Food Safety Magazine

News | August 14, 2014

Chia Seed-Linked Salmonella Outbreak Over, CDC Reports

By Staff

Chia Seed-Linked Salmonella Outbreak Over, CDC Reports

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) yesterday reported that an outbreak of salmonellosis that began in January and was linked to organic sprouted chia seed powder finally appears to be over.

A total of 31 persons infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Newport (20 persons), Salmonella Hartford (7 persons), or Salmonella Oranienburg (4 persons) were reported from 16 states. Five ill persons were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.

Collaborative investigation efforts of state, local, and federal public health and regulatory agencies indicated that organic sprouted chia powder was the likely source of this outbreak. Sprouted chia powder is made from chia seeds that are sprouted, dried, and ground. As a result of this investigation, several recalls of products containing organic sprouted chia powder and chia seeds were issued.

CDC’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) laboratory conducted antibiotic resistance testing on Salmonella isolates collected from four ill persons infected with Salmonella Hartford or Newport. The tests found that all isolates were susceptible to all antibiotics tested.

Although the outbreak appears to be over, these products have a long shelf life and may still be in people’s homes. CDC recommends that consumers do not eat any of the recalled products containing organic sprouted chia powder or chia seeds. The recalled products were available for purchase in many retail stores nationwide and online.

The Public Health Agency of Canada investigated similar cases of Salmonella infection in several Canadian provinces. Several Canadian companies recalled products containing sprouted chia powder or chia seeds.