A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigation is underway into 11 Salmonella illnesses in nine states which may be linked to recently recalled nut butters. The initial outbreak announcement will be posted sometime Thursday, Dec. 3, Laura Burnworth, a CDC health communication specialist, told Food Safety News. The confirmed cases are being reported from Oregon (3), she said, with one each in California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina and New Jersey. Nut butter in jarThe Salmonella serotype has been identified as Paratyphi B variant L(+) tatrate(+), which used to be called Salmonella Java. That is the same outbreak strain responsible for the outbreak this past July linked to the consumption of frozen raw tuna. Burnworth noted that Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) does not cause typhoid fever. CDC investigators individually contacted eight of those sickened in this outbreak and found that six of the eight had exposure to nut butter spreads with the JEM Raw Chocolate brand, Burnworth said. Because of the outbreak investigation, that company announced a voluntary recall of its full line of nut butters on Wednesday, Dec. 2. Jennifer Moore, CEO of JEM Raw Chocolate in Bend, OR, said that while some of those sickened had the company’s nut butter, she told Food Safety News that so far all product samples tested have come out negative. JEM Raw has never had any problems with foodborne pathogens in five years of operation and three years of producing nut butters, she said, including after a visit from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration during which inspectors took 180 environmental swabs of the production facility over three days. “It was all completely clean,” she said, adding that the company asks for certificates of analysis for Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria, molds and yeast and does voluntary third-party testing of its products. “We do everything we can and keep a sample of every batch that we’ve ever created in case we have to do a recall,” Moore said. Food Safety News will post additional information on this outbreak when it becomes available. Recall information follows: JEM Raw Chocolate LLC (JEM Raw) of Bend, OR, has announced a voluntary recall of its full line of nut butter spreads due to the potential for contamination with Salmonella. There have been 11 illnesses reported in connection with nut butter products, but no deaths or hospitalizations to date. Only one of those illnesses is being reported from Oregon, according to the Oregon Health Authority. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA), and the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) have linked the illnesses to person(s) who have consumed nut spreads, including JEM Raw products. JEM nut butter label Because of this investigation, JEM Raw has recalled all products and sizes packaged in glass jars and sold under the brand name JEM Raw Organics. The following products are being recalled:

Product Name Net Weight (oz.) UPC
Cashew Cardamom – Sprouted Cashew Almond Spread 1 6 09728 97861 7
Cinnamon Red Maca – Sprouted Almond Spread 1 6 09728 97862 4
Hazelnut Raw Cacao – Sprouted Hazelnut Spread 1 6 09728 97865 5
Superberry Maqui Camu – Sprouted Almond Spread 1 6 09728 97864 8
Cashew Cardamom – Sprouted Cashew Almond Spread 6 6 09728 97860 0
Cinnamon Red Maca – Sprouted Almond Spread 6 6 09728 97848 8
Hazelnut Raw Cacao -Sprouted Hazelnut Spread 6 6 09728 97857 0
Superberry Maqui Camu – Sprouted Almond Spread 6 6 09728 97858 7
Cashew Cardamom – Sprouted Cashew Almond Spread 16 6 09728 97854 9
Cinnamon Red Maca – Sprouted Almond Spread 16 6 09728 97850 1
Hazelnut Raw Cacao – Sprouted Hazelnut Spread 16 6 09728 97851 8
Superberry Maqui Camu – Sprouted Almond Spread 16 6 09728 97852 5

The JEM Raw recalled products were distributed nationwide in retail stores and through mail order. Products were distributed between June 2015 and November 2015. JEM Raw is working with distributors and retailers to remove these products from retail shelves. Consumers do not need to return the product to the store where it was purchased. Instead, consumers should discard any product and its container. JEM Raw will work directly with each consumer to manage replacement of its product. Additional details can be found at www.jemraw.com. Those with questions may contact the company at (541) 728-3844 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. PT, Monday through Friday. Jen Moore, company co-founder and CEO, said, “As a health food company, our customer’s health is our number-one priority. Although no JEM Raw products have tested positive for Salmonella, we feel strongly that issuing a voluntary recall is the right thing to do. JEM is working closely with the FDA, ODA, and OHA to determine the root cause of the outbreak.” Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often 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 (e.g., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

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