At least 11 people got infected with salmonella after consuming a nut butter spread, federal health officials announced. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that JEM Raw Chocolate, LLC (JEM Raw) of Bend, Oregon issued a voluntary recall of its products.

The infection started from July 18 to Oct. 15 but no deaths or hospitalizations were reported. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is collaborating with public health officials in various states and the FDA to probe on the latest Salmonella outbreak caused by Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+).

"In light of this investigation, and with an abundance of caution, JEM Raw has initiated a voluntary recall of all products and sizes, packaged in glass jars, and sold under brand name JEM Raw Organics," FDA wrote in its website.

Most cases were reported in Oregon with three cases while California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Hawaii, New Jersey, Illinois and North Carolina all reported one case each. All the individuals who were infected underwent interviews and all of them (100 percent) reported consuming nut butter or nut butter spread. Around 75 percent of the patients cited JEM Raw nut spread as the brand they consumed.

The pathogen, formerly known as Salmonella Java, is a strain of the infection caused by a type of bacteria. Signs and symptoms of infection may include fever, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting.

 It can be contracted through eating contaminated food, drinking contaminated water, contact with infected animals like tropical fish and reptiles, and contact with an infected person who has diarrhea. The infection is also linked to the July outbreak from frozen raw tuna where a total of 62 patients got ill across 11 states.

Generally, Salmonella infection may go on its own but it can pose detrimental health effects to vulnerable people like infants, children, pregnant women, older adults and those who have underlying diseases.

"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 become ill," CDC wrote on its update.

Meanwhile, JEM Raw founders posted a message to their valued customers. "We are working with distributors and retailers to remove these products from retail shelves. Consumers do not need to return the product to the store where it was purchased."

"Instead, consumers should discard any product and its container. Our customer service team will work directly with each consumer to manage replacement of its product. Please find the link to our Product Replacement form on our JEM Raw Blog," they added.

Photo: Dan McKay | Flickr 

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