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Salmonella Blog

Surveillance & Analysis on Salmonella News & Outbreaks

Two More Salmonella Outbreaks

Cheese in North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia.

Chapel Hill Creamery in Chapel Hill, NC, is recalling all of its cheese products because they have been linked to a growing Salmonella outbreak in North Carolina and elsewhere.

A local county health officer said Thursday that the outbreak has sickened at least 50 people in North Carolina and about the same number in other states, and that it’s the same strain found in samples of raw milk from the Chapel Hill Creamery. Nine of those sickened in North Carolina have been hospitalized so far, she said.

“This is way more than usual, which is why we started doing the investigation. We hit clusters of Salmonella, especially in the summertime, but we started seeing dozens and that’s when we started doing questionnaires to identify a common source,” said Colleen Bridger, director of the Orange County Health Department in Chapel Hill.

Bridger said not all of the 50-plus in-state cases have been interviewed, but the “vast majority” of those who have recalled eating cheese from the Chapel Hill Creamery.

“We’ve been monitoring the Salmonella cases for about three weeks and started doing questionnaires about a week ago, and it was just yesterday that we felt we had enough information to say this is probably the Chapel Hill Creamery. We didn’t want to make the declaration until we were sure,” she added.

The products being recalled include all codes, packages and sizes of 14 varieties of cheese manufactured by the Chapel Hill Creamery and distributed through retail locations, farmers markets and restaurants throughout North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia.

The cheese varieties are: Quark, Danziger, Swiss, Paneer, Calvander, Hot Farmers Cheese, Dairyland Farmers Cheese, Smoked Mozzarella, Fresh Mozzarella, Burrata, Hickory Grove, Carolina Moon, Smoked Farmers Cheese, New Moon, and Pheta.

Potato Salad in Iowa.

The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA) and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) today jointly issued a consumer advisory for potato salads made in and sold by Big G Food Store in Marengo, Iowa.  Big G’s “Zesty Potato Salad” and “Traditional Potato Salad” have been implicated in several cases of foodborne illness reported in Iowa County.  Presumptive test results from the State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa indicate the presence of salmonella in these products.

Big G Food Store has voluntarily pulled the potato salads from its shelves, and is working with the state departments in the investigation of the reported illnesses.  The suspect salads were prepared in the store during the month of July.  Neither potato salad has been sold to the consuming public since last Friday evening, DIA Food & Consumer Safety Bureau Chief Steven Mandernach said.

IDPH is investigating several cases of possible illness associated with the potato salad. “The bottom line is that no one should eat this product,” said IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. “If you have it in your refrigerator, you should throw it away.”

Ajuua’s Restaurant Linked to as many as two dozen Salmonella Illnesses

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 10.53.07 PMAccording to Food Safety News, at least eleven people, including seven employees of Ajuua’s Mexican Restaurant, are confirmed with Salmonella infections related to the restaurant.

The root cause of the outbreak was still unknown, but that fresh tomatoes and/or salsa made and served at the restaurant in Odessa, Texas.

It is not known if the employees who tested positive for Salmonella carried the pathogen into the restaurant or picked it up there.

Three of the restaurant’s patrons required hospitalization because their symptoms were so severe.

As many as 23 other possible outbreak victims had been identified as of Monday.

Most people infected with Salmonella develop abdominal cramps, fever and diarrhea 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children under the age of 5, adults older than 65, and people with weakened immune systems are at increased risk of severe symptoms and death.

Salmonella Outbreak at Ajuua’s Mexican Restaurant

According to Odessa press, Ector County Texas Health Department Director Gino Solla said Friday afternoon the total number of people who have lab-confirmed cases of Salmonella has increased by one, bringing the total number to three.  Solla also said the restaurant where the people got the illness was Ajuua’s Mexican Restaurant. The restaurant, at the request of the health department, closed their doors Monday after complaints were made by residents who said they got sick after eating at the restaurant on June 1. Solla said there are also 24 probable cases.

The investigation started around 4:15 p.m. June 3 after officials with the health department got a call saying 10 people had gotten sick after eating at Ajuua’s, Solla said. After getting reports one person in that group did have salmonella, they visited the restaurant and asked them to voluntarily close down.

Ajuua’s CEO Julian Rubio said the restaurant is scheduled to open at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Minnesota Salmonella Outbreak Tied to Taylor Farms Organic Kale

Pacific Coast Fruit Company posted the following recall notice:

Reason:  Salmonella

Pack/Codes:  The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) are investigating an outbreak of foodborne illnesses associated with eating Taylor Farms Organic Kale Medley “power greens” mix in Minnesota. The mix contains spinach, kale, chard, and shredded carrots.

Distribution:  [Nationwide U.S.]: Sam’s Club pulled Taylor Farms Organic Kale Medley from store shelves nationwide on April 4 and is notifying customers who purchased the product in Minnesota since March 1.

Illnesses:  [Illnesses Reported]: Six people with Salmonella Enteritidis infections with the same rare DNA fingerprint pattern were reported to MDH in April. The people range in age from 7 to 69 and are from Dakota, Hennepin, Itasca, Olmsted and St. Louis counties. Their illnesses began between April 3 and April 26. One person was hospitalized, and all are recovering. Five of the ill people in Minnesota reported eating Taylor Farms Organic Kale Medley purchased at several Sam’s Club locations, and the source of the sixth person’s illness is under investigation.

According to the FDA website, Kale was also recalled by Trader Joe’s due to Salmonella concerns.

Trader Joe’s Recalls Kale and Edamame Salad

WCD Kitchen, LLC of Fontana, California is voluntarily recalling Trader Joe’s Kale & Edamame Salad (UPC 00967112), sold only in the Midwest, with a “USE BY May 05, 2016 through May 14, 2016”, because the product may be contaminated with Salmonella.  No illnesses have been reported to date.

Salmonella is an organism that 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.

The 3,763 salads possibly affected were distributed to Trader Joe’s stores located in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin.  No other lots, products or stores are affected.

The salad is packaged in 10 oz. plastic clamshell and the “Use By” Date is stickered on the front of the label. See photos below.

The voluntary recall was initiated by WCD Kitchen, LLC immediately after it was informed by the Kale supplier, Pearson Foods Corporation, that the Kale tested positive for the food-borne illness.

Salmonella Prompts Tea Recall

The Republic of Tea is dedicated to the health and wellness of each and every citizen (customer). As such, we are issuing a voluntary recall of our Organic Turmeric Ginger Green Tea in response to a possible health risk. There have been no illnesses reported in connection with this voluntary recall. No other teas are impacted by this recall.

The Republic of Tea was notified by one of our suppliers, of the possibility that one lot of its organic ginger ingredient may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. Salmonella is 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, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

The organic ginger supplier reported this finding from another customer. The Republic of Tea and the organic ginger supplier have conducted their own investigations and have tested numerous samples of organic ginger by accredited independent third party laboratories and confirmed the absence of Salmonella.

Despite the fact it was confirmed that there is no Salmonella in the organic ginger that was tested, The Republic of Tea is taking the precautionary measure to recall the following Organic Turmeric Ginger Green Tea:

Organic Turmeric Ginger Green Tea – 50 CT Tin UPC: 7-42676-40355-5 – Best Sipped by March 23, 2018
Organic Turmeric Ginger – 250 CT Bulk Bag UPC: 7-42676-30655-9 – Best Sipped by March 23, 2018
Organic Turmeric Ginger – 250 CT Bulk Bag UPC: 7-42676-30655-9 – Best Sipped by April 13, 2018
Organic Turmeric Ginger – 50 CT Refill Bag UPC: 7-42676-42155-9 – Best Sipped by March 23, 2018

Garden of Life Salmonella Outbreak Ends

big-map-4-21-16A 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.

More Salmonella Illnesses Linked to RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal

As of March 21 2016, 27 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Virchow have been reported from 20 states. A list of states and the number of cases in each can be found on the Case Count Map page.

Among people for whom information is available, illnesses started on dates ranging from December 5, 2015 to March 13, 2016. Ill people range in age from less than 1 year to 84, with a median age of 35. Fifty-six percent of ill people are female. Among 19 ill people with available information, 5 (26%) reported being hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

Illnesses that occurred after February 28, 2016 might not be reported yet. This takes an average of 2 to 4 weeks. Please see the Timeline for Reporting Cases of Salmonella Infection for more details. The recalled products have a long shelf life and may still be in people’s homes, and illnesses may continue to be reported.

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal products made by Garden of Life, LLC are the likely source of this outbreak.

As a result of this investigation, Garden of Life, LLC voluntarily recalled several lots of RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal products, available in chocolate, original, vanilla, and vanilla chai, on January 29, 2016 (initial recall) and February 12, 2016 (expanded recall).

A total of 907 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Poona were reported from 40 states. A list of states and the number of cases in each can be found on the Case Count Map page.

Among people for whom information was available, illnesses started on dates ranging from July 3, 2015 to February 29, 2016. Ill people ranged in age from less than 1 year to 99, with a median age of 18. Forty-nine percent of ill people were children younger than 18 years. Fifty-six percent of ill people were female. Among 720 people with available information, 204 (28%) were hospitalized. Six deaths were reported from Arizona (1), California (3), Oklahoma (1), and Texas (1).

Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback investigations identified imported cucumbers from Mexico and distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce as the likely source of the infections in this outbreak.

Several state health and agriculture departments collected and tested cucumbers from retail locations and isolated the outbreak strains of Salmonella Poona. Information indicated that these cucumbers were distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce. Additionally, testing of cucumbers collected from the Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce facility isolated the outbreak strains of Salmonella Poona.

Traceback information collected from the 11 illness clusters indicated that cucumbers eaten by ill people were imported from Mexico and distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce.

Two recalls of garden variety cucumbers distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce were announced because the cucumbers were likely contaminated with Salmonella. Recalled cucumbers were grown in Baja California, Mexico and distributed to many U.S. states. On September 4, 2015, Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce voluntarily recalled all cucumbers sold under the Limited Edition brand label from August 1, 2015 through September 3, 2015. On September 11, 2015, Custom Produce Sales voluntarily recalled all cucumbers sold under the Fat Boy brand label starting August 1, 2015. These cucumbers were sent to Custom Produce Sales from Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce.

RAW Salmonella Outbreak in Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin

big-map-2-18-2016As of February 17, 2016, 18 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Virchow have been reported from 15 states. The number of ill people identified in each state is as follows: Florida (1), Massachusetts (1), Maryland (1), Minnesota (2), New Jersey (2), New Mexico (1), North Carolina (1), Ohio (1), Oklahoma (1), Oregon (1), Rhode Island (1), Tennessee (1), Texas (1), Utah (2), and Wisconsin (1).

Among people for whom information is available, illnesses started on dates ranging from December 5, 2015 to February 3, 2016. Ill people range in age from 1 year to 76, with a median age of 34. Fifty-six percent of ill people are male. Among 12 ill people with available information, four (33%) reported being hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

In ongoing interviews, ill people answered questions about foods eaten and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Of the 14 ill people who have been interviewed, 14 (100%) reported consuming powdered supplements or meal replacement powders in the week before illness onset; all 14 (100%) specifically reported consuming Garden of Life RAW Meal products.

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 these additional lots.