At least 41 people are sick in 10 different states after a salmonella outbreak that has been linked to dried wood ear mushrooms. According to a CNN news report, the cases started between Jan. 21 and Aug. 26. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said of the 41 infected, four people were hospitalized. The infected people range in age from 2 to 74 years old. The mushrooms, distributed by Wismettac Asian Foods Inc. in Santa Fe Springs, California, were sold only to restaurants and not directly to consumers.
Details of the Recall
The company voluntarily recalled the mushrooms after the California Department of Public Health officials discovered the presence of the bacteria in the product. Wood ear mushrooms are also commonly known as Kikurage, Dried Black Fungus or Dried Fungus. The recalled mushrooms were packaged in 5-pound bags and sent to restaurants in several states including California.
The CDC advises consumers to ask restaurants where mushrooms are from before ordering to avoid eating the mushrooms. Four illness clusters were discovered at restaurants serving ramen in three different states. Eight out of nine people linked to those clusters reported eating wood ear mushrooms in the ramen. Officials recommend that dry mushrooms should be reconstituted in boiling water to kill any pathogens that may be present. However, officials ask that consumers discard these recalled mushrooms and not consume them at all.
The Dangers of Salmonella
Salmonella infections can cause serious infections from diarrhea and fever to severe stomach cramps. These symptoms could surface six hours to six days after being exposed to the bacteria. It usually lasts four to seven days and many recover without treatment. However, salmonella can cause serious health issues and sometimes, fatal infections in young people, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
If you or a loved one has been sickened as a result of eating these mushrooms, please see a medical professional right away to obtain medical treatment and care. Contact your local public health agency, which keeps track of outbreaks in your jurisdiction. It would also be in your best interest to reach out to an experienced California food poisoning lawyer who will help you seek and obtain compensation for your injuries, damages and losses.