In this month's outbreak and recall round up, we will take a closer look at the Salmonella outbreak related to chocolate products that occurred in Europe in the first quarter of 2022, before going over all outbreaks reported in the United States and Europe during the month of March.
Salmonella Typhimurium in Chocolate
On 6 April, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) released an article on the investigation of a multi-country Salmonella outbreak linked to chocolate products. As of 12 April, 150 cases of Salmonellosis in 9 countries in Europe (Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden) has been confirmed mainly among children under 10 years old. The first case was identified in the UK on 7 January 2022. Product recalls have been launched in several countries to date to prevent the consumption of products potentially contaminated with Salmonella.
Monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium matching the human outbreak strain had been identified by the company at one of their plants the 15 December 2021 in self-checked samples. The processing step involving buttermilk was identified as the potential contamination point, and cleaning operations were performed, and after negative results, production was restarted. On 8 April 2022, based on the official controls, the food safety authority in Belgium confirmed the origin of the contamination with new positive samples and assessed that the plant was not able to guarantee the safety of its products and the authorization for production was withdrawn.
For more information, read the Rapid Outbreak Assessment from EFSA.
In March, the US database reported 24 recalls, 13 of them are related to Chemical hazard, 8 are related to a contamination with pathogen and the last 3 recalls are linked to foreign material contamination. For the Chemical contamination, all of them are related to undeclared allergens. The recalls involved several brand name and company. The last recall is due to undeclared peanuts allergen in yogurt covered raisins.
For the 9 pathogen related recalls, the majority are related to the recall initiated in the past month on contamination with Listeria monocytogenes in Enoki mushrooms.
In March 2022, 424 notifications have been reported and related to food products. Similarly to the previous month, the top 3 categories that count for almost half of the notifications are: fruits and vegetables, dietetic foods, food supplements and fortified foods and nuts, nut products and seeds.
Over the 424 notifications, the majority are associated with chemical hazards.
For the chemical hazards, the details are provided below. The main hazard is related to the presence of pesticides mainly from fruits and vegetables (80%), following by Aflatoxin mainly from nuts, nut products and seeds (57%). A small portion of the notification is related to the unauthorized CBD ingredient or a too high level of THC.
For the biological hazards, the details are provided below. The main hazards are related to a contamination of Salmonella mainly coming from poultry meat and poultry meat products (60%).
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