Salmonella alert triggers California basil recall

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Immune system Bacteria

Dried basil contaminated with Salmonella is at the center of a
major product recall in California.

The FDA has advised processors and repackers that Majestic International Spice Corporation has been forced to recall its dried "Extra Fancy Basil" spice in 12.5 kilogram bags after traces of Salmonella were found.

The agency also said that it was concerned that the firm had not adequately alerted its suppliers to the problem. The only identification on the 12.5 kilogram paper bags is a white paper label stating "EXTRA FANCY BASIL 12.5 KGS."

Since the passage of the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness Act, the FDA has unprecedented authority over domestic and imported food products. Indeed, the contamination was noted after routine testing by FDA revealed the presence of Salmonella Blockley.

The FDA is confident that such outbreaks are highly unlikely now to slip through the net. All food facilities are required to register with the FDA, and in addition, the agency requires all food facilities to maintain records to allow the agency to identify the immediate previous sources and the immediate subsequent recipients of food products.

The agency says that the speed at which these "one-step forward, one-step back"​ records can be accessed in case of potential food contamination is critical in diminishing the impact on consumers. If companies are unable to trace and isolate the source of a possible food contamination problem within 24 to 48 hours, the potential of serious damage increases exponentially.

The California-based company has now ceased the distribution of the product in question, and processors or repackers who received this product should discontinue using it and contact their local FDA office.

Salmonella is a microorganism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella bacteria often experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the microorganism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections, endocarditis and arthritis.

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