June 25, 2024

CDC Analyzes Jule’s Foods Cashew Brie Salmonella Outbreak

The CDC has published an analysis of the Jule’s Foods Cashew Brie Salmonella outbreak that sickened at least 20 people in four states. The outbreak was first identified by the Tennessee Department of Health. Two patients said they ate the same brand of cashew brie at the same restaurant before they got sick.

CDC Analyzes Jules Cashew Brie Salmonella Duisburg Outbreak

The case count by state was: California (15), Florida (2), Maryland (1), and Tennessee (2). The patient age range was from one to 72 years. Illness onset dates ranged from December 11, 2020, to May 9, 2021. Five people were hospitalized because they were so sick.

After the outbreak was identified, a search of the National Center for Biotechnology Information Pathogen Detection Isolates Browser found three more patients, two from California and one from Florida. Open-source access to whole genome sequencing data facilitated rapid investigation of this outbreak before it was large enough for officials to identify it through standard detection methods.

There were four outbreak strains of Salmonella in this outbreak. Product and environmental sampling were conducted at retail locations and at the Jule’s Foods production facility that was identified during traceback. The Salmonella strains were Chester, Typhimurium, and Urbana, as well as Duisburg. Component ingredients tested positive for those strains, although only Chester and Urbana were associated with human illness.

Thirty-six samples were collected by state and federal officials from component ingredients, in-process and finished products, and environmental swabs from the production facility. Twenty-three samples yielded 51 Salmonella isolates. The manufacturer recalled all products voluntarily.

Cashew ingredients used to make the brie were found to be the likely source of contamination. The nuts were not pasteurized or irradiated before processing.

Outbreaks associated with raw nut and seed products are well documented. The lack of a lethality treatment, or kill step, can increase the risk of contamination in products that are served ready-to-eat and perceived as safe.

Lewis K, Vasser M, Garman K, et al. Notes from the Field: Multistate, Multiserotype Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Linked to Cashew Brie — United States, 2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2023;72:589–590. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7221a4.

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