Health officials in the United States are taking action after a confirmed salmonella scare associated with chia powder. That substance is often mixed into smoothies and snacks, and is prized by health food lovers for its nutritional value.
So far, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have identified 21 people in 12 states who have gotten sick after eating a chia product that contained salmonella. There are several items that may potentially contain salmonella. Some of them are items intended to be mixed into smoothies. The affected products were sold in numerous retail stores around the country.
A CDC investigator named Dr. Laura Gieraltowski has clarified that the number of people who have gotten ill from the salmonella scare is extremely low compared to illnesses that are linked to other types of food. Salmonella sickens over one million people every year and causes hundreds of fatalities.
However, it’s usually found in egg or meat products, and Gieraltowski says this is first time a salmonella scare has been connected to chia powder. If you’re wondering why more people haven’t gotten sick, she said it may be because the powder has a long shelf life and individuals use small amounts at a time. That potentially means we may be hearing about more salmonella outbreaks that are linked to these same products, just because they could be sitting in cupboards for a while before people use them.
In May, officials at the state and federal levels began tracing 11 salmonella incidences across the country. Eventually, those too were linked with chia powder, and investigators found a pair of new salmonella strains named Newport and Hartford. During that time, a brand called Navitas Naturals instituted a voluntary recall of certain products that may be tainted with salmonella. Green Smoothie Girl, William-Sonoma Inc., and Health Matters America also followed suit, also citing potential salmonella concerns.
Although some people who get sick from salmonella are able to recover on their own without treatment, the situation can become dangerous for people who are elderly, young children, and people who have compromised immune systems.
If you’re worried about getting caught by the salmonella scare and regularly use chia powder in your diet, it’s a good idea to check your cabinets for the affected products and throw items away if necessary. Doing that is almost certainly a better approach than taking a chance and potentially getting sick after eating a product that ironically was supposed to promote good health.