JEM Nut Butter Spread Recall Issued After Salmonella Outbreak Sickens 11

Government health officials have linked a multi-state outbreak of salmonella food poisoning to certain organic nut butter spreads that have reportedly sickened at least 11 people in nine states. 

The JEM nut butter spread recall was announced by the FDA on December 2, after health officials from the FDA, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Oregon Health Authority (OHA), and the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) were able to link 11 cases of salmonella food poisoning to the recalled organic spreads. To date, no serious injuries or hospitalizations have been reported.

Salmonella is a foodborne bacterium that attacks the gastrointestinal tract, causing mild to severe symptoms. For most healthy adults, problems associated with food poisoning from salmonella typically resolve after a few days or weeks. However, young children, the elderly, and individuals with compromised immune systems have an increased risk of suffering severe food poisoning after ingesting the bacteria.

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The CDC reports there are about 1.2 million Salmonella outbreaks each year resulting in an estimated 450 deaths. If left untreated, Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections that can leave long term bowel and joint problems.

According to the CDC, by December 2, there were 11 cases of Salmonella Paratype B variant L tartate infections across nine states, including California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, New Jersey, and Oregon. After the initial epidemiological trace back investigation and interviews the agency reported that all eight (100%) of the interviewed individuals infected reported exposure to a nut butter or nut butter spread within the week before illness onset. The report states that 75% specifically recalled eating JEM Raw brand nut butter spreads and had illness onset dates beginning on July 18, into October.

Once the federal and state health officials identified JEM Raw nut butter products as the most likely carrier, the manufacturer voluntarily recalled all products and sizes. The recall includes various flavors of nut butter spreads that were packaged in glass jars in 1 oz., 6 oz. and 16 oz. portions and sold under the brand name JEM Raw Organics. As stated in the press release, all spreads are being recalled but consumers may visit the FDA’s website for a full list of recalled products and UPC codes.

The organic spreads were manufactured by JEM Raw Chocolate, LLC of Bend, Oregon where they were distributed nationwide in retail stores and through mail order from June 2015 through November 2015. JEM Raw has contacted it distributors and retailers and informed them to remove the products from store shelves.

Customers are being asked to stop eating the nut butter spreads immediately and discard any remaining product whether it has been partially consumed or not. JEM stated the company is working to directly contact each customer to manage a replacement of the product.

The FDA and the CDC are encouraging customers to verify if they have any of the recalled nut butter spreads in their pantry or refrigerators. The agencies anticipate further illnesses and injuries to be reported due to the average two to four weeks it takes before illness is recognized and reported. The agencies have also warned that the nut butter spreads have a long shelf life and may accidentally be consumed if not checked and discarded.


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