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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Public health officials in Oregon, Washington, California and Nevada track multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Rissen to ground pepper imported, packaged and distributed by Union International Food Co. of Union City, California

The contaminated pepper was packaged under the “Lian How” and “Uncle Chen” labels and sold to restaurant suppliers and markets – much of it going to Chinese and Vietnamese establishments.

Since December, 42 rare Salmonella Rissen infections have been reported in Oregon, California, Washington and Nevada. Public health officials in those states pooled their resources to identify the source. People were hospitalized in eight of the 42 cases; no deaths have been reported. Oregon had four of the cases, all in metropolitan Portland, a number equal to the average annual number usually reported for the nation.

Salmonella infections cause diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramping and sometimes vomiting. Symptoms typically last less than a week, although infants, the elderly and those with immunodeficiencies are at increased risk for severe illness. Antibiotic treatment is of no value for most patients.

Details about the Lian How and Uncle Chen products are on the company’s Web site: www.ufunionfood.com.

• The Lian How products were packaged in containers of various sizes: 10- and 15-pound cardboard boxes with plastic liners that are tied closed; 4- and 5- pound clear semi-hard plastic wide-mouth jars; 5-pound plastic bags and 2.2- pound foil bags.
• Following the Lian How brand name, the words “Packaged by Union
International Foods” or only “Union International Foods” appear.
• The following products are included in the company’s recall: White pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, chopped onion, onion powder, garlic (chopped, minced, powder and granulated); whole white pepper, whole black pepper, curry powder, mustard powder and wasabi powder.
• Uncle Chen brand white and black pepper is sold in 5-ounce plastic jars.