After 25 years in Rantoul, Ill., PolyConversions, Inc. (PolyCo) has relocated its main offices and manufacturing facility, to a new, modern facility 12 miles south to Champaign, Ill. PolyCo manufactures VR Protective Wear and PolyWear Disposable Gowns for the food processing, industrial/safety, medical and critical environment markets.
The move enables PolyCo to be in closer proximity with main interstate transportation access for reliable shipping and to manufacture more efficiently, quality USA made VR and PolyWear protective apparel for the betterment of its distribution partners and facilities utilizing these cost-effective PPE products, the company said. The move was effective October 31. PolyCo’s new mailing and shipping address is: PolyConversions, Inc., 3202 Apollo Drive, Champaign, IL. 61822-9668. The current office voice (888-893-3330, 217-893-3330) and fax (217-893-3003) phone numbers remain the same, as do its emails addresses (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.polycousa.com). For more information, visit www.polycousa.com)
On October 31, FDA and CDC announced a “recent E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that was likely associated with romaine lettuce.” Although FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas stated, “We do not believe there is a current or ongoing risk to the public and we are not recommending the public avoid consuming romaine lettuce,” a number of organizations are taking exception with the weeks-long delay in the agencies’ announcement.
The outbreak sickened at least 23 people across 12 states between July 12 and September 8; and CDC began its investigation September 17, however the outbreak investigation was not made public until October 31.
The announcement came more than a month after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began investigating the cluster of cases September 17. According to the FDA announcement, CDC notified the FDA of the illness cluster in mid-September, and the agency promptly initiated a traceback investigation. The FDA, CDC, along with state and local partners, investigated the illnesses associated with the outbreak.
While Michael Hansen, Ph.D., a senior staff scientist at Consumer Reports said that not all foodborne illness outbreaks are announced by the FDA or CDC, “after the severity of 2018’s outbreaks, it’s surprising that the FDA waited more than a month to inform consumers after discovering the outbreak,” he said. “Given the continuing problems with romaine, and the seriousness of O157:H7, the FDA should have made an announcement sooner and let consumers decide for themselves if they wanted to continue to eat romaine.
FDA’s announcement stated that no deaths were reported in the outbreak; that the active investigation has reached its end and the outbreak appears to be over; and that neither it nor CDC identified any actionable information for consumers during the investigation.
Additionally, when romaine lettuce was identified as the likely source of the outbreak, the available data at the time indicated that the outbreak was not ongoing and romaine lettuce eaten by sick people was past its shelf life and no longer available for sale.”
According to the Consumer Research article, “The FDA said this notification was actually made more quickly than it would be in many cases. The FDA said that when there’s not an immediate public health threat, this information would often not be released until it was announced in a more traditional scientific publication.
“In this case, while there was no actionable consumer information and the outbreak was over prior to the determination of a vehicle, given the noteworthy nature of this outbreak and an interest in accelerating awareness, we chose to communicate through an FDA statement in the short term in order to ensure full awareness by the public,” an FDA representative told CR.
The FDA statement that the outbreak appears to be over was based on its investigations of farms located in California’s central coast region identified through the traceback investigation at which they collected and tested many environmental samples, and the outbreak strain was not identified. “While romaine lettuce is the likely cause of the outbreak, the investigation did not identify a common source or point where contamination occurred,” the statement said. “Since the outbreak strain was not detected in samples collected from farms during the traceback investigation, and there have been no new cases since Sept. 8, 2019, the outbreak appears to be over.”
CDC, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) and public health and regulatory officials in several states are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Dublin infections linked to ground beef. Public health investigators are using whole genome sequencing (WGS) and the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak.
As of November 1, 2019, 10 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Dublin have been reported from six states: Colorado (3), California (2), Kansas (2), Iowa (1), Oklahoma (1), Texas (1). Illnesses started on dates ranging from August 8, 2019, to September 22, 2019. One death has been reported in California. Of the other nine ill people with information available, eight (89%) were hospitalized. This is much higher than CDC expects for Salmonella infections, as the hospitalization rate is usually about 20%. In five (50%) ill people, Salmonella was found in samples of blood, which indicates their illnesses may have been more severe. According to CDC, Salmonella Dublin illnesses are typically more severe because they can cause bloodstream infections, which are serious and require hospitalization. Additionally, illnesses might not yet be reported because it averages two to four weeks after someone becomes ill when the illness is reported.
The WGS analysis did not identify any antibiotic resistance in 16 bacterial isolates from 10 ill people and six food specimens. epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that ground beef might be contaminated with Salmonella Dublin and is making people sick. At this time, the investigation has not identified a single, common supplier of ground beef. Of eight people interviewed, six (75%) reported eating ground beef at home. This percentage is significantly higher than results from a survey [PDF – 787 KB] of healthy people in which 40% of respondents reported eating any ground beef at home in the week before they were interviewed. Ill people reported buying ground beef from various stores.
Laboratory testing identified the outbreak strain of Salmonella Dublin in repackaged leftover ground beef collected from an ill person’s home in California. The outbreak strain also has been identified in six samples of raw beef products from slaughter and processing establishments. Samples from slaughter and processing establishments were collected as part of FSIS’ routine testing under the Salmonella performance standards. WGS showed that the Salmonella strain from these samples was closely related genetically to the Salmonella from ill people. These results provide more evidence that people in this outbreak got sick from eating ground beef. However, at this time, the investigation has not identified a single, common supplier of ground beef.
Dietary supplements are hugely popular; 68% of Americans take them at least once per week, according to a recent Consumer Reports (CR) survey. But, the organization said, people may not always be getting what they think they are. When CR tested samples of two botanicals, turmeric and echinacea, its experts discovered issues with the purity and potency. More than a third of them included elevated levels of lead and bacteria, as well as low levels of key active compounds, CR said.
CR’s survey also reveals a disconnect between how much trust Americans place in the safety and effectiveness of supplements versus what is supported by studies and research. Unlike prescription and over-the-counter drugs, manufacturers are not required to demonstrate to the government that their products are safe and effective before they are sold. But nearly half (48%) erroneously believe they are tested by FDA; 38% believe they are safer than prescription or OTC drugs.
Read the full report at Consumer Reports.