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Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Virchow Infections Linked to Garden of Life RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal Products (Final Update)

Posted April 21, 2016 1:30 PM ET

This outbreak investigation is over. However, the recalled products have a long shelf life and may still be in people's homes. Consumers unaware of the recall could continue to eat the products and potentially get sick. Read the Recall & Advice to Consumers and Retailers.

Highlights

  • This outbreak investigation is over. However, the recalled Garden of Life RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal products have a long shelf life and may still be in people's homes. Consumers unaware of the recalls could continue to eat the products and get sick.
  • CDC, multiple states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigated this multistate outbreak of Salmonella Virchow infections.
    • A total of 33 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Virchow were reported from 23 states.
    • Six ill people were hospitalized, and no deaths were reported.
  • Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicated that RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal products made by Garden of Life, LLC were the likely source of this outbreak.
  • As a result of this investigation, Garden of Life, LLC voluntarily recalled several lots of RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal products, available in chocolate, original, vanilla, and vanilla chai, on January 29, 2016 (initial recall) and February 12, 2016 (expanded recall).

Outbreak Summary

Introduction

CDC collaborated with public health officials in multiple states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Virchow infections.

Public health investigators used the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that were part of this outbreak. PulseNet, coordinated by CDC, is the national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories. PulseNet performs DNA fingerprinting on Salmonella bacteria isolated from ill people by using a technique called pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). CDC PulseNet manages a national database of these DNA fingerprints to identify possible outbreaks.

A total of 33 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Virchow were reported from 23 states. A list of states and the number of cases in each can be found on the Case Count Map page.

Among people for whom information was available, illnesses started on dates ranging from December 5, 2015 to March 18, 2016. Ill people ranged in age from less than 1 year to 84, with a median age of 35. Fifty-three percent of ill people were female. Among 27 ill people with available information, 6 (22%) were hospitalized, and no deaths were reported.

Investigation of the Outbreak

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicated that RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal products made by Garden of Life, LLC were the likely source of this outbreak.

State and local public health officials interviewed ill people to obtain information about foods they might have eaten and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Of the 30 ill people who were interviewed, 28 (93%) reported consuming powdered supplements or meal replacement powders in the week before illness onset; 27 of these 28 (96%) ill people specifically reported consuming RAW Meal products made by Garden of Life, LLC.

On January 29, 2016, Garden of Life, LLC voluntarily recalled a limited quantity of its RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal products available in chocolate, original, vanilla, and vanilla chai because they had the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella Virchow. The recalled products were available for purchase nationwide in many retail stores and online.

The Utah Public Health Laboratory and Oklahoma Public Health Laboratory isolated the outbreak strain of Salmonella Virchow from open containers of Garden of Life RAW Meal collected from ill people's homes in Utah and Oklahoma.  Both products that were tested were from lots covered under the recalls announced by Garden of Life, LLC.

FDA sampling confirmed the presence of the outbreak strain of Salmonella Virchow in Organic Moringa Leaf powder used in RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal Replacement products. On February 12, 2016, Garden of Life, LLC issued an expanded recall of its RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal products available in chocolate, original, vanilla, and vanilla chai to include additional lots that contained the contaminated Organic Moringa Leaf powder.

This outbreak investigation is over. However, the recalled products have a long shelf life and may still be in people's homes. Consumers unaware of the recalls could continue to eat the products and get sick. Read the Recall and Advice to Consumers and Retailers.

Previous Case Count Updates

March 23, 2016

Case Count Update

Since the last update on February 19, 2015, nine more ill people have been reported from eight states.

As of March 21 2016, 27 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Virchow have been reported from 20 states. A list of states and the number of cases in each can be found on the Case Count Map page.

Among people for whom information is available, illnesses started on dates ranging from December 5, 2015 to March 13, 2016. Ill people range in age from less than 1 year to 84, with a median age of 35. Fifty-six percent of ill people are female. Among 19 ill people with available information, 5 (26%) reported being hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

Illnesses that occurred after February 28, 2016 might not be reported yet. This takes an average of 2 to 4 weeks. Please see the Timeline for Reporting Cases of Salmonella Infection for more details. The recalled products have a long shelf life and may still be in people's homes, and illnesses may continue to be reported.

February 19, 2016

Case Count Update

Since the last update on February 2, 2015, seven more ill people have been reported from seven states.

As of February 17, 2016, 18 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Virchow have been reported from 15 states. The number of ill people identified in each state is as follows: Florida (1), Massachusetts (1), Maryland (1), Minnesota (2), New Jersey (2), New Mexico (1), North Carolina (1), Ohio (1), Oklahoma (1), Oregon (1), Rhode Island (1), Tennessee (1), Texas (1), Utah (2), and Wisconsin (1).

Among people for whom information is available, illnesses started on dates ranging from December 5, 2015 to February 3, 2016. Ill people range in age from 1 year to 76, with a median age of 34. Fifty-six percent of ill people are male. Among 12 ill people with available information, four (33%) reported being hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

Illnesses that occurred after January 24, 2016 might not be reported yet. This takes an average of 2 to 4 weeks. Please see the Timeline for Reporting Cases of Salmonella Infection for more details. The recalled products have a long shelf life and may still be in people's homes, and illnesses may continue to be reported.

Investigation Update

In ongoing interviews, ill people answered questions about foods eaten and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Of the 14 ill people who have been interviewed, 14 (100%) reported consuming powdered supplements or meal replacement powders in the week before illness onset; all 14 (100%) specifically reported consuming Garden of Life RAW Meal products.

The Utah Public Health Laboratory and Oklahoma Public Health Laboratory isolated the outbreak strain of Salmonella Virchow from open containers of Garden of Life RAW Meal collected from ill people's homes in Utah and Oklahoma. Both products that were tested were from lots covered under the recalls announced by Garden of Life, LLC. FDA sampling confirmed the presence of the outbreak strain of Salmonella Virchow in Organic Moringa Leaf powder used in RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal Replacement products.

On February 12, 2016, Garden of Life, LLC issued an expanded recall of its RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal products available in chocolate, original, vanilla, and vanilla chai to include these additional lots.

This investigation is ongoing. CDC will provide updates when more information is available.

Initial Announcement

February 2, 2016

CDC is collaborating with public health officials in multiple states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Virchow infections. Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. PulseNet, the national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories, is coordinated by CDC. DNA fingerprinting is performed on Salmonella bacteria isolated from ill people by using a technique called pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, or PFGE. PulseNet manages a national database of these DNA fingerprints to identify possible outbreaks. One DNA fingerprint (outbreak strain) is included in this outbreak investigation. The outbreak strain is new to the PulseNet database.

A total of 11 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Virchow have been reported from nine states. The number of ill people identified in each state is as follows: Minnesota (2), New Jersey (2), New Mexico (1), Ohio (1), Oklahoma (1), Oregon (1), Tennessee (1), Utah (1), and Wisconsin (1).

Illnesses started on dates ranging from December 5, 2015, to January 21, 2016. Ill people range in age from 8 years to 76, with a median age of 35. Fifty-five percent of ill people are male. Among 10 ill people with available information, one reported being hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

This outbreak can be illustrated with a chart showing the number of people who became ill each day. This chart is called an epidemic curve or epi curve. Illnesses that occurred after January 8, 2016, might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 2 to 4 weeks. Please see the Timeline for Reporting Cases of Salmonella Infection for more details. The recalled products have a long shelf life and may still be in people's homes, and illnesses may continue to be reported.

Investigation of the Outbreak

The epidemiologic and laboratory evidence available at this time suggest that RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal products made by Garden of Life, LLC are a likely source of this outbreak. This investigation is ongoing.

In interviews, ill people answered questions about foods eaten and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Of the 10 ill people who were interviewed, 10 (100%) reported consuming powdered supplements or meal replacements powders in the week before illness onset; all 10 (100%) specifically reported consuming RAW Meal products made by Garden of Life, LLC.

On January 29, 2016, Garden of Life, LLC voluntarily recalled a limited quantity of its RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal products available in chocolate, original, vanilla, and vanilla chai because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella Virchow. The recalled products were available for purchase nationwide in many retail stores and online.

On January 31, 2016, the Utah Public Health Laboratory reported it isolated Salmonella from an open container of Garden of Life RAW Meal collected from an ill person's home. On February 1, 2016, Oregon health officials also reported Salmonella was isolated from an open container of Garden of Life RAW Meal collected from an ill person's home. DNA "fingerprinting" is being conducted for both samples to determine the PFGE pattern of the Salmonella isolated from this product. Results will be reported when they become available.

CDC and state and local public health partners are continuing laboratory surveillance through PulseNet to identify additional ill persons and to interview ill persons about foods they ate before they became ill.

At A Glance

  • Case Count: 33
  • States: 23
  • Deaths: 0
  • Hospitalizations: 6
  • Recall: Yes

	Garden of Life RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal Product

Garden of Life RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal Product

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