The United States Food and Drug Administration, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local partners, are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Concord illnesses linked to “Karawan Tahini and Halva” brand tahini imported from Israel.
The FDA has been working with the state of New York and New York City. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene tested samples of Karawan tahini and found that the product contained Salmonella.
Total Illnesses: 4
Last illness onset: March 23, 2019
States with Cases: New York (2), Massachusetts (1), Texas (1)
Based on the positive product sample, the available epidemiological data, and traceback data from the investigation, the FDA has requested that the product be voluntarily recalled. Discussions with the U.S. agent for the firm, as well as foreign public health partners are ongoing and additional information will be provided as it becomes available.
The label of the product that tested positive for Salmonella identified Brodt Zenatti Holdings, LLC, of Jupiter, Fla., as the importer of that specific tahini, however, other importers may have also imported “Karawan Tahini and Halva” branded tahini. The investigation is ongoing, but at this time the current outbreak does not appear to be related to the previous 2018-2019 outbreak of Salmonella Concord linked to tahini.
The tahini of concern may be labelled as either “Karawan Tahini” or as “El Karawan Tahini.” Consumers should avoid eating this tahini. This tahini was sold in bulk to retailers and restaurants and was also available to consumers at retail locations and online. It may have also been used in other food products sold to consumers. Consumers should be aware that this product has a shelf life of two years and should check their homes for tahini with either label. Consumers with this tahini in their home should not eat it and should discard it. Consumers with concerns about tahini consumed outside the home should ask their restaurant or retailer if the product they have purchased contains this tahini. Retailers and restaurants should throw the product out and sanitize any surfaces that may have come in contact with this tahini.
Tahini is made from sesame seeds and can be served on its own or used as an ingredient in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern style dishes, such as hummus, falafel, and baba ganoush.