FDA investigates new E. coli outbreak; continues work on other outbreaks

FDA investigates new E. coli outbreak; continues work on other outbreaks

The Food and Drug Administration is investigating a new outbreak of E. Coli O157:H7 infections but has not yet identified a source of the pathogen.

The only specific information available as of Dec. 29 is the patient count, which stands at 11. The agency reports that it has begun traceback efforts but it has not named what food or foods it is tracking.

No on-site inspections, sample collection or testing has been initiated by the FDA in relation to the new outbreak.

The FDA has not reported what states outbreak patients are from or when the first illness was confirmed.

As of Dec. 29 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had not posted any information about the new outbreak. This is not unusual for the CDC, which generally does not provide outbreak information until a source of infections has been identified.

In other updates, the FDA reports that it is continuing to investigate five other outbreaks (see table below). Those include two outbreaks of infections from Listeria monocytogenes that have been traced to packaged salads sold by Dole and Fresh Express. Recalls have been initiated in relation to both of those outbreaks.

In another outbreak update, the FDA has begun onsite inspections, as well as traceback and sample analysis in an ongoing outbreak of Salmonella Javiana infections. The outbreak has now sickened at least 60 people. As of this past week, the patient count stood at 51 patients.

As with the new E. Coli O157:H7 outbreak, no cause has been identified for the ongoing outbreak of Salmonella Javiana infections. The FDA has not reported what states are involved or when the first illness was reported.

The table below shows ongoing outbreak investigations being managed by FDA’s CORE Response Teams. The investigations are in a variety of stages. Some outbreaks have limited information with active investigations ongoing, others may be near completion. The table below has been abbreviated to show only active investigations.

The Food and Drug Administration will issue public health advisories for outbreak investigations that result in “specific, actionable steps for consumers — such as throwing out or avoiding specific foods — to take to protect themselves,” according to the outbreak table page.

Not all recalls and alerts result in an outbreak of foodborne illness. Not all outbreaks result in recalls.

Outbreak investigations that do not result in specific, actionable steps for consumers may or may not conclusively identify a source or reveal any contributing factors, according to CORE’s outbreak table page. If a source(s) and/or contributing factors are identified that could inform future prevention, FDA commits to providing a summary of those findings, according to CORE officials.

Click here to visit the FDA page that has a complete list of outbreak investigations and links to outbreak information.

Click on table to enlarge. Use link above to go to the FDA page with links to with specific details.(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)

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