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J Infect Dis. 1996 May;173(5):1263-7.

Staphylococcal food poisoning caused by imported canned mushrooms.

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  • 1Foodborne and Diarrheal Diseases Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.


From February through April 1989, four outbreaks of staphylococcal food poisoning in the United States were associated with eating mushrooms canned in the People's Republic of China (PRC). In the four outbreaks, 99 persons who ate at a suspect facility developed gastrointestinal symptoms within 24 h, including 18 who were hospitalized. Illness was associated with eating mushrooms at a university cafeteria (relative risk [RR] = 53.0), a hospital cafeteria (RR = 13.8), a pizzeria (odds ratio [OR] = infinity), and a restaurant (OR = infinity) (all P < .0001). Staphylococcal enterotoxin A was found by ELISA in mushrooms at the sites of two outbreaks and in unopened cans from the three plants thought to have produced mushrooms implicated in outbreaks. These investigations led to multistate recalls and a US Food and Drug Administration order to restrict entry into the United States of all mushrooms produced in the PRC; until this action, the United States imported approximately 50 million pounds yearly.

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