Outbreak and Recall Round Up - November 2022

In this month's outbreak and recall round up, we will start by looking at ongoing FDA outbreak investigations. The FDA is currently investigating 5 reported outbreaks, 3 of them have started since our last round up. The product linked to the Salmonella Litchfield outbreak reported last month has been identified as Seafood and the number of illnesses rose from 29 to 33, leading to 13 hospitalization. 

The details of the ongoing investigations are shown in the table below. (Source: FDA, last accessed 2022-11-14)

FDA investigations Nov

Deadly listeria outbreak in the US linked to deli meat and cheese

Earlier this month the CDC announced that meats and cheeses sold at deli counters were the likely source of a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak in at least 6 states. On the date of the investigation notice publication, November 9, seven infections had been reported in New York, three in Maryland, two in Illinois, two in Massachusetts, one in California and one in New Jersey.

From the 16 reported illnesses, 13 resulted in hospitalization, one person died and another person became ill while pregnant and lost their baby. According to the CDC, the total number of illnesses and states involved could be much higher, because many people recover from a contamination without medical care and are not tested for Listeria. 

The source of the outbreak has not yet been identified. It is difficult for investigators to identify a single source of contamination because Listeria spreads easily between food and the deli environment, and it can survive for a long time in deli display cases and on equipment.  

US Recalls

In October, 19 recalls related to food and beverages were reported in the US. 2/3 of these recalls were caused by the presence of an undeclared allergen, with nuts accounting for half of them. Biological contaminations were responsible for 5 recalls last month including 3 recalls due to listeria, all in cheese products. The presence of a foreign object triggered one recall in a confectionery product. The recalls involved several brand names, companies and products.

EU recalls

In October, 339 notifications were reported for food products in the European Union. The top 4 categories with most notifications, representing 50% of the notifications were fruits and vegetables (15%), nuts, nut products and seeds (13%), poultry meat and poultry meat products (11%) and dietetic foods, food supplements and fortified foods (11%). 

notifications per category

Chemical hazards were responsible for more than 50% of the notifications last month. 

hazard type

The graph below shows a detailed vue of the chemical hazards. Pesticides caused more than 1/3 of the notifications related to chemical hazards. Pesticides were mainly found in fruit and vegetables (44%) and herbs and spices (24%). Mycotoxins accounted for 15% of the notifications for chemical hazards, they were mainly found in nuts, nut products and seeds (41%). 

chemical hazards-1

The following graph details the causes of notifications for biological hazards. Salmonella contamination was by far the most prevalent cause of notifications, and it was mainly found in poultry meat and poultry meat products (55%), as well as nuts, nut products and seeds (19%).

biological hazards-1

Month by Month Evolution

While we are getting closer to the end of the year, let's have a look at the evolution month by month since the beginning of 2022 of the total number of recalls for the US and EU, and by hazard type.

evolution m by m

evolution by hazard type

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