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Salmonella in Smoked Salmon Sickens Nearly 1,000 in Netherlands

At least 950 people in the Netherlands are now known to have fallen ill in a Salmonella Thompson outbreak linked to salmon. Three elderly victims have died.

The outbreak was first reported October 1 after more than 200 Salmonella illnesses were linked to smoked salmon sold by Netherlands-based Foppen. Subsequent environmental testing revealed the presence of the outbreak strain of the bacteria in one of the company’s manufacturing plants in Greece.

Now the outbreak has grown to include almost 1,000 Dutch victims, three of whom have died, reported the Netherlands’ National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) Thursday, according to MedicalXPress.

Meanwhile, health officials have identified a cluster of Salmonella Thompson infections in the U.S. The genetic fingerprint of this bacteria is indistinguishable from that of the strain causing the Dutch outbreak; however, patient interviews have revealed that Foppen smoked salmon was not a likely source of infection for these cases, according to Lola Russell, spokesperson for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We have the same PFGE (pulsed-field gel electrophoresis) pattern that they have (in the Netherlands), but ours is not showing a connection to smoked salmon. We’ve been speaking to those people, but they do not report eating smoked salmon,” Russell told Food Safety News.

While the recalled Dutch smoked salmon was sold in the U.S. by Costco Wholesale, no illnesses have been linked to the product, says the Kirkland, WA-based company.

According to Craig Wilson, Director of Food Safety at Costco, consumers called the company to report illnesses after being notified of the recall. However, when asked Thursday via email whether any of these illnesses had been officially linked to consumption of Foppen smoked salmon, Wilson replied, “No. None at all.”

Costco recalled two smoked salmon products manufactured by Foppen in its October 1 recall: one sold under the Kirkland Signature brand and one sold under the Foppen brand. The Kirkland Signature-branded salmon has since been cleared, as it was manufactured at a different plant from the Greek one where the contamination was found.  The recalled Foppen-branded product, which was manufactured at the implicated Greek plant, has been destroyed.

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