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Salmonella Scare: FDA Investigating Trader Joe’s

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Clear Facts

  • A Salmonella outbreak connected to organic basil sold at Trader Joe’s stores in 29 states and Washington, D.C. is currently under investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • The basil, sold under the brand Infinite Herbs, is linked to twelve reported cases of Salmonella infections across seven states, with one person being hospitalized.
  • Trader Joe’s has responded to the issue by pulling the basil from its stores and halting shipments, while Infinite Herbs has agreed to a voluntary recall of the product.

This year has seen its fair share of foodborne illnesses. There have been warnings of potential Listeria in salad kits, dressings, and dips at Walmart, and Salmonella concerns for meat buyers at Sam’s Club. Now Trader Joe’s, a popular grocery chain, is dealing with a Salmonella issue of its own.

Per an advisory issued by the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on April 17, there is an ongoing investigation into a “multistate outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium infections” associated with Infinite Herbs-brand organic basil. This comes after a similar Salmonella contamination issue involving certain cashews that led to a voluntary recall by Trader Joe’s.

The basil in question was packaged in 2.5-ounce clamshell containers and was sold in Trader Joe’s stores across various states.

“As of April 18, the CDC had received 12 reports of Salmonella infections in seven states, with one person hospitalized as a result.” The FDA’s data shows that cases have been reported in one to two individuals in several states with Florida and Minnesota reporting three to four cases each. The latest reported illness onset was on April 2, but no fatalities have been reported.

Responding to the situation, Trader Joe’s took action, pulling the basil from its stores and halting shipments as of April 12. Infinite Herbs has been “cooperating with the FDA investigation” and has agreed to a voluntary recall of the product.

Despite the probability of the product being past its shelf-life, the FDA has advised against consuming the basil if it’s still at home, either frozen or in the fridge. The warning extends to basil of dubious origin, with the FDA recommending that all Trader Joe’s basil be discarded as a precaution.

It is advised to follow the FDA’s recommendations on safe handling and cleaning, especially if the herbs have come in contact with household surfaces or containers. This includes refrigerator shelves and cutting boards, which could be potential sites of cross-contamination.

Salmonella symptoms, which include diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps, appear between six hours to six days after ingesting contaminated items. While most people recover without treatment within four to seven days, certain groups including children under five, immunocompromised individuals, and those over 65 may experience “more severe illness,” potentially requiring medical attention or hospitalization.

In case of symptoms, it’s suggested to contact your healthcare provider. Stay vigilant for further updates as the investigation continues to ascertain the source of contamination and identify other potentially contaminated products.

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“The investigation is ongoing to determine the source of contamination and whether additional products are linked to illnesses,” states the FDA release. Any new safety information for consumers will be updated in this advisory.

For any complaints or adverse events related to this issue, individuals are encouraged to get in touch with the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator, complete an online Voluntary MedWatch form, or send a hardcopy Voluntary MedWatch form by mail.

Let us know what you think, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. BobF

    April 25, 2024 at 7:16 am

    This is a terribly written headline – it should really read “Trader Joe’s Basil (or herb) under FDA Investigation” or something like that. Written as it is, it implies ALL Trader Joe’s foods are under investigation.
    Of course, you could claim that technically the headline is accurate, but it sends an entirely wrong image and should be fixed.

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