JEM Raw Chocolate of Oregon is recalling its entire line of sprouted nut butter spreads because they may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria, according to the CDC. There is an outbreak of Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate (+) infections linked to these products. At least 11 people in 9 states have been sickened so far.
There have been no hospitalizations, and no deaths have been reported. Those sickened live in California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, New Jersey, and Oregon.
All eight of the ill persons interviewed so far ate nut butter or a nut butter spread the week before they got sick. Six of those people specifically reported eating JEM Raw brand sprouted nut butter spread before their illness manifested.
These spreads have a long shelf life and are most likely still in consumers’ homes. If you have any of these products in your home, throw them away, even if some of it has been eaten and no one has gotten sick. Wash your hands carefully after handling these products.
The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. Salmonella infections usually begin 12 to 72 hours after exposure to the pathogenic bacteria.
The recalled products include Cashew Cardamom – Sprouted Cashew Almond Spread, Cinnamon Red Maca – Sprouted Almond Spread, Hazelnut Raw Cacao – Sprouted Hazelnut Spread, Superberry Maqui Camu – Sprouted Almond Spread, Cashew Cardamom – Sprouted Cashew Almond Spread, and Cinnamon Red Maca – Sprouted Almond Spread. Also recalled is Hazelnut Raw Cacao – Sprouted Hazelnut Spread, Superberry Maqui Camu – Sprouted Almond Spread, Cashew Cardamom – Sprouted Cashew Almond Spread, Cinnamon Red Maca – Sprouted Almond Spread, Hazelnut Raw Cacao – Sprouted Hazelnut Spread, and Superberry Maqui Camu – Sprouted Almond Spread. These products were sold nationally in retail stores and through mail order. You can see the net weights of these products and their UPC numbers at the CDC site.
Nuts are considered raw produce, and these products can often be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. Products such as raw nuts and butters and spreads made from raw nuts have no kill step. People eat them without cooking or heating them, making them risky for anyone who is susceptible to food poisoning.
Outbreaks linked to raw nuts have occurred several times in the past few years. A Salmonella Braenderup outbreak linked to nSpired Natural Foods Nut Butters sickened six people in five states in 2014. And in 2012, a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Bredeney infections were linked to peanut butter manufactured by Sunland, Inc.