Garden of Life, LLC RAW Products Linked to Nine New Cases of Salmonella Virchow
Health officials have confirmed nine additional cases of the outbreak strain of Salmonella Virchow associated with consumption of RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal products produced by Garden of Life, LLC, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 27. The most recent illness started on March 13, 2016.
Nine new cases reported by state agencies were spread across eight states, five of which had not previously confirmed a case tied to the ongoing outbreak. Minnesota and Texas both reported one additional outbreak case. The new illnesses brought the total number of cases confirmed in Minnesota to 3, and Texas now has confirmed two cases of the outbreak strain of Salmonella Virchow.
The five following states, none of which had previously reported a case, each confirmed one patient with Salmonella that matched the outbreak strain DNA: Alabama, California, Hawaii, Michigan, and West Virginia.
27 Cases of Salmonella Virchow Confirmed Across 20 Different States
On February 19th, the CDC released an update confirming 18 Salmonella illnesses associated with the outbreak. As of March 21st, a total of 27 people and 20 states were associated with the outbreak. The broad distribution of cases – 14 of the 20 states confirmed only one case of Salmonella Virchow matching the outbreak strain – reflects the widespread distribution of the product. Retail establishments in all 50 states sold RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal products, the source of the outbreak that sickened individuals as young as under one year of age and as old as 84. Internet retailers also sold the Garden of Life products, further increasing the reach of the powdered meal substitute.
Minnesota, the only state reporting more than two illnesses, confirmed three cases of Salmonella Virchow that matched the DNA fingerprint of the outbreak strain. The list of the five other states confirming more than one outbreak case currently includes California, New Jersey, Texas and Utah. Each of these states reported two confirmed cases.
The following states, each associated with one confirmed case of Salmonella Virchow, account for the remaining sixteen cases liked to the outbreak: Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
The most recent CDC outbreak update reported that five of the outbreak cases required hospitalization. Federal and state health officials confirmed that that the outbreak was not currently associated with any fatalities as of March 25. 2016.
The CDC continues to advise retailers and consumers to check any RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal products prior to consumption to confirm they do not appear on the recall list. “These recalled products have a long shelf life and may still be in people’s homes, and illnesses may continue to be reported,” the CDC said.
The outbreak strain has been linked to RAW Meal nutritional powders manufactured by West Palm Beach, company Garden of Life, LLC. The first case associated with the outbreak began on December 5th, 2015, while the date of onset for the most recent confirmed illness is March 13th of this year.
The company first issued a voluntarily recall of several lots of chocolate, original, vanilla and vanilla chai RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal Products on January 29, 2016, and Garden of Life expanded the recall to include additional RAW Meal Organic products on February 12th.
FDA Helps Identify Moringa Leaf Powder as Source of Salmonella in RAW Meal Products
When Garden of Life officials expanded the recall Feb. 12, they announced they had determined the cause of the contamination.
“After extensive testing of the product and its ingredients, and working in collaboration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the manufacturer, suppliers and other third-party experts, we have now identified the likely source of Salmonella contamination to be organic moringa leaf powder from a supplier used only in Raw Meal,” according to the expanded recall notice.
Garden of Life removed organic moringa powder from its Raw Meal products and released new products to be available in stores and through online retailers .
According to the FDA, the investigation into the outbreak is ongoing, and the agency will continue to provide updates on the investigation as they become available.