Tahini sesame paste from Turkey used in dishes like hummus, shawarma, sandwich spreads, soups, and some Chinese recipes have led to a Salmonellosis (a food borne bacterial infection) outbreak in the US and New Zealand. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued an advisory to not use this paste and has sent inputs to various health departments, FDA and other departments.
Sesame is widely used in India and in most Middle Eastern dishes. “FSSAI has found the source of outbreak of Salmonellosis is Tahini Sesame Paste distributed by KRINOS foods, LLC of Long Island City, New York. The concerned authority has also asked not to use recalled Krinos sesame paste,” said Dilip Sangat, assistant commissioner, FDA (Food).
The advisory was issued last month to all concerned authorities, and the FDA has carried out inspections of Krinos brand Tahini Sesame Paste imported from Turkey. “We checked for imported sesame paste in all stores. We are advising people not to use it if it is imported from that brand,” Sangat added.
The FSSAI has recalled Tahini paste with expiry date from January 1, 2014 to June 8, 2014 and from October 16, 2014 to March 15, 2015.
Salmonella is a genus of bacteria that are a major cause of food borne illness throughout the world. The bacteria are generally transmitted to humans through consumption of contaminated milk.
The symptoms of Salmonella infection usually appear 12–72 hours after infection, and include fever, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea and sometimes vomiting. The illness usually lasts 4–7 days, and most people recover without treatment. However, in the very young and the elderly, and in cases when the bacteria enters the bloodstream, antibiotics may be needed.
Ban on dairy from China persists
The FSSAI has banned imported milk and milk products from China after a meeting of concerned departments and ministries of India. The ban was earlier imposed after melamine, an industrial chemical, was found in the products. According to the FDA, strict action will be taken if any one is found selling dairy products from China like candies and confectionary. The ban will be implemented for one year from June 23, 2013.