Anyone who frequently cooks food from the Middle East or Eastern Mediterranian may be familiar with tahini. This oily, creamy dip is served on its own, or as part of a dish such as hummus, falafel, or halva. This versatile culinary tool graces many family meals, particularly those of Israeli, Greek, and Turkish heritage. This made it particularly frightening when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Center For Disease Control (CDC), released a joint study announcing a tahini recall after it was proven that tahini was causing an outbreak of salmonella.
The Tahini Recall and Salmonella
A word often associated with foodborne illness, salmonella is a strain of bacteria that causes people to become ill after ingesting it in undercooked or poorly stored food. Salmonella causes a disease known as salmonellosis, which can affect hosts for between 4 and 7 days. For most healthy adults, salmonellosis will cause discomfort and inconvenience in the form of diarrhea, fever, and intense abdominal cramps.
Where salmonella becomes a health concern is when it is contracted by more vulnerable populations: namely the elderly, and especially children. According to the FDA, children under 5 are more likely to contract salmonellosis than any other population. Additionally, people with weak immune systems are more likely to develop acute salmonellosis, a condition that claims over 400 lives each year.
Tracing The Steps of The Tahini Recall
The tahini being recalled was produced by a company known as Achdut Ltd. The full list of their products up for recall according to the FDA and CDC are the following tahini products:
- Baron’s tahini produced from April 7, 2018, to May 21, 2018
- Soom Foods 11 oz.-sized Premium Tahini
- 12 oz. Chocolate Sweet Tahini Halva Spread with the lot code 071318CH
Beginning in November of 2018, the FDA and CDC began running tests on tahini produced by Achdut Ltd. under the suspicion that their tahini may contain salmonella. On November 27th, Achdut released a voluntary tahini recall with the support of the FDA. Updates to the recall would be posted on December 11 of the same year and continue until late February.
Who is Affected by the tahini recall
The CDC has announced that four states have been affected by the salmonella outbreak. There have been reported outbreaks in Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, and a majority of cases in New York. Though the number of cases reported has been low, they have all been irrefutably linked to Achdut Ltd.’s tahini supply. It is recommended by the CDC and FDA that residents in these states be especially cautious with consuming tahini. If you are unsure whether it is safe, refund it or throw it away.
See more Parker Waichman coverage of unsafe food product recalls here
Ensuring Compensation From The Tahini Recall
As of February 27, 2019, the FDA has announced that this outbreak appears to be over. That does not mean, however, that there will not be any more instances of salmonella. Though the outbreak has been contained, the CDC and FDA are reminding consumers that Tahini has a long shelf life and should be disposed of as soon as possible. Additionally, over the more than 4 months that this recall has been in place consumers have been at risk.
If you or a loved one have contracted moderate or acute salmonellosis after consuming tahini produced by Achdut ltd. you may be entitled to financial compensation. Parker Waichman LLP has teams of experienced lawyers who would be proud to represent your voice crying out against the injustice of this manufacturing oversight. Contact Parker Waichman today for a free consultation.
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