State health and agriculture officials are investigating an outbreak of foodborne illness associated with eating “Garden of Life Organic Shake & Meal Replacement” in Minnesota and several other states.
Two cases of Salmonella Virchow infection with the same DNA fingerprint pattern have been reported to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) since Monday, January 11. One case was a child and one was an adult in his 30s. Neither was hospitalized, and both have recovered.
Since many cases of Salmonella infection (salmonellosis) do not seek health care and get tested, the number of ill people that are part of this outbreak is likely to be larger than the identified cases. Consequently, health officials want to bring this outbreak to the attention of people who have become ill with symptoms of salmonellosis but who have not yet consulted a health care provider. These people should mention this outbreak to their health care provider should they consult one.
Several matching Salmonella Virchow cases in other states have reported eating this product, which is a powdered nutritional supplement and meal replacement. These states include Wisconsin, Tennessee, Oregon, New Jersey, New Mexico and Utah. Most of these states have reported single cases.
Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever. Symptoms usually begin within 12 to 72 hours after exposure, but they can begin up to a week afterexposure. Salmonella infections usually resolve in 5 to 7 days, but approximately 28 percent of laboratory-confirmed cases require hospitalization. Invasive infections (for example, blood stream infections, meningitis) occasionally occur.
In rare cases, Salmonella infection can lead to death, particularly in the elderly or those with weakened immune systems. Many Salmonellainfections in otherwise healthy people do not require medical treatment. For those who do seek health care, most do not need to be treated with antibiotics. However, antibiotic treatment for certain categories of people and for more severe infections is warranted.
Please consult your health care provider for more information with specific questions about treatment of salmonellosis.
One of the Minnesota cases ate vanilla flavored product and one ate chocolate flavored product. Cases in other states reported eating the vanilla flavor or the chocolate flavor. This type of food product is often purchased at nutrition stores and food cooperatives. The two cases in Minnesota purchased the items at separate places.
This is an ongoing investigation, and the extent of the product contamination is unknown. Based on the information collected to date, health officials recommend not eating any flavor of this product if purchased on or after November 1, 2015. Additionally, product with a “Best Used by: 09/2017” date or later stamped on the bottom of the container should not be consumed.
Investigators from MDH, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and other states are working on testing products for contamination. The company has issued a recall.