The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Lifestyle

October 4, 2012

Smoked salmon blamed for salmonella outbreak



THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Smoked salmon tainted with salmonella has sickened hundreds of people in the Netherlands, authorities said, sparking major recalls there and in the U.S.

U.S. health authorities say they are also investigating whether the salmon could be at the root of a multi-state outbreak of the illness.

The Netherlands' National Institute for Public Health and the Environment said the salmon was traced to a Dutch company called Foppen, which sells fish to many major supermarkets in the Netherlands and stores around the world.

In the U.S. Foppen said it only supplied the fish to CostCo Wholesale Corp. It did not believe the contaminated fish was sold to any other countries.

The Dutch public health institute said that around 200 people — and likely more — have been sickened in the Netherlands by a strain of the bacteria called Salmonella Thompson.

A representative for the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control Prevention, Lola Russell, says the federal agency has 85 recorded cases of the same strain from 27 states starting from July 1. Without an outbreak, she said the average number of such cases over that time would be about 30.

"We've investigating a possible link between the cases in the U.S. and cases in the Netherlands," Russell said.

That process entails state public health officials interviewing patients to find out what they may have eaten before they got sick, including the smoked salmon.

Russell said 10 people have been hospitalized, with no deaths.

Craig Wilson, vice president of food safety at Costco, said the company immediately pulled the smoked salmon from shelves after receiving a call from Foppen late Monday. CostCo also blocked sale of the salmon in stores, meaning the products won't scan at registers.

The smoked salmon was sold under the Foppen name, as well as under Costco's store-brand name, Kirkland. Wilson did not know how much of the product was sold.

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