campylobacter-e1367919882392The campylobacter bacteria, often found in raw poultry, fresh produce and unpasteurized milk, was the leading cause of food-related infection in 2016, according to new national estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Campylobacter is one of four primary causes of diarrheal diseases, which affect more than 500 million people worldwide every year, notes the World Health Organization (WHO). Upon infection, it produces abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, headache and nausea, with symptoms that can last between three to six days.

The bacteria is found naturally in the intestines of chickens, cattle and other animals, and poor cooking hygiene of food derived from these animals can lead to infection, says the WHO.

Raw milk produced by Organic Pastures Dairy of Fresno County with a code date of OCT 24 is the subject of a statewide recall and quarantine order announced by California State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones.  The quarantine order followed the confirmed detection of campylobacter bacteria in raw whole milk.  No illnesses have been reported at this time.

Under the recall, Organic Pastures Dairy brand Grade-A raw milk labeled with a code date of OCT 24 is to be pulled immediately from retail shelves, and consumers are strongly urged to dispose of any product remaining in their refrigerators.

CDFA inspectors found the bacteria as a result of product testing conducted as part of routine inspection and sample collection at the facility.

According to the California Department of Public Health, symptoms of campylobacteriosis include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever. Most people with campylobacteriosis recover completely.  Illness usually occurs 2 to 5 days after exposure to campylobacter and lasts about a week.  The illness is usually mild and some people with campylobacteriosis have no symptoms at all.  However, in some persons with compromised immune systems, it can cause a serious, life-threatening infection.  A small percentage of people may have joint pain and swelling after infection.  In addition, a rare disease called Guillain-Barre syndrome that causes weakness and paralysis can occur several weeks after the initial illness.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-raw-chickens-supermarket-image33900426After a year of testing store-bought chicken in the United Kingdom for Campylobacter, the Food Standards Agency there has published the results — and they’re pretty dismal.

More than 4,000 samples of fresh whole chilled chickens and packaging were collected between February 2014 and February 2015, and 73 percent of the chickens tested positive for the presence of Campylobacter.

Nineteen percent of chickens tested above the highest category of contamination levels (more than 1,000 colony-forming units per gram), while 7 percent of packages also tested positive for Campylobacter.

Campylobacter is a foodborne bacteria largely associated with chicken which causes diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal cramping. It’s also the biggest cause of food poisoning in the U.K.

In breaking down contamination rates by retailer, FSA found that none had met the target for reducing Campylobacter. Asda had the highest rate of Campylobacter contamination at 80 percent of chicken samples, as well as the most samples (30 percent) with more than 1,000 colony-forming units per gram.

Tesco was the only main retailer with a lower rate of chicken contamination at the highest level compared to the industry average.

Raw milk, raw nonfat milk and raw cream produced by Claravale Farm of San Benito County are the subject of a statewide recall and quarantine order announced by California State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones.  The quarantine order came following the confirmed detection of campylobacter bacteria in Claravale Farm’s raw milk and raw cream from samples collected and tested by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

Consumers are strongly urged to dispose of any product remaining in their refrigerators with code dates of “MAR 28” and earlier, and retailers are to pull those products immediately from their shelves.

CDPH found the campylobacter bacteria in samples collected as part of an investigation of illnesses that may have been associated with Claravale Farm raw milk.  No illnesses have been definitively attributed to the products at this time.  However, CDPH is continuing its epidemiological investigation of reported clusters of campylobacter illness where consumption of raw milk products may have occurred.

According to CDPH, symptoms of campylobacteriosis include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever.  Most people with camplylobacteriosis recover completely.  Illness usually occurs 2 to 5 days after exposure to campylobacter and lasts about a week.  The illness is usually mild and some people with campylobacteriosis have no symptoms at all.  However, in some persons with compromised immune systems, it can cause a serious, life-threatening infection.  A small percentage of people may have joint pain and swelling after infection.  In addition, a rare disease called Guillian-Barre syndrome that causes weakness and paralysis can occur several weeks after the initial illness.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has warned consumers who bought raw milk from Apple Valley Creamery in Adams County to immediately discard it due to Campylobacter contamination found in a recent sample.

The dairy is located along the 500 block of Germany Road in East Berlin.

The raw milk sample was collected from the farm Jan. 28 during required routine sampling by a commercial laboratory and later tested positive for the bacteria.

Apple Valley Creamery sells directly to customers at an on-farm retail store and through home delivery services. Several retail facilities in Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry counties also carry the creamery’s products. The packaged raw milk is sold under the Apple Valley Creamery label in half gallon and quart glass containers with the sell-by dates of Feb. 9 and Feb. 11. It is labeled as “raw milk.”

Apple Valley Creamery also bottles pasteurized milk. This notice does not affect the pasteurized milk bottled by the creamery.

Agriculture officials have ordered the owner of the dairy to stop the sale of all raw milk until further notice. Multiple samples must test negative before the farm can resume raw milk sales.

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized.

Pennsylvania law allows farms to sell raw milk but requires the farms to be permitted and inspected by the agriculture department to reduce health risks associated with unpasteurized products. There are 150 farms in Pennsylvania permitted to sell raw milk or raw milk cheese.

Symptoms of Campylobacter include fever, abdominal pain and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea. Symptoms usually appear within 1-7 days after consumption.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed at least 80 cases of Campylobacter infections in an outbreak tied to contaminated unpasteurized milk from The Family Cow dairy, located in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.  Illness onset dates for the outbreak ranged from January 17 to February 1. At least nine people were hospitalized.  This was one of the largest foodborne illness linked to raw milk in Pennsylvania history, and affected individuals in four states. The breakdown of illnesses by state is as follows:  Pennsylvania (70), Maryland (5), West Virginia (3), and New Jersey (2).

Since 2007, Pennsylvania raw milk dairies have been linked to at least seven outbreaks, now resulting in a total of 287 illnesses. In 2008, the state had a raw milk outbreak of Campylobacter infection that sickened 72 people.

Although the dairy temporarily halted sales upon discovery of the outbreak, the farm was allowed to resume production on February 6, after passing a health inspection.  Lab tests by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene found the outbreak strain of Campylobacter in two unopened bottles of raw milk collected from customers’ homes, and the owners of the dairy acknowledged responsibility for the contaminated milk that caused the outbreak.  “It was us … food from our farm has made people sick,” owner Edwin Shank wrote in an open letter posted on the dairy’s website.

Of the 80 confirmed cases, 25 (31 percent) were under the age of 18, while all those ill ranged in age from 2 to 74.  There have been two additional outbreaks since 2012 – http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/08/third-campylobacter-outbreak-from-family-cow-dairy-sickens-2/#.Um54nyTPFXM

Campylobacter:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Campylobacter outbreaks. The Campylobacter lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Campylobacter and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Campylobacter lawyers have litigated Campylobacter cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as raw milk and municipal water.

If you or a family member became ill with a Campylobacter infection, including Guillain-Barré Syndrome, or GBS, after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Campylobacter attorneys for a free case evaluation.

Minnesota state health and agriculture officials reported today that routine disease surveillance has detected at least six illnesses linked to consumption of raw dairy products from the Dennis Jaloszyski dairy farm, near Cambridge, Minnesota.

According to epidemiologists with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the illnesses include three people with laboratory confirmation of a bacterium called Campylobacter jejuni. The illnesses were reported to MDH by health care providers as required under Minnesota law. When MDH contacted the individuals to inquire about potential causes of their illnesses, the ill people reported that they had consumed raw milk from the Jaloszynski Farm.

Minnesota Department of Agriculture inspectors visited the farm to determine how many customers were purchasing the milk to notify them of the outbreak. Because the owner did not have a customer list, a consumer advisory is being issued. Anyone who may have purchased or received raw milk from this farm should not drink it but should throw it away.

At least 31 residents of Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula were sickened early this year in a Campylobacter outbreak linked to raw milk, according to a report from state health officials.

While this outbreak, which lasted from early January to mid-February, appears to be over, the farm whose raw milk caused the outbreak could still be serving contaminated product, according to the document, published by the Alaska Section of Epidemiology (SOE) last week.

Between January 8 and February 13, 31 people  between the ages of 7 months and 72 years old fell ill with Campylobacter coli infections that were ultimately linked to a cow-share program on the peninsula.

Of the victims, two were hospitalized and four developed reactive arthritis, a painful inflammation of the joints caused by bacterial infections that can last up to a year.

The SOE report reveals that health officials had identified the cow-share program on the peninsula as the outbreak source by February 14. The following day, SOE and the Office of the State Veterinarian informed the implicated dairy and the public of the problem; however the dairy continued to sell its raw milk products on the Kenai Peninsula and in Anchorage.

At that point, 29 cases of Campylobacter coli had been linked to the dairy.

The following week, after two more cases were identified, health officials issued an updated health advisory, after which they say the cow share program provided them with a list of its customers that turned out to be incomplete and lacked contact information for most shareholders.

Applying hot, flowing air to poultry transport crates could be an effective way to kill Campylobacter in these environments, according to new government research.

Poultry is a known reservoir of Campylobacter, a bacteria that causes gastrointestinal illness. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most Campylobacter infections are associated with raw or undercooked poultry, or other foods that come into contact with contaminated birds.

Since animals harbor Campylobacter in their intestines and it is shed in their feces, the floors of poultry coops are rich ground for the bacteria. In poultry transport crates, bacteria in feces left by one bird might contaminate several of the next inhabitants.

While research has shown that washing cages and then drying them for one to two days can reduce or eliminate Campylobacter, this wait time is not practical for farmers.

But scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service and the University of Georgia at Athens have discovered that applying hot, moving air to crates that have been sprayed with water can reduce Campylobacter to undetectable levels, according to ARS’ Agricultural Research Magazine.