A company in Israel is recalling its tahini products packaged under five brands because a sample tested positive for a strain of Salmonella Concord that has infected people in the United States.
Achdut LTD. of Ariel, Israel, announced the recall of its tahini products Nov. 27 as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was posting its first outbreak investigation notice related to the products. The company exported the products to the United States and other countries that were not specified in the recall notice. Tahini is made from ground sesame seeds.
Officials are concerned that people may have unopened containers of the products in their homes because expiration dates run through May 2020. In the United States, the implicated tahini has been available at retail stores and online. The recalled tahini was produced from April 7 through May 21 this year.
“(The) CDC identified five ill people in the U.S. infected with Salmonella Concord that had the same genetic fingerprint as the Salmonella Concord found in tahini sampled at the point of import into the United States,” the FDA reported.
“Of the five U.S. cases interviewed, all five reported consuming hummus made with tahini; three people reported eating tahini or hummus made with tahini in a restaurant in the U.S., while the other two people reported consuming tahini or hummus made with tahini during international travel.”
The tahini products recalled by Achdut LTD. are: tahini, whole tahini, organic tahini, and seasoned tahini. Container sizes subject to recall are: 15-oz, 16oz, 17.6oz, 635 oz (428g, 454g, 500g, 18Kg), with lot numbers 18-097 to 18-141 or with expiration dates April 7th to May 21st 2020. The brand names of the products are: Achdut, Baron’s, S&F, Pepperwood, Soom, and Achva.
The FDA reported that some of the recalled tahini may lack specific date codes and/or might have labels that are printed only in Hebrew. Consumers who have purchased a tahini product and are uncertain of where the product was manufactured or cannot identify the brand by lot codes or expiration dates should use caution and discard the product or return the food to the store for a refund.
“Retailers and restaurants should not use any of the recalled tahini manufactured by Achdut Ltd. at their establishments. Retailers and restaurants should throw the product out,” according to the FDA outbreak notice.
“Firms that may have used the recalled tahini — either repacked or used as an ingredient in a food without a kill step — should consider recalling their products.”
U.S. officials did not provide any information on what retailers received the recalled tahini. The FDA also did not name other food companies that have repackaged recalled bulk tahini or used it in other food products.
As of Tuesday evening, the CDC had not posted any information on the outbreak. The FDA reported the outbreak involves multiple states, but did not say which states.
“The probable root cause for this recall is cross contamination. The company has eliminated the source of contamination and preventive steps were taken,” according to the FDA notice.
“The tahini (that tested positive for the outbreak strain of Salmonella) was Baron’s brand manufactured by Achdut Ltd. This manufacturer was placed on an FDA Import Alert, detaining additional product from the firm at the U.S. border until evidence is presented demonstrating that Salmonella is not present in the product.”
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