Outbreak Investigation of Salmonella Concord Linked to Tahini, Winter 2018
February 27, 2019
The United States Food and Drug Administration, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local partners, investigated a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Concord illnesses linked to tahini imported from an Israeli manufacturer, Achdut Ltd., located in Ari’el, Israel.
As of February 27, 2019, there are eight illnesses associated with tahini products from Achdut Ltd. The CDC has announced that this outbreak appears to be over.
The FDA is advising consumers not to eat recalled Achva, Achdut, Soom, S&F, and Pepperwood brand tahini and Soom brand Chocolate Sweet Tahini Halva Spread (lot code 071318CH) with expiration dates ranging from April 7, 2020 to May 21, 2020 and Baron’s brand tahini with the expiration date of May 5, 2021. The product lot codes range from 18-097 to 18-141. Consumers should discard the product or return the product to the store for a refund.
Some brands of tahini manufactured by Achdut Ltd. may lack specific dates or may have labels that are written in Hebrew. Consumers who have purchased a tahini product and are uncertain of where the product was manufactured or cannot identify the brand by lot codes or expiration dates should discard the product or return the food to the store for a refund. More product information and pictures of the recalled product labels can be found in Achdut 's recall announcement. View Soom Foods’ recall announcement.
Retailers and restaurants should not use any of the recalled tahini manufactured by Achdut Ltd. at their establishments. Retailers and restaurants should throw the product out.
Firms that may have used the recalled tahini (either repacked or used as an ingredient in a food without a kill step) should consider recalling their products. Recalls should be reported to your local FDA office. A list of recall coordinators can be found in the firm's recall announcement.
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Total Illnesses: 8
Last illness onset: April 21, 2018 to January 3, 2019
States with Cases: HI (1), MA (1), MI (1), NY (5)
The following products have been recalled:
Achdut Ltd. has voluntarily recalled Achva, Achdut, Soom, S&F, Pepperwood, and Baron’s tahini manufactured from April 7, 2018 to May 21, 2018. Soom Foods 11 oz.-sized Premium Tahini and 12 oz. Chocolate Sweet Tahini Halva Spread with the lot code 071318CH have also been recalled:
Achva, Achdut, Soom, S&F, and Pepperwood tahini products have expiration dates ranging from April 7, 2020 to May 21, 2020. Achdut Ltd. has specified that recalled Baron’s brand tahini has the expiration date of May 5, 2021. Recalled tahini products were sold in 15oz, 16oz, 17.6oz, 635 oz (428g, 454g, 500g, 18Kg) containers. The product lot codes range from 18-097 to 18-141.
Some brands of tahini manufactured by Achdut Ltd. may lack specific dates or may have labels that are written in Hebrew. Consumers who have purchased a tahini product and are uncertain of where the product was manufactured or cannot identify the brand by lot codes or expiration dates should use caution and discard the product or return the food to the store for a refund. More product information and pictures of the recalled product labels can be found in the firm's recall announcement.
Salmonella is a bacterium that makes people sick. The illness, salmonellosis, usually lasts 4 to 7 days and most people recover without treatment. Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps between 12 and 72 hours after infection.
Children are the most likely to get salmonellosis. The rate of diagnosed infections in children less than five years old is higher than the rate in all other persons. Children younger than 5 years of age, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe infections. It is estimated that approximately 400 persons die each year with acute salmonellosis.
Restaurants and retailers who have served any potentially contaminated or recalled products need to be concerned about cross–contamination of food processing equipment and the food processing environment. They should follow the steps below:
- Wash and sanitize display cases and refrigerators regularly.
- Wash and sanitize cutting boards, surfaces, and utensils used to prepare, serve, or store food.
- Wash hands with hot water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process.
- People who think they might have become ill from eating possibly contaminated tahini should talk to their health care providers.
- Consumers should always practice safe food handling and preparation measures. Wash hands, utensils, and surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after handling food.
- Thoroughly clean all food preparation surfaces and utensils that may have come in contact with the potentially contaminated product.
- Additionally, consumers who purchased tahini should wash and disinfect drawers or shelves in refrigerators where the product was stored or any surfaces where the tahini may have come into contact, such as counters, containers, bags, etc.
February 8, 2019
On November 28, 2018, in response to the on-going investigation, Soom Foods voluntarily recalled the following additional products:
- 12 oz. Chocolate Sweet Tahini Halva Spread 071318CH. Packed from tahini lot 18-123.
And tahini in the following sizes and types:
- 40 lb. Organic Tahini.
- 40 lb. Premium Tahini.
- 16 oz. Premium Tahini.
- 16 oz. Organic Tahini.
- 11 oz. Premium Tahini.
The tahini product lot codes range from 18-097 through 18-141.
Some of the above listed products were included in the original voluntary recall by Achdut Ltd. on November 27, 2018. The FDA is posting this information to ensure the widest possible dissemination to the public.
November 27, 2018
A sample of imported tahini collected by FDA at the point of import tested positive for Salmonella Concord. The tahini was Baron’s brand manufactured by Achdut Ltd. This manufacturer was placed on an FDA Import Alert, detaining additional product from the firm at the U.S. border until evidence is presented demonstrating that Salmonella is not present in the product. Whole genome sequencing analysis has indicated the positive sample of imported Baron’s brand tahini is highly related to clinical isolates from ill people in the U.S.
CDC identified five ill people in the U.S. infected with Salmonella Concord that had the same genetic fingerprint as the Salmonella Concord found in tahini sampled at the point of import into the United States. Of the five U.S. cases interviewed, all five reported consuming hummus made with tahini; three people reported eating tahini or hummus made with tahini in a restaurant in the U.S., while the other two people reported consuming tahini or hummus made with tahini during international travel.
Achdut Ltd. has voluntarily recalled Achva, Achdut, Soom, S&F, Pepperwood, and Baron’s tahini manufactured from April 7, 2018 to May 21, 2018. Achva, Achdut, Soom, S&F, and Pepperwood tahini products have expiration dates ranging from April 7, 2020 to May 21, 2020. Achdut Ltd. has specified that recalled Baron’s brand tahini has the expiration date of May 5, 2021.
Who to Contact
Consumers who have symptoms should contact their health care provider to report their symptoms and receive care.
To report a complaint or adverse event (illness or serious allergic reaction), you can
- Call an FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator if you wish to speak directly to a person about your problem.
- Complete an electronic Voluntary MedWatch form online.
- Complete a paper Voluntary MedWatch form that can be mailed to FDA.
Visit www.fda.gov/fcic for additional consumer and industry assistance.
- Achdut Ltd.Recall Notice
- Soom Foods Recall Notice
- CDC Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Linked to Tahini from Achdut Ltd.
- FoodSafety.gov on Salmonella
- CDC Salmonella