Salmonella spp. have long been associated with low-moisture foods such as nuts and nut-derived products, with varying prevalence observed in tree nuts, including cashews, at retail. Virtually all cashews are imported to the U.S. Some nuts, including cashews, are imported as a "raw" product (i.e., one that has not been subjected to a process to adequately reduce pathogens, such as a kill step). Salmonella contamination of such products has resulted in several notable outbreaks in the U.S. in the past ten years, including those in which cashew-containing products have been implicated as a vehicle. This article presents a brief overview of outbreak investigations of Salmonella infections linked to the consumption of cashews and cashew-containing food products. It also presents challenges encountered, lessons learned, and relevant regulatory requirements for importers and manufacturers of cashews and cashew-containing products.
Officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently held a conversation to explain to stakeholders how the agency handles foodborne illness outbreaks and other adverse food safety events, as well as how FDA plans to improve its processes. FDA also released a supplementary video illustrating its processes.
During foodborne illness outbreak investigations, public health and regulatory authorities collect three types of data to determine a common food consumed by ill people: epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory. State and local partners work with FDA to conduct traceback investigations and examine the food supply chain to determine the origin of the foods identified by the epidemiologic investigations. This article looks at the benefits of using incident command system (ICS) principles during emergency response coordination activities for foodborne illness outbreaks, with input from members of the FDA's CORE Network.
In this episode of Food Safety Matters, we talk with Kimberly (Kim) Livsey about the interworking of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) investigations of and responses to food safety incidents and foodborne illness outbreaks through the Incident Command System and Incident Management Teams (IMTs). Kim is a Senior Emergency Response Coordinator in FDA's Office of Regulatory Affairs' Office of Human and Animal Food Operations who has led a number of IMTs, including for a recent, high-profile foodborne illness outbreak.
FDA Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation Network (CORE), in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health and regulatory partners, conduct foodborne illness outbreak investigations, including thoserelated to Cyclospora cayetanensis infections. In this article, the authors review the successes and challenges of identifying and responding to outbreaks caused by C. cayetanensis infections since 2013, the progress made, the challenges remaining, and what the future holds.