With 55 Confirmed Illnesses, and Many More Suspected, the Wood Ear Mushroom Salmonella Outbreak is Declared Over by CDC
The Salmonella outbreak due to Wood Ear Mushrooms from Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc., of Santa Fe Springs, California, has been declared over by the CDC, causing 55 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. The recall was initiated on September 23, 2020, by California Health Department, after finding traces of Salmonella bacteria during routine food safety testing.
Imported from China, the product was distributed to restaurants 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. There have been 55 confirmed infections due to the outbreak, distributed throughout the following states: AZ (1), CA (33), CT (1), GA (1), IL (5), LA (1), NJ (2), NY (1), OR (1), PA (2), WA (5), and WI (2). Of the 55 infections, 6 of them required hospitalizations, with the last illness onset date of September 19, 2020.
Under the investigation, the CDC found that 96 percent (22 out of 23) of interviewed infected individuals reported eating ramen within the week before their illness began. The CDC confirmed that all 55 confirmed victims tested positive for the same strain of Salmonella Stanley. Of the 55 confirmed victims, the CDC found 5 separate cluster groups across 3 states that reported eating at restaurants that served ramen. The 5 cluster groups of victims do not include victims that live in the same household. Of the 11 people included in the 5 cluster groups, 10 people confirmed that they consumed wood ear mushrooms in the week before their Salmonella symptoms began.
The CDC then conducted a traceback investigation on four of the five illness clusters to determine the restaurants the illness clusters reported eating at. They then confirmed that the wood ear mushrooms served by the restaurants were supplied by Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc., leading the CDC to ultimately declare Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc. Wood Ear Mushrooms as the most likely source of the Salmonella Stanley outbreak. Satisfied with the results of the investigation and believing there to be no additional cases, the CDC has declared the outbreak to be over.