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Salmonella Mushroom Outbreak

Posted in Our Blog,Outbreaks & Recalls,Salmonella on September 24, 2020

Check your mushrooms people! The FDA, the CDC, and state and local partners are investigating an ongoing multistate outbreak of Salmonella Stanley infections linked to wood ear mushrooms imported by Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc. of Sanxta Fe Springs, CA. Here is everything we know about this Salmonella Mushroom Outbreak.

What Mushrooms are Affected?

Wood ear mushrooms are a dried mushroom, also commonly labelled or referred to as Kikurage, Dried Black Fungus, Dried Fungus, or Mu’er/Mu Er/Mu-Err. Mushrooms were distributed to restaurants in six packs of five-pound bags labeled as Shirakiku brand Black Fungus (Kikurage) with Universal Product Code (UPC) bar code 00074410604305, item #60403, imported from China.

 

Quick Facts

  • 41 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Stanley have been reported from 10 states
  • 4 hospitalizations have been reported
  • No deaths have been reported.
  • Epidemiologic and traceback information show that wood ear mushrooms distributed by Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc., are the likely source of this outbreak
  • 4 illness clusters were identified at restaurants serving ramen in three states
  • 8 of 9 ill people linked to restaurant clusters reported eating wood ear mushrooms or ramen containing wood ear mushrooms before becoming sick
  • Information from restaurants where ill people ate showed that wood ear mushrooms came from Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc.

About the Salmonella Mushroom Outbreak

In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. According to the CDC, of 18 people with information, 16 (89%) reported eating ramen at a restaurant in the week before their illness started. Four illness clusters were identified at restaurants serving ramen in three states. Eight (89%) of the nine ill people linked to restaurant clusters reported eating wood ear mushrooms or ramen containing wood ear mushrooms in the week before their illness started.

 

 

As part of this investigation, the California Department of Public Health collected a sample of wood ear mushrooms, imported by Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc., from one of the restaurants where ill patients reported eating. This sample was reported positive for the presence of Salmonella. This sample is undergoing genetic testing, or whole genome sequencing, to determine if the Salmonella present in the sample has the same genetic fingerprint as the outbreak strain. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc. acted quickly upon being notified of the positive test result and recalled all wood ear mushrooms within shelf life on September 23, 2020. This product was labeled as Shirakiku brand Black Fungus (Kikurage) with UPC Code 00074410604305, imported from China. Product was distributed in six packs of five-pound bags to restaurants in AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, HI, IA, IL, IN, LA, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NV, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA, WI, and Canada.

 

FDA Recommendation

Wood ear mushrooms imported by Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc. were only sold to restaurants and were not available directly to consumers. Although these items have been recalled, concerned or high-risk individuals should check with their restaurant to confirm that any wood ear mushrooms that have been used or are being used are not part of this recall.

Restaurants should not sell or serve recalled wood ear mushrooms distributed by Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc. Additionally, restaurants that received recalled products should use extra vigilance in cleaning and sanitizing any surfaces that may have come in contact with recalled product, to reduce the risk of cross contamination.

Restaurants should discard and not sell or serve wood ear mushrooms if they cannot tell where they came from.

Recall Information

On September 23, 2020, Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc. recalled Shirakiku brand imported dried fungus. This product was labeled as Shirakiku brand Black Fungus (Kikurage) with UPC Code 00074410604305, imported from China. Product was distributed in six packs of five-pound bags to restaurants in AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, HI, IA, IL, IN, LA, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NV, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA, and WI.

Item Number Item Description Pack Size UPC Code Product Lot Code Package Photo
#60403 BLACK FUNGUS (KIKURAGE) 5LB 5 LB 00074410604035 All Lots with Item #60403 on the package See below

General Food Safety Tips for Dried Mushrooms

Dried mushrooms, that have not been recalled due to potential contamination, should always be reconstituted using boiling water to kill any pathogens. This advice does not apply to recalled products, which should be thrown out.

About Salmonella

Salmonella can present itself as many other common illnesses.

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Headache

As with any food safety issue, it is important to contact your doctor in order to get the right treatment. Salmonella can go away by itself sometimes, but if you have symptoms that are described below, seek medical attention immediately:

  • Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102°F
  • Diarrhea for more than 3 days that is not improving
  • Bloody stools
  • Prolonged vomiting that prevents you from keeping liquids down
  • Signs of dehydration, such as: making very little urine, dry mouth, and dizziness when standing up

Untreated illnesses can lead to worse conditions. Do not attempt to take care of this alone. Longer exposure could and will lead to complications if not treated.

Preventing Salmonella Infection

One of the best ways to prevent the spread of Salmonella and other food related illnesses is to simply wash your hands. Here are a few tips from the CDC on when it is necessary to wash our hands:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

Here are 5 steps to washing your hands:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

How The Lange Law Firm Can Help

Our mission is to help families who have been harmed by contaminated food or water.  When corporations cause Salmonella food poisoning outbreaks, we use the law to hold them accountable.  The Lange Law Firm is the only law firm in the nation solely focused on helping families in food poisoning lawsuits and contaminated water lawsuits.

If you got Salmonella food poisoning in this Salmonella Mushroom Outbreak and are interested in making a legal claim for compensation, we can help.  Our Salmonella lawyer can help you pursue compensation for your Salmonella food poisoning.  Call us for a free no obligation legal consultation at (833) 330-3663 or send us an e-mail here.

By: Candess Zona-Mendola