Four cases of rare salmonella poisoning reported in Portland

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04:18 PM PDT on Monday, March 30, 2009


PORTLAND, Ore. -- Four Portland metro area residents have been sickened by a rare salmonella infection since December, according to state health officials.

State food and health regulators have tracked the salmonella outbreak to ground pepper that was imported, packaged and distributed by a California company, according to the Oregon Department of Human Services.

People were warned not to eat a dozen spices packaged under the Lian How brand name by Union International Food Co. out of Union City, Calif.

The salmonella outbreak has sickened 42 people in Oregon, Washington, California and Nevada. At least eight people were hospitalized as a result of the sickness; however, no deaths were reported.

State health officials said the number of reported cases of Salmonella Rissen infections in Portland alone equaled the average annual number of reports across the U.S.

Union International Food Co. has voluntarily recalled its pepper, paprika, curry and onion powder products, along with others that may have been cross-contaminated at its manufacturing facility.

Many of those who have become sick appeared to have been exposed to salmonella white eating at Asian restaurants that used the company's white and black peppers, according to California health officials.

Restaurants, store managers and spice wholesalers have been asked by health officials to check their inventories and remove recalled products, said Dr. William Keene, OHS Public Health epidemiologist.

Salmonella poisoning causes diarrhea and vomiting. It can be fatal in children and others with weakened immune systems.




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