July 3, 2022

Salmonella Outbreak in 2013 Linked to Tahini Sesame Paste

A Salmonella outbreak linked to tahini (sesame paste) in 2013 sickened 16 people in 9 states. There were two outbreaks strains of Salmonella: Salmonella Montevideo and Salmonella Mbandaka. One person was hospitalized and died, although the Salmonella infection wasn’t considered a contributing factor in that person’s death.

Tahini is used to make hummus, or a spread made of pureed chickpeas, and is usually not cooked before eating. Attorney Fred Pritzker, who represents people sickened in food poisoning outbreaks, said, “People who purchase products that are ready to eat should not be sickened by pathogenic bacteria. It’s the responsibility of the producer, the importer, and stores that sell this product to make sure foods are safe and wholesome.”

Traceback investigations determined that tahini distributed by Krinos Foods in New York was the source of this outbreak. The sesame paste was imported from Turkey; the importer was placed on the Import Alert list on May 29, 2013.


The case count by state was as follows: California (1), Georgia (1), Iowa (1), Louisiana (1), Minnesota (2), New York (1), North Dakota (1), Texas (7), and Wisconsin (1). The two Minnesota cases were children under the age of one year. Children are especially susceptible to the complications of food poisoning, and those complications can be life-long. Reactive arthritis, high blood pressure, and heart disease can be caused by Salmonella infections.

Illness onset dates ranged from February 19, 2013 to May 25, 2013. The patient age range was from less than 1 year to 81 years.

Testing by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture found the outbreak strains of Salmonella Montevideo and Salmonella Mbandaka in opened jars of Krinos brand tahini sesame paste. And the CDC was notified of a Salmonella outbreak in New Zealand in 2012 that were also linked to tahini sesame paste imported from the same company in Turkey.

This product has a long shelf life and it may still be on shelves in consumers’ homes. The final “use by” date on some of the products is March 15, 2015. Check the list of recalled products carefully. If you still have this product in your home, do not eat it. Discard in a double bagged or sealed container. Wash your hands well after handling it.

The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, chills, headache, muscle pains, and blood in the stool. These symptoms usually occur within six to seventy-two hours after infection and last from two to seven days.

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