The federal officials claim that salmonella has been detected in a health food powder, which has spurred products recalls in the United States and the launch of a multistate health investigation.
“It is the first time that chia powder has been identified as a food that transmits salmonella,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigator Dr. Laura Gieraltowski, explained.
Salmonella is among the most common foodborne illness, and is usually found in meat and egg products. Salmonella infections are thought to affect around 1.2 million people in the United States alone and causes 450 deaths each year.
Salmonella infections are more commonly linked to consumption of other food products, and the number of chia-linked salmonella outbreaks are comparatively low. However, Gieraltowski believes that people may actually not be aware of this due to the powder’s long shelf life and small serving size. Chia powder is made from finely ground, sprouted chia seeds, and is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. It is popularly used by those following a vegan or a largely organic diet.
“People are just getting sick at a slower rate,” Gieraltowski added.
11 reports of salmonella outbreaks across the United States were investigated by state and federal officials last month which were eventually traced back to chia powder. Hartford and Newport named strains of salmonella in the powder were identified by the investigators.
The sprouted seeds have been known to conduct salmonella and E. Coli, however, how exactly salmonella gets transmitted through chia seeds is yet to be understood. The sources in their statement revealed that some 34 additional infections tied to chia powder foods were recently reported in Canada.