Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 37169291
Link to DOI – 10.1016/j.jfp.2023.100101
J Food Prot 2023 Jul; 86(7): 100101
Keeping the global food supply safe necessitates international collaborations between countries. Health and regulatory agencies routinely communicate during foodborne illness outbreaks, allowing partners to share investigational evidence. A 2016-2020 outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections linked to imported enoki mushrooms required a multinational collaborative investigation among the United States, Canada, Australia, and France. Ultimately, this outbreak included 48 ill people, 36 in the United States and 12 in Canada, and was linked to enoki mushrooms sourced from one manufacturer located in the Republic of Korea. Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback evidence led to multiple regulatory actions, including extensive voluntary recalls by three firms in the United States and one firm in Canada. In the United States and Canada, the Korean manufacturer was placed on import alert while other international partners provided information about their respective investigations and advised the public not to eat the recalled enoki mushrooms. The breadth of the geographic distribution of this outbreak emphasizes the global reach of the food industry. This investigation provides a powerful example of the impact of national and international coordination of efforts to respond to foodborne illness outbreaks and protect consumers. It also demonstrates the importance of fast international data sharing and collaboration in identifying and stopping foodborne outbreaks in the global community. Additionally, it is a meaningful example of the importance of food sampling, testing, and integration of sequencing results into surveillance databases.