Dr. Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), today announced that consumers should avoid eating spices manufactured by Union International Food Company.
White and black pepper products from the company’s Union City facility in the Bay Area have been associated with an outbreak of Salmonella that has sickened 42 people in four states, including 33 in California. No deaths have been reported. The illnesses among California residents have occurred in 15 counties in Central and Northern California, and the latest known onset of illness is March 13, 2009.
A high proportion of those who have become sick had eaten at Asian restaurants which were found by environmental health specialists to be using black and/or white pepper purchased from Union International Food Company.
Union International Food Company has initiated a voluntary recall of pepper and all other similar spice products repackaged in its facility. These products do not bear lot codes and were sold primarily to distributors and restaurants in California and Oregon. The products are packaged under the Lian How brand name (red label) in various sized containers (10 and 15 pound cardboard boxes with plastic liners that are tied closed, 4 and 5 pound clear semi-hard plastic wide-mouth jars; 5 pound plastic bags and 2.2 pound foil bags). Following the Lian How brand name, the wording “Packed by Union International Foods” or “Union International Foods” appears. The following products are included in the recall:
- White Pepper
- Black Pepper
- Cayenne Pepper
- Chopped Onion
- Onion Powder
- Garlic – Chopped, Minced, Powder, and Granulated
- Whole White Pepper
- Whole Black Pepper
- Curry Powder
- Mustard Powder
- Wasabi Powder
Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in infants, frail or elderly individuals and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy individuals infected with salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (occasionally bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and produce more severe illnesses. Consumers should consult with their physicians if they have these symptoms.
The CDPH Web site will be updated with additional information as it becomes available. Consumers with questions may contact Union International Food Company at (510) 471-6799.