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INFOSAN Quarterly Summary, 2020 #2

Food security incidents

During the second quarter of 2020, the INFOSAN Secretariat has been concerned in 29 meals security incidents with 59 WHO Member States and two territories of WHO Member States. There have been 13 organic hazard incidents (Salmonella [5], Listeria monocytogenes [3],
Clostridium botulinum [2], Vibrio cholerae [1], and two involving an unspecified organic hazard), six with a chemical hazard (methanol [3], histamine [2] and patulin [1]), 5 involving an undeclared allergen (cashew and pistachio
[1], sesame [1], wheat (1),  mustard [1] and peanuts [1]), three together with a bodily hazard (glass [3]), and two with unspecified hazards.  

The meals classes mostly concerned within the 29 incidents through the second quarter of 2020 have been fish and different seafood (5), alcoholic drinks (three), meat and meat merchandise (three), composite meals (three), fruit and fruit merchandise (three), milk and dairy merchandise
(three), cereals and cereal-based merchandise (2), meals for infants and young children (1), herbs, spiced and condiments (1), nuts and oilseeds (1), merchandise for particular dietary use (1), snacks, desserts and different merchandise (1), vegetable and vegetable
merchandise (1), and legumes and pulses (1).

During such worldwide meals security incidents, the INFOSAN Secretariat depends on the swift motion of nationwide INFOSAN Emergency Contact Points to answer requests for data. Rapid sharing of data by way of INFOSAN permits members to implement
applicable danger administration measures to forestall sickness.

Geographic scope

Food security incidents on this quarter concerned international locations from all WHO areas: Europe (34), adopted by Western Pacific (11), Americas (6), Africa (5), South-East Asia (2), and at last Eastern Mediterranean (2).

Multi-country outbreak of Listeriosis linked to enoki mushrooms imported from the Republic of Korea

During the second quarter of the 12 months, the INFOSAN Secretariat continued following up on this meals security incident following the reviews of circumstances of listeriosis linked to the consumption of enoki mushrooms from the Republic of Korea (RoK) within the United States of America (USA) (n=36), and in Canada (n=6) that are associated by entire genome sequencing (WGS) to the cluster of circumstances within the USA. Moreover, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) pursued their meals security investigation and picked up extra enoki mushroom samples through which Listeria monocytogenes was detected. These findings subsequently triggered the recall of the implicated merchandise in Canada in March 2020. The L. monocytogenes isolates from these samples have been additionally genetically related to the cluster of circumstances.

In April 2020, the INFOSAN Secretariat was made conscious of six listeriosis circumstances in Australia, notified between October 2017 and March 2020. The circumstances had been linked by way of phylogenetic evaluation of WGS to the USA outbreak of listeriosis which was associated to the consumption of enoki mushrooms imported from the Republic of Korea (the USA circumstances have been reported between 2016 and 2019). Investigations in Australia recognized enoki mushrooms imported from a single Korean provider, which have been additionally recognized as having been distributed to the USA. These have been confirmed to be contaminated with the outbreak sequence of Listeria monocytogenes by way of phylogenetic evaluation. As a outcome, a recall of the implicated enoki mushrooms was applied in Australia on 10 April 2020. Australia additionally reminded customers of the dangers of listeriosis and extra particularly suggested that enoki mushrooms ought to be cooked earlier than consumption. 

Through engagement with the INFOSAN Emergency Contact Point (ECP) in RoK, the INFOSAN Secretariat was made conscious of the outcomes of the native investigations concerning the worldwide distribution of the implicated enoki mushrooms. The ECP in RoK confirmed that implicated enoki mushrooms have been distributed by a single exporter to Australia, Canada, Hong Kong SAR (China), Indonesia, Myanmar, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Singapore and the United States of America. A sequence of actions to mitigate the chance have been applied by authorities in RoK, similar to meals security schooling to farmers and the inclusion of a discover on the bundle of enoki mushrooms to alert customers of the necessity to prepare dinner the merchandise earlier than consumption.

The INFOSAN Secretariat notified the ECPs in recipient international locations of the distribution of the implicated enoki mushrooms and referred them to the WGS particulars that had been beforehand shared on the INFOSAN Community Website to help them within the identification of associated medical or meals isolates that will have been beforehand recognized. Besides the circumstances reported in Australia (n=5), Canada (n=6) and the USA (n=36), French authorities confirmed that 5 isolates from enoki mushrooms from RoK collected in 2017 and distributed by way of the Netherlands, shared the identical core genome multilocus sequence typing (cgMLST).

No extra diseases linked to the consumption of the implicated mushrooms have been reported to the INFOSAN Secretariat.

Methanol poisoning outbreaks linked to the consumption of adulterated alcoholic drinks

Outbreaks of methanol poisoning usually happen when methanol is used to adulterate illegally produced alcoholic drinks. In the second quarter of 2020, the INFOSAN Secretariat was made conscious of three such outbreaks in Mexico, Dominican Republic and Cambodia. While the occasions seem like localized and never linked to 1 one other by way of the adulterated merchandise, they spotlight a standard situation whereby fraudsters could also be profiting from alternatives the place authorized alcohol gross sales have been restricted with a purpose to increase their very own gross sales. Such alternatives seem like occurring extra often through the COVID-19 pandemic the place alcohol gross sales have been decreased or restricted in some jurisdictions.

In May and June 2020, greater than 100 deaths in Mexico have been linked to the consumption of fraudulent alcoholic drinks adulterated with methanol. The INFOSAN Secretariat engaged with the ECP in Mexico and was knowledgeable that the implicated alcoholic drinks weren’t distributed internationally. Investigations are ongoing to establish additional fraudulent alcoholic drinks probably linked to the outbreak.

In addition, the ECP in Dominican Republic notified the INFOSAN Secretariat of an outbreak of methanol poisoning within the nation in June linked to the consumption of adulterated alcoholic drinks. It was reported that 215 fatalities and 340 circumstances of methanol poisoning have been registered in Dominican Republic.

The authorities within the Dominican Republic carried out an operation in coordination with the Office of the Attorney General for Crimes and Offenses towards Health, the General Directorate of Drugs, Food, and Health Products, the National Police, and the Provincial Health Directorate of Santiago. As a outcome, three folks have been arrested throughout the services of the clandestine factories and a couple of,864 bottles have been confiscated. More particulars will be discovered within the press launch from the Ministry of Public Health of the Dominican Republic.

Also in June 2020, the INFOSAN Secretariat was knowledgeable of an outbreak of methanol poisoning in Cambodia, suspected to be linked to the consumption of wine. A complete of 43 circumstances and seven deaths have been reported in relation to the outbreak. The INFOSAN Secretariat has contacted the INFOSAN Emergency Contact Point in Cambodia to hunt data on potential worldwide distribution of the affected merchandise. Investigations are ongoing.

News & actions

Food Sector and the COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 and the measures taken to mitigate the worldwide impression of the pandemic have disrupted meals manufacturing and meals provide chains worldwide. However, making certain steady and protected meals provide is a crucial situation for the well being of all folks, all over the place. Two FAO/WHO steerage paperwork have been developed in collaboration with the INFOSAN Secretariat and revealed in April 2020. These are titled, COVID-19 and Food Safety: Guidance for competent authorities accountable for nationwide meals security management programs, and COVID-19 and meals security: steerage for meals companies. These paperwork present recommendation and proposals for nationwide meals security authorities to optimize meals management features and prioritize crucial companies that protect the integrity of meals security programs and likewise spotlight extra measures that meals companies must take in order that the integrity of the meals chain is maintained, and enough and protected meals provides can be found for customers. The INFOSAN Secretariat has been working with companions to help community members through the COVID-19 pandemic and has delivered a number of webinars in numerous languages to debate the suggestions contained inside these steerage paperwork.

Commemoration of the second World Food Safety Day

On 7 June 2020, the second World Food Safety Day highlighted the theme, ‘Food Safety is Everyone’s Business’. This 12 months, a presentation to explain what everybody can do to make sure Safe Food in Markets was collectively ready by FAO and WHO. The INFOSAN Secretariat delivered this presentation throughout three webinars in English, French and Spanish to debate the subject with INFOSAN Members and the periods have been attended by greater than 250 contributors.

The INFOSAN Secretariat additionally inspired members to commemorate this World Food Safety Day and shared accessible supplies ready by FAO/WHO for the date, together with a listing of on-line actions through which to take part. Further particulars on how international locations celebrated today can be found on the World Food Safety Day web site.

INFOSAN Working Group

Following enter from a number of INFOSAN members on the necessity to keep a working group with the members which can be most frequently concerned in meals security incidents communicated by way of INFOSAN, and in keeping with the INFOSAN Strategic Plan 2020-2025, the INFOSAN Secretariat set out a plan to host a sequence of working teams with these most often engaged members. The INFOSAN Working Group (WG) goals to extend the lively participation of members, to share frequent concepts and approaches to higher take part within the community and to supply a useful resource to help international locations (e.g. buddying system, and so forth.)

The first assembly of the WG was held on-line in two periods on 28 May and 12 June to accommodate completely different time zone throughout areas. The first WG recognized eleven themes that are crucial for your entire community and agreed to create clear and tangible outputs which at a later stage ought to be shared with your entire INFOSAN community.


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