Nine-state Salmonella outbreak prompts nut butter recall

An Oregon company recalled its nationally marketed nut butter spreads yesterday after they were linked to 11 Salmonella infections in nine states.

JEM Raw Chocolate, based in Bend, Ore., said investigations by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Oregon health officials have linked illnesses to consuming its nut spreads, which are sold in glass jars under the JEM Raw Organics label.

Recalled products were sold through retail stores and mail order, and the voluntary action applies to the company's nut butters that were distributed from June to November 2015. The company makes 12 different nut butter flavors, and the recall applies to all of them.

Eight cited nut butter exposure

The CDC said in an outbreak announcement today that the outbreak involves Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+), formerly called Salmonella Java. Oregon has three cases, while eight states have one apiece: California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, and New Jersey.

Illness-onset dates range from Jul 18 to Oct 15. Of nine people with available information, no hospitalizations or deaths have been reported.

All eight people who were interviewed reported exposure to nut butter or nut butter spread the week before they got sick. Six specifically reported eating JEM Raw brand products.

The CDC said investigators are using the PulseNet System, the national subtyping network, to identify other illnesses that may be part of the outbreak. It said pulsed-field gel electrophoresis indicates that one outbreak strain is involved, which is new to PulseNet's database.

The agency said nut butters have a long shelf life, and the CDC urged consumers to throw any remaining JEM Raw brand products away, even if some of it has been eaten and no one has gotten sick.

See also:

Dec 2 FDA recall notice

Dec 3 CDC outbreak announcement

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