March 23, 2019

Chia Seed Salmonella Outbreak Grows to 73 Sick in US and Canada

The Public Health Agency of Canada has updated the Salmonella outbreak related to sprouted chia seed powder. Now 52 people in Canada and 21 people in the United States are sick. Sprouted chia seed powder is made from ground, dried, sprouted chia seeds. The sprouting environment is warm and moist, which makes it the perfect environment for bacterial growth.

Salmonella BacteriaIn Canada, the brands recalled as part of this investigation include Organic Traditions, Back 2 the Garden, Intuitive Path SuperFoods, Harmonic Arts Botanical Dispensary, Naturally Organic, Pete’s Gluten Free, Noorish Superfoods, MadeGood, and Dietary Express. In the United States, brands recalled as part of the FDA’s investigation include Navitas Naturals, Williams Sonoma, Organic Traditions, BioEssential Botanicals, Back 2 the Garden, Harmonic Arts Botanical Dispensary, Intuitive Path Superfoods, and Noorish Inc.  and Green Smoothie Girl.

So far, the Canadian outbreak case count is as follows: British Columbia (13), Alberta (10), Ontario (26), and Quebec (3). Six people have been hospitalized. In the United States, the outbreak case count 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). The U.S. outbreak is comprised of three Salmonella strains: Newport, Oranienburg, and Hartford.

The recalled products have a long shelf life and may still be in people’s homes. If you have these brands of chia seed products in your home, do not eat them. Discard in a sealed container or return to the place of purchase for a refund. After handling the products, wash your hands thoroughly in warm soapy water.

The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, chills, and headache. They usually start 6 to 72 hours after exposure to a contaminated product. If you ate chia seed products and have experienced these symptoms, see your doctor immediately. The long term complications of a Salmonella infection can be severe, including Reiter’s syndrome, which can lead to reactive arthritis.

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