Salmonella Concord sickens at least 5 after eating hummus 

United States Food and Drug Administration, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local partners, is investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Concord illnesses linked to tahini imported from an Israeli manufacturer, Achdut Ltd., located in Ari’el, Israel.

Achdut Ltd. has voluntarily recalled all brands of tahini products manufactured from April 7, 2018 to May 21, 2018 with expiration dates of April 7, 2020 to May 21, 2020.

The FDA is advising consumers not to eat recalled Achva, Achdut, Soom, S&F, Pepperwood, and Baron’s brand tahini with expiration dates ranging from April 7, 2020 to May 21, 2020. The product lot codes range from 18-097 to 18-141. Consumers should discard the product or return the product to the store for a refund.

Some brands of tahini manufactured by Achdut Ltd. may lack specific dates or may have labels that are written in Hebrew. Consumers who have purchased a tahini product and are uncertain of where the product was manufactured or cannot identify the brand by lot codes or expiration dates should use caution and discard the product or return the food to the store for a refund. More product information and pictures of the recalled product labels can be found in the firm’s recall announcement.

Retailers and restaurants should not use any of the recalled tahini manufactured by Achdut Ltd. at their establishments. Retailers and restaurants should throw the product out.

Firms that may have used the recalled tahini (either repacked or used as an ingredient in a food without a kill step) should consider recalling their products. Recalls should be reported to your local FDA office. A list of recall coordinators can be found here.

Consumers who have symptoms of salmonellosis should contact their health care provider to report their symptoms and receive care.

CDC identified five ill people in the U.S. infected with Salmonella Concord that had the same genetic fingerprint as the Salmonella Concord found in tahini sampled at the point of import into the United States. Of the five U.S. cases interviewed, all five reported consuming hummus made with tahini; three people reported eating tahini or hummus made with tahini in a restaurant in the U.S., while the other two people reported consuming tahini or hummus made with tahini during international travel.

A sample of imported tahini collected by FDA at the point of import tested positive for Salmonella Concord. The tahini was Baron’s brand manufactured by Achdut Ltd. This manufacturer was placed on an FDA Import Alert, detaining additional product from the firm at the U.S. border until evidence is presented demonstrating that Salmonella is not present in the product. Whole genome sequencing analysis has indicated the positive sample of imported Baron’s brand tahini is highly related to clinical isolates from ill people in the U.S.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with provincial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella infections involving five provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Quebec. The illness reported in Quebec was related to travel to British Columbia.

The source of the outbreak has not been identified and the investigation is ongoing. Outbreak investigators are gathering information on possible sources and possible ways contamination may have occurred. Many of the individuals who became sick reported eating cucumbers before their illness. However, other potential sources of illness are also being considered. More information is needed to determine the source of the outbreak. The outbreak appears to be ongoing, as illnesses continue to be reported.

Given the evolving nature of this outbreak, the Public Health Agency of Canada is issuing this public health notice to inform residents in western Canada of the investigation findings to date and to share important safe food handling practices to help prevent further Salmonella infections. At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that residents in central and eastern Canada are affected by this outbreak.

As of October 19, 2018, there have been 45 laboratory-confirmed cases of Salmonella Infantis illness investigated in the following provinces: British Columbia (37), Alberta (5), Saskatchewan (1), Manitoba (1), and Quebec (1). The individual from Quebec reported traveling to British Columbia before becoming ill. Individuals became sick between mid-June and late-September 2018. Nine individuals have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Individuals who became ill are between 1 and 92 years of age. The majority of cases (58%) are female.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is conducting a food safety investigation. If contaminated food products are identified, they will take the necessary steps to protect the public, including recalling the product as required. Currently there are no Food Recall Warnings associated with this outbreak.

Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection, but infants, children, seniors and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile.

Most people who become ill from a Salmonella infection will recover fully after a few days. It is possible for some people to be infected with the bacteria and to not get sick or show any symptoms, but to still be able to spread the infection to others.

It is difficult to know whether a product is contaminated with Salmonella because you can’t see, smell or taste it. To help prevent Salmonella infections, the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends monitoring the outbreak investigation by checking for regular updates to this public health notice and following safe food handling tips. The following tips for preparing fresh fruits and vegetables may help reduce your risk of getting sick, but they may not fully eliminate the risk of illness.

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling fresh produce.
  • Cut away any bruised or damaged areas on fresh produce, since harmful bacteria can thrive in these areas. Be sure to clean your knife with hot water and soap before using it again.
  • Wash fresh produce thoroughly under fresh, cool, running water, even if you plan to peel them. This helps prevent the spread of any bacteria that may be present.
  • Don’t soak fresh produce in a sink full of water. It can become contaminated by bacteria in the sink.
  • Use a clean produce brush to scrub items that have firm surfaces like cucumbers, oranges, melons, potatoes, carrots. It is not necessary to use produce cleansers to wash fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Use one cutting board for produce, and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, fish and seafood.
  • Place peeled or cut fruits and vegetables on a separate clean plate or in a container to prevent them from becoming cross-contaminated.
  • Use paper towels to wipe kitchen surfaces, or change dishcloths daily to avoid the risk of cross-contamination and the spread of bacteria, and avoid using sponges as they are harder to keep bacteria-free.
  • Sanitize countertops, cutting boards and utensils before and after preparing food. Use a kitchen sanitizer (following the directions on the container) or a bleach solution (5 ml household bleach to 750 ml of water), and rinse with water.

Symptoms of a Salmonella infection, called salmonellosis, typically start six to 72 hours after exposure to Salmonella bacteria from an infected animal or contaminated product.

Symptoms include:

  • fever
  • chills
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal cramps
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting

These symptoms usually last for four to seven days. In healthy people, salmonellosis often clears up without treatment. In some cases, severe illness and hospitalization may occur. In some cases, antibiotics may be required. People who are infected with Salmonella bacteria can be infectious from several days to several weeks. People who experience symptoms, or who have underlying medical conditions, should contact their health care provider if they suspect they have a Salmonella infection.

Washington State health officials are working with state, local and federal public health partners to investigate the source of six Salmonella infections.

The six cases include residents of King (1), Snohomish (1), Thurston (1), Yakima (2) and Pierce (1) counties. All were infected with the same strain of Salmonella bacteria. The last confirmed case reported illness on Sept. 15.

Five of the six people reported buying and eating English cucumbers from various Costco stores in Washington. The cucumbers linked to the illnesses were sold in three-packs of individually wrapped cucumbers.

Salmonella:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $650 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants.  The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.

If you or a family member became ill with a Salmonella infection, including Reactive Arthritis or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Salmonella attorneys for a free case evaluation.

Officials with two separate health departments are investigating possible cases of Salmonella among people who attended the Arapahoe County Fair, or 4-H events associated with the fair, from July 21 to July 29.

The source of the Salmonella, which causes an intestinal infection, has not been identified and the Tri-County Health Department is searching for the origin.

The investigation began Aug. 3 and seven cases of Salmonella have been identified so far.

“If you went to the Arapahoe County Fair or attended a 4-H event associated with the Fair and have these symptoms, we encourage you to see your health care provider,” said the Executive Director of Tri-County Health Department. “While symptoms usually resolve on their own, your health care provider can advise on whether you need additional treatment.”

NOW Health Group, Inc. (NOW), of Bloomingdale, Illinois, is recalling its NOW Real Food® Zesty Sprouting Mix – Product Code 7271, Lot #3031259 and Lot #3038165 – because its primary ingredient, Crimson Clover Seeds, has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.  Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis, and arthritis.

Approximately 10,000 units of Zesty Sprouting Mix were distributed online and in retail stores nationwide since December 2017.

Recalled products include:

UPC Code Description Lot Number Best By Date
733739072719 NOW Real Food® Zesty Sprouting Mix, 16 oz. 3031259 (located on back of package) 12/20
733739072719 NOW Real Food® Zesty Sprouting Mix, 16 oz. 3038165 (located on back of package) 01/21

No other products are affected or are involved in this recall. No illnesses have been reported to date.

Evidence of potential contamination was implicated in ongoing FDA and CDC investigations into multistate outbreaks of Salmonella infections, of which the clover seed supplier was notified.

Canada has recalled the same.