Garden of Life meal replacement shake mixes have been identified as the source of a seven-state Salmonella Virchow outbreak, according to the Minnesota Department of Health Announced yesterday. At least eight people have been sickened.
Because many cases of Salmonella infection are not reported, the number is likely to be much higher. Minnesota health officials said they wanted to “bring this outbreak to the attention of people who have become ill with symptoms of salmonellosis but who have not yet consulted a health care provider. These people should mention this outbreak to their health care provider should they consult one.”
In Minnesota, where between 700 and 900 cases of salmonellosis are reported annually, two cases have been reported since Monday, January 11. One case was a child and one was an adult in his 30s. Neither required hospitalization and both have recovered.
Other cases have been reported in Wisconsin, Tennessee, Oregon, New Jersey, New Mexico and Utah. There has been at least one case reported form each of those states.
Symptoms of salmonellosis, which usually take between six and 72 hours to develop, include diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever, can last up to a week. For some patients, invasive infections causing blood stream infections, meningitis or death can occur. Those most at risk are children, seniors, pregnant women and those with compromised immunes systems.
Product testing is underway in Minnesota where one of the case patients ate vanilla flavored product and one ate chocolate flavored product. Those flavors were also reported by case patients in other states. Results from those tests will be available in the coming days.
Cases in other states reported eating the vanilla flavor or the chocolate flavor. This type of food product is often purchased at nutrition stores and food cooperatives. The two cases in Minnesota purchased the items at separate places.
Garden of Life issued a recall for the products yesterday. It includes all flavors purchased on or after November 1, 2015 marked with a “Best Used by:” date of 09/2017 on the bottom of the container. The products were sold at better health food stores and natural grocers nationwide.
Consumers who have purchased these products can return them to the place of purchase for a refund. The recalled products should not be consumed.
Consumers who have consumed the recalled product should monitor themselves for symptoms and, when seeing a doctor if they develop, mention exposure to Salmonella through this recalled product.
In the recall issued yesterday, the company stated it had tested all lots of the product before distributing them to better health food stores and natural grocers nationwide. None of the tests was positive for Salmonella, according to the company. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is also investigating the outbreak.