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Salmonella infections linked to chia seed powder now recalled

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The CDC is warning consumers about a product that's now recalled, known as organic sprouted chia seed powder. This is a product that could be on the shelves of people's food pantries for a long time without the individual knowing the product has been recalled due to possible contamination with salmonella bacteria which have sickened at least 21 persons, says the CDC's June 11, 2014 announcement, "Salmonella Infections Linked to Chia Powder."

Product testing of a sample of leftover Navitas Naturals Organic Sprouted Chia Powder collected from an ill person’s home in Connecticut isolated the outbreak strains of Salmonella Newport and Salmonella Hartford, and an additional serotype, Salmonella Oranienburg. The recalled products were available for purchase in many retail stores nationwide and online. These products have a long shelf-life and may still be in people’s homes, according to another June 11, 2014 announcement from the CDC, "Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Linked to Organic Sprouted Chia Powder."

A search of the PulseNet database identified a total of two ill persons infected with the same strain of Salmonella Oranienburg in two U.S. states. This strain of Salmonella Oranienburg has been seen before in PulseNet, one case per month on average.

The outbreak has been reported in 12 states

As of June 9, 2014, a total of 21 ill persons infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Newport (13 persons), Salmonella Hartford (6 persons), or Salmonella Oranienburg (2 persons) have been reported from 12 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Arizona (1), California (3), Colorado (1), Connecticut (3), Florida (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (1), New York (4), Ohio (1), Utah (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (3).

Initial interviews with ill persons suggested a link to the ongoing outbreak investigation, so these illnesses have been combined with the existing Salmonella Newport and Salmonella Hartford infections previously identified. As of June 9, 2014, a total of 21 persons infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Newport (13 persons), Salmonella Hartford (6 persons), or Salmonella Oranienburg (2 persons) have been reported from 12 states. Two ill persons have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Two ill persons infected with a strain of Salmonella Oranienburg have been identified in two U.S. states. Through product testing and interviews with ill people, these illnesses have been combined with the Salmonella Newport and Salmonella Hartford infections previously identified as part of this investigation.

Collaborative investigation efforts of state, local, and federal public health and regulatory agencies indicate that organic sprouted chia powder is the likely source of this outbreak. As of June 11, 2014, 16 (100%) of 16 persons interviewed reported eating chia seeds or powder, and 11 (73%) of 15 persons who identified the type of chia product consumed reported eating chia powder specifically.

Chia powder is made from ground dried chia seeds

How it all came to be reported to the CDC, began on June 4, 2014, when Health Matters America, Inc., recalled products that contain sprouted chia seed powder and sprouted chia/flax seed powder due to possible Salmonella contamination.

On June 6, 2014, Navitas Naturals expanded their existing recall to include additional expiration dates of products containing organic sprouted chia powder. The Public Health Agency of Canada continues to investigate similar cases of Salmonella infection in several Canadian provinces.

Several Canadian companies also have recalled products containing sprouted chia powder or chia seeds. CDC recommends that consumers do not eat any of the recalled products products containing chia. Check your food pantry to be sure you don't have that chia powder on your shelf. For more information, you may wish to check out the website, "2014 Outbreaks," or see the CDC's Salmonella Homepage.

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