.
As for open investigations, the FDA and CDC continue to search for details in a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak traced to enoki mushrooms. Concerns about many brands of enoki mushrooms continue. In 2020, CDC investigated the first known Listeria outbreak in the United States linked to enoki mushrooms. This outbreak resulted in three recalls of enoki mushrooms that were imported from Korea. Since then, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and public health officials from several states have been collecting samples of enoki mushrooms and found Listeria in many samples, resulting in more than 20 recalls of enoki mushrooms.
The FDA and CDC continue to investigate an outbreak of infections from Cronobacter in at least four infants, two of whom died. The outbreak has been determined to be over by the CDC but is it still under investigation. The babies consumed infant formula made by Abbott Nutrition’s plant in Sturgis, MI. The company says its internal tests have not found the pathogen and denies any ties to the illnesses or deaths.
Additional outbreak information
Click here to go to the FDA page with links to specific outbreak details. The investigations are in a variety of stages. Some outbreaks have limited information with active investigations ongoing, others may be near completion.
A public health advisory will be issued for investigations that have resulted in specific, actionable steps for consumers to take to protect themselves, according to the FDA. Please direct your attention to those pages for the most up-to-date information on the investigation and for consumer protection information.
Outbreak and adverse event investigations that do not result in specific, actionable steps for consumers may or may not conclusively identify a source or reveal any contributing factors. Adverse event investigations rely on self-reported data. Although these reports may name a particular product, FDA will only indicate a product category in the table and will not publicly name a specific product until there is sufficient evidence to implicate that product as a cause of illnesses or adverse events. If a cause and/or contributing factors are identified that could inform future prevention, FDA commits to providing a summary of those findings.
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