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Seafood

Salmonella Outbreak Tied to Smoked Salmon

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Wed, Oct 3, 2012 at 6:00 AM

click to enlarge Smoked salmon with crème fraîche and salmon roe on a blini - FLICKR/KTHREAD
  • Flickr/kthread
  • Smoked salmon with crème fraîche and salmon roe on a blini
Salmonella has nothing to do with salmon. Until now. Smoked salmon tainted with the bacteria has sickened hundreds of people in the Netherlands and the United States, sparking a major recall, the Associated Press reports. (Fascinating fact: The genus Salmonella was named after Daniel Elmer Salmon, an American veterinary pathologist, in 1900.)

The Netherlands' National Institute for Public Health and the Environment said the salmon has been traced to the Dutch company Foppen, which sells to major Dutch supermarkets and to stores around the world, including the United States, where it was hawked at Costco. (Fascinating fact No. 2: Foppen means "to perplex" in Dutch.)

So far, around 200 people -- and likely more -- in the Netherlands and more than 100 in the U.S. have been sickened, the Dutch health agency said. Costco, however, said it has received no reports of illness.

Foppen also estimates the number of infections is higher. Company spokesman Bart de Vries said that since the company set up a public information phone line two days ago, about 350 callers have "reported symptoms consistent with a salmonella infection" -- which, since this is a food blog, you'd be better off reading about elsewhere.

Foppen called Costco about the recall late Monday afternoon, Craig Wilson, vice president of food safety at Costco Wholesale Corp., told the AP. He said Costco immediately pulled the items from shelves. The fish was sold under the Foppen name, as well as under Costco's store-brand name, Kirkland. Wilson said it will be calling customers who bought the smoked salmon and following up by letter. He also said that Costco's independent testing of the fish hasn't yet turned up any positive results for salmonella.

Harald Wychgel, a spokesman for the Dutch public health institute, said the institute got its information on Americans becoming ill from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Foppen, which processes fish in the Netherlands and at a factory in Greece, is investigating the cause of the outbreak. The culprit is apparently a production line at a factory in Greece. The company has halted all production of smoked salmon until the investigation is completed.

So guess it's plain bagels for now. Godverdomme!


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