Spices may reduce E. .coli O157

Tahini is a common food product in the Mediterranean area that is used as a main ingredient in variety of ready-to-eat foods. The objective of the current study was to investigate the inhibitory effect of thyme oil (TO) or cinnamon oil (CO) on E. coli O157:H7 viability in tahini and diluted tahini at different storage temperatures.

Addition of 2.0% CO to tahini reduced E. coli O157:H7 numbers by 1.38, 1.79 or 2.20 log10 CFU/mL at 10, 25 or 37 °C, respectively, by 28d. In diluted tahini at 10 °C, no viable cells of E. coli O157:H7 by 21d were detected when 1.0% CO was used. However, at 25 and 37 °C, no viable cells were detected by 14d when CO was added at 0.5% level. Addition of 2.0% TO to tahini, resulted in 1.82, 2.01 or 1.65 log10 CFU/mL reduction in E. coli O 157:H7 numbers was noted at 37, 25 or 10 °C, respectively, by 28d. In diluted tahini, TO at 0.5% or 1.0% induced complete reduction in the viability of E. coli O157:H7 by 28d storage at 37 or 25 °C. At 10 °C, a 3.02 log10 CFU/mL reduction was observed by 28d compared to the initial inoculation level in samples treated with 2.0% TO.

Inhibitory effect of thyme and cinnamon essential oils against e. coli O157:H7 in tahini, 08 May 2020

Food Science and Technology

Anas Al-Nabulsi, Tareq Osaili, Amin Olaimat, Weam Almarsi, Murad Al-Holy, Ziad Jaradat, Mutamed Ayyash, Saddam Awaisheh, Richard Holley



And I love those American thighs (my partner has them)

If you process tahini, you should include Salmonella as a known or reasonably foreseeable hazard

After a few months of retreating and thinking about next steps for barfblog, and focusing on consumer food safety observations in our new kitchens, I’m getting back in the posting mix.

And still, one of my favorite emails (after the weekly MMWR notification) is FDA’s updated warning letters. There’s so much to be learned in these beyond the fun stuff like peeling the skin off of a bearded dragon (not a euphemism).

Here’s my favorite from today’s update, courtesy of Sunshine International Foods Inc – a tahini processor.

There are a few nuggets in this one but my big takeaway is that the letter provides a fantastic blueprint for all other tahini processors to follow if they want to meet what FDA expects. Including that you absolutely need to include Salmonella as a known or reasonably foreseeable hazard in a preventive control plan.

Oh and if you are a retailer or food service buyer, looking through these warning letter alerts are probably a good idea – I’d be making vendor decisions based on these (and asking my current suppliers how they are different from the folks who receive them).

From the letter:

Your hazard analysis did not identify a known or reasonably foreseeable hazard for each type of food manufactured, processed, packed, or held at your facility to determine whether there are any hazards requiring a preventive control, as required by 21 CFR 117.130(a)(1). The hazard evaluation must include an evaluation of environmental pathogens whenever a ready-to-eat (RTE) food is exposed to the environment, as required by 21 CFR 117.130(c)(1)(ii). Your RTE tahini products made from natural sesame seeds are exposed to the processing environment following pasteurization and prior to packaging, and your repackaged RTE tahini products are exposed to the processing environment throughout the processing of these products. Although you have identified “Microbial Growth Staphylococcus Aureus” as a potential significant food safety hazard in your hazard analyses for your RTE tahini products (including RTE tahini manufactured from natural sesame seeds with creation date 5-01-18, RTE flavored tahini manufactured from natural sesame seeds with creation date 5-01-18, repackaged RTE tahini with creation date 5-01-18, and RTE flavored tahini using raw tahini received at your facility with revision date 3-6-19), these hazard analyses do not identify contamination of RTE tahini with the environmental pathogen of Salmonella as a known or reasonably foreseeable hazard for each type of food manufactured, processed, packed, or held at your facility to determine whether it is a hazard requiring a preventive control.

Also, folks should do better on cleaning and sanitizing the hard to get spots where Salmonella or Listeria might be living.

1. All food-contact surfaces, including utensils and food-contact surfaces of equipment, must be cleaned as frequently as necessary to protect again contamination of food, as required by 21 CFR 117.35(d). However, our investigators observed the following conditions:

a. Hardened tahini was present around the gasket between a stainless-steel pipe feeding from the hold/pasteurizer tank to the hopper for the retail jar filler located in the Pasteurizer/Filling/Packing Room.

b. Soft tahini was observed around and beneath the lid seams to the retail line filler hopper in the Pasteurizer/Filling/Packing Room.

c. Soft and hardened tahini were observed inside the retail line filler hopper and (b)(4) filler heads.

d. Soft tahini was observed inside the square mixer and grinding/milling hopper in the Roasting/Milling Room.

e. Chocolate tahini was observed inside the stainless-steel pipe feeding into the (b)(4) in the Pasteurizer/Filling/Packing Room.

5 sick from Salmonella in tahini from Israel

Salmonella in tahini is nothing new.

But is always a reminder that microorganisms don’t care about your lifestyle, your politics, your religion, or your fucking annoyance to proclaim all the allegedly healthy foods you consume as superior – and therefore you are superior — to anything else.

Food porn.

The United States Food and Drug Administration, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local partners, is investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Concord illnesses linked to tahini imported from an Israeli manufacturer, Achdut Ltd., located in Ari’el, Israel.

Achdut Ltd. has voluntarily recalled all brands of tahini products manufactured from April 7, 2018 to May 21, 2018 with expiration dates of April 7, 2020 to May 21, 2020.  

The FDA is advising consumers not to eat recalled Achva, Achdut, Soom, S&F, Pepperwood, and Baron’s brand tahini with expiration dates ranging from April 7, 2020 to May 21, 2020. The product lot codes range from 18-097 to 18-141. Consumers should discard the product or return the product to the store for a refund.

Some brands of tahini manufactured by Achdut Ltd. may lack specific dates or may have labels that are written in Hebrew. Consumers who have purchased a tahini product and are uncertain of where the product was manufactured or cannot identify the brand by lot codes or expiration dates should use caution and discard the product or return the food to the store for a refund. More product information and pictures of the recalled product labels can be found in the firm’s recall announcement.

Retailers and restaurants should not use any of the recalled tahini manufactured by Achdut Ltd. at their establishments. Retailers and restaurants should throw the product out. 

Firms that may have used the recalled tahini (either repacked or used as an ingredient in a food without a kill step) should consider recalling their products. Recalls should be reported to your local FDA office. A list of recall coordinators can be found here.

CDC identified five ill people in the U.S. infected with Salmonella Concord that had the same genetic fingerprint as the Salmonella Concord found in tahini sampled at the point of import into the United States. Of the five U.S. cases interviewed, all five reported consuming hummus made with tahini; three people reported eating tahini or hummus made with tahini in a restaurant in the U.S., while the other two people reported consuming tahini or hummus made with tahini during international travel.

From the Salmonella-in-low-moisture-foods file: another tahini product recalled

Although my kids have expanded their food choices beyond pizza, pasta and chicken nuggets, hummus and carrot sticks are still a staple in my house. Salmonella in hummus isn’t a new thing; a Detroit-area grocery store is recalling sesame paste.

A West Bloomfield grocery store has recalled containers of its sesame paste that might be contaminated with salmonella.501930474_cdea9851ac_o

Sinbad Foods, located at 6251 Haggerty Road, said in a Tuesday release that 1-pound and 2-pound containers of its Tahina Telkef with “packed on” dates of Oct. 7, 2016, and “sell by” dates of Dec. 5, 2016, are on the recall list.

The 1-pound containers will have the numbers 0200004506472 and 0200004406413 in the barcode. Two-pound containers will have 0200000406295 in the barcode.

The potential contamination was discovered with the Michigan Department of Agricultural and Rural Development conducted tests on a sample of the product.

Israel on Salmonella hunt: HaNasich recalls hummus and tahini

HaNasich, a subsidiary of Shamir Salads, reported on Wednesday night that traces of Salmonella were discovered in samples of their raw tahini products.

hummus.tahiniShamir has issued a recall on the following items:

All hummus products with expiration dates ranging from September 1, 2016 to September 18, 2016.

All tahini products with expiration dates ranging from September 16, 2016 to October 3, 2016.

All eggplant tahini products with expiration dates ranging from September 1, 2016 to September 18, 2016.

The company noted that all of their non hummus or tahini products are safe for use, as are hummus and tahini products that don’t fall within those date ranges.

27 sickened with Salmonella in New Zealand linked to consumption of contaminated tahini imported from Turkey

A widespread salmonellosis outbreak linked to consumption of hummus made from contaminated tahini imported from Turkey occurred in New Zealand in November 2012.

tahiniThis article summarizes the outbreak detection, investigation, and control. The New Zealand Enteric Reference Laboratory alerted public health units regarding a cluster of 11 persons with Salmonella Montevideo infection identified from different regions of the North Island of New Zealand.

A multiagency outbreak investigation commenced to determine the source of illness and prevent further transmission. Salmonellosis is a notifiable disease in New Zealand. Outbreak cases were identified through routine salmonellosis notifications, and interviewed using a standardized questionnaire to identify common exposures. Clinical and food isolates were initially characterized by serotyping and then further typed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). PFGE profiles were sent to PulseNet and international alerts were posted. The scope of the investigation widened to include persons with either Salmonella Maastricht and Salmonella Mbandaka infection following detection of these serotypes in tahini epidemiologically linked to laboratory-confirmed cases. All three of the tahini-associated serotypes were detected in people who had consumed tahini, and these were found to have PFGE profiles indistinguishable from the tahini isolates.

Twenty-seven salmonellosis cases infected with at least one of the three tahini-associated Salmonella serotypes were detected between September 1 and December 31, 2012; of these, 16 (59%) cases (12 with Salmonella Montevideo, 3 with Salmonella Mbandaka, and 1 with Salmonella Maastricht infection) had PFGE patterns indistinguishable from the outbreak profile.

The investigation led to a trade withdrawal and consumer recall for tahini sesame paste from the consignment and products containing this tahini. The outbreak ceased following the recall. The importer of the implicated tahini was reminded of his duties as a food importer, including ensuring appropriate product testing. Changes to New Zealand legislation strengthened food safety responsibilities of food importers.

Foodborne Pathogens and Disease, November 2014, 11(11): 887-892

Paine Shevaun, Thornley Craig, Wilson Maurice, Dufour Muriel, Sexton Kerry, Miller Jim, King Grant, Bell Stephen, Bandaranayake Don, and Mackereth Graham


Salmonella in tahini, again

Sesameco is warning the public not to consume and retailers, restaurants and institutions not to sell or use the product described below due to possible Salmonella contamination.

20140618b_1403135219209_engRecalled products

Brand Name: Al Fakher

Common Name: Tahina    

Size: 18 kg (40 lb)                

Code(s) on Product: Production date: 8-April-2014, Expiration date: 8-4-2016

UPC: 6 27843 00170 6          

Additional Info: Sold by the manufacturer, Sesameco, situated at 4638 boulevard Thimens, St-Laurent, Quebec.

This recall was triggered by the company. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.

8 now sick with Salmonella linked to tahini sesame paste

Following on the initial release by the Minnesota Department of Health last week, a total of eight persons in six states has been infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Montevideo or Salmonella Mbandaka linked to tahini sesame paste distributed by Krinos Foods, LLC of Long Island City, New York.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that  during routine product testing at a retail store, the Michigan Department of Agriculture isolated krinos.tahini.salmonella.13Salmonella Montevideo from Krinos brand tahini sesame paste.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration isolated Salmonella Mbandaka from imported tahini sesame paste collected from shipments arriving in the United States for distribution by Krinos Foods.

On April 28, 2013, Krinos Foods recalled its tahini sesame pastebecause of potential contamination with Salmonella.

On May 9, 2013, the recall was expanded to include additional expiration dates.

The recalled lots have expiration dates from January 1, 2014 to June 8, 2014 and from October 16, 2014 to March 15, 2015.

CDC recommends that consumers do not eat recalled Krinos brand tahini sesame paste and discard any remaining product.

This product has a long shelf-life, and it may still be in people’s homes.

Cedar brand Tahini may contain salmonella

Whenever I hear ‘Tahini’ I somehow superimpose in my brain the last line from the 1978 seminal hit from the B-52s, Rock Lobster,

"There goes a dog-fish
chased by a cat-fish
in flew a sea robin
watch out for that piranha
there goes a narwhal
here comes a bikini whale!”

Bikini whales may or may not carry salmonella, but Tahini keeps appearing with salmonella, probably from the sesame seeds.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Produits Phoenicia Inc. are warning the public not to consume the Cedar brand Tahini described below because the product may be contaminated with Salmonella.

The affected product, Cedar brand Tahini is sold in 450 mL jars, bearing UPC 0 62356 50178 5. There is no lot code on the packages.

This product has been distributed nationally.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.