Smiling Hara of Asheville, North Carolina has issued a recall of its 12-ounce packages of unpasteurized soybean tempeh over potential contamination with the dangerous, sometimes deadly, Salmonella pathogen, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) just announced. Tempeh, which is made from soybeans, is a meat substitute typically used in vegetarian cuisine.
The Smiling Hara tempeh involved was manufactured from January 11, 2012 through April 11, 2012. The recalled Smiling Hara tempeh containers are marked with a best-by date of 7/11/12 through 10/25/12. According to The Associated Press (AP), Smiling Hara pulled the recalled tempeh from store shelves on April 30, 2012.
Smiling Hara, which can be reached at 1.828.242.1300, is directing consumers to return the recalled tempeh to the place of purchase for a full refund.
“Anyone with this product in their possession should not eat it,” said North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Smiling Hara launched the recall after samples collected by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services during a routine inspection tested positive for salmonella.”
The AP noted that the Buncombe County Health Department announced that the number of Salmonella cases there increased over the past weekend by nearly three dozen. Additional tests will be conducted by the North Carolina Division of Public Health to determine if the Salmonella detected in the tempeh matches the strain found in an outbreak that has sickened 37 people. Those cases appear to have been associated with residence or travel to Buncombe County since February 28.
“We strongly encourage individuals to follow the recall guidelines to protect their health and the health of their families, ”State Epidemiologist Dr. Megan Davies said. “We do not know yet if this is the same strain of Salmonella that is causing the current outbreak. Any salmonella can be transmitted person-to-person, so it is very important for individuals to practice good hand-washing and to see a physician if they have any symptoms of illness.”
As we’ve explained, the most common symptoms of Salmonella poisoning—salmonellosis—are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever, with symptoms manifesting, usually, within six to 72 hours. Additional symptoms include chills, headache, nausea, and vomiting that can last up to seven days. The illness usually lasts four to seven days; however, in some, the organism can invade the bloodstream, becoming so severe that hospitalization is required. Sometimes, infection with the Salmonella pathogen can result in, and produce more severe or chronic illnesses.
Salmonella can be dangerous, even deadly, leaving sufferers with serious life-long health issues. Salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial food borne illnesses, can be especially life threatening to those with weakened immune systems, such as infants, the elderly, and persons with HIV infection or who are undergoing chemotherapy.