July 2, 2022

Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Nut Butters in 2014

A Salmonella Braenderup outbreak linked to nut butters made by nSpired Natural Foods sickened 6 people in 5 states in 2014. Almond and peanut butter by that company was the likely source of this outbreak, since the outbreak strain of Salmonella was found in environmental samples collected from the nSpired Natural Foods facility.

SalmonellaThe company issued a recall of their products in August 2014. The number of recalled products was huge, and included organic and raw peanut and almonds butters in many varieties, sold under brand names Trader Joe’s, Kroger, MaraNatha, Arrowhead Mills, and Whole Foods. The nut butters were packaged in glass and plastic jars. These products have a long shelf life, and some may still be in consumer’s homes. Look at the recall list carefully. If you do have these products, discard them in a double bag or return to the place of purchase, then wash your hands thoroughly.

One person was hospitalized in this outbreak, and no deaths were reported by the government. The case count by state in this outbreak is: Connecticut (1), Iowa (1), New Mexico (1), Tennessee (1), and Texas (2). Illness onset dates ranged from January 20, 2014 to May 16, 2014.

Routine inspections of the nSpired facility in February and July 2014 found Salmonella bacteria contamination. The bacteria was analyzed using PFGE and whole genome sequencing. A search of the PulseNet database identified six ill persons who were sickened with the same strain of pathogenic bacteria. Four of the five people interviewed reported eating peanut or almond butter the week before they got sick.

There are several ways foods can be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. Since the bacteria was found at the plant, it’s possible that animals got in and contaminated some of the equipment or the food itself. Cross-contamination from an ill employee is also a possibility. The bacteria could have been harboring in storage bins or it could have come from the field. Animals can often contaminate plants and produce while they are growing.

The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include diarrhea, upset stomach, abdominal pains, nausea, and vomiting. Some people may have a mild fever. Complications of a Salmonella infection can be lifelong, including reactive arthritis.

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