On March 13, Spice Industrial Group, Inc., of Industry, California, recalled white sesame seeds sold under the Lian How brand name and supplied by Specialty Commodities Corp. The affected products were distributed from november 6 to December 11, 2009. The sesame seeds were recalled because of potential contamination by Salmonella bacteria, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.
If the words Lian How and Salmonella are familiar at all, in conjunction, it’s because the Lian How brand was implicated in a large spring 2009 outbreak/recall due to Salmonella contamination, and linked to black and white pepper products. The company at the epicenter of the 2009 recall was Union International Food; and the outbreak linked to its contaminated pepper products ultimately sickened more than 87 people in Western states between December 2008 and April 2009; the majority of the illnesses were in California. Public health officials traced the outbreak to white pepper manufactured by Union International and sold under the brand names Uncle Chen and Lian How. Ultimately the company recalled more than 50 products, including spices, oils, and sauces, due to potential contamination with Salmonella.