Happy World Food Safety Day! 🌍

Cows in at least 5 days died from H5N1, Salmonella outbreaks galore, & more

June 7, 2024

Bird Flu News:

  • Dairy cows in at least 5 states have died or been slaughtered because it was clear they would not recover. (Reuters)
  • Deborah Birx, who led the COVID response for the Trump administration, says the U.S. is making the “same mistakes” with bird flu. (The Hill)
  • Michigan recommends that schools and camps postpone field trips to dairy and poultry farms this summer. (CBS)
  • A person in Mexico died from the first human case of H5N2, a different strain of avian flu. This person was immunocompromised but reported no contact with poultry. (WHO)

Health News:

  • It’s World Food Safety Day! The WHO reminds us that 1 in 10 people worldwide get sick from contaminated food each year, and 40% of that is in kids under 5. (WHO)
  • The FDA’s advisory group recommended fall vaccines targeting the dominant JN.1 strain, which is closely related to the KP.2 and KP.3 variants appearing this summer. (Medpage Today)
  • Whooping cough continues to rise drastically, especially compared to last year. Hotspots include NY, PA, OR, and CA. (Newsweek)
  • Dozens of people got violently sick on a flight to Houston after returning from an international cruise in what was likely a norovirus outbreak. (2 Houston)
  • Parts of Atlanta were under boil water orders for days after a series of water main breaks, affecting businesses and Emory Hospital. (CNN)
  • BMI, known to be an imprecise indicator of health, is being replaced in some practices by “body composition” scans. (NPR)
  • As mpox cases rise quickly in the U.S., experts are urging complete, two-shot vaccination for any men who have sex with men and others at higher risk. Hotspots are in NY, NJ, and PA. (Stateline)
  • 113 E. coli cases in the UK since May 25th are likely linked to a single food source. (Guardian)

Mental Health & Substance Use News:

  • One in three U.S. adults knows someone who died from a drug overdose. (JAMA)
  • The FDA voted against MDMA as a therapy for PTSD, citing issues with the particular trials that were up for review. (CNN)

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide or need help, call 988 or message the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

Best Questions:

What is going on with all these Salmonella outbreaks? Are they related?

It certainly looks like we’re dealing with a very large outbreak that might all be linked to cucumbers. Right now, the FDA is reporting over 160 cases of Salmonella Africana linked to fresh cucumbers that were sold to retail, wholesale, and food service distributors throughout the East Coast. But there’s also an ongoing investigation into 158 cases of Salmonella Braenderup. On Wednesday, the FDA acknowledged that the two outbreaks caused by different strains have a lot of similarities, including “where and when illnesses occurred and the demographics of ill people.” Our best bet is that they’re just waiting for some final genetic testing but that we’re going to see that these same cucumbers were the source for all 300+ cases, a rare outbreak with one source and two different strains of Salmonella.

Sources: FDA, CDC

What should restaurant operators know to prepare for boil water orders (like we saw in Atlanta this week)?

A boil water notice means that your water supply may have been compromised, as was the case in Atlanta this past week when major water mains broke downtown. The boil water order applies to the use of all potable water, including water for consumption, food prep, handwashing, and cleaning any food contact surfaces. To prepare for future boil water notices, have clear policies on when you can (and can’t) stay open. We generally recommend that you want running hot water in order to open, even if you then have to boil it to use it. Gather the phone numbers for your water company, health department, and key vendors, who will all be important partners if you do stay open. In order to stay safely open, you’ll need to staff up, reach out to nearby sister restaurants for help if possible, and consider a temporarily pared-down menu. For a full step-by-step action plan and instructions on reopening after a boil water notice, check out the ZHH App and search “boil water” in the Knowledge Base.

Source: ZHH App

Best Read:

The sudden lack of access to pharmacies has a direct impact on employers in an outbreak scenario when quick vaccination is key (Hep A is a great example). This may mean employers need to plan for on-site vaccination clinics in certain areas if an issue arises:

As pharmacies shutter, some Western states, Black and Latino communities are left behind | Associated Press