About Salmonella

From the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illness outbreaks.

About Salmonella Blog

2020 Salmonella Outbreaks

 

Salmonella – Wood Ear Mushrooms

A total of 55 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Stanley were reported from 12 states.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from January 21, 2020, to September 19, 2020. Ill people ranged in age from 2 to 74 years, with a median age of 28. Fifty-seven percent of ill people were female. Of 48 ill people with information available, 6 hospitalizations were reported. No deaths were reported.

Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback information showed that wood ear mushrooms distributed by Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc., were the likely source of this outbreak.

In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Of 23 people with information, 22 (96%) reported eating ramen at a restaurant in the week before their illness started. Several people reported eating at the same ramen restaurants, showing they may have been part of illness clusters.

A foodborne illness cluster is defined as two or more people who do not live in the same household who report eating at the same restaurant location, attending a common event, or shopping at the same location of a grocery store in the week before becoming ill. Investigating illness clusters can provide critical clues about the source of an outbreak. If several unrelated ill people ate or shopped at the same location of a restaurant or store within several days of each other, it suggests that the contaminated food item was served or sold there.

Five illness clusters were identified at restaurants serving ramen in three states. Ten (91%) of the 11 ill people linked to restaurant clusters reported eating wood ear mushrooms or ramen containing wood ear mushrooms in the week before their illness started.

FDA and states conducted a traceback investigation from four of the restaurants with illness clusters to identify the source of the wood ear mushrooms eaten by ill people. Traceback determined that Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc., supplied wood ear mushrooms (dried fungus) to these restaurants.

On September 23, 2020, Wismettac Asian Foods recalled dried fungus due to possible Salmonella contamination. On October 1, 2020, the California Department of Public Health identified the outbreak strain of Salmonella Stanley in recalled dried fungus samples.

Salmonella – Peaches

A total of 101 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis were reported from 17 states.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from June 29, 2020, to August 27, 2020. Ill people ranged in age from 1 to 92 years, with a median age of 43. Sixty-four percent of ill people were female. Of 90 ill people with available information, 28 hospitalizations were reported. No deaths were reported.

Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicated that peaches packed or supplied by Prima Wawona or Wawona Packing Company were the likely source of this outbreak.

In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Of 62 people with information, 50 (81%) reported eating fresh peaches in the week before their illness started. This percentage was significantly higher than results from a survey of healthy people in which 20% reported eating peaches in the week before they were interviewed. Of the 40 people who reported information on how the peaches were packaged, 25 (63%) reported buying loose peaches and the remaining 15 reported buying pre-bagged peaches.

The FDA and regulatory officials in several states collected records from grocery stores where ill people reported buying peaches. These records showed that loose and bagged peaches distributed by Wawona Packing Company, LLC, were sold at multiple grocery stores where ill people bought peaches.

On August 22, 2020, Prima Wawona recalled bagged and bulk, or loose, peaches that they supplied to retailers nationwide. See FDA’s notice for a list of recalled products. Recalled products are past their shelf life and should no longer be available in stores.

Salmonella – Onions

A total of 1,127 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Newport were reported from 48 states.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from June 19, 2020, to September 11, 2020. Ill people ranged in age from less than 1 to 102 years, with a median age of 41. Fifty-eight percent of ill people were female. Of 705 ill people with information available, 167 people were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.

Epidemiologic and traceback evidence showed that red onions from Thomson International Inc. were the likely source of this outbreak. Other onion types (such as white, yellow, or sweet yellow) were also likely to be contaminated because the onions were grown and harvested together.

In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Ninety-one percent of people reported eating onions or foods likely containing onions in the week before their illness started. Of the 208 people who were asked what types of onions they ate, 137 (66%) ate red onions, 130 (63%) ate white onions, and 110 (53%) ate yellow onions. Most ill people reported eating more than one type of onion.

FDA and states reviewed records where ill people purchased or ate onions and foods containing onions. This traceback investigation identified Thomson International Inc. as the likely source of red onions.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) also investigated an outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections in Canada that was related genetically by WGS to the U.S. outbreak. Their investigation identified red onions from Thomson International Inc. as the likely source of their outbreak.

On August 1, 2020, Thomson International Inc. recalled all red, yellow, white, and sweet yellow onions because they may be contaminated with Salmonella. Other companies also recalled onions or foods made with recalled onions.

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