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The Risks of Honey

People like to eat sweet things. There’s no shame in that. We sweeten our tea, we sweeten our cakes, we sweeten our cereals and peanut butter sandwiches. With scary information constantly streaming out about the dangers that sugar presents to your waistline and the threat chemically-made sweeteners have on your body, honey has taken its appropriate place in the arena of sweetness. Honey is generally considered one of the healthier options, but that doesn’t mean it is entirely void of risk as a food item. See the following list of risks of honey before you commit yourself completely to this delicate sweetener.

What is Honey?

While practically everyone has tasted honey, or at least seen it on a shelf available for purchase, few actually understand what honey is made up of. While we correlate it with bees and flowers, many don’t actually understand that it’s a sweet fluid that honeybees create using the nectar from flowering plants. There are approximately 320 different variations of honey, off of which differ slightly in color, odor, and flavor.

Honey is made mostly of sugar, though it also contains a healthy mixture of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, iron, zinc, and antioxidants, making it beneficial for many different ailments and nutritional needs. Honey can and is often used as a natural sweetener, as well as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial agent. It is extremely useful when ingested orally to treat coughs and applied topically to treat burns and promote the healing of wounds. Honey can be used to reduce the risk of heart disease, relieve gastrointestinal tract infections, prevent memory disorders, and more.

What Harm can Honey Do?

First off, if you’re allergic to honey, then you’re fully aware of the dangers it could present to you specifically and (hopefully) know to avoid it. Generally, however, honey is safe for adults and children older than the age of 1. However, honey can actually present it’s own forms of dangers, especially when consumed raw.

The China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA), for instance, reported that a number of people from varying regions in their Mainland died after consuming unprocessed, raw honey back in January. Honey and honey products, including raw honey, comb honey, wild honey, and more, are gaining a lot of popularity, especially in recent years. However, it’s important to note that even though these products carry their fair share of specific health benefits, they also come with some intense risks aside from high allergen risk.

As foragers, honeybees can cover several kilometers in their journey to bring nectar from wide variants of plants to their hives. The kinds of plants honeybees can forage from have the potential to be poisonous. If the density of flowering poisonous plants is high, or if the number of insects that feed on these poisonous plants is high, all during a certain period, then the honey the bees develop has a high chance of containing many natural toxins. Grayanotoxin that causes “mad honey poisoning” is one of the most common results of eating toxin-filled, unprocessed honey.

Depending on the type and level of toxin contained in the honey, the symptoms of honey poisoning vary. Nausea and vomiting, however, are common symptoms and tend to occur at different levels of severity. If the toxin level is high and the resulting poisoning severe, then low blood pressure, shock, and even death are all within the realm of possibility.

Infants Under 1 Should Never Be Fed Honey

Due to honey’s unpredictability in the form of allergens, toxins, and more, babies under the age of one should never be allowed to ingest honey of any kind. This includes straight honey, honey products, and things sweetened with honey. Infants’ immune systems are not strong enough to handle the results should they have an allergy to honey or should the honey contain any kind of toxin. Why? Because of botulism.

Botulism and honey is no joke. According to our friends at Poison.org,

“Botulism spores can be found in honey; when swallowed, the spores release a toxin. Infants’ systems are too immature to prevent this toxin from developing. In fact, most cases of botulism in the U.S. are in infants.

When botulism toxin is absorbed from the intestines, it affects the nervous system. The most common symptoms in infants are muscle weakness – the infant feels “floppy” and the eyelids can droop; constipation, sometimes for several days; poor sucking and feeding; and an unusual cry. Poor feeding can quickly lead to dehydration. Muscle weakness can lead to breathing difficulties.

No one knows exactly how long it takes for symptoms to develop, but it’s thought to be about 3 to about 30 days. Over a period of a few days, a child can become acutely ill. Treatment in an ICU, including a respirator and feeding through an IV or a tube may be needed. If botulism is thought to be the cause of the child’s illness, there is a treatment available, but it takes a day or so for this unusual drug to be delivered to hospitals. Children usually recover, even without this drug, but receiving it can shorten the length of time that a child spends in the hospital.

There are other sources of botulism spores, especially soil, so that honey is not the only way that infants can be exposed. However, NOT giving honey in any form to infants is an easy, safe way for parents to limit the risk.”

Conclusion

Honey is delicious and understandably growing in popularity. It has a lot of health and medical benefits and should certainly never be removed from consumers. However, it also presents its fair share of risks! Therefore, when purchasing honey, one must always be sure to do so from reliable sources or apiaries. Be aware that grayanotoxin-containing honey often causes a burning sensation in the throat and any and all honey that has a bitter or astringent taste should be immediately discarded. People traveling overseas should pay careful attention to their consumption of honey, as grayanotoxin poisoning is far more common outside America.

And parents should never feed honey to infants less than a year old.

By: Abigail Ryan, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)

October 17, 2018
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Botulism is Freaking Scary

Clostridium Botulinum is a deadly pathogen that produces the highly potent botulinum toxin, which causes botulism when ingested. Botulism is a rare and fatal neuroparalytic disease. It is one of the deadliest toxins and less than 1 ng/kg can be fatal. When diagnosed at earlier stages, the disease is treatable, but 5-10% cases are fatal. This is why immediate medical attention is more than just a recommendation; it is lifesaving.

There are three main types of botulism:

  • Wound Botulism: This type is associated with intravenous drug abuse and occurs when an open wound comes in contact with the bacteria.
  • Infant Botulism: Infection caused in the infant’s gut due to bacterial spores is infant botulism. Young babies don’t have defense mechanism from the deadly bacteria. This defense mechanism is developed at around 12 months old.
  • Foodborne Botulism: It is the most widespread cause botulism. When food becomes contaminated with Clostridium botulinum spores, it can cause illness in the person who eats it. There are stringent rules are put into place in food manufacturing so as to prevent foodborne botulism from happening, and it is very rare because of these rules.

There are 8 known botulinum neurotoxins that are currently identified, and there is a new species that was recently found that produces the same toxin that C. botulinum produces. This is the second report in the last 40 years to identify a new botulinum toxin.

A team at the Quadram Institute worked to understand the detailed life cycle of the bacteria, so as to make sure that our food chain is secure. We can prevent the development of this toxin in the food chain by discerning how the spores germinate and allow the bacteria to reproduce. This can help in improving or modifying the food processing procedures so as to improve the efficiency of the food chain and compromising with the existing levels of safety in food production.

Fatal Genes

Genomics has been one of the major advances that we have seen while studying C. botulinum and other pathogenic bacteria. The first genome sequence of the strain was produced in 2007. Analysis of this genome revealed a lot about how their life cycle goes and how they produce their highly potent toxin. A lot of studies on the genomic sequence of the C. botulinum is done considering it is the deadliest toxin.

The genes that produce the toxin have encoded accessory proteins that perform various functions to make sure that the toxin is accurately produced and deployed to the target cell. It takes a cluster of genes to make the toxin. When we look at this process from a genomic point of view, this means that we can also identify the cluster of botulism gene from the close proximity of accessory protein genes.

Holy Cow!

Currently, there are 8 known botulinum neurotoxin serotypes in the environment. The new report is the second one of its kind to identify a new botulinum toxin in the past 40 years. The surprising part with this report is this new botulinum gene cluster was found to be produced by a species other than Clostridium botulinum. It was identified in a species of Enterococcus isolated from cow feces in South Carolina. The previous strains of the neurotoxin were all found in Clostridium botulinum or a very closely related bacterium.

While the implications of the discovery are yet to be discovered, the researchers believe that there is not any immediate health threat from it. C. botulinum is quite common in the environment. The cow which had the spores didn’t show any signs of illnesses. Any precautions taken to prevent the spores from developing in the food chain would be beneficial but this needs to be tested and confirmed. Scientific world is still intrigued by how this Enterococcus strain acquired the ability to produce botulinum neurotoxin. Research work is needed to examine this as the process could be useful in preventing any future transfer of the bacteria.

The bacteria, Enterococcus, is generally present in the gastrointestinal tract of animals and humans. Some of them are a part of normal microbiome of the gut while others can cause diseases.

Botulinum Toxin – An Anti-Aging Ingredient?

Do you know what botox is short for? It’s botulinum toxin.

The reason why discovery of this toxin is also of particular interest to the pharmaceutical industry. The toxin is quite useful in the cosmetics industry as it blocks the transmission of neurotransmitters causing the muscles to relax. This can stimulate the facial muscles behind the wrinkles. That’s right! It can help you get rid of those pesky wrinkles. Other medical procedures where the toxin has paved its way is chronic migraine, bladder dysfunction, multiple sclerosis, cervical dystonia, blepharospasm and a few others. So, it’s not just a deadly toxin.

All the 8 types of botulinum neurotoxins studies so far have different properties like in terms of potency, durability etc. The new neurotoxin has also exhibited some features that make it a novel target cell binding site. Once put as a protein, this new botulinum neurotoxin has properties such as immunomodulatory properties that makes it helpful for various medical problems such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and some forms of cancer. It has also shown some properties that might make it useful for being an alternative to current botulinum neurotoxins such as Botox. The research on the toxin will help to determine its expression and toxicity that would help in deciding its applications as a therapeutic agent.

What does the future hold?

Discovery of a new strain of this deadly neurotoxin in a completely different species is quite significant for the research work done for botulism. This is because it would help up in providing new insights into evolution of the genes and its transmission to other species. But an interesting point to note here is that this deadly toxin can easily be turned into a deadly weapon to use against some other diseases where effective treatment curve is lacking at the moment.

But there is a long way to go before jumping to any conclusions, both positive and negative. This new discovery has definitely given some depth to the genomic mining in the area.

By: Pooja Sharma, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)

September 16, 2018
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How are Food Poisoning Outbreaks Investigated?

Public health and regulatory officials respond to foodborne disease outbreaks much the same way that police officers respond to crime. They must work swiftly, collecting as much helpful information in the smallest amount of time possible in order to take action that will prevent more people from getting affected. Their research must be quick and accurate, otherwise it ends up being entirely useless. While crime officials collect evidence such as DNA, timelines, and motives, health officials collect three things of data: epidemiologic, traceback, and food and environmental testing. The goal is to find the source of the outbreak and eliminate it.

Investigations into infections and illnesses are set-up to be prompt and swift. According to the handbook for investigations by the World Health Organization:

“Successful investigation and control of foodborne disease outbreaks depend on working fast and responsibly. When an outbreak occurs, all individuals involved in the investigation must clearly understand the course of action; time should not be lost in discussing policy matters that should have been resolved in advance.”

Reporting – The First (And Most Important) Step

Foodborne illnesses are severely underreported. Many people feel that their illness was just not severe enough to warrant going to the doctor or telling their local health department. This is concerning, as what may be a mild illness for one person, can be deadly for another. This is why reporting foodborne illnesses are so important.

Health agencies cannot determine if there is a foodborne illness outbreak until people report their illnesses. These reports are the “red flags” that prompt an investigation.

According to FoodSafety.gov, “When two or more people get the same illness from the same contaminated food or drink, the event is called a foodborne outbreak. Reporting illnesses to your local health department helps them identify potential outbreaks of foodborne disease. Public health officials investigate outbreaks to control them, so more people do not get sick in the outbreak, and to learn how to prevent similar outbreaks from happening in the future.”

The Data

When health officials assess the data, they are piecing together aspects of all parts in order to find the most likely source of the outbreak. They must take action as soon as possible, such as putting out a warning to the public when the information is clear about what foods have been contaminated and possible reasons for why. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), here is how each data category is segregated:

Epidemiologic Data

  • Patterns in the geographic distribution of illnesses, the time periods when people got sick, and past outbreaks involving the same germ.
  • Foods or other exposures occurring more often in sick people than expected
  • Clusters of unrelated sick people who ate at the same restaurant, shopped at the same grocery store, or attended the same event.

Traceback Data:

  • A common point of contamination in the distribution chain, identified by reviewing records collected from restaurants and stores where sick people ate or shopped.
  • Findings of environmental assessments in food production facilities, farms, and restaurants identifying food safety risks.

Food and Environmental Testing Data:

  • The germ that caused illness found in a food item collected from a sick person’s home, a retail location, or in the food production environment
  • The same DNA fingerprint linking germs found in foods or production environments to germs found in sick people

The Process

Obviously, health officials can’t solve every single outbreak that occurs, as sometimes an outbreak surfaces and then dies before a satisfactory about of information can be reliably gathered to identify the disease’s source. The more officials investigate, however, the better equipped they are to handle and solve future outbreaks more efficiently.

The process for investigating foodborne illnesses is rather uncomplicated. Begins by detecting if there is an outbreak whatsoever, which can be detected using public health surveillance methods–such as formal or informal reports of food poisoning. It can be difficult to determine an outbreak since cases can be spread out across a wide area, but it’s vital to determine an outbreak early on in order to eliminate the source.

After this step, the next thing to do is define the size, timing, and severity of the outbreak. A case definition is developed in order to understand possible sources, and investigators use the case definition to search for more illnesses that fit the description. Illness are then “plotted on an epidemic curve (epi curve) so that public health officials can track when illnesses occur over time,” according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The next step is to generate a hypothesis about the likely sources. Coming up with explanations for the outbreak is important, and these explanations are continually changed and edited, or entirely disapproved of, as more evidence about the outbreak is gathered. Interviews, surveys, questionnaires, and home visits are useful tools utilized to narrow down where, when, and how people got sick. Once the point of contamination is discovered, health officials can use their three types of data to solve the outbreak and help prevent it from occurring again.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, “[this] work may lead to new research on how contamination can occur, or it may lead to outreach to industry and other food safety agency partners on new ways to prevent future outbreaks.”

Conclusion

Food poisoning is a serious situation that health officials work tirelessly to understand and prevent. Every food poisoning outbreak is, while unfortunate and terrible, an opportunity for more research to be done in order to prevent future outbreaks. It’s important to report instances of food poisoning appropriately in order to help this process move along quickly, efficiently, and appropriately. While health officials are highly trained and capable of making a good deal of progress, your assistance in the process could very well be key in a current or soon-to-be investigation. Understanding the system and doing your best to help it will only help to prevent future cases of foodborne illnesses.

Outbreak investigations make everyone and the food we eat safer. Outbreak investigations from 2011 – 2016 have already generated more than 900 recommendations for prevention activities, research, industry outreach, or process improvement.

 

By: Abigail Ryan, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)

August 16, 2018
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Keeping Botulism at Bay While Home Canning

Growing up with a garden and being surrounded by tons of places where at the end of driveways there were signs that said “pick your own,” we always had massive amounts of fresh produce in the summer months. Obviously, you can eat only so much of it, and everyone canned the leftovers for winter storage. Some people even canned meats, but we stayed away from that simply because there was never really an over-abundance of meats that couldn’t be frozen and eaten in a timely manner.

Some of my best childhood memories involved picking strawberries with my parents; going down the rows wearing our “old shoes” and putting strawberries in cardboard flats and buckets. I will never confess to how many we ate along the way, but what I do remember is how fresh and sweet those berries were. I also remember my mom making a famous strawberry jelly that tasted like heaven on a biscuit or piece of toast in the winter months when everything seemed so dead and summer seemed a million years away.

Until I became older and started to can myself did I realize how careful you have to be when canning fresh fruits and vegetables to make sure you were being safe and to avoid botulism.

What is botulism?

It is food poisoning caused by a bacterium (botulinum) growing on improperly sterilized canned meats and other preserved foods.

We do not hear of it often because botulism is considered rare, but it can be fatal. It is found in soil and can survive and even grow when it is stored in sealed jars. In fact, the majority of outbreaks associated with botulism are due to improper canning methods.

Botulism causes nerve issues, paralysis, and unfortunately, can even cause death. It appears that large quantities of canned foods contaminated with botulism do not have to be consumed to become infected and even a small taste can be deadly.

This realization causes concerns with many people who just want to preserve a little bit of the warm weather into the months that are not as prosperous when it comes to fresh produce and those of us who do not like buying much produce at the grocery store.

How to Safely Can

Methods have been passed down through generations from grandparents and even before that said a water bath (boiling water) is enough to can foods in jars. These methods have been proven deadly.

These days more and more people are using a pressure canner over the boiling water method when canning produce that contains a low acid level (corn and green beans) as well as meats, fish and poultry.

What is a Pressure Canner?

Pressure canning is the only canning method recommended safe by the U.S.D.A. for low-acid foods such as vegetables, meats, and fish.

PickYourOwn.org has a great page on pressure canning and the following information we found to be very useful:

Modern pressure canners are lightweight, thin-walled aluminum or stainless steel kettles. Most have twist-on lids fitted with gaskets. There are still one or two that have screw-down knobs around the lid on the canner.  They have removable racks, a weighted vent port (steam vent), and a safety vent. They also have either a dial gauge for indicating the pressure or a weighted gauge (which both regulates the pressure and indicates, by rattling). Pressure canners can usually handle either one layer of quart or smaller size jars, or deep enough for two layers of pint or smaller size jars.

Unlike a water bath canner, the jars do not need to be completely covered with water. The directions that came with the pressure canner tell you how many cups of water to add in order for it to generate the right amount of pressure. You vent the pressure canner a considerable length of time while the water boils (with the jars in and the lid on). This causes steam to push out all the air. So, the jars are in a space filled with only boiling water and steam. In theory, both will have the same temperature, which will be 240 degrees F, substantially high than 212 degrees F of an open water bath canner, due to the increased pressure. And since there is no air, just water vapor, the heat will be easily conducted to all sides of the jars.

Making sure you have the right canner for your altitude and adjusting temperatures is a must as well as maintaining the pressure canner that you already have. If your canner has a rubber gasket make sure that it is in place and that is has not sustained any damage.

Check all vents and openings for obstruction and make sure they are clean.

Pressure canners are recommended for canning all meats, poultry and fish.

High Acidic Canning

There are canning methods, such as the water bath, for canning that you do not need a pressure canner including applesauce and jams as well as pickles (because you add vinegar) but to be safe we have been pressure canning everything. So many vegetables (not including tomatoes) are low in acid content

How We Can

Since having kids, I have not been canning as much as I used to and stick with things that only need a water bath. The pressure canner method is something I like to keep a very close eye on and with little ones running around I do not have time for this method anymore. I also like being able to involve especially our oldest in the canning process.

We make applesauce, apple butter, and lots of pickles around here in the summer and early fall months. We love taking something that we have picked ourselves and turning it into our own creations.

Methods of using freezer canning have been used here in the past too and while those are great, they do take up a lot of space in our already full freezer, so I prefer a more shelf stable method.

Clean countertops, lots of space for jars and a huge water bath canner reside in our kitchen this time of year.

Our legs, eyes, and everything else will be tired after a long day of canning but the process is fun and we are making memories with our boys just like the ones I have from when I was a child.

By: Samantha Cooper, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)

August 6, 2018
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Can You Tell if Someone Has Food Poisoning Just By Looking at Their Face?

Some of you may have heard of the myth that a person can tell if someone has food poisoning just by looking at their face. You may have heard them comment that this person “looks green” – alluding to cartoon visuals of a face turning green before they vomit.

Let’s put this myth to rest. You cannot tell if someone has food poisoning just by looking at their face.

With so many illnesses like a cold or the flu going around, it can be very difficult to diagnose what a person has without going to the doctor.  It is also impossible to tell if a person has food poisoning from looking at their face.

It is very important to recognize the symptoms and causes, as well as talking to your doctor.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

Because the term “food poisoning” is such a broad term, the exact symptoms and severity will vary.  It really depends on the kind of bacteria, virus, or parasite that infects you.  It also depends on how much is in your system and how well your immune system is working to fight of the infection.

The most common symptoms of food poisoning:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

A very important fact to keep in mind is the symptoms of food poisoning can start as early as 1 hour after eating tainted food.  Early symptoms include cramps in stomach and gut, diarrhea and vomiting.  The symptoms can last as long as 10 days or longer depending on the exact cause of the infection.

Other possible common symptoms:

  • Bloating and gas
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Weakness
  • Abdominal pain and cramping

One of the nastiest and most severe type of bacterial food poisoning is botulism. If you or a loved one is experiencing these symptoms, emergent medical attention is highly recommended:

  • Slurred speech or blurred vision
  • Muscle weakness
  • Hard time swallowing
  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle paralysis from the head down through the body
  • Vomiting

WHEN SHOULD YOU CALL A DOCTOR?

A mild case of food poisoning usually passes on its own with rest and plenty of fluids. But remember, what may be mild for some could be deadly for others. This is why medical attention is always recommended to not only get the treatment you need, but also reduce the risk of potential long-term complications.

However, if any of the following should occur then you should seek medical attention:

  • Signs of dehydration: dry mouth, little or no urination, dizziness, or sunken eyes
  • Any diarrhea in a newborn or infant
  • Inability to hold down liquids without vomiting
  • Diarrhea that lasts longer than 2 days (1 day in a child) or is severe
  • Severe gut pain or vomiting
  • Fever of 102 degrees F or higher, or a rectal temperature of 100.4 degrees F in a baby younger than 3 months
  • Stools that are black, tarry, or bloody
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tingling in the arms
  • Blurry vision
  • Confusion
  • Diarrhea or flulike illness in pregnant women
  • Jaundice (yellow skin), which can be a sign of Hepatitis A

TESTING FOR FOOD POISONING

If your illness is complicated or severe, your doctor may order the following tests to help diagnosis your form of food poisoning:

Stool Cultures are the most common lab test for food poisoning.  If your symptoms are lingering and you have intense stomach pain or fever along with other symptoms, your doctor will test a sample of your stool to determine if your illness is related to bacteria.  Microscopic exams of stool can identify parasites and which antibiotics will kill it.  Stool test aren’t always accurate, and they can take several days to come back.

Blood Tests are ordered if the doctor thinks the infection has spread into the blood.  Blood test can tell how sick a person is by looking for inflammation and signs of dehydration.  It can also detect the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes and the Hepatitis A virus.

Imaging tests such as MRIs and CT scans aren’t often used in food poisoning cases but they can help rule out other causes of symptoms.

Spinal Taps are used in instances of Listeria poisoning, especially when it appears the bacteria has become invasive to the affected person’s central nervous system.

MOST COMMON SOURCES OF FOOD POISONING

Believe it or not, 48 million people are infected with a foodborne illness in the United States each year.  The Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration published a report which listed what the 48 million people ate which most likely caused them to get sick. Most food poisoning is caused by the four major pathogens that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) have considered to be “high priority.”

The pathogens are:

  • E. coli 0157
  • Salmonella
  • Campylobacter
  • Listeria

The most common foodsresponsible for transmitting each pathogen:

E. coli

  • Beef: 46%
  • Vegetable row crops: 36%

Salmonella

  • Seeded Vegetables: 18%
  • Fruit: 12%
  • Eggs: 12%
  • Chicken: 10%
  • Beef: 9%
  • Pork: 8%
  • Sprouts: 8%

Campylobacter

  • Diary: 66%
  • Chicken: 8%

Listeria

  • Fruit: 50%
  • Dairy: 31%

FOOD POISONING VS. STOMACH FLU

You can’t keep any food down, you’re running to the bathroom every 10 minutes and your stomach feels like it’s doing cartwheels.  You may be wondering if you have picked up a terrible bug or if you have food poisoning.  The clinical symptoms of the stomach flu and food poisoning overlap in many ways. In fact, a common cause for the stomach flu is Norovirus – which is essentially food poisoning.  With either one, you can have vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort and fever.  The easiest way to determine the cause of illness is to look back at your recent history.

Because the symptoms of food poisoning tend to occur within hours of eating something, try to recall if you ate something that looked questionable.  If other people ate the same thing, ask if they are experiencing the similar symptoms.  If they are, then you probably have food poisoning.

However, if you are the only one who got sick after eating a certain dish, then you probably picked up a viral illness, like Rotavirus from a sneeze, a handshake, or a contaminated doorknob.  The stomach flu isn’t caused by the influenza virus (Flu).  Influenza is a respiratory illness and the stomach flu affects the gastroenteritis area.  Symptoms of the stomach flu usually starts one to three days after exposure.

Both can be treated with rest and fluids however if any signs of serious dehydration occur, seek medical attention.

The best rule of thumb is to always seek medical attention if you suspect food poisoning, and remember to report your confirmed illness to your local health department.

By: Keeba Smith, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)

June 4, 2018
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What’s in Your Kitchen?  A Week in Recalls

MakeFoodSafe.com would like to help you keep your family safe from unsafe and recalled foods.

Each week we bring together a list of the current recalls so you can stay in the know about the food you eat and buy.  Check back each week and evaluate your fridge, pantry, and shopping list to make sure you can identify which foods to avoid – and keep your family safe!

Bring on the Recalls

Stonewall Kitchen Recalls Limited Amount of Basil Pesto Aioli Due to Mislabeling and Undeclared Allergens

On April 30, 2018, Stonewall Kitchen issued a voluntary recall for a limited amount of their 10.25oz Basil Pesto Aioli (with Enjoy By date 28 Sep 2019).  The affected product contains undeclared allergen egg. The company explains that the label for the Basil Pesto may have been applied to the Basil Pesto Aioli products by mistake.  The case pack is correctly labeled, though the individual product within may have incorrect jar labeling.  Those who have severe sensitivities or allergies to eggs may risk serious or life-threatening allergic reaction.

The issue was identified on April 23, 2018 that this error involving no more than 723 units was made.  A total of 38 retailers received the affected product and the company indicates that they have all been contacted.  See chart below for specific UPC information.

No complaints, injuries, or illness have been reported to date with this recall.

Maya Distribution, LLC Recalls Dragon Label Kratom Due to Possible Salmonella Contamination

On May 1, 2018, Maya Distribution, LLC of South Salt Lake City, Utah issued a voluntary recall for their Dragon Kratom labeled bottles and sealed packages of encapsulated and raw powder product due to potential contamination with Salmonella.

Salmonella can cause illness in any group, but young children, the elderly, and those with a compromised immune system are most susceptible for more severe infection.  Symptoms in normally healthy individuals include fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea (often bloody).  Under rare situations Salmonella bacteria may leave the gastrointestinal system and enter the bloodstream or other parts of the body that can lead to arterial infections, endocarditis, and arthritis.

According to the manufacturer, bottles were sold directly to manufacturers in Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming, Kansas, Illinois, Idaho, Iowa, and Michigan.  See chart below for specific UPC information.

The recall was initiated after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notified Maya Distribution of positive Salmonella test results.  Maya Distribution has since identified the supplier and source of the contamination and has stopped production and distribution of the affected product.

At this time one illness has been reported.

Seabear Company Recalls Cold Smoked Wild Coho Salmon Lox Due to Possible Clostridium botulinum Contamination

On May 1, 2018, Seabear Company of Anacortes, Washington issued a recall for 1,225 units of Cold Smoked Wild Coho Salmon Lox under the Gerard & Dominique Seafoods brand due to potential Clostridium botulinum contamination.

Clostridium botulinum is responsible for the illness “botulism,” a fatal form of food poisoning.  Symptoms include: general weakness, dizziness, and double-vision. Infected people will also have trouble speaking or swallowing.  Other common symptoms include weakness of other muscles, abdominal distension, constipation, and difficulty in breathing.  If any of these symptoms are experienced, the consumer should seek medical attention immediately. Botulism could be fatal and cause an onset of paralysis.

The recall was initiated because the after the product’s water phase salt testing dropped below 3.5%.  Package labeling instructs consumers that once thawed, the package can be kept refrigerated unopened for up to 30 days.  With a water phase salt level less than 3.5%, the product must remain frozen until ready to consume, otherwise the bacterium Clostridium botulinum may be able to grow.

The affected lots were shipped directly to distributors in the states of California, Maryland, and Washington between 12/8/17 and 4/10/18 where they have been further distributed to other retail stores.  See chart below for specific UPC information.

No illnesses have been reported to date.  Consumers are warned not to use the product even if it does not look or smell spoiled.

Van’s Foods Recalls Gluten Free Waffles Due to Undeclared Allergen, Wheat and Milk

 On May 3, 2018 Van’s Foods issued a recall for Van’s Gluten Free Waffles due to the undeclared allergen, wheat and milk. Those with a severe sensitivity or allergy to wheat and/or dairy may experience serious or life-threatening allergic reaction.  These products could also cause a serious autoimmune reaction to those with celiac disease.

The recall was initiated when it became known that a limited number of the wrong packaging was used in producing Van’s Belgian Waffles.  The packaging for Van’s Gluten Free Waffle was used by mistake.

The affected product was distributed to food retailers in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin.  See chart below for specific UPC information.

No reports of illness or injury have been indicated.

A breakdown of the affected products includes:

Manufacturer Label Size Date UPC
Stonewall Kitchen Basil Pesto Aioli 10.25 oz, 12 pk Enjoy By: 28SEP2019 7 11381 31752 5
Stonewall Kitchen Basil Pesto 8 oz Enjoy By: 28SEP2019 7 11381 03060 8
Maya Distribution Dragon Ultra Enhanced Indo Extract 4, 500 mg capsules 66001000010
Maya Distribution Dragon Malaysian 150 g powder 660010010057
Maya Distribution Dragon Malaysian 20, 500mg capsules 660010010033
Maya Distribution Dragon Malaysian 200, 500mg capsules 660010010040
Maya Distribution Dragon Malaysian 80, 500mg capsules 060010000019
Maya Distribution Dragon Malaysian 40, 500mg capsules 060010000018
Maya Distribution Dragon Malaysian 40, 500mg capsules 660010010026
Maya Distribution Dragon Malaysian 20, 500mg capsules 660010010033
Maya Distribution Dragon Maeng Da 150g powder 550010010051
Maya Distribution Dragon Maeng Da 60g powder 550010000021
Maya Distribution Dragon Maeng Da 200, 500mg capsules 550010010044
Maya Distribution Dragon Maeng Da 80, 500mg capsules 550010010013
Maya Distribution Dragon Maeng Da 40, 500mg capsules 550010010020
Maya Distribution Dragon Maeng Da 80, 500mg capsules 440010010037
Maya Distribution Dragon Bali 150g powder 440010010055
Maya Distribution Dragon Bali 60g powder 440010010025
Maya Distribution Dragon Bali 200, 500mg capsules 440010010048
Maya Distribution Dragon Bali 80, 500mg capsules 440010010017
Maya Distribution Dragon Bali 40, 500mg capsules 440010010024
Maya Distribution Dragon Bali 20, 500mg capsules 440010010031
Seabear Company Gerard & Dominique Seafood 3oz (85g) Pack Date 17-340

Lot# CSCO-17339

7 52047 92635 4
Van’s Foods Van’s Gluten Free Original Best By: AUG 22 2018

 

A640234710-WL2

By: Heather Van Tassell, Contributing Writer (Non-Lawyer)

June 1, 2018
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