By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
Since July 2019, 26 cases of three different types of salmonella, S. Havana, S. Mbandaka and S. Orion have been reported. The most recent cases were reported on May 2021. The cases are distributed over time and are geographically spread in 11 regions across the country. The cases are aged 0-88 years (median 18 years) and 12 of the cases are children under five years. As many women as men have fallen ill.
Whole genome sequencing (analysis of the bacterium’s genome) has linked the cases that are divided into three different clusters, S. Havana (n = 11), S. Mbandaka (n = 11) and S. Orion (n = 4).
As the same type of salmonella bacteria has been detected both in cases and in products based on sesame seeds in other countries, within and outside Europe, a common source of infection is suspected.
In analyzes made on tahini and halwa purchased in Sweden, S. Havana, S. Mbandaka and S. Orion have been detected and the strains can be linked to the human cases in the outbreak. Additional salmonella types have also been detected in the products. The products are produced in Syria and have probably not been sold through the larger food chains but in smaller specialty stores. The relevant batches have been withdrawn and the National Food Administration has reported the findings to the EU via the RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) warning system.
The sesame seed products Alburj Tahina, and Alburj Halwa and Sedi Hisham Tahina have been imported from Syria into Sweden by several companies. These products are now being withdrawn from the market.
Salmonella has been detected in the following products:
- Tahina Alburj, 400 g, production date 06/2020, best before date 11/2021.
- Tahina Alburj, 400 g, production date 03/2020, best before date 08/2021.
- Halwa Alburj extra pistachio 800 g, production date 08/2020, best before date 01/20/2022.
- Halwa Alburj, 800 g, production date 08/2020, best before date 01/2022.
- Halwa Alburj, Pistachio 400 g, production date 07/2020, best before date 12/2021.
- Halwa Alburj, extra pistachio 400 g, production date 07/2020, best before date 06/2021.
- Tahina, Sedi Hisham, production date 11/02/2021, best before date 10/02/2022.
The reason for the withdrawal is that salmonella has been detected in samples taken in the food control.
What should consumers, restaurants and retailers do?
- Do not eat, sell or serve the affected products or food that includes these products, such as hummus. Even if a product has been partly consumed, and no one has fallen ill, you should still not eat the product.
- Return all the implicated tahini or halwa products to the store or discard them.
- Contact the Environment and Health Protection Office or the equivalent in your municipality if you think you have become ill from eating the affected tahini or halwa products.
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