Over Three Dozen Victims Identified in Salmonella Outbreak Linked to a Rare Black Fungus Sold as a Mushroom Alternative in Foods Such as Ramen Noodle Dishes
A new Salmonella outbreak has begun in the United States due to Wood Ear Mushrooms from Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc., of Santa Fe Springs, California, causing 41 confirmed infections scattered throughout the United States. Wismettac Asian Foods Wood Ear Mushrooms are a dried mushroom, and commonly referred to as Dried Fungus, Black Fungus or Kikurage. There have been 41 confirmed infections due to the outbreak, distributed throughout the following states: AZ (1), CA (25), CT (1), GA (1), IL (5), LA (1), NJ (2), NY (1), PA (2), WI (2). Of the 41 infections, 4 of them required hospitalizations, with the last illness onset date of August 26, 2020. Under the investigation, the CDC found that 89 percent (16 out of 18) of interviewed infected individuals reported eating ramen within the week before their illness began.
The recalled fungus was sold under the name “Black Fungus (Kikurage)” in 5 LB quantities with UPC code 00074410604035 and affected lot code #60403. Imported from China, the product was distributed to restaurants in 6 packs containing 5 LB of product in AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, HI, IA, IL, IN, LA, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NV, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA, and WI. The recall was initiated on September 23, 2020, by California Health Department, after finding traces of Salmonella bacteria during routine food safety testing. Consumers can contact Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc. regarding any questions over the outbreak at [email protected].
According to National Food Safety Attorney Ron Simon:
“…it is highly likely more cases will be reported, as the recall was only initiated late September, while the latest confirmed illness began late August, with the latest illness onset date being August 26, 2020.”
Simon has represented victims of food poisoning outbreaks for years; most notably, his firm filed the first Red Onion Salmonella Lawsuit in the nation. Simon urges victims of the outbreak to seek medical and, when appropriate, legal assistance. “Your efforts,” says Simon, “in reporting your illness help us help others by quickly ending the practices that lead to these unfortunate outbreaks.”