A total of six individuals have been identified with Salmonella Braenderup linked to consumption of nSpired Natural Foods Inc.’s Nut Butters, including victims in Tennessee, Texas, Connecticut, Iowa and New Mexico. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) identified Salmonella Braenderup in environmental samples of the product during routine inspections in February and July of 2014, leading to a recall of nSpired products. Among these products recalled were Arrowhead Mills, MaraNatha, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Safeway, and Kroger brands.
As a result of the positive environmental tests, the FDA conducted an investigation at nSpired Natural Foods facilities between July 15th and August 29th, making a number of “observations,” the term used for non-compliance notations in the FDA Form 482 Inspection Report. The Observations were as follows:
1. Failure to manufacture foods under condition and controls necessary to minimize the potential for growth of microorganisms and contamination;
2. Failure to maintain equipment in an acceptable condition through appropriate cleaning and sanitizing;
3. Employees did not wash hands thoroughly in an adequate hand-washing facility at any time – their hands may have become soiled or contaminated;
4. Food contact surfaces are not designed to withstand the environment of their intended use;
5. Failure to have smoothly bonded or well maintained seams on food contact surfaces, to minimize accumulation of organic matter and the opportunity for growth of microorganisms;
6. The procedure used for sanitizing of equipment and utensils has not been shown to provide adequate sanitizing treatment;
7. The plant is not constructed in such a manner as to allow floors to be adequately cleaned and kept clean; and finally
8. Lack of backflow protection from piping systems that discharge waste water.
These observations can be seen in detail here. Even though the outbreak is deemed to have run its course. Because some of the product has a long shelf life, additional cases may be identified. The investigation by the FDA is ongoing. National Salmonella lawyer Ron Simon, who has represented thousands of individuals who have become ill with salmonellosis including in high-profile peanut butter salmonella outbreaks, said “the deficiencies we see in the nSpired facilities in this outbreak are very similar to ones we have see in many other outbreaks. Hopefully nSpired and other companies will review these inspection reports carefully in an effort to prevent these systems-wide deficiencies and rein in future outbreaks. Salmonellosis is a serious illness that, in some people, can lead to years of gastrointestinal difficulties.”