Crayfish Linked to Sweden Salmonella Outbreak
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reported in November that there have been 33 known cases of Salmonella Mikawasima in Sweden and seven other European countries.
“There is an ongoing investigation of Salmonella Mikawasima cases, which have been identified through exceedance analysis and whole-genome sequence analysis,” Susana Barragan, a spokesperson for the ECDC, told Food Quality & Safety “ECDC is collecting further epidemiological and WGS [whole-genome sequencing] information from the countries in order to assess the extent of this event.”
Although the majority of cases were reported in Sweden, others have been reported in the U.K., France, Denmark, and Ireland.
Moa Rehn, an epidemiologist for the Public Health Agency of Sweden, says it’s investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Mikawasima in the country as people have been sick with the same Salmonella strain that has popped up throughout those European countries.
“We suspect that there is a common food source that has been distributed to several countries in Europe,” Rehn told FQ&S. “A national outbreak team with participants from the Public Health Agency (Folkhälsomyndigheten), regional infectious disease departments, and the Swedish Food Agency is investigating the Swedish outbreak. Cases are being interviewed by the regional infectious disease departments to find out what those cases ate before falling ill.”
The two dozen or so sick in Sweden live across 12 counties. The most recent known date of illness onset is Oct. 24, with those infected in an age range of 4 to 89 years old.
The Public Health Agency of Sweden is performing a case-by-case study, comparing the food history of outbreak cases to non-outbreak cases from the same time period. They believe the probable source of infection is large crayfish sold at retailer ICA, according to Rehn.
After being made aware of the alleged problem by Folkhälsomyndigheten, the retailer has withdrawn all packages from their stores, though it released a statement that it randomly checked the Chinese crayfish it has in stock and did not detect Salmonella.
– Keith Loria
CEA Food Safety Coalition Welcomes First-Ever Executive Director
The New York City-based CEA Food Safety Coalition has named Marni Karlin as the group’s first executive director. Karlin is charged with strengthening food safety standards and ensuring they are appropriate for the controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) leafy greens sector.
The CEA Food Safety Coalition comprises CEA leafy greens producers, including those that use hydroponic, aquaponic, and aeroponic methods.
“I am always seeking opportunities to use my skills and expertise to create a healthier, more sustainable food system,” Karlin says. “I’ve done that through work with the organic sector, and in nutrition education, and now I’m excited to bring my skills, expertise, and experience in policy, advocacy, and coalition management to bear for the controlled environment agriculture leafy greens sector.”
Previously, Karlin served as VP of government affairs and general counsel for the Organic Trade Association, representing the interests of the organic food, fiber, and agriculture sector in Washington, D.C. She also was counsel to Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., on the Senate Judiciary Committee, advising the legislator through her engagement with coalitions of government, nonprofit, and for-profit stakeholders.
In her new role, Karlin will seek to grow the coalition’s membership, educate consumers and regulators about this growing sector, and work with members, government agencies, and industry experts to strengthen food safety standards.
“As a growing sector, it’s critical that we build a coalition of engaged stakeholders to advocate, educate, and work with external stakeholders now,” she says. “It’s important to have a seat at the table when standards and regulations are being discussed, and I’m excited to ensure that our sector has just that. We have a great opportunity to help people understand what we do—whether they’re parents choosing to put our products on their children’s plates, or regulators making important decisions to protect food safety and people’s health.”