A total of 33 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Virchow were reported from 23 states. Among people for whom information was available, illnesses started on dates ranging from December 5, 2015 to March 18, 2016. Ill people ranged in age from less than 1 year to 84, with a median age of 35. Fifty-three percent of ill people were female. Among 27 ill people with available information, 6 (22%) were hospitalized, and no deaths were reported.
Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicated that RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal products made by Garden of Life, LLC were the likely source of this outbreak.
State and local public health officials interviewed ill people to obtain information about foods they might have eaten and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Of the 30 ill people who were interviewed, 28 (93%) reported consuming powdered supplements or meal replacement powders in the week before illness onset; 27 of these 28 (96%) ill people specifically reported consuming RAW Meal products made by Garden of Life, LLC.
On January 29, 2016, Garden of Life, LLC voluntarily recalled a limited quantity of its RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal products available in chocolate, original, vanilla, and vanilla chai because they had the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella Virchow. The recalled products were available for purchase nationwide in many retail stores and online.
The Utah Public Health Laboratory and Oklahoma Public Health Laboratory isolated the outbreak strain of Salmonella Virchow from open containers of Garden of Life RAW Meal collected from ill people’s homes in Utah and Oklahoma. Both products that were tested were from lots covered under the recalls announced by Garden of Life, LLC.
FDA sampling confirmed the presence of the outbreak strain of Salmonella Virchow in Organic Moringa Leaf powder used in RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal Replacement products. On February 12, 2016, Garden of Life, LLC issued an expanded recall of its RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal products available in chocolate, original, vanilla, and vanilla chai to include additional lots that contained the contaminated Organic Moringa Leaf powder.
This outbreak investigation is over. However, the recalled products have a long shelf life and may still be in people’s homes. Consumers unaware of the recalls could continue to eat the products and get sick.