Again, I find it fascinating how deeply satisfying it is for people
to be able to trace these infections back to food, and particularly
"perhaps to a cabbage wholesaler or grower." Not, please note, to
somebody at KFC who didn't wash her/his hands properly after
diapering the toddler who picked it up from another kid at daycare.
Or from a public toilet splashing up water upon flushing. Or other
I'd love us to have a discussion here on SANET of this. Namely, in an
age where immune systems are stressed till they can scarcely
function, where people and microbes intermingle at a rate
unparalleled in human history, and where indiscriminate antibiotic
and disinfectant use has created lines of super-bugs...folks appear
to need to have a farmer to hang for infectious outbreaks.
Or am I being defensive?
I'm not saying food cannot be a vector of disease. I have no doubt
that some farmers have a poor understanding of the mechanisms of
infection and disease. Just observing what looks to me like a pattern
in many of these stories. I've seen these infections referred to
"food-borne illness" even when there is no evidence that the infected
people got it from food at all. And that this mechanistic explanation
of infections leaves out a huge system-context of interlocking issues.
E. COLI INFECTIONS, SOURCE IDENTIFIED - USA (0HIO)
A ProMED-mail post
Date: Sun, 15 Aug 1999 14:02:42 -0400
From: Marjorie P. Pollack
Source: The Cincinnati Post, 14 Aug 1999 [edited]
Coleslaw at four Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants carried the _E. coli_
bacteria that sickened 11 people in Hamilton, Clermont and Butler counties.
A total 30 cases of _E. coli_ have been reported in Southwest Ohio. Health
officials do not expect to identify another single source to link the
remaining 19 cases.
The coleslaw - possibly tainted as a result of poorly washed cabbage - was
prepared at each restaurant and served between July 5-27. KFC executives
said Friday they changed procedures July 30 after learning one of the
restaurants could be a potential source of the bacteria.
The Food and Drug Administration started an investigation Friday to try to
trace back the _E. coli_ source, perhaps to a cabbage wholesaler or grower.
"It is safe to eat our coleslaw," said Jonathan Blum, KFC senior vice
president of public affairs. "The health department has fully inspected our
restaurants and tested our coleslaw. They have given us a clean bill of
The four affected KFC outlets were in Anderson Township, Batavia, Fairfield
and Milford. No other KFC restaurants are involved.
"No recent cases have been linked to KFC," said Dr. Janet Rickabaugh,
Clermont County health commissioner. The time range from eating food
tainted by _E. coli_ and becoming ill ranges from two to 10 days. All of
the _E. coli_ victims are recovered or recovering, Dr. Rickabaugh said.
The link of the bacteria to KFC began when the same pattern of _E. coli_
was identified in 11 people through testing at the Ohio Department of
Health. "That one pattern in the 11 cases has not been seen in Ohio
before," Dr. Rickabaugh said.
Interviews with the victims by local health officials and investigators
from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention uncovered the
transmission by coleslaw, first at the Milford KFC, then at the others.
A health inspection revealed "the practice of preparing the cabbage in the
stores was not sufficient," Dr. Rickabaugh said. Until July 30, each
restaurant prepared its own coleslaw, including chopping the cabbage and
carrots and mixing the dressing. Now, Blum said, all Ohio Valley KFC
outlets purchase prepackaged chopped slaw mix.
"All these things together have led the FDA to believe that a trace-back of
ingredients is a worthwhile task," Dr. Rickabaugh said. "Therefore, a trace
is ensuing with the hope to find a link to a specific ingredient."
The number of people stricken with _E. coli_ since mid-June are 12 in
Hamilton County (three KFC customers), eight in Clermont County (five
KFC-connected), seven in Butler County (3 KFC- related), two in Warren
County and one in Brown County.
_E. coli_ causes diarrhea, abdominal cramps and nausea and can lead to
kidney failure in infants and elderly people. The strain of the bacteria
found here - _E. coli_ O157 - is the one that first appeared in 1993 in the
Northwest. In that outbreak, 300 people were stricken after eating
hamburgers from the Jack in the Box chain.
[Byline: Laurel Campbell, Post staff reporter]
Center for Integrated Ag Systems, UW-Madison
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barrage has been hurled against the fabric of life. --Rachel Carson
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