World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

List of foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States


List of foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States

In 1999, an estimated 5,000 deaths, 325,000 hospitalizations and 76 million illnesses were caused by foodborne illnesses within the US.[1] The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began tracking outbreaks starting in the 1970s.[2] By 2012 the figures were roughly 130,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.[3]


  • 1963 1
  • 1971 2
  • 1974 3
  • 1977 4
  • 1978 5
  • 1983 6
  • 1985 7
  • 1992 8
  • 1993 9
  • 1994 10
  • 1996 11
  • 1997 12
  • 1998 13
  • 1999 14
  • 2000 15
  • 2002 16
  • 2003 17
  • 2006 18
  • 2007 19
  • 2008 20
  • 2009 21
  • 2010 22
  • 2011 23
  • 2012 24
  • 2013 25
  • 2014 26
  • See also 27
  • References 28


  • Two women died in 1963 from botulism from canned tuna fish from the Washington Packing Corporation.




  • Botulism in peppers served at the Trini and Carmen restaurant in Pontiac, Michigan, caused the largest outbreak of botulism poisonings in the United States up to that time. The peppers were canned at home by a former employee.[7] Fifty-nine people were sickened.[8]


  • Botulism in Clovis, New Mexico. 34 people who ate at a restaurant Colonial Park Country Club developed clinical botulism in the second largest outbreak in United States history. The outbreak was traced to either potato salad or a commercially prepared three bean salad served to a group attending a banquet. Despite a thorough search of the local landfill, the discarded three bean salad containers were never located making it impossible to test them to make certain it was the source of contamination. All patients were hospitalized and 33 received trivalent botulinal antitoxin. There were 2 deaths.[9][10][11][12]


  • Botulism (Type A Clostridium Botulinum) in Peoria, Illinois. 28 persons were hospitalized, and 20 patients were treated with an antitoxin. 12 patients required ventilatory support and 1 death resulted. The source was sauteed onions made from fresh raw onions served on a patty melt sandwich. The sandwiches were served at the Skewer Inn Restaurant located inside Northwoods Mall.[13]


  • 1985 United States salmonellosis outbreak in milk from the Hillfarm Dairy in Melrose Park, Illinois caused 16,284 confirmed, and possibly as many as 200,000 cases of food poisoning in six Midwest states. The tainted milk was responsible for two deaths and may have been related to the death of 4 or 5 others with some counts being as high as 12. It is considered the largest outbreak of Salmonella food poisoning recorded in U.S. history since the CDC began keeping records in 1970.[14][15]


  • Botulism in whitefish in New Jersey. Four members of a Fort Lee family have been stricken with botulism after eating fish bought in Jersey City.[16]


  • E. coli O157:H7 in undercooked hamburgers from Jack in the Box. Four children died and nearly 700 others became sick in the Seattle area and other parts of the Pacific Northwest. The outrage resulting from the deaths placed strong political pressure on Washington and resulted in new regulations from the USDA to reform century old practices in the meat industry. The new regulations titled, Pathogen Reduction and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point Systems Final Rule, required a mandatory HACCP inspection system and microbial testing in meat processing plants.[17]


  • Salmonella in ice cream from Schwan's Sales Enterprises of Marshall, Minnesota. The outbreak was confirmed to have sickened 740 people in 30 states and is suspected to have sickened over 3,000 additional people in as many as 41 states. The contamination occurred when raw, unpasteurized eggs were hauled in a tanker truck that later carried pasteurized ice cream to the Schwan's plant. The ice cream premix wasn't pasteurized again after delivery to the plant.[18][19]


  • E. coli O157:H7 in unpasteurized apple juice from Odwalla. The company was using blemished fruit and ignored warnings from in-house safety experts and specialized in selling unpasteurized juices for their supposed health benefits. 70 people in several U.S. states were stricken, mostly in the West, and in Canada. The outbreak took the life of one child, a 16-month-old girl from Colorado.[20][21]
  • E. coli O157:H7 in lettuce sickened at least 61 people in Illinois, Connecticut and New York in May and June 1996.[21]




  • E. coli O157:H7 was found in the drinking water at the Washington County Fair in Easton, New York. Over 700 people were affected and 2 people died.[24]


  • Salmonella in bean sprouts from Pacific Coast Sprout Farms. They bought dry seeds in China and Australia and when germinated, the sprouts caused an outbreak from Oregon to Massachusetts. At least 67 people became ill, and 17 were hospitalized.[25]
  • A young girl died and 65 other people were sickened in an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The source of the outbreak was two Sizzler restaurants that apparently allowed raw meat to come into contact with other food items. The infected meat was traced to the Excel meat packing plant in Colorado.[26][27]
  • There were 19 confirmed cases, 19 likely cases, and 49 suspected cases of E. coli O157:H7 in Oregon in August. The cases were linked to a Wendy's restaurant, and although beef was the suspected vector of transmission, such a link was not conclusively shown.[28]


  • E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef from ConAgra. 19 people became ill in California, Colorado, Michigan, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming as a result of eating tainted hamburger from a ConAgra plant in Greeley, Colorado. The company recalled over 19 million pounds of ground beef it had manufactured, in the third largest recall in history.[29]
  • Listeria in processed chicken from Pilgrim's Pride. The company recalled over 27 million pounds of poultry products it had manufactured, in the largest recall in history. The outbreak killed 7 people, sickened 46, and caused 3 miscarriages.[30]
  • Botulism sickened 8 people in Western Alaska as a result of eating a beached beluga whale.[31]
  • Fifty-seven people in 7 states became ill in August and September after consuming meat contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. The tainted meat originated at the meat packing plant Emmpak Foods. Emmpak recalled 2.8 million pounds of ground beef in the aftermath of the outbreak.[32]




  • On December 27, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health warned not to drink milk or milk related products from Whittier Farms in Shrewsbury, MA due to a listeria bacteria contamination that resulted in two deaths.[39]
  • On October 11, food manufacturer ConAgra asked stores to pull its Banquet and generic brand chicken and turkey pot pies due to 152 cases of salmonella poisoning in 31 states being linked to the consumption of ConAgra pot pies, with 20 people hospitalized. By October 12, a full recall was announced, affecting all varieties of frozen pot pies sold under the brands Banquet, Albertson’s, Food Lion, Great Value, Hill Country Fare, Kirkwood, Kroger, Meijer, and Western Family. The recalled pot pies included all varieties in 7-oz. single-serving packages bearing the number P-9 or "Est. 1059" printed on the side of the package.[40]
  • E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef from the Topps Meat Company in Elizabeth, New Jersey. As of 2007, it is the second-largest beef recall in United States history.[4][41]
  • Salmonella in Metz Fresh, California spinach. Recalled 8,000 cartons of fresh spinach. No reports of any illness.[42]
  • Botulism from cans of Castleberry's, Austex and Kroger brands of chili sauce. In total, over 25 different brands of a variety of products were recalled by Castleberry's Food Company.[43] The best by dates for the affected products range from April 30, 2009, through May 22, 2009. The contamination by the toxin is extremely rare for commercially canned products. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention medical epidemiologist Dr. Michael Lynch said the last such U.S. case dates to the 1970s. The roughly 25 cases reported each year were mainly from home canned foods.[4][44]
  • Salmonella from Peter Pan and Great Value Peanut Butter (both manufactured by ConAgra) in 44 States. By March 7, 2007, the outbreak had grown to 425 cases in 44 states since its start in August 2006. The CDC said it is believed to be the first salmonella outbreak associated with peanut butter in United States history.[45]
  • In April and May, 14 people in 11 states were sickened after eating E. coli O157:H7-tainted beef packed by United Food Group. The meat packing company ultimately recalled 5.7 million pounds of potentially contaminated meat.[46]


  • 2008 United States salmonellosis outbreak. As of August 28, 2008, from April 10, 2008, the rare Saintpaul serotype of Salmonella enterica caused at least 1442 cases of salmonellosis food poisoning in 43 states throughout the United States, the District of Columbia, and Canada. As of July 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration suspects that the contaminated food product is a common ingredient in fresh salsa, such as raw tomato, fresh jalapeño pepper, fresh serrano pepper, and fresh cilantro. It is the largest reported salmonellosis outbreak in the United States since 1985. During a House subcommittee hearing into food supply safety and the recent salmonella contamination, a top federal official told panel members that agencies have found the source of the contamination after it showed up in yet another batch of Mexican-grown peppers. Adam Acheson, Food and Drug Administration associate commissioner for foods, said the FDA tracked the salmonella positive test to serrano peppers and irrigation water at a packing facility in Nuevo León, Mexico, and a grower in Tamaulipas. New Mexico and Texas were proportionally the hardest hit by far, with 49.7 and 16.1 reported cases per million, respectively. The greatest number of reported cases have occurred in Texas (384 reported cases), New Mexico (98), Illinois (100), and Arizona (49).[47] There have been at least 203 reported hospitalizations linked to the outbreak, it has caused at least one death, and it may have been a contributing factor in at least one additional death.[48] The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains that "it is likely many more illnesses have occurred than those reported." If applying a previous CDC estimated ratio of non-reported salmonellosis cases to reported cases (38.6:1), one would arrive at an estimated 40,273 illnesses from this outbreak.[49]


  • An aggressive strain of Salmonella, the Newport serotype, was found in beef products made by a Fresno, California-based unit of Cargill (Beef Packers Inc.) in August 2009, resulting in a large recall.
  • [50][51] Criminal negligence has been alleged after product tested positive then re-tested "negative" by a second testing agency, and shipped on several occasions. The product was in turn used by dozens of other manufacturers in hundreds of other products which have had to be recalled.
  • E. coli O157:H7 was believed to have contaminated Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie dough. Nestlé recalled its products after the FDA reported there was a possibility that the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak, which sickened at least 66 people in 28 states, might be a result of raw cookie dough consumption.[52] According to Marler Clark, the number of illnesses reached 70 in 30 states by June 23, 2009, with 35 hospitalizations required, and seven cases of hemolytic-uremic syndrome.[53] The products which were originally believed to have been tainted came from a Danville, Virginia plant. However, no E. coli O157:H7 has been found in the plant, according to the FDA. Many media sources have failed to report that E. coli contamination has not been confirmed in Nestlé products. The CDC has reported that ground beef is a likely source of the contamination.


  • More than 500 million eggs were recalled after dangerous levels of Salmonella were detected in the eggs of two Iowa producers, Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farm, that distribute eggs in fourteen U.S. states. Nearly 2,000 illnesses were reported between May and July, approximately 1,300 more than usual for this strain of the bacteria.[54] Jack DeCoster and Peter DeCoster "have pleaded guilty to the "distribution of adulterated eggs in interstate commerce,"" and Quality Egg company "admitted to falsifying expiration dates on egg cartons" as well as to two attempts to bribe a USDA inspector.

In August, 2010, the company recalled 380 million eggs in connection with a salmonella outbreak, and a related company, Hillandale Farms, recalled 170 million eggs.[55]


  • E. coli in strawberry from Newberg, Oregon killed one person on August 8, 2011.[58] The Oregon Health Authority announced[60] that they had linked at least 10 E. coli infections to a strawberry farm in Newberg, Oregon. Four patients had been hospitalized and an elderly woman died from kidney failure associated with her E coli illness. The strawberries were sold to buyers, who resold them at roadside stands and farmer's markets.[61]
  • One dead in California from Samonella and 76 more people sickened in 26 states. On August 3, 2011, Cargill recalled 36,000,000 pounds of fresh and frozen ground turkey products produced at the company's Springdale, Arkansas, facility from February 20, 2011, through August 2, 2011, due to possible contamination from Salmonella Heidelberg.[58][62][63]
  • In March and April 2011, Jennie-O recalled almost 55,000 pounds of turkey burgers because drug-resistant salmonella was found in its products.[64]
  • In June 2011, Nearly 3,000 cases of Dole Food Company salad bags are being recalled after a random test found the bacteria listeria in a bag of the salad.[65]
  • Contaminated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Salmonella agona is one of about 2,000 strains of salmonella. Symptoms usually show up 12 to 72 hours after infection and can last up to seven days. Approximately 40,000 cases of salmonellosis, taking into account all cases from all pathologic strains, are reported each year in the U.S. The FDA is telling consumers to check for the Agromod brand stickers on fresh papayas before buying the fruit. Consumers and retailers who already have Agromod brand papayas should throw them out in a sealed container so that even animals can't eat them. Investigators say anyone who believes they got sick from eating papaya should see their doctor. The papayas could have been distributed nationwide in the U.S. and Canada. The FDA and CDC are working together with public health officials at the state level to identify additional cases. In a press release the agency said "the FDA is taking regulatory action to prevent potentially contaminated papaya from entering the United States, including increasing its sampling of imported papaya."



  • July - August. The E. coli O157:H7 outbreak at Federico’s Mexican Restaurant in Litchfield Park, Arizona, (a suburb of Phoenix) has now grown to include 79 people. At least 23 people have been hospitalized in this outbreak. This is now the largest E. coli outbreak in the United States in years.[66][67] At least two people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a severe complication of an E. coli O157:H7 infection that can destroy the kidneys. Symptoms of an E. coli infection include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea that may be bloody and/or watery, fever, nausea, and vomiting. Symptoms of HUS are the same as E. coli symptoms but include pale skin tone, small, unexplained bruises, bleeding from the nose and mouth, decreased urination, blood in the urine, and swelling.[68] Victims have filed three civil suits against Federico’s parent company, Femex LLC, in Maricopa County Superior Court.[69]
  • October - November. A company that makes prepared chicken salad has recalled more than 180,000 pounds of its products after some were linked to a few cases of Escherichia coli (E. coli) infection. CA-based Glass Onion Catering has recalled products distributed to AZ, CA, NV, NM, OR, TX, UT, and WA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) says. So far, 26 people in 3 states have been diagnosed with the same E. coli 0157:H7 infection, the USDA says (15 of them say they ate products traced to Glass Onion Catering, which supplies midsized grocery store chains such as Trader Joe's with "gourmet grab and go" products, many featuring grilled chicken (chicken is rarely contaminated with E. coli). Most E. coli strains are harmless and even beneficial, but the aforementioned strain can cause abdominal cramps, diarrhea (which may be or become bloody), and dehydration. In most, that is the extent of any illness, but in some young, old, or immunocompromised patients, it can lead to widespread infection (sepsis) and/or a severe disease of the kidneys called hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS; which can lead to kidney failure), which may be deadly.[70]


See also


  1. ^ Emerging Infectious Diseases, vol. 5, no. 5, Sept. 1999
  2. ^ a b c d  
  3. ^  
  4. ^ a b c  
  5. ^ Harvard
  6. ^ Fresh apple cider in the United States is amber golden, opaque, and entirely nonalcoholic
  7. ^ Welcome to ActivePaper
  8. ^ Am. J. Epidemiol. - Sign In Page
  9. ^ Clovis News Journal
  10. ^ American Journal of Public Health
  11. ^ Marler Clark (Food safety law firm) background and personal accounts
  12. ^ Botulism Outbreak, Clovis, New Mexico, April 8–18, 1978 New Mexico. Health Services Division, 78 pp
  13. ^ New York Times
  14. ^ a b Segal, Marian (1988). "Invisible villains; tiny microbes are biggest food hazard". FDA Consumer. 
  15. ^ Lecos, Chris (1986). "Of microbes and milk; probing America's worst salmonella outbreak". FDA Consumer. 
  16. ^ "Botulism Reported In Fort Lee Family". The New York Times. May 7, 1992. Retrieved May 8, 2010. 
  17. ^ "The New Regulatory Approach for Meat and Poultry Safety". Food Safety and Inspection Service,United States Department of Agriculture. 
  18. ^ Henkel, John (1995). "Ice cream firm linked to salmonella outbreak". FDA Consumer. 
  19. ^ "Ice Cream Linked to Salmonella in 15 States".  
  20. ^ Belluck, Pam (May 27, 1998). "Accord Is Reached in Food-Poisoning Case".  
  21. ^ a b  
  22. ^ CNN; April 3, 1997
  23. ^ Winter, Greg (March 18, 2001). "Contaminated Food Makes Millions Ill Despite Advances". The New York Times. Retrieved May 8, 2010. 
  24. ^ "Health Commissioner Releases E. coli Outbreak Report". New York State Department of Health. Retrieved 7 May 2014. 
  25. ^ "Salmonellosis Outbreak Associated with Raw Mung Bean Sprouts SproutNet". Retrieved 2010-09-05. 
  26. ^ Colorado Plant Linked to E. coli Outbreak Story
  27. ^ Beef grinder close to salad prep area, official says
  28. ^ Meat thought to be E. coli culprit
  29. ^ Becker, Elizabeth (July 20, 2002). "19 Million Pounds Of Meat Recalled After 19 Fall Ill". The New York Times. Retrieved May 8, 2010. 
  30. ^ Burros, Marian (October 30, 2002). "EATING WELL; Listeria Thrives in a Political Hotbed". The New York Times. Retrieved May 8, 2010. 
  31. ^ Outbreak of Botulism Type E Associated with Eating a Beached Whale - Western Alaska, July 2002
  32. ^ Woman hospitalized with E. coli sues Emmpak
  33. ^ Hepatitis A Outbreak Associated with Green Onions at a Restaurant - Monaca, Pennsylvania, 2003
  34. ^ Timothy L. Sellnow and Robert S. Littlefield (2005). Lessons Learned about Protecting America's Food Supply. Institute for Regional Studies, North Dakota State University. Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  35. ^ New York Times; December 4, 2006; E. Coli Sickens More Than 35 in N.J. and L.I.
  36. ^ Bridges, Andrew. "Lettuce Suspected in Taco Bell E. Coli". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 8, 2010. 
  37. ^ "Update on Multi-State Outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 Infections From Fresh Spinach".  
  38. ^ "First case of contaminated spinach recorded in Canada". CBC News. September 25, 2006. 
  39. ^ "Two dead from Whittier Farms milk contamination.".  
  40. ^ St. Cloud Times "ConAgra Foods recalls all pot pies". Retrieved 10-13-2007
  41. ^ "Topps Meat Co. folds after beef recall.". New York Times. October 5, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-25. Topps Meat Co. of Elizabeth, which is involved in the second-largest beef recall in U.S. history, said today it is going out of business after more than six decades 
  42. ^ Spinach Recall Sparks Oversight Calls
  43. ^ Castleberry Foods Press Release
  44. ^ Associated Press
  45. ^ Peanut butter recalled in salmonella outbreak
  46. ^ Supplier Expands Beef Recall Over Concerns of E. Coli Contamination
  47. ^ "Cases infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Saintpaul, United States,and we all ran naked in the streets of mexico by state".  For some states, such as California, the CDC has recently revised the tally of identified illnesses downward.
  48. ^ August 8, 2008: Investigation of Outbreak of Infections Caused by Salmonella Saintpaul | Salmonella CDC
  49. ^ Voetsch, et al. (2004-04-15). "FoodNet Estimate of the Burden of Illness Caused by Nontyphoidal Salmonella Infections in the United States". Clinical Infectious Diseases, 2004; 38:S3. 
  50. ^ Moss, Michael; Martin, Andrew (March 5, 2009). "Food Safety Problems Slip Past Private Inspectors".  
  51. ^ Zhang, Jane (January 18, 2009). "FDA Warns Against Foods Containing Peanut Butter".  
  52. ^ Update on Recalled Nestlé Toll House Cookie Dough
  53. ^ Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough E. coli Outbreak
  54. ^ Melanie S. Welte (20 August 2010). "Egg Recall Expands To More Than Half A Billion Nationwide". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 21 August 2010. 
  55. ^ Philpott, Tom (2014-06-06). "Over Easy: An Egg King Gets Dethroned".  
  56. ^ "Multistate Outbreak of Listeriosis Linked to Whole Cantaloupes from Jensen Farms, Colorado". Listeriosis (Listeria infection).  
  57. ^ JANE E. ALLEN (Nov 3, 2011). "Tainted Cantaloupes Behind Deadliest Food-Borne Outbreak". ABC News Medical Unit. Retrieved Nov 4, 2011. 
  58. ^ a b c Huffstutter, P.J. (September 2, 2011). "Del Monte suit says FDA botched cantaloupe salmonella probe. Del Monte says officials weren't thorough in their investigation of an outbreak blamed on its imported melons. It wants an alert lifted".  
  59. ^ a b  
  60. ^ "News Release: Fresh strawberries from Washington County farm implicated in E. coli O157 outbreak in NW Orego". Oregon Health Authority. Retrieved August 8, 2011. 
  61. ^ Roos, Robert (August 8, 2011). "NEWS SCAN: Strawberry E coli outbreak, beef grinding and Salmonella, mass anthrax prophylaxis, measles hits refugees". CIDRAP. 
  62. ^
  63. ^  
  64. ^
  65. ^
  66. ^
  67. ^
  68. ^
  69. ^
  70. ^
  71. ^
  72. ^ Kotwicki, Lauren. "Michigan Firm Recalls Ground Beef Products Due To Possible E. Coli O157:H7". Food Safety and Inspection Service. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  73. ^ Lee, Rhodi (20 May 2014). "Wolverine Packing Company recalls 1.8 million pounds of beef due to E. coli contamination". Tech Times. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.