On April 28, 2022, Strauss Israel, a popular confectionery producer, recalled many of their Elite brand products, due to a concern that they may be contaminated with Salmonella. Salmonella monocytogenes are a type of bacteria which can cause serious and sometimes life-threatening infections in infants, elderly people, and anyone with an otherwise weakened immune system. The typical symptoms of Salmonella infection that a healthy person may experience include fever, diarrhea which is sometimes bloody, nausea, stomach cramps, and vomiting. Symptoms usually begin within 6 hours to 6 days from the time of ingesting the germ through a contaminated food and usually last between 4 to 7 days. Those who are more susceptible to develop a serious onset of Salmonella infection can experience serious complications, such as the infection spreading to the bloodstream, leading to arterial infection, as well as endocarditis and arthritis.
Strauss Israel has voluntarily recalled numerous Elite branded confectionery products, due to the concern for their potential contamination. The following products are included in the recall: Elite Chocolate, Cakes, Wafers, Energy Grain Snacks, Energy Chocolate Rice Cakes, Chewing Gum and Toffee Candies, including all product codes currently on the US market. For a detailed description of each recalled product, including its item number, UPC code, and packaging description, visit the FDA’s website here.
The recall was initiated due to the discovery of Salmonella on production lines in the facility in which the Strauss Elite confectionery products were produced, as well as in the liquid chocolate used for the finishing of the products.
According to the Times of Israel, the Health Ministry of Israel reports that out of the 300 samples taken from the factory of concern, 30 have returned positive for the presence of Salmonella monocytogenes. Furthermore, the Times of Israel reports that as of Sunday morning, 21 people have been reported to have contracted Salmonella infection shortly after the consumption of the recalled products.
After an investigation, the Health Ministry reports several health violations that may have been the cause of the outbreak, including “construction work at the factory that was undertaken without concern for its effects on production; an infiltration of pigeons into the factory that could potentially have played a role; the unfilled role of a director of food safety at the factory; and improper thawing conditions for dairy fats used in chocolate production.”
The Strauss Israel facility will remain closed for three months as the investigation continues and reparations of the issues are conducted.