The California Department of Public Health is warning consumers not to eat Shemshad’s Mulberry Molasses and Mulberry Jam jarred food products because they were produced outside of the health department’s Cannery Program oversight, making them susceptible to contamination with Clostridium botulinum. 

Ingestion of botulism toxin from improperly processed jarred and canned foods may lead to serious illness and death.

There is concern that consumers may have the products in their homes because of their long shelf life.

Consumers that observe the product being offered for sale are encouraged to report the activity to the CDPH toll-free complaint line at 800-495-3232.

“At this time, Shemshad, based in Los Angeles, has not yet voluntarily recalled its Mulberry Molasses and Mulberry Jam products. This product is under the Shemshad brand name and is in 16-ounce glass jars with screw-on metal lids. The product is dated “APR 25 2025.” The health department has issued a Notice of Violation to Shemshad, and Shemshad may be subject to further action up to and including license revocation,” according to the health department warning.

The food products were sold at grocery stores in southern California, including Woodland Hills Market in Woodland Hills, Q Market in Van Nuys, and Wholesome Choice Market in Irvine.

Botulism toxin is odorless and colorless, so consumers cannot determine if their product is affected. Consumers with any of these products or any foods made with them should discard them immediately. Double bag the jars in plastic bags that are tightly closed, then place them in a trash receptacle for non-recyclable trash outside of the home. Consumers should wear rubber or latex gloves when handling these products or wash their hands with soap and running water for at least two minutes after handling any contaminated food or containers.

Botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin produced by Clostridium botulinum. The initial symptoms frequently experienced are double or blurred vision, drooping eyelids, and dry or sore throat. Progressive descending paralysis, usually symmetrical, may follow. Additional symptoms may include slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, the inability of the neck muscles to support the head, and paralysis of the extremities and respiratory muscles. Infants with botulism appear lethargic, feed poorly, are constipated, and have a weak cry and poor muscle tone.

The health department recommends that consumers experiencing any ill effects after consuming this product consult their healthcare provider. 

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News,click here)