Tahini producer Achdut LTD. of Ariel, Israel, has recalled the brands due to a tainted sample, which tested positive for salmonella in a shared manufacturing space.
Israel-based tahini manufacturer Achdut LTD. is recalling all of its tahini products after a random sample tested positive for salmonella—the brands in question include Achdut, Baron's, S&F, Pepperwood, Achva, and a popular name with many millennial shoppers, Soom.
The Food and Drug Administration reports that the salmonella contamination has already sickened five in New York, Michigan, and Hawaii, with the possibility that more cases have yet to be reported.
The FDA reports that the voluntary recall was issued after a tainted sample was taken from a shared manufacturing space for all Achdut tahini, which consists of ground sesame seeds as well as any additional flavored ingredients that are unique to each product. Achdut exported the products to the United States as well as other countries currently not named by the FDA.
Tahini has a long shelf life, which could be of concern for shoppers who buy the product in bulk—the FDA has a full list of affected products with unique retail codes, expiration dates, and actual product photos listed right here, but most expiration dates run through May 2020. The tahini in question was produced between April 7 and May 21 of this year, the federal agency says.
“(The) CDC identified five ill people in the U.S. infected with Salmonella Concord that had the same genetic fingerprint as the Salmonella Concord found in tahini sampled at the point of import into the United States,” the FDA says. “Of the five U.S. cases interviewed, all five reported consuming hummus made with tahini; three people reported eating tahini or hummus made with tahini in a restaurant in the U.S., while the other two people reported consuming tahini or hummus made with tahini during international travel.”
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The tahini products being recalled under all five brands range in size and product name, as well—tahini, whole tahini, seasoned tahini, and organic tahini are all on the agency's recall list, with product sizes ranging between 15 ounces and 635 ounces. The FDA says that some of the products are also labeled exclusively in Hebrew.
Federal investigators have not shared which retailers have the tahini in question in stock—it also hasn't named any retailer that received the tahini in bulk stock. But many Cooking Light readers may already be familiar with one of the brands included in the recall—Soom tahini is a widely available product in many traditional retailers, regional chains as well as specialty grocery stores.
But you shouldn't swear off tahini for good just yet, because it seems that the root of the problem is cross contamination, the FDA says—and it names the brand which tested positive for salmonella: Baron's.
"We would never share food we wouldn't consume ourselves or feed to our families," says Soom CEO Shelby Zitelman in a statement released to the public. "Because customer safety and satisfaction is of utmost importance to us, in cooperation with our contracted manufacturer and the FDA, we are voluntarily participating in this recall."
A brand representative says that none of Soom's products tested positive for salmonella—it seems that is just limited to Baron's tahini products—but given that the manufacturing space is shared, Soom and other brands on the list are being included out of caution.
If you've recently purchased a tahini product and can't identify the brand by retail lot codes or expiration dates, the FDA is asking you to bring the product back to the point of purchase—and if your product is included on the recall list, to receive a refund and immediately discard.