Bluebrook And Hillfarm Salmonella Outbreak

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Bluebrook and Hillfarm Salmonella Outbreak

Table of Contents




Root Causes of the Failure5

Organizational Failure5

Technological Failure6

How Salmonella Contamination can be prevented?7



Bluebrook and Hillfarm Samonella Outbreak


In 1985, the most deadening Salmonella outbreak in history happened. Among people who had a consumption of 2% pasteurized milk supplied by Bluebrook and Hillfarm, at least 6149 cases of Salmonella Typhimurium were reported. Out of these 6149 cases, 5770 cases were confirmed by laboratory. The contamination in the dairy processing plant was suspected to be caused by because of the occurrence of a cross-connection that could have been the reason for exposing pasteurized milk to raw milk. Contamination was confirmed through laboratory tests in two batches of milk that, on April 8, had been processed. This paper is intended to get an insight of Bluebrook and Hillfarm samonella outbreak.


Salmonella typhimurium in milk became the cause of the salmonella outbreak in the United States, in 1985. Hillfarm Dairy in Melrose Park, Illinois was the producer of that contaminated milk. The Hillfarm dairy was located in a suburb of Chicago, and it was the only milk supplier in Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Iowa to 217 supermarkets, run by the Jewel Food Stores chain. The Jewel Company owned the dairy and since 1968, it had been in the business of producing milk. On April 9, 1985, the company was prompted by the outbreak to close down all dairy production.

In history of United States at the time, it was the worst outbreak of salmonellosis food poisoning. There were at least 16,284 people infected, in which about 1,059 belonged to Illinois. The remaining ones were in Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The infection cost the life of two people and in the casualties of four, possibly five, others, it was supposed to be a contributing factor.


Salmonella is one of major food borne illness that is caused by intake of salmonella bacteria contaminated food. The changing food consumption pattern like raw foodism, global food market, frequent eating out and the use of packaged goods is mostly the cause of food poisoning that has increased the incidence of salmonella spp.

Salmonella is the commonly reported etiologic agent that causes bacterial food borne disease outbreaks in the United States. Serotypes of Salmonella that have been implicated in causing salmonellosis were S. Typhimurium, S. Heidelberg, S. enteriditis, S. Montevideo and others. It is estimated that 1.4 million cases of salmonellosis occur in the US annually. The cost in the US associated with salmonellosis was estimated to be more than $2.9 billion. Among the reported outbreaks of salmonellosis with known food vehicles, most were caused by the consumption of contaminated animal products in which poultry and poultry products are the frequent sources.

In the most recent report, Salmonella was found the leading cause of estimated hospitalizations and deaths, responsible for about 28 percent of deaths and 35 percent of hospitalizations due to known pathogens transmitted by food. In addition to poultry products, foods that have been implicated in salmonellosis out breaks ...
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