No details on new outbreak of Listeria infections; FDA working on other outbreaks

Federal officials are investigating a new outbreak of infections from Listeria monocytogenes but have not released any specific information.

The Food and Drug Administration announced the outbreak investigation in its weekly update, indicating that a source of the pathogen has not been identified. 

Ten people have been confirmed as patients in the new Listeria outbreak. The FDA has not released any information about the patients such as their ages or the states where they live. 

The agency has not yet begun traceback efforts, onsite inspections or sample testing of any kind in relation to the outbreak of Listeria infections.

The new outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections is the second currently under investigation by the FDA in which a source has not been identified for the pathogen. As of this week the patient count stands at 21 in the other outbreak, announced April 13. Traceback has begun but the FDA has not revealed what food or foods are being traced.

In other outbreak news, the Food and Drug Administration continues to investigate an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections. Ten patients have been identified in the E. coli outbreak, but no information has been released about where they live or what their ages are.

The FDA reports that it has begun traceback efforts, but has not revealed what food or foods are being traced. In recent days the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service reported it is investigating an E. coli outbreak, but did not post any details. The agencies have not indicated whether the investigations are related.

E. coli is often found in ground beef, but has also been found in other meats as well as in fresh fruits and vegetables. It is illegal for people to sell meat contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 and several other strains of the pathogen, regardless if they are aware of the contamination.

Hepatitis A outbreak investigation
The FDA has initiated a remote Foreign Supplier Verification Program inspection related to strawberries imported from Mexico. The organic berries are linked to an outbreak of hepatitis A infections in the U.S. and Canada. 

Canadian officials have initiated a separate investigation.

The organic strawberries were imported to the United States from Baja California, a state in northern Mexico, and branded as FreshKampo and HEB by a common supplier. They were for sale between March 5, 2022, and April 25, 2022.

However, the FDA is urging consumers who bought the organic strawberries and froze them for later use to throw them away. Freezing does not kill the hepatitis A virus. 

The strawberries were distributed nationwide in the United States.

As of this week the FDA is reporting 18 confirmed illnesses — 16 in California and one each in Minnesota and North Dakota — and 12 hospitalizations in the United States. In Canada, 10 patients have been identified with four of them requiring hospitalization.

Infant formula outbreak
The FDA continues to investigate an outbreak of cronobacter infections linked to infant formula produced by Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis, MI, plant. According to FDA redacted documents obtained by eFoodAlert there have been nine infant deaths associated with the investigation.

The Abbott production plant, which makes Similac and Elecare formulas in addition to other brands, was closed in mid-February after the FDA found five strains of cronobacter in the facility. At that point the FDA was only reporting four babies associated with the outbreak with two having died.

FDA officials agreed to allow production at the plant to resume on June 4 with strict controls in place.

Other active outbreak investigations
An outbreak of Salmonella infections traced to Jif peanut butter continues to be under investigation by the FDA. It has sickened 16 people in 12 states as of the most recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many Jif branded products have been recalled and dozens of products containing the implicated peanut butter have also been recalled.

An investigation into 558 “adverse event reports” about dry cereal, Lucky Charms breakfast cereal, is ongoing. The FDA has initiated on-site of General Mills production plant and is conducting environmental and product testing. No other information abut the outbreak of “adverse events” has been released.

Additional outbreak information
The table below shows information about 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.

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.

To view the FDA page with links to specific information on individual outbreaks, please click here. 

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