As of June 2, 2014, a total of 17 ill persons infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Newport (12 persons) or Salmonella Hartford (5 persons) have been reported from 10 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Arizona (1), California (2), Connecticut (2), Ohio (1), Florida (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (1), New York (4), Utah (1), and Wisconsin (3).
Among persons for whom information is available, dates that illnesses began range from January 21, 2014 to May 5, 2014. Ill persons range in age from 4 years to 81 years, with a median age of 51 years. Sixty-five percent of ill persons are female. Among 13 ill persons with available information, two (15%) report being hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
In interviews, ill persons are answering questions about foods eaten and other exposures in the week before becoming ill. To date, 12 (100%) of 12 persons interviewed reported eating chia seeds or powder, and 9 (75%) of 12 persons reported eating chia powder specifically.
In Canada, two strains of Salmonella have been associated with this outbreak: Salmonella Newport and Salmonella Hartford. In total, 29 cases have been reported in British Columbia (6), Alberta (4), Ontario (17) and Quebec (2). Five cases have been hospitalized; four cases have been discharged and have recovered or are recovering. The status of one case was not provided to the Agency. No deaths have been reported. The investigation is ongoing but currently, 18 of 18 cases that have been interviewed have reported consumption of sprouted chia seeds or sprouted chia seed powder, and 15 of 18 cases specifically report sprouted chia seed powder.
On May 28, 2014, Navitas Naturals recalled products that contain organic sprouted chia powder due to possible Salmonella contamination. The recalled products include Navitas Naturals Organic Sprouted Chia Powder, Navitas Naturals Omega Blend Sprouted Smoothie Mix, and Williams-Sonoma Omega 3 Smoothie Mixer. The recalled products are available for purchase in many retail stores and online.
On May 30, 2014, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) notified consumers that Advantage Health Matters and Back 2 the Garden recalled various products containing sprouted chia seed powder due to possible Salmonella contamination. These products are sold under the brand names Organic Traditions and Back 2 the Garden and are available for purchase online by consumers in the United States.
Several samples of leftover organic sprouted chia powder from ill persons’ homes and unopened packages from retail locations are being tested for the presence of Salmonella bacteria. Results of this testing are pending and will be released when they become available.
CDC, state, local, and Canadian public health partners are continuing laboratory surveillance through PulseNet to identify additional ill persons and to interview ill persons about foods eaten before becoming ill. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is continuing to work closely with CDC and other partners in this investigation.
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