With 20 people having been confirmed with infections, federal officials have declared a multi-state Salmonella outbreak linked to brie to be over.
Jule’s Foods of Carlsbad, CA, recalled the implicated cashew brie on April 23 after being notified of a link to outbreak patients, according to updates today from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In its most recent update prior to today, on May 7, the CDC reported seven people had been infected. In today’s update the agency reported the 20 outbreak patients live in widely separated states with 15 patients identified in California, two in Tennessee and 1 in Maryland.
The outbreak included people infected with one of four Salmonella serotypes: Chester, Duisburg, Typhimurium, and Urbana. Sick people ranged in age from 1 to 72 years old, with a median age of 26 years. Five people were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.
Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback data showed that Jule’s cashew brie was contaminated with Salmonella and made people sick.
State and local public health officials interviewed people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick, and 15 reported eating Jule’s cashew brie – the only common product identified. Jule’s Cashew Brie is marketed as a vegan, or plant-based cheese alternative.
“Officials from California and Tennessee collected samples of Jule’s cashew brie for testing. WGS results showed that samples of Jule’s truffle cashew brie collected in both states were contaminated with Salmonella. California officials found the outbreak strains of Salmonella Chester and Urbana in the brie, and Tennessee officials found the outbreak strain of Salmonella Urbana,” according to the outbreak update from the CDC.
“FDA and California Department of Public Health inspectors conducted an inspection at Jule’s Foods. FDA collected food and environmental samples from the facility and found the outbreak strain of Salmonella Urbana in samples of raw cashews. These raw cashews were from the same lot of cashews used to make the recalled brie. Other strains of Salmonella were found in the food and environmental samples, but these strains were not linked to any illnesses.”
About Salmonella infections
Food contaminated with Salmonella bacteria does not usually look, smell, or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection. Infants, children, seniors, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.
Anyone who has eaten any recalled products and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about the possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonellosis. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.
Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Otherwise, healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, diarrhea may be so severe that patients require hospitalization.
Older adults, children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop a severe illness and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions.
Some people get infected without getting sick or showing any symptoms. However, they may still spread the infections to others.