Contaminated cantaloupe sickens 13
March 29th, 2011
04:45 PM ET

Contaminated cantaloupe sickens 13

Cantaloupe contaminated with salmonella has sickened 13 people in five states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

Five people in Oregon, four in Washington State, two in California, one in Colorado, and one in Maryland have become ill. Of the 13 patients, three have been hospitalized; none have died, according to the CDC's website.


Salmonella linked to alfalfa sprouts CDC says
January 6th, 2011
06:12 PM ET

Salmonella linked to alfalfa sprouts CDC says

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  is linking most of a salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 100 people in 18 states and the District of Columbia to eating Tiny Greens Alfalfa Sprouts at Jimmy John's restaurant outlets.

The CDC says Tiny Greens Organic Farm of Urbana, Illinois, is recalling lots of Alfalfa Sprouts and Spicy Sprouts because they have the potential to be contaminated with salmonella. The sprouts were distributed in Illinois, Indiana and Missouri and could have been on store shelves and used in restaurants. Other Midwestern states may also have received the sprouts. Spicy Sprouts are a mixture of alfalfa sprouts, clover sprouts and radish.


October 18th, 2010
06:19 PM ET

FDA clears egg company to resume shipping

The FDA has sent Hillandale Farms of Hampton, Iowa, a releasing letter allowing the company to start shipping its eggs, beginning Monday.

Hillandale Farms was one of two companies that recalled its eggs in August 2010 because of the potential for Salmonella poisoning. According to the FDA, since August, three egg-producing houses owned by Hillandale have been extensively tested and have been found to have no evidence of Salmonella contamination. Four others overseen by the company still are undergoing further testing before they are allowed to ship. Hillandale has also promised to enhance its systems in order to detect Salmonella in the future.

In the letter to Hillandale, the FDA noted, "(We) find your corrective actions to be adequate. We note your agreement to clean and disinfect houses one (1) and two (2) prior to repopulating and your commitment to comply with the requirements of the Egg Safety Rule."


August 24th, 2010
03:27 PM ET

Eggs recalled, a nation scrambles

Just looking for the basics about what you need to know about the 2010 egg recall? Here are quick links that'll help answer your questions about the latest recall and salmonella outbreak.

What’s going on?

About half a billion eggs have been recalled because of  a salmonella outbreak.  While this recall involves hundreds of millions of eggs, they represent less than 1 percent of the 80 billion eggs produced in the United States each year, according to the Egg Safety Center, a trade association entity.

Egg producer Hillandale Farms of Iowa recalled some 170.4 million eggs distributed to stores and companies and another company, Wright County Egg of Galt, Iowa, has recalled 380 million eggs. FULL POST

August 17th, 2010
02:24 PM ET

Eggs recalled over salmonella concerns

Wright County Egg of Galt, Iowa, is voluntarily recalling some of its eggs out of concern they may be tainted with salmonella bacteria.

After an uptick in salmonella infections, the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration, traced the source and determined it was most likely eggs from Wright County Egg.  The company says it is working to determine how the shell eggs are being contaminated.

Wright County Egg packages shell egg products under the following brand names: Lucerne, Albertson, Mountain Dairy, Ralph's, Boomsma's, Sunshine, Hillandale, Trafficanda, Farm Fresh, Shoreland, Lund, Dutch Farms and Kemps. The brands are distributed nationwide. The recall affects eggs packed in several different sized cartons, from a half dozen to 18-eggs.


August 22nd, 2008
10:39 AM ET

Zapping your greens

By Caleb Hellerman
CNN Senior Medical Producer

There’s a controversial new weapon to help fight off food poisoning. Today, the FDA is putting into action a plan that allows iceberg lettuce and spinach to be zapped with radiation, to kill bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli. Personally, I think it's a great idea. Since 1995, there have been at least 22 outbreaks of E. coli poisoning, just linked to fresh-cut lettuce or spinach. When we investigated a 2006 outbreak that sickened more than 200 people and killed three of them, I learned that even a soak in a chlorine bath won’t wipe out E. coli. Irradiation is the only thing that comes close. That and cooking, which doesn’t help your salad. Watch more from Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Irradiation is already used to sterilize beef, spices and food packaging containers. But when I asked some friends if they'd eat irradiated food, they scrunched up their noses. No surprise to Cathleen Enright, the vice president of federal government affairs at the Western Growers Association, which represents about three-quarters of the spinach and lettuce growers in this country. I asked Enright when we might see irradiated salad in the grocery store, and she said it could be quite a while. "It's going to be a business decision, and that factors in consumer acceptance.” She herself thinks irradiation is fine, but says “[it] does make some people nervous.”

The FDA says it's safe, but consumer groups such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest say that's based on old research. They say the jury is still out, and that we’d do better to focus on having more government safety inspections, and testing produce before it goes out to stores.

Are you more worried about dangerous bacteria or radiation on top of your salad? Yum!

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.

July 1st, 2008
04:13 PM ET

Food safety

By David Martin
CNN Medical Senior Producer

The salmonella outbreak linked to tomatoes, which has sickened more than 850 people since April, is only the latest in a spate of food-borne outbreaks that began in the fall of 2006.


E. coli-tainted spinach killed three and sickened more than 200 that year. Since then, tainted lettuce, peanut butter, olives, mushrooms, beef and now tomatoes have sickened hundreds, perhaps thousands, more. Today the FDA and CDC said they are looking at other produce, in addition to tomatoes, as the source of the current salmonella outbreak. Officials refused to be more specific and did not identify other produce.

Now, seeking to allay consumers’ fears, the United Fresh Produce Association is asking for federal safety regulations, an unusual move for a trade group.

“United Fresh believes that for maximum consumer confidence we need mandatory federal standards for fresh produce,” said David Gombas, senior vice president for food safety and technology of the group, which represents fruit and vegetable growers nationally.

“Those standards need to be commodity specific because one size does not fit all. They should be risk based and they should be flexible enough to change as science catches up,” he added.

A national survey by the Harvard School of Public Health Project on the Public and Biological Security finds most Americans - 58 percent - deem food produced in the United States as “somewhat safe.” That’s far more than the 37 percent who considered food “very safe.”

Dr. David Acheson, associate commissioner for foods at the Food and Drug Administration, said food in the United States is “incredibly safe.” Still, he is looking for more legislative authority from Congress to deal with food safety, including federal requirements for growers. There are none now.

The FDA is also hoping to expand inspections oversees in places like China and India, he said. Fewer than 1 percent of imports are now inspected.
“This is not a quick overnight fix,” Acheson said. “It’s going to be a slow, incremental fix over a number of years.

Meantime, the numbers of the outbreak of a rare form of bacteria called Salmonella Saintpaul has sickened at least 851 people in 36 states and the District of Columbia.

The FDA had linked the outbreak to red Roma, plum and round tomatoes but on Friday the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention said the cause might lie elsewhere.

"Produce investigations are very difficult because a lot of times vegetables are eaten all together," said Dr. Patricia Griffin, chief of the Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That makes it hard to trace back any one item to a source of contamination, she added. "We continue to keep an open mind about the possible source of this outbreak, as does FDA."

Acheson said FDA officials and tomato growers were involved in "a two-way dialogue.”

Do you think the food you eat is generally safe?

Editor’s Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.

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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.