More spices recalled due to salmonella

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

(04-22) 21:06 PDT Union City -- State health officials announced the recall Wednesday of certain pepper and curry spices that have been associated with a salmonella outbreak that has sickened 60 people in four states including 45 in California.

It is the latest development of an ongoing recall of spices that originated last month at a food distribution firm in Union City.

No deaths have been reported. But the illnesses among California residents have occurred in 18 counties in Central and Northern California, primarily in the Bay Area and the Sacramento area. The latest onset of illness was April 2.

Al Lundeen, a spokesman for the California Department of Public Health, said Wednesday evening that the latest recalled spices are sold under the "Natural and Delicious" label by CJ United Corporation, which has a cash and carry store in Oakland.

CJ United has voluntarily recalled three spices - white pepper, black pepper, and curry powder - which are sold in 5-pound, clear plastic jugs and delivered to restaurants throughout the Bay Area.

"Restaurants and stores should not have the products," Lundeen said, adding that state authorities are working with county health officials to be certain that potentially contaminated items have been confiscated.

CJ United received product from Union International Food Co., located in Union City.

Union International, which Lundeen described as "very cooperative," has recalled numerous products produced in Union City because of potential contamination with Salmonella, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly individuals and others with weakened immune systems.

Healthy individuals infected with salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and produce more severe illnesses.

Within the last month, Union International has recalled Lian How brand dry spices, which are usually sold in bulk quantities to restaurants, as well as Uncle Chen black pepper (whole and ground), and Uncle Chen white pepper, and Uncle Chen brand Wasabi powder. Uncle Chen products are sold at retail stores.

"Union International Food Co. is making every possible effort to protect our customers and the consuming public," states a message on its Web site.

Consumers are advised to consult with their physicians if they have these symptoms.

"If you ask the origin of the salmonella, we don't have a conclusive answer to that," Lundeen said. "It could have been in the product when it arrived at Union City, or it could have developed at the facility ... The investigation is ongoing."



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