As of May 1, Buncombe County Department of Health reports 37 cases of Salmonella Paratyhpi B infection and continues to test and investigate people coming forward with symptoms of salmonella infection, some who ate tempeh and others who did not eat tempeh. The case interviews indicate that the disease transmission is linked to the outbreak in one of three ways: those who have eaten tempeh, those who have connections to others who have been ill with Salmonella Paratyphi b (person-to-person) and others that are under further investigation to determine if there are other sources of contamination associated with the outbreak.
Smiling Hara of Asheville is voluntarily recalling 12-ounce packages of unpasteurized soybean tempeh because of possible contamination with salmonella.
The company is recalling tempeh manufactured this year between Jan. 11 and April 11. The containers are marked with a best-by date of 7/11/12 through 10/25/12. Tempeh is used as a meat substitute in vegetarian cuisine.
The company is directing consumers to return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers wanting more information can contact Smiling Hara at 828-242-1300.
“Anyone with this product in their possession should not eat it,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Smiling Hara launched the recall after samples collected by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services during a routine inspection tested positive for salmonella.”
Additional tests will be conducted by the N.C. Division of Public Health to determine whether the salmonella detected in the tempeh matches the strain found in an outbreak that has sickened 37 people. Cases appear to have been associated with residence or travel to Buncombe County since Feb. 28.
“We strongly encourage individuals to follow the recall guidelines to protect their health and the health of their families,” State Epidemiologist Dr. Megan Davies said. “We do not know yet if this is the same strain of salmonella that is causing the current outbreak. Any salmonella can be transmitted person to person, so it is very important for individuals to practice good hand-washing and to see a physician if they have any symptoms of illness.”
Symptoms commonly associated with this infection may include – but are not limited to – diarrhea that may be bloody, fever, headache and abdominal pain usually one to 10 days after exposure. The illness caused by salmonella infection usually lasts four to seven days, but may last longer. In some cases, people may need to be hospitalized.