October 2, 2012 — The grocery chain Costco Wholesale Corp. has recalled smoked salmon imported from the Netherlands, after it was linked to hundreds of cases of salmonella food poisoning. The salmon is blamed for at least 200 illnesses in the Netherlands and around 100 illnesses in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is still in preliminary stages of the investigation.
The food poisoning outbreak was first reported by Americans who got sick after eating the smoked salmon. The product is sold by the Dutch company Foppen, which sells the salmon throughout Europe, but only at Costco grocery stores in the U.S. A facility in Greece is responsible for processing the fish, and they have halted all production pending an investigation.
Today the CDC confirmed that an estimated 50-85 cases of salmon salmonella food poisoning have occurred in the U.S. However, because the outbreak was only recently identified, health officials at the CDC said they were in the “very preliminary stages” of the investigation and had no concrete statistics on the size of the outbreak.
Officials at Costco were first informed of the food poisoning outbreak yesterday afternoon. The company immediately pulled the products off store shelves and blocked the items, which prevents them from being purchased at check-out. So far, Costco’s independent tests of the smoked salmon products have been negative for salmonella contamination.
People who have eaten the smoked salmon and show symptoms of food poisoning are still encouraged to report symptoms. Customers who have purchased the smoked salmon should not eat the product, even if part of it has already been eaten without causing illness.
Salmonella food poisoning is caused by the salmonella bacteria, which causes acute gastrointestinal illness. The symptoms of salmonella food poisoning appear 12-72 hours after the food is eaten. Initial symptoms typically involve sudden diarrhea that may be watery or bloody. Nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, headache, and fever may also occur. Salmonella food poisoning is unlikely to cause serious injury to a healthy adult, but the illness can be fatal for young children, the elderly, and people with a weakened immune system.
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