October 27, 2020

Imported Dried Black Fungus Linked to Salmonella Outbreak Sickens 41

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says imported dried black fungus is linked to a Salmonella Stanley outbreak that has┬ásickened at least 41 people in 10 states. The FDA released a recall notice for that product earlier today. The product is also called Kikurage, Dried Fungus, Wood Ear Mushrooms, or Mu’er/Mu/Er/Mu-Err. It is typically used to make ramen.

Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Dried Black Fungus Sickened 41

The mushrooms were distributed only to restaurants, not sold to consumers, in six packs of five-pound bags labeled as Shirakiku Black Fungus (Kikurage) with the UPC number 00074410604305 and lot number 60403. The product was imported from China.

The patient case count by state is: Arizona (1), California (25), Connecticut (1), Georgia (1), Illinois (5), Louisiana (1), New Jersey (2), New York (1), Pennsylvania (2), and Wisconsin (2). The patient age range is from 2 to 74 years. Of 32 ill persons who gave information to investigators, four have been hospitalized.

Epidemiologic and traceback information shows that wood ear mushrooms, or black fungus, that was distributed by Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc. is the likely source of this outbreak. Of 18 people who talked to investigators, 16, or 89%, said they ate ramen at a restaurant the week before they got sick. Several people reported eating at the same ramen restaurant, indicating they were part of an illness cluster. Four illness clusters in three states have been identified at restaurants serving ramen.

The California Department of Health collected the dried black fungus at one of the restaurants linked to an illness cluster. Testing identified Salmonella bacteria in a sample of imported dried fungus distributed by Wismettac Asian Foods. Whole genome sequencing is being conducted to find out if the Salmonella in the dried black fungus is the same as the Salmonella Stanley found in isolates taken from patients.

Lawyer Fred Pritzker

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with food poisoning, you can contact attorney Fred Pritzker for help by calling 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

Noted food safety attorney Fred Pritzker, who has represented many clients in lawsuits against restaurants, producers, and grocery stores, said, “No one should get sick because they decided to eat ramen. Producers, importers, and restaurants are required to produce food that does not make people sick.”

The imported dried black fungus are supposed to be reconstituted by soaking them in boiling water. That may or may not be enough to destroy pathogens, and wasn’t enough, in this case. If you have these mushrooms, do not use them, even if you are going to reconstitute them or cook with them. If you can’t tell where the dried mushrooms on hand are from, throw them away.

The symptoms of a Salmonella food poisoning infection include a fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, stomach and abdominal pain and cramps, and diarrhea that may be watery or bloody. If you have been ill with these symptoms, see your doctor, especially if you have eaten ramen made with dried black fungus or wood ear mushrooms recently. You may be part of this Salmonella Stanley outbreak.

Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Lawyers

If you or a loved one have been sickened with a Salmonella Stanley infection after eating recalled dried black fungus or wood ear mushrooms, please contact our experienced attorneys for help at 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

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