Several states, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control are investigating a spike in Salmonella Thompson cases in the U.S. — 85 people in 27 states — that may be linked to the same contaminated smoked salmon that has sickened 200 people in the Netherlands.
On Tuesday, Dutch health officials revealed that they had identified smoked salmon made by Dutch fish processors Foppen as the common source of their ongoing outbreak and recalled the products. They also said the same smoked salmon had been distributed in the U.S. and claimed that the outbreak had sickened 100 Americans.
According to agency spokeswoman Lola Russell, CDC has been investigating a spike in Salmonella Thompson illnesses since last month (health officials might normally see 30 reported cases of this strain of Salmonella during this time frame). Russell said epidemiologists have not yet identified a common food source.
Russell said it’s likely there are more illnesses that have not been reported, but it’s also likely that not all 85 cases are linked to the same source.
So why did Dutch officials tell the press that there were 100 illnesses in the United States linked to their smoked salmon? Russell explained that CDC often communicates with health agencies abroad and during a conversation with the Dutch National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) someone from CDC may have stated that there were “around 100” illnesses in the U.S.
Of the reported cases, 10 individuals were hospitalized and there have been no reports of death. States have been reporting illnesses since July. CDC’s investigation is ongoing, but the agency has so far declined to identify which states have reported illnesses.
Phyllis Entis, who runs eFoodAlert, a clearinghouse for recall information, has compiled a list of some of the states that are known to be investigating illnesses. U.S. public health officials have said that so far there is no epidemiological link between the illnesses and smoked salmon. According to eFoodAlert, the recalled Dutch smoked salmon was sold in the U.S. by Costco under both the Foppen and Kirkland brands.