Tempeh Recall Issued Amid Salmonella Outbreak in North Carolina
A North Carolina company has issued a recall for unpasteurized soybean tempeh, which is often used as a meat substitute in vegetarian dishes, due to concerns that it is contaminated with salmonella and may be linked to a food poisoning outbreak that has sickened at least 37 people.
The tempeh recall was announced in a press release posted by the FDA on April 30, impacting 12-ounce packages sold by Smiling Hara, which were manufactured between January 11 and April 11, 2012.
Samples collected by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services have tested positive for salmonella in the tempeh, leading to the recall.
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The discovery comes amid an outbreak of salmonella illnesses identified among 37 people who live in or traveled to Buncombe County, North Carolina since February 2. The North Carolina Division of Public Health is conducting additional tests to determine if the tempeh salmonella strain matches that linked to the outbreak.
Tempeh is a soy product made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form. Because of its nutritional value, tempeh is often used in vegetarian cuisine, and is often considered a meat substitute.
The recall impacts 12-ounce packages by Smiling Hara, which are marked with a best-by date of 7/11/12 through 10/25/12. Consumers are being warned not to eat any of the recalled tempeh, and return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund.
“We do not know yet if this is the same strain of salmonella that is causing the current outbreak,” said North Carolina State Epidemiologist, Dr. Megan Davis. “Any salmonella can be transmitted person to person, so it is very important for individuals to practice good hand-washing and see a physician if they have any symptoms of illness.”
Salmonella is a type of bacteria that attacks the gastrointestinal tract, causing mild to severe food poisoning. Symptoms may include diarrhea, fever, headache and abdominal pain that usually begins one to 10 days after exposure.
For most healthy adults, symptoms of salmonella poisoning typically resolve within a few days or weeks. However, young children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems may have an increased risk of severe food poisoning, which may result in hospitalization, dehydration or death if not properly treated.
Additional information about the tempeh recall can be obtained by contacting Smiling Hara at (828) 242-1300.
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