Public Health Notice - Outbreak of Salmonella infections related to sprouted chia seed powder
This notice has been updated to include 4 additional cases and to communicate the closing of the investigation.
Why you should take note
Since our last update, four additional cases have been reported in British Columbia (1), Ontario (2) and Quebec (1) as part of this investigation. These are not recent cases; the individuals became ill in June 2014. In total, 63 cases of Salmonella infection were reported as part of this outbreak. Collaborative investigation efforts by provincial and federal health authorities and food regulatory partners, confirmed that sprouted chia seed powder was the source of the illnesses. Sprouted chia seed powder is made from dried, ground, sprouted chia seeds.
Given that no new cases have occurred since the beginning of July, this outbreak appears to be over and the investigation is now closed.
In Canada, four strains of Salmonella were associated with this outbreak: Salmonella Newport, Salmonella Hartford, Salmonella Oranienburg, and Salmonella Saintpaul. In total, 63 cases were reported in British Columbia (14), Alberta (10), Ontario (35) and Quebec (4). Twelve cases were hospitalized; nine cases were discharged and have recovered or are recovering. No deaths were reported.
As a part of this investigation, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued food recall warnings for various products containing chia seeds and sprouted chia seed powder under the brands Organic Traditions, Back 2 the Garden, Intuitive Path SuperFoods, Harmonic Arts Botanical Dispensary, Naturally Organic, Pete’s Gluten Free, NoorishSuperfoods, MadeGood, and Dietary Express. These products were recalled and removed from the marketplace due to possible Salmonella contamination.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are also investigating similar cases of Salmonella, and have recalled sprouted chia seed powder products linked to their investigation.
What you should do
These products have a long shelf life and may still be in people's home. If you have the recalled products in your home, do not eat them. Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased. If you are unsure about the source of your sprouted chia seed product, do not consume it. Secure it in a plastic bag and throw it out. Then wash your hands thoroughly in warm soapy water.
Food contaminated with Salmonella may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick.
If you suspect you became ill from eating a recalled product, or another sprouted chia seed product, talk to your health care provider.
Symptoms of a Salmonella infection, called salmonellosis, typically start 6 to 72 hours after exposure to a contaminated product. Symptoms include:
- Abdominal cramps
These symptoms usually last four to seven days. In healthy people, salmonellosis often clears up without treatment. People who experience severe symptoms, or who have underlying medical conditions, should contact their health care providers if they suspect they have a Salmonella infection.
What the Public Health Agency of Canada is doing
The Public Health Agency of Canada, in collaboration with federal, provincial/territorial partners, will continue to monitor for and investigate any new cases of Salmonella that may be related to this outbreak as part of its routine surveillance activities.
- Salmonella Fact Sheet
- Canadian Food Inspection Agency's Investigation into Salmonella in Chia Seeds
- More information about Salmonella is available through the Government of Canada food safety web portal
Public Health Agency of Canada
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