We still have a long way to go to make our food supply safer. This is what I spent my Saturday on.

Gibson Farms Walnut E. coli Outbreak: The FDA and CDC, in collaboration with state and local partners, are investigating illnesses in a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections linked to organic walnuts from Gibson Farms, Inc. of Hollister, California that were distributed to multiple natural food and co-op stores in AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NM, OR, SD, TX, and WA and sold in bulk bins. 

As of April 30, 2024, 12 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli have been reported from 2 states. Illnesses started on dates ranging from February 1, 2024, to April 4, 2024. Of 11 people with information available, 7 (64%) have been hospitalized. Two patients have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition that can cause kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

State and local public health officials have interviewed people about the foods they ate in the week before they became ill. Of the 10 people interviewed, all 10 (100%) reported eating walnuts, and almost all reported buying organic walnuts from bulk bins in food co-ops or natural food stores.

FDA’s traceback investigation identified Gibson Farms, Inc. as the common supplier of walnuts in this outbreak. On April 27, 2024, Gibson Farms, Inc. initiated a voluntary recall  and contacted their distributing customers. Distributors and retailers that may have received recalled bulk organic walnuts should follow the recommendations above and contact their customers. 

FDA is working with the firm and its distributors to determine the source of contamination, whether additional products or states are affected, and retailers that received recalled product. This advisory will be updated as information becomes available. 

Recalled organic walnut halves and pieces were sold in bulk bins at natural food and co-op stores in AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NM, OR, SD, TX, and WA. Some stores may repackage bulk walnut halves and pieces into plastic clamshells or bags.

full list of store names and locations is available.

Trader Joe’s Basil Salmonella Outbreak: CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are collecting different types of data to investigate a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium infections. Epidemiologic and traceback data show that Infinite Herbs brand organic basil may be contaminated with Salmonella and be making people sick.

As of April 17, 2024, a total of 12 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella have been reported from 7 states – Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Wisconsin. Illnesses started on dates ranging from February 11, 2024, to April 2, 2024. Of 11 people with information available, 1 person has been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Of 12 people interviewed, 10 (83%) reported shopping at Trader Joe’s. Seven sick people reported buying or likely buying organic basil in 2.5 oz clamshell-style containers from Trader Joe’s. Additionally, traceback data collected by FDA determined that Infinite Herbs, LLC, in Miami, Florida, was the supplier of the 2.5-oz packages of organic basil sold at Trader Joe’s stores.

While this investigation is ongoing, do not eat Infinite Herbs organic basil sold at Trader Joe’s stores in those 29 states and Washington DC. The basil was sold in 2.5 oz clamshell-style packages. Investigators are working to determine if additional products may be contaminated.

Infinite Herbs-brand organic basil packed in 2.5-oz clamshell packaging and sold at Trader Joe’s stores in AL, CT, D.C., DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT, and WI.

Trader Joe’s has already voluntarily removed all Infinite Herbs-brand organic basil packed in 2.5-oz clamshell packaging from their store shelves and this product should no longer be available for sale to customers at their stores.

Salmonella Outbreak linked to Cantaloupe: CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigated a multistate outbreak of Salmonella (Sundsvall and Oranienburg) infections. Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback data showed that cantaloupes were contaminated with Salmonella made people sick.

A total of 407 people infected with one of the outbreak strains of Salmonella were reported from 44 states. Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 15, 2023, to December 25, 2023. Of 362 people with information available, 158 (44%) were hospitalized. Six deaths were reported, including four from Minnesota, one from Indiana, and one from Oregon.

Of the 134 people who reported eating cantaloupe, 67 people specifically reported eating pre-cut cantaloupe and 40 reported eating whole cantaloupe. Fifty-two people resided at long-term care facilities when they got sick. Among 24 of these people interviewed, 12 reported eating cantaloupe. Forty-four children attended childcare centers when they got sick. Of 34 children with information available, 19 ate cantaloupe.

Canada also investigated this Salmonella outbreak and linked the illnesses to cantaloupes. The strain that caused illnesses in Canada was the same strain as the U.S. illnesses.

Several recalls of cantaloupe products were issued as a result of this investigation:

  • On November 1, 2023, Malichita brand cantaloupes were recalled in Canada.
  • On November 8, Trufresh recalled Malichita brand whole cantaloupes that were sold to US businesses between October 16 and October 23.
  • On November 15, Trufresh expanded their recall to include additional whole cantaloupes.
  • On November 14, Vinyard Fruit and Vegetable Company recalled pre-cut fruit products and ALDI recalled [PDF – 2 pages] its whole cantaloupe, cantaloupe chunks, and pineapple spears.
  • On November 22, 2023, Trufresh expanded their recall again to include all Malichita brand and Rudy brand whole cantaloupes. Crown Jewels recalled Malitchita brand whole cantaloupes. CF Dallas recalled pre-cut fruit products containing recalled cantaloupes.
  • On November 27, 2023, Kwik Trip recalled pre-cut cantaloupe and fruit mixes.
  • On November 28, Bix Produce recalled pre-cut fruit cups.
  • On November 29, GHGA recalled pre-cut cantaloupe products sold at Kroger, Sprouts Farmers Market, and Trader Joe’s.
  • On November 30, Cut Fruit Express recalled pre-cut cantaloupe products with use-by dates from November 4 through November 6.
  • On December 5, TGD Cuts recalled pre-cut cantaloupe products with use-by dates from November 2 through November 24.
  • Stop & Shop recalled cantaloupes purchased from October 23 through November 11.

CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigated a multistate outbreak of Salmonella (Sundsvall and Oranienburg) infections.

Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback data showed that cantaloupes were contaminated with Salmonella made people sick.

A total of 407 people infected with one of the outbreak strains of Salmonella were reported from 44 states. Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 15, 2023, to December 25, 2023. Of 362 people with information available, 158 (44%) were hospitalized. Six deaths were reported, including four from Minnesota, one from Indiana, and one from Oregon.

Of the 134 people who reported eating cantaloupe, 67 people specifically reported eating pre-cut cantaloupe and 40 reported eating whole cantaloupe. Fifty-two people resided at long-term care facilities when they got sick. Among 24 of these people interviewed, 12 reported eating cantaloupe. Forty-four children attended childcare centers when they got sick. Of 34 children with information available, 19 ate cantaloupe.

Canada also investigated this Salmonella outbreak and linked the illnesses to cantaloupes. The strain that caused illnesses in Canada was the same strain as the U.S. illnesses.

Several recalls of cantaloupe products were issued as a result of this investigation:

  • On November 1, 2023, Malichita brand cantaloupes were recalled in Canada.
  • On November 8, Trufresh recalled Malichita brand whole cantaloupes that were sold to US businesses between October 16 and October 23.
  • On November 15, Trufresh expanded their recall to include additional whole cantaloupes.
  • On November 14, Vinyard Fruit and Vegetable Company recalled pre-cut fruit products and ALDI recalled [PDF – 2 pages] its whole cantaloupe, cantaloupe chunks, and pineapple spears.
  • On November 22, 2023, Trufresh expanded their recall again to include all Malichita brand and Rudy brand whole cantaloupes. Crown Jewels recalled Malitchita brand whole cantaloupes. CF Dallas recalled pre-cut fruit products containing recalled cantaloupes.
  • On November 27, 2023, Kwik Trip recalled pre-cut cantaloupe and fruit mixes.
  • On November 28, Bix Produce recalled pre-cut fruit cups.
  • On November 29, GHGA recalled pre-cut cantaloupe products sold at Kroger, Sprouts Farmers Market, and Trader Joe’s.
  • On November 30, Cut Fruit Express recalled pre-cut cantaloupe products with use-by dates from November 4 through November 6.
  • On December 5, TGD Cuts recalled pre-cut cantaloupe products with use-by dates from November 2 through November 24.
  • Stop & Shop recalled cantaloupes purchased from October 23 through November 11.

Constituent Update

May 15, 2024

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) posted on its website its determination that tara flour in human food does not meet the Generally Recognized As Safe (or GRAS) standard and is an unapproved food additive. The FDA’s assessment of the ingredient is detailed in a memo added to the agency’s public inventory. Increased transparency of our assessment of ingredients in the food supply is part of our approach to enhance food chemical safety.

Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act, any ingredient used or intended for use in food must be authorized by the FDA for use as a food additive unless that use is Generally Recognized As Safe or GRAS by qualified experts or meets a listed exception to the food additive definition in the FD&C Act. An unapproved food additive is deemed to be unsafe under the FD&C Act.

In 2022, Daily Harvest used tara flour in a leek and lentil crumble product which was associated with roughly 400 adverse event reports. The firm took prompt action to voluntarily recall the product and conduct their own root cause analysis, during which they identified tara flour as a possible contributor to the illnesses. To date, the FDA has found no evidence that tara flour caused the outbreak; however, it did prompt the agency to evaluate the regulatory status of this food ingredient.

The FDA’s evaluation revealed that there is not enough data on the use of tara flour in food, or a history of its safe use, to consider it GRAS. There is no food additive regulation authorizing the use of tara flour in food.  Uses of food ingredients that are not GRAS, not authorized as food additives, and not excepted from the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act’s food additive definition are unapproved food additives. Food that is, or contains, an unsafe food additive is considered adulterated.

FDA’s Continued Monitoring of Tara Flour in the Food Supply

Manufacturers who are considering using tara flour as an ingredient in food are responsible for ensuring that its use is safe and lawful and are encouraged to consult with the FDA. At this time, the FDA is not aware of evidence that shows that tara flour is a food ingredient being developed domestically or that there are any products containing tara flour that are currently being manufactured in the U.S.

The FDA instituted screening at ports of entry for tara flour used as an ingredient in imported food or imported for sale in bulk. The agency has not detected any recent shipments of tara flour in imported products as of today.

The FDA remains committed to monitoring new ingredients in the food supply to ensure they meet relevant safety standards. The FDA’s assessment of chemicals in the food supply is part of our commitment to food safety and public health.

Additional Information

The CDC and FDA have reported that as of April 30, 2024, 12 people infected with E. coli have been reported from Washington and California. Two patients have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious condition that can cause kidney failure. The FDA determined that Gibson Farms, Inc of Hollister, California was the supplier of organic walnuts that were distributed to multiple natural food and co-op stores across the United States and sold in bulk bins.

Outbreak Facts: 

  • Illnesses started on dates ranging from February 1, 2024, to April 4, 2024. Of 11 people with information available, 7 (64%) have been hospitalized.
  • Walnuts were distributed to these 19 states: Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Click here to find the full list of stores that may have sold the walnuts.
  • The true number of sick people in this outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses. 
  • Investigators used DNA fingerprinting that revealed bacteria from sick people’s samples as closely related genetically. This suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food.

Marler Clark’s work as lawyers and food safety advocates is highlighted in the Netflix Documentary “Poisoned” now streaming. See: “Poisoned”: The Dirty Truth About Your Food | Official Trailer | Netflix

Natural Sourcing International is initiating a voluntary recall of one lot of Great Value Organic Black Chia Seeds 32 oz. due to the potential presence of Salmonella that may be in some of the finished products. Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonellaoften experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis. While no adverse events associated with the products have been reported to date, products are being recalled out of an abundance of caution and because consumer safety is the company’s highest priority.

Specific information regarding the recalled products is as follows:

Name Size Lot Code Expiration DateUPC 
Great Value Organic Black Chia Seeds32 oz24095 C018October 30, 2026078742300665

These products can be identified by the main label on the pouch and the lot number that is printed on the bottom of the back panel of the packaging – see the example below:

Product was sent to Walmart for distribution nationwide via retail sales.

Marler Clark is proud to represent families in both of these outbreaks.

E. coli Outbreak: As of April 30, 2024, 12 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli have been reported from 2 states. Illnesses started on dates ranging from February 1, 2024, to April 4, 2024. Of 11 people with information available, 7 (64%) have been hospitalized. Two patients have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition that can cause kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

WGS showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples are closely related genetically. This suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food. Traceback data collected by FDA determined that Gibson Farms, Inc was the supplier of organic walnuts sold in bulk bins at stores where ill people shopped.

Salmonella Outbreak: As of April 17, 2024, a total of 12 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella have been reported from 7 states. Illnesses started on dates ranging from February 11, 2024, to April 2, 2024. Of 11 people with information available, 1 person has been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

WGS showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples are closely related genetically. This suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food. Of 12 people interviewed, 10 (83%) reported shopping at Trader Joe’s. Seven sick people reported buying or likely buying organic basil in 2.5 oz clamshell-style containers from Trader Joe’s. Additionally, traceback data collected by FDA determined that Infinite Herbs, LLC, in Miami, Florida, was the supplier of the 2.5-oz packages of organic basil sold at Trader Joe’s stores.

According to Saudi Arabian press reports, Saudi authorities on Saturday announced that the source of an outbreak of botulism that has sickened at least 75 people and killing one has been linked to the Hamburgini restaurant chain and tracked to mayonnaise produced by “BON TUM.” 

The Ministry of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing announced on Saturday that lab analysis conducted by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority revealed that Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which causes Botulism, was found in a sample of “BON TUM” mayonnaise that was served by the chain.

The distribution of the mayonnaise has been halted nationwide and it will be removed from markets and food establishments across Saudi Arabia.

Clostridium botulinum is a bacterium that produces dangerous toxins-botulinum toxins-under low-oxygen conditions. Botulinum toxins are one of the most lethal substances known. They block nerve functions and can lead to respiratory and muscular paralysis.

Abstract

During July–September 2023, an outbreak of Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 illness among children in city A, Utah, caused 13 confirmed illnesses; seven patients were hospitalized, including two with hemolytic uremic syndrome. Local, state, and federal public health partners investigating the outbreak linked the illnesses to untreated, pressurized, municipal irrigation water (UPMIW) exposure in city A; 12 of 13 ill children reported playing in or drinking UPMIW. Clinical isolates were genetically highly related to one another and to environmental isolates from multiple locations within city A’s UPMIW system. Microbial source tracking, a method to indicate possible contamination sources, identified birds and ruminants as potential sources of fecal contamination of UPMIW. Public health and city A officials issued multiple press releases regarding the outbreak reminding residents that UPMIW is not intended for drinking or recreation. Public education and UPMIW management and operations interventions, including assessing and mitigating potential contamination sources, covering UPMIW sources and reservoirs, indicating UPMIW lines and spigots with a designated color, and providing conspicuous signage to communicate risk and intended use might help prevent future UPMIW-associated illnesses.

Investigation and Results

Identification of the Outbreak and Characteristics of Cases

Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157:H7 is an enteric illness that can cause hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a severe, life-threatening condition which affects the kidneys; young children (aged <5 years) are among the most susceptible to HUS. During July 25–30, 2023, six cases of STEC O157:H7 illness in children were reported to the Utah County Health Department (UCHD), with onset during July 22–27. All six ill children lived in city A, Utah. UCHD investigators interviewed the identified children’s parents using standard case investigation forms to assess various exposures before illness onset. Preliminary whole genome sequencing (WGS) found that two ill children’s clinical isolates were zero alleles different from each other, suggesting that an outbreak was occurring. On July 31, an outbreak investigation was initiated. Investigators identified 13 children with confirmed STEC O157:H7 illness linked to this outbreak, with illness onsets during July 22–August 31 (Figure 1). The median patient age was 4 years (range = 1–15 years). Seven patients were hospitalized, including two with HUS; no deaths were reported. This activity was reviewed by CDC, deemed not research, and was conducted consistent with applicable federal law and CDC policy.* Association of Outbreak with Exposure to Untreated, Pressurized, Municipal Irrigation Water Investigators developed a questionnaire to obtain additional exposure information for these cases and those that were later identified, including details regarding exposure to untreated, pressurized, municipal irrigation water (UPMIW), which had frequently been reported in preliminary interviews. UPMIW is surface water piped from reservoirs to homes; it is intended for outdoor landscapes (lawns and gardens) and is not suitable for drinking or recreational activities. UPMIW is not routinely monitored or tested. All city A residences and businesses have outdoor connections to the UPMIW system. City A’s UPMIW is primarily sourced from mountain snow melt and is carried >30 miles (>48 km) by a river and an underground pipeline to several open UPMIW reservoirs within city A and surrounding communities before being pumped to residential connections. Secondary sources of city A’s UPMIW system comprise public wells and natural surface waters, including nearby rivers and creeks.

Twelve of 13 ill persons reported UPMIW exposure in city A during the week before symptom onset, including playing with hose water (five), inflatable lawn water toys (three), and water tables (two); drinking (two); and running through sprinklers (one). Among seven ill persons with discrete UPMIW exposure dates, the median incubation period was 3 days (range = 1–5 days). The one ill person who did not report UPMIW exposure was not a city A resident but did report spending time in city A during the week preceding symptom onset. No ill persons are known to have eaten noncommercial produce irrigated with UPMIW.

Environmental Investigation

On August 14, investigators conducted an environmental investigation at two of city A’s UPMIW reservoirs and nine sites where persons with confirmed illness reported UPMIW exposure, including private homes. Investigators collected large-volume water samples by dead-end ultrafiltration and grab samples (unfiltered water collected in 1 liter bottles according to Environmental Protection Agency and CDC protocols†); samples of sediment and bird feces from the reservoirs; and swabs of spigots, hoses, toys, and other surfaces likely to have had contact with UPMIW. Investigators observed birds on and around UPMIW reservoirs during the environmental investigation; no other animals or obvious potential sources of STEC O157:H7 were observed during sampling.

Laboratory Investigation

Investigators submitted samples of bird feces to the Utah Public Health Laboratory for STEC O157:H7 culture and submitted all other environmental samples to CDC for culture of STEC O157:H7 (1–3), followed by WGS of confirmed STEC O157:H7 isolates. Grab water samples were tested for generic E. coli and total coliforms per 100 mL. Microbial source tracking was performed for all dead-end ultrafiltration samples and both reservoir sediment samples (4–6). Microbial source tracking is used to detect microbial markers specific to the feces of avian species, ruminants (such as cattle, sheep, and deer), and humans (all known fecal shedders of STEC).§ Clinical laboratories submitted stool samples from ill persons to the Utah Public Health Laboratory for STEC O157:H7 culture, isolation, and WGS.

STEC O157:H7 was isolated from UPMIW reservoir sediment and dead-end ultrafiltration water samples from five of nine exposure sites. STEC O157:H7 was not detected in any other environmental samples collected.

WGS results indicated clinical isolates were within 0–1 allele difference of each other, and the environmental isolates were all within 0–2 allele differences of the clinical isolates by core genome multilocus sequence typing (Figure 2).¶ All sequencing analysis was conducted using the WGS analysis software platform (version 7.6; BioNumerics). Results from generic E. coli and total coliform testing performed on water grab samples were variable (Table), and two exposure sites with detectable STEC O157:H7 had no detectable coliforms or generic E. coli (<1 most probable number per 100 mL). Of 12 samples analyzed by microbial source tracking (10 dead-end ultrafiltration and two sediment), avian, ruminant, and human fecal markers were detected in 10, six, and one dead-end ultrafiltration samples, respectively, and the avian marker was detected in both sediment samples.

Public Health Response

UCHD issued a press release on August 4 (after identification of the first eight cases), before the environmental investigation, notifying the public of the outbreak, and warning against drinking or playing in UPMIW. After the press release, two additional cases were reported. On August 19, city A issued a second press release, stating that STEC O157:H7 had been detected in UPMIW samples and recommending that residents cook homegrown produce and avoid watering lawns and renewed warnings not to drink or play in UPMIW. City A distributed mailers on August 28, further informing residents of the risks associated with using UPMIW for drinking or recreation. City A is also assessing other prevention strategies, including water treatment and reservoir cleaning.

The Utah Department of Health and Human Services issued a Health Alert Network message about the outbreak on August 22, encouraging health care providers to perform stool testing for persons with diarrheal illness, educating providers about signs and symptoms of HUS, and warning against antibiotic treatment for STEC infections because treatment might increase the risk for HUS (7).

Discussion

UPMIW systems are generally uncommon in the United States; however, they are used in some Utah communities to irrigate residential outdoor landscapes. These systems were designed to conserve drinking water and reduce water treatment costs. Utah UPMIW systems are not intended for drinking or recreation, are not monitored or tested for water quality, and, except for 2022 state legislation requiring metering,** are not currently regulated by state or local authorities.

City A installed an upgraded drinking water system in 1989 and, subsequently, established its UPMIW system by converting its previous drinking water system to a UPMIW system. Because UPMIW is also used by city A for fire suppression, it remains available to residents year-round, although its use is only encouraged during landscape irrigation season, usually mid-April through mid-October.

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence confirmed UPMIW as the vehicle of this community STEC O157:H7 outbreak. In 2010 and 2015, two other Utah cities experienced campylobacteriosis outbreaks that were suspected to have been caused by cross-connections between UPMIW and drinking water lines (Utah Department of Health and Human Services, unpublished data, 2010 and 2015). Data from city A’s outbreak did not specifically implicate homegrown produce as an illness-causing vehicle, but previous outbreaks demonstrated that produce grown with water containing STEC O157:H7 can cause illness (8,9). Additional data are needed to understand risks associated with consuming noncommercial produce irrigated with UPMIW.

Notably, two exposure sites (A and I) where STEC O157:H7 was detected had undetectable levels of generic E. coli and total coliforms. Similarly, STEC O157:H7 was detected in produce irrigation water with low generic E. coli and total coliform levels during an investigation into a 2018 multistate outbreak associated with romaine lettuce.†† This finding is not surprising, given that generic E. coli testing cannot detect STEC O157:H7 (10). Thus, this testing, although widely used as an indicator of water quality, is not a reliable indicator of the presence of STEC O157:H7.

Although UPMIW is not intended for recreation, all but one child with UPMIW exposure in this outbreak reported some kind of play in the water. Utah water providers have previously instructed residents to not drink or play in UPMIW; however, recent population growth within city A might have resulted in residents who arrived more recently being uninformed about UPMIW-associated risks. This outbreak demonstrates the need for ongoing educational efforts and reminders.

Educating residents of communities with UPMIW systems, especially those at higher risk for severe illness (including older adults, children, and persons with compromised immune systems) about the importance of using UPMIW for its intended purposes as well as the risks associated with drinking and recreational exposure, could prevent future cases of UPMIW-associated waterborne illness. In addition, water utilities could assess UPMIW systems for potential contamination sources and consider risk mitigation interventions, including covering UPMIW sources and reservoirs, more prominent labeling of UPMIW at public sites, distributing conspicuous signage for residents to use in their yards, and color coding UPMIW spigots and lines, as is recommended for other nonpotable water sources to prevent the occurrence of waterborne illness.

Acknowledgments

Water department officials, city A; Talisha Bacon, Thayne Mickelson, Jay Olsen, Utah Department of Agriculture and Food; Cindy Burnett, Leisha Nolen, Karen Valcarce, Utah Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS); Clarissa Keisling, DHHS, Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists; Amelia Johnson, DHHS, EIS, CDC; Amy Freeland, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC.

Salmonella cases reported in Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.

CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are collecting different types of data to investigate a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium infections. Epidemiologic and traceback data show that Infinite Herbs brand organic basil may be contaminated with Salmonella and be making people sick.

As of April 17, 2024, a total of 12 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella have been reported from 7 states – FL, GA, MN, MO, NJ, RI, WI. Illnesses started on dates ranging from February 11, 2024, to April 2, 2024. Of 11 people with information available, 1 person has been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Of 12 people interviewed, 10 (83%) reported shopping at Trader Joe’s. Seven sick people reported buying or likely buying organic basil in 2.5 oz clamshell-style containers from Trader Joe’s. Additionally, traceback data collected by FDA determined that Infinite Herbs, LLC, in Miami, Florida, was the supplier of the 2.5-oz packages of organic basil sold at Trader Joe’s stores.

While this investigation is ongoing, do not eat Infinite Herbs organic basil sold at Trader Joe’s stores in those 29 states and Washington DC. The basil was sold in 2.5 oz clamshell-style packages. Investigators are working to determine if additional products may be contaminated.

Infinite Herbs-brand organic basil packed in 2.5-oz clamshell packaging and sold at Trader Joe’s stores in AL, CT, D.C., DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT, and WI.

Trader Joe’s has already voluntarily removed all Infinite Herbs-brand organic basil packed in 2.5-oz clamshell packaging from their store shelves and this product should no longer be available for sale to customers at their stores.

Illness usually occurs within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food and usually lasts four to seven days. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. Children younger than five, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe infections.

Salmonella:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $850 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Salmonella lawyers have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants.  The law firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against such companies as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.  

If you or a family member became ill with a Salmonella infection, including Reactive Arthritis or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Salmonella attorneys for a free case evaluation.

Additional Resources:

Public health investigators used the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may have been part of this outbreak. CDC PulseNet manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS). WGS showed that bacteria from all sick people’s samples were closely related genetically. This suggested that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food.

As of March 26, 2024 a total of 11 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli were reported from 5 states – California, Utah, Colorado, Texas and New Jersey. Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 18, 2023, to February 5, 2024. Of 11 people with information available, 5 were hospitalized and 2 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition that can cause kidney failure. No deaths were reported.

The true number of sick people in this outbreak was likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not have been limited to the states with known illnesses. This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for E. coli.

Officials in California, Colorado, and Utah collected various Raw Farm products for testing including raw milk, raw butter, raw cheddar cheese, and raw kefir. No product samples detected E. coli.

E. coli:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $850 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products.  The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s.  We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne KinerStephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.

If you or a family member became ill with an E. coli infection or HUS after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark E. coli attorneys for a free case evaluation.

Additional Resources: