Investigation Details

Posted April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Public Health Actions

On April 18, 2024, Infinite Herbs recalled 2.5-ounce packages of Infinite Herbs fresh organic basil due to Salmonella contamination.

On April 19, Infinite Herbs expanded it’s recall to include Melissa’s brand fresh organic basil in 2 oz and 4 oz packages.

Do not to eat, serve, or sell any recalled basil.

Previous Updates

CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are collecting different types of data to investigate a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium infections.

Epidemiologic and traceback data show that Infinite Herbs brand organic basil may be contaminated with Salmonella and be making people sick.

Epidemiologic Data

As of April 17, 2024, a total of 12 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella have been reported from 7 states (see map). Illnesses started on dates ranging from February 11, 2024, to April 2, 2024 (see timeline). Of 11 people with information available, 1 person has been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

The true number of sick people in this outbreak is likely much higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses. This is because many people recover without medical care and are not tested for Salmonella. In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.

Public health officials collect many different types of information from sick people, including their age, race, ethnicity, other demographics, and the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. This information provides clues to help investigators identify the source of the outbreak.

The table below has information about sick people in this outbreak (“n” is the number of people with information available for each demographic).

Demographics Information
Table of demographic information (n is the number of people with information available)
Range from 2 to 59 years
Median age of 33 years
83% female
17% male
92% White
8% African American/Black
91% non-Hispanic
9% Hispanic

State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. Of eight people with information, seven (88%) reported eating basil. This percentage was significantly higher than the 22% of respondents who reported eating basil in the FoodNet Population Survey—a survey that helps estimate how often people eat various foods linked to diarrheal illness. This difference suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from eating basil.

Laboratory and Traceback Data

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. CDC PulseNet manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS).

WGS showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples are closely related genetically. This suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food.

WGS analysis of bacteria from 12 people’s samples did not predict resistance to any antibiotics. More information is available at the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) site.

Of 12 people interviewed, 10 (83%) reported shopping at Trader Joe’s. Seven sick people reported buying or likely buying organic basil in 2.5 oz clamshell-style containers from Trader Joe’s. Additionally, traceback data collected by FDA determined that Infinite Herbs, LLC, in Miami, Florida, was the supplier of the 2.5-oz packages of organic basil sold at Trader Joe’s stores.

Public Health Actions

While this investigation is ongoing, do not eat Infinite Herbs organic basil sold at Trader Joe’s stores in those 29 states and Washington, D.C. The basil was sold in 2.5 oz clamshell-style packages. Investigators are working to determine if additional products may be contaminated.