A multi-state outbreak of salmonella poisoning has surfaced involving a rare strain known as Salmonella Stanley, which appears to be linked to raw cashew cheese sold by Cultured Kitchen.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that the Salmonella Stanley outbreak has sickened at least 14 people across three states so far, including California, Nevada and Wyoming. At least three people have required hospitalization for salmonella food poisoning.
A Cultured Kitchen cashew cheese recall was issued on December 31, after it was discovered that raw materials used int he products may have been tainted with the rare strain of salmonella, which is found almost exclusively in Southeast Asia, where Cultured Kitchen cashews are sourced.
The recall impacted six varieties of raw cashew cheese products with expiration dates on or before April 19, 2014, including 8 ounce containers flavored with Herb, Smoked Cheddar, Pepper Jack, Habanero Cilantro Lime, White Cheddar, Pesto or Basil Pesto flavors.
Health officials used PulseNet, a national network of laboratories, and DNA fingerprinting to identify the strain of Salmonella Stanley, which has only been seen 20 times prior to this outbreak.
In recent weeks, the rare strain has caused at least 12 people in California alone to become ill after eating the cashew cheese product. It has affected consumers from 2 years of age to 77 years of age, with illness onset dates ranging from November 13 to December 19. 2013. Two additional cases have been confirmed in Nevada and Wyoming. A 15th case identified in Utah was later excluded from the outbreak after health officials determined the infection was acquired during international travel, not from consumption of the tainted cashew cheese.
Cultured Kitchen cashew cheese is a nondairy product made from raw cashews and other ingredients. They were sold at farmer’s markets and natural food stores in Northern California and Reno, Nevada.
The product is no longer being sold, but the CDC is urgening consumers to discard any remaining portions of the cashew cheese that may be remaining in their homes. Considering the product has a long shelf-life, it is likely to still be in many homes, so the number of food poisoning illnesses linked to the recall may increase.
Officials indicate that consumers who have become ill or think they may have been infected after eating Cultured Kitchen cashew cheese should seek the medical advice of their doctor.
Symptoms of salmonella infection include fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Many people who have become infected will recover within a week; however some may require hospitalization after experiencing other complications.