E. coli

CDC Investigating As E. Coli Outbreak Linked To Chipotle Sickens 39

Nov 5, 2015

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is assisting the Washington State Department of Health and the Oregon Health Authority in investigating an outbreak of E.coli infections linked to Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Thirty-nine people have been sickened with a strain of E. coli known as Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O26 (STEC O26) in Washington and Oregon. Fourteen people have been hospitalized in those two states.

Blue Bell Creameries voluntarily recalled its products in April after they were linked to listeria cases in four states.
Randy OHC via Flickr

You may have noticed the periodic recalls at your local supermarket, warning of listeria, e. coli or salmonella in recent shipments of produce or frozen goods. According to the CDC, 1 in 6 Americans get sick annually from food-borne diseases.

When Flint, Michigan stopped buying water from Detroit and starting treating the nearby Flint River for its drinking water, quality plummeted. As this piece in The Atlantic explains other cash-strapped cities around the country may risk similar problems as they struggle to upkeep infrastructure. “Flint is an extreme case, but nationally, there’s been a lack of investment in water infrastructure,” Eric Scorsone, an economist at Michigan State University told the Atlantic. “This is a common problem nationally.”

Selling breast milk is big business.

Each year tens of thousands of women post ads on websites, offering their extra milk for $1 to $3 an ounce: "My rich milk makes giants!" promises one seller. "Organic and Gluten Free Breastmilk," claims another. Then there's this one: "470 oz. of breastmilk must go!!!"

But some women online aren't delivering what they're advertising.

Scientists at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, analyzed 102 samples ordered from popular websites and found about 10 percent of them were "topped off" with cow's milk.

Walking through the warehouse of food processor Heartland Gourmet in Lincoln, Neb., shows how complicated the food safety system can be. Pallets are stacked with sacks of potato flour, and the smell of fresh-baked apple-cinnamon muffins floats in the air.

Heartland Gourmet makes a wide range of foods — from muffins and organic baking mixes to pizzas and burritos. That means business manager Mark Zink has to answer to both of the main U.S. food safety regulators, the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.

Researchers at Harvard and Yale have used some extreme gene-manipulation tools to engineer safety features into designer organisms.

This work goes far beyond traditional genetic engineering, which involves moving a gene from one organism to another. In this case, they're actually rewriting the language of genetics.

The goal is to make modified organisms safer to use, and also to protect them against viruses that can wreak havoc on pharmaceutical production.

From Ebola in West Africa to chikungunya in the Caribbean, the world has had plenty of strange — and scary — outbreaks this year.

Some pathogens have even landed in the U.S. Just a few months ago, two men boarded planes in Saudi Arabia and brought a new, deadly virus from the Middle East to Florida and Indiana.