Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Chia-Powder Smoothies: CDC

Federal and state safety officials indicate that a multi-state salmonella outbreak, which has sickened at least 17 people and left two hospitalized, appears to be linked to organic sprouted chai powder, which has been used in a number of different smoothie products.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with the Public Health Agency of Canada, are collaborating in an investigation into an outbreak of Salmonella Newport and Salmonella Hartford, which appears to be linked to chia powder distributed by Health Matters America Inc., of Buffalo, New York.

A Navitas Naturals Chia Powder recall was announced by the FDA on May 28, after it was discovered that the product may be contaminated.

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Initially, the recall included Navitas Naturals Organic Sprouted Chia Powder, 8oz, UPC 858847000369 with best buy dates from 04/30/2015 through 09/05/2015, Navitas Naturals Omega Blend Sprouted Smoothie Mix, 8oz, UPC 858847000314 with best buy dates from 07/29/2015 through 09/19/2015, and Williams-Sonoma Omega 3 Smoothie Mixer, 8 ounce, SKU 506436 with best buy dates from 09/12/2015 through 10/02/2015.

Additional chia powder products have since been added to the recall, including GreenSmoothieGirl Sprouted Ground TriOmega Superfood with UPC code 853811005036 and lot numbers AC030141 and BIO13TOP300. Also included in the recall are Organic Traditions Sprouted Chia Seed Powder and Organic Traditions Sprouted Chia & Flax Seed Powder.

Although the investigation is still ongoing, the FDA and the California Department of Public Health believe that the common thread and potential source may be the supplier Health Matters America Inc.

As of June 2, a total of 17 people have been reported infected with the Salmonella Newport (12) infection or the Salmonella Hartford (5) infection from Arizona, California, Connecticut, Ohio, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Utah, and Wisconsin.

The CDC’s investigation has shown that illness dates range from January 21, 2014 through May 5, 2014, but the agency believes more cases of illnesses may arise soon due to the 2-4 week time period it typically takes to be reported.

The CDC’s investigation is currently ongoing and multiple samples of leftover organic sprouted chia powder from ill person’ homes and unopened packages from retail locations are being tested for the presence of Salmonella bacteria.

Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections among those with weakened immune systems such as children, the elderly and pregnant women. Symptoms for healthy individuals typically consist of fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In more severe cases salmonella infection may spread to the blood stream and cause arterial infections, endocarditis, and arthritis.

The CDC recommends that consumers do not eat any of the recalled products containing the organic sprouted chia powder and should check their inventories because the products maintain a long shelf-life and may still be in people’s homes.


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