Thursday, July 29, 2010

Outbreaks and Alerts: July 29, 2010

A daily digest of international outbreaks, alerts and food safety news

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United States
  • Newark, NJ. July 27: Thomas George, the former Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Seafood Corporation, was sentenced to 22 months in prison for importing falsely labeled fish from Vietnam and evading over $60 million in federal tariffs, as well as selling over $500,000 in similarly misbranded fish purchased from another importer.
  • Multnomah County, OR. July 27: A health advisory prompted by high algae levels found in Fairview Lake, located 20 miles east of Portland and directly south of Blue Lake, was issued today by Oregon Public Health and Multnomah County Health Department officials.
  • Coos County, OR. July 28: A public health advisory has been issued due to higher-than-normal levels of bacteria in ocean waters at Sunset Bay State Park Beach in Coos County. While this advisory is in effect at Sunset Bay State Park Beach visitors should avoid wading in nearby creeks or in discolored water, and stay clear of water runoff flowing into the ocean. Even if there is no advisory in effect, officials recommend avoiding swimming in the ocean for 48 hours after a rainstorm.
  • Olympia, WA. July 28: Fair season is here and state health officials are reminding people to have a good time seeing animals close-up at petting zoos and educational farms, but don’t get sick from them.
  • Miami, FL. July 28: A yearlong beach study led by a team of University of Miami researchers suggests that swimmers at sub-tropical beaches face an increased risk of illness. The multi-disciplinary team examined the risk of illness that beachgoers face when exposed to recreational marine water at sub-tropical beaches with no known source of pollution or contamination.
  • New York, NY. July 28: The UN has declared that access to clean water and sanitation is a fundamental human right. About 1.5m children under five die each year from water and sanitation-related diseases. The resolution was passed with 122 nations in favour, none against and 41 abstentions.
  • USA. July 29: NRDC's annual survey of water quality and public notification at U.S. beaches finds that the number of beach closings and advisories in 2009 hit their sixth-highest level in the 20-year history of the report. The number of closing and advisory days at ocean, bay and Great Lakes beaches topped 18,000 for the fifth consecutive year, confirming that our nation's beaches continue to suffer from bacterial pollution that puts swimmers at risk.
  • Silver Spring, MD. July 29: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning that inadvertent exposure to Evamist through skin contact with patients using this product has the potential for adverse effects in children and pets. Evamist contains estradiol, an estrogen hormone, and is used in women to reduce hot flashes during menopause. The drug is sprayed on the skin between the elbow and wrist, on the inside of the forearm. The FDA currently is reviewing reports of adverse events in children and pets who were inadvertently exposed to this topical estrogen product.

  • Ottawa, ON. July 27: Health Canada is reminding Canadians that raw or undercooked sprouts should not be eaten by children, older adults, pregnant women or those with weakened immune systems, as these foods, however, may carry harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7, which can lead to serious illness.
  • Ottawa, ON. July 29: Health Canada is informing Canadians that Marché Euromix, a retail store in Pierrefonds (Montréal), was found to be selling a health product that was not authorized for sale by Health Canada and that closely resembled in appearance an authorized drug, Viagra. As such, Health Canada worked with the Canadian licensee of Viagra, Pfizer Canada Inc., to confirm that Marché Euromix’s product was not Viagra and can therefore be considered to be counterfeit.

  • United Kingdom. July 28: The Food Standards Agency is reminding caterers to make sure chicken livers are handled hygienically and cooked thoroughly when used in products such as pâté or parfait, following a number of outbreaks of Campylobacter food poisoning linked with chicken liver products where the livers may have been undercooked. The most recent figures suggest that 65% of shop-bought chicken is contaminated with Campylobacter. Food safety experts at the Agency advise that chicken liver should not be treated like a piece of steak; rather it must be cooked all the way through, as Campylobacter can be present throughout the liver, not just on the surface.
  • Lanarkshire, Scotland. July 29: Health officials in Lanarkshire are investigating a rise in local cases of cryptosporidiosis - an infection which causes diarrhoea.Three pools have been closed as a precautionary measure at Cumbernauld's Tryst Sports Complex, after it emerged that some people who were infected with Cryptosporidium had been swimming there.
  • Stavropol, Russia. July 29: Thirty-five people, including two children suffered acute gastrointestinal infections after attending a wedding feast in the village of Upper Dubivka. One victim has been hospitalized.

Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands
  • Abu Dhabi. July 25: Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority has opened channels of communication with Islamic organizations in all the countries that export meat to Abu Dhabi. The establishment of contact with the religious bodies is to ascertain the animals are slaughterd in these countries according to the Islamic rules concerning that sphere.
  • Hong Kong. July 27: The Centre for Health Protection is investigating a suspected food poisoning case affecting 10 people. The victims – six men and four women aged between 26 and 33 – developed gastroenteritis symptoms including abdominal pain and diarrhea about five to 14 hours after attending a banquet at a restaurant in Sha Tin on July 11. Three of them sought medical attention. No hospitalisation was required. All are in stable condition.
  • Singapore. July 28: Bonsoy soy milk products that are currently available for sale in Singapore have been reformulated without the “Kombu” seaweed. This product has been tested and found to be safe for consumption.
  • Hong Kong. July 28: The Centre for Health Protection is investigating a suspected food poisoning case involving 13 members of a tour group. The victims – five males and eight females aged from 12 to 70 – were members of a tour group visiting Hong Kong. They had meals at a restaurant in Wan Chai on July 26 and subsequently developed gastroenteritis symptoms including diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and fever.Eleven of them sought medical treatment. No hospitalisation was required. All of them are in stable condition.
  • Abu Dhabi. July 28: In a major inspection campaign targeting bakeries and confectionaries in the city of Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority's inspection units visited 52 shops in different parts of the capital, issued 39 food safety warnings and detected 2 violations. A total of 11 shops were found in full compliance with the mandatory safety standards.
  • Muzaffarnagar, India. July 29: Two kawad pilgrims died due to suspected food poisoning at Shamli town after consuming milk en route.

Australia and New Zealand
  • Berwick, Australia. July 28: The Victorian Department of Health has been notified of a number of cases of Hepatitis A in the Berwick area, in families associated with the Berwick Early Learning Centre. Physicians are asked to consider the diagnosis of Hepatitis A in any person presenting with Acute Hepatitis, especially if they have links to the centre, and are reminded that Hepatitis A is a notifiable disease.
  • New South Wales, Australia. July 29: The NSW Government’s Name and Shame register has attracted more than four million hits since its inception two years ago, successfully meeting the increasing public demand for safe food information, Minister for Primary Industries Steve Whan said today. Not bad, considering that the population of the entire state at the last census was less than 7 million people!

Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Cosoleacaque, Mexico. July 28: Residents of calle Luís Echeverría are upset and disappointed that municipal authorities have done nothing to resolve a problem with raw sewage runoff in their neighborhood. The problem has existed since September 2009, and residents are worried that the putrid waters will cause disease in infants and elderly people.
  • Chile. July 28: Seven people showed up at a hospital emergency room with food poisoning symptoms after eating sandwiches from Golditos, a local sandwich fast food chain. The Department of Health has begun an investigation.

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