List of United States foodborne illness outbreaks

This is a list of foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States. Every year 5,000 deaths, 325,000 hospitalizations and 76 million illnesses are caused by foodborne illnesses within the US. [ [ New York Times] ] Illness outbreaks lead to food recalls.


*2008 United States salmonellosis outbreak. As of July 8, 2008, from April 10, 2008, the rare Saintpaul serotype of "Salmonella enterica" caused at least 1017 cases of salmonellosis food poisoning in 41 states throughout the United States, the District of Columbia, and Canada. As of July 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration suspects that the contaminated food product is a common ingredient in fresh salsa, such as raw tomato, fresh jalapeño pepper, fresh serrano pepper, and fresh cilantro. It is the largest reported salmonellosis outbreak in the United States since 1985. During a House subcommittee hearing into food supply safety and the recent salmonella contamination, a top federal official told panel members that agencies have found the source of the contamination after it showed up in yet another batch of Mexican-grown peppers. Adam Acheson, Food and Drug Administration associate commissioner for foods, said the FDA tracked the salmonella positive test to serrano peppers and irrigation water at a packing facility in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, and a grower in Tamaulipas.

New Mexico and Texas have been proportionally the hardest hit by far, with 49.7 and 16.1 reported cases per million, respectively. The greatest number of reported cases have occurred in Texas (384 reported cases), New Mexico (98), Illinois (100), and Arizona (49). [cite news | title = Cases infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Saintpaul, United States, by state | url = For some states, such as California, the CDC has recently revised the tally of identified illnesses downward.] There have been at least 203 reported hospitalizations linked to the outbreak, it has caused at least one death, and it may have been a contributing factor in at least one additional death. [ [ August 8, 2008: Investigation of Outbreak of Infections Caused by Salmonella Saintpaul | Salmonella CDC ] ] The CDC maintains that "it is likely many more illnesses have occurred than those reported." If applying a previous CDC estimated ratio of non-reported salmonellosis cases to reported cases (38.6:1), one would arrive at an estimated 40,273 illnesses from this outbreak. [cite news | title = FoodNet Estimate of the Burden of Illness Caused by Nontyphoidal Salmonella Infections in the United States | author = Voetsch, et al. | work = Clinical Infectious Diseases, 2004; 38:S3 | date = 2004-04-15 | url =]


*On December 27, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health warned not to drink milk or milk related products from Whittier Farms in Shrewsbury, MA due to a listeria bacteria contamination that resulted in two deaths. [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Two dead from Whittier Farms milk contamination. |url= |quote=The Department of Public Health (DPH) has issued a warning to consumers not to drink any milk products from Whittier Farms in Shrewsbury because of listeria bacteria contamination, which has contributed to the death of two people |publisher=Metro West Daily News |date=Thursday December 27, 2007 |accessdate=2007-12-27 ]
*On October 11, food manufacturer ConAgra asked stores to pull its Banquet and generic brand chicken and turkey pot pies due to 152 cases of salmonella poisoning in 31 states being linked to the consumption of ConAgra pot pies, with 20 people hospitalized. By October 12, a full recall was announced, affecting all varieties of frozen pot pies sold under the brands Banquet, Albertson’s, Food Lion, Great Value, Hill Country Fare, Kirkwood, Kroger, Meijer, and Western Family. The recalled pot pies included all varieties in 7-oz. single-serving packages bearing the number P-9 or “Est. 1059” printed on the side of the package. [ [ St. Cloud Times "ConAgra Foods recalls all pot pies". Retrieved 10-13-2007] ]
* in ground beef from the Topps Meat Company in Elizabeth, New Jersey. As of 2007, it is the second-largest beef recall in United States history. [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Topps Meat Co. folds after beef recall. |url= |quote=Topps Meat Co. of Elizabeth, which is involved in the second-largest beef recall in U.S. history, said today it is going out of business after more than six decades |publisher=New York Times |date=Friday October 5, 2007 |accessdate=2007-09-25 ] cite news |first=Patrick |last=Lyons |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=In a Beef Packager’s Demise, a Whiff of Vichyssoise. |url= |quote=On an early July day in 1971 when it was too hot to cook, a couple in Westchester County, New York, sat down to a meal of Bon Vivant vichyssoise, a soup often served chilled (and in this case, straight from the can). The soup tasted funny, so they didn’t finish it; within hours he was dead and she was paralyzed from botulism poisoning. F.D.A. investigators found five other cans of vichyssoise from the same batch of 6,444 that were also tainted with botulism, and spot checks of other products raised questions about the company’s processing practices, so the agency shut down the plant and told the company to recall all its soups. |publisher=The New York Times |date=October 5, 2007 |accessdate=2007-10-09 ]
*Salmonella in Metz Fresh, California spinach. Recalled 8,000 cartons of fresh spinach. No reports of any illness. [ [ Spinach Recall Sparks Oversight Calls] ]
*Botulism from cans of Castleberry's, Austex and Kroger brands of chili sauce. In total, over 25 different brands of a variety of products were recalled by Castleberry's Food Company. [ [ Castleberry Foods Press Release] ] The best buy dates for the affected products range from April 30, 2009, through May 22, 2009. The contamination by the toxin is extremely rare for commercially canned products. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention medical epidemiologist Dr. Michael Lynch said the last such U.S. case dates to the 1970s. The roughly 25 cases reported each year were mainly from home canned foods. [ [ Associated Press] ]
*Salmonella from Peter Pan and Great Value Peanut Butter in 44 States. By March 7, 2007, the outbreak had grown to 425 cases in 44 states since its start in August 2006. The CDC said it is believed to be the first salmonella outbreak associated with peanut butter in United States history. [ Peanut butter recalled in salmonella outbreak]
*In April and May, 14 people in 11 states were sickened after eating -tainted beef packed by United Food Group. The meat packing company ultimately recalled 5.7 million pounds of potentially contaminated meat. [ [ Supplier Expands Beef Recall Over Concerns of E. Coli Contamination] ]


* from Taco Bell in South Plainfield, New Jersey and Long Island. They suffered from hemolytic uremic syndrome [New York Times; December 4, 2006; E. Coli Sickens More Than 35 in N.J. and L.I.] 39 people in central New Jersey and on Long Island were sickened. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at first believed the to be in the green onions. The FDA on December 13, 2006 said it could not confirm that scallions were the cause of the problem, as previously suspected, and that it was not ruling out any food as a possible culprit. It was later suspected that infected lettuce was the cause. [ [ Lettuce Suspected in Taco Bell E. Coli - ] ] Even though the culprit turned out to be a produce other than green onions, Taco Bell, in a public relations disaster, fingered a California-based green onion supplier as the source of the E. Coli and then eliminated all green onions from its menu (while still serving lettuce). As a result, a lawsuit is currently pending against Taco Bell.
*2006 North American E. coli outbreak. in bagged spinach packaged by Natural Selection Foods and most likely supplied by Earthbound Farm in San Juan Bautista. 3 dead, and 198 people reported sickened by the outbreak across 25 US States, [cite web |url = | title = Update on Multi-State Outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 Infections From Fresh Spinach | date = September 23, 2006 | work = CDC |accessdate = 2006-09-24 ] and 1 person reported sickened by the outbreak in Ontario. [ [ First case of contaminated spinach recorded in Canada ] ]


*Hepatitis A on green onions in Pennsylvania. [ [ Hepatitis A Outbreak Associated with Green Onions at a Restaurant - Monaca, Pennsylvania, 2003 ] ]


* in ground beef from ConAgra. 19 people became ill in California, Colorado, Michigan, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming as a result of eating tainted hamburger from a ConAgra plant in Greeley, Colorado. The company recalled over 19 million pounds of ground beef it had manufactured, in the third largest recall in history. [ [ 19 MILLION POUNDS OF MEAT RECALLED AFTER 19 FALL ILL - New York Times ] ]
*Listeria in processed chicken from Pilgrim's Pride. The company recalled over 27 million pounds of poultry products it had manufactured, in the largest recall in history. The outbreak killed 7 people, sickened 46, and caused 3 miscarriages. [ [ EATING WELL; Listeria Thrives in a Political Hotbed - New York Times ] ]
*Botulism sickened 8 people in Western Alaska as a result of eating a beached beluga whale. [ [ Outbreak of Botulism Type E Associated with Eating a Beached Whale - Western Alaska, July 2002 ] ]
*Fifty-seven people in 7 states became ill in August and September after consuming meat contaminated with . The tainted meat originated at the meat packing plant Emmpak Foods. Emmpak recalled 2.8 million pounds of ground beef in the aftermath of the outbreak. [ [ Woman hospitalized with E. coli sues Emmpak] ]


*Salmonella in unpasteurized orange juice from Sun Orchard in Arizona. They imported orange juice from Mexico in a tanker cooled with contaminated ice. [ Contaminated Food Makes Millions Ill Despite Advances - New York Times ] ]


*Salmonella in bean sprouts from Pacific Coast Sprout Farms. They bought dry seeds in China and Australia and when germinated, the sprouts caused an outbreak from Oregon to Massachusetts. At least 67 people became ill, and 17 were hospitalized.
* A young girl died and 65 other people were sickened in an outbreak in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The source of the outbreak was two Sizzler restaurants that apparently allowed raw meat to come into contact with other food items. The infected meat was traced to the Excel meat packing plant in Colorado. [ [ Colorado Plant Linked to E. coli Outbreak Story] ] [ [ Beef grinder close to salad prep area, official says] ]
* There were 19 confirmed cases, 19 likely cases, and 49 suspected cases of in Oregon in August. The cases were linked to a Wendy's restaurant, and although beef was the suspected vector of transmission, such a link was not conclusively shown. [ [ Meat thought to be E. coli culprit] ]


*Hepatitis A on frozen strawberries from Andrew & Williamson Sales Co. of San Diego, California. The strawberries were grown in Baja California, Mexico and processed by A&W. Thousands of students from Arizona, California, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, and Tennessee may have been exposed to the virus from eating strawberries in school lunches. Over 2.6 million pounds of strawberries were recalled. [ [ CNN; April 3, 1997] ]
*1997 in ground beef from Hudson Foods Company of Rogers, Arkansas. Burger King was the largest client. The plant was in Columbus, Nebraska. The company recalled over 25 million pounds of ground beef it had manufactured, in the second largest recall in history.


* in unpasteurized apple juice from Odwalla. [ [ New York Times] ]


*Salmonella in ice cream from Schwan's Sales Enterprises of Marshall, Minnesota. The outbreak sickened more than 3,000 people in as many as 41 states. The contamination occurred when raw, unpasteurized eggs were hauled in a tanker truck that later carried pasteurized ice cream to the Schwan's plant. The ice cream premix wasn't pasteurized again after delivery to the plant. [ [ Ice cream firm linked to salmonella outbreak | FDA Consumer | Find Articles at ] ]


* in undercooked hamburgers from Jack in the Box. Four people died and hundreds of others became sick in the Seattle area and other parts of the Pacific Northwest.


*Botulism in whitefish in New Jersey. Four members of a Fort Lee family have been stricken with botulism after eating fish bought in Jersey City. [ [ Botulism Reported In Fort Lee Family - New York Times ] ]


*Listeria in cheese in Southern California. The largest number of food poisoning deaths recorded in recent U.S. history is traced to Mexican-style soft cheese. Of the 142 reported cases, there were 47 deaths, including 19 stillbirths and 10 infant deaths. [ Invisible villains; tiny microbes are biggest food hazard - includes related article | FDA Consumer | Find Articles at ] ]
*Salmonella in milk from the Hillfarm Dairy in Melrose Park, Ill. (a suburb of Chicago) causes 16,284 confirmed, and possibly as many as 200,000 cases of food poisoning in six Midwest states. The tainted milk was responsible for two deaths and may have been related to the death of 4 or 5 others with some counts being as high as 12. It is considered the worst outbreak of Salmonella food poisoning in U.S. history. [ [ Of microbes and milk; probing America's worst salmonella outbreak | FDA Consumer | Find Articles at ] ]
*Botulism at two White Spot restaurants in Vancouver, British Columbia in two separate incidents when chopped garlic stored in soybean oil caused outbreaks. [ [ CDC] ]


*Botulism (Type A Clostridium Botulinum) in Peoria, Illinois. 28 persons were hospitalized, and 20 patients were treated with an antitoxin. 12 patients required ventilatory support and 1 death resulted. The source was sauteed onions made from fresh raw onions served on a patty melt sandwich. The sandwiches were served at the Skewer Inn Restaurant located inside Northwoods Mall. [ [ New York Times] ]


*Botulism in peppers served at the Trini and Carmen restaurant in Pontiac, Michigan caused the largest outbreak of botulism poisonings in the United States. The peppers were canned at home by a former employee. [ [ Welcome to ActivePaper ] ] Fifty-nine people were sickened. [ [ Am. J. Epidemiol. - Sign In Page ] ]


*Salmonella in unpasteurized apple cider caused 200 illnesses in New Jersey. [ [ Fresh apple cider in the United States is amber golden, opaque, and entirely nonalcoholic ] ]


*Botulism in vichyssoise manufactured by Bon Vivant Soup Company of Newark, New Jersey. On July 2, 1971 FDA released a public warning after learning that a New York man had died and his wife had become seriously ill due to botulism after eating a can of Bon Vivant vichyssoise soup. The company commenced a recall of the 6,444 cans of vichyssoise soup made in the same batch as the can known to be contaminated. The FDA soon discovered that the company’s processing practices raised questions not only about the lots of the vichyssoise, but also about all other products packed by the company. The effectiveness check of the recall had revealed a number of swollen or otherwise suspect cans among Bon Vivant’s other products, so FDA extended the recall to include all Bon Vivant products. The FDA shut down the company’s Newark, New Jersey plant on July 7, 1971. Although only five cans of Bon Vivant soup were found to be contaminated with the botulin toxin, all in the initial batch of vichyssoise recalled and part of the first 324 cans tested. The ordeal destroyed public confidence in the company’s products and the Bon Vivant name. Bon Vivant filed for bankruptcy within a month of the announcement of the recall. [ [ Harvard] ]

ee also

* 1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack
* 2007 pet food recalls
* Eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome
* List of foodborne illness outbreaks
* Minamata disease


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