Dried Fungus Recall Issued Across US for Salmonella Contamination
On September 23, 2020, Wismettac Asian Food Inc. issued a voluntary recall on its brand name Shirakiku, imported Dried Fungus for potential Salmonella contamination. Dried fungus (Auricularia polytricha), is also referred to as black fungus, tree ear fungus, or cloud ear fungus because of its ear-shaped appearance. Dried fungus is an edible wild mushroom commonly used in Chinese dishes and known for its manifold health benefits, including immune system support and antimicrobial properties. Black fungus is indigenous to China, but also grows in tropical climates like the Pacific Islands, Nigeria, Hawaii, and India, as well as cultivated in farms. However, these mushrooms are known for absorbing contaminants in their environment due to their sponge-like nature.
Wismettac Asian Food Inc., located in Santa Fe Springs, California, is recalling their Black Fungus (Kikurage) product sold under the brand name Shirakiku, after the California Department of Public Health detected Salmonella in some samples of the product. The recalled product was distributed to various restaurants in the following states: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington DC, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and British Columbia in Canada. All recalled products bear the following identification information:
- 5 lb. packages
- Item Number: #60403
- UPC Code: 00074410604035
- Lot Code: #60403.
Salmonella is currently one the leading causes of food poisoning illness in the U.S. Salmonella can cause a gastro-intestinal illness known as Salmonellosis, which most commonly manifests itself through symptoms like fever, stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Healthy individuals can generally fight off the illness within a week, however, it can cause more severe onset in the elderly or those with weakened immune systems.There have been 41 reported illnesses in 10 states, with 4 hospitalizations attributed to the Dried Fungus contamination. Four illness clusters have been identified with the majority of the cases reporting to have eaten ramen at restaurants in the previous days. The investigation thus far, shows a likely connection between Wismettac’s Dried Fungus and the identified areas of outbreak.
Out of caution, Wismettac has issued a recall on all its Dried Fungus products until further notice.